[FutureBuddha (Hunches II)] Further Hunches

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39472

    [FutureBuddha (Hunches II)] Further Hunches


    A RATHER LONG ESSAY … BUT WELL WORTH IT, I ASSURE YOU!

    This is the second post in which I present a few personal 'hunches' on why the world works the ways it seems to. I would argue that, while these ideas are obviously quite speculative (thus, I am very happy to call them "suggestions" or mere 'hunches,' based on my reading of modern scientific discoveries, traditional Buddhist perspectives and my own experiences in Zazen practice), my assertions are very much resonant of traditional Buddhist and Zen perspectives, although phrased in more modern terms. While Buddhism generally has avoided speculation on where the world came from, let alone how, I would assert that traditional Buddhism does posit something rare and most special about our having been born at all as a product of prior causes, and the place of human sentient beings in the scheme of things.

    ~~~

    The strongest evidence that “something is afoot,” that there is something more to the history of this universe, that the course of events has not been as random as many believe, is ...... YOU.

    You personally, dear reader. Specifically, it is your being alive now, in this present moment, with an ability to ponder likely conditions as they existed following the Big Bang, or at any time thereafter up to the instant of your conception, and to consider how unlikely your birth and your being here now would have been at any such point in time if our current beliefs about how the universe works were correct. We know that physical events in this universe are not totally random, restricted as they are by the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry, the limits of biology, as well as the system of trial and error which is natural selection and evolution. However, within those parameters, our universe is generally believed to function much like a vast pachinco machine of complex, wild and chaotic events, endless chance encounters, constant “need not have happened” happenings, generations of fluke fornicatings, “wrong place at the wrong time” accidental deaths and impromptu predator devourings.

    Nonetheless, despite all it apparently required, this fact is true:

    You are here to experience and contemplate your being here now, as well as to contemplate the fact that, in order for such experience to be occurring now, not a single physical event, chemical reaction, biological development or twist of evolution, not one during any moment throughout 13.8 billion years, failed to occur if that event, reaction, development or twist was somehow irreplaceable and necessary to your being here now. That is proven by your being here now to consider that fact.

    Furthermore, not a single physical event, chemical reaction, biological development or twist of evolution, not even one or once throughout 13.8 billion years, occurred if that event, reaction, development or twist would have foreclosed your being here now. Not a single one. That is proven by your being here now to consider that fact.

    This state of affairs is true despite it seemingly being the case, according to our present understanding of how events occur in nature, that countless physical events, untold chemical reactions, billions upon billions of biological developments accompanied by the twists and turns of evolution, within the incredibly long, interwoven and tangled chain of events from Big Bang to your parent’s banging and your birth, had ample opportunity to happen or not happen, or to happen but quite differently, or to wind around in some other among untold manifold directions, thus not leading to you. They did not, not even once, not even once in any single instant which would have presented ample opportunities to do so, not a single time if that one link in the chain which led to you had to happen if you were to happen. Your being here now is all the proof you need of this fact.

    To summarize, never once, in the entire history of all universal history, not a single time among the endless atoms reacting, molecules coupling, couples coupling, floods flooding, earthquakes quaking, winds blowing and ancestors surviving among the countless events within events in every single moment of time, did a single left turn of events instead “hang a right” if that left turn was necessary for you, while a right would have led off elsewhere.

    Several objections can be raised to such way of thinking but, on closer examination, all fail to pack much of a punch:

    First, it can be asserted that your birth is just brute fact: Somebody had to win the lottery, and that winner just happened to be you, together with all the other living creatures who shot out on this side of evolution. It cannot be denied that “dumb luck” is a possible explanation, namely, that the dice had to roll some numbers, all equally likely, and it might as well have come up with your number as any others. Anyone born and considering their birth or their winning a lottery would consider that fact just as amazing as do you now.

    However, there comes a point at which the luck involved becomes so extreme that one would be foolish not to consider the possibility of a “fix being in.” Namely, by another way of considering things, you are not the winner of but a single lottery (happens every day), or even a few lotteries won in sequence (happens too), but a thoroughly unbroken, perfect succession of trillions of lotteries, which seemingly offered endless alternative outcomes, involving a roll of the dice or spin of the wheel or deal (dice with trillions of faces, spinning wheels with a trillion trillion slotted spaces, plus decks of cards with as many combinations as atom combinations in the universe) in every moment of every instant since the cosmos began spinning and rolling and dealing nearly 14 billion years ago.

    Of course, there is the underlying question of why there is any cosmic casino at all, any games in the first place, any chemical crap shoots and biological bingo in any form, "something versus nothing" offering basic conditions to allow any longshot possibility of you whatsoever. But it seems the case, unless our eyes deceive us, that a universal poker night did pop up in the middle of (and as) time and space, and that it included at least the possibility of you as one potential (if seemingly outlandish) straight flush ... a possibility confirmed and fully realized, I hope you will agree, by your eyes seeing the cards that have been dealt you right now.

    So, let us imagine as a thought experiment that you were to walk into the place as if an actual casino … one where the bet requires your continuing to win hand after hand, dart toss after dart toss, every single deal, bullseye, crapshoot, jackpot, and roulette turn too … in every second of those 14 billions of years if that hand, roll or toss, etc., is necessary for you. (To keep it simple, let us limit things to one gamble try per second in each and every one of the approximately 32 quadrillion seconds since the big bang, although nature actually would have had googols of separate, parallel gambles going on in each one second, all of which would be needed as “wins” for you.) In this ultimate version of “Russian Roulette,” if but one necessary “win” were to turn out a “bust,” even once among all those turns and plays, you would cease to exist, dropping dead on the spot. In fact, you would never be born. Nevertheless, you keep winning, and living, due to victory in every single one.

    What a winning streak!

    You are either one heck of a lucky fellow or (as I propose) one heck of a mark or fool if you fail to entertain seriously the possibility of loaded dice, trick cards and weighted wheels, something more behind the scenes, something not fully upfront about the gambling, the situation not being quite as it seems, perhaps some shadowy "controller" or hidden processing in a back room making the odds less than fair, or maybe just some nature to the nature of gambling that is not what we assume. It might be that we have failed yet to recognize the “fix or fixer,” the set-up or cheat that causes the apparently random to be far less so. There might be no “fix or fixer” (the latter perhaps an intelligence intending and able to set up outcomes, the former perhaps a blind, natural process which results in the same but without particular intelligence or intent). But I will bet you quadrillions-to one that in some way there is.

    Another objection concerns the fact that this universe, our casino, might not be the only casino. There might be a vast, infinite multi-verse of universes, endless casinos, each slightly different in how it plays its games. Or this one uni-Vegas of ours could be vastly vast, beyond our wildest imagination, a possibility demonstrated by our great space telescopes which, every time they look, seem to find more of it. In a universe or set of universes so sweeping, even infinite, would not the fact of there having been born a creature just like you (or close enough) be vastly improved in odds or rendered inevitable, perhaps so many "yous" if not infinite "yous?" On a boundless dice table of endless rolls, every number combination is going to come up sometime, and ultimately endless times, yes?

    However, there are two problems with such an assertion, stemming from how modern science (and likely you too) presently considers what a “you” is.

    First, in our current understanding of who “you” are to be “you” (not to mention your present experience of you being subjectively the only “you” you have) you are only this very “you,” on this planet, in this timeline. You are the “you” you need, and any other “you” somewhere or sometime else would do “you” no good. You are this one, the only one you really should care about in fact (not that you wish any bad fortune to the other alternate “yous”). Why is this “you” you? Based on your personally lived sense of “you-ness,” any totally identical “you” elsewhere in this universe, or in other universes, or ages in the past or to come in the future, might look and talk like you, and might even feel to themselves as much subjectively “you” in their own experience as you do, but they would not be “this very you” here and now. They would be more like a twin, clone or doppleganger perhaps, but not you “you.” Their existence does little if anything to address the central question of why "this here you” popped up in the one place and time where "this here you” needed to be.

    Second, you might ask why the universe, even if a vast ensemble of universes, would have any “you” at all. No offense, but I assume that the universe, as well as all universes, could have gotten along quite nicely without any “you” at all, even one. You seem expendable (I feel less so about myself, but honestly, the same goes for me too.) Nonetheless, here you are, me too.

    Thus, we are left to ask why any casino needed or ended up with you as a possible outcome, even one time let alone possibly many or infinite times and, more importantly, why you turned up the winner in the one casino where “this very you” needed to be “this very you.” You needed to get this "you right here" right, not some other "you(s)" elsewhere, and luckily you did. Once again, we would be fools not to consider the “fix or fixer.”

    Of course, it is also possible that any “you” anywhere or everywhere else where “a” you pops up is also actually “you,” not just a twin, in ways in which we just do not readily perceive. Please see my earlier “Hunches” essay (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...287%29-Hunches) in which I posit the following:

    It is much the same as if I were in a large house, looking out of one window seeing the world a certain way, then (with amnesia causing me to forget the first window) looking out a second window seeing the world a quite different way ... but this is happening simultaneously. In other words, we are all the very same consciousness looking out of different windows at once, but not aware of each other, thus feeling like individuals of separate experiences and views out our window eyes.
    In other words, every “you” is precisely “you” right now, such that any other “you” (not to mention every other sentient creature perhaps, and maybe even the stones) is also “you,” and you them, but with a kind of “firewall” between, or “horse blinders” on, partitioning the hard-drive or narrowing the scope of vision and experience, so that each “you” does not experience the other “you(s).” That might explain parts of the puzzle.

