What life is and why – resonance for-yond the physical

Thoughts on perspective and resonance

This post will give you a feel for the view that mind and consciousness come before space,time and physical objects. I also hope to convey the view and mindset that what might seem like an adversary, a hindrance, something bad or ugly, actually coincides with its more readily benign opposite, in effect is required for the very existence if its positive dipole.

The practical use of reading the post, apart from a potential window to the soothing truth of mind over matter and a kind of afterlife, might be

  • a more conciliatory view of your problems and adversaries, as well as
  • how to adopt a mindset that gets you started and keeps you going on long term endeavors.

The entire concept stems from a word cloud meditation I did a few years ago on the topic of “perspective“. I then realized how my driving force, my purpose, my source of delight and awe was finding new insights, new perspectives; finding views orthogonal to my current thinking, i.e., novel vantage points that could unite apparent opposites and shed new light on existence and my place in it.

Resonance and meetings imply otherness and separatedness. It’s a second order form of non-binarity, not either/or or both/and, but both either/or and both/and: The one has to divide to have something other to interact with. The interaction itself is a third form, not the same as the one and the other, but something else, a connexion. The interaction takes the form of resonance between (not entirely) separated entities being other than themselves.

Resonance is the act of non-meeting meeting, i.e., a coincidence of seemingly opposite things, them being other, alien. If wholly different or separated with nothing between them, they can’t interact. There is no connexion. And if entirely the same, if fully fused, they would just be the one being itself, thus not inter-acting. Perspective is achieved through separation and semi-re-connection through resonance.

Spirited away to neutral territory for meeting with the enlightened (endarkened?)

Last week I forgot my laptop when leaving my seat number 1C after returning from Switzerland. Worth it! (as Elon Musk would say).

I’m still hoping to get it back, so perhaps I don’t really think it’s worth it to lose it after all – although my visit to the Gstaad valley was very rewarding. I never met The Gstaad Guy, Constance, though, which was a bummer. I kind of hoped I would run into him.

Hope is however not a strategy, as the host of the event pointed out when I was leaving, so I’ll have to make do even if the manuscript to my own book is lost with the computer. Yup, no recent backup, due to my cloud service being full since quite some time. I thought about backing it up, but also thought there is no chance in Zug I’ll forget my computer somewhere… Well, the Zug’s on me, I guess.

My Gstaad guy – cloak and dagger style

My visit to Switzerland was, as you can guess, very interesting.

I still don’t know what to make of it a week later. Was I celebrated, was I hacked, doxed? Was I lucky? Did I just participate in the beginning of historical greatness and importance? Maybe all of the above? Right now it’s a superposition of contrary possibilities, better not look the horse too carefully in the mouth.

We were slightly over a dozen people, sharing ideas about the state of the world and one’s own place in it. Most of us knew or knew of at most a handful of the others since before, but most of us clicked effortlessly. We all agreed that the world will work much more differently in 25 years compared to today, than today does compared to 25 years ago. Geopolitically, financially, security-wise, regarding machine tools like advanced AI, longevity etc. The pace of change is speeding up.

Some technologies have disappointed over the last 25 years, whereas other have offered astonishment – software from DeepMind that plays go, poker and computer games, or can predict how a protein will fold; or like Dalle-2 that can create creative art from a relatively simple prompt. Meta has a prompt-to-video product being released soon. And people are already eagerly waiting for prompt-to-private VR kind of products, for more or less hedonistic purposes. Recently, Alphabet revealed three new text prompt to video apps. Exciting times indeed.

If you understand Swedish, så pratar jag och Ludvig dessutom om How The World Works i ett av de senaste avsnitten av vår podcast 25 MINUTER

I was one of a select few people holding keynote talks at the gathering:

Some talked about hacking into modern technological devices, others about merging with technology, or how, or rather if/when, to treat cancer. I talked about perspectives, about relations, about (seeming) paradoxes and how to resolve them, as well as my own practical application of how to get ahead in life and in investing.

The whole invitation and journey process was quite intriguing:

Your podcast changed my world view. I’m putting together a group of people to talk about the changing world order. What can I do to make you come and hold a short talk on something you like“.

I accepted and got my boarding passes in the mail. No address. No hotel. No attendance list. No schedule, apart from “your talk will be in the afternoon on the 26th” (which was, however, without warning right before lunch, moved to “before lunch“, i.e., about 3 minutes notice. Well, well, there’s no time like the present…)

This is the talk I gave about the coincidence of opposites

Over the last few years I’ve changed my view of existence completely. That process started at a bank conference in London back in 2007, with me rekindling my thoughts about leaving the finance industry. The last time before that that I had nurtured such thoughts was in 1999/2000, when I was overworked, exhausted and disillusioned regarding the work hard/play hard lifestyle. Quite paradoxically my planned ‘break in life’ turned out to be joining a hedge fund start-up as a tech analyst in February 2000, right at the peak of an epic tech stock bubble.

Fast forward to 2007/2008 and onward; out of loyalty and nothing better to do, I stuck around at the hedge fund (Futuris/Brummer), planning to quit the day I couldn’t stomach keeping at it for two more years (hat tip to equity analyst and author of City Boy, Geraint Andersson, for the advice). The job was still intellectually rewarding and I liked my colleagues, it’s just that I felt I hade more potential than that.

