On vision

Written by a friend:

“We poor myopic humans, with neither the raptor’s gift of long-distance acuity, nor the talents of a housefly for panoramic vision. However, with our big brains, we are at least aware of the limits of our vision. With a degree of humility rare in our species, we acknowledge there is much we can’t see, and so contrive remarkable ways to observe the world. Infrared satellite imagery, optical telescopes, and the Hubble space telescope bring vastness within our visual sphere. Electron microscopes let us wander the remote universe of our own cells. But at the middle scale, that of the unaided eye, our senses seem to be strangely dulled. With sophisticated technology, we strive to see what is beyond us, but are often blind to the myriad sparkling facets that lie so close at hand. We think we’re seeing when we’ve only scratched the surface. Our acuity at this middle scale seems diminished, not by any failing of the eyes, but by the willingness of the mind. Has the power of our devices led us to distrust our unaided eyes? Or have we become dismissive of what takes no technology but only time and patience to perceive? Attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.”

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If there’s a ‘Hell’ I’ll probably be there, and that’s okay

Physically, as in a geometric location prepositionally oriented to the Earth (below), or a co-planar alter dimension of roasty torments, probably not. But in the hearts and minds of some of the people I’ll leave behind, I’ll be ‘down there,’ wailing and gnashing my teeth because I chose to no longer believe.

The trouble with the afterlife is that we have to die to find out what it is. We talk about it as if we’ve sent NASA battlebot rovers through the tunnel and into the light and we’ve been watching the live feed on the agency’s website. The truth is, we don’t know. We have no reproducible evidence of what, if anything, is over there, or if there is in fact an ‘over there.’ There is a lot of speculation and supposition among people, and most of it is very fervently held.

We live on in the hearts and minds of the people whose lives we’ve touched. That’s the only ‘afterlife’ that’s verifiable. It’s the only afterlife that we do know. That’s why forgiveness is so important, not because of a threat that God won’t forgive you if you refuse. It’s so that you’re not carrying around the burden of encounter after encounter, and situation after situation for years afterwards, and possibly to your grave.

When people die and someone sees them in Hell because they chose to not believe in Christ, or at least to not believe in the ‘Christ’ that was being preached at them, it means that they have a place in their heart for the purpose of burning and torturing people, and they’ve placed that person, their memories of that person, there. And if they have a particularly sick pathology, they take delight in the fact, and count it a blessing to one day observe it. That idea goes back to at least the 13th century, to St. Thomas Aquinas.

I personally know a few people who shine the outsides of their mental furnaces, and whenever I go, if they’re still here, they’ll likely toss me in with the others.

The thing is, eternity, the other side, whatever that is…whatever experience, if any that I’ll have when my time ends here, that’s between me and the creator. That’s between me and the universe. It’s not anyone else’s business. And it certainly has nothing to do with whatever movie is playing in someone else’s head, now or after I leave this experience.

To transform what is

20170512_120231“You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don’t know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.

I think that will be enough, won’t it?”

― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Unstifling why

What differentiates us from the animal kingdom is our ability to ask ‘Why?’

I read that somewhere, or heard it in a podcast or video. I’ll try to track down the source.

That’s it.

Why?

That and it’s companions Who? What? When? Where?, and How? are what drive all the good that we’ve manifested in the world. All of our inventions…the instruments we point both outwardly and inwardly on the universe…all of it comes from our ability to question. They’re the stuff of ideas. And ideas are everything.

There are those who try to tell us to stop questioning…to limit or keep our questioning confined to certain bounds that, of course, they set…they want our conformity…our belief. It’s that kind of control, that kind of stifling, that’s the source of all that’s wrong in the world. And it’s that sort of hobbling of spirit that is to be resisted at all costs.

calvinhobbesstars

Never lose your sense of wonder. Don’t abandon it or give it up for anyone or any thing. It’s never worth it. Once that’s gone, you truly are old.

Words to remember 

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The Wise Martian scene from The Martian Chronicles, 1980

Secret? There is no secret. Anyone with a heart can see the way to live. By watching life, observing nature, and cooperating with it. Making common cause with the process of existence. By living life for itself. Deriving pleasure from the gift of pure being.

Life is its own answer. Accept it and enjoy it, day by day. Live as well as possible. Expect no more.

Destroy nothing.
Humble nothing.
Look for fault in nothing.
Leave unsullied and untouched all that is beautiful.
Hold that which lives in all reverence.
For life is given by the sovereign of our universe.
Given to be savored.
To be luxuriated in.
To be respected.

Anchor symbolism 

I started seeing these bracelets on Instagram a few months back and since I use paracord for my pendants I decided to make one of these. I looked up the meaning and most writings I’ve seen refer to a sea or sailing, or other maritime connection. While that certainly is significant, we should look deeper.

I’m not a very good swimmer, or very water-oriented. So sailing wasn’t my first thought when I saw these. Anchors speak to me of stability, holding one’s- and being held in place. They symbolize grounding, and mindfulness…anchored to now.

You can spend a few dollars to make one of these, or there are a number of sites that offer them for more.