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Posts Tagged ‘vortex’


Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Through the Looking Glass

“Through the years, a man peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, tools, stars, horses and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his own face.”
Jorge Luis Borges

The additional development to the black-hole model (see Holed in One) has got me on a roll and I’ve been reflecting on the nature of mirrors in the last few days. It seemed that the various insights that various provings have been bringing in over the last year or so needed to be brought together in a kind of meta-theory that would be capable of modelling the entire shebang and be consistent with the quest for the popup launcher icon whole elephant. This whole thing is starting to shape up into something approaching a book on the subject, and may yet turn into one. Watch this space …

The critical thing about mirrors is, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains in his introduction to the principles of Dzogchen (Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection), “When you see a reflection of a form in a mirror, the reflection appears within the mirror but it is not projected from within.”

So common questions such as “why do mirrors reverse left-to-right but not up-to-down?” are really asking the wrong question. Mirrors don’t actually “do” anything. They just reflect. It’s we who do all the doing in our interpretation of the image we see. Mirrors appear to reverse left-right because we, in standing vertically viewing them, are interpreting the image we see as if it were being projected from within the mirror, in which case the object in the mirror appears to be rotated about the vertical plane and hence reversed left-to-right (and also front-to-back if we interpret the mirror-image as three-dimensional). The fact that the reversal doesn’t appear to be up-to-down is simply because we see the reversal as occuring relative to the vertical plane. If we rotated our imaginary object in the mirror about the horizontal plane, the reversal would appear to be up-to-down.

If we make this elementary interpretive error when confronted with a two-dimensional panel which we know to be reflective, what hope for us correctly interpreting all that comes at us from “out there” in three, even four, dimensions, while being unaware of the reflective nature of it all? It thus becomes highly plausible to countenance the prospect that all our explorations, models and rationalisations about the world outside ourselves are back to front and inside out, most particularly that daft notion that matter is primary and gives rise to consciousness as a secondary phenomenon.

Does this mean we need to deconstruct all our models of existence and start again? Not at all. We merely need to turn them inside out. So, for instance, the extraordinary gravitational forces of a black hole don’t arise from the collapse and implosion of a star, but the collapse of a star occurs when its gravitational forces become too great to sustain its material manifestation. Thus the emperor stands without his clothes, a victim of his own spin, revealing his naked energetic dimensions for us all to reflect upon the nature of our own state.

Dizzy days

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Sufi dervish whirling

“Mindfulness is a state of mind in which we realize that we are not our state of mind.”
Dechen Yeshe Wangmo

Thanks to a mention in Suzanne Taylor’s The Conversation dialogues, I came across a superb site put together by Jungian analyst and authorAnne Baring. Among other commentary well worth reading, she has this to say about our present global idealogical situation:

“Having survived the four totalitarian psychoses (when killing on a vast scale is legitimized by a belief system, whether religious or secular) of the last century in Germany, Russia, China and Japan (a fifth if Cambodia is included), it seems unbelievable that we are now seeing the rise of another. There seems to be no end to the endurance of the desire for absolute power and the ideologies which serve it, nor to the tragic credulity of vast numbers of people who look upon this desire as legitimate and even favoured by God. Religions which carry such rich treasures in their inheritance have also apparently taught people that the supremacy of their belief-system is what matters to God, not the way they treat other human beings. So power rather than compassion and relationship continue to rule the world and continue to cause unimaginable suffering.”

It’s back to this idea of being caught up in a particular spin (see the essayHoled in One, which has just been expanded and developed further, for a fuller explanation) that gives the illusion of the “rightness” of any one position, and the momentum fueling the desire to swallow up the entirety of existence within the same system of thought. The faster the spin, the greater its depth and intensity and its impact on the collective, and the greater the collateral damage when two well-spun systems collide.

It’s fascinating in this context that Sufi mystics have used whirling around on the spot as a means of meditation for centuries. Whirling forms part of their practices which work towards letting go of dualistic thinking (and therefore of the individual “self”), and realising the underlying unity of existence. Homeopathy (treating like with like) in action?

