Worte sind nur Worte. The power of words - one speaks, another remains silent; whose thoughts do you ponder? Spontaneous, outrageous, radical words immediately attract attention and reaction. Words fill the mind of man; they are man.
America, God And Planet Earth. Encourage political leaders and others to include the ANDs in the following almost obligatory closing to public speeches: God Bless America AND The World AND All of Its Inhabitants. This is a free enterprise, i.e. if you agree with the self-evident merits of this project then send no money, JUST DO IT.
THE HISTORY OF MAN
The river flows down the course of least resistance; it's force is fear, and fear's children. The fount of fear is the clinging to life.
A RELUCTANT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I am part of this, this is my being: the shabbiness and the elegance, the knowing and not knowing, the persistent mystery, the ebbing awful beauty, the eternal dying, the dull busy-ness, eternal faith.
What if I learned not to be concerned about the duration of my existence, the duration of my children's existence, the duration of the human race, comprehending the incomprehensible, being loved. Would I be happier? healthier? more comprehending of the comprehensible? loved? What if I learned not to be concerned.
SAY HEY RENE
1. Where am I? Here, I think. 2. What time is it? Now, I think. 3. What am I thinking? Of past, present, or future here/nows, I think. 4. Doggone it I am and I AM, without a doubt, I think 5. I leave you, Dear Thinker, with a question: Where are you when you are asleep?
Five windows light the caverned man; through one he breathes the air. Through one hears music of the spheres; through one can look And see small portions of the eternal world. *** Wm. Blake thru Joyce Carey
The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. *** Carl Sandburg
My people are gray, pigeon gray, dawn gray, storm gray. I call them beautiful, and I wonder where they are going. *** Carl Sandburg
KEEP IT BRIEF
He was a king or a shah, an ahkoond or rajah, the head man of the country, and he commanded the learned men of the books they must put all their books in one, which they did, and this one book into a single page, which they did. "Suppose next," said the head man, who was either a king or shah, an ahkoond or rajah, "Suppose now you give me the history of the world and its peoples in three words, come, go to work!" And the learned men sat long into the night and confabulated over their ponderings and brought back three words: "Born, troubled, died." This was their history of Everyman. "Give me next for my people," spoke the head man, "in one word the inside kernel of all you know, the knowledge of your ten thousand books with a forecast of what will happen next, this for my people in one word." And again they sat into the peep of dawn and the arguments raged and the glass prisms of the chandeliers shook and at last they came to a unanimous verdict and brought back the head man one word: "Maybe." *** Carl Sandburg
Its three o;clock in the morning, we danced the whole night thru. Actually I went to bed early and now I'm awake with a racing mind and many thoughts. My lover is abed so I'm alone. However I believe everyone is always alone. We mitigate our aloneness in all sorts of ways, like hanging out with others, or writing on a computer which is like hanging out with others, etc. etc. but we are each the "caverned man," I think. So I got up to pee and then went back to bed and my mind started processing at high speed. What were all those thoughts? What was my Chain of Thought? I don't exactly remember so I'll just dive in. Writing is so different than thinking, methinks. Writing on a computer is much easier than writing on paper. I am gabbier on the computer. I like seeing all those words come up neat and legible. So here goes:*** About six billion humans currently are alive we are told. Assuming that their bodies will all be dead in one hundred years, an average of sixty million will die each year. Imagine newspaper headlines: 60 Million People Died in 2004; or 3.5 Million Americans Expected to Die in 2005; or Ten Thousand Americans Died Yesterday; by the way one of them happened to be Terri Shaivo. Murder, disease, virus, cancer, heart failure, starvation, old age, accidents, how would you have them die? What is your vision of perfection? We have to keep the numbers up. Even with birth control and abortion it seems the population is increasing which means more than sixty million new bodies are born each year. I'm not clear how they keep count however it is clear to me that the American cities, towns, and countrysides I visit are getting more and more peeps. Where have all the flowers gone? Those were the days my friend, I thought they'd never end. Anyhow this is all obviously God's plan so it will all work out in the end; and it is all working perfectly fine now. Having things work perfect is God's line of business. Eternal faith, what a blessing, you can have it too. All you need to do is believe. Believe what, you ask. What I just said, God and all of that. How about heaven, hell, the soul, and all of those things, you ask. Not to worry, be happy, they either are or they aren't. God's plan has been in business since the beginning of time. There is no alternative. Do I need to go to church, you ask. Only if it makes you feel good. Some churches put on a pretty good show you know. So what are we all doing here anyway, you ask. God knows. And I know I AM, here, I think. That's real knowledge, beyond a doubt, methinks. Are you really going to put all this stuff on your web page, you ask. Why not? I had and will have a lot more thoughts, however writing, even on the computer, fails to capture them. I was thinking of Paul's stuff and the burning bush, no video cameras to document the event, and yet the story has legs. If a man went to the moon two thousand years ago and the only evidence that remained was a hand-me-down first person story, who would believe it? My friend was fond of saying "Everyone has to believe in something, I believe I'll have another beer." He was just kidding, not. I could go on. Please don't you say?
THEY ASK: WHY?
When God scooped up a handful of dust, And spit on it, and molded the shape of man, And blew a breath into it and told it to walk, that was a great day. And did God do this because He was lonely? Did God say to Himself he must have company And therefore He would make man to walk the earth And set apart churches for speech and song with God? These are questions. They are scrawled in old caves. They are painted in tall cathedrals. There are men and women so lonely they believe God, too, is lonely. *** Carl Sandburg
THE ETERNAL NOW
Los was the Prophet of the Lord. And the sons of Los build moments and minutes and hours and days and months and years and ages and periods, wondrous buildings. And every moment has a couch of gold for soft repose. And between every two moments stands a daughter of Beulah to feed the sleepers on their couches with maternal cares. And every minute has an azure tent with silken veils Every time less than the pulsation of an artery is equal in its period and value to six thousand years, for in this period the poet's work is done. *** Wm. Blake thru Joyce Carey
THE SUPREME CONSTANT?
The shapes of change take their time, ai ai they take their time moving hidden and deep, asking what the dawn asks giving the answers evening gives letting one tomorrow and another go by till tomorrow comes saying, "We are born of the yesterdays and our unseen children wait to be born." *** Where a thousand years is a clocktick, where a hundred years is a split-second, where a million miles is a moment of light, the shapes go on working change the same as forms once sea-hidden crept to the land to become land forms, creeping in sun and rain, huddled in drizzle and fog, rising in mist and rainbow, forgetful of time long or time too long, murmuring in a music of mud and stars, "We are born of the yesterdays and our unseen children wait to be born. Take your time, we have all the time there is." *** CS1
Where change tugs, feeds, grows, where the-yet-to-be born clutches and gropes in the folds of a womb ever weaving - - this tells only there is to be a child, a shape beyond all guess and fathoming. Time and a womb of time tell only the child will have a face when it comes and a name given the begotten face. *** How could the Stone Age once born and given a name see the Iron Age on the way to being born? How could man carving the first wheel see the later labyrinths of steel and brass wheels moving interlocked in a spun fabric of wheels? *** How could the hairy Mesopotamian kings, the hard-riding Persians, Jews, Greeks, read it in the stars they were on their way out and read too the next shapes of change to come? *** Came the Romans and they did business, likewise Moslems on horses, Vikings on ships, barbarian strongarms riding wild horses, saying to women and girls wanted, hauled to the saddles by the hair, "You belong to us by the right of capture." - - on their way to nowhere in the womb of time. The Dark Ages given one name, Renascence another, Magna Carta, Westphalia, Augsburg, names throwing shadows striped red and purple, America, France, Russia, shaken with tramplings, declarations fire-born and sky-flaring, documents baptized and blood-dripping, children and shapes, flags and forms - - new names - - tomorrow breaking silence with fresh answers and the old questions hard and weather-worn: "Where to now? What next?" *** CS2
How could Gutenberg or Caxton foretell trucks hauling a million newspapers roaring their banner headlines and the desperate proverb "Nothing is so dead as yesterday's newspaper"? *** Ever the prophets are a dime a dozen and man goes on a moon shooter forgetful of time long or time too long, letting tomorrow come wool-shod making the noise a shadow makes, then a name given its face. *** Machine Age given a name went weaving into Power Age, another name - - Mass Production, Supermarkets, more names, Electrodynamics holding its own till the cry "Atomic!" flashed world-wide and "Global War" no careless bastard name, each a child weaving in a time-hidden womb, when it came saying, "Now I am here," then having a face and a name. *** CS3
The hammers of man from stone to steel, the fire of man from pine flare to blowtorch, the lights of man from burnt wood to flashbulb, clew readings of man from hill bonfire to radar shadings, the fights of man from club and sling to the pink mushroom of Hiroshima, the words of men from spoken syllables to rushing rivers of books begetting books, to speech and image transmissions crowding the day and night air for the looking and listening Family of Man - - the tools of man ever foretelling tools of new faces to given new names - - ever the prophets are a dime a dozen and man goes on a moon shooter. *** The shapes of change ai ai they take their time asking what the dawn asks giving the answers evening gives till tomorrow moves in saying to man the moon shooter, "Now I am here - - now read me - - give me a name." *** CS4
MY MENTOR CARL
In 1954 I washed up on the USS Nereus AS17 in the middle of the San Diego Bay. The tides of change had carried me far from the small Minnesota town named Morristown. First I found myself at Moorhead State Teachers College, the University of Minnesota, Mankato State Teachers College, OCS Newport Rhode Island, and then in a Navy uniform living on a Submarine Tender which had a crew numbering one thousand which was and is four hundred more than the population of my home town. It was then I met my mentor, on the center spread of the Saturday Evening Post. It read MAN THE MOON SHOOTER - A new poem by Carl Sandburg. (CS1,2,3,4 above). The poem gave me perspective. On my next liberty in San Diego I purchased a volume titled the Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg. Fifty-one years later it is still my "bible". I had it rebound recently for $80.16. I also still have the Saturday Evening Post center spread as it was framed by the Carpenter Shop personnel aboard the Nereus. Sometimes I have insights to share in my own words and sometimes others so beautifully share insights that resonate in me that I simply claim them as my own, with proper acknowledgement to the author. I do that a lot with Carl. *** NCK
My favorite preacher man, Flip Wilson, delightfully punctuated his sermons with "Its in the Book!" But then there was Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof who was fond of saying "On the other hand, and there's always the other hand." And then there was my mentor Carl who recorded the following observations in his 179 page poem titled THE PEOPLE, YES: "When historians of the future tell posterity what the World War was about, they will agree upon a cause that nobody who fought it ever suspected," said the chief of the high command of Allied America. "Bring me my liar," said the king calling for the historian of the realm. "History is bunk," said a history-making motorcar king. "Words," added the motorcar king, "are a camouflage for what is going on in the mind." "History is a fable agreed upon," said a shriveled smiling Frenchman. "Even if you prove it, who cares?" demanded an Illinois state librarian. "I shall arrange the facts and leave the interpetation to the reader," said the hopeful biographer to the somber historian. "The moment you begin to arrange you interpet," emitted the somber historian. *** What do I think, and I DO think. Well I think the historians probably get some things right, but on the other hand and there's always the other hand, they undoubtedly leave out a lot and also just get some things wrong. Does this mean that hindsight is no more twenty-twenty than foresight? Maybe.
You may have noticed that my mentor Carl is not much into rhyme. He does however, offer some thirty-eight definitions of poetry. Here are a few just so you get the idea: (1) Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths. (2) Poetry is an art practiced with the terribly plastic material of human language. (3) Poetry is the report of a nuance between two moments, when people say, 'Listen!' and 'Did you see it?' 'Did you hear it?' 'What was it?' (4) Poetry is the tracing of the trajectories of a finite sound to the infinite points of its echoes. (5) Poetry is sequence of dots and dashes, spelling depths, crypts, crosslights, and moon wisps. (10) Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air. (11) Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for explanation.
OUR PRAYER OF THANKS: For the gladness here where the sun is shining at evening on the weeds of the river, Our prayer of thanks. ** For the laughter of children who tumble barefooted and bareheaded in the summer grass, Our prayer of thanks. ** For the sunset and the stars, the women and the white arms that hold us, Our prayer of thanks. ** God, if you are deaf and blind, if this is all lost to you, God, if the dead in their coffins amid the silver handles on the edges of town, or the reckless dead of war days thrown unknown into pits, if these dead are forever deaf and blind and lost, Our prayer thanks. ** God, the game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and the system; and so for the break of the game and the first play and the last, Our prayer of thanks. *** Carl & me too.
