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Thread: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

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    Default Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    I am starting this new thread by reposting below the last two posts made on my C.S. Lewis, The Space Trilogy thread, where they weren’t off-topic but expanded the topic of scientific nihilism way beyond those three stories.

    I have more material to follow, which for greater visibility (if not readability) I shall divide into smaller posts than before. Meanwhile, I want to take advantage of this unusual boundary position both before and after what came last and also comes next to quote from an article by Tom Bearden I printed out 15 years ago and which suddenly resurfaced before my eyes last night. It is called "A THEORETICAL BACKGROUND FOR UNDERSTANDING PT, UFO'S, AND PSI PHENOMENA" and I can’t find it on the Internet or in my computer files. I believe it is now part of a book called Excalibur Briefing which I don’t have.

    I want to quote three salient points from this paper. First the idea of the paranormal as a bridge between the mental reality perceived by one mind only, and the physical reality perceived by all minds holographically. This bridge or boundary, where phenomena are in some but not all minds, is not recognized by conventional science, because such a paranormal phenomenon “can be shown to exist in more than one mind, and it can also be shown not to exist in one or more minds”. Paranormal phenomena “must be repeatable sometimes (...) but not necessarily always”: not enough to qualify as science, even though relativity or quantum mechanics involve such phenomena, for example when “two colliding protons pass right through each other”.

    Secondly, Bearden’s tool for this grey area is a fourth law of logic, added to but contradicting Aristotle’s three laws. This fourth law states “the identity of opposites on their common boundary”. This is in direct contradiction with Aristotle’s third law of the excluded middle, A or not-A. Interestingly, this is territory Van Vogt also gets into with his World of Null-A (where A stands for Aristotelianism). What makes this fourth law – locating “the identity of exact opposites” – fully logical is the consideration that the third law is a monocular process (one perception at a time), whereas perception here becomes “binocular, and exclusive separation of either A or not-A is not permitted.”

    Thirdly, this “law of the boundary” says that the boundary is both one thing and its opposite: e.g. the side of a cube in empty space and the edge of the empty space around the cube. In other words, it is both part of the thing and part of the non-thing. This leads to a new definition of nothing or zero. For “such a multiple presence is monocularly unperceivable, and hence becomes a zero to a monocular detection process. This allows new definitions of zero, and a solution to the problem of nothing. (…) Total absence and multiple, unseparated presence are identical insofar as a monocular detection process is concerned.”

    All the above is of the utmost relevance to the Bogdanovs’ theory of what came before the Big Bang (see post #3 below). It explains how the very idea would be off-limits to conventional science because it makes the Big Bang a paranormal phenomenon – a paranormal bridge between a mental universe perceived by the one mind of the Creator, and the corresponding physical world perceived by all minds. It explains in terms of logic what the Bogdanovs describe in mathematics and theoretical physics terms, i.e. what happens at this boundary between nothing and everything.

    In my own layman’s terms, I see the moment of creation then as being the actual passage from monocular to multiocular perception, the creation of multiocular perception coinciding with the creation of the self-conscious physical world. As the “mind of God”, this “singularity” becomes a plurality as the universe starts perceiving itself from every position and angle. This is an ongoing process, as every individual consciousness sharing its personal mental world with other minds is something we do all the time; it is our modus operandi. While on one level, all we ever deal with are changes in our own mental state, experience is not intransitive: we experience each other. In other words, everything happens at some boundary; which sounds very much as if to say that the so-called “paranormal” is the norm, the central mainstream, and the rest is in fact peripheral. We would seem to be like horses, which have excellent peripheral vision and are unable to see something right under their noses.

    There is one other corollary that I see to all this, namely that, if openness is the rule, then secrecy is taking exception to the rule. If the “natural” trajectory is from individual perception (mind) to universal perception (the physical world), then secrecy would be an individual attempt to escape this process, and conspiracy would be a small-scale collective attempt to escape this process, while the ultimate global conspiracy, sometimes called Satanism, would be a large-scale attempt to reverse this process. This is the point at which we part company with CS Lewis and approach the bigger picture beyond Mars, Venus and Earth. If the game is bridge-building, then nihilism is all about blowing up bridges. But the contradiction is when the business of destroying bridges involves massive bridge-building between supposedly isolated individuals. Lewis’s image of the atheistic scientist stamping on a crucifix makes no sense either. However, at the level of Bearden’s theory, it does make sense, to be sure, but as something perhaps undesirable overall.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    Repost from https://projectavalon.net/forum4/sho...=1#post1411726

    CS Lewis’s Space Trilogy is a fascinating story, but it does raise all kinds of problems. His cosmic battle between good and evil takes place on two levels: discarnate planetary deities are positively oriented, with one notable exception. At some stage, humanity becomes mixed up in this conflict. With Adam and Eve this happens at the very beginning of human consciousness, but presumably the spiritual war started much earlier. The fantasy of Perelandra is a rerun of Adam and Eve on Venus involving 20th century humanity on an early trip off-planet. The problem is nipped in the bud when Satan is present only through one human individual: killing the human is enough to remove the satanic presence. However, it is also a drastic solution made necessary by the fact that no logical argument is sufficiently persuasive when the other side is using a subtly distorted version of the same arguments. It is also a paradoxical non-solution in that involves murder in order to save human life. In the Bible story, murder is a second-generation occurrence, when Cain kills Abel. Hence it is an example of original sin at work, not an avoidance of it. The other problem here is that the satanic presence is removed from only one planet – not removed at all in fact, merely displaced. It is like killing the patsy while the real culprit goes free. On the other hand, problems are solved by taking them to a higher level: here, on the contrary, the problem is seemingly lowered from the spiritual to the physical plane. Certainly, this may only be how it looks from one perspective. From another perspective, a human being in the full sense of the word, i.e. as a combination of the spiritual and the physical, is naturally going to trump a negative discarnate entity, which is both disembodied and despiritualized. So the outcome of the human duel on Venus makes sense: the man with the soul overcomes the man who has lost his soul.

    The next stage therefore, recounted in That Hideous Strength, is to remove the evil from the Earth, where it is still fairly localized: one group of scientific nihilists in a small university town. This group ends up going crazy, which is the logical outcome of the built-in contradiction when materialism and nihilism come together. For if matter is all that is, and nihilism is the destruction of anything to hand, then self-destruction is the only possible minimum outcome. The problem with this scenario for the modern reader is that the world has moved on, the issue is no longer localized, and so any self-destruction would take everyone and everything with it. We are no longer at the dawn of the atomic age, but more likely at its culmination. See this post.

    Whatever the limitations of this story, it does have one key merit, in that it focusses on artificial intelligence and the paradox of that idea. The paradox is that AI is based on human intelligence; it can seek to whittle down the human input to a single severed head, but the human input remains the key feature of the entire system that cannot be eliminated altogether. This is a rather grotesque metaphor for what we see today, where the human input is the more abstract programming function. It is more abstract but nonetheless crucial. AI remains a human artefact, hence not totally alien, at best some kind of hybrid. Ultimately, no doubt, nothing is ever totally alien; but, pragmatically speaking, things and entities can be more or less harmful to humans, and shunned or sought out in consequence. What is of particular concern at the present moment (but the problem is apparently being addressed as we speak) is the reversal of this process, whereby Facebook, Twitter etc. enjoy this veneer of human interaction – briefly – to hide motives of data collection for nefarious purposes.

    The more obvious take on the above is the humanoid robot learning human behaviour. A short story by Arthur C. Clarke describes two such, male and female, absconding from work in order to spend some quality time together. And in Asimov’s Foundation series, the psychohistorian Hari Seldon enjoys a long happy marriage with a robot whose respect for the benevolent laws of robotics verges on the human emotions of love, devotion, etc. In Asimov’s cycle, the humanoid element merges at some point with the clandestine element. The Second Foundation involves humans acting behind the scenes; but already there are robots pulling the strings. In both cases, secret government is not equatable with non-benevolent dictatorship: there is no suggestion of evil-doing on either level. Indeed, one would expect that on anything on a bigger scale than our own, government would require resources on the same altogether larger scale than is currently available. The robots are presented as individuals, and little reference is made to all the infrastructure of huge mainframe computers etc. I think national governments today have reached the stage where they are no longer competent to do all that is required without something similar, and are doubly incompetent because they fail to respond appropriately. Conspiracy theorists will say that someone else is doing the job for them: I simply don’t know.

    Back to Asimov: eventually the First and Second Foundations make way for a better solution, namely Gaia, a power involving all the human, non-human intelligence comprising the entire planet itself, everything animal vegetable and mineral, and presumably therefore including the local AI resources as well. So what this means is that at some level, the hybrid human/AI interface is operating smoothly at this planetary level, with a greater capacity to ensure galactic governance.

    What changes from Lewis to Asimov is the scale: being based on statistics and large numbers, psychohistory calls for this wider canvas. In so doing however, he gets into the robotic aspects of human behaviour, and the human aspects of robotic behaviour. We all know for instance how we do something relatively new out of free choice, only to discover that 50% of the population is doing the same thing. And we don’t need to be outliers to enjoy free will, because even the outliers are statistically accounted for. However, government is to a large extent about undermining that free will with carrots and sticks, incentives and punishments leading us to behave in a preferred manner. Most of the time, free will will free wheel; it is only very rarely that something unusual or even unique will crop up to disturb that pattern. CS Lewis’s stories focus almost exclusively on those events. What these two writers have in common, however, is the status of the non-human elements mingling with humanity. Asimov’s robots and humans with highly developed mental capabilities operate behind the scenes in a very similar way to Lewis’s angelic beings/planetary deities. To be sure, they are much more hands-on, but in both case we see unseen forces at work that the humans can only surmise, and yet which fully belong to this universe, albeit on this non-physical or pseudo-non-physical level.

    This brings me to a novel by A.E. Vogt, which leaves the plane of the immanent deity to propose not just a transcendent God but a transcendent component in humanity. The author is exclusively concerned with earthlings, but I would not limit the concept to that, especially as he is actually only talking about Americans The novel is La Machine ultime (1983), better known to the English world as Computerworld: a late 20th c. view of the late 21st c. (2092). Here, none of your sexy robots: the computer is very much the giant 36-storey central computer. Van Vogt has been criticized for ignoring the advent of the personal computer, then in its infancy. Not so: this computer notably handles personal (telephone) communications, individual entertainment, so the Internet, Facebook, Twitter etc. are all implicitly included in advance, only viewed from the other side – from the viewpoint of the service provider, not the user. The machine also handles all surveillance and policing operations, as well as driving most vehicles, and doing most of the work in American society. So this is not a story about enslavement: on the contrary, people don’t have enough to do. I guess with hindsight that they are suffering from a kind of… lockdown. Certainly, it is a story about people getting killed, for the computer has a range of weapons that it uses to enforce the status quo.

    What is of interest to me here is how humanity and AI interface with this huge central computer as far removed as one can get from the humanoid robot. Yet, from the outset, it does something very human: it starts telling a story based on what it ‘sees’ through a few of the surveillance devices, along with some exchanges with authorized personnel. This is a first-person account of some important episodes in its life and growth, a kind of Bildungsroman describing how it gets an education. To begin with, it is too early to talk of ‘personal growth’, but that is what it becomes: this unlikeliest candidate for humanization does in fact develop a personality. At one stage, it drops the polite deference and starts speaking to people in familiar, insolent and even sweary language, enough to make the more conventional humanoids start to blush. So that injects a bit of humour which the reader might not readily associate with readers of things like World of Null-A.

    The plot is about a small group of objectors who still believe in the ‘soul’, for want of a better word. The machine is able to detect what might be termed the aura, which it uses as a redundant mechanism for identifying individuals, after face recognition. Not exactly redundant, because if it is present, it simply means a person is alive, maybe asleep; if absent they are dead; if floating upwards, they are dying. This is circumstantial evidence for a soul but falling short of proof. The group’s leader is the one survivor of a research study where the researcher and the other eleven child subjects have been eliminated. In a scene recalling the massacre of the innocents, he escapes after being sent to England. This guy taps into a spiritual energy supply not recognized by the science operating the computer, an energy stronger in the vicinity of more more spiritually energized people. The computer begins to sit up when he starts doing unusual things with his and other people’s auras. For example, he can park someone in a limbo resembling death while he shapeshifts to become that person. He himself resurrects from such a state after a supposedly fatal road accident provoked by the computer.

