Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On The Universe


RESPONDENT: ‘What beneficent creator would permit the sort of suffering so widespread in nature?’ [Charles Darwin]. ‘The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical’. [David Hull]. ‘The sheer amount of suffering in the world that is the direct result of natural selection is beyond contemplation’. [Richard Dawkins].

[Respondent]: ‘I have noticed that you apply many of the traditional attributes of spirit to matter: infinite, eternal, benevolent, benign, even, I believe, intelligent in a non-anthropomorphic way’.
[Richard]: ‘Not ‘applying’, no ... these ‘attributes’ are actually properties (infinite and eternal) and qualities (immaculate and consummate) and values (*benevolent and benign*) and are my direct experience, each moment again, and those words are my description of what is actually happening (properties plus qualities equals values). [emphasis added].

The last quote, although coming from direct experience, contradicts obvious facts, like the first three quotes above.

RICHARD: Ha ... since when has any god/ any theology/ any theory been obvious facts?

Here is a more spelled-out way of putting it:

• [Rick]: ‘Richard, could you list as many characteristics as possible that you would ascribe to the universe, please. Such as benign, infinite, wonderful, marvellous, eternal, a veritable perpetuus mobilis etc. As many as possible would be neat to look see. I’m just curious to read what the universe is and therefore what it isn’t from a pure consciousness experiencer.
• [Richard]: ‘The fundamental characteristic, or nature, of the universe is its infinitude – specifically having the properties of being spatially infinite and temporally eternal and materially perdurable – or, to put that another way, its absoluteness ... as such it is a veritable perpetuus mobilis (as in being self-existent/ non-dependent and/or self-reliant/ non-contingent and/or self-sufficient/ unconditional and/or self-generating/ unsupported).
Having no other/ no opposite this infinitude and/or absoluteness has the property of being without compare/ incomparable, as in peerless/ matchless, and is thus perfect (complete-in-itself, consummate, ultimate).
And this is truly wonderful to behold.
Being perfect this infinitude and/or absoluteness has the qualities (qualia are intrinsic to properties) of being flawless/faultless, as in impeccable/ immaculate, and is thus pure/pristine.
And which is indubitably a marvellous state of affairs.
Inherent to such perfection, such purity, are the values (properties plus qualities equals values) of benignity – ‘of a thing: favourable, propitious, salutary’ (Oxford Dictionary) – and benevolence (as in being well-disposed, beneficent, bounteous, and so on) ... and which are values in the sense of ‘the quality of a thing considered in respect of its ability to serve a specified purpose or cause an effect’ (Oxford Dictionary).
And that, to say the least, is quite amazing.

RESPONDENT: I can’t reconcile these ... has anyone managed to? ... and how?

RICHARD: It is not a matter of reconciliation as there is nothing to reconcile in actuality – there is neither god nor suffering here in this actual world – but rather a matter of coming to one’s senses (both literally and metaphorically) and thus directly experiencing what is actually happening.

Put succinctly: actualism is experiential and not theological/ philosophical or academical/ theoretical.

RESPONDENT: It seems to me that the thin red line between Nature (cruel survival instincts in humans, animals, birds, viruses, other life forms) and Universe (matter) is arbitrarily drawn by actualists, it’s an artificial divide.

RICHARD: Just for starters I use the phrase blind nature – a generic term referring to the fact that no intelligent design/ architecture and/or omniscient designer/ architect underpins and/or created/ creates or manifests/ sustains the universe (hence ‘blind’) – and not [quote] ‘Nature’ [endquote] as that word popularly refers to phenomena in particular/ the universe in general and, when capitalised, to an intelligent design/ architecture and/or omniscient designer/ architect (a creative power or being). For instance:

• ‘nature: the creative and regulative physical power conceived of as operating in the material world and as the immediate cause of all its phenomena (sometimes, esp. N-, personified as a female being); these phenomena collectively; the material world; spec. plants, animals, and other features and products of the earth itself, as opp. to humans or human creations or civilization; Mother Nature: nature as a creative power personified, nature personified as benign and protective; communing with nature: Mother Nature, natural forces, creation, the environment, the earth, mother earth, the world, the universe, the cosmos; landscape, scenery; ’. (Oxford Dictionary).

I use the word universe to refer to all time and all space and all matter ... and that usage is not, of course, inclusive of the emotional/ passional imaginings (fantasies, hallucinations, deliriums, and so on) of the psyche. And the reason why I mention this, up-front, is because some form of, or variation on, what can be called malism – ‘the doctrine that this world is an evil one’ (Oxford Dictionary) – is an ubiquitous feature of the world of the human psyche ... as is evidenced, for example, in the ‘existence of evil’ dilemma more than a few theologians/ metaphysicians/ philosophers and/or academics/ intellectuals/ theoreticians wrestle futilely with and which type of quandary might possibly be what you are re-presenting a facsimile of in this e-mail (albeit in the guise of a-cruel/ bloody-nature-versus-a-benevolent/ benign-universe line of thought) just as you did in an earlier post (on Thursday, 10/11/2005, at 10:21 PM AEDST) where you spoke of [quote] ‘the horrors of nature’ [endquote].

There is no line or divide (be it thin, arbitrary, artificial, or otherwise) between blind nature’s very essential survival package and the universe – biological-inheritance is not a miraculous gift bestowed by some inscrutable god/ goddess – as this actual world, the world of the senses, is indeed characterised by benevolence and benignity (there is neither cruelness nor horrors in actuality). However, in the real world, the world of the psyche, any such kindly disposition – as in being well-disposed, bountiful, liberal, bounteous, beneficent (aka benevolent) and being favourable, propitious, salutary (aka benign) – being not readily apparent, as in directly experienceable, requires naiveté for its intellectual ascertainment.

I am, of course, using the word ‘kindly’ in its Oxford Dictionary ‘acceptable, agreeable, pleasant; spec. (of climate, conditions, etc.) benign, favourable to growth’ meaning ... and which I generally express by saying I am swimming in largesse. For example:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘In the PCE, there is a clear sense that something of momentous importance is happening, at least it seemed that way for me. The excellence experience, if not labelled such, might seem to be an experience of exceptional clarity and lucidity. With the PCE, words like bounteousness, bursting, pouring forth, vibrant, clear, alive, animate, come to mind.
• [Richard]: ‘The words ‘exceptional clarity and lucidity’ strikes me as being a very good description of the distinction when compared with ‘bounteousness, bursting, pouring forth’ and so on as I am swimming in largesse’.

Or even more specifically:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Does this [allowing a PCE to happen] take nerves of steel?
• [Richard]: ‘No, apart from spontaneous PCE’s (most common in childhood) it takes happiness and harmlessness: where one is happy and harmless a benevolence and benignity that is not of ‘my’ doing operates of its own accord ... and it is this beneficence and magnanimity which occasions the PCE.
The largesse of the universe (as in the largesse of life itself), in other words’.

In short: I do not use the words benevolent/ benevolence and benign/ benignity merely as antonyms to the words malevolent/ malevolence and malign/ malignity (such as to require reconciliation) as the latter exists only in the human psyche.

RESPONDENT: I can’t reconcile the statement that the Universe is benevolent with the fact that a life form (even free from instinctual passions) has to feed on other life forms in order to survive. It has to kill.

