Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Anthropomorphizing Light

This requires a slow read as it is dense...but I think, exceptionally important

In a race to possess the oppressive foothold with which the propagation of iniquity could be democratized to substantiate the delusion of Fallen Humanity and Original Sin, Greek and Roman philosophers appealed to Greed (pleonektes and cupidus, respectively) as a generalizable abhorrent trait.  Polycarp, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Lactantius, and Sextus all echoed warnings against the impulse to seek to possess beyond reasonability.  By the 4th century, the fledgling apostolic church knew that by ascribing to the teachings of their long-romanticized namesake the maxim, “the love of money is the root of all evil,” they could convince everyone of a fundamental sinful nature.  After all, who doesn’t love money?  For justification, they wove an elaborate thread around the oral tradition of the Abrahamic faith’s myth of a beginning in which the mortal crime of humanity – alleged to be resulting from the conspiracy of a snake and a woman preying on a clueless and malleable man – was the pursuit of knowledge and served as the basis for a persistent ubiquitous evil condition.  Ignoring the prima facie conundrum of an alleged “sin” derived from a deity who is the personification of Greed itself (after all, in the 10 Commandants, 1/3 are about an egotistical, self-absorbed deific greed demanding supremacy, attention and loyalty), the early ecclesiastical brainwashers took advantage of illiterate masses and manufactured a pervasive illusion of a flaw in character and made it the evidence for sinfulness.

Epiphanes of Cephalonia in the late first and early second century CE was critical of this restrictive and oppressive social construction.  Together with other Gnostics, he argued that as the sun equivalently shines on everything; nature provides for itself with equanimity; and therefor greed and avarice are born not of human nature but of the mistaken impulse to enclose thereby creating the illusion of relative abundance or scarcity.  Greed, and all other contrivances of ownership and enclosure, were evidence of manipulated darkness – not the equivalently available evidence of life-giving illumination.  This celebration of isomorphic nature was considered a heresy by the early 4th century and the Dark Ages were set in motion!
In an effort to understand greed more fully, I took the time to read Dr. Vadim Kaplunovsky’s TheQuantum EM Fields and the Photon Propagator in which he weaves a mathematical quantum tapestry of Feynman, Green, Coulomb, Heisenberg, Lagrange, Yukawa, and others to explain attraction, repulsion, and other basic observations of photonic behavior.  He concludes his treatise with passing observation that mathematically, fermions and anti-fermions can be attracted to each other despite the clearly repelling natures of their charges!  If you take the time to read the paper, this last sentence is worth wading through all the Greek formulae.  For in his final words, we arrive at a conclusion which confirms that there remains – in the end – a mystery.

Greek philosophers gave us an obsession with geometry and, in so doing, the illusion of boundaries.  If we examine what physicists call ‘elementary particles’, we realize that they are neither particles nor are they thermodynamically limited.  All of our sense making in quantum mechanics presupposes conditions that are illusions as falsifiable as all the myths that precede the scientific revolution.  Distance, time, vacuums, laws and constants are all dimensional projections which serve to limit what is fundamentally unlimited.  Our obstacle to understanding quantum energy states is our manipulation of a projection of distance, time, or both.  Can two particles experience non-local effects through calculable deduction?  Almost.  But to model this phenomenon requires assumptions we know to be untrue.  Would it be simpler to see energy as an infinitely orthogonal dynamic without shape or boundaries?  Of course.  But if we did that, no one could be the arbiter of the dominant general theory and, as such, hierarchy, power, control, and manipulation would be inaccessible.

I’ve been drawn to understanding photonic propagation for a particular reason.  I’m intrigued by the phenomenon of experiencing a life in which the more incredulous individuals are in the presence of generous giving, the more beneficiaries rapidly move from gratitude, to distrust, to outright parasitic expectancy.  Together with the Gnostics, I find the source of emanation energy the object of inquiry.  Much of my life’s work and activity seems to arise from a rather mysterious energy that persists even at times of extreme emotional or physical depletion.  And the beneficiaries of my actions are seldom individuals with whom a ‘contractual’ agreement or exchange exists.  In other words, my default is to share and give without consideration.  This explicit mode of engagement without expectation of ‘return’ in an equivalence or in-kind fashion does not mean that I don’t have expectations.  Quite to the contrary, if I have been generous, my expectation is that generosity will propagate.  If I have been kind, my expectation is that kindness will flourish.  And while I don’t expect reciprocity per se, I do expect that in the emanation of propagated goodness, at times, I’ll be the beneficiary of that proliferated energy.  But this is seldom the case.  In fact, the more reproducible the adjacency to receipt of my energy, the less likely I experience the flow-on effect and the more I engender expectation and dependency. 

Current photonic physics suggests the paradox of vectors of propagation which imply some sense of momentum but grapple with the observation that a photon can at once be pushing light energy outward and in the same moment be receiving the same energy.  In other words, the error of individuation or identity is the geometric, spatial and temporal fallacy.  Like the sino-atrial node in the heart, the auto depolarization is both arising from within, and responding to, perceived ‘external’ activation.  But in the absence of distance, time, or space, the activation simply is.  Not from.  Not to.  Just activation.  Similarly, my impulse towards generosity is neither “mine” nor “given to”.  It simply is an impulse which is meant for propagation – not absorption.  Yet absorption seems to be more prevalent than passing the impulse along.

So, back to Dr. Kaplunovsky’s unintentional philosophy.  When discussing the oldest assumption of electrostatics – namely, like charges repel and unlike charges attract – he hastens to point out that in certain instances of kinetics (eg. gravity) attraction transcends this “law”.  Further, the linear model of propagation fails to stay within the Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED) theory when infinite orthogonality and inertia are added to two dimensional planar (non-realistic) assumptions.  In other words, all we think we can understand about propagation of charged particles work in conditions that never exist, using projections of our own creation, built on dimensional assumptions we objectively know to be untrue.  Besides that, we’ve got it nailed down. 

Which brings me back to the two millenia and counting question.  Can Emanating Light co-exist in a world that presumes Greed?  In a context in which propagation of goodness was the infinitely orthogonal presumption of non-local inter-relationship, we would be able to see the following: 
  • 1.      In the moment of goodness received, there would be an immediate recognition (not acknowledgement of or reciprocity to) the momentum vector of such goodness;
  • 2.      In the same moment, the first impulse would be the transfer of received energy to  omni-directional propagation in favor of consumption;
  • 3.      The experience of goodness would be confirmation of coherence within a field of goodness and a resolute intention to remain an active participant in such a field; and,
  • 4.      The ‘recipient’ would propagate the impulse in all vectors including the directional flow from whence the impulse was perceived.

This last point is most critical.  This is NOT an admonition to “return the favor”.  This is acknowledging that if “I” am the source of generosity, “I” might not be.  It may be that I’m merely the conduit through which propagated goodness is flowing.  Given my earlier observation, this would be plausible considering that most of my best work occurs when “I” feel least capable of being elegant, kind, graceful, or generous.  What it DOES suggest is that a flow of gratitude in the direction of or through the steward of the impulse would reillumine that which is potentially obscured enhancing the energetic exchange.

QED does not answer the ancient question of the Gnostic’s Monad.  But it does demonstrate the length to which we’ll go to reify our illusion of separation and individuation.  In the end, it is not Greed and Avarice that beset us.  Rather it is absorption (gluttonous consumption of unconsidered energy) and narcissistic supremacy (jealousy for favored status) that serve to sclerose our vitality and propagative capacity.  Recognizing that no one can receive what I cannot give, I’m invited to see myself as a propagational steward rather than a source of emanated goodness.  And recognizing that equivalently no one can take what was never mine, the absorption impulse can merely serve to identify the dissonant fields in which I do not experience coherence.  The early church fathers insisted on separation as a presumption of all subsequent social calculations.  We know that this fundamental assumption is falsifiable in every manner.  And modern physicists continue to use a blur of rules, laws, and blinding formulae to confirm theory which evidence clearly indicts by adding constants of time and space.  In neither case did any crowd ask the sun where it defines its edge.  At no point did anyone ask the leaf whether it was producing glucose in photosynthesis or whether it sees itself as merely a component of our respiring lung from which it derives CO2.  And until we can see the inseparability of it ALL, we’ll go on hoarding and harming each other, consuming that which we did not need to satiate desires we’ll never appease.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Threadbare Jeans and the Unraveling of America


