Home The Meru Project:
Intro & FAQ
Philosophical & Math Essays Hebrew Letters, Gesture & Language Graphics, Animations, Videos Newsletter Archive Research Archive, Supplementary Materials About Meru Foundation Donate DVDs, Books, and Music
Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter
Number 24 – 20 August 2004
Copyright 2004 Meru Foundation
Edited by Levanah Tenen

As mentioned in eTORUS #23, in this issue Stan introduces a new framework for considering the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis as compressed information. For what Stan means by that -- see his comments later in this issue.

As a way of introducing this topic, we're also including a letter Stan wrote in response to an article by Paul Davies in the August 7, 2004 issue of New Scientist magazine. Davies' article, titled "Do we have to spell it out?", addresses the difficulties of transmitting information to an "alien entity" -- whether that entity is widely separated from us in distance, time, or both.

One of our earliest presumptions about the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis (see our first videotape, "Geometric Metaphors of Life,") was that in order to convey something deeper than the narrative, the letter-text would have to contain its own mechanisms both for self-repair (since both distance and time could degrade it), and self-decoding once it reached its "destination" (in the case of the Genesis text, the "destination" is us). In part, our early research focused on how the text, as it exists, might accomplish both of these goals.

After you read the excerpts from Davies' article, and Stan's response, you'll see how this all relates to Stan's newest perspective on the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis as information.

We have begun to get a response to our first "PBS-Style" fundraising campaign, announced in our last eTORUS. This year, we are securing pledges and contributions in advance of the Massachusetts winter, so that we will be able to concentrate on our work during the cold months -- and plan to do our traveling, to meet with those of you in California and other warm climates -- during the coldest! <smile>

I have been calling many of you who have previously ordered our videos and other materials, bringing you up to date both on our work, and on our fundraising progress, and recording your pledges or contributions. It's always a pleasure for me to speak with you; I learn from every phone call. Many, many different kinds of people are interested in this research, and I have the privilege of being able to listen to you all.

Even if you can't contribute funds at this time, you can still help. If you have your own mailing list, please consider writing a paragraph or two introducing Meru Foundation and our research, and letting people know your sense of its value. If you forward your introduction to us before distributing it, Stan or I could add a few comments of our own if you like. Then, we could contact people from your list personally to answer their questions, and hopefully gain their interest and attention.

If I haven't yet called you, and you would like me to -- or, if you've moved since last giving us your contact information -- please email me your phone number, and a good time to call, and I'll be glad to do so. If you would like to make a contribution or pledge, or to discuss contacting your own e-list, and would like to talk with someone first -- I'm the person! We need your support to continue this work -- and with it, we can blossom. If you know how you want to support Meru but just haven't done it yet, let me encourage you. Knowing what will be coming in and when, makes your generous gifts go farther.

Yes, I know -- I sound like your local PBS station. <smile> But our situation is similar -- with one big difference. PBS is supported primarily by major corporate funding, and public grants. Meru Foundation's *only* source of support is you -- individual people who are interested in this work and believe in its value. We value the interest and caring of each and every one of you -- and thank you for providing Meru with the funding we need to continue our research, and present our results in the most compelling ways possible.

You can reach me at 781-784-3462 (Boston area); or by sending email to meru@meru.org. Thank you all for your help.


Reprinted below are excerpts from an article in the 7 August 2004 issue of New Scientist magazine by Prof. Paul Davies, entitled "Do we Have to Spell it Out?". Davies discusses some of the difficulties we might have in identifying a message from a distant consciousness -- and then he suggests that "junk DNA" might be one place to look. (For subscribers to New Scientist magazine, the complete article is available in their online archives at

In many ways, Meru Foundation research into the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis responds directly to Davies' expressed concerns. A letter Stan sent both to Davies and to the editors of New Scientist follows the excerpts from Davies' article.

