Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

Diagnosably Evil

Do you follow the trends, have the latest gadgets? Do you watch TV, follow the popular shows? Do you believe the things you read on facebook? Are you able to think for yourself? Are you able to reflect and consider, or do you react and follow along? Just how manipulatable are you?

These are important questions to ask yourself in a hot and volatile world that is only getting hotter and more volatile. Global warming and lies. Deception and gain. Greed and death. Ho hum. Change the channel, will you? Oh! You can’t.

49 years ago today the My Lai Massacre brutally took the lives of almost 400 unarmed people—including mothers and babies, and the old. More people were victimized than just those slaughtered that day. Innocence was lost all over the world as news of the atrocity—of the evil committed by good American solders—altered the way we look at ourselves. Group evil was acknowledged due to the My Lai Massacre, and rightly feared. But what has been done since to understand group evil and prevent its recurrence? Apparently, very little.

Considering Consciousness Ideas

Backward Time, Teleportating Cars, & Mirror Universes

Does time fly when you’re having fun? Have you wasted all your time? Are you losing time? Is it possible that you’ll never find the time again? Is time like sand in an hour-glass? Is time money?

It appears most of our expressions referring to time communicate that time is a commodity. But is this true? Is time anything at all? If we agree the clock is ticking, does it tick the same for you as it does for me? Are we all subject to the same time restrictions?

It turns out that the answer is “no.” Einstein’s theory of relativity explains how time passes more slowly for those moving at greater speeds, and more quickly at greater heights (people age faster living at the top story than the bottom. If there’s a message in any of this it is: move fast and stay low!)

What little we know about time raises some interesting questions.
Let’s say you carefully measure someone’s physiology—their breathing, heart rate, blood-pressure, etc.—and then ask them to view random photographs that might be expected to trigger a measurable emotional response. Dean Radin’s experiments demonstrate that people in fact responded in the expected emotional way—joy, sadness, fear—in response to certain images, but their response was documented prior to seeing the photographs!


A Day in Pompeii


Broken glass

Shattered dreams

Rolling lava

Fire springs,

Life is precious

Dust and sand

Reclaim the bones

To make new land.

Pottery shards

& poetic lines of Sappho

Stand alone

Outside of time

Without flow,

Rename the pieces found

Like Sudoku,

Jigsaw puzzles, and riddles.

Gaping holes where knowledge once huddled,


Like sand into the ocean,

Free from form – now muddled

Muddied, muted,

Shadow-ghosts of forgotten memories

Played out in a line, or

A small chunk of limestone or marble,

Just a day in Pompeii.




Considering Consciousness Ideas

Zombies, Entangled Particles, & Free Will

Are you free to make your own decisions as a “conscious” being, or are you predisposed—fated—to think and act in certain ways? What part does chance or randomness play in your life?

Imagine you are a physics student and you’re about to fail a class in quantum mechanics. You’re scouring the depths of the library for something, anything, to help you write a good enough paper to get a passing grade. (It is 1967 so you can’t just Google it.) On a dark, lower shelf a small, dusty book calls to you and you pull it from its undisturbed resting place of several years. The dusty book was John Bell’s thesis on entangled particles and the struggling student was John Clauser. The rest is history.

John Clauser got his PhD in astrophysics and went on to contribute greatly to our understanding of quantum mechanics, in spite of his rough start. John Bell was rescued from obscurity. Bell had an idea for an experiment to test Einstein’s assertion that there was a hidden or unknown cause for the troubling behavior of entangled particles.

Entangled particles, like separated Siamese twins, remain interconnected even at great distances and with no identifiable means of connection or communication. Einstein was certain there must be some undiscovered “hidden” force behind the weirdness, or as Einstein put it, “spooky action at a distance.”

Is there something hidden behind the curtain—some unseen cause that makes sense of entangled particles? John Bell’s rediscovered experiments offered a way to test Einstein’s theory. The testing hasn’t stopped since.

Considering Consciousness Ideas

Anesthetics & Platonic Principles: Meditations on the Quantum Brain

Is consciousness like cruising in a canoe on a calm river that gently flows in one direction? Or is it more like a jet-ski ride where we leap over the water’s surface and then slap down again and again like a zig-zagging bull-frog?

Physicist Sir Roger Penrose thinks human consciousness works as discrete conscious moments, more like a jet-ski ride. We don’t recognize them as individual “moments” because consciousness feels continuous; it feels like a smooth ride.

In these discrete moments we interact with the quantum field. Imagine the quantum field as an ocean of waves where the tips of the waves represent physical reality and everything else potentiality. In this view, our perception of the material world is just the crest of a wave in the sea of possibility, and consciousness is an act of riding the waves.

According to research on the brain, we have 40 to 100 or more experiences of “cresting” each second. Or to put it another way, we have 40 to 100 experiences of conscious awareness each second.
Stewart Hameroff has studied consciousness from the perspective of an anesthesiologist. What is it that removes consciousness when you “go under” from anesthetic drugs? What is it that restores consciousness? What the heck is consciousness?

Considering Consciousness Ideas

Trompe L’oeil, A Trick Of The Light: Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

The quantum world is weird and illusive. Is it a trick of the light that scientists can’t determine if ours is a world of waves or particles?

When Ice melts in your hands and pools at your feet, do you question that it is water slipping, dripping through your fingers? Are you even surprised by its metamorphosis?

Just as water can be observed in more than one state, matter, in general, can apparently change states. The double-slit experiment shows that small matter is a wave until the wave becomes a particle; the wave changes to a particle, apparently, through participation with an observer.

Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner in their book, Quantum Enigma describe the puzzle this way:

“A small object is sent into a pair of well-separated boxes. Looking into the boxes, you always find the whole object in a single box, and the other box empty. According to quantum theory, however, before the object was observed, it was simultaneously in both boxes, not wholly in a single box. An interference experiment, which you could have chosen, would have established that. By your free choice, you could establish either of two contradictory prior realities.”

How can something be in two boxes at once? A wave can be in more than one place, but a particle is in one place only, right?

The is it a wave or is it a particle question still disturbs physicists in the 21st century, almost a century after the discovery of quantum mechanics. The main problem remains: does the wave collapse to a particle due to observation? What counts as an observer? Does the wave collapse at all? Could something else explain the quandary posed by the double-slit experiment?

Considering Consciousness Ideas

What’s the Matter? No Really, What is Matter? Did quantum mechanics make matter disappear?

Does matter exist? Scientists are not so sure.

Bizarre discoveries of quantum mechanics blow away the solid understanding on which our classical scientific thinking is based. It’s like the ground underneath of us is shifting.

Imagine looking down at the balcony you’re standing on high above the ground. As you look at the boards below your feet you recognize that the atoms that make up the structure—each and every one of them—is 99.999999999999% empty. You are standing on mostly nothing. What supports you?

A quantum physicist might propose that you’re suspended over the atoms that form the deck, hovering over them by the power of repulsion (like opposite magnetic pull, a repulsive force that gives the illusion of solidity). According to physicist and father of quantum theory Max Planck you’re not “standing” on anything “solid” at all.

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” ~ Max Planck

Mind is the matrix of all matter? I think I saw that movie. So, if there’s no matter (no spoon), then wha????

Considering Consciousness Ideas

Consciousness: Materialism, Freewill, & Morphic Fields Forever

What is consciousness? Can a computer be conscious? Is your pet cat or dog conscious?

I came to this question of consciousness as part of writing a book about setting intentions. I love to research and I love science. I planned to use current, scientific research to lend credibility to the concept of setting and accomplishing personal, family, and community intentions.

This approach, however, led me to a roadblock. I ran right smack into motionless, dogmatic Materialism. If the materialist conception of the world is correct, then humans have no free will, therefore intentionality, as I intended it to mean in my book, could not be possible. We are nothing but a bundle of neurons, according to the fated materialist view, and each and every thought, act, or emotion is predetermined.

Physicist Daniel Levy asserts that “whatever free will might be, it is a phenomenon of mind, and phenomena of mind must, in my physicalist conviction, be understood in relation to phenomena of the brain.” In his book Neural Holism and Free Will Levy asks: “Shouldn’t this make us despair—this realization that we are automatons with no powers of deliberation, no choices, relentlessly driven to perform mechanically, like a robot or computer? Not in the least. Under the proposed description, our responses (optimally) reflect all of our beliefs and desires, as represented in our neural states.” I don’t know about you, but his explanation doesn’t make me feel all that great; and how does consciousness fit in?

Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

How does our thinking about “race” and ethnicity create conflict?

Where do our ideas about “race” come from? Did slavery create racism? Why can’t we all just get along?

Many people think “race” and racism have been around forever. When we look at historical records from earlier times and places we find our ideas about “race” are quite different than ideas held by people in the past.

In the ancient world, slavery was a way of life. Many slaves were owned by Egyptian, Greek, and Roman aristocracy. But these slaves did not necessarily have different skin color from their owners. Slave owners acquired their slaves through capture in warfare, punishment for crimes, colonialism, kidnapping and piracy, and other means. Even the inability to pay a debt might make someone a slave.

Slavery didn’t end with the fall of Rome. During the 15th through 19th centuries, many of the most powerful European countries engaged in colonialism. Much of the Americas, including the U.S., Cuba, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Atlantic Nicaragua were colonized and Africans were enslaved to work the conquered land.

In places where the European colonists brought slavery and settled, the mixing of populations between those of European descent and those of African descent created mulatto or Creole cultures. These cultures were typically “caste-stratified by skin tone and more broadly by the degree of ‘African-ness’… as opposed to ‘European-ness’ that an individual or family exhibits.” from Bad Subjects, “Colorless All-Color”: Notes on White Culture.

The U.S. is also a mulatto culture, but instead of becoming caste-stratified a color line was drawn dividing society into two exclusive groups: Whites and non-whites. Americans created a division between people that didn’t exist before and that we still feel the effects of today.

Diversity & CommUnity

Why Do We Have Racial & Ethnic Categories?

Why do we have racial and ethnic categories? Are these categories there to divide or protect us? What’s the difference between “race” and “ethnicity” anyway? When does someone become just plain “American?”

It appears to be very difficult for most of us, when put on the spot, to define “race” or to describe the difference between “race” and ethnicity.Diversity & Unity_quiz1 Part4

Most people think that “race” is a biological category – something in our genes, and that ethnicity has to do with unusual foods or customs. But, “race” is a social, not a biological, category.
Beginning with the first Census Report in 1790, and every 10 years after, the U.S. government has asked us to identify ourselves. But the categories of “race” and ethnicity we’ve had to select from have been ever shifting! Since 1900 alone, over 26 different racial terms have been used to categorize the U.S. population. People once thought to be of separate “races”, for example, the Irish, Italians, and Jews, are now all considered Caucasian.