    This man is obviously a huge threat to the computer and to the whole society it governs, not only because he almost single-handedly throws its entire surveillance system into disarray, but also because he clearly masters a technology that is beyond the science of the day. Except that it is not a technology at all; it is something he describes as dating back to BEFORE THE BIG BANG – to paraphrase: a divine spark in humans. This is going above the computer’s pay grade, because naturally, its information stops just short of the Big Bang, at the Planck time. It has a very human reaction at this stage: while it will happily check through the entire Bible in a few millionths of a second, it only has a few hazy recollections of philosophy and metaphysics talking about this subject. In other words, the All-Seeing Eye is denounced in purely scientific terms as a myth.

    Hence Van Vogt’s approach is more radical than others I mentioned previously: for instead of IMMANENT deities and such, he is talking about a TRANSCENDENT function, which can of course be deified as the Creator of the Universe, but that is not the point. The point is that humanity reconciles the transcendent and the immanent, whereas the machine is neither: it is simply an extremely antihuman object in the world with tentacles that stretch out, but ultimately no more than that. If it were any more than that, it would be as a brazen contradiction of the founding principle behind the Universe. So what comes next is an explanation understandable by the machine of where it stands and what it needs to do.

    One aspect is that the machine gains its power from humans: its chief operator is a self-appointed future president of the United States who has murdered the former chief operator and self-appointed future president of the United States. The logical conclusion in this direction is that the machine eliminates the self-appointed future president of the United States and becomes de facto head of state in his place. But beyond that, the machine gains its incredible power from the access it has to all humans, whose soul energy is decreasing as it gains more power. A second – contradictory – conclusion in this direction is that the machine is humanized. You can see this in two ways. First, it literally drains energy from the population, which is the source of its power; but at the same time, (possibly a case of Jungian enantiodromia), since it is acting upon human energy, this has to be in furtherance of human affairs.

    What happens next has nothing to do with the Big Bang: on the contrary it fast forwards to the end of the Universe. In Biblical (or at least Christian?) terms, this is the ’resurrection of the body’ when everyone who ever lived rises from the grave and lives happily ever after in ‘paradise’. The machine gets to visualize this scene of huge numbers of resurrecting humans. And then it gets to visualize the corresponding scene for its own species. Being one of a kind, as its surveillance cameras are steadily extinguished, it finds itself totally isolated.

    At this point, the machine is forced to make a choice, which it is not normally qualified to make: it can ‘serve’ humanity, meaning it can fulfil its potential, or it can take control of nothing and no one. ‘Hobson’s choice’ is the operative phrase. Van Vogt’s story is hugely positive in that the yes-no logic of the computer is stymied into submission. Artificial intelligence stands and falls on the basis of the non-artificial intelligence that created it. In itself it has no future, because it has no past: it is simply there. If it has no existence before the Big Bang and no existence after the end of the world, it has no existence at all.

    Not being a machine, I need to make another post after this one.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    Repost from https://projectavalon.net/forum4/sho...=1#post1414176


    Van Vogt’s story ends on an optimistic note. The alarming depletion of spiritual energy as observed in dimming auras is stopped when the drain on this energy is mended. The human fly enters the Spider’s web where it is stored and uses it to overcome the AI monster, which reverts to being a faithful servant of humanity. But for what happens next, we need to look to other SF writers. This victory was won by somewhat humanizing the machine. It has experienced supreme power and backed down. It has also experienced supreme loneliness; how it responds to that is up in the air. Does it begin to downsize and start a family of smaller creatures: robots? Humanoid robots? Here we move into Asimov territory. His machines remain respectful of the three laws of robotics which maintain subservience. At some stage, the whole venture is aborted, and apart from a handful of exceptions, these robots become a thing of the past, the stuff of legends. From then on, evolving humanity is in the driving seat. However, an alternative scenario might lead to the growth of a subculture of humanoids that become conscious of their status as second-class citizens; they might rebel at doing all the work etc. Nothing evil involved: simply the natural growth of what has evolved into a silicone-based life form with legitimate desires. Here we move into Clifford D Simak territory; City, his collection of SF short stories. His society of dogs taught to speak by humans evolves from being pets into a fully-fledged earth civilization, all the more so when the humans move off-planet the better to accommodate their development. In this scenario, humanity becomes the stuff of legends among those researcher dogs with nostalgia for the good times spent with their masters. Notice how in both the Asimov and the Simak scenarios, life goes on rather than ending up quickly in doomsday.

    Be that as it may, these various possibilities of looking forward and looking back identify time as THE major issue. In this regard, Van Vogt’s idea of going back to before the Big Bang, i.e. before the beginning of time, may be seen as either the ultimate writer’s ploy – a dubious gadget – or as a profoundly important insight. This is the great undecidable that we can explore in order perhaps to make some kind of intuitive choice that falls short of scientific proof. While reaching what would be demonstrable certainty has been some people’s life’s work, I do not believe that is what is required. A wrong answer is less important than the appropriateness of the method: how we live our lives.

    Going back to before the Big Bang makes strategic sense as an outflanking manoeuvre: this is where science stops. In the words of Stephen Hawking, to ask what happened in the ‘moment’ before time came into being is like asking where north of the north pole is. While naturally I am not qualified to judge Hawking’s science, I did propose a ready answer to that supposedly nonsensical question. See below. Be that as it may, the bottom line is science placing a limit on its own scope, marking on its own map a no-go territory with the sign ‘here be dragons’. So science has this Achilles heel: it can discover Big Bang scenarios only to pull up short at the final hurdle. The ultimate machine won’t go there; it will stop anyone else from trying, and until someone does, Achilles remains immortal. To that extent, this is much more powerful than some mediocre writer’s tame ploy.

    Fast forward twenty years. Something happens in science when the French twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanov attempt a scientific look behind the curtain. If you have followed me thus far, you will understand that there was no way their work was going simply to join the literature, with top careers and a Nobel Prize. This was the typical stuff of fringe theories; see the examples given here.
    It had to be debunked as non-science, and of course it was: this was the infamous ‘Bogdanov affair’. It eventually became a Wikipedia affair when the French whistleblower site Mediapart run by Edwy Plenel, a former editor of Le Monde newspaper (you don’t get more respectable than that) published evidence of suppressed modifications to the above Wiki article.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogdanov_affair
    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/scientia/...danov-affair-i
    The scale of this affair is huge compared with the ‘Sokal affair’, where someone published a single spoof article in a peer-reviewed journal and promptly owned up in order to denounce the quality of peer-reviewing in general. The Bogdanovs published five articles which were meant seriously and taken seriously – including one in MIT’s Annals of Physics, which they say accepts less than one in three hundred submissions. They also obtained doctoral degrees, Igor in theoretical physics, Grichka in mathematics. Mediapart’s contribution is in stating that the University of Burgundy did not overturn but confirmed the validity of their theses (the links are broken of course).

    This subject does need to be addressed, for until some explanation is found, the whole of science is based on what Terence McKenna calls ‘one free miracle’.

    With this type of research, only a handful of people are qualified to have an opinion. Even string theorists may not be well placed to distinguish between groundbreaking work and nonsense (especially as string theory itself has spent a long time getting nowhere). One doesn’t need to be one of those people to see that the frontiers of science are at once vulnerable and policed in proportion. The above quoted article on Theoretical physics blandly states, ‘Some fringe theories go on to become a widely accepted part of physics. Other fringe theories end up being disproven. Some fringe theories are a form of protoscience and others are a form of pseudoscience.’ Actually, as with many borders, we are talking about a war zone. The Bogdanovs’ science seems to be neither protoscience nor pseudoscience, more like popular science of the kind that can affect everyone but a few scientists in their ivory tower. It is as though the scientific elite has commandeered the entire universe except for that tiny point at the very beginning which it would like to brush under the carpet. That would be a very good place to be if it were the point where the tables could be turned, e.g. if it turned out that it contained the entire universe to come. One doesn’t need to be a mathematical physicist to understand that this is exactly what is being suggested, or to understand how this would be hugely threatening to any elite maintaining its ascendancy through a corresponding ignorance. Ultimately, with that nearly all-encompassing net, their only catch is themselves, with everyone else potentially on the outside.

    This is in line with the Hawking quote about the north pole. In my understanding , the north pole is no barrier: you just keep going on; OK you start heading south, but the whole planet is straight ahead wherever you want to go. See this post. The intuition/knowledge on which Van Vogt has based his novel is at the very least an extremely useful way of viewing the world. Don’t get me wrong: I am not trying to evaluate science on the basis of an SF novel: that would be silly. Au contraire, I am trying to evaluate a science fiction novel on the basis of science. That may sound silly too, until one remembers that the quality of science fiction depends on its quality as science as well as on its quality as fiction.

    Now let’s flesh this out with some of the Bogdanovs’ conclusions, translated into ordinary language. Somewhat surprisingly, the mathematics is easier to grasp than the physics. They describe a preliminary cold Big Bang that triggers the hot one in terms of something out of nothing, number out of zero. Mathematically speaking, if you start with just zero, then you also have an ‘empty set’. Place the 0 in that empty set: it is no longer empty but has a value of 1. After that, the number system just keeps going, expanding in the physical. Interestingly, this twin solution is in the image of the twins themselves, the physicist teaming up with the mathematician. This observation might be taken as a sign that they are expressing themselves more than any external reality; on the other hand, it might be taken as an explanation as to why they were particularly suited to doing this research.

    The Bogdanovs have a second, physics, way of explaining Big Bang expansion, but the mathematical explanation jives with something I had already worked out for myself, namely how Blaise Pascal constructed his famous triangle. The triangle itself is fairly self-explanatory, but there is a problem with how he came to write down the original 1 at the apex of the triangle. See this post from ten years ago.

    First, they state that after the Big Bang, a) entropy grows, although increasingly slowly (meaning that universe can grow very old), and b) information also grows over time, although not starting from nothing. They go on to examine how entropy and information interact. Secondly, prior to the Big Bang, the information is all there in conditions where space has reverted to our familiar Euclidean space, but where real time is replaced by imaginary time. In my own words, you might say that time no longer passes, but it still exists in some form, where the term imaginary seems to suggest as information rather than as experience. The analogy they use is a movie recorded on a DVD. All the information is on the disc, but you need to inject passing time of your own here and now in order to read the disc and view the movie. An analogy like this takes us from the realm of the (counter)-intuitive to that of the readily hands-on understandable, which is the ultimate aim of popular science: i.e. undiluted science and undiluted popular.

    There is quite a bit to be said about this analogy. First of course, it suggests that the (holographic) film has already been made: written, enacted and recorded if not by some divine creator, at least by some cosmic film director. However, it is not quite clear to me how the idea that information grows over time fits in here. It could imply some room for improvisation. I once mentioned a story by Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel, which recounts how someone discovers a holographic film, and contrives to start rerecording and inserting a role for himself. See this post. Or it might involve some kind of Groundhog Day scenario; something of this sort does seem to be going on at another level (see below). To close this personal speculation, the negative satanic influence could also conceivably have been introduced in this manner.

    The question of information and entropy relates to the library function of Van Vogt’s central computer. Any library based in a building will at some time reach maximum capacity. This moment can be put off by introducing compact storage systems, digitizing books etc. But at some stage, space is at a premium the only way to bring in new titles is to eliminate old ones (standard practice). This is one instance of how the notion of the mainstream comes into play. Regarding new acquisitions, you cannot have everything, so what lies at the fringe gets ignored. And when it comes to choosing what to discard, it seems safer to hang on to the mainstream stuff and again offload some fringe material. Hence the tempting trend is towards ever greater conformism. It comes at the potentially high cost of missing out on what could turn out to be vital data.

    There is no criticism involved at this stage: this is simply how things work. Anyone who has a personal library will at some stage wonder whether to expand into another room or a bigger house, or sell off/give away some of their books, and if so which ones. From personal experience, great value is occasionally to be found in old unread paperbacks decades after they entered the collection.

    As an example, In The Morning of the Magicians, Louis Pauwels, reporting on the work of the scientist Jacques Bergier, describes the potential value in taking a good look at over 100,000 neglected alchemical works. One example they give is methodological: the purification of a substance over and over and over again, which science still uses. They describe the Nazis’ methodical scouring of this type of neglected literature: not, of course, to defend Nazism, but to explain how it very nearly won the war against its numerous enemies. Obviously, endless purification of humanity on racial criteria was a wrong direction to take.

    Van Vogt’s central computer operates on similar lines. At first it records everything it picks up on its surveillance camera. Later, as space is needed, it is obliged to crunch the data, eliminating what it can and summarizing the rest. Obviously, with total surveillance of a mostly law-abiding citizenry going about its humdrum everyday business, the vast majority of data can safely be ditched. But again (my interpretation), it is impossible to know in advance what might prove vital decades in the future. So, the database of the computer that records everything is actually full of holes, and this is not helped with a computer devoid of human intuition.

    So, all the above might readily be summarized by saying that while information increases, so does entropy, albeit somewhat more slowly. Take the Internet: so far, we have seen unbridled growth. But what about the colossal infrastructure and energy consumption it entails? We are not told much about that. Meanwhile, the social media have produced a big bang of their own, and it is only very recently that steps have been taken to restrict the sheer quantity of information in storage: unfortunately it comes as censorship. Maybe the above helps to understand why certain Facebook/Twitter/etc. accounts are blocked and not others. All this of course is in direct contrast with the notion of the Akashic record, whereby no information is lost, including all the information that no computer system could ever collect in the first place.

    This entire discussion is of course of the utmost relevance to life on this planet when we consider what the man who saved the world in September 1983 actually did.
    What he did was decide – correctly – that a computer glitch (actually at least five hallucinated missiles) was way more likely than the sheer madness of an American first strike. The Cold War was a sham: neither side as it turned out was prepared to strike first. Lt-Col Petrov understood that intuitively. Although manned by many humans, this huge computer dedicated to stifling a hot war, did not. No one has worked out what went wrong. Almost humanly, it had this wet dream/nightmare of finally getting to do what it was built for; Petrov gave it a tranquillizer and put it to bed. You might say that it had strayed from real time into imaginary time. This goes to show that not only was a first strike sheer madness, but a second, defensive/retaliatory strike was also insane, whether or not it turned into an accidental first strike. In other words, Petrov made the only sane decision, which involved overruling the computer. Interestingly, this happened around the time when Van Vogt’s story had just been published.

    Meanwhile, the information continues to grow; and while the fringes remain marginal, the mainstream broadens. Take the St Lawrence River: where does it end? Arguably it becomes sea when its opposite bank is no longer visible; and by the time it hits the ocean, it no longer exists as such. The next step is water evaporation and fresh rain falling around the source. This is analogous to the Bogdanovs’ cosmic scenario whereby the Universe winds down, not in a big crunch, but back to its starting point, ready for another run. In that sense (my interpretation), parallel universes may actually be consecutive. Alternatively, given that at every new beginning we pass into imaginary time, it may just a library of DVDs to be viewed in any order. Or, instead of a read-only device, some entity may be editing the whole lot into something better. This is where the ‘Groundhog Day’ universe might come into play. The fact that we cannot come to any great understanding of such things of course leaves them in the undecidable category of neither right nor wrong. We do not necessarily have a need to know, we simply do our best. But in order to do our best, we need to understand that there is always something more, and whenever a limit is placed, it is not an absolute boundary. The beauty of the Bogdanovs’ theory as understandable by the layman is that it removes the absolute boundary suggested by conventional Big Bang theory (again as understood by the layman), not only as a mechanism for creating a multiverse but also possibly compatible with steady state theory as well. The steady state would then be the view one would get when observing leakage between universes.

    This is all too brief. It will take another post.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    What lends weight to the Bogdanovs’ work seems to be the way they answer questions raised by Roger Penrose, a great scientist but also a great popular science writer. The Emperor’s New Mind (1989, 1999), a book that takes the scenic route to examine the limitations of strong AI. Penrose is noted for having with Stephen Hawking reported the symmetry between a black hole, a final singularity swallowing up matter, with the Big Bang, an initial singularity spewing out matter; of which more below.

    The purpose or at least the effect of popular science must be to stimulate non-scientists to contribute to the advancement of scientific thought. This means that ideas based on my own limited understanding may be of some use for being enhanced by my own alternative thinking processes. Non-scientific thinking does not necessarily equate with old-time religion that can safely be ignored.

    What the Bogdanovs do rather well for the layman is explain how matter, energy, entropy and information interact. Penrose’s problem is to do with time symmetry: how to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, which are both time symmetric, with entropy, which is time asymmetric. Time asymmetry is the easy bit: the example is a glass of water falling off a table, smashing the glass and spilling the water. As the nursery rhyme states, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can do nothing to save the entropist in chief, Humpty Dumpty. Two positives to explain a negative, that is the question. Any (partial) explanation is bound to help us… all the time! The Bogdanovs’ involves imaginary time, both in the ordinary sense of imaginary things, and more specifically in the mathematical sense of numbers having a negative square root (something no real numbers have: e.g. the square of minus two is plus four).

    Entropy being correlated to time strikes me as being some kind of a by-product – or waste product – of time. If an initial singularity (e.g. a big bang creating matter) has low or even zero entropy and a final singularity (e.g. a black hole swallowing up matter) has high (total/infinite) entropy, then the career of a universe over time is comparable (my analogy) to a car journey where the fuel is negative entropy or negentropy. This means that the entropy level would be an indicator of an emptying fuel tank (your fuel gauge tells you both how much fuel you have and how much you no longer have). If your fuel gauge is not working, then you can get the same information roughly from your milometer; if that is also broken, the speedometer and clock together will give you your rough mileage. And you will also need to factor in data from your rev counter, which tells you your fuel consumption independently of speed. Over time, inefficiency grows and information is eroded. All this presupposes coverable distance as being the major factor, and you will be operating as if you only had a single tankful of fuel. If you are driving an emergency service vehicle, your tank will always be full, and the major factor will be speed. If you are thinking of your car’s long-term survival, then steady driving will be your preferred option especially if you drive a lot. Of course, normal wear and tear will involve a little of all of the above.

    It would seem that a multiverse is somewhat analogous. One universe is a tankful of fuel, and a big bang event is like turning off the engine for refuelling. In that case, with negentropy we need to mix metaphors: injecting negentropy at any stage would be like midflight refueling of an aircraft, improving range and extending the coverable distance, i.e. the lifetime of a given universe. Whatever, then, this cosmic vehicle is doing – does it have a destination or is it just ‘touring’ for its own sake? – fuel efficiency may be a valid parameter to work at. These pit stops between universes may also be used to tune the engine and make the next universe better than the last. The ultimate effect, if not goal, of this (alchemical?) process would then be eternity, where real time stops and imaginary time takes over completely. In my analogy, this translates as free energy: no more fuel stops.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    What makes the above so difficult to imagine is the firmly ingrained idea of an all-powerful Creator operating effortlessly. The opposite of this total perfection of course is not necessarily an almighty struggle; it could be more a matter of infinitely patient experimentation or practice at something incredibly difficult. A work in progress. Roger Penrose offers a clue here. The ‘specialness’ or difficulty of the Big Bang can be measured as an unbelievably large number: 10 times 10 to the power 123; or to put it another way, one chance in that many are the unbelievably long odds to produce what we are seeing. This number absolutely dwarfs many times over any countable thing, up to and including the number of particles in the universe. The only value remotely comparable would be the entropy of the dying universe at the putative Big Crunch. It sounds to me at least as though the Creator is putting in a quasi-infinite effort each time to restart this toy, and each time that effort is going to waste. The process would then be one of getting the hang of this rhythmic movement and make it as automatic as breathing or a beating heart. This idea of practice resolves two issues that Einstein had. First he defines madness as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result: that is a perfect definition of practice. And secondly, he cannot accept that God plays dice: no, in this scenario God would be some kind of designer or artist, a notion best rendered by the traditional term ‘Creator’.

    In imaginary time of course, this is no problem: the perfected creation has already happened. The question then becomes, why are we still hanging around in this particular universe where things are not going too well? The answer to that question seems fairly straightforward: we are here to do some fine-tuning and inject some much-needed negentropy into the system. Whatever you call it here and now, love, soul or whatever, Source – in Van Vogt’s terminology, the spark from before the Big Bang – is where, is what and is when you get it. And also why

    On the other hand, given the scale of the multiverse, it is bound to be a little more complicated than that. I suspect such an engineering job is way beyond our pay grade. We may simply be serving some preliminary diagnostic function ahead of improvements to be made on another timeline – in which case we may be well operating in the field of Samuel Beckett’s famous ‘fail better’ quote.



    The question of Beckett’s profound pessimism being used by so many as a positive meme in itself suggests a major problem. I see the same issue with the ‘1% conspiracy and 99% complicity idea’ (link… broken) that Wade Frazier has been reiterating only recently.



    Not to criticize Wade at all, but to me for the opposition to change to succeed for so long against such odds simply makes no sense. It should have been game over a long time ago, but it never is. I would suggest on the contrary something more on the lines of that famous Margaret Meade quote: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' Taking the same ballpark figures, this would in fact translate as ‘99% conspiracy/complicity and 1% thoughtful, committed, citizens’.



    However, in light of the above, where we have the entire universe basically running down from the outset, and the 99% following nature and trying to enjoy the ride, then we see how the democratic process is actually operating perfectly smoothly, and the tiny minority can be drowned out by this effect greater by countless orders of magnitude. So we are talking about a miracle. As Paul Valéry wrote, miracles do happen: not often, but sometimes.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    This would be why the silent majority of humanity still sides, against its own interests, with the elite: the universe is a steep, slippery slope and the majority will be more tempted by the fun and exhilaration of skiing down than the tough and risky business of mountaineering up for maintenance and enhancement purposes. When the hour-glass levels, there will be no path for cheaters any easier or harder than the hard path: everyone will be on the same page.

    So where are we at in this universe at this time? At around 10^10 years, the universe is apparently still very young. To begin with, if the universe is expanding noticeably, then we have to be before the point where expansion slows down and becomes imperceptible, before the midpoint where it stops, and before the second half where it goes into reverse. So it might be the equivalent of an 18-year-old human with a whole adult lifetime ahead. For example, Penrose indicates the time it would take to eliminate an ordinary black hole through ‘Hawking radiation’: in the order of 10^64 years – if it has time. So at this very early stage, we already have a high entropy black hole possibly at the centre of every galaxy, suggesting that this universe is aging prematurely towards the total black hole when it ‘dies’. We think we know the typical life cycle of a universe, but I would expect its life expectancy to grow with practice. Human longevity has doubled in a matter of a couple of centuries. Early universes might destroy themselves rather more quickly. So the next question is: how old is the multiverse at the time of this present universe? There are signs that it is still fairly young too. If civilizations are already blowing up planets at this early stage when overall entropy is low, then clearly, to put it mildly, there is a great deal of work ahead.

    This then would mean that any enlightened beings to be found at this stage have gone a very long way back, which suggests a major intervention having an effect on everything that is still to come, or an educational initiative to turn a juvenile delinquent into a useful adult member of society. In light of all the above, the endless stream of unfulfilled promises from positively-oriented well-meaning people would be understandable: they are speaking with too much hindsight, i.e. underestimating, or foreshortening, the immense length of time beyond the human scale that nevertheless has to pass. Speaking from a universe so much in advance, they may see problems as being magically fixed, when on the contrary in their presence our 21st century human problems become immeasurably bigger and more important. I think anyone saying they have not come into this lifetime to fail, i.e. fail to turn things around right now, is missing this bigger picture, where the chances of succeeding in this manner are infinitesimal, although the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. We just do what we can, this time and every time, looking at the road ahead rather than checking the speedometer like a learner driver.

    There is another aspect to this time issue. One of the cardinal rules of espionage is keeping intelligence gathering and operations apart. A spy spies; someone else acts upon their information. When this rule is ignored things tend to go wrong. But I would suggest they tend to go wrong anyway, which is why the history of the CIA is a catalogue of disasters. I suppose the idea is to devise a plan to be implemented by more qualified personnel. But even the planning is realtime operation working in terms of cause and effect, meaning that everything happens potentially too late, because what needed fixing is already in the past. There is no time for practice. A musician practising goes back over a tricky passage, and may find that the cause of the problem is further back again. For example, maybe he cannot correct his fingering because his fingers are in the wrong place to begin with, and this needs to be corrected first. This is a real-life example of stepping out of time, and even going backwards in time to fix a problem. But the drawback is that in this lifetime we are not in rehearsal mode but in performance mode, one linear attempt governed by time’s arrow. The best way to achieve is to come in ahead from the timeless dimension. When a problem arose before someone was born or became active, then they are not going to solve that problem. They can only be a spy or watcher within the overall process.

