Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

178 –A Touch of Wonder …

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

One day, reading in the living room I hear a thump in the enclosed patio. I run out afraid a bird has hit a window. I am right. A little hummingbird lays unconscious on the cement floor just outside the patio.

I carefully pick it up, weightless and limp but alive; it is breathing. I hold it in the palm of my hand for what seems a long time. Then, abruptly, it opens its eyes … did not move … just lay there, catching its breath.

It fluffs its feathers as if shaking off whatever knocked it down, and straightens up. I can feel its tiny feet as it stands on my hand, looking around, checking things out.

And then … and then … the wonder:

The little hummingbird flies up like a tiny helicopter to the level of my face, and hovers there, staring straight into my eyes, looking at me with those tiny black beads, one first, then the other, as if wanting to remember.

I cannot help but smile; I am making eye contact with a tiny miracle.

Then it takes off, like a little jet plane, out of sight in seconds, leaving me awestruck.

I take a deep breath realizing I hadn’t been breathing. This little miracle took my breath away, making me feel the joy of being alive with the intensity of a moment I will never forget.

Moments like this compensate, and make me forget … not erase … the moments – especially those that hurt others –  I created with my stupidity and my mistakes when I was trying to survive; learning that Life is not always wonderful, but that it is constantly offering me its wonders.

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142 – Destructive/Creative Nature …

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Destruction in Nature, although in some cases cyclical and in others pre-determined by evolutionary forces … collisions, tornadoes, epidemics, consumption … is chaotic and volatile in its passage towards some form of Creation.

Creation, on the other hand, is supple yet progressive in its ascending patterns. This is evident in the steady self-generation and self-organization of Nature’s evolutionary process towards higher and higher levels of complexity and order.

Destruction and Creation are the balancing forces of Nature’s evolutionary process. Creation cannot exist without some form of Destruction, nor Destruction without some form of Creation.

Everything in Nature … every physical system, every atom, every cell, every human being, every solar system … self-balances through a continuous process of Destruction and Creation of energy sources (consumption, conversion, dissipation). This ongoing process makes the system completely dependent on availability of resources; a dependency that induces creativity as the system strives to adapt and survive in changing environments.

Whatever we call our species … Humankind, Humanity, Homo Sapiens … we are, as a whole, a physical system subject to the laws of Nature. We are a congregation of billions of human beings; each striving to find a purpose, each participating with some degree of choice in the evolution of the species, each dependent on a balanced consumption and dissipation of energy sources in order to survive. And as such we have been proven to be highly creative, but also horribly destructive. We have broken the natural equilibrium of the earth’s environment with our exponential growth.

Evolution has taken us, as far as we can tell, to become the most highly self-reflective species on earth. But blinded by the destructive ideology of “Unlimited Growth” in a limited environment and by the conflict-ridden dogmas of organized religion, we have not been able to attain a creative Vision for the future of our species. It is thus we are ignoring, almost completely, the threat of our rampant growth to the equilibrium of the environment in which we totally depend.

We are lost without a Vision.

What a tragedy this is! With the Dawn of Conscious Self-reflection in us … the only ones we know of … we are lost under the stubbornness and blind aggression of male dominated ideologies that are forcing, not only the power of our creativity into perpetuating a cycle of horrible destruction, but the power of Nature itself into bringing the equilibrium we have not been able to attain.

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57 – On Wisdom …

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Wisdom is our most exalted quality. It is the primordial, creative and self-reflective Force that, throughout eons of evolution, has built in our minds the potential to advance into greater and greater understanding of ourselves and our symbiotic relationship with the world that gives us Life.

So how bad the betrayal of a Human Mind must be to come to think that to better our world we must destroy it?

Yet this is the way those making the decisions for us think … so far, so far away from Wisdom … forcing populations to consume without moderation, inciting division and hate, pushing essential knowledge about our complete dependency on Nature to the bottom rungs of Education, with the purpose of increasing their wealth and power while completely disregarding the destructive impact of their actions on the environment on which our lives depend.

Under the domination of this devastating way of thinking, our centers of Knowledge … our schools, our colleges, our universities … are bent into promoting the most destructive and unsustainable economic doctrine our world has known.

I do believe that most of our leaders arrived at their positions driven by a youthful and honest intention to do good, but they are corrupted by a dogmatic and inflexible way of thinking that re-enforces a Paradigm in which Nature is perceived as a resource to be exploited, where irrationality is absurdly respected, and where unsustainable and un-natural growth is the measure of progress.

It is baffling to see that Science, entrusted with a catalog of Theories that were they not drowned in bureaucracy and obscurity, would open the doors into a new Paradigm with which we can begin to conceptualize the Universal in us; the primordial Forces that put us together … atom by atom, cell by cell … into a highly dependent yet immensely adaptable design.

From a very early age in our lives we are driven away from Wisdom. It is thus most of us cannot see the beauty blatantly displayed in front of our eyes: The beauty of a Universal Order that defines our lives and binds us to others. The Beauty of ancient creative forces that instinctively drive us to move onward, seeking stability while striving to leave our mark in the world.

Under our current Paradigm we are told that we are too insignificant in the infinite scheme of the Universe to have Meaning. In Blaise Pascal’s words: “For after all what is man in Nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed”. And yet … and yet! … in this ‘central point’ where we find ourselves, we somehow know how to bring together the infinitely small in our bodies and meaningfully move their intricate organization … at will … to perpetuate Life and try to unravel the profound yet decipherable secret in which we are engulfed.

I am not even that clever, but the immense crisis our dominant Paradigm is bringing on us is crystal clear to me. Under our current understanding of Nature … devised hundreds of years ago when our numbers did not affect the environment the way we are affecting it now … we have turned into a devastating species.

While obliterated by the lies constantly fed to us to support this devastation, there is a magnificent Order we don’t know much about yet glimpse at momentarily when we hold the miracle of a new born life in our arms, or when we witness the movement of creation and dissipation and re-creation within us and around us, or when we are touched by the implacable fury or the delicate tenderness of Nature, or when we are filled with inexpressible wonder in a moment of ecstasy, or when we delve into the realm of Wisdom and sense the universal forces … the ancient and organized and creative movement of atoms and molecules within us … unraveling into greater understanding of ourselves and our world.

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54 – If we could only remove a thousand bars …

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The two pieces I copied below are seemingly unrelated … one, a poignant poem about the obliteration of the Spirit, the other, a historical lesson about the denial of Reality …

1 – Reiner Maria Rilke: The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly -. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

2 – Excerpts from the 1999 issue of Lester Brown’s State of the World:

“Easter Island was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by human beings. First reached by Polynesians 1,500 years ago, this small island 3,200 kilometers west of South America supported a sophisticated agricultural society by the sixteenth century. Easter Island has a semiarid climate, but it was ameliorated by a verdant forest that trapped and held water. Its 7,000 people raised crops and chickens, caught fish, and lived in small villages. The Easter Islanders’ legacy can be seen in massive 8-meter high obsidian statues that were hauled across the island using tree trunks as rollers.
“By the time European settlers reached Easter Island in the seventeenth century, these stone statues, known as ahu, were the only remnants of a once impressive civilization – one that had collapsed in just a few decades. As reconstructed by archaeologists, the demise of this society was triggered by the decimation of its limited resource base. As the Easter Island human population expanded, more and more land was cleared for crops while the remaining trees were harvested for fuel and to move the ahu into place. The lack of wood made it impossible to build fishing boats or houses, reducing an important source of protein and forcing the people to move into caves. The loss of forests also led to soil erosion, further diminishing food supplies. As pressures grew, armed conflicts broke out among villages, slavery became common, and some even resorted to cannibalism to survive.
“As an isolated territory that could not turn elsewhere for sustenance once its own resources ran out, Easter Island presents a particularly stark picture of what can happen when a human economy expands in the face of limited resources. With the final closing of the remaining frontiers and the creation of a fully interconnected global economy, the human race as a whole has reached the kind of turning point that the Easter Islanders reached in the sixteenth century…..
“…the western industrial development model that has evolved over the last two centuries has raised living standards to undreamed-of levels for one fifth of humanity. It has provided a remarkably diverse diet, unprecedented levels of material consumption and physical mobility that our ancestors could not have imagined. But the fossil-fueled based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy that developed in the West is not a viable system for the world, or even for the West over the long term, because it is destroying its environmental support systems……
“Our information-based economy is thought capable of evolving independently of the Earth’s ecosystem. The complacency reflected in this view overlooks our continued dependence on the natural world and the profound vulnerabilities this represents. It concentrates on economic indicators while largely overlooking the environmental indicators that measure the Earth’s physical deterioration….
“…we have acquired the capacity to alter the Earth’s natural systems but have refused to accept responsibility for doing so….
“What sort of world are we headed toward? H. G. Wells foreshadowed much of the twentieth century when he wrote that ‘human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.’ The sort of education that will save us from catastrophe is not just a matter of disseminating information, for the planet is now awash in information. The education needed, rather, is the sharing of wisdom. Our knowledge of the natural world has raced far ahead of our wisdom in using it. As a result, we are razing our forests, grinding down our mountains, siphoning off our rivers, paving our plains, modifying our climate, polluting our air, and tainting our blood. We are producing, in other words, a world none of us wants.”

As the Spirit of the inhabitants of Easter Island … under powerful yet destructive beliefs … was bent down into consuming their natural resources to move idols into place, our Spirit today is bent down into consuming our limited natural resources to keep in place the monolithic and unsustainable idol of Consumerism.

The mighty will of the Human Spirit … powerful enough to send men to the moon, or to build imaginative machines to understand the atomic particles, or to never tire of looking for new horizons, or to envision a Universe beyond its reach … is paralyzed by irrational beliefs that defy Reality and blind us to the Fact that we cannot exist without the same environment we are consuming.

Yet, as the high priests of political and religious dogma drive us deeper and deeper into the devastation of environmental crises, it is inevitable for the mighty will of the Human Spirit to escape from the prisons of war, and irrationality, and hate, and destruction, to begin to tap the New Frontier: the Universal in Us; the primordial and infinitely creative Order from which we … each and all of us … emerge into existence with the organic urge to re-generate and consume yet undeniably endowed with a Mind that, striving for Meaning, shapes our world with a Degree of Freedom.

If we could only remove a thousand bars …

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48 – On Love and other Human emotions the Physical Sciences deem unworthy of research…

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Because current profitability in scientific research is focused mainly on Reductionism (the claim that we can understand anything by reducing it to its smallest component elements), and because it is about impossible to reduce Emotions like Love, Hate, Fear, Anger, Sadness, Happiness to a set of component elements, there is a reticence in Science to investigate the roots of our primordial, forceful and oftentimes life-changing emotions.

This is the reason why, even though our emotions have the capacity to shape the way we live, relate and behave, their fundamental roots are mostly unknown to us. And although I am no expert in this field, I feel I cannot continue writing about the Interconnectedness, Equilibrium, Self-reflection, Tenacity, and Transformation of the physical world, without writing a bit about the emotions that give our lives character and a sense of direction and purpose.

The consequences of our Ignorance about the significance, the power, and the easy manipulation of our own emotions are obvious in a world mostly ruled by Fear and Ignorance. Religious, political and economic Doctrines have learned to perpetuate this Ignorance by programming the young human mind into unquestioning obedience through a constant fear of imagined threats, and by controlling Education into promoting a reckless, divisive and destructive sense of entitlement. This persistent indoctrination through the corporate media devalues human life and warps our emotions into accepting as inevitable the horrors of war and genocide.

Lack of relevant Education about the human emotions and their significance and implications, has induced the Threat of rampant Overpopulation: We have reached numbers that overwhelm the natural resources that give us life. Yet, with the aim to sustain their own viability, the dominant Doctrines continue to promote Instability and to suppress Education on this growing threat to our survival; this is done in the face of the obvious benefits of the exact opposite Doctrine: In countries where Stability and Education are a priority, Overpopulation is not an issue.

Why do they promote the twisted Notion that Humanity is better off in Ignorance and Hate, when Knowledge and Love might be the only path to our survival? Is it because their twisted Notion is more lucrative?

Love is the most fragile, binding and beautiful of the human emotions. It manifests instinctively at birth, while the other emotions are latent and manifested … or not … under the influence of developmental circumstances. Love is organic … it comes from our senses, from touching, and seeing, and kissing, and feeling, and being accepted … yet Love is also ephemeral … it moves us and turns us around with excruciating pain or immensurable joy. At the evolutionary level, Love is the primordial force that fuels the perpetuation of the Species, yet at the individual level Love is the fragile emotion that can define how we grow and relate to our world. But when Love is inhibited or corrupted it can be easily turned into Fear or Anger or Hate.

If scientists would dare to come out of the ‘ivory towers’ of their laboratories and Atom Smashers and look at our plight, they would see a world where a dwindling lack of Knowledge about our own emotions is taking us into increasing levels of ignorance, cruelty and poverty. Their efforts to try to isolate our Universe’s minutest particle are commendable, but not when billions of human beings outside their towers are sinking deeper and deeper into the dominance of Fear and Hate.

The Scientific Theories they already possess reveal an extraordinary and overriding Order operating in our Universe: The Order that sustains equilibrium between the pull-push forces of our solar system, so planets can circle on relatively stable orbits for eons of time. The Order that gives a Seed the information to reach down into the earth for nutrients, so it can build a breathing and self-replicating organism. The Order that gives billions of spiral galaxies their magnificent yet common shape. The Order that brings two cells together to purposely create a self-sufficient and self-reflective human being. The Order that keeps alive the binding power of Love so Life can be self-generated and self-perpetuated. The Order that allows organisms to grow and reproduce, maintaining their structures, responding to their environments, learning to adapt. The Order that puts us together … piece by piece, atom by atom, cell by cell … with the capacity to self-reflect and ultimately realize that Knowledge and Love are the only tools we possess to help us overcome the threat of rampant Overpopulation, and to reverse the dominace of Doctrines that promote Ignorance, and Fear, and Hate.

If only scientists would take this Order, and Knowledge, and Love, and make them into Theories … like Quantum or Thermodynamics … to study, and understand, and develop! Would they dare? Their survival is on the line too!

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45 – We are creating our Future with the wrong Paradigm …

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

When I was a young boy, I somehow managed to rebel against everything that wanted to control me. My Body, I had no choice; it was owned by my parents and by the trials of growing up. But my Mind, That I wanted to be completely mine; free of the set ideas of others; free to explore Knowledge beyond the immense limitations of my organic senses; free of the dominance of the distorted core ideas under which we have come to understand Reality.

The Western mind has selected, and somehow twisted, the ideas of a handful of brilliant and courageous men to fabricate a dominating and devastating Paradigm: Jesus’ message of Love has been turned into Divisiveness and Hate; Descartes’ “Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am)” into a tool to ‘separate’ what is indivisible; Bacon’s “Knowledge is Power” into Control over Nature to remake the world as we desire; Newton’s measurability of Natural Laws … gravitation, motion, conservation of energy … into a vision of a meaningless and machine-like Universe, Darwin’s survival of the fittest into the greediness of Might Makes Right.

Yet there is Order, and Creativity, and Empathy, and astonishing Beauty struggling to surface everywhere amidst the devastating power of our Paradigm.

Wanting to find a more realistic view of our world I read and read. Hundreds of books. And I got introduced to ideas I was not supposed to contemplate; ideas that challenge the status quo of our dreadful Paradigm; ideas like Aristotle’s Nothing is isolated and complete in itself and Everything is involved in a Process we have the capacity to comprehend; or Carl G. Jung’s premise that our Unconscious often knows more than our Conscious, thus compelling us to assume that there is priori knowledge in the Unconscious; or David Bohm’s idea of an Implicate Order in which each element is to be understood not as something independent and permanent, but rather as a product formed in the flowing movement of Nature and ultimately dissolving back into it; or the postulates of Quantum Field Theory that demonstrate that every Body … every physical system … modifies or is modified by the structure of the space which surrounds it with a relative degree of freedom.*

And so I’ve come to see a side of Nature that the dominant doctrines do not permit us to see: The creative and beautiful yet oftentimes cruel side of Nature that KNOWS how to put our bodies together … atom by atom, cell by cell … and then release us into the flowing movement of Life to build our own roads; roads that might become the highways of the future.

* Monarch Notes: The Philosophy of Aristotle

 C G Jung: Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle

 David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order

 Wikipedia (synthesis from Quantum Field Theory)

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44 – What is it going to take?

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

For thousands of years Humanity has striven to find answers to the questions immortalized by the artist Paul Gauguin in one of his most beautiful paintings:

• Where do we come from?
• What are we?
• Where are we going?

My well-researched yet tentative answers to these questions are:

Where do we come from? We emerge … more or less pre-designed yet endowed with a certain degree of freedom to effect change … out of the same Primordial Force into which we will all ultimately return.
What are we? We are highly complex congregations of myriad living forms temporarily fused together into the phenomenon of the Self.
Where are we going? Our Body … the physical compound of myriad elements gathered together to give us energy and structure … ultimately dissipates back into the environment from which it came into existence. But the Self … the Soul, the Energy, the Mind, the Thinker, the Creator, the Architect, the powerful Force that gives us the capacity to direct not only our lives but those of others … may continue into the Future transformed into another form of existence parallel in significance to the magnitude of our Feat: What we have accomplished, what we have not. Darwin’s and Einstein’s contributions to human knowledge transformed them into new and self-generating forces that continue to shape our understanding of Reality.

The Need to Transcend is innate in us. We are impregnated in varying degrees with a natural urge to leave a mark in the word – a monument, an action, new descendants, new creations, new ideas – that may live beyond our existence. This Need is what gives us the power to transform our world. This is how we can transcend into the Future.

