Saturday, September 23, 2017

Be In Wonder

be in wonder
like a child again
embrace life

Friday, September 22, 2017

Universe Speaking

The Universe is always
speaking to us
from the scintillating stars
to the heartbeat
in our chests. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Salutation of the Dawn - Kalidasa 2500 BC

Salutation of the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:

The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.

~ Kalidasa (2500 BC Sanskrit)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Water's Way

As a child, I watched water slowly dripping from a leaky faucet. Waiting between drops, wondering how much a single drop would swell before falling into the white porcelain abyss, crashing onto the brown rust stain formed by countless past drops, finally followed by a hollow drip sound within the sink pipe's chambers. Water became a life metaphor during my senior year high school "Great Books" course which included Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching; on a hot lazy Spring afternoon I read these words from chapter 8:
That which is best is similar to water. Water profits ten thousand things and does not oppose them. It is always at rest in humble places that people dislike. Thus, it is close to Tao [the Way].
One day, I wanted to feel really rich. I decided on taking a hot bath; to soak my body and slow down the mind, finally feeling limp and relaxed all over. The water washed away my drive, my concerns, my worry, my thoughts. A gentle joyful bliss filled with simple appreciation overwhelmed me. An ocean in a bath tub. Water is so passive, so soft; it passes through the fingers. Yet, it can destroy mountains and cities. It's power is in its softness. Every dew drop mirrors the garden around it. We are like water, too; reflecting everything that is.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Technology and the meaning of life

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

-- T. S. Elliot
We uncouple technologies, such as computing and road building, from our deepest human values. The questions asked by T. S. Elliot become irrelevant as we refuse to acknowledge the human context.
Students at universities become mainly focused on "practical knowledge" that leads to high paid jobs. The values by which we guide our technological development and application become afterthoughts. We must wonder if technology now controls human life more than humans control technology.
Information technology is valued above wisdom. There is no "wisdom technology". It's easier to understand information technology then wisdom. A high school student can quickly grasp computer programming, but it takes almost an entire lifetime to mature to wisdom. People who think of themselves as wise because they have read some books are dangerous. Wisdom is lived, not mastered as procedures and facts that can be scored on an exam sheet.
Data and information are the "atomic" components of knowledge. These components don't make a lot of sense by themselves. Water is composed of molecules, which are in turn composed of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. We could say that molecules are like information and atoms (a level further down) are like data. But such an understanding does not allow us to understand the "wetness" of water. Wetness is an emergent phenomenon that is experienced by sentient human beings. When we look at a friend, we just don't see atoms and molecules, we see a friend.
Meaning is the real food of human life. Our real task is to arrange education, family, society, moral training, technology and economic arrangements in way that allows meaningful human life to unfold for as many people as possible. Clearly, we have remarkable technologies. But do we have enough meaning?

Monday, September 18, 2017

For "God" to be God

Life and death animate deep feelings... Confront this complementary pair of opposites... You can't see life without death...  If you bring God into this picture there is only Life... For "God" to be God ... God becomes an eternal standing outside/inside our world of relative time... We can be rid of words such as "God"... but not being... presence... consciousness... And, yet, what do we know? 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Bambo Flute

My bambo flute
Moving Fall's air beyond a
Place and time

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Philosophy in My Life

In my last year at the University of California at Irvine, I switched majors from biology to philosophy. Friends asked me, "What good is philosophy?" What they really meant was, "Can you make any money at it?"

I knew people with lots of money, but little meaning in their lives. They seemed to be lost in games and pastimes. They worked without questioning the purpose or value of their work. I was interested in meaning, not money, but the people around me didn't share my feeling. Most of them believed that only money was real.

In my search for meaning, I first turned to the study of logic, mathematics, and science. In my teenage years I encountered logical positivism. Logical positivism was an early 20th Century school of philosophy that claimed all the grand questions of traditional philosophy were meaningless. Questions like "What is the meaning of life?" or "Is there a God?" were meaningless, logical positivists asserted, because the answers cannot be verified. But questions like "Does the moon have an opposite side?" are meaningful because we can construct tests to prove or disprove any answer. We can build a rocket to the moon. But how can we verify the meaning of life, or the existence of God? The logical positivists saw no true/false test for these matters.

