Thursday, December 31, 2015

Grim End to a Grim Year

There are many many times when the whole combination of things happening on earth remind me of the scene in the first Star Wars movie where people get stuck in a garbage room, and the walls keep shrinking inexorably... When this happens, I am reminded of the way that most stories have a long period of challenge right up to the end, and so on. But I also try to look for a way out of the garbage room. I don’t yet see it. The further I look, the more impossible it seems. The real consolation for me is that understanding the brain and the physics of the universe, even in a qualitative but coherent mathematically-based way, once seemed equally impossible... but eventually did work out, as I see it (with URLs previously posted here or papers in google scholar).

For now – one of the depressing things of the day for me were Donald Trump’s attacks on Bill Clinton. Some may find it amusing that THOSE are what cross the line for me, when he has said so many other things which cross so many other lines. But there is a difference.  Yet at the same time... others have suggested that Kasich, who might otherwise be the last hope of the Republican party this year, has an uncanny resemblence to Taft...a character who figures prominently in the great Netflix documentary, The Roosevelts (covering both Teddy and Franklin and the matrix connecting them). Corruption, more or less legalized corruption, is threatening the very existence of the human species, in my view, but who is left to oppose it? Will we be facing eight more years, starting in 2017, which are a rerun of the unsustainable nonsense of the last year or two?

Certainly the political wings of the oil industry and the billionnaires supporting sharia play a pivotal role in the way on which corruption has gotten out of hand, all over the earth. They occasionally send out quiet declarations of the new order, a kind of word to the wise on whom they should obey, and it was not a joyous occasion for me to receive yet another of those yesterday.

In a more positive part of the noosphere – the mental space including humans and other local life – at least one highly
respectable guy is deeply upset and troubled by our positive mention of Buddhism in a previous post... and has a picture in his mind of “Buddha blobs.” It is true that a very large part of Buddhism provides people with an excuse for the defense mechanism called “denial” in solid psychiatry (see for example the great book by George Valliant, which everyone should be able to appreciate!)... but when there is no visible way to survive, a proper higher form of Tibetan style Buddhism with echoes in the West, viewing the world as a school, actually provides a way forwards and a kind of call to action even in circumstances where actual survival on earth seems harder and harder to visualize.  As always, it is a challenge to find the  right balance.

Before some of these new inputs... I was about to record some more positive things on the spiritual side... and will still post a lot of them, but am not prepared to go much further today.


Where I was before the new events:

Meditations in a Quaker Meeting Dec27

A major rule in Quaker meetings is to be brief, to speak only when one has good reason to believe it is a message from beyond one’s personal thinking, and not to overdo it. For the first time in months I spoke yesterday (Dec 27). An expanded version of what I said:

“A few days ago, my wife and son and I returned from a Caribbean cruise. (Questioning looks...) My wife set it up and it didn’t cost much money, and it had some real spiritual value. There was some value in being forced to sit quietly for hours at the  fulcrum of four great forces of nature... the sun.....   the ocean ..... the stars of our galaxy.. and my wife. Of the many messages from there... the first and most important is that we here on our little piece of land are still at the fulcrum of those four great forces, and that there are many important, diverse and concrete messages available if we reach out and listen, messages too complex to speak in detail here here and now.” And again, this is a little longer than what I said. That was near the end of the meeting, and no one else spoke. However, Langley meeting has a great new tradition, of starting the after-meeting part with “afterthoughts,” a time when people voice their personal thoughts mainly in response to actual messages, if there was not time or if they did not meet the high standard of being actual messages. One woman spoke: “My family, whom I was just with for a few days, is the great force of nature for me...” Another meeting member, who teaches in a local university, said, smiling: “I too just returned from a Caribbean cruise. And when we returned... the sun and the warm weather stayed with us here! I said to my wife, ‘It was paradise, and paradise is with us here too.’” Then came self-introduction of visitors, including my daughter Maia visiting from California, and announcement that my other daughter Lissa married Dave at the courthouse on Dec. 21 (formal celebrations TBD). Also interesting new people from Kenya and from the Episcopal ministry... for discussion later.

But in fact, I did not intend to speak at meeting yesterday. I felt a bit becalmed and almost disoriented after so many shifting tides and distractions of the previous week, and in my mind reached out a bit... thinking... towards those stars in our galaxy, so visible at night from the cruise ship (and from going out at night on the days when we visited Alma in Chile a year ago). On the ship, I forcibly pushed my mind as hard as I could in quiet time towards the questions of MQED, which I mentioned and cited at the end of my last blog post.  On our first day after the cruise, I spent the whole day writing up those thoughts as coherently as I could, as a paper posted at researchgate and vixra... not with any intent to publish but to leave at least some trail of an essay I wrote for three purposes: (1) as a kind of school essay, to show I learned the material; (2) as a way to make the thoughts more coherent, and finish the task; and (3) – least important – maybe provide a foundation for further work, as my illegible notes and scattered other diary notes would be of less value for that. Einstein once said something like: “I owe my great success to how much I was actually able to focus on The Question.... only about 30% of the time I tried to, but that’s a lot more than the percent of time other people spend on really facing up to the real questions at hand.”


