Saturday, September 26, 2020

Desire... for something

When a person feels desire towards something, he can then make contact with its core – the divine desire to be. But only if he experiences divine pleasure in its being,[1] will he achieve the true fulfillmint of his desire, to touch its soul. However, the degree and intensity of this pleasure is governed by the object of desire’s place in the chain. The more spiritual the thing that is desired is, the more fulfilling will be the pleasure it yields – for it is closer to the source of all pleasure.[2] The ultimate experience of pleasure lies in the experience of union with the Source, where pleasure resides in its most pristine form.[3]

Pleasure as Displeasure

In its lowest reaches, the Chain of Evolution yields things that are inconducive[4] – or even contrary – to what G-d desires.[5]

[6]The capacity of these things to give pleasure is an existential paradox. All pleasure is but the embodiment of the divine pleasure in creation, while these pleasures are divine dis>pleasures – things contrary to creation>.[7] Yet they, too, are products of the divine desire, since their capacity to give pleasure fills a certain function in G-d’s purpose in creation: G-d desired that we be confronted with a choice between good and evil (so that our deeds should be meaningful and significant). But G-d wants that these things should exist only in order that man should reject them as contrary to His very existence; so theirs is an existence whose inner essence – those function and raison d’Ä“tre – is not to exist.

Let's use the metaphor of digestion to explain the phenomenon.

Digestion is the process by which food passes through the various organs which break it down and separate its finer elements from its coarser ones. At each phase of the process, this separation grows more and more defined; ultimately, the finer elements in the food evolve into body-building cells and energy, and its coarser elements are ejected by the body. Both the nutrients and the waste are products of the digestion system; but the former is generated to be used, while the latter is generated to be rejected and therby enable the body’s absorption of the former.

By the same token, the Chain of Evolution is like the cosmic “digestive system” in which the essence of creation is processed into the substance and the energy of the universe that G-d desired. This process (like every process we know) also generates waste – elements that must be separated and disposed of in order for the desirable product to function.[8]

Of course, G-d could have evolved His world in such a manner that the good develops without any separation of waste, or, for that matter, He could have not evolved it at all. But G-d desired that the good in creation should be all the more sharply defined by its contrast with the rejected evil; that human life should be an exercise in refinement – in distinguishing between the calories of divine energy and the sludge of putrid waste in our own self and character, our environment and our world. Indeed, the very concept of good, as we know it, would be devoid of all meaning were it not for the challenge of rejecting the evil that vies for validation and indulgence.)[9]

[10]Based on the above, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, explains the following incident related in the Talmud:[11]

Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Yehushua and Rabbi Akiva were walking along the road when they heard the sounds of the crowds of Rome in the distance. They began to weep, but Rabbi Akiva laughed.

Said they to him: “Why are you laughing?”

Said he to them: “Why are you weeping?”

Said they to him: “These barbarians, who prostrate themselves before statues and sacrifice to idols, dwell happy and secure, while we – the footstool of our G-d (i.e. the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) was consumed by fire. Shall we not weep?”

Said he to them: “That is why I am laughing. If for those who transgress His will it is so, how much more so is it for those who do His will.” (Talmud, Makkot 24a-b)

Rabbi Akiva is saying: If the waste produced by the divine desire in creation can yield such pleasure for the hedonist, imagine the pleasure to be derived through the fulfillment of His will, which is the source of all pleasure!

On the edge of the Holy Land

Therein lies the deeper significance of the idolatory (of Peor)[12], and the explanation of why the people succumbed to it on the eve of their entry into the Land of Israel.

On the face of it, the idol worship (of Peor) was a particularly repulsive activity. In truth, however, this was but the physical encoachment of what a person does every time he prefers an unG-dly pleasure over a G-dly one: he is worshipping the offal of creation, venerating something whose only significance is its need to be rejected in favour of the energies that are extracted from it.

This is why the vulnerability (to Peor) came about at the close of their forty-year sojourn in the desert, as they camped on the east bank of the Jordan River poised to enter and settle in the Land of Canaan.

For forty-years, the people had enjoyed a wholly spiritual existence. They were fed, clothed and sheltered by daily miracles, leaving them free to pursue the divine wisdom of the Torah, without the distractions of the material state. Most telling of their state was the fact that the mann, the “bread from heaven” on which they lived, was wholly absorbed into their bodies, engendering no waste. They inhabited a spiritual idyll, in which the waste of creation was unknown.

But now they stood at the threshold of a new era: they were about to settle the land, till its soil, engage in commerce and polotics – i.e., to live a physical life sustained by physical means. For the first time in their history as a nation, they were to be in direct contact with the nether levels of the Chain of Evolution – with that part of the cosmic digestive tract which sperates the waste from the body of creation. For the first time, they were called upon to differentiate between vital matter – matter that nourishes a spiritual end – and dead matter – matter as an end in itself.[13]

Not all were equal to the challenge. There was an outbreak of Peor worship[14] in the camp, as many were enticed by the psuedo-pleasures to be found in the undesirable by-product of creation. Until one man came, and with his selfless commitment, unclouded vision and decisive action, put a halt to the plague of Peor.


Every piece I read brings up many thoughts. I could spend the whole day working on a piece like this one.

1) What would oppose that is, upon making contact with its soul and core, the desire to destroy it – or lead it into darkness. It is as if they need to feed off this life force, this divine desire to be. They take no pleasure in its being, but only in its demise.

2) It is also know that below a certain threshold, more of this thing will not bring more pleasure – but probably more pain i.e. will end up increasing the pain in the world, instead of the spirituality. (torture/blood/ritual)

These are the finite things for which we can have infinite desire, for no matter how much we desire them, no matter how much we feed on them, they will not be able to satisfy this hunger – for it is a spiritual hunger, a hunger that will only be assuaged by things that contain the essence of the divine in them. (children?)

3) Before merging fully with the pleroma.

4) It is similar to the process of conductivity. If we think of the Divine Energy as electricity, and it needs a conductive material to flow. If there is a non-conductive part of the path along which it wishes to flow, there will be a blockage – and eventually damage at that point.

Perhaps we are conductors of Light.

5) Analysis:

  1. If we imagined a chain, it has a beginning, source, and an end. Thus the end would be defined as the point furthest away from the source. Furthest in this sense would mean the most unlike the source. Something like the broken telephone. The further away from the source of the message, the more the message drifts from its original. Or if you imagined the light as the source, then it would be darkness on the other end. If it was life, then death would be the end.
  2. But what we are talking about here is process or chain of evolution from the source of evolution itself. Thus it must evolve from something to something else – and the only place the unity, perfection can move to, is the opposite of everything that it is.
  3. Thus this evolution becomes an evolution from the source to whatever the source is not, and thus it becomes inconducive to whatever radiates along this chain of evolution.
  4. Thus if we name the Source, G-d, then the statement of whatever G-d desires, is inconclusive. Because this very chain of evolution is G-d’s desire. For nothing can exist without G-d wanting it to exist. Thus, it is not contrary to G-d’s desires, unless we interpret G-d’s desire to be what radiates from the Source, and thus as it gets further and further from the Source, it begins to contain less and less of it and thus is less able to conduct the “desire”.
  5. Remember, this is not spatial, although we have to use spacial constructs to explain it.

6) Interestingly enough, this is what happens to those who begin to descend into the darkness. Like those who are depressed, suicidal, in despair. When feeding from something external and thus material (idolatory), the loss of this external manifestation will bring about a spiritual crises.

7) If creation is the will to live, then they are the expression of the will to destroy/kill/annihilate.

8) They are like the viruses, errors in the DNA/RNA production system of the body.

9) There is also a metaphor of electricity that we could use here.

10) Here in this case, when we speak of Rabbi’s, we are speaking of people who have studied and practised their faith all their lives. People of similar ilk exist in all cultures, religions and societies. Thus this is a story of Rabbi’s, but they could be Buddhist monks, or Sufi imams, or Christian priests. One could begin the story, three wise men were ...

11) we continue to the story below, as my intention for this teaching is for it to accessible to as broad an audience as possible. Thus in the usage of some archetypes, we use a word that is common to our culture. However, we do not wish to restrict it only to that context. If we speak of G-d, we think of G-d as both transcendent and immenent, as the One that is everything, everywhere and without whom nothing would exist. It could be Ha’Shem, Jehovah, the Holy Spirit, Allah, the Source, the Creator, Great Spirit, Buddha, Jesus, the Holy Prophet, blessed be His name, and the names of all the prophets. These all call to that infinite Being that cannot be named by any name, by is called by all names.

If we refer to anthing or anyone, include G-d, in a particular gender it is not to diminish any other. We could play the game of using She instead of He, or even It. But It is neither He nor She nor It. But we are restricted and constrained by the terms and manner of the language and its cultural norms. In English, we could use It. However, in Hebrew, there is no it – thus G-d is either He or She... and they chose He! Now we can turn all the He’s into She’s and then the gender problem will be solved....

The debate over gender is only pertinent with the background of gender discrimination in a society. It has no intrinsic effect on that. Perhaps we have a bible that contains He and another version that uses She instead. The first is used by the men, and the second by the women. BTW, if that was done in the Hebrew bible, it would require the verbs to be changed to the feminine form in these cases too.

I would rather seek to understand what we mean when we use He and what aspect of G-d are we expressing when we use the feminine pronoun. Let us explore deeper the feminine expression of G-d, and then only change those. We could possibly continue to use the masculine form of the verb, as is often done in modern Israel, with the feminine pronoun. I have to point out that there are many commentaries, some relying on the Gematria (numeration) of verses to derive certain conclusions. Many of these would no longer be relevant if we amended the text. Finally, how are you ever going to convince us to change a text that is millinia old?

12) I parenthise this, because although the story might be familiar to all those who have read and studied Torah, to those less familiar with the story, the tale of the Israelites falling into idolatory on the eve of their entry into the Holy Land – speaks to me of the need for vigilance, especially when close to your goal, is the time for the enemy to strike.

13) This is the material for which we can have infinite desire, infinite appetite, but will never satisfy our souls.

14) Peor Worship: Idolatry, harlotry, and matriarchy!

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Megatron?

If we could imagine a "meta-particle", a little like the zygote that grows into all the different cells of the body - a mega-particle from which all others are formed... It would have to be something amazing, and, in its way, almost perfect - at least containing all the possibilities available in that space. And this is a lovely contender. 
E8 Lie Group

This is an awesome explanation of some of interesting aspects on the outer/inner reaches of reality. In order to understand this idea, one has to pass through the portals of nothing & infinity, through multi- dimensional geometry to arrive at the E8 lie group, a quasi-crystal that expresses an 8th dimensional reality in a 3d language. Weird, huh?

Well, this weirdness might become a serious contender in the understanding of the basic component of our reality, now that string theory is losing some of its bluster.

A final footnote, in the Sefer Yetzirah, "The Book of Creation", a seminal Kabbalistic book attributed to Abraham, our forefather, in a translation by R' Aryeh Kaplan, who, by the way was also a physicist, he derives a similar structure through completely connecting the 231 gates of consciousness from the Tree of Life. 

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Beauty of Fractals - Images of Complex Dynamical Systems

... I realised that the straight line leads to the downfall of mankind. But the straight line has become an absolute tyranny. The straight line is something cowardly drawn with a rule, without though or feeling; it is the line which does not exist in nature. And that line is the rotten foundation of our doomed civilisation. Even if there are places where it is recognised that this line is rapidly leading to perdition, its course continues to be plotted... Any design undertaken with the straight line will be stillborn. Today we are witnessing the triumph of rationalistic knowledge and yet, at the same time, we find ourselves confronted with emptiness. An aesthetic void, desert of uniformity, criminal sterility, loss of creative power. Even creativity is prefabricated. We have become impotent. We are no longer able to create. That is real sterility.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser 

As Galileo Galilei so powerfully stated the credo in 1623:
Philosophy is written in this grand book -- I mean the Universe -- which stands continuously open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language in which it is written...
This statement is at the basis of much of the spiritual exploration of humanity. In Judaism we have the Torah, which is the Word of God - and Hebrew which represents the primordial alphabet. Each deep exploration into the complex environment in which we are born follows a similar path. Just as our lives being knowing nothing, and we have to explore our own (and others') grand narratives through the world around us.

He continues to make a definitive statement, and this statement has become an axiom of belief, one of the basic tenets of the what I would term the modern religion: science.
It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these one is wandering about in a dark labyrinth.
The three pillars of that world view - Euclidean geometry, Galilean mathematics, and Newtonian physics. They formed a mighty edifice and it stood for over 300 years, eventually ruling over us with a might that has never been seen before. As we stand on the precipice of a new age.

However, that is not where our story ends. For some 350 years later, Benoit Mandlebrot, in 1984, asked - just as Galileo questioned the geocentricity of the solar system:
Why is geometry often described as cold and dry? One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line... ...Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity. The number of distinct scales of length of patterns is for all purposes infinite.

 He continues, and I think that in this is a recipe for our future:
The existence of these patterns challenges us to study these forms that Euclid leaves aside as being formless, to investigate the morphology of the amorphous. Mathematicians have disdained this challenge, however, and have increasingly chosen to flee from nature by devising theories unrelated to anything we see or feel.
And this is where I will leave this for today.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Four days of Quiet

Living up in the Amatole Mountains in the Eastern Cape, we often encounter nature in a more personal and rather intimate fashion than I have experienced in more urban environments. For the last four days we did not have any electricity, though we do have running water fed from a nearby stream. Consequently, I am behind in some important near-term goals that could positively impact my future, and thus I cannot spend as much time describing this morning thoughts as I would have. There are also some interesting jewels of thoughts that arose during my four day Sabbatical during which I was reading a book of Chassidic tales, mixed with a deep dive into the some of the underlying mathematics and thus philosophical ideas at the base of fractals and the Mandelbrot set. Fascinating stuff.

But, to remain present for now, the thought this morning was regarding the feeling of sitting last night, once again, in the shadowy flickering lights of candles and firelight, unwashed and silent. The night sky clear and full of twinkling stars, deep darkness whispering all around. I was still, but waiting. And this morning, with electricity coursing through our home, revelling in the feeling of hot water cleansing me after four days, and thought of all those who are cannot wash when they need to, and how it is to live under that duress.

I am humbled and grateful for the blessing that I have in my life, and my prayers and thoughts go out to those who do not have this blessing of water, and comfort.

We say prayers and blessing for the sunlight and the moon, the seas and the water that sustains us, the food that nourishes and the love that surrounds us. But we do not bless the light that comes from this power that we have named electricity. It is, in fact, a "greater" light than that that has come from the sound. Some say it is ancient sunlight. It provides us power, and at present, we can no longer survive without it. 

Once the lights came on again, what did strike me was the difference in the electrical light versus the firelight. The former radiated its light outwards, illuminating all in its path, whereas the latter, fire light, was much more seductive in its interplay of dark and light, and drew one in to its flitting center.

Have a wonderful day.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Radio inteview with Lyn Spirit Eagle

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Morning Thought

Every morning while luxuriating in the incredible privilege of having heated water running over my body, a "thought" enters my mind. It generally crystalises enough to enable me to capture it. For we all know how many thoughts, ideas, concepts, are like wisps, misty fingers almost touching for a moment, like the promise of a caress - for a moment there, and then gone... forever. Whereas our feelings are more like that of reacting to the touch of someone - whether liked or not, attractive or not, allowed or not.

What is a thought anyways? How do we even manage to think thoughts? Even dreaming up such a mechanism is amazing. Scientists spend their time collecting data, and trying to find the "thing" that thinks. Is it the brain, or the electrical synapses? Those that delve into such things are becoming quite esoteric, talking about Bose-Einstein condensates, and other such amazing concepts to try and explain this incredible event.

The outstanding event is not that we think at all - for we assume that many more evolved animals both on sea and on land, are able to think. Even, perhaps, the awareness that we think, and exist, might not be special, for animals might be able to do that too.

No... the actual element that differentiates us, is not that we think, or are aware that we exist, but of death, and the time that stretches from your birth to your death. (tombstone with date picture). That time in which we create a narrative that runs parallel with your actual life, and has a big part in determining who you will be (if a youth) and who you are (once mature).

This morning my thoughts were around the Covid-19 pandemic raging in this time as I was considering a journey to the closest major city - East London. The images of entering this world of masks and crazy responses to the spread of a flu flitted through my mind. Imaging interacting with this world, and like a worm retreating from an unpleasantness, so I felt myself retracting. As long as I can keep away from the Covid-19 infection, I will. And it is not the virus I am afraid of, but the people's reaction to the threat of viral infection is scaring me. It has that brutish, reactive, thoughtless feeling like a mob preparing for a rampage. At this point, it is still just small breakouts, like little flames. The conflagration is yet to come.

What if we declared a Covid free zone where we lived? I mean, one in which we just live normally, and accept the fact that we have a flu moving through our village, and it may infect a certain number of people, and some may even die. But we need to deal with those who are in need, and the rest of us need to continue living our lives and supporting and sustaining one another.

For I can promise you one thing, that the aftermath of this pandemic will be catastrophic. We can already see that the world we will emerge into, will not be the same as the one we have left behind. Even if it is only with masks, and disinfectant, and plastic shields, that we will be living with now, that will not be what the "end game" will be. With the amount of power politics in the world. With men (and women) with egos massive enough to believe that they can make rational decision for millions  - an absurdity which we have bought into as well as we continue to vote for people to hold such positions of power over us.

Either we believe that our government and governing bodies have the ability to sort out this mess, or we don't. If the former, then wait and see. If the latter, then we need to get off our butts and start organising ourselves out of this mess before it is too late - otherwise we are going to descend into the same sort of quagmire as Zimbabwe - an economic mess with a dictatorial overlords ruling over everyone and luxuriating in the spoils of their lifestyles.

I did not think it was going to end up here, but once again, my call is to organise ourselves into a self-sustaining network of communities.  Let's call it the Tree of Life Network.

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