Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV (Random Universe?)

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Jundo
    replied
    Originally posted by Tomás Sard
    Thank you for sharing Jundo. It is interesting to compare your modern outlook with that of the historical Buddha, that for better or for worse, we are stuck in a cycle of Samsara. Funny enough, despite the suffering, I am grateful for this life. Looking forward to reading your book!

    Gassho,
    Sat
    The passage actually appears in a section of the book in which I am trying to "resuscitate" (pun intended) rebirth in modern terms.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Leave a comment:


  • Tomás ESP
    replied
    Thank you for sharing Jundo. It is interesting to compare your modern outlook with that of the historical Buddha, that for better or for worse, we are stuck in a cycle of Samsara. Funny enough, despite the suffering, I am grateful for this life. Looking forward to reading your book!

    Gassho,
    Sat

    Leave a comment:


  • Jundo
    replied
    Originally posted by Tomás Sard
    Millions of people play and only one wins the lottery. This person might feel special, but he was probably just lucky. Maybe it is the same with our lives. Out of the infinite number of planets, galaxies, and maybe universes, we won a lottery ticket. Doesn't make me feel special, but I do feel lucky and grateful. Regardless of what is true, I row row row. Thanks!

    Gassho,
    Sat
    My new book talks about this a bit, and I argue against it with this example: Yes, what you say is true for someone to win one lottery, or even three times.

    A Massachusetts couple just can't stop winning. Between Janet Pflaumer-Phillips and her husband, Kevin, they've won $1 million scratch-off prizes -- three times. Janet Pflaumer-Phillips (Massachusetts State Lottery) The Massachusetts State Lottery made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that Janet won on the new “Diamond Millions” $30 instant ticket and claimed her winnings two days prior. She purchased the ticket at A&A Petro in Middleborough.


    But we might be have said to have won 13.7 billion years of lotteries without a miss, in perfect sequence. At what point does one begin to consider that, just perhaps, there is a fix in with a corrupt official or a loaded computer at the State lottery office?

    I won't bore you with all of this, and it is still a rough draft ...

    Seemingly, for you and I to be here now, subjectively considering the outcome, we have been the winners ... not of a single lottery where some seemingly unlikely happening happened because something had to happen (although it is not clear why anything had to happen, and why there had to be a lottery in the first place) ... but of a string of back to back lotteries, stretching 14 Billion years to the first expansion of this universe. One might consider the string of events as a new roll of the wheel in every second and fraction of a second within which any one (1) single factor of physics, chemistry, stellar, solar or planetary development, biology, evolution and history had to hit a certain finite number, all to continue to roll our way in order for us to be here now pondering the string of events. No exceptions, not one, can be tolerated, as shown by the fact that we are here to look back and ponder all the a priori steps and stage necessary to our being here to ponder.

    One left turn of a space rock whose right turn would have put our planet out of the game, one needed atom out of place, one star the was not quite hot enough, our world a little too close to our sun, one microbial, piscine or mammalian forefather who fell prey to a predator before having had time to breed, a drought, flood or infection that wiped out an ancestral village, any two grandparents who never met or never loved on just the right night, one sperm that missed its egg, and seemingly ... according to how science now seems to consider cause and effect ... we would have been out of luck. Just one.

    Oh, there might have been more than one chain of events that could have wound around to our front door (the dinosaurs would have been just as wiped out by a different meteor hitting in that moment in place of the one that did, thus clearing the way for the age of us mammals), but it seems in hindsight that the chains leading away from our door are so very very many more.

    Imagine the universe as a mysterious casino. We are not sure of the origins of this casino, but here it is, complete with a very special roulette wheel, That wheel is a matter of life and death. Anyone spinning, truly, is playing with their life because, apparently, only a relative handful of slots will leave the spinner breathing, while a vastly greater number of outcomes result in instant death. The ball is rolled, the player remains alive, signifying that she has been very, very lucky … but that is just how the ball rolls. Good for her.

    But imagine further that the game is changed such that, instead of one roll, her life depends on successfully hitting a handful of slots, again and again without fail, in an incredibly long series of spins stretching back through time. Minute by minute, second by second, continuing on for billions of years, the wheel is spun and the ball rolls with her life in the balance. One single miss, one single fall anywhere amid the greater sweep of deadly outcomes, and game over. Each roll, in each instant through the eons, is a crossroad between being and not. Nonetheless, low and behold, in spin following spin without fail, we have a winner. No matter where she places her bet on the table, it is that number which is called.