Here be dragons …

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

Dragon conversations

Somewhere amongst all the gyrations around vortices, recursions, guys and goodness knows what else, someone mentioned that a dragon had paid them a visit and encountered them with depth, darkness and other scariness. Took me right back into the symbolism of the dragon archetype, which is a fascinating one to explore within the collective imagination.

Dragon imagery often seems to arise in response to a need for communication between the personal or collective unconscious and conscious awareness. As a symbol, the dragon acts as a bridge or guide, often to elements of the psyche that are within the realms of the Jungian Shadow.

I first came across the dragon archetype in a big way in a proving I took part in during August and September 2001. Yes, then. As is usually the case, it was a blind proving. When the proving was finished and the identity of the plant was revealed, I was curious and started to explore more of its nature and ethnobotanical connections. One of the themes of the proving experience had been deception, trickery, monkeys and monkeying around. (Interesting in view of the events of September 11 and the subsequent questions about what really happened – see last month’s blog.) Initially, the plant was identified as Cordyline terminalis, originating from Hawai’i and attributed to the goddess Pele. I started to research the identification I’d been given and couldn’t match the supplied photograph of the plant in flower with any variant of its supposed species. Using the photograph, I started on a different tack and finally managed to discover its correct identity with the help of the Botany department at the Smithsonian Institute. The plant was Dracaena (Gr. she-dragon) fragrans … the Fragrant Dragon. Far from originating in Hawai’i, where the proving source had been grown and purchased, it came from West Africa. Monkey business indeed.

Another principal theme of the proving had been to do with communication between the conscious and unconscious realms. This is the realm of the Messenger archetype, typified in the Greek and Roman pantheon by Hermes/Mercury, who is also the Trickster. Everything was coming together nicely. I wanted to make a connection between my proving experience and the ethnobotany of the plant to complete the circle, but drew a blank on trying to source information on this. Eventually the library at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh came to the rescue and in a dusty old Victorian reference book I found what I was looking for. The plant, known in its indigenous location by the Yoruba peoples as peregun, is an Ifá herb used to mark boundaries and is sacred to Èsú, the Messenger deity of the Yoruba..

Focusing then on the name of the genus (Dracaena, she-dragon), I explored the potential connection with dragon mythology, particularly dragons from West Africa. It brought out much the same theme, as evidenced in the story below (from Susan Iles’ dracoBlu site), complete with associated monkeys.

Aido Hwedo

Human “…consciousness has lifted the transcendent ever higher and farther away from actual life. The bridgeable chasm has become a cosmic void.” It is our duty to recreate the bridge if we are to evolve. In West Africa the tribal peoples were aware of this rift and incorporated the dragon, Aido Hwedo, into their creation myths as the co-creator of the physical world.

Before the Earth was formed the genderless Creator God, named Nana-Buluku by the Fon people of Dahomey, created a companion dragon called Aido Hwedo who was both male and female. It was a dragon able to move with ease between Heaven and Earth who carried the Creator in its mouth. They travelled together into the physical realms to create the world as we know it. Each night when Aido Hwedo and the Creator rested, the dragon’s dung piled high making mountains filled with hidden treasure, nourishing the Earth so plants and great trees could grow. As the dragon writhed back and forth across the face of the Earth, it carved twisting valleys and coursing waterways. With the Creator’s direction (ie. the Word) and the dragon’s actions, the Earth was formed through hard work and spirit, the very essence of co-operation and co-creation.

When the work was finished the world was bountiful, but heavily laden with trees and large animals, mountains and villages. The Creator feared the Earth would collapse under its own weight. Aido Hwedo offered to support the world by coiling under it in a circular fashion, its tail in its great mouth. The Creator knew Aido Hwedo detested the heat and created a great cosmic ocean for it to sleep in. Red monkeys who lived in the sea were directed to attend to Aido Hwedo’s needs by feeding the dragon iron bars whenever hunger came. In this myth it was important for the monkeys to keep the dragon eternally fed, otherwise it would start to eat its own tail and the world would surely be destroyed.

Like the red monkeys with the iron bars, we must remember our responsibility to nourish the link which bridges our transcendent and physical natures. When spirit and action meet our world can begin to heal and sustain itself.

Note the connection between the dragon’s treasure and its dung. In symbolic terms, this resonates closely with the idea that much of our personal “treasure” is held in shadow – the parts of ourselves we tend to relate to as crap! The dragon eating its own tail is, of course, the uruborus or the symbol of infinity.

On revisiting all this dragon stuff, the imagery of dragon as creator of the manifest world connected immediately with the vortex of nested recursive thought patterns as the model for the creation of our manifest reality. Since, in our present state, this process is largely unconscious, it seems quite natural that the dragon should be involved, and that dragon should signify the process of creation within human consciousness. This it appears to have done in many cultures since ancient times, specifically in forming a bridge between worlds, whether that be between the worlds of gods and men or between the conscious and the unconscious.

Just as I was making these connections, and thinking about dragons and vortices as natural companions, I was sent the pictures below by a correspondent in South Africa. There really is no such thing as coincidence.

More gyrations

Monday, March 28th, 2005


“ The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
Jalal al-din Rumi

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre …” Yeats keeps coming around again. It’s that spiral effect. Another aspect of this proving has been the recurring dreams. Over and over again the same theme. Whatever’s going on in the dream (and it’s largely unimportant) it’s being simultaneously mapped in terms of either mathematical formulae or computer programming language. This has been a bit of challenge for me since my abilities in both of those areas don’t go much beyond elementary level. Still, I wasn’t about to ignore them. What seemed to be drawing my attention the strongest was the fact that these descriptions all featured repeating nested subroutines.

For anyone for whom this means diddly squat, it’s a means of describing an event such that within an overall context you have increasingly more specific things going on, each nested within its parent context. In mathematics this is described using bracketed expressions, and in programming language, by a variety of conventions depending on the language. But in each instance, the convention is always that each subroutine must be enclosed within its parent. If you don’t close the expression, the whole thing becomes a nonsense and doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.

Why I was getting these dreams was something of a mystery, but when I finally stumbled on the Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid just underlined it. Gödel’s Theorem is an interesting one – published in 1931 by the then 25-year-old logician, it demonstrated that “any logical system comprehensive enough to describe elementary arithmetic necessarily contains propositions which can neither be proven nor disproven.” Also, that “the internal consistency of such a system can never be proven except by employing reasoning which is not expressible within the system itself.” Or, as reviewer Curtis L Wilber states in respect of Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, “Every system folds in on itself, be it physics, mathematics, or any form of language. All these systems are inherently self-referential, and as such, take on a life of their own. A life their creators could never imagine.” In other words, the “reality” of what we take for reality cannot be proven or disproven within its own terms: we’re thrown back on the ultimate subjectivity of our existence every time, and the fact that we’re continually engaged in the process of creating our “reality” largely in our own image. The “life of its own” that comes back to us in the apparent objectivity of what’s “out there” is really little more than a mirror – an idea which the likes of Buddhism has held as a fundamental truth for millenia.

Escher vortex

At the same time as all this has been going on, I was having a conversation with someone in the USA about the Christian fundamentalist right and their belief in “the Rapture“. Scarey stuff. It even justifies environmental destruction on the basis that it will just speed up the End Times when Jesus Christ reappears to cart off the righteous to a better place, leaving the rest to rot in what’s Left Behind. It’s that “chosen race” theme again, isn’t it? All too reminiscent of Hitler’s “master race”. She sent me a couple of URLs to explore. As I was looking around wondering at the leaps in logic that allowed some quite outrageous conclusions to be drawn from what appeared to be exceedingly flimsy “evidence”, all I could see was Kurt Gödel perched genie-like atop a spinning vortex with a wry smile on his face. After all, exactly the same criticisms could be levelled at my view of reality, your view of reality, anybody’s view of reality.

Kurt Gödel

Kurt Gödel

Isn’t it amazing where dreams get you …

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard