Things as they really are

Today Lama Jampa visited our sangha, giving several teachings. He mentioned (or at least Eduardo translated it that way from Tibetan) that when one is in the state of the Buddha, things are perceived as they really are.
Since I had learned from Eduardo that in Buddhism things are composed by object, subject, and action, I did not understand the meaning of Lama Jampa's words, so I asked.
My translated summary of what I understood of the translation of Lama Jampa's summary is the following: You cannot really see things (they are in between being, not being, being and being, and not {being and not being}). The phrase "things as they really are" means that one realizes causality and relationships between all things, i.e. that no thing is isolated. I find this very interesting, because this is precisely what the scientific study of complex systems does, as opposed to traditional reductionistic science (since Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Laplace). We study the relevance of interactions among different phenomena, and that is my personal view of what makes complexity complexity (not many elements, not non-linearity, not self-organization, not emergence, etc. All these properties are very interesting, but the defining characteristic of complex systems, for me, is the relevance of interactions in the future state of elements).
So, trying to synthesize: A clearer description of the world is one which takes into account interactions, as opposed to one description that does not put attention to them. Scientist, pay attention, reductionism no no. (can you tell that I enjoy spending lots of time with my 2 year old daughter?)

Comments

Keith said…
Carlos, I have just discovered your work and I am very excited about it, so I will be contacting you. Specifically considering this post - I am sure you are aware that finding common themes between eastern philosophy/ metaphysics and modern physics is quite trendy (first made famous by Fritjof Kapra’s ‘Tao of Physics’). The usual idea is that modern physics suggests all things are connected (at the quantum scale via wave function interaction) and I know you are aware of Wheeler’s interpretation of ‘it from bit’ and the ‘observer generated universe’ which seems to place humans (especially physicists) in a special cosmological position! A rather stronger argument, though, is that all things are what they are entirely because of the semantic (meaningful) information which orders matter/energy in space/time. Indeed the universe is the implementation of meaning (information, space/time and energy/matter are the three elements of existence). The meaning is not spontaneously created out of nothing (as it appears), but rather the history of the universe from big-bang onwards has been one of self-assembly of meaning by means of filtering (analogous to resonance which selects a frequency for amplification) - a process of physical evolution in which packages of information act as environments for each other (an idea close to that of the Principia Cybernetica crowd). This process is evolution by natural selection when it operates on life. Through these ‘resonances’, the universe is assembling ever-increasing complexity - life is part of this process and has accelerated it, arguably we humans have boosted it further. In this way we are very much part of the whole universe - we are highly concentrated localisations of meaningful information. We are part of a hierarchy of complex systems constructed out of the information of the universe - order filtered out of the randomness. All is complex system and necessarily dynamic and therefore a) non-permanent and b) inseparable from its surrounding environment (upon which its meaning depends). These two conclusions are core teachings of the Buddhists.
Keith said…
Carlos, I have just discovered your work and I am very excited about it, so I will be contacting you. Specifically considering this post - I am sure you are aware that finding common themes between eastern philosophy/ metaphysics and modern physics is quite trendy (first made famous by Fritjof Kapra’s ‘Tao of Physics’). The usual idea is that modern physics suggests all things are connected (at the quantum scale via wave function interaction) and I know you are aware of Wheeler’s interpretation of ‘it from bit’ and the ‘observer generated universe’ which seems to place humans (especially physicists) in a special cosmological position! A rather stronger argument, though, is that all things are what they are entirely because of the semantic (meaningful) information which orders matter/energy in space/time. Indeed the universe is the implementation of meaning (information, space/time and energy/matter are the three elements of existence). The meaning is not spontaneously created out of nothing (as it appears), but rather the history of the universe from big-bang onwards has been one of self-assembly of meaning by means of filtering (analogous to resonance which selects a frequency for amplification) - a process of physical evolution in which packages of information act as environments for each other (an idea close to that of the Principia Cybernetica crowd). This process is evolution by natural selection when it operates on life. Through these ‘resonances’, the universe is assembling ever-increasing complexity - life is part of this process and has accelerated it, arguably we humans have boosted it further. In this way we are very much part of the whole universe - we are highly concentrated localisations of meaningful information. We are part of a hierarchy of complex systems constructed out of the information of the universe - order filtered out of the randomness. All is complex system and necessarily dynamic and therefore a) non-permanent and b) inseparable from its surrounding environment (upon which its meaning depends). These two conclusions are core teachings of the Buddhists.
Thanks for the comments, Keith!

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