NMT (No-Me Teaching) new series 25:
Prior to some commentary on Ramana Maharshi’s teaching in the text below, we continue the series: Fine-Tuned Universe 17, the premise that a small change in several of the dimensionless fundamental physical constants would make the Universe incapable of Life.
To Jupiter, and beyond the Infinite. “2001” movie
To Infinity, and Beyond ! Buzz Lightyear, Pixar character & toy “of the decade”
Fine-Tuned Universe 17:
[In the unreal reflection called the “Universe”, a product of an unreal Mind, even there, Infinite Intelligence is evident and inspiring.]
Intelligent Design regarding the nature of Life and ourselves in the Natural World had long been dismissed by Wallace-Darwin Evolution. The Deist counter-statement that Evolution itself seemed Fine-Tuned and could be the tool of a Designer pretty much falls on deaf ears. Such a speculation is not Fundamentalist enough for the religious, and is felt to beg the question for Atheist Realists (as always fixed on the “reality” of Matter, rather than an open-minded quest for ultimate Reality). But for more deeply thinking philosophers, the unaccounted for Laws of Nature were not in themselves an alternate Physicalist rationale. The above mentioned and many other Constants of Nature, the Universe’s initial boundary conditions, an numerous other Statistical accidents remained fortuitous or unexplained. The previously mentioned congruence of Nature with Mathematics furthermore continues to hint at linkage between the Universe and our own mental processes. QND of course explicitly declares the World to be a structure in Mind, discovered by concerted investigation, and dissolved by further Self-Inquiry. UQND asks whether it ever happened, where is the World in Deep Dreamless Sleep, what Universe is there for us after death?
Eventually more (though still a small minority) of Physicists went on the record, demanding a closer look at Anthropic coincidences.
The more I examine the Universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the Universe in some sense must have known that we were coming. Freeman Dyson
Brandon Carter the first to use the term Anthropic Principle is framing his own, which in particular was a WAP weak anthropic principle (this Universe was necessary for us to be here, but we were not necessary, nor did we necessitate as in a SAP strong anthropic principle):
What we can expect to observe must be restricted by the condition necessary for our presence as observers.
Brandon Carter’s WAP
Carter amended what he soon felt was a regrettable term Anthropic preferring instead Self-Selection Principle later discussed her by Nick Bostrom as the SSA self-selection assumption. Further scrutiny of the coincidentally Fine-Tuned constants of Nature led Carter to cautiously put a SAP strong anthropic principle on the table without fully signing on to it:
The Universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of Observers within it at some stage. Brandon Carter’s SAP
It is of course always Philosophically possible – as a last resort, … by thinking in terms of a “World Ensemble”. By this I mean and ensemble of Universes characterized by all conceivable combinations of initial conditions and fundamental constants … The existence of any organism describable as an Observer will only be possible for certain restricted combinations of the Parameters. Brandon Carter
In other words, if the Constants were somehow “in the plan” and they seem so precisely fitted to us, then perhaps we were in the plan, maybe even as the “reason” the Constants were as they are. For Physicists, the “way out” was to restate the Ensemble hypothesis, multi-verse, etc. such that no SAP need be entertained. WAP’s combined with a virtually infinite number of universes probabilistically guaranteed our unlikely fortuitous universe due only to random Chance.
This idea provokes a serious consideration of the idea that there exist other “universes” which possess different properties and different constants of Nature so that we might conclude that we find ourselves inhabiting one of the possible universes in which the Constant and Cosmic Conditions have fallen (like dice by chance) out in a patter the permits Life to exist and persist – for we could not find it otherwise. John Barrows’ summary of revival of the “Ensemble”
We will not be able to explain these coincidences by the fact that we live when the Universe is several Billion years old, in conditions of relatively low Density and Temperature (Dicke’s answer to Dirac and explanation for the striking Large Numbers). Barrows indicating Coincidences beyond Large No.s
Another SAP considered by most Physicists to be “outlying” is the FAP final anthropic principle proposed by Barrows & Frank Tipler, a teleological, Teilhard de Chardin–esque vision of Life possessing and externalizing the Universe (perhaps an attempt to physicalize mystical Christianity). Throughout the rear-window retrospectives our logic is often enough caught in a syndrome too evident in so many movies, for It’s a Wonderful Life through Back to the Future and beyond.
More political alternate-histories themes are seen again in films like Red Dawn and novels like Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here and Robt. Harris’ Fatherland which was also depicted as a TV movie.
Gathering of heavy water (Deuterium oxide) for nuclear technology, quicker V2 rocket development , decoding D-Day, various turning of the tide could have seen Hitler victorious. Then what? Many such questions can always be asked.
James Burke in his documentary-collage series attributes modern civilization to Plague which concentrated the wealth for later investment and left mountain of unwanted used underwear use for fiber in the fine paper that inspired Gutenberg’s printing press and therefrom the Computer Age.
Industrialism is due to modern science, modern science os due to Galileo, Galileo is due to the fall of Constantinople, the fall of Constantinople is due to migration of the Turks, the migration of the Turks is due to desiccation of Central Asia. Therefore the fundamental study in searching for historical causes is hydrography. Bertrand Russell
After all, somebody’s bound to win the Lottery; after all, at any given moment, something has to happen. Why not me; why not this? The possible though accidental significance of each false & true step in the sequence of things can be construes as delicately and critically essential to every arbitrary outcome. But could not somewhat different outcomes do the trick? Cannot other routes some to much the same place?* With a little discrimination and a little distain for mere numerology, we can still find truly remarkable coincidence in the Constants, Law, Structure, and Sequences of Nature.
Some commentary on Ramana Maharshi’s teaching:
There is a pious Indian tale, associated with the practice of Devotion & Self–Surrender. But therein is an attitude that can be helpful to all, regardless of their manner of spiritual practice. Two yogis sit beneath a tree, perhaps a sacred Bilva tree. By some Grace, they are both blessed with a vivid vision of the Lord, be it Vishnu, Shiva, what ever form was most dear to them. The Lord happened to know that they were both thinking, & even discussing, the question: “How long until Liberation ?”
To respond to this query, the Lord points to the Bilva tree & says: “The number of leaves on that tree happens to be the number of lifetimes remaining to each of you, lifetimes to practice, & eventually become Liberated.
One Yogi, inpatient & more entangled in Ego, as opposed to complete Surrender to God, responds: “Oh no, that many more lifetime still ! I’ve been practicing so hard, & still there is that far to go ?”
The 2nd Yogi, in whom was a more pure state of Mind, responds quite differently: “Just that many lifetimes ! (perhaps 1000, perhaps 10,000) I can see the number now ! Oh praise be to God ! Liberation is certain, & I can see it coming.
At that point the Lord turns to the 2nd Yogi & says: “By that Surrender you are now immediately Liberated.”
The take away for any of us is to realize that Liberation is certain, to take heart, to not measure or demand, & to practice as hard as we can. What else is there to do ? Leave it to God, to Brahman, to settle our destiny. Ours is only to practice & not to take anxious thought for our individual success. The selfless gratitude of the 2nd Yogi is clearly the one to maintain.
It may be, that with the Guru’s Grace, Liberation can & will be attained in this lifetime. But no further measuring or anxious thought is really of use. If anxious, it should only be being anxious to increase the Intensity of our practice, for that is all that the seeming Individual can do for himself or herself.
We are to question & doubt our existence as a separate individual & the reality of the in order to appreciate Non-Duality. The one fact whose reality we cannot doubt is our own Existence. We know “I exist” by & in Consciousness. That Consciousness is one undeniable truth & so is identical to the Knowledge: “I exist”. Our Consciousness is as undeniably real as our own Existence. This Consciousness always knows its own Existence. That is the subjective Knowledge: “I exist”. Seeming objective knowledge of other things, as thought, is Mind.
Mind is a dualistic superimposition on Consciousness, upon the Knowledge: “I exist”. The Mind rises identifies itself with a Body, thinking “I am the Body”. The 5 Senses of that Body proceed to perceive a World. The Mind’s identification with a Body is equivalent to seeing a World. Whatever might be the nature of a Body, the immediate difficulty is actually with the thought “I am a Body”, “I am the Body”. “I”, of a non-physical nature, specifically of Consciousness, cannot be a Body. In fact, it can furthermore be shown that one is not in a Body, in fact does not even have a Body. Taking it one step further would be to note that there is no such thing as a Body.
By identification with a Body, the Mind appears as is a limited subtle form in Consciousness. Ramana Maharshi called Mind a phantom, the Ego which is neither the Consciousness “I exist”, nor a physical form thought of as a Body, with the feeling “I am the Body”.
The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through:
or with Caps-sensitive:
Duplicates (but with graphics) have been available on:
http://www.blogger.com as “Being-as-Consciousness, Non-Duality – new & final version” with link: