Ming the Mechanic:
Free will in a ten-dimensional universe

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Free will in a ten-dimensional universe2007-01-29 21:44
picture by Flemming Funch

Is there one universe or many universes? What is time? Is it all pre-determined or do I have free will? Do I create my reality, attract it, or is it all already there? What am I? What is consciousness? Maybe they're hard questions, but here is one answer, in metaphorical form, in part inspired by the string theory idea that the universe has 10 dimension, and the quantum physics idea that the observer changes what is observed. With a bit of added metaphysical speculation.

Imagine you sit down to watch a DVD in your living room on your big screen TV. In front of you, you'll have a 2D display made up of a number of pixels. You'll be watching it from the sofa from what we could say is a point, a viewpoint, yours. The film you're watching is what could be considered a one-dimensional story-line. That is, it has a start, an end, and some points in-between, a bunch of frames, basically. With your remote control you can move back and forth in the storyline, but only in one dimension.

Now, imagine instead a universe as a virtual reality display, with a movie playing. It has huge amounts of very small pixels, sub-atomic particles. And nothing so crude as little colored dots that try to simulate a 2D picture. No, every single one of these little pixels have 10 dimension. These pixels are so versatile that they're not just going to show colors, they can be pretty much anything one can imagine, depending on how one looks at them. Time, space, mass, forces, colors, sounds, smells, etc. Because of their multi-dimensionality, they can be different things to any number of different observers. Because of the abundance of dimensions, they can also appear as being connected with one-another, in any of myriads of different constellations.

You're looking at them, and you're probably in the belief that you're looking at a 3D reality. 3D visuals with sounds and smells and touch and much more. But your storyline appears one-dimensional, just like with the movie. That's called Your Life. And you're still seeing it from what seems to be one point.

But, get this, you're watching 3D in what really has 10, or however many, dimensions. That is profoundly important.

The 3D you see, however vivid and lively it is, is nowhere near what really is there, by a long shot. It is just one angle of what is there. Or, we could say, it is a shadow of what is really there. You see, shadows of higher dimensional phenomena can easily be 3 or 4 dimensional, just like you see a 2D shadow on the ground of your 3D body. How the shadow looks depends on from where we shine the light, and from where we look.

If we were both sitting in the couch watching a movie, if it is a 2D screen, we'd expect to see more or less the same thing. But if the display had more dimensions, there'd be nothing at all to hinder that we could watch apparently different movies on the same screen, just because we looked from slightly different angles.

There are many ways that a higher dimensional object can create shadows in a lower dimension. The more dimensions, the more possibilities there are for casting huge numbers of shadows into lower dimensions. And shadows might be full 3D feel-o-rama realities if the objects casting the shadows have more dimensions than 3.

Consider a simple example of seeing fewer dimensions than are really there. A dice has 6 sides. It is a 3D object. But yet we're looking for it to show us one of its 2D sides. We throw it, see how it lands, and for a moment we agree to forget the other 5 sides, and pretend that it only presents 1 side to us, the one on top. So, we can say, "Ah, it is a Six!". The dice still has the same 6 sides, at the same time, but we choose to only show one of its 2D projections. The same dice can present 6 different realities, just by turning it.

As I said, your DVD movie has one one-dimensional story-line. But you might have the speech available in several different languages, and you might have sub-titles in several different languages, and maybe you can choose the version where the director blabbers at the same time. This adds an additional dimension, even if a rather barebones one. What else could one do with more dimensions? Well, how about if you had options for which direction the story goes at particular key plot points?

Back to the universe. The universe is made of little units with 10 dimensions or more. Meaning that whichever way you see them (in 3D), it is just a tiny fraction of what is really there. But, still, those little pixel units can provide you with what we'd consider a very full experience. Visuals, sounds, touch, smells, space, time. All of that is really just the information applied to that particular pixel. If you go small enough, the sub-atomic particle doesn't really care if it is considered to appear right now, or a million years ago, whether it is right here on your desk, or a billion light-years away, whether it is red or green or blue, whether it is hard or soft, etc. It can be all of those at the same time. All of that is just something to project on the display. Just information. Just a perspective, a way of viewing.

And since you're only experiencing 3 or so dimensions, the rest adds up to alternate plotlines, foreign sub-titles, voice-overs, trailers, bloopers and whatever else you might imagine, and a whole lot more.

People who have thought about the possibility of multiple universes, possibly being alternate versions of our world here, have usually imagined that it would be necessary that these would be 'stored' as whole, complete universes somewhere, with stars and planets and everything. Really, with enough dimensions involved, it is a lot more elegant and compact than that.