If you live in the Bay Area, you cannot escape the 145-year legacy of today.  On May 20, 1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received their patent on what would become one of the world’s most iconic items – blue jeans!  Their patent, U.S.#139,121 wasn’t for jeans but rather for the copper rivets that reinforced the pockets and hems of jeans making them more serviceable.  Jacob Davis was an immigrant from Riga, Latvia and came to the U.S. in 1854 and became a citizen in 1871.  Levi Strauss, an Ashkenazi Jew from Germany, immigrated to the U.S. in 1847 and became an American citizen in the same year he started his dry goods business in San Francisco in 1853.  Riding the speculator wave of gold seekers across California and later into the Yukon, the two men set in motion one of modernity’s most ubiquitous brands. 

Moses Cone was born in Tennessee in 1857 to Jewish German immigrant parents Herman Kahn and Helen Guggenheim.  Thinking that “Cone” was more American than “Kahn”, Moses’ father changed his family name upon arrival into the United States.  In 1887, Moses and his brother Ceasar invested $50,000 in the C.E. Graham Mill Manufacturing Company in Asheville, North Carolina and from there aggregated several mills throughout North and South Carolina.  By 1908 their factories near Greensboro, North Carolina were the world’s largest supplier of denim.  By 1915, their relationship with Levi Strauss & Co was cemented and together, the two firms would clothe millions. 

In 2003, bankruptcy ended the Cone business.  Over 10,000 people lost their jobs and thousands of others saw their livelihoods destroyed as the era of denim faded in the West with the rise of competition from the East.  And while China exports the largest quantity of denim, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt and Brazil are expanding their role in the global supply chain. 

I was reflecting on the Strauss / Cone paradox as a case study for the current upheaval in the world’s trade imbalance perturbations.  And, given the protagonist’s shared Jewish heritage, I was drawn to the economic cautionary parable from Genesis 25:29-34. 

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[a])
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.
What strikes me about this story is the foreboding message it implies about U.S. economic behavior.  In the early days of the industrial revolution, cheap labor was an immigration issue.  When mines needed digging, railroads needed excavation, and mills needed tending, the affluent found ‘others’ to whom sub-standard wages could be paid in exchange for the promise of the ‘American Dream’.  At that time, the principal beneficiary was not a consumer paying less at the store but rather the industrialist pocketing greater profits.  As time went on, the laborers became slightly more affluent and started demanding access to goods and services – many of which they were responsible for making or assembling.  In response, in the 1970s and 1980s, a fatal decision was made to accomplish the Walmartization of the world by making vastly more products at vastly cheaper costs.  To prop up a consumer-credit financial system, the laborer-consumer demanded more stuff and bought it on credit.  That part of the equation was visible.  But what was not considered was that in exchange for sending manufacturing to ever cheaper labor markets, the ugly consequence of this would be the diminishment of the very labor that once paid the wages to support the consumer.  By demanding stuff rather than quality and value, we have ‘sold our birthright’ for thirty years of cheaper jeans. 

And now, when we want to “Make America Great”, we’ve got a tiny problem.  Our affluent expectations cannot be met by our own domestic production.  And while we’re pretty sure that the world will go on making cheaper jeans for us ad infinitum, the reality is that the world’s industrialized labor pools are themselves now growing their new lower middle class.  Domestic consumption rather than export is a growing reality for much of the world’s markets.  And what this means is that our temporary consumer orgy fueled by cheap labor is now starting to hit a wall.  The promise of perpetual growth, the always-better-tomorrow that would be the siren song of America’s capitalism, the illusion of our intellectual superiority always saving the day is now being shown for exactly what it is.  Hype and propaganda.  In his article in The Diplomat (“Chinese Consumers Will Change the Global Economy, April 6, 2017), Matthias Lomas highlighted the fact that the 400 million Chinese middle-class consumers are increasingly selecting quality, brand and status over price-sensitive consumption.  What if the world’s new middle class actually prefer ‘better’ to ‘more’?  In a world in which the American generation was based on ‘more’, we don’t have a clear picture on quality.  And this means that “Great” is a reach that may exceed our grasp. 

Our birthright – if there was one – was to be an experiment on democratized access to opportunity.  We turned it into a opium den of consumption.  And what did we get for it?  Cheap jeans!