December 7, 1996
I was pleased to read your debate with Roger Penrose called "The Nature of Space and Time" in the Scientific American from July. I find your vision interesting but have to admit to being rather at variance with it on some fundamental points.
One of the most important areas of divergence from our perspective in Javanese mystic practice (I am an anthropologist who studied and then became a leader in a Javanese kebatinan group) concerns your assumption regarding the loss of information following the eventual disappearance of a black hole. To our knowledge this in not really a problem due to the continuity of the existing presence of the being despite its apparent "evaporation." It has basically what we call, "gone to the rim," though this term is not overly descriptive in some senses. It is still here but has become general in expression rather than specific or centered being. In fact, this continuing undistinguished or unformed being is the source of the mysterious, uniform microwave background radiation or "noise" that is traced back incorrectly to the big bang in some senses. It can be understood if you see consciousness as associated with being but with the possibility of having the being in association a general one rather than a specified form. This in turn is associated with the surprising number of heavy elements in the universe in that the information expressed in this separated presence seeks its own expression in this way. In essence, I suspect that this is what Dr. Penrose is arguing concerning the "spontaneous measurements of quantum states that introduce information back into the system." This universe is a tight little ball of confusion, a strange little pimple infecting existence with the ill will established and structured here in the very fabric of the being; there is nothing that can be done to deny that or to deny its obvious pathology and utilization in the search for release from karmic responsibility.
Defining such a horror is surprisingly easy. Think about it in terms of the absolute within (what we call batin) and the absolute without (lahir) meeting in a context dominated by irresponsible hedonism and escapism: that's where we are. This "universe" was fabricated to benefit the greatly evil by making justice depend on linkage that necessarily wanders through the entire karmic backlog: the standard little trap for chronic and unrepentant miscreants that has been sprung so many times over the "ages". The only sure "joy" in a place like this is to actively and aggressively destroy oneself and one another in that ones being here is hate defined and hate limited in relative and absolute terms. The creation of beauty depends on cooperation and few are willing to cooperate with those they hate which includes themselves. Quite a nightmare, really.
This "universe" is a zeroless gathering which means there is no head guaranteeing justice in as much as they can bear the pain of dispensing it, which, evidently, is the result of an Iblung Amuk. One of mine, a certain Kangdjeng Ratu Ajunan, Adiling Perkawinan, Perkawinan ing Djiwa, Sri Retna lawan Ratu Pinanditi lawan Batari lawan Dewi Adil lawan Iblis Agung, Njai Lara Djonggrang Magali Rolfsen, "Nefernefernefer", "The Black Rose", "Magali, the agony of missing you", "My blysse, my bale, ye han ben bothe", "If you have involved me in your life just to fool me like you're fooling Maria, just to betray and hurt me, just to use me, abuse me and throw me away, you will pay, you lying harlot, you treacherous Delilah! I thought you had to go down to the red-light district to find a character like yours, Magali. God Almighty! What species of scum have we here in you? When you are involved, committed, serving the love for a person of this genus, what on earth do you do? (not a happy camper as of October 1, 1997)", "I love you, I hate you and then I love you more (most decidedly our song for some years)", "Most Esteemed Lady, oops, Her Most Serene Imperial Majesty, Archduchess, AutokrathV and Imperial Regent of the Archduchy of Cornwall, Ururai, Tugasingratan, BoubastiV stin Kriti, Per-Nebka, Per-Selket, Per-Sebak, Per-Auset, Abet ent Maati, the Eternal Clan and Khanate of the Great Fire, also vested as Kangdjeng Ratu Ayunan within the Dalem Badong in the Kraton Ati Sanubari of the Paku Jagad, Paku Adil, Paku Wana, Paku Iblis, Paku Bendu, Paku Duka, Paku Bentji and Ratu Adil of Sadja Kusumaningratan", to whose hand I bow in abject adoration (a mark of obeisance first rendered on March 7, 1992 in a state of considerable surprise) and hereinafter called Gloria Isma'ili, had painted herself into a corner in her enthusiasm, got shrouded in corruption doing work that agreed with my dark fury and stalemated justice--denied any and all satisfaction--until I was allowed to incarnate here for the first time by the powers she was defying (who had never given me justice) to treat the disease and sort the mess out. Evidently, a good time has not been had by all, which is where I come into the picture, in that existence has always been an incredible pain to me but it is in this context and in this context alone that True Justice (Sedjatining Keadilan) becomes possible.
tailspins come from time to time. Her Infinite Majesty, Mahadewi Hecate, is famous
for causing such nosedives to pull out the deeper
beings that are ordinarily denied justice by the
vested zeros, the powers that be, but even she
never got so confused and corrupt and vicious
and vile that she could effectively engender the
general will to allow my incarnation to bring
release from the nightmare she had created. I'm
not notably popular with those that serve the status quo but Gloria has made existence such hell
that even I became a relatively attractive
As you can evidently see, it is in crises like these that the real structural (the universal mutual definition that constitutes us all) and volitional (bad faith of one kind or another) problems and diseases of being can come forth in a cosmic paroxism that inexorably demands attention in its agony and can thus finally be treated by allowing those of us at the "bottom" of being to come forth. We open existential nightmares have no stake in any beings that currently stand for consideration and are bent on taking all of existence through justice on to a being which is not even remotely visible from this plane. The bullyboy tyrants that this place is rife with often pretend to our attitudes and feelings and, in their destructive orgy, they express our disgust with the mess hereabouts, though obviously without much interest in doing anything but having a good time wrecking whatever is at their mercy and propping themselves up on the pain. We have burning love and vicious hate; in their imitation of divine being, they have only indifference and scorn. There have been a few notable exceptions who have actually expressed something on the order of responsible leadership here, always with the yawning agony of the absence of a zero at the head rather confusing things. Just look at human history, our iniquitous treatment of one another and those that make us up and define our world, and try to deny the obvious. Just try! It all looks like a bit of a farce in this light, does it not? Happily and unhappily I have now absorbed the agony so we are free of this conundrum in that this pocket of pus is now openly grounded and a zero established. Nuff said.
A second area of discord concerns the eventual "end" of the universe: nothing ends: what exists, exists and carries on whether it wishes to or not, changing in its associations based on its developing relationship with the rest of us. The burps of the big bangs and the swallows of the big crunches are an apparently endless series of adjustments or reshufflings in relative disposition based on the often (if not always) convoluted search for a satisfactory general state and are evidently, in this sense, just expressions of the fundamentally irreducible nature of existence.
Obviously physics and mysticism share much although the body of substantiating evidence that we mystics use is fundamentally experiential, based on our openness to and study of Reality -- we constantly relate to and from the Totality of Existence, which is our vision of the divine, in defining our own experience -- to a degree that I suppose is denied to physicists in general. We explore Reality with our consciousness and in association with the consciousness of being, something we have evidently found to exist whether it sounds like magic or not. As I wrote in "Open and Closed Psychology: How Different Can We Be?" which is Part I of The Book of Being, a work I suspect you might enjoy:
A way to highlight the nature of differences in
perspective is to use the Javanese notion of
understanding. They hold that the body is an
instrument that receives information about
itself and the world. It is a complex and subtle
receptor and can exhibit varying degrees of
sensitivity. The Javanese purport that the less
perceptual breadth, the less of existence
referenced in an observation. Conversely, the
greater the sensitivity of a response, the more
that an understanding based on it will be true,
reflective of what is observed and reliable. Of
the levels of understanding, only the least
receptive, narrowest and, consequently, the most
contextually independent is based on thought (ngerti).
We never get farther away from the world or one
another than when we relate based on our
thoughts. From ngerti, the levels of
understanding become more profound and
increasingly present, passing through mounting
contextual sensitivity in ngakoni and
ngrumangsani and then finally standing in
the present in nglengganani, where the
understanding and that which is understood join
in rasa murni or "open reception".
The Western sciences espouse objectivity, but this objectivity is attained and maintained by limiting input, by training the academic to relate from the experientially isolated realm of thought. It can be creative but is rigid at the same time, a posture established by controlling what is received rather than being based on "open reception". They hold that open reception is a universal human capacity that we all start out in when we are born, but that you must train before you can actualize it as you get older.
The Western sciences are based on thought and it might be said that the worldliness and materialism of Western society are connected with the mechanical, statistical and impersonal universe science reveals as well as the isolation from direct experience the emphasis on thought presupposes.
But if this is the science of the thought mode of understanding, what is the science that arises from non-judgmental receptivity and how does life appear from that perspective? How does such a perspective influence the view of other people, society, the world and the universe? How different are the different points of view?
Our basic posture arises in union with Empedocles, whose vision of the forces at work is also in line with our own.
I shall tell of a double (process): at one time it increased so as to be a single one out of many; at another time again it grew apart so as to be many out of one. . . And these (elements) never cease their continuous exchange, sometimes uniting under the influence of love, so that all become one, at other times again each moving apart through the hostile force of hate. . . At one time it increased so as to be a single one out of many; at another time it grew apart so as to be many out of one--fire and water and earth and the boundless height of air, and also execrable hate apart from these, of equal weight in all directions, and love in their midst, their equal in length and breadth.
Evidently, for us, "science" (whether yours or ours) must be concerned with the proper description and understanding of the fact of being and it is not enough to simply provide predictions that agree with data on some superficial plane.
Gordon Howe, Ph.D.