Saturday, October 23, 2010

The synecdochal fallacy

Neither time nor consciousness can be grasped as concepts without the understanding that they are fields. They are commonly experienced by the mind as linear phenomena but this is a what we might call the synecdochal fallacy, taking the part for the whole. If you cut a slice off a higher dimension and view it in the context of your dimension, it will indeed be incomplete. (Incidentally, the whole of the incredibly ingenious film Synecdoche, New York can be interpreted from this perspective.) Thus time and consciousness, both being multidimensional realities, transcend causality, linearity, and all the limitations of the 4D spacetime dimensionality with which we are familiar. They are self-referential looping forces or presences, and are best seen as fields. They are zero-point fields in their pure state, but we usually encounter them in activated state (unless we are in meditation or some form of nonordinary awareness). This activated state is also a field but one which is scalarized by the self-referential activity of looping back on itself with informational reflux. Reality is inevitably a layer cake formed by embedded algorithmic data structures.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This boat thinks I'm sinking indeed
into the deep cloud of unknowing
it's a floater that knew what was right
before the night and its new moon howled
in protest to the light that decreed
what could be descried from the unfreed post
at the top of the vantage where no sight
tried to penetrate the depths of water
or swim in the weeds unmanned
where the moon sleeps and unknown fishes
feed on memory's tales untold
never thinking where the boat sank
like a passage rite to no end
and found its cloudy fate
to be seed not sand

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two-letter words

President Bill Clinton was mocked some years ago for declaring, "It depends on what the meaning of IS is." To me it is perfectly understandable why one might question the meaning of that two-letter word. Awhile back I adopted the motto, "That which is, is. That which is not, also is." Lest you think that is an impossibility, I want to quickly prove to you that it isn't.

I say there is a unicorn. You say there are no unicorns. I don't know whether that's been definitively proven, but leaving aside for a moment the question of whether you're right about that, notice that in order to say that the unicorn IS NOT, you had to use the word IS. Now we can invoke the Clintonian principle: what does IS mean here, in the negative. It's as if in order to say something is not, we have to first say it is. We bring it into existence, then negate that existence. So there's creation and destruction going on in the same sentence. Shiva the Destroyer is brought into play almost at the moment of creation. That however does not invalidate the fact that you said IS. The unicorn existed before he didn't exist. Which also lets John Kerry off the hook too, I guess (being for something before you are against it!)

Now even in its negated state, the thing you said WASN'T, still IS. How can that be? Because in order to maintain its non-existence, you have to keep reasserting that it isn't there by recreating and redestroying it. Because otherwise it will keep popping up. Look at the unicorn. How many times have we been told they are a complete myth, yet they keep coming back, in dreams, stories, movies...the imagination just won't let them die. Maybe that's because they are real, and keep affecting us through the collective unconscious because they don't want to be ignored. Or maybe they do want to be ignored, for excellent reasons, and so they make themselves very scarce. I don't know. What I do know is that when politicians use two-letter words, or even when they use four-letter words (yes, I'm talking about you, Mr. Cheney), they may very well be not saying as much or more than they are saying.

So remember the next time someone trots out the noble intransitive in the context of assertion of nonbeing, deny the denial! Doubt the doubt! Because there is a sense in which everything is immortal, and saying something ISN'T doesn't make it so, at least not for more than about ten seconds.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Play or movie?

Introduction: I found this essay, written ten years ago, in a neglected corner of my computer today. I found it interesting and did not want it to get lost in the shuffle. So here it is.

Is life a play or a movie? In other words, is it live or is it Memorex? This is a profound question, a choice we must all make, perhaps more important than whether there is a God . But one thing is for sure: it is definitely one of those. It is not just itself. We are always talking about the meaning of life. It is intuitively obvious to everyone save the most hooded academics that life has a significance beyond itself. If you put up a poster to advertise life, to publicize that significance, it would either be a movie poster or a play poster. It would either show life as live or as a recording.

In either case, life is a representation. I take for granted that all this is illusion, maya. That doesn’t mean unreal. Reality is a state of mind. a given. The question is, not if, but what kind? What kind of maya?

The reason that this is a matter of moment is that the acting style for movies is different than for plays. In the theatre, one must project to the back row, one must extravert one’s behavior, one must express the hyper-real to achieve the effect of reality. In the movies, less is often more. An impassive face with a mere nuance of facial twitch may garner an award nomination for its subtle telling of deep emotions.

If life is a play, then the audience (assuming there is one) is seeing this all happen now. And of course if it is a movie, they will be seeing it sometime in the future. Thus the test of time should tell us how our reality is structured.

But relativity and quantum physics have proven that commonsense time is an illusion. That is, serial time, with its past, present, and future, is a complete mental and social construction that has no objective significance. If we accept that, and we’d better, then the whole time test as to the nature of our maya is revealed as bogus.

So we can’t know whether the audience is watching us now or is going to watch us later. We have to resort to philosophical notions of the nature of reality in order to answer this question.

If life is a movie, then all reality is virtual. It only exists when the film is run and its primary reality is a construction. The act of perception provides the continuity whereby still images are strung together in a continuous flow. This cumular image is a modular reality, a digital reality. It is a succession of discrete moments whose juxtaposition make up what we call time.

If life is a play, then reality is immediate. Its momentousness is one eternal moment, the suspension one feels when one is in the theatre. The suspension is more conscious than that of the movie house. The movie tends to make us forget we are in a theatre, whereas in the playhouse we may become absorbed in what is going on on stage, but we do not become as self-abnegating, so totally identified with the characters, as in the movie.

It appears that we can only define the difference between film and movie in terms of the audience’s experience. And that is all right. We do not need a non-subjective frame of reference to answer the question of the nature of the medium in which we are presented. For we are always witnesses to our own drama. We are out of it as well as of it.

Insofar as we witness life from an alien perspective, life is a movie. The whole construction of human perception has to take place through these mechanics. Nothing is given. Reality has to be built frame by frame.

Insofar as we witness life from a human perspective, life is a play. We see a more convincing illusion of life on the stage, and often more believable emotions and immediate characters. The process of identification, so focused in the movies on one or two main characters, tends to be more diffuse on stage, giving a warmer, more humane sympathy with the strengths and weaknesses of all people.

The choice is ours. And as we witness ourselves, so will we change our acting style, and so will we participate in the metaphor of our own existence.

When it happens

no repetitive trope
can muster the force of art
to repair love

but I will discover the word
of the hour that vibrates
the frangible substance of the heart

echoes in the mind
reflecting off the great glass
shaking it aware of its source

exhaust the why into silence
end the epicycles inside
worthless rehearsals of time

do you know why I am here
it is exactly what I want to know
when the moment arrives

and mystery means revelation
when the answers cannot be found
an unfolding in space

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Walking the Planck

Based on the incredibly tiny Planck scale, the smallest unit of time is the time it takes a photon traveling at the speed of light to travel the Planck length of 1.616253x10^-35 meters. That's about ten sextillionths the length of a single proton. Smaller than that, matter completely disappears in a "foam" of virtual quantum fluctuations.
We know all about minutes, seconds, hours (relatively speaking). What if that infinitesimal Planck time unit is the mathematical definition of the elusive "moment"?

The human brain can know things that are beyond belief. It can perform calculations in an instant beyond the capapbilities of any supercomputer. So possibly it can apprehend that tiny slice of Planck time.

In EnlightenNext #46, Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose speculate that the microtubule molecular structures in the brain demonstrate quantum behavior and and are basically responsible for consciousness, which in its endlessly mercurial nature can be regarded as a quantum phenomenon. What if the apprehension of Planck time--call it a moment--is basically being conducted at the Planck scale and results in the creation of the subjectivity, without which something like what we call a moment cannot exist?

Perhaps the deja-vu experience is the instantaneous cognition of a time-loop phenomenon happening at the Planck scale, perhaps an operation of mini-black holes ingesting and disgorging time itself. So the feeling of strangely reexperiencing something could be, as opposed to an actual reliving of an event, rather a recursive quantum time phenomenon that is grasped intuitively from the microtubule level. Programmatically, that would be a "Do loop" on the level of original creation functionality.

Consciousness arises because of a recursive process--there is a flash of self-reflection, caused by the time loop. This implicates time on the quantum level with the arising of consciousness which allows the identification of time as a primary process (the moment) from which comes time as a secondary process (all measurable time). This is a major shift from the present paradigm in physics which has demoted time from being a principle underlying the physical universe. There is an article in the current Scientific American about this by a guy named Callender (ha!). I wonder if we may have to actually return to reconsider Newton's concept of "absolute time" from a new perspective in order to reestablish time as being more than an unnecessary artifact of an outdated physics.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time sense

In our modern Einsteinian concept of four-dimensional spacetime, time gets added to 3-D (spatial, length, depth, breadth). We can understand now that when we move in space we also move in time and this creates a perspective that is relative to someone else's motion in space and time. Relativity became a feature of twentieth-century consciousness and beyond; it is part of the postmodern meme.

But we have only assimilated so much of the implications of Einstein's discoveries. Even though travel in time is permitted in Einstein's theory, our view of time is still relentlessly linear. We are governed by the timeline. We are so dominated by our memory and traumas of the past and fears, hopes and dreams of the future that the present moment gets really squeezed. The momentousness of the moment gets lost as the spaciousness of the present gets pressed flat.

Time's arrow, which is the law that time seems to move only one way, as if there is some gravitational influence in the field of time that draws us inexorably into the future, is reflected in the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that entropy will tend to increase in any closed system. Entropy is a quantity of disorder. So just as the body will die and its molecules will be scattered in a disordered state, not preserved in the orderliness of a living system, the universe is, so far as we know, scheduled in the distant future for a heat death where it basically burns itself out.

There are implications if we adopt the entropy model for our consciousness. It tends to ruin things for the rational mind. Everything becomes no good. But in his imaginative life, man seems blissfully ignorant that he will die. He embraces concepts of immortality, whether religious, philosophical, or technological. He imagines he will live forever somehow, even in the face of certain proof that he won't. The spirit lives and finds cause for affirmation. Not always, but often--even in the mind of the hard-bitten realist, who is generally ruled by the inevitability of time's arrow.

So we want to transcend, in the deepest fabric of our being. Physics, even in its present state, implies much more than we can take in as common sense. To assimilate the more open ended view of spacetime implied in the Einsteinian world view, we need to break the shackles of the relentlessly linear time sense. According to Janet Sussman, we have a "time body," capable of moving freely in the time dimension. Which means that to the time body, the limits of Time's Arrow and of all the psychological baggage we carry with regards to time, do not really exist. Time's linearity is an illusion, or rather it is the edge of a reality which we cannot grasp.

This does not mean, however, that we should not reach towards developing a nonlinear or translinear consciousness of time. The practice of time yoga is one where the energy body begins to stretch its supposed boundaries, folding the very fabric of higher dimensional spacetime into its subtle structure. This process, described in The Reality of Time, endows the individual with a true time sense, which like sight, taste, touch and the others, is one of the new senses we must develop as fledgling cosmic human beings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Before dawn

without a name i cannot be
a namer of things
a second Adam
populating the forest
with antelopes and zebras
nor can I see
the form embodied in the name

my name
stands before me naked
its syllables shivering
looking furtively about
as if called by the wind
a solitary sentinel descried
its lonely sex standing as sign
of primeval identity
the name before the name

words spoken in meditation
wind around past midnight
toll the end of knowledge
and resound darkly from the bottom
of a flask of nepenthe wine
all the lost names

I stir the vague ashes
in the chill dawn wondering
what I should call things

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Morning Star from Venusian plane
reverse Prometheus, a god insane
how ever did you rouse their holy ire

did you love a lost humanity
to suffer his profanity
the divine Milton that hypermasculine liar

bearer of light who warms this crazy cold
I salute the dawning glint of gold
your open palm the offering the fire

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


with knowing
the world is made
each morning the eyes
crack open eggs frying
on the diurnal griddle
I begin again to chew this overheated mass
like the dragon who swallowed the sun

with knowing
naked absurd a compelling vision
I bathe clothe and gird for flight
be warned what watchers there be
you see by my lights
and I will slice off a healthy slab of living fire today
for my fillment

with knowing
the fight begins
I conquer friends
am vanquished in turn
for such a game all struggles pale
mere getting and spending are too much with us
but this poignant joust of love holds
the alchymeic prize

with knowing
all suddenly I fall and fall
who knew this inexorable gravity
could bring my high heroic arc
to scattered gold
ruined feathers scales and bones
and even peace

with knowing
comes the night
cool monolithic cauldron of dreams
churning galaxies and stars
to drown my questing day
where you of body
folded in mysterious complexity
will yet be known

Saturday, April 03, 2010

In a moment

Revelation in a blinding moment!
recollected in tranquility
toned down in metaphor
published in virtual form
extinguished in the amnesia
of perfect erasure

Monday, March 22, 2010

The condition of condition

"I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in." Granted, we are conditioned beings. The question is, how much objectivity is it possible garner to see what the conditioning is? Science is supposed to do that. Yet how conditioned is science itself?

To observe requires an observer, a means of observation, and an object. Any one of these three can be heavily conditioned. As human observers our consciousnesses are wildly different and in varying states of receptivity. Any means of observation will inherently leave out as much as it magnifies: for instance, a telescope or microscope. The unaided sense organ has its narrow range of reception. And the object of perception is inherently conditioned as the result of the interaction of the observing consciousness and the observing lens. Especially on the quantum level, even down to the chronology of events, reality is heavily determined by the action of these factors. And this makes turning to the world of our minds particularly interesting when it comes to considering the effects of conditioning, because much theory and experimentation points to the fact that thought is a quantum phenomenon.

Because the act of observation is fundamental to assessing the situation before we even formulate a hypothesis, and as we have seen, the act of observation is rife in all its elements with conditioning, scientific observation can dangerously heighten the conditioning through which we see the universe. Rather than filtering out subjective differences it can reinforce incorrect assumptions based on consensual, "common sense" conditioning, which tends always to remain unchallenged.

So the mindfield of life is where the observational process is paramount in conditioning the result, and it is that Everest which we must first assault in achieving the first base of deconditioning.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Money pressure

Money represents stored energy and as such is a huge source of stress for most people, because this compression of energy is taking place not only into a material form but these days, more and more, into an abstract mental form. Numbers on a page or a computer screen have increasingly come to represent the medium of exchange rather than, say, a gold coin or even paper currency. Therefore money becomes primarily a mental phenomenon, a introversion of active, dynamic free-flowing energy into a symbolic and highly constrained form. The pressure of holding this force on the mental plane creates an unusual and intolerable strain on the psychology.

Capitalistic and socialistic economic systems alike are showing cracks due to the pressure from this high compression factor. Just as we have pushed the earth to the breaking point in terms of environmental stresses, it could be argued that the global economic system, increasingly precarious as it now seems to be, is suffering because the human beings at its basis, which include everybody, are not able to quite comprehend or psychologically support the huge energetic payload borne by that system.

Rather than packing more and more energy into money as a way of increasing its potential, more energy needs to be released into intelligence. That will increase human potential and realize the goal of money which is to increase provide a medium for the flow of energy into new and more useful forms. How does this happen? By increasing the consciousness around every process involving money. And that will become the basis of an enlightened financial system. By increasing consciousness I mean transcending negative stereotypical  attitudes about money, such as that it is the root of all evil. In and of itself it is neutral. Instead of investing all our hopes and fears in the means to the end, we need to invest our free and stored energy into activating our intelligence towards its fullest expression. That process will use money among many other possible means as part of the carrier wave for our fulfillment. In so doing the pressurized situation that is causing all of us grief may finally be harnassed for the greater good.

Friday, March 05, 2010

If and when

Grammarians have no doubt pointed this out before, but the phrase "if and when" (or "when and if") is totally preposterous. "If and when I ever make it to New York, I will definitely go see the Yankees play." Okay, if you go, there is no question of when, because if you don't go, there is no when. There is only a when if you do go. And when you do go, there is no if. You go a certain time and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

And you can't really say "if or when" because that's either redundant or contradictory. It's not an either/or situation. If you go, there will be a when. If you don't go, no when. You could have an intention to go when, but then if you don't go, there is no when. So just say "if." Or "when."

Except that doesn't sound as good as "if and when," does it? The naked if or naked when doesn't quite do justice to the contingent nature of existence on this paradoxical planet. On the quantum level, a particle can appear at two places at once. Or two particles separated in space at a distance farther away than they could reach at the speed of light can still communicate with each other instantaneously. Light can be both a wave and a particle. And so on. Therefore, let us wallow in our indeterminacy and speak the preposterous. When and if we actually do arrive at clarity in terms of who we are and why we're here, our linguistic formulations may magically rearrange themselves anyway so that we babble in algorithms that comprehend all the mysteries of n-dimensional reality.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was not until I was. Yet that is past. If I am not now, there is no was, because there is no memory. Remembering now my wasness, I realize that the past is a very curious thing. If I uncover yellowing remnants of its existence, its vague lineaments in my memory seem to be marching relentlessly into nonexistence, stayed only by my momentary reflections. Perhaps they are saved ultimately in the cosmic database. Or do they truly particalize in the infinite night?

I was not until I was, then I was not. Until I discover myself again, retrieve myself from the labyrinths of history and the tarnished mirror of memory.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Piece of work

Humanity has an exalted opinion of itself, and why not? It looks around, sees that it dominates all the animals, and to a certain extent the environment (although global warming may decide that contest rather decisively in favor of the home team). At the same time, one is distressingly aware of the shortcomings of this species. Shakespeare in Hamlet expressed exhaustion with the idealized Renaissance view of human potentiality: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?" Obviously, Hamlet was disenchanted. And who, living in this benighted day and age, can not be also? Still, that ideal contains the seed potentiality for the evolution of consciousness in the species. It resonates across the ages as a reminder that we are greater than we know. Even now, not in some distant future when mankind has purified itself and refined out its greed and violence, but now, we have the voices of our better angels deep inside our ears, quietly reminding us of who we already are.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The time before time

What was the time before time? That is, before time existed (presumably before the Big Bang, because there could be "by definition" no time before matter and energy existed). And so the question renders itself meaningless....but wait a minute, by whose definition? I think we're being subjected to a bit of philosophically naive materialistic reductionism run amuck here. Answer the question!

The time before time is a different level of existence. It simply defines itself as that reality upon which so-called "3-D," or three-dimensional sensory reality is based. It is independent of 3-D and in fact totally permeates and suffuses the temporal aspect that can be measured in terms of moving objects, even quantum particles. Quantum time does begin to approach it, being nonlinear and acausal, but the time before time partakes of a reality that transcends the quantum layer of virtual fluctuations in which relative existence finds its temporal grounding.

Dali's "Persistence of Memory" gives a flavor of this pure existence aspect of time. Just as his melting watches are found on a spaceless plane (one with no fixed spatial reference points), the sense of momentousness, of being poised on the edge of a moment, create a sense of timeless time. This is still time, but we hear no ticking, we see no digital readout that uniquely identifies this moment from any other. It is a kind of knowing time, that knows us very well indeed, that is conscious, and that wants us to listen to it. A different kind of time, in other words, from the reductionist version, the passive slave to materiality. We'll listen now, old man. Look at my life. I'm a lot like you were.