Desire

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Desire: to wish or long for. “When you wish upon a star”. De-sire comes from the latin de+side (star) – desiderate.

A couple of blogs i have read lately have got me thinking on the subject of Desire.

Our desire(s) could be said to be at the very heart of our being. We can do something to ‘Our Heart’s desire’, our heart aches with desire. Many of the verses in Proverbs and Psalms speak of the vital connection between the heart and our desire as a link to God. “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Prov 13:12

Throughout the ages philosphers from Plato to Immanuel Kant have considered desire as an important motivating force in human life. Even Buddhism which considers it necessary to eliminate sensual desire  (that causes all suffering)  in order to find Nirvana concedes that a novice is to work on motivational forces through skilful application of desire.

Our greatest desire determines our main priority in life; our priorities strongly determine our choices; our choices lead to the actions we take and our actions we take determine the kind of life we live. How we behave and who we become.

regret

So what is your greatest single desire?

Is it a desire of self ( one that gives you personally the greatest degree of personal or sensual pleasure) – or a desire to follow the Will of God or of something greater than (external to) just yourself? ( Humanity?, Ecology? Nationality?)

If your greatest desire is to something other than self (but including, as a small part, the self) do you only act in harmony with that desire? Or do you sometimes slip into ‘selfish’ mode and consider your needs over those of others and the greater good?

Could this be behind the ‘conscience’ that sometimes causes us to have a niggling feeling of guilt when we do a thing, or not do a thing?

Maybe in order to reduce the instances of that ‘niggle’ we might consider the idea more carefully?

Any thoughts?

Just Who is in Charge Here?

It is my strong personal belief that all evil we see as such in our lives is the creation of the ‘I’ (upper-case) – the voice inside me (and you) that measures and compares everything to itself, that sees itself as the highest Authority in my life – the thing that drives some insane or splits the mind into schizophrenic personalities because it cannot ‘cope’ when life does what it does and we cannot control it as we (I) thinks we (it) should.

My ‘solution’ is to give that Authority over our life back to the One who created us/I/i.

To learn how to surrender our own will over to someone we can Trust/Have Perfect, Infallible, Unfailing Faith in that they will do for us what is BEST for us, not what the I thinks is best for it.

As the Christians (Hebrews?) say: Thy Will not my will be done.

It’s not the same things as ‘giving up’ or not caring about the (true) self – it is recognising a True hierarchy in all life, not just mine, or human, but all life, and giving supreme command over to that which is Perfect and Complete while we take on the role of a faithful second-in-command over our own lives. (as we send the ‘I’ back wherever the heck he came from!)

In sailing terms: we are the engine/er that moves our ship through the calm or stormy waters of life; adds speed or stops when we need to come to a rest, all the time looking to God as captain/helmsman of the ship, deciding our course and navigating the way so as to get us to the right destination with regard to unseen dangers that might lie ahead of us, while we choose to look to Him for guidance to keep us on the right path to our journey’s end on this planet, trusting in His superior experience of life’s currents and submerged rocks that wait to sink us and cause us to flounder.

In this way we learn to live in harmony with the Main Plan and our life will conform to ‘The Flow’ and not be constantly struggling against it. where sometimes we get small personal victories and sometimes we get disasters.

His Plan may not always seem to be ‘fair’ or make sense, but when has life ever done that? for you? – or me – or anyone?

I believe by having faith and seeking Him and following His way over our own choices He will provide a full and satisfying life for His Creations that He did not design to be sad, unworthy or imperfect.

It is the I that mostly causes those things in us and our pride that prevents us from ever seeing it that way. That is why we are required to learn Humility and to serve Him to His Greater Glory.

Why Time Travel is (Probably) Impossible… Addendum

(Subtitled: Ooops! I forgot one) 😉

There is yet another reason why Time Travel is ( probably) impossible, specifically involving the method of light/hyper light speed.

I did not make it clear ( because it makes it even more complicated and confusing to those who don’t like maths) but there is a reason why Time seems to slow down at near light speed. And it is the same principle that creates this latest nail in Time Travel’s coffin so i better give you the lowdown before i come to the clincher.

Around the end of the 19th century Hendrik Lorenz and others were considering the implications of the recently discovered electron and came up with a formula known as the Lorentz Transformation (later refined and corrected by mathematician Henri Poincare in 1905 and which helped Einstein produce his special theory of relativity).

Basically this formula describes how physical equations that describe some events in our ‘normal’ reference frame here on earth have to be modified when their speed relative to someone doing the observing of events is considered.

Forgive the math but it simply (?) says:

γ = 1/√(1-v²/c²)

Anyone who remembers their high school maths knows that as the denominator of a number gets smaller, the resultant gets bigger, and that you can never divide 1 by zero since the answer is something infinitely large.

Looking again at the equation above we see that as our velocity = v starts to get very close to c – the speed of light – v²/c² gets very very close to one, so 1 minus something very, very close to one becomes very, very close to zero! The square root of that number is even closer to zero and so γ becomes massively large.

Using the Lorentz Transformation as it applies to Time between two observers moving apart at speed = v

To = γTv tells us that for the person who sees themselves as ‘stationary’ (To), Tv( time to the moving person  in the spaceship) appears to be Tv = To/γ or, our ‘time’ divided by a huge number if v ~ c meaning their time appears very much slower,

Similarly, for the moving observer (although to him he sees us as moving away from him while he is ‘stationary’ in the spaceship with his clock) To = γTv  so he sees time as moving very fast on Earth compared to his clock back on board.

The same transformation applies to the momentum of any object travelling at speed.

This says that the momentum of the moving object appears to have γ times the momentum of a ‘stationary’ object (a stationary object actually has zero momentum relative to the stationary reference frame since momentum = mass times velocity p= mv, if v=0 then p=0)

But p=mv is true only for ‘low’ values of v at light speed we have to use p= γp so an object has ‘infinite’ momentum if v = c

The energy require to increase an object’s momentum to infinite would also be infinite.

 

In other words it would take more energy than we can ever accumulate to travel fast as or faster than light speed.

Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible! (Part 3)

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.Blaise Pascal 🙂

(For part 2 see here: )

Alright, as promised so very long ago…

Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible!

Time Machine meets Big Bang

In the movie, The Time Machine, based upon the novel by H.G. Wells, the hero makes a machine that ‘isolates’ him and his machine in a time bubble while the rest of the world around him first experiences a rapid prolonged period of elapsed time and then the same process in reverse. He effectively stays still and, compared to the world, he seems to have no time (does not age) or be incapable of movement. Yet inside his bubble he sees everything inside as ‘normal’ while the world becomes a blur and things decay and pass away and earth builds up and wears down around him as time passes him ‘by’. When he stops his machine he can get out and everything returns to ‘normal’ time but millions of years in the future while he lived only a few minutes inside the machine bubble.  This is very similar to the effect described back in part one. The differences are: a) both he and the earth (and any earth observer) effectively remained travelling at the same speed and direction (never came close to moving at light speed compared to the earth); and b). he was able to do the same journey in reverse.

Basically he moved through Time alone, not through space.

Trouble is though, rarely does one appreciate, that here on earth we are never ‘standing still’.

Standing up or sitting down in one spot as you may now be you are moving in at LEAST 4 different motions and speeds.

In increasing velocities they are:

1. rotation of earth around it’s axis ( between 300 and 1600 km/h for most of us, faster at the equator, slower near the poles)

2. revolving around the sun. (about 100,000km/h)

3. revolving around Milky Way galaxy centre (around 3/4 of a million km/h)

4. the Milky Way galaxy is moving away from the big bang and from other galaxies at enormous speed.

you can add another one if you are in a train, plane or automobile right now.

So, now that we are aware of this fact and also of the interconnectedness of Space-time we are forced to realise that in order to move in time we also must move in space. Where we are ‘now’ is not where we were even a few seconds ago nor will it be where we are next year.

Newton observed that any object in motion will continue in that motion until an unbalanced force acts upon it. Newtons First Law of Motion, also known as Law of Inertia.

In order for us to move through space-time it requires the use of an ‘unbalanced’ force, whether it be to walk along a beach, fly in a plane or journey to Mars, or even to move through time. A force must be placed upon the object to be moved and either attract it (like a magnet does steel) or repel it, like our feet do against the earth and gravity.

This force requires energy. Moving in 3d space requires energy proportional to the distance to be moved and the mass being moved and the objects initial momentum, which is proportional to the objects velocity.

As we saw above any object on earth has an enormous resultant velocity, even stationary ones, and hence enormous momentum to overcome.

So time travel would require energy not only to move in the time dimension  but also significant quantities to move in the physical dimensions. And here is another ‘catch’ – just what do we push against, or attract with to move through the time dimension? To what and to where, exactly, is this force to be applied?

Something else we never normally consider in time travel is the concept in physics of conservation.

Things like mass/energy, momentum and angular momentum must be ‘conserved’ and yet if time travel were possible, there could be more mass and therefore more momentum/angular momentum in the future (if we travel to the future) or the past, if we travel back in time, than there is ‘now’ when we are no longer there. That could make things very confusing indeed.

I think the final ‘proof’ that time travel is not possible however is a very simple to understand one.

Given what we know of our human nature – if time travel was possible (at least in a backwards direction) we surely should have had some evidence of it somewhere in our ‘past’ by now?

That’s a pretty huge ‘secret’ to keep without any hints of being suspected. – Probably! 😉

Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible! (Part 2)

( for part 1 see here).

OK – so part 1 seems to contradict it’s title… by travelling at or very near the speed of light our time slows down relative to a ‘stationary’ observer so that we seem to be able to travel forwards in time relative to them! (But not so relative to us).

So how about going backwards in time? Can we go ‘back’ once we have gone ‘forwards’? Sadly, not by the same method. We can skip ahead by travelling at high speed but we can’t skip back. This is because Time slows down for us relative to a stationary observer. The slowest speed we can travel at is always a positive number or else it is zero – which means we are not moving at all relative to them and our timelines are identical, while we travel at the same speed as them. Travelling in the ‘reverse’ direction is possible in space (forward v backwards, up v down, etc.) but it is always a positive speed relative to a stationary observer; we cannot travel in reverse ‘speed’.

Although Einstein showed it to be impossible for anything with mass to travel faster than the speed of light -because, as you approach that speed, time seems to slow to zero – some have hypothesised that if you could go any faster time would start to travel in the ‘reverse’ direction – As Star Trek and a few other Sci Fi movies like to have us believe could be possible. But we can’t and so it isn’t (probably!) 😉

1701

Physicists hold out a hope for those who want to travel back in time however. To understand why it is necessary to rethink how we view both Time, and Space.

To most of us Time is different to space: we know we can move in any combination of 3 directions called ‘dimensions’  (up/down, left/right, into screen/out of screen) whereas time for us is only in one direction and we cannot move in it in any way other than by seconds that can’t be stopped (but see time and speed in part 1).

Einstein though, developed an entirely new concept – Space-Time, where instead of our 3 dimensional space universe the Universe is actually a four dimensional structure (here is where most minds start to really ‘boggle’ – we know we can simulate a 3d image on a 2d screen, that’s how old televisions and pictures work. These days the effect is improved with the use of glasses or special screens on our TV or cinemas. To simulate a 4d ‘image’ though would need a minimum of three dimensions and some pretty fancy special effects. You can’t do it any justice with a 2d picture – so i won’t even try.

What is important about it though is this… it treats time just like any of the other dimensions. it has a forwards/backwards, up/down thing going on with Time. In space-time every point in time AND space can be uniquely defined, anything in the ‘now’ our past, or our future EXISTS as a possible ‘point’ in space time.

