on taking a deep breath : how did, what then, yeah, but…
Just give me a minute here. If I can only make a connection to the big bang, I’ll be able to explain how I can sit in my little café, have a delectable espresso and a delicate croissant. Yesterday, I…Three weeks ago, we…, last year, they…in 1894, it…
Going into before-times to account for now, is a fool‘s errand.
This is not to say that sometimes we do not accept a temporal/historical account of things as genuine and honest (i.e., expected to be truthful). As we set out now, to account for and explain any now/current/present thing or circumstance, we are complexly and intimately implicated and interwoven with an indeterminate number of contexts: some known, some not, some ethereal, some concrete, some simple, some elaborate — and many other ‘somes’. And, sigh, the ‘we’ often will not include the diverse audience, groups, companions, readers, listeners to whom we might be addressing what we call our account or explanation.
Looking to the laws of physics is a fool’s errand.
I mean, how could it be otherwise: me-physical, café-physical, espresso-in-cup physical: physical, therefore ‘matter’ therefore ‘mass’ therefore ‘energy’, therefore quanta, therefore particles/fields : hmmm? Of course, the higgs boson (hidden absolutely everywhere) carries mass to the energy. Mass, Matter. Physical. Espresso. This context has glamour but is difficult to put into a coffee klatch. When something is everywhere everywhen, being lost is just around the corner: lostness is everywhere, everywhen.
The common-sense account is a fool’s errand.
Really all that means is that having portrayed a commonly accepted picture of the setting, we are no longer curious. What was said, described, delineated across what we call time, took the edginess off our question and all of that unease within our mental and emotional fiber, began to settle a little bit. The question dissipated. The beauty and the curse of common sense.
The chair and the espresso do not now exist the way they do because of the big bang. They do not even exist the way they are now because of all the operational constituents of the standard model of physics. Look at the white chinaware espresso cup and dream of ‘fields’, ‘particles’, ‘force carriers’, etc.: tell me you know what you are doing. Not in a month of Sundays.
Without them — the physical chair and espresso coffee (and all/all the other physical things — there is no present, and if there is no present, there is no standard model of physics because there is no physics because there is no present.
Yeah, yeah I know. Yeah, yeah I know. It’s really irritating.
When we wonder about something like the transformational capacity of the higgs boson, we have a simple and profitable assumption, operational within our highly precise but painfully distant worldview. For example, if the higgs boson had not transformed/transmogrified/transubstantiated/transferred energy into matter, there would be no café, no espresso, no croissant and no me. (P.S. reality first, explanations sometimes follow and occasionally make sense.)
Even if that were true, it is idiotic to think that this process has anything to do with time. Hmmm? Idiomatic? Idiosyncratic? Idio- something or other, for sure! Why has humanity allowed physicists to own all the accounts of time?
Where/when was the higgs before the big bang?
And don’t tell me I am making a category mistake.
***** 5 books on time
tick-tock: hourglass clock
Most of the time, humans confuse time with the devices we use to measure it. We accept that the scale is the substance. Refining our tools (one of our deep strengths) and re-imagining computational units, enables sophistication of prediction for sure. Memory, measurement and thoughts of tomorrow, have held the idea of time itself beyond our ken.
Being prudent does not a prude make
Because there is no God, and there are no sub-gods, no heavenly or earthly spirits, no demons, or existing evil spirits, and there is nothing outside of human existence which manages language and its gazillion facets, tenses, aspects and moods, categories, scopes, ranges, meanings, senses, representational capacities, uses, denotations, and connotations, grammar, sound, intonation, customary places and family similarities, floating and changing characterizations, and all other similarly human-determined aspects, properties, elements, features, other language intrusions, language can be used for anything, by anyone, for any purpose or intent, under any circumstance.
Watch where you step, sink holes are on the increase.
Eyes Open? They blink occasionally.
I am not entering a discourse, or making a proposition, or thinking that I will be changing your mind, or you mine. Sharing is sharing, not converting, or transforming. What comes, comes!
Part of the fantastic and great mystery of being human is that the totality of our history, the fullness of our coming to be, and the passage of the millennia which we as humanity have lived and grown in, surpassed, and overcome, to arrive at the present moment, is that neither the past, our past, nor the future, our future, exists.
They just do not exist.
This in no way, shape, or form suggests that history is false, or the future is not dreamed of. Our account of things is always inadequate of course. Things that happened, happened.
They do not exist now.
I just can’t help myself; I am completely astonished by the fact that I exist.
Occasionally, I try to talk to myself to give myself a reasonable account as to how it could be that I exist, or why it is that I do!
