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Humbling on a universal scale

If someone were to ask you how big the universe is, you would probably come up with something like "big". "Big", however, is the most severe understatement you can make. In actuality, the size of the universe is humbling, on a universal scale:

You have to agree with me how insignificant the neurosis which control our lives seem in comparison to this. Or, in other words, I hope that you can begin to realize how unjustified your daily worries actually are. Stop running around banging into walls, because those walls only shield you from the rest of the universe.

We’re all just monkeys

We're just a bunch of monkeys. That's the message of Ernest Cline in this clip:

Like it? You can reread the words to the clip or download the MP3 version on the comedian's website.

Relatedly, on the topic of our ape ancestry, I want to share another clip with you:

If you're worried that being part of a greater family makes us any less special, then don't be. Of course we're special! Our game is a unique game of freedom and flexibility. We just have to learn that it's easier for us to adept to our environment than it is for our environment to adept to us. Meanwhile, we may not be quite gorilla-sized, but we are big, in anything, in any place. We're great apes!

Wiki work

Those of you who are following this weblog know that some of the academic meat of the Point Omega Research can already be found on our wiki. Wiki is an Hawaiian word meaning quick (because editing a wiki is quick and easy). Quick and easy… I'm afraid this quickness doesn't apply to digitizing figures or converting and reformatting ancient WordPerfect 4.2 text files. (On the upside, actually having the original text files now means that at least I won't have to manually transcribe entire manuscripts again.)

On this blog, we've been keeping a progress bar to register how much of Popko's research has been added to the wiki so far. In the six months since my last progress report, it gradually changed from 12 to 21 percent. Now, after a rush of recent changes, I've bumped it up to 37 percent. So, what changes happened during the last 6 months?

The information about the subject and the scope of the wiki has been extended and improved.

Baby Boy has managed to given a taste to the disclaimer that's even more alarming. (Interesting excerpt: We do not accept responsibility for loss of mind and soul.) Congratulations, Baby Boy! I had no idea that I ran the risk of losing my soul while working on the wiki.

It's not just meta information which we added, though. There's actual research and research implications too. Most interesting is perhaps a summary of point omega. Go read it now!

At Point Omega, enlightenment will manifest on a massive, global scale. What enlightenment does and does not entail is the subject of another article.

Today, to justify a progress jump of 16 percent, I finished formatting a copy of the second complete scientific publication which we republished on the wiki. After many hours of alternating between editing vectors and editing the wiki text, this copy now has all the proper layout with figures and tables included. The original is a draft which has been published in the Heymansbulletin of the State University Groningen with a familiarly longish title: Energy and Strokes: how the quality of social relationships influences the process of learning and individual development. In the copy on the wiki, someone is also working on improving the sometimes shabby English of the original article.

Energy and Strokes - Figure 1.6
While I was redoing one of the figures in Inkscape, my vector editor, I thought it'd be nice to add some colour to it.

If we will continue progress at this pace, we might even finish making our prediction before the predicted takes place.

The Ron Paul revolution

When talking about the evolution of human consciousness and the Omega revolution, an important aspect is (world) politics. Ever since the beginning, western democracies are not much more than glorified dictatorships. These democracies are not about what the people want, but about using propaganda to let the people accept the regime; and when they think they elected the government, they do, without question. Edward Bernays portrays this in an excellent manner in his book "Propaganda". You could say that his book is the blue print of modern western democracy.

But, what we're seeing now, in the United States, is quite an extraordinary phenomena: The Ron Paul revolution. Out of the blue, a politician rises up which can safely be called unique: an honest politician. I mean, when did you last hear a presidential canditate object to the printing of worthless paper money (on which all western economies are based). And the support he gets is extensive, and growing, despite the fact that the mainstream media misrepresents or ignores him. The media have long since been the instrument used to control the population, but it is no longer working. Masses of people are waking up and are revolting against the corrupt status quo, against "Big Government".

Eight years ago, this was unheard of. Eight years seems like such a small period of time, but in this case, it represents an eternity of change.

I'll let Ron Paul explain it himself:

The exploration that awaits you

Omega is all about the evolution of consciousness, of the collective and the individual. As my first post here, I would like to give a quote which is very applicable to the subject matter:

We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons, and for one brief moment, you did. You were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.

I'll leave it up to you to guess the origin of this quote :)

We welcome a new writer to this weblog

Tonight, we welcomed a new writer who will contribute to this blog. Halfgaar (an on-line alias which would translate to as much as "half-baked" in English) is a passionate engineer who builds software, audio equipment and 3D models for fun. Some software he builds also for money. That's what his bachelor degree is for. When he's not busy building or learning something new, he often publishes his knowledge or his newest creations on his personal website or elsewhere on the web.

For us, he'll probably write about anything he knows relating to awareness. Maybe he'll share some of his knowledge about and experience with the awareness changes which are induced by binaural beats. Or, he might offer his insight in many social and political issues—insights which might surprise you but which he'll be sure to support with strong arguments. And, he's always open to your arguments as well, as long as they're well-reasoned and logical.

Rear view of Ferrari F50 modelled by Halfgaar

Try to follow him (if you can keep up)!

Study shows measurable effects after five days of meditation

A study published in the October 23, 2007 issue of the PNAS journal describes positive results after as little as five days of meditation practice.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China. The subjects were eighty Chinese students with no former meditation experience. 50 percent of the students were randomly selected to practice a western relaxation technique while the other 50% practiced an eastern form of meditation called Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT, or simply integrated meditation). IBMT is a a form of attention training which emphasizes a state of calm attention focusing on awareness of the body, breathing and on external instructions.

