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    A brief history of creation

     

    : What is the loop of Creation? How is there something from nothing? In spite of the fact that it is impossible to prove that anything exists beyond one’s perception since any such proof would involve one’s perception (I observed it, I heard it, I thought about it, I calculated it, and etc.), science deals with a so-called objective reality “out there,” beyond one’s perception professing to describe Nature objectively (as if there was a Nature or reality external to one’s perception). The shocking impact of Matrix was precisely the valid possibility that what we believed to be reality was but our perception; however, this was presented through showing a real reality wherein the perceived reality was a computer simulation. Many who toy with the idea that perhaps, indeed, we are computer simulations, deviate towards questions, such as, who could create such software and what kind of hardware would be needed for such a feat. Although such questions assume that reality is our perception, they also axiomatically presuppose the existence of an objective deterministic world “out there” that nevertheless must be responsible for how we perceive our reality. This is a major mistake emphasizing technology and algorithms instead of trying to discover the nature of reality and the structure of creation. As will be shown in the following, the required paradigm shift from “perception is our reality fixed within an objective world,” to “perception is reality without the need of an objective world ‘out there,’” is provided by a dynamic logical structure. The Holophanic loop logic is responsible for a consistent and complete worldview that not only describes, but also creates whatever can be perceived or experienced.

    Stating that it is impossible to prove the existence of anything beyond one’s perception is not saying there is nothing beyond perception, only that if there is anything, then whatever that is, is indefinite. It could be argued that the existence of physical laws, the universal perception that the apple falls to the ground is proof of an objective reality. However, this universal agreement is also our perception.

    It could be argued that if we cannot decide what to perceive, and everybody perceives the same physical reality, then there must be some lawfulness that dictates how we perceive and therefore, this lawfulness could be external to our perception. However, this lawfulness, as we shall see later on, is the precise lawfulness that creates perception, the process of definition, which is not external to perception (this process creates the perceived and the perceiver, which then gives meaning to this process – a loop – but about that, later). It could be argued, that hitting our knee on the table – whether we believe in the table or not – will hurt. The table is external to our body, but not to our perception.

    What then is perception? It is relating, a process of definition, defining and thereby rendering meaningful what has been perceived. What then is this process of definition? It is creating borders within which one’s perception gains meaning. The word “definition” comes from the Latin de finire, meaning, making finite or limited.

    In Hebrew, definition is HAGDARA (הגדרה), meaning, to border. Any definition necessarily implies what the definition is not, or stated differently, to have meaning, whatever is defined explicitly includes the meaning by implicitly excluding everything else. Consequently, to define means to place the defined object within borders that by default create something beyond the borders of the definition. What is this something beyond the defined? The implicitly excluded everything else, or in other words, the indefinite.

    The paramount importance of incorporating the indefinite within a consistent logical structure cannot be overemphasized. The indefinite itself is a paradox, and incorporating it within the Holophanic logical structure engenders the loop of Creation where the dynamic structure of paradoxes is both the creative force of existence, and also the proof of the necessity of existence. To better grasp the impetus of Creation, let’s look at the indefinite and paradoxes.

    What does “indefinite” mean? Anything as long as it is not specified (not defined); anything that appears both within and beyond the borders of the definition and thereby rendering the border superfluous, which means, no border, no definition. If nevertheless we would attempt to define the notion “indefinite,” then that’s a paradox because if we succeed, then it is defined, which contradicts its meaning – its indefiniteness – and the word “indefinite” means that it cannot be defined. This is an example of a paradox, that in essence means, if it is what it is, then it is not what it is, yet if it is not what it is, then it is what it is. A paradox is a creature that consists of a structure (how it is defined, the dynamic process on its way to stabilization) that contradicts its significance (what it is, the stabilized entity). What characterizes a paradox is the motion between its structure and significance, where the structure implies that its significance contradicts its structure, and vice versa.

    Another example of a paradox would be “wholeness.” Wholeness (totality, infinite, boundless) can only be wholeness if we can find a way to define it so that it includes everything and there is nothing beyond it. However, if we define wholeness, then to have meaning, it must be bordered within the walls of the definition, which implies that there is something beyond this border, in which case it is not wholeness. Or in more formal language, wholeness is only wholeness if it is not wholeness, which is an inconsistency.

    If we are satisfied with that, then we have completed the definition of wholeness. However, if we try to include the beyond created by our earlier definition within the borders of our next attempt at defining wholeness, then we gain a new definition of wholeness, which by the sheer structure of the process of defining creates a new beyond. In this case, the process of defining wholeness will be consistent but incomplete, and wholeness will remain indefinite. Contemplating the paradox of Creation, the ancient Egyptian myth of Creation springs to mind, the myth of the self-creating god, Amun (or Amon).

    Amun masturbated and swallowed his semen, after which he spit it out in the form of a ball, thereby impregnating his mother, the sky. And only then, was he born. Thus Amun was his own father. Those pious who discovered the illustrated version of this myth in Karnak covered up the erect phallus of Amun, and with it, this story of Creation was laid into obscurity.

    The Holophanic model of Creation could regard this Egyptian myth as Amun retromorphously creating himself. I have coined the word retromorphous to mean, defining in retrospect, turning non-being into the potential of whatever the observation is made from, or in other words, creating the past from the present, creating the source from its outcome, which is the basis of complexity in the context of the loop logic. That is, only after Amun was born can he give meaning to his mother, the potential from which he emanated and to the process that created him (as represented by masturbation and incest) whereby he was born.

    Of course, neither the sky nor the masturbating Amun have meaning until Creation takes place de facto and Amun emerges. I find this an enticing illustration of the basic paradox of existence. So how can there be something from nothing? What is “nothing?” Nothing is what didn’t turn into the potential of something.

    If there was something from nothing, then that nothing would have turned into the potential of something, because when we ask, how is there something from nothing, we ask this question from something, when something already exists. If we take a deeper look at “nothing,” we’ll discover that “nothing” is a paradox. Any definition is something, so if we defined “nothing,” then it would become something, which contradicts its essence of being “nothing.” Another way of looking at “nothing” would be by means of it being something that is meaningless.

    That is, “nothing” could be something that does not relate and that no thing or no one relates to. That is, if there was something totally alone in the universe, then that would be nothing, but it would be meaningless. If such existed, its existence would be external to our perception, and as such, this “nothing” would be indefinite. We said that the indefinite could be anything, as long as it is not specified (not defined). However, if we nevertheless tried to define “nothing” (the indefinite), what would we get then? Since “nothing” is non-definable, it is transparent as the object of our inquiry.

    So when we attempt to define it, all we have is what we put into it, which is the process of definition. “Nothing” stayed nothing, we didn’t define it, only made the process of definition explicit. “Nothing” gains meaning when we fail to define it; but having tried, we are left with a bonus, a something, which is our process of defining “nothing.” Creation of something from nothing is not a function of defining something, but a function of attempting to define “nothing.

    ” And then, if that process of definition – which already is an existence – looks back at its origins, if this process of defining investigates into its own genesis, then what does it see? It sees itself. It sees the process of definition – self-reference. If there is nothing external to perception, then this process of definition is the overall wholeness, the creator of meaning when it can relate to itself.

    However, to have meaning, the process of definition has to be defined; this definition would be a self-referential quasi-infinite and continuous process of establishing borders that create the indefinite beyond that establishes borders creating the indefinite beyond that establishes borders… which means, wholeness would continuously and forever fail to define itself while succeeding to define something – anything but itself. Of course, both the totally defined and the totally indefinite are idealized notions that would be inconsistent with the Holophanic loop logic, nor can they be found in nature.

    The totally indefinite would be the total meaningless nothing, the kind of non-being that cannot be fathomed because if we would think about it, it would already be something. On the other hand, there can be no total definition either. I have used the term uncertainty of sameness to describe the logical impossibility of total definition.

    A defined entity can be said to have reached sameness — it is the same as itself — which means that it is, it exists as something definite, no matter which parameters defined it. However, no sooner does our object achieve sameness than the uncertainty of sameness raises its ugly head. Could it have been defined differently? Yes, of course. Could it have additional parameters?

    Yes, of course. Could it have been defined more precisely? Yes, of course. This uncertainty of sameness is the indefinite included in the definition, which is the result of including the tools of definition in the definition. Since ‘a’ can only be defined as ‘a’ with meaning if it implies ‘not-a’ (the indefinite beyond the borders of the definition), and since ‘a’ can only have meaning as ‘a’ because it is different from everything else (the everything else is the indefinite beyond the borders, which actually gives meaning to ‘a’), the meaning of ‘a’ depends on ‘not-a.’ When the meaning of something depends on the indefinite, on what our defined object is not, then this indefinite is necessarily included in the process of definition. This logical implication that perception of meaning is only possible if and only if the indefinite is included within the perception is the reason why the 19th century dream of a consistent and complete axiomatic system with only well defined (explicit) empty signs had to fail (see more about that in my article, The Loop Logic). In spite of the fact that logic is the fundament of algorithms and computer science, it had neither the aspiration nor the ability to be connected to the real world precisely because its propositions were so anemic regarding meaning.

    In the effort to exclude any hint of the indefinite, logical inference was confined to a binary type of world of true and false and lacking any correlation with life and experiencing. However, including the indefinite in the process of definition not only makes the loop logic the fundament of existence, but determines the necessity of existence. With the birth of Holophany, Heidegger’s question, “Why is there anything at all, rather than nothing?” becomes irrelevant.

    When existence is relations, and relating is the act of perceiving, and perceiving is the process of definition, then existence is the overall lawfulness, the isomorphous lawfulness of the process of definition – the loop of Creation. What is being perceived, what is being stabilized, which significance is brought to the foreground from the amorphous background of the indefinite, depends on the non-linear rules of complex interactions. Thus the loop logic emphasizes the creation of essents rather than their interactions. Is there a lawfulness responsible for any and every existence?

    An electron and a dog are very different creatures; so what invisible lawfulness is responsible for the existence of both? What kind of lawfulness would fulfill such demands? The answer is, isomorphism — the same logical inner structure in entirely different representations. Whether an electron, a dog or the weather, each could be a different realization of the same inner logical structure. Creation of anything is the creation of meaning, which is an act of definition.

    The act of definition attempting to define itself is consciousness. So consciousness, or the soul if you wish, is not some invisible copy of our body carrying our identity, but the lawfulness of Creation expressed as our individual qualitative essence. Of course, it has been endlessly stated that we are God, that we are parts of God, and similar phrases. This is true, but true in the sense that God is the lawfulness that unfolds Creation, and this lawfulness is inherent in all creation including the creatures therein. It could be argued, that a soul, a person is more than mere definitions and intellect.

    If this logic is the logic of anything and everything, then it should be able to delineate the logical structure of experience as well. Indeed. Anything that has meaning has to be defined, which places it somewhere on the scale between the continuous and the discrete, between the indefinite and the definite. The indefinite, continuous, infinite tends in the direction of the meaningless, whereas the meaningful is at best imprecise.

    Experience is the process of attempting to define the indefinite. When we try to capture an experience in a description, we are actually defining our attempt at defining the indefinite. The experience is continuous whereas its description, the definition is discrete.

    Just as we can never define wholeness, we can never define experience. Any description, any definition, is by nature discrete, whereas the net experience is continuous. So when we have an experience or perception and we become aware of having that experience, then we give it meaning by defining what it is. By doing this we create a discrete replica of the experience, yet the experience remains continuous and non-definable, non-discretizable. Experience is connected to learning.

    The person encounters something new. How do we know that something is new? Because it is inconsistent with our system. So when we interact with it, we have to integrate it, to assimilate it into our system. If we met something that was not new to the system, then our system would recognize it as part of itself. When that recognition does not occur, the system is interacting with something new. That is the impact. The system adjusts to include the new – that is the change.

    One’s selfhood is the path of changes following one’s experiences. Our knowledge of the experience – whatever it might be that we experience – makes it exist for us. We could say, one only experiences when one is aware of experiencing. How do we know that we are aware of experiencing something? By experiencing it, we experience the awareness of experiencing. In this sense, experience and awareness of the experience, experiencing the awareness of the experience, being aware of experiencing the awareness of the experience, etc. is an infinitely continuous chain, which is what defines what experience is (not the interpretation of a specific experience, but experience in its general sense).

    And that’s the definition of experience: an infinite loop of the process of becoming aware. When “nothing” is the limit of both the totally indefinite and the totally defined, then that’s like a circle of going from something to nothing to something to nothing, etc. The ‘going’ here means perception. “Nothing” is only a notion that has meaning if it has been perceived, in fact, a paradox. If it really is “nothing,” then it cannot be defined, and hence, it has no meaning. Yet if I relate to it, then it is something. So whenever I relate to “nothing,” whenever I say, Creation of something from nothing, that “nothing” has meaning for me, and hence, it is significance — it is something just like any other something. That is, the structure of “nothing” is the same structure as that of something. Essentially, something from nothing is formation, not Creation, since nothing is also something. Then what is Creation? Creation is rather the creation of nothing from something, because Creation is the process of definition, and when we define, we create the indefinite beyond the definition, which at its limit is nothing, and only then can we have something from nothing…

    Oh yes, the loop. A true loop is only such if it contains its own source. If nothing can be proven to exist external to perception, then logic must be a loop, and existence is a logical necessity inferred by the loop. Including the indefinite in the process of definition has far reaching consequences. It means that the tools of the definition are necessarily included in the definition.

    It means that meaning can only occur when there is both definition and also experience. It means that consciousness (whether it succeeds to define or not) must be part of science or any so-called objective endeavor. It means that any and all perception includes experience. The interaction with the indefinite, the experience, is what gives meaning to the defined. Perception, meaningful definition, can only occur in a highly flexible complex system that can learn and change.

    That’s the difference between us and an electron, which only has fixed relations, and consequently, limited interactions. An electron always succeeds in defining, or it would be more correct to say, it can only interact with what it succeeds in defining. If it encounters the indefinite, it assumes a state of superposition. Where is God in the loop of Creation?

    If we wanted to define God, the totality, we could not define God, because by the act of definition we would create the beyond, what is beyond God, which contradicts God’s totality. Therefore, no definition of God would do justice to God, and every such definition would truncate God’s wholeness. If God is indefinable, then God is indefinite.

    If God is indefinite, then I create God by the implication of the act of definition – any definition, because every definition creates the beyond, the indefinite beyond the borders of the definition. In that sense, this is consistent with the statement that I create God by my perception (definition). This does not say that I perceive God, but that my perception implies the existence of the indefinite (God). This means that if I perceive a dog, this perception implies the existence of God. If I perceive that I perceive, then that implies the existence of God. If I perceive dust, a table, an idea, whatever, then that implies the existence of God. If I experience, then that implies the existence of God. That’s because any existence implies the existence of God. And that’s because any existence is such if it relates or is related to, if it has meaning, if even partially it has been defined, which means, its mere definition implies the indefinite beyond the borders of the definition, it implies God, the indefinable. So one cannot directly perceive God (perhaps that is why it was stated in the Bible that no one could see God’s face and live = exist – “no man shall see me and live…

    ” – Exodus 33: 20), but only know about God by implication, which means, the implication of the indefinite – God – is what attributes meaning to any existence. However, “God” does not equal “indefinite,” but the process that implies the existence of the indefinite is what could be said to be God, since that’s the process of Creation. This is the process of Creation that both creates something, existence, and also nothing, the indefinite. This is why this logic is a loop.

    © Clara Szalai

         
    Althusser competing interpellations and the third text

     

    With the exception of Nietzsche, no other madman has contributed so much to human sanity as has Louis Althusser. He is mentioned twice in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as someone's teacher. There could be no greater lapse: for two important decades (the 60s and the 70s), Althusser was at the eye of all the important cultural storms. He fathered quite a few of them. This newly-found obscurity forces me to summarize his work before suggesting a few (minor) modifications to it. (1) Society consists of practices: economic, political and ideological. Althusser defines a practice as: "Any process of transformation of a determinate product, affected by a determinate human labour, using determinate means (of production)" The economic practice (the historically specific mode of production) transforms raw materials to finished products using human labour and other means of production, all organized within defined webs of inter-relations. The political practice does the same with social relations as the raw materials. Finally, ideology is the transformation of the way that a subject relates to his real life conditions of existence. This is a rejection of the mechanistic worldview (replete with bases and superstructures). It is a rejection of the Marxist theorization of ideology. It is a rejection of the Hegelian fascist "social totality". It is a dynamic, revealing, modern day model. In it, the very existence and reproduction of the social base (not merely its expression) is dependent upon the social superstructure. The superstructure is "relatively autonomous" and ideology has a central part in it - see entry about Marx and Engels and entry concerning Hegel. The economic structure is determinant but another structure could be dominant, depending on the historical conjuncture. Determination (now called over-determination - see Note) specifies the form of economic production upon which the dominant practice depends. Put otherwise: the economic is determinant not because the practices of the social formation (political and ideological) are the social formation's expressive epiphenomena - but because it determines WHICH of them is dominant. (2) People relate to the conditions of existence through the practice of ideology. Contradictions are smoothed over and (real) problems are offered false (though seemingly true) solutions. Thus, ideology has a realistic dimension - and a dimension of representations (myths, concepts, ideas, images). There is (harsh, conflicting) reality - and the way that we represent it both to ourselves and to others. (3) To achieve the above, ideology must not be seen to err or, worse, remain speechless. It, therefore, confronts and poses (to itself) only answerable questions. This way, it remains confined to a fabulous, legendary, contradiction-free domain. It ignores other questions altogether. (4) Althusser introduced the concept of "The Problematic": "The objective internal reference ... the system of questions commanding the answers given" It determines which problems, questions and answers are part of the game - and which should be blacklisted and never as much as mentioned. It is a structure of theory (ideology), a framework and the repertoire of discourses which - ultimately - yield a text or a practice. All the rest is excluded. It, therefore, becomes clear that what is omitted is of no less importance than what is included in a text. The problematic of a text relates to its historical context ("moment") by incorporating both: inclusions as well as omissions, presences as much as absences. The problematic of the text fosters the generation of answers to posed questions - and of defective answers to excluded questions. (5) The task of "scientific" (e. g., Marxist) discourse, of Althusserian critical practice is to deconstruct the problematic, to read through ideology and evidence the real conditions of existence. This is a "symptomatic reading" of TWO TEXTS: "It divulges the undivulged event in the text that it reads and, in the same movement, relates to it a different text, present, as a necessary absence, in the first ... (Marx's reading of Adam Smith) presupposes the existence of two texts and the measurement of the first against the second. But what distinguishes this new reading from the old, is the fact that in the new one, the second text is articulated with the lapses in the first text ... (Marx measures) the problematic contained in the paradox of an answer which does not correspond to any questions posed." Althusser is contrasting the manifest text with a latent text which is the result of the lapses, distortions, silences and absences in the manifest text. The latent text is the "diary of the struggle" of the unposed question to be posed and answered. (6) Ideology is a practice with lived and material dimensions. It has costumes, rituals, behaviour patterns, ways of thinking. The State employs Ideological Apparatuses (ISAs) to reproduce ideology through practices and productions: (organized) religion, the education system, the family, (organized) politics, the media, the industries of culture. "All ideology has the function (which defines it) of 'constructing' concrete individuals as subjects" Subjects to what? The answer: to the material practices of the ideology. This (the creation of subjects) is done by the acts of "hailing" or "interpellation". These are acts of attracting attention (hailing) , forcing the individuals to generate meaning (interpretation) and making them participate in the practice. These theoretical tools were widely used to analyze the Advertising and the film industries. The ideology of consumption (which is, undeniably, the most material of all practices) uses advertising to transform individuals to subjects (=to consumers). It uses advertising to interpellate them. The advertisements attract attention, force people to introduce meaning to them and, as a result, to consume. The most famous example is the use of "People like you (buy this or do that)" in ads. The reader / viewer is interpellated both as an individual ("you") and as a member of a group ("people like..."). He occupies the empty (imaginary) space of the "you" in the ad. This is ideological "misrecognition". First, many others misrecognize themselves as that "you" (an impossibility in the real world). Secondly, the misrecognized "you" exists only in the ad because it was created by it, it has no real world correlate. The reader or viewer of the ad is transformed into the subject of (and subject to) the material practice of the ideology (consumption, in this case). Althusser was a Marxist. The dominant mode of production in his days (and even more so today) was capitalism. His implied criticism of the material dimensions of ideological practices should be taken with more than a grain of salt. Interpellated by the ideology of Marxism himself, he generalized on his personal experience and described ideologies as infallible, omnipotent, ever successful. Ideologies, to him, were impeccably functioning machines which can always be relied upon to reproduce subjects with all the habits and thought patterns required by the dominant mode of production. And this is where Althusser fails, trapped by dogmatism and more than a touch of paranoia. He neglects to treat two all-important questions (his problematic may have not allowed it): (a) What do ideologies look for? Why do they engage in their practice? What is the ultimate goal? (b) What happens in a pluralistic environment rich in competing ideologies? Althusser stipulates the existence of two texts, manifest and hidden. The latter co-exists with the former, very much as a black figure defines its white background. The background is also a figure and it is only arbitrarily - the result of historical conditioning - that we bestow a preferred status upon the one. The latent text can be extracted from the manifest one by listening to the absences, the lapses and the silences in the manifest text. But: what dictates the laws of extraction? how do we know that the latent text thus exposed is THE right one? Surely, there must exist a procedure of comparison, authentication and verification of the latent text? A comparison of the resulting latent text to the manifest text from which it was extracted would be futile because it would be recursive. This is not even a process of iteration. It is teutological. There must exist a THIRD, "master-text", a privileged text, historically invariant, reliable, unequivocal (indifferent to interpretation-frameworks), universally accessible, atemporal and non-spatial. This third text is COMPLETE in the sense that it includes both the manifest and the latent. Actually, it should include all the possible texts (a LIBRARY function). The historical moment will determine which of them will be manifest and which latent, according to the needs of the mode of production and the various practices. Not all these texts will be conscious and accessible to the individual but such a text would embody and dictate the rules of comparison between the manifest text and ITSELF (the Third Text) , being the COMPLETE text. Only through a comparison between a partial text and a complete text can the deficiencies of the partial text be exposed. A comparison between partial texts will yield no certain results and a comparison between the text and itself (as Althusser suggests) is absolutely meaningless. This Third Text is the human psyche. We constantly compare texts that we read to this Third Text, a copy of which we all carry with us. We are unaware of most of the texts incorporated in this master text of ours. When faced with a manifest text which is new to us, we first "download" the "rules of comparison (engagement)". We sift through the manifest text. We compare it to our COMPLETE master text and see which parts are missing. These constitute the latent text. The manifest text serves as a trigger which brings to our consciousness appropriate and relevant portions of the Third Text. It also generates the latent text in us. If this sounds familiar it is because this pattern of confronting (the manifest text), comparing (with our master text) and storing the results (the latent text and the manifest text are brought to consciousness) - is used by mother nature itself. The DNA is such a "Master Text, Third Text". It includes all the genetic-biological texts some manifest, some latent. Only stimuli in its environment (=a manifest text) can provoke it to generate its own (hitherto latent) "text". The same would apply to computer applications. The Third Text, therefore, has an invariant nature (it includes all possible texts) - and, yet, is changeable by interacting with manifest texts. This contradiction is only apparent. The Third Text does not change - only different parts of it are brought to our awareness as a result of the interaction with the manifest text. We can also safely say that one does not need to be an Althusserian critic or engage in "scientific" discourse to deconstruct the problematic. Every reader of text immediately and always deconstructs it. The very act of reading involves comparison with the Third Text which inevitably leads to the generation of a latent text. And this precisely is why some interpellations fail. The subject deconstructs every message even if he is not trained in critical practice. He is interpellated or fails to be interpellated depending on what latent message was generated through the comparison with the Third Text. And because the Third Text includes ALL possible texts, the subject is given to numerous competing interpellations offered by many ideologies, mostly at odds with each other. The subject is in an environment of COMPETING INTERPELLATIONS (especially in this day and age of information glut). The failure of one interpellation - normally means the success of another (whose interpellation is based on the latent text generated in the comparison process or on a manifest text of its own, or on a latent text generated by another text). There are competing ideologies even in the most severe of authoritarian regimes. Sometimes, IASs within the same social formation offer competing ideologies: the political Party, the Church, the Family, the Army, the Media, the Civilian Regime, the Bureaucracy. To assume that interpellations are offered to the potential subjects successively (and not in parallel) defies experience (though it does simplify the thought-system). Clarifying the HOW, though, does not shed light on the WHY. Advertising leads to the interpellation of the subject to effect the material practice of consumption. Put more simply: there is money involved. Other ideologies - propagated through organized religions, for instance - lead to prayer. Could this be the material practice that they are looking for? No way. Money, prayer, the very ability to interpellate - they are all representations of power over other human beings. The business concern, the church, the political party, the family, the media, the culture industries - are all looking for the same thing: influence, power, might. Absurdly, interpellation is used to secure one paramount thing: the ability to interpellate. Behind every material practice stands a psychological practice (very much as the Third Text - the psyche - stands behind every text, latent or manifest). The media could be different: money, spiritual prowess, physical brutality, subtle messages. But everyone (even individuals in their private life) is looking to hail and interpellate others and thus manipulate them to succumb to their material practices. A short sighted view would say that the businessman interpellates in order to make money. But the important question is: what ever for? What drives ideologies to establish material practices and to interpellate people to participate in them and become subjects? The will to power. the wish to be able to interpellate. It is this cyclical nature of Althusser's teachings (ideologies interpellate in order to be able to interpellate) and his dogmatic approach (ideologies never fail) which doomed his otherwise brilliant observations to oblivion. Note In Althusser's writings the Marxist determination remains as Over-determination. This is a structured articulation of a number of contradictions and determinations (between the practices). This is very reminiscent of Freud's Dream Theory and of the concept of Superposition in Quantum Mechanics.

         
    Always look on the bright side of life

     

    I was always somebody who felt quite sorry for myself, what I had not got compared to my friends, how much of a struggle my life seemed to be compared to others. I was caught up in a web of negativity and needed someone or something to help me to escape. During an afternoon at work one day, aged around twenty one, a colleague I was working with started to talk to me. What he said was quite upsetting and disturbing, however would have a profound effect on my future. He said to me: "Your quite a depressive person, aren't you?" "Am I?" I said in a shocked voice as I believed I was no different to anybody else. He continued: "Yes you are. You very rarely smile, you are negative about most issues and you always seem to be carrying the world on your shoulders". This man was aged around fifty three and continued: "I used to be like you and then I was given some advice, of which I am now going to relay to you. When you feel down, depressed or sorry for yourself, read the newspapers or watch the news on the television. You may then realise that you are in fact one of the lucky ones." I listened and thought about what he had said. I had never been a big reader or watcher of the news, but decided to start. The advice was totally correct, the news from around the world and even my own country was quite shocking. I realised that the worries I had were actually quite trivial and that I needed to cherish everyday and start to look on the bright side of life. Stephen Hill

         
    Comment on the importance of human life

     

    The preservation of human life is the ultimate value, a pillar of ethics and the foundation of all morality. This held true in most cultures and societies throughout history. On first impression, the last sentence sounds patently wrong. We all know about human collectives that regarded human lives as dispensable, that murdered and tortured, that cleansed and annihilated whole populations in recurrent genocides. Surely, these defy the aforementioned statement? Liberal philosophies claim that human life was treated as a prime value throughout the ages. Authoritarian regimes do not contest the over-riding importance of this value. Life is sacred, valuable, to be cherished and preserved. But, in totalitarian societies, it can be deferred, subsumed, subjected to higher goals, quantized, and, therefore, applied with differential rigor in the following circumstances: 1.. Quantitative - when a lesser evil prevents a greater one. Sacrificing the lives of the few to save the lives of the many is a principle enshrined and embedded in activities such as war and medicinal care. All cultures, no matter how steeped (or rooted) in liberal lore accept it. They all send soldiers to die to save the more numerous civilian population. Medical doctors sacrifice lives daily, to save others. It is boils down to a quantitative assessment ("the numerical ratio between those saved and those sacrificed"), and to questions of quality ("are there privileged lives whose saving or preservation is worth the sacrifice of others' lives?") and of evaluation (no one can safely predict the results of such moral dilemmas - will lives be saved as the result of the sacrifice?). 2.. Temporal - when sacrificing life (voluntarily or not) in the present secures a better life for others in the future. These future lives need not be more numerous than the lives sacrificed. A life in the future immediately acquires the connotation of youth in need of protection. It is the old sacrificed for the sake of the new, a trade off between those who already had their share of life - and those who hadn't. It is the bloody equivalent of a savings plan: one defers present consumption to the future. The mirror image of this temporal argument belongs to the third group (see next), the qualitative one. It prefers to sacrifice a life in the present so that another life, also in the present, will continue to exist in the future. Abortion is an instance of this approach: the life of the child is sacrificed to secure the future well-being of the mother. In Judaism, it is forbidden to kill a female bird. Better to kill its off-spring. The mother has the potential to compensate for this loss of life by bringing giving birth to other chicks. 3.. Qualitative - This is an especially vicious variant because it purports to endow subjective notions and views with "scientific" objectivity. People are judged to belong to different qualitative groups (classified by race, skin color, birth, gender, age, wealth, or other arbitrary parameters). The result of this immoral taxonomy is that the lives of the "lesser" brands of humans are considered less "weighty" and worthy than the lives of the upper grades of humanity. The former are therefore sacrificed to benefit the latter. The Jews in Nazi occupied Europe, the black slaves in America, the aborigines in Australia are three examples of such pernicious thinking. 4.. Utilitarian - When the sacrifice of one life brings another person material or other benefits. This is the thinking (and action) which characterizes psychopaths and sociopathic criminals, for instance. For them, life is a tradable commodity and it can be exchanged against inanimate goods and services. Money and drugs are bartered for life.

         
    Enlightenment is not just one state

     

    Many people has the notion that enlightenment is one state. Many also believe that when it is attained, a person is forever in that state. The following is not a definitive article on this subject. It is just an expression of my own thoughts. My opinion is that enlightenment is not just one state but is a progressive and gradual establishing of states of consciousness. I, myself have not reach the end of the road. But from years on a spiritual quest, I can safely say that enlightenment happens in a series or stages of self-realisations and self-discoveries. Usually there is a difference between an initial awakening and a later stabilisation of that stage that happens through practice or experiences. The initial awakenings are new discoveries about the dynamics of consciousness, while the stabilisation is the assimilation of what is being discovered into one's life experience. Sometimes, a new discovery can completely over-rule or modify upon an older one. Almost all stages of enlightenment can be said to be associated with Presence. However, the enlightening Presence comes in various degrees of intensity and clarity. The degree of intensity is directly dependent on the level and depth of one's clarity as well as one's realisations/discoveries. Also, as one progresses along, the relationship or connections of oneself to the universe and existence at large also becomes clearer. Below very briefly illustrates the progressive and stage-based nature of enlightenment: When one first begin meditating, one may first experience the all-pervading Presence. This Presence, is most often experienced when thoughts are momentarily suspended. This Presence which exists in the Eternal Present Moment is our true self. However such an experience can only be classified as an awakening to the true self.. which is no-self. This is because, after the meditation, the Presence seems to have disappeared. One cannot understand and find the connection of presence to our everyday life. Therefore one will have difficulty re-acquiring the Presence. And it takes many stages and series of realisation to understand the relationship of Presence to our phenomenal world. It can be said that the prolonged sustaining of Presence is dependent on the stages and depth of realisation. Also, during the earlier stages we may mistaken another state to be the pure presence. For example, we may mistaken 'I AM' for pure presence. This is because the thinking mind has created a reflective image of Pure Presence. This reflection of the absolute is 'I AM'. Usually, in order to pass through the 'I AM' stage, the person must move unto even deeper understandings. These understandings may include realising that one's personality is not the doer of action. This stage may persist for a while before the person realises the illusion of subject-object division. This stage involves recognising the hypnotic impression of there being an observer and the being observed. Here is where one begins to see through the illusionary nature of our phenomenal world. I cannot comment on the stages before me as they are beyond me. Nevertheless, one can still see from the above description that enlightenment is not so straight-forward after all. For your necessary discernment. Thank you for reading.

