Friday, December 9, 2016


So now there's Westworld, the latest in a long line of books, movies and TV shows tracking the plight of various robots who feel disrespected, maligned, alienated and ignored, or whose more aggressive brethren seek revenge, justice, equal rights or domination over the species that created them. And if there are a few among us to whom all of this seems absurd, there is always an 'expert' on hand to assure us in dulcet tones that, although it may now seem farfetched  to have robots with this level of sophistication and versimilitude, it is only a matter of time, perhaps twenty years or possibly thirty, when such humanoids will be commonplace.

Good God!  Do you really think the inner life of a robot has, or could have, anything in common with the life of a human being?  Do you really think that a robot has any inner life at all?  If I make a recording of myself saying, "Hello.  My name is Matt,"  and place the recording device inside a box; do you think when I play that recording that there is an entity within that box who thinks that his name is Matt?  What if I paint a face on the outside of the box?  What if I add some mechanicals so the mouth smiles and the eyes widen when the recording is played?  What if I add some light pattern recognition device so that the recording goes off automatically when anyone enters the room?  Is the box's name Matt yet?  How much more equipment do I have to add before the box's name really is Matt?  Is there any entity, any unitary being or consciousness within that box, no matter how much equipment I add, that could sanely be referred to as Matt, or Gloria or Alphonse, and by sanely I mean referring to that name as if it meant a conscious being that experiences things and that has any feelings or preferences or any self awareness or any awareness of any kind?

A computer named Alpha Go beat the world champion Go player, Lee Seedol.  The wiring of that computer was contained inside a housing on which were printed the name Alpha Go.  Do you really think any wire, any stream of electrons, any pattern recognition device within that computer considered itself as part of Alpha Go?  Do you think any part of that computer realized that it was part of something that we called a computer?   Do you think it realized that it was playing Go?  Do you think that it realized that it beat Lee Seedol?  Do you think that it knew who Lee Seedol was?  Do you think it knew what the game of Go was?  Do you think it knew anything at all?

Computers are intelligently programmed by intelligent programmers to recognize patterns of electrons.  Pattern recognition by a computer is not remotely related to the way that we recognize things, patterns or otherwise.  We think to ourselves that a pattern seems familiar.  We think of where we noticed a similar pattern before.  If we make the connection between one pattern and another we say to ourselves, "Aha, I've got it," or, if we don't say those words we experience that feeling of completion or accomplishment regarding that problem.  Computers do no such thing.  They don't think that anything seems familiar, because they don't think.  They don't experience satisfaction at making a match of patterns because they don't experience.  The only accomplishment that is felt is by the humans that are rooting for the computer.  The computer is not rooting for itself.  The computer has no self.

I have to apologize for making the same point over and over, but people give all indications of not getting it, and this belies a very deep and troubling misunderstanding of what we living beings actually are.  Yes, we have wiring, and, yes, our wiring is programmed for pattern recognition.  We have wiring but we are not our wiring.  We are what experiences our wiring and experiences the world around us.  We are the ground of our experience, which we call consciousness.  And consciousness is the milieu of desires.  Nothing matters to matter.  Matter doesn't care if it is held together in complicated molecules or dispersed into atoms or subatomic particles.  It doesn't care if it is a gas, a liquid or a solid.  It doesn't care if it is in a hot environment or a cold environment, an environment where there are many, many other similar particles or an environment where it is completely isolated.  It doesn't care about anything at all.

Machines, including computers, are made of material.  They perform certain functions because they have been designed that way.  They don't know they are performing those functions.  They don't know anything at all.  They follow instructions, not eagerly and not reluctantly, but blindly, automatically and unconsciously.  Steve Pinker may be very proud of himself because he debunked the 'ghost in the machine.'  As long as he is on a roll, he can now tackle the two other ghosts that are not in the machine, but hover just outside the  machine: namely the ghost, or the non-physical consciousness of the human being that invented the machine and the ghost, or the non-physical consciousness of the user who experiences the benefit of the machine.

If we are upset at the death of a living being, including ourselves, that is because this way that we have been experiencing the world, or our friend has been experiencing this world, this particular set of intentions and way of organizing experience, has come to an end.  We also may be upset at the loss of a machine, if that machine has given us ease or pleasure.  We may be sad when our car is totalled, or when our old computer is beyond repair.  The car and the computer and Alphonse the robot,  could care less.  They won't miss the experience of being that car or that computer or being Alphonse, because they never experienced anything in the first place.  There is no part of Alphonse that experienced being Alphonse.

Now there are some people who believe that conscious computers are right around the corner; that consciousness is just another attribute like power steering or  internet access.  That when we get our programming complicated enough, that consciousness will just grow out of those sufficiently complex electrical and computational conditions.  In fact, it is utterly amazing how many people in our modern neo-Darwinian materialist world hold to this belief.  Why? How?  Is there one shred of evidence to lead you to this bizarre conclusion?  Where did you get this idea that consciousness is an outgrowth of complicated electronics?

Some materialists are upset with this type of argument.  They say that I am impatient with science.  When the helical structure of the DNA  molecule was discovered in 1953, we still had no idea of the genetic code until some years later and then, once we knew the code, that was followed by the discovery of transcription and translation and the details of the manufacture of proteins.  In the same way, now that various neurons are being identified as connected to certain types of experience (memory, hearing, sight, heat, hunger, pleasure sensations, etc.), the code by which those neuron stimulations are translated into experience and the means by which that translation takes place will unravel itself with further research.

The problem with that analogy is this:  When the double helix was discovered, we had no idea of the structure of the cell outside of the nucleus.  We knew that the nucleus occupied only one portion of the cell, but what went on in the rest of the cell was a mystery.  As the cytoplasm and the outer cell was explored, the connection to the activities within the nucleus became clear.  Nucleotides, amino acids and proteins are all measurable, observable objects.  Consciousness is not.  There are no structures external to the neuron where a physical translation could take place.  Everything that is observable within the brain has been observed.  We may not understand it, but we have observed it.  The neuron is not the central part of a larger, as yet unexplored, structure where electric patterns are translated.  And even if some code were figured out, some algorhythm for determining which combination of neurons or activity within the neuron or even observable activity without the neuron, led to specific experiences; the means by which those algorhythmically selected particles were then translated into experience would still elude us.  This is, once again, because consciousness, our actual experience, is neither measurable nor observable; and if we limit ourselves to the scientific method, to the measurement and observation of empirical phenomena, then the best that we can hope for is to be led to the doorstep of consciousness, but never let into the house where consciousness lives; which, by the way, is the house where you live.

In the future you may develop a great affection for your robot, but, sadly, your robot will have no such affection nor disaffection for you.

Are you being shy?  Why don't you make a comment

Sunday, November 20, 2016


                                 THE FIRST DELUSION

In the fall of 2012 a group of eminent scientists and philosophers convened at a lovely hotel in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusettes.  Among them were Richard Dawkins, author of
'The God Delusion,' Daniel Dennett, author of 'Consciousness Explained,' (which his detractors nicknamed 'Consciousness Ignored'), Jerry Coyne, author of 'Why Evolution is True,' Owen Flanagan, author of 'The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World,' and Alexander Rosenberg, author of "The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions.'

There was an enormous amount of common ground in the room.  These men shared and continue to share the belief that the  normal way that people see the world, as containing other people, colors, sounds, sights, sensations, good things and bad things, evil things and inspiring things; which they refer to as the 'manifest image,' is entirely illusory.  They believe that there is an 'objective reality' which consists merely of soundless, colorless moving particles. Sounds and colors, for instance, are the result of how certain vibrations are translated into electrical current and interpreted by our brains.  Our sense that colors and sounds exist in the outer world rather than the inner world of our brains as well as other qualities of objects and spaces such as being attractive or repellent, edible or inedible, scary  or safe; all of this sense of the world that we currently enjoy and allow us to survive and maneuver in a way that we can not only survive but get our needs met in the outer world; all of this ability is entirely the  result, according to the conferees,  of an extemely long line of remarkably fortuitous mutations, each one of them retained because they conferred a slight survival advantage over the genetic apparatus of the previous generations.

So at some early point on the evolutionary tree these mutationally advantaged creatures were preceded by creatures who merely perceived the 'objective reality' of colorless, meaningless particles, and perceived them where they were 'really' taking place within their skulls, as the interpretation of electrical signals received by their brains.  It was only a few of their progeny, many, many generations later, who had been the recipient of a whole series of fantastically fortuitous mutations that allowed them to sense the external world as being colorful and producing various sounds, as well as having distinct qualities;  a world in which there are objects that are  attractive or repellent,  edible or inedible, scary or safe.  Also, at some point, and also do to a long series of really remarkably fortunate mutations, the entire field of perception flipped from being inside their heads to being outside of their heads. 

Now the survival advantage that all these myriad mutations would provide is very easy to understand.  What is harder to grasp are all the tiny incremental advantages that would very gradually lead a creature from perceiving things inside their heads to outside their heads.  If there ever were  such ancient predecessors that actually experienced the world as taking place inside their heads, or even partially inside their heads, and their survival was dependent on being able to meet their needs by accurately maneuvering in the physical world outside of their heads, then that would make survival very difficult indeed!  How many of these feckless creatures could survive an existence of bunking into every object, falling off every cliff, completely incapable of finding water or food or sex partners; how many of these could still be around at the age of sexual maturity for them to replicate for countless generations until one of them was lucky enough to be the recipient of a long series of random mutations that would allow their whole perceptive field to flip outward?

Of course there is no fossil record of any creature anywhere living like that, because living like that would be utterly impossible.  Even the existence of bacteria, that preceded all other life by two billion years, depend on their accurate negotiation of their environment to locate food and water sources, to seek coolness when it gets too hot, to seek warmth when it gets too cold,  etc.   If you experienced everything as taking place inside your head, even if it really was (see post 'Location, Location, Location) so that there was no way to distinguish memories, which really are experienced as inside your head, from actual events happening in the present moment, then that would make surviving, which includes finding nourishment and safety and sex partners, and not walking off cliffs, or running into walls, but being able to maneuver skillfully and alertly in the physical universe in order to get your needs met,  well, that would make surviving very difficult indeed.  

This agreed upon way that we perceive the world around us, which they refer to as the 'manifest image,'  although ultimately illusory, is the agreement within which we all operate, including all the attendees at that conference, otherwise they could never have managed to get themselves to the Berkshires or even inside that conference room. And each species operates within their own uniquely shared agreement.  What one species defines as a food source, another species defines as a predator.  What one species defines as a sex  partner another species defines as a terrifying threat.  What is a comfortable, appealing environment for one species is a fatal environment that must be escaped from for another.  And this species specific, shared illusion, could not have evolved.  No organism, no species, could survive without such a shared illusion; the illusion that corresponds with a particular species is the birthright of each member of that species, and is an integral part of the design  of both the species and the environmental niche in which the species is born.  

