Archive for Good

We’ll See …

Posted in All, Humor, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by marushiadark
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – that is why it is called ‘the present.’ ” ~ Kung Fu Panda

Here’s a parable about the nature of time for you to consider as we begin a new year:

There once was a small village in which there lived a Zen master.  One day, a farmer accidentally left his pen gate open and his prize horse ran out into the wilderness.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how terrible,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”  The next day, the horse returned and had brought two wild horses with it.  The farmer tamed the horses and gave one to his son as a gift.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how wonderful,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”

One day, the little boy was riding the horse and he fell off, breaking his leg in the process.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how terrible,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”  A few days later, some messengers had come from the government, saying that the emperor had ordered conscripts to go and fight.  However, the little boy was unable to go because he had broken his leg.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how wonderful,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”

While the men were out fighting, a small band of warriors came to the village, where they killed many people in the town, including the little boy.  The soldiers looted what they could and then left.  The people of the said, “Oh, how terrible,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”  Some days later, news of this attack reached the emperor, who was moved by the plight of his people.  So the emperor sent troops to ensure that the village would not be attacked again.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how wonderful,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”

Some time passed and the emperor sent messengers out to all the villagers ordering that the taxes be increased to pay for the war.  The people of the village were still recovering from their loss and had no money to pay the tax, so the soldiers imposed tighter restrictions on the people of the village.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how terrible,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”  Eventually, a man returned to the village from fighting in the war.  He saw what was being done to his people and rallied forces together to oust the soldiers from the village.  The people of the village said, “Oh, how wonderful,” but the Zen Master simply said, “We’ll see.”

Those of you who have seen the movie Charlie Wilson’s War may remember this story and may have noticed that I added a fair bit to it.  Really and truly, I could have continued on in this way for all eternity just by adding more and more events.  But hopefully that was enough for you to get the general gist of it.

Everything in life has a higher purpose.  As these bad things happen to you, turn your gaze inward and look for the deeper meaning.  What lesson are you meant to learn from this?  How did your own actions contribute to the negativity of the situation?  What action can you take to try and improve the situation, while still being mindful of any potential backlash that may result?

We cannot know the future; and what may appear to be a good or bad thing today may prove to be just the opposite in time.  The Zen Master lives in the moment every day, recognizing that all events are neutral and that there is no good or bad but what we apply to a situation.  Something to consider strongly as we enter this new year of 2011.  I sense a great escalation of events in the near future.  Many of those events will seem bad, but we must always find a silver lining in any situation, while remaining aware of the consequences of our actions.

K is for Karma

Posted in All, Economics, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by marushiadark

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” ~ Galatians 6:7

I’ve heard a lot of people tell me that the concept of karma isn’t expressed in the Bible, but I can’t think of a more concise definition of karma that than passage right there.  What you sow is what you reap.  So simple that even a child can understand, yet profound enough to have an impact on everything we do.  It’s also one of the few fundamental laws of the universe.  There aren’t very many absolutes in life, but causality, action-reaction, is one of them.  Everything has a cause and everything has an effect.  Nothing happens by accident.  If you had full and complete knowledge of a system’s causes, you could predict all its effects.

That’s really what karma is, except that karma tends to be more focused on the behaviors of human beings.  If you do something good, you’ll eventually be rewarded.  If you do something bad, you’ll eventually be punished.  And usually, that reward or punishment will be both in accordance with what you did and several times greater in yield.  Just as a single seed, overtime, can yield many fruits, each with many seeds of the same type, so too do our actions bear fruit.

In explaining the concept of karma, I’ve always found it helpful to think of karma as a form of spiritual currency.  Many of the same rules of currency can also be applied to karma.

For instance, say you get paid and are feeling really good about it.  You go to the bank and deposit your money into a savings account.  The bank then takes that money and lends it to someone else, so the money makes its way through the system.  The bank then collects interest on loans and transfers it to your savings account in the form of interest.  Now you have more money than you put into the system.  Conversely, when you take out a loan, the idea is that you borrow someone else’s money, use it to create something of value, and then repay the full amount with a little extra as the cost of doing business.  The extra value comes from having multiplied your commercial energy through the act of creation.  If you can’t pay your debts, then your creditors will add penalties and fees because they think you’re being irresponsible and squandering the money they gave you, so you must be taught a lesson.

When you do something for another person.  You are giving some of your own energy to that person.  They then take that energy and transfer it to someone else.  That energy goes into the system we call the universe, which has theoretically unlimited energy.  Eventually, some of that energy will come back to you through the deeds of other people or from the universe itself, usually with a bit more or at exactly the right time you need something.  So going things for others is like investing your energy into the Bank of the Universe and collecting interest on it.

Conversely, when you do something for yourself, it’s like taking out a loan.  You are borrowing energy from the universe to satisfy your own needs.  Hopefully, once those needs are met, you’ll be in a better position to give back that energy and contribute to serving others.  If you don’t, but instead squander that energy and use it to hurt others or deprive them, then eventually you will have to pay for what you’ve done with extra fees attached.

That is the basic principle of karma.  What you put in, you get out.  What you take out, you must put back in.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23

I was listening to some audio lectures by Brandon Adams on commercial law.  One of the things he talked about is how the Bible can be seen through many lenses, one of which includes a commercial lens.

For instance, it’s said that Christ’s sacrifice has redeemed us.  What does it mean to redeem something?  If you have a coupon, you go and redeem it and get stuff.  Well, the redemption is basically a certificate that says the thing is prepaid, whether in part or in full.  It’s on someone else’s tab, a gift that you just have to accept.

Originally, we lived in a paradise called Eden, which was a commercial-free zone.  Everything we wanted was free for the taking, so long as we observed the rules that God set down.  The only rules at the time were be fruitful and multiply, take care of the earth and everything on it, and don’t touch the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge.  If the rules were broken, God would demand payment in blood.

Adam and Eve broke the rules by eating from the tree.  God said that the punishment for this would be payment in blood, but as we know, Adam and Eve didn’t die.  Instead, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, i.e. they entered a different jurisdiction of law.  They no longer had access to free stuff and were forced to labor (Gensis 3:16 for Eve and 3:17 for Adam) for things.  God revoked the privileges of Eden, but discharged the debt, off-setting it to a later date.  So Adam and Eve and their descendants could live for a while, but they still had to pay for the damages.  Originally, they offered fig leaves, but God, being the creditor, wanted payment in the form of blood sacrifice, so eventually, the two would have to die.  During the course of their lives, however, they and their descendants would have to offer up animal sacrifices.

Cain tried to offer fruits and vegetables, but that wasn’t an acceptable form of currency.  Abel, on the other hand, offered God an acceptable currency in the blood of lambs, and God favored Abel more.  So Cain slew Abel to pay his debts, but this damaged God’s property (our bodies are vessels of the soul) and so God demanded restitution.  So Cain’s fate became the same as that of Adam and Eve: banishment and labor.

Abraham offered payment to God in this form as well.  Eventually, following the Exodus, this became the standard ritual and God further contracted with mankind in the form of a covenant.  Basically, sin is a form of spiritual debt and must be repaid in blood, which is where we get such ideas as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  This is all balancing debts.

In Exodus 34:7, God declares that he is willing to offer mercy and forgiveness to those that have repaid their karmic debts, but that those who remain guilty, his wrath will extend to the man’s descendants.  Basically, this is the spiritual equivalent of life insurance.  If you have enough money saved up, your descendants will inherit when you die and receive a better start on life.  Likewise, if you leave the world in a better place than when you found it, future generations will reap the benefits.  Conversely, if you leave this world with a lot of debts, your family will suffer in paying your bills.  And unfortunately, we as humans have wracked up a lot of karmic debts over the course of thousands of years and the Bank of the Universe isn’t at all pleased with this.

So now we come to the time of Christ where Jesus volunteered his own life, taking on the sins (karmic debts) of the world.  He and God made a deal that Christ’s blood would replace the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament and serve as an extension of credit to the human race.  This is why Christ declares that his is the “blood of the new and everlasting covenant,” with the old covenant being “pay with the blood of animals or die.”

In dying for our sins, Christ gave us a great gift.  He settled our tab, as it were, and wiped the slate clean, balancing our karmic books and zeroing out all the accounts.  God would no longer demand blood sacrifice during the course of our lives.  The original debt had been paid.  So only new debts would affect us and it was our choice to put his gift to good use or squander it.  If we put it to good use, then we will eventually prove that we are responsible individuals worthy of returning to the commercial-free zone of Eden.  However, if we squander that gift, God will once again demand payment in blood and suffering.

Venenum Veritas

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2010 by marushiadark

“Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.” ~ David Wolf, astronaut

There’s an old saying that I’ve often taken as my own personal motto.  It goes, “Expect the worst, hope for the best.”  I’ve always felt it to be very pragmatic because if the worst ever happens, you’ll be prepared for it and not caught off-guard.  Conversely, if anything other than the worst case scenario happens, you will be pleasantly surprised.  So it would seem that, by following such a logical strategy as that, you would be very well off, no?

Lately, I’m no longer so sure.

I’ve always been a very analytically-minded person.  And while it’s often good to have a back-up plan just in case things go wrong, such has left me carrying a lot of worry around, most of it needless. As the Dalai Lama says, “If a problem can be solved, there is no use worrying about it.  If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.”

Cynicism has also made me a very untrusting person.  Some people have told me that’s a good thing, since few are exactly who they claim to be and few are worthy of trust.  Others have said that, in continuing to think along those lines, I will continue to create only what’s on my mind, and what’s on my mind is often cynicism; so my world will seek to placate those thoughts.

I know where it comes from.  It comes from being a student of the truth and always wishing to know that which is true and correct, but at the same time having been lied to and deceived so many times in my life.  Not all of it was intentional, a lot of it was reaction to mental aberrations (actually, all lying is the result of mental aberrations), and a lot of it also comes from my own failings – my own pains and misunderstandings.  If nothing else, it’s very paradoxical.  At times, it is a great burden to carry the truth, especially when others aren’t there to help support you.

Sometimes, I find myself wishing I could go back to that naive little child where everything was perfect and I was always happy.  Yet there are other times where I feel like I wouldn’t trade who I am now for a hundred years of happiness if it meant giving up the truth, because I know I am much freer now and in greater control of the world around me, which in itself brings happiness sometimes.

The truth is a powerfully addictive drug.  The more you learn, the more you can’t help but continue learning.  The more you know, the more you become aware of just how little you actually know in comparison to the sum of all things that can be known; and this newly discovered level of ignorance just spurs the desire to learn that much more.

Many addicts will tell you that, initially, their drug of choice induces a natural high.  But after a while, it becomes customary and routine, so the person falls out of that euphoria into a deep trench and needs a greater dose to reach the same feeling of high as before.  This, of course, creates an escalation in which the highs get higher and the lows get lower.  The sine wave of ups and downs begins to grow in amplitude, but to what extent?  Are we to simply not learn anything at all and be content in our ignorance or is it worth the pains to climb the mountain of knowledge?  Is it worth it to build wings of wax and fly towards the sun, even with the full knowledge that our efforts were in vain from the very beginning and that we’re destined to plummet back into the sea?

Do we simply build better wings?  The better our wings, the higher we soar, but the farther we also have to plummet back down.  Is such a thing worth it?  I think that’s a choice that every man or woman must come to terms with at some point in their lives.  Personally, I like flying, so I’d rather learn to fly than be stuck in the ground.  Being stuck isn’t any fun at all.

Without that feeling of high, you might as well just be a robot and live forever.  I think that idealism is the high and cynicism the low when it comes to knowing things.

One time, I got a fortune cookie fortune that simply said “Don’t give into cynicism.”  What if Kennedy had given into cynicism?  We might not have gone into space and the world would be a totally different place than it is today.  Maybe if we learn enough, and if our wings are constructed well enough, we ourselves will reach into outer space where gravity effects us less, and from there we’ll have laid the foundation for soaring toward the stars, metaphorically speaking.

Mindfuck #2: Time and Space

Posted in All, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2010 by marushiadark

“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.” ~ Rod Sterling

When I was in high school, I joined the Math Team because I had great interest in math.  I was better at it than most people I knew and enjoyed it a lot.  If I was being fair, I would have to say that I was probably the weakest link on the team, but I still took great pleasure in going all the same.

Our coach had ordered a great many copies of the book Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbot.  He didn’t know what else to do with them, so he gave each of us team members a copy of the book to keep.  I read it with great interest, despite the first half being very difficult and abstract material for me at the time.  But it was a book that would forever change my perspective on life.

I was maybe only fourteen or fifteen years old at the time, but after reading Flatland, I became intensely fascinated with the notion of there being other dimensions besides the three that we live in.  In the years following, I would encounter Flatland again many times.

