Tag Archive: Evolve

Backwards and Forwards Through Time

Exploring the Simultaneous Nature of Cause & Effect

Mont Ventoux from the Baronnies

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Finale, Episode – “All Good Things…”

Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

"The Trial Never Ends": Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

Tom Simpson's Memorial on Mt VentouxI’ve just watched the double episode finale to the TNG Picard series just after the cyclists finished their ascent of Mont Ventoux in this years Tour de France.  It was “All Good Things…”(see link, link & link for full episode info)

In a nutshell, Picard, by the absolute faith that his crew have in him, across three different life-times, undoes a space-time anomaly of their own creation which saves life on Earth…

What I saw was a fine dramatic representation of the Buddhist principle of karma transcending time and space, and the principle that karma (all that we and our lives are) can be changed both backwards and forwards in time;  The simultaneity of cause and effect!

Well!  While all fine and dandy as a piece of fiction, how can I say that this is what it’s really like?

Deceased Ancestors

Nichiren

Nichiren

Nichiren Daishonin, the 12th century Japanese Buddhist monk, in a letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, one of his disciples, tried to explain a bit of the history behind a ceremony for the dead to her.  (A Buddhist service held for the repose of the dead. Such ceremonies were conducted annually, usually on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.) In it, he says, almost a conclusion  to his explanation,

The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. And, amazing as it may seem, all the fathers and mothers of the preceding seven generations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to become Buddhas.  In addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters, and countless other persons not only were enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment. –  On Offerings for Deceased Ancestors, WND, p820

ArrowI’ve highlighted the crushing significance that summarises the whole letter, both in it’s literal summary and as it’s sense and meaning.  Nichiren is saying that we can affect the past from now, as well as the future.  Like Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek episode, the past, present and future are as one, overlapped, affecting each other in a miraculous way.

It’s as if the arrow of time , something everyone experiences in their daily lives, does not exist.

Faith

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Of course, faith is behind all of this; but if we accept both tales at face value there is much to commend it and the value system for life that they support.   Here’s how it panned out for Maudgalyayana….

He was a disciple of Shakyamuni, (the person we call “The Buddha”,  idolised in many lands).  Maudgalyayana was supposed to have supernatural powers, such as mind-reading, out-of-the-body experiences and walking through walls.  He also brought bad karma upon himself by killing his parents which led to his death at the hands of bandits. To change his karma, he studied the Lotus Sutra, so that later, when he met the bandits he ignored his powers and did not defend himself.

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Shakyamuni said that even supernatural powers are of no use to avoid one’s karma, especially when it is so heavy…  That’s what was said and believed at the time.

But is it true?  Is any of this possible?

I believe it is so.  We can change the past as well as future. Harry Patch who died today aged 111, recalled shooting a German in the leg so as not to kill him (see here),  just after seeing a young man die.  He said,

“I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: ‘Mother’. I didn’t see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God’s presence.  I’ve never got over it. You never forget it. Never.”

When they reached the enemy’s second line four Germans stood up, and one ran forward pointing his bayonet at Patch who, with only three rounds left in his revolver, wondered what to do. He then deliberately fired at the man above the ankle and above the knee….”You’ve got a memory. You’ve got a brain about the size of a tea cup. I’ve got a memory that goes back for 80 or 90 years and I think that memory goes on with you when you die. And that’s my opinion. Death is not the end.”

Experiences like this can be rationalised into the mere electrical workings of the brain.   But in a way, Patch’s actions shaped the rest of his life.  He didn’t die early, and maybe had the well-known “survivor’s guilt” for not doing so.  But like the fictional Jean Luc, he has communicated across the ages and affected people because of it.  Without being a Buddhist, his actions have nevertheless been Buddhist.

The follow up to the quote above (from a BBC documentary),  is that his three chums were blown to bits 6 weeks later.  His not un-natural words were;

“If I had met that German soldier after my three mates had been killed, I’d have no trouble at all in killing him”….

The thing is, he didn’t.  The order of events was different and as in the Star Trek story, who’s to tell what’s what?

Planck’s Constant and Entanglement

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

It’s been said that if Planck’s Constant were slightly different – or maybe not so constant – then we ourselves might have the supernatural powers to be able to walk through walls like Maudgalyayana.  In fact, the physics says that this must be so! The natural repulsions of atoms would be different and matter could diffuse through matter with less interaction (or be totally inert depending which way it went).

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Planck’s Constant is a derived measure from a complex suite of theory.  For physics, it’s as fundamental as pi – one of the most bizarre things in the universe – bizarre because most people have heard of it and can describe what it is, yet no-one can measure it, exactly, or say why it pops up in so many equations.

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Entanglement is another “spooky” quantum property.  Einstein did not like this because of the “simultaneity” which went plain against his experimentally provable Relativity theory (Edington proved this because light bends near large masses).  But it exists and experiments have now been done that confirm (at least so far) simultaneous action at a distance. (see Was Einstein Wrong?: A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity).  So experiments prove both instantaneous action at a distance and space-time bending….

Surely, this also is a definition of supernatural?

“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – JBS Haldane

…although a better version, attributed to Edington goes,

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”

Good Merit

Nichiren, in his explanatory letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, follows the passage above with a quote from the Lotus Sutra saying,

Therefore, it is said in the third volume of the Lotus Sutra, “We beg that the merit gained through these gifts may be spread far and wide to everyone, so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way.”

This is also similar to a further sentence which I say twice every day,

But those who practise meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law.  At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable…

When Patch first spoke about WW1 he said, “For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn’t news. Forget it.

He obviously hated everything about WW1.   But for his last 11 years, after living a life of gentle merit, he finally spoke and told his tale. Like the Venerable Maudgalyayana who changed his karma, bathed in the ‘queerness’ of the universe,  Patch changed his by finally telling his story after sowing the seeds so long ago.  He’s made sure people don’t forget it.  The Star Trek episode “All Good Things…” touched on this also.  Where the past meets the present, which meets the future.

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

It’s as if there is a common strand of semi-known knowledge across all of humanity that just needs to be awakened.

  • Sometimes it’s story-tellers,
  • Sometimes it’s traumatised soldiers,
  • Sometimes it’s scientists searching for truth…?

We all know it, we all know how to behave.  But we forget.

A Dream within a Dream

I suppose that all sentient beings are questing for “truth”.

  • Sometimes we need some proof, like the scientist.
  • Sometimes we need emotional trauma, like Harry Patch.
  • Sometimes though, the truth is self-evident, and is a belief, derived from universal truths beyond time and space, elucidated by an enlightened one and transmitted as a belief system and a way of life.

This later one we call Buddhism.

As Nichiren said, a dream within a dream….  the proof for this truth lies within the words and actions of ordinary people searching for this truth….

When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that, although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in the pure land of Eagle Peak, and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – The Fourteen Slanders, WND, p760

The inter-connectness of all things is how The Buddha described it.  His last words have various translations into English, but they all convey the same meaning that the universe is transient and an exhortation  to do one’s best!

e.g.

  1. “Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!” – link
  2. “All created things are impermanent. Strive on with diligence.” – link
  3. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation. Do your best.” – link
  4. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” – link

  • See Harry Patch’s death today in my previous post here.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

What’s So Special About July 16th?

Crikey! I Never Realised!

Maybe certain days have relevance above their station and mere numerical nomenclature?  Who knows.  So read on.  See what happened today!

622 AD  – The Hijra of Muhammad

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

Muhammad runs away from Mecca to escape persecution.  From this point forward, huge swathes of the globe took up Islam, Islamic empires spread across, Africa, Asia and half of Europe; the legacy of which self-evidently exists today.  Okay, there’s huge argument about this, but some people take this as the day.  Personally, I don’t know enough about it, but I need something to match the post’s title, and other writers do take this as the day.  Wikipedia says this, and who am I to argue?

The Muslim dates are in the Islamic calendar extended back in time. The Western dates are in the Julian calendar. The lunar year is about 300/309 solar year. The Hijra is celebrated annually on 8 Rabi’ I, about 66 days after 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year. Many writers confuse the first day of the year of the Hijra with the Hijra itself, erroneously stating that the Hijra occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1 or 16 July 622.

All dates given above may have occurred about 89 days (three lunar months) earlier. The Muslim dates may be those recorded in the original Arabic calendar and their month names may not have been changed to account for the (probably three) intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad’s last Hajj (AH 10).

1260 AD – Nichiren Expounds “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Nichiren statue in Japan

Nichiren statue in Japan

Speaking to 13th century feudal Japan, Nichiren the monk said that the calamities and disasters befalling the people were all due to incorrect lifestyles.  He insisted that all people were equal and free, that they should pay heed to people who were obviously skilled in their chosen field, and that they should do their best in the limited lifetime available.

Largely, he was ignored, and so half the country starved because of self-interest and malice.

And this is exactly the place where we find ourselves now across the globe.  We live on a world of limited resource, where many people choose to live their life by stealing from others, either as individuals or nations.  Nichiren’s words have as much relevance now as they ever did.  Here’s part of the writing:

I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason that the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears. – WND, page 7, “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Daisaku Ikeda has some similar words about today;  he says:

The powerful may appear great, but in reality they are not.  Greatest of all are the ordinary people.  If those in power lead lives of idle luxury it is because the people are silent.  We have to speak out.  With impassioned words, we need to resolutely attack abuses of power that cause people suffering.  This is fighting on the side of justice.  It is wrong to remain silent when  confronting injustice.  Doing so is tantamount to supporting and condoning evil.

I’ve quoted the above as a direct statement to those companies like Pacific Webworks, people like Jesse Willms and the misguided people of Utah who have misinterpreted their US constitution of freedom and capitalism as a freedom to steal from the needy as a means of amassing capital, all hiding under the umbrella “that it’s god’s work”.  If capitalism doesn’t serve the people, then it has no purpose.

Nichiren’s Buddhism is now growing at a phenomenal rate.  The time of change is now.

1918 AD –  Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and his family are killed by a Bolshevik firing squad at Ekaterinburg, Siberia.

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

One of the final acts of the Russian revolution occurred with the attempted elimination of all of the monarchy and any aspirants thereto.  This act changed history for the 20th century, it’s consequences evident even now by a powerful Russian people, proud of their history, somewhat ambivalent about the exact direction that leadership and authority should take.

On the night of 16/17 July 1918, the royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, told to dress, and led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house; the pretext for this move was the family’s safety – that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Ekaterinberg, and the house might be fired upon.

The executioners drew revolvers and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him multiple times in the head and chest. Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their clothing, which provided some initial protection from the bullets and bayonets. They were stabbed with bayonets and then shot at close range in the head.

1945 AD – The world’s first atomic weapon is Exploded

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity, the first bomb is tested by the US at Alamogordo Air Base in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Within a month, two more bombs had been dropped on Japan, effectively ending World War 2.  We, especially in the West, are living this legacy still.  It can be argued that the threat of total devastation (the theory of MAD) has made nations with the bomb more proactive in reasoned discussion and less likely to take arms against each other.  The converse is that the weapons will one day be used again and it’ll be the end of the world as we know it…

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Unlike Oppenheimer, who had his own bit of Indian prose in mind, whenever I see the Trinity picture I hear William Blake.  It’s a beautiful picture, just as the bomb goes off.  What fearful symmetry?  In that split second, we see all that was and all that will be.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

1969 AD – Man on The Moon

Apollo11 Launch

Apollo11 Launch

On this day, mankind set off to stand on a different celestial body.  Four days later, we’d done it.

Less than four centuries earlier, over much of our planet, you could be burned or stoned to death for even suggesting that the possibility existed that a “creation of god” could be imperfect or blemished, like the moon is.

Such is the progress we’ve made, yet even now, such events are like a dream within a dream.   The misogynist, nationalist, creationist forces are at work, attempting to roll back the clock to a time when they ruled the roost, and their hypocritical word was god .

But for now, we can say that men bravely stood on the Moon.

Related Posts:

Normal Sperm in the BBC

Sore Testicles

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

“Oh dear!”, I thought, when I read this article on the BBC news today….

Elite cyclists ‘risk infertility’

Read the article.  Apparently…

“The Spanish study of top triathletes found those who cover more than 186 miles (300km) a week on their bikes have less than 4% normal looking sperm.”

Well I do a bit less than that, so naturally, I thought,

What is the normal amount of good sperms in my jism?

…..as you do, if you’re a bloke, which I am….

A Sperm

A Sperm

Fortunately, the article tells you, a bit lower down.  And it’s at this point, that you become shockingly aware of the piss-poor science and piss-poor interpretive reporting going on….

How so?

Quite simple, really.  They’ve completely buggered up any normal definition of the word,

NORMAL

What the article says is that if you are really fit, your good jism count goes down to ~5%.  This means 1 in 20 sperms are duff!  So for an elite cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.

Come, Come.  You Can’t be Serious!

However, if you are a “normal” bloke, the “normal” amount of fit and healthy sperms is…wait for it… it’s coming…here it is…aaaahhhhh!

15-20%

So in other words, most men’s sperm is 80% duff.  Only 1 in 5 are good!  So for a non-cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.  Exactly the same.

What Is Normal?

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

This is my point.  It’s normal to have most of my sperm completely incapable of fulfilling their duty.  A fit, elite,  cyclist, by definition, is continuously stressing their body beyond it’s limits, and when the body is stressed it’s secondary functions are put into standby.  It’s the same for women.

The point is the poor use of words.  In the article, the phrase abnormal sperm is used to describe poor viability sperm.  However, most sperm has poor viability!

So poor quality sperm is not abnormal – it’s normal!  It’s the good sperm that’s abnormal, so please get it right!

