Tag Archives: Information

Is Reality Trying to Tell You Something?

A photo by Kayla Gibson. unsplash.com/photos/7KHYZ4eqSIw

One of the greatest puzzles facing each of us is whether the events in our lives form a pattern, and if so, what does the pattern mean. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” Some people say it in passing, others take it more seriously. But officially, if we accept the basic scientific principle that the physical world operates essentially through random chance, it’s not credible to believe that we live in a universe that has purpose and meaning. We can ask when the big bang occurred but not why. We can investigate how sodium and chlorine combine to form salt, but it makes no sense, scientifically, to ask the purpose of salt. Salt and the big bang just are.

Since the question of meaning and purpose are deeply embedded in religion, let’s set those claims aside. If God or the gods control human life, this is a matter of faith, not science. Humans have constructed faith-based systems for many centuries, of course. Placing an invisible higher power at the center of reality, a power who judges right from wrong, who punishes and rewards according to divine morality, is simply outside the rules developed by science and secular society. There are enough glitches in those rules without hauling God into the argument.

Those glitches center around a simple observation. Human life has meaning and purpose. The physical world, absent humans, doesn’t. When we are motivated by love or fear, when we make moral choices or create a vision of a better life, there is no doubt that human beings not only value meaning and purpose, we have evolved, along with the higher brain, to support meaning and purpose. Since Darwinian evolution allows for only genetic mutations, how did DNA, which is built from completely ordinary atoms and molecules, acquire any more meaning than salt? Or if DNA isn’t linked to the meaning of life, how can there be meaning and purpose outside our genes? Continue reading

The Amazing, Disappearing Calligraphy of Identity

Try a little identity experiment.  You’ll need a credit card, a pen and a piece of paper, and a cup of water.

Write your name down on a piece of paper.  Now, sprinkle some water on your name on the credit card and on your name that you have inked on the piece of paper.  Notice what happens.  While the ink of your name on a piece of paper begins to run and dissolve, your name on the plastic card remains intact.  Let a few minutes pass.  Wipe the credit card dry.

Now try to soak up and dry up the water from the piece of paper.  Your name on the credit card is completely unaffected.  Your name on the piece of paper is damaged: a little smudged, diffused, somewhat dissolved.

The moral of the story?  The Transient doesn’t last.  Your name on the credit card is embossed and, as such, is part of the inalienable structure of the card.  Your name on the piece of paper is written, added to the surface.  Ego is information about us.  It’s added.  First, we are.  Then we seek reflection in a variety of informational mirrors.  Finally, we internalize this information about us and confuse it with what is truly us, mistaking the words of self-description that we wrote down on the mirror of our am-ness with the mirror itself.

Ego, in short, is an in-house logbook of self-descriptions, a collection of favorite quotes about us, a résumé of our accomplishments, and so on. Ego is an added self. As a result, it is vulnerable. A little character assassination does an easy wet job on our self-concept.  A drop of disapproval and the hard-crafted calligraphy of our identity begins to dissolve.  Somebody calls us this or that enough times, and we forget our original built-in identity of name-less-ness.

 

Adapted from “Lotus Effect” (Somov, 2010)

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photo by: árticotropical

The 3 “I-s” of the Ego-Self: Identification, Information, Impermanence

Ego is not an anatomical structure.  It’s not something that you will see on an X-ray.  Ego is an informational structure.  That’s what the term ego actually means: it is a Latinized translation of “das Ich,” which is German for “the I.”  “The I” is “the information” that you have about you.

The ego-based view of the self is as unstable as a table on three legs.  There are three issues with ego we need to examine, and they all start with the letter I.  “The I” (ego) balances on identification with impermanent information.  Let’s take a closer look.

Ego is InformationEgo is a collection of self-descriptions, just a bunch of words written down on the mirror of your consciousness.   Let’s say I point at the moon with my index finger.  Is my finger the moon that I am pointing at?  Of course not.  Now ponder this: are you the information that you have about you or are you that which this information is about?  Are you a self-description or that which you are describing?

Ego is Identification with the External.  Identification is a process of pointing at something external, at something outside of you, and equating yourself with that.  We’ve already touched on that earlier in the chapter.  Identifying yourself with what you are not is absurd.  Identifying yourself with something that you are not is like pointing one finger at yourself and the other finger at something else and then claiming that you are pointing at the same thing.  The idea that you = this or that you = that is like shooting two arrows in two opposite directions and claiming that they are going to hit the same target.

