Weekend activities – 4WD trip and posts on enlightenment

A great weekend.
Saturday we di the Lions 4WD trip through Bluff Station in to the Branch. About 3 hours each way.
Only 17 vehicles showed up, but we still managed to raise $1,000 for Christchurch Earthquake relief.
Within half an hour of the last vehicle leaving the rain set in, and dumped about 3 inches overnight.

Sunday was cold and windy, but still headed for the golf course, and got 9 holes in before everyone abandoned play due to heavy rain.

After golf I went to sort out some computer issues for a friend, when we had a 4.9 earthquake.
When I got home, it was time to make a fire and settle down writing and printing a newsletter for the boating club. Also a chat with Will, walking the dogs, feeding the cat, and watching Alice in Wonderland with Jewelia.

Monday morning shot a bunny with the air rifle – took up living a little too close to my garden.
The cat looked very happy when I gave it the rabbit.

All the while, lots of reading and posting, including some not posted here – one that was personal to a couple facing imminent death from a disease with no current medical solution.

Question of the Day March 3, 2011- Willingly different.

What aspect of yourself, would you willingly allow to be different ?

I can will any aspect to change.
That is the definition of will.
There are no limits.
And I have some commitments – to notions like love, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, individual freedom and empowerment, compassion, understanding, giving others as much freedom as possible while also trying to provide the greatest security possible (acknowledging that life is inherently risky at all levels), creating a balance between intuition and contemplation and logic, …..

[followed by]

Hi Christine,

I can certainly recall being way less compassionate on a regular basis, and I still have many times of way less than full awareness where my compassion is far below where it can be.

I recall when my compassion got a major wakeup.
I was on the school bus, and just getting off when I made a cruel comment to another kid (Ricky Scowan) – I called him “Sickly Ricky”. As I passed him the bus driver turned to me and said quietly “Of all the kids on this bus, I never thought I’d hear you say something like that.”
I was about 11 years old at the time.
I got then, that others had noticed what a “hell” of a time I got from most other kids, and how much I hated it, and they did care – they just didn’t know what to do about it.
It was one of those moments when one’s entire view of life changes.
A casual comment to a kid from an old bus driver.

I have done a bit of pushing the physical boundaries, and had a couple of years of doing 25 to 50km on my bike before breakfast at least 4 days a week, and doing over 100km off-road from time to time.
Now I play golf – and do a little bit of riding, just 5-20 kms a few times a week.
In engineering term, the motors we put in top fuel dragsters have to be rebuilt after about 10 minutes of running; the engines we put in formula 1 racers usually last about 5 hours between rebuilds, while the engines of family sedans usually last about 3,000 hours before needing any serious attention (most are junked before they wear out or break down). The very large, very slow engines we put in merchant ships can go 10,000 hours between checks and can do over 100,000 hours between major overhauls. Some modern jet aircraft engines average over 50,000 hours between rebuilds.

Our bodies are different to machines in a sense, they do respond to stress by increasing capacity and capability (they definitely have a “use it or lose it” aspect to their functionality) but there is also increased risk with constantly operating near the boundaries of capability.

For me, it is nice to know where my limits are, and it is nicer to operate at a level that is safely well below those limits, but also in a manner that I know I can rapidly regain capacity that is near to those limits, and operate there safely, if circumstances require it.
It applies to most skills in life.


[followed by]

Hi Christine

I see my ability for compassion will likely be ever expanding, as with ability to love (and many other domains), and there will very likely be times when my compassion can hit near zero. When I see some adult tormenting children just for the sadistic pleasure they get from causing pain in others who cannot effectively retaliate, my compassion levels can still get very close to zero. I have that capacity. At such times, I am not “safe” to be around. I have far too much training in far too many disciplines.

[followed by]

Hi OM, Christine & FOS

I am not proposing idiot compassion at any level.

I am aware when I take action that affects another, and compassion is present, and I am aware when I take identical action, and compassion is absent. The awareness may not be present at the time of the action, it may come some time later – perhaps milliseconds, perhaps hours, usually less than a second.

I can take any action, even action causing death, and have compassion present or absent. There is no necessarily discernible difference from an external perspective, and I know from an internal perspective.

Thus I stand my my original original assertion, there are times when I take action when compassion, if present at all, is present at extremely low levels. This would correspond to times when my higher awareness is not connected to that part of my brain which controls action in reality.
I can quite easily split my awareness into at least three components, and have each component engaged in different tasks. Thus I can drive a car, while shaving, and while contemplating aspects of mathematics as an example, and even use sufficient of my visual processing centers to construct visual 3D graphs in my head, while still driving safely. I need to be driving well within my capabilities to do this. I know I am capable of driving safely at speeds over 250km/hr (and have been over 280km/hr) so driving at 100km/hr I can usually do safely with less than 10% of total capacity – leaving 90% for other tasks. Sometimes I can drive for over an hour while my main focus is contemplation of something, and have no awareness at all of the passage of space or time on the road. I can (and do) do similar things in most contexts.

Sometimes my higher awareness is engaged in some other level of activity, and my body is working on automatic, and actions happen without any compassion – they just happen, based on very early, very simple patterns, and my higher awareness simply does not notice at the time.

Sometimes, there is no higher awareness, it is simply not present (effectively asleep), and the early patterns are in control. Sometimes my higher awareness is slow to wake up. This doesn’t happen often any more, but it was rather common for many years.

This is not an exploration of levels of higher awareness. I have experienced several levels above my normal operating level, and I sometimes sustain higher levels for extended periods (hours or days).

[followed by]


Maybe I am just really weird.
I am able to maintain multiple awarenesses.
I don’t know what others experience.

As an example, when I wake up, I do my exercise routine, using a bullworker – with 30 of each of 9 different exercises at present. When I am doing that – I start one awareness counting the repetitions. That one keeps counting (not out loud, but I hear it in my head), and I don’t worry about it, it just keeps happening. Another awareness works on the breath, counting a pattern of inward, hold, outward, hold; as I exercise. Another awareness is listening to both of the counting awarenesses, and is also monitoring the angle and the intensity of the exertion being applied to each exercise, estimating the effect on each of the different muscle groups, on blood flow, heart rate, and core and skin temperatures.

That is just a normal start to a normal day.

Once I am comfortable that all are operating within normal parameters, I may start thinking about other things – planning the next phase of my morning – while simultaneously maintaining each of the other awarenesses (and also being aware of Ailsa moving in the kitchen, the coffee peculator doing its ruminations, the birds outside doing their wakeup calls, the wind blowing, the leaves, grasses and trees making their noises, the dogs moving, the waves on the beach, cars, trucks, planes, all the information for which I have distinctions passing through my conscious awareness …. ).

And sometimes, my higher awareness is simply in view mode, it observes what is going on, without exerting any control.
The most extreme case of this was the day I put my foot in a rabbit hole, while running at full speed, and badly wrenched my ankle. I was focussed on holding a glider wing level while running, then suddenly I was lying on the ground, with strong pain from many locations. My awareness sort of took a step sideways, and just watched what was happening to the body, without taking any sort of control. The body was thrashing around, obviously in great pain, but I was in a “safe compartment” where only a shadow of the pain could penetrate, but nor was I exerting any control at all over the body – I was just a passive observer. I watched it thrash around for perhaps a minute, before coming out of the safe place, feeling the full force of pain, and taking charge again.

At another level I am aware that all awareness is a trade off, it can be very broad, with little depth, or it can be very narrowly focussed, with almost no breadth; or anywhere on the spectrum between.

If I focus on what is happening in the CPU of a computer, I have no awareness of the levels of program that are running, and vice versa. The levels of detail and abstraction available in life leave massive room for choice of context and focus. I like to be able to traverse as many levels as possible, to be able to get some sort of reliable intuitive handle on the consequence of choices.

Shifting slightly.
Young children are not compassionate. They learn compassion. We all have “non-compassionate” patterns in the vast mass of patterns available to the context machine that is the mid-brain.

No person is any “one thing” all the time.
We all have a range of responses that are more or less probable in different contexts. We can all “be” differently with different people, different contexts.

It seems to me that there is potentially an infinite stack of contexts available – successive levels of abstraction and awareness.

We all get to be different “beings” in different contexts.

I see no evidence for your assertion “Being always operates all the time” – quite the opposite.

What I see, within myself, and in the actions of all those I come into contact with, is that we all get to be very different “beings” depending on the contexts in which we find ourselves (some part of the context is supplied by external reality, some by our own memories and experiences, some by our existing patterns in the instant) and they contribute to a morass of probability functions within our holographic systems out of which our next instant of being emerges.

With a great deal of training and discipline, we can give the internal context dominance over the external, and thus generate an ever greater sense of independence from what happens around us, and we can not be entirely insulated (very close, but not entirely).

So it is a sort of yes and no response.
I acknowledge aspects of what you say, and also note that aspects do not align with my experience, observations and testing.

[followed by]

Hi Dawn

I like your analogy of the awareness to Windows.

It is one I use often, and it has many strengths to it.

Every aspect of the system is adaptable – even the operating system can be adapted and re-written (re-contextualised) and none of the old patterns ever entirely go.

There was a movie many years ago “Tron” one of the early CGI/Human movies – that was amazing. “Tron” is a computer programmers term – short for “Trace On” – that allows a program to operate, but records every step (and the contents of all registers during each step), so that an operator can go back and look at the output and see what is going on. Even in the old Z80 days they produced a lot of output – with today’s machines the output can be truly enormous – the latest generation of super-computers can fill a 2 terrabyte drive in under a millisecond with trace output (not that any single drive can transmit that much data that fast).
Even back in the Z80 days, following a trace required the use of intuition as well as logic, and we all had our own suites of tools we used to assist us.

Anyway – in the movie Tron – the major “bad guy” is the evil operating system, which had its roots as a chess playing program, and was eventually defeated using that knowledge.

I was stunned when I saw that movie, at the levels of analogy that were crammed into it – I wondered if it was done consciously by the designers, or if it was just my mind that went way beyond what was originally intended?

I have had similar thoughts in the last few years about Richard Dawkins “The Selfish Gene”. When I read that I saw many levels of application (by analogy). Having just last year been involved in a couple of hours of conversation with Richard (not just with me, but with others also), but me listening to all that was said (and watching Richard’s “body language” very closely) – I am now quite confident that Richard was entirely ignorant of many of the extensions by analogy that I took from reading his book.

I suspect something similar from the movie “The Matrix”.

So yes to all you said about analogies with multitasking operating systems like Windows, and yes that is certainly an aspect of how we operate – the change of focus of processing power – and there are other aspects also.

Perhaps the most important other aspect is that of context.

Context is king in the human mind.

We are very much context machines.

The patterns that express are very much a function of the context of mind in the instant – and contexts form chains, and topologies, across the various multitasking elements of awareness.

These topologies of context are multidimensional, and there does not appear to be any necessary limit to the number of dimensions – though 7 seems to form a normal operating limit for most highly trained brains. 7 dimensional topologies are really difficult to envisage, as one can only take 3 dimensional slices through them, and just change the dimensions in the slice to get a feel for the “shape” of the whole.

When I start to look at the activity that surrounds us using such intuitive models, the view is very different from the ones of my youth. The context is so utterly different. Some of the resulting intuitions are almost impossible to communicate.

Question of the Day March 4, 2011- Laugh out loud

What recently made you laugh out loud?

This post by Laurie Buchanan Coolin’ Your Heals?

The mental image of Laurie thowing a tantrum had me laughing out loud, and grinning from ear to ear.

Zipped in the Pod!

I know you’ve zipped me in the pod, but I haven’t done it to myself or anyone else yet.

[followed by]

Hi Laurie

Sort of, and still much disruption.

A lot of people are leaving Christchurch.

Kaikoura population has probably increased by about 20% – Jewelia reports lots of new kids at school.
There are probably close to 100,000 people whose homes have been destroyed by the earthquakes. Another 50,000 or so whose homes are structurally sound, but they have one or more of the key services water, sewerage and power unavailable.
About 80,000 jobs lost to date.

It feels like winter here today. It has been raining for about 15 hours (just stopped), with a cold southerly blowing there is a lot of wind chill – it is 9.5C outside now (50F) but with wind-chill it feels like about 5 (40F).

What If God Was One Of Us?” – Some Provocative Questions For Humanity

Connectedness is real enough, at many levels we have some ideas about, and I suspect many more that we are currently profoundly ignorant of.

Intuition is real enough. It is an emergent property of the complex system that is a human brain. It is the result of the way in which we store and retrieve information as interference patterns, rather than as sequential patterns (analogous to holograms). This gives us the ability to abstract and associate and to create new levels of relationship. It is a physical process with amazing “side effects” – it provides what Kant called “pure practical reason”. All of this is “simply” explained by the process of evolution by natural selection working recursively at several levels in several domains.

It seems that all the observations of O’Donnell are true enough in so far as they refer to reality, but there is no need to invoke the concept of “God” to explain any of it.

We are each potentially infinitely creative, compassionate and loving beings.

It seems very probable that we got to be in existence through a process of evolution by natural selection operating on very simple systems with initially very simple variation.

We do seem to have the capacity to become aware of and responsible for our creative (and destructive) potential.

It takes some work to do this.

It takes being willing to question everything that history and culture seem to have taught us.

[followed by a reply to a post of Gerald O’Donnell]

Hi Gerald

For me the view of the fractal is very different.
For me it seems that the old concepts are attempts to come to terms with some aspects of the reality of spiritual experience with a very limited concept set.

Many of the observations and practices of the old traditions are valid, they are accurate and work in a sense; yet in another sense the whole framework of understanding is based on a premise which no longer seems to be the simplest of the premises available.

It seems to be a reality that many of us get to experience a level of being beyond the usual egoic awareness that we all experience as children. The questions is, what in the full light of all information available today, is the most powerful and useful interpretation of those experiences?

Which sort of interpretation is most likely to lead to a global age of peace, happiness, personal growth and prosperity?

Is it likely to be a tradition that says something like “There is one TRUE way and this is it and all the rest of you are going to burn”?

Or it more probably going to be an interpretation that says something like “There appear to be an infinite number of possible paths from any place to any place (and a greater infinity of paths to other places), and there also appears to be an infinite variety of possible interpretations of any experience of reality. Chose one that works for you, and gives all others the freedom to make their own choices. All actions appear to have an infinite chain of consequences as they mingle with the actions of others, and no-one has the power to predict such infinite interactions ahead of time, thus we must all be willing and able to dance with the consequences of the choices of others with our own choices; in an ongoing dance of choice and consequence.”

It seems to me that the latter is more likely to give an outcome that works for everyone, and there are no guarantees.

It seems to me that an interpetation that includes all the observations of modern science, as well as all the observations of the older spiritual explorers, encompassed in a single explanatory framework, is far preferable to clinging to ancient explanatory frameworks and denying any aspect of the observations and abstractions made available by “science”.

Question of the Day March 5, 2011 “Collecting Anything”

Do you “collect” anything? What and why?

Just about anything that I think may be useful.
Applies to all levels, physical, activities, capacities, habits, ideas, abstractions, …..
I have many gigabytes of data on my hard drive, that I have collected from many different sources; most of which I never look at again, but some of which I refer to frequently. And I know how it is structured, and where to find it should an appropriate context arise. Similarly in my sheds, lots of tools and materials; there should the need arise.

Question of the Day March 6, 2011 ~ Simply Writing…

What makes it easier for you to write blogs, articles, comments, notes and forums with each other on the web?

Probably the most useful for me has been experience, 55 years of it.

Starting as a tongue tied kids who could not make himself understood to many, progressing to a nervous teenager who took 2 minutes to stutter out a sentence to a stranger, and progressing on.
I have always been interested in how things work – from life, and living systems, to machines, to culture, to people, and all the levels of interaction between these related systems.

In practice, I have a copy of the second edition of the Oxford English dictionary loaded on my computer, and use it many times most days. Google is great, as it Wikipedia, and it always pays to check the references. Sometimes it will take me an hour or more to write a post, checking assumptions to give myself confidence that I am no deluding myself nor anyone else.

The two most important things seem to be:
being prepared to listen (read – focus on putting myself in the place of another {to the best of my ability} in order to try and understand what abstracts their words are meant to convey) {“When you talk you repeat what you already know, When you listen you might learn something.” – Jared Sparkes}; and
Being willing to question everything, even the things that you are certain are accurate – hold everything lightly.

Then in that context, learn to trust your own intuitions.

We all start from nothing, and it is only by the power of our own intuitions and abstractions that we progress through the infinite levels of awareness available. Others can assist us, by taking us to places where it is more probable that we make abstractions, and allowing those abstractions in to our minds is a creative act for each of us. The is the old adage “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink“.

Continued discussion of Discussion of the process in the “Fully Engaged Enlightenment” group

Excellent posts both Bill

It seems to me that two different domains of experience are often collapsed into one – when they need to be kept quite separate.

It seems that while the total operation of the human mind involves many layers of integration of of neural net and “holographic” functionality, we start out with relatively simple patterns of awareness based mostly in neural networks at the conscious level.
It seems that we are able to move awareness to operating mainly at the holographic level.
The experiences of the two modes are profoundly different.

In another domain, we are capable of making abstractions.
Every meta level of abstraction has a profound influence on how we structure our prior experiences and perceptions.
The ability to abstract at all is founded in the holographic mode of information processing (which is essentially instantaneous – and underlies many layers of awareness).

It seems to me that there is no necessary limit to the levels of abstraction – they seem to be potentially infinite.
First order abstractions are abstractions of concretes – thing like sphere (the ballness of balls).
Second order abstractions are abstractions based on abstracts – like topology (the abstraction of all abstract shapes).
and on it goes.

There does not appear to me to be any one state of enlightenment.
There appears to be an infinite number of possible states of enlightenment – each with their own perspective – some more effect at finding solutions to particular sets of problems than others.

No ultimate here – just an infinite journey.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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1 Response to Weekend activities – 4WD trip and posts on enlightenment

  1. holessence says:

    Ted – A great morning read, thank you. Your “summation” posts are sort of like breakfast for the brain — they leaves me with lots of interesting things to ponder.


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