Array (  => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 8802 [post_author] => 3589 [post_date] => 2014-01-01 05:31:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-01-01 05:31:17 [post_content] => Sitting in his home office nestled in a redwood forest above the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he’s taught mathematics since 1968, chaos theorist Ralph Abraham expresses concern about our connection. It’s not that we’ve never met; he’s just not confident that Ooma is reliable out in the woods. “Nothing works better than a land line,” he says, though he’s dumped it in order to save money. “And I love Skype, but I have never-ending problems using it.” Surprising, since he’s a techie from way back, even writing The Web Empowerment Book, How to Get Started on the Worldwide Web in 1995 (with Frank Jas and the late Will Russell). He’s also addressed The Cybersphere as a Complex Dynamical System and has his own YouTube and Vimeo channels. In fact, Abraham believes it was the computer revolution that allowed both chaos theory and the closely-related field of fractal geometry (pioneered by the late IBM research scientist Benoit Mandelbrot) to develop. While chaos theory suggests there is order in randomness and vice versa, fractal geometry governs the behavior of natural phenomena, from coastlines to newborn babies’ cries to brain waves. “The computer extends our intellect, which helps us create the future,” states Abraham, an avowed Mac man. “It offers a door to perceiving complex space-time realities.” And over the past 55 years, the mathematical pioneer has at times altered both his perception and his space-time reality in order to bring forth the ‘chaos revolution’ he thinks is “at least as big a deal as the wheel.” Still, he admits that though physics now depends almost entirely on it, chaos theory is a leap, whether you’re a layperson or a mathematics professor. And though the discipline has a more formal name—dynamical systems theory (dynamics for short)—he feels ‘chaos theory’ is a good popular description. For those interested in a good primer, Abraham, who has been at the forefront of the field since 1958, says science journalist James Gleick did ‘a fairly good job’ with his book, Chaos. Abraham is himself a prolific author: he’s penned 12 books, with translations in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Czech. Among the works are math texts, including The Geometry of Behavior with Christopher Shaw, and philosophical books such as Chaos, Gaia, Eros, and Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness (with cutting-edge scientist Rupert Sheldrake and the late Terence McKenna, known to some as “Mr. Mushroom”). Which brings up the psychedelic question. At 77, Ralph Abraham still lectures and leads seminars worldwide and is unabashed about touting the benefits of psychedelic drugs, with which he experimented early in his career. “I feel I owe everything to psychedelics. They provided an opening. There were people who suggested I try meditation or other paths to enlightenment. I think that could have worked, but it would have taken much longer and the effect would have been different. I took the accelerated route.” In a field where talent peaks at a young age, there was ‘a communion’ between hippies and top mathematicians in the 1960’s—Abraham is sure of this because, as he told journalist Walter Kirn in a 1991 interview for GQ magazine, he was a purveyor of psychedelics to the mathematical community. “Today when we say the word drugs, it brings up bad drugs, those that are highly addictive and take away people’s health, like meth and crack cocaine and heroin. Psychedelic drugs are not bad; in my view they’ve had an extremely positive effect.” (Abraham is featured in the 2010 documentary, DMT: the Spirit Molecule, discussing his experiments with psilocybin, LSD, and DMT.) Still, back in the day, he kept his interest in psychedelics fairly quiet. “My friends all knew, but I didn’t speak in public about the benefits of these things.” Benefits or not, he doesn’t do drugs anymore. Hasn’t for many years. “I stopped after five or six years because I became convinced I’d had enormous benefit and couldn’t expect more. If I was going to realize the benefit I’d gained in appreciating the Universe, going forward without drugs would give me a better chance to materialize what I’d already learned.” Having earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1960, Abraham has held positions at Berkeley, Columbia, and Princeton in addition to his longstanding appointment at UC Santa Cruz. He has also held visiting positions in Amsterdam, Paris, Warwick, Barcelona, Basel, and Florence. Turning to the subject of history, in which he declares an amateur interest, the math professor notes the relationship between language, music, and dance in the development in consciousness in early hominids. In 1975 he founded the Visual Mathematics Project at UC Santa Cruz, which became the Visual Math Institute (www.vismath.org which has been extremely popular since its inception in 1994), and in 1985 Abraham helped create the MIMI (Mathematically Illuminated Musical Instrument). Since 1992 he has staged performances in which mathematics, visual arts and music are combined into a single presentation. After a ten-year lull (Kepler’s “Music of the Spheres” was performed in 2003 at the San Francisco Art Institute), a project he’s been working on for the past few years “is approaching culmination,” and