Mashup: Buddhism & Light Cones

The New York Times had an article a week or two ago that had an expert in comparative religion talking about what Buddhism requires. Within that article he was touching on some generalizations about what some of the core points are to help explain some of what he was talking about. One of those points was that the notion of rebirth isn’t necessarily one about post this life but rather rebirth in every moment (presumably that you are alive). For whatever reason this got me to thinking about what rebirth in every moment would look like. A literal physical rebirth in the form of as a baby makes little sense but there is cellular rebirth going on all the time. It is an often listed item that we are not the person we were even a few months ago. Ignoring the physical aspect, it does seem that mental rebirth is possible though exceeding difficult. Heading along this path, what would mental rebirth moment to moment look like? It seems like the nut here is that at any given time you could head off in a new direction than where you previously were going. It is only all the constraints through habit and culture etc that directionalize you towards your highest probability behavior(s) heading forward from that moment.

This sparked a whole digression in to a question of how far can you push in any direction your probabilistic behavior and a higher level question of how far can we push in any direction along any of the vectors we control. This is where light cones came in. Light cones describe a 2 dimensional event of a 3 or 4 dimensional item of a light source turning on. The cone is defined by how far light can travel as represented against time. Causality cannot exist outside the cone as there is no ability for information to travel faster than the speed of light. Turned on its edge, at a very specific point in time, you get an area. For some reason this notion seemed interesting in this context in that it seems we have a similar cone based on the vectors we control that defines where at any given time we can be. This is most easily seen geographically. Starting right now you could begin to what I will term push against your current location and head in a number of directions with the goal of pushing as hard as you can against your current location. There are limitations to how far you can push against your current location based on the condition leading up to the words right now in the preceding sentence. If you are on your couch you are limited initially to personal locomotion. If you were in your own plane you are limited to what it can do. This strikes me as being the same case mentally. If at the ‘right now’ point you were to experience rebirth or perfect clarity or whatever and become unanchored from your present thinking and chose to push in a different direction you still have a (conceptual) cone of where you can get based on time and where you are starting. Rebirth (or whatever) in a subsequent moment only would mean to realize again that you can choose a different direction (or none) from a slightly different spot, ignoring for the moment that you are using mental process and time at each rebirth to rehave the epiphany.

So if the point is recognition that at any point we have a much wider range of options than we typically think about fair enough. If the notion is that from moment to moment we should always hold that all options mindset in our consciousness, I’d be curious to understand the benefit of that given the cost in our exceedingly limited conscious capabilities.

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