As for the ‘backwards’ part in Time Travel? Physics proposes that things called ‘wormholes’ are possible in space-time, things similar to the ‘bubbles’ in a block of Swiss cheese. If we could enter one of these and live they could (emphasis on  the 2nd ‘could’) be a ‘shortcut’ through space-time to another point. They could connect two points massively far apart in space- or in time, or both!

Travelling through the wormhole would take far less time to travel between those points than it would if we used conventional methods – like walking or ‘fast’ spaceships. (Note: walking is NOT recommended for travel in actual space). Theoretically we could go ‘back’ in time. ONE of the main difficulties though would be the ability to determine where the wormhole ‘came out’.

Our conscious perspective of time is that the time dimension just ‘goes’ one way, one speed… but that is JUST our perspective. Different ‘observers’ in different places and possibly moving at different speeds to us will have different perspectives of our ‘reality’.

This means that different people see the same things happening at different times and in different places.

Weirdly, something that we see as happening in the ‘past’ someone else might see as happening in our ‘now’.

Even weirder, something we think of as ‘will happen’ in our future ( say a solar eclipse) someone else could see as happening in our ‘now’. Their perspective has the exact equal validity as does ours.

This means that the past, future and present may all exist simultaneously, for all of us! Altering our ability to perceive a thing may mean we can see the future, or see the past as though it is happening ‘now’ and what we perceive of as a one way stream of time is just an illusion created by our consciousness and our speed as we travel through space-time. (Remember time effectively slows down to zero, there IS NO ‘time’ at light speed, relative to a stationary observer).

But i digress… the post is supposed to be why Time Travel is (probably) impossible…

I’ll show you, in part 3! 😉

10 Great Quotes on (Self) Discipline

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”
― Mortimer J. AdlerHow to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

“When an individual is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of the demands of the church, but because of the knowledge within his heart”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.”
― ThucydidesThe History of the Peloponnesian War

“Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.”
― John F. MacArthur

“Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.
― Dalai Lama XIVThe Art of Happiness

“football is like life – it requires perserverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
― Vince Lombardi Jr.

” The impossibility of an actual democracy is due to this fact of mob-psychology. As soon as you group men, they lose their personalities. A parliament of the wisest and strongest men in the nation is liable to behave like a set of schoolboys, tearing up their desks and throwing their inkpots at each other. The only possibility of co-operation lies in discipline and autocracy, which men have sometimes established in the name of equal rights.”
― Aleister CrowleyMoonchild

“If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work.”
― Russell Banks

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”

― David Foster WallaceThis is Water

“Discipline isn’t a dirty word. Far from it. Discipline is the one thing that separates us from chaos and anarchy. Discipline implies timing. It’s the precursor to good behavior, and it never comes from bad behavior. People who associate discipline with punishment are wrong: with discipline, punishment is unnecessary.”
― Buck BrannamanThe Faraway Horses: The Adventures and Wisdom of One of America’s Most Renowned Horsemen

Discipline is one of those words that can be quite polarising when it comes to people’s personal experience.

It can have strongly negative connotations for those who have suffered from physical and mental abuse by those charged with ‘caring’ for us, be it a parent, relative, teacher or jailer. It can also have strongly positive connections for those who have learned the value, and the art of succesful self-discipline.

In my experience most people are only too happy to have nothing more to do with any form of discipline once they leave high school, or for those who are able and choose to, leave a University or College.

I believe we would have a better and happier society if this was not the case. It is never too late to learn the benefits of Discipline.

Discipline requires the best from us: Courage, Sacrifice, Effort (often the more we work at it the better we become) Patience and Perseverance. The rewards outweigh the cost.

Modern Economic Theory.

Calvin hobbes economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B Watterson

This One Is For Me

Truly – this post is just a way of gathering my thoughts on a topic i find fascinating but which usually has everyone else’s eyes glazing over within seconds. If, by some miracle you find them interesting also – so be it. Read on at your peril.

