Poem…The edge of Tomorrow

In the million mile journey
Poised on the edge of tomorrow
I’m surrounded by a sea of lights
..The emptiness of “What will be”
A pretty movie poster face stares into shadows.  Surveying Rooms filled with ghosts…yesterday’s,

tomorrow’s crowds
Music drifts around me like water
Slot Machine noise unwinds on the great carossel. From here to there
And my life unfolds like an escalator
It’s taking me to the  horizon
There is everything to concern me
And yet nothing to worry me
In the ambient rime
That shines smiling, vanishing like a broken sunset
Torn violently from a wall

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The enraptured framed within the unenraptured

 

I think photos are very much illusions of a time, form and space they appear to capture.

I imagine something Steven Pinker said: “Our mind’s eye is also sentenced to live in a world of time.  Just as we can imagine an empty space devoid of objects but cannot imagine a set of objects that aren’t located in space, we can imagine a stretch of time in which nothing happens but cannot imagine an event that doesn’t unfold in time or take place at a given time…You might wonder whether these features of our experience come from the design of the mind or from the nature of the perceptible universe.” 

That last line really rings true for me. I think a book could be dedicated to exploring that idea.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

A photograph might seem to be one thing, to the eye, as real as anything, but elements of time, space, and light, that compose it in the mind are very different from the reality that forms it.  Light is an aspect that is the most critical.  Light too, is important in chemistry in visualizing elements, and light is important in modulating mood.  And if the photographs can be said to contain basic elements.., earth, sun, water, candle light, architecture, and beauties that traipse through them, then my attempt is to construct visual bonds between these elements, that hold them in ways that are interesting. Some I call “polymers”, like repeating units of an idea that vary slightly.  They are sparse, obvious, simple and true.  Like a model standing clearly before a vanishing horizon behind her on a sunny day, (stands in a world,) part reality and part illusion.  Or forms vanishing in shadow.  Science is about experiment. It is as much about what is found as what we didn’t find, and photos too are the uncaptured as well as the captured.  The positive and negative results are important in the shot.  The emptiness, spatial and time, is also an aspect.  There seems never enough time to take all the photos we want to take,  the second shot doesn’t always come, and that is what makes life so real and chaotic, and exciting.   The fleeting nature of time in a photo is also something interesting too. Time can rush by in big cities.  The sun comes up and sets in a place you’re not expecting. 

There are aspects of design but also of the nature, that compose the city, that I’d say make it different and beautiful.

 

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

The enraptured framed within the unenraptured , the sparse and dim places, the uninspired.  It is chemical art, where the photo becomes composed of the visual elements like carbon and oxygen, hydrogen, compose rings of cyclodextrins.  Like matter. Unassuming and candid.  I was just as interested in showing the effects of these photos as in exploring them deeper, their impact on the photographer.  Less is more.  It took time to find words that would work for these.  Notes are not specific and deliberately so. The noise is reduced as much as possible. They only speak to the places, or of the places as they should probably do,  but not the photos themselves.  And like a drawing of a molecule, it cannot really show how the molecule reacts, its nature, which is known to the mind’s eye.  I think they are superficial like chemistry drawings sometimes, they reveal very little of the beauty of what’s behind them.  Still this is an attempt to show, but not show too much and preserve and enhance the mystery that is very natural and beautiful about this place. 

Photographs like paintings, can hang in mysterious galleries.  Places that are not always physical ones, in the mind’s eye, but places, even landscapes that contain so much more than simple objects.

I think that the rational mind can be hidden sometimes by emotion so that very obvious things that it should perhaps know are hidden from itself, The emotional lattice can’t be seen except like a shape through a foggy window.  But possibly too, we don’t expect the things we want most.  They are obvious and yet unreal because we refuse to accept the potential of their reality.  And we can’t see them either when emotion is deep.  They are invisible like ghosts.  That is because things in the mind’s eye are so much more real, than the objects and light and shapes that compose them, that confront the eye.  They have time.  Time confronts us with causality.  So too are paintings that reveal very little of where they came from, and yet this denied existence is more of what they really are.  Paintings that create the illusion of time and causality achieve something beyond their surface, their elements.  What they represent, in the mind’s eye, is more real than what we see.  And so is life. It is natural that  you would feel that way and if you have feelings about it, as I do, the reaction (to the feeling) might be very natural too.  after much time, feelings that are true, still exist.  And they are possibly unresolved, complex and naked” in that they are simply as they are, with nothing added and nothing taken away.

 

‘But possibly too, we don’t expect the things we want most.  They are obvious and yet unreal because we refuse to accept the potential of their reality.’

 SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

The unplanned nature of this wandering produced I think, a candid personal view of a city through my lens.  Many photos and words behind them are superficial to what lies beneath.  I think more natural photos are the best.  Shadows, disappearing horizons, night shots, architecture and beauties who would traipse through now and then made them more exciting.  I added some notes a year later not because I was trying at documentary, but because most are famous in this city, and should be noted.  So it’s superficiality is perhaps an illusion unseen things and stories that echo behind the images.  They are illusions of reality of life, and emotion.

There isn’t enough time to say everything and so it becomes superficial and most of the deeper elements go unsaid.

Shelley writes in “Hymn To Intellectual Beauty”

“Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,

It visits with inconstant glance

Each human heart and countenance”.

 

Photos visit us too with some unseen power.

 

**Photos by MK**

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Poem…. Words, shiny, scattered

I finish reading the poetry

Close my eyes and the words, shiny, scattered…free…

like spinning jacks in my head
All of the problems of …melt away
I lay down, on a hammock…

stretched between beams of moonlight.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Science Thursday: More Lunacy Regarding The “Self Illusion” Book

It seems that every time the determinists begin to tackle the problem of consciousness and the self, they run aground (on their own science) and it’s usually in exactly the same way, it just “appears” to be different. And the self illusion” appears to be of a different science than some of the other books, (about free will) but in actuality, it is based on the same fundamental premise(s): determinism and also experiments of Libet and others done in the 1980’s. What appears to be a hard science based dismissal of the self is really nothing more than reworking of this familiar territory.

It starts off well enough, with some very high brow credentials.

I would assume, based on what is claimed in the book, that these are credentials that should help make this all go down much easier. I recall a scene from “The King’s Speech” where the king, (Colin Firth’s character) is telling his speech therapist /psychologist that he’s already had expert opinions on his problem. His therapist quips “they’re idiots.” The king replies “but they went to Oxford.” To which the therapist replies “..makes it official then.” It’s good to keep an open mind about reality, and not be too trusting of what ‘experts’ tell us.

Here is a quote from the interview in “Psychology Today” with Bruce Hood, author of “The Self Illusion” book:

 

“Interviewer: “In what sense is the self an illusion?

Hood: For me, an illusion is a subjective experience that is not what it seems. Illusions are experiences in the mind, but they are not out there in nature. Rather, they are events generated by the brain. Most of us have an experience of a self. I certainly have one, and I do not doubt that others do as well – an autonomous individual with a coherent identity and sense of free will. But that experience is an illusion – it does not exist independently of the person having the experience..”

 

Here is the problem with that premise. I have a basic problem wth any premise that is simply not true. He seems to believe he has “evidence” that the self is an illusion, which he likens to holograms. But is the self really like a hologram or an illusion, a real illusion? Let’s consider that for a moment.

The hologram or 3D image appears to be real to us, and yet it isn’t. That’s its appeal. That’s why they’re fun. But obviously, we know that the image isn’t real. Why is that statement true? That’s an important non trivial question to think about. A: Because we can test it. For one thing, try putting your hand through the “real” surface of the hologram. See, nothing touches! Just like magic. We know that a 3D hologram is not a real 3D object for very simple reasons. But there are other ways of course to test whether or not a 3D image produced by a trick of the eye or really the brain (how it processes images with confocal vision) is actually a real object. This is not too fine a point. I believe either the author isn’t grasping this physical distinction or is not being authentic about it, for the purposes of making his case that the self is an illusion.

So, even if we know nothing about neuroscience, we can say at the very least that we, ourselves or “the self” are healthy and fully functitoning because of a healthy mind and body? Correct? But we can also say with a high degree of confidence that that is not an illusion like the illusion of a K diagram or a 3D hologram.

Simplified analogies are a way of teaching complex scientific principles. But his analogy, the one he’s making is rather hostile and highly inaccurate. An illusion isn’t physically real, in the sense that it occupies actual space, it is made by the brain. But even by their own definition and models, the self is a projection of biological effects. It is as real as anything. But the result of this analogy would be to say that the self is not even biolgically determined. Calling it an “illusion” is a semantic oversimplification.

Let’s think about this for a moment. (And if you’re uncertain of your self’s existence, in this exercise, perhaps you can borrow someone else’s). So if the self is an illusion, then what is real? Are trees, and houses, and dogs real? , what he’s really defining here as “self” is the so called problem of will or free volition. Not the physical “self” made by a mind or a projection of the mind’s activities. That’s ultimately what he’s claiming is the non real part, the illusion as he calls it. So that arguemnt goes back to the experiments of Libet and others like them, and it goes back to determinism.

