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Old 12-14-2010, 01:16 PM   #1
Keith Larman
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Tapestry

Just thought this might be a good quote to start a thread. If not, fine.

‎"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry." Richard Feynman

All sorts of associations jump to my mind. But I thought I'd toss out the quote first and see what folk think.

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Old 12-14-2010, 01:23 PM   #2
C. David Henderson
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Re: Tapestry

Hi Keith,

It reminds me of fractals found in nature -- clouds, snow flakes, crystals, mountain ranges, lightning, river networks, cauliflower, trees....

Not very spiritual, I know.

David Henderson
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:31 PM   #3
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Re: Tapestry

Actually fractals was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind.

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Old 12-14-2010, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: Tapestry

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Just thought this might be a good quote to start a thread. If not, fine.

‎"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry." Richard Feynman

All sorts of associations jump to my mind. But I thought I'd toss out the quote first and see what folk think.
Preaching to the choir with this one. I've been trying to see a little bit of everything in anything for the last 2/3 of my ancient 32 years of age, partly from quotes like this I read as a wee lad. Not that I understand squat about squat. I've always loved math, but I've never studied it anywhere near the level someone like Feynman (or other far "lesser" mathematicians, for that matter).
It's one reason I particularly like the concept of Yamabiko (which came to me via Aikido) and why I consider a physical practice/behavior to be spiritually inclusive, and for all practical purposes, vice versa...to whatever degree one might be able to say "spirit" exists, at any rate. My feeling is, if spirit has an effect on the physical world, we should be able to look to the physical world as some kind of casted form, inferring some sense of the "topography." Mathematics and it's friend physics seeks to measure the proportions of things and their relationships and I try to think of fractals whenever I hear things like "Man was made in the image of God," or "look inward to see outward."
If we can look at things like Aikijutsu and somehow understand the organization of the universe, then Aikido as spiritual practice makes perfect sense to me...and the Shinto aspects O Sensei is yet one more thread, interwoven.
And this thread is yet one more thread interwoven...may it be a beautiful fractal in its own right: now how many tangents can I make to mess with whatever pretty symetry may otherwise develop?

Quote:
David wrote:
It reminds me of fractals found in nature -- clouds, snow flakes, crystals, mountain ranges, lightning, river networks, cauliflower, trees....

Not very spiritual, I know.
I dunno...I have always found things like that to be "spiritual." One of the definitions for "Kami" I have heard is that it can be described as that which creates awe. It's a fairly wide open statement (being a somewhat subjective experience), but one which has always resonated with me. So, interesting outcroppings of rock (suddenly thinking of Kennedy's profile on Maui), or other peculiar shapes/proportions can be described as kami, or at least kami-like.
...As always, assuming I'm understanding correctly.
Coincidentally, my...er...somewhat celtic avatar is somewhat similar to the mitsu domoii of Shinto...certainly has a certain similarity resonance, at any rate.


At any rate that's what came to mind...they do call it chaos theory for a reason.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-14-2010 at 03:06 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Tapestry

Thanks for a lovely picture.
I was thinking earlier that if we all met at a seminar what a fun time we could have...exploring all the ideas that come through on here.
I am going to do an attack I saw on one of Henry Ellis's video's in class tonight.
Mary
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:01 PM   #6
Keith Larman
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Re: Tapestry

Quote:
Charles David Henderson wrote: View Post
Hi Keith,

It reminds me of fractals found in nature -- clouds, snow flakes, crystals, mountain ranges, lightning, river networks, cauliflower, trees....

Not very spiritual, I know.
Actually I would call the associations the very essence of a healthy spirituality. Which really gets at what I was hoping to talk about -- the nature of spirituality. I see all too often what I think are at best caricatures as they wander off into a quasi-mystical logical morass of fuzzy logic and dubious understandings resting on fallacy and "intellectual" dishonesty. All while there are quite interesting things to notice and discuss that are right in front of us all the time.

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Old 12-14-2010, 07:38 PM   #7
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Re: Tapestry

I see. For me, this sounds like the way I feel when I gaze at flowing water, or aspen leaves shivering in the wind, or a flock of snow geese rising from their lagoon at dawn on a winter's day...

My recollection of the latter, in particular, reminded me of an Escher painting in a strobe light -- if that makes sense.

David Henderson
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:14 PM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: Tapestry

Quote:
Charles David Henderson wrote: View Post
I see. For me, this sounds like the way I feel when I gaze at flowing water, or aspen leaves shivering in the wind, or a flock of snow geese rising from their lagoon at dawn on a winter's day...

My recollection of the latter, in particular, reminded me of an Escher painting in a strobe light -- if that makes sense.
Absolutely. I was also thinking of themes like those raised in Godel, Escher and Bach. Recursion and the complexity that can create.

There is so much "meaning" in everyday things and experiences. There is so much to gaze at in wonder. There is so much subtlety to understand. A rich tapestry indeed.

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Old 12-15-2010, 02:21 AM   #9
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Re: Tapestry

" Tapestry done by the man in the nature", it is not like your thought but you see from far away the tapestry but if you go next to it you just see the small pieces

Source http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/wo...a/26japan.html
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:16 PM   #10
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Re: Tapestry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE2Ei...eature=related
...funny how all these videos I looked through are filled with spacy music!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:56 AM   #11
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Re: Tapestry

I drove to work after the first storm of winter this morning. I was thinking about this thread, and how fallen snow lays itself down in patterns reflecting the landscape, wind, sun, and character of the particular snow.

When I parked my car, I saw a small maple had snow plastered along its eastern side, towards the mountain.

The stark white on grey bark had accumulated, layer by layer, up and down the tree's form. The accretions reproduced over the course of a night a topographic caricature of its backdrop, one with graceful, fluted, sweeping curves where the wind apparently had sheared off snow.

This stuff is all around, in the mundane everyday. So many times, I don't see it. And I'm not certain why, when I do, I find it moving.

David Henderson
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:54 AM   #12
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Re: Tapestry

Yeah, I remember learning about how the Fibonacci sequence is everywhere in nature. Such a simple concept that explodes into nearly infinite complexity. And it seems to "drive" so much natural phenomena. Interestingly around that time a family friend who was a physicist at Cal Tech knowing I was of a philosophical mind asked me if the Fibonacci sequence "exists". In other words, how do you classify the reality of the sequence? A part of nature? A "law" of nature. Something we impose on nature in order to understand it ourselves , existing only due to our need to classify and categorize? Something else?

Next thing I know I'm reading Godel, Escher and Bach... Then Wittgenstein, Searle, Austin...

So... Each thing you learn creates new branches of exploration. Kind of like a Fibonacci sequence...

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Old 12-17-2010, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: Tapestry

I find these questions fascinating -- for example, what does "pi" mean about the relationship between circles and linear distance, or why does the ratio phi occur in nature at all?

I went to this site, which is an interesting read with examples of the golden ratio:

http://www.goldennumber.net/life.htm

I wonder whether the prevalence of Phi, in nature may reflect how self-replicating patterns, e.g., fractals, grow.

David Henderson
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:06 AM   #14
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Re: Tapestry

Keith - I love that quote.
A real-life example that blows my mind is holography.
That holograms actually work gives me brain spasms.. for instance; If you break one (i.e. made in glass, not the plastic white-light 'holograms' on credit cards); into 2 pieces; you get a replay image out of both broken pieces (!)...albeit each at a lower resolution. The actual physical detail about how the phase information is stored in terms of index modulation is ... wonderful.

In one view: it amount to: The whole image is stored in each infinitesimal piece.

It is a wonderful example of the tapestry of the whole knitted in the part.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:23 AM   #15
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Re: Tapestry

Great example, Josh.

David Henderson
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:39 PM   #16
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Re: Tapestry

I remember reading an interesting article where a researcher was comparing the way the brain works with holograms. With notable exceptions the brain tends to distribute things across the brain. So the brain can remain remarkably resilient to injury in some cases.

Connections. Recursion. Branching. Blending.

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Old 12-17-2010, 04:00 PM   #17
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Re: Tapestry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle

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Old 12-22-2010, 12:34 AM   #18
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Re: Tapestry

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Just thought this might be a good quote to start a thread. If not, fine.

‎"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry." Richard Feynman

All sorts of associations jump to my mind. But I thought I'd toss out the quote first and see what folk think.
Hi Keith,
Nice thought provoking quote.
I think it applies to all areas of life and is here also in Aikiweb with it's threads and all the answers and comments revealing the organization of the whole tapestry of Aikido.

