Archive for March, 2010
Stuart Kaufman on Consciousness
We have had the problem of consciousness for thousands of years, and here I am, about to offer a working hypothesis! Perhaps “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, but, frankly, I don’t believe in angels and, foolish or not, I will tread.
What I will say rests on two simple, but major premises:
First, as I have argued in the past several posts, Is the Mind Algorithmic?, How Can Mind Act On Matter?, and Towards A Responsible Free Will., I think these antique problems in the philosophy of mind just might be open to elucidation given the hypothesis that the human mind-brain system is a quantum coherent-decohering to classicity and recohering partially or completely to quantum coherence. This “Poised Realm” surely cannot happen in any physical system, for the decoherent loss of phase information is not easily recoverable. But the chlorophyll molecule, coherent for at least 7000 femtoseconds when the normal time scale of decoherence is 1 femtosecond, or 10 to the – 15th seconds, is amazing. More, it is thought that decoherence is either prevented or reversed by the evolved antenna protein that wraps the chlorophyll and, in line with Shor’s theorem about quantum error correction, may be partially correcting inevitable lost phase and amplitude information. We can test this with mutant antenna proteins.
Second, it seems to be a coherent and consistent interpretation of the Schrodinger wave equation that what is “waving” are possibilities that are ontologically real. This interpretation is radical. As I have noted, Empedocles argued that what is real in the universe are Actuals and only Actuals. Yet Aristotle in various senses, argued for the ontological reality of Actuals and Potentia, and Alfred North Whitehead in the early 20th Century argued similarly that ontologically real Actuals give rise to ontological real Possibles which give rise to Actuals which give rise to Possibles, where ontological reality is both Actual and Possible.
With Whitehead, I am going to assume a metaphysics in which Actuals and Possibles are Ontologically real. One cannot avoid a metaphysics. For Newton and Einstein, only Actuals are ontological real. Quantum Mechanics admits as one interpretation, ontologically real Possibles. Therefore the step to taking seriously an ontological real Possibility may not be as great as we tend to think three centuries after Newton. There are, of course, other interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, from epistemological Possibles, to the Multiple World interpretation of Everett, to Bohm’s Implicate Order interpretation. Thus the detailed experimental verification of Quantum Mechanics allows but does not prove, an ontologically real Possible.
What is Sufism?
By Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
& David Paquoit
Traveler: When friends ask me what I study, and I try to explain, I find it hard to put into words, what is Sufism? Help me understand so I can give a clearer answer?
Master: One of the great teachers offered, ‘long before there was a name (Sufism) there was a reality. Now there is a name without a reality.’ What is meant by this is that there has always been a way to connect with and experience ultimate Truth; this spiritual path of learning existed long before travelers, in the late 1800′s, gave this way of learning its present name- Sufism. At the time, local ascetics wore a distinctive woolen (Soof) robe and became known for this. Now this name, or spiritual form, for many followers exists without a corresponding inner reality. Often today, what you see in the world represented as Sufism is an empty shell of its former self.
Fools gold exists because there is real gold.
This ancient Path of spiritual development is based upon connection with and experience of the Divine. It involves study with a teacher and the awakening, through direct contact with Truth of latent spiritual capacity; this is done so the traveler can help others. This Truth or universal essence, the spiritual traveler seeks and experiences, is the underlying energy or fabric of created forms.
If I had known of any science greater than Sufism
I would have gone to it, even on my hands and knees.
The Sufi’s task is to recognize the end at the Beginning.
He has gone beyond. He has rolled up the cosmos
In its turn and obliterated it.
He has reduced and then eliminated the marks
Of selfhood to allow a clear view of Cosmic Reality.
This Path, existed long before there were religions; this way of learning is at the heart of the great religions; it is the underlying spiritual energy that gives everything in the universe its form and substance. Inside each of us is an aspect of this wondrous element. Through preparation, practice developing our inner spiritual awareness, and Grace we unite with and serve Ultimate Reality every day.
For so long did the Beloved
Face my open heart
That except for His Attributes and Nature
Nothing remained of that heart.
My teacher called this Path – the Superhighway to God. For those who wish to connect with Truth and use their inner spiritual capacity to help others; this form of learning is available in every town and city.
Worshiping God is not done with
Rosary beads, prayer carpet, or robe.
Worshiping God is serving others.
Sufism is not something talked about or described in written words; it is a universal essence that is experienced and known through inner spiritual contact. Much like love; no matter how many words you use- the description is not the same as the actual experience. And like love which ebbs and flows, Sufism changes to fit the learner, time and place.
Sufism is a school of spiritual state, not discourse, and a Sufi is something to become, not something to merely read about. Since spiritual states cannot be expressed in words, Sufi sheikhs have declared, “Whatever can be expressed in words isn’t Sufism.” As Rumi has stated, “When I came to love, I was ashamed of all I have ever said about love.”
Whatever great Sufis have said in explanation of Sufism was the result of and appropriate to their particular situation and states. Such explanation, therefore do not constitute general definitions of Sufism. Rather they refer to some of its characteristics.
Javad Nurbakhsh 6
Traveler: This helps a little. Sufism is difficult to put into words because it is a spiritual experience and changes with each person. Yet, I have been in love and know there are different forms of love with many peaks and valleys that are impossible to describe; and no matter how pretty a poem or love song, I know it is not the experience of love itself.
Master: Remember, everyone is a spiritual traveler and in their long journey through this universe, experiences many wondrous things. Countless experiences go beyond words and cannot be written down- changing with each moment and person. This dimension is one of the elements that make life multi-level and beautiful. If this is too difficult for those who ask about us to grasp, ask them to define love or even life itself. As they ponder all the possibilities, then, they will begin to understand.
Although Sufis live outwardly among people, inwardly they are constantly occupied with God. Their bodies and mind exist with others, whereas their hearts are far from them. Externally, they are congenial with everyone. Inwardly, however, they themselves are strangers to all. They are at peace with all people, yet within them selves tranquility is to be found only in Divine Love. Though they live among people they are truly alone.
Javad Nurbakhsh 7
Thanks to David Paquoit for supplying the different quotes of the great Sufi Masters. To reach David go to www.caravanofdreams.wordpress.com.
Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment (Llewellyn, 2008) and Journey of Light:Trilogy (Authorhouse, 2004); these books are available on Amazon.com or from the publisher. To contact author go to www.stewartbitkoff.com.
1 Rumi quote found in: Idries Shah, Learning How to Learn: Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way, Penguin Compass, 1978.
2 Junaid quote appears in: Fadhalla Haeri, The Elements of Sufism, Barnes and Noble, 1999.
3 Junaid quote appears in: Shaiykh A. Al-Murabit, The Hundred Steps, Madinah Press, 2nd edition, 1998.
4 Maghribi quote appears online: http://www/nimatullahi.org/sufism/path.
5 Saadi quote appears in Javad Nurbakhsh, The Path: Sufi Practices, Nimattullahi Publications, 2003.
6, 7 Both Nurbakhsh quotes appear in J. Nurbakhsh, The Path: Sufi Practices, cited above.
On July 2, 2008, I recommended the purchase of a stock, New Flyer Industries, the largest builder of buses in North America. It made sense to me that with the increase in oil prices that more people would be taking public transportation.
How has the stock done? Take a look:
You can see from the chart at the top, the stock has had its ups and downs along with the rest of the market. The share price has decreased about 8% since July 2, 2008. However the dividend is over 10% per year. Your $10,000 investment would have been reduced to $9,200 through depreciation of the share price, but you would have made 10% per year through the dividend, giving you a net gain of about 10%. That’s a good return for a most difficult time in the history of the stock market. My figures are rough and do not include tax implications.
I rarely buy stocks. When you consider that a stock should never be bought out of fear, greed, hope, disappointment, boredom, desperation, or excitement, it reduces the opportunities tremendously and actually gives you a chance of making money. Of course, neither should you sell a stock out of fear, greed, boredom, desperation, or excitement. When you buy or sell on the basis of those emotions, you’re gambling. Next time you are ready to buy a stock, ask yourself, “Am I buying (or selling) this stock out of fear, greed, hope, disappointment, boredom, desperation, or excitement?”
You won’t execute your trade with perfect equanimity, no one does, but your chances of a successful trade will be improved if you can keep your head above the tide of emotion.
Michael D. Morrow is a fascinating guy because he has been in the nonduality game since the 70s and has kept a very low profile. I never heard of him until a year ago, or so. We have since exchanged several emails and I know him as dedicated to the teaching of nonduality as a student, sage, and teacher.
Modern humans are currently searching desperately for a new model of understanding that will unite science, philosophy, education and the arts. We are making grand leaps in the sciences in terms of understanding the complex systems of life, known as “dynamical systems”, “complexity theory”, etc.
Science is also looking at “string theory” that is trying to find an underlying unity to all living systems. Movements such as ‘sustainability’ are looking into sane ways to live on this earth in a balanced way.
In philosophy, the ‘perennial philosophies’ have come to be more fully understood and they are also searching for a unification of all philosophies of life.
To date, we do not have a comprehensive model or set of models that combine the interior and exterior of complex living systems.
This book is revealing one such model, ‘biological non-dualism’, that combines the best of science, philosophy, and education – although it will just be a beginning ‘blueprint.’ This process combines biology and ecology with a deep understanding of ‘depth metaphysics.’
If correctly understood this could help revolutionize modern thought and bring deep healing to the individual, the society and the globe at large. This is not the only new model to appear, but it will certainly be one of the most important, if carefully studied with an open mind and heart.
Mark S. Mandell says:
Isn’t there any flaw or weakness you ever come across in your review of the available non dual literature out there, Jerry? This isn’t meant to criticize but I find it interesting that you never post less than the maximum star ratings of every non dual book you review.
Jerry Katz says:
I give your comment 4 stars. But seriously, there are two reasons why I give 5 stars. First, I don’t like rating things, so I give them all five stars. I don’t like reducing nonduality books to a number of stars.
Second, for me, each book stands on its own and gets five stars.
However, my reviews often critique, disagree, and qualify. You just have to read them.
I try to convey the texture of a book so that the reader can sense whether they’d like to read it. For example, in my review of The Most Direct and Rapid Means to Eternal Bliss I made very clear that this an intense, focused, precise, almost fundamentalist book. I wrote:
By virtue of its intensity, commitment, declarations of greatness, and specificity and concentration of instruction, this book is scriptural in nature.
No number of stars communicates what I have included in the review:
Michael even places scriptural values on the book: “This book is a new doorway for humanity.” “There are more than fourteen hundred sentences in this book. Those sentences describe a very precise formula. If the formula is changed, the formula will usually no longer be effective.”
I feel that by such description, the reader of the review can sense whether this book would be worth reading.
How can I rate a book? In comparison to what I like? In comparison to what I believe is the right nondual approach? In comparison to the way some famous sage speaks?
It’s not up to me to tell a reader that this book is five, four, three stars. It’s not up to me to give my personal tastes (although sometimes I do.) It’s up to me to communicate what a person is getting into if they buy the book.
Premiering April 7, 2010 at 8 p.m. EST (check local listings)
This documentary for PBS by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. It features the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity. Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.
What is the “secret” to understanding non-duality?
Everything appears to our senses to be dual here, hot & cold, light & dark, male & female.
Yet many speak of Oneness & Unity.
What understanding bridges the gap?
Thank You for answering.
Read the responses to this question at Yahoo Answers:
Don’t forget to add yours!
I’ve been following the nutrition and fitness advice of Dr. Gabe Mirkin for over twenty years. It’s keeping me fit and in good health … so far!
I found this video at Cafe’ Zen.
On Democracy Now! Amy Goodman, one of the top Canadian interviewers on radio and TV, interviews Dr. Gabor Mate. He talks about the role of stress in disease and how Western medicine comes up with scientific studies clearly showing the relationship between stress and disease — a connection known for thousands of years by healers in China, India, and tribal cultures — and at the same time ignores those findings when it comes to treatment.
Dr. Mate says the body has ways of saying “No” which are manifested as disorders and diseases. They are ways of protecting your boundaries. He says to pay attention to what your body is saying “No” to and investigate how to live your life with the proper boundaries in place which will, he says, be more likely to assure immunological boundaries.
He notes that people who repress anger and who are pleasers, people who can’t say no, are compromising their immune systems and are more likely to suffer illnesses. He gives examples and more revelations in the videos: