Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter

Sir Roger Penrose

RESPONDENT to Vineeto: Have your read books written by fellow English man, I thought you were English, Roger Penrose. He is a mathematician interested in consciousness. He came to give a talk here and said he was not giving a ‘religious’ account of consciousness. I know two of his books: Emperor’s New Mind, and Shadows of the Mind.

These books may be 10 and ~4 years old by now so do not have all the recent research results. I picked them up about 3 year ago, but then ran into Osho and never finished reading these books. I just started reading Emperor’s New Mind again. I think you may like them if you have not read them already. I always wanted to know if Osho had read the older one but never knew who to ask.

PETER: Just thought I’d put my ‘two bob in’ about theoretical scientists, given you have raised the issue, and offered one up for discussion. When I met Richard and the radical discovery that everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong, I decided to find out for myself if what he was saying was factually correct. With a new possible view-point in mind, I set off on a skim-through of sociology, psychiatry, physiology, behavioural studies, biology, cosmology, quantum physics, history, anthropology, philosophy, religion and spirituality. It was an eye-opener to find scant regard to instinctual influences in human studies, to find nothing but a fairy tale of God in the revered spirituality, to discover mind-numbing imagination in the theoretical sciences, and nought but mind-fucking in philosophy. To see that everybody pre-ordains that ‘you can’t change Human Nature’ – the mutually agreed scenario being ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die, so make the best of it and/or believe in a God and you will get your reward in Heaven’.

What was amazing to discover was the all-pervasive spiritual concepts in theoretical studies of physics, mathematics, cosmology. They are veritable hot-beds of spiritual fantasy – searches for other worlds, other realms, dimensions and energies. The search for the Beginning, the search for the End and the search for the Meaning behind it all – the Grand Unified Theory or GUT.

For GUT ... read GOD, and you know for what they search. For the mathematician the search is for the Elegant solution, for the philosopher the search is for Truth. Vineeto and I coined the term GUF for what the spiritualist seek – Grand Universal Feeling.

I dug out a bit from Sir Woger from the Net – the quotes are from Psyche magazine and are Mr. Penrose’s defence of critiques of his book Shadows of the Mind.

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘The whole point of the procedures of mathematical proof is that they instil belief. <snip> This notwithstanding, Chalmers and McCullough argue for an inconsistency of the very notion of a ‘belief system’ (which, as I have pointed out above, simply means a system of procedures for mathematical proof) which can believe in itself (which means that mathematicians actually trust their proof procedures).’... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

The very words belief and trust always make me prick up my ears ... but a belief system which can believe in itself?

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘Likewise, a self-believing belief system cannot consistently operate if it is allowed to apply itself to unrestricted mathematical systems.’ ... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

A ‘self-believing belief system’ is how I would describe a religion.

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘My reason for presenting this bit of personal history is that I wanted to demonstrate that even the ‘weak’ form of the G’del argument was already strong enough to turn at least one strong-AI supporter away from computationalism. It was not a question of looking for support for a previously held ‘mystical’ standpoint. (You could not have asked for a more rationalistic atheistic anti-mystic than myself at that time!) But the very force of G’del’s logic was sufficient to turn me from the computational standpoint with regard not only to human mentality, but also to the very workings of the physical universe.’... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

Yep, when I ‘found’ Rajneesh – you could not have asked for a more rationalistic atheistic anti-mystic than myself at that time! It seems some people get Religion and mathematicians get G’del.

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘I have stressed in many places in Shadows that the main arguments of that book (certainly those in Chapter 2) are concerned with what mathematicians are able to perceive in principle, by their methods of mathematical proof – and that these methods need not be necessarily constrained to operate within the confines of some preassigned formal system.’... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

In the East it is passionate feelings that run riot; in Western academia, theoretical science and mathematics, theories and principles run riot, not ‘constrained’ by ‘some preassigned formal system’.

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘The position that I have been strongly arguing for is that this ideal notion of human mathematical understanding is something beyond computation.’... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

By beyond computation he means unable to be computed, calculated, reckoned, worked out, demonstrated, or made sense of.

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘Of course, individual mathematicians may well not accord at all closely with this ideal. Even the mathematical community as a whole may significantly fall short of it. We must ask whether it is conceivable that this mathematical community, or its individual members, could be entirely computational entities even though the ideal for which they strive is beyond computation. Put in this way, it may perhaps seem not unreasonable that this could be the case. However, there remains the problem of what the human mathematicians are indeed doing when they seem able to ‘strive for’, and thereby approximate, this non-computational ideal. It is the abstract idea underlying a line of proof that they seem able to perceive. They then try to express these abstract notions in terms of symbols that can be written on a page. But the particular collections of symbols that ultimately appear on the pages of their notes and articles are far less important than are the ideas themselves. Often the particular symbols used are quite arbitrary. With time, both the ideas and the symbols describing them may become refined and sometimes corrected. It may not always be very easy to reconstruct the ideas from the symbols, but it is the ideas that the mathematicians are really concerned with. These are the basic ingredients that they employ in their search for idealized mathematical proofs.’ ... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

Abstract ideas and notions expressed in terms of symbols are the concern of mathematicians – in other words, imagination. Contemplate upon an abstract notion and away you go ...

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘I think that a few remarks in relation to my attitude to mathematical Platonism are appropriate at this stage. Indeed, certain aspects of my discussion of errors, as given in Section 6 above, might seem to some to be inappropriately ‘Platonistic’, as they refer to idealized mathematical arguments as though they have some kind of existence independently of the thoughts of any particular mathematician. However, it is difficult to see how to discuss abstract concepts in any other way. Mathematical proofs are concerned with abstract ideas – ideas which can be conveyed from one person to another, and which are not specific to any one individual. All that I require is that it should make sense to speak of such ‘ideas’ as real things (though not in themselves material things), independent of any particular concrete realization that some individual might happen to find convenient for them. This need not presuppose any very strong commitment to a ‘Platonistic’ type of philosophy’ ...R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

Is not he saying that one needs to believe in the existence of these abstract ideas in order to understand them?

[Roger Penrose]: ...’I wear my scientist’s hat much more frequently than my philosopher’s hat! But sometimes I try to wear both hats at once.’ ... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

He curiously makes no mention of mystics’ robes but obviously his philosopher’s hat is steeped in mysticism

[Roger Penrose]: ... ‘It appears that some people, on reading the section entitled ‘Contact with Plato’s world’ in Chapter 10 of The Emperor’s New Mind, have picked up the curious view that I believe that mathematicians obtain their mathematical knowledge by use of some direct mystical quality not possessed by ordinary mortals (see Grush and Churchland 1995, for example), and even that I may be claiming for myself a particularly unique such quality! This is a complete misreading of what I had intended in that section; for I was simply trying to find some explanation of the fact that different mathematicians can communicate a mathematical truth from one to another even though their modes of thinking may be totally dissimilar. I was arguing merely that the mathematical truths that each mathematicians may be groping for are ‘external’ to each of them – these truths being ‘inhabitants of Plato’s timeless world’. I was certainly not arguing for a fundamentally particular quality of ‘direct Platonic contact’ to be possessed only by certain individuals. I was referring simply to the general qualities of ‘understanding’ (or ‘insight’) which are in principle available to all thinking individuals (though they may perhaps come somewhat more easily to some individuals than to others). These qualities are not mystical – but as G’del’s theorem shows, there is indeed something rather mysterious about them.’ ... R. Penrose, Psyche magazine

A ‘communication’ of the ‘truth’ from ‘one to the other’ via ‘insight’ ... sounds awfully familiar language to me.

Well, not a lot about his book, but it is obvious where he is coming from – ‘pure’ mathematics, philosophy and mysticism. From a reading of the critiques of his fellow mathematicians they hadn’t much of a clue what he was on about, and from Sir Woger’s comments, they weren’t expected to. They were meant to believe, ‘understand’ and receive a ‘communication’ of a mathematical ‘truth’. I don’t think Mr. Penrose has anything at all sensible to say about consciousness , given his state of awareness of anything that is actual. Methinks he has spent too long in his ivory tower.

Mysticism and spiritualism are an attempt to ‘feel’ your way to God, philosophy and theoretical science are an attempt to ‘think’ your way to God. For an actualist – awareness and pure intent lead to apperception – a bare awareness whereby one figuratively and literally ‘comes to one’s senses’. With apperception operating almost exclusively an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition is the inevitable result.

PETER: Good to see you hanging in there with Actual Freedom. These investigations and discussions into the myths of Religions and the theories of science can literally shake the very ground you – and Humanity – stand on. For aeons the Sacred has been held as inviolate and the ‘upper’ echelons of philosophical and scientific theory as meaningful explorations. When one begins to understand that it is all a search for a somewhere else, a someplace else or a something else apart from the physical universe, then one understands that the ‘scientific’ beliefs, concepts and theories are all nothing more or less than a search for God. ‘Anywhere but here and any place but now’ is how Richard puts it.

RESPONDENT: Obviously you have read and thought over this subject lot more than I have. I have not finished reading the book. So I can’t say much about it. However, I did not say, suggest or imply that Roger Penrose was giving a prescription to eliminate Human Condition and/or obtain Freedom.

PETER: I have really only done a ‘skim’ over science and philosophy in order to see where it is they are coming from. In terms of the Human Condition there is a set-in-concrete belief that ‘you can’t change Human Nature’, and that is understandable from their point of view. The Human Condition is, after all, ‘the way it is and the way it has always been’ for human beings and no-one up until now has found an actual freedom from its instinctual clutches. As such, any investigations to date have been a study of what exists, a re-vamp of old ancient ‘solutions’ that have failed or an ‘escape’ into denial or fantasy.

RESPONDENT: From the little I read and the talk several years ago, I got the impression that he might have done a good job in researching on physics and biology of mind and trying to answer the question how mind works.

PETER: From what I read and from his own words that I pasted he is re-interpreting the research in physics and biology into a philosophical- mathematical theory of consciousness that is metaphysical in nature. We tend to think of metaphysics as the domain of the mystics and shamans but modern cosmology, quantum physics, mathematics and the like are mostly concerned with metaphysics.

metaphysical –– 1 a Of, belonging to, or of the nature of metaphysics; such as is recognized by metaphysics. b Excessively subtle or abstract. c Not empirically verifiable. 2 Immaterial, incorporeal, supersensible; supernatural. Oxford Dictionary

You will remember, Sir Roger said –

‘The position that I have been strongly arguing for is that this ideal notion of human mathematical understanding is something beyond computation’... R Penrose, Psyche Magazine

By ‘beyond computation’ he means unable to be computed, calculated, reckoned, worked out, demonstrated, or made sense of. Or to use Mr. Oxford’s words – not empirically verifiable.

RESPONDENT: For my taste, explaining of physics and biology of mind is an important task in itself even if its importance may pale in comparison to the task of achieving Actual Freedom.

PETER: Yes indeed. The modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics, with regard to the human brain and how it functions, have revealed two very fascinating aspects –

  1. That the brain is programmable in the same way a computer is programmable. The program is formed by physical connections or pathways between neurons, and this program is mostly formed after birth. These pathways (synapse) are also capable of being changed at any time. The old connection simply ‘dies’ for lack of use and a new one is formed.
  2. That the human brain is also pre-programmed, via a genetic code, with a set of base or instinctual operating functions, located in the primitive brain system which causes automatic thoughtless passionate reactions, primarily those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, to be transmitted via chemical messages to various parts of the body including the neo-cortex. Physiological alterations that could eliminate this crude programming, as a biological adaptation to changed circumstances, are well documented within the animal species.
  • The first discovery accords with the practical experience of being able to radically change one’s social identity – the program instilled since birth that consists of the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that make up our social identity. It stands to reason that a psychological identity that is malleable to radical change is also susceptible to total elimination.
  • The second discovery accords with the practical possibility of eliminating one’s very ‘being’ – the emotive source of the instinctual survival passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. This blind and senseless survival program is now well and truly redundant for many human beings and can now be safely deleted, for the human species has not only survived … it is now beginning to flourish. Introduction to Actual Freedom, Actual Freedom 1

RESPONDENT: On the other hand, achieving Actual Freedom being as important (since I can’t think of a better word right now, I will go with important) as it is, does not answer, I think, the questions about mechanisms involved in ‘one is this very actual universe experiencing itself in all its magnificence as a sensate and reflective human being.’ Or does it? Or does it become a moot question to ask?

PETER: What the practical, down-to-earth scientists are indicating is that the mechanism involved in achieving an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition is all of this very actual, earthly, physical universe, is located in the human brain and capable of being tampered with. What actualists are busy pursuing is an active ‘self’-immolation to the point of a mutation or a physical disconnection from the instinctual primitive brain areas. These are all factually scientifically substantiated activities – nothing esoteric or other-worldly – no intervention of a mythical Higher Force or Greater Intelligence required.

But what an extraordinary set-up, what a magical evolutionary device. This physical universe is indeed actual as in not merely passive, and evolutionary change is the most startling evidence of this fact. That consciousness and intelligence evolve from physical matter, and are ever evolving – albeit in 40,000 years or so jumps. And for a conscious, sensate, reflective human being, what an incredible voyage and adventure to be involved in! The cutting edge ...

As No 3 would say ‘Thank goodness not Godness for that’.

When the human flesh and blood body is free of the psychological and psychic entity then ‘one is this very actual universe experiencing itself in all its magnificence as a sensate and reflective human being.’ And what an extraordinary adventure.

Peter’s Selected Correspondence Index

Library – Spiritual Scientists

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