Lets say that today there was an important phone call you needed to make. Maybe your future would be different depending on whether you made it or not. It would make the difference between whether you kept your job as an accountant or whether you went off on an expedition in the Amazon jungles. Or maybe something less dramatic, but it would still be different depending on what you chose. Would you be creating a whole different universe depending on your choice, or would you choose a path that already was there, fully made? And what you chose, was that already pre-determined by the nature of the universe, and maybe you didn't really have a choice? Actually, if the universe is a multi-dimensional display, several of these can be true at the same time.

The film is already playing. But it is full of interesting plot points where you have a choice. What you have a choice about is really just what angle to see something from that already is there, and what track to continue on next. The universe is in one piece, but in 10 dimensions. Whether you go left or you go right, or up or down, it is part of the same story, just seen from a different vantage point. No reason to create whole new copies of the universe to accommodate that you might go one way or another. From a higher dimensional perspective, that exists at the same time, without conflict.

It can be hard to understand, but if we translate it to the limited number of dimension we understand, it is like you have a house with many rooms and corridors. There are many ways you can walk through the house, but it is still the same house. Whether you walk into one room or another, there's no reason to construct an alternate house to accommodate it. Several other people can walk around bewildered in the same house, and still there's no reason to construct extra houses - it can all happen in the same house. Reality is just like that, except for that the house has 10 dimensions, and every room is a holodeck. So, any number of people can walk around and make different choices, and see different things, and even start remodeling, and it all still remains the same house. Even if you're talking about the same room, it can have alternate 3D versions, simply because it really has more dimensions than that. There can be an infinity of different versions without any need for really constructing a new room.

Or you might understand it with the film metaphor again. Different things go on in different parts of the film. The beginning is different from the end. Each frame is different, for that matter. But still it is the same film with a 1 dimensional storyline. If you had something like 10 dimensions, you could have all possible plotlines, and much, much more, and it would still be the same film. If the real structure is multi-dimensional, you can construct any number of paths through it. There's no need for storing all those paths separately, as separate movies, because they're more economically stored in a multi-dimensional structure. Things really get simpler if you add more dimensions, not more complicated. Complications appear when you don't have enough dimensions to encompass what you're doing.

Now, if you're watching a multi-dimensional film, and even participating in it, it might seem like you have free will because you can choose different things along the way. We could say that this is simply an illusion because you're only watching a few dimensions, 2 or 3 for watching it, and 1 for the evolution of the story. So, you can, by your choices, construct your very own path through the movie. And it will seem like it was created by your very own choices, which it was. But the movie was already recorded. Every single choice was simply that you chose to look in the direction of one of the dimension the movie provides. You chose what channel to tune into it, but all the channels were already there. But nobody had decided which exact path you would take.

So, free will is then the perception one has when, in a limited number of dimensions, one chooses an option. If you were seeing the whole thing at the same time, in all dimensions, there would be no options, because all the options would be activated at the same time. That both validates the feeling that we have a free choice for creating our own life, and at the same time the idea that the universe is coherent and logical and physical. Your choice doesn't change the whole universe, you just pick one of the available paths.

We could say that you are a viewpoint, an observer, who interacts with the multi-dimensional universe, and that you are presented with a hologram of reality, which depends on how you look at it, or from what angle you look at it.

For that matter, we could say that your attention or your perceptions are like a laser beam that shines on the universe, as if it were a hologram. You have some choice over where it shines. And depending on where it hits, you're presented with a different version of what is there. A 3 or 4 dimensional image. The universe can easily contain fantastic amounts of possible variations, and lots of laser beams can be shone on the 'same' thing, getting quite different results.

That sort of implies that YOU are of a different nature than that which you perceive, the universe or a limited picture of it. Which might bother the physicists, but there's probably no way around it. Things are different depending on how you observe them, as quantum physics well seems to have grasped. So, obviously there needs to be an observer. I'm not here going to try to answer where the observers come from, but I think it has to be part of the equation that they're there, and that they're more than merely another hologram.

Quite possibly any form of life involves a unit of awareness. You know, the laser beam that shines on the screen of the universe to light up a particular virtual hologram. But the simplest forms might be doing nothing else. Like, imagine whatever is driving a bacterium or a virus. If it is an awareness, it is a pretty zero dimensional awareness. But it is some form of Being, nevertheless. Higher lifeforms, like humans and probably some of the smarter animals, have an additional thing, an awareness of being aware. We could say that this adds a dimension. Instead of just being a unit that perceives, it becomes something that is aware of doing so, being able to perceive itself doing so, and thus becoming capable of deliberate choices, abstract reasoning, etc. And of course we can imagine more dimensions than that, like somebody who becomes aware of that phenomenon, who arrives at a certain spiritual awakening. Somebody who doesn't just exist, but somebody who knows that they exist. And of course one could go further than that and arrive at some kind of enlightened existence, which simply could be considered as existing in a sufficient number of dimensions.