involves the presentation of computer graphic images derived from chaos theory fractals. Though very attached to MIMI, Abraham admits an affinity for his favorite conventional instrument, the pipe organ. Raised by Jewish parents, Ralph Herman Abraham (the middle name is after his uncle) also enjoys cooking, skiing, and learning Japanese. He grew up ‘anti-religious’ and, though a trip to India ignited a belief in the Sacred, he’s remained anti-dogmatic. “Since birth I’ve been agnostic; I think it’s wonderful that life is an open book—we don’t know what’s coming on the next page.” Citing the obvious—there’s so much trouble in what people believe—Abraham goes on to say that religion and mathematics were born simultaneously in the late Paleolithic period, about 50,000 years ago. And he ties it in to the present-day belief in science as a religion. “From my earliest days in mathematics I’ve repeatedly encountered scientists who believe in a dogma; they have confidence in a mathematical model about which they know very little.” It’s the predictability piece of mathematical modeling that irks him. “Most of the models improve your understanding, but they can’t predict outcomes,” he insists. “Magazines like Time, The Economist, etc., publish articles declaring that by using various computer modeling we can predict this or that… people who know about chaos theory know that you can’t predict outcomes.” Take climate change or the global economy, for instance. Abraham points out that both are dynamical systems with lots of actors conducting innumerable transactions and that; “Conservatives don’t want too many things changed. Progressives (whom Abraham describes as people who believe in science) on the other hand want to take the carbon dioxide out of the oceans. We actually don’t know what some of these drastic geo-engineering projects will do.” ‘The dripping faucet’ has become a popular way to describe chaos theory since, as Abraham points out, “lectures are usually given in a physics hall and they always seem to have sinks and faucets in the front.” When you crack the tap a little bit, the water drips out very regularly. If you crack the tap a bit more, the drips speed up, but are still regular. When you crack it a little more, they sound irregular, like rain dripping off a roof. “If you measure the time between drops and make a list of these numbers,” explains Abraham, “you have the paradigmatic example of a chaotic time series.” Using a method of observation now known as ‘chaoscopy,’ another leader in the field, Rob Shaw, carried out an experiment on the dripping faucet; results provided proof of the hidden order within the seeming randomness. Chaos theory computer modeling has been extensively used in all aspects of medical and psychological science for nearly a century, and the conclusion is that some chaos is good for us. Physicians now know we shouldn’t have too regular a heartbeat, for example, and that our emotional palette should contain a healthy spectrum of nuanced ‘colors.’ But what about schizophrenia, inherited diseases, and altered DNA—or cancer—wouldn’t that be brain waves or cells running amuck, behaving chaotically? Well, yes, says Abraham, but there’s more to it. “They’re wandering off the path, changing the rules of behavior. A dynamical system has rules and the behavior of a system varies a lot, but the rules don’t. If suddenly the change is dramatic or catastrophic, it constitutes a bifurcation.” While bifurcations can be positive (the whole idea of a ‘chaos revolution’ is based on such a change), often they express negative tendencies. War, the decline of the gross national product and the spread of AIDS all express dissonance, which, according to Abraham, is a lack of mathematical understanding, And in the world of R2Abraham (his blog handle), mathematical understanding can solve pretty much everything. He’s well ahead of the curve when it comes to the current emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Decades ago he, along with cultural historian William Irwin Thompson, designed the curriculum for the Ross School in East Hampton, New York, where students work both locally and globally as active partners in problem solving, gaining experience as scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. “Ross School is an experiment in changing the educational system; it has been wildly successful in one school. The American educational system as a whole is conservative; its job may to be maintain stability.” In Abraham’s view, U.S. schools are not bad in general, but they are bad in mathematics. “They destroy people’s native mathematical capability,” he states emphatically. “An emotional allergy is developed. The mention of math can cause anxiety even among physicists with Nobel prizes.” This distresses him, since he feels that mathematical knowledge is part of our human heritage, something akin to learning to walk. Thompson and Abraham posit five mathematical mentalities: aRithmetic, Geometric, Algebraic, Dynamical, and Xaotic, which they refer to as RGADX. Bolts from the Blue (2010) details their graphical, historical, and integral approach to math. “We advocate teaching geometry before algebra,” writes Thompson in the book’s introduction. “This conforms to historical order, as G precedes A in RGADX. In the history of mathematics, Babylonian geometry evolved into Greek geometric algebra, an essential prerequisite for the Islamic development of rhetorical algebra. Breaking this sequence may be a major