Sunday, September 30, 2018

Living a Lie

I’m sure you’re with me in the persistence of your rapt fascination with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) measurement of gravitational waves measured in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington and the 1.5-billion-year-old black hole collision from which they originated.  Even more so, I’m sure you sleep better at night knowing that nature (yes, that same thing that allegedly created a cataclysmic shock wave 1.5 billion years ago) obeys the theory proposed by Einstein on general relativity.  Thank heavens.  After all, how disappointed would we all be if we found out that our myopic projection onto nature didn’t follow “our rules”?  Thankfully, the Nobel Committee awarded med/tals to three researchers – Barry Barish, Kip Thorne, and Rainier Weiss – which in the medal’s own atomic composition were the product of the theoretical genesis of the very gold from which their medal was struck!  Au79 – aka gold – is supposedly born of stellar events incapable of being replicated at scale on Earth.  I’m sure you chuckled with the irony that the medal was from metal derived of a cosmic event resulting in the precipitation of gold that was derived from an equally improbable theoretical framework of cosmic proportions to the discovery for which the medal was awarded.

In the months following the measurement of the first gravitational wave, there’s been a plethora of confirmatory measurements.  Imagine that!  We go 1.5 billion years without a ripple and then, boom, waves are popping out all over like acne on a 13-year-old version of my face!  And as we take this step closer to answering the existential question of why matter exists and how it came into being – something that I know keeps me up at night – we’re a few billion dollars and a few years away from confirming Fritz Zwicky’s 1933 postulation of “dark matter” that makes up most of… well, pretty much everything.  And if you’re like me, you can’t wait until 2022 when we finally power up the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile when we get to learn when to set our Mayan calendars for the “Big Rip” which is when the universe is torn asunder by the accelerating pace of the expansion of the universe and all its “dark matter”.

I had the privilege of reading Julius Pretterebner’s The Unifed Theory – Electricity, Magnetism, Gravity, and Mechanics which seeks to unravel the hidden structure of Maxwell’s equations in pursuit of a rational Unified Theory.  I had an interest in this as I’m continuing to entertain myself with the “consciousness” and “discernment” evidenced in playing with magnets and iron filings.  Weaving a tapestry of Newton, Lorenz, Kepler, Faraday, Helmholz, and others, Julius takes us on the journey from geometry to kinetics in a flurry of formulae worthy of Jackson Pollack unleashed with a paint bucket and a blank canvas at the MoMA.  What I find fascinating in the blinding Greek characters is the persistence of separation – distance, time, vacuum, and direction all in the quest to find what makes it all stick together.

Over the years, I’ve encountered people seeking to end relationships, rationalize grief, or justify callous neglect who utter the fatalist epitaph, “I must have been living a lie.”  This refrain of the hard-done-by is the unconsidered product of an illusion projected onto reality lubricated generously by therapists who prey on the wallets of those who seek solace and justification to assuage pain receptors symptomatically triggered by an absence of personal culpability and accountability.  Understanding “WHY” is attempted to be resolved: by becoming remote from the supposed ‘cause’ (distance); after a situation has become irreconcilably destroyed (time); in complete absence of personal responsibility or self-awareness (vacuum); and, with a notion of finitude that must be reified to support a socially sympathetic narrative (direction).  Like colliding black holes, neutron stars, and dark matter, our capacity to apprehend in hindsight the copious and persistent neglect we had for the present addicts us to telling the “WHY” story using variables that science conveniently offers us as “laws” and “unified theories”.

A simple journey through Wikipedia will be helpful for those who don’t read the footnotes of chemistry, physics, and mathematics journals.  Matter, is made up of electromagnetically charged particles.  For convenience, we’ll stick to the generally accepted atomic model of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  The guts of matter (the nuclear core of atoms) is made up of things that don’t seem to totally compute.  Allegedly neutrons beget protons and around this nuclear core, negatively charged electrons orbit in various energy states.  Based on the number of spinning electrons, multiple atoms can bind to form molecules, molecules organize to beget stuff and, presto! We’ve got stuff!  Neutrons are born of stellar formation and destruction.  Our theoretical models have a ticklish problem in that neutrons are supposed to decay pretty quickly – in the matter of a few minutes.  Now hit pause on that thought for a quick reality check.

I’m writing this blog post from 38,000ft above the Pacific Ocean in an aircraft made of aluminum.  How is it, precisely, that neutrons from deep space keep ‘showing up’ in aluminum form to keep this plane in the air?  And how is it that the carbon, phosphate, sodium, potassium, and chlorine which currently allow my fingers to keep typing on my keyboard keep persisting in their form when the average neutron hangs around for less than 15 minutes?  Am I sitting less than 15 minutes away from a supernova, a black hole, or a neutron emitting energy source?  If I was, wouldn’t I be incinerated?

