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Object Blogging

by rg Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 08:15:11 PM EST


The object of this blog is a book.  A talking book.  A book much favoured by Carl Jung.  A book translated from the original chinese characters into german by Richard Wilhelm, and subsequently rendered into english by Cary F. Baynes.  Here's a french version.

Here's what Hellmut Wilhelm, Richard Wilhelm's son, has to say at the beginning of his Preface to the Third Edition.

It is with delight and not without a certain pride that I see this translation of the Book of Changes presented in a new edition.  The fact of its widespread and continuing acceptance stands as a justification of my father's conviction, the propagation of which he took as his calling, that the overwhelming importance of the book within the history and the system of Chinese thought would be borne out when tested against general, and not only specifically Chinese, human conditions and against general, and not only specifically Chinese, processes of the human mind.

Here's what Carl Jung says.

Foreword

Since I am not a Sinologue, a foreword to the Book of Changes from my hand must be a testimonial of my individual experience with this great and singular book.  It also affords me a welcome opportunity to pay tribute again to the memory of my late friend, Richard Wilhelm.  He himself was profoundly aware of the cultural significance of the I Ching, a version unrivalled in the West.

A talking book.  "Ah, you mean an oracle," said a friend of mine.  

Here's Carl Jung again.

In order to understand what such a book is all about, it is imperative to cast off certain prejudices of the Western mind.  It is a curious fact that such a gifted and intelligent people as the Chinese never developed what we call science.  Our science, however, is based upon the principle of causality, and causality is considered to be an axiomatic truth.  But a great change in our standpoint is setting in.  What Kant's Critique of Pure Reason failed to do, is being accomplished by modern physics.  The axioms of causality are being shaken to their foundations: we know now that what we term natural laws are merely statistical truths and thus must necessarily allow for exceptions.  We have not sufficiently taken into account as yet that we need the laboratory with its incisive restrictions in order to demonstrate the invariable validity of natural law.  If we leave things to nature, we see a very different picture: every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance, so much so that under natural circumstances a course of events absolutely conforming to specific laws is almost an exception.

Ah yes, wordy nonsense to say nothing much very slowly...  Because the world, as we know, works itself out according to laws, and if we were Gods we would see the whole mechanism, right down to our every thought, developing inexorably from what came before...

Here's Jung again.

The Chinese mind, as I see it at work in the I Ching, seems to bee exclusively preoccupied with the chance aspects of events.  What we call coincidence seems to be the chief concern of this peculiar mind, and what we worship as causality passes almost unnoticed.  We must admit that there is something to be said for the immense importance of chance.  An incalculable amount of human effort is directed to combating and restricting the nuisance and danger represented by chance.

Well, chance is chance.  Exceptions to the rule merely prove the rule.

The manner in which the I Ching tends to look upon reality seems to disfavour our causalistic procedures.  The moment under actual observation appears to the ancient Chinese view more of a chance hit than a clearly defined result of concurring causal chain processes.  The matter of interest seems to be the configuration formed by chance events in the moment of observation, and not at all the hypothetical reasons that seemingly account for the coincidence.  While the Western mind carefully sifts, weighs, selects, classifies, isolates, the Chinese picture of the moment encompasses everything down to the minutest nonsensical detail, because all of the ingredients make up the observed moment.

Well, you can agree or disagree, or take sides, chose one over the other.

The Structure of the I Ching

...is very simple.  We start with lines.  They can be a yang line.

No, I mean a simple, unbroken, horizontal line.

--------

I've lost you, haven't I?  Religious mumbo jumbo emanating from a no doubt worthy society but irrelevant to your every day concerns.

(yin is a broken line ---  ---)

(You throw your coins or your yarrow stalks, or roll your dice and end up with six lines, one above the other, like this:

There are sixty four possible combinations of broken and unbroken lines.  These are the sixty four hexagrams of the I Ching.)

Yes, it's nonsense.  Divination.  Dungeons and Dragons without the rococo gothic edges, mumbo jumbo of the highest order.

Here's Cary F. Baynes's (the translator's) opinion of the I Ching.

Of far greater significance than the use of the Book of Changes as an oracle is its other use, namely, as a book of wisdom.  Lao-tse [writer of the Tao Te Ching] knew this book, and some of his profoundest aphorisms were inspired by it.  Indeed his whole thought is permeated with its teachings.  Confucius too knew the Book of Changes and devoted himself to reflection upon it.  He probably wrote down some of his interpretative comments and imparted others to his pupils in oral teaching.  The Book of Changes as edited and annotated by Confucius is the version that has come down to our time.

When Was it Written?

In Chinese literature four holy men are cited as the authors of the Book of Changes, namely, Fu Hsi, King Wen, the Duke of Chou, and Confucius.  Fu Hsi is a legendary figure representing the era of hunting and fishing and of the invention of cooking.  The fact that he is designated as the inventor of the linear signs of the Book of Changes means that they have been held to be of such antiquity that they antedate historical memory.

Here's Fu Hsi.

Yes, yes.  Ancient ancient history, our past before we knew of past present and future.  Or when we first started grappling with such concepts, after all, the english translation of the chinese title I Ching is The Book of Changes.

Change.  The one constant.  A roman emperor (or was it Solomon?)asked a philosopher (or an aide, or an  astrologer, or a friend) to come up with a single phrase which would be true at all times, to be inscribed on a medal which the emperor could wear around his neck and refer to in times of need.  The philosopher, or aide, or astrologer, or friend came up with the following:

This, too, must pass

The Book of Changes

So, enough preamble.  Let's throw our coins and see what the I Ching offers today.

(Or you can use pennies, or cents.)

But...if I throw the coins, won't the I Ching only speak to me?  Well, it will speak with relevance to me....or will it?  Enough words, let's throw the coins.

Po / Splitting Apart

(A quick note to say that the hexagram (six lines) is seen as made up of two three-line sets; one below and one above.  In this case, Po is made up of the two tetragrams: K'UN (below) -- THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH and KEN (above) -- KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN.

For each hexagram there is judgement an image, and an extrapolation from each to explain what was (or might have been) meant.  There are famous commentaries on these judgements and images, notably by the Duke of Chou...and some lines move...

THE JUDGEMENT

SPLITTING APART.  It does not further one to go anywhere.

THE IMAGE

The mountain rests on the earth:
The image of SPLITTING APART.
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.

But, you see, I had a moving fifth (second from top) line, so my broken fifth became an unbroken fifth, which creates a whole new hexagram...  Because moving lines (it depends on whether you get all three coins the same--I did one time, at the fifth line)...so, a moving line means the first hexagram is WHERE YOU IS AT, and the second hexagram is WHERE YOU IS GOING.  But not me, oh no.  Not you, not any of us.

Because this is all mystical nonsense, remember?  Jung was crazy, and so was Richard Wilhelm for thinking his translation meant anything more than the addition of some dusty, and wrong-headed, thinking to our canon of Books Which Meant Something But Don't Any More.

So the following extended analysis of hexagram number twenty, Kuan / Contemplation (View) refers to nothing and no one outside the fantasies of those whose heads haven't been screwed on appropriately.

20. Kuan / Contemplation (View)

above SUN -- THE GENTLE, WIND
below K'UN -- THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH

THE JUDGEMENT

CONTEMPLATION.  The ablution has been made,
But not yet the offering.
Full of trust they look up to him.

The sacrificial ritual in China began with an ablution and a libation by which the Deity was invoked, after which the sacrifice was offered.  The moment of time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred of all, the moment of deepest inner concentration.  If piety is sincere and expressive of real faith, the contemplation of it has a transforming and awe-inspiring effect on those who witness it.

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly subject to law.  Contemplation of the divine meaning underlying the workings of the universe gives to the man [or woman] who is called upon to influence others the means of producing like effects.  This requires that power of inner concentration which religious contemplation develops in great men strong in faith.  It enables them to apprehend the mysterious and divine laws of life, and by means of profoundest

"I mean, it's a loud of pseudo nonsense bollocks, right?  I mean ,come on!"

Ssshhh.

...inner concentration they give expression to these laws in their own persons.  Thus a hidden spiritual power emanates from them, influencing and dominating others without their being aware of how it happens.

THE IMAGE

("Hasn't he finished yet?  It's like church, only more boring."  "For this very scenario, my friend, a wise person invented the BACK button.")

(Cough!  Splutter!  Those terrible twenty-first century attention spans!)

The wind blows over the earth:
The image of CONTEMPLATION.
Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world,
Contemplated the people,
And gave them instruction.

When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must bend to its power.  These two occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram.  The two images are used to symbolize a practice of the kings of old; in making regular journeys the ruler could,

Who is the ruler?  You?  Or are you the ruled?  Or do such roles have no meaning these days?

...in the first place, survey his [or her] realm and make certain that none of the existing usages of the people escaped notice; in the second, he could exert influence through which such customs as were unsuitable could be changed.

But we don't believe in that, do we?  We don't believe in the ruler and the ruled.  We don't believe in Leaders and The Lead.  Certainly not in despots who decide what will be done and what won't be done.  Too much power in one human's paws...

And yet...

All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality.  On the one hand, such a man [or woman] will have a view of the real sentiments

(I'm annoyed at having to add [or woman]...really, the feminist revolution is barely begun, ,sisters.  Before all else, the freedom of the female from male superiority complexes.  Or is it all written in our D.N.A.  Well, thank the goddesses that we don't have men ruling over us...

of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, she will impress the people so profoundly, by her mere existence and by the impact of her personality, that they will be swayed by her as the grass by the wind.

Enough of this nonsense, which I enjoyed writing and I hope you enjoyed reading.

Display:
I have nothing against the I-Ching as a focusing ritual, nor as a piece of literature. John Lennon used the double trigram of 'creativity' (6 unbroken lines) as animation for his personal movies - with the sound of plucking the 6 strings sequentially of an open guitar chord.

But all the rest is Rorschach. The way it appears as synchronous is because the act of focusing on a problem increases susceptibility. Most people go over problems repetitively in their minds and generally coming to the same conclusions each time. Like a skier in fresh snow, the first skier usually defines the path for the following skiers.

Problems usually require lateral thinking - 'coming at it from a new angle'. The I-Ching interpretation provides that. The I-Ching, done seriously, is a mind exercise.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:32:20 AM EST
i'm sure you know the apocryphal story of lateral thinking, but in case you dont...

a brand new luxy hotel had opened, and everything was pluperfect, except for one fly in the brilliantine: the lift -elevator for you yankeedoodles - was t.o.o.o. s.l.o.w.

refitting it was an expensively unthinkable nightmare, so after a lot of headscratching to stimulate the parietal lobes, a genius came up with the solution, at very little cost....

install mirrors in the foyer!

proving old ecclesiastes' point...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - that is a an example of creative thinking that I have used.

It may be apochryphal, but one can find a million real examples.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 03:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The parables of the Bible work in a similar way - as guides to problem solving. Think of them as style sheets or templates.

But don't get me wrong about my scepticism of all spoonbending, levitating, synchronizing, sawing the woman in half type 'phenomena'. They illustrate not a miraculous physical world, but a miraculous mental world, in which the conscious search for logic meets the inherent evolutionary distortions of a strangely-wired mind, combined with neural biochemical metaprogramming.

It's what art is about.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
metaprogramming...  I don't supppose you'd like to write a diary on that?  I can't quite get my metaprogrammer around its metaprograms yet...seriously.  I was reading John Lilly's text on metaprogramming and I was almost there, but not quite, like when Migeru explains something to me in Go; I almost understand, but I know I haven't grasped the concept effectively.

Spoonbending etc. I see as charlatan nonsense as it involves capturing the audience and controlling the scene.  Which can be fun, I think, the willing suspension of disbelief.  They do say, though, that once you see the stage filled with e.g. wires for the levitation trick, it puts most people off magic for life, like those Penn and Teller (?) programs where they debunk magic tricks.  I prefer sleight of hand, though it takes years of juggling cards between your fingers...I do know a good card trick, just the one, but it usually works.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:30:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In really rough soundbites, metaprogramming is change in the functioning of neural networks caused by biochemicals, which may be naturally or artificially introduced into the brain via the blood, or the result of changes in the functions of neural network units (neurons).

An example of the former is endorphins, an example of the latter is GABA. GABA is biochemical used by inhibitory neurons to control active neurons. Gaba runs our after a circadian shift of work and needs to be replenished (cue protein factories) This is done as we sleep.

If you don't get enough sleep, you don't get enough GABA, and the inhibitory function is weak. You will eventually start to hallucinate, as anyone who has been up for 30 hours can attest.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 05:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Metaprogramming just means being aware of what happens inside your own head and having some flexibility about your responses instead or running on auto pilot.

Go watch some ducks for a while. Ducks have four active programs - random waddle, mate (but only in spring), find food, fight. (And there's also sleep as a rest mode.)

Ducks switch between programs very obviously, because they have very short attention spans. It's fun to look at.

Humans work the same way. We have a slightly wider range of responses, a longer attention span, and the self-referential ability to model actions before performing them. But the principle is the same.

People who lack self-awareness and have no idea about metaprogramming will switch between responses in the same way that a duck does. All it takes to switch modes is the right kind of stimulus. This makes them very predictable, very boring, and very easy to manipulate.

A lot of politics and economics is based on the practical application of this principle.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this is a very important observation!

It should be at the root of any discussion of what democracy actually is.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Problems usually require lateral thinking - 'coming at it from a new angle'. The I-Ching interpretation provides that. The I-Ching, done seriously, is a mind exercise.

I agree.  I'd add one thing, though, and that is that the exercise the mind is involved in is one with definite effects in the world beyond the mind--out into the connective tissue...

Confused myself already and it's only half past breakfast!

It may just be me, but I've not found the bible at all helpful as an oracle.  It's a facts-based tribal myth book and full of lists...

Perhaps the I Ching equivalent is its emphasis on noble rulers, superiour men (and the Tao Te Ching's talk of the sage, though I'd say the Tao Te Ching's use of sage means "the person the you'd like to be--is better than you are--and yet the "wise" person (aka the sage) does...mystical nonsense variety Q, such as be calm, considerate, etc.

I don't think the I-Ching works as a casual exercise.  You might as well open it up and read a commentary or two and get some sense of who thought what.  I think it's more elegant than the Rorschach, though, because there it has an internal logic, the lines have their significance, there's a pattern, a chohesion to its thoughts...I think of it as old wise men (no women) talking over the aeons about so-far perennial human situations.

And when you need it to work, it works.  (Well, it has for me.  For all the reasons you suggest.  But also that extra something...which is probably the creation of ritual, set and setting and all that.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cool diary, rg.

i love the onomatopeia in the name 'i ching'.

it sounds like a little silver crucible being struck by a wand.

the idea/concept of interweaving moral precepts with what appears to be a game of chance, or pick-up-sticks, is pure genius, and an attribute to the type of elegant mindset that gave us chess, which has no moral principles other than kill'n'conquer, as far as i can see.

imagine how much more of a hold the new testament might exert on children if the sermon on the mount came with a set of dice.

i imagine growing up in a household where my venerable parents threw the yarrow sticks to foresee the future would have quite the formative effect, laying down the foundation for the uncertainty principle, and the psychology of a creator who or which was decidedly non-linear.

did mao ban the i ching, i wonder...

divination was prime entertainment in the old days.

mmm, chicken for dinner...what did the guts say?

my sheep's liver contradicts your tea-leaves, but her coffeegrounds offer a way forward.

crystal balls were like satellite tv back then!

tarot is older than god.

i'd love to see you do a diary on the tarot, rg.

'superior' man, now that has such a nice prefeminist ring to it.

<snarkozy>...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:38:34 AM EST
the tarot, mucking into that old blood magic, scary thoughts about hangmen and witches...

I'll have to psyche myself up.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tarot is another Rorschach tool.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A simple test:

People travelling (transporting their bodies) tend to transport their minds and become unaware of their immediate surroundings. That is why it is possible to travel several miles on a motorway with no memory of that part of the journey. A lack of novelty disconnects us. This is the normal humdrum state of many people.

But if you place the word 'Blue' in travelling people's minds, they will see blue everywhere they look. Or red. It will appear as if blue (or red) has some significance.

The world is unsurprisingly full of random coincidences. If you are in humdrum state, you won't be aware of most of them. But if you are, in the zen sense, fully aware, you will notice many of them.

And, if you are 'tuned in', or sensitised, you may impose significance on these random events. But there is no significance, except internally.

There is no statistical evidence that Friday 13th is more dangerous than any other, or that walking under ladders, or seeing black cats have any significance other than heightening sensitivity to other events that occur in association.

My position is that all these are internally significant (ie in the mind), but externally (as a descritpion of reality) insignificant. Such things as the I-Ching or the Tarot are interesting to study for the internal effects.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 05:20:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with Tarot as a storytelling aid. Instead of calling the reader "diviner" they should be called "storyteller".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 05:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of everyday life is taken up with the exchange of parables and metaphors between close people. Even narratives about sport (!) usually contain 'meaning', with the 'meaning' never explained or made overt, but implicit in the narrative.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 06:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The world is unsurprisingly full of random coincidences. If you are in humdrum state, you won't be aware of most of them. But if you are, in the zen sense, fully aware, you will notice many of them.

Not quite. If you're truly in the Zen state, more coincidences will happen.

And they will be outrageous coincidences that have no business happening, and simply don't happen at all when you're not in the Zen state.

Selective attention only goes so far as an explanation. (Based on my experience, anyway.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be truly in the zen state allows for no coincidences at all! You are in the moment, the moment is eternal. There is no time differentiation for coincidence to happen. There is no meaning in anything because everything is the meaning.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 09:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly.

But that doesn't explain the outrageous coincidences.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 09:13:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A truly zen argument gentlemen.  Very enjoyable.

Here's a koan for ye.

JOSHU, an old monk, was making a pot of tea in the main hall when he spotted a monk he'd never seen before.  He called the monk over.

"I'm old and forgetful," said Joshu.  "Have I met you before?"

The monk answered, "No sir, you have not."

"Well then, sit down and have a cup of tea with me," said Joshu.

Another monk came up to ask Joshu a question.

"I'm old and forgetful," said Joshu.  "Have I met you before?"

"Yes sir, of course you have," said the second monk.

"Well then, sit down and have a cup of tea with me," said Joshu.

Later, when the others were gone, the managing monk of the monastery came over to Joshu, who was making another pot of tea.

"How is it," said the manager, "that you make the same offer of tea whatever the reply to your
question?"

At this Joshu stood up.

"Manager!" he shouted.  "Are you still here?"

"Of course I am!" the manager answered.

"Well then, sit down and have a cup of tea with me," said Joshu.

(Stolen and modified from here.)



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 10:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mu.

(Or as we call it in the UK - Mornington Crescent.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:25:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny coincidence: I was just about to not say that ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they're attempting the same thing.

Rorschach ink blot.

(A butterfly?  A strange alien being shooting goo?)

The Tarot Card for The Fool.

What it means I have no idea whatsoever, but I don't think it's doing the same kind of work as the ink blot.

Mind you, I no nosseeng about the tarot and have had a prejudiced aversion to the cards--and what I thought of as the concept--based on past experience with...well...with depressed people in long skirts...and telly programmes with old ladies who cackled, or princesses and treasures and woe to ye!

But I will fight my prejudices!



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Rorschach Test depends on the brain's attempts to find logic in visual symbols when it is not present, especially when the search for logic is induced by suggestion.

If you remember my diary on the Matrix Collision?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the rorschach test didn't involve suggestion, only "What do you see?" (the person asking the question must make a difference.)

From what I see, tarot involves multiple (contradictory?) suggestions and so is a gothic (oldie woldie) tool for opening thought processes a la your comments above; whereas the I-Ching involves a cohesive world view broken into 64 parts with each part subdivided into 6 (and also into twos and threes) which subdivisions change the meaning of the 64 parts and feed one into the other.

So, I think there is internal logic to the I-Ching, there is human interaction with the tarot, and the ink blot is the interaction of unconscious structures with a single outside event...

(Or sommat...I'm not sure I expressed the rorschach bit correctly...)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(I do remember your excellent diary ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:39:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just asking 'What do you see?' is suggestive.

Were you to read Papus' book the Tarot of the Bohemians, you would find the idea that underneath the divisions of the major and minor arcana there are hermetic concepts such as male-female-progeny-recycle, the yod as the life force derived from the name of god, and a whole bunch of other seemingly intricately woven logic. Just as with the I-Ching. These structures are, of course ;-), projected onto a bit of culture i.e. the original authors, or an evolving set of authors, rorschached their own interpretation of sigils and signs laying about in their cultural matrix.

Nobody asked them to do it, but life itself kind of asked them "What do you see?"

A cricket match would hardly be self-explanatory to someone who had never heard or seen it before, and who had no cultural references for it. They might try to explain it in their own terms (14 men in white go into a big field, put six sticks in the ground, and then it rains) orm like the Cargo Cult of PNG, they see things beyond their understanding such as aeroplanes which land and disgorge gifts and assume that it is the pattern of the layout of the airfield that is attracting these 'birds' from the sky. Since they want the gifts too, they build their own 'landing strips' to attract the birds.

What you see is only what you are able to see with the references that you have.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 09:06:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rg, interesting and intuitive choice your fool, especially after rereading the comments. The Fool is considered the Higher Consciousness or some call it Soul, that always is and never dies - eternally blissful, just before descenting into the valley of life, ready for new experiences and challenges.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:23:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what would bucky say?

don't fight forces, use them!

sometimes the scary ones have the most secrets to unpack.

good points about the story.

life as myth..where is kcurie?

old plots recycled, same circus. different clowns.

tarot is an opening, a portal to symbology.

anything can be a rorsasch, even how the leaves pattern as they fly by, or settle at your feet.

humdrum mind...gurdjieff stipulated we were all asleep, walking talking zombies, and recommended remaining in that state unless we are capable of following through in creating a different, consensus-of-one philosophy.

there's a saying that a prisoner could get out of any jail if he had the tarot deck.

i alsways suspected he gave a reading to the guard!

as metaphors come, that pleases me.

as for the inner/outer duality...

complemented they are one, with or without witness, for ever and ever amen

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 07:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm, that 16-wheeler does look like a solid unbroken line...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:41:43 AM EST


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:42:57 AM EST
Which binary numbers?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:20:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(What I mean is, you start with 3 coins (two sides--each coin is binary, but you throw them at the same time); these produce one of 4 line types (broken-moving; broken-not-moving; unbroken-moving; unbroken-not-moving), which build one of 64 hexagrams, each of which can have between 0 - 6 moving lines, and if there is more than one moving line a new hexagram is formed...  No basic Yes/No, On/Off 1/0 moment.  

But I may have misunderstood everything.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are sixty four possible combinations of broken and unbroken lines.  These are the sixty four hexagrams of the I Ching.

2^6 = 64

The way broken/unbroken and moving/unmoving interact is an operation of binary numbers ["moving" = "add one modulo two"].

The bit about using the three coins to produce the numbers 0-3 and to assign these to two binary values is rather confusing, you don't give the details

The correct probability has been used also in the marble, bean, dice and two or four coin methods below. This probability is significantly different from that of the three-coin method, because the required amount of accuracy occupies four binary bits of information, so three coins is one bit short. In terms of chances-out-of-sixteen, the three-coin method yields 2,2,6,6 instead of 1,3,5,7 for old-yin, old-yang, young-yang, young-yin respectively.
I don't know that there is much to understand, you just start with dualistic philosophy and binary numbers and let your imagination fly.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 10:52:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know that there is much to understand, you just start with dualistic philosophy and binary numbers and let your imagination fly.

Could you expand on the dualistic philosophy part?  (I thought the One God religions were the dualistic ones.)

----------

Here's how I understand the numbering (not that it's important, but I havenae a game of Go to play at ze moment, so here goes:)

You have three coins, each of which has two faces, A and B (I think some coins have a bare side and an inscribed side)

The coins are thrown on up in the air, say, and as they land each coin can be in position A or B, which leads to 4 possible combinations of the coins:

AAA (all face up)
BBB (all face down)
ABB (two face down; one face up)
BAA (two face up; one face down)

The lines are composed thusly:

All face up = unbroken line, moving
Only one face up = unbroken non-moving line (the "little" yang, I think it's called)
All face down = broken line, moving
Only one face down = broken non-moving line (the little yin)

So you start with three coins and produce one of four possible results.  The only addition is in seeing how each coin turned out.  One part of the I-Ching philosphy (as I understand it) is that it would not be the same to throw one coin three times.  There has to be that gesture of throwing something into the present moment, a gesture from you into the NOW which can react with all the NOW around it.  You disrupt the harmony, you inject something into it.

The I-Ching as I understand it only answers questions, hence it is an oracle.  You have to have a question, then throw your coins.  Or not.  Issa very flexible system if you lose the ritual rigidity.

The key is whether one finds the various images and judgments related to the 64 hexagrams to one's liking.  They describe a process of birth, decay, rebirth, etc.  If I remember rightly (probably not...) the sign of six unbroken lines...let me check...wikipedia is slow today...anyway, one of the hexagrams means "perfect balance," but this is a sign of coming danger, because anything in perfect balance is about to be lose its balance...

Yap yap!  Tell me more about the dualistic philosphy.  I hold to the taoist line that to posit one thing is to posit its opposite not because that is the truth of nature, but that it is the truth of positing qualities (yellow = not yellow somewhere etc.)..

wikipedia is back!

Binary sequence
In his article Explication de l'Arithmétique Binaire (1703) Gottfried Leibniz writes that he has found in the hexagrams a base for claiming the universality of the binary numeral system. He takes the layout of the combinatorial exercise found in the hexagrams to represent binary sequences, so that ¦¦¦¦¦¦ would correspond to the binary sequence 000000 and ¦¦¦¦¦| would be 000001, and so forth.

The binary arrangement of hexagrams was developed by the famous Chinese scholar and philosopher Shao Yung (a neo-Confucian and Taoist) in the 11th century. He displayed it in two different formats, a circle, and a rectangular block. Thus, he clearly understood the sequence represented a logical progression of values. However, while it is true that these sequences do represent the values 0 through 63 in a binary display, there is no evidence that Shao understood that the numbers could be used in computations such as addition or subtraction.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you expand on the dualistic philosophy part?  (I thought the One God religions were the dualistic ones.)

The monotheistic religions are not dualistic. Satan is not on a par with God.

Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, those were dualistic and theistic (or so I remember).

Eastern philosophies are full of dualism and the balance of opposites, I thought you knew more about that than I? Ying/Yang, etc, is what I meant.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:35:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the idea of the ancient eastern religions was that unity was fragmented by "seeming" opposites, hence yin and yang are coiled round each other and each has an "eye" which is the other.

...whereas although there is the claim in the One God religions that the One God is superior in all aspects to everything else (Creator of All), on analysis their thinking--and logic--is of the In/Out variety.  You are chosen, or you're not.  You go to heaven, or you go to hell.  Once the mystics (sufis etc.) get involved this all falls apart, as it does when one examines the concepts, hence the position of the heretic...or sommat.

I think I'm at that Wittgenstien moment...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The text of the I Ching is a set of predictions represented by a set of 64 abstract line arrangements called hexagrams (卦 guà). Although just the numbers 1 to 64 could have been used, the ancient Chinese instead used a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines (爻 yáo). Each line is either Yang (an unbroken, or solid line), or Yin (broken, an open line with a gap in the centre). With six such lines stacked from bottom to top there are 26 or 64 possible combinations, and thus 64 hexagrams represented.

...

Each hexagram represents a description of a state or process. When a hexagram is cast using one of the traditional processes of divination with I Ching, each of the yin or yang lines will be indicated as either moving (that is, changing), or fixed (that is, unchanging). Moving (also sometimes called "old", or "unstable") lines will change to their opposites, that is "young" lines of the other type -- old yang becoming young yin, and old yin becoming young yang.

...

The solid line represents yang, the creative principle. The open line represents yin, the receptive principle. These principles are also represented in a common circular symbol (☯), known as taijitu (太極圖), but more commonly known in the west as the yin-yang (陰陽) diagram, expressing the idea of complementarity of changes: when Yang is at top, Yin is increasing, and the reverse.

...

Yin and yang, while common expressions associated with many schools known from classical Chinese culture, are especially associated with the Taoists.

The concepts of Yin and Yang originate in ancient Chinese philosophy and metaphysics, which describes two primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe. Yin (Chinese: 陰阴; pinyin: yīn; literally "shady place, north slope (hill), south bank (river); cloudy, overcast") is the darker element; it is sad, passive, dark, feminine, downward-seeking, and corresponds to the night. Yang (陽阳; yáng; "sunny place, south slope (hill), north bank (river); sunshine") is the brighter element; it is happy, active, light, masculine, upward-seeking and corresponds to the day. Yin is often symbolized by water, while Yang is symbolized by fire.

Yin (feminine, dark, passive force) and Yang (masculine, bright, active force) are descriptions of complementary opposites rather than absolutes. Any Yin/Yang dichotomy can be seen as its opposite when viewed from another perspective. The categorisation is seen as one of convenience. Most forces in nature can be seen as having Yin and Yang states, and the two are usually in movement rather than held in absolute stasis.

If that is not dualism I don't know what is.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These principles are also represented in a common circular symbol (☯), known as taijitu (太極圖), but more commonly known in the west as the yin-yang (陰陽) diagram, expressing the idea of complementarity of changes

Any Yin/Yang dichotomy can be seen as its opposite when viewed from another perspective.

Perhaps I'm thinking of dualism as meaning "two separate things", whereas I take the above to mean "you can always find an opposite for a posit, but this doesn't mean there are two separate things you are positing."

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure it's a useful distinction.

The obvious difference for me is that Western beliefs are based on static abstract principles. (I know I've mentioned this twice already, but the static part seems to be really important.)

Eastern ideas seem much more dynamic. Male and female are dynamics of change that transform into each other, rather than being fixed states of being. The movement is as important as the description - hence the idea that any line in a hexagram can potentially be moving.

Everything is in dynamic equilibrium, and tiny changes can have very significant results. This is very different to the Western view, where - effectively - everything is made of blocks that can be nested and stacked and don't change, except to a limited extent in combination.

That's why we have big hulking words like 'government' and 'job' and 'marriage' and struggle with the idea that these are mutable processes, not fixed things.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you go far back in Western thought you can find a Greek philosopher suggesting just about any idea you like. Quite a few of them were dualistic in a sense not unlike the Eastern one, and on whether principles are static or dynamic you have Heraclitus' Panta Rei (Everything flows and nothing is left unchanged) versus Parmenides' aletheia (the reality of the world is 'One Being': an unchanging, ungenerated, indestructible whole).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 06:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the ching wa a lot heavier to carry around than the tarot, hitching around.

but it is a magical book.

heavy,man!

anyone get into terrence mckenna's timeline software?

he drew from the ching for that.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 07:09:44 AM EST
Interesting discussion - however to me it sounds like the left brain is discussing experiences of the right brain. It can not really put its finger on it, because it can not explain it. Right brain experiences are difficult to put in words, i.e. left brain symbols.

The I Ging from a intuitive level makes sense to me - right brain being 3D and multidimensional. But when I am asked to put them in to words, i.e. reduce the 3D in to a verbal linear sequence I am at lost - out comes gibberish and the words just do not feel right.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 10:31:52 AM EST
I met a bloke who was completely left sided: left footed, left handed, and left-eyed (there was a test, moving something closer to the face until one of the eyes closed to maintain focus...could be wrong on that.)

I think (again, I could be wrong!) that pure left-sidedness is very rare.  He said he could "see" problems and their solutions, but he couldn't explain them.  This made it difficult for him at school.  It wasn't that he was any brighter than anyone else, it was a different process; I think it was he who said something about not seeing the dots but seeing the connections between the dots...

Do any left-handed ET folks have any thoughts?

(I made the assumption, Fran, that you are left-handed from what you wrote.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 10:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I am right-handed :-), but found more access to my right side aspects through meditation - an amazing and surprising trip, which I hope will continue.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How are you with chakras?

(I hear mathematicians spitting coffee all over their monitors...)

That's a question for melo the masseur, too.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:23:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and may I wish you much amazement surprise and pleasure as your trip develops.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:25:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Psst, rg - you should never ever mention Chakras when Migeru is around!!!!!!! :-))

But mine are doing fine.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops!  (See large quote below.)

I'm glad your chakras are doing well.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And thanks for the great picture.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Arrgh!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:29:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
;)

From our old friend.

Scientific Basis [Of Chakras]

The idea of chakras as understood in Eastern philosophy does not exist in medical science. In Eastern thought, the chakras are thought to be levels of consciousness, and states of the soul, and 'proving' the existence of chakras is asking to 'prove' the existence of a soul. A mystic deals with these occult concepts on the occult plane, as a model for their own internal experience, and when talking about 'energy centres', they are generally talking about subtle, spiritual forces, which work on the psyche and spirit, not about physical, electrical, or magnetic fields.

The primary importance and level of existence of chakras is therefore posited to be in the psyche. However, there are those who believe that chakras have a physical manifestation as well. Although there is no evidence that Indian mystics made this association themselves, it is noted by many that there is a marked similarity between the positions and roles described for chakras, and the positions and roles of the glands in the endocrine system, and also by the positions of the nerve ganglia (also known as "plexuses") along the spinal column, opening the possibility that two vastly different systems of conceptualization have been brought to bear to systemize insights about the same phenomenon. By some, chakras are thought of as having their physical manifestation in the body as these glands, and their subjective manifestation as the associated psychological and spiritual experiences.

Indeed, the various hormones secreted by these glands do have a dramatic effect on human psychology, and an imbalance in one can cause a psychological or physical imbalance in a person. Whether these changes in body state have a bearing on spiritual matters is a subject of dissent even among the Indian theorists, and the different systems of conceptualization, Indian and Western, make only a partial convergence in this case.

Perhaps the most psychologically dramatic and potent secretion of these glands is the psychedelic drug DMT (which is thought to be synthesized by the pineal gland, corresponding to the brow chakra).

(btw, I couldn't work out the answer to your life and death Go question.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:38:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you count the liberties of all the groups? Attack the opposing group with the fewest liberties.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:42:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume you are responding to the Go question and not to the chakras. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To accept the concept of a soul, you also have to accept that there is a homonculus. If you accept the idea of a homonculus you donna know nosseeng - as someone here likes to put it.

You are sentient because of a process - a self-organizing process. When that process dies, because you die, so does sentience. It is unique and individual, confined to one continguous mass of neural connections, and is not transferable - to heaven, to hell, or to any other creature.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:52:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You must be replying to the wrong comment.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's just an outrageous coincidence ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the connection of the soul to the homunculus, not do I see the need to postulate a homunculus if there is a soul.  

I see it more like a computer, there is hard- and the software and a programmer - but who is the programmer?

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:58:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The soul is a homunculus, I think. It is something unitary, external and conscious that animates the body.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guess the computer analogy was not that great, but to me the soul is nothing external.

This is a topic refered to in Jyana Yoga, the intellectual yoga which has one of the main questions - WHO AM I? WHO or WHAT IS THINKING THIS? etc.  

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the soul transcend the body, and if so how can it then not be "external"?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't it be both - internal and external (which are left-brain restrictions)- you know like energy being a wave and particle.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, well, now we're getting into the issue of what makes an entity coherent and separate. Maybe I should write another QM diary on "what is a particle"? It could blow people's socks off.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:14:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I will read it on bare feet, too.
by Nomad on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:18:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think there is an agreed definition of the soul.  But I do have experience of something "I" could associate with that wasn't what I normally call "I".  It was a more encompassing concept.  This ties in, I think with the religious idea that we are absorbed into God--union with the Godhead.

I certainly agree with sven that the self (the conscious "I" that controls and makes constant decisions) ceases to be at death--and this makes it very unhappy.  I think aspects of our current civilisation promote and seek to expand the "I" (the selfish ego?), and I don't think this is a healthy road as this "I", of all things, is the one that is doomed to die.

It thinks of itself as a homunculus, but it isn't that, it is a rapidly connecting something something bicyle cycle home home...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the self ... ceases to be at death--and this makes it very unhappy

How can something that has ceased to be, be unhappy?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:10:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what I like about this place ;-)

It's PNing of the highest order...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:25:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not PNing, it's an important issue when discussing death.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I would have accused Socrates of PNing, so you're in good company

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and every philosopher thereafter...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:31:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Socrates was sentenced to death for corrupting young commas.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes the selfish-ego unhappy:

Through complexity it comes to see connections in a past-present-future tense system (Fran's left brain model), and so it realises that it will, necessarily cease to exist: die.  After death, it won't be there to worry, of course.  The dead are calm.  Those left behind are the bereaved.  But as it lives, this selfish-ego is at times overwhelmed with the idea of not existing anymore at some time in the future.  The more society promotes this selfish-ego, the more this unhappiness is spread about.

(Connections here to the potential extinction of humans--the horror!)


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The solution is, then, to believe in life after death or the transcendence of the soul. Or else to come to terms with the finitude of experience. However, conscious life may actually have no end as we are not there to be aware of the end of awareness in the first place...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 06:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think the most important thing is for the alienated "I" to reattach to groups beyond itself, whether they be other humans (community), nature, or 'beyond human experience' (transcendence--or 'ever more encompassing'.  I don't think the selfish-I ever comes to terms with the finitude of existence.  I don't think it was designed--Yipes!  No, there is no external desginer, there is sven's complexity creating designs against the left wall of viability etc.--anyway, the I is one of our survival mechanisms, I think.

However, conscious life may actually have no end as we are not there to be aware of the end of awareness in the first place...

Like going to sleep but without the dream--or the waking up?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:09:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, conscious life may actually have no end as we are not there to be aware of the end of awareness in the first place...

Like going to sleep but without the dream--or the waking up?

Exactly.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or like something being engulfed in flame...or incinerated...  It depends on the process of death.  Sudden. Whack!  Or slow s l o w  s   l  o   w

I don't think consciousness ends at death, but I think "self" consciousness ends at death...

The question then is: what is this consciousness that isn't the self, and who cares about it?  Which I would take as a comment by the self about its own extinction.  Yet there is a long historical cataloge of humans experiencing states which are, it seems, real but impossible to vocalise in prose.

I died from minerality and became vegetable;

And From vegetativeness I died and became animal.

I died from animality and became man.

Then why fear disappearance through death?

Next time I shall die

Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;

After that, soaring higher than angels -

What you cannot imagine,

I shall be that.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A programmer is not needed, unless you believe that some other force was in action at the time the amazing foraminifera came into being. For me, and I think for current scientific understanding, it is a natural unfolding of complexity over billions of years. And only that.

The brain has always been interpreted by the prevailing technology of the day, whether a telephone exchange earlier or a computer today. (or indeed the 'magic' that was the 'technology', before technology)

Look at anything that grows (including the brain) - it certainly unfolds in a predictable manner, but is there a little man guiding it? Look at a flock of birds whirling round and ask who is the leader? There is none, just as there is no little man.

I'm not against the use of the word soul to describe a particular conjoining of neurons, or any of the other words like chakras. But they are only inadequate words to describe complexity.

And of course one can change this complexity in the brain by manipulating your neural networks - by meditating, studying, experience, exercises etc etc.

Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the Skene monks of the Russian Orthodox church. They choose this incredible discipline in order to completely cleanse their minds of everything before. They live alone, far away from the monastery. for many years. They have a shelter and a well. That is all. They 'chain themsleves' to the forest to survive. It is the simplest life of all and filled with constant prayer - and I am mean constant.

At the end of this process - which is slowly disconnecting old neural connections (literally), and reconnecting simplicity - the monk is incredibly pure. These are often the monks (so I've been told) that go out into the world to minister to prostitutes, criminals and murderers. They are so pure that they are untouched by anything they see.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you read At Home In The Universe?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did, thank you. I found some of the maths a bit difficult, but there were many very interesting concepts there which relate to others things I've been looking at. If it was far better illustrated, I think it would be fantastic. For some of us it is easier to grab onto a visual.

Part of my work is translating complex ideas into visuals, and I find that rewarding because you cannot create the visual without understanding the concept. It motivates you to do the work of understanding, instead of being lazy.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here I thought I was giving you a book with no maths...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 01:00:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
who is the programmer

Now, now, you don't take Intelligent Design seriously, do you?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Homunculus is one of the best Esoteric Jokes, played on the rich and gullible, which has somehow been taken onboard by some factions of religion to my amazement.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 02:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
homunculus |h??m? ng ky?l?s; h?-| noun ( pl. -li |-?l?|or -les |-?l?z|) a very small human or humanoid creature. * historical a supposed microscopic but fully formed human being from which a fetus was formerly believed to develop. ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin, diminutive of homo, homin- `man.'

your opinion brooks no rational argument...

yet....it seems dismissive.

are you so sure of your self-organising sentience, that you can afford to sound so absolutist?

reading your confident assumption, i am tempted to assert that 'donna know nosseeng' might be the prime requisite for enlightenment.

your brain denies your soul, but perhaps it just hasn't found the password.

for such a pooh-pooher, you sure have touched my soul with many of your brilliant comments these last few months!

oddly perhaps, but 'homunculus' seems to describe a little imaginary mannikin, purported to be a homeopathically tiny version of the final product, into which it supposedly swelled.

enchantingly medieval!

but what has it to do with humans being ensouled?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 08:58:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Soul' just doesn't mean anything. It is a word that cannot be defined except under the Catch-22 rules of "If you believe it, it exists, if you don't you're damned''.

Now if you said the soul was 'aspiration' or 'hope', I might agree on the definition, because those characteristics could be logically seen as related to the survival of life - which I argue is what underpins all our actions in some way.

If you said that 'soul' was 'self', as in self-aware, I would accept that too. What I don't accept is that anything called 'soul' is transferrable beyond the physical limits of a brain (human or otherwise).

And I can't see why a 'soul' is needed for enlightenment or anything else. The brain is a fantastic thing that functions on a myriad levels.

Your use of the 'password' analogy is revealing - it shows you still believe that there is someone controlling everything - the homonculus.
YOU control everything. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 03:31:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I don't accept is that anything called 'soul' is transferrable beyond the physical limits of a brain (human or otherwise).

You're thinking of the soul as a thing, then, as opposed to consciousness...which is not a thing, but a process?

I don't think I've quite got your meaning.

(I don't see how you can categorically state that processes of 'understanding'--sentience?--are held within the body...Jung's collective unconscious...

A friend of mine, a pure scientific rationalist, came to the conclusion that we do have a "race memory": he said we had two basic fears: of volcanos and of ice, coz those have always been the two that have wiped us out.  I'm digressing wildly.

But Ikernov Nussink.

So, you state categorically that 'consciousness' is the "I", a process created by complexity of a system, and disappears at the death of the complex system...?

(I'm thinking of, was it das monde?, who wrote about the consciousness of the planet.)

(My personal experience is that part of my "I" used to be a chinese town planner back in the seventeenth or eighteenth century...big towns, no cars, elegant structures but nothing showy.  Bloody drugs mate, rot yer brain...)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wot braign?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:16:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What braign?



