Accepting the Constraints of Being Matter

The existence of matter is an expression of physics. We are comprised entirely of matter. All of the processes ongoing within our bodies are expressions of the same physics that governs the same kinds of matter found elsewhere in the world, and in the Universe at large. Our distinction from the matter we borrow to comprise our bodies is in how our matter is organized, and this is the result of a chemical process we call genetics. Chemistry is just the physics of matter; the study of the interactions of matter, and so genetics, too, is a direct expression of physics. The brains we use to write and read words like these, and all of the processes ongoing within, including those processes that produce our perception of consciousness are direct expressions of physics. And so on a very meaningful scale every human thought is an expression of physics. This isn’t all we are; this is what we are.

Simplistically, our Universe and our world consist of matter, energy, and space/time. I just described in a sentence the foundation of everything real we will ever experience or interact with during our lives. Physics is the one thing in reality that we can trust because it is utterly reproducible. The laws of physics as we describe them are laws to us because of their impermeability and permanence. Faith is not required to accept a scientific understanding of physics whether a person’s understanding is rudimentary or advanced, as every aspect of physics is demonstrable.

Reassurance of the truth of physics is expressed by every piece of technology we use and depend on. Self honesty is required to apply this information in our daily lives and to construct functional technology from the knowledge we deduce. We do so much better with the latter than the former, and it’s fair to question why even if it is somewhat self evident. We avoid studying ourselves with the same conviction as that which we study technology because we don’t want to interrupt the emotional addictions we employ and abuse.

There has always been a frank disparity apparent to me in what people claim to know and what people actually accept as being real. This is a murky area to describe, particularly in the inherently poor perspective of trying to describe other people, but I think it can still be helpful here so I will try. Perhaps I’ll understand it better myself in the future and I’ll be able to come back to this to clarify it.

Speaking in very broad generalizations, we don’t apply very much of what we’re taught to our held and believed worldviews of what is actually happening around us, to us, and within us. Most people don’t look at the objects in their room and appreciate the complexity of the molecular structures comprising those objects. Most people flatly refuse to consider that all solid matter as we perceive it is by overwhelming majority empty space. Most people don’t want to consider that they are made of the same stuff we consume, and so we make light of it, we joke about it, as humour is an effective means of achieving denial of mildly to moderately threatening ideas we find unacceptable.

There exists a fantastic complexity of physical expression all around us, all of the time. Even in the bleakest of Earth’s environments there is such chaos of activity compared to what exists in an overwhelming majority of the Universe. I don’t think taking some time and making some effort to appreciate this is unduly romanticizing it. I see it more as a way of building trust with reality, and this is one of the reasons I chose photography as a hobby to pursue, in addition to thinking and writing. In spending hours examining the structures that comprise the life around me through lenses and microscopes I was able to find more acceptance of what other forms of life experience – including their abhorrent suffering. This helped me to find a common ground I could then use to better understand comparable aspects of myself and our species.

And then there’s our suffering, so much of which is self induced on some human scale, individual through cultural and political. As I learned more about why people are so bent on recoiling from reality by accepting more of it, myself, I started to gain acceptance of the choices and motivations and forms of suffering people value. This isn’t to say I approve of or support any of these notions, but they no longer exasperated me with “Why?!” questions. This in turn made emotional reactions to the relevant ideas feel less appealing, and if they happened, less compelling.

Combining reflection on this with my attempts to remain deliberately mindful of my emotionalism in the moment, I was finally able to accept much more of myself in a way that has brought me significant personal relief. It is my intent to describe these processes and ideas so that people reading this might be better equipped to pursue self honesty to greater degrees themselves. It’s my hope that this website will become a kind of roadmap to describe a path I don’t think we should have to walk blindly.

When it comes right down to it we have two choices with regards to accepting our physical nature. We can accept it and move on to more interesting things, or we can engage in dishonest behaviour fueled by emotionalism to curtail our own growth, imperil ourselves and those around us, and be miserable with an array of conditions including depression and anxiety. It’s not much of a choice when viewed like this. Emotional torment of ourselves is immoral not only because of the unnecessary suffering we cause ourselves, but also because we cause it to others with our poorer choices, too. This all applies to other factual concepts we must learn to accept, too, such as our mortality and our agency to choose.