Happy Birthday to a Man out of Time

“To murder my love is a crime

But will you still love

A man out of time?”

Elvis Costello (Man Out of Time)

Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday, that visionary orchid who blew the whole space-time thing open for the modern Western mind.

When we think about Einstein and E=MC2 we may think of mad professor hair and dusty chalkboards at Princeton… and of mushroom clouds over Bikini Atoll, Hiroshima Mon Amour, and Nagasaki.  For the most part, however, mainstream culture still has yet to get it—and relativity remains a nerd-world concept.

When you split the atom, the material basic building block, you release tremendous energy.  Differently stated, you magically transform stuff into energy… which is all it ever was to begin with.  As you approach the speed of light, you approach the true nature of life—that it is really nothing but energy.

One implication of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is that time slows down as matter increases in density.  Einstein, who his teachers thought was retarded when he was in grade school, used his imagination to travel at the speed of light where he shamanically realized that time ceased to exist.

Essentially, Einstein realized that so-called matter is just as easily understood as relatively dense energy.  Given that time, particularly as ruled by birth and death, is truly our most valuable asset in life as we know it, we can follow either Einstein or Buddha and arrive at the same non-physical place where time no longer exists, no longer limits us nor depresses us.

With this sort of consciousness one is free, and one is rather disinclined to aggress against others in a mad grab for illusory things.  Much to Einstein’s horror, his insights were used to create destructive weapons, yet what really blew up was our view of the world as solid.

Big ideas take time to permeate and inform a culture.  The wheel wasn’t invented and suddenly everybody “got it.”  Likewise, Newtonian physics are essentially dead, but the world continues on its path like Wile E. Coyote, hovering in mid-air a beat before his sanguine smile and inevitable plummet.

Einstein wrote his General Theory of Relativity in 1916, and as we approach a hundred years of solitude we approach a transition where the way in which we see ourselves, our material world and time itself stands on the cusp of radical change.  We hear more and more about being here now, but that’s a bike we’re generally not yet able to ride—but just like riding a bike, it hinges on trust… on pedaling into the void.

Perhaps, like myself, you have noticed that time seems to go faster when we are happy.  And that time can go achingly slowly when we are miserable.  Perhaps joy, love and connection (be it with humans, animals or nature) makes us lighter, less material and less encumbered by time… by the melancholy of a Sunday evening.

While countless competing myths have tried to represent the world beyond the material realm, the brain is a material thing while the mind is not.  The mind may drive the brain the way a person drives a car, but the brain cannot understand the mind (and is therefore likely to deny its existence beyond the existence of the brain—this is elementary narcissism).  On the other hand, taking a myth and bossing others around with it may be fair game in the material world, but virtually meaningless in the realm of higher consciousness.  Reality may be illusion, but even I must admit that it is a very convincing illusion.

My personal myth (not invented by me, but I like it) is that the material world is like a classroom in which we co-create situations that serve to evolve our consciousness—an experimental play-space where the point is to awaken to spirit while still embodied.  In this way we open up a sort of heaven/hell eternity while in the here and now of a vast interconnected dream co-dreamed by six billion mostly not quite yet lucid dreamers.

In other words could consciousness itself, at the collective or “cosmic” level, be what makes the world—the “agent” that coagulates energy into matter and brings time into existence for us to work with—a sort of resistance training for the spirit?

Is this really too esoteric to understand?  Or does it make heart-sense even if the ego-self doesn’t like it much and the brain sees no evidence for it?  The ego seems to be inextricably wound up with the body, and is thus naturally very attached to it; the soul… not so much (as anecdotally evidenced by the experiences of people who report leaving their bodies, as in near death experiences).

Just as dying institutions (i.e. religions governments) tend to regress in the end-stages of their life-cycles, hard, Newtonian, science in its end-game may severely ridicules soft non-science, spirituality and art… (sometimes with good reason, as these can be used to con people) yet the ultimate essence of “things,” being pure energy and complete immateriality, proves exceedingly “soft” (and timeless).

This sort of thinking makes it increasingly hard to overly care about money, things, etc.  Yes we need to be compassionate with each other, but more to evolve our spirits than to turn earth into a utopia—the very nature of this dense energy is that it makes time, and time makes for attachment, loss and sorrow.  However, time also makes for love, children and opportunity for friendship, community and sensual existence.  Space-time may be the illusory terra firma from which we can leap for the stars… and “get” them as the essence of our truest Selves.

