Vanity thought #1791. VC – No Unity In Diversity

Link: “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”.

Before moving on to the next chapter I want to say a few words about this book and potential “problems” with it. As a rule, it has no supporting quotes for its assertions about Sāṅkhya or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam whatsoever. How can we be sure that this is really what Sāṅkhya says? If we check the content of Śāṅkhya related chapters in the Third Canto we might not even recognize what is presented here. The answer is that it’s not so much the quotes that we need but thorough understanding of principles – principles on which we can already easily agree.

We all know that we change bodies, for example, but how many of us pursue this principle logically to realize that our bodies do not move through space from one end of the room to another, that this motion is only an illusion, and so our models of space which are built on it are an illusion, and that out entire grade school curriculum on geometry or physics is just one big lie. That’s why Śrīla Prabhupāda dismissed Moon travel a full decade before it happened, before coming to America. In Vedic science travel means changing of bodies, you change into a moon body and you are on the Moon. You don’t change into a moon body and you aren’t. Very simple.

How many quotes do we need to realize that? None, we already know everything we need to know, we just don’t think deep enough about it.

Another example – all empirically perceptive sense objects are created to match living beings desires for sensations – they do not exist independently or objectively. None of them. One might object that he remembers nothing like that from chapters on Sāṅkhya but one need not to search that far – Prabhupāda’s Introduction to Bhagavad Gītā is enough:

    When we see wonderful things happening in the cosmic nature, we should know that behind this cosmic manifestation there is a controller. Nothing could be manifested without being controlled. It is childish not to consider the controller. For instance, a child may think that an automobile is quite wonderful to be able to run without a horse or other animal pulling it, but a sane man knows the nature of the automobile’s engineering arrangement.

It’s a simple principle that underwrites the entire creation. Nothing could be manifested without being controlled. Nothing appears on its own. So what if Prabhupāda only mentions Kṛṣṇa as the ultimate controller without describing controllers in between, like Lord Brahmā? This is a simple principle that we all sort of know but don’t really understand so we think that planets, stars, rocks, minerals, oceans etc are “dead” matter and we accept scientific explanations for them that don’t require neither God nor any kind of consciousness to produce. Maybe in their bubble they don’t but all it means is that they don’t know the whole truth about this process, which means they are in illusion and have only slight connection to reality. So are we, but at least we have proper sources of knowledge which we can utilize if we want to understand true nature of things or at least understand how and where science goes off track.

Back to the book. There are three major theories in science – quantum theory for small stuff, thermodynamics for our size stuff, and relativity for universe size stuff. Each of them emerged from classical physics which were linear and deterministic. Quantum mechanics is still linear but non-deterministic, relativity is deterministic but non-linear, and thermodynamics has become neither linear nor deterministic. Interesting classification but if you don’t immediately recall what the difference between linear and non-linear is it kind of loses its effect. I’d volunteer to say that in linear systems output is directly proportional to input but if you want to figure out if that is a sufficient definition and all the implications of major theories branching out this particular way you are on your own.

The point is that there’s no one theory that could describe all phenomena. The author here demonstrates a slant towards quantum theory to be the one science that rules them all. In the previous chapters we’ve seen how interpreting light from stars in the quantum way leads to discarding corner stones of relativity such as constant speed of light and judging distances to the stars by their luminosity. Today it’s thermodynamics way to be defeated by the mighty quanta.

As far as I know, this has already been done and there’s a tentative way to express thermodynamics through the theory of quantum fields but this should be interesting anyway.

First there’s a description of principal differences between classical physics and thermodynamics. In classical physics when two objects collide it’s possible that one of them transfers all its energy to the other, like one billiard ball could hit another and stop itself. This never happens in thermodynamics. If you bring two bodies together, one hot one cold, the hot one will never ever transfer all of its energy to the cold one. They’d rather reach the state of equilibrium where they both become warm. In classical physics two object hit each other with an equal force. The smaller one feels a greater effect than the big one but there’s an effect on both. In thermodynamics cold body doesn’t transfer any energy to the hotter one, it all goes one way – from hot to cold.

The book explains this one sided and never complete energy transfer in the language of Sāṅkhya as it has been formulated in the earlier section of the book – there are abstract objects and adding information to them creates contingent objects with greater level of detail. Are there any quotes for that? Not that I know of but it’s restating familiar Sāṅkhya’s processes about three guṇas producing one element out of the other in a different language, that’s all.

Matter is thus constructed from layers of information. There are layers of abstract information to which details are added to create the next layer. Some particles, which we think bodies are made of, might look the same but if they carry different levels of information they belong to different layers – some to abstract and some to contingent. Since contingent information is produced from abstract then existence of a contingent symbol means there should exist an abstract symbol already. And if you remove the abstract then contingent will collapse, too.

Next comes the actual explanation of heat transfer but I’m afraid it’s too long to start it now. Another day.

Vanity thought #1765. VC – Sankhya in language of Quantum Theory

Link: “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”.

On with the rest of the chapter on “Atoms and Macroscopic Objects”.

The author makes an interesting statement equating karma with “probability wavefunction”, whatever that is. The logic, I assume, goes like this – quantum theory is closest to describing complete reality. It can’t explain gravitation yet but it’s making strides in the macroscopic world where it explains behavior of what we see as non-quantum objects like shoes and gases. The world is fundamentally made of quantum particles, we just don’t know how to explain really big things yet. Expressing Sāṅkhya in language of quantum theory, therefore, is our best bet to appeal to scientists here.

Everybody knows that photons can behave both as particles and as waves. “Probability wavefunction”, as I understand it, describes the state of a photon and makes predictions whether it’s a wave or a particle. These predictions are given only as probabilities – unlike the rest of science quantum theory is indeterministic. It’s not like “train leaves station A… when will it arrive at station B” problems from school textbooks. The answer there is certain, it can’t be “either 3 PM or 5 PM, there’s a greater probability that it will be 5”.

With out best theory we can’t know the exact state of a photon, it can be both this and that, and when we finally observe the state this uncertainty goes away and that’s what is called probability wavefunctīon collapse – because now we know. I’ve typed that all up from memory, exact details might differ from the modern state of science and modern textbooks. The principle, however, still stands – wavefunction collapse creates certainty out of possibilities, and that’s why it’s compared to karma as it finally manifests the fruits of our previous actions.

