If We Can Copy and Paste Life—What Does It Mean?

I’ve taught quite a few people how to embed a video into a web page or blog as a means of creating compelling content for their social interactions online; in fact I’ve featured the process in webinars which drew upwards of 1000 attendees.

The process essentially is to copy and paste a block of “code” – a segment of computer instructions written in English – from a video hosting site like YouTube into the HTML panel for the destination page.

HTML is the coding language of the Internet and instructs the web browser what to display on screen when a web page loads. Once the code for the page includes the proper syntax for the “embed” tag that points to the video, that video will display when the page loads.

Here you can see a block of embed code from You Tube pasted into a post for Blogger, Google’s blogging program—in the HTML tab—so that it will display in the blog page as shown on the right.

Coincidentally a few weeks ago, Sixty Minutes did a segment in which they showed exactly the same process—used to revive extinct or endangered animals

Essentially the DNA of the endangered species is “copied and pasted” into the egg of a host animal that is similar in type. The only difference from the YouTube embed code is that DNA is made up only of combinations and syntaxes represented by the letters ACTG, not the entire English language.

As I’ve noted in the past, geneticists like Juan Enriquez, whose video I mentioned from TED, make no distinction between the way computer code operates and instructs, for example, a web browser, and how genetic code works with Life.

* * *

Here is the relevant portion of the article about the Sixty Minutes piece:

On the day we visited, they were laparoscopically removing eggs from an ordinary housecat, then sending the eggs down the hall to have the housecat DNA literally sucked out of them.

“What she’s doing is she’s removing the DNA from this domestic cat egg. And she can see it by what we call fluorescing it,” Dresser explained, while observing the procedure with Stahl. “It becomes just very blue, and so now she knows where it is. And now you’ll see her go in there and be able to remove it.”

Once the housecat DNA is deposited outside of the egg, they will replace it with the DNA of an endangered Arabian sandcat, a completely different species, gathered from a tiny piece of skin.

“And there you see it being inserted into the domestic cat egg,” Dresser explained.

“And you made that from just skin?” Stahl asked.

“Just from skin cells, right,” Dresser said.

An electrical impulse starts the egg dividing, and if all goes as planned, the now sandcat embryo will be put back into the domestic cat to grow to term.

* * *

Now, for most of us, copy and paste is a process we have used and understand.

So for those of us who use computers and the Internet every day, how do we react when see that the language of programming literally runs within Life?

For me, when I first encountered this fact, as a tech writer, it opened me up profoundly to a completely different view of life.

After all, programs on the Internet, Blogger, Google, YouTube, and on your desktop; for example Microsoft Word which I am using to write this, were created not my one person, but by enormous teams of programmers who planned, wrote, and implemented their code to achieve a specific set of purposes.

In reality, this code take electrical impulses, like the ones used to jump start the division of the egg of the Arabian sandcat inside its new host—but in the case of computer code it uses the electricity and silicon chips in the machine to manifest the ideas of the programmers—based on the interaction of the software with the end user.

In the case of Life, the interaction is much more complex because it involves the brain, and the entire cosmos or environment with which the “software” interacts. In his book The Biology of Belief rogue biologist Bruce Lipton identifies the cell membrane as the “computer chip” that literally processes the information from the environment—a process that forms the basis for the new science of epigenetics.

It also means we are not determined by our DNA code—genes express due to environmental, cognitive and other factors, but that the essential code itself—the combination A,C,T,G referenced chemicals that comprise the potential or blueprint for all living things—works like the code in your PC and responds to “user input.”

If I replace the embed code in the web page with a different set of symbols—I get a different video.

If I replace the DNA code of a house cat with that of an Arabian sandcat, that’s what I get.

In both cases the final outcome is an expression of a set of symbols—an idea in the mind of a set of programmers in the case of computers—and inevitably in the case of Life…

What?

Unlike some, I don’t see this as an argument for Intelligent Design or fundamentalism of any sort.

To me, the answer to this question, at this point is, I Don’t Know.

As I said, for me it is a powerful opening to the realization that life is far more than the merely random events that seem to happen through cause and effect, but rather that just as there is in your PC or laptop, there is an intelligent energy or software that is beneath or within the fabric of Life – or indeed is Life itself.

Certainly the recent advances in quantum physics and neuroscience also suggest, indeed they proclaim, that mental and subatomic phenomena are not simple cause and effect processes, but rather that the presence of an Observer or participant is fundamental to their nature.

So far, we have attributed the property of higher intelligence only to ourselves, and perhaps dolphins and whales, connecting it somehow only to our brains, which seem to host such mental activity exclusively.

And, we speculate about finding it on other planets or in other galaxies.

But if we understand that the same principles that we have come to know through our own experience with computers, the actual working of software—the ability to cut and paste symbolic representations to effect both electronic and natural expressions and manifestations—then it becomes clear that somehow a higher intelligence is at work in our cells.

For one thing, decoding the DNA within us has taken supercomputers to do the sequencing.

It is the expression of an immensely vast conglomeration of potentialities and variables—even for a one celled creature (some of whom have more genetic material within them than humans).

Moreover of the DNA already sequenced, a large portion is called “junk DNA”—but that’s because we don’t know what it does or expresses.

Some modern thinkers, like Eckhart Tolle, have said literally that a far higher intelligence than our own runs our digestive system, nervous system, respiration, and so on.

Conventional scientists will argue that DNA “evolved” as life formed billions of years ago from organic molecules.

It is clear that the mutation and changes in DNA, over millions of years, have produced many different species, most of them extinct.

But if DNA is software ask yourself this: could software “evolve” out of an “uninspired” organic molecule—or is the notion of manifesting an idea through a set of coded instructions a function of consciousness of some kind?

In other words, a mind – a term much of science finds extremely inconvenient—because a mind is not mere processing—but the capacity to conceive and manifest an intentional idea through mental activity.

How do we know that mind exists in nature, even if science finds the concept problematic? Because we experience it each moment we’re alive.

And now that we have created software (in our image), and have found it in nature and within ourselves we might say that consciousness is the intelligent energy behind the software of Life.

Configuring Your Inner Startup Utility

The Startup tab of the Windows MSCONFIG System Configuration utility lets you control which programs Windows loads on boot up – the fewer you allow the more efficient your system and the less potential conflict (in “system memory”) with “applications” like Word or Photoshop. Notice that programs like iTunes and Google don’t need to “preload” – they can be disabled and run only when needed–but they will try to load into Startup. Notice the many programs I have disabled in my System Configuration…

Now what about your brain? How many programs do you load when you wake up – assumptions, beliefs and stories that you don’t need but that impede your functioning?

You can begin to notice and even disable them (in your own Startup Utility) during silence and meditation.

Can you begin to identify unnecessary obsessive thoughts and concepts in the silence? Then your own conscious “applications” – love, peace, harmony, family and even worldly goals can unfold more efficiently.

 

Why “No Problem” Is a Problem

If you’ve been out an about recently where someone has served you, in a restaurant or store, and said “thank you” perhaps you’ve noticed a new trend. Many younger people in particular no longer say “you’re welcome.” Instead they say “no problem.”

I have a big problem with this because I think it is symptomatic of a shift in consciousness that is partially responsible for the number of unemployed younger people, and those dissatisfied with their current positions.

Looking a bit deeper, saying “you’re welcome” acknowledges your “thank you” as an appreciation of their service.

“No problem,” on the other hand, implies that your request in some way intruded on their right to be undisturbed and they deem it acceptable that you made the request and they complied. It conveys no appreciation whatsoever and I’ll go a step further.

They seem unconscious of another aspect of the situation. They’re WORKING.

Confronted with this concept, many might argue that I’m advocating a subservient position, but that is in no way the case.

Rather I am suggesting that during “work” there is an implied level of commitment to the task at hand that is expected unless you are an uncompensated intern. If you’re being paid, then it is your task to perform whatever duties are reasonably expected and none of these should ever be construed as “a problem.”

Assuming that any disturbance of your peace during working hours (and this includes your texting or speaking on the phone) is a problem that you magnanimously have decided to overlook makes you a poor employee. Period.

Recently I had two customer service experiences – in one a rental car was beeping in ways I could not fix and no one at the office answered the phone. In the other a web site did not perform as expected and I was not given the service I anticipated. When I pointed this out to “customer service” they said, “and what would you like me to do about it?”

They saw my intrusion on their peace as a big problem. They did not realize that it is their job to at least express some empathy and understanding of a customer’s perspective. They cannot undo what happened but they can acknowledge the legitimacy of the issue and even apologize.

This is the result when everyone begins to see their responsibility to perform their job as a problem.

Even if you take the position that this is a meaningless phrase that is now just in the current vernacular I beg to differ. “Problem” is a loaded word. Every time I hear that some getting me another cup of coffee is “not a problem” it rubs me the wrong way. And if I don’t come back to your restaurant, that is your problem, not mine.

You might counter that my sensitivity is “my problem” but again if you’re the one that is consciously or unconsciously considering service as a “problem” I suggest that the consequences will accrue to you.

Working with the public is no picnic but manifesting a self-serving attitude will not bode well for your future.

Risking the “when I was your age” cliché, there used to be a concept called “paying your dues.” When you paid your dues, you were happy to get an opportunity to work and believe me, under those circumstances, your attitude always conveyed that “nothing was a problem, glad to help.”

This is what I see so lacking today. I get it that college loans are overwhelming and challenging jobs are scarce, and many in my generation fill positions that could well be handled by younger workers.

I also believe this also grows out of the civil rights movement when it was said often and loud that “no one gives you your rights, they are yours by birth,” so that any suggestion that someone take a position of service is somehow demeaning and inappropriate. Young people seem to bristle at any suggestion that they should perform any task that they deem beneath them.

And there is also no question that when working with the public that there are those with unrealistic expectations and bad attitudes who may assert their power in ways that inappropriate, by being abusive, unreasonable or hostile. Certainly any human has a right to maintain his or her dignity under those circumstances.

However, when you are WORKING you loyalty is not to your inner peace, friends, task list or the voices in your head – it is to the client, customer or associate whose needs you are being paid to meet.

Therefore in no way shape or form is any request on their part, or need that is to be satisfied, a problem; rather it is an opportunity. It’s a vehicle for you to show you skills and demonstrate your willingness to help or comply in any reasonable manner.

It is a chance to show initiative, warmth, humor and intelligence.

So when someone appreciates your efforts and says “thank you” with sincerity, and especially if they drop a dollar into your tip jar, the appropriate response still is, and always will be, “you’re welcome.”

Link

Overview of Science and Duality Conference

menas spectrum Jac's diagramOverview of Science and Duality Conference

My overview of the amazing Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose including the presentations Jay Kumar, Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, and Deepak Chopra  and more. Excerpted from this month’s issue of Collective Evolution.

http://www.professorppt.com/SAND.pdf

Blackfish and Gun Violence

Last night I watched the film Blackfish on CNN; it’s the story of an Orca (killer whale) that had killed its trainer in the course of being held in captivity at Sea World.

Coincidentally I had had lunch with a friend who actually works with Sea World and he made some eloquent arguments that Sea World has actually served a noble purpose in familiarizing humanity with the wonders of whales and dolphins.

While the movie was obviously edited for maximum emotional effect two poignant scenes go beyond any objective “explanation”. First the way that Tillicum (the Orca that killed the trainer in Orlando) was first captured with other calves, and taken away from its mother and pod, was heart wrenching to any normal soul. Second, when the calf born at Sea World was removed from its birth mother to be trained at another park, and the mother’s shrieking and grief, would have to move anyone not completely brainwashed by insensitive materialism.

Sea World shareholders are suffering as a result of the film. My friend has his work cut out for him. On CNN’s site the point is made that the film ignores Sea World’s contributions to research and conservation but what is undeniable is that Sea World’s treatment of Tillicum would have caused any human become enraged. He was treated as an object – not as a sentient being.

What came up for me was a phrase used by G.I. Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher from the 20th century, who spoke about “organic shame”; this is the feeling (or perhaps lack of feeling) of compassion for other sentient creatures and our responsibility to treat them (pardon the pun) humanely.

At one point in the movie the dimensions of the pens where these large, intelligent animals are kept were described along with the fact that they typically swim 100 miles a day in the wild. It was like a cell in solitary – in prison.

Tillicum was kept in a pen with aggressive females who bit and raked him with their teeth at night because he was not from their “nation,” pod or family. He was also manually milked of sperm and used to breed like a farm animal.

It reminded me of my visit to Sea World with my parents in San Diego when I saw the exhibit with the penguins, with the tags on their fins, and it reminded me of a concentration camp.

(My mother, who knew about this from personal experience, did not enjoy the visit).

So how does this relate to gun violence?

Think about a young man who has been conditioned from virtually birth to objectify women in a certain sexual way but encounters only women in the “real world” who are conditioned to want men of certain status, relegating him to a life of continuous sexual frustration.

Due to his conditioning, a “normal” relationship to a woman who does not come from a Bond movie or beer commercial is impossible. Further he has been abused and/or bullied for years, and his job has been downsized our outsourced.

For CNN to wonder about the “motives” of such an individual when he goes bonkers and shoots up a mall or an airport is what is insane – not so much his behavior.

Certainly only 1% of the population may succumb to these pressures and manifest mental health issues. Since no professional care is available and they have no real family, they go what is known as “postal.”

But that is enough to create sufficient headlines to fuel the fantasies of more of these people.

I would submit, however, that what we have in this country is not so much a gun problem, but a reality problem where love is concerned.

First of all, love is not romantic sexual consummation, as pleasurable as that may be. It isn’t the conquests in a James Bond film or a week in Monte Carlo on a private jet with Fabio, drinking champagne and being “fabulous.”

It cannot be acquired or purchased – it must be lived consciously.

We don’t have a lack of knowledge or information “about love” – we have a poverty of Being.

My parents had their problems, but they knew how to love without Dr. Phil or Oprah. They were loving, they modeled love, and they manifest generosity. They came from a loving community and built a loving home.

Every institution and business in this country claims to be about “love” – and “family” and “community” but for many of us those experiences, when closely examined, feel very empty.

And it’s not just men. Women who have bought into the superwoman myth and tried to “have it all” with the “man of their dreams” also often feel empty and short changed. They are not generally armed, however.

Let’s look deeper.

Every “comedy” show on television has a laugh track accompanying people ridiculing and humiliating one another. Every family comedy is built on deception and duplicity.

Any boy on a little league team who has a coach that suggests that “fooling the umpire or referee” is part of “winning has the same revulsion inside, until it is conditioned out of him.

This is organic shame – or conscience.

Something in us knows better. Something in us knows there is something objectively Higher that we have tacitly ignored. We can discover it in ourselves if we look deeply and honestly, and we can even find it “scientifically” in the world if we’re vigilant and determined.

We know that ultimately we bear responsibility for our own inner world, even if we hide it from others successfully.

And we know that we are not on a random inert ball of rock hurtling through a lifeless universe, but that we are living souls having a human experience that implores us to live truly lovingly – not with lip service or TV segments on “making a difference” but in our daily activities and interactions with other humans and yes, sentient beings.

We cannot continue to abdicate this responsibility and survive. Indeed our oceans are dying and many species on which we depend, due to the far vaster Intelligence of Nature, are also nearly extinct.

Nature does not guarantee us a future – and certainly not one for our children.

It’s time to wake the fuck up.

Science of Mind – For Real

I opened my eyes from my morning meditation and on the nearby Persian rug, my cat was similarly reposed in her Sphinx position.

Our eyes met briefly and I was moved to think of what my friend Michael Jeffreys says so often, that “what is looking out of your eyes is the same thing that is looking out of mine.” I had never completely bought into this idea because clearly our emotions and thoughts (the content of what we might call consciousness, even between twins) are clearly different.

But of course the deeper question is: what is thinking? And what is aware of our thoughts? (Another thought (can’t be thinking…), or perhaps “something else” entirely?)

We understand that our brains (and perhaps even our cells) record these experiences as memories, but how does all of this happen? And how is it that my cat and I seem to have experiences (live, as it were) and yet the laptop on which I write this, as intelligent as it may be, has never had a thought or presumably an experience?

These are questions that conventional science generally ignores as “unknowable” but with advances in neuroscience, biology and quantum physics, we seem to be getting closer – at least in terms of noticing that these issues form the very boundaries of our ability to know anything for certain.

And yet certainty, as a result of investigation, is the basis of our science, despite the fact that what we knew for certain only 50 years ago has changed or been proved wrong.

I believe that the next frontier of science is precisely what Eckhart Tolle calls “no thing” – nonmaterial energy or even, dare I say it, pure intelligence.

To me the true nature of Life, what some call Consciousness, Being, Awareness or even God, is the most interesting and compelling subject of all. I have always sensed that there is “something else” besides what we can tangibly see or understand, and most recently I have discovered numerous other teachings that suggest that it is Everything (David Bohm) and it is also “Me.” (Mooji)

This Thursday I will be privileged to attend an event that brings together some of the greatest minds in this field. SAND, or Science and Nonduality in San Jose, held this year at the luxurious Dolce Hayes Mansion will be a forum for discussion of these issues from a scientific perspective.

And what is “Nonduality”? Duality is the structure of our minds – we judge and think in zeroes and ones, opposites, hot and cold, yes and no, etc.

So Nonduality is whatever might be the basis for our minds, beyond that structure, and therefore beyond the conditioning that separates us from truth.

This again is the area that conventional science avoids so it will be fascinating to approach these issues, which have turned some scientists (Einstein) into mystics who have refused to simply use the word God, or supernatural theories, to explain what is.

There are those who say that the ONLY thing we know for sure is “I am” – we are here – and that there seems to be something which we call “Mind” which knows this. Everything else can be “deconstructed” logically or disproven.

A close friend introduced me to the work of Ernest Holmes, who actually started a teaching called, literally, the Science of Mind, which describes a power present in nature that we can use.

Others talk about energies, “the Force” and of course others (Tao, Christ, and so on).

One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, writes that there is an intelligence far greater than the one we attribute to our thoughts which runs our breathing, digestion, circulation and for that matter, all of life. In fact we have discovered this as a code far more complex than anything humans have programmed –DNA.

But again, conventional science has avoided all of this until recently, and organized religion has claimed to have the “answers”. This week in San Jose I will get what Michael calls “the latest.”

I will be writing about this conference for Collective Evolution and sharing my own thoughts, and I can’t wait to get started.

The Challenge of Unconsciousness

Perhaps the biggest challenge one faces is to remain conscious in the face of unconsciousness.

Consciousness, characterized by openness, discernment and empathy can quickly dissolve when the violence, irrationality obtuseness of another person or bureaucratic system trigger deeply rooted automatic responses to protect and assert one’s deeply conditioned “identity.”

Noticing these instances repeatedly can begin to create a space in which everything is recognized as “naturally perfect” and the degree of unconsciousness experienced begins to abate.

In this space, rest, relaxation, silence and attention to breath serve to gradually envelope the remaining unconscious energy—or not. Some manifestations of unconsciousness are impervious to the influence of reason or love; they are best avoided, ignored or finessed. Sometimes unconsciousness must even be met with conscious force, but never out of fear or “personal” anger but simply as a means of survival of the present form.

How does one recognize the existence of consciousness in contrast to its opposite? Trick question: it has no opposite. As Eckhart Tolle says, “the opposite of death is not Life, it is birth.” Life, Consciousness or Reason has no opposite.

True consciousness is apparent in its impartiality and impersonality, its support of life and natural functions, and its mirroring of the intelligent aspects of Nature — including the mathematical principles of Phi (growth – Golden Mean – Fibonacci sequence) and symmetry (Pi). Another way to express this is a conscious movement toward love over fear.

But consciousness operates beyond the thinking brain—it is felt when every cell of every organ works harmoniously with the external world, and no differentiation begins to emerge between what is “within” and “without.” The individual self still functions as part of this dynamic but only to serve reciprocal energies passing through within the moment, and in sacred submission to a much higher Intelligence.

This equilibrium is a state of joy – as opposed to the conditioned “happiness” one anticipates in the fulfillment of an externally programmed “goal.” It comes with the acceptance of the moment as it unfolds without judgment.

What is eventually noticed is that this nameless quality of consciousness precedes Everything; without it Existence could not Be. In the face of this traditional science crumbles in the same way that rationality simply surrenders when one looks up as an infinite night sky.

One does not need to know it as “God”. One only need feel it as Awe.

 

 

Money and the Meaning of Life – Jacob Needleman

 

“God gently reassures him [Man] that the deepest contradictions of human life are not to be solved but to be lived in full consciousness of their contradictoriness.”

– Jacob Needleman writing in “Money and the Meaning of Life” (226) quoting Isma’il Al-Faruqi, “On the Ethics of the Brethren of Purity” – Muslim World, July, 1960

Needleman continues “What is most necessary for man and what is given to him in abundance are experiences, especially experiences of the forces within him. This is his most essential food, his most essential wealth. If man consciously receives all of this abundance, the universe will pour into him what is called life in Judaism, spirit in Christianity, light in Islam, power in Taoism.”

To me, the key word here is “consciously” — to “consciously receive” does not mean to hungrily seek and acquire (or to visualize material wealth) — but rather to accept what IS with gratitude and awe. In Needleman’s terms this is the true meaning of conscience, to maintain attention in both the outer and inner worlds—in deference to the struggle between them.

This level of consciousness may serve to reconcile the contradictions — but Life is to be trusted, certainly beyond the intellect and what Life offers is beyond the judgment of the human mind—and if one looks at the heavens at night—beyond its capacity to comprehend.

Needleman: “I would say that one needs money to live and survive in the outer world, to fulfill one’s obligations to the community and to nature, but that above and beyond this, the role of money is to serve as the instrument for getting understanding. We come to the bottom of civilization if instead of understanding we are going after ‘information.’ Information is the plastic version of understanding. Just as bank cards stand to gold, as easy and deadly credit stands to honest need, obligation and giving…”

Money and the Meaning of Life (excerpt)