On being nice to each other…

It has been another tumultuous month in the world arena. All the usual suspects, our lovely Ahmedinajed,

ahmadinejad 2

the Russians,

putin

The Chinese…

the war lords of Afghanistan/Pakistan

Al qaeda Osama bin Laden 1

and North Koreans have been hard at work making sure that millions upon millions of people (actually I guess, billions) are kept unhappy.

And their proud of it too!

They come to us on the television, on the papers and other popular media channels praising their self-righteousness and the glory of their perspective oppressive regimes.

It should be a shameful activity, they should cower in the face of the other 5 billion of us, all sneering and laughing at the way the treat their people but they don’t, and it is because we are all complicit.

They don’t hide for two major reasons, one of which is Marco in level and the other of which is Micro. The Macro level is obvious and we read about it often, some examples are given below,

‘We are pandering to the Oil wealth of these gangsters’,

‘China is the world’s factory and we are all happy to consume cheap goods off them no matter what the internal costs are to them or the environment’,

‘Nations have a right to self governance and we should not interfere with other countries’

etc….

But I am more interested in the Mirco level effects, the effects that I see everyday all around me, and that is:

People are nasty to each other

and

often the threat of perceived violence is all that keeps our actions in order.

I’m talking about nastiness between loving couples, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the traffic police and drivers, government officials and citizens, teachers and their students, Bosses and employees, Judges and criminals and basically every kind of distinct group that can be thought about between humans and themselves. I am even talking about the nastiness one has with oneself.

Now, I’ve been thinking this for a while and questioning my own perceptions.

Is it that I am being negative?

What about all the love?

Etc…

What about looking at the bright side of things?

but the more I think about it the more I realize that this is exactly what is going on.

The brightest thing to do is to acknowledge the problem…

Nastiness is so prevalent that we have become desensitized to it, just like people who live next to train tracks for a long times don’t hear the trains that pass by them.

It takes a little bit of extended patience  to become aware of the situation but then both the logic and the utter omnipresence of the phenomenon takes you by surprise. Each place and each situation has its own form of oppression, each family its own method of control, each organization its own structure. The whole thing is unpalatable, and I would like you to see it with me….

I don’t expect you to accept what I am writing immediately. It takes time to notice the pattern of control people have on each other and for that matter you have on yourself but the fact of it is certain.

Nastiness comes in so many forms that it seems impossible to categorize the phenomenon into a coherent idea. But the basic flavour of the animal is that action is taken by one entity on another with the intention to impede the other.

The action can be physical, psychological, implied, indirect or any other thing you can imagine. The intended effect can be equally arbitary as long as it has the effect of slowing the other. And one of the best ways of slowing someone is to hit their self esteem.

It is highly possible that we have evolved into this predicament through Darwinian processes. What better way is there to make sure that your genetic competitor doesn’t get ahead that making sure they are operating at less than efficient norms.

I would like to see some real scientific evidence to this assertion some day, however more important than that is this is…

How are we to get out of it?

Our great and hypocritical friend J.Krishnamurti asked a similar question. I assume that he never found the answer, or gave up trying….

So, How do we find the answer?

I have an answer but that will come in  a following blog.

does anyone have a comment?

Advertisements

Emergence

So in thinking more and more about Integral theory it becomes clear how it rests so steadfastly on the concept of Emergence.

I shall loosely explain (extremely loosely) Wilber here (as I am too lazy to find his actual quotes)…

Hydrogen and two Oxygen atoms although having completely different properties emerge (when fused together) as water. There is nothing in either the hydrogen atom or Oxygen atoms that suggest the properties water presents us with. The result of interaction of holons is a synthesis, that is whole and transcendent, while at the same time negating the individualness of each part while preserving their essence.

This is a fundamental insight and yet it leaves me wondering where it all goes. If we are to leave the juiciest part of the theory to the concept of transcendence (i.e. emergent phenomenon) then what is the point of all the explanation?

How does this Emergence occur and how is it that after intense thought (through a dialectic process) that we emerge with insight?

No doubt, if you are a thinking person, it has happened to you. Those moments of thought when everything changes but how do you explain the magic of ‘getting it’?

The easiest way out of this predicament is to use metaphysical language that essentially says, “you won’t get it until you’ve transcended” or to straightly admit that such thing are ‘unexplainable by their very nature’. i.e. It is beyond ration (and irreducible), not that we don’t have enough ration.

