Bliss

What is this notion of bliss, this most venerable of a concept? What is it about it that is so unattainable, so desirable, and so fulfilling all at once?

I would argue that the definition of the word is not necessarily the experience of the word; for to you and me, a standardised definition we may come to some agreement upon, but exactly what evokes this state of bliss in us, will undoubtably vary greatly.

So what exactly IS bliss?
Well it seems that bliss is a totality. It is a plenum of total joy, of ecstasy and happiness. It doesn’t have to be loud or abashed (although it can be), but it is not the same as being content – because content almost implies that you have everything you need, to be happy. In that moment, you are sure if you were to think about it, that you have everything you need. But perhaps bliss excels that. Perhaps bliss is an orgasm of what everything that makes you content brings you.

Contentment (as amazing a feeling and notion as it is) seems to come from an experience where you slowly come to realise you have everything you need. You may be aware of the experience or not; but you certainly are in it, for in the duration nothing bothers you.

Bliss; is more of an explosion. It has suddenly come upon me, that I am happy, as happy as I can conceivably imagine being in the moment, and I am overwhelmed by it. It is a cheering moment, a Eureka. It’s having all your desires met or surpassed in the moment, and having nothing else to replace them.

It’s one thing to be sat at home, reading a book, perfectly relaxed on some idle Sunday afternoon with someone you love; but it is quite another to have been trapped in a car in some snowstorm overnight on Saturday, and then walking in the door to the warmth and release of stuffy clothing you were absorbed by, on Sunday morning, realising you have a favourite hot meal waiting for you or ready to be easily prepared, and then suddenly checking your phone to find that you and the same person from before are off all of Monday also. Or perhaps you come to find, through some random monotonous chore, that some memorable item you thought to have lost a long time ago, in fact has been found again. Or perhaps the person of your greatest desires, seems to equally be befallen with you.

The two experiences of content and bliss are wonderful, and arguably the barometer for happiness you should aspire to; but it seems that one is a slow peaceful understanding, while the other is quite a violent event suddenly coming upon you.

And here, I believe is where the interesting part lies. We can agree on the definition of content. We can agree on some standardised understanding of bliss. But, we could rarely agree on the definition of bliss, because bliss is unique… to you, now. What you believe to be bliss, is defined utterly in the moment. It doesn’t have to be the happiest you’ve ever been, because you could find this experience of bliss when you have been made very unhappy by a colleague at work, and then find out simultaneously that this employee has been fired for bullying, and you have received a promotion. So while this moment may not quite compare to a wedding day, the birth of a child, or the realisation of some life long dream; relatively, it was the happiest you could conceivably imagine being at that moment. And you got it.

These unique, rare little moments, that seems to come too few and too far apart – you got one.

And so, by its nature, as fast as it arrives, it may dissipate. Just as some kind of detonation seems to cause its damage at its inception, and then seems to leave rather quickly. Fleeting as all things are, unfortunately this state of bliss will leave, because eventually you will conceive of new things, in a new moment, that could bring you new happiness. But if the moment is kind however, it will dissipate slowly and not all at once. And you will be left with this slow, after-climax, that you can enjoy. And if you find yourself very appreciative, and understanding, you may transition that moment of bliss, into content, and by its very definition, be perfectly happy with all that you have.

And that, is a most wonderful thought to think.

With all of the above in mind; I ask you specifically… What is bliss?

What Lies Beyond

As you look into the night sky; and remark on the beauty of the universe in the shape of stars and nebula, you may at some point if given enough time, come to a realisation. These beautiful wonders, that have guided humanity since the dawn of our time, that have inspired poetry and created great works of art; may no longer be there. Light is the fastest thing that we understand. Nothing we perceive is greater than the speed of light. And yet even it, is finite. And the great span of distance from where we are, to where the stars lie beyond, is so great, that it takes finite definable light considerable length of time to reach us, and display to us the grandiosity of the stars, and nebulae, and everything beyond our world.

Potentially, these works of awe may have existed a length of time so greatly long ago, that the stars have not only died – but have dissipated and spread the elements of life into the universe since then. They may have brought about life in other parts of the universe, a life that may be so intelligent they too have used it to guide themselves through the dark, and used it to create light in works of art. How fascinating it is to think, that balls of light, crucibles of elements and life may have in turn brought about more life in new form, in places we cannot even hope to see. They may have inspired entire civilisations worth of culture, in what lies beyond.

Image result for pillars of creation
Pillars of Creation – A long dead mix of star and nebulae. This is a real image, taken from the Hubble telescope. Courtesy of NASA.GOV

They have done this, and they have done it so long ago, that cultures we may never meet, have already came and went based upon them. Yet still we see their awe. With certainty – stars will come and go – and yet still they inspire long after their implosion. It serves as evidence – that long after something dies – it can still be experienced.

Imagine you are in a room, and you are with one other person, facing them directly, as it would not be uncommon for you to do. You’re talking about something trivial and generally just spending time with someone you enjoy. You may smile and feel so in the moment with someone at that time, which is beautiful and remarkable in every way. But on a scientific level – there is a delay.

There is a delay between what happens for the self, and what the other person will see. There is a delay in sound. Sound travels at the speed of about 345 m/s, meaning that if this was a particularly massive room, a ball room perhaps in some large palace in Germany, that was this distance from one end to the other, if you stood at one end and your companion at the other, then there would be a one second delay between what you said, and when they heard it.

Now, when we actually experience this in reality, talking to our friends in close proximity, this delay is remarkably small. So small in fact, that relatively it is negligible. However, let’s not forget… it is still there. There is a similar delay with light – except that light travels significantly faster than sounds, at about 3 * 10 ^ 8 m/s (30’000’000’000 m/s), meaning that the delay is even more negligible. However, it IS still there.

To reiterate, what this means is that every time you talk to someone. there is a delay in when they say it, and when you see and hear it.

The complexity intensifies however, when our understanding of the universe and technology increase greatly. Let’s suggest that some far away intelligent being can view that conversation you are having with your friend; that they can view it on their version of a telescope which can see unimaginable distances away, and perhaps even translate what you are saying via subtle movements in your mouth and vocals cords, into whatever language they speak, effectively meaning they can see and hear you. The problem is, that if they are doing this millions of light years away from you – by the time they see it, it will have happened a long long time ago. Millions of years ago in fact.

But they are seeing and hearing it right now, to them, and yet you and your friend would have lived and died millions of years before. So how can this be?

Well… actually… this is exactly what’s happening with humanity and the stars. The two examples differ in negligible ways. So why even provide the two examples to say the same thing?

The reason being, it is necessary to humanise the following question; if everything we do is technically in a delay – if everything that we see and perceive is technically a memory – if all of time is relative to the person observing it, and there is no definite point of certainty – when does something, or more specifically someone… die?

If your friend perished in some terrible accident, to you they would be “dead” and naturally you would be very sad about it, and yet at the same time, this intelligent being could be observing them in their now, and viewing some certain events that happened before they were killed off in the third act. So they are dead to you, but not to this other being, who still sees and hears them, millions of years later.

It would seem then, that as the problem continues, the true crux of the issue – is that the general person still views time as an absolute constant, rather than simply constant – to you. In other words, relatively constant. Which is of course is an oxymoron.

What lies beyond, is not only new worlds, homes, discoveries, people, and cultures, but also the past, present, and future, simultaneously and all at once. It’s all just based on the perspective by which you view it.

Some comfort you can take from this, is that friends and family whom you have lost, some time in the past. No matter how long ago it was, they are not truly gone. Sadly, they are only gone, to you. But they are still smiling, and being happy, and looking at you with adoring eyes, from someone’s point of view, somewhere. Someone, somewhere, may be looking at you both in the past, with wondering eyes, and thinking, “They look happy.” And if some future technology could transport you an unimaginable distance away in an instant ( perhaps some quantum entanglement one day may teleport us ) then you could too, sit and view this person and you, watch each other with those same adoring eyes.

What lies beyond, is the past, future, and present; it’s the now and then; it’s the you and I.

Think of that, as you look into the night sky.

 

 

Do You Think We’ll Ever Meet Them?

As you look up at the stars, in the dark of the night, you notice how many there are, and although they seem to go on indefinitely; you begin to count.

And after a while of counting, you will at some point, begin to wonder.

