Archive for April, 2011

The great unknown – the depths of our minds

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We have some knowledge of how our physical brain works, things that go wrong can often be fixed, you can have treatment that works.

But thinking, mental processes and mind matters like consciousness, intuition, feelings are in the realm of speculation, guesswork, conjecture and worse: We are not sure what goes on. We can see what happens, but we are unable to explain it, we don’t know the mechanism by which it works.

We can not control our minds fully, some people are better than others at that, but things keep entering our minds, we develop sympathies, ideas, dislikes, we become glad and sad, we become depressed without being able to control it .. and so on. Psychologists can help, but surely they are often in deep waters.

Many people work at understanding their own minds, some meditate or do the Works (ref. Gurdjieff), some have therapy, do dream interpretation …many techniques are used to find understanding and calm us. More people should really do this kind of work – reflecting on the state of your mind.

Dreams are said to contain information or knowledge entering your mind when you are asleep. Often we remember our dream, so that we can think about it, even interpret it. The reason for dreams and their significance is really unknown, but our mind is obviously working when we are asleep. It has been suggested that dreams are a cleaning of our memories, a process of stabilizing your mind.

Dreams are very personal, they belong only to you, although simultaneous dreaming in several persons shall have been observed.  Dreams seem to just happen, there is no starting and stopping mechanism involved.

Many questions have been raised about the working of the mind when we sleep:

  • what is the intellectual activity involved, or is it just feelings?
  • can we do things in dreams that we otherwise can not?
  • are we getting access to hidden worlds in our sleep?
  • do dreams warn us of physical changes like illness? Are they warnings?
  • why do we have nightmares after scarying or terrifying experiences? Why is the mind working so hard?
  • what is lucid dreaming, or the state of the mind where we know we are dreaming?
  • is death the relation of dreams – is there a state that we enter when we die?
  • do dreams give rise to enhanced abilities? Do we become more creative?

Induced dreams was once a technique used by many both in Asia, Europe, the Americas. This is now frowned upon, but consciously entering into dreams was once part the healing rituals in many civilizations, used for thousands of years. May be we have lost some knowledge here. We have taken that away without providing something instead. We are scientific people, but what do we do when science can not tell? Both Hindus, Buddhists, American Indians, the Finns had and still have their rituals – but don’t show it off – and the Greeks used healing and wellness rituals based on induced dreams. They even went into dark places, the underworld to achieve healing.

Psychology has many big names РFreud, Jung Рbut the science is difficult Рand often shut down for some reason. Many have tried to provide structure  and analysis, e.g, the four archetypes of dreams.

Mystics claim that dreams link us to the evolution of humans, to the cosmos, even Einstein claimed a love for the mysterious that he did not understand. Many cultures have people with understanding of our minds, they can work wonders, they find and use hidden forces.

Mind control has been a big theme during wars: how to get people to tell the truth, how to get confessions, mass coercion. Using drugs and microchips to control people’s mind is are recurring themes. Using persuasion, sermons, nationalism to induce certain modes of thinking, to soften people have been talked about over the years. Experiments with drugs to alter peoples mind are going on, huge amounts of mind drugs are used today, we know the effects of many and people are constantly inventing and trying out new ones.

Advertising has also used mind control – still are? – the depth men – to make us buy things. There are even bigger questions about mind control of societies – propaganda in many forms, silent, slow, making us follow, taking us over, calming us.

The themes touched upon here are big and important for the future of mankind. There is obviously a vast amount of knowledge to be had – for individuals, for societies, for humanity. The writings about controlled societies are still valid, so better watch out – you may not believe you are manipulated till it is late.

Mind matters are complex, but we must search for the unknown, the mysterious. The fact that science right now is of no use must not stop us from trying to improve our understanding – so go seek understanding. It is silly to stop people from searching – the search in itself could be very exciting.

Reflections on art: Picasso and nature

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Loiusiana near Copenhagen, Denmark now has an exhibition where Picasso is on show – an impressive display of an artist putting a mark on us all – technique, themes, politics. A great exhibition in a great place.

Galleri F15 near Moss, Norway has an exhibition of lesser artists – so far? – where art’s relationship with nature is the central theme. Art is creation, nature is a given form, a process of growth and decay, well known to us all. Nature can be beautiful, harsh, ugly, harmonious – it is all in there. Art based on nature may contain several of these elements, even surprise us profoundly. So artistic expression in addition to showing us a form, a twist on nature, must have a theme, some (deep) content – what is it the artist want to say, why is this important, why does the artist express herself in this way: what is at stake?

There must be some sense of urgency involved.

Artists can also (merely) imitate nature and make their art look like nature, but not like a copyist – the artist must make a point that matters to people: a point related to people’s existence, that touches their souls, starts the intellect ticking. It is not enough to do a well made object, installation, a different thing or other: there has to be a message in there that people find important, that make us react.

Art can challenge nature’s forms, introduce new visual elements, suggest mystical occurrences, show complexity, open up well known forms and show possibilities.

Other worlds – parallell worlds – may be possible – is nature real or is what you imagine reality? New animals can be created by artists, new plants too – showing strengths, vulnerability or even softness. Art can show us what nature could be or what it is not – challenging traditional thinking and concepts, shaking us up.

Materials and their use could also be shown, introducing new concepts, environmental themes, unconventionality. When does nature end and art start? Artists could stimulate our thinking here by their forms and concepts.

Artists should maybe also explain what they are thinking and doing, joining in discussions or debates, be part of the development of society and betterment of people, and ultimately the world? The answer to that is yes – so show yourself! We need you – you can show us the way.

China: a historic mystery and now a new start.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

China once had an enormous technological lead over the rest of the world. Up to about the year 1500 it was a leading example of innovation and technological progress. Then it all stopped, and China gradually fell behind. The industrial revolution started, the British came up, and gradually the whole Western world.

For about 2000 years the Chinese developed a number of high tech projects in a wide range of fields. They had advanced agriculture: growing rice, used iron ploughs, chemical and biological plant protection, they had blast furnaces and forges, paper and printing, money, textile industry for silk and cotton, they travelled the high seas with large ships and had advanced navigation equipment, they had hydroelectric power, they invented gunpowder – see recipe published 1044, they had advanced weaponry, they drilled for gas and water. There is a long list of achievements.

What is behind this rather quick breakdown? Nobody has explained this fully, but reasons put forward are introspection, lack of military challenges producing new industries and their spinoffs, conservative government thinking, lack of mathematical culture, lack of international trade, emperor domination – the list is long, but nobody really knows what happened.

Governmental push for innovation gradually disappeared, the landowners were happy, they didn’t care about industry, China has always been a “one-party” state, a state controlled stop to innovation gradually emerged. The dynamics dried up. The state controlled it all, progress slowed, and gradually ground to a halt.

This is surely not quite correct – but there are elements of truth in there.

In Europe at this time the dynamic forces were huge: decentralized company structures, many entrepreneurs, lots of wars, a longing for products of all kinds from all over the world, high risk developers everywhere. It was a highly charged society.

But these days China is back: an industrial powerhouse is emerging, internationalization is proceeding, power is being found for many purposes, it seems a new world order is being built.

China is still a one-party state, it is removing many dynamic elements, it is clearly scared of itself. And at the moment it is behaving like some before – using known techniques and making it cheaper, better.

So will it find the new innovative and creative, scientific abilities to make this last, create new ways and methods – lasting a few hundred years or more?

There are clearly many factors involved, and a dynamic society must let their people loose to do what is needed. Improving the general lot of the Chinese people is the main concern now, so there must be silence about many things, they say, in order to achieve this. Some people are hurt in this process.

So the balancing is proceeding, and we are all very excited. There is mutual benefit as the world is using you and also watching you, China. Long term dynamism is a hard game, where plurality is the key. Suppressing ideas is not conducive to innovation and viability. Let the 1000 flowers bloom – positively.

The clean energy is under you also

Friday, April 1st, 2011

We know that the sun, the winds, the waves, running water is energetic and can be harnessed for human purposes. Much has been done, and more will come. These energies have a high level of sustainability.

But there is more. The geothermal heat can also be used, and this is already done in many areas, especially where there is volcanic activity near the surface of the earth. Examples are the US, New Zealand, Philipines,  Iceland and others where part of the energy is taken from these sources. This energy is quite close to the surface which makes it easy to utilize, although there are risks as well.

But we know that by going deeper – in non volcanic areas – heat can be found down there in the stone masses.

An example is found in the city of Oslo, Norway where a project will collect energy about 5 km underground. This energy will be green, sustainable and available for a long time. A certain cooling seems to be expected, maybe in 100 – 200 years. Here geological subterranean surveys have been undertaken, and good areas have been found. Down here there is a degradation of radioactive substances like uranium, thorium, kalium resulting in the creation of heat. No CO2!

The oil industry knows how to drill, and a number of wells will now be drilled, connected into a system, filled with water and pumped to the surface. The temperature down there is about 120 degrees C, and the temperature of the water coming up will be about 95 degrees C. The heated water will be distributed in the near area for private housing purposes, and the heat from one such well will be enough for about 2500 habitats.

So possibilities are opening up: you can drill more holes, much deeper, you can use the hot water for electricity generation, you can drill still deeper and have increasing temperatures – about 20-30 degrees C. per km down.

So now interest is increasing: several projects in Norway, many in Germany, and so on. And experience will tell – we will learn and grow this area. And it is much simpler and less risky than wind, waves – so here we will see substantial growth. And the economics? We will se as we learn. Maybe new risks will emerge?

Good work! Put it into your green energy plan.