    Nonetheless, it still does not fully address the question of why there is “this” you which you are currently experiencing as “this” you, even if seemingly there could be endless “other yous” elsewhere (and/or endless other sentient beings not “you” at all), but no “this very you” … or even no “you” at all, not even one.

    If it does turn out that the universe(s) had to have “yous” for some reason, that “yous” are somehow hard-wired into the system as inevitable somehow, that "yous" must be popping up here and there again and again, and that all those “yous” are somehow you too (not only this little one here who will someday leave this mortal coil), would that not be nice for you to know? It would mean that you are somehow more connected, more in extent, more diverse, than just this single, lonely version of you right here. You are literally lots of places, maybe all over the place, maybe the whole place itself in some way! Possibly a whole You-niverse of you(s).

    Bringing these questions right home to “you” makes more personal a related topic that scientists have been debating recently: namely, beyond just you or me, and instead, with regard to all of us, why do we live in a universe seemingly so-well suited to the advent of life in general, any life at all, and more intriguingly, the possibility for intelligent life beyond just simple life?

    As most viewers of science documentaries are now well aware, had gravity, the electro-magnetic force, the strong and weak forces, the electron’s mass, the neutron’s weight and a wide panoply of other phenomena (the so-called “anthropic coincidences”) been even a tad stronger or weaker, massier or weightier, stars and the periodic table would never have happened, or would have happened much differently, and any life, including complex life, seemingly would have been impossible. The problem is resolved if there is a multi-verse of universes, each with somewhat different conditions, but there is little more evidence for a multi-verse right now, apart from conjecture and a handful of intriguing theories, as there is for the “fix or fixer.” A multi-verse still begs the question of how “you” (this one here) happens to find yourself in one of the universes where any life was possible, let alone in this particular universe where your “this very you here and now” life is possible.

    It could perhaps be nothing more than some “selection effect,” it is true, to wit: If you were not in such an hospitable universe, you would not be thinking about it because you would not be. However, because you are thinking about it, you must be in an hospitable universe. But does that not beg the question of why there is any hospitable universe at all, for life in general let alone for you in particular, and why “this you” lucked out in getting the very “this universe” that was precisely on the spot where it was needed by “this you” (and by the rest of us here too)? If you were to find yourself afloat in an ocean, about to drown, and were to reach out to find a tree branch floating by, a branch sufficient for you to grab and thus keep from drowning, you would consider yourself lucky indeed! But this planet on which we find ourself is much more than just a drifting log: Located in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” of our solar system, with water and dry land, struck by meteors to form its core just enough, where and when, not too cold and not too hot (not yet anyway, unless we knock things off balance), with gravity of certain strength, a moon above to turn the tides, circling a sun not too close nor too far, with properties of heating and lighting suitable to grow the food which sustains us, all of it made of elements of the periodic table with just the properties (as slews of diverse molecules in combination, each with unique abilities and functions) to do all that, including the oxygen and carbon and other stuff that are our very bodies and brains, all of which is allowed by a universe with the physical properties to allow all that. One miss there, one missing element or off-course mega-meteor, temperature disparity or temperamental sun, looney moon or drifting off of evolution, and you would not be here to think of it at all. Goldilocks would get no porridge, let alone air, light, gravity, ground, water, quite complex brain or living body.

    That might be just a “selection effect,” it is true. But, also possibly, it could be a special phenomenon so unusual (unusual to your quite complex brain anyway, not to mention to the quite complex brains of the rest of our human race) that it cries out for special explanation and consideration of a “fix or fixer,” rather than a shrug and a resigned, “Well, them’s just the lucky breaks.” While every other ant on this planet, or alien being on any other, snail and salmon or silicon-based jelly creature from the New Jersey swamps to out in the most distant galaxies we can see, would be equally entitled to be amazed at their being where and what they are, intelligent and inquisitive enough to ask the question (probably the ants crawl along just fine without wondering, it is true), we still can marvel that we are here to ask why and how … especially when considering the much greater set of seemingly potential, “conceivably might have been but never panned out, unborn or unconceived” beings who never got a chance to be born at all, let alone a chance to consider the question of why. One would think that they far outnumber those of us who did get conceived and born, so much so that we should question why, not a tree branch, but a fully equipped and stocked planet popped up right where our feet needed to plant themselves.

    And that leads to a final point: Why do you have feet perfectly fitted to the ground, lungs just right for the chemistry of respiration and earth’s particular mix of air, eyes suited to the light of our sun so as to allow you to see, a heart, other organs and other bodily systems to so ably handle the needs of circulation, digestion, protection from bacterial invasion, reproduction and other machinations sufficient to let you be alive? Obviously, the answer is evolution: Your ancestors, over long generations, evolved eyes which suited the sunlight for the simple reason that doing so aided survival, finding food, navigating, locating mates, escaping enemies (improving survival chances over those who did not.) You have feet which evolved for like reason, teeth, thumbs, and all the rest too. This is now the accepted wisdom of biologists, and it is hard to deny. I do not.

    However, it also presents the same mysteries: How did all that evolution happen to wind around, not only to the particular body that is you, but to the particular STRUCTURE of BODY among all potential structures (let alone no structure and body at all) necessary to allow you to be “you,” and to have a mental sense of you right now, when very few if any possible other structures would have done so?

    In other words, it seems that the world could have continued along just fine with only the body structures of amoeba, worms, elephants and roaches, or any other creature for that matter, or no creatures, let alone the specific body structure for this “you” creature. Or it could have evolved intelligent species who were not our human species at all, and quite distinct. Even after it did evolve us humans, it could have skipped the particular human body structure that is reading these words now (i.e., you), but it did not, and that required you to have almost exactly the kind of body you have, besides seemingly this particular one. But if you did not have your stomach and your reasonably good brain, let alone heart and lungs and the rest, there might be some “lump or ooze” vaguely you, some semblance of you sharing some characteristics, some other creature with a hint of you, some amoeba or roach (let alone rock or other inanimate object) with the atoms that are now you instead restructured as amoeba or roach or rock, but not the very form of “you” that needs to have been pretty much just as it is right now in order to enable a “you” that can read and is reading these words. Things turned out pretty nicely for you, I hope you agree, assuming that you are happy to know that you have the sense organs, lungs, blood, guts and brain you need to make “this you” what you are. You could have been a boneless you, or one without lungs or bowels or brain … which really means, frankly, that “you” would not be at all, or at least, an unrecognizably different version.

    And that is not all: For you to be “you” (the one listed on your drivers license, and the one reading and considering what it says) you needed to be on precisely this world, or one pretty much just like it. In other words, if you lacked eyes or hands, you probably could still get by (and even thrive, for I do not mean to imply in ANY way that sensory or other physical so-called “disabilities” are truly “defects” and make somebody less in any way. Quite the contrary! You might even be a better you without some limb or sight or hearing.) However, without that brain of yours of intricate construction to sustain a modicum of intelligence and your inner “sense” of “you” there would (you would assume) be no “you” possible. You needed neurons, in certain complex structures of connection and interrelationship, with certain brain regions and abilities joined and interworking in just the right ways, all as sustained by a heart and lungs able to keep it alive by being well geared to the atmosphere and chemistry of this planet, all built of atoms in molecular combinations very fortunately able to be the “building blocks” of each “piece” of you, with the right properties, all combined and efficiently inter-functioning to allow and sustain all that, without which “you” would not be you subjectively experiencing you, let alone smart enough to be aware of how ridiculous the happening of your “you-ness” actually is. And all of those parts and combinations would be most unlikely to have evolved just as they did without a planet with pretty much the properties, narrow environments and resources that this one has. Small chance of a "you" evolving on Jupiter or Venus, for example. Some extremophile life, perhaps, but not "you."

    Just as surprising, as a corollary, your “you” being “you” is as it is because it is a mirror reflection of the planet: If this planet were not as it is, with the narrow range of conditions, wide variety of resources and other life nurturing properties it has, you could not be who "you" are with the properties you have, because those specific properties which allow your "youness" each and all evolved "hand to glove" to suit the particular conditions, resources and properties of this particular planet. You have eyes with receptors that match the light, legs suited to the ground, blood of a certain chemistry fed by water and nutrients found on this world, with a brain running by electro-chemical properties precisely balanced to allow its braining. Your body evolved that way to suit conditions. In other words, you are very much the planet's mirror reflection, the product stamped out of its mold, someone (i.e., you) made with precisely the properties and materials that the planet earth had available to use, suited to survive in the very particular terrestrial conditions that the planet presents.

    Failing any of which … you would not be you.

    I am not saying that evolution, and good old Darwin, are wrong. Not at all, the evidence is too strong, the process visible before our eyes. But might the theory be a little bit incomplete? Might there be something more to the game, “Evolution +Alpha,” those weights in the roulette wheel we have not yet caught on to, the hidden compass which points out directions, "the fix or the fixer" in the otherwise wild casino of nature’s “eat or be eaten” jungles? We just don’t know what this “+Alpha” is yet, just as we did not know why giraffes have long necks before Darwin came along to resolve that long debated mystery. Of course, anything is speculative until found (or disproven) assuming "+Alpha" actually exists and can be found. But if we suspect such, we might look for it, find it, test for it. I suspect that, when we finally know, it will seem as obvious as a giraffe's neck.

    Just on a lark, I merely point out, as a fun thought experiment to show that things need not be what they seem, that, for example, a film or simulation depicting evolution with a runtime millions of years long, when played back, would look just like “live action” evolution to someone watching but unaware it was a film or simulation. The course of events would be safely determined within the bits and bites of the DVD or hard drive on which the movie or simulation is held but, when replayed, would appear to be the real world changing in a wildly undetermined manner through passing time. (Even without need for an entire film or simulation, a simulated memory merely of finding dinosaur bones and learning such history would have the same effect, although admittedly much too close for comfort to "the dinosaur bones were planted" notion.) Likewise for some hyper-realistic and detailed dream to a dreamer unaware they are dreaming (possibly creating the experience as their own imaginings, perhaps as a kind of shared dream that we are all dreaming and creating together, perhaps as some boltzmann brain or the like which is dreaming us.) Likewise, characters in a video game of “Mario Evolution,” unaware that they are characters in the game, would see evolution play out as wildly as any race, not aware that the game machine has hidden parameters that limit the possibilities and directions that the race might take. Or, quantum mechanics suggests that our observations determine physical events, but how far does that reach? Rather than history causing us to live and observe, might somehow our observing cause our living and history? Butterflies, fish and birds accomplish astoundingly precise and targeted migrations across the earth, not by random chance driving them willy-nilly to purely odd and unpredictable destinations, but because they possess inner, non-obvious, thoroughly natural (themselves evolved) navigation systems which guide them through night and darkness, storms and open space to just the mating fields where they need to go. Might nature have other guidance systems pointing to certain destinations in its natural and otherwise open-ended and wild wanderings? Might something like one of those scenarios be true and, if so, is there some inventive way to test for it? It is fun to speculate, no harm in that.

    Whatever it is, the system is not perfect, at least not to our human standards: It does go by trial and error, eat or be eaten, wasteful in seeing what new mutation will keep its bearer alive long enough to pass it on, mercilessly killing off and recycling the atoms of the rest. Children are born with defects, cancers and other diseases, strange and harmful mutations appear in genetic inheritances, all of which makes me think that the system is quite buggy, if not downright broken and cruel. Were I to design a universe (not to say there was any designer, and if there was, apparently not a very nice one or efficient one who could cut directly to the final ideal design), I would want a place where children do not suffer, and all were born healthy. Could we not have had change and evolution while leaving the dying children out, as well as war, rape, murder and a few other things? We cannot all live forever and, in fact, each generation must die to make room for what comes next (what a crowded, dull and non-developing world this would be if we were just to stick around forever). Yet I wish deer were never hit by cars, that cats would leave the birds alone, that birds could let the fish swim by unmolested. We need to eat, and nature seems to have come up with killing and violence as the central means to that end.

    However, maybe we human beings can now choose to move beyond all that killing and violence, at least for our part. I get the sense that the “programming” (if that is an apt description) is self-correcting, namely, it is rather organic, but tends to isolate and remove its “mistakes” by the simple mechanism that they die, don’t reproduce, don’t continue. In other words, as sad as it is, harmful mutations tend not to be carried further because their carriers do not carry on further. Most children do not get cancer, although some unfortunate ones do. Perhaps our developing brains, some of which are smart enough to become “cancer researchers,” allow that someday soon we can correct that glitch too. After all, "scientists" and "engineers" are what nature has cooked up too as its evolutionary natural creation, as much as nature came up with flowers and trees. Modern medicine and laboratories are products of nature too. As well, let us grow beyond anger and violence, especially if we hope to survive in this age of mass destruction weapons. Perhaps the reason that all these galaxies, and all the planets within them, are so spaced apart is precisely so we cannot get to each other either, isolated by the solid barrier of the speed of light, like petri dishes safely kept in isolation or seedlings spaced in a garden field of outer space. Even if we muck things up here, or just are unlucky on planet earth, I am sure that countless other species on other worlds will persevere.

    But my thoughts wander too far afield now ...

    Rene Descartes posited, Cogito, ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” It is perhaps the one thing that we can be sure of, for sure. However, I believe that we are entitled to take the next step and each ask, “why am I, and why am I thinking at all?” when that seemingly need not have been the case. It is a special question that I, and you, are entitled to ask about you, me and the rest of us, a question that possibly you and most of us have been thinking about all wrong until now.

    ~~~

    ANNEX:

    In a wonderful book entitled “A Perfect Vacuum,” science fiction author and social commentator Stanislaw Lem wrote a story detailing what goes into somebody's life. It is not only the physics and chemistry of the universe, but historical events, including many so tragic. It is something to consider too. Here is a small taste:

    A certain army doctor, during the First World War, ejected a nurse from the operating room, for he was in the midst of surgery when she entered by mistake. Had the nurse been better acquainted with the hospital, she would not have mistaken the door to the operating room for the door to the first-aid station, and had she not entered the operating room, the surgeon would not have ejected her … [thus] the young surgeon would not have considered it his duty to go and apologize to the nurse, would not have taken her to the café, fallen in love with her, and married her, whereby Professor Benedykt Kouska would not have come into the world as the child of this same married couple. …

    [There would have been no war, thus no Professor Kouska, but for] the coincidence, too, that the Archduke Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo, for had he not been shot, war would not have broken out, and had war not broken out, the young lady would not have become a nurse; moreover, since she came from Olomouc and the surgeon from Moravská Ostrava, they most likely would never have met, neither in a hospital nor anywhere else. One therefore has to take into account the general theory of the ballistics of shooting at archdukes, and since the hitting of the Archduke was conditioned by the motion of his automobile, the theory of the kinematics of automobile models of the year 1914 should also be considered, as well as the psychology of assassins, because not everyone in the place of that Serb would have shot at the Archduke, and even if someone had, he would not have hit, not if his hands were shaking with excitement; the fact, therefore, that the Serb had a steady hand and eye and no tremors also has its place in the probability distribution of the birth of Professor Kouska. Nor ought one to ignore the overall political situation of Europe in the summer of 1914. ….

    But the same reasoning holds for those ancestors of the line of the Kouskas and the line of the nurse who were not at all human yet, being creatures who led a quadrumanous and arboreal existence in the Lower Eolithic, when the first Paleopithecanthropus, having overtaken one of these quadrumanes and perceiving that it was a female with which he had to deal, possessed her beneath the eucalyptus tree that grew in the place [because previously] great herds of weakened mammoths had eaten their fill of eucalyptus flowers and then, suffering indigestion from them … had drunk copious quantities of water from the Vltava; that water, having at the time purgative properties, caused them to evacuate en masse, thanks to which eucalyptus seeds were planted where previously eucalypti had never been [because previously] water of the Vltava underwent sulfurization approximately two and a half million years B.C., this on account of a displacement in the main geosyncline of the tectonic formation that was then giving rise to the center of the Tatra Mountains; this formation caused the expulsion of sulfurous gases from the marlacious strata of the Lower Jurassic, because in the region of the Dinaric Alps there was an earthquake, which was caused by a meteor that had a mass on the order of a million tons; this meteor came from a swarm of Leonids, and had it fallen not in the Dinaric Alps but a little farther on, the geosyncline would not have buckled, the sulfurous deposit would not have reached the air and sulfurized the Vltava, and the Vltava would not have caused the diarrhea of the mammoths, from which one can see that had a meteor not fallen 2.5 million years ago on the Dinaric Alps, Professor Kouska then, too, could not have been born.

    … and it continues on like that …
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2023, 06:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Kotei
    Treeleaf Unsui
    • Mar 2015
    • 3989

    #2
    Thank you Jundo, I like pondering such questions, too.

    Seeing my existence as the proof of there being something that guided my development,
    or just action and reaction in a complex manner doing what it does?

    When I am looking at it from the perspective of now, this human being in all it’s complexity,
    it feels like the old proof of the existence of god. This complex thing needs to have some guidance, thought or creator.

    When I am looking at if from the perspective of some quantum fluctuation, plopping this universe into existence and then just this energy becoming a elementary particle, this particle becoming a more complex assembly, an atom, aggregating and forming a fusion reactor (sun), producing heavy elements, molecules, life -
    it feels like a natural process that produced what he have now.

    I believe in the methods and models of science, knowing that they are just that - models.
    So my tendency is to view this question from the 2nd perspective, I mentioned.
    Not looking back and assuming that the "is condition" holds the reason for it's origin.
    Physical time (space-time), whatever that is (the difference/development between different arrangements of energy and matter, I guess) is moving in one direction. Forward.

    Of course, we need to live our lives as responsible, compassionate and thoughtful, as we can,
    but we also need to understand that we are not as important and special to the universe, as we’d like to think.
    On the timescale of the universe, it is just an eye blink ago, that we thought the solar system, circling around us, is just there for us.
    We’re not the center of the universe, either.

    A wonderful development and rare chance, that lead to this, but it had immeasurable times (there was no time, before the universe plopped into existence) to form, too.
    Life, this self organizing, self replicating, dissipative non balanced thing - everything moves towards a state of balance and equilibrium, of even distribution, just life goes the other way of aggregating and building, of consuming energy to counter equilibrium.
    From prokaryotes to us being self conscious and pondering existence.
    What a huge responsibility for us not to mess it up.

    The next galaxy is 2.5 million lightyears away, so it is not very likely that we get to know all the other conscious life in form of quivering blobs or floating particle clouds or self conscious whole planets (taken from Stanislaw Lem, too).

    Sorry for running long,
    I wasn't able to display my shortcomings shorter.

    Of course just my 2 cents.
    Gassho,
    Kotei.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

    Comment

    • Onkai
      Treeleaf Unsui
      • Aug 2015
      • 2895

      #3
      The essay is awe-inspiring. I'm so small, the planet is so small, while being huge to us, yet it's amazing that we're here at all, contemplating our existence.

      Gassho, Onkai
      Sat lah
      美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
      恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

      I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

      Comment

      • Kaitan
        Member
        • Mar 2023
        • 473

        #4
        Interesting essay, I did get a bit overwhelmed by the amount of "yous" in some paragraphs . I'll have to digest and probably reread it again. Also the contemplation on the nature of the universe is always so fantastic and rich

        Thanks

        Gasshō
        SatToday
        Bernal
        Last edited by Kaitan; 06-15-2023, 01:26 PM.
        Kaitan - 界探 - Realm searcher
        Formerly known as "Bernal"

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39472

          #5
          Someone asked me if my "hunch" must always fall outside of science and the scientific method. I think that it could come within science and the scientific method eventually.

          It is science as its central premise can be posited, experienced and tested for. First, you can consciously experience your own experience of existence, so that fact is fundamental to all science (without that ability, even science would be impossible as there would be no conscious scientists.) Second, it must be a given that every necessary cause for your existence happened or you would not be present and considering the problem. Third, we can pencil in the mathematical likelihood of that occurring, among all theoretically possible alternative outcomes, as measured a moment after the Big Bang or at any point in time after. Fourth, we can posit that, given the strange result, such an outcome was possible but, when measured from any point prior to its happening, most extremely unlikely. Fifth, we can then posit that the outcome either was simply brute fact or, possibly, that there is an as yet unknown mechanism which could bring about the unusual result. Sixth, we can consider what kind of mechanism that might be, and finally, we can consider whether we can test for it. If we can test for it, it is science.

          Furthermore, it is "science" in the sense that the view challenges a premise on which science rests, namely that there is nothing special or strange about our having been born at the tail end of such a long and tangled chain of a prior factors. The fact of our being the only or relatively rare outcome able to consciously consider its own outcome is what makes the problem unusual, calling for special explanation beyond simply "that's what happened" or "something had to happen, so might as well be that."

          Gassho, J

          stlah
          Last edited by Jundo; 06-20-2023, 02:56 AM.
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Tokan
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Oct 2016
            • 1230

            #6
            Thank you Jundo

            Just catching up on some reading! Random or directed - this place, whatever this place is, is amazing! The threads upon which our individual existences hang are incredibly thin. It can get pretty weird though can't it, I mean, I once wondered if I would be me (as I am now) if my parents had conceived me a day later than they did????

            Gassho, Tokan

            satlah
            平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
            I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39472

              #7
              Originally posted by Tokan
              Thank you Jundo

              Just catching up on some reading! Random or directed - this place, whatever this place is, is amazing! The threads upon which our individual existences hang are incredibly thin. It can get pretty weird though can't it, I mean, I once wondered if I would be me (as I am now) if my parents had conceived me a day later than they did????

              Gassho, Tokan

              satlah
              Or if they had never met ... or there was no planet earth ...
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Ryumon
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 1706

                #8
                Perhaps the best argument against the simulation hypothesis is that the simulation would be programmed so no one or nothing in the simulation could figure it out.

                Gassho,
                Ryūmon (Kirk)
                Sat
                ---
                Ryūmon (Kirk)
                流文

                SAT/LAH

                I know nothing.

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39472

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ryumon
                  Perhaps the best argument against the simulation hypothesis is that the simulation would be programmed so no one or nothing in the simulation could figure it out.

                  Gassho,
                  Ryūmon (Kirk)
                  Sat
                  Unless it is either a mathematically imperfect simulation, or the game was to figure it out, or figuring it out is not harmful to the simulation. For example, we know that movies are movies, and video games are video games, yet we still enjoy them.

                  I am not saying that the foregoing is the actual situation, but merely offering a challenge to the conclusiveness of your assertion.

