Sean Esbjorn-Hargens and friends give a presentation to the Geography Department from the University of Victoria on June 1, 2012.
Note: The following post was originally published on December 13, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
A Reuters reporter finds scientists scoffing at the notion that the Higgs ought to be called the “God particle,” but it’s not like they don’t understand why others do so. Reuters writes:
“Calling it the ‘God particle’ is completely inappropriate,” said the German physicist, who divides his time between CERN and teaching at London’s Imperial College.
“It’s not doing justice to the Higgs and what we think its role in the universe is. It has nothing to do with God.”
The Higgs boson is being hunted so determinedly because it would be the manifestation of an invisible field – the Higgs field – thought to permeate the entire universe.
The field was posited in the 1960s by British scientist Peter Higgs as the way that matter obtained mass after the universe was created in the Big Bang.
As such, according to the theory, it was the agent that made the stars, planets – and life – possible by giving mass to most elementary particles, the building blocks of the universe; hence the nickname “God particle.”
“Without it, or something like it, particles would just have remained whizzing around the universe at the speed of light,” said Pippa Wells, another Atlas researcher.
Note: The following post was originally published on November 30, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
In a free audio posted on the Core Integral site, Ken Wilber addresses some tough questions from advanced students of Integral Theory.
The first question is from Kiernan who asks,
My question is about the higher structures in the cognitive line. Could you describe how you use Vision Logic, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, Overmind and Supermind in your day-to-day life, what does the experience of each look and feel like? And what did the move to each higher cognitive structure involve, how did you make the moves?
Ken Wilber’s response begins in this way:
Vision Logic is thinking wholes, Illumined Mind is sseeing wholes, Intuitive Mind is feeling wholes, Overmind is witnessing wholes, and Supermind is being whole.
Vision Logic, thinking wholes, feels just like thinking. What anyone would recognize when they think about thinking. But it thinks holistically. It thinks from one whole to the next. It doesn’t see individual ideas, but networked ideas, holistic ideas, big pictures, things that are hooked together intrinsically. And it still has a type of gross orientation to some degree. Nonetheless it is opening itself up as well into third-tier or more transpersonal aspects. But it is essentially thinking whole and in terms of wholes.
Illumined Mind is seeing wholes. That’s just actually an immediate perception so it’s not thinking from one whole to the next whole, it’s an immediate seeing of total wholes. And these just come into the horizon and it’s a total grasping, a total embracing. It’s seeing all the individual parts together in a single whole. And moment to moment, it moves from total whole to the next total whole to the next total whole. It’s very immediate and direct, as is Intuitive Mind, which is feeling whole.
I’m just giving very simplified versions.
Feeling whole is an immediate presence. It presents itself as a feeling awareness, but it is holistic. The thing that makes it somewhat different than the two preceding ones in terms of being more holistic is that it is actually feeling the connections. Instead of just thinking something or seeing something from a distsance in a third-person stance, it’s feeling it directly and immediately. It’s an immediate holistic presence that presents itself from moment to moment to moment from one felt wholeness to the next felt wholeness to the next. This feeling of whole is sunk in transpersonal awareness so it’s starting to include not just gross elements but definitely subtle elements. It’s an interesting type of cognition because it’s one of the first that’s anchored in an enduring subtle apprehension. It’s starting to see wholeness from the subtle domain. And yet because it transcends and includes it’s anchored in gross perception as well.
Overmind is where the witness becomes a permanent subject so it’s witnessing wholes and the Witness at this point is somehow, somewhat different from the Witness as a state at lower stages. The Witness as a state can be experienced at any structure, at any structure-stage. But here when the Witness becomes the permanent subject, absolute subjectivity, what it witnesses is whole. It is witnessing gross, subtle, and causal wholeness. That’s what makes the Overmind so interesting and so deeply holistic is that it is a permanent ongoing witnessing. It is a permanent ongoing radical subjectivity. It’s the subject that cannot be made an object, and yet what it is seeing, what it is primarily looking for, is gestalts. Holistic patterns. And these include patterns in gross, subtle, and causal domain.
The Overmind itself is anchored in the causal domain and so it sees from that perspective, and it sees a causal gestalt, subtle gestalt, and gross gestalts. And the gestalt nature is simply determined by the nature of what’s happening at any particular moment. So the gross wholes, subtle wholes, and causal wholes are simply those that present themselves from any of the quadrants at that particular moment that the Witness is witnessing. That just depends on where you are, what’s happening, outside and inside, and so on. But the difference here is that the Witness is being aware of gross and subtle and causal occasions, whereas the Witness as a peak experience can happen at red. And the it’s only aware of gross occasions. Red isn’t seeing anything in the subtle or causal domain. But here it is aware of all three.
And then Supermind is being whole. That is where suchness knows itself. Suchness is self-aware. That means with anything that enters the field of awareness is self-liberating, it’s self-cognizant, moment to moment to moment. That’s the ultimate state of cognition. And it discloses every single individual phenomenon in the entire world is self-manifesting, self-arising, self-knowing, and self-liberating. And that’s just all Supermind sees. It includes Big Mind, but it also has an awareness of all the earlier structures all the way down so it is the ultimate holistic viewpoint.
As the interview continues, Wilber explains how he uses these domains in everyday life to “spiritually hang out” and “check AQAL Theory” as well as how he moved from one to the other. He also answers the question of what he thinks is higher than Overmind, notes how his views compare to Sri Aurobindo’s, and where worldviews fit in.
Note: The following post was originally published on July 20, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
Today let’s pay attention to the strangeness of language. We’ll take a look at a handful of odd coincidences (collected in an article on Oddee), but the coincidences to really pay attention to are those in your own life. What is it about the power of a human name that we usually only notice when staring into the face of the bizarre and inexplicable?
What I invite you to do is rid yourself of preconceptions about language in much the way that Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) asked Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) to attend to his dreams in the movie Inception. To refresh your memory, remember this dialogue from a dream-within-a-dream sequence:
[the room shakes]
Dom Cobb: You feel that? You’ve actually been trained for this Mr Fischer, pay attention to the strangeness of the weather, the shift in gravity. None of this is real, you’re in a dream.
[everyone in the bar turns to look at them]
Dom Cobb: Now the easiest way for you to test yourself is to try and remember how you’ve arrived at this hotel. Can you do that?
Robert Fischer: Yeah… I…
Dom Cobb: Now breathe…breathe, remember your training. Accept the fact that you’re in a dream and I’m here to protect you. Go on.
Note: The following post was originally published on Joe-Perez.com on April 21, 2011.
different versions of the Christian religion, so many different ways of being or not being Christian. When someone tells me they are a Christian, I honestly have no certainty about what that says about them, their spirituality, and their humanity. I do not know if they are someone I would call a friend or maybe an enemy.
Although the mere statement, “I am a Christian,” says too little, the shape of a person’s soul does come through in everything about them. And there is a certain soul-shape that is distinctly Christian, I think, regardless of the many varieties of its expression. That soul-shaping quality is something difficult to put into words but not so difficult to feel.
How does Christianity shape a soul?
Christianity shapes the soul. Mine is a life imprinted by Christianity: the Roman Catholicism of my upbringing, the liberation theology and the modern realism of Reinhold Niebuhr which I studied in school, and later the emerging Integral Christian spirituality of my mid-to-late thirties.
And mine is also a life shaped by conflicts created by the religion, my rejection of it, my refusal of it, and my love and ambivalence to what it represents. So much so that I have gone most of my adult life either unsure if I was a Christian, seeking alternatives to priests and pews, or embarrassed by my adherence. I changed one denomination (Roman Catholic Church) for another (Episcopal Church USA).
The story of my wanderings inside, outside, and on the margins of religious organizations is not what I want to speak to tonight. The conflict between belief and unbelief is not “me.” The stories of seeking and finding are not “me.” The structure of my development in faith maturity is not “me.”
Nor even, I imagine, is the experience of discovering my own divinity, the terrible and awesome realization of our Supreme Identity. That was the central turning point in my life through age 35, as readers of my memoir know, but it is not “me.” Continue reading “God Dwells in Our Language” »
Note: The following post was originally published on July 13, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
In Tricycle Magazine, I have come cross the article “Beyond Language,” by the poet and Zen priest Norman Fischer. He discusses the connection between words, thought, and human liberation. A highlight is Fischer’s sharing of a series of short and memorable Zen teachings about the point of language. But what resonates with me the most is this explanation of how language stands within Buddhist thought:
In Zen practice we are always trying to stand within language in a fresh way, to open up the hand of thought, and play with language and let language play with us. This means we come to understand and dwell within language in many ways. Each word means something and not something else. But also each word is gone even as we speak it, and so it isn?t anything. When we speak about something we might think we are understanding it or controlling it, but that is not so. When we are speaking about something we are also?and mainly?speaking about nothing. Speaking is just being ourselves, expressing ourselves. When we get tangled up in the something we think we are speaking about, we suffer.
“Equanimity includes awareness that knowledge liberates from fear. It includes a notion of “right understanding” which the Buddha said is necessary for Enlightenment. Equanimity is going to the very edge of thought and seeing the edge beyond which thought can no longer illuminate.” – Joe Perez
Note: The following post was originally published on September 19, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
I’ve taken a few weeks off from blogging this month in order to focus on other areas of my life. At the same time, I’ve been reflecting on how to best integrate blogging with my work in career services and the full gamut of my creativity. Now, thanks to soap, I’m returning with greater clarity on what I aspire to achieve with Awake, Alive & Aware.
A few weeks ago, I framed this blog’s mission like so:
Awake, Alive & Aware is committed to practicing, exploring, and advocating Integral ways of living as conscious beings in an evolving universe.
The idea of blogging as a practice for building greater awareness and understanding of “Integral” ways of living is still quite important to me. But I think there was something in my messaging that wasn’t quite working. And when I read an article about how a company gets people excited about toilet bowl cleaner and other mundane household goods, I began to better understand the issue.
In “Making People Passionate For Toilet-Bowl Cleaners And Other ‘Low-Interest’ Products,” Erik Ryan and Adam Lowry describe the dilemma they faced in marketing cleaning products:
We believe in making the act of cleaning more enjoyable and, if we may say so, aspirational. But virtually every commercial treats cleaning as if it were a huge hassle, virtually screaming promises of convenience and ease. Pandering to women with images of grinning maids in aprons, it was as if taking care of your things was something to be ashamed of, something you’d rather leave to someone else. This is typical problem-solution marketing, in which you set up a problem (mildew in the bathroom) and then present your product as the hero solution (Pow! mildew gone). The problem with this approach is that it forces the consumer to enter through the problem, so your brand will always live in low-interest land.
What I realized is that too often I’ve been thinking of “Integral” with a problem-solution framework, and then applying that framework implicitly in my blogging. Integral politics provides a Third Way between liberal and conservative, Integral spirituality provides a way beyond the dichotomy between “spiritual, but not religious” and fundamentalist, Integral health provides a way of reconciling alternative and Western medicine, Integral psychology provides a model for bringing Freud and Buddha together, etc.
Whatever the problem, if there’s a solution, it can be better seen from an Integral lense. From this framework, I began to blog without need for artificially restricting my focus to any one area. When the focus of the blog is basically methodology, then anything is fair game. I could even write about baking bread integrally so long as I was looking at the consciousness infused in the baking process and how a distinctively developmental or otherwise integrally oriented mindset resulted in tastier, better, or more economical bread.
Ryan and Lowry describe how they rejected the problem-solution approach to marketing Method products:
Even if you don’t find an ounce of joy in cleaning, virtually everyone loves the end state, a clean home. So we focused on talking about the aspirational end state of cleaning, and we found that, to many people, cleaning is an important part of life. It’s the ritual of connecting to their homes and families by putting life back in order. To many, cleaning is a form of caring for their children or pets by providing a safe haven for those they care about most.
It turns out that the Integral worldview has more in common with Method cleaning products than I would have guessed. Most people don’t enjoy reading meta-psychological, meta-cultural, and meta-sociological models steeped in arcane terminology seemingly requiring two Ph.D.’s to decipher. But they do like a tidy worldview.
I’ve been taking spring cleaning quite literally when it comes to my online presence. I have been reviewing over a thousand posts that I wrote over a ten-year period of time and throwing many of them away.
Actually I’ve really just been making some posts a bit more difficult to find while making other posts much easier to find. But it feels like I’m tossing some 700 or 800 posts in the recycling bin. I am not yet removing them from the Internet, but they will be more difficult to discover.
I’m doing this work as part of launching a new blog, WE Spirituality, and turning Joe-Perez.com into a much simpler site with less new content. The posts I like are being re-posted on the new site and the rest are going away. So there is a strategy behind the overhaul, but it doesn’t make the work painless.
The worst part has been realizing that some 80% of the posts that I wrote over ten years just aren’t very good, in my opinion. I held an overly positive view of the quality of my writing output and upon a fresh look so much of it appears ephemeral, dispensable, mediocre.
The degree of narcissism in quite a few of the posts strikes me today as almost shocking. I had a real chip on my shoulders because my writing was never as popular as I felt it ought to be, so I spent too much time all but telling people that they ought to be paying attention because it was SO important. If only I had spent the energy I spent basically asking people to read my books and blogs into writing better content, I wouldn’t be retiring so much of my writing at this time.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. One of the blogs I maintained, Until, was written when I had only dozens of T-cells and was suffering from multiple “mystery illnesses” which made every waking hour a living nightmare. It’s amazing I could write anything at all.
Note: The following post was originally posted on December 7, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.
Clarisse Thorn writing on Feministe:
Sometimes, polyamorous people put this much more succinctly: “You can’t date half a couple.” If you’re emotionally involved with one person, you’re involved with their other partners by default … even if you’re not having a sexual or romantic relationship with their other partners.
A couple years ago, I dealt with a striking situation along these lines. I was careless … but I think my partner was pretty careless, too. He and I were highly attracted to each other from the start. He had a girlfriend, but I thought they were polyamorous. So I brazenly flirted with him in front of her, and got his contact information. She seemed calm and collected as she watched it happen; I really didn’t think there was a problem…
via You Can’t Date Half A Couple — Feministe. (As you can guess, the story doesn’t end there.)
The road to non-conventional relationships is a thorny one, and the distinction between pre-conventional and post-conventional styles has a lot to do with how the people involved deal with ambiguity and communication. Whether or not it’s always and everywhere true that “You can’t date half a couple,” (I don’t know), avoiding situations like the one that this writer found herself in is a good idea.
Thorn’s analysis looks at sexuality in a fairly common way: as the erotic connection among individuals expressed through sexual acts. But a more expansive view is to understand sexuality as an expression of Eros, the outward-directed and expansive energy pervading all things.
From this way of seeing things, the phrase “You can’t date half a couple,” could be a way of pointing to the way in which we are never in a relationship with only one person at a time, but with everyone who that person loves … and justice within that relationship needs to consider more than the desires of two individuals. Through sex, we are connecting not only with another person and their loved ones, but with all beings … and ultimately, the ultimate reality itself.