Middle Pane

absurdism, philosophy, science, music


May 2013

A Dream and Quantum System Representation

I had some pretty vivid dreams last night, but one of the “segments” that was most impactful was where I was sitting and looking at someone else.  I saw this person as being separate from myself, but at the same time I knew it was myself.  My movements, expressions and thoughts were reflected directly on them.  It was almost, but not quite, like a mirror.  It was slightly exciting, unnerving and honestly a little scary to see and feel myself as separate, but simultaneously be the same as what I was perceiving.  The being I saw had a smooth head devoid of features other than eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  There was no visual similarity between the two of us, but the connection was extremely deep.

paper cranes in a drop

This feels like a direct manifestation of the thoughts that I have been having of the dual nature of existence.  I have been reading a book describing system simulation and modeling systems using linear algebraic matrix and vector representation.  Any system can essentially be modeled using this notation.  This extends into quantum systems where probability and decay come into play.  Different subsystems describing discrete functionality can be combined together to form a super-system.   However, the subsystems can only communicate with each other and the larger super-system through their input and output interfaces.  This begs the question, “Is everything one and a single system operating as a whole or is everything strictly independent?”

I am only about two-thirds of the way through the book (, but the concepts are making sense.  It obviously gets more complex and abstract as the book goes through describing linear, non-linear, time variant, probabilistic  and quantum systems.  The implications are pretty staggering in that life itself could be a self evolving matrix of state transitions.  The last chapters in the paper deal with consciousness and naïve realism.  My brain was pretty much toast from the concepts so far and I wanted to take a break to really cleanse and absorb my thoughts before continuing on.  It is a very interesting read, and the author has a whole site devoted to this approach to defining reality.

Of course this duality at its core is a Buddhist concept.  Overcoming the dual nature of being separate, but the same is to me the heart of enlightenment.  The full realization that there is no difference between the observer and the observed is what I hope to gain through my journey.  This book has definitely given me some insight and validation into my current thought patterns.  I have always been enamored with math, but I have seen it as a problem to be solved, a puzzle.  I have seen math applied to physics of course, but I never took courses in quantum physics, so seeing the application to probabilistic systems is pretty amazing.  This process takes things a step further and applying that understanding to metaphysics and an understanding of the cosmos.  I only wish that I had made those connections 15 years ago while in school.   But I am here now, and everything up to this point has prepared me to accept more of the mathematical nature of the universe.

“There is no duality. Your present knowledge is due to the ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object, whereas the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object. Remembrance also is similarly relative, requiring an object to be remembered and a subject to remember. When there is no duality, who is to remember whom? The Self is ever-present. Each one wants to know the Self. What kind of help does one require to know oneself? People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. The best definition is ‘I am that I am’. The srutis [scriptures] speak of the Self as being the size of one’s thumb, the tip of the hair, an electric spark, vast, subtler than the subtlest, etc. They have no foundation in fact. It is only being, but different from the real and the unreal; it is knowledge, but different from knowledge and ignorance. How can it be defined at all? It is simply being.”
Ramana Maharshi

Continue reading “A Dream and Quantum System Representation”

Of a Quantum Mind

Everything is linked in a tight cosmic dance that depends on every particle being exactly where it is at this moment.  The wind blows and a car moves down the street at a slow pace.  I push buttons on a keyboard made in a factory thousands of miles a way.  We see light in the sky that dates back to the beginning of our conception of time.  Or maybe it is all meaningless random bits and we are all individually ego driven.

I keep coming back to quantum theory as a possible explanation of reality.  Sir Roger Penrose’s theories on the quantum mind posit that the physical world itself holds no clues to consciousness.  Is consciousness in our thoughts or is it in some quantum processing that is currently going on without our awareness?  What is something until it is observed?  Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened and the cat suddenly exists in that state.   If observation causes collapse of a wave into a definite state then what exists in non-observation?  Everything exists in a state of potential waiting to be observed.  The observation forms a matrix of information that we then process as our reality.

The reason is that quantum mechanics requires interpretation before it describes the experience of an observer. While particles and fields are described by a wavefunction, the results of observations are described by classical information which tells you the result. The information about observations is not in the wavefunction, but is additional random data. The wavefunction gives only the probability of getting different outcomes, and it turns into a classical probability only during the act of measurement, when its magnitude squared gives a probability for different outcomes

The Quantum Mind-Body Problem

English: Professor Sir Roger Penrose (born 8 A...

I sort of equate this to a television or monitor.  Each pixel exists in a non-state until the TV is turned on and it is set to a given state.  It is told to be Red or Green or Blue to render a certain image.  All of the pixels on the screen work in unison to produce an image that makes sense to our brains.  Freeze all of the pixels in a given state and the image is paused.  As the pixels change states, we perceive motion when they exist in a state that we expect.  If the pixels are not in the right state for that image, then we may see noise or distortions.

All matter that we perceive is at its base level comprised of bits or particles that can exist in a finite set of states.  That exact set of states gives us the perception of reality.  Those particles form an image of reality.  As those particles change states, reality flows.  When that screen or matrix of particles makes sense, we see a clear image.  When there is a discrepancy between our expectations and that matrix then we see noise.  The more that we can drop our expectations of what the moment should be, the more the picture comes into focus and the noise drops away.

We can focus the image by dropping our expectations and accepting the moment.  The image may still flash and blip, but we are on our path to reducing the noise.  Every thought that you have of yourself in the past is just a thought and it is not happening now.  Likewise the future is just a projection based on how you see your current reality.  The more that you attach to a future or past form, the more rigid you make your current moment.  Release those forms and free reality.

Continue reading “Of a Quantum Mind”

The Empty Boat


There’s a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him. At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening.

Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster. He begins to yell, “Hey, hey, watch out! For Pete’s sake, turn aside!” But the boat just comes right at him, faster and faster.

By this time he’s standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him. He sees that it’s an empty boat.

This is the classic story of our whole life situation. There are a lot of empty boats out there. We’re always screaming and shaking our fists at them. Instead, we could let them stop our minds.

Even if they only stop our mind for 1.1 seconds, we can rest in that little gap. When the story line starts, we can do the tonglen practice of exchanging ourselves for others.

In this way everything we meet has the potential to help us cultivate compassion and reconnect with the spacious, open quality of our minds.

From Comfortable with Uncertainty, pages 103-104

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Let go of Judgment

Judging a moment,

Past, present, or future

Causes ripples through the universe

If you must judge,

Judge positively

Let go of all past and future identities

And what is an identity, but our judgement of ourselves at any given time

Accept it or change your perspective

Either way you have to let it go

Self Realizations

English: The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso in...
English: The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso in Antwerpen, Belgium 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is easy to see my kids as projections of myself.  i don’t mean that they are not independent people, but I definitely see myself in them.  The way that they act.  The things that I hate about myself are the things that I see first in them.  They yell at each other.  They are bossy. These are all things that upon self-reflection are my own issues.  I cannot correct anything in them.  Whether internal thought or external action, they pick up on my vibe, and they cling to my example.

Their shyness is my own.  Their anger is mine.  But I cannot take just the bad right.  I cannot just see my negative qualities and how much I hate myself.  I have to see the good.  I have to see the love and caring.  I have to see the intelligence and creativity.  They are as just me as the anger.

I tried to take today and be as much of an observer of thought and action as I possibly could.  I tried to step back and let things happen without putting my old way of thinking into play.  I tried to take today to change.

I had got my wife a Kindle Fire a couple of weeks ago for an early Mother’s Day/Her Birthday/Our Anniversary present.  I realized this morning lying in bed that I couldn’t let that stand as her gift for Mother’s Day.  Last year I planted a small flower garden and I wanted to continue that tradition as much as possible.   The day before I had put a short fence around the area to keep the dogs out and I put the compost down.  So the decision this morning to do that for her wasn’t a spur of the moment one.  But yesterday we had a pretty good fight, and that made me selfishly not want to plant the garden.  The revelation this morning when I got up is that I needed to do this for her and me.  What will be remembered in a couple weeks?  The argument or the flower bed?  And my wife did appreciate it.  I can’t ignore that.  I think that she was really touched that I did that for her.

Giving your anger the instrument of words and actions is like giving a child a pile of straw and a box of matches. Once lit, anger feeds off the air of exposure and can rage out of control.  The only alternative is to control anger, and the way to do this is to thinking, What is the value of anger? What is the value of tolerance and compassion.

The 14th Dalai Lama – Tenzin Gyatso

On the ride to my mom’s for Mother’s Day, my youngest was in rare form.  He was sleeping and my wife reached back to adjust his car seat because his head kept flopping.  Well, he woke up all pissed off.  Which is a little understandable, but he just has severe anger issues.  (Which again sounds familiar to me.  We are having him evaluated for “sensory” issues tomorrow.  I am not sure what all that means, but he definitely experiences the word differently than most.  He is very particular about his pants wanting to wear only  ones that are super tight calling the others “too wiggly”.  Long aside.)  So he is yelling in the backseat wanting her to put it back up.  When she does put it back up he starts yelling for her to put it back down.  I am trying to keep calm and ignore it, but my wife is at her breaking point too.  I pull the car over and get him out of his seat.  I am trying my best to stay calm and not push any more anger into the situation.  As best as I can I have him understand that it is wrong for him to yell and scream and that is not the way to get what he wants.

Who is teaching who here?

The connection between compassion and egolessness goes both ways. When we let go of the self, we are more inspired to work with others; and when we are generous to others, we realize that the self is lost.

We begin to lose our ego fixation. So when we are generous to that, we begin to lose this; and when we have lost this, we become more capable of dealing with that. At that point, the shedding of ego is a mutual situation.

From The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. Volume Two: The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion, page 14.

Continue reading “Self Realizations”

Paradigm Shift

Bender of Futurama

Do you ever feel that technology is preparing us for an extremely huge paradigm shift?  Show a smart phone to someone from 100 years ago and they would think that you are performing black magic.  It feels like we are being prepared for some sort of mental leap.  How much are we willing to accept?  I just more and more see some merging of man and machine.  Kurzweil predicts it and it really doesn’t feel that far off.  A singularity.  A literal physical connection between man and machine.  A physical and electrical connection to everyone that is part of the grid.  And maybe it will even become organic.  It will touch every particle in the universe.  Maybe it has already happened and we are just remembering it now?  Sort of like Bender getting an upgrade.

Bender: Woof. If that stuff wasn’t real, how can I be sure anything is real? Is it not possible – nay, probable – that my whole life is just a product of my or someone else’s imagination?

Technician: No. Get out. NEXT!

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