Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bill Mitchell — Mainstream macroeconomics in a state of ‘intellectual regress’

At the heart of economic policy making, particularly central bank forecasting are so-called Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models of the economy, which are a blight on the world and are the most evolved form of the nonsense that economics students are exposed to in their undergraduate studies. Paul Romer recently published an article on his blog (September 14, 2016) – The Trouble With Macroeconomics – which received a fair amount of attention in the media, given that it represented a rather scathing, and at times, personalised (he ‘names names’) attack on the mainstream of my profession. Paul Romer describes mainstream macroeconomics as being in a state of “intellectual regress” for “three decades” culminating in the latest fad of New Keynesian models where the DSGE framework present a chimera of authority. His attack on mainstream macroeconomics is worth considering and linking with other evidence that the dominant approach in macroeconomics is essentially a fraud.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Mainstream macroeconomics in a state of ‘intellectual regress’
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


John said...

Quibbling with William the Conqueror (my moniker for the great man) is to take one's life in one's hands, but true "intellectual regress" in this case would in actual fact be "progress".

A more accurate description would be "intellectual putridness" or "anti-intellectual excrement", or even more accurately given how many lives its destroyed "useful idiocy".

Matt Franko said...

Gotta ditch the whole stochastic approach now that we are no longer under the metals anymore... has to convert over to a deterministic approach.... discrete time... functional equations... etc...

Matt Franko said...

John, Larry Summers is out today describing Trumps program as equivalent to creationism ... Summers is spot on as his stochastic approach is equivalent to Darwinism...

So we have the stochastic vs the deterministic across the board ...

My munnie is riding on deterministic ...

John said...

If the economic models are dynamic, that's a good thing. Stochastic is good, I'd have thought. The real problem, I suggest, is the general equilibrium. If the models were generally non-equilibrium, that would be a much better way of approaching the problem.

Adding classes (working class, capitalist class, etc) rather than individuals makes the problems easier to handle. But that's SOCIALISM! And it's Marxist-Leninism of the worst kind to model things like that in an individualistic "free market" capitalist economy! I suppose that's one of the reasons all the models fail.

John said...

Summers criticising Trump? I think Summers is right on this occasion, but the man obviously has no shame. If he had any shame, he's never show his face again. If he had any remorse for all the carnage he's inflicted, he'd disembowel himself. Is there a worse economist anywhere, Austrians and Kudlow included? The man is either a liar or a total idiot, although there is no reason he couldn't be both.

Matt, have you got something against evolution or is it strictly Darwinism?

Tom Hickey said...

Don't underestimate Trump and his team. Being business people, they look to results rather than theory and forecasts. This means that that are quick learners and also flexible in action (agile). They have to be to stay in business let alone be successful. Steering government is like driving a battleship, but these people are used to big organizations. They are not going to have a lot of patience with bureaucracy, and if the congress critters try politics on them, they are in for a surprise. Trump will mash them on Twitter and they will go berserk.

This promises to be quite a reality show. I don't think that the politicians are ready for this. They have never played anything but bean bag. They are up against cage fighters. It an't gonna be pretty. But it will be humorous in that they will never see it coming.

Matt Franko said...

Darwin/evolution is same thing.... stochastic theory...

"random chance mutations..." key word here being 'random'...

It becomes a foundational belief with these people ... ie a 'cognitive bias' received via rote...

So dont blame Summers here imo blame Darwin in the first place... Summers was rote taught Darwin along with all the other stochastic people involved in this... no math chops to get out of it... not their fault...

Matt Franko said...

Agree 100% Tom....

Tom Hickey said...

Stochastic just means that no one knows how to write equations using functions. Any one that can do this and show that the equation is representative of a real causal relationship in life science or social science, or at the quantum level is assured of a Nobel.

Scientists don't choose stochastic over determinative as a matter of preference. They don't see now to capture the causality in terms of a mathematical function so they use statistical reasoning.

There are not general theories in the life sciences and social sciences, including psychology and economics, similar to the natural sciences because the subject matter is different. The hope is to reduce the subject matter of the life and social science to the molecular level and explain behaviors based on natural science. But that is just a dream at this point.

Even then, ultimate explanation would be at the quantum level, and that remains stochastic until a deterministic explanation is elaborated, if that occurs.

BTW there is a quantum stochastic calculus.

Penguin pop said...

"Don't underestimate Trump and his team. Being business people, they look to results rather than theory and forecasts. This means that that are quick learners and also flexible in action (agile). They have to be to stay in business let alone be successful. Steering government is like driving a battleship, but these people are used to big organizations. They are not going to have a lot of patience with bureaucracy, and if the congress critters try politics on them, they are in for a surprise. Trump will mash them on Twitter and they will go berserk.

This promises to be quite a reality show. I don't think that the politicians are ready for this. They have never played anything but bean bag. They are up against cage fighters. It an't gonna be pretty. But it will be humorous in that they will never see it coming."

The post-ideological label probably would apply to Trump and his team if this ends up being the case. What will matter most to these people is results. They might not get everything right on the first pass, but if something goes wrong and people are outraged about how things haven't qualitatively gotten any better, I would hope that they would take note and reevaluate what went wrong and try to conduct an analysis on how and why. That's where the left-wing would come in and try to get through to Trump on these matters, though I don't think everyone in that spectrum has the business acumen. You can sometimes see that in the activism they do. It's not always the most organized nor does it have a solidified objective, like how idiotic some of the Trump protests have gone. They need a solid strategy to succeed, wouldn't you agree, Tom?

Penguin pop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penguin pop said...

Correction: "They might not get everything right on the first pass, but if something goes wrong and people are outraged about how things haven't quantitatively gotten any better...."

Matt Franko said...

It'll get better but will still go down to "NAIRU!" type levels, many people still without healthcare, etc.. with status quo...

Then they will just go to their Darwin and say 'those people are the statistical losers what is the problem?' 'survival of the fittest'... 'only the strong survive' blah blah blah ... as usual unless something else is changed towards more determinism which imo we still dont have evidence of with these Trump people...

So left has to figure out how to communicate "its still not good enough...." effectively

John said...

Matt: "Darwin/evolution is same thing.... stochastic theory..."

There are alternative evolutionary theories to neo-Darwinian synthesis by natural selection, which is a perfectly acceptable scientific stance.

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that you don't accept any evolutionary theory of life? Or just one that has random mutations at some level?

All the evidence ever accrued from all the life sciences verify random mutation. We can see evolution in real time, so presumably you can't possibly be arguing against evolution. Or are you denying that evolution occurs?! Or just that there are no random mutations, and that in some sort of Laplacian way mutations are perfectly deterministic?

If you are you arguing for some sort of deterministic evolution, that is counter to everything we know. All the experimental data we have verifies random mutations! Millions of experiments verify this. That is not to say that evolution is random; the mutations are, the evolution is non-random. It's a misunderstanding that evolution is random. Evolution is non-random! It's the mutations at the genetic level that are non-random.

If you were to release sausage dogs into the Alaskan wild, they wouldn't survive. Nothing random about that. That's an evolutionary non-random event: sausage dogs cannot adapt to this environment. In fact, they'll all be dead within about a week. Other species of domesticated dog species may survive being let loose into the Alaskan wilds, but look in on them a thousand years from now and they'll be different beasts entirely, more like wolves or some other tough bastard of a wild dog. The environment will have "selected" those who can adapt: the random mutations that will allow for these dogs to adapt to this environment will have their traits passed on. So evolution is non-random. If evolution were random, German Shepherds and Pit bulls would have the same probability of dying as a sausage dog or a chihuahua.

Matt Franko said...

That is selective breeding you're talking about with the dog analogy.... humans are selectively breeding the dogs ... who selectively bred humans?

John said...

Matt, the simple answer is nature through billions of years. What else can it be? You can see random mutations in real time in bacteria and other very simple life forms. That isn't an illusion. You can see it happening. Nobody is "selecting" anything. Nature is "selecting" in a two way process: the environment is acting on the subject but it is also being acted on by the subject.

The stuff about dogs was to show that evolution is non-random. You've got this almost back to front. It's an easy mistake to make: mutations are random and so evolution is random. No, it's the mutations that are random, but the evolution that is non-random. Life is all about probabilities, but some probabilities are not just more probable than others but more certain than others. Humans can't fly and they won't fly, no matter how many times you throw them off a cliff, expecting random mutations to make them sprout wings. There is a non-random probability of exactly one that we will fall like a lead balloon off a cliff. But put enough humans at high altitude, some will die and others will survive. The survivors will pass on the traits to their children. The mutation for increased lung capacity is non-random. The environment killing off huge numbers of humans at high altitude is non-random.

