Friday, December 5, 2008


You have at last, dear reader, come to the end--and the conclusions--of this odyssey of essays. If you have patiently and thoughtfully followed the trail from peak to peak (of interesting ideas and observations) and from valley to valley (of tedious examples and explanations), then you are ready to savor the delicious meal that should come at the end of a long and arduous journey.

Do you recall that the essays titled "Strange Brain Games," "Brain Glitches," "Dr. Taylor's Stroke," and "Self-Image and Consciousness" described the functions and outlined the limitations of the human brain? I linked this to the breadth and cleverness of human accomplishments ("A Clever Experiment," "Echoes of Light," and "Life Has Many Moving Parts"), including to humanity's greatest achievements (its complex associations) but also to the limitations of these ("The Collapse of Civilizations" and "The Rise and Fall of Civilizations"). If you do not recall clearly the points of those essays, do yourself a favor and go back and read through them again.

The essays "Defining Health," "What is Health?" and "Where Do Symptoms Go To Die?" discussed a hierarchy of human experience from physical through emotional and mental to spiritual. In conjunction with this, do you recall the tales of quantum weirdness (described in "The Prime-Mover Conundrum"), how little of the information flow around us we are aware of ("Limits of Perception"), the infinitude of higher-dimensional space ("Empty Space"), and the difficulty of detecting other-dimensional universes--but the possibility of doing so ("Is Anybody Out There?")? If not, look back through those essays; those perspectives build these conclusions.

What I did not highlight earlier--and I now bring to your attention--is that the discussion of multi-dimensional universes was limited to considerations of what we would call "physical"--albeit some surreal--attributes. Those are the aspects (of whatever reality there is) that are easiest for science to study, and most comfortable for scientific theorists to contemplate and discuss. But, as the health essays emphasize, there is more to human experience than physical things--much more. In fact, as discussed, what we have called the "emotional," "mental," and "spiritual" planes of human experience are observably more important than the "physical." And the "spiritual" plane is the most important of all for high-level health and "wellness." One would rather, for example, suffer physical pain and even emotional deprivation and mental fogginess than lose the sense of significance in life and purposeful connection with meaningful beliefs and long-term goals that we think of as the "spiritual" plane of experience.

Can we put these two ideas--these two vastly different territories--together? Can we perhaps imagine that an infinitude of alternate-dimensional universes must include variations of more than physical attributes? That mental, emotional, and even spiritual dimensions occur in infinite variety?

And does this not provide a splendid conclusion to this ring of essays?

Thank you for your kind attention, and for sharing this remarkable thought journey with me.