Many / One

A database of 11,000+ illuminated guiding quotations in 40 categories from 600+ inspired books by our most brilliant and influential authors.
Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Breaking the Mind Barrier
Todd Siler
A brilliantly original way to think about art, science, the mind, and the universe.

1 "For millenia, each picture or model of the microcosm and macrocosm has rendered a different aspect of our connection with particulate matter and celestial systems….They speak of our cosmic connection in poetic verse, as in the prophetic Indian Vedic scriptures….Theoretical studies in modern cosmology sing of this connection in verses of mathematical equations, interlacing insights from astrophysics and astronomical observations."

2 "In order to grow and survive we need to uncover some common ground to talk about what we're experiencing from our unique viewpoints. We need to develop a means of communicating with one another that is sensitive to - and even tolerant of - contrasting points of view. Our talking must 'take into account', rather than talk in defense.

3 "The mandala emphasizes the process of spiritual growth, of the mind's evolution echoing the evolution of the universe."

4 "The poles open two paths, which both lead to ONE goal at the end." Wassily Kandinsky, painter

5 "A structure or system grows by means of itself."

6 "We all work near and drink from the same reservoir of imagination that forms from our collective creativity."

7 "We are a manifestation of the universe - one of its many forms...as numerous ancient cultures remind us and as contemporary science observes. We share the properties and processes of the universe - in all its manifestations."

8 "The mandals [is] a sacred, mystical symbol of the universe."

9 "He treated the microscopic scene as though it were alive and were inhabited by beings which felt and did and hoped and tried even as we do....A nerve-cell...'groped to find another'!....Listening to him I asked myself how far this capacity for anthro-pomorphizing might not contribute to his success as an investigator." Charles Sherrington, Nobel laureate, writing about Nobel laureate Santiago Ramon y Cajal

10 "In the thick of our views exists a common pattern of perception….the pattern is a weave of united processes. We now need to see this 'weave' in the human nervous system and the cosmos's system alike. The wider and sharper our vision becomes – and the more flexible our definitions of these systems become – the more the conceptual boundaries between the beholder (brain) and the beheld (universe) will overlap."

11 "This ageless thought of a 'world without end' implies that the brain, like its celestial godmother, is a continuum - a timeless world in which matter and energy are the same throughout. The microtime, with which we measure the birth and death of our bodies, and the macrotime, which we use to determine the birthdays and the deathdates of celestial bodies, are conceptual illusions. Matter continually reorganizes itself in one form or another."

12 "From cell-assemblies to thought-assemblies the cosmos unfolds inside us – and we, inside it."

13 "The 'Wheel of the Law' sculpture in Buddhist art explores with astute realism the unproportioned, timeless space. Similarly, 'The Wheels of the Sun Chariot' of Surya Deul Temple at Konorak, in northeastern India, interprets time as a cyclical form – where beginnings and ends are arbitrary points. You will find similar interpretations in particle physics and cosmology which postulate a cyclical pattern to the creation/re-creation of the cosmos. The reason for this repetition of themes may rest on one straightforward fact: Our minds, like the universe, probably undergo similar cyclical transformations in their evolution. And so everything we theorize regarding this pattern of evolution takes place inside us. Since the human mind invented these notions, they probably reflect in form and in substance the nature of the mind itself."

14 "Nature is an artist that works from within."

15 "The pre-Socratic philosophers of the sixth century, b.c. intimated many of our current notions about consciousness, matter, and the fundamental principles of the world. The Greek astronomer Anaximander, for instance, conceived of reality as a whole whose parts are all interdependent."

16 "The zero concept is not only a mathematical discovery, but was originally conceived as a symbol of Brahman. Zero is not a single cipher, positive or negative (growth and decay), but the unifying point of indifference and the matrix of the All and the None. Zero produces all figures, but it is itself not limited to certain value….Zero is the transition-point between opposites, it symbolizes the true balance within divergent tendencies." Betty Heimann, 'Facets of Indian Thought'

17 "We're born informed."

18 "Once you accept the world-view where everything is connected, no aspect of reality is seen as being separate and unrelated. Neither the universals nor the particulars of matter and nonmatter, brain and mind – nor the languages we use to describe these things, science and art – are seen to be in conflict with one another. There is only confluence."

19 "Although nature's forms are varied, the vast differences of form are contrasted by a simplicity of likeness in process. Our internal processes mirror nature's internal processes and vice versa."

20 "Like the language of pure mathematics, which can describe abstract nth-dimensional processes and forms, the symbolic language of metaphorms is also multidimensional. It operates simultaneously on many planes of associations, nuances, and meanings."

21 "Art and metaphor can speak with the voice of truth as spoken from nature's mouth and as informed by nature's eyes."

22 "Current studies in neuroscience that are used to determine cell sociology in groups, cell-neuron connectivity, and plasticity can be discussed in the context of the organization of the universe, which includes its rules of assemblage and behavior. As we read about stellar populations or the special features of a select cluster of galaxies, we can infer things about the populations of nerve cells and ganglia of which we are composed and which compose our worlds of mind. The implication is that knowledge of the brain is not merely supplementary information for studying the cosmos – it is key."

23 "It is the combined insights from various views that determine the clearest picture of the brain-universe."

24 "Subatomic particles are not 'things' that build one upon the other until they form large aggregates. Rather, they are part of a union of relations."

25 "Most opposites, when stretched far enough apart, paradoxically come full circle only to be rejoined at some point of confluence, some moment or area of tenseless harmony."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite