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Interview with Richard May (Parts One to Five)

2023-01-05

Author(s): Richard May & Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/02 (Issue #207)

Abstract

Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) is a Member of the Mega Society based on a qualifying score on the Mega Test (before 1995) prior to the compromise of the Mega Test and Co-Editor of Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society. In self-description, May states: “Not even forgotten in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), I’m an Amish yuppie, born near the rarified regions of Laputa, then and often, above suburban Boston. I’ve done occasional consulting and frequent Sisyphean shlepping. Kafka and Munch have been my therapists and allies. Occasionally I’ve strived to descend from the mists to attain the mythic orientation known as having one’s feet upon the Earth. An ailurophile and a cerebrotonic ectomorph, I write for beings which do not, and never will, exist — writings for no one. I’ve been awarded an M.A. degree, mirabile dictu, in the humanities/philosophy, and U.S. patent for a board game of possible interest to extraterrestrials. I’m a member of the Mega Society, the Omega Society and formerly of Mensa. I’m the founder of the Exa Society, the transfinite Aleph-3 Society and of the renowned Laputans Manqué. I’m a biographee in Who’s Who in the Brane World. My interests include the realization of the idea of humans as incomplete beings with the capacity to complete their own evolution by effecting a change in their being and consciousness. In a moment of presence to myself in inner silence, when I see Richard May’s non-being, ‘I’ am. You can meet me if you go to an empty room.” Some other resources include Stains Upon the Silence: something for no oneMcGinnis Genealogy of Crown Point, New York: Hiram Porter McGinnisSwines ListSolipsist SoliloquiesBoard GameLulu blogMemoir of a Non-Irish Non-Jew, and May-Tzu’s posterousHe discusses: growing up; a sense of an extended self; family background; the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligencegeniuses of the past; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; some work experiences and educational certifications; the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; some social and political views; the God concept; science; some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; and ethical philosophy; “Stains Upon the Silence: something for no one” (2011); the intended meaning of the title; MayTzu or May-Tzu; the cover; a cross-section with “philosophy, cosmology, poetry and humor”; an atheist; Jorge Luis Borges in The Library of Babel; transontological studies; the conservation of information; “two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics”; information; and information, knowledge, and wisdom; a favourite Zen koan; other ethical system formulations; different formulations of the Golden Rule; the ‘religion’ of the Dalai Lama; crossing the other side of the river in Buddhism; “Thought without measurement”; “In Praise of Stupidity”: wisdom and compassion; preventing intelligence levels reaching averages too high; “Know Thy -”; “Ideologies”; “ideologies” in general labelled “a secular theology of lies”; “Real plolitik among the Laputan Taoists”; “Utopia”; “Understanding”; men don’t understand their wives; “Prolegomena To Any Future Obfuscation”; the “reality of existence and the existence of reality” have no “single relationship”; reality and polyamory; metaphysicians; and stage magicians; “Vista”; the resentment of the gnawing of fellows nearby in mutual, individuated contemplation of their “own sublimity”; “A Belated Discovery,”; death; “Valentines Moment”; a sort of drama play by photons; “Dr. Capgras Before Mirrors’; emulation; physics and metaphysics; “Wedding Solstice”; any biological children or adoptive children; “Taoless Tao”; synesthesia; “The Holy Land”; “The Near Shall Be Far and the Far Near”; “Seeing dead people”; the loss of loved ones and coming to terms with mortality; “On Our Increased Longevity”; “The Offensiveness of the Universe”; “Going to Temple”; Mrs. Non; “nirguna brahman,” “the alayavijnana,” or “Neti neti! (neither this nor that”) and Tat tvam asi (“That art thou”) of the Chandogya Upanishad”; Ramachandran on split-brain patients; Mrs. Non’s right brain; “Endless Error”; “Will man create God?”; “Is Physics Becoming Art at the Limits of Scale?”; “Physical Laws as Sampling Error”; Where will the universe be when the paradigm shifts?”; our “little truths” a “receding horizon”; an imaginably godlike entity; “Multiverse Is That It Is”; “spirit or spiritual,” non-physical, realities come from “the world of phenomena” or physical realities; these being united; apparent unicity; a-temporal multiversal God neither “infinitely old” nor “beyond or outside space-time”; “panpsychism”; and “everyone develop his own intuition regarding the nature of reality”; Physics as Erotica: Objective Lust”; “The Laputans”; the space program of the Laputans; a reasonable place for the Laputans to have gathered, after the exploratory missions, the “somewhere”; ‘What is satire? What is not?’; the Laputan Olympics; other oddities of Laputan memory; “Security Check”; ontological password; “The Colonies”; “Delay in publication of Journal of Uncompleted Projects”; OCPD; “May’s Paradox”; “May’s Wager”; and “The Silicon Scream.”

Keywords: digital computers, erotica, May’s Paradox, May’s Wager, OCPD, Physics,

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you were growing up, what were some of the prominent family stories being told over time? 

Richard May: Mother said that she was an orphan and “didn’t know who her parents were.” But she knew her mother’s sister. It was all very coherent and logical. Once she said her father was a minister. I listened in silence. Once she said we were Danish, after talking to her brother on the phone. Danish had been substituted for Irish, I’m sure. I never interrogated Mother, naively preferring a passive psychoanalytic or Rogerian approach. 

Father said his grandfather, who “looked very Jewish and wore a yarmulke in his jewelry business, fooled the Jews, by pretending to be a Jew.” However, we were the Jews we ‘fooled’ on father’s side of the family. “Truth is the safest lie,” is a Yiddish proverb. There were no true family stories of interest. The lies of otherwise honest parents inspired me to research my background. 

Jacobsen: Have these stories helped provide a sense of an extended self or a sense of the family legacy?

May: No, belatedly at age 53 finding the hidden truth provided a sense of family legacy.

Jacobsen: What was family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

May: Mother was from Northern New York. Father was from Boston, Mass. We spoke English, which was not unusual in those areas at the time. There was not much religion at home. Nothing to rebel against. A children’s book on “Jesus,” when I was very young. An angel candle to protect me from goblins coming down the chimney at night. There was a little lip service to God now and then. We usually said grace before Sunday dinner.

I’ve only gone to church about five times in my life, all during childhood only. Father’s originally Jewish side had become Unitarian, I guess. Mother seemed to think she was some sort of Protestant, alternating in a quantum fashion between Episcopal and Baptist. I correctly perceived this as not even farcical. At one point as a young child I told Mother that I did not believe in church. She cried.

Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

May: I had a crush on a girl in the first grade. She liked my art work. It may have been o.k. till puberty. I was always chosen last along with a slightly retarded epileptic for sports teams in high school gym class. I was somewhat proud of this distinction. Guess I didn’t fit in. Almost didn’t graduate from high school and then university because of gym requirements.

Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you?

May: Maybe the purpose of intelligence tests is to attempt to measure intelligence.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

May: Did SETI finally announce that they made a breakthrough? But SETI has never discovered me, as far as I’m aware.

Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

May: Humans are tribal and primitive even today, to varying degrees. Differences of any kind among us are often not well tolerated.

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

May: Oh, you mean Mensa!  

No?

—  Archimedes, Euclid, Newton, Gauss, Einstein, and von Neumann come to mind.

Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

May:  Focused hard work in an intellectual discipline(s) over many years, original insights and thinking out of the box. Also the conventions historians used in identifying geniuses in various time periods. Herman Hesse wrote that in his view many geniuses were never noticed or recognized by their contemporaries or even later.

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and educational certifications for you?

May: Sisyphean shlepping, including ID checking in a bar, with a B.S. in psychology and a M.A. in Humanities/Philosophy.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

May: Myths may not necessarily be false propositions to be dispelled by truths, I think. Otherwise I have no thoughts on this.

Jacobsen: What are some social and political views for you? Why hold them?

