223 – The Riddle of Life …

The riddle of Life is that we are Life, and yet seem unable to know what Life is.

Life is our true possession, the gift some of us are given to experience, to feel, to love, to seek happiness, to try to understand what is it that looks back at us when we see ourselves in a mirror; what is it behind our eyes that stops expressing, searching, being     the moment we die; what is it within us that makes us want, wonder, live.

It is about impossible for us to comprehend how trillions of cells can come together to generate the energy that gives the power to be a sentient being, and yet this is what they do. How do they do it? What makes them do it?

Life, at its most fundamental level, is a form of energy that creates the structural configurations of organic systems when encountering the promise of continuity. Life is a continuum; the unfolding of a primordial process that re-assembles with the knowledge of thousand generations into living forms, regulating and renewing their development, and endowing them with a degree of freedom to transform themselves and their world.

The riddle of Life is that, although we are beginning to understand the pre-determined processes that give us Life, it is still beyond us to know how, when, why, those same processes come together to give us the capacity to look at ourselves    and wonder.

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222 – How can a mind … ?

How can a mind that has evolved to such a degree as to be able not only to conceptualize the Universe, but to be awed by its splendor, its ingenuity, its order, its monumental power;     a mind that upon acquiring the knowledge of its insignificance in the scheme of the Universe, and its significance in the scheme of the atomic world, has grown intent on understanding the meaning, and the wonder, of being a central ground where both, significance and insignificance, fuse into One;     a mind that growing so ingenious as to devise smaller and smaller machines, and instruct them to carry sequences of logical operations to connect not only with hundreds of millions of other machines, but with the minds of their users;     a mind that, upon seeing photos of Earth taken from space, could not but be awed by the spectacle of the incredibly beautiful sphere – its home in the Universe – from which it comes alive with the power to discern patterns of complexity, order, beauty, meaning, and begin to understand what its Destiny is.

How can that same mind, in a few individuals holding power and wealth, come to be so tortured, so unhappy, that it believes the path to forging ahead is that of self-destruction?

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221 – It is hard to look out the window …

It is hard to look out the window, and see hummingbirds, begonias, bees, ferns, us, all in danger of disappearing

because of what we do.

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220 – The Power of the Human Mind (Part II) …

On post 218, I wrote about the power of the human mind to lead us astray into behaviors like intolerance, hate, contempt; while the mind also has the power to lead us into altruism, love, creativity, happiness. Both inclinations – one that makes us captive to the whims of others, the other that sets us free – are latent in us.

Unfortunately, although hate, intolerance, contempt, are not inherent in us, they are incited in our most vulnerable and impressionable years to oftentimes become dominant aspects of our personality; and Happiness, which is inherent in us, has come to be measured by the possessions and accomplishments of others.

But true happiness is not found outside of us. It is not found in the accumulation of material possessions, nor in seeking control over others by emulating the same behaviors that led us astray. These behaviors may give us a temporary thrill, but they are not true happiness.

Happiness is a subjective yet physical emotion; subjective in the sense that it is in the mind of the beholder, and physical because it affects and is affected by the body. Happiness is universally based on a sense of security, of acceptance, of having the freedom to pursue what we believe makes us happy; Happiness is, at the most physical/organic level, driven by a craving for Pleasure – the engine of Evolution – the innate need, even if it is for an instant of time, to experience something intensely gratifying yet rife with mystery; something so ephemeral that, try as we might to hold on to it, vanishes, irretrievably, leaving us bewildered and wanting. And thus Happiness is unique to each one of us because it depends on culture, belief, upbringing, age, imagination, feelings.

True happiness, if it is to be found, it is found not outside of us, but within.


I grew up in the midst of oppression, hate, cruelty, deceit, rape. All I knew was the loneliness of paralyzing fear. But somehow, in the wisdom of books and of two loving souls, I found the force to see that, if I was to find true happiness, it would not be by doing to others what was done to me.

It would be by looking for a setting where there was love, understanding, security, adventure, encouragement, and a bit of fun and enough space and peace to allow my mind to wonder about the things I love and want to understand;

It would be by knowing, intimately, the roar, the touch, the feel, the vision, the tenacity, of the creative force we call Life that, coming alive in me, knew how to organize and give shape to my body, and infuse it with a mind;

it would be by knowing, seeing, feeling, touching, the progression of the force of Life inside of me that, over eons of time, trial upon trial, generation to generation, wisely learned to take over the gestation of my body until my mind, slowly, woke up eager to be set free.

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219 – A Magnificent Order …

Although capable, the human mind has not been trained to see the most beautiful aspect of its existence, the Universal Order of which it is a manifestation – how, for instance, trillions of cells of different types and properties, bond together to generate a mind that not only can wonder about the wonder of itself, but about the world from which it comes into existence.

This magnificent Order is evident in instances like:

  • – the Periodic Table, which shows the frugal order of the chemical composition of our Universe (118 elements have been discovered or synthesized so far; 94 occur naturally and the rest are synthesized in laboratories or nuclear reactors).
  • – the hydrogen atom, the most abundant element, which encompasses the Universe from one end to the other with one electron and a proton in its nucleus.
  • – the incontestable progression toward complexity and order of a universal evolutionary process.
  • – the organization of most of the ~2 trillion galaxies that make up our Universe with a preference for spiral and globular shapes.
  • – the bonding of 30-37 trillion cells in a mature human body, which, notwithstanding their many types and specialties nor the changes in internal and external environments, carry the same information as in any other human being for building and maintaining an organism.
  • – E=mc2 “Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared (the speed of Light is 186,000 m/s or 300,000 km/s), which in Einstein’s own words – the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content” – embodies the fundamental core of existence: Order cannot arise without Equilibrium, nor Equilibrium without Self-reflection, nor Self-reflection without Order.

As a mathematical equivalence, e=mc2 is difficult to conceptualize by the non-scientific mind, but we can try by visualizing the proportions of the atomic world. And in the 1990 movie “Mindwalk” I found a great example to do just that:

Let’s imagine blowing up an orange to the size of the Earth – in an orange the size of the entire planet, an atom is the size of a little cherry you can hold in the palm of your hand; that’s how small atoms are. Therefore, when we bring the orange back to its normal size atoms are invisible to us, and we need powerful microscopes to see them. With our naked eyes we only see the patterns and structures they create (the seeds, the skin, the sections full of citrus, etc.).

Now let’s imagine blowing up a hydrogen atom to the size of the Pentagon building in Washington – in an atom the size of the entire building, the nucleus (the proton) is a tiny pebble in the center, the electron is a grain of sand orbiting the pebble in the outer edges of the building. These two components comprise the entire mass content of the atom (the building in our example), the rest is energy. And to calculate the energy content, we take the total mass content of the pebble and the grain of sand and multiply it by the speed of Light, squared. It is now easy to see that, regardless of the true size of an atom, their energy, especially when myriads are bonded together, is monumental. And whether it is a hydrogen atom with one electron or a gold atom with 79, the equal sign in e=mc2 mandates that, for them to be viable, each of its contents must remain an equivalent measure of to the other.

Although these examples are simplistic, they provide us with a glimpse at two important aspects of e=mc2 1 – the power contained within an atom is monumental; as incredibly small as they are, when bonded together they can be as destructive as an atomic bomb or as creative as an iPhone. And 2 – to be viable through internal and external changes, atoms must measure their contents and keep them in relative equilibrium, and this is not possible without a degree of self-reflection.


Take a deep breath – as you inhale you are taking air from the environment – your body, along with the foods you consume, distributes the oxygen to every cell, generating the power that allows you to work, move around, think – as you exhale you are breathing out carbon dioxide which is a source of energy for other organisms. You are a symbiont: by absorbing, synthesizing, and releasing energy sources, you create a presence in the world with the capacity to mold and be molded by environments.

This process is mostly instinctive; your body innately knows how to balance the intake and release of energy sources to give you power. But after a day’s work, energy is spent – you are tired, you are hungry, you must recharge – you eat, rest, sleep. This is instinctive self-reflection – the essence of the equal sign in e=mc2, you cannot exist without it.

At the most basic level, we are made out of atoms. Therefore, it follows that the power of 30-37 trillion cells bonded together into what we are is monumental. Alexander, Hitler, became consciously aware of this power and concentrated it into moving multitudes; Einstein, Darwin, into having a glimpse at the Universal Order; Pythagoras, Rilke, Rumi, into understanding our deep connection with It.

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218 – The Power of the Human Mind (Part I) …

It is uncanny to witness the power of the human mind to lead us astray into behaviors dominated by anxiety, irrationality, destruction, greed, fear, intolerance, abuse, hate, deceit, cruelty, addiction, violence, perversity, contempt for life.

Except for fear and greed, which are innate survival traits, the behaviors listed above are abnormal manifestations of human nature because nobody – absolutely nobody is born with them. These behaviors are learned, instigated, carved into us, especially during our impressionable formative years and oftentimes without intent, in such a way that they come to dominate not only our personality but our humanity. Once subjugated, we are robbed of our capacity to act of our own free will and become instead the perpetrators of someone else’s will – we lose ourselves under the illusion that we are acting of our own volition when instead we are beguiled by the prejudices, insecurities, beliefs, fears, hates, of others.

Punishment will not change these behaviors in us. It is a copout to think that imprisonment, torture, humiliation, degradation, can change behaviors deeply rooted in our humanity and that have already annihilated our benevolence and rationality. Instead, punishment exacerbates and makes them stronger.

In the short term, either by deceit or true intent, we may give the appearance to be changing under punishment, but the insidiousness of these behaviors requires an almost inhuman effort to prevail, especially, as is usually the case, when the individual is under environmental, societal, family, or economic stress. This is the main reason why recidivism is so prevalent in the incarcerated, the addict, the oppressor.

The only way abnormal behaviors can be changed is by acknowledging their roots – by accepting the fact that they are the result of ancient cultural imprinting.

When people commit crimes out of hate, for instance, they are innocent in the sense that when they were born there was not a hint of hate in them – hate was instilled later in life during their upbringing, institutionalized as it is by cultural paradigms that are soaked in dogma and incite division, intolerance, and an abhorrent contempt for Life. These behaviors will not change unless we look, not at the individual, but as our paradigms as their source.

Do remember this when judging others, because we, the privileged ones, to some degree or another perpetuate these paradigms.

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217 – Entanglement …

“Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when the particles are separated by a large distance.” Wikipedia.


Doing my daily breathing exercises – deep inhaling and exhaling – makes me keenly conscious not only of how instinctive my breathing process is but how dependent my life is on it. My body, as it has been doing from the moment I took my first breath, takes in oxygen from the environment and, combining it with the foods I consume, convert it into the physical energy that empowers me as a cohesive being, to move around, to do things, to develop relationships, to think thoughts, to create a mind that not only lets me reflect upon myself and the world around me, but upon the world beyond the reach of my organic limitations.

The only way this process is realized is through the intimate interconnectedness – Entanglement – of every single component in my body; a level of connectivity so immediate and so thorough that to take a step in a specific direction, the particles in my brain know, instantly, how and when the particles in my feet will act – this is the only way I can go places, this is the only way I can be me, this is the physical force of Entanglement that gives the determined progression to my presence in the world.

The more I study the beauty and insight of theories like Entanglement which seek to understand the nature of our Universe, the more certain I am in my assertion that they not only explain the nature of atomic particles, but are also good enough to explain the nature of being human.

To illustrate this claim, let me apply the tenets of the above Wikipedia definition of Entanglement, not to pairs or groups of particles, but to us.

Entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of human beings are engendered (with species-specific DNA), interact (with conscious awareness of ourselves and others), or share spatial proximity (with the same need for oxygen and the chemical balance of  the Earth to be alive) in ways such that the state of each human being cannot be described independently of the state of another, even when we are separated by a large distance, i.e. one human being in the Sahara and the other in Antarctica.

Entanglement has been scientifically proved to be an incredibly ingenious assembling Force, possibly as primal as the Universe itself, and decisively not random since it is obvious that it progresses toward complexity and order – it conceivably began to manifest it power of self-organization with the early atomic particles as they began to assemble into increasingly complex systems.

And even though Entanglement has been proven to be a primal Force that, without regards to where on Earth each of us is    nor what the color of our skin is, connects us all with the shared characteristics of humankind; and even though Entanglement is proven to be a creative and organizing Force that assembles every single atom, every single cell, every single organ in our bodies into the magic of conscious self-awareness, it then makes me wonder why it is not a critical subject, not just in the Physics classroom but in those of elementary studies?

The knowledge that opens our perception to our intimate connection with the world, catapults us into higher levels of Humanity.

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216 – The greatest challenge …

“Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.   For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

Excerpt from Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”


Life is a constant struggle between shifting opposites

Acceptance Intolerance
Boldness Timidity
Openness Reticence
Equality Segregation
Despair Hope
Failure Success
Strength Feebleness
Greed Generosity
Obedience Rebelliousness
Truthfulness Deceit
Hate Love
Health Illness
Justice Corruption
Leader Follower
Wealth Poverty
Security Uncertainty
Virtue Vice
Wisdom Folly
Free will Determinism, etc., etc.

Some of us are open to the new and challenging, some of us prefer the norm and the safety of routines. But the essence of survival is to find a balance, an equilibrium between opposing sides, seeking, as much as possible, to remain somewhere in the middle without compromising our integrity.

The most dramatic set of opposites is, to me, to be or not to be. They are the existential challenge we, as no other creature we know of, face when gifted with strength, health, opportunity, and must decide whether to be what we want to be, or what others want us to be.

During our upbringing, and generally under the name of Love, most of us are forced to fall into step with established norms of behavior – conformity with educational curriculums that perpetuate consumption and corruption, obedience to authority, unwavering respect for our parents. A vision for our future under these norms, especially in formative years, hangs on the support of family, society, educational and beliefs systems, and is therefore greatly dependent on the dictates of others. To break away from these dictates is almost impossible, and therefore our innate capacity to hear the internal call of our destiny is largely overpowered. It is thus most of us end up pursuing the dictates, beliefs, expectations of others.

Life is the most amazing gift we are given. But we never asked for it. And because in human civilizations, shelter, food, education, are provided especially in our early years, a right to demand obedience, respect and a sense of entitlement easily surface when we dare question the decisions made for us. We become property; there are expectations to be fulfilled and consequences if they are not; we are owned. So Life becomes a struggle to be free, a struggle to find what we are, a struggle to take control of our own destiny.

This is at the bottom of Humanity’s predicament: to be what we want to be, or be what others expect of us.

And so the questions is    How to be what we truly are    when the realization that we have lost ourselves arrives at a time when we have built or are building a life based on the expectations of others?

How do we break away from something like that?

A first step is to accept the reality that, although it might have been done unwittingly or with the best of intentions, what was done to us by those we had no other choice but to trust, was a terrible wrong: they annihilated our dreams, as theirs were.

A second step and the most important     is to know that, as insignificant as we may appear to be in universal orders, we are a commanding PRESENCE in the world; a PRESENCE that cannot only navigate with determination and foresight the assailing labyrinths between shifting and oftentimes conflicting opposites, but a PRESENCE we can direct to take us where we were born to be.

This is the greatest challenge. This is your Life. This is YOUR PRESENCE in the world. Take it back.

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215 – We don’t have a Vision for Humankind …

Businesses, Governments, Religious organizations, Education Systems, Individuals, all tend to have a Vision, a goal – what needs to be achieved, what we want to be, where we want to go. A Vision is a Promise for the Future for the company, the country, the church, the university, the individual. But amazingly enough, there is not a Promise for the Future of humankind.

The Future projected in Movies, Media, Science Fiction, Religion, is oftentimes a portend of horrible cruelty, darkness, deceit, violence, implausibility – always, for some reason or another, a Future in which we are at war with one another.

A worldwide focus on Division – we versus the other – is not only separating us but incapacitating thoughtful discussion about a Vision for humankind other than profits, power, control; about a Vision that unites us all in our individuality and our diversity. The closer we came to achieve something of that ilk was with the concept of the United Nations, but that dream got buried under politics and the reassessment of supremacism and authority by the stronger nations. It is now but a vestige of what we dreamt it to be.

We do not consider Diversity a source of ideas to achieve the equilibrium between ourselves and Nature so desperately needed in this time of unprecedented environmental crisis. Diversity is instead seen as a threat to our norms, beliefs, ways of life.

