GOD, INFINITY AND THE MöBIUS UNIVERSE

by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2015  (03.14.15, 9:26:43)

Beyond the edges of the universe is an infinity of nothingness. In order to understand existence, we need to attempt to understand this infinity. Infinity is not emptiness or space. It is has no beginning and no ending. In our minds, infinity is a concept, an idea where everything that is probable is possible. In mathematics and literature, infinity is a series of events and ideas and numbers that have no endings. Mathematics stretches into infinity from the start at zero. There is no end to numbers. They constantly become bigger and bigger.

THE UNIVERSE IS A PLANE 

The universe is flat and shaped by geometric principles according to the latest astronomical observations.That time and space are bent is a fact that is well proven mathematically.

A Möbius strip made with a piece of paper and tape. If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed the entire length of the strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge.

A Möbius strip made with a piece of paper and tape. If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed the entire length of the strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge.

Anything curved on a flat plane (i.e., the universe) will eventually return to its starting point and start the journey again. If the universe is in the form of a möbius strip, as some have come to believe, then it curves back upon itself so that it has no beginning nor ending. it repeats itself endlessly. A möbius strip has one boundary. A line drawn on this strip does not cross its point of origin until it has traversed both sides of the paper. In doing this, the line doubles the original size as opposed to a line drawn on a piece of paper not joined with a twist. A good explanation of this is found in the Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Möbius_strip

infinity

The möbius strip with one twist and pinched in the middle looks like the symbol for infinity. Some believe that our universe is actualized as a möbius strip with a finite number of twists of the vibrating strings in space. It is finite in that by going forward it transverses time and space, turning in a warped circle as it experiences its own starting point. It recurs over and over again, perhaps eternally.

The universe came from nothing; the nothing that formed the being and existence of the universe is the Infinite. That this has to be so is inescapable. People have long argued about first causes, but nothingness had to come into existence. There is no other logical answer. Infinity is needed to have the Finite. A solitary, non-dual Infinity precedes the yin and yang of existence itself.

The nothing that is beyond the boundary of our universe is Infinity. It both exits and does not exist simultaneously. It has never been actualized because it has no dimension. Nothingness has everything to do with being and existence because everything is made manifest through nothingness. Nothingness is not temporal. It is non-dimensional. The closest we can get to it is to know that it is not a thing at all, but ‘NoThing’.

Nothing actually does exist and it has always been that way.

The duality of being disappears in the infinity of nothingness. When we realize that nothing really exists, this is not the height of nihilistic thought, but a universal condition that implores understanding. The sentence itself implies that nothing does exist, but that nothing is neither material nor spacial nor a part of time. This discovery does not negate the chemical composition of matter in our actual world, but helps to further refine its essence. That nothing exists does not mean that the world is an illusion or organic chemistry cannot help us lead better lives. It means that the world developed from nothing and exists despite its ghostly origin. No matter how you try to rationalize it away, the world had to come from nothing at all because that is the supreme and only reality. Within time, space is filled with virtual energy, not nothingness. We can even tap this source for power and we will probably draw most of our power usage from that source in the future.

See:  https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/10265

A TALE OF TWO POINTS

In a single dimension we have a point. In two dimensions we have a line and other flat objects that exist on a plane. In three dimensions we have depth by the actualizing of space. In the fourth dimension we have time by the actualizing of duration in spacetime. Möbius forms are the gateway to the fourth dimension.

[See references to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle at end of article.]

Bonan-Jeener's Klein Surface 2 
Courtesy of Jos Leys

Bonan-Jeener’s Klein Surface 2 
Courtesy of Jos Leys

But what does this have to do with the concept of infinity, which we have determined is beyond time and space? Infinity, in this sense, is non-existence. It is nothing. Nothingness has everything to do with being and existence because it is the source of everything. The actualized world is similar to a holographic projection on the one boundary that separates our actual world from the Infinity of spirit and nothingness. Infinity actualizes the world and universe that we conceive on the plane boundary between our existent universe and the infinity of nothingness.