The comparison does not end there – wavefunction is not observable, because observation would collapse it, and so is unmanifested karma. Unmanifested karma is already there but it’s not converted into perceivable sense objects yet. In science there’s no agency that governs collapse of the wavefunction. I mean observation causes the collapse but it can’t predict which way it will go. In Sāṅkhya the agency that manifests a particular karma is time, and this time is a manifestation of God, so it’s out of our control. That is to say we attribute the agency that collapses wavefunction to God and then it all makes sense and wavefunction becomes predictable again (for God, not for us – we still don’t know how His time works). This is not a general “god” which might act whimsically but the form of God who observes the universe as was created from prakṛti, which was created by another form of God first. I don’t see any space for whim here. From our position we can try to understand how time chooses possibilities and converts them to karma and this process is described in Sāṅkhya, though cryptically. I mean to say that it requires a deep study of the subject and is not given to us in easily digestible bits of information.

At least we know what we have to do with concepts we are already given. Science, on the other hand, can’t progress anywhere unless it incorporates both karma and time. And it’s not just karma and time but the whole gamut of subtle matter plus conscious beings and God that requires Sāṅkhya to work, too.

The author says that there are numerous interpretations of quantum theory to get around this deficiency of lacking karma and time and some of them are offered by advaitins who introduce “universal consciousness”. I don’t know who they are, maybe the author means people like Deepak Chopra here. In any case, they can’t explain everything without accepting God. Karma, btw, is a result of our incomplete knowledge of God, so if these Brahman based theories do not include God they are doomed to fail, too.

Anyway, karma is converted from unmanifested to manifested state by adding information, which is done by time. This addition of information transforms something that is “unconscious” into something “conscious”. The conscious experience of pain or pleasure that follows is, therefore, not something brought from outside but it lies “within” us, waiting for its turn. It’s not that there’s somebody out there trying to harm us but it’s our own unmanifested karma becoming perceivable. We’ve heard it many times before, of course, and here’s Sāṅkhya’s explanation of the same thing.

Next there’s a paragraph about trisarenu (in our books it’s spelled as trasareṇu), which is the smallest object we can see. It’s described as particles of light we can observe floating in sun rays as they enter through the window. Trisarenu is clearly not the same thing as atom in modern science, and, actually, Vedic texts mention particles smaller than that, though still not nearly as small as in quantum theory. What trisarenu is, however, is a smallest object perceivable by our senses. In that sense we can say it’s the atom of the realm of Bhūloka. I suppose anything smaller than that pertains to realms of Vedic cosmos lower than ours but the author doesn’t say it.

In science they, of course, know of particles smaller than atom and they produce them just like Sāṅkhya prescribes – by adding information to what already exists. Their information comes in the form of energy like laser rays they blast existing elements with. They can’t observe what is created in this process and they need extra energy to “magnify” traces left by new particles so that these signs become perceivable. They, in effect, traverse the semantic tree down to the areas not accessible by our senses. They can’t perceive those nodes on the universal tree and so they need to go back up the hierarchy to the realm of Bhūloka again. Sāṅkhya works everywhere.

Last paragraph sums it all up and introduces “atomism” but what the author means is clearly quantum theory – the wavefunction discussed earlier. When he says that atoms exist as karma in unmanifested form he clearly means “particles in uncertain states” as opposed to “particles in certain states”. There’s a promise to show different types of karma corresponding to five Vedic elements – ether, air, fire, water, and earth.

When unmanifested karma is converted due to time an event is created and this is called wavefunction collapse in quantum theory which produces measurement outcome. Science cannot predict these events (with absolute certainty) because it looks for their causes in manifest properties of matter while they lie in unmanifest karma and time.

Our experiences are not caused by matter and not due to our consciousness either, but due to past events we may or may not remember. I don’t know what is the role of remembrance here, I don’t think it matters because the ability to remember is also dictated by karma, not by our current state. Some people don’t like the concept of karma and reincarnation because they don’t remember the causes of their suffering but the ability to remember is caused by karma, too. Umanifested karma does not require our awareness and it isn’t stored in our memory as we will see later. It’s also called unmanifested for a reason – it’s unperceivable. What we remember is not unmanifest karma either – because it’s perceivable it must be something else.

Enough food for thought for today, I think.

Vanity thought #1764. VC – traveling as gain and loss

Link: “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”.

Next chapter is called ¨Atoms and Macroscopic Objects” and after reading it the full impact of what it was supposed to convey might not be immediately felt. I don’t think I can cover it in one day and by tomorrow it might become clearer. The explanation of transfer of information that begins this chapter deserves a separate book on its own.

Usually, we assume that we have a perception such as sight or color because light travels from distant objects and we happen to be in its path when it hits our eyes. This is an illusion and it’s not what happens according to Sāṅkhya. The version presented in this book isn’t Sāṅkhya as it appears in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam but adaptation of Śāṅkhya to modern ear so it uses words like information loss and gain first, before tying it to familiar concepts of time and karma.

Instead of light travel there’s a gain of information in the observer and this gain is correlated to the loss of information in another object. This experience of gain and loss is due to karma and so we are talking about correlation of loss and gain in space-time, not about actual transport of information by some material vehicle, like light or a flash drive.

In Sāṅkhya the appearance (gain) and disappearance (loss) of information is not due to information transfer but due to information becoming manifest or unmanifest. Information becomes manifested or unmanifested by karma, which is actualized by time. This is why we have different stages of karma and talk about “manifest karma” elsewhere in our literature.

The rest of that paragraph has an important footnote to it and, taken together, it relays more or less this – the universe as a whole is being created at each instance in time because individual states are determined by the state of the universe and not the other way around as in modern science where “big” things are defined as a collection of “small” things. The unmanifested possibilities of the universe lie in the ocean of Garbhodaka and time brings them out. Everything within the universe, every event is then made to fit its overall state. In this sense events are chosen BEFORE the observers who can only decide whether to participate in them or not – more in line with our usual understanding of free will then with how it was presented in previous chapters. Willing participation in these events makes us responsible for them even though we are not the ones choosing them – universe does. There was a paragraph somewhere earlier that I skipped then and it talked about effects of changing the state of the universe on its constituents as coordinate shift for each one of them. It makes sense now – when the universe changes everything on the universal tree shifts a little, too.