By the way, Stan and I subscribe (and have for years) to two weekly science publications: New Scientist magazine (published in England), and Science News (published by the nonprofit Science Service on the US). New Scientist's articles are detailed, generally well-illustrated, and readable. Science News, which has more of a "digest" format, also includes short summaries of the week's most important published scientific papers. Both magazines have websites which are valuable in their own right: http://www.newscientist.com and http://www.sciencenews.org . To keep up-to-date with the most recent developments in the sciences, we highly recommend both New Scientist and Science News.

Excerpts from "Do we Have to Spell it Out?" by Prof. Paul Davies
Complete article published in New Scientist vol. 183 issue 2459
07 August 2004, page 30

Paul Davies is at The Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University, Sydney, and author of "The Origin of Life"

  "SEARCHING for alien messages is a wild and speculative idea. For more than 40 years, a heroic band of astronomers has been sweeping the skies with radio telescopes in the hope of stumbling across a signal. Though the silence so far has been deafening, this search is buoyed by the belief that the truth is out there somewhere. But what if the truth isn't out there at all? What if it lies somewhere else? Now may be the time to try a radically different approach.
  [. . .]
  "An altogether more attractive strategy from ET's viewpoint would be to plant artefacts containing messages in the vicinity of any planets that have the potential to evolve intelligent life at some unknown stage in the future. Then, if and when a technological community emerged on that planet, it would encounter the cosmic calling card on its doorstep. This is a favourite science fiction theme: remember the obelisk in 2001: A space odyssey?

  "The problem with this "set-and-forget" technique of communication is that the information content of the message may have to survive for hundreds of millions of years.
  [. . .]
  "A better solution would be a legion of small, cheap, self-repairing and self-replicating machines that can keep editing and copying information and perpetuate themselves over immense durations in the face of unforeseen environmental hazards. Fortunately, such machines already exist. They are called living cells. The cells in our bodies, for example, contain messages written by Mother Nature billions of years ago.
  [. . .]
  "'[J]unk' DNA - sections of the genome that seem to serve no useful purpose - can be loaded with all manner of genetic oddments without affecting the performance of the cells. Inserting a message here would almost certainly be harmless.
  [. . .]
  "Looking for messages in living cells has the virtue that DNA is being sequenced anyway. All it needs is a computer to search for suspicious-looking patterns. Long strings of the same nucleotides are an obvious attention-grabber. Peculiar numerical sequences like prime numbers would be a clincher and patterns that stand out even when partially degraded by mutational noise would make the most sense. A great example was given by cosmologist Carl Sagan at the end of his novel Contact, in which the supposedly random digits of pi, when displayed as a two-dimensional array, unexpectedly contained the figure of a circle. In the same way, if a sequence of junk DNA bases were displayed as an array of pixels on a screen (with the colour depending on the base: blue for A, green for G, and so on), and a simple image like a ragged circle resulted, the presumption of tampering would be inescapable. . ."

  ---Paul Davies

To the Editor, New Scientist
From Stan Tenen, Meru Foundation

Re: "Do we Have to Spell It Out," by Prof. Paul Davies
New Scientist, 07 August 2004, page 30

While Paul Davies' idea that ET may have left us a message in "junk DNA" is new, the idea that DNA is, or contains, information from ET was proposed by linguist Dr. James Hurtak in his "channelled" 1977 book, "The Keys of Enoch". This idea has recently been turned into a new-age cult favorite by Mr. Gregg Braden, who is widely quoted by believers on the Internet.

Nevertheless, Paul Davies' suggestion deserves attention.

Most messages are likely to be somewhat more ambiguous regarding the presence of deliberate meaning than a simple circle. Often, we judge whether messages are meaningful or forced based on the plausibility of their being found in different contexts. Paul Davies' logic applies not just to intelligent extra-terrestrials, who might want to communicate with us over many thousands of years of space-time. It also applies to intelligent terrestrials who might want to communicate across the millennia -- because after all, a few thousand years of space-time is hardly different than a few thousand years of earth-time, in that colloquial language can't do the job. Researchers associated with Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena knew this when they designed the Arecibo radiotelescope message, which made use of a raster-scan of two prime factors, and a binary black-and-white TV picture of the solar system, a man and a woman, and some features of DNA. (A circle, per se, was not included.)

"Bible Codes" enthusiasts have destroyed the credibility of the equal-interval-letter-skip patterns by ascribing prophetic meaning to them, rather than investigating why they were "woven" into the text. Putting the prophetic claims aside, this begs the question of whether these woven patterns carry meaning, and what that meaning might be.

Here is one way to find a circle (actually, a spiral on a 2-torus) by pairing the letters at the beginning of Genesis, based on counting the letters by threes.

  Insert this graphic here, if possible:

Two short graphic essays on this are available:
"Symmetry Woven into the First Verse of the Hebrew Text of Genesis" at
"Genesis and Sepher Yetzirah" at

Perhaps even more surprisingly, the shapes of the letters themselves can be taken from different views of the orbit of the double-covering, traditionally known as the "Philippine wine dance," the "candle-", "plate-", or "flame-dance", and identified with the "Dirac string trick", which represents a circulation in 4-D. Both the spiral form found by pairing the letters, and the Dirac string trick, are representations of circles; the Dirac string connects an in-sphere and an out-sphere. To see this, go to http://www.meru.org/dirac.html

The Hebrew letter-text folds itself into a meaningful (non-arbitrary) 3-D form that generates 2-D views which match the letter-shapes used to write the text. This self-reference is also a form of circle. (It is essential that the 3-D spiral form be meaningful. It is almost always possible to arbitrarily bend a length of wire to include a loop or two in 3-D that can then be used to make 2-D "shadowgram"-outlines matching almost any letter-shape.)

Do these "circles" count, when they're found where they shouldn't be -- woven into the letter-text of the Hebrew Bible? (Outside of science, the ultimate ET is sometimes referred to as God -- though I doubt this is what Prof. Davies had in mind.)

My essay, "The Shape of Information: How to Talk to an Extra-Terrestrial", can be found in the Noetic Journal (Orinda) Vol. 3 #2, April 2002. The Noetic Journal is available from the editor: <noeticj@mindspring.com> ISSN 1528-3739 CD-ROM, and ISSN 1094-0359 in print. "The Shape of Information," which expands on the ideas above, is available online at http://www.meru.org/Noetic/ShapeofInfoA3HiTOC.pdf

Yours truly,
Stan Tenen
Director of Research,
Meru Foundation
PO Box 503
Sharon, MA 02067 USA

©2004 Stan Tenen

The subject of this essay was suggested by a comment on a Jewish e-list about the "cryptic nature of the Torah." (Torah, of course, is otherwise known as the (Five Books of the) Hebrew Bible, the Pentateuch, or the "Five Books of Moses." The entire Hebrew Bible, including the prophets and writings, is referred to as Tanach, which is an acronym in Hebrew for "Torah, Prophets, and Writings".)

This essay provides an example, in the context of Jewish teachings, of how and why religious traditions come to establish their moral teachings and yearly ritual cycles in order to preserve and "decompress" their texts and teachings in people's lives. It's probably not the only example -- although it may be the primary example in the Abrahamic traditions, which all rely on the Hebrew Bible to one degree or another. Something similar is likely in the Vedic and Sanskrit literature, and possibly in other cases as well, but we haven't examined this yet.

The primary purpose of the Hebrew Bible is to carry and preserve information. While the Sod- (foundational-) level letter-text of Torah is primary and unchanging, it is also, to use modern terminology, compressed.

Several techniques are used to compress information. Standards are not transmitted. For example, carrier frequencies can be suppressed. The carrier frequency for Torah is one day out of seven, the Sabbath. For why this is necessary, have a look at my essay, Shabbos and Resonance, at http://www.meru.org/ShabbosResonance.html .

When information is compressed, often the only thing that is transmitted is what's changing. When a compressed video signal is sent, the background is only transmitted once, because it doesn't change, while the moving character in the foreground is changing, and thus this information must be transmitted.

Also not sent are what might be called "boundary conditions", such as frame rates, and clock frequencies, and other "transmission standards". For example, we don't send the information as to whether a radio signal is AM or FM. The receiver has the ability to look for AM signals, or FM signals, or both, and the standards for these signals are not transmitted -- they are built into the transmitter and the receiver. These assumptions are analogous to the "oral tradition" of signal-transmission.

Written Torah can be thought of as the maximally compressed information needed to create the world, and our lives. Since the text is maximally -- probably 100% -- compressed, the information it carries cannot be detected by statistical means (which pretty much rules out prophetic meaning for the equal-interval letter-skip patterns in Torah). And of course, because until it is uncompressed, there is much missing, and the text as it appears cannot be read directly, meaningfully, and unambiguously.

Written Torah is uncompressed by us via our following the rules given in the written text, and expanded on in Oral Torah (Talmud). When we observe the Sabbath every seventh day, we re-insert the "carrier frequency". When we follow the "commandments", we are bringing to life the boundary conditions and other transmission standards needed to uncompress a written text and make it real in the world and in our lives.

Think of it this way. Torah, uncompressed, is dry. But when we "water" Torah ("Don't say, 'water, water'" may be a traditional reference to this) with our lives, the desiccated (another metaphor for "compressed") text "rehydrates", so we can appreciate, "digest," and live by it.

From this perspective, the Biblical commandments provide the logical/informational boundary conditions. The prime example of this is the Sh'ma. "Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) establishes that we are to hear (be in the field of) the Unity of Hashem/Elokim (Lord/God). Thus, the primary boundary conditions of Torah are the utter identity of the complete Oneness of Hashem, and the all-inclusiveness of Elokim. These are the boundary conditions of the universe/cosmos, and of our minds. By logical definition, everything must exist somewhere between absolute Singularity, and all-inclusive Wholeness. This is the reference to Hashem/Elokim as "Sun and Shield" in Sha'ar Hayichud Vehaemunah ("The Gate of Unity and Faith"), in Tanya (a principal Chassidic text). For an essay and graphic, go to Man Bites Dog, as it appeared in B'Or HaTorah, at <http://www.meru.org/1203/ManBitesDogReprint.pdf> .

These boundary conditions (Hebrew: "huqim", "unexplainable laws") move our 2-dimensional-appearing letters, into 3- and 4-dimensions. Each letter is a different view -- a different articulation -- of one single model "First Hand(tm)" worn on the hand. Thus, each letter corresponds to a pointing direction in 3- and 4-dimensions. (For examples of how the letters are produced this way, have a look at the alphabet-gesture chart at <http://www.meru.org/Gestures/Atbashgest.html>.)
 Also see The Dirac String Trick: First Hand at <http://www.meru.org/dirac.html>.

When academic scholars who do not consider Oral Torah (Talmud) leave out God, the Sabbath, and the other commandments from their analysis, they must be examining only the compressed text as it appears. Their readings are ambiguous because they're looking at only the part of the information that has been "flattened" into a story. Re-introducing the 3- and 4-dimensional levels of the Meruba Ashuris (rabbinic form of Torah-scroll) letters metaphorically "rehydrates" the text, and brings it back to its full dimensionality.

The Ten Commandments can be thought of (and made use of) as the logical requirements needed to maintain the integrity of the information. Their expansion in Oral Torah (Talmud) provides even greater detail and fine tuning.

Oral Torah (Talmud) and its living tradition is where the information needed to uncompress the deep information in the written Torah is kept. The ritual calendar and ritual objects carry vital information. Tallis (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries), tzitzis (knotted fringes on 4-cornered garments), challah (braided bread for the Sabbath), etc., and even the "hamentashen" pastry, preserve vital information. An example of this is given in an essay I wrote for the Purim holiday (commemorating the story of Queen Esther) a few years ago, called Eating Our Words. It's at <http://www.meru.org/eatingwords.html> .

And finally, written Torah must be ambiguous, because it's intended to be lived by us humans, who are constantly changing. Oral Torah (Talmud) is the interface between the fixed written text, and our changing world, and our changing selves.

Here's another analogy. Think of written Torah as like DNA. It carries the essential information. But DNA, left alone in the world, would dry and desiccate, and not survive. In order for the DNA in, for example, the germ of a new oak tree, to survive, it must be enclosed in an acorn, which acts as a vessel to protect it, and to give it food and room to expand and grow into a new oak tree. Living by Written and Oral Torah makes us the necessary vessel for maintaining the integrity of the information. This is also why there can be room for disagreement and some ambiguity. It really doesn't matter if an acorn is somewhat bashed and beaten, or if no two acorns look exactly alike. What's required is that the acorn -- the particular rules, conventions, customs, and teachings we live by today -- be intact, and held by an ongoing living tradition. Written Torah needs a community of common beliefs and practices, that forms the vessel that carries Torah through the generations.

You might say that while God gives us Torah, we have to receive it. It is in this sense that we are co-creators. Without our cooperation (which includes occasional disobedience, of course), there would be nobody on the receiving end.

With signal compression, both the transmitter and the receiver have to be in synch.

Written Torah is known by its "Bible stories", which were ordered by Ptolemy Philadelphus for the Alexandrian Library (ca. 285 BCE). The Bible stories are the lowest dimension, and most ambiguous level, of Torah, and thus we have many nations that tell us they honor the Bible, but they all do so somewhat differently, and without regard for the foundational (Sod) or letter-text at all. This has been a mixed blessing.

Stan Tenen, July 26 2004.


I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter.

We welcome your comments and suggestions, and would like the opportunity to speak with you personally.

If you have comments or questions, please send an email to Levanah Tenen at meru@meru.org with your phone number and a good time to call -- or, please call us at 781-784-8902 (Boston area). I would like to brainstorm with you.

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Meru Foundation.

The Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter is copyright 2004 Meru Foundation. All rights reserved.
Past issues of eTORUS(tm) are archived online on the Meru Foundation website at

You may duplicate and pass along this newsletter, in its entirety, as long as you include this copyright notice and the contact information below. Please send comments and questions to <meru@meru.org>.

Meru Foundation research offices:
  Research Director: Stan Tenen    Secretary-Treasurer: Levanah (Cynthia) Tenen
  PO Box 503
  Sharon, MA 02067 USA
  781-784-8902 Voice    253-663-9273 Fax
  Email:  <meru@meru.org>
  Website: <http://www.meru.org>

How to order Meru Foundation Videos and Products:
  Visit our secure-server website at  <http://www.meetingtent.com>  OR
  Fax your order to 1-253-663-9273   OR
  Email: <service@meru.org> with a subject line of "Meru Product Order"

To order by phone:
  In the U.S., call toll-free: 1-888-422-MERU
  Outside the U.S., call 1-781-784-3462


To order PAL versions of Meru Videotapes:
  Email Ron Engert in Germany at <ron@tattva-viveka.de>
  German readers may also visit Ron Engert's Meru website:

Contents of this page are ©2004 Cynthia Tenen or ©2004 Stan Tenen, and licensed to Meru Foundation, POB 503, Sharon, MA 02067 USA.
Email inquiries to the Research Staff at: meru@meru.org
To order Meru Foundation materials, go to www.meetingtent.com
For Customer Service, call 1-781-784-3462     or     email to service@meru.org
Home The Meru Project:
Intro & FAQ
Philosophical & Math Essays Hebrew Letters, Gesture & Language Graphics, Animations, Videos Newsletter Archive Research Archive, Supplementary Materials About Meru Foundation Donate DVDs, Books, and Music

Meru Foundation 
524 San Anselmo Ave. #214
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Support Meru Foundation
Make an online contribution
Privacy Phone: +1-781-784-3462
Email: meru@meru.org
customer service: service@meru.org