Ego is Impermanence of Form.  Self-esteem, self-worth, self-view are various ego forms, various forms of information that we have about ourselves.  Ego is information about our form, not about our essence.  Forms change.   “How” you are at any given point isn’t fixed—it’s in constant flux.  When we identify with how we are, we are identifying with the fleeting, with the impermanent, with the transient.   States of mind, states of mood, modes of being are but ever-changing forms of you.  The role you play, what somebody thinks about you, the thought you have about yourself, the number on your bathroom scale—all this is but information about you.  When we identify with how we are, we identify with the transient.  There is no permanence in that.  This kind of identity is writing on the surface of the water.  No matter how factual your self-description is, it dissolves just as it is being written.

 

Adapted from Lotus Effect (Pavel Somov, 2010)

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photo by: celine nadeau

What’s the Buzz?

It’s amazing how fast the world is moving. It seems like just yesterday I was one of the first to have a “car phone” and felt so very cool. Now that technology seems antiquated! What would I do without my iPhone, without being able to play Words with Friends with my stepdaughter in Australia? Because of all the new technology the world is not only faster, it’s smaller – we can experience our connectivity in any given moment.

There is no separation now between television and the internet and commerce – everything is merging into one stream of information and entertainment available to us 24/7. There are many examples of this, and more every day. So it was no surprise to me when I got involved in it, too. I’ve got a website/TV show/retail shop all in one!

CoffeyBuzz is an entertaining and informative weekly lifestyle video-zine that presents a fresh look at what’s new in lifestyle, fashion, health and popular culture. What makes us different is that the viewer, using the groundbreaking Hyperspots™ technology, can push a shopping cart through the video and interact with goods and services AS THEY APPEAR ON SCREEN. With Hyperspots™, viewers simply click on an item in the show and they are immediately provided with a direct link to either make a purchase, or learn more about the subject matter. I host the show, and Emmy Award winning actor Charles Shaughnessy (Days of Our Lives, The Nanny) and his brother, Emmy Award winning producer David Shaughnessy (The Young and the Restless) produce the show along with me.

The first show we did was a tribute to mothers for Mother’s Day. We visited an ayurvedic spa and experienced a “Shirodara” – that amazing massage where warm sesame oil is poured over the forehead. And we learned a little bit about Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old Science of Life, from an ayurvedic practitioner. Then I showed viewers how they can make their own bath salts right at home for a fraction of the cost of buying them in the store. I’ve got the recipe up on the website to print out.

For our next show we found a luxurious pet hotel and day spa, where every client is treated like a VIP: a very important pet! This place takes pampering to a whole new level. Dogs can get pawdicures, massages, and when they stay overnight there are walks, TVs tuned to Animal Planet, and in-room dining. This is something you have to see to believe! Along the way you can click to get information about that cute “Furcedes” dog bed or the “Pawda” purse dog toy, or how to care for your Chihuahua. And in every show, we also have links to related philanthropic organizations.

In upcoming episodes I’ll be cooking, making over a bachelor pad, exploring the health benefits of salt, and checking out a car museum. There are so many exciting ways we can use this new technology to integrate great information into anything we do! Times have changed, and viewing habits have changed, too. I hope you’ll come by and see what we have going on over at CoffeyBuzz.com. I really think this is where entertainment is headed in the future.

Facebook, Cigarettes and Information Addiction

Facebook is a cigarette, information is the nicotine, and you are the addict. And it is time to stop blaming Facebook if you get privacy cancer.

Years ago, after a long and drawn out fight, the tobacco industry was forced to put labels on their cigarette packs warning smokers that these nicotine delivery devices caused cancer, birth defects and premature death. The warnings did little to slow down sales of cigarettes, though they might have helped the tobacco companies avoid some costly lawsuits because, after all, they had clearly warned users about the dangers.

With the latest iteration of privacy settings being introduced this week on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (or more likely the brilliant Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg) has discovered a similar truth – you are either too addicted to the information drug, or too indifferent to the privacy consequences, to care.

I applaud Facebook for giving users more visibility and a bit more control over how much personal information third party applications can access. They deserve credit for moving the application controls into the privacy section of the website, acknowledging, albeit quietly, that third-party data-mining is a significant source of non-consensual information leakage.

If Facebook would go one step further and demand that third-party apps give us a choice of how much information is shared, along with letting us know how much of our personal information is being shared through the apps that our friends install, we information survivalists would be that much happier. For example, even if you don’t allow your third-party apps to share personal information, your friends’ third-party apps could  be sharing it anyway. But as it stands now, we would never know it.