By the way, I don't like the term "selection". It's not as if a ball is being selected out of a bag. All that's meant is that the resulting evolution was the one most fitted to the environment, the rest having not passed the environmental test, and so "selected". It's a tautology.

We can see human evolution in our DNA. In fact we can trace huge amounts of life forms back in time, linking them to their ancestors. We can do it with humans and other apes. The evidence is so overwhelming that I'm at a loss as to what evidence is required. Real time evidence isn't enough. DNA evidence isn't enough. Fossil evidence isn't enough.

If not evolution, what else could it be? Even when there was no evidence for evolution, philosophers and scientists came up with evolutionary theories. Why? What else could it be? It's either a natural phenomena or a supernatural phenomena. There are only two choices: the natural or the supernatural.

If you believe in God, say so. I don't think belief in God is absurd, contrary to the hysterical screaming and deranged stupidities of the fashionable new atheist cult. Religious belief is a perfectly reasonable answer to the strange world around us. It doesn't adequately explain the world, but it isn't unreasonable. Creationism evidently does not fit with the world we observe. So-called intelligent design is as unintelligent as it is possible to get: that they can't bring themselves to say the word "God" shows how stupid they themselves are. Theistic evolution in its modern form is an unexpected but inspired development as it can't be falsified, but I wonder how many religious people genuinely believe we were once bacterial slime billions of years ago?

The Rombach Report said...

"Theistic evolution in its modern form is an unexpected but inspired development as it can't be falsified, but I wonder how many religious people genuinely believe we were once bacterial slime billions of years ago?"

John - Outstanding post! However, to take it back further what was the catalyst or series of events that triggered the transformation from inorganic rock, mud, and sand into bacterial slime? I keep coming back to the transformation of food that we eat, which may be non-living organic matter, into amino acids that becomes living organic tissue. That is a pretty miraculous process.

Bob said...

The mutation for Huntington's Disease is not random.

HD is typically inherited from a person's parents with 10% of cases due to a new mutation. The disease is caused by an autosomal dominant mutation in either of an individual's two copies of a gene called Huntingtin. This means a child of an affected person typically has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. The Huntingtin gene provides the genetic information for a protein that is also called "huntingtin". Expansion of CAG (cytosine-adenine-guanine) triplet repeats in the gene coding for the Huntingtin protein results in an abnormal protein, which gradually damages cells in the brain, through mechanisms that are not fully understood.


The articles on mutation and mutagenesis list four different causes for mutations. The mechanisms by which errors are introduced and repaired limits the number of possible mutations. The odds of an organism surviving long enough to reproduce is another limit. The when, where and why of mutations ensure that their occurrence isn't a lottery.

John said...

Thanks Rombach. As to what triggered life, that's an open question. As ingenious and insightful as the Miller-Urey experiments were, they're ultimately not the answer. Simple life in deep water around thermal vents may be the answer. It's an ongoing area of research. There are some interesting textbooks in this general area: astrobiology, earth-life systems, rare life, lucky planet. The popular science books by Paul Davies are a good place to start. It's a fascinating subject, and we're getting closer to a possible answer.

Bob, over at evolution.berkeley they answer: "How is it possible that such a devastating genetic disease is so common in some populations? Shouldn't natural selection remove genetic defects from human populations? Research on the evolutionary genetics of this disease suggests that there are two main reasons for the persistence of Huntington's in human populations: mutation coupled with weak selection...As though that weren't bad enough, Huntington's belongs to a class of genetic diseases that largely escape natural selection. Huntington's is often "invisible" to natural selection for a very simple reason: it generally does not affect people until after they've reproduced. In this way, the alleles for late-onset Huntington's may evade natural selection, "sneaking" into the next generation, despite its deleterious effects. Early-onset cases of Huntington's are rare; these are an exception, and are strongly selected against."

See: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/medicine_05

Current evolutionary theory apparently answers Huntington's disease. Nevertheless, I personally don't think natural selection answers all of evolution. It is certainly the main driver, but it just cannot account for the world we see. Even Dawkins when pushed will admit that, although he omits this in his books. It would spoil such a minimally neat explanation. Watch Dawkins get ripped apart by an evolutionary thinker who lives in the real world, not someone who harangues religious people as knuckledraggers and wants to wage war on religion as if that's going to end well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QceGqKZMqIM

A theory that incorporates self-organisation, epigenetics, developmental biology, convergence and some other phenomena would probably explain the disorganised organisation of the biological world we observe.

Tom Hickey said...

Tree diagrams are to evolutionary theory what supply-demand graphs are to economics.

The Tree RoomThe Tree Room

In terms of present scientific knowledge, the tip of root of the tree is the Big Bang of the eponymous theory. In this theory ground is posited as an initial singularity. Perfect symmetry is non-differentiated. The Big Bang is the collapse of that symmetry into progressive diversification. The task of science is to account for how that diversification unfolds though regularity, but not why this takes place. Scientific method excludes teleology from its scope.

In perennial wisdom the initial singularity is analogous to the unmanifest and the the Big Bang is the initial collapse of perfect symmetry, resulting in the subsequent diversification of the manifest.

The basic paradigm is given in perennial wisdom but it is mythological rather than scientific. The Western intellectual tradition can be viewed as the transition from the mythological, dominated by symbolism, to the philosophical, dominated by intellectual reasoning, to the scientific, dominated by sense observation and mathematical modeling.

Meher Baba unpacks the paradigm of perennial wisdom in summary form in God Speaks. Chapter 2 deals with evolution of form. The paradigm of perennial wisdom includes teleology in its scope as a knowable, although only through non-ordinary modes of knowing. Those lacking the requisite mode of knowing have he option of rejecting it, remaining agnostic about it, or believing it on authority.

While one might call this account "philosophy" or "metaphysics," it is not philosophy in the Western sense of being the output of reasoning from "self-evident" first principles that are actually stipulated assumptions. Rather, perennial wisdom claims to be the based on the experience of sages, who teach that this experience results from the process of existence becoming progressively more conscious, so that it is not only available to all but also the birthright of all beings, all of whom eventually attain it.

Bob said...

Could say that aging is "invisible" to natural selection too.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a recessive X-linked disorder. Males don't live long enough to reproduce, so why does it persist?
Perhaps, as with Huntington's, a small percentage arises from mutation. It would not be a CAG repeat though.

Dawkins is a pop science author. The "selfish" gene was a horrible metaphor.

John said...

Tom, you shouldn't be so hard on the tree of life. It's a useful way of thinking and organising concepts. Perhaps it's wrong, but I wouldn't put it in the same class as the simple supply-demand diagrams. But I suppose even simple supply-demand diagrams have a place in an introductory class, if only to prove its limitations.

Ultimately, science is not going to answer certain questions, and we'll have to look to other subjects, philosophy included and perhaps philosophy specifically, for answers. for instance, why there are laws of nature at all. The physicist Lawrence Krauss got into a slanging match with the brilliant philosopher David Albert on this very subject a while back. I thought Albert won and Krauss obfuscated and tried to make the whole thing into a media circus. Krauss wants to be a media darling, a star, a glorified "public intellectual", which is a shame because I like Krauss!

Bob, the "selfish gene" metaphor was meant to be controversial from the off. Controversy is useful, but Dawkins was controversial for controversy's sake, probably to make a name for himself. When he was criticised for using such an appalling metaphor, and a stupid one, he lashed out. At least he made a career as a "public intellectual" out of it: he's the go-to guy for all things, even when he clearly knows nothing about those subjects. The greatest biologist of the twentieth century, Ernst Mayr, heavily criticised Dawkins for being "non-Darwinian" by claiming that selection acts on the gene. It's obviously wrong. Dawkins knows that it's wrong, yet he still either says it or allows people to believe that's what he means. Dawkins has a wonderful gift for explaining hard concepts and is as elegant a writer as you'll ever come across, but he spends his time advocating utter nonsense or spraying disgusting insults like he would rather his daughter be raped every day than be brought up a Catholic. The poor man's clearly lost his mind, hence the adulation by a culture gone wrong.

Tom Hickey said...

Tom, you shouldn't be so hard on the tree of life. It's a useful way of thinking and organising concepts.

I didn't mean to give that impression.

I also think that supply-demand diagrams are useful and even ISLM.

Problems only arise when they are pushed beyond what they actually say as useful simplifications.

The basis of diversification is branching and the basis of economics is exchange. The diagrams are simple ways of conveying this.

John said...

Tom, as the old joke goes as long as it's not ISLMic fundamentalism!

