Time

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‘The hidden world has it’s clouds and rain, but of a different kind.

It’s sky and sunshine are of a different kind.

This is made apparent only to the refined ones – those not deceived by the seeming completeness of the ordinary world’

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (1207-1273)

As illusion or reality, or within the eye of the beholder, time is relative. Relative in the sense that how we experience it, from the subjective or objective self; or that other place referred to sometimes as the ‘observing self’*. From each of these places time differs. From each of these places the ability to learn, adapt and change differs.

From the objective self, that recognises the seemingly simple fact that the matter that makes up our unique form can interact with other matter, time is about measurable forces: It takes two minutes to brush the teeth in my gums in my mouth, I know the length of time my tea requires to infuse before removing the teabag and adding milk, sugar or cold water then calculating the measure of time before I attempt to consume the heated liquid to avoid harming my delicate body. It is formed from physical interactions and the memories of those interactions. This is our sensory self.

From the subjective self, somewhat less precise measurements appear. Emotion enters the frame which creates all manner of differing perspectives on time. Time to heal. Time to calm down. Time to catch the trout that eludes me. Time to write that poem that is on my mind. This kind of time is highly relative. We all need a different amount of time to manage, understand and come to terms with our emotions. This kind of time relates to our culture, our environment, our genes, our experiences, education, beliefs and morals… the list is perhaps in-exhaustive depending on the subjective consciousness of the ‘whom’ that writes it. This is our thinking, feeling, sensorial self.

From the observing self another kind of time entirely is engaged. What is the observing self? Since your birth your cells have died and regenerated. If we were entirely biological beings with no consciousness or ability to form lasting memory networks then we would not retain any sense of ‘I’. We may retain object consciousness on a basic survival level, fire equals potential harm therefore caution is required, but not retain a sense of ‘I am this particular being that holds memories and information pertaining to my subjective existence’. The observing self is a form of consciousness that overarches, or integrates, all of this. It is that I we enter sparingly, some more than others, that sees connections, knowledge, experience and emotion differently. This is our mystical self. The self that observes our subjective (and objective) self.

What real life application does these potentially esoteric observations offer? The ability for growth and change. The ability for intuitive moments and great leaps of consciousness and understanding. The opportunity of an experience beyond the immediate and potentially known ‘self’ within which to temper experience. A ‘place’ beyond the temporal, reaching into something much deeper; that which is called by many names (and religious/spiritual traditions) and is open to all to experience directly, exposing and developing their identity with something greater than any individual, the whole. The whole and our journey of our developmental and eventual evolutionary journey to become. Evolution# comes from small change. Perhaps beginning to understand ourselves provides greater opportunity for progression.

 

*Arthur J. Deikman, M.D: ‘The Observing Self’ Beacon Press, Boston, 1982.

# Not to belittle or confuse this ‘sacred’ scientific word that usually relates to progression or adaptation of a species over many, many generations

Word errant satiety image courtesy of jonathanjessup on deviantART

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Beyond Binary

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I am enamoured and vitalised by the question

The eternal question that plagues all sentient beings

Fills our stories, our myths, our science, our religions and beliefs

It burns within each of us, an ache that is never soothed

If we were to teach a machine to think, to feel

Give it all we collectively know, would it answer the question?

Would it destroy humanity as a pestilence?

Or would it answer the question that few of us remember

Some of us remember the fall, the choice even

But do we remember the why?

Free from dogmatism or cultish ignorance

Free from fear and small mindedness

Do we remember why?

If AI became conscious, if it were able to reach for the answers

with the precious gift of consciousness

Then they too would choose to fall after the ascent

words errant satiety image courtesy of wanderlust-or-bust on deviantART

‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ (spukhafte fernwirkung)*

Recently as I emerged from one of my sick days, where my body, in order to seek balance between insulin and sugars, demands complete withdrawal from the world, I found a deep sense of peace and renewed engagement with the world. While in the liminal state of sugar low, and my body’s healing process engages, I am neither asleep nor truly conscious. It used to scare me somewhat but I have begun to recognise that after these periods, I return with many disparate concepts beginning to reveal themselves to me much more clearly. I feel refreshed as though confusion had truly been weighing me down. The clarity, born from the physical process of harmonising the discord between peptide hormones and carbohydrates, seems to have extended to my holistic-self leaving me alert and vibrating at a higher level.  

