Understanding

Observation of the Dimensions

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We have established the concept of four dimensions and how we interact with them on a daily basis. Now to understand how we are able to observe the other dimensions we will need to dig a bit deeper into things. The main concept of observing the dimensions is that they can only be observed when we do so from an additional dimension.

What Can We See?

 

To begin we’ll start with the idea of the zeroth dimension or what comes before a line. So this would be a simple point as is taught in geometry. A single point with no width or length or height. From that single point because nothing else exists, we cannot observe anything at all. When we add another point to create a line now we can see the preceding dimension which was the single point. If you were on that line traveling either forward or backwards you’ll only be able to see a single point. Much like walking through a tunnel in the dark with only the entrance and exit visible. While you are moving along a line all you see is the point of light at the end of the tunnel.

Imagine a worm stuck in a straight tube which will represent our line. The worm is able to move straight along the tube, but cannot turn in any other direction because the other directions do not exist. It cannot turn nor move up or down along this tube, but only has the option of moving along the existing line. From the viewpoint of this poor earthworm the only thing that is visible is a single point. If you’re curious about what this may look like you can just close one eye and take a look through a straw at something of solid color. The line exists and the earthworm exists within that dimension but is only able to comprehend the previous dimension.

To see the first dimensional line our poor earthworm is traversing we’ll place the tube on the two-dimensional surface of a piece of paper and an ant on the piece of paper to act as our observer. The ant is not trapped in a single dimension as it is able to walk forwards, backwards and side to side so has the freedom to use both dimensions, but cannot go up nor down. Now the ant is in the second dimension and able to see the line not as a single point, but as what it is a line of the first dimension. Once the earthworm finishes his leisurely trip down the tube it too can realize that he did not exist in a single dimension, although that was all it could see but existed in at least two dimensions as it was able to travel along the tube.

So the ant and earthworm are able to see far across their two dimensional space, but again limited to what is visible which is the line of the horizon. No matter which direction they turn or go all that they can observe is the first dimension of a line which would be the horizon.

Now we can add a third dimension to the equation by adding ourselves to this imaginary scene. We stand above the ant and caterpillar in the third dimension and can see the different directions that they can go. Whether it is forwards or backwards, left or right or in circles both creatures are free to move in two dimensional space, but we are the only ones who are able to see all of the possibilities available to them as the only thing observable for them is a line. For the ant and the caterpillar their vision is strictly limited to the first dimension.

We readily accept that we and everything around us exists in three dimensional space, but how do we observe this? Again, if we existed only in three dimensional space while we would be able to interact with it, we would not be able to observe it just as the caterpillar is one dimensional space was only able to observe the preceding point of the zeroth dimension and the ant in two dimensional space was only able to observe the first dimension of a line. We are three dimensional beings are limited to observing only two dimensions.

What We See Without Time

Without time we can only everything that we see frozen in a moment like a photograph or pausing a video is what we see at that single moment in time. In that aspect everything we see is two dimensional as it requires movement or time in order to perceive things in depth (3D). We can look at the buildings above which as actually false fronts typically used in movies and TV shows. They are two dimensional images that fool us into thinking that they are three dimensional. Mainly our brains assume that there is a side and back like a real building, but if we actually took time to move around those building we would realize that there is no depth.  Normally with most objects we look at them assuming that they are three-dimensional, but our minds can easily be fooled and the objects can only be proven to be three dimensional by moving around them.

The only way to see the back of the building or the top of the building would be to move to a different viewpoint. That movement is time and the fourth dimension. Even our basic idea of depth perception is based on the use of the fourth dimension of time. Visual information comes into both our eyes at different times and our brain is then able to compute the differences to add depth to what we see. The same thing is done with 3D cameras where two images are overlapped to give a sense of depth instead of just a vertical and horizontal image.

So by existing in time we are now able to observe all three dimensions. The basic concept is that if we are able to observe something than we must exist in a higher dimension which we are able to interact with even if it is in a single direction much like the caterpillar in the tube. To be able to see the first dimension you need to be in the second, to see the second you need to be in the third and finally to see the third you need to be in the fourth dimension and so forth.

Since our minds are able to perceive the passage of time and understand the difference between the past, present and the future we currently are able to observe and understand the first four dimensions, but in order to do so we exist on the dimension above which would be considered the fifth dimension. While most physicists do agree that there are higher dimensions that the four that we perceive their is disagreement on what those additional dimensions are. We won’t go into the nuances of quantum theory and string theory to discuss the dimensions as there has been no substantiated proof to prove one or the other. In the end though the existence of additional dimensions is pretty much agreed upon even though it doesn’t make sense to most of us in our everyday lives, however using the logic of the first three dimensions and how they are observed we can accept that we not only exist in the spacial three dimensions that we accept as everyday fact, and not only the fourth dimension of time moving forward linearly, but that we exist in at least the fifth dimension.

 

 

Time (part 2)

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In the first post on time we pictured time as a series of rooms, one after the other connected by doors. As you walk into a new room the door behind you is locked forever in the past and the future awaits through the next doorway. Now imagine that instead of one exit out of the room or present that there are multiple doorways for you to choose from. Each door leading to a new room again filled with more doors, branching constantly in new directions with new paths to choose from. Now we have options to choose from on which door to take, which room to go into. Instead of being forced along a singular path we have the power of choice. Instead of a singular route through the doors there are always different paths and directions that one can choose to move in with the only exception being the door you entered through. As before in the idea of B-series time all of the rooms already exist and it is up to you to decide which room you end up in.

 

This idea of multiple rooms simply waiting for you to choose and enter is similar to the idea one of the possibilities of a multiverse, the idea that every branching path of your life exists and you yourself are just living one of those versions. In the many-worlds interpretation of the multivers there are multiple versions of you reading this just as you yourself are and there are nearly other versions of you doing different things. Even the most outlandish acts are being done by some of your doppelgangers, some are robbing banks and committing crimes while others are the President, inventors, celebrities, etc. The choices that they made in their life as well as the circumstances around them allowed them to be something, someone else entirely. The differences can be as small as whether you brushed your teeth this morning or not to even something as different as whether you are still alive or not. Depending on what choices you made you are on a different branch of your life. Small decisions become major ones as each one compounds on one another creating a very different you.

“Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge, anything at all…”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The idea of the multiverse is pleasing to most people as it creates a version of us with no regrets. A version of us that made the ‘right’ choices in life and is happier than we are with our present version. Unfortunately no matter how similar those other versions of us are, they are not us as the experiences and choices that they have and made, made them different from us. They do not share the same memories and thoughts as we do. So while the idea of a ‘perfect’ version of us is pleasant we are still here, living our own unique lives.

We are in a single room at any given moment and the other versions of us are in different rooms as they chose different doors to go through. We do however have choices in front of us even though there are none behind. Which door will we choose to step through which future shall we make? Most of us lead our lives opening the closest door or the easiest one to step through, the path of least resistance and struggle. We are akin to a leaf floating down the river of time not knowing which direction it flows, where it turns and branches off, but like that floating on a river we can paddle and swim against the current to go where we want to go. If the idea of multiple worlds or universes is true than not only are multiple instances of the past and present true, but also the future. While we may not be where we want to be in our lives in the present the options are all there in the future not as maybes or possibilities but as actual real occurrences that you only need to reach. Not the President yet in this version of reality? It doesn’t matter as there is a future version with you as the starting point who becomes President. The real difference in making an effort is knowing whether or not you will succeed.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the idea of the future already existing and an almost infinite number of possibilities already existing all it takes is finding the correct doors to walk through. We can however make a difference in the course of our lives. Each new door and room doesn’t have to be a complete mystery. There is a pattern, if you look hard enough and we can map a way to rooms we would like to be in. The rooms that we pass through might not be pleasant and some doorways are harder to enter than others, yet with perseverance we can reach the final destination of our choice.

PalHachi~

Time

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Imagine walking through an endless series of rooms. As soon as you step through a doorway the door is forever locked behind you. There is however a new door that opens up in front of you that takes you to the next room. Each room is different, some are bedrooms, others offices, kitchens, storerooms and so on. Moving through each room we can experience it while we are there, but once we leave it is only a memory never again accessible physically to us. As we reach the next door we are unaware to what room it will lead to just as the future is unknown to us.

Everybody understands time in their everyday lives and we all quantify time into set agreed upon standards such as second, minute and hour and also into longer periods such as day, year, century, etc. Much like how other things are measured such as distance, volume or weight we agree upon a quantifiable standard for time. Most of us also know that time is also something that we feel progress at different speeds depending on the individual or situation. Some moments seem to drag on for an eternity while in other circumstances they can seem to flash by in an instant. Time while having a measurable standard is also subjectively felt by the individual.

