17 April 2010

Mumbai by Motorbike

I paid rent today; my day is the 12th, I moved in on September 12th of last year, so I pay rent on the 12th. Actually it's a couple days later, but this is the first time my landlord and I could get together. When Heather was here, we went out with him and his wife, and since then we've been trying to go out again, and tonight we did.

He picked me up at the Cafe Coffee Day down the street, which is being renovated, but is still open even though the outside is a big construction mess. So I got an iced tea and waited, and my landlord, Viqar, showed up on his motorcycle. The first time I rode it, when I first got here, I must admit was a little scary, but I've been on the back of his bike a couple times since then and by now I'm pretty comfortable, just leaning against the back rest, hands in my lap.

First we went all the way down to central Mumbai, past the Haji Ali, a beautiful mosque built out in the ocean, to get some pav bhaji. Pav bhaji is a popular restaurant and street food here, it's kind of like refried beans, made of potatoes and lentils and tomatoes and other vegetables and spices all mushed together, served with buttered rolls. We went to a place called Sardar, where it was supposedly first made, and even if it wasn't the first, it seems to be the best. It was a very crowded restaurant, and everyone there was eating the same dish. It was the first time I tried it, I was kind of waiting to try it with him, he told me he would take me to the best place for it. And it was fantastic! So deliciously yummy. Some places apparently use water to make the mush, but this place uses only butter; butter in the bhaji, butter on the bread, it was great.

After that, we hopped back on his bike and went on a little tour of the city, starting with the red light district. I didn't really know Mumbai had one, but it was a little grungy street, filled with working women, in rooms together with the front doors open, or out on the street in groups of 3 and 4. They looked to be in pretty good shape, clean, pretty, not particularly unhappy, but the scene was quite seedy. Still, it was fun to see, and I got a couple of nice smiles. We pulled over for a second when his bike stalled, and immediately some man came over, waiting for us to ask for what we wanted. He just wagged his head when Viqar started his bike and took off.

We drove through some more alleys, including through Chor Bazaar, a market place where you can get anything. Chor means thief, thieves' bazaar, and apparently it got its name from a story about Queen Victoria. Once when she visited India, some items went missing from her ship's stateroom, and when she went to that bazaar, she found people selling her stuff there. Anyway it's more of a daytime marketplace, so there was not much going on at the time.

All along the way, we were talking on the motorcycle, We discussed everything from religion to sex, and although sometimes some ridiculous things come out of his mouth (he trash talks the Hindu religion, being some combination of Muslim and Christian himself, and he seems to be of the Bill Clinton school of thought about what qualifies as sex), he's always entertaining and sincere.

Oh we did have one kind of scary moment. We were riding along, and there was a local commuter bus next to us. All of a sudden, the bus driver, who was probably drunk, veered to the left. Viqar was fine, he's a very good driver and extra careful when I'm on the bike with him. We pulled over to the left and stopped. But I looked back and someone was on the ground, rolled over a couple times, and then got up, filthy from the street. He looked okay but it was way too close. At the next light, Viqar pullled in front of the bus and yelled at the driver who yelled back. Apparently the driver was telling him to climb onto the bus so they could fight about it. If the driver came down, he would be fired, but he could retaliate if anyone gets on the bus and starts something, so he was egging Viqar on. Viqar is generally quite sweet and peaceful (earlier that night he helped push another motorcycle who had run out of gas to the gas station, when he saw the owner pushing it along), so after a few acerbic words we moved on.

We rode back home along the scenic route, seeing the coast and the new Worli Sea Link bridge (though we couldn't ride over it, no 2-wheelers allowed), We made it back home after almost 3 hours of riding around. Which was not easy on the body, it felt like the camel ride. All in all, it was a great night riding around Mumbai by motorcycle.

11 April 2010

Proof of the Spiritual World

(I have written on these matters before, but I'm corresponding with someone about it, and I though I would publish this letter I have just written.)

The subject is Dimensionality vs Multiple Universes.

By dimensions, we mean the physical dimensions of space. 2d, 3d, etc.

you can think of them as degrees of freedom, or the amount of information you need to locate something.

for example, a flat sheet is 2d. like a map, you need only 2 pieces of information to locate something on a map, latitude and longitude. left-right and forward-back.

3d is space. you need a third: up-down. that's the real world we live in. 3d movies add depth to the otherwise flat movie screen.

to get from 2d to 3d, you draw lines at right angles to both 2d dimensions. we can see that to do that, you take a flat picture, and move up. those up lines are at right angles to both left-right and forward-back dimensions of a flat picture.

4d gets interesting. we live in 3d, so we cannot really know it, we can only imagine it by metaphor. if you take a cube, and draw a line at right angles to all 3 dimensions, that would be the 4th. we can't do it, we can't even really imagine it.

but just like a 3d cube can cast a 2d shadow, the 4th dimension casts a shadow on our 3d world, and that shadow is time (that's part of relativity).

we live moment to moment, but our 4d selves is the self made up of adding all the moments of our life together. see each moment added together as one thing, and that's the 4d version of yourself.

5d adds another level of choice. take your lifetime, the 4d version of you. then imagine all the possible ways your life could have turned out. add them all together into an even larger, more inclusive version of you, and that's your 5d self.

that's when multiple universes get introduced. each possible 4d self is a different universe in a way. but they are not real, they are possible. only the real life you are having is actual.

people who like the theory of multiple universes think that each possible 4d self is actualized, but in human life, we take the set of possibilities and extract one actuality from it. only 1 life is real. the others are potential.

that's how quantum physics gets involved. it describes, in multi-dimensional terms, the set of all possible outcomes. but humans don't experience all possible outcomes, just one. one actuality is extracted from the set of all possibilities.

i think it's wrong to thing that all possibilities are actualized, but some people go there because it['s one way to explain the weirdness of quantum physics. because quantum physics just describes the possibilities, and says nothing about how or why one actuality is extracted from the set of possibilities. but that doesn't mean they all exist, it just means we don't understand how the one that exists comes into being.

to me, it proves that there's more to human life than the physical world, more than what science can explain.

to put it more succinctly, quantum physics is a complete description of the physical world, but it is not a complete description of human experience, therefore, there is more to human experience than the physical world.