The Dialogue

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold;
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.

Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 5

The Neophyte. Second, unpublished plate. Etching, Gustave Doré, 1875, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

The Neophyte relates the story of a Dialogue between Consciousness and the Universe to a gathering of empty chairs that ghosts and spirits use without anyone knowing.  He has the free will to speak yet much difficulty expressing himself, for his soul is the one channeling the Dialogue. He gives his hands the freedom to write down the exchange, yet his written words hardly reveal his soul within. Should he burn them all only to keep the simplest expression?

Breaking the silence

Of an ancient pond

A frog jumped into water

A deep resonance.

There is something utterly poetic about verses stripped bare that cut through a profound idea, seemingly dropping an anchor in our minds. What is it about an ancient pool, a frog leaping, and a splash of water that awakens our souls? Here, certainly, another encounter of kindred spirits took place beyond time. Long after the Poet Bashō described his awakening, the Poet Tagore commented: “An ancient pool, dark, silent, … As soon as a frog leaps into it, sound is heard… The picture of this old pool must be sketched in the mind; consequently, only that much has been suggested by the poet; anything more would be unnecessary.” And so understood it the translator Nobuyuki Yuasa.

Tagore and Einstein once touched upon the role of chance. They debated the nature of reality. Could reality resonate with the soul as simply and clearly as an ancient pool, a frog leaping, and a splash of water? The simplicity of its basic foundation may look vague, for neither cycles nor causality prevent the elusiveness of reality. The Juggler, built of bubble-like concepts, carries the weight of its vague expression on its shoulders. 

Les Saltimbanques, initially entitled The Victim, Gustave Doré, Musée d'Art Roger-Quilliot, circa 1874


The idea of a vaguely defined observable reality could be cashed out in several different ways - in particular, the vagueness in question could be semantic vagueness, where there is some ambiguity about the referent of a term, epistemic vagueness, where there is some vagueness in our knowledge of the world, and ontic vagueness, which refers to vagueness in the world itself, i.e. vagueness that would persist even if we had perfect knowledge and completely precise terms.

Emily Adlam, Do We Have Any Viable Solution to the Measurement Problem? January 18, 2023

By hinting at the shadowy knowledge of what is yet to be discovered, vagueness is subject to interpretation for words as much as concepts and the ‘beyond’ itself remain vague. Is reality a construct of the human mind or independent of it, something beyond human understanding, consequently without mathematical expressibility? Observers generally identify reality as conventionally agreed upon, reasonably accepted, and empirically accessible. 

The Universe, though, reveals itself in a precarious state.  At some point, we jump off the train of human existence while it is still going so that no one knows its destination. All along, our souls reach out to other souls — ephemeral beings who have long moved on peacefully — to hear their take on the laws of Nature. In spatiotemporal terms, what is reality? And what is the extent of its reach? Linked by a bond of spiritual unity, Einstein and Tagore disagreed, for they tackled the problem from two different angles. Einstein’s mission was to answer the question of what sort of a thing the Universe is in its ultimate and simplest nature, while Tagore addressed the question of how it feels like to be the Universe. Both perspectives mirror each other. 

Does our collective state of being imply the sameness of our experience? Our reality is filled with multiple layers that are deep and dynamic, like the movement of a wave. While observers above the surface calculate its "statistical order," beneath the surface, they estimate its probability. Not only does reality reveal itself in such a sectionalized way, its state of being is not numerically alone but a crowding of ghosts. Reality does not exist in isolation. It is 'haunted' by spatiotemporal points, parameters, seeds, and remnants.

Yet, in a most unlikely way, we experience it one world at a time. It is the unique character of the experience that refutes the possibility of different states of the same system or different states of the same observer. The clouds, Einstein argued, look like one from a distance. But if you look closer, they are “disorderly drops of water.” They, too, point to the coexistence of antecedents in multidimensionality. Could it be the perfect comprehension of the nature of reality? 

… there is only one world at each instant, and no two worlds where different results are obtained ever coexist at the same time. But during an arbitrarily short time interval, there are many worlds, and they exist in different sets of instants or different time subflows. In other words, worlds coexist in a time-division multiplexing way…the systems in different result branches will have different behaviors and recordable histories, and they should be regarded as different systems, not different states of the same system. In particular, the observers in different result branches who obtain different results will have different memories, and they should be regarded as different observers, not different states of the same observer.

Shan Gao, Many Worlds with both “And” and “Or”, January 21, 2024

Legend has it that monks engaged in perpetual debates about the nature of reality found themselves entangled in discussions about a banner swaying in the wind. The first disciple asserted, "The banner is not sentient; it is the wind that propels it." The second countered, "Both the wind and the banner aren’t sentient; how then can they generate movement?" The third observed, "In harmonious alignment of conditions, the wind and the banner collaboratively bring forth motion." The fourth contended, "The banner is not waving; it is the wind circulating naturally."A fervent and endless debate ensued within the community. In hindsight, Tagore would have agreed with the Sixth Patriarch Huineng, who intervened at last by saying, "The banner, like everything else, is not waving. The perceived movement is a creation of the human mind itself.”

Does the mind comprehend our shared observed reality? Does the Universe, “whose experiences are through our experiences,” comprehend the mind? Or do they intertwine endlessly? Tagore believed that there is nothing outside of a conscious experience. What he called the infinite human personality is the individual merged in the infinity, the greatly elongated human form with its considerable extension in time that holds within strings of resonance. Einstein was convinced that “truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity,” Regardless of how deep we feel immersed into its infinity, reality involves on its outskirts a rhizomatic Nothingness and a historically recorded Universe whose web-like structure weaves spacetime points with lingering feelings. The randomness of every throw of dice dislocalizes the continuous rhizomatic domain of Nothingness.

On a foggy morning where ground, water, and sky blur together, the Neophyte, feeling the expanse of the Universe, answers its calling. He squints his eyes, hoping to cut through the blanket of fog to see the calligraphy of stars on the universal sheet that hangs beyond the light of day. In and out of the human gaze, he spots from afar starburst-driven galactic outflows and hears the fainting heart of neutron stars. At his feet, all the empty chairs float in the mist. Feeling out of place, he asks, “Do drops of water speak? Do they communicate when water boils, ocean waves rise and swell, snow crunches, ice cracks, and waterfalls plunge?”

Pouring rain dripping makes the wood expand and swell. The wooden floor becomes the surface of a pond under which lies the bottom of the sea. The Neophyte has shrunk into a tiny frog dreaming of being human at the edge of the Unseen, quenching his thirst at every fountain — even those entrenched in the divide. He breaks the silence of an ancient pond where wiser frogs once dwelled. He is a frog-poet who hopes to wade across the Ocean to faraway shores. Waves rock the Neophyte to sleep.

The Neophyte, Gustave Doré, circa 1866-1868, Chrysler Museum of Art


Eugene Ionesco, Les Chaises, Farce tragique

Matsuo Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and other travel sketches translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa

Thomas Merton, Woods, shore, desert: a notebook, May 1968

Rabindranath Tagore, A Tagore reader

Kanako Nishi, "Burn" translated by Allison Markin Powell in Freeman's Power

Alix Paré & Valérie Sueur-Hermel, The Fantastic Gustave Doré


The Questioner

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

The Questioner thought that time moves forward, but these days, she eerily feels that time moves backward. From the standpoint of her inner feelings, she struggles to understand why they say time is uniform. From D.C. to San Francisco, from the Carina Nebula to the Earth, time feels different. On this foggy shore, she has gone nowhere, unable to cross the transcendent bridge to the other side from where her wounded spirit heeds a beckoning call. 

The Questioner of the Sphinx By Elihu Vedder, 1863, Fine Arts Museum of Boston

The Questioner of the Sphinx By Elihu Vedder, 1863, Fine Arts Museum of Boston

Like Vedder’s pilgrim clothed in rags, she embarked on an arduous journey, hoping to hear the elusive Truth from the East to the West. Success seems uncertain, for skulls of past questioners are washed away on this shore, buried by the shifting sands of time. Undeterred, she persists. What matters, after all, is the process itself. While the pilgrim on the East Coast leans in to hear the Sphinx’s enigma, not a person is left on the West Coast to answer her riddle. The Sphinx has surrounded herself with shipwreck remnants, amid which dice are fatefully tossed into a Truth that cannot be no matter how much it is better defined. 

The Sphinx of Seashore By Elihu Vedder, 1879, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

The Sphinx of Seashore By Elihu Vedder, 1879, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

But wait a bit - Doubt does not die;
It is essential as the eye,
For tis' the prism of the mind
Making a spectrum where we find
The lines of Truth better defined
To which we're blind.

Elihu Vedder

The Questioner follows the poets’ lead who live in dreams where signs and symbols are more real than words they hear and images they see in their waking hours. Since crossing the threshold, she lingers at the boundary. Immersed in the Quantum Forest, she loses track of time and meets a quantum Observer. Together, they witness time fleeing the house of everything to join Nothingness and the Quantum Universe in the infinite circle of the three Universals, imprinting itself in gravitational wave echoes. 

Orchestrating a Blooming Desert by Steven Yazzie (National Gallery of Art)

Orchestrating a Blooming Desert by Steven Yazzie (National Gallery of Art)

In the making of a universal symphony involving information resonance,  relic gravitational waves lie beneath the cosmic microwave background. Trembling waves date back to the breaking of spherical pressure waves transitioning asymmetrically. Gravity is the tie connecting with the visible matter through only very tiny interactions, if at all.  Fermions are musical notes that strengthen and amplify in the process.

In Barbour’s realm, expansion occurs simultaneously on either side of the Big Bang. The two futures in the two directions are independent. From the standpoint of the rhizomatic Nothingness,  however, no singular or Janus point exists. Across the Multiverse, time is local, seemingly evaporating like droplets. It lives in minds, suspended memories, and curved space. Whether quantized gravity or gravitized quanta, time unravels from the rhizomatic Nothingness. On a line interval flowing endlessly, compactified three-dimensional forms touch the trail of feelings while carrying within a lingering sense of absence at the juncture of Nothingness and Being. 

The Questioner asks, “If the universal organism reveals itself in plain sight where structures and objects enjoy a fragile taste of free will, so when does the planning occur?” The Observer answers, “A transformative process is hidden in multidimensional layers of the overlapped, intricate Multiverse.” He offered her a clue before parting ways: “Given the predictable arrival of pulsar radio signals, any delay or acceleration in the timeline of electromagnetic waves traveling through the cosmos is a telltale sign of the interrelation between time, gravity, and space.”

Hope says, 'I seem to see light.'
Faith says, 'That is the dawn of day.'
Doubt says, 'I'll wait, it is yet night.'
Death says, 'Tis left for me to say
Which one is right.'

Elihu Vedder

It remains difficult for the Questioner to entirely grasp the extent of the meaning of multidimensionality. She goes on to meet again the oddly balanced character who comes to life only to experience the fear of its collapse. Staring at its head, the Questioner ponders, “If Nothingness is a time domain, isn’t it akin to Timelessness?” The Juggler — as it is otherwise known — scratches its head and replies: “Timelessness is the feeling of eternity. By suggesting a simultaneity and unification of temporal moments, it characterizes time positively above the surface while the rhizomatic Nothingness as a time domain refers to the so-called imaginary time, layers of the Multiverse below the surface.” Delving deeper into the Truth, the Questioner wonders how to bring into light the shadowy time zones.

The Juggler’s head is filled with the hush of silence. In Nothingness, silence rules. Concepts of distance and length find no place. Their very mention is absent. How, then, could a sound so faint be whispered in its ear? Recalling an old manuscript from the East, the Questioner asks: “Where do sounds come from anyway? Nature, Being, or something else?”  In its heart, the Juggler dreads the collapse of its parts and responds: “While the sounds of the Universe surface over time, the hushing silence influences the quantum system, and in turn, the quantum system influences the hushing silence. When bound to mass and volume, the sounds of the Universe translate into frequencies. Entropy gauges the random changes in the symphony. Beauty is the qualitative property necessary for the Universe to feel its beat. With gravity, the symphony gains in amplitude, form, and texture.” 

Goodnight noises everywhere!

Margaret Wise Brown

Musicians and Poets who reached the land of dark sectors before she did gained a timeless knowledge of sounds, encouraging her to assimilate the subtleties of rhythm, frequency, amplitude, texture, and structure. The texture reveals layers of low-frequency waves originating from distant astrophysical sources and high-energy processes separated from her by eons. Sounds from afar appear random, in sequence, or changing. 

The Questioner continues her journey, three steps forward and two steps back. A roadblock obstructs her path. Since the arrow of time gets into things through the touch of gravity, if repulsive gravity is discounted, could it mean that antimatter — whether in atomic confines, undiscovered patches, or in exotic dimensions — isn’t going backward but shares our thermodynamic arrow in a symmetrically forward motion? If repulsive gravity is ruled out, does that suggest that there is only an irreversible series of events producing asymmetric outcomes?

In this realm of multidimensionality, past, present, and future weave a continuum paved with footprints seemingly pointing in one direction, even those of ubiquitous neutrinos and their counterparts throughout their lifetime. Arrows of perspectival time in all the many layers do not cease to exist even if they cease to be there. With a smile, the Juggler bids her farewell, stating: “Once and for all, on this shore, time comes first, but, in all truth, what is left of time passing?” 

She pulls her head above the surface and watches a fox crossing her path as it returns to the forest den, urging her to do the same. Words have formed a pit in which she drowns herself. At the pit’s base, she takes time to reassess each drop-like word, anchoring them one by one onto a makeshift ladder that she climbs to emerge into the sunlight. She remains not a bit tamed, unwilling to do as she is told by the fox. 

In the deceptive cycles of Nature, the Questioner takes stock of all things, realizing that, ultimately, no conditions or entities truly replicate themselves. They disperse across time and space, expelled as transcendent structures through shattered patterns. While entities — and their identities — diverge from each other, physical and non-physical traces blend, negating isolation. Outside the Questioner’s own line of sight, crisscrossed lines fade into a multidimensional whole from which the holistic Nature arises.

Alma and the pups wandered north seeking Ella and Ernst, Watercolor, 2019 By Elin Whitney-Smith

Alma and the pups wandered north seeking Ella and Ernst, Watercolor, 2019 By Elin Whitney-Smith

A bird singing leads her along a rocky path over the mountain toward the setting Sun. It is not that she wishes to orchestrate a symphony but to pursue the making of a melody that unravels within her quantum mind, guided by memories of an ancestral passage ringing louder and louder. Amid forms and lines, kindred spirits murmur in her ear: “Agency coexists with space, sentience with time, consciousness with gravity.”Wary of missteps, the Questioner follows the moonlit trail, sensing time through fingering sounds. By now, her mind has pushed the door of her cell, unchained by the four-dimensional boundaries. ​​​​​​​

If I must Die
Let it Bring Hope
Let it be a Tale

Refaat Alareer

The Art of the Line

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Tree & Serpent, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ontology of Absence



Reaping intervals disappear in the silent blanket of Nothingness while lines cut through the chaos mounting above the dimly lit surface in a cadential hierarchy of events. The tuning of the Multiverse as it expands and evolves pluridimensionally occurs with the adjustment of interval sizes so as to fit the scale for use and meet specific sounding and echoing requirements from the rhizomatic Nothingness to the far reach corners of the Multiverse.

We suggest that Nothingness is a time domain. There exists a deep connection between island universes, and ways in which imaginary time and real time are encoded into each other. The search is on for missing links in a symbolistic language across the Multiverse. The communication rests upon a repertoire of markings carved into the canvas of time. Mathematics, starting with algebra and geometry, offers symbolic means. It reveals a creative expression caught by the human gaze of preexisting feelings. While its expressive power opened a passage, a system of forgotten signs built a graphic support and an archive of a vibrational dialogue within the biology of the mind. 

In 1927, Alfred North Whitehead wrote in Symbolism: its Meaning and Effect that there is one great difference between symbolism and direct knowledge. Direct experience is Infallible. What you have experienced, you have experienced. As we tread waters to better challenge ourselves, we become wary of using familiar colors to paint across the line all that we have not yet experienced. Retracing one’s steps through the muddy waters of memory, we look back at the shadowy symbols sprung out of Nothingness. Inside the mind plays out the collective Unconscious while the inner ear hears keys of a whispering silence. It is aware of time passing, and deciphers the profound subtlety in evolving shapes. Dots, circles, and lines of the gaseous medium contract and expand into spiral galaxies and wiggling nebulas. Itinerant lines, coming and going, sustain a geometric awareness.



Perception is multileveled. Beyond screening the presentational immediacy, it involves sensing Nature's intrinsic meaning as if all grains of sand were catching the same breeze. Poets are commentators of aesthetics. They force surfaces and depths, drawing inspiration from symbolic references. Poets are Nature's heirs. As such, they feel a direct connection through the symbols of the Universe. Symbols, poets argue, write the code behind dissonant notes that rattle the Universe to the point that it may be out of tune. Dissonant notes, they feel, play a role they are born in, clueless of what they are yet to become.


A transfer of feelings takes place by means of communication. When poets habit themselves to the dazzle of light, they see shiny beings playing peek-a-boo in the woods over the hills, flights of fiery birds above the shore, spirits through the double mirror, flashes of cosmic energy, particles’ trajectories extending across islands of the Multiverse and a celestial bridge at the collapse of time. The late James Hartle wrote that there is an ensemble of alternative possible universes, whether they arise at every quantum state or follow their specific evolution, as in the case of the Universe that we experience.


Alfred North Whitehead furher explained that symbolism is very fallible, in the sense that it may induce actions, feelings, emotions, and beliefs about things which are mere notions without that exemplification in the world which the symbolism leads us to presuppose. He added that it is the task of reason to understand and purge the symbols on which humanity depends. Nonetheless, tomorrow’s realism is today’s foretelling tale of future explorers stretching arm and hand to lift the veil, hoping to shed a bright light on the outline of a dim reflection beyond the Earth’s blue dome. Pushing further the four corners of reality, poets chase the manifestation of concealed elements and hidden signals. Their inner ear touches the trail of feelings at the intersection of Nothingness and Being. 



For the transdimensional Consciousness, Nothingness coexists as a fundamental constituent of reality. Dreams evoke an ancient path. They are filled with abstract lines etched deep in the recesses of the Unconscious. They speak of an eagle watching over two raging dragons and tell a mental riddle of the Queen ant in a cave at the center of the Multiverse, guarding watchfully the entrance of a celestial portal. A spiritual ballad composed, like a medley, from musical sounds, painted lines, and carving void recalls the story of stars born out of giant molecular clouds, that passed unto planets and their ecosystems their magnetic energy.


NGC 346 (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Nolan Habel (NASA-JPL))



The provocative effect of Nothingness is evidence of the ontology of absence and entails a necessary shift in human consciousness. In the search for the first moments and the origin of our Universe, I noodled on the idea of the red maple being the first tree to wake up in Spring. Still, it is not the source of everything, just a sampling of what is yet to come. No single point of emergence exists out of the rhizomatic Nothingness.

Underneath is a continuous, rhizomatic domain of the imaginary time seemingly prior but actually intertwined in the very manifestation of discrete quanta. The rhizomatic approach brings up the image of a young pianist performing Bussotti’s piece, who bends forward to reach under the lid and plucks the strings before straightening his back up to strike keys on the keyboard. It describes countless streams of a watershed irrigating the above layout of a physical landscape. The topology of a rhizomatic Nothingness hinges on non-locality and continuously draws a map of extensional forms and shapes as entangled points rise. Spooky action at a distance refers to the coexistence in multidimensionality of underground stems connected to each other in such a way as to constitute the rhizome of Nothingness, any point of which is and has to be connected to another. 

From Mille Plateaux

From Mille Plateaux


The main characteristic of a rhizome is that it is not made of units but of dimensions, or rather of moving directions. Like the sharp spines of a porcupine, lines move in all directions from the Quantum Multiverse. Whether they are pointing horizontally or transversally, orthogonally to each other, or vertically, they thicken into broad strokes and bundle themselves up from microscopic to macroscopic objects, swirling and rotating so that they transmit the motion of time. 

How can we move away from the conundrum of something appearing out of nothing? Compositional redundancy in the poets’ bodies of work is only a stepping stone in the collective learning process. A standstill becomes a platform upon which the eye contemplates the interplay between the mind and time. It serves the purpose of reshuffling thoughts so as to return to the essence of the dialogue, the framing of a resonance. The mind, granted with a kaleidoscopic field of vision, is bound to look into each reflecting surface.

The Art of the line is the skillful dance of the imaginary pen whose calligraphy follows the pace of instantiated bits of time, drawing beable shapes. The Art consists of converting time from a non-linear to an observably linear form that scatters in all directions. It presupposes not the prior probability of antecedents but their coexistence as pluridimensional components of actual subjects.


             Enigma of the First



              Lines elongate and become



             Bodies with a horizontal



             Lines from which the light spills



             Abstractions draft and trace the



                                                                           The Art of the Line


James N Bennett, Motivic Trees, Network Analysis, and Bartók’s Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Folk Songs, No. 5, Music Theory Spectrum, Volume 45, Issue 1, Spring 2023, Pages 1–19,

Bogue, R. (2014). Scoring the Rhizome: Bussotti’s Musical Diagram. Deleuze Studies, 8(4), 470–490.

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Mille Plateaux

Symbolic Reasoning

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

I once stumbled upon The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám through the artist Elihu Vedder who wrote about how we each are a connected piece of an intangible chain, a link among kindred spirits. Whether they are encounters in real time or whose legacy we inherit, they sow in our hearts lingering feelings about a kind of collective thinking that blossoms in time and space. Consequently, we are also convinced that our words, actions, and existence will plant a seed in future minds. 

John Locke wrote that something has existed from eternity, something that has always been there as if it were by the necessity of its own nature (1). Three hundred years later, Max Plank argued that something may be a chameleon force by which all matter originates and exists. Within such a prerequisite relationship of reference (2), whatever exists should have in time and space cause of its existence.

Words, signs, and symbols that we consciously select as a vehicle for expression and their translation into terms of reference depend upon the freedom of the acting being fueled by an inner feeling stitched in the depth of time. Reason would have us believe, however, that as much as we cannot anticipate the future, the accidental character of events does not allow us to conceive all the stages and occurrences the Universe has gone through from its initial conditions, let alone at its quantum state.

No matter how hard a knot it is to untie, the Universe is a beautiful story that each generation stubbornly keeps writing in the course of its exploration. At each fork in the road, its history is endlessly splitting, adding details to the story. It does so, Steven Weinberg pointed out, every time a macroscopic body becomes tied in with a choice of quantum states. Choice breeds a kind of hesitation observed by Georges Lemaître when the early Universe was not hurried into existence between two distinct periods of rapid expansion. Could there have been periods of stasis at other points during its evolution?

The choice of quantum states offers a rationale for the formation of a Multiverse. To the mind’s eye, it is a string of universes brought into being at every knot made on the thread of time through chains of past, present, and future events, and so creating a tightly knitted patchwork. Whatever the mirror faces of the first kaleidoscope-like moment, a thread was sewn through the shadows, on which universes expand. 


There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see:
Some little talk awhile of ME and THEE. 
There was—and then no more of THEE and ME.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Astromomer-Poet of Persia Rendered into English Verse by Edward FitzGerald with an Accompaniment of Drawings by Elihu Vedder

There was a Door

There was a Door

A theoretical debate over the structural composition of such a landscape involves questions such as whether fundamental components vary across the Multiverse. Is there an overarching set of laws and means and a relation to each other? Beyond boundaries, emergence occurs at junction sites like the tunneling of black holes. And so we wonder whether there is such a thing as a simple event at the core of it all. 

But the more we dig in, the more we unearth compound events whose shape and form are polydimensional. If not a real physical entity, the Multiverse is a polydimensional structure across which transmogrified particles and transposable forces resonate with echoes sent around and through. The various dimensions contained in such a resonance chamber ring through invisible walls. 

Polydimensionality describes how universes — physical or otherwise — are capable of complex resonance in proximity to each other. If chance is an extensional criterion, what is, then, worth valuing? The eye catches words like component and extension. It remembers the sight of feelings. Inside the polydimensional structure of the Multiverse, integrated components like matter and spacetime transmit motion to one another. 

Without feelings, the Multiverse would have no resonant form. In The Parable of the Apple (3), matter wraps geometry as with the dimple that arises in the apple because the stem is there. Reality appears when spacetime tells matter how to move and matter tells space how to curve, as if they were aware of each other. In reality, matter is an outward appearance, a physical manifestation of spacetime which responds with periodic disturbances.

When we say that no belief is an island, we imply that no probability is an island either. Ideas have context. When we say that universes in the Multiverse are like islands in an ever-inflating ocean (4), we mean that they are seemingly detached and even isolated but intrinsically connected. Each given position in the Multiverse reflects the range of probabilities that a particle is at that position until the probability fades away and is replaced in real time by an observational fact. 

The Multiverse describes a spray of possible axes of association, whose relations to one another are not necessarily in real time. Physicality is not what I have in mind. Concepts of polydimensionality and probability relate to each other in the imaginary time.  Perception is multileveled. There exists an information resonance above and beneath the surface. While it is revealed in real time through symbolic means of geometry and complex numbers, the source lies in imaginary time. 

Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
 A lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
 As from Without—"THE ME WITHIN THEE BLIND!"

Behind The Veil

Behind The Veil

The process of assigning a fixed interpretation becomes an extension of a theory of probabilities. It is an argument in favor of existentialism whose basic principle of freedom allows to confer a degree of reality. It entails the manifestation in real time of spacetime,  a fixation of a momentary phase (2).  In the exploration of the Universe/Multiverse, science and philosophy together aim at deciphering the conditions of attunement within such a resonance-body (5). 

Information runs through a web of symbolic means dependent upon the appropriation of elements to be components of reality. It is indeed a consequence of human perception that we interpret the Universe in real time.  In the end, what we question is the concept of reality itself. 


When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
. As the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast.

Coming and Departure

Coming and Departure


(1) George Boole, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on which are founded the mathematical theories of logic and probabilities

(2) Nelson Goodman, Languages of art: an approach to a theory of symbols

(3) Charles Eisner, Kip Thorne, Archibald Wheeler, Gravitation

(4) Thomas Hertog, On the Origin of Time

(5) Jan Zwicky, Lyric Philosophy

The Multiverse

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Ah, give me pure mind, pure thought! Let me not be in haste to detect the universal law; let me see more clearly a particular instance of it!

Henry David Thoreau

The bee balms of the past are gone. Delicate and unpredictable, they retreated into the shadows. Will they flourish in the coming years? Three have emerged this summer.

The bee balms of the past are gone. Delicate and unpredictable, they retreated into the shadows. Will they flourish in the coming years? Three have emerged this summer.

Expectations are the mind’s determination of what is possible. As if they were passing comets, fleeting and transient, ideas pierce through the thick coat tagged Not Knowing. Clarity is imprisoned, clouded by layers of emotions. The mind pushes the bars of its prison, unaware of how much it wants to free itself. The discussion circles back around the spatiotemporal frontiers of the Universe, whether the four-dimensional features are all that there is, and how far the boundaries of the ontological realm extend

The Universe is a vast mosaic of local matters of particular fact. Spacetime continuum in which entities are inherently alone in their inner process defines a collection of local matters drawn in spatiotemporal patterns with invisible lines and spiraling wells. Entities, such as those with a repeatedly identifiable nature, enjoy bits of feeling. Feeling, I recall, is the appropriation of elements to be components in the internal constitution of an actual subject. In isolation from all the conditions under which they exist, each local matter cannot be fully comprehended. Knowledge, Meaning, and Existence are intertwined. As boundaries shift deeper into the realm of possibles, they uncover a codified language, a celestial writing about events pertaining to the Dialogue between Consciousness and the Universe.  

The Multiverse

All things, including the Universe, convey an incomplete meaning in and by themselves. The holistic nature of meaning entails a necessary connexion of content. Within its boundaries, the Universe is an organism showing peculiar facts based on spatiotemporal location, with its faintest and most distant galaxies bursting with star formation far away from the quiet Milky Way. Beyond its borders, even it may not be solitary but a tessera in a mosaic of universes — a member of a species.

From the surface of a page to the surface of a painting, poets and painters describe what rises from beneath the surface of things. Philosophers identify it as the realm of potentiae. Below the tip of the spacetime iceberg are possibilities waiting to exhale at the stroke of spontaneous symmetry breaking. They are measured by their corresponding probabilities. What it means to exist within the realm of possibles is tantamount to what we call the Multiverse that ultimately predicts the infinity of adjacent possibilities. From our side of the Boundary,we see it as the realm of uncertainty where unactualized possibilities are stranded. 

As for the Universe, the freedom of its acting Being is held hostage by all the things that reside in it. It is a permanent mismatch of ephemeral states — whether they are milliseconds or billions of years. Sequences of elements graft themselves to its stratified layers, allowing stability levels to form irregular steps. Periods of equilibrium punctuate such imbalance, giving a false sense of knowing while hidden gestation occurs in the shadows. The holistic nature of meaning follows a beat hidden in the course of time. 

No belief is an island; to understand it entails being able to use its concepts in other contexts, to make other related judgements: it involves mastery of a web or system.

Simon Blackburn

The Multiverse

Those elements whose identification precedes any appropriation have an independent existence of their own. But from what, though, has the Universe appropriated to itself the course of its uncharted destiny as it reveals itself by expressing itself and knows itself through every bit of experience? From what has it inherited its internal logic? There are ways to look at the rules of the game. From our point of view, the Universe is governed by laws that match its content, and through its content, it sets the corresponding laws. 


In the timeline set by the Sun, we caught a glimpse of longer cycles. Changes unfold while structures expand, shrink, and crumble. Open splits let entities, events, and selves seep through. As we look through the anthropic lens at the entire biosphere, no single event or entity is isolated from the Universe. We peek at chance rising unceasingly among the flows and anti-flows, through the magnetic and gravitational fields, between the expansive and cohesive forces. 

The biosphere has built a nest in the midst of the Earth’s magnetic field in constant fluctuation. Does the model upon which evolution proceeds in short bursts of change separated by long periods of stasis apply to the life of galaxies whose periods of rapid formation were interspersed with quiet periods in the far past when fewer stars formed? Do humans, individually or as a species, experience prolonged stasis until they leap forward?


The Multiverse

To an idealist, there is a deep connectedness. Nothingness and the Quantum Universe give rise to chance that is all at once Freedom, Essence, and Existence. It is a threshold between many Universes — an interuniversal medium. It is a process aimed at creating multiple outcomes, beyond which the macroscopic features of our Universe do mean something to the underlying quantum setting from which they emerge. 

The quantum Universe assigns probabilities to the definite values of the observables of every system. It brings us to what means probability: something which acts on the outside according to its laws, which are supposed to govern facts that do not follow laws with laws that are not. The peaks of probability density mark the point at which systems structure themselves to rise above the surface.



 What is always in a state of becoming refers to the time notion in which quantum systems evolve — a spatiotemporal non-locality at which all circumstances originate. One thing after another, evolution adds complexity and substance to the ontological realm. Chance from which events arise is the extensional criterion. Within and beyond our Universe’s frontiers, the overarching principle remains: determinism, which underlies the evolution at the structural level, does not negate a profound indeterminism due to the contingency. 

And so, we question whether what lies dormant at the center of it all is ontic or nomological. The Multiverse’s wave function describes the position of every particle in the Multiverse. The observable quantum Universe that defines our frog’s perspective is no more than a tiny section of the Multiverse’s wave function which may well be both a nomological and ontic representation of an effective field generated by the motion of particles. In the field of Nothingness and the Quantum Universe, the wave function acts as a law for particles that are yet to exist for such a law to govern. The collapse of the wave function sets the actualization in the Multiverse. 


While the bird’s eye catches the exchange of mass and energy in our Universe’s inflows and outflows, the frog sees a quantum transactional exchange at the edge of the unseen where initial conditions meet multiple possibilities conducive to their existence, after which possibilities and actual events part ways. The increasing distance in all directions creates the conditions under which sub-systems form in a non-equilibrium state from which time rises again.

The holistic nature of meaning arises from the morphology of time, for multidimensional boundaries are fluid. Along the morphological roads, the idea of multiplicity emerges, overcoming the duality between what is and what is not. The mind, may it be called Consciousness, digs holes at the bottom of a higher dimensional pit in which lives on the extension of ourselves. Existence arises from crossing the Boundary and the path of others, emitting flickering signs of consciousness. 


The Multiverse

Entities go one way as if entering through revolving doors but still reflect a behavioral symmetry.  As they cross the threshold into their own time and space — from which they inherit their haecceity — they hold onto the inner presence of mirror selves. To an idealist, the concept of transcendence implies that more degrees of freedom are projected on every side of the Boundary. 

A small, 'quantized' wavelike excitation of the quantum field is a dice thrown on the board of the infinite game. It is the tree of Blackburn’s island as we wonder whether there is even an island on which the tree falls. Once a system structures itself,  chance presides over entities and their identities. The rules of the game in the Multiverse might explain why there is an apparent pairing problem when it comes to explaining why certain pairings happen but not others, why some particles or fields don’t interact with each other as if those non-events were relegated to the shadows. 

The entities of the Multiverse are packed into groups accordingly, falling under categories upon categories of denominations. Whether the crisscrossed lines of existence are outside our line of sight, the dice are thrown unceasingly. Chance and fate, cyclicity and randomnicity take turns. On these shores of the infinite game, recurrences alternate with thresholds to higher dimensional universes. Lines of existence see their ends fading, smothered with a thickening coat of complex multidimensionality, allowing only the nowness to occur actually.


The Multiverse

Simon Blackburn, Spreading the word : groundings in the philosophy of language

Jean Chalinea, Laurent Nottale, Pierre Grou: L’arbre de la vie a-t-il une structure fractale ? (Is the evolutionary tree a fractal structure?)

Jose Diez Faixat, Beyond Darwin: the Hidden rhythm of evolution

Bruno De Finetti. “Probabilité: Attention aux falsifications!”Texte de La « Conférence d’adieu » donnée à l’Instituto Mathematica G. Castelnuovo, le 29 Novembre 1976.” Revue d’économie politique, vol. 91, no. 2, 1981, pp. 129–62. JSTOR

Harold Jeffreys, Theory Of Probability

Harold H. Joachim, The nature of truth : an essay

Ruth Kastner, Understanding Our Unseen Reality: Solving Quantum Riddles

David Lewis. Philosophical Papers, Volume II. New York, US: Oxford University Press.

Lombardi, O.; Fortin, S.; Pasqualini, M. Possibility and Time in Quantum Mechanics. Entropy 2022, 24, 249.

Quine, W. V. (1948). On What There Is. The Review of Metaphysics, 2(5), 21–38.

Simon Saunders, Space-time and Probability

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. La place de l’homme dans la nature. Le groupe zoologique humain.

Edmond Wright. “The Entity Fallacy in Epistemology.” Philosophy, vol. 67, no. 259, 1992, pp. 33–50. JSTOR

The Multiverse

O remember
In your narrowing dark hours
That more things move
Than blood in the heart.

Louise Bogan, Night

In our own Time and Space

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Along Rotoroa Lake (South Island)

Along Rotoroa Lake (South Island)

“Midway in the journey of our life,” Dante wrote, “I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard it is to tell what that wood was….” Each step affects the mind and unravels strands of thoughts wrapping around themselves, prompting the need to frequently pause in moments filled with sparks flickering over sensemaking and the Universe. Like Ivy-leaved toadflax in the tiniest chins and cracks, drilling into walls, the mind wanders. Ideas germinate.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Through Muir Woods, I reached Aotearoa and came back with a concept ringing louder than the memories of korimakos (bellbirds) at the foot of the Pinnacles and piwakawakas (fantails ) along Rotoroa Lake. It tells the human story of neurodiversity. The Maori word created for autism is takiwatanga. It means ‘in his/her/their own time and space.’ While ‘neurodiversity’ suggests a cognitive aspect, the concept brings up images of bundles of thought processes and feelings that occur simultaneously, superposed in stacks, all being relevant, all being real. 

In our own Time and Space

I felt the white clouds’ touch, the mist’s wetness, and the sky’s closeness as I did ten years ago... On the forbidden trail along Rotoroa Lake, I reflected on the nature of other minds and states of consciousness, the diversity of feelings, and the plurality of existence. Freedom of being unites amid fragmentation. When we say ‘diversity’, we mean freedom to be in one’s own time and space. “What is it like to be a bat?” is used to ask: “how it feels to live in its own time and space?” It implies that its outer reality is intrinsically connected to its inner world. 

The walk in the woods mirrors how I lose my footing in the Quantum Forest. I imagined a set of values and coordinates that measure the body of a bird, its location on the branch along the forbidden path, and its field of view. It might have been a particle, a star, or even the twinkling of an eye. Wary of the warning sounds made by piwakawakas, my body was alert, and my eyes focused. Still, I slipped and fell in the mud.

One fancies a heart like our own must be beating in every crystal and cell, and we feel like stopping to speak to the plants and animals as friendly fellow-mountaineers. Nature as a poet, enthusiastic workingman, becomes more and more visible the farther and higher we go; for the mountains are fountains — beginning places, however related to sources beyond mortal ken.

John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

While it remains inconceivable how far in time and space the Universe’s boundaries reach and how many dimensions spread in and out of those confined limits, Sean Carroll describes a kind of stratified reality. “If we imagine describing nature in terms of multiple levels of reality,” he writes, “one such level appears to be a particular kind of quantum field theory, with other levels above and possibly other levels below” and the Core at the Quantum field level where entities, known and unknown, share time and space.

In the togetherness of Nothingness and the Quantum Universe, ‘compact’ dimensions extend the realm of existence into the field of potentialities, for they are neither observed nor perceived objectively. Since existence precedes the essence of information, we wonder whether something is not observed or belongs to another dimension. Extra dimensions draw routes in and out of the existential field. They are embedded in the grid of spacetime, closely intertwined with each other, making it a hard nut to crack. 

Redwood Bush Reserve (North Island)

Redwood Bush Reserve (North Island)

The Universe is an interacting organism comparable to a network of plants and animals, trees and fungi, birds and bats-like entities dying in a split second or over billions of years, feeding and pollinating. Some shapes and forms wither, fading away not before producing seeds, while others continue to thrive. It may be why, as John Muir foretold, "When we try to pick out something by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." 

Even more so, we fail to observe a single quark, for "quarks don't exist as individual particles" in the Quantum Universe. The expectation value of energy cannot be measured for a single quantum system, comments further Shan Gao. Particles are carried away by invisible quantum rivers with winds and currents above and below riverbeds, above sea waters and on the sea floor, above grounds and under the soil, bringing seeds lightyears away, microscopic threads connecting filaments and galaxies. Gravitational signals are sent along these paths like nutrients.

In the end, there exists a distinction between Nothingness and the Quantum Universe when there is a perceived interaction. Dreams, too, only very weakly influence and interact, competing for our attention beneath the surface. "Newton himself, "wrote Frank Wilczek in The Lightness of Being, "usually used the phrase quantity of matter for what we now call mass. His wording implies that you can't have matter without mass" If we acknowledge its existence, we assume it has a mass even if we can't measure it like a force carrier at the threshold of higher dimensions. 

Wilczek wrote in A Beautiful Question that energy conservation is "a useful but approximate result that applies in limited circumstances." One possibility may still be that the conserved energy of the system lies within hidden variables, or we simply "can't know what it is," concedes Carroll. If a dimension is a physical quantity that can be measured, a force carrier may be a relative unit meant to encapsulate it. 

Massless photons and gluons are bits of information, "embodied ideas." Whether sub-particles are the product of the mind or the outcome of observation brings up the mental image of a tree falling when no one is there. Given such uncertainty, what we virtually cannot see becomes a matter of probability. On the one hand, the problem with probability, De Finetti explained, is that, instead of considering it and studying it as such, trying to perfect our understanding of it and its use, we often externalize it as if we believe we can conceive of it only by representing, if not as a real object, at least as something which exists outside ourselves, something which acts on the outside world according to its own laws which are supposed to govern the facts which do not follow the laws with, in addition, laws which are not laws

And so it is with particles we say exist as distinct entities, in addition to the wavefunction, which, itself, becomes an entity. The wavefunction — a link between entities — "guides the particles," Carroll writes, "but the particles exert no influence on the wavefunction whatsoever." On the other hand,  if, as Sartre wrote, there is a being of the thing perceived, then a thing thought of, even as a probability, is like a plant beneath the surface of the river or a fungus underground.

A set number of evolutive stages separates zero (point particle) to oneness — a time-subjective state. Each entity, large and small, regroups itself into a one-dimensional experience that adds up to create the multidimensional Universe we know. The togetherness of Nothingness and the Quantum Universe refers to an above and a below — the ultralight fields of the dark matter that open up to extra dimensions as if in a dream where translucent weightless butterflies slowly escape through the gates of darkness. 

A month ago, I came home. A house sparrow rested on a twig of a fledgling oak. Its state of being offered a last glimpse of the neuro and bio diversity surrounding us. On the edge of the in-betweens, I set on to imagine all the things that exist in Heaven and Earth. There are voices in my head — haunting ghosts pressing me to explore — for there are so many dreams, so little time… 

Only one letter sets the artist apart from the autist. The double empathy problem speaks of a lack of connection and miscommunications between 'differently disposed social actors'. The call to mourn for what never was seeks to lift the veil of our limitations and remove our blinders. In the midst of it all, all levels become visible, for we carry within the bird's eye view, the butterfly's flapping wings, the bat's echo-sensing abilities, the chipmunk's instinct, and the elephant's gentle soul.



Sunrise at Kaikōura

Sunrise at Kaikōura

Nothingness and the Quantum Universe

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

I was a poet once...

Lee Wilson Dodd, Præterita

I lost the Moon the other night behind a blanket of clouds. She was confused about how exactly the universal organism was planning its every step behind the scene. The togetherness of Nothingness and the Quantum Universe infers the difficult predicament of having to dissociate one from the other as if the primordial structure was the meeting of above and below, the drawing of a smudged line with ‘no strands of personal order.’ 

The mind enters the Quantum Forest. It barely scratches the surface and already feels disoriented, climbing over hills of learning and knowledge, wondering whether it could ever find the nature of reality and, if not, what it is all for anyway. From mountain tops, it overlooks foams of particles with hidden and open charm, beauty, color, and flavor. It gazes down fields of elusive neutrinos, trillions of them, passing through, whose natural sources include the Earth’s core, fusion reactions in the Sun, the atmosphere, supernovae, and other neutrino-emitting sources such as, perhaps, the bright and long gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A reported last fall.


 An inverted figure comes out to play. The upside down juggler rests on its head. It takes one step back into the phenomenological investigation and brings up the concept of an emergent period, whether it be a singular structure or a quantum Big Bounce. Is the Universe a tree whose roots reach the depth of the dark sector, or is it more like a loop with one end in the dark? A mirror image involves an awareness of what goes in and out at the threshold of time. It refers to an implicit give-and-take in decay processes from and to a hidden sector of what is concealed and what is revealed. On a chameleon-like field, scenes of exchange become visible.


The more nature is analyzed in little bits, the more we uncover extra dimensions bound into a higher dimensional continuum. Extra dimensions appear mostly spatial, but the cessation and succession of physical and biological cyclicities tell us about something else: intervals between what is, what has passed, and what will be — all hanging onto the same continuous line of time. As I see it, nothingness stands for a split between all actual entities, whether they be up and down sector quarks or entire galaxies. Nothingness disappears under the remnants of what has passed, underpins what will be, haunts what is, and represents the absence within timelessness.


Every discovery and subsequent observation becomes another fundamental constituent of the observable matter and creates small cracks in the dark sector. Has there always been something? The conservation of energy in dark corners may guarantee the homogeneity and viability of the whole universal system beyond horizons. The quintessential question is whether each break contains the quantum-gravitational seeds whether any given quantum spacetime reproduces what happened with the very early quantum universe. 

Hubble Captures Smoking Gun of a Newborn Star (ESA/Hubble & NASA; K. Stapelfeldt)

Hubble Captures Smoking Gun of a Newborn Star (ESA/Hubble & NASA; K. Stapelfeldt)

The early Universe followed a timeline of its own. There is an order of appearance: After a primordial epoch of cosmological inflation and the Big Bang, quarks and gluons roamed in infinite degrees of freedom for a split second, surprisingly shorter than a blink of an eye. A mechanism of inflation driven by the hypothetical inflaton preceded the Big Bang and the quark-gluon plasma. Did inflatons decay into gravitons or other hidden particles? The gravitational force appears to hide its quantum origin in the shadows. 

In the quantum Universe, waves of energy wash up on our shores. Subatomic structures decay while others form, through a cycle of life and death, as if there was a conscious attempt to move forward. If there is no strand of personal order in a quantum gravitational foam, how could it be a ground for absorption and emission of discrete amounts of energy? The togetherness of waves and particles offers a paradox: discrete forms and continuous fields. Crawling out of shadows, the Quantum Universe may have begun with point-like particles and a field named Higgs. Could the Higgs field generate mass and be altogether the carrier of gravity through interaction with other particles?

Beyond the Higgs boson, how to imagine discrete amounts of energy without mass? What appears to be the closest to it are neutrinos. The smallness of their mass would suggest that they carry with them the feeling of absence. Neutrinos travel long distances and through large densities because of weak interactions and via gravity. Even smaller than up and down quarks and electrons, they are electrically neutral and the lightest leptons. As the plasma started to cool, primordial neutrinos propagated in the hot gas of baryons and photons under only one second after the Big Bang and during the subsequent expansion phase.

And, among the force carriers, there are the massless photons and gluons. The gluons’ strong force, the photons’ electromagnetic force, the W and Z bosons’ weak force, and the gravitational force allow connections to take place and bonds to form among particles and matter, as if their energy carriers were channeling bits of ‘life’ and ‘consciousness.’ Could force-carrying bosons be what makes the Universe an organism?

We wonder whether time truly exists during the Universe’s fleeting moments and whether short-lived particles contemplate the prospect of a future. Was there a time flow for axions, tachyons, Higgs, or other unknown primordial particles? At the gates of Nothingness, the most common construction materials — up and down quarks and electrons — make up all the carriages in the Universe. Do quarks see hadronization as their life mission? How do protons feel about time? A proton in its everlasting box may be clueless about how a human feels. 

Tell me where is humanism bred
Or in the heart or in the head?

Lee Wilson Dodd

Like Ruth Renkel, Lee Wilson Dodd (1879-1933) was a prolific writer. His poems and writings are now buried in the archives of newspapers and magazines such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Nation. He is credited for the following quote: “Much that I sought, I could not find.” In the infinitely small, do the four attributes matter? Could the concept of the four-time components make its way into Nothingness and the Quantum Universe?

Much that I sought, I could not find;
much that I found, I could not bind;
much that I bound, I could not free;
much that I freed, returned to me.

Lee Wilson Dodd

Four Notions

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

Pointe des Chateaux, Guadeloupe

Pointe des Chateaux, Guadeloupe

Past mountains, more mountains: enshrouded in clouds,
Deep-seeded with mourning, deep-watered with blood.
There, since ancient times, the eagle
Mutilates Prometheus,
Each new day it claws to tatters
Ribs and heart still beating.
Crushes, though it won’t devour
His blood: throbbing, vital —
Once again, his mauled heart quickens,
Once again it smiles.
Never will our staunch soul perish,
Nor our cherished freedom.

The Caucasus, by Taras Shevchenko translated by Alyssa Dinega Gillespie

The horse with no name jumped out of the Eagle Nebula.  “Who am I?” it asked as it pulled forward an invisible carriage whose 30-spoke wheels turn on themselves at the Universe’s cardinal points. The Eagle with dark wings glanced at the horse and wrote a riddle in its trail: “What is, has passed, will be, and is always in the state of becoming?” The horse slid through the  Earth’s clouds hung from the sky dome and came to a halt with no answer. With its keen eyes overlooking from afar the four-dimensional spacetime filled with elements of fire, water, earth, and wind, the Eagle sounded a peal and whispered: “Time.” Through seasons, the horse's hoofs went on printing rings of stars into the wood of trees.


Clouds over Arlington

Clouds over Arlington

Shapeless Universe means the four-sided reality is embedded in one. Since there is no shape, to begin with, there is no divided entity from the start. Sensitive souls have pondered over their relationship with the Universe since the beginning of time. Ideas are seeds from an antecedent philosophical thought planted into the ground of new lands adapted to their growth. We are seed sowers in the quest for answers, picking up where others left off in a participatory approach to fundamentals and principles through time and space.


You might think you could just posit some extra axiom, use it to prove G, and resolve the paradox. But you can’t. Gödel showed that the augmented axiomatic system will allow the construction of a new, true formula Gʹ (according to a similar blueprint as before) that can’t be proved within the new, augmented system. In striving for a complete mathematical system, you can never catch your own tail.

Natalie Wolchover

There is a double screen of perceptions and conceptions. We may split them apart and observe the projection of their shadows, the interplay between them. In my mind, there is a correspondence between the four time perspectives and the four attributes* of a self, a soul, a being, and an entity — whether actual or enduring. Whitehead writes that the common element of form is simply a complex enduring object. In his mind, ‘enduring’ does not preclude that they enjoy adventures of change through time and space. Enduring entities point to longer cycles and interlocked processes. How every entity processes reality depends on balancing the four time components.


What is a soul anyway? The breath of consciousness. A floating memory expanding freely like gas.  A quantum spark in a magnetic field. Even words have a soul. What I know is that how can a poet not raise the question of the soul? By soul, I mean an ethereal essence that grows and transcends. It is indivisible from cosmic consciousness. We may question the soul’s spiritual journey, whether it precedes the search for a host, and whether the four attributes form a hierarchical chain. Should the soul be prior to being, it may come from an antecedent whereabouts to take part in the foundation of an actual entity. Does the soul find its home where the light touches? And once it finds its niche in the human body, does it lodge in the heart or the mind? Whatever passes in the mind is born out of a feeling. 


The difference lies in the layers of time. Each provides a different perspective. Timelessness is what is always in the state of becoming.  It is the place of the soul. What has passed remains with the self, rigid like a rock, which clings onto past events, stages, and states. What is defines the innocence of action and the freedom of the being. What will be carries in the shadows the quintessential aspect of what it is yet to become. It is what an actual entity — a person or an organism — chases after, planning the next steps behind the scenes to serve the purpose of actualization. Whitehead asserts that even the Universe in any stage of its expansion is the first meaning of ‘organism’. I ask then: In the end, can the universal organism reveal itself by expressing itself and know itself through every bit of experience and still be planning its next steps below the surface?


The four attributes break apart and merge like dark spots on the Sun’s surface. They come together, mix and split. They take on characteristics of awareness, subjectivity, intentionality, and agency. Awareness is the process undertaken by the soul. Subjectivity is what the self cannot escape. Intentionality is what defines the existence of the being. System-wide, Whitehead’s ontological principle refers to the concept of ‘existence.’ It means that any ‘puff of existence’ or ‘drop of experience’ is, by itself, the only reason; to search for a reason, he wrote, is to search for anything that is ‘positively somewhere in actuality, and in potency everywhere.’ Nothingness becomes a nonentity beyond the realms of form and formlessness.

Agency is how an actual entity relates to a group or a society. ‘Society’ is a geometry of social order. It may apply to a group of stars, a category of galaxies, or even a clump of passing clouds. Any togetherness among actual entities underscores ties among living souls and relationships among objects, entities, and individuals. Although there may be a ‘genetic’ relatedness between members, distinct elements become over time impossible to determine. We see the wholeness of a body but are oblivious of its parts, not fully aware of the holobiont-like system within ourselves.


The universal organism is an intricate lacework of geometry and matter. In its ultimate and simplest form, it is shaped by a geometry of ontologically prior entities. Our Sun is a circle; our bodies are vertical lines with feet on the ground and heads in the clouds. We are strings, short and tall, capable of emitting sounds. And within such a geometry is a shapeless Universe laying bare its simplicity.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Reality displays a landscape of boxes in boxes. Within the boundary of each box is a mindscape that only catches a partial view through pierced holes that let sun rays shine in. From a higher vantage point, drops of feeling are everywhere at different degrees of agency, sentience, and consciousness, thus denying insentience.  A modern take on Buddhism would argue that if entities had been insensitive and devoid of seeds, the structured reality at every level, whether physical or spiritual, would not have produced anything. And so if the soul of the Universe — the source of consciousness — is indivisible from every entity, it is all at the same time individualized into every entity, scattered into echoes and mirror souls.

In contact with their environment, entities are malleable. Metaphorically speaking, they curve, flow, or freeze like water. They may be endowed with corporeality, sensations, perceptions, and the volitional act within their consciousness, as do systems and ‘societies’ that are organically constructed from actual entities. Their raison d’être is the outcome they pursue. Sentience is determined by how they relate to their surroundings through prehensions or inner feelings of perceptions by the self

Agency, Sentience, Consciousness


The question of sentience brings back to the forefront the fragile figure of the juggler. It, too, evolves into a more random state. It stretches and shrinks, moves away and closer from the collapsing of its parts. It, too, is a geometrical figure that spins on its axis. The more it spins, the more the collapsing circles of concepts become unsteady, distancing from each other at times and deepening the spatiotemporal divide from the one integrated structure. Positively speaking, the primordial integrated structure is the togetherness of Nothingness and the Quantum Universe.


 Like the juggler, the Universe loses its grip on its parts to the benefit of their independence. Something within takes over. Divides and intervals make it harder.  Every bit of experience becomes wrapped up in themselves. But if they are part-to-whole, shouldn’t they intuitively know deep down how the Universe and all its parts feel? It is neither about an outside view nor an inside experience. It is that everything — through the self, the being, the soul, and the entity — is a manifestation of time.


* The term ‘living soul’ on the top of the page to the right comes from a translation by Edward Conze. It was meant to describe the living beings, the mistaken belief in the permanence of life. The emphasis was originally on ‘life,’ not on ‘soul.’ I have revised it to focus on the ‘soul’ and extend its reach to every manifestation of time. Like Conze, I use the word ‘being’ instead of ‘creature’ to emphasize the idea of existence. I also use the general term ‘entity’ instead of ‘person’ or ‘human being’ to widen the philosophical view. 

Randolph Kloetzli, Buddhist Cosmology

Whitehead, Process and Reality

Luangwa River, Zambia

Luangwa River, Zambia

So I’ll talk about it:
about the green eye of a demon in the colorful sky.
An eye that watches from the sidelines of a child’s sleep.
The eye of a misfit whose excitement replaces fear.
Everything started with music,
with scars left by songs
heard at fall weddings with other kids my age.
The adults who made music.
Adulthood defined by this—the ability to play music.
As if some new note, responsible for happiness,
appears in the voice,...

Written by Serhiy Zhadan and translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

Time told by the Sun

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly



The day sky is the page on which the sun writes his story. His writing does not cover all the page, but is kept within an even band of closely inscribed text. The margins of his page are very broad and fair and clean. But if we turn to the night sky, we find that this page is written over also, but the handwritings here are by other writers than the sun, and the page has no margins. We have learnt to understand a little the language of the sun's book; with this knowledge we can also begin

To read the page
Where every letter is a glittering world.

Annie and Edward Maunder

Did Edward and Annie Maunder read Mallarmé’s poem when they took it upon themselves to tell the story of the heavens? Did they take note of the way his writing dances on the sheets of paper and how each word and group of words spread like sunspots on the Sun’s surface? Observers held down by gravity to the Earth’s crust see the reality, that is there for them to see, on the uppermost layer of things: stars twinkling on the velvet sky, sunspot groups whose ascent to the surface remains invisible. 


They see patterns, signs of a hidden process, and clues that storms are brewing. They observe outbreaks of spots beginning in the regions farthest in latitude and migrating in both hemispheres closer to the Sun’s equator. The distribution zone of those outbreaks within a solar cycle draws a butterfly-like time stamp. They notice the fluctuations in the symmetry of the wings. During the grand solar maximum of the last century, there was a clear north-south asymmetry, with a significantly greater number of outbreaks in the northern hemisphere. The trend was reversed with sunspots almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere during the last grand minimum and the Maunder minimum (1645–1710).


Time told by the Sun

Sunspots live and die, at least on the surface. Quieter areas, between stronger magnetic clusters, act as transition regions as if they were linked to a network down below. Darker-looking spots are large and small, growing and shrinking,  breaking up and coalescing, round and elongated, short and long-lived, in pairs and in groups. There are dark clouds with haloes passing in the plasma sky. And just as clouds, they change form and disappear.

Watching the sunrise (Guadeloupe)

Watching the sunrise (Guadeloupe)

I thought about writing a post on how the Sun remains a constant in our lives. From the Eagle Nebula, I came back to the timeless presence of the Sun. Born from nebula clouds and contracted into a ball of gas, his internal dynamics transpire through spots, plages, pores, jet-like prominences, and rising flares. Below the surface, his granular texture hides a mechanism that secretly triggers sudden conflagrations as if underground volcanoes were spewing excess plasma. Pressure waves up and down along tunnels and bridges create a changing morphology.


Sunset Over Victoria Falls (Zambia)

Sunset Over Victoria Falls (Zambia)

But in the end, I wrote about cycles of time, how apparent cycles stretch, break under the heavy weight of internal and external drivers and disruptors. Intervals in between lengthen. Cycles are lost amid variables. They are an approximation of reality that involves a bundle of coarse-grained events whose fine details start to take shape. Any system — whether it be the Sun or the Universe — evolves into a more random state as time progresses.

And so, the Sun goes through cycles of change. Cyclicity is a property easier to comprehend on shorter time scales, less when it comes to a time span of thousands to billions of years whose beginning and end are hard to fathom. Chance, through the appearance of repeating patterns, like sunspots, rises to the surface. In the Sun’s polar field reversal and magnetic activity, we find indicators and set up parameters to confirm predictions of a cyclic, if not periodic, pattern. While solar cycles last, on average, for 11 years, a cycle around 1601 lasted five years, and the one that followed, 16. In the 18th century, there were 7 or 8 years cycles while others lasted for 15. The hypothesis is that the lengthening of plural neighboring solar cycles, among which at least one cycle is several years longer than 11, could be a prerequisite for long-lasting sunspot disappearance. Yet, while cycle 23 was 12.7 years, 24 returned to a regular length of 11 years.


Spotless Sun, NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory. (January 2018)

Spotless Sun, NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory. (January 2018)

Solar minima, which last a few cycles, are also characterized by a greater number of spotless days. Cycle 24 was the 4th on record with the least sunspots. There were  274 spotless days in 2019 (SILSO). However, a recent increase in solar activity has occurred during the rising phase of solar cycle 25. It has seen a reversal, with the number of spotless days dropping in 2020 and 2021, respectively 192 and 50 (SILSO). After a quiet solar winter, the Sun came out of his slumber to resume his fiery activity.

Time told by the Sun

Whether we are coming out of a brief minimum period will be determined by whether 25 is as weak as or weaker than 24. Its maximum is expected between February and March 2024, and if there is a secular minimum, it may last through cycle 26. But even so, it would not be sufficient to counteract the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which is six times greater than the possible decades-long cooling from a prolonged grand solar minimum. 

Twelve hundred years ago, a large sunspot was observed with the naked eye on March 16, 807, at the time of Charlemagne. As it was reported in the Annales Royales, it lasted eight days. Was it of the size or even exceeding that of the great north group of solar spots spotted by Richard Carrington in 1859? During the great geomagnetic storm of August 28 through September 3, 1859, Carrington witnessed the extremely powerful sequence of two patches of intensely bright and white light, stronger possibly than the most powerful X-ray flare recorded on the 4th of November 2003. Large flares may impact Earth directly depending on where eruptions occur on the Sun’s surface. Magnetic reconnection, in which energy stored in magnetic fields is converted to energy in charged particles, is at the base of the formation of geomagnetic storms, potentially damaging to satellites, space travel, ground communication systems, and power grids. Charlemagne’s biography described the fire of a wooden structure and a dazzling torch descending from the serene sky. Do those details relate to a coronal mass ejection reaching Earth? It is estimated that G dwarf stars like the Sun could produce superflares every few hundred to few thousand years


Seagull in the sunset at the Wharf

Seagull in the sunset at the Wharf

In the mind’s eye, everything is connected through loops of adjustment and feedback, from cosmic events to the growth of tree rings. We feel the timeless presence of what is, what has passed, what will be, and what is always becoming. Tree ring researchers attempt to confirm whether radiocarbon enrichment events of cosmogenic origin can leave consistent fingerprints. One study discovered a possible correlation with three potential solar particle events in 994, 1052, and 1279. Another identified two radiocarbon events in 774 and 993. A third suggested that the solar system navigates through interstellar clouds thick enough to shrink by a factor of one-fourth the heliospheric magnetic field, already diminished after the past few weak cycles. When solar activity declines, galactic cosmic rays may reach Earth and cause a rapid increase in carbon-14 at every other minima of solar cycles.

Brown Pelican (Guadeloupe)

Brown Pelican (Guadeloupe)

While we contemplate the possibility of longer cycles of an astronomical origin, we ask ultimately to what extent they are intertwined with those of the whole biosphere and human life.  We understand time through the spatiotemporal complexities of interlocked cycles (sunspots, precession, rotation, seasonal, hydrological, carbon, nitrogen,…). Yet, we still struggle to grasp how the relationship between living souls and the Universe fits in all of this. 


Within a system of stacked cycles, there appears hidden in the human brain and body the hard question of consciousness. We can’t confirm the system-wide cyclicality of historically rare events, only that there, on Earth in this Universe, are born living souls. Concretely, on the surface, the Universe reveals itself step by step and knows itself little by little. Below the surface, there are intricate connections between beings and mechanisms, all equipped with the power of agency. We feel that the birth of a human soul is a fractal occurrence like the branches of an invisible tree and that, beyond the Earth’s geophysical and biochemical response to solar activity, there are resonance signals overshadowed along the paths of UV flux, energetic particles, and plasmatic matter. Let’s imagine that the Sun has volition and the power to communicate through light particles. And so the noise-like character of the solar radiation and the sound of waves on his stormy surface are received loud and clear at radio frequencies over great distances in neighboring galaxies to the other side of the Universe. But even the Sun is subject to universal time structures.


Giraffes in the sunset (Zambia)

Giraffes in the sunset (Zambia)

In January 2023, the Earth shook significantly on 12 occasions, with two events on January 20th — and again this month with a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Turkey — while two dozen volcanoes threw thermal signals, emitted ash, and blew steam. The Sun, too, put out a clear message that it was quiet no more with three X-flares (small though) and 13 medium-sized bursts. When dealing with concomitant events, we wonder whether the Earth trembles when the Sun unleashes dust clouds, whether she responds with tears of lava when solar winds unwind.

Wisdom is like the Sun, and knowledge is like the Moon, but the floating clouds of distorted thoughts are a veil casting a shadow on human nature

Le Sutra de la plate-forme, translated by C.T., p.46, 1992

In the end, the Universe is a metaphor meant to describe shapes and visual forms. Metaphors reveal that within a circle, there is a Sun, and within a theory, there is a shapeless Universe. When the Sun went down behind the Freedom Tower, I thought of newborn stars forming in the heads of gas pillars.  Drawn to the edge of the abyss, the gates of the heliosphere, the mind sees the Universe as a fractal fluid of free particles. Scales are relative. And when I hear the word invariance, it is still the word convergence that resonates in my head. On the visual trail from the city skyline to nebulae and back, pillars rising from the surface of the Sun shoot arrows of plasma in the direction of the Earth. 

Time told by the Sun
Etretat (France)

Etretat (France)

A bird in the shadow flew over the neighbor’s locust tree across from the rising Sun. The breeze carried its wings. There was no cloud in the sky as it flew back a while later. A house sparrow sat on the top branch of the oak sapling outside my window. Its chirping sound pulled me out of the fog in my head. The night before, I dreamt of an elephant charging and a colossal bear sleeping on rooftops. At night, dreaming is like watching a drama unfold from the mind’s dark places to brighter horizons. In the daytime, song sparrows guided my footsteps through the enchanted forest of the Universe toward the long lateral branches of a massive white-bark tree shining in the sunlight.

Earth's Climate response to a changing Sun, Thierry Dudok de Wit,  (editor)

Cycles of time, Roger Penrose

Living with the Stars, Carolus J. Schrijver and Iris Schrijver

The heavens and their stories, Annie S. D. Maunder and Edward Walter Maunder

Into the Woods of the Universe

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

A visual trail opens up. It passes through light, sound, and water, goes up skyscrapers, and makes its way through clouds into the Sun. It is the same old path that starts off with concepts and reaches into the physical world. A theory of harmony spans over an invisible abyss. A bridge connects an array of correspondence principles, first thought of conceptually, then in the most concrete ways. Ideas, too, are conveyed by colors of light, wavelength, and sounds. They, too, spring from a host and need a medium to reach receptors whose spatiotemporal location is intrinsically linked to an inner self of past images and ancestral memories. Do reason and logic have anything to say, or does freedom lead the way beneath the surface of things?

the Infinite has become an infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at his mother's breast; He who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation, hath now become so weak, that He must be carried by a woman!

Sermons of the Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of London, 1856

Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of Creation, NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

Hubble 25th Anniversary: Pillars of Creation, NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

The Pillars of creation have been studied over the years, providing us with new insights. Snapshots taken since the very first time the structures were captured with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 are fragments of a moving scenery. They are located in M16, one of the nebulae “with stars” listed by Charles Messier in his original catalog of 1771, which Jean-Philippe Loys de Cheseaux first observed based on a list he compiled in 1746. Messier wrote that in the night of June 3 to 4, 1764, he (re)discovered a cluster of small stars, which appeared in the form of a nebula.


The Universe is made of views of events which unfold as each piece of information is passed on from one event to the next. As with the formation of stars and planets by accretion, when events go through stages, they add newly integrated features to living mechanisms. Whether nebulae move away, asteroids face the Earth, or galaxies are seen face-on or edge-on, image processing attempts to produce a unified picture that converts a set of composite data into assigned colors. 

Mystic Mountain Dust Pillars Hubble (Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA; Processing & Copyright: David Forteza)

Mystic Mountain Dust Pillars Hubble (Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA; Processing & Copyright: David Forteza)

Pillars are common in star-forming regions, notably the Mystic Mountain in the Carina Nebula. Like light and shadow on a face,  their curly plumes in infrared light reveal a complex morphology, outflows of translucent gas, embedded stars, and stratified structure. It is speculated that their transitory existence is contingent upon the explosion of supernovas and that their shape is subject to change until they break off and tumble down. 

Pillars of the Eagle Nebula in Infrared (NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing: Luis Romero)

Pillars of the Eagle Nebula in Infrared (NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing: Luis Romero)

Pillars of creation may be as wide as the distance separating the Sun from Barnard’s Star, and the tallest could stretch from us to Proxima Centauri. Their life span may be a few million years in the grand scheme of things. Their heads are ionized and photoevaporated by the nearby cluster NGC6611 making the clouds look like mare’s tails in the sky. The first pillar to the left consists of two separate entities. The upper part flows behind the ionizing stars with tails of evaporating cometary globules pointing away from us. The lower part stands in front of them with tails pointing toward us. The pillars are divided into three principal components, with the third shape being unspecified, like a horse with no name.


APOD, NASA, Yannick Akar

APOD, NASA, Yannick Akar

Pillars of creation rise in the midst of the Eagle Nebula, like stalagmites on a cave floor. The eagle with dark wings hovers over a secluded cove, the nest of ascending cloud chains. Its bird’s eye view catches the physical and spiritual sides of things. Pillars are ethereally anchored on a ridge, drawing mass and energy. The limpid folds of gas and dust are stripped of their substance by hungry stars.

Webb’s near-infrared image fused with its mid-infrared image (NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI))

Webb’s near-infrared image fused with its mid-infrared image (NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI))

On the visual trail, fundamentals co-arise as trains of thought rapidly succeed. Poets rise early to catch the Sun’s eyes. They listen to the inner voices of the past, present, and future until they float back down in the light of the setting Sun. They tell stories of their encounters with shapes and forms of the Universe. A journey through space resembles a stroll into the woods. The play of shine and shade on the trees feeds their inspiration. 


Into the dark Woods of the Universe, there are trees whose roots grow beneath the surface of things. Pillars are gigantic tendrils of cosmic dust reminding poets of tree limbs. Once scale falls from their inner eye, pillars become winter trees wrapped with naked vines, filiform bodies reflecting light in the nebula’s den, sculptural figures. The subtlety of all things lies within the collapse of spacetime, the riddance of scale.


Misty-topped columns bursting with activity are spiritual beings whose subtle presence earth-bound receptors feel. Niched within hollow cavities of nebulae, they stand tall like slender buildings of the New York skyline as if they, too, were part of a laboratory for architecture, a nursery for creation. Gas pillars and concrete skyscrapers become one, merging into a shapeless Universe. 

City Skyline from Columbus Circle and Sun going down behind One World Trade Center
City Skyline from Columbus Circle and Sun going down behind One World Trade Center

City Skyline from Columbus Circle and Sun going down behind One World Trade Center

Pillars of Creation are castles built of sand echoes repeating an unuttered feeling endlessly that there is no agency without space, no sentience without time, no consciousness without gravity. They reveal the outline of a hermit who stands face to face with three bodies sitting upon each other shoulders, all asking the same thing: “Why, on Earth, would we live and die if not to achieve a higher purpose?”

Into the Woods of the Universe

Thrusting boldly into the heart of the cloud rises a huge pinnacle like a cosmic mountain, the celestial throne of the Star Queen herself, wonderfully outlined in silhouette against the glowing fire-mist, where, as modem star pilgrims have learned, countless new stars are to be born.

Burnham’s celestial handbook, 1978

Star Queen (Burnham’s celestial handbook)

Star Queen (Burnham’s celestial handbook)

Robert Burnham Jr. saw the silhouette of the Star Queen in the outline of the middle pillar (from the right). In my mind’s eye, I see an alchemist in her workshop working on the agency of physical and spiritual processes, transforming chaos and forming stars. She weaves a network of intricate connexions within the ever-changing architectural structures, funneling a timeless essence through spacetime. She feeds the genesis of things and keeps a fragile balance shuffling matter with energy. 

The star queen I draw below is made with beads from my old necklace, strung on a thread. They create a subtle chain of rings precariously balanced together on top of each other like a house of cards, the house of everything. They form a dancer who, I imagine,  pirouettes around an axis of loops. Information cuts across lines. Circles intersect. I only have an intuition. I only feel a little nudge in that direction.

The circularity of a debate around fundamentals meant to explain the inner causal relations of the Universe calls for a move upward. I draw a roof over the theoretical house of everything under which circles of fundamentals perform their dance. Three intertwined swirls circle out of the rooftop, and a physical tree grows out from within. Time, the quantum Universe, and nothingness are the three spiraling Universals.

The extension of ourselves

Into the Woods of the Universe

Our fragmented Universe grows out of spacetime through the quantum realm in which probabilities exist. The geometric mind recreates the geometry of its surroundings intuitively. It assigns the number zero to nothingness and one to the wholeness of the quantum Universe. Zero and one set off the geometry of numbers, unraveling basic mathematic riddles.


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