XVI. There Is No Spoon

Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

– The Matrix

Seeing the Wachowski Brothers’ film The Matrix changed my life. I have definitely taken the Red Pill many times when it comes to life’s mysteries. I guess in a way, I’m handing out Red Pills myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, having the super-human abilities in the Matrix would be awesome, but I don’t believe they are possible. And although I cannot prove that it is not the case, I don’t believe that we are under someone else’s control in a computer simulation, giant experiment, or dream within a dream. But I find the metaphor of life being an illusion in many ways to be exceptionally fascinating and useful. Once again, it’s about unlearning what you have learned. The last few posts have been about loosing your illusions. Let’s go ahead and loose a few more.

For instance, let’s take “there is no spoon.” A spoon, like all matter, is made up of molecules of particular elements stuck together in particular configurations based on the attractions of their electrons (remember high school chemistry?). These molecules are made up of atoms, which are themselves made up of smaller electrons and neutrons and protons…and a lot of empty space. If the nucleus of an atom was blown up to the size of a marble, the atom would be the size of a major domed football stadium, with the electrons at nearly microscopic size flying around in the nosebleed section. There really IS no spoon. It’s mostly empty space! And so is everything else in our world, including you and me.

Some other fascinating facts that you may not know or may have taken for granted include:

*Outer Space is mostly empty space, and most places where matter has congregated are inhospitable to life. Space is really, really big. Please, please take 1 minute and 55 seconds to watch this video. I promise it’s worth it. It will absolutely blow your mind.

*If the entire history of the Universe up to this moment were compressed into the length of one year, with the Big Bang occurring at the first second of January 1st, the first galaxies would then begin to cluster together around February. The Earth, our home, would form and begin cooling in our Solar System around September, and life wouldn’t appear on our planet until sometime in December. All of human history would be contained in the last 10 seconds of the last hour of the last day of that year, on December 31. We literally just arrived at the party.

*All life on planet Earth descended from a common ancestor that lived between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years ago. That means that we are literally genetic flesh and blood cousins with every single species on the planet, including chimpanzees, speckled trout, mockingbirds, Saint Augustine grass, oak trees, mold and e. coli.

*99% of all the species that have ever existed on this planet have become extinct. We are their genetic offspring. We are the direct descendants of ancient fish, amphibians, reptiles, and apes. We are here because we are survivors, just like every other species alive today that has made it this far in the game.

*Everyone alive today, including you and me, and everyone that has ever lived on this planet are the flesh and  blood genetic descendants of a small group of humans that lived in southern Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. These brave explorers migrated out of Africa over thousands of generations and tens of thousands of years, changing and evolving as they went and spread out throughout the globe, developing into all the different races and cultures alive today. We are literally all family. All races are one. We are literally all Africans.

*Everything in the world- including you and me, all the plants and animals and all of the products we use- everything, is made up of nothing more than soil, water, and gas from the atmosphere. Our entire ecological existence depends on a few inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains. It takes 500 years to form just 1 inch of soil, and, if unprotected, acres of it can be lost in one storm event. Even if you lost just an acre of soil the thickness of a dime, that amount would total 5 tons.

*There are 10 times more bacteria and fungal cells in and on your body than there are human cells in your entire body. You are mostly made up of that which you are not. You are literally a living, breathing, walking, talking ecosystem of invisible organisms.  Your body systems would not function without these beneficial and protective life forms, nor would they be able to exist without you. We evolved together.

*All of the atoms that make up the world, including the water, soil, plants, animals, you and me were created in the belly of a star. We are literally alive because, billions of years ago, a star died and exploded. The planet Earth is nothing more than a spherical chunk of molten stardust that has cooled on the surface while a primal fire still rages beneath in the mantel.

*You are literally made of stardust, and the atoms in your left hand most likely came from an entirely different star than the atoms in your right.

I could have taken the Blue Pill, as many do, and retreated into the sleepy haze of shallow thought. But I took the metaphorical Red Pill, and I’m glad I did. “I took the road less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.”

What will you choose?

Prev: Good and Evil                                                     Next: Why Are We Here?

~ by christhehumanist on February 6, 2012.

