Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's About Time!

It's been quite some time since I posted a personal update, and since I'm encountering some significant milestones at this moment, now is a good time.

I've had this dirty little secret storage shed (it's not really secret, except that I often try to forget that it needs dealt with) and ... finally... it is going away. I'm having help come with me to haul 99% of the stuff away, I'm going to pull a few things out that I want to donate to Toys for Tots (I've collected some toys that are still mint in the package) and there are still a few personal / important things in there that I'm going to keep. For now.

The rest of the shed - 5' x 10' is going to be hauled off to... well I don't actually know or care what is happening to it. It might be sold, donated, used or scrapped, that will be up to the person doing the hauling. The only items whose future matters to me are the ones I'm going to take with me and see them to their new digs.

That will account for almost $50 more per month that I can save, and a huge, giant, angry blister on my mind that has been driving me crazy for almost two years. I don't even like saying that out loud but I have to face it... I had a storage shed for two years and barely touched anything in it. The one thing in there I'm sad to see go is my dinette set... it's from the 50's and I reupholstered it myself.. but I can't take it with me so there isn't really any point in obsessing over it. I got to own a very cool dinette set and I enjoyed it for many years. Now I move on, and probably won't have a "real" dining table for quite some time... if ever again.

I'm over the "traditional" furniture requirements. I don't need a bed, a desk, a dining table, a coffee table or a dresser. Instead, I will probably have either a futon or an air mattress, a folding table, an ottoman or two, and...I confess, most of my clothing is either in the "clean" laundry basket or the "dirty" laundry basket. I don't have much need for clothing storage beyond those.



In other news, the bulk of my former Hello Kitty collection is gone... in one fell swoop. I would have donated it, but two of the houses it has "lived in" for at least 10 years had significant mold problems, and unfortunately most of my stuff from those houses has anywhere from a minor to an awful mold smell. This collection was affected so into the dumpster it went. Mold causes most of my allergies and it gives me breathing problems and sore throats... so every thing I can do to eliminate it from my life and not pass it on to other people is a winning move.

A bunch of other stuff besides that collection also went in the dumpster... and I've been doing pretty well selling off all of my excess beads too. I have sold more than half now, and only a few more small Priority mail boxes of them remain to be sold.

Most of my old art supplies and things I'll never get around to using were "donated" to my best friend's daughter... she's got quite a creative streak and I want to support that as much as possible. I gave her two big boxes of supplies and beads, which I'm sure she will use up pretty quickly.


Last but not least, I'm finally starting to be able to see a visual image of what is going with me to Arizona. I've pared down my supplies so far from what they were, and my posessions, I can almost picture fitting everything into my tiny car. The few things that do not fit will be shipped, but I want to keep shipping cost to a minimum so it will ONLY be stuff I do need and only things that can't easily be broken or damaged in the mail.

I look around my apartment, and I know that when d-day comes, most of the stuff is going to be sold on C-list, donated, or trashed. If I wanted to, I could gather up what I am taking and pile it in my (mostly) empty dining room to make sure it will fit in the car. I plan on doing that about a month before we move, so I can figure out what is best to ship and best to come in the car.

It is a huge relief to know that soon, my posessions will only encompass what is in my apartment, and within about six months most of what is my apartment will be gone... leaving the bare necessities. Those necessities would be even more diminished if it wasn't for my creative pursuits and art supplies. Those things will be the majority of what is left, and I'm trying to whittle them down as much as possible so that I'm taking the absolute minimum of possessions I possibly can.

Years ago, I had no idea what minimalism was but I had a strong desire to achieve certain goals... the biggest of which was (and still is) to be able to make my living primarily through my talents rather than working a job that feels meaningless. That goal seems to be within reach, thanks to minimalism and some other things I've learned along the way.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Truth about Money

Good old money... the thing everyone wants more of, can't get enough of, and can't seem to hold on to.

We know what money is... or do we? Even though we understand the concept of money, it's not something that stays in the forefront of our minds. We don't think about the implications of the money itself when we are deciding on a purchase... or buying something on impulse. We accept money, as it is, and allow it to be a regular, unquestioned part of our lives.

Clarity on the concept of money would help a lot of people spend a lot less. Money itself represents something we all cherish... life.

Money isn't paper, it isn't hard work, it isn't a method of trading...

It is our very life force as represented by all of the above. We spend our time at work to earn money. That is time that could be spent somewhere else... with our families, our friends, our pets, in solitude, meditation or writing our magnum opus. Instead, we spend that time (often) in an environment that is unpleasant and even toxic, completing tasks that don't have personal meaning to us, suffering under the pressure of stress to meet deadlines and appease others.



Our lives are bought and sold in dollars.

Let that sink in a moment. Every hour that you work for someone else is an hour of your life that someone is buying from you. You are selling your youth, your health and your vitality. You are selling your piece of mind and you are selling time with your loved ones, your kids, your grandkids. You are selling off time that could be spent with your best friend, or painting, or walking your dog. You are selling off time that could be spent in meditation or another spiritual pursuit.

We look at the time left in our lives as something so precious, everyone wants more and tries to meter and count out what they have left. Every single human on planet Earth feels like they do not and cannot have enough time to really live their lives as fully as they'd want to.

For what do we give up more than half of our lives?

A bigger house
Designer jeans
Big ugly sunglasses
That hot new lip gloss
A faster (or flashier) car
Appliances that save us time (irony, no?)
A bank account that says "anything that comes my way I can handle"
A constanly morphing wardrobe of the next greatest things
Houses full of crap we look at maybe 3 times in our life and then it gets tossed aside for the next thing we find.



Be honest... how many pieces of clothing are in your closet that you've never worn?

How much did they cost?

I have three pieces I can think of and they cost a total of about $100. At my rate of pay adjusted for taxes...

Those articles of clothing cost me more than EIGHT HOURS of my life... to sit in a closet, unused.

And that doesn't even account for items purchased on credit. That adds even more hours of your life to the cost of those things. The longer they sit there, the more hours they accumulate... because you are potentially paying for a larger space than you need to or may be cleaning and reorganizing these things often...



I would estimate that in my life thusfar I have wasted 10,000-20,000 dollars on items I did not use or space for the items I wasn't using. That accounts to around a thousand life-hours or forty-two days... and that is only a guestimate based on what I can recall.

If your doctor told you that you might live six more months, how much would those forty-two days be worth to you? I'm betting it's more per hour than you're earning now...



Next time you're browsing a store and you find a really cool, $100 coffee pot that you "must have", consider that it may cost more than eight hours of your life... perhaps then the old coffee pot at home -that still works- will look a lot more appealing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Miniature Revolution

Thousands... possibly Millions of people in the USA and throughout the world are dissatisfied with modern society and the economy as it is, but how to change it?

It had been said that only by increasing the stresses of society and the monetary system can it be changed, can people be driven to enact and strive for that change. Clearly pressures have been rising for some time, the dissatisfaction grows, and yet we continue running the rat race... decades after the term was coined.

Today we live in a society in which we are caught in a vicious cycle: We must work more in order to consume more, and the more we work the more we consume because of standards, stress, and appearances.


How do we stop the cycle for ourselves and others? How do we get off of that one-way bus? It's really quite simple, an answer of few syllables, but something which requires restraint and the ability to brush off the shame that society will inevitably try to throw at you for it:

Consume less, and it will snowball.


It's so simple... if you buy less, you spend less money. That's more money to pay off any debt you have. That's more money to save and build a cushion for yourself. Then, that's less money you have to earn and less time you need to spend working. In time, it becomes the simple equation that purchasing less items & less expensive items = less work and less stress.

We've been conned into thinking that the more money we have and the more things we own, the happier we will be... the opposite is true, if you allow yourself to let go of the puppet strings of society. Let go of the idea that your appearance is equal to your worth, that you have to wear a certain brand to be respected, that what you wear or own says more about you than the words that come out of your mouth. Let go of your "need" to have the best and greatest, and more of it. Know that you can afford better quality items if you buy fewer items and make them last as long as possible. If you use something and can continue using it, don't throw it away because there is a newer model or a new style. Keep on using it until it is no longer usable. Don't keep things you don't actively use today - in the long run it is cheaper to have far fewer things (and a smaller home) and occasionally have to re-buy something you've discarded.

How is that a revolution?

The less we consume, the less they sell. The less they sell, the less they will produce. The less they produce, the less raw materials are consumed. The less that is purchased and produced, the less is imported into this country. Eventually, it flips and becomes more cost effective to produce something in country for a non-bargain price than it is to produce something in another country in massive quantities and import it. That creates more and better quality jobs, jobs which are in production which is more satisfying than logistical or office jobs. Take it further, and it will become more cost effective to have those items made by crafters and artisans than machines (because machines need maintenance and expensive parts!) and as people reduce and recycle, pulling the amounts of consumption further and further down, it will reverse what has been happening for years.

Ignore the advertisements, don't have cable, don't have magazine subscriptions. Don't allow them to convince you to consume just because they want your money.

Millions of people are being driven to purchase because advertisers claim that if YOU are the one person who doesn't, everyone will look down on you. What you don't realize is they are telling everyone this... and no one wants to be the moron who didn't get a great new broom and is cleaning their floors the old fashioned way.

Newsflash... the newest gadget or jeans doesn't make anyone smarter, prettier, or more fun to be around. It just makes them a part of the consuming herd... mindless sheep.

Don't like being called a sheep? Then don't act like one. Think for yourself, and spread the word. The only way to change things is for us to do it ourselves instead of sitting on our butts complaining that everything is decided for us...

I can assure you that when you go out and buy that cool new cell phone or any other new item, it is you who has the control. It's up to you whether you choose to take it or not.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Quest for Magic

The Magic we achieve can never be appreciated...

In our world we have two ideas: one is that everything is ultimately explainable and thereby controllable, including all natural phenomena. We have been able to harness many of nature's forces for our own use, and it is likely this will continue.

The second idea is that there are unexplainable things, magical things, events which go farther and deeper than any simple explanation can touch.


As scientific discovery advances upon these magical ideas, it causes the phenomenon to seem mundane. For example, at one time static electricity seemed like a magical force, drawing two things together or repelling them under certain conditions. We understand this force today, so it seems there is nothing magical about it.

Seeing in the dark, using invisible rays to heat things, sending all kinds of information through the air, even something as basic as a thermometer would have at one time seemed like witchcraft or god-like powers.

Today, as we continue to advance, the magic dissipates even further. A mere twenty years ago, a thin electronic tablet that could "somehow" communicate with computers around it and display information was a work of fiction, today it can be owned for as little as $200. I recall marvelling over Penny's computer book in Inspector Gadget, thinking how amazing it would be to have such an object and here we are today with precisely those tools at our fingertips.

Yet how often do we stop to think how purely magical this object in our hands is, as compared to 1000 years ago? Even 100 years ago most of our technology would have been mind-blowing. We take advantage of it, or are confused by it, or just accept its existance. Here we are, holding amazing tools, and what do we worry about? How we are going to pay the bills and why-oh-why do we have to go to work tomorrow!


I think that the reason behind this is because we learn all the little bits and pieces on the way to creating these "magical" devices. Start with no computers and suddenly have an iPad, and it is shocking. Work your way through decades of development of electronics, owning various electronics as they become available, and the iPad becomes nothing more than the next logical step. Other technologies we are excited for, that we can see coming down the road, at this moment they may seem novel and fun to us, but I can assure you mere years after they are achieved they will be commonplace, mundane, and we'll be focusing on something else.

We achieve the seemingly impossible over time, and we have yet to be satisfied with our achievements. We always want more, we always want better, we crave the magic.

Magic is the one thing we can never achieve, because we must go through method to get there, and method breeds mundane.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Visualizing the Fourth Dimension

I was thinking about Picasso today. As his artwork was explained to me, he was attempting to show three dimensional objects in a two dimensional painting from multiple perspectives. This is why they seem to be distorted and do not make normal visual sense to us.

As I was thinking about Picasso, I realized that he may have been attempting to illustrate the appearance of a three dimensional subject from the perspective of a fourth dimensional being. If we assume that when I say fourth dimension I am not talking about time but about a fourth physical dimension, then that dimension must exist at a perfect right angle from the three dimensions we know.

If you have not yet watched it, I would reccommend Carl Sagan's brief description of Flatland, which was aired in an epsiode of Cosmos. Flatland is a story that was written in 1884 by Edwin Abbott. (Flatland) The story describes beings who exist in only two dimensions, length and width. They are aware only of X and Y axis with no concept of the up/down Z axis. With an understanding of how a three dimensional being would appear to them, we can then formulate how in our three dimensional world a fourth dimensional being would appear to us - partial, incomplete, and very strange.

We can also imagine how we would appear to a fourth dimensional being - entirely complete as a whole from all three dimensions when we can only see ourselves as two dimensional at any given time. It is a trick of our two eyes that allows us to perceive three dimensions, yet we can only actually see two dimensions at once.

Everything to us is like a screen on a television, a moving picture, that just so happens to wrap slightly around our curved line of vision. Because our eyes are set apart and see two different images of this three dimensional space, they are able to show us ever so slightly two angles of our world. This is what allows us to have depth perception: if something is near to us, we see the difference in those angles more distinctly. If it is farther away, both of our eyes see essentially the same thing. To our minds, a distant object appears flatter than a near object.

In art we illustrate three dimensions using only two. Thanks to perspective and shading we can give our minds that same perception of depth that is created by the placement of our eyes. The more accurate the perspective and shading is in a painting the more realistic it looks to us. This is why some two dimensional images (photographs) register as being very real whereas some two dimensional images do not. CGI is capable of fooling the eye with perspective because we can design computer software that "comprehends" three dimensions: effectively we can create a three dimensional world inside of a computer through the illusion of the programming. We can only view it from a two dimensional perspective of our computer monitors and televisions, but because the program is designed to show a three dimensional space it looks three dimensional to us.