The paragraph continues to state that appearance and disappearance of information depends on the change in the state of the universe and not on information transfer between objects, which is an illusion but an understandable one. Scientists link this gain and loss together and treat as one being the cause of another and talk about it as information exchange. Sāṅkhya, on the other hand, teaches us to see gain and loss as connected to the universe, which is connected to God, and not as relationships between ourselves which are God-less. So, we don’t talk to other people, we rather talk to God and He then talks to them. Everyone is related to each other through God only and there are no direct connections between us. Nice, huh? Now we have a scientific explanation for a vision of a paramahaṁsa.

Back to the book – there’s no information transfer but the next state of the universe has more information in one place and less information in the other, that’s all. Not to forget the mechanics of it – next state of the universe determines guṇa and karma and by guṇa and karma actual experiences are created (via prāṇa and senses, I suppose).

The next part is not obvious as it states that while locations of gain and loss are fixed by the universe the participant objects aren’t. Gain and loss are two separate events while the objects involved are trajectories that connect these events. This looks like yet another two-dimensional way to describe Vedic space-time where we have events and trajectories to describe what happens. I sense that it is become too abstract for me to follow. Trajectories will come back big time in the later chapters. Why trajectories are needed here is not clear but, perhaps, the clue lies in the last sentence which implies that trajectories are formed by observers – we know what will happen but we don’t know who will take part in it and who will fill the roles and therefore we need selection of observers – trajectories. This brings us back to free will – do we really get to choose or can we only say “no”?

Science, under the illusion of information exchange, attributes it to existence of “particles” which travel from one object to another. Particles is in quotes here because most of the time they are waves creating fields rather than small physical objects. One object thus emits light in the form of a photon, the photon travels in space, and then another object absorbs it. Because this model is based on illusion science can’t predict when and why a photon would be emitted, where it would go, and what will it hit in the end. They talk about probabilities to solve this but actually it only hides the incompleteness of quantum theory.

In Sāṅkhya this incompleteness is avoided because there are two agencies responsible for these decisions – karma and time. Time has an active role in Sāṅkhya because it picks which karma to manifest but in science time is passive, it just flows. Unmanifested karma can’t be perceived by senses so it doesn’t exist from the scientific point of view. Too bad for them, but that’s what happens when you purposefully restrict reality to that which can be perceived by senses. Your theories then become incomplete.

I’ll continue with this chapter tomorrow – I haven’t gotten anywhere near the significance of difference between atoms and macroscopic objects today.

Vanity thought #1514. Dawkins schooled

There was something new to learn about science in that Dawkins-Chopra debate and, as a bonus, Chopra put Dawkins down in his place. Ironically, it was in reply to Dawkins’ own challenge – he was given a chance to ask his own question by the moderator and Dawkins looked up a quote on his phone he wanted Chopra to explain.

There was a customary “Still learning my way around this” excuse which made Dawkins look slightly senile, especially in contrast with Chopra who showed multiple sensors on his wrists that feed his biological data to his iPhone and then onto a server that monitors these things for research purposes. It was 2013, there was no Apple watch then and so Chopra probably had the very first wearables around. Thumbs up for “spirituality”, and “science” appeared quite archaic by comparison, and it didn’t stop there.

I’m not going to type up the quote that interested Dawkins, it’s quite, long, but he asked for an explanation of quantum leaps in evolution, I assume he thought it was a heresy. Chopra actually loved this, he gave a couple of examples of what he had in mind – emergence of language and emergence of new species with nothing in between, but it’s his bio sensors that prompted him to add a new dimension to the discourse.

He used these sensors to monitor his physiological reactions to what happens in his mind, to explore mind-body connection. He said Dawkins’ blood pressure was visibly rising simply by hearing these things and then described how the body reacts to hearing in general, how it automatically produces certain chemicals depending on whether the news is good or bad. Same words, “I love you”, can produce pleasure giving dopamine and oxytocin if the words are welcome, but if one contemplates a divorce instead then his body would start pumping up adrenaline instead. Chopra said we don’t know how mind processes these things, to him it was a reaction lead by consciousness, not by chemicals, and it was a “quantum shift” in one’s biology. He was really exalted about this and Dawkins didn’t dispute this part of the answer.

Chopra then again mentioned evolutionary gaps between species and referred to the then current article in New Scientist, he gave a title wrong and New Scientist keeps it behind a paywall but someone put it on his blog and it can be read in full here.

It appears animals CAN guide their own evolution, even if the original Lamarck’s theory about it has long been disproved. Turns out animal behavior, which is purpose driven, can affect the genetic expression of the offspring via a process elsewhere called transgenerational epigenetics. It’s not that they can alter their genes but they can turn on the useful but dormant ones and these will stay turned on in the offspring, too. It’s a complex process and there’s neo-Lamarckism and epigenetic inheritance and possibly some other theories already build around it.

The author of that article contacted Dawkins for comments but Dawkins was dismissive. Now it came back to bite him. Not sensing the danger Dawkins insisted on trying to correct Chopra’s use of the phrase “quantum leap”, possibly because he wanted Chopra to pay for his earlier word salad, but it backfired spectacularly.

Chopra not only defended his metaphorical use but also rattled out names of journals and scientists who co-authored or published his articles on those same quantum leaps in biology Dawkins was trying to nail him on, proving that he is not as loose with his language and Dawkins alleged.

Btw, Chopra cited New England Journal of Medicine for giving his book Quantum Healing a favorable review, but he probably didn’t look past the first Google search result (which was Amazon), otherwise he’d discover that NEJM considered Ig Nobel award to this very same book quite appropriate, too.

To be fair, things have probably changed since then and at least some of Chopra’s ideas are finding legitimate place in science – like that behavior driven evolution. Dawkins has apparently completely missed that train, which has now gone mainstream.

Another case where Dawkins appeared outdated was his insistence that while we don’t have the intermediate stages between species we are certain that they were all there. He has no proof but he believes things happened his way. And he said the same thing about emergence of language – he doesn’t know how it happened but he is certain it happened according to his theory. “There’s no such thing as not passing through intermediate stages. There were intermediate stages, which just don’t know what they were.” At this point Chopra made a telling hand gesture regarding these endless promises and “don’t knows”. I mean, if you don’t know then don’t say anything with certainty. Why be so stubborn about other possibilities while professing ignorance? Is it rational?

There are other people out there who are not waiting for creation of life in a lab or for finding missing links, and they are pushing science without being hung up on Darwinian evolution, even though they are not challenging it openly. They simply discover other means by which evolution happens, random mutation and natural selection being only a part of it. That New Scientist article said that in some research about half the evolutionary changes were behavior, not gene driven. It’s the new reality in science and, as Chopra said, Dawkins need to catch up.

There was another point that Chopra made there but it went largely unnoticed. He was talking about quantum physics and, as an example of quantum leap, he used non-empirical state of subatomic particles that suddenly changes to empirical and then back to non-empirical again. I never thought of it this way. To me, non-empirical means transcendental, related to divinity and spiritual energy of the Lord. Chopra, however, used it to describe ordinary particles when they are not being observed.

In quantum physics observation is a very important process and, perhaps, in some cases we really have no idea what non-observed particles are doing, and whether they even stay as particles at all. Earlier on Chopra said that some 95% of all matter is non-empiric, iirc. It’s probably not important where he got this number and what it means exactly but he offers an entirely new perspective on the non-empiric world. I don’t think it agrees with ours, though, it needs further investigation.

When Dawkins mentioned quantum mechanics and quantum leaps he gave an example of information being passed to satellites. That’s just radio, it has very little to do with quantum mechanics and nothing to do with quantum leaps at all. Who’s using words that don’t mean what one wants them to mean now? Granted, it was just a bad example, but still, and it questions whether Dawkins simply erred or had absolutely no idea what he was talking about at all.

So, purpose driven evolution is science now, not just my wishful thinking, and non-empiric might mean something else entirely – two big topics to wrap my mind around today, and Dawkins has been shown as senile, stubborn, and outdated. Not bad, not bad.

Vanity thought #1376. Making of the past

As I argued yesterday, it’s the past that is all important. We think we create our future but that’s only an illusion, what we actually do is dwell in our past, all the time.

It doesn’t mean that our actions do not create future karma, they most certainly do, but my point was that future karma is unimportant. Karma doesn’t work according to our desires and we have no control over it. We are forced to act according to our nature and according to the influence of material guṇas and there’s nothing we can do about it. As spirit souls we are not the party to the process, the world will keep rolling on its own with or without our willing participation.

We can try to predict the future but we can’t change it. Astrologers always tell us about remedies and counteractions to alleviate our bad karma and increase our good fortune but it’s a fool’s errand. Whichever way you look at it, it makes no sense. If we have the possibility and means to change our astrological destiny, it should be reflected in our horoscope, too. If it’s not there then no matter how much we try it won’t happen. And if changing our future was as simple as wearing a ring with allegedly precious stone then other things might influence it as well, and that makes mockery of the entire prediction business. What if the astrologer looks and my chart and sees something that has been remedied decades ago? The chart is still the same, but “destiny” isn’t.

That is not to say that precious stones don’t work. They do, but they don’t change the future, which is cast in another kind of stone, immutable and impossible to break, metaphorical but still powerful.

There’s also an argument I made a couple of days ago that the future and the past are so closely linked together that separating them doesn’t make a lot of sense, it’s like solving a chicken and egg problem. The past and the future are inseparable and the distinction is observed only by those under the illusion of time. Outside of time the difference doesn’t exist, it’s all kind of the same, with our relationships with the Lord being the only thing that matters.

Does our relationship with the Lord change with time? Possibly, we can see signs of spiritual progress, signs of awakening from the illusion, but even this process can be explained outside of the frame imposed by passage of time. Sometimes it is said that the only thing that matters is coming into contact with the mercy of the devotees. Once it happens, the soul is as good as liberated. Surrender could happen tomorrow or next year or even in the next life but it’s inevitable, and sooner or later, maybe a hundred lives later, the soul would return to Kṛṣṇa.

We think that these hundred lives matter and we’d rather complete the process in a few days but our perception of time is relative. Once we develop required patience time will fly without even noticing. Hundred human lives is less than a thousand years, nothing compared to the reign of just one Manu, and there are fourteen of them in the day of Lord Brahmā, and one day of Brahmā includes only one Kṛṣna’s appearance. I once heard that sages who became gopīs in Kṛṣṇa līlā had to try FIVE times to be with the Lord before they were allowed into the rasa dance. Five days of Brahmā and our desire to see Kṛṣṇa today are incomparable.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that devotees had to wait five days of Brahmā, they could be transferred to suitable universes right away, but even five lifetimes WITH Kṛṣṇa but without obtaining full mercy is a lot comparing to our present impatience.

Anyway, the future is unknown but unchangeable and unavoidable, and so focusing on the future is a waste of time. The future is created by our past, and so if we want to change our destiny we should change our past.

Is it possible? Not really, but as conscious beings it’s the only area of action available to us – observing the world around us, which is always observation of our past. Both in a sense that the star light shows us what happened there billions of years ago and in a sense that we can’t actually catch the present moment, everything we deal with is always in the past, however close or distant.

So, can we change the past? Quantum mechanics suggests we can, as I described yesterday. Our observation determines what happened.

It flies in the face of the idea of objective reality and truth and facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts, as they say. There’s only one true version of events and it must be uncovered, our subjectivity is the enemy of knowledge, and so on, one argument after another.

It’s all very well, but the only objective person in the world is Kṛṣṇa, and we are not Him. The fact is that all our lives we live and act subjectively. When our versions of reality align with versions of other observers it’s just that – temporary sync of two subjectivities, possibly leading to a shared karma.

These days it’s very easy to find examples of people stubbornly clinging to their opinions regardless of all kinds of facts and arguments. Current wisdom is that debates only strengthen people’s respective positions. It might not have been designed that way initially but this is where we are now – the more people argue the better they convince themselves. Their own subjectivity always, always takes precedence.

And once their opinions are cast, so is their destiny. They are free to hold all kinds of views but they are not free from the reactions.

So, my point is that we, as devotees, can take full advantage of this situation and create a selective view of the past that would bring us closer to Kṛṣṇa.

Once again, by past here I mean everything we see and remember, all our memories and experiences, all our ideas and opinions and choices. We can choose to see only those of them that are related to the Lord and ignore all others. It would make us subjective but so what? It’s exactly the kind of subjectivity we want.

Others might say things like “remember this one time when you…” or “didn’t you tell me you wanted that…” and they might conclude that we are hypocrites lying even to ourselves but so what? Selecting memories of Kṛṣṇa over our moments of weakness is totally worth it. Even Kṛṣṇa picks and chooses only our service form our lives.

Dwelling on negatives, on the memories when the Lord wasn’t there, OTOH, would only lead to further enslavement by the material nature. Who needs that?

