Saturday, February 10, 2018

6. Maelstroms and Tornadoes

In general, any big-picture structure can get created with broad strokes and it should therefore not be all that complicated to discuss. Simple questions can get asked about the whole. One such question is whether the whole is somehow a unified whole, or whether the parts are to some extent always independent with as conclusion that an ultimately unified result cannot exist.

It is a fundamental question, and though we can want and eat our cake indeed, we can never eat it two times. At the overall level, the answer to this question is either one or the other, not both. With separation seen as a universal aspect, the answer can only be that our universe is like the egg that was broken to bake the omelet. The answer applies to the immaterialized aspects of our universe as well; with a material universe separated in essence, the immaterialized realities cannot simply make up for the disconnect.

In this blog, the question about the whole is placed directly in front of us. Discussed is how this essential separation applies to ourselves, and particularly what this means for our thinking. The homonym of whole, which is hole, also comes into view, because a similarly simple question must be asked about Black Holes: is there something there or not?


The question whether the whole of our thoughts belong to a single overall structure can be considered a logical question. Of course, each of us is an individual, so we can conclude that our thoughts can always be brought back to one (1), ourselves. Yet, like a wallet sometimes not containing any money, there are also spots within our thoughts that declare we do not know something. It is possible to consciously know of not-knowing something, so the option of having all thoughts belong to one overall structure would not be available. 

Similarly, fundamentally different structures exist that are based on their own concepts. Where a numeral system can continue into infinity, our ABCs look rather limited; one system is used to count, the other delivers 26 building blocks for spelling words. Using emoticons is yet another way of communicating, and as a concept it is equally distinct from counting and the alphabet. There is no single overall structure on which all our thoughts are built.

Like the only certainty being uncertainty, we can have absolute answers at the overall level, but only after we accept that separation is essential to everything. It means we may be able to get absolute answers to general questions. At the detailed level, absolute answers are not available and are always subject and context specific.


To know oneself, each of us must use some kind of mirror to peek at oneself. By reflecting on what happens or happened, a greater understanding can occur about the situations we find ourselves in. Yet when reflecting on life, do we also correctly reflect on how we reflect on life?

The slippery slope of the mirror must be mentioned here as a warning not to fall into Alice's rabbit hole. A decent mirror reflects only once, yet when we take a second mirror to look at the larger mirror, an infinity can potentially get created between both mirrors and we can get sucked into the vortex. The warning is therefore: stay clear of the maelstrom, keep your feet on the ground. 


The mirror is an excellent metaphor for duality, even when one part of the picture may not really be there. Consider a picture taken of a single person in front of a mirror; because of the mirror two people are captured in the result. Depending on the location of camera, mirror and person, the mirrored image of the person can be located 'up front' or 'in the back' of the picture.

What should surprise us, but is considered quite normal, is that the left side and right side of a person facing us swap places compared to our own left and right. Yet for the individual facing us in the mirror, the right side remains the right side. For all individuals, mirrored or not, up remains up, and down remains down. When reflecting on reflection, one should keep in mind that some parts are reversed, where others are not.

Comparing one side correctly against the other, one can obtain important or at least interesting information. With a mirror reflecting well who we physically are, comparing, for instance, one ear lobe to the other can tell us if both are indeed mirror images of each other, or not.

By comparing languages such as English to Dutch, one can notice differences in structure and word use. One interesting example is that there is no word in Dutch that states fewer. In Dutch, the word used is our lesser. By comparing both Germanic languages, it is possible to detect an awkwardness that would perhaps otherwise not come to light. Let's continue reflecting on the word fewer, because if we take the opposite of few - for instance, many - then in English we do not say manier as the opposite of fewer. Through reflection, we can declare fewer a well-understood but surprising word.


Things are not always what they seem, and mirrors can help us see more, but can also trick us. In some restaurants infinity mirrors are found with lights along the side that are reflected tenfold inside the mirror. The trick is that the lights are sandwiched between two mirrors, with the first being a one-way mirror. The eyes are tricked to believe that an enormous depth exists. 

In science, there is a strong fascination with infinity, as if it were an entity. The treacherous trick about infinity is that eventually there is no longer a there there. Consider the following setup: if we halve an apple, and next halve one of the halves, and then continue to halve one of the two outcomes a few additional times, we end up with not much more than a flavoring if we ate the resulting thin slice. Imagine more than 7 billion people on this world sharing a single apple. It would be a miracle if anyone had any clue about what was given to them. 

Infinity is a trick word about nothing much left in the end. In our minds we can hold the mirror's mirroring image as a continuing and factual outcome instead of seeing it as the truly hollowed-out image it becomes sooner rather than later.   


Similar tricks may occurs to our brain when viewing two-dimensional pictures. Though we recognize the flatness of a photograph, our brains fill in the depth, perhaps not to the most satisfying level. For instance, something can get placed 'in front' of the image that is in reality further away. When looking at a black and white silhouette our brain can actually see this distinction even more clearly, correctly so or not. One rather famous example is the black and white vase and faces, in which one object can be seen as the backdrop for the others, and vice versa.

The spinning dancer is another example how the brain has a hard time correctly observing two-dimensions, even when there is movement. I have been told that some folks, when seeing the dancer spin one way, can never see the dancer spin the other way. Fortunately, there is an easy way to help reverse the spin: cover the entire image with your hand, except for the feet of the spinning dancer (or the top of her head). The brain will have a hard time determining what's going on; that's the chance to view the dancer spin in opposite direction. The dancer can truly reverse direction.

The importance of this mental and visual exercise is to show that we can all get stuck seeing information one way, and one way only. It is of course no fun being confused about what is in front of us. Yet for understanding the Structure of Everything it is important to recognize a fundamental duality that exists at the overall level.


Floating in a dinghy we may encounter a maelstrom that is strong enough to pull the boat and its contents under water. It does not matter if the maelstrom drains clockwise or counter-clockwise. Sometimes we are simply dragged under by a maelstrom occurrence in life, pulling us down to a depressed state. The opposite can also occur when a tornado occurs in our personal life; it can lift us up, and make us feel light like a feather, excited. 

We do not always control everything in life; the goal is to recognize the altered state for what it is, and float back to the surface or to land softly back on our feet after a stormy event. It is unhealthy to remain stuck in the other reality. One example that may be fitting here: some brilliant minds have stepped in front of traffic, getting killed, simply because they remained in an altered state of mind while being outdoors in traffic. A more common example is how cell phones can place us in an altered state of mind (and in similarly dangerous situations).


Science is based on repeatable results, but we can start seeing reality in an altered state if not all is correctly on the up and up. Many answers have been provided through the scientific approach, and all of us can certainly be happy about the answers that these wonderful men and women discovered. Yet scientific information can also trigger an altered state that needs to be understood. Through applying science to the chicken or egg question, we can end up with an answer.

A good scientific approach would be to place 100 chickens and 100 eggs in two different rooms. The scientists returning to the rooms 24 hours later find the same outcome in the room with still 100 eggs. In the room with 100 chickens, however, they find 100 chickens and a couple of eggs. With both rooms controlled at room temperature, it was proven that the chicken was there first, before the egg.  

Not only must a good scientist realize there are two subject matters, chicken and egg that, despite their very obvious differences, should be considered one and the same. But also must it be realized that the question which one came first is not meant to have an answer. The chicken and the egg are two outcomes that have a lot in common. The essential component of the question should not lead to factual scientific knowledge, but to understanding the context of the presented facts.


After reviewing religious structures, we may end up realizing that one specific structure is not used much. Next to monotheism and polytheism, there is plenty of space for duo-theism, the belief in two gods in total. It is quite surprising how few people believe in two gods, particularly since most of us were raised by two people, a mother and a father. It is also believed that half of the stars in our universe are found in binary star systems. So, why are not more people believers in two gods?

Most of our dual systems are peculiar. Think of left and right, and it can be understood that something is missing, because anything with a left and a right must have other aspects as well: front and back, top and bottom. In another example, next to male and female, there is young and old, alive and not-alive. This last pair of aspects is the simplest form of a duality, basically an entity coupled with the denial of that entity. Other examples are true and not-true, coffee and not-coffee, God and not-god.

Dualities can be self-based, but their ups and downs are not always grounded. Good and bad, for instance, can be used to show the yin and yang character of dualities, because what is good for one is not necessarily good for someone else. Getting some rain in Phoenix, Arizona, is good, but rain in Washington's Seattle is not welcomed with the same enthusiasm. The context helps declare how appreciative folks are about the contents.

Contradictions occur in life because of dualities, and particularly where additional levels are involved we can sometimes get stuck and end up incorporating these contradictions. In the United States, for instance, murder is simply not allowed. Yet some states sentence heinous criminals to death. The physician will write homicide on the death certificate, a nice way of saying murder. Seemingly, people have no problem accepting a general truth that subsequently is ignored in specific cases. The altered state is used to explain why murder is sometimes allowed. 


Scientific data has been collected for centuries, most of it no longer through pure observations with the naked eye, but through better and stronger instrumentation. Though more information about almost anything is now available, much of it exists at a two-dimensional level, such as with a picture. After capturing the dark side of the moon, we got the much anticipated additional look at our satellite. But no human instrument has reached another solar system yet. Information about the far-off universe is pretty much captured from close proximity to home, astronomically speaking.

An example of entities located far away from us, captured solely by instruments, are Black Holes. Our instruments take moving two-dimensional pictures like the spinning dancer of galaxies far away. With Black Holes, scientists envision a center that is gravitationally so strong that even light cannot escape it. There appears to be evidence for the gravitational entity. Yet where the chicken is declared, scientists owe it to themselves to also investigate the egg. The alternative is that a Black Hole can be seen as a gravitational hole.

Consider a hurricane or a tropical cyclone that can form over large bodies of warm water. Its winds are the fastest known on our planet, yet most spectacularly there is no wind at the heart of a cyclone. At the center, blue skies exist overhead. Imagine scientists declaring that there is an object in the eye of the storm that controls the wind, with a center so strong that not even the strongest wind can escape it. Naturally, we would not be listening to such scientists for long, because we know what we know.

With the Black Holes in our universe, a fascinating reality may be attached to our not-knowing what we know. While I do not declare in this blog that there isn't anything material at the heart of a Black Hole, scientists should keep the alternative option in mind. Currently, there is an a priori within the investigation of Black Holes, and while a gravitational monster may be the correct answer, it can also be the infinity mirror in the two-dimensional scientific theory that is doing the talking.


If it weren't for light, a camera could not capture the outside world, and without light our eyes would not see any objects. The light photons are said to have no mass and objects are in general needed to make us realize the photons are really there. Despite being without mass, it has been said that gravity can bend light.

Next to the objects that generate the photons, our sun and the stars, we need reflection to see the other objects. Our moon shines in the night sky, the solar photons reflecting on its surface. We only see the photons that hit the moon; all other solar photons are invisible to us. Still, we know they are everywhere in the night sky. Everywhere, except where the earth blocks the passage of the solar photons; every now and then, a lunar eclipse shows us the exact location of earth's umbra. We only see what we can see.


The more gravity there is, the rounder an object becomes. Comets may have interesting shapes, but larger objects such as moons and planets are by definition round (although this can occur in somewhat imperfect manners). The stronger the gravity, the more we should see an environment that inclines to be round. Our Milky Way is not round in all directions; it's rather flat-like. Naturally, the involved speeds help to flatten out the result. Yet a galaxy should be rounder in all respects if gravity is as strong as claimed.

As shown in the pyramid in a previous blog, gravity is proposed to be a dependent force, not a force that exists by itself. In that light, a galaxy can be said to have a collective gravitational field that holds all its matter together. Contrast this galactic construct with that of our simple solar system, a system in which the sun, a material entity, coincides indeed with the gravitational center. The structures for solar systems and galaxies are not the same.

Imagine a binary star system. Its gravitational center coincides with neither star, but is found at the center of mass, sitting in plain sight between both stars. How quickly would we ignore the scientist claiming that every binary star system contains a third, invisible and heavy entity at the center of movements, coordinating the two stars?

Similar to the gravitational center of a binary star system, a galaxy will have a gravitational center. And it does not need to coincide with an actual material mass. If we have a galaxy with a gravitational field, the center would be like the eye of the storm, basically empty. The gravitational eye would be so strong that not even light can follow a straight path through it. What we would see (if we could see it) would be a black eye.


In this blog we not only looked into the mirror, but investigated the mirror itself. Mirrors can create infinities when paired and held at the right angles. Unless it is recognized that the visualized infinity is nothing but a puzzling amusement occurring in a two-dimensional setup, we may get sucked into the vortex towards the altered state. This blog also discussed the possibility that our scientific data is to some extent two-dimensional, simply because we find ourselves identifying everything from a very specific spot in the universe, and not from every possible angle.

We count to ten because we have ten fingers. With fewer or more fingers, we would have a different system as our main counting system. The binary system is the single underlying universal numeral system, but it is not the most workable system. The year, for instance, would have 101101101 days in binary language, a rather awkward way to state 365 days.

We see the world as having three dimensions. Yet in the next blog it will be discussed how this setup also became used because of who we are, and not the other way around. 

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Narrative based on In Search of a Cyclops, published by Penta Publishing.

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