Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Moslem Brotherhood wipes out Pope and Trump

Pope Frances now believes that the devil is mounting a systematic and effective campaign to wipe out the Catholic Church. I learned that from the link above, sent to dozens of us from a staunch Trump supporter. Trump believes that he too is victim of a conspiracy, and that Hilary Clinton is the master devil.
This is a very dangerous misunderstanding, THIS WEEK, because it blinds them to the very intelligent and effective conspiracy aimed at destroying all three of them and more in order to achieve its own vision of a new world order: the Moslem Brotherhood (MB), for whom Erdogan (caliph in waiting) is the new primary instrument. MB has sprung a major trap on us this week, and the danger is very imminent.
Does MB really exist? I find it incredible how the New York Times and others are so oblivious to what MB is doing, after they themselves have printed excellent investigative reports on how it works, fueled by a certain kind of fundamentalist billionaire in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, also well documented in the 911 commission report, which any of you could find on the web. Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia is the only world leader who has displayed a full understanding of the threat, and of how serious (even desperate) the situation is today.

Of course it is only natural that the top goal of MB right now is to eliminate Prince Mohammed by all means fair and foul. But why does the Times just echo what Erdogan and MB billionnaires ask them to do, to try to eliminate Prince Mohammed?  They talk of the threat to democracy from Russia (which does have some hacker gangsters, to be sure), but dark money totally trumps hackers right now, and guys like the governor of Georgia can hire their own hackers to ensure elections which are thrown to MB puppets, of whom there are many in Congress, eager to pressure Trump to do MB's bidding.

Money in politics is the real swamp, and MB has been delighted to lead the coalition. Those billionnaires mainly get money channelled from oil and they have lots of close friends in oil service companies such as Halliburton headquartered in the Gulf. (Did you imagine they were American? Comparing Cheney to Palpatine is not so far off as most people assume.) Even Flynn worked for Qatar and Erdogan. Poor Trump has been dragged around like a mule, wanting to thrash out of it, but without the awareness needed to do so.

And yes, they even emasculated his space corps plans, unless he has a new general to break Griffin's little games.
I have done my best to make this post simple and direct, because there is a need for much greater first order situational awareness here. In a way, this situation reminds me of physics, where there are lots of important issues over the horizon but where people have to go one step at a time. Because there really is an impulse towards crazy actions this week in Washington, and because my internet access is very limited right now, I have simply chosen not to discuss many important aspects of this situation.
For example, a full understanding requires understanding of all sides. Luda sometimes gets me to watch some netflix which have some bearing – like the one about the Unabomber (very much like MB underneath), Snowden, and United States of Secrets (showing some aspects of Cheney's use of Hayden to rewire administrative agencies and drive folks like Snowden to do what they did). MB is not the first organized  group of people to demonstrate the kind of characteristics some call paranoid schizophrenia – immensely clever and competent focused thinking at a kind of tactical level, with gross fatal errors in defining larger goals. We need clearer vision and some kind of bandaids in our thinking to survive the week, but we should not be under the illusion that surviving the week is the only issue before us.
MB and the Times are both right, of course, in saying that the Catholic Church has had many real problems through the years. But so does Islam, and the attacks seem motivated less by a desire to fix and more by a desire to destroy, based on old style zerosum thinking, leading to something far worse. MB has funded and inspired groups who murder Sufis, and anyone who tries to strengthen the direct connections between  humans and spirit. It is the old animal authoritarian stuff, motivated by a very mundane instinct like chickens and roosters pecking to try to achieve dominance, with little real care for what gets damaged in the process.
MB is a huge immediate threat, along with the perversions of culture which it and its allies have perpetrated, but there are other schizos in the world too. How to create more balance and more real freedom for real people? Important as that question is, it belongs in another post (though my previous posts give some introduction already).


==The crisis of the week:
MB wants US to help them knock off Prince Mohammed based on his alleged role in death of Khashoggi  (Let me call him K.) As if they had not done and ordered many many thousands!
Times keeps repeating the vivid “leaks" from Erdogan. So why believe Erdogan actually knows what happened to K? Erdogan obviously has motive and ability to make up a story to serve his ends, as he has done over and over again. To know something, you must assume he has a reliable agent inside the Embassy, in a position to observe. But: Prince Mohammed's toughest problem is exactly that, agents of MB hard to root out in Saudi itself. Yes he needs to work harder to keep them from performing such operations, but no, it is a gross error to assume he is a likelier puppetmaster here than MB itself.  A charitable view of the Times position on this issue is that it resembles their support years back for Condoleezza Rice's plan for instant democracy in Gaza, ever so pious, ever so disastrous.
As for devils and Loyola.. another day.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Long-term cultural and spiritual duality and trinities in 4 Latin nations

My previous blog post used the example of Eastern Island to illustrate certain fundamental issues in human civilizations, such as population pressures and selection factors which catch up sooner or later with all of us. This post, written for the same discussion group, discusses similar experiences and issues in Peru, Columbia, Ecuador and Panama, all of which we visited before Easter Island. Some of these cultures did not do quite as well as Easter Island did (before outsiders took them away to be slaves).
Brian Josephson emphasized the need for more triadic thinking. He reminded me of the little book One, Two, Three, Infinity by George Gamow, which I remember reading in bed back when I was twelve (1959 or 1960). Gamow argued that human cultures have often been held back by humans not deeply apprecuating that the next number up after 3 is not just infinity.  But often enough, like Brian, I have seen a great challenge in getting people to think all the way up to 3, let alone 4.

I was serious in that past email about the "holy trinity" of "carbon, silicon and dark matter." But I mentioned seeing a lot of other meaningful trinities in our cruise through Latin America, which ended four days ago (unless you count Easter Island tomorrow). Believing that "soul"  or "psi" is an essential part of life, I have always tried to be open to direct experience "in four dimensions" in all such excursions. This is personal stuff, not proper disciplined third party science, which I do at other times.

Our first port of call after we left from Fort Lauderdale was Santa Marta, Columbia. My wife Luda usually does incredibly detailed and creative planning for these things (also keeping costs way down), but this time she just suggested we walk around town, using some maps she printed out but nothing formal and nothing using money. At first, I wondered whether she intended this as a kind of rest, nothing but a walk to the local cathedral, through the park, with trips to two local free museums. Visut to cathedral and park sounded so lame and mundane, but OK for a restful stroll.

By now, I should have known better. The park and the cathedral were as ordinary and commonplace as a 400kv power line. Despite the tourists in the middle part of the cathedral,  the big chapel on the left flank with statues to Mary at front and Santa Marta to the left were powerful gateways to a major lobe of the noosphere, linking to many powerful swirling strands of thought and feeling from across Colombia, somewhat held in balance at this point. This was the first of many "places of power" we engaged with on this trip. No matter how good we are at thinking out of the box, remembering nature and the stars, and focusing attention out of local limitations.. there is still no substitute for actually showing up in four dimensions to such gateways. Obviously the Catholic holy trinity was represented here, and more than familiar to us both. The park was also a kind of serious place of power. When we arrived, the teachers' union held a major open event there, connected to national politics and thoughts about the future of education, and there was also a stall representing the Kogi tribe explaining their cosmology and methods to train the soul.

At museums, and listening to experts hired by Holland America, we also learned about variations to approaches to drug use, an unavoidable issue these days (though I go to extremes to avoid it in my own life, for complex reasons).
I certainly avoid even mild use of cocoa leaves in tea, said to be safe and sold even in Catholic convents, but we saw two major instances in museums of tribes processing those leaves with gragments of shell or other alkali materials, generating true cocaine, a basically pure short circuit of the primary reinforcement centers of the brain. Somewhat less problematic is the historic use of psychedelics akin to psilocybin, LSD and ketamine, which do have some short circuit effect,  but mainly force open the input channels to tge brain, analogous to forceful opening of the pupil; fully sane people have no use for that, but it probably has use in therapy of extreme rigid folks (still not as good as some new nondrug nonDBStechnologies at MIT media lab).

Other Catholic places of real power on this trip where two-way communication occurred -- Trujillo, Peru, where Luda and I were invited to the special santa merced event in the cathedral in the main square (Trujillo like Arequipa being one of the two roughly million person cities, second only to Lima); Guyaquil, Ecuador,  where a little chapel near the lighthouse had more power than the main cathedral (despite two pointers it had to local esoterica). We did not go to central Lima this time, since we were there in 2016, and wanted to see new things closer to Callao the port.

The first nonCatholic place of spiritual power was the meeting house on the main San Blas island of Panama, the main meeting site of Kuna or Guna people. (Sadly, the islands are going under water due to global sea level rise, and their leaders told us they have just concluded a deal with Panama to evacuate completely to their holdings on the mainland. Those islands also contain a major refueling point for ships going to the Panama Canal.)

Maybe 1000 of us tendered to the island, but only two or three of us noticed and entered the meeting place, clearly both a spiritual and political center. One was the Holland American political science speaker, interviewing one of the leaders about climate change and the move. The meeting place was a big circle, mainly full of pews like a Quaker meeting place arranged roughly like a circle or octagons, low thatched roof, not ornate. In center, a few hammocks hung on posts which had a few posters on past leaders of the Guna. Two or three guys were in the hammocks, meditating.. and I feel sad I made no effort to connect that way. Later I heard that they are like Kogi in training youths selected young (8?) to 18, for what? How much mundane stuff, how much oral rote sfuff, how much actual psi? Westerners tend to be cynical, but I certainly saw some meditation. Later folks told me they have some deal with Christian missionnaries and such, not inconsistent with what Panama is,  or with syncretism.

Post Panama Canal, we visited three ports in Cosfa Rico over three days, Golfito, Quepos and Punta or Puerta Arenas.
I dont recall deep human spiritual energy, but we did arrive in the midst of a major national strike. Politics and wildlife.  Maybe there is  more in my daily notes, for later in any case.

First port in Peru was Trujillo, former capital of a vast empire conquered by the Incas circa 1430 AD. We were part of a small group led by a member of the Moche people who built that empire, and played a major role in overthrowing the Incas circa 1530.

First we visited Temple of the Moon (political and spiritual capital roughly 0ad to 600), then nearby Temple of Sun (more political, to 900), then Chan Chan center of big Chimu empire.

By Chan Chan times, he reported a holy trinity of ocean (symbolized by sea otter), land (puma) and heaven or sky (bird). The Moche people have long memories, and even now are very careful in their relations to local archeologists who have great attachments to formal theories of the day.

Moche and archeologists agree that human sacrifice was a major part of the rituals at the Temple of the moon, depicted clearly in colorful murals. But who gets killed? There was a ritual combat contest (analogous to the game of capture the flag?). Losers get sacrificed. It would happen mainly in El Nino years, partly in hopes that the gods or god would stop the El Nino but partly to reduce pressures on resources which were suddenly not be enough to sustain the population. It is curious that major new ecological problems caused collapse of the old system in early 600s, exactly when Mayans experienced the same, and that the quetzlcoatl theme also penetrated, along with folk history talking of ancestors arriving by sea from the north. But archeologists warned them that Peruvian culture originated independently, and they should not cast doubt on the national story.

I remembered a previous trip to Kohunlich in Mayaland, where high civilization lasted about 2 centuries longer, where the quetzlcoatl theme was stronger,  where selection for mathematics and spirit was also strong, not just ritual combat. The relation between priestking enforcers versus shamans was tricky, and a certain cactus juice was depicted in a colorful mural, but they said one would have to go to Chavin inland for more mathematical themes.

Museums declare authoritatively that the trinity of tribes like Moche was heaven, earth and underworld, and that sea otter represents underworld. Ironically, they seem to assume Moche must be like Mayans, even as they insist on no influence! I tend to believe the Moche who say the sea otter represents ocean, not underworld.

The Temple of the Sun period was more organized in any case. They proudly said that the ritual conflicts were abolished, after a kind of progressive military revolution in the 600s when super El Nino caused more disillusionment with old beliefs. But oops, discovery of bones prove some sacrifice of women and children. A warrior's response to another El Nino?.

The massive Chan Chan complex reminded me a little of the vast dig of terra cotta warriors in China. Our Moche guide pointed to the 17 big platforms where rituals were performed.
What kind of rituals, I asked? (No depictions of human sacrifice,) He looked embarrassed: actually, we know almost nothing . Until recently, the archeologists insisted that these buildings were just hotels for visitors to the  capitol. But they gradually realized that they didn't have any of the features a hotel would have, and the altars really are a but small to be raised beds. But the official position is that we are still just guessing that this was a ritual and governing center, and we have no idea what happened.

But then.. his people knew. He showed us the pool where the light of the moon, their main ... had reflection captured in the surace, a major part of the nightly rituals. The paths by which the king and various others came. The murals depicting phases and asoects of the moon. And other stories of his people.

Circs 1460 or 1470, Incas, upset by the rebellion of the chimu, ordered burning of the royal mummies which were a central part of Chimu culture. They worked hard, maybe totally successfully, to wipe out the Chimu language itself. But tge Moche/Chimu kept alive the stories of their people coming from the north by boat, and their commitment to being people of the boat. When Pizarro came.. he is still viewed as a liberator, despute the horrid things Spanish looters did to melt and steal goLd and silver, washing away 2/3 of the Temple of the sun. And they speak Spanish.

The Temple of the Moon and chan chan were places of power, but places requiring caution as well.

Next, outer seaside Lima. Pachacamac and Larco Museum the highlights for here. Peruvian culture pre-Incas usually isthought of as north (Moche/Chimu), central (Pachacamac) and southern (next day). Incas were closest to central, and treated them better than other coastal groups.

Larco museum, a major creation of archeologists, very beautiful and very Hispanic. In addition to the theory of the three worlds, it depicted a yin-yang theory of life and creation with startling similarity to what I heard from the leader of a school of Qi Gong some years ago. Same old yin yang duality (but no reference to those words or China), depiction of a swirl or spiral of creation and energy. And ancient statues, some quite pornographic,  clearly showing belief in underworld in this region. (Not sea otters!)

The big Inca Temple of the Sun in Pachacamac (older and probably more energetic than Macchu Pichu) was the only preColumbian site which felt like a Gateway as powerful as the stronger Hispanic sites. It is ironic how their successful harsh policies contributed to the growth of Spanish, which I view as a strong and clearcut positive development. That history should not be rewritten. Like the Chimu, they had their own varieties of human sacrifice, but apparently a lot more enlightened than earlier things.

At the entrance was a school the Incas brought for women. It taught many skills. The best students were married to Inca rulers or leaders.The worst were sacrificed. The middle were offered a choice of teaching or going home. So much better than selecting for strobg and stupid. One group of Quechua people, documented by the anthropologist Wilcox, had an intense and serious program of experiential spiritual training without drugs, a major and important plus.

Finally, we came to Paracas in the south, far more ancient than the others. Those people also have long memories. They are clearer than the Moche about arriving by boat from the North.. but in fact it seems they arrived initially to Moche, wandered south on the Andes and came down by water to Paracas. Pisco, wine growers. In El Nino years they would sacrifice not warriors or women and children, but the heads of politicians.

