Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review of DELUSIONS by Philippa Rees

“Deciding to review a book is like being a hotel receptionist in Monaco. Your recommendations are expected to be impartial but with the dullness of uniform options you steer your guests towards the hidden restaurant you fortuitously discovered. You hope they will unfold their napkins and enjoy it as much as you did. This book, the chef claims, was inspired by Richard Dawkins' 'The God Delusion'. He may well have observed the famous atheist in the polished steel kitchens of the Royal Society, cooking up traditional fare, steak and kidney pudding, shepherds pie, boiled mutton with gene caper sauce, knowing the palates of his readers will be satisfied with what they had expected, solid and kind to the digestion. Honestly presented certainly, but then the chef has become famous for that, no dressing things up with persuasive parsley. No foreign muck.

In contrast, the author of Delusions, Stanislaw Kapuściński, improvising in a beach shack, has produced a smorgasbord of samples, surrounded by heaps of bright chillies, unusual spotted gourds, sparkling sea salt, freshly slaughtered cows…

His narrative follows the traditional three courses; Man in the Nursery, in High School, in University to tease out the growth and fossilization of Delusions (of both religious and scientific kinds) and also to show the creation of time (past, present and future) cementing and itself created by this division. It is impossible to identify all the flavours that waft from this multidimensional dish, except to urge a reader to order it. It gives a broad education across both centuries and disciplines, and obscure and classical sources. As importantly, it is enormous fun, spiced and aromatic. Unlike his posturing 'mentor' the author's irreverence and wit make his views the more compelling.

Kapuscinski's intentions are early implied, to match Dawkins bite for bite and (as honestly) to demonstrate the irreconcilable gulf between intellectual reductionism and emotional religious dogmatism, each flailing towards fundamentalism in trying to flatten one another. In that he takes on Dawkins full square and very gently gradually knocks him over. Not by a deft left hook, but by tugging at his shirt. He admires his opponent's skill and breadth of culture but laments it is not sensitive to the deeper inspiration which might modify his intellectual stridency.

This reader bit into each dish with relish, savouring the fresh flavours of things turned inside out, the familiar used uniquely, the telling argument nailed with just enough illustration, but never too much.  (A few infant prodigies to question the central tenets of Darwinian gradual progress or the non-survival of memory) Kapuściński's erudition is worn as lightly as a tee shirt pulled over well exercised pectorals of Jesuitical education, Gnostic doctrine, Sanskrit sources, mythological and symbolic familiarity of the Bible and Koran which reduces both fossilised religious distortions and scientific certainties (knowing more and more about less and less) over a bright flame, until both cry for mercy. He remains fairly merciless and for that I celebrated.

In the end it is the primacy of mind preceding brain, idea determining creation, and responsibility in the moment of NOW that lies at the foundation of his appeal to 'pragmatic realism'. The name sounds philosophically chilly, deliberately eschewing inflation, but it belies the passion, and anger, and incipient despair underpinning this very profound work. He gives you himself, grated raw, and dipped into sauces, both sharp and honeyed. The appetite was self-renewing, and consuming pages effortless.

What remains is a deeply humane appeal to reap the best of human inspiration, devoid of dogma, restoring, indeed pleading for, worshipful sanity derived from self-knowledge and true identity. The essence of the individual, one with god, was derived from the only sources that were left standing; the ancient mythical, the repeated mystical and the personal experiential, now indivisible, simultaneously being and becoming in a universe hopefully emptied of delusion (and scientifically proved pretty empty of anything- the two are not unconnected) but waiting for a better use of imagination and light, with little time remaining. For all the chutzpah of this broad-brush annihilation of false stanchions, the ornate pier has collapsed, the crisis he uncovers is urgent. I thought it brilliant.” 

Philippa Rees

Author: Publisher

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Mystery of Time…

The concept of time underwent many metamorphoses. The real reason for time is to keep all things from happening simultaneously. After all, we’re all immortal. It would be one hell of a mess!
In my book: VISUALIZATION—Creating Your Own Universe, I discus various concepts of time. You might find them interesting.

“St. Thomas Aquinas proposed three types of time. Tempus concerned the “temporal” or earthly time. It measured the duration of changes taking place on earth. The second type of time Aquinas called aevum, or time affecting changes in or of mental processes. It did not concern material changes but rather changes in mental states. It also applied to all that is incorporeal, to angels and to states of consciousness. The third type of time Aquinas called the aeternitas. It concerned the divine. While it was the domain of God, it also embraced our ability to experience infinity or immortality in a single instant. It is the time that permits the present and infinity to be one.
In science, Aristotle and Newton measured time unambiguously as the duration between two events. They believed it was absolute time.
Then… Einstein destroyed the misconception that time is absolute. In his theory of relativity he married the concept of time and space into a single idea of space-time. According to the physicist Stephen Hawking, the distinction between space and time disappears completely when using imaginary time; time measured using imaginary numbers. There is no difference between going forward or backward in imaginary time.
(Surely this is the only time used by politicians, but back to science…)
We can also go in any direction in space. Other scientists took up the banner and came up with different definitions of time responding to different qualities and/or events of past, present and future.
Another Professor of mathematical physics, Frank Tipler PhD, offers us an elaborate menu of different ‘times’. He measures duration in terms of proper time, as measured by our clocks in the present astrophysical environment. Using this definition, time and space is measured in the same units, i.e. if time is measured in years then distance is measured in light years. He also computes in conformal time, which is measured in terms of a specific scale factor. We don’t have to worry about it because, as far as I understand, it is used only to calculate the behavior of light rays.
Then there is the entropic time, which “is a more physically significant time-scale than proper time.” It is used to measure the amount of entropy that exists in the universe at a specific proper time.
Next is the subjective time defined as the time required to store irreversibly one bit of information. Rather as in the speeds of computers.
Finally the theoretical physicists use the York time, so called after the American physicist James York, which simplifies mathematics of the field equations.”

More about time at another time. For now, I leave you with NOW. Find out for yourself. Below. 

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Powerful and the Saints

We elect officials of great promise who soon become corrupted by the power they wield. It is a vicious circle. It happens to the nicest men and women. Once elected, in time oligarchs get richer, we—get poorer. Everywhere—no matter what political system.
A vicious circle.
In the past there were revolutions. The masses got together, spontaneously, and eliminated the exploiters by cutting off their heads or by other unpleasant methods. Madame Guillotine set things right. Must it come to that? But it didn’t last. People forget that over time, power corrupts.

Yet the way out is so very simple. Power corrupts even the nicest people… over time. Eliminate the time element and you eliminated corruption.
All we need do is to limit the political oligarchs to terms so short that they will not have time to become corrupt. That’s all. And never more than 2 terms in succession. And that must hold for ALL levels of the government: the Executive, the Congress, the Houses of Parliament, the House of Lords, …and every other legislative body wielding power over others. Let new men and women come in with fresh ideas. And never forget the old adage:

Only a fool would want to be a president.
Only a saint would agree to be one.

Then, and only then, we would elect people who want to serve us, not make money on us. If a man is poorer after he serves then he was before, he is honest. If the opposite is true than it is a dead giveaway of what his/her real intentions were. Also, before 1958 there were no presidential pensions. What happened? Do the presidents, senators, prime ministers and/or members of any governing body get pension higher than the national average? Do they wait until they turn 65?
We could also withhold paying taxes. If the oligarchs were to put us all in jail, they would soon have no income. For a while they’d print more worthless currency. And then…?
It is up to us.
I firmly believe that there are exceptional men who enter public service with the intention of serving people. And they do so, for a while? Yet the power of corruption is so insidious that only a saint could possibly withstand it. Have you elected many saints lately?
We, the people, have lost virtually all the power. Madame Guillotine will no longer help us. We must help ourselves. And don’t get me wrong. There are people out there who are very honest. If we search them out, and beg them, they might agree to serve us. People who love people more then they love power or money or prestige. Of course, some of them get crucified for trying to help us. Others might lose their heads… 
Perhaps they all ought to be admired? Read what happened in Headless World. You might like it?

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

On Morals versus Ethics

People who are moral behave in a fashion that does not offend others. Who act according the standards that are expected of them. If he or she doesn’t steal, or get drunk, or rape girls or boys, or eat like a pig in public, or kill, or generally behave in a manner that would result in a public scandal, they are considered of good moral standing.
Conversely, if you commit any of the above deeds in public, in public view, you are looked upon as one that is amoral if not immoral.
Likewise, a good communist regards other communists as moral, while a good capitalist thinks likewise of other good capitalists.
At one time, members of Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youths, would only be considered of good moral character if they behaved according to the Hitlerjugend moral code, that of hating everyone who was not thinking along their lines. I rather think the same can be said of groups belonging to various religions, political movements, or even parties. Uber alles for some is Super Race for others, which fully justifies them dropping bombs from 30,000 feet on men, women and children in Iraq, or Eastern Ukraine, the Gaza Strip or a number of other, inferior groups of people. These are considered moral things to do. In fact, their leaders, or Führers, or Presidents or Prime Ministers, all highly moral folks, pin medals on the chests of their heroes for being good killers. All impeccable, moral people.

And then there are people who are not guided by morality, by desire not to injure the sensibilities of their neighbour. They are people who do not aspire to keep up with the Joneses. Instead they conform to a code of ethics. They may be rich or poor, well educated or not… from “upper classes” or from the wrong side of the tracks.
Yet they all recognize each other. They conduct themselves not by the letter but by the spirit of the code of ethics. They may be Christians, or Moslem, or Hindu or, yes, even proclaimed atheists, but they behave according the dictates of their conscience regardless what others say.
These are the Few.
The moral folk are the Many. And until the Many will discover the quiet voice within, they will remain the moral majority, criticizing others who do not confirm and behave according to their moral code. Whatever it might be.
The Few swim against the current—but at least they move forward, while the Many walk in circles, treading the Wheel of Awagawan.

Below a story of one man who refused to conform. By the standards of his day, he was very immoral. He was a rebel. Today, some would call him a terrorist. I wonder what you think about his journey.  

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Global Amnesia

We all forget things, sometimes. Usually it doesn’t matter. There is no permanent damage. After all, in this reality, nothing is permanent. So, we don’t really care. We can always make it up later. When it’s more convenient, at another time.
At least, we think so.
But there is a major problem caused by our inability to remember. Somewhere or some-when in the murky past a global amnesia swept the whole world. We all, or at least the vast majority of us, forgot that we are all actors on a stage created for the sole purpose of accommodating a whole parade of roles, which we, actors, are to perform. How good actors we were would determine if we’d move into another role, or repeat the same or similar part until we got it reasonably right.
Shakespeare was right when he said that…

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

Shall we enact a diversity of roles for forever? Is this all we are, actors so poor in our craft that we have to repeat our roles ad nauseam?
It seems that, as always, it’s our choice. Yet, well, not altogether. The problem is that we can kill our bodies, but we cannot kill that within us that is immortal. No, not the soul, or at least that which in the scriptures is translated as ‘soul’. Soul is just a storage device. It is an accumulation of experiences of the past. But what we cannot kill is the disembodied, intangible, consciousness that uses that storehouse of experiences derived from the roles we played in the past to advance its own self-awareness.
And this we mustn’t forget. At least, not again.
We are not our bodies, nor are we the roles we play. We shouldn’t say, “I am” a doctor, or an engineer, let alone a politician. We should say that all three are no more than roles we play in order to acquire experience to perform better the infinite number of roles that we are still to play.
Infinite number.
This is neither religion nor science. This is just an observation of the behaviour of people over ages. Many ages. Religion, according to Richard Feynman, is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt. No doubt, he’s right—even though it sounds religious. Can one have faith in Feynman? Or should we doubt his knowledge. After all, he got the Nobel Prize for Physics. On the other hand Barak Obama got one for ‘Peace’! Can we believe or trust either? We can, providing we remember Richard Feynman’s other admonition. He also warned us that:

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

Perhaps this applies to both faith and knowledge. To both, science and religion. And… to politics. 

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Problem with Immortality

We’ve all heard about reincarnation. These individual cycles are relatively short. They last usually less than a 100 years in physical reality followed by (usually) less than the equivalent of ‘earthly’ 1000 years on the Astral Plane, where we enjoy (or suffer) the consequences of our life on Earth. We have a foretaste of the Astral Plane in our dreams and nightmares. As always, action results in equal though opposite reaction both in material and astral realities.
Luckily, the consequences in the Astral Plane are not permanent.
But then, there are also larger cycles, referred to as the Cycles of the Zodiac. They consist of 12 segments adding up to 26,000 years. Those who reach a degree of balance in their accounts will continue to advance on the eternal path. The others (‘the many’) those who for whatever reason did not fulfill their (self) assigned tasks, will have to start from scratch, or almost so. Perhaps they’ll transmigrate, or metamorphose into higher or lower animals. The worst cases might retreat all the way to a mono-cellular amoeba.
How many will continue and how many will start again? As always it is up to us. We are the sole masters of our destiny.
However, we would be wise to heed the warning.
We are told that: “many are called but few are chosen”. If we qualify this statement by the fact that we are all endowed with (relatively) freewill, it stands to reason that it is we, yes, you and I, who do the choosing of our own destiny. Perhaps that is why the ancients assured us that we are gods—as indeed we are. Whether we believe in this or not is of absolutely no consequence. Surly, we all know that ignorance of law is no excuse for breaking it. We are told that not “one jot or one tittle” of the Law can be broken.
This has NOTHING to do with any religion, only with the nature of reality.
Needless to say, since we are all immortal, the individualized consciousness that directs our actions (whenever our ego does not interfere) will eventually guide our return to Oneness. It might take a few million or… zillion years, but sooner or later, we shall learn and advance on the scale of evolution. Not the Darwinian kind, which deals with our physical bodies, but the real evolution, which contributes to the enormity of the Universe.
See you…  and, good luck.

PS. We mustn’t forget that the Astral Plane, or what some call heaven, is only the first Plane to which we can aspire on leaving our physical incarnations. There are endless Planes, or levels of consciousness, advancing towards the Singularity, from which we all originate. And should we eventually merge with the Singularity, our contribution shall forever enrich the Universes. That makes it all worthwhile, don’t you think? 

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