That day eventually occurred in January 2014, right around my 42:nd birthday. 42 truly is the answer to everything. Incidentally, my typical equity portfolio at Antiloop, now that I’m back in the hedgehog saddle again after approximately 69 months’ hiatus, consists of 42 different companies.

I started blogging on January 1, 2005, in order to structure my thoughts and keep track of my personal development. It was a kind of precursor to a commonplace book, structured notes of one’s insights and knowledge – like the one Carl von Linné used to categorize all living things in.

Blogging turned into an obsession with learning, with reading other blogs, by people much more gifted, talented or hard working than me. I devoured self-help, personal development and life-style blogs everyday, all day long. By 2013/2014, I eventually realized that I had to make a change in my life, I had to free up time, create a vacuum to see what would fill it.

I thus retired and wrote the book “The retarded hedge fund manager, about my experience and lessons learned during my 15 years as a fund manager. That later turned into my online course in value investing, The Finance Course.

I also adopted a rescue dog, a 7-year old, 40+ kg German Shepherd-Doberman mix, and spent every waking and sleeping hour with her, going on long walks, listening to podcasts about science, investing, psychology and philosophy. Slowly a new world view dawned upon me, on existence, on my purpose.

Re-discovering feelings and emotions, the colors of life

When my best friend, my dog Ronja, passed away in the summer of 2019, and my girlfriend left me shortly after, I was forced into ever deeper soul-searching. My losses, and the resulting excruciating pain, stirred something that could not be left alone. I kept scratching for invisible doors in my psyche and eventually found the key to an unexpected awakening.

About the time my mother passed away, about half a year after Ronja, I reached a turning point in my investigations into my own psyche, and its place among other self-aware entities. After 35 years as an automaton, it once again was something to be me. I felt joy and sorrow, experienced the full rainbow of existence. Mostly sorrow, as it were.

I was however still years away from replacing my materialistic, non-spiritual slant on existence with my current, still-emerging, insights about consciousness being ontologically prior to matter. I owe these new perspectives to Bohm, Feynman, Donald Hoffman, Stanislav Grof, Anirban Bandyopadhyay, Adam West, Philip Ball, Sean Carroll, Andrew Gallimore (Building Alien Worlds) and Iain MacGilchrist, among many other authors, podcasters, researchers, philosophers and thinkers.

Before leaving finance in 2014, before Ronja leaving me five years later, I used to think that the universe sprang to life through the Big Bang; that energy condensed into matter, which eventually happened to combine in such complex ways that life emerged, and eventually became aware of itself – matter became conscious.

Talk about the limit level of incredulity: a universe from nothing, and consciousness from unconscious particles orbiting each other – albeit apparently sensing gravity and charge. Nothing in that story makes sense. Where did all the building blocks come from? In addition, even with that explained, you still had to tack on consciousness to the physicalist view, with or without ideas of emergence. Assuming emergence of consciousness was just as unexplained and magical as simply saying “and then there is consciousness as well“. You could just as well start with consciousness, and claim that it invents rules of engagement called “matter”, space and time.

So, I turned the story on its head. Like the German mathematician Jacobi said: Man muss immer umkehren.

Assuming matter came second, what came first?

Energy and matter did not explode into existence. There is no energy or matter. There is only consciousness – without elongation in time or space. It precedes spacetime. Spacetime, matter and energy are just parts of a neat playbook for the eternal consciousness to explore its own potential. It’s a game where the one original consciousness could divide and recombine, meet itself.

There is matter, obviously, you can feel it, interact with it, manipulate it, pull it with your “manis”, use it; but there is also not any matter, just rules of interaction which is what we experience as matter in 3D space. It’s like in a computer game, the buildings, characters aren’t there, they just signify rules of interaction. At the bottom there are just numbers (or something such; rules) specifying how an interaction will be managed. But the stuff isn’t there, unless there is an event, a meeting, a resonance – a measurement as the quantum physicists would say.

There simply was no big bang as science knows it, and yet apparently there was something. Not surprisingly, I used to think religion was stupid up until just a few short years ago. I still do, but now I also see how science is as well. The catalyst for my monumental change were several talks with Alexander Bard as well as reading Maps Of Meaning by Jordan Peterson. I slowly realized that what is said in words rarely is what is being communicated.

They both started out looking for explanations, but lost their way. Now, institutionalized religion is all about manipulating people, and science is all about manipulating matter.

Science doesn’t even begin to try to understand or explain anything anymore – it disregards the only thing we can be absolutely sure of: consciousness. More about that later.

Socialist turned libertarian capitalist turned Hegelian, in an Hegelian dialectic process of back and forth, of both both/and and either/or

  • So, I used to be a hardened materialist and capitalist
    Twelve years ago, in the spring of 2010, I received the award for The European Hedge Fund Of The Decade. In other words, investing worked out pretty well for me.

    But, nevertheless…
    Seven years ago, in 2014, I decided to retire from the industry, to focus on more creative endeavors like writing, teaching and podcasting, as well as exploring my own psyche. It’s my podcasting that brought me here to the Gstaad valley today, not my investing prowess or accomplishments.

    Since about a year, however, I’m a hedge fund manager again – I’m consequently presently “the un-retired HF manager“. Investing simply is such a complex and interesting puzzle… I want to know more, and I want others to know more. The market is reflexive and ever-evolving, never the same and yet still much the same. Plus ca change…, a coincidence of opposites. Further, investing is the act of postponement, of delayed consumption in order to consume more later on – another interdependent dipole. Here I should mention Kriti Sharma, as a thinker that has influenced my current world view, where all things are interdependent in such an entangled web that the physicalist and strict rationalist concept of linear cause and effect has lost its meaning.

    Back to the cold and rational industry of investing: Very competent investors have completely opposite views on investing:

  • Some say you should not use your brain at all, just buy and hold the average market. The more time you spend holding the more return you can expect to get. That sounds like an impossibly stupid approach. Holdiots
  • Others say you need to use all your faculties to the max; work harder and longer than everybody else, know more, build models, talk to managers, clients, suppliers, understand the economy, money flows, investor preferences and positioning. They say you need talent, discipline, stamina, luck and not least patience – and you must be unemotional and consistent in your execution. That sounds like an impossibly ambitious endeavor. Workaholdiots
  • Some say to follow the trend, some to do the opposite – going for reversion to the mean.
  • Some say forecasting is key, most say forecasts are worthless – since the future is unknowable in a variant and reliable way
  • Some claim robots do a better job, mining historical data for repeating patterns to exploit without emotion– as if there’s nothing new under the sun, and that emotions and intuition suddenly ceased to be valuable decision-making and risk-management tools in complex environments.

    They are all wrong. And they are all also all correct. It’s an example of the coincidence of opposites. Two opposing truths are often just different aspects, inseparable parts, of a whole.

In investing, as in life, as in hockey, you should skate to where the puck is going to be. You should play the basketball court like a living organism, where you live slightly into the future, knowing beforehand where and when the next pass or shot is coming. You do not wait for a pass, calculate its trajectory and head for the best intersection. You go well before the pass, perhaps 2-3 passes ahead, sensing the entire play, not its components and atomistic agents.

By not looking too intently on the specific players, ball or puck, you see their actual essence and actions more clearly – you sense the total Gestalt of the game, the whole. In a way, you experience the eternal Dao (the way, existence, the eternal flow, the original one consciousness), by looking through the players with your base mind-being, instead of directly at them with your ordinary eyes.

Relaxing control over puck players and passes, you gain control of the game they constitute. The less control equals more control is yet another example of the coincidence of opposites.

How much or little control has the same answer as always: the question “How long is a rope“. The resolution of a paradox or the reconciliation of opposing views is best accomplished not by a compromise where all loses, but as a dialectic synthesis, a synthesis found orthogonal to the opposing thesis and antithesis. A new vantage point, a new perspective, another dimension from where seeming opposites are seen as necessary aspects of one and the same. Like you and I and our interaction, e.g.

Coincident opposites, points on a spectrum, superpositioned co-existing adversarial factors, are everywhere:

  • The north and south poles of a magnet is another example.
  • The base rhythm interrupting the melody of a song while simultaneously emphasizing the melody.
  • A melody consisting of notes, but where the pauses are what breathes life into the song
  • There is no matter, and yet there obviously is
  • There is no Fermi paradox, the “aliens” are everywhere. Of course! It’s a very old universe. Earth is their spaceship and playground, fully sustainable, carrying the sun with it for energy. Not the other way round. And yet the Earth does orbit the sun, as clear as day follows night.

Why is this observation important?
First and foremost, because it’s true. It’s the way reality is constructed. In addition, life makes more sense when one realizes that what might seem as conflicting views really aren’t. Looking for resonance and understanding instead of taking an arbitrary side is more constructive. North or south pole? You simply can’t take one without the other.

It also aligns with what I see as the purpose of existence – exploring the infinite complexity and potential of consciousness. It’s the universe trying to understand itself, the one sensor sensing, dividing, recombining, resonancing with a multitude of partly separated instantiations of itself.

The purpose

Why are we experiencing things, why do we partake in events?

I think meetings are everything. Without meetings there is nothing. A conscious being needs to meet other consciousnesses. An isolated consciousness can hardly be said to exist at all. Its existence is based on its resonance with others. These others need to be somewhat, but not too, different, still able to find resonance. But to meet you have to be different from that which is met, implying not meeting, or parting (initially) in order to get to meet and find new resonance – a new and interesting combination, that says something new about what it means to be sensing, to be conscious.

Matter, like consciousness, is also based on relations. An isolated particle is nothing at all. It’s not here in this universe, if it doesn’t interact with something, if there is nothing between two particles. Something is needed between them for them to sense each other, be conscious of each other, affect each other,inform each other, find resonance.

The closer we look at matter the less we find, as any physicist can tell you. The better the microscope the less it sees. At the bottom there is just a concept, a rule for its interaction, it’s meeting, with other similar (non-material) entities.

So, from the bottom up, there exists nothing but resonance. Meetings. Whether your a materialist and physicalist or more of a mind-first thinker.

There is nothing, and yet there is everything. It’s the ultimate coincidence of opposites. The only thing we actually have evidence for is consciousness. Matter more and more is seen as a playbook for interactions. We are like vortices in water, barely separated patterns in an underlying united whole. We are always just “talking” to ourself. We are vortices in the one underlying whole – the vortices created from resistance within itself.

The eternal dao, the flow, the one, shakes and twirls to see what consciousness is capable of.

For-yond of space and time, the paradoxes of Taoism

All of existence is a paradox; why is there something at all, and why is there consciousness? If there was just one consciousness to start with, it makes a lot of sense if it split into more, to have someone to “talk” to. It really is the only thing life boils down to – having someone to talk to. The rest is maintenance. Why and how (and when) that original spark of consciousness got started is not for us to understand, that was in a place beyond, or rather for-yond space and time.

In “Dream Of Life”, the philosopher and taoist Alan Watts in just three minute paints a vivid picture how an omnipotent but essentially lonely entity eventually would choose to live your exact life, for the thrill of it. Impending death, implies appreciating life.

Taoism explores the coincidence of opposites in all kinds of ways. For example it teaches how beauty and pleasure only have meaning relative to ugliness and pain, just as play implies depression, or death implies life.

Tao te ching, the original book on tao (or “dao”, the way), is an excellent example in itself of COO:

Language can never convey reality directly, but is still indispensable for the job – albeit it has to be done between the lines in poetic form. That’s what Lao Tzu has managed to do in Dao de jing. He somehow overcame the coincidence of opposites in terms of language. explaining the unexplainable by forcing a relaxation of strict logic and rationalism onto his students.

Words, such as blue, love, pain, jealousy, longing, can’t be read and understood word by word, but the whole idea can take shape all at once, like a stereoscopic image when relaxing your gaze to look through its seemingly meaningless geometric shapes, rather than directly at them.

there is no way of connecting

the shape of a spearmint molecule

to the experience of its smell

We have to realize that we have evolved not to see reality as it is, in order to even begin to ask the right questions. The smell of spearmint, e.g., has no connection with the bundle of electrons and quarks that constitute it. The experience of smelling is ineffable, unexplainable, impossible to convey to another being – there is no way of connecting the shape of a spearmint molecule to the experience of its smell.

Our interactions with each other, and with things like spearmint are just arbitrary rules, a kind of game, to explore what consciousness is. It’s an infinite game. It’d better be. What we experience as the material world are like computer icons – just handy symbols, shorthand for their underlying rules. A person is an icon of something wholly indescribable – a bundle of consciousness – an infinitely complex entity outside time and space.


The point with apparent opposites, with answers lacking questions, with ineffable experiences and incomprehensible mysteries, is for the universe, the one consciousness, to explore all possible combinations and states of consciousness – plausibly and hopefully an endless multitude, lest it, we, “God”, find ourselves trapped in en endlessly repeating hell of loneliness. I’ve been there myself.

My conclusions come from studying quantum mechanics, philosophy and brain science – but the two most important inspirations are Iain McGilchrist and Donald Hoffman. Especially McGilchrist’s latest book: The Matter With Things made everything click into place. But I couldn’t have truly bought into that world view without the help of many deep meditation sessions.

McGilchrist explains how the brain is divided into two quite different halves. The right hemisphere sees reality as it is, as a united whole, an intricate flow. The left sees concepts without time, without life, still pictures, in effect a virtual rendering in a simulation; it’s the only way we can separate out parts from the whole and manipulate them. We make the things, the parts, from something indivisible. The real reality is just a single unified whole without any parts.

The left manages matter by literally making the flow into graspable parts – that aren’t really there. They aren’t there, since reality is a single flow of relations, instantiations of the one, not “things”.

A few more examples of the ubiquitous Coincidence Of Opposites
Egotism is just altruism by another name. But it’s a good name, an instructive name. It hints at the process of how to be successfully egotistical, by acting generously, kindly, with goodness and beauty in mind.

Burning oil is the most environmentally friendly alternative we have at the moment – since it makes solar and wind viable (and enables their construction). Nuclear is much better of course, but we don’t have enough of it yet. As an investor I can’t wait for the transition to nuclear and renewables to come about.

A strong, stabile and reliable environment fosters weak and careless people, and the breeding ground for societal upheaval that in turn requires diligent, disciplined and strong individuals and terms of engagement

Minsky astutely pointed out how stabile, low volatility, financial market regimes lead to increased risk-taking, leverage, speculation, and unwarranted euphoric highs; and thus vulnerability and inevitable turbulence, before re-starting the dialectic cycle on lower ground.

Humans keep searching for an answer we don’t want to find. An answer would end the search, the process of learning. We have no use for the thing the ultimate truth.

Why there are many rather than just one

The universal consciousness split for a reason. It made itself into a multiplicity of otherness in order to get to know its own unknowable potential. Otherness implies sameness; without the idea of “other” there is no “same” – just a one. The other needs to be just about different enough to be interesting, but similar enough to find common ground and resonance, rather than pass right through unseen and unfelt like dark matter.

The universe itself is the ultimate COO: all from nothing, all the time from no-when, from for-yond physical reality. It’s without any reason, purpose or endgame. It’s all for nothing, except for itself, divided into temporary others, some of them otters.

Coincident opposites oscillate, partake in a dance of eternal exploration and creation. Coincide. Most thinking people are engaged in such a dialectic back and forth, of shifting views and ideals, amid hopefully continuously enhanced perspective and understanding: ever more confused at ever higher levels.

I, e.g., was a kind of socialist in my early teens, albeit a quite ignorant one. I simply planned to live on welfare when I grew up (!), since that was quite okay and doable in Sweden in the 1980s. In my first national vote as an 18-year old in 1990, I, however, voted on the conservative, low-tax alternative. I thought that no matter if I were poor, unemployed, living on welfare or not, the state still had no business stealing tax money from unwilling citizens.

Once I got around to reading Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, I turned into a full blown zero-tax, anarko-capitalist libertarian, later even into a geolibertarian, inspired by the amazing book (space opera) Withur We. Not so much anymore. No, I can no longer adhere to easy one-sided ‘truths’. I now see the coincidence of opposites in everything. I am a coincidencian. A dilectian (Hegelian) perhaps – considering both sides, finding not a compromise, but a third view, a conciliatory new perspective, seen perpendicular, orthogonal, to the other two extremes.

Did the statue exist before the artist hacked away at the stone?

The molecules were always there, but apparently the physical material is secondary to the art. Without the artist, no statue. And without the marble no statue either? Or? When the idea of the statue exists, like with Da Vinci’s statue sketches for Francesco Sforza and a monument for Marshal Trivulzio, maybe the statue exists, just not manifest in matter. Was Da Vinci a highly talented sculptor or none at all? Hard to say withput any actual output, but most likely he was excellent in that field as well. Both brilliant and non-existent at the same time. As was Michelangelo’s statue David for a time. It both existed, and, more easily grasped didn’t exist, before he ever put a chisel to a block of marble.

In the same vein matter does exists. Obviously – at least that thing we call matter in our consensus reality, our set of ‘Monopoly’, the board game called 3D-life. Matter matters, we made the rules that way. So, yes there is matter. But matter is also just slow moving energy, a more inert set of rules than that for pure consciousness interactions, the rules made up by us consciousnesses, agreed upon. For now. In this setting, at this level.

Just One: A practical application of the idea of apparent opposites

My nickname is , uncarved, unfinished, even incomplete to the extent that the process hasn’t begun at all. By not commencing, not finishing, all potential is left. By doing nothing nothing is left not done. Like an unchiseled block of marble. It can be everything, it is everything, every conceivable statue all at once, a superposition of artworks (pre-yond finished) before the decision, the observation that collapses the infinite to the specific, the end set in stone.

is closely related to Wu Wei, action through inaction. With minimal effort, the process is started in accordance with the natural flow of nature. Just do one little single thing that comes easy, the first step on a possibly long journey (but you’ll only get to know that afterward). Then, like with an involuntary cookie monster rage, do just one more: Take one more step, do one more set at the gym (while fantasizing about going home), just go to the gym one single day (today). Tomorrow is another day; cross that bridge when you get there. Today is today, and today we do one. When tomorrow turns into today, adhere to the principle of doing just one that day, but that’s not for us to think about today. We only think about the one on the present day – then we quit.

The Just One (more) concept is the hedonistic cookie doom loop turned into a virtue. You avoid the psychological burden of thinking about working out the rest of the month, year or life, since you only have one rep, set or gym session to finish. You avoid daunting endgames, long-term objectives, overwhelming target orientation that might stop you from even beginning. Process-orientation is target-less targeting. Not having targets gets you beyond any absolute objectives.

Being process-oriented is more targeted than being object-oriented. Maintaining a process gets you all the way and beyond, rather than stopping at the target or disappointingly missing it, perhaps never starting at all — daunted to apathy at the get go.

The Just One process might seem like interrupting the whole, hacking the flow of the way to the target to pieces. But the single steps of your marathon actually are the ultimate flow and never ending process. The end is not the end, merely a part of an infinite process. COO is about perspective, trying the other side of everything and finding a third, fourth and fifth vantage point, through the dialectic process of idea, anti-idea and new idea.

You are certain you are conscious

You know consciousness exists, that’s one of very few certainties. Matter is another matter. The closer you look at matter the less you see of it, and the further you thus get from the everyday idea of matter as something substantial, graspable, manipulable, pullable by your manis. The more you (or modern scientists) consider matter the less you see of its matterness. There is nothing at the bottom of the hierarchy of elementary “particles”, there is just the idea of rules for interaction, numbers (perhaps) representing arbitrary rules of charge and mass… and perhaps consciousness, if you’re still a materialist believing 3D space and time represent the ontological base level, with consciousness bolted on or magically emergent from the dance of particles (rather then consciousness creating the appearance of particles, and the dance being a manifestation of an awareness field).

Can you be certain there is time? Clock-time? Time is not measured by clocks. Clock-time is part of the physical, the made-up matter-space. As a consciousness you know this. For certain.

You know red, spearmint, consciousness, and love, first-hand. Those are what’s real, not what material scientists tell you is real, after they assumed away everything non-material, i.r. everything that counts.

