Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Mr. Roger Penrose
RESPONDENT: Richard, have you read Sir Roger Penrose?
RICHARD: What I know of Mr. Roger Penrose’s work is what I have come across in reading other authors when they refer to him and/or quote him in relation to their own work ... or when pursuing ‘Consciousness Studies’ web-sites on the Internet. I have never considered it worth my time to read him as he is not only a self-proclaimed Christian by faith and a Platonist by belief – some of his peers refer to him as a ‘Mentalist’ – and a mathematician by profession ... but mainly because he makes no secret of the fact that he is a relativist. Indeed, near the end of his book ‘Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness’ he states that ‘as a Platonist [he] deeply believes in a world of mathematical forms distinct from both the physical world and the world of our conscious perceptions’ . He is, foremost, a theorist of the ‘quantum physics’ persuasion ... in the 1960s he calculated many of the basic features of theoretical science’s ‘black holes’. In 1969, with Mr. Stephen Hawking, Mr. Roger Penrose mathematically proved (mathematical ‘proof’ does not mean ‘demonstrated empirically’) that all matter within a conjectural ‘black hole’ collapses to a ‘singularity’, a hypothetical geometric point in space where mass is compressed to infinite density and zero volume. Mr. Roger Penrose also developed a method of mapping the regions of Mr. Albert Einstein’s abstract ‘space-time’ surrounding a black hole (the much-publicized conceptual ‘space-time’ is a mathematically-derived four-dimensional continuum comprising three dimensions of space and one of time). Such a map, which is called a ‘Penrose Diagram’, supposedly allows one to visualize the effects of gravitation upon an entity approaching a black hole. Not surprisingly, given that the climate that prevails in the academic halls extends to Government Departments, he was knighted for his services to science in 1994.
(Another example of this kind of recognition is exemplified by that champion of quantum physics, the mathematical physicist Mr. Paul Davies, who was awarded the 1995 ‘Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion’, which carried a monetary award of $1 million, for his efforts to resolve the dichotomy between science and religion. I only mention him here because after initially becoming interested in the theory of quantum fields in curved space-time at the University of Cambridge – focussing much of his research in that area – in the early seventies he joined fellow-physicists Mr. Stephen Hawking and Mr. Roger Penrose who were researching the thermodynamic properties of black holes at the time. He published ‘The Physics of Time’ (1974), the first of more than 20 books directed to either his professional colleagues or the general public. Mr. Paul Davies’ most recent publications were ‘The Matter Myth’, an argument against the idea of a Newtonian clockwork universe; then one of his most influential works, ‘The Mind of God’; followed by ‘About Time: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution’ and ‘Are We Alone?’).
There is an abundance of ‘Consciousness Studies’ papers published on the Internet. The following URL is a handy starting-place: http://ling.ucsc.edu/~chalmers/mind.html
RESPONDENT: He is a mathematician interested in consciousness.
RICHARD: Yes, he reasons that consciousness is more than computation, using the famous theorem posed by the Czech-born logician Mr. Kurt Godel in 1930, which proves that ‘no formal system of sound mathematical rules of proof can ever suffice, even in principle, to establish all the true propositions of ordinary arithmetic.’ Mr. Roger Penrose suggests that similarly, ‘human intuition and insight cannot be reduced to any set of rules’ meaning that the mind and the computer are essentially different.
Mr. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote, in the ‘New York Times’ on October 31, 1994:
Yea verily, talk about astounding science indeed ... I have found absolutely zilch that suggests that he is even remotely interested in ridding himself of malice and sorrow or becoming free of the human condition. If he addresses the problem of the pernicious effects of the enduring feeling of ‘self’ I am yet to come across it. When I do, I may very well start reading him.
RESPONDENT: 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’; ‘Shadows of the Mind’.
RICHARD: Hmm ... when someone says that they are not ‘religious’ , or that they are not talking about ‘religion’ when they use the word ‘God’, one has to understand what they mean. Mr. Mohan ‘Rajneesh’ Jain, for example, oft-times claimed not to be ‘religious’ ... yet he is on record as saying ‘I am God – you are all gods’ . I have spoken, personally and on Mailing Lists, with self-avowed atheists ... who quote Mr. Gotama the Sakyan and Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene at me! When questioned they say that they do not believe in ‘the god of the church, temple, synagogue’ and so on ... but that there is an ‘Intelligence’ or a ‘Ground of Being’ or a ‘Universal Mind’ or something similar, that lies beyond the temporal and spatial realm and which is primary and real. Mr. Roger Penrose, being a Platonist, would of course say that he is ‘not giving a ‘religious’ account of consciousness’ ... he is beyond the ‘popular’ religious belief so beloved by the plebeians.
Mr. Plato, and virtually all Western Philosophers since his time, have embraced ‘Beauty’ as the only way to ‘The Truth’ (which is their nom de guerre for ‘God’). For a mathematician and a logician, beauty takes the form of ‘elegance’ and ‘symmetry’ ... which are two words that crop up a lot in their writings. They are enamoured of mathematics because of its ‘elegantly structured form’ and its ability for prediction ... and for its abstract qualities that transcend the physical. A philosopher, in the Western tradition, cannot properly be said to be a philosopher unless he/she is a mathematician as well. Hence Mr. Roger Penrose’s insistence on Mr. Kurt Godel’s theorem being the basis of both his book’s theories on consciousness ... for him it is proved mathematically.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.