Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Freeman Dyson's Three Answers


Freeman Dyson.jpg
The distinguished quantum physicist, who worked with Einstein at Princeton, tells Charles Nevin three things he's learnt ...
From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, January/February 2012
Freeman Dyson, 88, is a pioneer quantum physicist, pure mathematician, metaphysicist, beady examiner of such givens as global warming and tireless explorer of our future as bio-engineering space colonisers. A Fellow of the Royal Society for 60 years, he left Britain at the age of 23 because he believed “Americans held the future in their hands and that the smart thing for me to do would be to join them.” When he took up his post at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Einstein was still working there. Startling propositions and inconvenient arguments are the signature of this human neutrino, widely regarded as one of the Nobel Committee’s glaring omissions.
His father, Sir George Dyson, was a composer and director of the Royal College of Music. Freeman has six children, including George, a historian of science, who is about to publish a history of the digital age, and Esther, an internet analyst and entrepreneur dubbed “the first lady of cyberspace”.
I e-mailed to ask him: (1) why he remained hard at work; (2) what were his strengths and weaknesses now compared with earlier in his career; and (3) what advice would he give to those who have been working for (a) one year, and (b) 30 years? This was his reply, received the next day:
Thank you very much for your friendly invitation. I am delighted to share with Her Majesty the distinction of hanging on longer than expected. Here are brief answers to your questions.
1. I continue working because I agree with Sigmund Freud’s definition of mental health. To be healthy means to love and to work. Both activities are good for the soul, and one of them also helps to pay for the groceries.
2. In my younger days my work as a scientist was deep and narrow. Now, as I grow old, my work grows broader and shallower. As a young man, I solved technical problems of interest only to a few specialists. As an old man, I write books about human affairs of interest to a broad public. In both halves of my life, I tried to make the best use of my limited abilities.
3. (a). Advice to people at the beginning of their careers: do not imagine that you have to know everything before you can do anything. My own best work was done when I was most ignorant. Grab every opportunity to take responsibility and do things for which you are unqualified.
(b). Advice to people at the middle of their careers: do not be afraid to switch careers and try something new. As my friend the physicist Leo Szilard said (number nine in his list of ten commandments): “Do your work for six years; but in the seventh, go into solitude or among strangers, so that the memory of your friends does not hinder you from being what you have become.”
Now I look forward to reading what other survivors have to say. Thank you again for including me.  
Yours sincerely
Freeman Dyson
Charles Nevin is a freelance writer who spent 25 years on Fleet Street. He is the author of "The Book of Jacks"
Picture credit: Eyevine
Click here to find out more!

Female Beauty as a Weapon Against Women's Empowerment


Dear Friends,
                     Today, on Women's Day, I want to draw your attention to this strange paradox.This phenomenon has been understood by many feminists. In 1991, Naomi Wolf, the perceptive American writer, wrote the book, The Beauty Myth.By this time, American women had suffered a decade long plague of eating disorders thanks to the job requirement, none for the male employees, of looking beautiful and youthful.
                  The beauty myth is that there is an objective and universal quality of beauty,imperative for women but not for men.And it is a myth. But when women fall prey to such lies, they become tools in the hands of  vested interests telling them what to do,and what not to do.The horrific effects of this beauty propaganda is for all to see.The cosmetic surgery and beauty industry use fake science to sell pricey and useless products.The weight control cult has ballooned,affecting the growth of impressionable young girls.
                        Its time our women understood that there's a flourishing industry to keep them ignorant and frivolous so that they don't compete for the highest paying jobs, still dominated by men.It is for our young girls to firmly understand that they must go all out to develop themselves so as to build a wholesome generation rather than to be dedicated to their own beauty or to idle pleasures.
                          This battle remains to be fought. And this day let us remind ourselves of this responsibility, and the exhilarating possibilities that might open if half of the human race understand the sinister male propaganda against them.
 
Best regards,

Carrying the Torch of Tolerance, Appreciation and Love


 
"Attributes of the Match Bearer"
From Live Kryon Channelling July 2, 2011: Sacramento, CA 

I want to give you the truth, Match Bearer. If you're holding light, no darkness or dark energy is going to affect you. You're going to walk into that place, open the door, and do your work. And while you're there, you are saying: "Thank you, God, I have a job. Thank you, it's here for now, because wherever I go, I'm going to make a difference." 

Some say it's impossible to make a difference at work. They again say, "You don't know my work." Oh, how 3D of you! You don't know that the light you carry creates tolerance, appreciation and love? It creates the ability to share and listen with care. It changes the planet. 

Some of those around you may eventually come to you with their issues and their problems. You might sit and ask, "I wonder why they want to share it with me?" Perhaps it's because they intuitively see your light; maybe because they see your tolerance; maybe you're the only one who will listen to them, and in the process, you share love. 

In the process of them being next to you, you love them. And maybe it's the only love they're going to get that day or that week or that month or even that year, dear Match Bearer. 

~ KRYON, through Lee Carroll 

Best regards,

Change Begins With Us:Take Massive Action NOW


Subject: Happiness :)


There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
16. Meditate.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
18. Exercise.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.


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New Age Has Decided to go into Retirement


People all over the world are reacting with shock, disbelief and also relief at last week’s announcement that the New Age has decided to go into retirement.
“Was it something we did?” sobbed Rainbowchild Dewdrop Flower into her organic coconut milk chai, outside her tipi here in Nevada County, California. “Did we not chant fervently enough? Were our prayer flags not plentiful enough? Were our affirmations too predictable and clich├ęd?”
In fact, the New Age came of age in the late ’60s, and, just like many other baby boomers, is ready to collect Social Security and to retire to Key West, Florida. The New Age has just gotten old, that’s all. Ol’ New Age plans to live out the rest of its years hanging out in all-you-can-eat steak and shrimp bars, and drinking margaritas during Happy Hour. “I’ve been in this gig way too long, bro,” said New Age recently to a close confidante. “Heck, even my inner child is married with kids and a dog and shit now. I tell ya, I’ve eaten enough tofu and sprouts, and worn enough tie-dye for one life time. I deserve to live out the rest of my days in peace. Nah, forget peace. I’m ready to be loud and gross.”
So how does the announcement of New Age’s retirement affect the average recovering hippie, like you or me?
Here is a handy quick-tip guide to how last week’s announcement might affect your daily routine.
1. Moving forwards, “Howerya Doin,” “Aloha,” “ Wazzurp Dawg,” “How Do You Do?” and “Namaste” are all considered to be equally reverential means of greeting anybody.
2. If you’ve been living on a diet of brown rice, seaweed, Bragg’s Amino Acid and coconut water, the word’s out, you can relax now. New scientific studies reveal that even eating recycled cardboard can be good for your health, if you stop worrying, and eat what is in front of you with gratitude.
3. If you spent the last years trying to manifest “prosperity,” “abundance,” or “financial freedom,” the game plan has officially changed. More than 2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. So if you are a lucky dog, with a warm place to sleep, food to eat and friends around you, your next step is to think about how to help other people.
4. If you’ve been channeling Archangel Michael, the Pleiades, or Elvis, its time to cut it out. From
here forward your responsibility is simply to connect the words that come out of your mouth with the thoughts and feelings that are passing inside of you. Codeword: honesty. Known to lead to: intimacy.
5. If you spent the last several decades immersed in the traditions and religion of a culture other than the one into which you were born, its time to get back to our roots. For example, for many of us the Lord’s prayer, Psalm 23, or Shakespeare may be worth a revisit. If you are Jewish, call you mother.
6. If you’ve been collecting eagle feathers, owl feathers or rabbits feet, please return them immediately. Word on the street is that the eagles are getting chilly and pissed off.
7. If you are entertaining hopes of getting chummy with visitors on a UFO, fuggedaboutit. A recent survey of 1037 randomly selected aliens, conducted by Pew Research, asked who they would be most likely to visit, if wanting more contact with human beings. From the four multiple-choice options, 63% selected Nobel prize-winning scientists. 19% selected elected leaders of nations. 17% chose leaders of indigenous peoples. And 0.8% selected people holding hands and humming.
8. If you’ve developed a fondness for spending time with people of a “high vibration,” or have been avoiding people with “negative energy,” this will no longer be necessary. Your mission on earth will be accomplished here by paying close attention to whoever happens to be right in front of you.
9. If you’ve been collecting crystals or other sacred objects, you can expand your horizons. With the retirement of the New Age, any object whatsoever will become immediately sacred when you look at it with fresh eyes.
10. Most important. Listen up, people. If you’ve been participating in drumming circles after 10 PMwithin a mile of anyone trying to sleep, please stop. Please, please, I beg you please, stop. It’s 2 o’clock in the f**king morning, dude.
Of course everyone had a lot of unanswered questions about what comes next. We’ve got space just for a few of them here.
Question: Does this mean I can get a refund on my aura-balancing organic Chi enhancer, attuned to dolphin mating sounds?
Answer: No.
Question: So who is in fact the true Avataar come to save planet Earth?
Answer: You are. Splash some cold water on your face, and get busy.
Question: Now that the New Age is officially over, what is the next evolutionary step for humanity?
Answer: Sanity.

Why Your Enlightenment Matters

Dear  Avinash Sahay,

I've been talking a lot recently about the three core obstacles to our evolutionary progress.

This was the main focus of my recent online seminar, and I also emailed you a few days ago elaborating on one of them: the hardwiring of our evolutionary past. 

Today I'm writing to share another key piece of the puzzle that I've seen trip up many people on a spiritual or personal growth path. And, more importantly, what we can do to move beyond it.

In my recent Activating the Impulse of Evolution seminar, I suggested something that I hope is an exciting prospect for many of you (it certainly is for me). I proposed that dramatic and radical change IS possible for human beings. 

I explained how, with the right process and approach, we can clear even the most tenacious inner hurdles to become the human beings we want and need to be.

We can take that big of a leap.

I not only believe this. I've seen it. Profound, life-transforming spiritual liberation is accessible. It's not only possible in this lifetime, but is in fact well within reach for anyone of reasonably sound mind and stable character.

But there's an important ingredient needed to crack the old "code" so we can do it: motivation.  

Once we've become aware of the most essential roadblocks to personal and cultural change, where do we get the motivation to move beyond them?

One of the crucial reasons that radical evolution beyond ego doesn't happen, even for earnest seekers, is this:

For most of us, the context for our spiritual path is just too small. 

In a word, it's still about us--our own fulfillment, our own happiness, even our own enlightenment.

It's not that we're selfish people. Indeed, most spiritual seekers are among the most selfless people on the planet. 

The problem is that we've all been steeped in a contemporary spiritual subculture that sees the entire purpose of following a spiritual path as personal. It tells us that the reason for working on spiritual growth is so that we can live happier, more fulfilled, more peaceful lives.

Our own comfort and contentment seems like a reasonable enough goal. But as long as our own happiness is all we're seeking, we'll never awaken the depth of spiritual passion and conviction required to propel us into genuine evolution beyond ego.

That impetus only arises powerfully enough when we realize that the spiritual path is not about us, but rather is about participating in something far greater than ourselves.

To get a taste of what I'm talking about, imagine for a moment that the fate of the entire human race rested on your shoulders alone. That humanity's evolution out of brute self-interest depended entirely on your willingness to transform your consciousness.

What if you knew that the human race could advance past its smallness and negative conditioning --if you only became an exemplar of humanity's highest potential for the world?

Imagine that for you, evolving beyond ego became an evolutionary imperative.

Would you approach your path any differently? Would the energy you brought to your spiritual practice intensify? Would the quality of awareness and care with which you approached your interactions with others become more profound?

Would you find yourself reaching with inner muscles you didn't even know you had to actually stay awake to the depth you've tasted in your most profound spiritual moments?

If you knew it all rested on you, would you have any choice but to change?

The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi once said that the spiritual aspirant must want liberation like a drowning person wants air.

Why? Because the challenges of authentic spiritual growth and transformation are so great that most of us will choose to continue suffering in our smallness, rather than feel the pain of allowing that smallness to die forever.


But how many of us would stay there if we realized that it wasn't only our own suffering we were perpetuating? What if our petty indulgences were perpetuating the suffering of the entire human race?

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "That's a nice thought experiment. Sure, it makes me realize I could be more earnest on my path, but what does it really have to do with me? I'm no megalomaniac. I know that my growth and evolution alone isn't enough to liberate the human race."

And it's here that I would ask you to reconsider.

Modern science has in recent decades been verifying what the ancient traditions intuited long ago: that, in both tangible and mysterious ways, we are all interconnected. Any one of us can have a profound effect on the whole. 

Add to that the reality that we are evolving beings living in an evolving universe. We are all part of a grand, cosmic evolutionary process. Then the question of our obligation to the whole starts to cut close to the bone.

To reframe my earlier question: What if you realized that the entire human endeavor, the evolution of consciousness itself, depended on your willingness to evolve your own consciousness?

How would it affect the choices you make every day if you knew that in a very real sense, those choices were either contributing to the evolution of the whole--or holding it back?

At this time when it seems that our very future depends on our willingness to evolve as a species, would you have any choice but to act in alignment with the greatest evolutionary good?

The point I'm trying to make is that when we take a closer look at what spiritual work and growth is actually for, it quickly becomes clear that the path of awakening is not primarily about freeing ourselves from suffering or securing our own happiness.

Sure, that's a nice by-product. But, as long as that's all we're seeking, we probably won't get very far.

Where the spiritual path really begins to get interesting is when we recognize that transforming ourselves in the deepest possible way is in fact an evolutionary imperative, with profound consequences far beyond ourselves.

If we begin to embrace the fact that our lives are not simply our own to do with as we please--that in everything we do, we are in fact accountable to the Whole--something truly miraculous begins to happen.

Faced with the palpable responsibility to evolve for a greater good, we find that we suddenly have access to a seemingly infinite source of energy, intention, passion and courage to confront whatever challenges present themselves on our path.

What's more, all of the personal issues and problems--all of the fears and doubts and resistances that once seemed so insurmountable--begin to seem a lot less significant.

Why? Because our attention is now captivated by something much bigger than ourselves. 

This is the power of context. We see our individual concerns, the worries we fret over day to day, from a different vantage point. Held up against this larger picture and greater purpose, those concerns suddenly seem very small indeed.

Realizing "it's not all about me," and ignited by a noble calling to participate in the grand adventure of conscious evolution, we find we no longer even want to give those worries the time of day.

And in this freedom from self-concern, before long we discover that the deep inner peace and joy we were seeking all along has become the very ground we are walking on.

To get a taste of the liberating context I'm pointing to, try the following experiments:

1) Before you meditate or engage in any spiritual practice, take 10 minutes to reflect on the profound significance of your practice. Ask yourself:
    
-Why do I need to awaken for myself?
-Why do other people need me to awaken?
-Why does God/evolution/humanity (your choice) need me to awaken?

Allow yourself to feel deeply into the most authentic answer you can find. Then, invite that deeper answer to come forward as a clear and present intention to engage your spiritual practice wholeheartedly, as if the universe depended on it. And engage your practice from this deeper intention.

Notice how this exercise impacts the quality of your spiritual practice.

2) When you encounter a challenging and emotionally charged situation in your life, before you respond, take a few minutes to ask yourself:

-What is the most enlightened or evolved response I could have in this situation?

-Why is it important for my own evolution that I respond in the most enlightened, evolved way I can?

-Why does God/evolution/humanity (your choice) need me to respond in the most enlightened, evolved way I can?

Allow yourself to feel into the larger significance of your response to this challenging moment. Ground yourself in an intention to show up as an exemplar of humanity's potential. And then respond from this deeper intention.

Notice how this approach changes your perspective on the situation and your ability to meet it.

There is deep and powerful work that can be done to cultivate this perspective, to truly ground your life in this way of seeing--and even more importantly, acting.

If the possibility of participating in this adventure of conscious evolution inspires you, then I invite you to join me for a nine-week journey into an evolutionary relationship to life.

Our nine-week online course starts next Wednesday, April 10. In it, we'll engage a step-by-step process to awaken beyond our outdated, primitive "operating system" and learn how to live life as a liberated expression of the impulse of evolution.  

You can learn more and register at the link below:

To our evolution,

Craig Hamilton
Founder
Integral Enlightenment

Musings of Possibly the Wisest Genius Alive


Freeman Dyson

Both as a scientist and as a religious person, I am accustomed to living with uncertainty. Science is exciting because it is full of unsolved mysteries, and religion is exciting for the same reason. The greatest unsolved mysteries are the mysteries of our existence as conscious beings in a small corner of a vast universe.
Freeman John Dyson (born 15 December 1923) is an English-born American physicistmathematician, and futurist, famous for his work in quantum mechanics, nuclear weapons design and policy, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He was the winner of the Templeton Prize in the year 2000.

Contents

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[edit]Quotes

Dick Feynman told me about his "sum over histories" version of quantum mechanics... I said to him, "You're crazy." But he wasn't.
There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Scienceis a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions.
The progress of science requires the growth of understanding in both directions, downward from the whole to the parts and upward from the parts to the whole.
The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible.
  • I am acutely aware of the fact that the marriage between mathematics and physics, which was so enormously fruitful in past centuries, has recently ended in divorce.
    • Missed Opportunities (1972)
  • Thirty-one years ago [1949], Dick Feynman told me about his "sum over histories" version of quantum mechanics. "The electron does anything it likes," he said. "It just goes in any direction at any speed, forward or backward in time, however it likes, and then you add up the amplitudes and it gives you the wave-function." I said to him, "You're crazy." But he wasn't.
    • A statement made in 1980, as quoted in Quantum Reality : Beyond the New Physics (1987) byNick Herbert
  • I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it's there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.
  • As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.
  • The bottom line for mathematicians is that the architecture has to be right. In all the mathematics that I did, the essential point was to find the right architecture. It's like building a bridge. Once the main lines of the structure are right, then the details miraculously fit. The problem is the overall design.
    • "Freeman Dyson: Mathematician, Physicist, and Writer". Interview with Donald J. Albers, The College Mathematics Journal, vol 25, no. 1, (January 1994)
  • There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it.
    • "The Scientist as Rebel" in New York Review of Books (25 May 1995)
  • The progress of science requires the growth of understanding in both directions, downward from the whole to the parts and upward from the parts to the whole. A reductionist philosophy, arbitrarily proclaiming that the growth of understanding must go only in one direction, makes no scientific sense. Indeed, dogmatic philosophical beliefs of any kind have no place in science.
    • "The Scientist as Rebel" in New York Review of Books (25 May 1995)
  • The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible.
    • Imagined Worlds (1997)
  • In desperation I asked Fermi whether he was not impressed by the agreement between our calculated numbers and his measured numbers. He replied, "How many arbitrary parameters did you use for your calculations?" I thought for a moment about our cut-off procedures and said, "Four." He said, "I remember my friend Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk." With that, the conversation was over.
  • The biggest breakthrough in the next 50 years will be the discovery of extraterrestrial life.We have been searching for it for 50 years and found nothing. That proves life is rarer than we hoped, but does not prove that the universe is lifeless. We are only now developing the tools to make our searches efficient and far-reaching, as optical and radio detection and data processing move forward.
  • My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.
  • I believe global warming is grossly exaggerated as a problem. It's a real problem, but it's nothing like as serious as people are led to believe. The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm. It distracts people's attention from much more serious problems.
  • All the books that I have seen about the science and the economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. ... Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion.
    • The New York Review of Books (12 June 2008)

[edit]Disturbing the Universe (1979)

There is a great satisfaction in building good tools for other people to use.
  • There is a great satisfaction in building good tools for other people to use.
  • If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling in human lives.
  • It is characteristic of all deep human problems that they are not to be approached without some humor and some bewilderment.
  • A good cause can become bad if we fight for it with means that are indiscriminately murderous. A bad cause can become good if enough people fight for it in a spirit of comradeship and self-sacrifice. In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad.
  • A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.
  • The conservative has little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of passions. These are the wreckers of outworn empires.

[edit]Infinite in All Directions (1988)

Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages.
  • The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
  • God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.

[edit]Progress In Religion (2000)

To me, good works are more important than theology. We all know that religion has been historically, and still is today, a cause of great evil as well as great good in human affairs. … Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Progress In Religion : A Talk By Freeman Dyson; his acceptance speech for the Templeton Prize, Washington National Cathedral (9 May 2000)
We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability ofGod.
Perhaps I may claim as evidence for progress in religion the fact that we no longer burn heretics.
Our grey technology of machines and computers will not disappear, but green technology will be moving ahead even faster.
I have five minutes left to give you a message to take home. The message is simple. "God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world"
I am saying to modern scientists and theologians: don't imagine that our latest ideas about the Big Bang or the human genome have solved the mysteries of the universe or the mysteries of life.
To talk about the end of science is just as foolish as to talk about the end of religion. Science and religion are both still close to their beginnings, with no ends in sight.
The great question for our time is, how to make sure that the continuing scientific revolution brings benefits to everybody rather than widening the gap between rich and poor. To lift up poor countries, and poor people in rich countries, from poverty, to give them a chance of a decent life, technology is not enough. Technology must be guided and driven by ethics if it is to do more than provide new toys for the rich.
  • I am neither a saint nor a theologian. To me, good works are more important than theology. We all know that religion has been historically, and still is today, a cause of great evil as well as great good in human affairs. We have seen terrible wars and terrible persecutions conducted in the name of religion. We have also seen large numbers of people inspired by religion to lives of heroic virtue, bringing education and medical care to the poor, helping to abolish slavery and spread peace among nations. Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.
  • Religion will always remain a powerful force in the history of our species. To me, the meaning of progress in religion is simply this, that as we move from the past to the future the good works inspired by religion should more and more prevail over the evil.
  • One of the great but less famous heroes of World War Two was Andre Trocme, the Protestant pastor of the village of Le Chambon sur Lignon in France, which sheltered and saved the lives of five thousand Jews under the noses of the Gestapo. Forty years later Pierre Sauvage, one of the Jews who was saved, recorded the story of the village in a magnificent documentary film with the title, "Weapons of the Spirit". The villagers proved that civil disobedience and passive resistance could be effective weapons, even against Hitler. Their religion gave them the courage and the discipline to stand firm. Progress in religion means that, as time goes on, religion more and more takes the side of the victims against the oppressors.
  • Sharing the food is to me more important than arguing about beliefs. Jesus, according to the gospels, thought so too.
  • I am content to be one of the multitude of Christians who do not care much about the doctrine of the Trinity or the historical truth of the gospels. Both as a scientist and as a religious person, I am accustomed to living with uncertainty. Science is exciting because it is full of unsolved mysteries, and religion is exciting for the same reason. The greatest unsolved mysteries are the mysteries of our existence as conscious beings in a small corner of a vast universe.
  • My personal theology is described in the Gifford lectures that I gave at Aberdeen in Scotland in 1985, published under the title, Infinite In All Directions. Here is a brief summary of my thinking. The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is elementary physical processes, as we see them when we study atoms in the laboratory. The second level is our direct human experience of our own consciousness. The third level is the universe as a whole. Atoms in the laboratory are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics.It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe as a whole is also weird, with laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God. This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don't say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.
  • I do not claim any ability to read God's mind. I am sure of only one thing. When we look at the glory of stars and galaxies in the sky and the glory of forests and flowers in the living world around us, it is evident that God loves diversity. Perhaps the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity.
  • The principle of maximum diversity says that the laws of nature, and the initial conditions at the beginning of time, are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible. As a result, life is possible but not too easy. Maximum diversity often leads to maximum stress. In the end we survive, but only by the skin of our teeth. This is the confession of faith of a scientific heretic. Perhaps I may claim as evidence for progress in religion the fact that we no longer burn heretics.
  • All through our history, we have been changing the world with our technology. Our technology has been of two kinds, green and grey. Green technology is seeds and plants, gardens and vineyards and orchards, domesticated horses and cows and pigs, milk and cheese, leather and wool. Grey technology is bronze and steel, spears and guns, coal and oil and electricity, automobiles and airplanes and rockets, telephones and computers. Civilization began with green technology, with agriculture and animal-breeding, ten thousand years ago. Then, beginning about three thousand years ago, grey technology became dominant, with mining and metallurgy and machinery. For the last five hundred years, grey technology has been racing ahead and has given birth to the modern world of cities and factories and supermarkets.
    The dominance of grey technology is now coming to an end.
  • Our grey technology of machines and computers will not disappear, but green technology will be moving ahead even faster. Green technology can be cleaner, more flexible and less wasteful, than our existing chemical industries. A great variety of manufactured objects could be grown instead of made. Green technology could supply human needs with far less damage to the natural environment. And green technology could be a great equalizer, bringing wealth to the tropical areas of the world which have most of the sunshine, most of the human population, and most of the poverty. I am saying that green technology could do all these good things, bringing wealth to the tropics, bringing economic opportunity to the villages, narrowing the gap between rich and poor. I am not saying that green technology will do all these good things. "Could" is not the same as "will". To make these good things happen, we need not only the new technology but the political and economic conditions that will give people all over the world a chance to use it. To make these things happen, we need a powerful push from ethics. We need a consensus of public opinion around the world that the existing gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth are intolerable. In reaching such a consensus, religions must play an essential role. Neither technology alone nor religion alone is powerful enough to bring social justice to human societies, but technology and religion working together might do the job.
  • The gospel of St. Matthew told of the angry Jesus driving the merchants and money-changers out of the temple, knocking over the tables of the money-changers and spilling their coins on the floor. Jesus was not opposed to capitalism and the profit motive, so long as economic activities were carried on outside the temple. In the parable of the talents, he praises the servant who used his master's money to make a profitable investment, and condemns the servant who was too timid to invest. But he draws a clear line at the temple door. Inside the temple, the ground belongs to God and profit-making must stop.
  • In the time of Jesus and for many centuries afterwards, there was a free market in human bodies. The institution of slavery was based on the legal right of slave-owners to buy and sell their property in a free market. Only in the nineteenth century did the abolitionist movement, with Quakers and other religious believers in the lead, succeed in establishing the principle that the free market does not extend to human bodies. The human body is God's temple and not a commercial commodity. And now in the twenty-first century, for the sake of equity and human brotherhood, we must maintain the principle that the free market does not extend to human genes. Let us hope that we can reach a consensus on this question without fighting another civil war.
  • Like all the new technologies that have arisen from scientific knowledge, biotechnology is a tool that can be used either for good or for evil purposes. The role of ethics is to strengthen the good and avoid the evil.
  • Unfortunately a large number of people in many countries are strongly opposed to green technology, for reasons having little to do with the real dangers. It is important to treat the opponents with respect, to pay attention to their fears, to go gently into the new world of green technology so that neither human dignity nor religious conviction is violated. If we can go gently, we have a good chance of achieving within a hundred years the goals of ecological sustainability and social justice that green technology brings within our reach.
  • I have five minutes left to give you a message to take home. The message is simple. "God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world".This was said by Francis Bacon, one of the founding fathers of modern science, almost four hundred years ago. Bacon was the smartest man of his time, with the possible exception of William Shakespeare.
  • I am saying to modern scientists and theologians: don't imagine that our latest ideas about the Big Bang or the human genome have solved the mysteries of the universe or the mysteries of life. Here are Bacon's words again: "The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding". In the last four hundred years, science has fulfilled many of Bacon's dreams, but it still does not come close to capturing the full subtlety of nature.
  • To talk about the end of science is just as foolish as to talk about the end of religion. Science and religion are both still close to their beginnings, with no ends in sight. Science and religion are both destined to grow and change in the millennia that lie ahead of us, perhaps solving some old mysteries, certainly discovering new mysteries of which we yet have no inkling.
  • After sketching his program for the scientific revolution that he foresaw, Bacon ends his account with a prayer: "Humbly we pray that this mind may be steadfast in us, and that through these our hands, and the hands of others to whom thou shalt give the same spirit, thou wilt vouchsafe to endow the human family with new mercies". That is still a good prayer for all of us as we begin the twenty-first century.
  • Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.
  • Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.
  • In the little town of Princeton where I live, we have more than twenty churches and at least one synagogue, providing different forms of worship and belief for different kinds of people. They do more than any other organizations in the town to hold the community together. Within this community of people, held together by religious traditions of human brotherhood and sharing of burdens, a smaller community of professional scientists also flourishes.
  • The great question for our time is, how to make sure that the continuing scientific revolution brings benefits to everybody rather than widening the gap between rich and poor. To lift up poor countries, and poor people in rich countries, from poverty, to give them a chance of a decent life, technology is not enough. Technology must be guided and driven by ethics if it is to do more than provide new toys for the rich.
  • Scientists and business leaders who care about social justice should join forces with environmental and religious organizations to give political clout to ethics. Science and religion should work together to abolish the gross inequalities that prevail in the modern world. That is my vision, and it is the same vision that inspired Francis Bacon four hundred years ago, when he prayed that through science God would "endow the human family with new mercies".

[edit]Quotes about Dyson

  • You'll have received an application from Mr Freeman Dyson to come to work with you as a graduate student. I hope that you will accept him. Although he is only 23 he is in my view the best mathematician in England.
  • Mr Dyson is absolutely unusual in his ability and accomplishments. I can say without reservation that he is the best I have ever had or observed.

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Best regards,
Avinash
http://poshaning.blogspot.com/