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. –
The very words belief and trust always make me prick up my ears ... but a belief system which can believe in itself?
A ‘self-believing belief system’ is how I would describe a religion.
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.
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’.
By beyond computation he means unable to be computed, calculated, reckoned, worked out, demonstrated, or made sense of.
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 ...
Is not he saying that one needs to believe in the existence of these abstract ideas in order to understand them?
He curiously makes no mention of mystics’ robes but obviously his philosopher’s hat is steeped in mysticism
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.
You will remember, Sir Roger said –
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 –
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 Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.