Friday, October 5, 2012

Life, Art and Reason

Here's a look at the cover for my recent album "Life, Art and Reason" (as of two weeks ago). Art by boodie. I happened upon this picture (on Facebook) and contacted boodie who kindly agreed to my making use of her art for this project.

A few weeks ago I made a few home-recordings of 14 song; some new songs, some older ones. Listen here: "Life, Art and Reason". If you click 'Play all' the first 14 songs will stream in sequence. It wasn't my intention make an album. I but wished to record a few song for reference (as I'm working on the songs), yet these 14 takes turned out quite well, I'd say, and the song order happened in a flow (the final 7 songs are recorded in one session, and I kept the song order). This is all demo stuff but if I get the few musicians together, whom I work with at times, I might someday be able to provide more orchestrated takes of the songs.

Most of these songs have been inspired by a certain lady and also by my adopting a 'Bright' stance to life, which means having a naturalistic worldview. The Brights movement's three major aims are:

A.Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.

B.Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.

C.Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yoga and The Natural World - New Edition

Updated: 31 July 2012, 15:30 +01:00 GMT.

Yoga and The Natural World (AAAP36N).
(Opens in a new window.)

Dear reader, above is a new link to the pdf on the philosophy of yoga referred to in many of my posts below (thus, in those posts, please disregard older links to various versions of this my main document on the yoga). Perhaps some other links in earlier posts will also malfunction (as time goes by I look forward to having updated them all).

At present I am reediting this manuscript, "Yoga and The Natural World", which collects pieces I've written on the yoga and on our understanding of nature. I have tried to organize those texts into some semblance of stringency of development of context which is: paradigm, metaphor, and wholity of yoga (well, the yogic method is my particular stance, and yet I hold a naturalistic worldview and have therefore added a few thoughts on Science, and some other odds an' ends). I keep updating the main document now and then and everytime I open it up I find there is something in need of correction, or something to add (or delete), but, somehow, seemingly, it's all nearing completion.

So, here again, is the latest link straight to the new version:

Yoga and The Natural World (AAAP36M).
(Opens in a new window.)

This link will open a pdf (16 MB) in your browser (at least it does so in my IE, in my Chrome it don't, with Chrome I have to download it first. Hm?). For some other writings of mine have a look in my 'Books' folder at my Windows Live SkyDrive (you'll find download links there for all the books I am working on).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Link to the mechanics of the yoga of meditation

Please follow the above link (the title) for a description of the mechanics of the yoga of meditation. It'll take you to an article at Huffington post by a guy I never heard about before named Jimmy Demers: Do Yourself a Favor ~ Meditate! A fine article it was. I did write a bit 'a voluminous explanation of this basic method of yoga there. It's in the comments section (and I am using my real name 'Juri' for a nomé, Albatross was unfortunately already taken).

More on Yoga

Hi there,

Been a while since I posted here but having written a bit on yoga here an' there all over the cyber and having directed any potential, click-fingery reader here I'd like to take the opportunity to direct any reader with a deeper interest in the things I write about to one of my other blogs, "Another Albatross Goes Arundo".

On that blog I have collected some of my writings and engagments in the field of yoga. Have a look at the post: A few Pointers to some of my Yoga Stuff here in Cyberspace. You'll also find an animated Powerpoint slide show there, of about an half hours length, that discusses the nature of yoga and provides an heuristic metaphor I've dubbed "The Tree of Life" with which to understand and grasp the wholity of yoga. See this link: The Nature of Yoga.

For a bit 'a completness here I will again plug my (yet unpublished, first unrevised edition—a second revised edition is in the works) book on the paradigmatic nature of yoga (which I mention in the posting below). The Paradigm of Yoga: Rest & Activity.

For now,


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Paradigm of Yoga

Rest & Activity

(Updated: 10 December 2008, 17:30 GMT+01:00.)

So, I wrote a book on yoga.

The Paradigm of Yoga: Rest & Activity

... and an heuristic metaphoric tool, "The Tree of Life", to understand the paradigm with. This document is still undergoing revision, this is version 17:3, 19 Nov 2008.

The cover painting here, 'Lilies', was done by Lithuanian Poet/Painter Diana Janavičiené. Inside this li'l book there are four more of Dianas paintings to help enhance my design. These were all painted in concert with my depelopment of the ideas on the paradigm of yoga, rest & activity. And a great thank you goes to Diana for the concord to the use of these wonderful works.

Now, above, in a mini viewer, you should see the on-line publication of this work on yoga. When you've activated the Flash display (by clickin' the book) you may page the book by the additional clickin' at the appropriate left/right button at the top of the display or by clickin' the paging tools on the right and left side of the book (they appear as the mouse points there), or you have the option to see this book in a full size view by clickin' at the book again (a new window will open). When you are in that mode do then choose the full screen view and (if you have a 19" screen or upwards) this book will display at almost original size, 19.1 x 18.9 cm. (If you page forward here, in the mini-viewer, to the page you wish to read and if you then click that page here the full size book will open to that page, if you click the link 'Open publication', below the flash thingy, the full size view will open up to the cover page (with that fine painting for all to enjoy).

Ain't this a beautiful way to present a book? Thank you Issuu for making these kind 'a things possible.

My little piece on Single Cell Consciousness (of my former post here) is to be found, somewhat edited, in the appendix to this book (p. 83).

I shall return here in a day or two to present a short resumé as to the contents of this, well, much informal, 'thesis' on the paradigm of yoga.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Single Neuron Theory of Consciousness

& a look at Phonosemantics.

(Updated: 9 May 2010, 13:37, GMT+01:00.)

Rev: 2.4

(This collation on a few roilin', boilin', wild ideas of the scientific community I posted a few days ago, at The Subsymbolist Forum in the category 'Theories of Consciousness' under the heading "Edwards/Sevush - Single Neuron Theory of Consciousness". At first my text there was somewhat loosely formatted then I straightened that up, yet this text here will be my master document, which I will edit now and then if needs be.)

(The emphases made in the quotes below are by me. /Albatross)


One thing. One link I'd like to introduce, to direct your attention towards, dear reader, leads to the thinkings of Professor Jonathan CW Edwards (of University College London) on Single Cells, particularly on the Neuronal cells of the brain (of which there are approximately one hundred billion, 10¹¹ [Wiki]). Edwards in his theorizing, debunks certain 'views' on the nature of consciousness and offers a relevance to another one, an insight that allows for a grasp of the functionalities of these minute entities of the brain, the nerve cells, in terms of and in relation to our understanding of consciousness as such. Each single neuronal cell is conscious in its own right.

The idea of Neuronal Single Cell Consciousness has also been worked upon by Dr. Steven Sevush (1), and thus there are more handles to grasp in this than but the one point 'a view. As Edwards puts it (from the formal paper, see below), "... I discovered that Steven Sevush has come to much the same conclusion as myself from a different standpoint, specifically addressing the neuroanatomical feasibility of cellular consciousness".

Edwards general thoughts on this grand idea are here:

"Single Cell Consciousness" (2),

and a formal paper by Edwards on this, first published in The Journal of Consciousness Studies, is here:

"Is Consciousness only a property of the Single Cell? (3).

Dr. Sevush paper is here:

"The Single Neuron Theory of Consciousness" (1)

I should, ought to, must, some day, attempt an essay on this idea, if only but for to see for to see how much understanding on this alluring theory I myself am able to span and express coherently, yet the idea of a single cell bearing awareness, in the terms stated by Edwards is indeed intriguing. Here's a quote from the beginning of the article of the first link above:

"Perhaps the most baffling unanswered question in science is how the physical working of the brain gives rise to conscious awareness. There are several reasons for this question being difficult, but the most important may be that we are looking for the wrong sort of answer. Almost everyone assumes that we are trying to explain one copy of awareness in each person's brain, one observer, one subject; one consciousness. However, as William James pointed out in 1890, having one copy of awareness in a brain makes very little sense, whether in terms of logic, physics or neurology. It would make much more sense if there were lots of copies and lots of subjects, even if it seems odd. There is also a basic biological reason for there being many subjects in a brain; a brain is not a single life unit but a colony of cellular life units which are not joined together by any mysterious 'life force'.

The hypothesis of Single Cell Consciousness (also known as the Single Neuron Theory of Consciousness) arose from the simple strategy of trying to find an explanation for awareness that fits with what we know about the physics of the brain. There appears to be only one option that works; that each brain cell is aware separately. Although this may seem to conflict with our experience it almost certainly does not."

Well. Now ain't that a change in perspective! As one continues to study the backgrounds to this conclusion, well delineated in the referred papers of Edwards and Sevush, one zooms in on the wave bearing properties of cell membranes, and the nature of a wave as carrier of 'rich' information, as does sound.

Thinking along these lines I, in surfing around, found another interesting li'l idea that tangents the study of consciousness, this idea I found in linguistics: on the nature of phonemes (which I'll get to in a moment, see section II below). It seems, to me, that there must be a relevance of correspondence with these simples as regards the Single Cell Stuff of Professor Edwards. In short. Is there a dynamic to the phonon that is mirrored by the phoneme? (This be but a bit of hariolatory that I wildly develop towards the end of section II below, meanwhile have a look at the nitty gritty of the actual physicalities of things, see next quote.)