Upon the closest of inspection there is much nothing in matter. Most of it is space. Of the particles that make up the actualizations of matter, many are wave forms without mass and small particles composed of energy that were originally waves that have been actualized into having mass. There are not really any smallest particles. Wave forms that have no mass are spread completely through space. In quantum physics, this is called vacuum energy.

[See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy .]

This phenomena is a manifestation of infinity within time. This is the lesson we should learn from quantum physics. The universe about us is a ghostly materialization, a projection from the infinity of nothingness. Our physical world can best be understood as information–events and experience actualized from an infinite pool of possibilities and potentialities.

The connection of the physical world to the unrealized nothingness of infinity is partly explained by the idea of unrealized potential that has never come onto being. One part of this physical world has been realized and actualized. We call this the present and the past. It exists in the dimensions of space and time. We imagine it to be the future. The world itself is part of an infinite system that comes from a zero dimension without time and space.

In zero dimension there is not even a point, as points are one dimensional. This also means there is no point to infinity. It simply is. The math and the patterns which make up our physical world have always existed by necessity. These are the laws that create the pattens and systems that make up our actuality. Those laws and patterns of geometry, like infinity, have no beginning nor ending. They did not evolve into laws, but nature followed these mathematical laws. Beginnings and endings are defined by space and time. Since space and time and nature itself follows the forms of process expressed in mathematical principles, then these principles have to precede existence and are existent in some manner outside of time and space.

How this can be so in something that does not exist is perplexing. What is it that can both not exist and exist at the same moment? Is there something in that nothingness after all? If so, what is it? It is what we can call infinity. Infinity can probably best be defined as the awareness which precedes consciousness. We have to come to grips with what infinity is, as all things finite are necessarily incorporated in infinity.

You cannot have a finite world without infinity. Yet, infinity has no known plan or purpose, as religions lead us to believe. It has no need for a point because a point is dimensional. Even plans and purposes are human values and ideas. There are both mathematical and communicational uses for a point. In math, it refers to a particular object that cannot be defined in terms of previously defined objects. In communication, it is an idea that you use to try to express a view from information.

That infinity has no point is an expression of both definitions. Further, because this infinity is present in everything (there is no smallest anything), everything is part of infinity. That is all there is. All is nothingness and matter is incidental. Matter simply records events. Events are objects relating to one another. This relating is information. This nothingness is not the God of religions, it is not Void, it is not a master plan. It is another dimension to which we have no access at all because we are in time and space and infinity is not.

Infinity can be pictured as the spirit hidden in the nothingness that is everywhere and present before the universe and world was materialized. It is complete within itself and holds all that is made manifest and actualized. It is the one thing that exists and does not exist simultaneously. That which is actualized is part of infinity itself. The Native American term of Great Spirit seems to be a valid expression and description of how infinity is actualized into being. Infinity is an idea.

Although it is a human idea and discovery, it appears and is made manifest without the need for humans at all. Infinity precedes existence itself. Infinity projects nothingness into existence through the actualization of dimensions such as space and time, depth and duration. It should not surprise us then that we are a part of an existence whose most basic substance is simply an idea formed from imagination and built through the accumulation of information. It should not surprise us that we are actualized from the infinite spirit of nothingness. Infinity is timeless and eternal. For infinity, there is only a manifested Now. Time and space is not a concern in a zero dimension.The world and the universe about us is finite and repetitive because of its dimensions, its circular shape and orbits and the processes that infinity forms for existence to be actualized.

This video may be a bit misleading if you find that the future is fully determined. The idea is to show that in infinity all time is now. How it is recorded and how the future comes to be will be addressed later. The future is still undetermined and not actualized. It exists in an infinite field of things that can potentially happen and is not realized until free will and choice makes a decision and action that brings it into being. Similarly, the past has already been actualized and the record of it exists in the matter in the world we inhabit.

According to quantum theory, there are at least twenty-three dimensions that we cannot see in our three dimensional world. Everything that ever existed still lives there in some form. That would have to be the case if there is only a NOW.

There is a newly discovered ability to freeze light. Perhaps that has something to do with the way the world freezes out existence moment by moment. That the past is still in the now as much as the present and the future is surely an existential revelation that can have great emotional repercussions on our individual lives. See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806111151.htm

To my way of thinking, we are as eternal as the now. Those experiences that we lived and loved have moved on in time but exist as memories etched in mental processes. Why should death and extinction reign in a universe that only contains the Now? Somewhere, someway, we are missing something. The people we loved and lost still live in our memories. Those things should be able to live on as mental processes in infinity as well. Why should anything be lost in infinity if infinity can hold all that exists or can exist? If energy cannot be created of destroyed, then why should we as living organisms composed of energy be less than energy?

Nothing is lost. Nothing is gained. Why? Because all is nothing, all is spirit, all is unconscious awareness. That is what the world is about: the growing of unconscious matter into organisms and the perceptions of conscious experiences made manifest in myriads of forms and times. Time is the creator and space is the place where worldly existence dwells.

Consciousness is that which observes and experiences this world and makes it actual. Consciousness is eternal in that it too springs directly from the awareness of the Infinity which has no being and is not of time and space.

The Concept of Heaven

The concept of heaven has always been disturbing and very unclear. When we abandon our ideas of heaven, do we gain eternity? Heaven cannot logically be without pain. One cannot live in eternal happiness and still recognize joy. Heaven, as idealized by many, makes no logical sense whatever. It breaks the natural laws that form the basis of our dualistic world. Can you even imagine a man who had dozens of dogs and many wives reunited with all of them in a blissful afterlife? No, heaven would have to be devoid of emotion and dead to logical thinking and the imagination.

Infinity, however, can hold all possibilities that can become probable. It can hold endless fields of probabilities and possibilities that can come into existence over endless amounts of time and space. It can hold alternative universes where things evolved differently. It can hold parallel universes that mirror our own.

Our flat universe is just one dimension of many. Like a book laid flat and stacked on the projection screen of time, universes can be viewed as pages of a book,each page holding another dimension, each book telling of a different experience. Deep within our consciousness is the observer who experiences all things. Our lives and times are a product of these observations as we seem to be both the observer and the observed. We are not as limited in time and space as we think ourselves to be. It simply appears to be that way.

Logic is an important component of universal laws. Does this mean that the universe is logical?  Mathematics and logic both testify that this is likely so.

Does this mean that the universe has a plan and a place for everything? No, it does not mean that. People have plans. The universe has occurrences. There is a mighty gulf between the two concepts. Infinity seems to be more an informational library than a creative master or designer. The geometry, the mathematics and the logic has always been hidden away in the zero dimension. They are rediscovered as we grow in our own understanding.

What fun would it be to spill a huge bag or marbles into the universe and track them all through eternity? What purpose could possibly be shown by the predestination of the course of these simple glass balls? Surprise and wonder are the basic rewards of our existence. Why should it be otherwise?

It is  much more likely that the universe is a random experience and that we are the ones who assign arbitrary value to that which was never meant to be more than a a play to occupy the time and space we envision.

The universe is you and me. We are not only a part of the universe, but we are the universe. It is only our self-consciousness and the actuality of our existence that keeps us from knowing the reality.

As we were before birth, so will be be after death. We sleep without awareness of time and the spirit within us awakens again and again. Time itself is a viewpoint, an experience of actions and reactions within a specific dimension. There are an infinite number of dimensions. And this is a good thing. We all love experience and that is what the universe is all about.

REFERENCES:

MOBIUS knot“Cutting a Möbius strip along the center line with a pair of scissors yields one long strip with two full twists in it, rather than two separate strips; the result is not a Möbius strip. This happens because the original strip only has one edge that is twice as long as the original strip. Cutting creates a second independent edge, half of which was on each side of the scissors. Cutting this new, longer, strip down the middle creates two strips wound around each other, each with two full twists.

“If the strip is cut along about a third of the way in from the edge, it creates two strips: One is a thinner Möbius strip – it is the center third of the original strip, comprising 1/3 of the width and the same length as the original strip. The other is a longer but thin strip with two full twists in it – this is a neighborhood of the edge of the original strip, and it comprises 1/3 of the width and twice the length of the original strip.

“Other analogous strips can be obtained by similarly joining strips with two or more half-twists in them instead of one. For example, a strip with three half-twists, when divided lengthwise, becomes a strip tied in a trefoil knot. (If this knot is unravelled, the strip is made with eight half-twists in addition to an overhand knot.) A strip with N half-twists, when bisected, becomes a strip with N + 1 full twists. Giving it extra twists and reconnecting the ends produces figures called paradromic rings.”

Vacuum energy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs attention from an expert in Physics. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article. WikiProject Physics (or its Portal) may be able to help recruit an expert.(November 2010)

Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire Universe. One contribution to the vacuum energy may be from virtual particles which are thought to be particle pairs that blink into existence and then annihilate in a timespan too short to observe. They are expected to do this everywhere, throughout the Universe. Their behavior is codified in Heisenberg’s energy–time uncertainty principle. Still, the exact effect of such fleeting bits of energy is difficult to quantify.

The effects of vacuum energy can be experimentally observed in various phenomena such as spontaneous emission, the Casimir effect and the Lamb shift, and are thought to influence the behavior of the Universe on cosmological scales. Using the upper limit of the cosmological constant, the vacuum energy of free space has been estimated to be 10−9 joules (10−2 ergs) per cubic meter.[1] However, in both quantum electrodynamics (QED) and stochastic electrodynamics (SED), consistency with the principle of Lorentz covariance and with the magnitude of the Planck constant requires it to have a much larger value of 10113 joules per cubic meter.[2][3] This huge discrepancy is known as the vacuum catastrophe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle

In 1993, the physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft put forward the holographic principle, which explains that the information about an extra dimension is visible as a curvature in a spacetime with one fewer dimension. For example, holograms are three-dimensional pictures placed on a two-dimensional surface, which gives the image a curvature when the observer moves. Similarly, in general relativity, the fourth dimension is manifested in observable three dimensions as the curvature path of a moving infinitesimal (test) particle. Hooft has speculated that the fifth dimension is really the spacetime fabric.

The physical universe is widely seen to be composed of “matter” and “energy”. In his 2003 article published in Scientific American magazine, Jacob Bekenstein summarized a current trend started by John Archibald Wheeler, which suggests scientists may “regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals.” Bekenstein asks “Could we, as William Blake memorably penned, ‘see a world in a grain of sand,’ or is that idea no more than ‘poetic license,’”[14] referring to the holographic principle.

Unexpected Connection

Bekenstein’s topical overview “A Tale of Two Entropies”[15] describes potentially profound implications of Wheeler’s trend, in part by noting a previously unexpected connection between the world of information theory and classical physics. This connection was first described shortly after the seminal 1948 papers of American applied mathematician Claude E. Shannon introduced today’s most widely used measure of information content, now known as Shannon entropy. As an objective measure of the quantity of information, Shannon entropy has been enormously useful, as the design of all modern communications and data storage devices, from cellular phones to modems to hard disk drives and DVDs, rely on Shannon entropy.

In thermodynamics (the branch of physics dealing with heat), entropy is popularly described as a measure of the “disorder” in a physical system of matter and energy. In 1877 Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann described it more precisely in terms of the number of distinct microscopic states that the particles composing a macroscopic “chunk” of matter could be in while still looking like the same macroscopic “chunk”. As an example, for the air in a room, its thermodynamic entropy would equal the logarithm of the count of all the ways that the individual gas molecules could be distributed in the room, and all the ways they could be moving.

Energy, matter, and information equivalence

Shannon’s efforts to find a way to quantify the information contained in, for example, an e-mail message, led him unexpectedly to a formula with the same form as Boltzmann’s. In an article in the August 2003 issue of Scientific American titled “Information in the Holographic Universe”, Bekenstein summarizes that “Thermodynamic entropy and Shannon entropy are conceptually equivalent: the number of arrangements that are counted by Boltzmann entropy reflects the amount of Shannon information one would need to implement any particular arrangement…” of matter and energy. The only salient difference between the thermodynamic entropy of physics and Shannon’s entropy of information is in the units of measure; the former is expressed in units of energy divided by temperature, the latter in essentially dimensionless “bits” of information, and so the difference is merely a matter of convention.

The holographic principle states that the entropy of ordinary mass (not just black holes) is also proportional to surface area and not volume; that volume itself is illusory and the universe is really a hologram which is isomorphic to the information “inscribed” on the surface of its boundary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-dimensional_space

Vectors Mathematically four-dimensional space is simply a space with four spatial dimensions, that is a space that needs four parameters to specify a point in it. For example, a general point might have position vector a, equal to This can be written in terms of the four standard basis vectors (e1, e2, e3, e4), given by so the general vector a is Vectors add, subtract and scale as in three dimensions. The dot product of Euclidean three-dimensional space generalizes to four dimensions as It can be used to calculate the norm or length of a vector, and calculate or define the angle between two vectors as Minkowski spacetime is four-dimensional space with geometry defined by a nondegenerate pairing different from the dot product: As an example, the distance squared between the points (0,0,0,0) and (1,1,1,0) is 3 in both the Euclidean and Minkowskian 4-spaces, while the distance squared between (0,0,0,0) and (1,1,1,1) is 4 in Euclidean space and 2 in Minkowski space; increasing actually decreases the metric distance. This leads to many of the well known apparent “paradoxes” of relativity. The cross product is not defined in four dimensions. Instead the exterior product is used for some applications, and is defined as follows: This is bivector valued, with bivectors in four dimensions forming a six-dimensional linear space with basis (e12, e13, e14, e23, e24, e34). They can be used to generate rotations in four dimensions.

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How to Write an Award-Winning Novel starring… The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

(image via wikimedia)

Originally posted on Dysfunctional Literacy:

In some ways, it’s better to write an award-winning novel than to be a best-selling author.  You might make more money with a best-seller, but in a few years your book could be forgotten, lost in the ash heap of other replaced best-sellers.  On the other hand, if you win an award like the Pulitzer Prize, your book will be on that list forever.  Even if your Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t read much after a few decades, the title will still be on the list.  As long as there are literary critics, there will be a Pulitzer, and as long as there’s a Pulitzer, your book title and name will be on that list.

Reading a Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t always easy.  In 7th grade I was forced to read The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings.  Yeesh!  Does anybody read The Yearlinganymore?  Back then, I disliked it, and I haven’t gone back to see if I was wrong to dislike it.  In 9th grade we were forced to read To Kill a Mockingbird, but at least nobody hated it.  If kids hated it, they kept it to themselves.  Even then, students knew it was wrong to hate that book.

As an adult, I read The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara because I went through a Civil War phase (without growing a long beard and dressing up in old musty uniforms).  I read The Shipping News because everybody else in my writers group had read it (but I don’t remember a thing about it).  I recently read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

Writing a novel that’s considered for a Pulitzer Prize isn’t easy either.  An author usually has to do more than just tell the story.  An author has to use literary devices that catch readers’ and judges’ attention.  If devices like symbolism and figurative language aren’t enough, authors then have to throw in some literary gimmicks too.  A gimmick is a device that’s easy to do but doesn’t really add anything to the story.

For example, some Pulitzer Prize winning novels (The Road and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) don’t use quotation marks for dialogue.  Maybe leaving out quotation marks makes dialogue more meaningful than dialogue with quotation marks, but I’m not sure.  I’ve always used quotation marks with dialogue.  That’s how I was taught, but I’ve never won a Pulitzer Prize.

The Road also used nameless characters like “the man” and “the boy” (I probably shouldn’t have put them in quotation marks since the book doesn’t use them at all).  Plus, there was a double space between every paragraph, even the one sentence dialogue paragraphs that didn’t have any quotation marks.  I don’t know if The Roadwould have won a Pulitzer if the characters had had names, or if the spaces between paragraphs were normal, or if the author had used quotation marks.  It still probably would have been a good book.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, along with no quotation marks, used several other literary gimmicks.  The novel had really long sentences with lots of Spanish and Dominican slang thrown in too.  The story was told out of order from several different characters’ points-of-view.  Plus, there were lots of nerd culture references.  Even though I’m a fan of nerd culture references, I thought there were way too many nerd culture references in this book.  Even nerd writers for The Big Bang Theory probably think there were too many nerd culture references inTBWLOOW.  I’m not saying you need to use nerd culture references to win a Pulitzer.  You need to pick a topic and drown your novel in references, like Donna Tartt did with the topic of art in The Goldfinch.

But if you want to emulate a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction that uses a ton of literary gimmicks, try  A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

A Visit from the Goon Squad uses six literary gimmicks (that I noticed):

  1. Telling the story out of order.
  2. Switching points of view (3rdto 1st to 3rd…)
  3. Switching tenses in various segments (past to present to past…)
  4. a chapter of only power point/ flow charts (don’t use an e-reader for this book)
  5. lots of stream-of-consciousness
  6. And the worst gimmick ever… 2ndperson present tense!  I call it the worst gimmick ever because I tried using it in a college writing class, got yelled at by my writing instructor for using it, and then two months later Bright Lights, Big Citybecame a bestseller. Now I’m biased against 2nd person present tense.

At any rate, six literary gimmicks is a lot for one book.  There were so many literary gimmicks, I expected the author to resort to the 1st person present tense narration death scene.  I was wrong.  Instead, she used the 2nd person present tense narration death scene.    I hate being wrong.

Having so many literary gimmicks in one novel makes it look (to me) like the author is trying too hard.  My writing instructor might have declared that using all these gimmicks took away from any merits A Visit from the Goon Squad had as a story.  But he probably would have shut up once he realized the novel won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

*****

What do you think?  Is using so many gimmicks good story-telling, or is it trying too hard?  What other literary gimmicks have you noticed in award-winning novels?  How many literary gimmicks should an author be limited to?  What literary gimmicks do you dislike the most?  If you were limited to one literary gimmick, which one would it be?  If you had a choice, would you rather write a bestselling selling novel or a major award winning novel?

Dysfunctional Literacy

(image via wikimedia) (image via wikimedia)

In some ways, it’s better to write an award-winning novel than to be a best-selling author.  You might make more money with a best-seller, but in a few years your book could be forgotten, lost in the ash heap of other replaced best-sellers.  On the other hand, if you win an award like the Pulitzer Prize, your book will be on that list forever.  Even if your Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t read much after a few decades, the title will still be on the list.  As long as there are literary critics, there will be a Pulitzer, and as long as there’s a Pulitzer, your book title and name will be on that list.

Reading a Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t always easy.  In 7th grade I was forced to read The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings.  Yeesh!  Does anybody read The Yearling anymore?  Back then, I disliked…

View original post 860 more words

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

 

 

images

 

 

 

 

This is the House that Jack Built
by Anonymous  (traditional public domain)

This is the house that Jack built!
This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat that killed the rat
That ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the cock that crowed in the morn
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built!

 

A SOLDIER’S STORY

 

 

James_Whitcomb_Riley,_1913,_CincinnatiJames Whitcomb Riley, like Abe Lincoln,  was born in a log cabin. He was born in the heartland of the Indiana farmland near the town of Greenfield eleven years before the American Civil War began.

Poetry was not just an exotic taste in literature in Riley’s day.  It was read by the common men and women of the nation. Poetry offered the reader a form of self-reflection, an expression of  their personal hopes and aspirations. It was printed in of newspapers and read by public speakers.  Poetry served as entertainment for the masses. In Riley’s time, reading poetry was as common as watching television or clicking on Internet websites.  