As an aside, we’ve evolved to have a proponderence of ‘inferior’ sperm.  They are actually necessary to our survival.  Their function is manifold – from the physical one of blocking the passage of later sperm to promote the success of the first individual’s mating, to providing the correct chemical environment for the passge of the more viable sperms.  There is a chemical and biological arms race going on at the microscopic level, about which we are only now just becoming aware.  It’s been happening for a billion years and no doubt will continue for a lot longer…

Research

Chris Boardman and his Son

Chris Boardman and his Son

The Spanish team has just looked at the jism.  They intend to do further research.  Might I suggest they do a statistical analysis of the fecundity of former professional cyclists as a starting point.  Start with “The Animal”, Eddy Merckx and his son Axel.  Then go and chat to Chris Boardman and his son and Bernard Hinault and his.  Go and see the cycling daughter of Britain’s greatest ever cyclist, Beryl Burton.

These people were at the very, very, top of their sport for years and had children.  There are many more like them.  Nuff said.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

A Failure in Priorities for NASA Rocket Launches?

Two rockets have been sent up recently by NASA.

I’m all for expanding human knowledge and can understand the reasons for the missions.  In fact, I’m all for them!  However, I’ve serious doubts about the mindsets of the humans that placed a satellite that really can provide the most benefit to mankind on a cronky test rocket with a 85% success rate, whereas the real ‘pie-in-the-sky’ satellite gets a rocket with a 99.5% success rate to plonk it in space!

The carbon dioxide mission was to really get a handle on our human activities vis-a-vis global warming and the anthropomorphic changes.  Greater knowledge would provide fuel for real social changes driven by an informed political will.  Not now though!   We are still exactly where we were 7 years ago when the mission was first planned!  On the knife edge our climate now sits on, this is seven years we can ill afford and really need.

The worlds mission is to look for Earth-like worlds for which we have no possible current means of reaching, probably ever.  In other words, we deduced that some stars had worlds, then we deduced that most stars have worlds, then we saw some big gas ones,  and now we have to prove little ones exist by seeing them!   Really, all it needs is simple logic.  They do exist because we exist on a world, part of a system that orbits a sun.  The fact that we can’t say for 100% certainty that every star has little worlds is irrelevant as we can’t go anyway!  So what’s the big deal?

Saying all that, I’m confident that the Keplar telescope will open up new vistas to new highways of knowledge, so not all is bad.  But the immediate gains from putting the OCO mission on a proper rocket would have been immense.

Don’t forget, we are humans and live our lives on the arrow of time, day by day.  Each day we all must breathe, eat and drink, living on dry land in relative comfort protected from the elements.  Our world provides all of this because we’ve evolved into it over eons of time.  We can’t change our bodies fast.  We are stuck with them.

  • If we stop breathing for a few short minutes, we die.
  • If we stop drinking for a few days, we die.
  • If we stop eating for a few weeks, we die.

So the incredible incongruity of belief that somehow we can find another world to go to and fuck that place up as well when our own Earth is knackered, is staggering.  Currently, and most probably for ever, we do not have a get out of climate jail free card! A much better plan is to look after what we have and part of this care would have been encapsulated in the OCO mission.  It’s not a valid plan to behave like the first white men in America, continuing a process of discovery and exploitation.  It is a valid plan to nurture what we have, because in exploration terms, we’ve reached the metaphorical edge of the universe.  The immense interstellar distances make this so.  Just because we can see further dosen’t mean we can ever, ever touch it.  There are no limits to our imagination, but yes, there are real physical limits to what we can do.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Happy Birthday Unix

Google Unix Birthday

Google Unix Birthday

Well it’s a sort of birthday.  As of 23:31:30 today, UNix will be 1234567890 seconds old!

Google has celebrated with yet another unique graphic for the occasion.  Click on the link below for a Google search on this string:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=unix+1234567890&ct=unix1234567890&oi=ddle

Unix’s calendar started the first second after the end of the sixties.  Like all clocks and calendars, it has to start somewhere or else we can’t function as human beings.

Unix runs the internet and spaceships.  And other stuff.  Like nuclear reactors.

It was originally developed as an operating system but using the same mental viewpoint and thought processes that developed telephone exchanges.  Obviously, it’s really bad if someone can hear or butt in on a call which could be very personal or security related indeed.  The fact that this hardly ever happens despite the billions of calls and millions of concurrent connections is a testament to this work.  And because of this work, Unix is pretty secure with all bits of code (or phone calls, if you like) kept running in their own little boxes.

Linux at AmazonLinux evolved from this.

So from it’s very beginning, Unix is a system of closed cells that will only talk to each other when told.  In contrast Windows was made from it’s inception as an open system with everything in constant connection.  Since then, it’s been a case of Microsoft running rapidly around it’s house closing all the open windows.

The latest is the autorun open doorway for virus transmission.

Nuff said.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

© 2007-2017 Strangely Perfect All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by me