Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tabloid Democracy

Nov 8, 2016: Choose one to be our new four-year führer

I'd like to vote the issues
But I never get the chance
The mud from my TV set
Is creeping up my pants.

Which one held the pistol?
Which one held the bag?
Which one smoked Merrywanna?
Which one is the fag?

Which one armed the Muslims?
Which one dressed in drag?
Which one peed its trousers?
Which one shoots up skag?

Which of them is antiSemite?
And which is antiGoy?
Which one hates the Constitution?
Which one loves an altar boy?

Which one sleeps with bimbos?
Which one burnt the flag?
Which one's hot for bondage?
Which one's on the rag?

Through the magic of the ballot
The dirt has all dispersed
We may not choose the best one
But we're flushing out the worst.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Raw art: August O'Connor; Enhancements: Dr Jabir

The Monist insists One Reality is true.
But Dualists believe that Reality is Two.

The most famous Dualist was Rene' Descartes
Who thought Matter and Mind are Reality's parts.

Also Muslims and Catholics divide up the Whole
(along with Billie Holiday) into Body and Soul.

Bishop Berkeley for whom

                       Berkeley campus is named
Was a Monist who claimed 

                          only Mind can be blamed
For all we perceive 

                  through the senses that guide us
And the whole starry universe
That only just seems to be living outside us.

That Matter is King is the orthodox creed
Of the Monistic church of the science stampede
Whose catechism states in mathematical patter
That mind is merely some mishmash of matter.

A different foundation has been nurtured among
Atmanspacher, Spinoza, Wolfgang Pauli and Jung
Dual-aspect Monism is beating the drum:
Saying Reality's Heart is unspeakably One.

But this One when envisioned 

                            from multiple stances
Can seem to divide into alien romances.
One kind of cutting makes Matter and Mind
Which humans call life of the everyday kind.

But what if a different style 

                                   of carving up the One
Would give us new experiences 

                            that physics cannot plumb?
By slightly twisting our angle of view
Could we find different ways of being two?

To dramatize this Dual-Aspect Monistic view
I've chosen ZAM as acronym 

                                     for One begetting Two.

(ZAM stands for "Zwei-Aspekte Monismus")

I am ZAM.

As pure white light divides itself
into both red and blue
the fundamental Oneness
splits Herself in two

I am ZAM.
I am ZAM.
I am ZAM.

And best of all, honey,
so are you.

Dr Jabir opens the veil

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

You Can't Fool Us

Ad for Scripps-Howard Newspapers: September 1936 Fortune Magazine
You Can't Fool Us!

For my birthday this year, my wonderful friend Gabrielle sent me a copy of FORTUNE magazine that came out the month I was born. It features cover articles on the emerging powerhouse of Japan,  full-page ads for American steel companies (now outsourced outside USA), heavy industry (now mostly outsourced), insurance companies, post-Prohibition whiskies and quaint old cigarette ads (Kool, Camel and Lucky Strike). But my favorite read was a two-page spread by media giant Scripps-Howard, picturing some "teeming refuse" from an unnamed "dictator-ridden" region of Europe.  A male representative of the teeming refuse (TM) speaks first and is then answered by the voice of Scripps-Howard (SH). I reprint the exchange here without comment, inviting the reader to come to his own conclusions concerning the progress of America's "unshackled press" during the 80 years since this ad was published.

You can't fool us! We're the World's
most Fortunate People!

An American reporter interviewed a typical family in a dictator-ridden European country, from which liberty had been banished. Hands gnarled from bitter toil, cheeks sallow from privation, clad in tatters, this family looked at our reporter with genuine pity, "You are an American" How sad!" they said. "We know that hundreds of your people are being shot monthly by capitalist controlled police. We know that thousands of your workers are dying from hunger. We know that no one in your country has the comfort and security we have. We know all these things because we read them in our newspapers, which speak the truth because our government publishes them!"

Fantastic? Not at all. That family can be found in several countries today where leaders -- lustful for power -- have learned the force that lies in ability to control or to fabricate what passes as news.

Dictatorship thrives on studied misrepresentation. It can't exist where the average citizen is given an accurate picture of local and world affairs.

Herein lie the strength and the hope of America. This country is no Utopia; it makes many mistakes and tolerates many temporary injustices. But, thanks to an unshackled press and the right of every man to speak his mind, this nation is never in the dark concerning its shortcomings and maladjustments.

Here, in this country, the people may learn the facts, Knowing them, and once aroused, there is no illness -- political, social or economic -- our people cannot ultimately cure by the orderly and wise action of their own system of government.

Today, with democracy under fire, the Scripps-Howard Newspapers pledge themself anew:

First, to give their readers clear, impartial, accurate news on both sides of every vital question.

And second, in their editorial pages, to outline with tolerance and logic their concept of the nation's wisest course.
Fortune Magazine September 1936

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Little Night Music

Arabic tattoo: what does it say?
(for Nick's Eightieth Birthday)

I'm not really trying to tease you
It's just an old leotard.
Does the sight of my body excite you?
Does my closeness light your cigar?
Did the sound of my voice
Punch your buttons?
Does the thought of me nude
Get you hard?
Will you sing me, dance me and use me?
Did I catch your defenses off guard?
Then how will you make move to play me?

This harp
is awaiting

her bard.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Advanced Studies

Doctor Jabir: astonished and wary
(for Mike Murphy and Jeffrey Kripal)

Every glance is Her glance
Every touch Her touch
Every smell is Her sexual attractant
Every meeting a teaching.

Music is enchanted speech
Every meal a sacrament
That turns bread and wine
Into the body of God.

How many physicists
Go surfing on Saturday?
And Sunday go speaking in tongues
At a Holy Roller Church in Oakland?

Friday, August 26, 2016

I Love You, Nick: A New Proof

Mary & Nick Herbert: Nick Jr. and Tom, Columbus, Ohio 1939

That my mother and father,
each born miles apart
both sired by Slavic-speaking 
Appalachian coal miners
Mom baptized Catholic
in Cambridge, Ohio
Dad christened Russian Orthodox
in Jeannette, Pennsylvania
met among the steel mills of Lorain
were enamored enough to get married
were greathearted enough to bear children 
in the depths of America's Big Depression.

That my mother saved her money
to give me piano lessons.
Nick Herbert & Alexander de Caro

Friday, August 12, 2016

Robin Williams: Two Meetings

Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park 1974
"No matter what people tell you,
words and ideas can change the world."
Robin Williams

I was sitting outside The Plaza hotel in Manhattan one beautiful summer late afternoon in 1975, when I noticed a mime who was shadowing people on Central Park South. He would walk right behind someone, following them within one step of theirs for about 100 feet. Toward the end of miming one person he would pick out another victim walking in the opposite direction, studying them for only a few seconds. Then he would quickly do a 180 and mime them, instantaneously becoming them. He had every mannerism of every person down pat. He literally became each person. It was unreal.

He would constantly pick totally different people to become. He would transition from a business man, to an old lady, to a flaming gay guy, to a tourist, to a beautiful woman, to a punk rocker and on and on it went. I sat there in utter disbelief for around 30 minutes (until he stopped) and watched the most amazing and funniest performance I have ever witnessed in my life. And I have seen it all, well almost. It was a 30 minute non-stop belly laugh. A few times I had to turn away, just to catch my breath. It was so funny that I was in tears the whole time. This mimes performance was so incredibly wondrous, that it was hard to believe. I asked myself over and over, how could this mime so quickly and perfectly become all of these extremely different people?

I went up to the mime after he was done and asked him his name. He told it was Robin. When I watch the show Mork & Mindy a few years later in the late 1970s I thought to myself, this guy Robin Williams must have been the mime I watched a few years earlier. He was about the right age, he had the correct height, weight, color hair and processed the same facial characteristics that I remembered. But I wasn't 100% sure.

Years later (in the mid 1980s) I was driving my taxi one night in Manhattan when I picked up Warren Zevon and Robin Williams together. I soon thought back to that glorious day watching the greatest performance in front of The Plaza. The mime that was better than anything I ever saw on Broadway (and I saw almost all the great Broadway shows and revivals), television or in film. So, I told Robin and Warren the mime story. Then I asked Robin if it was indeed him. He said yes, it was. I told him that it was the most brilliant and funniest 30 minutes of my life. He was very appreciative of this compliment. I could see on his face how genuinely happy it made him.

Thank you Robin Williams for all of the inestimable joy and laughter you brought to the world. Thank you for being one of the greatest stand up comedians ever. Thank you for your magnificent acting career. And especially, thank you for that special summer afternoon in front of The Plaza hotel where that 17 year old young man witnessed first hand the extraordinarily virtuoso performer that you were.

I will miss the beauty you gave us all. Bless you and may you rest in peace.

Reblogged from Mark R. Elsis at Lovearth.net

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Saul-Paul Sirag's New Math Book

Saul-Paul Sirag in Eugene, Oregon plus some Japanese numerals

Back in the 1950s Reader's Digest ran a monthly feature "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Ever Met". In my long life I've met many such characters but Saul-Paul Sirag must be near the top of the list.

Saul-Paul was born in Borneo of Dutch-American parents who were fundamentalist Baptist missionaries to the Dayak headhunters. When Japanese troops occupied Indonesia in 1942, they imprisoned Saul-Paul, his older brother Mark and their mother Sylvia in the Banju Biru concentration camp in Java. His father, William, was interned in a separate camp where he died before the end of the war. Each morning the occupants of the camp had to line up in front of their cell blocks to count off in Japanese. I like to think that this prison-camp countdown was Saul-Paul's first experience of an exotic form of mathematics.

Back in the States, Saul-Paul was educated in various ultra-conservative Baptist schools, most notably Christ's Home in Warminster, PA and Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. During high school in Canada both he and his younger brother David showed exceptional interest and ability in physics and math. In 1960 Saul-Paul graduated from PBI and soon ended up in Berkeley (Berkeley in the 1960s!) where he continued his science education but also befriended a number of artists and musicians, notably Don Buchla and Charles MacDermed.

Saul-Paul Sirag plus a Hair poster
Energized by 1960s Berkeley, Saul-Paul moved to New York City where he reviewed books, wrote and acted in plays at La MaMa in the East Village, participated in an Andy Warhol Fashion show and, by his own account, inspired a Broadway hit: "Jerry Ragni, who wrote Hair, told me that he got the idea while watching me dance to the Grateful Dead in the East Village." Ah, Saul-Paul Sirag: woolly-headed icon of the Age of Aquarius.

By the early 1970s Saul-Paul was back in Berkeley where he resided at Arthur Young's Institute for the Study of Consciousness (ISC) on Benvenue Street, a kind of boarding house and meeting hall for people interested in the mystery of human awareness. I first met Saul-Paul in 1973 at ISC and was impressed by his uniqueness. Everyone was into Tarot cards at the time but Saul-Paul had created his own private deck, made up of images (including porn) that had significance only to Saul-Paul himself. Saul-Paul was privately schooling himself in math and physics and was writing a popular science column called "The New Alchemy" which was syndicated in college newspapers. ISC was a nexus for people interested in ordinary and altered states. And through Saul-Paul and his friends at ISC I was able to meet many smart people who helped me write my own book on consciousness.

Saul-Paul's room at ISC was stacked floor to ceiling with unusual books. One of my favorite finds in the Sirag scriptorum was a German-language edition of John von Neumann's classic Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics which announces behind the title page: "Copyright Vested in the U.S. Alien Property Custodian 1943, Pursuant to Law." I don't know exactly what this means but it conjures up the image of a famous German physics book ending up as "spoils of war." ISC was only a few blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. No day spent with S-P was ever complete without a jolly tour of campus bookstores in search of exotic codices. This was before the Internet, when bookstores in Berkeley were as common as pizza shops.

Saul-Paul was a founding member of the Consciousness Theory Group (CTG) which held meetings first at ISC, then later, across the Bay in San Francisco when Saul-Paul moved into Henry Dakin's Washington Research Institute (WRI) where both consciousness and the Soviet Union were central topics of concern. While at WRI, Saul-Paul served as president for a few years of the Parapsychology Research Group (PRG) in which Russell Targ (of SRI Remote Viewing fame) was a prominent participant. While at WRI, Saul-Paul devised an ambitious hyperspace model of consciousness which, unfortunately, only Saul-Paul was able to understand.

A description of S-P's hyperspace model appears in Jeffrey Mishlove's authoritative tome The Roots of Consciousness. Saul-Paul penned the Afterword for Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger and published at least two papers on obscure physics phenomena in Nature, Earth's most prestigious science journal. Saul-Paul has also produced an irreverent and unpublished manuscript about his school days at Prairie Bible Institute entitled Jumped by Jesus.

Saul-Paul Sirag at Esalen Institute (1980 - 1988)
 During the 1980s, Mike Murphy invited Saul-Paul and me to host invitational seminars on physics and consciousness at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. The major focus of these seminars was Bell's theorem which proves that if certain quantum experiments are correct, then reality must be "non-local". Bell's theorem is unique in that it is a statement not about experiment nor theory but about "reality itself". Moreover, BT is no mere conjecture concerning the nature of reality but a rigorous mathematical proof.

Many of the participants in the Esalen Seminars on the Nature of Reality were members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group (FFG) founded in Berkeley by Elizabeth Rauscher and George Weissman as recounted in David Kaiser's recent book How the Hippies Saved Physics.

Saul-Paul was also present at the creation of Sirag Numbers and Siragian Triangles, two small mathematical curiosities with no known real-world application.

Saul-Paul Sirag's New Math Book
Earlier this year (2016) Saul-Paul published a new math book ADEX Theory: How the ADE Coxeter Graphs Unify Mathematics and Physics.

Saul-Paul Sirag and the five Coxeter graphs
ADEX Theory is basically a taxonomy of mathematical objects similar to the classification of life forms on Earth, into fundamental categories such as kingdoms, phylums, classes, genuses and species. All animals, both alive today and in the fossil record, can be organized into only 16 phylums with names such as Protozoa, Anthropoda, Mollusca and Ctenophora. Humans belong to the phylum Chordata along with cats, dogs, lizards, birds, sharks and sting rays. "Possessing a backbone" is the passport to membership in phylum Chordata.

Compared to mathematical objects, life on Earth is easy to classify because life has a common origin and all life forms are members of a single tangled family tree. A mathematical object, on the other hand, consists of any structure whatsoever that the human mind can invent and find interesting. Categorize the human imagination? Impossible.

Saul-Paul describes in ADEX Theory the successful classification of a large variety of seemingly unrelated mathematical objects using only five "mathematical phylums" called Coxeter graphs (after Harold Scott MacDonald Coxeter). Here I will confess from the outset that the task of reviewing this book is well above my pay scale. Only a person with considerable mathematical sophistication can truly appreciate ADEX Theory.

What amazes me, as a mathematical pedestrian, is 1. the enormous variety of mathematical objects that can be brought together into a few communal families by this simple classification scheme and 2. the peculiar nature of the five "mathematical phylums" that are able to tame this giant population of unfettered figments of the human imagination.

Get this: the mathematical phylums, called Coxeter graphs, are symbols for something called Reflection Groups which are analogous to a set of mirrors in multidimensional spaces. Each Coxeter graph stands for, if I understand things correctly, a particular KALEIDOSCOPE in hyperspace. So, instead of a backbone, each member of the same mathematical phylum possesses, in some sense, the same brand of kaleidoscope.

And here is a partial list of the variety of mathematical objects which Saul-Paul shows how to classify using just five mathematical phylums (five Coxeter graphs):

1. The Coxeter reflection groups, or Weyl groups
(the objects these diagrams were originally designed to represent)
2. The Thom-Arnold "simple catastrophes" of dynamical systems
(the "butterfly catastrophe" lives in phylum A5)
3. Digital error-correcting codes
(Hamming-8 code lives in phylum E8)
4. Knot and Braid theory
(E6, E7, E8 phylums important for classifying knots)
5. Maximal quantum entanglement of 3 qubits
(related to the E7 phylum)
6. Roger Penrose's "twistor theory"
(twistors live in every ADE phylum)

And that's just some stuff I can almost begin to understand. Saul-Paul goes on to show how ADE phylums can help organize Lie groups, Klein-DuVal singularities, McKay correspondence groups plus Kac-Moody and Heisenberg algebras.

Moving on to more practical topics, the guy that inspired Hair uses ADE to clarify and unite topics in string theory, black hole physics, the holographic principle plus his own rendering of the possible ADE underpinning of our current Standard Model of elementary particle physics.

Oh, and this theory can also help us understand something called "quivers".

This book should appeal to specialists in any of the above-named fields who will appreciate Saul-Paul's passion for these esoteric topics and his fine attention to detail. In a rare literary aside, Saul-Paul shares this: "In his preface to Regular Complex Polytopes, Coxeter wrote: 'Its relationship to my earlier Regular Polytopes resembles that of Through the Looking Glass to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,' This book which Coxeter says he 'constructed ... like a Bruckner symphony' is the most beautiful mathematical book which I possess (among several hundred)."

And you there reading these words now. Which is your most beautiful book?

The author of ADEX Theory lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife Mary-Minn.

Saul-Paul Sirag at the Eugene, Oregon Ken Kesey statue
plus the first nine Sirag Numbers

Friday, July 8, 2016

Virtual Reality

Doctor Jabir 'abd al-Khaliq

Let's pretend to be perfect
Let's pretend to be bad
Let's pretend to be low life
Let's pretend to be mad

Let's rip off our clothing
And pretend to be holy
Let's dress up like cops
And go out patrolling

Let's pretend to be starving
Let's pretend we are fed
Let's pretend we are single
Let's pretend we are wed

Let's pretend to be prostitutes, porn stars
Medieval Russian saints
Let's pretend to be scientists, housewives
People with horrible complaints

Let's pretend we're telepathic
And read each other's minds
Let's pretend we're individuals
And live like porcupines.

Let's pretend we are artists
Ann Rice or Jimmy Joyce
Let's pretend to be what YOU want
Live in the daydream of YOUR choice

Pretend you're someone special
And I am special too
Prima donnas in a drama
Or fairy tale for two

With supporting cast of thousands
Playing enemies and friends
Who pretend to love and hate us
In ways we don't intend

Let's pretend we're evil devils
With stinky old cracks
Let's pretend we're good angels
With wings on our backs

Let's pretend we are gods
That run this whole show
And whatever we please
Is the way it will go

Let's play we are separate
Let's play we are One
Let's play we are dying
Pretending is fun

Let's pretend we are suffering
From a wound that won't heal
Let's forget we're pretending
Let's pretend it's all real.

Large Hadron Collider: Atlas Experiment

Friday, July 1, 2016

Vidyakara's Proof


How could He have made you so beautiful
And not kept you for Himself?

Therefore there is no God.

(from Vidyakara's Treasury (ca 1100AD)
translated by Octavio Paz.
Compare with Schrödinger's Proof)