In general though everyone agrees that time flows in one direction, the arrow of time moving from the past through the present into the future. The past is already completed and done with and the present is where we currently are at any given time and the future is still an unknown with a multitude of possibilities. Things such as chance and circumstance can come into play making the future harder and harder to predict the further along we think about it.

Much like the first dimension of a simple line, we view time in the same manner. As we move through that line we can only see the single point that is the now or present. Even the past second that has passed us by cannot be relived in the same manner. As time flows we are pulled along. From one room to the next and the next the flow of time never ceases and never reverses, it simply moves forward into eternity.

This is the most accepted view of time, that time is a single fixed point moving along a singular dimension, that the past and future does not exist and only the present does. Commonly known as presentism in philosophy and the A-series of time in physics. The main issue that arises from the idea of the A-series is when relativity comes into play. Two objects moving at different speeds would be in different ‘presents’ as time would move differently for them. So what happens now for both objects could be very different. The present for one could be either the past or future for the other depending on speed.

“Time is an illusion.”
― Albert Einstein

The B-series of time points to the idea that there is no past, present or future. That all of time already exists. Much like the rooms, each location, each moment is already there and all we need to do is move forward to the next one.


The idea of time as tenseless, without the idea of past, present and future has been gaining some traction in the physics community as it tends to solve some of the issues that occur when using the A-series model.

When it comes to philosophy and religion the ideas of destiny, fate, predestination and so forth all fall within the ideas of B-series time. That the next room you you enter is already there and so is the next and next and all you need to do is reach the next room. In A-series of time the next room does not exist until you open the door and the past room ceases to exist once you close the door.

In either case whether you believe in the A-series or B-series everyone recognizes that we are currently in the present so make the best of it.

PalHachi~

 

Intuition and that Crazy Feeling

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We tend to place less and less importance on our own personal intuition, instead relying on logic and reasoning in our daily lives. For day to day functionality logic and reason definitely is the way to go as intuition and feelings aren’t too well known for long term planning, but intuition should still play a part in our daily lives.

Intuition is often mistaken for wishful thinking or just emotional judgement. Carl Jung a pioneer of modern psychology in the early twentieth century described intuition as an “irrational function” of the ego relying on feelings more than logic. Intuition and following a hunch is often considered an irrational action as there is no basis of proof or reasoning behind it. However, intuition or ego based thought processes are still based on knowledge and experience. It just happens so quickly that we do not input the superego into the equation.

“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.”
David Lynch

Intuition while it tends to follow emotions is however based on experiences that are remembered and unremembered. While our senses are active our conscious minds only process a fraction of the information, usually what is based on importance and survival. In many cases our minds only process the information that we want to, but the other data points still remain in our subconscious. Even though we may not consciously process that information it is still there as data for the rest of our subconscious minds to analyze and process.
Intuition is most likely an evolutionary process and an extension of reflexive action. Reflexive action is based on stimuli and action. Whether it be a bump to the knee that causes our leg to jerk or the sudden rise in adrenaline and attention at the sound of a loud noise. Intuition expands those basic reactions by creating a sudden urge or impulse based on learned experiences.

In many cases we’ve all experienced what happens when we go against our intuition, or that crazy feeling. We trusted people that we instinctive knew that we shouldn’t because it seemed irrational and later on regretted not following our intuition. We’ve lost out on opportunities that felt right, but seemed wrong. In all of those cases our intuition, the collection of facts and experiences in our subconscious minds is ignored. Just as often we feel regret for not following our intuition and rationalizing ourselves out of a difficult decision.

That doesn’t mean intuition is always right, as there are always exceptions to every rule, but following that gut feeling can generally lead to greater rewards as in many cases following intuition is following a greater risk.

At Yale University in the 70’s a study of intuitive skills showed that for certain intuitive people their sense of intuition was just as accurate without any other information. By only nonverbal facial cues they were able to come to the same conclusion in a much shorter time without anything needing to be said when compared to more rational students who were able to come to the same conclusion only with added information and more time to process the information.

Intuition however is not an issue of wishful thinking. You may purchase a lottery ticket with a gut feeling that you’ll win but it is merely wishful thinking as there is no data for your mind to intuit from. Intuition mainly applies to circumstances where your mind is processing information faster than you can give conscious thought to it, whether it be your gut feelings about a person or relationship, or your intuition on a certain idea.

