Zen: Don’t Think Good or Evil

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If you think good and evil,

You become a person of good and evil.

I recently chanced upon a book sale and was able to purchase a book of Zen koans and a book of Haiku poetry for a fair price.  I had read about Zen in the past, but I had not read actual works by Zen masters.

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I have completed reading Zen Inspirations: Essential Meditations and Text, by Dr. Miram Levering for the first time.  It includes the complete text of The Gateless Gate a thirteenth century collection of koans, commentary and poetry by Ekai, known as Mumon.  The book also includes The Ten Ox-herding Pictures accompanied by ten poems by the twelfth century Chinese monk K’uo-an Shih-yuan It is definitely not something you read only once.  I enjoyed the Zen masters’ admonitions to read the koan and permit yourself to solve it quickly and without hesitation to discover the enlightenment that comes from honesty.  As I read the koans, I let myself be honest about my inner response and the wisdom of the Zen masters became increasingly amusing.  I think I came to be enlightened many times by their frank honesty about the human condition, the Buddha and the Tao.  I think one admonition by Zen master Mumon, that if you encounter someone filled with the Tao, strike him in the face with all the strength you have, sums up what I have learned.

The Zen koans and Taoism I find agree with the philosophy of science, the philosophy of Karl Popper, skepticism, the evolutionary biology of Charles Darwin, the physics of Werner Heisenberg and the mathematics of Kurt Goedel seamlessly.  Uncertainty remains the only certainty.

There is origin without origin, direction without direction, destination without destination.  Any sense of order is localized and transient.  That is the Tao Te and not the Tao Te, and that is what the adherents to Zen struggle with daily.

I don’t claim understanding or overstanding of this paradox.

Literacy and Numeracy: Who Needs Them?

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When Plato was teaching his students he was often frustrated by their note taking and reference to written records.  Plato was of the opinion that the new technology of literacy was creating a generation that was unable to think and meditate on what they were learning because of their dependency on the written word.

Today, technology is providing us with a broad array of new media with which we record, replay, produce, publish, communicate and collaborate without using literacy or numeracy.  Academics, publishers and governments are alarmed at declines in the reading of printed publications and student’s declining performance in the classroom.  They are claiming that “computeracy” is creating a generation that cannot read, write or perform mathematical operations because of their dependency on digital communication.

The truth is literacy and numeracy are simply primitive techniques for encoding information.  Composition and mathematics are just a bag of mental tricks for processing information.  And most of us do most of it poorly anyway.

Grieving over the loss of literacy and numeracy is like grieving over the inability to weave cloth or tailor one’s own clothes.  Computers have made literacy and numeracy very much like the mechanization of textile production.

What is happening in classrooms, to publisher’s sales and bureaucracy is not a decline in the intelligence of our next generation.  It is an increasing obsolescence of traditional literacy and numeracy.

Our children are not thinking at lower levels.  Instead, they are not wasting time with the mental effort required to mechanically process at the level of traditional literacy and numeracy and applying themselves to higher level thought.

The current method of submitting papers for peer review is completely obsolete.  HTML was an attempt to take the primitive technology of the printed page, reference and citation and emulate it with the small addition of hyperlinks.

The yet to be fully realized method of academic publication will be the publication of databases containing problem and hypothesis, subjects and researchers, schemas and forms, data and queries, measures and units, amounts and currencies, results and conclusions all available for peer review and public consumption–research databases and white databases.  And beyond that entire models in common formats which we are seeing in Computer Assisted Design Systems and Geographic Information Systems, for example.

This new generation using new media is modeling the universe in ways and at scales that were impossible with pen, paper and chalkboard.  They are even beyond printing press, radio, television, recorded audio, recorded video and most physical storage.  And the new generation can already interact globally in all of these new media.

Where are the people that are supposedly preparing them for life in this new world?  Complaining that their students are not interested in reading text books.  Even pumping normal children full of Ritalin to deny they as educators are not worthy of their students’ attention.

Garrett Lisi on his theory of everything

I agree with Garrett Lisi. It’s sets and geometry.

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The Lie E8 is a beautiful structure mathematically with 248 dimensions:

However, I think what he wants to achieve is even simpler to model physically.

This is a 3V Icosahedron Geodesate:

This structure gives us 92 vertexes (entities) and 270 edges (associations) or 362 particles.

Employing Occam’s Razor, I suggest that some form of Icosahedron Geodesate theory is more likely the answer.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are Fiction

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Patricia Burchat does the math, but that is the problem, not the solution.

To understand the universe what we have to do is recognize that energy, matter, space and time have discrete states and finite states. We’re using the wrong math.

Relativity is not reality. Relativity is a convenient mathematical illusion.

Links:

Newton’s Laws are Fiction

Zero and Infinity are Fiction

Zero and Infinity are Fiction

Something has been teasing at my mind as I have been exploring singularites and a term I call “pluralarities” (what a goddamed awkward word).  What has occurred to me is this.  We live in three dimensional space.  There are no such thing as points (zero dimensional objects) or lines (one dimensional objects) or planes (two dimensional objects).  They are complete figments of the imagination.  What is really happening with a point is x, y and z have a default value of one  What is happening with a line is y and z have a default value of one.  What is happening with a plane is z has a default value of one.  However, the mathematicians are always hurling zeros and infinities in when there is not evidence of one in nature.  They make for some great mathematics, but they are terrible physics.  And most physicists think too much like mathematicians.

We run into the same mathematical stupidity in relational databases with null values and cardinalities of zero and infinity–total bullshit.  In physical reality everything is finite and let me explain how to resolve this.

We have to look at Energy, Mass, Space and Time as three dimensional coordinate systems. None of these coordinate systems ever reach a zero state, they reach an alternate state.  Space becomes Mass and Time becomes Energy for example.  An beer glass is never empty, in normal circumstances it is either full of beer or full of space.  And if you know your physics, space is a thing.  Zero is a mathematical and a perceptual trick not a physical reality.

Space, Time, Matter and Energy are three dimensional and finite.  They are all constrained between 1 and n not zero and infinity.  They present one possible state of ( E x, Ey, Ez , Mx, My Mz, Dx, Dy, Dz, Tx, Ty, Tz ) where all the values are greater than zero.

Zero and Infinity a boon to mathematics, but not to physics.

The Greeks were a lot smarter than you think.  Even to the Indians, space was a thing.

Satire: Cogitators, Academics, Necromancers and Immortals

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I’ve continued my reading of Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels, and have completed the Third Part. In this part we encounter the people of Laputa, so caught up in cogitation limited to music and mathematics that they are nearly unable to function in the physical world; the people of Balnibarbi, so caught up in academics that they are impoverished for lack of pragmatism; the people of Glubbdrubdrib where necromancy allows Gulliver to discover from the dead how contorted historical accounts truly are; and finally the people of Luggnagg among whom exist the immortal Struldbruggs who reveal that immortality is not necessarily everything it is hoped to be.

Jonathan’s fiction is a journey into extremes and reveals an irreverance for each of them. All to often we idealize cognition, academics, history and immortality and Jonathan does his utmost to help us to be regrounded.

related post: The Small and the Great