In reality, the science he’s claiming to back up the claims from his scientific book is actually not so solid. The studies of Libet are rife with uncertainties, and there are a plethora of unanswered questions about their validity, but as I’ve stated before, determinism itself is a theory with other problems and triggers (which we’ve explored before). What is at issue here is that this is not what it seems really, not a book “based on scientific research” but an unabashed flogging of the underlying deterministic agenda. The self is illusion, just like “I” and “me” are illusions, is straight out of the determinists play book. I for one have never seen an “I” wandering about, so does that mean “we” doesn’t exist?

But the real error in the science is that no science is ever claimed. There isn’t a hypothesis, or position claimed. And that is in many ways, the first rule of science- you state clearly what it is you’re attempting to prove.

This argument that he uses to annihilate the self premise is a trick, and I’ll give you examples of how this fallacious argument works. I can tell you that I think a certain food is good. Maybe it’s a favorite of mine. But, can I physically show you what ‘good’ is? No. Does that mean that it isn’t good? If I claim it’s my favorite food, I also cannot show what this means physically. But this doesn’t change the fact. We have to establish what “favorite” even means in terms of a parameter, a comparison, a mathematical model, that can be valid. Sometimes even this model is wrong, and possibly it can’t be evaluated. That is the most glaring issue I have with the science of the book “The Self Illusion.” The author does not attempt to evaluate the problem in terms that might actually be justifiable. Instead he embarks on a stratagem to erode and annihilate these definitions, thus creating the illusion that it doesn’t exist.

So don’t worry. No one can prove you don’t ‘like’ chocolate, just because the word “like” doesn’t physically exist, any more than they can prove that the self is an illusion, just because there isn’t any scientifically provable or agreed to definition of what consciousness is.*

 

*And if there was, in theory, would this not automatically invalidate the “illusion?”

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Science Thursday- I respond to ‘New Physics Theory of Life?’ in Quanta Magazine

For my “Science Thursday” post, (which I’m reprinting here) I responded to an article entitled “A New Physics Theory Of Life” which you can read in Quanta Magazine (link below). This was in a paper , a technical paper that was published in J.A.Phy by Jeremy England from MIT labs.
http://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140122-a-new-physics-theory-of-life/#comment-174596

Here’s an excerpt from Quanta:
‘Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula …The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.

At the heart of England’s idea is the second law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of increasing entropy or the “arrow of time.” Hot things cool down, gas diffuses through air, eggs scramble but never spontaneously unscramble; in short, energy tends to disperse or spread out as time progresses.’
This is what I wrote in response:

If it is true that chemical systems will, as claimed here, progress towards more energetically dissipative states, that would be a real finding, let alone one that’s relevant to the origin of life.
There are really two responses I can think of to the paper, one chemical or ‘experimentally’ based, the other is more theoretical. If the paper’s theory holds, then I would expect to see some new chemistry presented, at a very basic level. Chemical systems that tend to dissipate heat are known as chemical systems, that is what molecules do when they combine. These are exothermic (give off heat) or endothermic (absorb heat).
If, it’s true that a system will become complex because it tends toward a dissipative one, then my question would be, OK are the molecules of DNA and proteins in an organism at the most dissipative level? Because, intuitively I’d say they’re not. And that’s because they are not at their lowest energy state possible, meaning no more energy can be absorbed, and thus maximum energy would be dissipated. The molecules in an organism are not in this state at all- plants are a very good example of this, as they are a high source of energy but also heat for homes. So plants have plenty of energy that’s not dissipated, or dissipating, in fact they are energy stores, they are food. There is more work to show how these theoretical systems would be achieving ‘maximal dissipation of energy’. And as far as examples of actual chemistry goes, the paper doesn’t show any new chemistry that I can see, in other words it doesn’t show what these ‘theoretical systems’ might look like.

The second point, is theoretical. In short, the paper begins with the premise that reversing entropy is like “unscrambling eggs,” and we all have an intuitive sense of what entropy is. And yet, we are to imagine that given enough time, or with long enough energy input, the egg will “unscramble itself?” I wanted clarification on that point, but unfortunately the paper itself, which I’ve read, is unclear on this conclusion. So I’m frankly not really sold on the notion that “if you shine light long enough on atoms, it forms a plant,” which I assume means a thousand million years or so.

Here’s more from Quanta: ‘This principle would apply to inanimate matter as well. “It is very tempting to speculate about what phenomena in nature we can now fit under this big tent of dissipation-driven adaptive organization,” England said. “Many examples could just be right under our nose, but because we haven’t been looking for them we haven’t noticed them.”