By picking only certain moments from our history we forge our new identity, once the karma from past deeds runs out this new identity will start bringing its dividends and will become obvious to all, that’s how karma works. Habits and characters don’t change overnight, patience is still required.

The real question is – do we have freedom to choose what to remember and focus our consciousness on? I would say no, not really, but in as much as we feel we have this freedom we should use it. People telling us to do this are not changing our destination, they are fulfilling it. Kṛṣṇa said He would bring us back to Him and He does so through the help of the guru and the devotees. Every class, every advice, every casually dropped instruction affects our mode of thinking and slowly but steadily captures our minds. If we are free to resist this pressure it would be the most foolish thing to do, but that’s where our real independence lies, so we better not to abuse it.

Bottom line, if we take responsibility for developing our devotion then we should focus on how we view our past instead of dreaming about future.

Vanity thought #1375. Quantum past

The experiment I wrote about a couple of days ago suggested that in quantum mechanics time is of less importance than we normally assume. We usually think that whatever happened happened and past is cast in stone but in that experiment past was found to be dependent on what we do in the present.

To recap, in quantum mechanics elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves. As particles they take one and only one route between two points in space but as waves they propagate in all possible paths. The choice seems to be entirely random, but don’t hold me to it, I haven’t seen a convincing explanation whether it really is.

In this experiment scientists had two control points, the first one would determine whether the particle behaves like a particle or a wave, the second one would check what particle’s choice was, and then they would look at the final result which would tell them what combination of choices was there.

The trick here was that the second control point would turn on randomly AFTER the first control point was passed. Common sense tells us that by that time particle’s choice at the first control would have already been made. What the scientists found, however, is that it is not so and how the particle behaved at the first control point depends entirely on whether the second control turned on or not. When the random number generator decides what to do about the second control it also happens to control what the particle did at the first – in the past, moments before.

So, in this experiment present determines the past, not the other way around. The effect controls the cause.

Afaik, no one has observed this before and so there’s no reason to extend results of this experiment to our daily, non-quantum life, but if we think about it from Kṛṣṇa conscious POV it makes total sense. We have only an illusion of freedom here, everything that happens in the material world is governed by the law of karma and karma leaves no slack and no leeway.

As spirit souls we can make our own choices but not as far as material world is concerned, everything here is already cast in stone for millions and billions years to come. We think our decisions matter because we identify ourselves with our mind and intelligence but these material elements are like any other, they are governed by karma, driven by time, and colored by the three guṇas.

So, whatever happens here in the present is firmly and unequivocally tied to the past, and the same is true about the future. In such a deterministic universe distinctions like cause and effect lose their sense. Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate cause, everything else follows from Him, and that’s what we say about the creation, the process that is still outside our world.

Inside it’s already different. Time and guṇas are the causes of things happening and stuff moving around but we think in more immediate terms of one choice leading to one result and another choice leading to another. In fact, there are no choices, everyone must choose according to the guṇas and under pressure from time. Freedom here is an illusion.

Okay, enough with the basics.

What interests me today is our plans for the future. Normally we think that we can make plans and change the course of our lives. Our desires affect our thoughts, our thoughts affect our actions, our actions create karma, and karma brings results.

I propose that we discard this model altogether, and not because we have no actual freedom here, but because the future is truly unknown and all we have is our past, which is determined by our present.

There’s a tribe somewhere in the Amazon, or perhaps in Papua New Guinea, I don’t remember, where people have a different spatial representation of the time flow. For us the past is behind and the future is ahead, but for them the it’s the opposite. They say that we can look at our past and therefore it should be in front of us while we can’t see the future and therefore it should be in the back, outside our vision.

I’m not saying their perspective is perfect but this part about placing the past in front of us is interesting and hard to argue against.

When we dream about our future what we actually think is our past. We dig up our memories and juggle our experiences to select the ones we like. We don’t create anything new, we only pick and choose from what we already now. We seek things in our past that we want to experience again, we confirm our attachments. All our desires stem from our past and from how we see it, and so there’s no such thing as future per se. It’s just an abstraction to arrange our memories on the timeline of our past.

I mean when the future happens it becomes past and we call it future relative to the day before. And when we talk about future now, at this very moment, we talk about desires from our past. “I wish that in the next five minutes I’d experience the sensation I remember from five years ago” – that’s what we effectively think even if externally the words are “I think I will surely win this bet”.

Similarly, when at job interviews people are asked about their five year plans and visions they talk about best things they heard before, not the actual future, which is unknown. They scout their memories and think about cool things to say to the interviewer, they pick up tricks tried by others, they write their resumes following other people’s advice or layouts. It’s all about the past.

The interviewer is also looking into the interviewee’s past to see if it fits with his organization, he asks about interests and skills and experience and education – all things from the past, including questions about vision, which is a representation of the interviewee’s role models.

So, all in all, it’s only our past that is important, it determines everything about us, including our future, and so it must be important to relate to our past in the appropriate way.

I think I will continue on that tomorrow, it’s too late to start this new train of thought.

Vanity thought #1374. Conscious entanglement

With quantum mechanics being so weird and counterintuitive, what if we try to reconcile it with the world according to Kṛṣṇa? Yesterday i talked about quantum entanglement, for example, and how the same principle can be observed when we talk about the universe as a component of the Absolute Truth.

The way Kṛṣṇa knows everything is very close to how the quantum system keeps information about all its parts. There doesn’t seem to be any external reason for it. Nothing gets transmitted, nothing passes messages or comes into any kind of contact with anything, and yet the system knows its overall state and if we tingle parts of it, the other parts will respond immediately.

What stops us from comparing this spread of information with Lord Viṣṇu being all-pervasive? He is everywhere and yet He is unseen by non-devotees.

Consider the case of Hiraṇyakaśipu. He looked at a column in his palace and he only saw solid rock. There was no Viṣṇu there, and yet Prahlāda saw the Lord inside the column. What stops us from saying that Viṣṇu was in a quantum state of superposition? I know what – my ignorance, I just picked a random word without any clue to its actual meaning. I know only that it has something to do with quantum object being in all possible states simultaneously, unless you take a look.

Superposition is the state of Schrodinger’s cat, for example. In this bizarre and cruel mind experiment a cat is locked in a cage with some radioactive substance. When these radioactive atoms decay they break a vial with poison that kills the cat. So, in order to know whether the cat is dead or alive we need to know whether atoms have decayed or not. This, however, is impossible, because in quantum physics everything is a matter of probabilities. not certainty. So, without opening the cage and looking at the cat we don’t know and CAN’T know the “truth”. As long as the box is locked, the cat, for all practical purposes, is both dead and alive.

Lord Viṣṇu inside the column was exactly the same. He was both there and not there until someone looked. If Prahlāda looked, he saw the Lord, if Hiraṇyakaśipu looked, he saw the rock. When Hiraṇyakaśipu tried to interact with the column the quantum system responded counterintuitively, from his material POV, and Lord Nṛsiṁha came out. The difference was that this time both Prahlāda and his father were involved in the observation. When devotees like Prahlāda observe the same quantum system it loses its superposition and appears as the Lord Himself.

Had Prahlāda not stated that the Lord was in the column nothing would have happened, his participation in the experiment was absolutely necessary.

Once again, the act of observation reveals the system, and it reveals it in way that depends on how it’s being observed. I don’t know if the second part has a comparison in quantum mechanics, ie if it’s possible to tweak the measuring device to force a particular state out of superposition.

What happens there is that unless you look specifically for waves, photons behave like particles. Try to check if it’s a wave, and the wave appears.

In Kṛṣṇa consciousness it means that the Lord is always hidden unless we look for Him. The relationship is reversed, however. When scientists try to measure, they see the wave, which is a true state, according to some theories, but when we try to measure, we see the illusion.

“Measure” is such an appropriate word here as it also means māyā. We fall into illusion when we try to see the world, when we become seers instead of the seen. The difference between seeing and measuring is immaterial. Every time we look at something we get a good measure of the thing already. We recognize and classify it, we notice the color and the shape, and we can give pretty accurate estimates of its length or width or weight. Actual measurements can only confirm what we already see.

Simply looking at things and seeing them is already māyā, measurement. In quantum mechanics it reveals the wave property of the objects, which is unexpected, in the conditioned state it reveals nothing unusual, just confirms our illusion.

Leaving that contradiction aside, the principle of our outlook affecting what we see is still important in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We become consciously entangled with the world as we see it, not as it actually is. It’s not the same kind of entanglement as exists between two particles in quantum mechanics but it still means a loss of control over what happens.

When we see something happening in the world around us it affects our own state even if it shouldn’t. We are spirit souls, after all, but as part of our entanglement with the universe we are forced to act according to what happens elsewhere – in our mind, for example. If we leave this state of entanglement we become free.

Another way to look at it is to observe that if we see the world with the eyes of devotion we see Kṛṣṇa everywhere. This special kind of look renders results completely different from those obtained by seeing with material vision. The problem here is that looking is a sign of being in illusion so when I say we look and see the Lord it’s not exactly what happens. Devotion or no devotion, we cannot force the Lord to be seen like we force material objects to reflect the light. It’s not the process of seeing here but it’s the Lord displaying His form, the Lord looking at us from every direction at every single moment in time. It’s not that we have the vision here, it’s the Lord having a vision of us and in the process reciprocating by showing Himself, too.

This twist gives an extra dimension to the adage that we should chant not to see the Lord but so that the Lord agrees to see us.

Maybe it’s not immediately clear but our chanting and our service should not be done with the goal of making advancement and eventually getting results. It should be done solely for the pleasure of the Lord. When He is pleased He might also become visible, or He might not, in either case His satisfaction would be felt, nothing to worry here.

A couple of days ago I wrote that we shouldn’t really care about how well we do our service because we are not the actual doers. Today’s argument adds to that – being attached to results keeps us as seers and not seen, and it doesn’t please the Lord in the slightest, so nothing happens. We are fooling ourselves when we make up stories of our progress and drill mantras of hope into our brains. Attachment and dedication to results has nothing to do with devotion and it will never bring bhakti. It will never even bring actual renunciation as we simply trade attachment to food and comfort for attachment to glory in our service.

It’s not easy to implement this attitude in our lives but Kṛṣna is here to help every step of the way. When we decide what we want we’ll see the universe cooperating, even materialists observed that.

Vanity thought #1373. Quantum entanglement

This is one of the weirdest things ever to come out of quantum mechanics. Normally, physics as we know it are governed by the principle of locality, that is any interaction between two objects must have intermediate agents – they either have to bump into each other, or send deadly laser rays, or have electrons passing messages around, or bend each other’s will by creating powerful electromagnetic fields. Locality here means that an object must be affected by something in its immediate surroundings, without agents coming in direct contact it won’t get out of bed.

Taken speculatively (because none of what I say here can be classified as philosophy) it means that there could be no such thing as telepathy. One cannot possibly know what goes some place else without having some sort of a connection. Even mediums understand that and claim departed soul’s direct presence to communicate with the dead.

Quantum entanglement throws all of that out. Two different particles form one single system there and this means that if we affect one of them, the entire system would respond, meaning the other particle would be affected, too, without any means of communication. Two particles might be having different spins, for example, canceling each other out for the system as a whole. If we change the spin of one particle in a different direction the other would change its spin, too.

The spooky part here is that other particle knows what we are doing and reacts regardless of the distance and unconcerned by limitations of the speed of light. It doesn’t wait to be informed, it just knows.

This experimentally confirmed phenomenon doesn’t mean telepathy is real, so far quantum mechanics hasn’t stepped out of the world of invisible particles and into something available to our eyes and other senses. Einsteins relativity deals with stars and galaxies, things we can observe, but quantum mechanics is just what we think happens down inside the atoms. It is impossible to be observed as a principle, because the very act of observation affects quantum systems. The glance we cast in the sky can’t knock planets out of their orbits but quantum mechanics deals with objects so small and delicate that we can literally destroy them by simply looking.

Another analogy is the radars – airplanes become visible to air traffic controllers when they reflect radio waves emitted in their direction. Waves bounce of plane’s surface (or don’t, if we are talking about stealth planes) and we catch that reflection, measure where it came from, and know the position of the plane in the sky. Bats do the same thing with sound waves, they don’t even have functional eyes, they just hear the echo and know where and how close things are. We humans can’t see radio waves and we can’t hear bats’ ultrasound but that’s just our ears.

There’s no violation of the principle of locality here – something, some form of a wave, must reach the observable object and come back. In quantum mechanics it’s not possible, those objects are too small. Radio radars would nuke them as if they were in a microwave oven, and shrieking sounds of bats would shatter them like wineglasses hearing some terrible opera singing.