I’m a political atheist with regard to ideologies and political process:

“Ideologies

Freedom, peace and prosperity are preferable to their absence or negation. Marxists say that property is theft; Libertarians say that taxation is theft. But ideologies, themselves, are theft: theft of reason; theft of truth; a secular theology of lies; paleomammalian delusions shared by the herd; 1 dimensional maps of hyperdimensional territories of phenomenal processes and individual values; attempts to depict a higher-dimensional polytope on a 1-dimensional line segment; maps far more useful to the mapmaker than the individual trying to find his way. There are no up-wingers or down-wingers; no front-wingers or back-wingers. Ideology is a bit of truth simplified to a convenient lie. — May–Tzu”

Humans are unconscious automata, as G. I. Gurdjieff stressed. In Christian language we are not redeemed, i.e., we are just too f*cked up as a species and we have a Type-O civilization. (We are probably actually less intelligent today than were the ancient Greeks.) It may be worth noting, however, that everything turns into its opposite in the relative world, including in the political arena. 

“In Praise Of Stupidity  

Homo sapiens is a primitive species whose primary activity is internecine tribal warfare and whose secondary activity is destruction of the ecosystem. Obviously human wisdom and compassion have not evolved as rapidly as the intelligence associated with technology and weaponry. Maybe for this reason “human stupidity” actually has survival value for our species. If the mean absolute I.Q. were 150 rather than 100, and if there were no correspondingly increased levels of wisdom and compassion, then perhaps we would have eradicated our species from the planet. Is stupidity, itself, the long awaited but unrecognized Messiah? — May-Tzu”  

“There is infinite hope, but not for us.” — Franz Kafka  

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion?

May: There are a quite a few thoughts on the above topics are in my “Stains Upon the Silence — something for no one.” —  But having thoughts is not thinking.

Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

May: To the extent that science is an apolitical approximation of truth, science is my ‘religion’ or worldview; Science not scientism. But remember the disinvitation of physics Nobel laureate Brian Josephson from a Cambridge University physics conference and the banning of Rupert Sheldrake and laser physicist Russell Targ, who did research for the C.I.A. for years, from TED Talks.

Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

May: I stopped taking IQ tests after the Mega Test on which I scored about 4.7+ sigma, qualifying me for the Mega Society. I took no later-developed tests after that. My score range is between mostly between 3 and 4.7 sigma. 

Incidentally I make no claims about my alleged ‘high intelligence’. This is neither humility nor false humility. I was raised to be stupid. 

My mother repeatedly said that I was “just like her,”odd given that she appeared to be a female. She would refer to herself as “my stupid mother” and shortly after say, “You’re just like me.” She was orphaned in a rural area and had a 10th. grade formal educational level, although she usually didn’t sound like it. 

An uncle on my father’s side, who boasted of having a very high IQ score, gave me a vast dictionary- encyclopedia in my early teens. I remember avidly looking up and studying various topics for hours. Mother told me that my thirst for knowledge “was just because my brain was developing” and reassured me that I would “get over it.” 

My father’s father was said to have been a professorial-sounding brilliant autodidact who had dropped out of elementary school. He was said to have read a book a day, had a extensive vocabulary and corrected people’s grammar. But Grandfather had bipolar disorder. Therefore, my father apparently associated high intelligence and erudition with ‘madness’ and disapproved of my attraction to books, where they could be found. 

In short I took these tests to attempt to demonstrate something to myself, not to impress others. I don’t generally feel highly intelligent and usually assume that others are more intelligent than I am, at least until I’ve observed them.

But  — in an absolute sense — how brilliant are actual human geniuses standing before the cosmos?

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

May: My score range is mostly between about 3 and 4.7+ sigmas. My lowest score was about 2 sigmas. My friend Grady M Towers claimed that everyone has as many IQs as they have taken IQ tests. Anne Anastasi wrote that IQ is not a property of an organism, but an index of a sample of behavior.

Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

May: Buddhist ethics.

Jacobsen: Okay, now, we come to the fun bits. The greatest hits of May-Tzu in three thematic parts based on three books while bound to one singular interview and segmented into parts. Your first book for analysis is entitled “Stains Upon the Silence: something for no one” (2011). Why this title?

May: I think the expression that “each word is a stain upon the silence” originated with Samuel Beckett, who may have implied that his words were less true and beautiful than silence. The silence of pure consciousness in the moment is suggested to and by me, but not necessarily meant by Beckett, analogous to sunyata, the Buddhistic void. 

“— Something for no one” anticipates that the book is unlikely to immediately be made into a hit TV series or become a popular film. Only the subset of the general population with both fairly high cognitive ability and a degree of “right-brainedness” and/or appreciation of artistic creativity are likely to value the work. These two factors probably have a correlation of about zero (0). So this is not a large potential audience.

Jacobsen: What is the intended meaning of the title?

May: What I’ve said above.

Jacobsen: Is it MayTzu or May-Tzu?

May: Google says it’s either.  But May-Tzu is Wade-Giles.  Today May-Tzu should apparently be written Mayzi, as Lao-Tzu is Laozi. The former is Wade-Giles, the latter pinyin.

Jacobsen: Who designed the cover? 

May:The image was my idea. Someone who knew how to edit files, a digital artist of sorts, brought it into existence.

Jacobsen: Why make a cross-section with “philosophy, cosmology, poetry and humor” in it?

May: Why not? The universe is a Rorschach inkblot interpreted by human intelligence as a geometric theorem and also a geometric theorem interpreted by human intelligence as a Rorschach inkblot.  “A complete and perfect philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Jacobsen: Are you an atheist? Rather, how are you defining the “-theist” god so as to provide an “a-”?

May: I find the existence of Zeus somewhat improbable. Was the Buddha an atheist? Was Patanjali an atheist? Is advaita Vedanta atheism? Is the philosophia perennis atheism? Atheists seemed to be mostly focused on the personality of the Adorable Yahweh, and on the exoteric level of the Abrahamic religions. As Gurdjieff, among others, recognized there are different levels of religions, e.g. exoteric and esoteric, and different levels of humans beings.

Remember May-Tzu’s wager: “It is extremely improbable that God exists. But it is certain that I don’t exist. Therefore, the existence of God is a much better bet.”

Jacobsen: You quote Jorge Luis Borges in The Library of Babel on page 3, which says, “I know of an uncouth region whose librarians repudiate the vain and superstitious custom of finding a meaning in books and equate it with that of finding a meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines of one’s palm … … … the books signify nothing in themselves. This dictum, we shall see, is not entirely fallacious.” Why quote him in this book? Why do books “signify nothing” in and of themselves?

May: Borges’ mind resonates with me; Borges is hilarious. But he attributes the view to the librarians of an *uncouth* region. If life, itself, is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” then what of the literature of those who live it?

Jacobsen: What would be “transontological studies”?

May: Studies across different levels of Being, a bit beyond transgender. Maybe academic pretense also.

Jacobsen: If we take the musing in the “Preface” on the conservation of information, how might this effect considerations about human mentation and computational capacities of digital computers?

May: Maybe everything and every thing is immortal as information. Then all sorts of Immortal Dreck would exist, floating throughout space-time everlastingly as information, perhaps including human personalities.

I don’t understand how it would affect the computational capacities of digital computers. But the conservation of information may be beyond my pay grade or even the pay grade of Homo sapiens, as presently evolved.

Jacobsen: Do these “two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics” imply a link to the ‘fundamentals’ or base of the dynamic construct called the universe and that which we – recently, mind us – deemed “information” for the proposed conservation of information if tying this knot to G.I. Gurdjieff who “maintained that all knowledge was material”?

May: I don’t understand the question.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, you focused on the contextualizations of information with “knowledge” and “wisdom.” In this framework, we come to the idea of the triplet linkage between information, knowledge, and wisdom. Human operators make distinctions between these. Why would the universe make such a distinction? This seems like an jump-gap with hidden premises, potentially, needing filling for more complete consideration.

