I agree. It makes sense though. If what he proposes has truth to it then it would be impossible to derive a good theory starting at the physical and working our way up because we would hit a wall and begin going in circles(Kind of like what we have now in mainstream physics). On the outside his theory appears to be a mash of good science and new age willy wonka stuff, but if you look into it futher you might start to think about it differently. For instance, he does a great job at describing the double slit experiement and QM from his perspective, as shown in this video...
I actually think he approaches physics in the same way that austrain economics approaches economics.
How come I cannot see the reply from clayton that I was quoting; Am I doing it wrong? I hit quote and it shows it when I am typing, but not after I post it.
he does a great job at describing the double slit experiement and QM from his perspective, as shown in this video...
He asserts that there is no objective reality, which is as ridiculous as the claims that reality is an illusion. I think what people are trying to say when they claim that reality is an illusion is that there is no "solidity" as we understand it at the macroscopic level. Once you get to about the scale of an atom, things get "fuzzy", "squishy" or whatever you want to call it.
But I don't even know what it means to say that there is no objective reality - if there is common information in your head and my head, it seems to me that that is the very definition of objective reality.
What he means by there is no objective reality is that "objective reality" is made up of subjective realities. Similar to fractals. Think of it how you think of economics. He says that the ruleset that we have to abide by is objective, but that our induvidual realities are subjective. That is the nature of economics, and it could very well be the nature of reality as well. He explains it more in his book if you ever want to look into it on google books and put aside the mystical aspect of it all.
OK, thanks a lot, guys, for getting me tangled up in papers and lectures on quantum mechanics.
It is a fundamental tenet of my metaphysical orientation that I believe ontology should follow epistemology - we can't speak about what-is until we speak about what-we-know because whatever we say about what-is is a category within what-we-know. The "ontology first" types try to apply the same argument by saying that we couldn't say anything at all unless we exist. Of course I agree but it's beside the point - the ontology-first claim does not hold unless you first assume the epistemology-first view.
The larger point is that we should refrain from stating what something is until we know enough about it to be sure we know what we mean when speak about what it is. The primary mistake of most metaphysics surrounding quantum mechanics is the urge to attribute ontic reality to the mathematical models or assumptions within those models (for example, the existence of point-particles or space-filling fields, etc.) A humbler approach is to refrain from the urge to guess what "exists" in the microscopic realm and instead concentrate on trying to understand the causal relationships between stimulus and response. "When the experimenter does X, he should expect to observe Y and here are the maths that will permit him to calculate Y beforehand and here are some theoretical justifications for why these maths instead of those maths."
This doesn't mean we are giving up on ontic reality. But the fact is that we understand a lot less than you might think about the ontology of even "classical" phenomena - gasses, molecules, electromagnetic phenomena, etc. We can preserve at all points a commitment to causality by restricting ourselves to explaining the causal relationships between phenomena.
For example, much is made of the randomness in quantum mechanics. But this is truly puzzling since randomness is an integral part of classical mechanics, as well - that is, the mechanics of gasses and statistical mechanics. Randomness in the classical case is simply a reflection of our (necessary) ignorance of the microscopic state of the gas and the randomness in quantum mechanics can be understood in a similar way (particularly if you follow an epistemology-first approach, that is, start with quantum information theory).
Returning to the issue of stimulus and response, I believe part of the confusion arises from poor thought-experimentation. Thought-experimentation has been reduced in many quarters to speculative ontology... as if the purpose of a thought-experiment is to "guess what exists" at the microscopic level. Instead, a thought-experiment is an a priori exercise and follows a priori rules without regard to what-is. So, we don't need to guess what exists at the microscopic level nor do our thought-experimental justifications for our mathematical reasoning need to rest on any kind of reality-description.
Instead, the criteria for thought-experimental devices are logical consistency and metaphorical suitability. A thought-experiment must, of course, be consistent with itself. But just as important is that the thought-experiment should utilize some kind of metaphor from another better understood subject of study. This is why early physicists of electricity reasoned about electrical currents as a "gas" or "fluid" because these were the closest available metaphors from subjects which were better understood than electrical phenomena. Electrical waves were supposed to propagate through a medium called the "luminiferous ether" which subsequent experiment has failed to detect. But the theory of electricity was rapidly advanced on the basis of what would later turn out to be flawed metaphors. What we miss in our modern, hyper-literal, empiricist science is that it was understood that the metaphors were metaphors and they were - of course - susceptible to discard should their usefulness end.
On some specific issues, I want to revise some of the things I've said about time and space. I think that time and space are not fundamental but I think the essence of time is the direction of causality. If A causes B we say that B happened after A. Time as a smoothly varying "clock-reading" is nice-to-have for many mathematical equations but is not essential to science. What is essential is causality. Once we have a causal theory, what remains is the metaphysical question of why there is an unfolding of events. But we can safely defer this question while constructing our causal theory, putting it off to future resolution (if any). It may turn out that our causal theory itself contains the answer to why events must unfold rather than happening instantaneously. By focusing on causality, we can safely exclude time from the process of scientific theorization without risking developing bad theory. We can return to it later.
A similar problem arises for space - why is there a "here" and "there"? It is a metaphysical problem like why there is an unfolding of events that we experience psychically as "time". Once we understand causality, why do we need a "here" and "there"? All we really need to maintain is the set of states which exist within our causal theory. Where those states are located only matters incidentally to our causal theory. There is just a causal theory of the state of affairs; "time" and "space" both act as needless indices into our theory except insofar as time orders causal relationships and space separates or associates states of being. So, we can safely exclude space on the same prejudice that it is not necessary to our causal theory and we will return to the metaphysical problem of an extensional space later.
The fundamental entities with which we are operating are not time and space but, instead, state, state topology and causality. Of course, I have a metaphor in mind - a logic circuit. Registers allow us to store state within the circuit, the state topology is the wiring and logic gates between registers and causality is the response of the circuit to stimulus.
In terms of metaphysics, what is needed are explanations for these fundamental building blocks: how does state persistence arise, how do topological/logical relationships arise between states and why does causality propagate?
If I want to store a binary bit in a register, I have to configure a specific sort of electrical circuit (cross-coupled NANDs or some other memory) and I may have to supply that circuit with electrical current and so on. But how does the Universe itself store state? How is it that what happened in the past persists into the future?
If I want to connect together two pieces of state in an electrical circuit, I have to use a wire to connect them. Where are the "wires" in the Universe that cause object A to impact/affect object B? Of course, I'm abusing language to ask "where" when I just said above we've excluded considerations of space. But the point is that we need a (space-independent) metaphysical theory of state interaction.
Finally, if I want to cause an electrical circuit to operate, I supply electrical current to it. What is the "current source" of the Universe itself? What is causing it to be at all in the first place? We need a (time-independent) metaphysical theory of causality.
Quantum mechanics is metaphysically bungled. It touches all of these issues but in a completely haphazard and ad hoc way. But one of the contributions of QM to the metaphysical considerations is that noise/uncertainty must be taken into account at the theoretical level. You can't simply "neglect" the noise. I believe that the QM interpretation in the lecture by Ron Garret is that the supposedly "inherent" randomness of QM is actually a function of the noisiness of the experimental apparatus itself. That is, because the beam-splitters are not absolutely clear, because the detectors are not absolutely reliable, and so on, you get fluctuations that are not predicted and appear as "noise" at the detector.
If we return to the metaphysical issue of state persistence, we can conceive of degrees of state persistence. In fact, imperfect state persistence is the only kind of state persistence we observe in real systems. Computer memory must be periodically refreshed because it decays after a few microseconds. Even the etchings of the ancients on stone weathers and erodes. QM says we have to incorporate the state decay into our theory. So, we can speak of degrees of statefulness. In the real world, statefulness is always somewhere between completely random (no statefulness) and absolutely perfect (analytical statefulness).
The metaphysical problem of state interaction goes directly back to Garret's lecture - measurement/entanglement is state interaction. That's how states interact in our Universe. They interact by entangling. And entangling is an incredibly messy business. A state becomes entangled in every other state with which it interacts including the states within your brain. This is what creates the observation/measurement problem in the first place. When you entangle a state with the states in your brain (by observing it), the only way to "undo" the changes to the original state would be to undo the entangling with all those states within your brain, as well. Since this is infeasible, the measurement problem makes it appear as if the system under observation "knows" it is being watched.
I'm still thinking about this but I think the difference between state entanglement (what Garret calls "better than perfect correlation") is that ordinary correlation (when A happened, B also happened) is a coincidental relationship between two states whereas entanglement is a causal relationship between two states. When we observe entanglement, we are actually looking at causality in action.
We can actually state what this means in terms of the electrical circuit metaphor - correlation is when two registers happen to have the same state but entanglement is when one register contains a copy of the state from another register. The act of copying state so that it can interact with more than one sub-circuit destroys the statistical independence of those two sub-circuits so you can no longer apply naive probabilistic arguments to them. This is related to the problem of satisfiability of boolean circuits.
A final note on the scale of phenomena. I believe the smallest dimension to which we have ever resolved is around 10^-19 meters. The Planck limit is 10^-43 meters... almost as far below what we can observe as what we can observe is below the size of the observable universe. That means that there is tons of room for complexity below the smallest details which we can resolve. I think it is a mistake to look for a mathematically fundamental theory at the scales which we can resolve. Personally, I believe that the Universe is mathematically fundamental (i.e. there is some mathematical description which exhaustively describes the operation of the Universe in the small... not to be confused with a Theory of Everything). But I don't believe we will find a mathematicaly fundamental theory at the scale of quarks and gluons. A gluon compared to a Plank unit is like a galaxy compared to a speck of dust. There are simply too many degrees of freedom between the smallest scale which we can resolve and the Plank unit to believe that we're almost there.
He can be a bit meandering but the opening section of this lecture is really, really great:
He talks about the Big Lie (the historical Jesus Christ) and I'm beginning to be sympathetic to this conception of the Power Elites as Liar Elites. Their power is rooted in their sorcery, that is, their capacity to dupe untold numbers of people into believing the most outrageously false things. But just as he quotes Alexander von Humboldt "Everything is interrelated"... if they can dupe people into believing outrageously false things, what can't they do? In duping people and subjugating them, is it not the case that these people have had a dark spell cast on them?
For me, the Big Lie started with 9/11 (WTC7, in particular). It's just grown bigger and bigger since then. If they'd lie about that, why not about the assassination of JFK? Yep, they lied about that. The Apollo program? They lied about that. Once you see the pattern, it begins to make you wonder what they haven't lied about. Think that's nuts? It doesn't stop there... the history of archaeology is rife with fraud and preposterous claims.
The Bible itself is one of the most heavily forged, plagiaristic and edited books of all time but there are plenty of others. Do you think that people were just bored? Before Gutenberg, handwritten books were the HD 1080p video of the day and forgery was a costly and time-consuming business. The Vatican's archives are filled to overflowing with such forgeries. Yet we know they been keeping gnostic and other "heretical" texts secret for centuries and will likely never reveal them.
What could possibly be in those documents that is so dangerous that they have had to conceal them forever? Dan Brown's fictional hypotheses on the subject are silly and childish. There is a very down-to-earth reason for it... those documents are the counter-evidence that would expose vastly more of the Vatican's rat's-nest of lies than is already known. CIA, NASA, IAEA, etc. are simply emulating the modus operandi of their betters in Rome, the pioneers of The Big Lie.
Tu ne cede malis
A couple folks have suggested I collect some of these ideas into a blog form. What about YouTube lectures? Or a PDF? I've tried blogs and I'm not very good at it because I tend to work in short bursts separated by long dry periods. People who visit a blog want to see some kind of regular update which is what I completely suck at.
Some more thoughts.
First, I think that all science begins with the self - science is an inherently self-interested process. The caveman who tried sharpening stones in different shapes to make a better palm-knife was one of the world's first scientists. The goal was to reduce the time and energy required to butcher dinner. Modern science and mathematics gives off the air that it is a goal-in-itself but it is not. Certainly, the pure-minded scientist or mathematician pursues his discipline with a passion such that it is an end-in-itself. But that doesn't change the fact that all action is necessarily subdued in the means-end framework. Even the eccentric Grigori Perelman - who turned down a million dollar prize for solving one of the most famous problems in mathematics - pursues mathematics for his own satisfaction, even if that satisfaction is the simple-hearted satisfaction of solving a long-standing problem and quieting his own curiosity.
Second, I think that the primary obstruction to science, that is, the satisfaction of one's own wants and desires is self-treachery. When you do not pursue your own ends through a failure to correctly calculate the long-run consequences of your actions or a failure to correctly assess your own true wishes, etc., you are betraying yourself. By definition, this is the greatest evil of all. Evil is the frustration of your ends and self-frustration of your own ends is the greatest possible evil. My previous post ranting against the ruling Elites is pertinent in this regard. Not only are they imperialists of the material world, they are imperialists of the mental landscape who seduce your subconscious mind into self-treachery.
For example, in the movie 300 (this movie is actually multi-layered... on the surface, it's just another Pentagon recruiting vid but when you look deeper you realize that it really does contain extremely subversive, anti-Establishment messages), Theron betrays Sparta by bribing the Ephors and selling out Sparta through them to Xerxes, the emperor of Persia. This act of betrayal was effected through the payment of a bribe... in exchange for money (from Xerxes to Theron, of which he took a cut and forwarded the rest to the Ephors), Sparta was sold to her enemy, Persia.
In my analogy, your ends, your ego, your mind, your soul is Sparta. Like the treacherous Spartan Theron, your subconscious (in particular, the superego, to borrow Freud's taxonomy) is not necessarily loyal to your ends. It can be subverted, perverted and twisted around against yourself by Persia which is the Establishment, those who seek to divert your productive energies to the satisfaction of their wants, rather than your own wants. To the extent that they succeed without the use of physical violence, it is because you have sold yourself out. Almost everyone in modern "Western" society is a self-traitor. Those who have joined forces with the Persian emperor and have started taking tribute from others (enslaving others by luring them into self-betrayal) are the biggest self-traitors of all. They have made a futile attempt to escape subjugation by living according to the adage "if you can't lick 'em, join 'em." But in the process, they have licked themselves in the worst possible way, as shown by the fates of all the emissaries of the Persian emperor who are hurled into suicidal actions on his command.
Science, then, is not only the discovery of the laws of operation of the world of cause-and-effect (which anyway is merely a means to an end, see our early caveman scientist above). It is also the evasion of the attempts of your fellow man to enslave you by luring you into self-treachery. The means employed by the imperialists are myriad, just like the full-court press employed by Xerxes in 300 - they will attempt to make you afraid with their million-man armies, and with the futility of your resistance (the messenger laden with the skulls and crowns of conquered kings), they will attempt to subvert you by offering false promises of freedom and prosperity if you simply capitulate to their authority (as Xerxes does when he meets Leonidas in person), they will attempt to "go behind your back" by luring your subconscious directly with their advertising gimmicks and propaganda tricks. The emperor holds in her one hand the sceptre (the promise of punishment if you do not submit) and in her other hand, the globe (the promise of the wealth of the whole world if you submit and obey). Lured by her promises of wealth and terrified by her threats of punishment, your subconscious readily betrays your soul and screams, unheard: "Submit! Submit! Submit!"
The possibility of self-treachery began with man's expulsion from Paradise. In Paradise, man lived without regard to the future consequences of his actions because his impulses were already in correct alignment with the future consequences of his actions. For example, he avoided eating poisonous and toxic substances because they tasted awful. The impulse of distaste was sufficient to prevent the consumption of poisons and toxins. But after expulsion from Paradise, man is in an artificial environment where poisons and toxins hide in colorless, odorless - sometimes even delicious - forms. And, yes, the Elites even lure us into treachery against our own bodies by offering for our consumption these toxic, infectious substances.
So, the first task of the scientist before performing a single experiment or studying a single geometric figure is to discipline his subconscious and conjure within himself the courage to seek and teach what is true and what is right, irrespective of the threats and lures of the Establishment, the Empire, the Elites, the Zeitgeist, the Status Quo. This is where I think Bonacci is on the right track that science must begin by looking up to the stars. As Sagan says in his eloquent Pale, Blue Dot, all the empires and battles of mankind are reduced to nothing in the face of the stars. Yet you stand in direct with those very stars, simply by looking up and having their light - emanated hundreds of thousands of years ago in most cases - enter your eyeballs without the permission or oversight of any politician or academic instructor. It's just you and the stars in direct intercourse. In this lies is the essence of all science.
The power of the Elites is rooted in part in their self-loyalty. Do you know your own ends? Do you carefully, conscientiously weigh the future consequences of your actions against their present benefits and costs? The Elites do. Those who enslave you know what they want and they study with meticulous care how to get it.
The principle of treachery extends not only to the self but also to one's kin. This is the next level of treachery. By turning against your relatives and keeping loyalty with strangers over family, you betray your blood and pervert nature. You contribute to the enslavement of your children and the other descendants of your family by empowering others and disempowering your genetic relatives.
A further level would be treachery against your community and, yes, your race. The racialists who have polluted the discussion with talk of "race traitors" have missed fully two levels of treachery before obsessing on race-treachery: self-treachery and kin-treachery. They are agents provocateur. Their purpose is to spread disinformation and derail discussion of self-treachery and kin-treachery by focusing instead on the fanatical, anti-human, racialist dialogue of "race traitors."
The power of the Elites is, in part, rooted in their family loyalty and, yes, race loyalty. They know who they descended from, who they are related to, and they contemplate the long-run consequences of their choices not only on their future selves but on their descendants. You see these bumper-stickers on RVs nowadays: "We're spending our children's inheritance." This is the height of folly and kin-treachery. Not only are you betraying your children, you're bragging about it.
Third, there is causality or the material world (the world of cause-and-effect). In this domain lies all of what is ordinarily called "science". But do not allow your mind to be trapped in this realm - this is a form of self-treachery. By restricting your attention only to the world of cause-and-effect, you are no longer thinking about your ends and the purpose of investigating the world of cause-and-effect to begin with. You lose perspective and your efforts become useless. The study of means is always itself a means to something else.
Fourth, there is awareness and improvement. Awareness is your experience of the world. When you feel pain, you are aware. When you feel pleasure, you are aware. The goal of wisdom aka right-living aka science-rightly-understood is to avoid pain and be filled with pleasure. This is the end which lies behind all other ends, it is the end to which all others are but a means. Whenever you fail, that is, when you sin against yourself and betray yourself, you are punished by Nature with pain, suffering and sadness. This is the rod-across-the-knuckles whose purpose is to impel you to change, alter and improve your ends and the means you choose to attain them. Pain and suffering say, "You have incorrectly calculated the long-run consequences of your actions! Improve!"
When you fail to heed this admonition whether through sloth or enchantment into self-betrayal by the Zeitgeist, you are not only betraying yourself you are, in a sense. dying. That is, you are entering stasis which is the state of dead things. Living things respond to their environment and avoid to the extent they are able that which is opposed to their nature, that is, what is deadly to them. Dead things do not respond to their environment, they are in stasis. When you stop responding to your environment, you are also entering stasis and you are dying a little bit. You are allowing yourself to be overcome by the inexorable entropy of the Abyss.
David Talbott (an exponent of Immanuel Velikovsky's ideas) argues here that the surface of Mars bears evidence of electrical activity on a planetary scale.
Talbott has argued that intense, visible, inter-planetary electrical phenomena have occurred within human memory and that some of the oldest symbols carved by human beings in stone on different continents are evidence of this.
There is a hypothesis that the precession of the equinoxes (a 25,900 year long cycle) is actually driven by the Sun's orbit around an as yet unknown companion star (perhaps a brown dwarf or a super-massive planet).
I'm an amateur but there are some ideas I had on this topic. If the Sun has a binary star, you'd expect that its influence would affect the apsides of the planets in a systematic way. That is, you wouldn't expect the planets' ellipses to be randomly oriented with respect to the Sun. And this is, in fact, what you find. Look at the diagrams at the bottom of the Wiki article - you will notice a couple interesting things.
Notice that - with respect to Earth's orbital plane - all the planetary orbits have the same tilt... they all go below Earth's orbital plane on the same side of the Sun and you can even draw a line through the points at which all the planets (except Neptune) go from being above Earth's orbital plane to being below it. Second - with the exception of Mars - all the planets reach perihelion on one side of the Sun and aphelion on the other side. You can't draw a line through the perihelion/aphelion points of the planets but they are clearly non-random.
As an aside, note the fact that the planets orbit the Sun all in the same plane - this in itself is remarkable. Why should gravity - which acts in all directions equally - organize orbiting bodies into a plane? It doesn't make sense. We should be orbiting the Sun like electrons are supposed to orbit the atom, every planet in its own plane. Recognizing the electrical activity of heavenly bodies reconciles this problem ... the planets orbit the Sun in a plane because all the planets and the Sun are together moving through space perpindicular to the orbital plane and the electrically active planets are induced in their motions around the Sun by the electrical and magnetic fields present in the Solar System. The planets in their motion around the Sun are actually tracing out a spiral through space because the whole Solar System is moving toward the star Vega which is nearly perpindicular to the orbital plane.
Note that the planets all orbit the Sun in the same direction and that this direction is consistent with the right-hand rule! What this means is that we can think of the entire Solar System as a "charge carrier" as if we were a charged particle flowing along a wire and the planetary motion is being driven by the magnetic field surrounding the Sun, induced by its motion as a charged body through space.
I speculate that the binary star should be closer to the ecliptic plane than the perpindicular (that is, it should lie in roughly the same plane as the planetary orbits). It seems to me that the direction of the binary star should lie on the side of the Sun where the planets reach aphelion (as they are being influenced in their orbit by the Sun's binary companion, as well). This reduces the search area to be somewhere along the ecliptic (say, 15 degrees above or below) and on the half of the sky where the planets reach the most distant point in their orbit from the Sun, which for the Earth is in the direction of Cancer/Gemini. Indian astrologist Sri Yukteswa asserts that Sirius is the binary companion of the Sun and Sirius is, indeed, in the correct region of the sky according to the reasoning given above. The only problem is that Sirius is way, way, way too distant to account for a 25,900 year cycle - unless the stars can move in ways that we don't yet understand (i.e. accelerate according to forces stronger than gravity).
This could fit in with Talbott/Velikovsky's theory that theomachy is not just the result of boredom, story-telling and an over-active imagination. Perhaps there is a cosmic energy exchange between the Sun and its companion star when they reach a certain position in their orbit and perhaps the planets play some role in mediating this energy exchange.
But let's not stop here. The Earth's core has recently been discovered to rotate slightly faster than the Earth's crust... there is a differential motion between the core and the crust on the order of about one rotation per 400 years (somebody at University of Cambridge is revising this to once per million years which seems kind of bizarre to me.) The Earth's crust is electrically conductive and the Earth's core is electrically conductive. Hmmm. So, there is this thing called a magneto-hydrodynamic drive which operates on a principle similar to the operation of an ordinary electric motor but with liquid instead of solid conductors. Anyone who is familiar with basic electricity knows that if you operate an electric motor in reverse (drive the output shaft with mechanical energy), it becomes a generator. In fact, I suspect that this is related to the pole-shifts (an ordinary electric motor works, in part, by periodically reversing polarity). The Earth has the mechanism to be a planetary motor and/or generator. The Sun's electromagnetic field may be acting on the Earth to drive the rotation of its core or, conversely, the motion of the Earth's core may be contributing to its (and the Sun's) EM field.
Suddenly, you realize that if the Universe is electrical, it's all connected. Everything affects everything else. The remotest galaxies we can see are all engaged in a gigantic energy exchange with every other galaxy, including ours, and our Solar System is one contributor to/recipient of this cosmic exchange of electrical energy. Planets orbiting the Sun (or other stars) may be acting as transducers between electrical and mechanical (orbital) energy. Stars themselves are almost always in binary (positive/negative?) pairs.
A note on scientific orthodoxy is in order since this is all considered highly heterodox. First of all, modern science is metaphysically bankrupt. Today's scientist doesn't know his head from his metaphysical backside. Our reigning cosmology - with its dark matter and dark energy (seriously??), cosmological constants, "expansion of space", and so on - is a reflection of this. We are taught in physics class to laugh at 19th century scientists who felt that there must be an etheric medium through which light traveled; this was (and still may be) a perfectly reasonable hypothesis. But it is the superstitious cosmology of our age that will be the laughing-stock of history in the long run.
Given this metaphysical bankruptcy, we should not be so scared to question the scientific orthodoxy whose only methodology is basically glorified curve-fitting, just-so explanations and is biased toward finding closed-form equations over dispassionate observation of the data, wherever it leads. Gravity looks good on the blackboard. Plasma is messy and complicated and there are no neat math equations - besides the fundamental laws of electromagnetism - with which to describe the behavior of plasma. If you want to know what plasma will do under a certain configuration, you may just have to go to the laboratory and try it to see what happens.
All the funding and research goes into science that produces math equations - so-called "hard science". The fact is that this is a kind of selection bias. We pretend to ourselves that we are focusing on certain phenomena because they are really fundamental or important but the fact is that we decide what is really fundamental or important primarily on the basis of whether we expect to be able to derive a closed-form math equation from the research. Everybody wants to be the next Einstein and have their own E=mc2.
Ultimately, this is being driven by the search for a Theory of Everything (TOE). And - if you think about it - there is a strong similarity between a Theory of Everything and central planning. If we can derive a TOE, then we can - in principle - calculate the long-run consequences of any action, however complex. Then it's just a matter of harnessing raw computational power to develop the plan for society. The dark comedy of it all is that it's provably impossible to derive a TOE! We've known since at least 1931 (Godel's incompleteness theorems) that you can't derive a mathematical TOE and if you can't derive a mathematical TOE then a physical TOE is automatically impossible (since any formal mathematical theory can be embodied as a physical device - such as a computer, so you would then need the mathematical TOE in order to have a physical TOE).
We can see how the poison of bad social theory has seeped into all the sciences and is perverting them. The money flood from the central banks rigidifies the orthodoxy - the consequences of non-compliance are too high to risk. Physics - once the queen of sciences - has become the domain of crystal-ball gazers and soothsayers like Michio Kaku. It's bad enough that these kooks rule the roost but, even worse, their brand of mysticism is being enforced through the carrot-and-stick of public science funding. String theory is the bastard child of this unholy union between scientific quacks and money.
This is why I've said that the elimination of fear is the first step to true science in the modern age. Before you can really study the Universe, you must find the courage within yourself to eliminate the fear of disagreeing with the recognized experts (even the towering giants of the past, such as Einstein) without also falling into the abyss of lazy, undisciplined thinking. Just like the dichotomy that the State creates between following the law and following one's conscience, the age of publicly-subsidized science has created a dichotomy between respecting the great minds and following the facts, wherever they lead. It is difficult to be forced into a position where you must ignore the recognized experts without also falling into a disregard for the facts.
The two are not supposed to be in conflict. In a sane world, the recognized experts would have a sound metaphysical foundation which would impose a discipline and humility on their thinking; instead of always grasping for the Theory of Everything and searching for the fundmamental structure of reality, instead of focusing on "what exists" and trying to settle "what is". This way of thinking is inherently imperialistic and monopolistic. It's all about eliminating competing points-of-view from consideration, rather than recognizing the inherent uncertainty of scientific progress. There are some truly great scientists out there and they will continue to carry the torch until this new era of quackery passes and we start making genuine progress again.
Back-of-the-envelope calculations on the one-degree per million-years "rotation" of the core.
At the equator, Earth is roughly 25,000 miles (40,233,600m) in diameter. Dividing by 360 degrees gives 111,760 meters per degree. Dividing by one million gives roughly one centimeter. So, what these people are claiming is that they measured the Earth's core (almost 2,000 miles below our feet) rotation rate with such precision that, at the equator, its rotation would be equivalent to one centimeter per year.
Now, compare this to the wandering of the magnetic poles. Something doesn't add up here and I'm puzzled why Cambridge went to so much effort to pump out a study which comes to such an obviously silly conclusion. I don't care how complicated their techniques, there's now way they can measure something 2,000 miles deep in the Earth to an accuracy of one centimeter per year at the surface of the earth (the rotation at the surface of the core would be at least 1/3 less).
Also note that the plasma cosmology has something to say about this, as well... tectonic faults are not just random boundaries between jostling continents, they are electrically-conductive seams that affect and are affected by the shape of the Earth's magnetic field. Modern tectonic plate theory - beyond the fact that tectonic plates exist and move - is crap by comparison. It provides no causal theory and gives no credible explanation for where all the energy comes from to move the plates, and so on.
Some thoughts on snobbery and elitism.
Today, an elitist attitude is almost the greatest sin. As pointed out by Steven Pinker in one of his online lectures, unless you work in retail, you can say words at work today that you couldn't say 50 years ago without being fired... "fuck" "goddamn", etc. But there still is one word that will get you fired no matter where you work: the n-word. This word is by far the most offensive word in the English lexicon. I take this as a reflection of the modern zeitgeist - that thinking you are better than someone else (by referring to them with a deeply demeaning word such as the n-word) is so immoral that it ought to be illegal in specific cases.
On the other hand, think about a heroin junkie lined up at a mission or a spoiled rich kid living off his parents because he was too lazy to show up to class and not flunk out of the college program his parents were willingly paying for, or a pimp hustling young women on the street. When you think about these kind of people - if you are like me or any other normal person - you might feel a mix of revulsion, sympathy, forgiveness, and so on. But one other feeling you'll likely feel is moral condescension.
Now, is this snobbish or elitist feeling of moral condescension when contemplating habitually bad choices - made by people who could significantly improve themselves if they simply chose to do so - really in the same class of behavior as referring to someone by the n-word? Is it really a reflection of the attitude, "you deserve to be enslaved" or "by rights you ought to be someone's slave" or "you are not a human soul whose being is of infinite value"? I don't think these are in the same class. While the latter is certainly an unhealthy, destructive and repulsive attitude, I think the former is actually normal, healthy and beneficial. You ought to despise bad decision-making.
We are human beings. Decision-making is an immersive process. You don't just think your decisions, you feel them. Feeling what is the right decision is just as important as reasoning what is the right decision. Sound reasoning is a practised art, especially in the modern environment which is so different from the environment in which our brains evolved. But sound feeling is no less a practised art. That is, you must cultivate a feeling of love and attraction toward that which is good and a feeling of hatred and revulsion toward that which is bad.
That which is bad is that which leads to your own suffering. That which is good is that which leads to your own happiness. Habitually bad decision-making should invoke within you a feeling of revulsion and you should cultivate this feeling of revulsion - and vice-versa. This cultivated sense of revulsion at habitually bad decision-making should not be confused with the elitism and snobbery of subjugation and dehumanization as symbolized in the use of the n-word to degrade another person.
There is a similar confusion with the narcissistic materialism of our modern advertisement-based, chrome-plated plastic culture with the cultivated feeling of self-love that works along with your reason to impel you towards habitually good decision-making. I think that it is easy to feel - particularly for someone who has come from a strong Christian religious background - that one is being selfish or narcissistic when cultivating a healthy feeling of self-love for the purpose of reinforcing a habit of good decision-making.
And there is no need to be impolite - you do not need to deride bad decision-makers in order to feel derision for their bad decisions. This is like that old Christian phrase, "hate the sin but not the sinner." The feeling of revulsion at the thought of habitually bad decision-making need not result in an elitist attitude towards the station in life in which others find themselves. That is, it is possible to separate an individual's behavior from his or her being. Every human being is a living soul of infinite value but he may make disgusting and habitually bad decisions that invoke a feeling of revulsion in onlookers.
Very, very slick presentation on some basic features of the Earth's orbit:
Some ruminations on human nature/natural law, aesthetics, culture and misc.
In the first chapter of Ethics of Liberty (EoL), Rothbard persuasively presents the case for natural law philosophy:
In natural-law philosophy, then, reason is not bound, as it is in modern post-Humean philosophy, to be a mere slave to the passions, confined to cranking out the discovery of the means to arbitrarily chosen ends. For the ends themselves are selected by the use of reason; and "right reason” dictates to man his proper ends as well as the means for their attainment.
Here, I want to note a couple distinctions between my view and Rothbard's. He didn't quite come out and say it but it is my view that Mises was an Epicurean. So, I see myself as "Misesean" regarding the right ends of man: they are whatever satisfies him, that is, brings him pleasure. There is no other standard of right living.
Rothbard makes the case that there is something which dictates to man his proper ends: right reason. This is very plausible, particularly if you grant (as I do) that man has a nature. However, I think Rothbard has turned the shirt inside-out - it is not the ends of the individual that are dictated by right reason but the ends of the collective.
Let me clarify what I mean by this. If the "proper ends" of the individual are dictated by right reason, then there is something outside of the individuals own desires/pleasure which determines his proper ends and this is made manifest whenever his desires and right reason disagree. However, if we think about human nature not as a constraint on the individual but, rather, as truths about human beings that always or usually hold, then we see that the constraints are not on the ends of the individual but, rather, on the social order itself. That is, human nature is what determines the specific features of the social order not the right ends of the individual.
Given this way of thinking about human nature, there is a direct connection to man's only end - in the Epicurean view - that is, his pleasure. Specifically, we may draw an analogy between the laws of physics and the "laws of human nature" (I am borrowing from Rothbard, here). Just as an atom moves according to the laws governing the motion of atoms, so the human being acts according to the laws governing human action, which are rooted in human nature. The gross facts of the physical world - such as gravity, or the scarcity of usable energy, etc. - represent limits on the available means by which an individual can attain his ends. Similarly, the gross facts of the social world (human mores, cultural beliefs and attitudes, etc.) represent limits on the available means by which an individual can attain his ends.
When we restrict the ends of man to his only end - satisfaction - a new view emerges. All things - non-living, living, non-human and human - are but means to the individual's satisfaction (as Stirner argues in The Ego and His Own). The limits on the available means are determined by the physical and social (among other) facts. Right reason is the tool by which the individual can discover these limits and improve over time his choice among the available means.
We can go further and note that the primary body of knowledge concerning the social facts resides within culture itself. You and I have but a few decades to live. The culture is the repository of the lessons learned over as many as a hundred billion lifetimes. It is the most valuable body of knowledge in existence. When you enter the world as a young adult, you have many options in front of you - marry, don't marry, buy a house, don't buy a house, travel or settle down, join a monastery, try to start a rock band, etc. etc. But those who went before you have each faced most of these same decisions and it is extremly unlikely that you will succeed where they all failed.
Where did they all fail? Well, check the social norms for things that are absolute taboos (murder, rape, etc.) Then look at things that are seriously frowned upon (having children out of wedlock, barfights, homosexuality (yes, I know it's un-PC to point this out, but it IS still seriously frowned upon by the vast majority of human beings)) etc. These social norms are not - contrary to modern theories of social norms - just arbitrary "biases" that came about as random fluctuations of otherwise neutral variables. They represent the cumulative success and failure of billions of human beings who have lived before you. The most fringe behavior you can think of has almost certainly been tried by millions of people before you.
This comes full circle to another thread I started a long time ago on the link between aesthetics, morality and the State. Today, I wouldn't agree with everything I wrote then but I still stand by the essential point - that there is a relationship between aesthetics and social norms (or morality) and that this, in turn, determines the character of law and the State. I have hypothesized that Steven Pinker's claim that modern elite art simply isn't art (doesn't appeal to human beings), made in The Blank Slate, is consistent with the rise of the State and the dominance of central-planning and democratic political theory - all of these began a spectacular rise right around the same time that the elite arts turned a corner and began a spiral into the abyss.
The modern State is founded squarely on the psychological theory of the Blank Slate. According to this theory, human nature is infinitely malleable and readjustable, so decent, civilized society is just a matter of "tuning the dials", that is, passing and enforcing the right laws. It's just a matter of punishing crimes and making society "safe" and "comfortable" for the law-abiding. Mises explores what I believe is the related attack on reason in his article The Anti-Capitalist Mentality. Human nature must be sacrificed - along with reason - on the altar of central planning. Nothing is too sacred, it all must go. We look at shit art and listen to shit music because it's no different than the supposedly "ideal" art of the Renaissance and Classical eras. That art is bourgeois. It's not "with it". It doesn't get the real truth that human beings have no intrinsic nature so beauty is shit and shit is beauty.
Therefore, I believe that preserving the culture - that is, appreciating and preserving the beautiful and reviling and disposing of the disgusting - is the most benefic activity that human beings do, on behalf of the individual. It is the very basis on which the individual is able to navigate the natural and social world in search of his end, pleasure.
Returning to the issue of the relationship between human nature and ethics, my view is that the Epicurean view of human ends (satisfaction/pleasure is the only end) mixed with the idea of human nature as a set of "laws" which restrict the available means for the individual to attain his end (satisfaction/pleasure) provides a powerful picture of how social norms arise and why they have "normative" force. Raiding a police department armed head-to-toe and shooting the place up is morally bad (directly set against your own satisfaction/pleasure) for precisely the same reason that jumping naked off a 300-foot cliff is. Both have absolutely predictable results based on the natural laws governing the social order and physics, respectively.
Finally, I'll make a note regarding the supposed conflict between right reason and pleasure-as-the-only-proper-end. What is missed in this view is that the two are inherently harmonious by virtue of man's ability to foresee the consequences of his own behavior. This ability to ponder the future can be thought of as "making the future become the present" - we are able to trade of future states-of-affairs against present states-of-affairs precisely because our brains enable us to foresee the consequences of our actions.
You can balance present pains and pleasures. For example, you might prefer to eat in a quiet restaurant (all things equal) but the food at your favorite (though loud) restaurant is just so much better (pleasure) than any other food in town that you are willing to tolerate the loud music (pain). In your own mind, the present pains and pleasures are traded off (perhaps consciously) and the result is your present choice.
In the same way, the foreseeable consequences of your actions become as though they were present when you presently conceive of them in your mind. And, in the same way, you can trade the pleasure and pains of the present against the respective future pleasure and pains that will result from present courses of action.
The conflict between right reason and pleasure vanishes. Right reason is simply accurate forecasting of the future consequences of your actions. The pursuit of one's end (pleasure) is simply a matter of choosing among the avilable present and future states-of-affairs that path which is most preferable vis-a-vis all others.
Clayton, you are a man after my own heart.
Don't feel like typing alot.
Watch This: Sacred Geometry and Unified Theories.
Look past the guy's personality. He makes some very valid points. He appears to be a self educated physicist. He demolishies the "atomic" and "quantum" theories. He takes apart the subproton theory. He gets rid of dark matter and dark energy (they are inventions to make theories work). String Theory is not necessary. The strong and weak nuclear forces are shown to be fallacious. It is pretty interesting stuff.
Now that I think about it, the Nazis researched into spin and torque. But, this guy doesn't have that kind of baggage.
@Aristophanes: I've taken a look at his lectures before; The problem I have with him is that - while his criticisms of modern physics are fairly incisive - he doesn't offer an alternative that really holds up to scrutiny.
For example, he says that the Planck unit was dreamt up to keep the energy density of the vacuum from going to infinity. Well, this isn't quite true - the Rayleigh-Jeans equation simply does not fit experimental data... the energy levels of higher and higher frequencies of radiation do not go to infinity as that equation would suggest. Planck had the insight that perhaps the energy levels were quantized because of the resonance modes of the cavity they were in ... in other words, you could only get energy at frequencies that could resonate based on the geometry of the cavity. When he quantized the energy levels, voila, higher and higher frequencies did not lead to higher and higher energy levels and the energy density of the vacuum would no longer have to be infinite.
Haramein's solution is to go ahead and posit (for no reason that I could perceive) that the energy density of the vacuum is infinite. It seems that he's arguing based on the conceptually infinite divisibility of space but I don't see the connection - can't the energy density decrease at an infinitely divisible rate as the scale becomes infinitely small, thus yielding a finite energy density?? Kind of like 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... = 2.
I think that Gaede and Haramein are both onto something - modern physics and particularly modern cosmology is embarrasingly bad! - but I think their proposed solutions do not hold up to scrutiny. The fact is that physics is really hard. There is a constnat interplay between the a priori (Gedankenexperiment) and a posteriori (real experiment) components of physics. Read the chapter of Ernst Mach's The Science of Mechanics where he discusses Galileo's derivation of the Law of Inertia by a theoretical continuation of real experiment to its (experimentally unachievable) limit. Absolutely fascinating stuff.
What is missing today is metaphysical discipline. Galileo and Newton were schooled in Logic, Geometry, the Classics, Rhetoric, etc. They had a classical education. So, they knew how to think in the most general sense. Look at how Kepler reconciled the orbits of the planets with the Platonic solids. Today, such an exercise seems to us to be pointless and absurd. But the real purpose is to stretch the mind, to think outside the box, to really discipline the mind in its search for solutions beyond just grabbing the first equation that looks like a good fit to the data.
Modern scientists are like sports analysts - they know a staggeringly immense amount about highly specialized theory and data but they cannot apply that skill outside of their particular domain. A football defense analyst is not going to be much good as a baseball analyst. Those just aren't the kind of numbers that he's spent his career working on. A physicists at a CERN particle accelerator won't be of much use in astrophysics. The claim that "well, these disciplines have become so complicated that nobody could generalize" is ridiculous - generalization by its very nature has always entailed neglecting the nitty-gritty details of the specialists. But the "big ideas" and "techniques of thought" that have been used in one domain are frequently useful in other domains in ways that could never have been anticipated by the inventors of the original technique.
So, cross-pollination of methods of thinking and problem-solving across disciplines is essential to scientific progress, as well. But I think a big problem with modern science is that it has become unmoored from its raison d'etre: To discover the means to satisfy man's ends. Science is all about the study of means. Therefore, it is embedded in a larger scientific framework that is rarely acknowledged nowadays.
For example, look at the astrological study of human personality types. I'm skeptical of the idea that the day and time on which you were born affects your personality type but I think that's ancillary to what's really going on with astrology, namely, self-reflection. It seems to me that it doesn't really matter what specific attributes your sign is supposed to confer upon you, what matters is that you're thinking about what makes you you. Judged on the basis of its relevance to human happiness, this is a subject that is much more worthy of rigorous study than what happens when you slam particles together at light speed in multi-billion dollar, multi-national boondoggle particle accelerators like LHC.
Anyway, thanks for the pointer to the video. I'm definitely open to the idea of a purely a priori physics but I think it's much, much more difficult than Haramein's system can cope with. Google "digital physics" for some interesting ideas that may be applicable to an a priori physics.
This is why I stick to coffee, whiskey and weed.
My imagination is already volcanic and hyperactive enough; not so much a maze as an escheresque fractal. I don't need to further tamper with the hardware I have; the mileage is infinite.
However there's a lot of provocative stuff in this thread.
Just want to say first off that your posts are the only reason I come to these forums anymore. I find the rigorousness and open-mindedness of your thought inspiring and all-too-rare these days. I also want to say that, though you say you don't have the time for a DMT experience, in the time it probably takes you to write even half of one of your posts in this thread, you could have experienced it for yourself, probably more than once. There is a reason that it's referred to as "the businessman's psychedelic." :) If it's the shadiness of buying it that gives you pause, I'm sure you would be more than capable of making it yourself.
I really, really wish McKenna were still around (though TPTB are certainly glad he's not). I think he would be more than happy to hear your take on these things, but I'm sure he would implore you to take the plunge yourself before you come to any kind of conclusions (he would also probably advise against 'conclusions' per se). I think he would feel, as I do, that your desire to boil the experience down to a "methodological materialist" perspective to be sort of missing the point. I don't think TM ever said that the DMT entities were "remote beings out there" in any capacity. They are quite clearly "in there," because that's what the DMT flash is. If they are anything as concrete as that, then they are more like aspects, of a higher spatial dimension to which we, stuck as we are in the vicissitudes of linear historical time, are ever approaching, a dimension which we can prematurely access via certain naturally-occurring plants and the infinite and mysterious imaginative capacities of our minds in symbiosis with said plants. He played around with the idea that psilocybin mushrooms might be from outer space (and he had a decent argument for it) but he always insisted that, whatever the origin, the experiences that they engender take place in our minds, but that our minds may be in fact far more than the methodological materialist perspective makes them out to be.
And I take issue with the idea that the DMT experience is retrogressive because of the "syntactical gibberish" that people have a tendency to spout when in the midst of it. That seems pretty reductive to me because a) it fails to take into account the experience of the person spouting it (which is one of profound meaning like they have never experienced before in physical space), and b) and fails to take into account McKenna's whole rap about the evolution of language, and where we're headed. Have you listened to his stuff on McLuhan and Finnegans Wake, or better yet, read McLuhan himself? This seems to me to demonstrate the exact sort of print-bias that McLuhan talks about, assuming that the interchangable parts form of written language that our minds have evolved around in the last epoch is necessarily the best or only way. This is why you really need to see this thing for yourself, to get over that kind of bias.
I apologize for not being very articulate. Normally I would just not bother trying but this thread hit far too close to home for me to keep quiet. I'm just really glad that these ideas are being taken seriously by someone, rather than just ignored or dismissed. I don't know if it's just my imagination (heh), but it seems like discussion of DMT has ramped up recently. I finally acquired some just weeks ago after years of trying (hoping more like), and people I have no contact with seem to be mentioning it or hearing about it randomly. It is 2012, after all... my theory is that as we approach the concrescence of novelty on December 21st... oh, nevermind.
This is what ties Decartes to Buddha, Hermes, and DMT; DMT: The Spirit Molecule - pdf. Here is the site for the documentary that I did not know about until right now. I might be watching this in a bit, if I find it on torrents.
He says in the book that he took his research to his monk friends and they said that taking drugs is cheating on buddhist enlightenment.
I really, really wish McKenna were still around (though TPTB are certainly glad he's not).
His library burned up after his death. Truly weird.
I think he would be more than happy to hear your take on these things, but I'm sure he would implore you to take the plunge yourself before you come to any kind of conclusions (he would also probably advise against 'conclusions' per se). I think he would feel, as I do, that your desire to boil the experience down to a "methodological materialist" perspective to be sort of missing the point. I don't think TM ever said that the DMT entities were "remote beings out there" in any capacity. They are quite clearly "in there," because that's what the DMT flash is. If they are anything as concrete as that, then they are more like aspects, of a higher spatial dimension to which we, stuck as we are in the vicissitudes of linear historical time, are ever approaching, a dimension which we can prematurely access via certain naturally-occurring plants and the infinite and mysterious imaginative capacities of our minds in symbiosis with said plants. He played around with the idea that psilocybin mushrooms might be from outer space (and he had a decent argument for it) but he always insisted that, whatever the origin, the experiences that they engender take place in our minds, but that our minds may be in fact far more than the methodological materialist perspective makes them out to be.And I take issue with the idea that the DMT experience is retrogressive because of the "syntactical gibberish" that people have a tendency to spout when in the midst of it. That seems pretty reductive to me because a) it fails to take into account the experience of the person spouting it (which is one of profound meaning like they have never experienced before in physical space), and b) and fails to take into account McKenna's whole rap about the evolution of language, and where we're headed. Have you listened to his stuff on McLuhan and Finnegans Wake, or better yet, read McLuhan himself? This seems to me to demonstrate the exact sort of print-bias that McLuhan talks about, assuming that the interchangable parts form of written language that our minds have evolved around in the last epoch is necessarily the best or only way. This is why you really need to see this thing for yourself, to get over that kind of bias.
But I guess my response early on to James sums it up: You can't function (act) when you're plastered on drugs. In other words, the drug is removing one or more of the real preconditions to human action. Since we evaluate the world in terms of its suitability to our purposes (ends), there is nothing incorrect about saying that the conscious world (the world as we perceive whilst "trapped" in ordinary, awake consciousness) is the real world.
The point of methodological materialism is not to secretly preserve a materialist dogma - the point is to subject oneself to intellectual discipline and not give up on finding a causal theory wherever there is order or structure. An unstructured Universe - if it can be imagined at all - would be like the static on a TV screen... completely random and without structure or order. If you can perceive any order - however bizarre - then there is structure, which means that a causal theory is at least conceivable. So, you might experience really weird things when you take DMT but that doesn't exempt the DMT-addled-brain from the limits of causality.
In the end, it may be the case that you can't construct a causal theory of consciousness and the weirdness of the subconscious world. But you won't know until you've at least tried. That's the point of methodological materialism: at least try to construct a causal theory.
His library burned up after his death. Truly weird.
Yeah. His death is an interesting one, depending on how you feel about the phrase "cancer gun." On the one hand, it makes sense that someone who perturbed his brain chemistry so often ended up with a brain tumor, but on the other hand it's just too damn convenient.
You can't function (act) when you're plastered on drugs. In other words, the drug is removing one or more of the real preconditions to human action. Since we evaluate the world in terms of its suitability to our purposes (ends), there is nothing incorrect about saying that the conscious world (the world as we perceive whilst "trapped" in ordinary, awake consciousness) is the real world.
You can't make generalizations like that, especially if you haven't actually had a psychedelic experience. What drugs? What dose? What constitutes "plastered?" You certainly can and do act while on psychedelics (maybe not if you're passed out on oxycontin, but that's entirely different), you're simply acting on an altered brain-information-matrix, so you're actions may sometimes seem illogical to an objective observer. But you still act in accordance with desired ends.
So then what "real precondition to human action" is being removed? The ego? If that's what you mean, then we have entirely different ideas about what constitutes humanness. The ego is primarily an artifact of culture. That's why psychedelics are so valuable: they break down the culturally-conditioned ego with shocking efficiency, allowing the full expression of oneself detached from any and all cultural norms to come pouring forth. It's like pulling back the cosmic camera from a close-up to a medium-long shot. This added perspective must be reckoned with if we have any hope of getting over this cultural impasse we've been mired in for so long.
You can't make generalizations like that, especially if you haven't actually had a psychedelic experience. What drugs? What dose? What constitutes "plastered?" You certainly can and do act while on psychedelics (maybe not if you're passed out on oxycontin, but that's entirely different), you're simply acting on an altered brain-information-matrix, so you're actions may sometimes seem illogical to an objective observer. But you still act in accordance with desired ends.
I don't believe that the hunter-gatherer could successfully ply his daily activities if he was tripping all the time. Clearly, we need our ego, our awake consciousness. It evolved for a reason. I wasn't trying to say that intentionality is suspended while high - I'll take your word that it is not. But you're not in a proper state of mind to perform the kinds of calculations that you can perform when you're sober and which constitute the majority of what we mean when we talk about human action.
So then what "real precondition to human action" is being removed? The ego? If that's what you mean, then we have entirely different ideas about what constitutes humanness. The ego is primarily an artifact of culture.
The awake consciousness (perhaps we can call it the "id") is not an artifact of culture, it's the real operating state of the mind when it is not in an altered state such as sleep, psychosis, hallucination, etc. The ego you are referring to is a secondary effect that is layered on top of the awake consciousness and has "hooks" down into your subconscious. It's the reason you feel bad about cutting in line or running a stop sign, regardless of the reasonableness of such feelings.
This secondary effect is definitely an artifact of culture but it's not clear to me that TM was right that "culture is not your friend". I think there is a love-hate relationship between the individual and the culture. In some ways, the culture is the only reason you are alive. You would be a babe in the woods without culture, without all the things that other human beings do that constitute the preconditions of your own life (think food, clothing, shelter, etc.) But at the same time, the culture has a regularizing and parasitic effect - it's the chute down which the cattle proceed on their way (unwittingly) to the slaughter. It breaks you down into just another "cog in the machine", dampens your natural desire to self-express and fritters away your inherent creative potential.
This added perspective must be reckoned with if we have any hope of getting over this cultural impasse we've been mired in for so long.
I think that psychedelics will (one day) have a role to play but in the short-term I think there are bigger fish to fry. Namely, we need a revolution in ideas about morality, right and wrong. We need Ron Paul to succeed, we need people to start questioning the dogmas about society and morality that have been shoved down our throats for a century (at least since the founding of the Fed in 1913). I don't think we need to work out all the answers right away, either - what really matters is that people need to start questioning. The answers will come, they always do... so long as people question.
If you know something about how neurohormones and re-uptake inhibitors work this all seems rather like lightning as the wrath of Thor. It's all a matter of intensity. Recreational drugs don't do anything biochemically that doesn't already happen to some extent normally. I would use the metaphor of equalizer controls on audio. With different settings you might notice some things that you didn't before and not notice things that you did before.
I don't believe that the hunter-gatherer could successfully ply his daily activities if he was tripping all the time. Clearly, we need our ego, our awake consciousness. It evolved for a reason. I wasn't trying to say that intentionality is suspended while high - I'll take your word that it is not. But you're not in a proper state of mind to perform the kinds of calculations that you can perform when you're sober and which constitute the majority of what we mean when we talk about human action.
@crashproof: We pretty much agree. There is no doubt that drugs have been widely available and regularly used throughout human history. I think drug use used to be treated as something to be done with respect. I think this answers the objections of Buddhists who feel it is "cheating" - it's only cheating if done without an attitude of respect and seeking of awareness. The Shamanic traditions are clearly built on respect for the drug and its powers to reveal and heal.
I posted this in another thread, re-posting here for reference.
Every acting being has a morality, that is, has preferences and acts on those preferences. The ultimate end which lies behind every action is that end which is never a means to any other end - this ultimate end can be called satisfaction, happiness or pleasure. It must not be misunderstood that the ultimate end is a particular kind of pleasure (such as of eating delicious food). The correlation is formal - what we mean by satisfaction is that end which every acting being is always seeking. It is a tautology.
The problem of morality is reduced to a technical problem: what is the correct means to the attainment of one's ultimate end (satisfaction)? Mises avoided discussing the ultimate end (there is one section where he mentions Epicurean ataraxia in passing but that's as close as he gets) because he didn't need it but praxeological theory is perfectly consistent with this form of analysis.
People confuse social order (norms) with morality. This is forgivable because, by far, the majority of the problems associated with attaining one's satisfaction are social in nature. It's an easy thing to build a shelter in order to get relief from the elements (satisfaction) - the branches of a tree will never retaliate against you. But it's a lot more difficult to attain satisfaction by means of social relations - just think of parents, friends, spouses, employers, employees, bill-collectors, police, judges, Presidents, etc. These are all people and they are all imposing their will upon you and resisting the imposition of your will upon them. Unlike tree branches, they have a memory, they can connive and they retaliate or even aggress.
Just like there are right and wrong ways to build a shelter, there are right and wrong ways to interact with other human beings. The end in either case is always the same: my satisfaction. The majority of what people mean when they talk about "right and wrong" or "morality" is precisely this question of right and wrong ways to interact with other human beings. The key difference is that most discussion of morality leaves out the question to what end? The end is my satisfaction and rightness/wrongness of course of action is to be judged with respect to its suitability for bringing about my satisfaction. How should I treat others? In whatever way brings about my satisfaction.
And almost every thing in life which is a means to your ultimate end (satisfaction) is entangled with the social order. If you want to cook yourself a meal, you will need groceries, to get the groceries, you will need money, to get money you will need to sell something you have (perhaps your labor) and to sell something, you will need to find a buyer (human being, a social entity). Suddenly, just cooking yourself a simple meal involves people and is now a complicated matter of social interactions.
Some people might object that this moral principle is simple-minded and would justify murder if you're someone who gets a kick out of killing, for example. But this objection (falsely) imagines that the only thing stopping people from going on murderous rampages is the will to do so. The fact is that people push back on us depending on how we behave (reciprocation, retaliation, etc.). They obstruct our choices (deadbolts, security guards) and impose costs on us (lawsuits, bill collectors) depeding on how we act. Of course, these are only the gross means by which people push and pull against one another, the most sublte and pervasive forms of push and pull are invisible: guilt, fear, love, shame, etc. The internal wiring in our brain permits us to impose intangible penalties on one another and it is these intangible penalties that are the warp and weave of the social order.
Even though I am still extremely skeptical of his theories of consciousness, in this lecture, he talks about a lot of the things I've touched on in this thread with perspicuity. He argues that at the lowest levels, there are "cycles" and these cycles don't change much but by virtue of constantly occurring and reoccurring, they fundamentally alter the probability of something "completely new" happening.
He places persistence and reproduction on a continuum, which is much like what I argued on the first page of this thread. I think we may be able to go even further than Dennett does here and argue that reproduction is the only conceivable form of persistence and that, therefore, even "blind physical" cycles are themselves manifestations of some kind of underlying "life" or reproductive principle (perhaps composed of software or bits or algorithms, who knows).
I remember reading somewhere about the idea that the Darwinian algorithm is the only algorithm. I think we can give serious merit to this idea - from a genetic perspective it is absolutely true since every algorithm we have ever devised has been devised with our human brain which was, in turn, devised by natural selection (the Darwinian algorithm). In particular, what we mean by the phrase "to explain" is to posit the least complex mechanism which accounts for the phenomena in question, including the least complex history by which the mechanism could have arisen.
We can view the entire history of the planet as a kind of vast "science experiment" conducted by Nature herself and Nature is very thrifty with the information that has been derived from this vast science experiment. When we contrast "foresight" or "purpose" with "blind action" or "atelic phenomena" what do we really mean? I think what we are talking about is action which is predicated on a prior history versus action which is predicated only by the prior moment (and the laws of physics). In other words, what makes the purposeful action of an animal different from the aimless drift of a twig along the surface of a stream is that the structure of the animal is informed by the vast science experiment that went before it. To use a term from computer science, the animal's DNA is a kind of memory. Not conscious memory, but a "record" or "storage". That it records the history of all the prior experiments is incidental - Nature does not intend to conduct this science experiment nor does the DNA intend to record the results. But that is, nevertheless, what it does.
This brings us right back to what the Darwinian algorithm is - it is simply the observation that purposeful behavior arises from persistence (life) which makes possible action predicated on a prior history, or memory, which is encoded in the very structure or form of the acting object. If we apply this insight "all the way down", then we can speculate that the physical world itself is non-random precisely because it is undergoing exactly the same process - persistence (life) making possible action predicated on prior history.
