It has been said that, in scale, a human being is about halfway between an atom and a star. Interestingly, this is also the regime in which physics becomes most complicated; on the atomic scale, we have quantum mechanics, on the large scale, relativity. It is in between these two extremes where our lack of understanding of how to combine these theories becomes apparent.

The Oxford scientist Roger Penrose has written convincingly of his belief that whatever it is that we are missing from our understanding of fundamental physics is also missing from our understanding of consciousness. These ideas are important when one considers what have become known as anthropic points of view, best summarized as the belief that the Universe must be the way it is in order to allow us to be here to observe it.
—  Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, Brian May
Masterpost: Book Recommendations

Hey! So one of the most frequently asked questions here is for what books I’d recommend to you all, so I’ve decided to compile a list of books that will help expand your view and raise your consciousness. Some of these books I haven’t read and were submitted by other members, so when you see “sb” it means submitted by. From now on, I’ll refer everyone to this post when they ask that question! I’ll add books to the list as I discover new ones or as you submit them. I put a * next to the titles I think you should really read, and I bolded those that you should really, really read. There are really good books here that don’t have a * because I haven’t read/finished them. Note: they’re alphabetized. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell (also 1984) (sb @supreme-understanding-allah)

*Any book by OSHO (esp. The Book of Understanding)

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
 (sb @supreme-understanding-allah)

Be Here Now by Ram Dass  (sb @supreme-understanding-allah)

*Bhagavad Gita (try The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: Explained By Paramhansa Yogananda, As Remembered By His Disciple, Swami Kriyananda; it’s easier to understand)

Bringers of the Dawn: Teachings from the Pleiadians by Barbara Marciniak, Tera Thomas

Cosmic Memory: The Story of Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Division of the Sexes by Rudolf Steiner, Paul Marshall Allen

Crystal Enlightenment: The Transforming Properties of Crystals and Healing Stones (Crystal Trilogy, Vol. 1) by Katrina Raphaell (also volumes 2 & 3)

Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy by Panache Desai

*Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality by Dean Radin Ph.D.

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution by Terence McKenna  (sb @supreme-understanding-allah)

*Frequency: The Power of Personal Vibration by Penney Peirce

How Consciousness Became the Universe by Deepak Chopra, Roger Penrose, Brandon Carter

Keep reading


The black-hole collision that reshaped physics

A momentous signal from space has confirmed decades of theorizing on black holes — and launched a new era of gravitational-wave astronomy.

The event was catastrophic on a cosmic scale — a merger of black holes that violently shook the surrounding fabric of space and time, and sent a blast of space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves rippling across the Universe at the speed of light.

But it was the kind of calamity that physicists on Earth had been waiting for. On 14 September, when those ripples swept across the freshly upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO), they showed up as spikes in the readings from its two L-shaped detectors in Louisiana and Washington state. For the first time ever, scientists had recorded a gravitational-wave signal.

“There it was!” says LIGO team member Daniel Holz, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. “And it was so strong, and so beautiful, in both detectors.” Although the shape of the signal looked familiar from the theory, Holz says, “it’s completely different when you see something in the data. It’s this transcendent moment”.

The signal, formally designated GW150914 after the date of its occurrence and informally known to its discoverers as ‘the Event’, has justly been hailed as a milestone in physics. It has provided a wealth of evidence for Albert Einstein’s century-old general theory of relativity, which holds that mass and energy can warp space-time, and that gravity is the result of such warping. Stuart Shapiro, a specialist in computer simulations of relativity at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, calls it “the most significant confirmation of the general theory of relativity since its inception”.

But the Event also marks the start of a long-promised era of gravitational-wave astronomy. Detailed analysis of the signal has already yielded insights into the nature of the black holes that merged, and how they formed. With more events such as these — the LIGO team is analysing several other candidate events captured during the detectors’ four-month run, which ended in January — researchers will be able to classify and understand the origins of black holes, just as they are doing with stars.

Still more events should appear starting in September, when Advanced LIGO is scheduled to begin joint observations with its European counterpart, the Franco–Italian-led Advanced Virgo facility near Pisa, Italy. (The two collaborations already pool data and publish papers together.) This detector will not only contribute crucial details to events, but could also help astronomers to make cosmological-distance measurements more accurately than before.

“It’s going to be a really good ride for the next few years,” says Bruce Allen, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, Germany.

“The more black holes they see whacking into each other, the more fun it will be,” says Roger Penrose, a theoretical physicist and mathematician at the University of Oxford, UK, whose work in the 1960s helped to lay the foundation for the theory of the objects. “Suddenly, we have a new way of looking at the Universe.”

Read More

I don’t know whether quantum computers are more likely to manifest consciousness than binary computers. My instinct says “yes” but realistically I have no idea how consciousness works so I suspect that I am just responding to misremembered bits of theorizing by Roger Penrose.


Penrose tilings are non-periodic tilings, generated by an aperiodic set of prototiles, implying that a shifted copy of a Penrose tiling will never match the original. They are named after Roger Penrose, the mathematician and physicist who investigated these sets in the 1970s.

These tilings have some remarkable properties, apart from aesthetically pleasing:

  • Non-periodicity, meaning it lacks any translational symmetry.
  • Self-similarity, meaning the same patterns occur at larger and larger scales.

In the top image, you see Roger Penrose himself in the foyer of the Mitchell Institute Building at Texas A&M University, standing on a Penrose tiling.

The main plaza of the Finnish Heureka science museum is paved with a Penrose tiling of kites and darts.

If you’re interested in the question why this 5-fold rotational symmetrical patterns are aperiodic, you should check out the crystallographic restriction theorem: for every discrete isometry group in two- and three-dimensional space (mapping every point to a discrete subset, i.e. a set of isolated points) which includes translations spanning the whole space, all isometries of finite order are of order 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6. The finite orders in higher dimensions are restricted as well: in four- and five-dimensional space, one can only find finite orders 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12. In six and seven dimensions, possible finite orders are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 24 or 30.

This floor tiling can go on forever in any direction, but never looks quite the same anywhere. It was discovered by English physicist Roger Penrose in the 1970s.

Penrose’s Profound Mysteries

  1. How does the world of abstractions give rise to order in the physical world, i.e. where do the rules that govern physics come from?
  2. How does the physical world give rise to mental processes, i.e. what is the physical origin of consciousness and thought?
  3. How does the mental world access the world of abstractions, i.e. how do thinking beings come to know things that are true?

There is a certain sense in which I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance. Some people take the view that the universe is simply there and it runs along - it’s a bit as though it just sort of computes, and we happen by accident to find ourselves in this thing. I don’t think that’s a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe, I think that there is something much deeper about it, about its existence, which we have very little inkling of at the moment.

–Roger Penrose, physicist