Roseanne Cancelled

I’m sure you’ve all heard, but Roseanne’s hit television program was cancelled after Roseanne Barr tweeted that one of President Obama’s cabinet members looked like she came off the set of Planet of the Apes and belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Now the conservatives are firing back, asking why Samantha Bee is still on the air when she has been saying equally nasty for ages now; for example, she just recently called President Trump’s daughter Ivanka a “feckless cunt”.  What a double standard!

I find this all depressing.  Can’t you both see that you’re mirror images of one another?  Both sides are trying to one up the other in acting like garbage.  When Ivanka posts a picture of herself with her son, why do you feel the need to post hateful comments, one after the other?  She’s a mother like anyone else.  You’re free to disagree with the politics, but can’t we be more civil and respectful?  And Roseanne, really?  Calling a black woman an ape?  We don’t need this.

Personally, I don’t want to see either Roseanne or Samantha Bee’s show taken off the air.  Say what you want to say; nobody’s making anyone watch your the shows.  If other people want to watch them, let them watch them.  But we should all take Bertrand Russell’s words to heart.

I’d like to see more love and respect in the world, especially toward those we disagree with socially and politically.

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Dancing Shiva And The World Of Form

I don’t typically collect art, but I’ve always been drawn to statues of Shiva dancing.

In the Hindu religion and other sects, this being creates, protects, and transforms the universe.  It is a limitless, formless, transcendent, unchanging, absolute being of pure consciousness, whose essential self is the very nature of the universe.

The circle in which it’s dancing represents the material world, and all of the outer flames represent its infinite expressions in the world of form, which are all creative, playful manifestations of this being’s nature.  The long hair represents that of a contemplative Yogi, extending out to all of creation, representing its mindfulness of all things going on in the dance of life.

In it’s upper-right hand is a drum, which is the drum of creation.  Beating it brings things into existence.  Notice that they represent creation with a wave of sound; in our best physical models of the universe, such as quantum field theory, the creation of particles is represented by wave-like excitations in a vibrating field, so it’s such a beautiful and accurate way of depicting the universe.

Its left arm is holding a flame which represents the destruction of everything.  All forms come into existence for a short time and then Shiva burns them up.  All is temporary in this dance.

Its other right arm is extending out toward you with its palm facing you.  This represents, “Don’t worry, it’s alright.  Be at peace in your soul.  Don’t be afraid.”

The last arm is pointing down toward its feet and Shiva is standing on this little being which represents us and our small-minded “ego”; Shiva is working to break us, to rid of us selfishness and petty ways of thinking.  This dance of creation and annihilation, this song of temporary forms, is meant to frustrate us and eventually break us down, until we once again stand weightless and spiritually centered, as represented by the other foot which is effortlessly raised, floating in the center.

Eckhart Tolle explains this dynamic in other language in this video.

When Shiva finally manages to break your ego’s back, you can finally center yourself, weightlessly, and escape the vicious circle of trying to find yourself in manifestations of form.  The constant frustration causes you to dig deeper and deeper, looking for something that’s “real”, until you finally reunite with this great power of infinite love deep within your soul, leaving you in a timeless peace which transcends anything in time and space.  You can call this God, your spirit, consciousness, awareness, the infinite, whatever, but the most important thing you can do for yourself is connect to it.

If you find it, you’ll be like the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Phillipians, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  The language is obviously Christian, but its meaning is the same.  The only thing you have to know is that you are, just as God is and always has been, and that you share this nature as well.  Everything will be alright.

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Why I’m Not On Facebook

It’s funny, but I’m now becoming one of those older people who say, “What’s happening to young people today!?”  As everyone probably knows, I’m working as a physics lecturer, and I see young folks just immersed in these phones and I can’t help but wonder what they’re doing on them.  It’s probably hard for me to understand because I’m not on any major form of social media, like Instagram, or Facebook, or whatever.

Like take a look at these young college girls in this video.  This is a typical scene you’ll see in a university before class starts.  Everyone stares into their phone, and nobody is talking to one another; then you see them hold these things up in the air, make silly faces, and go back to staring at them again.

This baseball game makes for a perfect example.  From what I can tell, they’re not at the ball game to have a good time.  They’re not even paying attention to the game at all.  It’s more like they want to portray a certain image of themselves on social media, a sort of, “Look at me.  I had a good time today with the girls.”  And if all you saw was a few pictures posted on Facebook, you might think, “Oh, that looks fun, I wish I was there!  My life is so boring!”  But they’re not having fun.  They’re just hoping to be perceived as having fun, and what they really seem to be after is attention of some sort on social media.  But what do I know?  It’s just my guess.

I hate this stuff.   It’s so inauthentic.  Guys do it all the time in the gym.  They’ll do one set of curls to get warmed up, and then they’ll call their buddy over to film their next set.  Then you see them posting the video on Facebook and standing around for the next fifteen to twenty minutes, uploading the video, and waiting for responses.  After they’re done putting up some social-media facade of, “I’m at the gym working hard!  You should be here too!”  they seem rather uninterested in actually working out.  And there I am in the background, some middle-aged man with his arms at his side, exasperated expression on his face, waiting for this millennial to get off the machine so I can finish my workout.

When I was a young man I found all the new tech really interesting.  I even took the time to learn computer programming and made a living writing computer software for almost a decade.  At another time I was a network administrator, an expert in technology and IT.   But I’m very disillusioned with technology.  It’s convenient and can be really nifty, but that’s about it.  It’s not worth all the hype.

I only recently got my first cell phone.  It’s nice to be able to text my buddies at the gym, and work out when everyone’s going to show up.  I enjoy being able to set up meetings with professors and other graduate students, to collaborate on research.  I enjoy being able to email and text everyone from the palm of my hand, at any time.  It’s neat that I can always check the weather forecast, or look something up online real quick if I’m in need of a particular piece of information.  Having a GPS device in my pocket at all times is cool, especially if I’m traveling to meet someone and all I have is an address;  I never have to get lost.  There’s lots of convenient, nifty things it can do, but that’s it.

I don’t know what young people are doing on their phones all the time.  I don’t know why they find them so interesting.  I don’t know why they would rather stare at those things than interact with the people around them.  I don’t get social media, and I’ve never been interested in it.  I just don’t get it, but I’m a middle-aged man who is slowly but surely, each and everyday, getting more and more out of touch with the people around him.

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What Do You Find In An SJW Textbook

What sort of nonsense do you find in a social justice warrior textbook?  Within humanities departments across the nation, the most popular textbook is the heralded Race, Class, and Gender.

In the very beginning the authors outline the very purpose of the text.

“Objectivity as found through rational thought is a western and masculine concept that we will challenge throughout this text.”

 

I’ve never heard anything so absurd in my life.  They don’t even believe in empirical evidence or rational argument.  Evidence and coherent thought are apparently western, masculine concepts.  When us physicists require experimental evidence that a particular theory of metallic conduction is correct, it’s really just us men trying to hold women down!

What else do we find in this textbook.  Just keep turning the pages, and it’s not long before you encounter statements like,

“Mathematics is whiteness.”

Solutions to different integral equations, methods for taking derivatives, solutions to algebraic equations, methods for calculating areas, volumes, etc., methods for solving differential equations, and so on, all of this is “white”.  Us white males have created this structure, all to hold other races and women down.

I can’t even comprehend these statements.  I’ve had female physics professors.  Many of my mathematics professors have been asian, and others were women, and they weren’t always white women.  How is mathematics “white”?  How is it male?  The truths of mathematics have nothing to do with race, gender, or any of that baloney.

How embarrassing.  I’m somewhat ashamed to even be affiliated with an institution where ideas like that are being taught to students.  This episode of the Simpsons captures just how absurd these ideas are.

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Becoming Aware Of Where You Really Are

Recently I’ve been reading Aldous Huxley’s book The Perennial Philosophy.   The book is filled with wonderful quotations from great thinkers and spiritual teachers throughout all of history.  One quotation from the Third Patriarch of Zen really grabbed me.

The Perfect Way knows no difficulties,
Except that it refuses to make preferences.
Only when freed from hate and love
Does it reveal itself fully and without disguise.

A tenth of an inch’s difference,
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you wish to see it before your own eyes,
Have no fixed thoughts either for or against it.

To set up what you like against what you dislike
This is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of the Way is not understood,
Peace of mind is disturbed to no purpose. . . .

Pursue not the outer entanglements,
Dwell not in the inner void ;
Be serene in the oneness of things,
And dualism vanishes of itself.

When you strive to gain quiescence by stopping motion,
The quiescence so gained is ever in motion.
So long as you tarry in such dualism,
How can you realize oneness ?

And when oneness is not thoroughly grasped.
Loss is sustained in two ways :
The denying of external reality is the assertion of it.
And the assertion of Emptiness (the Absolute) is the denying
of it. . . .

Transformations going on in the empty world that confronts us
Appear to be real because of Ignorance.
Do not strive to seek after the True,
Only cease to cherish opinions.

The two exist because of the One ;
But hold not even to this One.
When a mind is not disturbed,
The ten thousand things offer no offence. . . .

If an eye never falls asleep,
All dreams will cease of themselves ;
If the Mind retains its absoluteness,
The ten thousand things are of one substance.

When the deep mystery of one Suchness is fathomed,
All of a sudden we forget the external entanglements ;
When the ten thousand things are viewed in their oneness,
We return to the origin and remain where we have always
been. . . .

One in all,
All in One
If only this is realized,
No more worry about not being perfect

There’s a lot to breakdown in that passage, but I don’t really plan to address all of it.  What I do want to address is the idea that the progression of time (the Patriarch calls them ‘transformations’) only appears to be real to us because we are in a state of ignorance.

Being a physicist, a lot of this makes me think of it from that perspective.  Let’s take where you’re sitting right now, in your bedroom, looking at your tablet, your phone, your computer, whatever it may be.  If you step outside your home and take a look up at the night sky, you’re looking at infinity.

Did you know that according to our best cosmological models, space extends out forever and ever, and an infinite number of universes are being born, and every conceivable possibility is happening an infinite number of times, though at very large distances away from one another.  For example, there are an infinite number of identical copies of you, also looking up at the night sky, at this exact moment.  Literally every possibility that could exist does exist, or is in the process of being created this very second.  This is the sort of conclusion you come to when studying what physicists call ‘eternal inflation’.

But that’s not all.  Every possibility also exists alongside of you, in the very space all around you.  There in your bedroom exists every possibility that has ever existed or will ever exist.  You learn about this when you study the multi-verse and quantum mechanics.  In fact, at any given moment, the entire world around you could “morph” and “transform” into literally any possibility at any given moment, but there is just a very low likelihood of a major transformation happening.

For example, every atom which makes up your computer has a tiny probability of basically manifesting itself at some other distant point in space at any given moment.  So imagine if all of the atoms which currently make up your computer all transported (randomly) to some other location in your bedroom in some new configuration.  There’s a slight possibility that your laptop computer could transform itself to a computer from the year 2300 and “appear” over on your bookshelf.  Or even crazier, your little sister could spontaneously transform into a grey alien before your eyes.

Every single possibility that could ever manifest into reality is just waiting to pop into existence.  But if that’s so, then how come time seems so orderly?  From one moment to the next, things don’t seem to just up and randomly change into something else.  We instead experience this orderly flow of “time”.  For example, the computer from the year 2300 doesn’t appear until it’s first invented by somebody, who has to first engineer it, probably by improving a prior computer design from the year 2895 or something, etc.

But that is all just an illusion.  Everything already exists.  Everything that ever could be or will be is all around you, right now.  It’s waiting to manifest.  It’s already manifesting in different ways all over the cosmos.  That reality where people’s little sisters are transforming into grey aliens is happening, an infinite number of times, in distant locations all throughout space.

Because think about it.  If space is infinite, and there is a slight probability that any given possibility will “pop” into existence, then that event, however improbable, is happening an infinite number of times.

I oftentimes hear people say things like, “The universe is just going to expand away into nothing.  The stars are going to burn out.  It’s all meaningless.  What’s the point of any of it?”

That’s only a half truth.  Sure, if we use the laws of physics to predict what’s most likely to happen, and assume that possibility will the be the one that comes into existence, then yeah, the stars will run out of fuel and burn up, etc.  But that’s not the entire picture.   Given a long enough time (and time never ends), the laws of quantum mechanics predict that every possibility will happen in that given volume of space.  Those atoms which are diluting and spreading out across space, along with all the cold star dust from burnt out stars, will spontaneously come back together into some orderly arrangement.  In fact, eventually they’ll all spontaneously come back together into a singularity and a big bang will happen again, and again, and again.  Universes will continue to be born, over and over, in that volume of so-called “dead” space.

There is no end to this place, there is just life, forever and ever and ever.  Every conceivable possibility of life, forever.

I really wish all of you knew advanced physics.  Those who think I’m making this stuff up, I would love to sit with you and show you all the experiments and tell you exactly why the universe that you live in works this way.  But I can’t.  It takes years to master all the mathematics and learn all the physics.

Believe me or not, it doesn’t really matter to me.  I just simply want to ask you all, if that were the truth, how does that change your life at this given moment?

Think about people pushing you to achieve this or that.  No matter what you achieve or accomplish, are you really bringing anything new into the universe that doesn’t already exist elsewhere, an infinite number of times?  Or how about things you don’t do?  In distant regions of space, and in parallel realities, “you” have already accomplished every possibility, an infinite number of times.

Let that sink in.  Really sit down and ponder it for a while.

Do you get what the universe is doing?  There are an infinite number of stages, each where any given circumstance or event can be experienced.  This is an infinite playhouse.  For whatever reason, you’re here to have the experience of being you, living the life you’re currently living.  I suspect we chose to be here, or maybe even had some part in creating our current life and circumstances before we even came here.  That’s what people tell you when they take high doses of a neuro-transmitter like DMT and short-circuit their brain temporarily and leave this “illusion” of time.  But who knows.

Another thing I’ll point out is that I don’t believe there are any winners or losers in this game of life.  Every possibility is available to all.  Injustice can only exist if you assume that this is the only life you’ll ever experience, and that’s just an assumption, and nobody has any real idea what happens after we die.  If I entered this infinite playhouse as one possibility (Jason the physicist), I see no reason to believe I can’t enter and experience it in other ways, living other lives and possibilities I can’t even currently imagine.

Also, I’ve been learning that happiness isn’t dependent on what you experience in the playhouse anyways.  There is some deep you, beyond anything you experience, which can never be touched, which is always at peace.  However, there is this “ego”, this “self” which is plopped down on top of that; it’s the illusory self which is being conjured by the playhouse.  That illusory self seems to have all the problems, is filled with worry, anger, regret, resentment, you name it.  But the illusory self is just a character, a sort of object which we experience up and close and personal while in the playhouse.

If you learn more about your mind, the playhouse doesn’t control you, at least not in any meaningful way.  Circumstances may seem crazy and beyond your control, but your emotions are your own.  Your happiness is always your own.  What you have to do is release the power the illusory playhouse has over your mind by stepping out of the illusion, so to speak.

There’s no reason to love or hate anything, in the same way as when you load up a computer game and experience the plotline as the character on screen.  You don’t think, “Oh this character is going through this crazy experience.  How unfair!  I won’t stand for this!”  It’s just a story.  It moves you one way or another emotionally, you learn some lessons from it, etc., but that’s it.

That’s what I think the Patriarch is talking about.  You first have to relieve your mind of all these inner judgments about what you’re experiencing.  You’re in some region of space and time, experiencing something.  That’s all it is.  An experience.  It’s the same sort of thing as going to an art museum and seeing things on display, this is just far more vivid and more “in your face”.   Just look at it, and live your life.  Don’t be for this reality or against it.  It is, and you are.  Just experience it.

The Patriarch also talks a lot about oneness.  In reality, you’re probably all the characters in this reality.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that you’ll have the chance to be all of them, or experience them in any way you wish, after this iteration of “life” is over.  There’s no winners or losers.  You’re not missing anything.  For now, you’re here to be YOU, so be YOU, be present and alive as you.  Pay attention to what’s happening to YOU.  Be YOU.

I don’t think there’s anything you have to accomplish, and if so, I’m sure it’ll be easily apparent to you that you “should” do something or another.  Don’t worry about having some cosmic impact, or leaving things behind.  Why does it matter if you leave anything behind?  Who is it for?  For the next person who specifically “jumped” into this part of space and time, wanting to experience what you left behind?  They wanted to experience the world you left behind, so let them, and don’t worry.  They could’ve experienced anything different.  It’s not like they were forced to inherit your mess.

There’s no point in saying “it’s all pointless.”  What’s pointless about experiencing all possibilities?  This place has a lot of limitation, but all forms of limitation are possibilities.  You’re here now, experiencing this crazy world, then you go back to the source and can do whatever you want.  Stop worrying.

If anyone cares to hear my crazy view on things, I think I was made in the image of God and am absolutely perfect.  Jason, the human living on planet Earth is far from perfect, but he’s not me.  Jason’s a character.  I’m that which is beyond, and maybe always beyond whatever I experience.  That might be why you can’t point to any given thing in this world, or any possibility, and say, “That is God.”  This is why people in the Bible were specifically commanded not to build idols and worship them.  That represents confusion as to God’s identity and your own.  I suspect this is also why the hard problem of consciousness is insolvable.

God is always beyond it all, as am I considering I was made in this being’s image.  God is a great potentiality which can manifest anything, an infinite power which transcends anything you can ever experience or imagine.  Through all these fleeting forms we take on, maybe we slowly come to learn more and more about this divine being, who created us in its image, and whose image we are always trying to find and understand.  The more we understand this divine nature, the more we’re capable of living full, happy lives, in this world, and every possibility beyond this life.

If I were to guess the “point” of this particular world, this life in particular, and why we experience what we do, it is to learn about love.  I seem to be some sort of transcendent mind, beyond all I experience, and love is the ultimate principle behind how the mind operates within reality. We have became pitiful, weak creatures who need each other in order that we can experience both giving and receiving love from one another.  The world is also so cold and dark so that when you see this love, it can stand out in stark contrast.  You think, “Whoa, this place is awful, but what exactly is it lacking?”  Ding ding ding.  Love.  Then you practice giving love, experiencing love of all kinds from others (even unsuccessful attempts), and hopefully this points you back to the divine source, whose very nature is pure, unconditional love.  Remember, the fleeting forms of your illusory experience is to unveil the true nature of this divine being, and help you understand your own nature as well.  Then you learn from the source, bring unconditional love back here, and practice giving it.

I’ll end this with another quote from the Perennial Philosophy from St. Gregory the Great, along with a passage from Aldous Huxley himself.

Whosoever studies to reach contemplation should begin by searchingly enquiring of himself how much he loves. For love is the motive power of the mind (machina mentis), which draws it out of the world and raises it on high.

– St. Gregory the Great

Now to quote Huxley, in the beginning of his chapter on Charity.

“We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not  love. Love is a mode of knowledge, and when the love is sufficiently disinterested and sufficiently intense, the knowledge becomes unitive knowledge and so takes on the quality of infallibility. Where there is no disinterested love (or, more briefly,* no charity), there is only biased self-love, and consequently only a partial and distorted knowledge both of the self and of the world of things, lives, minds and spirit outside the self. The lust-dieted man ‘slaves the ordinances of Heaven’ that is to say, he subordinates the laws of Nature and the spirit to his own cravings. The result is that ‘he does not feel’ and therefore makes himself incapable of knowledge. His ignorance is ultimately voluntary; if he cannot see, it is because ‘he will not see.’ Such voluntary ignorance inevitably has its negative reward.”

– Aldous Huxley

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