breathing cycle

31 05 2010

I’ve had a few observations of breathing while conducting meditation. Whether one attends to breathing in, breathing out, or the turning point between them. The texts (eg Foundation of Mindfulness Sutra) generally emphasise the process of breathing in and breathing out, rather than the turning points.

I relate this to cyclic systems such as classic central heating, with boiler and pipes and radiators and thermostats. In the cycle of regulation, which do we emphasise? We can think that the thermostat is the deciding point, but it is merely responding to the temperature change brought about through the heating of the air via the metal of the radiators. Or the chicken and egg, which came first, or in terms of the individual or social when considering change dynamic.

It all depends on where one puts one’s mind in the process. Let’s relate this to counting.

Had a very interesting chat with Esther, and when exploring XQ’s side to counting as a thought experiment, Esther took ten or fifteen minutes to finally recognise that the answer was the first thing that popped into her head — but she dismissed it because it was so obvious. (I love that:)

If counting is something to do with our internal processes (not the sheep counted, but the processing in our head), as Phil outlined, there are two aspects: temporal and distinction. That is, time and mind. So, when we count, we count the difference between one and two and three, differentiated through time. Beat, rhythm, etc, the basis for music… the pattern in time. Hence the relationship of maths to music.

So, when it comes to counting breaths, do we count at the turning point of in-breath to out-breath, or out-breath to in-breath. In the cycle, which do we place the point of distinction from another round of the cycle?

This goes for breathing, as if goes for a lot of things. Consider any cycle, and consider the point which you hook the mind so that one unique cycle can be distinguished from any other. There’s a lot of space between the labels of the events, all of which are necessary and causal in the cycle. (Including cycles that are oppositional, from p to not-p. If we reinforce the not-p, we are conspiring a negative state, whereas if we reinforce the p, we are conspiring a positive state. When really, we need to do both. At least, that’s what the buddhist approach suggests.)

This may sound academic, but it isn’t. When people talk about reading from the same page, we’re talking about being in synch. XQ is in a completely opposite phase to standard application of maths. There’s no point trying to communicate XQ to someone who wants to remain in the phase of normal maths… it just won’t make sense. I wonder if Brian Rotman is going to make sense of this? I think I am approaching the time when a review of his book might be useful.

The simple take-away here is, breathing cycles and counting, and how mind distinguishes difference in time.

textured number line

4 05 2010

For a while now, a thought has been compiling in the back of my head regarding the number line. After reading Brian Rotman’s book, which I shall write a detailed post about soon, and some work by Chaitin, I am assured that this level of question has practical benefits, philosophically as well as computationally. Namely, the texture of the number line, which is a metaphoric mapping of the real numbers to a graphic straight line.

If you think about the integers, 1, 2, 3…, as being top level, and numbers with one decimal place as being one level deeper, etc, you get a textured line. The peaks are the integers, and the bottomless depths are eg root 2, or π.

We could think about 0.2 as being 0.20000… but let’s ignore this for now, since that would flatten the texture.

One simple observation, is to think of decimals as being numbers that tend to a limit. Some decimals tend to a constant, while others cycle (cycloids), and others still don’t appear to have a pattern, eg π.

The received way of thinking about this is computationally. Turing came up with the notion that all numbers are effectively approximate in 1936. And Rotman is talking about discrete numbers. And this ties into my idea that nothing, nothing is precise, and the illusion of precision is what the whole edifice of our society and knowledge and self and computing and science is based on. And if we shift that to everything is approximate, then there is no pretense that even our numbers are based on reality out there, but are applications to our mind’s projection. And thus, it is all self-referential. Hence, we derive a maths that is not based on founding axioms; and we take a step further than Godel and the notion of a relative and useful axiom set contextual to a given exploration. That is, newtonian physics and the rule set that derives it. We finally might actually have a system where the axiom links back to a higher derived result. That is, loops in scale, or time — as the essential (rather than fundamental) process or structure (even element if we push it…).

That is, if the integers are applications of terms to our mind’s capacity to imagine discreteness, how does maths shape up?

When walking around Arthur’s Seat with Phil, I tested out the XQ premise and tried to lead him to the insight on counting. He came up with an observation, that counting was based on there being a thing that is in process, and the ability for it to distinguish discrete parts. That is, consciousness and moments. We understand 1 is different from 2 because we make it so. Our minds provide a difference in terms of our senses. Counting is the minimal acknowledgement of duality in time.

What that means in terms of computing…. or animals… I don’t know.

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