“I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.” – Albert Einstein
The quantifiable value of our real-world experience is an energy scale which can presently not be measured in scientific terms. There’s no unit of measurement for “how much” you live. But if there were, it would certainly be based on your capacity to pay attention to the physical (and metaphysical) world. In other words, the degree to which you can pay attention, or your “cognitive bandwidth”. The physical world only seems more and more insubstantial and integrated the closer we examine it, and as we near the threshold of conclusive experiments which hint at the actual proof of multi-dimensionality of this world, our apparent position as observers within spacetime increases our apparent limitation to transcend it. If the time ever came that humankind obtained the ability (or mechanism?) to perceive “up” dimensions directly, surely the application of a greater capacity for attention would be part of that process, in the same way that having electron microscopes has increased our capacity for observation at a molecular level?
For the purposes of this completely un-researched blog post, it seems true enough. But in the absence of evidence, scientific theory is indistinguishable from faith. While it may be that the trained increase of “cognitive bandwidth” (the capacity to pay attention, what I colloquially call “bandwidth”) may give the observer a sharp eye, ear and nose for the world around them, how is an increased ability to perceive a valuable trait? Why should someone with the ability to wholeheartedly recognize present-moment events as they happen, absorbing them with undivided attention, be regarded as a fascination of scientific inquiry?
Sit still somewhere quiet for long enough and simply look around you. You notice the ordinary appearance of light and shadow, you hear sounds. After enough time, your thoughts begin to shout. They can almost become audible. Snatches of the background “white noise” of your mental processes drown out even your tactile processing of the physical world. Continue to examine your inner thoughts, you’ll notice that the process of perceiving them is the same as the process of internalizing the ‘outer world’. Experiments in MRI have shown that the brain cannot distinguish between remembered and experienced events, using the same areas to process the necessary information. The implications of this conclusion are at the least quite incredible, but at most point to an absurd undervaluing of the physical indifference with which the universe treats the “concrete”, Newtonian world of matter and the as-yet esoteric, unquantifiable world of thought and decision-making. If the result of these experiments points to a blurring of the lines between the real and the imaginary, then it follows that a major potential tool for creating change in the physical world is lying dormant in the corner of the shed waiting to be used. This tool is the ability to consciously witness and react to thought as it happens.