Riley was known as a humorist and a prankster. One of his pranks may have had the effect of electing William Howard Taft to be President of the United States. President Roosevelt was a friend of Riley’s. A t a famous tea party in Indianapolis, Riley reportedly spiked the punch. The Hoosier Vice President, Charles Warren Fairbanks got tipsy at the party and gained the reputation of being a ‘lush’ during a time of prohibition sentiment. As a result, Fairbanks was passed over as Teddy Roosevelt’s pick for vice president and Taft was picked instead. Taft later succeeded Roosevelt to the Presidency.

Mark Twain ) said James Whitcomb Riley’s “Old Soldier’s Story”  was the funniest story he ever listened to and considered Riley America’s number one humorist.

 

FOR THE ENTIRE DOCUMENTARY, SEE YOU TUBE:

 

 

‘Managing Expectations: Locke on Moral Mediocrity’

Originally posted on Footnotes to plato:

john-locke-portrait

The title for this blog post comes from the name of a lecture I recently attended given by Catherine Wilson as part of the London Lecture Series held by the Royal Institute of Philosophy on the 20th February 2015.

Before I examine and comment on the content of the lecture, I will first include a brief introduction for those not familiar with Locke:

John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17th century.  He is often regarded as the founder of a school of thought known as British Empiricism, and he made foundational contributions to moderntheories of limited, liberal government. He was also influential in the areas of theology, religious toleration, and educational theory. In his most important work, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke set out to offer an analysis of the human mind and its acquisition of knowledge.’ – The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Locke is well known for his argument that at birth, the mind is a blank slate or ‘tabula rasa’. Indeed Locke defied Cartesian philosophy which postulated that we are born with innate ideas and instead argued that we gain knowledge via experience and sense perception.

In a lecture which was both stimulating and challenging, Catherine Wilson described her aims as being firstly ‘ to show how Locke implicitly rejects the Stoic claim that the philosopher is able to unlearn or staunch emotional responses to events in life and the claim that ideals of virtue as such can be a motive to moral conduct. ‘

She developed this by describing the way in which Locke’s moral philosophy strives towards an account of human nature which is both ‘realistic’ and ‘adequate’ and does not depict reason as superior to feeling.

Wilson outlined her second aim as ‘showing how this shift is associated not only with a moral-theological shift from an emphasis on justice and retribution to ‘sympathy’ and mercy but also with Locke’s aim to secure normativity in the face of the materialistic hypothesis’ .

It is also interesting to consider what influence Locke’s experience as a physician had on his moral philosophy. I particularly enjoyed Wilson’s suggestion that perhaps regularly dissecting brains had some impact on his view that matter is the fundamental substance in nature (materialism). He rejected the Cartesian view that there exists a detachable, incorporeal soul – which can think even when independent of the body – arguing instead that we have no evidence for the existence of incorporeal, cogitative substances.

I personally found the most interesting aspect of this lecture the apparent conflict between Locke’s emphasis on the ‘unique correctness of Christian morality’ and his materialist and empiricist outlook. As Wilson put it ‘despite – indeed because of – his suspicion that we are hedonistic machines, he needs the Christian revelation with its carrot-and-stick approach to defining and cultivating virtue’.
This talk was free and available to the public, you can watch all the lectures held as part of this year’s ‘History of Philosophy’ series here:

http://royalinstitutephilosophy.org/publications/video/philosophical-traditions/

Footnotes to plato

The title for this blog post comes from the name of a lecture I recently attended given by Catherine Wilson as part of the London Lecture Series held by the Royal Institute of Philosophy on the 20th February 2015.

Before I examine and comment on the content of the lecture, I will first include a brief introduction for those not familiar with Locke:

John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17th century.  He is often regarded as the founder of a school of thought known as British Empiricism, and he made foundational contributions to modern theories of limited, liberal government. He was also influential in the areas of theology, religious toleration, and educational theory. In his most important work, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke set out to offer an analysis of the human mind and its acquisition of knowledge.’ –…

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The birds keep singing

whoknowswhenwhat

What do you do when
The world has lost its charm
But hasn’t shown you its secrets yet?

