Wednesday, March 31, 2021


 "You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way
that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing."

- Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Vibrant Hum

"At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world's word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep - just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don't do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life's length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is."

- Annie Dillard ()
Teaching a Stone to Talk

Monday, March 29, 2021

Subterranean Stream

"The landscape of my days
appears to be composed,
like mountainous regions,
of varied materials
heaped up pell-mell.
There I see my nature,
itself composite,
made up of equal parts
of instinct and training.
Here and there protrude
the granite peaks of
the inevitable, but all
about is rubble from
the landslips of chance.
I strive to retrace my life
to find in it some plan,
following a vein of lead,
or of gold, or the
course of some
subterranean stream,
but such devices
are only tricks
of perspective
in the memory."

- Marguerite Yourcenar (1903 - 1987)
Memoirs of Hadrian

Saturday, March 27, 2021


"The infinite vibratory levels,
the dimensions of interconnectedness
are without end.
There is nothing independent.
All beings and things are
residents in your awareness."

- Alex Grey (1953 - )

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Virtual Delights

"Paul uncovered his eyes, and looked around the room. Away from a few dazzling patches of direct sunshine, everything glowed softly in the diffuse light: the matte white brick walls, the imitation (imitation) mahogany furniture; even the posters — Bosch, Dali, Ernst, and Giger — looked harmless, domesticated. Wherever he turned his gaze (if nowhere else), the simulation was utterly convincing; the spotlight of his attention made it so. Hypothetical light rays were being traced backwards from individual rod and cone cells on his simulated retinas, and projected out into the virtual environment to determine exactly what needed to be computed: a lot of detail near the centre of his vision, much less towards the periphery. Objects out of sight didn’t “vanish” entirely, if they influenced the ambient light, but Paul knew that the calculations would rarely be pursued beyond the crudest first-order approximations: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights reduced to an average reflectance value, a single grey rectangle — because once his back was turned, any more detail would have been wasted. Everything in the room was as finely resolved, at any given moment, as it needed to be to fool him — no more, no less.
Paul closed his eyes and turned his face to the sun. In spite of everything, it was hard not to take solace from the warmth flooding onto his skin. He stretched the muscles in his arms, his shoulders, his back -- and it felt like he was reaching out from the "self" in his virtual skull to all his mathematical flesh, imprinting the nebulous data with meaning; binding it all together, staking some kind of claim.
Existence was beginning to seduce him. He let himself surrender for a moment to a visceral sense of identity which drowned out all his pale mental images of optical processors, all his abstract reflections on the software's approximations and short-cuts. This body didn't want to evaporate. This body didn't want to bale out. It didn't much care that there was another - "more real" - version of itself elsewhere. It wanted to retain its wholeness. It wanted to endure."

- Greg Egan (1961 - )
Permutation City

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

An Immense Landscape

 "I picture the vast realm
of the sciences as an
immense landscape scattered
with patches of dark and light.
The goal towards which
we must work is either to
extend the boundaries of
the patches of light, or
to increase their number.
One of these tasks falls
to the creative genius;
the other requires a
sort of sagacity
combined with

- Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)
Thoughts on the Interpretation of
Nature and Other Philosophical Works

Monday, March 22, 2021

Stirrings of the Soul

"The sea refreshes our imagination because it does not make us think of human life; yet it rejoices the soul, because, like the soul, it is an infinite and impotent striving, a strength that is ceaselessly broken by falls, an eternal and exquisite lament. The sea thus enchants us like music, which, unlike language, never bears the traces of things, never tells us anything about human beings, but imitates the stirrings of the soul. Sweeping up with the waves of those movements, plunging back with them, the heart thus forgets its own failures and finds solace in an intimate harmony between its own sadness and the sea’s sadness, which merges the sea’s destiny with the destinies of all things."

- Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Middle Ground

"We now know that complexity arises in a middle ground—often at the order–disorder border. Natural systems that evolve with and learn from interaction with their immediate environment exhibit both structural order and dynamical chaos. Order is the foundation of communication between elements at any level of organization, whether that refers to a population of neurons, bees or humans. For an organism order is the distillation of regularities abstracted from observations. An organism’s very form is a functional manifestation of its ancestor’s evolutionary and its own developmental memories.

A completely ordered universe, however, would be dead. Chaos is necessary for life. Behavioural diversity, to take an example, is fundamental to an organism’s survival. No organism can model the environment in its entirety. Approximation becomes essential to any system with finite resources. Chaos, as we now understand it, is the dynamical mechanism by which nature develops constrained and useful randomness. From it follow diversity and the ability to anticipate the uncertain future. 