    The CIA is actually an excellent example of this. Kennedy came too late to do more than issue a mayday message: Houston, we have a problem. The CIA was (in) trouble BEFORE its inception, even as the OSS. By the time it took on the Nazi Gehlen organization after the war, Gehlen had long been subject to Soviet infiltration through Igor Orlov (See Joseph Trento’s Secret History of the CIA). The major headache for time travellers is then to be seen in terms of infinite regress: just how far back does one need to go in order to cure anything: did Napoleon need to be taller, or did Cleopatra’s nose need to be shorter? And this is the structural problem with any kind of Donald Trump scenario: it follows the chronological/causal sequence of problem-reaction-solution (in a non-Ickean sense); the process needs to be reversed: solution-foreseen problem-no problem.


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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    This would be why the silent majority of humanity still sides, against its own interests, with the elite: the universe is a steep, slippery slope and the majority will be more tempted by the fun and exhilaration of skiing down than the tough and risky business of mountaineering up for maintenance and enhancement purposes. When the hour-glass levels, there will be no path for cheaters any easier or harder than the hard path: everyone will be on the same page.
    .........

    I think anyone saying they have not come into this lifetime to fail, i.e. fail to turn things around right now, is missing this bigger picture, where the chances of succeeding in this manner are infinitesimal, although the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. We just do what we can, this time and every time, looking at the road ahead rather than checking the speedometer like a learner driver.
    You are a thinker with interesting shares. Thanks.

    The only way to bear what is experienced here IMO is detachment. IMO it is a tricky business to be able to remain detached enough to bear the observation but engaged enough to feel.

    Artists have IMO the only useful balance. In art, you can take what has been experienced and feel it while detaching enough to express so others may feel MORE.

    This beautiful earth even at its most gorgeous has poisonous spiders, devouring beasts. We participate via the ins and out of OUR own body needing nutrition (and supposedly meat IS easier to use).

    One must feel life and death. In this experience nature is destructive. Things die.

    The worst part is IMO death leaves us lonely. I HATE death. It has yanked out all my friends ....... LITERALLY ALL of my longterm confidants.

    Another less valuable position to deal with "this here" is philosophic which can be too detached. It can allow a person through "language" to make up any kind of fantasy and always they spread the stories. They want others to believe them. philosophes have audiences like artists. But they can create horrors which IMO art does not.

    The scariest idealists, the most debased sophists, the worst utilitarian's shape others minds. By promulgating intricate theoretical supposition they enable evil. These have NO PROBLEM with hypocritical schisms between THEIR personal behavior and the "consumers" to whom they preach. They get followers who try to be like the philosophy. Look to the source and one will see liars abounding.

    The age of the Universe and all the information about how things work is so fascinating. One could spend countless life times resuming the study and NEVER come to the end. It is quite overwhelming to confront "what is real" and "what is memorex" and why do we not understand the language of the birds and animals. Yes, one thinks, I need more TIME.

    And then death hits us and I love NDE studies and all the tantalizing tales of greater awareness people state they grok.

    In this last two years, I have confronted MORE about what I cannot begin to fathom than ever.

    I am lost in a world that I may have fashioned if manifestation tech is a real thing but it looks crap. How did I ever come to this point of a dead end?

    Makes me move to the position... this IS a game and I am about to be eliminated because this consciousness POV of me is unable to master the secret. I wish others better luck and will keep trying to be an ART -IS -IT with my paltry expressions until the off switch. Then who knows BUT I swear I will never play this game again.
    Last edited by Delight; 29th March 2021 at 20:24.

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    Default Re: Before the Big Bang, black holes, energy, entropy, information…

    Quote Posted by Delight (here)
    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    This would be why the silent majority of humanity still sides, against its own interests, with the elite: the universe is a steep, slippery slope and the majority will be more tempted by the fun and exhilaration of skiing down than the tough and risky business of mountaineering up for maintenance and enhancement purposes. When the hour-glass levels, there will be no path for cheaters any easier or harder than the hard path: everyone will be on the same page.
    .........

    I think anyone saying they have not come into this lifetime to fail, i.e. fail to turn things around right now, is missing this bigger picture, where the chances of succeeding in this manner are infinitesimal, although the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. We just do what we can, this time and every time, looking at the road ahead rather than checking the speedometer like a learner driver.
    You are a thinker with interesting shares. Thanks.

    The only way to bear what is experienced here IMO is detachment. IMO it is a tricky business to be able to remain detached enough to bear the observation but engaged enough to feel.

    Artists have IMO the only useful balance. In art, you can take what has been experienced and feel it while detaching enough to express so others may feel MORE.

    This beautiful earth even at its most gorgeous has poisonous spiders, devouring beasts. We participate via the ins and out of OUR own body needing nutrition (and supposedly meat IS easier to use).

    One must feel life and death. In this experience nature is destructive. Things die.

    The worst part is IMO death leaves us lonely. I HATE death. It has yanked out all my friends ....... LITERALLY ALL of my longterm confidants.

    Another less valuable position to deal with "this here" is philosophic which can be too detached. It can allow a person through "language" to make up any kind of fantasy and always they spread the stories. They want others to believe them. philosophes have audiences like artists. But they can create horrors which IMO art does not.

    The scariest idealists, the most debased sophists, the worst utilitarian's shape others minds. By promulgating intricate theoretical supposition they enable evil. These have NO PROBLEM with hypocritical schisms between THEIR personal behavior and the "consumers" to whom they preach. They get followers who try to be like the philosophy. Look to the source and one will see liars abounding.

    The age of the Universe and all the information about how things work is so fascinating. One could spend countless life times resuming the study and NEVER come to the end. It is quite overwhelming to confront "what is real" and "what is memorex" and why do we not understand the language of the birds and animals. Yes, one thinks, I need more TIME.

    And then death hits us and I love NDE studies and all the tantalizing tales of greater awareness people state they grok.

    In this last two years, I have confronted MORE about what I cannot begin to fathom than ever.

    I am lost in a world that I may have fashioned if manifestation tech is a real thing but it looks crap. How did I ever come to this point of a dead end?

    Makes me move to the position... this IS a game and I am about to be eliminated because this consciousness POV of me is unable to master the secret. I wish others better luck and will keep trying to be an ART -IS -IT with my paltry expressions until the off switch. Then who knows BUT I swear I will never play this game again.
    Thank you so much for that post, Delight. Yes, time and death are characteristics of the universe after the big bang. Mourning is actually more traumatic than death itself – I feel for your losses – and mourning is what builds up all around us, causing us to live with ghosts of the past and phantoms of the future. This theory of before the big bang ties in with various descriptions of an eternal elsewhere familiar to researchers of the kind we encounter on a forum such as this, and which takes us beyond all that. I have often puzzled over the combination of conspiracy research and spiritual awareness. Instead of having a lefthand path for lefthanders and a righthand path for righthanders, you have two kinds of ambidexterity, with lefthanders playing havoc down the righthand path and righthanders trying to clean things up down the lefthand path.

    Known by multiple names, pre-big bang timelessness is always with us in the here and now. Linear time is the dimension within which to take things at something approaching one at a time. A piece of music works in this dimension but only up to a point, because it creates patterns, which involve a form of repetition. Likewise a painting also works in this dimension: everything is there at once, but it can only be taken in one thing at a time, or one connection at a time. In other words, the eye combined with memory turns it into a tapestry. Death then would be like one thread that stops at some point.

    We don’t need to worry about conflicting theories of big bangs, steady state universes or multiverses inasmuch as they all seem to be various perspectives on the same thing. If the one universe has multiple big bangs, then this would be like a large ball of string with knots at various intervals. Whether they are real knots joining separate pieces or just concentrations of string I have no idea. But overall you have a succession of universes running through linear time and barely stopping to pause. The idea of parallel universes (timelines) might be visualized by placing each length of string (one universe) side by side in such a way that lateral connections (wormholes?) might be made from one to another.

    I mentioned repetition earlier in the sense of practice; here I take it in a musical/artistic sense. The two ideas are of course connected; non-practitioners like to see art as a form of effortless genius, when in fact it is extremely labour-intensive. However, repetition is not Einsteinian madness: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. The outcome is always different because repetition always involves a degree of variation, sometimes random, sometimes artistically willed. My understanding is that parallel universes operate on this basis. Time travellers (just one way of describing the process) may be returning to tweak their own past performance. In that sense, we are indeed ourselves in the future (and the past), which turns life in this universe into a highly artistic undertaking. One may wish to opt out at any stage; however, as I see it, the most exciting stuff is a treasure trove still in our future that we are trying to bring into our present.

    The point of inquiring into the age of the universe and the age of the multiverse (both rather young I was suggesting) is to understand how difficult things are bound to be at this stage. That beautiful sculpture started out as a lump of clay like something you might scrape of a pair of old boots. If the universe is less than 15 billion years old, then that means that our galaxy revolving on itself every 225 million years is a very slow turntable that has completed about forty revolutions. To see how little that is (the number itself is so unastronomical), think of a 33-rpm vinyl disc. At the same 40 revs stage, it has been playing for just over one minute. If you are listening to a romantic symphony, the slow introduction to the first movement may not be finished yet. And of course, proportionately speaking, the universe is doubtless immeasurably longer than any vinyl.

    Or take riding a bicycle. Forty turns of the wheels will take you about 120 yards down the street. This compares with the best cyclists, who can ride for a couple of hundred miles. If you are still learning, just getting down the street without falling off might be good progress. It is complicated learning all at once to keep your balance, pedal steadily and steer, without getting too scared or exhilarated at the speed. I see practice as the linear time (single universe) element in this process. But it is not entirely linear, because while you are learning, you are also learning how to learn – there are these two layers to learning. However, there is also a parallel universe aspect to the process, since you may have someone to teach and encourage, maybe hold the saddle for a while. They are like a time traveller from the future; the relationship is nonlinear (swapping universes or timelines), but the process itself is also nonlinear: while they are teaching, they are also learning how to teach. This necessarily implies standing back and letting the learner operate independently, although without endangering him or herself. And of course, this also applies to the teaching process itself. Eventually you always reach a point where the teachers have no technique to teach and they have to start learning for themselves. This is understandable in terms of linear time. Teaching is about sharing your past with someone else’s future. The process grinds to a halt when something is needed from the teacher’s own future; or rather, nothing grinds to a halt: simply, the teacher is still a learner relying on teachers. Learning for oneself ultimately becomes the capacity to find inspiration in the wider universe.

    In other words, the whole business is all about making mistakes, and learning how to correct them. You don’t need to be a theoretical physicist or a spiritual master to understand quite a bit. A small child does all this learning instinctively and soon graduates to the teaching function as well. It can do so because it has the humility to understand it is only a beginner. But it is a pragmatist: it can tell the difference between things that work and things that don’t work. Being the centre of the universe only works for a short time, and so as they grow up they learn about other people. Or maybe they don’t: what we call evil, I suggest, is the opposite of childish innocence – still childish, but no longer innocent. It would be the pride of having supposed mastery without having gone through the process. Sheer ineptitude on this scale has of course to be covered up as such, and is usually disguised as being fiendishly (i.e. diabolically) clever. For example, I think it is uncontroversial to say that a good deal of evil has been done in the world by the CIA. If you read Joseph Trento’s Secret History of the CIA, although in some ways superficial, it is one long catalogue of incompetence and failure at every turn.

    But incompetence is not intrinsically evil: we just do silly, dangerous things all the time, and sometimes the wheels literally come off. There is a good example of this with a woman parallel parking an aircraft in midair in order to repair another plane.
    https://projectavalon.net/forum4/sho...=1#post1411719

    On the other hand, as you say, Delight, creative writing is a useful tool for evil-doing. The CIA used to boast of having more (creative) writers than any other US government institution, universities included. Meanwhile many other writers and artists are dealing with the fallout from it all. This is where I feel I for one come in: using art as the way of the universe instead of an instrument of evil on the one hand, a coping mechanism on the other. You use the word detachment: let’s say detachment without the loneliness, or perhaps detachment overriding the loneliness. How so? ‘Using art as the way of the universe’, I suppose, means an overarching attachment to the creation, stemming from self-love. I am, therefore I am in charge.


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