         
    Fact and truth

     

    Thought experiments (Gedankenexperimenten) are "facts" in the sense that they have a "real life" correlate in the form of electrochemical activity in the brain. But it is quite obvious that they do not relate to facts "out there". They are not true statements. But do they lack truth because they do not relate to facts? How are Truth and Fact interrelated? One answer is that Truth pertains to the possibility that an event will occur. If true – it must occur and if false – it cannot occur. This is a binary world of extreme existential conditions. Must all possible events occur? Of course not. If they do not occur would they still be true? Must a statement have a real life correlate to be true? Instinctively, the answer is yes. We cannot conceive of a thought divorced from brainwaves. A statement which remains a mere potential seems to exist only in the nether land between truth and falsity. It becomes true only by materializing, by occurring, by matching up with real life. If we could prove that it will never do so, we would have felt justified in classifying it as false. This is the outgrowth of millennia of concrete, Aristotelian logic. Logical statements talk about the world and, therefore, if a statement cannot be shown to relate directly to the world, it is not true. This approach, however, is the outcome of some underlying assumptions: First, that the world is finite and also close to its end. To say that something that did not happen cannot be true is to say that it will never happen (i. e., to say that time and space – the world – are finite and are about to end momentarily). Second, truth and falsity are assumed to be mutually exclusive. Quantum and fuzzy logics have long laid this one to rest. There are real world situations that are both true and not-true. A particle can "be" in two places at the same time. This fuzzy logic is incompatible with our daily experiences but if there is anything that we have learnt from physics in the last seven decades it is that the world is incompatible with our daily experiences. The third assumption is that the psychic realm is but a subset of the material one. We are membranes with a very particular hole-size. We filter through only well defined types of experiences, are equipped with limited (and evolutionarily biased) senses, programmed in a way which tends to sustain us until we die. We are not neutral, objective observers. Actually, the very concept of observer is disputable – as modern physics, on the one hand and Eastern philosophy, on the other hand, have shown. Imagine that a mad scientist has succeeded to infuse all the water in the world with a strong hallucinogen. At a given moment, all the people in the world see a huge flying saucer. What can we say about this saucer? Is it true? Is it "real"? There is little doubt that the saucer does not exist. But who is to say so? If this statement is left unsaid – does it mean that it cannot exist and, therefore, is untrue? In this case (of the illusionary flying saucer), the statement that remains unsaid is a true statement – and the statement that is uttered by millions is patently false. Still, the argument can be made that the flying saucer did exist – though only in the minds of those who drank the contaminated water. What is this form of existence? In which sense does a hallucination "exist"? The psychophysical problem is that no causal relationship can be established between a thought and its real life correlate, the brainwaves that accompany it. Moreover, this leads to infinite regression. If the brainwaves created the thought – who created them, who made them happen? In other words: who is it (perhaps what is it) that thinks? The subject is so convoluted that to say that the mental is a mere subset of the material is to speculate It is, therefore, advisable to separate the ontological from the epistemological. But which is which? Facts are determined epistemologically and statistically by conscious and intelligent observers. Their "existence" rests on a sound epistemological footing. Yet we assume that in the absence of observers facts will continue their existence, will not lose their "factuality", their real life quality which is observer-independent and invariant. What about truth? Surely, it rests on solid ontological foundations. Something is or is not true in reality and that is it. But then we saw that truth is determined psychically and, therefore, is vulnerable, for instance, to hallucinations. Moreover, the blurring of the lines in Quantum, non-Aristotelian, logics implies one of two: either that true and false are only "in our heads" (epistemological) – or that something is wrong with our interpretation of the world, with our exegetic mechanism (brain). If the latter case is true that the world does contain mutually exclusive true and false values – but the organ which identifies these entities (the brain) has gone awry. The paradox is that the second approach also assumes that at least the perception of true and false values is dependent on the existence of an epistemological detection device. Can something be true and reality and false in our minds? Of course it can (remember "Rashomon"). Could the reverse be true? Yes, it can. This is what we call optical or sensory illusions. Even solidity is an illusion of our senses – there are no such things as solid objects (remember the physicist's desk which is 99.99999% vacuum with minute granules of matter floating about). To reconcile these two concepts, we must let go of the old belief (probably vital to our sanity) that we can know the world. We probably cannot and this is the source of our confusion. The world may be inhabited by "true" things and "false" things. It may be true that truth is existence and falsity is non-existence. But we will never know because we are incapable of knowing anything about the world as it is. We are, however, fully equipped to know about the mental events inside our heads. It is there that the representations of the real world form. We are acquainted with these representations (concepts, images, symbols, language in general) – and mistake them for the world itself. Since we have no way of directly knowing the world (without the intervention of our interpretative mechanisms) we are unable to tell when a certain representation corresponds to an event which is observer-independent and invariant and when it corresponds to nothing of the kind. When we see an image – it could be the result of an interaction with light outside us (objectively "real"), or the result of a dream, a drug induced illusion, fatigue and any other number of brain events not correlated with the real world. These are observer-dependent phenomena and, subject to an agreement between a sufficient number of observers, they are judged to be true or "to have happened" (e. g., religious miracles). To ask if something is true or not is not a meaningful question unless it relates to our internal world and to our capacity as observers. When we say "true" we mean "exists", or "existed", or "most definitely will exist" (the sun will rise tomorrow). But existence can only be ascertained in our minds. Truth, therefore, is nothing but a state of mind. Existence is determined by observing and comparing the two (the outside and the inside, the real and the mental). This yields a picture of the world which may be closely correlated to reality – and, yet again, may not.

         
    On being human

     

    Are we human because of unique traits and attributes not shared with either animal or machine? The definition of "human" is circular: we are human by virtue of the properties that make us human (i. e., distinct from animal and machine). It is a definition by negation: that which separates us from animal and machine is our "human-ness". We are human because we are not animal, nor machine. But such thinking has been rendered progressively less tenable by the advent of evolutionary and neo-evolutionary theories which postulate a continuum in nature between animals and Man. Our uniqueness is partly quantitative and partly qualitative. Many animals are capable of cognitively manipulating symbols and using tools. Few are as adept at it as we are. These are easily quantifiable differences - two of many. Qualitative differences are a lot more difficult to substantiate. In the absence of privileged access to the animal mind, we cannot and don't know if animals feel guilt, for instance. Do animals love? Do they have a concept of sin? What about object permanence, meaning, reasoning, self-awareness, critical thinking? Individuality? Emotions? Empathy? Is artificial intelligence (AI) an oxymoron? A machine that passes the Turing Test may well be described as "human". But is it really? And if it is not - why isn't it? Literature is full of stories of monsters - Frankenstein, the Golem - and androids or anthropoids. Their behaviour is more "humane" than the humans around them. This, perhaps, is what really sets humans apart: their behavioural unpredictability. It is yielded by the interaction between Mankind's underlying immutable genetically-determined nature - and Man's kaleidoscopically changing environments. The Constructivists even claim that Human Nature is a mere cultural artefact. Sociobiologists, on the other hand, are determinists. They believe that human nature - being the inevitable and inexorable outcome of our bestial ancestry - cannot be the subject of moral judgment. An improved Turing Test would look for baffling and erratic patterns of misbehaviour to identify humans. Pico della Mirandola wrote in "Oration on the Dignity of Man" that Man was born without a form and can mould and transform - actually, create - himself at will. Existence precedes essence, said the Existentialists centuries later. The one defining human characteristic may be our awareness of our mortality. The automatically triggered, "fight or flight", battle for survival is common to all living things (and to appropriately programmed machines). Not so the catalytic effects of imminent death. These are uniquely human. The appreciation of the fleeting translates into aesthetics, the uniqueness of our ephemeral life breeds morality, and the scarcity of time gives rise to ambition and creativity. In an infinite life, everything materializes at one time or another, so the concept of choice is spurious. The realization of our finiteness forces us to choose among alternatives. This act of selection is predicated upon the existence of "free will". Animals and machines are thought to be devoid of choice, slaves to their genetic or human programming. Yet, all these answers to the question: "What does it mean to be human" - are lacking. The set of attributes we designate as human is subject to profound alteration. Drugs, neuroscience, introspection, and experience all cause irreversible changes in these traits and characteristics. The accumulation of these changes can lead, in principle, to the emergence of new properties, or to the abolition of old ones. Animals and machines are not supposed to possess free will or exercise it. What, then, about fusions of machines and humans (bionics)? At which point does a human turn into a machine? And why should we assume that free will ceases to exist at that - rather arbitrary - point? Introspection - the ability to construct self-referential and recursive models of the world - is supposed to be a uniquely human quality. What about introspective machines? Surely, say the critics, such machines are PROGRAMMED to introspect, as opposed to humans. To qualify as introspection, it must be WILLED, they continue. Yet, if introspection is willed - WHO wills it? Self-willed introspection leads to infinite regression and formal logical paradoxes. Moreover, the notion - if not the formal concept - of "human" rests on many hidden assumptions and conventions. Political correctness notwithstanding - why presume that men and women (or different races) are identically human? Aristotle thought they were not. A lot separates males from females - genetically (both genotype and phenotype) and environmentally (culturally). What is common to these two sub-species that makes them both "human"? Can we conceive of a human without body (i. e., a Platonian Form, or soul)? Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas think not. A soul has no existence separate from the body. A machine-supported energy field with mental states similar to ours today - would it be considered human? What about someone in a state of coma - is he or she (or it) fully human? Is a new born baby human - or, at least, fully human - and, if so, in which sense? What about a future human race - whose features would be unrecognizable to us? Machine-based intelligence - would it be thought of as human? If yes, when would it be considered human? In all these deliberations, we may be confusing "human" with "person". The former is a private case of the latter. Locke's person is a moral agent, a being responsible for its actions. It is constituted by the continuity of its mental states accessible to introspection. Locke's is a functional definition. It readily accommodates non-human persons (machines, energy matrices) if the functional conditions are satisfied. Thus, an android which meets the prescribed requirements is more human than a brain dead person. Descartes' objection that one cannot specify conditions of singularity and identity over time for disembodied souls is right only if we assume that such "souls" possess no energy. A bodiless intelligent energy matrix which maintains its form and identity over time is conceivable. Certain AI and genetic software programs already do it. Strawson is Cartesian and Kantian in his definition of a "person" as a "primitive". Both the corporeal predicates and those pertaining to mental states apply equally, simultaneously, and inseparably to all the individuals of that type of entity. Human beings are one such entity. Some, like Wiggins, limit the list of possible persons to animals - but this is far from rigorously necessary and is unduly restrictive. The truth is probably in a synthesis: A person is any type of fundamental and irreducible entity whose typical physical individuals (i. e., members) are capable of continuously experiencing a range of states of consciousness and permanently having a list of psychological attributes. This definition allows for non-animal persons and recognizes the personhood of a brain damaged human ("capable of experiencing"). It also incorporates Locke's view of humans as possessing an ontological status similar to "clubs" or "nations" - their personal identity consists of a variety of interconnected psychological continuities.

         
    Peace on earth a wonderful wish but no way

     

    When asked, "If you could wish for one thing only, what would that wish be?" almost everyone; from beauty pagent contestants, to politicians, to religious leaders, to children, to the average person on the street states, "Peace On Earth" or "An end to all wars". Those wishes, while exemplary, are meaningless. As long as humans exist there will never be peace on earth. Throughout the history of humankind there has never been peace on earth. Cavemen fought other cavemen over territory, food and even women. Cain killed Abel over God's respect. Gabriel blew down the walls of Jericho. America fought the Revolutionary War for freedom and brother fought against brother in our Civil War for more freedom. There have always been wars and there will always be wars. As long as humans can think, there will be wars. Wars over such concepts as freedom, honor, dignity, etc.. Wars over territory, greed, power, prejudice, etc.. War is a part of human nature. For example, every human being is prejudiced. If they don't like some race, nationality or religion, they don't like short or tall or fat or skinny or smart or not smart or loud or quiet people. Some people don't like children, some people don't like old people, some people don't like people with pets, or people that play their music too loud, or bad drivers, or people that believe in God or people that don't believe in God. What is right and proper to some people can be wrong or even enraging to other people. Religion can not stop wars, in fact many wars are fought over religion (Note: I believe that religion is used as an excuse for war not the real reason for war.). Christians fought against Muslims during the Crusades, Many Muslims want death for all non believers. The Catholic Church killed heretics during the Inquisition. The Nazis killed millions of Jews and then started killing Catholics. The Russians under Stalin killed anyone even remotly religious. Protestants killed other Protestants for being the wrong type of Protestant. Muslims killed Muslims for being the wrong type of Muslim. Don't forget about Atheists (I believe that Atheism is also a religion, it is a religion of non belief.), Stalin was an Atheist and wanted to get rid of all religion. Most of China's leaders are Atheists and have jailed and killed huge numbers of religious people. History is rife with various types of religious battles. The main reason for war, however, is the lust for power. The power to make others do and believe as you do and believe, the power to make other people render unto you what you believe is rightfully yours, the power to make other people treat you as you believe you should be treated, the power to gain what you want (ie: money, love, respect, etc.), the power to punish others for doing things that you don't believe they should do, the power to keep other from having things or thoughts that you don't have. In other words, the power to be, in some ways God, to make everyone else in your image with you as their ruler. As long as people have the ability to think, there will be greed, envy, prejudice and anger. As long as those things exist, there will be wars. Most people believe, either religiously or secularly, in the rules set down in the Ten Commandments, but very few people can follow those rules all of the time because our ability to think causes us to want. Wanting causes us to break some or all of the rules. Humans are not perfect. If they were they would not be human.

         
    Philosophy as a science

     

    Philosophy is considered a science but it is difficult to say, when one has to compare with an ordinary science, for example biology, or chemistry. This is a question that turns into a burning problem among the scientists and linguists all over the world. Can philosophy be a science? What does philosophy operate with? It operates with categories, which can be as wide and as interchangeable as one can only imagine. Ordinary science operates with definitions, which are quite limited in their field of research. Ordinary science uses terms and laws of that very science to continue the research, uniting with the others in very rare cases. Philosophy gets into the sense of every science trying to achieve results. We also can not call philosophy a supra-science, for it also uses hypothesis and arguments to state the opinion. But there is the obvious thing: there are now laws in philosophy and never will be, for the science changes with the age, the needs, beliefs and requirements of the citizens. To prove your opinion, you can write the definition essay and state all the facts and arguments you know to prove one way or another. This is also a nice way to research the problem and see what the solution is. But you have to research it carefully; otherwise definition essays will not be fruitful. As all sciences philosophy has gone through its stages of development. Some scientists believe that the crib of philosophy was mythology and religion. If to see the principles of life and some primitive morals stated in some myths we may see that the statement is quite true and philosophy still continues to develop out of social beliefs and ideas. Philosophy is a science which is obligatory learned by every college student in order for him to establish his own philosophy of life. It is quite exciting to find answers to ever existing questions: who am I? What do I know? What can I know? What am I destined to do? Here is one more interesting observation. You can see that all famous philosophers were researching other science fields also. For example, Freud, Yung, Kafka and others were doing research in linguistics and social sciences. Their numerous creations are the pride of human history for they revealed some secrets that remained undiscovered for a long time before their great contributions. There are so many currents and branches, so many schools of philosophy that it is hard to decide, which one do you prefer and agree with. This much depends on the country, family, society you live in. This is one more difference between philosophy and other natural sciences. The law is stable for any country; gravity exists in India, same as in Brazil. Philosophy is a hard science, for it is very difficult to understand the sense of the dogma reading it only once. It is of course, not easy, but gives credit for you if you get interested and somewhere, being at the social event you quote one of the famous doctors of philosophy and make a great impression of an educated and intelligent personality.

         
    Religion and science

     

    There are many kinds of narratives and organizing principles. Science is driven by evidence gathered in experiments, and by the falsification of extant theories and their replacement with newer, asymptotically truer, ones. Other systems - religion, nationalism, paranoid ideation, or art - are based on personal experiences (faith, inspiration, paranoia, etc.). Experiential narratives can and do interact with evidential narratives and vice versa. For instance: belief in God inspires some scientists who regard science as a method to "peek at God's cards" and to get closer to Him. Another example: the pursuit of scientific endeavors enhances one's national pride and is motivated by it. Science is often corrupted in order to support nationalistic and racist claims. The basic units of all narratives are known by their effects on the environment. God, in this sense, is no different from electrons, quarks, and black holes. All four constructs cannot be directly observed, but the fact of their existence is derived from their effects. Granted, God's effects are discernible only in the social and psychological (or psychopathological) realms. But this observed constraint doesn't render Him less "real". The hypothesized existence of God parsimoniously explains a myriad ostensibly unrelated phenomena and, therefore, conforms to the rules governing the formulation of scientific theories. The locus of God's hypothesized existence is, clearly and exclusively, in the minds of believers. But this again does not make Him less real. The contents of our minds are as real as anything "out there". Actually, the very distinction between epistemology and ontology is blurred. But is God's existence "true" - or is He just a figment of our neediness and imagination? Truth is the measure of the ability of our models to describe phenomena and predict them. God's existence (in people's minds) succeeds to do both. For instance, assuming that God exists allows us to predict many of the behaviors of people who profess to believe in Him. The existence of God is, therefore, undoubtedly true (in this formal and strict sense). But does God exist outside people's minds? Is He an objective entity, independent of what people may or may not think about Him? After all, if all sentient beings were to perish in a horrible calamity, the Sun would still be there, revolving as it has done from time immemorial. If all sentient beings were to perish in a horrible calamity, would God still exist? If all sentient beings, including all humans, stop believing that there is God - would He survive this renunciation? Does God "out there" inspire the belief in God in religious folks' minds? Known things are independent of the existence of observers (although the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics disputes this). Believed things are dependent on the existence of believers. We know that the Sun exists. We don't know that God exists. We believe that God exists - but we don't and cannot know it, in the scientific sense of the word. We can design experiments to falsify (prove wrong) the existence of electrons, quarks, and black holes (and, thus, if all these experiments fail, prove that electrons, quarks, and black holes exist). We can also design experiments to prove that electrons, quarks, and black holes exist. But we cannot design even one experiment to falsify the existence of a God who is outside the minds of believers (and, thus, if the experiment fails, prove that God exists "out there"). Additionally, we cannot design even one experiment to prove that God exists outside the minds of believers. What about the "argument from design"? The universe is so complex and diverse that surely it entails the existence of a supreme intelligence, the world's designer and creator, known by some as "God". On the other hand, the world's richness and variety can be fully accounted for using modern scientific theories such as evolution and the big bang. There is no need to introduce God into the equations. Still, it is possible that God is responsible for it all. The problem is that we cannot design even one experiment to falsify this theory, that God created the Universe (and, thus, if the experiment fails, prove that God is, indeed, the world's originator). Additionally, we cannot design even one experiment to prove that God created the world. We can, however, design numerous experiments to falsify the scientific theories that explain the creation of the Universe (and, thus, if these experiments fail, lend these theories substantial support). We can also design experiments to prove the scientific theories that explain the creation of the Universe. It does not mean that these theories are absolutely true and immutable. They are not. Our current scientific theories are partly true and are bound to change with new knowledge gained by experimentation. Our current scientific theories will be replaced by newer, truer theories. But any and all future scientific theories will be falsifiable and testable. Knowledge and belief are like oil and water. They don't mix. Knowledge doesn't lead to belief and belief does not yield knowledge. Belief can yield conviction or strongly-felt opinions. But belief cannot result in knowledge. Still, both known things and believed things exist. The former exist "out there" and the latter "in our minds" and only there. But they are no less real for that.

         
    The basics of western astrology explained

     

    Introduction: This article covers the basics of Astrology and how they are inter-related. Astrology is defined as 'the art or practice of determining the supposed influences of the planets and their motions on human affairs and human disposition'. From this practice a horoscope can be produced - a diagram (or chart) of the relative positions of planets and signs of the Zodiac at a specific time, usually the time of birth. A forecast can then be produced. The Zodiac: Western Astrology originated way back, around 500 BC, with a concept called the Zodiac being developed. This comprised of an imaginary sphere surrounding the earth, which followed the path of the Sun through the constellations during the year. The Zodiac was split into twelve sections, each named after the specific constellation noted in that area. Elements: Many ancient philosophies used a set of classical elements to explain the way nature behaved. Each sign was connected to one of the classical elements (fire, earth, air, or water) and was also related to a region of focus; social, personal or universal. * Water signs are related to growth processes, identification and emotion. In tandem with the other elements, water feels that fire will make it boil, air will evaporate it, but earth will shape and channel it. * Fire signs are related to action, passion, and energy. In tandem with the other elements, fire feels that earth will smother it, water will drown it, but air will fan and enliven it. * Air signs are related to thought, perspective and communication. In tandem with the other elements, air feels that water will obscure it, earth will suffocate it, but fire will inspire and uplift it. * Earth signs are related to sensation, stability, and practicality. In tandem with the other elements, earth feels that air will dry it, fire will dry it, but water will refresh and nourish it. Modalities: Each sign is connected to one of three modalities; cardinal (sometimes referred to as movable), fixed, and mutable. There are four quadrants following the order of the zodiacal signs, with three signs in each. Each quadrant describes a season, beginning with a cardinal sign, continuing to a fixed sign, and ending with a mutable sign. Modalities and Related Zodiac Signs: * Mutable signs are related to adaptability, resourcefulness and holism. They are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. * Fixed signs are related to determination, focus and individuality. They are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. * Cardinal signs are related to creativity and initiation. They are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Summary of Zodiac Sign Characteristics: * Aries (cardinal, fire, personal): defensive, energetic, head down, assertive, impulsive. * Taurus (fixed, earth, personal): patient, indulgent, resourceful, thorough, devoted. * Gemini (mutable, air, personal): quick, logical, inquisitive. * Cancer (cardinal, water, personal): clinging, protective, sensitive. * Leo (fixed, fire, social): theatrical, generous, proud. * Virgo (mutable, earth, social): critically, practical, efficient. * Libra (cardinal, air, social): lazy, co-operative, fair. * Scorpio (fixed, water, social): anxious, passionate, sensitive. * Sagittarius (mutable, fire, universal): careless, free, straightforward. * Capricorn (cardinal, earth, universal): suspicious, prudent, cautious. * Aquarius (fixed, air, universal): detached, democratic, unconventional. * Pisces (mutable, water, universal): distracted, imaginative, sensitive.

         
    The emerald buddha

     

    The Emerald Buddha is a figurine of a sitting Budha, that is the is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Buddha is made of green jade, suprisingly not of emerald, clothed in gold is approximately 45 cm tall. The Buddha is kept in the Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, which is located on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Legend tells that that the Emerald Buddha was created in Pataliputra, India, which is now the city of Patna in 43 BCE by Nagasena. Other great historians beleive that it belongs to the Chiang Saen Style of the 15th century. The legend says that, it remained in Pataliputra for 300 hundred years, until it was taken to Sri Lanka to save it from a civil war. It was then in 457, that King Anuruth of Burma sent out orders to Ceylon to ask for the Emerald Budha and Buddhist scriptures. These actions took place by the king, to try and support Buddhism in his country. This request was granted, however the ship that was brining the Buddha to Burma, became lost in a storm and ended up in Cambodia. The Buddha made it's way through several hands after that: Ayutthaya, Kamphaeng Phet, Lao and finally Chiang Rai. It was finally in Chiang Rai that the ruler of the city hid it. It wasn't until 1434 that sources indicate the resurfacing of the statue in Northern Thailand. There is one story about the discovery: "lightning struck a pagoda in a temple in Chiang Rai, after which something became visible under the stucco. The Emerald Buddha was dug out and the people thought the figurine was made from emerald, hence its current name." Although, the Buddha is just a simple jade statue, it is dressed with garments that are made of fine gold. The Buddha's clothing are changed by the King of Thailand, to celebrate the chaning of seasons. This occurs three times a year: 1st Waning of Lunar Month 4, 8 and 12

         
    The idea of god is not henceforth relevant

     

    Well educated, intellectual people, especially scientists at all times demonstrate considerably smaller adherence to religiosity than others. However, there are still believers of the idea of the God in science. If we exclude from their number those who feel a painful requirement for external protection and support by virtue of their poor living circumstances, there are those who come to idea of the God as a result of amazement at a world that has many unsolved problems. The surprising diversification of subjects and entities can be scientifically formulated in principle as it can sustain the quasi-stable condition and demonstrates development. Common sense suggests, that for an explanation of the observable diversification in life, it is necessary to admit that each separate subject, each organism, each social unit, and even each computer program should contain a special internal causative engine, a local determinism, which maintains an autonomous internal life in it. The conventional concept of determinism does not suppose the existence of such sources. This represents a scandalous weakness in the concept. Not finding the required causative source within the framework of philosophy, people are compelled to address the always-available, exotic, exciting fantasies of the irrational sources that are available in religion and mysticism. Today the situation can be considerably rectified. The recently published concept of Ring Determinism identifies the required internal causative source by way of a closed plot of the customary causal chain. This is a self-contained circuit which, it turns out, is contained in the entrails of each separate natural formation. This circuit is just that ontological base in which each separate natural formation finds and displays its exclusive individuality and asserts itself in the capacity of “causa sui ” – the cause of itself. Internal local causative action, continuously circulating inside a separate body, is transmitted from element to element. It ensures its systemic, synergetic wholeness in the operation of its elements and subsystems in the phenomena of “emergence”, special internal policy, resistance to external actions, aggression directed externally, egotism, egocentricity, self-preservation, self-organization and finally, self-development. One of the conclusions of ring determinism is, that under the supervisory control of the internal cause continuously circulating in a body, and under the continuous effects of external factors, there is the miracle of self-development. This results in an observable diversification of surprising properties of subjects, organisms, social units, human products and other things. The local causative circuit can randomly or by design, become closed. Then finding an ability towards long-lived quasi-stable self-maintenance, self-resumption, or, in the case of dynamically developing systems, the determining vortex, it becomes the high-power engine which creates, saves and induces a flock of living and nonliving natural formations in development. Educated people can now sigh with relief since a rather weighty rational argument against the idea of creationism has appeared and the necessity to appeal to irrational theories has vanished.

         
    The science of superstitions

     