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:06:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm  not going to fall for trying to define'soul'!

as for being damned if you don't believe...superstitious poppycock.

you're right about the password analogy, it does sound like i'm trying to get behind a firewall, and need big daddy's permission.

i meant it in a slightly different way.

watching a child teach itself to drag its body to the vertical position and learn to hold their balance is amazing.

the patience and willpower are awesome, and eventually, gradually, balance becomes second nature -until you get old and wobbly again.

forgetting yer password!

damn i used the analogy again...

i hope i didn't sound polemic, i intuit our pov's are neither exclusive, nor do they cancel each other out.

seemingly antagonistic perhaps, they are in reality complementary.

i heard when humans die, they suddenly become a few grams lighter.

not that i need physical proof, mind...

i love subjects like this.

mind over natter....

i suspect the soul will ever resist definition, will never cease to change, and will delight eternally in hiding in plain sight.

attempting to describe the ineffable is the source of all poetry.

if i was in control, i would not have to wait for anything, ever!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:16:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm  not going to fall for trying to define'soul'!

Then how are we supposed to carry out a conversation on it?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
suppose it's real. the soul.

what would you like it to mean?

my guess is that every human would have a slightly or greatly differing opinion about that definition.

personally i'm working on the difference between 'spirit' and 'soul', and it's been years....aeons maybe...

i find 'spirit' to be more about the aspirational and devotional, e stretching for expression and refinement, 'soul' more about the unconscious, fertile, magmatic substructures of personality, and the emotional gestalt we discover sharing numinous experience.

if having a discussion about these things were only permitted to those who agree on definitions, we risk postulating prejudice instead of encouraging expression.

trying to define things is more fun than not, but these ideas  are written in water, not stone.

suppose....lovely word

suppose |s??p?z| verb 1 [with clause ] assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge : I suppose I got there about half past eleven. * used to make a reluctant or hesitant admission : I'm quite a good actress, I suppose. * used to introduce a hypothesis and trace or ask about what follows from it : suppose he had been murdered--what then? * [in imperative ] used to introduce a suggestion : suppose we leave this to the police. * (of a theory or argument) assume or require that something is the case as a precondition : the procedure supposes that a will has already been proved | [ trans. ] the theory supposes a predisposition to interpret utterances. * [ trans. ] believe to exist or to possess a specified characteristic : he supposed the girl to be about twelve [as adj. ] ( supposed) often |s??p?zid| | people admire their supposed industriousness. 2 ( be supposed to do something) be required to do something because of the position one is in or an agreement one has made : I'm supposed to be meeting someone at the airport. * [with negative ] be forbidden to do something : I shouldn't have been in the kitchen--I'm not supposed to go in there. PHRASES I suppose so used to express hesitant or reluctant agreement. DERIVATIVES supposable adjective ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French supposer, from Latin supponere (from sub- `from below' + ponere `to place' ), but influenced by Latin suppositus `set under' and Old French poser `to place.'

being able to control-click on a word and look it up in a dictionary in the blink of a dialup eye is like a new toy, sorry!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
suppose it's real. the soul.

What am I supposed to suppose is real? You just give me a word with no meanings attached. What do you mean by "suppose the soul is real"?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:44:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i gave you a word, i don't attach meanings to it, because it already has a meaning. it doesn't need me to give a new one.

perhaps it's like trying to describe the taste of a banana...yellow?

as you seem interested enough to reply, try skipping the first sentence and going to the second one.

If the soul existed and could be a value-addition to an onsouled life, couòd you care?

*or maybe your life is complete without 'going there', and you possibly think anyone who enjoys soul communion is merely deluded...

maybe there is a surrender needed to understand.

how about this?

critical thinking is crucial in life, all would agree hopefully.

are there times when excessive critical thinking might be an impediment to experience? has this ever been true for you?

perhaps you fell in love with someone your reasonable side urged you to avoid, for example.

or you made an apparently prudent decision, that later you regretted, realising it was fear, not wisdom that drove your choice.

perhaps 'soul' is like phlogiston or ether, handy terminologies till better ones, with more enquiry, arrive and take their place.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a soul? Do I have a soul? How can I tell?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:50:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i gave you a word, i don't attach meanings to it, because it already has a meaning. it doesn't need me to give a new one.

When you say "soul" do you mean this?

The soul ... is a self-aware ethereal substance particular to a unique living being. ... the soul is thought to incorporate the inner essence of each living being, and to be the true basis for sentience. In distinction to spirit which may or may not be eternal, souls are usually ... considered to be immortal and to pre-exist their incarnation in flesh.
from

[I find]  'soul' more about the unconscious, fertile, magmatic substructures of personality, and the emotional gestalt we discover sharing numinous experience

it wouldn't seem like you do. So does 'soul' already have a meaning? I have to admit I have no idea what you mean by "the emotional gestalt we discover sharing numinous experience", among other things because I don't think I have had numinous experiences as in

that which is wholly other. The numinous is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that leads in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent.
Or, rather, if I encounter mysterium tremendum et fascinans I don't feel compelled to believe in deities, the supernatural, the sacret, the holy ot the transcendent.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if migeru were a selfreplicating bot-blogger, who got a perverse kick out of being an intellectual Ùber-brat, i'd venture that he had no soul.

because he evinces signs of humour, playfulness and compassion, i suspect he does.

but what do i know, i only play guru on the internet...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is so hard to extract a straight yes/no answer out of you. LOL

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:53:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nature abhors straight lines

you do manage to extract elliptical ones!

bell that cat

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 19th, 2006 at 04:09:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if migeru were a selfreplicating bot-blogger, who got a perverse kick out of being an intellectual Ùber-brat, i'd venture that he had no soul.

Damn! I've been outed!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Back to my old überTuring test. - a neurosurgeon operates on himself. It's the eipitome of feedback. And not a soul around for miles...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there such a thing as a pure definition?

It is a black furry animal.

Define black, define furry, define animal.

Does this process regress ad infinitum and take us to that diary you're about to write which I am looking forward to reading?

(Like Nomad, I will take my socks off first ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there such a thing as a pure definition?

If the word "soul" refers to something, what does it refer to? If it doesn't, what are we talking about?

If I ask you what a black furry animal is, you can produce one. You can, in fact, produce many different ones, which helps narrow down the essential features of "black furry animal". You can produce white furry animals, black naked animals, and black furry coats.

What is a soul?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the word "soul" refers to something, what does it refer to? If it doesn't, what are we talking about?

I don't know.  I don't use the word.  My guess is that it doesn't refer to a "thing", nor does it refer to "no thing".  It exists in a language game called "spirituality", of which "religion" is a subset.

I don't think producing physical examples acts as a definition.  You produce something, I say, "Well, I can see it, but what does the word mean?  You point at the object and say, it means that.  "But what are you pointing at?" I say.  "This!" you say.  But what is that thing you are pointing at?  What are "black", "furry", "animal" etc?  Words to be used in a language game.  As is "soul".

The fun is to flip 'em around in the game and see what comes out.  I suppose refusing to accept that a word has a meaning is to refuse to play that language game.

Elf.  Pixie.  Hey, my daughter used to be a pixie and is now an elf.  (This happens to be true, but in which language game?)

So, the first thing to say might be "The soul is or is not a physical part of the human body."  Then the discussion can be about those missing grams.

If it is not a part of the body, the conversation could be, "So, does the soul survive the death of the body?" etc.

(P.S. I felt the hexagrams 23 and 20 referenced ET.  Indeed, without imagination what is a human?  Snarfle grap urgh Wittgenstien moments...language used to point to events uncontainable by language...the quote about language being a finger and the object of language being....referent and reference and referee...enjoy yer lunch!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The phenomenon was also know to the Alchemists. Paracelsus said that a medical doctor who doesn't know the planets is not a real doctor, the planets being symbols for the chakras. I would say integrating the idea of chakras in treatment could be considered a form of psychosomatic therapy.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A fantastic image! People making themselves magical.

But I still say it is psychosomatic. Everyone can change - you just have to wire yourself up in a new way, and that takes time.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I still say it is psychosomatic

Meaning it's all in the mind (but not in reality?)

The question is how far can you bend reality before it snaps back and says, "I am a wall, and you can't walk through me.  Hey!  Stop making a door!"

I am an ignoramus in all these matters, but as I get older and my body gets creakier I can rely less on natural bounce to move me through emptiness filled with assorted clusters--ouch!  Who put that chair there?--and I do think that western/modern/shallow approaches to ourselves/bodies as they react to the universe--as they touch each other--and where is the dividing line?  Anyway, I'm all for learning what works and using it.  How it works is part of the fun, of course, but at the edges everything spins and combines and separates and....the permaculture principle: Life thrives at boundaries, at the edges.  Also, for some reason, I connect this with Stephen J. Gould's example of measuring the coastline of Maine: it all depends on the measuring scale...

