Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

271 – Have you ever thought … ?

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Have you ever thought about the process in which two cells, an ovum and a sperm, each from a different body, became You? How did you, then a zygote,[i] know how to follow a process that unfolding for eons of time initiated your own self-generation … one cell into two, two into four, four into eight, and so forth … and got going the development of your existence?

Have you ever thought about the level of organization and planning that was already embodied in those pioneering cells? How did they determine the distinctiveness of you … the color of your eyes, the pigment of your skin, the type of your blood … and how was this information reiterated in every new cell, and how specialized cells were created to focus on the organization of your skeleton, your heart, your reproductive system, and a nervous system with a level of self-awareness that allows you to interact with the world without having to be aware of the shaping, the regulating, the replacing processes going on all the time within you.

Have you ever thought about the primordial forces that made you develop a male or a female reproductive system? How did you, when that critical decision was made, recognized the call of a species that tends to equilibrium between the sexes (the sex ratio of most species that produce offspring through sexual reproduction, notwithstanding events that decimate or slow its growth, is approximately 1:1 between males and females).

Have you ever thought about the fathomless process of self-organization going on right now inside your body so you can be You? Have you ever thought about how the pre-meditated process of organizing and giving you life is done almost entirely without a hint from you? Have you ever thought about asking Who, if it is not you, is doing the organizing?

Have you ever thought …?

[i] A zygote is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes (reproductive cells). The zygote’s genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual. In multicellular organisms, the zygote is the earliest developmental stage. Wikipedia

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258 – I cannot Stop Wondering Why …

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

I cannot stop wondering why, with all the technological advances we have made, with all the scientific knowledge we have accumulated, with all the wisdom great minds have taught us, we still insist on perpetuating a paradigm in which we perceive Nature as something alien and separate from us. This is the reason why, because we cannot see the wind softly blowing around us nor understand it as a form of Life that gives us life, we poison it.

For the sake of a simple analogy, let me compare us to some stubborn little fish that, because he cannot perceive water as the medium that gives him life, thinks he has a separate existence from it. But fish him out of the water, and he is dead in minutes. We are not much different. Supporting destructive ideologies like ‘limitless consumerism’ and ‘unlimited growth’, we tenaciously cling to the belief that we can ravage the environment that gives us life because we think we can exist without Nature.

It is easy yet disturbing to see why this old paradigm has taken such a stronghold on us. Amid all the destruction they bring upon our world, we have not gotten over the fallacy of Descartes’ separation of mind and body, nor those religious beliefs that enslave us under fear and ignorance with empty and deceitful promises, nor those political and economic ideologies that brainwash us into promoting the devastation of the same environment that sustains us and gives us life.

The truth the promoters of these fallacies are afraid to acknowledge is that Nature – atoms, the Universe, us – is a unity. But in the urge to perpetuate their dominance over us, our institutions of learning and governance are unable to accept this unity and the fundamental part we play in it. It is thus that, to our detriment, they either ignore it or deny it.

I cannot say it enough: Our current beliefs are based on destructive fallacies. And under the dominance of institutions bent on promoting them for their selfish benefit, it is about impossible for us to comprehend the beauty and significance of being human in a deeply interconnected Universe. And yet, this is what we are.

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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 I ever stop being amazed, mystified, awed by my mind – by what I can do with it, by what it can do with me?

How can myriad neurons – billions of them – independently and communally bond together to become the phenomenon of the mind; the phenomenon that allows me to project myself outward into the world, and inward 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 to not only to the perception of my senses but 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, love, sex, beauty; a form of energy that can objectify visions, ideas, concepts. But because it is intangible and immeasurable, it is difficult to accept that it is as physical as the force that synchronizes the beats of my heart or the movements of my hands to write my ideas.

We don’t know of any other creature that possesses a mind with a degree of conscious self-reflection as developed as ours. The capacity of the human mind to reflect upon itself is a major achievement in the evolution of Life in its unequivocal progression towards greater levels of complexity and order. But although the awareness of this achievement is an amazing insight into the human mind, it does not bring us any closer to understanding its intangible yet incontestable presence.

It is thus baffling to try to understand how a phenomenon so utterly individual and unique in its experiences and physical connectivity, can be, like the wonder of murmurations, synchronized to dance with the rhythms of its kin.

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 – or how is it that it is so present when I know it is older than old, greater than itself, and unbound by what is immediate and what is eternal – or how is it that it can converse with other minds, when I know it is the only one that can hear the uniqueness of its own music.

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

Revised July 2021   

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201 – Presence …

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Although I don’t feel it, my body is constantly changing: Cells constantly die and are replaced by 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 system constantly adjust to meet my emotional and physical changes.

These are but a few of the many amazing feats my body constantly accomplishes to keep me alive. But there is another one: A mysterious yet fundamental feat through which the myriad components of my body collectively generate a Presence, a Persona I project into the world.

And as astonishing about me this is, there is something even more astonishing: Of all the living species I know of, I, a representative of homo sapiens, have grown so self-conscious of my Presence in the world that I can trace it not only through my own personal history but through the history of the species. And yet, somehow, this degree of self-consciousness has made me incapable of taking responsibility for the impact my Presence makes on the world. Consequently, I am facing an environmental upheaval of unprecedented proportions.

Is it not astonishing? It has taken homo sapiens the grueling upheavals of a long evolutionary process for me to be conscious of my Presence in the world, but because I refuse to take responsibility for what my Presence does to the world, I might be wiped out without a trace from the face of the world.

Revised March 2021   

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