Archive for Science

C is for Chi

Posted in All, Health, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by marushiadark

“You guys can do all this awesome Bending stuff … I’m just the guy in the group who’s regular.” ~ Sokka, Avatar: The Last Airbender

When I was young, around nine-years old, my dad decided to enroll me and my younger siblings in martial arts.  My father was a black belt.  The sensei of the school he enrolled us in studied under the same master as him.  From time to time, my dad would show us techniques well in advance of what most of the other students were learning.  I don’t really consider my father to be the best of teachers.  I feel he lacks the patience to go through things in a step-by-step, kinesthetic, ground-up manner.  When I first learned to drive, he started me on my mom’s SUV, which to this day I still get nervous driving.  However, regardless of how I may feel about him, there’s one thing I owe him my gratitude for and that’s introducing me to the concept of chi.

I don’t remember exactly how I old I was at the time, maybe somewhere around fourteen years of age.  But I remember my father sitting me down in the living room.  He didn’t really go into too much detail; he just explained that there was a sort of energy inside us and that we could learn to use it with practice.  He told me to hold out my hand, which I did.  Then he held his own up around mine without touching it and asked what I felt.  I remember feeling a sort of warm energy when he did this.  That’s chi, he said.

So ended the lesson.  It wasn’t much of anything, really.  All I had to go by was that experience, that feeling, and a vague idea that it had something to do with breathing.  But fortunately, that was enough to get me started.

It’s truly a revelatory experience your first time.  I remember my eyes went wide when I first felt it.  Over the years, I had to figure a lot of stuff out for myself and my progress was very slow.  Having someone there to guide you through your exploration of internal energy is a very beneficial thing.  Joining a Tai Chi or Chi Kung or Yoga class, or even just working with a partner who knows something about it, is a lot better than trying to figure it all out all on your own.

“To train the mind, one must first train the body.” ~ Izumi Curtis, Full Metal Alchemist

In my house, we have a lot of old Shaw Brothers kung fu films.  The first one I ever saw was The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.  It’s the story of a young man named San Te who enters Shaolin Temple and learns kung fu.  At first, San Te’s eager to the point of foolishness and wants to start with the highest art, so he’s taken to the 35th Chamber where a bunch of old and senior monks are reciting Buddhist sutras.  The master of the chamber tells the San Te to leave because San Te clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.  When he refuses, the master raises his arms and the man falls back on his ass.

The monk never touched him, but was sitting at least ten feet away.  You can imagine the look on San Te’s face and how afraid and confused he was.  That was his first experience with chi.

While that may have been a movie, the idea of chi has basis in reality.  The other day, I was watching Stan Lee’s Superhumans, which is a documentary series about real life superhuman abilities.  Among the ones I saw in the episode was a Shaolin monk named Shi Yan Ming who used chi in martial arts.  The premise of the show is to try and determine the scientific basis of such superhuman feats.  A collision scientist was brought in with equipment that revealed results unlike anything the woman had ever seen before.  Shi Yan Ming’s punches delivered damage greater than that of a 30 MPH car crash.  That was just one of several feats performed that would appear impossible given his size and muscular build, so clearly chi has an affect here.

Many martial artists have spent years developing their chi power through training of the body and getting a feel for their own energy.  Unfortunately, few of them spend as much time studying the nature of reality, science, healing, philosophy, and metaphysics, so their ability to use chi is limited mostly to its connection with their physical bodies.

“Teacher, what is this?  This isn’t kung fu!”

“That’s the highest form you’ll ever see, the final form.  You don’t understand.” ~ 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

So what exactly is chi?

In its most basic sense, chi is a type of energy that exists within your body.  It originates from your soul and is the essential life force that powers your mind and body like electricity flowing through your computer.

Your body has many different systems of organs, such as the nervous system, the circulatory system, the skeletal system, the digestive system, etc.  There is also an energy system.  You may have seen diagrams of energy meridians which map out the locations of this system for use in acupuncture, reiki, and other healing arts.  If the meridians are the blood vessels, the chi is the blood that flows through them.

Through mental training and practice, you can learn how to use and manipulate your own chi for a variety of purposes.  If you’ve never worked with it before, it’s essential that you experience it for yourself.  I can’t think of a better way to start you off than to say find someone who knows about it and get them to show you, just like how my dad first showed me.  It will jump start your awareness.

The nearest I can describe it in words is that it’s like an electromagnetic effect.  If you were to hold two magnets of the same polarity in your hands and try to bring them together, you’ll feel a well of magnetism between your hands as if there were an invisible ball there.  That’s basically the same effect that you are creating here.