This obviously raises questions. Is quantum mechanics even real? We are not talking about tuning our radios or capturing bats voices and then reducing their frequency to the one suitable for our ears, we are talking about principal inability to observe something, period. Science made this leap nicely in the past couple of hundred years and doesn’t think much about it.

We can’t observe something this small but we have a theory what it is and how it would behave, and we can make predictions how this behavior could manifest on a macro level, and it does, so quantum mechanics is as good as real.

OTOH, it’s just a theory, we can come up with another one that would describe these things differently but come up with the same predictions, and from our POV it would be just as correct. Describing the world as strings is one such candidate. They have a lot of work ahead of them but, theoretically, it’s possible that it would become as good at predictions as the standard model of quantum mechanics. Then we could say that quantum mechanics was never real but a useful crutch before we figured that really everything is made of strings and not particles. Then another theory would come along and the progress in scientific ignorance would continue. In the meantime millions of people will die without knowing the next iteration of the “truth”.

The more interesting part for me is crossing quantum mechanics into our understanding of the world, which comes from Kṛṣṇa. I’m not sure it’s legitimate, but it’s certainly interesting.

It explains how Kṛṣṇa knows everything – He is the Absolute Truth and His “quantum system” includes the entire universe. Due to “quantum entanglement” on His level all entangled particles immediately know what happens on the other side of the world, and Kṛṣṇa is, of course, in the loop, too. He doesn’t have to wait for the flash signs traveling at the speed of light to inform Him what’s going on.

Or we can set aside His name and His personal aspect for a moment and simply talk about Absolute Truth as the ultimate quantum system. Speculatively it’s easy, but I’m not sure how science would react to such scaling up. Quantum mechanics does not yet describe the world at our level of observation. A string theory would, however, and it would explain quantum entanglement, too. They don’t have the formulas yet but one day they would and then we can talk about omniscient God in terms of theoretical physics, not religion.

Excluding Kṛṣṇa might seem a bit disrespectful at first but who says that these quantum system phenomena are governed by actual persons rather than by an impersonal system like karma? The Lord is not entangled into the workings of the universe and He is not personally responsible for anything that happens here. He put up the laws in place and gave us the opportunity to think that this isn’t just a game but a real life, He is not playing Himself.

So, it’s possible to say that this quantum omniscience is not Lord’s personal property but simply a bank of data He draws from when He needs to. We can’t, and we accept that it’s only the Lord who can know everything, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Lord Brahmā knows quite a lot, too. Even if we describe our universe as a quantum system for the Lord it’s as insignificant as one mustard seed in a bag. We can’t step out of bounds of our universe and so our quantum omniscience will always be limited but the Lord can use the data from each and every universe, and perhaps treat the entire material world as one quantum system. And then He also knows everything about the spiritual world, too.

Once again, we can figure all this out figuratively and speculatively but the Lord’s personal aspect would always be hidden and inaccessible unless we surrender to Him and develop bhakti. Let’s not waste another thousand lives trying.

Vanity thought #1372. Latest weirdness

Just as I was arguing against our common perception of the world science came up with a perfect illustration. Well, maybe not so perfect because it doesn’t seem to convince anyone but me so far, and it’s my interpretation that is perfect for my point, not anybody else’s.

You know how quantum mechanics turned the world upside down in the last century. So did Einstein’s relativity, but Einstein dealt with speeds of light and massive galaxies while quantum mechanics studies things we can fairly easily test down here on Earth and it’s down here on Earth that QM comes up with mind blowing and counterintuitive stuff.

Maybe these days they teach differently but I still imagine atoms as nuclei surrounded by orbiting electrons and I imagine electric current as electrons bumping into each other and passing charges. In QM, however, electron is not a thing flying around, it’s not a point in space and it’s not a particle. It is BOTH particle and a wave.

I’ll start with basics. Imagine electrons shooting out of an electron gun and hitting a target on the other side of the room. Now imagine we put a screen in the middle with two windows. As a particle an electron would have to pass through either of those windows to hit the target, it can’t pass through two windows simultaneously, no one does that. Now imagine this room being half filled with water. You start a wave on your side and register its arrival on the other end. The wave will pass through both windows in the screen, and the windows will also create an interference as the wave exits from them.

So, electrons behave like that – sometimes like waves and sometimes like particles. Okay we all have learned to live with that.

This time, however, people who already spend their lives walking upside down in Australia went a step further. They’ve created an experiment where they isolated a single atom, not an electron, and they shot it through two screens made of lasers. How they achieved that doesn’t really matter. The second screen could adjust the interference created by the wave passing through the first screen or they could turn it off completely.

Basically, they looked at the atom after the second screen, which they manipulated in various ways, and they could tell whether the atom traveled like a wave or a particle when it passed through the first screen. So the atom starts traveling, goes past the first screen, goes past the second screen, and then they take the measurements.

The weird part is that Australians reversed the flow of time here. By manipulating the second screen they could manipulate how atom behaved when it passed through the first screen moments before. In everyday situations the second screen should have no effect on what happened before the atom reached it but in this experiment it did. They thought they changed second screen settings randomly but found that the atom always behaved according to how it was going to be measured, or observation created “reality”. And not just at the moment of looking, but the past reality, too.

The wave vs particle duality is explained in various ways. One easy model is to think of an electron like if it was a cylinder. If you look at the cylinder from the top it looks like a circle but if you look at it from the side it looks like a rectangle. Similarly, the way we measure the electron reveals a different side of its actual nature, either wave or particle.

In this experiment, however, the atom changed its behavior backwards in time, which is what makes it truly weird.

So far there aren’t any easy explanations for this. The math checks out, but scientists still can’t wrap their heads around what it actually means.

There are several theories for this kind of phenomena. Some are more popular, some are more radical, some are better researched, but nothing has been definitely ruled out yet.

One version says that there are multiple universes co-existing in each moment of time and they can overlap or diverge at will. Thus the same atom can behave as a particle in one universe and as a wave in another, but in each universe its behavior is consistent. So, if five minutes later we see it as a particle it could have been only a particle in our universe, and if we see it as a wave it was a wave all along, too. In some other universe the same atom could have behaved in the opposite way.

Another version says that time actually flows backwards and what we see are not results but causes of our past. This is what I suggested just the other day. It’s not that what happens now determines the future, but now determines the past. The history that we think is cast in stone really depends on how we look at it.

It would also mean that we can all look at history differently and it would make total sense to us even while contradicting to other observers – their history depends on how THEY look at it now.

Of course, no scientist is prepared to take this theory that far but it would be a nice side effect, wouldn’t it?

Actually, it would go somewhat against our insistence that there’s only one truth – Kṛṣṇa, and we don’t get to make up our own reality, but an easy explanation is that the reality is indeed one but what we get to make our own are our illusions.

This means there’s no history of the universe as such and our views are extremely subjective. Our perception of history would depend on our attitude towards it today. This conclusion might be controversial but it complies with our observations, it accounts nicely for the diversity of views and for bone-headed stubbornness of the opposing sides. Whatever they say makes sense to them and the same principle applies to all of us, too. We all have our own, personal version of history that is often at odds with how other people saw it.

Quantum mechanics sort of explains how it could have happen.

Now, if we insist that truth is only one and it would set you free, and that might very well be the case, it doesn’t break this theory because people have different illusions, not different truths, and those illusions are not going to liberate them but rather attach a busload of karma. Isn’t it what happens when people twist what we think as the reality and then suffer for it?

I should end with a disclaimer that I have no qualifications to judge the results of that experiment and my interpolations from QM into philosophy might be totally unjustified, but as long as they loosen the grip the illusion has on us it should not be a complete waste of time.

Vanity thought #426. Quantum leap in democracy

Taking a break from our internal politics and turning to politics in the wider world. The electoral campaign in the US is going at full speed and some people, especially Obama fans, are perplexed at how Romney does his part. Every day they bring out more and more evidence of Romney flip-flopping on all kinds of issues and for them it’s a definitive answer as to why people should not vote for him, yet Romney is still likely to get about half of a popular vote. How is that possible?

But even if we understand that – how does that help us in developing our Krishna consciousness? What’s the point? For many of us it would make no difference, but there are also many devotees who, while acting in the outside world, have a high opinion of democracy. For that reason learning about the nature of democracy is as helpful as learning about all the other traps of the material world.

Implicit faith in democracy is one of the few major things that keep us deeply bound in this world. Of course there’s always food and sex, too, but those are unavoidable physical necessities, faith in democracy, on the other hand, is a choice. We better not make it.

Some of us might argue that we believe in vedic culture, we believe in righteous kings and varnashrama dharma, but in the real world we don’t have such options, in the real world we judge justice and fairness in any particular society by how democratic it is. This attitude might not be so prevalent among devotees from the “third world” countries but if you listen to lectures by devotees from America or Britain you might occasionally get a whiff of pride in their country of origin, and with that comes faith in democracy as the main reason for success.

But back to Romney – his campaign is offensive to so many people because they see a complete lack of honesty and integrity. This is not how democracy is supposed to work, it’s supposed to produce the best candidates, the most honest, the most trustworthy and most responsible. How can you trust a man who says he is pro-abortion on one TV program in the morning and anti-abortion on another program in the evening?

Well, the reason is that democracy has evolved past the simplistic understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Force, momentum, speed – all those postulates of Newton were true for a couple of hundred of years and they still work on everyday level, but the cutting edge of modern science is completely “illogical” by Newton laws and incomprehensible by our everyday observations, it’s gone quantum and beyond. The same thing is happening in politics before our own eyes, we are watching history in the making, so to speak.

In quantum theory of politics a candidate does not have a solid ideological platform, as expected in traditional notions of democracy, in quantum politics a man can be both moderate and conservative at the same time, just like an electron is both a particle and a wave. If an electron approaches a wall with two holes in it it will pass through both of them simultaneously, as a wave, and so does a “quantum” politician.

Another feature of quantum mechanics is that there’s no such thing as certainty, on the subatomic level nothing is known for sure, we deal only with probabilities of events. Some events are more likely than others but no event can be ruled out as totally impossible, therefore we can’t rule our Romney suddenly saying most outrageous things we have never expected.

From probability and uncertainty follows another feature of quantum mechanics and politics – we can’t know at the same time both what electron/Romney’s position is now and what it will be in the future. We can “know” one or another but not both.

Quantum mechanics also offers an interesting feature called entanglement. One aspect of it is that by observing the particle/politician you affect its state, meaning that by simply asking Romney about something you change his opinion about it.

In quantum mechanics the notion of causality also works in unexpected ways because sometimes the effect and the cause are not separated in time. In quantum politics Romney is winning not because he collects most votes, but he collects votes because he is perceived as the most electable. That is also true of Obama – many people are going to vote for him not because they support him wholeheartedly but because he is going to/needs be re-elected.

While this looks bizarre and curious it makes total sense to Romney himself. His goal is to get elected, people tend to forget that it’s different from their goal of getting the best government. If he needs to practice quantum politics to reach his goal he has all the right to use it, it’s people’s own problem if it goes against their own expectations.

There’s another way to explain Romney flip-flopping – he employs a proper risk-reward strategy used in stock trading. The idea is that once you place your trade order you don’t know if the market is going to go with or against you, there’s always a risk and so you must properly calculate it. Same with rewards – the market is not going with you forever, at some point you should get off being content with what you got. A proper risk-reward strategy means that after making lots and lots of trades the rewards must outweigh the losses, even if only by a few percent.

So, when Romney does the a flip-flop he calculates how many votes he is going to lose as a result and how many people he is going to attract by articulating his new position. After doing this many many times over he hopes to attract more votes than he loses.

This will lead to people on the opposite sides of political spectrum thinking that Romney supports their views, which, of course, is logically impossible, and many of these people will be eventually disappointed, but Romney’s goal is to win elections now, dealing with the fallout a few years down the road is not his concern at all.

So, seeing how modern electioneering works might put a few dents in our belief in democracy. Without that belief our faith in prosperity of western societies might get shaken as well, and when we see that we have no safety net in this world we might get more serious about relying on Krishna.

Actually, having this “safety net” is one of our biggest obstacles to spiritual progress. If we feel that we can always suspend our service, get a job, and live happily ever after, we are seriously lacking dedication to our goal. No matter what we hear in our classes lots of people outside seem to be genuinely happy and satisfied, and they don’t need Krishna to achieve that. Having their examples, seeing the most prosperous society in the modern history right outside our window, is our “safety net”, however false this perception is, for us it often seems very real.

As I said, democracy is perceived as one of the fundamental reasons for that prosperity, disbanding that myth might help us see the illusion for what it is and fall its prey.