When the study was concluded, both groups scored better on attention and mood tests than they did in the week preceding the training, but, clearly the best performance was seen in the meditation group. Members of this group were also better able to deal with stress, as was shown in blood tests after the performance of a difficult math test. The blood tests showed that members of the meditation group had lower concentrations of the stress hormone and higher concentrations of some antibodies, both strong indicators for a healthy response to stress.

Meditation reflected in pool
Someone's meditation reflected in the water at Wave Hill in the Bronx. The picture is taken by Flickr user Pro-Zak (original).

Do you want to meditate? So do a lot of users on 43 Things. You remember 43 Things, do you? I wrote about them last month. It's a great social site where you can get support and advice on meeting your goals (such as learning to meditate or meditating more regularly).

A successful seminar at the Humaniversity

I'm recovering from an emotional—lots of love with little sleep!—stay at Osho's Humaniversity in Egmond aan Zee. Popko was there to teach a seminar on the scientific likelihood of Point Omega and I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy the great—yes, truly great!—hospitality of Veeresh and his band of friends at their beautiful mansion in the dunes.

Popko's seminar was successful; his idea's being very well-received. In two days time, he managed to tread a lot of ground including some territory which is not yet exposed on the Point Omega Wiki [a situation which we will amend soon—sooner if you encourage us a little].

We were very pleasantly surprised by the general openness towards these materials. The idea of a Point Omega racing towards us seemed in no way contradictory to the open minds of the Humaniversity staff and many staff members felt inspired to explore their own telic/paratelic learning dynamics. Here's to hoping that this new information will somehow lead to even more effective training, even if only because of a staff that'll manage to speed up their own self-actualization process!

On the effectiveness of their training: I had the pleasure of participating in their AUM meditation. Having actually been there ten years ago on their Tan-Ju youth program, I was a little bit familiar with this meditation, although I had forgotten about most of the specifics. Specifically, it's a very powerful meditation! How powerful it really is can be only be experienced by personal participation. Myself, I've spend over a year with the sensation that, even having cleaned up a lot of intellectual and emotional garbage, actually taking out the collected garbage seemed impossible on my own. Luckily, I didn't have to, not after the AUM. In the collective dancing, yelling, hugging, jumping, shaking, freaking, crying and laughing, the rest of the group helped me to carry the garbage out.

(There's not much that I can say about the AUM in general what hasn't already been mentioned on the Humaniversity website, so I'll stick with what the AUM meant to me personally.)

After the AUM, I felt exhausted, emotionally and physically—exhausted in a very good way, but still I was happy to be able to retreat to the warmth and support of a beautiful girl with whom I very much connected and felt at peace with, instead of having to face a lonely night in a cold bed after two-and-a-half hour of so much emotion and just general motion. Gratitude is a small word for the amount of tension which I was able to release in meditation, but I'll use it nevertheless with a few additions to make it a little more accurate: I'm filled to the brim with gratitude for the group's effort to let me loose, to make my inner monkey scream and dance. And I brim over if I think of the lovely person whose strokes made the night flow gently into the day.

The only thing I feel bad about regarding the few days among these loving people is that I haven't remembered a single new name. And normally I'm not even bad at names! Whether it was the short night before we drove there on Tuesday, the unfamiliarity of all the Sanyassin names, or the general emotional confusion, I don't know… but, with or without names attached, if I close my eyes, I see loving faces with appreciating eyes, I hear friendly voices speaking words of love, I feel warm bodies holding me firmly or touching me gently and I sense the gratitude and acceptation coming from open hearts. :-) And—Ah! Oh yes!—I see monkeys dancing! Dance on, monkeys! Dance on!

43 Things is “one of those things”

I like 43 Things. Actually, I love 43 Things. 43 Things is a website to help you realize your dreams. And, with over a million users, there is usually someone who will help you too, with advice and simple encouragement.

Those who know me know that I like sleeping — a lot. Like so many people, I spend a great chunk of my life dreaming. I've always been slightly fascinated by lucid dreams—dreams during which you're aware that you're dreaming. I had only ever knowingly experienced these when I was fifteenish. But, from Castaneda's works I had gathered that you could learn to have such dreams at will and to really control them. Nevertheless, my attempts to put this into practice only caused me frustration. It wasn't until after joining 43 Things that, for the first time, I got some real progress on lucid dreaming.

Keeping track of my progress in lucid dreaming on 43 Things

When you take a look at the people on 43 Things who want to lucid dream, you'll notice that there are quite a few of them (504 at the time of this writing). There are also, at the time of this writing, 214 people who have already done this. Among these 214, there are always some who are willing to help you attain lucidity in your dreams. Or, maybe you'll get all the answers you need just from reading on others' experiences. From the tip of another user, I learned of a great book on lucid dreaming. So far, this book has helped me to induce some great lucid dreams; actually, succeeding with this book took me less effort than failing without it.

Lucid dreaming isn't the most popular goal. There are countless goals on the site and there are many ways to explore them. There's the zeitgeist, you can search or navigate the user-defined tags. Else, you can create your own unique goals, although that might make sharing experiences and asking for help a bit of a lonely affair.

Popular tags on 43 Things

As you can see, there are many topics to explore, and fun is the keyword. And fun is what I'd like you to have, and so, I'm sure, would the founders of 43 Things. So, go on and have some fun! :-D

Upgraded the weblog again

I've just gone from WordPress 2.2.3 to WordPress 2.3.1. WordPress is the software running this weblog. Why I'm telling you this? If you've got to ask, you're not the one I'm telling this to.