The good news for Facebook privacy doesn’t end there. Facebook has also redesigned the Groups feature, which theoretically gives you a greater level of control over subsets of friends and how much information they can access. For example, you could choose to share your vacation pictures with family and close friends, but not with co-workers who thought you were out sick. Dishonesty aside, group differentiation makes communication within your social network much more like that of the real world – acknowledging that you don’t share all things with all people equally.

Here’s where the news gets really good for Facebook – they have done their job (or at least have taken steps in the right privacy direction), and they can still bank on you ignoring the very controls they have given you! Sure, those of us who write about social networking professionally will make the changes, but ninety-nine percent of the people who read this article will do nothing with the knowledge. This claim isn’t grounded in bitter cynicism, but statistical fact. I hope that 500 million of you will prove me wrong. When the Facebook changes are live for everyone (they are in beta as I type), we’ll put up a new video showing you how to make them.

Granted, Facebook hasn’t done everything they should do to make THEIR use of OUR data completely transparent to US; but most of US have done nothing to utilize the tools THEY already built to protect OUR privacy anyway, so the point is mute. Facebook is banking billions on our indifference and inaction.

Facebook executives should roll this strategy out to its logical conclusion: give all of us privacy professionals (the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EPIC, the World Privacy Forum, me) exactly what we want, because your Facebook addicts are already too high on info-voyerism to kick the habit. Your product is too good and too necessary to too many people to be hindered by a bit more transparency and a little more control. You have nothing to lose but our complaints.

John Sileo speaks professionally to organizations that wish to avoid the costs associated with identity theft, data breach, social media exposure and insider theft. His satisfied clients include the Department of Defense, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the FDIC, Pfizer and hundreds of corporations of all sizes. Learn more about his entertaining and effective presentations at www.ThinkLikeaSpy.com  or contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

Photo: Flickr CC//smlions

 

Which world do you live in?

Most readers of this blog are likely to be familiar with the Stimulus-Belief-Response model. The first component, Stimulus, is defined as any data that we choose to pay attention to. We then process that data by applying a Belief to it, which then leads to a Response – either an action we take or a feeling we have.
 

So it would appear that the stimulus is where all our mental activity of belief-processing starts. Over time, I’ve seen that the kind of stimuli you feed your mind has a large influence on your mental activity, and by extension, your responses, which in turn determine the results you create in your life. I especially remember an interesting conversation I had many years ago with a friend of mine in Detroit. He had just mentioned that he was completely terrified by crime levels in downtown, and as we talked, it turned out that he had been avidly watching the 6 o’clock TV news every day, especially focusing on the crime reports, and had convinced himself that setting foot anywhere in downtown was a prescription for instant grievous bodily harm. Now I had been living in the same metropolitan area for a number of years, blissfully unaware of this sinister reputation, but managing just fine – and the difference seemed to revolve around my complete lack of appetite for anything on TV, let alone the evening news.
 

I have also been astonished every time I encounter a sphere of human activity I have been hitherto oblivious to. A few months ago, we were looking into healthier flooring options, and almost drowned in a dizzying ocean of hardwood, engineered wood, laminates, ceramic tiles, travertine, etc – each with dozens of manufacturers, hundreds of variations, and thousands of combinations. That is probably true of everything to do with house construction – just look at a Home Depot. More recently, I wanted to get my kids into biking – and barely scratched the surface of that sport and all it entails. Tennis? Same thing. Ditto with occupations and disciplines of learning. Health? Fuhgeddaboutit.
 

So I thought it would be interesting to quantify to some degree the gap between what we know and what is knowable.
 

I first thought of cataloging all the fields of human endeavor, and then measuring how much data each of those fields generated. I couldn’t even get a coherent system of classification going, let alone a catalog. So I tried a spatial basis – how about counting countries, then cities & towns, then quantifying the activity in each city. Struck out there too. Finally I settled on people. After all pretty much all our stimuli come to us through people. Even if it’s a natural disaster happening on the other side of the world, it’s communicated to us through people. So here’s the system I came up with – not perfect by any means, but good enough for a first shot.
 

First, we define a countable stimulus as something a person does at the rate of one per minute.
There are 6.5 Billion people on earth. Let’s say they average 16 waking hours a day, which is 16 x 60 = 960 minutes. If each person is doing something notable (or at least noticeable) once per minute, that means we are creating over 6 Trillion stimuli a day.
 

Now, on the receiving side: let’s say I’m super-perceptive, and I take in one stimulus every second. If I’m also awake 16 hours a day, that’s 16x60x60 = 57600 stimuli I’m taking in every day.
 

So by this very crude calculation, my ‘world’ consists of merely one-millionth of one percent of the information being created every day. If we were to factor in all the information that has been created every day since the dawn of time, that already-miniscule fraction would diminish even further to a infinitesimally small number.

What does this mean?
 

The vast majority of us walk around thinking that the beliefs we hold are the truth, ie, they apply to everybody, or everywhere, or all the time. And those beliefs are likely shaped by the information and experiences we’ve had in our lives. What if we had other information?

Try on these potential belief-changing scenarios:
– If we were to see enough people suffering through cancer or dropping dead from heart attacks, or very healthy old people who had consistently taken care of their health, might we easily change certain diet or exercise habits that currently appear hard to change?
– If we were to see the horrors of war first-hand, would we be as quick to raise our hand in anger? Or alternatively, might we believe in pre-emptive strikes more than we do now?
– If we were to actually, physically see Third-World factories churning out the goods we buy and experience their social & environmental effects first-hand, would we be so eager to shop the big-box stores for the lowest prices?
– If you grew up in India or a similarly traditional Eastern country with a strong social framework, what might your outlook be on the importance of personal chemistry in relationships?
– If you were to shadow Teflon & Iris for a week, would your work ethic standards change in any way?
– The next time you get cut off on the road, and raise your fist (or finger) in response… if you were to see the other driver’s day leading up to that point, would your response change?

Finally, let me share my favorite story for illustrating the cognitive change that a simple piece of information can make (it’s from one of Stephen Covey’s books). Imagine you’re on the subway train, heading home from a long workday. You’re reading the paper and getting relaxed for the evening ahead, when a man and three young boys board the train at a stop, and proceed to disturb the peace. The boys are being loud and rambunctious, but the father is gazing off into space, seemingly oblivious to the din they are creating. You are clearly annoyed by them and also irritated by his insensitivity. So, in what you feel is a very mature and restrained manner, you touch the man’s elbow and ask him “Sir, would you mind restraining your boys? They are being quite a disturbance”. The man shakes himself out of his reverie, looks around, and says slowly “Yeah, I guess I should. They are probably as lost as I am. You see, we just came from the hospital – their mother died.”
 

What difference did that last piece of information make to your mood and your actions? Would your annoyance and irritation disappear in a flash, to be replaced by concern and sympathy? How much work was it to change your state? How do you feel about having adopted those judgments earlier, before you got this information?

Enjoy,

sWORDSman

A Little Boost for Immortality

As we all grow older, the span of mortality left to us becomes smaller and smaller. This shrinkage naturally makes us think about immortality. The possibility of surviving death lies at the heart of almost every religion, yet it would be comforting if factual evidence existed, not simply the reassurance of spiritual guides. I was so deeply affected by my father’s death a few years ago that I wrote an entire book to consider if life after death can be proved. I emerged from that project with a good deal of comfort and reassurance. And all of it was rationally based.

I won’t repeat the many arguments in favor of the afterlife (the book is called Life After Death if you are deeply interested). Most people have heard about near-death experiences and on the other side the scoffers who reject such experiences. It’s hard to get believers and skeptics to agree even on basic points, so wide is the gap between the two camps. But gradually science has had to confront the possibility of immortality — not yet for the soul but for the basic fabric of the universe.

It’s a given in physics that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. In recent years theorists have extended this notion to information. We began to hear about information fields that are as basic to the cosmos as energy fields. Why? Because as simple molecules grew into more complex ones, they kept moving into even greater complexity. You’d think that once it reached thousands of individual atoms, an organic chemical would break apart instead of building itself into an even more complex molecule. Yet life has evolved inexorably. Blue-green algae, a very primitive life form, is still with it, but it no longer rules the scene. Without wiping out the lower forms of life, evolution kept adding on.

Some kind of invisible glue is at work, and for the moment, information is favored as that glue. If the information invisibly holding a molecule together has its own integrity, then striving for a creation like human DNA, with its three billion individual codons, seems more plausible. It’s like having a vocabulary that you build on. The tendency is to add more words, not to randomly lose the early ones as you go. Just as you may have to remind yourself of old words, Nature reminds itself of earlier life forms, which is what happens in the womb as a human fetus develops from a single fertilized ovum, passing through stages that repeat the biology of fish, reptiles, lower mammals, and so forth on its journey to being fully human. Ultimately, nothing valuable is forgotten.

The bald fact is that DNA exists, whether or not a theory can explain it. Another bald fact is that every person is already a field of information containing trillions of data, each one related to an experience. As billions of pieces of raw data bombard our senses every day, the information field shifts, changes, and grows. No mechanical notion of randomness makes sense here. What we observe in ourselves is that information has a life of its own.

Some scientists believe that information can only be transformed; it cannot be created or destroyed. That sounds convincing for molecules, but the implications for human immortality are also striking. It’s too easy to palm off the afterlife as something incidental to human comfort, a way of not being frightened by death or a primitive reaction to the unknown. Atheists and skeptics, who are astonishingly glib as a group, constantly fall back on the primitiveness of sacred beliefs, disregarding that they are talking to people who are not primitive, afraid, or myth mongers. (Some believers, in fact, are quite a bit less primitive than the usual run of atheists and skeptics.)

Let’s say that we stop condescending to sacred belief and take it seriously. Then we find that reincarnation, for example, fits rather well with the idea of constantly transforming information. The soul fits rather well into the notion that information can organize itself into a coherent, contained structure, the way DNA organizes billions of chemical bits into a coherent, contained structure. I’m not saying that information is enough to explain the soul. We must account for consciousness, too. It’s very nice if my memories survive my demise the way a computer’s hard drive survives when the machine is turned off. But what we really want is that "I," the self, survives.

I think that wish, basic as it is, blocks our vision. This limited self that is encased in a physical body stands for much more — it stands for consciousness as a whole. No one contains all the possibilities of the mind, which are infinite. Yet the field of consciousness, like the field of information, does contain the whole. That’s how a field works. The electromagnetic field contains all the electromagnetic energy in the universe, even though a compass or an electric toaster manifests only the tiniest fraction of the field.

Immortality got a boost when science realized that fields are the source of everything that exists, and since a field isn’t solid, visible, perceived by the senses, or contained by a single brain, the whole solid, visible world was called into question. In short, the immortal came first in Nature, the mortal came second. All change must be explained against the background of non-change. Immortality is just a synonym for wholeness. I know that sounds very abstract, and we haven’t even touched on the details of relating advanced physics to consciousness.  

But at least we can keep an open mind about immortality without dividing into outworn camps of religionists versus scientists. By recognizing that the really big things like mind, consciousness, the origin of life, and the birth of the cosmos remain very open questions, we won’t fall into the simplistic close-mindedness that scoffs at immortality. The scoffers should be running for cover, because science is undermining them more and more every day.

 For more information go to deepakchopra.com

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LET

LET’S TALK ABOUT MEN…..and Relationships

 

LET’S TALK ABOUT MEN…..and Relationships

 

Are you feeling confused, frustrated or
hopeless in your relationship?

 

Do relationship “patterns” seem to show up
sooner or later with each new man?

 

Is there some hidden secret in relationship
you do not know about?

 

Do you really believe love is enough?

 

Relationships are a LIFE classroom.

 

Everything must change, including our beliefs about relating.

 

 

I have been working in the Human Potential Field for 40 years. During these years the greatest teachers are my students, clients and couples. I am going to share with you, what I have learned from hundred’s of sessions with couples seeking to improve their relationships. You will NOT find this guidance in any book.

 

Relating is the key to life.

  • 70 trillion cells in your body are relating to each other – whether you know it or not
  • Your mind and heart are constantly relating and activating biochemical responses in your body, whether you know it or not
  • Your energy, attitude and behavior is relating with everyone around you, and theirs with you, whether you know it or not

 

Balance is the key to relating.

Nature knows!!! Life is about balance. Your heart knows about balance and is a master guide in life choices that create inner and outer balance.

 

Your mind is trained to be “in reaction”…that is not balance, and this defies your heart’s innate design to BE IN BALANCE!!!

 

In these two classes, we are going to create foundational measurements for you to use to discover “who’s is in charge” – your mind or your heart?

 

When you know this, you can “course correct” your thinking, your choices, your behavior and actions and focus and obtain balance.

 

During our class, I will present information and then we will have a Q&A session as well.

 

Men are welcome to join this class.

 

The class has a maximum number so register now at:

 

http://globalfamilyeducation.com/payment-center/

 

Class One: Saturday, March 6 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

 

Class Two: Saturday, March 13 11:00 AM – !2:30 PM

 

 

Tuition: $150

 

 

My gift to you at

$99

REGISTER HERE NOW!!


This class is recorded so you can register and join in at your convenience, even if you are not on the live call.  All registrants will receive an MP3 file for downloading the class information.

  

 

Class time based on PST:

 

11:00 AM PST

12:00 PM MST

1:00 PM CST

2:00 PM EST

9:00 AM HI

10:00 AM AK

 

 

If in doubt, check your local time zone.


When you are registered we will send you the Teleconference Number and the access code for the classes along with any other class details we want you to have.

 

I look forward to our time together.

 

Blessings to you,

 

 

Kay Snow-Davis

Soul Purpose Academy
Global Family Education Center