Thursday, November 26, 2015
Thursday, October 01, 2015
"Mankind, the spirit of the earth, the synthesis of individuals and peoples, the paradoxical conciliation of the element of the whole, and the unity with the multitude - all these are called Utopian and yet they are biologically necessary. And for them to be incarnated in the world all we may well need is to imagine our power of loving developing until embraces the total of men and of the earth.
It may be said that this is the precise point at which we are invoking the impossible. Man's capacity, it may seem is confined to giving his affection to one human being or to very few. Beyond that radius the heart does not carry, and there is only room for cold justice and cold reason. To love all and everyone is a contradictory and false gesture which only leads in the end to loving no-one.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 8:41 AM
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Rendered by Luminita Saviuc with excepts of Rumi's Poetry.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 9:04 AM
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
This excellent article "The Brain vs Deep Learning Part I: Computational Complexity — Or Why the Singularity Is Nowhere Near" outlines a range of topics, although long and complex beyond my background in neuroscience... yet it makes me pause and question once again our culture's premises and assumptions - singularity while not impossible, is far more challenging than ever conceived, I trust, if we were to really attempt to mimic the miracle of our human form:
Here's an excerpt:
Factors which help to predict a singularityRay Kurzweil has made many very accurate predictions and his methods to reach these predictions are quite simple for computing devices: Look at the exponential growth of computing power, efficiency, and size, and then extrapolate. This way, you could easily predict the emergence of small computers which fit into your hands and with a bit of creativity, one could imagine that one day there would be tablets and smartphones. The trends were there, you just needed to imagine what could be done with computers which you can hold in your hand.Similarly, Ray Kurzweil predicted the emergence of strong AI which is as intelligent or more intelligent than humans. For this prediction he also used data for the exponential growth of computing power and compared this to an estimate for the computational power of the brain.He also acknowledges that the software will be as important as the hardware, and that the software development of strong AI will take longer because such software can only be developed once fast computer systems are available. This can be felt in the area of deep learning, where solid ideas of the 1990s were unfeasible due to the slow computers. Once graphic processing units (GPUs) were used, these computing limitations were quickly removed and rapid progress could be made.However, Kurzweil also stresses that once the hardware level is reached, first “simple” strong AI systems will be developed quickly. He sets the date for brain-like computational power to 2020 and the emergence of strong AI (first human like intelligence or better) to 2030. Why these numbers? With persisting growth in computing power in 2019 we will reach the computing power which is equivalent to the human brain — or will we?This estimate is based on two things: (1) The estimate for the complexity of the brain, (2) the estimate for the growth in computing power. As we will see, both these estimates are not up-to-date with current technology and knowledge about neuroscience and high performance computing.Our knowledge of neuroscience doubles about every year. Using this doubling period, in the year of 2005 we would only have possessed about 0.098% of the neuroscience knowledge that we have today. This number is a bit off, because the doubling time was about 2 years in 2005 while it is less than a year now, but overall it is way below 1 %.The thing is that Ray Kurzweil based his predictions on the neuroscience of 2005 and never updated them. An estimate for the brains computational power based on 1% of the neuroscience knowledge does not seem right. Here is small list of a few important discoveries made in the last two years which increase the computing power of the brain by many orders of magnitude:It was shown that brain connections rather than being passive cables, can themselves process information and alter the behavior of neurons in meaningful ways, e.g. brain connections help you to see the objects in everyday life. This fact alone increases brain computational complexity by several orders of magnitudeNeurons which do not fire still learn: There is much more going on than electrical spikes in neurons and brain connections: Proteins, which are the little biological machines which make everything in your body work, combined with local electric potential do a lot of information processing on their own — no activation of the neuron requiredNeurons change their genome dynamically to produce the right proteins to handle everyday information processing tasks. Brain: “Oh you are reading a blog. Wait a second, I just upregulate this reading-gene to help you understand the content of the blog better.” (This is an exaggeration — but it is not too far off)
Read more here.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 9:00 PM
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 12:05 AM
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The acclaimed buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks to the Ecologist about the loss of biodiversity and why human vulnerability is not something we should despair about
"The National Wildlife Federation tells us everyday that 100 plants and animal species are lost to deforestation. Extinction of species is taking place everyday. In one year there may be 200,000 species going into extinction. That is what is happening; that is not the problem of the future. We know that 251 million years ago there was already global warming caused by gigantic volcanic eruptions. They caused the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet. The 6C increase in global temperature was enough to wipe out 95 per cent of the species that were alive. Global warming already happened 251 million years ago because of volcanic eruptions and 95 per cent of species on earth disappeared.
Now a second global warming is taking place. This time because of deforestation and industrialisation; man-made, maybe in 100 years there will be no more humans on the planet, in just 100 years. After the disappearance of 95 per cent of species on the earth by the mass extinction the earth took 100 million years to restore life on earth. If our civilisation disappears it will take some time like that for another civilisation to reappear. When volcanic eruptions happened the carbon dioxide built up and created the greenhouse effect. That was 251 million years ago. Now the building up of carbon dioxide is coming from our own lifestyle and our industrial activities.
If 6C degrees take place, another 95 per cent of species will die out, including Homo sapiens. That is why we have to learn to touch eternity with our in breath and out breath. Extinction of species has happened several times. Mass extinction has already happened five times and this one is the sixth. According to the Buddhist tradition there is no birth and no death. After extinction things will reappear in other forms, so you have to breathe very deeply in order to acknowledge the fact that we humans may disappear in just 100 years on earth.
You have to learn how to accept that hard fact. You should not be overwhelmed by despair. The solution is to learn how to touch eternity in the present moment. We have been talking about the environment as if it is something different from us, but we are the environment. The non-human elements are our environment, but we are the environment of non-human elements, so we are one with the environment. We are the environment. We are the earth and the earth has the capacity to restore balance and sometimes many species have to disappear for the balance restored. Maybe the flood, maybe the heat, maybe the air.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 1:22 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2015
The Way of Tea
A friend presented me
With tender leaves of Oolong tea,
For which I chose a kettle
Of ivory-mounted gold,
A mixing-bowl of snow-white earth.
With its clear bright froth and fragrance,
It was like the nectar of Immortals.
The first bowl washed the cobwebs from my mind -
The whole world seemed to sparkle.
A second cleansed my spirit
Like purifying showers of rain,
A third and I was one of the Immortals -
What need now for austerities
To purge our human sorrows?
Worldly people, by going in for wine,
Sadly deceive themselves.
For now I know the Way of Tea is real.
~ Chio Jen (Tang Dynasty
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 7:22 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
A Bigger Container
by Charlotte Joko Beck
What is created, what grows, is the amount of life I can hold without it upsetting me, dominating me. At first this space is quite restricted, then it’s a bit bigger, and then it’s bigger still. It need never cease to grow. And the enlightened state is that enormous and compassionate space. But as long as we live we find there is a limit to our container’s size and it is at that point that we must practice. And how do we know where this cut-off point is? We are at that point when we feel any degree of upset, of anger. It’s no mystery at all. And the strength of our practice is how big that container gets.
As we do this practice we need to be charitable with ourselves. We need to recognize when we’re unwilling to do it. No one is willing all the time. And it’s not bad when we don’t do it. We always do what we’re ready to do.
The practice of making A Bigger Container is essentially spiritual because it is essentially nothing at all. A Bigger Container isn’t a thing; awareness is not a thing; the witness is not a thing or a person. There is not somebody witnessing. Nevertheless that which can witness my mind and body must be other than my mind and body. If I can observe my mind and body in an angry state, who is this “I” who observes? It shows me that I am other than my anger, bigger than my anger, and this knowledge enables me to build A Bigger Container, to grow. So what must be increased is the ability to observe. What we observe is always secondary. It isn’t important that we are upset; what is important is the ability to observe the upset.
As the ability grows first to observe, and second to experience, two factors simultaneously increase: wisdom, the ability to see life as it is (not the way I want it to be) and compassion, the natural action which comes from seeing life as it is. We can’t have compassion for anyone or anything if our encounter with them is ensnarled in pride and anger; it’s impossible. Compassion grows as we create A Bigger Container.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 3:01 AM
Friday, June 19, 2015
"This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend to them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably,
He may be clearing you out for some new delight."
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 7:38 PM
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Yes, I'm posting a recipe for one of the BEST BREADS I have ever tried.... first time ever - and when you try it you'll know why!
The Life-Changing Loaf of BreadMakes 1 loaf
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 10:48 AM
Sunday, June 07, 2015
In her awesome book, "When Things Fall Apart" Pema Chodron wrote:
It is said in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta [the mind of enlightenment] that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of the pain itself. This is the time to touch genuine heart of [the mind of enlightenment]. In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things, the genuine heart of sadness.
Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for a million years is not discolored or harmed, in the same way this noble heart is not affected by all our kicking and screaming. The jewel can be brought out into the light at any time, and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened. No matter how committed we are to unkindness, selfishness, or greed, the genuine heart of [the mind of enlightenment] cannot be lost. It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.
We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is, we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us, a prison that restricts us to our personal holes and fears and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ourselves from discomfort, we suffer. Yet when we don't close off and we let our hearts break, we discover kinship with all beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes two kinds of selfish people: the unwise and the wise. Unwise selfish people think only of themselves, and the result is confusion and pain. Wise selfish people know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to be there for others. As a result they experience joy.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 10:35 AM
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 10:13 AM
Friday, December 26, 2014
"Today we are the creators. We each have our own unique skills and talents to contribute creating the kingdom of God. We serve God best when we do what we love for the greatest cause we can imagine. What the people in this room do, is spiritual, it is profound. We are the leaders of this new religion. We have faith that people connected can create a new world. Each one of us is a creator, but together we are the Creator."
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 11:33 AM
Saturday, December 13, 2014
"If the theory of syntropy is correct, three levels of time must exist. The sequential time to which we are accustomed to, in which energy is divergent and entropy prevails, would be typical of expanding systems, such as our universe. On the contrary, in a converging system the ﬂow of time would be reversed as it happens in black holes. There are also systems in which diverging and converging forces are balanced, such as atoms. At this level time is unitary and past, present and future coexist.”
read more in the article "Luigi Fantappié and the physics of life"
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 6:37 PM
Monday, December 08, 2014
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
"A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Physics of Life Reviews claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in "microtubules" inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions."
"The theory, called "orchestrated objective reduction" ('Orch OR'), was first put forward in the mid-1990s by eminent mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, FRS, Mathematical Institute and Wadham College, University of Oxford, and prominent anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, MD, Anesthesiology, Psychology and Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson. They suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were "orchestrated" ("Orch") by synaptic inputs and memory stored in microtubules, and terminated by Penrose "objective reduction" ('OR'), hence "Orch OR." Microtubules are major components of the cell structural skeleton."
"Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was considered too "warm, wet, and noisy" for seemingly delicate quantum processes.. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain microtubules. The recent discovery of warm temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair's theory and suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations. In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via microtubules in brain neurons."
"The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?" ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. "This opens a potential Pandora's Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, 'proto-conscious' quantum structure of reality."
"After 20 years of skeptical criticism, "the evidence now clearly supports Orch OR," continue Hameroff and Penrose. "Our new paper updates the evidence, clarifies Orch OR quantum bits, or "qubits," as helical pathways in microtubule lattices, rebuts critics, and reviews 20 testable predictions of Orch OR published in 1998 -- of these, six are confirmed and none refuted."
"An important new facet of the theory is introduced. Microtubule quantum vibrations (e.g. in megahertz) appear to interfere and produce much slower EEG "beat frequencies." Despite a century of clinical use, the underlying origins of EEG rhythms have remained a mystery. Clinical trials of brief brain stimulation aimed at microtubule resonances with megahertz mechanical vibrations using transcranial ultrasound have shown reported improvements in mood, and may prove useful against Alzheimer's disease and brain injury in the future.
"Lead author Stuart Hameroff concludes, "Orch OR is the most rigorous, comprehensive and successfully-tested theory of consciousness ever put forth. From a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions."
The review is accompanied by eight commentaries from outside authorities, including an Australian group of Orch OR arch-skeptics. To all, Hameroff and Penrose respond robustly."
"Penrose, Hameroff and Bandyopadhyay will explore their theories during a session on "Microtubules and the Big Consciousness Debate" at the Brainstorm Sessions, a public three-day event at the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 16-18, 2014. They will engage skeptics in a debate on the nature of consciousness, and Bandyopadhyay and his team will couple microtubule vibrations from active neurons to play Indian musical instruments. "Consciousness depends on anharmonic vibrations of microtubules inside neurons, similar to certain kinds of Indian music, but unlike Western music which is harmonic," Hameroff explains."
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 11:01 PM
Monday, December 01, 2014
The preeminent scholar and philosopher Manly P. Hall who founded the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles. He's the author of "Secret Teachings of All Ages" which he wrote in his twenties in 1928.
He wrote many books, among them "Solving Psychic Problems and Submerged Personalities" from which this definitive quote emerged:
"We advise those who come with psychic problems to relax the tensions caused by fear and uncertainty and take a matter-of-fact attitude. Nine times out of ten this ends the phenomenon, which which is only hysteria due to metaphysical indigestion. Spirits are traditionally believed to inhabit ancient ruins, old and deserted houses, graveyards, places of executions, and similar melancholy spots. They shun the light of day, remain aloof from gaiety and happiness, and return to their graves when the cock crows at dawn. Psychological spooks frequent those gloomy and decadent zones of the subconscious which correspond to the melancholy places of the earth. They rise from the dead hopes and from the ruins of old memories, and they depart in haste at the approach of mental light. When day breaks in us, the specters fade like mist at dawn. When we clean out the gloomy ruins within ourselves, there is no suitable habitation for the shadows of lost causes."
"There is no essential evil in nature, not intent to plague mortals with horrible phantoms. Such a sad condition myst be caused by the individual, and the cure lies in the correction of the cause. Socrates paid homage to happy spirits and found each grove and glade the habitation of useful and kindly creatures ever ready to serve mankind. Having experienced the universe as full of goodness, the philosopher had no place in his own soul for fear. He lived his convictions and died with a good hope. If we do not acknowledge the existence of injustice, we are seldom the victims of any mysterious evil agency. If, however, we lack within ourselves a deep and abiding confidence about the integrity of universals, we plague ourselves innumerable deceits. The remedy is to live and think constructively, develop our internal resources naturally and graciously, correct our faults, forget the past, and dedicate the present and the future to useful and constructive enterprises. The spook, if any, cannot endure such optimism, and departs in search of a more congenial ruin to haunt."
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 3:56 PM
Monday, November 24, 2014
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 9:45 PM
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
"The most exciting breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will not occur because of technology, but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human." - John Naisbitt
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 8:13 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
When we clear our heart in the present, and listen to our inner presence, our authenticity will shine forth and clear intentions emerge which will enable us to live more effectively moment by moment, sweetly navigating the exciting unexpected currents flowing from the cosmic heart. Atunement to the inner is atunement to the all.
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 10:19 AM
Sunday, October 05, 2014
"In many spiritual traditions, desire is considered negative because it is seen as an ego desire, which is a desire based on our animalistic impulses, our need to survive. Generally, it is recommended that you not feel desires, that you push them aside or just witness them, and continue staying focused on the practice rather than attend to the content. This is suggested so you don't get distracted by feelings, thoughts, and memories that can bring a lot of inner conflict. As you see, there is a great deal of difficulty in just allowing the feeling itself. But the trust is that once we allow the feeling, we can understand it and allow to fulfill its destiny. We have to learn how to do this in a way that optimizes our spiritual realization."
"Even so, we need to understand that not all desire is the same. For most individuals desire and grasping onto the object of desire are the same thing. Desire that is related to attachment is suffering, and keeps us dissociated from our nature; this type of desire has mostly to do with the self and its object of desire, not with the desiring itself. But as we have seen, desire can function as an avenue to our nature - if we use the desiring energy that is usually directed outward, thereby creating attachment, to go inward. It takes a determination a love for the truth to stay with that energy and follow it back to its origin, thereby liberating the energy of desire to serve freedom instead of keeping us bound in suffering."
"And that is what we are trying to do here-- harness that energy, feel it fully. Even the smallest desire has a trickle of that energy, so experiencing that wanting and following it inward, feeling the energy of it, can release our mind from the content of the desire. Just staying with the energy will naturally open up into a deeper level of our existence, and this is the naturalness of the process."
"So if we want to be ourselves completely - to know our nature at its depth and be fully in the world - this requires being alive and being in touch with that energy. And that brings the erotic into love. In other words, to be able to experience divine eros, we need the purity of love, the ground of lovingness and goodness, the experience of the presence of love, plus the scintillating, erupting explosive quality that has an energy to it. Such energetic dynamic love can be very, very fine - like very gentle bubbles or a gentle vibration - or it can be explosive. This love has an erotic quality to it, and we can feel it draw us toward the divine, toward the truth, toward our inner nature. We can have the experience of desiring to penetrate the mystery, to know the spirit."
"A deep understanding of reality can follow from such a realization of desire. We can see that dualism arises when we are separated from our nature, for it is then that we experience the desire to fill ourselves. We believe there is something external that we need to have, and we deeply believe that we don't have that something. However, with the energy of desire, when we feel it as the blissful wanting of another - but with a sense of sufficiency, not from lack -we don't feel the same kind of otherness we do when we have a dualistic perspective. We feel that the other is arising from the same ground as we are. There is a sharing of a blissful communion, and that communion is a recognition that both of you are one reality."
"We can also feel a loving desire toward our essential nature as the Beloved. Then we are in a dance with that nature, an ebb and a flow with it, and we are not separate - nor are we one. There is enough differentiation for us to feel the excitement of moving toward Beloved again. We feel that we are, in a sense, ourselves in union. It is nice to appear as two, but it doesn't mean that there are two. So the appearance of two is what allows the love to have that vigorous feeling of wanting another and the enjoyment of wanting. There is a fullness to that desire, and you know that within each other, you are the same. A dualistic or a monistic view alone keeps us from the recognition that our nature is a continuous unity within which we can view and appreciate one another as manifestations of reality, recognizing that the Beloved is what you are in union with."
From "The Power of Divine Eros"
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 11:48 AM
Sunday, September 28, 2014
With luminous ancient radiance
Shining from the heart of the cosmos
Here we see, again.
Skin suits dancing, learning, living, serving, celebrating.
Evolutionary energy alive amidst the chaotic death rays
Coherent connections catalyze human integration
As the little Bodhisattva butterfly emerges from the collective chrysalis, smiling wide!
Galloping gayly through the timelines
Feeling, flowing, trusting the inner knowing
Allowing the unfolding,
Of love of all to emerge every step....
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 9:54 AM
Saturday, September 27, 2014
“Cognitively, psychologically, and morally, moving on to a new stage is a massive feat. It requires courage to let go of old certainties and experiment with a new worldview. For a while, everything can seem uncertain and confused. It might be lonely, too, as sometimes in the process we can lose close relationships with friends and family who can no longer relate to us. Growing into a new form of consciousness is always a highly personal, unique, and somewhat mysterious process. It cannot be forced onto somebody. No one can be made to evolve in consciousness, even with the best of intentions – a hard truth for coaches and consultants, who wish they could help organizational leaders adopt worldview by the power of conviction. What can be done is to create environments that are conducive to growing into later stages. When someone is surrounded by peers who already see the world from a more complex perspective, in a context safe enough to explore inner conflicts, chances are higher that the person will make the leap.”
Here’s a link to the book "Reinveinting Organizations"
Posted by Gregory Wendt at 3:20 PM