While Prologue to a Journey in Being is a brief introduction to the journey, the following describes what is relevant for the experiments

Journey in Being is a journey into all being, into the nature and story – or history – of being and into being itself

What is Being? And what is the purpose of the focus on being?

As used here, the being of an individual – of any entity – is what it truly is and that includes its possibilities and potentials

Being and knowledge of being have both definite [actual] and indefinite [possible] or unrealized aspects. It would be absurd to claim that human being has realized or knows all possible kinds or aspects of being or to claim that there is no knowledge or realization at all

A purpose to the focus on being is that the concept of being includes the indefinite: what is unknown and unrealized but what is possible; focus on being is an invitation to an ultimate adventure

Because of the indefiniteness, coming into knowledge and realization is and must be a Journey into Being

Journey Into Being Itself

… a journey in understanding of the possibilities or potentials of being; of knowledge and traditions of knowledge – for all being and understanding

… and in transformations in being – experiments in realization of possibilities; of traditions of experiment with being

Experiments in the Transformation of Being and Metaphysics, Knowledge and Action are the two main paths of the journey

An Individual Journey

Journey in Being is also my journey, the story of my coming into the ideas and paths that make up The Journey. The story of my life is a part of the journey – but this document is not intended to be a vehicle to tell an intimate story of my life. What is significant is how I came to undertake and continue the journey, especially to the extent that the origins are essential in understanding and founding the journey

To the Reader

The journey described in this essay, a story of being and of my travels in being, covers a vast territory. I now see that only some parts of the journey were logically necessary to where I have arrived. However, in the beginning and during the process I did not know what was necessary and I could not have fully articulated the nature of the result. Therefore, in a sense the entire journey was necessary. Throughout, I was sustained by a sense of wonder and of trust in the being of the universe

I always seek responses from readers. I am encouraged by and appreciate kind words and praise but I have learned most by responding to challenges that have ranged from careful criticism to total and sometimes hurtful if careless negation of my thought and being. You may learn something by tracing the path described here. However, the spirit of my journey includes the following. In addition to wonder, I have also been sustained – especially when the sacrifices seemed to be a burden – by the thought that I may make a contribution to our journey. I have always thought that while the particulars of an individual journey may be erratic or quixotic, the universal journey is necessary and is built upon individual effort. In that sense, at least, the distinction between failure and success is thin; to fail is to not have undertaken your mission

Relations Between Our World and the Absolute

It may seem to some individuals that this is an invitation to reject our immediate world. That is not true. It is sometimes necessary – effective – to turn away from the details to achieve understanding. However, that understanding is an understanding of the details and how they stand together. The understanding binds together our common world and the absolute or infinite

From Journey in Being: There are two great sources of meaning: first, experience and enjoyment of and action in the immediate world – the life and relationships of the individual and, second, in the process, in arching from individual being to universal Being. The approach to being through experiment weaves through both sources of meaning

It may sometimes seem that I am asking readers to give up their most firm and sound beliefs – the system of common belief that is the foundation of our unspoken concept of the world. That, too, is not true. What I ask is for an extension of the common system of belief. The normal concept of the world undoubtedly has validity within a certain domain and we do not appear to be in a position to extrapolate beyond that domain. How then can I say anything about all being or the one universe? The answer to this is in the foregoing discussion. Sustained by wonder and intuition, my search started in the world-as-I-experience-it and continued there through many avenues and over many years. Yet, despite many attempts including analysis of belief and knowledge, I could not give to my intuition the label of knowledge. Finally, I turned away from extrapolation and examined the concept of nothingness where I found, as stated above and as detailed in the body of this essay, that nothingness contains, in a sense, all being the entire one universe. The journey is a travel through human knowledge and through our world to this ultimate point that is a foundation to and meshes smoothly with all being and the system of common belief

In some systems of thought, the world as we experience it is all illusion. Here, we find that the world of experience, the forms of intuition and the system of common belief are practical guides to our world, essential to living in that world, that do not constitute an illusion when not held as absolute. The world of intuition where we experience time, space and the distinctness of individuals is embedded in the most inclusive perspective in which nothingness is the womb of being. Thus it is valid to experience space, time, individuation, pleasure and pain and the other forms of intuition such as causation; and it is also valid to know a world that e.g. contains but is not in time and in which the individual – you or I – is identical to all being that stands with the ability to be distant from the individual and his or her singular attributes and experience

Experiments in the Transformation of Being

The processes of knowledge, science and technology are experiments in transformation. However, focus is especially on the transformation of being itself. Examples from the traditions include western mysticism, Yoga, psychotherapy, meditation, the Shamanic vision-quest, the classic Heroic Journey-Quest. As described in the body of this essay I have considered these traditions critically, constructively and experimentally and have often adapted the traditions to my purposes

While I have taken up and continue to experiment with a number of classical approaches in transformation of awareness and being, the foundations of my experiments are in what I call the dynamics of being. A detailed discussion of the dynamics of being and its use is taken up later

The central and fundamental idea of the dynamics is that an individual can experiment with, learn about and often overcome what are seen as limits to his or her own being. The process may be seen as a variation or generalization of the scientific method or of the Socratic approach to criticism and ideas. What are the final limits to an individual being? The argument from nothingness shows that there are no limits except logical limits e.g. one cannot have property X and not X or be object A and not A at the same time. However, even this restriction does not have the force that it is often thought to have. For different objects A and B, it is usually thought that being A implies being not B. However, there may exist compound objects C whose state of being is a compounding [in quantum theory the term is superposition] of A and B. In general, all objects partake of a compound character similar to that of C. This follows from the fact that every state of being is equivalent to all states of being and is not at all dependent on quantum ideas

The question of low probabilities is approached by seeking an analog to catalysis in chemical transformations – the agent of catalysis in the case of being is mind or intelligence. Moral considerations are significant in justifying a search for perceiving and realizing states with limited likelihood

My Inspiration

My development has many influences and inspirations. Most of all perhaps are the influence of my mother who listened to my most absurd and incomprehensible thoughts and my journeys in nature where I received so much inspirations in ideas and experienced so much contact with The Source

Horizons – The Journey continues but has come a long way and some Mileposts for the Experiments are:

Dynamics of being and its foundations in Metaphysics

Foundation of transformations of being

A set of complete but minimal experiments in the transformations of being

Integration of ideas and experiments in the Journey-Quest

Other developments described in what follows

The Journey Continues…

The next phase is a return to the focus on the experiments described in the second section of the main essay

As far as knowledge and ideas are concerned, I must again turn away from what clear light I have seen and toward intuition and diffuse light to sense and seek what further truth there may be

Journey in Being Website


Anil Mitra

April 27, 2004


OUTLINElinks go to the topic in the table of contents; descriptive links go to the text

Prologue - above    |      Introduction    |      Dynamics of Being    |      Becoming    |      Journey    |      The Experiments

Becoming includes: Perception and Vision-Quest    |    Dreams and Hypnosis    |    Yoga and Meditation

Latest Revision and Copyright    |    Footnotes




Purpose and Nature of the Experiments

What is a Transformation of Being?


Means or Ways

Meaning and Value

The Value of Transformations of Being

The Discipline of Transformation


1           The Dynamics of the Real and of Being

1.1           The Principal of Being

1.2           Introduction to the Dynamics

1.3           Twenty-One Examples of the Dynamics

2           Cultivation of the Dynamics

2.1           Dynamics as Bridge between Modes of Knowledge and Being

2.2           Further Experiments with the Dynamics

2.3           The Dynamics of Being and its Theory

2.4           Some General Aspects of Dynamics

3           Final Thoughts


1           Perception and Vision-Quest

1.1           The Nature of Being

1.2           The Quest for Vision

1.2.1           On Mind

1.2.2           Vision, Dream and Hallucination

1.2.3           Focus: Perception and Vision-Quest

1.3           Realms of Application

1.3.1           Nature: Immersion and Navigation

1.3.2           Home

1.3.3           Work - general

1.3.4           Work - specific

1.3.5           Experiments in the Transformation of Being

1.3.6           Arching from Human to Ultimate Being

1.3.7           Research

1.4           Vision-Quest

1.4.1           Objects

1.4.2           Agents or Sources

1.4.3           Ways of Release; Catalysts

2           Dreams and Hypnosis


Focus for Journey in Being

Personal Focus

What Will a Theory of Dreams Do?

2.1           The Nature of Dreams

2.1.1           Dreams, Hallucinations, Imagery and Thought

2.1.2           The Dream Mechanism

2.1.3           Physiological Correlates of Dreams

2.1.4           Sleep

2.1.5           Dreams as Transitional Between Deep Sleep and the Waking State

2.1.6           Why Do Animals Dream?

2.2           Dream Phenomena

2.2.1           Content

2.2.2           Phenomena

2.2.3           Dreams and Life

2.3           The Meaning and Function of Dreams

2.3.1           On Function and Meaning

2.3.2           Meaning and Significance of Dreams

2.3.3           Significance

2.4           Summary

2.5           Hypnosis

3           Yoga and Meditation

3.1           A Short Introduction to Yoga

3.1.1           Samkhya

3.1.2           Patanjali Yoga

3.1.3           Hatha Yoga

3.1.4           Related systems: Physical Arts

3.1.5           The Yoga of the Bhagavad-Gita

3.1.6           Other Yogic Systems

3.1.7           Yoga, Vedanta and the Journey in Being

3.1.8           Experiments with the Yoga systems and Transformations of Being

3.2           Meditation

3.2.1           What is Meditation?

3.2.2           Sitting Meditation

3.2.3           Walking Meditation

3.3           Meditation, Yoga, and Life

3.3.1           Openness to Life, Others

3.3.2           Changing Negative Emotions and Patterns

3.3.3           Intuition

3.3.4           Healing

3.3.5           Threat




1           Wilderness Journey-Quest: Preparation

1.1           Planning

1.2           Preparation

2           Inspiration

2.1           The River

2.2           What I Learned at the Lake

2.3           Barranca del Cobre

3           The Journey-Quest: Nature and Process

3.1           The Nature of the Journey

3.2           Grounding: Metaphysics

3.3           Nature Vision

3.4           Animal Signs

4           Detailed Information

4.1           Sources of Information

4.2           Resource Locations

4.3           Wildlife

4.4           References

5           Journey: Other Aspects




1           Kinds of Experiment: Principles of Elaboration

1.1           Dimensions of Being

1.2           Polarities and Continua

2           Experiments in the Character of Mind and Being

3           Experiments in Function: States and Processes of Being

3.1           Memory, Attitude – and Concepts

3.2           Action

3.2.1           The Body

4           Experiments involving Extension in Time

4.1           Learning and growth; development of the functions

4.2           Personality and its Development; commitments

4.2.1           Commitments

4.3           The dynamics of being; becoming; local / non-local

4.3.1           Location

4.3.2           Elaboration of Examples of the Dynamics

4.4           Arching from the Individual / Here-Now to the Universal

5           Journey-Quest

5.1           Experiments in Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action

5.2           Transformation of Being: Journey-Quest – Wilderness

5.2.1           Objectives-Itinerary: outline

5.2.2           Perception: Awareness, Attention, Attunement, and Nature Sense

5.2.3           Dynamics

5.2.4           Union

5.3           Variety of Being

5.4           Action and Influence

5.4.1           Related Experiments

6           A Complete, Minimal Set of Experiments

6.1           Desirable Conditions

6.2           Adequate Conditions

6.3           A Complete, Minimal Set

7           Results, Prospects and Plans

7.1           Some Additional Experiments

Latest Revision and Copyright


experiments in the transformation of being

Metaphysics included an important concern with the possibilities of being. This essay is an account of experiential and experimental approaches to transformation and construction of being. The experiments are balanced by the ideas – especially of the previous section

The conceptual approaches of Metaphysics are also experiments – with ideas; and, since knowledge is a form of being, understanding is also transformation of being

However, the Experiments emphasize transformation and construction of being itself in all aspects – physical, mental and potential



Purpose and Nature of the Experiments

Purpose and Nature of the Experiments

Metaphysics introduced the Principle of Being that all being is accessible to every being. This is the principle that the self is the ultimate or, from Vedanta philosophy, the true self i.e. the ultimate discovered subjectively or Atman is Brahman, the ultimate discovered objectively. The Principle of Being was demonstrated conceptually. It is the purpose of this section to demonstrate the truth of the Principle of Being through actual transformation. This will complement the development described next

The sources to which I have appealed include metaphysics, yoga [and meditation,] the journey- or hero-quest, dreams – their use and analysis, the vision-quest, science and its methods and generalization in the dynamics of being or of the real. These topics are elaborated in the core essays. All of these topics draw from at least one tradition. The breadth and depth of the traditions is much greater than I anticipated from a casual acquaintance. The variety of yoga systems, for example, shows that the view of yoga as a system of received concepts and practices is incomplete even if it is powerful. My emphasis so far is primarily in metaphysics, the theory of the dynamics of being, and to the nature, concept and use of dreams. The work in metaphysics forms a theoretical foundation for the dynamics; however the latter required experimentation as described in the section on the dynamics, below. Those experiments include meditation, somatic effects of awareness, journey-quest in wild places. By bringing together the classical disciplines and binding them with what I have learnt and discovered in metaphysics and dynamics of being, there results one fluid system

This body of this essay is identical to the section, Experiments in the Transformation of Being of Journey in Being

Experiments in the Transformation of Being includes:

In this introduction: the nature and possibilities of being, means and values of transformation. The discussion is based in the treatment of knowledge, metaphysics, possibility, being, mind, genesis, cosmology of the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being

Dynamics of Being: an approach to or means of transformation based in understanding of the nature of possibility, discovery, limits and experiment

The Discipline of Transformation: the essential discipline is classified as Becoming  and Journey

The Experiments contains a discussion of kinds of experiment, a catalog of the variety of experiments, and a set of experiments that is designed to cover the possibilities of transformation but takes advantage of the understanding of the nature of being

What is a Transformation of Being?

The following processes count as transformations of being:

The following actual processes are examples: conception and development of the organism / death / acquisition of knowledge / development or change of personality / origin of the universe / origin and evolution of social groups

All known or actual processes. Transformations of the very being itself are emphasized – it is essential that transformations of being are not restricted to normal growth

All hypothetical changes or processes that are possible will count as transformations of being. It follows trivially from the Principle of Being that all hypothetical transformations with possible initial and end states are possible. What states are possible? A state is possible, i.e. it may exist if its concept does not involve contradiction. It is not necessary, for a transformation of being to be possible, for the being itself to recognize its own identity through the transformation; it is sufficient that some sentient being could. Therefore, as examples, the following hypothetical transformations are possible transformations of being:

Water into wine / creation of the universe from nothing / a bacterium spontaneously transmutes into a zebra / Jesus rising from the dead / a man simply ceases to be, becomes nothingness. The issue that these transformations appear to contradict common sense / physics is addressed subsequently

…and all imagined and unimagined transformations where the initial and end points may exist

If A ® B is possible, i.e. a possible transformation, then B ® A is possible; if A ® B and B ® C are possible, then A ® C is a possible

As noted above, it follows from the Principle of Being, that all transformations with possible initial and end states are possible. That is trivial

The following considerations arise: what is possibility and what is possible; what transformations are likely, probable or feasible and what are the backgrounds against which probability and feasibility are or may be evaluated; how may an organism or being change -magnify- the probability of a transformation from its value when measured against a background of inert physics or change feasibility based on a normal view of limits; what transformations are meaningful and desirable – and are there ways in which transformations that seem to lack meaning actually have meaning or transformations that actually lack meaning may be given meaning? The considerations are treated and elaborated in what follows


Earlier, especially in Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action [section in Journey in Being] I introduced and elaborated the concepts of the possible [1] and of nothingness. I noted that anything that is possible is necessary; i.e. will obtain in some phase-epoch of the universe. This is equivalent to what I called the Principle of Being, that all being is accessible to every being; in particular, it was seen that the universe is equivalent to nothingness

The Principle of Being is equivalent to the statement that there are no limits on beings; more precisely, the only limits are logical e.g. it is not possible for a being to be a spider and not a spider at the same time[2]. In other words, everything that is not logically impossible is possible or, simply, provided the logical condition is kept in mind, “everything is possible”

The requirement of possibility eliminates logical contradictions such as a state in which an object is, for example, both black and not-black. Note that in traditional logic that corresponds to the traditional view of reality [objects that are black and not-black are not possible objects] such logical contradictions are avoided and the introduction of any contradiction implies that all assertions are true; however, there are reasons to consider non-traditional objects of the kind in question. One reason is that “impossible” objects lead to conceptual completeness and true contradiction is avoided by tracking the consequences of hypothesizing or positing impossible objects. A realistic reason is that at some level reality may be constituted of such objects; it is then an exercise to see how traditional being and logic result from the indefinite level. Such considerations were also taken up in Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action

