Review principles that will go into my “proof of the existence and nature of God”

Review principles that will go into my “proof of the existence and nature of God”

2020|5|15

Review principles that will go into my “proof of the existence and nature of God”, centered around the analogy that we are like cells in the body of an intelligent, enlightened, compassionate unicellular Organism Who has our interests at heart but also has an overarching agenda — on a much longer, civilizational, timescale than our short lifespans: to conquer evil. 

Here are a few of the criteria to discuss in that proof: 

analogous to progressive criticisms that capitalists depend on society and thereby are not “self-made entrepreneurs”: 

  • prehistoric and historical arguments by comparison to our short lifespans (e.g., how our lives are, and the future of life on earth will be, influenced by the role that hominids played in the biosphere 100,000 years ago)
  • timescales and networks beyond any human agency
  • setup of cultural conditions beyond the span of humanistic perspectives
  • the distinctions between reductionism and holism; in vitro and in vivo analysis, linear perturbation analysis and chaos control

sensitivity to initial conditions (especially during pivotal eras) that invoke notions of responsibility to future generations and the design and path of human civilization

  • responsibilities for downstream consequences of our actions (e.g., deporting innocent immigrants, empowering dictator wannabes)

the natural history of life processes, as predicted by my theory

  • a simple “bottom-up, looking-downward” induction proof of how any “quasi-organism” “sees” its “cells” 
  • a problem: Specifying civilizational designs may also give “the keys to the kingdom” to pathogens, like dictators and/or viruses. Accountability mechanisms (like civil lawsuits against authoritarian rulers and direct fiduciary accountability for governments that deviate from democratic norms), cryptography, and passwords offer some hope of beating back pathogens, but arms wars are likely unavoidable and occasional disease processes inevitable. 
  • a partially open question: Are there corresponding “top-down” and/or (especially) “looking up” mathematical analyses of how the ephemeral “cells” should be responsible and answer to the “whole organism” over its (civilizational and longer) “lifespan”? 
    • In the appendix to my father’s autobiography, I described “a generalization of the Golden Rule to higher levels” in this setting — to act how we would want our cells to behave to help ward off disease | dysfunction | bad designs | and accidents. 
    • From a corresponding analytical standpoint, a reciprocity principle might serve this purpose of a “generalized Golden Rule” — expressing between levels how higher levels would want lower levels to behave | serve | and respond to new challenges. 
    • The reciprocity of that arrangement could be expressed in terms of the security that lower levels get from participating in a higher-level whole. At the same time, lower levels should not expect such reciprocity, based on their own experiences with levels below them, but only acknowledge the general principle.
  • the unicellular-like bootup process through which human civilization has been sleepwalking
  • arguments that current conditions resemble embryogenesis
  • the whole structure of my theory of civilizational design

the role of human civilization in the course of life on earth

  • (hopefully) replacing the aimless brutality of natural selection under biological evolution with awareness | compassion | and wisdom of civilizational design
  • the responsibilities that humanity has, as the only species capable of developing an enduring civilization

a basis for discussing soteriology (salvation)

  • the central role of “radical collective responsibility” in my theory, which connects to the distinction between unicellular and multicellular life
  • the central role of Christian doctrine, now in relation to analytical constructs, as a basis for understanding how that pivotal religion might have considered evangelism in the context of proselytizing
  • the inclusiveness that finds roles for virtually all religions, within a context that sees Christian doctrine in relation to physical principles of civilizational dynamics, but also recognizes the role for “differentiation” and “organogenesis” within civilization as “the body of Christ”
  • the need for a universal theological discourse on what’s important to nature | life | and civilization over all timescales
  • ways our legacies will answer to future generations and human civilization for our contributions at a pivotal era in our history
  • the patterns we each leave behind that perpetuate our existences, for better or worse, and the propagating consequences they will have over the unfolding of life on earth
  • the satisfaction or regret we might experience in an afterlife (or on our deathbeds), realizing the enduring consequences of the patterns we leave behind
  • the usefulness of such conversations in shutting down and shutting up conspiracy theorists and other kooks
  • the usefulness of such conversations in extending the span of human discourse | reflection | and analysis
Identification of a path toward humanity’s co-creative partnership with God

Identification of a path toward humanity’s co-creative partnership with God

Raymond E. Gangarosa, MD, MPH, MSEE

August 26, 2020

Christian believers have long thought of history in terms of an inversion process, in which catastrophe rebuilds life: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” However, modern science allows us to understand our current civilizational inflection point in terms of the culmination of a long inversion recovery sequence extending from Christ’s crucifixion. God Himself has set up human civilization as a vast 2000-year physical experiment, analogous to a magnetic resonance imager, in which people’s actions and legacies set up persistent echoes that reverberate through history in purposive sequences of events that have predictable future effects. In this way, God has set up a controlled comparison in our era between fundamentalist and progressive theologies, which proves for a second time that Biblical literalism cannot be responsive to His will during rapidly changing times of profound civilizational transformation. Governance based on looking backwards to be responsive to fundamentalist constituencies has elicited a series of large-scale catastrophes during the last two Republican administrations that we can regard either as corrective feedback from negligent leadership or else as God’s wrath for grossly misinterpreting His will — wrenching terrorist attacks, two severe economic downturns, and a deadly pandemic. God’s own definitive proof commands that humanity must henceforth relegate the Bible to a historical and motivational role consistent with progressive theology and primarily discern His will through scientific/theological scrutiny of clues that He has left throughout nature, life, and civilization. Only in that way can we respond rapidly and fluently enough to God’s will to navigate and steer our civilization under constantly changing challenges that He presents to humanity within and between different eras. 

Our era has entered a severe crisis when its unicellular-like operating mode could not handle growing multicellular capabilities that currently are misused to proliferate shallow, untruthful, propagandistic, and harmful communications (e.g., cable networks and social media). That clash between unicellular origins and unfolding multicellular programs is an inevitable stage in embryogenesis, but one that is fraught with peril. As evidence for the ways in which contrasts mix in inversion recovery experiments (in this case, between awareness and self-deception), many fundamentalists are thinking of our era in purely personal terms as preparing themselves for imminent end times. However, God is proving to us, through this inversion recovery that we are now experiencing, that He needs humanity to step up our awareness to think of our civilization as an embryo of the body of Christ that we must, collectively and reverently, design and build. Our embryonic civilization is just undergoing the transition from the final throes of its current toxic and slumbering unicellular phase to a multicellular transformation, destined to build God’s kingdom over the multi-billion-year lifespan of our planet and ultimately, over vast timescales, to reify the mind of God in humanity’s cumulative earthly experiences. To act as though the end times are upon us is analogous to our cells giving up the ghost while we’re still very much alive — or to induce birth defects into, or even spontaneous abortion of, our entire embryonic civilization! 

