After searching for years with therapists and self-examination to understand my crippling lack of self-esteem, your writings are a revelation to me. I'm sincerely grateful to you for your work and effort and for making this available to everyone online.
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Once, Decades Ago, I Tripped Over The Divine
For me, the flash of insight into the sublime happened way back in 1989. The vision stunned me with the grandeur of its simplicity. The startling prospect emerged from, of all things, an algorithm! Its potential flickered into my view by accident, while transferring a Prolog AI disease recognition procedure to a Lotus spreadsheet. I had inadvertently reversed the logic of the Expert System, instructing it to eliminate improbabilities, instead of selecting probabilities. Such algorithms are just repetitive procedures. Cold and logical lines of code. But, they yield dependable results. Algorithms are just mechanical tools. But, this algorithmic code was unique.
The capability of the algorithm was that it could sift a Google sized database of connected facts to instantly recognize patterns. This was 10 years before Google started building its vast data warehouses. But, I knew the mind identified complex patterns when you just opened your eyes! For the next few months, glimpses of probable neural accomplishments through instant pattern recognition kept waking me up at 3 a.m. I kept adding to the list on paper. The dots just kept connecting. Decades later, more possible links keep opening up new horizons - say, the seat of consciousness or the persistence of working memory. This algorithm could distinguish between good and evil. It could make us weep in anguish or gasp in wonder. Could it be the fabled divine gift to life?
It worked in the mind. Gray's Anatomy was an exhaustive source and a starting point for me. Its 1500 pages listed
the functions of virtually every mental organ. The algorithm could link them all into a single mind that could suture an artery, while recalling a tennis match. Starting at the input level, it
focused your senses. The light from the heavens. The songs of the
birds. The touch of a loved one. The fragrance of a rose. The taste
of chocolate. We were blessed with millions of receptors, which flashed this magnificent perception of the world to the sensory regions of our
cortex. There were association regions there, which could use the algorithm on this data to identify a pencil, or a word. We could separate the idea of a gun from the idea of a war in the abundance of incoming sensory
Object and event recognition. Algorithmic pattern recognition could act at every stage of mental processing. Things were happening all around us. There was a
limbic system, where the algorithm could identify between good and bad happenings. It generated emotions. This mammalian region could drive
us to attack in anger, or flee in terror. It was the limbic system, which held
us in thrall. It filled us with despair, or tortured us in grief.
It made us question the very meaning of life. Life was so unfair.
Why did we have to suffer so?
we lacked the capacity to naturally see our emotions and feelings. The limbic
system was invisible to us. It was the algorithm, which caused the motor system to transform those emotions and feelings into actions. Hunger made us raid the frig. We went to work every day to avoid the pain of guilt. Love reminded us to pick up
children from school. Hatred built the death camps. In the end, urges from the
limbic system drove us out of Eden.
a precious compensation, algorithmic pattern recognition ascended to higher levels. Our prefrontal regions gifted us with
science and logic. Those skills enabled us to understand the vast structures of the
cosmos. We built leviathans, which could sail the oceans and fly the skies. We explored the heavens. Our powerful civilizations
conquered the continents and explored the cosmos. Even more, the algorithm also pointed us to the divine, which defied logic and definition. We sensed the order and beauty, which, like the laws of nature, existed from the beginning of time.
Pattern recognition dealt with subtleties. Reason and logic could not
create great symphonies, or works of art. Why do we
stand in awe of the sunset? Or find joy in a lilting song, or in the laugh of a baby? Nerve cells recognized such patterns without our awareness and fired to initiate the skin tingling thrill. Who, but the Designer, could possibly want to hard wire us to thrill to the astonishing splendor of the design?
Over three decades have passed since my first glimpse of the truth. Like an ancient city hidden by forest cover, the vast and invisible city of the mind has many avenues linking its great palaces and temples. I also realized that those divine pattern recognition paths led to still spaces, untrammelled by the ravages of emotions and
feelings.... Life was worth living! Even the great sages of the past advised us to still passions to empower the sublime within us. The divine stillness lives at the core. You too can find your home there.