All of the best theories have limitations, and many of the least good theories have good predictions. True creativity and intelligence doesn't find this a handicap but finds a way of using these limitations and these theories to good effect, and then to start off a new paradigm. Isn't MMT just such an example?

Tom Hickey said...

Even the sectoral balances are simplistic. That doesn’t mean they they are not important. Same with supply and demand curves (price-quantity model) ad ISLM (interest rate-liquidity preference model). These illustrate important economic concepts.

The problems that arise are similar to those of the laws of physics that one learns in Physics 101, which abstracts from friction for simplicity, for example.

The instructor needs to point out that these models are simplifications (idealizations) that are useful in learning but other conditions apply in the real world that will be added later as one acquires more skill in the handling the basics while assuming a stylized world.

This is actually very convenient in quantitative disciples, as those teaching in qualitative disciplines realize. For example, attempts to systematized the teaching of philosophy have proven impractical and have been abandoned in favor of introducing the principles of critical thinking and apply them to reflection on the enduring questions about the key fundamentals of existence and life guided by the ways that the great minds have approached them. It's a process of immersion until one learns to sink or swim. Many just opt out and choose a canned solution that suits their preferences instead. A creative and inquisitive few go on to develop a fresh point of view and add to the field.

John said...

Tom, nicely said. We shouldn't forget that all the sciences have succumb to scientism and this crude systematizing of thought. There is very little understanding of limitations. Too much triumphalism and naivete abounds. The great scientists understood this.

As you say, you either get it or you don't. That it's infected philosophy is a problem, because it was philosophy that is the most helpful way of understanding the science undertaken. Scientists like to laugh and mock philosophy, but this is vulgar idiocy. One of the reasons so many scientists are repelled by philosophy is that it's no longer part of the curriculum. Another reason is their supposed replacement of philosophy by science, a suggestion that is absurd when you think about it longer than the few seconds most scientists will consider it merits. The history of the subject has also been thrown out. Once you throw out the history and philosophy of a science, and concentrate simply on the quantitative side, you're asking for trouble. University departments claim that students have enough to learn without burdening them with more courses. To do justice, they claim, would add another year to the degree. If this were true, fine! Make all degrees five years long.

The fact is, it isn't true and there is time to give students a more rounded view of the science they're studying. I think the sciences are taking the same disastrous path as economics and political science: systematize the thought, ensure everyone succumbs to the cult of scientism, thereby weeding out unusual ideas, and ensure that the the history and philosophy of the subject is expunged, so that unusual ideas are never aired. Any other course would immediately see departments being "led by an invisible hand" to heterodoxy. It'd be the death of orthodoxy, the reinstitution of heterodox thought in science, and that would be worse than being raised Catholic which, as we have been schooled by that brilliant idiot Dawkins, is worse than child rape.

jrbarch said...

One viewpoint from the Ageless Wisdom: (am quoting or paraphrasing from Esoteric Healing Tibetan)

The physical ‘plane’ has seven sub-planes: -solid, liquid, gaseous | and four ethers. The sub-atomic particles of the quantum physicists are the smallest theoretical particle of matter, which appear from and disappear into some unknown state of ‘charge’. There is no reason not to hypothesise that all of the ‘Laws of Nature’ of the physical plane may pre-exist in this ‘charge state’ (or four ethers). The work of our clinicians is largely confined to subjects like genetics (within the three lower physical sub-planes, with some interest in energy, the ethers). Medicine has therefore worked itself into somewhat of a cul de sac from which it cannot emerge until recognition of the etheric body and its functions are proven.

The dense physical body is the sumtotal of all of the organisms that compose it and allows consciousness to contact the physical plane because of development of the prerequisite organs.

The etheric body vitalises and energises the physical body and integrates it into the energy body of the Earth and of the solar system. This constant, individual - human, planetary, and solar - circulation of life-forces through the etheric bodies of all forms is the basis of all manifested life, and the expression of the essential non-separateness of all life. Once the etheric blindfold is removed from the physical eyes, human vision will normally extend to the etheric sub-planes. Human history records this vision in unusual cases bought about through illness, or regressive psychic conditions; it was also developed by the yogis as well as higher forms of vision, and the literature extant in the world regarding the ‘centres’ and ‘devas’ is a result.

For consciousness to be awake on higher planes the corresponding organs must be developed in the body of each plane. For this consciousness to be carried down to the physical brain a bridge must be built. This is yoga.

