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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Humancentric

I have been involved recently with some interesting discussions about the nature of specific religious outlooks. This has led me to consider a few perspectives that were not immediately obvious to me before this period commenced.

It occurs to me that several of the implied inherent “givens” of the major religions may be in line for re-evaluation. One I have already dealt with was around the “goal orientated reward systems”

The next would be the premise that continuation of “life” after death, be based upon a continuing humancentric existence. This probably is a common denominator amongst the vast majority of religions, that directed life choices made in the understanding and consideration of the cosmological viewpoint of said religion, result in the individual being accepted at the end of Earthly existence into the community of that particular religions approved individuals.

This idea has its basis in the power structures of human society. Some would conclude, not unreasonably, that this was suggestive of the desire of a continuing restriction after the end of life and was more representative of the individual’s who would attempt to continue to assert their domination over the majority after the end of this life and into the next, than of what actually may be the case.

With the advent of scientific data demonstrating the specific and unusual conditions needed for us to live, the feeling of isolation experienced by humanity as a species, tends to make perspectives rather introverted. The physicality of living on this plane of existence results in the inability, for many, to consider if this totality of human living is the only measure of existence. To deal with this, it is necessary to evaluate if the consequences of human living constitute a total perspective. I was recently watching a program on the BBC that dealt with newly observed phenomena of everyday activities that are too quick or subtle for the human eye or brain to deal with in real time. One amazing fact that left be reeling was that the total percentage of the visible light humans can see is just (if I recall correctly) 0.0000000001%. That is to say, 99.999999999% of visible light is unseen by humanity. Now, to put this into some form of perspective, and if my rudimentary scientific knowledge is up to scratch, as a species, we exist on the crust of a planet thats depth represents less than 0.6% of it’s total mass, in an atmosphere only conducive to human respiratory systems to a height of less than 5 miles (either way), growing food supplies on the area of the earth that represents around 10% of it’s total area and with a visual ability that would, by our own standards, class us as severely blind.

We would appear to have some handicaps inherited to us by nature and we perpetuate them further by insisting to continue with these conditions of living after our allotted time span is over. This is at best, inconsistent or at worst, totally depressing.

Yet, over the last hundred or so years, humanity has been experiencing interactions, borne initially from superstitious beliefs but developing through both experiential and more recently, experimental means, that suggest that this isolation may be suggestive of an inherent inability by ourselves to perceive the actuality of what the cosmos actually represents. Advances in both technology and communications mean that this inherited blindfold may be in the process of, if not being removed, at least shifted.

Most striking as far as the relevance to religious beliefs are concerned, are the changing nature and methods of communication between humanity and the other realms.

I will be presenting threads over time that both explore the changing nature and the changing interactions that I have been party to. This will not be an exercise in the methodology of how these were arrived at, for I consider that the “mechanics” of these interactions to be a purely subjective thing and it has been my experience that to qualify such a thing usually results in too much time spent in disclosure as to the “correct” way of doing it and what usually happens is that the subject matter is somehow lost in the rhetoric surrounding that methodology. In doing this, by not presenting my methodology at how I arrived with such things, I leave my positioned weakened to the more skeptical. I also leave myself open to the position of having these experiences condemned as delusional. That is as it may. What I will do though, is to concentrate on the substance of what has been disclosed to me and leave the subject matter at the discretion of the other parties to raise. You are invited to contribute, if the subject matter interests you and to raise any and all points of interest relating to the subject matter.

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Posted by on March 26, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

The Eye of Stonehenge

I have recently been contributing to a site that concerns itself with the continuing enigma that is Stonehenge, when I had what may be best described as somewhat of an insight. Whether this turns out to be anything other than fanciful is up for discussion, but the hypothesis that has formed in my imagination is now presented. Whilst I am not claiming any sort of divine intervention here, I am interested if anyone could afford me reasons as to why such a thing may not be valid as a potential perspective with which to view this monument.

The Eye of Stonehenge.

The following is an initial attempt to build upon a moment of either a) imagination b) inspiration or c) delusion. Recent studying and conjecture into the subject of the possible motivations behind both the construction and use of Stonehenge, led me to consider the layout of the site.

The layout shows various circles which either are or have been at some time, present on the site at some time in history. Circular constructions in prehistory are evidenced in numerous locations. What makes Stonehenge somewhat different is the scale of construction along with the method of construction and the individualistic design which has not been evidenced elsewhere.

The style of construction, demonstrating the joining of stone in a manner more usually seen in wooden structures, suggests that stability in the structure was of paramount importance to the builders. It would be reasonable to assume, therefore, that the scale of construction was representative of the ambitions of the builders / designer (s).

What would therefore, be a possible motivation behind the construction of such a thing? Well, large scale constructions in prehistory usually have the common denominator of a spiritual aspect. This could be in the form of either deity(ies) or ancestor reverence, but the construction of such a structure may signify a major shift in the nature of interactions experienced by the population responsible for that same construction.

The physical area in which Stonehenge is situated is famous for the number of surviving structures and landscapes from prehistory. What is problematic is the time scale that these structures may have actually have been in use. Because of this, I am going to concentrate on Stonehenge and the avenue which appears to serve it.

Plan

Referring back to that layout, the detail appears to be very fine (speaking as a non-archaeologist) with exact representations of each stone (present and not at this time) and their relationships to the site as a whole. However, it occurred to me, that much like someone studying the fine pixels on a large screen TV, it is possible to pay too much attention to detail, thus running the risk of missing the bigger or whole picture.

So I decided, either sub-consciously or from just plain laziness, to consider the general layout without the fine detail. For a while now, there was something about the general layout that was suggestive of some form of physicality but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t place. Then it struck me. Using the avenue in context with Stonehenge, as opposed to being in isolation from Stonehenge, there was a passing resemblance to an eye.

Concentric circles were suggestive of the iris and pupil of an eye and the avenue may be representative of the optical nerve. So, I will endeavour to present some, as yet, completely unfounded speculation as to what I consider to be advantageous co-incidents or possible symbolic circumstantial evidence in support of this.

First, the outer mounds. These could speculatively be considered to be representative of the eyeball, in that it forms the structure that encases the eye. Whether this was true for the original reason for their construction, I somehow doubt, as there are other mounds evidenced elsewhere. However, I would consider it entirely possible to assume that there may have been some local speculation as to any or all activity experienced in their locality. Areas in later history were well documented as to their “other world” connections and bearing in mind the likely common supernatural contexts the local populations may have had, it would appear to me that the area must have had some reputation (warranted or not) as to it’s power.

Therefore, the circular nature of these barrows may have spoken to them of the power of circles.

We then may wish to consider what other observable phenomenons would have taken the form of a circle. One obvious answer would have been the moon. We know now that the surface of the moon is cratered through the impacts of meteorites throughout its history. However, to the eyes of the earlier generations, and using the idea of symbolic representation, is it possible that these may have been viewed as the empty eye sockets in the land of the dead? No doubt, various skulls would have been present in the landscape and the prominence of the eye sockets and their raised position would not have escaped them. The sense of sight would have played a major part in the activities of living (much like today’s visually driven media, the visually striking makes more of an impression than most of the other senses).

If it is possible that these populations may have viewed the moon as a possible home for either or both deities or ancestors, then one may assume that there would have been concerns for the recent ancestors (the recently deceased) and their trip to the other world (as evidenced, for example, by Egyptian beliefs), that is to say, it may have been thought to be advantageous to that population if their ancestors could commune correctly into the afterlife so as, for example, to be in a honoured position amongst the earlier ancestors / deities.

How would one achieve this aim. Well, to put it bluntly, show them the way. And to do this, create an eye with which to view the objective. The biology of the eye, both human and animal, would have been common knowledge, one would assume, due to the practical nature of food production and human conflict. So, symbolic representation in the form of a structure to provide a better means of delivery of the recent ancestors, may have been viewed as both advantageous and desirable.

We speculatively have the main structure, the eyeball, encapsulated by the mounds, next we need an iris. Well, following our speculative journey, I would venture to suggest that the uprights and lintels, due to both their circular construction and their flat nature, viewed from above, could be viewed as a grey iris. The colouring may actually be suggestive of a lunar connection, mimicking the surface colouration of the moon.

Finally, we need to consider the pupil. We know the pupil is black, therefore, we may consider a dark centre to be representative of such a thing. Our grey iris may well encapsulate a dark pupil. Further more, study of the pupil reveals that it is peaked at it’s centre, that is to say, viewed in situ, the pupil protrudes furthest from the skull. So, the trilithons, with their raised perspectives, may give both height and focus to our prospective eye.

Speculatively, we have our eye structure, now to its input, the avenue. I would assume it did not go unnoticed that removal of an eye sometimes results in the optic nerve also coming away with the eye. I cannot conceive that they would not have realized, symbolically if not practically, that this appendage must carry some information from the eye. If their world view had it that images originated in the head, then they may have conceivably assumed that this nerve sent images into the eye (this is a difficult concept for us in our modern context, because we know the reality, but we are talking of the symbolic nature of earlier generations and it is evidenced that decapitation was used as a means of preventing entry into the afterlife for enemies, so the head, thought to be the seat of the individual, may have been considered to create reality as opposed to just processing it).

Finally, if their world view had it that the nerve supplied information, then one would assume that they would have thought light (possibly in the form of fire from the sun) and fluid (evidenced by the fluid leaking from the optical nerve when removing any eye) were the key prerequisites for information being transmitted. So using modern symbolic thoughts, one could imagine the procession of flames held by people and possibly the transportation of water from the Avon down the avenue, providing all the conditions for the eye to operate correctly. This may have represented the early part of any ritualistic depositing of the recently deceased, focussing and setting the eye so that those same deceased could be aligned with the eye, upon their entering of their place of departure.

Continuing Postscript.

The evidence of the central pillars, representing a horse-shoe shape has taken my interest with regards to this hypothesis that Stonehenge may represent the structure of an eye. One possible example of a similar shape that relates directly to the eye is this, specifically the most recent example of the missing child Madeline McCann. If one was to look at the eye, I would suggest that the dark patch may have been interpreted as a path through the eye into the head. Using the analogy that they may have considered the head to project reality, in other words, the head is the seat of reality and not the recipient of reality, and also taking into consideration the documented recently prescribed behavioural problems associated with this condition, then is it possible that the trilathons shape would be a physical recreation of this condition, recreated to allow access into the eyes (and therefore, the perceived reality) of the Gods? Of course this gives us a second interpretation into the nature of this interaction, possibly resulting in a more focussed or perceived intense ritual with which to interact with divinity. The route of the participating individuals would be one that travels down the avenue (the optic nerve) with the important dignitaries or designated priests entering the physical eye through this evidenced physical path into the reality of the realm of the Gods.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

The Universe on a Brane

String theory, the premise that the basic substance of the universe is composed of vibrating strings of energy, is one of modern physics more interesting concepts. The classical representation of the substance of the universe was one that was composed of small “dots” of matter, and was seriously first challenged over three decades ago. As is evidenced with a lot of physics, its rise to popularity is one comprising of false starts and initial rejection.

As someone with an essentially animist cosmological view, the theory sits within that which is both an instinctively and experientially valid personal concept. In the world of science, this theory, like a lot of the modern concepts, is qualified by some experimentally observed evidence along with a lot of theoretical calculations. At this time, and if one correctly understands the magnitude of scale needed to qualify the existence of these strings, it’s entirely possible that their existence may never be observed unless technology can provide a window in to the world of the ultramicroscopic. A conservative estimate is that they are probably around 0.00000000000000001 of a centimetre, although this has yet to be definatively established, and some estimates make it even smaller.

The size of scale therefore, places these strings into the world of the unseen. An unseen energetic field that permeates all of the observable universe. There is some debate as to whether these strings are part of both dark energy and dark matter, which together are thought to represent up to 95% of the universe. The supposition that the observable universe, the part of the universe that the planets, stars and all of life, represents just 5% of the totality of the universe, is a somewhat sobering thought and gives some representation as to what, at this time, science thinks is the approximate size of the universe.

By the early 1990’s, there were at least five competing versions of the original string theory, all of them resulting in different, but apparently valid outcomes. It took the tangent thinking of Edward Witten who established that if the theories were sited in an area consisting of eleven dimensions, then they all would work, because their results would be demonstrating different facets of string theory. This grand theory uniting all the competing ideas of string theory became known as M-theory.

So, physics presents to us, a theory that states that all matter, when reduced to it’s constituent parts, consists of tiny vibrating strings. The frequency and length of these strings determine the physicality of the matter it then creates. Now, for me, the really interesting part comes when it is further speculated that these strings, if they have open ends, are fixed to a universe that takes the form of a brane, a smooth surface.

These branes can consist of any number of space / time dimensions, from one to eleven. Therefore, it may be the case that we live in a four dimension universe (the dimensions of left & right, up & down, forward and backwards, along with time).

The fixing of the number of dimensions would be a result of the vibrating strings and their frequency and because they are fixed to this four dimensional universe, anything existing in this universe would only be receptive to those fixed dimensions. It is speculated that other strings, known as closed loop strings, because they have no open ends fixed to a brane, are not restricted in the same way and may pass through this universe unhindered or obstructed, without any interaction with matter in this universe.

We have, therefore, some theoretical speculation as to the existence of a whole category of energetic matter present, but as yet, unquantified. It is furthered speculated that other universes, possessing dimensions not present in our own universe, may exist in parallel to our own universe. This hypothesis is being actively pursued by many physicists at this time.

It is interesting that science, and physics in particular, is giving ground to the idea of co-existing realities. As someone for whom this type of interaction has been present for some time now, and without wanting to seem to present a personally driven agenda as to the possible outcomes of such a co-existence, the establishment of such a thing gives one hope that that which has been experienced in the intuitive level of consciousness, may soon have the vehicle by which to establish a valid means of interaction.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2010 in Scientific discussion

 

The Fabric of the Cosmos (Book review)

This is an extremely in depth review of the history of, and the continuing research into, the nature of the universe from the perspective of physics. The edition I read was printed in 2005 and I intend to follow up the ongoing research mentioned in the book to bring me up to date.

I would suggest that the author assumed his potential readers possessed some prior physics knowledge as some of his material makes some connections that, for someone like me who hasn’t particularly studied the field for some time, are not immediately obvious.

The beginning of the book goes into the theories of, and the circumstances surrounding, the field of classiclal physics (Newton et al) through Einstein and onto quantum mechanics. The clash between general relativity and quantum mechanics is studied in some depth demonstrating the conflicts in reconciling the macro and micro environments.

The resulting history of string theory is then delved into as a consequence of some of this conflict. It becomes obvious that the author is a proponent of string theory, though to his credit, he does explain and acknowledge other ideas as well.

For me though, the real interesting sections are towards the end, with the realization of the physics community that the nature of the universe may have some basis in an illusionary context and this was brought home by some of the newer ideas, such as M-theory and I found a particular empathy with cyclical cosmology and the brane world cosmology. As a physicist, the author steers well clear of any theological interpretations, which one would expect, but I have to confess that it has sparked many connections that I will be exploring in some depth in the coming months.

It would appear that the author received some critical acclaim for this book, and the depth of the subject matter he displays is, indeed, very impressive. I do have to say though, that this book may represent hard work for the general reader, for whom physics may represent nothing but a passing interest. It would represent, and indeed I intend to use this, as a quality reference source, though I have to admit,  at 500 pages, this made a very challenging book to complete.

Recommended, with these stated reservations.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2010 in Book Reviews

 

The Fabric of the Cosmos

This is the title of a book I’m currently reading by Brian Greene. I first came across some of his work here which captured my attention enough to warrant buying this book. I’ll do a review later when I’ve managed to read all 500 or so pages, however, I suspect this will provide some material for posts over the next month or so.

As a physicist, I have to say that his style is not as academically dry as some others and I have benefited already by his observations and general style of communication. As someone who fundamentally believes in non verbal and non local communication, the history of the rise of quantum theory is a most interesting, though sometimes totally incomprehensible, journey.

Quantum mechanics has been used to justify a lot of pseudo scientific theories. There are various ways to view this. The academically trained invariably give short shrift to anything that has no basis in peer-reviewed material. Yet, there is no denying that the ramifications of some of quantum theory’s evidenced material does lend itself to some spiritual world views. It has been my experience not to completely dismiss most things as there is always the possibility of some element of truth in these theories, however arrived at and everyone has the potential with which to further add to our understanding of the bigger picture. So, much to the annoyance of some, I tend to spend time contemplating material from these sources. I am also unwilling to place all my world views into the hands of a community that has been observed to be as fractious and splintered as any world religion.

As someone who holds a generalized animist perspective, quantum entanglement speaks of interactions based upon, what may be speculatively suggested as, a form of relationship. Greene goes further than this and suggests the entanglement of pairs of particles may actually represent the basis of an entity, which for a physicist is a pretty bold statement! The nature of this inter-relationship has been placed in some quarters as being reliant upon a “wave” of probability, the wave being the mechanism by which these particles travel upon. The action of observance causes the wave function to collapse and the particles are linked by this collapse. What is interesting though, is that spatial distance plays no part in the how the wave collapse is transmitted to the particles. Distance seems to be no object in the instant collapse of this wave. So, if the speed of light was the limit to how fast anything could travel, there would have to be a delay between the collapse of the wave here and where-ever the second particle traveling on that wave happened to be. Experiments have proven this not to be the case, the collapse is instantaneous across any spatial distance and would appear, therefore, to suggest light speed is not the upper limit to velocity that Einstein thought.

So the mechanistic viewpoint of the physical limitations applied to the nature of interactions will have to be addressed again. These are interesting times we live in!

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2010 in Scientific discussion