Means or Ways

However, possibility and feasibility are not identical. Thus, what is possible in general may be impossible in a phase-epoch of the universe in which certain laws of physics hold – whether exactly or even approximately. “The” laws of physics always pertain to a phase-epoch of the universe but are not universal in any absolute sense; this is not the point that the laws are approximate but, rather, that they have genesis and end that are co-extensive with a phase-epoch. Further, something that is physically possible may be extremely difficult. In terms of probabilities, some physical possibilities are colossally improbable relative to a phase-epoch of the universe and its laws – but, against the entire universe as background the physical improbability is replaced by universal necessity

Therefore, practically, physical probability – i.e. for the physics of a phase-epoch of the universe – is significant though not absolute concern

A first practical issue concerns the question of what possibilities are likely and, when possibilities are unlikely relative to the physics of an inert universe, how may probabilities be magnified? The first general answer is that life is a magnification of probabilities. First, given appropriate conditions, life has its origin in the magnifying effect of time. In other words, the probability of an occurrence is a definite quantity when a context and a period of time are specified. Over many such intervals of time the probability is magnified. It may be argued that the probability of the origin of life on earth relative to the original inert planet was small; however, clearly, relative to the universe – especially in its equivalence to nothingness as shown in the metaphysics of Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action – the probability is not small; rather the origin of life over and over becomes necessary. In our world, once life began it served to magnify probabilities; perhaps catalyze is a better term than magnification of probability; life served to catalyze the path from material to new living forms through the mechanisms of evolution. Thus, the origin of life takes probability out of its raw physical realm; this kind of transition is repeated at various turning points. This is not the whole story; the seeming improbability of the outcome, given even the origin and evolution of life and of turning points, can be explained away: the actual outcome was not determined from the outset and is one of a large number of physical possibilities that were no longer colossally improbable once life began. Each possibility would still have a small probability but the likelihood of occurrence of one the possibilities opened up by the origin of life was no longer microscopic[3]

A second, general, answer to magnification of probabilities – of catalysis – is in the origin of intelligence and mind [as we know it.] The ability of mind to catalyze change is – at least one aspect of – intelligence. The origin of mind and intelligence as we know them constitute an evolutionary transition that takes probability out of one realm and into another; in the case of conscious intelligence, the organism acquires meaning – as we know it – and participates in evolution

The role of knowledge and action in interaction is essential:

Knowledge or knowing is a form of being; so the ways of knowledge are ways of transformation of being. Even the most rational growth involves experiment and hypothesis for otherwise there would be no new knowledge. In the field of knowledge and knowing, the extreme contrast to rational process there is the direct in-tuition of mysticism

Knowledge also shows some possibilities and ways of transformation. Thus, knowledge and action, separately and in interaction are involved in the transformations. A rational transformation would be one in which action proceeded from knowledge; the extreme contrast to rational transformation is direct action which may be either chosen or, in some situations, necessary. Actual transformations, in which knowledge and action are iterative but not binding interaction, lie to the interior of the continuum whose extreme points are rational transformation and direct action

Given the equivalence of nothingness and all being and the lack of clear boundaries between knowledge and being, between mind and mind, between individual and individual – there is no absolute distinction between transformation by knowing and transformation by becoming

Meaning and Value

First, consider meaning or significance

That a transformation is possible does not make it significant or meaningful. For example, consider transformation of a being A to a being B. How can that be meaningful if there is no being C [which could be A or B] which is aware of and into whose life the transformation enters in some constructive way? The existence of meaning is guaranteed as follows from the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being: if the transformation occurs in a phase-epoch U of the universe, there is a phase-epoch U’ in which beings A’, B’, and C’ exist that are similar to A, B, C of U and for which C’ has the “desired” awareness and construction. How is significance introduced? The first step is the introduction of meaning as just described; there is a variety of examples in the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being. Beyond this the construction of significance requires imagination and experiment and this is one of the objectives of considering Transformations of Being. A transformation is significant to the extent that it is a realization of the ultimate possibilities of being or a construction or pathway to that realization. Initially, significance is founded in the actual being as described, for example, in Mind in Journey in Being and subsequent sections on mind and being

Meaning and significance are related to ethics and aesthetics. Human ethics and aesthetics are not insignificant but it is not assumed that received value is ultimate value or that being and value are separate realms; see the section of Ethics, Being, Knowledge of Journey in Being

Now consider value

Not all possibilities are desirable; and of those that might be desirable some are intrinsically more desirable. I use the word “intrinsically” in the following way. One outcome or an endeavor may be intrinsically more valuable than another but may require so much more in the way of effort and resources as to be practically less desirable

What is desirability or value? Ethics or morals are one way of representing value. Here, ethics is not understood in a limited way of judging outcomes [the good] or actions [the right] but includes the moral value of, for example, a way of living or an endeavor. Ethics can be discussed in terms of the good [and the right] or comparatively in terms of “better” or “worse.” If an outcome is good it is desirable. However how to compare alternative outcomes – some way of deciding or seeing what is the better of any two of the alternatives is needed

The title of this section includes value but not morals or ethics. That is because morality is not the only way in which value is seen; beauty and truth are other important examples of value. Although truth, beauty and morality intersect they are independent concepts. It is not the purpose here to provide a full account of value [axiology] but to point out the kinds of value and the possibility of relationships. In fact, relationships are necessary since all forms of value must enter into making choices

There may be an objection to the use of the word “value” due to its supposed economic origin. However, as we have seen in the discussion of language, there is no necessary relation among the historical uses of a word – not even a family relation; for, when the use of a word has diverged sufficiently from its original use the one word becomes two distinct symbols

The questions of significance, meaning and probability are not independent. If two outcomes have equal significance then, all other things being equal, an attempt at construction of the more probable outcome will be chosen more often. However, a less likely but more significant outcome may be chosen over a less significant but assured outcome. There are situations in which choice can be reduced to a calculus but there does not appear to be any universal calculus of choice. Rather, risk is involved; the risk cannot be fully calculated and involves a real component of danger and potential loss; the whole being is involved; and, to the extent that choices are not exclusive, a distribution of effort and other resources is possible; the organism is alive

In choosing paths of action, there is a commonsense relation between effort, likelihood and value: an outcome may be sought or a path may be undertaken when the likelihood is low and the effort is high provided that the value is sufficiently high. This approach may also be used, intuitively or in a formal way based on some kind of measure, to compare alternative paths or outcomes. Actual efforts, likelihoods are not known in advance and it is not clear that values can be made quantitative. Therefore, in general, comparisons are rough and intuitive and conflictual; as noted above, the organism is alive. In limited contexts, quantitative assignments and comparisons may be possible; however, in general, judgment is required in determining actions or desired outcomes. Imperative values are not exceptions to this description since the value is then infinitely positive or negative. There is, however, a problem with imperative values of the form “X is imperative.” Roughly, the imperative form is rigid: if imperatives are allowed then there may be an imperative Y that, together with X, results in a contradiction. Further, the concept of the imperative is undermined by the fact that the meaning of a value cannot be given for all situations

What makes an endeavor worthwhile, then, is a function of estimates of effort, likelihood and value

The Value of Transformations of Being

Transformation is of intrinsic value. The following are secondary reasons

Incompleteness of knowledge as a mode of transformation

We saw earlier that knowledge and the use of technology are incomplete transformations of being. That is, even if an individual knew everything that could be known, his or her being would still incomplete relative to what is possible – except that, perhaps, only the ultimate being can “know everything”

The result of meditation

Meditation reveals layers of mind; this suggests the arbitrariness of boundaries and the possibility of transformations

The question “What is Metaphysics?” has shown that Metaphysics cannot be restricted to activity of the mind

… action and being [becoming] are essential to a full nature of metaphysics and to the process of metaphysics

There is a role for direct experiment where failure – including death – is loss … but see discussion of the nature of death below

The Discipline of Transformation

The discipline is classified according to an incomplete distinction: Becoming / Journey




The Dynamics of Being is an approach to transformation of being. The problem of transformation may be stated by saying that there appear to be limits to the possibilities of being. However, it was seen in the Prologue and, in more detail, in Journey in Being, that there are no absolute limits. Limits are relative in that certain transformations are improbable or infeasible. It was also seen that being is in possession of the means to magnify raw probabilities, to find ways to enhance feasibility. The dynamics of being is that means; it uses the faculties of being and is an approach based in the nature and origin of being

Dynamics of Being defines a class of experiments and the concept of experiment

1           The Dynamics of the Real and of Being

1.1         The Principal of Being

The principle of being is that all being is accessible to every being. This follows from the dynamics but, when recognized, motivates and guides it. The principle is discussed in Journey in Being

1.2         Introduction to the Dynamics

Being has a sense of the real; this includes limits to individual being

Distinctions between the one real and the many senses of the real are not ultimate

In some settings a disruption of the sense of the real is pathological; but an excessively firm sense of reality, too, can be pathological: rigidity, extreme conservatism… often the sense of the real appears firm but, usually, if the individual examines his or her history the sense of the real is found to be fluid. In the absence of ultimate realizations, this is as it should be…

That a limit is part of the sense of the real does not make it real; the only a priori certain limits on any given being are those that are limits on all being; this was shown to be true in the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being; and the only limits on all being are logical limits; a limit is a logical limit if the concept of its transcendence involves a contradiction

An approach to discovery of the nature of limits is through experiment; one becomes aware of the sense of limits as real limits; there are various experiments with limits including physical experiment with one’s being and concepts from the history of culture including science; limits are overcome in individual life and in evolution

The distinction between individual life and evolution – all being – is apparent but not real

Individual being is not the finite sense of the self; even though that sense is tied in with survival and the sense of the real

The dynamics of being is an approach to transformation – from the everyday to realization of the ultimate

1.3         Twenty-One Examples of the Dynamics

The examples from my experience range from specific to general and among elements of the world; and from the immediate to the remote. Each example involves some issue or context. The context becomes dynamics as follows: initially the situation is experienced; then, patterns are noticed; generalizations are made and confirmed; the process becomes automatic; then a combination of focus and retreat results in communication between conscious and unconscious processing; at the level of the unconscious the dynamics enters the being of the individual; at this point the issue becomes dynamic; further development involves repetition of the previous steps which may but need not be intentional

Common elements among the different examples are noted; the individual becomes aware of the idea of a dynamic; the concept of the dynamics is applied to being itself, to what it experiences as limits and to its transformations

1. The phases and issues of a life: experience, learning and substance at various levels

2. Interpersonal dynamics and its reflexive evolution. Self–observation and consciousness; evolution of reflexivity and agency… Cultivating awareness of consciousness, its contents, its varieties, its dynamics including relations to events in the “external world” and to other mental phenomena including the unconscious

3. Dynamics of real choice and real action. E.g.: dynamics of loss and death. …relation to self–observation

4. Body awareness and healing. Learning to see and recognize and healing and its power… Implicit in this discussion are implications for what is called the medical model. The value of this model as a framework is acknowledged. However it ignores or tends to ignore individual ability to learn, individual values, real values, agency, agency and healing, and individual variations. The process involves dynamics of healing; entry into the dynamics; dynamics of the autonomic system in interaction with the central nervous system. Bio-feedback is included; however the process also requires openness to phenomena, observation and cultivation of observation of phenomena and relationships between action and phenomena, observation of relationships by comparison of multiple instances, cultivation of this process; i.e. the process includes identifying phenomena that are the variables in a feedback loop and identifies the feedback as one of the variables. Also see discussion on the art and technique of observation, below

 5. The dynamics of relationships and the evolution of shared projects. Love, society, friends, influence

6. Dynamics of relationships

7. Development of body kinetics. This starts at birth and can be cultivated dynamically

8. Perceptual dynamics in relation to the real and their development form an example. Example: for the absolute, eternity is an instant

9. Dynamics of creative acts and activity: research, art…other creative endeavors. Music – primal and cultured; dynamic integration of art, emotion, action – individual and social… My development: pushing modern knowledge to its limits to find limits, and to find the absolute or non–absolute nature of those limits

10. The elements of my life and relation to the universal – and their integration. The modes of being: nature, society, mind and the universal; the modes of process: action, dynamics, evolution; the modes of relationship: caring, meaning, force

11. Personality dynamics. The crux of personality dynamics has to do with fixity and freedom in patterns of feeling and behavior in relation to self, world and others. In this dynamics, thought is important but subservient to feeling and potency. The actual freedom can in a relationship is limited only by its potential; the dynamics includes discovery of that potential. The following dimensions open up: [a] approaches to presentation and energy: preparation with openness, interpretation – individualism vs. mutualism, anticipation and transformation to advantage, lack of anticipation and use of detachment, use of mood in general to advantage, flow; [b] risk: what is it, opening to it, contact, and accepting the unknown and unpredictable consequences; opening to the other and to failure and success; learning about the potential of the relationship; [c] catalysts: openness to change, diffusion, disintegration, plasticity of self. Personality as a concept. Sources of vision are important; sources: presentation, acting, interpretation, attitude, caring, accepting moments, anger; [d] dynamics: observation and understanding – critical moments; time stretching and compression – an analogy with geologic and human time, consciousness amplification – silent inner whispers become voices; observing object relations; multiple voices; and [e] the world as a personality laboratory

12. Dynamics of experience, attitude and action

13. Being deep in interaction with others – this allows but does not cultivate the negative. This is fundamental to freedom and development of dynamics in groups. Self–focus in relation to others; motivation of self and others

14. Integration of reality and perception dynamics in relation to yoga, shamanism, the ideas of Freud and Jung

15. Dynamics of cognition, action, evolution and growth. Dynamics of time

16. Reality and perception dynamics as dynamic elements. Dynamics of limits and laws

17. Immersion in new environments, worlds, cultures, nature …

18. The unconscious – conscious and universe – self processes. Dynamics of the entity; what is the entity I call myself?

19. The dynamics in relation to threat, physical and [interpersonal] interaction in extreme circumstances: response to momentum and pace, mind and no–mind, or conscious and sub-conscious processing and scanning; action and rest; e.g. in typing the fingers move faster than conscious awareness but conscious awareness enters when a mistake occurs; consciousness is associated with re–programming, that is, with adaptability; programming for threat and action in the face of risk and loss; physical arts

20. Nutrition, taste, appearance, and health

21. Integration of the mental functions – and dynamics of the individual functions and their perception. As an example consider anger. Anger may result from perception, irritation, inference, valuation, reflex, overload…thus while it is functional in principle it can be inappropriate, counter–adaptive, and benefit from revaluation. Due to the prevalence of rage, the nature of anger can be misunderstood. While the expression of anger is a common topic of discourse, the potential for the cultivation and use of anger is underestimated. In this way, anger is not at all rage, and the analogy may be with a sustained simmer rather than a boil; and there is a distinction, even, between anger of white heat and of extreme pressure to act out and actual action out. A “simmer” may be sustained in the presence of an ongoing threat; or in the need for constructive action; or it may be maintained to act in the presence of personality deficits; persons with such deficits do need healthy action; and one of the objects of anger and action may be the personality deficit and its change. Are the primary processes accurate, is the expression of anger working and registering, what is mode and way in which anger is being expressed, is it dominating one’s expressive and emotional life. The “white heat,” too, can be used; and observation of the critical moment is a key to choice in acting out; this is preceded by observation of the critical moment and its existence which is followed by the stretching of psychological time. Due to the interactions and the processing anger has been called a secondary emotion but to a degree all mental function is interactive for it is the whole of the organism that functions in the whole of the environment. The primary processes – those resulting in the emotion of anger may be unobserved by the individual. Bringing anger back into a dynamic state so that it is integrated and functional require observation, analysis and desensitization. Thus the process of entering and sustaining dynamism requires the entire range of mental function; gnawing anger yields to quiet anger; anger yields to the range of emotion for motivation; emotion is integrated with cognition and motivation is replaced by fluid living. Fixed patterns and responses become flexible, moments become minutes, massive inertia becomes fluid; rigidity yields to adaptation and adaptivity; the following are interactive: experience and experiment, hard and soft, goal and flow, mind and no–mind, conscious / unconscious, central and autonomic nervous system

The examples range from particular to general; additionally, as noted above, being and knowledge are subject to the dynamics

2           Cultivation of the Dynamics

Observation and self–observation by focus on initially fleeting phenomena, cultivation of observation, control and cultivation of [desired] behavior; cultivating multiplicity and multi–modality of experience

The following quote is from an essay I wrote some years ago; it is interesting because what I fumbled toward intuitively has now been confirmed by the metaphysics of the earlier sections of this essay

“An example of regarding consciousness: [1] what are its elements; [2] revelation of its levels as in the peeling of an onion – the analogy of Henri Bergson – including the transformation: unconscious – conscious and the form of the result of such transformation; [3] different centers of consciousness within the individual – a concept that contrasts with the usual idea of there being one center, the brain or the mind – and known as a result of item 2; [4] the unity or unities of this multiplicity and, therefore, the possibility [5] if what is seen as a unity is an interactive multiplicity, then what is seen as an interactive multiplicity may be a unity the universe of beings – persons, animals, plants, rocks, planets, the universe may be truly a unity, [6] seeing what is thus known in [5]... and this involves also accelerating the mental processes as in the earlier example with analogy to a compression of geologic time or, in the case of mental events that are below a certain threshold – amplification and slowing down”

The art and technique of observation: first, one observes what one did not observe before; initially, this is random. Then through multifaceted experience one learns in stages: keys to control, the application of those keys, learning efficient application. Then transformation from passive experience to active engagement, development of self–understanding and trust, entering into dynamics...what was immutable becomes fluid. Then coming against limits, understanding the limits and the extent to which limits are a result of a lack of understanding and so entering into mutability of self, being, process, and their categories, e.g. nature, society, mind, universe. These include the elements of variation and selection and of building upon existing structures. An essence of such processes is their singularity and, despite the singularity, the universality of direction. The final principles are that this process of vision and becoming is a unifying agent for, specifically, the elements of societies and cultures and, generally, for being; and that the processes of learning and unification are explicit and actual – and therefore describable and communicable – manifestations of the agencies of mind. And, what can be described may be subject to reason and experiment

2.1         Dynamics as Bridge between Modes of Knowledge and Being

The nature of these examples notwithstanding, the techniques of vision result in clearly seeing quiet voices otherwise hidden – whispers – and so in seeing aspects of the nature of consciousness; and ultimately in mind and consciousness as a direct windows to being, to the universe

2.2         Further Experiments with the Dynamics

Examples are distributed throughout this essay. For experiments that I have done or plan, see Experiments

2.3         The Dynamics of Being and its Theory

The dynamics are the interactive, iterative cause-result-reflect-learn processes of a being negotiating what are thought to be and have been experienced as limits; it is the dynamics of recognition and realization of possibility

The theory of the dynamics is the understanding of the dynamics that permits conscious-unconscious use of the dynamics in efficiently choosing limits to negotiate and in efficiently negotiating those limits

2.4         Some General Aspects of Dynamics

Boundaries vs. continuities

The problem of boundaries mind / mind… being / death

Nature of limits; question of existence of absolute limits

Dynamics and the variety of mental and physiological states – micro and meso-scales

“Savant” states; are they accessible to all – but suppressed as right hemisphere / integrated functions by left hemisphere / analytic functioning and emphasis?

Amplification of micro-states of brain – epilepsy, genius

3           Final Thoughts

The dynamics of reality and being and its use including self–observation satisfies a part of the objective of the Journey in Being; the examples, above, are real situations

This pertains especially to vision and the use of vision – in contrast to mere doing. This is an important point for a number of reasons: first, the accomplishment satisfies certain objectives – especially entry into a fluid state of being; second, this allows time for other goals; third, the mode of accomplishment is continuous from objectives to accomplishment and can, therefore, be understood and used. Of course, the discontinuous modes of hallucination and blind action are still of value, may yield essentially new information; these, too, may be amenable to dynamics

What would be the consequences if the  dynamics and the discovery of layers and limits of physical and mental aspects of being should have the same intensity of focus as that of natural science?


While the Dynamics of Being outlines an approach, Becoming defines the modes of transformation


Includes perception, vision-quest; dreams and use of hypnotic and meditative states, aspects of yoga; systems of knowledge

In an enhance meaning, perception, is sometimes used to refer to the entire range of cognition-emotion; this emphasizes the opening up of mind and being to full potential

The principle of perception is to liberate the normalizing function of the ego in perception[4]


Includes direct transformation of physical states and indirect effect of action on physical and mental states; aspects of yoga

Construction of being and society

Transformations Involving Extension in Time


Learning and growth; development of the functions

Personality and its Development

Communication, charisma, choice, will

Personality and its transformations


Development of the dynamics of being and becoming

Arching from the Individual to the Universal

These modes of transformation and the corresponding experiments are discussed and developed in a variety of places in this essay and in Journey in Being. While each section of the core essays for Journey in Being is at least indirectly experimental, experiments designed as explicit transformations are concentrated in the section on Experiments

1           Perception and Vision-Quest

I once wrote, “Regardless of material outcome or pain, quality of life is related to the quality of its vision - eidetic, hallucinatory, conceptual, or otherwise - and to living the truth of the vision”


…and vision – is not limited to the sensory perceptions, to seeing: what is called direct knowledge and is related to mystic awareness, insight or knowledge is also included here. The further expanded meaning in which perception includes all of cognition, especially thought, when used as an instrument of knowledge – rather than judgment – is not used in this section of this essay except, however, for the important role of interpretation in perception


Various systems including the Shamanic vision quest and the mystic systems of Europe and the Middle East, modern approaches to vision an example of which is Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception

Also included is the kind of knowledge, awareness and vision that occurs in the vision-quest

1.1         The Nature of Being

The basic concept for this article is the identity of [human] being with the ultimate. This is the Principle of Being of Journey in Being, and the idea Atman = Brahman of Vedanta and the goal of Mysticism. Mysticism is found in all religions, in Shamanic and other Ecstatic practices, and in secular experience

The purpose of this section of the essay is to elaborate and experience ways to see the identity

1.2         The Quest for Vision

From basics, the approach to transformation of being is through thought and action. Action is treated The Dynamics of Being, and the Experiments  below; more generally the entire Journey in Being is a form of action as is thought. Here, thought is meant to include all aspects of mind including perception, feeling, thought –in its restricted meaning– or conception, and willing. Thought, as conceptual processing is the subject of Phase II of Journey in Being

1.2.1        On Mind

There is detailed discussion of the nature, functioning and elements of mind in a number of places including primarily, the discussion of mind in the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being and in Dreams and Hypnosis, Yoga and Meditation and links from those articles. A central point here concerns the function of perception. The function of perception is commonly held to be observation of the external world and hallucinations are held to be aberrations while interpretation or conception is held to be completely distinct from perception

There is a context within which, certainly, some hallucination is dysfunction

However, the idea that all hallucination is aberration is based on a limited, value laden metaphysics that is itself – if projected to the whole of human reality – an aberration. Dreams and Hypnosis, taken up below, are hallucinations but are not aberrations on any view. An individual may choose to seek hallucinatory visions as a means of releasing the normally quite strictly channeled perceptual faculties into the full content of mental space including the unconscious. Then, hallucination has meaning and significance in a number of ways. First, there is the intensity, vividness, and intrusive character of the hallucination; the quality of the content may suggest its own meaning apart from any possible source or object; and the intensity etc. may intrude a separate sense of reality that loosens or dislodges the normal sense with its own possible set of aberrations. The content of the hallucination may have significance in the following ways: as an actual symbol of unconscious content that may or may not require interpretation; and an open symbol seeking an object e.g. the content may be a representation of an idea that has been sought or may be, with interpretation, indicate a path of action

Since the body / brain is an expression of individual and evolutionary past, visions / hallucinations and dreams are, as expressions of the organism, expressions of those dimensions of the past including the human, animal and material and pre-material levels which may be in remote unconscious places. There are depths of evolutionary contact between psyche and the ultimate. These “contacts” are forgotten, re-perceived and may then be become

Just as there is a conventional function – it is an actual function, the convention is that it is the only valid function – of perceptual faculties, it is commonly implied that the function of thought is conception in its limited meaning; and that direct and immediate knowledge through thought as in contemplation is not possible through. Again, this is based in limited metaphysics. Such limited schemes of understanding are not so much mistaken as adapted to a limited physical and mental context. An issue is the absolute distinction: perception vs. conception

1.2.2        Vision, Dream and Hallucination

The so-called hypnagogic and hypnopompic dreams may be considered to be borderline cases of both dreaming and of hallucination; these also merge into lucid dreaming i.e. being aware that one is dreaming but continuing to dream and affecting the dream. The idea of auto-hallucination is similar to that of lucid dreaming

1.2.3        Focus: Perception and Vision-Quest

The focus here is on perception and other direct approaches to vision, including the will as precursor to perception and action. Thought that is close to perception in its nature is included. The objects of vision are the external world [Brahman] and the inner world of the psyche including the unconscious [Atman.] Also important, are ways of release of the “imprisoned faculties of perception.” These include the exercises of meditation, yoga, the cultivation of dreams, the Shamanic vision quest, the use of symbols such as the sacred: sacred places, rituals and texts

While an ultimate objective is the identity of self and the ultimate, there are intermediate but not lesser objectives. The continuum ranges from the immersion in the immediate to the ultimate; which, in final analysis, are identical. This is the Principle of Meaning of Journey in Being

1.3         Realms of Application

1.3.1        Nature: Immersion and Navigation

Navigation includes travel

Physical exertion to point of alteration of mental state... vision quest... fast... immersion... reflection... defining experiments

…intensity and the cusp of transformation

1.3.2        Home

Induced vision, sleep deprivation, exertion, fasting, eliminate caffeine [or alter; other substances]... meditation

1.3.3        Work - general

Exhaustive review, experiment; charisma

1.3.4        Work - specific

Examples from Dynamics of Being and A letter

Charismatic relations… individuals; authority… advance

Psychological transformation

Laboratory / study: personality, case studies

1.3.5        Experiments in the Transformation of Being

There is a class of Experiments in the Transformation of Being in which vision experiments enhanced by discovery of limits, their relative nature, overcoming, and discovery of the nature and a sequence of limits that arch from human being to the ultimate. Alternatively, the path through depth to the unconscious to all reality Brahman = Atman

1.3.6        Arching from Human to Ultimate Being

Examples from Dynamics of Being

Traditional: Yoga, mysticism…

1.3.7        Research

Research further ideas; extensions of the above

1.4         Vision-Quest

1.4.1        Objects         The World

Ideal / real... world = nature, society, psyche, universe... the whole and the sacred... dark, depth, shades of light, sound… and elemental spirits         Inner World

Mind and mental space… or... psyche and psychic space... conscious... unconscious... myth, symbol, literature... body… and world, again         Being

Through being to depth

1.4.2        Agents or Sources         Perception

Sensing and... seeing... direct and whole ... knowledge... dreams... hallucinations... self and body... perception includes feeling, mood, emotion, self-awareness and awareness of awareness... sensory deprivation         Conception and Thought

Thinking... emotion... conception as perception... reflection... meditation... contemplation... belief and magic         Action and Will

Dynamics including body-dynamics... experiences includes experiment [includes thought]... journey as extended experience and perception         Learning

1.4.3        Ways of Release; Catalysts

Also see Dreams, Hallucinations, Imagery and Thought         Introduction: Induction of Hallucinations

It is understood, here, that hallucinations are not necessarily dysfunctional. It could be argued that although not all hallucinatory contexts are dysfunctional they all lie on an axis of dysfunction; however, while such use may be appropriate in a clinical setting, the concept of dysfunction has no connection to phenomenon of hallucination

Factors that induce hallucination include:

Direct brain stimulation; sleep: dreams and hypnopompic [awakening] and hypnagogic [sleep onset] dreams or hallucinations; excessive excitation; sensory deprivation; loss of sleep; hypnosis and trance states; sensory defects; psychological factors; chemical factors         Vision-Quest

Hero story

In one Native American tradition, under the guidance of the initiated [“elders,”] with preparation: four days spent in a self-selected “good medicine” area, a ten-foot sacred circle without outside stimulation, food or friends… “Finally the mind makes way for confrontation with the true self”         Michael Harner’s Exercises for a Vision-Quest

I have simulated the following by focus and dream. The following may be useful for incorporation in a vision-quest

Visualize an opening in the Earth; go down into the opening

Have drum beat 205-220 a minute: 10 min: four sharp beats signal time to return

Very rapid beat, half minute for return

Four sharp beats signal end

Going Down

If there is an obstacle, go around it or through a crack

At the end of the tunnel, explore the landscape but do not bring anything back this first journey

If the journey is not a success - try again with a different drum speed         Visionary Roles

…visionary and transformational roles

Shaman, mystic, yogi, hypnotist, priest, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst

The charismatic… Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha         Art and Contact

“Art”… inner vision: inner poetry; music / drum; natural symbols; atlas of being, relationship, action and of mind and universe; science

Art and vision; looking at, doing art as a way of seeing and improving ability to see         Cleansing

Fasting - cleansing... alter basal metabolism, dependence on direct energy... Yoga and Meditation         Stimulating and Release

Risk, crisis and crisis sense... passion, anger, “frenzy”, dance... stress, limits of endurance, sweat, elimination, awe, fear, crisis and release… altered sleep ... sacrifice, pain, e.g., sun dance ... drugs, poisons, hallucinogens, depressants, stimulants… synthetic and natural… food and timing... autokinesis... altered stimulation of senses

Hypnosis and dissociation… and re-integration

…the cusp of transformation         Receiving and Tuning

Splitting and psychosis – of whatever origin… to reintegration... focus, concentration, dedication... waiting... hypnosis, autosuggestion, rhythm and beat, dance and trance... animal thinking... isolation, the womb... self knowledge, association and mindscaping... acting

Life, goals, projects

2           Dreams and Hypnosis

Currently, this section focuses on dreams. Hypnosis is at least superficially similar to sleep and it is likely to be conceptually efficient to place dreams and hypnosis together. This section currently focuses on dreams. Discussion – nature and uses – and experiments for hypnosis will be developed later


The purpose of this section on dreams is to describe the uses of dreams in the Journey in Being. To this end it is natural that I attempt a general understanding of dreams – their nature and origin; dream phenomena; and the functions, uses and significance dreams

The biological data given on dreams and sleep shows the differences between dreams and the vision of the shaman at a level of detail but also shows their unity in that it is the same neurological system that gives rise to both in different circumstances

Focus for Journey in Being

Here, focus is on the nature, origin, functions and uses, and significance of dreams. Here, I use the following meaning of function and no other. Most generally, a function is an effect. If a dream has a certain effect on the being – including mental and physiological state and form; the personality life of the being – then the effect is a function

More specifically, focus is on how dreams affect – and how they may be used to affect – states of being and lives; and how dreams may be used in the process of effecting transformations in being. The focus includes effects upon groups – including identified social groups

Personal Focus

How dreams have affected my life, and how I might use dreams in the future. Dreams and Vision contains a dream journal, thoughts on the meaning I have seen in my dreams; and detailed thoughts on the nature and origin of dreams

My dreams have shown me and, to some extent created:

A vision of my ambition… especially, in I Lived by Mountains; that dream included my interest in knowledge and in nature for itself and as a continuing source of inspiration

In Animal Being, the feeling world of animal being

In Musical Perfection, intrinsic effects of dreams upon life [regardless of questions of meaning and interpretation] and the nature of talent such as musical talent and the capacity for [musical] experience

For more on the significance of the dreams, see Significance

What Will a Theory of Dreams Do?

Although there is no one objective for a theory of dreams, a central objective of such a theory will be to show what role dreams do and may have in the life of the individual. This will include

The place of dreaming in the day to day activity and the life of the individual and the community – especially psychologically but also physiologically. This issue can be approached in terms of the psychologically and physiology of the individual and ecologically or evolutionarily in terms of the mutual adaptation of organism and environment

Although place or role can be interpreted narrowly as the effects of dreams, the relations / integrations among dream, sleep, wake, hallucination, vision-quest, various mental states – meditative / mystic / oceanic / stress or drug induced… are also important

The question of the distinction among the states is reflected in the saying attributed to Chuang Tzu c. 500 BC “I dreamt I was a butterfly, and didn’t know when I awoke if I was a man who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly who now dreamt he was a man” or in the following quotes from Bertrand Russell “It is obviously possible that what we call waking life may be only an unusual and persistent nightmare,” and further, “I do not believe that I am now dreaming but I cannot prove I am not.” Although there are clear differences between waking consciousness and dreaming – waking consciousness is generally coherent, vivid, and more easily remembered this does not imply an absolute distinction. As organisms adapted to a certain environment, a general coherence to awareness to the environment is expected. But as far as adaptation is incomplete or, on the other hand, as far as adaptation remains unspecific and therefore to entire being, lack of coherence is also adaptive. Therefore, the question whether I am a butterfly or a man is somewhat incoherent since reality itself does not have the solidity of a rock…

How dreams affect and may be used by the individual and the community – how dreams affect the state / behavior [mental and physical] of the individual and of the community; and how the individual and community may use dream content. To talk about content first note that there are formal parallels between waking and dream contents. In the first place dream content may have a direct effect upon the state / behavior of the individual e.g. waking up in a cognitive-emotional / behavioral state that is a direct result of the dream i.e. the connection between the dream and the state / behavior does not occur at a conscious level; this occurs within the individual whose state / behavior may then affect the community. Indirect effect may involve reflection upon the content and, then, an effect based on the conclusion to the reflection – this occurs within the individual or within the community if the dreamer shares the dream content. To ask in what ways this may occur, first note that contents may present as depictions of reality or fact [assertive / depictive, or, in the case that the depiction is clearly hypothetical as implied question] as instruction or command [directive,] as dedication or promise [commissive,] as free content [expressive,] or as creating – usually social – reality [declarative.] When the dream is pictorial / sensory content is restricted to expressive and, perhaps, assertive-hypothetical. Each kind in its own manner has a kind of literal meaning and thus the dream content may be taken literally. In the case of assertive or depictive content the literal meaning is that the dream depicts or reflects reality. In the other cases the command, promise or declaration may be taken literally. Expression may be regarded as literal expression of mental content. However, just as in the case of waking content, there is more than literal content: dreams have been taken as a source of divination i.e. as predicting the future; as healing; as extensions of the waking state or as, together with the waking state, constituting the constituting the complete mental life of the individual; or as only indirectly reflecting actual or real content e.g. as evidence of or reflecting unconscious activity and, so, as source of real meaning [through interpretation] or, since it is in the unconscious that mind and body / universe merge, of creative knowledge of all being

