Cosmos Café: Time, Space, & The Hebrew Alphabet [01/09]

(Ed Mahood) #21

If what I had to present was in any way helpful at all, then it was worth the time putting it together. As I’ve been interacting with the Meru material since 1986, my experience has shown that words alone cannot begin to convey the richness of what Stan is discovering. There are, however, so many pictures and graphics that it is difficult to decide which might be most helpful. If you have the time and patience, the Meru website is packed with them, along with some animations that help make some of the ideas more accessible.

We all have lives and those lives make demands that must be met. That’s just how it goes. Fortunately, we have developed technologies (like texts and books and films and forums) that allow us to continue conversations that would otherwise simply have broken off. I can give you a brief summary, but you will also be able to review in more detail what we talked about once Marco posts the session video. He’s very good at doing that in a timely manner, too.

To put it in my own words, Marco’s exceedingly welcome skeptical speech culminated in what may be the most profound and insightful question we can ask (and again, these are my words, not his): So what? When all is said and done – though much more needs to be done and is being done, and will continue to be done – what is it all good for? Corollary questions include, “Do I have to become a math genius to get what’s going on?” This was enhanced by John sharing some information on a book he’s come across from a woman who gained some high-level math abilities after some trauma and which she was exploring with Louis Kauffman, one of the leading knot theorists (and who oddly enough is, I believe, also on the board of directors of the Meru foundation … small world). These two seemingly disparate items provided, however, the theme of our wrap-up chat, namely experience.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Flatland, but if you haven’t, it’s worth the time (it’s a novella, not a tome, and it’s available online, of course), but even if you have, it’s worth revisiting for it deals with the very fundamental issue of how a higher-dimensional being might try to communicate with lower-dimensional ones. One way would be to provide some tool (perhaps a text that explains how) to lead them to having a higher-dimensional experience. The key is, I believe, is that one must experience it.

Vicarious experience, that experience we get from reading or someone telling us something, is a form of experience, no doubt, and it is unique and profound in that we humans are the only self-aware creatures – as far as we know – who have it. Nevertheless, it is the weakest of all experience types, at least to my way of thinking. I can tell you all about planing and sanding wood till its velvety to the touch, for example, and you can certainly get the idea, but nothing surpasses getting a piece of wood and planing and sanding it till it is velvety to the touch. It’s the step from “ah” to “ah-ha!”

What I also find so impressive about Stan’s work is the linking development of the gestures for expressing the text. Humans are the only self-aware creatures on this planet, at least, who point. We “know” about it and how it works at an extremely early age. It is essential to our human development. (Raymond Tallis explores the phenomena in a very entertaining and insightful little book entitled Michaelangelo’s Finger which you also might find worth a read some time.) We point with our hands, to be sure, but we also point with language in general, but the physical act of positioning your hands, arms, or whole body (the text could be danced as well), as John is wont to say, embodies the experience. It’s not just a stream of sounds coming into your ear, it is – much like Tai Chi exercises (which I believe are about the same thing) – a more (w)holistic mode of experiencing something very specific.

Finally, we also came back around to Arthur Young to his assertion that the photon is toroidal, as are we, as is the universe … the interconnection among us at all levels of manifestation … and how even very abstract notions in physics – such as the 1/2 spin of subatomic particles – can be found even unexpectedly elsewhere in our human activities. The movements of the dancer’s hands in the Philippine wine dance, for example outline this (also known as the Dirac string trick): 1/2 half the “knot” defines 1/2 the surface of the 2-torus.

One thing is clear about Stan’s work: there is a high level of intelligence present in the text of Genesis. He and colleagues have done similar research into other, non-sacred texts, and you don’t find this kind of internal coherency and consistency, and certainly not at the letter level. The consequences of the notion that the “letters” may in fact – as tradition maintains – the literal building blocks of creation are very far-reaching, and, by their very nature, exceedingly difficult for, say, more materialistically minded individuals to accept. By the same token, the universality of his findings is, of course, exceedingly difficult for those religionists who assert the exclusivity of their own belief system to accept. There are lots of folks who have a vested interest in rejecting this work. I think that’s a shame, for it seems to be that we have some sound, well-documented, evidence-based ideas here that show that science and religion have a lot more in common than we have come to believe since Descartes rendered them assunder, but more importantly, a wide range of cultural and religious are all dealing with a reality that goes much deeper than their superficial commonality that it’s nice to be nice to others.

I have been encouraged by the Meru work for it also shows us that our forebears may have “known” and been aware of such things without necessarily “knowing” any of the rather abstract, esoteric mathematics involved. The math path is one way to get there, I am sure, but it is not the only way. What is more, if evidence of these very basic, fundamental principles can be found in everyday activities (such as folk dancing) as well as in sacred or religious-based activities, then I have hope (which I know is a very non-curmudgeony notion) that even “the least among us” can “get it”. And whatever that “it” might be, it might be well worth getting.

OK, this was longer than the “brief” you asked for … but if you eliminate all my editorializing, it’s not so bad.

(john davis) #22

Thanks again, Ed, for the materials you have brought to our attention. This is a treasure trove! And I’m very glad you could walk us through this model with such care and devotion. There are some breathtaking possibilities for future research projects.

I look forward to studying your presentation and following up the links you have shared. I have also posted a link to the person I described in our conversation. She had a NDE and recalled viewing, what she calls a pattern, and she has co-edited a text with Lou Kauffman. She has an interesting story.

For those, like myself, who are mathematically challenged, Kauffman has some lovely visuals, that bring to life some of the themes that have been developing.

What I am most drawn to is this- how can we shift from trauma and transcendence to a culture of transcendence without trauma?

It seems we could make use of efficient forms of trance states, using Clean Language, and other methods, to invite and distribute mutual learning events, more evenly through out the population. Near Death Experiences are not required. There are other ways to access alternate ways of knowing, without such violence.

This is already happening to some extent, but we have yet to become transparent to these processes. We have only just begun to juxtapose there various maps and models, and sense into the cracks, the liminal zones,to touch the hidden and obscure.

We are observers, but we are not objective observers…


(Ed Mahood) #23

This is particularly good to know … though, based on my experience with everyone I’ve ever met who has gone through one, there are infinitely many other experiences that are far worse.

I followed the link you shared in the Post-session references and reading section to get an idea of what the nice lady has to offer. The visuals that are on her specific and other related sites are quite impressive. I particularly like how she is integrating not only visuals but also sound into the mix. I think the multi-modality of work like hers and Meru’s makes for much greater accessibility than heavy tomes of heavy words.

Of course, the older I get the more mathematically challenged I feel I’m becoming. Having been in AP science (but loathe to pursue all that messy experimentation stuff, I originally registered as a math education major but switched to secondary English education in my first semester. I don’t know why; it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’ve always had something of a longing for a better grasp of math and all that spins off of it. I considered seriously pursuing a BSc as recently as a decade ago but got sidetracked as usual. I do try to spend a few hours a week on the Khan Academy trying to refresh heavily dusty skills. I also think it is criminal how poorly math is presented in school: they are literally driving students into wild flight where there is so much to be gained through a better understanding of the breathtaking beauty lying beneath what appears to be an ugly surface. I’m grateful for the Frenkels and the Dennises and the Tenens of this world who are helping bring some of that to the surface.

There is a very obscure (and not very well written, but still interesting) novel by Eugene Whitworth called The Nine Faces of Christ. It’s about a young Jewish boy who decides to become a teacher (and – spoiler alert – he eventually becomes a whole lot more), and part of his training requires him to spend a couple of years working on a ship. For a large part of this time, he is taught and has to spend an inordinate amount of time tying knots. Could it be that ever in such a mundane activity there is deep meditational potential. I didn’t think so (I merely found it interesting) when I first read it, but I can’t tell you how often in the last few years that I find myself thinking about that part of the story again. It’s weird what occupies our minds sometimes.

(john davis) #24

and mudra and archetypal gestures…

(Marco V Morelli) #25

@achronon, Thank you! The audio and video are now up. I must admit my mind feels boggled by the information you have presented us. It would be easy to dismiss it as some kind of sleight of hand that I just can’t call out because I don’t have the chops to do the math myself; which makes me feel I should just shore up my learning. In fact, I took up to Calc 3 in college, and there was even a moment when I thought I might major in it. My path changed when I discovered philosophy proper. Alas, the years have taken their toll on whatever meager skill I once had.

But I’m with Doug: this material really becomes interesting in the embodiment—in the exquisite shape of the Hebrew letters, as well as in the curiously recursive shapes and patterns derived from the numerology. The Phillipine wine dance is really something! And, though perhaps not Biblically based, I could probably watch Julie Yau’s hands all day.

(Ed Mahood) #26

It is often said, “All roads lead to Rome”, which was no doubt true in its Empire days, but I’m even more convinced that all spiritual paths lead up the same metaphorical mountain.

While the source in the cases of Genesis is most accessible to me, due to my own upbringing, cultural background, and personal proclivities and choices, what strikes me most about the Meru work is the clear statement of universality. The patterns, principles, and results derive from the same ultimate source, regardless of how it is conceived in any cultural or personal mind. What is more, it directs our attention to the fact (and I think that is precisely the right word in this context) that information (when pursued most fundamentally) leads to knowledge, but the further pursuit of that knowledge can also lead to wisdom. The reductionism that I too often sense in our AI-idolaters rarely gets past the bits and bytes themselves.

Much like Gebser, the Meru results provide us with a frame of reference, a way of talking about (here, in terms of tori and knots and such) gestures, gesturing, human interaction, and more. From Lynnclaire Dennis’ mereon knot and follow-on projects to the Philippine wine dance (cultural anthropology?) have much, much more in common – at a very deep level – than we have previously assumed. I see this too as a step toward integrality, as Gebser described it, a unavoidable move toward transdiciplinarity that is long overdue.

(douglas duff) #27

As we are to revisit the topic next week, most likely, can you provide those of us without book in hand some material you’d see most relevant to the conversation that may arise?

(Ed Mahood) #28

But of course, kind sir. The only criterion is that I know what I am (going to be) talking about.

I wanted to set up a page for our talk today, but (a) as I have a talk for another group that needs to be written, and (b) I got sucked into producing some (different kind of) fiction here today, I’m a bit behind schedule, as usual.

Truth be told, I really like to wait until the last minute for most things, for they they only take a minute to do. It’s an achronal way of saving time.

I will do so later (say in a couple of hours) so that there is a place to put whatever you (or anyone else) may like to suggest. Marco made a suggestion last night; John said he had some questions. We need a placeholder to collect these and then I can sort whatever it is I need to do.

But, if at all possible, documentation from my side will be provided, if possible.