It’s likely that chi is electromagnetic energy, but I us the word “chi” out of tradition and because it just sounds cooler.  Recall that everything in the universe is made of energy, most of which, if not all of which, is electromagnetic in nature.

The human body is indeed capable of generating electrical charge, which creates magnetism.  The effect of putting your hands out acts like two opposing capacitor plates.  Through focus, you can turn the current on or off and control the flow of electromagnetism between your hands.  I’ve heard of people that can actually shoot sparks across their fingertips like a van de graaff generator.  That’s probably what allows the Sith and Firebenders to manipulate lightning, at least in theory.

Over the years, I’ve been able to do a lot of things with my chi.  I can generate it, manipulate it into different shapes, alter its “mass,” and use it for healing purposes.  I haven’t been able to use it for telekinesis yet, bu

Realistically, I’ve found that, for the amount of time and focus you’d need to gather the energy necessary to flip off a light switch from across the room, it’d be a hell of a lot easier to just summon the discipline and energy to get up and turn it off manually.  So that scene with Anakin Skywalker feeding Padme with the Force … not likely to happen.

Persistence of Memory

Posted in All, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“God is Santa Claus for grown-ups.” ~ Unknown

People of faith often believe that, when we die, if we are good, we’ll get eternal happiness, and if we’re bad, we’ll get eternal punishment.  But does that sound fair to you?  Does that sound like the invention of an all-knowing, compassionate being?  Or does that sound more like a bedtime story you’d tell to kids?

Hey, kids, you know, if you’re really good, Santa Claus will bring you lots of presents, but if you’re bad, he’ll bring you an icky lump of coal instead.  And he can see when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake.  In fact, he won’t even come until after you’re in bed.

You know, there’s a reason they call it eternal rest and sleeping like the dead.

It doesn’t seem right to me that God should give you an eternity of something based on the actions of a fraction of a fraction of that time.  Given all the hype about God, I think he would have more sense than that.  I mean, even our own limited and fallible human institutions know that people change over time and that reward and punishment must be in accordance with a person’s recent behavior.  For some, it may takes moments to change, for others decades, for some maybe even a few hundred years, but that’s still nothing compared to eternity.

Based on the laws of karma, I do believe that you receive some sort of reward or punishment after you die, but I hardly think it’s eternal.

“Death is rest for the soul.  Who was it that said that?  If the body did not die, and the fears borne in the mind just continued to pile up, the world would be nothing more than an eternal prison.” ~ Ziggy, Xenosaga Episode II

The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred.  Even a cynical empiricist who worships the scientific method must admit that if consciousness is energy, then it retains some form even after the body has died.  It might not be in exactly the same state, but it still continues to exist in one state or another.  And what does that sound like from a spiritual perspective?  Reincarnation, perhaps?

Reincarnation is simply the conservation of consciousness between one lifetime and the next.  Many religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Christianity teach that this is what happens to you when you die.  The body decays and the carbon, water, and other components go back into the environment.  The mind goes offline and reawakens in some other body, like transferring documents from one computer to the next.  And the soul just remains as it’s always been, in the position of the observer.

The concept of reincarnation can be scientifically verified.  In fact, some people have already tried.  Maybe you’ve heard stories and news reports about young children being taken to certain places and having knowledge of those places and certain events relating to them that no one has mentioned to the child and which the child can’t possibly know otherwise, except through some sort of metaphysical transfer of information.  That would be a way of proving reincarnation to someone else, but there are other ways of proving it to yourself.

“‘How can I tell,’ said the man, ‘that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?'” ~ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Ever since I was young, I’d always gotten along a lot better with adults than I did people my own age.  I think a number of people can probably say they feel the same way.  Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve conversed with people much older than myself and have come to realize that there are people ten, twenty, even thirty years older than me that act like children.  I don’t really count myself particularly privileged, at least no more-so than those individuals.  So what accounts for this?

When I was in college, I took an introductory course on Psychology and learned about the various stages of development that the human mind goes through.  Among them was the concept of Generativity vs. Stagnation, more commonly known as the mid-life crisis, in which a person looks back on their life and feels that they’ve done nothing but waste time and miss opportunities.  I was only about twenty at the time, but I felt as though I’d already had several mid-life crises over the course of my lifetime.

Some months later, I began to do a great deal of soul searching and starting to become aware of the fact that this wasn’t the first time I’d been here on this planet.  All in all, I’d been here at least five or six times that I can recall (possibly even more than that), which would mean that I’m a fairly old soul.