When studying Dante’s Inferno in my junior year, I tried to apply the concept of multiple dimensions to the different levels of hell.  In my AP Physics class, we watched What the Bleep Do We Know? and I recall having in-depth conversations with my teacher about hyperforms.  I even tried to draw out my conceptions of them on the white board.  Eventually, I bought the sequel to What the Bleep? and there came across a retelling of Flatland in the adventures of Dr. Quantum.  I also became fascinated with books like The Hitchhiker’s Guide series and movies like the Cube triology, which had similar themes of dimensionality in them.  It was from watching the movie Hypercube that I first learned the word “tesseract” and their visual example struck deep to my core.

In college, I came across this little gem of a video by the late, great Carl Sagan and my fascination with Flatland was once again renewed.  At about the same time, I also happened upon a most excellent video on Moebius Transformations and their connection with dimensionality.  I also just recently learned that there was a movie made in 2007 about the tale of Flatland, narrated by Patrick Steward, which I’m interested in seeing.

Such obsessions with dimensionality also pushed me to learn about things like black holes and wormholes.  As you might well imagine, I spent a great deal of my time thinking about those too.  In particular, I hold a special place in my heart for Alcubierre Drives and Krasnikov Tubes.

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man.  It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.  It is the middle ground between … the pit of man’s fears and the sum of his knowledge.” ~ Rod Sterling

My fascination with dimensions was equalled only by my fascination with time and my obsession with time travel movies like Timeline, Back to the Future, Clock Stoppers, and Time Cops.

Most people know that we live in a world of three dimensions: height, width, and depth (or x, y, and z).  Some will even say that we live in a four-dimensional world with time being the fourth dimension.  But even as a teenager, I never really bought that time was the fourth dimension.  To me, dimensions were more a thing of space than of time.  After all, you could have a “2-D” movie that was changing over time.  Should we relabel that a “3-D” movie?  And should all the new “3-D” movies coming out be relabled as “4-D” movies?  I bet they’d sell even better if we did.  And what about a “1-D” object (a line) or even a “0-D” object (a point)?  Can’t those move in time as well?

Most people know that velocity / rate / amount of change (v) is equal to distance (d) divided by time (t).  Your car moves at a rate of fifty miles per hour, for instance.  But the equation v = d/t can also be written t = d/v in which case time is defined as the distance between two points divided by their change in distance.  In order for there to be time, there must be at least two things and a change in their relationship.  That’s all that time is.

If we perceive lots of change, like when we’re having fun, then we say that time flies.  Conversely, if not much is changing, it appears as though time is dragging on.  How can time change?  It’s not a physical object.  Numbers and objects can change, but time can’t change.  Time is merely an associative thing created in our minds with no real counterpart in the physical world.  It’s like a metaphor, it doesn’t actually exist in reality.  When you look at your clock, you’re checking the relationship between the hands and the face.  Without a change in that, there is no time. If you look at the motions of the sun in respect to the earth, it’s the same.  No motion, no change, no time.

Consequently, that explains the phenomenon known as time dilation as well.  The observers are observing different events, different changes in the same objects, so in their minds, the time appears to be different.  But it’s simply a difference in perception of change, not the actual change itself.  We are defining all this stuff backwards.

It’s like that familiar episode of The Twilight Zone where the man presses the watch to “stop time” and everything else around him stops moving.  He didn’t stop time, he stopped the people around him.  Time continued as long as he was still moving and doing things in respect to everything else.  The movie Clock Stoppers is similar in that the kids don’t stop time, but are actually moving very fast in comparison to everything else.

Why can’t we tell what happened before the Big Bang?  Because there is no object besides the singularity to give us a sense of time.  That’s why the Big Bang is said to have created space-time, because space is defined as the distance between two points and time is defined as the change in their relationship to one another.

Why do we say that God always existed?  Because before God made the universe, there was just God – one object – and time did not exist before he made something else.

To me, the concept of a fourth dimension always brought to mind a fourth spatial dimension, like height, width, and depth.  I don’t really know what to call it, since no one’s yet come up with a name for it.  Maybe I’ll do that now and call it “inth,” as in “inside,” “inner,” or “inward,” since most fourth-dimension projections appear to show one thing inside the other.

It’s hard to imagine what such a realm would look like because we only live in three spatial dimensions, and anything that enters our space from the fourth dimension would necessarily appear to us as being three-dimensional.

How do we know if something is coming from a higher dimension?  Well, one way would be to take the various trends of lower dimensions and apply them to higher ones.  For instance, a line is a point traveling in a direction.  A square is a line traveling perpendicular to itself.  A cube is a square traveling perpendicular to itself.  So a hypercube, or tesseract, would be a cube moving perpendicular to itself.