    Now, again, if someone goes into a casino, spins the roulette wheel and hits the jackpot 10, 1000 or 10,000 times in a row, well, it could be dumb luck. No less, if someone hits their number 100 times a minute for 14 Billion years, it could be dumb luck too ... although billions of trillions of times more luck. That is just how the wheel turns. But at what point would someone in an actual casino begin to entertain doubts, think about a rat, call the gaming commission, consider that things are not what they seem, that there may be magnets in the wheel and a shady character named “Rocko” with his foot on a pedal? Perhaps the table is weighted, or slants, or the ball is somehow loaded? Perhaps there is some as yet unknown fix or cheat that is in. In fact, to common sense, such a rigging of the table seems much more plausible by Occam’s razor, especially given how seedy this casino is.

    Something is very strange about our being here, and I will bet that there is something more going on than meets the eye. Science just does not know what that “something” is yet, because science is always one generation away from realizing how wrong it has been all along. Oh, I don’t mean that our present understanding of how the world works is totally wrong, because it is not and I have great faith in scientists and the scientific method to overturn centuries of supposition and ignorance. I simply mean that our understanding is bound to be incomplete, just as scientists of the past though that time is constant until Einstein showed them it is not, or until Quantum Mechanics demonstrated the Newtonian physics may only be true above the subatomic world. I will place a wager that what we know about the history of the universe, including the seeming randomness of evolution, is true ... yet not complete ... as a description of what is actually going on.

    Before I go any further with this topic, I just want to note my protest regarding how folks from that other religion use similar arguments to stuff their Jehovah or Creationism into the cracks of this mystery. That is not what I am talking about at all. It could be that there is some “intelligent designer” who has rigged a game or simulation of some sort, with amazing technology or power, by which it only appears in the game that there is random evolution, but actually there are hidden parameters in the programming that limit or channel outcomes. That would not be unlike the multi-player fantasy quest game my teenage plays which depicts a world of seemingly endless variety, with choices, surprises and doorways to pass through all along, yet the outcomes are actually finite and the world far from as free as it seems. That is a possibility. Some respected scientists and philosophers today believe that the odds of our world (including your reading this book right now) actually being part of a simulation you are experiencing being run by some advanced species could be 50% in their eyes. Certainly, the graphics on my son’s newest fantasy game are so realistic that I sometimes feel that I am looking at wizards standing right outside my window rather than on a screen. The latest virtual reality equipment adds movement, dimension and actual physical sensation to the experience. A physicist friend of mind tells me that it might not actually take that much computing power to create the experience of being in a whole universe if we merely create at any one time the room or horizons and sky that we can see at any one time (in other words, no reason to animate the world beyond a door or over horizon until we wish to go there, whereupon the world we leave behind can be easily erased). It is a possibility.

    Or, there may just be some principle, force to other factor that is perfectly natural, with no intent or intelligence behind it at all, but which shapes outcomes. How miraculous it must have seemed to our ancestors that “magic” acorns always produce oak trees, and not apple trees, until they had some early understanding of genetics. How strange that cannon balls fall to earth, and do not continue on indefinitely unless shot into space, until we had some basic understanding of gravity. Are they pushed down by some god’s invisible hands? How mysterious the chromosome, until we understood the double helix. In other words, our knowledge now is not wrong, but there are likely additional forces and principles at work that await discovery. It is the best explanation for our being here to think about it all: I think, therefore I wonder.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-18-2020, 07:56 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tomás ESP
    replied
    Millions of people play and only one wins the lottery. This person might feel special, but he was probably just lucky. Maybe it is the same with our lives. Out of the infinite number of planets, galaxies, and maybe universes, we won a lottery ticket. Doesn't make me feel special, but I do feel lucky and grateful. Regardless of what is true, I row row row. Thanks!

    Gassho,
    Sat

    Leave a comment:


  • Byokan
    replied
    I dimly perceive that the only "meaning" of life is the whole thing, every last bit, and therefore can never be reduced to a few lines. I wouldn't want it to be reduced to a few lines, actually. The universe "means" what it is.
    I think that, since I have an oar in my hand, I was meant to row.


    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

    Leave a comment:


  • Rev R
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Originally posted by Martin
    I dimly perceive that the only "meaning" of life is the whole thing, every last bit, and therefore can never be reduced to a few lines.
    Sure it can Martin my friend...

    "thus" (immediately followed by my best Barker's Beauties impression)

    My thought is that analysis is like whiskey; too much of it and all you get is a headache. It might sound a little anti-intellectual (it might actually be anti-intellectual), but we always have to be on guard that we do not transform ourselves into hungry ghosts with the desire to know the answers to some of these "big" questions.

    Leave a comment:


  • will
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    But couldn't it also be argued that analysing pieces of literature, music or art actually increases our enjoyment of them.
    This topic popped up this morning. There is benefit in analyzing literature and what not because it gives one the ability to think critically, so it is beneficial when one is training or studying. It's another tool of development. Of course, for literature, one should have some information about the period, language and culture. However, to understand the deeper meaning and perhaps beauty, you should drop that and let the poetry or novel speak for itself.

    Gassho

    Will

    Leave a comment:


  • John
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Originally posted by Martin

    I don't know anything but I wonder if the same isn't true of our search for the "meaning" or purpose of life. Every "purpose" I've ever seen put forward is reductionist, less than the sum of life's parts. If life is a code to be cracked, then once it's cracked, what then? I dimly perceive that the only "meaning" of life is the whole thing, every last bit, and therefore can never be reduced to a few lines. I wouldn't want it to be reduced to a few lines, actually. The universe "means" what it is. Which doesn't mean it "means" nothing, but at that point my head starts to hurt. And perhaps I'm no better at The Meaning of Life than I was at the Meaning of King Lear.
    Interesting question. The only problem is, we humans just can't seem to stop ourselves wondering and analysing, even if it means we often over-analyse and then cling to the concepts that we generate. But couldn't it also be argued that analysing pieces of literature, music or art actually increases our enjoyment of them. It seems to me that the possession of good, comprehensively detailed background knowledge should increase, add to, deepen and enrich our appreciation and enjoyment of any given piece of art, so long as we don't lose sight of the original work in a welter of complications. I remember attending an Open University Arts Summer School a few years ago. The music tutor for the course had done a Ph.D. dissertation on a song called "Ghost Town" by The Specials. He started telling us about the Moorish influences etc in the song! Well, ok, but maybe that was going a bit too far for me!

    I was listening to an interesting series of talks on the radio this week about a book written by an American missionary who worked with an Amazonian tribe for years trying to convert them to Christianity. But these Piraha Indians just could not see the sense of having to believe in a story from the distant past. They lived totally and pragmatically in the present. The guy eventually lost his own faith!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Sleep-Ther ... 832&sr=1-1

    Maybe some of us are just more prone to ask deep questions than others and we probably need those types of people around, as well as those who just incuriously get on with life. Otherwise we ourselves just might have remained at the same level of civilisation as those Piraha Indians, which might be okay I guess?

    Anyway, if we didn't keep analysing things we wouldn't have much to say here. would we? We are actually analysing the process of analysis at the moment

    Gassho,
    John

    Leave a comment:


  • lorax
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Hi
    Was on the road yesterday and missed the sit along with Jundo. Just picked it up tonight. What a wonderful song, Let the Mystery Be! At least the question of where did I come from and where am I going never seemed to be much of an issue in my mind. Guess just getting by some of life’s left curves seemed to always be and still is the challenge for me.
    That is why understanding the Heart Sutra is so important to me. Jundo keeps trying to point me in the right direction, …… guess I just keep sitting and some day…..?

    Anyway, if nothing more that song sure took me back to some fun years. Starting college in 1958 led to many nights at the Ash Grove and the Purple Onion listening to some very wise tunes, glad they are still around…

    Jim

    Leave a comment:


  • will
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    If Shakespeare had meant to say "Parents and children should be nice to each other" he could have said just that, he needn't have written King Lear. If the "moral" of Lear were "unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare forked animal as thou art", why, Shakespeare could have stopped writing at that point in the text.
    I like to tell my students that Shakespeare is to be read with the Heart and not only the mind (to use their own experience to relate to the text). His job was basically to express human emotions and what not, using the vocabulary that was available to him. A summary, paper or thesis can't quite get it. To describe the emotions that he was portraying by talking about metaphors and themes, misses the point. Music is the same.

