Saturday, February 28, 2015

Enjoy Having Less Not More

The global climate emergency is serious and real. It's not enough to make manufacturing more efficient; or cars cleaner. Reduction in economic output must be radically reduced now - or we risk the overall collapse of our global technological civilization. It's not economic growth that we want - but, the unthinkable need for economic contraction. We must learn to live and enjoy having less not more!    

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shadow Puppets

Don't fight shadows.
Notice the hands in front of the projector
You'll see the illusion

Huge monsters become tiny hands
In the light

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's it all about?

(In mid-2008, I
had a compelling dialogue on The WELL
 with people I never met in person on the topic of "What's It All About?" Here are my own posts. All the other responses are deleted, following the rule that "you own your own words" applies to posts on The WELL. It's the unquoted writers who took me to deeper levels of understanding - they drove these notes into being!)

Life has taken me into many phases and experiences. I'm sixty years old now. Long enough to know what little I know; long enough to feel that I have lived. I am thankful for that.

What's it all about? Each day the answer to this question could be different.
Death and limitation have been the most powerful teachers. As we age, people around us get sick and die. I was thinking about some of those people this morning. One was 20 years older and like a father to me. He came to memory. I realized that in a way - this was how he "lives on" - in the memory of friends and relatives. His motto was, "Life is good!" I try to remember that one.

Last year, two people that I work with lost their children (one was eight and the other thirty years old). It was unspeakable. I was deeply affected.
Death pushes us out of abstraction. (Wow! and this statement is an abstraction). A big problem with philosophy is that philosophy "wants" to abstract. But, reality is not abstract - reality is real. :) Death must be painful because we love.

I think "it's all about love". I remember an opera with a song that goes, "Love is the heartbeat of the Universe." I think so. Without love, we have nothing, nothing at all. Even all the jewels and gold hardly make it worth it. Is not the meaning of life Love?
And, yes, I have been hurt in love; and have grieved because of love - through death and separation. Love comes in all forms: with job, God, children, mate, etc....etc.

It's like this:
Love to be love that is real love is love that sees the self in the other. Thus, the Golden Rule follows. But, love that is conditional to "me being more important than you" as fundamental - that is love perverted. Even bankers can be loved, once we see them as they really are - as, perhaps, misguided. In ancient days, it was something to have dinner with tax collectors. Yet, they, too, could be loved. Anyway, I believe there is a high path of love that holds the universe and the human world together. A love that is even stronger in the long run than hate. Mundane matters, yes! Love is totally mundane - it is what holds the world together. Our mundane work is tangible love. Deep nature is a dynamic balance of attractive and repulsive forces; so, suggest the laws of physics. This balance of forces sustains our everyday macro world - that we mostly take for granted. I come to this conference because I love philosophy; and, I love to run into other people (YOU) who struggle with difficult, hard to pin down ideas. Is it not love that brings us together?

Perhaps, this question "What's it all about?" cannot be answered. But, it is in the "answering" that love is. Love is like the background, like the air that we take for granted. Most mundane, most divine it is. I have seen many wish to be transported and transcending. This is not much better than taking drugs or alcohol. The real thing, I believe, is to be-here-now. It takes real love to really be-here-now with what-there-is."Attentiveness" is as close as possible to being honest with the experience of being human in our world in all its dimensions as possible. That's why I am not comfortable with the idea that we "are just evolved mechanisms that are useful to the replication of our genes". I have no problem with the genes being part of what we are attentive to, but genes are only part of the show on one of the many levels of reality which we live in. I don't have a conflict with the genetic explanation as long as it is not a reductionist program that makes the experience of being-human "nothing but" the play of genes. The genetic is deeper level below the subconscious mind of the human; and, of course, the quantum level is deeper than genetic. That does not mean, however, that these levels are more real than human. But, I am not sure that the human experience is fundamentally real. It is, however, our experience - the experience that we start with as we grope for what is beyond human.

You know, to live without a narrative might just be total freedom, total enlightenment. Narratives are either internal monologues or "polylogues" among people. For example, we could have a narrative that explains everything (yes, "what's it all about?") in terms of genes. And, why not? We can "reduce" everything (i.e. map it) to any level of another or reality. The main advantage of not reducing everything to genes is to keep the narratives simple for humans to understand human life in human-terms not genetic terms.