May: I think, as Sir Fred Hoyle suggested, that our brains, and presumably brains in general, including exo-brains and AI, follow the logic of the universe, not vice versa. The distinctions between information, knowledge and wisdom may be natural language attempts to designate an information hierarchy of increasing levels of generality and utility, both objectively (isomorphic to ‘external’ reality and intersubjectively testable) and subjectively (isomorphic to ‘internal’ reality).  — Sometimes questions have hidden premises too.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, we have the idea of the conservation of information and “memories,” human remembrances, as incorporative of information. Why would the universe constitutionally organize the information on the large scale akin to the manner of the human mind, so as to make the connection between human memories as a form of information? This seems similar to the dilemma with information, knowledge, and wisdom, stated in the context before. 

May:  I continue to think, as Sir Fred Hoyle suggested, that our brains, and presumably brains in general, including exo-brains and AI, follow the logic of the universe, not vice versa. The distinctions between information, knowledge and wisdom may be natural language attempts to designate an information hierarchy of increasing levels of generality and utility, both objectively (isomorphic to ‘external’ reality and intersubjectively testable) and subjectively (isomorphic to ‘internal’ reality). 

Jacobsen: Side question before starting today, what is a favourite Zen koan for you, or two?

May: My favorite Zen koan is: “What is a favourite Zen koan for you, or two?” Another favorite Zen koan of mine is: “Why is reality so ahead of its time in its polyamorousness?” — In general I think one koan is as good, i. e., ‘useful’, as another. I don’t think I have favorites.

“What is the taste of Braille shadows?” is a koan of my own invention.

Jacobsen: We talked a bit about ethical systems in the second session. What other ethical system formulations make sense to you?

May: The negative formulation of the “golden rule.”

Jacobsen: There are different formulations of the Golden Rule. There can be trotting out of the Golden Rule as if only a Western concept, or only a Christian idea or Jesus Christ’s idea. These are Western and Christian conceits inasmuch as we know and can comment on them within the backyard with the noisy, barking dog of the world. The Golden Rule has been stated as positive, as negative, as neutral. What other formulations, specifically, of the Golden Rule make sense to you?

May: The negative formulation of the golden rule, which is the same in Judaism (attributed to Hillel the Elder) and Confucianism. (The positive formulation which is close, but not as logically excellent, is attributed to Jesus. “Do unto others … ”)

I.e., “Do *not* do to others what you would not want them to do to you.”

This is what Hillel supposedly said to a gentile in the ancient world when asked to explain Judaism to him while standing on one leg!

From Wikipedia:

He is popularly known as the author of two sayings: (1) “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And being for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”[4] and (2) the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or “Golden Rule“: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

Jacobsen: What is the ‘religion’ of the Dalai Lama regarding ethics, and science for that matter?

May: TheDalai Lama says that his religion is *kindness*, i.e., compassion for all sentient beings. He also said that if any tenet of Buddhism is inconsistent with modern science, then Buddhism must change. Once when asked at a lecture what happens to our consciousness after death the Dalai Lama stood in silence for three or four minutes.

Jacobsen: What is crossing the other side of the river in Buddhism, and then discarding the proverbial raft?

May: After you cross to the other side of the river, i.e., attain enlightenment or liberation from the illusion of personal identity, you should discard the raft, i.e., Buddhism. Atheist and neuroscientist Sam Harris seems to have an understanding of Buddhism and the human situation. Buddhism also maintains that everything is transient and, hence, one day there will be no Buddhism.

Jacobsen: In “Thought without measurement,” you echo Wittgenstein about the relation of comedy and great philosophical works. Why?

May: No, I have not echoed Wittgenstein but reversed him!

Wittgenstein wrote: “A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.”

Whereas I wrote: 

Thought without measurement

A hilarious comedy could be written consisting entirely of serious and good philosophical works.

Here I meant that philosophy ends where measurement begins. The domain of philosophy is diminishing historically as scientific knowledges increases

Jacobsen: “In Praise of Stupidity” speaks to the “primitive species” homo sapiens. The species that works in the destruction of one another in tribal warfare and of the environment sustaining its livelihood, not too bright in other words. You speak to the possible evolutionary function of relative stupidity. In that, a highly intelligent species, relative to the present, would probably self-annihilate, where lower mean intelligence of the species leads to a higher probability of surviving in the Darwinian world of nature. You point to an evolution of human intelligence beyond human compassion and wisdom. What seem like the drivers for an increase in intelligence beyond human compassion and wisdom? 

May: Natural selection during inter-species competition found little utility in what we call, “compassion and wisdom.” A predator should not feel compassion towards his prey. But the development of weapons of mass destruction by any species on any planet, e.g., Homo sapiens on Earth, would be a game changer. Planets are bio-cultural Petrie dishes in the universe. To get from a Type-0 civilization to a Type-1 civilization or beyond will require much less intra-species self-cannibalism. Only some unknown percentage of ‘advanced’ civilizations would graduate from a Type-0 civilization to a Type-1 civilization. Some don’t make it out of their Petrie dishes.

Jacobsen: How are you defining wisdom and compassion here, as counter-forces to raw intelligence? 

May: I’m not sure how to define “wisdom.” Apparently wisdom is traditionally identified by a consensus of individuals who are not considered wise by themselves or others.

Jacobsen: What is preventing intelligence levels reaching averages too high and leading to a greater potential to use the proportionate lack of wisdom and void of compassion to destroy the species, as we head into a self-scorched Earth scenario?

May: Social services and medicine in the modern Western world have produced a dysgenic breeding pattern. I do not imply that I think we ought to abandon social services and modern medicine. But only that social engineering and medicine can and often do have unintended consequences. The ‘absolute IQ’ is probably lower today than it was in ancient Greece, for example. Aldous Huxley mentions that in *Brave New World Revisited*.

But what is the purpose of intelligence and human intelligence in particular? Just to enable the organism to survive, eat, live long enough to produce offspring, who survive, eat, live long enough to have offspring, who survive, eat, live long enough to have offspring, who – – – . After reproduction and some nurturance of one’s offspring, just drop dead. This is Nature’s program for us.

The purpose of human intelligence is not to develop a unified field theory, a Theory of Everything or cosmological theories. Such theories are not necessary for “survive-eat-reproduce-die DNA-replication machines” developed by natural selection.

Cosmology may be beyond the pay grade of Homo sapiens as presently evolved. Just as various threshold levels of IQ, i.e., an approximate range of scores, are associated with different human occupations and professions and every known species has obvious limits of cognitive ability, why would Homo sapiens as presently evolved be an exception to this? Pure anthropocentrism — man is considered by himself to be the center of the universe and the crest jewel of the cosmos, and without inherent cognitive limits as a species. 

Many individuals with high IQs today apparently believe that they can do cosmology and theoretical physics without any graduate degrees in physics, as Newton and others did hundreds of years ago; maybe, but maybe not. In my view even credentialed cosmologists and theoretical physicists may not really be doing cosmology today. E.g., String theory, M-theory and Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds hypothesis may only be beautiful mathematical-metaphysics, if none are experimentally disconfirmable. If a theory cannot be disconfirmed experimentally, how can it be considered physical science?

Why do very high levels of theoretical intelligence even exist? Why has this level of intelligence evolved? Albert Einstein didn’t have more progeny than Genghis Khan or Attila-the-Hun. He was vastly less ‘successful’ from an biological evolutionary perspective.

Unless you think we are “images of (some sort of) ‘God’,” images of something at a higher level, maybe holographic images of the cosmos or that the Hermetic principal “As above, so below” applies somehow in ‘our’ universe, then why is there intelligence beyond the eat-replicate-die level?

Until or unless Homo sapiens takes control of its own evolution at a biological-level and an AI-level, by gene-editing/genetic engineering and brain implants a la Yuval Noah Harari, we are basically Chimps with WMDs; we are Koko the gorilla at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies.

Jacobsen: In “Know Thy -,” you state, “I don’t know anything until I see myself announcing it on television.” How long have you been playing the part of Socrates?

May: You apparently assume that Socrates was not playing the part of May-Tzu by reverse causality from his future event-horizon, a la M.I.T.’s Seth Lloyd. 

Actually “Know thy -” was intended as humor. It was inspired by a certain well-known political leader who, when asked when he had learned of this or that event, claimed that he only learned of it by watching television. So I took it a bit further by writing that “I don’t know anything until I see myself announcing it on television.”

Jacobsen: “Ideologies” speaks to a few points. One on preferable values compared to those that aren’t. What makes “freedom, peace and prosperity” preferable to “their absence or negation”? 

May: Our paleo-mammalian brain and cerebral cortex seem to have innate preferences. Other species of animals also appear to seek ‘prosperity’ and freedom as innate positive reinforcers as well.

Jacobsen: Why are “ideologies” in general labelled “a secular theology of lies”? What would make an ideology not a “convenient lie” and more truth than merely “a bit of truth”?

May: Ideologies are secular in that they are not usually theocentric or claimed to be direct revelations from the God of the Bible — quite. Ideologies have in common with theologies that they are not empirically based. You can postdictively interpret history through an ideological lens but you cannot do controlled experiments to test and potentially falsify ideologically-based predictions. 

“What would make an ideology not a “convenient lie” and more truth than merely “a bit of truth”?”

If an ideology were philosophy or science, rather than an tendentious admixture of disinformation and truth, a reality-map intended to influence or control our behavior, then it would be more objective and useful to its adherents.

Jacobsen: “Real plolitik [sic] among the Laputan Taoists,” you exhibit the Taoist philosophy, and the paradoxical way of thinking about the different parts of the world, almost like an inverted thinking into redundancy to make a not-so obvious point seem obvious, as a form of education. What is Taoist reasoning or logic, inasmuch as it exists (or not)? What is, perhaps, a better title for it?

May: The following principles and theorems taken from https://phiyakushi.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/seven-principles-of-the-order-of-the-universe-and-twelve-theorems-of-the-unifying-principle/ summarize Taoist principles:

SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF THE ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE

  1. All things are differentiations of One Infinity
  2. Everything Changes; nothing is stationary
  3. All antagonisms are complementary
  4. All phenomena are unique; there is nothing identical
  5. All phenomena have a front and back
  6. The greater the front, the greater the back
  7. All phenomena have a beginning and an end

TWELVE THEOREMS OF THE UNIFYING PRINCIPLE

  1. One infinity manifests itself into the two universal tendencies of Yin and Yang; complementary and antagonistic poles of endless change.
  2. Yin and Yang are arising continuously out of the ceaseless eternal movement of One Infinite Universe.
  3. Yin appears as centrifugalilty, Yang appears as centripetalilty. The activities of Yin and Yang together create energy and all phenomena.
  4. Yin attracts Yang. Yang attracts Yin.
  5. Yin repels Yin. Yang repels Yang.
  6. Yin and Yang combine in an infinite variety of proportion, creating an infinite variety of phenomena. The strength of attraction or repulsion always represents the degree of difference or similarity.
  7. All phenomena are relative and ephemeral, constantly changing their direction towards more Yin or more Yang.
  8. Nothing is solely Yin or absolutely Yang. Everything is created by both tendencies together.
  9. There is no neutrality; either Yin or Yang is always dominating.
  10. Great Yin attracts small Yin. Great Yang attracts small yang.
  11. Yin, at the extreme point, changes into Yang. Yang, at the extreme point, changes into Yin.
  12. Yang always focuses towards the center. Yin always diffuses toward the periphery.

“Realpolitik Among the Laputan Taoists,” is a better tittle for it. The irony between the meaning of realpolitik and the description of the Laputa Taoists ought to be clear.

Jacobsen: For “Utopia,” is this a recipe for the ‘leadership’ of the current administration of the United States with a particular disability of ill-calibrated ego and grand greed?

May: No, it is a play on the Marxist dictum: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.“ —> From each according to his disability, to each according to his greed. — Think Venezuela!

Jacobsen: “Understanding” perfectly exemplifies a big issue of the major religions of the world. Any further ‘issues’? 

May: “Understanding” applies to the revealed Abrahamic religions, each of which claims to have the final, complete and perfectly understood ‘revelation’ of the One-and-Only-One True God. The only exception to this is the Baha’i religion, in which revelation is considered to be an ongoing process.

Jacobson: Also, why don’t men understand their wives so much, even not at all?

May: I think a person cannot understand another person beyond his own level of self-understanding. G.I. Gurdjieff wrote that understanding was the arithmetic mean of knowledge and being. Being was defined as the average level of attention of the individual, not his level of attention at any given moment, and his genetic hardwiring.

Jacobsen: “Prolegomena To Any Future Obfuscation” poses this question to no one, “What is the relationship between the reality of existence and the existence of reality? Your answer: Plural, “…in N-valued logic there may be gradations or degrees of existence and/or non-existence, a quantized set of values approaching a continuum as its limit. Ideally in this case the continuum mapped upon various topological structures in N-dimensional hyperspace, in order to maximize the degree of lucidity of the obfuscation.” This then leads to a statement on parsimony or (William of) Ockham’s Razor: “…entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” You posit “May’s Razor,” or, “Words should not be simplified unnecessarily.” How does May’s Razor apply, in particular, to metaphysics?

May: This writing was satire, inspired by the incomprehensibly obscure writings of an individual on one of the high-IQ lists. “Words should not be simplified unnecessarily,” because someone may grasp what you are talking about and be able to refute it.

Jacobsen: Why is reality simply a ‘plural relationship,’ or where the “reality of existence and the existence of reality” have no “single relationship” and, in fact, have “multiple relationships”? 

May: This was all meant as satirical humor.

Jacobsen: Why is reality so ahead of its time in its polyamorousness? [Ed. Play on the phrase “multiple relationships” regarding the “reality of existence and the existence of reality.”]

May: Is this a koan? 

I don’t quite understand how “reality could be … ahead of it’s time,” even a smidgen, let alone “so ahead.” What this could possibly have to do with amorousness, poly- or otherwise, must be one of the deep mysteries.

Jacobsen: Why are metaphysicians prone to super-overcomplicated-complexifications of ideational-concepts about extra-meta-super-reality?

May: “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Jacobsen: Are stage magicians like Penn & Teller, and James Randi, better than metaphysicians because they explain the trick and in straightforward terms (with an entertaining presentation)?

May: “better”? — “because”? — “entertaining”?

A magician could make this question disappear, but would the essence of the question still remain?

Jacobsen: In “Vista,” you mention becoming a “blind rodent.” I am reminded of a certain author of yore awakening as a cockroach one day. Is this a similar happening?

May: No.

Jacobsen: Also, why the resentment of the gnawing of fellows nearby in mutual, individuated contemplation of their “own sublimity”?

May: This is a slightly sarcastic summary of life in the ordinary human existential situation at its best. Resentment or ressentiment permeates human ‘consciousness’, as noticed by various 19th century thinkers. Gurdjieff’s psychology called resentment “internal considering.” Few resent their resentment.

Jacobsen: As is obvious, and as admitted in “A Belated Discovery,” you’re a “highly perceptive person.”

May: I meant that ironically.  I am so highly perceptive that I didn’t even notice that I’d died. Incidentally there’s an App now for Smartphone Zombies to tell them if they’re making love at the present moment or if they’ve died yet. Clearly we’re getting much more intelligent today, because of the advances of technology and our attentions spans are far longer than in the past.

Jacobsen: You mentioned death, not noticing dying, having friends, and yourself, none the wiser. To quote people mimicking Seinfeld, “What the deal with your death?” Was it safe, painless, and dignified?

May: I’ve never seen a single episode of Seinfeld. I mostly listen to strawberry ice cream and eat Tibetan music. Remember, Bodhidharma didn’t have cable or only had one channel. Safe, painless, and dignified? Is life safe, painless and dignified? Who would know? “Death is not an event in life.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Jacobsen: “Valentines Moment” speaks of a Prince and Princess in awe of one another’s presence, existence, coming to know one another. They stopped the consumption of “recreational and psychotropic drugs” and “endless amounts of sucrose.” Consequently, they became less in awe as they began to have a “reduction in their reality deficit disorders,” including the “delusional dreams of Western culture.” Each coming to become neither prince nor princess. The princess as a mirror, and the prince as another mirror that “dreamed” of its princehood. When people passed by them, they were reflected. The mirrors identified with the personalities crossing their reflective paths. Ending, “But when the room was empty, the two opposing mirrors each reflected and even mirrored each other with perfect, but depthless, fidelity; Empty mirrors looking into each other eternally or at least until someone turned off the lights.” 

Who could be considered the prince and princess reflected in the mirrors and conveyed through the personas of the mirrors? 

May: The Prince and the Princess are legion, both within and without. This piece is called Valentines Moment, substituted for Valentines Day; depicting the self-absorption of the Prince and the Princess. “I never met anyone like you before,” each says to the other mirror; and the ‘depths’ of the usually short-lived psychosis called Romantic love in Western culture, enhanced by inherent and chemically induced Reality Deficit Disorder; Not even objective lust. Most of us are or have been at one time the Prince or Princess of the Mirrors.

Jacobsen: Could this be considered a sort of drama play by photons? (Could all of them, as in a hall of hanging mirrors and reflections? Could everything?)

May: Maybe, I suppose. Is there a Surreality Deficit Disorder?

Jacobsen: In “Dr. Capgras Before Mirrors,” for those who may not know, who is the real Capgras?

May: Joseph Capgras, full name: Jean Marie Joseph Capgras (23 August 1873 – 27 January 1950, the French psychiatrist who discovered Capgras syndrome, according to Wikipedia.

I was surprised to learn that there is, in fact, a rare form of Capgras syndrome in which a person believes that they themself are the imposter! I nailed it. Previously I had also written of the possibility of my being an imposter, impersonating an imposter:

Security Check

From now on I’m going to do a Security Check between each of my so-called thoughts, to verify that they’re really mine. But can I trust myself to do the Security Check? There are so many levels of encryption and security that I’m no longer sure that I’m not an impostor, impersonating an impostor – –  Maybe if I were capable of becoming a hacker, I could hack my own brain, actually just a rental unit, and steal my ontological password.

May-Tzu

I‘m pleased to mention that I have not been a recipient of the “Genius of the a Year” award for eight (8) consecutive years, certainly an important distinction! I attribute this honor in part to my discovery of Cotard’s syndrome as a cure for self-referential Capgras syndrome.

Jacobsen: If you were replaced by emulation down to the sub-atomic level, would this ‘you,’ in fact, be you?

May: Yes, of course, at least to the extent that ‘I’ am the real ‘me’.

Jacobson:  A sort of emulation being the real deal and the real deal being an imitation without being a copy of the “emulation.” 

May: The only difference between the original and the emulation(s) could be in the time of their origins and their location in space (space-time).  If Hugh Everett’s Many-World’s hypothesis is correct, there are some infinite number of emulations of everyone throughout the Multiverse. Maybe some subset of the infinite number of our emulations will necessarily become amortal, awakened Buddhas or at least occasionally have a good space-time.

Jacobsen: Why does physics, and metaphysics, infuse much of the muse musing by you?

May: It gives me the impression that I exist. I’m just playing my favorite character in fiction, to use Aldous Huxley’s phrase from *The Doors of Perception*.

Jacobsen: “Wedding Solstice” is more ‘earthy’ with references to “blood and shit.” Why? By the way, are you, or have you ever been, married? Do you have any children in a biological sense or in an adoptive sense?

May: “Sacks of blood and shit” is Buddhist iconography, our bodies from a certain perspective.

I think that the state vector of marriage depends upon observation by the observers. I asked my wife and she (by the no-Y-chromosome criterion) says that we are married. So there is some empirical evidence for my being married, even if only anecdotal.

We were married by a Buddhist woman of Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition. We were married to *each other* in the interest of combinatoric simplicity.   I guess marriage is still legal, even for trans-ontologicals. — ‘I’ identify as an anthropologist from another dimension of space-time, who makes an effort to practice non-identification. I suspect that she may have some Earth ancestry. — She claims to be a board-certified Physician of the Soul. I suppose it could be a shared delusion, a fo·lie à deux.

We met on the internet and levitated in love, too old to fall or only fall, even before we met in meat-space.    I was married once before also, I think, a long time ago — in a timeless time.  She was married too, I recall. In fact we were married to each other, again Ockham’s razor applied to marriage (Cf: “entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily,” not to be confused with “Mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men…”   ― Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius)

She was also a woman by the no-Y-chromosome criterion. (She identified sometimes as a duck, if that is important.) And I was allegedly a man (at least by the Y-chromosome criterion) “a man with quotation marks,” as G.I. Gurdjieff would have said.

We met one summer’s day down by the Charles River in Boston. Two shy introverts, we approached each other, each thinking the other was someone else, met before. (Then I was also someone else, whom I had not met.) We immediately married, after twenty-five years. No need to hurry. Three years later, one of us died. I was told it wasn’t me.

Jacobsen: Do I have any biological children or adoptive children? 

May: Cats Galore. I don’t *think* I have any other children in a biological or in an adoptive sense.

Jacobsen: “Taoless Tao” touches on a common philosophical perspective from you, Taoism. What is the embedded, repeating structure, imagery imagined here?

May: The first sentence refers to doing Tai Chi with my wife; The second to the Tai Chi dance as a re-enactment of our marriage ritual — for the first time — again — in the eternity of the present moment.

Jacobsen: It ends in an almost synesthete note: “…the taste of silence.” Do you have synesthesia?

May:  I have just a little synesthesia, not to a significant degree. I associate colors with letters of the alphabet. I don’t know why. Maybe this is a remnant of something from my childhood. My visual eidetic imagery is rather weak.

Jacobsen: “The Holy Land” spoke to the comical notion, commonly believed, of “the One-and-Only-One True Revelation Revelation,” the only true true divine revelation. How important is humour in coming to terms with the current state of religious ideologies and international geopolitics guiding human affairs for you?

May: How important is humour … ?  Some of us may die some day. Comedians are more serious than philosophers

Jacobsen: “The Near Shall Be Far and the Far Near,” I love the opening with the apparency of multi-worlds considered, as in the potential worlds with other possible futures unrealized, where everyone, at least once, becomes famous. What did you mean by this line, “However, the closer one approaches to anyone proximate, the more darkly obscure she will become, and then increasingly unfamiliar with the passage of time…”? 

May: This is meant to convey that as the “Far Shall be Near,” The Near Shall be Far also in both space and time. While one will be famous on distant and unimaginable, unknown worlds, one’s neighbor will be an utter stranger, there won’t even be a word for “mother,” in the language of the day, and if one looks in the mirror one will not see one’s image. Proximity in space and time, which ordinarily lead to familiarity, increase unfamiliarity.  – – – Imagine a “remote viewer,” if there are such persons, who lived in a dark abode, either his parents basement or maybe Plato’s allegorical cave, and rarely went outside, spending all his time on the internet.

Jacobsen: “Seeing dead people,” I am reminded of personal life. I was raised by the old, retired or near-retired, particularly women in a small Canadian community village. No doubt, this impacted me. Duly, it provides a sense of time, a sense of what matters, and a sensibility about the things to hold fast and firm, and others to permit to drift as water in a summer forest stream. How do you cope with the passage of time?

May: This assumes that the passage of time is a problem for me that I must cope with this problem, and that I do in fact cope with the passage of time, rather than decompensate or freak out. — I think that Albert Einstein said that time was an illusion, but a very real illusion. — Well, I suppose one could drink a bit of alcohol, or consume another drug, depending upon one’s preference, go for a long run or vigorous walk, practice a meditation technique, just ruminate (endogenous cortical stimulation) or distract oneself with the esthetic/intellectual/spiritual vomit of popular culture, while eating “comfort food,” whatever that is.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, and outside of the query with one foot, how do you cope with the loss of loved ones and coming to terms with mortality, as commonly held, physiological cessation?

May: For the loss of a loved one I ran/jogged in the high temperature heat and humidity of summer. There may be no way to completely come to terms with one’s mortality. The fear of death is hardwired into our brains by natural selection/evolution.

It may help somewhat if one realizes that one’s personal identity is an illusion a la the Buddha, Patanjali, Jiddhu Krishnamurti and G.I. Gurdjieff, among others.

Jacobsen: In “On Our Increased Longevity,” you posit depressed individuals as not capable of suicide. In fact, you invert much of the sentiment of modern society. In this sense, a reduction in negative affect leads to fewer homicides and suicides. While, you claim, not necessarily a cessation but, an improvement in the psychological status of human beings leads to en masse homicide-suicide. Can you expand on some of this idea, please? It’s intriguing.

May: I don’t merely posit depressed individuals are less capable of suicide. There are actual clinical studies which indicate this. Psychotherapists must beware this unfortunate psychological phenomenon. I take this apparent fact and “run with it,” as normal members of our sports-centric culture put it.

This irony would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. So I just take it to the next level, positing that humans live longer today because they are depressed en mass (too depressed to suicide) by being immersed in a culture of materialism and competition for social status in various forms. When conditions improve, what would have been inner directed aggression (suicide) becomes an external war or terroristic destruction. This is intended as a humorous reflection on modern society.

Jacobsen: “The Offensiveness of the Universe” is a short, comical note on the size of a child’s ego in proportion to the universe, if only there was enough space. Have you come to terms with growth limits and spatial limitations of the universe, relative as they are?

May: This was inspired by a member of the higher-IQ community, who actually wrote that as a child he resented the fact that God was allegedly more intelligent than he was or he thought he was. I thought that this young fellow demonstrated a remarkable level of egotism and arrogance.

But I was also struck with how it contrasted with my own thoughts about God as a child. I was disconcerted to think that God might *not* have been more intelligent than I was, not because I considered myself to be extremely intelligent, but because the God of the Old Testament often seemed barbaric, tribal and genocidal. I thought at an early age, if there is a God, God cannot be worse than men.

Jacobsen: “Going to Temple,” the character Non seemed much like the sentiment of an Omni-Weave concept rejection of a god for me. An “atheist-agnostic continuum” upon which to sit depending on the definition of a god: “…the personality of the anthropomorphic tribal Yahweh/Allah downloaded by the ancient desert nomads of her ancestral 3rd planet versus a quantum-wave function reinterpretation of less philosophically primitive concepts, such as nirguna brahman, the alayavijnana, Neti neti! (neither this nor that”) and Tat tvam asi (“That art thou”) of the Chandogya Upanishad.” Let’s jump on the spectrum, if Mrs. Non, where would she land for “the personality of the anthropomorphic tribal Yahweh/Allah downloaded by the ancient desert nomads of her ancestral 3rd planet”?

May: A rough landing at Heathrow Airport might do it. — I’m not exactly sure what you mean. — Nirguna brahman, the alayavijnana, neti neti!, and tat tvam asi are or point to abstract concepts associated with Eastern philosophies, not subjective experiences potentially induced by transcranial brain stimulation.

Jacobsen: If Mrs. Non, where would she land for “a quantum-wave function reinterpretation of less philosophically primitive concepts,” “nirguna brahman,” “the alayavijnana,” or “Neti neti! (neither this nor that”) and Tat tvam asi (“That art thou”) of the Chandogya Upanishad”?

May: Ms. Non may exist in a future in which very ancient religious doctrines and dogmas for which there is little or no objective evidence have evolved, as all other human knowledge continually does, to become less incompatible with science. Even today the Dalai Lama has said if Buddhism is incompatible with modern science, then Buddhism must change.

Jacobsen: If Mrs. Non, where would she land for “nirguna brahman,” “the alayavijnana,” or “Neti neti! (neither this nor that”) and Tat tvam asi (“That art thou”) of the Chandogya Upanishad”?

May: This was answered in the first two replies.

Jacobsen: Have you seen some of the work of Ramachandran on split-brain patients? If so, I would recommend it, highly informative. 

May: Yes and yes.

For Mrs. Non’s right brain, what were some of the experiences of her “Temple of the Corpus Callosum,” as in the yogic meaning of union or the “direct perception of reality”?

May: I’ve never experienced transcranial brain stimulation and I have no way of knowing what Ms. Non would experience. My point is that everything we experience is obviously mediated by and filtered through our brains and senses. Aldous Huxley thought that the brain may function as a reducing-valve for consciousness-at-large.

Brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s experience of a stroke may be of interest:

Jacobsen: In “Endless Error,” why is the mind of god an endless series of error messages?

May: The gnostic idea of the Old Testament God has always resonated with me, i.e., the God of the Bible is the Demiurge or Yaldabaoth, not actually the God of the universe, but only a subordinate blundering craftsman or builder, hence ‘His’ mind could be just an endless series of error messages.

I once wrote that God was just a kid playing, when he created the world. He messed it up and threw it away, because He was in a hurry to get to a football game (a new theodicy). If we are going to anthropomorphize the Absolute, why not go all the way?

Jacobsen: “Will man create God?” ponders technology and God, as in the construction of “Theo computatis” by homo sapiens. So, do we seem like the “soon-to-be missing links in the evolution of an artificial-intelligence-based God?”, or not?

May: Homo sapiens may be the pre cyborg-implant soon-to-be missing-links in the evolution of an genetically-engineered and artificial-intelligence-based species, as written about by Yuval Noah Harari in “Sapiens.” I suppose if we are “holographic images of ‘God’,” then there could be a “mutual arising,” to invoke the Taoist a- causal connecting principle or even reverse causation from the future event-horizon, a la MIT’s Seth Loyd. “The greatest untold story is the evolution of God.” — G.I. Gurdjieff

Jacobsen: “Is Physics Becoming Art at the Limits of Scale?” posits – well – a lot. So, given some of the previous responses to the questions, as in the statements or the entire pieces were satire, is this satire or a real proposal?

May: You expect *me* to know? Maybe it’s both a real proposal and a satire of contemporary cosmology.

Jacobsen: “Physical Laws as Sampling Error” seems to propose a more accurate conception of reality. In that, reality consists of principles, not laws, as in “no fundamental ordered physical reality.” Reality as a tendency of state and process rather than fixed decrees governing its operation. Is this reflective out of selective order out of plenty of chaos, or an apparent order out of chaos, not vice versa? Also, noting “Dark energy,” as a one-sentence piece, are these two – “Physical Laws as Sampling Error” and “Dark energy” – satire to some extent too?

May: Maybe the observable universe is a parody of something else. —  “Dark energy” was inspired by an physics article which suggested that dark energy may only be a rounding error. Since dark energy and dark matter (if they exist) supposedly make up about 95% of the mass of the universe, I generalized a bit and concluded that the universe itself may be a rounding error.

In “Physical Laws as Sampling Error” I meant that there could theoretically be only random chaos with no lawful patterns in the universe. The perceived patterns (“interpreting a Rorschach ink blot as a geometric theorem”) could just be caused by finite (in space and time, if you posit time as real) sampling of an infinite set of randomness. In an infinite set of random numbers, every possible pattern will occur somewhere by chance alone, as a subset of the infinite set or “eventually,” if you posit time as real.

Jacobsen: “Where will the universe be when the paradigm shifts?”, I love the phrasing of “humongous quantum-foam Wiki,” please more. If you will indulge, what are some other descriptors of the universe – neologisms permissible?

May: Am I a dancing bear (in the traditional sense of the term, not … )?  Hmmm – – – How about the universe is a “cosmic food chain, from bottom to top.” Cf: “God is a man eater.” — The Gospel of Philip.