                  Gassho, J

                  stlah
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Ryumon
                    Member
                    • Apr 2007
                    • 1706

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Jundo
                    Unless it is either a mathematically imperfect simulation, or the game was to figure it out, or figuring it out is not harmful to the simulation. For example, we know that movies are movies, and video games are video games, yet we still enjoy them.
                    But we don't know that a dream is a dream, at least while we're dreaming.

                    Gassho,

                    Ryūmon (Kirk)

                    sat
                    ---
                    Ryūmon (Kirk)
                    流文

                    SAT/LAH

                    I know nothing.

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39472

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ryumon
                      But we don't know that a dream is a dream, at least while we're dreaming.

                      Gassho,

                      Ryūmon (Kirk)

                      sat
                      There is lucid dreaming where one recognizes that they are in a dream. Again, not saying that applies here, just pointing out an exception.

                      Gassho J
                      Stlah
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Kotei
                        Treeleaf Unsui
                        • Mar 2015
                        • 3989

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Ryumon
                        Perhaps the best argument against the simulation hypothesis is that the simulation would be programmed so no one or nothing in the simulation could figure it out.
                        Or that those, steering the simulation will immediately remove the one, figuring it out, from it. Until they, themself find out they are trapped in one.
                        And all this for a marketing company, trying to eliminate the need for opinion polls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacron-3

                        Gassho,
                        Kotei sat/lah today.

                        義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
                        Being a novice priest doesn't mean my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

                        Comment

                        • Ryumon
                          Member
                          • Apr 2007
                          • 1706

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Kotei
                          Or that those, steering the simulation will immediately remove the one, figuring it out, from it. Until they, themself find out they are trapped in one.
                          And all this for a marketing company, trying to eliminate the need for opinion polls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacron-3

                          Gassho,
                          Kotei sat/lah today.
                          Not only have I never heard of that novel, but I had never heard of the Fassbinder adaptation of it. Since it was made for TV, it probably didn’t circulate in cinemas at all. (Though Berlin Alexanderplatz was also made for TV, and was shown in cinemas.) i’ll have to try to find this.

                          Gassho,
                          Ryūmon (Kirk)
                          Sat
                          ---
                          Ryūmon (Kirk)
                          流文

                          SAT/LAH

                          I know nothing.

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39472

                            #14
                            Berlin Alexanderplatz
                            I remember sitting in a cinema for the 15 hour film (booked into an art theatre as a binge marathon.) Like the universe, it seemed to go on for billions of years, had characters coming in and out, a complicated and tangled plot with no clear direction or ending in sight ...

                            ... all of which opinion, I not admit, was due not to the film, but to my being too young, too uneducated about its origins and too uncultured in my taste and sensibilities to appreciate it ...

                            ... also perhaps like our human experience of the universe now!

                            Yes, maybe the universe has been made as a mini-series by a German avant-garde director, and we just cannot appreciate it yet. That would explain a lot.

                            Gassho, J

                            stlah
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                            Comment

                            • Ryumon
                              Member
                              • Apr 2007
                              • 1706

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              I remember sitting in a cinema for the 15 hour film (booked into an art theatre as a binge marathon.) Like the universe, it seemed to go on for billions of years, had characters coming in and out, a complicated and tangled plot with no clear direction or ending in sight ...

                              ... all of which opinion, I not admit, was due not to the film, but to my being too young, too uneducated about its origins and too uncultured in my taste and sensibilities to appreciate it ...

                              ... also perhaps like our human experience of the universe now!

                              Yes, maybe the universe has been made as a mini-series by a German avant-garde director, and we just cannot appreciate it yet. That would explain a lot.

                              Gassho, J

                              stlah
                              Oh, you're so wrong, Roshi. I saw it in a cinema in NYC when it was released, and it was a masterpiece. I attended an intimate presentation the previous evening with two of the actors, Gunther Lamprecht, who played the lead character Franz Biberkopf, and Hanna Schygulla. 22-year old me was so excited to be in the presence of Hanna Schygulla...

                              I've since seen it as intended - as a TV series in multiple sittings - and it's still a masterpiece.

                              I looked it up in the NYT. This article presages today's TV with the type of long-form series that are now the norm:



                              You don't have to blame capitalism to realize that films of this mind-bending length are impractical as theatrical ventures, but there is the possibility that in the not too distant future the home video market will make them seem a little less mad than they do today. A new kind of narrative cinema may be at hand. If that is true, then "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is its seminal work.


                              Gassho,

                              Ryūmon (Kirk)

                              sat
                              ---
                              Ryūmon (Kirk)
                              流文

                              SAT/LAH

                              I know nothing.

                              Comment

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