NMT (No-Me Teaching) new series 67:
Some Ramana Maharshi quotes:
Your own Realization is the best help possible help to others. But there really are no others to be helped. A Realized being sees only the Self, just like a goldsmith estimating the gold in various items of jewelry sees only gold. When you identify yourself with the Body then only the forms & shapes are there. But when you transcend your Body the others disappear along with your Body-consciousness. Do plants, trees, etc. exist at all apart from the Self ? Find it out. You think that you see them. Thought is projected out from the Self. Find out from where it rises. Thoughts will cease to rise & the Self alone will remain.
It is like a Cinema-show. There is the light on the screen & the shadows flitting across it impress the audience as the enactment of some piece. If in the same play an audience also is shown on the screen as part of the performance. the seer & the seen will then both be on the screen. Apply it to yourself. You are the screen. The Self has created the Ego. The Ego has its accretions of thoughts which are displayed as the World, the trees & the plants of which you are asking. In Reality, all these are nothing but the Self. If you see the Self, the same will be found to be all, everywhere & always. Nothing but the Self exists.
Fine-Tuned Universe 47:
[In the unreal reflection called the “Universe”, a product of an unreal Mind, even there, Infinite Intelligence is evident and inspiring.]
So far the issue has been whether Fine-Tuning, in the relatively precise sense that that term has acquired in Cosmology, is likely to find fresh application in Biology.
The answer has been, on the whole, negative. But suppose one were to address the issue more broadly. Fine-Tuning is an instance of Design, real or apparent; but Design is itself a much broader category. The indications of design in the living World described in loving detail by 17th-century exponents of Natural Theology, such as Robert Boyle & John Ray, did not point to Fine-Tuning as the clue to the involvement of Intelligence. Fine-Tuning is a highly specific sort of clue, as we have seen, leading to a specific set of alternative responses. Searching for evidence of design in the living world today, on the other hand, might perhaps have a higher likelihood of success, judging by the record, than trying to find analogs of Fine-Tuning there.
Might one infer, then, to something like design from claims of evolutionary inevitability or convergence? One could, of course, if one were to postulate a directive agency of some sort at work within the evolutionary process, itself impelling the process onward to higher and higher levels of complexity. Bergson’s “´elan vital” & Teilhard de Chardin’s “radial energy” would be of this sort. But it has to be said that suggestions of this kind have, on the whole, met with a frosty reception from evolutionary biologists. Such views challenge the overall adequacy of the neo-Darwinian explanatory framework, not a popular stand; critics respond that this framework is perfectly capable of handling whatever directions evolution can be shown to have taken.
It was the introduction of this framework that undermined the case for Design in the first place – Design, that is, that would be associated with specific complex features of the living World. Its modern proponents often present the neo-Darwinian framework as having potentially universal applicability: wherever in the Universe a certain set of conditions, centered on descent with modification, is to be found, Evolution is bound to occur.
The only contingencies that arise in this scenario have to do with the satisfying of the required conditions & the presence in advance of reproducing organisms. How well a Darwinian type of schema applies to the Origin of the first cells is still a matter of debate.
Holding that the contingencies are easily satisfied so that life must be commonplace throughout the vast Spaces & Times of the Universe, he “Pregnancy” thesis, as suggested to some that such a profusion would indicate the agency of Design in some form. Yet one wonders why frequency of occurrence, as against rarity, should of itself be significant in this context. If anything, extreme rarity would appear to be a more likely lead, if it could be established. But this is to barely scratch the surface of the burgeoning Life Sciences.
The prospects for finding indications in those Sciences for Fine-Tuning proper may not be bright. But perhaps the notion of Design might still prove capacious enough to extend into current discussions of such themes as optimality & Fitness.
It would need to do so at the Cosmic level. At the local level of Terrestrial Biology, the Many-World alternative would be all too obvious so that even the appearance of design would hardly be countenanced. It may be worth recalling at this point, for the historical morals that might be drawn, an earlier appeal to Cosmic Fitness that elicited many of the same questions.
“Fitness of the Environment”
Henderson’s celebrated book, “The Fitness of the Environment is often cited as a harbinger of the fine-tuning theme in discussions of the place of Life in the Universe. Having worked through the complexities of that theme, we are now in a better position to judge how close his contributions came to the contemporary notion of Fine-Tuning, and in what ways & for what reasons they fell short of it.
Henderson is not talking about the fitness of life for the environment in which it finds itself. He makes it clear that this can be explained along Darwinian lines: natural selection has shaped life to survive and, when possible, thrive in the particular environment it inhabits and to compensate for changes in that environment.
But this was not what Henderson meant by “fitness of the environment.” It was not where he believed a complement to the Darwinian account needed to be given.
What had struck him was the multiple “fitnesses” of the physical environment for the biochemistry of life in general. And by “environment,” he meant to include both the “external” and “internal,” with emphasis on the latter, following the practice initiated by Claude Bernard, who had had much to say about the milieu, as he termed it. Henderson was intrigued by the crucial roles that Water & Carbon dioxide & at a deeper level their 3 elemental constituents, Hydrogen, Oxygen, & most especially Carbon, played in all living processes. Those processes required complexity, as well as the capacity for self-regulation and metabolism. The properties of the 3 elements and the two compounds made from them seemed to him so ideally suited to these requirements, a conclusion worked out by him in impressive empirical detail that some sort of explanation of this was called for.
Henderson’s concern was not with particular environments, such as that of Earth, but with the cosmic environment (as he saw it) that is revealed by astronomy. He went to some lengths to argue the optimality of the advantages offered by the 2 key compounds and, thus, of their 3 component elements as well. He discussed the possibility that water and carbon might be of frequent occurrence on other planets, arguing for the superiority of water over any other known solvent in the biotic context, as well as for carbon over silicon. He did not go as far as to propose them as necessary conditions for life, a more difficult case to make. Nevertheless, some resonances with the account of Fine-Tuning sketched above were already apparent.
His main theme was the remarkable Fitness of the Chemical Environment for Life, and his problem was how to account for this. He ruled out chance: the coincidences between the properties of the favored elements and the needs of life are too remarkable for this to be a plausible response. Likewise, he dismissed design as an alternative explanation. The notion of design was outside the realm of science; besides, to an agnostic like himself, it held no attraction.
What is particularly striking is that he also excluded the Many-Universe alternative, the response favored by many recent cosmologists. He realized that talking about the superior merits in the Biotic context of the three favored elements might suggest comparison with other possible chemistries that had a different repertoire of elements.
But this would introduce “other possible worlds in which matter may have different properties and energy different forms.” And he will have nothing to do with such purely speculative “hypothetical worlds,” restricting himself quite explicitly to the chemistry of the cosmos that we know.
This was sufficient, in his estimate, to make his point about the remarkable biotic optimality of the three elements and their compounds. Nowhere in his discussion did Henderson suggest the specifically Anthropic factor of a Selection Effect caused by our necessarily finding ourselves in the only one of a large Ensemble of universes in which we could find ourselves. It clearly would not have occurred to him, any more than to anyone else of his time, to take seriously the possibility of an ensemble of other actually existing universes governed by different physical laws as a means of solving his problem.
He had already made his negative attitude clear in regard to hypothetical alternative chemistries. But more to the point, as far as the comparison with Fine-Tuning is concerned, his argument was not specifically Anthropic in the first place. He talked about the conditions for life in general, about what makes life flourish. Human Life was not central to the point he was making, as it is in the Fine-Tuning argument.
Some more selected verses from the Ramana Maharshi disciple Master Nome:
Regarding the great aphorism (proclamation, mahavakya): “Thou art That”, wise Sages declare that the primary meaning of That is the Absolute Brahman. Likewise, the primary meaning of Thou is the Knower, or “I”.
The essential meaning of That is the True Self. Likewise, the essential meaning of Thou is only pure Being, pure Consciousness. The meaning of both That & Thou is thus the same, & this identity is what art expresses. “Art” is an expression of complete Identity.
That complete Identity is realized by relinquishing other ideas regarding That, & most importantly, by Self-Inquiry into Thou. The deeper the Self-Inquiry into Thou, the more That is known as it is, for Thou art That.
No repetition of the idea: “I am That“, “I am the Self”, or “I am Brahman” is intended. For such implies the difference between the instructed & the instruction; between the meditator, the meditation, & the meditated upon; between the one desiring Liberation & the Liberation itself. Repetition further implies difference between the self who would know & the Self to be known; between the realizer & that realized.
The Non-Dual Teaching of Identity with the Absolute Self, Brahman, is to be practiced by Self-Inquiry, full of clear discrimination, that frees one of the false notion of Do-er-ship, of being a sensing entity, of being an experiencer, of being a thinker, & such. Thus one discerns that the one Self is not the Body, Mind, or Ego, or anything connected with these. Then one knows one’s own true Self to be truly Brahman.
The Knowledge of the Self becomes possible only when the Ego vanishes. What remains is Self-evident, the Self-knowable, the eternally existing, the forever liberated that has never been bound. The Freedom & Happiness of this Realization have no cause or reason. This Freedom & Happiness are self-existing, as Being itself is. Only un-Happiness & Bondage seem to have reasons. By inquiry, these apparent reasons are found to be merely Ignorance.
When the Knowledge that one is the Self, Brahman, is not veiled by certain false notions, the Self-Knowledge becomes firm. Those are the false notions that Reality is something other than the formless, motionless, immutable Self, & that Happiness is other than the blissful Self. Then, the mis-identification of the Self with the Body or any other form becomes impossible.
The direct path of Knowledge is that in which one discriminates as described here, renounces the actions of the Body & the Mind. The direct path of Knowledge frees one from the ideas of being a Performer, Experiencer, Thinker, etc., abides free of outer sensing & inner conceiving activities, & thus know the Self to be That.
The practice of the Teaching of Thou art That is the Self-Inquiry: “Who am I ?” Self-Knowledge is firm when the Knowledge of the Self, which is the Absolute, is not contradicted by the false notions that one lacks Bliss & has desires. Self-Knowledge is firm when the Self-Knowledge is not contradicted by the false notions that one is not Consciousness & a Do-er. Self-Knowledge is firm when the Self-Knowledge is not contradicted by the false notions that one is not Being, but instead a bound entity.
Calculus for Yogis, part 10:
To partially explain how the previously mentioned “complex” Exponential is related to Sine & Cosine, we can do that by peeking at what are called “imaginary” numbers. Quadratic [x2] & more complicated functions yield solutions with apparent radicals [square roots] with negative arguments, an impossibility for Real Numbers.
To give an expression to such “imaginary” numbers [apparent radicals with negative arguments]. Unity is replaced by the square root of –1, designated as i . So 5 i has 5x the magnitude. When added to a Real Number, any Imaginary Number constitutes part of a Complex Number. When plotted on an Argand Diagram, with an Imaginary axis taking the place of a Y axis, we can see the Imaginary Number system, not as fanciful, but as “orthogonal” or at a Right Angle to the Real Number system, another “dimension” of sorts.
In any case, the “complex” Exponential, eix = cos x + i sin x . Besides connecting the Exponential to the Sine & Cosine functions, a connection already seen in the similarity of their Infinite Series expressions, complex numbers allows us a few straightforward Analogies. In saying that the Imaginary Axis is in some ways at “right angles” to the Real Number Axis is seen again in Electronics phasor diagrams in which an Imaginary Axis is set at Right angles to the Horizontal X-axis. That Imaginary Axis represents a Capacitance – Inductance axis at right angles to a Real Axis which is parallel to Voltage & Current in a Resistor [for a Series RLC relationship].
In other words, Inductance & Capacitance are in some ways opposed to each other. And their combined difference when combined with Resistance is plotted as a Vector between the Axes on a Phasor Diagram. This Vector than is a Complex Number composed of an Imaginary Number, for difference between Inductance & Capacitance, & a Real Number for Resistance, or more correctly, the Resistive Impedance.
So then composite Complex Numbers, with the term Imaginary, is not in that sense just a factor of Imagination. And the ordinary numbers, called Real Numbers, are not so much more Real. It’s more like the Imaginary Number system is another number system “orthogonal” to or, as it were, at some kind of Right angles to do ordinary number system.
So instead of an Inductance – Capacitance difference, we really meant a difference in the Impedance that this Capacitive, & the Impedance that is Inductive. Electronics aside, this provides us with an analogy for an Indian principle of 3 guna’s or “qualities” of the Mind.
These 3 characteristics of Mind & Nature, Inert Tamas, Restless Rajas, & Elevating Sattva are seen in ancient Indian Sankhya Philosophy.
The moral is that to model opposing the Inert – Capacitive guna Tamas with the Restless –Inductive guna Rajas, we might use a final difference between the 2 “impedances”. This joint Impedance then, when combined with the Resistive Impedance which represents a more Real guna Sattva as a description for a mode of Mind. That mode of Mind can be optimized for Meditation.
Now Resistance happens to be the reciprocal of the term we most likely compare to the elevating guna Sattva, namely the Conductance. So we let Conductance [or its Reactance] be compared to Sattva. We seek to put the Mind in a more of a pure Conductance mode prior to transcending all 3 guna’s. To do this, we can either attempt to attenuate both Rajas & Tamas to 0, or as a second-best have their posing strengths cancel each other out, just as Inductive Impedance can cancel out Capacitive Impedance.
Applicable diagrams for a simple RLC series circuit & some of the relevant equations are seen above. In plain English (& Sanskrit), we would like to eliminate the Rajas mode & the Thomas mode, Restlessness & Inertia. Or else we can 1st have them cancel each other out, & then emphasize the Sattva elevating mode. Then we transcend all 3 guna’s.
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:
[But from now on, they will be different & still usually daily.]
“There is no Creation, no Destruction, no Bondage, no longing to be freed from Bondage, no striving for Liberation, nor anyone who has attained Liberation. Know that this to be Ultimate Truth.” – the “no creation” school of Gaudapada, Shankara, Ramana, Nome – Ajata Vada
for very succinct summary of the teaching & practice, see: www.ajatavada.com/