"Powered by Darwin, modern science proceeds," in Dennett's phrase, "as a 'universal corrosive,' destroying illusions all the way up and all the way down, dismantling our feelings of freedom and separate selfhood, our morals and beliefs, a mother's love and a patient's prayer: All in reality are just 'molecules in motion.' "*  So these people, these molecules in motion, although they do not actually behave that way, live in their imaginations, in what they call the 'objective reality.'  Although it may be a source of professional embarrassment for them, they probably all do, to some degree, love their mothers, feel compassion for people in need, and reach for the accurately perceived door knob on their way out of conference rooms rather than trying to walk through the wall that they had just bunked into, or trying somehow to reach the doorknob located somewhere on the surface of their cerebellum.

Like members of any cult, all of these people were in total agreement about their core beliefs.  There was, however, one bone of contention, which was the reason for this conference.  Some of them thought that this materialist view should be taught in its full, relentless form; that people should know the utter meaninglessness and randomness of their existence and that every thing that they hoped for and cherished were merely delusions.  Then the masses, who may not understand the truth completely, could just accept it and discover that living a life without purpose, free will or spirituality was not as bad as they had been led to believe by superstitious people, and by superstitious they meant anyone that didn't hold the identical set of beliefs that they did.

Of course if life wasn't so bad for these conferees, it was precisely because they did not live, did not actually manage their lives, according to the tenets that they preached.  They all shared the belief in the ultimate reality of molecules, and in the supreme powers of mutation and natural selection to create all the manifest illusions that we experience around us.  They also had the deep sense of commaradarie, as all cult members do, in that they were the small group that really knew the truth and by virtue of that, they were superior to all the common, unenlightened (or should I say  'unendarkened') people around them.  They were also all professionals, making a good living writing books and doing lectures and panels discussing all this stuff.  If this truly became an age of endarkenment, as they hoped, then the  masses, those incapable of grasping the true genius of this vision, would have lost not only all the things they had previously lived for, but would not have that sense of exclusivity, commaradarie and superiority that the Berkshire group enjoyed.

The other conferees argued that even though what we are is no more than 'moist robots,' if the masses realize that there is no objective reality or free will, then that might undermine civilization.  It would be hard to imagine people taking personal responsibility to live within the civil order if they realized that civil order, responsibility and even one's own personhood were ultimately illusory.  They should be told, according to Dennett, "that the self and free will do exist, and that colors and sounds do exist, just not in the way that they think. They exist in a special way."  This uncommunicated special way, of course, was that they, ultimately, did not exist at all.   Rather like Santa Claus; if you could just convince the kids that Santa did exist and that he was coming to bring you gifts if, and only if, you were good, then you might be able to wrangle some decent behavior out of the little brats for at least the month of December and, if you were lucky, even for some of November.

                              THE SECOND DELUSION

There is another group of people that also believe that the way we perceive the world and most of the things that we hold as important to us is illusory.  I can't point to a specific conference that they attended, although they do confer, but I do know how they experience the world, and, although there are some cultural and stylistic differences among them, they experience the world in the same way. I know this because in speaking with these people or in reading what they  have written, the identical understanding emerges.

Notice that I did not say that they share the same beliefs.  Beliefs pre-date experience.  I believe I will enjoy a movie.  After I have watched the movie it makes no sense to ask me if I believe I will enjoy it.  I already had the experience.  I now know what that experience was like.  So when I am talking about this group, I am not talking about their belief system; in fact, they do not argue about belief systems among themselves; in a very real sense they have no belief systems because the way that they experience the world automatically dictates how they behave.  The golden rule, do unto others as you would have others do unto you, is practiced among them, not because they believe in the authority of the author of that rule, but because they realize that the other that they are doing something unto is actually themselves.

While the first group has come to believe what they believe based on a certain amount of research (while selectively ignoring a huge amount of other research), this second group has come to believe what they believe based on search.  Before research there is search.  These people searched within, and what they discovered was that the material world, which the first group thinks of as the one and only ultimate reality; that the material world has no ultimate reality at all.  Even the molecules that Dennet exalted are not really solid particles, but are configurations of bound forces, with nothing 'solid' in them; that the physical universe, as we perceive it, is the result of the interplay of forces, call them yin and yang, baca and fana, in and yo, Heaven and Earth, celestial and terrestrial, or by many other names.  These forces, which configure with each other, give the illusion of permanence and solidity because of the stable force fields that they create.  Ultimately, the force behind the force fields is consciousness, and consciousness, rather than being a delusional survival trick, is actually the only reality.  In other words you exist and every other being exists, and the delusional part is the way we perceive each other as separate beings.

While the first group talks about and writes books about the God delusion, the second group realizes that nothing actually exists beyond God (the Atman, the Cosmic Consciousness, Allah, Hashem, or whatever you would like to call Him/Her/It); that even the molecules that are the foundational truth of the first group are the illusion of the second group.  In fact, now that quantum physicists have discovered that particles only exist when they are being observed, it is hard to imagine particles as pre-dating the observer.  If particles are a product of consciousness, then, it seems reasonable to assume, consciousness pre-dates particles.  The same would hold true for the wave potentials that things seem to be prior to being observed.  They are wave 'potentials' for what?  For being perceived and interacted with by conscious beings, each conscious being experiencing each thing in their own unique way; and each wave potential having the capacity to be perceived and experienced in a multitude of different ways, sequentially or simultaneously, depending on which beings are perceiving and experiencing it.

How pure consciousness (consciousness not separated by unique organisms, genomes, nervous systems and cultures)  the cosmic consciousness,  Milton's "bright essence increate,"  that beginingless essence from which we all come and to which we will all return, how the world is perceived through that unfiltered consciousness, is beyond our understanding. It seems to me, though, that it would be similar to the way a gift is perceived by a parent prior to giving it to a child.  We imagine all the different ways that the child could enjoy it, and then watch as the child does enjoy it and, hopefully, falls in love with it.  We experience that with the toys and clothing and cars and allowances that we give our children.  The Infinite experiences it with the clouds and mountains and trees and bodies and minds and stars and galaxies and every thing of the natural and organic world that the Infinite provides for all living organisms.

The realization, as the first group would have it, that all is illusory except particles, and that even the observer, the experiencer of these particles and particle formations, which is you, is also illusory, leads to the deepest experience of alienation and despair.  The members of this first group avoid that despair by priding themselves not only on truly understanding what so few others have been able to grasp, and making a good living at it in the process, but they also pride themselves on coping very nicely with this utter meaninglessness, and knowing that this Herculean coping activity is something that the unwashed and uneducated masses most likely could not grapple with.  Their's is a loveless world whose only reward is a cynical superiority over everyone else who doesn't know 'reality' as they know it.

The second group is not really a group, because they understand that all boundaries, including the boundary that separates their group from everyone else; that all boundaries are illusory; that boundaries only exist when you are conscious of them.  If you have ever been in the presence of a saint, you feel the boundary between you and the saint disappear.  You feel the saint bonding with you and knowing you in a way that perhaps no one has known you before, even if you have never met the saint previously.  And this is precisely what love is, the disappearance of a boundary; the realization that you and another person, or group, or your environment, or your planet, or your galaxy, are not separate at all.  That you are of a piece, are one with the entire universe.

The realization of the second group, that all things are illusory, but that you are not a thing; that you are not matter, but that 'bright essence increate,' and that every separate thing that you see is not separate but is, in essence, that same brightness, that same beginningless and endless consciousness 'increate,' leads to an experience of nothing but love.  Isn't it time that we climbed out of the Darwinian darkness and this age of material delusion and despair and entered the light?  Isn't it time that we developed the capacity to slow down the mind and see through this illusion of separation and began to treat each other with the love and respect that all the sages of the past have demanded?  Isn't it time that we realize that, not religous and culture bound dogma, but real spiritual understanding is not a delusion, not the opiate of the masses, but based on a clear understanding of the ultimate truth; that the material world is not the end all and be all, but is merely a phantom, a chimera that exists between desire and experience?

Every particle and every particular thing changes.  Your particular body, your particular genome, your particular brain and nervous system, your particular way of perceiving and experiencing the world, all these things change.  But you, in your essence, you are not a thing.  You are of a piece, you are one with that 'bright essence increate,' that beginningless and endless consciousness.  You are beyond change and beyond separation.  The first group would demolish you and elevate the particle.  The second group sees through particles and the boundaries between particles, to reveal the you which is boundless, limitless and which is also me.

Whether you agree or disagree, please let me hear from you.  Peace!

Friday, November 11, 2016


This is not a political blog, but I am having trouble focussing on anything else but our recent election, so let me write down a few thoughts about it so I can clear my mind to get back to other things.

Why were we all shocked that Donald Trump was elected?  Because we did not understand the level of despair and anger that so many people, particularly in small towns and rural areas are feeling.  Donald spoke to those feelings and promised to alleviate them, but his promises were vague and, I believe, he will not be able to fulfill them.  Not that the Democrats would have done any better.  These people are furious at establishment politics because it has done nothing for them.  The problem is that it cannot, and that is because government is now funded, is completely dependent, on the huge multinational corporations that are the real source of the problem.

There is no government, no nation, no international body, that is powerful enough, or even has the political will at the moment,  to regulate multinational corporations.  Their whole set up, where they are owned and ultimately controlled by faceless investors who make decisions with no regard to the actual people that do the work of these corporations, is something that we have gotten so used to that we take it as an inevitable fact of life; but why should it be that way?  Why are there multinational corporations?  If corporations have the same rights and freedom of speech and power and political participation as citizens, then they should be citizens, too.  Citizens of a particular country, which is the country of citizenship of their owners.  This means that if they are engaged in manufacture, that manufacturing must take place in their native country.  They can import raw materials that are not available in their native country, if they really are not available, but any manufacture, any assemblage must be done in their native country.  They cannot play one labor market off another.  They cannot discard workers who have give decades of service to these corporation, like old shoes, and move on in search of increasingly more desperate pools of labor.  They cannot play this game of switching locations with no allegiances, so that states and countries and workers are so desperate for them that they will bend over backwards and offer these corporations such absurd tax deals and be willing to work for slave wages just for a chance to survive, and so that faceless stock holders can reap huge profits and executives making decisions in offices many thousands of miles away from where the work is actually done, reap obscene salaries and benefits.

All of this is done under the guise of the insidious misnomer 'free market capitalism.'  What is free about it?  My understanding of a market is that it is made up of capital, the owners of the means of production, labor, the people that actually do the work, and consumers, the people that use and purchase the products of this work and machinery.  What is actually meant by 'free markets' is the total domination of labor and consumers by capital.  Consumers must be able to have some control of the price, quality and safety of products.  The 'invisible hand' of a free market will not help consumers if the only choices they have are similarly over priced and flawed.  

Representative government is nothing more complicated than a group of people that are elected to represent the interests of the people that elected them.  People are furious at government because they are not representing their interests, but the interests of their big money supporters.  And it is only government, only the people organized into a large enough and powerful enough group, that is capable of controlling these multi-national corporations.

There should be a limit set on the percentage of profit over costs.  Any one working for a corporation for two years should then, on top of their salary, start to build up some ownership of the business.  The percentage of a company owned by outside investors should never exceed the percentage of the company owned by its employees.  And a formula must be worked out so that the more employees a company hires, the smaller the percentage of ownership is allowed by the original owners.  These situations where huge companies are employing many thousands of workers who cannot support their families on full time jobs, while the owners are making more money than they can possibly spend, is simply obscene.  What is the appeal for a billionaire to become an even richer billionaire?  How much material indulgence can you possibly enjoy?  Or is it the extent of the kow towing and subservience from other people that are in desperate need of a tiny piece of your fortune to support their artistic endeavors, to be donated to their charities, to be celebrated and feted at charity balls, to convince yourself of your utter goodness and generosity, as you exploit by the tens of thousands your own workers; is this what appeals to you?

Whether our trade deals have increased or diminished our employment is hard to say.  What it has definitely done is shifted and then reshifted employment, so we are no longer secure in our jobs.  How many of us are working for employers who we feel have a personal interest in our welfare and security?  Why is that something that we no longer feel that we are entitled to or that is even possible?  It is because of these endless, faceless deals: trade deals and mergers and acquisitions and relocations.

The whole economy is so pumped up, all this wheeling and dealing and hyped up advertising campaigns, with new winners and new losers every day and constant insecurity.  And every thing is growth! growth! growth!  Wouldn't everyone be a lot happier if the emphasis was on stability and more equitable distribution?  Do we really need to live in a society where fashion demands a new wardrobe, new furnishings, new gadgets and new cars every year?  If we really knew each other we would make 'relating' more important than 'impressing' and these endless frivolous products would lose their appeal.

The real slow down in unemployment is due to automation.  These jobs are not coming back, regardless of anything that Trump says.  In fact, there is no holding back technology, so automation will be increasing.  But why should automation screw the worker?  Wasn't the original idea of automation, of technology, to make people's lives easier, not harder?  Why shouldn't that benefit extend to the worker as well as the consumer.  If one worker is creating, because of automation,  four times the product, which is creating four times the profit, than he was thirty years ago, then that worker should be making four times as much.  In fact, he is making less in actual dollar value, because as the number of manufacturing jobs has decreased, because of automation, worker's desperation for those few remaining jobs have increased.  Workers are now willing to accept much lower salaries, in terms of real wages, even though their labor is contributing much more to the profits of their company.  

Here is my suggestion:  We create two jobs where there was one.  Now we have two workers working twenty hours a week, each one making twice as much as his counterpart from thirty years earlier and working half as much.  Why can't we do this?  Why does this seem absurd?  If having rampant unemployment and barely liveable wages while a select few are drowning in obscene, frivolous wealth; if that insanity is accepted as normal, why can't a twenty hour work week with a comfortable wage, comfortable enough to support a family that has enough time and enough security to have a happy life, why can't that be the norm?  Why isn't that the result of automation and technological advances instead of this pathetically skewed distribution of wealth?

Will this destroy corporations?  Of course not.  Do the math.  The corporation is still making more profit per worker than it was before and they now have a labor force that has the economic wherewithall and the leisure time to buy the goods and enjoy the services that the corporation produces.  Even crazy old Henry Ford tripled the wages of his factory workers when he realized how much better he would do when everyone could afford a Ford.

All of this can be done.  All of this is a rational way of doing things, but it will not get done, until we realize that this is what we need; until we stop blaming our unhappiness on people that are different in some way than we are, and focus on the real source of our unhappiness, which is the stranglehold that multi-national corporations and corporate structure and power are exerting on our lives, our freedom, our opportunities and our governments.

This is not a right or left issue.  This is a common sense issue.  This should be a priority for everyone who is not in that top 1% and for decent minded people who are in that top 1%.  When we have a political party that fights for that interest  then we will be able to effect real change without the necessity of bullying or race baiting, or religion baiting, or gender or sexual preference baiting.

Donald Trump says he is an outsider, that his only interest is in making America great again.  He and the Republicans might be able to lure a few corporations back to the U.S. with ridiculous tax cuts so that all the tax burden will be borne by people that are least able to afford it.  And that, I believe, more than the racism, the sexism, the homophobia and Moslemphobia, is why he got elected; people are so desperate for the return of manufacturing work that they are willing to  follow the Republicans and offer the coporations anything they want to get them back and, conversely,  they fear that the Democratic attempts to raise taxes on the wealthiest and most successful corporate profits will drive more job sources away.  

What we really need to do is level the playing field, so that we don't have to be that desperate for work.  Let's end multinational corporations.  Let's have a unified tax deal for all American corporations in all states so they cannot play one against the other, and let's all share in the fruits of technology so that we not only have more convenient gadgets, but that we all have to work less for more pay, and not be divided into a labor market that is either overworked and underpaid, or not able to find work at all.



"Harvard scientists think they've pinpointed the physical source of conciousness.  This is where our awareness lives.  Scientists have struggled for millennia to understand human consciousness - the awareness of one's existence.  Despite advances in neuroscience, we still don't really know where it comes from, and how it arises.
But researchers think they may have finally figured out its physical origins, after pinpointing a network of three specific regions in the brain that appear to be crucial to consciousness.  It's a pretty huge deal for what it means to be human, and it could also help researchers find new treatments for patients in vegetative states."
Fiona McDonald 8 Nov 2016

If this research leads to the ability to resuscitate patients from vegetative comas, that's great.  Their understanding of what it is that they are uncovering, however,  is entirely backwards.  They are not discovering the 'physical source of consciousnes.'  Consciousness is not physical and does not have a physical source. We live in an ocean of consciousness.  We are, in Milton's words,  the 'bright effluence of bright essence increate.'  

Something must have had no beginning, don't you think?  Scientists thought it was particles that were beginningless until they discovered the Big Bang which must have pre-dated, if only for a millisecond, the origin of particles.  Recently we have discovered that particles, at least on the subatomic level, only exist as a function of our perception of them.  When they are not being perceived they are wave potentials.  Potentials to do what?  To materialize into arrangements of seeming particles and in whatever appearance they occur to which ever living organism happens to be perceiving them.  One human perceives a tree as his tree, because it is located in his backyard.  Another person perceives the same tree as their neighbor's tree, and another, a visitor from far away, perceives that tree as an utterly exotic specimen that she has never encountered before.  Simultaneously, several birds perceive the tree as their home, thousands of insects perceive it as their neighborhood, and countless bacteria perceive it as the entire context of their lives including their search for nutrition and their struggle with threats to their existence.  Individual organisms are different ways of perceiving and experiencing the world and the physical world is wave potentials that will appear and mean a countless number of different things simultaneously depending on which organism is perceiving them.  

If the Big Bang was not preceded by consciousness, then how do we account for all the utterly precise and inter-related laws, all the utterly precise qualities of elements of matter, without which there would be no physical universe and, ultimately, no living organisms?  To say that the brain stem, or any part of the brain stem or the cortex is the 'origin' of consciousness, is exactly like saying that the ear is the 'origin' of sound waves, the eye is the 'origin' of light waves, and the nose is the 'origin' of air.  In a functional human being as in any functional animal, their brain is connected to consciousness; they receive consciousness; life is the filtering of consciousness through a particluar body/brain/genome.  

Until scientists realize this, and they won't realize it through research, but through search, through inner contemplation and the practice of slowing down thoughts until you can experience consciousness without the contents of consciousness; until they do that, they will continue regarding their research, much of which may have wonderful salutory effects, but they will continue to view this research completely backwards.  What they are trying to pin point and what they will be tinkering with is the receiver not the generator of consciousness.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


The materialist credo, written by Francis Crick about twenty years ago, is this:  "You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.  Who you are is nothing but a pack of neurons."  

Francis, Francis, Francis.....if a man thinks he is a refrigerator he is still a man; a deluded man, but still a man.  Delusions don't change what you actually are; they merely change the way that you behave in and experience the world, and they always cause pain.  The ugly duckling suffered greatly under his delusion even though he was never actually an ugly duckling.  He was always a swan and he never achieved happiness until he realized who he truly was.

Is that what we are, neurons?  Really?  Neurons, or nerve cells, that make up the brain and nervous system, are the transmitters of electrical current. They all have almost the identical structure with almost the identical electric current moving through them when they are fired. These nerve cells do not think, they just transmit. They are brilliantly programmed, but they do not know they are brilliantly programmed. They do not even know they are transmitting; they do not even know they are nerve cells; they do not even know that they are part of something that we call the brain; they do not know anything at all. They have no knowledge, no will, no desires and no preferences. A brain is like any other machine. It follows orders, not eagerly and not reluctantly, but blindly, automatically and unconsciously.

And what are these orders that the brain follows?  Regarding the conscious brain, the orders are your desires; your non-physical, non-measurable, but experienced desires.  Our desires are so ubiquitous and so continuous, that they often occur without the intercession of  thought.  The thoughtless scratch of an itch requires the initiation of a precise pattern of millions of neurons leading through a path of current through millions more neurons to the precise muscle cells and at the precise intensities and precise sequences that make the successful scratching of that itch possible.

Canadian doctor, Adrian Owen, has found a way to determine whether or not totally paralyzed, comatose patients are still conscious.  He hooks them up to an fMRI brain scan and asks them two questions.  First he asks them, mind you, having no idea at this point whether his words are being heard or not; he asks them to imagine playing a vigorous athletic game, like tennis.  Somewhat later he asks them to imagine being back in their homes and to attempt to recall the details of each room of their house.  If the patient is not conscious, the instructions are not heard and there is no difference in the scans.  But if the patients are conscious, then amazing things start to happen.  When these totally paralyzed patients imagine playing tennis, more blood starts to flow to the premotor cortex, which in a healthy body would divert more blood and energy to the legs and arms.  When they imagine being back in their homes, more blood starts to flow to the parahypocampal gyrus, that part of the brain associated with memory and feeling.  

Isn't this proof that the brain is responding to what you want to do, to your moment to moment intentions and desires?  We don't do what our neurons want us to do.  Our neurons are matter; they don't want us to do anything.  We do what we, conscious beings, want to do. We are consciousness and  consciousness is the milieu of desire and experience.  Neurons are the servants of desire and experience.  They are designed to fire in the most precise patterns at every waking moment to enable us to do with our bodies and our brains whatever it is that we want to do and what ever it is that we want to mentally focus on.  We are not the servant of our neurons.  Our neurons are the servants of us.

