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Bart Happel

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  1. Dear Ravindran, I think it can be concluded that many of your ideas and visions of advanced spiritual realms, may have a formal analogy within a ‘chaos theoretical model of reality’. I.e., a chaos model of reality seems to be largely compatible with your mystical experiences. We agree on the possibility of a variety of phenomena, including: memory of organic evolution; different co-evolving sub-universes; the program (software) of marginal life; the fundamental conscious nature of everything; and even the absence of time and space in reality. Perhaps most importantly; a chaos model of consciousness and reality seems to be compatible with a monistic religious view of reality, as well as with the scientific theories of quantum mechanical reality and general relativistic reality. Of course, a final ontological question must be: What sustains the chaotic oscillation? Where does ‘conscious chaos’ come from? I can only argue that it is very likely that universal consciousness incorporates a dynamical principle similar to formal deterministic chaos, exactly because chaos is extremely common in our world and it is extremely simple and infinitely creative. Hence, it seems reasonable to assume that a (subtle) form of chaos must be a basic dynamical quality of universal consciousness (God). Although chaos may underlie many aspects of conscious experience, I don’t think it can be known where ‘universal conscious chaos’ ultimately comes from. Srila Sridhar Maharaj stated this as follows: “Not only is He a magician, but the Super-magician. He is not merely the kind of magician that is within our experience.” (thanks Bija ). Kind regards, bart
  2. A fundamental premise of any ontological argument must be that ‘change’ exists in reality. There is really no way around it; our world changes. It may then be argued that for change to exist, ‘time’ must exist at some level in reality. However, it can more conveniently be argued that time is merely a theoretical concept that we use to describe change with, and that, in fact, only change exists. Time is created by – or derived from change. Time is an epistemological concept and it doesn’t exist as an ontological dimension of reality. So time doesn’t explicitly exist in reality. When I mentioned ‘time’ and ‘absolute time’ this was only to indicate the fundamental difference between the discontinuous (projected) changes in our perceived world and the continuous change of the chaotic oscillation in the reality that underlies our world. And the familiar notion of directionality of time (the arrow of time), is strictly related to the ‘irreversibility’ of all manifest change in our world. When it is agreed that change exists and everything is consciousness, then change must be an aspect of universal consciousness. This requirement is obviously satisfied when universal consciousness is a (continuous) chaotic oscillation. Moreover, deterministic chaos is a formal process that can create infinite structure within a limited formal space. Such a structure is infinitely ‘folded in on itself’, thereby creating a fractal structure. In chaos theory this infinite quality of a fractal structure is referred to as an extra ‘broken dimension’. A fractal structure doesn’t have an integer dimensionality like 2, 3 or 4, but it has, for example, 3.5 dimensions. In reality, such a broken dimension may basically underly our sense of directional time. Finally, all manifest change that we consciously perceive in our world occurs within three space dimensions. Therefore, the origin of our consciousness (and our changing world) must also exist in at least three dimensions or ‘degrees of freedom’. We perceive our 3-dimensional space as separate from the world and containing the world, but that is simply our brain’s interpretation of some actual degrees of freedom of consciousness. Universal consciousness must have degrees of freedom in order to act or behave. In this view, space is simply an aspect of universal consciousness; consciousness has ‘spatial awareness’. Monism is preserved. Kind regards, bart
  3. Dear Ravindran, A reasonable solution still seems possible within the general view that all of reality is a continuous, conscious chaotic oscillation in absolute space and time. This must be the simplest possible model of consciousness. Our ego and the world do not explicitly exist here; all that exists is all pervading consciousness. Next, our cosmic manifestation is created as a discontinuous, 3-dimensional phase projection of the oscillation. It emerges as a conscious function of an interference pattern that is added to the original oscillation in the form of an extra frequency or sound. This interference can, for example, be like the harmonic distortion or intermodulation distortion in electronically amplified sound waves. Such interference can act as a filter that largely suppresses or overrules original consciousness. It may limit consciousness to the perception of only the exact discontinuous