What do you do when
All food has lost its flavor,
And the spices have lost their zest?
When the thought of the future just doesn’t move you anymore?
And when the satisfaction
Of a day well-lived,
Is just so seldom experienced?

What do you do when the movies seem less real?
And the laughter and tears feel less rich?
When the calmness feels less nourishing,
And the passions feel like they are wiped over
With grey paint?

If you came to this poem
Hoping you’d find an answer,
You better go knocking
On some other
Poor woman’s door.

The birds outside my dirty window keep singing
“Hold tight,”
“Hold tight,”
“The dream will change,”
“The dream will change.”

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THE ESSENCE OF BULLSHIT

by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2015

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The results of the polls have come in. We asked which play by Shakespeare was their personal favorite out of:
1) Mephistopheles
2) The Runyon, or
3) The Beggars of Serendip

The overwhelming favorite was Mephistopheles.

Why? It sounds like a Shakespearean title. Never mind that Shakespeare never wrote any of the above.

This is the essence of bullshit. People want others to think they know what they are talking about.

Bullshit (also known as bullcrap and horseshit) is a common slang term meaning nonsense. It is always misleading, false, or disingenuous. The English sometimes call it bullocks.

Bullshit does not have to be completely false. It is often used by notable politicians to convince the public of a point which the politicians themselves know very little about. When an outright lie is inappropriate, bullshit serves to save face and makes the speaker appear to be knowledgeable.

We know the origin of bullshit. It is developed in the intestinal tract of a male bovine. The earliest mention of the slang term was in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary just after the turn of the 20th century.

T.S. Eliot wrote a poem between 1910 and 1916 called “The Triumph of Bullshit,” however the word “bullshit” does not appear in the text of the poem. Eliot never published the poem. It was not published until 1997. [Eliot, T. S. Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 (Harcourt, 1997) ISBN 0-15-100274-6.]

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

This scientific principle was formulated January 2013 by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer. The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle (also known as Brandolini’s Law states that “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” Brandolini, Alberto. “Bullshit Asymmetry https://twitter.com/. Retrieved 1 March 2015.Retrieved 1 March 2015.

Society, in genera,  is overwhelmed with a vast abundance of bullshit. It is hardly possible to step into the street these days without running into vast gobs of it. It is printed on billboards and signs. It has infiltrated our media, influenced our artists, and completely overwhelmed our philosophical thoughts.

The poet wrote:
“The harvesting of dreams
Born in the fields of endeavor
Is like two fish that swim upriver
Against the tides of solitary imagination.
In the portals of time, you will find
Regulations take no prisoners,
Heal no illness and reap no consequence.”

This is all total bullshit. It is far too inherent in much modern poetry.

Harry Frankfurt’s Concept of Bullshit

In his essay On Bullshit (originally written in 1986), philosopher Harry Frankfurt tells us that bullshit is different from an outright lie. The liar, he says, knows about the truth, perhaps even cares about the truth, but deliberately misleads us. However, bullshit itself does not give a whit about the truth. It only seeks to impress us.

In order to lie, Frankfort says, a person must know the truth and falsify it. On the other hand, bullshitters cherry pick reality and make up facts that suit their purposes.
The anti-science attitudes in modern society is a great breeding ground for total bullshit. With the advent of instant communication, people are expected to have opinions on almost everything when most people do not know their posterior from a pothole.

Gerald Cohen wrote an article called “Deeper into Bullshit.” In this work he contrasted the kind of bullshit Frankfurt talked about with nonsense discourse that is disguised as being perfectly sensible. Bullshit can be produced either accidentally or deliberately, Cohen writes. While some deliberately produce bullshit, others can also attempt to relate the truth, but produce nonsense by mistake.

A person deceived by bullshit often repeats it without the intention of deceiving others. The results of this are often seen in political platforms and broadcast by the media round the clock.

In our glorious past, not so long ago, bullshit was spread upon the fields to fertilize and nourish the next generation of crops. With the demise of the agricultural society, we have transformed this useful product into something that now only fails to nourish, but actually maims our world.

This is the primary reason we have so much crap in today’s culture.