I have considered on-again off-again joining the Rosicrucian order, which was extremely useful to me in my intense “spiritual” explorations from 1972 to 1978, a period which ended abruptly when I joined the US civil service. On the positive side – I joined above all for the sake of the “experiments,” the specific exercises which I put my full heart and soul into, which were motivated by a desire to acquire the first-hand data of experience essential to weeding out the many, many possible theories one might have as to why paranormal experience is possible. Yet the absolute hierarchical nature of the organization worried me, and there was a time when Ralph Lewis approached death, when I feared that AMORC might follow the same path of decay which also gave us grand muftis, the inquisition and feudal oppression in Thailand due to the same kind of entropy over time (above all because of power-seeking successors). The switch back to France reduced such worries, and my personal inspection of Christian Bernard reassured me... for his time... but how could the system be made to work better? The great things about Quaker Universalists is that they do not have that problem – but the writings of Brinton, which I mentioned before, show that even Quakers are susceptible to some of the same kinds of entropy if they are not strict and careful enough.

Yet... Yeshua has reminded me of the central importance of Social Contracts, as part of whatever hope we may have of peace on earth and survival of primates. A central concept in the founding of the United States – a great moment in the history of humanity, despite the unfortunate nonsense we have seen in recent years – was the understanding by Friends and their Friends that maximum development of the human spirit requires a kind of liberation of the spirit, and the avoidance of state-sponsored religion in the form which gave us grand muftis and inquisitions. (I am reminded as well of friends in the Christian orthodox part of the world. I especially remember a big meeting at Rhodos, where the great archbishop of Russia and the great archbishop of Georgia stage what looked like a remake of the Three Stooges, big fat men in pompous black robes throwing pies at each other.  In all fairness, there was one archbishop who tried to calm things down by saying ‘Hey guys, weren’t we supposed to be Christians?’ He played an important role, but he was only one in that group.)

But – a Quaker meeting as such is not a school, and the constitution (even if restored to what it was meant to be, e.g. declaring that physical walking and talking humans are the ones guaranteed inalienable rights) is not a university. It provides a system in which schools and even limited corporations can flourish, under constraints of honorable competition. But schools, like AMORC, still play a crucial role, in getting to the technical details which are also an essential part of life.

Last Sunday’s meeting reminded me a bit of another school, a recent one on a shoestring set up by Pete Sanders, who left MIT for Sedona Arizona. His book, “You are Psychic,” I saw in my brothers bookshelves... scanned... and now have on my galaxy tab and my kindle paperwhite.  A well-trained student of world mystical schools... (should I buy that book, Yoga the Art of Transformation?... one of the many important world sources...)...  would say that Sanders identifies only four centers, and is “reinventing the wheel”... but it is a good wheel and a good reinvention. He speaks of four centers – intuition (like frontal lobes, which some associate with “third eye”), gut feeling in the gut (rather familiar solar plexus chakra to many), and clairovoyance and clairaudience.  In his test questions... well, I came out almost 100% frontal lobe type, while Luda was more 50% that and 50% visual.

Perhaps the primary interface of “soul” (our local part of noosphere) and “body” is a matter of what soul hooks up to. Frontal lobes are a logical part, along with thalamus and epithalamus, but what of visual input zone (back of brain) and audio? And for our personal growth, is it not important to keep a balance between “playing to our strength” and developing new capabilities in a careful way, leveraging our strength?

Curiously... the closest I came in RECENT years to working on a clairovoyance kind of strength... was on a cruise ship. The challenge was simply to go to the bathroom and back without turning on lights, in pitch black, making a minimum of noise, with Luda and Chris in the same room. I did not close my eyes... but there was hardly any light, especially a few years ago when we were in an inside cabin, but even now in a closed bathroom (with reasons not to turn on light in the bathroom). I would focus actively to see where I was, of course... and move my arms to assist focusing whatever vision I had, not excluding any kind of vision, and exploiting what I know about prediction and boostrapping in the brain, to train myself better. At some level, it was just a straightforward application of what I wrote in the section on bootstrapping in my 2012 paper in Neural Networks, with a notable extra wrinkle. Being open to ANY inputs which might help me predict what I saw (and felt touching things).. and moving around on several levels to create variance... I noticed that a certain kind of consciousness from/in the back of my head correlated very well with being “in focus” (like in the zone?).. and of course that was an opening not only to doing a bit better but to understanding, two things very closely connected.

And at meeting on Sunday... I remember back to the period 1969-1971, when I was uncertain whether I even believed in paranormal phenomena, and when my only ideas for experiment came from my own logic... when I played with ideas like heterodyne, receiving and transmitting and amplifying and tuning... and when I now remember how interface with the lateral part of the brain was a clear memorable part of the early experiments/experience, not repeated later.

But... enough of that.

Yesterday... a day with Luda at Spa World, and finished the Gatekeeper trilogy of Orson Scott Card, which does a great job of explaining the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the connection between experience and theory in that part of the world. But no way will I be part solving problems by murder, either his way of Modesitt’s way. As Obama might say, “That’s not who we are.” There are certain deep inherited features in the noosphere which might give life on this planet some chance (or at least the noosphere), which are unfortunately related to restricted technology, but in crude terms do impose some constraints, not those of sharia... but more like those of certain types of integrity... and I will not cross those lines.

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