This got me to thinking: If we can program software to understand three dimensions, can we program software that extrapolates into four dimensions? If not today, I believe this will be possible someday. In computer software, we're working with virtual space rather than true three dimensional space. At the moment we are incapable of describing what the direction of this fourth dimension is, but we can grasp that it exists. The example for this is the tesseract. If you watch the aforementioned video of Carl Sagan's explanation of Flatland, at the end he speaks about the tesseract or fourth dimensional hypercube. In the same way that we can cast a two dimensional shadow of a cube, the three dimensional tesseract is a shadow of the fourth dimensional object. Interestingly, illustrations of the fourth dimension tesseract show it to be continuously in motion in order to attemtp to fully describe its form. THe object appears to oscillate, constantly turning itself inside out. I think that our ability to understand the fourth dimension will require some type of oscillation through the viewpoints as our eyes are incapable of viewing a four-dimensional object from what is essentially a two dimensional perspective.


The fourth dimension as time

It is generally accepted that time is a fourth dimension to our three dimensional world. If we consider this possibility, then it makes certain ancient concepts seem to have been describing the view of something from these four dimensions. There are the trinities: Maiden, Mother, Crone; Son, Father, Holy Spirit; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Each of these trinities describes three points in time of a singular being, in a visual sense.

The easiest to describe is the Mother, Maiden, Crone. You have the Mother - the middle aged or mid-life female, her earlier form in the Maiden and her later form in the Crone. With Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, you have Creator, Preserver, Destroyer. In the Son, Father and Holy Spirit you have the youth, the older middle age, and that which exists beyond death.

Each of these deity descriptions describe a singular being in three points of time yet existing simultaneously - which from our perspective is impossible. Or is it?

In our own minds we have the memories of our past time-forms and the expectations of our future time-forms. Within our own minds, past present and future are all conceivable even if they are not completely knowable. In philosophy this is called endurantism; all temporal parts present within the entirety of our existance.


Hopefully one day we'll have a better idea of other dimensions of our universe or possibly even other universes. For now, we can read about the discoveries and theories as they develop and in our own minds try to imagine what reality would be like from a fourth dimension.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nepthi

Today I was re-reading the essays of a favorite artist of mine: Jonathon Earl Bowser and encountered a name that stopped me in my tracks: Nephthys

I don't believe I've given any explanation of the landing address for my blog before, but today it seems I should.

Several years ago I was pondering chakras and all the information around them and I thought that there should be more than seven. I imagined there to be three chakras below the root and three chakras above the crown. Each known chakra has a name in Hindu, so when I diagrammed out the additional six chakras, I let names for them come from wherever information comes.

The very top chakra, the 13th, the spot I considered to be the highest any human could reach, the word that came forth was "Nepthi". Out of curiosity, I've searched the word several times and have not come up with anything specific. It seems to be a name given to some, but other than that I had not found any substantial information. Nonetheless, I liked it enough to use it as the address here - nepthi.blogspot.com

So today as I'm reading and I've come across this name - Nephthys, I immediately recognized it to be akin to Nepthi, the word I made up from nowhere. It refers to an egyptian goddess... so I looked her up. I was quite surprised that what I found out about her is not unlike what I had considered Nepthi to be.

She is depicted with symbols atop her head which seperately represent "Mistress or Lady" and "Sacred Temple Enclosure". One possible meaning of Sacred Temple Enclosure is the temple within each of us, the mustard seed Christ spoke of, or our soul. She is also representative of the gateway entrance to the temple. The door to becoming eternal - more than human.

Also associated with her is the Akhet, depicted by a symbol shaped like a circle in a valley, remeniscent of Omega in the greek alphabet.

It is speculated that the egyptians viewed her as a morbid but crucial force of heavenly transition, she was the path to death and her sister Isis the path to rebirth.

The Akhet is a symbol which is part of the egyptian name for the great pyramid: Akhet Khufu, and the season known as Akhet is when the Nile floods - the season of inundation.

This strikes me more than anything - Jesus spoke of the overflowing waters of life, and clearly refered to something more intangible than water itself. Here we have a goddess, a symbol and a season whose name I had associated with 13 - the Christ - that has ties back to an inundation of water.

I finally found Nephthys after several years of wondering where the name came from, and it turns out she's everything I had associated with that name.

It's possible I had encountered the name before and not remembered it, but I think it unlikely that I'd have learned so much about Nephthys and still not remembered the name. The information I "understood" about the word Nepthi is greater than what I know about Isis, and I've actually studied Isis (I even had a pet bunny I named Isis!) But, regardless of how I came by this information, whether a connection to some unknown source of knowledge or by forgetting I had read the information, I'm happy to finally know what the connection is and have such confirmation of the ideas.

So now you know what Nepthi is :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roots of Christianity

We know what Christianity says and does today, and regardless of your stance or belief in the religion I feel it is important to explore its roots and why it has the message that it has today.

