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Middle Pane

absurdism, philosophy, science, music

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Will We Ever Run Out of New Music?

This is quite interesting.

It explores the possibility that we may run out of unique music.  He starts out by taking the digital approach and discusses how many bits can fit into a span of five minutes on a CD, which is about 211M.  All possible combinations of those bits is 2^211M.  So it is a finite number, but it is really mind boggling big.
That five minute span includes every possible audio file.  Not just music, but every possible audio file.  It contains a five minute recording of a conversation you had with your mom.  It contains all five minute conversations you didn’t have with your mom.
The estimated number of hydrogen atoms in the entire universe is 60 digits long.  The number of possible 5 minute audio files is 63M digits long.  That number is so large that your brain will pop out of your head and start talking to you.  In fact there is a five minute audio of that very event happening.
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Made-up Past

View from the Massanutten Lodge Area of Skyland
View from the Massanutten Lodge Area of Skyland (Photo credit: dherman1145)

You are influenced by the past, but in reality there is no past.  The past is something that you made up that just simply jives with whatever you can accept as your reality.  It contains your fears that you will relive until you overcome them.  But it also contains your hopes and your joys.  The suffering that you may have encountered has taught you a lesson.  All of this combines to make you who you are today.  Every choice made you the person reading these words.  You are alive.  That is pretty fucking amazing.  How can any of that be wrong?

Life of Pi ***SPOLIERS***

Cover of "Life of Pi"
Cover of Life of Pi

*** LIFE OF PI SPOILER ALERT ***

We saw Life of Pi last night, and I wanted to write some quick thoughts about it.  Most are around the end, so I want to make sure that I don’t give anything away to someone that might want to see it.  I don’t have that large of a readership, so I am not that concerned.  But if you do read this blog, and you want to see this movie, then skip this post.

The movie revolves around a middle aged man, Pi, talking to a writer and telling of his life growing up and exploring multiple religions.  He lives with his family in a zoo in India that is run by his father and mother.  Early on he is curious about his path and is open to many things.  Hinduism is his start and it is mentioned that there are over 33 million gods in Hinduism so he was bound to identify with a few of them.  He sits in bed reading graphic novels on Hindu gods and goddesses.  For him, the gods are super heroes.  [That is an interesting analogy and one that we fall short of seeing today.  We see our myths as mere myths and nothing to identify with.  It is easier to do so as a child, but growing up we seem to get more set in our ways.]  He even explored Christianity and thanked Vishnu for bringing him to Christ.

The meat of the story is him being in a ship wreck and jumping onto the life raft at the last second.  A zebra, hyena, orangutan  and tiger also make it on the raft.  The hyena attacks the zebra and kills it.  It then turns to the orangutan and the orangutan smacks it unconscious.  The hyena awakens and pounces on the orangutan and kills it as well.  The tiger jumps from under the tarp covering the boat and devours the hyena.

Pi knows that the tiger will kill him, so he makes a small raft attached to the rescue boat.  He floats on that catching fish for the tiger.  He keeps his distance, and at one point he has the ability to let the tiger drown.  However, he cannot bring himself to do this and saves it.  After a while he attempts to train the tiger.  He may not be able to tame it, but he should be able to train it.  He comes up with a plan on how he is going to do it, and after practicing many times he goes for the implementation and fails.  He is discouraged, but gains his courage again and stands up to the tiger with a sharp stick.  The tiger eventually submits, and while still something to be feared, he and the boy form a relationship.  They both land on an island that provides them nourishment by day, but the pools of fresh water turn to acid by night and the island eats fish, meerkats, and whatever falls in the water.  Pi knows that he cannot stay here.  He gathers supplies and the tiger, and they both push off for their goal.

Near exhaustion, Pi reaches a sandy shore in Mexico.  He pulls the boat onto the beach and collapses feeling the sand as the “warm cheek of god”.  The tiger heads to the edge of the jungle and Pi expects him to look back.  He wants some form of closure, but the tiger just pauses and then moves on.

In the “present”, adult Pi tells the writer he is talking to that the shipping company performed an inquiry and he told them the story of the tiger and the raft.  They do not believe him.  They want the truth.  He then tells them the story of the life boat with the cook killing the sailor with the broken leg, his mother slapping the cook, the cook killing his mother, and then Pi killing the cook.  The zebra was the sailor, the cook was the hyena, his mother was the orangutan , and he was the tiger.  [Realization.  Light.]  He asks the writer “In both stories my family dies and I am the only survivor.  Neither story has anything to do with the cause of the sinking of the ship.  Which one do you prefer?”  The writer replies “The one with the animals”.  Pi then says “And so it is with god”.

My thoughts on the story evolved once the realization was in place.  The tiger was really a metaphor for Pi’s sense of self.  It seems ripped from the drawings of the 10 Bulls.  From his search, to the taming of the tiger, to riding it home, to not needing the tiger any more, to being out in the world.  The parallel seems so sharp to me, but that could be because I have been focusing on the 10 Bulls lately.

  1. The Search – Pi is fascinated by many religions.   He explores all and sees no conflict in them.
  2. Seeing the footprints – This is a difficult one to pin to a specific event in the movie.  Pi sees evidence of something more.  There is also the event of the tiger killing the goat which changes him.  Aboard the ship, Pi sees the beauty of the storm and yells at God to bring more rain.
  3. Perceiving the Bull – Pi kills the cook and sees his true nature.  He is surprised and frightened by his actions.
  4. Catching the Bull – Pi fashions a life raft to keep him safe from the tiger.  He has no choice but to do this to keep himself alive.  He keeps the tiger at bay, and he cannot escape from it and it cannot escape from him.  He has the opportunity to let the tiger drown, but he realizes that he cannot kill the tiger.  He feels compassion.
  5. Taming the Bull – Pi trains the tiger and becomes disciplined in his actions.  It is still a ferocious beast and they are not completely one in action.  His self is still separate.
  6. Riding the Bull Home – Pi and the tiger arrive on an island and Pi knows he cannot leave the tiger there.  The tiger knows that this is not home.  Pi gathers supplies and he and the tiger leave.  He sees him as being separate from the tiger, but they are one in action.
  7. Bull Transcended – Pi and the tiger arrive at the beach.  The tiger goes to the edge of the jungle, hesitates, and moves on.  Pi did this all himself.  He survived the 266 days at sea by himself.  He did not need the tiger.  The tiger was something that he made up to keep going.  Is the self the same way?

The last few are not really depicted in the movie, although I could be missing them.  I could also be making this connection to the 10 bulls incorrectly.

  1. Bull and Self Transcended – There is no tiger, there is no self, there is no mind.
  2. Reaching the Source – There was no need to search, just find.  Everything is and always was here.
  3. In the World – Out in the world, everyone is enlightened.

The final comment “And so it is with god” implies that all things are the same whether God is there or not.  We are placed on this earth and our placement here has no effect on what has come before us.  Our journey can be a magical one or it can be one of survival.  Why not choose the story that you prefer.  Choose the story that makes you happy.

  • Taming the Wild Ox – Provides detailed analysis from multiple sources on each bull/ox
  • Oxherderzen – Great interpretation and analysis of the 10 Oxherding Pictures
  • Bullzen 10 Bulls – My analysis of the 10 bulls (in progress)

Related Articles:

Your Own Best Friend

Imagine how life would be if your best friend lived your life for you. You would still be you, sitting on a cloud, enjoying a magnificent view. Your best friend would be down on Earth living life. You, on your cloud, would become your best friend’s guru. You would have a direct link to your friend’s mind and you could give advice as you read their thoughts.

From your cloud, what would you tell your friend when they worry about how they look? What would you tell your friend when they feel like they can’t handle a situation? From your cloud, you would fill your friend with confidence and help them to develop amazing habits. You could console them through heartbreak and guide them on amazing adventures.

This is the power that you have over yourself. The only thing that gets in the way is your self. How could you have such confidence in your friend, but doubts about yourself? You just need to find your cloud and become your own best friend.

Zen Mister

http://tinyurl.com/ca69nr6

10 Bulls – 4. Catching the Bull

My commentary in blue.

4. Catching the bull

I seize him with a terrific struggle.
His great will and power are inexhaustible.
He charges to the high plateau far above the cloud-mists,
Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.

I saw him and captured him.  He is separate from me, but we are the same.  I have to remember that he is not my identity.  Please let me remember.

Don’t fight any feelings that you may be having.  You are observing the moment and you may be making a judgement on it.  Understand that feeling and do not try to turn it off.  Try to trace the cause of the feeling back to the source.  Understand why it is making you feel that way.  Realize that it is making you judge.  And then step back from it.  There he is.  There is the ego.  You got him.
Original Comment:

He dwelt in the forest a long time, but I caught him today! Infatuation for scenery interferes  with his direction.  Longing for sweeter grass, he wanders away.  His mind still is stubborn and unbridled. If I wish him to submit, I must raise my whip.

10 Bulls – 3. Perceiving the Bull

My commentary in blue.

3. Perceiving the Bull

I hear the song of the nightingale.
The sun is warm, the wind is mild,
willows are green along the shore,
Here no bull can hide!
What artist can draw that massive head,
those majestic horns?

Something felt and not just seen.  All senses are engaged, but this is beyond all senses.  Something is realized.  This is when the seeker starts to understand the truth.

The bulls seem to be experienced in a cyclic manner.  We don’t progress from stage to stage one at a time and that is it.  We progress through all the stages throughout time.  There is a subtle transition between stages and when doubt is overcome, the migration to the next stage is made.

Original Comment:

When one hears the voice, one can sense its source. As soon as the six senses merge,  the gate is entered. Wherever one enters one sees the head of the bull!  This unity is like salt in water, like color in dyestuff.  The slightest thing is not apart from self.

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