CONVERSATION WITH JEFF
ON BEING AND CREATION
By Vince Giuliano and Jeff Holcomb
This document is a compendium of e-mail exchanges between the two authors dealing with a number of scientific, philosophical and personal topics. The discussion was initiated by Jeff reading Vinceís essay On Being and Creation. It is included here for the insights it contains as well as revelations of what we do not know.
I have never met Jeff Holcomb face-to-face but I consider him to be good friend.† Our interactions have always been via e-mail and our webs link to each other.† Jeff is responsible for the creation of two computer programs, Kaleider and Liquib, programs that I have used for creation of much of my computer-based art.† They are like no other programs I have seen. They are innovative in that they put generalized mathematical principles for image transformation at the disposal of the artist, projective geometry in the case of Kaleider, topology in the case of Liquib.† We started our e-mail exchanges over 3 years ago when I helped Beta-test early versions of these programs and fed Jeff back suggestions.† Since then we have had a number of e-mail exchanges including this one.
The text following is the result of a half-dozen e-mail exchanges, each round †involving inserting more text at the proper place in an e-mail message in response to what was posted there in the previous round.† To make matters clearer I have labeled each paragraph with who is talking and kept my comments (Vinceís) in this type font while Jeffís comments are in this type font and indented.† Working backwards from the most recent, my latest comments are in purple like this.† They are in response to Jeffís latest comments in green like this.† Prior to those were my comments in red like this, and prior to those were Jeffís comments in blue like this.† Earlier-yet exchanges are in black.† I hope you donít find this too confusing.† You should be able to follow most of the dialog by simply reading in normal sequence.
(The conversation picks up from an earlier e-mail exchange about the bra-ket notation in quantum mechanics and the possibility that quantum waves could move backwards in time.)
Jeff: I vaguely remember seeing that sort of notation in my quantum mechanics text books back in college, and at the time I probably had some feel for how it represented quantum operators and states, though I never got too deep into the actual math. But now I'll have to take your word for the time interpretation. I do remember that at the level of the basic physical laws (according to both quantum mechanics and relativity) all processes are supposedly time reversible -- there's no distinction between the forward and backward time directions. But at the level where us humans exist time always seems to advance -- otherwise there might be paradoxes with causes and effects, the principle of entropy would be violated, etc.
Vince: Yes.† †And this paradox is discussed in a number of books I have read over the years on the nature of time. There is a basic asymmetry in nature with respect to time. Entropy is a big issue - you don't ever see smoke in the sky gathering itself up and going down a smokestack. And interpreting the effect of applying a quantum operator going backwards in time, you apply the conjugate of the operator. However I don't see a really basic issue with cause and effect. We commonly say A caused B, such as "the car crash caused Pete's death." But in fact it is always the aggregate of many things that causes B, such for example as a failure in the Pete's car air bag system, how exactly was Pete sitting at the time, whether Pete had a heart condition, whether the auto fuel exploded, etc.. It can be argued that just about everything leading up to B caused it. So, when we talk about A causing B itís generally just a handy approximation to a very complex set of antecedent conditions and processes. Now can we run causation backwards and say "Pete's death caused the car crash?" No. But neither can you accurately say "the car crash caused Pete's death." But we can say, extending the concept of cause, that the totality of what existed and was going on at the time of the car crash caused what came before it.
Jeff: If you extend the concept of cause to apply in both directions of time then it almost seems to have no meaning -- there would be no cause and effect.
Vince: Not necessarily so. The Transactional Interaction interpretation of quantum physics preserves cause and effect as a boundary condition as do most other interpretations. And this theory clearly features quantum waves reaching backwards in time. I have just finished a rewrite and expansion of On Being and Creation, including a dialog with a brilliant intellectual, Jim Seltzer. It is now up on my web. I treat the subject of causality and time asymmetry further in that piece. In terms of the Transactional Interaction interpretation of quantum theory I say: "Crudely put, macroscopic-level creation in this framework would be the transactional outcome of quantum-like waves going both backwards and forwards in time from the instant of creation, essentially negotiating between past and future situations so that the creation comes about through causality. "
Jeff: I read your reworked On Being and Creation document. You've really improved and clarified many areas. The running dialog with Jim Seltzer was also very helpful and even entertaining. He raised several points that I had also wondered about, plus many others that never occurred to me. I hadn't heard of the Transactional Interaction interpretation. Yes, I can see how the Offer-Wave / Response-Wave model, at least at the level of quantum measurements, might preserve cause and effect. A potential event could only occur if one itís OWs into the past (advanced waves) properly resonates with a RW, which I guess essentially means that the proposed current event is a 'possible' state given past configurations. But does the TI interpretation really allow for making alterations to the past, especially to the degree that would be needed at the macro level? Wouldn't you still need to invoke the concept of Parallel Universes to make the process of Macroscopic Reality Creation work?
Vince: This is an excellent question. In my model of reality creation the past is vastly undetermined and thus itself subject to creation. In my paper I propose a strong model of under-determination, which is that I live in a present with what I call an "experience record" in a large manifold of possible universes with numerous alternative pasts, all consistent with my experience record. when I create something new, some things and events will likely have to be placed into the past so the new thing will evolve as the result of cause and effect. This is accomplished by selecting me into a sub-manifold of universes, a sub-manifold in which all of the universes have those required things and events in the past. The way this would have to work in the TI interpretation is simply to say the past is undetermined except as in my experience record. If the OW wave into the past for a new creation found nothing inconsistent with my experience record the past would respond with a resonant RW and at the same time simply create the requisite things and events locating them appropriately in the past. So TI could be used to explain Macroscopic Reality Creation.† I do admit it requires an intellectual stretch.
Jeff: I can see that to fully account for a particular effect you might need to consider an aggregate of many causes. But are you really saying that the totality of the current state of the universe is the 'cause' for both what happened in the past and what will happen in the future?
Vince: No. I am saying that in the parallel universe manifold that the instantly-current me exists in, there is an infinity of very high order of possible futures and possible pasts consistent with the present that could be seen eventually as causing those various futures. When I create a future reality of some kind, I select myself into a universe sub-manifold where the previously undetermined part of my past manifests past creations that in a cause-and-effect manner lead to the desired future reality. Looked at in terms of quantum waves, it is as in my previous comment. You might enjoy reading the final Section VIII of On Being and Creation that talks about how this goes on both on a quantum and macroscopic scale.
Jeff: Maybe a sort of hybrid of the Parallel Universe and Transactional Interaction interpretations is needed to fully account for MRC.
Vince: Quite possibly so, probably easier to accept than requisite past events being created ad-hoc to satisfy a future creation. I am starting to feel comfortable going back and forth from one interpretation to the other.
Jeff: PUI allows the possibility of switching into alternate you-niverses with pasts that support a desired creation, and TI provides the mechanism for negotiating an allowable you-niverse that properly maintains cause/effect and preserves your experience record. If so, then I suppose that would mean the nonlocal OWs and RWs must travel between universes?
Vince: Yes, if we accept a hybrid PUI and TI model, which seems reasonable to me. Non-locality is a characteristic of the
Jeff: Even if that's true at the quantum level for a simple, isolated system of particles, it seems implausible in the complex, macro world that we live in.
Vince: True. That same implausibility has caused much intellectual struggle among physicists and philosophers for almost a century. The only thing that has kept quantum physics alive is that it without-doubt works.
Jeff: t would essentially mean that at any given moment of time, if you had total knowledge about the state of the universe at that instant then you could theoretically fully and accurately reconstruct the entire history of the universe, and also fully and accurately predict the entire future of the universe.
Vince: I don't mean to imply any such knowledge and I think it is impossible to have. I reject such determinism because of the known role of probability at the most basic level. Rather, what I am getting at is that there are principles at work in the universe which automatically adjust things to make them come out right in the creation process. An analogy: I throw a stone into a quiet pond. Ripples spread out on the surface. Trillions of trillions of water molecules are displaced. I don't have to know their initial positions and could never follow their movements. Due to the combined effects of gravity and friction, soon the surface quiets down again. The pond is now different. The surface is higher because the stone is in it. Every molecule is displaced from where it would have been. I did it oblivious of what went on. I just picked up and threw the stone. I see the process of creation as a similar thing, easy to do, and profoundly difficult to fathom and impossible to calculate.
Jeff: An excellent example of the complexity of macro-level processes, how they evolve irreversibly over time. We know that the stone entering the pond triggered an enormous chain of interactions at the molecular level that resulted in the observed ripples, displacements, etc. We might in principle understand each interaction, but it's totally impractical to calculate the aggregate effect. And the same would be true for reality creation.
Jeff: Now, I tend to believe that there must be some validity to your assertion of limited reality creation, and that you are expressing something extremely profound with your linkage of consciousness to an entity that you call Source. You have made a valiant attempt at justifying and fitting these concepts into the existing framework of quantum physics. Perhaps you have succeeded -- I am certainly not qualified to judge. But I do also wonder if our current theories are just not adequate to explain what you have experienced.
Vince: Your wondering is well-taken Jeff. I have tried to build a model of MRC using ordinary language but draws on some current theories in physics. Being a model it may be useful in lending insight but is necessarily incomplete and possible inaccurate in some respects. I may come back to that model again and again as my years roll on. Better or more complete theories of physics could come into play. The dialogs I have had in the last two months with you and Jim Seltzer have been very helpful in facilitating the current formulation of the model and I thank you both for that.
Jeff: There would be no random chance or free will (kind of like pre-destination, a Presbyterian tenet). But I think that doesn't take into account chaotic, complex systems that follow mathematical rules but are inherently unpredictable and irreversible.
Vince: Precisely, because you can't tell exactly what sub-universes are the next ones you are going into. The process is inherently probabilistic. Many chaotic processes are known to be able to generate random numbers.
Jeff: Truly though, time is something that we don't understand.
Vince: I don't think anybody does.
Jeff: Nearly everything in physics involves time -- everything 'happens' in time. We treat time as a dimension for some purposes, similar to distance, but it's clearly different from distance. We assume that it 'flows' at a certain rate, but that can actually vary with acceleration and in the presence of mass/energy. The fundamental speed of light constant itself is dependent on the constancy of the rate of time flow -- but what is that exactly?
Vince: Here is where I think there is a basic disconnect between common-sense experience and abstract theory. Subjective, perceived and entropy-related time flow is an inexplicable one-way street related to memory and expectation. One can't get back to yesterday with a detour through tomorrow. † If we bury ourselves in an 11 or 23 dimensional string, gage or brane theory where time is one of many exotic dimensions, within this model there is beauty, explanation and no problems with time other than those of mathematical consistency. But the disconnect between experienced ordinary-reality time and abstract-model time remains. (This is a good example of the duality of sensation vs. abstraction detailed in my Ah, to be Jung Again paper). This kind of disconnect between common-sense experience and theory has many precedents in the history of science. Isn't it obvious that the earth is flat? And, starting in the early 20th century, quantum theory could not be correlated with common experience driving many great thinkers including Einstein nearly nuts. Humans are in fact quite used to reconciling off-the-wall theories of what exists with their experienced reality. I am talking about the theories embodied in religions. Now we have to get used to reconciling what seem to be off-the-wall theories in the domain of science instead of religion. Itís a hard sell but this computer, my HDTV and the network that sends you these signals depend on quantum effects completely unperceived by any of our sensations.
Jeff: I can somewhat grasp the concept of treating time as a dimension, at least in the sense that Einstein did with relativity. Each point in space forms a 'world line' through time, and every event at that location is a 4-dimensional point along that world line. Each person follows their own unique world line through space and time. Us conscious beings perceive the sequence of events along our world lines as a sort of flow through time, always forward.
Vince: Yes. Yes. Geometric relativity theory is a still-elegant model. But we know now that Einstein's 4-space model of reality is limiting - a straight jacket to our thinking as was
Jeff: I'm somewhat
familiar with the EPR 'paradox', how that was supposed to be a killer argument
against quantum theory, and then how it was proven experimentally that
correlated particles actually behave non-locally, coordinating faster that
light. But as you say, no communication is involved. Isn't it still
believed that the transfer of information, cause/effect actions, etc. are
limited by the speed of light? Again, that would be according to current,
conventional 'laws' of physics. Maybe we need to go further.
Jeff: As you say, our memories and expectations play a role in converting the raw input from our senses into a continuous stream of experience that our minds interpret as the passing of time from past to current to future. In fact, that sense of moving through time seems intimately related to the meaning of consciousness -- being aware of the current moment, remembrance of how past occurrences led to the present and understanding the need to prepare for the future.
Vince: Right. I do think time and consciousness are related. I don't have a good sense of how, however, other than to observe that we perceive time as having a direction, that we act and generate creations at instances of time, and that creations can affect both past and future.
Jeff: But do the string/brane theories really contribute anything new to the understanding of time? How do they deal with entropy? Is time (and space) quantized? These are all still things that I wonder about.
Vince: These theories contribute to the extent that they provide intellectual models of how these things time, space and energy could be related. They embody distinctions we otherwise don't have and, by grasping those distinctions, further understanding and possible further mastery over the world can be achieved. Just like quantum theory provided distinctions that have led to so many technological achievements. All our thinking and communicating is in terms of intellectual models; they are all we have to think with about anything. (I took a break at this point in our discussion and had to leave the house but this discussion kept going around in my head. I realized that there is a whole extension of this discussion into epistemology: what do we know and how, and how does that affect our consciousness? A whole essay on that topic has started to form in my mind. I will possibly write this up over the weekend.) As to quantization of time and space, I have an interactive discussion about this with Jim Seltzer embodied in the latest version of the On Being and Creation paper. There is reason to believe they are quantized in that beyond a minimum size there is too much uncertainty. However I believe an infinite number of possible quantization schemes exist in parallel universes.
Jeff: I hope those string/brane theories will eventually become practical enough to contribute to technological advancement. You know, if you concede the existence of infinite parallel universes, then literally anything and everything is possible. The question is, do they really exist? And if so, do us humans have access to any of them, aside from the one we were born in -- are we able to switch between them. Your own experiences are perhaps circumstantial evidence to support such transfers. Or again, there might be other explanations that we can't yet imagine.
Vince: True. True. All we have to work with are mental constructs and infinite parallel universes is one of them as are the holy spirit, phlogiston, dark matter, sin, God, space and time. Some of these constructs are more useful than others, and some may be superseded as our theories evolve. Infinite parallel universes has been a very useful construct for explaining quantum phenomena for some 90 years now and the construct has gained rather than lost strength among theoreticians during this time. They exist as mental constructs as does dark matter, quarks and gluons. In my MRC model we do have limited access to them and are constantly switching between them. I believe string theorists would say something similar for the behavior of matter. It's not that we switch from one particular universe to another. It's that we need to be simultaneously in lots of them to just keep going. And yes, I cannot begin to imagine what can be imagined.
Jeff: I have just been reading a book titled The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot (haven't finished it yet). Very quickly I began to notice similarities between many of your ideas and the Holographic Model described in that book. Are you familiar with the holographic concept? There are supposedly 2 levels of existence, the Implicate order and the Explicate order. The Implicate order seems somewhat parallel to your Everything-Nothing -- a sort of potential for all possibilities. The Explicate order is the reality that we perceive as humans -- it is the interpretation or manifestation of the Implicate that is continually generated by our consciousness. Again, that seems roughly similar to your creation of realities from E-N by Source and our own conscious minds. The universe is a sort of hologram, and we, our minds and bodies, along with all other matter, energy, space and time, are part of that hologram. The holograms are nonlocal, and everything is interconnected. Everything is in the form of frequencies, wave fronts -- our perception of solidity is really just a convenience. Truthfully, much of this is still very vague and fuzzy to me. From what I gather, none of these concepts have been expressed in mathematical terms, so the holographic model probably can't be considered a proper scientific theory, but just a framework for ideas.
Vince: I have not read this book though your description makes me want to. It does seem to sound very parallel to my MRC formulation. I have tried not to use concepts such as waves and frequencies in a metaphorical sense though some hard scientists might see my references to quantum physics as being mainly metaphorical
Jeff: It seems very coincidental to me that I happened to begin reading this book in the midst of our exchanges about such similar subjects. You see, I had purchased the book several months ago, and because of a large backlog of books to read was just getting around to reading it. Much of the book recounts miracles, human energy fields and other paranormal occurrences that might be explained by our minds as holograms, connected to the universal hologram. Maybe I'll understand it all better by the time I finish the book, maybe not. Well, I don't quite know what to make of it all, and was curious what you thought.
Vince: Sounds like the usage of holograms is mainly metaphorical.
Jeff: I've read about some theories of time which claim that our human perception of time flowing is illusory. That our concepts of past, present and future are meaningless. All events along the dimension of time at each location in space have always existed, and always will exist. We are each just experiencing our own unique sequence of events as we progress point by point along our world lines of space/time, and we perceive that continuous sequence as passing through time. It's very difficult for me to accept that, though I realize that might just be due to the limitations of my own mind.
