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November 2011

November 2011

The first full cycle the programmer builds on the phylogon engine turns into a real work of art. He remembers a stellated polyhedra that the harlequin once twirled on his finger and uses it for the entry point. His cycle begins in rational, literary thought; the reasoning mind is brought forward using big words and deep internal dialog. Next he puts in a clearing block where a startling insight occurs. Then he follows with three phylogons of very pleasant flow which could be the synthesis of the earlier logical reasoning or just brainstorming comfortably. After the flow he builds in a section of solid, productive ordering, i.e. work, and the reward for traversing these dense fields is a big lift and a vision. This boost leads back to the rational literary thought and another round begins. [ The notable design feature here is that the operator may, by monitoring the feedback, modify the literary input and extract the ordered pages without disturbing in any way the conscious envelope of the traveler.]

The CEO is aware that something special is starting.

Meditation phylogon.

It breathes in with many holes. It breathes out with only a few.

The devil you say? A most unpleasant cycle to explore. No highlight without shadow. Dark red interrupted by black. Hard to exit. Even the shortest duration callback won't help if you go timeless in there.

Baroque phylogons. A portal in time. The most elaborate realities still fit in a single plane. Category: Phylogons focused on the aesthetics of content.

The programmer peruses an enormous database of phylogons; occasionally loading one into the engine and riding it.

Inside this stack of phylogons it occurs to him that when a society reaches a boundary it either restructures or continues to embellish old customs. What does society cling to when boundaries dissolve?

The programmer spends over a week finding interesting phylogon samples in the library, activating, and then entering them. Based on these textbook experiences, he is inspired to create some phylogons of his own. This original work convinces everyone that he is a prodigy. He is asked to begin working with colors. It is a promotion of sorts because color equates to emotional content inside the phylogon and experimenting with emotions carries much more responsibility. He believes that his designs will be advanced to real productions soon. This acceptance of his designs would make him the youngest professional phylogon engineer. Ever. By far. He really, really wants this honor for himself. In his excitement he radically increases the time he spends hacking the machine with the magical fins. The truth is that, machine or no machine, the programmer's life plays out inside a phylogon. As it does for all sentient beings. And before he can graduate to professional status, the programmer must become aware of his own enclosing frame and trigger an exit.

After many jumps into and out of phylogons, the programmer can't quite tell which frame is his normal state. He lives as if he was constantly moving from dream to dream. He has been working steadily on the phylogon engine for three months now. It is during this period that he begins to wonder if all experiences aren't enframed? So naturally he asks himself, "How do I break out of the current frame to go a level 'up'? How do I see the whole picture and not just the tunnel I am living in? He begins to discover that this maneuver can be accomplished simply enough in the short term through a shift of mindset; from an individual view to an overview, from chasing 'what I prefer' to sitting quietly with flow, and from letting 'me' open to 'no me'.

Phylogon Engine Operating Manual: Appendix A : Phylogon History

Phylogon comes from The Divine Invasion , a novel by Philip K. Dick [hereafter referred to as PKD].

In The Divine Invasion, PKD coins the term 'phylogon' but only uses the word three times in the story.

In this excerpt, the main character, Emmanuel, a human embodiment of the god Yah, begins to experiment with certain abilities he has discovered inside himself.

"First he speeded up his internal biological clock so that his thoughts raced faster and faster; he 
felt himself rushing down the tunnel of linear time until his rate of movement along that axis was 
enormous. First, therefore, he saw vague floating colors...beyond this point he began to travel 
at the rate of the Upper Realm, so that the Lower Realm ceased to be something but became, instead, 
a process..."

The timeless state, described above as the Upper Realm, can be created in the Phylogon Engine by issuing the command: SET_TIME_MODE(0). When one 'pops out' of their current phylogon into this Upper Realm, they no longer experience the passage of time.

The shift in point of view when transitioning between Upper and Lower Realm is a shift from seeing things to seeing the process that creates and destroys things; seeing their complete history. It is a mindful move from experiencing and sensing the world to detachment and observation.

Building up to the introduction of phylogons, PKD in The Divine Invasion continues to describe Emmanuel's mental exercise:
Presently he picked up a book from the table and opened it. 
Inside the book he found, written there, his own thoughts, 
now in a printed form. The printed thoughts lay arranged 
along the time axis which had become spacial and the only 
axis along which motion was possible. He could see, as in 
a hologram, the different ages of his thoughts, the most 
recent ones being closest to the surface, the older ones 
lower and deeper in many successive layers. 
PKD transforms internal thoughts and images into geometry and motion. What would you read in that book if you turned to the page of the present moment? Did he foresee a device like the iPad that would record thoughts and dreams?

The programmer is still reading Appendix A of the Phylogon Engine Manual; the author's commentary on the part in The Divine Invasion where PKD introduces phylogons.

In this passage the original text is cut and pasted a bit to emphasize the graphical presentation of the phylogons.
"He regarded the world outside him which now had become 
reduced to spare geometric shapes, squares mostly, 
and the Golden Rectangle as a doorway. 
Now, Emmanuel thought, I will change the universe that 
I have taken inside me. He regarded the geometric shapes 
and allowed them to fill up a little with matter...he saw 
accretional layers laminated together in sequence along the 
linear time axis"
The most interesting part here, mentioned in passing and easily overlooked, is how Emmanuel moves the shapes into reality by allowing matter to accumulate. This transition of thought to substance, allowing a desire to gather physical form, lies at the heart of creative work.

Let's pop out from the previous quote into a larger context and see a full version of the text. Elias Tate, mentioned here, is the human who protects Emmanuel as he discovers himself. The word phylogon is used for the first time and we start to see the power and generality of the concept.
"Now, Emmanuel thought, I will change the universe that I have taken inside me. He regarded the 
geometric shapes and allowed them to fill up a little with matter. Across from him the ratty blue 
couch that Elias prized began to warp away from plumb; its lines changed. He had taken away the 
causality that guided it and it stopped being a ratty blue couch with Kaff stains on it and became 
instead a Hepplewhite cabinet, with fine bone china plates and cups and saucers behind its doors."

"He restored a certain measure of time-and saw Elias Tate come and go about the room, enter 
and leave; he saw accretional layers laminated together in sequence along the linear time axis. The 
Hepplewhite cupboard remained for a short series of layers; it held its passive or off or rest mode, 
and then it was whisked over into its active or on or motion, mode and joined the permanent world 
of the phylogons, participating now in all those of its class that had come before. In his projected 
world brain the Hepplewhite cabinet, and its bone china pieces, became incorporated into true reality 
forever. It would now undergo no more changes, and no one would see it but he. It was, to 
everyone else, in the past."
We learn that some amount of time can be let into the timeless; if witnessed from a detached POV. In the Phylogon Engine, the Frame Speed slider is located in the middle of the floating control window and can be used to adjust the rate of time flow.

We also note the phylogon layers build up as time passes. This feature is activated in the Engine with the command: SET_TIME_ACCRETION(TRUE);

The transformation of objects, such and the couch into the Hepplewhite cabinet, is accomplished through geometric morphing. For more on morphing see the chapter by that title.

Finally, PKD states clearly that phylogons can be morphed but, once activated, the state of things, i.e. what happens in that moment, can't be changed. A locked phylogon appears to anyone in the flow as a moment already gone by.

This excerpt from The Divine Invasion is the paragraph that contains two of the three uses of the word phylogon.
"That which was below, his own brain, the microcosm, 
had become the macrocosm, and, inside him as microcosm 
now, he contained the macrocosm, which is to say, what 
is above."

"I now occupy the entire universe, Emmanuel realized; 
I am now everywhere equally. Therefore I have become 
Adam Kadmon, the First Man. Motion along the three 
spacial axes was impossible for him because he was 
already wherever he wished to go. The only motion 
possible for him or for changing reality lay along 
the temporal axis; he sat contemplating the world 
of the phylogons, billions of them in process, 
continually growing and completing themselves, driven 
by the dialectic that underlay all transformation. 
It pleased him; the sight of the interconnected 
network of  phylogons  was beautiful to behold. 
This was the kosmos of Pythagorias, the harmonious 
fitting-together of all things, each in its right way 
and each imperishable." 
How does a phylogon complete its growth? By traversing the present? Looking along the timeline, does the future's opposition to the past get resolved as this moment?

By meditating, Emmanuel brings the universe into himself or maybe expands his mind to contain the whole universe. When iteratively creating and testing your own phylogons, especially during the rapid movement between being inside a reality and observing it's frame, you may experience similar feelings of omniscience.

The programmer shifts in his seat, loving how much there is to learn about phylogons. There is nothing else for him right now beyond this knowledge.

Appendix A continues:

PKD did not refer to the phylogons in print beyond the paragraphs in The Divine Invasion. However, he does discuss the concept in some of his published letters. The parts of the letters relevant to phylogons are summarized by John Fairchild and reprinted by Ragle Gumm in this blog post.

PKD's letters reveal his struggle for a rational explanation of his visions. The struggle led him to theorize that the visions were projections of a fourth spatial dimension into our more familiar three. When a sphere passes through the plane in E. A. Abbott's Flatland, the residents of the plane see a tiny circle appear, grow, shrink and disappear again. Who is to say that the warping of higher dimensional forms doesn't cast some shadows onto what we see everyday?
Fairchild states, "One of the things [PKD] saw he labeled phylogons. 
This is Phil's term for the Forms of the macrometasomakosmos that get 
morphologically arranged conceptually. The phylogons are permanent and 
accrete new layers. The phenomenal flux world, the world we normally see, 
is being converted into a conceptually arranged structure, being accreted 
into the macrometasomakosmos, laminating down in successive waves. 
PhilŐs term for what gets accreted is ontogons. These are non-permanent.
And here he directly quotes PKD's letters:

"The billions of phylogons are crosslinked to form a unitary reality 
which is Pythagoras' kosmos, 'the harmonious fitting-together of the 
beautiful,' a vast structure that is sentient, that assimilates its 
environment selectively, using the ... universe as a supply of parts." (p.13)"
The first thing of note is the introduction of the term 'ontogons'; the accreting layers. Coincidentally, Ontogons are being included as a new feature in the upcoming release of the Phylogon Engine Operating System v2.0, due out fourth quarter 2011.

The second idea of note is PKD's assertion that phylogons are conceptually arranged; that the underlying structure of reality comes from intelligence. To quote his letters...
"I believe that they are conceptually arranged; that is, in terms 
of meaning. They have the same necessary relationship to one 
another that logical truths or mathematical propositions have to one another." (p.116)

Phylogon Engine Operations Manual

A page taken from Chapter 2 - Basic phylogons

17) Gridded single phylogon

18) Phylogon stack with downward exponentially increasing gridded subdivisions

19) Interlocked phylogons


Descending_Phylogons, alternate_grid(TRUE);

The programmer flips through the manual, a catalog of phylogon types, studying examples that he finds interesting.

Compound Phylogons:
    Boundary Crossing Flow in Stack Form

    Classic flow is represented by a meandering river that crosses the interior of a phylogon. Phylogon boundaries are defined by the interruption of flow. The river landscape, a metaphor for flowing thought, is often shown as disjoint piecessince mental activity is not normally a continuous flow. A typical thought sequence is really a stack of ideas, problems, reflections, desires, and emotions. Flow may be mapped vertically thorough the moment or traced into the next moment. How closely the river lines up between phylogons indicates the degree of harmony or discord in the jump. As an upper limit, a phylogon representation of meditation to the point of liberation might be represented by a single unbound phylogon filled with an image of a still pond. Reality acrobats attempt to maintain continuity; or, if unsuccessful, they surf the flow across the interruption.

He wonders, "Why does the unknown seem so dark? When we see a difficult situation, why is it so cloudy?" The programmer is assigned to map the phylogon geometry surrounding a difficult decision. He sees many frames trying to jam into a single new reality. No cyclic flow. As he draws nearer to the fray, his attention gets clouded by too many choices. The whole mess is constantly churning. One phylogon after another is tested, each separate reality tries to prevail, only to have others intrude, offer alternatives, be replaced again. Time pushes him forward into the confusion. Only the pressure of the clock and fatigue are able to force reality into one frame. Finally, the one phylogon he gets through is the choice. The unchosen fade, but only reluctantly, giving rise to remorse.

And what does the programmer experience when, instead of entering the cloud, he remains resting in the timeless? How does this change the geometry? With no forces requiring one frame to be chosen and no preference for any scenario over another to occur, the frames themselves get thinner and the air amongst all of them starts to mix.

The programmer zooms in for a closer look at the exact spot where a decision is being made. He finds a tight cluster of five phylogons and various overlaps. In practice, no single phylogon is chosen as the new reality. The decision maker steers towards the area of overlap that offers the most acceptable outcome and those edges form the frame of the post-decision phylogon.

The programmer begins to see just how complicated some decisions can be.

The programmer is given a challenge; the first test in his Phylogon Engine training.

The three phylogons moving toward him offer many possibilities. Getting trough them requires a decision. Which portal to pass? Which reality to take? The possible futures are quite separate and fairly distinct. Each path would lead to a very different life, excluding many parts of the alternatives. Time is not forcing things forward, but the flow is stalled and choosing the new course calls for a creative solution. Does he have the answer?

A surprising answer. The programmer uses three phylogons to synthesize a new reality. His brilliant solution is greater than the sum of its parts. It evokes ancient and future memes. Local symmetries on many scales echo the source. A win-win decision!

Technique for joining two phylogons.

Backside merger. Looking all around but ending up in the same place.

Technique for joining two phylogons.

Overlay a gridded phylogon on two unconditioned phylogons. The grid will map the areas underneath. The imposed grids are used for alignment.

Technique for generating phylogons.

When the timeless intersects material space, the ripples create new phylogons.

Technique for generating phylogons.

Drawing closer to the timeless, new phylogons appear.

Criteria for arranging phylogons.

Color, size, shape, sequence, like, dislike, resonance, transparency, convention, invention, persistence, complexity, and truth.

A phylogon containing a meditation of two days and two nights.

The programmer leaves ordinary phylogons behind. He remixes classic geometry, adds dimension to his inventions and lives his life immersed in novelty. After a while his attention to the details of his models becomes so fine that he recognizes phylogon engine artifacts, little glitches and signature pauses, while he is inside the simulation. Then one day he recognizes the same artifacts while eating dinner at home.

While sitting at his kitchen table and staring at a cup of coffee he gets it. The programmer gets it. He sees the structure that supports the story. The phylogon matrix is now evident wherever he looks.

He believes that he works for a company operating a phylogon engine. He believes he lives in an apartment and owns a TV. He believes he is picking up a cup from a table and drinking coffee.

When did the simulation start? How long has he been immersed? And what can he remember from before?

Did the company put him under when they hired him? Or perhaps working on the phylogon engine has enhanced his senses so that he can now perceive what has been present but hidden his whole life?

The programmer hovers above the phylogons, seeing the unseen. He no longer distinguishes between his experiences in the phylogon engine and his 'real life'. He is at home in any phylogon because he simultaneously sees the contents and the frames.

Balanced above the flow, a deep love pulls him like gravity. The pull gets stronger. Awakeness and awareness converge into a presence, a nowness, a readiness, an urgency, and a passion. A long overdue meeting finally takes place.

The programmer has accepted two realities, inside and outside of the phylogons. He is ready to meet his passenger, his nemesis, his guardian, his door to the timeless, his subconscious guide, and his counterpart on the other side. All those suspicions, nagging doubts, fleeting glimpses, back of the mind stirrings, all those things known but can never find the words for, gut feelings, all those doubts, all those fears, all those weird contortions to fit in, and all those things grasped at, all, now, all those things evaporate into clouds of contentment. He has a feeling of coming home, recognizing himself in the other, a place he's always known of, dreamed of, needed to be, all at once the curtain goes up; and he becomes whole again in the presence of the harlequin.

Integrated self. I can't say that, after they meet, the programmer and the harlequin begin working together because they have never worked apart. They communicate through a bold ego and intuitive hunches, through logical arguments and dreams. The only change is now they are both certain that the other exists. Experience without barriers ranges from the sensory input of chopping wood to flying through the molecular structure of water.

The gain here is a deep contentment, a confidence, a freedom that comes from the safety of being at home within. This blissfully interlocked energy generates a higher resonant frequency; opening it to view phylogons that few can visit. Balancing delicately, dancing the dance of constructive interference, and motivated by a quest for further growth, the final training begins.