Things did happen a certain way which somehow brought me into existence, placed me here as me, in this situation, and all that other junk which enshrouds my totality.
It’s OK to ponder this. It’s just another form of breathing. It’s emotional, mental, spiritual, breathing.
Breathing is not reasoning.
Breathing is living.
Breathing does not have a purpose.
Sometimes, I have a purpose.
When I am astonished, this is so far beyond purpose.
It’s a promising idea to remember that deep within myself, there’s a tremulous soul which I noted when I was incredibly young. There have been moments of fear, anxiety, and lostness in my living. In those moments, I was fleetingly aware of the sheer delicacy of my existence.
I didn’t have any idea whatsoever what was going on. These ideas have grown and blossomed like grasses, flowers, and trees in the wilderness.
Now, they ground me. They nourish and reconfigure my emotions and are themselves fed deeply by the richest and most enlighteningly disturbing, feeling states.
By happenstance, good fortune and graceful insight, the astonishment has flourished beyond the edges, as well.
There were moments when I felt a deep compassion for a dying creature, overridden by shame and my need to be a member of the social whole, including the ‘others’ who didn’t care about dying birds. The social controls often won the day. I lost a whispering voice within my hidden heart.
Part of me came so close to perishing, that it’s minimally a miracle that it survived.
The continuation of that miracle is there today in the deeper hidden quieter, delicate, and sturdy self.
Still with me and growing.
a lay person’s unease
If there is no ‘nothing’, there is no true vacuum. What is the actual speed of light?
If the universe is not a closed system, what is this nonsense about entropy and the arrow of time?
If it is a closed system, by what is it limited?
Do not play with me.
I am past being played with.
ps. If there are only a few atoms of hydrogen per cubic meter in interstellar space, what is there in between? If virtual particles are constantly popping in and out of existence, what are they popping in to?
On being willful
I did not get to where I am, by being reasonable, by following a path that was fairly clear and obvious and going in the right direction. I did not get to where I am by receiving directions from a God to whom I had prayed. I did not get to where I am by my own initiative. I did not get to where I am by knowing where I was going. I did not get to where I am by knowing where I was coming from. I did not get to where I am by my own strength, my own intention, and my own courage. I did not get to where I am through clever thinking, orderly management of my emotions and careful delicate reasoning in an orderly fashion.
I got to where I am by myself with the tremendous and the minuscule, intervening, intense persuasions and delicate influences from the ‘other’ against all odds.1
How could anything ‘work out’ at all, through the chaos, the storms, the distress, the darkness, the deadly nothingness, and the greatest hope, in desperation within the spirit that is myself somehow, even though I do not know how? Nor did I know even as it was.
I did not get to how I am because of something else, even though, sometimes I feel like a ‘windowed’ monad.2
I did not get to who I am, by following a rule, by breaking a rule, by knowing the rules, by helping establish the rules.
How I came to be at all is utterly, totally, completely, absolutely, beyond my present comprehension, my reasoned processes, my looking at my history, by pretending I am a member of society, and that this helps me know who I am, and by reflecting on my inner consciousness.
I am not a mystic. This whole occurrence, however, is a complete and utter mystery to me.
I do know how to walk down the street and get a coffee. In and of itself, this is a rather significant accomplishment. It is almost as if I know what I am doing.
I also know how to enter a quandary: not ‘how’ exactly, but I can do it anyway.
That’s why I am writing this stuff.
1 What are the odds of my being anything at all? Or, the odds of their being anything at all?
2 The Monadology, G. W. Leibniz. A gem and great challenge, while also being insightful and fun.
Order, continuity, missing links
Order rests within us as a primal concept, so that even when we try to escape it as a fundamental point in explanations, we are driven to it by some felt command.
We are functionally obsessed with the how-why of things. We know from our recent, distant, and ancient history that this inner compulsion is not the result of the last few hundred years of what we call the scientific revolution. In fact, and we know this from common life, it is the other way around. Evolutionary transubstantiation — not bread and wine to body and blood or lead to gold, but inanimate to animate, non-conscious to conscious, and a thinking, planning and purposeful creature from the non-purposeful.
What would be implied if existence were not orderly? Normally, that would imply that it would be chaotic, random, by chance.
What would/could it mean to understand that?
This is the crucial realm of the missing link, not only our early biological ancestors.
Not an either-or line : a lived and murky state
While it is not false to accept, think, and believe that everything is changing all the time, it is most assuredly, and absolutely impossible to live like that.
Not being false is only one way of avoiding having to say that something is true. Much of our lives is lived as if what we were doing is true. But actually, it’s only that what we are doing, is not false.
Being true is not just a question of knowledge and truth value. The richer meaning of being true is captivated by the idea of emotional, moral, spiritual, social, and human integrity.
Being false is a violation of those orientations.
Not being false can simply mean walking down the street, saying hello to your neighbors, and actually wondering about the state of the world.
Does the walking have integrity? What is an authentic walk? Or a Life?
It is not for nothing that certain religious traditions have pointed out that not all sins are committed. It is said that there are sins of commission and sins of omission. (Many others, as any typical humanist would attest.)
Sins by avoidance, deflection, quiet, illusions, allusions, told stories with honest conviction, tonal intonation, subtle use of the eyes, a slight tilt of the head, gesticulating with hands, moving our body in subtle and spiritual-like ways are lived sins — not noted (or in genuine dialogue). Indirect sinning by omission, inclines toward a path of mists and uncertainty.
Are sins of omission a non-zero value?
Suppose you faint.
One minute you are up and moving, minding your own business, carrying on in a habitual way. The next, perhaps importantly less time than a minute, you are not up and carrying on in your expected way.
Really, fainting is disorienting because it reminds us, you and I, of our inherent vulnerability, fragility, and of the end of lifeness. Upon reflection, many experiences are seen to be indicators even though they are simply regular facts.
Sometimes, eventually as an inevitability, all things faint, bump, and stop.
With life, this means a null set.
No time, no space, no….
I am not trapped in my body.
I am not the captain of the ship which is my body.
There is no chariot.
I am not the pilot of my physical self.
I am alive.
Bifurcation is an inherent curse with benefits.
I am free because I am my body.
I am constrained because I am my body.
I am walking because I am with my body.
I experience the fullness, the plenitude of existence because I am my body.
I am human in the human way.
Of course, I am not nothing.
Of course, I am not everything.
I am just alive and not, not (naught).
No big deal.
God is not the pilot of the universe.
The universe is not meaningful/less.
The universe is full beyond measure.
The universe is not brutality of existence.
The universe is not not the fullness of existence.
Existence as a whole is nothing but itself
I am not just myself.
I am the intermingling of myself with the entirety of the world within which I live.
Sometimes experienced. Often not.
I am neither master nor servant.
I am just a human being.
Walking down the street wondering about stuff.
Of course, I’m something.
Of course, I’m not everything.
Of course, I do not understand everything.
I am a human being.
I am not the universe.
I am (just) a mode, a little something — I exist.
I do not fully comprehend. But I can see with eyes and heart.
Are you surprised?
1 IHO, Martin Buber
If anything were different, would everything (still) be the same?
Retreat : Resuscitate
Sometimes the vicissitudes of life are not easy, and are so completely cumbersome and entangling, that their capacity to overwhelm us, succeeds.
It is prudent to form a retreat, develop a shell, set up a force field, and find ways to protect yourself in the chaos of these times. These difficult junctures seem to come of their own accord, although as with all things, they are lodged in a bigger context, which entails us and our interface with the world.
Often in the circumstances, we excuse ourselves by saying retreat is not defeat. No entity is strong enough to stand against all of the forces. All entities pass away.
Passing away, not being any more, while an accompanying feature of life, in many circumstances of weighty oppression, is a form of defeat (an undoing), the final one.
Retreating, recovery, nourishing the soul, fortifying our resources, and training the heart and mind in the gymnasium of attentive and energizing reflection, is a good thing.
It also is a retreat.
Be mindful of its inherent gift.
Many ordinary words
It would be moderately clear to a significant percentage of the human population, that what we call (our) ordinary language is extremely powerful, precise, dramatically helpful and fulfilling, pretty well every day in every circumstance. Simultaneously, it is loose, fluid, chaotic coherent, a force of life, change, and growth in itself.
And It sure gets the job done — not always graciously.
In all of this most of the time, people articulate their whole lives with what we call ordinary language.
As with other phenomena, ordinary language — amorphous, complex, and profoundly interwoven with living experience and the natural world as it is — is bound up with all the other instances that there are.
In the intricate and elaborate breadth of human life over time, ordinary language engulfs, encompasses. and internalizes forms of knowledge, opinions, states of religion, world views, biases, prejudices, spiritual and intellectual high and low points, stances on almost every imaginable awareness that humans have, including specialized languages as they seep into the ebb and flow of humanity’s existence.
All these moments and instances carry value and force, and shape human life’s perpetual stew.
As processes of life, such human strengths grow, shift and flow overtime and help ground reason, thoughtfulness, intuition, and clarity of mind.