Time in the present is not the same as in retrospect. Real time is how consciousness experience the flow of interactions. The more fun you have, the more the feeling of flow you experience in the present, the feeling of perfect harmony between your activity and its results, the faster time goes: hours in a flash. But when looking back; in retrospect your life seems full, meaningful, like you got so much done, that you truly lived.

Boredom is the exact opposite. Hours, minutes and seconds never end, whereas ten years, 25 years, 50 years, speed by as if they never happened to you at all. Two coincidences of opposites. Chose yours carefully.

What to do with this insight? What’s the meaning, the purpose, how do I propose you best spend your time?

Relations, meetings, resonance is what it is all about
Meetings are others coming together as one, through resonance, it’s a dance. A dance needs dancers, but it isn’t made of the dancers, the dance is the event, the coming together, the creative relation between others. The dance isn’t in the steps. The dance takes place in the in-between, just like music isn’t made of notes.

Nota Bene, for meetings to be worthwhile there needs to be otherness, the dancers need to be unique, interesting, differently experienced, de minimum having met other people, done other things, developed skills, acquired knowledge, having something to contribute to the relational sonata: goodness, kindness, perspective, beauty.

Relations are thus ontologically prior to what we consider stuff, things, small point-size billiard balls. Starting with little balls or points make it impossible to get to lines or any other dimension, or to relations without introducing the concept of relations in addition to the stuff, the relata, that which is related. An infinite amount of points never amount to a line.

It’s consequently unfathomable how to get from little billiard balls to consciousness without introducing consciousness too as an add-on. If you start with unrelated stuff you still have to invent relations to get interactions. But starting with relations without things, relations are already interconnected and their concentrated interactions can be regarded or felt as things, without adding anything extra in terms of little balls of matter.

Taking the meetings first, mind over matter, idea seriously

Starting with a wholeness, a one, a single field of consciousness, however that got started, easily explains the condensed points, the nexuses, the hubs, and 2D lines, 3D matter, relations, flow and interference.

Possibly, just calling everything fields of rules for interaction helps resolve the incomprehensible idea of relations without relata.

So, assume in the beginning there was a field. A field that flowed. A relation of relations, a kind of potential connections. Points of resistance in that flow, internal resistance from itself, cause vortices, more or less impermanent – what we call matter, things, including partly separated consciousnesses.

To hammer the point home of apparent opposites and the unmatterness of matter; even Matterhorn is just a slow wave. A neutron is too. Over very long stretches of time they too rise and fall, change and perish. A human is similarly semi-permanent, just like a river is, it only stays the same thanks to its constant regeneration, i.e., a kind of permanence is only achieved by not being permanent at all. Matter flows through the persistent pattern that is that person or river. Static, dead stuffthings – wither faster than living patterns in a flow. Dead things are unstable and changing exactly due to their static features.

Things exist, are (kind of) permanent only if they are not fixed…

…only if they are a pattern whose constituent parts flow through it. Patterns, like a cloud, can be permanent, but substantial things aren’t. The concepts all tell the same story: flows vs things, relations vs relata, permanence vs fleeting. All are opposites, and therefore not, i.e. the same.

Change is lasting

My path from either/or to the OE may inspire openness. Ten years ago, let’s say in 2012, I was still an either/or kind of thinker. I was all too willing to accept matter and hard facts as truths, willing to accept emergence of, e.g., consciousness from little billiard balls orbiting each other.

That was before I joined the Orthogonal Elves

Now I know matter is secondary, just a fun game, a sandbox for trying out various combinations of resistance to the flow of Dao.

The members of OE line up their amazing work of geometry, convincingly demonstrating non locality, non-euclidian realities, a place outside human concepts of time and space – only the meeting of consciousnesses. These machine elves exist perpendicular to our ordinary physics. Yes, it’s real. As real as consciousness, the only thing we all know is real, but also know can’t be reliably measured with our current 3D space-technology. They OE are all around us, just as could be expected given billions of years of universe and life. Of course!

And just as self-evidently, what we call matter also exists (as well as is not really real, not there independently when we’re not looking)

How to use the insights of COO in everyday life

Sideways – processes vs targets
Most precious values and experiences are best approached sideways, indirectly, obliquely. Orthogonally to the target:

  • Pursuing happiness directly doesn’t work. You can’t fall in love by force or exertion. Love and happiness are byproducts, side-effects of meaningful actions, relations, meetings
  • Being goal oriented is a recipe for giving up ,or finding an empty pot at the end of the rainbow. Being caught up in the flow of a meaningful process is a delight in itself, both in the present and in retrospect.

The most practical and actionable advice I can give based on the coincidence of opposites is to not look at the target, not stare at the players or the puck/ball, not aim for specifics, but instead do just one of something of value.

  • JUST ONE is the non-target targeting technique of getting flow by interrupting the whole and cutting it up into its smallest components
    Just one is an indirect, process-oriented, way of achieving your dreams without specifying them, without daunting goals, without the anxiety of taking in the entire journey at its onset.
  • Just one is my way of getting things done. Just one more cookie will get you through all of them. Just one (more) works just as well for working out, for having fun, for enjoying every day for itself.
  • Just one gets you all the way and beyond. To reach far away lands and beyond, aim as humbly as conceivable. Take just one small step and celebrate the process, not the objective, not some “truth” or some “endgame”
  • To be a master, to achieve peak performance, don’t bore yourself with an arbitrary amount of hours of 1-dimensional practice, but aim to find joy in a wide range of activities – you never know what clues the violin holds for your proficiency on the court, or your AI thesis and struggling start-up. Reach widely, albeit one thing at a time, focus on the present step. Fully. Then aim for Range (excellent book by the way).
  • Get it without the pressure of going for it. Enjoy the process, revel in the feeling of doing the right thing, not driven by some distant arbitrary, possibly meaningless end purpose.

The coincidence of opposites applied to investing

In investing, the beginning truly is the end. In addition, most investment activities benefit from inversion, turning concepts and causal relationships upside down.

The Ouroboros of investingmy way
In my job as a hedge fund manager and as a teacher of investing in the Finance Course, I often talk about investing in terms of the Ouroboros.

The Ouroboros is a mythical self-devouring snake, basing its existence on itself. Much like the universe seems to do.

An investor has to invest to learn investing

An investor has to know how to take notes before an investment teaches what notes are useful. The notes are needed in order to evaluate and refine his strategy afterward. But you can’t write useful notes until you have experience of the whole process of investing.

Every step builds on the subsequent steps – in a way parallel to the idea of teleology – that the future is drawing us toward it, with pre-designed blueprints of forms and increasing complexity. In that school of thinking, biological creatures are created by cells dividing, multiplying, turning on and off genes depending on what environment the cells find themselves in – but even more so by the shape they are supposed to create, without any apparent way of monitoring that shape. Cause and effect are in effect inverted. As they are in research, analysis and investing.

At my previous hedge fund Futuris, around the time of the Best over a decade awards (we received more than one), I used to say, only half-jestingly, that I’d get the same result being one step behind the market as one step ahead. And I claimed to chose being behind since it took much less effort.

It’s actually kind of true, if you can do it consistently. However, you can’t, since if you’re behind you have no idea how far behind. But there is still truth to it, to the endless reflexivity of markets – the lack of final truths, lack of an answer, lack of a stable relationship between factors.

You can never put your same foot into the same market twice

The same goes for being too far ahead. If you have to wait for years for your case to manifest itself in market prices, you’re actually wrong. The proof always is in your returns.

The market is BOTH reactive
and proactive
AND neither, i.e., concurrent

“News” are sometimes actual news, sometimes old news, sometimes forward-looking sentiment surveys or forecasts. Market participants are sometimes more forward-looking, sometimes more reactive, sometimes looking further into the future, sometimes less, sometimes risk-averse, sometimes tolerant, patient, sometimes jittery, undecided, both greedy and fearsome – and neither.

Legendary investors like Hussman, Dalio, Marks, Buffett claim to only look at the present data, since forecasts that are both correct and unanticipated by the market are too few and far between to rely upon.

It’s true. Very true. And also false and useless. All we have are historic facts, but all that matters is the future. It’s a kind of paradox.

That’s one reason for the wild stock market swings compared to how the economy develops over longer time frames — population growth, UE changes, productivity… the big picture moves slowly and predictably like a supertanker. But lender and borrower sentiment, i.e., access to financing and leverage, decide both short-term growth AND valuation multiples. Hence the big difference.

A successful investor should apply all tools, but without over-reaching and burning out. Intuition, experience, expert pattern recognition, embodied, lived knowledge can guide you to when to go with or against the herd, when to take extra risks or be careful, when to trust momentum, when to stop dancing.

Investing is just like skating or basketball an arena where your intuition is much more valuable than mechanical skills

Mark Spitznagel talks in his book Dao of Capital about losses being the ultimate profit centers for a trader. The losses are lessons for better trades in the future. The losses are your investments in chance of success. If you accept a certain loss during the lifetime of a trade, you increase your chance of profits by an associated amount.

Conclusions – this is not an exit

There is no final solution, no either/or. There isn’t even a both/and solution, no bipolar, inclusive, no answer. No finish line. This is not an exit.

In all aspects of meaningful activities we’ll have to accept a second order non-binarity: it’s both either/or and both/and, it’s a back and forth hand-over between both aspects, between both brain hemispheres and their respective slants on reality.

The left pauses, analyzes, picks apart, in effect kills the living flow, and separates time and space into stillborn fragments – separated, unrelated points that can’t be put together to a living and flowing whole again. The left makes an effort, strains itself, in order to manipulate the world, going against the natural flow of nature. The left is not the Dao, the left can never know the Dao, can’t even speak about it, since verbalizing is the act of manipulating lifeless concepts, separated from actual life, from the eternal flow of the Dao. But the left still is part of the Dao, part of existence. Naturally.

The right does see the whole, understands depth in time, space, in emotions & relations, but can’t manipulate and use anything – it can’t even talk. It can experience and live, but it can’t even keep itself alive, since it can’t grasp things or communicate verbally. The right can not say what it understands, but it understands nontheless. It’s like being the concept of red, or being conscious; you’d know but there is now way to convey that experience or knowledge.

The hemispheres need each other, they need the constant back and forth between each others’ views. The two halves are both there for a reason, that the universe is that way too, a dialectic process, ever creative in a never ending dance. Remember, there is no brain, it’s just an icon, a symbol; telling us a little, very little, about the consciousness that created that icon, the consciousness that pulls the brain into material existence for some purpose odf interaction.

One half is, however, ultimately more correct: the right, the wise master; but without its emissary, the single-minded left, nothing gets done.

The machine elves of the late Terence McKenna’s, philosopher and psychonaut, can teach you about new perspectives; and make any atheist even see the afterlife. The Voynich manuscript reads like written by those elves, those artists as I see them – eager to show new things, to surprise, to revel in just enough otherness to not accidentally kill by astonishment. A delicate balance, since things and their relations are infinitely ineffable

Tao te ching is just as impossible as The Voynich. It is a 2500 year old poem, 81 verses with fully digestible wisdom as if written today. Clear & direct, and opaque & vague at the same time.

The unity of opposites makes up the world. Yin and Yang are everywhere, in apparent conflict and opposition, yet clearly outlining and strengthening each other. We should not call one side good and the other bad. There is no point in telling them apart at all, since they cannot exist divided. Nor do they make any sense when separated from one another. Everything is an aspect of the one, of ourself.

It is hard to grasp the ungraspable, the (superficially) paradoxical. Not least because analyzing, picking apart, talking, verbalizing, shuts off the flow of reality, in order to conceptualize, thing-ificate, freeze the flow of integrated reality, thereby disrupting it, killing it, sucking out all depth and meaning, projecting the living flow to a different dimension as far from reality and devoid of life as flickering shadows on a cave wall.

Don’t feel as if you can’t get it, or that I’m the one who doesn’t get it. The realm of the not strictly rational, of a flow without beginning or end, without time and space cannot be experienced directly or explained. It has to be felt in the in-between, through, beyond, for-yond, before the yond.

consciousness undisturbed

free of all troubles

devoid of all experience

is that ideal?

You are the dao. You are part of the whole, connected to all, and all to you. Dao is trust, connectedness, responsibility, kindness, resonance. With trust comes natural cooperation and harmony as in a family. No need for government or religion. Nature flows without effort, every atom in its rightful place.

The closer you get to matter the further you get from seeing or experiencing its matterness. Going at matter directly ´makes it disappear. The Dao is the same. The left and the right brain hemispheres reflect these two sides of existence; the immaterial dimensionless consciousness without time and space, and the material congealed hubs of interaction, of resistance within the flow itself, the actualized semi-permanent matter.

The more the brain shuts off (its brakes and filters) the more you see: brain activity dimmed to zero, the brain out of the way of the flow that is the dao, consciousness undisturbed, free of all troubles, devoid of all experience. Like a still pool of water, an existing nothingness but with inherent infinite potential of vortices aware of each other.

When nothing is done, when the ‘statue’ is left uncarved, then nothing is not done, and all is possible, nothing undone.

Take aways

  • Relations and flow are real. Things are not. There is just one unity, no true opposites or adversaries, only temporarily separated instances of oneself.
  • Let go of the future and the past. You are not there. Take responsibility for the present.
  • Look for the other side in everything, immer umkehren. Try to look through and beyond things and objectives by focusing on the dance of life, an infinite game of enhanced perspective and understanding, of both either/or and both/and. Try just one more vantage point, perpendicular to your current one.
  • Do just one (more) in life, in love, at work or workouts – not to get overwhelmed or discouraged from commencing.
  • Resonance: first and foremost aim for one more meeting. A meeting of Sheng-Jens.

A Sheng-jen is a person with a refined spirit, who is modest about his place in the world and shows compassion towards others, whatever the level of their wisdom.

The word ‘sheng’ is written with a sign that contains three parts: an ear, a mouth, and the sign for a king or sovereign. Someone who listens and speaks beyond the perspective of common men. He who hears heaven, understands all. A refined mind. It’s closer to what we call reason than to knowledge. Jen=person

You are always really interacting with another aspect of yourself. And that you, he or she has their reasons for being the way they are. As do you. Be compassionate. Be a sheng-jen. Power of gentleness is greater than force. Water wears down mountains.

Meetings are everything. Alone is nothing, not even weak. Not even wrong, as Pauli famously quipped

Consciousness is resonance, an existence nexus (“particle” if you will) that is aware of gravitation or the effects of electrical charge. Sensing is being in resonance, being conscious of something other – just enough separated to make it worthwhile, but still possible – exploring the infinite complexity and potential of consciousness.

The tricky thing in this eternal dance is where value come in: Where does joy, beauty and goodness hide in the three-body problem or Schrödinger equation? But that’s a future topic.

“I am here in Switzerland these days for more meetings, more understanding, a wider perspective. I’m looking for and offering resonance with what is ultimately myself and yourself, creating reality itself through the conjunction and resolution of apparent opposites

Karl-Mikael Syding
Aspiring Sheng-Jen

P.S. My computer has just been located and shipped back to me

P.P.S. German sociologist Hartmut Rosa on uncontrollability and resonance:

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