What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Slothrop » Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:16 am

You're putting gelatin back into its original form. That's like saying the ice in my glass is characterized by the way it flows in the Amazon River.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:49 am

Slothrop wrote:So since they are experiential and not essential, then the question is not, "What is a gelatin?" but rather, "How is a gelatin experienced?" Is that right?


I think it should be: "What are the characteristics of the rūpa dhammas which constitute the conceptual reality known as "gelatin" and which are known by the faculty of understanding (paññindriya) when it has been developed to the level of insight knowledge (vipassanā-ñāṇa)?"
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:20 am

Greetings bhante,

Though if someone could ask the question so eloquently, one would assume they already knew the answer... ;)

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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:27 am

Hi Slothrop,

I think I'm following you, but I'm not sure. You're trying to have this discussion in everyday language, right? So from this:
Slothrop wrote:You're putting gelatin back into its original form. That's like saying the ice in my glass is characterized by the way it flows in the Amazon River.

Can you say what you mean by "its original form"?

I have the impression you're trying to have a discussion about what some object is in reality, all by itself, in isolation. If I understand you correctly, then I'm not sure the question is on topic here, unless you think Ven. Dhammanando was mistaken when he said:
Ven. Dhammanando wrote:The Abhidhamma's elemental analysis is concerned with animated rupa, not with external non-animated rupa. ... [Gelatin's] elemental composition will not be an abhidhammic concern.

In everyday language, I think Ven. Dhammanando is saying that in the context of Abhidhamma (which is what this forum concerns itself with), questions about what an object is in reality (all by itself, isolated) don't apply. Questions like that miss the point. In everyday language, I think he's saying that in the context of Abhidhamma, the only way to understand gelatin (or any object) is through the lens of one's senses coupled with correct understanding of that experience. I stand to be corrected if I've misunderstood what was meant.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:39 am

What is a "material octad"?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:07 am

From here:
... any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:07 am

Individual wrote:What is a "material octad"?


The eight rupa dhammas that are inseparable and which constitute one material cluster. See chapter VI of the Abhidhammatthasangaha: http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/abhisgho/abhis06.htm

    These four elements coexist and are inseparable, but one may preponderate over another as, for instance, pathavi in earth, apo in water, tejo in fire, and vayo in air.

    They are also called Mahabhutas, or Great Essentials because they are invariably found in all material substances ranging from the infinitesimally small cell to the most massive object.

    Dependent on them are the four subsidiary material qualities of colour (vanna), smell (gandha), taste (rasa), and nutritive essence (oja). These eight coexisting forces and qualities constitute one material group called 'suddhatthaka rupa kalapa - pure-octad material group'.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Slothrop » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:19 pm

Not to beat a dead horse (no offense to the jello lovers out there), but it seems to me perhaps the gelatin as an object does not have to be in one "elemental" category or another. That is more the Greek model. Rather, in the Buddhist model gelatin has qualities present in multiple descriptive categories, each of which is a rupa. Gelatin exerts force upon neighboring objects, this is the pathavi aspect. Gelatin sticks together in a dessert mold form, this is the apo aspect. Gelatin has a temperature, this is tejo aspect. Gelatin has atoms that vibrate and generate heat, this is the vayo aspect. Am I interpreting this correctly, bhante?
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:19 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Individual wrote:What is a "material octad"?


The eight rupa dhammas that are inseparable and which constitute one material cluster. See chapter VI of the Abhidhammatthasangaha: http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/abhisgho/abhis06.htm

    These four elements coexist and are inseparable, but one may preponderate over another as, for instance, pathavi in earth, apo in water, tejo in fire, and vayo in air.

    They are also called Mahabhutas, or Great Essentials because they are invariably found in all material substances ranging from the infinitesimally small cell to the most massive object.

    Dependent on them are the four subsidiary material qualities of colour (vanna), smell (gandha), taste (rasa), and nutritive essence (oja). These eight coexisting forces and qualities constitute one material group called 'suddhatthaka rupa kalapa - pure-octad material group'.

What capacity for explaining experiences do the rupas have, if each object is always a "material octad" and you can't think of the objects in their theoretical purity or in precise terms?

An example of what I mean... This is red:
Image

This is blue:
Image

What is red is not blue, what is not blue is not red, etc.. It's a useful classification because I can describe these properties, show them to you, separate them, and then when I say, "An object is blue," or "Red", or neither, you can know what I mean, or I can describe purple as a combination of the two, being able to come up with a very specific combination of specific tones or color frequencies that tells you exactly what it looks like.

But let's say instead that I were to say... That there is red, blue, green, yellow, etc., but that these colors are in fact inseparable! And in every object, there's a bit of each color! How confusing that would be!

