Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

253 – Cusp …

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
  1. a point of transition between two different states.
  2. a pointed end where two curves meet. [1]

 

The world in which we exist appears to be not only in the cusp between the microcosm and the macrocosm

but equivalently affected by both …

We are made up of the stuff of one,

embedded in the stuff of the other,

and configured,

loosely,

by the rules of both.

 

The world in which we exist is a world of transition and integration,

a world in which we seem to be a meeting point

between the world that configures us – our bodies, our instincts, our transformations,

and the world that sets us free – our minds, our imagination, our hopes.

Two seemingly separate worlds

come into one.

 

[1] Google’s English Dictionary

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246 – What has happened to Us? … 

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to each other?

How we train the disadvantaged, the poor, to kill for our benefit,

how we send millions of us into poverty, humiliation, agony, despair,

without a place to live,

without a meal to eat,

without a bed to rest,

as we bask in disregard and luxury.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to the poor children of the world?

How we steal their future by robbing them of an education,

how we close our eyes and unburden our intelligence to avoid seeing their plight,

their hunger,

their deaths,

so we can enjoy our comforts – oftentimes in obscene excess – without a bit of guilt.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to animals?

How we destroy their environments,

their livelihoods,

their homes,

how we submit them to slow, painful, horrific deaths,

without caring nor feeling a thing for their suffering.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to Nature?

How we think of her as a ‘slave’ so we can ravage her beauty,

her nurture,

her balance,

without seeing that it is ourselves we ravage.

Where has our compassion gone? Our intelligence? Where is all the knowledge?

It was heartbreaking to read that our dominant economic ideology is based on the premise that “the share of national wealth distributed as wages must be kept as low as possible to prevent the cost of labor from reducing national wealth”. [1] Have we become so irrational, so utterly selfish, so compassionless, that we believe this inhumanity to be the best way to create a better world!!!?

What has happened to us?

[1] Excerpt from “What Kind of Country Do We Want? by Marilynne Robinson. New York Review. June 11, 2020

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244 – And then we wonder why …

Friday, May 15th, 2020

For millennia, the human-animal has slaughtered its own kind under the justification that it is a necessary, and therefore rightful act to reign control over those who do not fit our doctrines, or destroy those who we contrive as an ‘enemy’ … the ‘scapegoat’ whose livelihood we deem expendable and want to either conquer or vanish from the face of the earth.

Animals, insects, microbes slaughter each other in predatory killings in which they kill more prey than they can immediately eat, usually to procure food for offspring, or to gain valuable killing experience, or to eat later when hunger comes again.

But not us. Our predatory killings are instigated by hate, and then we normalize and popularize them, oftentimes as heroism, through available means like pamphlets, books, political and religious discourse, movies, television, and, currently, through electronic devices which are not only widely available but highly desirable by younger generations, so parents, without a second thought, allow and even encourage children at impressionable ages to play extreme violent ‘games’ where the greater the slaughter and destruction, the greater the feeling of being better, stronger, successful.

And then we wonder why we grow to believe that to be successful is to be violent, destructive and heartless; why we have grown to be the only species we know of that uses its high degree of ‘intelligence’ to devise the cruelest forms of torture and destruction with the purpose to send others – generally the vulnerable and defenseless – into inhumane levels of poverty and degradation?

And then we wonder why we are a civilization where there is so much hate, where we always are in the midst of conflict, always at war, always killing our own – oftentimes by the hundreds and thousands – without a hint of remorse?

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239 – How can we? …

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

How can we, the lucky ones, the people with ‘residual incomes’, who know full well now that what we are doing to the environment can be the end of us – all of us – continue doing it as if we are untouchable?

How can we?

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222 – How can a mind … ?

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

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 …

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

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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212 – My mind …

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

How can we ever stop being amazed, mystified, awed by our minds, by what we can do with them?

How can myriad neurons – billions of them – independently and communally bond together to become the phenomenon of the mind; a phenomenon that allows me to project outward into the world, and inward into myself, into my own experience, into my own existence?

How can myriad neurons build, and constantly fine-tune, a network of connections that stores my experiences with varying degrees of accuracy and importance, creating a phenomenon that responds to the world according not only to the perception of my senses, but to the influence of my culture, my upbringing, my fears, desires, dreams, metabolism, environment?

The mind is a form of energy that can be redirected, focused, expanded, manipulated; a form of energy that can be wrought by music, anger, fear, death, love, beauty; a form of energy that can objectify visions, ideas, concepts. But because our experience of the mind is intangible and immensurable, it is difficult for us to accept the fact that it is as physical a force as the one synchronizing the beats of our hearts, or the force carrying oxygen to every niche in our bodies.

We don’t know of any other creature that possesses a mind with a degree of conscious self-reflection as developed as ours. We can perceive degrees of self-reflection in other animals, but whether it is conscious, we do not know. The capacity of the human mind to reflect upon itself is a major step forward in the evolution of Life, an achievement in its unequivocal movement towards greater levels of complexity and order. But although this is an amazing insight about the nature of the human mind, it does not bring us any closer to understanding the intangible yet incontestable presence of our conscious mind.