A theory of dreams would show what combination of the foregoing is true; this might depend on the kind of dream. Note, though, that dream content may is also creative and therefore, rather than regard the dream content be taken as given, the individual / community may use dream contents to ends of their own design and choosing; on this account any interpretation of content has validity i.e. dreams may be taken as divination, as healing, as reflecting reality, as command / promise / dedicative… Further, when the dream content is taken given, there is the further dual task of finding the real content [in the real case the real content is the actual content] and demonstrating that that content is in fact the real content

In practice, as far as content is [taken as] given, the content may not yield, fully or at all, to rational theory and therefore the realization of the content is open to creative judgment. When the content is taken as an element of the creative life of the individual, the use of the dream content is an open and creative process in which the rational and judgmental evaluation may be used

2.1         The Nature of Dreams

A dream is a perception that has no external source and that occurs during sleep. Is this specification adequate? The following considerations arise:

Since perception is usually of an object, it would be more correct to replace “perception” by “experience,” “perceptual experience,” or “experience as of a perception”

Of course, dreams do have external sources but these are relatively remote or indirect. Therefore it would be better to say that “A dream is a perceptual experience with no immediate external source…”

It follows that, in one meaning of “hallucination” a dream is a hallucination[5]. It would be correct to say that a dream is a hallucination except that “hallucination” often has the connotation of aberration or dysfunction; however, even while awake, not all hallucinations are considered to lie on an axis of dysfunction. It could be argued that although not all hallucinatory contexts are dysfunctional they all lie on an axis of dysfunction; however, while such use may be appropriate in a clinical setting, the concept of dysfunction has no connection to phenomenon of hallucination. Insistence that all hallucination is dysfunction involves an at least implicit implication that the function of perception is to perceive external [physical] data and not mental states such as memories and memory associations including the unconscious. This thought gives some rational basis to and a meaning of the idea that dreams, hallucinations and reality are not completely different “worlds”

Do dreams occur only in sleep? If dreams are defined as imagery – usually vivid – that occurs in sleep then, of course dreams occur only in sleep. However, although dreams normally occur in sleep it is not useful to insist that dreams occur only in sleep. In the first place there are dreamlike experiences that occur on the boundary between sleep and wake – hypnopompic [awakening] and hypnagogic [sleep onset] dreams that lie on the borderline between normal dreaming and normal hallucination. Further, while sleeping and waking cognition and their physiologies are normally distinct there is cross over: waking cognition enters into dreaming in lucid dreaming and relaxation [meditation] can be used in inducing dreamlike states while awake

2.1.1        Dreams, Hallucinations, Imagery and Thought

Dreams, hallucinations and images are produced by the same system under different circumstances. Whereas the phenomena and experience of dreams and imagery are produced by the balance of engrams and sensory perception, hallucinations are often the result of nervous excitation due to e.g. an excess of or heightened sensitivity to the neurotransmitter dopamine at certain receptor sites in the brain

It does not follow that there are no normal hallucinations in waking states

Thought is the occurrence of images – either iconic or symbolic – that are constructed from memory in relation to ongoing experience and immersion in the world. How is it possible that thought patterns can correspond to reality? Firstly, physical sequence and relationship affect neural association. Secondly, thought involves trial and error or hypothesis, comparison and correction

This shows a number of ways in which realistic thought can break down

When the images have an intensity that matches or exceeds that of sensory perception

When immersion in the world is disrupted as in isolation – social and or physical – and deprivation

Neural damage or sensitivity affects the system of neural associations

The system of normal trial and error breaks down as a result of pressure from heightened affective states [e.g. mania;] or breakdown is part of an ego-defense… or is underdeveloped for various reasons including underdevelopment of the ego

The system of normal trial and error is volitionally or semi-volitionally suspended in the face of threats / opportunities to the individual

Since compensation is possible, the presence of one or more of these factors implies a tendency but not necessity to the break down of realistic thought

Almost every factor can be precipitated by the various factors in psychosis: deprivation, isolation and exposure; drugs; brain injury and mental disorders

The factors in breakdown of realistic thought provide an explanation of delusional thinking. It does not follow that delusion-like thought is invariably non-functional and can be both protective and creative

2.1.2        The Dream Mechanism

Here is a simple theory. The brain / mind constantly receives and processes a much larger amount of data, both external and internal, than reaches consciousness; what reaches consciousness is screened and integrated. Integration is the perception of whole objects as whole: the different shapes and colors of an object are seen – experienced without reflection being necessary to the experience – as cohesively constituting the object; screening is the suppression from consciousness of less important information. What is of lesser importance is affected by integration and interpretation – a stimulus that does not fit as part of a whole object or of external reality is suppressed for that reason. There is also a scanning function so that what has been suppressed may – slowly or suddenly – come into conscious focus. In hallucinations, and in dreaming the screening, integration and scanning functions are suppressed or disrupted. In dreaming the disruption is correlated with certain brain states; in waking hallucination the disruption is correlated with [altered] brain structure or chemistry [drugs, mental disorders and disorganization, brain damage, heightened perception]

2.1.3        Physiological Correlates of Dreams

Here are some primary physiological correlates of dreams:

In humans, the most vivid, visual dreams occur during rapid eye movement [REM] sleep during which the brain is very active as shown by an EEG [electroencephalogram], and the large muscles are relaxed. REM or D-state [desynchronized or dreaming] sleep occurs every 90 - 100 minutes, 3 to 4 times a night, and lasts longer as the night progresses; the final REM period is up to 45 minutes. Less vivid dreams occur during non-REM sleep; these are like thought and waking experience

Something about sleep makes it difficult to remember dreams

Sleep and dreams are affected by a variety of drugs and medications, including alcohol. Stopping certain drugs suddenly may cause nightmares

D-state sleep has been seen in all mammals studied, for example in monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants, shrews, and opossums, and in some birds and reptiles

The D-state depends on the pontine tegmentum, a part of the brain stem; and appears to be associated with norepinephrine in the brain. Other stages of sleep appear to be associated with serotonin. The D-state is associated with increased variability in breathing and heart rate, relaxation of skeletal muscles and increased physiological sexual activity such as blood flow in sex organs

Various related phenomena – lucid dreaming, waking dreams, dreams on the border of sleep, sleep walking have simple explanations based in the physiology. Lucid dreaming requires further explanation that is given later

2.1.4        Sleep

The purpose of this section on sleep is to provide some information on sleep that may be useful [1] in thinking about dreams, and [2] for later developments         Neural Theories of Sleep

In some older theories, sleep-wake alternation was thought to be a function of differences in individual neurons. Later it was found that the ascending reticular activating system [ARAS, a group of nerves in the brain] maintains [waking] cortical arousal and that the action of the ARAS was modulated by sensory input. Injuries to the ARAS produced sleep thus supporting a passive view of sleep i.e. that there is no specific organ or center of sleep. However, there remains the question as to how sensory input affects the function of the ARAS

It was found that electrical stimulation of certain areas of the hypothalamus and other areas of the brain can induce sleep. Secondly, the discovery of REM sleep which is active in its nature also supports an active view of sleep. REM sleep can be eliminated in experimental animals by surgical destruction of a group of nerve cells in the pons. However, there is an additional question whether REM and NREM or non rapid eye movement sleep are produced by the same mechanisms. Sleep may have both active and passive aspects with the active / passive elements distributed differently according to the different phases of sleep

Serotonin and norepinephrine are associated, respectively, with NREM and REM sleep. Additionally, REM sleep is eliminated but NREM sleep unaffected, by injuries to the pontine tegmentum; and NREM sleep is suppressed when the brain stem has been severed at the midpoint of the pons, indicating a possible NREM mechanism behind the midpoint of the pons that suppresses the arousal effect of the ARAS         REM Sleep

REM involves continuous low voltage, mixed frequency EEG that is faster than in stages 2 through 4 NREM sleep; intermittent rapid eye movements; continuous relaxation of the continuous slight waking tension of facial muscles, suppression of spinal reflexes and motor inhibition; relatively high rates of autonomic activity and variability; and high rates of firing of cerebral neurons that are often comparable to or greater than the rates while awake. The locus ceruleus, in the pons, has been identified as the likely source of the inhibition: when it is surgically destroyed in animals, there results period active, apparently goal-directed behavior in REM sleep while continuing to have the characteristic REM sleep lack of response to external stimulation         Sequences of NREM and REM sleep

Stages of NREM sleep are ordered 1-2-3-4-3-2

In adult humans, sleep typically progresses as follows: first, 70 – 90 minutes of NREM sleep; followed by 5 – 15 minutes of [first period of] REM sleep. This is followed by NREM–REM cycles each of approximately the same length with the length of the NREM phases shrinking while the REM phases lengthen. There is approximately three times as much NREM sleep as there is REM sleep. After the first two or three cycles, stages 3 and 4 NREM sleep are lost and most of the NREM is stage 2          NREM Sleep

Four conventional stages have been identified according to EEG patterns

The stage 1 EEG tracing is a low-voltage mixed-frequency tracing with significant θ-wave [4 – 7 Hz] activity

Stage 2: relatively low-voltage EEG tracing with intermittent, short sequences of 12–14 Hz waves [“sleep spindles”] and K-complexes – biphase wave forms that can be induced by stimulation and are spontaneous in sleep

Stages 3 and 4: relatively high-voltage [> 50 μv] EEG tracings primarily δ-wave [1 – 2 Hz] activity. Stage 4 is associated with greater amounts of δ-wave [1 – 2 Hz] activity         Light and Deep Sleep

On the basis of EEG patterns – by comparison with he EEG patterns of NREM sleep are those associated in other circumstances with decreased vigilance – and from the observation that in NREM sleep that follows being awake most ANS functions decrease activity and variability, NREM sleep, especially stage 4 and to some extent stage 3, appears to support the healing / regenerative function that is associated with sleep. Observations that support this function of stage 4 NREM sleep are: its increase after physical exercise; its concentration in early sleep; and its predominance in sleep after extended periods of sleep deprivation

In some measures, REM sleep is lighter while in other measures it is deeper than NREM sleep. Muscle tone is lowest in REM sleep but ANS and CNS activity in REM are higher than in NREM sleep and compare with such activity in the waking state. For meaningful stimuli the arousal threshold from REM sleep compares to the threshold for light NREM sleep of stages 1 and 2 while for stimuli without significance the REM threshold is high – perhaps due to shutting out of non-significant stimuli in REM. Awakened sleepers describe REM as deep and NREM as light but this may be due the low muscle tone or to the subjective involvement with dreaming in REM sleep

The various data in this and other sections are consistent with REM sleep being associated with neural reorganization and repair and association of NREM sleep with general / body healing and repair

2.1.5        Dreams as Transitional Between Deep Sleep and the Waking State

It is reasonable to conclude that dreams may be seen as transitional between deep sleep and the waking state. However, it cannot be concluded from this that dreaming has no function. Perhaps, earlier in evolution, all perception and experience had the character of a primitive form of dreaming – as perception it would have been haphazard but still adaptive – and consciousness then bifurcated into the waking and dreaming modes that continued to evolve. Or, perhaps at some point in evolution, dreaming had no intrinsic function – perhaps dreaming was merely transitional between the waking states that included alertness and the resting state of deep sleep; however, the evolution of an ability to have rich and varied dream content may have been of adaptive advantage. On the latter account, it is conceivable that any meaning and function of dreams is specific to the species

The following possibilities arise:

Dreams are the modification of an earlier mode of symbolic / iconic processing – as is waking consciousness; or

Dreams are transitional between waking states and deep sleep but, nonetheless, have an independent function

Further, since reality control [ego] is not needed in deep sleep, the ego is absent or partially in place during dreaming

2.1.6        Why Do Animals Dream?

It was noted above that D-state sleep has been seen in all mammals studied and in some birds and reptiles. It follows that answers to the question, “Why do human beings dream?” are embedded in answers to, “Why do animals dream?”

What does it mean to ask, “Why do we dream?” We saw above that this is not the same as asking what are the functions, uses or adaptations of dreams. Dreaming may have functions that developed after their origin and that may partially explain the character of our dreams but not that we have dreams

There are two common approaches to explaining the characters of an organism: proximate and ecological / evolutionary. Proximate explanations are found in the organism as it is e.g. in its anatomy, physiology and psychology; evolutionary explanations are found, for in example, in showing how the character is or may be adaptive or is related to adaptive developments. Actual explanation may combine the two approaches and may have causal, correlative and / or idiosyncratic features. There are various constraints on valid ecological / evolutionary explanation that I omit here

Evolution need not give a full answer but may provide clues. If dreams are transitional, there need be no original function. But, there may be – an earlier mode – and, additionally, given the fact of dreaming, the nature of dreaming may have been subsequently adapted

There are objections to evolutionary explanations. Such explanations may be regarded as shorthand for explanation based in adaptation – the relation between the organism and the environment. The “shorthand,” like many other good theories, makes for explanations of such efficiency that it is practically essential

2.2         Dream Phenomena

Cataloging dream phenomena is essential to a full understanding of dreams and their significance. The foregoing discussion draws on the common experiences of dreaming. However, both that discussion and an understanding of significance will benefit from an elaboration of the phenomena

2.2.1        Content

Violence, power, powerlessness, hyper-realistic dreams and dreams of original and exquisite beauty, unusual / dissociative senses of self and others…

Here are some dreams. The full accounts and other dreams are in Dreams and Vision         Specific Examples of Content

For others, these are, in themselves, “mere” examples; however, below, they may have significance. For me, they are part of the Journey in Being:

I Lived by Mountains, Lakes, winters, Snows and Red Sunsets

Spring 1978… Earth was invaded by aliens / who left behind fallout / Humans went to live below / the surface of earth - / Shutting behind them doors of steel / I sought others / But found none / I lived by Mountains, Lakes / Winters, Snows and Red Sunsets / I sought for / and was able to arrive at / Some understanding of Truth / Many years later when / People came out / I was able to communicate / What I had learned

Animal Being

February 16, 1988. Animal thinking…I dreamt I was thinking like an animal…without words, with images, with timeless awareness…it was easy, an enjoyable and enjoyed dream

Musical Perfection

April - May, 1993. I made and performed exquisite, lovely music. That was the dream experience. Even if it is all fabrication, the emotional after effect was real and lovely… and is to this day… there is a place within my mental space that is home and pure beauty – apparently created in a dream

2.2.2        Phenomena

Repeated dreams – the underground labyrinth-like connection of all dreams; continued dreams; dreams on the border between sleep and wake, between normal dreaming and normal hallucination [hypnagogic and hypnopompic dreams or dreamlike states]; lucid dreaming; and suggestion – during and before – in dreaming…         Examples

Power dreams of flying and ability to control and destroy; anger dreams – often at my father and often associated with violence, destruction; erotic dreams – the repetition tends to be with people I have loved and would like to continue to love; green forest dream – being on a forest road the shape of an inverted ‘U” that encloses the deep forest, going into the forest, green canopy with lions and wonder, fording the stream to a mystical place, back to a van on the road; surging up the river – in a boat or ship, surging at great speed, the gap between the hull and the banks is very small but this does not impede progress; being in the navy – many dreams where I am a new officer in the navy with both potential and anxiety… with stereotypical images of being in an engine room or a hull that opens out to the river or the sea; land-bridge dream – a bridge across the ocean to an island, a place of satisfaction and perfection but continuing on from the island and onward across another bridge further into the ocean… the second bridge dangles into the water and I continue on into the water; dreams with just the dangling part into the water; great bridges crossing rivers – friends and I cross the bridge that is very rickety and parts fall off and the bridge is about to fall into the river; at the dam at the river dreams; crossing the ocean in a wooden ship dreams; am I noticing how many dreams have water in them

The following is remarkable. In a dream, I was in a conference at an oval table of beautifully polished, stained wood. A committee like group at the table; I am interacting with the committee who are giving me advice and information and I feel inferior to the committee who are giving me information and reasoning that I feel I could not accomplish on my own. In the dream, I say to the people, “You are a part of my dream. So, I created you. Your intelligence is actually my intelligence and therefore, I am more intelligent than you – my intelligence includes yours; anything you think is actually my thought; therefore, even though I think I need you and am less than you I do not, I do not need you and am more than you.” There is an obvious message for my life or the life of any individual

2.2.3        Dreams and Life

Regardless of conceptual questions such as significance, meaning, functions and uses of dreams it is a fact that dreaming affects waking life         Dreams and Life: Examples

Effect on emotional state as in music dreams; effect on my belief – possibly – in abilities that are not manifest

Emotion is a significant aspect of dream content and phenomena

“I lived by mountains, lakes, winters, snows and red sunsets” – this dream played some role in crystallizing my “life design”

Dreams have content that did not occur in the waking state; that does not mean that the content could not have occurred, simply that it did not occur in the waking state. But now two things happen. At various levels, including the unconscious, the dream affects awareness, emotion and behavior. This may also happen at a conscious level where one may take the dream as a literal message. But, additionally the dream is data and there are so many things one can do with that data either directly or by attempting to “understand or interpret” the data

Dream and dream content affect life – regardless of any conscious intention or decision to use dreams or their meaning – since individuals’ cognitive and emotional states are affected. Additionally, the individual or group may consciously interpret / use dreams; the simplest cases of interpretation are [1] allowing or encouraging a sub / unconscious effect and [2] literal interpretation. Recognized mythic and interpretive systems for dreams and visions include:

Dreamtime of original Australian people

Shamanism of Central Asia and vision-quest of Native Americans e.g. the accounts of Black Elk

Dream interpretation work of Sigmund Freud

Similar thoughts apply to hallucination and other psychotic content

2.3         The Meaning and Function of Dreams

It will be useful to discuss the concepts of function and meaning

2.3.1        On Function and Meaning

It will be useful to clarify my use of the words function, meaning and significance; further, since those words are associated with contention I note that here, in this section on dreams, I use the following meanings and no other

It will first be useful to consider the word effect which is used here in the following way. If a dream resulted in the individual waking up afraid it would be said that, “fear was an effect of the dream.” Dreams – in general and / or particular dreams or particular kinds of dreams – have effects e.g. primarily on the mental or physiological state or the personality or life of the dreamer and secondarily upon others and the world. An effect may be routine or idiosyncratic. An effect is routine if similar circumstances result in similar effects. The source of routine-ness may be some identifiable causal factor or, more generally, a correlation. If an effect is not routine it is idiosyncratic. The source of idiosyncrasy may be either ignorance or complexity. Ignorance may be of the causes or of the cause relationships and may involve some factor that is unique to the situation e.g. a novel or merely idiosyncratic deployment of dreams or dreaming. In the case of complexity the causal factors and cause-effect relationships are known but their consequences have proven impossible to estimate

It is now possible to explain function – a function is an identified effect that plays a role in the being of the organism; note that not all effects are functions. This specification is intentionally open. Thus, in this use, there is no unique set of functions i.e. it is not correct to talk of the function, and a function is not necessarily a desirable or intended effect or deployment. A “use” is a deployment or a desirable or desired effect. All uses are functions but not all functions are uses

In talking of the meaning of a psychological phenomenon, I am asking “What is its place in the total psychological life of the individual?” In the sense used here, meaning is identical to psychological function. The significance is the function assigned [or ascribed; in what follows, in this section on Function and Meaning, ascription will be understood when I use the word assigned] to the phenomenon – either by the dreamer or others; and the assignment could be casual or formal / theoretical. It would appear to be paradoxical to talk of intrinsic significance however we can talk of intrinsic significance as follows: the significance is intrinsic if it is also a function that does not result from the assignment of the significance

Thus, meaning, as used here, includes any psychological significance and function includes all significance. There are more specific senses in which meaning is equivalent to psychological significance or use

Significance can be generic or specific. In the generic case significance is assigned to dreaming in general or to specific kinds of dreams. Specific significance is the significance of a specific dream. The assignment is and need not be fixed; multiple assignments are possible; and any meaning or function may or may not include the significance

2.3.2        Meaning and Significance of Dreams

In talking of the meaning or psychological functions of dreams or of a particular dream I am asking, “What is the place of dreams or of the particular dream in the total psychological life of the individual?”

It is very clear that dreams, dreaming have meaning and function. Psychologically, just as physiologically, dreams can be seen as a transition between waking and deep sleep. Regarding the significance of dreams, there is a an idea – claimed to be a theory – that dreams are a trash can of waking mental activity thoughts, emotions and perceptions. The intent of this claim is to assert that dreams can have no intrinsic significance; clearly this is an assignment and not a theory as such. However, it is absurd in the sense of being contradictory since the impossibility of intrinsic significance implies the impossibility of function and meaning in their general senses. Further, even if dreams have no intrinsic significance may still have assigned function and so may be effectual. [Additionally, the trash can theory is not only a statement about dreams it is also an assignment of function / value to trash and trash cans. At least some of the contents of trash cans are useful to some individuals and, through re-cycling, what was trash in one context is a commodity in a new context.] Of course, even if dreaming and some dreams do have significance, it does not follow that every dream does. Some dreams could be the cleansing of the mind / brain of excess images and associations in memory – or, perhaps, the strengthening of memories and associations. Dreams are multivalent in their effectuality: cleansing / strengthening as well as significant at the same time – each in varied degrees; reality is multivalent relative to our assignments and understanding. The significance could be intrinsic – dreams have definite meaning that does not depend on reflection on the dream; and / or dreams could have significance such as an interpretation or a significance that is invented. Significance becomes meaning and there could be an evolutionary interaction between dreams, dreaming and invented meaning

The psychological function of dreams and dreaming are what dreams do for us – routinely, accidentally, necessarily, intentionally and unintentionally, how are they useful psychologically and adaptively. In a neutral language, the function of dreams is “Their place in the total psychological life of the individual.” Therefore, “trash can” and meaning theories are not exclusive. Just as for meaning, there can be an intrinsic and assigned functions; both can occur at the same time; that something is assigned does not mean it is not at all intrinsic. There is a school of thought that all function is assigned. However – and this is not so much a fact as a particular meaning of function, when it comes to function and evolution and the relation of the organism to the environment, the intrinsic properties of the organism may be regarded as given and the functions may be thought of as the relation to the environment; thus function is not purely assigned. At the level of organisms what is a property of organism and environment may be thought of as a function of the organism. At the same time, since the individual may influence itself, properties are not purely given – just as functions are not purely assigned. There is no absolute boundary between properties and functions

What kind of functions can dreams have? There can be functions that are properties of organism and environment – these are adaptive functions. At the physiological level, dreams may be a cleaning out of memory or a strengthening of memory, i.e., memories and associations. At the psychological level, dreams have, also, correlates of the physiological – clearing and strengthening. Then there can be assigned functions: over and above the intrinsic functions, an individual or a culture can choose, decide or simply come to use dreams in some way. The divide between intrinsic and assigned function is not absolute; the faculties used to make and process the assignment may have intrinsic basis and a pure assignment may evolve into an adaptive function. An example of psychological function that is on the border between intrinsic and assigned are the relation to action; in this way dream is similar to waking thought; and intrinsic psychological function may be the exercise of the shadow faculties and, specifically, access to savant ability – see, for example, Musical Perfection

2.3.3        Significance         The Nature of Significance

Let us suppose that dreams lie between fact and fiction. Dreams have basis in memory [fact] but there is significant distortion and spontaneous association or “fiction.” Further, the result of the association may be remembered but what was being associated forgotten. If the “reality grid” is partially asleep [dreams as the transition state] distortion and spontaneous association are imagination. Some schemes of interpretation are rigid; a snake [penis like] means sex and so on. A snake may have many associations: fear, or for someone who loves the wild the association may be adventure on one occasion and fear on another… or gliding through life or experience. Since associations are multiple and fluid no given [by some system of interpretation] or fixed [always the same] system of interpretation is possible. That a dream is a multi-dimensional flow of imagery makes interpretation even more fluid. Not all images need have an association or given meaning. How can one then come up with an interpretation? Systems of interpretation are suggestive; and one can analyze one’s waking memory for associations [the unconscious]. Further, since dreams are transitional states, all kinds of play are possible: cultivation of dreams by “messages” to oneself – reminders – maintaining a dream record [when did I have this kind of dream, repeated dreams…] and lucid dreaming on the boundary between waking control of imagery [thought] and absence of control. Interpretation is often thought of as a conscious activity or resulting in a conscious meaning; however, in addition to fluidity, meaning may occur altogether at an unconscious level; and, interpretation is not merely read or given but may be written or creative. The creation may be in the act of interpretation and / or assignment

This does not mean that there are no archetypal dreams or symbols. It does not mean that a system of interpretation cannot be powerfully suggestive. Such symbols, when they exist, may be identified by flexible interpretation, from repeated dreams, and from common dream and story [myth…] themes among groups of peoples. The symbols will not be rigid; and individual variations will be imposed upon the group symbols

The “unconscious” need not be understood literally; it can be understood as remote. Dreams are useful in learning about one’s feelings, thoughts, behavior, motives, and values. Dreams can be sources of creative ideas. This is due to the relation to the unconscious place where reflections, e.g. on a problem, are stored and the novel elements and combinations of dreams

That different sensory modalities “go to sleep” or “wake up” earlier or later [hearing wakes up before vision] makes for additional variations. On the border between wake and sleep the individual is or may be more receptive to suggestion as in hypnosis. Different aspects of cognition go to sleep / wake up earlier or later… an aspect of cognition is not necessarily in a dream or waking state of mental imagery but may lie in between; this is responsible for a number of phenomena – lucid dreaming or dreaming in which one is aware that one is dreaming

So far we have more or less been discussing interpretation. But, dreams have intrinsic meaning. Some dreams have direct meaning: the dream is clearly about one’s life, hopes and so on. Or, the result of the dream upon waking may be a particular emotional state [“good” or “bad” and so on] or a cognitive state [heightened or dulled] and these states may have definite consequences regardless of interpretation or assignment of meaning

A particular case of intrinsic meaning is when the dream is about the future or possible futures. This then may lead to action with or without further reflection. The same may be accomplished by thought; whereas thought may be more rational, dreams may be more true [and more imaginative] since there is a connection to the unconscious – the real psychological state of the individual before defenses and interpretation…         Significance of Content

“Dream affects life.” Cultivate dreams? Or, cultivate a life that lives out “dream.”         Examples of Significance

The dreams of Dream Phenomena are used as examples of significance. They are part of my personal journey

I lived by mountains, lakes, winters, snows and red sunsets

My ambition…

Animal being

What is the significance for human being? That human being is and or joins with animal being on the way to all being?

 Musical perfection

What does this say for capacity for creation, the capacity for experience and for the effect of dream upon life? If it’s a dream experience, it’s a possible waking experience… and if that, a possible shared experience. What is the source? I did not create music or the ability to appreciate it. But, I am a part of the creation? This is true for everyone?

2.4         Summary

The purpose of this section has been to outline the features of theories of dreams – elaborated in the next paragraph, dream phenomena, the significance and use of dreams – especially in the Journey in Being, a framework to integrate dreams / sleep along with hallucination, vision-quest and other states of mind [“altered”] into a general map of mind / being

The theory presented is not detailed e.g. there is no account of interpretation. What is presented may be used as a framework and includes a value-centered or teleologic account [significance] embedded in a natural or relatively value-free foundation in a value-free concept of function. An account of meaning is also given: a special concept of meaning is equated to significance and is embedded in a general concept that is equated to psychological function

2.5         Hypnosis

In hypnosis, awareness is heightened and inner experience is given as much significance as is generally given to external reality while awake. Hypnosis is also marked by increased receptiveness and responsiveness

Self-hypnosis, also called autohypnosis, is possible but often sterile since the effort to produce hypnosis nullifies the intended result. A form of self-hypnosis occurs when individuals are deeply absorbed to the point where orientation to the environment is lost; individuals susceptible to this experience are also susceptible to hypnosis. Self-hypnosis may be effective if the individual makes a prerecording on tape

3           Yoga and Meditation

The purposes of this section are

To provide a brief account and foundation of Yoga and meditation and the theoretical foundation in Samkhya and Vedanta

To show similarities between Yoga and the Journey and Being – and to synthesize Yoga with the Experiments in the Transformation of Being

3.1         A Short Introduction to Yoga

The purposes of this account are

Show how Yoga can be a unifying theme for the Experiments in the Transformation in Being

Re-write the central concepts of Yoga in English. Sanskrit terms and English equivalents are in a separate document

3.1.1        Samkhya

Samkhya: enumerating knowledge, one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, a dualistic theory of human nature describing the theoretical dynamics of bandha [bondage] and release while Yoga describes and prescribes the practical dynamics of release

Prakriti, the orders of matter and purusha, the self constitute the universe [and, so, God is not hypothesized.] Purusha is pure consciousness, pervasive, unchangeable, immaterial, and ego-less or without desire. Prakriti is the universal and un-manifest matter in time and space

Materialization begins when purusha, which is pure consciousness, manifests as prakriti. Out of this is evolved buddhi or spiritual awareness and then, as the condition of existence, the ego consciousness [ahankara, “I-maker”] and so purusha mistakenly thinks that ego is the foundation of its existence

Ahankara further divides into five gross elements – space, air, fire, water, earth; and five fine elements – sound, touch, sight, taste, smell; five organs of perception – corresponding to the five senses; five organs of activity – for speaking, grasping, moving, procreation, evacuation and thinking. The universe results from combination and recombination of purusha together with these elements

3.1.2        Patanjali Yoga

Yoga means yoke or union… citta vrtti nirodha: disciplining the activity of consciousness. In the original writings of Patanjali, Yoga was a way to attain union with the ultimate or union with the real. Patanjali’s system had eight stages [astanga yoga.] The first five were external and preparatory. The first two of restraint [yama] and observance [niyama] are “moral,” followed by two stages of physical preparation, the physical postures [asana] and breath control [pranayama.] The fifth stage is the redirection [pratyahara] and training of attention from the immediate world and direction to the self or mind. The final, internal stages are focusing [dharana] attention on a fixed object, uninterrupted ego-less meditation [dhyana] on an object of focus, and union [samadhi] with the object of awareness. The goal is the complete union, identity of the self, with the ultimate, the state of liberation [moksa, kaivalya] from finite existence

There is a great variety of shades of meaning of the terms and ways in which they are combined into similar systems. Yoga can be thought of as received or [and] as fluid, experimental

3.1.3        Hatha Yoga

The system of purification yama [restraint] and [observances] with the physical preparation asana [physical postures] and pranayama [breath control] became an end in itself. Hatha Yoga, the union of force [ha = sun, tha = moon], is a system of purification, breath control and postural exercises. When part of Patanjali’s system these exercises result in a healthy, open and alert or receptive person

Patanjali’s complete system has been called Raja Yoga – self-rule. “Raja and Hatha Yoga are both empty without the other.”

3.1.4        Related systems: Physical Arts

Hatha Yoga is a physical art. There are numerous others such as T’ai Chi Ch’uan and various martial arts. A martial art is not intrinsically violent but is a dynamics of intense physical and mental interactions [see threatening situations.] Immersion in the various arts may, I assume, lead to Yoga in action and I may undertake some forms later. For now, I omit focus on the variety of physical-mental arts

3.1.5        The Yoga of the Bhagavad-Gita

The epic poem, Bhagavad-Gita elaborates four paths or ways to the union. These are meditation [Raja Yoga,] thought, wisdom or knowledge [Gyana Yoga], action or work [Karma Yoga] and attitude or devotion [Bhakti Yoga]

The Gita has suggestions for balance among these elements – among meditation, thought, action and attitude, especially attitudes toward ends or outcomes

3.1.6        Other Yogic Systems

The following information is provided for completeness, i.e. for possible future use in completing the chain of ideas

Kriya Yoga: yoga of purification – tapas, svadhyaya, Isvara pranidhana

Kundalini Yoga: an approach to the ascent of the kundalini up the spine through the six padmas [lotuses] or cakras [centers] to the final ajna [command] padma between the eyebrows at which Isvara is seen. The kundalini is the sleeping serpent at the base of the spine and is a metaphor for sakti - the divine power

3.1.7        Yoga, Vedanta and the Journey in Being

Two aspects of Yoga are the aim – union with the ultimate; and the means, the system of practices that are “designed” to achieve the aim

In Yoga, the aim and the means come as one; they can and have been treated separately

For example the aim of Yoga is at the center of the philosophical system of the Vedanta – the source of the concept of the identity of the self [Atman] and the ultimate [Brahman.] The realization of this identity is the final object of the Yogas as it is of Middle Eastern and European Mysticism

Hatha Yoga is the system of purification, physical postures and breath control

The final aims of Yoga and of the Journey in Being are identical. Journey in Being also emphasizes here-now

3.1.8        Experiments with the Yoga systems and Transformations of Being

Experiment with the elements of the Yoga systems. I want to use the aspects of the Yoga systems in the Journey, especially the Experiments in Being. These aspects are the elements of Patanjali’s system that include Hatha Yoga; the underlying philosophy of the Yoga Texts, the Samkhya and the related philosophy of Vedanta

When the various approaches to Illumination, Awareness are considered: physical exercises, Vision, meditation, the Dynamics of Being, and other experiments in being [from, e.g., Bhagavad-Gita]… these are all integrated within the Patanjala system and its derivatives

3.2         Meditation

3.2.1        What is Meditation?

Meditation is a phase of Yoga, the union with the ultimate

In the dhyana phase of Yoga – the phase of concentrated meditation can be used for the same end. Meditation involves quieting the usual attention to the myriad details of the immediate world, especially the noise of an un-trained mind. The end of the quieting is union with the ultimate by becoming aware, through experience of the depths or layers of mind and self, of the identity of the self with Brahman…

Meditation is mental exercise, including devotion and prayer, to achieve heightened awareness or somatic calm. There are many techniques of concentration, contemplation, and abstraction. Yoga synthesizes mental and physical exercise

In some form, meditation has been formalized and institutionalized by most great religions. The Yoga practice, dhyana [“concentrated meditation”], became the focus of a distinct school among the Buddhists - Ch’an in China, then Zen in Japan         Meditation as Release

Meditation can be thought of as release of imprisoned functions of awareness, presence, attention and focus – especially awareness of the self, the depths and dimensions of mind… and through the self to awareness of the ultimate

Dreams and the vision-quest also involve release at the level of sensory perception. However, because of connections through the unconscious, there are similarities in way of insight. Additionally, all such approaches fall under cognitive release         Neuro-physiological Correlates of Meditation

β waves – 13-40 Hz: peak concentration, visual acuity; 40 Hz = cognition / visual consciousness – Francis Crick

α waves – 7-12 Hz: deep relaxation, the gateway to deeper consciousness, meditation

δ waves – 4-7 Hz: “twilight” between θ and α / β; waking dreams, creativity, learning, memory, meditation. Rest for the tired brain

θ waves – 0-4 Hz: deep sleep; release of growth hormone for healing, regeneration

Meditation is somatically effective as in the control of heart and breathing rates, symptoms of migraine, hypertension, hemophilia… meditation [and Yoga] brings awareness and control of the autonomous nervous system

3.2.2        Sitting Meditation         Preparation, Minimizing Distraction

Preparation: stretching, relaxation, Hatha-yoga

Fixed time: 20 – 60 min; regular

Nature / altar

Letting go: suspend judgment, accept, let go, unmask [true nature], surrender         Quieting, Cleaning, Emptying of Mind

…of chaos, voices and static

Sound: mantra, prayer, music, drum and rhythm

Vision: focusing on a visual image

Touch: rosary

Body: breath, sitting, accepting discomfort

Achieving a single point of pure focus, pre-conceptual mind; expansion of awareness, stay with awareness-in-the-present, exploration of mind exploration, mindlessness… and mindfulness, dimensions for expansion – body, mind, world

3.2.3        Walking Meditation

Walking: immersion, being-in-the-world

… Cultivated and in balance with sitting meditation, reminders for each day, a day or event…


Staying in the present despite discomfort, anxiety, fear but avoiding – by allowing them without resistance, even to the image of the other’s image of the self, i.e. object relations – a cascade of negative associations and cycle of self-judgment, waiting for and knowing there will be “no-mind” and positive acceptance, feeling, thought and action

Being one’s full self in the presence of others and in all situations: work and difficult relationships, avoiding entry into negative cycles of self-judgment, meeting people, automating this response

Practice leads to no-mind and meditation-in-action, the “Zen of…” extraordinary and mundane activities

Auras, vision, being

Mindfulness: “We are the result of all that we have thought,” and “Work out your salvation with diligence”

Separation / immersion and creative process

Shared meditation

3.3         Meditation, Yoga, and Life

The techniques of Yoga and Meditation can be applied to objectives that are more immediate than union with the ultimate

Withdrawal and quietism, e.g., of some reclusive mystics; psychic and physical renewal and health; heightened awareness focus, attitude, presence – material, of the self, spiritual; preparation for and presence in performance strenuous activity such as war and other threat, theatric or musical performance…

The following derive from a variety of sources

3.3.1        Openness to Life, Others

Kindness, forgiveness, love: be pro-active

Receive tenderness and caring – what is the place in the body where this happens: nurture it

Letting go of what closes the heart: fear, resentment, old grief / anger, jealousy, attachment, self-clinging – see walking meditation, above

3.3.2        Changing Negative Emotions and Patterns

Meditate upon the emotions and behaviors. Accept the feeling; suspend judgment and behavior based on the feeling – especially avoid entering a negative cycle of feeling and judgment or feeling and behavior. The immediately following indented paragraphs are an appended detail

Being uncomfortable with one’s feelings – what this means: it is not that one feels or does not feel acute or even dull discomfort; rather one has difficulty dealing with the feelings and, perhaps, one seeks to avoid the feelings and situations that cause them. It may be pervasive and the effect cumulative: it may affect enjoyment of the moment in many situations, affect performance and affect one’s history of relationships both love and work

The origins of such discomfort may include: an innate biological tendency to extremes of emotion; growing up in an environment where feelings are suppressed and so on – and so, self-judgment in relation to the emotion and a negative feed back loop of escalating emotion; lack of social learning opportunity, history of choosing avoidance and a resulting developmental negative feedback

Solutions: accepting the feelings and living with them in the moment – not avoiding them, holding them in a pattern of learning to co-exist with them and perform despite them… with others / and by self; seeking out situations and a pattern of learning by abreaction [see Psychotherapies;] cultivate health and energy – exercise, food and drink, sleep, place / meditation, recitation, affirmation, cultivation, learning and other enhancements / social learning and environment

Explore, do not avoid, and find the ground of: anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, grief, depression, jealousy…

Patterns: walking meditation including awareness and pro-action; act out in feeling-imagination

3.3.3        Intuition

The use here is similar to the Kantian concept of intuition; the assumption is that there is an intuition of ultimates

…and spirituality

Direct awareness of, the sense of being and identity with all things; direct intuitive knowledge and identity with of ultimate reality – the ground of being

Passive in the sense of the awareness not being experienced as controlled or controlling

3.3.4        Healing

Awareness of the body, mind… response to action, environment, persons, food and herbs, positive, healing images and thoughts… see the Dynamics of Being

Everyday life, healing, doing your best

3.3.5        Threat

Many situations are threatening or seen as threatening: sports, acting, career and competition, danger

Accept loss and the presence of loss, rehearse and imagine performance, no mind, conscious-unconscious dialog



Most of all the Apache go where the best fight is. It’s a morality once you understand it
Lt. Gatewood to 2nd Lt. Davis in Geronimo

My travels in nature are: journeys to the source – of myself and of all things; real – in the immediate enjoyment of open sky and sunlight, in the sometime risk I am alive; inspiration for ideas and images of the real; metaphor for all journeys – the Journey in Being

The Journey is a source… and the source


Contact | being | inspiration in being | real living | being-in | symbolic experiences – the meaning of the perceptual and being-in experiences | inspirations and extended reflection, meditation for my life, metaphysics and other primary interests


Journey planning: Short List | Objectives-Itinerary | 40 Wild Places in the World | Humboldt Wild Places | Barranca del Cobre | Journals. The most current version of the first three of those items is in design for a journey in being

The nature of the Journals for the Journey-Quest is this. The Journals are a record of my experiences in wilderness hiking, travel and living. The experiences include the primary perceptual and being-in experience of the places, animals, plants, geological features and people. Of course, these are colored by my expectation and view of the world. Then there are the symbolic experiences – the meaning of the perceptual and being-in experiences. This merges with my concepts and metaphysics or world view – in the meaning I am using here metaphysics is the description [study of, conceptualizing, theorizing…] of all of being and existence and this implies, of course, non-existence. The journeys are inspirations for my life and metaphysics. The journeys are also inspiration and occasion for extended reflection on my primary interests and an array of minor ones. The original accounts were rambling and uneven in the recording of the kinds of experience. The earlier records emphasized the beauty and mystery of the world and the wild. Later, I wrote more about the symbolic and the ideas; the beauty and mystery and the meditation that results from aloneness continued to inspire. I have edited the journals, eliminating much of the rambling but not the uneven character. The documents are maintained for their interest to me but all relevant content, primarily conceptual, has been entered in modified form to Journey in Being. The more recent journals – starting 1999 – may still contain some useful material that has not been entered; however, much of that material has been entered in different and much improved form during the exceptionally creative period from October 2002 to March 20003. Except Barranca del Cobre, journals written before 1992 have been absorbed elsewhere and no longer exist. I have retained the Barranca del Cobre journals because of the supreme wonder I experienced and as introduction to my use of Journey as inspiration that I later worked out in detail

This excision of the details of the accounts has extended to other writings. Friends have wondered why. They feel valuable material has been lost. I feel differently. Much of the material, so keen at the time of writing turned out to be on the way… so that, even where the details are forever lost, the essence has been absorbed. Second, this mirrors evolution: despite the variety of the present an even greater variety of branched journeys is permanently “lost.” Great in their prime, the branches are fragments in the story of being. Finally, in order to continue to grow and to not let a few discoveries characterize my entire life, I have made a conscious and ongoing decision to travel light

1           Wilderness Journey-Quest: Preparation

See Design for a Journey in Being, especially Short List and Objectives-Itinerary; combine with the following

1.1         Planning

Be open

What – not too many objectives; sequence: learning:

Being, knowledge

Light and sun

Immersion in nature, attunement, dynamics and health

Where? Who?

1.2         Preparation

Minimize | storage | family, friends | website, domain name paid for two years | base – place, truck, storage | cash | insurance | job on return


Conditioning and preparation

Out – trial, shake down trips, heat factor; keep healthy, attuned and fit; fine tune gear needs and amounts of supplies

Mental preparation: keep out of ruts

2           Inspiration

2.1         The River

… a symbol for a state of mind… a style of living… river as metaphor for life… the river can be tranquil or turbulent… I may be floating and swimming… or submerged… in control… the river may be in control, controlling me… I may not know… I may forget what control means… I may be disoriented… if there is sharp pain in my lungs as they fill with water I may not know why… I may not know what is water, what are lungs, what is pain, what am I… I may become pain… and pain may become the universe… the river is a symbol for the primal present… an inner place where pleasure and pain are not distant from each other or from “me”… a place of tranquility within turbulence… turbulence in tranquility

2.2         What I Learned at the Lake

…contact – presence and motion… the name of the lake: the lake has a name waiting to be experienced… there are light, gloom and dark; each is an inspiration… the Universal: – always present, available… Being is present; being-in the lake-cliff-green-motion-cloud-swirl-storm is being… there are answers to all questions

2.3         Barranca del Cobre

I undertake this trip because I want to reflect on meaning and purpose; also to become more familiar with Barranca del Cobre – Tarahumar Indian country

This is where, in December, I thought “here is home”. Now I sit, overlooking the Urique Canyon: there is the winding river, the great Urique – the source of life, the center of this universe. This afternoon Jim and I will walk and ride down into that sunlit, hazy barranca

Enjoyment of the moment… what tender shades of deep and light blues this morning… this is earth at her sweetest and most tender

What is real, beautiful and true! Imagine the beauty of this scene. A valley some 6000 feet deep has been carved out of the rocky soil of the mountain range, Sierra Madre Occidental, Chihuahua, Mexico by the Urique Rive

Description of Barranca Del CobreBarranca Del Cobre is the canyon of the Rio Urique which the river has cut through the Sierra Madre Occidental of Chihuahua, Mexico. The path of the Urique is shaped somewhat like a horseshoe with the nose pointing north. The canyon is accessible by primitive, unmarked trails from the Ferrocarril Chihuahua-al-Pacifico Wild places: Barranca Del Cobre is the source of things

3           The Journey-Quest: Nature and Process

The following is identical to the list in Purpose

Contact | being | inspiration in being | real living | being-in | symbolic experiences – the meaning of the perceptual and being-in experiences | inspirations and extended reflection, meditation for my life, metaphysics and other primary interests

3.1         The Nature of the Journey

To stop, to not journey is death

3.2         Grounding: Metaphysics

… it is symbol, motivation, interwoven with my life and discoveries in the real and [my] self; central cause

… quests to sacred places and ideas for the whole… experiments in [my] life

… dark: contact with the depth, pre-language, pre-individual contact with the unconscious; nature cosmology

… charisma and empowerment

3.3         Nature Vision

Relaxing, ignoring discomfort, defocus, play. Decrease preconception. Wide-angle vision; splatter-vision: focus cycles with defocus... dart and sweep. All senses

Spiritual connection to life is a natural capacity which only waits to be awakened. Those who express this spiritual connection are empowered not so much by “their genius as their joyful awareness of life and their ability to see nature as it is...” from Tom Brown

3.4         Animal Signs

Tracks and gaits. Trails and runs. Scents and musk. Push downs, escapes, hides. Beds. Feeding areas. Medium: rubs, nicks, scratches, gnawings and bitings, breaks and abrasions in twigs, sticks and logs. Small: hairs, stone and leaf disturbances, compressions and side heading; shinings and dullings. Pressure releases

4           Detailed Information

Resource locations and development: Northwestern California, Western US, N America, Continents and Oceans of the World

4.1         Sources of Information


Regional, reference maps, land, weather, terrain, social, historical, resource, biota

Faculty and research staff: geographers and regional resource experts; chroniclers of the journey: physical, universal; forest, lake, river, sea, ocean, desert, wetlands, rainforest, arctic, mountain

Federal: USDA / USFS; Department of the Interior: BIA, BLM, Fish and Wildlife, National Parks; Department of Commerce: NOAA - general, fisheries, weather; Army Corp of Engineers; United States Geographical Survey: topographic maps - 1:24,000, and 1:62,500, photographs - 1:24,000, Regional topographic maps -1:100,000 and 1:500,000; Department of Defense, service and intelligence holdings

Private Holdings

Lumber, fisheries, utilities, mining, ranching; farming, resort, residential, native

Guides, outfitters, explorers, hunters, trackers, packers, climbers

National organizations: Sierra Club, Audubon, National Geographic, Nature Conservancy

Outdoor Schools: National Outdoor Leadership School, Leander WY 82520; local schools - private and university-based


Humboldt State University: library, geography, natural resources, biological sciences, Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, fisheries, forestry, geology, oceanography, range management, watershed management, wildlife management

Government: NOAA Regional Office [213] 514-6197; Six Rivers National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Redwood National Park, California Department of Forestry, California Department of Fish and Game, Mad River Hatchery, Marine Resources Lab, Patrick’s Point State Park, Prairie Creek State Park, Grizzly Creek State Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Sink one Wilderness State Park; Redwood National Park

Lumber: Eel River Sawmills, Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, Simpson Timber Company, Simpson Paper Company

Guides - Arcata and Eureka: Sierra Wilderness Seminars: backcountry skiing, mountaineering, survival, rock climbing, backpacking, ice / snow climbing, guided climbs, international treks; River Guide Training: Bill Holliday; Time Flies Tackle and Guide Service; Wolfe’s Guide Service

Clubs and Organizations: Sierra Club, Audubon, Friends of the Dunes / Nature Conservancy, Friends of Manila Dunes; Meetings, Exhibits: California Native Plant Society, Humboldt Bay Mycological Society

4.2         Resource Locations


Land: continents, islands / volcanic islands, isthmus. Submerged: reefs, continental shelf, deep ocean floor, submerged mountains and volcanoes, trenches

Water: oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, straits; bays, lagoons; rivers to white water; lake; sea: wind, wave, swell, current...equatorial, temperate, northern, arctic and polar; ice

Mixed: wetlands, deltas, floods, coastal region; micro: swamps, marshes, bogs, beaches, lake and river banks

Ice: ice cover; permafrost and seasonal soil frost; glacier, icebergs; ice pack, solid pack

Climate: poles / polar, sub polar, northern, temperate, southern, tropical, equatorial; temperate western coastal zones, continental; rainforest to desert

Valleys, canyons and gorges; plains and foothills; high plains; rifts; volcanic regions: volcanic peaks, craters and micro-environments, lava beds and ash, thermals and hot springs

Land cover: Taiga and tundra, boreal of northern forest, temperate forest: western, eastern, southern; temperate rain forest, tropical-equatorial-coastal forest: sundarbans, jungles; grasslands; Deserts: tropical, temperate, northern and high / mountain: vegetation and water

Polar and sub-polar regions: Boreal forest: taiga - the coniferous continental forests of North America and North Eurasia. Tundra: flat, boggy treeless plains of the arctic region, with grasses, mosses, lichens, shrubs; polar ice caps / ice masses; Arctic and Antarctic coastal and island environments

Types of route and trail – land: cross-country, game and primitive trail, constructed, mapped and marked trails, roads. Water: waterways and rivers, river deltas, systems and expanses; lakes and seas: open; navigation, plant cover, land form, ice cover

Special features – poles: midnight sun: north of arctic circle; Peary Land [84°N]; Vinson Massif; Vostok Station; borealis; eclipse; Southern constellations; migrations

Places and references

There was much detail here; the essentials have been absorbed to design for a journey in being [40 places,] Humboldt Wild Places, Barranca del Cobre

4.3         Wildlife

Refer to any wildlife guide for details

Bears – grizzly, Alaskan brown, polar, black

Mustelidae – fur bearing with anal scent glands; fisher, marten; weasels, least, short-tail, long-tail; mink; ferret, otter, wolverine, badger; skunk, spotted, striped, hooded, hognose

Dogs – coyote; wolves, red and gray; foxes, swift, kit, red, arctic and gray

Cats – mountain lion; jaguar; ocelot; margay; jaguarundi; bobcat; Canadian lynx

Rodents – beaver; chickaree; chipmunk; mountain beaver; prairie dog; squirrel; tree squirrel; woodchuck

