From CNN: Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich denied the existence of a Palestinian people or nationhood over the weekend, prompting a rebuke from the United States just weeks after calling for a Palestinian town to be “erased.” Smotrich, a Jewish nationalist, argued that the idea of Palestinian nationhood was invented in the past century in response to the Zionist movement to found modern-day Israel. https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/21/middleeast/israel-smotrich-palestinians-intl/index.html
This you just have to read to believe. Most Americans tend to view causes of disenfranchised peoples in other countries as something we may try to help with when we have the time, but not of major import to us. Considering the amount of problems we have here at home now, that may be a legitimate stance. The only problem with it is that the United States is the primary ally and supporter of Israel, especially over the last 30 years as more and more countries call for boycotting the country for their severe mistreatment and human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.
Oftentimes it’s only the United States that blocks major UN resolutions against Israel when the rest of the world signs them. Which makes Israel’s violations of human rights laws America’s violations. What Israel does, the United States automatically supports due to this alliance — even though someone from the American government always steps up and speaks out against, as in this case.
But those are just words. The truth is the United States has done nothing over the last 80 years in the face of even the worst human rights abuses by Israelis. Just as with America’s alliance with the Saudis, at some point the American people need to decide which side they are on and which ideologies they stand for: human dignity, freedom and Justice? Or barbarous fascism and apartheid?
It’s one of the first things one hears from people around the world when traveling —how on earth can Americans claim they stand for freedom and democracy in light of their support for Israel or Saudi Arabia? No one in the world who has taken up the noble cause of the displaced Palestinian people agrees with the more radical views of Hamas and others about “Israel needs to be destroyed”. That’s a fallacious distraction some use to try to justify their goal of eradicating Palestinians out of existence.
And that right there might be one of the most shocking realities of our current world: many Israelis and Jews all over the world don’t hide their desire to see every last Palestinian dead. If you ask them about the conflict, they’ll readily say something to that effect to you. The first time someone said it to me, about 25 years ago, I was shocked. Until I heard it a second and third and fourth time. It lies in stark contrast with their desire to have the atrocities of WW II against their own people to be remembered and never repeated.
To be fair to current facts the most ardent supporters of the Palestinian cause are Jews who live in Israel. The strongest base of anti-Israel apartheid state views and tactics are in Israel founded by Jews who are intelligent and compassionate minded people. There’s just not a lot of them compared to the immoral majority there who’d like to wipe out the Palestinians.
Regardless, the real issue for us here in the US is how long will we allow the American government to keep supporting these tyrannical nations in our name just because it serves some financial or militarily strategic goals?
For me it started during the summer of 2021, approximately a year and a half ago. It wasn’t based on news or data, but only an intuitive feeling at the time. Throughout the morning that day I had been feeling a disturbing intuitive sense that something was off regarding international relations and global conflicts. Something bad was about to happen globally and it was major.
I walked into the kitchen where Princess Little Tree (PLT) was cooking all morning and I said “there’s going to be some kind of a war honey. Something big. Like a world war. I can feel it.” But Princess Little Tree is accustomed to my outlandish declarations. She responded by asking me if something had happened that led me to think that. I told her no, it’s just a really strong intuitive sense. As the feeling continued to intensify I continued to repeat to her throughout the day how I was sensing something big, some kind of major global altercation. At some point she said “well let’s note it and put it on the calendar”. So we did. On a hot august day in the summer of 2021. We wrote “PBJ (Prince Baby Joon) sees a world war coming”.
And that was it. Time passed. And we didn’t hear or see much in the way of anything that supported this idea. Until more than a year later when Russia invaded Ukraine. That in and of itself did not raise the hairs on the back of my neck. We had seen this movie too many times before, especially during the Obama years. Then it stopped once Trump was elected and Russia suddenly was on its best behavior. (Interesting that…) But for some reason it got everyone else alarmed. Especially the United states and Europe.
Once the United States and Europe started acting as if the safety and security of the entire world was being threatened by this Russian invasion of Ukraine (it’s not), I started commenting, softly and slowly at first and then more intensely, “this is the beginning of what I was seeing. We’re literally watching in real time what could easily throw us into a world war…”. It wasn’t Russia invading Ukraine. It was the fact that the US and most European countries were so willing to jump into the conflict by suddenly backing Ukraine as if they too were in a war against Russia.
Which of course they were, as the rest of us would soon begin to realize as the months wore on. Pretty soon it was hard to tell who was at war. Sure Ukraine held the little name badge showing they were an official team in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But the United States is the country actually funding and weaponizing the whole thing. And this along with Europe’s contributions to Ukraine and directly opposing Russia was and will remain historically one of the biggest foreign policy errors in human history. And at this point anyone who claims that the United States is not at war with Russia is not paying attention. Or in denial. Or lying.
[Right here I’m going to tell you that exploring the reasons why the United States decided to go to war against Russia (simply put it’s payback to Zelensky for keeping his mouth shut to protect both Trump and Biden from the criminal repercussions they’d receive if the full stories of their past actions in and involving Ukraine were revealed) is vital but not pertinent to the bigger picture of this impending world war, because this has spiraled so far out of control now, in so many different directions that the US didn’t foresee, that even the strange and abnormal hero status and protection that the United States has bestowed upon Zelensky is not as important as everything else we’re witnessing that appears to be leading us into a large scale global super-conflict that threatens to be the biggest and deadliest in human history.]
Late yesterday, after a slew of concerning events that further showed how quickly the world is moving toward war, the president of Serbia gave a chilling warning about it: “…this is an escalation that has no end. I’m afraid that we may be heading towards the biggest conflict in the history of the world. I wonder if anyone is smart enough not to go through with this, and if anyone understands whatever the consequences of this will be,” Vucic said.
Friday March 17 2023 will go down in history books as the day that signaled the world was headed down a path toward another world war. Out of everything we heard through the newswires Friday that signaled this dark moment, perhaps none was more important nor more important than hearing that the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the Netherlands issued a formal arrest warrant for Russian President Putin for war crimes. It is one of the most surreal and ludicrous actions we’ve seen so far building up to the harsh realities now facing us.
Surreal because one cannot imagine anyone so short sighted to issue an arrest warrant against the president of a sovereign nation, especially not under the circumstances of said president being in the middle of a war with another country. The implications are immense. President Putin is immune to such an action. As any president of any other sovereign nation is. At best this is a foolhardy political ploy that will feed only the hearts and minds of celebrity-minded media maggots with nothing better to talk about. The same anchors reporters and pundits who play Who’s Popular with American politicians every night instead of reporting the news.
To see how ludicrous the action is imagine for a moment if the ICC issued an arrest warrant for American President Joe Biden. The United States would immediately issue a press release decrying the act as not legally binding and not lawfully applicable to the president. Just as the Kremlin did. They would also issue a warning to the ICC and the 123 member countries to not move forward with any such actions in that direction or face the consequences. Just as the Kremlin did.
Most importantly if anyone did take this arrest warrant seriously and do anything to president Biden, the US military would take such swift action to protect our president that it would be over in less than 30 minutes. It would also spell the beginning of the end for that country. One can only imagine the destruction that would befall said country should they do anything that stupid. The same thing would happen if anything were to happen to president Putin. As it should be. It would ring the bells of the first shots that began World War III. If we do not collectively honor the national sovereignty of other countries and their leaders, no matter how much we might disagree with them, then we don’t deserve freedom and liberty as a people. We might as well start building the jail cells to prepare for the forever-1984 world we’d be creating.
After nearly a year of talking about this, trying to get others to see what’s happening, how obvious it is, how deadly it’s going to be, we finally get some confirmation, someone else, someone with a little credibility on the world stage, warning of the same thing. Because it has become obvious now to anyone paying attention.
Many other countries around the world haven’t been as withholding and have already boldly stepped forward to declare their allegiance to one side or the other for all the world to see. Much of it has happened in the last month. I have been shocked how quickly it’s unfolding now. What started out as nothing more than a feeling, turned into a hunch, and then avalanched into a reality composed of a daily series of events that we can now track and dread.
The nations of the world are quickly forming alliances with each other, choosing which side they’re on and filing into place in preparation for this coming world war. The United States seems to be the only nation who hasn’t come clean with its citizens or the media or the rest of the world in admitting what they see happening and what they plan on doing about it.
My guess is that the powers that be in Washington know very well what’s happening, regardless of how dumb and clueless those in the White House, senate and congress appear to be to the rest of us. My hope is that those who need to know do know and they’re just playing it close to the vest to delay the chaos and panic that would ensue if it came out.
In the last month we’ve seen a multitude of incidents announced around the world that should be terrifying to those paying attention, which is the primary problem: not many people are paying attention. And I dont believe that even the events of this week’s news will change that. I’m guessing that for the most part people are waiting to be told by their favorite American news network that they need to be paying attention. Obviously a serious miscalculation for those who care about such things. (And who doesn’t?)
News networks have done a decent job of feeding us about 35% of the facts and news-bites that are important and pertinent to this impending global conflict, but none have dared to analyze the data and report what governments, think tanks and experts are surely already discussing behind closed doors. They’re still spending 99% of their airtime stupefyingly debating political nonsense about the American president or congress or senators they like or dislike. It’s beyond inane the way politics have turned into the favorite plaything of news-as-entertainment. It’s obliterated the way people view and think about world news.
Especially in the climate we’re in now. I’m nothing. A working class singer-songwriter. If someone like me can already start putting the pieces together and notice the world is getting damn close to the largest global conflict in world history, then surely journalists and news producers can. But they refuse to. Or better put they refuse to acknowledge they’re able or willing to. That’s a sure path to mutually agreed upon self destruction for both the media and the people and world they claim to serve.
The media and the government have been so preoccupied with their self professed war with Russia that they forgot the United States has already been in a Cold War with China for years. The potential for China, the second largest economy in the world and third largest super power, already at war with the United States and proud of it, to suddenly form an alliance with Russia, the second largest super power, was almost inevitable. But something we all hoped we’d never see.
That took place yesterday when we woke up to the news that China’s president Xi Jinping is heading off to Russia next week to sign new alliance agreements with Putin. This is the news that we have been dreading.
For context many people think the United States won World War II. What they forget is that Great Britain, France, the United States, along with Russia and China won World War II. So what is a World War III for the United States going to look like with those two superpowers fighting on the other side.
Lest we forget that the United States has a questionably spotty if not a downright bad record of being able to win wars on its own since the end of World War II. Korea, Vietnam, the Iran-Iraq war (which the United States initiated through funding Iraq with tens of billions of dollars and weapons while demanding that Iraq invade Iran until it realized that Iran was still winning after 5 years so they switched course and started secretly funding Iran with money and weapons (see Iran Contra Affair)).