Yes, before I get on to the phonemic thingy let's have a second quote from Professor Edwards, this time from the formal article, where it is explained how the elastic wave of the neuron is seen as being able to bear the characteristics of a 'phonon', a quanta of sound, as in a bell-ring. From the section, "Which indivisible perturbations might carry our consciousness?" (4):

"The hypothesis seems to make two requirements of a wave that might endow the neuronal membrane as a whole with sentience linked to behaviour. Firstly, a wave with access to information about the state at all synapses would need its wavefront (or domain of non-trivial amplitude) to occupy the whole neuronal dendritic tree. This would seem to require a reverberating wave with time to make several passes – like the resonation of the bell. In Vitiello's (2001) terms it would be a long range correlation. Secondly, to be describable as a quantised field it probably needs to be energy conserving, at least to a first approximation.

It is not clear that a purely electrical wave with these features exists. The basic Hodgkin-Huxley wave is a simple damped, dissipative biphasic packet. Fröhlich (1968) suggested an electromechanically coupled wave in which electrical and elastic potential were exchanged. He suggested that this wave might be a Bose-Einstein condensate, but this seems unlikely and is as far as I can see unnecessary. There is no doubt, however, that electromechanical coupling can occur in neuronal membranes. As shown by Iwasa et al. (1980), an action potential is associated with a mechanical wave. Petrov (1999) has shown that as polar planar liquid crystals, cell membranes generate biologically relevant voltages when flexed and vice versa. This is a form of piezoelectricity, called flexoelectricity, involving coupling of phonons to an electrical field. At least in isolated sheets of membrane modes of electromechanical perturbation can be established. Of note, there is increasing interest in electromechanical coupling as fundamental to the way cells sense their environment and respond through opening and closing ion channels (Zhang et al., 2001; Kumanovics et al., 2002). It has been suggested that this might be particularly relevant to sites of membrane curvature such as neuronal dendritic spines (Zhang et al., 2001)."

Neurons; public domain, digital enhancment by Pinkers.


Then I happened onto a site dedicated to the study of phonemes, the minutest coherent quanta of words, the sounds of the letters as such, a study which leads on to an idea of archetypally associated inherent meanings to these minuties, the phonemes. That site is the work of linguist Margaret Magnus (who has written a Dictionary of English Sound and works from Norway). Here's a link to, "Margo's Magical Letter Page" (5). And here's a link to Ms. Magnus dissertation "What's in a Word? Studies in Phonosemantics" (6); from here it is possible to download the whole dissertation as a pdf.

Here be an excerpt from the abstract:

"Individual phonemes and phonetic features are meaning-bearing. They each have a unique semantics which can be identified by first measuring the semantic disproportions within phonologically defined classes of words and then the converse -- measuring the phonological disproportions within semantic classes. One finds in this way that every word which contains a given phoneme bears an element of meaning which is absent in words not containing this phoneme. One finds further than the effect of the phoneme-meaning varies with the position that the phoneme bears within the syllable. In addition, one finds that all phonemes which have a common phonetic feature also have a common element of meaning."

On Ms. Magnus main site there is an interesting allusion, she connects the sound elements of words to Archetypal characteristics:

"About 300 hours into this research, you start losing your mind. You start imagining you discern archetypes in all those consonants and vowels. (Ho, ho!) For your confoundment and entertainment, I now proffer some data on the serpent in /s/ and the Grail in /g/.

In truth, I believe data of this type to be incredibly important. What it says essentially is that the consonants and vowels do in fact have a meaning. The most fundamental aspect of that meaning is pure sound without any interpretation or symbolism. That pure sound is meaningful (and how!). But one step above that most fundamental and pure sound-meaning is the archetypal meaning. Since the consonants and vowels form the foundation of the word - not only of its sound, but also of its meaning, then we literally talk in terms of archetypes. Every word is a sound - a shruti note - on which are superimposed a collection of gods whose interaction forms the basis of the word. It is really like that. It is poetic, but it is also cold, sober fact. What is added on top of that - the semantic class and the referent is secondary to sound and archetype.

And so, friends, I bid you observe how the mighty serpent abides in English S and informs every word that contains it."

This link "Archetypes" (7), from, the left frame on Ms. Magnus' main site, will bring you directly to this discussion. (Clickin' in from the main page though keeps the sites' frame structure intact.)

(What follows is the above alluded to hariolatora of mine [potentially fruitful speculation].)

So? Is there a dynamic to the phonon that is mirrored by the phoneme? Are the lilts, movements and reactions of single cells, by whatever stimulus caused, translated into cascades of phonic waves that in patterns of spreading multiple drafts of interaction through neural networks, accented by reverberating recursions of further stimuli patterned on the single cells response to the first input, are these minute movements, the flexings of the cell, a conscious song? Is it all just plain Rock 'n Roll? Is Life – a Singin', Swingin' Momentum? In the Single Cell Theory the membrane of a cell is viewed as the carrier of an elastic wave, capable of accessing 'rich' information, as Edwards would have it, it has SAMEDI, simultaneous (cotemporal) access to many elements (of information) in defined inter-relationships, i.e. it has access to a pattern. These patterns, as they propagate, might, give rise to further multiple drafts of actuation, to be received as new patterns and cognized by the single cell in the networks of neural nets reciprocally surrounding differentiated single cell nodes? Would the cells internal update dynamic thus define a temporal shift in the multiple overlays of different reverberating patterns (some of which be recursive, and thus algorhythmic) to be cognized as a whole, a moving dynamic? The ring of a bell? If it be broken in one place that'll be expressed by the whole wave. We have a wholity, of structured self-referring temporality, i.e. life goes on. (Might the stilled out wave reciprocally be void of both subjectivity and objectivity yet be there, aware? Awareness made of basal bliss?). What do I know?

I think this is all quite fascinating (and would allow for plenty mucho of that hariolatory) and as I have Prof. Edwards 'phononic' waves, of the elastic type, actuated in my thinking apparatus I find the two ideas somehow merging, but I'm not really able, yet, to explain the correlations I feel arise from these two ideas, the ‘Phononic' thingy’ and the 'Phonemeistic' one. When I read Prof. Edwards recent article, "Are our Spaces Made of Words?" (8) in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol.15, No.1, January 2008 (subscribers only), I felt a strenghtening of this felt correlation, even though Edwards does not refer to the work of Ms. Magnus. Yet the title itself, full of spaces, words, somehow suggest a connectivity of sorts. I think I'll do another post on all this, as time goes by.

Meanwhile, for a deeper delving into all this, I recommend Professor Edwards book on these ideas. It has quite an humorous title: "How many people are there in my head? And in hers?", 2006 (9). The first readers review (at Amazon, to where the link above points) by Nina Newton is very laudatory of Edwards ideas. "I suggest that Edwards' ideas may be some of the most important of the 21st Century. In the way that the ideas of Galileo and Darwin did, they have the potential to change the way we look at everything. Written in the first person in conversational tone, this book is peppered with humour and is renaissance in scope."

I hope that I by this collating of a few modern ideas on the nature of consciousness that allow for a biological foundation for that most prominent of lifes features available to us – cognitivity – that I may thus have engendered a spark of interest in you, my reader, for the further study of this Single Neuron Theory of Consciousness. I'll conclude my mere ponderings on these themes with a quote from the introductory statements of the abovementioned book by Jonathan Edwards, from page 2:

"I am fairly sure that I am writing this for millions of seaparate, aware 'listeners' in your head, each one receiving a copy of your story, and its sense of identity, but completely unaware of the of the awareness of the others, each one a single nerve cell. This may sound as science fiction, and you can treat it as such if you like, but my path of enquiry over the last five years leads me to be fairly sure that each cell in your brain is aware separately and that that is the only sort of awareness you have."

Yes. Well. I'll cut off here - there's still 'The Entropic Theory of Life' to consider and possibly weave in into all this, but I've lost the link so I'll have to search arundo a bit.




1. Single-Neuron Theory of Consciousness: Steven Sevush, 2004.

2. Single Cell Consciousness: Jonathan C.W. Edwards, 2005.

3. Is Consciousness Only a Property of Individual Cells?: Jonathan C.W. Edwards, 2005.

4. Is Consciousness Only a Property of Individual Cells?: Jonathan C.W. Edwards, 2005. See the section: "Which indivisible perturbations might carry our consciousness?".

5. Margos' Magical Letter Page: Margaret Magnus, 2001.

6. What's in a Word? Studies in Phonosemantics: Margos' Magical Letter Page: Margaret Magnus, 2001.

7. Archetypes in the Consonants: Margaret Magnus, 2001.

8. Are our Spaces Made of Words?: Jonathan C.W. Edwards, The Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol.15, No.1, January 2008.

9. How any people are there in my head? And in hers?: Jonathan C.W. Edwards, 2006, Imprint Academic, ISBN 1-84540-072-0.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Exploring Consciousness

Hiya readers,

First entry of mine here. I 'll keep this one short as I haven't even seen yet whatta me new blog here looks like. Been writin' all day on the forum mentioned below.

The exploration of consciousness has been a fascination of mine for a long time. A few days ago the subsymbolist forum went on-line and suddenly I'm involved uppa my ears. Have a look. Click 'a the link.

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