Sunday, 27 September 2015

Why Dr Carl Hart is clinically correct about diacetylmorphine use, yet caution should be taken in spreading this information to the general public.

Recently the spectacularly excellent youtube channel run by Kyle Kulinski called Secular Talk, did a youtube video addressing comments about diacetylmorphine (heroin, to the layman) made by Dr Carl Hart on the Joe Rogan experience.

I very rarely, if ever, disagree with Kyle’s commentary. In fact, I don't essentially disagree with his comments in this particular clip either, but I would like to point out a couple of things that slightly concern me about the trajectory his commentary took. To preemptively summarize my points below, it has to do with the intelligence or background knowledge of youtube users, even though from my experience Secular Talk’s subscribers show a much higher level than those of the average youtube channel.

Briefly, this was the comment about the clip in question I posted to my facebook community already, and is a rough summary of my main point.

"Hmm ... it's very hard to argue with someone as qualified as Dr Carl Hart, but lets just say say I think Kyle (the host) is taking what he is saying too literally here. Heroin (opiates) can be lethal with just 3x the normal dosage; awful LD50 and ARE addictive to a small sub-section (10-15% or so) of the population. The LD50 (median lethal dose) of mushrooms is roughly 20,000g (20 kg), about 1000x the effective dosage, as the effective dose is 3-5g, and they are not addictive. The LD50 of LSD, and some other psychedelics, is so high it's never been properly ascertained. Either-way, this [Kyles clip] is an interesting clip to think about"

 I agree with Dr Hart that if taken clinically, responsibly, in a controlled setting, opiates like Oxycontin, Morphine, or whatever opiate, are not only quite safe but also over-all totally non physiologically damaging. However, they are, for a small subset of the population, both so enjoyable and effective a treatment (not cure) for any mental health conditions or physical ailments from which they may suffer that this sub-set of the population will find it extremely hard to stop once they start. This is so even if 85% or so of people who try these opiates can control it. As Kyle pointed out in the video, it will not instantly ruin their lives, or turn them into 'junkies' overnight.

However people do not generally take/find/use opiates like diacetylmorphine in the controlled or clinical settings Dr Hart referenced in the clip. Most people have to find them on the street (due to the ridiculous situation prohibition has put us in) from people with no controls on their purity or dosage and without a safe way to use them; as they would have in a clinic.

Taking this into consideration, and from my personal experience, it's somewhat amazing (yet understandable) how opiates like heroin have gotten such a bad reputation from the average layman. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that a dosage just three times the recreational one (especially if other respiratory depressants [like xanax/valium] are already in their system) can stop people breathing when they fall asleep on them. This is one of the number one combinations of recreationally abused drugs that does end peoples lives; and should only ever be combined in a clinical setting with doctors present.

Obviously, properly informed intelligent people would never use an opiate with a benzodiazepine like valium or xanax in their system; but youtube users (well, the general population of internet users) are generally not educated enough to generally know or understand this fact. So it does slightly concern me that some people may have gotten the impression from the video that it's ok to try these things, when in fact being safe takes a bit more research and is a bit more complex than Kyle, or Dr Hart, laid out.

I have much more to say on this matter [and will soon edit/finish this blog accordingly], as I've not really referenced this article yet, nor mentioned the psychedelics vs the above drugs or other claims yet to back up what I have said; but it is in no way an exaggeration to say that with (many) psychedelic drugs like mushrooms and LSD that even if you miss a decimal point out and take 10x the effective dose it's virtually impossible, physiologically, that you will die. It might be terrifying, but physiologically; you are in no danger at all. Sometimes even at 100x the effective dosage.

Miss a decimal point out and take ten times the recreational dosage of amphetamine, you are likely to have a heart attack or at least suffer severe cardiovascular issues; miss a decimal point out with opiates and take ten times the amount you are almost certain to die of respiratory depression. That is the plain truth.

So Kyle [if you read this] I'd really like you to keep these things in mind in the future for your other uploads. And keep up the great uploads!

[to be finished]

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Re-ordering the hierarchies of the core sciences; Novelty theory and thermodynamics in an evolving universe

Consider this a series of thought experiments I had when thinking about the laws of physics and the rules of biology and chemistry after listening to Terence Mckenna describe a theory which he called "Novelty Theory". I started thinking about the 'arrow of time' in physics, which is the presumed pointing concomitantly with the way current Big Bang theories have interpreted the astrophysics data into a kind of universal cosmogony (I've major Issues with cosmologies inferences on expansion, the CMB and other things, but that's not for this blog).  In other words time is a dimension rather than a property. The flow of time seems to manifest itself as the increase of entropy in the universe as a whole, which is the only real indicator of the direction the 'arrow' of time we have. This is a dimension, you can not measure it or test it in any way shape or form, it's merely inferred as a concept based on ex nihlo models, and their other counterpart similar 'Big Bang' type ideologies.

The more and more interdisciplinary subjects I learn online, instead of simply focussing on one subject like most 'top' professors do, I've become extremely aware that a person who specialises in one subject alone usually had no clue what is going on in science or other fields. This was Terence's virtue, he read all the sciences in depth, and then took a step back and tried to find underlying interlocking principles. I'm not sure if my musings are falsifying his theory as he saw it, or give it more credence, but it tends to bring it into alignment with thermodynamics and other well known phenomenon, so here goes. 

I'll start off with some very very broad contexts that underlie my line of thinking, then will explain the details shortly after.

My hypothesis is that we may have stacked the deck of cards of the three main sciences backwards, or at least the way they are stacked has numerous violations where biology apparently violates some of the laws of physics. The main take away I've gotten from deliberating on this is that biology and consciousness, not physics, may be the primary science; and even systems that to us seem physical, devoid of life and mechanical could in fact be microchosmic parts that make up a currently unthinkably large organism, of some sort. Which we are like cells, or enzymes embedded within, with a role to play in it's body, or a by product of something else (likely the Earth) that has a role to play. 

With so many orders of fractal scaling to it's nervous system and huge size (the Sun, the Solar system as a holistic system, a quadrant of the galaxy quadrant bound or even the galaxy itself) the idea of ourselves being able to detect this organism or comprehend it in anyway would be equivalent to a liver cell in our bodies being able to comprehend its role of binding and releasing energy in the human organism named Dave while be tries to find his lost shoehorn; it's simply inconceivable to us on our comparatively nearly insignificant scale. In a nutshell: The universe, not just what we define as biology, follows the rules of evolution just as much as we do.

Two quotes from two great minds seem to have reached similar conclusions:

"As nervous systems evolve to higher and higher levels, they come more and more to understand the true situation in which they are embedded, and the true situation in which we are embedded is an organism, an organization of intelligence on a galactic scale"
~ Terence Mckenna

"We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible"
~ Alan Watts

As a reference point many of these ideas resonate with (Lanza, Robert 2011)'s theory of Biocentrism, which takes it a step further and firmly put biology and consciousness above all the other sciences, for the reasons outlined here Biocentric universe. Also the inference about the fractal nervous system of a higher in scale entity is taking the Gaia Hypothesis in the form which it's often referenced as The Strong Gaia Hypothesis.