    Gassho

    Will

    Leave a comment:


  • Jundo
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Hi Martin,

    I would like to keep this particular post in the archives, and repost it from time to time when the question comes up.

    Ah, life is a good book ... which we and the world co-author! Comedy and tears.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Leave a comment:


  • Martin
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    My first degree was English Literature. Lots of us used to approach the subject as being a "search for meaning". Each book had a "meaning" to be interpreted, found, argued over etc. King Lear was about parents and children being nicer to each other. Or, about shedding the trappings of authority and power. Or whatever.

    It was good fun, too, arguing over the different "meanings". But in the end, I wondered if each "interpretation" was, by definition, reductionist. It reduced the play, or whatever, to a code to be decoded. And then what? This kind of "interpretation" was a way of being in control. And was actually deeply disrespectful to the author and to the work in question. If Shakespeare had meant to say "Parents and children should be nice to each other" he could have said just that, he needn't have written King Lear. If the "moral" of Lear were "unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare forked animal as thou art", why, Shakespeare could have stopped writing at that point in the text.

    T S Eliot was once asked "What does the line "Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree" mean?". He replied, "It means, "Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree". Eventually I decided that most literature isn't a code for something else. It's just what it is. It's "meaning is just what it is. Reading any other meanings in was fun, but they were always less than the whole. At which point I decided I'd better study something else.

    I don't know anything but I wonder if the same isn't true of our search for the "meaning" or purpose of life. Every "purpose" I've ever seen put forward is reductionist, less than the sum of life's parts. If life is a code to be cracked, then once it's cracked, what then? I dimly perceive that the only "meaning" of life is the whole thing, every last bit, and therefore can never be reduced to a few lines. I wouldn't want it to be reduced to a few lines, actually. The universe "means" what it is. Which doesn't mean it "means" nothing, but at that point my head starts to hurt. And perhaps I'm no better at The Meaning of Life than I was at the Meaning of King Lear.

    Gassho

    Martin

    Leave a comment:


  • John
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Nice video. The question isn't all that important to me, Jundo. You triggered something from my old philosophical background and I still find my myself getting interested in such questions. I'll go and wash my bowl

    Gassho,
    John

    Leave a comment:


  • Jundo
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Hi John,

    I will get back to your question, a question that I am writing about in my book even today and that is so important to me ...

    But, for now, let's leave it with these wonderful lyrics from the 10,000 Maniacs ... they say it all ...

    Give a listen hear

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl= ... =N&tab=wv#

    Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from

    Everybody's worrying 'bout where they're gonna go

    When the whole thing's done

    Nobody knows for certain,

    And so it's all the same to me

    I Think I'll just let the mystery be



    Some say once gone, you're gone forever

    Some say you're gonna come back

    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior

    if in sinful ways you lack

    Some say that they're comin' back in a garden

    Bunch of carrots and little sweet peas

    I Think I'll just let the mystery be



    Some say they're going to place called Glory

    And I ain't sayin' it ain't a fact

    But I've heard that I'm on the road to purgatory

    And I don't like the sound of that

    I believe in love and I live my life accordingly

    But I choose to let the mystery be



    Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from

    Everybody's worrying 'bout where they're gonna go

    When the whole thing's done

    Nobody knows for certain,

    And so it's all the same to me

    I Think I'll just let the mystery be

    Leave a comment:


  • John
    replied
    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - IV

    Thanks for an interesting article, Jundo. Would it be possible to collect all these 'big questions' posts together in one place for reference?


    Originally posted by Jundo

    Let me say again for the rcord, that I do not think our being born as sentient beings, on a strange spinning ball in the middle of time and space, was something "random" and "unintended". Too much seems to have been required for that to occur, an incredible string of a priori events ... and it simply seems to me very much more likely that we should not have been born at all if the universe were truly random (I am writing a book on the subject, the incredible chain of events over the billions of years that led to our being alive to read these words now). My deep sense is that we are serving as an organ for something that requires our services.
    Just one thing - I'm a bit surprised that you could suscribe to the 'teleological argument' in any shape or form?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleologic ... rarguments
    I would have thought, rather, that you would have said 'how can we puny humans dare to presume that we are so important that the universe has been organised to produce us'! There has also been an incredible chain of events that led to the evoution of the cockroach - and they will probably outsurvive us,

    Gassho,
    John

    Leave a comment:

Working...