“People are born with the two energies of Heaven and Earth, Yin and Yang, so they have these two energies, Yin and Yang, within their bodies. If people can bring the Yang to the Yin, and cause the Yin to follow the Yang, Yin and Yang adhere to each other. In the midst of ecstatic trance, there is a point of living potential, coming into being from non-being, whereby the spiritual embryo can be formed and the spiritual body can be produced.
“When this practice reaches its consummation, you break through space and have a body outside your body. Walking on the Sun and Moon without form, penetrating metal, and stone without hindrance, you transcend Creation.
“In material alchemy, when quicksilver is exposed to fire, it flies off. When lead is put into quicksilver, the quicksilver is stabilised, and they combine to form a mass without volatility.
“What I realise as I observe this is the Tao of controlling Yin by means of Yang. The human mind is mercurial and unpredictable; it gives rise to emotions about what it experiences, and stirs up confusion after exposure to external influences. This is like quicksilver flying off when exposed to fire.
“If the mind of Tao is always present, warding off danger and one is always aware, then the human mind has no room to arise. This is like quicksilver being stabilised by lead.
“If you then go on to work diligently at increasing the positive energy of the mind of Tao while reducing the negative energy of the human mind, increasing and reducing until no more increase or reduction is possible, then the human mind dies and the mind of Tao is stable.
“The seed of realisation is then in your hands, and with it you can become a sage, an immortal, a Buddha. At this point, the foundation of essence and life is established. Now if you go on to do advanced work, you will surely attain profound self-realisation.” – Liu I-ming (1737-?), Awakening to the Tao.
- Tao = Yin + Yang
- Spirit = Matter-Energy + Mind
- Nature = Matter-Energy + Life (Soul?)
- Humans = Body (including the brain) + Mind
- Computers = Hardware (including electricity) + Software
We can but only surmise that there are three active principles in the universe, namely: Spirit, mind, and matter-energy. However, it is said that all is One, that all is essentially Spirit. We can deduct this by looking at a biological phenomenon called life.
When we look around us, we observe the material world (matter-energy) full of living organisms (life). We can deduct from observing all the many living organisms that they are conscious (have consciousness) of the world around them and some living organisms (life) even demonstrate the ability to think and solve problems (they have mind).
The universe could be one big living organism. Death, like time, is probably an abstract of the mind. Spirit is conceivably (hopefully) above time, mind, and the universe, and it is possibly the Ultimate, True Reality.
If you look at a computer, you can distinguish between hardware (including electricity) and software. Hardware is like your body (including your brain), software like your programmed behaviour and memory (ROM and RAM) – your mind. Spirit flows through you and makes you alive, but is not part of you and it is at the same time all of you – the Life in you. Spirit passes through you unchanged – similar to the electricity passing through the computer, or like mind passing through your brain.
- Hardware (including the Brain) – Body
- Software (BIOS, Programs, and Data) – Mind
- Manager/Programmer/Engineer/Spirit/Operator – Spirit
- Hardware (Matter-Energy, including the CPU and electricity)
- Software (Data/Information and Programs/Algorithms/Code)
- Users and creators
Therefore, if we look at a modern personal computer (a PC) we see a cabinet, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, speakers, a printer, a scanner, etc. If we look inside the cabinet, we will also see a mainboard with a central processing unit (CPU). Usually there are also video and audio cards, as well as random access memory (RAM) units plugged into special slots. This, including all the wiring, constitutes the computer’s hardware components.
To be operational a computer will need a source of suitable energy (electricity) as well as a hierarchy of interconnected computer programs (software components) – firmware, an operating system, applications software programs, and an operator. Electricity (electrons and ‘holes’) is also a physical component like the computer hardware, but the computer programs and information in the programs, although anchored in hardware, are something completely different from the hardware altogether.
We have moved away from the mere mechanistic machine to an electronic device – a machine with a ghost inside! The modern electromechanical apparatus now has not only memory, but also has enormous decision-making capabilities! It has evolved from a ‘mechanical idiot’ into a ‘thinking android’.
If we compare ‘the anatomy and physiology of a living organism’ with ‘the architecture of a PC’, we will find certain noticeable similarities and not only in the hardware parts (anatonomical aspects) of both, but especially in the software parts (psychological aspects). Software in both cases is entirely outside the realm of the physical scientists.
We still have a very inadequate knowledge of mind (never mind what physicists and psychologists say about mind), and an even lesser understanding of Spirit, or the relationship between the two concepts. These big gaps in our knowledge are because of our inability to build adequate models, or to make accurate maps, of mind and Spirit. Our science and religions are too primitive still. We are too primitive still!
Hardware mechanisms are types of structures where the working parts maintain their identity and produce their effects individually, so that the activity of the structure is, at least theoretically, the mathematical result of the individual activities of the parts.
With the two concepts of hardware (matter-energy) and software (mind) before us, we can see how the natural wholes of the universe fall under both concepts. There is a measure of hardware everywhere, and there is a measure of software everywhere, but the software gains on the hardware in the course of Evolution. Software becomes more and more as hardware becomes less and less with the advance.
Software is the more fundamental aspect, and we may therefore say that hardware is an earlier, cruder form of software; the more software there is in a structure, the less there is of the hardware character, until finally in Mind and Spirit the hardware concept ceases to be of any practical use.
What is the relationship between the earlier hardware and the later software elements in composite structures, such as bio-chemical and psychophysical wholes, and in computers? How can the material and the immaterial influence or act on each other? This was still one of the great-unsolved problems of philosophy, and science found it no less embarrassing.
The tendency for science has, as a rule been, to look upon the earlier physicochemical structures as dominant, and upon the latter software elements of life and mind as essentially unreal or as having only an apparent reality. Science looks upon the physical realm as a closed system dependent only physical laws, which leave no opening anywhere for the active intervention of non-material entities like life and mind.
On this view, the activity and causality of life and mind are therefore at bottom essentially illusory. On the other hand, if we have to be guided by our clear and unequivocal experience and consciousness, nothing can be more certain than that our human volition issues in active movements and external actions.
Besides, if life and mind were merely ineffective illusions, how could they have arisen and grown in the struggle of existence?
While science denies reality to life and mind, the other side retort by erecting them into vital and mental forces with a substantiality of their own. Thus, we have the counter-hypothesis of Vitalism.
Both views, in fact, are one-sided and misleading; the mechanistic view by ignoring the essentially software element in organic or psychical wholes, and the vitalistic view by misconceiving the vital or psychic element in such wholes.
The fundamental mistake is the severance of essential elements in a whole and their hypostasis into independent interacting entities or substances. Thus, body and mind wrongly come to be considered as two separate interacting substances.
In reply to mechanistic science, it can be shown that the holistic factors of life and mind do not interfere with the closed physical system, and that a proper understanding of the laws of Thermodynamics permits of the immanent activity of a factor of selectiveness and self-direction, such as life or mind (software), without any derogation from those laws.
Again, in reply to the Vitalists, who invented entelechy, or some other substantive entity for the system of life and mind, it can be shown that no such deus ex machina is necessary. That the fundamental concept of the software paradigm suffices to explain the creative, directive, controlling activity of organic and psychic wholes; and that the attributes of life and mind are inherent in the concept of wholes, and in organisms and humans as wholes.
Entelechy is a philosophical concept of Aristotle (384-322 BCE). The term traces to the Ancient Greek word entelecheia, from the combination of the Greek words enteles (complete), telos (end, purpose, completion) and echein (to have). According to Aristotle, it is the state of something that is fully realised, i.e. actuality as opposed to potentiality.
We thus get rid of the notion of separate interacting entities and view organisms and humans as wholes, which involve both the earlier hardware and the later software phases of Holism – the view that a whole system of beliefs must be analysed rather than simply its individual components. As we have seen the hardware aspect of reality to be but an earlier, cruder phase of the software aspect, the problem essentially disappears.
A thorough grasp of the concept of wholes and its consistent application to organisms and humans are thus an explanation for the perennial Mind-and-Body duality problem.
We thus envisage the physicochemical structures of Nature as the beginnings or earlier phases of Holism, and life as a more developed phase of the same inner activity. Life is not a new agent, with the mission of interfering with the structures of matter; it involves no disturbance of the prior structures on which it is based. Holism has only advanced one-step further; there is a deeper structure, more selectiveness, more direction, more control.
However, the new is a creative continuation of the old and not a denial or going back on it. Universal software as an active creative process means the movement of the universe towards ever more and deeper wholeness. This is the essential process, and all organic and psychic activities and relations have to be understood as elements and forms of this process.
No explanation is possible which ignores this active creative inner whole at the heart of all, organic or psychic structures; in the light of this whole all apparent contradictions disappear.
The fact of Evolution shows that this universal software determines the course, the character, of the advance. Thus, the software aspect is pulling all the evolving structures faintly but perceptibly in the direction of greater creative synthetic fullness of characters and meanings, in other words, towards more wholeness. The inner trend of the universe, registered in its very constitution is directed away from the merely mechanical towards the holistic type as its immanent ideal.
We had a whole paradigm shift, and have since developed tools like general systems theory, cybernetics, and chaos theory that are directing our approach to these new, technological developments. The mechanistic worldview of Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes has become utterly, untenable and we have to reconsider our world perspective and probably develop a more holistic view of our world and belief systems.
We urgently need alternative views on science, religion, and philosophy to explain the world around us; we need integrated maps of reality to make sense of our lives; the existing fragmented (‘disjointed’) maps only serve to confuse us.
Science gives us one window on reality; philosophy and religion give us two other windows, but we now need a bigger, single window to integrate all our fragmented (‘disjointed’) maps of reality. Well, a mapmaker of reality, in the first instance, must think for himself/herself – that is presently our only alternative to ‘canned’, organised science and religion!
Furthermore, science is so compartmentalised into different disciplines within science itself that it has become impossible, for example, for a geologist to have an intelligent conversation with a geneticist on biology or physics. A cardiologist might even have trouble understanding, for example, an orthopaedic surgeon. They speak ‘different’ languages.
I have always endeavoured to be a multi-disciplined generalist rather than a specialist. Managers, engineers, and economists must be integrators of knowledge and ideas above all else.
Everything that we know and believe is based on assumptions and is expressed in language. We all like to ‘believe’ that we are rational and logical.
However, this is exactly where all our problems in understanding the ‘software’ component of the universe begin. This component of reality does not necessarily conform to our human logic, and language is certainly not adequate to express spiritual-mental (software) concepts.
PS: I really think that holography (or something similar) is the missing link and has a very huge role to play to "accommodate the (apparently) non computational (non algorithmic) nature of human consciousness".