Saturday, May 18, 2024

Quantum Realities


"To understand this new frontier, I will have to try to master one of the most difficult and counterintuitive theories ever recorded in the annals of science: quantum physics. Listen to those who have spent their lives immersed in this world and you will have a sense of the challenge we face. After making his groundbreaking discoveries in quantum physics, Werner Heisenberg recalled, 'I repeated to myself again and again the question: Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?' Einstein declared after one discovery, 'If it is correct it signifies the end of science.' Schrödinger was so shocked by the implications of what he'd cooked up that he admitted, 'I do not like it and I am sorry I had anything to do with it.' Nevertheless, quantum physics is now one of the most powerful and well-tested pieces of science on the books. Nothing has come close to pushing it off its pedestal as one of the great scientific achievements of the last century. So there is nothing to do but to dive headfirst into this uncertain world. Feynman has some good advice for me as I embark on my quest: '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.'"

- Marcus du Sautoy (1965 - )
 The Great Unknown

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Morphic Fields


"Creativity gives new forms, new patterns, new ideas, new art forms. And we don't know where creativity comes from. Is it inspired from above? Welling up from below? Picked up from the air? What? Creativity is a mystery wherever you encounter it.
...
The beginning of wisdom, I believe, is our ability to accept an inherent messiness in our explanation of what's going on. Nowhere is it written that human minds should be able to give a full accounting of creation in all dimensions and on all levels. Ludwig Wittgenstein had the idea that philosophy should be what he called "true enough." I think that's a great idea. True enough is as true as can be gotten. The imagination is chaos. New forms are fetched out of it. The creative act is to let down the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended and then to attempt to bring out of it ideas.
...
What is emerging ... is an evolutionary vision of reality at every level: subatomic, atomic, chemical, biological, social, ecological, cultural, mental, economic, astronomical and cosmic."

- Rupert Sheldrake (1942 - )

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Fossilization of Time


"To me photography functions as a fossilization of time.
...
My method is different from the one most photographers use. I do not go around and shoot. I usually have a specific vision, just by myself. One night I thought of taking a photographic exposure of a film at a movie theater while the film was being projected. I imagined how it could be possible to shoot an entire movie with my camera. Then I had the clear vision that the movie screen would show up on the picture as a white rectangle. I thought it could look like a very brilliant white rectangle coming out from the screen, shining throughout the whole theater. It might seem very interesting and mysterious, even in some way religious.
...
I’m inviting the spirits into my photography.
It’s an act of God."

Hiroshi Sugimoto (1948 - )

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Eyes of the Dreamer


"Life is not merely what it seems to be.
Hidden from our eyes by the cloak
of materiality is a wonderful world
which only the eyes of the dreamer can see
and the soul of the mystic comprehend.
...
...silence is the root of sound,
and from it pours forth the fiat
that fashioned the world.
This is the dynamic silence of creation,
the tremendous dramatic silence of
new birth forever taking place-
new worlds forever fashioning.
...
To those capable of seeing the
light of these spiritual orbs,
there is no darkness,
for they dwell in the presence of
limitless light and at midnight see
the sun shining under their feet."

- Manly Hall (1901 - 1990)

Monday, April 29, 2024

Transpersonal Experiences


"The transpersonal experiences revealing the Earth as an intelligent, conscious entity are corroborated by scientific evidence. Gregory Bateson, who created a brilliant synthesis of cybernetics, information and systems theory, the theory of evolution, anthropology, and psychology came to the conclusion that it was logically inevitable to assume that mental processes occurred at all levels in any system or natural phenomenon of sufficient complexity. He believed that mental processes are present in cells, organs, tissues, organisms, animal and human groups, eco-systems, and even the earth and universe as a whole."

- Stanislav Grof (1931 - )
The Holotropic Mind

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Liquid Vortex


"My soul is an entangled knot,
Upon a liquid vortex wrought
By Intellect in the Unseen residing,
And thine doth like a convict sit,
With marline-spike untwisting it,
Only to find its knottiness abiding;
Since all the tools for its untying
In four-dimensional space are lying,
Wherein they fancy intersperses
Long avenues of universes,
While Klein and Clifford fill the void
With one finite, unbounded homoloid,
And think the Infinite is now at last destroyed. "

James Clerk Maxwell (1831 - 1879)

Monday, April 22, 2024

Hypertelescopic Imagination


"But in truth the eternal spirit was ineffable. Nothing whatever could be truly said about it. Even to name it "spirit" was perhaps to say more than was justified. Yet to deny it that name would be no less mistaken; for whatever it was, it was more, not less, than spirit, more, not less, than any possible human meaning of that word. And from the human level, even from the level of a cosmical mind, this "more," obscurely and agonizingly glimpsed, was a dread mystery, compelling adoration.
...
Gazing at the faintest and remotest of all the swarm of universes, I seemed, by hypertelescopic imagination, to see it as a population of suns; and near one of those suns was a planet, and on that planet’s dark side a hill, and on that hill myself.
...
For suddenly it was clear to me that virtue in the creator is not the same as virtue in the creature. For the creator, if he should love his creature, would be loving only a part of himself; but the creature, praising the creator, praises an infinity beyond himself. I saw that the virtue of the creature was to love and to worship, but the virtue of the creator was to create, and to be the infinite.
...
For our astronomers assure us that in this boundless finitude which we call the cosmos the straight lines of light lead not to infinity but to their source."

Olaf Stapledon (1886 - 1950)
Star Maker

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Folded and Hidden

"The greatest lessons of nature are the lessons of the fresh, eternal qualities of being: The variety and freedom, the great amplitude, rectitude, impartiality—each toward all and nothing supersedes the rest;

That eternal tendency to perpetuate and preserve which is behind all nature; The indefinable hard something that is the old heroic stamina of nature, inexorable, onward, resistless, to proceed with single purpose toward the result necessitated, and for which the time has arrived.
...
What is nature but change, in all its visible, and still more its invisible processes? Nature keeps up her long and harmless throes, her vital, copious, eternal procession, An infinite number of currents and forces, and contributions, and temperatures, and cross-purposes, Whose ceaseless play of counterpart upon counterpart brings constant restoration and vitality
...
I fully believe in a clue and purpose in nature,
Enfolding itself all processes of growth,
effusing life and power, for hidden purposes.
The sun and stars that float in the open air,
The apple-shaped earth and we upon it,
Earth’s soil, trees, winds,
Waters that encompass us, tumultuous waves—
Surely the drift of them is something grand,
The purport of objective nature is doubtless folded, hidden, somewhere here;
I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness."

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)
Nature, Containing All

Friday, April 12, 2024

Divisible Space


"We are not to consider the world as the body of God, or the several parts thereof as the parts of God. He is a uniform Being, void of organs, members or parts,...being everywhere present to the things themselves. And since space is divisible in infinitum, and matter is not necessarily in all places, it may also be allowed that God is able to create particles of matter of several sizes and figures, and in several proportions of space, and perhaps of different densities and forces, and thereby to vary the laws of Nature, and make worlds of several sorts in several parts of the Universe. At least I see nothing of contradiction in this."

- Isaac Newton (1643 - 1727)

Note. The triptych contains "quick grabs" (using my iPhone) of the skylights near Gate 4 of the Bangor, Maine airport while waiting for our plane to return back home (to Northern VA) after viewing the total eclipse on April 8. While I did not take any images of the eclipse (I just wanted to just "be in the moment"), the little black spheres in the skylight reminded me a little of that experience and caught my eye ūüėä 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Hallucinatory Character of the World


"Let us admit what all the idealists admit: the hallucinatory character of the world. Let us do what no idealist has done: let us look for unrealities that confirm that character. We will find them, I believe, in the antinomies of Kant and in the dialectic of Zeno.
...
We have dreamt the world. We have dreamt it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time; but we have left in its architecture tenuous and eternal interstices of unreason, so that we know it is false."

Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)

Monday, March 25, 2024

Sea of the Unreal


"Reality is, you know,
the tip of an iceberg of
irrationality that we've managed
to drag ourselves up onto for
a few panting moments before
we slip back into the sea
of the unreal."

Terence McKenna (1946 - 2000)

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Metaphors for Life


"A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, the longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home."

Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Self-Conscious Flow


"Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.
...
Many of the peculiarities attributed to creative persons are really just ways to protect the focus of concentration so that they may lose themselves in the creative process. Distractions interrupt flow, and it may take hours to recover the peace of mind one needs to get on with the work. The more ambitious the task, the longer it takes to lose oneself in it, and the easier it is to get distracted.
...
I mean, we’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are—as far as we know—the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934 - 2021)
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
(See "Unlocking Creative Flow: How the Brain Enters the Zone")

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Zen Drops


"In one drop of water are found
all the secrets of the oceans."

Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931) 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Geometrodynamics


"The universe does not exist “out there,” independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe. Physics is no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, fields of force, into geometry, or even into time and space. Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself."

John Archibald Wheeler (1911 - 2008)

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Woods are Alive


"Woods are not like other spaces. To begin with, they are cubic. Their trees surround you, loom over you, press in from all sides. Woods choke off views & leave you muddled & without bearings. They make you feel small & confused & vulnerable, like a small child lost in a crowd of strange legs. Stand in a desert or prairie & you know you are in a big space. Stand in the woods and you only sense it. They are vast, featureless nowhere. And they are alive.
...
There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods. It’s where you were yesterday, where you will be tomorrow. The woods is one boundless singularity. Every bend in the path presents a prospect indistinguishable from every other, every glimpse into the trees the same tangled mass. For all you know, your route could describe a very large, pointless circle. In a way, it would hardly matter.
...
At times, you become almost certain that you slabbed this hillside three days ago, crossed this stream yesterday, clambered over this fallen tree at least twice today already. But most of the time you don’t think. No point. Instead, you exist in a kind of mobile Zen mode, your brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below. Walking for hours and miles becomes as automatic, as unremarkable, as breathing."

- Bill Bryson (1951 - )
A Walk in the Woods

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Secret Order


"In all chaos there is a cosmos,
in all disorder a secret order."

C. G. Jung (1875-1961)

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Silence Within


"The longest journey is the journey inward.
...
To have humility is to experience reality, not in relation to ourselves, but in its sacred independence. It is to see, judge, and act from the point of rest in ourselves. Then, how much disappears, and all that remains falls into place.
...
In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.
...
To preserve the silence within - amid all the noise. To remain open and quiet, a moist humus in the fertile darkness where the rain falls and the grain ripens - no matter how many tramp across the parade ground in whirling dust under an arid sky."

Dag Hammarskj√∂ld (1905 - 1961)

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Pattern or Dance


"Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this silence is that you have to know how to read music. For instance, the scientific article may say, “The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one-half in a period of two weeks.” Now what does that mean?

It means that phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat—and also in mine, and yours—is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago. It means the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced: the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week’s potatoes! They now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago—a mind which has long ago been replaced. To note that the thing I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance, that is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out—there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday."

Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Imagination Itself


"The tree which moves some
to tears of joy is in the eyes
of others only a green thing
that stands in the way. Some see
nature all ridicule and deformity...
and some scarce see nature at all. But
to the eyes of the man of imagination,
nature is imagination itself."

William Blake (1757 - 1827)

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Terra Mobilis


"Through the spectacles of geology, terra firms becomes terra mobilis, and we are forced to reconsider our beliefs of what is solid and what is not. Although we attribute to stone great power to hold back time, to refuse its claims (cairns, stone tablets, monuments, statuary), this is true only in relation to our own mutability. Looked at in the context of the bigger geological picture, rock is as vulnerable to change as any other substance.

Above all, geology makes explicit challenges to our understanding of time. It giddies the sense of here-and-now. The imaginative experience of what the writer John McPhee memorably called 'deep time' - the sense of time whose units are not days, hours, minutes or seconds but millions of years or tens of millions of years - crushes the human instant; flattens it to a wafer. Contemplating the immensities of deep time, you face, in a way that is both exquisite and horrifying, the total collapse of your present, compacted to nothingness by the pressures of pasts and futures too extensive to envisage. And it is a physical as well as a cerebral horror, for to acknowledge that the hard rock of a mountain is vulnerable to the attrition of time is of necessity to reflect on the appalling transience of the human body."

Robert Macfarlane (1976 - )

Friday, February 09, 2024

Light is a Thick Yellow Vitamin


"In the rain forest, no niche lies unused. No emptiness goes unfilled. No gasp of sunlight goes untrapped. In a million vest pockets, a million life-forms quietly tick. No other place on earth feels so lush. Sometimes we picture it as an echo of the original Garden of Eden—a realm ancient, serene, and fertile, where pythons slither and jaguars lope. But it is mainly a world of cunning and savage trees. Truant plants will not survive. The meek inherit nothing. Light is a thick yellow vitamin they would kill for, and they do. One of the first truths one learns in the rain forest is that there is nothing fainthearted or wimpy about plants."

- Diane Ackerman (1948 - )

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The World as a Neural Network


"If the entire universe is a neural network, then something like natural selection might be happening on all scales from cosmological (> 10⁺¹⁵ m) and biological (10⁺² − 10−⁶ m) all the way to subatomic (< 10−¹⁵ m) scales. The main idea is that some local structures (or architectures) of neural networks are more stable against external perturbations (i.e. interactions with the rest of the network) than other local structures. As a result the more stable structures are more likely to survive and the less stable structures are more likely to be exterminated. There is no reason to expect that this process might stop at a fixed time or might be confined to a fixed scale and so the evolution must continue indefinitely and on all scales. We have already seen that on the smallest scales the learning evolution is likely to produce structures of a very low complexity (i.e. second law of learning) such as one dimensional chains of neurons, but this might just be the beginning. As the learning progresses these chains can chop off loops, form junctions and according to natural selection the more stable structures would survive. If correct, then what we now call atoms and particles might actually be the outcomes of a long evolution starting from some very low complexity structures and what we now call macroscopic observers and biological cells might be the outcome of an even longer evolution. Of course, at present the claim that natural selection may be relevant on all scales is very speculative, but it seems that neural networks do offer an interesting new perspective on the problem of observers."

- Vitaly Vanchurin
The World as a Neural Network

Monday, January 15, 2024

Time and Space

"Because of the hazy, nondefinite character of quantum physics (called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle), at the dimensions of the Planck length, space and time churn and seethe, with the distance between any two points wildly fluctuating from moment to moment, and time randomly speeding and slowing, perhaps even going backward and forward. In such a situation, time and space no longer exist in a way that has meaning to us."

 

Monday, January 08, 2024

Symbolic Communication


"Intellectual-level communication between more advanced terrestrial [non-human intelligences] NHIs and us will require direct access to our cognitive processes. They will have to directly modulate our own abstract references and modes. In other words, they will have to convey their ideas to us by prompting our own mind to articulate those ideas to itself, using its own conceptual dictionary and grammatical structures. And because their message—a product of their own cognition, incommensurable with ours—is bound to not adequately line up with our grammar and conceptual menu, this articulation will perforce have to be symbolic, metaphorical; it will have to point to the intended meaning, as opposed to embodying the intended meaning directly, or literally. 
 
There is plenty of clinical precedence for this in the literature of depth psychology. Analytical Psychology, for instance, maintains  that the deeper, evolutionarily ancient, instinctive layer of our mind, for not having the language capabilities of the executive ego, speaks to us in dreams and visions through symbols, and metaphors. It can’t tell us in English, for instance, that time is flowing while we procrastinate, prompting us to act. So it may, instead, trigger and modulate a dream in which we, say, accidentally drop our backpack in a fast-flowing river and watch helplessly as it floats away. If the deeper layer of our mind, for being phylogenetically primitive, is incapable of articulating the conceptual abstractions ‘time,’ ‘flow,’ and ‘procrastination,’ it can still point symbolically to its intended meaning; it can still confront us with imagery that evokes the same underlying feeling—a sense of urgency—that would have been evoked by the statement, “time is flowing while you procrastinate.” This is what intellectual-level communication looks like when the interlocutors do not have commensurable cognitive structures. And this is how we may expect NHIs to communicate with us, if they have the technology required to reach directly into our minds and manipulate our cognitive inner space."

- Bernardo Kastrup (1974 - )
UAPs and Non-Human Intelligence

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Cosmogenesis

"We live in a universe where the mathematical equations of the beginning are alive in us. If you altered them in any way, we wouldn’t even be here. We would never have come forth. Those conditions at the beginning of time are exactly what they had to be for us to allow the mathematics of the universe’s beginning to think inside us."
...
"Our universe had been creating itself for billions of years and suddenly, through the work of a handful of human beings, the universe found a way to reflect on itself, on how it had developed over billions of years."
...
"The greatest discovery of the last four hundred years is the time-developmental nature of our universe. Scientists have come to realize we live not in a cosmos but in a cosmogenesis, a universe developing from a primordial simple state into ever more complex states."

- Brian Thomas Swimme (1950 - )
Cosmogenesis: An Unveiling of the Expanding Universe

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Cosmic Serpent


"All the peoples in the world who talk of a cosmic serpent have been saying as much for millennia. He had not seen it because the rational gaze is forever focalized and can examine only one thing at a time. It separates things to understand them, including the truly complementary. It is the gaze of the specialist, who sees the fine grain of a necessarily restricted field of vision."

- Jeremy Narby (1959 - )
The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origins of Knowledge