In another example, a circle is a point rotated around a point.  A sphere is circle rotated around a point.  And a torus is a sphere rotated around a point.  So in one light, a torus is a four-dimensional object.  And then a hypertorus would be a torus rotated around a point, thereby creating a fifth-dimensional object.  Pretty neat, huh?

It’s important to realize that these are, as Carl Sagan puts it, just three-dimensional projections of four-dimensional objects.  Just as the denizens of Flatland can only ever see a slice of the whole form, so we can only ever see a slice of the whole hyperform.  It’s also important to realize that, although higher dimensional objects are made of an infinite number of intermittent component parts between their two ends, the objects themselves are considered one object, not several.  A cube is just a bunch of squares lined up between two squares, thus making a hypersquare, which we call a cube.  It’s a more holistic level of conception.

So imagine that the tesseract in the previous link is not two nested cubes, but really an infinite number of cubes lined up between the inner cube and the outer cube, thus making one single hypercube.  In the case of the torus, imagine many spheres all packed tightly together to make one single hypersphere, i.e. a torus, with an inner and outer radius, instead of just a radius.  And in the case of the hypertorus, imagine that there are infinite toroids all pressed together and overlapping as they go around the center, thereby creating one single hypertorus with an inner and outer hyperradius, as well as inner and outer radii.

That’s one way of understanding hyperdimensional objects.  But this becomes more difficult when we consider more complex hyperforms, and so we must rely on more abstract ways of thinking.

“The deepest level of truth uncovered by science and by philosophy is the fundamental truth of unity.  At the deepest, subnuclear level, you and I are literally one.” ~ John Hagelin

If you look at a tree, it has many roots and many branches.  These are all individuals and each of them different.  And yet, they are all connected to one another.  They are all the same tree.  They are just different parts of the tree.  If we stick the tree in the ground, the roots are covered and we can’t see them because of the limitations of our three-dimensional vision.

We are like the Flatland square that can only see the outside of objects that pass through its dimension.  However, the sphere is operating at a higher level of consciousness in its three-dimensional world and can see everything inside the square and even pass through its insides.  Were we gifted with four-dimensional sight, we would be able to see through the ground and through the tree and be able to view it in its entirety all in one glimpse.  We could see its insides and its outsides, and its front and back as well without even having to rotate it.

Even though the tree is divided in space by the plane of the ground, thus limiting our ability to see the whole thing, we understand that there is more to it than we can see and that it’s all another part of the same tree.  In much the same way, philosophers and religious leaders have told us for thousands of years that we are all one with God.

In this case, our individual bodies would simply be the roots and branches of a very large God tree, the Tree of Life.  In the Book of Genesis, the Tree of Life gave man eternal life, because he was still in the realization that he was connected with God and that everything is all part of the same holistic God, which is all that exists, therefore there is no time.  Thus, everything was eternal. Man was like the Flatland sphere, able to move in and out and through the world of lower dimensions at will and could see everything at once and, theoretically, be everywhere at once, because he was not limited by the interactions of lower dimensions.

However, as soon as man took from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, his consciousness changed.  He became dualistic, seeing himself as a separate entity from the other beings around him, forgetting that they were all just other branches of himself.  He entered the lower dimension, the lower consciousness and became like the sphere turning into a planer circle and then forgetting it was actually a sphere.

In this realm, there was now time and so there was death – or at least apparent death.  There was nothing to suggest the parts that left simply didn’t go somewhere else only to reappear back in the plane in another point in time in some other form (hint, hint).

So now man was bound to the motions and rules of interaction on the lower plane.  If any part of him moved along the higher plane and did something spooky like levitate, pass through solid objects, have actual knowledge beyond his five senses, disappear, or appear in multiple places at once, it was a fluke or magic or an act of some higher dimensional being.  But the reality of it is that he is the higher dimensional being and he’s simply forgotten.

We can speculate as to the reasons why God would suddenly become more dualistic and enter a lower level of consciousness.  My personal belief is that he was just bored and tired of being alone in an eternity of nothingness and emptiness as far as his all-seeing eye could see, so he decided to split his consciousness up and put on a finger-puppet show for himself.

I mean, think about it.  What would you do if you were stuck in a void for all time?  It’d probably drive you mad as well.