The astral, desire, or emotional body is the effect of the interplay of desire and of sentient response upon the Self at the center, and the resultant effect - in that body - is experienced as emotion and as pain and pleasure and the other pairs of opposites. The astral body has seven corresponding sub-planes to the physical. In these two bodies, the etheric and astral bodies, ninety percent of the causes of physical disease and troubles is to be found. Hence purity of the bodies is a prerequisite to expanding consciousness.

The mental body, or that much of the chitta or mind stuff which an individual human unit can use and impress, constitutes the fourth of the series of mechanisms at the disposal of the soul. It too has seven subplanes. That aspect of the soul which most recognise as conscience is to be found on the fourth sub-plane whilst the soul ‘having pervaded the lower worlds’ remains on the higher buddhic plane (one above the mental). The lower four constitute one mechanism for the soul.

These are the bodies with ‘rupa’ – form.

The higher buddhic, atmic, monadic, bodies are arupa – without form and are the prototypes of the three lower bodies, reflected below.

These seven planes of human evolution form the seven sub-planes of the physical plane correspondence of Cosmos.

So, I just want to point out that the human ‘sciences’ are definitely a journey, but are also a stage and cage. Always, what is required is more light. So from this pov: -

Law I of Healing
All disease is the result of inhibited soul life, and that is true of all forms in all kingdoms. The art of the healer consists in releasing the soul, so that its life can flow through the aggregate of organisms which constitute any particular form.

John said...

Four ethers? What are they?

Plasma is another state of matter, and that makes up about 99.9% of the universe. That makes four, not three. So you'd then have four states of matter and the four ethers, whatever they are, and that makes eight. Or is seven an important and/or significant number, and eight messes with the numerology?

And if dark matter doesn't exist, which I don't think it does, then almost all of the matter is highly ionised gas. Why concentrate on the 0.1% then? Ancient philosophies need to be updated, and I say that as someone who recognises the insight of the world's ancient philosophies.

jrbarch said...

[John] Four ethers? What are they?

In the Tibetan’s teaching, plasma is part of the ‘gaseous’ state of matter, one sub-plane rarer than the ‘liquid’ state. The four ethers are further refinements or sub-planes, as distinguishable as the ‘solid, liquid, gaseous’ sub-planes. The ethers are all lumped together in Western science as an unsourced phenomena called ‘charge’ whose qualities are attraction/repulsion (magnetism) and radiation (effect). So if the Ageless Wisdom re the centers and the physiological role of the etheric and other bodies turns out to be true, it is Western science that will be updated – could that also be a possibility?

The etheric body at the time of the death of the physical body, is seen by the psychic emerging from the physical frame. Depending upon the development of the soul within, the astral and mental bodies are too shed over time; we ‘die’ three times before the soul stands free in its own buddhic vehicle. This process I believe, is widely recorded in the perennial wisdom extant (I am not a scholar but there are many who delve into comparative religion and philosophy).

Anecdotally, there are ‘stories’ of blue light hovering around burial grounds soon after death; or the feeling of a ‘ghost limb’ soon after an amputation; which are said to be the decomposing etheric body in the first instance, and the etheric limb before it has shrunk back to the new form configuration after amputation.

Without personal reference to you John, as you seem to be more widely read than many - the mind is like a parachute – of not much use unless it is open. I wouldn’t recommend ‘believing’ anything (and that goes for the modern world view too) – but sometimes it is good to read outside of your home turf whilst retaining a healthy scepticism.

Tom Hickey said...

What is there in the whole universe? It is gas in its 276 subtle states. Before gas turns into the first manifestation of the gross, it evolves through 276 subtle stages. None of the scientists knows about these 276 subtle forms of gas before its first manifestation in the gross. Subtle gas very gradually turns into gross form such as hydrogen, oxygen, et cetera. In the nebulae, in all heavenly bodies, and in the planets there is evolution. All of evolution begins from the nebulae. The 276 subtle stages begin from the beginning of the nebulae, which are at the source of subtle energy (Pran) and subtle space (Akash).

Meher Baba, 1934

John said...

"I wouldn’t recommend ‘believing’ anything (and that goes for the modern world view too) – but sometimes it is good to read outside of your home turf whilst retaining a healthy scepticism."

I couldn't agree more, and that's probably why I was drawn to this site and MMT!