They grow and nourish the ground of reason, planning, argumentative formulations, and our various logics, and are not themselves brought to be by these operations and procedures.
I would suggest that if we seek something like a calm mind, a certain measure of peace and tranquility, a modicum of what we call happiness or well-being, it would be prudent for us and for our practical advantage, to we set out to find something reasonably stable, which we take to be our object of desire, wishing-wanting, hoping, etc., and pay attention to it.
At least, we hope that minimally it will be somewhat stable and constant, even if and when we are not.
It is, however, rarely a facile undertaking to choose an object of desire.
Desire seems so primal, primitive, and foundational. Almost by itself, it generates movement, and appears in its intentionality to have a focus, and what we call a direction for us to follow, a way to forage, a goal to achieve, happiness to be had.
We do grow and become aware of our growth. As we become attuned, we gradually understand somewhat how to move ourselves and our directions, and influence our needs, and wishes, hope and desires: kind of, moderately. To ensnare our ability to incline our desires and longing, by the constraints of reason or the chains of logic, is like skipping a stone across the watery surface of the deepest human strength, our creative consciousness.
Not fully in control, and not subject only to the impact of the other: Neither completely, some of it, occasionally, partially feasible.
Steady, now: Steady.
We are not nothing: our base, our ability to act, falls within our scope of influence.
Here there is no path, only action.
I (this very self) am not amused.
I would like to lodge a complaint, and I would like to know the person to whom I should make this presentation.
I have been told that I, my self, do/does not exist, and although I know no law has been broken by someone’s saying that I am by no means happy!1
I do believe deeply that this is an entirely unjust and inaccurate description of things. Not only is my character called into question, but my very existence, and by that, most assuredly, my character.
What do we call ‘slandering’ existence?
Where do I go to complain about this casting to death of my character, hidden in the self, which is not? The self has already been denied.
Everywhere I look, is not the place it was, when these dastardly utterances were uttered. The ‘everywhere’ and all the ‘places’ are not what they were either. Sigh!
And the people themselves are no longer what they were. Duh?
I guess, like me, they, the ones that said it, do not exist either?
Only simulacra appear, and it is more than peculiar to take a simulacrum to court, even if only a moral court.2
Even the judicial people are so transitory that a path to resolution is a feather on a windy day.
This a plot. It rests, they do not.
1 Anil Seth, Zen Buddhism, Sam Wolfe, Freeman Dyson, David Hume. Bruce Hood, Arthur Schopenhauer, Daniel Dennett, etc.
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3730118/ A very rich and enticing read with innumerable references, each of which has stimulating aspects. Go look.
Where does the heart find refuge in the deepest storms of life?
Some of the corners, caverns, and deep hiding places are, in themselves, problematic zones. We have placed certain harsh experiences, our own dark negative actions, traumas, fearful disquiet, and shattering blows in them in the course of life at a time we were in powerless to keep ourselves coherent, on a safe path safe, and strong.
These is early more fragile life moments have somewhat destabilized usand partially corroded pillars which might hold our soul secure had our life not been as it was — (but it was…).
It is not prudent for the heart to seek refuge in the fragile regions.
We do not often store strength and keep it in a safe place in our strong zones for a day when we might need it, although when we are in need, it is eminently clear that it ‘would have been’ prudent to have done so.
Strength is not easy to store. ‘Should have’ and ‘would have’ are anxiety moments of regret and which, as with all events past, are non transformable in themselves to ‘now’. Now is now — not then.
Living within the aura of a strong spirit is paradigmatically elusive. Finding moments of resolve needs creative spaces in a growing person, difficult to see, urgent to find.
How to place anything there that awaits a moment of danger, so that it can be called upon for help and nourishment, is a very elusive trick to learn. No definitive path has yet been found.
Any practices and techniques and things people do to set themselves up, so they might win the difficult moments, are acquired but not managed. These are all good things, and not to be mocked and not to be shunned. (They have devices, wells of strength, and patterns of behavior, which help them manage in the moments that seem overwhelmingly difficult: the onslaught).
None is known to be the only one, that unconditional, secure one. They are unique and variable — today is tomorrow in disguise.
Step forward. The deep well is nourishment itself.
There is a gap.
1 The Dynamics of Faith, Paul Tillich, 1956. A treacherous read for the closed mind, There is a gap.
Will : Shall
Not every intentional act is intentional in its most detailed outflow or inflow. Forethought as an implicit action is seen in the mind’s imaginary world: not existence’s actual one. Intentionality in action is fragmentary and dispersed. Intending to do something suggests but cannot imply that everything which follows in the path or sub-path, diversion, or orientation of the intention, are themselves intended.
The landing strip is not yet built. In the present, the future is an actual null set.
Not quite, but
Had I been born in yet another time/place, something which is actually inconceivable to me, but not unimaginable, my deepest conviction is that I would not have survived the actuality of my life, even in the short term.
The fact that I am alive, and still alive, is as close to a miracle as one can get. Perhaps it is one. Would I know?
From the earliest stages forward, others have saved my life, they pushed me, they traveled with me, they nurtured me, they tripped me up, gave me grief and confusion, they have forced, pulled, twisted, turned, and compressed and oriented my very being. In all of this, I was, somehow, there, and active — often feebly, often chaotically, often inspirationally and with an unknown strength and clarity.
Hints of grace: not all nourishing is conventionally healthy food.
That is a little bit like what we call ‘growing up’.
As I grew, it was in effect a process of wakening up from a state — not sleep — but of not being aware, not seeing, not knowing, not being awake, or of actually being somnambulistically awake.
Many of the insights which came to me came from within myself, as my inner eyes opened to more and then, again, more: the unseen mist cleared, and objects, feelings, emotions, things, thoughts, insights, glimpses, hope, a nebulous future, despair, the vaguest of certainty in images unknown but sensed, light, and the push to move, all grew as what I am/was, within me.
My life is my own.
It would not be anything like what it is had it not been for the innumerable people, who lifted me up, showed me doorways, offered me a helping hand, give me a hug, told me I was making mistakes, introduced guilt and fearful anger, pointed me in the right direction, reminded me there was no right direction and stayed with me in all of my faltering steps.
It would not be anything like what it is if I were not this very I.
I have increasingly grasped the world in its infinite uniqueness from the grandeur of my whisper-like soul. And yet, the past is not all that has made me, nor has it been the tantalizing, and often discombobulating images of futures not lived but dreamed — occasionally, nightmared.
Of course, I am a construct. To speak in the vernacular, there was a time where I did not exist, and now I do exist. Of course, I am a construct. That is not the question.
The question is, what am I (some people wonder, who am I — I, less so), how did I come to be, what am I discovering, how can I grow, what is this place, what is coming?
It’s no wonder people pray.
I do as well, but not to a god: only as an expression of my desperation, confusion and stunning illuminations of enrichment, and my hope to myself — and incidentally — for humanity and our little dwelling called earth.
The other gap
If you miss the edge and fall into the abyss, screaming on the way down is not likely to be a decision-centered activity.
Catching oneself just as you are going over the edge and therewith saving yourself, is not likely to be a decision-conscious activity.
This, That, The Other
Human beings bifurcate at their leisure and express confusion at these distinctions which absurdly enter their lives.
Human beings bifurcate by waking up and getting out of a bed which exists in the world and was there during the night. And knowing it!
Bifurcation is a great gift, and a great terror.
Human beings bifurcate and are rendered excited by the discoveries humans have made in the world which has been opened to them as a result of their own doing. They then stand defiantly by the complications. Not always an innovative idea, but difficult to resist.
From the wonderful thinking of Whitehead, I guard close to my heart two simple notions: existence is infinite process; human beings bifurcate.
For myself, I have arrived at the simple conclusion that existence is (primal) activity, infinite in every respect. Some people will come up and say infinitely infinite. I would not argue.
When we use the word ‘existence’ as an ordinary word, we get the feeling, without even knowing that we have the feeling, that we somehow have captured something, and this word enables our handling of it.
This is the precarious beauty of language, and what in English, we call ‘nouns’.
Quiet, (hidden) hopeful, hazards
Life is not a month of Sundays.
If it is, you are in the process of being bored to death.
Being bored to death means that actually you are not really alive, or already dead, but walking around as if you were alive.
This is the most hazardous state for the human soul.
Nothing has meaning, nothing is stimulating, nothing attracts, nothing repels, emptiness is the only wholeness you have.
Of course, there is no path out of the empty zone, not only is there no path, there is no ‘out’.
Should a change chance to come, it comes not from you. No wonder people think there is no living for us outside themselves. Even though they are mistaken, their worldview, contorted by their own nothingness.
Unbeknownst to anyone, intrusion can happen just the same.
These intrusions into your nothing of course come from within your own nothing, which is impossible, but which happens. (I dunno!)
That is one of the simplest, most misunderstand, and most and lived as misconstrued but real, hazards of being alive as a human being.
Of course, I do not know how.
I am not the gauge, only a very minor indicator.
What shall it profit…
It will be prudent and a part of humanity’s deeper advantage, to keep a temperate eye on its proclivity for arrogance.
We are a speck of dust, on a speck of dust in a solar system, which is a speck of dust on the outer wing of a galaxy, which is a speck of dust, yet we have a blessed confusion of being able to think, we are aware, we are even aware that we are aware, and we are aware that we can think. we even have the advantage that often we know how to correct our thinking and aim to improve ourselves on a moderately regular basis.
We are nothing, we have this greatest of the greatest of the greatest gifts. Nothing and everything, sounds to me like a person. Be careful, we are not nonexistent, we are not the universe, we are not our galaxy in the galaxies, we are not our solar system, we are not our little wonderful planet, we are fortunately living phenomenon on this almost smallest speck of dust.
Because we are graced with our nature, we occasionally glimpse into the fullness of things.
We are not the fullness.
This is not a disadvantage — this is a gift!
(Yeah, I know — but, but, but, if, if, if, uh?uh? What’s up, doc?)
Gimme a break here : I can’t breathe!
Sensing, measuring, knowing: the other
In addition to the fact that we have a body, which is our greatest norm and standard for measuring, we also create innumerable tools, devices, instruments, constructions, novel and complicated ways of seeing, sensing, and confirming. All of these appliances and tactics permit us to extend our fields of contact, our fields of knowing, and our seeing into the universe, into the microscopic and toward the full extent of existence and being. They are playing the extended role of the human body’s exprience, at a distance as we would say.
All these implements are designed not for the objects in the universe they explore, but to give humans information and insight which we think we can understand through empirical investigation.
We think our understanding is of the things that we are analyzing, probing, measuring, and intersecting with. The diversity of measuring and seeing instruments are all simply fantastic extensions of the human body’s capacity to sense things.
The point is, they are dissected and analyzed, improved, and measured in ways that we can make sense of it because we are seeking for ourselves to comprehend the whole place, the other things there are, and their relations to and with us.
We naturally accept that all of nature, the universe and the itsy-bitsy, are graspable by human sensibility and by extension through our tools.1 Sigh!
And the measure of all things is…
1 Protagoras, et al.
from zero to one, and everything in between
It seems a peculiar thing to entitle any discourse with the words “0 to 1”. It is doubly peculiar to add at end of the expression, ‘and everything in between’.
What is everything in between: this, here, now, and that, there, then?
What else is there?
Of course, the answer to that simple question is: there is everything else!
Befuddling is not a flaw. It is a natural aspect of human consciousness as it develops and of its reverberations, as they fall randomly ordered within daily human life.
Wondering is not philosophy. Philosophy is just a word like other words, which appears to designate something more precisely real than the ordinary, fairly constantly present, practical questions at the deeper level of any lived life. Wondering is confusingly exciting because it just occurs — followed very often by consequences (which we sometimes call philosophy, and sometimes we designate with the philosophical question/expression, “uh-but?”).
What, how, why, from what, in what, if only, yes, but, I wonder, it seems, what are you saying, I don’t understand, that thinking is beyond my scope, my grasp, but you were saying, I understand, I don’t understand, wow, that’s amazing: or that’s a once in a lifetime, I’ve never seen that before, that’s a fairly common occurrence, but I still don’t understand it, what would it mean to understand this event, do animals think the way we think, how do you know what you know, what, in heaven.s name are you talking about, and so on?
None of this is zero; some touches on things which are one. This is not helpful.
Did you actually think it would be?
Waking up is a process, not a result.
Neither A nor B, nor Both And
I am not a mystic.
It is, however, a great mystery.1
Within myself no end.
Within the outer, no end.
Within and without, neither end nor order.
How can I walk? Stand up straight, move things on the table from left to right, front to back, top to bottom, plate to mouth?
Clearly, I am here, but here is not clear.
Nowadays, I am told by others, almost everybody, that nature, which includes me of course, is exclusively material .
How peculiar we all are!
Yet, how ordinary.
1 gitchi manitou
Once we have introduced a distinction into our language, a living language which is an integral part of our every day lives, we have committed ourselves to going down a path which has been created by that fresh nuance in our language.
Distinctions have a great power. When we note them, use them, and incorporate them into our thinking, talking, imagining, and functioning in the world, we enrich the world, and add great detail and important insight to our understanding of it. We also, however, commit ourselves to the world in which these distinctions live and have their being.
Once we live in a world for a while, it is just short of intellectually emotionally, socially, linguistically, and spiritually impossible to extricate ourselves from it since the very fibre and fabric of our living life is interwoven with it.
Tearing a fabric, separating parts of it from itself, undoes the integrity of the fabric.
Distinctions, create and distorted, they enrich, and then trap, they embellish and enslave: Finite/infinite. True/false. Yes/no. Natural/supernatural. Time/space. Natural/unnatural. Self/no-self. Material/spiritual. Mind/body. Reality/appearance. Substance/perception. Sensation/thing. Feel/exist.
Laughable/Serious — go figure!
Time, before, before, then and …
When I was younger, not yesterday or the day before, but before and importantly before before, I was so lost and confused. Frankly, I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Traces of this are nestled in hidden, minor caverns of the inner, inner self. (Alas!)
You might say, surely, if somebody asked you whether you were alive and where you were going you would have been able to answer those questions. Of course. So what?
What is a surface, a surface of?
I knew what a peanut butter sandwich was, and my grades 2, 3,4, grade 6, teachers’ names (for a while). I didn’t say I was incapable of functioning; I intimated that my life was complete chaos, and that I was not yet awake. For sure!
There are a gazillion people who live their lives in this manner every day, and they can all get to lunch, dinner, to bed at night, and into the shoes/foot devices in the morning, have jobs and go on until they cease to live (some would say, without having lived, hmmm?).
There are no spiritual ramifications if these surface practises are followed. It’s only that if there is a gap between being alive and being alive in spirit, then the distance between yes and no is beyond safe passage.
In the dark waters, there are drama, pain, chaos, and murky zones which emanate indifferently into emotional, social, and familial communities.
As inconsistent as all this seems, it constitutes the fabric of much of humanity’s life-clothing.
I, mmm, uh…
Often when I reminisce on my life, it’s as if the very essence of my being alive is so intertwined, almost to the point of sheer identity, with my being conscious, awake to myself, and alert to the fact of feeling and mentally seeing/thinking, that minimally, I am not less than my consciousness.1
Sometimes this is astonishingly clear.
Underneath this primal feeling, rests the simple insight that I am not only this consciousness, and without this ‘other’ insight, there is no consciousness which is fully my self.
How could this possibly be?
Sometimes I stub my toe — consciousness flashes to my body (more quickly than I). That toe is who/what I am.
The habitual saying that consciousness is always consciousness of something, while not being false, does not the whole story tell.
It is not infrequent as we wonder and float in discourse about our mind, that we slip into the habit, direction, inclination and organization of our language, the spoken/written word, and in so doing, take the world to be what our words express (and nothing more).
Sigh, a trapless trap!
Language is not the world, even though we are dramatically advantaged to have it as a smooth intra-ghost part of our daily life and of our spiritual inquiries.
Inside the feeling that consciousness is consciousness of, or that feeling is feeling that, is the hidden whisper of simple awareness of the ‘other’. Hmmm?
For those who say this is simply not possible, I offer no argument. I do, however, have my experience, which is lived, felt, seen, and known, and I use language which I have available to me to articulate this baseline, since it is my sensibility, as best I can.
Not everyone sees everything.
Everyone is still there, and everything is still there just the same. (What is a proof after all, if not a translation into our experience?) And do not tell me proofs are reasonable, given the evidence, i.e., that which comes back fully to experience through our mediating tools and methodologies.
Where would I be without my neurons?
To my knowledge, I have never, not ever, been conscious of, felt, received information from or felt an active neuron, let alone the billions that are always firing back-and-forth and helping me function as a human being. Take care, not to reduce me to them or pretend that they are I.
Not being false is not necessarily being true, nor being true, the fullness of truth.
1. Of course, Descartes’ insights are couched within these few words. Just because some people think he is passé, does not mean he is. The past is passé. Do not forget its involvement with what is called the present.
As I was saying
Just as no thing — this thing or a that thing — exists only by itself as if it were exclusively a thing in itself, each word we use is interlaced with the innumerable filaments inherent in the context within which it is used.
Unlike a thing, words might be about the thing. Things, on the other hand, are not about words.
Humans, being what they are, might contrive to make a thing about words.
It is prudent to adapt subtle aspects of oneself to the diverse ploys of human activity.
While words have a richness beyond their specific use, grasping their integrity often requires being attuned somewhat beyond the moment, as well as having insight during the moment.
That espresso and croissant in my little Café : delectable
I would wager a nickel that human beings are the only creature on earth that wonders what reality is, what things are, what stuff is independently of what it is that they think it is.
For certain, it is a most peculiar and delightfully convoluted question to pose to oneself, to our fellow humans, to another creature of comparable awareness and capabilities (if one were to be found).
Human beings think they know certain stuff, and they have been discussing it in various forms for many centuries. Often, we are not entirely clear exactly what we mean when we say we know something, but we are definitively unwilling to give up the idea that we do in fact know something.
A multitude of ideas, often in conflict with one another, has grown in the human community and its lengthy and varied history, about what we think, how we think and about what thinking is, what knowledge is and how we know, and what it is that we think we could know about the world.
When we say, ‘about the world’, normally we mean something other than ourselves, something outside of ourselves, like the chair on the other side of the room. (We also often debate with intensity, what does or could ‘outside’ mean in this context).
Most often when humans say they know something, or that something exists independently of their knowing it, but they know it, they mean what they say. They inherently accept that they know it and can know it, and equally, this is so, in part, because it exists independently of their knowing. It just so happens that they do know it. It is there and they know it.
This is a normal state of affairs when people say they know something about reality, about the world, (i.e.), that which is not us alone: humans. For me, the only pertinent question is not whether what they say is true, or false or an illusion, or…, but rather, what do/could they mean when they say this?
Hidden in the first question, which was, what exists independently of our knowing it, is a question waiting to be asked. That question would be, if the thing exist independently of our knowing it, how do we know that what we know, is it as it actually is? The words capture us in their ethereal chains.1
Do not go down the rabbit hole of regress.
Stay on the ground.
Here we are, a usual
Human life is not an allegory.
Life is not like anything. Life is only itself. Other occurrences and phenomena may be compared to it. These comparisons will always be slightly inadequate if not completely misaligned.
Life is not only your own, nor on your own energy, nor all your comradeships in venture, nor all the neurons firing in the greatest harmony that could possibly be. They are there within the umbrella and protectorate of life. They are not life. Do not be confused. They are alive, as is all the rest.
Life is not a metaphor: nor a simile, nor an analogy, nor a literary reference, nor a magnificent poem, nor the best philosophical treatise or holy-book account, nor the story tradition has overed to you. : it is simply itself, and yet, all of these and more. It is fully itself, and everything that entails.
We are in over our heads, for certain!
Learning is the most peculiar occurrence we can imagine.
Once we are alive, we can imagine worlds beyond belief, but they are imagined, thought, wished for, and escaped from, but imagined. Life does not fully imagine itself.
It is only itself.
When I wake up in the morning, this is a real thing.
When I wake up emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, morally and become aware of a new danger or innovative ideas, we called this a metaphor. It is simply a moment in life, and we attach words to it, because words are one of our greatest allies and strengths in the world.
(Yet, beware, they are indifferent to our fullest aspirations even while helping us negotiate the paths not taken, the dreams not pursued and the actual movement of our soul in the material world.)
Wondering, Wandering, Drifting
Of the numerous things which are close to self evident for me in my daily life and over the course of my life, is the notion that, by its very nature, existence, minimally, is constitutionally creative.1,2
(Of course, I don’t.)
It generates, brings into being, accelerates, and diversifies, modifies, adapts, slips to-and-fro, and so many other open-ended, yet brought-to-be instances, that it is beyond my intellectual capacity to express even the extensive magnitude of the language which I have with which to express it.
It’s a peculiar thing to say of something that it just is what it is. We humans find us such a simple statement an aggression against our (arrogant) stance that we can comprehend everything.
No wonder the land of Nod became our home.
Perchance, yet knowing
The Jack Webb telescope has two faces which interest me.
Its name honors a persistent, dedicated, orderly, ordinary, and yet visionary man who managed to keep a number of initiatives together with respect to humans’ investigation of space, outer space, and the universe. it is appropriately named for him.
The other face of a telescope, which is deeper down its purpose, is absolutely and utterly astonishing in many respects.
It shows us pictures, what we call pictures of the universe, far beyond our most imaginative imaginings. We are stunned, flummoxed, absolutely overwhelmed by marvel and astonishment, by the complexity, the immensity, the colourful diversity, the symmetry, and disorder, of what it shows us.
One of its purposes of this telescope is exactly to show us this very array — why we created it. We are beginning to see the fruits of our labor and the mind-blogging glory of existence in the material universe. Wowsie!
For myself, although almost dumbfounded by the immense display of the telescope’s findings, I am somewhat flummoxed by our astonishment. We are amazed, surprised, and taken aback by what we see.
How dull we are, that we made a tool to open our eyes, and when they are open, our vanity is bewildered and even surprised that we can see. Sigh!
It is no wonder we were driven out of Eden. Arrogance, oh arrogance, wherefore art Thou, my innocence?