Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness

 

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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Monday, 31 October, 2005 }

My evil twin: Sun has binary partner, may affect the Earth

Researching archaeological and astronomical data at the unique think tank, the Binary Research Institute, Cruttenden concludes that the movement of the solar system plays a more important role in life than people realize, and he challenges some preconceived notions:

The phenomenon known as the precession of the equinox, fabled as a marker of time by ancient peoples, is not due to a local wobbling of the Earth as modern theory portends, but to the solar system's gentle curve through space.

This movement of the solar system occurs because the Sun has a companion star; both stars orbit a common center of gravity, as is typical of most double star systems. The grand cycle–the time it takes to complete one orbit––is called a "Great Year," a term coined by Plato.

Cruttenden explains the effect on earth with an analogy: "Just as the spinning motion of the earth causes the cycle of day and night, and just as the orbital motion of the earth around the sun causes the cycle of the seasons, so too does the binary motion cause a cycle of rising and falling ages over long periods of time, due to increasing and decreasing electromagnet effects generated by our sun and other nearby stars."

jaybird found this for you @ 20:08 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Einstein: On Science and Religion

Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration towards truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:04 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



A Metaphysics of Human Interface

We define metaphysics as the philosophy that examines the nature of reality, the connection of mind and matter, of “being” (ontology). Interface, as the aggregate of means by which users interact with a complex system, device, or tool. User input allows control of the system, while system output provides the users of the results, also called feedback. System feedback may be regulated by cybernetics. From cybernetics’ point of view, it is possible to consider the whole universe in terms of data and data processing. Here, I propose a simple experiment from the field of contemporary esotericism: a simple request made by a user in order to accrue a procedural knowledge of phenomenon, with which the experimenter can further explore to her or his delight.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Happy Samhain: History ubiquitously directs us

There's nothing like the onset of winter to get you thinking deep, important thoughts.

The modern world has children dressed fancifully and being herded door-to-door, winsomely demanding a "trick or treat" to celebrate Halloween. The idea actually developed in ancient Ireland and was brought to the United States in the 1840s by Irish immigrants escaping English persecution and the potato famine.

The idea is complex. For a reason not clear to me, Oct. 31 was considered unattached to the previous or coming year. It was Betwixt and Between, which had heavy meaning. All the Spirits of the Restless Dead (not a rock group) were freed from their wet graves. Nature spirits, benign and malevolent, were on holiday acting out their resentments. The veil between the material and immaterial was lifted and otherwise rare events became ordinary.

...How are you going to account in your good, rational, analytic mind for the existence of all this? Big Bang, but what lit the fuse? Where did the materials come from? How is it that humankind has always sensed there was more to us than meat, bones and good hair? Where did that idea come from?

You think I know? That’s funny!

I suggest there is merit in the comparative religions and mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell’s idea. The Transcendent, he suggests, is so complex, unimaginably creative and all the other attributes associated with gods and goddesses, that our puny minds will never comprehend. We’re like fleas trying to calculate the orbit of stars. Not possible.

Unable or unwilling to live with unanswered questions, many make that fateful, faithful leap, put together rituals and rules for their own comfort while agreeing there is Something Else we don’t understand...Admitting defeat in trying to understand it all leaves us orphans in a forest of unnamed trees. Rather than torment ourselves and others with unanswerable questions and terrible accusations, let us do as our impulse drives us: toward appreciation of all the natural world’s beauty, intricate relationships and opportunity to be here, now. That is Ingenious Design.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Sunday, 30 October, 2005 }

restoration

I took a break from my legion of responsibilities and finally made it out to the woods... so crisp, so perfect, leaves crackle underfoot just as they ought to, with plenty of little surprises along the trail. It was incredibly restorative... I can't even begin to express how bogged I've been, to the point of wanting to throw the whole gestalt out with the holy water. An hour in the woods did me a week's worth of good, and I feel so remarkably relieved.

I so love going down new trails, the kind which wind on forever and yet there's no destination. Most trails are made for wandering, not for getting to a specific place. I was so pleased to wander, to just take to the path without inkling or care. And while I'm still beset with smoldering issues, somehow being dwarfed by great trees and wooed by distant, looming peaks reintegrates the lost and worried soul to the essence of things... ninety percent of what spins our wheels is utterly meaningless and ought not to be worth a hock of spit. The remaining ten percent is all that which really pumps the heart and glitters the eyes... the sensual, the beauteous, and even the utterly terrifying and painful.

I suppose that sometimes I get caught in that grey spectrum of the ultimately meaningless yet temporally depressing. We all must... like a shell, it's there to be broken. Perhaps, in the company of oak and pine, my beak pecked against that thin boundary and I got the hint that the deluge of blah I've been battling agianst is all paper thin malarky, so just break out and be done with it.

If the trees and all the creatures of the wild can be so brave in the face of change and challenge, so can I.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:54 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 29 October, 2005 }

From Withering Comes Purity

While spring is loud in its ferocious birthing,
The autumn is so quiet in its rustling off to sleep.
I, too, have fallen silent,
As dry stalks cast seeds in their final act,
I stand to be reduced into simplicity...
It's simply the nature of the hour.

From withering comes purity;
In order to expose the new skin,
The old must slough off, like wind-tossed ochre leaves,
This is a movement toward reclaiming the essential
And into the ethers casting the tired and weary.
It's a song of cyclic surrender.

This soul craves rest.
To cocoon is to invite stars to shoot through a transforming body,
To restore wholeness from thrashed memory
To carry cool water from the overgrown wellsping to sate parched language,
To cull dying dreams
That new may again color those stark white days.

In the chill of the moonless hush,
Thoughts are tossed, caught in the air, gone.
The man on the second floor has spoken not a word today
Yet the rivers are full of fallen concepts,
Tumbling over stones, twirling in eddies, tasting the notion of ice,
For all the stillness, the world is a rush of letting go, revealing what is new, smooth, and ready...

jaybird found this for you @ 20:28 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



New commenting system

Finally... the least wonky commenting option I could come up with was Haloscan, and it seems to be working well. I've gotten many notes about how hard it is to comment here, mostly because of the measures I've had to take to prevent comment spamming. Haloscan seems to handily eliminate that threat.

Yippers.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:57 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



{ Friday, 28 October, 2005 }

Chomsky: The Spontaneous Invention Of Language

There was [a]... very interesting case with a community of deaf people in Nicaragua. For a long time deafness was considered much like a disease, and they were isolated. Kept to themselves, there was no effort to teach them. Later, there were some efforts to improve their situation slightly, and it turned out that they had pretty quickly developed a sign language within the community.

Now that language has been investigated in considerable depth, and it appears to be just like any existing language. It has the same structural properties. The infants even babble in sign just like they babble in spoken language. There don't seem to be any detectable differences. It's just that the mode is different--sign and visual, instead of articulate and auditory.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:31 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Arthur C. Clarke: Join The Planetary Conversation

We as a species have a deep urge to communicate--so if something is technologically feasible, we will pursue it sooner rather than later. Virtually everything we wish to do in the field of communications is now within the reach of our technology. The only remaining limitations are financial, legal or political. In time, I am sure, most of these will also disappear--leaving us with only limitations imposed by our own morality. How we shape the networked world of the future lies entirely in our hands--and minds.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:29 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Merry Fitzmas!


It's only the stocking stuffer
!

jaybird found this for you @ 13:06 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



New mathematics-based sculpture unveils fourth dimension

The sculpture, designed by Adrian Ocneanu, professor of mathematics at Penn State, presents a three-dimensional "shadow" of a four-dimensional solid object. Ocneanu's research involves mathematical models for quantum field theory based on symmetry. One aspect of his work is modeling regular solids, both mathematically and physically.

In the three-dimensional world, there are five regular solids -- tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron -- whose faces are composed of triangles, squares or pentagons. In four dimensions, there are six regular solids, which can be built based on the symmetries of the three-dimensional solids. Unfortunately, humans cannot process information in four dimensions directly because we don't see the universe that way. Although mathematicians can work with a fourth dimension abstractly by adding a fourth coordinate to the three that we use to describe a point in space, a fourth spatial dimension is difficult to visualize. For that, models are needed.

"Four-dimensional models are useful for thinking about and finding new relationships and phenomena," said Ocneanu. "The process is actually quite simple -- think in one dimension less." To explain this concept, he points to a map. While the Earth is a three-dimensional object, its surface can be represented on a flat two-dimensional map.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:25 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



Schizophrenics fall for no illusions

The paranoia, or sense of persecution, experienced by some schizophrenics could be due to a problem they have processing contextual information, according to researchers at University College London.

Researchers at the London university found that schizophrenics are not fooled by visual illusions that easily trick non-schizophrenics.

Volunteers were shown high-contrast black and white patterned images, with sections altered so that the level of contrast is much lower. They were then asked effectively to match the contrast of the altered section to its twin in a line up of otherwise identical shapes.

Schizophrenics find this task relatively easy, because their brain takes no account of the surrounding information when judging the level of contrast in the altered section of the pattern. Non-schizophrenic brains, however, make relative judgments about the altered section, because of the surrounding higher contrast pattern.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:20 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Thursday, 27 October, 2005 }

Using sun and earth to survive in harsh Eritrea

Seyoum Goitom, inventor and father of six, stood in his workshop in Eritrea, explaining his passion for mechanics, while young girls herded goats outside and butterflies wobbled in the warmth.

Goitom has so far built a biscuit maker, welding machine and lawnmower from recycled parts. Now he is looking at a much bigger and possibly more significant project.

The 38-year-old is turning his creative energies to deforestation around Keren, his home and one of Eritrea's most attractive towns, where the forest is slowly disappearing.

He is working on an enormous, solar-powered stove based on a satellite dish which he believes could drastically cut the need for firewood among his compatriots in the Red Sea state.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:38 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Creepy: Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

...Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

jaybird found this for you @ 17:35 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Mourning elephants baffle the scientists

Elephants are drawn to the bones of their dead, displaying a trait once thought to be unique to humans.

A study of African elephants in Kenya found they spent far longer smelling and gently touching the skulls and tusks of the dead than other objects, including pieces of wood or even the bones of animals such as rhinoceroses and buffalo. [via mecha]

jaybird found this for you @ 13:33 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



The Longer Now

The gleaming device I am staring at in the corner of a machine shop in San Rafael, California, is the most audacious machine ever built. It is a clock, but it is designed to do something no clock has ever been conceived to do—run with perfect accuracy for 10,000 years.

Everything about this clock is deeply unusual. For example, while nearly every mechanical clock made in the last millennium consists of a series of propelled gears, this one uses a stack of mechanical binary computers capable of singling out one moment in 3.65 million days. Like other clocks, this one can track seconds, hours, days, and years. Unlike any other clock, this one is being constructed to keep track of leap centuries, the orbits of the six innermost planets in our solar system, even the ultraslow wobbles of Earth's axis.

Made of stone and steel, it is more sculpture than machine. And, like all fine timepieces, it is outrageously expensive. No one will reveal even an approximate price tag, but a multibillionaire financed its construction, and it seems likely that shallower pockets would not have sufficed. Still, any description of the clock must begin and end with that ridiculous projected working life, that insane, heroic, incomprehensible span of time during which it is expected to serenely tick.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:25 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 }

Revelation in Navy Blue

Amassing the objects of autumnal ritual;
Canned goods, musty sweaters, medicines by the score,
I am corporeal tonight, in body.
With curmudgeonly silence,
I pace the apartment, rattling of lung, feverish of dream,
Day becomes night with the quickening dive of hawk.
Spines of books the backs of monks
Deep in hermetic reverie
I stumble and turn and for God's sake,
Catch a glimpse of a mirror
Of a face.

Whitman said that he contained multitudes
Yet who says that they contain continuums?
This condition that constrains my breathing is temporal,
Yet what condition isn't?
The face in the mirror belongs to everyone;
It's as mine as the moon,
And my awkward dance across this Earth is as much my expression
As lovers exist solely for the delight of roses.
We are simply the cosmos expressing itself,
Sick as hell or bursting with paradise
And our lives are the explorations of an artful whim
Looking for yet another way to understand itself
Through me, dizzy at home in navy blue flannel
Through you, some distant lover living your life in symphonic gusts and gales,
For now we are ourselves have these names which bind us to time and scale,
And we have our story...
And that story is as writ within our diaries and scrapbooks
As it is written across the stars.

From this creaky chair
Life appears so big and so little simultaneously.
It's an everyday dichotomy as easy to miss as a single, blowing leaf
From the tree out the window
Your sole witness to the day
Whose roots are underground,
The very foundation of its life
Invisible, unseen, profoundly there, and everywhere.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:32 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



The Conversations of Shams of Tabriz

Now, O friend, you say, "Place the mirror into my hand so that I may look at it!" Yet I cannot find a pretext for this, nor can I deny your request; but i say in my own heart, "Let me find some pretext not to give you the mirror, because if I say that there is something wrong with your face, perhaps you will not accept it; and if you say that the mirror is defective, this will be worse for you." Yet love does not allow me to find a pretext. Now I say, "Let me give you the mirror, but if you see some fault on its face, do not blame the mirror, but something reflected onto the mirror. Know that it is your own image; find the fault in yourself! At least don't look into the mirror while you are near me. The only condition is that you do not find fault with the mirror. If you are unable to find the fault in yourself, at least find fault with me, as i am the owner of the mirror. Don't say the mirror is defective."

"I accept the condition. I promise, I cannot wait any longer!" And yet his heart does not accept it.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:27 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



A Metaphysics of Human Interface

We define metaphysics as the philosophy that examines the nature of reality, the connection of mind and matter, of “being” (ontology). Interface, as the aggregate of means by which users interact with a complex system, device, or tool. User input allows control of the system, while system output provides the users of the results, also called feedback. System feedback may be regulated by cybernetics. From cybernetics’ point of view, it is possible to consider the whole universe in terms of data and data processing. Here, I propose a simple experiment from the field of contemporary esotericism: a simple request made by a user in order to accrue a procedural knowledge of phenomenon, with which the experimenter can further explore to her or his delight. [via corpus mmothra]

jaybird found this for you @ 12:25 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Gurdjieff and Now

Along these lines, it seems to me that Gurdjieff’s famous ‘work’ has been turned into a set of techniques. People get together to do his movements, practical work, and to practice some kind of meditation or other supposedly derived from exercises he showed during his lifetime. Some have gone on doing this for fifty years – even though there is little evidence that any deep change is being brought about. It is just like the situation of someone being shown a mantra that will ‘liberate’ them and after trying it for some time asking why it is not working to be told that they have not tried hard enough!

I’ve always had a strong response to those anecdotes about Gurdjieff in which he is urging his followers to think. In one of his most splendid talks titled ‘connaissance’ (French word for ‘knowing’) he actually says that the whole point is ‘to know’. In introducing exercises as written up in ‘Life is Only Real’ he tells his audience to look into what the exercises mean. It is an astonishing passage. In contrast, I discovered for example in speaking with a member of the Gurdjieff Society in London that they hardly ever discussed ‘the ideas’! The inevitable result must be that we go on with various practices, read various books, but never get down to investigating what it means.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:12 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 25 October, 2005 }

In Search Of The Primitive

In machine based societies, the machine has incorporated the demands of the civil power or of the market, and the whole life of society, of all classes and grades, must adjust to its rhythms. Time becomes lineal, secularized, "precious"; it is reduced to an extension in space that must be filled up, and sacred time disappears. The secretary must adjust to the speed of her electric typewriter; the stenographer to the stenotype machine; the factory worker to the line or lathe, the executive to the schedule of the train or plane and the practically instantaneous transmission of the telephone; the chauffeur to the superhighways; the reader to the endless stream of printed matter from high speed presses; even the schoolboy to the precise periodization of his day and to the watch on his wrist; the person at "leisure" to a mechanized domestic environment and the flow of efficiently schedule entertainment. the machines seem to run us, crystallizing in their mechanical or electronic pulses the means of our desires. The collapse in time to a extension in space, calibrated by machines, has bowdlerized our natural and human rhythms and helped disassociate us from ourselves. Even now, we hardly love the Earth or see with eyes or listen any longer with our ears, and we scarcely feel our hearts beat before they break in protest. even now, so faithful and exact or the machines as servants that they seem an alien force, persuading us at every turn to fulfill our intentions which we have built into them and which they represent--in much the same way the perfect body servant routinizes, and finally, trivializes his master.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:15 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Merry Fitzmas:Dick in the know

I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

Mr. Libby's notes indicate that Mr. Cheney had gotten his information about Ms. Wilson from George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to questions from the vice president about Mr. Wilson. But they contain no suggestion that either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby knew at the time of Ms. Wilson's undercover status or that her identity was classified. Disclosing a covert agent's identity can be a crime, but only if the person who discloses it knows the agent's undercover status.

More here, here, and here.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:11 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Rosa Parks

Rest in Peace.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:06 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Monday, 24 October, 2005 }

overwhelmed, overbusy

Blogging will be taking Monday off as I'm in way over my head now and will have to catch up as a first priority.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:42 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Sunday, 23 October, 2005 }

Rumi

My heart, sit only with those who know and understand you. Sit only under a tree that is full of blossoms. In the bazaar of herbs and potions don't wander aimlessly find the shop with a potion that is sweet If you don't have a measure people will rob you in no time. You will take counterfeit coins thinking they are real. Don't fill your bowl with food from every boiling pot you see. Not every joke is humorous, so don't search for meaning where there isn't one. Not every eye can see, not every sea is full of pearls. My hart, sing the song of longing like nightingale. The sound of your voice casts a spell on every stone, on every thorn. First, lay down your head then one by one let go of all distractions. Embrace the light and let it guide you beyond the winds of desire. There you will find a spring and nourished by its see waters like a tree you will bear fruit forever.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Saturday, 22 October, 2005 }

One Hundred Starlings

One hundred starlings in a tree
Half-moon morning
I know the rain is coming, cold front, wind,
Rising to the music of the leaves.

What magic that tree is
Two hundred wings a'flutter
Incantations to the season, idle chatter,
Then, in one unspoken movement, the open sky.

The sound of flight and I'm barely awake
As the entire flock bursts and becomes music
And a single leaf, yellow and old, spirals down
As above, said the old masters, so below.

There is today so much to tend
Within and under these great dramas
The sun obscured, the moon in secret canopy,
Isn't is strange to observe the world when we are permutations of it?

One hundred starlings
Roosting for a spell here and there
Along some heavenly route which none can ever know
Leaving a trail of the mesmerized, the bewildered, the eartbound
And earthborn.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:10 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 21 October, 2005 }

Nanotech offers HIV cure?

I'mm too dense to get much of this, but it sounds good...

In the first-ever study of metal nanoparticles' interaction with HIV-1, silver nanoparticles of sizes 1-10nm attached to HIV-1 and prevented the virus from bonding to host cells...

In this study, scientists mixed silver nanoparticles with three different capping agents: foamy carbon, poly (PVP), and bovine serum albumin (BSA)."Not using a capping agent could result in the synthesis of big crystals instead of nanocrystals..."

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed the silver nanoparticles in the foamy carbon matrix were joined together, but an ultrasonic bath in deionized water released a significant number of nanoparticles.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:55 in Health, Medicine & Bio-Happiness | | permalink



The Milgram Experiment

Today the field of psychology would deem this study highly unethical but, it revealed some extremely important findings. The theory that only the most severe monsters on the sadistic fringe of society would submit to such cruelty is disclaimed. Findings show that, "two-thirds of this studies participants fall into the category of ‘obedient' subjects, and that they represent ordinary people drawn from the working, managerial, and professional classes (Obedience to Authority)." Ultimately 65% of all of the "teachers" punished the "learners" to the maximum 450 volts. No subject stopped before reaching 300 volts! [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 13:45 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Escalating global species extinction crisis

A total of 15,589 species face extinction, reveals the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. One in three amphibians and almost half of all freshwater turtles are threatened, on top of the one in eight birds and one in four mammals known to be in jeopardy.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:41 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Thursday, 20 October, 2005 }

Ye of many faiths: Why do we believe in God?

It is possible that strong levels of belief in God, gods, spirits or the supernatural might have given our ancestors considerable comforts and advantages. Many anthropologists and social theorists do indeed take the view that religion emerged out of a sense of uncertainty and bewilderment - explaining misfortune or illness, for example, as the consequences of an angry God, or reassuring us that we live on after death. Rituals would have given us a comforting, albeit illusory, sense that we can control what is in fact ultimately beyond our control - the weather, illness, attacks by predators or other human groups.

However, it is equally plausible that the Divine Idea would have been of little use in our prehistoric rough-and-tumble existence. Life on the savannah may have been in the open air, but it was no picnic. Early humans would have been constantly on the lookout for predators to be avoided, such as wolves and sabre-tooth tigers; hunting or scavenging would be a continual necessity to ensure sufficient food; and the men were probably constantly fighting among each other to ensure that they could have sex with the best-looking girl (or boy) or choose the most tender piece of meat from the carcass. Why would it be necessary, in the daily scramble to stay alive, to make time for such an indulgent pursuit as religion?

jaybird found this for you @ 21:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



I didn't post this: Abnormal brains wired for lies

Pathological liars may have structural abnormalities in their brains, a new study suggests. Researchers have found that individuals who habitually lie and cheat have less grey matter and more white matter in their prefrontal cortex than normal people...

Past studies have found that the prefrontal cortex shows heightened activity when normal people lie. It is believed to be involved in both learning moral behaviour and feeling remorse. The new study suggests that because grey matter consists of brain cells, while white matter forms the "wiring" or connections between these cells, pathological liars may have more capacity to lie and fewer moral restraints.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:14 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Aww...

1129878525Picture21.jpg

Turtle saved from busy road. I was out and about and cars were careening past the lil' fella, so I was pleased with my good deed of the day.


This is a moblog post.

Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 10:53 in Live from the road... | | permalink



Regardie: Magic In East And West

For myself, I can only say that experience demonstrates that Theurgy makes no confusion in its statement of ideals. It introduces no superstitious chaos concerning the fear of demons, etc., which is only too apparent in the Tibetan scheme, judging from Waddell's book. Every magical effort of the Lamas is described as being due to fear or hatred of evil spirits, though I do not doubt but that many lamas have a finer understanding of their system than this. Theurgy nurtures the ideal that its technique is a means of furthering one's spiritual development so that thereby one may consummate the true objects of incarnation. Not selfishly, but that one may be the better able thereafter to help and participate in the ordered progress of mankind to that perfect day when the glory of this world passes, and the Sun of Wisdom shall have arisen to shine over the splendid sea. [via corpus mmothra]

jaybird found this for you @ 09:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 }

tid-bits

Charmingly, my office is closed today due to asbestos removal, which is a grand thing. I'm working from home and frankly swamped, despite the sheer pleasures of heavy blankets, cats, and pajamas. I'm still up to my toukhas in files and auditing. Yum.

Last week's crisis persists, and I thankfully have enough food and gas until payday, though that's still a jumble of confusion as far as how all that's going to pan out. Alas.

Fall has barely touched the mountains this year. Very few trees have done their fancy dance toward slumber, and the dry air is affording really clear views. This weekend I hope against hope to make it out into the world, but I've got lots of schoolwork due and a wedding to perform for two great friends on Sunday, which will be a treat. Huzzah!

I'm slightly giddy atthe prospect of "Fitzmas," and hope that all of this administration's wretchedness will catch up with some big ass indictments, particularly Tricky Dicky and Tubby McTreason (Karl, as Stephanie Miller calls him lovingly). Bring it on.

My boss in a rather silly move gave my phone number to a waiter I found cute at a resturant last week. He calls me and says that he's taken, but tries to fix me up with someone I already went out on a single date with last year that ended disastrously. Heh.

Well, it's time to get away from bloggy goodness and get to work. From home. With all these wonderful distractions.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:53 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 18 October, 2005 }

Rare White Giraffe Spotted in Africa


It certainly is spotted, isn't it? Heh.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:52 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Sandstorm!

"Never one drop of rain on Arrakis Iraq..."

jaybird found this for you @ 17:45 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



How the snail crossed the bridge


Stretch!

jaybird found this for you @ 13:35 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



My Fractal Cabbage

Nearly exact self-similar fractal forms occur do in nature, but I'd never seen such a beautiful and perfect example until, some time
after moving to Switzerland, I came across a chou Romanesco like the one above in a grocery store. This is so visually stunning an object that on first encounter it's hard to imagine you're looking at a garden vegetable rather than an alien artefact created with molecular nanotechnology. But of course, then you realise that vegetables are created with molecular nanotechnology, albeit the product of earthly evolution, not extraterrestrial engineering.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:42 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Monday, 17 October, 2005 }

Better Living through Endosymbiosis: Mysterious microbe retrofits itself with plant

A one-celled creature found on a sandy beach may be in the process of kidnapping and incorporating an even tinier plant to use as a living energy source... They said the newly discovered organism seems to be in the process of endosymbiosis — in which one creature incorporates another, creating a new form of life.

Scientists believe this is how many modern plants and animals evolved. They believe the chloroplasts, the green solar-power factories inside plants, were originally separate organisms. Similarly, they believe components of the cells that make up all animals were originally captured microbes. [via corpus mmothra]

jaybird found this for you @ 21:20 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



The Machine in Our Heads

The environmental crisis consists of the deterioration and outright destruction of micro and macro ecosystems worldwide, entailing the elimination of countless numbers of wild creatures from the air, land, and sea, with many species being pushed to the brink of extinction, and into extinction. People who passively allow this to happen, not to mention those who actively promote it for economic or other reasons, are already a good distance down the road to insanity. Most people do not see, understand, or care very much about this catastrophe of the planet because they are overwhelmingly preoccupied with grave psychological problems. The environmental crisis is rooted in the psychological crisis of the modern individual. This makes the search for an eco-psychology crucial; we must understand better what terrible thing is happening to the modern human mind, why it is happening, and what can be done about it.

jaybird found this for you @ 17:18 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Lost Beethoven score discovered

The 80-page manuscript of Beethoven's Gross Fuge for piano duet was created when he was deaf and is filled with editing and notations from the composer's own hand. Never before seen by scholars, it was written a few months before the composer's death in 1827...

“It's a very important discovery... This was a controversial and not understood work because it was so ahead of its time. It sounds like it was written by a dissonant 20th-century composer.”

jaybird found this for you @ 12:59 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



McKenna: Stoned Ape Theory of Human Evolution

McKenna theorizes that as the North African jungles receded toward the end of the most recent ice age, giving way to grasslands, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the branches and took up a life out in the open -- following around herds of ungulates, nibbling what they could along the way.

Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds. The changes caused by the introduction of this drug to the primate diet were many -- McKenna theorizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of boundaries between the senses) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person's mind through the use of vocal sounds.

About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed the mushroom from the human diet, resulting in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to pre-mushroomed and frankly brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:48 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Sunday, 16 October, 2005 }

very quiet

It's been a very quiet weekend, in stark contrast to last week (and probably this week too). So, just taking a little downtime in between whirlwinds. Enjoy the moonlight - it blazes tonight.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:44 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 15 October, 2005 }

Bonfire

I have a deep need for a bonfire.

Raging, competing with the stars,
Tickling the moon's belly with flickers
From the dry, dead wood, like so many bones,
Thrown in to be proxies of our own little deaths,
Drinking wine from the bottle, passed hand to hand,
Songs of elegy to the late phantasmagoric summer, so full of
Glitter, fancy pants, and whimsy, gone now...

This little match is honest, and we blow on the fire...

I need to see the embers aglow from
My own misgivings, and be warmed by them,
As they transform amid smoke and sacrifice into
Light, in the friend-huddled midnight, wine spilled
For those gone, tears hissing on the coals, the mysteries
That rustle around us in the leaves and in our weighted thoughts
Are fine to be, to thrive, to follow.

I'll write a letter, and toss it in.

And we'll leave one by one, as windblown ashes, from the fire pit.
We'll smell of smoke, we'll have danced with those plumes,
We'll have made a silent peace, burnt our offerings,
And carry somewhere within a little flame back,
We'll burn, in private ardor, for the sake
Of what we won't tell a soul,
Yet kindle so deeply
Within our own.

C'mon, grab the matches, and let's do this.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:32 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 14 October, 2005 }

Millions 'will flee degradation'

There will be as many as 50 million environmental refugees in the world in five years' time. That is the conclusion of experts at the United Nations University, who say that a new definition of "environmental refugee" is urgently needed. They believe that already environmental degradation forces as many people away from their homes as political and social unrest.

