Exploring the Sojourn Mystery

First to recap. This time last year I was waiting for my two-year post operation cancer check-up. In my mind I had it that I would then be at or near the peak of the recurrence probability, after which the probability started to decrease. This started to raise the question as to what to do with the rest of my earthly sojourn, as it looked increasingly like I was going to have one. At the time I was busy tutoring A level science students and the interaction with the young people was very enjoyable. I was getting increasingly fed up with the pedantry in the exam mark schemes and the lack of flexibility in the “allowed” answers. The “improvements” had created an uncertainty and to my mind were more political than pedagogic. The exams are a business and the whole thing was starting to irk me a little. The young people were carrying a “do what you need to pass the exam” mind-set which they had no doubt picked up from the league table obsessed schools. They were very nice to work with, all of them.

I saw an article in a magazine about photonics clusters and this raised in my mind the possibility of revisiting the start-up community, having done one before. So, I started exploring. A hot topic, as yet unsolved, is quantum computing and more solved, quantum cryptography. I began a technology and science survey.  In my mind it seemed that for fully integrate-able devices some kind of photonic optical system was the most likely long-term candidate. What makes a chip fast is the clock frequency, so one would need a high repetition rate source of entangled photons. I trawled through the literature and patents and came up with a patentable putative solution. Now in order to get this off the ground I would need some cash, quite a lot. I could do a proof of principle for about a quarter of a mill. I came up with two possible avenues, one low cash and one high cash. This was predicated by the fact that key-man insurance for a cancer ridden spectre like me is £65k per annum for 2 mill cover. So, either the cash should be so low that that they would waive this insurance or so high that it would not be significant, seemed sensible. The openness to me was better in France and Germany than here in the UK. There is too much history and politics here. In the end I shelved this whole idea as a no-go.

I haven’t tutored this academic year which means that time has passed slowly. I have only one student, who is more mature, and he is a great bloke. I have been doing one tutorial a month. This means that I am in a cash burn situation which cannot go on for ever.

In the back of my mind, is that I am entering my final pinnacle, which is a 1. It will be about being point and /or leadership of some kind.

I have found a lot of closed doors, but none that are open and that have the property of flow as opposed to friction. I am not in the business of arguing the toss or cajoling or chasing any longer. So there has to be flow. When the right door comes along I will know because of this flow.

Since that time, I have written a 250k word blog, which may be the thing I am meant to be doing for now. I put together a trial pamphlet using Kindle publisher and that seems pretty straightforward. I am not overly keen on self-promotion.

Last night I had a dream, which was to do with people in my distant past. In that dream I am using sign language to point them to a road sign. That road sign says, The South. Which is the deep unknown and the place of dreams and dreaming. In the dream I am heading there. And this is where I find myself this morning… Exploring the Sojourn Mystery.

Hmnn…

Is Science a Religion?

It has many similarities. It has its prophets and a very long list of commandments. It has its saints and sacred cows. And it can excommunicate. It has its bishops and archbishops, its novices and your common or garden priests. In laboratories around the world people worship at its benches and it too has its evangelists in terms of widening participation. It has heretics. It has its doctrines. It has many similarities.

Last night we had some friends around and after one and half bottles of wine I wrote a blog post. You can judge for yourself the level of coherence. Science has it that we must all sing from the same or similar hymn sheet, so it has its services, its prayers and mantra. And science has many pulpits from which sermons are given on a daily basis.

I did my Ph.D. at the place which has perhaps the highest Nobel Laureate density per unit human. I worked in a lab haunted by the ghost of Michael Faraday, the place was metaphorically charged with his ectoplasm. He was perhaps a “saint” or a “prophet” in this religion. He even had laws and a unit named after him. His relics are stored in glass cases. And just like for the finger of Jesus in a church, the faithful come to see.

Einstein’s image is amongst the most widely recognised on the planet, we have Hawking and Sheldon. The sayings of latter adorn many a T-shirt.

But just as with any church, it has its power structures. It has it councils of high clergy and these fund the smaller churches. It builds vast cathedrals under countries and sends missionaries into space. It has its seminaries, some grand, some less so. It has its arcane and occult secret teachings known only to a few and it has its doctrine for the masses. Like the church it too has public relations people.

Hmnn…

Yes, science is more than a little like a religion…

Philosophy or Application?

Comparison mind is that aspect of mind which separates. It seeks criteria as grounds and justifications for that separation. It is rarely holistic and is so often used to rank things. It reinforces the dramatic I, that sense of individuating identity or ego sum. It brings to birth better than and worse than; it does aside with any notion of equality, of oneness. We are all God’s children and His eyes equal, is explained away. I am more elevated than you. Unless you have a colostomy bag, you like me will shit on some kind of a toilet today or tomorrow. Maybe your toilet is better than mine and you have that luxury quilted toilet paper, whereas mine might be common or garden.

This philosophy of oneness, in its limit, does away with all notion of status. We are all shitters and at one time or another, we have all been wankers. If there is oneness or unity how can there be any ladder of progression, of being better than? We are all on a journey. Ah but who will hit the finish line first? See, comparison mind kicks in. That holy grail of status is entirely man-made. We have these keys on the keyboard < and >. Whilst they may be useful in maths and equations, do we have to use them to turn our noses up at each other?  Snobbery is the miracle grow fertiliser at the back of rank.

Comparison mind is the very foundation stone of prejudice. It says not like me = bad. It says oik or pleb therefore, beneath me. It says different colour skin, alternate sexual orientation = not good. It says weirdo into new age shit = loony. And we can feel so very justified by our choice of comparison criteria. We may kid ourselves we are being reasonable and fair. We might think we have earned this status which gives us the right to be prejudiced.

