2008.07.23 01:00 - The Joy of Science

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    That night, at 1 am, it was one of my weekly slots. However, I had just flown back from Japan to California, and my time zones were still pretty well mixed up. I had decided to go to bed a few hours earlier, but I hadn’t been careful enough with the alarm clock. As a result, I overslept, but fortunately not by very much.

    Pema Pera: Hi Bertrum!
    Pema Pera: Sorry to be late
    Bertrum Quan: Good evening, Pema.
    Pema Pera: Good evening to you too!
    Pema Pera: I had put my alarm clock on 12:50 I thought, but I mistakenly made it 1:50 . . . .
    Pema Pera: and then I somehow woke up, and saw it was 1:11 . . . .
    Pema Pera: anyway, here I am :-)
    Bertrum Quan: I planned to stay until 130 if no one arrived… I was thinking my first log would be an IM to you saying no one arrived!
    Pema Pera: haha!
    Pema Pera: well, now you have company.
    Bertrum Quan: There were two articles that just came out that I thought were terrfic.
    Pema Pera: which ones?
    Bertrum Quan: I know you read the one in the New York Times about Mirrors…
    Bertrum Quan: It was being discussed in the emails.
    Bertrum Quan: The other was in the New Yorker.
    Pema Pera: what did they say?
    Bertrum Quan: The article on mirrors really seemed right to resonate with me in terms of your exercise–seeing from the perspective of Being
    Bertrum Quan: When we are attached to our own image were see something quite false.
    Bertrum Quan: Have you read it?
    Pema Pera: no, I haven’t
    Pema Pera: can you summrize the main idea?
    Bertrum Quan: It’s long. I can email you the link… I’d rather discuss the second one because it’s about a physics… It’s called Surfing the Universe.
    Pema Pera: sure!
    Bertrum Quan: Do you opinions about the work of Garrett Lisi?
    Pema Pera: Is he a physicist?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes.
    Bertrum Quan: He’s controversial…
    Pema Pera: ah, okay I just looked at the article
    Pema Pera: yes, I had heard about him, didn’t remember the name
    Pema Pera: interesting story
    Pema Pera: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/21/080721fa_fact_wallacewells

    Bert brought up the question of a connection between ToE and PaB.

    Bertrum Quan: The quest to find the Theory of Everything seems on point for PaB, don’t you think?
    Pema Pera: well, that is big question, requiring a long answer
    Pema Pera: To sum up my best guess of where science is going:
    Pema Pera: Since Galileo we have studied objects in science
    Pema Pera: we call it emperical
    Pema Pera: meaning experimental
    Pema Pera: based on experience
    Pema Pera: but every experience has a subject and an object and an action:
    Pema Pera: I see tree
    Pema Pera: he hears bird
    Pema Pera: subject verb object
    Pema Pera: Now in the first 400 years of modern science ONLY the object pole of experience has been studied
    Pema Pera: and string theory is still part of that
    Pema Pera: and so is loop gravity
    Pema Pera: the topic of that article
    Pema Pera: and any form of so-called “theory of everything”
    Pema Pera: where everything is meant objects — only one pole of a tripartite structure of experience
    Pema Pera: so not really experimental at all!
    Pema Pera: I expect that the next few hundred years will see a widening of science to include the subject and the action beween subject and object on equal footing with objects
    Pema Pera: Then we get closer to a theory of everything with thing being all aspects of experiences — broader than any physicist is thinking abou tnow, it seems
    Pema Pera: And then the next step, perhaps another thousand years or who knows, may be devoted to going beyond subject and objects
    Pema Pera: and then, after that, I think science will continue to grow and change
    Pema Pera: and ultimately it will get in touch with what I call Being
    Pema Pera: perhaps in ten thousand years
    Pema Pera: or hundred thousand
    Pema Pera: somewhere in that ball park.

    I felt a bit apologetic for typing so much.

    Pema Pera: I told you: this would be a long answer — sorry :)
    Bertrum Quan: That was a perfect answer!
    Bertrum Quan: My feeling when I read the debate came down to the metaphor as well.
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, Being… that is seeing everything…
    Pema Pera: what scientists call “objective” is really “intersubjective” — upon agreement between enough scientists something is called objective
    Pema Pera: but the study of the subject, the self, like in Buddhism, is also intersubjective — different practitioners can agree
    Pema Pera: so the study of subject and object can both be intersubjective
    Pema Pera: and “objective” can be used for such a peer-based understanding, applied to both object and subject
    Pema Pera: The confusing thing is that people think that you need to study objects to be objective — seemingly similar words, but VERY different meaning and even more different methods in practice
    Pema Pera: Zen masters work with koans like scientists with working hypotheses
    Pema Pera: Dharma combat between zen masters is like physicists fighting it out at a conference
    Pema Pera: very similar approach, and in the best situations both in a friendly but extremely serious way.
    Pema Pera: One quote, and then I’ll stop here :)
    Pema Pera: A friend and colleague of mine once said:
    Pema Pera: The joy of science is to prove someone to be wrong –
    Pema Pera: — including yourself
    Bertrum Quan: The science aside, don’t you feel Being in all of it parts is available right now but only to see it! No proving right or wrong. In a sense Sring Theory, Loop Grativity etc. are part of the human need to uderatand who we are and where we come from?
    Bertrum Quan: ANd where we fit in to the scheme of things?
    Pema Pera: Yes, I agree.
    Pema Pera: btw, on http://lab.kira.org/lab/ch03.html
    Pema Pera: I wrote about the future of science
    Pema Pera: part of a book manuscript I wrote a few years ago, called “Life as a Lab’; see http://lab.kira.org/lab/

    From the notion of Life as a Lab to scientists as bodhisattvas

    Pema Pera: Now, let us compare our individual struggle to find Being
    Pema Pera: really to acknowledge Being finding us
    Pema Pera: (as Storm did in his wonderful blog entry today!!)
    Pema Pera: The differences is with science is that it is growly very slowly
    Pema Pera: over many generations
    Pema Pera: but whatever science agrees about is likely to be available for future generations
    Pema Pera: in a very well documented and reproducible way
    Pema Pera: So when Science reaches a way to deal with Being
    Pema Pera: then I think Being will be far more accessible to far more people
    Pema Pera: My honest feeling is that in this sense, whether they know it or not,
    Pema Pera: scientists are like bodhisattvas
    Pema Pera: they postpone their ultimate insight for many generations
    Pema Pera: working on undubitable foundations
    Pema Pera: Does that make any sense?
    Pema Pera: Perhaps that was too abbreviated, the way I just put it?
    Bertrum Quan: Well it more sense tgo me as metaphor than it does my experience with scientists…
    Pema Pera: that is true
    Bertrum Quan: The great ones yes. But most are trapped in the the rat-race,,,
    Pema Pera: science is far wiser than scientists are
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: like the brain is wiser than its neurons
    Pema Pera: even the greatest scientists can get stuck in wrong ideas
    Pema Pera: but somehow science always gets over the hump, after a few decades of moving in wrong directions
    Pema Pera: I don’t know of any other human activity that has been continuously progressing for more than 12 generations, as science has
    Pema Pera: And the reason for this is not a coincidence:
    Pema Pera: it is the combination of giving browny points to the most interestingly crazy ideas AND giving browny points for shooting those ideas down.
    Bertrum Quan: Yup
    Pema Pera: So you get credit for very progressive ideas AND for very conservative protection of ideas
    Pema Pera: Science is the ULTIMATE BI-PARTISAN activity !!!
    Pema Pera: I think that is the single reason for its lasting success
    Pema Pera: We are emulating that single idea in Play as Being
    Pema Pera: being very very permissive and downright silly sometimes in Play, so that we can loosen up all our prejudices
    Pema Pera: and at the same time being very very strict in what we call Being
    Pema Pera: No compromise there, in any way, at all
    Pema Pera: I am happy to let others decide any aspect of PaB
    Pema Pera: structure, organization, format of meetings, blogs, you name it
    Pema Pera: the only one thing I see myself guarding is what Being means
    Pema Pera: It was an incredible delight to see Storm coming one step closer to Being today in his blog
    Pema Pera: Did you read it?
    Bertrum Quan: No, not yet.

    Storm had a delightful entry on his blog.

    Pema Pera: http://stormerne.blogspot.com/2008/07/seeing-as-being-2.html
    Pema Pera: The other side of the coin of Play. Play can mean anything. Being means one thing. If you read that blog, in just one page, you get a sense.
    Bertrum Quan: Okay.
    Pema Pera: For all of us, getting acquainted with Being is something that happens in steps
    Pema Pera: We get a glmpse, it slips away, another glimpse, it too slips away
    Pema Pera: but the glimpses become more frequent
    Pema Pera: and what we see more shocking
    Pema Pera: and MORE shocking
    Pema Pera: and FAR MORE SHOCKING
    Pema Pera: and shocking beyond words
    Bertrum Quan: shocking?
    Pema Pera: just when you think you’ve been working with this kind of practice
    Pema Pera: and you’ve seen it all
    Pema Pera: you see something TOTALLY new
    Bertrum Quan: I find the glimpses comforting…
    Pema Pera: well, when you read the blog, you’ll see what I’m talking about, namely what Storm is talking about :-)
    Pema Pera: oh yes, the glimpses is what keeps us going
    Pema Pera: we share, inspire each other, help, encourage, explain
    Pema Pera: comment, suggest, walk hand in hand
    Pema Pera: that’s why a group like this makes it so much easier to find Being
    Pema Pera: which means letting Being find us
    Pema Pera: which really means realizing that Being has already found us
    Pema Pera: well, sorry to be so talkative — but when you asked about a theory of everything, I took it literally, and got onto the topic of Being.
    Pema Pera: Would love to continue this next time
    Pema Pera: But it’s 2 am and I probably should go to sleep a bit more :)
    Bertrum Quan: The topic of Being IS EvERYTHING!
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: A vision of everything, rather than a theory
    Pema Pera: even more than a vision
    Pema Pera: a living of everything
    Pema Pera: no, more
    Pema Pera: a Being of Everything
    Pema Pera: not a ToE
    Pema Pera: but BoE
    Pema Pera: :>)
    Pema Pera: but then everything is superfluous
    Pema Pera: and so is of
    Pema Pera: so we are left with B : Being
    Bertrum Quan: I’m glad I was patient today at this late hour! Patience is a struggle sometimes… Thanks for sharing some much on so little sleep!
    Pema Pera: my pleasure Bert!
    Pema Pera: Let me know if any of the reference I gave have something interesting in them for you
    Pema Pera: would love to hear your questions about them.
    Bertrum Quan: Okay, thanks!
    Pema Pera: thank you, Bert, for letting me indulge :)
    Bertrum Quan: Now I bid you a good night!
    Pema Pera: See you!

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