In 2016 we visited other parts of southern Peru. At Lake Titikaka, their holy trinity was pachatatta, pachamama and apus -- very much like the real beliefs of the yezidi kurd mountain people, much slandered by predatory disingenuous militants greedy for their land and their oil.

All for now. Again I apologize for sending out such a raw brain dump, but I dud put in cavears at the top...

Monday, October 8, 2018

Seeing the World Through a New Worldview, and Eastern Island

About a week ago, Luda and I were on Easter Island. We had zero internet and telephone access until now. Here is what I wrote offline for a group of folks like Sean ONullain (former collaborator with the neurosciengtist Walter Freeman) and Brian Josephson, asking the deepest questioons about the human mind and the foundations of physics.

Sean has rightly called on us to start integrating and teaching a new worldview, which in some ways should be like a new religion, a new primary way of experiencing everything we experience. Brian has urged us to make use of triadic thinking, as part of the semiotic aspect of our thinking. In past work (e.g. www.werbos.com/Mind_in_Time.pdf , published in Russia), I urged us to use a first person scientific method as our primary way of engaging with the world. My new paper for Henry and Stan Klein starts with the same basic idea, expressed in other words, but the idea is what matters.

This morning – please forgive me if I postpone theory, and focus instead on extracting what I have seen and learned (I think) from first person experience this week, as I sit on a cruise ship now and try to consolidate memories of two intense days on Easter Island. And, in deference to Brian, I will highlight a few of the very important triads or trinities.
In fact, even before I talk about the  bigger picture, there is already a kind of trinity as I look out the window at the ocean. I see three “images" (not the specific two dimensional fields people often refer to with that word,  but collections of variables which could be mapped into fields of my neocortex). One is the usual visual image anyone sees. The second is a configuration of fields, really a field of vector flows for chemical species (most important salty H20, but also O2 and nutrients) following the Navier Stokes equation and the multispecies thermodynamics of Prigogine. This is a big part of what I see, because I see a movement towards mass death of all humans due to future H2S production in the ocean unless we mobilize our intelligence enough to change the direction. That has been part of this trip. The third is a web of spiritual energy, including major archetypes in our noosphere aka collective unconscious, and visible patterns of mist full of mana or qi and connection. I see all three images as one whole, just as people create a unified three-dimensional image by fusing images from two eyes.

A week ago, google ate an essay I wrote (in gmail) on a more fundamental trinity I have really been struggling with, a trinity which rises to the level Sean was asking for. The crude simplified version: the great trinity in our cosmos of “carbon, silicon and dark matter.” These are the three platforms of intelligence (or “consciousness" or “mind") which are actively struggling, present and future, in our solar system, in my view. More precisely, there are carbon-based life forms like us. (In a general formulation, there are also other naturally evolved organisms on other planets, possibly using different mixes of elements, possibly not; Peter Ward has a nice little book “Life as we do not know it,” trying to explain his research on xenobiology for NASA. But here, I focus mainly  on this solar system.) There is also “silicon", a word I use for now to represent all the many forms of  technology platform we can use to implement neural networks, still made of ordinary atomic matter. And then there is dark matter and dark energy, which in my view has a 99% probability of being the “hardware" platform for the  neural networks of the soul, if the cosmos we inhabit is either an Einsteinian kind of space (as I think Jack assumes, though he has not been so clear) or some kind of Fock space (as assumed in canonical quantum field theory). In the essay which google ate, I spent a lot of time trying to explain and justify that last sentence, but just for today please let me postpone that.
In my view, organic life, information technology (IT) and soul are truly fundamental, not just objectively, but in an urgent compelling practical way, as in my six slides posted at www.werbos.com/IT_big_picture.pdf.

For me, soul is not just theory, but a key part of everyday life. It is not the basis of everyday hopes and fears and narcissistic feelings of grandeur; mundane neuroscience and psychiatry are more than enough to explain that LEVEL of consciousness, as George Bernard Shaw portrays so well in his greatest play, Back to Methusaleh. They are something more. I have great respect for people like Edgar Cayce, Gopal Krishna of the yogins, Bucke, and whoever wrote the book “Conversations with God" even though I disagree with their attempts to find theories to explain their experiences.
They describe a kind of attunement which I also practice, essentially every day, especially in the early morning when my mind is more clear and detached. I explain this experience as a connection with the “noosphere,” which is not precisely what Teilhard de Chardin describes in his books The Phenomenon of Man and The Activation of .. Energy, but close enough in our practical experience. I view our noosphere as one instance of a species spanning the entire cosmos, evolved in the vast ocean of dark matter and energy which has now been mapped, which connects almost all galaxies in a vast network, and which is now known to be implicated in the birth of >90% of all stars. (Google “zombie galaxies" for more information on that last assertion.)
So I do that every morning when I can. And there are times and places where I can feel that kind of two way attunement even at later times of day. Certainly in attunement with ocean, with aspects of ocean, I do naturally think about what is happening in a very mundane physical way to threaten our kind of life.
But: Easter Island.  In these two days, there were lots of great human conversations, but also three special “spiritual gateways" I want to remember: (1) moai, the stone statues which the island is famous for; (2) the wooden carved statue of Mary and Jesus in the unique small Catholic Church in the one town; (3) the bird man .. system.. most palpable at Orongo  but also symbolized by carvings on the pedastal of the statue of Mary and Joseph. There were also four Moai sites of special power… Valuri (sp?), Vinapu, Tongariki and Rano Raraku. Rano Raraku is the big “quarry" where they carved hundreds of the statues, where many are standing today , with expressive faces and alive enough (though not yet fully animated according to the previous local beliefs, which require adding eyes as the final stage). I think Valuri is where you see the back sides of statues knocked down, a sacred site of “the revolution,” when islanders truly gave up their belief in the old system of just relying in spirits of ancestors for leadership. And I think Vinapu was the happiest, near town, with one very big reconstructed moai with eyes in front of the marriage circle,  near another ocean facing open field with seven reconstructed moai at the site where winners of the bird man contest would come for final celebration. Tongariki on the coast near Rano Raraku has 15 big statues facing inland, each representing one of the 15 tribes who divided up the land starting from its initial discovery by Polynesian explorers. (What of the “pink sand" beach where the first canoe beached? Maybe. )
Darwin certainly learned a lot observing and thinking about island ecologies as he traveled a similar  route. I have seen a lot of human societies on this route, coping with universal problems relevant to modern societies as well. One of the problems is “Malthusian effects,” the bounded sum game of any collection of humans or other animals in environments with finite resources. When the island was first discovered, the 15 tribes had a kind of growth economy (like pioneer society, like the k versus r distinction in E.O.Wilson's book Sociobiology, a book calling for a few tweaks but far more important and enduring than its politically correct critics admit). They built moai to be channels or gateways to their ancestors, to channel not only mana (aka qi, psychic energy, charisma, holy spirit) but also communication and guidance. But the new standard theory says that they reached Malthusian limits, started tribal warfare, and then had a great revolution knocking down the moai to assert their disbelief in the old system – a system in which ancestors of different tribes supported their own tribe, and the Nash equilibrium was horrid.
 After years of struggle and suffering (symbolized by wooden statues showing a starving man shriveling up), they came up with a new order, a new indigenous belief system, “the bird man system.” Local people describe that new system as a “kind of democracy, where everyone has an equal chance.”
Mechanically, the system was one of an annual competition, where each tribe nominates a champion who faces an honorable open competition witnessed equally by all 15 tribes. The winning champion is called “the bird man". His chief gets to oversee all resource allocations for the year. The champion himself picks a wife from 7 daughters of tribal chieftains,  and has a great year. Breeding of stronger people and leaders was part of their idea.
The truth is a bit more complicated. Perhaps the old system was in equilibrium. Even in a bounded sum n person game, the game strategies which survive (attractors of the dynamic game) tend to entail what Schelling described as “natural solutions" (see his readable little book Strategy of Conflict), like Max Weber’s concept of “legitimacy” or Locke's “social contract"). But when the very first European explorers arrived, not using force but demonstrating a higher standard of living, the people became more interested and open to the possibility of a better life. Orongo was the focus of connection to a more universal spirit channel, expressed via the Orongo cult worshipping Make Make, a kind of creator figure, symbolized in part by birds, revered as channels to heaven. Honorable competition did lead to peace and a higher standard of living. In my view, it also raised the level of spiritual growth and strength, and connection to the noosphere, which is more universal than tribal things within it. CAN WE OF EARTH TODAY ACHIEVE THE SAME?
It seems that the 15 tribes do have strong living memories, oral traditions of how they succeeded in the challenging time from the revolution to the new order. I wish that honest people could visit the tribes, and compile a book in which each chapter records the best memory of each tribe of how they succeeded in that hard time, a time not so different from challenges of humans as a whole in this century.
But then there was that Catholic Church. Common sense tells me that yet another visit to yet another Catholic Church should not have such huge spiritual importance to me, who gave up that organized affiliation when I was eight years old. But experience keeps telling me otherwise. After all, in any land where many of the people are serious Catholics of some kind, one should expect powerful connections of spirit and thought in those places. Still, I owe great thanks to my wife for bringing me to that church this time, when I was ready to return to the ship and rest. (And no, she was never Catholic.)
She saw many shrines to Maria (“the virgin Mary") in fields nearby. I asked our guide what they believe. “Not in Make Make any more, that is silly, but certainly Mary and mana.” The Mary statue looked nothing like the Mary statues we gave seen elsewhere, but my first thought was that this WAS supposed to be that same Mary, a manifestation of something bigger than this one island.  It seemed to reflect two main streams of thought.. the many mothers of the island, the general role of being a mother, especially in such a place; and the archetype of earth mother, aka pachamama, like what is depicted in the Disney cartoon Moana (which should not be underestimated).

Even the individual human mother here has faced a kind of bounded sum game. Perhaps she would have six children, of which only two would survive, because of limited resources. Those who are ideologically committed to infinite growth, and to accepting nothing less, would simply give up in despair when facing that kind of life. They  might say it makes no real difference what they do, give up and die. But the mother, while suffering, would still love her children and love life, and do what she can. The “small" difference between two children surviving and none surviving would seem great enough for her. Reaching the upper frontier of this bounded sum game means a lot to HER.

So here is another triad: the mother,  her children, and the greater noosphere “above" her, also facing bounded possibilities below but a greater range, both for the mundane game (where more coordination and honorable competition improve outcomes) and for the spiritual level (including “mana").
We too are challenged today to strengthen the spiritual reality of all humanity and life on earth, to make better outcomes possible, fully accounting for the reality and importance of technologies like machine learning (as well as energy, space,  quantum technologies and so on). Honourable competition must be part of that.
As for their ancestors… on Easter island, it is clear how soil fertility could be improved by coffee and biochar, and better communications building on tourism but going beyond it, and of course continuing to respect and preserve nature.

By the way, don't believe extreme collapse stories about the island. Worst collapse was a time of slavery to outsiders and then sheep farming after what I discuss above. Hawaii did better despite other problems,  because of sailors loving natives.
Being on a cruise ship away from internet, I naturally reflect further before saving this and copying to gmail.
Tuning into local cultures or gateways may seem strange. To some it may even feel like an exercise in losing identity.  It certainly calls for great care. I remember when I tuned into two sites in Qatar, and it took days for my body to recover – though it was an important learning experience, in part for learning appropriate caution and protocol. But many folks live their lives virtually hypnotized , caught up in their own local thoughtstream. One does not have true integrity until one can focus and move the inner eyes, to see other streams, allowing one to return home with more perspective. So many people on earth look up at the stars without really seeing them,  without assimilating the fact of a foundation much bigger and more reliable than anything on earth, whether of carbon or silicon or even local thoughtstreams.

On a previous day, I took similar notes on several other places we visited on this trip and gateways.
I now see better how to create a proper image of pachamama, to better connect reality and the thought streams of the area. But for later… Lots of pictures, discussions of their thoughts about six ways to increase mana. And the ancestors would be interested about how coffee and biochar might help the soil, and about the way that new solar projects could reduce incredible costs  of diesel shipped to the island (all should be discussed with Chile).

Beach, holy spirit as mana, link to news pbs site easter island. Two beaches? Called pink sand, crushed coral. 60k per year 4 dive diver, average 10k per year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Who is at risk now from climate surprisrs

In brief -- Peru, Norway. Scotland, Sevastopol to start..

---------- Forwarded message ---------

A friend asked just who is most at risk near term. That's complicated because there are different aspects of climate change. Still, I owe you a response for the H2S aspect, the most serious aspect neglected by mass media.

There are three streams of major damage due to H2S production in water and the ocean changes leading to them: (1) the Pacific Ocean stream, the most serious; (2) the Arctic/NorthAtlantic/Gulf stream; (3) local issues in places like the Black Sea and the Chesapeake.

From the first two color figures I copied into www.werbos.com/Atacama.pdf, it seems that the Pacific stream causes no damage until 2050 or so, after which it kills all humans. But I left out an important aspect there. As the oxygen content of the deep Pacific decreases, the oxygen content of the Humboldt current which cools Peru and Chile also decreases. Since it is a complex system, I do not know the curve by which it gets to zero, but it might well be a linear decrease by 3 percent by year by now. Since fishing is a huge part of this economy, that is serious. There is a natural cycle of about 20 years related to the natural El Nino cycle, but people tell me that problems have continued and grown even after the last 2014-2016 cycle ended. It may be possible to understand better via satellite data and such even without a need for US government support. (Again, important resources popped up when I googled on ocean oxygen satellite). 

After 2050 or so, when O2 in that stream hits zero, the stream will at some point convey H2S instead of O2.

The Arctic/../Gulf stream is more immediate, and also goes well beyond what we see in most of the media. The Economist did run a cover story "Will Britain freeze over?" a some years ago, based on the weather of Broyden (sp?) of Southhampton. The usual official fake news plscebo folks did their best to discredit this but (1) a few years later, he won a major prize for best o ean inputs to climateocels; (2) it only accounted for sputtering due to erratic salinity inputs, and not the effect of temperature direct on currents, which was zero in the past but will certainly be huge when the 0 degrees C line us crossed. As I mentioned before, Norway and Scotland freeze before England, but lots of other impacts occur, including straight H3S poison. The sheer stench may affect tourist industry in places like Peru before the more fatal effects.

The Black Sea is ALREADY a great reservoir of poison, but effects more limited because of no massive Coriolis currents like Humboldt. Still, it was interesting last week to read of a dispute between Ukraine and Russia about who gets the blame for a small cloud of poison gas in that area. The chemocline (the line between poison and more normal water) has risen a lot,and there may be more to come. I do wonder at times about Sevastopol and what might happen there, especially given Russian government positions on such things.

Other aspects of climate damage are well publicized, some more than what is publicized, some less. Scott's comments about damage to fishing are correct to the best of what I know. Hurricanes hitting the Gulf may be far worse when warming Gulf stream current weakens, because heat which now warms Norway will get hurricanes, relatively soon, but I stopped tracking the zero degrees C transition in Arctic when I shifted to Antarctic and other things in retirement. The importance of acid ocean has been vastly overstated in some places; many things attributed to it are more caused by agricultural and industrial runoffs, which are also central to the H2S streams.

