Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Temporal Dilation, Cosmic Music, and Human Be-Who (11.12.10)

Any attempt to grapple with the concept of time must begin with the obvious fact that it has three equally mysterious modes, past, present and future (and this is not even to touch on the everlasting or the "eternal," the latter of which involves the instantaneous presence of the temporal whole). The present is the place where the past brings the future into being, but also where the the future flows into the now and becomes the past. As Bolton writes, "everything in the past was once future, and then present; everything present was future and will be past; and everything future will be present and then past."

Based upon this, the past would appear to be fixed, but is that really so? Not if the past is inherently entangled with the future. Future events can occur which will give the past an entirely different meaning. For example, if you wrote a history of the 19th century prior to World War I, it would look very different than a history written after World War I, because only as more of the future became the past could you understand events that were implicit in the past, but yet to play themselves out in time. In other words, the past had hidden potentials that were still playing themselves out in the future. As Bolton writes, "the contents of the past and present are thus in constant change by virtue of their changing relationship to the present."

In so many ways, MSM journalism really is an attempt to control the now, so as to control the past and therefore future....

In physics, there is only a one-way arrow of change, from past to future. But as Bolton explains, "to give the experience of change," time "must form a combination of static and dynamic elements. A time series which consisted of pure dynamism could not supply any kind of experience because every element in it would have become something else before it could be known." Alternatively, "a purely static time would not be temporal at all. Only a mingling of the changing with the unchanging can constitute time..."

This is why I not only think that music is the best analogy we have for time, but why we are so drawn to it: because it reveals the very form of time, which in turn brings inherent pleasure, similar to the epistemophilic pleasure of discovery. In short, the ear can tell us much more about time than the eye, but all of science is biased more toward the eye in its mapping of reality. Indeed, science ultimately aims to map all of reality in such a way that it specifically excludes time. For example, a "grand theory of everything" would consist of a single equation that unifies all of the forces in physics -- forces which result in the "illusion" of time. But what if the cosmos is more like a symphony, which has a complex vertical structure (i.e., the "spatial" chords) and a more open and horizontal "melodic" aspect that wends its way through the chords?

Zuckerkandl writes that "The knowledge of space that hand and eye possess is exactly matched by their ignorance of time.... A true image of time must be an image for the ear, an audible image made of tones.... Thanks to music, we are able to behold time."

Now, a work of serious music is obviously a "whole," but it is again a temporal whole with a complex array of vertical and horizontal relations. In fact, in rereading Eliot's Wasteland yesterday, I could hear how very "musical" it is, with complex motifs recurring and commenting upon one another as the poem unfolds, just as in a symphony. Thus, it seems that poetry in general would represent a closer approximation to the structure of reality than any ordinary linear prose.

I am sure this is what Schuon means when he says that a simple believer in literal creationism is surely closer to the truth than any form of materialism can ever be. To say that Genesis is "poetry" is hardly to denigrate it; rather, it is to point out that it employs the appropriate modality to even begin to talk about ultimate reality. It does not pretend to be able to capture the unsayable in language (unless you have no poetic sense and have missed the point), but to use what can be said to disclose what otherwise can't be said or even thought about.

The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Language, like music, is deployed in time. Because of this, you cannot comprehend the meaning of a statement by analyzing its constituent parts, i.e., by breaking it down into its individual words and letters. It is not that the words and letters additively reveal a meaning; rather, they are all in the service of a higher meaning, and were chosen for the very purpose of conveying it. Here again, much of the pleasure in writing is searching for and "discovering" the correct word or phrase for the meaning one wishes to convey, very much as a musician will try to find the proper notes to say what he wishes to say in a solo. This is one more reason there can never be "artificial intelligence" except in its linear sense, but never in the holistic way in which the human mind operates.

For example, I was reading just yesternow (National Review, 12.3.07) about the vast differences between a chess-playing computer program and a chess master. The computer program must consider trillions of possibilities before deciding on a single move, whereas "even the greatest human player considers at most a few thousand, and usually far fewer." Thus, this "billion-to-one advantage in calculating power is nullified by the human grandmaster's power of understanding." It is this depth of understanding that instantaneously excludes literally billions of blind alleys.

As does a profound philosophy of life. In particular, I'm thinking again of how revelation is intended to provide a musical structure with which one may adequately play the "cosmic suite." No computer program could ever do this, because in life, the choices multiply exponentially as compared to a chess match. How do we reduce the chaos to meaning, without reducing meaning to meaninglessness, as does science?

Relgion begins with the idea that ultimate meaning exists, and that it is this meaning that "sponsors," so to speak, all of the meaning we encounter on a moment-to-moment basis, no matter how trivial. Meaning is meaningful because Meaning is always there propping it up; or words are there (including everything from DNA to the mathematical constants that govern physical reality) because the Word is there "behind," "beneath" or "above" them. "Meaning" and "Wholeness" are two aspects of the same phenomena, since meaning is only grasped by sensing the wholeness of parts. In fact, in the absence of wholeness there could obviously be no parts, because they wouldn't be parts of anything.

This is patently true of "spatial" objects, but what about temporal ones? If we try to analyze time by dissecting it down to its constituent parts, do we not eliminate the very melody we are attempting to hear, the Song Supreme? This is the domain of metahistory, which is apparently no longer fashionable, except that it actually is, in the same way that the Left presents us with a counterfeit version of any profound truth. Leftism is like an inverted mirror of falsehood, in which deep truths are presented upside down and backwards, for example, the doctrine of materialism. Materialsm is just an ass-backward religion that starts at the wrong end of reality and proceeds to elevate its absurd error to an absolute.

But the moment you treat parts in an atomistic way, as if they are unrelated in time, you have falsified reality. This is precisely why physics is powerless to understand the most profound and shocking facts of the universe, i.e., life and consciousness. They cannot even discuss these things without a priori turning them into something they are not. But as I wrote in One Cosmos, "Only by changing our perspective to a 'top down' one, from spirit to mind to life to matter, does the cosmos become intelligble in its totality, a totality that unquestionably includes biological and psychological dimensions."

Thus, in the Raccoon view, "when we talk about a 'relationship' between Life and the cosmos, we are dealing quite literally with a tautology, a statement of equivalence." Given the temporal entanglement of the cosmos, in order to not mislead, we cannot refer only to "the universe," but to something along the lines of "the living universe" or "the universe in the process of becoming locally conscious," because only in such a way do we not exclude the most important fact of the cosmos, i.e, the observer making the statement.

It actually goes a lot deeper than this, as is explained in One Cosmos (which is the perfect stocking sopher for the Raccoon in your life who doesn't know he is one). That is, I believe it can be proven that the universe is intrinsically and not just accidentally conscious. It has never been unknown to human beings that this can be proven in mystical experience, but I believe it can also be proven by mere transrational logic. Certain things just must be, and one of them is that our individual consciousness partakes of a much greater consciousness, in the same way that our little ego relates to the cosmic Dreamer who dreams us. One image Alan Watts used to employ is that of a lampshade with hundreds of pinholes. Viewed from the outside, it will look as if there are hundreds of little lights, but in reality, there is only the one bulb at the center.

Oh yes, about that little "slot" where we dilate time and gain a more expansive view of the cosmic goings-on. Sorry that this post has been a bit chaotic -- I'm just free-associating under pressure, since I have to take over child-care responsibilities momentarily. But Mouravieff writes that this slot is like a keyhole -- or key to the whole -- that opens many mysteries.

I believe I've written about this before -- about the "A influences" and the "B influences," the former coming "from the world," the latter outside it. One of the first steps in any spiritual practice is, of course, to tap into a stream of B influences, through which you begin to liberate yourself from the chaotic A influences (which are alternatively coercive, seductive or hypnotic, and average out to "zero") and begin to actualize your very own latent esoteric center (which I symbolize as (¶) in my book) which then proceeds to operate as its own "magnetic center" which draws nonlocal help from other Coons, both living and technically dead. Now that you are "plugged in" to the Coon network, I am sure that this has become a basic fact of your day-to-dei life.

I can't possibly do justice to this topic in the alotted time, but let's just highlight the fact that spiritual knowledge can never be reduced to "know how" in the absence of "be who," for it always involves an expansion of being, not merely the accumulation of intellectual knowledge, or (k). Furthermore, once this be-who (n) is assimilated, it works on us in a way that (k) never can; in that regard, it is much more analogous to medicine, or perhaps a catalytic enzyme. But as it impregnates us, it.... impregnates us, and in spirituality you can definitely be "a little bit pregnant," as (¶) grows and expands within.

Now, the present can be so narrow as to be functionally non-existent for the average person. So distracted is he by the world of A-influences, that the slot of the present -- the only place where be-who can occur -- narrows down to nothing. It might as well be the past, which is why people in thrall to the A influences are technically dead, and why Jesus said that they should just bury their fallow travelers.

But there is another present -- I believe this is the present Petey was referring to on page 15, where it says, You haven't perceived the hologram to your private particle? Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty. Why, it's a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf.

Mouravieff writes that the present "necessarily has extension," but that for exterior man, "this extent is very short.... if we reduce this Present to the zero we think it is, it becomes purely and simply cessation of existence. It is thus that death actually occurs."

Ah ha! Life, therefore, has something do to with the expansion of the present. For someone who abandons himself to A influences, the present disappears. But all forms of concentration, meditation, intellection, and prayer, are aimed at enlarging the present, which is in reality the only "place" that is outside time -- or "above" it, so to speak. If time is a line, this allows us to exist at a right angle to it, where we can begin to perceive time in its fulness, exercise a more profound degree of free will, and make deeper connections with the non-temporal realities that vertically flow into time.

This is what Mouravieff believes Jesus meant when he cracked about the "strait gate": For wide is the door and broad is the path that leads to perdition. Many are they that enter it. For strait is the door and narrow is the Path that leads to life, and few are they that find them. And this is precisely where Jesus and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs merge, for this narrow path is the way back "upstream" to the source of our cosmic slack.

28 Comments:

Blogger River Cocytus said...

Slack-tastic!

That's why Chesterton has such a reverberating idea of the past in The Eternal Man. He off-the-bat assumes that 'history' really is 'His Story' and proceeds to tell the tale as factually as possible and still have it remain a story.

Isn't that how a civilization shapes itself, through its early poems?

12/05/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Coonified said...

"In so many ways, MSM journalism really is an attempt to control the now, so as to control the past and therefore future...."

Rage against the Machine? Yeah right.

No, it's George Orwell.

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

12/05/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In one of the songs we'll be singing at my Christmas concert this weekend, part of the lyrics are:

"Behold, believe and be baptized"

Of course, these days I'm singing slightly different words (bewholed, beleaf...) than everyone else and it makes the song that much more enjoyable.

12/05/2007 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

and Bobtized... so to speak....

12/05/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"The word became flesh and dwelt among us."

Burning Bush
unlocking the earth
in broken language of things
the ancient of days

12/05/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Spy report: Fundamental Errors and Other Minor Glitches.

I promised Van!

12/05/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I do grasp the concept... but I'm afraid as more of a wrestling hold, than as a hug, and something tells me that to hug it, is not as safe as it seems.

. .
. .


Boton explains "to give the experience of change," time "must form a combination of static and dynamic elements. A time series which consisted of pure dynamism could not supply any kind of experience because every element in it would have become something else before it could be known." Alternatively, "a purely static time would not be temporal at all. Only a mingling of the changing with the unchanging can constitute time..."

This relies on Time as being a thing, or three things. On the other hand, what if Time... isn't... but only that Consciousness IS?

Something in me wants to say that there is no future, only present expectations of change, and there is no past, only present conceptions of what had (heh - I know, but...), mere tracings of actions which we organize as memories of Consciousness in action. Here exists. Then does not. Perhaps instead of,

"the contents of the past and present are thus in constant change by virtue of their changing relationship to the present."

...there is nothing more than Now consciousness as it gains more information, updates its virtual understanding of the Now that no longer is? Could it be that there is no more a thing of Time, than there are the lines our mind imagines for us connecting four dots when we seem them arranged in the pattern of a square?

I do grasp that all that IS, is an unfolding of what it was, and will be - demonstrating that we cannot escape the mental formulation of Time, but those was's and will be's may be but inklings of the One that they are a part of, but like the imaginary lines of the four dotted square, does that necessarily mean that time IS something other than something we pretend to see?

Sorry, perhaps if I finish todays post, it'll work out, but it's been digging at me since yesterday (supposedly), and demanded to blurted out NOW!!!

12/05/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

van -

Yes. ;-)

12/05/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"A true image of time must be an image for the ear, an audible image made of tones.... Thanks to music, we are able to behold time."

Time is but the movement of Now, movement is an action which something takes, but it is the thing that is acting, do we think of movement itself as existing after the action is done? And yet we don't question that the movement happend, or that it somehow still exists and that its shadow existence may yet change....

Music is spiritual conceptual movement in time (Ha!) Now. A symphony "...has a complex vertical structure (i.e., the "spatial" chords) and a more open and horizontal "melodic" aspect that wends its way through the chords...", as a sculptur sculpts a sculpture - the formless is by movement given form - but those movements don't exist, the sculpture does. Isn't the delight of music that it lets us grasp from start to finish and all points in between, as a complete sculpted whole - seemingly escaping that inexorable end of all movement, the slide from Now into past? The layers are layered into a creation that exists and seems to beat Time....

Hmm... they were out of Breakfast Blend this morning... had to take Sumatra... perhaps the past is catching up with me. Tell ya what... I'll just keep reading... pay no attention to the mumbler on the sidewalk.

12/05/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In fact, in rereading Eliot's Wasteland yesterday, I could hear how very "musical" it is, with complex motifs recurring and commenting upon one another as the poem unfolds, just as in a symphony. Thus, it seems that poetry in general would represent a closer approximation to the structure of reality than any ordinary linear prose."

Yes! Poetry succeeds at doing to thought, what music does to tapping, gives it substance and completion and beauty in a package fully graspable, and yet with intersections to eternity.

(yes, I said I'd continue reading. Didn't say I wouldn't stop... for a moment. Pass on by, nothing to see here, just ignore the mumbler on the curb, obviously enduring an OC spastic frontal lobe swirl.

12/05/2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Energy/Time = Work

Physics knows it, it just don't wanna admit it.

Time is... workin' out yer salvation with fear and tremblin'! It's passed, its a present, and its futuristic!

12/05/2007 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"without reducing meaning to meaninglessness, as does science?"

I feel compelled to amend that to modernist science (which is a somewhat mutually exclusive pairing).

As I'm going to say elsewhere (in place and time), modernism took

"...proper Science, the practice of temporarily partitioning a whole for the purpose of examining its particulars in order to better comprehend and understand the whole, and short circuited it into being a practice of permanently partitioning the whole for the purposes of establishing pet particulars as several separate and independent wholes of their own..."

12/05/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Certain things just must be, and one of them is that our individual consciousness partakes of a much greater consciousness, in the same way that our little ego relates to the cosmic Dreamer who dreams us. One image Alan Watts used to employ is that of a lampshade with hundreds of pinholes. Viewed from the outside, it will look as if there are hundreds of little lights, but in reality, there is only the one bulb at the center."

[ckshha]'Your attention please. The Captain is reporting that we have landed, on behalf of Air Raccoon Ways, we hope you enjoyed the turbulence today, and hope you will choose to fly with us again in the near future... past... whatever.'

12/05/2007 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Beautiful music; stunning, moving visual images of the Cosmos,
momentarily dispel the Enigma of Time. Hear today, gone tomorrow.

12/05/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody see Pan's Labyrinth?

Amazing depiction of the "nightime" aspect of consciousness. And the timeless quality of the music...

Anyways, I was quite moved by the movie's ending.

I was struck by the fact that the fairy tale part of the story, which seemed real only to Ophelia, was in fact "more real" than any of the terrible happenings in her so-called real life.

Her fairy tales were dismissed as pure fantasy, and her death was perceived as a tragedy. But in truth, it marked her happy return to her rightful throne beside her father as Princess Moanna.

This movie really highlighted how far removed we are from reality, and how deep the Truth actually goes.

WV: Ahuztvrs

Is it Purim already?

12/05/2007 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - In other words, there's too many notes?

12/05/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

OK, a theory -

Before linear time, even before Eternal Time, there was the potentiality of time in which all time pre-existed in its potential state. Forward time, backward time, sideways time all (pre)existed at once, cancelling each other out so that, in effect, no time existed. Creation was thus the blocking, limiting of what was previously the infinite time field into a forward linear time. (Lucky for us because otherwise we would have remained mere potentialities in infinite time)

Anyway - considering that the balance of opposites gives birth to existence - the One/the Many, male/female, yin/yang, positive/negative, etc. - would it not make sense that the very moment our forward time-directed cosmos was born, another cosmos was also born with a backward time direction? Of course, it would seem a backward time direction to us - however, as far as the opposite cosmos would be concerned, our cosmos would have the backward time-direction.

Correct me if I am wrong.