Then came the US attacks of the Middle East in the 2000s where at one point the United States was engaged in a war with six different countries simultaneously but could not realistically make one victory speech about any of them even after 20 years because they couldn’t figure out how to win. Instead they let military personal and soldiers flounder for decades in the deserts not winning nor receiving the necessary support or escalated troop numbers they needed. Eventually the United States told the troops to come home, in Afghanistan for example, with their tail between their legs not having accomplished anything. Once again an American war that didn’t go as planned.
With Libya the US didn’t even bother to start a war. They just bombed the hell out of the country and killed its president and other leaders, which were the only thing keeping the country remotely stable, then abandoned the country and it’s people, leaving it to become one of the top training grounds for Islamic terrorism and ISIS in the world, which is what it is today. This was not winning a war. What it was careless and bad strategy.
These kind of global displays of reckless destruction and stupidity used to work for the United States. Or at least they were usually confident they’d get away with them and there’d be no serious repercussions. But things have changed over the last five to ten years.
Other nations around the earth have gotten tired of them. Traditionally they weren’t able to do anything to stop the US from its careless bullying and bomb dropping. Because they were too small and the United States has too large a military. But with newfound confidence from large economies and a thirst to break free from American global dominance once and for all, along with the advent of new anti-American policies by the second and third largest superpowers, Russia and China, other smaller nations are being heard and welcomed into this new multinational super-alliance. Fast. And the one thing that all of these nations share in common is a hatred of all things Western.
Consider for a moment how many hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East alone who have been dreaming about taking deadly revenge against the United States for the last 23 years. With both Iran and Saudi Arabia forming new alliances with Russia and China in the last few weeks it appears that vision is ever closer for them. The fact that the Saudis would even dare dream of doing such a thing when the US, for better or worse, created the country in the first place and has supported this family of viscous dictators for almost a hundred years is unthinkable. But they did it. Just a week ago. That’s not something the United States ever counted on happening.
Why else would the White House permit the prince of Saudi Arabia MBS to chop up the body of an American journalist, Jamal Kashogi, into tiny pieces and stuff it into a suitcase with no consequences? What would be a capital offense for anyone else is permissible for the Saudis. Because ostensibly we need need each other. But that’s officially changed over the last month. We may still need them. But they don’t need us anymore.
Obviously the worst of all possible outcomes would be if these countries decided to break the United States’ monopoly on oil and the petro dollar, something that’s been contemplated and announced by both and China through newswires several times this year already. The US dollar would plummet instantly. The biggest challenge the United States faces is that it has one of the weakest economies in the world now, very different than 20-25 years ago. They have the largest national debt in human history and a debt to GDP ratio well over 100%.
Normally when a country reaches a Debt/GDP ratio of 60%, they are forced into brutal austerity measures by other countries around the world and are never able to rebuild their economy again. This is because statistical models show that once over 60% it’s impossible for any country to rebuild from that. The debt/GDP ratio of the US now is almost double that. The only thing keeping the United States afloat at this point is it’s large multinational military presence i.e. fear, and it’s monopoly over oil and world currency — the latter would immediately end if the other large superpowers convinced the Saudis it was okay to break this longstanding agreement with the US. The question now is what’s stopping them with new alliances with Russia and China?
The United States can never borrow enough to get out of its debt even by a little because no one else has that kind of money to loan them. The US could theoretically gather every billionaire in the country and strong arm them into assisting it in lowering its debt or in helping it increase its purchasing power. But even if they took every penny every billionaire in America possesses, it wouldn’t make a dent in the 22 trillion dollars of debt the United States has on its books now.
And that’s yesterdays news compared to the latest implosion of small and midsized banks across America, a path that as worrying and traumatizing as it is for most of us to witness, is just getting started. This poses another threat for the United States in being able to fund a full scale war against the new Communist Alliance. Although one may consider that due to how profitable war is for many parties, securing funding shouldn’t be a problem.
At this point only a war can save the United States. A war they would need to win. It’s how they got out of their last debt crisis, the Great Depression. If it weren’t for World War II it’s not likely the United States would’ve come out of the Great Depression to become the largest superpower in the world.
What’s important to piece together is who will be purportedly fighting who. Who are the Allied Powers now? The new Communist Alliance we’re seeing come together now is China, Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and several smaller Eastern European nations. Will China invade Hong Kong and Taiwan soon and force them to fight in the conflict? Or will the United States come to their aid and start a war with China to defend these important economic houses? Does that imply they would fight with The Western Alliance?
Who is the Western Alliance? The United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan (yes it’s ironic how all the tables have switched sides since the last Great War), the Scandinavian nations, Turkey will fall on that side since they’re so indebted to the US, et al. Think NATO. One can easily see a potential problem. This isn’t the early 20th century. None of these once grand superpowers are as strong or powerful as they once were. Only Germany still poses an authoritative threat militarily to anyone besides the U.S.
It’s important to note that the United States has over 1500 military bases and black ops sites all over planet earth at this time. The second largest mass is that of Russia who only have 640 sites in total. This gives the United States a healthy advantage strategically going in.
One of the later events of yesterday that appeared in the news to add fire to the flames of an impending world war was the announcement that Finland has now decided to join NATO, against numerous warnings against that action at this time by other NATO countries, and Turkey publicly stated they were willing to ratify it. Talk about poking the bear. Not even the United States was willing to consider this, nor the membership of Ukraine for that matter (despite their incessant pleading for it) because everybody knows that was the main reason given by Putin as to why he invaded Ukraine. He doesn’t want Mother Russia to be unfairly surrounded by NATO member countries on his border. Which makes perfect sense. It’s a justifiable concern. Which is why major western countries have been unwilling to let Finland or Ukraine join NATO. It would only fan the flames of an already angry Russia. The fact that this too was announced yesterday was another step toward the wrong direction if what we all want is world peace.
More later. This is just the first in what will surely be more notes about this deeply concerning issue.
If you’re looking for a bank for day to day retail banking needs like depositing your paycheck or paying recurring monthly bills, you may want to think again before using Capital One. There has been a growing number of cases reported in 2023 of the bank using the money sending app Zelle to take money out of their customers’ accounts overnight and claim that it’s a glitch in the Zelle app.
It’s a crafty method Capital One uses on the unsuspecting customer. They stick with small businesses or customers that tend to have $50,000 or less in their account, and keep the amounts they steal limited to $500 or less. But compounded by tens of thousands of customer accounts a night, the total amount of money the bank is able to collect amasses to hundreds of thousands of dollars per night.
Some customers may not even notice the money is gone at first. And that’s exactly what the bank is hoping for. But for most working Americans $250 to $500 is a lot of money. Consumer Protection agencies say that so far Capital One only targets customers or businesses who’ve recently sent money to a friend, family member or another business using Zelle; this person is called the Recipient. The Capital One customer, called the Sender, hears back from the recipient that they never received the money. So they contact Zelle, who reports that the money was received and cleared by Capital One bank.
The customer then calls Capital One. What happens next is a circular scheme of never ending phone calls and e-mails with the bank who claims that they see the transaction but aren’t able to verify if the recipient received the money; and due to the terms of service of Zelle they aren’t able to return the money to the sender either.
Recorded calls with Capital One customer service reps reveal that even they are unable to fully understand where the customers’ money is, but they can confirm that the bank did receive the money from Zelle. They also can confirm that the customers’ account has been debited by the amount they sent. Most of the time the customers have already sent the recipient a second payment using a different money sending method like PayPal or Venmo, assuming that Capital One would discover the glitch and refund the first payment to them. Instead the bank continues to claim that “due to the terms of service of Zelle, users are liable for the payments sent using the app”.
This phrase is repeated to the customers ad nauseam by Capital One customer service reps, who themselves aren’t even sure what it means or how it equates to Capital One taking these large amounts of money out of customers’ accounts. They can only see that the customer has paid for the transaction twice, their account has been debited twice and there’s no way to refund the first transaction.
Both customers and Capital One customer service reps remain confused during what usually turns into conversations that last an hour or more. Both can see that the account is missing the money from the first transaction and that the recipient never received it. Both can confirm that Capital One processed the transaction and has the customers’ money. They just can’t figure out why, nor how to retrieve the money in order to refund it to the customer.
What Capital One is doing with the money they’ve kept from these transactions or where it’s gone remains a mystery. But reports of this type are mounting up across the country. Customers are then forced to find an attorney and file a claim against the bank. But most working Americans don’t have the time for that, so they put it off. Capital One is then able to keep the money from their customers’ Zelle transactions without ever sending it to the recipients. Stories like this are beginning to appear more and more frequently about Capital One and Zelle, though in their defense it appears that Zelle is as much a victim of Capital One’s questionable banking practices as their customers.
One thing is sure about these stories. Consumers would be better off not using the Zelle money sending app if they bank with Capital One, or better yet would be safer still if they chose a different bank altogether.
Right around the corner, in everybody’s life, lie infinite possibilities, the sum of humanity’s free will and nature’s chaotic elegance and disorder. God let there be a miracle just on the other side.
When you have done your best and still feel all your resources have been exhausted, a mental, emotional and spiritual hunger abides with you. God please help me feel sated and fulfilled.
Memories flood in and out of our hearts and minds, reflecting on better times, worse times, similar times; when we found God, felt God, lost God, mourned for God. God please find me again.
We are often in awe of how life can be so beautiful and easy at times, yet so difficult and challenging, even tragic, at other times. The path to true peace is the wisdom that leads us to an acceptance of the miraculous cohabitation of good and bad, divine and evil, noble and barbarous, healthy and sickly. God please help me find wisdom.
Despite this knowing, despite our acceptance of the contradictory flow of life, we have an irrational yet instinctual desire for everyone we know to be doing well; to be good and noble, strong and healthy. God please abide within everyone I know; keep them safe Lord.
And somewhere inside us there exists this divine hope that continues to lift us up even when we cannot lift ourselves, a spiritual hopefulness that transcends the physical or mental. It presses us to courageously keep moving forward, compels us to keep fighting for noble goals and causes, inspires us to keep standing up when we get knocked down. God thank you for the courage and strength.
Perhaps it’s a genetic addition that evolved in us 200,000 years ago; or instead a Divine Spark imprinted within us a million years ago by a higher power. Whatever its origins, this eternal spark of spiritual hope never seems to go out. God please help me keep hope alive within me and everyone I love.