This is of special importance to me because while I follow the words spoken by Jesus, the remainder of the beliefs and dogma of Christianity leave a sour taste in my mouth. I've long been unable to name exactly what it is about the religion that feels wrong, but I have finally reached an understanding as to where and how the changes were made in Christianity that lead the religion away from the teachings of Christ and his true meaning.

After the death of Christ, all that was known of him was left to the people of the time and to his disciples. The two centuries that followed his death until the religion of Christianity was relatively settled into what we know today saw lots of change and turmoil. As the apostles went out to share their message, the words themselves were spread but the meaning may have been lost as the words were spread. Some of the apostles may not have been as true to the meaning as we've assumed they were.

I think that when Christ worked directly with his apostles, he was able to guide and show them the path. Then, when they moved to share it with others, they could show them some of it... and the teachings degraded from there. Eventually you get to the coalescing of the various writings into a volume, decided upon by the Council Of Nicaea.

The Nicaean conference was a platform that decided which of the many available texts were to be considered canon and which were not. Presumably copies of all of those not selected to be included were destroyed to cement the decision and to help direct the path of Christianity.

What we have as the Bible today is primarily what was decided by that council around the third century AD.

The non-canonical texts which were rejected disagreed with the beliefs of that council. This does not mean that the texts are invalid, only that this one council of bishops decided they didn't like the texts and felt they were heretical.

This is the sticking point of the entire situation: a group of a few hundred men decided that certain books were ok and certain others were not. These few hundred men were each bishops, with deacons and priests and congregations below them. They each had their own decided way of running their churches. They chose books that gave continuity to their cause - or did not take away continuity.

We know that human beings are falliable, and we know that these men were part of an empire which had just recently begun converting to Christianity and was about to make it huge. These men stood at the precipice, poised in the oh-so-perfect spot to influence millions of people to come. Of course they didn't know that, at least not to the degree that we do today. I suspect it was quite an honor to be able to be a part of this, to cast each of their votes on the many issues brought before the council.

But today we also know that people can and will do what benefits them the most. Looking at the governmental system in the U.S., there are two such councils of men so that the two can (theoretically) balance each other out. It is generally accepted that not only is several hundred men all voting their own way good enough, but having two seperate councils of over a hundred men is better. And even then, both councils as a whole are distrusted by the majority because they seem to pass laws that benefit them or play to their individual senses.

By looking at Congress and the general opinion of it, we can apply this method of thought to the Council of Nicaea. We can also apply the general opinion of the Catholic church, as the council was the beginnings of that church. Granted the church has many members and believers, but they have also acted in ways that have shocked and saddened many in the world. There is a certain impression that comes with the words "Roman Catholic" and in some circles it may as well be a joke.

So, knowing all of this, I ask why on earth we should trust what this council decided all those years ago. Who were they to pick and choose what would become the Christian religion? Because of this situation, I feel it is incredibly important to read not only the texts which were included in the Bible but also those that were not. Books which were rejected include some of those in the Dead See Scrolls and in the Nag Hammadi library. (links at end)

It may be that the men of this council had our best interests at heart, but as they were neither God himself, nor the Christ, nor had they any direct contact with the Christ, we cannot trust that they were correct or accurate in their decisions and as this occured so long ago, we cannot assume that they held anyone's interests except for their own.



From this we should understand that there are chapters in the Bible that probaly should not be there and there are things missing from the Bible that could be terribly important. And, we have no way of knowing which is which.


The best clue we have is the words of Jesus himself. Take his words, and in trying to understand them read the other books of the Bible, and those which were not included. You may come to find the next piece of the puzzle that leads us to understand where modern Christianity came from...


A large number of chapters of the New Testament consists of letters written by Paul to various churches. In these letters, he proceeds to specify how the scriptures are to be understood and how the church should worship and spread information out to it's followers.

To me, these do not sound like something that should be included, after all it is the writing of just one man expressing his views on the subject. The writings of a single person can be incorrect, which is why it is useful that we have multiple gospels telling of the same stories. This allows us to see what they agreed upon and what they disagreed upon. So, simply on the basis of Paul being a single person writing the letters they are questionable.

They become further questionable when you begin to read them and compare what was said by Paul to what was said by Jesus. It may be a simple question of semantics, but Paul tends to word things in a very different manner and creates an all-together different image of salvation as offered by Jesus.

To put the difference in the simplest, non contextual terms:

Jesus: Salvation is not for everyone, it does not come easy, it requires giving up everything dear to you in the name of following Christ and following his path.

Paul: Salvation is a free gift from God, all you have to do is accept and the blood of Jesus magically redeems you.

These two messages are drastically different. And, most ironically, Christianity today seems far more based on the word of Paul than on the word of Christ. Should we begin calling it Paulism in order to differentiate the two ideas in the minds of the masses? Probably... but it's not likely to happen.

Here we have two major examples, one of a single person driving the entire ideology of the church, and another of a small group of church elites picking and choosing what was to become the one book to influence a major religion.



