Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#11
Regarding Tony's crankiness in the hospital -- Maybe this had to do with his searching for meaning. He awoke from his coma feeling weird, as he told the nurse. He meets a scientist who seems to have it all together, even when he tells T he has cancer, he seems accepting, calm. Also, the evangelicals are comfortable with who they are, with their beliefs.

It is a great comfort to be sure of things. And Tony is unsure of many things. He criticizes the idea that "Life isn't fair," yet he struggles to understand the "reasons" behind a little girl being severely burned. There's the insensitivity of the insurance rep, once again showing how money is crucial to the kind of care we receive. What's fair?

But when he finally leaves the hospital, he feels the calming wind, sees people laughing and showing love, and it's like an epiphany. Life is good. How long that feeling will last... well, naturally a lot of monkeywrenches will be thrown at him.

</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#12
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>But I disagree that there was much to show of Tony rejecting the scientist's holistic view of things. He seemed to take to that pretty quickly, and came back to it over and over, until the end of the episode even.<hr></blockquote>

jayduck, I agree that the interconnectedness of things appealed to him. That's not only a feature of the scientist's views but of every major religion I've heard anything about (including Christianity, despite persistent misunderstandings to the contrary). But I don't think he embraced the idea that just because two tornados are both wind that that means they are indistinguishable from one another or that the vectors of those winds can't work in opposition to each other.

By characterizing everything as just a soup of molecules randomly bumping up against one another, Schwinn was negating the very things that Tony was feeling most strongly in this episode . . . namely that he was "not himself" after waking up and was being pulled toward something in the coma that he did not want to return to ever again. If there is/was no distinction between the voice in the trees (the love of his family) and the false, completely superficial warmth of that Inn, then there's no reason for Tony to be alive right now. He was flatlining -- dying -- yet went toward the "force" of the two presented that most attracted and least repelled him.

To me Tony's very embrace of the "wind bearing me across the sky" thing and his sudden about-face from feeling completely self-absorbed and shit upon to feeling like "the luckiest man in the world" and that "every day is a gift" by the end of the episode shows that he really was starting to embrace some notion of duality even within a concept of connectedness. If there is no duality in the universe, then there is no reason to feel "lucky" or "gifted" as opposed to feeling like just one more meaningless, random outcome in a plethora of possibilities. To feel gifted implies "giving" and a "giver", the intervention of someone or something on your behalf. Even to acknowledge being carried by the wind credits a force outside yourself with taking you where you might not go without it.

The wind blew over Tony after he'd significantly lowered his demands and made his peace with Phil, thus ensuring that he would keep his word to Jason's mother and would not hurt him. The wind also blew over Paulie as he was beating the crap out of Jason despite knowing it was against Tony's orders and wishes. Yes, wind in both cases, but wind blowing in decidedly different directions. And if Tony truly views it all as a matter of randomness or a system without any right or wrong, positive or negative force to it, if all wind is just wind without distinct currents or vectors, then he will not penalize or disapprove of Paulie when/if he finds out. My money is on that not being the case.

Interconnectedness means IMO part of the same system or universe, operating under a common system of principles. That does not diminish the fact that the most fundamental units of matter in our universe operate under a system of opposing electromagnetic forces or that most modern technological advances rely in some form or other on that principle or that even our own planetary orbits are the result of two opposing forces.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>By the way, you can tell by who they cast in the role of the pastor that he was intended to be untrustworthy. He's got a very angular face, arching eyebrows, a perpetual smirk...looks a lot like Christian Slater.<hr></blockquote>

Agreed. He was also in many ways the stereotype of all that is unsavory about some evangelical Christians . . . the arrogant self-assuredness, the refusal to acknowledge that the Bible contains false prophecy. If anyone is going to lead Tony on a path to Christ, it won't be a guy like this.

Of course I don't think we've seen the last of this in any respect. Somewhere along the line, I expect Tony to encounter someone that is a far more compelling advocate for Christ than this pastor. And I expect that Melfi (and perhaps other characters yet unseen) might bring other philosophical/religious perspectives to him that might influence him as well.

</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#13
You kept throwing the word random in there, but I don't recall the Scientist ever saying that everything was random. Only that it was connected.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>By characterizing everything as just a soup of molecules randomly bumping up against one another, Schwinn was negating the very things that Tony was feeling most strongly in this episode . . .

;;;If there is no duality in the universe, then there is no reason to feel "lucky" or "gifted" as opposed to feeling like just one more meaningless, random outcome in a plethora of possibilities...

...And if Tony truly views it all as a matter of randomness or a system without any right or wrong, positive or negative force to it, if...
<hr></blockquote>

I don't recall randomness being the claim that Schwinn was ever trying to make with Tony. Only, that everything is connected.

In fact, I believe he was talking about just the opposite thing. He said (paraphrasing), that when you see two tornadoes it would appear to be 2 seperate entities, acting randomly, when in reality they are a part of the same force (which actually suggest, with purpose, not random).

I don't think the Scientist was neccessarily portraying an atheist point of view at all, nor one that was out of line with some other philosophies that Tony had been exposed to.

We weren't meant to forget the monks from last epsisode. We were again reminded of them again with Tony watching and old episode of Kung-Fu and talking about how much he used to watch that show. And one of the key points the Monks made to Tony was that everything is, in fact, connected. That there is no difference between that Monk and Tony.

Or that there is no difference between Tony and Finnerty.

In which case it makes perfect sense that Tony doesn't feel like himself. He could feel like anybody, or everybody (Infinity?)

Everybody has their own interpretations, but I just don't see much evidence that Tony rejected what Schwinn told him.



</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge.showUserPublicProfile?gid=jayduck>jayduck</A> at: 4/3/06 2:36 pm

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#15
I don't think Tony is going to be allowed a life of introspection. Even as he's beginning to discover other ways of seeing things, he's being "dragged back in" to mob-life. Vito wants his job, Paulie's falling apart and jeopardizing Tony's promise to Jason's mother, Sil's sucking his inhaler, Christopher's out in left field trying to make a movie, Bobby is shooting rappers in the ass and playing with trains, and NY is looking at Tony as "weak." As Johnny Sac might say, Tony's going to get caught in a shitstorm.

</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#16
jayduck, I watched the scene again, and you are correct. Schwinn never uses the word "random". I imputed that based on my (limited) understanding of what he was trying to convey. He also never used the word "random" when referring to what the two tornadoes might first appear to be.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>one of the key points the Monks made to Tony was that everything is, in fact, connected. That there is no difference between that Monk and Tony.

Or that there is no difference between Tony and Finnerty.

In which case it makes perfect sense that Tony doesn't feel like himself. He could feel like anybody, or everybody (Infinity?)<hr></blockquote>

This topic is so deep and (when you start introducing quantum physics into it) so beyond my comprehension that I'm not even sure whether it makes sense for me to discuss it. But I'll venture a few thoughts anyway.

Schwinn insisted that there are no distinct entities in matter, that essentially the only organism in the universe is the universe itself, consisting of a "soup of molecules bumping into each other". Yet his definition seems inherently self-contradictory in that he defines the universe in terms of a collection of units -- molecules -- in the first instance, implying that these molecules have distinct identities and organizations, distinct paths of motion, momentum, etc. If nothing is discrete, there are no molecules, no atoms, no protons, neutrons, or electrons, no particles of matter, even, because the very term "particle" implies a particularity, a "thing" as distinct from other "things".

Aside from the rational difficulties presented by this riddle, there are an unending list of paradoxes like these:

(1) Could Tony (or anyone with an IQ under 190 not engaged in the study of math/physics as a vocation) ever find spiritual meaning in a theory of the universe that so thoroughly rejects subjectivity and the importance of individual human experience, perception, and feeling, which are (to some extent) an inescapable part of every scientific, religious, and philosophical principle man has ever devised . . . including principles rejecting the relevance of perception?

(2) If Tony is, indeed, everyone and everything, then why should he feel different now since he has been the same "everyone" since the beginning? Why did it take an NDE and/or a Bell Labs scientist to apprise him of that fact since he is also the Bell Labs scientist?

(3) How could there be any such thing as an NDE since that presupposes not only the extinction of something that doesn't exist (a distinct human entity) but the existence of an "experience", which by definition conveys a subjective, personal perception?

(4) If "everything is everything" and there is no Tony as distinct from the monk as distinct from Finnerty, then why were the monks suing him, since they ARE him? Why was it important that HE take responsibility, since there is no "he" apart from them?

(5) Why did their theory contain the important preface, "one day we will all die and then we will be like that tree, no you, no me" unless they believe in the first instance that there IS a "you" and a "me" and that the act of death removes the peculiar and distinct "something" that makes us individuals?

I'm asking these questions not of you personally but in critique of what impact this kind of thinking could realistically have on anyone, let alone someone as emotionally myopic and self-centered as Tony. If he actually signs on to this, it will mark a transformation of mammoth proportions, far greater than I ever imagined or hoped for.

I come back to the only compromise I can presently imagine on this stuff, which is an acknowledgement of distinct organisms and forces, including the overarching, dual, and opposite forces of (1) attraction, gravity or "love" and (2) repulsion, anti-gravity, or "enmity", all interconnected as elements of a single universe and reflected at the macro level (expanding space, black holes, gravity, planetary orbit, etc.) and the subatomic level (protons, electrons, strong and weak nuclear forces, etc.). That pays some obeisance to the "omni" principle while also preserving a conceptual framework that can make sense of Tony's own experiences and perceptions, in particular the NDE, which left him specifically dreading a return to the Inn and a recognition of it as a place or force different in character from the one in the trees that pulled him back to life.

I'll toss out a link for laughs on quantum theory and philosophy. While I don't pretend to understand even a fraction of a percent of what's described there, several things stood out in the present context:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>[Determinism stands for the proposition that] if one knew where all bodies in the universe were at a particular time, then by applying scientific universal laws, one could predict where they would be at any time in the future. This sounded reasonable and scientific except that . . . if in fact everything in the universe is made of atoms including human beings then there is nothing and no one in the universe that has free will. . . .

Immanuel Kant whose work dates towards the end of the 18th Century reacted strongly against determinism mainly as it seemed to excuse moral irresponsibility. . . . Kant argued that there were two aspects of reality:

1. The world as it appeared to be according to human observation and as as it entered into thought, and
2. The world as it really was, independent of any conceptual framework of an observer who categorized the world specifically by scientific evaluation.

Although 20th century science left whether determinism governed human behavior and morals to the philosophers, scientists themselves felt very firmly grounded in the idea that science could make predictions about motion according to Newton's laws with regard to non-living matter not subject to free will. . . .<hr></blockquote>

From my read through some of the wikipedia material, it seems that Einstein and Schroedinger (who Schwinn was relying upon) were at odds with Neils Bohr and his protege Heisenberg, who developed the "uncertainty principle" of quantum theory to explain puzzling anomalies about electron behavior that no other theory or formula (including those of Schroedinger) could explain. At the root of the difference was the Bohr/Heisenburg characterization of an electron as having a dual nature of wave and particle while Schroedinger characterized it as wave only. While the uncertainty principle remains controversial, it is accepted today as better explaining subatomic phenomena.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>The term Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was often used interchangeably with and as a synonym for Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle by detractors who believed in fate and determinism and saw the common features of the Bohr-Heisenberg theories as a threat. Within the widely but not universally accepted Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (i.e. it was not accepted by Einstein or other physicists such as Alfred Lande), the uncertainty principle is taken to mean that on an elementary level, the physical universe does not exist in a deterministic form—but rather as a collection of probabilities, or potentials.<hr></blockquote>



</p>

Schroedinger's Equation

#17
<span style="color:blue;font-size:medium;">Moved from another thread:</span>

billymac72261


Capo
Posts: 219
Posted: 4/3/06 7:32 pm
the Schrödinger Equation
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When Hal Holbook (John Schwinn) is explaining his thoughts on the interconnectedness of the universe he refers to "Schrödinger's Equation". I would love it if some of the more brilliant among us could help me understand (in small words) what this equation states, and perhaps also provide some thoughts on its relation to Schwinn's philospohy.

Edited by: billymac72261 at: 4/3/06 7:44 pm

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Mizmoon

Civilian
Posts: 21
Posted: 4/3/06 7:38 pm
Re: the Schrödinger Equation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's a poem someone wrote about it:

Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
(Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
By Einstein's discov'ries had been badly dented.
What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't panic,
No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles
Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.
If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
No sweat, though--my theory permits us to judge
Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried
To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
Said Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
And inside a tube we have put that cat at--
Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom
Or atom--whatever--but when it emits,
A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
Our pussy still purring--or pushing up daisies?
Now, you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
To some this may seem a ridiculous split,
But quantum mechanics must answer, "Tough @#&!
We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
Shine light on electrons--you'll cause them to swerve.
The act of observing disturbs the observed--
Which ruins your test. But then if there's no testing
To see if a particle's moving or resting
Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!
We know probability--certainty, never.'
The effect of this notion? I very much fear
'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.
Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
"We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a corpse."'
So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
God doesn't play dice with the universe, putz.
I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried--
In vain--until fin'ly he more or less died.
Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
Ten-to-one he's in heaven--but five bucks says he ain't."

http://www.straightdope.com/clas...1_122.html




</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#18
I wonder if Tony is afraid of dying relatively young like his father. If I am correct, Tony's father died in his teens and would suggest that his father died at an age not much more than that of Tony today (about 46). That may explain accepting a 10 year deal to be on the books with the Barone sale, that he doesn't expect to be on earth much longer. This is compounded by the affects from the shooting, and potential medical problems from his huge weight and the constant stress he faces.
I would suggest that Tony has throughout this series shown a problem with himself and the meaning of life compounded with this fear of dying young. The panic attacks, his visits with Melfi, how he feels about the 'innocents' like the girl with the severe burns, the scientist and in the past toward the horse Pie-o-my, yet totally different to those within or dealing with the mob with full knowlege. His coma dreams also showed this confllict too with the character. To me, he is a man in deep spiritual conflict. Worse is that the mob life is really the only life he knows, adding to that conflict.


</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#19
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>That may explain accepting a 10 year deal to be on the books with the Barone sale, that he doesn't expect to be on earth much longer.<hr></blockquote>

Or perhaps he has already made a decision that he will not be "in the life" more than 10 years....possibly thinking of "flipping"

I myself don't buy this, just posting it as another possible explanation.

IMHO, Tony realized that there will always be some way to cover the financial losses (the income, the insurance and the W-2 for legit cover) he suffered through the sale of Barone Sanitation, and that it wasn't worth the fight in his weakened condition. When he is back in the saddle, NY, Phil ad Johnny Sac may have a large debt to pay they are not yet aware of.

</p>

Re: Tony Belief Systems and random gibberish

#20
(1)        Could Tony (or anyone with an IQ under 190 not engaged in the study of math/physics as a vocation) ever find spiritual meaning in a theory of the universe that so thoroughly rejects subjectivity and the importance of individual human experience, perception, and feeling, which are (to some extent) an inescapable part of every scientific, religious, and philosophical principle man has ever devised . . . including principles rejecting the relevance of perception?

There is a good book about this. It’s called the Tao of Physics and it’s basically about how modern, western science is only catching on to ideas that appear in Buddhist and Hindu philosophies from thousands of years ago. The scientific equivalent to the general eastern idea of taking a holistic approach to viewing our surroundings is a relatively new, scientific idea called the Gaya Hypothesis which basically states that the universe is not necessarily “sentient” or “self aware” or “even conscious” but it still is “alive” in some sense as one giant organism with a bunch of feedback mechanisms that regulate the way it functions. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I certainly don’t understand all of this physics stuff….and I probably couldn’t even spell whatever that equation is….let alone understand it mathematical complexities….but I can still wrap my head around what the idea is all about and evaluate it merits.