So… We’ve received a lot of Messages asking us if we’re okay and “where the heck have you been? We are “okay”. I’d LOVE to say we are AWESOME like normal. And in certain arenas we are. For sure. The back pain issues I first spoke about 2 years ago have continued to get worse. So “where we’ve been” is doctors, Chiros, surgeons, pain management centers, imaging centers, etc etc. For those who ask…. My once herniated discs in L2-L5, which was causing all that pain, turned to ruptured discs about 9 months ago. The pain got worse and the legs got way worse. Now they’ve turned into collapsed discs. And the pain is way way worse. And so are the legs. For ease of understanding, there are no more discs in L2-L5. They’ve flattened. It’s bone against bone. And the gel that once filled the discs has now filled my spinal column and foramin pushing against a whole host of nerve bundles in the lumbar area and the ones specifically responsible for our legs. There’s foraminal stenosis, as one would guess, which just means those holes in our back bones that all our nerves slip in and out of, are filled with disc gel and are being squeezed. The back pain is beyond excruciating. In addition the leg pain is as well. But it’s more of a weakness, burning, tingling, on fire, and numb feeling. What it translates to is I now limp on both legs, which I admit makes me feel sorry for myself sometimes and embarrassed. I also kick things over all the time as I lose more and more control of my legs, and I occasionally fall over. It definitely sucks. The X-rays show the levoscoliosis that has formed — the spine twisting left to right to left etc constantly overcompensating everytime another disc ruptures and starts to flatten. Doctor says it’s a chicken or the egg dilemma: is the levoscoliosis causing the discs to rupture or are the collapsed discs causing the levoscoliosis… they all say it doesn’t matter at this point. There is some good news in all of this. For one thing, my outrageous writing 5-8 songs a week has returned. Most likely because there’s a lot now that I’m not able to do. Songwriting isn’t one of them. I haven’t written at this level or this speed since ‘06-‘08. And it feels awesome. Another thing, in late summer things suddenly changed for the worse. One minute i was normal me, sort of, not really i guess, but “okay”, just in a lot of pain and moaning groaning and screaming a lot. Then suddenly the pain became too unbearable and I became bed ridden. Couldn’t get out of the horizontal position, just lying there with tears steaming down my eyes moaning. This was the rock bottom. Then something miraculous: friends heard about it and sent us their medication. Not kidding. Doctors in NY are absolutely terrified of prescribing certain medicines. And they tell us that. Literally say to us “truth is son we are terrified of prescribing the kind of medications YOU need right now. We’re too Afraid of losing our licenses.” So instead they overcompensate and load you up with a bunch of meds you don’t need and that are much more dangerous for you. They freely admit that’s what they’re doing. They blame the New York Board of Medicine. So people like me just lie around horizontal unable to stand or sit…. moaning or screaming in pain all day every day. It’s like living in hell and having nightmares on top of it. But then in come these meds from friends. Suddenly I was out of pain. I could walk. I could sit at a desk. I could bend. It was AMAZING. A true miracle. You run out of these meds of course. So people like me and millions of other Americans are forced to buy them from Canadian or British pharmacies. Which don’t go through your insurance obviously. So it’s expensive as hell. But you get your life back. That’s an issue. It’s happening all over the country to tens of millions of Americans who wake up “sick” one day. A topic in and of itself. Where WE are now is in a race against my legs continuing to get worse and “losing mobility” or what they like to call “becoming non-ambulatory” which is a fancy way of saying “not be able to walk”. So we have been interviewing surgeons like crazy. The problem is I have what is called a “spinal deformity”, referring to the rollercoaster my spine has turned into from the levoscoliosis. So we need what’s called a “Spinal Deformity Specialist” to do the surgeries. There are about 3-5 surgeries I need depending on who you talk to. But every surgeon we’ve gone to has declined to be the one who’s going to do it. Which we totally understand. One surgeon, the top at his hospital, the top in his field, told us he couldn’t guarantee better than a 50/50 chance of improving me after surgery and to keep looking. another one gave us the old “you’re really young to be getting these surgeries. Let’s give it some time before we go putting you through all that.” We’ve heard this one before. 2 years ago. If we hadn’t listened to him, I’d be in a lot less pain and I’d be walking like a normal person. They say this because it’s a big task, with a big risk due to my spine. We get it. So our goal, our primary, our mission, is to just find ONE great surgeon who says “Yes, I think I can do this”. That’s it. It’s been harder than we thought. We’ve met with a lot of them. But we will keep on, stay positive, and we will find this one awesome surgeon. And we will resolve and heal my back and put this behind us. I see it. I feel it. If you want to help in consciousness, use whatever tools you feel comfortable with, Prayer, Primaries, visualizations, incantations or affirmations, positive thinking… toward:
We find the perfect surgeon for the job and he does it without any glitches and I’m healed.
2. Our insurance company stops denying everything our doctors and surgeons request and stop wasting everyone’s time and energy. They are monsters. We really need them to step up now. Before it’s too late.
Our doctor starts coming around and prescribing the right medications to treat what I actually have. Excruciating Level 8-10 chronic pain. (Last week he tried to give me an extremely toxic med for MS patients who have seizures! Not kidding. Has absolutely nothing to do with what I have. And he knows it. Told me. But like all of them, he’s scared to death to prescribe anything for pain etc.) BUT HE actually did say in our last appnt that THAT IS exactly what I need and he’s not averse to prescribing it and he will “soon”. So we wait for “soon”…. In the meantime Princess Little Tree has been AMAZING through this. She’s been strong, supportive, resolute, any and every positive adjective you can think of. But she has her moments. She cries a lot. She’ll see me hobble into the bedroom like an old man and just start crying. I can’t wash my own face — bending over like that kills me. Tying my shoes is excruciating. Or maybe I’ll kick something over without knowing it. It’s all a LOT for her to bear. Too much. And the funny thing about it, the irony of it all, is that as the sick person you actually feel worse about what you’re doing to your spouse than you do about how sick you are. It really messes with your self esteem. Forcing your spouse into something so challenging difficult and heartbreaking. For me it’s just been very humbling anger-inducing and embarrassing and yes I often feel shame for being like this. So if you know her, send some positive energy her way. Or a message or a text or a call or a prayer. Anything you can think of to help lift her spirits or support her. She’s taking the big hit and the heavy load with this. Not me. I promise as strange as that sounds, I believe it is true. Speaking of that, for those of you who have already known about this and have been helping along the way, THANK YOU! We don’t have words to express how grateful we’ve felt over this past year for you and everything you’ve done. You’ve taught us a LOT about the power of helping others and how it really is the most important thing we can do in life. We are very humbled grateful and appreciative for all of you and we love you all very much. You guys know me. It doesn’t get more positive. One of the reasons why I kept this quiet for so long. I was certain I was going to power my way through it in no time at all and it would be over. No need to share it. So didn’t feel like it was a big deal. But yeah so it’s a big deal now. BUT I remain super positive about it. And super hopeful. I KNOW we will get through this. We’re getting close now. Just keep thinking and seeing the same thing with us please. That’s it for now. Ambassador out.
I cannot speak to the issue of Caribbean Hispanics versus central and South Americans and the root cause(s) of the differences we see, not like you can. But i can definitely see how the culture as you suggest is or can affect the societies and how they show up. I believe it’s like that for every demographic, tribe or genotype. The cultural trends are both influenced by the present society and how it’s manifest AND circle back to create an influence on that society.
I do think that’s what has continued to crush the black community since the mid-90s. In the 60s and 70s they used music to UPLIFT the whole black community. And the whites frankly. So many good powerful uplifting black power / black pride songs and inspiring artists from this 20 – 25 year era. And along with it a ton of progress for that community at large. The 80s became even more empowering for a while with the sudden success of rap as a viably popular mainstream form of entertainment with cultural leaders and heroes who transcended race and appealed to broad swaths of the American public.
Then in the 90s the entire narrative seemed to change overnight. Black people at least as reflected through the music and culture decided that being gangsters drug dealers killers misogynists pimps hos bitches and showboating excessive label-consumers was cooler than becoming more stable healthy respected or successful. They voluntarily wore and still today wear these labels proudly. Not even letting on if they realize themselves that these are all very bad stereotypes to lay claim to.
If there is one glaring thing about the black community that confuses well-meaning whites who sincerely want to help the cause the most, it’s this strange anomaly of trying to figure out just who black people are in modern society. Are they the murderers and thieves they claim to be in the last 30 years of Top 40 popular music? Or are they the nice working class folks who dress up on Sundays to attend service at that big Baptist church on the corner welcoming you in with open arms because you love good gospel music even though you’re white…?
Is the rampant vulgarity in Beyoncé or Missy Elliot lyrics an authentic expression of how she and others like her see themselves or who they are? Or is it a mere put on? Satire or self mockery even? It sounds sincere, sung and spoken resolutely with power and pride. Or is it a flat up strategic exploitation of what’s perceived as controversy to get more eyes and ears and thus make more money, ala the way Madonna exploited her sexuality, and nothing more? That’s something we all do. In every arena of commerce. Though in art it is still frowned upon as the easy way out, a cheap tactic hiding a lack of true artistic brilliance when one feels obliged to go that route.
Nobody wants to be nailed down by a stereotype to begin with. But inevitably we all are from time to time. Knowing that, one would do everything in their power when given the opportunity to typecast themselves to do so in the most respectable manner possible and not the other way around. That again is a very confusing aspect of the modern black community.
A community or group of people cannot rise up in society to aspire and then achieve to being better educated, have better higher paying jobs, be more actively involved in community, have a lower rate of arrests and convictions than other groups, be on more corporate boards, have more well known and influential local and national leaders, be healthier, have more stable families, have lower death rates and crime in their communities, increase life extension and life expectancy, decrease infant mortality and inherent diseases within that group, and all the other things we associate with a group of people rising up out of poverty and anonymity to achieve equality or even surpass other groups in measures of health and success IF at the same time they’re laying claim to being pimps whores drug dealers criminals killers gangsters bitches et al.
There’s a stark and overt contradiction there. In how the culture publicly defines itself through its self expression and what others in the same community claim they want, i.e. Black Lives Matter.
Speaking of BLM, it would also help in our understanding of the bigger issues at large, if when we are in a Black Lives Matter March — can only speak of Brooklyn, Washington DC and Manhattan — that 80-90% of the participants weren’t white with a handful of blacks marching with us. One would automatically assume it would be the other way around. And maybe it is in other cities that are primarily black. I would have to look up actual statistics from 2020 to now… Or even 2018… if there are any, about the demographic makeup of the various demonstrations that transpired around the country in support of this cause.
