Continuing. 14 October 2014 Dorothy passed on early this morning aged 97. All is change. I am grateful for the ancient wisdom we have shared. May it inform our children for myriad generations to come.
Summary reminder about this guide.
Our world view is simultaneously shaped by and reflected in our use of symbols. The human ego can easily generate very subtle and sophisticated rationales for any use of a symbol. This guide employs deep psychoanalysis founded in the profound wisdom of the principles of physics. It enables us to use that wisdom to transcend the ingenious deceits and trickery of the ego so that our use of symbols sustains us.
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces change/stewardship.
Delusive hope resides in symbol use that denies change/stewardship.
Please note: it is helpful to first read Meaning of Compassion (Etymology). This illustrates how the compassion symbol has been stripped of its original, vital meaning. It became dissociated from suffering during the reformations that enabled the excesses of the “Industrial Revolution” and the expansion of the English Empire with its associated Anthropocene.
You and Science ( Physics)
The majority (99%?) of people graduate from our Anglo-American education system inculcated in the belief that they are not scientists. Even fewer people believe they are physicists. That is because our education system is designed to deny our essential state of being. Our National curriculum frameworks teach that science is just an amoral way of thinking and physics is just a subset of science. For example:
Science is symbolized as an activity similar to language, mathematics, technology, “The Arts”, etc rather than as the profoundly moral way of being that enables the development of all manner of sustainable arts (skills), including the arts of sustainable language and civics.
Such education frameworks are a grand deceit of the ego. They exemplify its tendency to deny change/stewardship. Smile. There is multiple, ingenious confusion. For instance, science is defined as an exclusive body of knowledge rather than a moral way of being. Physics is defined as a subset of that exclusive body of knowledge rather than as the inclusive knowledge of how the universe(s) act.
True hope resides in understanding that physics is the general analysis of nature, which includes our own psyche, so we can better understand how the universe(s) acts. We are all physicists. The physics of the human condition is that science is a profound moral way of being that is born of the state of compassion. Each of us is both a scientist and a non-scientist to some degree.
Such inclusive notions are abhorrent to the ego because it arises from the division of our psyche that occurs with the arising of self-awareness. However we can transcend the limitations of the ego by embracing the profound wisdom that resides in the great principles of physics. It is valuable to reiterate the physics underpinning this website in order to elucidate the vital role of compassion.
The Conservation Principle of Energy
This principle is perhaps the most sustaining symbol that human’s have generated. It has never been disproved despite the most intense scrutiny over millennia. It forms a great and wise guide to civilization. Unlike the Anglo-American society, some cultures embrace it in profound ways and it is central to their systems. This is reflected in lifestyles that tend to conserve the flows and balances that sustain humanity
Only fleeting reference is made to the Conservation Principle of Energy in our Anglo-American education system. It is conspicuous by its absence in our national curriculum frameworks.
By early adolescence most people are inculcated in the delusion that science is a “discipline” or school of thinking that consists of physics, chemistry and biology. A science (physics) teacher recites the Conservation Principle of Energy to the class, typically defining it thus: ” Energy cannot be created or destroyed, although it can be changed from one form to another; no violation of this principle has been found. Also known as energy conservation.”
We learn this rote, regurgitate it at exam time that year and file it in our minds as one of the irrelevant facts of school science we learned about the time that we probably concluded we are not one of the exclusive elite of people known as “scientists”.
It is also very common for “science teachers” to explain the processes of the universe in terms of human machines. So we learn to label the water of the dammed river or the pile of coal as “potential energy”. We are taught that this “stored energy” can be converted into kinetic energy that drives the massive turbines, which in turn convert it into stuff called electrical energy, “electricity” or “power”.
Our teachers thus obscure and deny the truth in multiple ways. For instance, inherent in the universal potential, which is energy, are all the possibilities that there ever could be. A trace amount of these vast possibilities are realized or actualized in any moment. Our teachers fail to remind us that human beings are also fleeting realizations of the universal potential and we each live paradox in the flux of existence.
Further, our educators confuse forms and perspectives of energy with their measure. It is helpful to understand that power is a measure – ultimately the measure of the rate that the universal potential is manifest. Conflating the measure with the measured form denies the essential transformation.
Smile. All these ingenious confusions and deceits are evidence of the ego’s propensity to deny change/stewardship. They enable us to deny the needless suffering our actions cause for other sentient beings. The deceits and tricks of the ego also cause us to experience needless hardship, discomfort and self-alienation. The gift is to be able to transcend paradox and enjoy harmony with the flows and balances that sustain humanity.
Great Paradox of Physics.
All existence is paradox and the thought process is incapable of embracing contradictory elements simultaneously. Thus the modern “science” curriculum cannot sustain the truth and our “science teachers” are incapable of communicating the true nature of energy. So let us restate and unpack in a compassionate way the great Conservation Principle of Energy in terms of paradox:
– We are vitally intimate with energy in our every cell; no one knows what energy is.
-Energy, the bounteous universal potential, is continuous change: change can usefully be considered to be a constant.
-Energy is transformation: it simultaneously transforms even as it is transformed. The transformed transforms the transformer.
-All forms are of energy; no form is energy.
– In the arising of any form is the passing of that form.
– In the embracing of the universal continuous change is the transcending of mortality.
This list is just a trace sample of the myriad paradoxes of energy. Continuous transformation is the essence and this does not occur without some suffering.
The Physics of Suffering (Pain)
All sentient beings experience suffering at some level – it is inherent in the sensations of life.
Pain is an element of evolution, moderating an organism’s responses to changes in thermal, mechanical, chemical, electrical and other perceptions of energy. There are always moments in the life of an organism when imbalances occur and it knows discord with the flows that sustain it. The disharmony of the interaction is experienced as dissonance and discomfort.
For instance, the conglomeration of cells forming a life form become less able to adapt to change as the sustaining knowledge of their DNA diminishes in the aging process.
At every level of the food chain there are always some life forms dying so others may live.
Suffering occurs with the schism of self-awareness and this is experienced as the pain of separation, alienation, loneliness, loss, anguish of stewardship and fear of mortality. These states, like all sensations, can be manifest in thermal, chemical, kinetic, gravitational , electrical and other ways.
Our Physics in Simple Language
The physics of the life cycle of the human form can be expressed in simple words. Pain accompanies our birth. We experience all manner of growing pains, including sickness and social discomforts. We have moments of fear, conflict, dissonance, worry, self-doubt and loneliness.
Friendship, courtship and parenting involve heart ache.
We grieve with the passing of loved ones and its reminder of our own mortality. We kill to eat.
Some people endure the horrors of war, famine and other privations, most often because humans have failed to embrace the principles of physics and act as stewards.
In moments of intense suffering it can be difficult to sense meaning in existence.
The Pain of Uncertainty.
August 16 2012. My dear mother lies dying. I watch her frail, sparrow breast rise and fall, reverberating with her heart beat. We are each a wondrous balance of the microbiota that constitute 90% of the human form. Two days ago her voice went hoarse as for the first time in 90 years that amazing balance, which enables my mum, ceases to be. The amazing unique harmony of perhaps 100 trillion microbial cells has persisted for so many decades. Now that vital balance is passing. In her dying I am filled with awe that we exist at all.
Yesterday the doctor assured me she now resides in a twilight consciousness where she no longer experiences the discomfort of the mouth thrush that afflicts her. I do not believe him for I sense a very lucid mind still exists in my mother’s inert body. Just before his visit she had suddenly said after many hours of silence, ” I am trying to lie here as perfectly still as I can so I do not disturb all the apparatus (tubes) connected to me.” I had been stunned to realize that her continuing stillness was the result of sheer will power.
Now a day before her passing I am again stunned when after many hours of silence she suddenly whispers hoarsely yet with great clarity, ” Am I doing this right? Do you think I am doing this right?” These were to be her last words to me.
In that gigantic moment I realized that I know nothing about dying. No one really knows about dying. What could I say? What can anyone say? She has said she has no fear of dying, only fear of dying in pain from her lung cancer and her only worry is for the welfare of my father. There is great dignity in her passing. And I am suddenly mindful of the deep conversations we have enjoyed this past week:
“…I have always tried to speak the truth even if people didn’t like me for it and some have never forgiven me for it… I like to believe I have inspired the importance of speaking the truth in you children…
I have tried to be frugal … it is just so silly not to grow our own vegetables when we can and I managed to do that till last year as you know…Its just so silly to use an electrical drier when we can use a clothes rack in the perfectly good wind and sun…and I have managed to do that up till last week…I have tried to keep my greenhouse footprint to a minimum…”
Thus in this moment of complete uncertainty I find myself saying, “You are doing everything perfectly right, Mum, you are doing it perfectly OK.” For reasons I do not fully comprehend, this seems the most truthful response. I am merely reflecting the science and conservation of her life. I know from our conversations she feels satisfied that she has tried to the best of her imperfect will. This is what matters most of all to her at the time of her passing, The truth of her life resides in her acceptance of uncertainty and even at the time of her passing she is still asking, “Am I doing the right thing?”
Transcending the Pain of Knowledge
The universe(s) can be understood as an information system. The continuous universal transformation is information. Information shapes the universal potential and we experience its manifestation as knowledge. Knowledge is enlivened information.
In other words information is physical and, like all else, information is paradox. For instance:
– We are simultaneously informed and informer amidst the information flux.
– We are information; we are uncertainty.
– The more we truly know; the more we realize we do not know.
– Any symbol use is an approximation of reality and its truth resides in its non-truth.
– A symbol use simultaneously reflects and generates the state of being of the user.
