Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life Extension

The two big topics that concern Life Extension: Time and Death

Time appears as the enemy- connected to entropy, the wearing down of life and growth, the complete opposite of Life Extension. Entropy, related to Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics, basically states that energy in any closed system tends to run down.

Gurdjieff called Time the "Merciless Heropass". He regarded it as a cosmic problem which "Our Endlessness" solved by creating the material universe. In his view, the problem of life extension reaches far beyond our biological containers.

In Gurdjieff, Making A New World, J.G. Bennett maintains that Gurdjieff's ideas could all get traced back to his centrum of gravity question: " What is the sense and significance in general of life on the earth, and in particular of human life?" This may seem like straying far afield from the topic of life extension yet I feel if one can gain a deep sense of the value of life through realizing a purpose or purposes to it; life extension will seem a necessity, and as a result of that driving necessity, the problems facing it will get solved. To be blunt about it, you will tend to live longer if you have something to live for, something(s) you have to live for. A teleological direction that requires life extension to meaningfully proceed will eventually solve the problems of time and death because it has to.

Buckminster Fuller's answer to Gurdjieff's question appears in an essay he wrote near the end of his life called Guinea Pig B:

For exploratory purposes we will now tentatively adopt my "working assumption," later described in detail, that humans are present on Spaceship Earth only because they have an ultimately-to-become-operative, critical function to perform in Universe -- a function of which humanity, in general, is as yet almost unaware. . . .

We will now also assume that this biosphere's omni-controlled environment can successfully nurture, grow, and develop such an abundance of ecological life support as to be able to accommodate the only by shockingly wasteful trial and error education of humans in preparation for their ultimately-to-be-employed-and-maintained semi-divine functioning in Universe, as local Universe information harvesters and local Universe problem solvers in support of the integrity of eternally regenerative scenario Universe, provided, however, that, if after the billions of years of their development, those humans living right now can and do pass their final exam for graduation into this semi-divine functioning.

Living and functioning past our normal life-span would qualify as semi-divine functioning. My thanks to C.J. Fearnly's blog for exposing this essay to me.

Gurdjieff shared Fuller's view that humans had a role to play in "cosmic maintenance." Interestingly, Gurdjieff and Fuller met several times, in the 1920s, at a popular bar in Greenwhich Village on 8th street just a few doors down from where Jimi Hendrix built his recording studio, Electric Lady, in the '60's. Fuller decided he didn't want to be a guru like Gurdjieff because he didn't want the dead weight of followers.

I once arrived early for a Robert Anton Wilson lecture. He showed up early also and said to the dozen or so of us, "alright, now's your chance. Ask me anything you want to, anything at all." No one else spoke up so I asked him my version of Gurdjieff's question, " what is the purpose of human life on earth?" Wilson replied, " to be the eyes and ears of God." His answer kind of floored me, to say the least.

The teleologic argument for life extension gets based on the formula:

Form follows function.

This phrase, coined by an American architect Louis Sullivan in 1896 described his building philosophy. He developed the shape of the steel skyscraper, and served as a mentor to a young Frank Lloyd Wright who also adopted this formula. I like the poem he wrote:

It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function. This is the law

So if you find a function that requires extending life then your form will follow.
This "law" seems isomorphic (ie same organic shape) with Crowley's "law."

As we proceed in this essay, I will show how much progress has already been made in the direction of going out of time and into space, and in the science of bardo training - preparing conscious awareness for surviving the onslaught intensity and energy release of biological death. I will also show how, basically, Bardo Training = Life Extension. Not necessarily living longer, but extending life by waking up and experiencing more of it. Bardo training eventually leads to time dilation. You get more life by going out of time.

Bardo training likely does extend physical life because it advocates and highly recommends intimate awareness and personal application of what Leary called the 14th stage in his 8 circuit model. Self-directed hedonic engineering, which concerns learning the bio-chemical nature of your human machine for maximum energy efficiency. Learning nutrition, what foods work for you, which ones slow you down; practicing some kind of yoga or maritial art; sensing and controlling the subtler energies of the nervous system etc. etc. In other words, taking a health-conscious, knowledgeable and respectful approach to maintaining the temple of the human body, emotions and intellect seems to help with the production of vital life energy. There's much more to it than I'm mentioning here ... you get the idea.

The human biological container appears programmed for obsolescence. To attempt to live longer, in whatever fashion, we again appear as going against nature. We, again, struggle with Set - both poetically as the Egyptian God symbolizing our nature, and also perhaps psychologically with a set of assumptions programmed and conditioned into us to consider death as some kind of finality we get resigned to with no hope or recourse of action. Break that set, why don'tcha?

A key to life extension turns up on page 194 in Leary's, The Game of Life 1993 New Falcon edition. Titled, Einstein's Relativity Applied To Mind and Matter, he gives it all away ( don't take my word for it) in this anecdote about Einstein:

The thought that Einstein had in his teens was this: "What would the world look like if I rode on a beam of light? Suppose this tram were moving away from that clock on the very beam with which we see what the clock says. Then, of course, the clock would be frozen. I, the tram, this box riding on the beam of light would be fixed in time. Time would have a stop . . . in keeping up with the speed of light I have cut myself off from the passage of time."

To get the full effect of this 'key" one really should get the book and see this page because it also has a photograph of an Egyptian temple carving of Akhenaton. Actually, here it is online:



Akhenaton, founder of
the Star-cult of Egypt,
learns how to indulge in
solar-energy.


- how it reads in The Game of Life.

Another way to state the S.M.I.2L.E. formula: Time tends to dilate as one begins to go ahead with intelligence increase and space exploration.

We cannot put our bodies on a vehicle traveling at the speed of light but Leary suggests that conscious awareness can accelerate and even reach the speed of light and he gives a formula for how to do this. Again, don't take my word for this, you won't ever know or accept the possibility until direct experience occurs. I know this sounds farfetched to most, but it only seems slightly more farfetched than the notion of extending the human life-span 200, 300 years or more which is what they were talking about and projecting when S.M.I.2L.E. first hit the airwaves.

I'm not up on the latest longevity science and don't intend to research it for this essay. I'll leave that to my esteemed colleague Dr. Michael Johnson and others. I'm approaching life extension from the point of view of experiencing it more directly, intensely, wakefully - extending it experientially within the alloted biological time given. Activating higher brain circuits extends life by dilating time. I have experienced this myself, have witnessed dramatic instances of it more than once, and have heard a few reliable and convincing eye-witness accounts.

Also would like to make it very clear that I'm am absolutely not talking about, alluding to, or suggesting using drugs of any kind in any way. Timothy Leary's name and reputation often incurs a reflexive association with LSD advocacy due to a thick fog of media gloss still looming over his name in repressive, conservative circles, yet he clearly had moved on in later life. LSD can act like an atomic explosion on the nervous system and this analogy holds true with potentially lethal radioactive fallout.

I can tell you right now how to have an experience that feels psychedelic without taking any drugs. It's called the presence exercise and requires either a partner or a mirror. You sit facing each other about 3-4 feet apart. Relax each of your body parts starting with the toes, then the feet, etc. working your way up. You don't need to spend too much time with this. Then drop the facial mask. Look at the other person or into the mirror and diffuse your vision. This means, without moving the eyes, looking straight ahead, define your full visual range then try to see everything in that field without focusing on any one thing keeping your vision diffused the whole time. Try this for at least 15 minutes to start. A variation on this starts the same way but when concentration appears to get broken by someone, their partner will say, "break, what happened?" The person will say something like, "I thought something funny and smiled," or whatever it was. Any response gets accepted and the exercise resumes. Break if anyone feels at all uncomfortable or it gets too heavy. This is also called a "being-contact" exercise - a great way to get past social games to know someone on a deeper level. Also, see what it does with your sense of time.

To Be Continued . . .

2 comments:

  1. I love theat you connect Gurdjieff and Fuller. They stand together in my mind also.

    And one more thing, the second law of thermodynamics isn't Newton's it's just the second law of thermodynamics.

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