Julius points out the uncomfortable math problem that Kepler eluded to and Newton calculated when they described the Earth’s elliptical orbit of the Sun.  ‘Separate points in space’ don’t exist as physically isolated actors.  While we want to make everything fit into lines-between-points models, that very model is broken in its opening assumption.  Everything is in motion and unlike our mathematical simplistic assumptions is not seeking ‘normal distributions’ or ‘homeostatic balance’.  When one passes a magnet over iron filings, some of the iron filings respond and some don’t.  Pass the same or a different magnet over the ‘unresponsive’ filings and their response changes.  How is it that when presented with a field, some particles respond and some don’t?  How is it that the exact same experimental conditions applied exactly the same way a second time leads to a different response?  Is the iron filing that doesn’t jump in the first instance “living a lie” as some alternative nonferrous substance or is it the case that the field in which its experience the present moment simply not eliciting a response as presented?

One of the most romanticized separation illusions is the inadequately characterized notion relationship loss.  In a recent conversation I had about the concept of grief I suggested that the emotional notion of grief could benefit from re-examination.  In the conversation, I recounted the over 30 years I’ve lived with excruciating pain in my legs following a tremendous accident and multiple ensuing reconstructive surgeries.  Reflexively, I have been bombarded with three decades of the question, Why?  Why do you have to suffer pain every day?  And I join the millions who are sympathetically patronized with Why.  Why did he get cancer?  Why did my child die?  Why did my marriage end?  Why was I abused?  Why, why, why?  And what I’ve come to recognize is that WHY is merely the pretext for symptomatic relief – not for fruitful living!  Oh, you poor dear, you’re in pain… I’ve got an opioid for that.  Oh, you poor dear, you neglected your relationship… I’ve got a therapist who can help you blame someone.  Oh, you poor dear, your loved one died… you can disengage living your life in homage to…WHAT!!!???  Like our billion dollar quest to find out the WHY of the Universe, we play out in miniature the same madness in our own social orbits.  Substance abuse, surrogacy and dependency on prostituted empathy, escape and isolation, reclusiveness all mark the profitable trail of a Unified Theory of disunity.

“What would happen,” I inquired, “if we reconstituted GRIEF into a Gratitude Reminder In Emotional Form?”  Rather than seeing the distance, time, vacuum, and directional illusions that we project, what if we used the dark energy of emotion to animate in impulse of gratitude?

Life spoiler alert!  Around 2033 when we read the news out of Chile that at long last we’ve seen and measured ‘dark energy’ and we confirm that in a few more billion years it’s going to complete the Big Bang cycle by rending our universe asunder, we will have learned nothing.  As long as we chase a non-present projection of an illusory construct on each of our todays so as to render them somehow defective in favor of an ideal condition which we couldn’t imagine given our space-time limited fantasies, we’ll continue in missing what’s in front of us in the moment.

Which brings me to the point.  WHAT’S THE POINT OF LIFE?

Well, thanks for asking.  I’m pretty sure the answer is, there is none.  If by life you mean judging the present as inadequate; obsessing about a linear future as something to which one aspires; a rejection of present relationships for your enculturated definition of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; and, a determination that through passive aggressive isolation or outright cruelty a judgement will be rendered on the wrongdoer, well then, it’s pointless.

But if we golf clap for the Nobel Prize committee and then go about emancipating ourselves from the illusion of separation, we can:

Realize that one person’s pain is a sensation to heighten our own experience of and gratitude for what is whole and properly functioning;

Realize that one person’s ‘loss’ is an invitation for deepening cherished connections and reinvigorating the social, material, and energetic networks that sustain us;

Recognize that in our unfiltered expression of insights and wisdom, we’re merely resolving for ourselves and others resonant chords which can remind and stimulate wisdom in others; and,

Celebrate that each moment is entangled with all other moments in all other dimensions and thoughtfully engage our field effect in our awareness so as to bend and accommodate the field effects in the experience of others in positive manners.

In short, while my life and your life may have no purpose in isolation, our purposeful living appears to  shape the field of reality and, in so doing makes an indelible mark in the ever present NOW.  No stories; no justifications; no excuses – No Lies.


1 comment:

  1. My first response is that as far as I can tell there is only ever here and now and that the experience of here and now appears to be all that is going on. So any conjecture of other times and events (past cosmic events for example) is conjecture in the here and now. This doesn’t make it good, bad or indifferent but it does make it ephemeral. It also leads to the view that the universe itself is consciousness, there can be no other way. If consciousness exists in one place it must exist everywhere.

    My other thought is that like the infinite tower of turtles any thought is based on previous thoughts so what we express now will have something preceding and following it. So scientific will continue to change. Each later thought will supplant it’s predecessors but remains a present moment event. I’m convinced the universe can’t exist as an object outside consciousness.

    What an exquisite paradox!


Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave