Tag Archives: Reflection

Nostalgia

My mind’s wandering wondering eye

Find’s its attention fixed

on dusty archives of life’s long lived lies

Memories’ faded photographs

tales, legends and lore as nothing is ever quite as it seems

countless voices like an over crowded aviary

clutter your thoughts

grandmother, father

grandfather, mother

brothers, sisters, friends and others

viewed through the warped lens of the moment

the foreshadowing of youth’s promised failures

you cannot know then what you know now

you can’t go home

you must make home where you are

find your place in the sun

or the moon

what ever that means

Yet another Adjustment

There is a beginning to these things and this beginning is a type of back story or an ethic if you prefer.   At its heart it the idea of a great quest.  A Great Quest is a concept one might encounter in a common novel of the fantasy variety.  I an sure that it occurs in other places as well but I have no examples that stand out in the front of my mind.

A great quest can be as simple as a journey through dangerous country or saving the princesses from a band of highwaymen and it can be very complicated like building an empire, discovering some long lost artifact or rediscovering some bit of knowledge that has been long lost. All of these are similar themes that run through many a story but the idea itself is not that foreign to our daily lives in a non fantastic context.  It is important to note that the Great Quest is not limited to fiction.  There are Great Quests that happen here and now in our shared reality, maybe not as glamorous as rescuing the princess but great none the less.

For instance, going for a higher education beyond a Bachelors for the sole purpose of gaining insight into a thing that is otherwise incomprehensible to you.  This could take a life time and odds are their isn’t a weekly paycheck in it for you, not that you can’t turn that knowledge into cold hard cash its just that the process is different.  A cashless journey to a far distant land and staying for a year, a life time or somewhere in between, even raising a family and keeping said family together is a Great Quest.  For myself the Great quest was knowledge, it was the world I wanted to understand, the human condition and why reality was the way that it was.  This great quest had two lines of attack, one the hard sciences and the second, the occult and mysticism.

Now that I think of it that probably should have been my first warning there that odd combination of seemingly incompatible fields of study.  To me though it made perfect sense as I had extrapolated them from a quote attributed to Carl Gustave Jung, “Psychology and physics are facets of the same concept.”  To me it seemed only natural to infer that Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, the Occult and Mysticism were all facets of the same concept, in this case human consciousness or humanity itself if you like.  Of course there will be time management issues but I felt as I slept very little that I should be able to manage.  I had contingency plans if something got derailed or if funding dried up or even if I needed to transfer schools in mid stream.  What I didn’t have contingency plans for was failure.

It has been said, by my Action Theory Professor that one cannot plan to fail.  One might argue that a contingency plan is a way of dealing with failure but I think these plans are for foreseeable obstacles and away of planning to succeed.  The Great quest is very much like a horse pulling a load.  Horses in this case often wear blinders.  These are used to keep the horse from being spooked by the various happenings around he or she.  People on the great quest also wear blinders in this case allowing them to concentrate full energy on the goal before them.  The down side to this is that when an event comes out of left field you don’t see it until just a fraction of a second before it makes contact.  This spells disaster and that disaster, in my case, was a mental breakdown.

I distinctly remember the sensation that all of that knowledge in Calculus, Wave Mechanics, Differential equations and Organic Chemistry stood like a house of cards built on shifting sands and when it collapsed it took a great deal more with it.  I was aware that I wasn’t going to be able to proceed into the Masters program right away, that I would need experience so that I might reinforce and strengthen the shaky knowledge I already had but at no point did I think I was crazy.  The thought never crossed my mind.  I entered the work force with out my degree thinking that in time I could go back and finish, the thought of collapse still hadn’t crossed my mind.  The hardest thing was the realization that the goal I had been working on since the age of 12 was now unobtainable.  That all that time and effort had made little or no difference and that not all problems could be overcome or goals achieved through nothing more than hard work.  Reaching this realization though would take some years.  I just couldn’t keep from continuing the act of pounding my head against the wall.  I think it was those blinders that kept me from grasping the reality of the situation more quickly.  In a weird way it was like suddenly finding yourself in prison, through no fault of your own and in this case the bars of the prison were your own mind.

What to do?

Everything had changed.

Rage was beginning to build.

I could plop down in front of a television and booze it up until I died.  Lots of people do that or something a kin to this each year in these days of late.  This is not new, people have been drinking themselves to death forever it seems, now its prescription drugs.  The difference is just the age.  I had to redefine myself.  I had to give up the great quest and turn it it into a hobby of sorts, something of a passing fancy I could dip into on rare occasion.  But that was only part of the solution, I also had to find something to do with myself, something I enjoyed.  This was very difficult.

In reality it comes down to how we define ourselves.  Many of us define our self by the Great Quest, or possibly a job description and even that we are a parent or wife or husband, when we lose this key definition, an idea so deeply entrenched in our minds and for so long that we aren’t even aware it is there.  It is a large part of who we are.  When this is gone it puts us at a loss.  We have a definition of ourselves that has been removed from our existence.  Finding a new direction is practically impossible without first realizing that underlying definition.

I can’t tell anyone how to do this, I don’t think there is an expert out there that can.  This is one of those instances where our individuality is most apparent.  We are peculiar beings.  In the end all I can do is point out that it needs to be done but I have no idea where the guideposts are or what they say.

To anyone going through something like this all I can do is wish you God Speed.  The only advice is introspection and perseverance.  The only wish…

Have a better than average day.

Aether

I walk between worlds

yours, his, hers, theirs

from the wilds to the city

they all belong to some one

or something

Yet I am lost

Home

A shadowy remnant of what was

I have been returned

like a thing without a receipt

broken on the wheel

I have no place but the moment

standing on my own insecurely

But I do have a good view

The whole world to witness

and although I do not belong

I do have a choice

I can get the most out of the ride

Meta Mumbles on about a family pet named Chico.

While I was in grade school my grandparents had a rhesus monkey – there were times that they entertained the monkey, Chico, by sitting up a card table in the center of their living room and putting out on it a Sears and Roebuck catalog.  They would leave it there with the pages open.  That was a time when all sorts of things were for sale in their Big Book.

We would all sit around the room talking and watching the monkey browse through the pages.  He would turn each page and then carefully spread it out flat.  Then he would sit with his hands folded behind his back while exploring all of the photographs before him.  He would slowly look first at the left page from top to bottom and then the right, while chattering the whole time.

When Chico would come to the part where various breeds of dogs were pictured, he would get so excited that he sometimes flipped over backwards while he seemed to laugh – out – loud.  Then he would point to the family dog, Beau, sleeping at the feet of my grandfather.  Beau would quickly respond and go to the edge of the card  table poking his nose up by the monkey.  Chico would start pointing to a photo of one of the dogs, the breed would not matter, then point directly at Beau – back and forth his finger would go – apparently he recognized that they were all dogs – while laughing the entire time.  Beau would get excited and it seemed obvious to us, at the time, that they were communicating in humor.

And we want to think that we are the only ones that can make our thoughts known to each other.

Mother and Materialism

Every cloud has a silver lining, they say.  My mother passed a few months after my 24th birthday and I think that I have finally sound something of a silver lining.  My Mother didn’t live long enough so that I could truly be a disappointment to her.  That sounds petty dark.  I think I had disappointed her quite a bit while she was alive, the operative word being think.  Judgements about this or that will fly through various minds at such a statement but there it is, I wrote it.

The thing is, though, that I am only going on her expression as I can’t recall her ever actually saying such a thing to me.  Other’s may have said it but in the strictest of terms that is simply hearsay.  It is a strange thing to rethink and reflect on judgements we believe were made about us for which we have no proof and the weight they carry.  I stopped wishing I could call her and ask her many years ago because I saw no use to it.  IN the best terms it was somewhat masochistic.  It is just a thing that I will never know and I have come to peace with that.  One thing though that I do remember about Mom was her love of numbers.  I don’t mean Math, I mean numbers.  If you could put a number to it then it had to be true.  A strange conclusion for a woman who avoided doing math.

I wonder what she would think about Scientific Materialism and Genetic Determinism?

Maybe it is just the programing on YouTube that I watch or the occasional website I visit but I have been beginning to get the impression of how quickly science, theory, practice and imaging has been progressing.  The idea that our decisions are made deep in our subconscious quite sometime before we are actually conscious of making the choice.  Fantastic.  The understanding of brain physiology and mechanics has gotten to the point where some think that a new form of flawless lie detector is on the verge of beginning created.  Amazing.

The idea of materialism in this sense is the notion that self awareness is an illusion and I can’t say that it is not.  I can barely understand the concept but then  it is an illusion that might make a master illusionist jealous.  As wacky as this will sound this is how I understand this illusion we call consciousness:

Bundles or groups of neurons cluster about memories with some type of causal connection.  This causality isn’t as defined in the sense of the physical sciences for in the mind even an imagined causality is real.  These memory clusters are emotionally weighted, there are many emotions and many degrees of weights.  The driving force is much like a random numbers generator mixed in with electrochemistry (neural transmitters) and buffers (salts in solution).  This provides the energy to the system and scattered all about are logic gates, any one familiar with electronics or even set theory will get this.  So two hemispheres at relative odds with each other both chock full of clusters of memories causally related emotionally weighted, random number generators splashing out a jolt of electric here or there and when a key tipping point is reached the logic gates are employed and TA-DA! Art, Music, political discourse or even violence and of course science.

As silly as this may seem to some there may very well be some truth to it and this truth has to be considered.

It is those damn numbers after all, even the mathematically illiterate put considerable stock in them.  It is one of those acts, strictly on faith that boarders on religious.  Religious as in to repeat on habit, without true understanding.

It could be a wonderful thing in a way.  In the past we killed each other because we belonged to different tribes, different religions, different kingdoms, empires, nations, political ideology, economic ideology, skin color, governmental system or even because the people at the bottom wanted to organize for their own benefit.

Since we are all the same, mindless soulless blobs of polymers none more or less human than the other than all that violence should be coming to an end, maybe even in my lifetime, shouldn’t it?

In all of our scientific excitement and social hubris I can see an old well trodden road clearly before us.  There are other paths but this road is familiar, it feels right and we all know where it leads.  Its course has changed some, there has been recent rerouting and resurfacing and it calls to us.  After all, if all we are is genes and polymers and a few inorganic compounds how bad would it be, I mean on the moral scale, to eliminate those undesirable genes?

Death camps, right?  That isn’t what I am talking about.  I’m talking about snipping here and sticking together there and for those of us who can’t adapt, you know make a nuisance of ourselves then there is medication and for the truly non-rehabilitateable there is prison or maybe a nice island somewhere after they have been properly sterilized.  This is no where near as brutal as past occurrences.  After all it is for the betterment of the human species.  Maybe this is true, maybe it is for a higher quality future so long as we don’t snip away the parts that make us human.  What are those things anyway, those things that make us human?

The issue isn’t intent or motive.  The issue is people, people in power.  IN this case scientific power, the belief that if something runs a foul it can be fixed or simply closing their eyes because they have bills to pay too.  These are the words to watch out for, “You have to trust me, I’m a professional.”  I only had to hear that phrase three times before I stopped asking questions.  Do we really have any choice anyway?

I haven’t made up my mind on the thing.  I don’t really know what to think about it and I am not trying to tell you that you should care one way or the other.  If you want a smoke then smoke, if you want to go to a protest and organize then do so, if you want to game what are you waiting for, other than theft and murder if it feels go to you do it, consenting adults of course.  Whatever it is you choose to do all I ask is that you keep your eyes open and watch your feet.  Otherwise the walk can turn into a climb and before you know it you will be at the very top of a tree from which you can not easily climb down, then your only choice will be to jump.

I don’t know if my mother ever thought something as innocent as an IQ test could lead to something like this.

Just sayin’

 

On Such Stuff that Rattles around between My Ears

I was wandering through my thoughts the other day, reflecting on vague recollections of a book I read many years ago titled who owns what’s in your head, or something a kin to that.  Ownership of a thing I understand but the contents in my head or yours for that matter, are those such things some how the same as a house or a car?

After all, how do you fit a car inside your head?

A thought certainly is the same as a car but does a thought take up space?  What about a novel?  A novel certainly takes up space when it is finished even if it exists in digital form but where does all of that come from?  Does it take up space when it is nothing more than a compilation of thoughts.  Can such a thing be measured?  IQ aside, I mean what does IQ really mean other than a basic measure for an individual abilities to deal with mathematics, language and complex problems (logic), where did the idea of IQ come from?

I look around the studio where I am writing this and I honestly can’t figure out how I perceive it the way that it is.  The space I am observing is much larger than the space my head takes up so is nothing more than a mental trick, some type of an illusion?  I find my self again confronted by Aquinas concept of the Phantasm.  For all I know he borrowed the concept from the Greeks by way of Islam and maybe the Greeks borrowed the idea from the Egyptians, I lack any really understanding of the history of the idea.  Who am  I to judge any way?

Are these carried thoughts in our head along with feelings and creative urges just genetic cargo.  The result of our genes functioning and really nonexistent in the end, that Picasso or Kandinsky is just an illusion and nothing more than a genetic exercise.  When ever I consider Genetic Determinism this is one of the Walls I run into to.  How much of our existence is determined by our genes.  Is our every single creative moment, our thoughts and our feelings all contained in our genes at birth and exercises like this nothing more than genes mindlessly interacting with the environment.  All other things are simply an illusion?

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to answer the question.  Though I don’t think that is a bad thing.  Everyone needs a little wonder in their life.  This keeps existence from become grey and maudlin.

At any Rate have a better than average day.

 

A Sidebar on freedom of Speech

First I feel the\ need to say that I support the second amendment.

That being said, I have a question to ask.  That question is what constitutes Hate speech?

You can define it how ever you like, it makes no difference to me.

So if we as American’s suppress any from of speech because it is hateful what purpose does that serve?

Does it simply serve the elimination of speech that makes us uncomfortable, that feels threatening?

So this is a move to eliminate speech that we, whom ever we maybe, from feeling discomfort from the speaker.

This is censure ship.

Okay

I can deal with that but I have a question, what is the purpose of this action?

If it is to eliminate hate I fear that it will fail.

what THIS DOES IS FORCE HATE INTO PRIVATE GATHERINGS WHERE IT FESTERS, IT IS NOT allowed to be discussed in public where the every day CITIZEN can HAVE A CHANCE TO HEAR THE ARGUMENT AND DECIDE. It allows evil to fester under the skin where only the privileged have the opportunity to speak and there is were the real violent danger lies.

Have a better than average day.