    "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, 1931 The debate between realism and anti-realism is, at least, a century old. Does Science describe the real world - or are its theories true only within a certain conceptual framework? Is science only instrumental or empirically adequate or is there more to it than that? The current - mythological - image of scientific enquiry is as follows: Without resorting to reality, one can, given infinite time and resources, produce all conceivable theories. One of these theories is bound to be the "truth". To decide among them, scientists conduct experiments and compare their results to predictions yielded by the theories. A theory is falsified when one or more of its predictions fails. No amount of positive results - i. e., outcomes that confirm the theory's predictions - can "prove right" a theory. Theories can only be proven false by that great arbiter, reality. Jose Ortega y Gasset said (in an unrelated exchange) that all ideas stem from pre-rational beliefs. William James concurred by saying that accepting a truth often requires an act of will which goes beyond facts and into the realm of feelings. Maybe so, but there is little doubt today that beliefs are somehow involved in the formation of many scientific ideas, if not of the very endeavor of Science. After all, Science is a human activity and humans always believe that things exist (=are true) or could be true. A distinction is traditionally made between believing in something's existence, truth, value of appropriateness (this is the way that it ought to be) - and believing that something. The latter is a propositional attitude: we think that something, we wish that something, we feel that something and we believe that something. Believing in A and believing that A - are different. It is reasonable to assume that belief is a limited affair. Few of us would tend to believe in contradictions and falsehoods. Catholic theologians talk about explicit belief (in something which is known to the believer to be true) versus implicit one (in the known consequences of something whose truth cannot be known). Truly, we believe in the probability of something (we, thus, express an opinion) - or in its certain existence (truth). All humans believe in the existence of connections or relationships between things. This is not something which can be proven or proven false (to use Popper's test). That things consistently follow each other does not prove they are related in any objective, "real", manner - except in our minds. This belief in some order (if we define order as permanent relations between separate physical or abstract entities) permeates both Science and Superstition. They both believe that there must be - and is - a connection between things out there. Science limits itself and believes that only certain entities inter-relate within well defined conceptual frames (called theories). Not everything has the potential to connect to everything else. Entities are discriminated, differentiated, classified and assimilated in worldviews in accordance with the types of connections that they forge with each other. Moreover, Science believes that it has a set of very effective tools to diagnose, distinguish, observe and describe these relationships. It proves its point by issuing highly accurate predictions based on the relationships discerned through the use of said tools. Science (mostly) claims that these connections are "true" in the sense that they are certain - not probable. The cycle of formulation, prediction and falsification (or proof) is the core of the human scientific activity. Alleged connections that cannot be captured in these nets of reasoning are cast out either as "hypothetical" or as "false". In other words: Science defines "relations between entities" as "relations between entities which have been established and tested using the scientific apparatus and arsenal of tools". This, admittedly, is a very cyclical argument, as close to tautology as it gets. Superstition is a much simpler matter: everything is connected to everything in ways unbeknown to us. We can only witness the results of these subterranean currents and deduce the existence of such currents from the observable flotsam. The planets influence our lives, dry coffee sediments contain information about the future, black cats portend disasters, certain dates are propitious, certain numbers are to be avoided. The world is unsafe because it can never be fathomed. But the fact that we - limited as we are - cannot learn about a hidden connection - should not imply that it does not exist. Science believes in two categories of relationships between entities (physical and abstract alike). The one is the category of direct links - the other that of links through a third entity. In the first case, A and B are seen to be directly related. In the second case, there is no apparent link between A and B, but a third entity, C could well provide such a connection (for instance, if A and B are parts of C or are separately, but concurrently somehow influenced by it). Each of these two categories is divided to three subcategories: causal relationships, functional relationships and correlative relationship. A and B will be said to be causally related if A precedes B, B never occurs if A does not precede it and always occurs after A occurs. To the discerning eye, this would seem to be a relationship of correlation ("whenever A happens B happens") and this is true. Causation is subsumed by a the 1.0 correlation relationship category. In other words: it is a private case of the more general case of correlation. A and B are functionally related if B can be predicted by assuming A but we have no way of establishing the truth value of A. The latter is a postulate or axiom. The time dependent Schrцdinger Equation is a postulate (cannot be derived, it is only reasonable). Still, it is the dynamic laws underlying wave mechanics, an integral part of quantum mechanics, the most accurate scientific theory that we have. An unproved, non-derivable equation is related functionally to a host of exceedingly precise statements about the real world (observed experimental results). A and B are correlated if A explains a considerable part of the existence or the nature of B. It is then clear that A and B are related. Evolution has equipped us with highly developed correlation mechanisms because they are efficient in insuring survival. To see a tiger and to associate the awesome sight with a sound is very useful. Still, we cannot state with any modicum of certainty that we possess all the conceivable tools for the detection, description, analysis and utilization of relations between entities. Put differently: we cannot say that there are no connections that escape the tight nets that we cast in order to capture them. We cannot, for instance, say with any degree of certainty that there are no hyper-structures which would provide new, surprising insights into the interconnectedness of objects in the real world or in our mind. We cannot even say that the epistemological structures with which we were endowed are final or satisfactory. We do not know enough about knowing. Consider the cases of Non-Aristotelian logic formalisms, Non-Euclidean geometries, Newtonian Mechanics and non classical physical theories (the relativity theories and, more so, quantum mechanics and its various interpretations). All of them revealed to us connections which we could not have imagined prior to their appearance. All of them created new tools for the capture of interconnectivity and inter-relatedness. All of them suggested one kind or the other of mental hyper-structures in which new links between entities (hitherto considered disparate) could be established. So far, so good for superstitions. Today's superstition could well become tomorrow's Science given the right theoretical developments. The source of the clash lies elsewhere, in the insistence of superstitions upon a causal relation. The general structure of a superstition is: A is caused by B. The causation propagates through unknown (one or more) mechanisms. These mechanisms are unidentified (empirically) or unidentifiable (in principle). For instance, al the mechanisms of causal propagation which are somehow connected to divine powers can never, in principle, be understood (because the true nature of divinity is sealed to human understanding). Thus, superstitions incorporate mechanisms of action which are, either, unknown to Science – or are impossible to know, as far as Science goes. All the "action-at-a-distance" mechanisms are of the latter type (unknowable). Parapsychological mechanisms are more of the first kind (unknown). The philosophical argument behind superstitions is pretty straightforward and appealing. Perhaps this is the source of their appeal. It goes as follows: There is nothing that can be thought of that is impossible (in all the Universes); There is nothing impossible (in all the Universes) that can be thought of; Everything that can be thought about – is, therefore, possible (somewhere in the Universes); Everything that is possible exists (somewhere in the Universes). If something can be thought of (=is possible) and is not known (=proven or observed) yet - it is most probably due to the shortcomings of Science and not because it does not exist. Some of these propositions can be easily attacked. For instance: we can think about contradictions and falsehoods but (apart from a form of mental representation) no one will claim that they exist in reality or that they are possible. These statements, though, apply very well to entities, the existence of which has yet to be disproved (=not known as false, or whose truth value is uncertain) and to improbable (though possible) things. It is in these formal logical niches that superstition thrives. APPENDIX - From "The Cycle of Science" "There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe that there ever was such a time... On the other hand, I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?', because you will get 'down the drain' into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that." R. P. Feynman (1967) "The first processes, therefore, in the effectual studies of the sciences, must be ones of simplification and reduction of the results of previous investigations to a form in which the mind can grasp them." J. C. Maxwell, On Faraday's lines of force " ...conventional formulations of quantum theory, and of quantum field theory in particular, are unprofessionally vague and ambiguous. Professional theoretical physicists ought to be able to do better. Bohm has shown us a way." John S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics "It would seem that the theory [quantum mechanics] is exclusively concerned about 'results of measurement', and has nothing to say about anything else. What exactly qualifies some physical systems to play the role of 'measurer'? Was the wavefunction of the world waiting to jump for thousands of millions of years until a single-celled living creature appeared? Or did it have to wait a little longer, for some better qualified system ... with a Ph. D.? If the theory is to apply to anything but highly idealized laboratory operations, are we not obliged to admit that more or less 'measurement-like' processes are going on more or less all the time, more or less everywhere. Do we not have jumping then all the time? The first charge against 'measurement', in the fundamental axioms of quantum mechanics, is that it anchors the shifty split of the world into 'system' and 'apparatus'. A second charge is that the word comes loaded with meaning from everyday life, meaning which is entirely inappropriate in the quantum context. When it is said that something is 'measured' it is difficult not to think of the result as referring to some pre-existing property of the object in question. This is to disregard Bohr's insistence that in quantum phenomena the apparatus as well as the system is essentially involved. If it were not so, how could we understand, for example, that 'measurement' of a component of 'angular momentum' ... in an arbitrarily chosen direction ... yields one of a discrete set of values? When one forgets the role of the apparatus, as the word 'measurement' makes all too likely, one despairs of ordinary logic ... hence 'quantum logic'. When one remembers the role of the apparatus, ordinary logic is just fine. In other contexts, physicists have been able to take words from ordinary language and use them as technical terms with no great harm done. Take for example the 'strangeness', 'charm', and 'beauty' of elementary particle physics. No one is taken in by this 'baby talk'... Would that it were so with 'measurement'. But in fact the word has had such a damaging effect on the discussion, that I think it should now be banned altogether in quantum mechanics." J. S. Bell, Against "Measurement" "Is it not clear from the smallness of the scintillation on the screen that we have to do with a particle? And is it not clear, from the diffraction and interference patterns, that the motion of the particle is directed by a wave? De Broglie showed in detail how the motion of a particle, passing through just one of two holes in screen, could be influenced by waves propagating through both holes. And so influenced that the particle does not go where the waves cancel out, but is attracted to where they co-operate. This idea seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored." J. S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics "...in physics the only observations we must consider are position observations, if only the positions of instrument pointers. It is a great merit of the de Broglie-Bohm picture to force us to consider this fact. If you make axioms, rather than definitions and theorems, about the "measurement" of anything else, then you commit redundancy and risk inconsistency." J. S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics "To outward appearance, the modern world was born of an anti religious movement: man becoming self-sufficient and reason supplanting belief. Our generation and the two that preceded it have heard little of but talk of the conflict between science and faith; indeed it seemed at one moment a foregone conclusion that the former was destined to take the place of the latter... After close on two centuries of passionate struggles, neither science nor faith has succeeded in discrediting its adversary. On the contrary, it becomes obvious that neither can develop normally without the other. And the reason is simple: the same life animates both. Neither in its impetus nor its achievements can science go to its limits without becoming tinged with mysticism and charged with faith." Pierre Thierry de Chardin, "The Phenomenon of Man" I opened this appendix with lengthy quotations of John S. Bell, the main proponent of the Bohemian Mechanics interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (really, an alternative rather than an interpretation). The renowned physicist, David Bohm (in the 50s), basing himself on work done much earlier by de Broglie (the unwilling father of the wave-particle dualism), embedded the Schrцdinger Equation (SE throughout this article) in a deterministic physical theory which postulated a non-Newtonian motion of particles. This is a fine example of the life cycle of scientific theories. Witchcraft, Religion, Alchemy and Science succeeded one another and each such transition was characterized by transitional pathologies reminiscent of psychotic disorders. The exceptions are (arguably) medicine and biology. A phenomenology of ossified bodies of knowledge would make a fascinating read. This is the end of the aforementioned life cycle: Growth, Pathology, Ossification. This article identifies the current Ossification Phase of Science and suggests that it is soon to be succeeded by another discipline. It does so after studying and rejecting other explanations to the current state of science: that human knowledge is limited by its very nature, that the world is inherently incomprehensible, that methods of thought and understanding tend to self-organize to form closed mythic systems and that there is a problem of the language which we employ to make our inquiries of the world describable and communicable. Kuhn's approach to Scientific Revolutions is but one of a series of approaches to issues of theory and paradigm shifts in scientific thought and its resulting evolution. Scientific theories seem to be subject to a process of natural selection as much as organisms are in nature. Animals could be construed to be theorems (with a positive truth value) in the logical system "Nature". But species become extinct because nature itself changes (not nature as a set of potentials - but the relevant natural phenomena to which the species are exposed). Could we say the same about scientific theories? Are they being selected and deselected partly due to a changing, shifting backdrop? Indeed, the whole debate between "realists" and "anti-realists" in the philosophy of Science can be thus settled, by adopting this single premise: that the Universe itself is not a fixture. By contrasting a fixed subject of the study ("The World") with the moving image of Science - anti-realists gained the upper hand. Arguments such as the under-determination of theories by data and the pessimistic meta-inductions from past falsity (of scientific "knowledge") emphasized the transience and asymptotic nature of the fruits of the scientific endeavor. But all this rests on the implicit assumption that there is some universal, immutable, truth out there (which science strives to approximate). The apparent problem evaporates if we allow both the observer and the observed, the theory and its subject, the background, as well as the fleeting images, to be alterable. Science develops through reduction of miracles. Laws of nature are formulated. They are assumed to encompass all the (relevant) natural phenomena (that is, phenomena governed by natural forces and within nature). Ex definitio, nothing can exist outside nature - it is all-inclusive and all-pervasive, omnipresent (formerly the attributes of the divine). Supernatural forces, supernatural intervention - are a contradiction in terms, oxymorons. If it exists - it is natural. That which is supernatural - does not exist. Miracles do not only contravene (or violate) the laws of nature - they are impossible, not only physically, but also logically. That which is logically possible and can be experienced (observed), is physically possible. But, again, we confront the "fixed background" assumption. What if nature itself changes in a way to confound everlasting, ever-truer knowledge? Then, the very shift of nature as a whole, as a system, could be called "supernatural" or "miraculous". In a small way, this is how science evolves. A law of nature is proposed. An event or occurs or observation made which are not described or predicted by it. It is, by definition, a violation of the law. The laws of nature are modified, or re-written entirely, in order to reflect and encompass this extraordinary event. Hume's distinction between "extraordinary" and "miraculous" events is upheld (the latter being ruled out). The extraordinary ones can be compared to our previous experience - the miraculous entail some supernatural interference with the normal course of things (a "wonder" in Biblical terms). It is through confronting the extraordinary and eliminating its abnormal nature that science progresses as a miraculous activity. This, of course, is not the view of the likes of David Deutsch (see his book, "The Fabric of Reality"). The last phase of this Life Cycle is Ossification. The discipline degenerates and, following the psychotic phase, it sinks into a paralytic stage which is characterized by the following: All the practical and technological aspects of the discipline are preserved and continue to be utilized. Gradually the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings vanish or are replaced by the tenets and postulates of a new discipline - but the inventions, processes and practical know-how do not evaporate. They are incorporated into the new discipline and, in time, are erroneously attributed to it. This is a transfer of credit and the attribution of merit and benefits to the legitimate successor of the discipline. The practitioners of the discipline confine themselves to copying and replicating the various aspects of the discipline, mainly its intellectual property (writings, inventions, other theoretical material). The replication process does not lead to the creation of new knowledge or even to the dissemination of old one. It is a hermetic process, limited to the ever decreasing circle of the initiated. Special institutions are set up to rehash the materials related to the discipline, process them and copy them. These institutions are financed and supported by the State which is always an agent of conservation, preservation and conformity. Thus, the creative-evolutionary dimension of the discipline freezes over. No new paradigms or revolutions happen. Interpretation and replication of canonical writings become the predominant activity. Formalisms are not subjected to scrutiny and laws assume eternal, immutable, quality. All the activities of the adherents of the discipline become ritualized. The discipline itself becomes a pillar of the power structures and, as such, is commissioned and condoned by them. Its practitioners synergistically collaborate with them: with the industrial base, the military powerhouse, the political elite, the intellectual cliques in vogue. Institutionalization inevitably leads to the formation of a (mostly bureaucratic) hierarchy. Rituals serve two purposes. The first is to divert attention from subversive, "forbidden" thinking. This is very much as is the case with obsessive-compulsive disorders in individuals who engage in ritualistic behavior patterns to deflect "wrong" or "corrupt" thoughts. And the second purpose is to cement the power of the "clergy" of the discipline. Rituals are a specialized form of knowledge which can be obtained only through initiation procedures and personal experience. One's status in the hierarchy is not the result of objectively quantifiable variables or even of judgment of merit. It is the result of politics and other power-related interactions. The cases of "Communist Genetics" (Lysenko) versus "Capitalist Genetics" and of the superpower races (space race, arms race) come to mind. Conformity, dogmatism, doctrines - all lead to enforcement mechanisms which are never subtle. Dissidents are subjected to sanctions: social sanctions and economic sanctions. They can find themselves ex-communicated, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, their works banished or not published, ridiculed and so on. This is really the triumph of text over the human spirit. The members of the discipline's community forget the original reasons and causes for their scientific pursuits. Why was the discipline developed? What were the original riddles, questions, queries? How did it feel to be curious? Where is the burning fire and the glistening eyes and the feelings of unity with nature that were the prime moving forces behind the discipline? The cold ashes of the conflagration are the texts and their preservation is an expression of longing and desire for things past. The vacuum left by the absence of positive emotions - is filled by negative ones. The discipline and its disciples become phobic, paranoid, defensive, with a blurred reality test. Devoid of new, attractive content, the discipline resorts to negative motivation by manipulation of negative emotions. People are frightened, threatened, herded, cajoled. The world without the discipline is painted in an apocalyptic palette as ruled by irrationality, disorderly, chaotic, dangerous, even lethally so. New, emerging disciplines, are presented as heretic, fringe lunacies, inconsistent, reactionary and bound to lead humanity back to some dark ages. This is the inter-disciplinary or inter-paradigm clash. It follows the Psychotic Phase. The old discipline resorts to some transcendental entity (God, Satan, the conscious intelligent observer in the Copenhagen interpretation of the formalism of Quantum Mechanics). In this sense, it is already psychotic and fails its reality test. It develops messianic aspirations and is inspired by a missionary zeal and zest. The fight against new ideas and theories is bloody and ruthless and every possible device is employed. But the very characteristics of the older nomenclature is in its disfavor. It is closed, based on ritualistic initiation, patronizing. It relies on intimidation. The numbers of the faithful dwindles the more the "church" needs them and the more it resorts to oppressive recruitment tactics. The emerging knowledge wins by historical default and not due to the results of any fierce fight. Even the initiated desert. Their belief unravels when confronted with the truth value, explanatory and predictive powers, and the comprehensiveness of the emerging discipline. This, indeed, is the main presenting symptom, distinguishing hallmark, of paralytic old disciplines. They deny reality. The are a belief-system, a myth, requiring suspension of judgment, the voluntary limitation of the quest, the agreement to leave swathes of the map in the state of a blank "terra incognita". This reductionism, this avoidance, their replacement by some transcendental authority are the beginning of an end. Consider physics: The Universe is a complex, orderly system. If it were an intelligent being, we would be compelled to say that it had "chosen" to preserve form (structure), order and complexity - and to increase them whenever and wherever it can. We can call this a natural inclination or a tendency of the Universe. This explains why evolution did not stop at the protozoa level. After all, these mono-cellular organisms were (and still are, hundreds of millions of years later) superbly adapted to their environment. It was Bergson who posed the question: why did nature prefer the risk of unstable complexity over predictable and reliable and durable simplicity? The answer seems to be that the Universe has a predilection (not confined to the biological realm) to increase complexity and order and that this principle takes precedence over "utilitarian" calculations of stability. The battle between the entropic arrow and the negentropic one is more important than any other (in-built) "consideration". This is Time itself and Thermodynamics pitted against Man (as an integral part of the Universe), Order (a systemic, extensive parameter) against Disorder. In this context, natural selection is no more "blind" or "random" than its subjects. It is discriminating, exercises discretion, encourages structure, complexity and order. The contrast that Bergson stipulated between Natural Selection and Йlan Vitale is grossly misplaced: Natural Selection IS the vital power itself. Modern Physics is converging with Philosophy (possibly with the philosophical side of Religion as well) and the convergence is precisely where concepts of Order and disorder emerge. String theories, for instance, come in numerous versions which describe many possible different worlds. Granted, they may all be facets of the same Being (distant echoes of the new versions of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics). Still, why do we, intelligent conscious observers, see (=why are we exposed to) only one aspect of the Universe? How is this aspect "selected"? The Universe is constrained in this "selection process" by its own history - but history is not synonymous with the Laws of Nature. The latter determine the former - does the former also determine the latter? In other words: were the Laws of Nature "selected" as well and, if so, how? The answer seems self evident: the Universe "selected" both the Natural Laws and - as a result - its own history. The selection process was based on the principle of Natural Selection. A filter was applied: whatever increased order, complexity, structure - survived. Indeed, our very survival as a species is still largely dependent upon these things. Our Universe - having survived - must be an optimized Universe. Only order-increasing Universes do not succumb to entropy and death (the weak hypothesis). It could even be argued (as we do here) that our Universe is the only possible kind of Universe (the semi-strong hypothesis) or even the only Universe (the strong hypothesis). This is the essence of the Anthropic Principle. By definition, universal rules pervade all the realms of existence. Biological systems must obey the same order-increasing (natural) laws as physical ones and social ones. We are part of the Universe in the sense that we are subject to the same discipline and adhere to the same "religion". We are an inevitable result - not a chance happening. We are the culmination of orderly processes - not the outcome of random events. The Universe enables us and our world because - and only for as long as - we increase order. That is not to imply that there is an intention to do so on the part of the Universe (or a "higher being" or a "higher power"). There is no conscious or God-like spirit. There is no religious assertion. We only say that a system that has Order as its founding principle will tend to favor order, to breed it, to positively select its proponents and deselect its opponents - and, finally, to give birth to more and more sophisticated weapons in the pro-Order arsenal. We, humans, were such an order-increasing weapon until recently. These intuitive assertions can be easily converted into a formalism. In Quantum Mechanics, the State Vector can be constrained to collapse to the most Order-enhancing event. If we had a computer the size of the Universe that could infallibly model it - we would have been able to predict which event will increase the order in the Universe overall. No collapse would have been required then and no probabilistic calculations. It is easy to prove that events will follow a path of maximum order, simply because the world is orderly and getting ever more so. Had this not been the case, evenly statistically scattered event would have led to an increase in entropy (thermodynamic laws are the offspring of statistical mechanics). But this simply does not happen. And it is wrong to think that order increases only in isolated "pockets", in local regions of our universe. It is increasing everywhere, all the time, on all scales of measurement. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that quantum events are guided by some non-random principle (such as the increase in order). This, exactly, is the case in biology. There is no reason why not to construct a life wavefunction which will always collapse to the most order increasing event. If we construct and apply this wave function to our world - we will probably find ourselves as one of the events after its collapse. Appendix - Interview granted to Adam Anderson 1. Do you believe that superstitions have affected American culture? And if so, how? A. In its treatment of nature, Western culture is based on realism and rationalism and purports to be devoid of superstitions. Granted, many Westerners - perhaps the majority - are still into esoteric practices, such as Astrology. But the official culture and its bearers - scientists, for instance - disavow such throwbacks to a darker past. Today, superstitions are less concerned with the physical Universe and more with human affairs. Political falsities - such as anti-Semitism - supplanted magic and alchemy. Fantastic beliefs permeate the fields of economics, sociology, and psychology, for instance. The effects of progressive taxation, the usefulness of social welfare, the role of the media, the objectivity of science, the mechanism of democracy, and the function of psychotherapy - are six examples of such groundless fables. Indeed, one oft-neglected aspect of superstitions is their pernicious economic cost. Irrational action carries a price tag. It is impossible to optimize one's economic activity by making the right decisions and then acting on them in a society or culture permeated by the occult. Esotericism skews the proper allocation of scarce resources. 2. Are there any superstitions that exist today that you believe could become facts tomorrow, or that you believe have more fact than fiction hidden in them? A. Superstitions stem from one of these four premises: That there is nothing that can be thought of that is impossible (in all possible Universes); That there is nothing impossible (in all possible Universes) that can be thought of; That everything that can be thought of – is, therefore, possible (somewhere in these Universes); That everything that is possible exists (somewhere in these Universes). As long as our knowledge is imperfect (asymptotic to the truth), everything is possible. As Arthur Clark, the British scientist and renowned author of science fiction, said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Still, regardless of how "magical" it becomes, positive science is increasingly challenged by the esoteric. The emergence of pseudo-science is the sad outcome of the blurring of contemporary distinctions between physics and metaphysics. Modern science borders on speculation and attempts, to its disadvantage, to tackle questions that once were the exclusive preserve of religion or philosophy. The scientific method is ill-built to cope with such quests and is inferior to the tools developed over centuries by philosophers, theologians, and mystics. Moreover, scientists often confuse language of representation with meaning and knowledge represented. That a discipline of knowledge uses quantitative methods and the symbol system of mathematics does not make it a science. The phrase "social sciences" is an oxymoron - and it misleads the layman into thinking that science is not that different to literature, religion, astrology, numerology, or other esoteric "systems". The emergence of "relative", New Age, and politically correct philosophies rendered science merely one option among many. Knowledge, people believe, can be gleaned either directly (mysticism and spirituality) or indirectly (scientific practice). Both paths are equivalent and equipotent. Who is to say that science is superior to other "bodies of wisdom"? Self-interested scientific chauvinism is out - indiscriminate "pluralism" is in. 3. I have found one definition of the word "superstition" that states that it is "a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation." What is your opinion about said definition? A. It describes what motivates people to adopt superstitions - ignorance and fear of the unknown. Superstitions are, indeed, a "false conception of causation" which inevitably leads to "trust in magic". the only part I disagree with is the trust in chance. Superstitions are organizing principles. They serve as alternatives to other worldviews, such as religion or science. Superstitions seek to replace chance with an "explanation" replete with the power to predict future events and establish chains of causes and effects. 4. Many people believe that superstitions were created to simply teach a lesson, like the old superstition that "the girl that takes the last cookie will be an old maid" was made to teach little girls manners. Do you think that all superstitions derive from some lesson trying to be taught that today's society has simply forgotten or cannot connect to anymore? A. Jose Ortega y Gasset said (in an unrelated exchange) that all ideas stem from pre-rational beliefs. William James concurred by saying that accepting a truth often requires an act of will which goes beyond facts and into the realm of feelings. Superstitions permeate our world. Some superstitions are intended to convey useful lessons, others form a part of the process of socialization, yet others are abused by various elites to control the masses. But most of them are there to comfort us by proffering "instant" causal explanations and by rendering our Universe more meaningful. 5. Do you believe that superstitions change with the changes in culture? A. The content of superstitions and the metaphors we use change from culture to culture - but not the underlying shock and awe that yielded them in the first place. Man feels dwarfed in a Cosmos beyond his comprehension. He seeks meaning, direction, safety, and guidance. Superstitions purport to provide all these the easy way. To be superstitious one does not to study or to toil. Superstitions are readily accessible and unequivocal. In troubled times, they are an irresistible proposition.

         
    Unlocking the bible codes

     

    : Did you read the DaVinci Code or maybe see the movie? Did it get you interested in history and secret codes? You do not have to travel to Europe to see the true secrets from history; technology now lets us unlock the oldest secret code in the world, the bible code. For centuries there have been rumors about the secret codes of the bible. Now with the power of your home computer you can unlock the bible codes and see the truth for your self. Whether you are a true believer or a doubtful skeptic, evidence can be found with your own research on the secret codes of the bible. Bible codes, sometimes referred to as Torah codes, have been part of the Jewish tradition and mystery for over 2000 years. In Hebrew (the language of the original bible) the bible codes are called Gematria which is a translation from ancient Greek which when translated in to English is numerology. Around the time that the Old Testament was written the Greeks were the world leaders in math, so it would be natural that they would influence the composers of the original bible codes. It is information like this that can be found in the software responsible for unlocking the bible codes. The bible codes can also be seen in other forms of the bible not just the original Hebrew. The King James Version has hidden bible codes and mysteries just waiting to be unlocked. The Greek version of the bible was the first ever translation of the bible and it too has many secrets waiting for you. Using your home computer you can unlock the bible codes and explore history on your own. There are plenty of wonderful programs and DVDs which reveal the secrets of the bibles codes, and let you explore the magical Holy Land from home. One program called Holy Land Journey takes you on an interactive tour of the Holy Land and matches up bible stories with pictures. There are several bible decoders which are made to work in your native language and help you to start unlocking the secrets of the bible in a simple way so that you can understand. Start your research now on the Bible codes.

         
     
         
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