Monday, February 19, 2018

Conceptual Boundaries


"It is extremely interesting, then, to think about the meaning of the word ‘form’ as it applies to constructions of arbitrarily complex shapes. For instance, what is it that we respond to when we look at a painting and feel its beauty? Is if the ‘form’ of the lines and dots on our retina? Evidently it must be, for that is how it gets passed along to the analyzing mechanisms in our heads–but the complexity of the processing makes us feel that we are not merely looking at a two-dimensional surface; we are responding to some sort of inner meaning inside the picture, a multidimensional aspect trapped somehow inside those two dimensions. It is the word ‘meaning’ which is important here. Our minds contain interpreters which accept two-dimensional patterns and then ‘pull’ from them high-dimensional notions which are so complex that we cannot consciously describe them. The same can be said about how we respond to music, incidentally.

We human beings are macroscopic structures in a universe whose laws reside at a microscopic level. As survival-seeking beings, we are driven to seek efficient explanations that make reference only to entities at our own level. We therefore draw conceptual boundaries around entities that we easily perceive, and in so doing we carve out what seems to us to be reality."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beyond our Ken


"One night after dinner a group of us were talking about the supernatural, and one of our dinner guests said that when the electric light was invented, people began to lose the dimension of the supernatural. In the days before we could touch a switch and flood every section of the room with light, there were always shadows in the corner, shadows which moved with candlelight, with firelight; and these shadows were an outward and visible sign that things are not always what they seem; there are things which are not visible to the mortal human being; there are things beyond our ken."

-  Madeleine L'Engle (1918 - 2007)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Web of Time


"This web of time,
the strands of which approach one another,
bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other
through the centuries,
embraces every possibility. 
We do not exist in most of them.
In some you exist and not I,
while in others I do,
and you do not."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Spark of Radiance


"The spiritual task we
are given is a simple one:
to attend to that inner spark of radiance,
to hold vigil over it until
we realize it to be our self,
and to dig up and cast off
all argument we have with its love."

- Adyashanti (1962 - )

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Mysterious Cocoon


"The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon, focusing the mind on one place, one time, one rhythm - the turning of the light. The island knows no other human voices, no other footprints. On the offshore lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself, and no one will say you're wrong: not the seagulls, not the prisms, not the wind."

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Content of Cognition


"In a sense it has been my way to transcendental experience: to the discovery that matter metaphorically speaking, is the creation of the spirit (the mode of existence of the observer in a domain of discourse), and that the spirit is the creation of the matter it creates. This is not a paradox, but it is the expression of our existence in a domain of cognition in which the content of cognition is cognition itself. Beyond that nothing can be said."

Saturday, February 10, 2018

When the Mind is Quiet


"I hope that you will listen, but not with the memory of what you already know; and this is very difficult to do. You listen to something, and your mind immediately reacts with its knowledge, its conclusions, its opinions, its past memories. It listens, inquiring for a future understanding.

Just observe yourself, how you are listening, and you will see that this is what is taking place. Either you are listening with a conclusion, with knowledge, with certain memories, experiences, or you want an answer, and you are impatient. You want to know what it is all about, what life is all about, the extraordinary complexity of life. You are not actually listening at all.

You can only listen when the mind is quiet, when the mind doesn't react immediately, when there is an interval between your reaction and what is being said. Then, in that interval there is a quietness, there is a silence in which alone there is a comprehension which is not intellectual understanding.

If there is a gap between what is said and your own reaction to what is said, in that interval, whether you prolong it indefinitely, for a long period or for a few seconds - in that interval, if you observe, there comes clarity. It is the interval that is the new brain. The immediate reaction is the old brain, and the old brain functions in its own traditional, accepted, reactionary, animalistic sense.

When there is an abeyance of that, when the reaction is suspended, when there is an interval, then you will find that the new brain acts, and it is only the new brain that can understand, not the old brain".

-  Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The 'I' is Not Apparent


"Just as a man shudders with horror
when he thinks he has trodden on a serpent,
but laughs when he stoops and sees
that it is only a rope,
so I discovered one day that
what I was calling 'I' is not apparent,
and all fear and anxiety
vanished with my mistake"

Monday, February 05, 2018

Without Beginning


"It is without beginning,
unborn, and indestructible.
It is not green nor yellow,
and has neither form nor appearance.
It does not belong to the categories
of things that exist or do not exist,
nor can it be thought of in terms
of new or old. It is neither long nor short,
neither big nor small, for it transcends all limits,
measures, names, traces, and comparisons."

- Huang Po (? - 850)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Color in Motion


"A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art. And from this results that modern desire for rhythm in painting, for mathematical, abstract construction, for repeated notes of color, for setting color in motion."

- Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Winds and Seas


"The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth an light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do, is well done, and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. But we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility."

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929 - 2018)

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Illusions


"I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain."

- René Descartes (1596 - 1650)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cosmic Order


"What now is the answer to the question as to the bridge between the perception of the senses and the concepts, which is now reduced to the question as to the bridge between the outer perceptions and those inner image-like representations. It seems to me one has to postulate a cosmic order of nature -- outside of our arbitrariness -- to which the outer material objects are subjected as are the inner images...The organizing and regulating has to be posited beyond the differentiation of physical and psychical... I am all for it to call this 'organizing and regulating' 'archetypes.' It would then be inadmissible to define these as psychic contents. Rather, the above-mentioned inner pictures (dominants of the collective unconscious, see Jung) are the psychic manifestations of the archetypes, but which would have to produce and condition all nature laws belonging to the world of matter. The nature laws of matter would then be the physical manifestation of the archetypes."

- Wolfgang Pauli (1900 - 1958)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Process


“It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually - if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning - you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as - Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so - I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it.” 

Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nobody Knows How It Can Be Like That


"I am going to tell you what nature behaves like.
If you will simply admit that maybe
she does behave like this,
you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing.
Do not keep saying to yourself,
if you can possibly avoid it,
‘but how can it be like that?’
because you will get ‘down the drain,’
into a blind alley from which
nobody has yet escaped.
Nobody knows how it can be like that."

- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)