Saturday, February 03, 2024

vamos para allá

 We know nothing of God. 


That’s the way to go.

transformation or extinction have been nature’s invariable alternatives

There's more going on than an election year.

Notable beginning: 

“Do you think we’ll need to buy guns?” The student’s question seemed to drop the temperature in the room by several degrees. I was at a dinner with fellow academics, a few college students and a guest speaker who had just delivered an inspiring talk about climate justice.

Sensing confusion, the student clarified: Planetary catastrophe was inevitable in the near term, which means people would soon be living behind walled communities. Since Republicans would be armed, she said, she just wanted to know how to keep the people she cared about safe. The guest speaker took a moment to process this information, then suggested that the student worry more about growing vegetables than about buying guns.

Reading last week's NYTimes opinion page: 

The Czech playwright Karel Capek’s 1920 drama, “R.U.R.,” imagined a future in which artificially intelligent robots wiped out humanity. In a scene that would strike fear into the hearts of Silicon Valley doomers, a character in the play observes: “They’ve ceased to be machines. They’re already aware of their superiority, and they hate us as they hate everything human.” As the A.I. godfather Geoffrey Hinton, who quit his job at Google so he could warn the world about the very technology he helped create, explained, “What we want is some way of making sure that even if” these systems are “smarter than us, they’re going to do things that are beneficial for us.”


In 1928, H.G. Wells published a book titled, “The Way the World Is Going,” with the modest subtitle, “Guesses and Forecasts of the Years Ahead.” In the opening pages, he offered a summary of his age that could just as easily have been written about our turbulent 2020s. “Human life,” he wrote, “is different from what it has ever been before, and it is rapidly becoming more different.” He continued: “Perhaps never in the whole history of life before the present time, has there been a living species subjected to so fiercely urgent, many-sided and comprehensive a process of change as ours today. None at least that has survived. Transformation or extinction have been nature’s invariable alternatives. Ours is a species in an intense phase of transition.” Much turns, as the novelist well knew, on that ambiguous final word. Both transformation and extinction are transitions, after all.

Wells once quipped that after he died, his epitaph should read: “I told you so. You damned fools.” He went out of his way to note that the italics were his choice, and the emphasis suggests that we might understand him to mean “damned” not just in the vernacular but also in the older sense of the word: The human species is condemned, a gaggle of fated fools that will inevitably follow our machines off that final precipice. Wells died in August 1946, a year after another of his uncanny predictions, the atomic bomb, was released on two Japanese cities, heralding the nuclear age. We have every reason to believe he went to his final rest sure that he was right. Perhaps he was even grateful that he had been spared the consumption of human civilization in atomic fire.

Yet even as the author’s words remain prescient, returning to such warnings a century later provides something akin to hope, maybe even optimism. We are living in the very world that many in the 1920s already saw coming. But we’re also doing something they could not have predicted: surviving it. At least for now.  


(-- from The 100-Year Extinction Panic Is Back, Right on ScheduleBy Tyler Austin Harper, Mr. Harper is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Bates College, Jan. 26, 2024, NYTimes)

 I'm sorry I might not be around for the end of history. I have a nap to take.



Is it permitted to refer to history?

The Nakba, which means “catastrophe” in Arabic, refers to the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Before the Nakba, Palestine was a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. However, the conflict between Arabs and Jews intensified in the 1930s with the increase of Jewish immigration, driven by persecution in Europe, and with the Zionist movement aiming to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.

In November 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution partitioning Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem under a UN administration. The Arab world rejected the plan, arguing that it was unfair and violated the UN Charter. Jewish militias launched attacks against Palestinian villages, forcing thousands to flee. The situation escalated into a full-blown war in 1948, with the end of the British Mandate and the departure of British forces, the declaration of independence of the State of Israel and the entry of neighbouring Arab armies. The newly established Israeli forces launched a major offensive. The result of the war was the permanent displacement of more than half of the Palestinian population.

(--United Nations, The Question of Palestine

Refer, yes, while we still can. 

a desert beyond language

We are on the side of existence, not on the side of abstract thinking. That's what Merton said. Then, about the contemplative: 

"... he who has risked his mind in the desert beyond language." (--Thomas Merton, draft letter, 1967, request from Vatican for thoughts on contemplative life)

Today at the snow bowl the toboggan nationals. Time measurements up to one hundredth of a second will be recorded as rumbling wood and yelling participants screech down shute on to Hosmer ice finally thick enough to hold the weight.  

At Friday evening conversation we speak about Diana Walsh Pasulka and her work on religion and ufo/uap phenomena in her 2019 book American Cosmic, her newer book Encounters: Experiences With Nonhuman Intelligences (2023).

A vibrant conversation among eight there. A dizzying exploration about the new religion, transhistorical, multidimensional, post-temporal post-spatial reality, where what we have blithely called God according to our categories and concepts, no longer suffices and must be transcended in order to face and engage what we have called the real. I have no idea what the implications are. It was Friday conversation. Andree's been reading Pasulka. We happily skated that pond.

  I began to study the topic of UFOs/UAPs somewhat by accident. My field is religious studies and my focus within that is Catholic history and miraculous events. In my field, we study religion academically, which means that we are looking at things like the social effects of religion, etc. As professors of religious studies, our beliefs, whether atheists or members of religious traditions, do not influence what we study. We are historians, archeologists, social scientists. We are not priests or ministers (generally). We don’t advocate for any religious tradition.

This is how I came to the study of UFOs. I had finished a long study of the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. I used a lot of archival records to do this study, which means that I went to libraries of old manuscripts (archives) and looked at records from 1300 on up to about 1880. That is a long-time span, but I was just looking for what Europeans from those time periods believed about Purgatory.

I found a lot of information, and a lot of what I would call extra information. I saw a lot of records of reported aerial sightings. People saw orbs, discs, and basically things that surprised them, flying around in the skies. I took note of these. I found that when they saw them, they recorded a process of trying to identify these objects. Often, they would think that these were souls from Purgatory that needed to be prayed back into Purgatory. I thought that the sightings were interesting, so I kept notes.

When my book about Purgatory was finished, I showed a friend some of these records. He looked at them and immediately thought of UFOs! I thought he was crazy. This was in 2012. Then, there was a UFO conference near me, and based on my friend’s suggestion, I attended it. There, I heard people talking about aerial phenomena and describing the same experiences described by European Catholics of the past. I then began to study modern reports of UFOs.

(--UFOs and Aliens Are (Probably) Not What You Think: An Interview with Diana Walsh Pasulka, by Rod Dreyer, Nov.2023)

Merton's contemplative person practices the prayer of attending and gazing through what is here/there in silence with open heart/mind. 

It is a desert beyond language.

See you there!

Friday, February 02, 2024

well then, where do we go now

 Beginningless beginnings and endless endings.

Dropping time and space, no history.

Dimensions within dimensions—

Everything seen anew

Everything has changed

Thursday, February 01, 2024

at every moment

At the shop on Saturday afternoons we read poetry. One man, a psychologist, loved to read Pessoa. 

Found this one today.

I don’t know how many souls I have.

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.

Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey -
Various, mobile, and alone. 
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.

That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading 
What I thought I felt. 
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.

Thirteen years of Saturday poetry.  

Weren’t we lucky!


 Today is the last day of the first day of my life.

Should I wake tomorrow, it will be the first day of the last day of my life.

You see, I'm not sure that death is any different than life. Nor whether life is any different than death.

"Life" and "death" are merely two ways of spelling the same reality.

If you see it this way, say "drop dead". If you don't see it this way, say "good morning, good life to you".

Either way, try not to be confused.

Let us hold one another in heart and mind throughout.

citizens of the universe

Put simply: 

“Contemplation enlarges not only the objects of our thoughts, but also the objects of our actions and our affections: it makes us citizens of the universe, not only of one walled city at war with all the rest.”⁣   (--Bertrand Russell, in The Problems of Philosophy,) cf. 

Let it sit awhile. 

gringo reaper watching ocean rising, a bit ago

Friend surveys storm creep

over Camden Landing -- lone

grim reaper, mid-slosh 

(a few weeks ago)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

you have to find a way out

Someone spoke of two conversations with two people both of whom were asking about their interest in their own suicide.

We listen, as we are asked to do, to the telling of her experience of the two conversations.

Listening is what the heart does. The mind, in contrast, tries to solve. 

The phenomenon of death is one of the most 

mysterious and so is the phenomenon of suicide. 

Don’t decide from the surface what suicide is. It can 

be many things. My own understanding is that peo- 

ple who commit suicide are the most sensitive peo- 

ple in the world, very intelligent. Because of their 

sensitivity, because of their intelligence, they find it 

difficult to cope with this neurotic world. 

The society is neurotic. It exists on neurotic 

foundations. Its whole history is a history of mad- 

ness, of violence, war, destruction. Somebody says, 

“My country is the greatest country in the world” – 

now this is neurosis. Somebody says, “My religion is 

the greatest and the highest religion in the world” – 

now this is neurosis. And this neurosis has gone to 

the very blood and to the bones, and people have be- 

come very, very dull, insensitive. They had to be- 

come, otherwise life would be impossible. 

You have to become insensitive to cope with this 

dull life around you; otherwise you start falling out of 

tune. If you start falling out of tune with the society, 

the society declares you mad. The society is mad, but 

if you are not in adjustment with it, it declares you 

mad. So you either have to go mad, or you have to 

find a way out of the society; that’s what suicide is. 

Life becomes intolerable. It seems impossible to 

cope with so many people around you – and they are 

all insane. What will you do if you are thrown into an insane asylum?    


(--from, Next Time You Feel Suicidal… instead, live and celebrate your life in your own way, Osho. From a series of OSHO Talks titled: The Heart Sutra, #4)

So much of the news seems like clinical reports from an insane asylum. Like being stuck in a dream, it is hard to figure why someone doesn't just do what is necessary to resolve the meshugina of the situation of our lives or the bad dreams we feel contained within.

No need for suicide.

Just to wake up.

Take a step.

Go on.

Stay with us.

no-trace continues endlessly

 Still the octave of Dogen Zenji's birthday, 26jan1200.  ありがとう, Arigatō, Thank you!

  “Before one studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.”        --Dōgen

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”               ― Dōgen

Today the birthday of Thomas Merton, 31jan1915. Merci, moine, Thank you. monk!

The Merton Prayer

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,

though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

“The Merton Prayer” from Thoughts in Solitude Copyright © 1956, 1958

Two wandering friends of meetingbrook. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

kind of goofy

Are you not teaching anymore? Someone asked.

Not at the moment. I replied.

Are you not?

I am not.

Why not?

I'm not sure.

Not sure of what?

I think, I said, it has something to do with space.


Yes, space. Space and academics. And attachment. And detachment. 

 The Academic Sigh

                BY RUSSELL EDSON 


Some students were stretching a professor on a medieval torture rack. He had offered himself to show them how an academic might be stretched beyond his wildest dreams like a piece of chewing gum.

         And as they turned the wheel the professor was getting longer and longer.

         Don’t make me too long, or I’ll look kind of goofy, sighed the professor as he grew longer and longer.

         Suddenly something snaps.

         What happened? sighs the professor from the rack.

         We were just stretching an academic when suddenly something snapped; you may have heard it ...

         Yes, I was there. Don’t you remember? sighs the professor.

         And then we heard an academic sigh ...

         Yes, I heard it, too, sighs the professor, it seemed to come from the rack where I was being stretched beyond my wildest dreams like a piece of chewing gum ... 


--“The Academic Sigh” from The Tormented Mirror: Poems by Russell Edson © 2001.

And maybe even the diminishing of cognition when extrapolated with blue sky, white snow, cold temperatures, and yellow finches on yellow feeder by extended green yew branches. 

our world

I might never leave my house again. 

 Israeli forces dressed in doctors’ scrubs and women’s clothes have killed three Palestinian militants in an undercover operation in a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

A border police counter-terrorism unit and a unit from the internal security forces, known as the Shin Bet, entered Ibn Sina hospital on the outskirts of the city’s refugee camp early on Tuesday, CCTV footage of the aftermath of the operation showed.

The units made their way to a room on the third floor and shot all three men in the head using pistols fitted with silencers, in an attack that took less than 10 minutes from start to finish, Israeli media said.

A staff member who saw the attack told the Israeli daily Haaretz that only a few of the forces entered the room and shot the wanted persons; the others spread out over the hospital and the main entrance to prevent any disturbance. Israel’s military did not provide details on how the three were killed.

Except for chocolate donuts.

And then, under cloak of serious disguise. 

parla adesso

 go ahead

say it


love you --

has anything


olly olly oxen free

 what's in a name --

naming makes visible

"what is" is in a name

hearing is seeing

adiutorium nostrum in nomine domini

qui fecit caelum et terram

our help is in the name

which makes heaven and earth

hmmm -- what then, no name

no anything --

shhh -- if we are silent

are we nowhere to be found --

Monday, January 29, 2024

a deceiver's bag of tricks

A second book, J.F.K. Has Been Shot by Charles A. Crenshaw M.D. -- the intimate account of the trauma-room surgeon who administered to President Kennedy at Parkland Hospital in Texas on 22Nov63. 

I listen to it with deep interest. 

Sixty plus years later. 

Assassins and shadowy characters.

It occurs to me that history is not contained and limited by time. Like Heidegger's notion of retrieving a thought or event from its original inception to our present perception, the event is contemporaneous to my current consciousness. 

I am there in Dealey Plaza, at Parkland Hospital, in trauma room. I am at my locker in Callicoon NY listening to someone's voice saying Kennedy has been shot.

What we call truth is not mere opinion or rationalization, it is not authoritative argument or official proclamation.

Truth belongs to itself.

Many thought Gandhi had the formula backwards when he said "Truth is God." He didn't. He was right.

Hence the effort throughout history to hide God, to manufacture God, to make obscene caricatures and self-serving resemblances of God.

Truth belongs to Itself.

As truth is, God is. 

Hence, beware of idolators, heretics. atheists, and antichrists. And these, not as the Church would contemn, but as creation would tsk-tsk. 

Truth is

we live with 

falsehood --

(a deceiver's 

bag of tricks) --


hold truth

close --

as one

would a

dear child.

monk without choir

 In my other life

I wander house at 3:45am

With chitta cat sidling

Wood into stove

Snow falling on yew

Sunday, January 28, 2024

encourage (no lie)




huh, 🤔





quóniam invocávi te

She was uncertain what to choose on her mychart profile -- Buddhist? or Catholic? There wasn't a selection for 'Both'.

I reminded her of Michael Harrington's "Cultural Catholic" insight matching "Cultural Jew" designation. One might not be a practicing member of an official religion, but one retains the cultural memory and unbegrudging connection to whatever meaning and beauty remains despite the torn and unseemly residual character of any formal institution. 


Illúmina fáciem tuam super servum tuum,

    Shine your face upon your servant.  

et salvum me fac in tua misericórdia:

    Save me in your mercy. 

Dómine, non confúndar,

    Do not let me be confounded, Lord,  

quóniam invocávi te.

    for I have called upon you. 

 Where does my prayer go these days?

"...I have called upon you."

You -- you, and you.

Am I now praying to, for, and with you as my compass needle shifts to a more horizontal and inner precation?

 I wonder if I am a Cultural American? No longer an affectionate practitioner in the set and soiled institutions mired in integrity-deprivation and dealing. Still, a residual affection and pride for the good efforts of good men and women throughout America's history to secure fairness and justice for its citizens while remaining a beacon to individuals and governments worldwide.

There are forces in all three branches of government that give every appearance of no longer subscribing to America's original inspiration and current need.

Calling upon the "Lord" has changed for me.

Once the geographical glance went upward to some theological heaven wherein the almighty godhead could be petitioned to intervene in the business of human disparity and delusion to set things straight for us in our confusion and contorted desires.

Now, a different orientation. What was it that upset the mapping compass of prayer? Was it quantum physics? Jungian psychology? Consciousness research? The ascendency of advaita vedanta? The arrival of teachers such as Watts, Tolle, Spira, Suzuki, and Merton? Was it the social breakdown of decency and mores? Or the realization that money has replaced the divine with a despotic manipulation of greed, anger, and delusion into personal and corporate wealth brooking no other way but power and possession?

Where does my prayer go these days?

"...I have called upon you."

You -- you, and you.

Am I now praying to, for, and with you as my compass needle shifts to a more horizontal and inner precation?

[There seems to be an echo!]

(Yes, precation, not precaution.)

And is my prayer/plea for a more wholesome energy to flow through each of us? Is this prayer based on a suspicion/belief that, at root, the logos/energy at core of existence is, in-itself, a viable and veritional force of benefice and benignity for and through all creation?

To let what-is-true become what-is-apparent and what-is-effective/efficient.

For this, I pray.