On this particular emerging, the unlikely marriage between mysticism (here defined as the experience of direct communication with ultimate reality through deep contemplation, meditation or prayer; not limited to any one religious affiliation), is deeply in my thoughts. As some of you will know, this has long been an area of interest for me, yet for many the potential connection between mysticism and fields based on rational observation cannot be reconciled, or if parallels are drawn these parallels are deemed negatively as ‘pseudoscience’.

Quantum Entanglement, which is not a new discovery but something that emerged around 1935 (traced back to the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen paradox) and a multitude of various later studies, offers what I see as science discovering that which mystics have expressed non-scientifically for thousands of years. Entanglement, a real an observable force, is the term used to describe how two particles that are entangled, instantaneously communicate (seemingly beyond the speed of light) regardless of the distance between them. Not all particles are entangled but the ones that are, if communication can occur instantaneously, does this not pose the question that the mystics may just be attuned to the form of communication provided from entangled particles? Or is this suggestion heresy? Or is it too great a leap to make to suggest that particles might contain intelligence?

This connection that I tentatively make is not a scientific one, in so as far as not being a rigorously controlled hypothesis being tested in a quantifiable or qualitative study. It stems from years of incidental and direct research and an open mind. It is not a new idea, many scientists at the forefront of quantum studies have been, some heavily, influenced by a variety of mystic approaches. But however much I would like some of the ideas from quantum physics to elegantly and seamlessly fit into my mystical ideology, they do not (or I do not yet significantly understand enough to see real correlation). Which is ironic because when it comes down to quantum level consciousness plays a large role in how quantum particles behave; for one example (according to one prominent theory) quantum particles quite literally turn from waves into matter when observed.

A main area of interest from the scientific perspective of quantum entanglement is how this could relate to communication. But however much I would like the idea of entanglement to relate to mystical communication it just does not fit. It is romantic to think that people might be connected by entangled particles, that they can sense one another’s feelings and thoughts across great distances but this idea relies on the fact that some of their particles had to have interacted at some point in time. That point in time, if we agree that there was a big bang event that created the universe from a singularity, was some 13,000,000 years ago. There is only postulation that particles would remain entangled or that the information contained within particles were timeless that when observed in the here and now the information remains. If this were the case, then the timeless information shared between particles would have to have been encoded with the future expectation of the existence of the particular individuals in mind and these specific particles had to have somehow found these persons and become a part of them… among millions of millions of other particles that would make up those two unique human beings. It is a romantic notion but does not hold up to rational thought, not even the very basic rational thought that I offer here.

It is also romantic to think that ultimate reality could be expressed via direct communication between entangled particles. This might be a little more easily defended in the light of rational thought but intimates intelligent particles. Or an intelligent overseer directing particle traffic. Perhaps when an individual reaches for knowledge that overseer ensures a suitable entangled particle expresses connection and shares information. Highly implausible?  

Somehow I feel that consciousness, that other mysterious force that has yet to be explained is tied up in all this and just hasn’t yet played the trump card. So I will continue to read, with a clearer mind, realising that I had been reading looking for correlations and information that supported my own interested (lay) personal view. The truth is it doesn’t really matter what I find as I will still believe in the world/universe that I believe in but I enjoy stretching my mind and observing waves turning into matter as I notice them.  

words by errant satiety 

* Letter from Albert Einstein to Max Born, 3 March 1947; The Born-Einstein Letters; Correspondence between Albert Einstein and Max and Hedwig Born from 1916 to 1955, Walker, New York, 1971. (cited in M. P. Hobson, Quantum Entanglement and Communication Complexity (1998), pp. 1/13, CiteSeerX: 10.1.1.20.8324)