Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Philosophy conference in Camden today. Sat in left rear near kitchen door behind by one row the standing Dutch man up from Friendship Road.

The second presenter was a philosopher named Michael Anker from the College of New Rochelle in NY. He said, "As something is coming to be it is already becoming something other."

From his website:
FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2009
opening of world as world - thinking difference
Within Any Possible Universe, No Intellect Can Ever Know It All: Scientific American

Part 1: first thoughts/questions in relation to article above.

As Jean-Luc Nancy continuously emphasizes throughout his philosophy: "there is no outside the world". The world or universe as such has only itself, in the sense that it always already exceeds totalizations by being totalization par excellence. Herein lies an interesting dilemma or problem. How can the world/universe always exceed totalization by never being understood or totally grasped from the outside (always understood from within and thus uncertain as the article above notes), and at the same time be a type of totalization in and of itself by being an all encompassing one-all? It's interesting to see how quickly these thoughts lead us to the age old philosophical question discussed from Parmenides to Heraclitus, and onward to such thinkers as Leibniz and Spinoza. This question of course is the relation of the One to the Many. How can the universe or world be "One" by having no outside, and yet contain within it a multiplicity of difference recognized as "Many"? In other words, if the universe is all encompassing, how can difference as such within the world truly exist? Or, if difference as such does exist within the world, how can it be circumscribed by the notion of One-All? Again, if each and every singularity as difference in the world exists
with each and every other singularity in the world, does this inter-connectivity of "being-with" in the world (with no outside of world) not lead us toward a rethinking of difference itself? In short, what is difference in relation to a universe or world which is an all encompassing entity?

Note: These preliminary thoughts have led me toward a thinking on Alain Badiou's philosophy in relation to set-theory, multiplicity, the "count-as-one", and the matheme as ontology. It seems Badiou also tries to navigate through the terrain of the "one and the many".


POSTED BY MICHAELANKER AT 2:06 PM
http://michaelanker.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-11-15T18%3A21%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=7
From the Snow bowl you can hear sounds of Hope Jazz Festival drift through drizzle to hermitage.

I'm glad there are men and women thinking -- we are called toward thinking. I'm equally glad there is a love of jazz, an acceptance of rain, and the never-ending insistence by white Border Collie to pick up and toss tennis ball across kitchen where the Coon Cat steps up to his feeding platform under the kitchen table
Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.

(Poem, "Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo, from Reinventing the Enemy's Language. © W.W. Norton and Co., 1998)
I'd rather be in my kitchen than at a philosophy conference or jazz festival.

It's a hermit's preference.

Happy to know.

Others are there.

En route elsewhere.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Somethings should remain hidden.


The way Christ is hidden.
Everywhere we look.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Perhaps "Here."

Or,"Now."

"No w here."

"With-us."

If you chose a name, any name, for God -- which would you choose to use in constant prayer speaking the name until there was no other name and every other word along with the one you chose had no meaning whatsoever but the permeating sense that it is of God that every word resonates intention, feeling and resolve; therein, the emergence and emanation of your word, your God, your self?
Tonight mine was: Here, we are.

Or: Here, I am.

About which and wherein which all proceed in the name of the Lord.

Is that how you felt, Mary of Magdala?

Is this how we pray?

Everything within the name?

Which, of course, becomes unpronounceable.

Becoming no-name.

Would you choose again?
Non ubi, nunc heri, cum nobis.
There is no choice for me...

Let it be:
No-where now-here with-us!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Selah" in the Hebrew Psalms shows up and probably indicates a musical interlude.
Selah (Hebrew: סֶלָה‎, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used frequently in the Hebrew Bible, often in the Psalms, and is a difficult concept to translate. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela‘ (Hebrew: סֶלַע‎) which means "rock.") It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". "Let those with eyes see and with ears hear" is most concise.[citation needed] "Selah" can also be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm. [1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selah#cite_note-0
Interlude. To play between.

Perhaps we are that interlude, here to play between the cycles of nature that introduce, eradicate, and reconvene.
Psalm 24 (New International Version)

Psalm 24

[Of David. A psalm.]

1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false. [a]

5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. [b]
Selah

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Selah
Play, play, wherever you may be; dance, dance, whatever you may see.

Waterworld
A review of The Flooded Earth:
Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps

review by James N. Gardner

IS ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING the cataclysmic threat that Al Gore and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proclaim it to be? Or do powerful natural forces like variable solar output, plate tectonics, and volcanic activity dwarf the climate impact of human-generated greenhouse gases?

That is the deep question that lurks beneath the surface of a fascinating new book — The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps — by University of Washington scientist Peter D. Ward. Ward, co-author of the highly acclaimed Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, is at his best when he provides snapshots of the climate extremes our planet has experienced over the billions of years of its existence. Here is his description of ancient episodes of global warming that make the dire warnings of current climate prognosticators seem almost benign:

Long before humans were even a gleam in nature’s eye, the convergence of geological forces repeatedly caused the planet to heat up. Such events, however rare, hugely altered life and its evolution. The warming had resulted from enormous volumes of carbon dioxide that emanated from the flood basalts, creating atmospheric greenhouse conditions that quickly heated the planet to a point that the poles were nearly as warm as the equator, leading the normal winds and ocean currents to diminish and in some cases totally stop. A stilled ocean, eventually even on its surface regions, loses oxygen. The apparent result was a series of nasty events, such as oceanwide “dead zones” … where conditions of eutrophication — where a body of water first warms and then loses its oxygen as its enclosed life dies and then rots — have eliminated all the life-giving oxygen in the water.

If nature is capable of this level of environmental catastrophe on its own, just how much can we feeble humans really influence the future evolution of the vast, complex global climate system? The optimistic answer, favored by Ward, is that humankind is now firmly in the driver’s seat of climate change:

As I give talks around the country about a newly discovered phenomenon of the deep past greenhouse extinctions, people always ask about the relevance of these studies to the present and near future. That question is simple to answer, at least for me: what happened in the past can and will happen again if we continue to heat the planet at present rates.

Ward’s implication is that if we humans will only cease our global warming malefactions, the violent climatic oscillations he so colorfully documents — oscillations that predate by millions of years humanity’s evolutionary emergence on the savannahs of Africa — will be brought under tolerable control.

The pessimist would argue that the mountain of geological evidence assembled and expertly presented by Ward points to precisely the opposite conclusion — that what happened in the past can and will happen again regardless of what human beings do.

What seems incontrovertible from Ward’s compelling narrative is that, irrespective of the precise causal interplay of human-induced and natural factors, the Earth’s deep history offers ample evidence that the atmospheric conditions on this planet are likely to continue to fluctuate dramatically, with potentially dire consequences for the biosphere. From the mysterious Permian extinction 250 million years ago, in which 96% of all marine species went extinct, to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event 65 million years which killed off the dinosaurs, the story of our planet’s long environmental history is a tale of repeated episodes of dramatic change that have threatened the very survival of complex life.

In the face of this overwhelming evidentiary record, only a cock-eyed optimist would contend that what is past is not prologue.

(--from Skeptic, Promoting Science and Critical Thinking, http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-07-21/#feature)

If we are 'of the earth' which is 'of the Lord' we are as we are of a piece. Nothing happens to us, rather, everything happens as us.
Q: By what expedient means can we turn our minds around instantly to realize our inherent essence?

A: It is just your own mind; what further expedient means would you apply? If you apply expedient means to go on to seek intellectual understanding, this is like wanting to see your own eyes because you think you have no eyes if you cannot see them.

Since they are your own eyes, how can you see them? As long as you have not lost them, that is called seeing eyes. If you have no more desire to see, does that mean you imagine you are not seeing?

So it is also with one's own open awareness. Since it is one's own mind, how can one yet seek to see it? If you just seek understanding, then you do not understand it. Just know that which does not understand; this is seeing essence.


- Master Chinul (1158-1210) DailyZen
Our inherent essence.

Our own eyes.

One's own open awareness.

Whatever is taking place is just this: this is seeing essence.

Play well.

Selah

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


In July thoughts turn to ice cream and racism. I prefer ice cream. I leave racism where it belongs, namely, in the gutter where only men and women with heavy-shod politics stomp noisily for contributions from gutter funds spent effusively on things like race-divide and elite-unite themes. This would be better understood with an acronym: G.O.uP. or, Gratuitous Only-us Perseverating. The theme, stripped of the G.O.uP.'s finery called "Our New Clothes" really is: People of differing color or clan go away; People who fear people of differing color or clan gather around.

I've got to get back to the cushion.
"Meditation is sometimes described as an open presence that is highly aware of all inner and outer experiences without further evaluation or conceptualisation."
(--from a survey question by Liverpool John Moores University; "we are currently running an online survey investigating the relationship between meditation/mindfulness, eating attitudes, emotions and how we think." http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/mindfulness)
The President of the United States is a person of color. Some people are nervous about that fact. I'm not. I think integrity and fairness know every color, race, creed, ethnic origin, and chosen philosophy. It is up to each of us to act on what we know, not limit our actions and reactions to only what we fear.

Some of my best friends are people who fear and people who hope. For some there is no fact, only conspiracy. Nothing is ever what it is; it is always a plot by the upper or uppity class to take advantage of them. For others there is no hope, only doom. Their doom is mitigated by a shining light someone told them awaits on the other side of this valley of tears. They condemn anything that doesn't kiss-off this current existence for one written about, chapter and verse, in a book they like a great deal.

And then there are still others who prey upon the fears and hopes of all of the above. They are cynical and resourceful. They speak into radio microphones and look into TV cameras, and pen juicy columns all of which involves focusing on themselves (these cultural warriors) as the purveyors of fear and sole source of hope for the gnashing people so in dread or dream.

Let them eat non-fat seaweed chocolate and drink jewel-weed sweetened tea and crouch in hiding as time marches on and passes them by! My dear July-watching dog and cat will watch them parade away into their nether world.


Elsewhere, on a different topic, a Romanian singer dies and 40,000 attend her service.
"Church: No full burial service for Romanian singer"
(AP) – 4 days ago
BUCHAREST, Romania — The Romanian Orthodox Church said Friday as thousands mourned the death of a popular singer that it would not give her a full burial service because she committed suicide.
A single priest will perform a simple service for Madalina Manole in a church courtyard, the church said, because it considers suicide "a grave sin."
Some Romanians, including singer Tavi Colen, publicly urged the church to reconsider, saying Manole was a believer who suffered from depression, which should be treated as an illness.
It would break church law to give the singer a full service without written medical evidence that she was clinically depressed, church spokesman Constantin Stoica said.
Thousands paid their respects at a church before her burial later Friday in her hometown of Ploiesti, north of Bucharest.
Manole died Wednesday on her 43rd birthday after drinking a powerful insecticide. Her husband found her body.
Manole was of the country's best-loved artists, specializing in folk and popular music, often with romantic themes, and her death shocked Romanians.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.
In her honor I listen to her songs. I give her full honors and blessings for her journey. And for her family and followers a wish ... of Peace.
The causes of any conflict lie in strong attachment to certain views, and the core of Buddha’s teaching is of great help here. All phenomena, in addition to being transient, arise and disappear according to a complex set of conditions. When we apply this truth to conflict, we give up the simplistic, black-and-white picture through which conflict is usually described and perpetuated. Views about the “good guys” and the “bad guys” simply do not correspond to the reality.
(--Zarko Andricevic, "Peace: How Realistic Is It?" in Tricycle)
Racism and non-inclusion do not conform to or confirm reality.

I prefer reality, not the factitious construct of minds enamored by illusory and fictitious exclusion.

Reality, I suspect, is not what we think it is. We've got to look closer.

We don't have to believe in reality. It is not a belief. It is the deepest, most grounded, and liberating nature of existence itself.

It is, let's say, that which remains when everything else falls away.

Just engage it.

As it is.

As we are.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We've a choice.

It seems facile to suggest we are forgetting truth. But it seems so much time and expense is spent fabricating expedient lies, distortions, and semblance of accuracy. From political parties to corporations, from pushers to pedophiles, from merchants to unfaithful spouses -- more and more energy is expended justifying and excusing what passes for truth, but is not even close to it.

Lies take us away from a genuine, authentic, and original relationship with life.

I know lies. I've lived some.

I know semblance and inauthenticity.

It is a coat too ratty and shoes too torn for civilized company.

The choice is to go unclothed and unshod for a while -- until the realization good clothes and sturdy shoes serve better.
What is good has been explained to you, man;
this is what the Lord asks of you:
only this, to act justly,
to love tenderly
and to walk humbly with your God.

(--from Micah 6:1-4,6-8, from the Jerusalem Bible)
Another translation has it:
You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. (New American Bible)
Reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is engaging for July afternoons. The day clouds over. Freedom and allowing freedom feels the right idea.
Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.
- Sheng-yen
Truth has no purpose but to be itself.

Like our lives, just to be itself is sufficient.

Let each be completely themselves. Without dictating to another. But living wholly in good and true relationship. Not false rules and traditions. But reverential service and assistance.
When the Horses Gallop Away from Us, It's a Good Thing

I always find it strange—though I shouldn't—how creatures don't
care for us the way we care for them.
Horses, for instance, and chipmunks, and any bird you'd name.
Empathy's only a one-way street.

And that's all right, I've come to believe.
It sets us up for ultimate things,
and penultimate ones as well.
It's a good lesson to have in your pocket when the Call comes to
call.

(--Poem "When the Horses Gallop Away from Us, It's a Good Thing" by Charles Wright, from Sestets)
Hello?

Yes?

How can I help?

You.

Be.

You.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rokpa scrapes gravel stones from alongside east/northeast side of barn where it meets glass doors of wohnkuche for cool terrain this hot July day.

Everything moves more slowly.

At 5:40AM he and I climbed into JOOTJE for a nearly 3 hour row in the Matinicus Peapod around bell buoys surrounding Camden Harbor. The swells mixed with outgoing tide and gathering breeze to keep us assuaged and undulant.

Saskia phones from the Mass-Turnpike en route home from Mom's after yesterday's wedding in New York State.

Conversations continue in wohnkuche as does silent sitting in meditation cabin so too guests staying in the Merton bookshed/retreat. The construction rests. Only one bare-of-cedar-shingles spot reminds there was something going on for most of a year. This is the first July in many dozens of years that no teaching, shopkeeping, child welfaring or studenting is taking place. There is only morning and evening holding between them the quiet revelation of ordinary tasks -- some volunteering at prison and nursing home, chauffeuring to worker's comp audits. The rest becomes non-obligatory time to read and ruminate, row and walk, converse and be silent.

It occurs from recent conversations that what we call "love" is welcoming and unconditional hospitality. This applies to ourselves and whatever arises in our psyches, body, and appears at our doorstep. In addition it applies to the presence, ideas, opinions, beliefs, and conditioning this world tosses our way. The fact that we have a choice to ignore what arrives only deepens the freedom that love suggests. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said it this way: “To say ‘love’ is to say ‘liberty.’”
John O'Donohue in Anam Cara writes:
Nietzsche said that one of the best days in his life was the day he rebaptized all his negative qualities as his best qualities. In this kind of baptism, rather than banishing what is at first glance unwelcome, you bring it home to unity in your life. This is the slow and difficult work of self-retrieval. Every person has certain qualities or presences in their heart that are awkward, disturbing and negative. One of your sacred duties is to exercise kindness toward them. In a sense, you are called to be a loving parent to your delinquent qualities.
(--p.117, Anam Cara, by John O'Donohue)
These are the guests long waiting at our threshold for sanctuary.

It's a good time to receive them.

As it is for you.

And you.

And me.

Peace and...all is good!