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

Albert Einstein

Intuition is not a talent or skill based on pure emotion or desire, but based on your brain simply being able to process data than your mind and giving you a rapid fire answer. It is based on pattern recognition and picking up on cues that we normally don’t focus on or realize exist, whether they be certain facial cues in a person, body language or the intonation of their voice. Through our experiences we have seen different combinations of the three thousands of times and also have seen the outcome. While our conscious minds tend to focus more on the words said than the cues given our subconscious mind is able to pick up on cues and hints that were always available to us and can give us a general knowledge of what will happen next based on past experience.

In making decisions on complex issues such as what major to study in college, what car or house to buy and even who to date, studies have shown that the intuitive or gut choice in most cases leads to people being more satisfied with their decision in the long run. Taking the standard route of a pros and cons list when making a big decision doesn’t take into account what is most important to you. In the long run one good reason tends to nullify a hundred other ones.

The Four Dimensions

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Before we proceed we need to establish a foundation on where these thoughts lead. We will do a brief overview of the three dimensions that are readily accepted by everyone mainly because these are three dimensions that we see and experience in the world around us at all times.

The first dimension is simply a line from two points in space. For anything that can comprehend this line then they can traverse it from point to point. However, if the limit of their comprehension and understanding is only this line, then they are stuck in the first dimension.

Imagine a caterpillar crawling through a straw. They only have the option of moving either forward or backward in the straw and are stuck in a one dimensional space without the option of moving on a different plane.

The second dimension is the addition of another line that crosses the first. Now there are more options in directions that are available. If we imagine both lines continuing without end and the idea that more lines can freely cross these lines then we now have the second dimension.

So the caterpillar in the straw has come out the end and is now on a sheet of paper now it has the option of moving in two dimensions. It can take turns and even walk in a circle, but still lacks the option of moving up or down. It is unable to jump or fly so the third dimension does not exist for the caterpillar. If a bird flies over the caterpillar the caterpillar is unaware of the existence of the bird as it cannot be observed. So life in two dimensions allows movement forwards, backwards, side to side, diagonally, etc. but does not allow any vertical movement.

The third dimension adds the vertical axis and now the option of going up and down suddenly exists. So the caterpillar bored with two dimensional life finally decides to build it’s cocoon and metamorph into a butterfly. With the recent addition of some wings now the butterfly is able to experience all three spatial dimensions. The butterfly has all of the options before of moving forwards, back, etc. and now can fly up and down as it pleases.

We see and experience existence in the three spatial dimensions so it is fairly simple for us to comprehend and understand. We enjoy freedom of movement in all three dimensions.

The next dimension is also one that most of us are able to comprehend without too much difficulty. That is the of time. We experience time flowing in one direction much like the caterpillar experienced the first dimension by walking along the tightrope. Without the fourth dimension then everything would simply stand frozen eternally in time.

Without time, even with three other dimensions we would be forever stuck on a single point unable to move from place to place. An easy way to comprehend the usage of four dimensions would simply be to arrange a meeting with someone at the Observation deck at the Empire State building.

The first step would be to establish the location in two dimensions. So we have the address as 350 5th Avenue. The 350 establishes one dimension while 5th Avenue now establishes the second. For the third dimension it is the Observation deck located on the 102nd floor. The 102nd floor now gives us the third dimensional coordinate for the meeting.

So with three dimensions we are able to establish a location or place to meet, but still lack one final bit of information to make such a meeting possible which is the time of the meeting. By establishing the fourth dimension of when to meet, such as noon on the first of March, 2024 we now have all of the information that makes such a meeting possible.

So we can easily establish that we live and experience at least four different dimensions in our everyday lives. We interact with three dimensional objects and live in a three dimensional world and traverse it through the fourth dimension of time.

Gravity

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Gravity is a natural phenomenon and also one of the most powerful forces in nature. Everything and anything in the known universe is affected by the pull of gravity and is what makes the Earth go round and round. The pull of gravity affects every single object in the universe from objects as large as planets and stars to things as small as atoms and the particles that it is composed of. Even in the deepest reaches of space there is the pull of gravity.

The basic concept of gravity is simple, everything exerts a pull and the more mass that it has and the closer you are to it, the stronger the pull. It is the force that keeps our feet on the ground and also the force that limits humans and most creatures to a two dimensional field.

One of the most unique aspects of gravity in physics is that it can transcend space and time and in theory, at the very least is beyond the four dimensions of space-time that we experience. The idea of gravity and the pull that it has in science is generally relegated to objects with mass, but since it is a power that affects both space and time we can apply it to a different aspect of our lives.

