wild flowers


Wild flowers, wild flowers, near the end of May.

Wild flowers which grow and climb, untrammelled by space and time.

Mountain flowers, mountain flowers, high in the Pyrenees.

Flowers on the strand, miniature flowers blown by the wind and spray.

Wild thoughts, wild thoughts, near the end of May.

Wild thoughts which grow and climb, untrammelled by space and time.

Mountain thoughts, mountain thoughts, high in the Pyrenees.

Thoughts come and go, all kinds of thoughts can come and have their say.

photo and text geoff clements

Against Holism: The Argument from Entropy

Ah interesting discussion of ‘entropy’ and it’s ramifications.

Larval Subjects .

entropyIn the last couple years I’ve spilled a lot of ink arguing against holism or the thesis that everything is related to everything else.  This is not because I believe that relations are unimportant– indeed, the only thing that really interests me are relations –but rather because I think this position says too much.  From a holistic perspective, for example, I’m unable to make sense of ecology.  While many ecotheorists defend holistic ontologies, the actual practices of ecologists and environmental scientists reveals something different.  In their practices, they show supreme attentiveness to the fragility of relations, and focus on what happens when elements are subtracted from ecological networks (e.g., the extinction of a species) or added to a network (e.g., increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere).  This wouldn’t be possible unless entities possessed some minimal autonomy from their relations.  So while I can agree with the holist when they…

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nothing endures but change: river meditation

He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it, since it is trackless and unexplored

Heraclitus fragment 7 as quoted by Helen in Euripides ed. William Allan (2008)

The Ban and the Bit: Alan Turing, Claude Shannon, and the Entropy Measure

The origin of the term ‘entropy’, a measure of the quantity of information
within a signal.

Girl Meets Whiskey

Claude Shannon

I didn’t realize [Turing] was as important as he was.
— Claude Shannon1

In late 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, John von Neumann began assembling a small group of engineers at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton to design, build, and program an electronic digital computer. In the spring of that year, von Neumann had visited Los Alamos (specifically, the target selection committee of the Manhattan Project, the group responsible for choosing the first targets of the atomic bomb) to oversee computations related to the expected size of atomic bomb blasts, estimated death tolls, and the distance above the ground at which the bombs should be detonated for maximum effect (Rhodes, 1986). When von Neumann arrived at the IAS, his focus had shifted. “I am thinking about something much more important than bombs,” he remarked in 1946. “I am thinking about computers”…

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hypothesis-a generalized process cycle: emergence and disappearance of universes and other entities


It is notoriously difficult to explain how  the world we live in is a product of processes rather than objects.   Since before the time of  the  Buddha and Heraclitus there have been individuals who have been sensitive to the concept and have tried to explain it. For example  recently these ideas have been explored  by James Whitehead and David  Bohm among others.


This core teaching  the Buddha is difficult to fully understand at first glance, the full profundity of the doctrine takes time to unfold in the mind. The difficulty is that the teaching is describing processes which are invisible  not objects. Though it does incorporate cause and effect, of necessity, it is much more subtle and fully comprehensive.

For example take the surf around a desert island:

this being, that becomes…………………follow the surf. It is there as a result of the island having formed.

Arieal View Coral Island wallpaper

From the arising of this, that arises………follow the surf, the island is a process continually arising that creates surf; the surf itself is a process that continues

Arieal View Coral Island wallpaper

From the cessation of this, that ceases……..the island is overwhelmed by the rise in sea level, there is no surf now.


This not being, that does not become………….the island never formed, or has yet to form. there has never been surf.


The Buddha often used this fourfold structure to hang teachings on, it’s easier to follow and remember if there is a structure, especially as the teachings were never written down at the time.

For example: the Four Noble Truths leading to the elimination of suffering mirror the above:


Modern ideas about our universe are developing rapidly, and normally data are presented to show the emergence of it from the Big Bang  plotted against time. This figure is credited to Steven Hawking. It shows an origin of the universe  followed by a complex  process evolving over time.


In the context of the above diagram the graph plotted below is of the quantum fluctuations including the situation prior to the emergence of a universe.  The y axis shows  ENERGY LEVEL or TEMPERATURE which is a reflection of the energy level, there is no scale but it goes from infinitely large to infinitely small.  At the high region there is a situation with a combination of high energy and high organization.  This is beyond our comprehension at present, some have called it the Generator Of  Diversity or GOD.