Very intelligent people, in fact people that consider themselves to be superior to all other people, because they are clear thinking while everyone else is delusional, and by delusional they mean that those unenlightened (unendarkened?) souls are not in perfect agreement with their entire materialist belief system (like I must be because I just referred to a verboten, non-existent entity, 'the soul') anyway, the belief system of these geniuses  leads them to making the most idiotic comments. 

I was trying to explain to one of them the difference between a firing neuron and the experience of a firing neuron.  "Is an apple the same as the experience of eating an apple?" I asked. "Is a CD the same as the experience of listening to a CD?"  He replied that they were interconnected, that you couldn't have one without the other, so you couldn't exist without neurons.  "Yet there are two hundred billion neurons and only one unitary consciousness, which is you.  It is the same consciousness, whether you are looking, listening, smelling, tasting, thinking, or remembering.  Each of those tasks is related to the firing of different sets of neurons, but whatever neurons are firing, you, the experiencer of your experience, is always the same.  How could there be two hundred billion different neurons, with different sets of them firing at every moment, and each set yielding a different experience, when there is still only one unchanging you, one unitary consciousness, one identical, but non-physical, context for all that varied experience? How could this unity emanate from this multitude?  Doesn't it make more sense to think of the multitude as emanating from the unity?"

He didn't see the problem with it.  He replied that it is perfectly reasonable to think that the taste of an orange emanates from an orange, in fact, it would be insane to think otherwise.  I agreed that the taste of an orange emanates from an orange, but that I, the taster of the orange, do not emanate from the orange.  In fact, if I thought that I emanated from an orange, or a refrigerator, that would be prima facie evidence for my immediate admittance into a mental hospital. Yet the intelligentsia that believe that they emanate from neurons number among the most respected, seemingly sane people in our modern society.

Another of their beliefs, which I am sure you have heard of and may probably believe (but hopefully for not too much longer) is that we experience everything in our heads;  that all our experience comes directly from the firing of patterns of neurons, and that it was only through a fortuitous series of mutations that yielded for our ancestors, the first flipping of consciousness, so that we began to experience the world as taking place outside of our heads.  This remarkable mutation (I was always under the impression that mutations yielded changes in submicroscopic amino acids which yielded tiny changes in submicroscopic proteins, not the wholesale restructuring of our entire system of perception) was retained because it yielded a survival advantage.  That survival advantage is certainly understandable.  How any creature could survive for a day if it experienced the world around it as taking place inside its head, so that it could not, for instance, differentiate between memories, which are experienced inside the head, and real time events, which are not, is beyond me. This feckless imagined ancestor of ours would have absolutely no way of negotiating its environment, since it would keep bunking into the things and falling off the edges of the things, that it experienced as existing within the boundaries of its skull. How any such creature could survive at all is unimaginable.  And, of course, there is absolutely no indication from the fossil record that any such creaure ever existed.

So the common wisdom is that we see things as the result of firings in the visual cortex of our brain, as we hear things at the auditory cortex of our brain and then that experience is flipped so that we see and hear things outside of our skulls and we  seem to do so at a place just behind the lens of the eye and just behind the drum of the ear. So it works something like sending an email or speaking on a telephone.  Words and sounds are first translated into an electrical code, into a pattern of firings, which is then translated back into words and sounds.  The difference is that while we know of the human equipment that translates light into electric patterns (the eye) and equipment that translates sound vibrations into electrical patterns (the ear) we know of no equipment that translates these electrical patterns back into pictures and words again, into what we actually see and hear.  We go directly from firing neurons, and the firing of almost identically structured neurons  with the same current, the same voltage and amperage, to the endlessly varied experiences of our existence.  From the same neurons and the same current, simply depending on their location within the brain, we get smells and tastes and touch sensations, and sights and sounds and memories and thoughts and pain and heat and hunger, etc., etc. Where in our bodies is all the equipment located to translate these electrical signals back into the forms in which we actually experience them?

The eminent biologists who have come to these strange conclusions have been diligently observing and measuring the world for years.  What they have not measured or observed, not even thought about, is 'the observer.'  Just who or what is it that is making all these observations?  And, of course, that would be you.  These conclusions have been reached after years of diligent research, but no search; no looking within, no contemplation.  You are not a thing.  You are context, not content.  If I asked you to bring your awareness to your foot, or inside your mouth, or to your eye or your ear, what is moving is you.  You are your awareness. When your awareness leaves your body you are dead.  When your awareness enters your body you are born.  Awareness is never seen directly.  It cannot be measured or observed.  It is you. It is not a that, but a 'that which.'  It is that which experiences.  It is not what you experience but the experiencer.  Not what you see, but the seer.  Not what you hear but the listener.  What you are is the ground of your own experience.

When you 'seem' to be experiencing sights from just behind the lens of your eye, that is precisely what you are doing. What moves to that spot just behind the lens is you.  You are your awareness.  You are your focus. The optic nerve and all the apparatus that converts light into electricity does that because everything that you observe is recorded in the brain, not experienced in the brain.  This recorded experience is then organized so that if you are a human you attribute a human meaning to what you see and if you are a mosquito you attribute a mosquito meaning to what you see, etc.  Each species defines its experience in its own way through the particular organization of its species specific sensory organs and species specific nervous systems;  and each individual within a species defines their species bounded experience in a particular unique way, depending on that individual's inheritance, and the unique features of the environment in which it has existed up until that point.

Over and over again, materialists tell us that we are deluded; that we experience things as taking place where they are not taking place, that we experience things as brilliantly designed when they are really arrived at simply by the natural processes of mutation and natural selection, and that we are nothing more than a collection of particles.  At the same time quantum physicists are telling us that these very same particles (which materialist biologists tell us form the foundation of the universe, and the essence of who we are) only exist when they are being observed; that unobserved particles are not particles at all, but are fluid waves, that their 'particleness' their solidity, their definition, only comes into being when they are being experienced.  If there is an 'objective reality' separate from how we experience things, as the materialists insist that there is, it is certainly not made up of particles.  In fact, what makes most sense to me, is that the physical world exists only as wave potential for living beings to experience it; the multitude of living beings with their separate organisms and separate genomes, experiencing it in a multitude of different ways.  It has been designed for our experience, and it is beautiful only if we perceive it as beautiful. It is ugly only if we perceive it as ugly.  Who am I to tell the dung beetle that the meal that he is relishing is really disgusting?  The particular object we are perceiving has no existence as a particular object unless we are perceiving it.  There is no 'objective reality' where real truth and real beauty and the real physical universe exist.  If you experience something as beautiful, or inspiring, or delicious, or transcendent, or life changing, then that is what it is.  It is beautiful if we think it is beautiful.  It is ugly if we think that it is ugly.  And it is transcendent if it we experience it as transcendent.  

Through extremely sophisticated optical equipment, research scientists have observed and measured many things that we have never observed or measured; but if they do not know how to deeply reflect inward, if they do not pray, if they do not chant or meditate, then they have never experienced transcendence.  We may have not observed what they have observed, but we have experienced what they have either never experienced, or have experienced and suppressed that experience because it does not comport with their materialist view of the universe. 

We cannot continue to let materialist scientists who always look outward and never look inward, define who we are.  They may be connoisseurs of the material world, but they are spiritual imbeciles.  They can tell us how our bodies work and we welcome and are grateful for that information, but when they start speculating about who we 'really' are and how the world 'really' is, and how the world got to be the way that it is, then they are speaking way out of their area of expertise. Biologists study and describe the equipment through which we conscious beings experience the world. Questions about who we are, why we are here and how we got to be here, are way above their pay grade. 

Don't be shy.  If you have a comment....comment!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016



TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

                            William Blake. 1757–1827

Alas, poor William.  If only he were born in this century, or even the last.  Then he wouldn't be filling his head with such foolish speculations.  Or if he did, he wouldn't dare express them.  Imagine the scorn, the contempt, the mockery, that he would receive for bothering himself with such frivolous wonderings from the likes of Bill Mahr, Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins.  These three and other such like minded enlightened people would pity the naivety of a human being awestruck by the power and beauty of design in nature.  But perhaps it is all understandable since it wasn't until the late nineteenth century,  that all these mysteries were unraveled and that we now have, courtesy of Charles Darwin,  a real and thorough understanding of how we, and all life forms, arrived at the shape we are in.

Or have we?  The neo-Darwinian understanding of the origin of all the marvelous shapes that we (and by we, I mean all life forms) find ourselves in, is that it was arrived at  through the mechanisms of mutation (replication errors in the copying of genes) and natural selection.  By the workings of these two processes, very gradually, advantageous mutation by advantageous mutation, all the myriad and wondrous shapes of life have been arrived at.  It's so simple, isn't it, once the truth is known?  Yet I have a few small quibbles with these 'foundational' truths that are accepted without question by the Church of Neo-Darwinia.

What  relationship is there between genetic mutations and shape? Regarding the shapes of organs and whole bodies, probably very little.  Even the ability of a genetic mutation to change the shape of the protein molecule that it is coded for in any useful way, is called into question.  As protein structure has become better understood, it is now known that the protein is folded into certain shapes, with one hundred or more amino acids involved in each fold.  Also, the shapes and folds are constrained by the chemical qualities of the amino acids.  Some acids are positive, some negative; some bind with the water molecules in the cytoplasm and some are repelled from the water of the cytoplasm.  Biochemist Douglas Axe has shown that the chances of arriving by random mutations at a new protein fold, which would be necessary to not merely adapt the function of the original protein to different surroundings without changing its function, but to actually add a new useful function to it, are so small as to be inconceivable.

Also proteins are sub-microscopic.  Perhaps a million of them  occupy each of the 37.2 trillion cells of our bodies.  How could something that tiny effect the 'fearful symmetry' of the tiger?  In fact with all the 'proof for evolution,' the only mutational changes that have been found to have any benefit at all are chemical changes, not shape or morphological changes.  Neo-Darwinists, as much as they would like to claim and do claim that the basic mystery of life has been solved and we are now merely working out the details, are at a loss to name one advantageous morphological change caused by a mutation.  If they are pressed, the one that they come up with, the one change that they can name of the trillions upon trillions of mutations that would be necessary to begin to achieve the myriad shapes and shapes within shapes of all modern organisms, is the change in shape of the hemoglobin molecule that comes from the mutation causing sickle-cell anemia.  Yet even this one change is clearly not  an improvement of shape, but a degradation of shape.  In malaria infested countries people with one sickle cell gene have some advantage in surviving malaria.  They do have mild anemia.  In fact, if they had two sickle celled genes, they would have severe anemia and probably not survive past  early childhood.  With one such gene they have sickle cell trait rather than sickle cell disease.  This means that because of the degradation of the hemoglobin molecule, the naturally rounded shape of red blood cells collapses in on itself causing a 'sickled' cell.  This shape is less efficient in transporting oxygen around the body, which is the reason we have hemoglobin molecules (our body, amazingly, produces one hundred trillion of them every second), but it also makes it impossible for the malarial protozoa to breed within these sickled cells.  The malarial protozoa gets trapped in collapsed, sickled red blood cells and these cells are recognized by the body as antigens and, along with the trapped protozoa, are eliminated.  So, in heavily infested malarial areas of the world, since people with one copy of this sickle cell gene tend to survive malaria while those who lack that gene often die of malaria at a young age, the sickle cell gene survives.  This is a process of Darwin's natural selection at work, but it is not a process that would lead to any kind of evolution, or 'improvement' from one species, or one class or one phylum to another.  In fact, if left unchecked, it would lead to extinction, because if the majority of any population carried the sickle cell gene then more and more people would inherit the gene from both parents and would have sickle cell disease and die of severe anemia before the age when they are able to reproduce.  So natural selection here is both assuring the survival of the sickle cell gene in malaria infested areas and limiting that survival by killing off inheritors of two sickle cell genes.  It is adaptive, as natural selection based on random mutations always is, in that it allows organisms to cope with environmental threats; but it is not evolutionary, in that natural selection based on random mutations never produces any morphological change that would lead to the development of new species, new classes, new kingdoms, or new phyla of organisms.

Mutations may cause chemical changes which are beneficial to the digestive and immune system because these systems depend on the shape of specific amino acids within the protein molecule to bond with food molecules and pathogens in order to work.  Regarding the shapes of whole organs and organelles and tissues and body symmetries; genes and their protein products are way, way too small to effect any change at that level.  That would be like saying that the shape of grains of sand determines the sand sculptures that you can make with them, or the shape of the tiniest pixels in our modern technology effect the shape of the pictures that can be composed using those pixels.  In fact, in metazoic (multi-celled) creatures the same genes creating the same proteins are used by themselves or in combinations with other proteins in a whole range of different body parts and are themselves involved in the maintenance and structure of many differently shaped parts within the same organism.

Remember Gregor Mendel, the first geneticist and his experiments with peas?  From reading about these Mendelian experiments we got the impression that one gene equalled one trait.  One gene would create a certain kind of petal and another gene would create a different kind of petal.  Understand that Mendel's breeding experiments came way before the discovery of DNA and the understanding of genes and proteins that we now have.  Actually traits are created by clusters of many, many genes that are swapped during sexual reproduction.  Any trait that is noticeable, that doesn't require high tech chemical testing to detect, but is an actual change of shape, requires the interplay of dozens of proteins which, in turn, requires the alteration of staggeringly complex embryological gene firing patterns and unfathomably complex changes in the system of embryological cell differentiation and cell migration, to say nothing of changes in the circulatory system to get nutrients and oxygen to that new trait, changes in the nervous system  and brain real estate so there is a control center for the maintenance of that trait, changes in the skeletal system and the musculature, so there is physical support for that trait and equilibrium is maintained, and on and on.  The simplicity of the neo-Darwinian formula: copying errors in gene replication + natural selection = the myriad variety and complexity of modern life, depends on a naive, out-dated, Mendelian understanding of genetics, and a complete disregard for the overwhelming complexity and synchronicity of embryological processes.

Many evolutionary biologists still cling to the idea that DNA contains all the information necessary for the growth, shape and maintenance of living bodies.  They point to discoveries of networks of regulatory genes which are recipes for proteins that, once manufactured, re-enter the nucleus of the cell and stimulate or suppress the expression of other genes.  Early on in the embryological process, genes are expressed that produce proteins that regulate the expression of genes in different parts of the body.  Somehow, within the initial cell, the fertilized ovum, there is a magnetic polarity, so that certain regulatory proteins are distributed unevenly through that ovum.  When the ovum mitotically divides, the daughter cells have different distributions of these proteins, so different genes wind up getting expressed in different cells.  It is fascinating and wonderfully complex and goes a long way toward explaining how different types of cells are distributed in different directions as the morula, the sphere of daughter cells caused by the mitotic division of the ovum, develops.  It tells us nothing about how or why the morula develops into the blastula and then the distinctive shape of the gastrula, distinctive for each species, and then the further migration of all the cells.  What is sort of explained is how the cells are initially differentiated into different types of cells.  I say sort of, because we know nothing of how that particular magnetic polarity in human eggs gets there and how or why it differs from the magnetic polarity in chicken eggs or frog eggs or monkey eggs.  Then, once we wind up with different cells, where is the control which determines how much of each cell is replicated, when it is replicated, and how the different cells are migrated in different directions once gastrulation and the further development of body parts is accomplished?

Structuralism was the predominant scientific position regarding body formation prior to Darwin, and is currently enjoying a fairly robust resurgence.  It holds that organic matter,  just like inorganic matter, has certain inherent properties and the forms that it takes in charged, metabolic environments, is predestined by these inherent properties in the same way that the shape of atoms, crystals or snow flakes is inherent in the chemical and physical properties of those particles.  That does not mean that there is no variation of shapes among atoms, crystals and snow flakes,  but that there is a basic, underlying shape or pattern that is invariant.  This basic, invariant pattern is what Richard Owen, one of the giants of structuralist biology, called the 'primal pattern.'  The variations on the primal pattern were referred to, by Richard Owen, as the 'adaptive mask.'  For instance, the atom always consists of a central nucleus which, in turn consists of some combination of protons and neutrons and  some combination of electrons that circles the nucleus at a considerable distance from it (considerable in relation to the size of the nucleus itself).  This is the invariable primal pattern, but within this pattern there is variety in the number of protons and neutrons that make up the nucleus, the number of electron particles  and the distance at which they circle the nucleus; all of these variations deriving from the environmental factors at the time the atom was formed.  In the same way, crystals expand into a very wide variety of shapes depending on environmental factors during this expansion, but they achieve this growth using a much more limited variety of repetitive patterns,  those primal patterns being dependent on immanent chemical and physical qualities of the elemental or molecular material that is crystallizing.  All the distinctive patterns that make a crystal recognizable as a crystal, an atom recognizable as an atom, and a species recognizable as a species, are the invariant primal patterns, and all the specific qualities that make a crystal a particular, unique crystal; make a snowflake a particular, unique snowflake, and make a member of a species a particular, unique member of that species, are the adaptive mask.

We are referred to as 'carbon' based life because of the central role that the carbon atom plays in nucleotides and proteins.  Structuralists remind us that  not only the carbon atom but  the oxygen atom and organic compounds, like carbon dioxide and water,  have certain inherent properties that allow them to combine in ways that create the complex chemical systems associated with life and without which there would be no life.  These properties do not change over time, are not responsive to environmental variations, and as such are beyond the purview of genes or adaptive changes.  They are epigenetic and come from inherent properties and laws that are imminent in these atoms and compounds themselves.

These immanent and unchangeable qualities of matter, both organic and inorganic, were thought of as being part of a Divine Plan, with no more explanation to it than that,  that I could find.  The adaptive masks were somehow adapted for different environments and uses, but that process was also not elucidated.

The spread of Darwinian thought put an end, at least temporarily,  to the idea of living organisms as natural outgrowths of chemical and physical laws.  Darwinian organisms were considered artifacts, consisting of components randomly cobbled together as the chance outcome of accidental mutations and the natural selection of an arbitrarily changing environment.

As Michael Denton writes,
"The adoption of the 'contingent mutable artifact' as the metaphor of organic form ushered in the modern era of biology and changed the whole explanatory framework of biological science, from what was a structuralist/functionalist (primal abstract patterns by law, adaptive masks by environmental selection), to a purely functionalist conception of nature.  The very naturalness of life-the idea of life as a necessary part of nature-was abandoned.  The metaphor of the crystal was replaced by that of the watch." 

With the unquestioned, almost monolithic, acceptance of Darwinian thought, the ubiquitous presence of epigenetic, unchanging and non-adaptive patterns in living organisms have been overlooked, until recently.  The entire system of protein manufacture including the processes of transcription, translation and DNA replication is one of those patterns.  These highly complex, highly precise functions, all operating synchronously and in tandem,  and all operating in every one of the 37.2 trillion cells in your body at this very moment, are the system by which all the protein molecules needed for the construction and maintenance of living organisms are manufactured and supplied, and are, in their essence, and aside from the addition of a few bells and whistles, exactly the same processes that manufactured and supplied proteins to the first chemotrophic and photosynthetic bacteria that began life close to four billion years ago.  Although we still are not close to understanding all the processes that are involved in the functioning of such remarkably complex apparatus as the protein transcription, translation and replication equipment, it is hard to the point of impossibility to imagine that all of this arose simply in response to environmental factors.  In fact the whole Darwinian theory is based on viable, already living organisms,  gradually developing features that enhance their survival.  Yet without that equipment, an organism, if you can call organic material lacking the means of manufacturing proteins an organism, is not surviving anyway, so there is no basis to select  a feature that helps it to survive more and drop a feature that helps it survive less, when there is no survival going on in the first place.

Although we cannot explain entire biological systems in terms of immanent laws, we certainly can explain many essential aspects of them by those laws.  The nucleotide chains of both DNA and RNA consist of an invariant backbone of a five carbon sugar and a phosphate base, which combine with each other and attach to new nucleotides  in always the identical manner (the primal pattern).  Nucleotide chains also contain a base, always one of four possible bases, and the various arrangements  of these bases is the adaptive mask. It is this very variety of nucleotide base arrangements that contain the information of the genetic code.  Yet while there is necessary variety in the way the bases are arranged on the original strand, there is no variety in the way the bases are arranged on the opposing strand.  The bases line up on opposing strands in a manner that is  invariable and absolutely constant, regardless of any environmental contingencies:  A (adenine) to T (thymine) and T to A, and C (cytosine) to G (guanine) and G to C in DNA, and A to U (uracil) and U to T, and C to G and G to C in RNA. This consistency is due to their physical shape and chemical composition, so when they are opposite each other and in the correct position they form hydrogen bonds which hold the two strands together.  This is another part of the 'primal pattern' of DNA that does not change regardless of the  class or phyla or kingdom that an organism belongs to,  and has not changed or adapted in any way over the millennia.  So this too is epigenetic, beyond the influence of genes and is immanent, based on internal physical and chemical laws, and does not alter with alterations in environmental factors.

Also, the way that proteins fold, into variations of alpha helices and beta sheets,  are determined by the chemical nature of the proteins and their response to the watery environment of the cytoplasm.  These folding constraints may limit the number of possible mutations and create huge hurdles for neo-Darwinian contentions that all evolution is the result of the random appearance of new proteins.  Proteins may be found to have a history that is more limited, more cyclical and repetitive than open ended and revelatory, because of the physical and chemical constraints involved in the protein folding process.  In other words, evolution has more likely taken place,  not from the chance arrival of novel proteins, but from combining a limited vocabulary of proteins and using them in novel ways.

Lipids have also been discovered to be self organizing in an aqueous solution, according to their chemical properties.  Lipids have a water averse, hydrophobic side and a water loving, hydrophilic side.  In water, they self-organize into bi-layers with the two hydrophilic sides on the outside and the two hydrophobic sides protected from the water and pointing inward.  These bilayer lipid membranes form the outer boundaries, the membranes, of all living cells and the boundaries of organelles within the cell, including the outer membranes of the nucleus, the mitochondria, the chloroplast, etc.  Now they can be adapted, bent and re-shaped by proteins to fit specific adaptive needs, but, again, this is the adaptive mask altering the primal pattern which is epigenetic, obeying inherent chemical laws and not responsive to adaptive neccessities.

Finally, there are the deep homologies that, although they have always been claimed by Darwinists as evidence of their theory, actually give convincing support to the structuralists.  The same basic patterns and shapes appear in a wide variety of organisms, both plants and animals,  and have been adapted for a wide variety of uses.  A most famous one is the one-two-five pattern.  In tetrapod limbs, whether they be legs, arms, flippers, fins, or wings; whether they be used for swimming, flying, jumping, running, pollen collecting or grabbing prey; they follow the same pattern of one larger, thicker bone (in humans, the humerus of the arm and the femur of the leg) leading to two bones (in humans, the radius and ulna, leading from the elbow to the wrist, and the tibia and fibula, leading from the knee to the ankle),  and then separating into five bones (in humans. the metacarpals of the hand leading to five fingers and the metatarsals of the feet leading to five toes).  Yet what has been learned about this homology is that it is produced in different organisms with completely different genes and following completely different embryological pathways.  In other words completely different manufacturing techniques, consisting of completely different genetic pathways, wind up with the same one-two-five pattern. So this pattern (the primal pattern), although it has been modified over and over again (the adaptive mask) has endured in all it's various forms for hundreds of millions of years.  The form, the primal pattern, is adapted but never sacrificed.

The same holds true for all the other deep homologies.  They are arrived at through different genetic paths and different manufacturing techniques, even formed from cells deriving from different embryological tissues, but somehow that basic pattern winds up being constructed.  Where do these persistent patterns come from if they are not derived from either the genes or the embryological body plan and the migration of particular cells?


I need to mention here a number of fascinating discoveries made recently concerning the epigenetic (beyond genes) processes of cell formation and cell to cell alignment.  These discoveries include the understanding of how changes in microtubule structures within a cell change the shape of a cell; that the same cell's shape can change during the life of that cell and that microtubules which radiate out from a centrosome near the nucleus of the cell to the periphery, along with actin filaments, not only create a structural cytoskeleton which gives some rigidity and solidity to the cell, but create the pathways along which molecules are moved to the periphery of the cell to position organelles and other structures.  The centrosome replicates during the whole cell's replication, but it replicates separately from the DNA.  Also, although the microtubules are made of tubular, a protein manufactured by DNA, their positioning, at least in part, is determined  by the location of  target protein molecules embedded in the cell membrane.  These target protein molecules are also manufactured from DNA recipes, but their position in the membrane, a position which effects the entire movement of materials during the cell's growth process, is not determined by DNA.  The way that target protein molecules are positioned is not known, but it seems to have something to do with their alignment with the protein molecules embedded in the membranes of adjacent cells.  Also embedded in the cell membrane are sugar molecules which  embed at various angles to the surface of the membrane and at various positions on the 
membrane.  It is suspected that there is a 'sugar code,'  possibly more complex than the genetic code, which determines the spacing and relationships between cells.

What the structuralists had hoped to find were laws of form that would explain the basic morphologies of the world of living organisms and would account for the course of evolution.  To find a law, or set of laws, that would make orderly and legalistic sense of the myriad shapes of living creatures, from microscopic to gigantic, from almost four billion years ago to today, including all plants, all animals, all fish, all birds, reptiles and insects, seems, by the enormity of its scope, to be doomed to failure.  Also, it is obvious, no matter what position one holds, that living creatures are adaptive.  In fact you can make a case that the bulk of living behavior is adaptive, as living creatures attempt to get what they want from a constantly changing environment.  Although there are biological processes, some of which I mentioned above, that are not affected by environmental factors and do not change over time, certainly the shapes of bodies, and of internal biological systems, are responsve to environmental demands, whether that response is accomplished in a Darwinian manner, or not.  The avian feather has a masterly design for a flying creature, as has the avian lung which, unlike any other lung, takes in and eliminates air continuously and simultaneously.  Whether these features, both of which make a sudden appearance, fully formed, in the fossil record, without any clear antecedents, were a result of a Darwinian process of evolution or some other process, it is hard to imagine that they resulted from a process that is immanent in the materials of feathers and avian lungs, and that did not somehow take a flying environment into account.

The failure of the structuralists to find such a set of laws was what opened the door for the acceptance of Darwinian functionalist thought in the second half of the nineteenth century.  The Darwinians, in turn, had hoped to discover the genetic blueprint in the genes that would specify or determine the actual form of the organism.  Yet this search has also failed.  In fact there does not seem to be any relationship, not only any proven relationship, but any conceivable relationship,  between genes and shapes.  In complex multi-celled creatures each gene, with few exceptions, is used in the construction and maintenance of several different parts of the body and is involved in many different shapes.  To try to find a process whereby living forms are shaped through a genetic method or through a legalistic method both seem equally doomed, which they have been, in spite of decades of research whose aim has been to find just that.  Is there yet another possible way of looking at this whole problem that promises to be more fruitful?
                                     A THIRD WAY

Beyond structuralism and functionalism, there is a third position in this argument, but the people that hold this position are usually not scientists and they usually don't argue.  The fact that I hold this position and, although I am not a scientist,  have a strong interest in science, and that I am argumentative as well, may be an anomaly. Yet, whatever it is, and for whatever it's worth, here follows the best scientific argument that I can muster for the  shaping of living bodies through this third way.

I have to begin not with bodies, but with forces.  The mystical (or traditional Eastern or pre-industrial) understanding of forces was and is very different than the modern Western understanding of forces.  Westerners think that the source of forces is matter, either little particles of matter or huge amalgamations of matter, and that forces move between particles and amalgamations of matter. So electro-magnetism in the West is a by product of the positive charge of a proton and the negative charge of an electron.  Electro-magnetic positivity and negativity radiate from and between positively charged or negatively charge particles and they result from immanent qualities of those particles.  The same is true for gravity.  Gravity is a force that extends from a larger body to a smaller body and back.  Gravity is a force between physical bodies and is a quality of the mass, the sheer amount of physical stuff,  in those bodies.  And the strong and weak forces of Western physics are the by product of attractions between sub-atomic particles.  

As strange as it may seem to Western ears, the mystic idea of forces is that they do not emanate from matter; that matter, in fact, or the illusion of matter and solidity, comes from the attraction between forces; and that forces, rather than emanating from and toward matter, actually attract each other and form configurations, including stable configurations, made up of just mutually attractive forces.  It is the fields of force created by these attractions that create the experience of impermeability and solidity rather than any emanations from particles.  In fact there are no particles.  Seeming particles are more condensed associations of opposing forces within a larger context of opposing forces, like whirlpools in a stormy sea,  or tornadoes in a windy sky. 

The two opposing forces of which mystics and pre-industrialists and traditional Easterners speak are called, variously, yin and yang, in and yo, Tawa and Takpella, Heaven and Earth, Shiva and Shakti, celestial and terrestrial, Mother Earth and Father Sky, etc. One is an expanding, centrifugal force and one is a contracting, centripedal force. I have spoken a lot about these forces in other posts:  how they behave, and how an understanding of them transforms one's perception of the world.  What we call solid objects, including stars and galaxies of stars, and planets and organisms and cells within organisms and molecules and atoms and subatomic particles,  are all yin and yang in combination and combinations of yin  and yang within combinations of yin and yang.  The appearance of solidity is caused by the stability of these forces keeping each other in balance.

At the center of each naturally formed object is pure yang.  Man made objects are not necessarily more yang at their center, although they include a multitude of atoms and molecules which are, themselves, more yang at their center. This pure yang center is held in place and prevented from going where it really wants to go, which is to the closest strong yang (which, on earth, would be the center of our planet) by the outward pull of yin, which, in turn, is held in place by the inward force of yang and kept from going where it wants to go, which is to expand out and disperse through the universe at infinite speed.  Without yin, the yang center of any earth bound object would quickly collapse into the center of the earth, which would quickly collapse into the center of the sun, which would quickly collapse into the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, which would quickly collapse, along with every other galaxy, into the yang center of the universe, which is located at the non-physical center of the expanding 'balloon' of the world of 'matter' (actually the world of yin and yang in combination).  Then we would quickly be back to exactly where we were at the time of the bifurcation of yin and yang, when the universe first began.

While pure yang exists only at the very center of natural objects, pure yin expands at infinite speed throughout the entire universe.  It is found wherever yin and yang in combination don't already exist.  In other words, pure yin is everywhere the material world is not, including all the interstices between combinations of yin and yang.  Wherever there is unbound pure yang, it is instantly 'captured,' surrounded and held in place, by pure yin.  This sudden appearance of yin formations the moment there is unbound yang, is the 'proof' that scientists discovered for the existence of a Higgs boson and a Higgs field that captured all the news a couple of years ago at the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland. 

In other posts I talk about how many of the mysteries of modern physics are explained much more simply through an understanding of yin and yang.  Please look at the following posts: 'Particle Fever,' 'Yin, Yang and Beyong,'  'The Complete Theory of Nothing,' and Understanding the Quantum.'  My point, in this post, is that a charged pattern of forces, a configuration of yin and yang energy,  precedes the physical body, and as the embryonic cells grow, expand and differentiate, they migrate  to fill out the patterns of positive and negative energy that are already there.

This may seem like a very far out perspective than the two that are currently held by the scientific community, but I remind you that  the functionalist position offers only mutations as a means of change, and there are no known genetic mutations that, by themselves, create any improvement in shapes; while the structuralist position posits a set of laws, without discussing the origin of those laws, which determine underlying shapes, but no explanation for an evolutionary method of change other than to say that it is adaptive.  

Although it may seem far out to you, yin and yang is the basis for acupuncture, moxabustion, shiatsu massage and aryuvedic medicine; in fact it is the basis of all traditional Eastern therapies and of traditional, pre-industrial, therapies here in the West.  Of course you may think that these traditional therapies have no real medicinal effect and if they result in any improvements at all it is because of the placebo effect that comes from uninformed people holding primitive beliefs in their efficacy.  Chinese veterinarians commonly use acupuncture to sedate pets during operations.  It is hard to think that the sedative effect of acupuncture needles in this case is due to the irrational beliefs in their efficacy held by Fido and Mittens.  The therapeutic effects of acupuncture are so widely accepted that even Western health insurance companies, those most conservative of institutions, have been forced to insure acupuncture treatments for many painful ailments.

In acupuncture, needles are applied along spirallic meridians that transect the body.  These meridians are not just the arbitrary result of how material organisms happened to form, but are the energy structure that precedes the physical body and that the cells of the physical body organize themselves around.  (Cells, too, are themselves configurations of energy, within the larger energy configurations of organs, tissues and the energy configuration of the entire organism, but I will continue to refer to them as if they were solid physical objects.)

Energy, as it operates in organisms is considered to be,  in the West, positively charged and negatively charged particles repelling and attracting each other.  Positive charges correspond with yang and negative charges correspond with yin, with the following caveats:  Yin and yang are not qualities of matter, but create, themselves,  the illusion of matter.  Positive and negative refer, usually, to the slight imbalance of much more yin/yang forces within the object, which go undetected because those two much greater opposing forces neutralize each other.  That is why, when atoms are split, enormous forces are released.  These forces are the same as the positive and negative forces that we detect in stable atoms, it's just that that stability is caused by much stronger amounts of yin and yang held in balance.  Also, while yin, or negativity, captures any unbound yang, it is not really drawn to it. Pure yin expands endlessly and is everywhere that matter is not.  It is not drawn to unbound yang; it is already there.  The two forces capture each other, bind each other, but are not 'drawn' to each other.  They, in fact, pull away from each other and it is this tug of war, this bound field of opposing forces, that create the illusion of solidity and the relative permanence of form.  What is drawn to each other, what could be more accurately described as an attraction,  is between amalgamations of pure yang with larger amalgamations of pure yang.  The attraction between amalgamations of pure yang at the center of naturally formed objects is what we call gravity.  


Many, if not all, intracellular processes depend on the lightning speed locking of certain kinds of molecules with others.  How protein molecules and Rna molecules lock into nucleotides and into mRna polymerase was once described to me, by a molecular biologist, as a molecule trying on each nucleotide as if it were trying on a jacket to see if it fits; and this at the rate of a thousand jackets per second.  He, of course, knew the rate at which this process  took place but had never actually witnessed these one thousandth of a second attempts by molecules to see if they fit into each other.  The same is true for the lightning speed in which tRna molecules and amino acid molecules come together and how the other side of the tRna molecule is matched up and fitted to the 'tape' of mRna molecules being fed into a ribosome, and the speed at which the right binding sites of antibodies bind with the compatible surfaces of antigens.  It's hard to imagine all of this taking place at lightning speed if each interaction requires an actual physical encounter to see if there is a molecular fit.  Keeping in mind that molecules and atoms are not solid encapsulated objects, but opposing forces in a stable configuration, then these 'fittings' are more understandable.  The pattern of positive and negative energies at the periphery of the molecule, or at it's binding site, attracts the passing molecule or antigen to it.  In other words, there is no actual physical 'fittings' or trying on of molecules.  The process happens at some distance, even if the distance is tiny.  If there is no compatibility of the two energy patterns, then the unbound protein molecule or nucleotide or antigen just keeps moving, being repelled by this incompatibility, and being pulled in and bound by the one molecule or binding site where there is perfect compatibility.  This attraction at a slight distance, and gliding by if there is no compatibility,  makes it much more conceivable that a protein molecule could 'scan' a thousand nucleotide bases every second rather than a physical object "trying on" a thousand other physical objects every second.  

Much has been discovered about the direction of the movement  of materials within a cell.  Organic material needed for intracellular construction, even entire organelles,  are dragged along microtubules by dynein motor molecules that move material to the plus end, toward the periphery of the cell, while  kinesin motor molecules  move waste construction material back to lysosomes at the minus end of a microtubule,  toward the centrosome adjacent to the nucleus, where they are broken down into reusable material.  (Google 'dynein animation Harvard' to see amazing animations of these motor proteins at work!).  This aligns perfectly with an understanding of yin and yang as I explain in those other posts.  Yang is centripetal and contractive,  so it pulls yin in toward the center.  The boundary of any configuration is made by yang restraining the expansive force of yin.  A cell, like all objects, both organic and inorganic, that are formed by natural processes (but not man made processes), would be more positively charged (yang) at their center and more negatively charged (yin) at their periphery.  The minus, yin end of the microtubule attached to the positive, yang force at the centrosome, and the positive, yang end of the microtubule attaches to the negative, yin forces at the periphery.  In this way more yang objects, that would naturally migrate inward, are dragged outward where they bind with more yin elements and are held in place toward the periphery, while more yin waste products are moved back to the yang center where they are broken down in lysosomes.  This is how centers of activity, organelles with yang centers, find stable locations throughout the cytoplasm and a more complex, eukaryote cell is formed.  This is in contrast to  prokaryote cells, which do not have these microtubule structures, and where all the yang material gravitates toward the nucleus and all the yin material is dispersed throughout the cytoplasm.  

Also, the manufacture of structures that append outward from the surface of the cell wall have been well studied.  These are the cilium and the flagellum.  I will not discuss the complexity of the cilium or the stunning complexity of the flagellum, which appends to 'simple' bacteria, but I suggest you look at that elsewhere, especially in the works of Michael Behe.  Interestingly, both appendages are constructed around a microtubule, but a microtubule which is aligned with the negative end at the cell surface and the positive end appending outward from there.  What negative cluster of energy is that microtubule attaching to that allows it to be a rigid girder along which construction materials can be transported outward, when it is not attached to matter within the cell, but is attached somehow to the space surrounding the cell?    Why do the dynein motors stop walking material out at a certain point and then kinesin motors start moving excess material down the microtubule and back toward the cell?  Why this switch from dynein to kinesin takes place is not known, but this is the very thing that is creating the length of the cilium and the flagellum, a length which is very precise, because the cilium and flagellum can only work effectively if their length is in the proper proportion to the size of the cell.  Doesn't all of this strongly suggest that there is a negative energy, a yin concentration in the space surrounding the cell, a concentration that could only happen if there was a spot of pure yang to which the yin was attracted, and that the positive end of the microtubules are binding at that cluster of negative energy and the dynein motors which always walk material toward the spot where the positive end of the microtubule attaches, stop there, and kinesin motors, which always walk material away from the positive end, then take over and start doing exactly that?

                        FORCE FIRST CONSTRUCTION

When a building is built it is necessary to have a plan.  The more complicated the building, the more intricate and precise the plan must be.  Of course there is no human construction that rivals in complexity a living organism.  Even a bacterium, the single celled creatures that began life almost four billion years ago, has a molecular complexity far beyond the complexity of any human construction.  That is why there are burgeoning microbiology departments in prestigious universities all over the world, and the leading lights of these departments are winning Nobel prizes every year.  The four billion year old cell, one millionth of the size of the head of a pin, is still, after all this study by some of the brightest people on this planet, full of mystery.  We are merely scratching the surface in our understanding of single celled organisms.  

A building plan, or blue print, shows in detail  the shapes and shapes within shapes that the architect wishes to achieve.  The prospective owner of this building sees in the blue print the shape that his building will take.  The builder of the building, however, sees in the blue print the plan from which he or she can deduce which forces to use to assemble the materials of the building, and how much force and when to apply it.  The building is actually constructed first from an idea which materializes into a written plan, then a construction idea, which is a planned use of forces, and then the actual construction takes place.  A plan of how and where and when and with what intensities to apply force always precedes the actual construction.  

During the construction of living organisms. three processes are occurring simultaneously.  One is the mitotic division of cells, so that one fertilized ovum is transformed not only into the two trillion celled body of the new born, but into the placenta, the amniotic sac, and all the temporary organs and organelles that the baby needs before he or she is independently able to circulate blood, eliminate waste and digest food. A second process is the differentiation of cells, so that, in the case of humans the ovum, is transformed into  two thousand different types of cells, in the exact right amount of each.  The third process is the migration of cells so that, somehow, the right combinations of these two thousand different types of cells migrate into the exact positions that they need to be in to create working systems and organs of various types.  

Much has been discovered in recent years concerning the methods by which embryonic cells migrate during gestation.  Many of the mechanisms by which a cell moves are now understood.  What is not understood is what determines why a  cell migrates in a particular direction. It is like knowing that a steering wheel is connected to a steering column which is connected to an axle and, in turn, the axle is connected to wheels that are connected to tires.  So we know that turning the steering wheel changes the direction of the car.   What we don't know is who is steering.  

What is now known regarding cell migration is that before it can commence,  polarity must be established.  Let me repeat that, because it is so important.  Before cell migration can commence, polarity must be established.  Polarity means that through the migration of intracellular material, positively charged materials are moved to one end of the cell and negatively charged materials are moved to the other end.  One side is now the leading edge which expands forward by actin filaments and microtubules stretching the cellular membrane forward at the leading edge, and filaments and microtubules contracting the cellular membrane and pulling it up at the rear end.  Thus embryonic cells crawl there way slowly through the viscous environment of the uterus.

The movement of the cell is a continuation of the polarization of the cell.  The whole cell continues to move in the same direction that the charged material within the cell moved toward the leading edge.  What could possibly cause this polarization but a source of energy external to the cell, a positive source drawing the negatively charge particles to it, or a negative source drawing the positively charged particles to it?  And remember, the orientation that the cell is in after it is polarized, the angle of the front end to the rear end is the direction that the cell will continue in until that next level of embryological development is reached.  What else could create this precise polarization of cells but an equally precise  structure of positive and negative energies, of yin and yang, that pre-exists any physical structure? 

Where did this energy body, or force configuration, come from?  It certainly wasn't there in the woman's body before conception.  The shape of this energy configuration reflects the genetic features that are contained in the fertilized ovum, so it had to emerge co-incident with the fertilization or shortly after fertilization.  And it must have an intertwined relationship with the genetic make-up of the cells of the growing embryo.  Somehow the genes of the newly fertilized ovum are like receivers that attract this energy pattern to them, and the energy pattern reflects both the primal shape patterns that make that species unique among other species, and the specific adaptational shapes that make that one individual fetus  unique among the other members of that particular species.  

It is wondrous, isn't it?  But the process itself is wondrous.  How else to explain a wondrous process of a fertilized ovum forming into a unique shape that is indicative of its species, except by a wondrous explanation.  Certainly the genes within the individual cell cannot polarize, by themselves, the materials within the cell; and all the thousands or millions of cells that are being polarized in precise specific migrational directions could not achieve that remarkably specific, synchronized alignment by themselves.  They must be responding to a pattern of energy that is larger than the entire cell mass of the embryo and is causing that mass, as it expands, to be drawn in all these slightly different directions toward it.  And there certainly is no law that could be found that would make it inevitable that this shape would be formed by the inherent chemical qualities of the components of the fetus unfolding in an undifferentiated lawful way.  Since each fetus is unique, there would have to be a unique law for each situation, which is to say, that there is no law, because the purpose of a law is to give uniformity to behavior.  Here we would have to have a different set of laws for each species and a different set of unique exceptions to that law for each individual member of that species.  So neither structuralism nor functionalism will help us here. 

As I have said, I am not a scientist.  I have no laboratory facilities, nor the know how to test my ideas as hypotheses.  I believe they are testable, that energy patterns surrounding the growing embryo could be found, but not by me.   Just like at CERN where there were theoretical physicists waiting for engineering physicists to test their theories; the proof for  this theory would have to wait until experimental biologists had the interest and could find the courageous financial backing to conduct such experiments (courageous because in our current scientific zeitgeist it is always an act of courage and professional risk to try to do any experiment that could wind up with a result that would be contrary or even challenging to neo-Darwinian dogma).


The structuralists believed that the primal patterns of nature originated in the mind of God.  If, as the monistic dualists think, one becomes two and then becomes the multitude that we see, then God's will or the will of the Infinite is manifest through yin and yang.  This section is an attempt to shed some light on how that process could work.

Keeping in mind that the material world is made up of yin and yang in combination, so no thing and no one is purely yin or purely yang, here are some descriptions of what it is like to experience both yin and yang.  In terms of desire, yin is the desire to lose oneself in another, in a group, in an activity.  It is a desire to expand beyond oneself, to commune with nature, to love, to lose oneself to a cause or to an activity, to be an indistinguishable part of an ensemble, a team, an orchestra, and, spiritually, to disappear, like a drop of water into the ocean of the Divine.  Yang is will, concentration, the desire to distinguish oneself, to stand out, to make a unique contribution, to be remembered, respected, individually appreciated and acknowledged.  It is the desire to forge ahead, to carry through with a plan or an objective, to succeed.  So, while yang strives to solidify Self, yin strives to obliterate Self, to melt the boundaries of Self and Other.  

As I said before, yin and yang are the names that I am using, but they refer to the same opposing forces that are referred to in all pre-industrial cultures.  Here is some language from Coleman Barks, 'The Soul of Rumi,' speaking of fana, which is the Arabic equivalent of yin, and baqa, which is the Arabic equivalent of yang.  

"Fana is the streaming that moves from the human out into mystery-the annihilation, the orgasmic expansion, the dissolving swoon into the all.....Fana is what opens our wings, what makes boredom and hurt disappear....We are the dreamer streaming into the loving nowhere of night. 
Baqa means 'a living within.'...Life lived with clarity and reason, the turning again toward what somehow always was.  The concentration of a night of stars into one needle's eye....The absorbing work of the day.  The precise painting of a piece of trim...a return from expansion into each's unique individuation work."

As with everything else in the physical universe, the building of cities is the result of the interplay of yin and yang.  You have heard the expression, "Build it and they will come."  This is not always true.  First off, many who are familiar with that phrase have never built anything.  To build something, to create something new, to invest time and energy into something where there is no proof of success, requires will and vision, daring and persistence.  Also, sometimes something is built and no one comes.  The building, whatever the hopes for it initially were, never succeeded in attracting the people or the activities necessary for it to succeed.  But those people who do build it, and have the vision and depth of understanding of what people really want or need, and the persistence to stay with it and insure that when people come they will be treated in such a way so that they will return, these people do succeed.  They succeed to the point that so many people are attracted to that building, or outpost, or factory, that soon other establishments are built around to support the original one.  These establishments also require will and vision and courage, but, perhaps, not as much as that of the builder of that first establishment.  These others are building into a known market.  The people are already there; the need already exists, or can be more comfortably calculated.  

At a certain point, this conglomeration of buildings and people, first initiated by one person's vision, gets congested to the point that some one else, another visionary, has the idea of building another center, another structure to which people will be attracted, at some distance from the original hub.  The initial construction of a peripheral structure also requires great courage, vision and persistence.  It is also a striking out into the unknown.  And when this is accomplished successfully, then the city now has another center of attraction, another spot where houses and shops and schools and roads and infrastructure will spring up.  And this same process is repeated over and over again as large, complex metropolitan centers develop.  But notice, at each initial step, the initiation of the city as a whole and the initiation of peripheral centers, great courage, vision and will are required.

People that start and successfully carry through with such daring projects are often referred to as having a 'fire in the belly.'  Everyone knows what that means.  It is not a literal fire that anyone else can observe, but it is the powerful will, the drive, that is experienced as a heat or a contraction, or both, in the center of the body, the belly.  This is the experience of yang.  We all have yang, but to have a strong and deep yang center, to have a dream that stays with you until it is fulfilled, that burns at you, this burning is yang and is experienced at your body's center, the belly.  And notice, if the yang is strong enough, is deep and persistent, then whatever is needed, the yin elements, will be attracted to it.  

The easier thing to do, is to join what is already in place; to move to where the action is.  There is nothing wrong with that and we all do it at different times.  But if you have a dream, if you are starting something new, something for which there is not an already established market or demand, that requires a strong and deep yang force, a fire in the belly.  Once the true visionary makes the move, then the assistants, the constructors, the consumers and everything and everyone else will follow.  

It is the same thing with natural construction.  The movement of yang is toward the center.  To get yang away from the center requires effort.  Within the cell powerful dynein motor molecules move whole organelles with yang centers away from the center of the cell toward the periphery where they are bounded by yin elements which hold this new peripheral object in place.  It always, in natural or human construction, requires will and energy to move or create a new object (or a new center of yang attraction), with the capacity to 'capture' or attract other objects, away from the original center and out to the periphery. 

Now when we humans do things, and I am not talking now about courageous constructions, but everything that we do, from getting out of bed in the morning, to brushing our teeth, to getting a Nobel Prize or constructing a palace; all of these begin with a desire, an intention to accomplish that particular thing or activity.  And that desire is preceded by a restlessness, an imbalance of energy, that forms into, or semi-materializes into, a specific desire, whether the object of that desire is visualized or not (as I said earlier, if the desire is to accomplish, or construct, something very complex, a detailed visualization of a plan, if not some kind of written plan, will be required).  What sets everything in motion is yang.  It doesn't take a powerful yang, a fire in the belly, to get yourself a glass of water, but if you are sitting down, it takes enough yang to overcome the inertia of not getting the water and just sitting there.  In fact, if we are feeling really tired or lazy, if we are in a very yin state, where we are just completely passive and inert with circular thoughts rather than directional thoughts, we may just continue to sit there longer until our thirst becomes strong enough to make the sitting intolerable.

Each of these activities, even the simplest ones, requires a translation from intention (yang) to whole cascades of millions of neurons leading to muscle cells and millions of molecular reactions within those muscle cells to allow us to do what it is that we intend to do.  How is this accomplished?  Although it is taken for granted that living things automatically do what it is that they want to do, this translation of desire to action is utterly mysterious.  The best I can say is that the energy of intention (yang) charges the initiating neurons that begin this process.  The way that the particular pattern of initiating charges is selected among the two hundred billion neurons of your brain, and the way that the particular path leading from the initiating neurons to specific muscle cells and molecular reactions within those cells is accomplished is another great mystery, but it seems to me that there is no other conclusion than that having a particular body and brain is a way of being able to live out, to experience the satisfaction of, fulfilling a particular set of intentions within a particular environmental niche.  

If we are able, simply by intending it, to initiate the firing of patterns of millions of neurons, and do that at every waking moment of our existence; then, I think, that the Infinite, the Cosmic Consciousness, is able to create yang centers of energy, away from the central yang of the universe, simply by His/Her focus.  Yang is the focus of the Infinite.  The most intricate patterns of energy are created by the Infinite focussing on certain spots with different intensities and angles.  As I said, yin is everywhere.  Yin is immediately captured by this yang, and a spiral is formed with yang at the vortex of this spiral. 

The physical universe consists of spirals within spirals, from the tiniest yin/yang spirals of quarks and other seemingly subatomic 'particles,' to the spiral arms of galaxies containing billions of huge seeming 'particles' called stars, to the largest spiral of all, which is the spiral of the entire world of matter spiralling around the non-physical yang center of the universe.    

Organisms are intersecting spirals of yin/yang, and the vortex of these spirals is always yang.  These yin/yang spirals can be circular, but not a perfect circle, or  linear, but not a perfectly straight line, or it can be anything in between. Also, there is always a space between the yang vortex and the spiralling yin part, because yin and yang are not attracting each other, but are capturing each other.  The yin is pulling away and the yang is contracting in. 

We are born in a fetal position, which is a spiral.  Our legs, moving from the hips to the feet are in a spiral position, as are our arms, from the shoulders to the hands.  Toe prints and finger prints are, also, both spirallic patterns.  The digestive system, with the espophagus ending in the coil of the intestines,  the nervous system with the spinal cord ending in the brain, all these are spirallic formations.  And there are spirals within spirals, within spirals.  The atom, itself, contains many tight yin/yang spirals that we refer to as subatomic particles, although we have never seen these particles, and have no idea of how they could be made of any solid thing.  All we know about these particles is their mass (the amount of yang inward pull on the spiral), their spin (whether it is spiralling in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction) and their charge (whether the amount of yin and yang balance each other, or whether there is more yang, positive, or more yin, negative). 

These spirallic forms of energy polarize cells and draw them to them.  They set the contours of all the shapes of the body, and shapes within shapes.  They electro-magnetically align protein and sugar molecules embedded in the outer cell membrane so that cells are aligned to work in perfect coordination with each other.

We are intertwined and intersected by the Divine.  We live out a particular life experienced through a particular organism.  We choose this limited, separated, focussed experience.  The quality and shape of the particular organism that we are in, which is formed by the yin/yang energy configuration and the particular genome that corresponds to that energy formation, is one that you could say that we choose, or that the Divine chooses for us; but since we are so intertwined, since we come from the Divine, are part of the Divine, and return to the Divine, we can say that the particular genome, the particular shape and the particular social and cultural circumstances of our birth are all things that we (before we were separated into different organisms) chose for ourselves.

Just as with humans, the amount of yang force that we have results in how much we are able to accomplish, by willing things to happen and having the persistence and courage and force of attraction to bring all the elements necessary together to accomplish our goal; so it is with the Cosmic Consciousness, that by willing a pattern of yang centers of focus, all the yin elements are attracted to it to create all the spirallic forms that fill the natural universe.  What biologists study are the mechanisms whereby the materials of construction are selected and moved into place, the timing of gene expression, the manufacturing of proteins from gene recipes and the distribution of proteins throughout the growing organism.  What is not studied is how the precise directions that these materials move to is determined so that they result in recognizable and functional traits and organisms of specific species and how these shaping mechanisms first originated. 

I have presented my ideas about how such things take place.  If you think differently or have any comments about what I have presented,  please let me hear from you.