Archive for December, 2008
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle & Mediated Knowledge

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has to do with fundamental limits of certainty in conjugate variables, in this case momentum and position. One can measure a particle by bouncing light off it. The error in measurement of the particle’s position is:

1. ΔX=λ/θ

where λ is the wavelength of light and θ is the angle of focus into the lens. The uncertainty of the momentum of the particle is:

2. ΔMx=Ml(θ/2)

Ml is the momentum of the light (photon). Taken together:

3. ΔX(ΔMx)=λ(Ml)/2

So far so good. However, the momentum of light is inversely related to the wavelength of light by the equation:

4. Ml=h/λ

Substituting 4 into 3, the combined uncertainty can never be less than h/2. If the wavelength is small in order to get good resolution on the position (equation 1), then the momentum is large (because of equation 4) making the error of measurement of the particle’s momentum large (see equation 2). One must pick which variable to measure accurately since both cannot be known accurately at the same time. The problem with all of this is that these measurements are mediated.

It is commonly stated (and Boyd affirms) that “Quantum mechanics has demonstrated that this uncertainty is not due to our limited measuring devices; it is actually rooted in the nature of things.”1 To a certain extent that is true. However, the uncertainty, as shown above, is linked to light as the measuring tool. God, as opposed to humans, does not learn things as he takes measurements on a system. God’s knowledge is immediate. He does not require a scale to know how much a truck weighs, he does not need a measuring cup to know how much flower is in a bag, nor does God need light to know the position and momentum of a particle. God’s knowledge is not mediated to him. This is the fundamental problem with linking open theism to quantum mechanics. The assumption is that God must know things in the same way people know things. However, if God does not need to smash photons into the electrons orbiting atoms in order to know their position, then none of these equations apply and the uncertainty disappears.


1 Greg Boyd, God of the Possible, 109.

The global economic crisis as a positive event

As you may know, there is a recession in most of the world, with indicators pointing towards a depression. If you were to look at the news in recent weeks, you would be tempted to think that the world was about to end. The news in almost entirely comprised of negative information concerning not only the economy of the United States of America, but of Europe and many other parts of the world as well. Some countries, such as Iceland, are even fearing they may go bankrupt. Indeed, many have lost half of their financial assets in recent weeks and they may lose even more in the near future. However, could there possibly be a position of awareness that we can take concerning this issue that would look at the glass as being half full? There is. Although many would simply look at the glass as being half-empty, we should see it as half-full. Dwelling on the negative is hardly a productive means to an end result.

In fact, there are many fascinating new perceptions of reality being uncovered by humanity as a result of this global economic collapse. Humanity is finally realizing, en masse, that the current financial system is broken and inefficient. They are realizing that this system, even if a temporary bandaid is put on the situation at hand, it will definitely breakdown again. In essentially every decade there is a recession and inflation is constantly occuring to the point there one dollar in 1913 is today worth 4 cents. This global economic tsunami is helping people come up with new economic systems entirely, such as a resource-based economy promoted in Zeitgeist: Addendum and The Venus Project. Although these two projects are unfeasible currently and will never work unless the global consciousness shifts to a whole other level, it is an example of human beings looking for alternatives to the current system. Other, less extreme proposals have been put forward by the Austrian school of economics, which is strongly promoting the return to the full gold standard as soon as possible, as former presidential hopeful Ron Paul promised he would do if he became president of the United States of America.

A new economic system could potentially create a utopia that would reflect the global consciousness that had created it. The system must reflect global consciousness and since, according to Dr. David Hawkins, global consciousness is now for the past few years been above the critical level that separates fear and courage, truly great changes will be occurring now. Although it is still evident that global consciousness is not yet at the point where a resource-based economy where money did not exist is not yet possible, or other such drastic proposals, it is coming faster that most realize, since the very nature of time itself is speeding up and nobody quite knows why.

Another big reason why the economic collapse could be looked at in a positive position of awareness is that there will be less buying of products that are not needed and therefore, less superficial and self-absorbed materialism will exist in the world’s industrialized nations. A scientific study came out in 2008 that found a direct link between materialism and low self-esteem, which to many of you may be no surprise. However, let us look at this more closely. If there is less credit in the markets, then that means less purchasing will occur since people are not only receiving less purchasing power, lower wages as as result of inflation or a job layoff, but they are also weighing out their purchases. They will be looking at what is more important at this point in time: economically efficient windows so that they can lower heating costs in the winter, or that new high definition television with satellite tv. There will be less glorifying of the ego as a result of this economic collapse and that could mean that more individuals will be able to shift their consciousness to the higher levels such as love, joy, and peace.

Ultimately, the future is uncertain, since it is not destined in towards any particular event. However, it is very probable that this global economic collapse will turn into the most fantastic opportunity of consciousness expansion that our human history has ever experienced. This may become a truly memorable paradigm shift.

An Inspiring NDE Story

After reading several near death experience stories from individuals on websites such as http://www.near-death.com/, I found a very inspiring story that I thought I would put up here. Take a look at this beautiful story.

The Near-Death Story of Mellen-Thomas Benedict

In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.

Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side. I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call “Anne.” She stayed with me through all that was to follow.

Into the Light

I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.

A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother’s or father’s arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, “Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go.” The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That’s the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, “What is going on here?” The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images.

I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you’ve ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said “I am ready, take me.” Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations elegant, exotic…everything.

I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, “Oh, God, I didn’t realize.” I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. “What all people seek what sustains them s love,” the Light told me. “What distorts people is a lack of love.” The revelations went on and on. I asked, “Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?” Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light “spoke,” saying, “You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world.” In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.

I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: “Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life.” The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, “This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart’s content.” I drank deeply, in ecstasy.

The Void of Nothingness

Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared. I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this galaxy and the entire Universe is bursting with many different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and vanished in a speck of Light. Then a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.

I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly. It would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God’s Self through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head, through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God’s Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That’s what it is all about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.

The Light of Love

I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body. It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process. As the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God …this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be. For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are, screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.

But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead. It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death itself for at least an hour and a half. When I awakened and saw the light outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed. She heard a loud “clunk”, ran in, and found me on the floor. When I recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, “Am I alive?” This world seemed more like a dream than that one.

Within three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up. Everyone but me. About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the “before” and “after” scans. He said, “I can find no sign of cancer now.” “A miracle?” I asked. “No,” he answered. “These things happen…spontaneous remission.” He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was a miracle.

Lessons Learned

I asked God: “What is the best religion on the planet? Which one is right?” God said with great love: “It doesn’t matter.” What an incredible grace. It does not matter what religion we are. Religions come and they go. They change. Buddhism has not been here forever, Catholicism has not been here forever, and they are all about to become more enlightened. More light is coming into all systems now. Many will resist and fight about it, one religion against the next, believing that only they are right. When God said, “It doesn’t matter,” I understood that it is for us to care about, because we are the caring beings.

The Source does not care if you are Protestant, Buddhist, or Jew. Each is a reflection, a facet of the whole. I wish that all religions would realize it and let each other be. It is not the end of separate religions, but live and let live. Each has a different view, and it all adds up to the big picture. I went over to the other side with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rain forest. I came back loving every single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. More than any religion or philosophy on Earth, that terrible, wonderful cloud brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness.

Knowing that maybe we can blow up the planet fifty times, or 500 times, we finally realize that maybe we are all here together now. For a period they had to keep setting off more bombs to get it into us. Then we started saying, “we do not need this any more.” Now we are actually in a safer world than we have ever been in, and it is going to get safer. So I came back loving toxic waste, because it brought us together. These things are so big. Clearing of the rain forest will slow down, and in fifty years there will be more trees on the planet than in a long time. If you are into ecology, go for it; you are that part of the system that is becoming aware. Go for it with all your might, but do not be depressed or disheartened. Earth is in the process of domesticating itself, and we are cells on that Body. Population increase is getting very close to the optimal range of energy to cause a shift in consciousness. That shift in consciousness will change politics, money, energy.

The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The Universe is not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the wiser part of ourselves. Since my return I have experienced the Light spontaneously. I have learned how to get to that space almost any time in my meditation. You can also do this. You don’t have to die first. You are wired for it already. The body is the most magnificent Light being there is. The body is a universe of incredible Light. We don\’t need to commune with God; God is already communing with us in every moment!

Developing a positive attitude

There are three steps to developing a positive attitude.

Awareness: The first step is to be aware of what and how we are thinking. We must train ourselves to be aware at all times of how our mind is working the thoughts, thinking patterns and tendencies. Make this a habit. If it is difficult, the meditation technique of antar mouna and Yoga Nidra are methods which help us do this. These techniques help in the withdrawing of our senses to introspect.

Acceptance:

Awareness, however, brings about a heightened sensitivity to the issues. We tend to become judgmental and critical of ourselves or of others. This has the danger of sending us into a vicious cycle of negativity unless we learn to accept what we see and understand. Have an attitude that it is alright to think how we are. Just be a witness to this fact and believe that the Source (God) likes us for what we are. This acceptance leads to a genuine love and compassion, which forms the bedrock of positive thinking.

For example, if you are angry with your partner for not doing something as per your wishes, accept that it is natural for you to face such emotions. Accept that it is because of certain archetypes or samskara that lie embedded in your subconscious. Likewise, accept that it is okay for your partner to behave that way, which is based on his perception and the elements embedded in his subconscious. With practice, you will find that this helps in surmounting negativity to a large extent.

Attitude:

Once we have accepted what lies within our thoughts, we can actually start working upon how we want to look at that particular person, situation or thing. Yoga techniques assist us in changing our attitude. The Sankalpa or resolve that we set in Yoga Nidra helps in shaping our mind. This resolve in yoga is always in the nature of a positive statement such as: “I am becoming more positive every day”. Such inputs fed into the mind help in shaping our attitude into one of positivism. Let us look at changing attitude with the following example. Suppose you have a negative attitude toward someone. So much so that he puts you in a bad mood the moment you see him. For a moment, find just one small thing or quality in him that you do like. Now remember that one positive thing whenever you meet or interact with him. Gradually, you will see that your feelings towards him will become more positive and things start looking up.

Following these three guidelines and you will find yourself becoming more positive. Remember that every thought generated in the mind is also experienced by every cell in the body. That is why on a good day you feel yourself exercising better with more flexibility, while on a bad day you feel stiff and lethargic. Ultimately, positive thinking affects the body vibrations in a positive manner. This in turn, affects the vibrations around us, which, in turn, affect the situations around us. This helps in relieving our suffering and leading a harmonious life.

Quantum Mechanics Proves Too Much

Greg Boyd in his article “Scientific Support for the Open View” makes the following point:

Prior to a ‘quantum event’ (viz. the observed behavior of a quantum particle in an experimental situation) there is only a range (‘wave packet’) of possibilities: during the quantum event the wave packet collapses down to one. After ‘the event’ there is one definite outcome which could not have been predicted with certainty ahead of time.
“If this is true of reality, it must be true of God’s knowledge of reality as well, for God’s omniscience is by definition exhaustive and perfectly accurate. In this view, the unpredictability of the future and the unchangeability of the past constitute two sides of the same metaphysical coin: they are both necessary facts.1

Quantum mechanics proves more than Boyd is likely willing to concede. Before the quantum event, according to Boyd, “there is only a range (’wave packet’) of possibilities.” He makes much of not being able to determine beforehand which possibility will actuate (thus the implications for a partially open future) but it seems that he fails to grant this indeterminacy in the present.
There are certain quantum events (such as passing electrons through a barrier) which are more in line with the analogy Boyd wants to draw. However, this uncertainty also exists in the present in quantum states (such as the position and momentum of a particle). Uncertainty attends both quantum events (future) which could not be foreknown and quantum states (present).
This means that the present has some uncertainty to it. If uncertainty in quantum events supports an open future, then it seems uncertainty in quantum states supports an open present. In order for this “wave packet” to collapse a measurement must be taken. At the point of interaction the packet collapses to a definable entity. However, if one never makes a measurement then the unknowable wave packet continues to be unknowable. Given the number of subatomic particles in the universe, and given the few that have actually been measured, this means that nearly an infinite number of quantum wave packets from the time of creation have gone unmeasured and therefore unknown. This means that God’s past knowledge has uncertainty to it as well.1 Greg Boyd, “Scientific Support for the Open View” Christus Victor Ministries, http://www.gregboyd.org/essays/essays-open-theism/scientific-support/ (accessed November 1, 2008).

Prior to a ‘quantum event’ (viz. the observed behavior of a quantum particle in an experimental situation) there is only a range (‘wave packet’) of possibilities: during the quantum event the wave packet collapses down to one. After ‘the event’ there is one definite outcome which could not have been predicted with certainty ahead of time.
“If this is true of reality, it must be true of God’s knowledge of reality as well, for God’s omniscience is by definition exhaustive and perfectly accurate. In this view, the unpredictability of the future and the unchangeability of the past constitute two sides of the same metaphysical coin: they are both necessary facts.8

Quantum mechanics proves more than Boyd is likely willing to concede. Before the quantum event, according to Boyd, “there is only a range (’wave packet’) of possibilities.” He makes much of not being able to determine beforehand which possibility will actuate (thus the implications for a partially open future) but it seems that he fails to grant this indeterminacy in the present.
There are certain quantum events (such as passing electrons through a barrier) which are more in line with the analogy Boyd wants to draw. However, this uncertainty also exists in the present in quantum states (such as the position and momentum of a particle). Uncertainty attends both quantum events (future) which could not be foreknown and quantum states (present).
This means that the present has some uncertainty to it. If uncertainty in quantum events supports an open future, then it seems uncertainty in quantum states supports an open present. In order for this “wave packet” to collapse a measurement must be taken. At the point of interaction the packet collapses to a definable entity. However, if one never makes a measurement then the unknowable wave packet continues to be unknowable. Given the number of subatomic particles in the universe, and given the few that have actually been measured, this means that nearly an infinite number of quantum wave packets from the time of creation have gone unmeasured and therefore unknown. This means that God’s past knowledge has uncertainty to it as well.

Stasis
To the regular readers of this blog and those who may happen upon it in the future.

For some time now I have been maintaining five blogs on atheism, namely:

Atheism is Dead

Atheism Dissected

Richard Dawkins – Scientist or Activist?

Sam Harris – Mythbuster or Mythmaker?

Dan Barker – One of America’s Leading Atheists


I have been posting to each of these (and a couple of others such as Life and Doctrine) every few days. Considering the current state of my day to day life I have decided to focus my efforts on Atheism is Dead.

I will still be writing about Richard Dawkins and writing essays that would be fit for this blog but will be posting them to Atheism is Dead.

I will be posting to this blog much less frequently. Thus, you best bet for the latest is to check Atheism is Dead regularly and this blog on occasion (subscribing to the feed may be of use).

Shalom and hope to see you over yonder at Atheism is Dead.

aDios,
Mariano

PS: feel free to write comments to any posts in this blog—I will still keep up with them.
Sam Harris – Myth Buster or Myth Maker?, part 10 of 10

Please note that this post has been moved to True Freethinker where it was posted at this link









Seeking a spiritual community

In a book called A Path With Heart, Jack Kornfield suggest some key questions to ask when considering a spiritual community:

In the spiritual community, are you asked to violate your own sense of ethical conduct or integrity?

Is there a duel standard for the community versus the guru and a few people around him [or her]?

Are there secret, rumors of difficulty?

Do key members misuse sexuality, money, or power?

Are they mostly asking for your money?

Are they asking for your body?

Are you not allowed to hang out with your old friends and/or relatives?

Do you feel dependent? Addicted?

Is the practice humorless (This is an important sign.)

Does the community have a heaviness and an anti-life feeling about it?

Are you asked to believe blindly without being able to see for your self?

Is there something powerful going on that may not really be loving?

Is there more focus on the institution and membership than on practices that lead to liberation?

Is there a sense of intolerance?

When you look at the oldest and most senior students, are they happy and mature?

Do they have a place to graduate to, to teach, to express their own dharma, or are people always kept in the role of students and children?

Asking yourself these questions may save you from many years of misery and anguish so take some time
to contemplate them and see if the organization you want to join answers those questions correctly. May you be fruitful in your journey.

Sam Harris – Myth Buster or Myth Maker?, part 9 of 10

Please note that this post has been moved to True Freethinker where it was posted at this link



Sam Harris – Myth Buster or Myth Maker?, part 9 of 10

Please note that this post has been moved to True Freethinker where it was posted at this link