Saturday, October 16, 2021

charged with untold and untellable wisdom

Chris from Augusta sends Whitman:

Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances
                                  by Walt Whitman

Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable
May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills,
     shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be
     these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and
     the real something has yet to be known,
(How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me
     and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,
     aught of them,)

May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they

     indeed but seem) as from my present point of view, and
     might prove (as of course they would) nought of what
     they appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed
     points of view;
To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by
     my lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while
     holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and
     reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am
     silent, I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of
     identity beyond the grave,
But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

"Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances" by Walt Whitman. Public domain)

Such a timely arrival, having just finished the Mike Flanigan limited series on Netflix.

The horror and "terrible doubt of appearances," of what we do and what we think about what cannot be grasped.

no call to become special

 Tweet by Joan Halifax, 7:40pm, 10/15/2021

How can one meditate & not meditate at the same time? By leaving behind complicated notions of what we are doing on the cushion. In Zen, there is no call to become special. Instead, there is tacit consent to accept our experience of the moment & drop the project of enlightenment.

I’m good with this. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

into your bones

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." 

(— Theresa of Avila, 28 March 1515 —15 October 1582)

it’s not looking good

 There are things to beware.

 October 15 at 10:20 AM ET
 LONDON —  A British lawmaker from the Conservative Party died after being stabbed multiple times in an attack Friday in his home district in southeast England.
Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and recovering a knife and said it was not seeking anyone else.
David Amess, who represented Southend West in Essex, was meeting with constituents when he was assaulted. 

John Lamb, chairman of the local Conservative party told Reuters before the reports of his death that “it’s not looking good” and said emergency workers were trying to stabilize him before moving him from the church auxillary where he was meeting with people from his district.

(—from, British lawmaker dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents, Washington Post)

Sentinel keeps watch as tide goes out.

A new courage is required.

A new time is revealing new dangers.

A new consciousness is now, and exquisitely, necessary. 

no reason to change anything

 Heart doc says recent echocardiogram says everything is ok.

A perfect time to keel over with heart failure.

Isn’t that the way things go?

This contrarian existence!

and justice wears latex gloves

 No reason to expect justice will prevail in holding accountable the former administration for crimes against decency and democracy. 

Such ability to flaunt laws and ethics is, to some, what makes great this ambivalent country.

Tough call. On one hand, reprobates are reprobates. On the other hand, prison sucks.

I come down squarely on the side of law-abiding populace. 

But the impotence of justice to hold reprobates accountable is astounding.

Justice works best against the poor, minorities, or anyone not an elected office-holder with huge fundraising schemes.

Cheer up, mr former chief executive, they’ll never touch you. 

You’re untouchable.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

showering koan

 Life is waiting

on death;

Death is no

longer waiting

on life

till we come to a hard bottom

 Where to begin?

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downwards through the mud and slush of opinion and tradition, and pride and prejudice, appearance and delusion, through the alluvium which covers the globe, through poetry and philosophy and religion, through church and state, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, till we come to a hard bottom that rocks in place which we can call reality and say, This is, and no mistake…

(—Henry David Thoreau)

This is 

A good place.

que dieu nous aide

Increasingly, threats are levied against town councils, school boards, hospital personnel, police, and emt’s in the context of COVID-19 protective measures intended to forestall and minimize harm caused by the virus and its mutations.

It is hard to ignore the stringent rhetoric and overt threats.

Elected figures exacerbate the dangerous tone and menacing innuendo in such a way that is difficult to discern their complicity or acceleration of potential violence and undermining of public good.

It is a curious and uncertain time.

More than that, it is a prefiguring of what is on the horizon for uncivil discourse edging toward national unrest and overt public danger.

No amount or personal or private meditation or practice toward equanimity will shield any individual from the threatening eventuality of menace and misuse of power.

Something dangerous and evil this way comes. 

Que Dieu nous aide!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

in an undertone

Sometimes, sitting still and wondering is all one can do. 

The  is the centerpiece of the daily morning and evening prayer services and is considered by some the most essential prayer in all of Judaism. An affirmation of God’s singularity and kingship, its daily recitation is regarded by traditionally observant Jews as a biblical commandment. 


The first verse of the Shema, from the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, is among the best-known in all of Jewish liturgy. It is recited at the climactic moment of the final prayer of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and traditionally as the last words before death. Traditionally, it is recited with the hand placed over the eyes.

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד

She-ma yisrael,  eloheinu, adonai echad

Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One

This verse is followed by one line of text that is traditionally recited in an undertone:

בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד

Baruch shem kavod malchuto l’olam va-ed

Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever

The remainder of the Shema prayer is taken from three biblical sources:

Deuteronomy 6:5-9:

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽך
וְהָי֞וּ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛ הַיּ֖וֹם עַל־לְבָבֶֽךָ
וְשִׁנַּנְתָּ֣ם לְבָנֶ֔יךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ֖ בָּ֑ם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ֤ בְּבֵיתֶ֙ךָ֙ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ֣ בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ וּֽבְשָׁכְבְּךָ֖ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ
וּקְשַׁרְתָּ֥ם לְא֖וֹת עַל־יָדֶ֑ךָ וְהָי֥וּ לְטֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֶֽיךָ
וּכְתַבְתָּ֛ם עַל־מְזוּזֹ֥ת בֵּיתֶ֖ךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

At other times, sitting still and wondering is all that needs be done.

so what does the one who is say -- (ש)

 Think of it this way:

He who causes to be is

who I am, as is --

what else can I tell you? if

you want more, write a letter

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

just a convenient designation

What we are called is not what we are. 

In the first century Buddhist text the Milinda Pañha, the Indo-Greek king Menander I meets a Buddhist sage and asks his name. The monk replies that his name is Nāgasena, but quickly adds that this is just “a convenient designation, a mere name, this Nāgasena, for there is no self here to be found”.

Menander is bewildered, yet this is in fact a core Buddhist teaching: the doctrine of anatta, ‘no-self ’. The idea here is that selves are, at best, a sort of mere convention. We call each other by the names we’ve been given or chosen, but these names don’t refer to anything substantial. Nāgasena gives the example of the chariot Menander has ridden to the meeting. You can certainly point to, name, and ride a chariot, yet strip each part away, and there is nothing left.There’s no enduring ‘core’ or essence to the chariot. It’s the same, we’re told, with selves.

Scepticism about selves also crops up in western philosophy, starting from David Hume – who claimed that whenever he turned his focus to his own thoughts, “I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.” No self, just thoughts.

There are two ways to think about these no-self claims. One is to see them as a form of reductionism. Selves exist, but only in the way a flock of birds or a football team does. You could list each individual bird or player instead of referring to the whole without losing anything except convenience. Eliminativism is a stronger claim. If reductionists think selves a sort of useful fiction, eliminativists think the self is illusory, a sort of trick played on us by experience or language.

Perhaps that’s a distinction without a difference though. After all, for Buddhists like Nāgasena at least, the whole point is just not to get hung up on the self at all. 

(There Are No Selves, in New Philosopher, ISSUE 33 - SEPTEMBER/NOVEMBER 2021)

If I am no-self, perhaps I belong to the self-at-all. 

the importance of intervention

Slavoj Žižek debating Jordan Peterson references André Glucksmann. I look up Glucksmann:

In his book Dostoyevsky in Manhattan, Glucksmann asserts that nihilism, particularly as depicted by Dostoyevsky in his novels Demons and The Brothers Karamazov, is the 'characteristic form' of modern terrorism. Drawing on Ivan Karamazov's dictum that "If there is no God, everything is permitted", Glucksmann argues that:

The inner nature of nihilistic terrorism is that everything is permissible, whether because God exists and I am his representative, or because God does not exist and I take his place.

His 2006 book Une rage d’enfant is an autobiography which talks about how his experiences as a young Jew in occupied France led to his interest in philosophy and his belief in the importance of intervention:

My style of thinking is to compare what happens on the TV, in the news and so on, and then extract what I can from books of philosophers to understand it. Philosophy for me is like subtitles. The problem comes from current events but the answer is supplied by philosophy.

Glucksmann criticises the notion that Islamic terrorism is a product of the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, arguing that the first victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims:

Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don’t count – whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the West?


We are meant to think about thought, not to be swallowed by it.

(The sound of a burp is heard.)

Excuse me!


not to completely feel is thinking (e.e.cummings)

 Attached to thinking

Today’s  humans trace ideas

Not feeling itself —

There is nothing in thinking

Better expressed by feeling

Monday, October 11, 2021

how one sentence says so much

 "If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal."

   (from, A Universe Not Made For Us {Carl Sagan on religion}).             

to canadian friends

Joyeux Action de Graces!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

living name

 This, on stargazerslounge, after book I’m reading seemed to have a flawed number in preface about how long ago the supposed Big Bang took place.

On 03/02/2013 at 05:27, chiltonstar said: 

IMO, flawed, but the best we have at the moment. The "point of origin" is surely anywhere/everywhere because the Universe was extremely small at the time - we were part of that as is everything else (matter, once it had condensed anyway) in the observable Universe. Chris 

All the sub-atomic particles and later atoms in my body were present in a pinhead singularity right here at the origin of the Big Bang 13.6 billion years ago and in that intervening time everything has expanded away from me. The same applies to you and everything else in the universe - everything once occupied that singularity  :rolleyes:

If so, then the reality is we are expanded from our origin, not separated from it. 

Belief in separation, with subsequent acts of antagonistic violence exemplifying that belief, is what our mythic religions call “ sin.”

But what if blinky-eyed smiley emoji is right, and we are extensions of original singularity, grown diverse and different — but not detached — in our current and contemporary manifestation of existence/essence, as we entropically dim remembrance and recollection of our true nature, true origin, and true inchoate integral relationality within all being?

Does wisdom wait behind recalcitrant knowledge for our arrival at its hospitality?

“We are poor passing facts.
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.”

(― Robert Lowell, in poem “Epilogue”)

Richard Hugo began his poem “Villager” with the words:

“What's wrong will always be wrong.  I've seen him lean

against the house hours and glare at the sea.  His eyes say

no boat will come.”

I love Lowell and Hugo — their words.

I think, off on the squint horizon, there is a boat coming. There is a living name sounding.

We wait on wharves, restless with anticipation, for this sighting and resonance to appear.

no, it is a word

 The impertinent 

Footling politicians think

They own emptiness —

I despair of this culture

Where wisdom cannot be found

shot-blocking the scholarship guy practice

 Sixty years ago

Walk-on college freshman team —

Still have hoop game socks

dream of bill ferris’ watch

 Never belonging

I walk each periphery

Cat's claws on cardboard —

He ran so fast he threw up

No track coach could retain him