RICHARD: Oh, there is even more to it than life feeding off life ... and we have touched on it before:

• [Richard]: ‘... the human species has been doing its thing for at least 50,000 years or so – no essential difference has been discerned between the Cro-Magnon human and Modern-Day human – and may very well continue to do its thing for, say, another 50,000 years or so ... it matters not, in what has been described as ‘the vast scheme of things’ or ‘the big picture’, and so on, whether none, one, or many peoples become actually free from the human condition (this planet, indeed the entire solar system, is going to cease to exist in its current form about 4.5 billion years from now). All these words – yours, mine, and others (all the dictionaries, encyclopaedias, scholarly tomes and so on) – will perish and all the monuments, all the statues, all the tombstones, all the sacred sites, all the carefully conserved/ carefully restored memorabilia, will vanish as if they had never existed ... nothing will remain of any human endeavour (including yours truly). Nothing at all ... nil, zero, zilch. Which means that nothing really matters in the long run and, as nothing really does matter (in this ultimate sense) it is simply not possible to take life seriously ... sincerely, yes, but seriously? No way ... life is much too much fun to be serious!
• [Respondent]: ‘Yes, I see your point as I remember instances of original comedy in my life, although in the real-world where I currently reside, it’s a serious and sometimes deadly business, mainly because people take themselves so seriously (survival takes precedent over enjoying).
• [Richard]: ‘And therein lies the nub of the issue (in the real-world life is indeed a serious and sometimes deadly business)’.

Umpteen numbers of stars (and thus solar systems) are constantly exploding/ imploding, and their resultant gaseous nebulae are coalescing/ amalgamating, all throughout the observable universe and yet you focus only upon life feeding off life in order to justify your how-can-it-be-reconciled stance. For example:

• [example only]: ‘I cannot reconcile the statement that the universe is benevolent/benign with the fact that matter itself is constantly in a state of re-arrangement which, of necessity, involves destruction/ obliteration and construction/ creation’. [end example].

Or even a more simple (if only because it is a more popular or common plaint) example:

• [example only]: ‘I cannot reconcile the statement that the universe is benevolent/benign with the fact that, even if I survive being eaten by other animals, I must eventually die anyway’. [end example].

Objecting to, or being resentful of, being alive in the first place takes many forms.

RESPONDENT: The actualist universe is a benevolent universe.

RICHARD: No, it is the actual universe – as evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – which is benevolent (and benign) ... and which actuality includes the very flesh and blood body itself.

RESPONDENT: Towards whom is this benevolence manifested?

RICHARD: As there is no thing (such as the stones, trees, humans, and other animals, you go on to mention) which is not the universe your [quote] ‘towards whom’ [endquote] question makes no sense.

RESPONDENT: Stones, trees, animals or only towards humans?

RICHARD: The benevolence (and benignity) of this actual universe is intrinsic to every thing ... no thing is exempt.

RESPONDENT: ... seems a little awkward/silly to me.

RICHARD: That could quite possibly be because you are considering these matters in a spiritualistic versus materialistic context ... rather than in an actualistic paradigm such as what this mailing list is set-up for.

I mean it when I say actualism is the third alternative to spiritualism and materialism.

*

RESPONDENT: Also, about the imperative that this universe has ... to (constantly?) improve locally, to reach the full of its potential, the best possible outcome .... where is the evidence for this on other planets, stars, comets?

RICHARD: In the same place as the evidence there is life on other planets, stars, comets, perchance?

RESPONDENT: It’s an anthropomorphic view ...

RICHARD: Ha ... when you look about and observe the myriads of life forms do you see them as imperatively having to deteriorate, to reach the least of their potential, their worst possible outcome, then?

RESPONDENT: ... if I can’t see any improvement there in the last 3+ billion years, what makes an actualist (another human) see any?

RICHARD: Oh? You do not call the arising of intelligence in the human animal an improvement, then?

RESPONDENT: Actualism looks in these occasions condimented with the anthropomorphic and anthropocentric views on the universe.

RICHARD: Hmm ... actualism (the direct experience that matter is not merely passive) is anything but an anthropomorphic and anthropocentric view on the universe.

RESPONDENT: Maybe, just maybe, we have a hard time just accepting the evidence: we live in a meaningless, breathtaking universe.

RICHARD: And just what non-anthropomorphic/ non-anthropocentric evidence would that be (that the universe, albeit breathtaking, is meaningless) ... other than the stock-standard materialistic position, that is, as that fancy has already been flogged to death on other forums?

RESPONDENT: Thanks for hearing my thoughts.

RICHARD: You are welcome ... any chance of them being more thoughtful (as in relating to the actualism actually on offer and not a spiritualistic/materialistic construal of same) the next time around?


RESPONDENT: And one more question: Are you saying that there are no other levels of physicality than this one, or could there be other ‘densities’ that could be tuned into?

RICHARD: To turn from the macroscopic – intuiting/ conceptualising realities outside the universe – to the microscopic (intuiting/ conceptualising realities inside the universe) is the same movement away from the actual ... only in a different direction.

Of course it is understandable that, from a real-world perspective, another reality be proposed because there is another dimension, as it were, to that real-world reality – the actual world of the senses, as evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE), which all people I have spoken to at length on the matter have recalled experiencing – but unless a PCE is occurring as you write then where you say ‘than this one’ you can only be referring to a real-world physicality and not the actual one.

RESPONDENT: That is levels of existence with finer materiality than this?

RICHARD: Nothing is either ‘fine’ or ‘gross’ here in this actual world ... all is pristine, pure.

RESPONDENT: Just as if you heat up something solid, it melts, and then eventually turns into a gas. Or do you put this in the ‘spiritual mumbo jumbo’ category?

RICHARD: Yep.

RESPONDENT: (I’m not talking about gods etc.).

RICHARD: For the sake of clarification I will take this opportunity to point out that when I say ‘god’ I am not necessarily only referring to the popular usage of the word (such as the god of a church, a temple, a mosque, a synagogue, and so on) ... I am referring to any non-material otherness (other than physical) by whatever name.

In other words: that which is timeless and spaceless and formless.


RESPONDENT: One other point of interest that I first encountered a while back in Hawking’s writings ... ‘Olber’s paradox’. Apparently, there are those that say that if the universe were infinitely old, the ‘night’ sky would be bright – not dark. I wonder.

RICHARD: In 1610 Mr. Johannes Kepler advanced an argument against the universe being infinite and eternal, and thus containing an infinite number of stars (a hypothetical problem nowadays popularly known as the ‘Olbers’ Paradox’ after the German astronomer Mr. Heinrich Olbers who also discussed it in 1823), by proposing that if the universe is indeed infinite and eternal and uniformly populated with luminous stars then every line of sight must eventually terminate at the surface of a star ... which implies that, contrary to observation, the night sky should everywhere be bright with no dark spaces between the stars.

This hypothesis assumes, of course, that because the night sky does not appear to be bright to the naked eye, with no dark spaces between the stars, then it is so in fact.

In order to comprehend why it was presented as an argument against the universe being infinite and eternal it must be borne in mind that in both 1610 and 1823 the known universe was a one-galaxy universe (the ‘Milky Way’ galaxy) and it was not until 1929 that astronomers discovered there were other galaxies ... many other galaxies, in fact (the current estimate is 125 billion and rising).

As recently as October 2001 astronomers, using the Hubble Deep Field telescope, looked 12 billion light years away from planet earth (one light year is approximately six trillion miles) into a speck-size area of the southern sky, an area so tiny to the naked eye that it would be obscured by a grain of sand held at arm’s length, and spied 620 galaxies (and one galaxy alone can contain trillions of stars).

If the naked eye was optically receptive enough (or powerful enough or whatever the right word is to describe what it is not) there would be nowhere it could look that its every line of sight would not eventually terminate at the surface of a star ... and the night sky would no longer appear to be dark.

It could be said that the universe is a brilliant universe (in more ways than one) or, to put that another way, there is only light after all.


RESPONDENT: What is the most refined form of matter, is it light, intergalactic ‘void’ or is it something else?

RICHARD: Such a question has no application in actuality – terms like ‘refined’ and ‘gross’ are spiritual terms, in discussions about the fundamental nature of everything, and say more about the elitist character of spirituality than anything else – as matter can be either mass or energy without any gain or loss of quality both phases of matter are equally elementary.

RESPONDENT: Does anti-matter exist as an actuality?

RICHARD: No ... it is a theoretical construct.

RESPONDENT: What do you think of the so-called Black Holes hanging around in the Universe?

RICHARD: I do not think of them – except in a discussion about such things – just as I do not think of unicorns.

RESPONDENT: Ha-ha ... am I to understand from your analogy that these black holes have no existence?

RICHARD: The Encyclopaedia Britannica has this to say:

• ‘Black holes *remain hypothetical*, but observations suggest that such phenomena may possibly exist in the star system Cygnus X-1 and at the centre of the Galaxy’. [emphasis added]. (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

RESPONDENT: I ask you this as one of the Next Generation Space Telescope objectives would be to take a better look at these black holes and if they are able to see them now, I guess that they exist.

RICHARD: You may find the following to be of interest:

• ‘Consider the following example: Dr. John A. Wheeler, emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University and originator of the concept of black holes, has said: [quote] ‘To me, the formation of a naked singularity is equivalent to jumping across the Gulf of Mexico. I would be willing to bet a million dollars that it can’t be done. But I can’t prove that it can’t be done’. [endquote]. What he is actually saying is – YOU can’t prove that black holes don’t exist, so I am free to use the concept as often as I like!
It is a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
When astrophysicists conjure up invisible entities, the existence of which no one can disprove (black holes, dark matter), they open themselves to accusations of being pseudo scientists. Why are invisible gnomes in my garden any less scientifically acceptable than the concept of ‘black holes’ that no one can see or measure?
It should be noted that the word ‘singularity’ as used by Wheeler (above) is directly stolen from pure mathematics. In mathematics it has a precise meaning. There are various types of mathematical ‘singularities’, e.g., ‘log-canonical singularities’, ‘removable singularities’, ‘essential singularities’, ‘poles’, etc. Each of these describes the anomalous behaviour of certain terms in mathematical equations. Wheeler just kidnaps this mathematical term and transforms it into being a real world entity. People would laugh if some theoretician announced that he had discovered a ‘partial fraction expansion’ sitting in some galaxy, or a ‘Riemann integral’ located inside some globular cluster. The same ridicule should have greeted Wheeler’s announcement that he had found a ‘naked singularity’ in deep space.
Recently astrophysicists have been invoking the existence of black holes at an ever increasing rate. They seem to ‘find’ them everywhere. They have become encouraged by our passive acceptance of their non-falsifiable ‘the invisible black-hole ghost did it’ explanations. They seem increasingly childlike in their enjoyment of using the zoo of invisible particles and other arcane entities they have gotten away with inventing. That this enlarging class of invisible gnomelike nonsense has long ago crossed the boundary into pseudo-science does not seem to occur to them. (www.electric-cosmos.org/introduction.htm).

RESPONDENT: Actualism states that physical matter in the form of mass and energy is all there is and as these unicorns eat a lot of it, I wondered where all that matter goes and what a black hole consists of, if not matter?

RICHARD: According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica the centre of a black hole consists of a point of zero volume and infinite density called the singularity (which is ‘a point or region of infinite mass density at which space and time are infinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of matter falling into a black hole’ according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) the details of the structure of which are calculated from Mr. Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Vis.:

• ‘black hole: cosmic body of extremely intense gravity from which nothing, not even light, can escape. A black hole can be formed by the death of a massive star. When such a star has exhausted its internal thermonuclear fuels at the end of its life, it becomes unstable and gravitationally collapses inward upon itself. The crushing weight of constituent matter falling in from all sides compresses the dying star to a point of zero volume and infinite density called the singularity. Details of the structure of a black hole are calculated from Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The singularity constitutes the centre of a black hole and is hidden by the object’s ‘surface’, the event horizon. Inside the event horizon the escape velocity (i.e., the velocity required for matter to escape from the gravitational field of a cosmic object) exceeds the speed of light, so that not even rays of light can escape into space’. (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

RESPONDENT: Let’s hope that matter doesn’t just disappear in the unicorn’s stomach. I’ve also heard that they like actualists baked in fine Swiss chocolate. ‘Tis only a rumour, mind you.

RICHARD: Ha ... you had better watch out, spreading rumours like that, for it may very well become a factoid one day.


RESPONDENT: I don’t actually care whether a creator exists or whether the universe is expanding, or whether it originated with the Big Bang or whether it has always existed and will always exist in steady state. All of these possibilities are perfectly consistent with what I have experienced in PCE’s and ASC’s, and to tie the value of a PCE (and Actualism) to a particular model of the universe is just stupid, from where I stand.

If time, space and matter originated in the Big Bang, Actualism is no longer relevant? PCE’s are no longer valuable? There is no longer a possibility of freedom from the ‘human condition’, of liberating the human mind from the bonds of the instinctual passions that keep us living in confusion and misery? No longer a possibility of delighting in being here, and doing nothing to prevent another person’s delight in being here? It’s just plain silly to tie Actualism up to a particular world view.

RICHARD: I wonder if you would care to think this one through: I have oft-times said that I would be delighted to meet, read about, or hear of another person actually free from the human condition – living just here right now in this actual world as a flesh and blood body only – and if, upon comparing notes, they informed me their direct experience was that ‘a creator exists’ (aka god/ goddess) you do not actually care about that as it would not render actualism irrelevant, it would not make pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s) no longer valuable, it would not take away the possibility of freedom from the human condition, it would not prevent the possibility of delighting in being here (and doing nothing to prevent another’s delight in being here)?

And the same applies in regards to the ‘Big Bang’ theory – first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma – and the ‘expanding universe’ theory you also mention ... if this other person informed me their direct experience was that the universe is indeed finite, temporary, and transitory (and not infinite, eternal, and perpetual) you do not actually care about that as it would not render actualism irrelevant, it would not make pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s) no longer valuable, it would not take away the possibility of freedom from the human condition, it would not prevent the possibility of delighting in being here (and doing nothing to prevent another’s delight in being here)?

Here are my questions:

1. What, then, makes actualism relevant?
2. What, then, makes PCE’s (as distinct from ASC’s) valuable?
3. What, then, makes freedom from the human condition possible?
4. What, then, prevents delighting in being here (and doing nothing to prevent another’s delight in being here)?

Incidentally, there is a vast difference between the option of ‘liberating the human mind from the bonds of the instinctual passions’ and the option of ridding the flesh and blood body of them.

Of course the latter option means the end of ‘me’ in all ‘my’ (cunning) disguises.

RESPONDENT: I think we are pretty much in agreement here.

RICHARD: I ask two questions – so as to be sure my comprehension of what you were conveying (further above) was correct – and your answer to both queries is to say that you think we are pretty much in agreement?

RESPONDENT: I don’t think the value of Actualism depends on you being right about various cosmological theories.

RICHARD: I am not asking about their ‘various cosmological theories’ ... I specifically asked about ‘their direct experience’. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘if, upon comparing notes, they informed me *their direct experience* was that ‘a creator exists’ (aka god/ goddess) you do not actually care about that as ...’.
• [Richard]: ‘if this other person informed me *their direct experience* was that the universe is indeed finite, temporary, and transitory (and not infinite, eternal, and perpetual) you do not actually care about that as ...’. [emphasises added].

RESPONDENT: It has become pretty clear to me that I personally know fuck-all about these things, and they are not all that relevant to the business of being here.

RICHARD: Here is the relevant part of how you described *your direct experience* when you first wrote to this mailing list:

• [Respondent]: ‘For the next couple of hours I strolled along, drifting in and out of this bubble of perfection, feeling absolutely fine and carefree. There was no trace of ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’ about it ...’. (7.11.2003 2:24 PM).

Yet here you are, ten or so weeks later, saying you do not actually care whether a creator exists or whether the universe is expanding or whether it originated with the Big Bang:

• [Respondent]: ‘I don’t actually care whether a creator exists or whether the universe is expanding, or whether it originated with the Big Bang (...) to tie the value of a PCE (and Actualism) to a particular model of the universe is just stupid, from where I stand. (20.1.2004 11:11 AM).

Those last four words are, of course, the clue as to why you do not actually care ... hence the ‘but’ and the ‘in my opinion’ in the following passage:

• [Respondent]: ‘When a PCE occurs, the distorting and reducing filters drop away, allowing a much clearer and richer perception of what is actual. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true. But ...
In my opinion the Actualists are overstepping the mark when they argue that a PCE reveals specific facts about the origin, composition, and extent of the universe. It doesn’t. It can’t. It’s physically impossible. (20.1.2004 11:11 AM).

Ain’t life grand!


RICHARD: I ask two questions – so as to be sure my comprehension of what you were conveying (further above) was correct – and your answer to both queries is to say that you think we are pretty much in agreement?

RESPONDENT: Ok, the questions were not rhetorical ones, and you want to be sure that your comprehension of what I was conveying was correct. I’ll take that at face value, and try again.

As I see it, the main value of actualism is what it has to say about the human condition, not what it has to say about the extent, duration or composition of the physical universe.

The virtual entity called ‘me’ is a bundle of the genetically inherited instinctual passions (fear, aggression, desire, nurture), overlaid with social conditioning (personal identity, conscience, morality, responsibility, etc).

Human beings (and other animals) at all times and all places have the same basic genetically inherited instinctual passions running the show. Our various types of social conditioning keep these instinctual passions under control to some degree by suppressing certain passions and encouraging others (esp. love, compassion). The results are less than optimum.

You say that you have found a better way: to eliminate not only the social identity but the instinctual passions, the entire ‘self’ and the instinctual drives that give rise to this ‘self’. This is what I regard as the core of actualism.

I regard this as completely independent of how (or if) the universe originated, what it’s made of, how big it is, how long it will last, etc. These may be important for other reasons, but w.r.t. solving the problems of the human condition (or eradicating it in toto) these are not of vital importance.

That is what I was trying to convey. If it turns out that time, space and matter originated in the ‘Big Bang’, the human condition is not altered by such a discovery. If it turns out that space-time is finite but unbounded, or curved, or shaped like a corkscrew or a donkey, the human condition is not affected by this.

RICHARD: Is this not at odds, though, with your direct experience ... given that you wrote there was ‘no trace of ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’ about it’?

RESPONDENT: No, I don’t see it as being at odds with direct experience at all. Not at all. I do not experience the universe as having had a beginning or having had no beginning, and I do not experience its shape or extent or duration. I can think about such things, but not experience them.

I find it really hard to understand what you are getting at here.

To help me understand it, I have to ask the same question I asked last time: if time, space and matter began with the ‘Big Bang’, would my PCE have been a different experience?

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) time and space and matter began with the ‘Big Bang’ (a theory first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma) you would not have had a pure consciousness experience (PCE) ... the summum bonum of human experience would be an altered state of consciousness (ASC).

*

RICHARD: To put that another way: I began the two questions by saying ‘I wonder if you would care to think this one through’ and then went on to detail just what might happen if a person (purportedly) actually free from the human condition – living just here right now in this actual world as a flesh and blood body only – informed me their direct experience was that ‘a creator exists’ (aka god/ goddess) ... whereupon you would not actually care about that even though your direct experience was that there is no trace of mysticism or spirituality in such a condition.

In other words, such a person is not actually free from the human condition ... they are in an altered state of consciousness.

RESPONDENT: Oh yes, I see what you mean about this. If somebody claimed to experience a creator (or experience the Big Bang) for that matter, yes, they’d be in an altered state.

RICHARD: Exactly ... which is why I retitled the thread as the distinction betwixt PCE’s and ASC’s needed to be discussed.

RESPONDENT: However, if time, space and matter began with a ‘Big Bang’, I do not see how an ‘actually free’ person would experience the universe any differently from how he does now.

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) time and space and matter began with the ‘Big Bang’ (a theory first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma) there would not be any actually free person to experience the universe any whichway at all ... the summum bonum of human experience would be spiritual enlightenment (a permanent ASC)

RESPONDENT: If you are saying that your experience of actual freedom depends on there not having been a ‘Big Bang’, I am at a complete loss to understand why.

RICHARD: No, what I am saying is that the ‘Big Bang’ (a theory first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma) depends upon the summum bonum of human experience being spiritual enlightenment (a permanent ASC).

It is the ASC which informs that consciousness gives rise to matter.

RESPONDENT: Aha!! Thank you for clarifying where you’re coming from. I do not agree that the ‘Big Bang’ theory implies that consciousness gives rise to matter, but if you do think that, I can understand why you describe it as mysticism, and incompatible with down-to-earth experience.

RICHARD: Just as a matter of interest: as I did not say that the ‘Big Bang’ theory ‘implies that consciousness gives rise to matter’ what makes you say that I think that?

RESPONDENT: In the context of discussing the Big Bang theory, you said that it is the ASC which informs that consciousness gives rise to matter. By contrast, the PCE informs that matter gives rise to consciousness.

The fact that you juxtaposed the Big Bang theory with both the ASC and the idea that consciousness gives rise to matter suggests that you think they are, in fact, linked. If that isn’t what you meant, what did you mean?

RICHARD: Up until recently the summum bonum of human experience has been spiritual enlightenment – a permanent altered state of consciousness (ASC) that goes by many names – which informs that consciousness gives rise to matter ... thus the prevailing wisdom, derived from this revealed knowledge, is that all time and all space and all matter had a beginning.

Dependent upon the culture all time and all space and all matter was either created by that which is timeless and spaceless and formless, or arose out of that which is timeless and spaceless and formless, or is a manifestation (a phenomenon) of that which is timeless and spaceless and formless, or is a dream being dreamed by that which is timeless and spaceless and formless, or whatever variation on the theme a particular culture may make of it (such as with shamanistic knowledge for example).

It can be summarised as the ‘something out of nothing’ theme ... and the ‘Big Bang’ theory is but the latest variation as even a cursory glance at what more than a few theoretical physicists have to say shows that the concept of a god (by whatever name) almost invariably appears somewhere in their philosophising.

Mr. Albert Einstein, well-known for his ‘God does not play dice with the universe’, is no exception.

*

RESPONDENT: On what basis do you say that the Big Bang theory implies that consciousness gives rise to matter?

RICHARD: As I did not say that the ‘Big Bang’ theory ‘implies that consciousness gives rise to matter’ I am unable to answer your query.

RESPONDENT: It is certainly not a feature of my interpretation of the Big Bang theory.

RICHARD: Okay.

RESPONDENT: I can’t personally see any contradiction between the idea that time, space and matter had a beginning and the idea that matter gave rise to consciousness (not vice-versa).

RICHARD: What do you mean by the word ‘beginning’ when it comes to all time and all space and all matter – as in there is no time, no space, no matter/ there is time, is space, is matter – if not that which is timeless and spaceless and matterless giving rise to time and space and matter?

RESPONDENT: My own conceptual model of matter and consciousness is that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain, of matter, regardless of whether the universe had a beginning.

RICHARD: May I ask? What is matter a phenomenon of (according to your conceptual model)?

RESPONDENT: I dunno.

RICHARD: Hmm ... when you say you do not actually care you ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, eh?

RESPONDENT: All I experience directly is matter / energy constantly reconfiguring and transforming and acting upon itself. [Addendum: Sorry, this is bollocks. This is what my mind tells me is happening, not what I 'experience directly’].

RICHARD: As you do not show any inclination to engage in thinking through the implications and ramifications of what you do not actually care about we may as well bring this discussion to an end now.

*

RICHARD: Or, to put that differently, what I am saying is that the ‘Big Bang’ theory (...) depends upon there not being anybody actually free from the human condition (a permanent PCE). It is the PCE which informs that matter gives rise to consciousness.

RESPONDENT: I’m glad that I finally understand what you mean. However, I still don’t understand why you say this. Why does the ‘Big Bang’ model imply that matter arose from consciousness, and not the other way around?

RICHARD: As I did not say that the ‘Big Bang’ theory ‘implies that consciousness gives rise to matter’ I am unable to answer your query.

RESPONDENT: Are the two notions (a) that time, space and matter began with a ‘Big Bang’; and (b) consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter; incompatible in some way?

RICHARD: Yes.


RESPONDENT: Richard, an uncluttered space in which to clarify some key issues: What is your basis for claiming that the universe is infinite and eternal?

RICHARD: Apperception (unmediated perception) ... as a flesh and blood body only one is this infinite, eternal and perpetual universe experiencing itself apperceptively: as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.

And this is wonderful.

RESPONDENT: With regard to attaining ‘actual freedom from the human condition’, does it matter whether the universe is infinite and eternal?

RICHARD: It is infinitude which makes such a freedom possible ... only that which has no opposite is peerless (hence perfect).

RESPONDENT: If time, space and matter had begun with a ‘Big Bang’, would PCE’s still be possible?

RICHARD: No ... the peerless perfection of the pure consciousness experience (PCE) would not exist.

RESPONDENT: Would ‘actual freedom’ from the human condition still be possible?

RICHARD: No ... the pristine purity of this actual world would not exist.

RESPONDENT: Ok, you experience the universe as infinite, beginningless and endless.

RICHARD: To be precise: this flesh and blood body, being sans identity in toto, has the direct experience of infinitude when awake, not asleep, when sensible, not insensible (comatose) whether thought is operating or not.

RESPONDENT: Given that eyesight is limited, range of hearing is limited, sense of smell has a shorter range, taste even less, and tactile sensation is confined to the very boundaries of the body, which sense organ in this flesh and blood body is capable of apperceptively perceiving infinity? Which sense organ is apperceptively able to determine what happened or didn’t happen in the distant past? Which sense organ is apperceptively able to determine what will or will not happen in the distant future? Which sense organ reveals the shape or shapelessness of the universe?

RICHARD: You asked ‘what is your basis for claiming that the universe is infinite and eternal’ and I answered as asked: the basis for my claim that the universe is spatially infinite, temporally eternal, and materially perpetual is the apperceptive awareness (unmediated perception) of infinitude.

Perhaps if I were to put it this way: if the infinitude directly experienced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) is not the infinitude of the universe then what is it the infinitude of ... a god (using the word ‘god’ in the ‘ground of being’ sense)?

In other words if it be not a physical infinitude then it falls into the realm of being a metaphysical infinitude.

RESPONDENT: When a PCE occurred to a Stone Age man, would he have been apperceptively aware that if he could actually walk and sail in a straight line for long enough he would arrive back at his starting point?

RICHARD: Only if such a person knew the earth/ water they were walking/ sailing on was a globe ... apperception is not omniscience.

RESPONDENT: If so, how?

RICHARD: Knowledge.

RESPONDENT: If not, why not?

RICHARD: Given that ‘stone age’ means before human beings figured it out that they were living on a globe it would be because of a lack of knowledge ... and as knowledge is passed on to succeeding generations I did not have to figure that one out for myself.

‘Tis great not having to rediscover the wheel.

*

RESPONDENT: Richard, would it be a fair summary of your position to say that ... Finiteness and temporality are mental constructs.

RICHARD: No ... an identity, by its very presence, creates a centre to consciousness – which can be graphically likened to a dot in the centre of a circle – and thus its consciousness is circumscribed, limited, bounded, by the very core of its own ‘being’ (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being is ‘being’ itself).

In a pure consciousness experience (PCE), with identity temporarily in abeyance, and upon an actual freedom from the human condition, with identity extinct, consciousness – the condition of a flesh and blood body being conscious – has no boundaries and there is the direct experience of infinitude.

It is an existential matter, in other words, not an intellectual matter (as in a mental construct) ... generally speaking the cognitive faculty cops all the blame whilst the affective faculty gets off scot-free.

RESPONDENT: Only when they drop away can we see the misconceptions they produce.

RICHARD: Only when identity drops away can infinitude be directly experienced ... then it is patently obvious that ‘being’ itself imposed the restrictions (and thus, by its very presence, the misconceptions of the intellect).

RESPONDENT: It’s not necessary (or possible) to physically prove that space and time are infinite because the notions of finiteness and temporality are artefacts of the mind that simply disappear, temporarily in a PCE, or permanently in an actual freedom from the human condition.

RICHARD: The notions just do not arise in a PCE, or where one is actually free from the human condition, because the mind is free from the restrictions ‘being’ imposes by its very presence ... it never occurs to me to think about such matters (except in discussions such as these).

Quite frankly the notions are ludicrous.

RESPONDENT: Is this coming closer to an understanding of your position?

RICHARD: There is no need to take a ‘position’ here in the actual world ... the direct experience of infinitude informs, each moment again, that space is boundless, time is unlimited, and matter (mass/ energy) is perdurable.

Put simply: the entire universe is a perpetuus mobilis.


RICHARD: ... what I am saying is that the ‘Big Bang’ (a theory first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma) depends upon the summum bonum of human experience being spiritual enlightenment (a permanent ASC).

It is the ASC which informs that consciousness gives rise to matter.

Or, to put that differently, what I am saying is that the ‘Big Bang’ (a theory first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre at the behest of the then pope Mr. Pius XI in a Conference on Cosmology, which was held in the Vatican, in the Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma) depends upon there not being anybody actually free from the human condition (a permanent PCE).

It is the PCE which informs that matter gives rise to consciousness.

RESPONDENT: You’ve probably noticed how Richard belabours the point that the Big Bang theory was first proposed, in 1927, by the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre. Presumably he does this to somehow ‘taint’ the theory with spiritual contamination. Are there spiritualists under your bed, Richard?

RICHARD: No, and I did not repeat the point, that the French Abbé Mr. Georges Lemaitre first proposed, in 1927 at the behest of the then head of the Roman Catholic religion, a theory which later became known as the ‘Big Bang’ theory, so as to taint it with spiritual contamination ... for how can repetition taint a spiritually inspired mathematical theory?

I repeated it for the sake of emphasising the nature of what is being discussed.

RESPONDENT: It’s interesting to note that scientists ignored Georges Lemaitre because at the time because there was no data (aka facts) to support his theory [quote] ‘He had no data to prove this, so many scientists ignored it’. [www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dp27bi.html].

RICHARD: It is interesting to note, at the web page you provided a link to, that what you call the ‘data (aka facts)’ to support his ‘universe expanding in all directions’ theory came in 1929 when Mr. Edwin Hubble’s discovery of red-shifted galaxies brought about the theory that galaxies were moving away at high speeds.

In other words what you call the ‘data (aka facts)’ to support his theory is a theory itself (‘red-shifted galaxies’ is the data; ‘galaxies moving away at high speeds’ is the theory).

RESPONDENT: Also interesting to note is that the theory was, in fact, proposed by a Soviet scientist a few years earlier than Georges Lemaitre. [quote] ‘Another scientist, Soviet Alexander Friedmann, had come to the same conclusion independently, a few years earlier’ [endquote]. Does that remove the spiritual taint, Richard?

RICHARD: What does the word ‘independently’ convey to you?

Furthermore, as the Roman Catholic religion has a creator god at the very core of its raison d’être why would it instigate/ support something – anything at all – which would render them a secular organisation (which is what ‘remove the spiritual taint’ implies).

Golly, even the web page you provided the link to acknowledges the obvious right up front ... here it is, from the top of the page, in the very first sentence of the article:

• ‘Georges LeMaitre (1894-1966) showed that religion and science – or at least physics – did not have to be incompatible’. (www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dp29hu.html).

RESPONDENT: Maybe Richard will stop repeating his Vatican conspiracy and give rightful credit to Alexander Friedmann?

RICHARD: Ha ... as even the web page you provided the link to credits Mr. Georges LeMaitre for showing that ‘religion and science – or at least physics – did not have to be incompatible’ I do wonder why you call it my ‘Vatican conspiracy’.