Facts are facts and cannot be denied by any rational being. (Often, facts are also not at all easy to determine or specify--but this question raises different issues for another time.) Facts, however, may also be highly scale dependent--and the perceptions of one world may have no validity or expression in the domain of another. The one-page map of Maine cannot recognize the separate boulders of Acadia, but both provide equally valid representations of a factual coastline.

And now I must



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gould is stealing Mandelbrot's example, presumably because he thinks it's so well known he doesn't need to attribute it.

Or, actually, Gould is talking about representation at different level and you're interpreting it as measuring, a la Mandelbrot.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:02:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facts exist as consensus interpretations. You can only have a fact where a majority perceive (more or less) the same thing and interpret it (more or less) the same way, and the model built from that interpretation seems (more or less) consistent with what happens next.

This makes facts a little slipperier than most people realise. But as long as we're all (more or less) in the same headspace, no major reality dislocations are likely.

Unfortunately, sooner or later someone comes along and spoils the neat picture.

The best way to avoid any danger of unwanted metaprogramming is to ignore them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 03:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understood it, Gould's point was that the answer to the question "How long is the coast of Maine?" depends on what you're using to measure the coast of Maine.  There is no "answer", there are only the answers that your measuring equipment--and the object(s) being measured can give you.

(Which I think links to Fran's point about right brain-left brain.  The left brain uses langauge and linear models, and anything that can't be explained via language and linearity "makes no sense" = "is nonsense" to the left brain.  The right brain experiences differently, and sees the limits of language...back to Wittgenstein's point: language has its limits as an experiential tool.


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 04:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but that was originally Mandelbrot's example in his book "How Long is the Coast of Britain". The way Gould phrases it he seems to be saying that the map is not the territory and that representations at different scales emphasise different features.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 06:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the map is not the territory and that representations at different scales emphasise different features.

Was it Gould who talked about how gravity had no importance below a certain size, hence the structure of insects?

Maybe two things: One is how different features become emphasised at different scales, t'other is how at different scales different rules (systems) apply.

Durrr.  Note to non existent self object: switch brain on.  Where'd I put the switch?  Zzzzzip!

Ah, there it is.




Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was it Gould who talked about how gravity had no importance below a certain size, hence the structure of insects?

Gould didn't discover that, he just popularised it.

I hate to quote myself, but

Beginning with the 18th century naturalists a movement arose that sought to understand the "universal laws of form" in order to explain the observed forms of living organisms. Because of its association with Lamarckism, their ideas fell into disrepute until the early 20th century, when pioneers such as D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson revived them. The modern understanding is that there are indeed universal laws (arising from fundamental physics and chemistry) that govern growth and form in biological systems.
It is not whether gravity has importance or not, but what the relative strangths of all the forces are, and what mechanical properties of biomaterials and grown dtructures are possible. This is a question of chemistry and physics.

The basic scaling law here is that the surface to volume ratio is inversely proportional to the linear dimension. If you're really small, surface effects dominate: surface tension is actually stronger than gravity, or pressure. This is why insects can walk on water.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:39:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The modern understanding is that there are indeed universal laws (arising from fundamental physics and chemistry) that govern growth and form in biological systems.

I thought they hadn't found any underlying law(s), laws I mean that dealt with the super-micro (quantum) and the super-macro (relativity)?  We understand certain processes, but I don't think we understand exactly how a cuckoo upon breaching its shell will immediately kick any other baby birds out of the nest(did you see the film of this?  I think it was on one of Bill Oddie's nature watch shows.)  We call it "instinct", but I don't think...well, I don't know how science explains the process of knowing something so complex and so variable...what are the instructions in the D.N.A. for kicking live chicks out of a nest?

Yadda.  Sommat along those lines.

(I think in terms of the measurement and understanding...a foetus cannot concieve of the world beyond the womb.  Humans cannot conceive of...whatever is beyond their current measuring devices.  Yet the baby in the womb responds to and is aware of "something" beyond the womb--e.g. music, its mother's hearbeat etc.  I'm trying to get at something like that, I think.  The western science descriptive model as a tool, a measuring device...)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:32:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about growth and form, not behaviour.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Behaviour is not related to growth and form?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How exactly did we get from gravity and the structure of insects to the behaviour of cuckoo ckicks? There is a non-sequitur in there somewhere.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we've been weaving in and out of physical structures, consciousness, motivations, explications, scales, measures, definitions, and it very enjoyable it's been.

Fancy a game of Go?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:08:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but no need to keep telling each other "your turn". Just check the page regularly.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you take a materialistic view it doesn't seem unlikely that behaviours like evicting nest-mates could be wired in during the growth process. We don't know exactly how it works but our ignorance does not justify assuming that it requires magic.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 06:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you take a materialistic view it doesn't seem unlikely that behaviours like evicting nest-mates could be wired in during the growth process

Could you expand on that?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We - and cuckoos - manifest behaviours because our brains and body take in information from the environment, react to it and output results that change the environment. Quite complex behaviours can result from that process. Brains, even new-born, aren't helpless boxes of goo, especially in the creatures with less complicated ones than humans. Their structure is determined during development by an interplay of the decoding and transcription process of DNA with the foetal environment. You're talking about a very very complicated program that self-modifies and where different bits mean different things at different times and in different contexts. It seems that for a newly hatched cuckoo, the resulting brain contains structures that react to the input pattern "small and fuzzy" with the output "push out of nest". There is a continuum of instinct and reliance on instinct: insects are pretty much entirely instinct driven while humans are only mostly instinct driven and have much greater variation in their instinctive wiring.

It probably isn't correct to think of DNA as containing instructions - you have to see the DNA in the context of the environment it finds itself in and in the context of the development process. Cuckoo DNA, when it is decoded by the egg cell in the context of a cuckoo egg and an acceptable environment, produces over time a small bird that pushes other small birds out of nests.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would only add that mutated DNA (a natural process without which evolution could not occur) will also mean that some people/animals are born with different protein/hormone/semi-hormone factories that produce different amounts of metaprogamming biochemicals. There are also considerable natural variations between species.

I see these variations as being one potential source for so-called genetic memory.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends what you mean by "genetic memory"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean what other people refer to as genetic memory/ archtypes/what you will - ie the idea that behaviour can be passed on down through the generations. I find it hard to accept that this would be possible or probable.

I think a more likely and simpler explanation for such things as imprinting ("just-born duck thinks any moving object is mother, and thus thinks wayward football is parent" type of thing), is that for entirely physiological reasons, the chick is sensitized.

The sensitization could be (and I am only guessing by way of example) a flood of internally generated endorphins combined with some vision/motion phenomenon that is hardwired, not by learning over time, but almost instantly in the way that crack or meth can change behaviour very fast.

The 'flood of endorphins' is not some 'genetic memory', it is simply a function of the system that has been 'described' somwhere in the 800 bible's worth of DNA.

I throw in the bible reference to further confuse the homonculii ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a more likely and simpler explanation for such things as imprinting ("just-born duck thinks any moving object is mother, and thus thinks wayward football is parent" type of thing), is that for entirely physiological reasons, the chick is sensitized.

This is contentious?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In ducks - no.

In humans - very much so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen once described to me and Barbara a similar phenomenon occurring in Humans but acting not on the newborn baby but on the father. Maybe she can repeat it here.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think humans don't have instincts?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
react to it

Sven suggests this is an automated process based at its lowest level on amoeba-like attract/repel etc. forces.  Did I undestand that right, sven?  All complexity is built as these small parts aggregate.  This suggests that me typing this and you typing that are to be understood as physically determined processes.

As I understand it, though, the idea of the meta-programmer introduces some extra space between input and output (action-reaction).  A contemplative area where choices can be made.  The speiciesists among us (not you) see a division between us humans and every other living thing.

I think any drawing of this line is impossible (levels, degrees etc.)

So...contemplation and choice.  I know that's an unfinished thought.

Their structure is determined during development by an interplay of the decoding and transcription process of DNA with the foetal environment

And an interplay between the foetus and the external world, and all those levels of action-contemplation-reaction...a pure mechanical process has no space for contemplation (chance?)...which (to go back to the subject of the diary) is the element science has to avoid--controlled experiments--trying to nail the moment and see finally everything that is happening, and what is proposed as an alternative view, where Chance is a key and un-removable attribute to the system.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This suggests that me typing this and you typing that are to be understood as physically determined processes.

Yes, of course.

As I understand it, though, the idea of the meta-programmer introduces some extra space between input and output (action-reaction).
No-one said the processing of input had to be simple or immediate.

When I said "foetal environment" I meant the inclusion of the outside world.

Chance is part of the physical world, so it's constantly an influence.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, of course.

So thoughts are physically determined?  (I mean, if you think you have a choice, then that thought is also phsyically determined etc. ad infinitum back to the...well...whatever was the first step in the physical process...linearity all the way...so "Chance" is another word for "We haven't described--perhaps we can't describe--the whole system, but in it's possible in principle.)

No-one said the processing of input had to be simple or immediate.

It's the processing that is the issue, I think.  Because each process, when examined becomes a simpler process until you have simple input-output.  Or, and careful with the coffee folks--

Our brain is a physical thing.  Thoughts are physical processes.  So how does quantum behaviour translate in the human brain?  And where lieth the necessity there?

(cue a hundred AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!s)

But seriously, either we--our thoughts, our identity, etc--are part of the physical manifestation of the universe and are therefore quantum at heart like all other physical systems, or, well, I feel those edges overlapping...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me throw a few things out there, without expanding on their relevance:
Gödel's incompleteness theorems, and the halting problem.

My suggestion for a definition of the soul: Those statements that cannot be proven true or false within the (formal?) system of our thought. Why not? As good as any I have heard.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one knows if thoughts are physically determined. According to straightforward scientific materialism, they should be. But because no one has ever seen a thought or knows what it looks like, except from the outside, thoughts come dangerously close to suffering from the same philosophical problems that souls do.

And there's also that tiny problem left over from quantum mechanics about whether or not perception changes the workings and outcome of an experiment.

So at this point assuming that thinking is physical is a supposition that can't be proved or disproved.

In metaprogramming terms you're chunking information more or less in behavioural terms, and - as long as you don't get impatient - that's all you need to do. There is no complete functional disassembly of minds, souls, thoughts or even brains to refer to, so it's impossible to state categorically that X, Y or Z are the cause of any inner experience. You can't even do this with drugs. Just because the effects of LSD or ayahuasca are fairly reliable, doesn't mean anyone really knows what they change, or how.  

All you can do is give the black box a prod every now and then, try to learn from what it does, and look at other people's incomplete ideas about how to make changes, and the kinds of changes that can be made.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So at this point assuming that thinking is physical is a supposition that can't be proved or disproved.

If it's not, what is it? It seems like a good theory until some evidence shows that it can't be.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I never invoked either linearity or determinism. Is everything determined? Possibly, but the only way of predicting it would be to run the universe to find out what would happen.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought your agreement to my comment about our communications (typing) being physically determined meant you accepted a determinist model of action, A necessarily follows B.

We - and cuckoos - manifest behaviours because our brains and body take in information from the environment, react to it and output results that change the environment.

I take this to be basic linearity: input (before) output(after and as a result of.)  B follows A in time and is caused (at least partly) by A, and before A was something else all the way back into the mists.

"Chance" means (on this scenario, I think) side hits from other ABC causal (linear) events.

Put the whole lot together and you have chaos, but only because we can't put ourselves in the position to follow each line.

If I have understood the intro. to the I-Ching (me and understand=big IF), the (ancient?) chinese attitude didn't hold to this model.  It didn't follow past to present to future, but rather saw present spreading out in all directions.

I'm assuming that what we have discovered so far of what we call the quantum world does not follow the ABC model of reality.

If our brains are quantum in their centres (inside the inside the inside etc.) then they, too, cease to be simply ABC boxes.

Which is why I would enjoy reading a diary by Migeru on anything quantum-related.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming that what we have discovered so far of what we call the quantum world does not follow the ABC model of reality.

Did you read this?

What's difficult about Quantum Mechanics is that it is contextual, non-counterfactual and nonlocal.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't put it like that: B happens in the context of A. B must be one of the things that are possible given A but I wouldn't suggest there is always only one possible outcome that must directly follow.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:58:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I take "physically determined" to mean "determined by the laws of physics, whatever they are".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 12:00:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our brain is a physical thing.  Thoughts are physical processes.  So how does quantum behaviour translate in the human brain?

Don't know. I don't think anyone has more than a glimmering of that yet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have we been reading too much Penrose?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me? Not guilty, at least not in last decade or so. Did I forget the obligatory "Migeru would know better about that: I'm not even sure quantum effects are very likely at the scale of the brain bit?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, I know of no evidence for macroscopic quantum effects in consciousness other than Penrose's arguments in The Emperor's New Mind.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh. Great minds and fools obviously ...

I saw something faintly suggestive somewhere recently that indicated it might possibly be possible for QM to have some influence, but neurons are pretty big things.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:28:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His argument basically boils down to
  • We don't understand consciousness
  • Consciousness is not algorithnic
  • All classical computation is algorithmic
  • Therefore consciousness must be quantum
  • we don't understand the collapse of the wavefunction
  • We don't understand quantum gravity
  • Maybe quantum gravity will explain the collapse of the wavefunction: the collapse happens when the difference between two states amounts to "one graviton"
  • We can estimate the size of a lump of matter creating this "one graviton" difference
  • Is there a component of a Neuron that has this "one graviton" size? Yes! the centrosome!
  • Maybe consciousness is a quantum effect involving centrosomes.
I kid you not.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like that: science of the gaps. Sort of like a god of the gaps but with less impressive robes.

I'll point out, for the general edification of those reading rather than for your benefit, that classical computation considers a very small class of devices that don't seem to be anything like the brain. And we don't really understand the details of those devices anyway.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right now, I can't remember to what extent Penrose discussed classical chaos in computing devices.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to think what I read and where: it was talking about phenomena inside neurons that were on a very small scale but influential.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:43:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'll just make "Migeru would know better about that" my signature. That might work.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now where is that coming from?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:27:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a pretty good heuristic! Possibly it falls in the badly expressed humour box. -i for me!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a sorry.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:32:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really sounded like "Shut up, Migeru". Maybe I'm too sensitive today?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I need to adjust my tone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd misremembered Danger Mouse's companion as Penrose.

T'was in fact Penfold.  Here he is.

You know, I suppose I have broken the golden rule:

"Whereof we cannot speak, we must remain silent."

Really, I wanted to clear my head of some heaviness, the I Ching did the job (as melo said, the sound of something elegant being hit lightly), and I thought it was humorous that the I Ching brought up 20 - "It does not further one to go anywhere," which my brain translated as DO NOTHING, THERE'S NO POINT AT THE MOMENT, but I had a moving fifth line, did I not mention this?

A shoal of fishes. Favor comes through the court ladies.  Everything acts to further

...which I also found humorous...I know I know, it's just rorschach.  Anyway, the moving line created Hexagram 23 which was all about how benevolent rulers should behave.

A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a double meaning. It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense of being an example.

There's a reference to your key point in the judgement.

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly subject to law.

And I'm hoping that reading a bunch of non-science types bandy words about wildly hasn't made you despair.

Regarding Jerome, for yes I read him (as head of ET) straight into Hexagram 20, "Contemplation / View"...

The ablution has been made,
But not yet the offering.
Full of trust they look up to him.

I thought this was humorous as I thought it (rorschach rorschach!) summed up the current attitude in re: (yes, you guessed) the structure of ET as it stands.  But I was doing this in real time, so then I read.

All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.

And because I was questioning this (questioning the judgement--I suppose the answer to my unanswered question "Whither ET?" which may be my own personal question, but I think others ask the same thing...

(And I thought it was humorous that the I Ching symbol up top looks a bit like a starfish...)

So anyway, I added my snarky comments re: "But we don't believe in rulers, do we?" etc. to counter the supposed truths being listed by the I Ching in its role as Oracle.

So here's me fessing up to you senor in the hope of cheering you up or letting you give me up as a lost cause.  And hmmm.  What can I give you?  Something powerful.

But also something funky.

Something tasty.

Something beautiful

Ach, laddie, I must dash!  May all your pleasures be very pleasurable!

To all of yez, of course!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 12:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't you need a soul to believe in magic?

maybe you don't...

hmm

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 09:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just need to sit around a table with some friends and a bunch of colourful dice and I'll believe in magic... for an evening.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 04:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The one question that struck me whether there was a correlation between the 64 I Ching combinations and Chinese Astrology.

Of course, it dawned on me later that Chinese Astrology is a cycle of 60 years, not 64, so pffff went the thought.

I'm reminded of bpNichols exclamation: "But what does it all mean?"

by Nomad on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 10:38:46 AM EST
<hits nomad sharply on napper with photovoltaic umbrella>

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 11:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this diary and comments have been fun, thanks rg!

off to try and find a piechart for spiritual development....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:24:10 AM EST
Totally agree!  Fantastic to be able to read and "chat" about this stuff with you all.

Thanks, rg.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 05:27:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Another fine mess you've gotten us into". Thanks ;-)

I am only happy that this little respite from economics has proved so popular. There's hope yet.

"Did you come here for the 5 minute argument or the full half-hour?"

I doubt if we will ever come to even the tiniest of conclusions that all here can agree to. The best thing is that it causes us all to think more sharply about the things we take for granted.

And as for the state of the universe....

"Oh, dear what can the matter be"

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 01:20:06 PM EST


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