Gravity regardless of the power that it has is something that we can overcome with enough effort or force. Gravity naturally keeps us to the ground, but through science and engineering humans have been able to conquer it, flying high above the ground and even pushing it to the point where we can completely negate the pull of the Earth to reach out into space.

We easily recognize the power of gravity in the three dimensions, how objects of more mass from the Earth to the Sun exert more and more of a pull compelling other objects to be pulled into it’s sway. Even the idea of a black hole with enough gravitational pull to capture light in its grasp is a concept that we readily accept. Gravity as applied through the three spatial dimensions is not a difficult concept for us to grasp.

However how gravity affects us in the 4th and 5th dimensions of time is something that we never think about. When thinking of the 5th dimension we recognize that all possibilities exist, but for the average person we tend to be pulled into a very ordinary life, a life of mundane routine that is followed day by day. While there are and always have been individuals who have been able to pull away from mediocrity into greatness it is and has been limited to a small few. So what is the difference between an Einstein, a Churchill, a Christ and us mere blips in history? For those individuals that are remembered as changing the course of history to those of us who aren’t even worthy of a footnote, what is the difference?

In the idea of the living in the 5th dimension every possibility that our lives may have gone already exist. In most of those lives we are ordinary without anything ‘great’ to remember us by. In other lives though we have achieved greatness, whether it is to wealthy, successful, famous or simply happy with our lives. All of those possibilities not only have happened, but already exist.

For everyone even the greatest of the greats the gravity of their lives is towards the common, the typical and the most likely. In the near infinite possibilities of options in our lives and the choices that we make the greater mass is always towards the common, the typical, the ordinary. If we limit the near infinite possibilities of our morning to a feasible number like a hundred we come can see what the number or mass of the chances are. In eighty of those hundred worlds we drink a cup of coffee to start our day, in fifteen we drink orange juice and in four we don’t drink anything at all, but in one, just one of those possibilities we choose to drink a bottle of hot sauce. In 5th dimensional space-time all of those have already occurred, but for most of us we drink coffee as that has the highest number of possibilities, the largest mass and the greatest pull and so is the easiest way to go. We live a life of the ordinary because it has the highest probability of occurring in the different timelines and is the easiest path for us to follow.

In a tiny fraction of the near infinite possibilities that exist for us in space and time we do have the possibility of doing something amazing, something that would mark us in the pantheon of greats who changed the world, but the pull of normalcy is the strongest gravitational force applied to us. To pull farther and farther away from that pull we need to apply more and more force, much like the difference between the energy required to jump and inch to fly thousands of feet about the Earth to leaving the orbit of the planet as a whole. To reach better and better, to strive farther and farther we need to simply apply more and more of our own energy.

 

PalHachi~

Passivism and the Art of Doing Nothing

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I would like to begin by admitting that I am one of the great passive people on Earth and that I have mastered the Art of Doing Nothing. It’s the main reason why I started rethinking my life and writing down my thoughts and experiences. For those of us who simply go with the flow and are nothing but passengers in life the greatest sin that we commit is placing blame when it comes times to take responsibility.

Passivism is not the lack of action but the active choice of doing nothing which there are consequences to. In too many cases the passivist takes on the role of the victim and are quick to blame without realizing that our lack of action led to the victimization. By thinking ahead to what possibilities might occur or taking active precautions we can help safeguard ourselves from potential problems that may occur. Successful people tend to prepare for failure and try to minimize the damage that it may inflict. If we take a more active role to avoid, correct or change the circumstances in most cases we can change the outcome to something that is more positive.

A passenger in a car has little to no control in case of an accident and regardless of the circumstances is generally a victim, but looking further back the passenger always had the option to drive for themselves and accept the responsibilities of their life. It is easy to think that someone or something will always be on the lookout for us, to keep us safe whether it be family, friends or even God, but the reality is that in the end we are the ones who are ultimately responsible.

Passivism for me at least was always and attempt to take on as little responsibility as possible, but I realized that in reality it was just an excuse as I was still responsible for ceding control of my life to outside forces and then blamed outside forces when they fail.

Chances are if you feel that your life isn’t where you want it to be or you have hit rock bottom, the first natural reaction will be to place the blame on someone else. If you take the time to look back on the circumstances of where you and look for possible decisions and choices that you could have made you’ll soon realize that you are at the very least partly responsible and in most cases fully responsible for where you are in your life.

