Primordial

Lighting swirls amidst deep, dark shadows, thunder echoing off of silent cliffs somewhere in what will someday be called Cambria. 

Hints of far off cataclysms, dankly diluvial, sail on primordial winds as dusk’s crimson fingers claw at night’s sapphire, diamond flecked cloak.

Albian haze swiftly quickens into mist, threatening to cleave into drops, larger and larger drops, possibly armies of rushing drops, drops plummeting like raiders plundering unsuspecting shores of a world still virginally young, a world yet to yield to the tiny warm blooded invaders who’ll someday evolve into hominids. 

But not just yet. 

Soon though.

Much, much too soon.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Refractory Reflections on Metaphysics, Self-Awareness and the History of our Cosmos:  Perhaps a satire, but hopefully informative

Introduction:

For some reason, many people associate the term “metaphysics” with beliefs outside scientific norms, beliefs in magic or miracles or ghosts or religion, but in reality, the term applies to one of the four main branches of philosophy (those being metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and ethics).  Metaphysics is technically then, at least linguistically, the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality; i.e., the premises for the concepts of being, identity and change, of space and time, of cause and effect, necessity and possibility.  Interestingly, it also encompasses questions concerning the nature of consciousness and the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.

That then begs the question as to what philosophy is.  Given that most fully recognized doctoral degrees today purport to be doctorates of philosophy, “recognized” because they are purportedly research oriented as opposed to merely working doctoral degrees like law or medicine, etc., that makes the term “philosophy either all-encompassing or meaningless, or, as some philosophers who thrive on controversy and contradiction forcefully assert, both concurrently.  Interesting that if philosophy is purportedly a quest for truth, its four branches are so ethereal, so either overflowing or lacking in substance (or both concurrently) that obfuscation seems its primary value.

Logic seems an exercise valid only insofar as its premises are accurate.  It would seem logical to test logic by measuring its conclusions with empirical evidence, but when we do that and the conclusions don’t coincide with actuality, we tend to just torture the result into submission by blaming external factors, or just lying (the most popular current trend).  Logic could be a process through which we constantly refine premises so that they approach veracity, if we could bind ourselves to the quest for truth, a Holy Grail of sorts, but we have, as of yet, in most cases, been unable to attain that strong a discipline.

Ethics seems a great deal like aesthetics, its postulates being utterly subjective based on the preferences of the beholder.  It too has, to date, escaped the quest for truth, at most sometimes encompassing agreed upon common denominators as to appropriate behavior; what philosopher David Hume referred to as “conventions”, i.e., agreements among a defined segment of the population, possibly a vast majority thereof, to treat something as valid, because such postulate seems to work well enough to be relied on.  Unfortunately, many such postulates with respect to behavior are demonstrably illogical and rather than based on reason, are merely arbitrary impositions of authority through force (e.g., monogamous behavior, sovereignty, autonomy, purported democracy, liberty, rights, etc., honored at least as much in the breach as in their respect).

Epistemology is vague enough to be virtually objectively undefinable.  Subjectively, it involves the study of the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, the rationality of belief, and various related issues. It asks what constitutes knowledge (differentiating it from mere supposition and belief), and how knowledge can be obtained, tested and thus refined.  What roles do perception, reason, memory and testimony play in the attainment of information worthy of reliance, and conversely, what factors impair the reliability of perception, reason, memory and testimony.  And finally, assuming knowledge is distilled from belief, how it can be organized and structured to render it useful, but subject to limitants, including whether all justified beliefs must be derived (i.e., derived from justified foundational beliefs) or whether justification requires only a coherent set of beliefs.

Epistemology is subject to philosophical skepticism which questions whether it is possible to attain knowledge at all, positing that, at best, we may enjoy Hume’s conventions, …. for a time.  In fact, questioning whether knowledge exists or is merely a temporary phenomenon involving a mere subjective exercise in relative opinions has become very stylish through positing of seemingly unanswerable queries such as: “What do we know”; “What does it mean to say that we know something?”; “What makes justified beliefs justified?”; and, “How do we know that we know?”

So, …. given the foregoing context, is it any wonder that metaphysics is both misunderstood and confusing?  Still, notwithstanding the foregoing, let’s delve into the metaphysical juncture between religion, cosmogony and cosmology.  It could be fun, perhaps even informative, assuming information, in fact, exists.

Unbridled speculation concerning sentience

[Hmm, why does the foregoing make some of us (well, at least me, I was being optimistic) think of the number one-hundred-and-eleven, perhaps a sacred number of sorts.  At least in Middle Earth.[1]

Anyway …  a “convention”, perhaps the first convention, the primal premise:  Prior to the beginning there was naught, absolutely.  Except perhaps, for a speck.  A very heavy speck perhaps, a singularity, although that might have been quite a bit after the beginning, if there was, in fact, a beginning.  But what if there was a “something” (certainly not time, not yet) before the beginning when only “sentience” existed?

“Sentience”, an awkward term as used in this reflection as it presupposes both senses and something to sense.  For our purposes however, let’s define it as a term of art referencing self-awareness, or at least, consciousness of a sort, even when there is nothing, necessarily, of which to be conscious (not to imply that it is not operative in the presence of senses and things to sense).

The huge probability is that sentience evolved over a very long time after the beginning, when there existed enough interactive complexity to give rise to life, and then to sensory rather than reactive input, and then to self-awareness and finally, to cognizance.  We tend to believe that all of the foregoing are biological concepts (and carbon based biology at that), but Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, author and avowed atheist (indeed, ironically, the purported “god of the atheists”) has expounded on a concept of potential non-biological intelligence that leads to interesting alternative hypotheses, hypotheses that “breathe new life” into purportedly “debunked” philosophies concerning group sentience and intelligence, prime examples being the postulates of philosophers Thomas Hobbes, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant concerning the volitional realities of history and of the “state” as sort of living entities.

Dawkins inadvertently gave life to such philosophical hypotheses when he expounded on a hypotheses concerning fundamental (i.e., basic) units of information which he referred to as “memes”.  Dawkins asserted that memes mirrored the concept of biological “genes” by congregating into complex organisms: genes into diverse life forms and memes into what Dawkins referred to as memeplexes.  Memeplexes apparently have many, if not all, the attributes of biological life, using the minds, emotions, etc., of human beings as tools and carriers similarly to the way we use cells, organs, etc., to grow, evolve, mutate, propagate and operate.  According to Dawkins and now many others, examples of memeplexes include religions, political movements and philosophies, all of which are purportedly characterized by birth, growth, mutation and defensive reactions. 

As not all life appears to be self-aware, neither are memeplexes.  While self-awareness is a complex concept which remains unexplained, it has been hypothesized that self-awareness arises when a critical mass of interactive complexity develops.  For biological creatures, that is attained through neuronic interaction in the brain.  A basic observation is that we, as human beings, are normally self-aware, but that we are also composite living entities comprised of trillions of cells, also independent living structures (even if probably not self-aware entities) which act through preprogrammed reaction rather than volition. 

It is posited that perhaps such complexity can also be attained through other means.  For example, socially, though interaction among groups of humans, it being understood in sociology that group dynamics frequently result in actions in which individual members of a group would not engage.  Those observations have led some to draw the hypotheses that a similar process exists, not only among groups of humans operating through memeplexes, but perhaps, even through non-biological conglomerations, such ecosystems, planets, solar systems, galaxies, perhaps even a universe or the multiverse as well. 

Based on the foregoing, whether biological of non-biological, one would seemingly be justified in assuming that sentience was a post creation, evolutionary phenomena.  However, to a great many fellow members of our human species, when pitted against faith, facts are balderdash, and with faith, anything is possible, even levitation of mountains by individuals without the use of tools.  Thus, to them, no matter what the facts, theories or hypotheses claim, and no matter what the evidence, sentience was first, and eternal to boot, and omniscient, and ubiquitously omnipresent, and omnipotent and even, despite apparent empirical contradictions, omnibenevolent.

Sentience as Divinity

Sooo, … anyway, let’s play the latter’s game and assume, for argument’s sake, that notwithstanding the evidence or lack of evidence, there might, at one point before time, have been a single sentience.  A monist first cause, eternal in the sense that it preceded both time and space.  In that case, one could well assume that such single sentience would have been bored out of its gourd (had gourds then existed) and it would also seem to follow that boredom was the very first thing perceived by that sentience, the motive force, as it were, the inspiration for everything that followed.  And it would further seem that, after a period (not yet time because motion did not yet exist and motion seems essential to time), let’s call it eventually, more than one sentience would evolve (if there had ever been sentience at all).  After all, the miracle of sentience is much more improbable than is the probability that, should sentience have arisen, it would arise again, and thus become multiple and varied.  It would have been terribly boring otherwise.  If there was more than one, they could at least sense each other, thus not being condemned to only perceiving “to themselves” about nothing.

At any rate, assuming that sentience was first (as discussed above, an improbability), then, perhaps, it would be appropriate to consider such sentience equivalent to what some among us[2] have come to perceive as “divine” (no, not in the aesthetic sense, nor in the epistemological sense, but rather, in a popular variant of the “metaphysical” sense).  Consequently, for purposes of these reflections, it would seem appropriate to define such sentience as Divinity (capitalized, out of respect, just in case).  “The” Divinity, or at least the original Divinity.

Anyway (again, as promised), ….

Evolutionary Naught

“Nothing” is an interestingly existential concept in its absolute sense.  It can seemingly take two principal directions.  The first is somewhat obvious (albeit very boring): the absence of everything.  But the second option, why that’s something else entirely, both literally and figuratively.  It could, in fact, at least as a mathematical concept, and mathematical concepts frequently seem to pave the way for realities of sorts, be the inchoate sum total of everything possible in time, space and whatever we’ve yet to perceive (even quanta) if everything includes equivalent positive and negative aspects, not linearly (two dimensional), but omni directional in three or more dimensions, probably a spherical concept, without any edges or angles, and hence infinite.  I.e., the sum total of everything intangible as well as tangible which, it would be mathematically reasonable to assume, equal zero, and thus, naught.  Under the latter scenario, nothing would contain inchoate infinity, and should motion be somehow attained and time thus created, why it might well include eternity itself. 

Hmmm, sounds quite a bit like embryonic chaos.  Chaos, not in a negative sense implying disorder, but in the almost magical sense of infinite possibilities and thus, total uncertainty.  Seemingly a close relative to quanta.

Because for purposes of this part of this reflection we have posited Divinity as an assumption, then one should probably wonder as to the relationship between our aforementioned Divinity and the second sort of nothing, let’s capitalize it and call it “Naught”, and our speculative sort of epistle would then entail how they may have interacted to permit the existence of all that is, something we might perhaps refer to as either the “Big Bang” or “Creation”, depending on one’s attitude towards metaphysics.

At some point it appears that, possibly volitionally (as a result of a decision by Divinity), or perhaps merely accidentally, Naught was fractured, cleft, cracked, busted, no longer, … well, … nothing, and a minimalist singularity escaped (the “Great Escape”).  There are probably those, and it is not reasonable to just assume that they’re wrong, who believe that Naught came first, the singularity second and Divinity (if at all) came third, but that is not, apparently, a palatable version as far as Divinity (at least the Abrahamic version of Divinity) is concerned, although there are others (secular physicists and philosophers they’re called) who deny that Divinity exists at all, although they do admit to sentience and to the singularity[3].  A still third group, generic philosophers (as we initially explained), in the quest for what they define as truth, who will argue with anyone about anything, including whether or not what they seek exists, or can be defined, or is permanent, etc.  You get the point I think.

Anyway, it seems we’ll have to engage in something that David Hume, a philosopher who did not believe truth could be found, developed as a working substitute.  As indicated previously, Hume believed that because, in his opinion, first causes, to which he referred as “premises”, could never be proven, for convenience (there being no other option, unless, perhaps, one were the Divine and the Divine were omniscient) we would need to reach a working consensus, a sort of pragmatic, temporary substitute for truth, because such “consensus” seemed to work.  Hume referred to such working consensuses (as initially discussed towards the “beginning” of this apparently interminable reflection) as a “conventions”.[4]

For purposes of this epistle (as we’ve indicated on now several occasions[5]) we will assume that sentience somehow evolved into Divinity within Naught eternities prior to the Great Escape, and then, volitionally, by escaping from Naught, destroyed Naught’s prefect balance, converting Naught into an omnidimensional, omnidirectional singularity, which then eventually expanded into an infinite number of universes which we will, as a convention, refer to as the omniverse, a neo-platonic monist sort of concept comprised of a series of multiverses, each comprised of uncountable universes, etc., etc., etc.

[Because reflecting on an infinity of multiverses, or even just one multiverse would not only take a long time, and writing about it, a lot of paper, really, more time and paper than have ever existed, we’ll focus on one universe for the nonce, the one we inhabit.  One we’ll call “Cosmos”, as did the ancient Greeks (and today’s Russians).]

In the Beginning

We know turn to speculation of what our hypothetical Divinity might have witnessed, perhaps as possibly eventually shared with a few select individuals (long after individuals had evolved), no, not priests, or at least not priests as such, but mathematicians and physicists.

In the “Beginning”, hmmm, an interesting concept.  There is of course the version favored by faith imbued Abrahamics, and similar versions posited by diverse other mythologies (mythology in the broad sense which encompasses virtually all religions), but there is also, to all appearances, a version imbued with evidence which even Creationists (an Abrahamic religious phenomena) seem to accept, so for now, we’ll roll with that, at least, for purposes of this reflection, or perhaps epistle.

Sooo, ….

In this version of the “Beginning”, rather than just a six day endeavor (plus one day for sort of resting), a singularity burst forth from Naught in the form of  massive, unimaginable heat, heat in all probability never to be duplicated (interesting to speculate that an Abrahamic Hell may have preceded Heaven), plus four “forces”.  First out and thus eldest was gravity, then electromagnetism, then quantum flavourdynamics (which some call the weak force, a name it resents as pejorative) and then the nuclear force (which enjoys being referred to as the strong force, i.e., as it binds elemental particles together).  They introduced an era known to some and accepted by others, but by no means all, commonly referred to as “cosmic inflation”.  During the cosmic inflation era (epoch, eon, or whatever), the singularity is unwrapped, perhaps by Divinity, and its residue quickly expands (really quickly, we lack a concept reflecting enough speed to adequately describe how quickly) and begins to sort of cool, albeit with intermittent explosive events which, through gravity, perhaps attempting to recreate the initial singularity in an inverse process, heats a tiny bit of that which was cooled.  As the foregoing required motion, time, as a concept we sort of grasp (if perhaps not to the extent of understanding), was also born.  Time, born concurrently with the Great Escape, might have an interesting case to make insisting that it was first, but that seems a chicken versus egg conundrum, or would have, had there been chickens and eggs at the time in forms other than possibly inchoate.

Interestingly, although we do not personally recall it, all of the ingredients for the matter which currently comprises each and every one of us was present at the Beginning, thus, in a sense, we are all virtually the same age, the same age as our Cosmos.  Anyway ….

The Beginning!!!  Oh what a time it was!!!  Albeit very brief at first.  Yactoseconds were eternities then.  It was the era ruled by Planck-Time (no relation to Hammer Time).  During the initial second, only energy existed, energy comprised of neutrinos in thermal equilibrium with protons, neutrons and electrons, all maintained through weak force interaction.   The era that comprised a single second had no name at the time (at least that we know of, Divinity might have a different story to tell) but it has since come to be referred to indirectly as the “coupling era”; a suggestively interesting nomenclature. 

Eventually (a very short eventually, having taken but a second, but it was all the time that had ever existed, so perhaps it seemed long to the coupled neutrinos and protons, neutrons and electrons), the rate of the weak interaction became slower than the rate of initial expansion of the universe, or perhaps (it’s hard to remember after more than fourteen billion years), instead, the time scale for weak interactions became greater than the age of the universe at that time (there being no real difference), and the orgy quickly petered out (so to speak).  As a side note, the temperature of the Cosmos at the time of “decoupling” was approximately ten billion degrees Kelvin (very, very hot).  As a result of decoupling, neutrinos formed a cosmic neutrino background.  Primordial singularity remnants, which we, in or ignorance, call black holes (a name for which they do not care), may also have been formed during the first eternal second (hmmm, sounds oxymoronic, but it’s probably true).  Sort of progeny of the wild times.

Beginning towards the end of the first second composite subatomic particles emerged, including protons and neutrons, and then, after more and more eternities, at about two minutes after the Great Escape, nucleosynthesis (apparently a new and kinkier sort of mating) occurred and, about a quarter of the protons and all the neutrons fused into elements, initially hydrogen, then its heavier variant, hydrogen+ (also known as deuterium) apparently having swallowed a neutron (hmmm, why are there so many sexual analogies?).  The hydrogen and deuterium then started to mate like crazy, siring mainly primordial helium; i.e., a family comprised of an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons) engulfed in an electron wave comprised of two electrons.  The next orgy then took place as the then ruling citizenry (hydrogen and helium atoms, protons, neutrinos and neutrons) engaged in constant and more complex coupling, generating more and more complex atoms. 

Divinity, perhaps looking on, perhaps not yet prudish, would seem to have been pleased.  The bit of havoc it wreaked was bearing fruit, … sort of.

The Joys of Plasmic Baths

Eternities and eons after the Great Escape, what we would call twenty minutes today (eternities and eons were much shorter back then), the Cosmos was no longer hot enough for nuclear fusion but far too hot for neutral atoms to exist or for photons to travel far.  It was then comprised of a miasma of energy and opaque plasma.  For us currently, as biological beings, plasma would be deadly, but sort of cool (in a non-thermatic sense).  It was comprised of an extremely hot and thick ionized substance, in composition, somewhere between gaseous and liquid.  For the Divine, it might have been a warm bath.  Indeed, while improbable to the extreme, it is not impossible that a form of life might have inhabited the primordial plasma realm, well, in the sense that nothing is demonstrably impossible.  After all, most of the matter in our Cosmos (ninety-nine point nine percent) is still plasma in the form of stars, etc., and we live in the Cosmos. 

Eventually, a tiny bit of the plasma (one tenth of one percent, oddly, the percent of current humans who rule the world) evolved into the other three states of matter (gas, liquid and solids), but eventually took quite a while.  Actually, about eighteen-thousand years.  But a tiny bit of the former plasma was still quite a lot, much more than even googols (as a number, not an autocratic internet platform) of the newer forms of matter.

A recombination epoch began at around 18,000 years after the Great Escape as electrons combined with helium nuclei (perhaps the first mixed marriages and the threat of assimilation was born) to form He+, an ionized form of helium (perhaps copying the initial experiment through which hydrogen swallowed a neutron to form deuterium), and, about 29,000 years later, as the universe cooled (relatively), matter (including, of course, plasma), rather than radiation, began to predominate.

At age 100,000, relative to the Great Escape, neutral helium atoms (without the +) formed giving birth to the first molecule, helium hydride. About 270,000 years later (370,000 years after the Great Escape), helium hydride and hydrogen concluded a long term affair as a result of which, molecular hydrogen was born and, for the first time, the Cosmos attained transparency, apparently an important accomplishment.  And stars started to form. Hmmm, “a star is born”, good name for a movie.

The relatively newly formed hydrogen and helium atoms, with traces of lithium, quickly attained their ground state (state of lowest energy) by parting from some of their photons (“photon decoupling”), some of which are still around (perhaps sad at having been rejected) as the cosmic microwave background, the oldest direct observation we currently have of our Cosmos.

Wow, it’s like a tele-novela (Spanish for soap opera), except, as best we know, there was no television at the time.  But the romance was palpable.

Evidently, Divinity had done enough for a while and it was time for lights out, and a nap.  Divinity, of course (assuming it exists), takes credit for everything that’s happened.  He, she, it or they were (assuming they exist) experimenting, playing, laying out and implementing a plan.  But the Cosmos was now able to coast on its own for a while.  A pretty long while really, about nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine million, six-hundred-and-thirty thousand years.  Give or take a few days.

The universe was transparent, comprised of plasma, energy, hydrogen and helium with a bit of lithium mixed in, and it was playing with the Elder (gravity), but slowly.  No stars or other sources of light existed and the original glow from the plasma had dissipated. That brilliant pale orange glow of decoupling photons and radio emissions released by hydrogen atoms had first shifted red and then after the first three million years, faded, thus, no visible light.  Perfect for naps.

One may wonder about dark matter and dark energy at the time, as well as antimatter, but, the volumes in which those chapters were kept have been mislaid, and thus unavailable right now.

Wow, talk about an “On the Seventh Day”!

Let there be Light!

Soooo, ….

Divinity may have been napping for a while but, between two hundred million and five hundred million years after the Great Escape, lights slowly started turning on as the earliest generations of stars and galaxies started to form and early large structures gradually emerged, all drawn to the foam-like dark matter filaments which had already begun to draw together throughout the Cosmos.  Details concerning size and duration[6] are apparently in those mislaid chapters as well (“mislaid”, yuck, … a sexual connotation gain, just a coincidence in terminology).[7] 

An article encaptioned “Chronology of the Universe” on which much of the foregoing and following is based describes early star formation as follows (almost a quote but slightly modified):

They [the stars] may have been between 100 and 300 times larger than the star we call Sol and non-metallic, and of relatively brief duration (after all, they were beta versions), flashes in the pan so to speak as rumors still circulating claim that they quickly consumed their fuel (hydrogen) and detonated “as highly energetic pair-instability supernovae”(I don’t know why the imagery keeps sounding so sexual, in this case, like very inexperienced pre-adolescent boys)”after mere millions of years”, but it may well be that less ambitious, smaller stars with more staying power are still around.  But even in the former case, the resulting super novae had a lasting impact as they “created” (hmmm, that may not be the correct word as Divinity likes to claim that prerogative for him, her, it or their selves) most of the everyday elements we see today, … including those of which we are comprised.

During that same period, high-energy photons from the earliest stars, dwarf galaxies and perhaps quasars led to a period of reionization that finished by about one billion years after the Great Escape, and then, the lights really finally started to turn back on.  Showtime!  The stars were much as they are today, except for being hotter, more dense (not intellectually, as far as we know), with more spiral and irregular galaxies and more interested in procreation.  Our current galaxies may, as far as we can tell (despite our relative myopia), tend to include far more giant elliptical galaxies, galaxy clusters and super galaxies.

The lights were on, but, and it’s a pretty big but (but, not butt, although perhaps that accidental analogy works), because of the constant acceleration of our universe, presumably, based on the hypotheses (described as a “law”, whatever that is) that neither more energy nor more matter can be created (or purportedly destroyed, just converted inter se)[8], the apparently constant and consistent acceleration and expansion of the boundaries of our Cosmos seemingly diminished the ability of gravity to decelerate them[9] while, concurrently but in contrast, on the dark side, dark energy (believed to be a constant scalar field throughout the visible universe) had and has been a constant factor tending to accelerate expansion[10].  Thus, again, “apparently” (everything we seem to know about physics always seems to be only apparently, as you may have noticed), the Cosmo’s expansion passed an inflection point about five or six billion years ago and it entered the modern “dark-energy-dominated era”.  Soooo, at least since then, expansion is now accelerating rather than decelerating. Cosmic sentience may know what’s going on, assuming it exists, but perhaps it doesn’t care, or perhaps, like us, it hasn’t noticed, being concerned with other things.  And with reference to “laws” of physics, you know how legislatures are.  Consistency is not their hallmark.

Anyway ….

“Notwithstanding the foregoing” (a sort of legal phrase that sometimes pinch hits for “anyway, ….  There are among us purported experts who believe they understand how our Cosmos will function for about eighty-six billion more years (and, unlike journalists, they may be right, although studies of quantic phenomena certainly keep stirring our perceptions of the Cosmic “pot”), but after that, hmmm, who knows.  At some time the “Stelliferous Era”, the era when celestial progeny has been looked on as favorable, stylish and productive, our current era, will end, and, sort of like is happening in many parts of Terra today where populations have become more jaded and more interested in individuality than in families, where they find gender a sort of optional fad preferring choice over biological legacy, star formation will begin to atrophy until no new stars are born.  Because it is anticipated that the Cosmos will continue to expand, that may mean that we will enter an age of hermits, less and less closely related, with less and less interstellar interaction.  And the observable Cosmos will become more and more limited to the local, perhaps eventually, depending on how quanta feels about this, perhaps our Cosmos will expand so much, that only isolated neutrinos and their cousins will remain, although black holes would seem a sort of wild card.

Hmmm, except for being massively larger, that would seem a lot like just before “the Beginning”.

And our friend, the universal sentience and its component families???   What we’ve hypothetically defined as “Divinity”?  Hmm, perhaps only the shadow knows.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.


[1] [Hmmm, a warm welcome to our first footnote.  Probably more to come.  This was just too long to include, as an interruption in the main text].  Anyway, … a caveat with respect to the terms “anyway”, “so” (usually elongated to “soooo” and “Mmmmm”.  They are terms that I will frequently use as sort of placeholders without real independent meaning, i.e., as “expletives” or “fillers”, although the term “expletive” also pertains, in a negative sense, to words or phrases charged with negative connotations.  Strange); … anyway ….  A further linguisti-grammatical caveat: I use series of “.”, not only to denote text missing in a quotation, but as long pauses.  I think that’s it … for now.

[2] Those who are not among “us of little faith”.

[3] As to which they seem to argue interminably, and along with secular mathematicians, argue about the nature of Naught.

[4] Of course, as is the case with language, that term has been distorted, mutated and changed and now also refers to gatherings of people with shared interests who need excuses to avoid normal “social” conventions and engage in behavior Divinity might find objectionable.  At least Divinity as perceived by some, a sort of very opinionated negative sort of totalitarian Divinity.

[5] It seems as though such arbitrary assumption sticks in someone’s craw and thus, has to be repeatedly reinforced.

[6] Anyway, … it sounds like something else, something prurient, but I assure you that was not so, or at least I’m pretty sure that was not so.  My primal matter, like yours, was there, but not yet sentient, … I don’t think.

[7] Hmmm, if we are going to postulate Abrahamic possibilities, then one might speculate on whether or not the deposed former archangel Hêl él had anything to do with dark matter.

[8] Perhaps because the concept of preservation of the matter-energy concept was so thoroughly violated at “the” Beginning, some busybodies decided that a law needed to be passed controlling the issue, but who was there at the time to legislate that law???  How would violations be punished?

[9] Hmmm, how might that impact that other gravity related law, that whatever goes up must go down.  I’m getting an image of a typical legislative body, corruption rampant, charged with legislating physical laws, and not doing such a great job.

[10] Sooo, black matter, black energy, what if rather than Hêl él to blame, it’s a reflection of Zoroastrian ethical dualism: Spenta Mainyu versus Angra Mainyu?

Ferocious Seduction, a senryū of sorts in e minor flat

Theia: Terra’s bride, Luna’s mother,

A passionate meeting, a vicious mating, a climactic birth

shrouded in violence.
 _______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Another Missive from Troy’s Cassandra

A rant in e minor sharp

While doing research on a “reflection on sentience, self-awareness and their possible existence in non-biological forms”, I came across the following information, admittedly in a Wikipedia article (a starting point for research rather than a reliable source).  I share it because so much of the information we receive lacks context, perhaps deliberately, in order to manipulate such information for electoral, rather than merely political purposes, i.e., to manipulate us into perpetuating specific power blocs, in most cases, apparently, neoliberal systems using neoconservative tactics for their own selfish ends, regardless of the costs to others (the Ukraine being today’s most glaring example). 

Because of the nature of the following information, I hasten to indicate that I am very environmentally conscious and not a climate change denier (admittedly phrasing designed to rebuke and belittle those who deny the existence of climate change).  I am admittedly a true leftist (not the faux variant of purported liberal or purported progressive so often referenced by the corporate media and most traditional political parties today) but I do not react with my eyes tightly shut and ears carefully plugged so that my mind can remain tightly closed. 

Anyway, … according to the following quote from a generic article on the evolution of our planet (which can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Earth):  “It is estimated that 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, over five billion [of them ] have gone extinct.  Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million are documented, but over 86 percent have not been described.  However, it was recently claimed that 1 trillion species currently live on Earth, with only one-thousandth of one percent described.”

We humans today are for the most part antievolutionary in our own interactions, in our ethics and in our morals, rejecting nature’s postulates concerning “survival of the fittest” which have been historically espoused by fellow humans we find reprehensible (most recently the Nazis and their “ilk” (admittedly a negatively charged description).  Thus we reject discarding the infirm and handicapped and seek, through social means, to level the playing field apparently established by nature, seeking, for example, to eliminate the relevance of health, gender and racial differences.  We are also seemingly antievolutionary with respect to avoiding natural factors that lead to species extinction in the animal and vegetable realms. 

I admit that, emotionally and intellectually, I am in accord with those antievolutionary beliefs.  But, the information cited above concerns me.  I have to admit that we, who claim to love Gaia and respect and seek to protect nature, seem to be doing so in total opposition to historical “natural” tendencies, in essence, having decided that we know better than nature, and that we are more moral than nature, and that our role in the scheme of things, is to correct nature’s erroneous tendencies, a job we are not doing very well, perhaps, because rather than having attained a real consensus, we are hopelessly polarized, pulling in myriad opposing directions, and, like confused lemmings, seemingly heading desperately towards our doom as a species.  Perhaps a doom that nature will relish.

Still, I love our species and, as an individual, intend to do what I can to avoid what, to an outside observer (were there any), would seem our obvious fate should we prove unable to somehow drastically change directions.  That leads me to reflect that most of our current philosophies and strongly held beliefs need a fundamental reevaluation, one based not on what we wish were true, but on unvarnished truth. 

I frequently write concerning the fallacies of popular beliefs concerning the nature of “logic”, interpretations where “logic is perceived of as a method of proving accuracy, when, in truth, it is just the middle of a quasi-mathematical equation that may be reflected as follows: premises + facts x logic = conclusions.  If any of the components are defective, the equation is not only useless, but dangerous.  The two elements most likely to be defective are premises and facts.  But even when defective, it has a self-correcting empirical aspect, if we just face reality.  If the “conclusion” arrived at does not pan out despite the accurate us of the logic component, then we know that either the premises or the facts were inaccurate, and we should acknowledge that we need to go back to the metaphorical drawing board.  Unfortunately, that is something we as humans are loath to do, having an almost instinctive aversion to admitting we’ve been wrong.  Mistakes, when recognized and properly analyzed, are the best tools for approximating verity, they are the best teachers and probably our most valuable experiences.  But they are a tool we ignore, which leads us as a species to where we find ourselves: a myopic race towards a suicidal dead end.

That may well be what one of our most brilliant and flexibly minded geniuses meant when he described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  Something especially dangerous in what passes for democracy but which is in reality, merely a means to keep us pacified while the worst among us keep us controlled.  Imagine a purported libertarian system where opinions are tightly controlled through censorship purportedly essential in a quest for accuracy?  Well, perhaps “imagine” was a poor choice of words.  That is exactly where our currently trendy, “woke, feel-good, virtue-signaling cancel culture has us.  And, we will never find new alternative solutions to our myriad problems by closing as many minds as possible, by punishing and ridiculing alternative viewpoints, by destroying what passes for history in favor of narratives we find more palatable.

One of the things that I find most frustrating in our quest to resolve our problems is that there is no dearth of viable solutions, only of the will to implement them.  Solutions are, like many useful inventions, patented, not to be used but to be warehoused in a suicidal quest for a profitable income stream; a delusional pivot towards living for the moment and, as French King Luis XV is reputed to have said: let our descendants face the storm, something Luis XVI and his family certainly experienced during the French Revolution.

It is vastly understating the case to describe our current means of communication through corporate and social media as “problematic”.  It is the poison designed to destroy those best able to lead us towards equity and justice and peace and sustainable economics, and thus those mediums are all too likely to assure that we will not be around all that much longer, that we won’t be around to muck up nature’s slow but steady pace towards its own goals and aspirations, with or without us.

Something on which to ponder as we are collectively drawn along to our own perdition.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Insouciant Reflections on Temporality

There are realms between instants, whether waking or lost in thought, instants with histories of their own and their own laws of nature, peopled by persons we seem to know, sometimes intimately, but at other times not at all.  They are fully formed for just that eternal instant, and then, usually, they’re gone, receding in inverse ratio to how much we try to keep them close.  But not always.

I experienced one of those recently, transitioning from one dream to another, first focusing on many of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.  Then the dream morphed into speculations on how those errors might be corrected.  Humorously I considered how easy it was for grace-based deeply religious adherents of Abrahamic faiths to effect corrections.  First, admit the transgressions to the divine; second, feel honest regret; and third, ask the divine for forgiveness.  Sort of a compressed version of the twelve-step program recommended to repentant alcoholics but without having to seek forgiveness from the ones harmed or having to attain a recompensive balance.  No such luck for me, I thought, I’m a sort of orthodox agnostic panentheist, but perhaps, in abstraction, I have my own sort of solution.  At the other end of the spectrum, of course, there are the “laws” of karma and dharma and the Wiccan Rede.

The instant then morphed again into a sort of para-scientific panacea situated at the border shared by the spiritual and the mystic, the normal and the paranormal, science and philosophy, fantasy and reality.  It went something like the following, which I’ve sought to reconstruct from that instant’s psychic residue.

Try to imagine, eerie, mystic music as you read, perhaps played by enormous sentient whales, eavesdropping on my speculation concerning the interaction of physics, philosophy and the supernatural.  After all, in a dream, even a very brief one, it seems anything is possible:

My discourse, no introduction, it just starts in the middle:

There are purported givens in physics and philosophy with which some people, I among them, do not agree.  Not because through research, trial and error our interpretations of hypotheses have raised reasonable doubts, but because, as suppositions and purported facts and premises are fed through our cognitive, we experience intellectual heartburn, intellectual rejection, … without understanding why.  A sort of intuitive reaction.

For me, two fundamental premises of modern physics just don’t ring true.  That nothing can go faster than the speed of light and that time is irreconcilably one directionally linear, or that it is linear at all. 

The latter caught my fancy as I sat at breakfast with my wife, lost in that world we inhabit where we ponder, perhaps influenced by dream like experiences as we transition into wakefulness. 

In that dream-like state, I saw time, in its more linear variant, and as it applied to me personally, as though it were a private phenomenon.

Reflecting on my introspection, certain hypotheses occurred to me:

  • First; that linearly, time is anchored by two singularities, one on each end, one in my absolute future and one in my absolute past, each generating tides and eddies, waves breaking, creating an ever changing ephemeral balance. 
  • Second; that chaos, in the sense of all possibilities inchoately coexisting, is the ocean on which everything floats or else, subsides, submerged in a strange sort of Jungian subconscious, somehow linked with everyone and everything, but tenuously. 
  • And time?  Time is the behemoth which feeds on chaos, digesting those aspects it finds comestible and excreting them as apparently untransmutable order. 

But “apparently”, I recalled, is a qualifier.

Then, based on the foregoing, I posited that there are also ever increasing and strengthening eddies, counter currents and riptides originating in the past, comprised of nostalgia and regret, and that the further from the past one travels, the stronger they swell.  The pull of the past’s singularity irresistible but impossible to re-claim. 

I’d go back if I could, to relive moments that, in a sense, had become sacred, and to correct others that now seem profane. 

When I was young, it was the inchoate singularity from the future which was strongest, but as more and more chaos was digested, it was the singularity at the other end, the one I call past, that expanded its event horizon and gained in strength, and which made me wonder at the choices I’d made, the options I’d elected from the options chaos presented and on which I’d acted, converting them into what I perceived as realities.

Traditionalist theories, to me mere hypotheses, claim that entropy is intrinsically tied to temporal phenomena, that as one moves between the temporal singularities I imagined, entropy increases.  Something seems odd there as increased entropy seems to involve an increase in disorder, and an increase in disorder seems to imply a movement back towards chaos and away from order, the opposite of what I’ve instinctively postulated, which perhaps explains why I instinctively reject the notion that time travel towards the past is impossible.  Instinctively but perhaps also rationally, based on some sort of inchoate perception.  It seems an explanation, a connection I sense, although perhaps others, for their own reasons, may agree.  We live in a world that seems spiraling towards a new Dark Age as social pressures increasingly forbid is to think what we will; conformity, ironically in the name of diversity, like another singularity, a malevolent form of gravity, driving us away from the light.

I draw comfort from the wonderfully magical world of the quanta.  A rebellious outlaw world that keeps throwing obstacles at today’s Einstein premised universal laws.  As in other areas impacted by those miniscule rebels, hypotheses labeled theories relating to entropy which tie it to the purported second “law” of thermodynamics, appear to break down as reality approaches the micro.  In doing so, they lead me to intuit that quantic uncertainty might tear that specific premise apart, disassembling it into non-physical, elemental particles, each going hither and yon as each possible perception survives in realities of its own.  And that provides a bit of less emotional, more intellectual support for my predilections.  It also provides hope for a future free of conformity’s restraints.

The quantic seemingly justifies my insouciance as I wonder at the nature of linearity, and at how improbable a one-dimensional concept is and how three dimensions multiplied through time create spherical realities with infinite poles each anchored by singularities impacting the version of reality that applies to me.

As I exited my reverie, a warm feeling suffused me as I recalled that String Theory and M Theory posit that, based on mathematical probabilities much less fanciful than my predilections, there are probably many more than just four dimensions with which to play, … if only we could find them.

Then, … as usually happens, my visions and my perceptions and fantasies began to dissipate, increasing rather than decreasing the number of unanswered and unanswerable questions in which my psyche loves to bathe. 

I wonder what I’ll think, … sometime in some future, … as to what I’ve just written should I happen to read it again?
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Reflections on a Black Friday: 

Sports versus Team Fandom – A sort of Ode

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become an important commercial holiday, both to those who sell as to those who purchase, although it is also a reflection of the reality that prices have been unjustifiably high, at least in terms of equity and decency, than they ought to have been all year long.  Consumers are easily manipulated but no consumers are more easily manipulated and abused than sports fans, those “fanatics” who shell out trillions of dollars in attendance and viewing costs, memorabilia and incidentals, while the recipients (owners, not players) seem to snicker, and generally, to ignore them.

Being a fan is generally a passionate but passive activity, with frustration the most obvious aspect, especially when one is a team fan and the ownership views the team as business, rather than a hobby.  Consider the current New York Yankees as an excellent illustration.

When father George was at the helm, he was an owner and a fan concurrently, and, although a businessman, the fan aspect was paramount.  Indeed, he treated the massive ongoing investment in the team by the fans as a trust, and it was to the fans that he felt that owed the highest loyalty, although he was also loyal to the players and former players from whom he demanded so much, in so emotional a manner.  Even those he’d mercilessly bullied.

His son Hal, as in almost anything and everything, is a negative of his father whom he does not respect but from whom, everything he has, was inherited: a typical second generation syndrome.  Calm and profit oriented, the Yankees, to Hal, are primarily a vehicle operated for the benefit his creditors and investors, and it is to them, rather than to fans or players, that his loyalty is rendered.  And his chief advisor and operating officer, the aptly named Irishman, Brian Cashman, is his ideal henchmen.  Randy Levine, the Yankees president seems to be a seldom seen illusion, and apparently likes it that way.  While an extreme example, the model is not unique.

Yankees fans, the ideal illustration of “team” rather than “sport” fans, are for the most part, a masochist lot.  Vocal, emotional, passionate and pretty well informed, but kept at bay, carefully, by management trolls who infiltrate their social networks to support management decisions, suggesting that fandom is a permanent state whose prime virtue is loyalty to ownership.  In essence, Team fandom, in the view of ownership and its trolls, involves a sports variant on the “my country right or wrong” slogan that led the Germans to morph from liberal social leaders of the nineteenth century to the obedient masses who watched their values destroyed in the first half of the twentieth.

Team fandom is a strange but effective means of social control, diverting attention away from issues that really impact society and thus permitting a tiny elite, which now includes billionaire owners who also disproportionately exercise control over just about everything, to rule us all just as surely as if they collectively wore Sauron’s one ring.  But it is so addicting, that, notwithstanding acknowledging the foregoing – I’m a passionate Yankees’ and Jets’ fan.

Being a sport fan is quite a bit more rational and hardly masochistic at all.  One does not care who wins, only that the sport is brilliantly played.  It is much less passionate than team fandom and many team fans can enjoy that passive distraction too, when “their” teams (not theirs at all, fandom is not democratic) are not involved.

Fandom, a diversion that lets off steam so that the issues that impact our real lives can be safely obfuscated, manipulated and controlled.  Machiavelli would be proud.  He’d probably approve of Black Friday as well.

Go figure.

Anyway, Happy Black Friday!
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Divine Introspection

Atrophying, withering and finally decaying, ties that once bound fade and perish, only the worst memories remaining, only the mistakes and misunderstandings, until it’s too late, as is so habitually the case.  The quest for purpose perdures but its objective seems more and more nebulous, more tenuous, ephemerally ethereal, slowly waning, goals becoming less and less visible and concurrently less and less viable.

As a child, in a form of waking dream, I would deliberately delve deeper and deeper into realms of disembodied emotional terror towards a singularity from which escape would be impossible, testing my limits.  I’d always just escape, fighting to wake.  A seeming exercise to enure myself, perhaps against the future I’d all too soon have to face.  And it seems that future is upon me now.

Today, I dream of a variant of immortality where I am utterly alone after times end, when all matter has disintegrated everywhere and gravity and entropy have died in a mutual embrace.  Where I have, by default, become the singularity, self-sentenced to eternal boredom and loneliness.  A melding of Heaven and Hell.  But I do not shy away from that infinite improbability.  Rather, I face it with determination as a sort of self-decreed fate. 

Self-delusive hubris imposed as propriative atonement.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution. Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Of Circles and Singularities and Love and Life

Circles, in some aspects, seem the perfect shape, but they also represent closed systems, at least when considered alone.  Spheres add dimension.  And groups of spheres, almost infinite groups of spheres, well that is a very different thing.  Groups of spheres seem to surround us, from micro, sub atomic structures to the shapes of ever expanding universes.  We humans, and perhaps other biological entities, seem trapped in the middle, although, the gift of volition would seem to impact the concept of a closed system, a flaw in the predestination that geometry and mathematics and physics seem to imply.  It is interesting to speculate on whether or not there was any volition inherent in the transition from singularity into everything which eventually evolved.  That might, to some extent, explain the imperfections in that first great conflagration.  Of course, that could imply a demiurge and, to be honest, demiurges are currently out of fashion.

Circes are symbols as well as archetypes, especially when configured in groups.  And while the potential configuration of circles is infinite the classification of their configurations are not.  They can be singularities (theoretically), solitary circles, groups of solitaries, concentric, overlapping, intersecting, and combinations of the foregoing.  As combinations they represent the fascinating possibilities inherent in chaos where all that can be, “is”, and is simultaneously notwithstanding inherent contradictions.

As archetypes, concentric circles represent hierarchies, authoritarian systems, each level encompassing a prior level around a singularity in the middle.  Overlapping circles represent interactions among some groups of circles without a hierarchy and without a centric singularity, and, intersecting circles represent interaction among all members of a group, without a hierarchy but with a common nucleus: circles interacting around a central axis with a portion of their circumferences overlaying, generating a small shared area, one that they occupy in common while the rest reflects a sort of independence.  The latter variant represents very special things to me on a number of levels.  The ideal blend of intimacy and independence in intimate interpersonal relationships, or the ideal relationship among social groups with shared values but also, with treasured differences; the antithesis of the revered melting pot concept much more accurately reflecting the ideal in a multicultural society and a multinational state.  No one’s values superimposed over those of others even as important values are shared.

Ideals are such frustrating things though. They posit idealized solutions to intractable problems: unstoppable forces crashing into immovable objects but with the hope that faith can indeed move mountains.  Somewhere in chaos, in the multiverse posited by the variant of string theory that encompasses eleven, rather than ten dimensions, somewhere where everything that can happen happens somewhere or some-when, idealized solutions function. But not here, not now.

It is very sad that in today’s polarized world where purported progressives have exchanged almost all of their values in a quest for perpetual power, the balance in my vision of intersecting circles is being brutalized and the quest for individuality, for harmonious liberty, for tolerance and mutual respect is being savaged.  It’s as though an intellectual pandemic infected many of the people who once shared my values and my goals and turned them into negative mirror images of what they once were.  Inexplicably, at least to me, metaphorically their quest seems to involve converting intersecting circles into concentric circles, and then, into singularities, reversing the tolerance-for-difference humankind once seemed determined to attain into Orwellian conformism.

I recall the hope and love inherent during the chaotic nineteen-sixties, a blend of incoherent emotions demanding change, demanding an end to bellicosity at every level; an end to war; an end to racism, xenophobia and misogyny; an end to intolerance; an end to inequity and injustice, but in each case, endings to be attained through empathy and love rather than conflict, conquest and suppression.  However, we lost our way and flower children became politicians and entrepreneurs and journalists and, instead of great writers, many became great publicists, enamored with the apparent magic of the tools behavioral psychology made available, tools that, like the mythical philosopher’s stone, permitted almost total manipulation of feelings and beliefs.  And truth became irrelevant, a merely relative concept. Rhetoric became a divinity at whose feet, amidst the sounds of silence, we became that against which we once railed.

As we changed, we propagated and under the leadership and guidance of many of us who, for diverse reasons, like Luke Skywalker aka Darth Vader turned to the dark side, much of our progeny became more and more incoherent, incongruent, vitriolic, violent and intolerant.  Slogans replaced goals and to them, the changes in the present we so need required that the historical past be destroyed and replaced: in essence, that our historical mirrors be exchanged for discordant pseudo-art: visual as well as vocal, cinematographic, etc.  To them, censorship, rather than the evil we once believed it to be, ought to be imposed in the name of security from discordant opinions, as though rather than the music of the orbs, only a single unending, unwavering, invariable note should be permitted to exist, and that what it lacked in terms of diversity, should be replaced with volume.

In essence, in this temporal instant, in this corner of the multiverse, we are experiencing a battle of discordant circular configurations, perhaps a battle between the armies of chaos (intersecting and overlapping circles, the good guys) and the armies of the concentric circles seeking the singularity we once were. Singularity which provides security through the absence of choices and the absence of opinions but which, in the end, crushes us all.
______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

On the Nature of Impersonal Divinity

Synergy, somehow unloosed at inception, freed from its prison in no-space, no-time, no being; an expanding cloud, exploding, transcending proto-time and proto-space and proto-dimensions, always creating more than the sum of its parts in a trigonometric sequence, always expanding to cover all that was, is and will be.

As it increased, it created actual time to accommodate the necessity of movement, then, eventually, cascaded into infinitely growing eternities.  And of course, never having time for reflection, it was always confused, seeking to attain ever evasive bemusement. 

Thus, the angels; then six days of creation: first the dark, then chaos, then light, then a firmament and flora and fauna, the serpent, the trees, the apple, the man, and finally, the woman.  Experiments all set in motion and then, all too soon discarded as synergy continued its perpetual series of caroms along an emerging and ever expanding Mobius strip to nowhere.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.