(2) If Tony is, indeed, everyone and everything, then why should he feel different now since he has been the same "everyone" since the beginning? Why did it take an NDE and/or a Bell Labs scientist to apprise him of that fact since he is also the Bell Labs scientist?

I think it is highly questionable to say that Tony DOES in fact “feel” different. His immense hospital bitterness was quickly replaced by a few hours of apparent “peace with the world, phil leotardo and crooked ambulance drivers” but how long is that going to last? I’m not convinced he was fundamentally altered. He might have more respect for life, a newfound love for his immediate family, etc….but on many levels I think he’s the same old Tony Soprano who has some major family/uncle problems to deal with. I could most certainly be wrong but I think we need more time to see how he reacts weeks and even months after the shooting before any of us can make the claim that this “NDE” had any lasting impact on him….it certainly didn’t with Christopher. But in terms of all this physics/Buddhism stuff…I don’t think Tony Soprano will embrace this philosophy at all in any practical sense. I just think in terms of all the different world views he bared witness to his mind seem to gravitate towards this one as having an element of rationality or common sense he could identify with.

(2)        How could there be any such thing as an NDE since that presupposes not only the extinction of something that doesn't exist (a distinct human entity) but the existence of an "experience", which by definition conveys a subjective, personal perception?

I know a fair bit about philosophy but the “mind/body” problem and Descartes have never really been my thing. I suppose I could argue that his near death experience was just that….a “near” death experience. On some level he was still alive and his sub-conscious mind was at work. We all know about David Chase’s famous “it’s not a dream” comment but that pretty open to interpretation. It may not necessarily mean Tony’s “soul” was actually transported to another reality on some unknown plane of existence. The whole Kevin Finnity scenario might have been his own minds evaluation of his life culminating in the decision to abandon consciousness or simply continue to live. When my sister and I were bickering over weather or not the door and the house originally represented heaven or hell we realized that maybe these particular distinctions of good and evil, specific to only one religion are irrelevant and what Tony was really frightened of was death itself. Maybe that was another metaphysical plane of existence I don’t know…but that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with Christ specifically or even Buddhist Monks.




(4) If "everything is everything" and there is no Tony as distinct from the monk as distinct from Finnerty, then why were the monks suing him, since they ARE him? Why was it important that HE take responsibility, since there is no "he" apart from them?

The Monks are Tony’s conscience. Sorry, really don’t have a good answer for this one.

(5) Why did their theory contain the important preface, "one day we will all die and then we will be like that tree, no you, no me" unless they believe in the first instance that there IS a "you" and a "me" and that the act of death removes the peculiar and distinct "something" that makes us individuals?

Look I don’t even get a lot of this myself….but my basic understanding is we are a collection of energy/particles bouncing off one another. NEVERTHLESS the particular collection of particles that composes the matter that I am created of allows me to operate in this world as some sort of conscious agent. The scientist himself said it’s a “choice” based on how you perceive something. Much of Buddhist philosophy and the whole central idea of meditation is to simply abandon the ego and arrive at the realization that the “self” is an illusion.. This is why I recommended that book. It’s funny the way the two ideas mold into eachother like that. The most up to date western science is only catching up with the ideas that existed in the east, literally thousands of years ago. Fascinating.

Ok. One of the things I really loved about this episode is all the different worldviews we got to see Tony consider through the use of these peripheral characters and their conveniently to the point dialogue. And I think they are paying homage to all the symbolism within the “dream” sequence. It was layered with everything from the cross itself to Buddhist monks. And I think as we see Tony evaluate and examine these different ideas the writers are showing that everything IS subjective. What Tony took out of that experience might be entirely different than what you or I might see within this strange new metaphysical realm of existence. But I think by throwing us this combination of religion and science is not so much about the specifics of how these disciplines are practiced and what they achieve but the moral and ethical ramifications of them.

The classic “problem of evil”; how can a good god let bad things happen.

Tony is not trying to figure out what afterlife he’s going to. He’s just trying to figure out what’s right from wrong

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge.showUserPublicProfile?gid=mrgebowitz>Mr Gebowitz</A> at: 4/4/06 1:12 am
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