Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rain Reaction

I am not sure if there's really such a word, but I am coining it anyway. I am going to write about the rain reaction.

I am fond of jogging in the forest near my flat in Tokyo. The other day, the sky was cloudy with a hint of imminent rain in the air. I ventured off notwithstanding. I enjoyed my running on that particular day. Feeling and breathing in the moisture in the space as you dash through is a soothing experience.

I was approaching my favorite spot, where the trees grow tall on a gentle slope. A dragonfly came into my view. It drew my attention because the way it flew was a bit unusual. I looked like a common Autumn Darter ("Akiakane"), but the manner of flight was definitely not.

I stopped running and observed the insect carefully. It flew in a zigzag trajectory as if in a jovial dancing, and approached a tree. There, after making some agitated turns, it perched on a leaf. I approached and took a good look at the specimen. It was an Autumn Darter all right.

I noticed that it had actually begun to rain. In a poignant period of transition, the raindrops gradually increased in number, and I myself had to run for cover.

It was the rain reaction. The insect, detecting the raindrop, apparently went into a different mode of flight than usual. This kind of behavior would be observable only in the transition period, as once it definitely started raining these creatures would not make flights but shelter themselves under the leaves.

I jogged on, pondering the rain reaction. Butterflies must also exhibit rain reactions. Their wings are so vulnerable. Ants must make rain reactions on the ground. These abrupt changes of behavior must be written in their genetic codes. Rain is such a common phenomenon.

Then I mused on rain reactions in life. When rain falls in life, what do people do? Do they dance in a heightened mood, or do they shriek for cover? Is it different from the snow reaction? Is there such a thing as a sunbeam reaction?

My jogging was almost over. As I dried my hair and took of the T-shirt, I thought of the dragonfly, biding time under the leaf.

18 comments:

Junko.Takahashi said...

It has been raining since yesterday. I wonder the dragonfly is bored with an autumn rain under the leaf. It's great that running outside and breathing fresh air give you an inspiration. Though there is no idea, I'm thinking about rain reactions in life.

Micah Tillman said...

What a great concept. I shall have to ponder this.

gregory said...

good post.... my first visit here...

off topic.... your interest in "how our consciousness full of qualia arise from the billions of firing neurons in the brain" ...

academics always have this exactly backwards, it is the firing neurons in the brain that arise from consciousness... the brain is the cause of nothing, it is effect only....

things proceed from subtle to gross, physical brain is grosser than consciousness...

neuro guys study it the way they do because they think they can measure something, but so what?

enjoy

EZ said...

Ah, Gregory, finally someone has said that here!

I was musing if I should try to mention this for Ken's information, so to say, but my Japanese husband often tells me that the overwhelming majority of Japanese people, at least, those that he (living here all his life) has seen or met, seem to reject existence of anything they cannot directly see or measure, let alone admitting that the "things unseen" can actually be more important than the physical entities, or their physical/chemical/mechanical interactions.
Or esthetically - the outward look must be perfect! And achieved at any cost, and very few people suspect that there is great spiritual void BEHIND this. In the West people tend to assume that it's some "great eastern mystery", that can be revealed by "zen" or wahtever, they'd be disappointed that there is virtually nothing there at all!

Yet, these things "unseen", connectedness to the world, well, you can even call it emotional, if not spiritual, is essential for extablishing true communication, and this is exactly this thing that is largely missing in Japan (I cannot say for other Eastern countries, as I have not been there to assess this myself, but I suspect that to some extent Japan is not really unique in this aspect), so what my husband suggests (and I also feel is true, of course) must be bearing out. THey shun emotional contact, and the idea of "rational human", such as is present in modern(pre-modern), say, economic theory in the West, is a true gift for them.

Isn't it great? You don't really have to feel anything! Everything can be rationally deduced by explicit (that is, superficial) communication only! But unfortunately it does not work that way, as these are, as you have pointed out, effects only, not the real events or causes, so what we see in Japan, the true - and very sad indeed - decline of the nation, is a direct consequence of this "lack", "paralysis" or whatever is this, immaterial source of life in general.
You read all these stories that the "person has looked completely normal and specifically was very good at greeting others" - and suddenly he goes about doing a horrendous thing - cruelly killing someone for the reason, say, that his dog was too noisy... Well, it does not happen "all of a sudden", it's just that they are unable to detect this person's true emotional make-up, because they can use only external "identification", the words acutally uttered, and are unable - or are afraid, or are taught not to, - look, feel what's behind the actual words...

The driving force of life... is not material in nature! After all, "scientists" have never been able to actually generate LIFE from all the necessary ingredients put together, all the organic molecules - they just do not start to interact by themselves no matter how one tries to arrange them, why? because the life principle is missing! But who would seriously beleive it - it cannot be measured, right?

BUt that does look to the people like this as if it is a realm of religion - well, true spirituality used to be expressed through religious insights, but this is not the only way to express this! The people's desire to grasp the immaterial reality has been abused through out the history by religious cults, who were aiming at controlling people... However, the Japanese do not seem to realise this. THey think that if they follow certain rules, you are guaranteed certain results. Really, there is no wonder they are so obssessed about robots!

Well, this is getting too long, but thank you very much for the opportunity to write all this, Mr. Ken Mogi, maybe you'll find this helpful... There is just no meaningful way to trying to discuss this with anyone in Japan, at least, I have seen only one person capable and willing to think about these matters here in Japan, where I live for more than 15 years already.

gregory said...

oh, good letter....

one of my things to do is to put this dimension into a language that more people can understand....

i want to do it on a website, i have taken the domain name, one of it's jobs is to focus on how to communicate the mystical to the rational..

please stay in touch

ez said...

Thank you very much, Gregory!
I'll check your blog to see if there's an indication to the website - in the meantime I must say I enjoeyd the images, I love that type of shiny colour which seems to come from within...
THanks again!

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Petrusa de Koker said...

Hmmm...
Very interesting. But what if there is more behind the Japanese facade of the "rational human"? What if I just don't find/observe Japanese people dwell on a person's true emotional make-up? Does it mean that it doesn't happen at all or that it is not there? The "person that looks completely normal and specifically was very good at greeting others and suddenly he goes about doing a horrendous thing", well, we have some of those here in Africa as well (and I've heard that they have found some of them in the US as well).
This makes me wonder about something else: Do academics really have this exactly backwards? Is it not that the only part of their research that is visible to us, is the part that could be measured? Could I assume from that, that the academic is only researching that which can be measured? ...and what if the brain is in some cases indeed the cause of something and not just the effect? How is it explained that certain perceptions or even "halucinations" could be induced if a certain part of the brain is stimulated? How is it explained that certain neuro drugs/medication work and even changes people's personalities/outlook-on-life?

ez said...

To petrusa

In fact, concerning the drugs/medication having an effect, they do not really change anything but act only superficially, they should be taken for life and the dose sometimes needs to be increased. If you notice in the reports about sudden crimes like the one in the Virginia Tech there is often a mentioning of "undergoing treatment for depression" sometime prior the incident which has been discontinued and "experts" say that "if only he had continued on his drugs this would not have happened", so what we wintess in such instances are "withdrawal" symptoms, which are much more severe than the original set. It's like there is a river flowing - the cause being the spring somewhere in the mountains, and you want to stop this river from flooding one particular field much farther down the flow, so you build a little dam and in the beginning the flow seems to stop! Hooray! But what happens is that the water simply builds up behind the dam, and after it starts to overflow, or even worse - breaks the dam - you will acutally regret that you had thought about building that dam in the first place. If the TRUE reason for these mental problems is left unattended - here the analogy with the river might not be appropriate, but deviating the initial flow from the spring right there at the top, would certainly be more effective, if carefully planned - the problems will come back with vengeance, showing that the "mind-altering" drugs do so only superficially.
I even recall reading like a little boy with violent variant of a Defiant Disorder was sedated with some such drug and indeed he did not behave violently while on the drug, but what he said was that he was being "internally imprisoned" immobilised. By the way a severe side-effect of anti-psychotic drugs include "tardive dyskinesia" which means that the person - after being immmobilised psychically - becomes physically immobile as well - so all such (I would stress) superficial "intervention" is detrimental to everyone, from the person himself - to the people around who might become victims if the suppressed vitality somehow gets out of control - like- steam cooker, you know, no doubt, thay can burst if the pressure builds up too high?
This - to me - shows that material, visible - is the consequence and if you wish to durably change it - you have to work on the cause, and in fact, there are ways to do it! Like Chinese Traditional Medicine, Homeopathy and other holistic medicines - in our case of psychotic/neurotic problems. - And through art and spiritual practices as well, if you problem is not so severe, or if the issue to deal with is the spiritual growth of the individual! RUssian Writer Leo TOlstoi has said "beauty will save the World" - I was always amazed at his insight!

ez said...

To petrusa (part 2)

And considering how the academics "have it backwards" or otherwise - well, of course, they can only measure what is measurable, but they seem to make an implicit assumption that this, what they can measure, is primary. A good example to show that this is a false assumption would be gravity. One cannot measure gravity (of an object) directly, at least, not yet. However, one can measure it through the effect this object has on other objects - things fall on Earth - with different speed which depends on their mass etc. However, if we return to the analogy with brain and spirit - this would mean that making objects fall to the Earth would lead to Earth developing its gravity, the cause and the consequence are reversed! Spirit and all this "invisible" "mystical" stuff is much more subtle, but still it is possible to notice where the cause and where the effect is, if you take a broader view at things rather than restricting yourself to only things that are immediately observable and measurable.

gregory said...

the mullah sees nasruddin looking for something on the sidewalk at night under the streetlight..

“nasruddin, what are you doing?”

“i am looking for my keys”, replies nasruddin, “but they are not here.”

the mullah asks, “where did you lose them?”

“in the house”, replies nasruddin.

“then why are you looking here?” asks the mullah.

“because this is where the light is” answers nasruddin


this story could be about science, and it's need to ask questions for which it is equipped to find answers....


a quote about science.... science doesn't tell us about the universe, it tells us about what the mind can know about the universe


and if you notice, so far, how little research has been done on consciousness, on knowing, on the things that in the traditional eastern disciplines have been the basis for all knowledge and arts.


I am not arguing for traditionalism, or east versus west, but will argue that science is applied religion, the western idea that god is separate from his creation is exactly what science also applies in a secular way. I will further argue that western science approaches superstition-levels in its narrowness of focus, but that is not what this thread is about

science functions by scything, slicing, cutting reality into a part that it can look at, unaware that this will of course distort the relevance of its findings...

this is the nature of science, and that is fine, so long as its adherents understand its limitations...

i prefer the buddhist outlook, "no independent origination" and nicely, this allows for the disparity of views that petrusa de koker as positing....

this is a great topic, pertinent to our times....

thank you both for participating....

i wish to continue, blog replies dont always allow deep thinking, but i will try....

enjoy, grewgory

ez said...

Dear Gregory,

very enlightening and reassuring indeed!

An in light of what you've written , what do you think of Rudolf Steiner's antroposophic approach? I was trying to get to study his "philosophy of Freedom" but just cannot find time for this... And in Japan they seem to percieve Steiner's philosophy as just another "religious stuff", the society is full of sects. Mysticism equals religion... Sigh, it's really difficult to survive (spiritually) here! Thanks for your refreshing input!

gregory said...

my opinion, rudolf steiner was a very progressive thinker of his time and put his understandings into a good system relevant to where he was living.... i use him as yet another finger pointing to the moon, but dom't wish to be an anthroposophist...

regarding asia (i am in south india) i have been a bit surprised at the reaction of the chinese government to the falun gong.... there techniques seem like normal meditation teachings, but then i understood that in asia subtle energy is well-known, prana, chi, qi, shakti, and it is also known that spiritual movements can sweep through a society, disprupting the social powers.... so i understand the reluctance of some of the northern asian cultures to allow much in the way of mysticism...

(climate and culture are interesting to equate, in cold climates efficiency is important, not in the south)

(the costumes of all asian performance art forms are fabulous illustrations of the human aura, they know about subtle bodies fully)

and finally a link that has one very good quote in it, appropriate for the owner of this blog who is a busy person i think...

the quote.... Since consciousness is ubiquitous I am not surprised that the seat of human consciousness is so elusive to neuroscientists that look for it mainly in the brain.

it is from from Indranet

gregory said...

my opinion, rudolf steiner was a very progressive thinker of his time and put his understandings into a good system relevant to where he was living.... i use him as yet another finger pointing to the moon, but dom't wish to be an anthroposophist...

regarding asia (i am in south india) i have been a bit surprised at the reaction of the chinese government to the falun gong.... there techniques seem like normal meditation teachings, but then i understood that in asia subtle energy is well-known, prana, chi, qi, shakti, and it is also known that spiritual movements can sweep through a society, disprupting the social powers.... so i understand the reluctance of some of the northern asian cultures to allow much in the way of mysticism...

(climate and culture are interesting to equate, in cold climates efficiency is important, not in the south)

(the costumes of all asian performance art forms are fabulous illustrations of the human aura, they know about subtle bodies fully)

and finally a link that has one very good quote in it, appropriate for the owner of this blog who is a busy person i think...

the quote.... Since consciousness is ubiquitous I am not surprised that the seat of human consciousness is so elusive to neuroscientists that look for it mainly in the brain.

it is from from Indranet

ez said...

Gregory,

"that spiritual movements can sweep through a society, disprupting the social powers...."

you mean, totalitarian social systems which are basically good old slavery. Yes, indeed, so you think that they are aware of the effects the people with strong healthy qi are likely to have - in China?
(I was very upset to find out that Japan is no different in many aspects...)

I was always wondering whether the Chinese Medicine which can well be used curatively, in a truly healing fashion, (and I think it is so used in countires like Malaysia right now) is not being used suppressively in CHina itself.
It is "dismantled" into manuals here in Japan and has nothing to do with the real thing...

"so i understand the reluctance of some of the northern asian cultures to allow much in the way of mysticism..." - or anything "alive" if you see what I mean, nothing which is vibrant is allowed! THey even forbade wearing vivid colours in Edo period in Japan! So now "green" and "brown" is used to refer to a whole gamme of related colours, "red" included in "brown" series... Isn't it amazing how the people here have been ready to put up with this all the time?

"(climate and culture are interesting to equate, in cold climates efficiency is important, not in the south)"
I'm from RUssia, and I just wanted to suggest that this is not always so! RUssia is in continous spiritual quest, Rabindranat Tagor is very much loved in RUssia, for example, and the real spiritual core of the society, which is not at the forefront right now, but it's there as far as I'm aware, has never been concerned with money and efficiency. Have you ever seen the movie "Andrei Rublev" by Andrei Tarkovsky? It's about all the suffering and all the strength there is, but I guess in South India it's not really easy to percieve, I recall seeing a movie "The India Song", it was fascinating in a way...

This is just a quick reply, maybe I'll have time to be more to the point next time, and I'm looking forward to hear from you as well!

ALl the best for the coming year of the Mouse!

Ken Mogi said...

Guys, thank you for your stimulating comments and discussions here. I need sometime to muse about the points that you have raised. How is it there, Petrusa?

Mariana said...

i found your blog really fascinating, and i loved this particular post.
its amazing how i can read your thoughts from that moment you narrated from the other side of the world.

Greetings from Argentina!
Mari.-

gregory said...

The Western view claims that consciousness comes out of matter at some point in evolution. But this is simply not possible. How can the elements change their nature? They are unconscious and do not 'become' conscious. You can't get something out of nothing. If matter is conscious then it is not matter. Consciousness is not 'in' matter, matter is 'in' consciousness. By 'in' I mean that while it is possible for something conscious to apparently 'degenerate' into something unconscious, it does not work the other way around.


just to summarize my point of view....

now, what else?