Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

193– The Human Mind …

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

I wrote this essay some years ago for a course I was taking on creative writing. I have revised it, but the essence of the original remains intact.

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Neurons are the electrically excitable cells that receive, process, and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals, forming a web of communications with other neurons and generating the human mind.

The phenomenon of my mind, with its capacity to let me move beyond boundaries and wander in the realms of the imagination, is the most awesome quality any creature can possess. The untapped powers waiting to be discovered in the incredible amount of information stored in the relatively small space within my skull, besides being the fountain of the imagination, is one of the most fantastic riddles of this Universe in which I exist.

The creation of my mind began the instant a sperm and an ovum bonded into a sentient being inside my mother’s womb. From that very moment, a set of instructions that have been evolving and specializing through eons of time was set in motion. Cells multiplied in mysterious and beautiful patterns that led to the creation of the different components of my body and the magic of my mind. Every single movement was constrained by primal mandates within the magnificent order of Nature, yet there was a suppleness that allowed for creativity and for the accession of a mind aware of its own awareness: Life looking at itself.

Trying to discover the riddle of my mind has taken me into the exploration of insightful scientific theories and the wisdom of philosophic thinkers throughout the ages, and so I have come to understand that my level of comprehension is grounded upon ancestry that goes way beyond the plains of Africa.

Mind is the physical energy infusing every single component in my body with a universal mandate to become, self-organize, bond, self-generate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform; while at the same time, every single component participates in the regulation and transformation of my mind by receiving, processing, and transmitting with a relative degree of freedom the energy they absorb from the environment. This symbiotic yet supple relationship is what allows me to function as a dynamic, cohesive and relatively self-governing organism; it is what bounds me to physical laws that pre-determine my development, yet oftentimes allows me to challenge them, and, sometimes, overcome them.

There is a universal mind whose energy binds us with the mandate to self-generate and survive while endowing each and all of us with a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our environments. This is the primal energy driving the creative progression of the universal evolutionary process into the levels of complexity and order we see today. How else could a Universe evolve from a microscopic singularity into a colossal organization of billions and billions of galaxies, each utterly unique, yet each bound to develop into mere three shapes: spiral, globular, and lenticular? How else can a Universe infuse billions and billions of minuscule living creatures within our bodies with the energy to generate a mind that can not only become aware of itself, but also of the magnificence of the Universe in which it exists?

Both, the Universe and I, began as a small point in space and time. Once engendered, our development was set in motion by generating and self-organizing into cohesive yet supple structures. The natural laws of the environments in which we were embedded regulated the early development of our bodies, but slowly, very slowly, we began to experience a relative degree of freedom to manipulate and give direction to our development. And then, the powerful energy of a creative mind began to emerge, giving us the power to progress toward the levels of order and complexity that culminate in conscious self-reflection.

Therefore, I have evolved to be able to look at the skies and inquire, and question, and imagine, trying to understand the energy that binds me to a universal mandate yet endows me with a mind without boundaries to wonder.

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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 developed a mind able to advance into greater and greater understanding of ourselves and our relationship with the world that gives us Life.

So how bad the betrayal of the human mind has been that we have come to think that it is our right to destroy that world.

Yet this is the way those making the decisions for us have come to think – so far away from Wisdom – that forcing populations to consume without moderation; inciting division and hate, pushing essential knowledge about our dependency on Nature to the bottom rungs of Education, is best for an economic doctrine based on unsustainable consumption and growth, and for their pockets.

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 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 the perception that Nature is a resource to be exploited, where irrationality is encouraged and respected, and where unsustainable and un-natural growth is the measure of progress.

It is baffling to see that the Physical Sciences, 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 organic system.

Very early 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 and binds our lives; the Beauty of ancient forces that instinctively drive us to move onward, striving to leave our mark in the world.

Under our current Paradigm we are told that we are too insignificant in the 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! … it is in this ‘central point’ where we find ourselves, that we somehow know how to bring together, meaningfully, the infinitely small in our bodies into an intricate organization that tries 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 upon us is crystal clear to me. Devised hundreds of years ago when the population of our species was not affecting the environment the way we are affecting it now, our Paradigm has turned us into a devastating species.

Denied to us by the lies we are constantly fed to support this devastation, there is a magnificent Order we don’t know much about yet glimpse at times when we hold the miracle of a new born life in our arms; or witness the movement of creation, dissipation, and re-creation within us and all around us; or are touched by the implacable fury or delicate tenderness of Nature; or are filled with inexpressible wonder in a moment of ecstasy; or delve into the realm of Wisdom and sense the universal aligning within us.

Revised November 2018

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

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

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

This is the reason why, even though our emotions have the capacity to shape the way we live, 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 into which we come into existence, without writing about the emotions that give our lives character and a medium to sense and affect our world.

The consequences of ignorance about the significance, power, and easy susceptibility of our emotions, are obvious in a world mostly ruled by the manipulation of the populace through fear and ignorance.  The promoters of the doctrines of unlimited growth and insatiable consumerism perpetuate them by manipulating Education into endorsing a reckless, divisive and destructive sense of entitlement. This persistent indoctrination devalues human life and warps our emotions into accepting as inevitable the horrors of intolerance, poverty, war, and genocide.

Love is the most fragile, binding and beautiful of human emotions. It manifests instinctively at birth, while the other emotions are manifested, or not, under the influence of developmental circumstances. Love is organic – it comes from our senses through touching, seeing, kissing, feeling, being accepted – yet love is ephemeral, it can appear as suddenly as it can vanish, moving us and turning us around with excruciating pain or immeasurable joy. At the evolutionary level, love is the primordial force that fuels the perpetuation of the species, but at the individual level love is the fragile emotion that can define how we grow and relate to our world, and when inhibited or corrupted it can be easily turned into fear, anger, hate.

If scientists would dare to come down from the ‘ivory towers’ of their laboratories and atom smashers and look at our plight, they would see a world where the lack of knowledge about our own emotions is taking us into increasing levels of cruelty and poverty. Their efforts to try to isolate our Universe’s minutest components are commendable, but not when billions of human beings outside their towers are sinking deeper and deeper into intolerance and despair under the dominance of fear and hate.

The scientific theories they already possess reveal an extraordinary and progressive Order operating in our Universe: The Order that sustains the equilibrium between the pull-push forces of our solar system, so planets and moons can position into relatively stable orbits. 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 create a self-sufficient and self-reflective human being. The Order that allows organisms to grow and reproduce, responding to environments and learning to adapt. The Order that keeps alive the binding power of love, so Life can be self-generated and self-perpetuated and progressively evolve into higher levels of complexity. 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 most powerful tools we possess to help us overcome the dominance of Doctrines that promote ignorance, fear, and hate.

If only scientists would dare to study the human emotions with the same tenacity and excitement they study theories like Quantum or Relativity, perhaps we will come to understand the significance of being a highly evolved, self-conscious participant in the progressive order of Nature. Would they dare? Their survival is on the line too!

Revised September 2018

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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 physical processes of growing up. But my Mind, That I wanted to be completely mine; free of the set ideas of others; free to explore the world beyond the 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 the ideas of a handful of brilliant and courageous men, and somehow twisted them  to fabricate a Paradigm based on conflict, division, control: 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 hundreds of books. And through them I got introduced to ideas I was not supposed to contemplate; ideas that challenge the premises of our dreadful Paradigm; like Aristotle’s ideas that nothing is isolated and complete in itself and that everything is involved in a Process we have the capacity to comprehend; or Carl G. Jung’s idea that our Unconscious often knows more than our Conscious, thus compelling us to consider the primal knowledge of 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 dissolved back into it; or the postulates of Quantum Field Theory that demonstrate that every Body … every physical system in Nature … modifies or is modified by the space which surrounds it with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation.*

And so, I’ve come to see a side of Nature that the dominant Paradigm does not want us to see: The creative, progressive, 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 with a degree of freedom 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).

Revised August 2018

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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 relative degree of freedom to adapt and change, out of the same Primordial Substance into which we ultimately return.
  • What are we? We are highly complex congregations of myriad living components temporarily fused together into the phenomenon we call Self.
  • Where are we going? Our body … the physical congregation of components … ultimately dissipates back into the Primordial Substance (environment!) from which it came into existence. But the Self (the Soul, the Mind, the Operator, the Creator, the Architect, the Force that gives us the capacity to direct not only our lives but oftentimes the lives of others) may continue to be part of the evolution of the Source, yet measured by the significance of what we accomplished with our lives. i.e. the significance of Darwin’s and Einstein’s contribution to human knowledge, are manifest forces that continue to shape our evolution. This is Self-transcendence, the reaching out beyond the boundaries of one’s own existence. *

The need to transcend, to continue to be a part of Life, is innate in us. We are impregnated in varying degrees with an urge to leave a mark in the world – a monumental action or idea, our progeny – that may live beyond our existence. This need is what gives us the power to transform our world.

We are like a stream of water through which Life flows and expands. And like the flow of a stream, we are made out of ever-changing forms … eddies, curlicues … that ebb and unfold 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 knowledge of our transcendental power threatens established religious and socio-economic dogmas, and it is inhibited through the indoctrination and re-enforcement of absurdities like:

  1. We may transcend into a bizarre afterlife, if we unquestioningly follow a male-dominated worldview.
  2. We may be granted freedom and happiness, if we blindly abide by an economic doctrine based on unsustainable growth and unbounded consumerism.

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

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 and that they care only about their wealth and the hegemony of their destructive doctrines?

What is it going to take for us to overcome the dominance of a paradigm that sees human beings as disposable and gullible commodities, so we can create instead a paradigm that sees 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?

*Erich Jantsch

Revised July 2018

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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.

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