It therefore continues to be baffling to try to understand how myriad neurons can create a phenomenon so utterly individual in its experiences, so unique in the physical connectivity of its neurons, and yet, like the wonder of murmurations, how it dances with its kin creating patterns and rhythms of increasing complexity.

I wish I could understand how is it that my mind can reach so far beyond the grasp of my senses, when I know it is limited by what I am, by what I know, by what I perceive; how is it that my mind is so present in me, such part of me, when I know it is older than old and greater than itself; how is it that my mind creates itself moment by moment, day by day, when I know it is being aided not only by what is immediate, but what is eternal; how is it that my mind can converse and connect with other minds, when I know it is inscrutable amid the beauty and uniqueness of its own music.

– this is why I feel so lonely when I am alone with it, yet I know it is the greatest possession to connect with the world ever given to me.

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201 – Presence …

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Although I don’t actually feel it, my body is constantly changing: Cells die and are replaced with new ones that already know the functions of those they are replacing; my heart constantly pumps re-oxygenated blood to revitalize every niche in my body; my brain and nervous systems constantly adjust to meet emotional and physical changes.

These are but a very few of the many amazing feats my body is constantly accomplishing. But there is another one: A mysterious, astonishing feat, yet so fundamental I could not exist without it. I refer to the process through which the combination of the myriad components of my body collectively generates the Presence, the Persona, I project into the world.

And as astonishing as this is, there is something even more astonishing about me: Of all the living species I know of on Earth, I … homo sapiens … have become self-conscious of that Presence to an extent that I can trace its development, not only through my own personal history but through the evolutionary history of the species. But somehow I have become incapable of taking responsibility for the impact my Presence makes on the world. And as a consequence, I am facing an impending environmental upheaval of terrifying proportions.

Is it not astonishing? It has taken homo sapiens eons of grueling evolutionary processes for me to become conscious of my Presence in the world, but because I don’t want to take responsibility for what it is doing to the world, I might be wiped out, without a trace, from the face of the Earth.

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190 – How can I forget? …

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

I live in a culture that tells me to forgive, so I can forget the horrors of the past.

But how can I forget?

How can I, if my body won’t let me?

Forgiving is easy:

there is nothing in the past I can now change,

whatever happened happened,

what was done was done.

The main thing is that I made it,

a bit crippled, a bit awkward,

but I made it.

And in every experience I now experience,

in every emotion that overwhelms me,

in every feeling I cannot feel,

in every cruelty I wish I had not seen,

my body remembers,

it is what I’m made of.

There is no horror I can now change.

The past is all forgiven

and forgetting would be erasing a part of me.

 

To forget with intention of erasure is possible,

and oftentimes … for the sake of survival …

we do it unintentionally,

but to intentionally erase the past from our history

is inducing a replay of what we are trying to forget.

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182 – Destiny …

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

The greatest challenge of my life is to try to answer the question What is Life, because even if I know that I am one of its manifestations, and that it is manifested all around me and far away from me, I don’t seem to be capable to fully know what Life is. But there are things I do know about Life: 1 – Life has a purpose, which is to recreate itself with a degree of freedom and inexhaustible ingenuity into higher and higher manifestations of complexity and beauty, and 2 – within my monumental limitations, I am one of the lucky ones able to give my life a direction towards a destination, and to strive to reach that destination.

One of the incredible things about my childhood is that from the constant oppression of Deceit, Poverty, Cruelty, Hunger Ignorance, Hate, Fear, a curiosity to find Beauty, Knowledge, Happiness, Tolerance, Truth, somehow emerged in me with a force that overtook my life. What is this formidable force? What is this part of Life urging me to do something with my life? What is this captivating curiosity to find out what Life is, what I am? Is this what we call Destiny?

There are two definitions for Destiny in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 1 – something to which a person or thing is destined, and 2 – a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency. *

There is no question in my mind that everything in Nature is destined with innate degrees of curiosity … it is the key for adaptation and survival … it is how flowers come up with amazing designs to attract pollinators; it is how molecules have come to build the complexity of the double helix; it is how language has attained such a high degree of sophistication; it is how a newborn baby learns to manipulate, to adapt, and to be manipulated by its world; it is how my brain, my organic brain, has come to develop a subjective mind irrepressibly curious about my capacity to reflect upon myself, about what my future … my destiny! … will be.

There is no question in my mind that Life is pre-determined by a relative course of events … the environment in which I was born, the sources of Life from which I was engendered, the forces that have shaped and continue to shape my perception … and that this pre-determined course of events is always accompanied, if encouraged to thrive, by the irresistible power of a degree of curiosity that oftentimes leads us to alter our Destiny.

*Highlights are mine

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