12/05/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Do the cosmoses meet? Or...? How does one even conceive of what might happen?

12/05/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

River, who knows if the opposite cosmos - if there are opposites - meet. Maybe at the end of the end of time when this cosmos is in complete sympathetic vibration with its Creator, maybe then they would meet beyond time.

12/05/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Q: If subatomic k-meson particles can run backwards, and we are made of the same building blocks, can they behave as a key that unlocks a potentiality for the human mind to process eternal time as past-present-future?

A:

----------

In a more poetic vein, Heschel says, "Time is perpetual innovation, a synonym for continuous creation. Time is God's gift to the world of space.

To witness the perpetual marvel of the world's coming into being is to sense the presence of the Giver in the given, to realize that the source of time is eternity, that the secret of being is the eternal within time.

Creation is the language of God, Time is His Song, and things of space the consonants in the song. To sanctify time is to sing the vowels in unison with Him."

12/05/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

A few thoughts on music-as-microcosm-of-the cosmos:

As is the cosmos, good music is holistic. A discerning ear can hear the whole in one phrase.

When we hear a good piece of music for the first time, we somehow are familiar with it - even though we are hearing it for the first time. The contour, the logic of the music seems to us to be inevitable in some way, albeit we are surprised and delighted in its unfolding.

We must recognize good music in the same way we recognize a truth given to us by the cosmos. When we do become aware of a truth, it seems instantly familiar to us; in a sense, we feel that we "have known it all along" though we have not been aware that we have known it.

Good music enters our psyches permanently, we do not forget it. We are, in a way, incapable of forgetting good music. Of course, it's the same when a truth is revealed to us. A truth doesn't just reveal itself one time to then be tucked away in the back of our minds - a truth goes on ringing permanently in that it has invested us with a new clarity. Indeed, when we hear good music, we do feel clarified, braced, justified.

I've no doubt that the cosmos is a symphony, replete with cycles, variations, an inevitable "destiny" to which all its parts serve to fulfill, and, of course, a final movement which unites all themes. And at the most microscopic level, the level where "solidity" loses meaning - aren't those "particles" or "waves" really just vibrations? Little music notes?

12/05/2007 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

So now that we have superstrings, we should work on superbrass next?

I think I'll leave that to the experts for now. The dilation of the present sounds more like my neighborhood. Good old Elias Aslaksen maintained that the Sabbath rest was intended to eventually fill every day of the week. There are six days to do your work, and one day for God to do His work in you. Eventually this will expand so that God works in us to will and to work, seven days a week (or perhaps eight days a week, say I, since time seems to expand during this therapy) and hopefully we entirely cease to do our work, that is to say, to work on behalf of the little ego.

That goal is rather far off for me, but I've been and spied in the land, and it was good.

12/06/2007 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "Good music enters our psyches permanently"

"...da dum Of the Glow of
The dream of the nightbird
...dee da"

;-)

12/06/2007 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Magnus said "we should work on superbras"

If you focus on the clasp, it doesn't matter whether it's super or not - I used to have the one handed, three fingered unsnap movement down pat and...
oh.
"superbrass"
How embarrassing.
(rereading)
Yes, that makes much more sense now, agree completely.
Sorry, carry on.

12/06/2007 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"When we hear a good piece of music for the first time, we somehow are familiar with it - even though we are hearing it for the first time. The contour, the logic of the music seems to us to be inevitable in some way, albeit we are surprised and delighted in its unfolding."

How true this is - it's how I "memorize" music. But what really amazes me is how many (musically talented) people I know who don't seem to really get that (or maybe they just can't retain it?).

12/06/2007 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of music, has anybody heard of The Singing Revolution? I got an email about it this morning (they're wisely directing their marketing campaign to singing groups). The movie looks like it could be interesting anyway. Somehow, I missed this particular event in the media/ history.

Anyone know more?

12/06/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I remember Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania standing up to the soviets, I remember mass protest gatherings, but don't remember the singing...
Looks like wikepedia has something on it though

12/06/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous lou said...

I would like to know? When the republican debates were televised, a question was asked concerning the GLOBALIZATION of Canada,the U.S., and Mexico. The answer was rather convulted but the answer was, We are fighting an Ideaoloigy that some pepole have. Why dosen't the press explain this fight? Why no names of each side?

12/12/2007 04:44:00 AM  

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