This interpretation introduces a new awareness of God’s purposiveness, His concern for the future of all life, and the meaning and purpose of human civilization. We can now see the point of Jesus’ sacrifice for all humanity as it pertains to our own time, setting up a branch point now where we can reject the crass selfishness and aimless sleepwalking of the past and recognize ourselves as the only species capable of building God’s kingdom with intentionality and commitment. The clues that God has left in the design of our own bodies say volumes about what it means, now and throughout the future, finally to take on co-creative responsibility for designing and building our civilization as the body of Christ, formed in God’s image. 

God’s inversion recovery experiment was designed to expose, at this critical juncture, everything that humanity has been doing wrong, as exemplified by Donald Trump, his dictatorial rule, and fundamentalists who have sided with him against God’s kingdom. God has set up in our era self-documenting, self-broadcasting technologies that will provide dire warnings to believers of all future eras never again to endanger His kingdom by turning their manufactured doctrines into a Trojan horse that lets in a hostile invader to wreak his own agenda. God is fully aware of the irony that, anticipating the end times, fundamentalists have sided with an existential civizational threat against His kingdom, persistently ignoring endless evidence (by disparaging the “mainstream media”) of His displeasure and wrath. The extensive documentation of our era will leave no doubt to future generations how to identify a civilizational threat and what to do when one surfaces. 

In this crucial immediate recovery process, we can see Joe Biden’s call to “rebuild our nation better” in a new context of Christian, Trinitarian dynamic principles, constructing the body of Christ within our civilization in God’s image based on the principles that make life work. Within that framework, oppressed minorities stand to play a crucial role in the transition from unicellular to multicellular operating modes, converting the back-and-forth conflict between conservatives and progressives that is currently shaking our world apart into a smooth, rotational, constructive, resonant “civilizational life force”. The Trump administration illustrates the flaw in unicellular life that uses minorities as a buffer, cannibalizing any of their transient gains during rougher times; by contrast, in a true multicellular design, cutting off circulation to the periphery is no longer an option. Civilizational designs that commit to multicellularity establish a “ratchet” that keeps progress from backsliding, degenerating, and collapsing so a robust developmental platform can take on new challenges and undergo further design transformation. Over intermediate timescales, oppressed minorities would play the role of embryonic mesodermal tissue, laying down the substrate for the musculoskeletal system and visceral organs of the body of Christ and motivating imminent development of a circulatory system that will serve as a new kind of economy at a higher level, based upon the one that keeps our own bodies alive. An immediate purpose for such a civilization-wide circulatory system could be to sustain everyone on earth with material needs and Internet connectivity during finite worldwide synchronized lockdowns that would purge COVID-19 from the human population within a few incubation periods, thereby preventing the viral pandemic from crippling God’s kingdom indefinitely.

God has also made a point to show us the harm that dictators cause to His kingdom, to highlight the imperative of purging dictatorship from the world. We can institute both preventive and punitive disincentives by holding dictators’ personal fortunes accountable in civil court for the damages they inflict on vulnerable and scapegoated populations through their capricious, vindictive, and/or cruel actions. The exertion of dictatorial power abrogates legal immunities ordinarily afforded to officeholders acting under legitimate authority. 

Also in embryonic terms, retracing humanity’s trajectory from the time of early Christianity, but this time with scientific knowledge and historical experience, corresponds to laying down another body segment (like the head, thorax, abdomen, pelvis), after the previous two cycles of Judaism and Christianity. This process involves healing all the major design flaws that past generations have embedded in our civilization through a neglectful process of “sleepwalking through history”, e.g., the false idol of military-style weapons that conservatives worship, which introduce both autoimmune disease and cancer into the body of Christ. Extending our perspective to infinity in time, we can see how God configured life on earth with multiple inversions and their respective recovery processes (notably, the abrupt extinction of the dinosaurs that allowed mammals to gain ascendancy) to make the human body an evolutionary platform for the development of thought and our civilization a unique and unthinkably rare jewel in His universe. Recognizing our civilization to a developing embryo, we envision that God must clearly have purposes for it that we cannot yet fathom. 

I have developed a scientific theory, based on first principles, that explains how the chemical affinities that drive our thoughts and behavior lead to a universal stepwise, multilevel, scale-invariant developmental sequence for all lifelike processes. This theory puts our current view of human civilization midway on a vast developmental spectrum from understanding of embryogenesis at the level of an individual organism to humanity’s ultimate purpose to make of our civilization a gift to God that He can use to vanquish evil in the far-distant end times. 

Email followup about COVID-19

Email followup about COVID-19

Good morning, Friend#6

Here is your morning musical interlude: 

First another Vienna Teng song, showcasing amazing technological prowess, with an introduction that we geeks-turned-activists can readily appreciate: 

Vienna Teng In Concert: Whatever You Want (w/intro):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4wzzLkwAog

And then a live Arlo Guthrie performance (You know perfectly well what’s coming, so I don’t have to warn you!): 

Arlo Guthrie – The Garden Song – 1987: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QTj45cTB4U

There’s another thing I forgot to mention in my comments about your video advising low-risk populations how to manage the coronavirus pandemic. It’s based on this really brilliant article by Tomas Pueyo: “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now”: 

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

  • It’s not enough just for high-risk groups to practice social distancing. 
  • Even though younger people aren’t at as much risk, even their mortality is about 40 times higher if supportive medical care has to be rationed. 
  • Healthcare providers on the front lines are also especially vulnerable under rationing conditions, especially now, when personal protective equipment is scarce and can’t be discarded after every use. Exhausted healthcare providers cannot give the best care, thereby exacerbating the deleterious effects of rationing. 
  • Against the crush of exponential growth of a deadly disease, we can’t get behind the curve. Once the peak becomes obvious, it’s too late, and lots of people will have died. 
  • The nations that are doing worst in this epidemic — the United States, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom — all have Trump-like leaders (Trump, Putin, Bolsanaro, and Johnson) who characteristically deny reality, sow divisions, and underemphasize planning. 
  • We should have stockpiled massive amounts of needed equipment and practiced a synchronized nationwide lockdown to “hammer down” the virus. We can start over with such an approach if people insist on it: “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” 
  • Deaths will have much more impact on the economy than lost revenues. The loss of the expertise of irreplaceable people, especially healthcare providers, will create shortages and all sorts of “cultural amnesia”. 
  • Education might suffer by loss of face-to-face contact with teachers and other students, but then again, might benefit from creative development of new technologies that allow everybody access to really great teachers. 
  • I think, at a critical juncture in human history, God is showing us that virus-like leaders are worse than viral pandemics. Over most of history, pandemics inspired fear of God. God has put in power a cohort of dictators who show no such respect even in the face of nature’s most fearsome force — deadly pandemic disease — to humble them and all those who have empowered and followed them. 
  • I also think this course of events is a message that those in whom God has invested a lifetime of cultural interactions have more value to Him than the theoretical lives of unborn babies, for whom a manufactured theological doctrine has empowered dictator wannabes and undermined democracies throughout the world. What this pandemic could do, if we are not careful, is simulate the cruel practice of slaughtering elephant herds and leaving the surviving calves in confusion and grief to grow up as psychotic rogues. 

I thought you implied in your remarks that some people are trying to bully our country into a kind of sustained lockdown. I think, until we fully get our act together, it’s wise to put the economy into a kind of “medically-induced coma” so it can come out on the other side of our preparation with good medical results, the fewest possible deaths, and an intact world community. 

This discussion doesn’t consider what’s going to happen in developing countries. It’s so tragic that we prepared so badly for ourselves and cannot exert leadership helping them. International relationships after this pandemic are going to be far less favorable to our position, especially because developing nations will attain herd immunity the hard way, long before we do. We should be prepared to counter their anger at us by providing technological assistance, e.g., inexpensive “Raspberry Pi” computers for every person on earth, so they can pull the whole international community of this economic depression. The days of denying global dependency are over, contradicted by pandemic, global economic decline, and a thorough retrospective critique of Trump’s folly after his administration has safely crashed and burned. 

Ultimately, we can purge coronavirus from the human population by ending our encroachments that spawn zoonotic diseases, vaccination, and global synchronized lockdowns. We have to be patient, recognize what we’re up against, and ultimately preserve our values, not our carefree but now obsolete routines. 

Stay well and safe, 

Ray G

2020|5|20   continued — Friend#6’s response

From: Friend#6

Subject: Re: important points I forgot to make

How bout some push pull.  On a few items.

I’ll use //// for my thoughts since i don’t do fonts well.

There’s another thing I forgot to mention in my comments about your video advising low-risk populations how to manage the coronavirus pandemic. It’s based on this really brilliant article by Tomas Pueyo: “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now”:

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

·       It’s not enough just for high-risk groups to practice social distancing. 

//// high risk groups in my care have to do absolute avoidance , way more than social distancing . I had to get the national guard into my ALF when the HD balked , after a thoughtless hospitalist d/c a pt with pending viral status . I was not willing to wait 1 day.  Compare to some states gov’s who forced known infected pts into Sr living. Accounting for half the deaths. 

·       Even though younger people aren’t at as much risk, even their mortality is about 40 times higher if supportive medical care has to be rationed. 

//// I just have not seen this in practice

·       Healthcare providers on the front lines are also especially vulnerable under rationing conditions, especially now, when personal protective equipment is scarce and can’t be discarded after every use. Exhausted healthcare providers cannot give the best care, thereby exacerbating the deleterious effects of rationing. 

//// agree , but in an early antibody screen in NYC , county residents had 16% + rate, of them health care workers had 6%+ . Indicating nurses and Drs understand how to defend better, or social distancing in practice fails, or both. 

·       Against the crush of exponential growth of a deadly disease, we can’t get behind the curve. Once the peak becomes obvious, it’s too late, and lots of people will have died. 

·       The nations that are doing worst in this epidemic — the United States, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom — all have Trump-like leaders (Trump, Putin, Bolsanaro, and Johnson) who characteristically deny reality, sow divisions, and underemphasize planning. 

//// take out the Sr living deaths , USA has very good numbers. 

·       We should have stockpiled massive amounts of needed equipment and practiced a synchronized nationwide lockdown to “hammer down” the virus. We can start over with such an approach if people insist on it: “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” 

//// agree and Bush , gave a speech recommending , neither he nor Obama prepared for.  And this is not that hard. GT IE is the top ranked program in the world and made a name for itself on just in time inventory . I’m impressed current task force stepped up to muster those methods.  

·       Deaths will have much more impact on the economy than lost revenues. The loss of the expertise of irreplaceable people, especially healthcare providers, will create shortages and all sorts of “cultural amnesia”. 

//// we disagree , respectfully . I have to consider all treatment side effects, including economic when I write an Rx. If the pt can’t afford it , they will not Benifit , if they try and it bankrupts them I have lost the pt. Their are superior  drugs my pts can not afford . I am on 2 such. I have 7 stints and an ablation , glad I can afford , and angry my ins co , does all it can to NOT pay.

·       Education might suffer by loss of face-to-face contact with teachers and other students, but then again, might benefit from creative development of new technologies that allow everybody access to really great teachers. 

//// agree , and this is to the risk of those colleges teaching underwater basket weaving and grievance studies. We as a country need to weed out these extended summer camps with their massive indebtedness and useless degrees. We are a bit biased having gone to a serious Institute . Did you know 10 years ago Forbes business , did a study of graduate earnings and GT was the #1 of all universities for future earnings / cost of degree. 

·       I think, at a critical juncture in human history, God is showing us that virus-like leaders are worse than viral pandemics. Over most of history, pandemics inspired fear of God. God has put in power a cohort of dictators who show no such respect even in the face of nature’s most fearsome force — deadly pandemic disease — to humble them and all those who have empowered and followed them. 

//// I agree , and rethought after your last email. I should not consider an act of nature as evil. If one steps off a cliff , gravity will have its way. I should reflect more on how the “church” of believers can find communion and worship in the natural world , as more dangers arrive. I remind my pts we live on a beautiful but deadly planet . I see my job as more how to help them navigate danger. 

·       I also think this course of events is a message that those whom God has invested a lifetime of cultural interactions have more value to Him than the theoretical lives of unborn babies, for whom a manufactured theological doctrine has empowered dictator wannabes and undermined democracies throughout the world. What this pandemic could do, if we are not careful, is simulate the cruel practice of slaughtering elephant herds and leaving the surviving calves in confusion and grief to grow up as psychotic rogues. 

I thought you implied in your remarks that some people are trying to bully our country into a kind of sustained lockdown. I think, until we fully get our act together, it’s wise to put the economy into a kind of “medically-induced coma” so it can come out on the other side of our preparation with good medical results, the fewest possible deaths, and an intact world community. 

//// I’m seeing increase calls to suicide hot lines, delayed diagnosis of Ca, unmanaged diabetes …. these effects will take a year to , look back on.

This discussion doesn’t consider what’s going to happen in developing countries. It’s so tragic that we prepared so badly for ourselves and cannot exert leadership helping them. International relationships after this pandemic are going to be far less favorable to our position, especially because developing nations will attain herd immunity the hard way, long before we do. We should be prepared to counter their anger at us by providing technological assistance, e.g., inexpensive “Raspberry Pi” computers for every person on earth, so they can pull the whole international community of this economic depression. The days of denying global dependency are over, contradicted by pandemic, global economic decline, and a thorough retrospective critique of Trump’s folly after his administration has safely crashed and burned. 

//// one thing Trump has done is crush the notion of relying on a country founded on Communism . I was lulled into thinking  they would grow out of that unfree state with time. Now I see a hundred thousand chinise  students a year here , have no chance to change dictators ruling over a billion souls. And I have no heart with our trillions of debt. Going on as the worlds policeman. 

Ultimately, we can purge coronavirus from the human population by ending our encroachments that spawn zoonotic diseases, vaccination, and global synchronized lockdowns. We have to be patient, recognize what we’re up against, and ultimately preserve our values, not our carefree but now obsolete routines.

Stay well and safe, 

//// you two. And let your brethren breath free. 

Ray G

From: Ray Gangarosa

Hi again, Friend#6

Good comments. I see you points and agree, at least in part, with some, maybe even all of them. We don’t need to go back and forth debating these issues. But you understand, Don’t you, that my remarks are directed primarily to protect physicians like you who, unlike me, are working on the front lines? 

And, as I said in the previous response, if we keep raising animals for meat on a massive scale in squalid factory farms, if Africans keep eating monkeys, and if Chinese keep eating bats and civets and pangolins (or whatever else), then it’s just a matter of time before some completely unmanageable RNA virus comes to get us, economic depression, mental depression, suicide hot lines, and all. 

COVID-19 was a merciful shot across our bow. God is telling us, by signaling through nature’s tools, that we’re the ones acting like a virus, technology can’t protect us from natural selection pressures, and if we don’t start behaving like a good citizen in the biosphere, He — and ever more virulent RNA viruses — will cull our ranks to a size the planet can manage. And that process, of intensifying pandemic diseases, would wreak havoc with human culture, society, and civilization, turning us even more tribalistically against each other. 

You have been doing the right thing all your adult life with your vegetarian diet, and I’ve always admired you for that. What concerns me is that you’re sending a message to those who are healthy that puts your own life at risk, because they will interpret that to mean, “It won’t affect me or the pandemic if I go back to (nearly) normal”. People will naturally let precautions slip, as you noted about advice not to touch your face. 

It’s interesting that you used the term “push-pull”, because if a “push” of relieved “low risk people” become a crush of an unmanageable outbreak that swamps rural Georgia clinics and hospitals, the virus will exert a “pull” that will first take the elderly patients through rationing, who can no longer be protected. And then it will come for the healthcare providers. 

Pandemics are a force of nature. Throughout history, they’ve been rightly feared. We don’t yet have that fear, even though we know this virus is comparable to the 1918 pathogen that spawned one of the worst pandemics in history. Our technologies are not protective. We have epidemiological tools that work well, but we’re not using them. Instead some people are disseminating really dangerous conspiracy theories.

And your life, my good lifelong friend, is at as much risk as anybody’s. One patient’s cough or sneeze, even through a mask, could end your life in a week or so, if — or should I say when? — a crush of COVID patients hits your corner of Georgia. 

Pandemics are a force of nature, and historically, people who lived through them found that out too late, with deep regret. What we think early, before the virus adapts to local conditions and hits in force, will tend to lull us into complacency. By the time exponential growth and doubling times of 2-3 days hits, those on the front lines will be overwhelmed and everyone will be filled with regret, but the virus will keep on coming until we change our behavior. And this virus, or one that follows, will get worse. Lacking any genetic machinery for error checking its own genome, it mutates on a daily schedule. 

As an epidemiologist who has studied these things in great detail, I can say with considerable authority that our anthropocentrism is a danger to us, especially now, in the midst of a pandemic. Cultures that did really well in purging the virus from island nations were like Taiwan, who had experience with SARS, didn’t trust the Chinese, and had cultural and economic barriers in place; and New Zealand, which has a truly enlightened female president who was willing to take on the small synchronized lockdown for enough incubation periods required to purge the virus from all their residents at the outset before many deaths occurred. 

You don’t have to respond again; I’ve said everything I need to unless conditions change. My longtime friend, Friend#3, reinforced the positions I already had as an epidemiologist. Tomorrow I’ll send another article by Tomas Pueyo that Friend#3 recommended (which I already had), entitled “The hammer and the dance”, which outlines, practically and thoroughly, how to manage pandemics, even those that might be more intractable than coronavirus currently is. Pueyo is a young engineer who has made himself an expert on epidemiology through conscientious self-study. [In the Dr. Lassie Adventures, my own alter ego makes a cameo appearance as the author of the self-help book, “How to finally quit always trying to keep improving yourself all the damn time!!!!!!!”] Whatever your viewpoint is on this pandemic, I think you’ll find Pueyo’s article (if not my unwritten book!) useful, instructive, and well-written. 

Of course, I’d welcome further responses to that article, but you’re off the hook to convince me that I‘ve influenced your opinions. Unless your response to that article compels me to respond again, I’d be happy to let you have the last word and leave it at that. I’m not trying to nag, just to warn. Just think about what I’ve said. 

Starting tomorrow, I’ll go back to my blogs. I hope to cover the mathematics of life. I think you’ll like that! 

By the way, Arlo Guthrie reminds me of you, especially in his audience participation mode. Any comments about the songs I’ve sent? As you can see from the numbers of views, those are very rare performances! 

Your (concerned) friend,

Ray

Email about “Frustration”

Email about “Frustration”

2020|5|23

From: Friend#6

Subject: Frustration

Ray G

I remember as young engineers , in med school voicing our concerns to each other, 

On the lack of discipline of our new field of study Had in math processes / and application. I remember a red faced physiology professor , when I confronted him after a class where he had put an “Impressive “ integral on the chalk board , which 90% of the students had no basic knowledge of, he put up wrong , and only 2 or 3 of my class had enough math back ground to catch the mistake. 

Our engineering roots are based in the hard sciences , which sought to find numerically quantifiable relationships. Every year I served on the GT/BME advisory board, we as industry members asked the question of the facility , “are the students getting enough math foundations”. Biomedical is so broad , and far reaching as a new engineering discipline, course work was crowding out math courses. 

Here the world is faced with a deadly epidemic , and scientist ,those in charge ,

Are not requiring , precision in reporting of data.  Precision of measurement is core to the scientific method .

You are much closer to that field than I , with your CDC connections.

1) Is it happening , and I don’t see. ?

2)Or is it the usual gov , sloppy , I’m in power you listen to me , dumb ass approach to life?

3)or the roots of medicine , as a liberal arts approach to study, with no math foundations.?

To model an epidemic one has to Make initial assumptions and guess the infectivity and lethality (and other variables)of the agent.

Once data is available ,  To refine the model , and redirect planning , one has to have CLEAN data. The USA death certificate process is with out any uniformality , and should not be used in any scientific paper.

I am financially conservative 

, socially liberal

, libertarian against big government

But intolerant of one thing, bad science. 

All of science , begins with precision of measurement . 

Can you give me hope, some one near the top of the CDC has any clue how a simple circuit works and is diagramed . Or are we just “war gaming” , want-a-be generals. 

(No offense to the military , this Memorial Day weekend)

Friend#6

From: Friend#6

Thought of the day.
We may not be on the same boat , but we are all in the same storm. 
Friend#6

From: Ray Gangarosa

Perfect observation! I’m just writing about that in my response to your “frustration” and will incorporate it in my discussion. You’re really great at these volleyball-like setups!

From: Ray Gangarosa

What I have so far, before breaking for dinner. Comments and suggestions welcome. To be continued. 

Hi Friend#6

You have raised such great questions and expressed them so well that I’m going to take a diversion from the daunting task of writing about the mathematics of life to answer your question as another blog. (Or, I have to ask myself, as a confession question, am I grabbing another delaying tactic to write a blog on an easier topic?) I have lived your questions, but not as frustration, but rather as continuous and continual revelation! 

The difference between your frustration and my revelation was that I began to answer these questions in engineering graduate school by asking them in the other direction.  Chaos theory hadn’t been unpacked from Henri Poincaré’s brilliant work from 1917 when I was at Georgia Tech almost 60 years later getting my master of science degree in electrical engineering in anticipation of applying to medical school, so I studied nonlinearity from the other side of the coin: how does it help living systems organize and function? I looked at generalizations of systems theory, like Volterra series (like a Taylor series expansion of Fourier pairs that considers both nonlinearity and memory) and Wiener kernel analysis (like a Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization of Volterra series so terms of different orders don’t interact), that I envisioned might allow nonlinear systems to function something like the technological devices that we build (but later discovered otherwise, as described below). When I was dating Friend#3 early in graduate school, I objected vehemently against the constraining assumptions of linear time invariant systems theory, “These damned engineers treat nonlinearity like it’s some kind of perversion! Don’t they know that all of life is nonlinear?” She didn’t miss a beat. With perfect timing, she narrowed her eyes, changed her expression to one of utter disgust, and exclaimed with dripping mock sarcasm: “You pervert!” That exchange has become a running joke between us ever since! 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that nonlinearity actually is some kind of perversion. The gradually-bending nonlinearities that I was studying lead to sensitivity to initial conditions — i.e., chaos! — because a system’s operating mode depends on when and where it intersects a specific part of the curve. The now-famous logistic map is a perfect example of how a common, garden variety nonlinearity (literally) can generate all kinds of chaos. Throw in any kind of interaction and the system can get thrown into entirely different operating regions at the drop of a hat. No critical process could tolerate that kind of unpredictability. It has taken me the better part of 45 years to reconcile these contradictions — not least because nature doesn’t want to reveal her secrets, and getting past its high-energy barriers demands making commitments to the highest of principles. That’s how I’ve gotten to theology, not through any of the usual ways that people come to religion. 

Besides modulating the running joke between Friend#6 and me, that realization has been the source of great revelation, which I have alternately resisted and embraced many, many times over and over again. Nonlinearity seriously gets in the way of designing the way engineers always want to do, yet it is essential to life, most notably in contact inhibition. It has taken me 45 years to approach and avoid this conflict so I could fathom the mathematics of life. 

You have seen enough in my abstract and introduction to the mathematics of life to appreciate the source of this universal frustration, which manifests in many different ways, e.g., the schisms between progressives and conservatives, the fragmentation you describe within conservatism as your own brand of it, my utter contempt for Donald Trump, and our frustration in medical school with the state of biological knowledge about engineering principles. You wanted the mathematics, so I will express my explanation in mathematical terms. 

Schrödinger’s equation for quantum physics is the basis for all chemical reactions, here expressed for a single nonrelativistic particle to represent the wave function Y of an organism or a planet’s civilization: 

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

where r is space and t is time, h-bar = h/2p is Planck’s constant, m is the square of the speed of wave transmission, V is the quantum potential, and Y is the quantum wave function — which, in this case, represents how an organism or civilization holds together and steers its way through structural space and time. 

Although there are only three terms in this equation, another term is implicit: any kind of phase change that might arise when this system interacts with any others within its event horizon. Since we’re talking about organisms and civilizations, such “phase changes” are laden with value, meaning, and purpose, and can span the spectrum from spectacularly great (“transformation”) to spectacularly catastrophic (“collapse”) events. 

There are (at least) three huge bottlenecks for applying this equation to life and civilization: (1) it has little explicit memory for the system’s past, (2) it lacks the capacity to anticipate the generally predictable course of likely events in life and civilization (e.g., through the preprogrammed sequence of embryogenesis; the predictable metabolic paths of homeostasis, homeodynamics, and pathogenesis; the mental models of creative thought, and the anticipatory capabilities of artificial intelligence), and (3) it is so dependent on system configuration and timing as to be impossible to solve (specifically, Schrödinger’s equation is inhomogeneous, with one operation, the Ñ2 term, in the realm of space (i.e., system structure) another operation, the ∂/∂t term, in the realm of time (typically system timing of events), and the third term, V, in either or both). Over the course of evolution, and then again, every time an embryo recapitulates that same sort of development process, an organism adapts to a changing environment, a child is educated, an adult responds to changing circumstances, or an engineer designs a computer controller, life itself has modified its own design to get around these major bottlenecks. 

It’s easier to see how life got around the first bottleneck, the absence of memory in the chemistry of life. First DNA in prokaryotes and then eukaryotic organelles, life incorporated into the equation a handle into its past. Life developed the potential term V as an integral over time, 

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

where the system could also access the instantaneous signal v as well. Prokaryotes can develop memory a little, eukaryotes a lot better, civilizational “sleepwalking through history” yet considerably better, and full-fledged civilizational design at least has the possibility of getting it almost perfectly. 

Civilization does far better job of incorporating memory by setting up society as cumulative culture, beyond the confines of lifetimes, as people leave their legacies behind for later generations. We can look back through history at the culture at any time, going back hundreds of generations. Ideally, human civilization might become a permanent, stable, and benevolent fixture in the biosphere by letting this memory extend, at least in principle, for an infinite number of human lifetimes who “pass the baton” from the distant past into the indefinite future, in making each successive cultural era a better planetary citizen. 

So the memory-generalized Schrödinger equation becomes 

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

Here’s where life addressed — and always has to keep addressing — the second bottleneck, the unsolvable inhomogeneous partial differential equation in both space and time. Life replaced the Ñ2 term (which is an integral with respect to structural space) with a related term, a time-limited function that is linear in time, by setting up a clock that maps structural body segments laid down during embryogenesis. The system then uses the elapsed time as a cue for each segment as to when it should start and stop developing. To the system as a whole, the term Ñ2 term is replaced by a set of spikes in time t that are synchronized to a specific set of events in structural space r, which mathematically still is, overall, a constant in time. 

I should also note that, since the modified Schrödinger equation has a kind of symmetry in space and time, civilization provides the option of solving in terms of either space (“hardware”) or time (“software”). Hardware derives from the stationary moieties, charges (which correspond to the integral of v with respect to t) and masses (which, within molecules, hold charges in place and thereby correspond to the system configuration, i.e., the Ñ2term). Software corresponds to the two (near-) relativistic moieties, photons (the ∂/∂t term) and spins (the phase change term). For software to function reliably, the hardware must first be solidly in place and itself function reliably. Thus, the order of the unfolding of life and civilization was established at the beginning of the universe, when the five moieties first appeared after the big bang! 

The trouble is that this complicated change in variable involves setting up different regimes for all three terms, which then have to start from scratch, “boot up”, and develop into a functional system. Babies can’t just pop out of the womb and function as mature adults. But at least life can solve the modified Schrödinger equation, so the person can stay alive as he/she learns how to function in the world. 

To see how this works, let’s consider the developmental terms, denoted by primes, that are new functions of time. Ignoring the imaginary term (as if to consider mass reactions, like reaction-diffusion processes), substituting a single Dirac delta function d to represent the set of spikes in t for the Ñ2term, and rearranging slightly, we see that life has managed to simplify the modified Schrödinger equation into a form like 

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

If the integral referred to Y instead of v, we could take a Laplace transform of this equation to get, respectively, 1/s, constant, and s terms; then multiplying by –s/k2, we would have 

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

— which is solvable by simply using the quadratic formula! 

We can imagine how this might happen by shifting our attention to civilization, noting that mathematical induction proofs assure that the same physics holds in both cases. We also note that, knowing these relationships, we have the option of designing the system so that its wave function equation is solvable. Over the course of evolution, life would have had the same option, but with civilization, we have the advantage of applying analytical tools instead of just tinkering at the margins by trial and error. 

Identify the wave function Y as the waveform of human civilization and v as instantaneous culture at any time t in any region r. Recall that we substituted the temporal integral of culture v for society V, which represents cumulative culture. All these terms depend on geographic region r

Each Dirac delta function d selects one moment out of continuous time and pulls it out of obscurity to have special significance. The historical moments I have selected for their mathematical significance correspond to central Christian doctrines: the kingdom of God, the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit, God’s creation. In this case, I didn’t set up a clock to pick them out, as embryogenesis does, but instead used powers of abstraction that are unique to civilizational design. Then the time integral of instantaneous culture introduced a cumulative selection process, effectively looking at how these processes contribute to the sum of a whole. All this was done under assumptions of linearity (which is remarkable in itself), although the theological doctrines I’ve chosen each contain notions of self-sacrifice that extract the essence of contact inhibition — that is, preparing to sacrifice one’s  own interests and life itself to advance the state of the universe (God’s kingdom), human civilization (the body of Christ), earth’s life support system (the Holy Spirit), and the future of life on earth (God’s creation). I didn’t choose the moments when those concepts were derived because I was a Christian (because at the time, I was only attending Christian services for informational purposes), but rather because I was (and am) a scientist. I chose those principles because they are the most important ones in all of life and all of its continuation as a civilizational process. That is the mathematical process by which I selected from the integral that represents cumulative culture V the most important concepts for humanity’s becoming a good planetary citizen | a responsible partner with God | a species capable of co-creative construction of God’s kingdom | and the steward of a civilization that can exist, in stable equilibrium and/or in transformative, beneficial dynamics, with the rest of life on earth indefinitely over evolutionary and geological timescales for as long as God wants our civilization to last. 

Let’s just use the same trick for the Y ∫t v dt term that life did for the Ñ2 term, by considering civilization to be an embryonic process, imagining that instantaneous culture mapped to structural development of human civilization, and assigning Dirac delta functions d to the correspondences between structural space and civilizational time. However, this time, there are a couple differences: (1) the Dirac delta functions for the most significant events in history (the emergence of Christian doctrines that have physical significance) are embedded in the integral over time and (2) instantaneous culture v is part of cumulative civilization Y. Thus, there are both spikes at specific events and continuous, cumulative effects of civilizational development over time. The spikes are going to set up multiple echoes and the cumulative effects will cause smearing, but since we have the luxury of using analytical tools to design the system structure, we could get rid of them and set up the desired integral in time. This admittedly incomplete analysis shows more about how difficult it is to tune up an organism’s metabolism to solve the mathematics of life — or to convey a realistic impression of life in a civilization — as to carry the process to a good design without the distortions of a metabolic (or civilizational) echo chamber. We will discuss the implications of such reverberating echo chambers below in the context of developmental islands. 

I am convinced, with a little more mathematical sophistication and a careful choice of civilizational design, this general approach could set up the solvable quadratic equation above. From the civilizational application of the mathematical trick that life developed, we get some intuitive insight into how it works (especially because the notation and analysis I used was very sloppy and not very revealing!). 

It’s important and instructive to note how many developmental systems life creates under two different circumstances: without and with interactions. See my (finished) discussion of the mathematics of life for a more complete account. For these purposes, just recall that there are 4 terms to the equation if we include phase change. 

  • Without interaction, there are 4 stages for life + (4 – 1) stages at the level of {hardware + software} = 7 stages, with nature deciding the final phase change at the higher level. Hardware has to set a developmental regime for past and present, software for future, and nature decides whether irreversibility is acceptable. Each developmental regime arises from a stimulus-response process at the level of life, which translates to an equivalent input-output representation at the level of hardware and software technologies. This looks like a pyramid of triangles. 

This set of 7 triangles looks like patterns postulated by the fundamentalist sect of dispensationalists as the way history will play out over time. They think the end is near, but I think their assumption of no interaction basically postulates that human civilization is a unicellular process that will come to an extinction event in the end times. That is a mistake an embryo would make, forgetting its multicellular origins and only remembering its unicellular-like development until it had to burst into a multicellular design. What we are fighting about is that we all got stuck in our own developmental islands and can’t communicate until we realize we’re all part of a larger multicellular process and structure, at which time we will all be destined to pull together again. By contrast, dispensationalists are hellbent on inducing a miscarriage just at this critical unicellular-to-multicellular transition, which is so prone to spontaneous abortion. (Isn’t it ironic that such fundamentalist sects are so determined to preventing elective abortions but so intent on causing our civilization to undergo spontaneous abortion before it even starts developing multicellular structure!) 

Let’s look at how this unicellular-like superorganism would play out, even though it doesn’t fit with the natural pattern of a multicellular existence that human civilization should follow. Each such developmental module forms a unit that can get recursively embedded in the same pattern of triangles-within-triangles anywhere else in the diagram. So, for example, like a fractal, we can think of this pattern of 7 triangles as the lower right triangle in another pattern of 7 that builds on it, and that pattern of 7 as the lower right on another pattern of 7, etc., and so on “TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!” (as Buzz Lightyear would say, in mathematical nonsense language). 

The whole pattern might look something like a Serpinsky triangle, which is a kind of fractal. I don’t think these are fractals, however, because the operation is really the opposite or inverse. A fractal is composed by a recursive mathematical operation that generates a spatial pattern. This thing is composed by a recursive mathematical (developmental) process that generates a multilevel spatial and temporal process (like life and civilization). I have been calling it a “carftal”, but if that name doesn’t fit, I’m open to better suggestions. 

  • With interaction, there are 4 developmental stages ´ 3 levels = 12 developmental modules or islands, with the final module just being a placeholder for all future transformations of the system. The first level is that of life, the second that of hardware, and the third that of software. This proliferation of developmental systems establishes the “intellectual islands” that have so frustrated you and fascinated me. Here is the simplest table showing how these processes play out: 
 levelstage 1stage 2stage 3stage 4
life:1physicschemistryunicellular lifemulticellularity
“hardware”:2anticipationcontact inhibitionuniversalitytoolboxes
“software”:3optimizationapplicationsfluencypartnership

As shown in my (final) blog on the mathematics of life, the developmental islands that have frustrated you as a physician-engineer are between levels 1 and 2, specifically those between the two adjacent islands “multicellularity” (your clinical practice as a family physician) and “anticipation” (which is where analog linear circuits reside). My path has taken me from “physics” through “optimization” and slightly into “applications”, a span of 10 developmental islands. Nobody can get to “fluency” alone, and “partnership” is a placeholder for partnership with God! 

But since these are just names without further elaboration (and I haven’t yet finished my blog on the mathematics of life), let’s expand this table to show some granular detail. Note: It’s misleading to portray academic disciplines as a progression of frontiers, especially since the biomedical engineering interface between life and hardware constrains boundary conditions to analog technologies, which obviously can also use software in its downstream circuits. The frontiers represent how life must unfold, not any kind of grading system. 

Note that the origins of biomedical engineering straddle the particularly awkward, 2-level span between medicine/physiology and analog linear circuits and ultimately range over the 5 developmental islands of medicine, analog linear circuits, bilateral interactions, multilevel interactions, and toolboxes. Epidemiology and biostatistics follow a parallel track along 4 of the same developmental islands but don’t (yet!) intersect much with biomedical engineering because their medical origins have concentrated more on the contact inhibition of bilateral interactions than on the linear analog realm of circuits. However, the mathematics of life provides a gateway for unifying academic disciplines but puts great pressure on humanity to use those insights wisely, because the ultimate arbiter is nature’s judgment whether we’ve become good enough planetary citizens — and it can vote to cause our civilization to collapse! 

 levelstage 1stage 2stage 3stage 4
life:1physics5 moieties in the universelife’s 4 interacting moietiespast | present | future | irreversibility chemistrySchrödinger’s equationreaction-diffusion processes unicellular lifeevolution → embryogenesisunicellular-to-multicellular transitionmulticellularitymedicinephysiologyBME, part 1 of origins
  viruses: “hijack, jump ship, and destroy” paradigmsolving life’s equations: developmental processesprokaryotes: greedy downhill searcheukaryotes: parallel competitive search
“hardware”:2developmentdownhill searchparallel competitive searchparallel cooperative search
  anticipationanalog linear circuitsPID control with feedforward modelBME, part 2 of originsprerequisite: realistic worldviewcontact inhibitionbilateral interactiontradeoffs and compromiserealm of epidemiology and biostatisticscharacteristic: saturating (sigmoidal) curvespitfall: timing errorsuniversalitymultilateral interactionsdigital circuitslinear and switching abilitycharacteristic: sharp transitions, no timing errorstoolboxescomputers and networksreliable hardware substrate for potentiating softwarecivilizational design: cooperative construction, building from both sides
“software”:3optimizationtypes: selfish, developmental, competitive, and cooperative searchescorresponding realms for life: viral, developmental, multicellular, civilizationalapplicationsbiomimicrysystematic civilizational designothers??fluencyobservations of how life works, beyond current abilities of human engineeringpartnership with Godgateway to fluent civilizational transformationprerequisite: good planetary citizenship (since nature dictates transitions and can rule with collapse)

BME = biomedical engineering

I still haven’t figured out how best to bring tables like this to life. Each topic one discusses has a table like this, so it’s always different depending on what aspects of reality are under discussion. In fact, I think such tables will be seen as a universal language for theological discourse. On other occasions, I’ll go through tables like this systematically one cell at a time, but for purposes here, I’ll just point out features I haven’t discussed yet. 

The most important point for this discussion is that all the developmental stages are separate islands of thought and action, each one building on its predecessors that were prerequisites for its advancement, but ultimately and foundationally disconnected. The price we pay for solving the equations of chemical and civilizational metabolism is this fragmentation. This is our Tower of Babel, the high-energy barrier that life extracts that forces us to work to stay connected. In one Star Trek episode, Spock does a Vulcan mind-meld with a being that notes how lonely we humans are. And, Friend#6, you said it perfectly yesterday, “We may not be on the same boat, but we’re all in the same storm.” 

Here is the ultimate significance of that fragmentation: it can be deadly in itself! Medical science uses that fragmentation explicitly in antibiotics and chemotherapy to disrupt and kill pathogens and cancer cells, respectively. And right now, as we approach a pivotal inflection point in human civilization, we are compelled to overcome that fragmentation, begin to coalesce as a multicellular-like structure, and ultimately act in fluid, fluent fashion, like a thinking organism, or else our civilization will die or suffer birth defects. 

The frustration we felt as medical students who had been exposed to a different discipline in engineering, which continues in you but morphed in me, is just exasperation at fragmentation. It is closely related to what our civilization is experiencing under lockdown to contain COVID-19, unable to advance our simultaneous expectations for health and wealth. Nature has given us a reprieve for meditating on our values, but we cannot linger in this dead zone forever, any more than a bacterium with a ruptured cell wall or a cancer cell with disrupted replication due to therapeutic drugs intended to kill it. 

I’ve expressed my opinion before that clearly COVID-19 wasn’t intended to kill or damage human civilization, but just to fire a warning shot over our bow. Its targeted high-risk populations — the elderly, the immunocompromised, those with chronic health conditions, etc. — are a reminder that nature can and will subject the human population to natural selection pressures if we continue to misbehave, present an existential threat to the earth’s life support system, and threaten the future course of life on earth. 

I believe the coronavirus is not as damaging to us as what we have been, and still are, doing to ourselves. The (finished) blog on the mathematics of life presents an experiment illustrating how our reverberating echo chamber and Tower of Babel fragmentation. Find a 4-column article online (representing the four interlinked narratives of 1. past: minorities | 2. present: progressives | 3. future: conservatives | 4. irreversibility: irreversibility). Let’s consider that article to be a gold standard for truth, e.g., a scientific paper. Select All, Copy the article, and Paste it into a one-column document in a word processor application. Unless you have a very intrepid word processor specialized to deal with multi-column selections, the new document with the pasted article will have multiple broken threads, reflecting column boundaries, page headers and footers, and likely even the order in which edits were made as the 4-column article was composed. 

Now imagine the implications of this fragmentation under different circumstances: 

  • A microbial infection or neoplastic tumor undergoing pharmacological therapy would not be able to reconstruct the threads of its metabolism, and so those cells would die in large numbers. 
  • A society experiencing such fragmentation, buffeted by reverberating echoes, and confronted by significant smearing would not only lose the thread that describes reality, it would also get very confused. Each faction would try to finish its own version of the uncompleted narratives, changing the tone to suit its own preconceptions — which generally would be very different from that in the original document. Some people with very different biases would regard the original tone of the article with suspicion and fill the new voids with conspiracy theories. The fragmented society might experience violence, hate crimes, and even civil war. 
  • Imagine (as I do) that civilization is at an inflection point when it has to get in synchrony with the earth’s dynamics or suffer irreversible harm, yet some of the factions are hostile to what needs to be done. Their resistance amounts to an existential threat to the future of human civilization and life on earth. The frustration, fragmentation, and polarization intensify. Civil war is a possibility. 
  • Consider the further possibility that ideologically fragmented and oppositional parties conduct a dialog, based on what they agree is important in life. Suppose they agree on foundational scientific and theological principles that can lead them logically to consensus. 

I’ll send this as a blog to the whole group when I finish it. 

Best wishes, 

Ray G

Email after watching a filmed lecture by David Bohm

Email after watching a filmed lecture by David Bohm

Hi again, Friend#7

Thank you so much for telling me about the movie about David Bohm. His work has had an enormous impact on my life and career, but I never heard him speak before now! After all these years, it was amazing to listen to an audiotape of his lecture on the implicate order, and I look forward to watching the videos of his conversations with spiritual and scientific luminaries! Having dealt with many of the same concepts for 30 years, I could almost hear the gears in his brain whirring in modulated thought as he described them! 

One of the saddest things about my career is that I’ve worked almost entirely alone over all these years and had very few professional contacts. Yet, amazingly, three of the handful of my close associates have been huge proponents of David Bohm, each in one of the three areas that he pioneered: (1) In conventional quantum physics, Bohm wrote many seminal articles and one of the most definitive textbooks. (2) Later, he broke off from the quantum physics mainstream and reinterpreted Louis de Broglie’s pilot-wave theory. His former colleagues ostracized him for that work, facilitated by Joe McCarthy’s commission on “un-American activities”, which hounded him for communist leanings early in his life. (3) Bohm emigrated to Brazil, where in exile and near-isolation, he pursued his philosophical studies of the implicate and explicate order. The movie dealt with the last contribution, which I have found to have the biggest blind spots — which drove me to shift my attention to his second contribution. 

Two of my friends who admired Bohm were physicists: David Finkelstein, an emeritus professor of quantum physics at Georgia Tech and an eclectic scholar on all fronts, and Friend#11, who introduced me to pilot-wave theory. Another colleague delved deeply into Bohm’s philosophy, highlighting for me its foundational flaws: it deliberately leaves itself untethered from all past thought to remain as flexible in its analysis as possible. That’s a terrific perspective for someone with the intellectual integrity of David Bohm, but the approach is vulnerable to people lacking ethical tethers, since its intellectual relativism leaves itself vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation and error. The longest and largest digression in my career resulted from following the implications of that track instead of taking a more natural path. 

I haven’t studied Bohm’s philosophical theory because I have a blind spot for philosophy — it’s the only course I’ve ever flunked! I just can’t read other people’s opinions about how life works, because I insist on seeing the scientific foundations. Bohm’s philosophy does have such foundations, but he deliberately makes them as tenuous as possible. With all the vagueness of philosophical thought, compounded by all the combinations of perspectives and experiences people bring into their exploration, the chances of getting the right mix — and then persuading people you’re onto something — is infinitesimally small! As I’ll explain below, Bohm’s philosophy has the further disadvantage of discouraging the overconfidence of direct language, which I have found leads to all kinds of misunderstanding and miscommunication. 

One thing I can study is language, and Bohm obliged me with a truly fascinating essay. By way of background, I did my MPH thesis with Roger Glass at CDC, who had a friend who wrote an essay entitled “To be or not” advocating ruthlessly direct sentence structure: If you find yourself using any form of the verb “to be”, you can always find a more direct and active way to make your point (as this sentence and Roger’s friend’s “correction” of Shakespeare’s indirection illustrate!). 

Bohm’s essay on language was the exact opposite: Since he maintained that we are just instruments of the unfolding of a limitless implicate order, maybe we should only think of ourselves in passive terms. He suggested nested nuances of such passive indirection, to keep ourselves from ascribing too much initiative on our part. When I think of the difference between David Bohm’s radical indirection and Roger Glass’s ruthless directness, I often think how Roy Cohn indoctrinated Donald Trump never to apologize. All these things are great examples showing what a tremendous talent I have for telling when things go from the sublime to the ridiculous — but my problem is that I never can tell which is which! 

I was really fascinated to hear from Bohm’s audiotaped lecture that he didn’t follow his own advice, and in fact, spoke more directly than most people do. His mannerisms sounded very Canadian, using a nervous laugh to call attention to points, almost like the characteristic “Eh?” That seemed to be his nice, charming, and completely valid way of introducing indirection into his communications. 

The pioneering neoclassical economist Alfred Marshall urged his followers to emulate biology, not physics, in their studies of society — and every generation of economists since has ignored his advice. The problem of Bohm’s philosophy is that it’s based on physics, as if to model the infinite universe, whereas our experiences, thoughts, and actions are based on biology. Seeing how Bohmian philosophy can be misused, I’ve stumbled on a way to use Bohmian physics to model biological functions and then found that combination to apply to all levels of life. That approach also emulates dynamic systems, which start from memory of their past behavior as their internal states flow forward in time. As it turns out, that approach has the advantage of connecting to theological insights, so it has the potential of being much more persuasive than Bohm could ever hope to be (Oops, sorry Roger, I plagiarized Shakespeare). Its disadvantages are (1) it might reinforce wrong ideas and (2) it might lead to biases associated with terrestrial biology when we think about the universe beyond earth. 

It was especially fascinating to hear that pioneering quantum physicist talk about terms such as coherence, time, order, unfolding, truth, etc., because such concepts have mathematical meaning in physics. I could imagine, as he slipped those terms into his sentences, his thoughts flickered back to exercises in his classic quantum physics text and then back to the discussion of the implicate and explicate order that was going on in his classroom! 

I think David Bohm would be interested to hear how I can now interpret the implicate and explicate order in terms of the mathematics of life. As you’ll see — if I can ever get my act together and write the damn blog! — fractals, percolation, and flows enter the picture of life all together in at least two different ways. Our actions are embedded as an explicate unfolding of that fractal percolation that defines the implicate order. And voilà! That’s the mathematical explanation that Bohm envisioned as he put the ideas into words! As I imagined his brain unfolding these thoughts in words, I can imagine him responding, “Oh, sure! That’s what I meant! (Heh)!” 

As you can see, whole aspects of my life and career came into perspective listening to Dave Bohm’s lecture! It almost felt like having a conversation with him. Thank you so much for enriching my life by telling me about the movie! Please convey my appreciation to your contacts at the Fetzer Institute for making this treasure available to the public. 

Your friend, 

Ray G