Being born human is even better than being born in the United States, but it presents similar problems. Such an excess of delightful stimulation, both to the senses and to the mind. Living in the land of plenty is a wonderful thing, but it begs the question, when is enough too much?
The hunter has his eye on the spoor; the curious wants to know the signs and symbols. Why track qualiadelic spoor through the landscape? Energy, of course. Just as predators search for food, the curious seek their own sustenance — for there is energy in the balance. Qualia is energy. Merely by moving through the landscape we change it, and where there is change there must be force…
Why do we pray? Our ritualing recreates the landscape with a system of beliefs — of pathways that have carried us to qualia and pleasure in the past. We have faith in them. But landscapes change, landmarks go away — simultaneously, inside us, our neuro paths and transmitters get all used up, or blocked, or the hopes that trigger them grow stale.
Then it is our prayer to discover more. The appearance of new qualia is like a momentary god, a miracle which occurs for our benefit, opening a whole new possible landscape of experience and pleasure. A prayer calls qualia into being simply by a fervent willingness to notice it, and a readiness to put faith in it, even if it is new, or unfamiliar and even scary.
There is a species of crisis called newness. Newness creates wonder (or fear, depending upon the landscape and the frame of mind, but the goal is never fear. Fear bad). Newness, by virtue of wonder creates belief, and belief changes the landscape.
Ritualing for newness is either as simple as shopping for new things, or as elusive as the search for new ideas, momentary gods, and miracles. Shopping is a metaphor for our more profound rituals, only shopping takes place in predictable landscapes. Unfortunately, we attempt to set our more profound rituals in predictable landscapes, too.
The importance of qualia is not that it undermines science right where matter becomes hypothetical, but that it presents itself to scientists at just that crisis point, a momentary god saving the day with the very hypotheses which turn out to be true. Scientists, ritualing with qualia, create reality where none existed before.
The ethereal grandeur of civilization is nothing compared to the raw power that is culture — and culture has little interest in individuals. Our inner landscape is still so primitive because we are primarily just reflections of the structures of society. Individualism is as much a myth as Greek gods or Kwakiutl totems.
The history of human consciousness can best be understood, as Owen Barfield wrote, as a more or less continuous progress from a vague but immediate awareness of ‘meaning’ of phenomena towards an increasing preoccupation with the phenomena themselves. Hence, it would appear that we have progressed from a primitive, magic-like thinking about the landscape around us to a scientific understanding of the natural world. However, only the qualia has changed, and our thinking is still mostly magical.
While the scientific method is a very controlled ritual, the scientist may allow spontaneity into his experimentation. An expert in his theory and method, he can afford to be whimsical when circumstances present him with curious qualia. When Alexander Flemming returned from a weekend off to find a strange mold growing in his untidy laboratory, he played with it and there, like magic, appeared penicillin. Albert Hoffman discovered LSD when he accidentally absorbed through his fingers a respiratory stimulant he was trying to synthesize. Similarly, judges may test grey areas in the justice system with their decisions, and businessmen may be whimsical with their business models. The structure of a household, or even an entire community, provides continual opportunities to play with qualia.
Ritual has two amazing qualities: control and spontaneity. Ritual provides a controlled framework which encourages spontaneous things to occur.