UU & Friends
Since losing my class in 1990 by graduating from high school I have been hanging out with adults who refer to themselves as Unitarian Universalists, the group that Garrison Keillor so often mentions. More recently I have connected with a Quaker group who simply go by the name Friends. In my collection of comic strips (thank you God for the comics) I noticed the following conversation between two of the characters which kind of remind me of my UU friends and also my Quaker Friends. Since both groups seem to have a sense of humor I think it is PC to share this conversation between these two best Peanut friends who are lazily lounging under a tree on a summer afternoon. MARCIE: "Horses are relatively easy to train - - Mules are easier to train than donkeys - - It takes patience to train a donkey - - A mule is one half donkey and one half horse - -" [one frame of silence and then] PEPPERMINT PATTY: "Don't always feel it's necessary to make conversation Marcie - -" **** The results of my introspection: Actually I need to keep Patty in mind - - Even when I blog? Yes even when I blog. Thank you Schulz. **** NCK
eMergency? Is that so?
"Ever the prophets are a dime a dozen . ." - See The Long eMergency as reported on the John Paul Poling blog under Culture on this site. Hey, sometimes the prophets get it right - On this issue I'm impressed, very - and I have been for some time. Maybe we should change course. My poet speaks in THE PEOPLE, YES: "Isn't that an iceberg on the horizon, Captain? "Yes, Madam." "What if we get in a collision with it?" "The iceberg, Madam, will move right along as though nothing had happened." *** And who is this Captain who seems unfazed by the iceberg? Methinks it is the same People who held my mentor's ear. Listen to another poem he recorded titled THE WAY OF THE WORLD (After Gustave Froding in the Swedish): The sea roars, the storm whistles, waves roll ashen gray; "Man overboard, captain!" Is that so? "You can save his life yet, captain!" The sea roars, the storm whistles. "Throw a rope to him, you can reach him." Is that so? Waves roll ashen gray. "He's gone down, you can't see him any more, captain!" Is that so? The sea roars, the storm whistles. *** We the People elect our captains, don't we? Is this a democracy or what. According to The Long eMergency it might soon be a less populated and much less comfortable democracy because we are on a collision course with the future. .. the future "will have a face when it comes and a name given the begotten face." And the future "will move right along as though nothing had happened." Is that so? **** compiled by NCK with a little help from my friend Carl S.
Methinks praying is a feel good activity and so it has been for me. Mr. Gulley Jimson's last words explain this so well that I defer to them here: "Please don't talk," said the nun. "That's all right, mother," I said, "they aren't listening. And it wouldn't make any diference if they did. They're too young to learn, and if they weren't they wouldn't want to." "It's dangerous for you to talk, you're very seriously ill." "Not so seriously as you're well. How you don't enjoy life, mother. I should laugh all round my neck at this minute if my shirt wasn't a bit on the tight side." "It would be better for you to pray." "Same thing. mother." ***** from THE HORSE'S MOUTH by Joyce Cary
As best I remember my Lutheran upbringing included the followiing assumptions: We are born in sin.  All our righteousness is as filthy rags re atonement for our sins.  We can not help ourselves out of this mess: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason and strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord nor come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the one true faith."  The true faith?? Our only salvation is to thankfully accept the sacrifice of another, i.e. God's gift of Himself in the form of Jesus. . . From whence came these assumptions? The answer to that question may be an interesting work of scholarship, however what matters most to me is whether these assumptions contribute in a positive way to my life experience. *** Posed next are some alternative assumptions:  We are born in wonder to experience life in new and wonderful ways.  The guide and key for doing so evolves within us, influenced but not restricted by the teachings and examples of our immediate and larger communities.  Each and every life is a contribution to the evolving wonderment of ALL THAT IS, and therefore deserves to be celebrated.  The purpose of Community is to honor and support each other in all stages of our evolution from infant to aged. . . From whence came these assumptions?? Well, I made them up; however I don't live in a vacuum so I must have been influenced by the teachings and examples of my immediate and larger commnities. Just which teachings and examples may be an interesting work of scholarship, however what matters most to me is whether they contribute in a positive way to my life experience. *** Assumptions are not a fixed reality, they are created by humans. We can stick with discussing the origins of assumptions, interesting though that may be, or we could focus discussion on how our assumptions help us explore the wonderment of this life experience.
My current hypothesis re some characteristics of ALL THAT IS, aka GOD:  What is IT? * Consciousness/Matter. Conciousness is the ability to experience. Matter is the substance of physical objects which can be experienced.  Which came first, consciousness or matter? * Neither. The substance of matter and the substance of consciousness are inseparable and thus ONE. IT has alwa;ys existed. IT had no beginning and IT will have no end.  What is evolving? * The forms of matter and perceptions of consciousness.  What is the purpose/goal of ITS evolution? * The mysterious driving force ot ITS evolution is SELF knowledge. However the path of ITS evolution is not predetermimed. IT is continually exercising choice.  Why does IT choose evil? * Evil is a concept relative to various temporary forms of ITS evolution and does not exist in an absolute sense. IT is not the good half of opposites but the ground of all opposites.  What is the purpose of human life? * Human life is one form through which IT pursues SELF knowledge. Individually and collectively human life is temporary , as are all forms of IT.
SPECULATING ABOUT DEATH
My "ego/I" speculates that after death "it" will be no more. If this is not the case then "I" am prepared to be surprised, pleasantly. After death is a mystery to me now, as is life. The source of fear in life on planet Earth seems to be related to survival. Death should dry up that source of fear. I choose not to create any new fears. After death will be like before we were born, i.e. peace beyond understanding.
SAY WHAT? GOD IS LOVE?
The angel that presided at her birth said, little creature, born of joy and mirth, go love without the help of anything on earth. * Blake. **** When I am open, conscious, and aware I am awe struck by every aspect, large and small, of what is called the universe including planet Earth and all of its life forms. Is all of this a manifestation of GOD? Is all of this LOVE? Is all of this ONE? Frequently I resort to various defense mechanisms to keep from being overwhelmed in awe of it all. **** There are explanations of love in all languages and not one found wiser than this: There is a place where love begins and a place where love ends - and love asks nothing. * Sandburg.
GSL? Was ist das? German as a Second Language. Warum? Das Erlebnis. Eine neue Sprache lernen, das ist, eine neue Welt kennenlernen. Den hinter der anderen Sprache steht eine andere Psyche, ein anderes Weltbild, eine andere Lebensform. Man lernt nicht nur eine Sprache, sondern man lernt vielleicht ein andern Denken. Man lernt vielleicht die Welt neu sehen, man lernt vielleicht sich selber neu sehen und verstehen. Das is nur eine der vielen Chancen, die das Lernen einer neuen Sprache bietet. Hoffentlich.
"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." The good tidings?: "Home is here, Kansas is Oz, heaven is all about us, waiting only for us to recognize it." How about death? Death, and also birth, are "wormholes" ala Star-Gate thru which we pass from one dimension to another. These dimensions may exist simultaneously. "In my Father's house are many mansions." How long has this been going on? Forever. Why don't I remember other dimensions? To be fully in the now of our present dimension we choose to forget other dimensions. Such is the case with me. Others, who pass my screening test for authenticity, tell of some past life memories. I respectfully listen. Is all of this true? Larry King: "Matty, why do you believe in angels?" Matty Stepanek: "Why not?" Indeed. But is it true? Joseph Campbell: "If I could prove it Father, why would I need faith?" I am truly influenced by the teachings and examples of my immediate and larger communities, as are we all. However it seems to me that we all dine cafeteria style. Its called free will.
The one who best knows me, my mirror, my lover, opines that me and my blog are complicated. "O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!" . . . I think of myself, and my blog, as rather straight forward. Consider my and perhaps Man's epitaph which I am borrowing from R.L.S.: . . When I was down beside the sea, a wooden spade they gave to me, to dig the sandy shore. My holes were empty like a cup, and in every hole the sea came up, 'til it could come no more. . . More or less straight forward, I'd say. . . Nicht wahr? (Is that not true?) . . . . . . . . . . . . On the other hand, and there's always the other hand.
Carl S. . . . . So long as we speak the same language and never understand each other, so long as the spirals of our words snarl and interlock and clutch each other with irreckonable gutturals, well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . On the other hand, and there's always the other hand. - Tevye
He was a seagoing man first, a sometimes writer. His name is Joshua Slocum, his book is SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD (1895-1898). From page 248 I lifted the following perceptive log entry: . . . . . . . "The view was certainly fine, but one has no wish to linger long in a calm at anything, and I was glad to note, finally, the short heaving sea, precursor of the wind which followed on the second day." . . . Methinks this entry speaks for many whom I observe hustling to and fro, hither and yon along well worn paths by land, sea, and air. Many who hang in malls w/o buying anything, many who fill sports arenas where the script is always the same. It's where the action is, where one can be alone in a heaving sea of others. . . Me? . . Hey, I'm just an observer. I'm not afraid of the ennui of a calm sea, I can lay down right beside it.
I've been thinking. But of course, that's who I am, I think. Right; well I watch TV you know, the political dance for instance. Hmmm. So I wonder how the assumptions I listed in my TEACHINGS link apply to the political dance. The current debate is about majority rule. Majority Rule as it is practiced in America is the celebrated Judge who represents we the people and who has led we the people into "just" wars to eliminate evil. So what's a better alternative, minority rule? How about super majority rule? Oh my God, you're a Democrat! Does it show? (p.s. I could also be a reasonable Republican you know.) ******** So what is the criteria for reasonable? Enlightened self-interest surely. In our fear of death and domination we humans elect to kill and dominate. Do unto others as they do and even before they do unto you. This is the principal characteristic of mankind's political history. Talk about slow learners. Let's try it one more time, this time with "shock and awe". Come out and fight like a man you evil mongers, on the battlefield with uniforms and all of that, then we will see who has might, and therefore who is right. And the beat goes on, wars and rumors of wars. "O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us." ******** Quoting from my aka GOD link I read "Evil is a concept relative to various temporary forms of ITS evolution and does not exist in an absolute sense." What's that all about? Yes, well individually and collectively humans are a temporary form of ITS evolution, so from the perspective of humans death, disease, and domination are evils; however from the perspective of the SELF, all experiences and perceptions of these temporary forms of evolution merely increase ITS SELF-knowledge. Death etc. are not relevant to ITS existence. ****** Am I sure about all of this? Maybe.
A year ago, 24 May 2004, my eldest daughter died in a car accident. She was forty-seven. I often think about her and her passing. How much time did she have to know that this was the moment for her to leave this life? What was she thinking during her last moments? Was she calm and accepting? Was she at peace? Was she ready? Did her essence/soul/spirit hover over our family as we mourned her death? Did her essence/soul/spirit pass thru a "wormhole" into another dimension? My mind drifts to a long list of all the others whom I personally know who preceded my daughter thru the Star Gate. The same questions apply. Then there are our other Earthlings who exit life on this planet at the rate of 180,000+/day. Same questions. What's it all about Alfie. We're on our way to somewhere, all of us and you too. Methinks certitude can be expressed in three words "born, troubled, died". Beyond that I honor your freedom to imagine, and I expect the same from from all others. And you too.
WELL SAID, GEORGE
// , the greatest threat to civility - and ultimately to civilization - is an excess of certitude. The world is much menaced just now by people who think that the world and their duties in it are clear and simple. . . . . One way to immunize ourselves against misplaced certitude is to contemplate - even to savor - the unfathomable strangeness of everythling, including ourselves. - George Will's Last Word in Newsweek May 23, 2005// ****** Methinks that I have very limited personal experience as a certifier, nor do I see myself evolving toward such an experience. Perhaps that is why I find poetry attractive and debate necessary. They each celebrate uncertainty. On the other hand - here come de Judge - I have always been fairly certain that I am not certain about anything. George might agree to consider that well placed certitude something to be savored. I do, especially relatilve to "the unfathomable strangeness of everything, including ourselves."
ROCK OF AGES
I am, w/o a doubt, a thinking being, I think. Upon this rock I have built my house. Thus far my house consists of this lone rock. . . Some people say that "in my Father's house are many mansions." . . . Hmmm . . . I have noticed that some people say damn near anything. . . So why not believe this, and other nice sayings? . . . I prefer rocks. . . And what rock is next? . . . I'll know it when I see it, I think.
Breathing In, Breathing Out, Breathing In, Breathing Out, 24/7/52 and counting . . . And that is not all, that is not all . . . when awake I think, immer(always), I think . . . About what? . . . Past/present/future Here & Nows, I think . . . And then, and then, I ponder over my favorite questions, i.e. Who is the "I" that thinks, that ponders? . . . And why do "I" ask such unanswerable questions? . . . And why do "I" pin the following words of Juan Ramon Jimenez on the wall over my computer: . . //. I am not I. . I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see, .whom at times I manage to visit, . and whom at other times I forget; . who remains calm and silent while I talk, . and forgives gently, when I hate, . who walks where I am not, . and who will remain standing when I die. //. . . from Life On The Bottom of An Ocean of Air, as reported by NCK.
ALONE WITH ITHERS
When awake I think. . . I get the complete unedited text of my thoughts. . . From "ithers" I get severely edited versions of their thoughts. . . If I don't know who I am, how can I ever know these "ithers"? . . Do these "ithers" ask the same questions? . . Am I alone? . . . . . . . On the other hand: . . Would I really prefer to live in a world w/o unanswerable questions, a world in which all questions had answers certain, a world in which there were no unsolvable questions to ponder? . . . I think not. . Ergo, methinks that there is no certitude on this side of the "wormhole" and maybe there is none in the next dimension either. . . The plan may be for an eternity of uncertainty. . . Is this all true? . . . I said maybe. . . . p.s. Thank you God for the puzzles called "ithers", .which includes you too, the ONE, and only, SELF, I think.
Carl tells this anecdote in The People, Yes: . . The Australian mounted infantryman now teaches in a western state college. Once he studied at the University of Heidelberg and took a doctor's degree. Once he slept on newspapers, pink sheets, three weeks in Grant Park, Chicago, keeping a tight hold on his certificate awarded by the University of Heidelberg. Once he lived six weeks in a tent looking in the face of the Great Sphinx of Egypt. Once of a morning shaving he happened to ask the battered and worndown Sphinx, "What would you say if I should ask you to tell me something worth telling?" And the Sphinx broke his long silence: "Don't expect too much." . . . . On the other hand . . A lady once told me that she received a different response from the stone lions guarding the entrance to the Waldorf Astoria in NYC when she asked them this same question. They told her to "expect everything". ***** A couple of weeks ago I made the suggestion to my extended family that if they wanted to better "know" their Dad/Brother then they might read my blog - of course I would read anything they chose to share also. . . . . So what response do I expect from this blogging effort? Well, when I try to put myself in the shoes of a reader, methinks the Sphinx has it right. . . On the other hand, . and there is always the other hand, . I have had two responses, both positive methinks. One was from my second daughter who a "giftie gie me" of admirable candor, authenticity, and love which included the following: . ."I've read your blog. I confess I don't get it, it isn't the "you" I'm really interested in (although I do realilze it is a part of you.) The you I know I don't think you can blog; it is My Daddy. I like you fine, I know you well. Love, Your Daughter." . . . . . . Maybe the lions were right afterall.
A SECOND ROCK?
I've been thinking, again. What about? The Rock of Ages - I think, ergo, I am . . and a second rock - I'll know it when I see it. . . So? . Perhaps I have seen it. Perhaps, like heaven, it is all about us waiting only for us to recognize it. Perhaps the second rock is UNCERTAINTY. . . Consider an apparent certainty of life, i.e. death. In my links, Speculating About Death and A Memorial, I managed to entertain some uncertainty about death. Does the essence/soul/spirit cease to exist? Maybe. Does the essence/soul/spirit pass thru some Star Gate "wormhole" into another dimension? Maybe. . . "Heaven (and uncertainty) is all about us waiting only for us to recognize it." Indeed. Am I sure about this? Maybe. . . Isn't uncertainty as a rock somewhat of a paradox? Maybe.
// Words by E.B. White: . . This is what youth must figure out: Girls, Love, and Living. . the having and not having, . the spending and giving, . and the melancholy time of not knowing. . . . This is what age must learn about: the ABC of dying, , the going, yet not going, . the loving and leaving, . and the unbearable knowing and knowing. // **** Hmmm . . After nearly 75 trips around the Sun, I'm still working on the above "youth" assignment. . . On the other hand, . I've also been pondering the "age" assignment since I was a youth. . So what is the knowing that is so unbearable? . What I know is that I don't know anything, . except my two rocks . . and I'm learning to accept this knowing as quite bearable. . . Methinks that I agree with Da Free John who opines as follows: "For one who abides at Infinity, happy and free, at ease with his Ultimate Ignorance, the Question and Answer are equally unnecessary." . . . On yet another other hand, . and there's always another other hand, . I still enjoy my puzzles, so I remain a contented ponderer.
Is freewill free? . . . Well, choices seem to come with consequences, so it would appear that the answer is "there's no free lunch". . . But we still have choice, right? . . . Agreed. . . . Yet are we not conditioned to make certain choices? . . . Maybe. . . So do we have freewill or not?. . . Maybe. . . . Do you know anything for certain? . . . Nope. . . (p.s. Only my two rocks.)
A UU BELIEF
"We believe in respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." . . . . Hmmm . . .Interdependent. . . Does this mean that there are also some non-human "webs of existence" that depend on humans? . . . . Hmmm . . . I wonder what they might be. . . . . Help me out here, please. I'm drawing a blank.
BELIEFS IN BRIEF
Belief defined - The acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something . . . Well now, I believe everybody has gotta believe something; actually I believe its beliefs all the way. . Beliefs are either based on faith, logical proof, or material evidence. Faith is a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence, which is not to say that it necessarily contradicts these two pillars. Logical proof and material evidence are not absolute because they too are based on assumptions. My Rock Of Ages is a truism, i.e. self-evident. This is all dictionary stuff. . . I like to pursue clarity of my beliefs and also of those beliefs held by others. For example: What do you believe about AGAPE [America, God, and Planet Earth]? Why do you hold these beliefs? How do these beliefs manifest in your daily life? . . . . IF you would like to share your answers to the above questions, and IF you are interested in learning how other attendees answer these questions, then the OLLI course Beliefs In Brief is designed for you. The goal of the course is community building thru clear communication aimed at getting to better know the beliefs of ourselves and others. . . . In pursuit of clarity/focus/order the following memorandum of understanding re procedure is proposed: (1) An attendee will briefly share a personal belief of his/her choice. (2) Others will then ask questions to help clarify in their own minds the expressed belief. (3) When there are no more questions, and when others can restate the expressed belief to the sharer's satisfaction, then it is the next person's turn. .Note: Discussion of your beliefs is in order only when it is your turn to share; clarification does not imply agreement; debate is not envisioned; consensus is not a goal. . . Will all of this help build community? . . Maybe. . . . . Will all of this also help you clarify your own beliefs? . . . Maybe.
FORAGING AND FORGING
Foraging thru my notes I found the following quote by Jean-Paul Sarte which is entitled Condemned To Be Free: "Man is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets for himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth." . . . . Hmm, methinks, Rock Of Ages, it is time that I formally adopt my second rock, i.e. UNCERTAINTY, as the freely chosen aim of my continued existence. . Since, methinks, that my thoughts are a large collection of beliefs - and since, methihks, that these beliefs, like those of all of my fellow earthlings, are based on uncertainties, . ergo, it seems that an aim presents itself. This aim is to clearly identify these uncertainties re each of my beliefs - one at a time. . . Wow! . This might take a lot of time. . Take your time, we have all the time there is.
DRAWING FREEDOM LINES
It has been said that my freedom to swing my fist ends where the other fellow's jaw begins. A line in the sand you see, something ends here, and something else begins here. . . . I see, and just where is here when it is not clear?. . . . We make laws you see, and enforce them by penalizing anyone who does not obey them. . . . Hmmm, then making laws is a big deal, right? . . . . Right. The process of law making and law enforcing has given rise to such sayings as: . Might makes right. . They who have the gold make the rules. . The Divine Right of Kings. . The tyranny of the majority - and maybe sometimes the minority. . If the law is against you, talk about the evidence - if the evidence is against you, talk about the law - if both the law and the evidence are against you, stand on the table and yell like hell. . Guilty or Not guilty? I stands mute. . God's Law is absolute, 'cuz its in The Book. . Can't we all get along? . . Maybe.
Irvin Yalom: "The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure, must be done obliquely. Meaning ensues from meaningful activity: the more we pursue it, the less likely are we to find it; the rational questions one can pose always outlast the answers. In therapy, as in life, meaningfulness is a byproduct of engagement and commitment, and that is where the therapists must direct their efforts - not that engagement provides rational answers to questions of meaning, but it causes these questions not to matter." . . . . . Yes, Dr. Yalom, but my "engagement and commitment" is to "deliberately pursue it." However no problem, I enjoy the Question and no Answer process. ************ Da Free John: "For one who abides at Infinity, happy and free, at ease with his Ultimate Ignorance, the Question and Answer are equally unnecessary." . . . . . Unnecessary huh , , , Abiding at Infinity huh . . . Happy and free huh . . . At ease with my Ultimate Ignorance huh . . . Hmmm, maybe I'll think about it.
Well, I thought about it. . . . About what? . . . Da Free John's assertion: "For one who abides in Infinity, happy and free, at ease with his Ultimate Ignorance, the Question and Answer are equally unnecessary.". . . And? . . . Well, certainly we all live at Infinity; methinks that is a no-brainer. . and its easy for me to feel at ease with my Ultimate Ignorance, . however I've been thinking about that "happy and free" thingy. . . . And? . . . Well, the definition circles where "happy" hangs out include pleasure, cheerful, joy, satisfaction, good luck, etc. etc. . I ask myself is this my milieu too? . And if not, why not? . And how can I get there? . And then, and then it came to me: the path to "happy" and also to "free" is certainly to embrace my Second Rock, UNCERTAINTY, maybe. . Ergo, I shall endeavor to notice the pleasure of Uncertainty, the cheer of Uncertainty, the joy of Uncertainty, the satisfaction of Uncertainty, the good luck of Uncertainty, etc. etc. . I plan to wake up each morning with plans, knowing they are filled with delightful Uncertainties. . "The shapes of change take their time, asking what the dawn asks, giving the answers evening gives." . And then, and then the Question and Answer, or the Questions and no Answers, will be "equally unnecessary" - but still fun, . maybe.
. . . there's more, there really is and has been all my life; maybe it came from early nurturing. I find it best expressed in Max Ehrmann's DESIDERATA, which is also pinned to the wall by my computer. Here it is: "Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there is in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be at peace with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, they too have their story. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune, but do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him/Her/IT to be." . . . Amen Brother.
MY ELUSIVE HARE
Thus far blogging on this site has been fun. Caught up in the fun I have stated my intent to blog 'til I die. . . . About what?,I incredulously ask myself, since I am already experiencing blogger's block; having shot my wad, so to speak. . . . An excellent question, indeed. Choose wisely, Old Man, I say to myself, or your intent may lose steam and you may aimlessly drift off into listless old age. . A verse Montaigne credited to Ariosto comes up: "Just as a huntsman will pursue a hare, o'er hill and dale in weather cold and fair; the captured hare is worthless in his sight; he only hastens after things in flight." . . . . So I ask myself, "What is your hare, Mein Herr?". . . . Briefly, it is to understand and experience the "non-duality" of creator and creation, assuming that is the nature of ALL THAT IS. . If creator and creation are of a "dual" nature, the pursuit still goes on. . . . Is this a new hunt? . . . . Hardly; I have read some tales of the many hunters who have pursued this hare, and also some tales of the many who still do. Neither is my pursuit a new endeavor on my part; blogging about it is. . . . So why blog about a hunt? . . . . Because I enjoy blogging, and because methinks it will bring more discipline to my hunt. . . . The enjoyment is also in the pursuit, right? . . . . Right. . . . And how long will all of this go on? . . . . 'Til I die, . maybe.
3rd QUESTION 1st
The 3rd Question: How would this belief manifest in your daily life? . . . . What belief? . . . . The belief you mentioned in My Elusive Hare, i.e. a belief in the "duality" or "non-duality" of creator and creation. . . . . Hmmm, I see your point. I don't think it would manifest in nor affect my daily life at all. Neither would it affect my faith that ". No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him/Her/IT to be.". . . . So, why bother chasing that hare? . . . . Again, I see your point. Actually, I find the concept of a creator/God beyond my comprehension whether the nature of He/She/IT is "dual" or "non-dual" with respect to what for me is the equally incomprehensible creation/Universe. . However, I will continue to pursue that hare just because it is so elusive. One might conclude that I am hare-brained on this topic. I just won't bother my vast blog readership with the details of my pursuit. . . . So, what will you blog about? . . . . I don't know, I'll get back to you on that. . maybe.
75 & COUNTING
I had the privilege to briefly know Dr. Tom, a retired surgeon and hands-on Colorado rancher. Once I helped him pull a calf out of a cow during a breech birth. Dr. Tom was 72 in 1999 when he took off for an Egyptian sight seeing tour with his buddy John. Thirty minutes after leaving JFK the Boeing 767 nose-dived into the Atlantic. All 217 passengers and crew were killed. . . . . I often think of Dr. Tom and his death experience. Actually I often think about the death of many others, including my own, especially now that I have reached the 75 milestone. See my links SPECULATING ABOUT DEATH, and A MEMORIAL. Do I have any more clear and authentic thoughts to share on this subject? . . . I think so. . . . So, what are they? . . . . Jeez, capturing such thoughts in print is a challenge. When I say that I am immediately confronted by these words of Montaigne: "Provided our pupil is well equipped with substance, words will follow only too readily; if they won't follow willingly, he will drag them. I hear some making excuses for not being able to express themselves, and pretending to have their heads full of many fine things, but to be unable to express them for lack of eloquence. That is all bluff. Do you know what I think those things are? They are shadows that come to them in shapeless conceptions, which they cannot untangle within, nor consequently set forth without: they do not understand themselves yet. And just watch them stammer on the point of giving birth; you will conclude that they are not laboring for delivery, but for conception, and that they are only trying to lick into shape this unfinished matter. For my part I hold, and Socrates makes it a rule, that whoever has a vivid and clear idea in his mind will express it, if necessary in Bergamask dialect, or, if he is dumb, by signs. . . Master the stuff, and words will freely follow.[Horace]. . And as another said just as poetically in his prose: . When things have taken possession of the mind, words come thick and fast.[Seneca]. And another: . The things themselves carry the words along.[Cicero]". . . . . So do I have more to say on the subject of death, or not? . . . Yes I do, but they need to be "licked into shape," so be patient. . . . P.S. I love Montaigne's eloquent phrase "they are not laboring for delivery, but for conception." I also try that shoe on myself.
***** Man going up elevator: "We eat, work, sleep, then we die - eh?" Elevator boy: "Yeah." ***** Mattie Stepanek died at 13, my daughter died at 47, Dr. Tom died at 72. But I'm 75 and still alive! People die at all ages at the rate of 180,000+ per day. Are/were they ready? Am I ready? I would like to be ready. What shall I do to be ready? My answer, part I: Take care of practical details. A will, check; A power of attorney, check; Memoirs (my blog), check; Funeral arrangements, check. My answer, part II: Take care of spiritual details. I have/do spend some time speculating on what it might be like after death. I am comfortable with my current conclusions that after death will be like before I was born, which I believe was very much like the daily sleep that I now experience. Other than that I believe it will be complete peace beyond my current understanding. While I'm still alive it seems like now is a good time to review my life experiences. I've only been here 75 years, and so I don't need to look back into eternity nor ahead into eternity; I just need to look at this 75 year bit of eternity in which I am grounded. ***** My friend Ed recommended that I go on line and read my age partner Thomas Sowell's brief essay entitled "75 years old." You can find it at www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell. Thomas concluded his essay with this statement:"There is much to complain about today and to fear for the future of our children and our country. But despair? Not yet." . . . . Hmmm, methinks I would like it better if he had included fearing for the entire world as long as he was into fearing. However, my preference is for a perspective that is not fear based. As to despair? Not yet, not ever. That's my choice, its called free will. **** Notes: The "poem" I opened this piece with is from The People, Yes by Carl Sandburg. Recommended site - MattieOnline.com
NOT YET, NOT EVER
"But despair? Not yet." So wrote Thomas Sowell in his essay which I cited in my previous piece. Sowell wrote of complaining and fearing, and then up popped the subject of despair. Methinks that this is a common chain of thought. Since despair means loss of all hope, then it seems that one might avoid despair by choosing hopes which cannot be lost. Perhaps this is what William Blake was referring to when he wrote the following lines: *** "He who binds himself to joy does the winged life destroy, but he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity's sunrise." *** I find poetry attractive because it allows the reader wide latitude for interpretation. To me these lines of Blake mean that one can enjoy Joy without being attached to a particular Joy. Without such attachment there can be no loss of all hope, and ergo, without the loss of all hope there can be no despair. I was newly divorced (again) and drinking alone when I penned the following words:*** "Thoughts while drinking. . Real Poetry. . Despair is not to share. . Contradictions are rife. . Let the music stop. . Get a life. . Whan can this mean?. . Different things to different people. . Independence is courage manifested. . I see no point in getting drunk. . The End. . I may return. . So what. . 7/22/04 the year of our Lord" *** Despair? Not yet, not ever. . . I shall return, maybe.
About HEAVEN Now
" . . . Heaven is all about us, waiting only for us to recognize it." . . . Is that so?. And would that include Now, during the 75 year bit of eternity that I am alive and grounded on this planet? Hmmm, then Now is indeed the time for me to look about and see if I can recognize it. This is a live, on the scene report, although by the time you read it, it will be history. As you know, Now is an elusive fellow. . . Let me see, looking about, what do I see? (1) The awesome land, sea, and air. Mountains, valleys, plains, deserts; oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, clouds; and I feel the air everywhere. (2) An awesome array of awesomely complex plants and animals, including creatures like me. (3) An awesome number of stars and planets which are located at awesome distances from planet Earth, so I am told - and so I believe. (4) An awesome amount of material stuff, much of it very complex, which has been created by creatures like me. (5) " the words of men from spoken syllables to rushing rivers of books begetting books, to speech and image transmissions crowding the day and night air for the looking and listening Family of Man," all created by creatures like me. (6) Awesome wars, and rumors of awesome wars waged with ever greater "shock and awe," again created by creatures like me. (7) Certain death and disease of all living things and the continual fear of this certainty by creatures like me. (8) Pervasive uncertainty, mystery, puzzles, questions for creatures like me. . . . . Is heaven part of what I see, or is heaven all of what I see? Or, am I deaf and blind? "Ever the prophets are a dime a dozen." . . What do you expect from creatures like me
FINAL SELF-EXAM RE THE QUESTION "WHO AM I?" *** Q(1) What do I now know for certain about my self? Ans(a) I have a physical body equipped with sensors. (b) I have a non-physical essence which is the source of my thoughts. **** Q(2) What do I consider highly probable re my fate? Ans: My body will die and soon after such death it will be reduced to dust. **** Q(3) What do I consider to be possibilities re the fate of my non-physical essence. Ans(a) It will cease to exist when my body dies, or (b) It will reincarnate in some other physical form w/o a concious memory of my present life, or (c) It will continue in a formless state w/o any individual identity, or (d) Other possibilities which Ana deems probable. **** Q(4) What would I now consider a satisfactory answer to the question "Who Am I"? Ans: The answer I gave to first question, i.e. my body and the source of my thoughts. **** Q(5) If I now knew for certain the fate of my non-physical essence, how would that knowledge affect my life now? Ans: I don't believe that it would. **** Q(6) So, am I ready to move on to other questions? Ans: I am. **** End of Exam. ******** Post Graduation Interview: Q. What is my comment re the following eloquent words which I found in my notes; "Who is it that sees, who is it that knows? The eye of the eye, the mind of the mind. Because it is the soul that sees, that knows, it is the soul that cannot be seen or known. Whatever is recognized cannot be what I myself am." Source (??). Ans: Hmmm . . As I stated in my piece entitled Rock Of Ages, I have noticed that some people say damn near anything. As the sage Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again."
Lied? Really? . . . Not. I just changed my mind, as the saying goes. In my piece entitled GRADUATION I indicated that I was ready to move on to questions other than "Who am I?". . . . And now you've changed your mind? . . . . Eeeyup. I started thinking again. In my post graduation interview I flippantly dismissed the eloquent comment which ended with "Because it is the soul that sees, that knows, it is the soul that cannot be seen or known." . . . And now?. . . . Now I wish to withdraw that flippant dismissal in favor of a more reasoned dismissal. Here it is: Since my non-physical essence is the source of my thoughts, it CAN be known by its product, i.e. my thoughts. Ergo, although the source of my thoughts cannot be seen, it can thus be indirectly known. . . . True self-knowledge, huh? . . . . Eeeyup. . . . Anything else?. . . Yes. Since this source, this eye of the eye and mind of the mind aka soul, keeps producing more or less insightful thoughts, it must itself be learning and evolving. . . . I think I've got it. . . . Good.
BIDDY BIDDY BUM
If I were a Rich Man, I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day. All day long I'd biddy biddy bum, if I were a Wealthy Man. . . . . And I yam by Golly, I am. And I do too, every day. Especially the poetic biddy biddy bum part, which leaves lots of room for interpetation. Glancing back over my topics I notice "Who am I". Heaven, Death, After Life, Uncertainty, Beliefs, God, History, Poetry, Teachings, Faith, Knowing, Aging, Biddy Biddy Bum. . . Will there be more? Maybe. . . . . When the idle Poor become the idle Rich, you'll never know just who is who or who is witch. ********* Credits: Fiddler On The Roof & Finian's Rainbow.
PERSONAL AXIOMS, AKA Re-invention of The Wheel by Neil: (1) Like Rene, I cannot doubt that I exist as a thinking being. (2) Unlike Rene, I choose not to doubt my physical existence. (3) Unlike my friends Robert and Charlie, I choose to believe that the source of my thoughts is my non-physical essence; and furthermore I choose to call this my soul. (4) I choose to believe that my soul is ever changing and evolving. (5) I choose to believe that I can know my soul, know my self, by analyzing its product, i.e. my thoughts. ***** OBSERVED PATTERNS OF MY THOUGHTS: (1) Some of my thoughts are intentions which may lead to action which may lead to my creating a thing or an event. (2) Some of my thoughts are observations which provide grist for my analyzation mill. ***** THE REASON WHY: The reason to form a conscious intimate relationship with a partner is in order to do the work of coming to know our souls together. This is the only reason for an intimate relationship when we are conscious. This is what intimate relationship is about, in fact this is what everything we do is about. ****** Hemingway's advice to a writer as reported by Lillian Ross: "Just call them the way you see them and the hell with it."
MY TINY SYSTEM
In his book, GRIST FOR THE MILL, Ram Dass makes the following assertion re the rational mind: "Realize that it's merely a tiny system and that there are meta-systems and meta-meta-systems in which only when you transcend your logical mind can you ever enter the gate.", , , Hmmm, transcend my logical mind huh. . . Just for the record, no LSD for me. . . Meditation is as far as I'm willing to go in the transcending business. . . In the meantime, when I'm not meditating I be working on my tiny system. The way my rational mind describes it's M.O. is that premises (axioms, definitions, other assumptions) imply conclusions. My preference is that premises be clearly stated and conclusions be logically implied; when this is not done I call the process intuition. In either case the premises and/or conclusions may be incorrect. So whether it is a clearly stated process or a revered intuition, it is always IF, then THEN, my friend; and that's a premise.
Its a dog's world
." . . of Ancestors long forgotten and lore that lingers deep within, for the words are born of tides universal and truths that abide, truths that each generation strives to find." . . Thus spoke Maori scholar Barry Brailsford on the cover flap of his book SONG OF THE OLD TIDES. This book found its way into my casa via dinner guest Kathy who is collaborating with Barry in producing a film on one of his adventures. . . Here's a truth sample from the book: There is no word for enemy in the old lore. Those who come in anger are but "wild friends." To take the life of another is to destroy your own, for we are all of One Heart, One Family, and One World. We walk with reverence for all life and honor the Spirit of Creation every day. . . . Hmmm, when our ancestors speak, we should listen, nicht wahr? Listen, and then ponder the truth that each generation strives to find. Perhaps the ancient ones had no need to apply their truth to abortion and terrorism, to name a couple of divisive issues; this generation does. . . We tend to shout our dogma at each other. Although dogma, like a dog, tends to endear itself to its owner, you might not like mine, just like I might not like yours. My doormat is inscribed "beware of dog." cuz its a dog's world and not all neighbors keep their dog. on a leash. **** Barry's book contains much more lore from our Maori ancestors, and I intend to ponder it all. Thanks for the introduction Kathy.
Can't we all get along? I wish. . . . In a Colorado graveyard two men lie in one grave. They shot it out in a jam over who owned one corner lot: a piece of real estate. They shot it out; it was a perfect duel; each cleansed the world of the other. Each horizontal in an identical grave had his bones cleaned by the same maggots. They sleep now as two accommodating neighbors. They had speed and no control. They wanted to go and didn't know where. . . . . Have we progressed since my mentor Carl reported the above face-off in his poem THE PEOPLE, YES? . . . Hmmm, now the weapons of choice are "shock and awe" and "terrorism." Progress or regress? What say you? . . . . So what's it all about? It seems that it is all about winning. ". . declarations fire-born and sky-flaring, documents baptized and blood-dripping; children and shapes, flags and forms, new names . . " . . . . Can't we all get along? I wish.
INTRO-Methinks that it is not possible to swallow whole another's religion; hence we pick and choose, as well we should. I have referred to this as dining cafeteria style. To be conscious and aware of our choices is a good thing to do, I think. ****** OK, KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID-This is my simple religion: my own brain, my own heart is my temple; my philosophy is kindness. Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. ****** ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS-As I have noted in previous pieces, I don't live in a vacuum. I am influenced by the teachings and examples of my immediate and larger communities, past and present. Special thanks to Barry Brailsford for reporting the words of Marie Curie and one Tenzin Gyatso who is known as the Dalai Lama.
OP-ED PAGE ONE
RIGHTS & LIFE *** A child's first right is to be born to a Mother who wants him/her. Only the Mother can grant this right; a child deserves nothing less. Once born , a child acquires person status in the community. If God or others wish to influence the Mother's choice in this matter then let them offer persuasion and not coercion.