Monday, June 18, 2018

The Best Science

Sciencegasm by Rian Fike
THE BEST SCIENCE
(For John Bell)

The best science
Is done after midnight
In the darkest part
Of the night.

The best science
Is done
On hands and knees
Chasing
Some obscure delight.

The best science
Is done
By two or by one:
A risky high-wire act
That only few can see.

The best science done
Is done for fun
And for love of mystery.

The best science
Goes
Where the darkness is deepest
Not merely to bring home a kill
But to become the very first seeker
Of a deeper darkness still.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Nick Chakras: Part Three

 
12 Cranial Chakras

12 CRANIAL CHAKRAS

Worship at your local TEMPLE
At the forward lobe dividing man from ape
FRONTAL, PARIETAL, OCCIPITAL
And the hind brain situated near the NAPE
Then the CHEEK bones, the MAXILLA
And the MANDIBLE's estate.
INION, TM JOINT and CHIN,
Little landmarks on the skin. 
Toast skoal to the skull, your CRANIUM's domain
Protecting a thing thought useful called the brain.

SPINAL CHAKRAS
8 SPINAL CHAKRAS

Most creatures whom you meet today
Will be propped up by vertebrae
They'll have a PELVIS and a TAIL
A NECK and THORAX without fail.
Though all were born for different fates
Salute your fellow vertebrates.

What partners with the small of back?
Was a matter of no small debate
Both of them are saddle-shaped
So LUMBAR and PERINEUM mate.

Bring attention to the WHOLE body
Then turn your thoughts to a larger goal
Imagine all and everything you're not:
The Universe with a you-shaped HOLE.

Pelvis by Emma Craig
ZERO    ONE    TWO    THREE

Nick Chakras: Part Two

LIMB CHAKRAS
12 HAND CHAKRAS
6 LEFT   6 RIGHT

This little PIGGIE went to Stanford
This little PIGGIE stayed in bed
This little PIGGIE joined the convent
This little PIGGIE got wed
This little PIGGIE texted Oui, Oui, Oui
On his iPhone.

Clever piggies in your HAND
Some piggies even play Chopin.

12 ARM CHAKRAS
6 LEFT   6 RIGHT

SHOULDER joint
connected to
The HUMERUS
Humerus connected to
The ELBOW joint
Elbow connected to
The FOREARM
Forearm connected to
The joint of the WRIST.

Nice ARMS
Now please
What's a nice girl like you doing
With joints like these? 

12 LEG CHAKRAS
6 LEFT   6 RIGHT

ANKLE joint
connected to
The SHIN bone
Shin connected to
The KNEE joint
Knee connected to
The THIGH bone
Thigh connected to
The joint of the HIP.

Nice LEGS
now please
What's a nice girls like you doing
With joints like these?

12 FOOT CHAKRAS
6 LEFT   6 RIGHT

This little PIGGIE went to market
This little PIGGIE stayed home
This little PIGGIE ate roast beef
This little PIGGIE had none.
This little PIGGIE went Wee, Wee, Wee
All the way home.

Restless piggies in your FEET
Some piggies even live in Crete.

Exploring the little finger chakra
ZERO    ONE    TWO    THREE

Nick Chakras: Part One

HINDU CHAKRAS
8 HINDU CHAKRAS

This being sucks energy out of the GROUND
Sitting tight and secure on its ROOT
Fulfilling your debt to the species with SEX
Ruled by BELLY the ego, the core absolute
The HEART has its reasons that bypass the brain
The THROAT fills your silence with history
The BROW vainly tries to make sense of it all
While the CROWN connects you to mystery.

SENSUAL CHAKRAS

8 SENSUAL CHAKRAS

EARS and EYES
To hear and see
NOSE and SKIN
To smell and feel
TONGUE and MOUTH
To taste and fabricate the vowels
And for breathing in and pushing out
Thank your servants LUNGS and BOWELS

Hindu Chakras: after Sir John Woodroffe
ZERO    ONE    TWO    THREE

Friday, June 1, 2018

Nick Chakras 2018

84 Nick Chakras 2018

In the year 1918, Sir John Woodroffe, Indian High Court Judge and Sanskrit scholar, published his highly influential Serpent Power (under the pen name of Arthur Avalon) which introduced the Indian tantric notion of  "chakras" to the English-speaking world. These classical chakras, seven in number, form the central organs of a "psychic anatomy" -- seven physical locations in the body that also serve psychic functions as well.

One hundred years later, books on the chakras publish pictures of the same seven chakras with or without the elaborate decorations illustrated in Woodroffe's Serpent Power. Why only seven? I wondered. Has the last century witnessed no progress whatsoever in psychic anatomy? A century ago, physicists recognized only three elementary particles --  proton, neutron and electron. Now today's Standard Model shows us more than a dozen of the Universe's fundamental parts. Why aren't there more chakras than seven?

For more than fifty years, since I was working at a psychic bookstore in Menlo Park while studying physics at Stanford,  I have been considering this problem, working to rationally expand the traditional Hindu system of elementary bodily physical/psychical centers and have now reached a satisfactory conclusion.

A preliminary account of this research can be found here. 

What is a chakra anyway? At the very least it is a part of the body to which one can direct one's attention and observe what happens. Most of the time we take our body parts for granted. And except when they are in pain we pay them no mind. How might our life change if from time to time we systematically brought our attention to each particular body part with as strong a mental intensity as we could muster?

When I was a kid in Ohio, the floor of our boy's room (Nick and his brothers Tom and Duke) was covered with a gigantic linoleum map of the United States which we boys traversed in our imaginations using toy cars, planes, trains, trucks and tanks. Similarly one might regard Nick's 84 Chakras as a map of 84 of your body's principle cities (not including suburbs) and let your imagination go exploring.

Nick Chakras contain the classic seven Hindu chakras plus many extras. For the sake of symmetry I require each chakra to possess a partner chakra which is in some sense its consort, its opposite, its dark side. This partner chakra is designated symbolically by a black/white reversal. In most cases the "dark chakras" are located in the lower part of the body. For example, the Thumb Chakra's opposite is the Big Toe. And the classic Heart Chakra's opposite is the Belly Chakra.

In place of Woodroofe's spectral-colored, multi-leaved lotus symbols, I have chosen simple black-and-white symbols based on geometric shapes each intended to be suggestive of the body parts they signify.

Nick Chakras are divided into 5 categories: the Hindu Chakras, Spinal Chakras and Sensual Chakras, each with eight members, the Cranial Chakras with twelve members, and the Limb Chakras which possess 48 members. (8 + 8 + 8 + 12+ 48 = 84.

To the seven classic Hindu Chakras, I have added a "Ground Chakra" (whose opposite is the Crown Chakra) which I later learned corresponds to the Yung Chuan or "Bubbling Spring Chakra" of Taoist esotericism.  As a partner to the Lumbar Chakra I have added a "Perineum Chakra" which corresponds to the Chinese "Hui Yin" Chakra or "Gateway of Life and Death."

This post introduces the new chakra system. The following three posts will connect names to each symbol and clarify some of my choices:

Part One: Hindu and Sensual Chakras

Part Two: Limb Chakras

Part Three: Spinal and Cranial Chakras.
(Unlike the rest, none of the 12 Cranial Chakras is paired with a partner.)

I have constructed this new chakra system for the fun of it. My main interest lies in the search for a brand new science I call quantum tantra based on an as yet to be discovered quantum-inspired way of connecting with Nature.

I want to woo Her, not view Her
Pet Reality until She purrs
Longing to merge with Dame Nature bodily
Yearning to mingle my substance with Hers
And them content with merely observing
Are nothing but Nature's voyeurs.