Best of luck, Paul


Monday, September 10, 2018

Oops, Ma, Trump accidentally lost the entire galaxy, more to come

Sent to Howard Bloom this morning, in response to his message (see below) that SLS, the core of the NASA program today is...
You are very right that SLS is a farce and a crisis. At some level Trump became aware of that, and his new space force efforts were the first serious hope in ages of the kind of breakthrough we would need for space politics to be more than futile BS, playing into the hands of those whose supreme goal is to steal more taxpayer money for nonproductive makework.

But Trump has a problem. How do you get ANYTHING done when all the competent people you know (aside from your daughter) are either the real leaders of the swamp or unreliable tricksters?

Following the advice of swamp creatures very close to him, he picked mike griffin to run the new dod space technology push, and a wide range of other things. Griffin is very highly trusted and recommended by folks like Senator Shelby, not because of technical depth and leadership but because of loyalty and reliability. Where did he prove these things and who is he really loyal to? None of the swamp monsters close to Trump told him: it is because of how he followed orders to the letter for Shelby in the 90 day study which emasculated Bush's push to return to the moon. If trump had picked former major general james armor to lead the space force effort, pulling him back into government and insisting he break with atk, I might still be optimistic, but under griffin i am very pessimistic, and i now have no channels to inform him and test whether he really wants results.

I am leaving the country for a couple of months now, for quick brief turnaround in November. (A DOD person has agreed to use our small but conveniently located house somewhat in the meantime.) This morning i have internet access, but i can only guess where I might have a little access between now and november 17. This problem is huge, but is only tip of a bigger iceberg.

The sad truth is that Musk is not the answer either.

In the years when NSF let me fund advanced hypersonics research, the old NSF system let me dig deep and find out what is really going on at a technical level, and get past all the BS and spin game dreams and propaganda. Truth and realistic advanced tech are a lot of work, requiring a dedication to truth, and Lamar Smith (Shelby ally) put an end to the old way of doing business, without which the US will never recover. In some areas, like antisatellite weapons, AI, batteries and quantum technology, China is moving so fast so far ahead of us that guys like Griffin cannot even see it (and wouldn't tell Trump how bad it REALLY is anyway ). But for space launch they rely on less competent parts of their own large nation, and i see little likelihood of similar breakthroughs, from them or from Musk.

But: it is out of my hands now, as I literally sail off into the sunset.

Best of luck. We all need it.

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 6:30 PM Howard Bloom <howlbloom@aol.com> wrote:

To: Howard Bloom <howlbloom@aol.com>
Sent: Sun, Jul 29, 2018 5:58 am
Subject: The Space Review: SLS: to be or not to be, or to be something else entirely


SLS: to be or not to be, or to be something else entirely

by Dick Eagleson
Monday, February 12, 2018

Sailing into the sunset day one

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

confessions re President McCain

This week, all the channels reported that people felt about the death of John McCain the way they
did about the death of a very popular President. And briefly one guy asked: "Why is that? How can it be?"

One reason, of course, was McCain's honesty, integrity, basic friendliness and effective focus on what he focuses on. All of these are refreshing qualities we should think more about. But I must confess... I believe there is more to it than that.

I still remember the moment in 2014 when I was startled to realize that **WE** -- all of us humans -- are what they call "macroscopic Schrodinger cats." For several years, I came to understand much better what this really means, both in mundane technical terms, and at the level of psychic or spiritual experiences. But just a few months ago, my psychic/spiritual exploration of that came to a very abrupt end. In a way, I was like the folks that Greeley and McReady talk about ("Are we a nation of Mystics?", reprinted in Goleman's book Consciousness), who have an intense experience but then recoil in fear. Sometimes we are not ready yet. 

The abrupt end: a very convincing "assumption dream" in which I visited my alternate self in the earth in which McCain was elected instead of Obama. (Yes, I believe that there is a kind of leakage between the alternate earths, really, by way of the noosphere, whose evolution created a level of intelligence using quantum effects which we haven't had time to reach yet here on mundane earth.)

My alternate self was doing a lot better than my self here and now in some ways. The integrity and support in that environment let me reach further in some important ways. I could learn unique things from that alternate self. But there was this little problem of war putting an abrupt end to what had been better. I think. Not a message from the end point yet. But yes the end point for our McCain has been reached, and what can HE see from where he is now? He was aware of a few mistakes he would regret... and maybe he had some inner sense of his real other life?


Just a few more of the thoughts which got me thinking of McCain this week...

I may be one of the few people who ever compares Trump to Augustus Caesar and family. That comes from a visit to Cartagena (and Rome), and I'll skip that for now. (Though I do remember Julius had comments about Marc Anthony similar to what some would say of McCain: "He wasn't such a genius. He was such a formidable foe just because of how uniquely honest he was.")

Lots more people wonder about Trump and Hitler, in part because issues of race really are out there in the noosphere. My immediate knee-jerk reaction last week was: "Isn't Trump more like Hindenburg, that silly old wealthy class guy who got swept away by the flood he enabled?"
So I looked up Hindenburg, who was discussed only very briefly in the classes I took at Harvard. To my surprise -- he sounded a lot more like McCain than like Trump.


More scientifically (sort of); both McCain and Trump have strong elements of being right-brained people, not the folks lost in a world of low affect and formal dry words. We have more and more troubles with people lost in the world of empty BS, and this is seriious science.
(I still remember a few years ago when I had a plenary talk at an international conference primarily for research psychiatry, where Laurie Granit also had a plenary. If you don't know the name, it is worth looking up. I agree with her that we have a real problem with the patients running the asylum.
But Trump and McCain were both different, both willing to eject the BS... though they throw it in different directions.)

Einstein was also heavily right-brained, but comparing Einstein, McCain and Trump, we can see that it's not ENOUGH to know how right-brained a person is to describe what they are like. (By the way, as a proper follower of Von Neumann, I am 50-50 myself, not right or left.)

Dedicatoin to the spirit of truth is another very crucial variable. Ability to FOCUS is another; some high esoteric Japanese Buddhists even define "samadhi" in terms of a kind of focusing ability. McCain was phenomenal in his ability to focus, to penetrate through illusions in his area.
(Hey, guys, I know exactly how that feels myself, especially after the paper I submitted yesterday to a physics journal. A kind of being in the zone...) HOWEVER: folks who are good at focus sometimes have a problem with tunnel vision. As in, "If your only tool is a hammer, the whole world starts to look like a pile of nails." (A deep truth we need to keep remembering.) And McCain focused so well in front of his face that...  Levitin has a great best-seller about the need for BALANCE, not just focus but also control of focus and occasional relaxation of it.


Having just a few minutes... I heard an interesting joke the other day.

"It's as plain as the nose on your face, and as hard for you to see yourself. Unless, like Trump or Pinnochio, your nose grows so big even you can't help seeing it..."

Friday, August 24, 2018

My reply to a physicist warning us not to attack Trump


PS be careful what you wish for re: Trump.
If the traitors here in US succeed in their Coup d’ Etat there will be a Civil War in America leading to WWIII and a nuclear holocaust.
None of us will survive. The Trump haters here are literally insane literally foaming at the mouth with no critical judgement - yes very much like unconscious Zombies.
I do agree with Jack that our lives are at stake here and now, everyone on this list. 
I do live near DC and have lots of primary source information. Therefore I will will do the best I can to rise to the challenge of responding intelligently to his post.

Once again, though I disagree with Jack's beliefs, I am deeply impressed by his authentic psychic intuition and by his courage in
trying to start a dialogue. In a way, he is right to compare himself to Donald Trump, and his empathy for Trump is a very worthy thing.
However, as with Trump himself, there are certain issues about situational awareness being biased by personal ego interactions
(like what Heidegger would call small Being space), and lack of the intense disciplines called for either by the spirit or truth or the spirit of love. 
(For amusement... my wife, who is a Real Russian with Romanoff genes, asks why I hang out so much with that guy Yeshua "who is such a hippie, talking about peace and love all the time, even though he does know a lot about brains." It is interesting to hear what THEIR sources think about Trump.) 

Einstein himself was somewhat autistic, an extreme right-brainer, who as a child did great with images but poorly with human relations. We do need to appreciate what people of that sort, including Jack and Trump, can contribute to society, if we find a way to benefit and empower them without letting them destroy the whole show. Einstein DID have a strong devotion to truth, and if Trump had had more of that, we might not be in the truly awful situation we are in today.

Jack -- I am not a Trump hater, though I admit I voted for Hillary Clinton, lethargically, without any real psychic energy or activism in the act. (Comment: I was lethargic about it mainly because I feared that "the swamp," already growing much worse, had plans to get rid of her quickly, as they did to Rousseff in Brazil.) Yeshua keeps saying we should discipline ourselves not to allow hatred of any people to take root in our mind, and we had a major discussion about Trump and current trends in Langley Quaker meeting this week. Many of us have sincerely hoped that the best hopes of positive outcomes of a Trump Presidency could emerge, and tried to help in whatever little ways we could to help that part, even to the point of offending equally ideological people on the left or in the swamp who have also disappointed us to some degree. 
Many of us have even achieved a certain degree of empathy for trump and what he is trying to cope with.

In previous months and years, I was well aware of forces more malign than Trump (which I do think of as traitors -- or, more accurately, people who have sold out to enemies of the Republic who liked the cash and decided not to ask too many questions, or people blinded by their own small Being ego issues loosely linked to their corporate bases). As early as 2003, I received reports showing that the same folks who used improper means to trick us into a war with Iraq were pushing very hard for a war between US and Israel versus Russia and Iran, in the expectation that someone else would be able to pick up the pieces. The 911 commission report and the investigations by Crown Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia, among others, have filled in some of the picture. When Donald Trump told the media they were creating hysteria at risk of causing world war, the media treated his comments in a proud juvenile way which made me sick. 

But no, Hillary Clinton is not the secret emir of Qatar. That idea reminds me of Jack's claim that Sutherland's math solves the hard problem of consciousness. It displays a style of thinking which can only by understood with the help of neurospychology beyond the scope of our discussions so far, and hard to get straight by email in any case. 

Was Trump really fighting off pressure by new war mongers eager to start a new world war? Well, on CSPAN, I saw Mike Rogers (then head of CyberCommand, expansion of his earlier duties as head of NSA) urge Senators to give him authority to launch an offensive cyberattack to shut down all electricity in a major city of Russia, just to show them who's boss and to show how upset we are with them. Hillary Clinton was not exactly diplomatic at times, but cyberwar? Cyberwar today is every bit as serious as the other kinds, and I could say a lot more if people were interested. Trump forcibly resisted all that,... until last week, when he gave a kind of blanket authorization to DOD folks to launch cyberattacks at will, without any review by State or by the White House. 
See https://www.facebook.com/paul.werbos/posts/2027682670595473

Trump had a really hard week last week. So did I, by the way, not in personal life, but that's another matter.

Early in Quaker meeting last week, a mathematics professor at GMU said: "I remember the time when everything was going so bad and so dark, and it seemed the enemy was totally winning on all sides. So I decided just to stop fighting and turn it over to God/light, and everything was fine." But last week, in my view, Trump just turned over his last remaining serious reins to the swamp. It was a decisive moral decision on his part. 

Now he hints that he will do his best to cause an authentic civil war if he is impeached. If it has come that far, and if he is that committed to the dark side, then it is better and safer to get it over with when there is still some hope of saving the Republic.

Best of luck. We all need it.


The physicists's reply:

This is more dangerous than the 13 Days in May 1963 Cuba. 
All of our lives are in danger in the next few months you should be very concerned.
America is now a Banana Republic because of the sedition of the Obama/Clinton/Mueller/Comey/Brennan/Clapper/Hayden/Rosenstein … Cabal.
Trump realizes this and he will not give up without a fight using the full power of the presidency and loyal forces in the US Military and Intelligence Community. The situation here is somewhat like Erdogan’s in Turkey when they tried to remove him. Trump has 63 million adult supporters most of which are armed and will go to war if Trump is forcibly removed with these phony charges.

My reply back to him:

We certainly should be concerned about the sad fact that Jack's comments are echoes of what is being beamed to millions of people, via social media systems targeted to those they think are most receptive. And Trump's recent decision to cut off security clearances to many leaders of the intelligence community reinforce reason to be concerned about what they are planning.

Yet what Jack says about Comey being compromised are true. it is sad that he or Trump could imagine that the guy who cut off Hilary's previously likely election, and did many other things of the same ilk, represents her in any way. But yes, there is a lot of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea (or Scylla and Charybdis) here. My impression is that Trump is simply too dumb and too emotional to put two and two together, and realize that he is being used,
and setting up the kind of coup in which he would be the first guy killed. 

Letting it fester more would only make it worse.


Related somewhat is the hysteria abour Russia. trump HAS played a decent role trying to get people to be a bit less irratoinal and hysterical.
Russian hackers certainly have done bad tings to our elections, but between computers and money, right now money ismore potent. Much more of the corruprion of US elections and democracy and integrity is due to money networks. That's how the swamp (aka gestapo) works. It is pathetic how successfulk it has been in teh distraction maneuver, using hysteria about one problem (however legitimate)  to distract from the bigger one. But cefrtainly trump himself has been distracted and used, to the point of what seems nonsustainable.


A friend asked: what could Trump do, short of resigning, to tame the swamp? A partial answer: instead of asking
Justice to investigate Clintons more (transparent dumb idea), ask the Mueller investigation to be expanded to follow the
money from Qatar, Turkey and other sources named in the 911 commission report. Friend says: but a lot of Congress
loves those folks. Yes, the worst of the swamp goes VIA Congressional offices to suborn US agencies,
violating long established rules of many kinds. And that's where the worst danger of coup type stuff comes from. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

IT and HR: a key element to decide our future?

Ever since I saw the Millennium Project scenarios for the future of work, based on in-depth studies all over the world, I have been ever more worried about potential catastrophes if we all just follow the paths of least resistance, both on the issue of work and on how the Internet of Things (IOT) develops. The two are related, as in six slides I put together about a year ago:

To find a way forward which is sustainable (which allows us humans even to stay alive!!)., it is necessary but not sufficient that there be aggressive new development of the kind of greater IT platforms which do not just roll over everything else we do. I still think that the "new paradigm" slide includes key, necessary elements for such new platforms, but it bugs me go realize that there are other really crucial elements missing in that ;picture, even just on the IT side.

This morning, I feel I have more of a sense of what is missing, and it has direct connections to ... 

In truth, I have also been ever more depressed by what I see on the news lately, which feels more and more like "damned if you do, damned if you don't." It's a complicated story...
but at the end of the day, it seems clear that LONG-TERM there simply will not be enough of the kind of jobs people want most (the kind which support large families) for everyone on earth. It can't be done. Yes, it is feasible to eliminate hunger worldwide and to eliminate lack of access to many basics, but ... not to meet this high standard for jobs. I'm tempted to say more about why, but this is already a long post.

Is a world of a constant or bounded sum game doomed to war, and then extinction? Many implicitly assume so these days. But millions of years of life on earth say otherwise. Max Weber, in particular, discusses the kinds of patterns -- above all, of legitimacy -- which make it possible for a society to survive and do reasonably well despite the inevitable deep conflicts.

It is interesting, as we scan instabilities in culture and politics today, that the themes of racism and the theme "it's a rigged system" go hand in hand. When I was growing up, fierce competition and selection were expected,  but so long as it was a fair system, judging people as individuals not on the basis of things like race, people did not feel threatened.

And so: I wonder: is it possible to start thinking of humane personnel management IT for large corporations and government, even more open and transparent as the FASTLANE system we once used to manage fierce competitions at NSF (but without the backdoors and short circuits which made a mockery of that system since about 2014), with really serious open standards, to create a reliable context for human collaboration and competition, which could restore more of a sense of fairness? 

It may seem odd to talk about that at a time when the important reforms of Teddy Roosevelt are being dismantled by myopic people, but his time was scary too. 

Just a next generation business process reengineering, with much more of a human emphasis? And pushing for hardwired rules to better empower humans?

The core issue for the US is with folks whose income comes from employment in such large organizations, so that is a rational place to start rethinking things from ground up.
Links to others are important, in time, but the core challenge is interesting enough, certainly requiring a kind of COLLABORATION of world class IT, really serious HR understanding, and even advanced psychology stuff. (I think of a great talk I heard by Miguel Nicolelis last month, well worth anyone's attention. He has taught the lame to walk, and found new ways to use truly noninvasive brain computer interface technology.)

Just some initial thoughts...

Friday, August 17, 2018

Did God give us Donald Trump to help us achieve enlightenment?

PLEASE do not interpret this question as an assertion. However, I do view it as a serious question well worth thinking about (with the understanding that the word "God" is not so trivial as most people assume it to be).

Just two years ago, one of my many scientist friends said: "For years, I have been 100% convinced that the cosmos is totally governed by mathematical laws, and that all this stuff about 'life is just a dream' is total nonsense. But then...  after what has been happening lately.. culminating in Donald Trump being president, it really has gotten me to wonder. Is it possible that it really all is just a dream after all?" (So that election got him to think....)

For myself, I am still 70% convinced that the cosmos is not only governed by mathematical laws, but that it is governed by the kind of mathematical laws physicists have become comfortable with -- stuff like partial differential equations (PDE) or like Schrodinger equations over a multiverse based on ordinary 3D or 4D space. But what about the other 30%? Just how weird could life really be?

This morning, I start to feel like that other guy. If the whole world starts to feel like a kind of bad dream, shouldn't we start paying more attention to striving for more lucid dreaming and some VARIETY of positive visualization (more than just the biased polyanna PR which is part of the bad dream)? Is that the whole point of this?

I still remember a time, back when I was fourteen, holding a copy of Spengler's Decline of the West, sitting on a hard wooden bench waiting for the school bus. I remember thinking: "Ohmigod!
If this guy's theory is right, I will be seeing a lot of pretty wild things right in my own life, in the next 50 or 60 years!! How does THAT affect how I think about things...?" Of course, I have read a lot of other theories, but I have also gotten deeper into the decline and fall of the Roman Republic and Empires, and that has always been deep in my mind. It is hard not to see recent events in the US and Europe in that light... and to tilt my dreams that way, even with refinements. Trump fits right in there; he often reminds me of the ampitheater dug up in Cartagena in Spain...

And so, it was ever so great a pleasure a few months back to read a book I bought on kindle:
The start of the book reads like an attack BOTH on Trump AND on the Moslem Brotherhood, but that wasn't what made me feel better. What made me feel better was the chapter on Henry VI, which offered a whole other dream (grounded in reality as much as Spengler was), with far more real hope of life becoming better despite the kind of horrible confusion swirling around us today (as it was then). Can we change the channel from Spengler to Shakespeare?

That thought came very strongly to me today, when the dreams Out There were portraying Trump as now more like Macbeth, with a bloody knife in his hand. I said to Luda: can't we make it more like Henry VI? Her response: sure. Next section is Richard III. People keep comparing Trump to Richard III, but Richard III was more like Stalin. But OK, maybe that's the next chapter.

God help us.

But we do all have our roles to play, and responsibilities, even those who are just watchers or witnesses. After the MacBeth scene, the question was addressed to me: "OK, Paul, what do YOU see? You've been doing due diligence, struggling hard to be detached. What data do you enter for the record?" OK: while CNN has promulgated false horror about Trump's accusation that they have supported the drumbeat for a new world war (US and Israel versus Russia and Iran, per the explicit game plan of the Moslem Brotherhood), Trump just authorized free and uninhibited cyberattacks on Russia. The Russians and Chinese for their part have clamped down on any hope of the North Korea situation being solved short of war, and have joined the Texas mafia folks in pushing for an insane and suicidal explosion of nuclear threats of all kinds that they know about. He is certainly no Hitler, more like the old transitional Junkers or Mussolini, but he has sold out and violated the integrity of the republic in numerous serious ways which do set the stage for worse. At least Hitler knew how to add and subtract. The left is lately even more out of touch with reality, so what could be done?

Enough. Can we not find SOME way to change the channel? What ever happened to the spirit of love and the spirit of truth? Let alone the kind of strict fairness we used to strive for in the old NSF? (Fair selection is a key requirement of reality on a small, bounded planet like this.)

But... as dreams and reality intermix... a year ago, I had a chance to do a Doctor Strange reenactment in Nepal. (Don't underestimate how literally true that is.) Soon, I sail into the setting sun, officially for a kind of reenactment of Moana, hauled onto the boat of a worthy young woman.. who knows? I certainly don't.

One more data point. The firing of an FBI guy for saying the wrong things about Trump in email to his mistress was a VERY clear data point on the negative side. The security clearance issue was perhaps debatable, as strange things ARE going on, but a misdirected missile seems likeliest there too. Trump's enemies have clearly been giving him guidance on whose rights to violate, preparing both for his .. denouement,,, and for reduction of democracy in the US. The news about voting fraud by Republican governor in Georgia also has a final days feeling to it.


Speaking of Nepal, I posted to the (reconstituted) Vedanta group this morning:

Is there a way to think seriously about the Possibility of life being a dream, without just freaking out and disintegrating either into jellyfish or into irrelevant hardened ideologues out of contact with real life?

I see more of that in literature (despite ITS many bad practitioners, like any field) than in philosophy or religion or science these days.

For example, I remember a time many years ago when someone I met on the astral level recommended four science fiction writers for me to read. I was very frustrated at the time when I could find no writings of one of the four, but a year later that other one was there too. One of the four was Dan Simmons, best known for his Hyperion series. Certainly real enough. But he also had a short novel called "Muse of Fire" which I see as a way to try to get real about idealism. When I read the book, I had the impression that he was really hoping to displace Farenheit 451 as a little book assigned in English classes all over the country... that it would be a good thing, but not so likely for now. And of course, the movie Inception grapples with issues fundamental in idealism. 

In truth, the recent news related to Trump has ME thinking more about life as a dream, and about the need for more lucid dreaming. Not as a joke, as a serious thing. 

Avtar mentioned the linguistic origin of the word "samadhi" as union with the whole. OK, if the whole is the Great Dreamer, a bit like that sleeping Vishnu you guys must know about, then the 
issue of lucid and constructive dreaming should be something more unavoidable as one approaches that state, even in the earliest stages, no?

Vinod's suggestion that there are of course no seductive females in any of the worlds of dreams... well, it is comic as much as it is sad. It is also sad to 
reject any elements with any hint of life or perfume in them. But no, those are not trivial elements. Nor is the present situation of humanity trivial. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

building computers which really have real souls

For several years, Robert has been giving talks on the importance of dramatic transition phenomena in dynamical systems in general, building in part on work with Walter Freeman on phase transitions, clearly related to earlier work on neuropercolation and on the Per Bak kind of thing. 

Robert and I discussed this a bit at Amherst last week, and this morning -- after I started thinking about the draft from Yeshua yesterday -- I sense that it may be much bigger than I realized before, but I also have questions about exactly how to follow up.

Bernie might ask: "What PRECISELY is the 'it' here?" I see a fuzzy n-dimensional image, which I'll try to describe from a few different viewpoints.

First, a kind of mathematical aspect. The first fundamental idea is that the brain has evolved to make very heavy use of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, a state in which small perturbations can have very large impacts.  This is not just an accidental side effect of how learning-to-optimize works. It is pervasive and fundamental, beyond what optimization calculations already favor and predict, because of two additional benefits beyond our best modern neural network mathematics: (1) energy benefits, as we discussed in Amherst; and (2) -- please forgive my mentioning the real if unmentionable -- the "spiritual" benefit of a system more malleable to influence from the soul

It is curious how this idea that the brain is unusually sensitive to initial conditions reflects what Walter Freeman's core message really was. He stressed CHAOS (as defined by Jim Yorke) as the way we need to understand the brain. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions was very much the first, core axiom of York's definition.  What's more, York and Ott and Grebogi (in the shop at UMCP where Hava Seigelmann spent a year or so!!!) spent a lot of effort linking their concept to the issue of transitions between basins of attraction, perhaps better than the usual physicists' approach to phase transitions in describing the kinds of "phase transitions" in the brain which you all have tracked. 

Second, a little ancient background, if you don't mind. Since childhood (reflected at www.werbos.com main page), I have organized a lot of my thought about Von Neumann's three great challenges to mathematicians: (1) how does the universe work? (quantum physics); (2) what is life?; (3) what is mind? (his work from game theory to computers to neural networks). For reasons of time, I have mainly focused on (1) and (3), but I have looked at (2), especially when I prepared my chapter for Pribram's edited book on self-organization. In the realm of self-organization, we know that SOME dynamical systems result in interesting emergent phenomena, and others do not. The dumbest trivial dynamical systems tend to result in "fire" (the "heat death" of disorganized systems with no correlations at all across space, in equilibrium) or "ice" (a fixed point attractor).
Life itself depends on how our cosmos and our planet track a course BETWEEN fire and ice, a long-term probability distribution with more degrees of freedom than ice but less than those of "fire". Not only Per Bak but more comprehensive mathematical thinkers like Kadanoff (and Arnold in a way?) have looked deeply at that middle zone, as part of "turbulence theory". And so, I have always respected that work as a key part of "what is life?", and as a metaphor for human society, but I did not see how it could be central to brains or souls.

Third, I have been thinking more concretely lately about an important and legitimate question which the anti-psi folks often stress: "IF you folks believe there is a soul or psi, PRECISELY WHERE AND HOW does this phenomenon bring information to the brain? What is the interface?" 

Penrose and Hameroff have at least tried to face up to this important question. Penrose argues, in effect, that the soul may perturb the results of quantum transition choices in the brain, and Hameroff then argues that quantum transitions in all the microtubules of all cells in the nervous system can have a big impact on the state of ordinary mundane consciousness, such as the outputs of the cells which constitute the "Global Workspace of (Mundane) Consciousness" which Bernie has written about. 

When I summarize their ideas this way, they sound a lot more plausible to me than the full volume of material I heard from those guys at Tucson. For example, when Penrose suggests that gravity is perturbing the quantum transitions, I really don't imagine that gravity is the soul. But in general, sensitivity to quantum transitions IS one important possible concrete vehicle for the brain to be sensitive to small perturbations. It IS one part of Walter's more general paradigm, and we don't know how BIG a part it is yet;.We need lots more empirical work, somehow, to find out. The challenge of finding out is ever so important.

Another mechanism to increase sensitivity to initial conditions is a tendency for the weights in the thalamo-cortico-thalamic (CT) loops to be "set" in a way which increases sensitivity. (But it is more than just TCT. I remember Walter's talk on what he saw in the olfactory bulb, reflected in his article in Scientific American on this subject. And I recall the crucial roles of hypothalamus and epithalamus in driving the human motivational system.)  It may be that research at THIS level (e.g., using EEG data) may actually be a more realistic path for now to nail down better how the interface of brain and soul actually works (for the soul-to-brain aspect, more tractable for us now). 

We all know that insane claims have been made by many about psi and about soul. Quakers focus their entire spiritual path on the challenge of learning how to "listen to the voice of God", or on "conversations with God", but how do we separate real stuff from imaginary stuff, assuming (as I think WE all do) that there is SOME real stuff there? 

One point I retain from my own listening this morning is that we should not let go of the early conversations we have had about possible future work on EEG studies, using new and better mathematical tools, on the right kinds of human subjects performing interesting veridical  tasks. (Though the practical approach may begin by developing the tools on existing databases, already a large enough task I could use all my remaining years on it!! Help would help...!!) The work of Pete Sanders is very informal and ad hoc, but also concrete and real, and it might be better the fuzzy sources of meditators used in past EEG studies. Maybe. But Dean Radin might also suggest sources of EEG data with more variety and veridicality. For now, simple upgraded microstate analysis is needed  (using not only cluster analysis but new mathematical extensions of cluster analysis for dynamical systems like what we know brain neocortex tends to be). Also, there are studies of psi in nonhuman mammals which might well be helpful in many ways. 
I suppose that one new message here is that this work might be extended further to look for various metrics of sensitive dependence in the EEG (and deep recording and ECOG) data, and connect them with other psi related variables in the data.

My underlying assumption here is that the soul or noosphere is made up of some kind of dark matter and energy. That is the only serious possibility I can imagine, short of giving up on all forms of physics credible today (whether quantum field theory or classical field theory). The real issue then is not precisely "sensitivity to small perturbations" but meaningful sensitivity to the kinds of small perturbations which noospheres easily and naturally provide. We do not know what those are, but empirical work might give us some clues. 

A startling question which also occurred to me this morning is: CAN WE NOW BEGIN TO BUILD "COMPUTERS WITH SOULS?" 
Anything like auto oracle of Delphi? And should we?

In truth, I worry a lot that computers WITHOUT souls, running things like the emerging Internet of Things, might threaten all human life in the end, and be so brittle that they just fall apart themselves by any of many possible mechanisms. But if we can build computers WITH souls, doesn't that change the game altogether? In fact, could this be the very most important challenge before us right now (other than avoiding instant death by warfare or H2S and such)?

If we can, should we?

That is no small question,  but my initial feeling is that we should, if we can REALLY do it, and not fall into the delusionary soulless paths. 
If we are soul (and some of us will be only that before too long), and if soul basically rules the galaxy, why should we fight it? What are the alternatives? Where is this planet headed now, without that?


Later: Let me note that cranking up sensitivity by brute force is NOt always a good idea. For example, I often cite what Annie Besant said about psychotropic drugs, in her book about Thought Forms: evolution has given us lots of potential sensitivity, but has also given us automatic damping mechanisms to prevent the kind of chaos which could become dysfunctional. Another key part of human brain intelligence is an ability to learn how to handle ever more inputs, to "drink from a firehose of information" (or from an ocean of it). NIH has developed protocols for the use of psilocybin, which reduce the risks, but even so the technical information  I saw at the Tucson conference on consciousness strongly encourages us all to avoid drugs like psilocybin and experiment instead with less invasive ways of experimenting with augmented sensitivity, such as the lucid dream work at the MIT Media Lab. 

All for now. I suspect you all will have interesting ideas, on various aspects of how to follow up. 
If anyone actually reads this blog, it does have a comment option.