June 11, 2011

Reading and Writing

I seem to have been reading avidly recently. One good book after another. After almost nodding off in front of the TV last night I went to bed and then decided to dip into ‘Mr. Rosenblum’s List’ by Natasha Solomons before I went off to sleep proper. With only one-and-a-half chapters to go I could surely read a bit and then finish it today.

Not likely!

I began to cry half-way through chapter 8 and then sobbed and laughed my way through chapter 9 to the postscript at the end. You’ll have to read it to see what I’m talking about, but item 151 on ‘Jack Rose-in-bloom’s’ list had me sobbing and laughing at the same time. The duvet got wet and I used the t-shirt I’d been wearing yesterday to mop my face and blow my nose. I had to come downstairs at 2:30 this morning and drink warm milk with mixed spice and eat custard creams before I could go back to bed.

The more reading I do the more I want to write. I’ve written short stories over the years but mainly for my own benefit and sometimes for my friend’s children, but I’ve never written anything seriously – apart from this blog (and that’s been intermittent).

I latched onto the title ‘The Silent Sun’ for some reason and began to write down some thoughts. The title has a feeling about it that I can’t describe at the moment. Keywords might be: observer; warm; mirage; sunrise/beginning; sunset/ending; relentless; oppressive; refreshing; life-giving.

The theme so far seems to be about family; perhaps because it is a subject that has so much meaning to me at the moment. I also want to inject a sense of mystery into it and I have a glimmer of an idea. So far the story seems to be writing itself, so I may just go along with it and continue writing and see where it leads me.

The scary bit is the amount of time an author can take to write a book – years in some cases – but considering I’ve been thinking about this for some years without doing anything about it, I might as well persevere and see where the next couple of years takes me and the story.

June 06, 2011

Curry, Gin, and Harems

My new cookery bible has to be ‘Miss Masala’ by Mallika Basu. With easy recipes, cooking tips and tricks for healthy Indian food, it also has to be one of the funniest cook books I’ve ever read. Think recipes interspersed with blogs. She writes about aspects of her life with great humour and gives gorgeously yummy recipes she has learnt from colourful aunts and family. When you can describe stirring a dish with the line, “Don’t make love to it. Fuck it!” you can begin to get what I mean. She’s also quite gorgeous and has to be the new love of my life alongside Nigella Lawson. I’m starting to build a harem. Strange, if you know me well enough!

So, with a larger-than-I-meant-it-to-be gin and tonic I sat down with ‘Miss Masala’ to find an accompaniment to last night’s chicken curry and kitchen wipes (the curry was rather hot and the sweat ran round my ears and down my neck). When I found ‘Jeera aloo for nutters’ I drank the gin rather too quickly and set off to try it out. A delicious way to use new potatoes is all I can say.

I’d also have to include Jason Isaacs in my new harem. Have you seen ‘Case Histories’ on BBC1? He takes his shirt off quite a lot and went very well with my chicken curry and jeera aloo. I can’t help wondering if all my sweating came just from eating hot curry! With four more episodes to go I’ll have to find some more good food to go with him (perhaps something a little more cooling next time). Next episode is on Sunday 12th June at 9pm – I’ve already set the reminder.

June 05, 2011

Yin and Yang and DNA

I wrote previously about the relationship between the formation of the eight trigrams in the Book of Changes, which form the 64 hexagrams, and the DNA sequence. At the time I did not have a reasonable explanation to hand, but I’ve since found this one, which puts it in better perspective.

Although the trigrams can be understood through exercises, and can help you to understand your states of consciousness, they can not help you with existential decisions and choices. This requires the doubling of the trigrams into inner and outer worlds. Now six lines are used to create a Hexagram. There are sixty four possible combinations of six yin or yang lines (two to the eighth power). For example, one possible combination is a hexagram known as PEACE where the top three lines are all yin, and the bottom three all yang, Heaven below the Earth:

                    ___   ___  6
___ ___ 5 Outer Trigram
___ ___ 4
_________ 3

Inner Trigram _ 2 _ 1

The lower Trigram shows the attitude to your inner world, the upper your attitude to the outer-world. The Chinese sages who created the I Ching understood the duality of life and its existential problems. They knew that it in order to change your external situation -- your outer fate -- you had to change your inner mentality. Since the I Ching was created as a kind of pragmatic guide, they knew that the Trigrams would have to be doubled to reflect the dynamics of the inner-outer worlds, of external situation and internal attitude. The system of 64 hexagrams which make up the I Ching resulted from the necessity of doubling the eight combinations of three.

In a dramatic example of the fractal recursive nature of reality, nature follows the very same system to create the genetic code. The eight trigrams correspond very closely to the DNA and RNA code of our genes. This is the genetic code which is responsible on a cellular level for all self organization, growth and reproduction in life.

RNA DNA Yin Yang

DNA is the blueprint for every protein made in every cell. It is the Yin, spatial structure which stores the information. RNA is the reverse copy of DNA which carries out DNA's instructions for protein production. It is the Yang, active catalyst which actualizes in time the information in the DNA. The DNA and RNA have eight different base combinations, each made of three chemicals, just like the trigrams made of three lines. The chemical "triplets" as they are called, combine in double triplet code, just like the hexagrams. The maximum total combinations of DNA/RNA triplets is thus 64, just like the I Ching. The 64 triplet combinations control the twenty amino acids and other cellular generative-structural activity.

Hexagram 42Out of the combinations of the 8 triplets or trigrams, the 64 "words" of the genetic code of life are formed. All life, from bacteria to Man, is directed on a cellular level by the same language of the 64 Codons of RNA and DNA, based on the doubled triplet, or Hexagram. For example in genetics one of the 64 three letter Codons is: T.A.G. - C.T.A. (Thymine, Adenine, Guanine - Cytosine, Thymine, Adenine). The first gene detected by Watson was equivalent in structure to the I Ching hexagram number 42: Increase.

….….. As we have seen, there is a striking similarity between the I Ching and the genetic code, the 8 trigrams to the 8 codons. This can be understood as recursive self similarity over scales. There is a basic identity between the genes and the hexagrams because their numeric structure is the same.

Hexagram 63Martin Schoanberger, a German scientist, recently discovered that the two Codons which contain the genetic-chemical message "to stop" have the same numeric structure of hexagram 63, After Completion. All lines in this hexagram are said to be in their proper place.

Hexagram 64Moreover, Schoanberger discovered that the Codons which, so to speak, act to say "Go" on a genetic level, correspond to the opposite hexagram 64, Before Completion.

Extract of article by: Arnold Keyserling & R.C.L taken from: School of Wisdom.

June 02, 2011

Wedding Ring

Today I’m wearing my mother’s wedding ring.

When I first saw it again at my niece’s it drew me in and seemed to signify more than just my mother. This was the ring that my father put on her finger nearly 60 years ago.

To wear it means to celebrate the happy times they shared; to celebrate the union between them, to celebrate my parents.

It fits perfectly on the little finger of my left hand; so perfectly I can’t feel it after wearing it for only a few hours.