Thursday, August 31, 2017

question






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Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen for a long time.

My soul turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
and an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions. What should I reply?



–Hermann Hesse



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merrily, merrily







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 The universe is change; life is your perception of it.

–Marcus Aurelius



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you have only to rest





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You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless.

Chuang Tzu
(4th Century B.C.)

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object(ion






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…whatever has been pierced by the searchlight of the intellect is instantaneously transformed into a mere 'thing', a quantifiable object for our thought that is henceforth only mechanically related to other objects. The paradoxical expression of a modern sage, “we perceive only that which is dead,” is a lapidary formulation of a deep truth.

–Ludwig Klages
On Consciousness and Life in The Biocentric Worldview


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greening





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Therefore we ought not to say ‘the tree (became) green’ or ‘the tree (is) now green’ (both of which imply a change in the tree’s ‘essence’), but rather ‘the tree greens’. By using the infinitive form of ‘to green’, we make a dynamic attribution of the predicate, an incorporeality distinct from both the tree and green-ness which captures nonetheless the dynamism of the event’s actualisation. The event is not a disruption of some continuous state, but rather the state is constituted by events ‘underlying’ it that, when actualised, mark every moment of the state as a transformation.

—Gilles Deleuze
The Deleuze Dictionary


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witness





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Know yourself to be the changeless witness of the changeful mind.
That is enough.


–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj



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on the road home







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It was when I said,
“There is no such thing as the truth,”
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.
You….You said,
“There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth.”
 
Then the tree, at night, began to change,
Smoking through green and smoking blue.

We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
“Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by eye.”

It was when you said,
“The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth;”

It was at that time, that the silence was largest,
And longest, the night was roundest.
The fragrance of the autumn warmest,
Closest, and strongest.


–Wallace Stevens



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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

question







Explain quantum mechanics in 5 words or less.



"Don’t look : waves.
Look : particles."
 
(an answer to a challenge asked by Sean Carroll on Twitter,
originally posed by physicist John Wheeler)


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There is a lot to say about quantum mechanics, perhaps the most mysterious idea ever to be contemplated by human beings, but all we need is one simple (but hard to accept) fact: 

How the world appears when we look at it is very different from how it really is.


–Sean Carroll
The Particle at the End of the Universe -
The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World




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listen






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listen
hiding in this cage
of visible matter
is the invisible
lifebird
pay attention
to her
she is singing
your song


–Kabir
Sushil Rao translation




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First Light Edging Cirrus






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1025 molecules
are enough
to call woodthrush or apple.
A hummingbird, fewer.
A wristwatch: 1024.
An alphabet's molecules,
tasting of honey, iron and salt,
cannot be counted–
as some strings, untouched,
sound when a near one is speaking.
As it was when love slipped inside us.
It looked out to face in every direction.
Then it was inside the tree, the rock, the cloud.


–Jane Hirshfield



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this mind is the matrix of all matter





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I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.
... When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.


–Max Planck
1931 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Father of Quantum Theory



...

I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified.


–Albert Einstein



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heat





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Behind matter there is some kind of heat, around and behind things,
so that what we experience is not the turtle nor the night only,
not the rising whirlwind, not the certainty,
nor the steady gaze.


–Robert Bly  



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the stars are words







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Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realize
The stars are words
and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words,
and so is this world too. 
And I realize that no matter where I am,
whether in a little room full of thought,

or in this endless universe of stars and mountains,
it’s all in my mind.


–Jack Kerouac
Lonesome Traveler



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true lovers






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true lovers in each happening of their hearts
live longer than all which and every who;
despite what fear denies,what hope asserts,
what falsest both disprove by proving true

(all doubts,all certainties,as villains strive
and heroes through the mere mind’s poor pretend
—grim comics of duration:only love
immortally occurs beyond the mind)

such a forever is love’s any now
and her each here is such an everywhere,
even more true would truest lovers grow
if out of midnight dropped more suns than are

(yes;and if time should ask into his was
all shall,their eyes would never miss a yes)


–E. E. Cummings



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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

look






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It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant.

But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call "observation" in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. 

In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call "chance" when they are made by electrons.

–Freeman Dyson










a message from space

 





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Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."


–William Stafford
from The Worth of Local Things



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The stars are like letters which inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky.

Everything in the world is full of signs. 
All events are coordinated.

All things depend on each other; as has been said:

Everything breathes together.


–Plotinus
ca CE 204/5–270



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A Messenger from the Horizon, excerpt






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Pardon all runners,
All speechless, alien winds,
All mad waters.

Pardon their impulses,
Their wild attitudes,
Their young flights, their reticence.

When a message has no clothes on
How can it be spoken.

–Thomas Merton


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love letters






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Every day, priests minutely examine the Law

And endlessly chant complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though, they should learn

How to read the love letters sent by the wind

and rain, the snow and moon.


–Ikkyu
Sonya Arutzen translation


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con(tact





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Autopoiesis = Self-Creation
(from Greek auto = “self” and poiesis = “creation)

"… a network of mutually interacting processes that continuously both create, and sustain, components that regenerate the network of processes that produce them. There is a constant and intimate contact among the things that coexist and coevolve in the universe, a sharing of bonds and messages that makes reality into a stupendous network of interaction and communication.

—Ervin Laszlo
Philosopher Systems Theorist



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reply to a letter








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In the bottom drawer I find a letter which arrived for the first time twenty- six years ago. A letter written in panic, which continues to breathe when it arrives for the second time.

A house has five windows; through four of them daylight shines clear and still. The fifth window faces a dark sky, thunder and storm. I stand by the fifth window. The letter.

Sometimes a wide abyss separates Tuesday from Wednesday, but twenty-six years may pass in a moment. Time is no straight line. but rather a labyrinth. and if you press yourself against the wall, at the right spot, you can hear the hurrying steps and the voices, you can hear yourself walking past on the other side.

Was that letter ever answered? l don't remember, it was a long time ago. The innumerable thresholds of the sea continued to wander. The heart continued to leap from second to second, like the toad in the wet grass of a night in August.

The unanswered letters gather up above, like cirrostratus clouds foreboding a storm. They dim the rays of the sun. One day l shall reply. One day when I am dead and at last free to collect my thoughts. Or at least so far away from here that l can rediscover myself. When recently arrived I walk in the great city. On 25th Street, on the windy streets of dancing garbage. I who love to stroll and merge with the crowd, a capital letter T in the infinite body of text.


–Tomas Tranströmer
Göran Malmqvist translation




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things to think






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Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.

When someone knocks on the door,
Think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time,
Or that it's been decided that if you lie down no one will die.


–Robert Bly
Morning Poems


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Friday, August 25, 2017

what the things can teach us






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How surely gravity's law, strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the strongest thing and pulls it toward
the heart of the world.
Each thing - each stone, blossom, child - is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance, push out beyond what we belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again to learn from the things,
because they are in God's heart; they have never left him.
This is what the things can teach us:
to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness.

Even a bird must do that before he can fly.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Anita Barrows/Joanna Macy translation




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The Sciences Sing a Lullabye






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Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.


–Albert Goldbarth



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say i am





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Learn to distinguish the immovable in the movable, the unchanging in the changing, till you realize that all differences are in appearance only and oneness is a fact. 

This basic identity—you may call God, or Brahman, or the matrix (Prakriti), the words matter little—is only the realization that all is one. 

Once you can say with confidence born from direct experience: ‘I am the world, the world is myself’, you are free from desire and fear on one hand and become totally responsible for the world on the other.


Nisargadatta


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not to worry






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Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

It will not lead you astray.


—Rumi


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will(power






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By whatever path you go, you will have to lose yourself in the One. 

Surrender is complete only when you reach the stage ‘Thou art all’ and ‘Thy will be done’.


–Ramana Maharshi



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Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own
and says, “My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.” 

Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, love, hate. 

Learn how it happens that one watches without willing,
rests without willing, becomes angry without willing,
loves without willing.


–Hippolytus of Rome



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when i met my muse





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I glanced at her and took my glasses
off -- they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things." she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.


–William Stafford


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takeover from inside





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Once every year, the Deer catch human beings. 

They do various things which irresistibly draw men near them; each one selects a certain man.

The Deer shoots the man, who is then compelled to skin it and carry its meat home and eat it.

Then the deer is inside the man. He waits and hides in there, but the man doesn't know it.

When enough Deer have occupied enough men, they will strike all at once.

The men who don't have Deer in them will also be taken by surprise, and everything will change some.

This is called "takeover from inside".


–Gary Snyder



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