When Trying To Empty The Mind…

You know how some people go off on psychedelic journeys and come back and say they’ve learned a lot, but can’t put any of it into words? Well when I try to clear my mind with meditation, I go off on strange journeys and come back with these vast pieces of text but less conviction that they make any sense… So the following has to be regarded as creative writing…

In asking about the nature of Morphogenic* Fields, I’m invited into a rectilinear terracota coloured building that looks a bit like a modern University, erected in the red dust of the Middle East somewhere.

The atmosphere inside is that of a Japanese restaurant with dark coloured walls and elegant floral patterning, sufficiently stylised to be chic as opposed to kitsch. Amidst the tables of other students and mentors, my instructor, who sits opposite me is a creature with an elephant’s head and the body of a man – and I’m very grateful for his time and attention.

[Do I have to pass a test to get this info, dude?]

[[No.]]

[Do you mind me calling you “dude.”]

[[No, that shows you’re not overawed by inhabitants of other realms – which is good because they’re often pretty much on a level with you lot. Slightly cocky for a human, but you’re a playful species, so that’s fair enough.]]

This man is older or wiser than I am and he’s looking at me with the affectionate tolerance of a parent or teacher. With some excitement, I order rice and vegetables and he has the salad with no tomatoes and no dressing. It’s simply brought off a trolley moments after we order.

[Thanks… friend… this is all…] This is all very kind, isn’t it? But I get a sense my gratitude is misplaced… as it’s not really about me, it’s about the channels of data being opened wherever someone requests one…

[So what’s going on with these fields then? Why is it that if you do something for the first time, it instantly becomes more likely to happen again in any corner of the world?] You know, let’s cut straight to the chase here. I’ve been reading Rupert Sheldrake’s work in this area – he found that if a new compound is crystalised for the first time, it… it essentially takes ages, OK? BUT the next time you try it, it happens much faster. And the next – and the next. Behind a formidable wall of militant ignorance, Science has refused to be conquered by these findings.

[[Have you ever studied language?]]

The vegetables that come with the rice are unidentifiable but delicious. Very vibrant in colour – one of them is royal blue and another kind is magenta… [Language… I’ve only studied in my own head – I’ve neglected to read what other people say about it, because I don’t think they’re that clever.]

[[No, none of you are particularly, not even YOU.]] He’s smiling at the absurdity of my thinking I’m intelligent. Which I’ve come to expect – why else would I be here?

[[Have you heard about the Zipf function?]]

[Yes, or I wouldn’t be able to decode the word as you’re saying it. Part of me thinks, you’re a confection of my brain to make unscrambling the memories a little easier.]

[[The Zipf function is that rule you heard about once that broadly predicts the frequency of a word within a piece of text, from its frequency rank within the passage. So roughly speaking, if a word is the second most frequently occurring, the word that is MOST frequently used, will appear twice as often as it will. If a word is the 12th most frequent word – then the first will appear twelves times as often – and this is pretty consistent.]]

[Yes, I remember thinking there must be a rational explanation for that, and that it must be to do with the hierarchy of needs, in relation to our enviornment. i.e. when we first ventured out of the trees, and out of that original symbiosis, we’d need to map out the novel aspects of the savannah using novel mouth noises, since we wouldn’t have an instinctive understanding of any of it… Therefore I thought of the zipf function that it was a very human-centric pattern of…need, essentially… We’d have had a need to define an indefinite article, followed by a need to define… general groups of proposed action relating to these… and so on… and that the order that these words appeared, would simply adumbrate the urgency of each action becoming communicable.]

[[Wrong.]] He says this very quietly as though it’s no big deal that my grand theory is misguided.

[You what?] But I mean, I carry on eating – this is just to be expected.

[[DNA follows the same pattern. Which you also knew and forgot. But DNA wasn’t out hunting on the savannah was it? Or at least it wasn’t in the other animals – so even those things in symbiosis with nature move from simplicity towards increased complexity using a Zipf kind of pattern…]]

[I’ve only got your word for that.] But of course I can look it up later…

[[…Why do you think this phenomenon might be?]]

I think he’s smiling mildly again, in an encouraging way, but in reality, this must be quite frustrating for him, like a young person watching a grandparent trying to use a computer…

[I… I’m going to say…]

[[You’d actually be better off feeling your way into this, you’re trying to intellectulise something you already know, instinctively… just try talking, without thinking, if you can…]]

And I see a round circle that represents The Whole. As the pattern within it breaks into ever greater complexity with time… the circle doesn’t increase in size… [As with words, so with matter?]

[[Very goooooooooood….]]

[There’s only so much incident to go round…]

[[Yeeeeess…]]

[OK, Zipf works for speech because there’s only so much language to go round… so the introduction of a new word necessarily displaces the old ones slightly…]

[This is getting there, yes…]

[And I want to say that if there was a 12 word language, and I invent a 13th word that then takes off… its inclusion will displace the 12th and 11th ranking words much more than it would, the first ranking… is that mathematically sound?]

[[Yes, if word rankings had any relation to the sequence in which they were introduced… which they don’t…]]

[Yes they do, surely… because human race would need a word like “It” long before they’d need a word like “windscreen” so surely the words get introduced in order of need, and therefore in order of …oh right yeah…]

[[Reality is also moving, isn’t it? So they wouldn’t use windscreen very much on the savanah thousands of years ago… but today it’s up there with “teaspoon” and “desktop”…]]

[Yeah, so it is…]

[[So the rankings of words don’t relate to the order in which they’re introduced… but you’re right about there only being so much language to go around, and the introduction of a new word, robbing from the frequency of some others… so the next step is to work out… which others does the new word rob from?]]

[OK, well… the new word would displace the old words which were doing a similar job but less effectively or less specifically…]

[[Right!]]

[So “LOLZ” would displace “haha” a little and probably “LOL” a fair bit – signifying as it does that you know the latest fashionable iteration of “LOL” which has the addition of a Z on the end…]

[[Right, so “LOLZ,” if it takes off, rises very fast through the rankings of last place at its inception, all the way up to – at best, somewhere around LOL’s former ranking… now what’s the effect of that displacement within the language? What does that actually DO to the words “LOL” and “haha” for example?]]

[It reduces their frequency… so… Oh My God!!]

[[Yes?]]

[In a sense, it reduces some kind of ontological friction!]

[[And what does that mean?]]

[The…] Oh no wait, is this all rubbish? [The…] No it’s not, is it… there’s something here, I think… [The appearance of a new word, by presenting partial redundancy to the related ones, not only reduces ontological friction – the action of displacement goes further than this – it actually creates a “new-word-shaped-vacuum” in the thought-concept continuum, that will forcibly invoke more of that word in the future! It creates a current of sorts!]

[[You got it! Now can you think of why Reality might have to move towards increasing complexity and why this complexity needs always to exist in a kind of fractalised pattern? Can you work out why that might be?]]

[No…?]

[[What do language and reality have in common?]]

[Each…describes things… Each kind of conjures something up, in a way…]

[[Yes, neither can conjure up nothing, can they?]]

[What about the word, “um” – that means nothing…]

[[No, that is a filler word that means, “stick with me for a moment…”]]

[So…?]

[[So what do language and reality have in common that might affect their patterning?]]

[Um… is the fact that each is an absolutely seamless whole… Er… Nothing within either can be made of space… Is that it? Is that what creates the vacuum effect? That when you change the shape or positioning of an internal constituent… the absence of emptiness means that the shape of everything else is affected?]

[[You’re getting there, yes…]]

[So why the fractal? Is it because reality’s got to be laid out like an Escher picture… where interlocking parts, big and small need to fit exactly?]

[[Yes, that’s more or less it… Reality’s made of two things… Big things that happen more often and smaller things that happen less often…]]

[Um… OK…]

[[The reason these all conform into a fractal kind of patterning can be imagined if you picture reality as a spherical glass container… The things that happen most often can be thought of as tennis balls, poured in until no more tennis balls will fit… What’s the problem with that?]]

[The problem is, you’ll have gaps in between the tennis balls – and no gaps are permitted in reality.]

[[And what will exactly fit the gaps between spheres in a spherical container if the only shape permitted is… more spheres?]]

[Um… a fractal of spheres of ever decreasing sizes… the largest spheres fill in the largest gaps between tennis balls – as though you were pouring in round beads… and then smaller spheres would fill in the gaps between those as though you were pouring in grains of sand… and then smaller spheres would then fill in the gaps between those as though you were pouring in drops of water… and so on…]

[[…And that’s why there’s always this fractal pattern within the constituent parts of language and also of reality. Because there are no gaps permitted.]]

[I mean… if you counted the amount of sand and beads and tennis balls, would you get this exact pattern as well?]

[[Well, you won’t get perfect ratios with a mason jar of ping pong balls and some orange juice, no – but if you were working with the so called “sacred geometry” of reality itself – then yes, that’s always the pattern you’d end up with. So when one constituent part breaks into a different size of sphere – every other sphere has to adjust in frequency and rank to accommodate it.]]

And he’s not getting up to leave now, he’s just going transparent… like he’s beaming up to his next appointment…

[Just a minute, how the hell is language spherical? …Is reality, somehow a language? And if it is, who’s speaking it?]

And he ups his opacity slightly… [[Well, you said it – as with language, so too with reality. And as a participant in both, I guess you have some kind of a say in what’s spoken…]] Now he’s on the outs again…

[Well look, as an aside, I don’t think you have to be anywhere else so urgently that you need to leave – I don’t think time operates that way in your reality. You’re now playing out some abandonment issue I have going on and so I politely request your endurance.]

[[Why, what are we going to talk about, the lettuce?]]

[I have plenty of questions to talk about! I…]

[[Well come back when you’ve formulated them then, I’m always here…]]

I think I must be maturing because I don’t find that lack of presence at all attractive in a man these days. I tut and shake my head at the failure but my fellow restaurant goers aren’t there to concur because they’re now also going as transparent as the restaurant, and I’m back on my sofa.

There’s only so much incident to go round. Just like there’s only so much language to go round. Words displace the usage of other words because they do a specific job better… and novelty displaces other incident because presumably it does a specific job better… but what JOB – that’s the question? If we knew that, we’d know the ultimate meaning of life… Is the job simply a move to increased fragmentation – is that really ALL there is to do as a Universe? Then our guiding purpose would simply be to find a new way of passing some time… Which in effect would make the Universe little better than Channel 5 – and I’m sorry – that I can’t get on board with!

…And when you think about it – there’s only so much incident to go round if all space-time was present at the start of its expansion in this Universal iteration… If it wasn’t, then more space for incident is being perpetually added as more time gets added to the space-time continuum… And then Zipf wouldn’t happen, the pattern would be Zipf+ with one extra axis. What’s needed is a comprehensive catalogue of all incident, so we can work out the rankings of each action, and also – all the maths behind that phenomenon where once you’ve made a compound one time, exactly how MUCH faster does it form the next time around?

Or we could just leave it as fiction and think about the next question to go back with… I’m going to quiz Manphant on humans reversing their route to self-destruction next time… If only I can work out what the point of that mission would be in real-terms. Perhaps the first question is simply a sincere – “why not?” But asking genuinely, like – I know there IS a reason for us sticking around – but can you put it into words, pls? I’ll see what he says…

*I’m using Morphogenic here – “Morphogenetic” relates to biology…