Jacobsen: How are our “little truths” a “receding horizon”?

May: I was suggesting that our discovering an aspect of the nature of reality could actually change that aspect of the nature of reality. The truth would recede from us.

Jacobsen: What would comprise an imaginably godlike entity? 

May: An imaginably godlike entity as contrasted to an unimaginably godlike entity? Anthropomorphic, genocidal Yahveh versus Nirguna Brahman, without any qualities whatsoever?

Jacobsen: “Multiverse Is That It Is”, being as it is, how is this definition as a “personal intuition or wild guess regarding the nature of reality” ‘probably offensive to theists and atheists’? 

May: Theists of the Abrahamic traditions are only happy if their particular One-and-Only-One-True Sky-God is argued for or supported. Atheists who deny these traditions generally seem terrified that there might be a “ghost in the machine,” somewhere, such as psi phenomena, remote viewing, psychokinesis, or any alleged phenomenon that doesn’t appear to be explained by current scientific paradigms.

Jacobsen: Same line of questioning, how might “spirit or spiritual,” non-physical, realities come from “the world of phenomena” or physical realities?

May: If there is a non-physical component of reality, e.g., mathematics, I don’t think it can be derived from physical reality. I don’t think that qualia can be reduced to computations. The subjective experience of seeing the color red (qualia) cannot be reduced to objective biochemistry and neurophysiology, even if biochemistry and neurophysiology can fully explain seeing the electromagnetic frequency that we label “red.” — But most of what I know may not even be wrong.

Jacobsen: How might these be united?

May: I don’t think they can be united. If both the spiritual exists and the physical exists, they are either united or in some sort of relationship, or not.

Jacobsen: How might this inhering as a “fundamental substrate of reality” explain this apparent unicity?

May: Space, time and mass-energy may be or have been regarded as irreducible fundamentals of Nature. The question is: Is consciousness an epiphenomenon of matter, e.g., of brains or not? Maybe consciousness is also such a fundamental, as in Eastern philosophies. But maybe not.

Jacobsen: What might be a good term for this a-temporal multiversal God neither “infinitely old” nor “beyond or outside space-time”? 

May: The second quoted clause is a misquote of what I wrote. A good term for this God? — The God-of-human-cortical-limitations?“Beyond or outside of space time,” is a misquote of what I wrote.

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on “panpsychism” as referenced within the context of the piece?

May: Only that we don’t know if panpsychism is the case or even if we *can* know if panpsychism is the case or not. “The universe is not only stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” — J. B. S. Haldane

Jacobsen: Why should “everyone develop his own intuition regarding the nature of reality”?

May: I meant that I was not trying to convert anyone to my (tentative) view of the nature of reality. We shouldn’t believe our own thoughts, just because we have them. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” — Richard Feynman. Buddha’s dying words are alleged to have been, “Everyone should workout their own salvation with diligence.”

Jacobsen: “Physics as Erotica: Objective Lust,” one can find a number of great plays on terms with “Omni Amorist,” “Poly Amory,” “orthodox Bi Poly Amorists,” “Multi Omni,” “Bi Poly Amorists,” and, simply, “Poly.” It’s a delightful play on sexual orientation, sexuality, physics, and cosmology. It’s not merely a rhyming scheme, as in some formal poetry, or straightforward writing. It feels as if more developing a sensibility of conceptual rhythm to read it. Something like this. How do you take disparate ideas, including the sexual and physics, and unite them in a common weave, as in this piece?

May: This was inspired by a woman, or at least “she” seemed to identify as a woman, back in the ancient world, before the time when the only important thing is how a person identifies, who was an advocate of bipolyamory. But maybe ‘she’ was cat-fishing the cosmos. I thought that this was quite quaint, because she also claimed to be an Orthodox member of one of the world’s great religions. This is how bipolyamory came to my attention. I wanted to outdo her through satire.

As to how I take disparate ideas, including the sexual and physics, and unite them in a common weave, as in this piece, I suppose most of my pieces come from my subconsciousness, not thinking. — Gurdjieff said that “Subconsciousness is the real consciousness of man.” — Sexuality and physics are held to be in an analogical relationship.

I once read that William James wrote that the ability to see analogies is the surest indication of genius. I particularly liked this quote because I was the 2nd person to get a perfect score on the verbal half of the Mega Test, eons ago when there was no internet to allow cheating. But now the only relevant quote I can find by Googling is Emerson’s that science was ‘nothing but the finding of an analogy’.

Sexuality and physics can also be unified by May-Tzu’s Theory of Nothing (TON). Most Theories of Everything (TOEs) predict nothing and explain nothing. May-Tzu’s Theory of Nothing also predicts nothing and explains nothing, but does so with far more parsimony and hence is to be preferred by Ockham’s razor.

Jacobsen: We’re back to the Laputans, in “The Laputans.” I love this paragraph:

Among the Laputans it was not considered true that a house built of metaphors was not as strong as a house built of straw. It had been said since time immemorial that a house built of metaphors was stronger than a house built of bricks and mortar. It’s not known if they meant this metaphorically or literally.

It’s clever, witty, and entertaining. Also, why would the lack of the existence of the monuments of the Laputans speak to the enduring legacy of the Laputans?

MayThe Laputans may represent the more practical side of my nature. — The Laputans have no legacy whatsoever, as they have no monuments.

I’m not even forgotten in the cosmic microwave background (CMB).

Jacobsen: What comprised the space program of the Laputans?

MayThe Laputans are Luftmenschen or air people from German/Yiddish, so they don’t have quite as far to travel to find non-terrestrial space. The most practical and grounded Laputans would probably attempt to launch into interstellar space on a flight of ideas or abstract free associations.

Jacobsen: What might be a reasonable place for the Laputans to have gathered, after the exploratory missions, the “somewhere”? 

MaySince the Laputan spacecraft were mutually incommunicado and did not agree prior to their dispersal to a specific meeting place, it is not inconceivable that they could encounter problems attempting to reunite. Perhaps they could attempt to land at a high-IQ society gathering, e.g., a ggg999 gathering *somewhere* in the cosmos.

Jacobsen: I like how you take the ordinary and make them seem like the exceptional in some of the writing. In fact, in some manner, you show the reverse is the case, as in the satire. It raises fresh questions, ‘What is satire? What is not?’

So, as a reader, you’re left with more question marks leaving than coming in – and more exclamation marks. Are you, more or less, playing around with ideas, putting them into text, and basing them off observations to both make satire and make a point, sometimes no point whatsoever?

MayOn the Myers-Briggs Type Index I’m an INTP, described as an “architect of ideas.” So, yes, I’m more or less, playing around with ideas. As to what is satire and what is not, I’ve thought that maybe the laws of physics of our universe represent a mathematical satire at some higher level of dimensions/being/intelligence.

Jacobsen: “Among the Laputans endurance breathing was considered a lifetime sport and one that they were truly motivated to play, usually on highly competitive endurance breathing teams, but sometimes in solitude among the clouds. The games were, of course, televised 24 -7. But often the uninitiated had difficulty differentiating sportsmen from spectators,” as some version of you wrote. This seems a case in point of making the ordinary, breathing, extraordinary, something other. Any updates on the Laputan Olympics? Any other sports as part of the Laputan Olympics?

MayYes, as you know the Laputans are quite libertarian, they oppose the use of force of any kind, and have for centuries attempted to repeal the laws of gravitation and of electromagnetism, seeking to replace them with a susurration of tautologies. The Laputan Olympics have now instituted direct competitions between Olympic Doping Teams, rather than attempting to enforce the prohibition of certain performance enhancing drugs among the athletes.

Jacobsen: Any other oddities of Laputan memory needing mentioning here?

MayIt is suspected by some that certain notable individuals in the higher-IQ community may be Laputans. Because even the most substantial Laputans are said to have no shadows, these individuals may only appear in public undetected at noon or on sunless days. But this has never been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Jacobsen: As noted elsewhere, and as mentioned in “Security Check,” obviously, this is a satire on the ways in which modern technology requires a constant certification of a human operator rather than a computer. Are our thoughts our own in any manner, sensei?

MayLudwig Wittgenstein wrote that we are asleep and sometimes we awaken just enough to realize that we are dreaming. Maybe “our” ’thoughts’ are just echos of echos reverberating in the Buddhistic void, Shunyata. “We are the space between our thoughts.” — Jean Klein. But in the near future after brain implants, our brains and thoughts will be hackable.

Jacobsen: What’s your ontological password?

MayOy vey! You expect me to know what I’m talking about? Me of all people?

Maybe my “ontological password” is actually my attention and the sensation/feeling of “I am.”

Jacobsen: “The Colonies” existing as a colony of moles of sorts. The recording of yourself spying on your self, a hall of mirrors. Did you manage to escape complete ontological detection?

MayI’m not a conscious unified being most of the time. So the question is who is spying on whom?

“The possibility of my existence is too private for me to share with myself

— May-Tzu”

Jacobsen: “Delay in publication of Journal of Uncompleted Projects,” sadly, doesn’t seem so much as satire as a reality of most projects for most people, incomplete or partially done, so not done. Who were some of the hoped-for contributors to the journal?

MayThis piece was inspired by certain prominent members of the higher-IQ community, who must, of course, remain nameless.

Jacobsen: What were some of the too-many-interests interests of those with OCPD?

MayThe too-many-‘interests’ could be anything, not just objects of intellectual curiosity, but any object that attracts or distracts one’s attention, either internally or externally.

If a person has OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) everything under the control of the person has to be absolutely ‘perfect’, e.g., if one is proofreading, the clerical minutia and visual-spatial formatting. Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder were highly sought after as employees at Zeno Publications.

Jacobsen: “May’s Paradox” asks, “Why, if a multitude of New Yorkers exist in Manhattan, evidence of New Yorkers, such as automobiles or subways, is not seen?” Why?

MayObviously there is no evidence of New Yorkers existing, such as automobiles or subways, in New York City. That would be a Conspiracy Theory. May’s paradox should have been called the May paradox. The clear absence of evidence for the existence of New Yorkers makes May’s paradox analogous to the Fermi paradox.

In the SETI program we have searched for years for signals in the hydrogen frequency. As was pointed out in a YouTube video by Dr. Michio Kaku, there is no particular reason to assume that advance alien life would use the hydrogen frequency to send signals, even if one assumes that such beings would use radio signals at all. Dr. Kaku also points out that if the extraterrestrial communications used spread-spectrum signals, such as we humans use even now in our cellphone signals, then we would not even recognize the alien spread-spectrum signals as signals.

Given the exponential and unpredictable course of the growth of human technology, it seems entirely possible that a civilization even a few hundred years more advanced scientifically and technologically than our own might accomplish things that in ways that we could not understand at our present level of scientific-technological development.

Do you suppose we would comprehend the technology of a civilization a thousand or more years older than our own? “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” — Arthur C Clarke. So where are the smoke signals?

Just for fun let’s take the Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash myth. Of course, it’s just a Conspiracy Theory. The so-called Roswell incident been explained – – at least twice. Last time it was sad to be a weather balloon. It might just as well have been a flock of geese or the planet Venus, I suppose.

But let’s be silly and play devil’s advocate. Suppose an unexplained extraterrestrial craft or vehicle had crashed there in 1947 after WWII. Presumably the US. military would have little or no interest in such an event. There would have been no suspicion that it might have been a Russian or German device after World War II. There would have been no military interest; There would have been no interest if not duty of the U.S. military to study and reverse engineer the advanced off-world technology for American national security. So a possible crash of some sort would not have been investigated.

But if what was discovered was thought to be an unexplained craft or an “off-world device,” as they are apparently called today, of some sort, then a high-ranking military officer or perhaps the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or our President would certainly have gone on the radio and told the U.S. public. “Fellow Americans, an unknown craft appearing to be extraterrestrial in origin has crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. We do not know its origin or understand its method of propulsion. The technology is far superior to American technology or that of any other nation on Earth.

A few small gray(?) humanoid bodies have been retrieved from the crash site. They’re not thought to be Americans. We don’t know yet with certainty if these beings are Christian or Jewish. But we can be sure they are Baptists. At this point in time it is apparent that the U.S. military cannot control its own airspace. — But, hey, don’t worry about it! — America is number one, the greatest power! — Have a nice day.”

The Brookings Institution report on the possible consequences of advanced extraterrestrial contact that concluded that when a more primitive civilization encounters an advanced civilization, the more primitive civilization is damaged by the contact would certainly not be considered relevant by those in authority. The conclusion that religious fundamentalists would be highly unreceptive to contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization would also certainly be ignored as irrelevant.

Below are a few crackpot books of Conspiracy Theories, perhaps good for a few laughs:

*Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times* by Jacques Vallee (Author), Chris Aubeck (Author)

*UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record* Paperback – August 2, 2011 by Leslie Kean (Author), John Podesta (Foreword)

*UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973* Paperback – June 1, 2002 by Richard M. Dolan (Author), Jacques F. Vallee (Foreword).

A cottage industry of woo woo, no doubt. Everyone with a high IQ knew about the Manhattan Project. You couldn’t keep something like that secret.

And in any case there are no conspiracies, ever. The Watergate break-in and subsequent Watergate cover-up were certainly not conspiracies. Project MK-Ultra was certainly not a conspiracy. Industrial espionage certainly does not involve conspiracy. — The belief that there are ever conspiracies is no more than a meta-conspiracy theory.

Jacobsen: “May’s Wager,” noted elsewhere, states:

It is extremely improbable that God exists.

But it is certain that I do not exist.

Therefore, the existence of God is a much better bet.

What are some potential hidden premises here?

MayThat either we or God or both exist. Western philosophy and neuroscience are beginning to catch up with Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, the Abiddama in particular, Vedanta, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the psychological theories and phenomenological observations of G.I. Gurdjieff. In particular neuroscientist Sam Harris is insightful and Thomas Metzinger, author of *Being No One — The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity* is noteworthy.

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/being-no-one

If there is no being resembling the human conceptions of a ‘God’,

then perhaps we will at least have “being no one” in common with He/She/It.

(As you know, *Stains Upon the Silence* is “something for no one.”)

Here is one possible relationship among ourselves and the other:

“More and less than stardust

The perceiving subject and the object perceived,
‘internally’ and ‘externally’, are usually separate in our ordinary, biologically useful state of ‘consciousness’. Duality, the subject-object dichotomy, can be abolished, as in cosmic consciousness or ‘objective consciousness’. We are the universe observing itself. But as skin-encapsulated egos, we live the delusion of ‘our’ separateness. There is only the One, the Cosmos, at various levels of scale ‘within’ and ‘without’. But there are an infinite number of points within the hologram, Indra’s net of gems, from which to see and be the totality, depending upon state and station, knowledge and being, “hal” and “makam.”

“The observer is the observed.” — J. Krishnamurti

May-Tzu”

Jacobsen: “The Silicon Scream” seems to echo the infinite incompleteness of the digital computers’ minds. Are some of these May-sian paradoxes?

May“The Silicon Scream

Behold —

Infinite recursive paradoxes

in a cognitive hall of mirrors.”

I imagine that a “silicon scream,” a scream coming from or experienced by the ‘mind’of an advanced AI-unit would not refer to sensations or emotions as we feel them, not the despair, pain and love we wetware units know, but would be of a purely intellectual-cognitive sort; perhaps occasioned by encountering an infinite series of unresolvable logical paradoxes or by cognizing Godel’s incompleteness theorems; The absolute terror of seeing an inherent limitation within a logical or a mathematical system.

Wikipedia: “Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic that demonstrate the inherent limitations of every formal axiomatic system capable of modelling basic arithmetic. These results, published by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel%27s_incompleteness_theorems

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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