Book Review

Does Time Exist

Why our gut feelings are no match for physics
Discourse by James Gleick, author and science historian.

Article reported on by MIKE ZONTA for the BathtubBulletin.com

Physics often makes a fool of our gut feelings. James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History makes this point using the most elemental example. You, sitting or standing to read this now, your gut feeling and experience tells you that you’re sitting or standing on a flat plane, on an immobile surface. Science has some news for you though, in Gleick’s words: “You’re actually on the surface of a giant sphere that’s spinning at high speed and hurtling through space, and by the way there’s no difference between up and down except an illusion that’s created by the force of gravity.”

Radical readjustments of accepted perception is central to the nature of physics – even if something isn’t proven, our mind has to stay open to the possibility that maybe, things aren’t as we see, feel or intuit them to be. This is particularly relevant to the debate surrounding time. Does time exist, or doesn’t it? Is time only inside our minds, or is it a force acting upon us? It might seem ridiculous to question the existence of something that radically shapes our lives – our days, hours, minutes, our life span, our grandparents, our grandchildren.

Einstein’s teacher and contemporary Hermann Minkowski offered his vision of space-time as a single thing, a four-dimensional block in which the past and the future are just like spatial dimensions, with a north and a south. Some physicists say there is no distinction between the past and the future, and that time is a dimension just like space.

This seems at odds with what we feel, which is that the past has happened and the future is not yet determined. The future and the past are different to us, but in physics they’re the same. Gleick’s realization in the face of the multiple hypotheses on time is that just as our feeling about the stability of the surface we walk on is not so simple, our perception of time may also be radically more complex than we think. At this point, every expert’s ideas in this debate are provisional, but we have an obligation to take these ideas seriously.

 

Thank you for Being Late

An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations
by Thomas L. Friedman

By Calvin Harris, HW,M

I ran across a review of a book called: “Thank You For Being Late.”  Which resonated with me, being that, I was someone who had been stranded 30 miles from home due to a ‘Bro’s’, feeling that I was not moving fast enough for him, so he drove off and left me in the dust. Needless to say, the Book title, ‘Thank You for Being Late’, caught my interest and I wanted to hear what the reviewer had to say about the book and what I called “Making time for leisure.”

The reviewer of the book was literary agent Esther Newberg, from International Creative Management (ICM).  Prior to her being a literary agent, she had a career in politics in Washington, DC. and is a member of the Advisory Council of the American Museum of Natural History and The Council on Foreign Relations.

Now the author of the book, Thomas L. Friedman, seems to hint at validating my notions about ‘conscious leisure living’ and concepts of time. It seems Friedman discourse is about the paces of change in technology, globalization, and climate. The core argument he has is “simultaneous acceleration in the Commerce Market, the Natural World and Moore’s law – (the principle that the power of microchips doubles every two years) constitutes the “Age of Accelerations.”

The upshot of all of this is ‘acceleration creates fear and unmoors people.’ This causes panic or the fight, flight, or freeze response, a sign of many people becoming out of touch with themselves. Rather than panic such as reacting with fear and anger, Friedman, like myself, offers personal recommendations for coping with accelerations, such as to slow down “pause and reflect” on your self-motivation, lifelong learning, and the need to encourage more people to follow the Golden Rule.

Rather than having societies of peoples feeling fearful or unmoored from their sense of self. Have them take time for leisure, meaning time for themselves to get anchored to Truth, to Source, for our Job then is to find Source in our lives the value it provides and then make it available to others. That can mean taking time to reach deep and discovering in yourself, the value you must share with the world. If you would like a more in-depth consultation, please contact me directly at things2cal@gmail.com

Side note ABOUT THIS Book
Thomas L. Friedman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 ISBN 978-0-374-27353-8
        
Friedman’s intriguing facts and ideas, can be all unburied in the 496-pages of this book. There are many a reader or researcher who is interested in the many autobiographical anecdotes and lengthy recollections about the circumstances of interviews he conducted and research he completed, thus reader is getting the recipe and history of all the ingredients along with the meal. You can obtain the book as an Ebook - 978-0-374-71514-4, also.

