Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can "God" Create Himself?

Taken from one of my status updates on Facebook where I asked the question "Can "God" create himself?" This is a reply to my friend and fellow free-thinker.

I'm usually countered with some comment about "Well what was before the big bang?" As if that's some sort of "HA!" moment of clarity. I just want a damn answer to my question, not more questions. Religion has caused enough unanswered questions in my life, I don't need even more exceedingly difficult questions. :P

Of course, my answer concerning the big bang is the idea that, if the big bang is the accepted theory, that it was likely an event related to an infinite number of similar events in an infinite history. Consider our universe an infinite fractal, everything is a part of everything which makes up everything. The big bang was perhaps the result of an ever expanded universe before this one. Or perhaps it's the M theory. In any case, I find that far more believable than some deity that likes to create enormous scenarios for his own enjoyment.

Can god create himself? It's like taking the "can god create a rock so large he couldn't move it" question and amplifying it by a million. Hardly regarded and largely ignored, this question really is the end all for Judeo-Christian-Muslim religion. Press the question to a believer and you won't find a single answer worthy of the question itself. Eventually it will come down to them spouting on about faith. Push further and the defensive posture will move to attack, providing the ever amusing "you're blaspheming god! I'll pray for you! I hope you see the light!" As if having a multitude of unanswered questions will somehow result in a holy experience, saving my everlasting soul from eternal damnation by the angry kid in the heavens.

But we know better. Thanks to creationists, we have been told time and time again (in regards to evolution) that "you can't have something from nothing!" Quite right, and this is why I can't have faith in nothing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Above photo is copyright Patrick Potts, 2010, and may NOT be used in any form without explicit written permission.

    I absolutely cannot stand it when I have a day off and can't figure out what to do. I want to read, I want to listen to music, I want to go out and get some photography, I should continue processing photos already shot, and in the end I just don't want to move. Talk about lazy! Granted, it's 11:00 AM as I type this, so technically it's still morning. I think that means I'm not completely lazy, just late waking. 

   I've been trying to think of what causes this to happen, and I've noticed it happens more when I have one day off as opposed to two. I feel like I can't waste it, as if doing something will make it fly by. Then there I'll be, waking up in the morning and getting ready for work wondering what I did on my day off. It's silly, but that's what stagnates my entire day. Of course, I end up feeling uneasy the next day because I know I didn't accomplish anything I wanted to. Blurgh!

   As much as I want to do in life, all the things I aspire to, you'd think I'd be busy on my days off. A full schedule of German, exercising, photography, book reading, and whatever else I put on my table. There's a thousand things that cross my mind that I want to do, but the motivation is absent. I don't feel like going outside, it's too hot, too busy out there. I don't want to stay inside, there's too much to do, no way to decide. And now I'm procrastinating by typing an emo-blog. In fact, now that I've come to that sad realization, I believe this is a good stopping point. Yikes, almost boarded the fail train at full speed!  

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Quick Suggestion


   If you're a creationist and you wish to convince me that there is a god and he created everything, then please don't embarrass yourself by saying that you believe there is more scientific evidence to back up god than there is for the big bang. Such a stupid statement is only a setup for failure. First off, science is not what you "believe." Science is a process of theory, discovery, and repeatable results. You can't simply say "well, it's obvious that god exists, and therefore it's science."  If science worked that way, we would still believe the world was flat.

   Second of all, when the hell did I say I "believe" in the big bang? Why do I have to believe something?? We don't know what happened, no one knows. And for the love of.. well, something higher, stop saying the Bible is your proof! It is not proof! It's a book like any other! For all we know, maybe there is a god, and maybe he had nothing to do with the Bible. Maybe there is a god and he used the big bang. Or maybe there is no god and all we see around us is a result of something much greater than the idea of god.

   The fact is, we don't know. No one knows for sure. Nobody. Not you, not your priest, not your bishop, elders, or your idols on the television. What I do know is that science is a logical approach to discovering our origins. Science doesn't base itself on burning bushes, superstitions of evil number combinations, or drawn out epics of good versus evil. Science is complex, and yet easier to understand than the ludicrous notions of the Bible; a book that contradicts itself plenty enough.

   So please, prove me your god and your Bible with "science" all you want, but if this science is non-repeatable, it is not truly science. And please, before you start telling me that you don't need to prove your god because of faith, please realize that I am reacting to what your people are telling me. So tell your fellow followers to be mindful of their words, there's enough creationists in the world already making things more difficult for you. My suggestion for Christians? Stop trying to explain science if you base your science on the Bible. Remember the bit about the house being built on sand and not rock? Yeah? That's what you're doing. Stop it, you're making yourself look foolish and setting a bad example for other Christians.

   That is all.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dreaming For Earth

Above photo is copyright Patrick Potts, 2010, and may NOT be used in any form without explicit written permission.

I should start this with a disclaimer of sorts. Dimethyl-tryptamine (DMT) is a Schedule 1 hallucinogenic chemical, widely available in several plants and naturally occurring in trace amounts in the human body. It is my belief that DMT plays a very important role in humans, however, I do not condone the uneducated use of this chemical. There have been no deaths as a result of use, nor any cases of permanent psychological harm. I suggest reading Dr. Rick Strassman’s book DMT: The Spirit Molecule for further information about N,N DMT. I can not be held responsible for your choices concerning N,N DMT. The time frame of these experiences is not mentioned, but rest assured, it was not recent.

The Information Overload

     The first time I ever heard about DMT, I was browsing the vast internet in search of nothing more than something to read. I usually glance around Wikipedia, random blog sites, and the occasional news site. For reasons unknown to me, I have always been curious about psychedelics. Initially it was the idea of seeing, hearing, or feeling something that was not there. I found that interesting, almost a way to dream while awake. The problem with that idea, however, is that it’s based in the thought that “drugs” are for recreational use. I never once thought about their use all throughout ancient history. I had never heard of the South American tribes that used Ayahuasca to commune with the spirits of the earth.

     It’s difficult to recall what exactly it was that I had clicked to bring me to it, but it was a link to Erowid, a large database of psychoactives available for those interested in responsible knowledge. I found myself absolutely captivated, finally reading all about mushrooms, LSD, DMT, Ayahuasca, Amanita Muscaria, and a great number of other plants or chemicals. The most interesting aspect of this site, the great archive of user written experience reports. Good trips, bad trips, health problems, nightmares, you name it. Hours turned to days, I was reading this site every chance I had. You might be thinking this unhealthy, but you may not be familiar with how my mind works once it latches onto a subject.

     Some would believe this a bad influence. That by reading this, I was corrupted into wanting to use these great sounding chemicals I was reading about. Up to that point, I had only smoked marijuana a few times in my life and saw nothing truly wrong with using it responsibly. For some, the idea of that is unfathomable. However, responsibility becoming taboo in our culture is a completely different subject. For the most part, I didn’t have a great drive to test the limits of my mind and body. I did notice an interest that was clinging. One certain chemical kept catching my eye. I found it intriguing, as if it was some fantasy chemical. All the stories of it were gleaming like diamonds in a rough of bad trips. It was consistently therapeutic, and yet a physiological mystery. DMT had found me.

     Part of my obsession was based in the strange facts I was reading about it. For one, DMT is the single most powerful hallucinogen known to man. It occurs naturally in the body for reasons that we still don’t know. It is naturally produced in many living things, in fact, not just the human brain. Our bodies even have a specific way of regulating it! When DMT enters the body, MAO enzymes destroy it within minutes. The brain seems to know exactly when it’s needed. One of the most mind blowing facts about DMT, is that it exists in psychedelic mushrooms (Psilocybin) as the compound 4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. There is no molecular structure on earth that is anything like 4-hydroxy-DMT. It is almost completely alien to this planet’s biology. To put it plainly, there is a seemingly alien compound in a common fungus that has a highly active human brain chemical. The kicker? The compound being slightly modified causes it to not be destroyed efficiently by your body’s MAO enzymes.

     It was as if I had stepped into a boat, kicked off into a high-speed river, and sent myself down a waterfall of information. As inspiring as Psilocybin chemistry was (and is), I was entranced by South American Shamanism. You see, these tribal Shamans had learned something incredible. They had discovered long ago a very important combination of chemicals. Harmala and Harmine, active alkaloids of the B. Caapi vine, the Vine of Souls. Also known as the Vine of the Dead. This vine was used to make a brew, a nauseating and bitter brew. It had the effect of inhibiting the body’s MAO enzyme. These supposedly primitive tribes had discovered a natural MAOI, without hospitals or labs.

     When B. Caapi was brewed along with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis plant, it formed a drink that would allow a direct communication with every living thing, and beyond. Through Ayahuasca, a Shaman could see into the very being of life. Could see that every atom was sacred, without even knowing what an atom is. The Shaman could see intertwined serpents, spirits of life, that would later be identified as DNA strands. To this day Shamans in South America use Ayahuasca to diagnose illness, heal mental disorders, and speak with spirits. Ayahuasca is rarely abused as it’s not a fun experience. Beautiful, mind opening, healing, purging, and by far the most intense cleansing of mind and body possible. But far from fun.

The Experience

     So what does it look like? What does it feel like? Like nothing that the human language could ever accurately describe. For this section I will be delving into my experiences with smoked DMT. As frightening as it sounds, smokable DMT is an extracted freebase chemical. Freebase is a scary word thanks to its constant association with hard drugs such as crack and methamphetamine, two drugs I despise and want nothing to do with. In truth, freebase is a term used for the current state of the extracted chemical. A solvent is used to pull out the DMT from the plant material and then is evaporated so all that remains is a nearly clean version of DMT. I’m not typing this to tell you how to do it, as it’s quite illegal, and I’m not one to put people in jail for something we are all in possession of. I simply wanted to preemptively quell the inevitable fear of the “F” word. Thanks Cops.

     The smell is almost flowery. It immediately illicits that distinct “something new” response in the brain. It seems familiar, but altogether new. If you have ever experienced that feeling where your brain seems to twist when sensing something completely new, you could expect to feel that a dozen times upon first meeting DMT. Think of DMT as a spaceship, one capable of light speed times an infinity. Imagine all you would have to do in order to travel is breath in, and you would immediately be somewhere else. That is how quick the onset is. The moment the harsh smoke is in the lungs, it’s as if your ship is already blurring the lines of reality, and you realize a very distinct fear. In fact, I have deemed this specific feeling “The Fear.” Creative beyond imagination, I know.

     The Fear sets in as you realize your forgot to strap brakes to your rockets. You realize that you honestly have no clue how long you will be gone. In that moment, The Fear seems like the single, most important feeling in the world. That soon fades. When it fades, you are still very much afraid, but it ceases to matter at all. A ringing in your ears grows in volume. It feels physical, as if sound was becoming one with you. Or vice versa, you struggle to cope with simple thoughts sprouting into elaborate fractal spider webs of inner dialogue. As the sound rises you feel a strange sensation in your throat, almost like there is a marble rolling around inside of a spherical room you never knew existed where your throat meets your chest. It disturbs you, but it’s too late to open your eyes, you’re falling up and down at the same time, shattering all meaning of the word “me.” 

     Your eyes forced themselves closed long ago, you’re realizing a new reality behind their lids. The darkness glows and colors become geometric shapes. There is something startlingly real about the visuals, everything has depth. And this is where I have to become specific. Every single experience is different. As if your special starship picks a random reality each time. For this time, I’ll describe a place I call “The Podium Room.” Again, I realize I am bursting with creativity, try to contain yourself.

     In front of you, small, multicolored spirals make up a billion shapes. None of them make sense and you get the overwhelming feeling that something or someone finds this amusing. Suddenly a wall forms in front of you. It is made of a fleshy material, but not in a disgusting or frightening way. There are eyes and mouths, each mocking your emotions and laughing on their own now and then. They are in no particular shape to form a face. Perhaps in the realization of how absurd this vision is, each eye opens wide. You fall down from the wall of eyes and into the most spectacular room your have ever imagined. The sound in your ears is that of a ticking clock, echoing into eternity with every tick and every tock. Odd liquid-like sounds fill your mind. Drip, drop, droop, blop, blip, bloop. But there is another sound rising above all, almost a chorus of “Ahhh,” but more alien. There is something about it that is so musical, but at the same moment, it’s not sound at all. It’s a vibration emanating from the room around you.

   The room stretches forward, bright white light emanating from everything, but especially the beyond ahead of you. The walls, floors, and ceiling are made of fractal tiles. Each tile animated with a precisely symmetrical organic image. Pulsing, moving with life, vibrating its chorus. The center of the room draws your attention, a raised podium is ahead, white light beaming from it. You look in awe, and just as you realize a very strange feeling rising inside of you, a voice echoes silently from the podium. “You have been here, you will return.”

     The walls vibrate in discord and tears show like fabric. The tick tock fades to the sound of air moving. A twitching sensation comes into being, your ripping image falls from you and dancers move in the dark to say goodbye. The twitching starts to thud, then thump, then finally becomes the full “thump-thump” of your beating heart. The moving air is realized quickly as your own breathing. The buzzing, dripping, ringing of somewhere else become your room. You reluctantly open your eyes and tears stream down your face. At first you can’t help but question whether or not you’re sad or happy. You grin and realize it never mattered, you are happy because you exist.

     I dwelled on this experience, my first breakthrough, for a long time. The weeks after this experience were the best I had felt in a long time. I had no desire to do DMT for a good while after that. That experience lasted no more than six minutes. I was in that other place for several hours, this I know. But like a dream, it started to crumble almost as soon as I came back, so I documented it in writing. I am forever glad I did, since writing it into words solidified the experience in my mind. I can recall every aspect of it, but one aspect echoes in my mind.

“You have been here, you will return.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Fear of God, Or of Losing God

Above photo is copyright Patrick Potts, 2010, and may NOT be used in any form without explicit written permission.

   How do you feel when someone suggests that there is no god? Most who have an active faith in a god react with a passive aggressive, if not fully aggressive, defensive attitude. Others will smile and say something along the lines of "I will pray for you."  But why is this? What is it about simply suggesting the possibility that puts those of faith in a defensive stance? Of course, I'm not trying to suggest that every Christian I have ever met acts this way. That's simply not true. I have had the pleasure of knowing several religious people that are okay with other's beliefs, however different.

   So what of the others? The people that react as if they are being personally attacked when someone questions their god? I have wondered for a long time now whether it's a fear of God and his great, overreacting punishment against the people he created, or if it's a fear of losing God himself. Or herself, itself, whatever. I thought about this when I saw a mother trying to convince her child to stop playing with toys at a store and to come along. The mother said, "I'm leaving, come on. I'm going to leave without you."  The child looked with fear at her mother and then back at the toys, but eventually couldn't stand the thought of being without her mother and went along with her.

  It's common, I know, and I'm sure you've either seen it or said it before. What is actually going on though? Is the child truly afraid of losing her mother, or has the child learned that the next level of punishment for not obeying is worse. Christianity describes God as a Father of all. In logical perspective, this would be an obvious choice for an early, male dominated human culture to develop. Christianity from the very beginning reinforces the image of God as a great father of all. A parental figure who is both loving and chastising.

  A Christian may fear the ideas of one questioning God for the simple fact that this would mean swift punishment in some form or another. I have heard many clamoring over recent natural disasters, saying that it was the wrath of God, punishing mankind for all the detestable things we do. Like show cleavage. Or the words of a clearly senile man saying that Haiti was struck with a quake from God for some old pact with the devil. If we are to believe this, then by all means, let's bite our tongues! The mere questioning of God's existence may send us to our rooms for eternity.

  Another idea is based around the fear of abandonment. If you leave a child alone long enough, they will become quite upset and likely want the presence of a parent. I see our time as the denial period for religion. It's at this point that the child is furious and upset, knowing full well that his or her parents will return and embrace them in love. When the suggestion is made that the parents will never return, or possibly never existed, the idea is unfathomable. But here is where the example of the child separates from the question of God.

  The child has seen his or her parents. The child knows them by sight, smell, and sound. Christians have not seen their God. They have read all the stories (well, some have, most Christians don't even read the Bible), they have heard sermons all about their heavenly parent and his, at times, barbaric laws. The fear of punishment has been instilled for years. But the parent has never been seen. The children are all in a fuss about how great and important their parent is, but they've never met. It's like going to an orphanage and telling the children since birth that they DO have parents, and that they WILL come and pick them up some day, but don't do anything bad or they will know and they may abandon you completely! 

  It goes without saying that this is far beyond a simple answer. In my experience, the answer is a fear of losing God. A fear of losing a parent, regardless of whether or not that parent ever existed. Most Christians are brought up in Christianity from a young age and are indoctrinated with the idea of God being a father figure. I do believe that the fear of punishment is there, but not until later when the story of Jesus is introduced and the ramifications of denying God are made apparent. What better trick question than, "accept this or go to hell forever." Especially to a child. From that point on I believe it becomes more of a fear of punishment and abandonment. Fear drives humanity to extremes, it's no different for religion. So with that, ask yourself one question; feel free to answer it however you like. What scares you most, God never existing or God punishing you for a lack of faith? Feel free to comment with your answer or keep it to yourself, but please try to be honest with yourself.

Bonus question: What sort of "true love" comes with conditions such as "love me or go to hell forever" ?  With this sort of thinking, would it not be okay with God to just put a gun to another person's head and tell him or her that he or she had better love you? I think we all know the answer here. :P

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Truth Behind My Questions

Above photo is copyright Patrick Potts, 2010, and may NOT be used in any form without explicit written permission.


Good evening! It’s been a long time since I even looked at this blog. As mentioned in my last post, my brain works in a very strange way. I can’t honestly say that I will update this now any more than then, but I hope to release some of the thoughts bouncing around in my mind. Now, before I go on ranting about religion and science, I feel it’s necessary to explain the current state of my beliefs.

On the topic of god, God, or deity: I believe that there may be a higher power, possibly even a deity. However, my opinion on what this deity is like is not based on any book simply due to the fact that humans are incredibly imaginative. Now, what exactly do I mean by this? I mean to say, quite bluntly, that the Bible and other such religious books could be “corrupted” by the pen of human kind. And that is assuming that books like the Bible were anything more than a fabrication over a long period of time.

My opinion on the Bible and other such books is based on the inconsistencies within. When we read the Bible from front to back, God himself is inconsistent. The Old Testament describes God in a very different way from the New Testament, with a few exceptions. In a relatively short amount of time, especially for a deity, God changes from supporting wars for “his” people, to sending his son to save everyone and tell them to love thine enemy. There is something very basic about the Old Testament God, something very human. He is jealous, vengeful, determined to make “his” people, well, his. This is utterly ridiculous to me. There is no reason for an absolutely powerful, omnipotent deity to be concerned with something so trivial.

Many believe I am an atheist after I explain that. I never deny the existence of God; I deny the infallibility of the Bible. I deny the idea that a deity would be as petty and confused as the Old Testament God, but still capable of making our incredibly complex universe. I believe that if God exists, he is not the God of the Old Testament. Does that make him the God of the New Testament? No, since Revelations brings everything back to those wacky times when a deity feels the need to behave irrationally in order to judge his own imperfect creation. If you feel the need to define me, define me as an agnostic. I believe there could be something more, but I refuse to base my life around one unprovable belief and claim human written text as my infallible truth.

On the topic of evolution: I do believe fully that evolution exists and is still occurring. If I were to believe in the Bible again, I would still believe in evolution. I believe that if there is a god, he/she/it would have used evolution. Evolution is apparent to me in every living thing. Some may argue that we can’t prove evolution, that we haven’t been able to replicate evolution in order to prove it. How could we possibly see the immensely intricate process of evolution when we only live to see a second of our own evolutionary time frame? Some will argue that evolution cannot be true since we are still the single most advanced organism on the planet. Why has no other animal evolved to the point of human-level intelligence?

I don’t have an absolute answer for this. Evolution is the adaptation to an environment, not a constant advancement. The earth we live on, this spinning collection of cosmic elements, has gone through a staggering number of changes through its life. To this day this planet goes through major changes. It is much more likely to me that we evolved rather than the idea we were created by a being that has always been. Just one of those theories has scientific evidence to back it up.

I don’t care to cause anyone to stop believing whatever they believe. I only care to discuss what I believe and why I believe it, as well as share what I find to be beautiful aspects of the universe we are part of. If you feel that I am attempting to damage the faith of Christians, then let me ask you, what is faith if you can’t test it with questions?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Brain

I don't think I'll ever understand how my brain works. Everyone that has known me for a considerable amount of time knows just how many things I have tried to do, have done, or plan to do. Whether it be learning piano, guitar, cello, or audio manipulation. Or how about photography, painting, digital painting, touch-up, and photo manipulation. Some of these things have stuck, like photography or dart frogs. But I can't help but shake my head at the amount of time and money spent on the unsuccessful attempts.

I've heard that my mind requires challenges and that's why I am constantly searching for another fix. This does make sense to me. I just don't understand what influences me to stop trying and move on. If it's because my mind needs a challenge, then shouldn't it halt interest once I have mastered said skill or hobby? This is where being human kicks in, unfortunately, as I lack confidence in myself and my ability to learn. I know I could spend the time on piano and music. I could learn. Nothing is stopping me aside from money and my own willpower.

I'm not worried about starting at UTM this fall. The money I'm concerned about since the Army has failed me yet again, but the learning I am hungry for. I've noticed that every day I learn something new. I don't mean that in the general way that most people say that. It's a literal learning experience, though irrelevant to my job or chosen college (sometimes). But it's all distracted learning. Bits and pieces of information. How to tune to A on a cello, orchid care, or what could cause a Dendrobates Ventrimaculatus to drop dead without notice. What could I do to focus my mind on one thing and learn it? Choosing to learn instead of play games helped tons with learning dart frogs.

I guess we'll see what happens when my cello gets here.