Monthly Archives: September 2018

The death of perception

Perception is the physical process of certain types of objects. Perception like knowledge and conception are not objects in themselves but seem to exist as an illusion due to the continued process within an object. Once the process ends the perception ends. The final end of the perception for an object is called death.

Object-mass, object-space

Modern science tells us that space is energy. This makes sense with Einstein’s equation – E=mc2 – where mass and energy show a mutual and direct relationship. Since space seemingly “replaces” an object in a position it can be treated like an object. Further, nothing violates this. A “position” in space is either occupied by space-energy or object-mass. And multiple objects never occupy the same position. The proposition is, a position is occupied by either an object-mass or an object-space.

I, realist

I am a philosophical realist.

The physical reality, to me, exists independently regardless of whether it is perceived or not by me or anyone else.

The evidence is that things, firstly, do not simply disappear if it is not perceived. The back of my MacBook I am typing this on is there even though I am not seeing it. This extends to everything else, the underside of the table, outside, beyond the driveway, over the hill, behind the cloud. Secondly, before I came into existence the world existed. My parents were there to bring me into the world. And their world was a continuation of mine. Go back again further enough and there would been a time when no one existed to perceive the world. It makes sense that it existed even without being perceived. Thirdly, there will be a time in the universe when everything that perceives will pass away, and the physical world will continue to exist. There is no reason why it should disappear.

This kind of thinking places us into a mode of humility. We are not special, no more or less special than anything else. But to think we are better than other things because we see this is part of the complacency of being human. It is the exact same “place” where the humility comes from. But we must learn to struggle with that, knowing we will never fully be free from this view as a collective and as an individual, if there are such things to begin with.

chewing gum

chewing gum – what your beloved pet dog is doing when it is destroying your dentures.

What is sensation and sense data?

We often confuse sensation and perception.


From: Wikipedia.

Think of the camera obscura. There is nothing but light which is making the image on the wall. Or think of a video camera attached to a video screen. The camera captures the light external to it, turns it into data and turns that data in to the video image on the screen. It does not “think” about the image. It does not “have an opinion” of it. It simply reproduces it.

The eye does the same thing. It captures light eternal to it, turns it into data and reproduces that in your brain. Until then it does not “think” about the image. Thinking occurs after that data is received. That raw data is sensation. The processed data after reception is perception.

If you are still not convinced then this talk by Sheila Nirenberg about her research on the prothetic eye is an excellent real-world demonstration of what sensation and sense data is.

All track pads are equal. Some track pads are more equal than others.

A track pad is a track pad is a track pad. Not.

Take the Apple MacBook Pro 2015 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2018 – they both have touch or track pads. But on the MacBook pad is fixed. This might sound ridiculous and unusable but really it means that there are less moving parts and less likely to break. The workaround for this is an incredible haptic feedback system which taps back against your finger making it feel like some kind of movement. The illusion is simply quite amazing. The Surface Pro still uses a traditional traditional track pad. While it has become multitouch like most of today’s devices it still means it feels old. The verdict – MacBook‘s track pad is simply an experience. Unless one uses tries similar but different things one does not know the subtle differences between them. Direct experience is important, in every sense.

One reality

It would be nice if tomorrow I would woke up and a different US president was in the White House. But because there is one reality I have to be content and continue with it.

It would also be nice if I woke up tomorrow morning to find I am a world famous scholar with three important books on my resume. Again, that would not be the case. I must work for those. Sigh.

Perception colours reality

I am in no doubt that there is only one reality, and it exists with or without being perceived. For this reason perception colours reality rather than changes it. Different perceptions (not different realities) are the root cause of all misunderstandings.

Why I care about the new iPhones?

So Apple announced its new products today. Why do I care? Considering the amount of time I spend on my phone, the amount I use it for photography, productivity, entertainment, etc, it makes sense that I invest in it. It is the primary technology I use because if its usefulness. It is my main camera and Filofax. I blog from it more than I blog from my computer. I entertain myself with chess and watch live broadcasts from it. I reply to emails and messages from it because it is more convenient and efficient to do.

The new iPhone Xs and Xs Plus is nice but it isn’t worth a replacement for my X. The Xr however is worth it as a replacement for my wife’s old iPhone 6s, which was originally mine. It looks like Apple is moving towards to phase out Touch ID in favour of Face ID by not introducing iPhone 8s at this time.

While I can see that they will probably bring out the 8s later as their low end model (phasing out their iPhone 7), eventually they will do away with it also. Furthermore, people still love the Touch ID. It is a slick piece of security that had little fault. I liked the fact that multiple fingerprints of more than one person can be registered. I had access to my wife’s phone by registering mine. I couldn’t do that with Face ID, which allows only one face as ID.

Overall, the Xr is a good replacement/upgrade for the 8. Keeping the LED display, but upping the camera, security features, size and a new A12 Bionic chip (which is supposed to be much faster than the previous A11 Bionic chip in the X).

Is recycling in Japan a sham?

Screenshot 2018-09-11 14.47.33For all the trouble we go through separating plastics at home for recycling, where does it all go? This video will show you what is really happening to the plastic in Japan. A far cry from this post I wrote in 2006.


My 9-11

i woke to horrors others
had seen with their eyes
and i, only through
this tiny screen

but still
it was terrifying
to watch the heat &
the synchrony of it

that evening waiting
on a sydney pier
waiting for a friend
to arrive by jet plane

i watched this
faraway yet near
not dear skyline
in unnatural fear

5 reasons I choose not to talk about politics

I choose not to talk about politics because

  1. it generally does not change the outcome of elections, especially elsewhere
  2. it fuels so many unnecessary arguments
  3. I do not understand everything in politics (nor do I want to)
  4. I feel politicians never work for the benefit of the people … no matter what they say
  5. this is what The Buddha had meant by Right Speech
  6. [bonus reason] there are other more important things to worry about in this 13-billion-year-old universe with my less-than-hundred-year long lifespan.

Time to shut up. I have said too much about politics already.

When does a soul get created?

As a Buddhist, I do not believe in souls. Talk to most people – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and even Buddhists – and they talk as though something survives after death. Such is the power and attraction of the concept of the soul.

Out of curiosity, I asked an American Muslim when is the soul created. He said, “at the moment of conception”. And thereafter it remains either in Heaven or Hell (and also Purgatory if you are Roman Catholic). So the mystery, it seems to me, is that the eternal soul did not start off as eternal but was created out of the grace of God or gods (of which again in Buddhism are concepts).

The problem here is that we have no evidence for these, only that of the textual sources, and not any independent or direct proof of souls and gods as such. Apart from being told by someone else, namely the sacred texts and by those who believe in word of the sacred texts, there is no other proof. Buddhism’s claim that everything is impermanent can be verified by observation. While we cannot observe everything, the weight of non-contrary evidence is substantial. Inferential logic tells us that the soul is perhaps one of these “things” which stands counter to impermanence even though no one can show us any evidence for its existence.

This alone should sound off alarm bells in your head.

While I do not have a problem with the concept of the soul, I do have problem with the belief in the existence of a soul. But at the same time, it is normal to think and believe that such a thing exists. This is something humans do very well, and perhaps defines us from other animals. But it is also natural that some for the human species (Buddhists) to “see through” it, that is, to understand the nature of it.

So it is baffling that in this day and age, where our understanding of the natural physical world has progressed this far, to be still caught in the grips of such an illusion. Powerful indeed is this illusion, passed on from generation to generation through speech and action.

Souls are not created. The concept of a soul is. The concept is perpetuated by its continued reinforcement. The root is therefore in the nature of words and not in the nature of the thing.

The difference between a ‘k’ and ‘d’ in Ikea

I love Ikea (for all its faults).

It is frustrating that I cannot order online anything from Ikea. That I have to drive over 200km just to get to my nearest store is simply ridiculous in this day and age.

While I understand there is nothing like the experience of the walking through an Ikea store, it may also be impractical to get to for many.

This could only mean they do not want my business bad enough. They must be doing fine without my support. :P