Lesley Stahl profiles British musical savant Derek Paravicini, whose computer-like memory for music is matched by his creative abilities to play it in any style.
Derek, born three and a half months prematurely, is blind. He cannot count to five, but what he can do on a piano cannot be adequately described. It has to be witnessed.
Derek leaves people in awe and wonder at his musical genius and savant capabilities.
It was mentioned in the 60 Minutes segment above that Derek's brain is like 3 computers working synchronously.
The engaging Nova documentary on quantum mechanics below says (by my interpretation) that in the linear state an electron in a computer searches multiple paths one at a time. Whereas in quantum computing, the particle can be in multiple locations at once, each 'version' conducting the search and finding solutions to far more complex problems in far less time.
Could Derek be demonstrating a 'quantum human' capability?
Is the way to access the 'quantum state' a certain type of meditation?
The book title, Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path by Ayya Khema suggests a possibility.
This week a lifelong friend since childhood and I exchanged thoughts about duality, mortality, self and consciousness. After the conversation with Hal (below), I watched the 60 Minutes and NOVA: Fabric of the Cosmos videos and began feeling exhilarating connections between them.
Dualism and Mortality
You wrote that every day you imagine your body's mortality and are fine, even welcoming of that change point.
Do you imagine that when your body experiences its final mortality, you also cease to exist? Do the lights go out, period? Or are you open to the possibility that your 'I am' (referred to by nuts like me as an individuated unit of consciousness) experiences the fading of earth light and the growing of another light?
I accept the 'lights out, period' scenario as one possibility. My deeper sense, hard to distinguish sometimes from wishful thinking, is that when a person is sufficiently awakened before the passing of the body, it is possible for a center of self-awareness to continue in some form. It is nothing to strive for or fear missing out on, rather to relax and trust in the beauty of the design of existence and its ultimate wisdom.
You also wrote that you are very aware of and accepting of duality. I'd like to know what duality means to you. I have gained a broader awareness of what duality means to me, in recent weeks.
I have left behind the 'abstract concepts' philosophizing which were at one time so intellectually stimulating and gave my ego a sense of importance and superiority. Now I feel more balanced with a practical philosophy. If talking or writing about the foundations of existence cannot lead to practical application in daily life, it is of little value.
From my inner sense and a limited understanding of Daoist thinking, I re-wrote my version of practical philosophy. If there was a beginning, it was when the Void, the no-thing, the Unmoved Mover, moved. Movement created stillness, as they cannot exist separately. The first duality.
The oscillation between movement and stillness, frequencies and undivided consciousness, occurs at the limits of each other. At the limit of stillness is movement, at the limit of movement is stillness. Perhaps this oscillation has no beginning, it always was this way.
In undivided consciousness, ideas form and wavelengths of probability are emitted. Homo sapiens is the unfolding of an original idea. In one leap, I see the original idea as 'a sentient being capable of interacting with the wavelengths of probability and consciously creating its reality,' and perhaps co-creating with its Source.
In another leap, I see undivided consciousness, which observes, inhabits and upholds everything, as the true self of all that is. To date, humanity has not approached the bridging of these leaps. Why is another question. Perhaps my leaps are meaningless but I haven't given up.
Self and other make another fundamental duality. If there was a beginning, its actuality is beyond my imagining — but, to play, it may have been the forming of an idea that there could be an 'other.' With the idea, the Void 'shuddered' and motion began.
Self is relative to 'other' and neither can exist separately. Then I wonder if underlying all that we sentient beings see, hear, smell, taste and touch there is a substrate of oneness — the undifferentiated consciousness, and perhaps underlying it and the frequencies which form our world, the Void, the no-thing.
The fundamental dualities may or may not relate to the human experience of socially or culturally based dualities such as good and evil which carry an emotional charge and a moral judgment. That dualism, to me, is upheld by human ego which is the sedated sensation, the illusion of separation from oneness. It has no permanent existence.
My philosophy of the foundations of existence can be applied to my daily living in the realization of an original idea for me, embedded as frequencies in the DNA. I am an autonomous being, making independent, free will choices and living out my own ideas, right? Or....?
I use simple reminders through the day to center myself in Being, where the original idea for me is lived out.
You wrote, 'Religion is an example of a myth prescribed for social or psychological reasons rather than for the truth. Spirituality is beneficial and can lead to a higher self, a greater appreciation of this miracle of life and lead to the truth. This goal ties into awareness.'
G. - That is similar to how I see it. Also, religiousness is a belief in someone else's experience, while spirituality is having one's own experience.
H. - I've wanted to be aware as much as is humanly possible and that implies being aware of my physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual world. I know sometimes I'm not very aware. I want to be aware if I'm holding a belief that's not true.
G. - I have come to feel that being present in the moment is the highest state of awareness. I know my mind is conditioned and it is fun to catch it in the delusions that conditioning generates.
H. - Some people put "The Truth" as their highest priority. I'm not sure I'm one of those people but I think I try hard not to be self-deluded but then part of the definition would keep me from being aware of any delusions I've ingrained into my being so maybe I am self-deluded. Anyway, truth is more important than happiness, in a sense.
So, what is true? Well, I exist and all things end. Those, I believe, are the only two things that I know for sure. I exist seems to be true for the obvious reason. All things end is pragmatic in that I can see bodies die and decay.
G. All 'things' known through the five senses end, it is true. At least in the single configuration 'known' through our senses at any given point in time. Our processors are designed to give us a linear picture of reality, but the actuality is not linear at all. All things which can be measured, end.
H. - The question, your question, is does the self end.
It's often said that we all awaken in the moment before death. To me that suggests that we all finally realize our self is ending or it's metaphorical. We awaken as the energy that animated us is released back into the universe.
G. - About the moment before death, I came across something recently that ties in. Google searches yesterday and today on 'Being' brought up an author I'd not heard of before, Ayya Khema, a Buddhist nun. I ordered two of her books. One is Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path. Reflecting on the title, I realized that 'nowhere' with a different emphasis is 'now here.'
Wikipedia says of Ayya Khema:
"According to Ayya Khema's own admission, she had been suffering from breast cancer since 1983. In 1993 after it started giving her trouble she underwent a mastectomy operation in Germany. During a five-week recovery period in the hospital she almost died, but her condition was expeditiously stabilized by the medics. In an interview she expressed a positive opinion of that experience.
“There were two days in the hospital, when I had that feeling, that the energy was leaving, through the feet actually. There was a collapse of the whole system... Losing one's life energy is actually a very pleasant state, because there's less self-assertion, I mean you haven't got the energy to assert yourself. So things are more acceptable, everything is acceptable, it's fine the way it is... One could say that action of dying, if there's no resistance, is extremely pleasant... That seemed to be less and less life energy within the body, and I just was relaxing into that. I was perfectly willing to let it happen, but then these doctors came round... My blood pressure just went way down, waaay down, I mean like almost not happening, and that's when you lose all your energy... It was a very interesting experience and now I can see it's extremely pleasant. It's just letting go and disappearing, and it's very nice."
H. - The Self, or my identity, is constructed as I progress through this life and layers are added upon layers as I learn and assimilate and become conditioned through what my senses pick up. So that identity associated with Hal I do believe ends when the physical vessel that carries me meets the end of its usefulness. If Hal continues that will be a surprise, hopefully a pleasant one, but I have no way of proving, or giving truth to this, until I experience it.
G. - I like your description of the self, Hal, and am interested to read what Buddha had to say about it. Another of Ayya's books I ordered is, Who Is My Self?: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation.
H. - As far as the consciousness or energy that animated my body and self, I think that is neither created nor destroyed but reforms itself with other streams of energy in the universe (back to that Buddhist meeting). I don't think that the energy retains an identity of Hal. I do think that while activated as Hal, through quantum physics it's possible for there to be a universal sharing of thought but if you were suggesting that this hasn't happened on a global scale yet I agree and I'm not sure it ever will. I don't believe it will in my lifetime. People can't even use their turn signals, how are they to awaken?
G. - Good one, Hal, about the turn signals!
I can imagine awakening into a new awareness at the time of transition, and being told by beings of the 'unseen' my name in their reality. Or better, emerging into the quantum world and realizing my own name, one not of the earth.
As far as when people can bridge the gap between linear and non-linear living, static and quantum states, I feel it could happen any time. It is destined.
H. - Many sages that I've followed suggest that awakening to the nature of our being is often arrived at through suffering. I agree. Many people that I know closely say that I think too much. Sometimes I agree. I'm mostly trying to rest in this awareness that my body will fail at some point and when that happens most likely my identity will also, so I appreciate as much as I can of my experience. My body has been hurt a lot and I'm chronically in pain, I also think I'm tired at times of whatever struggles my ego thinks I have - thus my statement that I might welcome or at least accept gracefully and end.
G. - I did not realize that your body has been hurt a lot and that you are chronically in pain. I empathize.
H. - Anyway, I have fun trying to understand how much of this sentient stuff is physiological and sensory.
G. - I looked up sentient. Thought it meant one who perceives through the senses. The definition that came up is 'able to perceive or feel things.'
H. - It is nice to believe that there's some sort of magic to all of this. My grounding belief is that God is in everything, that objects vibrate at different frequencies and the way I'm constructed I can only pick up what my physical self can sense - it has some to do with awareness but is limited by biology and physiology.
G. - What about intuitive feeling? Have you ever experienced sensing something not through the five senses? I get a whiff of it now and then, of pure awareness not limited by biology and physiology. A reader of the Whole Human blog wrote to me his story of experiencing pure awareness (Transcendence).
H. - Looping back around, I try to be happy, appreciative and grateful. I try to love. I'm trying to be simple (and some say that I'm succeeding).
Let's keep talking.
G. - Yes! An aspect of consciousness which intrigues me is whether the origin of what is, the Unmoved, has a purpose for putting it all in motion.
Suppose everything that exists has an original blueprint, which is the fully formed idea in the metaphorical mind of God, of what each thing can be.
Suppose one idea for homo sapiens is a creature which perceives and feels both the differentiated and the undifferentiated and can live consciously as either.
Suppose the idea is that the creature is potentially a co-creator with the original energy, in service to Life. That is one blueprint. Each individual has a unique blueprint, embedded as frequencies in the DNA. For some the whole idea is to experience living and dying in the physical world or to play life like a game.
Is the original idea a game or an experiment? As an experiment, the questions of the Experimenter might be:
Will the differentiated become aware of the undifferentiated and live as both, simultaneously?
Will a differentiated being, immersed in the appearance of solidity, be able to awaken from the stupor and live in the full knowing that it is also the undifferentiated Being?
Will a differentiated being with self-awareness and 'free will' choose to relinquish self and will, to serve Life as a co-creator with undifferentiated Source?
In the quantum sea our human awareness floats on, a fundamental particle can have multiple locations simultaneously. Through quantum entanglement, particles influence each other at a distance. The NOVA: Fabric of the Cosmos video on quantum mechanics (below) asks, 'Why does this change as the particles become objects? How does the fluidity of existence become the fixed state of our reality?'
My sense is the answer is found in consciousness, the undifferentiated and the differentiated, the unbounded by space and time and the bounded, the unmanifested sea of potentiality and its manifestations, the wavelengths of probability and their intersection with manifested sentient beings.
In the quantum state, fundamental particles don't want to be pinned down to one location, and it seems they are not until we measure them. Could it be that our world appears to be static in part due to the slowness of our brain processing speed? And what would we become aware of were our brains to operate as quantum computers?