The paradox of information are as bounteous as the universal potential and, to use a common expression, thinking about them all “makes our brain hurt”. Even thinking about any paradox soon becomes a futile, exhausting exercise. Smile. Fortunately, compassion enables us to transcend the limitations of the ego, thinking and paradox. Smile. The following explanation conveys in a small way the transcending power of the experience of compassion.
Like all else, pain (suffering) is a form of information. Our variable responses to pain are illustrated by the fact our experience of pain alters with our activities, the time of day, how refreshed we are and who we are. The experience of pain is very real or physical for the sufferer, whatever its seeming origins in our psychosomatic system. One of the more enduring pains can arise from the knowledge of our fallibility. For instance, we anguish whether we are living the right life to maximize our own potential and that of our children.
We beat ourselves up for our perceived errors and mistakes rather than treat them as valuable learning opportunities. We experience the ache of loss and meaninglessness when we become trapped in our delusive hopes. At such times we can even become psychopathic, numb to impact of our actions on others. With this loss of empathy we lose our sense of vitality in all. Our lives become unsustainable.
In brief, the qualities of compassion liberate us because they enable us to transcend paradox in general. In particular they enable us to transcend a great paradox of suffering: the more we can embrace the universal suffering; the greater our liberation and joy in existence.
This notion is an anathema to the ego with its aversion to reminders of the continuous universal change (our mortality). The egotistical element of our psyche tends to symbolize the embracing of universal suffering as a perverse, morbid activity, even as an act of self-hatred. Displays of compassion tend to be dismissed as inconvenient or embarrassing. Often they are quickly suppressed in the name of ” getting real”.
Smile. This is another example of both the ego’s ingenious capacity to deny the universal reality and its inability to embrace paradox. It completely reverses our situation. The reality is that our acceptance of the universal suffering enhances respect and kindness. Denial of it enhances our risk of delusive hope and misery. True hope resides in feeling the pain of our actions and acting to reduce suffering. Delusive hope resides in denying our role as stewards amidst the universal change.
The Experience of Compassion
Compassion is a state of being and thus words cannot express its essential vitality. It involves the experience of connection and universality (see “com” together). The qualities of this state include
Collegiality, openness and sharing
Inquiry, wonder and forgiveness
Honesty and trust
Generosity of Time and Reflection
These qualities of being form the requisites for the state of science to exist. In other words, the prevalence of these qualities in our daily lives enables the sustainable learning process to occur. This, in turn, enables civilization can occur. Needless suffering is minimized and we enjoy maximal harmony with all.
Perhaps the most important thing to know in the context of this page is that these qualities can be understood from kinetic, chemical, electrical, thermal and other perspectives, each of which reminds us that these are physical qualities. This, in turn, reminds us in the great wisdom of the Conservation and other principles of physics.
The ego, as always, tends to suggest that such measurement of these qualities is unromantic, uncouth and demeans them. For instance, it is common for people to say, “These qualities are noble beyond measure and cannot be reduced to mere sterile, scientific data.”
This belief stems from the ego’s deceit that science is just an amoral way of thinking. And the irony of this belief? The ego denies us the experience of the noble qualities of compassion by arguing it is obscene to reduce them to “cold, hard statistics of science.” Smile.
True hope resides in knowing science is a profound moral way of being. When we enjoy this state we find that embracing the physics of these qualities of compassion reminds us of their innate beauty and deep value. We are further opened to the wonders and richness of existence by this knowledge. For example, the two infrared images below remind us of our thermal beings.
The knowledge in these two images occurs here because of our shared spirit of inquiry, wonder, trust and inclusiveness.
Without compassion this thermal insight may be used to destroy valuable minerals in most wasteful ways and to slaughter people with drones and bombs.
With compassion the insight reminds us of our essential vitality and roles as stewards. If we give the time and reflect a little more, then the ball may, for instance, remind us of our planet in the solar system. Its spherical shape may remind us of the cyclic nature of our lives, the weather, water, carbon, etc.
Without compassion we fail to experience the truth and wonder of the planetary thermodynamics that enables our existence. We pollute the air and destroy the thermal balances that sustain us. Knowledge of our thermal beings becomes a liability and our lives tend to be characterized by non-science.
With compassion we are mindful of our roles as stewards of the carbon dioxide and other gas cycles.
The consequence of compassion is the same whether we perceive ourselves as thermal, kinetic, electrical, chemical, nuclear or other being: we tend to be liberated in wisdom and joy in living. Suffering is alleviated. Our lives tend to become more sustainable.
At this point the reader may still feel unsatisfied with this discussion. This is understandable because this is essentially a literary communication, albeit in electronic form. It is perhaps helpful to remind ourselves in the introductory statement about using language with care. This principle of energy states:
We are information beings and using language with compassion enables us to transcend the trickery of the ego and the limitations of thought. Careful language use generates subtle transformations of our beings. Information becomes enlivened in sustainable ways and paradox resolve into truths.
We ignore this insight at our peril. True hope prevails when we embrace it.
First draft 1 November 2014