Saturday, August 06, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Thought for July 7, 2016

From my Kindle copy of Meditation As Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love
- Highlight Loc. 46-48 | Added on Sunday, May 15, 2016, 03:01 PM Arthur Zajonc quotes:

Simone Weil put it well when she wrote,“To love truth means to endure the void and, as a result, to accept death.Truth is on the side of death.”* Something dies in us every time we change.To make space for the true, familiar well-worn habits must give way.

* Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. E. Crawford and M. von der Ruhr (New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 11.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Thoughts on the Nature of Consciousness Summer 1978

Some notes I found in the attic from the aged 27 me.  It was the summer of 1978.  I've wrestled with the nature of consciousness for a long time.  Also note the opening three lines I'm writing for myself three lines of a piece of music by Yes- Starship Trooper.

"Does consciousness begin?
Does it have an end?

What is feeling?  What is sensation? What is sight?
How can they exist where there is nothing to feel, see, or hear?

If there are no objects to touch, no sound waves for the ear, no light for the eyes, what would there be to be conscious of?
Is it possible to be conscious without these?  Is consciousness involved only in this existence?

Conscience exists now, does it have to end?  

Why does feeling, like sensation have to end?  Why death?
What is soul?

( knowledge
  sensation)       Whats the relation between them?
Is it possible to think without thinking in worldly terms?

Is that why we're here?  To experience, feel, touch?  Perhaps these don't exist on the other side?  Perhaps the structure of language will not permit talk of the other side.  The other side is untranslateable."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Smart, Dimmable LED BR30 Light Bulb

What will be the energy savings? Well, when operating at full brightness, it uses only 9 watts instead of 65 watts. Now suppose I dim it to 70%. Then the total wattage used would be (.7)*9= 6.3 watts This means that I would under such conditions be using a tenth of the energy of a standard incandescent bulb. Can't wait to get the item, test it and see if it works as planned.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bret Victor's Personal View of "What Can A Technologist Do About Climate Change?

I've just discovered a remarkable blogger, Bret Victor.  Plan to spend some time going back through his work.  A late 2015 article discussed what can be done technologically for addressing climate change. I highly recommend this.  A careful once-through reading is not enough, there are so many links, graphs, and models for the reader to come back to for further understanding and depth.  I'm learning a lot from it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Save the World by Using the Blockchain

Skype founder Jaan Tallinn proposes saving the world using Blockchain technoloy

In an interview with the Telegraph, Tallinn says that he is “compiling a research paper on ways of using blockchain to create more co-ordination mechanisms,” that can be used to save humanity from possible resource-based problems, “from crime and corruption to deforestation and over-fishing.”

“The interesting thing about blockchain is that it has made it possible for humanity to reach a consensus about a piece of data without having any authority to dictate it,”
 - Jaan Tallinn

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

How can we stop war? Maybe Bitcoin can help?

Came across this article.  Discusses how bitcoin is a viable method of donating to Antiwar dot com.

Bitcoin Gives Peace a Chance

Just sent them 0.01 BTC     (BTC stands for bitcoin)

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Coming Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Revolution 1

This is the first of intended posts about Alternative Currencies and the Blockchain.  This will change our lives, yet again, as much or more than the coming of the internet.


1. The Human Blockchain Explained

This is one simple article from the online magazine Cointelegraph

2.  Khan Academy introduction to Bitcoin

This is a series of YouTube videos.   This will get you started.  From there you can start googling it yourself.  Please do yourself a favor and do so.

More to come.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Being and Self: Disclosed Not By Instrumental Reason but Poetry, Music ..Art

Another fascinating post at Jack's After the Future blog.  It is titled "The Meaning of History in 25 Theses." The theses could easily generate a book length commentary.  Among the very many things that could be discussed, the first to jump out at me is a snippet from his second comment to his post which is below, (I chose to bold).  
"............... Language and culture provide a kind of raft on which the self floats on the abyss. Language and culture filter the reality of Being as well as disclose it. Some language is more disclosive some more rigid in its filtering. Poetry, music, and other artistic forms are more disclosive, and abstract instrumental reason more controlling and rigidly filtering. 
Modernity especially in the period after the Industrial Revolution has become dominated by an ethos of instrumental reason that has created a group mind for which the depths of Being have been largely filtered out. Even religious language and poetry has lost its capability to disclose depths of the Being of the World that were accessible to our ancestors. Most poets and religious thinkers don't even try to disclose it because it has become so inaccessible. The ones who do go unread because nobody knows (or cares about) what they're talking about. 

This is a theme that Jack often expresses.  It is that the modern project is coming to an end.  In the late modern era as he says, we have lost our ability to express and perceive the depths of being.  Instrumental reason has overcome and bulldozed all in its path.  In its place it is a good thing in my opinion.  (Ironically, I say this as a Fellow of a technical society with the former title of the Instrumentation Society of America.)  I wrestled with this for many years until the postmodernists, as crazy as they sometimes are and write, were able to explain to me that the age of Enlightenment was not all encompassing and the final explanation for everything.  The age of print brought about the Reformation, the rise of Science, Capitalism, and the Industrial Age.  In my lifetime we've gone from the age of print to the age of Radio and Television broadcast, to the Digital Age.  The Visual is or will overcome the flatland of dry linear flatland Enlightenment.  Beauty, Music, Art, and Poetry with digital help should aid us for the next step.  The visual proves the error of the logical, sometimes.

What do the images in this post mean?  It is difficult for me to express but someting attracted me to them..

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Narrative of Evolution, Consciousness, and the Christ

Life from its origins is hardwired for the emergence
            of some kind of reflective consciousness.

That is a quotation lifted from an article in Christian Century Headed Toward Christ: The Grand Narrative of Evolution.  In the article, Ian Curran reviews a new book by Simon Conway Morris, The Runes of Evolution. Curran relates that 

Evolution, to be sure, proceeds by fits and starts. Species arise and then disappear, and the history of life on earth is marked by far more failures than successes. Species can be destroyed by predators, disease, climate change, or, as in the case of the dinosaurs, a wandering comet. But despite the elements of chance and contingency in evolution, Conway Morris perceives an intelligent, law-like process at work, a deep structure unfolding in the emergence of living beings who eventually come to apprehend the very mathematical forms which made possible their evolution. The dawn of self-awareness in the universe, manifest in human intellectual reflection, moral action, and spiritual experience, is a promise woven into the fabric of life from the beginning.

I am satisfied that this is true.  Conway Morris worked on the Burgess Shale with Stephen Jay Gould.  Gould was convinced that evolution was random.  There is no direction to evolution and that humans and the development of consciousness an accident.  Morris believes differently from this.  As do I, now.  

For many years, the trial and error approach of evolution depressed me and produced skepticism that meaning could be found in it.  Of course, being from a very conservative religious background, I had been taught that if evolution is true, we are an accident.  No different from an animal.  It is one reason many, no doubt, hang on to their anti-Darwinism.  They and I, for a while, thought that if evolution is true, then there can be no meaning to the universe.  Now I'm happy to learn this need not be the case.  Books by Morris, John Haught, and others are teaching me a more optimistic view of evolution.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Northrup Frye and the Nature of Man Quote

Thought I'd grab something to read in bed last night before dropping off.  At random picked from long ago The Great Code:  The Bible and Literature by Northrup Frye.  To my surprise it turns out I'd signed it exactly twenty years ago to the day.  In the introduction I came across this pithy quotation:

Man lives, not directly or nakedly in nature like the animals, but within a mythological universe, a body of assumptions and beliefs developed from his existential concerns.

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