cause for math anxiety in our schools.” While we often equate chaos with upheaval, many consider it the birthplace of order. “Creation came out of chaos, and the word in ancient times meant a gaping void between Heaven and Earth from which form emerged,” writes Abraham in Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness. He says the word chaos first appeared in Greece around 800 BC. Orpheus’ Theogony depicted the creation of the gods: the three main deities were Chaos, Gaia, and Eros, understood as abstract principles. Chaos was associated with the Sky, Gaia with the Earth, and Eros with Spirit. Throughout history there have been ‘chaos societies’ based around a model of partnership rather than of patriarchy. Abraham goes so far as to suggest that mathematical models can provide strategies to escape from an arms race, since working with models increases our understanding of subtle connections. He hopes we may soon be able to map and manipulate social, cultural, economic, and geographical parameters that will help anticipate and mediate international conflict. “Nations are complex dynamical systems,” he states. “The G8 players are connected by communications, trade, migration, and emigration links. The global network might not be disturbed if a couple of nations change, but when you have a change in the strength of links in the network, mathematics can’t predict what will ensue. With sanctions on Iran, major intelligence in the links constantly changing, Syria could throw the entire region. People are afraid it’s going to throw it into chaos—the upheaval kind of chaos.” But Ralph Abraham is a hopeful guy, and it’s his voice that resonates with optimism in the trialogues with Sheldrake and McKenna, interdisciplinary discussions of chaos, creativity, and cosmic consciousness held at the Esalen retreat in northern California over a period of years (resulting in the publication of Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness). The idea of trialogues (rather than dialogues) introduces ‘the third thing,’ a chaos concept that intercepts the polarity created between just two points of view. The talks for a while focused on the Apocalypse of 2012. While McKenna was obsessed with that, “Rupert and I were skeptical,” says Abraham. “In early January of 2013 we would have had a great discussion. We had convinced him a major cultural transformation didn’t have to involve disaster.” Though Abraham thinks civilization has “jumped the track” and gone into a negative, non-chaotic trajectory (“new manifestations of evil have sprung out, particularly the role of the evil drugs and their use by government agencies to control populations. The global terrorism network is another example”), he still thinks it’s possible to raise the frequency, to lighten the dark, through prayer. “I’d like to see a resurgence of magic. We need to connect the star magic of the Stonehenges and astrology, for example, with the progress of daily life and political events.” Starting, perhaps, with a third political party in the U.S.? For more, including online lectures and concert videos, visit RalphAbraham.org. [post_title] => The Blessings of Chaos [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-blessings-of-chaos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-09 05:38:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-09 05:38:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/?p=8802 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 8788 [post_author] => 3589 [post_date] => 2014-01-01 05:21:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-01-01 05:21:31 [post_content] => Many authors have attempted to identify and locate the legendary Tower of Babel in Sumer, in modern Iraq. However, with all due respect to their tireless research efforts, a location in Mesopotamia for this legendary pyramid is not the only conclusion that we can draw from the meager information available to us. And the obvious alternative location can be gleaned from some of the opening verses in the Book of Genesis, which say: And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four branches (Gen 2:10). Now there is only one river in this region that passes through a garden and then divides into four branches, and that is the Nile, which runs through the valley oasis of Egypt before branching out at the Delta. And while the Nile may only have two branches nowadays, it did have four in antiquity. Readers, however, might exclaim that the Torah specifically names the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, so this cannot be so. But of course the Torah does not actually mention these famous rivers at all; in Hebrew, it mentions the Chiddeqel and the Parath. But is the Chiddaqel the Tigris and the Parath the Euphrates? Some of the biblical references do not readily support that argument and point more towards Egypt. Besides, if we turn to Josephus Flavius’ record of this Genesis account, we see that the actual names and locations of the rivers of Eden had been lost to us by this time. Josephus says of Eden: Now the garden was watered by one river, which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into four branches (Antiquities 1:1:3). The four branches mentioned here are then identified by Josephus as being the: Ganges, Euphrates, Tigris, and the Nile. Now that is some garden! Clearly, by the time Josephus was writing his version of the Old Testament, the name and location of these rivers had been corrupted or lost. And yet Josephus was copying from a much older version of the Torah/Tanakh than the classical Old Testament in use today. Josephus was using the Torah that had been taken from the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 70, which dated from the time of the Babylonian exile. Yet even this early version of the Torah appears to have been confused as to where the four branches of the Eden River lay. But if the names of the branches had been garbled by the sixth century BC, the description of the layout of this river might well be more reliable—it was a long river running through a garden that had four branches. So let’s run with that idea and see where it takes us. The possibility exists, therefore, that the Book of Genesis was referring to Egypt and to the Nile, and not to Mesopotamia at all. But this is a suggestion that opens some further interesting possibilities, like the precise location and meaning for the Garden of Eden. The prospect, however, of finding a comprehensive explanation and location for Eden and its integral Adam-and-Eve story once seemed impossible, as the narrative and genealogies from this early part of the Bible appear too fragmented and confusing to provide a verifiable history. However, if Eden was in Egypt, and if Eden contained a famous garden and a famous first lady and first man, then there may well be a good explanation for this story, and a comparable description of it in the historical record. So what did the term ‘Eden’ refer to? Firstly we should note that the Aramaic ayin can be transliterated into English as either an ‘e’ or an ‘a,’ so the name Eden could easily be read as an Aden. If the Garden of Eden was in Egypt then we may well have a direct Egyptian counterpart of it, for we know that there was a Garden of Aden (Aten) located in Middle Egypt. That garden was created by Pharaoh Akhenaton for his god, the Aton. There is a further similarity here, for the name for the Aton can also be spelled as Adon. (The god Aton or Aten is spelled as Aden in The Book of Precepts of Amenemapt, the son of Kanekht) In addition, the god Aton was spelled with the reed glyph, which is the Egyptian equivalent of the Hebrew ayin, so the god Aton could equally be pronounced as Iten or Eten (and as Iden or Eden). The similarity here begins to look interesting. Furthermore, if we spell the name of the Egyptian Aton or Adon with an aleph instead of an ayin, then we might well derive a word like Adon, which just happens to be one of the many names for the Israelite god (in Joshua 3:11 and Psalms 12:4, among many other verses). So we can be fairly certain that one of the many guises of the Israelite god had an Egyptian character; which should not be very surprising to readers, since that is from where the Israelites came. The Israelites were from Egypt, not Babylon, so any absorption of language and creed by the Israelites would have naturally had an Egyptian flavor. Since the Israelites are reputed to have left Egypt on their Exodus just after the Amarna era of Pharaoh Akhenaton, and since the Israelites were among the first monotheists just like Pharaoh Akhenaton, perhaps we can confidently surmise that they had picked up some Atonist influences while in Egypt—including one of the many names for their supposedly singular god. Garden, East of Eden However, if the biblical Eden (Aden) was connected with Akhenaton’s god Aten (Aden or Eden), the possibility exists that the concept of a Garden of Eden was based upon Akhenaton’s Garden of Aten (Eten), the sumptuous paradise-garden (paradise: meaning ‘a walled garden’) dedicated to the god Aten at Amarna. So when Josephus says that Eden lay to the east he was correct, for Amarna and its Garden of Eden (Aten) did indeed reside on the east bank of the Nile. It would seem that the information in these ancient records is often correct; you just have to be very careful about how you read it. However, this is not simply an assumption in isolation, for this interpretation gives us a strong similarity with the accounts of Manetho, the third century BC Egyptian historian. Manetho said of a similar location that: The king... assembled all those in Egypt whose bodies were wasted by disease: they numbered 80,000 persons. These he cast into the stone-quarries to the east of the Nile, there to work segregated from the rest of the Egyptians. Among them, Manetho adds, there were some of the learned priests, who had been attacked by leprosy (Manetho Fr 54). Again, we need to read this paragraph critically and laterally, for Manetho did not want to directly record who these people really were. In reality, the maimed priests and lepers were the despised Atonists of Pharaoh Akhenaton—the heretic pharaoh—and they were being exiled to a barren location in Middle Egypt now known as Amarna. Manetho describes this location as being “stone-quarries to the east of the Nile,” because Amarna was on the east bank of the Nile, and it would indeed have resembled a stone quarry at this early stage in its construction. What we appear to have here are multiple similarities between Adam’s Garden of Eden and Akhenaton’s Garden of Aden. If all of this is so, it might give us a very different view of the Genesis narrative. Was this really a creation epic, or was it something completely different? Was it a hymn, for example, to be sung at the dawn of each new day. When looked at in this light, it suddenly becomes clear that the Genesis ‘creation epic’ is actually the same as Akhenaton’s Hymn to the Aten, his glorious celebration of the dawn of a new day. In which case, it is likely that the Hymn to the Aten was sung to greet the dawn—the beginning of each new day—and this concept has been confused in a later era with the beginning of all creation. Thus when god was supposed to be creating birds and allowing them to fly, the birds were actually waking from their sleep and greeting the Sun-god Aten, just as the Hymn to the Aten relates. Indeed, the birds were doing this in the Garden of Eden (the Garden of Aten) at Amarna. Adam and Eve So if the Garden of Eden was located at Amarna, then what of Adam and Eve? The first thing to note is that Adam and Eve were the first man and first woman. But then so too were Akhenaton and Nefertiti. Just as the American president and his wife are the first man and the first lady, so too were Akhenaton and Nefertiti. So the Genesis description of them was not wrong—just deliberately confusing. Note also that Adam and Eve were famed for being innocently naked in their idyllic Garden; but when they were eventually banished from this Garden they became embarrassed by their nakedness and were forced to cover up. This, I believe, is another allusion to the famous royal couple from Amarna. Yes, Akhenaton and Nefertiti did indeed float through their beautiful palaces at Amarna in a state of near nakedness, and scene after scene portrays the royal couple in either see-though diaphanous robes or being completely naked. And this probably did cause a bit of a stir in the Egyptian ‘media’—the gossiping in the market squares. Think what a media storm would erupt today, if Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were photographed strolling naked through the gardens at Buckingham Palace! However, when Amarna was destroyed and the royal couple was forced to flee from Amarna (there is no evidence for their deaths there), they would have been forced out into the big wide world of sailors, artisans, and farmers. Their usual nakedness, which seemed so respectable and befitting within the confines of the royal court at Amarna, would have looked positively indecent in a rural village or town. There was nothing else to do, except cover up! Tower of Babel The topic that inspired this article was actually the Tower of Babel, not the Genesis story, so how does this novel information affect the famous tower of many languages? Well, the story thus far is one with a distinctly Egyptian flavor, so if we travel with the descendants of Adam and Eve (Akhenaton and Nefertiti) northward from Amarna, we arrive at the land of Shiniar, the ‘land of two rivers’ where the Tower of Babel was built. Well, perhaps, but I rather think that the location they arrived at was actually Shiniyr, the land of the ‘mountain of snow.’ And where is the Mountain of Snow, where a great ‘tower’ was to be built? It is at Giza, of course. Remember that the Great and Second pyramids were originally covered in pure white limestone, so they would indeed have looked like two, snow-covered peaks standing on the Giza plateau. So it is likely that the Tower of Babel (the Migdal Babel) was one of the pyramids on the Giza plateau. But if that is so, then what does Migdal Babel mean? The first thing to note is that migdal is an Egyptian word that is pronounced as maktal meaning ‘tower’. Then we come to the Aramaic babel, which is said to mean ‘confusion’ or ‘scatter,’ much as the biblical story relates. But anyone who has studied Egyptology would instantly know that the Egyptian word berber refers to a pyramid rather than a tower, just as its determinative hieroglyph demonstrates. Furthermore the ‘r’ to ‘l’ transliteration, that is so common when transposing from Egyptian to Aramaic, would render this word as belbel in the Torah, just as the Egyptian maktar was eventually rendered as maktal. And this Egyptian-to-Aramaic translation is further confirmed by the similar Egyptian and Coptic word berber (belbel) meaning ‘expel’, which is exactly what happened to the people of Shiniyr. What we have here is a complete and comprehensive explanation for the meaning and location of the Tower of Babel. In reality the Genesis epic was an Egyptian story and history, and not something derived from Babylon—a region that the Israelites did not get to until the sixth century BC. The famous Tower of Babel was located in Shiniyr, the land of the snow-white pyramids, which is known today as the Giza plateau, and the Migdal Babel is now called the Great Pyramid. And this is not the end of this fascinating story, of course, because the history of the Migdal continues right up into the first century and the equally momentous epic of the New Testament. And there, in Judaea, a much later vestal virgin priestess of the pyramids became almost as famous as the tower she was named after—Mary Migdalene, the blonde Princess of the Tower.... Ralph Ellis has asserted his rights, in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of this work. Ellis is also the author of Eden in Egypt, and Mary Magdalene, Princess of Orange. Both are available on iPad, Kindle and Nook. [post_title] => The Garden of Eden in Egypt? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-garden-of-eden-in-egypt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-09 05:24:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-09 05:24:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/?p=8788 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
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