21 Responses to “XVI. There Is No Spoon”

  1. Ah, yes. I recall this part of the path. I have most of my life taken “the road less travelled by”….which has, indeed, made all the difference. For part of the journey on this road/path….at the beginning….I thought that I was the only wayfarer…very lonely place to be…yet, I forged on. Later, it was fun to see that I was not alone, actually. I met others along the road less travelled. We would stop to exchange information, welcome one another’s knowledge, and continue on alone….killing buddhas along the way as we encountered them. I am referring to the powerful book, “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill him.”
    Yes, the video is awesome. I remember many years ago when I first felt this sense of perspective in the grander scheme of things. Leaves one feeling less than a speck of dust in the composite. With this being said, I journeyed on down the road a bit gaining more perspective as I travelled. Now, I figured that the farthest planet in the farthest galaxy on the farthest side of the Universe did not give a crap about me, the tiniest speck of dust somewhere far far away, much less acknowledge me. Therefore, I made a quiet agreement with the Bigger Truth out there. I had no time to give up to such ponderings. I was not part of that galaxy’s reality….nor did I choose to make that galaxy part of mine at this particular time in my existence as a Soul-Sojourner. It was more like an agreement to just accept that there was a Bigger Picture out there. Enough said. The Bigger Picture would be known later. For this lifetime, within this lifespan of reality, my evolution, progress, and survival had to be centered on my own planet, my world, my community, my family, and my life. That farthest planet in that farthest galaxy did not care if my family was being cared for, if we had food and shelter, and a loving fullfilled life. So, I stopped giving much thought to the grander scheme of things. That’s why I get so utterly ticked, I have a more forceful word in mind, but am respectful of readers, when sooooo much money and concern are put into NASA and space exploration. We have starving and dying folks on our back streets, people homeless and abandononed, soldiers dying in useless wars, and too much crime and violence in our cultures to be concerned with something that means nothing to the survival of our planet and our species. Let’s get real.
    Afterall, the answers are not “out there.” The answers to all questions already exist right here at home on planet earth within our own little fish tank inside the bigger aquarium…….Because we are a part of the whole, having come from the Source of ALL.
    Just as we all possess some of that star dust from eons and light years away, the Soul-Consciousness within every cell of our bodies remembers and retains everything. That is why the greatest thinkers of our time have all encouraged us to “Know Thyself,” “The Kingdom of Heaven is Within,” “The Force is with You,” etc.
    We can not kill the buddhas on other planets until we destroy the ones on our oun path, in our world and on our own planet.

    • Thank you for your great comment, Annabele. I love that quote about killing the Buddha. Most people forget that particular teaching of Siddhartha.

      Here’s where you and I begin to disagree. I agree that the galaxies that exist unimaginable distances away have no concern for us, but I think it is important for us to have concern for them. We cannot possibly understand everything we need to know about how the Universe works by merely looking at our own planet. This is just one way that life works. I contend that we cannot fully know how best to design and live our lives without knowing as much as we can about the Big Picture. True, it is important to stay grounded in the here and now, and spending all of your time contemplating the cosmos does not a balanced life make, but I think that addressing our role as a planetary society in the Universe is important, and that takes exploration.

      You mentioned NASA and funding. NASA’s budget is a tiny fraction of the U.S. Federal Budget. NASA is going broke due to lack of funding, but we have spent trillions of dollars on war and the design of killing machines. One thing is for certain….we won’t be able to live on this rock forever. In a few billion years, the sun will swell into a red giant and destroy the Earth. Yes, that’s a long way in the future, but we may have to vacate the premises much, much sooner due to a number of scenarios. We have a finite amount of space on this rock and a finite amount of resources. And the Earth is constantly in a state of change, a process that we are affecting even now. If our species is to survive in the future, we will have to master space travel. We can’t get there if we are spending more money on rockets that kill than rockets to Mars. Let’s get real. This isn’t science fiction.

      And although I do like the ideas of “knowing thyself” and “finding Heaven within” and of course, “the Force”, I don’t believe that any kind of soul or soul-consciousness exists. I don’t know how it could remember or retain anything even if it did exist. I respect your right to believe in such things, but I think it’s really okay to realize that what you see is what you get. We are all that we are. No soul, no plan, no higher power. We’re just hangin’ out on this rock, trying to figure out what to do today. I wish more people would give themselves permission to accept this fact.

      Thank you as always for reading and responding.


      • I hear where you are comning from….I understand your perspective at this time more than you realize. Thank you for inviting me to be part of the journey. I look forward to all your posts.


  2. thank you Annabel

  3. ” who is it that becomes aware of this reading? What is the consciouness that underlies your thoughts?Become aware of the duality of this interior process. Your mind is busy decoding, analyzing, and translating. So, who is doing the reading? With this one little twist of attention you may become aware that there is a presence within you, a force that is always doing the experiencing. This is the soul or nonlocal intelligence, and its experience takes place at the virtual level.” (Deepak Chopra)

    • Great quote, Lois. When I was a kid I saw a Chopra special on tv and he said something like, “your true self is the silent observer inside of you that is hearing these word right now.” That changed my life. I have read many of his books and even listened to a few of his audio tapes (haha-as in cassette tapes–wow). Now, although Deepak Chopra is an incredible speaker and author- he is very intelligent and has an enormous talent for emotional language-, and he has changed many people’s lives for the better by giving them hope and purpose, I still don’t subscribe to many of his teachings. He has been called out many times by physicists, especially quantum physicists, for mixing pseudoscience with equal parts truth and nonsense. I personally don’t find his ideas credible. Plus he believes in the concepts of a soul and a higher power, which I reject. But the quote you presented speaks volumes about the human mind, and I will be addressing a few of the brain’s details, including the phenomenon of duality and how we use different parts of our brain to decode, analyze, translate AND do the reading, in an upcoming post.

  4. there is a new one co authored By Deepak just out ……(co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow who has a doctorate in theoretical physics from the U.of Calif at Berkeley …. and teaches at Caltech ) ……titled ”
    War of the World Views” ……it ties in with what you are attempting to do ….speaks of Science vs. Spirituality …… and if you have not read some of Deepaks most recent offerings you will not be able to speak about his work because you will not have included his own personal changes ….. just sayin …..

    • Awesome Lois. Good to hear from you! I will definitely have to check that out. I was referring to his beliefs and public lectures as of 2010.

    • Awesome book. Very brave of Mr. Chopra to do. It’s funny, Mlodinow was one of the physicists I was referring to who called Chopra out. That debate from 2010 with Sam Harris is fantastic. I agree with Chopra on many, many things, but I disagree with him on pretty much all of the same points that Mlodinow does. I don’t believe in God, or a Higher Power or Consciousness, or a soul, or a godly realm outside the Universe from which God created us or influences us or connects with us. But I praise the direction and efforts of this book for discussing these tough questions and furthering an effort to bring science and spirituality together. That’s a big part of what I’m trying to do with this blog. Thank you so much for sharing this book. Here’s a very entertaining debate between Chopra and Mlodinow discussing the book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S9nUiKMI7s&feature=related

  5. and very brave of Mr. Mlodinow to do it with Deepak and how brave of them both to agree to do this together with such mutual respect for each other….
    and of course I would expect you to agree with Mlodinow’s points just as I agree with Chopra …..

    maybe what I am suggesting is that it has all already been said and each will have its followers and you and I could talk on about this forever without either of us convincing the other of anything ……..just as generations of us “children” have done over and over again.

    Ever heard the old saying “you can’t get there from here” …….
    proof is not written into the game rules of life
    either ya does or ya does’nt
    period and !!!

  6. and there is many a change between 2010 and 2012 and wow jeepers, tomorrow may offer the flip side of everything we both have said ….:>)

  7. I would like to recommend a book….today, you can even download it with no cost onto your pC…”Butterflies Are Free to Fly” by Stephen Davis.


  8. “Butterflies Are Free to Fly” references quantum physics, the matrix, holograms, McKenna and others. It’s on Amazon free today.


  9. OK, I finished “Butterflies.” Hmmmmmm…..just as with Mitchell, Harris, McKenna and All the rest of us on this path, there’s still that “missing part.” That “something” is not quite ever attained in all these writers and speakers of “the truth.” Davis is stimulating reading. Also, like me, he addresses the fact that McKenna misses “it” as well as others. We all seem to get to a certain point and stretch to go farther….still stretching here. Just as in “Orphaned By God,” Davis sees us as “discarding” the false to get to the real. However, Harris, McKenna and Davis don’t quite “get” the “connectedness” part yet. Harris tried to kill the spiritual part; McKenna tries to kill the ego part; Davis attempts to kill “choice and free-will.” I’m just killing buddhas along the way.

    • I think that I will be addressing the “missing something” that so many people talk about in upcoming posts. At least I hope so. And I will not be trying to kill spirituality, but redefine it so that it is less harmful and more productive than the current version. I will also be talking about the ego, where it exists in the brain and what we can do about it, but I would never seek to kill it. I will also be addressing choice and free will, which as science has shown us, is more complex than most people realize. Thank you for your input.

  10. is Davis saying that he “has” it ?? If so …… ahem ……anyone who makes claims that they have “arrived” has much to learn ……. if they had arrived” they would have no need to say so ………and I see it as McKenna making friends with the ego as part of his learning experience ….guess I would need chapter and verse to see where Anabel is coming from ….and aren’t Mitchell, Harris, McKenna and Davis just “killing the Buddhas along the way?

  11. Lois, thanks for your response. Yes, Davis pretty much says he “has It” as I interpret him. He and I are emailing for the past two days. I could not help but respond to him on his web email address. I feel he got lost in his hologram. He and I seem to be in agreement on McKenna, but do part ways at that proverbial fork in the road. I just tried to find you some references in McKenna’s Spiritual Incorrectness. However, it has only been a week since I read it….and read that rather large book in two days time. So, I am fnding that my stomach’s queasiness looking back through all of that is not healthy at this time….much too much. As I told Davis in an email, I have this vision of McKenna’s ego plotting a massive wup-ass against him…with him certain that while he is out there on an island somewhere he is “free.” I did, having said all of this, actually get a great deal out of both McKenna and Davis’ books. There is always truth in everything.
    Yes, to your question about Mitchell, Harris, McKenna, Davis……as well as Chris….they are absolutely just “killing the buddhas along the way…as we all are.
    You and Chris have mentioned Deepak in these posts. I tried very hard to connect with him years ago…..read books, listened to his tapes and watched PBS specials. While he is an authority, in my opinion, on what he says, I just don’t have him listed at the top of my personal list of “mentors”…for lack of a better word…yet, I do think he has “it” pretty much. Stuart Wilde and Wayne Dyer are on course, too, and do have “it” nailed down to a large degree.


  12. hah …. thanks Anabel …. I will look more into Davis’ web site ……

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