I do appreciate you providing the link as clarification is always welcome.

*

RICHARD: I copy-pasted the words <steady state universe> into my search engine and sent it through everything I have ever written ... only to return nil hits; I copy-pasted the words <steady state> into my search engine and sent it through everything I have ever written ... only to return nil hits. In short: I make no mention of ‘a steady state universe’ ... let alone ‘assert’ one.

RESPONDENT: Your pedantry can’t help you here.

RICHARD: If by ‘pedantry’ you mean clarity in communication you will find it stands me in good stead ... just as it does for anybody interested in conveying what they have to say accurately.

RESPONDENT: Just because you don’t use the term ‘steady state’ does not mean your cosmology is not classified as one. Here’s the Actualist position: [quote] ‘Time: time is eternal – as in beginningless and endless time – which means only now is actual. Space: space is infinite – as in limitless and boundless space – which means only here is actual. Form: form is perpetual – as in continuously rearranging itself – which means only this is actual. [www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ3a.htm]. Here is an outline of steady state theory: [quote] ‘... holds that the universe looks essentially the same from every spot in it and at every time ... Obviously, for the universe to look the same at all times, there could have been no beginning or no end’. [www.pbs.org/wnet/hawking/universes/html/univ_steady.html]. Your cosmology is a steady-state theory by virtue of eternal time ...

RICHARD: Interestingly enough the web page you provide the link to says, in the sentence immediately preceding the first sentence you quote (above), that the ‘steady-state theory’ is based on an extension of something called the perfect cosmological principle. Here it is (with the sentences you quoted highlighted):

• [quote]: ‘... the steady-state theory was based on an extension of something called the perfect cosmological principle. This *holds that the universe looks essentially the same from every spot in it and at every time*. (This applies only to the universe at large scales; obviously planets, stars, and galaxies are different from the space between them.) *Obviously, for the universe to look the same at all times, there could have been no beginning or no end*. This struck a philosophical chord with a number of scientists, and the steady-state theory gained many adherents in the 1950s and 1960s’. [endquote].

A theory based upon an extension of a principle (which is itself an extension of another principle) is in no way the same thing as the direct experience of infinitude ... as evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE).

You would have to be grasping at straws to present the above as some after-the-act demonstration that your hypothesis (that, even though you would not expect a scientific method to work in matters of human freedom beyond mundane material matters, in order to try and weave an aura of authority Richard would have you believe he is like a scientist reporting his findings to the world but shows a basic philosophical misunderstanding of science and how it works) was in any way valid when you first published it on December 30, 2003 at 20:00 PST.

I do appreciate you providing the link as clarification is always welcome.


RESPONDENT No. 27: For me, the matter is simply a claim to be investigated – but it must be investigated in the manner in which the person making the claim specifies. If I am told that the only way to know it is the PCE, then that is what I have to investigate if I want to speak on equal footing.

RESPONDENT: Fair and reasonable all the way, but just for fun, here’s a bit of twisty logic to sink your teeth into:

Let P = ‘Time, space and matter began with the Big Bang.’

Let Q = ‘PCEs occur.’

According to Richard:

P => ~Q

Q

–––

~P (Modus Tollens)

If you accept R’s logic, and if you accept that PCE’s occur, it follows that you should already accept that time, space and matter did not begin with the Big Bang. See, according to R’s logic, the alleged evidence (PCE) is available if and only if that which it allegedly reveals is also true, so the mere occurrence of a PCE proves that time, space and matter did not begin with the ‘Big Bang’, regardless of whether it strikes you that way in a PCE.

In other words, according to this logic, the mere occurrence of a PCE proves the falsity of the Big Bang. Your own interpretation of the experience is irrelevant to R’s proof.

RICHARD: First and foremost: although you agreed it was ‘fair and reasonable all the way’ to investigate the claim in the manner specified (experientially) you immediately set out to investigate it in a manner not specified (logically).

Second, you say ‘if you accept R’s logic’ as if it was indeed Richard’s logic and not your logic – not being a logician I never present what you have presented above in my name – as the modus tollens rule (the rule that the negation of the antecedent may be inferred from the conditional statement) is not something I have any familiarity with at all ... and seeing what you have done with it have no interest whatsoever in ever gaining such familiarity.

Third, you base your entire logical conclusion upon an hypothetical answer to an hypothetical question – I did not write ‘(note ‘if’’)’ just for the sake of doing so – and even explained this in the following e-mail by saying I answered your hypothetical question as asked. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I am simply trying to understand why you argue that, if time space and matter had not always existed, neither PCE nor AFftHC would be possible.
• [Richard]: ‘I am not arguing anything ... you proposed a hypothetical scenario and I responded as asked.

Fourth, if logic can indeed produce the result that you put into words (above) then I am well-pleased not to be a logician ... not being a logician I have to be rational instead.

Because if (note ‘if’) all time and all space and all form indeed had a beginning – as in there is no time, no space, no matter/ there is time, is space, is matter – then there would be something other than the universe (an otherness which is time-less and space-less and form-less) which means that such a universe is not peerless (hence not perfect) thus a pure consciousness experience (PCE), the direct experience of the peerless purity this universe actually is, would not exist/ could not happen ... and the summum bonum of human experience would be an altered state of consciousness (ASC) as ASC’s are epitomised by a non-material otherness by whatever name.

As it has been up until now ... and which highest good, I might add, you are doing your level best to reinstate in other e-mails by classifying a particular ASC (where the intuitive/ imaginative faculty is still extant) as being a PCE.

As I coined the phrase ‘pure consciousness experience (PCE)’ you are on a hiding to nowhere trying to redefine it.


RICHARD: May I ask what it is that you find interesting about what Mr. Tom Van Flandern has to say about Lorentzian relativity?

RESPONDENT: Sure, what I find interesting about what Mr. Tom Van Flandern has to say about Lorentzian relativity is his claim that it can account for all the ‘evidence’ that is purported to demonstrate Einstein’s relativity theory as fact. Not only that, but his statement is that we are allowed to keep more ‘common-sense’ notions about time and space, gravity, and so forth.

RICHARD: Okay ... now what Mr. Paul Marmet has to say about the GPS and the (supposed) constant velocity of light for all observers, which constancy is central to Einstein relativity, throws more light (no pun intended) upon his claim that Newtonian physics can also account for all the evidence which is purported to demonstrate the facticity of Einstein relativity (as well as keeping the more commonsense notions about time and space and gravity and so forth). Vis.: http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/illusion/index.html

I did make the comment, in an earlier e-mail, that we could post URL’s to each other until the cows came home and the matter would still not be settled ... and the point I am making by providing this particular link (just as I did with the Mr. Tom Van Flandern link) is that, being but a lay-person in all these matters, what I see is theoretical physicists, mathematicians, logicians, and so on, discussing amongst themselves the validity/ invalidity of this theory and that theory and any other theory.

And, as I also commented before, when they start presenting equations to each other (I do not even know what most of the symbols refer to) I have no recourse, other than to read what they have to say in general, but to observe that such-and-such a topic is by no means settled.

In other words those who seek to disallow the direct experience of infinitude – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – by telling me that the universe is not infinite, eternal, and perpetual (such as in the 1997 e-mail exchange I quoted from in my last post) because of this theory or that theory or any other theory might as well take up kite-flying in their spare time.

*

RICHARD: ... apart from drawing attention to the fact that there are (at least) two models being proposed, I am suggesting it is important to remember they are both models (just as the various theories regarding the sub-atomic postulates of quantum theory, for example, also are).

RESPONDENT: I do take (and appreciate) your point here that not only are you pointing out that there are two models purporting to fit the same data, but also that both are ‘models’. Do you know the phrase/ term ‘underdetermination of theory by data’?

RICHARD: No ... and, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica has no reference to it (nor does any dictionary, other than the Oxford Dictionary, list the word ‘underdetermination’), a search of the internet tended to show that the ‘underdetermination of theory by data’ thesis is an argument which has often been used to combat scientific realism and, as such, is more a philosophical issue about indeterminacy than anything else. For example:

• ‘... there are two ways that we might respond to the underdetermination of theory by data. One response, which we can call the agnostic response, is to suspend judgment: ‘Where scientific standards cannot guide us, we should believe nothing’. Another response, which we can call the fideist response, is to believe whatever we would like to believe: ‘If science cannot speak to the question, then we may believe anything without science ever contradicting us’. (www.fecundity.com/job/agnosticism.pdf).

I will first draw your attention to the following exchange:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Is the universe being infinite in all directions a theory, not a fact?
• [Richard]: ‘First of all, it is physically impossible to empirically establish the extended attributes of space, time and matter ... one cannot, ever, hop into some ultra high speed spacecraft and travel to some ‘where’ or ‘when’ or ‘that’ and show or demonstrate or exhibit infinitude. Needless is it to say, for those who propose a caused universe, that no one has journeyed to where they can witness such a creation of material ex nihilo? Needless is it to say, for those who propose a temporary universe, that no one has travelled to when that limited time began? Needless is it to say, for those who propose a finite universe, that no one has voyaged to the edge of that bounded universe?

And then to this exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘Is there a way to avoid being an agnostic on the issue [of finitude/ infinitude] – since if I’m investigating – then I’m open to finding out the fact of the matter? Does being agnostic necessarily mean being open to belief? Can’t I be agnostic and be open to finding out a fact? Or do I just have to get rid of current scientific theory to find that I already know the answer?
• [Richard]: ‘The question of agnosticism applies to all subjects, of course, not only the subject of the infinitude of the universe (which has tended to split the current, and previous, discussions on this mailing list into two separate issues).
For something like twenty five years I was an agnostic ... and it is an apparently satisfying position to be in as it makes one feel both intellectually comfortable and intellectually superior at the same time (whilst appearing humble) until one day I realised just what I was doing to myself ... and to others. I was cleverly shuffling all the ‘hard questions’ about consciousness under the rug and going around deftly cutting other people down to size (which is all so easy to do simply by saying ‘well that is your belief/ truth/ idea/ philosophy/ whatever’).
But I had nothing to offer in its place – other than the smug ‘nobody knows’ agnosticism – and I puzzled as to why this was so. Finally, I ceased procrastinating and equivocating. I wanted to know. I wanted to find out – for myself – about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
I now know.

In short: there is a third alternative to either agnosticism or fideism.

*

RICHARD: ... could it be that the measure of time (the rubidium and caesium in this instance) is what is ‘ticking’ faster and not time itself advancing more quickly? I only mention this because this moment has no duration here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Do I understand correctly that you are saying that since ‘this moment has no duration here in this actual world’ – that it is simply not possible for ‘time itself [to be] advancing more quickly?

RICHARD: Exactly ... have you never noticed it is never not this moment?

If I understand it correctly caesium, to take but one example, has an innate resonant frequency and it is the ‘ticking’ of this frequency which is used to define a second (officially recognised as being 9,192,631,770 oscillations) in the energy-clocks on board the satellites ... and I say ‘energy-clocks’, as contrasted to ‘astronomical-clocks’, for the ‘what-is-it-that-is-ticking-faster’ reason already mentioned.

Presumably someone in the mists of pre-history noticed what the shadow of a stick standing perpendicular in the ground did such as to eventually lead to the sundial – a circular measure of the movement of a cast shadow arbitrarily divided into twelve sections because of a prevailing duo-decimal counting system – and thus to water-clocks/ sand-clocks and thence to pendulum-clocks/ spring-clocks and thus to electrical-clocks/ electronic-clocks and, currently, atomic-clocks (‘energy-clocks’) ... with all such measurement of movement being a measure of the earth’s rotation whilst in orbit around a radiant star.

In short: it is not time itself which moves (thus it neither speeds up nor slows down) but objects through space ... this moment is the arena, so to speak, in which things happen and time (as in past/ present/ future) is a measure of what occurs.

*

RICHARD: ... the reason why I linked what I found interesting in what Mr. Tom Van Flandern has to say about Lorentzian relativity with a rather droll sign (which asked what would happen if one were to switch on the headlights in a space-ship travelling at the speed of light) that I noticed propped up on a nearby clerk’s desk, whilst in a government office for bureaucratic reasons some years ago, could be put like this: 1. Suppose a vehicle travelling at 75 kilometres an hour (75k) has a head-on crash with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction also at 75k ... would the collision, the force of the impact, be the same as just the one vehicle crashing into a stationary object at 150k? 2. If so, now suppose a vehicle travelling at three-quarters the speed of light (.75c) has a head-on crash with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction also at .75c ... would the collision, the force of the impact, be the same as just the one vehicle crashing into a stationary object at 1.50c? I ask this because, according to Einsteinian relativity (in direct contrast to Lorentzian relativity), the force of the impact would only be the same as a .96c collision with a stationary object.

RESPONDENT: I simply don’t know enough about it to comment on this issue.

RICHARD: In the last 20-30 years a lot of research and development has gone into making vehicles safer for the occupants through designing better ways to have the material a vehicle is made of crumple, fore and aft of the section people are occupying, so as to better absorb the energy of the rapid deceleration occasioned by an impact ... and the same applies to making crash-barriers more flexible and thus more absorbent of that energy. Yet according to Einsteinian relativity the faster a vehicle travels (the more it accelerates) the less force it has (the less deceleration energy there is) ... so much so that, rather than ‘speed kills’, the safety slogans of science fiction traffic authorities should probably read ‘speed saves’, eh?

All joking aside however ... where *does* all that energy go (if not into the force of the impact)?

RESPONDENT: I suppose that I should make it clear that I am not claiming that Einsteinian relativity is fact.

RICHARD: Sure ... what you are (or were) claiming, however, is that the article at the link you initially provided which started this thread was a [quote] ‘good’ [endquote] article about Einsteinian relativity.

Given that you do not know enough about it to comment on the (above) issue are you still claiming that?

RESPONDENT: What I would say definitively though, is that there has been a good deal of evidence over the last 100 years or so that has been proposed as proving that Einsteinian relativity is fact. My intention in this conversation is merely to explore the reasons you say what you say, to understand why you dispute relativity and the purported evidence for it. It is delightful for me to discover that there are other models to explain what has been purportedly evidence for Einsteinian relativity.

If one doesn’t understand that there are other models available or possible, it is indeed difficult to jettison what the most respected scientists are calling proof of relativity – so I appreciate this chance to learn more about what and why you are saying what you are about relativity.

RICHARD: For what it is worth I was not cognisant of the general relativity theory/ expanding-contracting universe theory/ big-bang-big-crunch theory until I went public on the internet, other than a vague recollection that there had been a person called Mr. Albert Einstein who was held in high esteem for matters I knew virtually nothing of and was concerned even less about, whereupon I was told (in the 1997 e-mail exchange I quoted from in my last post) that the universe is not infinite, eternal, and perpetual because of the ‘expanding universe’ theory and, as a post-script, was challenged to explain quasars and pulsars (both of which I had never heard of before).

In other words it never occurred to me all those years ago that, as Mr. Albert Einstein’s mathematical model proved the universe not to be infinite, eternal, and perpetual, I would be unable to ever become actually free from the human condition and naively went ahead and did so anyway.

Ain’t life grand!

*

RESPONDENT: Are you saying that if relativity were fact, then an actual freedom would be impossible?

RICHARD: I am not saying that ... those who seek to disallow the direct experience of eternity – such as in a PCE – are saying that (in effect if not specifically spelt-out).

RESPONDENT: I am trying to understand exactly how those who claim relativity is a fact seek to ‘disallow the direct experience of eternity’.

