There’s No Place like No Place

Are you really on the inside looking out?

Last week, I wrote about the Inside-Outside Distinction. This idea holds that everything we behold about us is based on a single idea, which is that there is everything inside me, and then there is everything that is not me, which is everything outside the boundary of my skin. Fundamental to this distinction is another concept: the idea of boundary. Without boundaries like skin and walls, the Inside-Outside Distinction dissolves. In fact, there can be no me, no you, without this idea of boundary.

Yet at least on the micro level of the profound descriptions provided by quantum mechanics, these boundaries don’t really exist. We discovered that boundaries are, therefore, at least on the quantum level, more like choices, beliefs and assumptions than they are realities. They are perceptual ‘defaults,’ if you will; patterns which our meaning-programmed brains impose upon reality.

If this is so, then the Inside-Outside Distinction has implications, doesn’t it? And some of those ramifications have to do with our sense of place. Particle physics has introduced another concept to us, and that is nonlocal cause, or nonlocality. It’s the description of reality which holds that information can travel faster than the speed of light. In fact, data can be transported instantaneously without regard to distance. Space isn’t something we have to cross in order to move information from one point to another. In a sense, there is no here, and there is no there.

If there’s no ‘out there,’ then there’s no ‘in here’ really, is there? If there’s no out there, then there’s no there. If there’s no there, there’s no here. This means there is no place, no location where anything really is. Everything’s all here. In a sense, everything is within.

You look out at the world, and you see everything out there. You believe that everything that isn’t you is out there. Yet without the boundary between you and all of it, there is no ‘out there.’ There’s no place. Most of us have come to think in terms of me/not me, here/there, now/then. And we engage with these dichotomies in a rather disempowering way. We wish we were the other, or at least with the other. We pine away for being with someone, and when we ‘get’ that someone, we want someone else. Or maybe no one at all.

We’re here, but we wish we were there. And once we’re there, we’re here again, only to wish we were someplace else. We’re now, and look forward to a future when we’ll have something better, something else. Yet finding another there never seems to make us happy. Just like we’re really not happier then than we are now. We’ve even invented a place called paradise where we’ll always be ultimately happy. It’s the ultimate place, so it brings ultimate happiness. And it’s always in the future.

All these places are right here, right now, since there is and can be no other place. All these places, even the bad one we call hell, are reflections of a place inside, an idea, a feeling of supernal emptiness or of emptiness and loneliness. The choice is really ours, since the place is a state. It’s a condition, not a location, since everything’s always right here, right now. And that condition is chosen.

A couple other implications. One, no one out there can make you happy or unhappy. The source of all your problems is inside. The good news is that the source of all your solutions is inside, too. Why? Because nothing inside is caused by the outside world. And why’s that? Because there’s no inside, and no outside.  Cause and effect are both ‘located’ in the same place. So that means no one is doing anything to you, and either is anything outside yourself the cause of your problems. And the source of happiness is right here, right now, too.

I know these are radical concepts. But unless you want to spend the rest of your life unhappy, blaming everything and everyone else, you’d better get use to the fact that there’s no there there.

© 2020 by Michael C. Just

Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.

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