So, this all says that the universe already exists, including what you would consider the past and the future, and many of each. All pre-determined, you could say, because it already is there. But it has a lot of dimensions. So, it isn't just one fixed storyline. Rather it is ALL possible story lines, all possible combinations of all the elements. If you move around in 3-4 dimensions and that's all you perceive, then 10 dimensions is plenty for interconnecting every possible 4D phenomenon with every other possible 4D phonomenon, in every possible way, several times over. And thus providing you with an endless number of choices for how to move your awareness through this whole thing. An endless number of possible stories and possible lives.

And despite that it might all already be there, what isn't already there is what one might get out of it when one plays a laserbeam of awareness over it in a new and unexpected way. Every possibility is new and unexpected in some way, and this gives rise to surprise and learning, and evolution of consciousness. Because I'm postulating here that consciousness is something that exists that is inherently not just a projection, but something that can be aware, something that can observe. By exercising awareness, by thinking, feeling and living, consciousness can go through this 10D movie in any number of ways, and discover great things in the process, which adds value to ... something.

It is logical enough that there would be little point in a 10D movie if there were nobody to watch it. It only makes sense if there's somebody there. But ultimately I think it is all made of the same stuff. You know, like if we jump to the 11th dimension, it would be obvious that the strange quantum holodeck universe and the beings who're playing in it are one and the same thing. Just sort of a trick to play on oneself if one is a Universal Consciousness. Split yourself into zillions of different viewpoints, each one going through life experiencing a complex universe in different ways, and then get them together comparing notes, and learn how to improve on immortality. Probably there isn't really a before and after, but rather a continous feedback process. So, even though I said the film was already recorded, the universe already in existence, it has to be evolving as well. Evolving by the trial and error of many units of awareness looking for a 4D path through the 10D holographic maze.

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29 Jan 2007 @ 18:00 by swanny : Multitaneous
Interesting thoughts
I sometimes think of it in terms of multitaneous realities
occurring at the same time and the one we tend to be in is the
one we are focused on or paying "attention" to. Its kind of like a mass illusion or hypnosis so your idea of many universes fits in nicely or is similar.
Although is there a predominate one or an "objective one" and many
subjective ones or is truth perhaps not a universal commodity.

"The making of a refugee is one man fleeing another mans reality"
Billie K. Hughes 1948- 1998 "Refugee" the Band Lazarus


29 Jan 2007 @ 18:54 by ming : Objective reality
I used to think that you were completely free to create whatever you want, and that the universe was a completely blank slate. But now I'd be leaning towards that there's already a movie playing. It has an enormous amount of possible twists and turns and passageways which we can choose from, but there's nevertheless something there, which is progressing a certain way, according to certain principles. So I'd see it a bit as surfing. There will probably be a wave that goes where you want to go, but you might have to wait a bit and notice when it comes by. You can't just command any which wave to go your way. Which speaks a bit to the idea of attraction as opposed to creating. You can put out the vibe of what you want, and then you might run into all the components that lead that way. But you have to work with what is there.  

29 Jan 2007 @ 20:03 by GeZi @ : WOW!
Flemming - that's one article! wonder how long you worked on that ;-))

Anyways - just an added info to the 10 dimensions. Just watched an interesting piece on the science channel with this subject. From what I learned there string theory got itself into more and more trouble because they started to have five different formulae to explain life, the universe and everything. until they finally looked what the people in the paria-camp of super-gravity were doing, then borrowed their 11th dimension and the world suddenly was good again. strings turned into membranes and all the existence was intersecting membranes.

But now the actual point I want to make - when you were talking about the observer I thought of the idea that we are all one. And this this view of the multiverse that would fit in. There is just one higher dimensional observer who also has projections into this plane, all looking differently but 'up there' all the same. In the process of enlightenment we now climb the dimensional ladder and - voila - we are all one again - - - the credits start to roll and we leave the 12-dimensional theater, have a 12-dimensional beer and say to our 12-dimensional buddy: "good movie!"  

29 Jan 2007 @ 20:04 by GeZi @ : movie
that image you found there - is that from the 13th floor - looks familiar  

29 Jan 2007 @ 20:59 by Hanae @ : Philosophy of physics

For those who might yet be unfamiliar with the notion, this is a brief (and nicely put) overview of precisely what is meant in quantum physics with regard to the idea that “the observer changes what is observed.”:

Quantum mechanics describes how the world behaves at the subatomic level. As a tool for making predictions about the interaction of fundamental particles it is a highly successful scientific theory. But as a description of what the world is really like, it challenges both reason and intuition. Central to the theory of quantum mechanics is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which says that certain properties of particles, such as position and momentum, cannot be measured accurately at the same time. If you try to measure the position of a particle with a high degree of accuracy you cannot measure its momentum very precisely, and vice versa. It doesn't matter how good your measuring devices are because this limitation exists in principle. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, this indeterminacy is an inherent property of particles at the quantum level.

Had it been restricted to the realm of subatomic particles the uncertainty principle may not have made such an impact on the philosophy of science. A thought experiment known as ‘Schrödinger's Cat’ demonstrates that the uncertainty affects the world on an everyday scale too. Suppose we devise a contraption that uses the decay of a radioactive atom as a trigger to set off a mechanism that kills a cat. The radioactive atom is in an indefinite state - neither ‘decayed’ nor ‘not decayed’ - until a measurement is made to find out which is the case. Since the state of the atom determines the state of the cat - whether it is dead or alive - the cat is also in an indefinite state. It seems that inherent uncertainty can be a property exhibited by macroscopic objects as well as quantum particles.

The idea of a cat in a state of limbo is, of course, rather counterintuitive. Philosophers and physicists have been trying since the 1930s to interpret quantum mechanics in a way that brings it in harmony with common sense. One alternative to the Copenhagen Interpretation is the Many-Worlds Interpretation, which postulates the existence of countless parallel universes, one for each possible quantum state. According to this view, the cat in our thought experiment is alive in some universes and dead in others, without any uncertainty. Which is good and well if you like the number of your universes to be big.


29 Jan 2007 @ 21:04 by Hanae @ : Metaphor

As metaphors go I am not sure that comparing one’s life to "watching a film" is one I care much for, even a highly complex multidimensional film.

But that's just me - the point is that an infinite amount of constructions can be speculated about when it comes to the nature of reality. And maybe the construction of reality presented on this post is the right one and the universe is a multidimensional film. Or maybe all visions of reality are right (which indirectly is another implication or the metaphor – it all depends on what part of the film one is watching and at what level.)

Essentially, the film metaphor presents the notion that one has infinite freedom in a finite universe.

And I think that the idea of an infinite universe is a more appealing one. A finite universe, even one of a high complexity, has a feeling of, well, “finality” about it.

One might argue that the film-universe doesn’t have to be finite. But in fact it does. Were the film infinite, one couldn’t have infinite freedom.

This is a problem Ming is aware of, because, he eventually presents the idea that “even though…the film was already recorded [and] the universe already in existence, it has to be evolving as well.”

This is a blatant contradiction. You cannot have it both ways. Or maybe you can. One can argue that Man does not know everything there is to know about the universe, and the universe could be both finite and infinite. But this is also the same thing as saying that the universe can be anything, and that anything goes. This is the wild-magic universe. And, as speculation goes, it is, of course, just as good a speculation as anything else, but it is not really saying very much either. This is ultimately saying that the nature of reality is unknown and unknowable, which is {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v408/__show_article/_a000408-000058.htm|a different point altogether}!

There is also certain implications about the metaphor of the film-universe which gives it an overly individualistic and ethically subjectivist outlook by its very nature which is often used (abusively so) by some to undermine the importance of one’s role in the world, or of Man’s role and responsibility on the planet.

Ming is not one of them, as he believes in {link:http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000540.htm|Mystery}. Judging by his writings and the spirit in which NCN was founded, it is also clear that he believes that each and every person, individually and collectively, (and probably mankind as a species) has a role to play: “evolving by…trial and error [like so] many units of awareness looking for a 4D path through the 10D holographic maze.” I’ll subscribe to that last part regardless of what the nature of the so-called “10D holographic maze” might or might not be.  

29 Jan 2007 @ 21:10 by swanny : See link
i did a piece on this the other day
link = http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v288/__show_article/_a000288-002808.htm

although complexity or a persons complexity capacity is highly variable between people and at different times and circumstances I suspect.

We just cannot percieve highly complex things when we are either tired, hungry,
angry or ?

They say if you have a complex problem it is best to sleep on it and let the subconscious mind find the answer as the conscious mind simply is not up to the task....

now what does that say or suggest????