set of universal conscious states that constitutes (projects) our actual cosmic manifestation. Local dynamical aspects of such a projection are (necessarily) a conscious function of the interference signal itself. This might be the basis of all fundamental local forces in our cosmic manifestation. Non-local gravity, however, must remain a function of the global chaotic attractor of original universal consciousness, which dictates the macroscopic evolution of our world. And what we perceive as time is strictly relative to the sequential order in which microscopic conscious events occur within our cosmic manifestation. It is not absolute time. Finally, different interference patterns may be added to the universal oscillation simultaneously and different souls may be precisely ‘tuned’ to consciously perceive a specific interference pattern. If somehow our individual human ego is a (by)product of such a mechanism, then simply adding the inverse interference pattern or frequency to the universal oscillation, will cancel the interference and, consequently, our ego and our cosmic manifestation will disappear, and our soul may regain its original consciousness. The only remaining question is: What are souls? I think this must be the solution Ravindran! Kind regards, Bart
  4. Dear Ravindran, Do you think there must be some ethereal medium for such a conscious (cellular) automaton to act on, or is consciousness itself the medium, i.e., do specific marginal (living) conscious regimes transform themselves? Could our cosmic manifestation be a kind of (persistant) dynamical interference pattern within our consciousness? Kind regards, Bart
  5. I have another speculative idea. Perhaps you are familiar with so called ‘cellular automata’, which are related to the parallel rewriting systems (L-systems) which I discussed earlier in this thread. A well known example of a cellular automaton is Conway’s ‘Game of Life’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life). The universe of the Game of Life is an infinite two-dimensional grid of cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, on or off (live or dead). Every cell interacts with its eight neighboring cells according to a few simple rules: 1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by loneliness. 2. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding. 3. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives, unchanged, to the next generation. 4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours comes to life. An initial pattern constitutes the 'seed' of the system. The iterative application of these rules simultaneously to every cell of the grid, results in evolving ‘life-like’ patterns in the grid. (Gosper's glider gun) Different seeds and/or interaction rules (laws of nature) will produce different universes. Our universe could be sparsely and continuously ‘seeded’ by universal consciousness. And, like Conway’s Game of Life, our consciousness may apply some appropriate set of simple rules to create the perceptual space time and matter of our cosmic manifestation. Kind regards, Bart
  6. Dear Ravindran, The term ‘universe’ is normally used to refer to the absolute whole that encompasses everything of reality. Yet we talk about ‘multiple universes’ here. Do you think that one absolute universe exists that has limits and that contains all these sub-universes? And do you think the number of sub-universes is finite or infinite? When you say: “There were many universes with different laws”, I assume that you mean the empirical laws/regularities of physical/material nature. Can you indicate how these laws are different in different universes? Kind regards, Bart
  7. Dear Ravindran, Here’s some speculative reasoning using the language of chaos. I mentioned elsewhere, that human consciousness may be like a stroboscopic light that shines on a fast turning wheel. We may initially see the wheel as just a spinning blur. However, at specific stroboscopic frequencies, the wheel appears not to turn (or to turn very slowly) and we can discern every single detail of the wheel. Although this is in fact an optical illusion, it shows us every real detail of the structure of the wheel. Maybe, analogously, human consciousness can be understood as tuning the frequency of our consciousness to specific dynamical aspects of the universe. Now imagine that the universe is not a wheel but a chaotically oscillating particle in absolute space. And suppose that while this unitary particle describes its infinite chaotic trajectory (at an almost infinite speed) it continuously dissipates and absorbs some elementary visible (audible?) stuff. A stroboscopic light will then reveal evolving fractal structures in the state-space of the oscillation. Different stroboscopic frequencies will tune in on qualitatively different structures. Low stroboscopic frequencies will show structures that are relatively stable or unchanging (i.e., living organisms and dead matter in reality). Higher frequencies will reveal more subtle (unstable) co-existing structures. These may be higher order structures within which lower level structures exist in an overall fractal design. At the top of this hierarchy must be the ‘original’ - and most subtle structure, which essentially encompasses everything. If, in reality, our conscious perception can be compared to a stroboscopic (spot) light, then our perception of time may slow down at higher frequencies. At frequencies beyond the most subtle structure at the top, time may even appear to stop or vanish. Nothing happens and there will be only consciousness. In this chaos analogy of reality, all that we can consciously perceive as structure (be it matter or more subtle forms of energy) exists simultaneously. In a way the frequency of our consciousness creates our specific conscious manifestation of reality. And all structures that we can consciously perceive (including the most subtle all encompassing structure at the top) are in fact no illusion but real aspects of the unitary chaotic oscillation in absolute space. The above is, of course, essentially a dualist description of consciousness, in which we are stroboscopically viewing a chaotic oscillation from the outside. The real mystery seems to be that in reality our consciousness is somehow an integral part or aspect of the chaotic oscillation itself. Indeed, such a monistic assumption much complicates our reasoning about the nature of consciousness and human conscious experience. Kind regards, Bart
  8. Vedanta Sutra 1.26 atma-kriteh parinamat atma-self; kriteh -because of making; parinamat-because of transformation. (Brahman is both the creator and the ingredient of the creation) because He transformed Himself (into the world). Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana The Taittiriya Upanishad (2.6.2) says: so 'kamayata "He desired: I shall become many." It also says (2.7.1): tad atmanam svayam akuruta "He created the world from His own Self." In this way the scriptures explain that Brahman is both the creator and the ingredient from which the creation is made. Someone may object: How can the eternally-perfect creator be also the creation? To answer this objection he says parinmat (because He has transformed Himself). This does not contradict the changelessness of Brahman for a certain kind of transformation is not incompatible with changelessness. Here is the truth of this. In the following passages the shruti explains that Brahman has three potencies: parasya shaktir vividhaiva shruyate "The Supreme has many potencies." Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.8 pradhana-kshetrajna-patir guneshah "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of pradhana (material nature), kshetrajna (the individual spirit souls), and guna (the three material modes)." Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.16 The smriti (Vishnu Purana) also explains: vishnu-shaktih para prokta kshetrajnakhya tatha para avidya-karma-samjnanya tritiya shaktir ucyate "The potency of Lord Vishnu is summarized in three categories: namely the spiritual potency, the living entities, and ignorance. The spiritual potency is full of knowledge; the living entitles, although belonging to the spiritual potency, are subject to bewilderment; and the third energy, which is full of ignorance, is always visible in fruitive activities." In this way the scriptures explain that Brahman is both the creator and the ingredient of which the creation is made. He is the first (the creator) by the agency of His spiritual potency and He is the second (the ingredient of which the creation is made) by the agency of the other two potencies. This interpretation is confirmed by the aphorism sa-visheshena vidhi-nishedhau visheshanam upasankramate (an adjective describes both what a noun is and what it is not). The scriptures also explain (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.1): ya eko 'varno bahudha shakti-yogad varnan anekan nihitartho dadhati vi caiti cante vishvam adau sa devah sa no buddhya shubhaya samyunaktau "May the one, unrivalled Supreme Personality of Godhead, who for His own purpose created the many varieties of living entities by the agency of His potencies, who created everything in the beginning and into whom everything enters at the end, grant pure intelligence to us." As the supreme unchangeable the Supreme Brahman is the original cause of creation, and as the parinami (the transformable) Brahman is also the ingredient of which the creation is made. In His subtle nature Brahman is the creator and in His nature as gross matter He is the creation itself. In this way it is established that the Supreme Brahman is both creator and creation. The creation is thus like a lump of clay that may be shaped in different ways. The word parinamat (because of transformation) in this sutra clearly refutes the theory that declares the material world a vivarta (illusion) that has no reality. The statement that the material world is an illusion superimposed on Brahman just as the existence of silver is an illusion superimposed on an oyster shell with a silvery sheen cannot be accepted because the oyster shell is an object that can be placed before the viewer, but Brahman, because it is all-pervading cannot be placed before the viewer and therefore an illusion cannot be superimposed on it. One may object that although the sky is all-pervading illusions may be superimposed on it. However, Brahman is not like the sky in the sense that the sky may be approached by the material observer but Brahman remains beyond the reach of the material senses and therefore an illusion cannot be superimposed on it. Furthermore, the existence of an illusion implies the existence of something different from the thing on which the illusion is superimposed. Without the existence of something separate there is no possibility of an illusion. In the end, therefore, the vivarta theory postulates the existence of something different from Brahman. This is the fault in their theory. When the scriptures state that the material world is an illusion it should be understood
  9. Gita 4.9: O Arjuna! My birth and activities are transcendental. One who knows this in truth does not take another birth after giving up the present body. He certainly attains Me. Dear Bija, In my understanding ‘knowing something’ is equivalent to ‘being consciously aware of something’, whereas ‘knowledge’ or ‘consciousness’ is not necessarily equivalent to ‘understanding’. If one understands something then one automatically knows it, but if one knows something one may not understand it. Then what did ShRILA VIShVANATHA CAKRAVARTI THAKURA mean when he stated in his explanation of Gita 4.9: “… one who understands the eternal nature of My birth and activities with theistic intelligence-that is, who is not dependent on empiricism to accept it - does not have to take birth again in this material world.”? And can you tell me what Prabhupada meant when he stated in his explanation of the same Gita verse: “… there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas”? Does this mean that the scientific (empirical) method cannot be a valid path to arrive at true/absolute knowledge, or does it mean that these men simply didn’t understand science? Kind regards, Bart
  10. Dear Ravindran, Let me try to solve your realist/idealist (dualist/monist) problem in terms of deterministic chaos. First I will briefly discuss some limitations of chaos models of reality, and then I will tentatively explain how human consciousness may fit into a monistic chaos model of reality. Because chaos is a deterministic process, ‘free will’ cannot exist at any level in a chaos model of reality; the endless evolution of a formal chaotic system is exactly determined by its ‘initial conditions’; there cannot be any free will. This absence of free will in a deterministic chaos model of reality is a limitation of such a model, and it might be a simplification of actual reality. Moreover, ‘consciousness’ is also not explicitly present in chaos. Material deterministic chaos cannot be equated with consciousness. Hence, it is only (simply/bluntly) postulated here that chaos can be a model of consciousness and that fundamental chaotic processes in reality are (mysteriously) self-conscious. Although deterministic chaos obviously provides a very limited framework for understanding real consciousness, I will now try and explain some important aspects of consciousness in terms of chaos theory. From the assumption that our cosmic manifestation is an illusion (or hallucination), it must be concluded that the only thing that exists is our own individual conscious mind that is creating/imagining our entire cosmic manifestation (including the Holy Scripture – as well as all other human beings that we consciously and persistently perceive). All information necessary to create such a consistently evolving manifestation of reality must then somehow ‘locally emerge’ from our individual conscious mind. And if, in addition, it is assumed that other conscious minds also exist in reality, then these other conscious minds must be locally creating/imagining their own individual cosmic manifestation of reality. Indeed, characteristic fractal geometries (apparent in phase-projections of chaotic dynamical systems) demonstrate that infinitely many universes can exist in a chaos model of reality. It may then be speculated that each universe in the model is the individual cosmic manifestation of a single conscious mind. The evolution of all these universes is highly correlated in time and space, which results from the principle of (hierarchical) self-similarity in fractal structures. Consequently, the material actions and changes that any conscious mind perceives in its cosmic manifestation, will ‘co-evolve’ and be perceivable as similar actions and similar changes in our own cosmic manifestation. And, apparently, the dynamics of different universes are so finely synchronized, that locally separate conscious minds can communicate with each other! The universes of the conscious minds that are active on this forum (for example) may be correlated by a ‘higher order’ universal structure, within which their own (similar) ‘lower level’ universes exist. And, although our universes must be similar to the higher order universe, our free will may concurrently change this higher order universe, which may (in turn) concurrently change our own universe. In a chaotic system everything is automatically interconnected and neatly organized; everything is one. Kind regards, Bart
  11. Dear Ravindran, If I understand you correctly, the neurogram of the pranava body (the causal body), is the origin of all experience. You refer to this ‘original cause’ in a number of different ways. You say that the lowest level neurogram of the physical body: “takes up the external stimulus, computes and outputs the sensory phenomenal world”. The next level neurogram of the prana body: “takes the input from the world and outputs an energy configuration”. And the third level neurogram of the causal pravana body: “outputs sound patterns- Mantras”. This high level causation of all conscious experience intrigues me. Can you perhaps explain a bit more about the relation between world, body and consciousness, in terms of what is neurogrammatic input and what is neurogrammatic output? And do you think that neurogrammatic output can, in some way, become the ‘original cause’ of neurogrammatic input (i.e., can free will exist)? Regarding your experience of pranava consciousness, you say: “I perceived the entire universe to be a symphony, of a celestial song, in a primordial and universal language very close to that of Vedas”. I guess that the strings of quantum string theory could produce such a symphony if the combined sound of all quantum strings in the universe would be perfectly coordinated in time. But what’s the coordinating mechanism? Chaos could easily be the choreograph/conductor of such a symphony. I never tried to translate a geometrical fractal into sound. But I believe J.S. Bach did. Wouldn’t it be something, to be able to hear relativity theory? Kind regards, Bart
  12. Dear Ravindran, Here’s another question/consideration for you: In your experience you saw string-like shapes pervading the entire universe. And you speculated that these could be the fundamental (unitary) strings of quantum string theory. The following is essentially what I think I understand of string theory: String theory predicts the existence of consistent quantum field theories within spacetime dimensions (degrees of freedom) higher than our familiar four dimensions (three space dimensions and one time dimension). And the requirement of local interactions (usually present as a basic principle in ordinary quantum field theories) can, at least theoretically, be dropped in string theory. It might then be possible to define a ‘nonlocal’ quantum field theory (without a coupling constant) that models all local forces in nature as well as nonlocal gravity. In string theories, nonlocal (gravitational) interactions are explained by fundamental strings (tiny vibrating lines without mass) that can stretch between different points in spacetime. By mediating some force between nonlocal points, strings could create mass and gravity. This means, string theory could ultimately become the quantum gravitational field theory that unifies quantum mechanics and general relativity theory. Furthermore, the necessary extra dimensions (e.g., six in string theory and seven in M-theory) are believed to be extremely small (compacted). Therefore, the geometrical shape of these extra dimensions and the different resonance frequencies of the different length strings that exist in these dimensions, may explain all the various types of observable quantum particles in nature. Many important details of string theories are still unknown, however, and gravitational string theory (if it exists at all) is commonly believed to be in its very early infancy. I don’t know about you Ravindran, but personally I’m not getting a nice warm feeling when I think about string theory. I think quantum chaos theory is much simpler and much more powerful than any string theory. Especially when it comes to understanding reality as it is. Maybe the strings that you saw were some perceivable aspect of a unitary chaotic oscillation. Kind regards, bart
  13. Dear Ravindran, I must think about this. It is a possibility in the chaos model, though. The main consideration is that phase-projections of the singular oscillation (necessarily) display (evolving) ‘self-similar’ structures (e.g., multiple evolving similar universes and universes within similar universes, etc.). In order to preserve self-similarity, any evolution or change in any universe at any scale must necessarily be ‘followed’ by a similar evolution or change within all universes at all scales. So if more advanced conscious organisms evolved in any universe, this may have ‘driven’ human evolution in our own universe. It may be like Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘morphic resonance theory’, acting at an inter universal scale. And since our brain is just part of our cosmic manifestation, what is actually ‘co-evolving’ is our consciousness. Kind regards, Bart
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