Friday, December 18, 2015

The Origin of the Universe

There cannot be an infinite series of conditioned realities. A conditioned reality is a reality which is dependent on other things (component parts) for its existence. A hydrogen atom is a conditioned reality, because protons and electrons must exist for hydrogen atoms to exist. Since matter cannot be infinitely small, and since motion arises from the bottom of the component layers, there must be an ultimate bottom--an unconditioned reality. This ultimate reality generated the universe from itself. I have no reason to believe this ultimate reality is merciful, loving, angry, or conscious. However, I believe this unconditioned reality facilitates collective consciousness, and it may be possible for the patterns of our consciousness to be uploaded to this essence, this unconditioned reality, and transferred to other parts of the cosmos. Evidence for this lies in the fact that particles may "pop into and out of existence." It is not logically coherent to say that particles ACTUALLY cease to exist then come back into existence. Many aspects of the universe are counterintuitive, but since mathematics can be used to quantify the universe, and mathematics is never logically incoherent, then the universe is not logically incoherent.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Confusion

The only confusion worth caring for is the kind that leads you away from yourself into the mortar of contemplation where only the mind mixes.  I speak this disaster with ease, wanting to share only the secret of my bewilderment, leaving the details of life between us.  It must be different for everyone.  The mystery, in any case, is what we comprehend.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Independence

Independence falls on a continuum. I was more independent at the age of five than I was at the age of five months. And I am more independent now than I was at the age of five years. I'm not sure how independence relates to free will, but it is definitely something to think about and something I may be writing on in more detail later. Of course, in old age a person has a second childhood because of the effects of aging and dementia.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nature, Confusion, etc.

Nature never confuses me. I've never been confused by a flock of geese or a lake or a beehive. Only humans confuse me. And come to think of it, I've never seen a dog confused by another dog unless the other dog is acting in an unnatural way that a human has instilled.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Art and Death

Art in one sense is the opposite of death. We come to it. It doesn't come to us. It is a fountain we come to drink from. Any attempt which has palatability at its center is doomed to fail.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Faith

Life is a process of acting with no proven certainty that our actions will turn out the results we want. If that doesn't involve faith I don't know what does. No matter what group you belong to this faith is venerated and applauded.

Often, we bind ourselves not so much to acts as to the outcomes we expect to transpire because of the acts we perform.  What we desire is not always what we expect.   

Cliche

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I'm sure the road to heaven is paved with good decisions.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Abstract Reasons

Every part of the orchid is needed, not just the bloom. We need more philosophers, more artists, more people willing to do the hard jobs. The emphasis on science is good, but it must be backed by philosophy and art. Without a reason for doing what we do, whatever it is, the action is not grounded in reason. Without the abstract reasons the concrete actions are performed without life and zest, and ultimately the mission fails.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Upanishads

How do we embody the transcendent and the immanent? We recognize them first. Sunlight is transcendent because it covers the earth and passes through millions of miles to reach us. When love rises above distraction it is transcendent, because it covers all we see and suffuses everything that distracted us from it. All this is within us manifesting itself as a river flowing out of us. This is the immanent.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Response to a Question Concerning Mythology

The screaming babies are the reason Noah gets drunk. He has no choice about them, because, according to the story, God is the one who shuts the door to the ark. Part of the lesson may be that we are powerless in the face of divine action. But I think a better lesson is that sometimes we have to take a stand even if no one joins us. As far as being "socially unacceptable" goes, there are other more plausible stories, such as when the Buddha comes upon a man who is grieving the loss of his only son who died the previous night. The Buddha simply goes up to the man and says, "If you had not been so attached to your son you would not now be suffering." Then there's the story of Jesus walking with his disciples and suddenly saying, "Eat my flesh and drink my blood. For my flesh is true meat and my blood true drink." I don't think either of them was right, but I guess the lesson is that sometimes we have to be brazen. Noah saves his family so they can repopulate the earth. Myths are often violent, indicating that there is an uncontrollable aspect to existence. In that sense, if they weren't violent they would not be accurate.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Motives and Desires

Motive is constructed.  Desire arrises.  I have no unconscious motives.  I have unconscious desires.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mythology

The story of Noah is a great human myth, because after he does the great deed he gets drunk. Mythology illustrates and elucidates truths in ways that enter us deeply and would be otherwise forgotten. Mythology provides context for the features of our psyche, and the context provided is the larger mind of all of us. Samuel Johnson noted that one of the primary purposes of literature is to remind us of things we need to be reminded of, and Aristotle was right about catharsis.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sight

You can't say that you see it if it isn't seen.

A Psychology Experiment

I've thought of a good experiment. Take 100 people of roughly the same intelligence level with the same skill set, let them sleep in a room which is so hot they can barely fall asleep, and record their dreams. Then repeat this experiment with the same group at different room temperatures. Also, have a control group of 100 people with the same characteristics sleep each night in a room with an average agreed level of relative comfort.  Have both groups sleep in the same kind of bed.  Then compare the vividness, distress or euphoria, and length of the different dreams and see if any similarities or dissimilarities arose between the settings. What do you think?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Physics Question

As an object accelerates toward the speed of light to what degree is the decrease in the size of the object inversely proportional to the increase in the mass of the object?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Last In, First Out

Deleted.

Talking to Crows

My friend, Sam, told me he had a Native American friend who talks to crows.  I thought this was a good idea, so I started doing it myself.  I think the crows enjoy it.  I also wrote a poem about it, and I wanted to say I got the idea from Native Americans.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Question Concerning Consciousness

If intelligence increases does awareness necessarily increase with it? Is the increase proportional?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Poetry Educates Perception

Poetry educates perception. The reading of poetry enriches both the deepest visual and auditory sense, which might be described as an overlapping of the senses. The writing of poetry, when criticism is used and skill is invoked as a means of expressing the visions of the world and the auditory ramblings of the wind, among other things, enhances first the ability to discern a text. When I was a Christian I would often read the verse in the Gospels which said, "If your eye is evil your whole body will be full of darkness" as "If your eye is evil your whole soul will be full of darkness." But at the age of 31 I noticed what I was doing wrong. I noticed that I was misreading based on an assumption that the text said something it didn't.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Form and Substance

Form is not separate from substance, but the two are distinct, and the distinction is not merely in the mind.

Unthinking Concentration

Unthinking concentration is attention that no longer has any one object in mind.  It is like looking through water while submerged and absorbing everything into sight without considering any one object, but effortlessly considering (though with no agitation) the whole or perceiving the clarity of the water itself without focusing on any one object.  But this isn't a blank stare, because a blank stare is simply a loss of focus after focusing on one object.  I think this is what the Japanese mean by no-mind.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Wicker Basket

A person is like a wicker basket that a potter lined with clay.  The potter puts the wicker basket lined with clay in the fire to harden the clay and the wicker burns away.  But the bowl retains the shape of the basket.

Gratitude

Thank you for fasting.

Suffering

Better to find the heart of suffering than to avoid it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A New Medical Occupation

I propose having a medical specialist who specializes in giving referrals.  This person would have medical training but would not be a doctor.  This would free up doctors to do more important things, it would create a new occupation, and it would make it easier and quicker to get a referral, not to mention cheaper for the consumer.

The Beautiful

We love the beautiful because it is good. Its goodness is enriched by our love.

Eternity Today

If we live slowly we notice the eternity in today. If we live too quickly we do not hear eternity as we pass it.

Hamlet's Father

The Ghost of Hamlet's father sets the entire play into motion.  And he keeps Hamlet from harassing his mother.  The ghost only speaks twice.  Yet we know the ghost must "fast in fires."  He suffers more than any other character.  Imagine a huge verdant planet with twenty moons.  This is Hamlet, but that planet revolves around a star we never see.  No one mentions Kronos, but without him there would be no Zeus.  We need a Kronos in contemporary theatre.  But, of course, Hamlet's father is the opposite of Kronos.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Now

No matter how much you change you can only become yourself.

Justice

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among them being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I will add, among them, the pursuit of truth.  Because everything is made of the essence, because the essence interacts with consciousness to produce our soul, because justice is the cornerstone of human evolution, we are all equal under that law.  No one is inherently greater or less than anyone else.  All babies are born with equal souls, and no one will be given special privileges under the law.  This is the only system that works.  In order for the human race to have enough genetic diversity there must be a great variety of minds.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dependent Arising

When this arises, that arises.  When this becomes, that becomes.  When the heart moves, the eyes water.  When the mind is aroused, the body responds. The crying of the eyes is full of the moving of the heart. The arousal of the body is full of the excitement of the mind.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Reason as Unreal Motive

                                               
Today when reason is discussed it is almost always assumed that the speaker is referring to either logical inference or scientific deduction (or logical deduction or scientific inference).  This is, of course, often limited by what we are bound to believe.  In many cases, to prove is no more to convince than to convince is to prove.  If you don’t believe this, try to change someone’s mind about something he holds dear.  But I am sure the reader is wiser than that.  Surely that’s so.  If there is no truth, there is no proof.  I can only use reason if I can argue for or against something.  As W. B. Yeats said, “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”
In this sense reason is a way of determining what is real or unreal, but what is true or false may not suffer us.  And it must be pointed out that the unreal can be true while the real can be false.  Dreams are unreal in an aesthetic sense but real in an emotional sense, but they are always palpable.  Often in my dreams I find a tiny dime that is dated 10,000 years in the future.  That is unreal, but it is a true portrayal of my inner state of striving.  My poetry is the little dime.  I’m always trying to see what it is worth.  The quest to see what it is worth is greater than the quest to spend it and there is no plan on selling it.
Today the common appreciation of poetry and mythology suffers.  It always has.  We lag behind ourselves in what we know by limiting ourselves to what we can know.  Are the statements that make up a poem true or false?  I write my story / so deep in myself / no one can hear it / in my voice.  Writing a good poem means writing not what I want to write, but what I cannot expect.  There seems to be a lack of appreciation for what is unreal and what the unreal means in real terms.  This goes so far in our way of thinking that the lessons unreality exacts from us are no longer understood, so that our minds can no longer evaluate our lives in unreal, carnal terms.  Only the trite-carnal sells.  Disgust has become commodity, repugnance cliché.  The unreal constitutes a voice that is always drowning within us.  But it cannot die.  All one can do is separate his daylight hours from his dreaming hours, marking himself as the target of his own dreaming protests. 
Reality and unreality are meaningful in the same sense and by the same standard.  They appeal to the same person in the same mind, which is memory.  I seek refuge in the past because it is where I always am.  I know I can find myself there.  This is where reality and unreality come from.  Always, the past is present as the context of every fixed desire which sits in judgment of our actions.

Often I feel that a dream is the subconscious mind's way of saying, "This is what it's like for me!"  Sometimes the subconscious is so delighted the conscious mind marvels, after waking, at how it is able to achieve such superb heights, how it unravels the world in a way in which cogency is shape, color and feeling.  Likewise, the gasping for air reveals itself as a piece of history which we feel should disable our waking lives, if only we were more in touch with whatever is upsetting us. 
But reason is more than deduction and inference.  If I want to eat something then I have a reason for eating it.  In this case reason is motive.  Having a reason to carry on is, after all, much more important than having a correct perception of reality.  My reason for living is who I am.  This cannot be divorced from my sense of real and unreal.  What I need from reality I acquire from unreality in the form of an aspiration that must be unattainable to be valuable.
The unattainable aspiration is the proverbial carrot dangled in front of the ass I’m riding that draws him along the path either to the precipice of a mountain or to the marketplace.  The ass cannot be allowed to reach the carrot, but must maintain the delusion that it can reach it.  This requires some skill on behalf of the rider.  But ultimately I am both the rider and the ass.  Tempting myself is easy for me even if I know I am doing it.  This is all ambition is.  It requires a sleight of hand and an ease of self-deception.  The reason for continuing this way is now the primary reason for existence.  How on earth can this be reason?
If I am true to what moves me I can be carried on for my entire life.  My reason for living can manifest its own searching mind that I am both conscious and unconscious of.  I have the obligation to know but not the right to believe, or something along those lines.  Other people I pass seem to gather what I am about but not what I am after.  There is a goal ahead, but that goal is ill-informed by the goal of attaining the carrot.  I balance the ultimate goal with the carrot goal.  I do the math.  Reason is nowhere to be found.
All the while something in me is crying out at less than a whisper.  I hear this voice in friends and enemies, in kindness and rudeness.  I must continue.  I must unlearn the habits that slow me. I must remember my manners among the locals.  I must decipher the reasons for manners, otherwise I have no hope of ever learning them.   

One hopes his beliefs are true.  He certainly lives as if they are.  By hoping he makes a place for himself among the ruined party favors of the world, where each person enacts a fantasy to own his own place and find his place preoccupied with whatever he needs.  A life which is not visible or audible cannot be examined.  It cannot even be exhumed.  It must be resurrected.  A voice which is not heard cannot be followed. 

The Three Most Apparent Forms of Awareness



I can demonstrate and define the three most apparent forms of awareness in nature with this paper.

  1. What is commonly called intelligence is conscious functional awareness.  This type of awareness manifests itself as the ability to use tools, the ability to solve problems, and the ability to produce things.  
  2. Unconscious functional awareness: This type of awareness informs functional awareness via the subconscious.  A thought may occur or a feeling may slowly arise.  Another manifestation may be the ability to perform a function without thinking.  A slug may use this form of awareness to avoid a salty patch.  
  3. Conscious non-functional awareness: This may take the form of a dream or fantasy, which has no direct practical function, but may provide information which is useful for other extended means or may be cathartic.


This is a very brief summary of the three most apparent types of awareness.  It is noteworthy that Darwin claimed that the thoughts of chimps differed from human thoughts only in degree and not in type.  I think it is probable that there is at least one exception to this.  I do not believe chimps can grasp logical necessity on even the most basic level.  If i said: All fish are animals.  All animals breathe oxygen.  Therefore all fish breathe oxygen.  —I do not think chimps would be able to grasp the logical necessity of this very simple syllogism, which may mean they cannot grasp logical necessity at all.  This is, of course, an unproven assertion.  But if chimps could not grasp logical necessity that would be a difference in the kind of thinking rather than just a matter of degree.  I also doubt that chimps have ever asked whether God exists.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It is the largest empires, the largest conglomerates, which have done the most damage.  Armenia and Portugal do the least damage.  God only knows how bad it would be if we had a one-world government.

Being

Take the wheels off an oxcart and it may not be an oxcart any longer.  But if you chop my arms off I will still be myself.

Metamodernism, part 2

Metamodernism is fiercely personal and therefore fiercely public. It takes away as much as it gives, but what it gives is not what it takes away. It isn't about the siege. It is the siege. It becomes tender because it has to be confrontational. We both grew up in an age that gave us no choice between savagery and peace. The only choice lay in severity and flavor of purpose--Pearl Jam or Nirvana. For me the choice was a no brainer. But the flavor of a singer's disquiet was what I could never express outside myself, so I subsumed the world that everyone might get it.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Heroines

There is a whole class of heroines in this country's history who outshine the heroes: Those women who were raped by men who said they owned them, who carried the baby for nine months with the utmost care and caution, who gave birth, who raised the child with all the love in their hearts, who worked to provide for their families, and who had to watch as their child was beaten by a man who would not acknowledge his own progeny.  I can't think of greater love than this.  I can only imagine the self-sacrifice that gives everything for a child in a world that punishes you for loving and allows no reward for kindness except the gratitude of a young man who stands in awe of your joy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Opinion

As long as I commit no immoral acts with my belief I can believe whatever I want.  Philosophy should never overstep its bounds by saying that I am obligated to believe or think anything which has no moral consequences.  If my belief or even my actions are amoral, no one has reasonable grounds for telling me I should abstain from believing or even doing what I want.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Aphorisms

At their best, the ancient sages told us what was good, true, beautiful, wholesome, righteous, remarkable. They showed us what was false. At their worst they told us how to live.

Something is infinitely better than nothing.

We can't go back, but maybe we can start over.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Could This Mean Anything? (Physics)

If I had four values, then used this method to determine a solution, then divided that solution by four, would there be any case in which that one last solution, that value, would be a common attribute of the four variables I used in the original problem?  Maybe if there were four quantities somehow attributed to the four fundamental forces of existence, the end result would tell us something that was common to each force.

A Soap Opera (poem)

A Soap Opera
When Jim noticed his wife’s face,
straight as a stripper and hotter
than down in July, he committed
to a cloister.
He was still in his navel
when his wife met him again.
She was dressed in soot
and trotting like a primrose.
But the crust in his eyes
started to flake, and he couldn’t
see the ocean through his window.
Then his wife’s Samsonite
gave way, and she started to slap him.
But a man named Hillock
walked into their room.
(His hair was curly, of course.)

By this time his wife was back in Dallas.
She knew he’d never sell the house.

Joel Fry

Love as Vocation

You can do just about anything you want to do, if only you have enough time.  We work long and hard in America.  Maybe if we could work less we could achieve more (unless you are already doing what you love).  The younger generation should prepare for having more free time and make that time for themselves by earning it.  If I give money to a needy person I free myself from bonds.  This frees the mind from guilt and frees it to work at what I love.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Tank Cell

A tank cell would be a microorganism that has a segmented cell wall with a cell membrane as the inner lining of the wall so the protoplasm could not escape through the cracks.  The pieces of cell wall would look like broken pottery.  It would roll from place to place like a tank absorbing sunlight to perform photosynthesis.  It would be a mobile plant cell.

An Psychology Experiment

Here's a good experiment: Take a person with an IQ of 60 and ask him to describe his favorite sound. Then ask him why he likes it. Do the same thing with other people, each 10 IQ points apart and compare the data. If you wish to do this I would like to be personally involved.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Metamodernism in Poetry

Metamodernism's greatest success is that it describes the land point blank rather than describe a map or a topographical description of a map. It's weakest point can sometimes be that it pans rather than delve. Panning can be great, but if everyone is panning the genera becomes homogeneous quickly. I'm not accusing anyone of shallowness. Shallowness tends to a lack of detail. Imagism is best at describing the land broken, "a heap of broken images." But I think it has a tendency to treat the unbroken land as if its broken. Is it easier for the knight errant who grew up in an atomized society (not to mention as a part of the state that protects that society) to become lost in an unbroken or broken land?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Consciousness Related to Goals

It is necessary at some point to determine whether animals or even humans have a goal in mind or not. If a human has a goal in mind, the outcome of his actions will be dependent on how clearly that goal is defined as well as how well the possibility of attaining it is perceived. Sparrows have very small brains, but in order for a sparrow to get from one tree to the next tree (if it sees the next tree) it must have some "idea" of where it is going. But it would make no evolutionary sense for a sparrow to retain an expansive memory of every place it had been all the previous day. That would be unnecessary information. But in the event that a sparrow flies from a branch and flies 300 yards away, I doubt it would have the mental ability to perceive the final outcome of its flight.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Here's a poem I recently had published in Iodine Poetry Journal.  I hope you enjoy reading it:

The Woods at The End of The Suburb
The wind gropes toward something unknown
that cannot be specified by touch, a shift
in the trees followed by a glance that recognizes
but does not discern.  The buffets of breeze tell a story
of how a body bends and folds, waxing with warmth.
New days are pictures of old days when rain came
from nowhere to infiltrate the earth with nourishment,
to chill the dying year that swept the land into the gulley.
The ground holds a creeping cry in soft soil where worms
break the surface to be devoured by robins.  The world
comes here complete.  The suburb ends in a careful
detour of wooded fields no axe or saw has breached
in a century.  The quiet here is a light at the end of August
that brightens the barely-moving array of weeds and thistles.
This must be some land owner’s worry that summons him
in sleep or keeps him bothered at work.  The industry of every
crevice fixes his mind on selling the old place: bottomland
no one wants, too boggy to build a house.  My delight
is not his concern.  I pass unnoticed into the night, indiscernible
even to myself, emerging from his private forest with a thought
of how brilliance dies without leaving the mind, how the voices
stay where they settle.

(Published in Iodine Poetry Journal.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Value of Truth

Always and forever we are told to seek the truth in all matters.  But there is rarely a reason given for this.  If the reason for seeking the truth is to live in harmony with reality, to navigate reality, fine.  But it may be argued that what people really want is happiness, even if that means floating on a carpet above reality.  What would be the value of living in harmony with reality if doing so made one miserable?  It would have to be asserted that living in harmony with reality is more important than happiness.  But one could go a step further: Authenticity--the need to be true to oneself--is a deeper layer of living in harmony with reality.  In this case, the true self can be found only in the true reality.  I not only navigate reality, I navigate myself to arrive at reality.

Let us assume that this navigation of true reality via the true self is superior to happiness.  "Happiness" is rooted in the root "hap," as in "happenstance."  So the basic premise of happiness is that it is the result of chance.  Joy, on the other hand, is attained or given as a boon.  Joy has a deeper level of satisfaction and stability than happiness.  There is a recognition in joy of having either arrived at a desired outcome (and usually a deserved outcome) or of being loved.  This recognition is absent in happiness. 

But does joy derive from truth?  I will say there is a type of joy which can only derive from having arrived at the truth of a matter.  For example, if I pursue a relationship, and I discover that the other person loves me--if that is the truth of the matter, I may, and probably will, feel great joy.  This is my treasure hidden in a field, which I have bought with my life.  The truth of this love has met a great need.  The recognition of this validation is redemptive, and redemption is miles beyond happiness.  It lies in the realization of a hope which can only be incorporated into my life by an objective need being met--objective, because it makes me objectively a better person, more useful to myself and to others.  But more than that, it means I matter deeply to someone else.

Here is a problem we all have.  It is a good problem, let's assume.  If I hold a belief system, say Christianity, and I discover that Jesus is not the Messiah, I will naturally be troubled.  I will immediately try to reverse this realization by buttressing my faith with some arguments that might reinforce my old belief that Jesus is the Messiah.  But why would this trouble me?  Can't I simply choose what I believe?  I cannot.  As a human being I am automatically inclined to believe the truth.  This is why so many religious people have a hard time retaining their faith.  But this is an absolutely amazing faculty!  We are all, or almost all as far as I know, troubled when we face evidence that contradicts what we believe.  This means that we all, or almost all, intrinsically care deeply about the truth.  But why?  What sort of evolutionary advantage does believing the truth hold?

In the case of navigating a hunter-gatherer life, believing something false about the world could quickly mean death.  We have carried this concern for truthfulness into everything.  It even covers metaphysics.  As we grow in our knowledge we grow in our concern.  In fact, knowledge without concern is useless.  We can only know in proportion to how much concern we possess.

In the case of we humans as hunter-gatherers, we have all made the mistake of living.  There is, in fact, a lion in the bush very close to us.  To the theist the lion is God.  To the atheist the lion is nothingness.  We have all made the mistake too late of neglecting to acknowledge that we will return to whatever we came from.  The only difference between metaphysics and bush hunting is that we can be eaten alive and refuse to acknowledge it.