29 Jan 2007 @ 21:14 by swanny : Complexity
most interesting
Link = http://www.davinciinstitute.com/page.php?ID=166

interesting and what goes around comes around as I appear
to have addressed the very same topic back in 2005

not much available on the subject back then on the net

link = http://cafe.noeticnetworks.org/cgi-bin/dcf/dcboard.pl?az=read_count&om=819&forum=Forum13


29 Jan 2007 @ 21:19 by Hanae @ : movie

Yes, GeZi, the image is from The Thirteenth Floor.

Ming had posted about it {link:http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000181.htm|here}.  

29 Jan 2007 @ 21:23 by Hanae @ : And...

...here is another NCN post in which the same movie is brought up: {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v97/__show_article/_a000097-000071.htm|link}  

29 Jan 2007 @ 21:24 by swanny : defintion
I think my definitions that I arrived at were

simple = static order
complex = dynamic order and motion
chaos = dynamic disorder and motion  

30 Jan 2007 @ 02:47 by ming : Metaphor
Yes, "watching a film" maybe isn't the greatest metaphor for life in terms of motivation to be actively engaged in it. But it provides nice imagery for the projection mechanism. A computer game might be better, an adventure game.

Anyway, part of the point is about the liberating effect of constraints. Freedom makes sense because there's limitation. You have a choice of soaps because you can't have all of them at the same time. At some dimension, you can, and it is no longer a choice.

I don't think existence or the universe is finite, per se. But the universe does provide constraints, as if it were, which is what makes it fun. But part of the fun might be to play with the constraints and move the goal posts a bit. One can have infinite game play, even with finite pieces.  

30 Jan 2007 @ 10:17 by ming : Finite and infinite
I think that possibly there's a counter-intuitive lesson there somewhere, that there's more infinity to find in something finite. Or, it is sometimes more fun to break a whole into pieces, and play with the pieces, than it is for it to remain whole. To simplify, there's only one way it can remain whole, but zillions of ways it can be broken. And the constraint of having to work with particular broken pieces gives rise to endless gameplay in trying to put them together in an interesting way, and in searching for wholeness.

Yes, it is the mystery that I find fascinating and motivating. Proceeding into the unknown. Which can happen in a variety of ways. It one has only some facts available, only a few pieces of the puzzle available at one's disposal, the totality of what is going on is a mystery. And, surprisingly, one might actually go ahead and discover something that one wouldn't have noticed if one knew everything in advance. Omnipotent and omniscient beings probably wouldn't directly be able to learn as much about life and to the level of detail that we do. And maybe we're exactly the way that they do learn.

And I'm sure there has to be a level where the whole is evolving. Otherwise it would just be no fun. How would God pass eternity if he/she/it/we already knew everything there were to know? I think that what we observe about life and the universe and ourselves is part of that puzzle. It can't be just following pre-determined paths for no good reason. It has to be some kind of expansion, adding-of-value to the whole. Even for 11-dimensional omnipotent consciousness, there'd be mystery, there'd be something more, I think.  

30 Jan 2007 @ 13:09 by solomoreno : Creation as a negative process
Fantastic article! Put a lot of cool ideas into a neat, organized place. Inspirational to say the least.

I see life as being created less by choosing what we WANT to perceive and experience but rather as being created by applying perceptual filters to block out what possibilities we DO NOT WANT to percieve and experience. This fits in nicely with the contention that "it's all already there." I remember reading that Ed Dawson realized this in regards to astrological signs and related abilities. If I remember correctly, he concluded that all of us may truly have all the abilities and characteristics related to each sign, it's just that we represss most of them and express only the ones associated with our respective signs.

I was thinking of this principle in light of the human body. It's normally regarded as a perceptual apparatus. But today I saw it as the opposite, as a perceptual filter that blocks out a vast majority of information. This hindrance is what permits the time and space and appropriate pace for playing human games. Instead of providing one with perceptions, most of what the body is doing is preventing serious information overload. For most people, this is probably a good thing. I think almost nothing can hurt someone more than encountering truth that is unassimilatable.  

30 Jan 2007 @ 13:29 by Hanae @ : Creative Mythology

And then one just might find one day that "dimension" too, after all, is an inadequate term to speak of "reality" and some mathematician or philosopher might come up with the concept of xFhz3 and turn everyone's perception of things completely upside down. There are already many fascinating mathematical concepts out there dealing with the finite/infinite concept (Aleph numbers, Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel, etc.) And, I think that Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem is maybe the most relevant here:

In 1931 the mathematician and logician Kurt Godel proved that within a formal system questions exist that are neither provable nor disprovable on the basis of the axioms that define the system. This is known as Godel's Undecidability Theorem. He also showed that in a sufficiently rich formal system in which decidability of all questions is required, there will be contradictory statements. This is known as his Incompleteness Theorem.