Vince: Was it Bertrand Russell who said "Damn, I am only a
tram?" I have trouble with that geometric world-line view of things
too. It does not embody considerations of probability, entropy or
information flow (shown by
Jeff: Somebody once wrote: "Time is the fire in which we burn".
Vince: Yes. And we never see a pile of ashes unburn itself while attracting smoke from the sky to re-compose itself as a pile of discarded wicker porch furniture. Has to do with entropy. The information embodied in the structure of the wicker chairs that were burnt was lost, the entropy was increased.
Jeff: I have personally had experiences with seeing
into the future. Usually those were just deja vu type events that
possibly could have other explanations. But once in 1971, just before I
awoke, I dreamt of watching a football game in a stadium. The team with
the ball kept running it on every play, using the same back, not really trying
to score, which puzzled me. The scoreboard showed 40 - 6 as the score,
and the game was nearly over. Later that day (a Saturday), I drove to a Laundromat
to do my weekly clothes washing. On the way, I listened to a football
game on the car radio -- it was Colorado (CU) playing
Vince: It's so easy to brush
stories such as yours away as coincidence or faulty memory. I think there
is much more to it than that. But what more I can't say?
Vince: As for me, a Harvard Ph.D. in Applied Physics and a long career associated with science and rationality, I too believe I have had time-travel experiences. Some of these were as a boy of 8-14 when I was living with my mother without a present father in a working-class part of
Jeff: Very interesting. I hope you do find time to write about that some day. Your encounter as a boy with your mature self sounds a lot like one of the paradoxes that is often raised with time travel -- the possibility of going back in time, meeting yourself and changing your past, thus affecting your future. Do you actually remember seeing a man that you later identified as yourself? Did you know at the time that he was the future you? As an adult, how did you experience the meeting with your young self? Or did it happen in the form of a dream?
Vince: As I remember it, I did not see a man but on many occasions I heard an internal voice of self-confidence and self-assurance. The voice was there when I needed it, when I made basic decisions. I think I even had repeated thoughts of that voice coming from the future but I generally discarded that idea as too far out. I believed in science then as providing the ultimate answers, and time travel did not seem scientific to me then. Of course perhaps my memory is playing tricks and I just made this all up later.
Jeff: Now, I don't expect you or anyone else to accept that incident as fact, but for me that experience 'proved' the possibility of receiving knowledge from the future. Even then, just beginning college, I knew what had happened was 'impossible' -- not allowed by the laws of physics. That meant to me that our current laws of physics were inadequate. After thinking about that for a while, I changed my major from electrical engineering to physics. I was determined at the time to understand what made that transfer of information through time and distance possible. I expected myself to develop new theories that would fully explain the nature of time and it's function in the processes of forces and mass/energy.
Vince: So your time-travel experience was transformative in your life, as my experiences were. For whatever it is worth, I too thought that if I really understood relativity and quantum physics I could fathom what the universe was about. I read some popular books on these subjects while in high school and in my freshman college year I carried Einstein's The Meaning of Relativity around in my book bag and would from time to time try to absorb a bit more of it. I focused on pure mathematics as an undergraduate with minors in physics and philosophy.
Jeff: I'm certainly not clairvoyant. I've never had another experience quite like that dream of the game, in which I received information not only from the future, but also from a distant location, as if viewed through someone else's eyes. And yes, it did transform my life, since it caused me to change my major to physics. It actually seemed to me that the dream was sent as a sort of message about the nature of time and reality, intended to show me that our understanding of those was very incomplete. I was meant to search for the answers. If so, then I've been a dismal failure at that mission.
Vince: Here is a really far out speculation. The now of you having this discussion with me wanted to prepare yourself in physics so we could interact intelligently. My sense is that you are still searching for answers and probably not failing less that me, and neither of us are failing less than philosophers have been through the ages. This might just be a projection of mine of course. If we are to fail, let's at least fail brilliantly.
Jeff: If my college physics classes were meant to help me converse with you now, then I wish I had studied harder and kept better informed on more recent developments. Because I often have trouble keeping up with you, especially on quantum, string and brane stuff. To be honest, I haven't done much active searching for answers -- I'm more of a puzzled observer, gawking in bewildered wonderment.
Vince: Aren't we all! And I don't pretend to have studied so hard either. My knowledge of string and brane theory is very superficial. For me gawking in bewildered wonderment is fun. Some times it leads to creating things, like short stories, screenplays or the Macroscopic Reality Creation model. But I wonder if I will ever be other than a bewildered gawker.
Jeff: Occasionally I read books on physics theories and concepts, but those are dumbed-down to be digestible by us laymen. Actually, these email exchanges with you the past few weeks have forced my poor brain to think more on these subjects than I have in years!
Vince: And these interactions have forced me to think too.
Jeff: Well, after all these year I have made zero progress! As you know, I didn't turn out to be a brilliant physicist, but just a decent programmer.
Vince: I can attest to the second statement. But I see you as more than a decent programmer; you have conceived and created some quite unique programs.
Jeff: Maybe my ambition got dulled by all the booze and drugs I indulged in during college. Also, I needed to work at least part-time to pay my way through college, and by the time I graduated I was already working full-time as a programmer -- that seemed like my best bet to make a decent living in the 'real' world. †I guess I'm telling you all this just to say that I'm somewhat open to your fantastic assertion that a person can influence the past as well as the future. Not that I'm able to immediately accept it as fact, being a skeptical person by nature. But I do know that phenomena occur that simply can't be explained by our current theories, and even seemingly contradict those theories. We are very far from knowing all the answers.
Vince: We are a hellovah lot further away now than I thought we would be when I was in high school in 1946. Thus Giulianoís Second Law of the Universe: In science, what we donít know we donít know expands faster than what we know we donít know which expands faster than what we know. In other words our perceived knowledge/ignorance ratio keeps going down as we learn more.
Jeff: Both of the above really amount to the same thing -- living life to its fullest.
