Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fw: Wired News: Awareness: Mystery of the Mind

This was just relayed from a friend; Interesting, eh?

TUCSON, Arizona -- In the quest to make a brainpower computer, perhaps the biggest mysteries remains the most nebulous: Where does awareness come from? Can it be simulated? What does awareness by itself look like?

While the first question remains unanswered, Rodney Brooks of MIT presented new research on robot algorithms that mimic aware behavior, which leaves open to interpretation whether it will pave the road to machine consciousness or simply build a better parrot.

The third question has inspired new studies that coax consciousness into the open, discovering that some heightened forms of awareness continue after the mind falls asleep, while more rudimentary kinds of awareness can even enter the mind through a temporarily blinded eye.

At the latest Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, which ended in Tucson on Friday, Brooks reported on his lab's latest efforts to teach its robot, named Kismet, some basic protocols of aware behavior.

First, he said, came the task of finding every set of human eyes in its field of view, so Kismet could follow the primary human medium for sending cues. This was done by detecting any oval-shaped objects with human skin tones and using geometrical models of faces to isolate that face's windows on the world.

From there, motion-detecting software -- combined with knowledge of the laws of classical physics -- allowed Kismet to sense when an object was ballistic and when it was guided by a conscious hand.

Algorithms such as these allowed the robot to perform basic interactions, such as simulating short conversations with humans and following a pointing hand toward the object it points at -- a task that cat and dog owners know nature's programmers never quite debugged for some species.

"Unlike neuroscience, where scientists are presented with an existing object they have to study, we get to build these objects and understand what we put into them," Brooks said.

Pure awareness, stripped of any corresponding mental state, does present itself for study in humans, said Fred Travis of the Maharishi University of Management. Travis reported on his recent efforts to isolate patterns of brain activity in subjects who regularly practice transcendental meditation.

"Can there be a sense of self without mental content, which is just aware of its own structure without perception or thinking?" he asked.

This state of consciousness in experienced meditators was characterized by EEG data that Travis presented, which showed brain patterns of wakeful awareness (so-called theta and alpha activity) that appeared even when the subjects were in deep sleep.

These findings were also consistent with meditators' claims.

"Subjects report a permanent integration of transcendental experiences with waking, sleeping and dreaming," Travis said.

Basic forms of awareness can be studied in the absence of conscious awareness, said Randolph Blake of Vanderbilt University. He presented a series of results involving subjects who were shown different images in each eye.

The brain, when presented with an image from the left eye that's completely different from the image in the right eye, cycles its conscious attention between eyes. Thus, at a moment when one eye is dominant, the images appearing before the other eye lie outside a subject's visual consciousness.

This laboratory trick -- called "binocular rivalry" -- allows researchers to provoke mental responses to changing images in one eye, even though the mind may be focused on the input coming from the other.

For instance, Blake summarized the results of a study in which subjects watched a rotating pinwheel pattern and then trained their sight on a still image that appeared to move. This optical illusion, his lab found, could even be provoked when the spinning pinwheel was only observed by the unconscious eye.

Subsequent studies, including brain-imaging studies, indicate that the brain's more basic regions for visual processing (including the primary visual cortex) handle these images, even though the pinwheels are suppressed from a person's awareness.

Yet when the researchers presented the subjects' temporarily "blinded" eye with images that required advanced visual or verbal processing -- requiring more sophisticated tasks beyond the range of the visual cortex -- they could not provoke unconscious awareness.

Blake said that binocular rivalry is a useful tool for probing some of the rudiments of awareness, but the "knife is not sharp enough" to slice into the root cause of awareness. To that end, he cited the early 20th century psychologist William James.

"We know what consciousness is," James famously wrote, "as long as no one asks us to define it."


Dumb, still un-elected monkey! Posted by Hello

ABOVE US, ONLY SKY.....Divinity, within,without and all around us...Can you see it, Friend? Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

Earth Aura; 1963 -1975 Posted by Hello

Remember when this man was, according to Nixon, the most dangerous man on Earth? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hello All

I honestly did not think I would have time for another blog, but I think I am going to like this. A good way to unwind after all news, all the time.

Usually by this time of night I have one thought, well, at least one, that is a real nagger.

Naggers can be hard to turn off.

Writing has always helped with the naggers.

This will be good.

Except for the obvious fact that it is also around this time of night that I start thinking in minimal word sentences; synaptic firing is irregular and, well, minimal.

What have we wrought, what have we claimed....?

caused my mind to sort of come to a screeching halt.

K. and I were talking about just that only a few days ago, before the decison was made to take on another blog, so it was before the post asking the questions. Those questions really start me on the path to the past, in my mind.

Maybe we are all tuning in; if not dropping out, yet, eh?

I was just reading some old files, over the weekemd; sorting and house cleaning.

Osmond's research, several articles by Grof, Leary, Lilly, J. Houston, and R.D. Lang, of all people. This caused me to go in search of tapes; Ram Dass; the early years. I have a set of his tapes, that cover a very long span of time; from the first time he came home from India after finding his guru, until the early 90's. I listen to them when I travel, or when my eyes are too tired to read.

The point is, the trip down memory lane loosed my mind to wander, and wander it did, though not unconsciously (most of thetime, he he he..).

Since the early days after 9/11, I have felt pulled into that time, again. So, apparently, have many others, my age. The revolutionary 60's, that time period, begining shortly before Kennedy was assassinated and fading away, around the time Richard Nixon left office, right ahead of impeachment and trial by the senate.

At least, that is how I perceive it.

That time period and the people who lived it all out, with such intensity, yes, but real beauty of heart, mind and spirit, as well, have been reviled and scorned for so long now, that I sometimes believe that even those of us who lived it, may not be sure of anything about it, by now.

Lately, since that era has been linked in many minds to this time of similar catastrophe, I have been paying attention more to the ridicule that is heaped on Hippies, Peaceniks, Rebels, Yippies; John Kerry and Jane Fonda are being demonized again. I actually heard someone call somone else a Communist, just yesterday, because the man said he was questioning Bush policy.

Actually, I found the whole scene rather conforting, as well as disquieting. It assured me that nothing had really changed much, while at the same time warning me that everything has changed, irreparably; actually, there has been a half a revolution, we are about a 180 from where we were back then.

I remember well that none of my crowd would register with any political party, not because we were secretly Communists, though some might have been, to some degree, but rather because most of us trusted neither major political party, so we certainly didn't feel the need to feed any kind of information to the government, which we did not trust either, even if it was only by giving information to one of the Parties.

It was the Basic Trust Issue, Stupid.

It still is.

Those of us who witnessed and/or participated in the beginning of the revolution and are still around for its completion, or its termination, resulting in a very dark peroid, the clouds of which are already gathering and building (noticed now, by most, I would think), are not typical Liberals. We are Liberals who do not trust government, especially when it comes to the protection of the minority, the poor or the little guy.

Doesn't every generation question, to some extent, the hypocricy of the ones before it?
I think so. If they don't, they are not doing their job in an open, evolving society.

(Oh, by the way, Tram said to tell all that it would probably be a good idea for everybody on the mountain to use one post handle.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

An Open Letter to Terrorists

To all Terrorist, big and small, Imams, preachers, rabbis, presidents and prime ministers;
if the shoe fits, we will not acquit.
A terrorist is someone who purposefully causes great states of fear and horror in other human beings, as a tactic to serve his or her purposes, whatever those might be, and no matter how noble the reasons might sound to the fearful, turned angry, turned patriotic, turned nationalistic, infected ears, or to the outraged, indignant and self-righteous ones. A terrorist is also the one who conspires with and supports the actual perpetrators of the act, whatever that might; knocking down huge buildings in which people are working, guilty of nothing but being employed, or using Napalm in a theatre of war, because the sight of melting flesh has the "wonderful" side-effect of scaring hell out of the locals. (Damn! Don't you think that Daisy Cutters, Cruise Missilles, and 2,000 pound bombs, that cause small but hideous mushroom clouds, are scary enough?)
So, Listen up, all of you!
Stop it, NOW!
What freakin' Century is this? What is the matter with you people? Have you not evolved at all in the last 1500... 2000 years or so?
How old are you?
Don't you know, that when you do things that instill severe states of fear, over and over, or dramatically and in a way that sears horrible sights, sounds, smells into the brains of other human beings, you have assured yourself, you are about to see the very worst beast residing within them.
Not only have you assured yourselves and your friends and your people a rough row to hoe, but you have committed an un-holy crime against another human being that is so base and senseless and, I might add, unenlightened.
Mankind seems to be wired for faith, of some variety or the other; for living as spiritual beings. Yet, when you intentionally cause others to be terrified, they will more than likely be ripped from their center , their faith, their peace. Most will find their way back. Some may not.  Your sin remains. The sin of fear-mongering; a cardinal sin. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Fear is its opposite and the very foundation of ego-personality in mankind.
When will they ever learn.......
In every religion, great  or small, somewhere, in their sacred scripture, it is written, some form of the Golden Rule:
"Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."
(I am not familiar with any other such "rule" that is so universal; certainly I have not seen, "Do unto others before they can do unto you" widely taught, outside extremists indoctrination camps, be they in Afghanistan or Montana or Iraq or Texas)
But now we know, with great certainty, that you cannot do unto others without doing unto yourself, and if you are too brave or foolish to care about yourself, you are also doing unto your family and friends, those "others" you love more than life itself.
Because as trite as it has become to say it, in this New Age, we all really are One and there is nothing new about that concept, but it is far more than a concept; it is experienced truth. 
So cut it out.
All of you.... just stop it.
You put fear in the hearts of God' children, waving those silly flags and yelling, setting off bombs, be-heading people, gunning civilians down in the street, blowing little children away,, threatening people with mushroom clouds, irradiating other people's homelands, sending around threatening videos like teenagers in a gang might do, and intentionally deceiving people just to ratchet up their fear another notch.
Adrenalin is, as a dear friend of mine once said, "stupid juice."

Monday, April 25, 2005

From Imperial Purple to The Light of the Sun.....

The Way of Sanity, when Red becomes Toxic.

Amusing, don't you think, that the Republicans have been labeled Red and Democrats, Blue. Maps, shown shortly after the election showed more purple and lavender than red, and blue was very blue, on the Coasts.

Red, associated with anger, aggression, fire and fear, has become toxic. Instead of truth and the fire that purifies, those carrying the banner, Red, bring deception and the fire that destroys.

Be wary of a soul-saver in a suit. This man is likely to sell his soul. Can you honestly expect him to have any care for yours?

The Christ said, "You cannot serve both God and the things of man (mammon)"; you know, like money, which always equals power, which leads to corruption, in mechanically, ego-controlled mankind.

We are all one step away from the tyranny of the superego, the id or the ego. Somebody-training really works very well, you know.

Practice, Practice, Practice....
Bible Study?
If it bears good fruit,
go for it, Friend.

Zen, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi?
If they bear good fruit,
go for it friend?

Somewhere, we all made a wrong turn, or we would not be here, wherever "here" is.

It doesn't matter, because being here, right now, is the only way to get to there, wherever "there" is.

We are on a journey; all of us.
Jesus wandered as an adult and maybe even as a child. He was not all that easy to keep up with, as his parents found out when they lost him in Jerusalem.

(Now Parents lose children there every week, but to the grave, not the Temple, Church or Mosque.)

Mohammed, when he was very young, only a very small boy, was given to a Bedouin woman by his own mother, so that he could wander as he grew.

There is a certain potential for Wisdom that comes from wandering, if the wandering is conscious and chosen, the mind and heart open to all they encounter.

Moses left the palace of the pharaoh, to wander in the wilderness with the Jews he liberated from Egyptian power.

A world not safe for wandering, is a world that's getting dumber by the minute.

News and the New Pope

Read the news today.....

Frist; stirring disgust, as well as hate.

Delay just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny;
now, he is dragging much of the Far- right with Hell.

After much speculation and revelation,
none to pleasant,
the new Pope,
Benedict XVI,
broke Church tradition,
gave a very conciliatory homily.
God, Bless him if he means it,
God, bless him, if he doesn't.

We pray and hope that he will not take his flock backwards,
but we think our hope is hollow;
our prayers will be answered in the negative.

Holy Father, "Thou shalt not" is valuable for children,
for adults, not so much.

Many of your flock need to hear a few "Thou Shalts,"

Since we come from just about every tradition
(there is nothing new under the sun)
We must lend support to Vatican II Roman Catholics;
They are our kind of people,
in many respects, the most important;
matters of the Compassionate Heart
and the still, Knowing mind.

Issues of social justice still bind us to them,
as in the 60's,
when Vatican II brought the guitar into Sanctuaries
all over the land;
the Berrigan Brothers joined us,
Nuns went to prison,
Good Friday went on a Trip

Let us not forget them or forsake them;
their time may well be at hand,
just as ours is.

Brightly attired Flower Children,
of yesteryear,
and those who wore black,
have more in common than we remember,
in these times of darkness.

The Lights,
who brought us all together,
are with us,
even now.

As the guru said,
while in his dying process,
"where would I go from you?"

Bobby, Martin and John.......
(Lennon and Kennedy)
Gandhi, and yes, Leary and Ram Dass.

Mother Theresa,
who could spout Church Doctrine with the best,
We loved as one of our own.

Because she was and is.....
in all of the ways that really matter.
Faith unlived is like a life unexamined.

What is the point, Dude?

War, UH! good god, y'all,
what is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!

Say it again, ya'll!!!!


Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Original Purpose; and then some...

Glad we all agreed on this.

We began with the idea to tell the history, myths, etc, of an era; more the beginning of an Age.

Even in the midst of the current upheaval
(or maybe because of it)
it is time that the stories are told.
...and, yes, there are more than just one.

There are more than just two;
Right and Left,
wrong and right or black and white.

...... and so we shall tell them all; all our stories, one by one,
in as many ways as there are of us,
every one.

Take what you need and leave the some of us learned... later in life.

So, too, will we share the wisdom,
born of joy
that has arisen,
in our later years.

The humor, the laughter, the sanctity and the bliss;
the sorrow,
the sadness,
the horror,
the abyss.

What really happened,
all those years ago?

What have we wrought?
What have we claimed?

What have we bought,
that keeps us,
in chains?

A Long Time Ago.......