Anyway I digress, they are adjuncts for context, not main points. Unfortunately the idea that biological processes of life and vitality are violating the law of thermodynamics and entropy needs me to first define our understanding of time, and point out some different perspectives on it. This below picture gives a good brief overview of the different types of time we don't often think about.

Now this paradox raises a lot more questions, as the main way time is measured is through Newtonian mechanics, which is the basis for most of the technology in mechanical watches, and later relativity was added on too, but changing very little comparatively for us of creatures of such small velocity, size and mass, thus we are considered generally sub-relitivistic organisms.

It's still at this point a legitimate question to ask: is our perception of time more a result of consciousness and various endogenous metabolic processes and others; or an actual external real world constant non perceptual time that happens even when there is no consciousness there to perceive times passage?

Newtonian mechanics, which a lot of people use to define time, is in fact reversible in time. So how can you derive a law which is asymmetrical in time from basic principles which are symmetrical in time? You run a clock backwards it’s just as good using Newtonian Physics as if you run it forwards. Yet the entropy increases in the future. Or at least it appears to, to us, as conscious observers.

Although time is well defined by the asymmetric laws of newtonian mechanics it's this asymmetry that still gives no direction to the 'arrow of time', the only way we can work out the arrow of time is by a series of leaps of faith about the evolution of the universe showing a general trend to increased entropy. To quote wiki: "Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences that seems to imply a particular direction of progress, sometimes called an arrow of time. As time progresses, the second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases. Hence, from this perspective, entropy measurement is thought of as a kind of clock"

The above clearly seems to have been written by a physicist. A lot of biologists would give a different view.  I think what we have here is another case of not enough interdisciplinary work between the fields, its generally well known that biologists find it hardest to get on with physicists when discussing their subjects, why these two sciences in particular seem to not compliment each other is there are definite friction points between their laws and intuitive positions.

According to the laws of thermodynamics various respected things are stated about the cosmos, for example that in 10(x) years we'll be moving at 20x the speed of light, gaining more and more energy as thermodynamics notches up the whole thing. Which ultimately implies the universe can not be a steady state universe, there are no counter effects on this by mind or organisms or the evolution of systems, but the universe is in fact rapidly approaching all to end until stars burn out and the 2nd law of thermodynamics is going to reduce everything to heat death.

However if the primary substratuum of the universe is mind of some sort, as a driving force for information transfer behind biology (life would be a more suitable term, I consider biology an Earth bound term, as no life from elsewhere else would likely be biological in any sense of the word as we understand it here) with or without an organism, such as the Gaia Hypothesis implies could be true, then were we have an opposite pointing arrow of time for biological life, and we can see from our minds an example of a species with higher conscious abilities (recall of past in memory, anticipations of far off futures, etc) to the physical law. As we are constantly bootstrapping previous ideas, languages, technologies, arts, computers into higher and more complex forms, we've transcended the typical evolutionary mechanism most life on this planet evolves by, the mixing of genes, and moved into the epigenetic world, a world made not of hardware but of the imagination, culture, language, art, all sorts. Novelty building on novelty as a springboard for further novelty. 

This can be thought of in two ways, first; that there is a constant state of flux in the universe between these two forces, the organizational complexifying properties of mind and organism against the entropic heat death end scenario. Either pockets of novelty that evolve in the opposite direction to the rest of the expanding universe, or there is some kind of universal equilibrium of flux between the two which overall is conserved. Secondly; if you consider life and consciousness as extremely precious and a rare cosmic event then we appear to be very lucky in the universe to have evolved to this point of accelerated novelty (vs the cosmological inferences) on Earth, who especially with our recent and much faster evolution via epigenetics has been speeding up and up for ages. 

The picture which the 2nd law of thermodynamics gives us for biology is quite frankly wrong when applied to biology, to quote Roger Caillois:

Equilibrium thermodynamics provides a satisfactory explanation for a vast number of physiochemical phenomena. Yet it may be asked whether the concept of equilibrium structures encompasses the different structures we encounter in nature. Obviously the answer is no"

What Cailois pictured also quite wrong however was 'tumescence' or 'maximum detumescence' is how he explained it, instead all he had to realise is that strange hard to define forces in the universe, usually called “Life and information transfer” are constantly working up into ever and ever more organised, complex forms through time.

To bring in Novelty theory a bit more I'll define it: Novelty is the quality in nature that seeks complexity, it is essentially an evolutionary like tendency. And it’s opposing force would be habit, and that these laws are more primary than the other thermodynamic laws of entropy alone and others we use to explain the end states and other things about the way the universe works; in this model the thermodynamical laws are epi-phenomenons of this constant habit and novelty flux.

Habit simply means repetition of previously established patterns, continuation of a equilibrium situation. A tendency for a system to degrade entropically due to the 2nd Law of Thermodyanmics. The other aspect, novelty, is the new, the untried levels of complexification previously unachieved, unusual connectivity, creativity, surprise, emergent ordered phenomenon from originally chaotic systems; that's novelty in a nutshell.

Ilya Prigogine, who won a Nobel prize for his work on thermodynamics of the 'non equilibrium' variety named this “The principle of order through perturbation”. Which is a counterintuitive phenomenon in physical chemistry. Because for a very long time one of the strongest faiths held in physics was that the universe is undergoing thermodynamic degradation. In other words everything is tending to fall apart.
Prigogine showed that this is not true, he showed that in physical systems, simple physical systems there can be spontaneous mutation to higher states of order. Originally it was just added to thermodynamics as a 'corrective' adjunct, but now it's realised a law of thermodynamics itself, and Prigogine’s principle has taken its proper place within the overall structure of thermodynamics.

Following this a new law became self evident, he and others are talking about the ‘emergence’ of an ordered state from a more chaotic physical system. Mathematicians already know this phenomenon well as Chaos Theory, but in physics (another interdisciplinary gap in understanding) the thing is called ‘non linear dynamics’ and generally taken less seriously.

Take for instance the weather. A lot of warm air particles (O2 and N2 molecules) are bouncing around in the atmosphere in completely chaotic directions. But the Earths spin and the force of gravity are acting on them too, as is the heat from the ocean, which makes it an open thermodynamical system. It also represents the development or emergence of a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic ocean above the equator

Under the proper environmental and external conditions, the chaotic system of the atmosphere tends toward the ‘emergence’ of a whole new and unique phenomenon that has physical characteristics quite different from the chaotic situation that created it. In chaos theory it would be referred to as complexity, yet in meteorology this complexity is named a hurricane. In other words, under the influence of external environmental conditions (gravity and other forces) the prevalent chaotic conditions (high entropy) of an open thermodynamic system tend toward the emergence of a complexity (and lower entropy) with physical characteristics wholly different from the system that gave rise to it. This statement defines a new fifth law of thermodynamics. It could be called the principle or law of emergence. It is all the more significant since it takes into account the physical forces and other laws of nature that are missing from standard thermodynamical considerations.

A third new law based on the concept of ‘system evolution’ is directly implied by Prigogine’s ‘law’ and the ‘law’ of emergence from chaotic systems. Prigogine’s law presents the possibility of higher level stabilities emerging from a chaotic state while the concept of emergence deals with the self-organizational property of emergent systems due to the new physical properties of the emergent system. Tog ether, these result in the natural development of progressively higher levels of self-organizing systems, i.e., ‘system evolution’. So here we have a new sixth law of thermodynamics. Individual living systems and groups of systems undergo a form of natural evolution as time flows forward.

This last addition gives science three new laws of thermodynamics to deal with nature, the way things really are, in a more complete manner – (4) Prigogine’s ‘law’, (5) ‘law’ of emergence, and (6) ‘law’ of systems evolution. It may be presumptuous to call these additions ‘laws’ of nature instead of hypotheses, but they have been verified in other circumstances and they do have an extremely wide range of applications. Yet, still more might be necessary. We still have Murphy’s Law–if anything can go wrong it will go wrong–which will always be the ‘Next’ Law of thermodynamics.

The primary virtue of these additional laws of thermodynamics is that they equalize the process of thermodynamics and mediate between symmetrical opposites in the duality of order (emergence from chaos) and disorder (entropy). Murphy’s Law is balanced by the Zeroth law, and the first three laws dealing with entropy (chaos) are balanced by the newly added three laws that deal with order emerging from the chaos of entropy. They make thermodynamics perfectly symmetrical. They also increase the explanatory power of thermodynamics.

Unfortunately, these new laws of thermodynamics cannot be found, at least stated as laws, anywhere else in science even though it is when they are so stated that they reach their full potential. Yet they are already used throughout science in both thermodynamical and other contexts

With these additions, thermodynamics could now be included in an explanation of how stars, planets, galaxies and other material systems evolved out of chaos in the early universe, while the novel concepts of life, mind and consciousness can also be explained. It seems that evolution is built into the very fabric of the physical universe and it is not just a biological process leading to humans. The new laws also indicate that evolution does not stop at any given point in time or plateau of development such as our normal human consciousness. Evolution is an integral part of all processes, whether material or non-material, living or non-living, and all facets of physical reality. Everything in physical reality undergoes evolution as long as time pushes in a direction. The direction of the arrow of time yields order for biology, not disorder. Indeed, emergence and evolution become the true arrows of time rather than entropy. Now, given all of the external forces and stresses on mind and consciousness as well as the large chaotic population base that has grown in the past few decades, the next step in human evolution is all but required by the universe

So what’s really going on in the universe is a struggle between these two tendencies, biology represents the emergence of a very novel set of chemical strategies for the preservation and maintenance of novelty, probably mediated and accelerated further when a species evolves a cognizing mind to consciously speed up the rate of change of novelty far higher than the slow genetic drift of typical darwinian evolution. The emergence of higher-animals and culture and language and technology, these things are also novel strategies building on previous achievements in the novelty department, building against entropy, into systems of further unique and disparate ecosystems.

Lets look at the Western notion of time as we derive it from Newton from a different take than we did above. The Western notion of time is that time is what is known as pure duration. All time is in Western physics is the place where you put process so that it doesn’t all happen at once.

Time has no quality, it’s pure duration, think of it as a perfectly smooth surface. The only modification to this doctrine in the past 500 years is Einstein came along 100 years ago and said that this smoothness is distorted by an amount depending on the mass of the body in question. So we go from perfectly smooth pure duration, to slightly curved space-time.

But the main idea which is contiguous through all of these intellectual evolutions is the idea that the local fine structure of time can be portrayed as a zero-dimensional space, ie, locally it is OK to think of time as perfectly smooth. But why should it be? The primary reason why it's given a zero dimensional value is we've simply assumed time has any kind of geometric type structure in the first place, it's a ultimately pythagorean geometric idea, with it's roots in greek maths and useful for us to visualize, but for a dimension with no measuring stick invented yet, it is just an assumption. 

I'd say if you want to understand the phenomenon of time you don’t conquer time by building vast technologies and seeking a sub-atomic particles, etc. The way you should try to understand and investigate time is by moving inward to metabolism. The human body could be seen as a sort of knot in time, it is non-thermo-dynamic state of equilibrium maintained by the miracle of metabolism.

Metabolism, the slow chemical burning of organic material, a form of burning so subtle the energy is trapped in various cytochromes and membranes and put the work of organism. For science, one of the most important phenomenon in the universe is the move toward heat-death and entropy. They barely notice that life represents an amazing and persistent exception to the rule that all thermal dynamic systems run down, life has achieved the miracle of a stability far from entropy through the the complicated act of metabolism.

By studying further the way in which metabolism relates to bodily functions, how people can vastly change their metabolism and heart rate to levels (with mere conscious intent) that would kill most people, and how the perception of time is perceived during this, a new way to define the arrow of time for biology maybe be worked out to explain our curious situation of seeming to accelerate faster and faster into time. Which was one of the central tenants of Mckennas Novelty theory, that not only are approaching the more novel, this process (due to human influence) is rapidly increasing. All of this will relate to three things; the influence of epigenetic inheritance of traits; the interaction between human consciousness, metabolism and how our minds relate to matter; and whatever transitional stage we are at as a species and what new novel phenomenon we are emerging into.

And how they all interlink, I've absolutely no idea substantial enough to write it down yet.

All of this, in the grand scheme of things, does imply a kind of omega point for us, but far from proves it. The Omega Point is the purported maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which some theorise the universe is evolving. I would say that the universe is not; but we may indeed be. 

My 2$.

Another fringe theory gathering dust in the recesses of the interwebs :)


Sheldrake, Rupert. The science delusion. Coronet, 2012.
Nicolis, Gregoire, and Ilya Prigogine. Self-organization in nonequilibrium systems. Vol. 191977. Wiley, New York, 1977.
Beichler, James E. "Beyond 2012: Why do we keep torturing ourselves with these predictions?."
Caillois, Roger. Man, play, and games. University of Illinois Press, 1961.
Depew, David J., and Bruce H. Weber. "Entropy, information, and evolution: new perspectives on physical and biological evolution." (1988).

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Why JREF forums rules are still living in the dark ages

It is becoming ever clearer with time that my supposed suspension from the JREF community is not in fact a suspension at all but a permanent ban. I'd still love my account back. I'll still continue to post bad press on this blog about what happened and some cultural biases I've remembered off the forum now I can not discuss it more productively on forum. Which is unfortunate for a community I used to respect and enjoy so much.

It seems in retrospect I was treading a very fine line between posting respectable scientific literature on psychedelics in the science section weighed against the political anti-science rules implicit in the rules of the forum. Being informed of this would have been much appreciated, but it simply never happened.

I summarized the point why the banning was a mistake in my previous blog here. I can only presume that there are certain unwritten rules about drugs I was not aware of.

I did however find this one "
if the post contained instructions ... or information about ways to get high with (usually, illegal uses of) legal substances, or information about little-known drugs or how to obtain them -- then the posts breach rule 1. More importantly, the posts threaten the continued existence of these forums."

I will address why my post that resulting in the banning did not violate any of these rules, and why such posts do not in fact "threaten the continued existence of these forums".

To re-iterate why it was unfair as it relates to the rules of the forum here's a concise list:

a) I have never received a suspension for my posting of such material, so was completely unaware that I had a history of violations of rule one. Checking my history of infractions may reveal something I have missed, but since I can no longer access the forum I am unable to do this.

b) The way in which the ban was conducted too non reciprocal, my account simply stopped working one day. I got no email from the admins explaining why the ban happened, and no opportunity to reply, which makes the fact that a mistake was clearly made even the more aggravating for me, as I have no means to contact anyone on the forum to explain why this was the case other than this blog.

c) "
if the post contained instructions ... or information about ways to get high with (usually, illegal uses of) legal substances" As I explained in my previous post, the statement I 'was asking where I can get psychedelic drugs in my area' is false. I asked for the location of a local UDV center. I found one. I broke no laws in asking, I broke now laws in participating. Such UDV clinics are legal in the USA and due to this precedent pretty much worldwide (apart from France and a few others, but there will always be local cultural exceptions as a side effect of an anti-science based application of drug laws). This is not "(usually, illegal uses of) legal substances", even the use of this is allowed in this context. The purpose of them is primarily social and, if you choose to, medicinal as well. I found one, it took me two days, and surprisingly was only 50 km from home. It was a humbling experience.

d) "More importantly, the posts threaten the continued existence of these forums." I feel a change in the rules here is warranted. This a change to the rules that I'm sure would not even raise an eyebrow online as it's already largely in place, ( a purely medicine/drug forum that had always erred on the side of caution with site rules being in accordance with '
international law' ) is now adopting a change to the site rules that allows admitting use of and planned use of drugs, much to the amusement of the spectrum of drugs forums that have been using first person prose since the beginning. It turns out that after speaking to people running drug related forums for nearly a decade not one of them has any evidence that posts made on a forum even attract the attention of drug law enforcement agencies, let alone compromise the security of them (the days of operation web tryp and the hive are long gone). The main forum rule to enforce seems to be not letting users reveal any more precise geographical information than city level in drug related posts and banning discussion of the price of drugs (it can can look like advertising); however since JREF is not a forum that is predicated on drug use I do not even feel this rule would be a necessary addition. This is a recommendation for the rules, not a complaint against them out of bitterness. I am trying to help. The very existence of these drug predisposed forums shows that the authorities do not care about forum posts, these entire drug communities with even more members than JREF have never once received any hassle from authorities, and they exist purely to talk about illicit drugs use, to reduce harm to people unfortunate enough to have to use them. There is not even evidence that forum posts about drugs have ever been used in court, due to identity theft and it being nearly impossible to prove someone actually posted what can be seen online in a court of law.

e) There is also an element of cultural responsibility here to honest education, it's now proven beyond doubt that drug laws do not correlate to the harm of the substance and that many many illegal drugs in fact have legitimate scientific application and medicinal use (recent studies into MDMA and PTSD, psilocybin and wellbeing, etc) so an educational forum that prides itself on evidence should not act as sycophants to a purely political ideology lacking any scientific evidence in its favor. The natural ahahuasca brew that I inquired about in the thread that resulted in the banning is also a drug with no deaths worldwide, proven clinical benefits (I posted these in the science section in reply to roborama) and clinically significant effects on habits and addictions. It would immediately put a poster who had a degree in psycho-pharmacology in an extremely surreal situation: either help educate people about his chosen discipline by sharing his knowledge (which no doubt sometimes is going to look like advocating certain well studied non addictive and efficacious psychedelics) or get banned. The fact that I wrote in the thread I got banned for in large capital letters 'I AM NOT ADVOCATING ITS USE' seems to have been missed.

f) Again on the point an admin stated for the reason of my ban “
He was asking where he could get psychoactive drugs in his area” is spurious at best, as most people a) are already breaking the law due to it's natural presence in the mammalian bloodstream b) can get this particular one instantly from their natural environment (17+ dominant strains of canary reed grass) I would never be asking to source a chemical fully available to me for free from my garden or local field within a few hours of cursory chemical competence on an online forum, the post was literally about the UDV context of the trip to get the set and setting correct. I have spoken about this relentlessly in the science section (without ever informing people how to do it, of course). Similarly if I was asking on JREF for the location of a rave the chance of substances will be consumed is very high, I will likely either drink ethanol or use MDMA (the legality does not even effect the choice for most people, the science and cultural reference points about the dangers of the substance speak for itself), however asking for where the rave is located, or stating that you enjoyed yourself last time you went, as far as I can tell, is not against the rules. Thus asking for the location of a UDV centre in the UK and stating that I enjoyed the last one I went to is in exactly the same territory, the ayahuasca or ethanol use is a secondary or tertiary event to locating the group organizing the event.

g) Our bodies containing this endogenous psychoactive, is highly illegal according to the state definition. Lock yourself up, you would almost certainly fail a blood test for DMT. Every JREF moderator should hand themselves in to the authorities, at night time when they are dreaming the base levels of DMT are raised to far above threshold dosages. Anyone with phalaris in their garden is technically producing this scheduled drug. Science on the other hand, the foundation I thought JREF was based on, is a lot more accommodating, and it's been deemed a fruitful area of scientific inquiry, even though work has only begun properly a year or so ago into it’s possible role and effects. Cultures like the UDV that have used it for centuries know exactly what it’s about, thus its legality in the USA. I merely queried if anyone knew of UDV groups in the UK that use the brew that elevate the levels of this natural neurochemical. So there, right there, you see schizophrenia involved in thinking about drugs and implicit in the forum rules. Apparently there are ‘
good’ drugs sanctioned by science and medicine (ostensibly allowed on JREF for open discussion) and ‘bad’ drugs used by brown people in strange rites for thousands of year and growing in unusual plants in distant parts of the world (politically banned on JREF for open discourse to ensue). This kind of thinking – because it’s naïve – leads of course to social problems and bad politics and bad social and forum policy, in spite of the science.

Since this blog is proving rather popular (20,000+ views), I really hope that the mods or users can post this on forum, either in the moderator discussion or in some other forum to discuss this issue in an open and skeptical way. I will delete this blog if that happens, and post the material on forum for a productive discussion. I do not intend to post psychedelic material on JREF in the future, it is not the right forum for it, but I feel that I was harshly mis-treated by a total misrepresentation of my post. A suspension, to me, would have been a far more reasonable action to take, as is the normal for most members who have never been suspended before. But this is just my subjective opinion, and I have no means to have a dialogue with the moderators to discuss this. Weird situation.

PS: And to the poster in the thread about my banning who said they were concerned I would now turn into some 'kind of guru', I've more twitter followers the JREF twitter account, I've a 350k strong facebook page(s) and 4.5 million combined views on youtube. JREF massively shot itself in the foot by banning me, in terms of it's quest of spreading logic and reason, as without having the constructive feedback from the knowledgeable members there about various things my primary woo filter (as a young person still learning) was disrupted. So hey ho, I expect at least 100 annoying threads on JREF have been spawned due to my online content. Since I can't discuss it on forum productively anymore, I have to just 'put it out there' and get feedback from the general internet. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Clockwork or psychedelic universe?

If meditation is the best known and respected path for introspection, then the psychedelics cheat by putting you on the motorway, where you are more likely to crash.

I don't think you could discover consciousness if you didn't perturb it, because as Marshall McClune said, "whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn't a fish". Well, we are fish swimming in consciousness; and yet we know it's there. Well, the reason we know it's there is because if you perturb it, then you see it; and you perturb it by perturbing the engine which generates it, which is the mind/brain system resting behind your eyebrows. If you swap out the ordinary chemicals that are running that system in an invisible fashion, then you see: it's like dropping ink into a bowl of clear water -- suddenly the convection currents operating in the clear water become visible, because you see the particles of ink tracing out the previously invisible dynamics of the standing water. The mind is precisely like that, and the psychedelic is like a dye-marker being dropped into this aqueous system.

When I personally say psychedelic I have something very specific in mind that a substance or a plant should do. It should not inhibit clarity, in other words not episodes of forgetfulness, lack of memory, passing out or confusion. It shouldn’t interfere with that at all, and it should transform thought and be accompanied by visual hallucinations with eyes closed. The CEVs (closed eye visuals) are what it's all about. They can be evoked simply by shutting your eyes and staring at the inside of your eyelids with the expectation of seeing something. The closest thing I can think of to explain the visuals you see is it can be like a lucid dream caught just on the concrescence between hypnagogia and deep sleep.The biggest danger with psychedelics is not reading about them online on a forum, it's that while you are in that open state having used it some moron will mess with you.

At bedrock, the universe is more like a DMT flash than it is like an 18th century garden party, as we were previously assured by the clockwork mechanist practitioners of science. An incredible ability to not register radical change seems to be a precondition of existing in the presence of radical change.

The psychedelic community is cleverly invisible. Because our choices in gender expression, fashion, and so on have, by crypto-osmosis, come to dominate the values of the culture, we can no longer tell ourselves from straight people.

Basically, when you smoke DMT what happens is pure confoundment. DMT does not provide ‘an’ experience which you analyze. Nothing so tidy goes on. The syntactical machinery of description undergoes some kind of hyper-dimensional inflation, instantly. And then you cannot tell yourself what it is that you understand. In other words, what DMT does can’t be downloaded into as low dimensional a language as English.

One toke of DMT away is this absolutely reality-dissolving, category-reconstructing, mind-boggling possibility. And I feel like this is a truth that has to be told.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.

When you see these people, like Daniel Dennet or any of these talk show materialists so many look up to, it's a shame. As these people haven't gotten the news that's coming out of quantum physics, or they have, but they don't understand it's implications.

Let me describe the state of play here. The way science works is that science respects fidelity of theory to experimental results. What really thrills a scientist is when a theory makes predictions down to 4 or 5 decimal points and then you perform and experiment and it's spot on, so now everyone involved is fairly confident they are on the right track. But only one science is ever that good to that many sig fig; physics (macrophysics). Shortly following is chemistry, it's good, but its not that good. Then we have biology, ecology, demography, etc, these are pretty loose. Sociology is even looser. And this is how science has been structured for several thousand years starting with Gallileo and physics, it's been a pyramid of envy directed towards the paradigmatic science of physics that can produce this unrivaled congruence between theory and experimental data.

So physics continues to charge forward into matter, asking deeper questions. But when you pass the atomic level, where leptons like electrons, baryons and mesons, etc, are the fundamental forms of matter, things change. It's like smoking DMT. Utter madness breaks out in the properties of matter. Whereas before you had these wonderfully exact models you now have backwards flowing time, quantum entanglement, bell non locality, superposition, quantum teleportation, wave particle duality
arising in different situations depending on the observer, singularities. The best definition for a singularity is a point where all the rules cancel because you don't know what the hell else to do, same applies for the singularities evoked in the center of black holes. Nature does not make zero dimensional points we can study, or singularities in black holes with 'infinite mass/dimensions/etc'. These are placeholders revealing shortcomings with theories rather than actual real things, any attempt to give a dimensionless point properties is nothing more than hypostatization, and is evidence of the lack of understanding by many between a metaphysical maths like a point and the magnitude of physically experimentally testable things.

It used to be in physics there was only one singularity; The Big Bang. And so one singularity is OK, essentially science said, give us one free miricale, and we can run it from there onwards. Then relativity came along and introduced the concept of black holes based on the extraneous extrapolation of peturbation theory derived masses of bodies in our solar system to the cosmos at large. And what do black holes have in the center of them? A singularity. And how many black holes are there in the universe? Something like 10^14, at a guess. That's a lot of singularities for a theory that at first only wanted one to use as a springboard to overcome the cause and effect problem and for a theory that should be trying to avoid producing singularities. In effect 10^14 singularities is an admission of total intellectual defeat. If there are 10^14 singularities your not even doing science, you might as well be channeling atlantis or something.

So it troubles me because I think this quantum mechanics is rich, physics is feeding back, and a model of consciousness will eventually come out of studying the properties of the deeper levels of matter. But the conclusions are all going to support the non scientific non rational fasions; in other words bell nonlocality is real, all matter in the universe is in contact with all other matter through some sort of entanglement of higher space based on their original connectivity, quantum teleportation is a possibility, these violations of backwards flowing time and rational casuistry are all real, superposition and the same particle being in multiple locations at the same time is real.

In other words science/physics prosecuted its agenda of deconstructing nature to the point where it let loose the elves of madness, paradox, peculiarity and contradiction. And in terms of something relating to consciousness that can relate to these confounding properties, it would have to be DMT and psychedelics. There appears to be sketchy blueprint of a bridge between quantum physics and a more realistic model of consciousness being constructed based on the similarities between the peculiarity, paradox and contradictions of a DMT experience and the madness, paradox, peculiarity and contradiction and quantum theory. Pensrose has made a noble start already.

Matter is not lacking in magic, when you get down to quantum levels; matter is magic. When you get to the bedrock of it all, reality seems far more congruent with a DMT flash than a mechanical clockwork machine.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

On the matter of drugs, abuse of the word 'drugs' is worse than drug abuse itself

Drugs. The word alone has all manner of negative connotations. In our culture it often produces an instant aversion reaction. Yet drugs are what we are; its the symphony of complex organic chemistry that gives rise to our very identity.  Its a beautifully elegant complex system of hierarchical emergent systems in which we all inhabit, at one level we are all organic chemistry, and at some level all life as we know it is, yet life is far more than just complex chemistry. Molecular biology emerges from the complex chemistry, and anatomy arises from the molecular biology to give rise to biological systems, with many steps in between. And the final pinnacle of all these levels of emergent phenomenon is human consciousness; the seemingly most unique emergent phenomenon we have evolved. As an emergent phenomenon we are still collectively figuring out how it works. Dissolving mental boundaries our fear based ancestors hardwired into our brains seems to be the main method to expand your consciousness at this point.

Dissolving arbitrary mental boundaries is what psychedelics are uniquely good at doing. They dissolve boundaries between the conscious and subconscious mind, they dissolve the boundaries that separate people, they dissolve boundaries of identity and culture, they dissolve boundaries of time and space. Most people profit from the grand project of boundary dissolution, it introduces them to the wider horizon of reality. But there are those among us who for which the maintenance of boundaries is a daily struggle. They are trying to create an ego, trying to create a complete ultimate view of the world, these are not candidates for the psychedelic experience. My concern is that the fearful among us have set the social agenda for all of us, so we are all told psychedelics are somehow corrosive of social values, compromising of sanity. The psychedelic experience is the most important experience a human being can have this side of the yawning grave, the boundary dissolving capacity of these psychedelic substances act as if they are a reset button, we are not ultimately the creatures of our culture. Ultimately we are biologically defined, and biologically connected. Yet our culture and fearful mindset we inherited makes us only notice differences when we see our fellow species, never the similarities. And what the psychedelics do is inject an enormous amount of distance between us and our learned cultural values. 

Drugs’ is a word which has polluted the well of language. Part of the reason we have a drug problem is because we don’t have an intelligent language to talk about substances, plants, psychedelic states of mind, sedative states of mind, states of amphetamine excitation. We can’t make sense of the problem and the opportunities offered by substances unless we clean up our language. ‘Drugs’ is a word that’s been used by governments to make it impossible to think creatively about the problem of substances and abuse and availability and so forth and soon.

In our society Drugs mean that which cures us and the greatest social problem of the generation. So there, right there, you see schizophrenia involved in thinking about drugs. Apparently there are ‘good’ drugs sanctioned by science and medicine and ‘bad’ drugs used by brown people in strange rites and growing in unusual plants in distant parts of the world. This kind of thinking – because it’s naïve – leads of course to social problems and bad politics and bad social policy.

From the time I was very young I was fascinated with the idea of extremely dramatic changes in consciousness from which one recovers after a few hours induced by plants. And I discovered through the writing of Aldous Huxley and other people that this was a world-wide religious and cultural phenomenon that my own western cultural upbringing had completely over looked or even denied. 

These substances have had a far greater influence on culture than previously realized. To my mind human history is the story of one substance after another distorting or transforming human values and society. A perfect example would be sugar. Most people don’t even think of sugar as a drug, and yet we may think that cocaine distorted moral and political values in Latin America. But sugar brought back slavery. Slavery actually died with the Roman Empire. Nobody worked agricultural products with slaves in the middle ages. It wasn’t until the early 1400s that the Portuguese began producing sugar and they used up jews and prisoners and so then they started buying human beings from Arab traders. And the pope was in on the deal and everybody was in on the deal. I mean this is drug corruption of the central institutions of society on a massive scale.

Nowadays we have alcohol, we have tobacco, some of the worst drugs health wise. Historically it seems that every society chooses a small number of substances – no matter how toxic – and enshrines them in it’s cultural values then demonizes all other substances and then persecutes and launches witch hunts against those users whenever some political pretext requires witch hunts and persecutions. So, it’s an old game and it’s been played in many places. Hope-fully part of the advancement of society toward ideas of universal human rights and that sort of thing certainly must include the idea of the universal human right to take responsibility for and to alter your own state of consciousness as you see fit. I don’t think we can even pretend that we are on the edge of a civilized dialogue until we grant that people’s minds – like their bodies – must be a domain free from government control. In American law we have the notion of  ‘life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ If the pursuit of happiness means anything it must mean the right to use and experiment with substances and plants.

Now we need to catch up; we need endless amounts of research. The fact that these things have been illegal in most countries for fifty years means there is a huge lag in understanding the impact of these things on human beings. How many people have taken MDMA, and yet MDMA has not been thoroughly studied by science. How many people have smoked DMT? Same thing. In a way, by making these things illegal we’re setting ourselves up for a potential catastrophe, someday, when some side-effect is overlooked because the drugs were not rationally re-viewed with an eye not toward keeping them out of the hands of the public but with an eye toward public safety and educating the public in safe use of these things. The state should not in the matter of drugs, anymore than in the matter of sex, act as the secret agent for the agenda of the church. And that’s what’s happening. People want to stimulate themselves. They want to explore their consciousness. They want to sedate themselves. Who are we to stand in their way with a moral ideology and the long heavy arm of the law to interfere with that? It distorts civilized values. That’s the bottom line: drug repression distorts civilized values  and  political  discourse.

Anyone who has actually been around people using psychedelics knows they have tremendous therapeutic potential, tremendous potential to launch people into confrontations with aspects of their personality or their history that they are in denial of. The people who hold that these psychedelic substances have no application have very little actual personal experience with them. It’s the old story of: ‘My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.’

I think it’s a great tragedy of twentieth century science that the original excitement about exploring consciousness and mental illness generated by the discovery of LSD gave way to establishment paranoia and repression of drug using populations. The excitement in psychology when LSD was first introduced was like the excitement in the physics community when the atom was smashed and everybody thought, well, now we’ll understand mental illness, schizophrenia, the traumatic memory so forth and so on. And instead the government lost its nerve because it saw that these substances have a potential for deprogramming people to institutional values. And that was so terrifying that all the promise for mental illness and creativity studies and so forth and so on was sacrificed to institutional paranoia about the fact that drugs might actually cause people to wake up to some of the abuses and scams that were being run by late modernism and capitalism.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The impact of Godels theories on modern science and maths

The greatest most intelligent minds that walked this earth in terms of understanding the machinery of the universe were likely Albert Einstein and Godel, I still think to this day. We would be wise to take a historical note of what Einsteins later years were spent doing and what conclusions he came to, as the scientific community ran off and made mainstream with a set of his theories he himself was deeply uneasy with. Einstein and Godel seemed to reach similar conclusions, but seemingly one of them coped better with the implications of this than the other in the end.

The solid mathematical foundations that a lot of these modern day Nobels are awarded for in linearized maths, have a slightly darker and mirkier past in a historical context. And in fact, the whole materialist myopic view of linear maths as revealing deeper and deeper truths to us about the universe is fatally flawed from the get go.

This is the true story of how some of our most intellectually stimulated minds untied the previously cosy relationship the universe seemed to have with the certainties of mathematics, and how these facts have been acknowledged but largely ignored. It's a story of how such deep questions being asked back then of such high importance resulted in the fact that when some of the greatest minds of the time engaged their mind with such questions their brain dare not look away from the evidence that perplexed them so much, and how pursuit of meaningful answers to these issues pushed them first to the brink of insanity, then over to madness and suicide.

But for all the human tragedy of great minds lost due to seeking meaning from life from maths and logic, what they saw is still true - the intellectuals at the time that took over the consensus opinion, assigning Einsteins work greater credibility than the original creator himself did, whilst in the case of Godels work largely ignoring it; so to this date we have yet to inherit at large the conclusions they themselves made.

- - - - - -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - - - - -

George Cantor (1845-1918) was a religious professor of maths who started a paradigm shift in the world of established maths and science, that maybe he did not appreciate at the time. The profundity of a brand new question, not based on previous knowledge or even a similar school of thought in maths at the time; he asked himself "how big is infinity"?

It’s just an incredible feat of imagination. It’s, to me, the equivalent of taking mind enhancing drugs for that era (1800-1900) Others before him, going back to the ancient Greeks at least, had asked the question but it was Cantor who made the journey no one else ever had, and found the answer. But he paid a price for his discovery. He died utterly alone in an insane asylum.

The question is what could the greatest mathematician of his century have seen that could drive him insane?

Cantor had auditary hallucinations from a little boy that he attributed to god as calling him to maths. So for Cantor, his mathematics of the nature of infinity had to be true, because God had revealed it to him.

Cantor soon discovered he could add and subtract infinities conceptually, and in fact discovered there was a vast new mathematics opening up infront of him - maths of the infinite. This out of the boxing thinking had revealed something special, and he could feel it as a sort of profound insight into the nature of maths he was previously blind to.

By 1884 Cantor has been working solidly on the Continuum Hypothesis for over 2 years. At the same time the personal and professional attacks on him for his heretical "maths of the infinites" had become more and more extreme. Due to this, the following may of that year he had a mental breakdown. His daughter describes how his whole personality is transformed. He would rant and rave and then fall completely and uncommunicatively silent. Eventually he is brought here to the NervenKlinik in Halle, which is an asylum.

Even after concerted further effort he could still not solve the Continuum Hypothesis, he came to describe the infinite as an abyss. A chasm perhaps between what he had seen and what he knew must be there but could never reach. He realized that there’s a way in which in order to understand something you have to look very hard at it but you also have to be able to sort of move away from it and kind of see it in a kind of holistic context, and the person who stares too hard can often can lose that sense of context.

After the death of a close relative, Cantor went on to say that he "could no longer" even remember why he himself had left music in order to go into maths. That secret 'voice' which had once called him on to mathematics and given meaning to his life and work. The voice he identified with God. That voice too had left him.

Here I divert from Cantor, because if we treat Cantor’s story in isolation it does little to bridge the gap in the idea that Cantor had dislodged something was part of a much broader feeling of that time. That things once felt to be solid were slipping. A feeling seen more clearly in the story of his great contemporary- a man called Ludwig Boltzmann.

The physics of Boltzmann’s time was still the physics of certainty, of an ordered universe, determined from above by predictable and timeless God-given laws. Boltzmann suggested that the order of the world was not imposed from above by God, but emerged from below, from the random bumping of atoms. A radical idea, at odds with its times, but the foundation of ours. Ernest Marc one of the most influential er philosopher of science at that time stated: 'I cannot see, I don’t need it, they do not exist so why we should bring them in the game.'

Worse than insisting on the reality of something people could not see, to base physics on atoms meant to base it on things whose behavior was too complex to predict. Which meant an entirely new kind of physics – one based on probabilities not certainties. Boltzman worked tirelessly at his idea irrespective, and as Boltzmann got older and more exhausted from the struggle, he'd get mood swings, mood swings that became more and more severe. More and more of Boltzmann’s energy was absorbed in trying to convince his opponents that his theory was correct. He wrote, “No sacrifice is too high for this goal, which represents the whole meaning of my life.”

The last year of Boltzmann he didn’t do any research at all, I’m talking about the last 10 years. He was fully immersed in a dispute, philosophical dispute, tried to make his point – writing books which were most of the time the same repeating the same concept and so on. So you can see he was in a loop that didn’t go ahead. By the beginning of the 1900’s the struggle was getting too hard him.

Boltzmann had discovered one of the fundamental equations, which makes the universe work and he had dedicated his life to it. The philosopher Bertrand Russell said that for any great thinker, “This discovery that everything flows from these fundamental laws… comes”, as he described it, “with the overwhelming force of a revelation: like a palace emerging from the autumn mist, as the traveler ascends an Italian hillside,”

And so it was for Boltzmann. But for him, that palace was at Duino in Italy, where he hung himself.

A new generation of mathematicians and philosophers, were convinced if only they could solve the problem of the nature of infinity Maths could be made perfect again. Kurt Godel was born the year Boltzmann died 1906. He was an insatiably questioning boy, growing up in unstable times. His family called him Mr Why.

What Godel later showed in his Incompleteness Theorem is that no matter how large you make your basis of reasoning, your set of axioms in arithmetic there would always be statements that are true but cannot be proved. No matter how much data you have to build on, you will never prove all true statements.  

Godel's incompleteness proof involves constructing statements that are well-formed within the system in question, and cannot be proven true within the system, but can be proven true via analysis outside the system.

Mere undecidable statements (that cannot be proven true or false at all) are far easier to construct and do not render a formal system incomplete.

There are no holes in Godels argument. It is, in a way, a perfect argument. Thus the present tense of this paragraph, it stands unimpeachably strong to this day. The argument is so crystal clear, and obvious.

Yet still to this day, very few want to face the consequences of Godel. People want to go ahead with formal systems, and Godel explodes that formalist view of mathematics that you can just mechanically grind away on a fixed set of concepts. There’s a very ambivalent attitude to Godel even now a century after his birth. On the one hand he’s the greatest logician of all time so logicians will claim him but on the other hand they don’t want people who are not logicians to talk about the consequences of Godel’s work because the obvious conclusion from Godel’s work is that logic is a failure - let’s move onto something else, as this will destroy the field.

Godel too felt the effects of his conclusion. As he worked out the true extent of what he had done, Incompleteness began to eat away at his own beliefs about the nature of Mathematics. His health began to deteriorate and he began to worry about the state of his mind. In 1934 he had his first breakdown. But it was after he recovered however, that his real troubles began, when he made a fateful decision.

Almost as soon as Godel has finished the Incompleteness Theorem, he decides to work on the great unsolved problem of modern mathematics, Cantor’s Continuum Hypothesis. Godel, like Cantor before him, could neither solve the problem nor put it down - even as it made him unwell. Again, the mind so engaged the brain dare not look away from the evidence that perplexed the mind so much. He calls this the worst year of his life. He has a massive nervous breakdown and ends up in a sanatoria, just like Cantor himself.

Alan Turing is the next person to enter this brief history. Turing was most well known for breaking the Enigma code; but he is also the man who made Gödel’s already devastating Incompleteness Theorem even more devastating.

Computers being logic machines was Turings predominant world view, and he showed that since they are logic machines incompleteness meant there would always be some problems they would never solve. A machine fed one of those problems, would never stop. And worse, Turing proved there was no way of telling beforehand which these problems were.

With Gödels work there was the hope that you could distinguish between the provable and the unprovable and simply leave the unprovable to one side. What Turing does, is prove that, in fact, there is no way of telling which will be the unprovable problems. So how do you know when to stop? You will never know whether the problem you’re working on is simply fundamentally unprovable or extraordinarily difficult. And that is Turing’s Halting Problem.

Startling as the Halting problem was, the really profound part of Incompleteness, for Turing, was not what it said about logic or computers, but what it said about us and our minds. Were we or weren’t we computers? It was the question that went to the heart of who Turing was.

This tension between the human and the computational was central to Turing’s life – and he lived with it until, the events which led to his death. After the war Turing increasingly found himself drawing the attention of the security services. In the cold war, homosexuality was seen as not only illegal and immoral, but also a security risk. So when in March 1952 he was arrested, charged and found guilty of engaging in a homosexual act, the authorities decided he was a problem that needed to be fixed.

They would chemically castrate him by injecting him with the female hormone, Oestrogen. Turing was being treated as no more than a machine (which in a sadly ironic way is what he was trying to prove himself). Chemically re-programmed to eliminate the uncertainty of his sexuality and the risk they felt it posed to security and order. To his horror he found the treatment affected his mind and his body .He grew breasts, his moods altered and he worried about his mind. For a man who had always been authentic and at one with himself, it was as if he had been injected with hypocrisy.

On the 7th June 1954, Turing was found dead. At his bedside an apple from which he had taken several bites. Turing had poisoned the apple with cyanide. Turing had passed, but his question remained. Whether the mind was a computer and so limited by logic, or somehow able to transcend logic, was now the question that came to trouble the mind of Kurt Godel.

Having recovered from his time in the mentally unstable sanctum, by the time he got here to the Insititute for Advanced Study in America he was a very peculiar man. One of the stories they tell about him is if he was caught in the commons with a crowd of other people he so hated physical contact, that he would stand very still, so as to plot the perfect course out so as not to have to actually touch anyone. He also felt he was being poisoned by what he called bad air, from heating systems and air conditioners. And most of all he thought his food was being poisoned.

Peculiar as Gödel was his genius was undimmed. Unlike Turing, Godel could not believe we were like computers. He wanted to show how the mind had a way of reaching truth outside logic. And what it would mean if it couldn’t.

So, why so convinced was Godel that humans had
this spark of creativity? The key to his belief
comes from a deep conviction he shared with one of the few close friends he ever had, that other Austrian genius who had settled at the Institute, Albert Einstein.

Einstein used to say that he came here to the Institute for Advanced Studies simply for the privilege of walking home with Kurt Godel. And what was it that held this most unlikely of couples together. On the one hand you’ve got the warm and avuncular Einstein and on the other the rather cold, wizened and withdrawn Kurt Godel. The answer for this strange companionship comes I think from something else that Einstein said.. He said that "God may be subtle but he’s not malicious." And what does that mean? Well, it means for Einstein is that however complicated the universe might be there will always be beautiful rules by which it works. Godel believed the same idea from his point of view to mean, that God would never have put us into a creation that we could not then understand.

The question is, how is it that Kurt Gödel can believe that God is not malicious? That it’s all understandable? Because Gödel is the man who has proved that some things cannot be proven logically and rationally. So surely God must be malicious? The way he gets out of it is that Gödel, like Einstein, believes deeply in Intuition - That we can know things outside of logic, maths and computation; because we just intuit them. And they both believed this, because they both felt it. They have both had their moments of intuition, moments of sudden conceptual realisation that were by far more than just chance.

Einstein talked about new principles that the mathematician should adopt closing their eyes, tuning out the real world you can try to perceive directly by your mathematical intuition, the platonic world of ideas and come up with new principles which you can then use to extend the current set of principles in mathematics. And he viewed this as a way of getting around the limitations of his own theorem. He no longer thought that there was a limit to the mathematics that human beings were capable of. But how could he prove such subjectives?

The interpretation that Gödel himself drew was that computers are limited. He certainly tried again and again to work out that the human mind transcends the computer. In the sense that he can’t understand things to be true that cannot be proved by a computer programme. Gödel also was wrestling with some finding means of knowledge which are not based on experience and on mathematical reasoning but on some sort of intuition. The frustration for Gödel was getting anyone to understand him.

Gödel was trying to show what one might call mathematical intuition of the kind we see in the brains of Synesthesia Savants such as Daniel Tammet in current times, and he was demonstrating that this is outside just following formal rules. What he had shown was that for any system that you adopt, which in a sense the mind has been removed from it because it's you that's used to lay down the system, but from there on mind takes over and you ask what’s it’s scope? And what Gödel showed is that it’s scope is always limited and that the mind can always go beyond it.

Here’s the man who has said, certain things cannot be proved within any rational and logical system. But he says that doesn’t matter, because the human mind isn’t limited that way. We have Intuition. But then of course, the one thing he really must prove to other people, is the existence of intuition. The one thing you'll never be able to prove. It would be synonymous in many regards to trying to prove the strong version of the gaia hypothesis.

Because he couldn’t prove a theorem about creativity or intuition it was just a gut feeling that he had and he wasn’t satisfied with that. And so Gödel had finally found a problem he desperately wanted to solve but could not. He was now caught in a loop, a logical paradox from which his mind could not escape. And at the same time he slowly starved himself to death.

Using mathematics to show the limits of mathematics is…is….is psychologically very contradictory. It’s clear in Gödel’s case that he appreciated this - his own life has this. What Gödel is, is the mind thinking about itself and what it can achieve at the deepest level.

It's a paradox of self-reflection. The kind of madness that you find associated with modernism is a kind of madness that’s’ bound up with not only rationality but with all the paradoxes that arise from self-consciousness from the consciousness contemplating it’s own being as consciousness or from logic contemplating it’s own being as logic.

Even though he’d shown that logic has certain limitations he was still so drawn to the significance of the rational and the logical. That he desperately wants to prove whatever is most important logically even if it’s an alternative to logic. How strange and what a testimony to his inability to separate himself - to detach himself from the need for logical proof; Gödel all of all people.

Cantor originally had hoped that at its deepest level mathematics would rest on certainties, which, for him, were the mind of God. But instead, he had uncovered uncertainties. Which Turing and Godel then proved would never go away; they were an inescapable part of the very foundations of maths and logic. The almost religious belief that there was a perfect logic, which governed a world of certainties had unsurprisingly unravelled itself.

Logic had revealed the limitations of logic. The search for certainty had revealed uncertainty.

The notion of absolute certainty, is, there is no absolute certainty, in human life, in maths, in logic neither in science. The only certainty that has withstood the test of time to date is; that what we think is certain and true has a limited axiomatic scope, and the conscious mind is the only force in the universe that can transcend proclamations of truth by virtue of conceptualizing and defining its limited scope, thus transcending certainties to higher values of truth it itself previously set the scope of. In this regard, focused right by powerful minds, it's self transcendental in the fact that it's forever able to define the scope, lay it down, then re-analyse it and go beyond it.

Such realizations he said are only from becoming
shut off from the outside world and looking fully
internally, a sort of mathematical medication practice. It's the ability to see the full axiomatic scope of an internally self evolving mathematical framework; the message seeming to be that its always going to be expanded better by the internal mind, as long as no external influences of a social culture not open to questioning the scope and truth of the axioms it was predicated on, which was his current outside world over 50 years back. And, I feel, this culture largely remains so today, though certainly not to the extent it did 50 years back. The fact Godels Incompleteness Theorems still have a lot of applicability to many theories I think has been largely overlooked, or even rejected, by certain disciplines predicated on mathematical grounds and potentially spurious axioms, all of which can likely be viewed as a more wholistic viewpoint and expanded on with the power of the minds ability to always see the limits of the system.

But if consciousness in its normal form is indeed non computational, non algorithmic and not based on logic (incompleteness theorem) associated with turing machines then how are we ever going to try to understand it in terms of them without just tying ourselves up in knots made of the same paradoxes that drove the aforementioned geniuses mad?

To finish, applying Godels theorem more vigorously to current dominant paradigms could have such a catalyzing effect in developing new, mathematically sound theories based on the more creative functions of human inspiration; whilst also pointing out certain unprovable assumptions that underlay some materialist sciences.

The problem is that today, some knowledge still feels too dangerous.

Because our times are not so different to Cantor or Boltzmann or Gödel’s time.

We too feel things we thought were solid, being challenged, feel our certainties slipping away.

And so, as then, we still desperately want to cling to belief in certainty.
It makes us feel safe.

At the end of this journey the question, I think we are left with, is actually the same as it was in Cantor and Boltzmann’s time.

Are we grown up enough to live with uncertainties?

Or will we repeat the mistakes of the twentieth century and pledge blind allegiance to yet another certainty?