The ties that bind, the separations that connect

separate goldfish in bagsA couple of years ago, I wrote this book, Beloved Distance, about how we’re essentially separate from each other… and we can never be in direct contact with anything.  Our billions of neurons, which transmit the data that connect us with the world around us, are always – by definition – separate. They don’t touch. They’re almost impossibly close to each other, yet they’re not in direct contact with each other.

Synapse IllustrationAnd yet, that very separateness is what connects us. Because the gap between synapses makes room for neurotransmitters, the biochemicals that pass along the information we need to make sense of the world around us. And our neurotransmitters provide a richness, a sort of “analog” data transmission that’s qualitative, as opposed to the “digital” electronic signals that pass along the incredibly complex (and long) network of our nervous system.

Like light, we are both particle and wave. We’re both neuron/synapse and neurotransmitter. That’s what makes us what we are. That’s what makes us how we are. And if our neurons were in direct contact with each other, we’d both short-circuit (because the data transmission would be too much, too soon) and never have the varied experiences that our biochemicals give us.

So, yeah. We’re like light, in that respect.

And now that quantum computing is getting all kinds of press (at least in the circles I run in) and other AI/Machine Learning/Deep Learning is picking up speed in active development and deployment, this whole concept segues nicely with the spirit of the day.

I wrote this book about 2 years ago. And I figured it would be a number of years (say, 10+) before other people would notice that it mattered. I’ve been a strong believer that it matters, all along. Ever since I first grasped what that picture of the neuron was telling me, oh, about 12 (?) years ago, I’ve believed it matters. And since I’ve been reading about quantum physics for close to 20 years*, a lot of what I’ve uncovered in the past decade or so really has some nice correlations with the quantum world view. Or maybe my quantum worldview came first and helps me make sense of the biochemistry and neurology…? Who knows?

Anyway, it’s all connected, as some like to say. And yeah, from everything I can tell and have observed in my half a century+ on this planet… It is.

*I’m a huge fan of David Bohm, and on some level, quantum concepts all make total sense to me. Why is it taking so long for everybody to catch on? 😉

So, what does this have to do with anything that matters to anyone else?

Isn’t this just some rambling of an inquisitive mind who loves to explore the reaches of PubMed, ArXive, Frontiers and more? Isn’t this just some philosophical hoo-hah that’s an indulgence at best, an annoying distraction from what really matters, at worst?

Well, I believe that this isn’t just about me, and it’s certainly not something that I came up with. I just noticed it and realized how much it matters. And yeah, I do believe it matters… especially today. We’re relentlessly inundated with a constant stream of disruptive, interruptive, disjointed, unconnected, random data points that scream (and I mean scream) for our attention. And we’ve become increasingly unhinged from the world we inhabit and the lives we want to lead.

We mourn, on the one hand, for oceans that are dying from too much plastic… and yet, we don’t hesitate to go out and buy all kinds of stuff packaged in plastic that never gets recycled. We bemoan our political fates, yet we don’t actually engage with the people or the process. We curse all sorts of forces around us, as though we have no control or influence… at a time when the average person has more control and influence than maybe ever in the past hundreds, even thousands, of years. The cognitive dissonance is deafening. And yet, we persist in making choices that go directly against our own best interests, even survival.

I’m not saying we need to each radically up-end our habits, and do away with every offending act and thought. It’s an idea, but it’s probably not all that sustainable.

What I am suggesting is that we just might be able to get more of a connection with our larger lives, by looking within our systems and better understanding how we — each and every one of us — functions at the cellular level. You can learn a lot from looking at the drawing of a synapse… especially if you really think about what you’re looking at.

The human race has always looked up for meaning. We’ve looked to the stars… to big-picture concepts… mythology… beliefs… religions… philosophies… storytelling in books as well as on the small and big screens… we’ve searched high and low for ways to make sense of our world. And now, since we have the equipment and the capability, we can also look within — literally — to find new clues from our cellular makeup about what it means to be us, what it means to be human… what it means to be here.

That’s ultimately what Beloved Distance is all about — looking at some very, very tiny stuff, to see if there’s any big meaning there.

I’ve found a lot of it.

You might, too.

“Beloved Distance” paperback is now available on Amazon

I just checked Amazon, and sure enough, Beloved Distance is now available for purchase there.

Beloved Distance listing on Amazon
Click the image to order “Beloved Distance” on Amazon

Just a reminder, the eBook will be available for download through the rest of today (Eastern Time).

As the rest of the world churns over last night’s political spectacles, I settle into my day and get ready to take care of business.

I wish you peace.

2.5 more days – Beloved Distance eBook available for free download

Deloved Distance CoverFree eBook Download Available till 31 January, 2018

Beloved Distance – The Separation That Connects Us to All

Click here to download a Free copy of the Beloved Distance eBook (ePub format – gratis till 31. January 2018)

After 1/31/18, Beloved Distance will be available for purchase in Kindle format and also in print.

Amazon ordering coming soon!

About Beloved Distance

We live in a world on fire.

Everywhere we turn, there’s discord, strife, violence. It feels like everything is falling apart, and the global suffering never seems to end.

What can we do?

Some say, we must eradicate separation and experience Unity, in order to step back from the brink of destruction. We must come together As One, and embrace a sense of universal connection.

The only problem is, separation is central to our human experience. We are separate beings, distinct from each other. And we constantly seek to distinguish ourselves from others, as part of our community-building work.

This book explores how we can embrace separation and distance as a vital part of our human lives. It asks us to look within – to the very structure of our cells – to find answers… and ultimately meaning… in the way we’re built, and the way we are built to connect.

Separation is what we are.

Connection is what we do.

Join this journey into the innermost workings of the amazing human body, and let it change your ideas about the outermost workings of the human species.

Get your copy now

 

 

 

 

The wait is over – Beloved Distance is now available for download and (print) order

Deloved Distance CoverNow Available

Beloved Distance – The Separation That Connects Us to All

Paperback 9×6″

168 Pages

$11.95 (+$2.99 s/h)

Printed on-demand, takes 5-10 days for delivery.

Order Your Print Copy on Amazon Now

Click here to buy in Kindle Format ($9.95)

ut Beloved Distance

We live in a world on fire.

Everywhere we turn, there’s discord, strife, violence. It feels like everything is falling apart, and the global suffering never seems to end.

What can we do?

Some say, we must eradicate separation and experience Unity, in order to step back from the brink of destruction. We must come together As One, and embrace a sense of universal connection.

The only problem is, separation is central to our human experience. We are separate beings, distinct from each other. And we constantly seek to distinguish ourselves from others, as part of our community-building work.

This book explores how we can embrace separation and distance as a vital part of our human lives. It asks us to look within – to the very structure of our cells – to find answers… and ultimately meaning… in the way we’re built, and the way we are built to connect.

Separation is what we are.

Connection is what we do.

Join this journey into the innermost workings of the amazing human body, and let it change your ideas about the outermost workings of the human species.

Get your copy now

 

 

 

 

Beloved Distance eBook is queued up for publication this coming week

Deloved Distance CoverThis weekend has turned out to be another full one (and I’m flying to Austin, next weekend, so there’s another weekend… consumed. So, I’m making the most of my time.

I’m still waiting for the print proof copies to show up (tho’ they might be waiting for me down at the garage, if FedEx showed up today – I’ll have to go check).

In the meantime, I’ve prepped the eBook version, and that is ready to go on Wednesday. I’ll be offering free copies of the eBook on publication day (Wednesday, January 17), as well as opening up to purchase.

Folks who want print copies will be able to order on Wednesday, as well. It’s just going to take a week or two for them to arrive, since the first print run has yet to go, and fulfillment takes time. But nonetheless, Beloved Distance will be available this coming Wednesday, January 17, 2018, as planned.

And once the production details are all settled and the book is in circulation, the in-depth discussions shall commence.

On it goes.

Ever onward.

P.S. If you’d like a review copy, please comment below. Specify print or digital. And if you’d like to chat about Beloved Distance on your radio show or podcast, feel free to reach out to me, as well. Would love to talk!

Proof copies have been ordered… now the wait

Deloved Distance CoverLast weekend was a full one. I’m still recovering from the marathon work session. Final edits all typed up, final formatting for the interior done, cover (shown) sorted, and now I wait for the proof copies to show up.

I’ve run six different versions, each with a different typeface. Yep, it’s that important to me. I want to choose the right font, and I also want to make sure all the images are as clear as possible. It’s challenging to tell from the soft copies, as well as from the interior approver app on CreateSpace, because the way something comes across digitally doesn’t ever match exactly how it will look in print.

That whole ink-on-paper thing… and never knowing exactly what quality the paper will be, or if the print job will be done to perfection… all that.

Yep, just have to run a bunch of copies and see what’s the best.

I’m currently in the process of sorting out the Kindle version. That should be ready to go by early next week.

For now, it’s all about wrapping up the loose ends — getting promotional materials together, perfecting the “elevator speech”, fixing the website(s), and getting ready to roll.

One step at a time. One step at a time.

On track to publish, a week from today.

Yes.

“Perceiving at a Distance” – The Conference that kicked off Beloved Distance

stone building with archwaysBack in February, 2016, I was roaming around the web, looking for interesting subjects to read, study, explore. I was particularly interested in neuroscientific and philosophical topics, and I came across mention of a conference called “Perceiving at a Distance”, to be held in Antwerp, Belgium the following June. As I read through the Call for Papers, and I explored the (now defunct and re-absorbed into the forgetful vastness of cyberia) it occurred to me that I might write something on “the fundamental ubiquity of distality”.

Huh?

Well, why not? I’d been fascinated by the nearly impossibly small gap that separates each of the trillions of chemical synapses in our bodies and brains. And I’d been doing a ton of thinking about it. Noodling about it. Pondering it. Exploring the concept spatially and non-verbally, as well as in my own written notes. It had been some 3 years, since I’d clued into that, and I thought for sure I had something interesting to contribute to the conversation.

Namely, that as uncomfortable as it might make us, the basic nature of our existence is separateness. Everywhere you looked, everywhere you searched, you’d find distance — distality. On the outside. On the inside. It’s everywhere.

Yeah! The fundamentally ubiquitous distal nature of human existence.

What’s not to love?

So, I outlined a paper.

And I sketched it out.

And I filled in the gaps.

And the more I explored it, the more I realized was actually there. I was onto something, but I’d just begin to scratch the surface.

So, I kept reading. I kept writing. I kept thinking. June approached, along with the CFP deadline. June passed, along with the deadline, but by that time I was in too deep… in too far… and I still had a ways to go.

It’s a pity the materials from the conference aren’t still online. I think I have a soft copy of them somewhere. But there’s also New Directions in the Study of the Mind is a new research project at the Faculty of Philosophy in Cambridge, supported by the John Templeton Foundation. And as I recall, I spent a fair amount of time on that site, reading what they had to offer, so if you’re so inclined, you might want to pay them a visit, too.

Anyway, time passed. The book concepts developed. The ideas gelled. And now I’m less than six weeks away from publication of a book that sprang from that original thought — that distance is very much a part of who and what we are… and rather than it being a bad thing, it can actually be a very good thing.

I’ll be posting pre-order links for the book in the coming week or so. Watch this space, to reserve your own copy of Beloved Distance.

Coming in January.

Which is sooner than it seems.