Fw: [Mind and Brain] No Big Bang?
Jul 20, 2010 05:43 PM
by Cass Silva
>----- Forwarded Message ----
>From: Cass Silva <email@example.com>
>Sent: Wed, 21 July, 2010 10:41:22 AM
>Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] No Big Bang?
>Thanks for keeping us up to date Anna on latest scientific studies.Â As a lay
>person this study seems to indicate a surprisingly close explanation for a
>series of big bangs, which is in line with suggestions put forward by HPB.Â
>>"Another possibility, depending on the initial conditions, is that the Universe
>>could have undergone a bounce, resulting from the collapse of a previous
>>Universe. Any kind of singularity- free Universe would solve the singularity
>>problem that has bothered scientists about general relativity, since a
>>singularity cannot be mathematically defined. (Physorg 2010)"
>IN THE LIGHT OF THEOSOPHY
>>From The Theosophical Movement
>Vol 72. No. 11 - September, 2002
>Universes appear and disappear in an endless cycle of birth and death and
>rebirth. There is no beginning; there is no end. It is an old idea now getting
>fresh attention, writes Marcus Chown in his article "Cycles of Creation." (New
>Scientist, March 16):
>What happened before the big bang? According to two cosmologists, before the big
>bang there was another big bang. And, before that, another. "If we're right,"
>says Neil Turok of the University of Cambridge, "the big bang is but one in an
>infinite series of big bangs stretching back into the eternal past." And into
>the eternal futureâ.
>>If both expanding and re-collapsing universes are permitted, it's a simple step
>>to imagine the one changing seamlessly into the other. From the big crunch the
>>Universe would bounce or rebound in a new big bang and the whole cycle would
>>Stars, galaxies and life may therefore have existed in previous cycles of the
>>Universe. But, if the cycles are all identical, wouldn't such endless repetition
>>be mind-numbingly dull? Turok and Steinhardt [of Princeton University] think
>>not, because random events will change the details each time. You won't get the
>>same galaxies, planets and people each cycle. "Just because the cycles repeat
>>does not mean the events in each cycle are identical," says Turokâ. "The laws of
>>physics could change from cycle to cycle."
Many speculations have been made by present-day investigators about the age of
the Universe and of our own Earth; yet the truth of the matter has been known to
the Orientals for untold thousands of years. Modern astronomers are invited to
check up their own data with the astronomical and other computations given by
Manu and the ancient Hindu Puranas, which are almost identical with those taught
in Esoteric Philosophy. They are summarized and reproduced in The Secret
Doctrine Vol. II, pages 68-70. As stated by H.P.B., the ages prior to the
farthest date to which documentary record extends are
"prehistoric" to the naked eye of mater only. To the spiritual eagle eye of the
seer and the prophet of every race, Ariadne's thread stretches beyond that
"historic period" without break or flaw, surely and steadily, into the very
night of time; and the hand which holds it is too mighty to drop it, or even let
it break. Records exist, although they may be rejected as fanciful by the
profane; though many of them are tacitly accepted by philosophers and men of
great learning, and meet with an unvarying refusal only from the official and
collective body of orthodox science.
The idea that the universe is a continuous creation bears out The Secret
Doctrine assertion, made way back in 1888, regarding "the Eternity of the
Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically 'the playground of
numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing.'â"
Recent developments in science have brought about a dramatic change in our
understanding of the cosmic landscape. It is now realized that the Universe is
constantly unfolding. Against this backdrop, religion seems to be pitted against
science, writes T. K. Datta (The Times of India, June 15):
In fact, it appears that science has made religion intellectually implausible.
Many feel that science rules out the existence of a personal God. Others think
that the theory of evolution makes the entire idea of divine providence
>Is religion really opposed to science? The answer, perhaps, lies in how one
>perceives the relationship between the twoâ.According to an American theology
>professor, J. F. Haught, there are four different ways of describing this
>relationship. The first way is the belief that science and religion are
>fundamentally opposed to each otherâ.The second way is that of contrastâ.The
>third is the contact approach. It tries to establish meaningful interaction and
>dialogue between the twoâ.The fourth way is the confirmation approach. The
>advocates of this approach propose that religion is supportive of the entire
>scientific enterpriseâ.Science, no less than religion, is a quest for unified
The two divine abstractions, true religion and true science, Theosophy insists,
are and must be one. They are mutually complementary. The irrational and the
irrelevant in religion are of course bound to be weakened by the impact of the
scientific spirit. At the same time, science is certainly less materialistic
today than it used to be. The dogmatism of a few generations ago, both of
scientists and theologians, is giving way to a more liberal spirit; and all who
are searching earnestly for truth are considered to be worshippers at the same
R. Chidambaram's views on "The Culture of the Indian Scientist" are published in
Bhavan's Journal for May 15. An eminent Indian scientist, Chairman of the Atomic
Energy Commission, and Adviser to the Prime Minister, Chidambaram addresses the
question: What makes a great scientist?
The distributed belief in the validity among scientists from all parts of the
world gives rise, in fact, to a kind of Universal Consciousness, not usually
found among the practitioners of social sciences like economics or politics. The
concepts of the wave-particle duality introduced by Quantum Mechanics and of the
conversion of mass into energy and vice versa by the Special Theory of
Relativity, both introduced in the early part of the 20th century, had also deep
>In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "Whatever inspires you as
>radiantly beautiful and mightily and truly powerful, recognize it as an aspect
>of my splendour."
>In most scientists, this statement strikes a resonant chord. For many of them,
>the stability of Nature's laws, and the manifestation of these laws in various
>natural phenomena (many of which are still not understood), is an expression of
>God. Beyond that, religious perceptions (or the absence of them) vary with the
>individual and the cultural environment he or she is brought up inâ.
>Einstein once said: "Most people think that it is the intellect which makes a
>great scientist. They are wrong, it is the character." This, of course, does not
>mean that anyone can do great science. High intellect is necessary but not
>sufficient; character is more important. The definition of character is,
>however, not easy. Character means integrity; it means pursuit of excellence
>within the individual's limitations, of course; it means perseverance in the
>face of adversity; it means commitment to national and social causes; and it
>means also a commitment to justice and social equityâ.
>A true scientist has to be a Sthithaprajnya. He is an individual with an open
>mind, unaffected by personal inclinations. He accepts results (of experimental
>observations or theoretical calculations) as they come, pleasant or unpleasant.
>He is not swayed by emotions of elation or disappointment. He stays steadfast
>and uncompromising in his search for truth.
What of the scientist's responsibility to society? Cannot scientists themselves
control the purposes to which their discoveries are put? This is a basic
question. The scientist is also a citizen; his oft-repeated declaration that
science is socially and politically neutral does not absolve him from social
responsibility. But the suggestion is raised only to be dismissed. The scientist
may be a citizen, but he is a powerless citizen. For one thing he has no
qualifications for social interference and management. For another, if he had
them, his fellow-citizens would not allow him to exercise them. Science does not
change human desires or alter human purposes; it only makes it easier for men to
gratify the desires they already have, to further the purposes that already seem
good to them. Nor, until there is a science of human nature, will scientists as
such be capable of directing these desires or of dictating these purposes.
Theosophy asserts that there is a science of human nature, which teaches "the
common man" what it is that he has to control, and how he himself can and should
assume responsibility for controlling the effects of science upon his life.
Four leading thinkers participated in a debate on man's relationship with
nature, co-hosted by Greenpeace and New Scientist. What is "natural"? Are humans
part of nature or have we risen above it? The debate raises questions about
everything from the ethics of genetic engineering to whether humans can rise
above the evolutionary laws. A summary of what the panelists had to say is given
in New Scientist for April 27. A few excerpts follow:
PATROCK HOLDEN: I have a deep fear of deductionism and the idea that we can
improve on nature with technical fixes without knowing the consequences. We are
part of nature, and with that relationship should go respect, humility, and
above all responsibility. In the past we've waited for evidence of harm before
we've acted. That is no longer good enough. In making decisions we need to take
into account the role of intuition, emotion influences, even spiritual
influences-things we might not yet understand.
>AUBREY MANNING: I've ended up with an absolutist position that everything is
>naturalâ.I don't think you can draw the line. The tragedy of the present
>imbalance between human numbers and the demand for resources is that so often
>human beings are put in direct conflict with the rest of the natural world.
>Unless we can achieve a balance again, we're not going to get anywhere. We are
>unique in the sense that we have that ability to be responsible. That doesn't
>make us unnatural.
>RICHARD DAWKINS: Popular views of nature often regard it as benign and
>self-preserving until man comes along with his unnatural greed and ruins it. But
>this disagreeable quality of ours is not new, is not peculiar to us. This
>doesn't make it good. On the contrary, it's something to be fought against. All
>animals look after their short-term interests. Homo sapiens is the only species
>that can rebel against the otherwise universally selfish Darwinian impulse. We
>are Earth's last best hope. Our brains follow their own rules, which can rise
>above the rules of natural selection.
What is peace? Is it just a situation in which there is no war between nations?
People in general, as also most world leaders and international organizations,
seem to think so; but this is a negative attitude, writes B. K. Ashima Sachdeva
(Purity, June 2002):
By defining light as the "absence of darkness" or, life as the "absence of
death," we assign greater importance to the powers of darkness and death, or in
the case of peace, to war, rather than peaceâ.The challenge today is in creating
peace, and not in appreciating peace as a concept. And this cannot be done if we
keep concentrating on destruction.
>It's time now to literally construct peace. But, peace is intangible. Peace is
>not just a feeling or a state of being. It is not just something that one would
>achieve only during long hours of prayers or meditation. And it is certainly not
>end-of-war alone. So, what is it?
>Peace is life itself. It is our original religion. It is like an eternal spring
>within usâ.Peace is a natural instinct and if we wish to construct a peaceful
>world, then all we've got to do, is to let it manifest in our livesâ.
>If the mind has been conditioned to think positively and peacefully, it will
>have a similar effect on its connections with others. This explains the
>tangibility of peace in an individual's lifeâ.
>To achieve peace, three things have to be borne in mind: that peace is our
>natural religion; that all that we do affects those who surround us; and that to
>recharge our pure energies, we need to connect to the Supreme Source.
>A life operating on these three laws of peace will tangibly transform everything
>to a peaceful state and recreate the one culture that we all wish to
>re-establish in the world-that is, the culture of peace.
Peace is a positive condition of individual and social consciousness which is
conducive to healthy, joyful and progressive activities, leading to a life which
is more and more human and less and less beastly, and to the establishment of
the law of truth and non-violence as the basis of life.
Peace can come only after a long and intense striving for a total change, change
in our ideas of culture, change of social institutions and of man himself; in
other words, a change from the law of violence and competition to the law of
non-violence and mutual aid. It is a change necessary for the prevention and
solution of conflicts in future and the establishment of a new creative order
where the good of all not the greatest good of the greatest number will be the
In the words of Spinoza: "Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a
state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice."
The biblical saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone," might seem like a
hackneyed clichÃ to some, yet it is profoundly true. The Dalai Lama's views on
love as the foundation of human existence contain food for thought. (Sunday
Times of India, June 16):
The reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply
because our nature cherishes them above all else. They result from the profound
interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skilful an
individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and
independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is
sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others.
>Interdependence, of course, is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher
>forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings which,
>without any religion, law or education, survive by mutual co-operation based on
>an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of
>material phenomena is also governed by interdependenceâ.
>We have to consider what we human beings really areâ.Since we are not solely
>material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on
>external development alone. Instead, we should consider our origins and nature
>to discover what we requireâ.From the least to the most important event, the
>affection and respect of others is vital for our happiness.
>I recall meeting scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness
>in their country was quite high-around 12 percent of the population. It became
>clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not lack of
>material necessities but deprivation of others.
>I believe that no one is born free from the need for love. And this demonstrates
>that-although some modern schools of thought seek to do so-human beings cannot
>be defined as solely physical. No material object, however beautiful or
>valuable, can make us feel loved, because our deeper identity and true character
>lie in the subjective nature of the mind.
EVERY thought leaves a seed in the mind or manas of the thinker, no mater how
fugitive the thought was. The whole sum of such small seeds will go to make up a
larger seed for thought, and thus constitute a man of this, that, or the other
general character. Thoughts, then, are highly important, for, as the Buddha
said, we are made up of thought and built of thought; as we think, so we act and
will act, and as we act and think so will we suffer or rejoice, and the whole
world with us.
>-W. Q. JUDGE
>From: Anna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Sent: Tue, 20 July, 2010 9:28:47 AM
>Subject: [Mind and Brain] No Big Bang?
>Revised theory of gravity doesn't predict a Big BangJuly 12, 2010 By Lisa Zyga
>Illustration: Time Line of the Universe Credit: NASA/WMAP
>(PhysOrg.com) -- The Big Bang theory has formed the basis of our understanding
>of the universe's origins since it was first proposed in 1927 by Georges
>Lemaitre. And for good reason: the theory is supported by scientists' latest
>observations and experiments, and is based on Einstein's widely accepted theory
>of general relativity. But scientists are always on the lookout for any evidence
>that might suggest an alternative to the Big Bang. The latest in this area of
>research comes from astrophysicists Maximo Banados and Pedro Ferreira, who have
>resurrected a theory of gravity from the early 20th century and discovered that
>a modified version of the theory may hold some surprises.
>In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, Banados and Ferreira
>have reconsidered the theory of gravity proposed by Arthur Eddington, a
>contemporary of Einstein. Eddington is perhaps best known for his trip to the
>Island of Principe on the west coast of Africa in 1919, where during a solar
>eclipse he observed that the Sun's gravity does indeed bend starlight, providing
>one of the earliest confirmations of general relativity.
>Although Eddington played a significant role in developing general relativity,
>during the following decades he became more interested in finding a theory to
>unify gravity and quantum mechanics - a task that is still being studied today.
>In 1924, Eddington proposed a new âgravitational actionâ as an alternative to
>the Einstein-Hilbert action, which could serve as an alternative starting point
>to general relativity. In astrophysics, a gravitational action is the mechanism
>that describes how gravity can emerge from space-time being curved by matter and
>energy. However, Eddingtonâs theory of gravity only worked for empty space and
>didnât include any source of energy such as matter, making it an incomplete
>Since Eddingtonâs proposal, scientists have attempted various ways of including
>matter into the theory, although they have run into problems. In this study,
>Banados and Ferreira have tried a new way to extend the theory to include matter
>by using a gravitational action called the Born-Infeld action.
>In their analysis, the scientists found that a key characteristic of Eddingtonâs
>revised theory of gravity is that it reproduces Einstein gravity precisely in
>the vacuum conditions (with no matter), but it produces new effects when matter
>is added. Due to this characteristic, the revised theory has implications
>especially for high-density regions, such as in the very early Universe or
>within a black hole. For instance, the theory predicts a maximum density of
>homogeneous and isotropic space-time, which could have implications for black
>More intriguingly, the theory could lead to an entirely new view of the Universe
>that doesn't include a Big Bang. In Big Bang theory, the state of the Universe
>is a singularity in early times, meaning that the Universe was once infinitely
>small. However, Eddingtonâs revised theory requires a minimum length of
>space-time at early times, which means that the Universe could not have been a
>singularity. The theory predicts that, depending on the Universeâs initial
>density, it may have loitered for a long time at a relatively small size before
>growing large enough to be controlled by standard cosmological evolution.
>Another possibility, depending on the initial conditions, is that the Universe
>could have undergone a bounce, resulting from the collapse of a previous
>Universe. Any kind of singularity- free Universe would solve the singularity
>problem that has bothered scientists about general relativity, since a
>singularity cannot be mathematically defined.
>âTaking as a starting point what is a very old idea, we have ended up with a
>theory that has this very interesting property of not having singularities,â
>Ferreira, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, told
>PhysOrg.com. âIt was unexpected and definitely not what we were looking for.â
>In the future, Banados and Ferreira hope to perform a more detailed analysis of
>the gravitational Born-Infeld action. While the current study only looks at the
>classical behavior of the theory, there could also be quantum behavior, such as
>with the bounce concept. In addition, the scientists plan to look at the
>possible effects of a cosmological constant, which they did not investigate
>here. However, they note that the theory is still in the early conceptual
>stages, and has a long way to go before they know how accurate it is.
>âThe alternatives to Einstein's theory are all hypothetical possibilities,â
>Ferreira said. âThe goal is to try and find some key observational test that may
>distinguish between Einstein's theory and the one we have stumbled upon.â
>. âEddingtonâs Theory of Gravity and Its Progeny.â Physical Review Letters 105,
>011101 (2010). DOI:10.1103/ PhysRevLett. 105.011101
>Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com.
>All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
>redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of
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