What are we to believe?


My suggestion is reading all of the texts available to you - from every major religion and every culture which has existed. It would likely take an entire lifetime (the Hindu texts put the Bible to shame with their length) but you have to start somewhere. If your interest lies in the Bible, then a good place to start would be with the non-canonical texts which were rejected from the original Bible. Keep in mind we cannot know the motivations of those who made the selections, and each text whether canonical or otherwise should be read for itself, pondered, and considered as possible truth but not guaranteed truth. Resonate what you learn in your heart of hearts and do not allow yourself to make any rash decisions. Re-reading the texts later can help too, as your frame of mind will have changed and will allow you to see them in a different light.

Don't give up on your search, as the journey is often more important than the destination.

Links:
Nag Hammadi Library
The Gospel of Thomas
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Gospel of Judas

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Super-Super-Super String Theory

Many years ago I had first discovered a site about NDE's and was reading through them when I came across the experience of Lynnclaire Dennis. I was facinated by her journey and more so by the image she encountered which she called The Pattern. At the time I didn't have a specific interest in physics but I felt, as she did, that The Pattern described a fundamental structure of existance.

Fast forward to a few years later and I thought of it again, and began to form an idea of how the pattern fit into the puzzle when I happened upon the idea of String Theory. My immediate reaction was that the Pattern is the String. The visual image of the pattern makes sense to what the Strings are theorized to be (you can find images of the pattern here among other things).

The reason that this is coming up today relates to my last post about the scale of repeated images/movement in the universe, and because I stumbled upon this: Looking beyond the big bang ?

I've been thinking that time is cyclical, and that the big bang wasn't actually the start of anything but a point in a cycle. The universe continuously contracts and expands, time and space themselves continually contract and expand. I think that the pattern/string is not just at the heart of matter but is the structure of existance on a large scale as well.

Try to think in two dimensions: you see a line (which is two dimensional, length and height), and within that line are single points (which are one dimensional, height only, they must be added together to create length)***. Each of those single points is a place in time and the line itself is the movement of time. Those single points are a snapshot, and each snapshot has three dimensions and the whole of our universe within.

So we have our three dimensional universe, which moves through time as a series of snapshots. Think about a high speed camera, snapping multiple frames per second. Each of those frames represents a singluar moment in time but captures all three dimensions. Those frames stack upon one another to form the line, and the line itself loops.

We have the image of a static loop. It is a circle (which ironically is one of the most basic images relating to life and existance). In order for time to continue, the circle has to move in some way but it also stays in place... it oscillates.

Let's look to another mental image: a hula hoop. Imagine that inside the hula hoop is a ball bearing, and as the hula hoop swings about the hips, this ball bearing is caused to move in a smooth flow around and around the hoop. If the hoop stops, the bearing will stop as well. Now imagine that bearing is the three-dimensional snapshot of our universe, and as it moves through the hoop it is moving through time. Each time it circles around is a single oscillation of the pattern. As the pattern moves, the bearing moves, and without the movement of the pattern the bearing will stop.

Visualize the shape of the pattern as a streak of light in a void: oscillating as a gleaming point of light moves about it's shape, following the contours of the line. As the pattern expands and contracts, the point moves through age after age after age, growing and shrinking with the pattern. At it's smallest is the moment of the big bang, and at it's most expanded the universe is also at it's greatest point of expansion. This would appear very quick from such a far back viewpoint, but as you move in closer and closer, close enough that you're inside the universe and can see the stars and planets, the movemement that took seconds now takes billions upon billions upon billions of years. The further you go into the great scale of the universe, the slower time appears to move until you reach our solar system, our planet, our lives, and things move at the pace we've become accustomed to.


What will they find once this underground telescope is built and they try to peer beyond the big bang to see what, if anything, happened before it? I suspect that prior to the expansion there was an equal contraction of a prior universe... following the equal and opposite reaction law of physics into a scale so far beyond our everyday comprehension that it's more than mind boggling, it's astronomical.

Pun intended.





*** If you have the time and would like to better understand the concepts I'm talking about with lines and points on those lines, refer to this story: Flatland It is lengthy but very much worth the read, as it explores the concepts of the dimensions as I've not heard before.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking in Scale

To us, the earth is huge, the sun is massive, the universe is unfathomable. Atoms are minuscule, cells are tiny, insects are small. We have a sense of scale, a grasp on size, an understanding of how big everything is compared to us. We have some expectation that the size which something is will be the size of another similar thing.

But... our perspective is small. We are tiny compared to the Earth, the earth is small compared to the solar system, the solar system is minuscule compared to the galaxy. Without the technology we've built, how would we even know that there was a universe out there? From our small perspective, the stars are burning lights in the sky, nothing more.