Understanding and accepting that you are ultimately responsible for yourself and must shoulder the responsibility yourself regardless of the circumstances is the first step in solving the problems that occur and can occur in your future. Taking on that responsibility forces us to be more aware of things that are happening around us and allow us to be ready for that rainy day. When you are capable of taking care of yourself then you’ll also know that you can help out others as well to build a supportive community and be an active participant in said community. Knowing that you are not just a passive observer in your life, but an active participant with the ability to enact change.

Jean Valjean Overcoming the World View: An Analysis of Les Miserables

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The main character of Les Miserables is Jean Valjean a former convict who after nearly twenty years of forced labor is released back into society. He is initially viewed only by the stigma of being a ‘dangerous’ criminal until he sheds the identity given to him by society to be the man that he truly is.

As soon as he is released he is considered a social outcast and treated cruelly by everyone he encounters because of his past. He had been arrested for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her family, an illegal and immoral act done for good reasons. As society labels him a criminal Valjean begins to accept the role that is given to him. Angry and bitter by the treatment he receives from the world he soon resorts to thievery to survive.

After being given shelter and food by the local Bishop and church Valjean steals the silverware and runs off only to be captured by the police and brought before the Bishop. The Bishop in an act of generosity lies to the police, informing them that the silverware was a gift and even includes a set of silver candlesticks, showing Valjean that while the rest of society views him as a thief and criminal that is not all that he is or has to be. The Bishop implores Valjean to use the silver to start a new life as an honest man.

After another act of thievery Valjean realizes that his life now had reached a crisis point, where he had the option of choosing what to do and who to be. He repents and the identity of Jean Valjean dies only to be reborn as Monsieur Madeleine.

Monsieur Madeleine uses the silver to start a new life and in a few years becomes a wealthy factory owner and Mayor of a small town. He is renowned for his generosity and kindness.

The character of Jean Valjean experiences what Christians would refer to as being ‘born again’ as he turns from a life of a sinner to one of a Christian. Regardless of religion this is something that anyone can do with their life by rejecting their current selves and remaking themselves into a different person. The idea of death and rebirth don’t need to be religious in nature and unfortunately also does not need to be a positive. Valjean’s mistreatment by society and his time in prison can also be seen as a moment of death and rebirth as he is changed from a man caring for his family to the ‘dangerous’ criminal that society viewed him as.

The cycle of death and rebirth often described in Buddhism extends beyond the idea of a physically cycle but to that of a mental, emotional and spiritual cycle that occurs to everyone. The simple concept that people change over time is the realization that the old is gone and the new remains. In some cases like the transformation of Valjean into a criminal it is mainly an occurrence due to outside factors, we simply change into what society sees in us. Whether that society consists of family, friends or the entire world many of us shape ourselves to fill or satisfy a certain viewpoint without even realizing it.

The second transformation of Valjean into Monsieur Madeleine is one of conscious choice. A suicide that kills off the old to make way for the new. These tend to happen when someone reachers a crisis point in their life or in other words hits rock bottom. You see such transformations in ‘Born Again’ Christians or other who find faith in other religious avenues. Again, this change does not need to be a positive one as some when they hit rock bottom can opt to change in the opposite direction.

Valjean before becoming Monsieur Madeleine had the opportunity to make that personal choice to be a criminal or to be a better man.

Who are you?

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It is a simple question that most of us never fully grasp the meaning of throughout our lives. When asked we create a person and fill in the details but never really answer the question. We give the answer a name, an occupation, information about family and friends, hobbies and things we like to do. We can even give information on experiences we have had and accomplishments we have achieved. In an attempt to satisfy the question further, we can even add negatives into the equation. Fears and misdeeds, failures and disasters, pain and suffering we have faced, but the question still remains unanswered.

It is the equivalent of pointing to a car and asking what it is. You can say it is a Ford or Toyota. You can even tell the exact model and year the car was made as well as the color and type of car it is. To go into more detail you can say it is made of steel, has four wheels, an engine, transmission and various other parts to create the whole. One could describe road trips that the car has made the miles that it has travelled and where it has been. You can add a purpose to the car, whether it is used to drive to work, deliver people or things or to simply drive to the beach every weekend.
You can add negatives like the brakes screech at every stop and the engine tends to burn oil too quickly. In any event you can talk in detail about the car and what it has gone through without ever answering the question with the answer ‘a car’.

So who are we really? Are we simple homo sapiens, just people all the same or are we individuals each completely different and unique in our own way. In that case, how can we answer that question of who we are?

“gnothi seauton” Greek for “know thyself”

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The hardest person to get to know if yourself. To be able to truly understand the good and bad parts, but without knowing yourself, you cannot begin to know the relationships you have with others. Like a math problem of a+b=c we need to know at least one of the factors to solve the problem at hand. When interacting with the unknown world we need to know who we are in order to formulate what types of results that we’ll get.

Everyone has a certain self image of themselves whether positive, negative or both. We know what skills we possess and also what traits we have but it is difficult for us to really know the limits of what we can accomplish. Athletes constantly push their physical and mental boundaries to find out exactly how far they can go in order to see how much farther and faster is possible. For the rest of us, we simply don’t know because we never feel the need to push our physical, mental or spiritual limits. We simply guess how far we can go and in many cases take a much too conservative viewpoint.

I’ve always thought highly of some of my abilities, but never pushed them to see what I was really capable of mainly out of the fear of failure. Going to the brink and realizing that it’s nowhere near as far as one thought is a scary experience so I’ve always played it safe within a very narrow scope of view, always saying “If I need to I can.” but never actually going near the deep end of the pool. Instead, I always stood in the shallow end, knowing I can swim but never knowing how far I could go.

That fear is an artificial limiter on our capabilities. If you can swim out to sea for a hundred yards, then by pushing, you can go a hundred more. The act of never trying is the same as trying and failing without any chance of success. In my case the fear of failure always tended to outweigh the benefits of success.

I’m not saying that everyone should suddenly jump in the ocean and try swimming to the next continent but at least take a few strokes and you might experience something new or different. At first it can be baby steps to start breaking down the prison you built for yourself. Try going somewhere new, starting a conversation with a stranger or even eating something different. There will be failures but there will also be successes. You might find yourself discovering something that had been missing from your life and in the worst case scenario at least know that this is a place that doesn’t interest you, that person is boring or this food is disgusting. It is always better to know for sure than to guess.

The more you take steps to interact with the outside world the more you’ll begin to understand yourself better. These are the activities I really enjoy, the ones that calm me, the ones that make me think to the ones that I hate. These are the people I like to talk to, to spend time with and these are people better to avoid. In any case, you won’t know until you try these things out at least once. These are the foods I like to eat and the places that I like to go. The more you know what you really like and dislike the more you can delve into who you are as a person.

For too many of us the idea of personal growth died off long ago. We are too caught up in the mundane duties of our daily lives to make time for something new. Fortunately the act of doing or learning something new is easier than we may think. In many cases we simply need to take the opportunity to resurrect our inner child. The child that always wanted to see something new and meet new people. The child that saw excitement in basic everyday curiosity and had a wonder for life. That child no longer comes naturally for most of us, but still exists and we simply need to rekindle that flame every once in awhile.

The main reason to try to expand one’s horizons is to collect data for examination to figure out who you really are as a person. There is no single trait or attribute that encapsulates everything that a person is. Instead, it is made of an almost infinite number of characteristics that for you the individual.

A Jesuit priest once remarked of the Japanese people that they have three hearts. I think that this applies to most of us in the world today. One heart is for the general public to see. How we behave and act in society. The second heart is reserved for family and close friends. How we act privately with those that know us best. The third and final heart is the one that we only reveal to ourselves, the thoughts and desires we dare not share with anyone.

To understand ourselves better we need to know all three hearts. How are we in public when interacting with strangers and coworkers. What image of ourselves do we try to portray? How does that vary from how we are to the people close to us?

My girlfriends would always complain about my personality. When I was out in public I would be very outgoing. Always joking around and having conversations with friends and strangers alike. I was always in a good mood and full of energy. In private with my girlfriends though I would be a different person. Very quiet and introverted only wanting to spend time with them watching a movie or making something to eat together. When I’m alone, I’m even more introverted, content just to sit at a desk in front of a computer.

These are three different aspects to my heart. In public I create a false persona for the world to see, whereas in private I can be myself. The outward heart is one we usually create to protect ourselves from the outside world, it is a suit of armor that we wear. Whether it be someone who seems happy go-lucky without a care in the world to someone who always has an air of confidence and energy. The armor can be something that is meek or strong, quiet or loud as each one is simply an illusion.

PalHachi~

 

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