Saturday, January 28, 2017

where go when there's nowhere to go

At Saturday Morning Practice we read John O'Donohue on death and on beauty.

The thought occurs that perhaps the reason we fear death is not the unknown. Rather, we fear death because it introduces non-separation.

Maybe death is the release from separation into non-separation.

Intimacy as emptiness of barrier.

Just this.

This without that.

Friday, January 27, 2017

no other wise

Delusion signs name with noise and smoke.


Condolence and compassion write nothing and gaze clearly as what is happening happens.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

hermeneutic of newsfeed in tweet

Thinking of Steve Bannon’s — “Keep mouth shut,” to press. 

OK, Silence it is. 

Says God, “My name is silence.“

O Stephen! What a shrewd man!

what is it that suffices

When I get tired and cranky I try to encapsulate.

Here is last night’s after a long conversation:
  • forgive the sinner; don’t try to explain or explain away the sin
  • rationalizing doesn’t make sense of the problem; it buries the problem
  • compassion doesn’t need  understanding of causes; compassion is its own cause
  • cause and effect is karma; no cause no effect is nirvana
  • there are two things (1&2) that contribute to the end of suffering  and one thing (3) that perpetuates suffering: 1. condolence, 2. sympathetic joy; and then, 3. excuses, rationalizations, defensiveness
  • analysis is ok
  • understanding is overrated
  • only love suffices
I’m patient and present until I become tired and cranky. At which point the two of us, me and the universe, disappear. Not by violence and hostility, but by the need to desist and resist what emerges from tiredness and crankiness. 

This morning I find this piece on evolutionary ethics.
Preface to the Evolution of Ethics 
    This book develops the idea that there is a rational basis for the existence of ethics. Such an approach is daunting because the idea of reason or rational causes at work in the formation of ethics has been seriously challenged since the eighteenth century Enlightenment. However, there have been developments in biology and cybernetics that lead to a comprehensive theory of morality in which the rational nature of ethics can more easily be explained. Not only can the rise of ethical systems be linked to biological concepts, but ethics can be tied to mathematical concepts as well by way of cybernetic science. When ethics and cybernetics are combined, the resulting theory turns on scientific principles instead of philosophical speculations. 
    There are several important ideas linked to the emergence of ethical systems: first, that ethical systems evolve in response to the human need to survive in an environment where they are competing with many other organisms for scarce resources; second, that humans survive and flourish by efficiently using their resources and energies; and third, that the evolution of ethical systems is a function of an ongoing cybernetic process involving all humans, animals, and organisms.  
Human experiences accumulate as a reservoir of knowledge, which influences the societal perception of which behaviors benefit people and which act counterproductive to their health and welfare. When people deviate from behaviors that are known to be productive, feedback arises that affects their lives in both subtle and obvious ways. Thus, the way in which people write laws and attach moral significance to certain behaviors is linked to a cybernetic process that maximizes human survival, minimizes social conflicts, and increases the meaningfulness of the human experience. Feedback that inspires change enhances the human ability to survive and to compete with other animals and organisms. This is important in the sense that some biologists believe that ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.
Cybernetics is “the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.” (Apple Dictionary), ORIGIN, 1940s: from Greek kubernētēs  ‘steersman,’ from kubernan  ‘to steer.’

I often wonder who or what is steering this ship of existence through the waves of universe stretching out in all directions.

It no longer surprises me (did it ever?) that so much trouble is visited on so many (all?) of us who live and breathe on this plane of existence.

So, given that, what then is to be our attitude toward both the visiting trouble and those to whom trouble visits?

Compassion, certainly. (Even though, before said arrival of compassion, there arrives law, arrest, prosecution, revenge, incarceration, parole, harassment, and dispirited slogging on.)

In the conversation we hear about how someone in the penal system faces what seems to be a jerking around by probation officer. It’s not unheard of. Nor is it always true. Nevertheless, if anecdotal narration has validity, it appears that kindness and support aren’t the treatment plans in operation.

The hypothesis that ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed are now extinct, should give us perspective. Perhaps our behavior toward one another is of coin-toss importance in the scheme of terrestrial time. It’s possible that we are of no more significance than one of 40 million snowflakes falling in a 20 foot square of Maine woodland during weekday storm at end of January. (There it is! There it goes!)

But the bigger, say, humanist question arises: Why bother treating one another -- including those among us who’ve somehow fallen outside the square of what is euphemistically called ‘reputable’ behavior -- with respect, kindness, and human hope?

It seems that we have fallen too easily into the trap of judgment and condemnation. “Too easily” being the operative phrase. We have, of course, created a literature about “God” that places ‘judgment and condemnation’ front and center, with a sidebar of dinghy-sized ’love and forgiveness’ laid up against the supertanker hull. (Watch out for incoherent metaphors!)

I side with Camus. Absurdity is the sea we row. Nothing is clearer than our experience that what we look out upon is not clear.
Many people believe that the most fundamental philosophical problem is this: what is the meaning of existence? That’s a question that Albert Camus dug into in his novels, plays, and essays. 
His answer was perhaps a little depressing. He thought that life had no meaning, that nothing exists that could ever be a source of meaning, and hence there is something deeply absurd about the human quest to find meaning. Appropriately, then, his philosophical view was called (existentialist) absurdism. 
What would be the point of living if you thought that life was absurd, that it could never have meaning? This is precisely the question that Camus asks in his famous work, The Myth of Sisyphus. He says, “There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” He was haunted by this question of whether suicide could be the only rational response to the absurdity of life. 
But why did he think life was inherently without meaning? Don’t people find meaning in many different ways?
Camus thought that suicide was no answer to the question.

I think that yes is the answer.

Here’s John Lennon’s view:
                                                 "Mind Games"
We're playing those mind games together
Pushing the barriers planting seeds
Playing the mind guerrilla
Chanting the Mantra peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic the search for the grail

Love is the answer and you know that for sure
Love is a flower you got to let it grow

So keep on playing those mind games together
Faith in the future out of the now
You just can't beat on those mind guerrillas
Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind
Yeah we're playing those mind games forever
Projecting our images in space and in time

Yes is the answer and you know that for sure
Yes is surrender you got to let it go

So keep on playing those mind games together
Doing the ritual dance in the sun
Millions of mind guerrillas
Putting their soul power to the karmic wheel
Keep on playing those mind games forever
Raising the spirit of peace and love
(I want you to make love, not war
I know you’ve heard it before)

Elsewhere, in a forum, someone wrote:
John was a big fan of the book Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space, which is where he got the idea for the lyrics. Here is a great short description of the book from another fan on Amazon: "The potential existing within the human brain and mind is infinite; it is only bound by the constraints that we as a society have placed upon it. Once these bonds are broken, we can truly learn to think and feel, thus allowing creativity, spirituality, and imagination to manifest at its highest ability within us to create an awareness far greater than one could ever conceive before this mental 'awakening.' After participating in these 'Mind Games,' a person will be better equipped to deal with the challenges we all face as humans."
I have always thought that what John was saying is that this search for freeing one's mind has been with us since the dawn of civilization and that people have gone about it in different ways. But, no matter how you go about it, if you’re positive and true, then we all find that "love is the answer."
Words matter.

And if, indeed, words matter, what words we cultivate introduce something akin to reality/matter in the world.

It is in our minds that words find transit through receptors/transmitters into what we naively call this existence, real world, created life.

What are we, creating?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

by any other name

No longer republicans.

No longer democrats.

It is resistance and revolution.

Don't be afraid.

Be present.

Which is, by any other word, prayerful.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

do and dont

I used to think there was something meaningful out there to do.

Now, I don't.

There's nothing out there.

No I in here.

Who's to do anything?

Monday, January 23, 2017

when hungry, eat

When tired, sleep

Add nothing

Sunday, January 22, 2017

to the close and holy darkness

Scripture can be comforting.
And evening passed

And morning came

The third day.
                  (--Genesis 1:13)
So, too, short story:
The barman looked at him but did not answer. It was too late at night for conversation.  
"You want another copita?" the barman asked.  
"No, thank you," said the waiter and went out. He disliked bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very different thing. Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it's probably only insomnia. Many must have it.          (--from, A Clean, Well-Lighted PlaceBY ERNEST HEMINGWAY)   
So, too, poetry:
Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.  
(--from, A Child's Christmas In Wales - Poem by Dylan Thomas)