I’m loosing myself in the argument here. Consider a definition given by Vince Darley:

I seek to define rigorously the concept of an emergent
phenomenon in a complex system, together with its im-
plications for explanation, understanding and prediction
in such systems. I argue that in a certain fundamental
sense, emergent systems are those in which even perfect
knowledge and understanding may give us no predictive
information. In them the optimal means of prediction is
simulation.

The operative thought here is that we have ‘no predictive information’. If that is so then rational thought has lost. If that is so and simulation is all we got, then all we can do is experiment with reality to decide on outcomes.

What is more interesting to me is to look at this the other way round. Consider:

If the world is inherently emergent in phenomenon (i.e. random, uncertain), then how does the special case of rational reducibility emerge?!

Quantum mechanically the answer lies in the fact that reducible logic occurs out of the probabilistic behaviour, the law of large numbers. But this leaves me strangely dissatisfied.

The uncertainty principle rears it’s ugly head… is there anyway out?!

Transcendence, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality & Ken Wilber

It’s always a little difficult breaking through to a new level of consciousness; it’s even more difficult when it has to happen because of Ken Wilber. But if you want new levels of consciousness… if there’s a desire or a notion in you that says, ‘what I know is not enough’. Ken, may be the way forward… read on

ken-wilber-beefcake1

Ken Wilber

I am about half way through his book, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, which is amazing but for some reason, I wonder why did it have to be him. I have seen Ken Wilber on you tube videos and heard his talks with Andrew Cohen and somehow I don’t like him.

Perhaps, it’s some deep shadow hidden inside me, some reaction to either inadequacy or the past that creates the tension, but never-the-less, I am reading the book, enjoying it on many levels and yet unable to get over my basic dislike of the man. Perhaps, I sense in him a air of elitism, superior intellectualism and pretension.

I am absolutely sure that Ken, wouldn’t give a crap about that ! The purpose of me telling you the above  is because of what I do have to say next.

The book is fantastic. It is as deep as it is wide and yet it is only an introduction to the whole topic. It opens up a vast area inside your cranium that says, ‘YES!”

Although, I do feel that Ken Wilber spends far too long gunning down his opponents than on positive points.

Perhaps I am entirely wrong on that and that he purposefully guides you to ‘what  is not‘ in order for you to see ‘what is‘.

Well enough code…

So what is the book about?

It’s subject can be broadly categorized as ‘Integralism’, and Integralism is an ‘ism’ that tries to be the big daddy of all ‘isms’.

Rephrased, it is a theory, a system of thought, an awareness that Integrates all levels of thought/experience/trans-experience while acknowledging the essences and limitations of each of them in an encompassing Holarchy (read hierarchy).

Still doesn’t make sense?

Ok, it is about the evolutionary development of the Universe in three realms, the physical, the biological, and the mental. What is magical about the book is that you start to realise that perhaps it has different meanings to people who are in different levels of mental ‘evolution’. In fact you start realising that is must be so on all levels, with all books and even with all experiences.

Ah ha… what at once seems magical becomes obvious. You feel that this is how you must have always thought but didn’t realise.

And again that leads you to realisation that this IS transcendence!

You have transcended in thought, your one rung up the ladder. And you must thank, Ken Wilber!

Argh!!!

Scarcity and Abundance, Dr. K. David Harrison

It seems like another month has past and I have been hard at work. Hard at work with my book and hard at work with all my pesky ideas! One of them is called the daily copy. but more about that later.

The ideas keep coming so thick and fast that I don’t have time to keep up with many of them. Sometimes I get ideas while driving and don’t have time to even reach for a recording device before 3 more have come and gone.

Most of the ideas can’t even be put into words. They are like the teasing of my mind. I think I am going crazy.

Saying all that, I thought I would leave you with a little video that says a lot for my love of languages. I didn’t even know this guy existed before stumbling across this video. How is it that such great work can go under the radar? sometimes I wonder where I am half the time.

unfortunately as I am not able to embed the video in this post you’ll have to follow the link below.

http://dotsub.com/media/d88e920e-9d6b-4862-a712-7259003bd00a/e/m

My language book is being re-written after the amazing (and confused) feedback that I have got from a few of my friends and family. Great!

Idealism

Over the next few weeks I am going to make some comments on definitions in Philosophy that I have gotten from a certain, M. d’Espangnat in his book ‘On Physics and Philosophy

Idealism:

If objects exist of which we may acquire direct – hence sure – knowledge they must occur in the mind. Because all phenomena are created in the mind through the action of the senses. We can have no actual knowledge of the outside world, as everything is filtered through the senses and finally occurs in the mind. Furthermore this leads us to stipulate that the objectives of science should be to help organise, investigate and rationalise these phenomena only, as there is really nothing we can say about objects outside ones mind.

My comments:
This definition of idealism however relies on a conception and distinction about what the mind is and where its barriers lie. So that one can talk about what is ‘in’ the the mind and what is ‘without’. Firstly can such a distinction be made? Although it is often convenient to make such distinctions for the purpose of analysis, when taken to it bitter end, this assumption is not valid. The brain & the outside world lie within one continuum of matter and clearly the brain is made from the same stuff as the outside world.  Even senses received through the nervous system are just a continuation through one interconnected system that connects the brain to the outside world. So when I touch a book with my hands I am simultaneously touching with my mind, as my hand is both in my mind and outside of it. Thus as a whole, the process of touching the book can be considered as ‘one’ system. It is only our interpretations of the phenomena that are subject to fallacy, there is nothing unreal or untrue about the process of our direct experience of it. It is the process of abstraction that may be fallacious and the abstraction must necessarily be in the mind only. And furthermore this fallacy only extends to the limit with which we claim our abstractions to be the real thing. If we are happy to know that an abstraction is just that, have we any right to call it false? It just what it is.

Intuitively we equate existence to that which can exist without us and with that which can communicate to us, i.e. to that of which an experience is possible (even if indirect). Which leads us to conclude that which exists must be able to create a difference in experience. If I leave my living room, it will still be there when I come back, we link reality to that which exists independently, objectively of us. In that sense mental objects do exist. If I think of a square now, I can a moment later abandon the idea, and then come back to the very same square a month later. The mental objects exists independently as such, although at any point when conceive we it, it exists as a part of us and not separately.

Idealism then, confuses experience of something and the consequential abstraction of that experience with the thing itself or at least tries to draw a distinction between them, when perhaps none is possible. When we connect with an object and hence experience it, at that point the object cannot be considered as a separate entity, as the experiencer, the experience and what is being experienced, become part of a single and homogeneous system. Hence it becomes clear that statements like, “objects must exist in the mind” become a mere tautology. And statements like “objects must exist in the mind only” are false, for mind becomes part of a larger homogeneous reality, where concepts of distinction are invalid.

We can then even further conclude that since ‘during experience’, and ‘after experience ‘conditions are widely different, it is this difference (distinction) that causes the confusion. During experience, there can only be one indistinguishable system, after experience, only a theory or concept of the object can exist, not the object itself. And this theory is derived by trying to extract the difference between the during experience and after experience and attributing this to an object. Or as Hume liked to put it, it is the difference between an impression, non impression, and the fable idea.  At this point again it becomes, impossible to really talk about a separate objects, because during experience there was only one unified object, and after experience there is only a shadow of the unified experience. If we try to label it as separate, then it is clearly wrong, but still the illusion persists because the after experience experience is clearly different from the during experience experience, this distinction of experience is wrongly concluded to being two different objects when clearly there has only ever been one. In fact it can be further argued that there in only on continuous experience and distinction between different experiences is equally fallacious.

However saying this all, we must also necessarily conclude that if we are going to make any meaningful ‘theories’ then a clear distinction has to be made, even if fallacious, because a theory about one homogeneous entity, says nothing it all. A theory must necessarily have more than one, so that with one, you can deduce another. Deduction thus a mechanical process needs distinct and coherent objects to which inferences and transformations can be applied. Thus the original assertion holds true. Namely,

‘if objects exist, then the must exist in the mind’

The operative word here being, if.

Or it may be even more accurate to say.

“Mental objects exit in the mind, physical objects just exist but there is no in or out of mind for them, we can join with them or not and that is all”

Beyond

Where (or of what) one cannot speak, one must remain silent.

The words resound in my head, ‘where one cannot speak, one must be silent’

It now occurs to me me that there may be a lot more of what we cannot speak, than of what we can. And that of what we can speak, most of it is just tautology and is meaningless. What we can speak of are just shadows of what IS and what IS is just a speck of what is not.

Wittgenstein is a master. I cannot say that more strongly. The insight was strong and clear, but whether he actually lived those words I cannot say. What is known historically is that he began to doubt the validity of the work.

My interest in philosophy has taken me down many roads and I shall underline here in a simple way where I think the subject has been going.

In the footsteps of Roger Scruton, I agree that philosophy is a kind of search for the ‘truth’, one half goes it theologically, the other scientifically.

So people asked questions about the nature of things, people who took these questions seriously became philosophers. Today, if you take the question of the nature of things seriously then you too are a philosopher but perhaps not a conventional one. Most of physics, sciences, engineering etc… is philosophy. Art too is philosophy, as it explores the nature of beauty, expression and interpretation. One asks about the nature of reality, practically interacts with reality and judges conclusions made by the results given. Meditation too is a philosophy, it is an exploration into what cannot be said and furthermore what cannot be thought.

If you think you have found ALL the answers, you are then no longer a philosopher, you are either divine, or an idiot. In most cases probably the latter.

Wittgenstein said that there was a limit to what could be said. The style and methods of Tractus leave much to be desired but the point is there is a limit. What lies beyond this limit cannot be said. Today this concept is widely accepted in mathematics, the limits of computation and logic have been widely discussed. There are problems we cannot compute and all logic is ultimately relies on assumption.

Then we must accept that there are now two branches in philosophy, What can be said, and What cannot. Furthermore there may be a case for argument that really we can not even be sure of which camp we are in with any certainty.

I think that Douglas Adams got it just right in the ‘Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’, the answer is 42. And when you have the answer it cannot have meaning. Krishnamurty also said the same thing. Imagine if when you read the paper tomorrow you had an article that said, ‘String Theorists Find the Theory of Everything’, that theory will have no meaning to you. Even if you could understand the math, at the end you would still be Jo Bloggs. Jo who gets jealous if his girlfriend gets hit upon, Jo who could perhaps build quantum leap drives and travel space but would get angry if someone else took the credit.

So Talk, metaphorically as such has no meaning but you can do wonderful things with it. Like building computers etc. Conversely perhaps what Cannot be Talked is useless but will keep you happy! Just remember that it is USELESS!

Keep happy! 🙂

Choice

So I would like to take our thoughts a little further. The question I was perplexed with this morning was ‘What to do?’

It’s a problem of maximisation. i.e. choosing the best course of actions that leads to the most desired set of outcomes. Shall I sit or stand, walk or talk, take the job or not, move to a different country or not, have a drink or not etc…

I was frustrated. Infinite numbers of choice, neither knowing what I want or the course of action to take. An infinite dilemma, circles of confusion.

It then occured to me that my very own self consciousness had led to the dilemma. If I was not conscious of being a separate entity in the universe then how could I choose. There needs to be the ‘I’ in ‘I choose’. That ‘I’ is created by self consciousness.

Thus we can imagine animals making choices without any concept that ‘they’ are infact making the choice. Even the mighty Sun burns without choice, it has to burn.

Then it now occurs to me that the ‘problem’ of choice is the only problem we have. For there is no other problem! All other problems are the resultants of our choice ‘to have them’ for we have to choose them.

At first this doesn’t seem true. But then on closer inspection we see it just has to be!

‘Ok Ok’ I here you say, as you intellectualise to find exception. ‘What if you are slapped. You have no choice but to feel pain.’, or, ‘What if you default on your mortage payments, you have no choice but to loose your house’ etc…

Very true. But in every case you have a choice, and your only problem is to choose. You can choose to cry, to get angry, to seek help, to ignore the situation etc… infinite choice.

ok, ‘to live I must breathe!’ No, you have a choice. kill yourself, then you stop breathing too.

It is only when we rob ourselves of the choice. When we feel that we have to do something that we loose the only one thing we have, that is our choice.

That’s a very large part for why many of us resent our parents. When we are super young, they make all the choices for us. We learn how to live and behave from them. As we grow older, we resent the control they wish to exert upon us, because they are robbing us of our choices. As we grow even older we start to resent them even more as we realise that we are like them, like them in the way they behave and think, and we realise this is because of what they taught us, we never had the choice and we hate them more.

Another example. You’re walking down the street when a friend of yours bumps into you with his absolutely gorgeous partner, great life and great job. After the brief interruption you carry on walking minding your business. Yet the thought remains, they have ‘it’ and ‘I don’t’ and thus I will be ‘upset’.

The problem with this scenario is not that you don’t have the great partner, job or life. They problem is that you robbed yourself of choice. You have a rule inside your head. ‘if I don’t have what I want, or if someone else has what I want, then be unhappy’

Now you don’t have a choice, you must be unhappy, and isn’t that tragic!  You have given away the only thing you had, your choice.

At any given time I bet you would ‘choose’ to be happy.