There is a tendency, whose laws we are beginning to comprehend, for natural systems to balance order and chaos, to move to the interface between predictability and uncertainty. The result is increased structural complexity. This often appears as a change in a system’s intrinsic computational capability. The present state of evolutionary progress indicates that one needs to go even further and postulate a force that drives in time towards successively more sophisticated and qualitatively different intrinsic computation. We can look back to times in which there were no systems that attempted to model themselves, as we do now. This is certainly one of the outstanding puzzles: how can lifeless and disorganized matter exhibit such a drive? The question goes to the heart of many disciplines, ranging from philosophy and cognitive science to evolutionary and developmental biology and particle astrophysics. The dynamics of chaos, the appearance of pattern and organization, and the complexity quantified by computation will be inseparable components in its resolution."

- James P. Crutchfield (1955 - )
Between order and chaos

Saturday, March 20, 2021


"We know,
but cannot grasp,
that above and below,
beyond the limits of
perception or imagination,
thousands of millions of
simultaneous transformations
are at work,
interlinked like
a musical score by
mathematical counterpoint
...a symphony
...but we lack the
ears to hear it."

- Stanislaw Lem (1921 - 2006)

Friday, March 19, 2021

Plural Realities

"Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it's as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can't explain his to us, and we can't explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication ... and there is the real illness."

- Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Subliminal Knowledge

 "Can we perceive those
inorganic beings,
don Juan?" I asked.
"We certainly can," he replied.
"Sorcerers do it at will.
Average people do it,
but they don't realize that
they're doing it because
they are not conscious of the
existence of a twin world.
When they think of a twin world,
they enter into all kinds
of mental masturbation,
but it has never occurred
to them that their fantasies
have their origin in a
subliminal knowledge that
all of us have:
that we are not alone."

- Carlos Castaneda (1925 - 1998)
The Active Side of Infinity

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


 "The essential feature
in quantum interconnectedness
is that the whole universe
is enfolded in everything,
and that each thing
is enfolded in the whole."

- David Bohm (1917 - 1992)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Lines of Meaning

"The library will endure;
it is the universe.
As for us,
everything has not been written;
we are not turning into phantoms.
We walk the corridors,
searching the shelves
and rearranging them,
looking for lines of meaning
amid leagues of cacophony
and incoherence,
reading the history of
the past and our future,
collecting our thoughts
and collecting the
thoughts of others,
and every so often
glimpsing mirrors,
in which we may recognize
creatures of the information."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)
The Library of Babel

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Dreams and Apparitions

"Dreams, as we all know, are very curious things: certain incidents in them are presented with quite uncanny vividness, each detail executed with the finishing touch of a jeweller, while others you leap across as though entirely unaware of, for instance, space and time. Dreams seem to be induced not by reason but by desire, not by the head but by the heart, and yet what clever tricks my reason has sometimes played on me in dreams!"

- Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 - 1881)
Notes from Underground

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Entropy Curve

"There is no logical necessity
for the existence of a unique
direction of total time;
whether there is only
one time direction,
or whether time
directions alternate,
depends on the shape
of the entropy curve
plotted by the universe."


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Forms of Things Unknown

 "More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!"

- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Theseus, Act V, Scene I, in A Midsummer Nights Dream

Friday, March 05, 2021

Atmospheric Lights

"Terraforming Mars is a primary goal for the twenty-second century. But scientists are looking beyond Mars as well. The most exciting prospects may be the moons of the gas giants, including Europa, a moon of Jupiter, and Titan, a moon of Saturn. The moons of gas giants were once thought to be barren hunks of rock that were all alike, but they are now seen as unique wonderlands, each with its own array of geysers, oceans, canyons, and atmospheric lights. These moons are now being eyed as future habitats for human life."

- Michio Kaku (1947 - )
The Future of Humanity

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Islands of Life

"He could not feel that they were an island of life journeying through an abyss of death. He felt almost the opposite--that life was waiting outside the little iron egg-shell in which they rode, ready at any moment to break in, and that, if it killed them, it would kill them by excess of its vitality. He hoped passionately that if they were to perish they would perish by the "unbodying" of the space-ship and not by suffocation within it. To be let out, to be free, to dissolve into the ocean of eternal noon, seemed to him at certain moments a consummation even more desirable than their return to Earth. And if he had felt some such lift of the heart when first he passed through heaven on their outward journey, he felt it now tenfold, for now he was convinced that the abyss was full of life in the most literal sense, full of living creatures."

- C.S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)
Out of the Silent Planet