I can't say, "That object is red," but instead, "That's an octad (or hexad, pentad, whatever, doesn't matter how many colors I use) and no specific color can be identified." Well, then you'd have no idea about what I was talking about... Because I can't distinguish it. Things would be even more confusing if I said that these colors I were referred to weren't in any way necessarily real, but were simply a way of classifying something, in some system of artificial descriptions.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:35 pm

Hi Individual,

I hope Ven. Dhammanando or someone else who knows this stuff will give you a good answer, but meanwhile, your post raises some additional questions, chiefly, what expectations to we bring to Dhamma practice and to Abhidhamma study? Is the point to arrive at some physics-like description of phenomena that satisfies our curiosity about the nature of life's building blocks? Or to end dukkha? And how does the former pursuit inform the latter?

Individual wrote:... you can't think of the objects in their theoretical purity or in precise terms?
There may be an assumption built into this question.

Individual wrote:What is red is not blue, what is not blue is not red, etc.. It's a useful classification because I can describe these properties ...
Pretend that I'm blind and describe "blue" for me.

Individual wrote:But let's say instead that I were to say... That there is red, blue, green, yellow, etc., but that these colors are in fact inseparable! And in every object, there's a bit of each color! How confusing that would be!
But these colors are just gradations of one of many attributes of an object, and the other attributes will still be inseparable from the object itself. You may be comparing apples with oranges.

Individual wrote:I can't say, "That object is red," but instead, "That's an octad (or hexad, pentad, whatever, doesn't matter how many colors I use) and no specific color can be identified."
Are you saying that it would make more sense if you could point to an object and describe it completely with the words, "That object is red"? What sort of object would have only a single property labeled "red"?
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:00 pm

Found some stuff that are even more interesting examples than my OP.

Ferrofluids (a "fluid-solid," a substance that expresses qualities of both solids and fluids), made by suspending iron nanoparticles in a solution of water, oil and a surfactant, which reacts in interesting ways to magnetic fields:



Non-newtonian fluids (fluids that don't have consistent viscosity, i.e. they're liquids that can become solids when placed under stress):



Now are these substances more of the "liquid" (water) or more "solid" (earth) property? If each object is an octad with an indeterminable combination of each property, how does one distinguish one form of matter from another?
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:10 pm

It seems your confusion is in regarding solidity and fluidity as two points on the same scale, just as red and blue are two points on the scale of photon frequency. We learn in school how water is fluid at these temperatures and solid at those temperatures. But this is not what 'solid' and 'fluid' mean in Buddhist context. They describe two different scales. A ball may be red, and also bouncy, and also smell of rubber and a second ball may be blue, not bouncy, and smell of wood. Each ball has a type of color, a type of bounciness, and a type of smell. In the same way an object will express so much of the earth property, so much of the water property, so much of the fire property, and so much of the air property.

As for your recent examples, they will express different properties depending on their environment. Just as water will express more solidity in my freezer than in my bathtub, oobleck will express more solidity when under pressure from a guy stepping on it.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:40 am

Peter wrote:It seems your confusion is in regarding solidity and fluidity as two points on the same scale, just as red and blue are two points on the scale of photon frequency.

So, let's say we were to describe this spectrum more in detail. In terms of their relative solidity (earth) and liquidity (water), how would you rank against one another:

-water (obvious liquid)
-a solid rock (obvious solid)

but also:
-gelatins
-liquid crystals
-plasmas
-ferrofluids
-non-newtonian liquids

Let's say you have something which has a roughly equal amount of the earth and liquid properties. What exactly would that be? In the case of red and blue, it would be purple.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:12 am

Individual wrote:Let's say you have something which has a roughly equal amount of the earth and liquid properties. What exactly would that be? In the case of red and blue, it would be purple.

You are still missing it. You are still regarding earth and water as akin to red and blue. Something does not have equal amounts of red and blue. Rather something is of a color halfway between the frequency of red and the frequency of blue. Red and blue are measuring the same thing. Red is not one property and blue another. They are both describing the property of color.

Water can be described in terms of it's hardness (not very) and it can be described in terms of it's fluidity (very).
A rock can be described in terms of it's hardness (very) and in terms of it's fluidity (not very).

Everything has the property of hardness, everything has the property of fluidity, everything has the property of color. If something is neither predominant in earth nor predominant in water then that's what it is. No big deal.

To put it another way, it is as if you asked about something which is halfway between salty and blue. It doesn't make any sense as those are two different properties.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:23 am

Peter wrote:You are still missing it.


So it would seem. This is one of the odder threads I have seen in a while.
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Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:08 pm

Peter wrote:
Individual wrote:Let's say you have something which has a roughly equal amount of the earth and liquid properties. What exactly would that be? In the case of red and blue, it would be purple.

Something does not have equal amounts of red and blue. Rather something is of a color halfway between the frequency of red and the frequency of blue.

To be accurate, purple is not of a frequency between red and blue. That would be yellow, probably. Indigo is of a lesser frequency than red and violet is of a higher frequency than blue. And that's just the emission spectrum. In the absorption spectrum if you mix a pigment which absorbs everything but red and a second pigment which absorbs everything but blue you do indeed get light reflected back in the frequency of purple. Still, red and blue are not two separate properties but rather different points on the same spectrum - frequency of light.

Earth and liquid, on the other hand, describe two separate properties.
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