The observable universe is unimaginably gargantuan. The actual universe, is even larger still. Although, as sight fails us, we know only of a larger universe’s existence by the effects that outwith our sight is having upon objects, celestial or otherwise, that we CAN see. i.e. Perhaps a massive object outside of our range of sight, is so large that it’s gravitational pull is affecting objects we can see. But since we can’t physically see an un-observable universe,  for now, for the sake of the following analogy, let’s consider what we CAN see.

It’s estimated, by different sources and reputable scientists, that the number of stars in our observable universe amounts to anywhere between 1 to 100 million… for every grain of sand on Earth.

Think about that.

For just one beach, your favourite beach you’ve ever been to, imagine counting the individual grains, and multiplying it even by the lowest of that scale. You’ll no doubt theoretically devise a number so large you could not write it down in tiny numbers of chalk on any road in the world. Then add every other beach, and every other grain of sand on Earth; and be amazed more, still.

Then consider what stars, in a sense, represent. They represent a section; a little order in the large chaos. For where there are stars, there are clusters of planets. And as such, we can count a little more conveniently. But we’re not looking for convenience now, in fact we are tackling the big.

In our Solar System (The Sol System) there are 8 planets (Sorry, Pluto.) If we assume then, that every other star COULD have that many, of course they could have more and they could have less, but let’s just suppose they could – you could theoretically multiple your number again by anywhere up to 8. By the time you’ve done this, you have ANOTHER inconceivable number. A number that is so large, it actually has nothing we can compare it to.

We cannot compare it to grain, to salt, to blades of grass. To letters written, or perhaps even to thoughts, thought. We are now, astronomical.

But then… consider this. That inconceivable number… is a snapshot, of now. Stars, like we, go through stages of their life. And same as they are born, they age, and die. When they are born, their sheer scale grants them a gravitational field. All mass has gravity, it can just be so small that its force is negligible. However a stars gravitational pull is exquisite, and its existence will force them to inherit planets along the way. These too age and die. When a star dies, it guarantees the death of all other planets which orbit it.

This is because when a star dies, it enters a supernova state. This implodes the star, and at its most dense point, it bursts out again and explodes its heated guts containing gases all across the the solar system, and out into the universe. This crucible of gases, of planets, of minerals, and all of the elements that found and support life, is continually exploding and spreading itself all over the universe, every day, as time goes on.

So this crazy number, that when we last left it was a rough estimate of all the planets in our observable universe, is now only a snapshot. Think of all the planets that have been, since the beginning of time. The number is now not only incomparable, but it’s actually grown meaningless, for we can’t understand it whatsoever.

In keeping with the unimaginable, let’s expand our thoughts to the non-observable universe which could be infinite… and then expand our supposition to more than one universe. In fact… an infinite number of universes. Why would there be more than one universe? – Because the universe does not make anything in sets of one. There can be no action, without reaction.

What is the point of all this? What’s the point in even understanding or dreaming of these numbers. Of how the universe works. The point of all this; is consciousness.

There was no reason for the universe to give birth to life. It could have continued existing just fine without it. And yet, it did. Not only that, but even life itself could have stayed as small as bacteria. But it didn’t. It grew. Which means atoms, which had until that point all been working independently, now decided to work together to form something larger. And why might that be?

I would wager, that the universe was compelled to observe itself. And the way to do that, is consciousness. Perhaps my last statement a paragraph ago was incorrect, perhaps the universe couldn’t have went on fine without us, because without anything to observe it, it wasn’t able to exist anyway.

The universe couldn’t even have written this article, had it not made that decision at that time. Now let’s not even delve into the different question of how it could even make a decision or have a compulsion; let’s leave that for another time.

The most important thing we can take from this, is that the universe desires consciousness. A chaos that can in turn, decide to do things it should not or normally could not, and a chaos that can conceive of things which do not exist, and therefore expand the theoretical universe indefinitely. Perhaps life was just the universe’s attempt to continue growing.

This consciousness as we know it on Earth, consists of the elements of life. These are Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen. Which are four of the five most common elements in the universe. Which are found in every star in the universe.

If the universe never makes anything in ones, why would it make consciousness in one?

It’s just a case of it could be ANYWHERE in this universe… and at ANYTIME in its existence. Each consciousness has its own perspective. Its own take on the universe, and itself. Its own thoughts, desires, opinions, loves, hates, fears, and dreams. And if these conscious beings can dream, I bet they too, sit down, stare at the stars, and count.

So with that being said, do you think we’ll ever meet them?