Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 260
20—Hope at Slow Speed
© Eso A.B.
There used to be a time when space was believed to be filled with aether. The name probably came from interpreting the word as meaning not easy to grasp or touch. Then scientists disputed about the name, and aether as space become ‘ineffable’, a word that is more spacey than ‘aethereal’ or a word beyond words. Yet as the link explains, we do not seem to be able to do without aether altogether as some scientists would like us to.
I rather like the quote from Isaac Newton (at the above link): “Doth not this aethereal medium in passing out of water, glass, crystal, and other compact and dense bodies in empty spaces, grow denser and denser by degrees, and by that means refract the rays of light not in a point, but by bending them gradually in curve lines? ...Is not this medium much rarer within the dense bodies of the Sun, stars, planets and comets, than in the empty celestial space between them? And in passing from them to great distances, doth it not grow denser and denser perpetually, and thereby cause the gravity of those great bodies towards one another, and of their parts towards the bodies; every body endeavoring to go from the denser parts of the medium towards the rarer?”
On this occasion what interests me though is the space occupied by thought or, if you will, by thinking. Generally, it is assumed that thought occupies no space; however, it is not always so. For example, the religious still say that it is important to believe in the power of prayer and that “prayer can move mountains”. In the latter case, thought-prayer-imagination is provided with the ability to perform, and if we do not move mountains, there are any numbers of people who believe they can levitate and fly to the mountains. Of course, ‘moving mountains’ is only a figure of speech and may mean any numbers of other things, whatever you think it means.
In Tibet and other places, prayer or thought, is projected by means of a written note pinned to a branch, a cloth or flag let fly in the wind, or attached to a ‘prayer wheel’. In the fall, when I see the cranes migrating south and hear their plaintive calls high above in the sky, I say to myself or to whoever may be watching with me that my thoughts go with them. In Nara, Japan, there is a temple where aborted or miscarried babies are remembered and prayed for.
Never, have I been or become aware that a prayer was ‘working’ or having an effect. Rather, to the contrary: “nothing happens”: the lottery number does not come in, the right or necessary playing card does not appear. Still, every card player, even the occasional one, knows that there is such a thing as a ‘winning streak’ is it at poker or patience. But go figure: Was it because I thought it, or did the ‘streak’ think me?
It is the possibility that “it thought me” that gives pause and produces the idea that ‘thinking’ if not occurring in space as such or being a neutral medium (a wire without resistance) within which thought may fly a willed course, but given that there is no readily accessible evidence that this is so, may be more like a cloud. If such a cloud happens to pass over my head or through me at the right moment and somehow or other my wish for a million dollars gets attached to it, the next moment the phone will ring, and there will be a call from Groucho Marx, saying: “The duck has landed. You have said the magic word!” and hand us a hundred dollars.
That is prayer as entertainment and a cheap trick. Winning a hundred million dollars in a lottery, too, is a cheap trick, a wish come true, but no prayer. But is there some way that you can turn the trick against the house? I would like to say, yes. However, the trouble is that we have not yet discovered the medium within which the clouds of thought drift. We still need to find out whether it is air, land, water, or what? And what if it is a cloud? What then is air?
It appears that ‘air’ may be temperature at near absolute zero. This is when light has been slowed down to a 38 mile crawl, and plans are afoot to slow it down to even more, like 1 cm p/h. This means, this is when the lottery participant can outrace the light, which becomes a sort of slow rolling ball or cloud that delivers the lottery number before everyone’s eyes. Which begs the question: at what temperature must be thought if it behaves like light; or maybe thought is the aether within which light floats?
Think: what patience the tiger had to become “burning bright in the forest of the night”. Several million years perhaps? Is not the city that exists at the expense of our planet’s forests a cheap trick?

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