Absolutism Vs Relativity and a guide to some kind of Perspective.

Can anything ( such as that intangible word ‘Truth’) ever be Absolute ( final and unable to be modified – Fixed for all cases)? Or is everything merely relative to some or all other things ( a reference frame); is there such a thing as an absolute frame of reference which stays constant as compared to ‘lesser’, variable frames of reference.

Simple case: is a kilometer always and exactly the same thing – 1000 metres with a metre never being able to be of two differing distances in space-time. Initial answer is: Yes. However , as velocity is simply distance ( in km’s say) divided by time ( seconds) and as far as most of us know a second is likewise unchangeable then velocity ( km’s per second) must also be absolute – right?

Wrong! If you are standing by a train track and you see a bird traveling parallel to the track at say 5 km/s it’s velocity is 5 km/s (relative to you). But if you were on board a train on that track that was also travelling at 5km/s in the same direction as the bird the bird would appear to be stationary ( 5 – 5 =0 km/s).

You could well say that actually both of you are travelling relative to the ground ( a stationary ‘absolute’ frame of reference to you and the bird) at 5km/s but of course even the ground is not actually ‘stationary’ relative to say, the moon or to a star.

So while in this case both time in seconds and distance in km’s are both ‘absolutes’ velocity can be, and is, a ‘relative’ thing.

That is of course ‘in this case’, because as Einstein showed with the help of his predecessor Lorentz, both time and distance (and indeed even mass) is a relative thing…. a metre does not measure exactly the same thing in all possible cases. As things approach a velocity close to the speed of light (c) time appears to lengthen and distance shorten ( in the direction of travel) relative to a ‘stationary’ observer. This has the somewhat curious property of making the resultant calculated velocity be the same for both the traveller ( at almost c speed) and the observer ( speed = 0) to be exactly the same!?

In case you missed it …  to the observer dist x ( where the traveller now appears to be)  may appear to be a fraction, lets say 10%, of what it was when it was standing still or X ( X = 1 metre; x = 0.1m) while at the same time ‘time’, say 10 of our seconds, now appears to be only One second on board the travellers vessel.. so we see the traveller moving at Xm in 10 seconds or 0.1X m/s while the traveller moving close to the speed of light we calculate as travelling at x/s or 1/10thX m/s which is the same as 0.1X m/s

Sounds weird but as far back as the 1960’s scientists proved Einstein had it right when a clock on board the Apollo space flight was shown to have run more slowly while travelling at a mere 24,000mph than an identical ‘stationary’ clock on earth ( albeit not by very much as 24000 mph is nothing compared to relativistic, near light speed velocities ( ~700 million mph))

According to Einstein the speed of light was an Absolute – in all reference frames, no matter what the relative speed of any observer.

Unlike in the bird and train case where the moving bird can appear to be standing still or even going backwards to one observer, the speed of light is the SAME to all observers so if someone travelling at near light speed shines a torch he sees the light beam ‘move’ at speed c while a stationary observer sees the same beam also travel at speed c even though the two observers are separating from each other at about the speed of light ( c). This seemingly defies logic – or better put ‘common sense’ – but the maths and experimentation have both proven it to be true ( absolutely true in fact 😉 )

So – it seems there can be some(one?) thing that IS absolute – for everyone, anywhere, anytime. ( As for absolute Truth – that’s a future post)

Most things – especially in this – our common everyday world – are relative and usually most relative to us personally, whatever our particular frame of reference ( state of mind) is at the time. We may, from time to time, find a common ( Absolute) frame of reference with another like-minded individual but these moments are usually somewhat transitory in nature and so are not ( however appealing they may seem) truly Absolute. Most of the time things are not the way they are – they are just the way we happen to be looking at them from the point in space-time we are looking at them from. This can does will and must change with time. – Anything that does not is simply a form of stagnation.

OK… a few simple facts to help achieve some proper sense of perspective.

These days we measure distance with standards that have some meaning relative to our ‘common’ or shared relatable scale ( eg. metre’s or feet) and time pretty much universally in seconds or fixed multiples thereof.

A foot, metre or second which copes quite well for earthbound measuring soon becomes unmanagable when we look at our wider universe. They are difficult enough for simple travel around our own local solar system, the Sun and planets, but if we begin to think further away, still constrained by only our own galaxy ( out of the billions upon billions that co-exist with ours) we find we need something far greater in scale to be able to quantify things like distance or speed.

Nothing we currently have control of can travel faster than the speed of light, c. Yet scientists have a standard measure in space for  distance which is a light year ( time itself becomes a part of distance) A light year is how far a particle of light travels uninterrupted in space over one entire year or roughly 10 trillion (10,000,000,000,000) km or 6 trillion miles.

On earth our closest neighbour in a city is generally only 20 metres (0.020km) away, in the country maybe as much as a couple of hundred kms away. In Space our nearest neighbour is more than 40 trillion kms away – an eight year round trip if you could travel at the speed of light itself! To even leave our own galaxy we would need ( via the SHORTEST route) to travel over 10,000 light years (100,000,000,000,000,000 kms) to reach our nearest galactic neighbour (Andromeda) would take a 2,000,000 light year journey (or 200 times longer than human civilisation or 10 times as long as our species has lived on earth, if we could even reach the speed of light to make the journey).

Ballpoint tip

 

Every single one of you reading this is but one of 7 000 000 000 other nearly identical ”you’s” you share this solitary planet with. Our Entire planet is but one of the 100, 000,000,000 plus planets in our galaxy. Every one of those blobs above is a different galaxy to ours of which ours is but an average one and that entire picture would be blotted out from your line of vision if you held a ball-point pen at arms length, just by the ball alone – and the entire rest of the sky ( which we can only ever see less than half of at one time) holds a similar number of galaxies in the same miniscule area. So just how big are your problems really?

Getting some kind of perspective here?

So the latest science tells us our particular species of humanity first walked the earth around 200,000 years ago and that our planet first began to cool and orbit the Sun around 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) yrs ago. Our Sun is a relatively young ‘New’ second or third generation star and that our local galaxy – the Milky Way – likely formed within the first billion years of the Universe’s current incarnation, which they believe began about 13.8 billion years prior to today. Makes our own little 100 year life span seem somewhat negligible huh?

So in the immensity of space and the enormity of time our little part of the Universe is practically insignificantly small and unremarkable… so why does everything we do or attempt or become take on such seemingly gigantic and hard to overcome proportions??

Simple really, because we are conditioned to view EVERYTHING from our own perspective as being ‘the centre’ of the universe and originator of all thought and hence everything we see or experience. ( Yes folks, we are all just a bunch of little GODS).

This is such a tremendously horrifying, and even paralysing, thought (some may even call it a blasphemy and you just know that’s gotta be a bad thing!) that the vast majority of us run screaming and waving our metaphorical hands in the air looking for a safe place to escape from the enormous responsibility of it all. We do everything possible to give our Godliness away and let someone else take all the weight and burden of responsibility. We look (often with the assistance of our parents, teachers, friends, enemies, workmates, bosses, politicians and anyone else who we look up to orwho feels the need to grab a little of our power to feed their own hungry ego’s) for ways of ridding ourselves of our true nature – of the wondrous ability we are all potentially capable of – of living a truly Inspired Life. Of giving of ourselves instead of taking from others and of proving to ourselves just how much power we have been given by being born with a brain, a heart, a mind and a body – in whatever shape they might currently have been bashed.

How’s THAT for a Unique Absolute Perspective?

Could you possibly consider your life from that particular vantage point? ( Then proceed to actually Live for the rest of your powerful, God-like, life with it intact?)

well…. you could always give it a shot; see where it might lead – no?