RICHARD: Simply this: as Mr. Albert Einstein’s mathematics prove the universe is expanding (and hence had a beginning and thence an ending) it cannot be eternal ... and, as Richard is but a scientific buffoon (or whatever other unsolicited character references Richard’s report sometimes elicit), then Mr. Albert Einstein, who had to virtuously practice pacifism so as to achieve some outward semblance of peace and harmony whilst Richard is effortlessly, and thus unvirtuously, happy and harmless, must be right and Richard must be wrong.

And, as Richard is wrong, then the person writing to Richard can carry-on living life in the normal way (vainly trying to be virtuous).

RESPONDENT: I can only guess that it is because relativity requires a measure of duration (from multiple subjective frames of reference), while there is no such thing in the direct experience of eternity?

RICHARD: This moment has no duration here in this actual world ... but I doubt that those who seek to disallow the direct experience of eternity are conscious of that when they write to me.

My guess is they are just uncritically regurgitating what they were taught at school.

*

RICHARD: You are aware that the topic under dispute is whether or not the universe is spatially infinite, temporally eternal, and materially perdurable (and not just Einsteinian relativity per se)?

RESPONDENT: I was not aware that of that, no.

RICHARD: Oh? Why would Einsteinian relativity be such a hot topic on this mailing list, then, if not because of my oft-repeated observation that the infinitude of the universe is directly experienced here in this actual world? Just curious.

RESPONDENT: I originally thought that it was only the big-bang theory that contradicted your experience – but I see now that you are saying that relativity (by itself regardless of the big bang theory) contradicts your experience. I do understand that Einsteinian relativity is intertwined with the big-bang theory, so I thought that is why relativity is such a ‘hot topic’. Though I also went into this conversation understanding that the big-bang theory depends on relativity, I also thought it is possible that relativity could be correct, without necessarily implying that the big-bang theory is correct.

RICHARD: Put specifically: that the universe is expanding is inextricably part and parcel of Mr. Albert Einstein’s equations ... the big-bang theory came later and arose out of the implications of that mathematical artefact. Vis.:

• ‘When Einstein tried to describe the simplest possible mathematical model of the universe using his new equations, however, he ran into a problem. At that time, in 1917, the received wisdom was that our Milky Way galaxy was the entire universe, a stable collection of stars. But the equations describing a complete cosmology of space, time and matter refused to produce such a picture. They insisted that the universe must be either expanding or contracting. The only way Einstein could hold the model universe still, to mimic the appearance of the Milky Way, was to add an extra term to the equation, called the ‘cosmological constant’. (...) A dozen years later, observers, led by the pioneer Edwin Hubble in California, discovered that the Milky Way was not the entire universe, but simply one galaxy among many millions, and that distant galaxies are all receding from each other. The universe is expanding, exactly as the pure equations of general relativity predicted in 1917, when Einstein refused to believe the evidence of his own theory. There is no need for cosmological constant, and Einstein’s equations now provide the basis for the highly successful ‘big bang’ description of the birth and evolution of the entire universe ...’. (page 135, ‘Einstein: A Life in Science’ by Michael White & John Gribbin; published 1994 by Simon & Schuster Ltd).

RESPONDENT: So, I have been particularly interested in focusing on relativity excluding the big-bang theory – so that I could understand just exactly where you say relativity goes wrong.

RICHARD: In short: the universe is neither expanding nor contracting.

RESPONDENT: According to what you are saying now, you are saying that Einstein’s theory of relativity directly contradicts your experience, correct?

RICHARD: Correct.

RESPONDENT: So, I want to ask – specifically how does Einstein’s relativity alone contradict: 1) The universe is spatially infinite & 2) The universe is temporally eternal.

RICHARD: An expanding universe is neither spatially infinite nor temporally eternal.

*

RESPONDENT: Would you say that the theory of relativity is of such a nature that it could never possibly be confirmed?

RICHARD: As I am not a mathematician I will defer to Mr. Tom Van Flandern here (from the same page I previously quoted from): [quote]: ‘What we have just described are careful and correct inferences of SR [Einsteinian relativity] as applied to the twin’s paradox. This also shows the essentially mathematical nature of the theory, because it does violence to what we fondly call ‘common sense’. The most important point to note carefully is that *the theory is internally consistent, and no mathematical contradictions can be found* no matter how the transformation equations are manipulated, or how many frames or twins are introduced. The next important point to note is that SR makes demands on our credulity that LR [Lorentzian relativity] does not. Let’s examine why ...’. [emphasis added]. I would hazard a guess that it is well-nigh impossible to either confirm or disconfirm a mathematical theory which is internally consistent and (mathematically) non-contradictory. Which is perhaps why it has such a hold on otherwise intelligent peoples.

RESPONDENT: OK – I would just like to sum up what I understand of why you object to Einstein’s relativity:

1) It is a subjective theory.

2) Relativity is an abstraction, and as such cannot apply directly to the actual world, it is but a conceptual model.

3) There are other models that can fit the data, so no evidence can be conclusive for a given conceptual model.

4) Relativity denies the direct experience of eternity (how as of yet, I don’t know) and the direct experience of the infinity of space (how as of yet, I don’t know).

RICHARD: That pretty well sums up why Einsteinian relativity is irrelevant to actualism ... and I will take this opportunity to point out that if it were not for those who seek to disallow the direct experience of infinitude the matter would not be a topic on this mailing list.

I have had to research all manner of things for other people since I first went public with my discovery.

RESPONDENT: I would also like to point out that I understand that you are not necessarily advocating Mr Tom Van Flandern’s views on relativity – merely pointing out that there are as of yet competing conceptual models, but that to accept a conceptual model as True is but to trade in the actual for a mathematical / conceptual theory.

RICHARD: Yes ... and I am not necessarily advocating all of Mr. Paul Marmet’s claims either because I personally favour the ‘electric-cosmos’ hypothesis, also known as the ‘plasma-universe’ hypothesis, which is based upon the findings of Mr. Halton Arp, as it shows promise of being a far more fruitful line of investigation into what the nuts and bolts of the universe are than anything else I have come across so far.

‘Tis only an opinion, though.


RESPONDENT: So to recapitulate, your statement is, that you or me is the universe experiencing it’s own self AS a human being not like a human being.

RICHARD: This is what I wrote in a previous discussion with you:

• [Richard]: ‘... as this flesh and blood body only I am the universe experiencing itself apperceptively; as such this infinite, eternal, and perpetual universe is stunningly aware of its own infinitude’.

RESPONDENT: Is this right?

RICHARD: No (although you have got the ‘as’ part right) ... you have changed ‘itself’ into ‘it’s own self’ when I do not mean that at all. Vis.:

• ‘itself: 1. reflexive: reflexive form (indirect, direct, and after prepositions) of ‘it’, pronominal, pronoun: (to, for, etc.) the thing in question; 2. emphatic: in apposition to a noun (subjective or objective) that particular thing, the very thing, that thing alone; it, not something else; 3. (not appositional): it; not something else’. (Oxford Dictionary).

Thus there is nary a ‘self’ to be found in the sentence I wrote ... I was simply referring to the thing in question.

RESPONDENT: So you and me and everybody else IS the universe.

RICHARD: No ... the universe is experiencing itself as this flesh and blood body, and as that flesh and blood body, and as any flesh and blood body (which includes as a cat and as a dog and so on).

RESPONDENT: Then you say after the death of this body there is oblivion, which to my logic is a contradiction, because you have said that the universe will continue, but the body will go to oblivion.

RICHARD: I have not said ‘the body will go into oblivion’ at all ... what I have said is that consciousness (the state or condition of the body being conscious) goes into oblivion and that the body breaks down into its constituent parts (just as it sheds bits of itself moment-to-moment all the while it is alive).

RESPONDENT: How is that possible the universe to continue, and the human being to go to oblivion?

RICHARD: Simply because the human being is not the universe ... to say that ‘you and me and everybody else IS the universe’ is what you have made of my words.


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