Poetry reduced to genetic relationships would require a lot of decoding to be meaning to one living an ordinary life.
Daily life requires a narrative. Without narratives we would slip either into the absurd & schizoid or cosmic consciousness. You know it's interesting that recent cosmology talks about the "sound of creation" - that ripples in the early Universe produced a sound, a kind of music. This accords with mystical Hindu concepts of the universe beginning with a sound; like God in the Bible speaking the Word. Vibration, sound, light. Even before there are genes.

What's it all about? What do we know, anyway? :)
Even if it is just chaos or actually intelligent design - it might just come down to interaction. There's no "final answer" - it's a journey that takes us beyond questions and answers. I believe that everything by change or by law is totally interrelated, so everything must be interacting.

I love interaction. That's one of the reason I love The WELL.
I've the greatest respect for "logo therapy" as developed by Viktor Frankl in his book *Man's Search for Meaning*. It taught me that I am my own meaning maker; and, also to respect other people's ways of finding/making meaning. If memory is right, he discovered in a German concentration camp during WWII that those who found a specific meaning had a greater chance of making it out alive. I figure that may be true for all of us: with meaning we have a greater chance of getting out alive!

When I started this topic, I had no idea where this question would lead. to me it is a matter of mystery and wonder. human beings appear to have evolved out of the soup of matter and life.
it's a wonder we are gifted with reflective consciousness. it's worth asking such questions just for the pleasure of expanding reflective consciousness and solving problems and much more.....

I mix God and consciousness into the strew here. Suppose God as some kind of pure Source Energy did utter a Sound, a vibration that caused the Big Bang. If so, the whole of creation is infused with consciousness seeking to organize itself itself here and there. That self-organizing here and there leads to all kinds of practical results - until consciousness seems to have holographic capacities for resonating with the whole universe back to the time of the Big Bang.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wisdom's Voice

Wisdom's "voice" is quiet and still; far away from the rattling of daily life. We can hear it speaking to us as if to a best friend. Each of us has a wise fool within us. "It takes one to know one". Wisdom is in living life consciously. Sometimes we "prepare" ourselves to hear wisdom's voice; other times it comes in loud shouts. "Wake up! Wake up!"

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Flash Light

It has been said that the night is darkest just before the dawn. Yet, the night is just as dark after the sun sets, before the moon begins to glow and the stars begin to appear.

Thinking we will only see light after darkness does us a disservice. It is when the light fades into the dark that your faith is truly tested. 

Find the light in the dark. Don't wait for the light to find you.

Leap of Faith

I generally don't write things like this but I thought why not? There are no rules.

Eyes which once were as clear as a glacier's stream were now fixed on the roaring river below. He held onto the railing of the bridge with his life. Time left him haggard and disillusioned. The grandfather who had held his heart had passed away and with him the boy's spirit to live. The boy who once played in the gentle sun now had all but forgotten it was day. It became night too soon for a boy so young. The philosopher, so rich and filled with life now felt he had lost his way. He could not feel the wind on his face; the life in his own breath. If he only listened to life, he would know that he could never lose it, unless he took it away by a leap of forgotten faith. It was now up to life to remind him of what he only saw as a faint light in the horizon. 

The wind softly spoke of memories the boy had forgotten in time's careless wake.
          Don't you feel me?
   it whispered .
                        My passion as I welcomed those tears and dried them
                        How I caressed your face and stroked your hair to remind you that you were not alone.

The moon caressed the boy with warm light and sang him a lullaby he had become deaf to since he grew cold.
           Can't you hear me?
   it sang .
                               I stayed awake while you slept under the tenderness of my light
Even when you could not see me my love
I was always there.

The stars danced a ballet of lights as they twinkled like fire in the glowing night. 
            Will you see me?
   they asked .

                                               We saw you grow
                                                 We lit the way
                                                   We will always tend to you
                                                      Even in the darkest nights
                                                       We might look distant
                                                         But we are only a glimpse away. 

Don't Pick the Flowers Today

Please don't pick the flowers today
Stop the destruction now
Let everything live and die
    for good purpose
Eat the flowers if you need food
    But don't condemn the
    flowers to decoration - it is
    life that must give life 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Stillness is like an old friend at the core of our deepest Self. My first glimpses of deep stillness happened during childhood and adolescence. Those moments seemed more important than the rest of life. Perhaps everyone encounters stillness but few talk about and share its power and beauty. Among places and situations where I found deep stillness:

• A freshly painted room in my parents house. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old.
• Walking home from school looking and feeling each step along the way.
• In my room, as an adolescent, slowly watching the twilight turn to night.
• By the ocean shore looking toward the horizon.
• First formal meditations sitting on the floor.

Cultivating stillness, which is also called "meditation" or "mindfulness" is an important medicine for the ills of our times. Why not take a few minutes, now, to be still? Mind quiet, body motionless, breath steady. Neither grasping nor rejecting what is happening all around, just let it all "pass through you". Stillness. Stillness. Upon returning to activity - one may be blessed with a sense of greater ease in life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Socratic Classes

My classes are mostly Socratic dialogues on meaningful topics. I demonstrate philosophy as a struggle for truth and wisdom. Some students get inspired to go on to standard philosophy courses - where they often become disappointed with pedantic teaching and readings. One student said, "I took philosophy to find meaning, instead I practice conceptual gymnastics. Frustrating and meaningless." Schools often limit philosophy to a "language game" focused on analysis, critical thinking, and technical statements. Fortunate is the student exposed to a Socratic teacher exploring wisdom and truth.

Monday, February 16, 2015

PAPAJI - Consciousness Alone Is

Wonderful video; in ten minutes Papaji sums up consciousness in relation to all-that-is.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Having is Giving

Americ Azevedo - Voice & Thoughts.original recording.
Josh Williams - Electric Guitars, Synths/Sounds/Programming.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ecstasy of Learning

"If you're not having fun, you are not learning." That was my teaching motto during first lecture of Data Base Theory and Administration at Golden Gate University. Fun and learning go together. Children at play learn effortlessly. School gets too serious and we forget that learning is a natural human pleasure. Life itself is the school. During class a student suddenly echoed back: "If you're not having fun, you are not learning!"

Learning is ecstasy - naturally moving us outside ourselves. We are born learners. Humans learned to live on land, the sea surface and underwater, and outer space. There is a pleasure in learning about anything. In extending ourselves personally and collectively into new frontiers.

If you want to stay young keep learning something new everyday. Open up a different kind of magazine. Keep changing the environment what you're looking at so that your mind works at mastering new vistas. You're old when you can't be bothered learn new things.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Using Time Wisely

Using time wisely is wise living. Time passes and never returns. While living we're in time. We go beyond time through time by way of time. Facing time allows a glimpse of the timeless, the eternal.

Having "time on our hands" disturbs many people. Boredom sets in. Anything seems better than doing nothing or "just" being still.

Love is what we want. Free time is for love. Do and be what we love. Lovers of wisdom spend time engaged in philosophy - a word that really means "love of wisdom". Do what you love. Be what you love.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

On Becoming a "Philosopher-at-Large"

A long time ago, I was gifted with a personal rubber stamp imprinted with my name, job title, address and phone number.  The job title was "Philosopher at Large". 

During my high school years, I began to study Philosophy. I took a special elective English class that used readings from an anthology of deeply meaningful texts titled Preface to Philosophy: Book of Readings. It was like "doing science" without equipment, except with our minds and life experiences. It awakened a fire in my mind that lives to this day. My destiny as a "philosopher at large" started unfolding.

I began college assuming I would get a degree in a science such as biology or physics. But it did not go that way. Instead, I graduated with a couple of degrees in philosophy.

It was sad moment, as an undergraduate intending to stay in biology, when I realized it was not my field. I visited the office of the Dean for the school.  He suggested majoring in a field that I found enjoyable and easy. I said it would be philosophy. He said,  "We need more philosophers than doctors and research scientists". He explained that we are creating difficult ethical problems as science and medical technology advances. So, I gladly transferred to philosophy.  A truly appropriate decision. It has lead to a life with many amazing adventures. 

Friday, February 06, 2015

Something Is Calling

Something is calling
I know not what it is
Say it is my soul