People often ask me how I know all this, how I came to realize that I’d had past lives and that they took on the particular characteristics that I claim they did.  Well, let me put it to you like this.

I know that there is a lot of New Age emphasis on the Power of Now, as made famous by Eckhart Tolle and others, and that along with this comes the realization that there is no past or future.  But for sake of argument, let’s assume that there is a past.  Most people would think it reasonable to say there is a past.  But how do you know?  How do you know that you weren’t literally born yesterday?  How do you even know that there was a yesterday?  How do you know that, when you woke up this morning, it wasn’t the beginning of time and you simply discovered you had all these thoughts in your head from the very beginning?

When you play a video game, it’s all a programmed illusion that begins as soon as you turn the game on.  That is year zero.  Yet when you turn the game on, you are immersed into a world and a body that has history, or so it believes.  In rare cases, such as Assassin’s Creed II, you get to know the character from the time of their birth; but usually you just wake up one day to find that you are now in a situation and that you have thoughts and ideas in your head about who you are, where you are, what you do, and who your friends are.  Time began at that moment, so all the so-called past is really just an illusion.

Do you think it’s reasonable to suggest that the same could be true for us as well?  That time could just be an illusion and the past merely accounting for discrepancies between our present condition and our memories?

But let us suppose that the opposite is true.  Supposing there really is a past.  So there’s a yesterday and a last year.  Why would your birth, then, be the beginning of your consciousness?  Genetic memory and the 100th Monkey Effect can explain where behavioral instincts come from, but not memories and wisdom of things that neither you nor your ancestors experienced.  For that, you’d need reincarnation.

So how do I know that I lived a past life?  Simple.  I remember something about it, the same as I remember something that happened yesterday or last year.  How do I know it’s memory and not imagination?  Well, how does anyone know that what they experienced yesterday or last year was real and not simply made up?  You feel it in your gut that this is true and accurate and what really happened to you.  That’s how.

“Now if you’re thinking, just now, ‘Why me, oh God?’  The answer is, God has nothing to do with it.  In fact, God is never in France this time of year.” Dorleac, Count of Monte Cristo

Reincarnation is tied with karma.  What you do in the past effects your future.  Even if you get away with something in this lifetime, there are higher forces at work that will see to it that you make up for it next time.  Just like in playing a video game, if you fuck up and die, you retain the memory of what happened and that can effect future outcomes.

That’s probably also what Déjà Vu is, too.  If you feel like you’ve experienced something before, it’s probably because you have.  You just hit the restart button and decided to play over from your last checkpoint.  Like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day, when he keeps trying to find the right words to say to his coworker.

So if you find yourself thinking, “Why me, oh God?” the answer is, it’s always been on you.  Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people and to young children?  It’s probably to teach you a lesson for something you did in a past life.  For instance, in one of my past lives, I was a really shitty parent.  So God decided to grace me with a bad father.  Not as bad as I had been, but enough that I could understand what it was like from the receiving end.

In another past life, I was a cruel Templar master.  So God decided to set me in a time and place where the Templars ruled as the sort of cruel masters that I had been.  He set me on a path to learn about the New World Order from the perspective of one of their slaves.  If I am truly the observer and the creator of my universe, then it stands to reason that such things as The Da Vinci Code and Assassin’s Creed were also created by me as tools for my benefit.  The entire history of the world has been constructed and uploaded into my mind to serve as context while I progress through the game of life towards my objectives.  It’s only logical.

It’s a lot like Alice dreaming of the Red King, who’s dreaming of Alice, who’s dreaming of the Red King … From your perspective, I’m the illusion and the whole world is created for your benefit and lesson.  So life becomes a dream, a shared dream (like in Inception), in which we all create and grow and experience together.  And when we die, we simply wake up somewhere else, with only the memory remaining.

U if for UFO

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by marushiadark

“I think that the fundamental mistake that many scientists make is that they assume that extraterrestrial beings are only 100-200 years beyond our civilization, not thousands, millions of years beyond ours.” ~ Michio Kaku

If I had to name my top five favorite scientists of all time, they would probably be: Nikola Tesla, John Hagelin, Carl Sagan, Fred Allen Wolf, and Michio Kaku.  Einstein would be lucky to make top ten in my book.

When I was young, I used to watch The History Channel and The Discover Channel all the time.  This was back before Nazis, 2012, Global Warming, 9-11, UFOs, The Da Vinci Code, Nostradamus, and Jesus documentaries comprised 90% of all the shows on those two channels.  During that time, UFO documentaries were few and far between, but also really good and informative, even inspiring.

One of the earliest videos on aliens and UFOs that I can recall seeing was Carl Sagan explaining the Drake Equation.  Shortly after seeing it, they stopped airing Carl Sagan’s documentaries and started showing newer stuff.

The opening quote of this article comes from one such program on the possibility of extraterrestrial life.  In that show, physicist and futurist Michio Kaku explains his rather unique perspective on the matter, which was very memorable to me and has stayed with me ever since.  Between Sagan, Kaku, and similar documentaries on UFOs, I became intensely fascinated with the subject.

Around my freshman year of college, I began to get into more of the conspiratorial aspects of UFOs.  The first three documentaries of that nature I ever saw were:

  1. Evidence: The Case for NASA’s UFO, by David Sereda
  2. Behold a Pale Horse, by William Cooper
  3. The Disclosure Project, headed by Steven Greer

To this day, I still rely on them when introducing people to the subject of UFOs and alien life.

“At any given time, there are approximately 1500 aliens on this planet … Humans, for the most part, don’t have a clue.” ~ Kay, Men in Black

I consider it fortunate that I had such a well-grounded baseline for the topic of UFOs and aliens, because there are a lot of cooks, fakes, and hoaxes out there.  From that point on, my mind was wide open to the idea and I continued to learn about aliens and UFOs from the likes of as Bob Lazar, George Carlin, UFO Hunters, Crop Circles, and many others.

In particular, I find Lazar’s accounts to be the most revelatory, since he actually worked on reverse engineering and testing the propulsion of the alien craft.  His findings on the use of eka-bismuth (or should we say vibranium?) in a miniature particle accelerator to create a gravitational wave distortion (possibly interfering with superlight waves) for propulsion and unwired electrical power makes a great deal of sense and could be the answer to many problems on earth involving energy and space travel.

Of course, I can’t really think of anyone both powerful enough and caring enough that has the type of funding necessary to build such devices while also wanting humanity to have them.

“We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.” ~ Zed, Men in Black

For a long time, I believed that human beings might be entirely behind the UFO phenomenon and that the saucers were simply secret man-made crafts.  But more recently, I think they are actually alien in origin and it’s only been since the mid-twentieth century that humans have attempted to reverse engineer them.

Obviously, a lot of questions are raised about why they don’t show up, why haven’t we seen them yet, and so forth.  For every question out there, there’s also a viable answer.  Why haven’t we seen them?  Maybe we’re not sure what we’re looking for.  Maybe some governmental body is actively keeping us in the dark.  Why don’t they come down and visit?  Maybe we have nothing to offer them that is of interest to them (like Michio Kaku’s analogy of ants next to a highway).  Maybe it’s like Star Trek where-in they have a prime directive to not interfere with planets that haven’t reached a certain state yet.

Quite frankly, I think it’s a greater mystery is why they would come and visit us than why they wouldn’t, given how backwards and self-destructive our species tends to be.

We need to put ourselves in their shoes.  Maybe, in continuing to fight amongst ourselves, we simply haven’t earned the right to interact with them.  Not yet, anyway.  As agent Kay from Men in Black puts it, “Human thought is so primitive, it’s looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies.”  If we were the ones traveling to another planet, would we readily immerse ourselves in harmful contagions if we had no way of shielding ourselves from them?  Think about it.

And if they had any hand in creating us, maybe we’re just a failed and forgotten experiment; or, at best, maybe they’re just on the other side of the glass sitting patiently observing us to see what we will do next.

“Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe … and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet.  Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” ~ Agent Kay

Generally speaking, people tend to pigeon-hole extraterrestrial activity into one of two categories: enlightening or destructive.  They’re either angels here to save us or demons here to enslave us, and we portray them as such in our fictions.

I think such dualistic thinking is disingenuous to them and to us.  It fails to take into account the potentially broad spectrum of possibilities.  Just as not every human being can be classified as hero or villain, so too do I feel that not every ghost, alien, or other such entity can be classified as belonging to either one of two categories.  More likely, I think there are good aliens, bad aliens, and indifferent aliens.  Some wish to do us harm, some wish to help us, and some don’t really care either way; they’re just trying to make a living for themselves and fulfill their basic needs and be happy, just like us.

The only thing that really differentiates us from them is that their origins, technology, culture, customs, and possibly their physical forms are unlike ours.  Otherwise, if they are intelligent, sentient beings, it’s reasonable to assume that they have minds and souls not unlike ours.

What those differences actually are and which ones are good and which are bad, I don’t really know.  I’m sure some probably look like greys and some look like us and some may even look like lizards.  But until they arrive, your guess is as good as mine.  I await with baited breath the same as anyone else.

Mindfuck #3: I Am

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by marushiadark

“No matter what ya calls me, I am what I am an’ tha’s all I yam.” ~ Popeye

Very little thought is given to the way in which we use words, especially in reference to ourselves.  Often times, we place a great deal of our identity into things that are not us.  We equate who we really are with an object or concept that is not who we are, but rather something that we have.

For instance, people often say things like, “I am black” or “I am Christian” or “I am a redhead.”  Oh really?  That’s what you are?  Are you sure you don’t simply “have black skin” and “have Christian beliefs” and “have red hair”?

Such behavior is not inherited; it is learned.  We aren’t born identifying with things around us.  That line of thinking is socially conditioned into us.

Would you say that you are your car?  No, that’s ridiculous.  You’re very clearly not your car.  You have a car, but you are not your car.  A car is simply a vessel that you move around in.  You just attach yourself to the vehicle temporarily for the purposes of travel, carrying heavy loads, and doing other such tasks that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.

How about when you play a video game?  We often refer to the character as ourselves.  We say “I did this,” “I moved that,” “I shot the enemy,” and so forth.  But we are not the character.  The character is simply an avatar – a vessel – that we attach ourselves to by way of the controller in order to move about the digital world and do things like fly, shoot lasers, etc.  If you’ve ever been on a forum, you know that the little icon to the left of your post is also called your avatar.  It’s not you, either.  It’s merely a temporary representation of you that may not have anything to do with who you really are.

So what about your body?  Do you identify with that?  Your body is just a collection of cells that grouped together to form a collective unit.  It has more in common with a pixelated video game character than anything else, and your mind would then be the controller.  If you lose a few cells, do you necessarily stop being you?  If you lose an arm, a leg, or a kidney, do you stop being you?  No.  At least, you don’t have to stop being you.  It’s your choice whether or not you let such physical changes affect who you are.  Ultimately, all that really changes is what you can do with your body, but that doesn’t change who you are.  Even if you die, who you are will continue to live on in some form (even if it’s just a memory).

You are no more your body than you are your car or a character in a video game.  Who you are is the person in the driver’s seat, pushing the controls that make the body run, and your mind is the steering console.

“I think, therefore I am.” ~ René Descartes

During the early 17th century, a French philosopher by the name of René Descartes speculated on the basic principles of existence.  He wanted to know what was actually real, or at least what could be proven to be real.

There are two basic ways in which something can be known: empirically or logically.  Empiricism has to do with observation through the senses, while logic has to do with mental reasoning.  Descartes began with the simple observation that there are times when the senses appear to fail to accurately depict the world around us.  For instance, you see something out of the corner of your eye, but it isn’t actually there when you go to check on it with your full vision.  It is a mistake in observation.

Descartes reasoned that, due to the inaccuracies of the senses, it is suspect as to whether or not they can be trusted at all, so he rejects them entirely.

This establishes the notion that any and all physical things observed are potentially nothing more than mere illusions, fabrications of the mind.  It also leaves Descartes with nothing but logical reasoning, and all of that is just a fiction in the mind.  There are no perfectly straight lines in nature, no perfectly three-sided objects, no perfectly round objects; such things are mental short-hands of our own invention.  They do not actually exist.  They are illusions as well.

So then what does that leave?  Nothing, really.  Or does it?

If everything is merely an illusion, then there must be something that is being disillusioned.  There must be some observer of the trick.  Descartes himself referred to these illusions as the act of some demon.  But if there was a demon, the demon must have a victim to play his tricks on, even if that victim is simply himself.

Descartes’ method does not really give us much detail as to the qualities of the observer, just that there is one and that we can be 100% certain of this.  For all anyone knows, the world could be completely accurate as we observe it, or we could be a free-floating consciousness in a void without a body; but it can never be proven one way or the other what the actual nature of reality is.  So everything besides “I am” or “I exist” must be taken on faith.

This tends to piss off a lot of empiricists and scientists that rely heavily or even exclusively on their empirical observations.  Such a conclusion would pull the carpet out from under their feet by establishing the fickle nature of even their most basic assumptions.

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’  And he said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ … This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. ” ~ Exodus 3:14-15

Scientists aren’t the only ones pissed off by this conclusion.

Among those that believe in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, there is much time spent worrying and debating over pedantic little details like “Is God’s name YHWH or YHVH?  Jehovah or Allah?” “Is Jesus, Yeshu, or Yeshua the correct name of Christ?”  “What color was Jesus’ skin?”  “Is it sinful for me to take only the bread and not the wine during communion?” “If I eat meat on a Friday, am I going to hell for it?”  “If I forgot to say PBUH after Mohammad’s name, will God hate me?”  “Do I need to wash my hands before prayer?”  “If I have a cheeseburger, is God going to punish me for not staying Kosher?”

If your focus is on minor details like that, then I’m sorry to say that you have missed the forest for the trees.  Without seeing the bigger picture, these little things are rather irrelevant.  If your car doesn’t even have wheels, what does it matter if the dashboard lights aren’t working?  Even if the engine worked perfectly, you’re not really getting anywhere, now are you?

All three faiths respect and defer to Exodus and to Moses.  So if you claim to be a believer of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, there’s really no excuse for not knowing and understanding this particular passage.  God spells out rather clearly here as to who and what he is.

God is.  It’s as simple as that.  Most everything else is just minor details.

You are.  I am.  That’s as much as anyone can ever truly know for sure.  If it turns out that there is no God and we’re just a consciousness in a void; then by definition, you are God because you are the creator of the whole universe, since you are the one creating the illusion.  You call the shots, so why would you cast yourself, or anyone else, into eternal torment?  Why would you make yourself perform rituals and subjugating acts of worship?  You are the God of your own universe.

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.

D is for Darkness

Posted in All, Media, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by marushiadark

“I like rabbits and all.  They’re cute and they’re horny.  And if you’re cute and you’re horny, then you’re probably happy, in that you don’t know who you are and why you’re even alive.” ~ Donnie Darko

I was watching the movie Donnie Darko earlier today.  It’s an incredibly fucked-up psychological fantasy and I think that may be what makes it one of my favorite movies of all time … that and the fact that I was once not all that dissimilar from Donnie, myself.  The director, Richard Kelly, says he welcomes any and all viewer interpretations as valid and mine is that the movie is a commentary on the way in which a few of us try desperately to escape our conditioned realities.

Donnie Darko is an extremely intelligent and eloquent young high school student who just doesn’t fit in with the world around him.  His principal remarks at one point that his test scores are intimidating, and Donnie constantly challenges those around him to stop buying into the pre-programmed beliefs they’ve been spoon-fed.  But when he tries to break free, the universe pushes back and provides him with nothing but resistance and sorrow and pain.

I think all of us must face this sort of ordeal in life where we question our own existence and come face to face with death and pain and God and the thought of being alone in a cold, dead, and empty nihilistic universe.  For those of us that are more aware, we usually face these issues sooner, rather than later, often around the age that Donnie Darko was in the movie.  For those that are strong enough, we learn to move on and find answers and meaning behind it all.  Like with any test, those that can’t hack it are doomed to repeat their lessons until they ultimately learn them.

So what is it we can learn from Donnie Darko?

“And did you stop and think that maybe infants need darkness?  That maybe darkness is part of their natural environment?” ~ Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff

Perhaps the first thing that Donnie Darko teaches us is that it’s ok to be different (but not easy) and that it’s perfectly normal (but not common) to be going through all of this crap and that life is too boring if you just sit around looking pleasant all the time like Kitty Farmer or Jim Cuttingham.

Darkness teaches us to appreciate the presence of light.  Chaos teaches us to appreciate order.  You can’t have one without the other, since darkness is the absence of light and chaos is the absence of order.  For life to be in dynamic equilibrium, there has to be some of both.  Too much light or too much darkness and you will not be able to see clearly.  Too much light or too much darkness and you’ll eventually go blind.

I remember walking around my school one time when I realized that peace is actually quite boring sometimes and that we never really notice things like peace and love and health until we stop having them; but once we’re sick or in the middle of a war zone or alone, we only want for it to end and for us to return to that healthy and peaceful and loving time.

“There are other things that need to be taken into account here.  Like the whole spectrum of human emotions.  You can’t just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else!” ~ Donnie Darko

Donnie is obviously very aware of reality and that life is a lot more complex than the so-called authorities would have him believe.  Those in positions of power over him live in a fantasy world and use threats and drugs and mind-control techniques when he refuses to conform to their reality.

At one point, Kitty Farmer threatens him, saying that if he won’t put a clearly subjective issue into a black or white category, then he will receive a zero for the day.  Of course, Donnie knows better.  He knows that a failing grade is a meaningless symbol that has no real-world application to anything.  So he tells Kitty that she can shove the whole program up her ass.  This lands him into detention and a parent-teacher meeting is called.  It’s clear from the way in which the principal deals with the situation that he’s little more qualified than Kitty Farmer is – a fact that is further displayed when he fires the only open-minded teacher at the school.

“You’re right, actually …  I’m pretty toubled and I’m pretty confused … but I think you’re the fucking Antichrist.” ~ Donnie Darko

The human mind goes through many different levels of consciousness, ranging from that of a primitive animal all the way up to … well, there’s theoretically no limit to that.

Religion and superstition are just one level along the way.  Religion can be a good thing when it prevents people from causing harm to themselves and to one another and when it gets them to follow a degree of order in their lives.  But those rules are meant more to keep people in line than to reveal to them the truth, and this is when religion can become a problem, as there are many who will kill others because they don’t understand the true purpose of what is written in their religious codices.

“I have reached the end of your book and … there are so many things that I need to ask you.  Sometimes I’m afraid of what you might tell me.  Sometimes I’m afraid that you’ll tell me this is not a work of fiction.” ~ Donnie Darko

Science portends to be all about truth, but it often ignores the equally important vessel of understanding: philosophy.

Donnie Darko’s science teacher, Kenneth Monnitoff, opens up to him initially in explaining to him about time travel and wormholes.  For a while, Donnie is very interested and grateful to his teacher for that guidance.  He takes that knowledge and uses it to advance his understanding of what’s going on; but he becomes frustrated upon returning to his professor again after he’s taken The Philosophy of Time Travel (which Monnitoff gave him) and used it to discover some very esoteric things.  Monnitoff tells him that he can’t continue helping Donnie or he would risk losing his job.  So now Donnie is once again all alone.

I can recall having similar conversations with my own science teachers.  When I started talking about multiple dimensions or the application of negative mass in regards to flying saucers, I got strange and worried looks as though they believed I ought to be in a mental institute.  But was that necessarily the case or did they just not have the imagination or evidence I had?

“I don’t think that you have a clue what it’s like to communicate with these kids.  We are losing them to apathy … to this prescribed nonsense.  They are slipping away.” ~ Karen Pommeroy

Clearly, none of Donnie’s teachers, except for Karen Pommeroy, is even remotely capable of understanding the pain and the trauma that Donnie has gone through.  They aren’t equipped with the awareness and experience necessary to understand that a schizophrenic mind will not conform to social norms.  Whatever Donnie is going through, whether it’s real or imagined, he most certainly believes it to be real and is willing to act upon those beliefs.

For those of you who have never experienced it before, such things as manic-depression, multiple personality disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia arise when the mind is given something that it cannot resolve easily.  It may be a paradox that can’t be logically resolved or a painful experience that the person would rather deny or something that is simply so foreign to everything that the person has come to believe up to that point about reality.  Either way, it’s something so powerful that the mind is incapable of handling it without shutting down, so it partitions itself the way one would partition a hard drive.  This partition is kept separate along with all the related data on the matter until a safe and acceptable resolution can be had.  Medication may curtail the resultant behavior and make the person function within society, but ultimately the only real solution is for the individual to find a way to reunite the two parts of their mind again.

“I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breath a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.” ~ Donnie Darko

Donnie’s principle fear is dying alone.  He tells Dr. Thurman that it’s foolish to believe in God if everyone dies alone.  His therapist explains that he is actually an agnostic, not an atheist, since he acknowledges the possibility of God, even if he’s not sure if there’s proof.

We often talk of God’s plan and divine intervention.  In fact, most of the events in Donnie’s life all happen for a reason.  “Deus Ex Machina,” he cries.  For a more thorough explanation of how any why, see this document.  It’s possible that the events of 2012 may be a similar deal with a Tangent Universe being created that could threaten to destroy the world.  It’s also very reminiscent of some of the themes in Inception and Deja Vu.

At the time of my writing this article, I haven’t seen the sequel to it: S. Darko, but I really would love to.  Maybe I’ll even do a post on that one as well.

In the meantime, I hope that anyone who suffers from a life like the one that Donnie Darko had will be able to make it through alright and come to see it, as I have, as nothing more than a rite of passage into an elect group of aware and free  human beings.

As Gretchin says, being weird is meant as a compliment.

E is for Energy

Posted in All, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by marushiadark

I want to know all God’s thoughts; all the rest are just details.” ~ Albert Einstein

When it comes to unilaterally naming the greatest mind that ever was, most people think of Einstein.  Personally, I’ve always been a Tesla man, myself.  But I have to at least give Einstein credit for one thing above all else.  Perhaps his single greatest contribution to modern thinking.  It’s something that everyone knows, but few actually understand.  In fact, a child can be taught it easily, yet in principle, even adults have trouble comprehending it.  It holds a vital clue as to the true nature of the universe and to the answers to many of the great mysteries of life.

I’m talking, of course, about his famous equation: E=mc^2.

Nearly everyone has heard of this equation, but most just glaze over it without knowing what it means, let alone what its implications are.

For those of you who can’t read math, the “E” stands for “energy,” the “m” stands for “mass,” and the “c^2” is the speed of light in a vacuum (a certain number) times itself.  Energy is nothing more than a wave, like a sine wave.  Every wave has an amplitude (height / strength), a wavelength (length between two similar points, such as adjacent peaks), and a frequency (how many times the wave peaks within a second).  Mass is simply the amount of matter (stuff) in a given area.  The more matter there is, the more mass a thing has.

What Einstein’s famous formula is basically saying is that the more mass there is, the more energy there is.  Moreover, it says that matter is energy and energy is matter.  The two are interchangeable.  The “c^2” part is simply a rate of exchange, like when you trade currencies in a foreign country.  If you have a certain amount of mass, that indicates a certain amount of energy.  If you have a certain amount of energy, that indicates a certain amount of mass.

Everything that exists, is made of energy.  It has its own frequency, wavelength, and amplitude.  Everything.

“Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” ~ Mufasa, The Lion King

In science, there are four forces: electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear, and gravitational.  You’re probably familiar with electromagnetic waves, which are waves of electricity and magnetism.  What we think of as visible light is only a small portion of the waves that make up what’s known as the electromagnetic spectrum.

However, all forms of electromagnetic waves are considered to be light since they all move at the speed of light.  Only their frequency is what sets them apart.  So light is just electromagnetic waves and electricity is transfer of electrons (the negative charge in an atom), which are made up of quarks (tiny particles).  These same quarks also comprise the other parts of atoms: protons and neutrons, and are themselves made up of energy, which interact with light.  In this way, scientists were able to figure out the laws of interaction between electromagnetic waves and the two nuclear forces.

That leaves only gravity, but new theories are beginning to suggest that it, too, is related to electromagnetism.

“The light in me honors the light in you.” ~ Hindu Blessing

A particle of light is known as a photon.  Photons are said to have no mass at all (or at least the most minute amount of mass possible to still exist).  They are the most fundamental particle there is, so it’s reasonable to assume that all other particles are simply the result of condensing a certain number of photons into them.

Perhaps someday in the future, scientists will confirm beyond the shadow of a doubt that there’s a constant gradient between photons and quarks and that the property of mass is just more photons accumulating, which lowers the speed of the object to some point below the speed of light until you get to the scale of very large, slow-moving objects like us.

Religious and spiritual teachers have believed for thousands of years that everything is made of light and that this is what binds us together as human beings.  Egyptian, Greek, and many other religions worship the Sun as God or a symbol of God.  Words like “illuminated” and “enlightened” also derive from such beliefs.

We know that light is a form of energy and everything in the universe is made of this energy, so even our modern science seems to be in agreement with these ancient mystics.

When you begin to understand the way that waves interact with one another, you begin to understand more about the nature of reality.  Such phrases as “energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred” take on more practical and philosophical implications.  For instance, what happens when we die?  Our energy is simply transferred somewhere else and in some other form (possibly to reincarnate in another dimension).

You’ve probably heard about social osmosis – the idea that who you hang out with affects who you become.  That’s only possible with a transfer of energy.  Perhaps you’ve even heard of things like chi, clairvoyance, or psychic healing, which are also just transfers of energy.  Even your ordinary five senses that you take for granted everyday are the sensation of a transfer of energy.

Consciousness is also energy, which means that matter is also consciousness and consciousness is matter.  From this principle, we derive such ideas as “thoughts create things” and “what you think about, you bring about.”

Energy is everything and everything is energy, all of it interacting and mixing together like the water of a giant ocean.  One is all, all is one.  Where does the water drop end and the ocean begin?  Once you begin to realize this, the world ceases to be a cold and uncaring place and becomes alive with new meaning and endless possibilities.