Sunday, August 30, 2015

Radio Interview with Rick Whitney on AlignIt

On Saturday, August 22, 2015, I visited the studio of KOWS in Occidental, California.  There I had a live interview with Stuart Goodnick and Dr. Robert Schmidt on AlignIt for the The Mystical Positivist radio program.  We spent two hours immersed in engaging discussion on AlignIt, philosophy, ontology, spiritual practice, utopias, civilization, and service.  

The Mystical Positivist site provided this overview: "An in-studio conversation with Rick Whitney, author of AlignIt: A Tale of a New Civilization. This sophisticated utopian novel, set in an imagined context on San Francisco Bay, posits a kind of reformed university that brings together ancient sacred sciences with contemporary, cutting edge sciences. The novel discusses many alternative ideas about economics, society, community, human nature, and the ultimate concern of human life."  

Listen now to the Mystical Positivist interview:
The Mystical Positivist radio program "is dedicated to the application of reason in the pursuit of spiritual practice and development."  So is AlignIt.  

AlignIt may be purchased at Many Rivers Books and Tea in Sebastopol, California.

AlignIt is also available on Amazon.com in both book and e-Book formats.


The AlignIt novel and cover art are copyright 2014 by Rick Whitney. All rights reserved. This blog post is copyright 2015 by Rick Whitney, CC BY-NC. See more here: http://alignit.blogspot.com/search/label/License.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Roger Studied Ayurveda, Yoga and Tantra

c. 2014, Rick Whitney
Over dinner conversation at Roger and Jenny's house, Greg and Sara ask Roger questions about the beginnings of AlignIt.

          “But you also have yoga in there—in AlignIt,” Sara said.  “How did you come to that?”
          “Right.  Well, I had also studied yoga, Tantra and Ayurveda, outside seminary, because it didn’t really fit in to my seminary studies, and I knew that there were symbol systems there, too.”
          “You practiced yoga,” Jenny said to Roger, setting her plate aside and producing a pad of paper and pen for Tara.  She drew Tara’s attention and quietly showed her some drawing games while the adults talked. 
          “Yes, that’s right,” Roger said.  “We practiced together.  At a yoga ashram in the Catskills in upstate, New York.”
          “Really?” Sara said.  “We’ve done yoga together, too.”

          “Hmmm.”  Roger nodded, acknowledging.  “So that’s where we learned about yogic charts, diagrams, and esoteric practices.  But these were entirely separate systems to me.  I learned the yoga systems in different places from the Western systems, in isolation, so to speak.  And no one connected them for me.  So I began wondering—were the yoga systems similar to those in Western alchemy, Qabala, and astrology?  Were they essentially the same?  I wasn’t sure if they were historically related.  But it seemed clear they had at least some typological similarities.  I noticed, for instance, that Alchemy had a three-term system—mercury, sulfur, and salt.  Yoga had sattva, rajas, and tamas.  Ayurveda had vata, pitta and kapha.  Taoism had jing, chi, shen.  Were these essentially the same, or standing in similar relation, despite their different names?  If they were different, how so?  The more systems I studied, the more I found correspondences like these—sets of threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, it went on and on.  Many traditional sciences seemed to have similar deep structures.”  (AlignIt, p. 213-214)

AlignIt is now available on Amazon.com. The novel and cover art are copyright 2014 by Rick Whitney. All rights reserved. This blog post is copyright 2014 by Rick Whitney, CC BY-NC. See more here: http://alignit.blogspot.com/search/label/License.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ayurveda in AlignIt--Some Excerpts

c. 2014, Rick Whitney
The story of AlignIt concerns recovery of sacred sciences.  To take this on, I gave examples of sacred sciences, like so many windows one can look through.  Ayurveda is one such science.  For space reasons, I removed a major discussion in which Roger used a search on vaman, therapeutic vomiting in Ayurveda, as a demonstration of the power of the AlignIt platform.  Below are four brief remaining excerpts on Ayurveda that give a taste.

On the road to Bayside Village from the airport, Greg has an unexpected conversation with the taxi driver.

           The driver looked again in his rear view mirror.  “What kind of research is it?  Still the chemical research?”
          “Philosophy and science,” Greg said, surprised at the driver’s interest.  “I don’t know about chemistry.”
          “Yes, they did industrial research there.  Chemical manufacture.  I took people there.”
          “Hmm,” Greg said, not loud enough to hear above the road noise.  “Now it’s focused on what they call traditional science, or sacred science.” 
          The driver looked back to the road and changed lanes.  That was too much detail, Greg thought. 
          The driver looked back at Greg through the mirror.  “Sacred science?  Is it like yoga, Ayurveda?”
          Greg was surprised again.  “Yes, like that.  And modern sciences.  And philosophies that integrate traditional and modern sciences.”
          The driver looked down several long moments.  Then up in the mirror.  “I have a niece.  She studies at College of Ayurveda, in Emeryville somewhere.  She shows me her books and charts.  That one I know.  She helps me with diet and lifestyle.” 

          “Really?” Greg said, interested.  “Yes, Ayurveda is studied there, too, I think.”  
          (AlignIt, p. 9)


In a yoga class, with the students all in headstands, the instructor discusses the health benefits of the pose from an Ayurvedic point of view.


          “In Ayurveda, we talk about the tridosha, or the three constitutions—vata, pitta, and kapha.”  The teacher spoke in calm, measured tones, giving instruction while students held the headstand.  “Each of us experiences the yoga asanas uniquely, according to our dosha, our constitution.  The headstand is a good vata-balancing yoga asana.  Its good for many vata ailments, including varicose veins, wrinkles, rheumatoid arthritis, and headaches.”  Again, the teacher gave time.  Too much time, Greg thought, his legs waving in the air.  Greg liked the feeling, felt his will active.  But he struggled, his arms trembling from exertion, his face filling with blood, his cheeks quivering.  This is Intermediate?  (AlignIt, p. 49)


In Greg's first meeting with GameIt founder Jeff Baker, at a Bayside Village gaming reception, the two men discuss how development of an upper ontology for AlignIt could help AlignIt Commons members like GameIt.  Jeff asks what ontology is and how it could help.  Greg gives a brief description.


          “Think about AlignIt, as it is now,” Greg said.  “You’ll recognize the current ontology in the structures like the seven traditional planets and the seven chakras, or the corresponding essential triads found in alchemy, Ayurveda, and oriental medicine—Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury, or Kapha, Pitta and Vata, or Jing, Chi and Shen.  Or think of the eight Tibetan Buddha families and the eight Taoist Immortals, and the eight trigrams of the I Ching.  Or the letters of the Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit alphabets, and all the sounds, colors, physical postures, and other qualities associated with each of them.”  Jeff nodded his head.  “These are archetypal patterns of things or forces that exist, and things related in a class.”

          “Okay,” Jeff said.  “That’s closer to home.”  (AlignIt, p. 142)

Over a dinner conversation at Roger and Jenny's house, Roger shares with Greg and Sara his realization that Ayurveda is an integral science unlike Western theological training. 


          “Right,” Roger said.  “So I realized religion alone, in a Western sense, wasn’t enough; a complete philosophical and scientific education was necessary.  For example, think about yoga and Ayurveda.  The study of theology might help me bridge to Vedanta or Yoga philosophy.  But it’s not enough for understanding yoga postures, diet, the cycles of time, medicinal herbs, therapeutic interventions and the like.  I needed to be with people who were integrating, or re-integrating, religion, philosophy and science.  My inquiry led to the reintegration of these three areas.”  Roger turned now to Greg with special passion.  “So I became increasingly interested in the philosophy of science, scientific integrity, and the capacity to create, invent and develop things that work, and work well, on the basis of sacred science.”

          “This is a question I set for myself this week, actually,” Greg said.  “What would a philosophy of sacred science look like?....”  (AlignIt, p. 217)

AlignIt is now available on Amazon.com. The novel and cover art are copyright 2014 by Rick Whitney. All rights reserved. This blog post is copyright 2014 by Rick Whitney, CC BY-NC. See more here: http://alignit.blogspot.com/search/label/License.