Artiodactyls – peccaries [true wild pigs of the New World]

Cervidae – deer, whitetail, blacktail, mule; elk; moose; caribou: green-land, woodland, barren ground; pronghorn antelope

Bovidae – bison; muskox; mountain goat; sheep: bighorn, Dall

4.4         References

Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez, 1986

Backpacking Guide to the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, 1976

Beyond the Tetons: A Backpacking Guide to Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, Ralph Maugham, 1981

Complete Walker III, Colin Fletcher, 1984

Guide to Adirondack Trails: High Peak Region and Northville-Placid Trail, 8th Ed, Adirondack Mountain Club, 1975

Hiker’s Hip Pocket Guide to the Humboldt Coast, Bob Lorentzen, 1988

Hiking the Bigfoot Country: The Wildlands of Northern California and Southern Oregon, John Hart, 1985

Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range, Ron Adkison, 1996

Inuit, Ulli Steltzer, 1982

Know-It-All Guide to the Trinity Alps, Wayne F. Moss, 1981

Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, Richard K. Nelson, 1983

Mammals of North America North of Mexico, Peterson Field Guides, William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider, 3rd Ed, 1980

Mammals, Simon and Schuster’s Guide to, Luigi Boitani and Stefania Bartoli, 1983

Marble Mountain Wilderness: Hiking and backpacking in Far Northern California, 1981

Medicine for Mountaineering and other Wilderness Adventures, 5th Ed, James A. Wilkerson, 2001

Mountaineering: the Freedom of the Hills, 5th Ed, the Mountaineers, Don Graydon, Ed, 1992

Plants of the Gods: their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers, Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hoffmann, 1992

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Mircae Eliade, 1972

Snowshoeing, 2nd Ed, Gene Prater, 1974

Tarahumar of Mexico, Campbell W. Pennington, 1963

Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre, John G. Kennedy, 1978

Times Atlas of the Oceans, Alastair Couper, 1983

Weathering the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Practical Meteorology, William F. Reif Snyder, 1980

Wild Rivers of North America, New Ed, Michael Jenkinson, 1981

Wilderness Cabin, Calvin Rutstrum, revised Ed, 1982

5           Journey: Other Aspects

Other aspects are described in the following locations [sections in Journey in Being]

An Individual Journey

Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action

Variety of Being / Computers Beings Minds

Action and Influence


April 2004


First, the experiments are cataloged. Then, a complete but minimal set of experiments is laid out

*       Indicates an experiment


The topics of this section on the experiments are

Kinds of experiment: Principles of Elaboration

The system of experiments

By referring to the system, I imply that the system of transformations is complete with respect to the possibilities of being; the system includes experiments suggested by the developments in Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action, The Variety of Being, and Action and Influence [sections in Journey in Being,] and the present document

The system is a synthesis of classic and personal experiment organized according to kind and integrated around the dynamics of being and a core system of [personal] experiment

A minimal set of experiments

The goal is to design – close to – the smallest set of experiments that covers the possible transformations of being. Extrapolation from the results by necessary truth [theory] will be permissible

Results of experiment to date, prospects and plans

1           Kinds of Experiment: Principles of Elaboration

The classic ways or paths of transformation are a starting point for elaboration and are taken up below. Here, I consider principles for elaboration of the ways

The objective of the experiments is to effect a full range of transformations of being. Emphasis is placed on transformation since the process and results include the possibility that the being may be changed to the extent that it is possible. Being – in its various aspects, in action – is also means of experimentation and transformation. Thus the objective is the transformation of being by the means of being itself and, therefore, the first approach to elaboration of the possible kinds of transformation is based in the dimensions of being

1.1         Dimensions of Being

In A System of the Dimensions of Mind, Being and Action [section in Journey in Being], the following aspects of being were laid out

States and processes: memory and the unconscious; experience or consciousness; attitude and the classic functions – cognition, emotion and drive; and action which is any process that is at least partially controlled by the organism – and may have as objective, changes in the world including the organism itself. A change is a change in state which includes external aspects such as shape, size and position and internal aspects both mental and physical which include both properties and constitution[6]

Extension in time: growth, development of the functions including learning; personality and its development; commitments; becoming and the dynamics of being – local and non-local

In the foregoing, in order to emphasize being as the integrated object that it is, mind / body distinctions are de-emphasized. The elaboration of kinds of experiment requires consideration of distinctions or polarities in the dimensions of being, especially the mind / body distinction. Use of “polarity” is metaphorical and represents a continuum rather than a simple opposition. The polarities or continua form the basis of the elaboration of the kinds of experiment

1.2         Polarities and Continua

As noted above, the objective is the transformation of being by the means of being itself

Being includes world as peripheral element

The variety of kinds of experiment arises from polarities in being; note, however, that use of “polarity” is metaphorical and the following polarities may also be continua

Polarity 1: experiments based in mind vs. those based in action or a combination of mind and action; both kinds may result in transformation of the being [mind / body;] all kinds may be iterative rather than simply 1 ® 2

Those based in mind include the use of cognition, knowledge [content] and exploration of the dimensions and depths of mind; and both mental approaches [may] result in transformation of being by realization through understanding, knowing, seeing, vision, perception e.g. Atman = Brahman e.g. seeing Brahman as an extension of the being to the universal and transformation of the being e.g. Atman ® Brahman

Those based in pure action include experiment and the transforming effect of action on the being [body / sub-conscious mind;] more generally, mind and action are used in interaction and the results [may] include physical, sub-conscious and conscious transformation of being

In summary, transformations based in mind include knowledge [gñana yoga] and exploration of mind [raja yoga;] and the transformations based in action or action and mind include action itself [includes karma yoga] and sustained commitment [includes bhakti yoga;] thus the ways of transformation include those of the Bhagavad-Gita

Polarity 2: immersion, random, waiting, incubating, sub/unconscious vs. discrete, active, searching, constructing, conscious experiment. Example: animal-being can be known / experienced by immersion; observation, interaction and empathy; and discrete simulation…

Polarity 3: this polarity is roughly based on the distinction journey / centered-approach or journey-quest / vision-quest [or inner quest;] obviously, the distinction is not absolute, e.g. the journey is centering and there are combinations; and whereas “quest” is [or sounds] discrete-like, the journey / centered distinction can also apply to immersion experiments

The different though not absolutely distinct, the polarities are the basis of a general division of kinds of experiments

A combination of transformational modalities [some traditional, others that I have at least partly conceptualized … all experimental] and a real dynamics of being requires [1] integration with dynamics of being [2] a complete practical set of experiments

For completeness it is sufficient that the experiments cover the range of being representatively

2           Experiments in the Character of Mind and Being

The character of mind is presence which partakes of the known in being close to experience and in entailing intensionality, representation and intelligence and which enjoys the virtue of conceptual openness and thus avoids over-specification of the concept. Presence includes unconscious mental processes

*       Continue the exploration of the character of mind begun in the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being

*       If presence is the character of all being then it must also be the character of mind. Continue the theoretical exploration into the question whether presence is the character of all being. If it is possible to see that the true self and all being are identical then it follows that presence is the character of all being; thus seeing that Atman = Brahman is an experimental demonstration that presence is the character of all being and of mind

3           Experiments in Function: States and Processes of Being

The states and processes of being are primarily the mental functions

3.1         Memory, Attitude – and Concepts

Cognition: perception – sensation and sense perception, proprioception – perception of internal state; construction of percepts in experience, from sensations and intuition. Thought – iconic, symbolic and mixed… Conceptual character of cognition

Conventional and actual function of cognition-emotion e.g. “What is psychosis?”

Emotions as complexes of feeling-cognition include the classic concept of emotion as feeling e.g. joy; humor is the integration of the functions in the overall potential limits, and existence in an indefinite world. Drives; continuity with emotion

Some issues: what is the range of perception, thought, and thought in language, i.e. what are the limits of knowledge? Are there modes of being beyond cognition? Does knowledge pertain to objects or is all knowledge hypothetical?

*       Psychological: “Jaynesian” experiments and considerations relating to verification or otherwise of the hypothesis of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

*       Experiments in instrumental psychology – blind sight vs. conscious sight in Journey 97 and in the section Unconscious Mental Processes  of Journey in Being

*       Experiments in cognition, emotion, drive and will: the central idea is the access of the spectrum of mental states and so of mental content. The following aspects are involved: [1] kinds of mental state, [2] means of access – as in the sections on perception, and [3] kinds of content

Kinds of mental state: meditative – stilling of mind to internal and external noise or chatter and, so, ability to direct attention to internal and or external data or phenomena of choice in an explorative, experimental way; tantric – heightening of feeling and emotion; Jaynesian: the production of vivid cognitive experience through altering object and memory data reaching consciousness and the [relative] intensities. The meditative and Jaynesian states clearly involve communication with the unconscious; this can be cultivated by specific means discussed in the sections on perception and, generally, by an intent to cultivate, related instrumental activity – reminders, recording, waking / hypnagogic / hypnotic search and dynamic process [dynamics of being]

Means of access: see the sections on perception, journey, and dynamics of being; specific examples include: stilling and focusing – meditation, physical activity; alteration of object and memory data reaching consciousness and the [relative] intensities – intense physical exertion, deprivation and exposure, risk, pain, altering patterns and amount of sleep, fasting, drugs, sensory deprivation, rhythmic activity and stimulus e.g. drum beat, a number of these come together in the vision-quest e.g. isolation, deprivation, rhythm and the various yogic systems; transforming quality of action

Kinds of content… one approach to kinds of content is to classify according to some over-criterion such as [from the example of dreams] literal meaning, prediction of the future, healing, extension of the usual mental state, reflecting real content as in unconscious content which has interpretive [what does it mean] and creative content. Recall that, in the unconscious, mind and body [universe] merge and, so the creative content is that of the real and, the potential content awareness of all being; layers of mind / being; dimensions of world – nature, social world: relations and work, mind, and universe

Places: nature, home, work [vision, psychological and charismatic transformation]

Further information:

Dimensions of perception – level and content of awareness: Perception and Vision: Ways of Release; Catalysts / Agents or Sources; vision-quest / Dreams and Hypnosis. Characteristics of dreams and vision:

Function / connection to unconscious i.e., real potential and desire / creative content shows capabilities and potential often suppressed, unrealized and unknown / regardless of assigned function have effect on mental – cognitive and emotional – and physiological state and so on action / regardless of function creative vision, that can be used as desired for the entire range of involvements of organism

Union of Yoga and Meditation / Patanjali Yoga / Raja and Karma Yoga of The Yoga of the Bhagavad-Gita // Meditation / Sitting Meditation / Walking Meditation: being-in-the-world; includes: staying in the present despite discomfort; being my full self in the presence of others and in all situations; automating this response / Healing / Threat


Huxley, Eckhart; the Shamans; Zarathustra, Buddha, Christ; the mystics and the yogis

*       Experiments in talent, its bases, cultivation and enhancement; and in savant ability and the catalysts to savant ability

Experiments have shown and dream analysis suggests that individuals who have not been exceptional can be induced into extraordinary ability

Some factors in the induction of such ability have been elaborated at various places and under various guises in this essay and in Journey in Being and include alteration and or use of: the neurological basis of mind, the cognitive expression of ability, the personality characteristics and personal dynamics involved in persevering in developing and using talent, factors of cognitive self-discovery and liberation, domains of knowledge and expertise, and the social context or field in which abilities are [or are not] tolerated and fostered and the access and use of affiliations and networks

Here are some considerations – see www.savantsyndrome.com – that support a conclusion that normal individuals i.e. individuals with no history of special skill or mental disorder, may have and be able to tap extraordinary abilities. There are documented cases where savant skills emerged in such individuals following a head injury or onset and progress of fronto-temporal dementia; sometimes such talents emerge, not after injury or dementia but after release from normal ego-tracking e.g. in a retreat to the wilderness or after resigning from Humboldt County… often such emergence is a return to forgotten or suppressed childhood abilities. Secondly, hypnosis, sodium amytal interviews, surface electrode exploration show that there are normally non-accessed but huge stores of memory in all individuals; surprising memories and capacities for artistic reproduction, e.g. music, are revealed in dreams and related hypnotic like states including meditative states but that are not accessed in the everyday waking state. Finally, there are experiments in which the objective has been to seed the temporary emergence of savant abilities by temporarily disabling some brain function, e.g. by using large magnetic circuits, in individuals with no history of special skill or mental disorder

Very briefly, see the above site, Darold Treffert has given some hypothetical but reasonable explanations of these phenomena and suggestions how savant type abilities can be accessed without injury or special circumstance. Mechanisms for the seeding of savant abilities include the use of magnetic circuits referred to above, the use of various techniques to alter mental state including not just altering methods such as meditation but also the cultivation of ability and, finally, isolation from the normalizing influence of day to day life as in wilderness living and in special communities. It is that while all individuals have the lower level memory circuitry the savant uses, it is suppressed by reliance on higher level, broader, general purpose and therefore more versatile cognitive or semantic memory circuits because that particular memory function serves us well, and better – especially in our world where analytic, sequential, linguistic, logical, general purpose – left brain hemisphere – abilities are cultivated and rewarded. When the higher level functions or circuits are disturbed or destroyed the more primitive, lower level circuits of right brain hemisphere function may come to the fore, thus enabling savant function. This explanation is supported by the fact that savant ability is so often found in individuals who are developmentally disordered or autistic and by the experiments with magnetic circuits

Finally, the relation between savant ability and genius in general may be that the genius has or has cultivate general talent and ability, perseveres and has learnt – perhaps unconsciously – savant abilities; the full expression of genius then involves the interaction of general ability and savant function

*       Vision-quest; shamanic; Michael Harner’s approach; dreams, hypnotic and meditative states and their use

*       Atman [true self, the universe known subjectively] = Brahman [all being, the universe known objectively]… through vision as through action and transformation

*       Thought without language

*       Animal being

*       System of knowledge – taken up in detail below

3.2         Action

*       Realization through action and cognition: construction / transformation of individual being – organism, machine; see previous section for relations among mind, body and action

Physical action

Need directed behavior – survival, security, and belonging

Goal directed, choice based behavior

3.2.1        The Body

See the section What is Mind?” and subsequent sections, especially Unconscious Mental Processes and the Body of Journey in Being

The following is taken from the latter section:

The interaction or relation between the [conscious] mind and the body is unconscious to a significant degree. Further, for many body process that do not correspond to conscious activity the [metaphorical] label mental is optional. There is a sense, developed below, in which all body processes may be labeled mental without loss or gain

*       Experiments in biology – Connect or graft the eyes of one organism to that of another of the same species

*       Rite of passage, scarification, other alteration and effect on personality and mental state

*       Prosthesis, direct control of artificial limbs from brain embedded electrodes, direct brain-machine communication

4           Experiments involving Extension in Time

Aspects of being that involve extension in time include but are not limited to the intension and development of the functions

*       Meaning

4.1         Learning and growth; development of the functions

4.2         Personality and its Development; commitments

*       Communication, charisma, choice, will

*       Personality and its transformations

4.2.1        Commitments

…and construction

*       Family, relationships, friends, work; society

*       Being and the Ultimate

*       Experiments in Meaning: Journey in Being project, Journey; construction of a life through meaning, ends and projects [process.]

4.3         The dynamics of being; becoming; local / non-local

From Final Thoughts “The dynamics of reality and being including self–observation satisfies a part of the objective of the Journey in Being; the examples, above, are actual examples and not mere ideas…”

Journey – experiments in my life; emphasizing nature, ideas and being… including the social realm; details of experiments below

*       Limits

Overcoming Limits: arching from human to ultimate being through awareness [Raja and Gyana Yoga…], limits, understanding, and change [overcoming]

Dynamics as Bridge between Modes of Knowledge and Being

*       Layers of consciousness and unconsciousness; and from the unconscious into the body and all being – the universe

*       Body and its transformations; intense physical transformation

*       Confirm the equivalence of nothingness with all being, the one universe

*       Confirm the Principles of Being and of Meaning; search for catalysts for transformation [Dynamics of the Real and of Being]

*       Animal being and mind [repeated from above]

Thinking without language; dreams in which I had no language and visions of the limited nature of language; comparison of the modes

The animal mode is being-in-the-present; the human mode is reflexive and contained within the animal, i.e. the human is not in opposition to or separate from the animal. There is no intended comparison, human and animal are labels for modes of being of the same organism

In the animal mode what one sees is what one knows, one is always centered, and no matter how far one travels or what one fears, one is always at home. In the human mode fragmentation can and does occur; but this is the root of the familiar story of fragmentation and overcoming. The experiment is to experience and live the animal mode as a basis for being real

4.3.1        Location

Journey and Journey-Quest

Local experiments – Immediate Possibilities

4.3.2        Elaboration of Examples of the Dynamics

The Phases And Issues Of A Life; Interpersonal And Its Reflexive Evolution; Relationships; Deep Interaction; Choice And Action; Body Awareness, Kinetics And Healing; Perceptual; Creative And Dreaming; Personality; Experience, Attitude And Action; Conscious And Unconscious: Of The Being; Threat; Integration Of The Mental Functions

4.4         Arching from the Individual / Here-Now to the Universal

5           Journey-Quest

In this section, focus is on the Journey itself and its phases – rather than on the approaches

5.1         Experiments in Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action

[Theory in Journey in Being]

*       Experimental use of language

All use of language is experimental in that it never gets out of the loop of practice – even occasional withdrawal is useful

Sections on Kinds of Linguistic Meaning; varieties of linguistic meaning

Relation between language, logic, mathematics

*       Nothingness is not definite but is foundation of [metaphysics of] being, mind, matter, life, cosmology; their slackness which allows precision: incompleteness of concept and object match

*       Thought experiment: the concepts

Concept itself, knowledge, value / ethics, object, noumenon, percept, intuition, formal representation, communication, symbol, language, meaning, science, metaphor, metaphysics, being, existence, nothingness, possibility, necessity, matter, process, extension, cause, ultimate being / God, mind, experience / consciousness, attitude, action, will and choice, function, dynamics, memory, the unconscious, cognition, feeling-sensation, humor, emotion, drive, idea-creation, personality, commitments, dynamics of being, cosmology, universe, phase-epoch, origins, symmetry, stability, monad / elementary particle, continuum / anti-monadism, mechanism, teleology, determinism / indeterminism, space-time, metaphysics – again, argument, method, presence, forms, categories, universals and particulars

Especially: mind, life, being and their nature and origins; cosmology: the interaction of all being and phase-epochs of the one universe: the over-being that knows an individual in all its incarnations and all individual in this incarnation; cosmology and the origins of physical nature and its laws

*       System of knowledge

The work on the concepts is preliminary to instrumental developments such as foundation of quantum theories of space-time-matter, dynamic development and use of mind

Mathematics, Platonic idealism, axiomatic systems as experimental

Human knowledge project – all human knowledge: phase II of Journey in Being

*       Knowledge and experiment: experiment with a variety of indirect and transcendental or direct approaches and styles in knowledge, action and experiment – numerous examples in this essay – including embracing while questioning over radical rejection / skepticism and radical liberalism

5.2         Transformation of Being: Journey-Quest – Wilderness

Foregoing sections

*       The River

*       Journey-Quest: as journey in space, in the real, in self-awareness, in physical transformation, in knowledge and awareness

5.2.1        Objectives-Itinerary: outline

[Modify the section in this document on the Journey-Quest accordingly]

Immersion: Being in wild places

Simply: endurance, and health; body-dynamics and nature-sense – this nature sense is, to a point, self-knowledge; hikes… the following detail is useful


5.2.2        Perception: Awareness, Attention, Attunement, and Nature Sense

*       Animal and primal experience… identity with animals, and the plants; thought without language

*       Terrain, water, air, sky, weather, animals and plants

*       Diet, eliminate drugs especially caffeine

5.2.3        Dynamics

*       Body and sense attunement; flexibility and attitude; body dynamics especially in relation to terrain

Relax; enjoy sun, sky, clouds… nature, and health

*       Endurance and intense physical activity

Physical Objectives: Specific hikes and places, climbs, and routes; duration

5.2.4        Union

*       Stress – limits of endurance, intensity, deprivation, risk, edge… and transformation and perception: Quest for Vision

5.3         Variety of Being


Construction, transformation

Understanding from construction, theory… i.e. from concepts and additional data points


*       Life / human being

Concept / theory / experiments / computation

*       New, unknown but conceivable modes of being

Possible / hypothetical

Myth / religion / god / logos


*       Animal being

The present / life without language / immersion

*       Technology, tools, machines

The possibilities of technology

Machines, machine being and intelligence; machine as tool and machine as independent agent – being / mind

General; in Journey in Being

Simulate / augment agency, being, mind, consciousness, intelligence, life: construction / design and co-evolution; Metaphysics from [sections in Journey in Being], theory

*       The Variety of Being [sections in Journey in Being]especially the material on machine / being… experiment and theory of computation… phase III of the Journey in Being

Synthesis with society, life

5.4         Action and Influence

From the section, “Society as Being,” the sum of individuals is greater than the individual collective consciousness

Journey in Being project; shared aspects – Horizons Enterprises… phase IV of the Journey in Being

*       Co-action, contacts / network, dedicated group – Horizons Enterprises

*       Charisma: developing, cultivating, using

Self, home, relationships, work, society / world

*       Use of patriarchal, bureaucratic “institutional” structures

Understanding, developing and using theatres / platforms of influence



*       Construction of / changing institutions


*       Society as extension of being

5.4.1        Related Experiments

*       Agents or Sources, Ways of Release; Catalysts… and Charisma

*       Work – see Work - general, Work - specific

*       Interpretation of my life – society, culture, nature, family, relationships, friends, work – as an experiment

6           A Complete, Minimal Set of Experiments

The set of experiments will be minimal in that, combined with theory / intuitive extrapolation, the range of being [objectives] will be covered. Further, consistent with the coverage requirement, the set of experiments will be simple and achievable

6.1         Desirable Conditions

For a set of experiments to be complete and – reasonably close to – minimal the following are desirable and, roughly, necessary:

The set will span the elements of mind and being including the unconscious and so, through mind, the body / universe. It is essential that the experiments span both function – state / process or being at an instant of time – and becoming over time. However, not all possible experiments and transformations need be considered; at most a representative or maximal instance of each dimension need be undertaken

The set will be minimal with respect to experimental approaches and catalysts of transformation. However [a] the minimum need not be the precise minimum even if there is one but reasonably close or, at least, feasible, [b] the choices of approach / catalyst may depend on my abilities – or, in general upon the abilities of the individual or group – and upon the dimension of being selected for transformation

Spanning will use extrapolation by dynamics of being including concepts and theory and will be over both elements or dimensions of being and over approaches to transformation

The set will be open in allowing for later developments and insight to modify it; action clarifies and generates momentum

6.2         Adequate Conditions

Sufficient or adequate conditions are similar to the desirable ones except that the following are emphasized:


Dynamics over modes of being

Universal knowledge through both analysis i.e. hypothesis and deduction or thought, and perception

Atman = Brahman as a special case of the previous point, again through both analysis and perception

Natural emphasis on the mental and potential aspects of being will not suppress direct and indirect transformation of physical aspects i.e. the material world including the body

Arching from the present to the ultimate: spontaneously as well as through dynamic, considered, designed incremental transformation; the dynamic element implies that design will be in interaction with action and construction

6.3         A Complete, Minimal Set

*       Universal knowledge including the special case Atman = Brahman, through both analysis and perception

Knowledge and experiment: experiment with a variety of indirect and transcendental or direct approaches and styles in knowledge, action and experiment – numerous examples in this essay – including embracing while questioning over radical rejection / skepticism and radical liberalism

*       Influencing, building society at all levels including the being of nations – charismatic, patriarchal action and influence, group action [Horizons Enterprises]

*       Estimating the variety of being including the hypothetical and the actual: cognitively / through perception

*       Theoretical understanding, design and construction of machines with mind / being

*       Transformation of being; alterations of the body and influence on the whole being: mind, body, potential

*       Journey; multi-cultural experiments; variety of institutions

*       Arching from the present to the ultimate – emphasizing the dynamics but using all and any tools… within reason and morals

7           Results, Prospects and Plans

Universal knowledge including Atman = Brahman

The analysis is complete; refinement and elaboration may be useful – review the Knowledge Foci for the Journey in design for a journey in being; introduction of simplicity will improve accessibility; perseverance with contacts will enhance communication, use, recognition

I have had some success with the approach through perception e.g. identity of self-world at times, especially when hiking; this success was not explicitly sought and normalization and expansion of the perception is a natural next step

Approach through the physical dimension / body: this is not completely separate from perception; stress-type experiences and pain are a first step and body alteration in its varieties is the next step

Influence in society: assessment

This is my weakest area thus far with minimal results in general influence, significant but not complete failure in relationships, and falling short of my expectations in work

However, there has been some general influence e.g. teaching excellence at the University of Texas, reaching a world-wide audience with technical publications, the Journey in Being website is beginning to receive positive academic response; and “failure in relationships” is a relative term – much of it due to my focus on the Journey which is my greatest contribution rather than due to deficits especially after I grew out of my earlier immaturity… I have left recent relationships on good to excellent terms but this is in some ways a failure of passion i.e. not enough passion for both relationships and the journey; and, there are some small work successes

Influence in society: plans

So far as is reasonable and consistent with the journey, rectify the deficits above; but carefully evaluate the idea of deficit and undertake what is positive rather than filling in holes just for completeness

A family

Work 1: analysis of the workplace; campaigning for change; risk; dynamics and various approaches to focus from e.g. A Complete, Minimal Set of experiments

Work 2: choice of place; see design for a journey in being

Horizons Enterprises: for research, the phases of the journey

General action and influence

Variety of Being: assessment

An initial estimate of the variety is complete

Theoretical foundations of machine being are begun… Some initial projects have been done and are listed in the section The Variety of Being of Journey in Being

Variety of Being: plans

Complete the tasks from the assessment

Machine being: carefully define and execute projects of design and construction; the primary consideration is establishment of the possibility of machine – theoretically or by building – being and use in the theory of the journey and the journey itself

Mind and Perception

Some work has been done in perception / cognition as noted above; further experimentation is needed in perception and personality

Walking meditation as an approach to presence and accomplishment


Catalysts… pain, stress and so on: create will, presence, and overcome the retarding influence of negative self-judgment / object [in the sense of Hans Kohut] interaction loops; note that many of my accomplishments have been when sick, in pain, or as a result of fear – evaluate and use this

Experimental possibilities including influence on being are open; numerous possibilities are outlined above

Arching from the immediate to the ultimate

Assessment: the foregoing includes an implicit assessment and plans; the goal is known, the territory is partially laid out in the ideas above and especially in the section Metaphysics or Knowledge and Action of Journey in Being

Plans: Thus there are two open doors to the ultimate: being-in [knowledge] and death; the task: discover, open other doors; undertake the journey as continuation of the above and through spontaneous transformation; the approach: any but especially the dynamics of being

7.1         Some Additional Experiments

A variety of experiments – accomplished, begun, planned and mentioned – is distributed throughout this essay and other documents in this website

Latest Revision and Copyright

ANIL MITRA PHD, © Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:48:08 PM


When I study the works of others, I often make notes which vary in form from comments, to paraphrase to simply copying ideas; the purpose is usually to learn – there is no other immediate purpose and so I may forget my sources. I am immersed in a culture of ideas that I absorb without complete awareness. I did not create the ability to have ideas, or the notion of idea at the foundation of the tradition. I did not create the language in which I write. Similarly there is a general system of thought that we do not cite even though we are dependent on it. Thus I am not always aware of my sources

If anyone would like to have a source cited, please write to me at anilmitra@horizons-2000.org

One may want to be original yet, given the foundation upon which one builds – the culture of ideas, the ability to have ideas – the originality of an individual is not much. And compared to others, my originality may be modest. And, in my view of the equivalence of being and the void there is no originality at all. Yet I would like to be thought of as original and it would be a form of denial to not be aware of that. However, my claims to originality are small; I feel I have been a discoverer rather than creator


[1] It is not being claimed that the ideas are novel; any claim to novelty pertains to their distinction and use

[2] The following is an interesting aside – can a being be a spider and a hippopotamus at the same time? If being a spider entails not being a hippopotamus then the answer is “no.” I.e. we usually think that there are no hippopotami in the set of entities that corresponds to the concept “spider.” But, what of the possibility of an actual being that is both spider and hippopotamus e.g. a quantum state that is a superposition of spider and hippopotamus? If such a being is possible in quantum theory, then it must also be possible in a universe that is equivalent to or “generated from” nothingness i.e. in our universe. This approach allows for an entity to be possessed of spider-hood and hippopotamus-hood but without contradiction since it is not either pure spider or pure hippopotamus. I.e., at root, being does not have the classical qualities of definiteness and exclusivity of kind and therefore there is no contradiction, at that level, of a being that has both spider- and hippopotamus-hood

[3] Of the responses to various criticisms of evolution, I mention a few. The alleged improbability of the origin of life has already been addressed in principle; it may be further noted that of all the places in our phase-epoch of the universe that may have been hospitable to the origin of life, actual origins may have occurred only in one and, further, that of all phase-epochs of the universe – there is an infinity of them – hospitability to origins of life must occur infinitely often and so actual origin is necessary not once but over and over. The question of the alleged improbability the history of life has been addressed. Another conceptual difficulty is the origin of complex organs for which it is alleged that intermediate stages would have had no function. The response to this is, in general, that there is a co-evolution of structure and function. A classic example is the eye which evolves through various stages that are originally very simple in structure where each stage is functional and there is evidence of the existence now or in the past of a number and variety of stages such that interpolation is at least reasonable. A further alleged difficulty is the paucity of the fossil record; the response is first, that invertebrates are not generally likely to leave fossil evidence and even when the likelihood of fossil evidence is strong, e.g. for vertebrates, preservation of the record requires appropriate geological circumstances; second, that the geological record, though incomplete, is quite rich; and, third, that there are numerous other forms of evidence that may be used to support and do support the fact and theories of evolution

[4] There are various forces that tend to limit or normalize perception that can be thought of as keeping perception on track; these forces include the reality of an individual’s immediate environment and social world, the distinction between bound and free perception, normal defense mechanisms. These can be functional or, as in excessive rigidity or neuroses, non-functional; however, the functional / non-functional distinction is somewhat relative to context or objective – neurosis may be associated with creativity, what is functional in activity, profession or way of life may be non-functional in another e.g. the charisma vs. patriarchy. Roughly, with liberal interpretation, the normalizing of perception is the function of the ego; the reference to psychoanalytic meaning is loose and suggestive rather than essential: here, ego refers to the goal oriented but constructive aspect of being. The principle of perception, then, is to modify and liberate the function of the ego while avoiding descent into mere license or permanent chaos. The following characterizations are rough: in meditation, the ego is suspended; in dreams it is turned off; in stress it is weakened; in the vision-quest, as in meditation, it is suspended but the means and the locus of suspension is somewhat different than in dreams and, perhaps, culturally / genetically conditioned; in the case of exceptional talent there may be, in addition to the positive factors of talent, an exceptionally flexible or, in some cases, an underdeveloped ego and, perhaps, combined with opportunity and motivation; while talent appears to be real, the underdeveloped ego may be the primary factor in some cases such as the savant phenomena. This gives rise to the interesting question to what extent latent talent exists and can be tapped by modulation of the ego

[5] It is useful to ask whether the neurophysiologies of dreaming and of hallucinating are related. A theory of hallucinations depends on two assumptions. First, that experience is associated with physiological processes that leave enduring physical changes [variously called neural traces, templates, or engrams in complex circuits] in the brain; ideas and images derive from activation of these engrams. Such circuits in the cortex underlie the neurophysiology of memory, thought, imagination, and fantasy; and the associated emotions are mediated through cortex connections with the deeper parts of the brain, thus resulting in dynamic interaction between perception and emotion through neural interactions largely at unconscious levels. Conscious awareness is regulated through an arousal process the influence of which is mediated by the ascending midbrain reticular activating system. Analyses of hallucinations have shown an important role of the temporal lobes in auditory hallucinations, for example, and of other parts of the brain in hallucinations in general. The second assumption is that experience and personality are products of constant interplay of causes continually emanating from inside [physiological activity] and outside the [sensory stimuli.] These transactions exert an integrating and organizing influence upon the engrams underlying the activation of experiences – images and hallucinations – and the associated emotions; as a result, physiological, cultural, and experiential factors are among determinants of the content and meaning of the experiences

Sensory impulses are constantly received, but most do not achieve the level of conscious experience in dynamic [scanning] and selective [screening] way in which integrative mechanisms that survey stored information and adaptively select parts of potential experience for awareness and, then, clear focus. These mechanisms simultaneously survey previously stored information within the brain and select samples that give adaptive significance to incoming information from the environment, and bring a few items for actual recall from memory. The content of awareness is an ongoing combination of perceptions of objects and associated interpretive imagery and emotion that are normally in a state of integration; and normally, sensory input maintains both the awareness functions and a balance in the relative vividness of object perception and imagination. Some information can be brought deliberately into awareness and many children and some adults can screen memory traces with eidetic clarity. Normally, however, sensory input inhibits quiescent perceptual traces

When sensory input is diminished, the functions of awareness [screening, scanning] and, as a rule, stimulation the ascending midbrain reticular activating system diminish and, as a result, arousal and awareness diminish. Sensory input no longer inhibits ordinarily quiescent perceptual traces. Such released perceptions may become conscious with hallucinatory vividness if there must be a sufficient general level of arousal of awareness and of perception-engrams; this happens in dreaming. Alternately, hallucinations may occur even in the presence of sensory input if the brain is stimulated directly by mechanical or chemical means or if the mechanism of inhibition is disrupted or damaged

[6] Change in state is sometimes taken to mean change in properties but not in constitution. Inclusion of the possibility of a change in constitution is necessary in light of the meaning of transformation used here