This is not the kind of explanation which "explains everything". Rather, it is a meta-explanation, an attempt to circumscribe the limits of just how much explaining there is to be done. If I am correct that the Darwinian algorithm is the only algorithm all the way down to the substrate of reality, then this gives us a "stopping point" when we know we are done explaining something. Once you've translated the phenomena into an account based on the Darwinian algorithm, you're done. There's no more work left to be done because you've explained it as far as it can conceivably be explained.
Some thoughts on theology.
I have been thinking about epistemology (see here, many of my ideas originate in Mises, cf Ultimate Foundations of Economic Science).
One of the topics that Mises touches on is that of the Absolute versus finality. I think this is a very powerful epistemological paradigm. We can categorize our knowledge, not on the basis of its trueness, but on the basis of its uncertainty. Final knowledge is knowledge which is least uncertain not among all possible knowledge but among all my knowledge. From a less "individualistic" point-of-view, we could say, among all human knowledge.
Absolute knowledge, on the other hand, is a purely hypothetical kind of knowledge, something which human beings could never possess. Such knowledge would consist of zero uncertainty, that is, it is the least uncertain knowledge among all possible knowledge.
I'm of the opinion that theology is mostly useless but I think there is some potential for usefulness in the study of the Absolute as a kind of "exercise in humility". What use could such humility have? Well, it could have a use in helping to maintain a proper amount of open-mindedness. For example, a false humility is submitting one's mind to the Ancient Near East creation myths, the most famous being that Elohim and Jehovah created the Universe 6,000 years ago.
But a less ridiculous idea is to posit the following - imagine an alien race that has incredibly long lifespans or perhaps effectively immortal (unless destroyed) - and further imagine that something like the Kardashev scale is actually meaningful. Further, imagine that the ideas of Hannes Alfven, Nikolai Tesla and Kristian Birkeland regarding the electro-active nature of planets, stars, the solar system and even galaxies are correct. If you have really, really long lifespan (perhaps immortal) and could "harness the power of a solar system" and you could turn that power into sending the correct frequencies along the plasma currents connecting the stars, etc. you could actually influence the evolution of astronomical objects, that is, you might even be able to "create" planets, stars, solar systems, maybe even galaxies. It is far-fetched, of course, but it's a very serious kind of far-fetched, it is not ridiculous and offensive to reason like the Genesis creation myth.
If this were the case, then it is conceivable that the planet we live on actually exists as part of a telic design. And that's really the key issue. Is there any telos above that of human action or not? As far as science so far is concerned, there is not. And I think it's crucial to underscore that as far the political analysis goes, it does not matter in the slightest, that is, right and wrong remain the same either way*.
Of course, it's a long leap from "conceivable" to there being any reason to believe it or even expend effort thinking about it. So, this is where a scientific theology** comes in, that is, an a priori study of the Absolute, to whatever extent we can say anything about it at all.
I think there actually are some things we can say about the Absolute using some ideas from a branch of mathematics called computability theory, specifically, algorithmic information theory (this guy has been hugely influential on my thinking in this regard). The arguments are not scientific but metaphorical. Basically, if we imagine that the world is, at root, some kind of discrete state machine, then it can be described in terms of formal computation theory (we can approximate a continuous space arbitrarily closely or we can posit a computation device based on smooth functions which is entirely possible because any discrete system can be represented by smooth functions operating according to some convention... that's actually what is going on inside your computer right now).
It turns out that there are limits on the problems that can be solved by any discrete state machine. For any machine you construct, however well designed, however deeply thought out, however arbitrarily large the time and space resources it has, there will always be problems that it cannot solve. So, if we can say anything about the Absolute, we can say that it cannot be described by any such machine.
Going further, it turns out that for any formal axiomatic system sufficiently complex to express elementary arithmetic, there are true statements that are unprovable in that system (it's not complete). Most notably, the statement "This formal axiomatic system is consistent" is not provable if the system is consistent! In other words, there's never anway to be sure that your formal axiomatic system has no hidden contradictions. What this means in terms of our metaphor of the Universe as a formal axiomatic system is that unless the Universe is the Absolute, it is always possible that its evolution could encounter an existential catastrophe! At any moment, the entire Universe could just go "lights out" because it basically crashed.
An argument I made earlier in this thread is basically an inversion of the anthropic principle: By virtue of the fact that the Universe exists, we can conclude that the Universe must exist. But if it's the case that the Universe must exist and it's the case that an inconsistent Universe has a non-zero probability of going lights-out due to some unresolvable contradition in the laws of its evolution, then we can conclude from this that the Universe is the Absolute*** and that, therefore, the Absolute must exist. Of course, this is a very ad hoc kind of conclusion, it is not at all a Cosmological Argument even though it could be mistaken for one.
I was also thinking about the necessity of the laws of logic to human comprehension. I have until recently been of the view that the laws of logic are merely lingual conventions but the more I think about the Misesean view of epistemology, the more convinced I am that the laws of logic have a more necessary relationship with what it means to be consciously aware at all. Not only does black not mean the same thing as white, you really cannot experience seeing black and white at the very same moment (I mean of the same thing, not of separate things). This goes back to the theory of conscious awareness I give in my above-linked article to the effect that the "picture" of awareness consists of all those facts of perception which are consistent with each other. But then the very fact that we are capable of "connecting the dots", so to speak, regarding the information in our sense perception of the physical world implies that logicality inheres in the very structure of the Universe itself, for whatever reason. Not only can I not experience seeing black and white at the very same moment of the very same thing but the Universe itself is never actually black and white at the very same moment of the very same thing.
What is particularly interesting is that the laws of pure logic are too "weak" to express the laws of arithmetic and, therefore, the laws of pure logic are not subject to the kind of conundrums that the laws of arithmetic are. That is, the laws of logic are complete (every true logical statement can be proven) and can be proven to be consistent. But their very weakness means that they cannot describe the physical world. So we are left with a conundrum. If you start with a consistent system, you can't deduce every true fact about the real world because that consistent system is too weak. But if you add enough axioms to where you can, in principle, deduce every true fact about the real world, then you have a perpetual risk of contradiction until you reach the Absolute (which would require an infinite number of axioms to express).
*I point this out because I believe TPTB try to leverage UFO paranoia to stoke the feeling of "something out there" that is "more powerful than us all" which is actually just a psychological stand-in for the government.
**Yes, I know this term has all kinds of baggage associated with it, just bear with me
***Here, I'm assuming that the Universe is arbitrarily old and, therefore, over an arbitrarily large period of time, if there is a non-zero probability that the Universe will self-destruct, then it will necessarily self-destruct. The fact that it has not self-destructed suggests that either the Universe is younger than the amount of time required for an unresolvable contradition in the laws of its evolution to have been encountered or - if the Universe is infinitely old (and idea to which I'm partial) - that the Universe must have zero probability of encountering an unresolvable contradiction in the laws of its evolution, that is, the Universe is the Absolute.
Make of it what you will:
A nice pdf on the subject of Moon fakery:
The author of the PDF presents some random ideas on why the Moon landings might have been faked. I agree with most of these ideas but I'm of an even more conspiratorial bent and I think Bill Cooper is one of the few people to ever get it right:
He was killed by the government which lends him credibility in this department.
WWI, WWII, League of Nations, United Nations, nuclear weapons (yes, I said it!), the Moon landings, 9/11. These are preparatory events for the Biggest Grand-Daddy of All Lies Ever Told: ET. Only an extra-terrestrial threat - as Reagan noted - will be sufficient to make us "unite" under one government.
HG Wells wrote of a world government and an atom bomb while both were still sci-fi. Both would be come un-fictional during his lifetime. The purpose the atom bomb serves in Wells's book is to teach men that they need a world government! Wells also famously wrote of an extra-terrestrial threat. Wells says in the epilogue,
At any rate, whether we expect another invasion or not, our views of the human future must be greatly modified by these events. We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding place for Man; we can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space. It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate benefit for men; it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to human science it has brought are enormous, and it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind. It may be that across the immensity of space the Martians have watched the fate of these pioneers of theirs and learned their lesson, and that on the planet Venus they have found a securer settlement. Be that as it may, for many years yet there will certainly be no relaxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian disk, and those fiery darts of the sky, the shooting stars, will bring with them as they fall an unavoidable apprehension to all the sons of men. [Emphasis added]
The nuclear "bomb" is the crown jewel of whatever organization or alliance is behind the creation of these Big Lies. It is at once the most unquestionable truth (think of all those people that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and the most fiercely guarded secret (studying nuclear technology is strictly verboten). Of all the conspiracy theories one might care to look up on the Internet, it is the one least written about. But even cursory reflections shows that it is the one about which we have the least substantial information.
The nuclear security apparatus provides a global Labyrinth through which those who are in "the Club" can move freely from one place to another, without possibility of investigation or scrutiny. This permits the orchestration of events without any possibility that the orchestration can be detected or proved and is, ultimately, what made the staging of events like 9/11 or the Moon landings (or "nuclear" tests), for example, possible. The long-term goal is to bring about world government by whatever means. If they have to stage a UFO invasion, they will.
I mentioned this because I have been puzzled by the bizarre ostracization of plasma cosmology from the sciences. Why has this been going on? The influence of the electro-magnetic field in the heavens is treated as "decimal dust" by mainstream astrophysics and cosmology but this is absurd. What is providing the impetus for this? I have come to the firm belief that mass-energy equivalence is a lie, at least, it is at best a metaphysically botched conception of causality (energy is not a thing), and it is not a sufficient explanation of radioactive phenomena. I suspect that radioactivity is actually an electro-magnetic phenomena, not a "relativistic" phenomenon. But if this were widely known, it would cast doubt on the entire idea that an atomic bomb is possible. Where the hell is all the energy coming from? If radioactivity is actually an EM phenomenon, then radioactive elements aren't "converting mass into energy" at some rate mystically connected to the speed of light. Rather, they are converting icident energy in the environment from one form to another and being chemically altered in the process (hence, radioactive decay). The hunks of plutonium in the tipes of nuclear missiles that are supposed to nearly spell the end of the world are harmless beyond their powerful ionizing effects which causes cancer or even immediate death.
So how does that have anything to do with plasma cosmology? This is how. Being an EM phenomenon, radioactivity is influenced by the Sun, being a highly electro-magnetically active body. In other words, denying the EM influence of the heavenly bodies in general is a blind to prevent further investigation of the matter which would lead to the realization that heavenly bodies influence radioactive elements here on Earth (oops, the cat's out of the bag anwyay, now!), which would lead to questioning Einstein, which would lead to questioning atomic energy, which would lead to questioning atomic bombs. And we can't have people questioning that because it's part of the Big Lie being foisted for purposes of bringing about World Government.
I'm so glad to see such an interest in this topic here. I haven't seen this thread until now, and I don't have much to add at the moment, except I'm fairly new to the concepts of plasma cosmology, but they make lots of sense to me and fits nicely with my personal theory on the nature of the the universe that has been evolving over the last 4-5 years. I will say that I believe deeply in the concept of an "acting universe" with intelligence all throughout all levels. I am looking into some of the links you have provided, Clayton. Just adding that I am very skeptical of the obsessive God-like status mainstream puts upon Einstein's ideas. Have you read any books on plasma cosmology, and if so, do you have any personal recommendations?
The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.
I am very skeptical of the obsessive God-like status mainstream puts upon Einstein's ideas.
This is a habit in Western thought. At every point, always trying to promote what is merely our "best understanding so far" into Absolute status. And it's a difficult situation to combat because the more intuitive people who tend to realize something is wrong here are often less technically apt, so they don't have the mathematical/technical horsepower to respond. You have to be someone who is both comfortable with the technical arguments and has an intuitive stance that gives perspective on what is "askew" with the whole modern scientific mindset. My adage regarding this issue is, "Scientists usually make really bad metaphysicists."
A great example of this is the "many universe" interpretation of Quantum Mechanics which is, today, the dominant "interpretation" among quantum physicists. Metaphysically speaking, it's just awful! It's really horrible! We exist in this Universe and we are studying cause-and-effect in the phenomena in this Universe. If there are other Universes that are not contributing to cause-and-effect in this Universe, then - metaphysically speaking - they don't exist. Talking about there being "other Universes" is staggeringly bad metaphysics, yet quantum scientists are happy to go on and on about their supposedly "counter-intuitive" insights into the "true structure" of the Universe. What hogwash.
And that makes me think of something. "Counter-intuitive" has become a haven for metaphysical quackery. Every science, nowadays, has some "counter-intuitive" insight or other. It is true that careful, rigorous, systematic study of things frequently leads to conclusions that contradict the naive notions that a person might have held prior to study. But way too much is made of this, nowadays; it's just a psychological fact that your uninformed intuition about something can turn out to have been wrong after careful study. Big deal.
Another one (this is popular on YT) is "there is no matter" or "reality is an illusion" or "the universe is made of consciousness/spirit." What nonsense! Matter is a macroscopic phenomenon of consciousness. We don't even know what it means for something to be or not be matter in any other sense than direct experience of solidity versus gaseousness/liquidity. Max Weber discusses this issue in his treatise Definition of Sociology (what he terms Verstehen). Saying that there is no matter is metaphysical gibberish. If you mean "there is no solidity", well duh, that's like saying "there is no color". Of course not, color is just the way our brain translates the visible light spectrum into conscious experience.
Have you read any books on plasma cosmology, and if so, do you have any personal recommendations?
I haven't read any books, yet. I've read as many internet articles as I can get hold of and watched a bunch of YT vids. I'm probably not going to buy any books on it for now because I get the general gist of it and there's not enough detailed research to really go any deeper. There needs to be wider attention brought to this subject so it can be studied more thoroughly.
On the "multi-verse" theory, matter/reality is an illusion, and other nonsense: I think that (mostly) one of two things is happening (or a combination). People are attributing terms that do not (and cannot) describe what is actually going on to a phenomenon that is going on and in a manner that seems to convey the idea that they know what is going on. That is, saying something is an illusion does not in any way describe what is actually happening, but people say, "Reality is an illusion!" as if they mean to describe what's actually happening. It may be unintentional in many instances, where the person is ignorant of what they are actually doing/saying. The other thing that is going on is people have invented a way (in their head) to make sense of something that they actually have not (yet) made sense of. I think that's what Einstein's relativity is a case of. Gravity isn't actually "bending" something referred to as space-time, but visually, the concept helps to see it happen. But then to apply mathematics and formulas in an attempt to make this absolute is where trouble begins. We wind up with more and more nonsense that doesn't make any sense, and often times, leads to contradictions. But as you said, since most of this occurs with formulas too complex for ordinary people, they just accept that these "scientists" are correct at all times, as if they are prophets not to be questioned. The sheer complexity of the equations should be reason enough to question their work. Add to the fact that it is doubtful that a large proportion of these scientists can TRULY explain and comprehend what is happening and why (beyond their ability to speak mathematically) and we should be left questioning everything they say. There's nothing wrong with "cosmetic" models used to try to understand what's happening; the issue I have is then finding a mathematical formula that can be manipulated to mirror this "model" and pretending that it is absolute truth to go unquestioned, especially by those without Ph.D's!
Precisely. Well, on the solidity debate I think that what has happened is very instructive. First, you have scientists operating from a metaphysical idea of atomism. Well enough. Atomism is a perfectly agreeable metaphysical idea. But then they express shock and disbelief when Rutherford and Bohr find that the atom is not actually a really, really tiny marble as they had imagined it in their minds. Should it really be that shocking? Just discard your initial metaphysical intuition and choose a more agreeable one. That's the beauty of metaphysics, there's no need to die on every hill.
Then, they make matters even worse by absolutizing a metaphysical intuition that we know is suboptimal. Quantum particles are modeled as "point particles" in accord with the atomistic metaphysics. These particles are imagined to be solid in some sense, that is, they are the root source of our conscious experience of solidity in the physical world by virtue of their indestructibility. Nevermind that point particles lead directly to infinite physical magnitudes, which is absurd.
But the "reality is an illusion" response is no better. It's basically still assuming the atomistic metaphysics - since point particles are nonsense and since we know that fundamental particles are not "tiny, tiny marbles", then there must be no solidity at all. Hence, there is not actually anything, that is, reality is an illusion. But this is a category error - we're not talking about existence in the very same sense anymore. Consciously, we experience the world as having "solidity" but there is no a priori reason why existence in the causal sense should be "solid" any more than that a piece of green cloth should be made of "green atoms".
The correct answer is to wholly dispense with atomism and not attempt to assign macroscopic conscious qualities onto microscopic phenomena that can only be observed indirectly by means of a measurement apparatus.
Speaking of infinite magnitudes, I think a great source of error in human interpretation of nature (so far) is an inability to understand what we mean when we say infinity, or speak of infinitesimals, or infinite magnitudes, etc. Sure, we can say, "Well, infinity just goes on forever and ever and ever," and pretend that is a definition, but again, this is merely making a mental model to (with errors in our understanding) attempt to describe something. That is, if something goes on forever and ever, we don't actual understand where it is going because, while it still necessarily exists in what is called the universe, where it is (or the size, depending on how we are using "infinity") is beyond our current scope of detection. This applies, in my opinion, to the idea of point-particles. Within our currents set of mathematics, these can exist. But it's not really describing something. We must be able to come to a better conception of what infinity really is, which may lead to more advanced (or would it simple) mathematics, which can explain more, metaphorically expanding our detection and understanding deeper into infinity.
Awesome lecture by mathematician John Baez - Phi, you will find this lecture particularly interesting.
Dan Lathrop has built a model of the Earth's core:
I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture by John Baez. It is funny that you posted that because I was just pondering if I could think of a new way (or new to me, at least) to define and visualize further dimensions. Of course, I particularly love seeing phi shown in geometry and nature. It amazes me how often it shows up, and almost always, if not always, fractally. Sacred geometry holds a dear place in my heart. I am certain there are many secrets of the universe to be unlocked or discovered using and utilizing the golden ratio and the raw power of the vortex. Although there isn't much left of the technical aspects of his work, that I've found at least, have you read of Viktor Schaueberger and the machines he worked on using only the power of water and it's naturally fondness of moving in a spiral motion? It's some fascinating stuff, for sure.
Wow, this guy kicks ass. His economics are a bit wobbly, as usual, but on everything else he's right down the line:
To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."
Basically a lot of the same stuff as Santos Bonacci but a slightly more organized presentation and fewer factual mistakes.
He explains a lot of the ways that the Establishment suppresses dissent and maintains control.
The most interesting (and fantastical) section is where he discusses how the world's major religions act as a kind of "binding" of the underlying astro-theological religions buried behind the veil. Even the esoteric traditions, he argues, are still bindings of the underlying astro-theology.
When you strip the veil away completely, what you find are three sects of astrological worship - the Solar, the Lunar and the Planetary/stellar. He then goes on to claim that the Solar (Christian) tradition originates from worship of Ra, the Planetary/stellar (Judaism) in worship of El, and the Lunar (Islam) in worship of Isis. Combined, these form the name Is-Ra-El, that is, Israel. The State of Israel is the expression of the united agenda of all three of the pure astrotheological cults.
I think that's about 99% bullshit, but it's very beautiful and fascinating bullshit! Nevertheless, he does have a great deal of good insights. As with all these kinds of vids, I find you have to sift through a lot of nonsense to find a few gems.