There’s obviously a lot more to it to explore and contemplate. And my guess is that the black community itself has probably written excessively about this issue. So step one on the quest to understanding these seemingly contradictory dynamics would be to simply ask some black friends to recommend a few books or papers on the matter. Which I’ll do. And then come back and list those resources here.
In the meantime at least we’ve had the insight and the courage to talk about it, though in private admittedly, acknowledge it, give voice to it and try to understand it… I have a feeling it is going to be a multifaceted cornucopia of different social dynamics that affect each of the various subgroups within the community just as it is with whites, Asians, Indians, Latinos or anybody else. There won’t be one answer. But a variety of theories about potential answers based on who’s speaking and who they’re specifically speaking about. But is there anything deeper there that can offer us solutions to the multitude of problems the black community still faces? That’s the question.
The so-called #IslamicRepublicofIran has been on a brutal, bloody war path for the last few months — ever since #Iranian citizens started taking to the streets and peacefully protesting for equal rights for women, and basic #HumanRights and freedom for all of its citizens.
#WomenLifeFreedom became a catchphrase and trending hashtag all over the world and Time Magazine named “the women of Iran” it’s Person of the Year.
But since those early days in September when the protests over the savage murder of 23 year old #MashaAmini first started, the people of Iran shifted their stance and started asking the world & those of us who have been supporting them to stop using the #IranProtests hashtag, stop referring to their movement as a protest and to start referring to it as the #IranRevolution Concerned citizens all over the world quickly obliged. #IranRevolution is never NOT trending on Twitter, with upwards of 1500 mentions per hour; and #IranProtests stopped trending months ago.
This was a BIG shift. And an important distinction. What started out as a protest against the Iranian government’s so called “morality police” arbitrarily beating women to death in the streets for not dressing the way they force them to, and against the practice itself of forcing women to wear “hijab” (a long coat past the knees and a head scarf), swiftly turned into a nationwide movement of the people demanding their freedom from the oppressive dictatorship of pseudo-religious men who took control of their government 43 years ago.
At first the government’s reaction was predictable: firing teargas and rubber bullets into the crowds of mostly very young people in their early teens to twenties to disperse them. When that didn’t work they began firing live rounds into the crowds and killing them or arbitrarily picking a few out of the crowds and beating them to death, leaving their bloodied and disfigured bodies lying in the streets as a reminder to others.
When this didn’t work and the crowds continued to get bigger, the #Khamenei government started knocking down doors of people’s homes, kidnapping the children suspected of “participating in protests”, taking them to undisclosed locations and beating them to death until their skulls were crushed in and their faces unrecognizable.
(Parenthetically to show just what a harsh and inhumane reality the people of Iran and the world at large is dealing with, the anguish for the family didn’t, doesn’t, end there; the local government doesn’t return the dead body to the family. Instead they claim they weren’t involved in the murder of said family member and don’t know where the body is, but “for a price” they can “see what they can do to find it”, forcing the families to pay exorbitant ransoms to get their children’s bodies back in order to have a proper burial and memorial. This has been going on for months and is still happening now.)
Officially over 650 young people, some as young as 10 years old, have been killed in this manner, though human rights groups estimate the number to be in the thousands at this point. The government has also targeted and killed doctors, lawyers, well-known journalists and authors, famous athletes and entertainers and anyone else suspected of being pro-equality, pro-freedom or pro-human rights.
And yet the crowds in the streets of cities all across the country continue to get bigger. And so too do the strikes, shutting down whole towns for days at a time. In response, the Iranian government started arresting people, immediately convicting them after mock trials that may only last an hour and handing out death sentences for public hangings.
Amnesty International says “all the convictions rely on forced confessions, beatings and torture”. Instead of arguing with this overtly recriminatory accusation, Iranian State media corroborates it and regularly broadcasts over radio and TV that all the defendants “have lost their rights to presumption of innocence, freedom from torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.”
This fact too marks a major turning point in the battle for Iran narrative. In the beginning the Iranian government had attempted to spin a tale to the people and the world that the marches and demonstrations were “riots” “planned and instigated by insurgents and infidels from Western nations” in an attempt to salvage solidarity with the general population. Once it became obvious to them that the people weren’t falling for it, the government has taken to a more extreme and overtly authoritarian stance, direct threats against the entire population broadcast over all state run media 24/7.
23 year old #MohsenShekari was the first Iranian publicly executed linked to the protests. He was accused of injuring a member of the government’s “Basij” (military police) and “waging war against God” ( #Moharebeh ).
Admittedly this is an absurd claim to make in modern times, reminiscent of the very reasons why “the dark ages” are called The Dark Ages. Wouldn’t one have to first show some or any kind of evidence that this “god” they speak of exists…? And then furthermore go on to prove that this god is so small minded and insecure that it actually cares if one infinitesimally small, insignificant human could hurt it’s feelings that badly before one goes killing someone? Especially in light of the fact that Shekari never spoke about or against any “gods”. Instead he was demonstrating for equality and freedom for PEOPLE, if anything a noble and godly act.
But no, the truth is that for thousands of years of human history, evil people who lust for power over others have been inventing and using various “gods” to justify barbaric and inhumane acts against their fellow humans. They throw on some silly looking costume, declare themselves “religious” in some way and out come the knives, spears, swords, guns, nooses, guillotines or what have you. It is said that religion is the opiate of the masses, but in a much larger, more profound way, religion is a fear and killing machine.
In the case of Iran, their preferred way of killing in the name of their god is to deliberately choose a large public square — more of a piazza really, where thousands of people go to shop, congregate and share meals together, string up one of their fellow citizens by a noose and publicly hang them to death in front of everybody and then leave the body dangling there as a warning to all that freedom liberty equality human rights and women’s rights are not on the agenda for them and even speaking about such things is punishable by death.
This is what they are threatening to do to internationally beloved Iranian footballer Nasr-Azadani #NasrAzadani who has also been sentenced to death by public execution. The government has already set up a construction crane used for public hangings in a public square in Isfahan to show they are serious about the charges and preparing to carry out his sentence.
In the case of 20 year old Moshen Shekari, the first to be executed, the government hung him from a crane in a prison yard in front of other guards and prisoners, for fear of compelling more intense uprisings by the citizenry. But for 23 year old Majidreza Rahnavard #MajidrezaRahnavard who was executed four days later, his was to be a public affair.
This morning two more Iranians accused of participating in demonstrations for freedom, human rights and women’s rights were executed in Iran. 21 year old karate champion #MohammadMehdiKarami and 20 year old volunteer children’s coach #SeyedMohammadHosseini were both hung to death.
Thus far 41 more protesters have received death sentences, according to statements from Iranian officials. Among those are THREE CHILDREN, who have all been accused of… wait for it…. “corruption on Earth.”
You read that right. The occupying forces of bearded little men cosplaying mullahs, ayatollahs and clerics who currently control the government and resources of Iran against the will of the country’s 85 million people are now sentencing children to the death penalty for “corruption on earth”.
Only a non-democratically elected group of fascist hard-liners could get away with proposing or even uttering such a ridiculously childish and inane charge. For if we weren’t discussing something very real, horrific and life threatening to real people, we’d be wetting ourselves laughing from the idea that there are those who can mention this phrase with a straight face and not burst into laughter themselves.
Clearly MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE by the international community and each and every one of us caring compassionate and humane citizens of the world if we want to sleep at night knowing we weren’t sitting back doing nothing while this barbaric treachery was transpiring.
For democratic or even non-democratic but caring nations all over the world, the actions are simple. A mere sampling of actions they can take TODAY are: immediately deport all Iranian nationals who are in their country working in the capacity of diplomats and close down the Iranian embassies in their country until the Iranian People’s Revolution is successful and completed, deport all Iranians who are in their country working on behalf of lobbying for the government of Iran or any other Iranian industry, levy heavy sanctions against these individuals preventing them from doing business or banking in their country or anything else, boycott all Iranian goods from being imported into their countries, and cut off all exports of goods into their country, issue strongly worded, uncompromising declarations of support for the people of Iran and their right to basic human rights, and condemnations of the current government and its actions against its people, immediately cut the Iranian government off from accessing all international banking and credit institutions, and perhaps most importantly issue a United Nations declaration of R2P (Right to Protection) which guarantees that all member states act quickly and collectively under the authority of the Security Council to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, to help to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
And this is just a start.
For the average citizen of earth, no matter what country you live in, who wants to support the Iranian people, go online and look for petitions that are asking your country and it’s leaders to take the above actions; email and write letters to your elected officials from the top down telling them you are expecting them to officially and publicly speak out and take more decisive actions to support and defend the Iranian people’s democratic revolution. Then share those petitions with your friends and on Social.
The United States government for example hasn’t done much of anything yet in this regard. There are plenty of Iran government and industry lobbyists living cushy lives in Washington D.C., as well as plenty of journalists and academic apologists for the Iran regime. Outing, deporting and sanctioning them would be a damn good start. But the US government needs to know that we the people actually care about this incredibly historic event and the Iranian people.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SHARE IT. A Tweet, an article, a news item or sound byte, an inspiring, moving or disturbing meme or photo…. Every time you see or read something about the struggle of the Iranian people and their battle for freedom and equal rights in this courageous people’s movement of their’s, PASS IT ON. Share it. Don’t let it stop with you. Together we can ALL help the people of Iran break the chains of oppression and tyranny and rise up to join us in becoming a free people. They’re counting on us.
This is an article I came upon recently that I found absolutely fascinating. One, because it’s about a subject I write a lot about in the Transcendence Diaries, knowing full well that it may be the most unpopular and non-topical subject in the society we currently live in — [I am working on a piece presently related to just this, called The Death Of the Intellectual In the Modern Age], and two, because the author, Hoffman, attempts to explore consciousness from a scientific approach, resisting the popular trend of relegating the study of consciousness to the fields of philosophy or metaphysics. There’s hardcore science here. It may not be an easy read in some places; but it’s thoroughly refreshing to follow along the thoughts and thinking process of someone so ravenously intellectually curious and well thought out. A rare occurrence in our time. The piece was originally published in Edge on January 27, 2020. I am re-posting it here in the Diaries for informational purposes and as reference material. I believe it’s a must read for anyone interested in Ontology or Consciousness Studies. – Ed Hale
A Conversation with Donald D. Hoffman [1.27.20]
. . . I want to propose that realism is false, and what we’re seeing is more like a user interface or a virtual reality headset. Think about a virtual reality game of tennis. You’re playing VR tennis with a friend, you both have your headset and body suits on, you see your friend’s avatar on a tennis court and you start playing. Your friend hits the tennis ball to you, and you hit the same tennis ball back to your friend, but is your friend seeing exactly the same tennis ball that you’re seeing? Well, of course not. There’s no public tennis ball. You have some photons being sprayed to your eye by your headset, and those photons are causing your visual system to create your own perception of what you would call a green tennis ball. Your friend has a headset on, which is spraying photons to his eye, and his visual system is creating his own green tennis ball perception.
It turns out that both of those perceptions are coordinated by something else, namely a supercomputer that’s sending the photons to both headsets, causing both headsets to work in coordination. . . .
All the things that we would do to say that objects really exist even when they’re not perceived hold here in virtual reality. . . . That doesn’t mean that the tennis ball exists and has any physical properties when it’s not perceived; it just means that there is some objective reality.
DONALD D. HOFFMAN is a full professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author, most recently, of The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes. Donald D. Hoffman’s Edge Bio Page
REALISM IS FALSE
Some of the questions I’m asking myself are about the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. I’m trying to understand the classic mind-body problem—how consciousness is related to the physical brain or to physical systems more generally, perhaps computing systems. That’s been a conundrum for centuries. Gottfried Leibniz understood it, Thomas Huxley understood it, Francis Crick understood it and said we should really study it. So, I’ve been studying it.
What’s bothering me and many people in our field is that we have so far failed to get a scientific physicalist theory of consciousness that starts with neural activity, or starts with computer programs or some kind of abstract functional architecture and, without any further magic, gives us specific conscious experiences, like the taste of chocolate or the smell of garlic, arising in very specific mathematically precise ways from those physical or functional systems.
Right now, I’m trying to start with a theory of consciousness in which consciousness itself is fundamental. So again, it’s a mathematically precise theory. When we try to come up with a mathematically precise new theory, one of the things we have to do is think about the basic assumptions that we’re going to build into the theory. Every scientific theory starts with certain assumptions, certain axioms if you will, and then tries to build up an explanation of the other things. No theory in science can explain everything. We always have a few things that we assume, and then we try to explain everything else in terms of those few things.
In physical theory, for example, we’ve assumed space, time, matter, or quantum fields are fundamental, and then we can explain chemistry and biology. We’ve tried to use that kind of framework so that with those assumptions, we can try to boot up a theory of consciousness that explains exactly what physical systems or computational systems must be the taste of chocolate and could not be the taste of vanilla. There’s not a single theory that’s been proposed that can explain even one specific conscious experience.
So, what are the basic assumptions that we would need to build into a theory of consciousness? We don’t want to put too many assumptions on the table. We want the minimal number of assumptions that will give the maximum explanation. I’ve been playing with the idea of what I call a conscious agent, which has a set of conscious experiences and can act on those experiences. I have a mathematical formalism for it. Briefly, it’s measurable spaces of conscious experiences and Markovian kernels for decisions and actions based on those experiences.
One thing that comes out of this formalism is that it’s computationally universal. Anything about learning, memory, problem solving, intelligence, self, any of those things that we would think should ultimately be part of a theory of consciousness are not part of my assumptions; those are things that I will try to build out of networks of these conscious agents. The idea is that we’ll have these interacting social networks of conscious agents and, by the dynamics of the networks of conscious agents, we’ll build up theories of learning, memory, problem solving, intelligence, and the notion of a self.
I have a wonderful team of collaborators including Chetan Prakash, Manish Singh, Chris Fields, Robert Prentner, Federico Faggin, and Mauro D’Ariano working with me on the mathematics and the network dynamics and so forth. Ultimately, to solve the mind-body problem—how consciousness is related to the physical world—we’re going to have to start with this theory of consciousness and show how the physical world arises. We’re assuming consciousness is fundamental, not space, time, and matter. We’re going to have to get space, time, matter, and all of modern physics coming out from this network of conscious agents. The question is how to do that. Is that something that is at all compatible with some of the best views in modern physics?
Our team has been looking at some of the recent developments in physics, in particular the work of Nima Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators, in which they’re saying that spacetime has been the foundational idea in physics. In some sense, physics has been about what happens inside space and time for centuries. Spacetime has had a good run; it’s been a foundational assumption in physics. But there are lots of indications, especially from quantum theory and general relativity, that spacetime cannot be fundamental. As some of the physicists are putting it: spacetime is doomed. That’s not my quote, it’s theirs. There’s got to be something deeper that’s fundamental, outside of space and time, that gives rise to space and time. We’re not saying quantum mechanics is wrong or general relativity is wrong. They’re beautiful and powerful theories, but at some point, there are questions they can’t answer and problems that cannot be explained.
For example, spacetime itself. If you try to observe it at finer and finer scales with a bigger and bigger microscope, one problem is eventually the energies that are required to look at finer and finer resolution of spacetime, when you get down to the Planck scale, the energies create a black hole and you destroy the very thing that you’re trying to look at. And if you add more energy, the black hole just gets bigger. Physicists will say that if spacetime is not something we can measure with absolute precision, then it’s not a fundamental concept. We need something more fundamental.
Another idea they have is that in quantum theory you have an observer and a system, and the observer itself needs to be infinite to have infinite resolution in the measurements that it makes of a system. If you have a room in which you’re trying to do a measurement, to get more precise measurements, the observer has to be bigger with more mass. At some point, the observer itself collapses the room into a black hole. As they say, there are no local observables in quantum theory.
The question that I’m dealing with now is, how can I connect this idea of conscious agents and some of the new theories that physicists are coming up with that try to go beyond space and time?
There’s something called scattering amplitudes, the scattering behavior of particles in the Large Hadron Collider. So you smash protons together at near the speed of light. In many cases, you’ll have quarks and gluons hit each other and spray out, so you might have two gluons coming in and four gluons spraying out. You see these things in the detectors, and you can talk about the probabilities or what they call the amplitudes for these various scattering events. They’ve discovered that if you do the computations of the scattering amplitudes in space and time using Feynman diagrams, you get hundreds of pages of math. It’s ugly and you can’t do it in real time because you’re doing a billion of these collisions per second, roughly. They found that they could collapse these expressions to simple expressions, from hundreds of pages down to two or three terms, if they don’t do the computation in space and time.
One of the things they deal with is something called the amplituhedron. It’s a geometric object outside of space and time, and the volumes of various parts of the amplituhedron correspond to the probabilities of these scattering events. This amplituhedron has symmetries that cannot be expressed in space and time. The physicists are discovering that there’s this new realm behind space and time. They don’t know what it’s about. Right now, they’re following the math, which is telling us that there is this structure outside of space and time and it makes the computation simpler, gives us insight into symmetries that you can’t see in space and time.
Maybe this dynamic of conscious agents that we’re thinking about could be the realm behind space and time. My big project over the next couple of years, with the physicists on my team, is to try to understand how the dynamics of conscious agents might give rise to this amplituhedron.
One of the ideas I’m looking at has to do with the dynamics of conscious agents, the so-called Markovian dynamics. That just means that what you’re going to do at this moment depends pretty much on your current state. So, whatever your current state is, it governs all the probabilities of what you’re going to do at the next decision point. You have only a finite memory of what you’ve done in the past, and it’s only a finite memory of what you’ve done in the past that influences your future behavior.
When you look at these kinds of Markovian dynamics, you can look at their long-term behavior. We have a step-by-step behavior of what conscious agents are doing at each step of their interaction. Think of their interactions like a vast social network, like the Twitterverse. There’s a bunch of conscious agents, like a bunch of Twitter users, and they’re all interacting with each other. But what they’re doing is passing experiences back and forth between each other.
We can look at the dynamics of what’s happening at each step of this social network in this interaction, or we can look asymptotically. As the number of interactions goes to infinity, what kinds of patterns do you see there? That’s where I’m thinking we might get the connection to physics and the amplituhedron, not at the step-by-step dynamics of conscious agents. That’s too fine a grain. If we look at the infinite long-term asymptotic behavior of these social networks of conscious agents, that asymptotic behavior erases a lot of the detailed information about the social network and how it works. On the other hand, it’s capturing the long-term patterns. That’s going to be one of those central proposals. What physics has been doing is capturing just the long-term asymptotic behavior of these networks of conscious agents. That’s why it hasn’t looked conscious at all.
For example, if you’re looking at the freeways in Southern California from an airplane, you just see a bunch of little dots moving around. There’s not much evidence of any consciousness or intelligence. You’re looking at it from a high level and you’re erasing a lot of information. You don’t see all the conscious individuals inside the cars. You just see this pattern of flow, of little dots on streets. That’s what physics has been seeing. It’s not seeing the step-by-step dynamics of the conscious agents. It’s only seeing a top-level asymptotic description of the long-term behavior of these social networks of conscious agents. That’s why we haven’t seen things that look like they’re conscious, because we’re only seeing the long-term behavior.
Of course, there’s a lot of specific mathematical steps that we’ll have to take to prove that the asymptotic dynamics of these social networks precisely fits into the structure of the amplituhedron, which they have shown can give rise to the interesting features of quantum theory and relativity theory combined.
That’s one thing I’m trying to work on—flesh out this model of conscious agent networks, look at the asymptotic behavior of these dynamics, and then plug that into the amplituhedron. That whole process will help me with another big problem we’ve got, which is if consciousness is fundamental, there’s this social network of conscious agents out there and they’re interacting—why? The right answer is, I don’t know. I’m trying to first come up with some principled ideas that are at least plausible for what the dynamics of consciousness is fundamentally about.
One idea my team and I are playing with is Gödel’s incompleteness theorem. Gödel showed that if you have any sufficiently complex mathematical system, and that system has a set of axioms, there will be truths that are consistent with those axioms, but they cannot be proved from that set of axioms. There are unprovable truths. And if you add those new truths (that you couldn’t prove before) as axioms to a bigger system, then Gödel’s theorem says there will be yet new truths that can’t be proven within your bigger system of axioms.
Effectively, this means that the exploration of mathematical structure is, in principle, endless. There will be no end to the exploration of what we can do in mathematics. Why is that interesting in the context of a theory of consciousness and conscious agents? Well, it turns out that consciousness and mathematics are intimately linked.
There’s a field called psychophysics that has studied conscious experiences since 1860. One thing that we’ve discovered in our psychophysical studies in the lab and with the mathematical models is that conscious experiences are highly structured. We can write down mathematical models that predict not only judgments of similarity between various like colors, but also predict precisely what three-dimensional structures you will see and when you will see them. It’s mathematics through and through. I’m not saying that consciousness just is mathematics; it’s more like consciousness and mathematics are like a living organism and the bones. The bones are the mathematics and consciousness is the living organism. That’s one reason why we can hope to build a mathematical model of consciousness and conscious agents. The mathematics is a genuine insight into the structural aspects of consciousness, but of course there’s more to consciousness than just the mathematics.
This is where Gödel’s theorem comes in. It says the structures that consciousness can take and that these conscious agents can explore are endless. One idea is that the goal of consciousness and of these conscious agents is endless exploration of all the possible varieties of conscious experiences and their structures. It may or may not be true, but at least it seems deep enough that it’s a plausible candidate to answer the question of what the dynamics of consciousness is all about.
Suppose we hit a dead end there and that idea turns out to be wrong, that Gödel’s theorem, as interesting as it is, turns out not to be an adequate foundation for our dynamics of conscious agents. If we can take our theory of conscious agents, show how it plugs into, say, the amplituhedron, and then eventually into quantum field theory and general relativity, then what we may be able to do is reverse engineer things. Once we know how to map from conscious agent dynamics into modern physics, can we reverse that map? Can we take what we know about modern physics and its dynamics, pull it back into the realm of conscious agents, and say what kinds of dynamics would get pulled back? That may then focus our attention on certain kinds of conscious agent dynamics that may then help us to grope toward the answer to the question of what consciousness is all about.
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I got my BA in quantitative psychology from UCLA. While I was there, I took some classes on artificial intelligence and neuroscience of vision that caught my interest. One class pulled those together, a graduate class that I took in which we looked at the work of David Marr. He was bringing artificial intelligence ideas together with neuroscience ideas to study human vision. His idea was to be mathematically precise, to come up with mathematical theories that you could implement in a computer for things like seeing in 3D, object perception, and object recognition. As an undergraduate, I thought this was wonderful. This was someone who was using mathematics, computers, and artificial intelligence to solve problems in human vision, and eventually to build robotic vision systems.
I was very interested in the relationship of computing to humans. I was interested in questions like, are humans just computers or are we more than computers? And, what’s the relationship between human cognition and computation? David Marr was at MIT in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and what’s now the Brain and Cognitive Science Department, so I went there, and he and Whitman Richards became my co-advisors.
I worked with Marr for only about fourteen months because he died young, at age thirty-five of leukemia, unfortunately. It was a great loss personally and to the field. But I did have that chance to work with him and the wonderful team that he’d assembled around him. I got to jump in and see what artificial intelligence can do, how far it can go in understanding human vision.
I completed my PhD there, working on human vision. Then I went to UC Irvine as a professor of cognitive sciences in 1983, and I’ve been there ever since. Now my own research is focused on specific problems in human vision, because it’s good to take on specific problems if you’re trying to understand how human nature is related to computation. It’s good to jump in and try to build computational devices that model human nature and see how far you can go. It turns out you can go quite far. In fact, there’s almost no area of cognitive science—learning, memory, problem solving, sensory perception, language development—that isn’t beautifully treated by these functionalist computer kinds of models. There’s only one area that has been a problem, and that is conscious experience.
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There’s an attitude toward things that accepts the possibility that everything I believe is false. But if I’m right about anything, I’m right that I have experiences—that I’m having a headache right now, or that I’m experiencing a chair in front of me, or a table. As philosophers say, I’m having an experience “as of” a table, or an experience as of a chair, or as of a spoon. So, if I look ahead of myself and I see a table, I’m having an experience as of a table. If I close my eyes, then my experience changes and I no longer have an experience as of a table. Then when I open my eyes, I have once again an experience as of a table.
My physicalist colleagues will say that the table is what’s real; it’s there all the time. Even when my eyes are closed, there is a table that exists even if no perceiver were to look at it. The table not only exists, but it has roughly the shape, texture, color, and other properties that I see. That’s a pretty strong claim.
The physicalist is making the stronger and more tendentious claim, that physical objects have definite values of physical properties, like position, momentum, spin, even if no creature observes it. That’s a strong claim, and it might even sound like a non-scientific claim. That’s more than I’m claiming if I just take conscious experiences as fundamental. All I’m claiming is that when I open my eyes, I have an experience as of a table, and when I close my eyes, who knows what’s happening in objective reality. Of course, you could turn it around and say I’m claiming that if consciousness is fundamental and the physical world isn’t fundamental, there is no table when I don’t observe, no object with a definite position, momentum, and spin. That also seems to be a non-scientific claim. How can you claim something about a physical object and its properties when nothing is observing it? How can you possibly have an experiment to test that?
This kind of debate about whether physical objects exist and have definite properties when they’re not observed is one that Einstein was pushing back in the 1920s and 1930s. It seemed to Einstein that quantum mechanics was saying the moon doesn’t exist when no one observes it, at least in the interpretation of quantum mechanics that Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, the Copenhagen interpretation, had.
Wolfgang Pauli was quite impatient with Einstein. He said the kinds of questions that Einstein was asking were like asking how many angels dance on the head of a pin. Who cares? This was a metaphysical thing that couldn’t be answered with experiment anyway, so why bother with it? That was Pauli’s attitude. Pauli was a towering genius, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. It turns out though that he was wrong—this is a question that we can ask and answer experimentally.
A physicist named John Bell, in 1963, found a series of experiments that could test whether something like an atom has a definite value of position, or momentum, or spin even when it’s not observed. It sounds impossible. How could you have a series of experiments that definitely tell you an answer to the question of whether something exists with definite values of properties even when you don’t look at it? Bell discovered that you could test something called local realism, to which there’s two parts.
Realism is the claim that physical objects have definite values of position, momentum, and spin when they’re not observed—that’s realism. Locality is the additional assumption that those definite values of the physical properties have influences that propagate no faster than the speed of light through space. Bell proposed this set of experiments, something called Bell’s inequalities—a beautiful theorem that he came up with. It took a couple of decades, but we got the technology roughly in the 1980s and then started doing the experiments. The experiment has been done many times.
People were blown away by the answer, which is that local realism is false. That has been established by experiment repeatedly. Local realism is absolutely false, but there’s two aspects to it. It could be that either realism is false—particles or objects don’t have definite values of their properties when they’re not observed—or it could be that locality is false—influences can propagate faster than the speed of light. Or it could be that both locality and realism are false.
Then there was another theorem in 1963 and 1964 that Bell and two physicists named Simon Kochen and Ernst Specker proved. It’s about realism and what they called “non-contextuality.” It’s not about local realism, it’s about non-contextual realism. The question here is, is non-contextual realism true? Non-contextual realism is the claim that physical objects, like an atom, have a definite position, or spin, or momentum when they’re not observed. Second, these definite values, their prior nature does not depend on how you choose to measure. The kind of measurement you make does not in any way alter these preexisting values. That’s non-contextual realism.
It turns out that our best theory, quantum theory, predicts quite clearly that non-contextual realism is false. Local realism is false, non-contextual realism is false, and that leaves it quite open that realism itself is false. If realism is false, that raises a couple of questions. Is that true only for microscopic objects—electrons, protons, neutrons, and photons—and not more macroscopic objects?
It’s turning out that this border between the microscopic and the macroscopic, first, is very suspicious. No one has ever been able to make a principled size or scale distinction. What size is microscopic and what scale is macroscopic? Recent experiments have been showing that we can put bigger and bigger systems of atoms—some getting pretty big now, thousands of atoms—and put them in quantum superpositions so that the quantum effects that the Kochen-Specker-Bell inequalities are true of these systems that involve thousands of atoms. These are huge molecules with thousands of atoms—getting close to the size of a virus. We suspect that as we continue to develop technology, we’ll find that this boundary between the microscopic and the macroscopic is not nearly so firm as you might think.
The bottom line is local realism is false and non-contextual realism is false. So, what does that mean about the notion of public physical objects? What do we mean in science by third-person science and public physical objects? Intuitively, what we talk about is the way science works and the way it’s in some sense objective. I can watch a ball rolling down an inclined plane, I can measure its acceleration, and I can compute the effects of gravity on it. Then you can look at that very same ball and make your own independent measurements of that public physical ball. If your measurements and my measurements agree, then we can start to have objective science.
There’s this notion of public physical objects and third-person science in the sense that independent observers can do scientific experiments on the same object and come to some kind of agreement. Sometimes the agreement isn’t absolute, like if we’re measuring the length of a meter stick. It turns out if you’re moving fast relative to me, you will get a different length for the meter stick than I will. There’s something called the Lorentz contraction that happens. We can take those kinds of things into account and have a dictionary between the distance you measure and the distance I measure. If they’re the same up to the Lorentz contraction, then we would still say that we agree. And even in special relativity, the spacetime interval is something that we would all agree with on the exact number. That’s the general notion that we have of public physical objects and third-person science.
The idea that local realism and non-contextual realism are false leads me to argue that in fact realism is false. I want to propose that realism is false, and what we’re seeing is more like a user interface or a virtual reality headset. Think about a virtual reality game of tennis. You’re playing VR tennis with a friend, you both have your headset and body suits on, you see your friend’s avatar on a tennis court and you start playing. Your friend hits the tennis ball to you, and you hit the same tennis ball back to your friend, but is your friend seeing exactly the same tennis ball that you’re seeing? Well, of course not. There’s no public tennis ball. You have some photons being sprayed to your eye by your headset, and those photons are causing your visual system to create your own perception of what you would call a green tennis ball. Your friend has a headset on, which is spraying photons to his eye, and his visual system is creating his own green tennis ball perception.
It turns out that both of those perceptions are coordinated by something else, namely a supercomputer that’s sending the photons to both headsets, causing both headsets to work in coordination. Notice in this example that it looks like there’s a public object, namely a green tennis ball, but there isn’t. There is your tennis ball that you perceive and that disappears when you close your eyes, and your friend’s tennis ball that he perceives and disappears when he closes his eyes. There’s no public tennis ball in this example.
All the things that we would do to say that objects really exist even when they’re not perceived hold here in virtual reality. We might say, I know that this table exists because I closed my eyes and my friend Joe can see the table even when I don’t look. Or I can close my eyes and touch the table and can feel it even when I’m not seeing it. Or I can take this spoon and close my eyes, drop it, and know exactly where to look when I open my eyes. You can do all those things in virtual reality. I can take my green tennis ball in virtual reality, close my eyes, drop the tennis ball and know where I’m going to see it. That doesn’t mean that the tennis ball exists and has any physical properties when it’s not perceived; it just means that there is some objective reality.