Vince: Yes, right, absolutely, and on as many different dimensions as possible.
Jeff: But there seems to be a fundamental duality with our minds (yin and yang) that makes it necessary to express the concept from two aspects. The first represents the external, objective and analytical. The second the internal, subjective and creative.
Vince: I absolutely agree and have concentrated much thought on this duality. I believe the explanation lies in an expanded interpretation of Karl Jung's Personality theory. I have laid this out in another treatise on my website. See the Ahh to be Jung Again treatise on my website www.vincegiuliano.name Living fully means full expression from all viewpoints of the duality
Jeff: I really didn't know much about Jung, so it was
very interesting for me to read your Jung document. There are so many
ways to classify people and categorize them into personality types. Most
of them seem bogus to me and overly simplistic. Each individual is
incredibly complex, the result of unique combinations of genetics, culture,
education, experiences, etc. So I feel that I should consider each person
as a unique individual, or otherwise risk developing preconceived
notions. But there does seem to be some depth and validity to that
Vince: Actually, the theory has helped me a lot in communicating and being with family members, friends and business colleagues. Most other people, even when I think they are behaving as assholes, are not wrong; they are just different than me. Also the last part if that paper deals with an extension I have expanded-on further in a paper not yet on the web site: the sensation/concrete direction corresponds to a particle representation in quantum physics and the opposite intuition/abstract direction corresponds to the wave nature. A similar duality exists with what was discussed above: time as observed through our senses and time as an abstract entity. It is the fundamental yin-yang duality that you mentioned that kicked off this discussion.
Jeff: That's a very interesting linkage to the concept of yin-yang duality. Many years ago I read a book titled The Tao of Physics. I think that touched on some similar ideas, though I really don't remember much about it now. Maybe there's also a fundamental duality with how quantum mechanics and general relativity approach the nature of reality from such different perspectives.
Vince: I read that book too and was affected by it. Also I was strongly affected by another book Stalking the Wild Pendulum; on the Mechanics of Consciousness by Itzhak Bentov. Seeds of many of the ideas in On Being and Consciousness came from that book. Actually it is possible that Bentov helped me write that paper and is helping me write this right now. Seven years after Bentov died I moved into his house where I live now and where my office is, purchasing it from Mirtala, his widow. While alive Itzhak repeatedly declared that his spirit was going to stay around here on earth and keep in communication. Some times I imagine I can perceive his presence, like now right behind my shoulder feeding me words. At least I am experiencing great fluency in this conversation.
Jeff: I had never heard of Itzhak Bentov or that book. But then, very soon after first seeing his name in your email, I came across in The Holographic Universe a quote by Itzhak Bentov taken from Stalking the Wild Pendulum. I then found an article on him in Wikipedia, which stated that he was one of the pioneers in developing holographic concepts. Again, an odd coincidence, perhaps even a case of synchronicity (a term originated by Jung, and mentioned by the H.U. book as possibly being explained by holographic principles).
Vince: Damn! We could get into a great discussion on synchronicity too. I think it is intrinsically wound up with creation as in the MRC model. See my next comment.
Jeff: Did you know Mr. Bentov personally? Did you intentionally seek to purchase his house because of his impact on you, or was it more a matter of chance?
Vince: In fact It was a matter of pure synchronicity following from powerful intentionality. I never knew Itzhak personally though I met his widow when we accidentally ran across his house in 1984. Let me explain: first, way back in the 60s and 70s I had formed an intention to explore any powers I had for creation that went beyond simple causality. I had made notes for the first draft of the On Being and Creation paper before then. And I had read Itzhak's book. Second, in 1984, I had formed a strong intention to consolidate my two houses - one owned with Judy where she and my son Joe lived, and another where I was living with Melody and my son Mike. The two houses in Arlington Mass where about a mile apart. The kids where little, 1 and 3. I wanted them to grow up in the same house with their real dad day-to-day in an extended family, and celebrate the rest of their lives as brothers. So I wanted to find a big house where we could live both as individual families and as part of a larger merged family. A normal two story flat was out because the apartments were too separate. I wanted a house where there were two floors, stairs but not doors between the floors, and kitchens and baths and bedrooms on both floors. Judy, Melody and I looked and looked with the aid of real estate agents and we could not find anything suitable. Then we saw an ad or a piano for sale. This led us out to the Wayland suburb on a snowy day. Melody had previously met Mirtala, Itzhak's wife in Sufi circles. We had not idea she was the owner till we went to look at the piano. Mirtala was very sad because the sale of her house had just fallen through. We quickly recognized the house could be fitted with a second kitchen and be perfect for our needs. It was big and was located in a wooded country setting next to thousands of acres of conservation land.† And Wayland had the best school system in the State. And the price was good. The next day we made a formal offer. We got the house but Mirtala decided to keep the piano. The kids are now 28 and 30 and no longer live in the house though Melody and Judy and I still do. I went to
Jeff: I'm beginning to feel that you are having an influence on me somewhat comparable to how Mr. Bentov must have affected you, causing me to think in different directions and explore new concepts. Though I surely won't be able to afford buying your house after you die (especially since inflation will likely make the value astronomical by the time that happens 150-some years from now!).
Vince: Let's continue a dialog after we publish this one on the web.
Jeff: The ideas of Individuation and a person's Dark Side are especially intriguing. (I wonder if Dark Side might better be thought of as a person's weak aspects.)
Vince: Yes in the sense that development of the Dark Side is required to be a well-rounded effective person. Some of us start out fairly well-rounded in the first place. Others of us are dominated by our major typology.
Jeff: I suppose, like you, I would be considered a Thinking Ethereal.
Vince: That is very plausible to me given your familiarity and comfort with a wide range of intellectual subjects and willingness to treat these on various levels of abstraction.
Jeff: I recognize in myself an inability to adequately express my emotions and feelings (the Volcanic) -- I tend to be fairly quiet and reserved, partly because I'm extremely shy by nature.
Vince: That is how I was. I trained myself to bring this side better to the fore by marrying a Sensation-Volcanic (my second wife), doing an incredible number of encounter-group type trainings, plunging myself into psychodrama and Gestalt Therapy, understanding the theory of it better (hence my paper) and doing years if improvisational acting training. The later requires a capacity to respond instantly to any situation on both an intellectual and emotional level. Finally I am part of an ongoing men's group where authenticity and openness is a sought-after norm and accepting and dealing with raw emotion is critical for participation. This has been a lifelong learning process and is still going on.
Jeff: You have clearly been exceptionally pro-active and aggressive in expanding your abilities and improving your situation in life. I very much doubt that I am capable of such boldness. My character seems to be of a more passive nature. I tend to accept what happens, and then react as best I can. Also, in contrast to you, I'm very much a loner. Though I'm not the sort of loner who hates the world, blames his problems on everybody else and plots revenge on society. I really like almost everybody I meet, and can get along with nearly anyone. It's just that, because of my extreme shyness, I don't feel very comfortable around people. I consider that my worst flaw, perhaps even a sort of personality disorder. But I don't mean to whine about it. Surprisingly, I'm usually quite happy and enjoy life very much, though I sometimes suspect there are levels of happiness far beyond anything I've experienced.
Vince: What you describe is a side in me that is very much alive too, Jeff. I absolutely love sitting here and exchanging purely intellectual ideas with you and look forward to it with enthusiasm. And I spent years where most of my time was doing art - just me and my computer. I have found out, though, that for me to make a difference in the world I need to connect to other people. So I force myself out, and usually find that is rewarding. Also, for me, this dialog reflects a very real connection.
Jeff: Yes, this dialog has been significant for me too. As mentioned above, you seem to be jolting me into considering new ideas and re-evaluating my perspectives. Of course, I am much different from you as far as personality, character, ability and talents, so I know I can't expect to emulate you. But in my own way, following my own paths, I need to expand myself. This is perhaps a synchronicity event that will impact my life in unforeseen ways.
Vince: Yes a synchronicity that is also helping me take my ideas more seriously and be willing to share them more broadly.
Jeff: My mind seems to work fairly well at analytical tasks, but is rather weak in artistic, creative areas. I have considered these lacks as imbalances that should be improved -- a person should be as balanced as possible in order to be healthy and happy.
Vince: I completely agree as
to need for balance. But my sense of you after this intense
correspondence and knowing your software work is that you are highly creative
just as you are. And you are a highly inquisitive person about all kinds
of things which will help keep you young long into your years.
Jeff: I hope you're right about the keeping young comment. I do sometimes feel a spark of creativity, but I don't have any talent for expressing it in any of the conventional art forms. It's probably a corruption of the term 'art', but I consider programming to be my art medium. My programs are a sort of twisted outlet for expressing my artistic yearnings.
Vince: Yes, when I look at a Liuib or Kaleider screen I see a work of art, like the dashboard of a fine car. This is a work of art that can empower me, empower my creativity, allow me to do things I could never do without it. What intellectual power to be able to embody generalized projective geometry in a program (Kaleider) and two-dimensional topology in another program (Liquib)! After this orgy of writing I am now engaged in I hope to get back into some art work again and will explore further the video capabilities you have built into those programs.
Jeff: Thanks for your kind comments! Though honestly there wasn't much 'intellectual' power involved with developing my stuff. Oh, I'm not being falsely modest -- I do believe I'm a very capable programmer with decent skills in analysis and basic math, plus some imagination and a desire to create visual stimulation. But truly the real power is in the technology that's available to us programmers these days. I am continually amazed at what computers make possible with graphics manipulations, things that weren't practical not many years ago.
Vince: Yes, so am I - a long way from the UDEC I at
Jeff: However, I've also come to realize that my programs are ephemeral creations -- hardly more permanent than sand paintings by Tibetan monks or Navajo medicine men. I've developed many complicated systems in my career, each of which I was immensely proud of at the time. Nearly all of those are totally obsolete by now. The same will be true of my current beloved programs after I eventually quit working on them. About 10 years later they will be irrelevant relics, no more useful or interesting to people than the old Pong video game. Oh well, it's the ongoing process that I enjoy.
Vince: So true. And I am afraid the same possibly holds for my art and even my writings. I have several software and multi-media creations in my back attic that I was once proud of but require long-gone hardware to run them.
Vince: By the way, I'm having fun with that new version of Liquib. Hope to get that released in the next week or so.
Jeff: But that is perhaps similar to the process of Individuation, and expressing from all viewpoints of the duality, as you say it, to live life to its fullest.
Vince: Right. I have dabbled in acting, music, video and art as you know and lead a life which forces constant interpersonal encounters. And I believe these all have contributed to me. My weakest point is in being comfortable functioning in and helping maintain highly-structured organizational situations - like corporate or government or university bureaucracies. My training for this was running a university graduate school and ten years as a vice president in the Times Mirror Corporation. But I never stopped hating the petty details of the administrative tasks I had to confront.
Jeff: So I guess that relates to the Territorial area. I never enjoyed that sort of work either. In the programming world, especially with large companies, software development is often performed within a rigid 'systems design methodology'. That typically involves a highly structured set of procedures with tasks split among analysts, systems designers, programmers, etc., all overseen by managers at various levels. All those people are generating stacks of documents and spending huge amounts of time in meetings -- extremely inefficient, with communications bottlenecks that stifle innovation. In my career, I always tried to avoid such situations, preferring to work very informally -- just tell me what you want and I'll get it done. Now, working on my own, I have total freedom.
Jeff: It is often difficult for me to understand other people, why they think and talk and act as they do. Maybe it will help me to consider which octants they are operating from.
Vince: I would love it if the theory could help. It certainly works for me.
Vince: That's one my basic tenants, probably true for anybody but their world-creation may be largely unconscious . The key question I am interested in raising is how deliberate can we in creating our own worlds?. I am suggesting that the answer may be lots!
Jeff: Exactly. This is where you go much farther than I could imagine. I'm still digesting all that you have written about Source and creation. How as conscious beings, we are minute components of Source, able within limitations to participate in the creation of reality. Maybe some day I'll build up the courage to attempt an Unbounded Declaration. Truthfully, I'm kind of worried that I might not find the faith to pull that off successfully -- and that would be my own failure, rather than any disproof of your assertions.
Vince: I get your reservation. Actually, I think there is no penalty for failure in this realm except lack of success. And often failure can be a great teacher. On many occasions I have made what I thought were Unbound Declarations but they produced few or no results. Invariably there was an element of doubt or reservation in the declaration making it unauthentic. For certain of these, once I found the doubt or reservation and could make the declaration authentically, the reality started to mature. Believe me, I am still an amateur at all this and don't really know how far I can go or how often I should take this basic approach to getting what I want. But I know now it is something I want to go further with.
Jeff: I appreciate the encouragement on this. I'll give it a try. I'll start with something fairly simple, something that is reasonably plausible and that I can buy into. If I don't get results at first, then I'll look for possible reasons and try to refine my declaration.
Vince: We tend to have a too narrow view of what "intelligence" and "intentionality" mean when it comes to design and creation of reality. An example: in hundreds of universities, pharma company and biotech company labs, perhaps 20,000 scientists worldwide are working on the development and design of new antibiotics. Many have Ph.Ds representing a formidable array of human intelligence. They are backed by the cumulative base of knowledge of medicine, physiology, biology and chemistry. They intend to defeat certain disease microbes. On the other side are the disease microbes who intend to survive. They are happily redesigning themselves and evolving in incredibly sophisticated ways to defeat the antibiotics. The diseases are winning. They don't think and write papers like we do but they get the design and implementation job done. Who is smarter then?
Jeff: I guess you are really saying that there is
ultimately a sort of 'intelligence' and 'intentionality' driving the process of
evolution that makes it possible for the microbes to adapt and survive.
Of course that's a bit controversial -- close to 'intelligent design'.
Vince: True, sort of my own
version of Intelligent Design without trying to tie it to Jehovah, the great
father-God of Western Religion. Could this intelligence simply by nature
be built into everything that exists? No need to pray to it. Just
Jeff: That is very close
to my own beliefs. Whatever entity or force conceived this improbable,
incredible universe in which we evolved, isn't waiting to listen to our prayers
and doesn't demand our worship. We are each responsible for using our intelligence
and talents toward making our world pleasant. In terms of my simplistic
principles: rather than praying, I should always be doing my best --
rather than worshiping, I should always love and enjoy my existence.
Jeff: But I have to agree that there must be some 'will' towards generating the complexity of life out of chaos. The mechanisms might be at the level of how the basic forces and elementary particles interact -- how those govern the chemical bonds and reactions of elements that made it possible (inevitable?) for a complex molecule like DNA to form. From there, maybe evolution could proceed without further intervention from a God to create the awesome proliferation and diversity of life we see. Such a 'design' would be no less miraculous than any religious creation story.
Vince: It indeed would be and probably is. Science is about revealing the mechanisms of that design. What I am struck with is the multiple-levels of "design." Quantum chromodynamics tells us about elementary particles but does not tell us how to derive the laws of chemistry. The laws of chemistry do not tell us how to derive the laws of biology. The laws of biology do not tell us which species will evolve, when, how or under what circumstances. The laws of biology do not tell us the laws of anthropology, sociology or economics; these laws do not predict our politics or the state of our planet, etc. So, it seems that things are set up to create laws and order at just about every level of what-is.
Jeff: But do you really think the design itself is at multiple levels? Or is it a limitation of our human minds that forces us to specialize and focus on partial aspects of an overall complete design.
Vince: I think it is both of these, that there could be no possible way to predict genetics from a complete knowledge of quantum physics because what evolved entailed many turns of events determined probabilistically.
Jeff: I've always felt that physics was the ultimate science -- that the other sciences were just extensions and refinements built upon the underlying laws of physics.
Vince: So have I.
Jeff: That seems true at least for chemistry -- the bonding of elements to form molecules is governed by the principles of quantum mechanics.
Vince: True, understanding electron shells, resonant bonds and such matters have clarified a lot of what goes on in chemistry. However I think there is an incredible amount of practical chemistry that is impossible or at least very difficult to derive from quantum mechanics.
Jeff: Biology and genetics these days are largely specialized extensions of chemistry.
Vince: I don't quite see it that way. They must be compatible with chemistry but are not derivable from it.
Jeff: Though I guess sociology and economics are rather far removed from physics. Or, maybe the ultimate science is really mathematics.
Vince: True in one sense in that there is in mathematics incredible facility and freedom to build models of what is. But false in that mathematics is part of language and is not itself a science . I can't be proven via the "scientific method" involving hypothesis formulation and testing via observation.
Jeff: Yes, I admit it wasn't right for me to call mathematics a science, but surely it's more than just a form of language. True that the symbols of math are a precise, concise language for expressing logical relations and operations. But math itself is the study of those logical relations and operations, and supposedly that logic derives fairly directly from physical reality (at least that's what Bertrand Russell laboriously attempted to establish). That's why mathematics and physics are so intimately intertwined.
Vince: I agree that mathematical conceptual frameworks have allowed the expansion of science by leading to the postulation of entities and relationships that were only later validated through experiment. Many of the most powerful frameworks were formulated in a mixture of natural and mathematical language - like quantum and relativity theories and the famous 'gedanken" experiments relating to understanding quantum mechanics.
Jeff: I guess math essentially defines the boundaries for potential reality -- it's not that every mathematical expression describes something real, but if an expression is not mathematically proper then it can't describe reality. At least that's what we as rational beings have come to believe.
Vince: I kind of disagree when it comes to describing ordinary macro-scale reality. If I say "I saw three deer from my back deck today, three does and what appears to be a young buck, and they where nibbling on one of my rhododendron bushes." that describes reality and is not a proper mathematical expression. Similarly Richard Feynman's quantum chromodynamics diagrams are basically simple graphical tools for understanding possible particle interactions. To some level the diagrams can be understood without reference to the underlying mathematics. -
Jeff: There seems to be a fundamental linkage between mathematics and reality. Advancements in mathematics sometimes allow or even prompt discoveries in physics.
Vince: I very much agree. As to the sciences themselves, as I see it they exist in a hierarchy. Sitting at the top of the pyramid as king and queen for the last century have been quantum theory and relativity theory - absolutely everything had to conform to them. Next down were general physics and then chemistry, the archdukes. They had their own laws but they had to confirm to the laws of the king and queen. Then came biology which had its own laws but had to confirm to the laws of the king, queen and archdukes, etc. The point is that while biology had to conform, it had its own laws not easily derivable from the higher laws, and the same seems to be true of every level Astronomy and cosmology were also sciences that had to conform - but then big problems showed up. Astronomical observations have started to show up that are inconsistent with the laws of the king and queen, making their rule uneasy. The inconsistency was established by mathematical models. Now brane and string theories are pretenders to the throne - looking to be theories of everything.
Jeff: Instead of your monarchy, what if the laws of science are determined by democratic principles? Something like that has been proposed -- that our perception of 'reality' is just a sort of consensus of our aggregate minds. That reality itself (not just our understanding of it) continually evolves and is refined as our culture and knowledge advance. That physicists actually create reality when they use mathematics to predict previously unknown phenomena.
Vince: I will buy that. absolutely I like it a lot more than the rational model of understanding an underlying systematic objective reality. And it is consistent with the MRC model.
Jeff: We have developed a sort of faith that sustains a common world which mostly conforms to logic. The holographic model might be interpreted to support this perspective -- our consciousness builds the 'real' world from a much vaster potential. Paranormal events that seem to defy our normal reality are the result of altered states of consciousness inducing non-ordinary realities.
Vince: That is one way of looking at it. Perhaps a very good one. There are other consistent perspectives. The theory of evolution would suggest that our sensory and thinking and behavioral mechanisms would emphasize bringing system and organization to the matters most required for survival. So we have developed tools of language and logic that works on the day-to-day scale but that flunk horribly at the quantum level. And they have also not worked very well at the societal level, something we humans have had to deal with only very recently. Both the theory of evolution and anthropology would say, further, that if we are given advanced reasoning and language power, we would soon realize that there are many important matters beyond our capacity for understanding - matters that are not systematic or logical. So cultures invented religions and superstitions to provide explanations where logic could not suffice. As science and knowledge advanced and got rational explanations for more and more things, they had to fight to overturn the old religious explanations for things, and that process is ongoing today. So to the extent that my MRC theory or the holographic mind theory can be found consistent with or even grounded in science we might come to grasp with the paranormal.
Jeff: As you implied, physics now seems to be in a state of flux, where the currently accepted theories are not able to account for observed phenomena. And I would include among those paranormal occurrences, which I think we can both agree do sometimes happen. If string/brane theory or some other advanced theory isn't ultimately capable of explaining these things, then what happens?
Vince: I wish I could say. If history is indicative, we will have more and more sophisticated theories that are really graspable by only a small number of people but nonetheless become commonly accepted because they work for us. A tiny percentage of the world's population have directly perceived microbes or genes - and both of these met resistance from established prejudices. In the case of genetics, we are still experiencing some. When if ever will mainline science expand enough to embrace synchronicity of events, non-locality in human perceptions and a framework like my MRC? I don't know.
Jeff: Maybe the barbarians are at the gates, and our faith in logic and science will be ravaged. An anarchy of disorder and illogic will overwhelm the laws of physics. Then wizards and sorcerers, shamans and mystics will become the masters of reality.
Vince: Society was there once. If the social order disintegrated by failure to take responsibility for what is going on, as it seems to be going, we would be back there again. Human society is entering a century of multiple crises - overpopulation and hunger, continuing wars, social inequality and disequilibrium, declining natural resources, pollution and multi-faceted other environmental degradations. Worse, our social organization, religious and political philosophies and mainline ways of thinking don't provide any clear way for mankind to take responsibility for a sustainable world in which humans can continue to live decently. That's how it seems to be. Acknowledging all of this I intend the creation of a world that is sustainable for humans for tens on millennia to come, a world in balance with the natural order, in which wisdom and compassion are the prevailing ethics, and in which the pursuit and use of knowledge continues to expand. In other words, my intention is to create a world that works for everybody with a continuing upwards historical trajectory.
This transformation of the physical and social order cannot come about easily.† According to the Heisenberg complementarity principle discussed in my essay:
∑ Because the massive re-arrangements in mass and energy required, it could take a long time to happen.
∑ Given the specification of what is intended to happen, I cannot be too fussy about how it will happen.
I invite everyone who reads this dialog to join in that intention and creation.†
Jeff: I warned you at the beginning that I was running low on sensible remarks, and now you can see that I've totally abandoned rationality!
Vince: Perhaps rationality is the booby prize in this game of life.† It has been a great dialog. ††And I invite readers to contribute to this ongoing discussion.† My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discussion copyright 2008 by Vincent E. Giuliano and Jeff Holcomb.† Quotations with attribution are allowed.
Return to Vince Giulianoís writing web