199 – Beautiful and Horrific …

As a species, our history is both beautiful and horrific.

Of all the animals on Earth that we know of, the human animal is the only one capable of reaching the most extreme opposites in the spectrum of behaviors: We can be intelligent, thoughtful, creative, altruistic, compassionate, wise, gentle, excruciatingly beautiful. And we can be greedy, selfish, intolerant, destructive, corrupt, barbarous, cruel, deceitful, grotesquely oblivious to our own monstrosities.

I believe it is extremely important in our education to acknowledge both sides … the beautiful and the horrific in us; the terrifying reaches of our inhumanity and the beautiful summits of our humanity … together they tell us how we have come to be what we are.

From a chimp-like humanoid to the evolving creature we call Homo Sapiens, we have adapted to every habitable niche on the surface of the planet; we have learned to manage the resources of the Earth to feed our exploding population growth; we have overcome the limitations of our organic senses to explore the immensity of the universe and the microscopic world of the atomic particles; we have evolved sophisticated languages to talk about life, love, wisdom, happiness;  we have the capacity to reach extraordinary heights of altruism during catastrophic events; we have developed amazingly complex technologies to create, among other things, a hand-held gadget that connects us with the rest of us; we have become aware of the amazing beauty of our own awareness.

But we have allowed greed to become the driving force behind our economic, religious, and political paradigms. A selfish, reckless greed for power and possessions that has overtaken us, blinding us to such levels of irrationality that knowingly, we … the most thoughtful, creative, altruistic, compassionate, wise, gentle, excruciatingly beautiful animal on Earth … send millions of us into abject poverty and desperation, and we, with full knowledge of what we are doing, devise weaponry capable of wiping life off the face of the Earth.

Most behaviors that drive us to commit horrible things … selfishness, blindness, intolerance, corruption, destructiveness, cruelty, deceitfulness … stem from our greed. Recognizing this may be a first step in understanding why we, Homo Sapiens (wise!!!), have come to create a world where in the midst of obscene wealth millions die of starvation; a world where the profits of the war machine are of more consequence than the millions killed by the ravages of manufactured conflict; a world where the horrors committed in the name of greed make it difficult for us to see how beautiful we are.

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198 – What have we created? …

What have we created that when faced with of a society where the future is a bleak promise of constant conflict, destruction, intolerance, hate, cruelty, division, irrationality, deceit, inequality;

where half the population struggles to make ends meet while the other half struggles not to notice, and there is no time left to hear the young cries of distress;

where opioids and weapons of war are abundant and easier to get than a six-pack of beer;

where suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24; *

where prostituted educational systems brainwash young minds to believe that it is right to promote the deadly corporate agenda pillaging the earth, stealing their future, obliterating hope;

a society so accomplished and resourceful, so promising, yet so distraught by intolerance, by our terrifying silence about the ravages we cause, the pain we inflict, that a seventeen-year-old in Texas, a nineteen-year-old in Florida, a fifteen-year-old in Kentucky … to name just a few of the kids behind dozens of school shootings … can come, with horrific premeditation, to the decision that the only alternative is to kill as many people as possible?

What have we created?

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*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

197 – Self-Reflection is Innate in Nature …

Why is it so difficult for the human mind to comprehend the premise that self-reflection is innate in Nature? How else can anything on its own power attain stability, cohesion, balance, form, if not with introspection about itself?

Think about a tree. To grow on its own power into a cohesive and functional form, a tree must attain relatively constant equilibrium between its intake of energy from the environment and the energy it exerts to produce its physical structure. It cannot exist otherwise.

Or our solar system. To develop on its own power into a cohesive, functional and relatively stable system, our solar system must attain constant equilibrium between its force of attraction and its force of resistance. It would collapse otherwise.

Or ourselves. To develop on our own power into a cohesive, dynamic, and relatively stable organism, we must attain constant equilibrium between our level of activity and our intake of nutrients. We collapse otherwise.

Any two forces, elements, or quantities that develop as a unit, cannot attain relatively constant equilibrium … one always measuring the other … without a degree of self-reflection. This capacity, although mostly instinctive, is innate in Nature.

Yet we … the human animal … have evolved the capacity of conscious self-reflection, to be aware of our capacity to reflect upon ourselves and our world. But this level of self-reflection is just a small step up on the ladder of our ongoing evolutionary development.

So how, I wonder, would we be like when, and if, we come to possess higher degrees of conscious self-reflection than the germinal one we possess today? Would we be able to perceive our connection with everything in Nature through the fierce power of Life in us to self-generate, adapt, and survive? Or would we perhaps be able to reflect upon our genesis and trace the making of our destiny to evolve a mind … atom by atom, cell by cell, connection by connection …that perceives the Order that created it?

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196 – I am a Presence in the Universe

I am a presence in the Universe,

A catalyst for transformation.

Aware of my own awareness

I trace the making of my destiny,

And knowing where I must go

I set my mind free.

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195 – On Vacation …

I am on vacation.  If everything goes as planned I will post again on May 1, 2018.

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194 – Evil does not exist …

The history of how man acquired power and control over his world is full of examples of lies fabricated to shift blame for his destructive actions, or to avoid acknowledging his ignorance about events he could not understand.

The concept of ‘evil’ in some cultures and religious beliefs is an example of a lie fabricated in early patriarchal civilizations to avoid responsibility for men’s cruel and vengeful actions and blame them on someone or something else. As a result, we are now not only extremely good at lying and shifting responsibility for the consequences of our actions, but we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on earth.

Catastrophes and astronomical events like epidemics, floods, solar eclipses, were also blamed on ‘evil forces’, but this is more difficult now with the technological advances that help us explain their causes.

It is my belief that, historically, the main culprit reinforcing the fallacy of the existence of ‘evil’ throughout the ages has been the Roman Catholic Church. Under pressure to protect its fundamental dogma of an ‘all-knowing and omnipotent god’ in the face of the destructive and cruel aspects of man and Nature, the Church fabricated the lie of a powerful and evil ‘dark angel’ to blame for god’s folly.

How have the men of the Roman Church been able to get away with this lie, is beyond conception? The lie is pathetic. How can an ‘all-knowing and omnipotent god’ not know the consequences of what ‘he’ was creating? Yet with the horrors of the Inquisition, the barbarism of the Crusades, the threat of eternal punishment in ‘hell’ for disobeying patriarchal authority, this lie has been deeply imprinted on the minds of its believers while turning into a bonanza for greedy minds: If the men of the Church can shift responsibility upon others for their lies, why not the common man. The allure of this train of thought spread to other beliefs and has disastrously come to dominate entire cultures.

It is thus extremely disconcerting to see people who seem intelligent and learned, especially politicians, heads of corporations, religious and political leaders, lie with impunity and without a hint of compassion for the human beings they are blaming for their crimes.

Nature is the creative evolutionary process that amid constant change progresses towards complexity and order. This progression is achieved through the innate capacity of its creations to attain developing states of equilibrium between the energy consumed and the energy exerted. Nothing in Nature, as far as we know, can develop, survive, and transform itself and its environment without some degree of equilibrium, as is the case with the human fetus. From the moment the human fetus begins to develop, we consume sources of energy from the nutrients of the placenta, exerting the energy into growth and activity in equivalent measure to the quantity of the energy consumed, and the waste and gas produced in the process are disposed of via our mother’s blood supply. We instinctively know how to sustain this process in relative equilibrium while creating a complex and beautiful human being.

As all the myriad components of our Universe, we fuel our existence by consuming sources of energy … other forms of Life, other creatures, other systems … don’t we kill other living things to exist?

The essence of Nature is transformation through creation and destruction; its evolutionary process could not exist without either one. But because the destructive side is chaotic, full of uncertainty, and oftentimes catastrophic and devastating to human life, it does not mean it is ‘evil’; it is just the essential complement that nurtures the progression of the creative side towards complexity and order.

Evil does not exist.

When will the human mind be able to realize that it has been duped by a lie?  Evil is a fabrication like those of mermaids and unicorns. But this lie imprisons the human mind and drives us into deception and cruelty.

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193– The Human Mind …

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.

_________________________

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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192 – What is it about us? …

It is very easy for us to recognize that as human beings we are highly ingenious, adaptable, resourceful, intelligent, aware of our own awareness. With ingenuity we have extended our vision and our imagination by creating instruments that allow us to see the microscopic and the faraway and immense components of our Universe; with our adaptability we have populated just about every continent and sizeable island on the surface of the planet; with our resourcefulness and intelligence we have transformed natural materials to speed up time travel, to extend our life-span, to create a world-wide web of communications; with the awareness of our own awareness we have come to realize the power within us to transform ourselves and our world.

But somehow, although the signs are becoming more and more evident and menacing, it is not easy for us to recognize that our exponential growth and voracious consumerism are driving us into an unprecedented and violent confrontation with the atmosphere in which our lives, and the lives of myriad other organisms, depend. The dominant, destructive, aggressive, visionless role of our species, has driven us to become like a ravenous and unstoppable virus overwhelming the organism that gives it nourishment.

In this state, where we can witness without trepidation the environmental crisis we are bringing upon ourselves, it is, of course, about impossible for us to see the beauty of a Universe that over eons of time and through incredible struggles has created a niche for Life to begin to be aware of itself. We inhabit that niche. And we are breaking its equilibrium.

What is it about us that we are able to recognize our intelligence, ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, and yet, with self-imposed blindness, avoid recognition not only of the destructive impact of our actions, but of the consequences on the beauty and fragility of the niche in which we have been able to attain a high level of conscious self-awareness?

Centuries ago, even if it was contrary to the perception of our organic senses, the incorporation into our understanding of Reality of the fact that it is our planet that orbits the Sun and not the other way around, catapulted our perception into a more accurate vision of our Universe. In a similar way, the incorporation into our understanding of the empirical facts that our most basic components are atomic particles, and that in great measure they are mostly made of energy, will bring us to accept the fact, even if it is contrary to the perception of our organic senses, that we are made mostly of energy. Energy is a physical substance. We absorb it from the environment and convert it into power and transformative forces. That is how we develop and empower our bodies. That is how we fuel our daily activity. That is how we pump our hearts and energize every single component in our organisms. That is how our ideas can change minds and start movements that can become a force around the world. That is how, with the power of our convictions, we can move multitudes. That is how we give boundless flight to our imagination.

Energy fills us and radiates from us. This is evident in the common experience we call magnetism when we focus our eyes on a person and make her or him feel us and look at us.

What is it about us that with our highly developed levels of ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, intelligence, conscious self-awareness, we cannot yet accept the self-evident fact that it is the energy in us, the energy that we radiate, that gives us the unequivocal power to transform not only ourselves but also our world. Accepting the force of this power within us will set in motion a worldwide comprehension of the damage we are inflicting on our source of life. It will change the course of our evolution.

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191 – Aren’t we among pioneers? …

“One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the most significant mass extinctions on Earth was the Great Oxygenation Event (also known in scientific media as Oxygen Catastrophe, Oxygen Holocaust, Oxygen Revolution, or Great Oxidation), which began approximately 2.45 billion years ago and was induced by the appearance of free oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Although the causes are not completely clear, the current evidence is the exponential growth of a bacteria (Cyanobacteria) that developed into coordinate macroscopic forms as early as 2.3 billion years ago (approximately 200 million years before the event) and produced oxygen through photosynthesis. The increased production of oxygen set Earth’s original atmosphere off balance. Oxygen was toxic to some living creatures at that time on Earth, and it wiped out most of them. *

The evidence that by disturbing the balance of the atmosphere, we are positioning ourselves … the Human species … to be the next biological organism to cause a mass extinction on Earth, is more and more incontestable by the day.

In early civilizations, man learned to avoid responsibility for his cruel and destructive actions by blaming someone or something else … there was always a vulnerable group, an individual, or a catastrophic event to blame … with the avoidance of responsibility, introspection about the consequences of his actions was blunted – practically obliterated. And thus, in a male-dominated civilization, we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on Earth.

The mass extinction of wildlife due to our exponential population growth, overconsumption, and poaching, is already on its way.

Extreme climate change, melting Arctic sea ice, rising ocean levels, constant conflict, unimaginable levels of cruelty, migrations, severe droughts, fires, flooding, will continue to accelerate under the pressures on the environment of our exponential growth and an aggressive economic system that demands more and more consumption.

There is no turning back from the damage we have already done. There are, perhaps, ways to ameliorate the impact of what we have set in motion. But that we must face the consequences of our actions is not a question any longer.

The survivors and descendants of the mass extinction 2.45 billion years ago were, as is obvious, adaptable, oxygen-breathing organisms from which we eventually evolved. The populations that might survive the mass extinction of our own creation will have to adapt to a rarer, harsher, more volatile environment, and, hopefully, evolve with the knowledge that, as the destiny of a fertilized human ovum is to build … cell by cell … the pathways to the self-reflective mind, our destiny has always been to know that we are building blocks in a majestic and ingenious universal plan. Aren’t we already among pioneers in conscious self-reflection?

*Data taken from Wikipedia

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190 – How can I forget? …

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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