Placental

EmbryoShe noted, “You seem happy and buoyant this evening”

I replied, “Perhaps I decided to be an adult.”

She retorted, “Whatever that is.”

“Perhaps”, I gathered as quickly and cleverly as i could, “it is being happy and buoyant.”

I woke the next morning with the soul on my mind,
the query of a philosopher,
“There is so much wonder in the universe,
why ask that there has to be something else?”.

Death.

The desire to lift the fear of gone
with a belief there is something
within us that can live forever.

My teacher, Baha’u’llah, had another take,
that life is vastly beyond time and space.
The universe is wonderful, contingent, a womb.
A womb is wonderful,
an embryonic exaltation
in its universe.

A fantastic germ catalyses
the ooze of a root
in its warm, watery womb,
growing a fascination
until the day of realization,
the womb cannot contain it,
the child being is expelled,
freedom preceded by one last constraint,
one last reassuring connection with the womb,
then the root separates,
the placenta dies.

Through infinite dimensions
the fascination reflects
or maybe a reflection of the whole
ancient, imperishable, everlasting
dominion.
In one domain oozing
base elements.
In another, oozing,
from the placental born one,
elements of consciousness,
outside of physicality,
outside of time and space,
the fascination grows
until uncontained,
released onto that imperishable domain,
the placenta dies.

Holding the Tension

If we can say that we are the fruits of the universe, the we could say that we were born out of tension. Not any degree of tension but a very particular degree of tension. For tension can be described as a continuum of oppositional forces. At one end of the continuum, gravitational, crushing forces are so dominant that there is no expansion of material at all, just a singularity of no dimensions, no substance at all, perhaps not even any forces. At the other end of the continuum, expansive forces are so dominant that the substances of the universe rush away until the universe appears dark and cold and void.

Yet, somehow, a universe has expanded from that singular nothingness with just the right proportions of a pressurised rushing away that the atomic building blocks of the suns, planets and life-forms, were formed. Every distinct phase of the development of the universe organised itself on new nodes of tension formed by the culmination of the previous phase of development. The new substances forming in the incredible expansive forces, provide deeper gravity wells, stronger binding and crushing forces, while the expansive forces stretch out the very matrix of the time-space into which the gravity wells are formed. As accretion rolls into the gravity wells, spin occurs. Or was spin part of the very nature of the earliest expansion? Spin could explain both the rushing away, a centripetal fling of time and space as well as the rushing inwards and down in the gravity well.

Life seems to have fostered as the development of massive forms of the universe, galaxies and solar systems, cooling and resting in massive gravity wells, slowed down the very expansion of time and space. Here in the cool, slowing universe, spinning slowed and accretions became even more complex.

Eventually, under certain very exacting conditions, a world transformed into an enterprise of life. And that life  continued to break out and build up until a conscious intelligence came about. This intelligence is named for its ability for seeing how it is designed to work. No longer were the physical and chemical spin and tensions responsible for the transformative moments of the universe. Now there was a world of orchestrated slow spinning complexities, of loops and feedback, that created a review of the past and the future.

Here, on the planet we Reviewers came to call the Earth, we recognised that we were both spinning in and of, a web of tensions. As our substances quickened by rapid feedback, time appeared as slowly. In slow time, we grasp tendrils of tensions with our hands and in our mind and wondered about our choices in interfering with those tensions while, in an act of tension itself, playing enthusiastically with whatever responses we could elicit.

We have played particularly in the tension between expansions of tribes across the world and the building of empires, and the accretions of communities in ties of cultural identity. At the nodes of tension lie the tensions between war and peace, empathy and otherness, amity and hatred, generosity and hoarding, and hospitality and isolation. The responses we have elicited have been building great empires, buildings, technologies and democracies; and reeked great destruction on each other. The loops of feedback on tensions, spin through our own minds, our cultural enterprises, the planet, and resonate with the Galaxy.

As we reach for some mastery over our tensions, we see that holding the tensions rather than energising one over the other, especially around those vital nodes, allows a guided transformation in new expansions and accretions. We feel for it within our minds and bodies. We watch for it through our conversations in the politic. We hold the tension, just enough. We breath. We move towards a possibility. We feel for maintaining some tension as a new form. It seems slow. Rather it is a delicate adjustment in which successful transformations amass quickly and even more quickly.

The Delusion of Nothing

Recently seeing, on the Australian ABC TV Q&A program, Lawrence Krauss, Theoretical Physicist & Cosmologist, and author of “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing”, provoked a sceptical reaction. “Nothing? What on earth is the man talking about?” was my initial reaction.  A little research of Lawrence’ fundamental discussion about the beginnings of the universe confirmed that, indeed, the proclamation inherent in the title of his book was not about nothing at all. This was a great relief. It is much more difficult to write about a point of view that seems delusional, such as the belief that someone has an experience of nothing, a vision of nothing, a mathematics of nothing, or imagined nothing. The patent delusion being that, with what did such a person have an experience of ‘nothing’, even if through mathematics, when ‘nothingness’ implies no thing, no language, no mathematics through which to have such an experience.

So why would thousands of atheist scientists such as Lawrence Krauss, and their followers, believe that there was a ‘nothing’ from which the universe come into being. Why would they believe that there is evidence for ‘nothing’.

It appears that the problem lies in the mathematical conceptualisation from Set Theory of sets of nothing.

Any named object or idea also become the name of the set of all similarly named object. If there is no actual object in the set then there is a set of nothing. If I imagined a word, ‘flabulanzers’. I could imagine a set of ‘fabulanzers’. Given that I haven’t imagined a form for ‘fabulanzers’ nor found any contingent object with such a name, then the set of ‘fabulanzers’ would have zero ‘fabulanzers’, be empty, and thus a set of nothing. Likewise, given any problem for which it can be shown there is no answer, then the set of answers to the problem is empty ie it is a set of nothing.

However, what the mathematician doesn’t deal with in talking about ‘nothing’ and its elemental sibling, ‘zero’, is that neither a set of nothing nor zero are representatives of ‘nothing’. They are rather representatives of something. To wit, only nothing could represent nothing. The something of sets of nothing are sets which, while having no element within, are yet formations in language ie the imagination of a human being. The something of zero is of a cardinal number which names the place-mark of the non-existence of an object within a certain context (in time and space). While zero and its role as a place-mark exist only in the imagination of the human being, that plsce-mark is fully realised as a moment in time-space ever time zero is mentioned. 

So the crux of the problem presented by Lawrence Krauss exists in a certain delusion that the source of the discussion (language, naming, mathematics) is distinct from the object of the discussion. On a closer look, anything rendered in language, even sets of nothing, are something. The greater delusion might be that the wormy organics encased in a boned vault have any real capacity to analyse its own non-existence, as would be necessary if it were ‘nothing’.

 Baha’u’llah made pointed reference to this reality in a letter in the 19th Century, “All that the sages and mystics have said or written have never exceeded, nor can they ever hope to exceed, the limitations to which man’s finite mind hath been strictly subjected.”Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 317)

It seems to have passed by many atheist scientists, that the very methodology of physics, as concluded by Max Born, has achieved its greatest successes by applying the methodological principle that concepts which refer to distinctions beyond possible experience have no physical meaning and ought to be eliminated. (Max Born, “Continuity, Determinism, and Reality”, (Danish Academy of Science, Mathematics and Physics, Section 30, No. 2, 1955), p. 4 .)


In contrast, Heidegger recognised value in that, as much as language constructs meaning of experience, the only ‘nothing’ that is possible, is “Nothing is the quality of abandonment of preconceived notions, of logical puzzles. The Nothing denies the “is” of something.” Heidegger, refers to the thing of nothing as a thing in language through which ‘nothing’ refers to the possibility for the question “why?” This is a process of continual unlearning.  Heidegger seemed to recognise the danger in the scientific tendency to either eliminating or defining ‘nothing’ is that it would eliminate the question, ‘why’ and thereby, science itself.

So, Lawrence Krauss, perhaps unwittingly, use an idea of ‘nothing’ that is something, perhaps believing it to really be ‘nothing’ but in that belief, creating barriers for many thousands of people to access of a clearing of language for ‘why’ to be manifest, and potentially stalling the wonder that would otherwise be excited for trying to understand phenomena and being.

 Baha’u’llah in support of the impossibility of nothingness-as-non-existence to foster any form, declared   “All praise to the unity of God, and all honor to Him, the sovereign Lord, the incomparable and all-glorious Ruler of the universe, Who, out of utter nothingness, hath created the reality of all  things, Who, from naught, hath brought into being the most refined and subtle elements of His creation, … How could it, otherwise, have been possible for sheer nothingness to have acquired by itself the worthiness and capacity to emerge from its state of non-existence into the realm of being? (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 64)

 While offering the observation that “That which hath been in existence had existed before, but not in the form thou seest today. The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different. Thus doth the Great Announcement inform thee about this glorious structure. Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. Verily thy Lord is the Expounder, the All-Wise.” (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 140) Baha’u’llah went on to dissuade this view of any interpretation that ‘nothing’ ever was by proclaiming, ”A drop of the billowing ocean of His endless mercy hath adorned all creation with the ornament of existence, and a breath wafted from His peerless Paradise hath invested all beings with the robe of His sanctity and glory. A sprinkling from the unfathomed deep of His sovereign and all-pervasive Will hath, out of utter nothingness, called into being a creation which is infinite in its range and deathless in its duration. The wonders of His bounty can never cease, and the stream of His merciful grace can never be arrested. The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end. “ (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 61)

The Universe 10-12 Billion years ago

Using light from 14,000 distant yet powerful cosmic beacons, astronomers have pieced together the largest and most detailed 3-D map of the ancient universe between 10 billion and 12 billion light-years away. Read full article here.  To create the map, an instrument called the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, or BOSS  was used to analyze light from individual quasars. Quasars are extremely bright galaxies that are very far away, which means, when detected, are also very far back in time. At the center of each, a black hole is eating matter. The matter heats up to such superhigh temperatures that it shines like crazy,” Slosar said. “This allows us to see them from very, very far away. The analytical process is similar to an ice core sample removed from Antarctica. Looking straight on, the core looks like a circle or a point. But slice by slice, one can reconstruct events of the past. In the case of the 3-D map, astronomers can chart the development of galaxy clusters between 10 billion and 12 billion years ago.