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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Space Time Oddities

Since late September 2017, the new Star Trek: Discovery series airs on Netflix with a current rating of 7.3 in IMDb. It has a few technical novelties, like a spore drive rather than a Warp drive. It also assumes the existence of a Mycelium network, connecting spores. It's a smart way of solving the scientific mysteries of missing dark matter and antimatter in the Universe.

Most science-fiction movies/series play with the Time dimension of SpaceTime. Star Trek only uses its Space dimension, by travelling faster than light (ie, warp drive/speed) or travelling with unlimited speed (ie, spore drive) through Space. Without being able to travel faster than light, space travel beyond the Milky Way Galaxy is probably an illusion in an ever-expanding Universe. Please see this space travel video and the future Andromeda–Milky Way collision (Milkdromeda).

Without SpaceTime travel, the arrow of time and Space and Time has only one (1) direction: see top-right quadrant.

Star Trek Discovery is still in "our" quadrant and uses a Mycelium network for travelling immense distances while still going forward in Time.

Travelling back in Time is in the bottom left and right quadrants. The right quadrant assumes little to no impact to the Space dimension. Example: the Back to the Future trilogy (IMDb).

The left quadrant does affect the Space dimension. Example: the 2014 movie Interstellar (IMDb, my blog) which uses a wormhole for travelling immense distances while going back in time and also addresses the grandfather paradox.

I'm not entirely sure if my arrow in the black hole example in the top-left quadrant is accurate. However, the survival chances (Time) seem slim (eg, Gravity, 2013, IMDb). Please also see this Futurism video: "Here’s How Time Becomes Space Inside a Black Hole".

Early October 2017, scientists "found half of the missing matter in our Universe". Futurism: "The two teams [of astronomers at the Institute of Space Astrophysics (arXiv:1709.05024) and the University of Edinburgh (arXiv:1709.10378v2)] confirmed that the missing ordinary matter in the universe can be found in the form of filaments of hot, diffuse gas linking galaxies together". The word filament suggests a visual resemblance with the Mycelium network.

“The arrow of time obscures memory of both past and future circumstance with innumerable fallacies, the least trivial of which is perception.” Quote from Only the Deplorable by Ashim Shanker.

Space Oddity (1969) by David Bowie - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Here am I floating 
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday in the park

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
Eh cumpari, ci vo sunari
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar (play a song, play a song, play on)
Singing for us all (singing for us)
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders fly the colours of the day
A bronze man still can tell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost, all is not lost
Oh no, no

Forty days in the park
And every day's the Fourth of July 
Forty days in the park
Every day's the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all (waiting for us all)
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For the day
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Saturday In The Park (1972) by Chicago - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Friday, 20 October 2017

Feel the need in me

Recently, I noticed a 2017 Big Think article mentioning an unpublished 1966 update by Abraham Maslow to his famous Hierarchy of basic human needs. Maslow's pyramid was part of a paper called "A Theory on Human Motivation", which was originally published in the magazine Psychological Review in 1943.

The (unpublished) 1966 update adds 3 layers. "Maslow later divided the top of the triangle to add self-transcendence which is also sometimes referred to as spiritual needs. Spiritual Needs are a little different from other needs, accessible from many level. This need when fulfilled, leads to feelings of integrity and take things to another level of being." (source)

In my first (2016) blog on Needs, Wants & Beliefs, I did notice that the 1st layer of physiological needs of Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs reconciles to my first layer of Needs. I failed to realise that Maslow's 2nd, 3rd, and 4th layer reconcile to my second layer of Wants, and that the 5th Maslow layer (self-actualisation) is nothing else than a (eg, philosophical, religious) Belief.

In any language or territory, only food, rest, shelter, sex, warmth and water are considered basic human (a.k.a. physiological) needs. Anything beyond that must be a Want, or - perhaps - a Belief. The (unpublished) 1966 update, and its introduction of self-transcendence as a new top layer, made me realise that Maslow's use of the word "need" is actually misleading.

Hence, I prepared a diagram reconciling the various - 1943 and 1966 - layers of Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs to my concepts of (i) Needs, Wants & Beliefs and (ii) Awakening.

This reconciliation supports my 22 May 2017 view that Awakening might just be the top layer of my Needs, Wants & Beliefs concept.

My diagram feels complete and does not leave reconciling items.

Apart from the 1st layer, no other Maslow layer qualifies as a basic human need in order to survive. In non-Western terminology (eg, Kenya), most layers qualify as Wants. Self-actualisation is not a Want but a (eg, philosophical) Belief. The 2017 Big Think article describes self-transcendence as a "sense of meaning, purpose". This would indeed fit with an Awakening.

The original 1943 title of Maslow's paper says it all: it's a hierarchy of human motivation.

Feel the Need in me (1972) by Detroit Emeralds - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Old and wise

Today, I wanted to write about intelligence. I have several topics on my list: are we more intelligent than our grandparents? Is intelligence a universal constant? Does intelligence repeat itself in evolutionary history? Another topic is the intelligence of the ctenophore and the octopus. The problem with such blogs is in defining intelligence.

I have written several blogs on awareness and consciousness (ie, conscious, subconscious, unconscious, superconscious). It took me time before I dared to write my blog on The 4 levels of consciousness - an integrated framework. I have also written quite some blogs on beliefs, intelligence, knowledge, and even a few on wisdom. The relationship between these concepts is not always (immediately) clear. Today, I present another diagram differentiating these concepts.

After some reflection, I realised that these concepts have a space & time component.

Moreover, these concepts have a close relationship with a well-known memory aid or mnemonic: How, What, When, Who, and Why.

It also became clear that experience was missing in the sequence knowledge, beliefs, intelligence and wisdom.

Finally, I noticed the (teaching) cycle between the first (Knowledge) and the last (Wisdom).

My diagram puts Beliefs before Intelligence. My grandparents were in the Needs stage of society. My parents advanced to the Wants stage (eg, consumerism). Today, society seems to be in the Beliefs stage. The next stage is either an Awakening or back to the Needs stage, after a period of disruption, chaos and destruction. See my blogs on Awakening and Needs, Wants & Beliefs.

It still puzzles me if today's society is more intelligent than the previous one(s). Today's society is (potentially) more knowledgeable and has (potentially) more experience. However, the surge in (false) beliefs discredits intelligence. Intelligence requires an understanding of the Why question. Beliefs are not interested in (answering) the Why question.

The time arrow in my diagram suggests that wisdom comes with age. To some extent, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) disagreed in his quote: “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.”

Old and Wise (1982) by Alan Parsons Project - artistslyricsvideoWiki-1Wiki-2

And oh when I'm old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Losing my religion

Love must have been the 1st belief system. Humans are not even unique in this belief as animals also show a similar selfless belief. Religion is probably the 2nd belief system in the history of Homo sapiens. "There's not been a society known to history – or pre-history – that hasn't had some form of religious belief and practice at its heart", according to Nick Spencer, research director at theological think tank Theos (CT).

Humanoid sapiens, the descendant of Homo sapiens, may be the first human species to live without religion. In the recent words of Neil MacGregor: “We are exceptional. It’s important to know that we are different. In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time.” (CH, CT, Guardian, Telegraph)

Neil MacGregor's words focussed on the declining role of religion in western Europe; especially the UK. I would not be surprised if the same trend will take place in the rest of the world within several centuries. There are several explanations for the declining role of religion.

A famous Mahatma Gandhi quote states: "God has no religion". The notion that each religion has its own God is simply absurd. Even atheists would "believe" that there can only be one God, albeit with different names (eg, Allah, God, Yahweh). The quote also shows the vast difference between Faith and Religion (my 2016 blog). Faith might be taking over from Religion. 

The object of worship in Religion has been different over time: from Nature, to animals (eg, bear, calf/cow, lion-man), to polytheism (multiple gods), to monotheism (single god). A universal faith in one Supreme Being seems a logical next step. Also see my 2016 blog The origin of beliefs. The new BBC Radio 4 series Living With the Gods, presented by Neil MacGregor, is about the long human history of religious artifacts.

The separation between Church and State is relatively new. Historically, there was no separation: "Many societies in antiquity had imperial cults where heads of state were worshiped as messiahs, demigods or deities" (Wiki). The Sumerian invention of money (c. 3,000 BC) may have been the root cause for the growing divergence between Politics and Religion. 

Wiki: the "unresolved contradiction in ultimate control of the Church led to power struggles and crises of leadership" in Medieval Europe. In the 16th Century, the German monk, priest and professor of theology, Martin Luther proposed a doctrine of the two kingdoms. Ironically, the religiously inspired separation between Church and State caused a declining role for Religion.

In my concept of the 7 Belief systems, Money, Politics and Religion are in its Power dimension. In this context, Money has sided with Politics in western Europe, and Religion lost. Moreover, Love is in the (1st) Needs stage, while the Power dimension is in the (2nd) Wants stage. The Knowledge dimension is in the current (3rd) Beliefs stage (see my recent blog on Needs, Wants & Beliefs). As a result of both, Religion is losing. 

Losing My Religion (1991) by R.E.M. - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Darkness on the edge of town

Sometimes it's remarkable how blogs shape. Within a couple of days, I noticed several interesting articles on the lack of darkness, the abundance of artificial light, and its impact on the brain (sleeping disorders) and the body (obesity). These topics also relate to the recent Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine for the research into the biological clock of plants, animals, and humans.

On 12 April 2017, NASA scientists released "new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet" (NASA).

The impact of urbanisation (living in cities) and their abundance of artificial light at night is clearly visible. The term "Dark Continent" for Africa, gets a new meaning when looking at NASA's picture to the right.

Kenneth Wright, Professor in Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado (Boulder), used the darkness at night for an experiment. The results: "Filling the day with natural light and the night with true darkness for as little as a weekend can have a profound impact on our circadian rhythm, which may help us fall asleep earlier and potentially deliver other health benefits." 

These other health benefits have been described by dr. Rosa van den Berg of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in her 2017 dissertation: Long-term exposure to light during the night causes irrevocable weight gains due to a disturbance of our biological clock. Previous American research had already suggested a link between artificial light and obesity. (LUMC-2017, Telegraaf-2017, Healthline-2015, Environmental Health Perspectives-2010).

The 2017 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "discovered that the gene encodes a protein known as PER that builds up in the cell during the night before degrading over the course of the day, serving as a type of clock. The circadian rhythm can affect behavior, hormone levels, sleep patterns, body temperature, and metabolism" (Futurism, Guardian, Twitter).

I have little doubt that the relationship between artificial light & sound, biological clock, electronic gadgets (eg, iPads, iPhones), obesity, radio frequency radiation, and sleeping disorders will be a source for many new articles and studies. 

A few days ago, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that "living near a forest seems to have a positive effect on the stress-processing brain areas. Researchers found that city dwellers living close to a forest were more likely to have a healthy brain structure than those with no access to nature near their home." (Medical Xpress, MPG). How many cues do we need?
Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) by Bruce Springsteen

Monday, 16 October 2017

Conceptual framework (4) - drivers of human behaviour

A quote by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428 BC-348 BC) has long been on my list of topics: "Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge." (book)

These 3 sources of human behaviour appear to be similar to the 3 stages in my concept of Needs, Wants & Beliefs (my blogs).

My diagram to the right, also connects these 3 sources and 3 stages to the concept of Body, Mind & Soul (my blogs).

There seems to be a logical (time) direction and/or sequence, which is represented by the cycle of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and chaos (my recent blog).

After some reflection, I realised that this triangle must also have binding elements that prevent it from falling apart. These binding elements are another set of 3: Faith, Hope & Love (my blogs).

I must admit that my diagram is a little gloomy as it seems to represent an endless loop in human behaviour. There is, however, always an exit which I refer to as an/the Awakening (my blogs). The current general level of dissatisfaction and chaos suggests that we are somewhere at the top of the pyramid and that we need to make a choice.

Nowadays, Plato's 3rd source of human behaviour, Knowledge, is turning into Beliefs, which are represented by my concept of the 7 Belief systems and its - again - 3 dimensions: Love (the 7th selfless belief - Emotion / Needs), Power (the selfish 3 beliefs of Money, Politics, Religion - Desire / Wants), and Knowledge (the selfish 3 beliefs of Philosophy, Science, the Truth - Knowledge / Beliefs).

Plato's 2nd source of human behaviour, Desire, includes the Nature versus Nurture debate. British geneticist Adam Rutherford in Nat Geo, 14 October 2017: "There is a genetic basis to human behaviors. But there is also an environmental component. We used to say nature versus nurture. But we might say nature via nurture. [] It’s perfectly possible for two people to have identical genomes and one of them to be schizophrenic and the other one not."

I suppose that part of my writing is directed towards a human Awakening. This may also explain my regular use of a famous Albert Einstein quote: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

A Gentle Awakening (2010) by JD McPherson - artist, FB, lyrics, video, Wiki

The people on the city streets
The farmers on the plains
They're walking in the lucid dream
While the sky is set aflame
They soon will hear a quiet sound
So peaceful and serene
Then they might too may ease into
A gentle awakening