We are like a stream of water through which Knowledge runs and expands. And like a stream, we are made out of ever-changing natures that flow and ebb into forces that can be great or small, simple or complex, violent or tender, creative or destructive … forces that have the potential to affect and transform the course of Evolution.

But the transcendental power of our actions threatens established religious and economic dogma, and is therefore obliterated through the indoctrination and re-enforcement of absurdities like:

1. If we unquestioningly believe in a bizarre worldview that claims to have the ‘mandate of a higher power’ to keep us fearful and divided, then we will be granted a reward in a fantastical afterlife where we adore a cruel and cranky old man for all ‘eternity’, or
2. If we blindly follow an economic doctrine of unsustainable growth and unbounded consumerism, then we will all be granted Freedom and Happiness, even if it is obvious that Capitalism, fueled by Greed and Selfish Individualism, is throwing more and more of us into desperation, servitude and fear.

What is it going to take for us to see the obvious evidence that Organized Religion and the glorification of Greed and Selfishness are the cause of Divisiveness, Hate, Destruction and Death?

What is it going to take for us to understand that most religious, political and economic leaders do not give a damn about our plight but care only about their wealth and the hegemony of their destructive doctrines?

What is it going to take for us to reach a level of maturity where we overcome the dominance of destructive paradigms that see human beings as disposable and gullible commodities, so we can instead advance creative paradigms that see us as decidedly under the pangs of Evolution yet clearly endowed … each one of us … with the capacity to shape the Future?

What is it going to take?

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22 – “Freedom”

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I want to share something I wrote a long, long time ago:

“Freedom”

Gypsy dark eyes and long eyelashes.  Sensual mouth and full red lips.  Straight long nose reminiscent of ancient wanderers. Mysterious and beautiful face in search of questions that have no answers. Long hands and artful fingers that touch the world and sense its wonder. Sinuous and muscular body with the feel of silk, the strength of steel, the shape of passion.

My ancestry impels me to walk with the pride of kings, and unravel with the smoothness of serpents. I am difficult to trust yet easy to love. My voice is clear but very quiet. I have learned how to sing but never knew how to cry. Silence is my dagger, but in the quiet sounds of my voice rumbles the thunder of a knowing mind.

Lovemaking is my art. I dance to my senses and surrender to my instincts. Feelings are let wild. I seduce beauty to come down as low as beauty dares to come, and still remain beautiful. I soar as high as violence has the audacity to rise, and still remain gentle. I become an animal. I touch and feel and growl and bite. My body prods with savage sounds and I climax with the ecstasy of gods. Contented and spent I am vulnerable and fragile. I surrender my soul and lose my freedom.

But only the night holds me prisoner. The rising sun sets me free again. And the ties that promised eternal love dissolve in the adventure of a new dawn. The world is mine to wander. No countries, no borders, no religions, no creeds will chain my freedom. I am promise. I am life.

I am a joyful slave to the elements. Aroused I am by the playful winds that finger through my hair with the tenderness of a thousand kisses. Enchanted I am by the tingling of cool waters rolling down my thirsty skin. Naked I love to feel the embrace of warm and sensuous lovers, the caressing of soft and quiet breezes, the hungry search of the sand within my skin. Naked I came. Naked I will vanish. Naked and challenging I stand before the Universe. One star is mine. I need to know. I am its slave.

Free to wonder I wonder. Free to dream I dream. Free to imagine I conceive. The world is my playground. My mind is my destiny. I am no more, no less, than the miracle of life. If I dare to dream, if I dare to dare, if I break the ties and set my mind free, the world will be mine.

But walking through the streets of the giant cities it is hard to breathe. It is hard to be free in the giant cities. Loneliness is all around me. Grief and sorrow and profound despair stare nakedly at my face. Hunger is abundant. Misery cruelly ignored. It is hard to be free in the giant cities. I cannot forget. What to do? What to do?

I want to hide and close my eyes. I want to run away and find paradise. But this is paradise. This is it. The only place to Be. I close my eyes. How to be free? Where are the answers? They are inside me. I am the answer. I am freedom.

Oh, body of mine. Oh, wanderer of wanderers. What an adventure! You and I together for a flicker of time: Driven by animal passions and godlike emotions, hating and loving, wavering and daring, creating astonishing fantasies, dreaming of dreams. Together we walk, you and I, for a flicker of time. You are the gypsy. You are the roamer. I am the dreamer. I am eternal. I will set us free.