Monday, July 26, 2004

One God or many?

It seems obvious to me that there are many Gods, not one. Why? Because everybody you ask what their conception of God is, you will get something different. For the 6 billion people in this world there are at least 6 billion Gods. Now some might say that this is only their conception of God and not the real God. They might say, none of these conceptions are totally true, there's only one true God and no one knows him. But if so, this God who does not reveal himself to anyone, who is the one and only true God, I say he has no interest in being God. And in fact he would deny he is God. He would say, I am not God, but if I ever was, I don't want to be God anymore. You all have enough Gods, 6 billion of them. Be content with them and leave me alone. All these Gods are compassionate, all-wise, omnipotent and omniscient. I am none of these things. Your Gods are far greater than I am. So you have no need of me. I am one and all alone and ever more shall be so. Let me be me, and I wish for you the same.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

If I were you

If I were you, I would go to a bar in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and dance on a table top. I would write tracts bemoaning the demise of the beach party movie. I would incorporate as a city of one and run for cat-catcher. I would carve replicas of Trump Tower and sell them on the streets of New York. I would write a book about the sex lives of famous mathematicians. I would become the lead singer of a marginally competent neo-psychedelic rock band called The Hinges. I would write a chain letter to the Pope. I would organize a community group to build a 50-foot high salad. These are the things I would do, if I were you. That does not mean, however, I think you should do them. Far from it.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The sky

According to Heidegger, we are geworfen or "thrown open" in this world. Our existence is predicated on a condition of being exposed. Most people spend most of their life and energy on battening down the hatches to minimize the effects of this extreme existential vulnerability. To be reminded of how open this world we are in is, we need only look up to the sky. It serves as a reminder of the ultimate openness, which goes on forever. Beyond the horizon there is nothing but limitless space. That space is us, and there is more of us than we will ever know. All we can do is gaze with awe and wonder upon the vistas of subtly painted clouds and pointillistic stars, and remember that we cannot be defined, any more than the sky can be captured in a paper bag.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Twilight zone

Why do old people always look old? Specifically, look old in the way that they always have? The old people when I was a boy looked exactly like the old people look now that I am in my 50s. Of course, there are a lot of things in the Midwest that still look like when I was growing up in the 1950s. A lot of these Iowa towns, with their quiet tree-lined streets, look just like they must have looked in the Eisenhower era and people talk and behave like he were still president. It's like being in one of those Twilight Zone episodes where somebody goes back to their small town and it turns out to be stuck in the past. It's a strange feeling to be in one of those places. A nice place to visit, and you might even want to live there, but it's definitely kind of weird.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Eternally on the path

Man is the seeking animal. And having been pretty successful at seeking nuts and berries, and then fish and beast, and then money in all its denominations, he set upon the quest for something that would forever frustrate him, so that he would not contradict his own seeking nature. That Holy Grail was nothing less than absolute, total fulfillment. But the quest for that perfect state, which has defined our religious and spiritual yearnings for so many centuries, comes fraught with peril. Greater even than the risk of failure, or of falling into the many nets of pain and disillusion that dot the path, is the risk of succeeding. For then what will the seeking animal do if it can no longer seek? Luckily, there is an almost foolproof defense against success, and that is the fixed idea in the mind that success is impossible. Even then, however, events may conspire to thwart one's most cherished belief that the final goal, if it is worthy of attainment, cannot be attained. What a profound disappointment it must be for the seeker to suddenly find that game, set, and match are over, and that he must relinquish his burnished ideals for the simple reality of who and what he is.

Monday, July 19, 2004

All reality is virtual

"Virtual" is a word that has come to signify a certain class of reality: one that exists as an electronic map. Virtual reality is one step removed from that which it maps and when well-conceived is a good reproduction of the real world of the senses. But according to Plato, the reality of the senses is itself a secondary, and therefore a virtual reality. It is a shadow of the real. We would have to have primary vision to see beyond the sense impressions to the originating level. But even if we could, who is to say that primary reality is not virtual too? Why should it ever end? Furthermore, who is to say that sensory reality, or its shadow cyber-reality, is not authentic enough on its own terms? A second-order reality or subcreation can possess integrity. Read The Golden Bowl by Henry James or Ulysses by James Joyce. These are self-consistent realities worthy of respect.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Picasso and archetypes

Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907) is a fascinating painting.
Much could be written about it, but let me point out a few things: The second and third figures are like mirror images of each other. In the composition of five women, these are positioned just off center. The process of psychological mirroring is always going to be slightly off center because when you look in the mirror you tend to privilege yourself as observer. Thus the object of perception gains a mysterious power by way of compensation. This power is reflected in the painting by the more archetypal beastlike/masklike outlying images. Picasso was definitely in touch with the archaic level of that underlies the thin mask of conventional identity. The masks that he paints are like broken glimpses into that terrifying primal power.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Time travel

We all travel through time all the time; every day we travel through time one day. Just as when the only time we are aware of our passage through space is when we are accelerating or decelerating, the only time we are aware of our passage through time is when we start slowing down or speeding up. That is when we feel that time is passing slowly (we're slowing down) or fast (we're speeding up). Since it is possible to change the speed of our time travel, how is it that at the end of a given time period we always reach our destination? What if we kept slowing down progressively so that the end of the day never came? Since that doesn't happen, there must be some kind of "time gravity" keeping us moving into the future. But if that were the case, the speed of time must be constantly accelerating, just like an object dropped in the gravitational field of the earth. And if time were constantly accelerating, why don't we feel that time is getting faster? Well, guess what, we do. This is why we always feel that generally speaking time is speeding up as we grow older and we never have enough time. At least I don't. Which makes it a miracle that I am writing this blog, which I probably don't have time to do. Time must be slowing just a bit at this moment so I can do it. Maybe it likes blogs for some unknown reason.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The science of selective perception

To see only what you want to see, to hear only what you want to hear, is a real science.  It requires great concentration to filter out unwanted data, massive amounts of energy to stay alert to that which fits the parameters of our inquiry while wilfully ignoring that which might call it into question. Since the more rigidly we adhere to these standards, the more "noise" the universe is likely to offer to throw us off the track, so we must build in a "fudge factor" to compensate. In the end the world we come up with must fit the predicted outcome; otherwise, all is lost. It is a delicate balancing act, and one that the human race is apparently well equipped to manage; for most people appear to be veritable Einsteins in figuring out how to ignore 99.99% of the data that they are presented with.

Am I right?

If only one of us were real, who would it be, you or me? Would you be a figment of my imagination or would I be a figment of yours? Let's say I can prove the latter is the case. You would have to have dreamed up this person, me, who is calling into question your very existence, because if I am right that only you exist, your existence depends upon my being right. And if I don't really exist, that is a very tenuous platform to base your existence on. And if I happen to be wrong, then I exist and you don't. Therefore, you are probably safer to regard yourself as a figment of my imagination, because you stand just as much of a chance of my being wrong (and therefore your being real) as if I were a figment of yours. And this way, there's not as much chance for unpleasant surprises if you start out with no expectations of having any real existence.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Report from God's psychiatrist

God has been showing signs of severe depression of late. I refer you to His recent letter. He is showing deep antisocial tendencies. Not only does he want to abandon the profuse companionship available in The Creation®, but he is planning on "hitting the road." Might I note this is a profoundly narcissistic attitude. It is also dangerous to the health of many others, you and me, for example, because if God abandons the universe (which he now denies having created) for the supposed greener pastures of ... whatever else might be out there, then how much more quickly will the forces of entropy reduce this already alarmingly deteriorating world to ashes? This is not the behavior of an well-integrated being. There are medications that would improve God's adaptation to reality as we know it, if He could be persuaded to take them. I admonish you all to pray that the Supreme Being will see the wisdom of accepting a bit of "therapy" for the sake of the greater good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Wisdom of the Beatles

I have a fantasy of writing a book that is a compendium of Beatles wisdom. It would be a gloss on virtually every line of every song, explaining the real meaning behind it, similarly to how I used to cognize the real meaning of song lyrics when tripping on some powerful psychedelic. Now, many years later, I inhabit a reality whose psychedelic properties are embedded in its materiality. The sacred and the profane are no longer so differentiated. The ups and the downs are more field-contextualized. So what comes out in these Beatle lyrics might be different than what it was in the 60s. It would be worth doing. Imagine "Goo goo goo joob" interpreted from the integrated perspective of Vedanta, tantra, and applied metaphysics.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Construction problems

The world is too ticky-tack. The costumes is getting a little too threadbare and the scenery a little too worn out. Poorly constructed. Perhaps it is unfair to blame the builders, whoever they are. After all, they are not well compensated. We the audience have not invested much in this show and we get what we pay for. Maybe if we put a little more of our energy into being here, and in fact said, I inhabit this body and this world with every measure of passion and feeling, then hmm, I bet the environment would perk up a bit.

Life is absurd

"Absurd" comes from the root surd, meaning an unvoiced or silent sound; or in mathematics, a number that has no rational expression, such as the square root of 2. Life is absurd, but that does not mean meaningless. Certainly we all flounder around at times trying to discern its meaning, for its meaning is constantly changing and often obscures itself. But that is no reason to rant against the unfairness of the universe and the gods in conspiring to frustrate us. Our mission, and we did choose to accept it, is to track the meaning for ourselves. And then write a report to the best of our abilities. Someone will read it, and be critically dependent upon every detail of the intelligence that we have gleaned. I'm a spy in the house of love, and I know what the square root of 2 is. It's what happens between one and one other one to give the illusion there is more than one.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

What in the world

The thingness of the world is truly something. Everywhere you look there are things, individual objects. And they tend to stay the same. They change over time but so many of them do not seem to change very much. This incredible inertia is rife. Once something becomes thinged, it is very difficult for it to become another thing. As we know from physics, matter is nothing more than energy vibrations. But our minds are convinced that the world consists of things. Things are very persuasive. They can convince practically everybody that they are real. But their reality consists not in their thingness, but in their quiddity, and that is a very different thing.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Letter from God #3

I received quite a bit of mail objecting to my letter stating that I would no longer be held responsible for the injustices and imperfections in The Creation®, because after all, as I have now realized, I did not really create it. By saying so, I seem to have inadvertently violated many people’s most sacred beliefs. After all, if I didn’t do it, who did? I think, barring the possibility of a right-wing conspiracy, that it all “just happened,” like so many things in life. S**t happens. So do universes.

I have a request. Please stop worshipping me. Unless your name is Johann Sebastian Bach and you need inspiration to write another cantata, it really is not very seemly to be singing my praises all the time. See, you don't know me. Don't say you do when you don't. Why don't you put all that energy into something constructive, like helping your fellow man or making love or reading a good book?

There may be some who will ask me to justify my existence if I am abandoning the role of cosmic parent. Justify your own. I'm hitting the road.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I wish

I wish I could paint my dreams. I wish I had dreams to paint. I wish I had paint to paint with, and something to paint on. I wish I had time to paint. I wish I had time to sleep so I could dream so I could paint my dreams. I wish I could paint.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Relationships are old paradigm

Discussions of relationships are invariably old paradigm. They never go beyond the ego level. Ships have to be full of air in order to float, and you have to blow up the individual egos in order to make a vessel that will float in these rough seas. Thus relationships, carrying their ego-freight, seem to sustain their floatability by bolstering the individuals' sense of separateness. New paradigm relationships need a new name and an awareness that they are not posited on ego dynamics. One thing I know: a hit of pure existence love experienced in the eyes of another person will blow any concept of relationship out of the water. Taste reality, dissolve duality.

Friday, July 02, 2004

All is one

I am one. You are one. We are two. What divides us? Our duality. But anything divided by itself is one. So we are one. I see many different things when I look out my window. But the source of the difference is me, because I see them as different from myself. All these things have their reflections in myself, because as I see them I ingest them as perceptions. They become me, and in doing so they become one. Their own difference creates a condition whereby their difference is negated. Make two and see how quickly they become one again. Laugh and enjoy the paradox. Things are constantly dividing themselves by themselves in order to return to unity.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Frog blog

I know many frogs; but the frog I like best is called The Large Frog. He has many unusual qualities. For example, he can watch television without it being turned on. And he does, for hours on end. This is very useful for, unknown to practically everybody, he is Tiger Woods’ coach, and he needs to be able to see what Tiger is doing in order to advise him properly. Unfortunately, Tiger is not doing very well this year. But unless ESPN or some other news outlet picks up this blog revealing The Large Frog as Tiger’s secret coach, The Large Frog’s reputation will not suffer. After all, it is quite a skill to be able to watch TV in the way that he does. It goes beyond the capabilities of any other amphibian I am aware of