Saturday, April 29, 2017

he was a friend of ours

Warren — There is no foul play suspected in the death of a 53-year-old Maine State Prison inmate Saturday morning. 
Deane Brown died shortly before 8 a.m. at the prison in Warren .
The article pointed out that Brown suffered from severe diabetes.

So says Village Soup & Bangor Daily News


you must remember this

Selfless patience.

That was in the Buddhist reading this morning at practice.

Selfless patience.

The willingness and ability to suffer no-self.

As time goes by.

morning haiku

mist, heartbroken fog

wanders Bald Mountain -- will sun

return to hold me

Friday, April 28, 2017

looking for something else, I find this

An email at dawn from night before -- google leaves me orphan.

Instead, this:
Having seen that I was not capable of using all my resources in political action, I returned to my literary activity. There lay the the battlefield suited to my temperament. I wanted to make my novels the extension of my own father's struggle for liberty. But gradually, as I kept deepening my responsibility as a writer, the human problem came to overshadow political and social questions. All the political, social, and economic improvements, all the technical progress cannot have any regenerating significance, so long as our inner life remains as it is at present. The more the intelligence unveils and violates the secrets of Nature, the more the danger increases and the heart shrinks.
  • As quoted in Nikos Kazantzakis (1968) by Helen Kazantzakis, p. 529
 Looking for something else, I find this:

The third duty derives from the failure of the mind or the heart to ultimately satisfy his thirst for meaning, or god.
The moment is ripe: leave the heart and the mind behind you, go forward, take the third step. Free yourself from the simple complacency of the mind that thinks to put all things in order and hopes to subdue phenomena. Free yourself from the terror of the heart that seeks and hopes to find the essence of things. Conquer the last, the greatest temptation of all: Hope. This is the third duty.
Yet the rejection of hope does not imply passivity—we still should strive. “We fight because we like fighting, we sing even though there is no ear to hear us. We work even though there is no master to pay us our wages when night falls.” This should remind us that we are radically impermanent:
I revolve for a moment in air, I breathe, my heart beats, my mind glows, and suddenly the earth opens, and I vanish … Say farewell to all things at every moment … Look about you: All these bodies that you see shall rot. There is no salvation. Look at them well: They live, work, love, hope. Look again: Nothing exists! The generations of man rise from the earth and fall into the earth again.
How should we respond to all this? He answers, as usual, with beautiful prose:
The endeavors and virtues of man accumulate, increase, and mount to the sky. Where are we going? Do not ask! Ascend, descend. There is no beginning and no end … What is our goal? To be shipwrecked! … Without hope, but with bravery, it is your duty to set your prow calmly toward the abyss. And to say: “Nothing exists!” … Neither life nor death. I watch mind and matter hunting each other like two nonexistent erotic phantasms—merging, begetting, disappearing—and I say: “This is what I want!”
We don’t ask where we are going; we proceed; we ascend; we find meaning in the struggle. He concludes this section with what will be his epitaph:
I know now: I do not hope for anything. I do not fear anything, I have freed myself from both the mind and the heart, I have mounted much higher, I am free. This is what I want. I want nothing more. I have been seeking freedom.
(--from, Summary of Kazantzakis’: The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises)  --by John G Messerly,  KazantzakisPhilosophy-Academic)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

no other end of the world

I notice people are dying.

And people are in prison.


Mental institutions too.

I also notice there are lies and deceptions being told and made by the individuals in charge of the leadership of the United States as well as a significant number of foreign countries across the globe.

This is concerning.

Mostly because the notions of freedom and happiness are antithetical to lies and deception.

About these things, (with the words “Were they” substituted for “Was he”), a couplet by W.H.Auden:
Was he [Were they] free? Was he [Were they] happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard. 
Jean Paul Sartre writes about Bad Faith:
Chapter 3The Faith of Bad Faith 
We have indicated for the moment only those conditions which render bad faith conceivable, the structures of being which permit us to form concepts of bad faith. We cannot limit ourselves to these considerations; we have not yet distinguished bad faith from falsehood. The two-faced concepts which we have described would without a doubt be utilized by a liar to discountenance his questioner, although their two-faced quality being established on the being of man and not on some empirical circumstance, can and ought to be evident to all. The true problem of bad faith stems evidently from the fact that bad faith is faith. It cannot be either a cynical lie or certainty—if certainty is the intuitive possession of the object. But if we take belief as meaning the adherence of being to its object when the object is not given or is given indistinctly, then bad faith is belief; and the essential problem of bad faith is a problem of belief. 
How can we believe by bad faith in the concepts which we forge expressly to persuade ourselves? We must note in fact that the project of bad faith must be itself in bad faith. I am not only in bad faith at the end of my effort when I have constructed my two-faced concepts and when I have persuaded myself. In truth, I have not persuaded myself; to the extent that I could be so persuaded, I have always been so. And at the very moment when I was disposed to put myself in bad faith, I of necessity was in bad faith with respect to this same disposition. For me to have represented it to myself as bad faith would have been cynicism; to believe it sincerely innocent would have been in good faith. The decision to be in bad faith does not dare to speak its name; it believes itself and does not believe itself in bad faith; it believes itself and does not believe itself in good faith. It is this which from the upsurge of bad faith, determines the later attitude and, as it were, the Weltanschauung of bad faith. 
Bad faith does not hold the norms and criteria of truth as they are accepted by the critical thought of good faith. What it decides first, in fact, is the nature of truth. With bad faith appears a method of thinking, a type of being which is like that of objects; the ontological characteristic of the world of bad faith with which the subject suddenly surrounds himself is this: that here being is what it is not, and is not what it is. Consequently a peculiar type of evidence appears; non-persuasive evidence. Bad faith apprehends evidence but it is resigned in advance to not being fulfilled by this evidence, to not being persuaded and transformed into good faith. It makes itself humble and modest; it is not ignorant, it says, that faith is decision and that after each intuition, it must decide and will what it is. Thus bad faith in its primitive project and in its coming into the world decides on the exact nature of its requirements. It stands forth in the firm resolution not to demand too much, to count itself satisfied when it is barely persuaded, to force itself in decisions to adhere to uncertain truths. This original project of bad faith is a decision in bad faith on the nature of faith. Let us understand clearly that there is no question of a reflective, voluntary decision, but of a spontaneous determination of our being. One puts oneself in bad faith as one goes to sleep and one is in bad faith as one dreams. Once this mode of being has been realized, it is as difficult :to get out of it as to wake oneself up; bad faith is a type of being in the world, like waking or dreaming, which by itself tends to perpetuate itself, although its structure is of the metastable type. But bad faith is conscious of its structure, and it has taken precautions by deciding that the metastable structure is the structure of being and that nonpersuasion is the structure of all convictions. It follows that if bad faith is faith and if it includes in its original project its own negation (it determines itself to be not quite convinced in order to convince itself that I am what I am not), then to start with, a faith which wishes itself to be not quite convinced must be possible. 
(--from Bad Faith, An Essay by Jean-Paul Sartre, in Philosophymagazine, Philosophy and Science for the Third Millennium)
To be persuaded by the current administration that the good of all, or even of the many, is the goal of their governance is an exercise in bad faith.

With coffee, watched Last Days of Solitary, Frontline, April 18, 2017, about Maine State Prison,  -- a sobering account of the fact and effects of segregation/solitude on individual men, during and after their time there. I’ve stood at those doors. I stand in front of those who’ve been there. Twenty eight years standing now. My coffee cools. Sobering.

I tell the volunteer director my Mondays are soon free to re-up as patient visitor at local hospital. 

If there is any sanity it resides in presence and calm regard. For me these days, as I linger just this side of any terminal diagnosis coming my way, I find it spending time with inmates, hospital patients, and hospice folks. 

The sanity comes from a contrasting awareness that the default behavior setting of so much of the so-called developed world leaders is oblivious and antithetical self-aggrandizement to the human needs of so many who are alone and without. The absurdity of self-aggrandizement derives from the illusion that ’self’ is isolated and disconnected from every other being in existence. 

Some say there is no self, meaning no separate reality called ’self’ existing autonomously over and against others.

Some say there are no others. Some hold that this is indicated in the radical teachings of Jesus of Nazareth who exemplified a non-dual mind and co-expressive presence of divinity wherein God is all in all and belief in God is trust that the way we treat anyone is the way we treat everyone, and (“MU”) that involves and includes God.

The day drifts on.

As does, for now, this life I inhabit.
A Song on the End of the World
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
There will be no other end of the world,
There will be no other end of the world.

Warsaw, 1944

Czeslaw Milosz, "A Song on the End of the World" from The Collected Poems; 1931-1987. Copyright © 1988 by Czeslaw Milosz Royalities, Inc.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

kokoro jitai kotoba

Response to Naomi Shihab Nye’s visit to Maine State Prison last Friday:
                     (for NSN) 
monastic inmates 
practice Friday Lectio  -- 
Kuan Yin kind poet 

With gratefulness for the conceiving, arranging, and accomplishing of such a compassionate experience 
Walt Whitman wrote: “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.

That happened!

And we have to grow into new ways of thinking about our interrelation.
Self, other and other-self: going beyond the self/other binary in contemporary consciousness
               Sami Schalk1
page1image4928 page1image5352 page1image5512
Primarily relying on the work of W.E.B. Du Bois and Niklas Luhmann, this article discusses the effects of the mass media on contemporary consciousness, identity and self/other relations. This article proposes an approach to the self/other binary which opens up the possibilities for relations between individuals by including a third term, the other-self, which allows for a fluid, contextualized understanding of the self in a spectrum of relatedness to others in any given moment.
I’m interested in word, heart, and the very itself of them in the world with others.
Japanese: kokoro        English: mind, heart, spirit 
Japanese: jitai             English: itself 
Japanese: kotoba         English: word(s), language, speech 

A rainy Wednesday.

Re-up training for hospice this afternoon.

To learn how

                  to see through

                                    and let be

                                                 what will become

                                                                          itself after-word
(kokoro jitai kotoba)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Robert Pirsig (1928-2017)

I read his two novels.
One of Mr. Pirsig’s central ideas is that so-called ordinary experience and so-called transcendent experience are actually one and the same — and that Westerners only imagine them as separate realms because Plato, Aristotle and other early philosophers came to believe that they were. 
But Plato and Aristotle were wrong, Mr. Pirsig said. Worse, the mind-body dualism, soldered into Western consciousness by the Greeks, fomented a kind of civil war of the mind — stripping rationality of its spiritual underpinnings and spirituality of its reason, and casting each into false conflict with the other.  
(--Robert M. Pirsig, Author of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ Dies at 88)
I'll read them again.

Monday, April 24, 2017

a way of life

"Nature loves to conceal herself."  -- Heraclitus, fragment 10

Sunday, April 23, 2017

back table sting

it took a hustler

from Queens to run the cloth green --

sawn cue, empty hand

deaf men across backyard fence

kitchen table friends.
Maxwell House instant,
teaspoon of sugar,

milk (“If it’s Borden’s
and Elsie it’s
got to be good.”)

69th street
Bensonhurst 1950’s
in mind of 8 yr old

no other place,
millie and kay
reckoned world

in fact, only western
sidewalk counted
driveway ’48 Desoto

Eddie became ill,
died, Frank hid
Fleischmann’s half-

pints in dresser drawer
behind handkerchiefs
and rosary beads

sixty five years ago
these two women
knew the block

smoking L&Ms or
Pall Malls laced 
with emphysema