"In poorer rural areas especially, one of the biggest sources of refugees is land degradation and desertification, which may be caused by unsustainable land use interacting with climate change, amplified by population growth...A second issue is flooding, caused I would say by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere super-imposed with probably some natural fluctuations."

jaybird found this for you @ 20:28 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Gone Tomorrow: Anticipated disappearance

Albert Einstein claimed he never thought of the future. “It comes soon enough,” he said. FOREIGN POLICY decided to not grant 16 leading thinkers that luxury. Instead, to mark our 35th anniversary, we asked them to speculate on the ideas, values, and institutions the world takes for granted that may disappear in the next 35 years. Their answers range from fields as diverse as morals and religion to geopolitics and technology. We may be happy to see some of these “endangered species” make an exit, but others will be mourned. All of them will leave a mark. [via ?]

jaybird found this for you @ 16:26 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence

In his philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche presents the idea of eternal recurrence as an answer to nihilism. Nietzsche addresses the idea of eternal recurrence in his work Thus Spake Zarathustra. In this work, Zarathustra finds himself on a path up a mountain, a path that ends at a gate marked "This Moment." Two paths come together at this gate, going opposite directions, and neither having an end. Zarathustra ponders this and discusses it with the dwarf who has been riding on his shoulders. (I know it sounds strange, but yes, a dwarf on his shoulders.) Together, Zarathustra and the dwarf work on this problem of the two eternal paths, one of which runs backward, the other forward. And Zarathustra asks about the path running backwards, "Must not whatever can run its course of all things, have already run along that lane? Must not whatever can happen of all things have already happened, resulted, and gone by?" Zarathustra thinks that if everything has already run along this eternal path, then everything has already existed, including the gate at which they stand. It is there that the idea of eternal recurrence is presented. [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 12:24 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



A Sad, Slightly Pathetic Appeal

For reasons that are complicated and challenging, I am in the midst of the worst financial crisis I've faced yet. I do not know how I'll recover, and what form that may take. I've done everything I could to forestall this, but its gravity is blowing me away and making things really tough right now.

I'm not a groveler; I'd much prefer to be stoic and noble. But a friend called that a "stupid" way to handle it, and that I should be willing to ask for help. That's what I'm doing, meekly, but sincerely. Anything from a penny up would be a blessing right now and would mean a lot. I broke the bank about a month ago by donating gobs of money for Katrina, forgetting that banks aren't charity organizations, and the ripples from that have helped to bring on this collapse.

So, if you can, and if you enjoy this blog, please consider making a donation via the links on the left sidebar.

Deep Peace,
jaybird

jaybird found this for you @ 08:14 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Thursday, 13 October, 2005 }

Still waiting: Will the real Jesus please stand up?

Facts can often seem harsh, and it's always a little tough to see widely held beliefs scatter into the shadows to avoid an intellectual spotlight. Even though Crossan does it with a gentle voice and the slightest trace of his native Irish brogue, it's still uncomfortable listening as he strips Jesus of superstar status and shows him as a real man, with real problems, and using an inspired way of coping with the world and its problems.

One of the more controversial ideas that Crossan tackles is the lack of evidence for the crucifixion described in the Gospels. He says there is not a shred of historical evidence it even took place - no witnesses, no written accounts.

Instead, Crossan suggests it is just as likely that Jesus was arrested, spent some time in prison and that Roman soldiers eventually took care of the minor rabble rouser by tossing him over a wall or into a ditch.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:06 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



Sweet: From Skid Row to Disney Hall

For months, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic in action at Disney Hall. "The anticipation is horrible," he told me a week before the designated day. He'd started showering daily at a shelter, he said, to gussy himself up as much as possible.

Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the prestigious Juilliard School when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, music is one of the few things that inspires and consoles him.

He plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written:

"Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven."

jaybird found this for you @ 17:03 in Interesting People | | permalink



Heh: Kneel Before Zod

When I first came to your planet and demanded your homes, property and very lives, I didn't know you were already doing so, willingly, with your own government. I can win no tribute from a bankrupted nation populated by feeble flag-waving plebians. In 2008 I shall restore your dignity and make you servants worthy of my rule. This new government shall become a tool of my oppression. Instead of hidden agendas and waffling policies, I offer you direct candor and brutal certainty. I only ask for your tribute, your lives, and your vote.

jaybird found this for you @ 13:02 in Silly People, Satire & Strange Behaviors | | permalink



Dreams prepare your emotions

Dreams can help in coming to terms with major events and in taking difficult decisions in life. This is what [a] Dutch-sponsored researcher concluded after her research into the function of dreams in indigenous Surinamese and Australian tribes. [via mecha]

jaybird found this for you @ 08:57 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 12 October, 2005 }

The Body Language of Bush

The fidgeting clearly corresponded to the questioning. When Lauer asked if Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was "trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression," Bush blinked 24 times in his answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back funds but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his trousers up by the belt.

When the questioning turned to Miers, Bush blinked 37 times in a single answer -- along with a lick of the lips, three weight shifts and some serious foot jiggling. Laura Bush, by contrast, delivered only three blinks and stood still through her entire answer about encouraging volunteerism.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:21 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



About Time: Academia Embraces Spooky Studies

At the University of Arizona, a psychology laboratory devotes its time to investigating "dynamic info-energy systems" and a "survival of consciousness hypothesis." University of Virginia cardiologists have been studying whether heart patients enter "transcendental environments" in the operating room. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist colleague compiles records of alleged "transmigration" events from around the world.

Translation? At two of America's best universities, professors and doctors are studying the existence of the soul, near-death experiences and reincarnation.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:19 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Hobbits Rising

Scientists digging in a remote Indonesian cave have uncovered a jaw bone that they say adds more evidence that a tiny prehistoric Hobbit-like species once existed.

The jaw is from the ninth individual believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The bones are in a wet cave on the island of Flores in the eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia.

The research team which reported the original sensational finding nearly a year ago strongly believes that the skeletons belong to a separate species of early human that shared Earth with modern humans far more recently than anyone thought.

The bones have enchanted many anthropologists who have come to accept the interpretation of these diminutive skeletons marooned on Flores with dwarf elephants and other miniaturized animals, giving the discovery a kind of fairy tale quality.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:17 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



Vonnegut: "I have a huge disappointment about what this country might have been instead of what it's become..."

"I feel like a certain kind of horse's ass, like somebody born rich. I don't deserve it, and those who crashed and burned didn't deserve it, either. So I'm the asshole who broke the bank at Monte Carlo."

jaybird found this for you @ 08:11 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 11 October, 2005 }

The Noose and the Tether

It's just a coiled rope
You've held it in your hand a hundred times
Yet today, it's needeed
So inane, so inert,
Who will you throw it to?

Only a day ago
You looked into the eyes of a laughing mother
Who had not heard yet about her dead daughter
Only a month ago
You hugged a man almost thoughtlessly
Whose memory today confounds his children.
A friend had said
"There's just so much death going on,"
And he has to be strong, this man,
But he buckles at a song
And another name ascends to Who-Knows-Where
As leaves fall silently
And tender young feet bound through them in play.

This rope, it's killed
In the course of its duty
It is entwining of fibres, it's strong,
And you stand there with it
And under these greying skies there's crying
So you unwind this line, once drawn into a noose
And throw it out into the fog
Hoping, dear God hoping,
That some soul will grab it
And maybe you can pull someone in...

Since you've done your time in the mist
Pondering finality, and failure, and the promise of forget.

You remember a day, years ago,
When a friend was dead from an overdose
And you kicked the hell out of a table in rage
Because the kids were too blown-away-gone, juice in the veins,
To notice, for they themselves saw a lifeline trailing in the abyss
And chose not to grab hold, chose to spin in despair,
And since then, a few more names in the book,
The rope dangles, goes limp.

There's a tug
You pull and pull and sweat rolls in holy toil
And bless it,
Someone is holding fast
And wants this life you've damn near lost at the end of this rope
Which now brings some wounded one into your steady arms.

And you can't save the world.

And you can't truly bring another being to resolution.

And you can't stop the darkening skies of approaching winter.

Yet you can unwind the old noose into a tether,
And for the Love-Of-It-All,
Strain against the tides to pull one in,
Who had pretty much let go
Much like, reaching back to long ago, you had.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:12 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



Wonderful Things

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Autumnal bursting of brilliance


This is a moblog post.

Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:27 in Live from the road... | | permalink



a day off in the autumn

Bleary-eyed, morning-mouthed,
I stagger to the window
And there's some stray dog poking through the leaves
There's the business of squirrels,
The conversation of crows
And I'm planless and my day will be slow.

I know there is not much time for green leaves
And spherical jewels of sweet dew will soon be frost
And the silent exhileration of forest-walking
Will be replaced with a huddling for blankets
In a still, dim, yet wonderful room.

Stray dog, find your scraps
Seek out the goodness amid the heap of summer's forget
In your ample jaws, run away with it,
Bury it for next year...
This morning, from this window,
I'm digging too.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:10 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Monday, 10 October, 2005 }

To Know Oneself

Thoreau said in Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, “Direct your eye sight inward, and you’ll find, A thousand regions in your mind, Yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be expert in home-cosmography”.

Becoming a naturalist of the mind is challenging because we rarely take the time to observe ourselves, to see how we ‘think, feel, and react or act in situations’, without labeling or judging ourselves in the process.
But a naturalist does just that – he or she observes, notes, in a very neutral way, without passing judgment or labeling, just seeing what is and noting it ‘in neutral’. (Try watching ants for a moment, just observing and seeing where they go and what they do).

Why is it valuable to note in neutral one’s own thoughts, feelings, and actions? It is the ultimate discovery tool – a tool to discover one’s own way of thinking – the unique biological blueprint (encoded in part through genes) for the brain and body’s way of responding to the environment. Rather than reacting, however, and being swept away by thoughts or feelings, when one treats the mind/brain/body as an experiment itself and becomes an observer of the thoughts, feelings, and actions as they occur, one becomes aware of the space in which they arise. If you stare at a blue sky without a cloud or tree or bird in it, it is just a spacious opening, infinite space and hard to discern. But with a cloud or tree or bird present, the sky is discernable as sky. Similarly, becoming aware from a naturalist’s perspective of thoughts, feelings, and actions in the mind, one becomes aware of the space in which such thoughts arise. With practice in detecting the arising of thoughts, feelings, and actions, comes an increasing awareness of the spaciousness in the mind.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:21 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Circa 2003: Thoughts are Things

...Everything in our world is a field of energy and therefore has a particular frequency. The chair you're sitting on, your car, your cat, dog, you and everything else including thoughts, have a field of energy or vibration. Recent scientific work has identified particular ranges of frequencies and scientists are able to measure them. Interestingly enough, negative energies, like anger and rage, measure very low on the scale, while positive energies like those given off by prayer and meditation reach the highest measurements.

At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with your thoughts. Bear with me and I promise to connect the dots.

The second part of this equation is the universal law that states "like attracts like". This has been referred to as the law of attraction, law of similar and other names. What we choose to call it is not terribly important, what is important to understanding the part this plays in our lives.

jaybird found this for you @ 17:14 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Circa 1908: Thoughts are Things

The material mind wants to more on in a rut of life and idea, as it always has done, and as thousands are now doing. It dislikes change more and more as the crust of the old thought held from year to year grows more thickly over it. It wants to live on and on in the house it has inhabited for years; dress in the fashion of the past; go to business and return year in and year out at precisely the same hour. It rejects and despises after a certain age the idea of learning any new accomplishments, such as painting or music, whose greatest use is to divert the mind, rest it, and enable you to live in other departments of being, all this being apart from the pleasure also given you as the mind or spirit teaches the body more and more skill and expertness in the art you pursue.

The material mind sees as the principal use of any art only a means to bring money, and not in such art a means for giving variety to life, dispelling weariness, resting that portion of the mind devoted to other business, improving health and increasing vigour of mind and body. It holds to the idea of being "too old to learn."

This is the condition of so many persons who have arrived at or are past " middle age." They want to "settle down." They accept as inevitable the idea of "growing old." Their material mind tells them that their bodies must gradually weaken, shrink from the fullness and proportion of youth, decay and finally die.

Material minds say this always has been, and therefore always must be. They accept the idea wholly. They say quite unconsciously, "It must be."

jaybird found this for you @ 12:42 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



working things out

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Yes, I am celebrating, a tish. In a way I never thought I really would; I joined a friggin' gym.

It feels like pentitence for all those years in school where I feigned death or cut class to avoid dealing with goofy variations of ball play (ahem). But it's a good thing and I'm benefitting from the rigorous workouts and the determination...

Importantly, I'm beginning to reclaim this body from years of lah-de-dah and office malaise. This drive is due to my doctor's sincere appeal to get in shape as sleep apnea has become a sad (if reversible) reality. Yes, I can say that much... I've spent a long time not being in shape. Or being amoebic.

That's changing. In 10 days, I have lost 8 pounds. That's like losing a well-fed cat every week and a half. Now, it's not like I'm a walking talking barrell of excess glop, but let's just say I'm denser than I oughtta. I mean, I have worn it well, and don't look a fright. Yet I can't even begin to express what this has done for my overall esteem. It's crazy. It's incredible. I'm remembering what it's like to have a body that does more than swivel in a damn chair or creak slowly upward to send some bureaucrat a fax.

The energy being released as I struggle to conquer exercise machines is incredible, and I sweat enough to become a new headwater for a salty, musky river. I'm thankful, and I can't wait for more.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:18 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Sunday, 09 October, 2005 }

Thoughts on the Big R

The following rant is from an online exchange. The question was asked 'is there an ultimate religion?' and you'll find my brain-blown answer below...

Religion is something intrinsically man made, a concept which has arisen in thousands of forms out of the human struggle to conceptualize a Universe far larger than ourselves. Most major religious traditions do not embrace the kind of physical Universe that we've been discovering for the past 500 or so years. We've learned, closer to home, that the world is not built around hierarchies (as denoted in many monotheistic religions), but rather an interdependence of species... a relationship which does not represent the historical powerplays behind most existing mainline traditions. The ecologies of this planet, paired with what we're learning about the Universe, seem to suggest that we humans and our ideas are a bit out of step with the reality of this great, infinite expanse in which we are a mere speck. Can an idea on a single tiny dot in space precisely map the spiritual nature of the Cosmos, given that we know, in essence, very little about it? The odds would seem to be against that kind of gamble. The idea of a true Universal faith, an undeniably solid spiritual answer for all this matter and void just doesn't seem to make sense once we poke our weary noses out from the thin skin that is our atmosphere and realize just how dwarfed we are by utter Mystery.

This does not preclude the idea of a localized spiritual truth, here on Earth. The trick with this is that we humans are six billion deep on this planet, and through earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes are just now learning the hard way that we don't have the power here, our answers for life's mysteries are at best educated guesses, and more than likely shots in the dark. I believe that we have the collective power, however, to create a spiritual reality for ourselves, whether highly indivudalized or straight from a holy recipe book. We can choose from Abraxas to Zoroaster, from Rainbow Chasing to the Holy Can of Tuna, and immenatize the sacred. What makes something sacred? We do. I believe that we can create truths for ourselves which will prove themselves to be true, over and over again, so long as we wish and so long as we invest our belief. I've been so very fortunate to experience many sides of personal and collective faith, and have witnessed what I believe are genuine miracles. How? The power of personal faith, or creativity, or energetic manifestation... whatever you want to call It. If you believe hard enough in something, you're building it. Thoughts are things, and deeply adhered-to thoughts become living, breathing things which we may worship or fear, in the privacy of your own home or in the sway of thousands of like-minded devotees. If you want Heaven and Hell, you've got it so book a room now. If you want Reincarnation, it's yours, over and over again. If you want a direct line to all of your ancestors, just tune in to the stories from great-great-great-great-grandmother's lap. I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this experince of being alive is wide-open, and so long as we move through it with love in our hearts and do good things for each other, we're bound to be pleasing the spirit we've helped to manifest.