I’m not denying that there is an objective reality. There is some objective reality that exists independent of whether or not I perceive it, but that objective reality is not space and time or anything inside space and time. Those are just human forms of perception. That’s what quantum theory is telling us. It’s telling us local realism is false, non-contextual realism is false, and realism is false, at least what we call realism of objects in space and time. They don’t exist, except when they’re perceived. They don’t have their properties, except when they’re perceived because spacetime is not fundamental. That’s what the physicists are now telling us, like Nima Arkani-Hamed. Spacetime is doomed. There is an objective reality, but it’s not space and time. It’s a deeper reality outside of space and time. Spacetime is emergent and is not fundamental.
Here’s a cognitive neuroscientist talking about consciousness being fundamental reality, not space and time, and that’s surely treading on the turf of physics. So, what do physicists think about this? Do they just dismiss this out of hand? There’s an interesting history of physicists and their ideas about consciousness. Some of the early quantum physicists were very interested in consciousness. Erwin Schrödinger was interested in it, so were Eugene Wigner and John von Neumann. Wigner thought that consciousness was fundamental, and von Neumann said that as well. There are various interpretations as to whether he was serious about it or not, but he did talk about consciousness being fundamental.
There were a number of physicists who have said that, but among modern physicists, I would say that most simply do not take the idea that consciousness could be fundamental seriously. They would be dismissed pretty much out of hand. The idea that spacetime is doomed, that there’s something beyond space and time, doesn’t entail that that something is consciousness.
Some physicists are proposing that consciousness might be a state of matter. Max Tegmark, for example, has the notion of perceptronium, where certain states of matter could give rise to conscious experience. That idea is very different from the kind of idea that I’m proposing. I’m not proposing that consciousness is a special state of matter. I’m saying that consciousness is fundamental outside of space and time. Space and time itself, and what we call physical objects and their matter inside space and time, are interface descriptions of what’s going on in the dynamics of conscious agents.
Other physicists are proposing other models of what’s behind space and time; again, not consciousness, maybe quantum information—quantum bits and quantum gates. I certainly understand why a physicist would not feel inclined to jump all the way in and say consciousness is fundamental. The proof will be in what we can do. If we can get a mathematically precise theory of conscious agents and the network dynamics of those conscious agents, and we can show that it plugs in, say, to the amplituhedron that Nima Arkani-Hamed has been looking at, and it gives us new predictions, then and only then would I expect that physicists take this stuff seriously. I certainly understand them not taking it seriously until I make some new concrete prediction that affects physics.
I heard a talk recently by Nima Arkani-Hamed in which he said something he advised was just speculative on his part. He said that maybe one of the problems that they’re having in trying to get a deeper understanding of physics that resolves some of the paradoxes between quantum theory and gravity is the division between the subject and the object, between the observer and the observed. Somehow that division, which is required by quantum mechanics, is a real source of problems because the observer has to effectively be infinite if you’re going to have any precise measurements in quantum theory. That has to do with the idea that there are all these quantum fluctuations, and if you’re trying to measure something to infinite precision and you have a finite measuring device, then the quantum fluctuations will perturb the measuring device and give you the wrong answers by the time you get to the fiftieth decimal point, or the hundredth decimal point, or ten to the hundredth decimal point. He was saying maybe we’re going to have to figure out a way to either get rid of that division or multiple ways of doing that division. There’s something about the division between the observer and the observed that will have to be changed.
What’s interesting to me is that in this theory of conscious agents, that’s precisely what I do. The observer and the observed distinction goes away. All are the same mathematical structure, and all are conscious agents. In this dynamical theory, when agents interact, they form new agents. You can have simple agents with few conscious experiences, maybe only two. We might call that a one-bit agent; it only has two experiences, but they can interact to create two-bit agents and four-bit agents, all the way up to however big you want. What agents are really observing are other agents. So, the division between subject and object is not this fundamental distinction. The observer-observed are all the same kind of thing. The boundary between them is completely fluid.
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I’m collaborating with several mathematical physicists right now, working to get some predictions that will grab the interest of this community. One of the biggest influences on me, the person who got me into cognitive neuroscience was David Marr. His writing was powerful, his ideas were brilliant, and he grabbed my attention when I was in my early twenties. It was a great privilege to work with David Marr and then with Whitman Richards, who was my co-advisor while Marr was alive. After Marr died, Whitman Richards was my sole advisor. He was just a wonderful adviser. He gave me the freedom to pursue what I wanted to. He gave me feedback, treated me as an equal, and treated my ideas with respect. We were friends for decades afterwards until his death just a couple of years ago. Whitman had a long-term impact.
Another impact on me was a mathematician named Bruce Bennett, who was a professor of algebra and geometry here at UC Irvine. He took me under his wing when I first came here to UCI, and he and I collaborated for fifteen or twenty years. I’m not a mathematician, so he was very patient and taught me a lot of mathematics. Chetan Prakash, who is a mathematical physicist, also has had a big influence on me and has continued to collaborate with me.
More recently, Federico Faggin has been a big influence. Faggin is probably a name that most people haven’t heard but should know. He was the young genius at Intel who invented the microprocessor. He helped perfect the silicon gate technology. He went on to invent the Z80 and the 8080. He was the CEO of Zilog, also the CEO of Synaptics, where they developed the touch pad. Federico is a genius. He’s also very interested in consciousness.
He heard me give a talk six or seven years ago on my mathematical model of consciousness, struck up a conversation with me, and we’ve been friends ever since. We collaborate closely. His ideas are similar to mine. We’re on the same page, but different enough that it’s interesting. We have strong debates on the details, which is very good. Federico has helped to assemble a team that he’s funding. It would be difficult to get the National Science Foundation or the NIH to fund my research because it’s so far out there, but Federico Faggin is funding it from his own foundation, the Faggin Foundation, for which I’m exceedingly grateful. It’s not the funding that’s the primary thing, although it’s very helpful, but Federico’s ideas are extremely influential and helpful to me.
In terms of some other peers in philosophy of mind, I’m quite impressed with the work of Dave Chalmers. I like his thorough analysis, his mathematical sophistication, his philosophical sophistication, and his non-doctrinaire approach. I like how he surveys the various possibilities and looks at the pros and cons of the various possibilities. I never see him getting dragged into ad hominem debates. He always keeps it where it should be, which is not in personal attacks, but just focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of various ideas. I’ve been heavily influenced by Dave Chalmers and his writing.
There are definitely people who would disagree with me, as I believe Dan Dennett does. He is into conscious illusionism. I talk about conscious realism. I think conscious experiences are real and maybe the foundational reality. Dan Dennett says that space, time, and matter are fundamental. What we call consciousness, in particular, phenomenal conscious experiences—the “what is it like” aspect of consciousness—is merely an illusion that comes about when certain processes in our brain are monitoring the activity of other processes in our brain. The way they monitor and the language in which they couch what they’re monitoring is what leads to the illusion of consciousness. Keith Frankish, Dan Dennett, and others are spearheading this illusionism approach.
It’s not my approach and I disagree with it, but I’m glad they’re mapping out that part of the conceptual space. It’s important to have different points of views. Thinking about their ideas forces me to rethink certain aspects of my own approach. Yeah, we disagree, but it’s a profitable and useful kind of disagreement.
One other person that I should mention that was a big influence was Francis Crick. He was the one who gave permission for scientists to jump in and study consciousness. When I was a graduate student at MIT, I was interested in consciousness, but it wasn’t considered a proper subject of science. It was a little bit too woo woo. I studied it, but I didn’t call it that. I published a book with my collaborators, Bruce Bennett and Chetan Prakash called Observer Mechanics (1989). It’s effectively a mathematical model of dynamics of consciousness, but we just called it observer mechanics and left the consciousness out. Within a few years it was perfectly fine to talk about consciousness and that was largely due to the influence of Francis Crick.
Francis also was the intellectual leader of a group in Southern California that I was lucky to participate in called the Helmholtz club. The Helmholtz club brought together thinkers and professors from various universities in Southern California. We all met at the university club at UC Irvine for nearly twenty years on a roughly monthly basis, with some breaks. A group of a dozen or fifteen of us were the core group, and we would bring in guests and outside speakers. We were after understanding this hard problem of consciousness. Francis was looking at it from a hard-nosed neurobiological point of view—the neurocircuits and the activities that cause conscious experiences. He was hoping to demystify consciousness just like he’d demystified life when he and Watson discovered the structure of DNA. He was looking for the double helix of neuroscience that would demystify consciousness. It was a great pleasure to watch him at work, to see him grappling with the neuroscience data, questioning researchers about their latest findings, and then trying to come up with a model of how neuroactivity could create conscious experience.
I’m not going to be here forever. I need to help the next generation understand the ideas and carry on when I’m no longer able to do it. There is a balance that we all have to strike up between how much time we spend communicating the ideas and how much time we spend having fun exploring the ideas. That’s what it’s like climbing a mountain. You climb it because it’s there. We’re exploring these ideas because it’s incredibly fun to explore them, but then it’s time to stop having that fun. I do enjoy the communication process, but it’s different than the exploration of the ideas.
I try in my public communication, in podcasts and so forth, to communicate to a broad, intelligent but non-specialist audience. I would hope that intelligent, lower division undergraduates could understand what I’m saying. That’s my goal, because that’s often my audience. On the other hand, I’m hoping to catch the brilliant minds who know high-level physics or mathematics and could push this thing to heights that I can’t push it. I try to make it interesting to a broad audience, but also have enough beef that it is not dismissed by people who are talented and could find a real project in this.
I’m planning to officially retire from the UC Irvine this July. I’ll still be on the faculty, but I’ll be emeritus. I still plan to bring in grant money and do the research. As anybody who is a professor knows, you spend a lot of time teaching, and doing committee work, writing grants and reviewing grants, so all of the extraneous duties disappear. That’s one reason why I’m retiring. I’ll have more extended time to sink deeply into the ideas, especially when I’m trying to make this connection, which is my goal between the long-term behavior of conscious agent networks and perhaps the amplituhedron, or these interesting structures that physicists are finding that seem to be prior to spacetime and may give rise to spacetime.
My goal is to work with my team to get a mathematically rigorous theory over the next four or five years, and to get this far enough along that even if we don’t have the whole thing worked out, the ideas are promising enough that it’s worth writing a book that focuses on the idea that consciousness is fundamental. Even if I can’t bring that all the way home, I would like to bring it part of the way and then entice a new generation that’s mathematically sophisticated and sophisticated in physics to then bring it all the way home, and do it quickly enough that I can read it. I want to know the answer. That’s my real motivation. I want to know the answer to the hard problem of consciousness. Does the idea that consciousness is fundamental and could give rise to physics pan out? I am exceedingly interested in that. If I don’t get it, I need to get a book out there to have brighter people work on it so I can read their papers. That’s my goal
Most of us can quickly and easily reflect on and recall the various different physical or mental traits (good or bad) or anomalies that we’ve genetically inherited. Primarily because 1, they stick out, i.e. they aren’t “the norm” for our background, race, age, species, and yet there they are… flat feet, asthma, back problems or weak discs, being great at sports or music, poor eyesight, high blood pressure, etc etc.
We recognized for thousand of years there was some kind of mysterious magical system at play beneath the surface that predisposed people to these things if someone in their family was also predisposed to it or possessed it, long before we even knew about genes… So, we knew there’s “something” going on.. long before we discovered the genetic code.
We also made inbreeding within the same family against the law pretty early on in our evolution simply because we noticed the results of it often had a “bad” outcome, physical deformities or mental disabilities, etc. Again recognizing that there was something going on beneath the surface that we just hadn’t yet discovered.
We’ve been breeding dogs to our preference for a hundred years, knowing that if we did X to Y we’d end up with an XY eventually, again knowing there was something powerful and mysterious going on that we could harness beneath the surface… and again we didn’t know what it was, had no physical proof we could point to.
But alas now we do. I remember when we / they first cracked the human genome… how historic it seemed. Not that long ago. And now we’ve got tens of thousand of companies both private and public working 24/7 on very specific tasks and ventures, dreams and goals, in order to invent and create and discreate a literally infinite variety of different genetic potentialities in humans, animals, insects, fruits and vegetables.
It’s become as common as any other scientific field, maybe the most expansive scientific field of them all. Because the proof is right there, both on the screen (under the microscope projected onto the computer imaging monitor) AND in the physical manifestation of whatever actions we take in the microscopic genetic world, i.e. the result of our tinkering.
I personally started becoming interested in and then an obsessed student and knowledge hoarder in genetics because it very quickly overtook several other sciences I was already well versed in like civilization history, anthropology, archeology, etc. Before the discovery of genetics, they all suffered from the lack of proof problem, always theoretical. Post genetics, we can easily proof them out. No more need of the theoretical.
One of the most profound aspects of our discovering genetics is it’s reliability factor. Anyone who’s taken a genetic test and seen the results of it is aware of this. And of just how transformative the whole field has become in how we view the world and our species. Now we refer to ourselves in terms of which “generic tribe(s)” someone is of/from — because we knew everybody, every human on earth, at some point stated off being part of some “tribe”, and we’ve used that term for thousands of years.
But as we migrated around the earth for longer and longer periods of time, inter-breeding with people from other tribes, it became more challenging to determine just who someone was or where they fit in. We started using terms like nationality or race or country of birth or religion to categorize ourselves.
But none of those labels made any sense, because they were too surface and didn’t capture who a person really was. Now of course we can just take a test and see exactly which genetic tribe or genotype someone is originally of/from. And it’s usually a healthy dose of several. Those terms now supersede the old terms we used to use like nationality or even race. Being able to pinpoint exactly where and when on the planet a person’s lineage began…. It’s a mind blowing transformation of how we view and understand ourselves and the world.
Of course what fascinates us is the fact that despite how concrete genetics seem to be, there are often certain anomalies where a person doesn’t manifest or exhibit the exact result we predict based on their genetics, certain traits or diseases or skills or tendencies that “should” show up or be there but aren’t. And it boggles the mind still of our best and brightest. The old question returned “how is this possible?” How can X and X not predictably result in XX if everything we know about the genetic code is concrete and true? and once again we are thrown back into the world of having to use language like “prone to” “potential for” “tendency to” instead of “most definitely will”.
Is there just more to the science that we haven’t yet discovered? Or is there something more transpiring that transcends the science? Something like Consciousness…? The smart money would say it’s a little bit of both. Just how much can consciousness affect genetics and genetic outcomes…? That’s the question. Can consciousness completely supersede and unravel reliable predictable genetic outcomes? Can consciousness completely transcend something so seemingly concrete and solid like genetics?
Let me just pull out the rabbit and show it to you without all the drama and theatrics. We currently label the study of consciousness Ontology. It’s a field of study one can major in and become an “expert” in if they want to, though at present it’s as mysterious and theoretical as philosophy or psychology, filled with “maybes” and “what ifs” and “potential to”…. It’s fuzzy math at best. Without the reliability or predictability of math. It’s almost as damn near theoretical as the field we loosely label “Metaphysics”, which at best could be described as “the study of ideas and theories with no scientific foundation”. Harsh, but at present a realistic summation.
In a very short period of time though, in our lifetime, the study of consciousness will be moved to the field of particle physics. Because that’s where it actually belongs. Once we begin to see and study and explore consciousness through the lens of particle physics, we will break open the mysteries of it and the theoretical nature of it will start to fall away and lead us into more predictable and reliable outcomes that can be tested and proved.
When combined with various tests and studies in other areas of particle physics and in genetics…. Well, that’s going to be the golden ticket. That new field that gets created will be as powerful and profound as the discovery of genetics itself has been
This caught my eye… it’s a fascinating exploration. But I wasn’t sure I had anything valuable to add, until I read what Sir Richard Knight said when he mentioned creativity in the context of the role edges and bridges of consciousness may have.
Despite how esoteric and ivory tower the subject matter may seem from the outside, it is something Princess Little Tree and I discuss quite a bit in our day to day lives, because it’s such a major aspect of our family’s shared life together.m; creativity that is.
I (tend to) write between 5-10 songs a week on average, sometimes 2-3 a day, On occasion, once or twice a year, it’ll be 0 songs for a few weeks because I’ll deliberately relay to Higher Self/Awareness/Source/The Force that I’m taking a much needed break from songwriting… “No songs for a while please,” I’ll announce loudly into the air to no one in particular, “I am taking a few days off.”
Most people don’t realize how completely immersive, pervasive and all encompassing songwriting is in a persons life if that’s their job or profession or their primary passion and raison d’être. If we were attempt to express it in a way that’s remotely relatable to the average person, imagine you have “a job” that never had a start date — you’ve been doing that same job since you can remember, you work at that job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at all hours of the day or night all year round no matter what may be happening in your personal life. There are no paid vacation days, no time off for the holidays, no impending end to the job or retirement to look forward to in the future.
You were born a songwriter, started doing it since you can remember, and your soul’s purpose in this life incarnation is to write, create, record and release out into the world as many songs as is humanly possible without burning out or killing yourself from overwork stress or exhaustion in the process. In addition every one of the songs you write, no matter how many you write, are supposed to be brilliant works of undeniable genius, and at the same time big hits, ridiculously well known and popular, even though these two things rarely mean the same thing. No pressure at all.
I’ll admit it’s one of those things that even after 30 years still boggles the mind, witnessing it transpire all the time, living inside of that, having no idea how it it works, or where it comes from, contemplating it….
“Write songs” is a loose term here, since “I” dont actually “do” much. More of a passenger.
But just the other day when discussing it, right after we had observed a new song come out of nowhere and get completed within an hour or so — the event is akin to being on the road just driving along in your car and then BAM out of nowhere you see a giant tornado which picks you and your whole car up whether you want it to or not, lifts you miles up into the air and spins you around for an hour or two and then drops you back down on the road and you’re once again driving along as if nothing happened, except NOW there’s this new song in the world…
After one such event the other day one of us made a comment that they had decided the mechanics of this mysterious supernatural-seeming process we witness all the time came from living, being, existing 24/7 in this dreamy alternative state, or at least leaving a wormhole open to it at all times, where you’re living totally completely on the razors edge EDGE of (this) “reality” all the time.
Personally speaking Im not sure I ever “jump” as Richard referred to in his comment. That is an “action” that implies too much deliberateness… It is much more like suddenly falling than jumping…. Falling off the edge of THIS reality into an infinitely vast alternative universe outside of this one… One minute you’re “here/now” and then suddenly you disappear, you’re not you, you’re not here, you’re not now, you’re not what we would call conscious… you’re off in some other world just free-falling and flowing along with this new song that’s appeared out of nowhere. It is NOT a state of UNawareness. It’s just unawareness of this world.
I actually sought out and actively used the Avatar tools specifically to get more deliberate control of being that way and try to hone it in a bit, because it doesn’t lend itself to a healthy stable or secure life. Especially if you’re so far out there all the time that you’re not even aware that you’re so far out there… which I wasn’t; until i took Avatar. Learning about Attention and Will and Living Deliberately from the Avatar Courses saved my life. No way I would have made it this long in this life form, living like that — so casually care-freely unaware of reality.
Eventually I found a healthy balance. Between living completely on the edge or way off and past the edges, and being able to deliberately use my Will to focus my Attention to come back to “regular people reality” when i decide i want or need to. Which i think is really important if you want to stay alive in this physical form, and also be a good spouse, parent, child, friend, etc to others.
The bridges… need to contemplate more… I’m assuming based on reading other comments here and feeling into them is that the bridges get created from our deliberately deciding to use our Will, focus our attention, get deliberate and be Source. Suddenly a bridge appears. Or more accurately we create a bridge.
So yes, you’ve checked out 100% as far as others are concerned who are still in the here-now watching you, wondering if you’re ever coming back… But, and this is a BIG but, one need bear in mind none of this is too deliberate; I’ve been this way since I can remember, and until I discovered the Avatar Courses it was a very scary unsafe dangerous way of living…. I actually sought out and actively used the Avatar tools specifically to get more deliberate control of being that way, because it doesn’t lend itself to a healthy stable or secure life. Especially if you’re so far out there all the time that you’re not even aware you are that way… which I wasn’t.
Learning about Attention, the Will and Living Deliberately from the Avatar Courses saved my life in my opinion. No way I would have made it this long in this life form, living like that — so casually carefreely unaware of reality. Eventually I found a healthy balance. I can deliberately focus my attention now to come back to “regular people reality” when i decide i want or need to. Which i think is important if you want to stay alive in physical form.
My biggest fear for many years was that learning to do anything deliberately would compromise the random chaotic flow of our creativity and impede my ability to continue to be a prolific songwriter. But it didn’t. If anything it helped it, because I was suddenly able to more deliberately control the process… a little. I was still, am still, a willing victim of the sudden appearance of songs in my head. And no matter what time day or night they come or where I am at the time, I am immediately a slave to them in that moment. I never say no to one. I do not put off starting one or completing it once they appear. That becomes my immediate and sole priority. Learning to use my attention and will actually helps me move through the process faster and with more deliberateness.
Bouncing back and forth between not being present and not paying attention at all, essential for writing a song, to leaping back into the mind, getting present and paying attention, essential for finishing a song.