I've mentioned before that time moves in cycles, but cycles are not exclusive to time. The shape and scale of things is cyclic as well, space itself is cyclic. It is as if everything is caught in a spiral fractal. We know that nature functions in fractals, from the way waves move to the shore to the way leaves grow on a tree, even down to how ants pattern their tunnels underground. Everything that seems random to us is in fact fractal based, meaning that there is a mathematical logic to it, even if it is one that we do not readily understand. It is the very order of the universe, the order of time, a logic and intelligence that governs everything.

Fractals are (from our perspective) infinite. You can eternally zoom in or out of a fractal and you will continuously find one image after another that resembles all of those that came before it and all of those that will follow.

If the nature of Earth is governed by fractals, then it is logical to assume that all of the universe is as well. That means that for every teeny tiny thing you can find here on earth, there is a massive scale version of it out there in the universe, somewhere. Take for example the atom - it has a nucleus and is orbited by electrons, just like our solar system has a sun that is orbited by planets. Our solar system is near other solar systems, and on a large scale is part of a galaxy. That galaxy then is like a cell, made up of molecules made up of atoms. It even looks like a cell just as our solar system looks like an atom. Begin to net those galaxies together, zooming out in perspective and they start to look like tissue - you know, muscle, bones, etc? What we know of the universe has been extrapolated into an image of it, and from the viewing distance it looks very much like brain tissue. The similarity is uncanny, even a bit startling.

Imagine that every atom upon the earth is in fact a tiny solar system. The different types of atoms relate to different stages or types of stars. Each has a different number of planets circling them. Think of just how many atoms there are in your body alone, then the entire Earth... then the entire solar system. The number is so high we don't really have a number for it. It may be above the google-plex, beyond our capacity for imagination. Imagine that the number of atoms within your thumb alone make up an entire universe.

Turn the lens and look the other direction... our entire universe is in a drop of dew on the grass of some other existence.

This is not only plausible but quite likely, given that nature follows fractals and as far as we know fractals are infinitely large and infinitely small, repeating the same shapes and archetypes all along the way. I think the smaller the particles that science discovers, they will continually find there is always something smaller than that particle. I think the larger our view of the universe gets, the more we'll see is out there, bigger and grander than our own universe, infinitely continuing on. Like a mobius strip, in every direction we travel there will never be an end, there will always be farther to go.


Einstein theorized that the closer you are to a mass of gravity, the slower you perceive time to move and the farther you are from that mass of gravity, the faster you'll perceive time to pass. Let's assume that this idea also applies to scale. The higher you go on the scale of size, the slower time is perceived and the lower you go on the scale of size, the faster time is perceived.

Therefore, the massive atom of our solar system appears to remain in roughly the same place and remain relatively ageless compared to ourselves. Yet the minuscule solar system atoms within our cells, which constantly reproduce and die off, burn away so quickly we can't even imagine any life occur ed in that time-space at all. Yet within those atoms could be planets with life on them that stretches on for great ages in their perspective, though it could be mere minutes or seconds in our own. A supernova of their sun could have just made your hand itch a little bit.


Years ago I downloaded a simple program called "Life". It was individual pixels on a screen that reproduced or died out according to a very simple formula. The cycle was quite beautiful to watch, and I had the impression that it was accurate to how our own civilization would appear from a distance.

When you consider things in this infinite fractal of time and scale, letting it thoroughly saturate your mind, you can understand that all of your life occurs in a fraction of a second and nothing that happens here on Earth is all that significant in and of itself. It is the whole, the fractal, that matters. The individuals all become a part of that whole, and every one of us is made up of a billion or so other tiny wholes, which are each made up of a billion other tiny individuals, and it eternally stretches on.

Our every movement, our every action, our very lives are just a blip on a screen, exploding into other fragments that then go on to do the same, eternally, cycling through the dance of eternity which never begins and never ends, like dust caught in a whirlwind forever spinning and twisting into new patterns.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Understanding Creation

The age-old war between science and religion continues to range on. The extremists on both sides are often the loudest speakers in the whole debate, and would have us believe that science and religion cannot possibly coexist. With arguments that one cannot accept evolution without being atheistic, or suggesting that science that disagrees with the bible is invalid, the rest of us are left to wonder where the middle ground lies and if, in fact, there is a middle ground at all.

This conflict isn't recent and stretches back at least as far as alchemy, astronomy and medicine - when science was young and the church was strong. The church threatened, denied and even put to death practitioners of the fledgling sciences, effectively silencing them as much as possible and preventing their disagreement with any accepted religious facts. Now we are on the flip side of the coin, where science is overtaking religion in it's acceptability, with arrows flung from all corners of modern society and culture in religion's direction. These days, to those "keeping up with the times" religion can be seen as little more than a joke.

Fortunately, most people already fall somewhere in the middle ground. Going to church but accepting science's findings as at least something to consider, or working in a scientific field while retaining (or gaining) a belief in God. Seeing science not as witchcraft but potential, and seeing religion not as fantasy or vice but as a desire to know God, or know if there is a God.

What can be seen in the media on either of these topics is disheartening. People from one side bashing the other, trying vehemently to shatter their beliefs, desperate in their need to be the one that is right. When you take a step back and look at the fray from a detached perspective, you see that there is a lot of fear driving both sides of the debate. This is where the need to be right comes from:

A genuine and clear faith in something does not foster the need to be right about it. One may wish to share what it is they have learned or believe, but they can also accept that others have their own views.

The need to be right, on the other hand, is an expression of the fear of being wrong, turned around into an aggressive action. Whether that action is relatively harmless, such as verbally pushing the people around you to accept your beliefs as their own, or rather harmful such as the "convert or kill" mentality, it is still an expression of fear. The innate subconscious process is to understand that the more people who believe what you believe, and the fewer people who speak out against it, the more likely it is right.

In essence, human beings are pack animals, just like dogs, cats and wolves. We do not trust our own individual judgement, we need to know that the majority of people around us agree. It is how pack animals know that doing something is likely going to be safe and beneficial. If one or more members of a pack avoids eating meat that smells spoiled, the young ones will likely do the same and pass that information down to their own offspring later in life. This is why trends happen, and where the "everyone's doing it" mentality comes from. We automatically accept that if most people are doing something then it is ok to do it. It doesn't matter if this "thing" is beneficial or harmful, or neither.

Interestingly enough, we've also conditioned ourselves to accept that what we see on television and other media represents the majority. In this way, things that were formerly taboo can easily become commonplace just as things that were formerly accepted can become taboo. Two examples - there was a time when getting a tattoo indicated that a person was in a gang, rebellious, a biker, or any other number of negative connotations. Parents would actually disinherit their children over such a thing, and these people were marked as outcasts from society, pretty much permanently. Along comes television and magazines, showing musicians and other public figures with tattoos, effectively making the mainstream opinion that tattoos are not only acceptable but also could make one more acceptable to the rest of the population by fitting in.

The second example is smoking - once accepted everywhere, indoors and out, through the pervasiveness of the media smoking has come to be considered one of the foulest things a person can do. It even seems like people with face tattoos are in a higher acceptance in society than people who smoke. (according to the media)

Now both of these things - tattoos and smoking - have their unyielding followers and they both have their risks. Both can be easily shifted between acceptable and not acceptable in the public view, because they both have that inherent "matter of opinion" quality to both their negative and positive connotations. Both also range in acceptability based on moderation. The person who smokes occasionally on the weekends is more easily accepted than the person who smokes 2 packs a day. The person with a cute tattoo here or there is more easily accepted than the person who barely has a blank inch of skin. Really, it is all a matter of perception.

And TV - it owns perception. Lock, stock and barrel.

But, this post isn't intended to out the ills of television and other methods of advertising. It's about that middle ground between science and religion.


What it really comes down to is that each individual is likely driven by some segment of the rest of humanity on their decisions about religion vs science. Some of it is probably also experience, whether from being directly involved with one of the two or from the impact persons from either side have had in their lives.

Our beliefs (or lack thereof) are more-often-than-not a product of what we are exposed to, instead of who we are deep down.


In the end, it really does not matter who was right. The discussions, the discovery, the fascination, the impact on who we are - this is what matters about religion, science, and anything else on this lovely planet. It won't matter who was right or wrong, because ultimately knowing something beforehand doesn't change how it happens. It just means you knew it was coming.

It is more important to listen to your own inner voice than it is to trust any human being you see, hear or meet. They aren't you. They don't share your exact history or experiences, they can't see through your eyes or walk in your shoes. What they think is not and should never be more important than what you think. Or, more importantly, how you feel.

So if you want to find the answers to the great debate, to find what will make sense to you, my suggestion is this:

Turn off and clear out all distractions. Find a quiet place, preferably surrounded by nature to remove all human influence, and let yourself be. Just sit, contemplate or meditate, watch the grass grow or birds flutter through the trees. Forget the arguments, the duties, the responsibilities and the opinions of others. Listen to your inner voice, for it is wiser than the sum total of humanity and what we think are the answers to life.






PS: originally I was going to go into my thoughts on religion vs science, and veered off to what actually appears here when I realized it doesn't matter what I think, and what I think is probably obvious. If you want to know, I think we are more and more being able to understand creation and the harmony with which God created everything through science and our ability to learn and discover more and more about the world around us. I've never been an extremist, I walk the middle path, the edge between the two razors. To me, everything is a part of a great whole, one that we cannot see because we're far to close to the action. At about a thousand steps back, maybe we could begin to see something bigger than ourselves.