Category Archives: Current issues

What is real?

So, what is real? I read the New York Times magazine article called ‘Out There’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/11/magazine/11dark.t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=magazine). It is about how 96% of the universe appears to be made up of ‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’ – basically undescribed and unknown forces and substances. Everything else – not just life, but stars, planets, galaxies – what we have called ‘everything’ or ‘reality’ – appears to make up only 4% of what exists.

A quote: ‘“We’re just a bit of pollution,” Lawrence M. Krauss, a theorist at Case Western Reserve, said not long ago at a public panel on cosmology in
Chicago. “If you got rid of us, and all the stars and all the galaxies and all the planets and all the aliens and everybody, then the universe would be largely the same. We’re completely irrelevant.”’

It is an interesting thought. Perhaps this dark energy/matter is the oneness, the beingness that we sense in meditation? The article discusses how the energy/matter would be all around us, all the time, passing through us, without being ‘perceived’ as anything.

It is interesting also, how it is described as ‘dark’, rather than ‘light’. Is that because there is no light in this ‘dark’ stuff, or is it just a word we are using to show its polarity, its oppositeness, its duality with what we usually perceive? The article doesn’t explain the use of the word ‘dark’ in this context.

I wonder if it is also related to what I have heard described as ‘the physics of nothingness’. I know there are leading physicists who see this as the critical question that needs to be studied. What is in the space between particles? There is much more space than there is matter, even if we look only at the 4% universe.

Everything and nothing. Darkness and light. Meditation moves closer to the sense and feeling of them than thought and logic.

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Filed under Current issues, Meditation, Philosophy, Reading, Science, Spirituality

Does my head look big in this?

I’ve read about 2/3 of Does my head look big in this? It is about being a young Australian Muslim female who wants to be all three of those components of her identity and be accepted as equally able to be all of them at once. The range of characters and responses to Amal’s decision to wear a scarf through Year 11 is interesting, and seems realistic to me. Amal’s parents support her decision, but only when they feel that Amal has made the decision herself. However, she has some family who are opposed to her decision, and who believe in assimilation to the extent of going overboard in being as ‘ocker’ as possible, much to the embarrassment of their children. Amal also has a very intelligent friend who also chooses to wear the hajib, but whose mother is very traditional and opposes her daughter’s desire for a career over an early marriage. However, this mother’s family, back in
Turkey, have moved on and are encouraging their daughters to study. Another, Anglo friend has a much more liberal mother – who gives her daughter a hard time for being slightly plump. In another Muslim family, the mother is an English convert.
It sounds a little like there is just a range of perspectives and no story – but the story is focused on Amal’s year, and her relationships with her friends and classmates. And a boy, Adam. That part I’m finding a little difficult at the moment – Amal seems to be playing at the idea of falling for him, but at the same time, holding herself back too much. I guess that’s just a personal thing – my own emotional experience has always been much more uncontrolled than that. Perhaps if I’d always had a ‘bigger’ cause I’d have had a different attitude always. Amal’s year is the year after Sept 11, and I’ve just got up to the
Bali bombing, which has added a new dimension.

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Filed under Books, Current issues

Wikipedia, knowledge and identity

Something to think big on. I saw another blog entry yesterday – I haven’t checked it’s validity, but it did give links that seemed to indicate it’s real – talking about how someone (Essjay) who claimed to be an established academic and who wrote over 800 pages of Wikipedia was, in fact, a 24 year old student. He is now removing all his content from Wikipedia.What I would ask is, was his content authentic and useful? If the content was authentic and useful, does it matter who he is? Of course, one ‘shouldn’t’ pretend to be someone one is not, but to what extent does this matter if the outcome is the same? If, however, what he wrote was a lot of rubbish, and he used false credentials to do this, that would be a different matter. But that is what we internet readers have to try to do – assess the content, regardless. People can have wonderful credentials, and still write rubbish. It makes me think about art fraud too. If no-one can tell the difference, what is the difference? I wonder why Essjay felt the need to pretend to be someone else. I can imagine, as a fiction writer, that perhaps it started as a small thing, a joke almost, an identity to go with one small article. And then it grew, as he discovered how he liked the writing, and the identity…But I still think that if the content is valid, it may as well stay there, why take it away? Just change the identity of the writer.

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Filed under Current issues, Philosophy