The mind to grasp our situation is not any single mind, not even Einstein’s, but rather the collective mind—which is reflected in the world as it is, with all its divergent points of view.  Perhaps, as evidenced in the increasing number of voices saying things such as these non-logical words, the collective unconscious is in the process of becoming a collective consciousness.

The great mystery, that we can call “God” or “No God” or the cosmic mind or whatever we like, is itself a myth and a metaphor striving to represent the unrepresentable prime agent from which our material world and our limited capacity to think about it emerges.  It is only when we quiet the brain and open the heart-mind that we begin to know things that cannot be explained, proven or bodily transcended.  You can go to the light; you can go at the speed of light, but not with the baggage of the body.

It is interesting that Einstein’s original paper on his theory of relativity is spread out at this moment in a museum in Israel.  In the heart of the battle for God, Einstein’s original hand written documents sit ethereally illuminated in honor of his birthday, a rare display of a relatively new teaching that, five thousand years hence, could easily be the cornerstone of some arcane Wisdom Text… that is if time as we currently experience it doesn’t expire in the glow of Einstein’s Ezekiel-like vision.

Having peered as deeply and shamanically into the cosmos as any modern human, Einstein once declared, “God does not play dice with the universe.”  In other words, things may not be as they seem, but neither are they just random meaningless chaos.  This is what Albert saw when zooming in his mind’s eye at the speed of light.

Perhaps we should stop arguing about “truth,” refuting each other’s ideas and elevating our over-vaunted intellects and instead find our wings of no-desire, take flight of no-fear and, finding freedom, get back to loving all our collective children—knowing that although it may well be all a dream, we are best served to love it and to go with it, trusting that it is our deeper SELF, our collective mind that not only dreamed it all up, but that may well know exactly what it’s doing.

If a sense of happiness, right-path and freedom becomes your personal metric (along with better sense than I, in keeping one’s mouth shut about things that inevitably sound stupid and feeble when written or spoken), then my aim with these words will have been fulfilled.

Namaste, Bruce


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6 Responses to “Happy Birthday to a Man out of Time”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    I read this through a couple of times to make sure I understood it. Your mind – your energy – is so brilliant that I had to read carefully. My favorite thing you say is the energetic explanation for why time moves more quickly in times of great joy. That makes much sense to me.
    I have an intuitive sense that what you write here is absolutely true – that science in fact bleeds into realms often dismissed as “soft,” that hard science and deep emotion in fact are adjacent if not, in some ways, the same thing. Openness to both realms is, at least for me, where the great wisdom is found.
    That is where you, Bruce, live and speak most compellingly (at least in my humble view).
    Thank you.

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      Thanks for slogging through this with me—if I understood it any better I would be able to be clearer than I am… but I would also probably be inclined to stay quiet. My over-arching point is that we’re all in this together, all our voices comprising something that’s hard to tune in upon without judgment. Thanks for doing so.

  2. BigLittleWolf Says:

    Like Lindsey, I’ve had to read this several times, and I’m still not absorbing all of it. There is so much in here; some, which I “sense” as meeting me fully, in some way, without need of more explanation. And some which, for lack of another way to put it – is in a very different place à la Maslow than where I live these days.

    Spirituality may be accessible to each of us in a variety of ways – individually, collectively, lightly and densely. The mind may govern a great deal, but certainly not the economy or the legal system, or the machinations of others with their own agendas. Some realities are undeniable (the need for food, shelter, protecting our children). And the worries they engender obliterate our capacity for appreciating the power of these ideas. We deal in hard; soft becomes more of a challenge.

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      I agree with you… perhaps that’s my problem—I see everything as true all at once. Perhaps Maslow’s triangle ended up on the back of the dollar bill and I’m hypnotized by that upper eye as the base crumbles. Yet maybe we have yet to discover Mandella’s mandala, where hierarchy gives way to an even more archetypal shape of things. Humans build pyramids, the cosmos seems to make spheres.

      Truly wish I could be clearer, but as I say to Lindsey, I so appreciate you guys truly talking with me. This, for me is how we figure it out. Some sort of “happy” (however any of us would define that) is what I wish for you, Lindsey, the readers who do not say and non-readers alike.

  3. krk Says:

    I don’t get it all, but I get enough to think that you are on the right track, as you
    so often are.

  4. Clock Change « Privilegeofparenting’s Blog Says:

    […] got me thinking about how I honored Einstein on his birthday, not knowing that it would turn out to also be the day of the “time change.”  Those trickster […]

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