Thus saith the bumper sticker 'God is bigger than any religion,' because religion is a human preoccupation, and I've got to believe that God is far more than human... if there were a Creator-God, She/He/Thou must surely contain everything created, from slugs to Saturn. We humans are just an infintesimal fraction of that heady mix. So, as far as an ultimate religion goes, I personally don't think so. Is there an ultimate political answer to the world's problems? Just ask Hitler, Stalin or Bush and see how it's working out for them. Is there an ultimate path to happiness? If so, it's bound to get crowded and I'm sure being bruised from the stampede may hinder the whole bliss dance. Ultimate means final, and I just don't think that I have the nerve to nail down finality in an infinite Universe.

I can't provide proof either way; there are no right on wrong answers to such grand and noble questions. Yet that's why I truly love studying religion. It all springs from quintessential human questions: Who? What? Why? How? From my window I can see a little country church. I probably would not agree much with the theology inside, in fact would be 'damned' by it, but I savor the beauty of their quest, and virtue of their beliefs. They've found their truth, and that's far more than many in this world of televised distraction and hollow promises can say. My truth looks far different from theirs, and it's the commonality between us I cherish; do what is good, treat others with respect, be charitable and compassionate, and don't take this world for granted. Perhaps that's as ultimate as we can get... by being decent and honorable amid the chaos and conundrum. And that's very fine by me. All else is cake.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:25 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 08 October, 2005 }

Unusual Windowdressing

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Strange room of abandoned games. What's even weirder is that all of the games were on. Not a soul in sight. Games without players...

This is a moblog post.

Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:08 in Live from the road... | | permalink



{ Friday, 07 October, 2005 }

The Death Ray of Archimedes

Legend has it that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes made a burning glass to burn up the enemy Roman warships. To see if it was possible, the MIT crew built a 10+ foot long model ship out of wood and positioned 129 1-foot square mirrors nearby. The results: Flash ignition!

jaybird found this for you @ 20:16 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Salsa Arabesque: Is this the rhythm of a world in step?

What if it could be proved that no two nations that play salsa music have ever declared war on each other?

Some of the best salsa music in the Middle East comes from Egypt and Israel, for instance. Both nations have been at peace since 1979, the same period when salsa began to take hold.

A coincidence? Perhaps not.

The first time I heard Arabic salsa music, I was in a taxi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, racing to catch a connecting flight to Afghanistan. The taxi driver, a Pakistani, was playing an incredible song on his radio. First came the Latin rhythms on bongos, then the rush of flamenco guitars. It sounded like the sort of dance music I grew up listening to in south Texas but with a distinctly Middle Eastern trill of the voice and the guttural lyrics that could only be Arabic.

The music was a revelation.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:13 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



The Administration's Swagger

In an increasingly hazardous world teetering on increasingly dangerous technology in the control of a most dangerous and unstable nation, a nation that has returned US to the morality of the Dark Ages and its justice based upon torture, invasion and mass murder, a nation controlled by the satanic cult-driven motive of world domination and control via the enslavement of all people, a robust, inquiring press that informs the American people as opposed to pimping for its dangerous politicians is what is really needed.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:11 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Gore: the strangeness of our public discourse

I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.

How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?

I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.

At first I thought the exhaustive, non-stop coverage of the O.J. trial was just an unfortunate excess that marked an unwelcome departure from the normal good sense and judgment of our television news media. But now we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time.

Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? And does it feel right to have no ongoing discussion of whether or not this abhorrent, medieval behavior is being carried out in the name of the American people? If the gap between rich and poor is widening steadily and economic stress is mounting for low-income families, why do we seem increasingly apathetic and lethargic in our role as citizens?

jaybird found this for you @ 08:07 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Thursday, 06 October, 2005 }

Removing the Facade...

This is a moblog* post:

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...to reveal the nature of the game.


*Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:37 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



Bhutan: A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom

In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting other developing countries that focused only on economic growth, Bhutan's newly crowned leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation's priority not its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness.

Bhutan, the king said, needed to ensure that prosperity was shared across society and that it was balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive government. The king, now 49, has been instituting policies aimed at accomplishing these goals.

Now Bhutan's example, while still a work in progress, is serving as a catalyst for far broader discussions of national well-being.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:13 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 05 October, 2005 }

The comment problem has been fixed. At least, I hope.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:52 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



String theory for 3-Ders

Physicists who work with a concept called string theory envision our universe as an eerie place with at least nine spatial dimensions, six of them hidden from us, perhaps curled up in some way so they are undetectable. The big question is why we experience the universe in only three spatial dimensions instead of four, or six, or nine.

Two theoretical researchers from the University of Washington and Harvard University think they might have found the answer. They believe the way our universe started and then diluted as it expanded what they call the relaxation principle favored formation of three- and seven-dimensional realities. The one we happen to experience has three dimensions.

"That's what comes out when you do the math," said Andreas Karch, a University of Washington assistant professor of physics and lead author of a new paper that details the theory.

Karch and his collaborator, Lisa Randall, a physics professor at Harvard, set out to model how the universe was arranged right after it began in the big bang, and then watch how the cosmos evolved as it expanded and diluted. The only assumptions were that it started with a generally smooth configuration, with numerous structures called membranes, or "branes" that existed in various spatial dimensions from one to nine, all of them large and none curled up.

The researchers allowed the cosmos to evolve naturally, without making any additional assumptions. They found that as the branes diluted, the ones that survived displayed three dimensions or seven dimensions. In our universe, everything we see and experience is stuck to one of those branes, and for it to result in a three-dimensional universe the brane must be three-dimensional.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:57 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Huxley: Culture and the Individual

Genius and angry ape, player of fantastic tricks and godlike reasoner—in all these roles individuals are the products of a language and a culture. Working on the twelve or thirteen billion neurons of a human brain, language and culture have given us law, science, ethics, philosophy; have made possible all the achievements of talent and of sanctity. They have also given us fanaticism, superstition and dogmatic bumptiousness; nationalistic idolatry and mass murder in the name of God; rabble-rousing propaganda and organized Iying. And, along with the salt of the earth, they have given us, generation after generation, countless millions of hypnotized conformists, the predestined victims of power-hungry rulers who are themselves the victims of all that is most senseless and inhuman in their cultural tradition. [via bruce eisner]

jaybird found this for you @ 15:51 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Inside the secretive Bilderberg Group

Every year since 1954, a small network of rich and powerful people have held a discussion meeting about the state of the trans-Atlantic alliance and the problems facing Europe and the US.

Organised by a steering committee of two people from each of about 18 countries, the Bilderberg Group (named after the Dutch hotel in which it held its first meeting) brings together about 120 leading business people and politicians...

"I don't think (we are) a global ruling class because I don't think a global ruling class exists. I simply think it's people who have influence interested to speak to other people who have influence," Viscount Davignon says.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:44 in Conjecture & Speculation | | permalink



Dream Report

It was a fairly lucid night. So many vignettes. What I most strongly recall is a conversation with a person who was involved in some kind of UFO contact in a place called "Gran Miguelgesa." The experience he had there apparently filled him with a greater understanding of what is happening in the world. Here goes.... the visiting beings were trying to implement a program embedded within all humans which would aggessively reinvigorate mental and spiritual evolution, which has been "on hold" due to reverse programs puts in place by humans who had received knowledge and mastery of these systems. There are humans in high places, according to these beings, that know about the plan and are afraid of the timing, though they are sympathetic to its cause. These people form a class of "evil-good," who will strike against their own sympathies in order for them to grow stronger over time, like "pruning a rose bush."

So, here's the wacky part; toward the end of the conversation, the man who was telling me the story of Gran Miguelgesa said that this was being told to me in the context of a dream, and that many others were being told the same thing tonight, and he promptly disappeared, leaving behind myself and a whole slew of new strangers who were all looking rather bewildered.

I swear that I didn't eat anything weird before bed (though I did have a rather potent brew) nor did I overindulge in conspiratorial websites prior to sleepies.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:25 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 04 October, 2005 }

Everything Old is New Again -- Man and the Anthropocosm


What man most passionately wants is his living wholeness and his living unison, not his own isolate salvation of his "soul". Man wants his physical fulfilment first and foremost, since now, once and once only, he is in the flesh and potent. For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my own very self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:10 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Species are dying out faster than we have dared recognise

The polar bear is one of the natural world's most famous predators - the king of the Arctic wastelands. But, like its vast Arctic home, the polar bear is under unprecedented threat. Both are disappearing with alarming speed.

Thinning ice and longer summers are destroying the bears' habitat, and as the ice floes shrink, the desperate animals are driven by starvation into human settlements - to be shot. Stranded polar bears are drowning in large numbers as they try to swim hundreds of miles to find increasingly scarce ice floes. Local hunters find their corpses floating on seas once coated in a thick skin of ice.

It is a phenomenon that frightens the native people that live around the Arctic. Many fear their children will never know the polar bear. "The ice is moving further and further north," said Charlie Johnson, 64, an Alaskan Nupiak from Nome, in the state's far west. "In the Bering Sea the ice leaves earlier and earlier. On the north slope, the ice is retreating as far as 300 or 400 miles offshore."

jaybird found this for you @ 16:05 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Modern Hygiene's Dirty Tricks

Sweeping along 14th-century trade routes, an infectious agent left a trail of incomparable devastation throughout Asia and Europe. In China, this plague slashed the population from 125 million to 90 million by the century's end. In Cairo, the Black Death—so called because of the dark, swollen lymph nodes that characterize the disease—claimed 7,000 lives a day at its height. Before it subsided, the plague had wiped out one-third of Europe's population.

In most of the world today, the plague has receded to a distant, if gruesome, memory. So, too, at least in developed countries, have smallpox, typhoid fever, cholera, diphtheria, and polio declined. One by one, infectious diseases that once ravaged society and preyed especially on children have been quelled by better sanitation, antibiotics, and vaccinations.

While raising barricades against deadly scourges, however, the industrialized world has also shielded people from the microbes and parasites that do no harm. Does it matter?

jaybird found this for you @ 12:03 in Health, Medicine & Bio-Happiness | | permalink



wordplay: Weird and wonderful vocabulary from around the world

"The Greeks had a word for it," we used to say, when stumped for the precise way to describe something. Now, thanks to Adam Jacot de Boinod and his collection of bizarre foreign words, we discover that the Malays, Hawaiians and Sumatrans had, and still have, words for it too. There is a word for the fold of skin under your chin (alang - it's Nicaraguan). There is a word for the ring you put in the nose of a calf in order to stop it suckling its mother (oorxax, and, as you know, it's from the Khakas region of Siberia). There is, thank God, a word that sums up that annoying thing you do when your taxi is 20 minutes late and you're too restless to wait for the doorbell to ring. It's iktsuarpok - "to go outside often to see if someone is coming."

jaybird found this for you @ 08:00 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Monday, 03 October, 2005 }

Two Sciences of Mind

In Buddhism, emotions such as the “three poisons”—aggression, clinging, and delusion—are generally talked about as something to counteract or transcend. Ekman talks about emotions in Darwinian terms, as adaptations to the environment. They allow us to operate automatically, pre-thought. Ekman says, for example, that what he would call “fear” is required to be able to maintain the state necessary to react when driving at high speeds on a freeway. You could spend a long time talking about whether fear is good or not, but Ekman feels “it is not very helpful to just use words, because we may be using them in very different ways. We need to rely on examples. That’s what I try to do in the dialogues.” [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 15:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



Yum? You do what you eat

We already know obesity can result if we eat too much junk food, but there may be greater consequences of unhealthy diets than extra weight around our middles.... Is it simply coincidence that the increase in aggression, crime and social incivility in Western society has paralleled a spectacular change in our diet? Could there be a link between the two?

jaybird found this for you @ 13:00 in Health, Medicine & Bio-Happiness | | permalink



{ Sunday, 02 October, 2005 }

Mariposa Movement

We stood out on the ridgeline
Watching the sky for the flitting
Of migrating Monarch Butterflies
Which swooped and dove and rode the air
Bound for Mexico, along some mysterious
Highway that no one understands.

If I were winged, perhaps I'd understand
That selfless daring to just go, then,
And fly through mountains and storms
Over crazed cities and hot sands
To this unspoken ancestral place of
Death and rebirth, all conducted beyond
Thought, or fear, or reason.

One just flies, just as the hundreds
That flew by us, in awe at the sight
But dumbfounded in the feat, so suddenly
Lost in our humanity as resplendent ochre insects
Dazzled senseless by just doing what they do.
So uncomplicated until we try to understand,
So glorious until we map the mechanics of a miracle.

I followed one until it entered the clouds
Going so causally where I cannot
Tracing a route beyond any reason
And reaffirming, with easy glides
That the intentions at play in this Universe
Are grander and more mysterious
Than our mere bodies.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:54 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 01 October, 2005 }

autumn acknowledged

It's always a striking momment when we suddenly come across the first tree to transform its leaves from shades of green to ruddy, gold and fire. It's the end of September and it hasn't happened here yet, though there are hints about. The trilling of the morning birds have a sort of urgent appeal, the air as it blows by is full, story-laden, and engorged with texture, and the light is long. And something inside churns...

The fall and I have a relationship which can be as variable as weather itself. This time of preparing for the inward turn of winter, the gathering of loose ends, musty sweaters and huddling against the chill is both magical to mournful to me. Yet this emergent feeling is sweet, a birthing of coming bounty, even as the earth hardens. What is it that moves and tingles thus?

Perhaps it is, after the maya of summer brittles and tumbles away, the rediscovery of self, with the suddeness of a turning tree. Summer forces externalization and participation in a great gala of merriment and hoo-hah. In all this witnessing, I somehow misplaced myself in a scramble for the opera glasses and champagne. Now, nature is sweeping up after the party, and once again stand in my own shadow. I contemplate my age, and think back to childhood and beyond, and the temporal nature of living seems so silly, almost trite to worry about. Yet I now have myself, this imperfect sack of what-have-you, and the season is right for changing and molding it, after the indulgencesof summer and have left the stage to tour elsewhere.

So I lift a glass, rather late, to this new season, and the sudden clarity I've found in it, to whatever ends. There is always the self, it seems, to fall back upon when the complexity of the world is too tangled to unwind. Being an animal within the cosmos is far easier to comprehend than knowing the cosmos within the animal. It starts simply, then grows. I began a conjoined cell, and became this, today, writing whimsically after the party and before the workout... a stunning, if natural, progression. What lies behind the next fold?

Who knows what weeds shall grow in these darkening days?

jaybird found this for you @ 12:38 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink




 
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Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe

 

0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

9 ˝ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.