And I see that D had some fun playing with the concept in the Spindrift workgroup: {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v217/__show_article/_a000217-000112.htm|Entelos - Year of the Lunar Hare|Entelos - Year of the Lunar Hare}.

Which brings us to the notion of Creative Mythology:

Mathematical and Scientific knowledge, of course, are not the only sort of knowledge. And what one might term "poetic" or "mythic"
Knowledge clearly also has a reality of its own. Michael Talbot's {link:http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html|holographic Universe} theory, for instance, while inspired by the former, belongs to the latter. I just think one should be careful not to confuse knowledge with belief---though the difference between one and the other is not always that clear cut, considering that beliefs influence knowledge and knowledge shape beliefs (scientists are not immune to the phenomenon.)

There was a time when people thought that earthquakes were caused by dragons living under the earth. Scientists have verified since then that indeed earthquakes are caused by a magnetic dragon with magma blood. One might object that this is not the kind of dragon that people were talking about during the middle age, and that the magnetic dragon of the scientist has no volition-no free will to speak of, and that earthquakes just like rain are just a passive mechanistic phenomenon. There might be some, however, who might want to argue that we do not know whether magnetic entities are sentient or not. Maybe Earth’s dragon communicates with other dragons through outer space. Maybe each and every one of those dragons are just cells in the body of a bigger galactic dragon. (I am making the stuff up as I go along, to show how the making of creative mythology works.) Maybe some dragons don’t care much for the life growing on their scales, maybe they think of humans as parasites. Maybe there are other dragons, who on the other hand have come to develop an interest for the life form growing out of them. Maybe the life form is a manifestation of the dragons dreaming. Perhaps some dragons have become protective of the dreaming, while other dragons don’t want anything to do with it (they consider it an abomination), they want to return to the primal state (before the big bang) when all dragons were all One. Etc, I could go on.

I recently found a rather interestingly put essay floating in cyberspace on the theme of spirituality/reality/freedom, which I posted {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v217/__show_article/_a000217-000029.htm#com78392|here}.

As the article point out "...perhaps the most interesting mythology consists of a fusion of the ancient and the modern, with the myths constantly evolving within the context of contemporary situations and explorations."

It does, however, come with this cautionary statement:

"The danger of mythological discourse is that it can lead to Religion, with which it has been most closely associated. Religion at its best can be an attempt to unify a culture, or subculture, by creating a collective myth which can contextualize the 'spiritual experiences' of its members. It can also have a personal importance in providing a familiar framework for the interpretation of individual experience. However it is a regrettable fact that Religion at the very least simplifies and rigidifies such 'spirituality' (or even 'pseudo-spirituality') into a restrictive dogma, and worse often falsifies it into a 'fairy tale', that at best provides comfort and escapism and at worst becomes a mechanism of social control. When a priesthood becomes involved matters are worse still, as biased human mediation separates us even more from reality."  

30 Jan 2007 @ 14:53 by ming : Mythology
It is interesting that even the most hardcore materialist scientists have a very hard time avoiding talking about stuff without anthropomorphizing it, without assigning purpose and intent and design to things. They'll try to catch themselves, to say that of course an ocean current or a jelly fish doesn't have any purpose or design, they're just, uhm, an accummulation of random, meaningless events. And the fact that they're meaningful and have a purpose is a complete fluke, because that's how things work. Because they're afraid that any implication of consciousness and intention leads into some superstitious, religious thing.

But the perception of many phenomena really make more sense, and are more simple, if viewed as a living thing, something that tries to carry out its purpose in some meaningful way. Like how the planet seems to keep certain things in balance, like the salt balance in the oceans, and the oxygen content in the air, which just happens to be what fits with the needs of many life forms. It shouldn't have to be such a foreign idea to consider a self-generating system as an entity of some kind, even if it doesn't have blood in its veins.  

30 Jan 2007 @ 15:04 by ming : Filters
Yeah, it is an interesting view that our brains and our nervous systems might function more to keep things out than to actually perceive them. We might get a glimpse of it when we study autistic savants who somehow miss some of the blocks most people have, so they have direct access to stuff that normally is submerged deep in the subconscious. Which makes life confusing to them, and not so much fun, but they can do amazing feats. The blocking of input allows us to exercise selective consciousness, to focus on stuff, and to talk in the abstract. But it brings with it almost as many problems as it brings blessings. Animals seem to be quite content being part of a bigger eco-system, taking life as it comes. Losing a leg or being eaten by another animal isn't something to lose much sleep over. Whereas we humans have made ourselves so separate from everything else that we create all sorts of worries and regrets about everything. But the same ability to block things out is also what seems to allow us to be creative and to think about stuff and make choices in life.  

31 Jan 2007 @ 11:19 by Hanae @ : Creative Mythology

"It shouldn't have to be such a foreign idea to consider a self-generating system as an entity of some kind, even if it doesn't have blood in its veins."
--- 30 Jan 2007 @ 19:53 by ming : Mythology

No, it really shouldn't.

And, then, again, neither should it be, to consider any of a multitude of models and concepts out there.

Hardcore scientific materialists, hardcore mystics, mystic scientists, or scientific mystics, poets, philosophers, SF writers, and what have you, are all doing a pretty good job of it out there - each in there own way. And I think we are somewhat touching to some of the things that came up in Ming's post about {link:http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-001769.htm|Assuming Somebody Else Viewpoint} and also, to some degree, to the notion of filters.

The point is not to aloe one’s beliefs to limit one’s knowledge, or to allow what one knows (or what one think one knows) to limit one’s beliefs. (To what degree this is feasible, or weather it is feasible at all is an entire different topic altogether, lol.)

No judgment of the truth or untruth of the material expressed in the comment about "creative mythology" should be implied by the term "myth." And the cautionary note is not against imagination. It is about what happens when ideas are turned into doctrines and dogmas: yet another church is created (and, yes, science is no exception.)  

31 Jan 2007 @ 12:43 by swanny : Robert Pursig
Well I'm not sure if this relates but Robert Pursigs work on quality
came to mind. Possibly from his "Church of Reason" discussion.
He is actually doing some east/west integration in his efforts
and last I heard he was setting the foundations of the "metapyhsics of Quality".
He does get somewhat empassioned though which is to bad in a way but
certainly has led to some serious concerns for him.


2 Feb 2007 @ 11:05 by Palden @ : Hard Compatibilism
Personaly, I like the film metaphor very much...

As I was wondering why past and futur seem to have a such different nature... I thought that may be they aren't different.

We could perceive them different because of the flow of time. But if time is our 4th dimension, "someone" living in 5th dimension would "see" the whole History of our universe at once. Like we see a film reel.

So the futur could be fixed like the past is. And our "present" could be like a tape reader reading time...

And what about our freedom, free will, etc... ?
Well... I used to think that the only undetermined thing in the universe was the "soul", our mind... that we're able to have "free" thought not caused by... any cause ! But now, that seems to me a magic fairy tale. I don't think anything can come out of nowhere without any cause. And the more we learn how the brain works, the more we understand how thoughts, feellings are created by it. And see how effective the psychotropic substance are to modify one's personnality. So I'm not sure that any of our thoughs could be really "free". Aren't they created by the physical and chemical structure of the brain, and all our past experiences in life ? We read something (on a blog may be), we interpret it with the filter of our personal experiences and that leads us to think something else... Could that be different ?

Ok, this is "hard determinisme". Does that lead to fatalisme and irresponsability ?
No because the decisions we take now are part of the causes of the future. Will mankind destroy the planet's ressources ? Even if it is already determined (in the 5th dimension), it does't change the fact that if we fight to avoid it, may be we'll succeed and if we don't, Earth will probaly become Hell... (this is just an example of choice, not to launch an ecological debate). Even if it's pre-determined that one will succeed or not to stop smoking, it worth to try because if one tries, may be one will succeed but if one don't, one will surely not (succeed). The economic choices we do will have consequences on people's standard of living, even if they are pre-determined.

Is it a such "no fun" vision of life ?
I don't think so. That decreases the importance of the "ego" to make you more part of the flow... Even if life is a movie which you can't really change the story, you still have to discover the next episode, if you will succeed to be pro-active in your job or any other domain to obtain what you want... So it doesn't make things easier of more difficult, you still have to try to do your best in your every day life... and see the result. That's what we can call "free will". If I decide to stay awake this evening and paint, tomorow, I'll have a painting. If I decide to go to sleep, I won't. Whatever this choice is pre-determined or not. All the causes that lead me to take that decision at that moment, make "me", my "ego", what "I am". It's my personnality, "me" who decide to do this or that.

Could call that "Hard Compatibilism" ? :)

I find it fascinating to see the reality as it is (this linear movie), even if it can't be any other way. It is rich enough to be the most fascinating adventure to be part of. And part of that reality is imagination. Which allow us to make all those unbelievable dreams about what reality could be.  

2 Feb 2007 @ 11:19 by swanny : Universe of Improv
A concern I have with the film interpretation is the sense
that it gives the idea that the outcome is predetermined
and restricts choice. In that sense it isn't a film.
It is more like Shakespears "All the worlds a stage" and
yet it is not a play either but an improv.
Improv and evolution I wonder if they are similar in nature
Maybe evolution is natures improv....
so then not a film or a play but a interactive discourse
like the universe of discourse but not discourse alone
but actions a well... a kind of Universe of improv..