Of course, just because we can't prove or disprove God's existence doesn't mean He doesn't exist! Logical positivism lost its hold on me while I was a graduate student at San Francisco State University in 1970. I was moving toward 'meaningless' questions like: Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the purpose of life? Why is there evil in the world? Then I discovered Buddhism and other ancient spiritual traditions that addressed such questions. I was beginning to find real philosophy.

Philosophy is not a word game. It is, as Plato explained, the "love of wisdom". Few students get to study real philosophy at college. Philosophizing is an extraordinary act. It requires re-thinking issues at the most fundamental level -- right down to questions of being. One winds up asking simple-sounding, childlike questions like "What is real?"

The world is adrift, without meaning. That is why so many become victims of political ideologies and extreme religious viewpoints that offer a sense of meaning at the expense of compassion, truth, and justice.

All the really amazing jobs I've held came from my grounding in philosophy. I became a computer programmer because my boss assumed that philosophy made one logical. I got promotions to higher levels of responsibility because I saw the "big picture" in the organizations I worked for. One day I found myself the acting CEO of several small technology companies in trouble. Why? Because my philosophical perspective gave me a high tolerance for ambiguity, which allowed me to go into unknown and almost unknowable situations again and again. So yes -- philosophy can help you make money. But meaning, understanding, and wisdom are the real payoffs.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Name and Reality

Name and Reality

"What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet."
                        ~ Shakespeare

What's a name? A symbol that points to something beyond itself (as a symbol). On any single day our minds are flooded with symbolic thoughts that pull us away from direct experience. Education can be harmful to the intuitive-feeling levels of perception and understanding. Meditation helps clear away some of our thoughts, words, images, and desires. We improve our chances touching the ground of reality.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Universe Communicating

The Universe is vast -
and bigger than
we can imagine.
But love is greater.

The Universe is always 
communicating with us. 
It's our job to listen.

Related image

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Deep Reality

Human brains are somewhat fuzzy. Our bodies are not the all that strong. We walk around on two feet. Our eyes don’t see in the dark. Our bodies are not the strongest. It takes many years for us to mature enough to be able to live without our parents.

Reality seems endlessly deep. How do we get to the bottom or is it (reality).
Dictionary definition of reality: (in ethology) the world as it is experienced by a particular organism. Brooke Gladstone’s little book, The Trouble with Reality introduced me to the word “umwelt”. A word that suggests the idea that different animals living on the same patch of earth have radically different experiences of the same local environment.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Uses of philosophy

Life is complex and uncertain. Modern & post-modern life is much more complex than 2,000 to 5,000 years ago. The pace of change makes it difficult to "get a handle" to "feel the ground under our feet". Philosophy is simply the love of wisdom. And, wisdom is a deep clear sense of understanding (standing under) all that is happening and being. To philosophize is to map the all-that-is, even including what seems to transcend the world. I started doing philosophy as a young person. I'd study different philosophical schools and systems. Later, I created my own philosophy. This was my quest, my love for wisdom. Something beyond ordinary knowledge. Eventually, I got academic degrees in philosophy. That seemed impractical. But, I learned a holistic way of thinking that lead to a wonderful set of careers and life paths. Much more on this later.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Be Real

Many of us constantly try to escape from ourselves. That's impossible - and usually creates neurosis. Instead, face reality even if it is uncomfortable. Slowly the authentic Self dawns. Be real! It's worth it.  

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Knowing When to Quit

It's okay not to succeed. By acknowledging the value of failure we can open the door to true success. We can be kinder, more loving. Knowing when to quit is as important as knowing when to start. Dogged persistence is often encouraged, at the expense of community. It takes time and persistence to accomplish noble projects in life - such as raising a sane healthy child. Knowing when to quit is wise. Keep things from getting too complex. You may start a project and quickly realize that it's a waste of time. The best action may be to turn around and walk away.