Nick Chakras might be considered a map of naked-eye objects of the body compared to what the deep-space quantum compassionscopes of the future will reveal about the nature of Mind and its hidden relations to this marvelously agile meat machine.

Artist's conception of quantum-tantric chakras
ZERO    ONE    TWO    THREE




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Khlit Coin

First example of a Khlit Coin? Artist's conception of an old US Silver Dollar infused with quantum-tantric vibes.

KHLIT COIN: A NEW QUANTUM TANTRIC MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE

At the local bank a few days ago I was cashing a royalty check from one of my physics books.

 [Warning: gratuitous blog ad!] The book was Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics which more than 30 years after publication is still one of the royal roads to understanding why no physicist can tell his kids a believable story about how the physical world effortlessly comes into being. [End of blog ad.]

 As the teller was counting out my bills, I mentioned that I had once come across a bill with a lipstick kiss on it and speculated that her bank must get a lot of bills disfigured in unusual ways. She reached into her cash drawer and pulled out a big wad of bills that were worn, torn and otherwise degraded but none that seemed at first glace to be imaginatively defaced. In particular, in the Boulder Creek branch of Liberty Bank distressed currency stash, no kisses did I see.

A contemporary smooch for old Ben Franklin (from Bitter Lemon)
A few nights later, I was still wondering about unorthodox ways of infusing ordinary objects with non-ordinary energies. Kissed currency and the the occasional perfumed letter aside, I don't believe mere paper has much of a potential as a "psychotronic medium"? As we shall see, metals are more marvelous than paper on the quantum level, and may be the most appropriate medium for recording "psychic impressions" on every scale imaginable. Indeed some sort of ordinary metal object, acted upon in a seemingly preposterous way, might be the first concrete manifestation of quantum tantra among human beings. (More advanced cultures, I presume, have been practicing these sorts of things for millennia.)

Metals have a long history as containers for extra-physical powers. Besides coinage, which possesses a conventional secular power, one thinks of jewelry, holy medals, amulets, lucky charms, magic swords, the Holy Grail, and various rings of power, from Wagner to Tolkien to the simple Western wedding ring. But that's ancient history. What can we do now with metals in the modern quantum era that's akin to kissing a hundred-dollar bill?

From the quantum-physical point of view metals are well-understood. (Part of that quantum understanding has been utilized to create the multi-billion dollar semi-conductor industry). A metal consists of a regular crystal lattice of say, silver ions, interpenetrated by a number of bound electrons plus a delocalized gas of free electrons called the Fermi Sea after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. Unlike the bound electrons, the electrons in the Fermi Sea can move about which accounts for the fact that metals are good conductors of electricity. For reasons which I don't completely understand (I am not a solid -state physicist.), the temperature of the electrons at the top of Fermi's Sea is hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Because the silver crystal lattice possesses different properties in different directions, the surface of the Fermi Sea is not spherical. The shape of the Fermi Sea illustrates how easy it is to pull an electron out of a silver crystal using an electric field acting in various directions.

Map of the silver Fermi Sea: from Tuo Li & W.A. Schroeder)
 The most peculiar feature of this diagram is that in certain special directions (shown in green) the Fermi Sea for silver exhibits "nipples" through which electrons can be "milked" most easily.

Building on our intimate technical knowledge of the quantum state of metals, the quantum tantrika is looking for a way in which metal objects can be filled with "psychic energy" of a (most probably) erotic nature.

More particularly, we want to take certain US quarters and "charge them up" in such a way that almost anyone (even dull old Nick Herbert) can sense their intrinsic "vibes". Women and men who by nature or by practice are more sensitive to such things should be able to unerringly select the single "charged up" coin from a pile of ordinary pocket change.

This new psycho-erotically enhanced medium of exchange is expected to possess large intrinsic value among those prepared to appreciate such worth. I have christened this new quantum tantric currency the "Khlit Coin" (rhymes with "Bit Coin"), in honor of Khaliqium, the fundamental immaterial substance whose discovery is destined to completely transform our world, and which itself is named after one of Islam's Ninety-Nine Names of God.

Men who find themselves able to produce such coins out of ordinary US quarters could be called Khlit-coin Mint Masters. Women with this power: Khlit-coin Mint Mistresses. To the ordinary person these chosen few would seem to be creating value out of nothing (similar to the fractional reserve banking system for normal unenlightened currency) but that would be a big mistake. These Masters and Mistresses of the Khlit-coin Mint are encouraged by quantum mechanics and so begin their work not with ordinary nothing, but with the Deep Nothingness that lies at the world's very foundations. (See Physics for Beginners.)

Pay close attention, pal, the next time some beautiful being presses a quarter into your hand. It might be HOT!

Two once-ordinary US quarters fresh from a Khlit-coin Mint





Friday, May 18, 2018

Ode to HIV

HIV virus: a subtle and beautiful enemy
ODE TO HIV

If you seek peace
Prepare for war.
        -- Vegetius

HIV by itself isn't fatal
It merely opens the gate
To opportunistic diseases
Put here like you to replicate.

Who want to swarm over your borders
Uncivilized, unkempt and unfed
Viral barbarians, bacterial Vikings
Make you crippled, wounded and dead.

HIV is a fervent pacifist
A world without war is the slogan it chants
By disarming your violent immunity system
Compelling your body to give peace a chance.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Cosmos

Megellanic Clouds above Laguna Lejia, Chile

COSMOS
(for Ezra Pound)

Saturday night in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Power knocked out by two days of storm
Lull in the rain, clouds clearing
Awakened by bright moonlight filling my bedroom
I walk barefoot out onto the debris-strewn deck
See winter stars: 

Orion, Pleiades, Cepheus, Cassiopeia
Sparkling through the scudding clouds
Raw moonlight illuminating the glistening forest
Like a Spielberg alien contact set
I watch lightning sparking, thunder grumbling
Inside mammoth clouds retreating to the East.

Cosmos
The Greek word for "beauty"
(Cognate to "cosmetic")

That's what our predecessors called this world
Cosmos was their word for Everything
Cosmos: one name for All Phenomena

Inside and out
One name for this uncanny experience
Spread open for all conscious beings
For you, for me, for the fish in the sea.
This one equation:


Cosmos equals Beauty.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The New Flute

Nick playing a (Guinness aluminum) Irish whistle

A dozen years ago I fell in love with Irish music and begin to practice the Irish whistle -- in private, in small groups, in various Irish sessions in Santa Cruz and as part of a band named Blarney.

Last month my friend and bodhran virtuoso, August O'Connor and I played for a party in a cliff-side hacienda called "the SkyPad" with gypsy fiddler Elijah Ray -- we really rocked, one of the most memorable moments of my musical career. A couple of weeks later, August and I were eating supper with Baron, the proprietor of the SkyPad, when he offered me a concert flute that he had just acquired.

"Sure, Baron, compared to the whistle, it takes a thousand years to learn to play a flute."

"Well, bring it back if it doesn't work out for you"

Armstrong 201 Student Flute

So, for better or worse, I now possess a concert flute to experiment with.

The difference between an Irish whistle (also called a "fipple flute") and a concert flute is immense. Like going from riding a tricycle to riding a bicycle. Or, with my moderate musical skill, like going from a tricycle to a unicycle.

Besides a larger number of holes and more complicated ways of opening them (the whistle has only six holes covered by bare fingers), the root sound of the flute is accomplished through a tricky interaction between the player's lips and the flute's tone hole -- a procedure called "embouchure" which is French for something that you do with your mouth to coax music out of a tube's aperture by blowing across it.

To play the whistle, on the other hand, you produce the root sound by simply blowing into its "fipple" which is a fixed, mechanical embouchure made of plastic, wood or metal. Since its embouchure is fixed, there is not much that you can do with your lips to change the sound of the Irish whistle. Most of the whistle's subtlety is achieved by fingering rather than breathing.

The concert flute consists of three parts, the head joint, the foot joint and the body. The head joint is where the root sound is produced and the rest of the flute acts to modulate this root sound in various ways.

The first exercise in taking up the flute consists of practicing with the head joint alone. And exploring how to produce the perfect embouchure that brings out a loud, clear and consistent root tone. Most of the ways that you can blow into the head joint produce no tone at all, only the sound of rushing air. Like so many other things in life, the perfect flute embouchure is surrounded by lots and lots of wrong ways to blow into that tone hole. The path to mastery is bordered by a million mistakes.

Before the Internet, a music student would seek out a tutor to guide him or her over the rough spots, to show first hand how one can learn from mistakes, and to serve as a living example of what you might be able to accomplish some day. I will certainly seek a few personal lessons, but for starts I'm going to the web where there are dozens of people who want to teach me how to play the flute.

For instance, this nice lady with glasses gives you a first lesson in embouchure. If one picture is worth a thousand words, one video is worth a thousand pictures. I've watched this video a dozen times and still can't easily produce a root tone. But each day I am getting better.

Learning to play the head joint (closed position)
The Internet has the ability to put the student in contact not only with talented amateurs and teachers but with instrumental super stars, such as Sir James Galway (who, among other honors, played flute and Irish whistle for the film version of Lord of the Rings). Galway has produced a series of short YouTube videos called "first flute" that includes this wonderful little lesson on playing the head joint.

Galway playing the head joint (open position)
Taking up a new musical instrument is like traveling to an invisible new country, populated by people with a wide range of experience, stories and accomplishments on that instrument. The process of learning to play the flute consists of letting the instrument itself teach you a new way of kissing (embouchure) that opens up the secret door to making music in this peculiar way. Suggestions for exploring the flute country abound. My friend, Kim Fulton-Bennett, member of Blarney and flute player since his teens, suggested that after practicing with the head joint, I mindfully consume a bottle of Guinness stout and play with my embouchure by blowing across the top of the empty bottle.

EMBOUCHURE 

Bring attention back to breath
Hours of mindful focus on lips
Is the flautist a species of musical Buddhist?
Do flute players give unforgettable kiss?

Now breathe from your belly
Set thinking on "Less"
Proceed with compassion
Pay heed to the beat.

Lip kiss the Emptiness.

Listen.

Repeat.

Lord Krishna playing his flute



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

St. Patrick's Day 2018

Matt, August and Kim at the Kelly house party
Nick at the Kelly house party
This St Patrick's Day the Kelly family of Boulder Creek invited our Blarney band to entertain at a gathering of some of our uncommon rural community's elite movers and shakers. Generous servings of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes plus glasses of the traditional harp-labeled beer fortified the laddies, lasses and leprechauns, one of whom was wearing a derby crowned by flashing green lights. And during the break we were made a offer we could hardly refuse: "Would the band be wanting a beverage?" Thank you, Kellys and crew for a memorable celebration.

Also to commemorate this holy Irish saint's day, Trader Joe's Market featured "Blarney Scones" on their bread shelf, Ancestry DNA offered to verify your Celtic ancestry for a reduced price (according to Ancestry DNA, mainly Slovak Nick is 2% Irish) and drunken poets everywhere were reciting the fine verses of William Butler Yeats.
William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
A DRINKING SONG

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth
I look at you, and I sigh. 

The following evening, fair colleen Sun McNamee Lundell (also known as "Mrs Future") celebrated her birthday with dozens of friends at a beach house in Aptos. In one small segment of the multi-talented festivities, August and Nick took up their instruments and played jigs and reels while Corinna danced her heart out. For the time it took to perform a few lively tunes, the three of us seemed to merge for a while into one joyous organism -- being one part of that unplanned musical threesome was one of the high points for me of this year 2018 St. Paddy's Day weekend.

Nick, August and Corinna channel the high spirit of Irish music.