What I am talking about is of course conditioned things, these arise out of the selective and conditional use of comparison criteria. The “ranking” is conditional, it is also impermanent. Even human rankings are time varying.

If you apply the philosophy “all conditioned things are impermanent, when one sees this with wisdom one turns away from suffering”, the ramifications are widespread. There can be no status, for that is a conditioned thing. It is easy for me to say this but very hard for most people to let go of this status-trip.

Applying a philosophy and having it as an intellectual idea, are not one and the same thing. See, I have just made a kind of comparison.

Many like nice ideas. When the ramifications bite, they can easily be waylaid. This leads to a kind of hypocrisy, say one thing and do another. Genuine aspiration on the other hand is a work in progress. If we think we have arrived, we are probably wrong. How would we know? What might we use to compare against and test validity?

Have you noticed the circularity that I have introduced?

This is to point at what the Toltecs call “The Riddle of the Mind”. Some things have no comparison and that is hard to accept.

A Thought Experiment

A cave-dwelling yogi, previously trained as a scientist, with strong Buddhist leanings and a background in lasers and optics, who is socially isolated, has an idea for an invention. How might they take that idea beyond idea?

It would not be possible for them to apply for a research grant for proof of principle because they do not belong to an “accepted” institution. Even though they know how to refurbish space into a lab and may have a nearby barn, they do not have the funds to do this. Further because they lack any recent track record it would not be possible for them to join one of these much-venerated accepted institutions because they do not fit the criteria. After all good ideas are only ever generated from within the establishment.

The said being has no status and does not accept the notion of status so even were they to approach a high status being that interaction would go wrong.

Being a Buddhist, the being can only tell the truth, is not prone to showing off and overselling, and is not at all keen on confrontation and competition. Arguing for arguing’s sake does not lead to enlightenment and so for the benefit of all sentient beings this is not something he/she would engage in. The advancement of self goes against the fundamental tenets, so this is not something which they would do.

This yogi knows that all conditioned things are impermanent so although the invention might bring benefit to humanity, that benefit would be impermanent and so would his/her involvement in the endeavour. There are no goals, no ambitions and thus it is not a requirement to strive for their fulfilment. The yogi does not seek financial reward nor fame. So, although it is a nice idea it is not the end of the world if it does not progress. Ideas too are impermanent.

The system as it stands offers no way forward for a being such as this.

My Left Foot

Feet are the dreaming symbol for perception or understanding. And my left foot is causing me some grief. Thanks to the gout it is bright red, swollen and throbbing. I had difficulty sleeping last night due to the foot. Left is left sided knowledge or feeling. I am feeling a little mellow right now, must have been the codeine I had at 4:30 AM.

This morning the kestrel pair were sat on the crossbar of the pole barn, not ten metres from where I stood to smoke. They have been around a lot of late and don’t seem overly perturbed by me. One of them often sits on the electricity pole about four metres from my head. Birds of prey are the dreaming symbol of power.

Mr and Mrs Jackdaw have been regular visitors and they remind us of Russel and Sheryl, the two crows which nested above our door about ten years ago. They arrived when I started to have visions and changed my meditation protocol. Crows are couriers of power.

And today, if I can hack it, I will take my car to get its MOT and service. Car is the dreaming symbol for state of awareness / level of perception. The garage will check it out and tell me if it is OK.

What is my left foot trying to tell me?

Spending Time

spend

verb: spent

[with object]

1 Give (money) to pay for goods, services, or so as to benefit someone or something.

‘the firm has spent £100,000 on hardware’

 

1.1 Use or give out the whole of; exhaust.

‘she couldn’t buy any more because she had already spent her money’

‘the initial surge of interest had spent itself’

 

2 Pass (time) in a specified way or in a particular place.

‘she spent a lot of time travelling’

 

Time

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience. Time is often referred to as a fourth dimension, along with three spatial dimensions.

Time has long been an important subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has consistently eluded scholars. Nevertheless, diverse fields such as business, industry, sports, the sciences, and the performing arts all incorporate some notion of time into their respective measuring systems.

Two contrasting viewpoints on time divide prominent philosophers. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe – a dimension independent of events, in which events occur in sequence. Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time. The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of “container” that events and objects “move through”, nor to any entity that “flows”, but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.

Time in physics is unambiguously operationally defined as “what a clock reads”. Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in both the International System of Units and International System of Quantities. Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.

Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, and the beat of a heart. Currently, the international unit of time, the second, is defined by measuring the electronic transition frequency of caesium atoms. Time is also of significant social importance, having economic value (“time is money”) as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human life spans.”

Unrealised Potential

It is often the case that unless we like the way something is packaged and presented we will not appreciate it. Things that lack quality, but which are well hyped may find purchase and acceptance. Marketing is the answer to a wide audience. A flashy cover does not always make for a good book. Yet some little things can influence others. If you listen to this track you can see that its style has been copied by many others. Unrealised potential may not manifest itself, but it can be a seed, a pathfinder, which is later taken up by others and built upon.


“Billy Boyo was still in his teens when he emerged in the early 1980s. In 1983, he (together with Little John and Ranking Toyan) went to London where he linked up with producer Silver Kamel.

Along with the above noted “One Spliff a Day,” Billy also charted in 1982 with the Henry Junjo Lawes produced single “Wicked She Wicked.” This hit had the added charm of a 13-year-old kid-voice on the mic chanting about a wicked girl.

Billy Boyo wasn’t a prolific recording artist as he did not record much before or after the tracks for the first two albums and was maybe more known as a live MC. His musical career was short-lived and little was heard of him since the second half of the 1980s. In the early 1990s rumor spread that Billy Boyo and Little Harry had been shot and killed. However this proved to be untrue. Billy in fact died of a brain tumour on 29 October 2000, after a two-month-long struggle to beat the disease.”