Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peace is War: Intention, Intentionality and Ardhanareshwar.

The speeches made on the Nobel Peace Prize night are, by all accounts on the web, of the typein which every body tried to identify the main significance of the award to Obama. It did not help if Obama’s peace prize justified war efforts in Afghanistan as "Peace is war".

Obama’s speech showed good intentions. Ask the Dalai Lama! The Dalai Lama seems to have said “... some of his (Obama’s) policies have been a disaster” and “… it doesn’t matter. I know Obama is a very able person.

I think I will agree with the Dalai Lama on that.

Poor Obama” a lama (with a single “L”) said. “His father is dead you know. His mother is also dead. He is a little boy. He is only 40 years old. He is only half the Dalai Lama’s age. At that age everybody thinks he knows! As he grows up and gets better advice he will surely deserve the prize. But he has good intentions. He is not like Cleopatra, you know. Custom does stale his finite wit and age does wither his inertial looks.

But one thing I must say… his English is good. It is much better than that of George Bush! It is even better than mine even though English is not my language.

The Nobel Committee also has good intentions. They are also young and it has too many ladies. The chairman of the Nobel committee clearly said in front of Obama that they had good intentions. They pushed Obama to do peaceful things! What can they do if Obama thought peace requires war? As you know somebody said that the road to hell is full of good intentions. It’s perfectly true! I have been to Tibet so many times!

Thus finished the unusual lama from Tibet; if we are to believe him, he once carried a Lama (with a capital “L”).

Obama’s peace prize makes the transition from giving a prize for past performance to giving a prize for future intentions.

How does one get to understand the nature of intentions? As somebody said on the internet “Has he (Obama) no internal gyroscope to center himself on morality and ethics?

The Nobel Committee and Obama and the world may have been better off if they had a physical or mathematical principle to understand the nature of intentions.


I once had the good fortune of conversing a few times over the dinner table with a South African astrophysicist/cosmologist. He had Stephen Hawking among his fellow students and the two had written the definitive work on “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time”. The dinner table chats were not because of my science, but because of my wife’s yoga contacts with his wife Mary Ellis.

George Ellis was looking (this was in Trieste around the 1990s) for scientists to teach science in schools in South Africa. He wanted to know that if they were to teach, what they would teach. I don’t know if it was in response to something I mumbled, but I think he said something like “… if it is not directly relevant to the daily life of the local people it need not be taught in their schools, the first levels of their awareness of their environment.” It is not how you teach or do science that is important but the intent with which you do it shapes your science.

Description and quantification of intention is important in our day to day life.

Many years later I happened to read Ellis’s essay on “Physics, complexity and causality” in Nature (435, 743 , 2005). George Ellis gave a hierarchy of complexity (I guess he meant mathematical complexity) in their structure with chemistry < quantum theory < molecular biology < neuro-physics. As a physicist he, of course, then makes the statement that “… in a reductionist point of view, physics is all there is.” and “Particle physics is the foundational subject underlying … all the others.

The feature phrase in Ellis’ article (for the purposes of this blog) is “Even if we had a satisfactory fundamental physics ‘theory of everything’ … physics would still fail to explain the outcomes of human purpose…” and thereby provides an incomplete description of the world. “Physics has nothing to say about the intentionality…” behind the objects that dominate our environment such as “… football matches, tea-pots, or jumbo-jet aircraft” or “… beaver dam building and the dance of bees.” Ellis concludes that the “… challenge to physics is to develop a realistic description of causality in truly complex hierarchical structures…

This concern about physics and human development is probably of importance to physicists and a future development of humans perhaps. It may not be of concern to the average humans per se, especially when these theories are not in their consciousness (their subconscious intuition could still be important).

Bertrand Russell famously said (in his book “Our knowledge of the external world”) on the discovery of amoeba “A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress – though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.”

What we will be (not seriously, I hope) worried about in this blog is the way one may qualitatively understand the physics of Ellis’ “intentionality” through known principles of present day physics in a manner which I present as a matter of physics.

Social sciences and psychology have already taken the art to an important level with the creation of the phrase “spin doctor”. This phrase is applied to people around political personages who devise strategies to make palatable responses for hard political situations.

Spin doctoring is now a powerful tool and profession meant to guide people away as far away from the truth as they know it to the way they should know it; this is for the greater good of the world (the bourses) that provides food and security for the ordinary man. Morals have nothing to do with it. You only have to spin it around so that it does not look amoral.

The spin in spin doctoring stems from the phrase “spinning a yarn” as, say, Mark Twain would. The “spin” of spinning a yarn or the spin doctor has nothing to do with the spin of physics once one discounts the element of twist to a story that changes the perspective or direction.

We will be spinning a yarn on the way a spin of physics can be used to understand the dynamics of intentionality.

There may not be as yet a discussion that puts a spin on intentionality from one’s understanding the physics of the Universe. Without being deliberately irreverent to the gods, this blog will spin a yarn that would lead to the Ardhanareshwar (half man, half woman) aspect of Shiva, the creator as well destructor of the Universe.

Wheel of Intentionality – I-chakhra


During my rather discouraging career in science I have often worried (pre-Ellis) about its relevance in the scale of complexity in life; it must now (post-Ellis, 2005) include intentionality of science. We would discuss human intentionality making the assumption that given a chance other animals can be as bad as humans. They are already good.

We take a long-time view of the universe when, as we may have learnt from others, that there is a cycle of change.

I have shown in Fig 1 my version of the chakra (wheel) which I have cooked up now and quite happily display since it could be trivial to find me wrong. It is possible that the property of the axis out of the plane is intentionality. As usual, the cycle (in events) would go one notch higher or lower, each time it completes a cycle. I do not know whether we can have a left-hand or right-hand rule as they have in electro-magnetism, but see later.

The colours blue and red should correspond to (roughly) opposite nature of the complexities. The colour blue should be an unquantifiable state of the mind which is more an expression of intention arising from (subconscious?) experience. The colour red involves properties which can usually be expressed in terms of falsifiable (in the Karl Popper sense; don’t prove, just find a false aspect to criticize a statement) and quantifiable equations (mathematical as well as chemical).

Apocalypse is here used as a special access of a disclosure to few privileged people; in modern terms this would be insider trading. Apocalypse is not a post-knowledge empirical quality that characterizes chemistry, but a prior knowledge of the outcome of an experience.

There are (curved) spokes connecting these opposites in Fig 1 because, I think, that’s the Yin and the Yang that keeps the world going.

One does not know which way the cycle goes, clockwise or anticlockwise. It is likely that the direction of the cycle depends on the rate of change of intentionality with time. I suspect it could even reverse at philosophy or need. Taking US, for example, going clockwise from philosophy would probably result from changes in intentionality in US science policies (the rest of the world would be following, at least at present). It encourages defense spending such as in the policies of Reagan and Bush. The direction could reverse at “need” because of a change in intentionality with a change in government --- say from Bush to Obama especially since Obama is saddled with a peace prize which one expects him to use destructively in shaping the climate policy using the profits of war.

The (only?) positive aspect of this representation is that it is intuitive. We don’t really know why the “hub” is there except that it may be needed for the vishnuchakra.

We may call the whole intentionality wheel as I-chakra and the spokes of the chakra as I-strings. The advantage of I-strings is that one may be able to quantify events in blue from the quantification of events in red --- if one knows how to map from blue to red.

… and the central decussation, the wondrous connection of the several faculties conjointly in one substance.

One is not sure what the value system is for quantifying the magnitude of intentionality. One may, however, allot a positive or negative sign to the value of intentionality. One may take the sign of intentionality to be positive if it is consistent with some internal moral standard of the people concerned (such as the Ten Commandments of Christians(?)).For example, in the present value system of most religions, going clockwise or anticlockwise from philosophy to need in Fig 1 would be in the negative direction (hypocrisy does not come in here). This would be a problem.

Value of Intentionality

One lobe of his brain wants to study facts and test hypotheses on the basis of them, the other is fascinated by mystic symbols and analogies.
Thomas Browne in “Psedodoxia Epidemica” (1646)

Physics cannot define intentionality. As my catholic catechism master impressed upon us in my Roman Catholic school, we require moral science which gives a value system to our intentions except that even a morality has its intentionality (if that makes any sense). We could use moral values, although I suspect that these values are a bit archaic in these hip-hop and rapper days --- even (or especially?) when you are, say, Tiger Woods. I guess the intentionality in physics could (for the naïve, at least) correspond to much of the standards or ethics in science.

The problem may be resolved if one could borrow from the language of dielectrics in physics. There would be positive and negative dielectric constant space. In real materials of positive dielectric constant, opposite charges attract each other. In meta-materials of negative dielectric constant like charges attract.

One may consider the left hand rule in electromagnetism and its mirror image.

If we consider a clock-wise intentionality “current” the sign of intentionality would be one direction in the blue region (say, left-hand direction to the right), and in the opposite direction, say right-hand direction in red to the left, for the same “intentionality” direction of the current.

We may consider the blue and red properties to be value systems which are opposite in character in some way. For instance the red space may be considered to be the real physics space while the blue space would correspond to the metaphysics space. Thus Intentionality is positive on going clockwise from materials to philosophy in physics space it changes sign on going from physics (red) to metaphysics space (blue). There could then be a mapping to the change in sign of dielectric constant in the space in Fig 1 as well. We don’t know whether there is a singularity at the cross-over (“going mad” as they say, for instance)

Even if everything in the universe stems from a primordial energy (most people see blue light) a proper analysis of this energy is sometimes simplified by splitting this energy in a matter-antimatter relationship which annihilates each other to give the energy.

Our positive and negative world now could as well be one of destruction and creation.

This is where Shiva is likely to come in as Creator and Destructor. In human relationships it could as well be man and woman or as left-and right-brain activity. Shiva appears as half-man and half-woman in his form of Ardhanareshwar where the feminine and masculine energies are merged into one (represented in real space as in the madhubani painting in the inset of Fig 2) with Shiva as the male forming the right half and Parvathi as the left half. Actually, Shiva and Parvathi (as shakti) take their form when Ardhanareshwar is split apart. In this sense Ardhanareshwar is the energy or photon and Shiva and Parvathi could represent virtual quasiparticle aspects of this reality.

Google search did not find the phrase “quasiparticle aspects of reality” which means the phrase does not exist in real space? Hence it is not true? Will it become true if this blog is published and Google Search finds it?