2 Feb 2007 @ 11:38 by ming : Improv
See, in improv one starts with maybe just a stage and some players, maybe some props, and maybe some suggestions from the audience. "Give us a place!"... "A submarine!". "Give me a profession!"... "Dentist!" The members of the audience who give the suggestions might have their own reasons for doing so, and there might be a reason those particular props are there, and the players might be in the state they are because of whatever happened to them that day. But overall it adds up to an unprecedented never-before-seen mix of ingredients. To which we add some consciousness, some inspiration, some discoveries in the moment, some going with the energy - and something delightfully new and surprising might happen.

From having done improv comedy myself, there's sort of a magical state, where one pays really close attention to what is there, but at the same time one empties one's mind, and something emerges. One doesn't try to "figure out" some good jokes, and it doesn't work if one does. It is more like channeling. Or, we could say that it is getting the analytical mind out of the way, and letting stuff bubble up from the sub-conscious, which seems to be able to process all the ingredients and deliver The Thing To Happen in a way we couldn't quite have expected.

The same in life. Even if there's a logical pre-determined reason for all the ingredients, there's some magic in the process of discovering or choosing what is next. And I'm pretty sure there's an act of creation happening there. It might simply be a matter of a recombination of existing elements, but it is something new that comes out of it. At least life is most enjoyable when it is, when one truly is in the moment, and one experiences the birth of this moment, which is different from all others.

One can invent the game of chess, the layout of the board, the rules for movement of all the pieces, and that is very finite and pre-determined. But a brilliant chess player can still come up with some new and surprising moves. Yes, those moves would be part of the total number of possible moves, which is finite, but the fact of choosing one of those moves that weren't done before, and the action of being aware of that - there's something there which is the whole point. Creating a surprise out of pieces that aren't necessarily surprising. Discovery within a finite universe. Which strangely turns something finite into something infinite.

It is kind of like if we just 'randomly' mix a bunch of scattered elements, and then somebody comes along and looks at them for a moment, and says "Ah! That would be ..." You know, it might be completely random and these various pieces have never been put together before, and nobody has decided in advance what it "should" be. But somebody actual looks, and looks for the sense and meaning, and might actually come up with a systemic way of making sense out of what previously was 'random'. And something new is created, simply from the power of observation and the intent to find meaning. So, maybe the universe itself is doing this. Maybe the initial conditions of the universe were completely known, and the logical sequence of events was completely known, or knowable. But the totality of the possibilities in the mix of all the pieces - that wasn't known. So, consciousness roves the universe, looking for the good stuff, the surprisingly good combinations of things. And each time one is found, life and consciousness advances, something is learned, evolution happens.  

2 Feb 2007 @ 12:00 by swanny : Oh but...
Well if you done improv and I would say
you ming are quite astute at it
yet it is like you say different
or even difficult and I don't know
if it can be taught or if you have to have a
breakdown of some sort to "get it" or....
well I just mean I suppose it is not as easy as it looks
and can fail miserably or be sheer magic, delight and genius
Improv then as such is totally or mostly highly unpredicable
and that I suspect is its joy and beauty.
And it is hard to describe but you done a wonderful job above
but it is almost a clear case of "you had to be there"

I came to it by way of art and music and "jammin"

I suppose jammin is a good way to ease into it...


18 Jan 2008 @ 01:53 by claudio @ : and....the choise?????????????
how can be the"observer"FREE IN ITS WILL when he"chooses"to watch just from a wiewpoint among"zillions"of wiewpoints(anyway a no endless number of wiewpoints!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


2to look  

18 Jan 2008 @ 01:55 by claudio @ : and....the choise?????????????
how can be the"observer"FREE IN ITS WILL when he"chooses"to watch just from a wiewpoint among"zillions"of wiewpoints(anyway a no endless number of wiewpoints!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!


2to look  

Other stories in
2011-11-08 03:20: Do what you do
2007-11-09 00:55: The ends justify the means
2007-09-19 00:36: Fractal brains
2007-06-06 00:13: Ten incredible things we get for free
2007-03-26 21:12: Ken Wilber stops his brain waves
2007-03-21 14:45: Free Thought the simplicity of life
2007-03-09 23:46: The ends justify the means
2007-01-24 20:42: Assuming Somebody Else's Viewpoint
2007-01-16 16:28: Free Will
2007-01-13 20:34: Dimensions of Comprehension

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