On the  x axis is plotted the ENTROPY or degree of organization; highly organized to start with but with increasing disorder with time .  An example is dropping an egg on the floor and smashing it, decreasing the organization.   This increasing entropy  prevents the evolutionary process of a universe  being  reversible, one cannot put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.  Also indicated on this axis is the PROPORTION  OF MATTER to ENERGY present running from there initially being 100% energy at the left hand side,  to there being 100% matter on the right hand side of the diagram.

Definition of  Universe:

A  (nearly) self-contained entity emerging out of quantum fluctuations through which energy flows continually creating structure which evolves, so creating a process which humans experience as  time.  The example Heraclitus used was a river, the energy producing its transient structure being the potential energy of the water lifted to the watershed through evaporation from the surface of the sea.   Note also that a river is also a product of an evolutionary process over a long period of time.

A diagram of the steady state from which universes emerge and evolve.  The big bang is not a unique event but a stage in the evolution of a universe.  The energy flux driving  the events shown in the diagram exists throughout whether at high or low absolute energy levels continually creating all energy and all matter.   The origin of this flux is unknown, perhaps the equivalent of Vishnu.

The open triangle 1 4 5 8  represents the path of the evolution of a representative universe.


1  Big bang, the dimensions of the universe emerge.  For arguments sake let  it be our universe with the creation of 3 dimensions of space and also time. There is a set of infinite  possibilities that can arise during this process of individualization of a potential universe at this stage, the choice of dimensions and the setting of the constants, the initial mass/energy ratio and its configuration are influential.  How many potential dimensions are possible is unclear.  Perhaps axis is a better term to use. As well as the space  and time we recognise and related axes one can imagine one might consider including spiritual axes:

suffering/joy Buddhism

grasping/rejecting Buddhism

flight/fight  Bion

introvert/extrovert Jung

thinking/feeling Jung

sensation/feeling Jung

2 Evolution of universe as diagram above.  Emergence of forces and matter from the original energetic state

3 Life may or may not evolve. (See 6).

4 Let us assume that this universe continues to expand and becomes  colder and colder.  Matter and energy may be lost (or gained) through evaporation of black holes or quantum effects at temperatures approaching absolute zero. The universe may stay like this for a very long time but will eventually evaporate..

5 The universe may exchange mass or energy with other universes and lose entropy relatively rapidly.

6  Niches exist where  life can emerge.with a combination of  low entropy and relatively  low temperatures.  Complex self-replicating  structures can arise with a flow through of energy being used to sustain an evolutionary process, in a way being miniature universes . These are virtually self-contained , but linked systems driven by the energy of chemical reactions (archaebacteria), of the sun (plants) or energy generated by the metabolism of food (animals)  can evolve.  In some situations this can lead to form, sensation, perception, mental formation and consciousness (the 5 Buddhist skandhas).  Consciousness, as defined here, is the awareness of one’s presence in the universe, of other conscious entities and of a kind of  spiritual dimension one is part of.  The spiritual dimension will be discussed in a subsequent post but to paraphrase, the arising of a Buddha in a universe (which is a rare event) is Awareness becoming aware of Itself.

7  Living intelligence may give rise to machine intelligence which has a wider range of conditions over which it can function.

8 In some cases a universe will rapidly collapse, the material in it reverting to the primordial state so completing the cycle. The energy from the collapsing process being used to eliminate the entropy and regain the ordered high energy state but with loss of information.   It should be noted that self awareness allows living creatures to influence their environment and the direction of its  evolution consciously.
G B Clements May2013

100 followers, thanks for being a friend

To say THANKS to all my followers! There are over 100 of you now who follow this rather eccentric blog.

You must find somethings at least of interest otherwise you would be ‘here’ virtually speaking.

I have not been able to thank many of you for the follow for a variety of reasons, often it is difficult to find a field to just

say a simple ‘Thanks’. But I have looked at your blogs to a greater or lesser degree. They are fantastic, bubbling with ideas and


traditional chinese medicine…………..tui na

The traditional Chinese medical system is one of the most ancient in the world. It is holistic, individually adapted and emphasises moderation, prevention being better than cure.

There are five branches of the ancient Chinese medical system.
Tui na
Qi Gong
Herbal medicines

Tui ne is relatively unknown in the West, though referenced over 2500 years ago in the Yellow Emperor’s classic text on Chinese medicine. It is closely linked to meditation and martial arts:

jung talks


Jung ;Face to Face