Sunday, December 09, 2007

Shades of dark and grey

"Astronomers may have doomed the universe simply by looking at it," according to a report in New Scientist. Evidently, because quantum physics holds that by observing something you can change it, these scientists posit that by measuring the amount of dark energy in the universe they have increased the chances of the universe's catastrophic decay.

The story of dark energy begins in 1917 when Einstein proposed what he called the "cosmological constant," a sort of negative gravitational force that counterbalanced the universe's gravitation and kept it stable. He later renounced his theory in the face of evidence that the universe was relentlessly expanding outwards. But in the 1990s, when it was discovered that the expansion of the universe was accelerating and dark energy was posited as the force that caused this expansion, Einstein's cosmological constant was exonerated.

If the discovery of dark energy indeed has precipitated a premature end to the universe, it may ultimately be found to be due to the inexorable conversion of Einsteinian grey matter to dark matter (which may be related to dark energy through scalar fields). The quantum effects of the incursion of Einstein's brain into the world have yet to be fully measured.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Boats borne ceaselessly

Individual consciousness can be seen as a quantum wave function which through focusing massive amounts of free energy, manufactures flimsy webs of thought patterns that we string together to make an identity and a life. The amount of time we spend in sleep, dreaming, processing random sensations and perceptions, attending to bodily needs, and otherwise preparing for the moments in the day that we might actually do something really conscious might seem excessive. But that is the way of the universe. It takes a lot to get a little. Dark matter and dark energy account for 95% of the composition of the cosmos. Most of the rest is gas, and there's a little bit left to create the stars and heavy elements that we are familiar with. Our small boat is rocking on this unknown ocean, and we have very little understanding of the contents of that darkness, other than to know it is immeasurably bigger than we are. How can we not question why we are here, when such a vast unknown is buoying us up on the quantum foam in our quixotic quest to enlighten ourselves in the heart of this engulfing night?

Running on empty

"The One" of neoplatonic henosis corresponds to a monadic source that may be congruent with the suboctave-level godbeing of quantum cosmosophy. It is the primary container for the consciousness of the entire universe as each of us conceives it. This divine suboctave monad in turn is a spark contained in the greater octave-level godbeing.

In neoplatonism there is a concept of an emptying in the henotic deification whereby one becomes One, that recalls the "kenosis" of Christian theology, whereby the person is emptied of anything separating him or her from God. This Buddhist-like flavor in the Greek and Christian traditions could be said to tie hen and ken to Zen.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The art of deception

We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see with, not through the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
—William Blake

The eye does not see. I see. The eye is a window that allows us to receive sensory data. No matter what an extraordinary organic machine the eye is, it is not really an "I." It is not us; we see through it. Seeing is not believing. In fact, to see clearly and fully is to see many sides of a thing, to encounter contradiction from every angle.

Deceivers in politics and the media maintain control and influence by carefully selecting what they want people to see, depending on natural subservience to received sense impressions. And the belief principle, touted as it has been by fundamentalist religion as the way to salvation, becomes a handy accomplice in the subversion of independent thought. Belief follows seeing and thus guarantees subservience to the masters of the world at any given time. So as we turn a blind eye to the manifold injustices and atrocities, taking refuge in the good news and good views allocated us, we miss not only the sordid realities of our worldly condition but also the entire principle by which we can truly understand the world and ourselves.

Friday, November 23, 2007

From here to here

Which is farther: the distance from here to here, or the distance from here to there? I say it is from here to here. Because in order to get to here from here you have to go there, then come back to here. Whereas if you're already there, all you have to do is come here.

But why, you ask, can't you just stay where you are if you're already here? Because here refers to a spacetime location. If you are in space you are also in time. There is no purely spatial reference. That is basic relativity: we live in a four-dimensional universe. There is no "getting here" without going through time. So however close to here you designate there to be, it will always take you twice as long to get from here to here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Two wrongs make a left

Everything that people agree on cannot be real. Or to put it more bluntly, nothing that they agree on can be real. Since we can only know what is in our own minds, we are necessarily outside the reality that is beyond our minds. Therefore any beliefs or perceptions that we can share with other people just multiplies the misperception, which is why masses of people, and of course their leaders, behave uncommonly stupidly.

Our conception of reality is based on a panorama of perceptions and interpretations that originate within our thought-producing apparatus. For that reason, people tend to trust or give credence to commonly held beliefs as opposed to those that stand outside the norm. But these shared assumptions about reality are the first things we should discard if we are interested in truth.

Two wrongs do not make a right. If I am wrong and you are wrong, together we make a left. The composite of individual awarenesses projecting their illusions in concert constitutes a left turn from reality. Leave it all behind, for God's sake.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A shift in time

The overarching project of downloading the future presents itself as what's hot right now. Global warming is coming down the pike, on a collision course with humanity's pride, but that's not all. A many-tentacled tomorrow is grasping at us on many fronts, and one might speculate that these are cosmological imperatives and not merely earth changes. What they impel is a shift in the techtonic plates of the mind, forcing us to change focus from the labyrinthine paths of the past, pulling us into the perceptual matrix of the present, so that the compelling and ardent heart of the future can have its way with us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Now that the American public has definitively rejected the theory of evolution, with 51% saying that God created humans in their present form and only 15% believing that God had no role, scientists should perhaps be well advised to rethink their approach to promulgating their theories, as they do not seem to be convincing many these days. Some of the antipathy towards evolution seems to be an uncomfortability with the idea that natural processes could of themselves yield an intelligent result. Yet there is nothing in nature that does not reflect intelligence, from the mathematical symmetry of seashells to the distribution of matter in the universe to the checks and balances inherent in the biodiversity of species. It is not these kinds of examples of an underlying intelligence, however, that evolution's dissenters seem to care about. Rather they see God's hand in the social institutions and norms that define humanity in its present form. They are idealists of the first magnitude, to believe in belief itself as the principle that saves the appearances of nature from the self-referentiality of secular perception.

That 51% proves a democratic mandate for abandoning all notions of the democratic structure in nature, where organisms might slip out from under the control of an all-powerful boss. Evolution, in substituting a possibly random, unknown force for the intelligent design of a creator, is a dangerously radical departure from the simple, orderly vision that informs the mass mind. The freedom inherent in this idea is the ultimate threat to the God of the 51%; even though they trumpet freedom as their political raison d'etre, it eludes their grasp and manifests as radical ideas, showing the unpredictability of the creative force. Freevolution even eludes God, or any God we could possibly imagine, and the creation is indeed a continual thorn in God's side, a constant reminder that to dream, even divinely, is to risk devolving, putting on the mantle of Creature and riding into the great unknown: a journey which might, in due course, evolve God into something greater than even It could possibly imagine.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The watchers

We are the watchers. We have been there when the nation began. We watch. Day after day, week after week, we watch. And what we watch is you. All of you.

We've noted what you are attempting. It is ambitious. Houses made of that particular stage of matter are notoriously difficult to inhabit. There have been many who have not exactly risen to the challenge, to say the least. Still, we watch, and ask questions, and learn. We have positioned ourselves strategically on your dollar bill, like a sentinel from the future, in a hermetic symbology that locks up secrets to be released when the note comes due.

We are the watchers. Someday you will see us again, but rarely. You will rarely see us, but we will always see you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The definitive PKD

Philip K. Dick: Four Novels of the 1960s: The Man in the High Castle / The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch / Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? / Ubik, Library of America, 2007
In the 1960s, when he wrote these four novels, Philip K. Dick was not known, as he is today, as an acclaimed "literary" science-fiction writer and visionary who inspired many films. Since his death in 1982, his reputation has steadily soared, a little bit too late, and now this former genre journeyman toiling in obscurity has become the first sf author to be enshrined in a handsome omnibus volume in the esteemed Library of America series. Of course, I had to buy it even though I already owned multiple copies of all these novels. It is a genuine pleasure to read any of the LOA volumes, so lovingly produced they are. And this one especially so, compiled as it was by an author heavily influenced by Dick, Jonathan Lethem. You will never see a biographical chronology so interesting to read in its own right: we even learn that Timothy Leary called Dick during John and Yoko's bed-in and he put the famous pair on the phone to tell PKD that they wanted to film one of the four novels contained here, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Incidentally, Lethem's taste is impeccable. Though Dick wrote no fewer than 21 novels in the 1960s (plus a couple of dozen more before and after), these are without a doubt the four best: The Three Stigmata, The Man in the High Castle, Ubik, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? One could easily compile another such volume with four more extremely strong novels of this period: Clans of the Alphane Moon, Dr. Bloodmoney, Now Wait for Last Year, and Martian Time-Slip. However, the ones collected here are the ones I would pick, if I could have only four. They are all absolute classics and support many rereadings. I remember when in the 1970s, I encountered Three Stigmata for the first time and could not totally make sense of it, but I was intrigued. It was hallucinogenic, it was trippy, it was theological. A few years later I found myself seeking it out again, rereading with a passion, finally really "getting it," and then compulsively seeking out everything I could find by PKD. It took me years but I eventually tracked down every last out-of-print forgotten paperback. Since then all his works have been reprinted and made easily available. But my original "discovery" experience is why this LOA volume means so much to me now. The Man in the High Castle is perhaps the best alternate history ever written, a speculation on what life would have been like if the Germans and Japanese had won World War II. Ubik is a brilliant ontological quest into the very structure of reality. Do Androids Dream, the novel on which the film Blade Runner is based, is among other things a meditation on what it means to be human. These four novels have become like cornerstones in my own life's journey. For them to have been given this respectful and definitive publication is something that brings me a lot of pleasure, and would also, I think, have pleased Philip K. Dick.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Buddha machine

The new improved Buddha machine is a perfect infinite self-reflective, self-replicating enlightenment device that enables you to plug into a quantum circuitry of perpetual nonmotion.

Machines are not supposed to be compassionate or conscious, but this one is. However, you will never know the depth of what the Buddha machine feels or knows, because your own inquiry will be reflected back to you by its ancient, glittering gay eyes (see W. B. Yeats, Lapis Lazuli). Oh yes, it has eyes, the more the merrier, the better to see you with.

Say hello to the next pervasive technological turn-on. Try it for 90 days and see if you don't agree that the Buddha machine will turn you and the whole universe into high-octane wake-up juice. Pow!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The end of the world

Perhaps the end of the world will never come, because to get to the end of the world we would have to keep going indefinitely around the world in every direction for ever and ever. And even then we would never arrive at the end. Unless we did. So either there is an end, or there isn't. And if there is no end, then there was never a beginning, so there can be no question of an end in any case. Neither is the world an end in itself, nor has it an end or purpose, except to grow creatures of light. So the unknowable recesses of being remain secret, and the agendas of beings beyond our ken remain inscrutable. And we are naked in our pure souls, when we walk vulnerable but unscathed to the mountain, ready to raise our glorious swords to the sun, and vanish in a puff of smoke.