Nice one. G.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:46 PM   #19
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Re: Tapestry

"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake

Merry Christmas.
Josh
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:31 AM   #20
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Re: Tapestry

I've been reading a book of letters to and from Feynman called Perfectly Reasonable Deviations thanks to this thread. I bought it some time ago and skimmed it before putting it on my shelf to collect dust until now. I've really enjoyed it! Thank you for that, Keith!
Feynman's admiration for the complexity and beauty of Nature is the kind of stuff my personal spirituality has been based on for a long time...and like so many things it's easy to take for granted: "yes yes, the world is a myriad of wonder, where's my triple venti mocha?"
I'm sure I had something more profound to say, or at least something more flowery, but that seems to sum it up pretty well, actually.

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Old 01-06-2011, 12:35 PM   #21
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Re: Tapestry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1dgrvlWML4

...On the process of discovering how the tapestry is woven together.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:53 PM   #22
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Re: Tapestry

I like the idea of this thread too. One association that struck me was that structure comes from the same Latin root as instruct, instruction and instructor.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:52 AM   #23
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Re: Tapestry

Matt, glad you're enjoying Feynman. He was a blast in person. My father was heavily involved in the space program at JPL in Pasadena. So as a kid our family friends were scientists, engineers, and all the associated nutcases. I knew Dr. Feynman, but mostly just as Carl's dad (Carl was a year ahead of me in school with his little sister Michele a bunch of years behind if memory serves). I got into a "discussion" with Dr. Feynman about the twin paradox one late night at a party (I had to be maybe 13 or so having just read up on relativity). I was adamant that it simply made no sense. He just smiled, explained it a few times and let me struggle with it. Someone else told me I should probably listen to Dr. Feynman as he is a pretty well respected physics guy...

Just a short tangent.

One issue I wanted to raise with this thread. When the world holds such amazing connectedness and order, why are we so quick to make up mystical stuff rather than marveling at the natural world? The whole discussion of "ki" befuddles me sometimes. People ain't shooting ki balls out of their hands. They're not projecting "energy". There are so many possible explanations that rest on anatomy, neurology, etc. so why is it people insist on going into new age explanations so quickly? There is so much *right here* in front of us to figure out yet we want to "become one with the universal mind through ki projecting kindness and non confrontational spirit yada yada".

Maybe it is the fact I was raised in a world surrounded by scientists. But I marvel at the complexity and beauty of chaos theory. I marvel at non linear systems. I marvel at nature's "ability" to create amazing things. And I marvel at our ability to do amazing throws and movements that seem to defy physics. But... They don't defy physics. "It's not just a good idea, it's the law..." So we make up fantastic flights of fancy and come up with poetic streams *rather than* trying to really understand what is going on...

Okay, yeah, I'm kinda tired and frustrated with where some other threads here went. I live in a weird world in my head I suppose. Strict and rich scientific background, philosophy degree, then worked in psych research. And now I work basically in the arts. But I see such beautiful things *right in front of our faces* and yet we still look for magic.

So much potential... And yet so many end up swirling away surrounded by poetic words, nice sounding platitudes, and great sound bites that in the end signify nothing. So much to see *right here*. So much to learn *right here*.

Spirituality. Delusion.

Must take a vicoden for the migraine and stop posting for a while...

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Old 01-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #24
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Re: Tapestry

And please, no one take me wrong. A sincere thank you for all who post their thoughts and ideas. Just feeling like a curmudgeon today. Probably just the neuro-transmitters in the brain being out of whack giving me a storm of migraine activity.

"Wow, look at the shimmering stuff floating in front of my eyes!"

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:02 PM   #25
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Re: Tapestry

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
One issue I wanted to raise with this thread. When the world holds such amazing connectedness and order, why are we so quick to make up mystical stuff rather than marveling at the natural world? The whole discussion of "ki" befuddles me sometimes. People ain't shooting ki balls out of their hands. They're not projecting "energy". There are so many possible explanations that rest on anatomy, neurology, etc. so why is it people insist on going into new age explanations so quickly? There is so much *right here* in front of us to figure out yet we want to "become one with the universal mind through ki projecting kindness and non confrontational spirit yada yada".

Maybe it is the fact I was raised in a world surrounded by scientists. But I marvel at the complexity and beauty of chaos theory. I marvel at non linear systems. I marvel at nature's "ability" to create amazing things. And I marvel at our ability to do amazing throws and movements that seem to defy physics. But... They don't defy physics. "It's not just a good idea, it's the law..." So we make up fantastic flights of fancy and come up with poetic streams *rather than* trying to really understand what is going on...

Okay, yeah, I'm kinda tired and frustrated with where some other threads here went. I live in a weird world in my head I suppose. Strict and rich scientific background, philosophy degree, then worked in psych research. And now I work basically in the arts. But I see such beautiful things *right in front of our faces* and yet we still look for magic.

So much potential... And yet so many end up swirling away surrounded by poetic words, nice sounding platitudes, and great sound bites that in the end signify nothing. So much to see *right here*. So much to learn *right here*.

Spirituality. Delusion.
I don't think most people want to learn the truth (the physics) behind why aikido works...but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, either. A lot of people don't understand how their cars work, either: everything under the hood is a big black box to them, "the stuff that makes it go". The difference is that they don't ascribe what's happening under the hood to magic, or ki, or spiritual forces that can't be explained. They still understand that it's a mechanical process.

So why is aikido treated differently? I think there are a few reasons. One is the emperor's suit of clothes syndrome: if everyone around you is exclaiming about how they can feel their sensei projecting ki, you're not going to want to admit that you feel bone and muscle and that's all you feel -- not if doing so will make you look like the village idiot. So people parrot the same lines: oh, yes, Sensei has the most amazing ki.

Another reason is that it's the language that people use and then pass on to describe the phenomena that they experience. Imagine that you grew up in a place where everyone told you, "There's this amazing four-legged animal called a rhinoceros, and wow, I really can't describe it too well, but if you ever meet one, you'll know it!" They don't have pictures of a rhinoceros, they can't give you any better description of a rhinoceros, and there is no rhinoceros in the village -- no shared experience, in other words, just this vague description of an amazing animal. So one day you're off walking and you see a zebra, and because it has four legs, you say, "Omigod! It's a rhinoceros!" The word "rhinoceros", to you, means "amazing four-legged animal" and nothing more, until you meet your particular amazing four-legged animal, and you decide that this must be the rhinoceros you've heard so much about. Meanwhile, your neighbor uses "rhinoceros" to refer to an elephant, and the woman down the street uses "rhinoceros" as the name for an eland, and you're all using the same vague poorly-defined catchphrase to talk about completely different animals, none of which is a rhinoceros.

And let's not forget the feel-good factor. Particularly in the West, where most people are more than comfortable on the material plane, and where we have a wealth of easy access to facile forms of entertainment and self-gratification, the word "spiritual" is often used as a general purpose catchphrase for the whole missing dimension in people's lives. Thus, when people take up activities or have experiences that give them some of this dimension, why, they must be having a "spiritual" experience. A 19th century American farmer knew what it was like to do hard physical labor all day, to feel the satisfaction of a good day's work in which he used everything, physical strength and know-how and character traits such as determination and patience. That experience is foreign to most Americans today -- which probably accounts for people who call gardening a "spiritual" experience. The experience of being in quiet places, without lots of stimulus, was commonplace a hundred years ago. Now it is rare, and so when we go camping for a weekend with no internet and no cellphone and no MP3 player, we get to finally hear something besides the constant yammer of input, and we call that "spiritual" too. Our culture encourages dilettantism, so when we buckle down and steadily pursue an activity for years, long enough to acquire something beyond the superficial...why, we call that "spiritual" too.

I don't see any problem with being in touch with new experiences that are part of the missing dimension. It's incorrect and misleading, though, to label them all as "spiritual". Not everything is a spiritual practice just because it makes you feel a way that you haven't felt before. In fact, if you take a look at genuine spiritual practices, you'll probably find that in most if not all of them, people actually don't feel all that special most of the time they're doing them. Genuine spiritual practices are disciplines, something that people do regardless of how they feel.

I think that "ki" is one aikido rhinoceros. "Spiritual" is definitely another. \
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