May 25, 2017

We are just spending time writing words that make our worlds comfortable

Dear John,
Your post seems to have been cut short. Nevertheless, can i just ask what you, and maybe Bruno, mean by ‘mechanism’. I have not come across a broad metaphysical usage of the term before reading posts on this list. What is it and what is the alternative? 

In general I do not think we need to be looking for differences in empirical data that test predictions to test our theories. I agree with Popper that the first thing to do is make sure your theory adds up on its own terms. My feeling is that most don’t, so choosing a metaphysics is fairly simple - like sorting the garbage from the recycling!


On 25 May 2017, at 04:47, john.kineman wrote:
Hello Bruno and Chris,

I've been looking for a good entry point into this discussion of physics, qualia, and mechanism. I made some foundational arguments in earlier quotes which I think are not generally accepted, or at least not evidently so in the responses and ongoing defense of mechanism as a potentially holistic paradigm. I want to continue to argue why I am convinced it is not a viable candidate, and I can see that Bruno has the opposite view. So the question is, what kind of evidence would be convincing either way? Otherwise, we are just spending time writing words that make our worlds comfortable.

If we can agree to address the question in a critical fashion, in which we look for the key deciding factor, this forum could make some significant progress. So, I will make some points here about what that criterion should be, and why I think it argues for a realist view of qualia and a qualified acceptance of mechanism. I'll number so the points can be easily referenced.

1. First, we are writing electronic posts off the cuff on perhaps the most fundamental subject in science. There is little technical detail shared that could change minds. Mostly we end up sharing personal opinions. This should be resisted as much as possible, and we should cite criterion - completely aside from citing entire papers or books everyone should read in order to be swayed into a given philosophical camp (although I am guilty of advocating that myself, with Rosen's work - even here a cheap plug). 

2. Let's next recognize that such deep questions are a discussion of world view and epistemology. Thus we need to know the epistemological criteria being used to defend one position or another.

3.We cannot reduce the key arguments to a positivist rejectability because world views are not rejectable in that way. They are the foundations of thought, not the rejectable outputs of thought. For example, I have eyes so I describe and explain my world in terms of what I see. I assume the visible and then propose theories in those terms. I can test the theory against other things I can see. If I were in the ultimate movie theatre of the future, however, I might never discover the flaw in my starting assumption, that the sights are real. And I might never know about the projector or the screen because what is stated in those terms, assumes those terms as reality. However, there are still some criteria, that if carefully applied, could tell me in this theater that something is wrong with my world view and I could begin to try other ideas about reality, testing them by these criteria.

4. The only criteria that we can't use in this test of world view, is the one we would like to use and are comfortable using when testing theories WITHIN a world view. We would like to compare predictions of the theory to actual data. But the meta-theory that reality is composed of the images I see in this hypothetical theater does not predict which images should appear next, it is the generator of theories about how those images are related to each other, assuming they are real. The derived theory then makes testable predictions and we can accept or reject the theories, but not the foundation on that evidence. So, what can be used?

5. There are epistemological requirements we more or less have agreed to in science and philosophy, even spirituality, when examined. I'll list these. There are six that I am aware of from the best known philosophers of science (which may not include a lot of Eastern philosophers, but so far I've found that at this level the criteria are in agreement). In no special order:

I agree with what you say. 

My point is twofold. 1) Mechanism is incompatible with Physicalism. 2) if we keep Mechanism, physics is reduced to machine self-reference, and this makes Mechanism testable: just compare physics extracted from machine self-reference with the physics inferred from observation. (the I extracted the logic of the observable, and it obeys already to a quantum logic, so things fit nicely, up to now).


My comments (John Kineman):
I gave Rosen's definition and proof of incompleteness, which some challenged, defending Church-Turing and saying Rosen misunderstood, but not giving details of his supposed error. I would like to know that precisely because I don't think he was in error, and I have not seen any valid counter-claim...

I can only make some points about this that hopefully will be troubling, because present mainstream reasoning does not accept it. It is entertained in some complexity circles and in Eastern philosophy from the Veda, but the level of mathematical rigor to nail it down as a working scientific methodology is not there to counter the tremendous power of calculation from this "standard" view. Here's my attempt to make some relevant points. I'll number them so they can be referenced.

1. First, we are discussing worldview assumptions about nature and/or reality, something we cannot define aside from our view of it. Modern and Post-modern science took the position of accepting a 'prior' assumption and working from there. It is rooted in the "reality" of the senses. The Veda took the assumption that our theory of nature should be rooted in pure experience, and that sensory information might be illusory. Descartes actually agreed with Eastern philosophy in saying that of all that can be known, only direct experience can be considered a certainty, and that mainly because there is no alternative if we consider anything. All else, i.e. what may lie behind such immediate percepts, requires experimental confirmation.  And yet, science developed from his idea of method in which experimental confirmation employed sensory data to infer physical objects, and eventually we accepted a sensory foundation. We conflated measurement with experience, whereas I think Descartes was referring to the experience of a percept -- on this discussion list it is referred to as the experience of "redness" vs a measurement of wavelength, and that sort of thing. Descartes' Discourse on Method and inspiration from what he called a deep personal meditation (of which he said he rarely was inclined to share), was presented as a final proof of God. In other words, he was saying that if I can ask a question about reality, then I must exist and therefore some ultimate "I"-ness, or identity (assign the undefinable term "God" to this ultimate) must also exist. This recapitulated the Easter metaphysicians conclusions which were confirmed in 1000's of years of such meditations on inner experience. The unfettered conclusion is that we need a concept of identity in knowledge, and thus in science.  This is the reason some look at Category theory as a, probably inadequate, way of formalizing an identity. Cat. theory has the identity relation and thus can represent it.

2. If we accept, at least, that we are discussing such worldview assumptions, then we need criteria for deciding what is a valid scientific worldview. These are different from positivistic criteria in deciding if a theory is true or false. A theory is tested within a worldview -- its confirmation or rejection is not a confirmation or rejection of the basic assumptions. We all know this from the well-worn story of Ptolemy's circles and Newton's forces. Newton's theory was more parsimonious, not more correct. We can still calculate orbits in terms of Ptolemy's circles if we want, but it gets horribly complicated with arbitrary precision. Whereas Newton's forces make it easy. Same with replacing Newton's forces with relativity - we would have to invent many fanciful forces to duplicate the elegant explanation of relativity. In Quantum we hit a wall. There was not consistent way of simply adding a more elegant way of calculating unless we admitted two complements to the calculation, and implicitly the reality (Copenhagen Convention). We are still divided on that point - is it the calculation that has uncertainty or the reality? Einstein and Scrodinger were not comfortable with blaming nature, but most agreed with Bohr and went that way. It was probably the right decision because nobody had a workable alternative.

3. We thus have six epistemological criteria for evaluating a worldview. They are (in no particular order): 

(1) Parsimony --  "thou shalt not do with more, what can be done with less". It is really elegance of explanatory ability, the ability to explain more than another theory with fewer assumptions and less analytical procedure, but it should not discard any experience as a result of the simplification; in fact, it should expand the kinds of experiences that can thus be understood.

(2) Generality -- the new view should apply as broadly as possible, or if meant to be instrumental, one should state what kind of systems it is good for. If heuristic, then it is not being proposed as a theory of nature, so that is a separate matter.

(3) Necessity -- We should reach the new set of assumptions through a process of testing previous assumptions to their exhaustion - in other words, for practical reasons in science we try to get as much out of a worldview as it has in it. Every worldview (some claim) will have a limit in its explanatory power. We have to definitively and conclusively reach this limit in the old view before jumping to the new one. Otherwise we will know clearly what kind of jump is needed and we will land in incomprehensible territory. This is essential for Khun's revolutions. It explains most of work-a-day science, plodding away at an explanatory paradigm even knowing it may be limited. Our aim is to explain things, yes, but also and ultimately to find that limit.  A caveat is appropriate here, and presages my conclusion. It was stated by the eminent philosopher Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain - actually a humorist), who said: "One should not learn more from an experience than it has in it: for example, a cat that sits on a hot stove will never sit on a hot stove again. But it will never sit on a cold one either".

(4) Consistency -- This goes with Necessity. To demonstrate necessity we essentially find the paradox in the previous theory - the thing it can't provide any logic for. The new view provides that logic and jumps us to a new level of comprehensive explanation, without losing any explanatory ability of the old theory. It charts new territory, it does not revise the old except in various assumptions and presumptions that are not really confirmed in the old theory. In other words, confirmation is confirmation of what has been confirmed, in the terms in which it was confirmed, nothing more and nothing less.

(5) Formality  --  This is merely the ability to provide the logical syntax for doing science and stating knowledge. If we can't say anything sensible in the new view, it has no value in science. I assume this requires and necessitates some kind of logic as well as semiotics. Science uses symbols that make sense and by applying that sense to those symbols we explain things.

(6) Productivity (aka Fruitfulness) -- The new view must be able to spawn new theories that have value for the things we want to explain or construct. Worldviews can be dead-ends, e.g., the universe is composed of jellybeans, so explain everything in terms of the dynamics of jellybeans (I think I did that as a child). Since they can't be tested directly on logical and evidentiary grounds, (as the theory of jellybeans eventually could be, when I grew up), they must be tested on circumstantial grounds - how "useful" are they? Do they actually solve problems? This could also be called "Utility", I suppose. The biggest caveat and problem with this criterion is that it requires (a) understanding the new view thoroughly enough to use it, (b) many years of using it in case studies, (c) reformulating previous theories to be sure the same conclusions are reached, or that the differences are understood. Our great problem right now is that nearly everyone on this list has a different way of getting the new theory. And each track requires their full attention to make progress with it. Bruno must spend his time developing Combinator theory. I have to spend my time developing Relational Holon theory. Who has the time to actual learn and apply each one to see which comes out 'best' on these six criteria? This implies maybe centuries of work, but we may not have centuries.

4. Actually, all of these criteria apply to theories as well, since theories come from worldviews, but without the additional tool for theories, of direct experimental testing via elegant experiments. For example, and I'll take a guess here, there is probably no experiment that can confirm or reject the idea of "dark energy" that counters gravitational collapse at nearly exactly the opposite effect than is predicted by standard theory (thus requiring about 2/3 dark vs 1/3 normal to cancel and reverse the direction). This is probably a heuristic patch on standard theory, which has most likely missed something fundamental (probably something Machian) in its original idea about mass and gravity. But if we don't change the local idea about mass/gravity, and keep all the hard work done on calculating that, we have to invoke this non-local effect to explain the evidence, and we also get an apparently super-luminal velocity of expansion that is implied if we stick to local observations of it. What the heck is super-luminal velocity? Nobody knows. Call it inflation. Like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) if we give it a name people will assume you know something about it. In other words, we are in the same boat that Ptolemy was in before Newton - the patches start to get untenable.

5. To not write too much in one post I'll make only a few more points and wait for the critique. This point is about qualia. The necessary new worldview seems to be one in which we must reify qualia in order to simplify the previous way of calculating nature while explaining the "more" that we are all aware of in nature (which includes us). It is obvious from many comments and agreements on this list that we accept qualia in what the scientist must do to perform science. That's a start. And in the extremely appropriate question (which initially attracted me to this list) "does science explain the scientist", it is clear that standard science today does not and cannot without reifying qualia. Nothing could be more obvious, except that we don't have that answer collectively, so it is very troubling to many. I claim there is an answer available, one that meets all six criteria above; but of course it is profoundly revolutionary and so requires many decades or centuries of use to decide the sixth criteria, Fruitfulness, unless we suddenly have a collective epiphany. Currently one or two people are using it.

6. I want to indicate some cracks in the armor of mechanism and computation. There are many, but which point will have an impact? Probably none - we can always imagine a computational way around it. But again the question is not if it can be done computationally, but is that the best way to do it? The most parsimonious? ...

Rosen, certainly recognized as a brilliant mathematician and biologist, wrote "there is nothing more abstract than a number". Nothing that can be counted in discrete numbers can thus be foundational. It is an abstraction, and a fraction of the whole.


Dear Shanta,

I never said I accept the authority of biologists. But not being a biologist I am in no position to challenge their authority. Since you are very much involved in biology you are in the right position to challenge their authority. I do repeat though that challenging a theory does not necessarily lead to the rejection of the theory and replacing it with whatever one wants. It may actually lead to the revision of the theory. I stick by that though I may be terribly wrong about it.

As for what you said in the past and the censoring of my email, let us just forget about it for now. I do feel though, not just from you but from some other Bhakti Vedanta scholars I have encountered that there is a confident finality, immune to criticism, that comes out in the way you speak and write. This is what I challenge as an argumentative Indian and the Indian tradition of debate. Vedanta has various interpretations. Each Upanishad is open to multiple interpretations. These must be debated and worked out and one must not accept the authority of anyone including the Bhakti Vedanta proponents.

May 25, 2017

Savitri Era: Life is a mystery but a language has some certainty #SriAurobindo

Tweets by Tusar Sir @SavitriEraParty
(Tusar Nath Mohapatra)

Sadhu-Sanga mulls over consciousness
From pigs to piano, quantum and qualia
Taking a tour from Turing to Penrose and Rosen
Leibniz to Gödel

Machines can know their incompleteness
Numbers conspire to spur consciousness
Notions from Nagasena to Chaitanya
Tug of war over physicalism

From eight-limbs Yoga to eight-bends Gita
Mails flying to and fro throughout eight praharas
Weaving web of words on world wide web
To comfort

Theories don't compare, domains vary
Pushing names a political game
Leibniz is lionised, Gödel waiting for Godot
TM and Vedic Unified-Field

Investigating consciousness via science
And mathematics can never be satisfying
Because of the subjective nature
Of the object of observation.

May 24, 2017

Michel Bitbol, David Kaiser, and Sam Harris

Trying to reconcile modern physics with ancient spiritual doctrines Eastern or Western is not useful for the progress of our understanding of reality. At best it is a diversion, at worst it leads to fake science. For the record, I regret (as a naive young man) having played a pivotal role in such books as Space-Time and Beyond, Tao of Physics, and The Dancing Wu Li Masters (see David Kaiser's two books How the Hippies Saved Physics and Groovy Science for that story) in misleading millions of New Age progressives in that direction.

May 24, 2017

Jack, if you think that non-physicalist metaphysics has no role to play in science, do you think Michel Bitbol's 'Is Consciousness Primary?" is equally misguided as the authors and books you mention?

Don Salmon
May 24, 2017

Dear Syamala-ji,

I think you have nicely articulated the problem of free will. 

I think that free will is this elusive resource that impels one's choice, but doesn't compel it. 

Free will = freedom + [ guidance / desire ]

i.e., the ability to enforce guidance  (regarding "natural laws") over desire, in a state where the rest of the universe prior to the choice permits more than one option to be chosen, i.e., free will has a counterfactual potency: a person who freely chose option A could really have chosen B.

Freedom provides the base or "elbow room" for the element of mental desire and guidance to battle for supremacy. Thus, free will fundamentally requires a two-level framework to be defined, a is a causal primitive different from both determinism and indeterminism (chance or probabilistic law), both of which reside at the "base level". 

One might suppose that this two-level structure could be collapsed into an over-arching single-level of determinism or indeterminism. But we claim that this such an over-arching (in)deterministic law is uncomputable at all transfinite Turing degrees and in that sense doesn't exist. Thus, the base level doesn't  have a (computable) causal closure no matter what the causal depth.

The act of choice creates a positive feedback effect strengthening the desire (and thereby generating karma and binding sanskaras in the subconscious) or dissolving the "vasana" (at the unconscious-level), of which the desire is a conscious-level manifestation. Note that this self-changing plasticity is reflected at the level of the physical brain, as recent research has shown.

From the perspective of spirituality, free will provides a mechanism by which the universe gradually evolves to a state of inner freedom, by deleting desire-generating vasanas (in contravention to a psychic version of Landauer's principle!). 

Thanks and regards,
May 24, 2017
Dr. R. Srikanth
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Theoretical Sciences
Poornaprajna Institute of Scientific Research
Bangalore- 560 080, Karnataka, India.


Some of the topics under discussion on this list will also be the topics of our presentation in Science and Scientist - 2017:

1. Science is not Sacrosanct and Science Takes Place Within an Orthodox Tradition
2. Neurology, Phrenology, Astrology - The Problem of Correlationism in Modern Science
3. The Unreasonable Relation of Mathematics to Natural Science
4. One can be a Scientific Skeptic of Evolution Theory
5. Beyond the Modern Monolith of Consciousness
6. The False Elephant and the False Ego

Thanking you.


Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Ph.D.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute
8, Gopalakrishnan Mansion, Konappana Agrahara, Electronic City, Bangalore
May 24, 2017

Assorted tweets:
The debate between @SamHarrisOrg & Deepak Chopra was a waste. This will be same. Our "generic spiritualists" are too confused, not logical
Debating @SamHarrisOrg requires analytical skills & scientific IQ, not enough to say "this is my private experience".
worth listening to a talk  between @jordanbpeterson and @SamHarrisOrg on the issue of what is truth. Don't think Sam can understand #maya
But sam harris does aknowledge higher states of meditative experiences which are totally different from a rational mundane world
There are trained scientists like Dr John  Hagelin (Maharishi Mahrsh yogis disciple) who can take on Sam Harris and Dawkins easily.
Deepak is under qualified to debate Sam. I think Sam might be interested in discussing Advaita with an intelligent and articulate Hindu.
@SamHarrisOrg is one who follows the farce idea of 'spiritual but not religious'. I think Rajivji should be the best to debate him.
No offense, Mr. Naga, but I think that is wishful thinking. Sam is very articulate can derail anyone. No harm is staying positive, however.

Book Extract:
Sri Aurobindo

A spiritual evolution, an evolution of consciousness in Matter in a constant developing self-formation till the form can reveal the indwelling spirit, is then the key note, the central significant motive of the terrestrial existence. This significance is concealed at the outset by the involution of the Spirit, the Divine Reality, in a dense material Inconscience; a veil of Inconscience, a veil of insensibility of Matter hides the universal Consciousness-Force which works within it, so that the Energy, which is the first form the Force of creation assumes in the physical universe, appears to be itself inconscient and yet does the works of a vast occult Intelligence. The obscure mysterious creatrix ends indeed by delivering the secret consciousness out of its thick and tenebrous prison; but she delivers it slowly, little by little, in minute infinitesimal drops, in thin jets, in small vibrant concretions of energy and substance, of life, of mind, as if that were all she could get out through the crass obstacle, the dull reluctant medium of an inconscient stuff of existence. At first she houses herself in forms of Matter which appear to be altogether unconscious, then struggles towards mentality in the guise of living Matter and attains to it imperfectly in the conscious animal. 

This consciousness is at first rudimentary, mostly a half subconscious or just conscious instinct; it develops slowly till in more organised forms of living Matter it reaches its climax of intelligence and exceeds itself in Man, the thinking animal who develops into the reasoning mental being but carries along with him even at his highest elevation the mould of original animality, the dead weight of subconscience of body, the downward pull of gravitation towards the original Inertia and Nescience, the control of an inconscient material Nature over his conscious evolution, its power for limitation, its law of difficult development, its immense force for retardation and frustration. This control by the original Inconscience over the consciousness emerging from it takes the general shape of a mentality struggling towards knowledge but itself, in what seems to be its fundamental nature, an Ignorance. Thus hampered and burdened, mental man has still to evolve out of himself the fully conscious being, a divine manhood or a spiritual and supramental supermanhood which shall be the next product of the evolution. That transition will mark the passage from the evolution in the Ignorance to a greater evolution in the Knowledge, founded and proceeding in the light of the Superconscient and no longer in the darkness of the Ignorance and Inconscience.

Tweets by @SavitriEraParty
[How can we recognise the shackles that tradition has laid upon us? For when we recognise them, we are also able to break them. -Franz Boas]
Sri Aurobindo helps in breaking free from the shackles of prejudice and conditioning at three crucial levels: Ontology, religion, & politics
As regards Ontology both science and philosophy encounter an impasse. Nothing to surpass Judeo-Vedic Evolutionary teleology of Sri Aurobindo
Old religions are beyond repair and hence The Mother & Sri Aurobindo hewed a new path of living by reinventing Vedic Evolutionary dialectic.
Sri Aurobindo rolls out the golden mean amidst the chaos and confusion perpetrated by Gandhi, Nehru, Marx, Lohia, Ambedkar, Savarkar, et al.
RSS strayed away from its original inspiration from Sri Aurobindo to make Muslim-hatred a core principle by pandering to popular sentiments.
Sri Aurobindo had tried to salvage Congress in 1907 but the British used Gokhale to anoint Gandhi as leader to keep it under own patronage.
Apart from Congress and RSS, the Communist movement also owes its origin to Sri Aurobindo through M.N. Roy, Anushilan, and Jugantar groups.
Thus, it's clear how three major political streams have moved away from Sri Aurobindo during the last 100 years and it's time now to return.
Western world is eternally indebted to Plato, Aristotle, and Pre-Socratics. Indians must inculcate same pride for the Veda via Sri Aurobindo
Let it be known that thanks to Twitter, I'm fighting here simultaneously against Marxist contempt and Hindutva indifference of Sri Aurobindo
My twelve years with social media has revolved around a single theme and it's Sri Aurobindo. My belief/views are free as I'm not accountable
Twitter providing an opportunity to write and share is a whopping advantage of our age which helps in disseminating Sri Aurobindo's message.
A friend tried to chasten me for my bias of Sri Aurobindo by "Gurus are for those who cannot find themselves and lack proper introspection."
Those writing on Twitter feel themselves to be Gurus and are averse to read Sri Aurobindo. But tough mental blocks vanishing is not unlikely
Savitri Era: Hindutva has no use for Sri Aurobindo's Secret of the Veda
Integral Yoga is not a secular exercise and amounts to a new religion by another name. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo spent their lives for it.
I'm a devotee of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. I call it Savitri Era Religion; fosters rationality & is a good alternative for new generation.
Savitri Era Religion ensuing from the legacy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is free from any form of rituals or dogma
Savitri Era Religion based on Sri Aurobindo's Vedic rediscovery gives an alternative to all those who feel alienated by Hindutva aggression.
Sri Aurobindo's reinterpretation of Veda is proving to be epitome of Consciousness studies as Quantum physics & Neuroscience fail to fathom.
Savitri Era Religion with the Integral Yoga of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo at its core is the most modern & liberal alternative to old faiths
Sri Aurobindo's ARYA (1914-1921) writings are a revolution: "collapse of the old order" for "love, wisdom and unity"
[love, wisdom and unity ... ultimate goal,—the conscious oneness of the Soul in humanity and the divinity of man.] ~SA
Welcome to the modern and liberal ethos of Savitri Era Religion inspired by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. #FiveDreams
Savitri Era: Cling to Sri Aurobindo's Vedic rediscovery - Tusar Nath Mohapatra, Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
[Despite profundity of his philosophy and wider implications Sri Aurobindo and his ideas are less known in the West]
Savitri Era Open Forum: My twelve years with social media #SriAurobindo #WorldUnion

May 23, 2017

Christof Koch, James A. Shapiro, and John Hagelin

Dr. Rao

You may wish to look at Christof Koch's ideas on panpsychism (consciousness as universal, pervading the universe).  Whether or not you agree, at least now, with one of the world's leading scientists on board, one cannot dismiss outright the possibility of consciousness being, as Sri Aurobindo wrote, "the fundamental thing in the universe."

Don Salmon
May 23, 2017


Dear Professor Priyadarshi Jetli ji

It is not surprising that gullible public simply accept whatever stories different scientists narrate about different things because our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. We subsist in an age where all comportment of religious wisdom—from the good moral standards and cultivation of good subjective qualities among individuals in society to the concept of dedication (devotion) to Absolute Truth (God)—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own beliefs that scientists have cultivated under an orthodox scientific tradition and their own stories (interpretations) about reality, scientists have declared war on the religious wisdom. We are witnessing so much of disharmony among science and religion these days, which may force someone think that a diabolical agency had put something in the water to create this conflict among scientists and religionists. Even the hardcore scientific literature in the form of books, articles, and academic conferences show a clear trend where an increasing number of honest scientists (who have not allowed themselves to be conditioned by a presumed materialistic stand that the orthodox scientific tradition impose on its practitioners) have raised serious doubts on the credibility of biased science practice that we witness in the modern science. Many of these sincere scientists (as I have given the example of Prof. James A. Shapiro) often express that, due to a biased stand that modern science adopts, the credibility of science now faces risks that scientists cannot easily analyze and increasingly the situation is becoming more complicated and sometimes unnerving.

At a tender age innocent students are asked to accept, for example, that Man is simply an enclosed membrane of chemicals because, the majority of scientists believe the same under the influence of biased scientific tradition. On the contrary there is zero evidence to support the presumption that life can be produced from matter and we all know that even a blade of grass is inconceivable for physicochemical methods which are foundation of modern science. It is very clear that with a presumed materialistic view in mind, by a mass propaganda, scientists have deliberately tried to undermine the religious wisdom and public’s understanding of the consensus about spiritual nature of life. In this bewildering situation the thoughtful scholars have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle true science is meant to decide whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not...  True science warns us, however, that we can deceive ourselves.


Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Ph.D.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute
May 23, 2017

Dear Bob,

Thanks for a detailed reply... I never took a single course in philosophy in my life and my knowledge of Vedanta is also cursory!

As you know, quantum mechanics is the most successful theory in the history of mankind. The agreement with experiments is more than 1 part per billion. The cell phone in your pocket is a glowing tribute to it! And yet, debates about interpretation are going on for some 90 years without any resolution. In fact some Nobel laureates like Weinberg and ‘t Hooft do not believe in any interpretation! The reason for majority believing in Copenhagen interpretation is that it is mostly epistemological. Physicists in general do not like to talk about ontological things because these are overreaching the implications of experiments and epistemological interpretation is lot safer in terms of just inferring what experiments mean. It may very well be that this is the limitation of science.

Bohm’s interpretation (theory) has to agree with experiments and well established theory like theory of relativity. If they have to make it highly non-linear in disagreement with experiments, that would be bad news for the theory. If Bohm’s interpretation is the only one which agrees with Vedanta, then we have to think seriously about the meaning of all this. Scientists are not going to buy that argument. Before we look at extra sensory things, the model has to explain sensory data.

As I mentioned in my article, Adi Shankaracharya’s  “Brahm Satyam, Jagat Mithya” sounds good to me. Modern physics already shows the Jagat Mithya  in the sense that the world is made out of fuzzy wave-particle stuff and not illusory rigid material we see around! Physics is not yet at the stage of Brahm Satyam!

I have high respect for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Prof. John Hagelin and I am somewhat familiar with his mathematical model of unified field.

Vasavada, Kashyap V 
May 23, 2017

Hi Bob:
The universal model of matter, mind, and consciousness presented in my earlier posted paper vindicates your statement below as well as predicts the observed empirical universe:

“As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has pointed out, “knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.” In ordinary waking, the physical is relatively the most ‘real.’ In higher states of consciousness, the subtle level (conceptually glimpsed in Bohm’s ‘implicate order’) is experienced as relatively more ‘real,’ and the unity of Vedant is the ‘only reality’ in the highest state, Brahman. In other words, we could say as with QT and some interpretations of Vedant that particles have no ‘real’ properties; but the point here is that it is more coherent and useful to think in terms of particles as having relatively ‘real’ physical properties, underlain by relatively more ‘real’ nonlocal wave dynamics, ultimately nothing other than phenomenal fluctuations of the unified field of consciousness itself as the ‘only reality.’ Mithya relates to being both ‘real’ and ‘unreal,’ depending on the perspective of the state of consciousness of the observer.”

Best Regards
Avtar Singh, Sc.D.
Alumni, MIT
Author of "The Hidden Factor - An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology, and Universal Reality"

Why do we have so many Gods 2: via @YouTube The Secret of the Veda: via @YouTube

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The Supermind and the Higher Functions of the Mind - At the highest reaches of the capacities of the human mind we find the power of the higher reason and the intellectual formulation of ideas. These functio...

Fifty Photographs of the Mother’s Darshan of 21 February 1973 -Dear Friends, On 21 February 1973, the Mother’s turned ninety-five. In the Darshan Card distributed on that day, she wrote: ‘The more we advance on the way...

In Defence of the Veda — Part 2 - *Editorial Note*:* While speaking of a certain transition from the Vedic cycle into different forms and systems of knowledge and self-enquiry, I have pur...

Richard Hartz, Rand Hicks, Debashish Banerji, and Michel Danino -To: Dr. Robert Boyer and other interested readers, Dear Robert, Please feel free to call me kashyap. Recently my name was added to this google group. I am ...

Hindutva has no use for Sri Aurobindo's Secret of the Veda - Tweets by @SavitriEraParty Savitri Era: Cling to Sri Aurobindo's Vedic rediscovery - Tusar Nath Mohapatra, Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum

My twelve years with social media - You didn't quote Vedic verses to support your view as I asked. Believing without understanding is your problem. It's not personal attack.

Savitri Era Party has prevented Hindutva from appropriating Sri Aurobindo - Savitri Era Learning Forum Natural world doesn't entirely obey computable physics - Tusar, I am not sure from which authority you are able to say that these...

States must get Sovereignty and UN membership - Tusar Nath Mohapatra · @TusarSir [In our psychological interpretation of the Veda we are met at every turn by the ancient conception of the Truth as the pat...
[Bharati was joined in Pondicherry by Sri Aurobindo & V.V.S. Iyer.. many a stirring literary & spiritual discussion]

[The house where Sri Aurobindo went into hiding and used the space to make bombs still stands. -By Kalyani Majumdar]

The Torch of Attention— The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram: #MirraAlfassa #SriAurobindo

[There was never in Vedic tradition any statement to affirm that creation was unreal or terrestrial existence a lie]

[Despite profundity of his philosophy and wider implications Sri Aurobindo and his ideas are less known in the West]

[Your smartphone could soon translate your thoughts into text via @wef this is what Aurobindo visualized as Planchet] @rekhajag › latest-news › t...
20 hours ago - The Spiritual Laboratory of the World. — By Sri Aurobindo | May 23, 2017 01:53 am. FOLLOW US: Mankind haslong been experimenting with various kinds of thought, different principles of ethics, strange dreams ...

May 22, 2017

Richard Hartz, Rand Hicks, Debashish Banerji, and Michel Danino

To: Dr. Robert Boyer and other interested readers,
Dear Robert,

Please feel free to call me kashyap. Recently my name was added to this google group. I am a retired physics professor and like you have been interested in physics, Vedanta and consciousness. For consciousness I am in the initial learning stage. I do not have any ‘pet theory’ on consciousness! I have been glancing at your interesting papers.  I may have some questions after I read your papers carefully. But here is one question which comes to my mind immediately.

Do you believe from your Vedic model that Bohm’s model about explicate and implicate order is essentially correct?

I should say that purely from physics point of view, Bohm’s interpretation is not doing well. It is true that in spite of 90 years debate about interpretation of quantum physics, there is no consensus on the issue of interpretation. But there have been polls amongst physicists about various interpretations. Usually Copenhagen interpretation gets top votes (not majority though) and Bohm’s theory gets practically zero votes. Admittedly, science should not be done by popularity contests! But the fact remains that Bohm’s theory has serious problems with theory of relativity and its insistence on particle trajectories being real. So overwhelming number of physicists do not agree with the model. This would include recent attempts to restore Bohm’s model.

As I see it, majority of physicists believe in non-real interpretation of quantum physics. This was clear from 1920s when wave-particle duality was accepted. But more recently, experiments based on Bell’s theorem have made it clear that particles do not have any (real) properties before they are measured. In this context, Einstein, the greatest scientist ever born, was most likely wrong! This is mentioned in my recent article “Concepts of Reality in Hinduism and Buddhism from the perspective of a physicist”. I have posted it on this blog, sometime back. I will appreciate your comments on it when you have time to read it. It seems to me that Vedanta (following Adi Shanakaracharya’s concept of Maya or Illusion) would agree more with non-real interpretation of quantum physics than  with Bohm’s interpretation! Real interpretation may be ok for the ultimate Brahman but physics is not there yet!


Kashyap Vasavada

Vasavada, Kashyap V 
May 22, 2017

I hope you read the paper I mentioned on free will, which discusses the thoughtful issue you brought up. The first part of the paper discusses an ontological model for real mind over matter necessary for free will, from a philosophy of physics angle. The second part addresses the meaning/definition of free will and applies the model to an epistemological approach for direct validation of free will in higher stages of development.

Boyer RW. Unless We are Robots, Classical and Quantum Theories are Fundamentally Inadequate. NeuroQuantology, March 2014, 12) (1), 102-125.

As I understand it, this ejournal is now open access.

Best wishes,
R Boyer
May 22, 2017

There is a boundary, 'a logical limit'. In computer science this limit is described by Rice's Theorem - any non-trivial property of a computer program is non-computable. In mathematics non-computability depends upon the exact problem: Hilbert's 10th problem, regarding Diophantine equations, is above the logic limit and non-computability also applies to other fields. Roger Penrose has shown it can be applied to recreational mathematical puzzles and in this paper I will apply the principle to general creativity and particularly the composition of music. The existence of creativity within our Universe leads to important consequences for the structure of that Universe. To be creative we must process information within our brains using non-deterministic 'software'. If humans run nondeterministic 'software' within their brains, the 'hardware' of the Universe must also be non-deterministic right down to the fundamental laws.
Is human creativity computation? In 1995 Andrew Wiles proved Pierre de Fermat's famous Last theorem regarding Pythagorean triples1, a puzzle Fermat claimed to have solved 358 years earlier with a proof, he claimed, would not fit in the margin of his copy of Arithmetica.i Fermat's last theorem is a Diophantine equation ii , a somewhat esoteric field, yet every school child knows at least one Diophantine equation by heart, “The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides”...

In 1926 Hilbert summarized his thoughts on mathematics into three questions: Was mathematics complete, consistent and decidable? Kurt Gödel tackled completeness and consistency with his 1931 papers and then in 1936 Alan Turing and Alonzo Church answered the question of decidability. Church, using lambda calculus, and Turing, using the idea of an idealized computing machine,iii showed the decision problem ‘The Entscheidungsproblem’ has no solution. From this point onwards we knew all of mathematics is not susceptible to a general algorithm. Unfortunately, this did not tell us whether any specific class of problems was algorithmically unsolvable. Turing shows that if you take a single arbitrary problem from the infinite set of problems there is no single algorithm, which will solve that problem. But we know some arbitrary problems from subsets of all problems do have general solutions: The word processor on which I am typing clearly functions correctly for any text I throw at it. How do we tell which sets of problems are decidable and which are not? Logically we must deduce that since all problems from the infinite set cannot be decided yet problems from some subsets can be decided there must be a boundary separating...

There seems to be a logic limit that separates some classes ‘some’ from ‘all’. We can call this boundary the ‘logic limit’: the point at which algorithms can no longer solve problems and where something more must take over – where is this limit?"

JS, There appear to be not one, but two logic limits.

May 22, 2017

[Sadhu Sanga] Science is not Sacrosanct and Science Takes Place Within an Orthodox Tradition

The evidence collected by only direct sense perception and inference is always liable to be affected by the presumed notions that scientists cultivate under the influence of an orthodox scientific tradition. Hence, we cannot deny that there is also a possibility that in modern science we are eternally getting engaged in a mere misunderstanding of different things due to our unwillingness to explore the unscientific nature of conditioning that the orthodox scientific tradition is imposing on its practitioners... Science is not under siege but ‘honest science practice’ is under siege and James A. Shapiro explains the same in Boston Review: [...]

The relationship between man and nature is completely dependent on the type of attitude one cultivates with the help of education. Even though scientists are tiny minority of the populace, the widespread teaching of their misconceptions affect how people think about themselves as spiritual beings, and thus it influences the way they think about such concerns as abortion, euthanasia, bioethics in research and medicine, cloning, genetic modification of food, animal rights, environmental problems and so on. You have stated “Nudging people toward good behaviour should be the aim of religions. We leave it to them. Science deals with mother Nature.” and we also agree that science itself does not have any scientific methodology for cultivating good behaviour even among scientists. The notion of good in materialistic (exploitative) world view is completely opposite to that of religious (dedication to absolute) world view. Therefore, a scientific critique of modern science’s own presumed materialistic world view is also very much essential...

The subjective qualities like humility, tolerance and giving honour to others (without aspiring any honour for oneself) are divine qualities and they cannot come to us by a mere imitation. There is a proper process that one must undergo to develop these qualities. It is true that we may come across the practitioners of science and religion, who are not that tolerant, but that is not the problem of real science or religion. We may find dishonesty is prevalent among the so called followers of science/religion and that does not mean that science/religion is meant for dishonesty. As a honest follower of genuine science/religion one should try to understand the real goal of science/religion and thus he/she should try sincerely to attain that goal...

Darwin’s ‘natural selection’ is a disingenuous attempt to replace teleology with a mechanistic principle, because, unlike a breeder, there is no apparent ‘self’ in the ‘environmental conditions’ that will perform this subjective task of ‘selection’. As you have confirmed that "we [human beings] were able to evolve fantastic crops and animals to help and feed humanity" and thus unintentionally you have emphasized that nature cannot do that type of selection... By overcoming the influence of Darwinian evolution, can you explain what are the basics of evolution?  


Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Ph.D.                     Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute
May 21, 2017

In answer to your last question, Dr. Shanta:

The basics of evolution are that there has been a tremendous number of profound changes in  the bodies of animals (also other living things, but let's focus on animals), especially over the last 500 million years, including the successful invasion of land by descendants of animals who had no capability of even walking on land. 

It is unquestioned by competent biologists that evolution as described is a phenomenon that involves changes between parents and offspring accumulating over the eons, and that this genealogy is like the family trees we draw for us humans, except on a vaster scale and involving "single parenting" of one species giving rise to one or more others.

We can argue about the causes of these changes, and the extent to which spiritual influences were involved, but I think it is best to view evolution in this way to minimize confusion about what it is we are talking about.

Peter Nyikos
Professor, Dept. of Mathematics        
University of South Carolina 
May 22, 2017

Free Press Journal-21-Apr-2017
It is exactly as though you had what is called “a torchlight”, a small beacon-light in your head at the place of observation. Scientists who want to do a certain work ...

... herself: “When I asked my Guru Sri Sanatan Das Baul, 'who is the first Baul? ... also derives aspiration from a poem called Savitri by Sri Aurobindo based on ...

In poetry, the name of Sri Aurobindo comes to mind immediately. Savitri, one of the longest poems in English, is also perhaps the only contemporary epic which ...

Business Standard-2 hours ago
"Many great thinkers from our time such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Albert Einstein have all deliberated upon its timeless teachings," he said.

The New Indian Express-30-Apr-2017
... of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavan and the colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kuruksetra,” scribbled Sri Aurobindo in a notebook way back in 1913.
New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) While popular culture is considered to be a subversive device to break canons, eminent photographer and arts critic Sadanand Menon ...

[Sri Aurobindo reincarnated the whole pantheon of Mount Olympus, Greek gods and goddesses in this book called Ilion]

International Conference on Sri Aurobindo at Hindu University of America via Hinduism Today Magazine
 May 4 and 5, 2017
Despite the profundity of his philosophy and its wider implications, Sri Aurobindo and his ideas are relatively less known in the West, and there have been few events to make an in-depth study of his philosophy. The conference was a step towards filling this gap.
Sri Aurobindo argued that human society has evolved throughout history and is destined to move towards better organization of life...
The inter-disciplinary conference brought together scholars from diverse fields and featured academic presentations, chanting of hymns and smile meditation. Shri Braham Aggarwal, Chairman, Hindu University of America, inaugurated the conference and read the message of Dr. Karan Singh, the noted Sri Aurobindo Scholar and Indian Parliamentarian. The prominent guests in the conference included Shri Suresh Gupta, CEO, Park Square Homes, Shri M. P. Rama of JHM Hotels and Shri Manohar Shinde of Dharma Civilization Foundation. 
The inaugural address was delivered by Dr. Anand Reddy of Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research, and the Keynote addresses were delivered by Richard Hartz, Rand Hicks, Debashish Banerji and Michel Danino. 
In his message, Dr. Karan Singh wrote, “Sri Aurobindo felt that India had a spiritual message which was urgently needed in the world of the twentieth century, in fact that he was destined to lead mankind up the next step of spiritual evolution, and one of the reasons why he was so adamant that the political goal should be nothing less than complete independence. It was his conviction that then alone could India fulfil her true destiny in the broader international community.”
There were twenty-six speakers in the conference representing academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and business houses...
Participants unanimously agreed that relevance of Sri Aurobindo for the contemporary world is undisputable. There is a need for an in-depth study of philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and its potential to address problems at the levels of individual, society and the world. Though the conference explored theoretical aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy, it emphasized its practical application in day-to-day life. The two-day conference ended with the resolve to continue the learning experience.
Dr. D. Aurobinda Mahapatra
Director, Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace, Hindu University of America, Orlando, FL 32811

Conditions for the Coming of Spiritual Age (a talk in Hindi) - A talk at the 47th All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference, Matrubhaban, Cuttack, 2017. The post Conditions for the Coming of Spiritual Age (a ...

The Transformation and Liberation of the Powers of Human Consciousness Through the Advent of the Supermind -Consciousness is an unbroken continuum from the lowest depths of material consciousness to the heights of the supermind. This implies that the supermind c...

In Defence of the Veda — Part 2 - *Editorial Note*:* While speaking of a certain transition from the Vedic cycle into different forms and systems of knowledge and self-enquiry, I have pur...

Practicing Harmony - We practice harmony when we place things in an order that feels just right. Things outside, things inside. Things tangible, things intangible. Things physi...

Review of R.Y. Deshpande’s The Book of the Divine Mother by Surendra Singh Chouhan - Title: At the Motrano Retreat—The Book of the Divine Mother Author: R. Y. Deshpande Price: Rs. 525 (Five Hundred and Twenty-five) only. Number of Pages: 41...

The Sense of The Bhagavad Gītā - Introduction The sense of the Gita, to which mind has no clue, cannot be confined to a set of hymns sung in the midst of a great battle or what human intel...

Book Review—‘Conscious Governance’ - Concept & practice of ‘Corporate Governance’ from an integral, holistic & consciousness perspective. A collection of articles edited by the team at Sri Aur...

Hindutva has no use for Sri Aurobindo's Secret of the Veda - Tweets by @SavitriEraParty Savitri Era: Cling to Sri Aurobindo's Vedic rediscovery - Tusar Nath Mohapatra, Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
No leader or thinker other than Sri Aurobindo has delved deep into the Veda to redefine the Indian wisdom for integrating it with Evolution. Hindutva has no use for Sri Aurobindo's The Secret of the Veda and it's anathema for Marxists. Hence the rationale for Savitri Era Religion. Heehs’ lecture on “Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism” is a devastating document contributes to new religion being created
Far reaching repercussions of Sri Aurobindo's profound Vedic rediscovery has somehow been omitted by Heehs in the speech, incurring a glitch. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo refrained from peddling any kind of utilitarian or ritualistic practice as part of Integral Yoga to ensure purity. Savitri Era Religion based on Sri Aurobindo's Vedic rediscovery gives an alternative to all those who feel alienated by Hindutva aggression. Self-interest and security concerns have prevented Sri Aurobindo Ashram from disseminating this new religion option in an effective fashion. Integral Yoga is not a secular exercise and amounts to a new religion by another name. 
The Mother & Sri Aurobindo spent their lives for it. Simply put, Sri Aurobindo's reinterpretation of the Veda rejects Mythology and Rituals thus establishing the foundation of a new religion.

My twelve years with social media - You didn't quote Vedic verses to support your view as I asked. Believing without understanding is your problem. It's not personal attack.

Karma and popular imagination of it are universes apart - Dear Jonathan I think the claim that qualia are no different from electromagnetic fields and gravity follows logically from the view that qualia have a cau...

Savitri Era Party has prevented Hindutva from appropriating Sri Aurobindo - Savitri Era Learning Forum Natural world doesn't entirely obey computable physics - Tusar, I am not sure from which authority you are able to say that these...