For those interested in the book but time is an issue it is also on
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-7466-3

 

 

Meditating on a spirituality of wholeness

by William Fennie

A Gnostic Book of Hours
June Singer
HarperCollins, 1992

At the turn of the 1990s Jungian analyst June Singer had completed what she thought would be her final work, Seeing through the Visible World: Jung, Gnosis, and Chaos. Fortunately for us, a muse came and "sat on her shoulder," telling her that she had yet one more work to complete. Because of that fortuitous event we have A Gnostic Book of Hours, Keys to Inner Wisdom.

The work is just what you would expect from a person of such accomplishment toward the end of her professional career. Her masterful blending of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which reaches into the roots of the European monastic tradition, and "heretical" texts which the Roman Catholic Church and others have for centuries tried to suppress by every possible means, shows a deft and subtle hand as well as profound spiritual intuition.

The Benedictine Offices (periods of prayer) are: Matins (night); Lauds (daybreak); Prime (early morning); Terce (midmorning); Sext (midday); None (mid afternoon); Vespers (sunset); and Compline (bedtime).

For each of these periods Dr. Singer has selected one portion of the Gnostic writings that were uncovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945. She very thoughtfully matches the subject matter of the scriptural extract to the time of day when the meditation will take place. Then, over the period of seven days, there are seven sections of the reading, each with its own annotation and commentary.

The combined impact is formidable. I use this book three or four times every the year, and each time I use it I see very significant results. Just making sure that I stop at the various times during the day to do the meditation completely changes the nature of how I live in the world. As Dr.  Singer writes, the primary purpose of a Book of Hours was "to enable the reader to maintain an awareness of the presence of the divine mystery within the everyday world."

The nature of the texts corresponds very well with a spirituality that seeks to engage with both the inner and outer aspect of life, both the male and female aspects of the divine. In addition to seeing a recognition of the the feminine divine we run across many references familiar to those of us who were brought up in the Christian tradition. Here, for example, is an extract from the Apocryphon of John:

The Womb of Every Thing

"The invisible Spirit looks at himself
  in the light that surrounds him, the water of life.
"He gives to every realm in every way,
  putting his desire into the spring of the pure-light water.
"His thought performed a deed, and she came forth:
  she appeared before him in the radiance of his light.
"Her light shines like his light,
  the perfect power of the virginal Spirit.
"She is the First Power to come forth from his mind.
"She is the Forethought of the All."

In tandem with Dr. Singer's cogent reflections, these become genuine meditations, not formulas: they encourage reflection, even life-review. By the time the week is over you have traversed a long road into your unique inner universe.

The book is beautifully ornamented with images from Ethiopian Coptic Magic Scrolls - all in all, a beautiful book. A paperback edition was re-issued after the original printing sold out. It's very nice, but these days you can get an even finer first-edition hardback through one of the associated vendors at Barnes and Noble or other book sellers.

If you want to learn more about the gnostic tradition and its history, look for Elaine Pagels' works, "The Gnostic Gospels" and "Beyond Belief."

 

The Reluctant Reader

Book Pick Summer Read 2016

Bob Biddle's favorite summer read was: “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Bob said "What I found interesting was my altitude about the book before I read it.  'Just another freaking inspirational self-help books', he’d complain. Voted on by some of those women from  the book club." Why in fact he said he almost did not go to the group, if he had to read it. But he relented and did read it. He was surprised how fast he got through it, and what was worse, he had to admit, thou he hated to, that he enjoyed the writers style and he as a budding writer got tips on the creative writing process especially the point that 'if you don’t use it you lose it.'

Bob reported that if you ever had an idea only to have it come to fruition through someone else?  Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic”, explains why that might have happened to you.

Gilbert, the author discusses the attitudes, approaches and habits needed in order to live the creative life.  Bob went on to say "I found inspiration in 'Big Magic' as it felt she was writing the book specifically for me and my quest to become a better writer.   However, whether writing a book or creating art, she demonstrates how the creative process is symbiotic as the thought or idea completely depends on its host to give it substance." 

In Gilbert’s writing style, Bob enjoyed her use of personal and professional experiences to shed light on our reluctance and fears to uncover the “hidden jewels” within each of us.  As she says, “The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”