Archive for April, 2012

53 – “Who has turned us around like this …?”

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

While I am on a vacation I would like to introduce you, if already not familiar with it, to the beauty and poignant relevance today as when it was written in the 1920s of Rilke’s Eighth Elegy:

With all its eyes the creature
sees the open. Our eyes alone are
as if turned back, and placed all around,
like traps, encircling its free escape.
What is outside we know only
from the animal’s face; and we even
twist the young child around and force it to look
at created things, not at the open
deep in the creature’s face. Free from death.
But death we alone can see: the free animal
always hast its demise behind it
and God before, and when it walks it walks
into eternity, like the flowing of a spring.
We never, not for a single day, have
before us the pure space into which flowers
endlessly open. Always it is world,
and never nowhere without the no: that pure,
unsurveilled element one breathes and
infinitely knows, without desiring. As a child,
one may lose oneself to it in silence, and be
shaken back. Or die and be it.
For close to death, we stop seeing death,
and stare beyond, perhaps with the vast gaze of animals.
Lovers, if the other were not there,
obstructing the view, come near to it and marvel …
As if by oversight it opens up to each
behind the other … But neither can
get past, and once again it is world.
Always turned toward the created, we see
what’s free only in its reflection,
darkened by us. Or that an animal, mute,
looks up and calmly looks through us.
This we call fate: to stand opposite
and nothing else and forever opposite.

If consciousness like ours existed in that
confident animal heading toward us
from another direction –, it would whip us round
in its wake. But for the animal,
its being is infinite, unfettered, unconcerned
with its own condition, pure as its outward gaze.
And where we see future, it sees everything,
and itself in everything, forever healed.

And yet in the watchful, warm animal is
the weight and care of a deep sadness.
For what so often overwhelms us
adheres in the animal as well, – a memory,
as if all that we seek
had been closer once, more true, its ties to us
infinitely tender. Here all is separation,
there it was breath. After the first home, the second
seems a hybrid place, wind-blown.
O bliss of the tiny creature who
remains forever in the womb that bore it:
O happiness of the gnat, who still leaps within,
even on its wedding-day: for womb is all.
And see the half-assurance of the bird,
who by birth almost knows both worlds,
as if it were a soul of the Etruscans,
freed from a dead person, and received in a new space,
but with the same reclining figure as the lid.
And how crestfallen is the womb-born creature
who has to fly. As if startled
by itself, it zigzags through the air, like a crack
through a cup. So the tracery of a bat
rends the porcelain of evening.

And we: spectators, always, everywhere,
facing all this, never the beyond.
It overfills us. We arrange it. It falls apart.
We arrange it again, and fall apart ourselves.

Who has turned us around like this, so that
whatever we do, we find ourselves in the attitude
of someone going away? Just as the person
on the last hill, which shows him his whole valley
one last time, turns, stops, lingers –,
so we live, forever taking our leave.*

The power of our Minds … to comprehend and envision the Universe from which we are created and into which we unfold … is imprisoned by a demeaning and self-destructive old paradigm: A paradigm that is inflexibly perpetuating Ignorance and inciting Separation. Yet a new paradigm based on Knowledge … where we see everything and ourselves in everything … is just outside the crumbling walls of the old paradigm.

* Translated by Galway Kinnell & Hanna Liebmann

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month.

52 – Turning Points …

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Turning Points are defining moments that may have an indelible impact in our lives and completely change us; sometimes they close doors, sometimes they open them; sometimes they just happen, sometimes we make them happen.

Some of those moments were for me:
• My mother’s emphasis on Beauty … rainbows, flowers, sunsets, a full moon … when ugliness surrounded us.
• When I first became Aware that I am a self-propelled Physical System made out of other self-propelled little Physical Systems and embedded in other self-propelled Physical Systems, and that although completely dependent for sustenance on the world around me, I still possessed a Body mostly driven by primordial instincts and a Mind free to think and imagine.
• When I realized that to delve into the Universe inside me and beyond me, it was imperative to overcome the limitations of my organic senses.
• When I left home and threw myself into the adventure that forced me to face my fears and reshape my entire worldview.
• When I was able to understand the simplicity and beauty of Einstein’s e=mc2, which taught me that as every Physical System in our Universe, I can only Exist if I am able to sustain … instinctively or self-determinedly … a constant equilibrium between the energy and mass of my body, as well as the energy I consume and the energy I release as action and motion.
• When I was able to understand the simple beauty of Bell’s Theorem, which taught me that no matter how small or far apart the elements of my body might be, they have to be intimately interconnected for Me to move and act and think cohesively and with a purpose.
• When I was able to understand the profound implications of Bohr’s Complementarity, which taught me that although I am an utterly unique individual, I also am the unfolding species we call Humanity; that I am not one or the other, but that I am both at the same time.
• When I was able to understand the scope of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty and Pascal’s Probability, which taught me that I am a Natural Process emerging into a more or less pre-determined design amidst the uncertainty of an infinite set of probabilities.
• When I was able to understand the universal scale of Prigogine’s Dissipative Structures, which taught me that as all Open Systems in Nature I am a synthesizer of energy … absorbing it in one form, releasing it in other … and thus in constant Transformation.
• When I was able to understand the amazing lesson of Maturana and Valera’s Autopoiesis, which taught me that although the elements of my body are constantly changing and being replaced, I intuitively generate and perpetuate the continuity of a Self.
• When I was able to understand the implications of the Mandelbrot Set, which taught me that the structure of my body … myriad elements working together towards Survival and Regeneration … is the result of a self-replicating evolutionary model that ensures the Continuity of Life.
• When I was able to understand the all-encompassing reach of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which taught me that as everything in Nature, I am a product of creative and self-generating processes that compel us toward Complexity.
• When I was able to understand the power of Quantum Field Theory, which taught me that I am a Physical Field in space and time, a catalyst for transformation of which … instinctively, yet oftentimes purposefully … I am the Driving Force.
• And the greatest turning point so far came when I put together all the defining moments and clearly saw the pre-set yet adaptable Pattern, the Universal Blueprint from which I, and you, and everything in our Universe emerges and merges into the flow of an incomprehensible yet undeniable Creative Process.

• Equilibrium,
• interconnectedness,
• uniqueness and universality,
• self-generation,
• self-perpetuation,
• self-organization,
• capacity to transform and be transformed by the movement of Evolution,
are common characteristics of a Universal Order manifested in every single creation of Nature.

And because this is Incontrovertible, and Simple, and Beautiful, there is no doubt in my mind that in spite of the Divisiveness of religious dogma and the Destructiveness of political ideologies, a Turning Point in Human History is inescapable as we begin to see this Beautiful Order.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the blog, scroll down to the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home Page.