Yes, but actually these examples of such systems already exist, they are natural processes that dissipate vast quantities of energy, achieving maximal energy dissipation for the given physical parameters. They are called alluvial fans, and include phenomenon such as erosion patterns in mountain sides, ripples in the sand, and cracked mud. Basically put, rivers ‘figure out’ how to run faster downhill by widening their channels thereby lowering resistance.
Adrian Bejan, a physicist from Duke, described (American Scientist 2006) a theory he called “constructal theory” to account for these natural processes of energy dissipation and how they correlate to the movements of animals through water, across land, and through the air. “Optimization is an old idea and an even older natural phenomenon.”
It’s an interesting theory, which might have intriguing applications to new science, but I’m hoping that there can be some clarification as to what it is actually saying regarding the second law and how this might be different from other ‘optimization’ theories already in existence.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Flash Fiction Friday

MY MICROWAVE AND I

 

You are always there
At any hour, day or night, you will serve
Blindly obedient, nuking my food
Carousel turns, the microwave burns
You were there when the first champagne bottle ‘popped’
The first one, the size of a muon (it was believed).
That event long ago “the Big party”
The great microwave, wave.
But that was slightly longer
That too involved spinning
So quite probably, spinning is not just a localized phenomena
It happens all over the universe
It’s a trend, that’s caught on
They heard about it just once
In the Orion nebulae
And then it exploded, went viral, like the next antimatter. Went to Eta Carinae and also the blue marble diner,
Seems you can’t go anywhere now without seeing a turning table, all aglow.
But they’ve got other waves too, gamma, and radio..
And out past the horse nebulae, at a place called the Old Corral, they cook it over a pit of dark matter. Ribs. Any style. From the spiny ‘eglitaliwanki.’ And a drink, they recommend the Cat Eye freeze, with a real dark energy, squeeze. There are so many flavors of particles to choose.
Makes my microwave box seem like the stone age, my food less exotic.
at 1 a.m. my galley’s less quixotic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Editorial jetisons about Poetry

 

The poetry on poetry.org is often thought provoking as many of the authors provide a brief explanation” for their poem’s meaning.  Poetry should be properly described after all, lest they be excused as imparsable abstractions.
I find that 99.9% of the poetry today  is about finding the emotional reaction to “today” the here and now. And many of these species are found here. They report back on the experience of it, processing it , the invisible medium that’s “today” then hopefully putting such emotional metabolic stuff (into something) so it’s visible.

But if this is the collective unofficial plight of the new poets movement, I’m going to excuse myself from the room. It is losing sight of the art itself, so this is a wake up call to what that is. We’re speaking of the experience not of the poet, but of the art itself. How can art experience life? The synecdoche and conceit in the Sonnets is example. And I find this lost on scholarly (meaning they’re passionate enough at least about the subject) interpretations such as Booth, but if it was lost then, in the 70’s would I expect it to be found now? It’s not the number of citations, quoted its about whst in fact the speaker is or isnt saying. When the speaker becomes an inanimate thing an object, This is entering the “soul” of the art, this is as [the sculptor] envisioned, the awakening of his statue in the garden. That’s a different story . But there is a night and day difference between a character’s experience which is virtually unlimited, compared with experience of the “real world.”

When I’m envisioning what are equivalent of cartoon characters in the desert ..a coyote..and his friends, this is not in any way modern poetry, (the impression of it or sense I’ve gotten from literary mags,) but probably “flash fiction.”

First person experientiality appears to be the main source material for the modern poet. They want us to feel what it’s like to be them personally, and they expose us to the shocking pieces of reality that entails..the personal loss etc. (but more of it is really “shock” like many of the shows on TV, but is this really poetry? As human beings, we have all experienced these realities, some of them harsh, but are these, in and of themselves, art? The reaction as a poet however, is to magnify that meaning beyond its current state and explore it beyond here and now, these “mortal coils.” Because it has real unknown implications and can be explored. (Meaning that the unknown’ is actually a quantity with unlimited potential.) The avoidance of such a task, to a poet, is to feign poetry, and to avoid being human, to avoid imperfection and appeal to what is perceived as standards of perfection. And it seems the modern task put to artists is to act as though there is nothing left in reality to understand, and you must act like you know what you are doing at all times. The honest truth is that there is a universe that is waiting to be explored.

Regurgitating reality and experience is mere conformity with the prevailing cultural fads now dominating television and internet. Self interested self absorbed experientiality is limited in my opinion, (in its ability to explore that world beyond ‘the here’). And it reeks of conformity and homogeneity, these are anathema .. to what fiction is. A mockery of art form and art itself because it refuses to acknowledge its own elitism and ego that selfie-art is, and selfie poetry. A few references to war or someone dead, is all that’s needed to qualify? And time and time again this appears to be what the mainstream poetry pubs are searching for, and their anxiety of breaking with this mold is all the more apparent.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized