December 12, 2003
Since I always make
and never keep New Year's resolutions, I thought I might
break the vicious circle by making a resolution well ahead
of the fated-to-fail January 1st. The resolve in question
is the one toyed with in my Quiz of November 30th: to focus
blogging energy on MOLTUAE (pronounced "mohl- tew -
eh"), short for Meaning Of
Life The Universe And Everything. I've reduced
this heavy string of words to its acronym because it has
a pleasing Latin sound and neatly wraps the whole shebang
in one small package.
The Topmost A-listed Blogger (You Know Who) thought it was
a good way to begin the beginning so I'll follow that example. However
I don't have a Grand Design and my approach is going to be more of
an improvisation - one thing meandering to another and no idea where
it's all going to end.
on the left we have the great
Blake in 1794 imagining "The
Ancient of Days" (relief
etching with watercolour. British Museum) doing something
amazing with a compass whilst perhaps pronouncing "Let
there be light". And on the right we have yrs truly,
definitely not the Topmost Blogger, attempting something similar in 2003
from a narrower and less ambitious angle. Where is this leading us? Well,
to astrophysicist Bernhard
Haisch who, with his colleagues Alfonso Rueda and Hal Puthoff, has
been working on a theory about the universe, The
Zero-Point Field , which
I have just been reading about.
Matter and the Zero-Point Field
"Is matter an illusion? Is the universe floating
in a vast sea of light, whose invisible power provides
the resistance that gives to matter its feeling of
solidity? Astrophysicist Bernhard Haisch and his
colleagues have followed the equation to some compelling
- and provocative - conclusions." ( from introduction
to article in Science & Spirit )
Never mind that I don't understand the mathematics or that
there's as yet no proof this is really the Way Things Are (any more than
there's proof of the way things are not), the theory is right up my reality-questioning
alley and it's also not that new: Eastern
religions have always been pointing to Maya, the illusion of matter.
But what I like about the Zero-Point concept is that I can visualise
fact that the zero-point field is the lowest energy
state makes it unobservable. We see things by way
of contrast. The eye works by letting light fall
on the otherwise dark retina. But if the eye were
filled with light, there would be no darkness to
afford a contrast. The zero-point field is such a
blinding light. Since it is everywhere, inside and
outside of us, permeating every atom in our bodies,
we are effectively blind to it. It blinds us to its
presence. The world of light that we do see is all
the rest of the light that is over and above the
To round off
today's meditation, I gate-crashed one of the masterpieces
of another awesome creator of light, Vermeer:
his beautiful "The
Love Letter" (1669-70.
Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). I
am pretending to sweep the floor while deconstructing
the scene into its light/dark patterns. Isn't it strange
how tenaciously our minds hang on to meaning, even when
all that our eyes see is a few patches of light in a
field of darkness or paleness?
is a tough one because Time and I have a special
relationship - we hate each other and have nothing
in common. I don't trust Time and it doesn't trust
me. Why should it? I'm always letting it down - late
for this, missed that, overdid the other. Let's face
it, the big problem in our relationship is that I
don't believe in Time but Time, alas, believes in
me. It believes it has a duty to point out that I
have a limited amount of its invisible currency allotted
to me and when I've used it up, that's it. Finito.
No extensions, no loans, no nothing. The clock stops
and the bell tolls for me etc. The problem, see,
is that no amount of grey hair can convince me that
this cock and bull story is true. Time may end for
some people but not for me. I've got plenty of time
and since it doesn't exist I've got plenty of nothing.
We're not talking AfterLife here. Of course I'll
get into AfterLife eventually but
since time is meaningless there as well, I can't
say exactly when I'll turn up. But I can guarantee
it won't be for quite a long...erm...time. So.
Meanwhile there's this problem to solve here and
now: how to stop Time nagging me all the frigging
time? I've tried keeping clocks and watches out of
sight, but there's still Night and Day and the Seasons.
I've tried ignoring all deadlines and timetables,
but the price to pay in guilt is just too exorbitant.
Time and Guilt, hand in hand, what a pair!
I'm being emotional again. Let's try a cool, scholarly approach. Here we
have an ancient Chinese water clock tower (from the excellent educational
Walk Through Time):
of the most elaborate clock towers was built by Su Sung
and his associates in 1088 CE. Su Sung's mechanism incorporated
a water-driven escapement invented about 725 CE. The
Su Sung clock tower, over 30 feet tall, possessed a bronze
power-driven armillary sphere for observations, an automatically
rotating celestial globe, and five front panels with
doors that permitted the viewing of changing manikins
which rang bells or gongs, and held tablets indicating
the hour or other special times of the day. Since the
rate of flow of water is very difficult to control accurately,
a clock based on that flow could never achieve excellent
I had such a fabulous contraption to look at every day I
could become reconciled to the idea that arranging one's
life into some sort of measured order could be a good thing.
But then I might spend the whole time playing with this miraculous
toy and not bother with anything else at all. That's it,
isn't it? The more you enjoy something and are involved in
something, the less meaning time has. An hour, a day, a month,
a year, what are these? Just words, numbers on a calendar.
Time doesn't 'pass' and it doesn't 'flow': it stands absolutely
still when you are in love, whether with a person or an idea
or a thing or a work. Isn't that why some artists and other
creators go on and on?
MOLTUAE : NUMBERS
by Natalie: Wake
up Augustine! Numbers have been
on people's minds since brains began to think. Links too numerous
to list but try these:
Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe
Anomaly (great mathematical
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal: Recipe
for the Universe
MOLTUAE: PROBLEMS and SOLUTIONS
is a problem, what is a solution, etc. Do I have to elaborate
on this? I'm trying to use more pictures, less words.
February 17, 2004
Asked my digital
camera to participate in this project to document the undocumentable.
If you focus on anything - anything at all, any detail of
the flotsam and jetsam of your everyday surroundings, just
randomly wandering around, you collect jewels. Random jewels,
fragments of the marvellous. It's all beautiful, all of it,
stunningly so. Even the detail within the detail is beautiful.
Extraordinary bits of a magic carpet that stretches to eternity.
After lining up the pieces, I gave them a twist , a wave
motion. I'm dazzled, lost in this translation from the familiar
to the unexpected, the random beauty of every thing.
February 19, 2004