This is my 501st article in the Renaissance Universal blog. Before this one I have published 492 (dated) posts and 8 (undated) pages here. I have another blog for my Turkish readers (98 posts and 10 pages so far). The title of my Turkish blog Akıldan Kalbe means “The Path from the Intellect to the Heart.” I don’t talk about physics there. I don’t discuss much philosophy either. The theme of the Akıldan Kalbe blog is Divine Love. The Renaissance Universal blog, on the other hand, is very eclectic. In the beginning, spiritual philosophy was the dominant theme here but later I have written many physics related articles. This blog will never be limited to just a few themes. I will do my best to earn the Renaissance Universal title for this blog by exploring a broad range of subjects (see the index)
I started writing on the Google-Knol platform in 2008. Google discontinued the Knol platform in 2012. To address a different audience, I started writing at the OpenSalon in 2010. When I stopped being active at the OpenSalon because of their never-ending technical problems they deleted all my writings. OpenSalon was shut-down in 2015. Starting in 2011, I slowly moved all my writing to the WordPress platform.
I was a physicist at FERMILAB and SSC (Superconducting Super Collider) specializing in accelerator/beam physics. I was introduced to the “world wide web” in 1992. At that time the web contained only few pages related to physics and I had little interest in writing. When the United States government canceled the SSC project I quit professional physics in 1994. Since then I have been employed outside of science.
I do not benefit from this blog in any material way. On the contrary, my career and family relations are negatively impacted. Why do I write then? What is my motivation?
Simplistic answer to any “why” question
Simple answer to any “why” question on existence is “God.” Simple answer to any “why” question on behavior is “ego.” These simple answers are vacuous. Attributing the cause of any phenomenon to “God” is not a really an explanation. Similarly, attributing the cause of any behavior to “ego” is not an explanation either. There is no question about the reality of God and ego. God is real. Ego is real. I am talking about the explanation part. You have to explain how ego does what it does.
The simple answer might be that I write because my ego wants recognition. This explanation would be too simplistic.
First subtlety to consider is that “Suresh Emre” is my pen name. As “Suresh Emre” there would be no practical benefits from recognition. But, it is also true that ego is very crafty therefore it would still find ways to enjoy “recognition” even behind a pen name.
Many phenomena in nature are path dependent. This is also commonly observed in the life of societies. We know from personal experience that human psychology is very path dependent as well. Natural world evolves, human societies evolve, human beings evolve too. You have to explain the evolution process to explain the individual behavior.
I am not going to tell my life’s story. I just want to explain how this blog evolved.
Sudden interest in writing
I have started writing articles after my father passed away in 2008. Watching my father die from cancer was the most painful experience in my life. I was with him in his last days. He could not speak, but his eyes spoke volumes. After my father died, I became very ill. I felt like I was dying. I had many physical ailments including panic attacks. Doctors told me that this happens to some people during the grieving period. My illnesses lasted for one year and slowly tapered off in the second year. During those horrible years I felt a strong urge to write down my thoughts on physics, philosophy, metaphysics and spirituality.
The death of a loved one, especially a mother or father forces us to review our own life and reevaluate everything. My father’s death reminded me that I didn’t want my life to be wasted. I felt that writing, in some small way, would help me with that feeling. I know that the real purpose of life is spiritual development. Our lives are not wasted if there is even a small degree of spiritual progress. As I wrote, my intuition developed more. The process of writing became a spiritual practice for me. As I wrote about devotion and Divine Love I experienced glimpses of Divine Love. As I wrote about spiritual philosophy my understanding increased. Each writing session felt like a meditation. There were times I felt a profound silence when I wrote.
In the beginning, writing was indeed a spiritual practice for me.
I thought I was writing a book
I considered my writings on the Google-Knol and OpenSalon platforms as preparation for book writing. At some point I made progress towards collecting my spiritual philosophy articles into a book but I could not bring that effort into completion. I also made half-hearted efforts in writing books with various titles on metaphysics of physics but I could not complete those projects either. I always mention the lack of time as an excuse but my problem is bigger.
I once asked my son for feedback regarding book projects. He said my books would be “vaporware” which means that they would become irrelevant in a short time after publication. I think about this a lot. This indicates that I care deeply about long term relevance. This also indicates a big ego.
Ego is the main driver in all human activities, of course, but in writing, ego plays a bigger role. I don’t want my writing to inflate my ego. Book writing would do that. Even blog writing inflates ego.
On the other hand, even sages who have totally surrendered their egos to God and filled with Grace have written books. So, writing can’t be all bad. But, clearly there are dangers for those of us who are still working on spiritual surrender. Writing can easily inject energy into the hidden dimensions of ego.
I have led an ego-centered life even though I was actively trying to be spiritual. What an irony! How is that possible? Well…if you do not actively strive to find opportunities to do service then you get swallowed by the mundane. You get caught up in selfish pursuits and before you know it you will be in your fifties.
My spiritual lessons in this lifetime seem to be centered around ego. I have lived an eventful life. I have experienced many trials and tribulations in family and job situations. There were numerous defeats and failures. Some of those experiences were very hard on my ego. But, I survived the ego-crushing experiences and – perhaps because of them – made progress towards finding my way home.
When I was introduced to the teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti and started practicing his meditation techniques at the age of 20, I never thought about ego or ego training. Back then I had an intellectual conception of spirituality and it did not even occur to me that ego training would be part of the spiritual practice. This is odd because I grew up in Anatolia. Sufism is very pervasive in the culture of Anatolia and in Sufism there is much emphasis on ego training. It is very odd that I did not get the most important notion of Sufism while growing up in Anatolia.
I have been absorbing Shrii Shrii Anandamurti‘s teachings for more than 35 years now. Like all spiritual teachers, he talked about ego but he talked about so many other subjects as well. He wanted us to excel in everything we do and transform society for the better. Obviously this can only be done with the cooperation of the ego. Whether it is scientific work or social service, or even writing poetry, the work is done by the ego. The secret Shrii Shrii Anandamurti taught us was that we should not be attached to the results of our actions. This is an ancient teaching. Do good work and excel in everything you do but let go of the pride. Do not expect rewards for good work. If you receive rewards, always remind your ego that the inspiration came from God. This is how I think of my writing as well.
More on initial motivations
I expressed my thoughts and feelings about meditation in the article titled “Spiritual quantum jump.” To compensate for my lack of achievement in meditation I focused on developing my devotional feelings for God and dealing with my ego. I thought that expressing my devotional feelings would inspire other people. This was a very strong motivation in the beginning.
Not all scientists are atheists
There was a campaign in the media to paint all scientists as atheists. Some of the atheist scientists were working very hard to create this impression. I knew that there were many scientists who believed in God but where were they? Why were they so quiet? How come they were not writing books and articles? I thought public should hear from the theistic scientists. I wanted to be a voice for them.
Most scientists are agnostics. When it comes to difficult questions like “What is soul?” they simply say they don’t know. This is not atheism. This is agnosticism.
There are also many deists among the scientists. Deists believe that God is not interfering in the affairs of the universe. I am not a deist. I believe that God is showering us with infinite love and God is certainly involved in the affairs of the universe. There are many scientists like me. They have been forming their personal religions and they don’t believe in organized religions anymore. It is wrong to label these scientists as atheists. Not believing in a religious dogma does not make you an atheist.
I feel that it is my duty to provide tutorial pieces in this blog. If you examine the content here you would recognize that almost half of the posts are either tutorials or informative pieces. The other half are spiritual philosophy, metaphysics, and opinion pieces. I will continue in this fashion. You may see more tutorials in probability, statistics and machine learning in the future.
Why I don’t write about spirituality anymore
I don’t write about spirituality as much as I used to. The reason is that there are so many spiritual blog sites and so many spiritual poets out there that I feel I should focus on the areas that few people are writing about, namely the intersection of science and spiritual philosophy.
Getting serious about physics
There are phases in the development of fundamental physics. In certain periods the experimental findings lead the way and the theory comes later. For example, the theory of electromagnetism was really the generalization and quantification of all the experimental findings. In other times the theory leads. Relativity and quantum theories were not just the generalization and quantification of all the known facts. These theories were based on certain principles that came from human intuition. Experiments confirmed the predictions of these theories much later.
Now, we are in a different phase. No single theory can explain all the experimental findings. We have a theory known as the Standard Model but it has too many free parameters. The theory desperately needs new ideas.
Particle physics experiments have reached the technological limits. An order of magnitude improvement in the collision energy of particle beams will take decades to achieve. Astrophysical findings are helping but they will never take the place of direct particle creation experiments.
In my opinion, the crisis in theoretical physics makes it necessary to be bolder. We need physicists to champion the “foundations first” approach. This is the time to focus on the conceptual framework of physics. In order to make progress we have to know about the most general (abstract) principles and then try to explain many different phenomena within that general framework with models using minimum number of parameters. This is a tall order. I can hear my critics saying loudly this is a very misguided approach. Critics would say that progress will be incremental. I disagree.
There will be no progress in theoretical physics unless physicists examine the conceptual foundations of their theories. I am not asking physicists to become religious and develop theories to fit their religious beliefs. I AM NOT SAYING THAT. What I am saying is this: we cannot make progress until we understand what time is, what electrical charge is, what spin is and what invariant mass is. We have been developing theories to answer the “how” questions. In the remainder of the 21’st century, physicists will have to turn their attention to the “what” questions. This is the “foundations first” approach.
I am advocating the “foundations first” approach and I recognize the reality of the “multiple perspectives” in science.
Science cannot provide a single “Theory of Everything.” Science will provide multiple perspectives on Nature. Examples of these perspectives are many: the Field Theory perspective, the String Theory perspective and many more. In the future we will have a different scientific perspective known as the Microvita Theory as well.
This may sound crazy but let me say it anyway. There will be millions of scientific perspectives in the far future. This is no exaggeration! We may already be in this situation. There may be millions of civilizations in the universe and in each civilization there will be multiple scientific perspectives. Critics would argue that different civilizations may still come up with the same theories. Mathematical Platonists would argue that different civilizations in different parts of the universe would discover the same mathematical laws of the universe. I don’t subscribe to this view. There will be differences in how we organize, interpret and describe the observations and how we interact with the Cosmos and ultimately the degree of control we have over the outcomes. Even within the human civilization on Earth the scientific perspectives changed in the course of the last few hundred years. Can you imagine the number of changes in scientific perspectives that will take place in the next ten thousand years? We should remember this also.
Reality is One and unified but there are infinite number of perspectives.