Diversity is a part of Life. It is the driving force behind the creativity of Nature. We all have a mind, yet each mind is different    with its own dreams and aspirations.

I believe, sadly, that in a world dominated by Division and Intolerance, what we need to unite us as a race is either a species-changing discovery – for instance, finding an advanced civilization on another planet – or the threat of forthcoming danger – a meteorite on its inexorable way to hit the planet, a supervirus, the decimation of millions in industrialized nations by climate change.

A consensus of the Future based on our perception of global events is that advanced civilizations are doomed by socio-economic disruptions, the conquest by another power, the consumption and growth that overwhelms the environment that supports them. The examples of the Roman Empire and Easter Island reinforce this claim; they are unequivocal models for the kind of shortsightedness afflicting our civilization today.

Leading us to this shortsightedness is the deceptive idea that in order to save ourselves we need to ‘save the planet’. Earth doesn’t need to be saved; the planet, as it has done innumerable times in its past, will restore equilibrium, albeit of a different order, once the damage we have inflicted is repaired. It is we, the human species, not the Earth, who need to be saved.

The essence of our Diversity is that Life will always be an unequal struggle for survival – there will always be the adventurer and the demure, the go-getter and the straggler, the activist and the inactivist. But when we see the incredible odds of the journey that has taken us out of Africa and into our current state of affairs, it is impossible not to see our determined and creative progression toward complexity. Each one of us is a player in the continuation of this progression. Each one of us holds the potential to start a transformation. Have we not evolved – step by step, human by human – from simian-like creatures into the awareness of our own power to transform ourselves and our world?

Instigating Division and Conflict, the power of a few individuals led humanity into a world of constant conflict, terror, destruction, intolerance. But we are changing; we now know not only that what we have created is destroying us, but that the ever-expanding level of our interconnectedness is making us keenly aware of the power of organized demand for change. But as with any demand for change, we must have a Vision.

Perhaps the reverse of the Vision we created through Division. A Vision where acceptance of our Diversity impels us into a world of tolerance, peace, love, knowledge; a Vision of the ascendant power of the human mind to understand itself and the Universe from which it draws Life.

“That which is in opposite is in concert, and from things that differ comes the most beautiful harmony” Heraclitus

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214 – Imagine if you will …

In my previous post I said that we have nothing to compare the vastness nor the majesty of our Universe, but I realize now that it is not true. The perception of attributes like ‘vast’ and ‘majestic’ is relative to the dimension from which it is perceived.

Dimensions are spheres of reality. For example, a human being is a vast universe if perceived from the dimension of an RNA molecule, and an RNA molecule is a microscopic particle if perceived from the dimension of a human being; the Universe is vast if perceived from the dimension of a human being, and a human being is a microscopic particle if perceived from the universal dimension.

To have an idea of the relativity of Perception, let’s imagine if you will, how a human being would be perceived from the dimension of one of our RNA molecules. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s agree on arming our molecule – at par with a highly intelligent and technologically advanced human being – not only with the advanced communications skills the molecule already possesses, but with the capacity to reflect upon itself and the world in which it exists.

How that world came into being; why does it seem to be without an end; why does it, like a living organism, progresses self-determinedly toward complexity and order? These are questions beyond comprehension for the molecule, and so in an effort to make some sense of them, it makes conjectures based on its limited knowledge. An explosion? Infinite expansion?  Chance?

But as indefinite as these questions might be, there is an undeniable connection, an uncanny relationship between the vast world beyond the immediate environment in which the molecule is embedded and the inner world from which it is composed; a connection that brings the vast and the immediate worlds together into a synthesis: A creature that must abide by rules that ensure its survival yet is endowed with the power to overcome them; a creature that is a catalyst for transformation.

Now, let’s read the last paragraph once more, but replacing the molecule with ourselves:   there is an undeniable connection, an uncanny relationship between the vast world beyond the immediate environment in which we are embedded and the inner world from which we are composed; a connection that brings the vast and the immediate worlds together into a synthesis: A creature that must abide by rules that ensure its survival yet is endowed with the power to overcome them; a creature that is a catalyst for transformation.

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