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
States of Union and Dis-Union
Tonight, a man will address the nation to say that everything is just fine, and it's getting even better. The man will smile, wink, and nod, and lift up his hands in a flurry of passionate rhetoric. He will extol the common American virtues, and pause for raucous applause. He will believe every word he says.
We, however, will not.
It has become almost passe to speak of the President of the United States as a tool, because it's become so obvious. It's like going around saying that the sky is, indeed, blue. We've gathered this by now. To spare a dollop of credit, I think the man truly believes what he's saying, though this Pygmalion won't ever see the world beyond his carefully maintained sphere. He handlers know, his most trusted staffers know, and the man behind the convenience store drinking malt liquor knows it too: like latter-day Reagan, George W. Bush has strings attached. Many.
We know that we live under a tattered and torn constitution, and to quote the man speaking tonight, "it's just a goddamned piece of paper." That settles that. I've long said that things must devolve before they evolve, and for that, I must thank, without handshake, the man. He has brought us to the very bottom of the crucible, and we as a nation are busy pulverizing ourselves and the rest of the world with a maddening rhythm. I can only hope that from this brutal place that something alchemical may occur, should we add the right elements.
I do not, of course, celebrate the global misanthropy which this man has been a party to unleashing. More damage than history will care to record has been exacted on the climate, biodiversity, culture, dialogue, international relations, the economy, human rights, et cetera. Yet, as in homeopathy, it's that little drop of that which we wish to stave off that has now entered the thinking person's bloodstream. Yet what to do, amid the partisan jabber?
Simple: start, earnestly, the work of evolving. This means paying little mind to the Little Mind of Government, Media, and the many tentacles of distraction. Even if in November the elections see a partisan change, acknowledge and move on. An electoral reconfiguration is a very, very tiny piece in the puzzle- so much more lies with a strengthening of individual will, local action, and internal fortitude. Personal and social evolution should be controlled through the stamina and passion of the individual heart than by subscriptions to pre-ordained social movements. The most powerful social movements in history were always the ones that were not manufactured, but spontaneous, individually authentic, and based upon the Person and not the State. Such things begin quietly, as whispers.
We are at a point where we have access to more information, ideas, and collective imagination than ever before. Surely, this ought to be enough to lay a transformative foundation socially, as it's already changing who were are internally. There is as much danger in losing the self in this time as there is in fighting to establish the self. The Government, while sitting atop an apex of power and tyranny, is indeed beginning to lose its seat. It, as an entity, is terrified of losing strength, and losing it to empowered individuals. I do not see a revolution marching to Washington and dismantling the State; rather, I see this paradigm losing relevance and any scrap of authority as humanity does the work that governments used to do; care for itself, reach out and forge real bonds with the rest of the world, self-educate, and finally, to be the bold pioneers that grow and become through the ardor of reaching our chosen frontier.
While the man is speaking a scripted speech, I invite you to ignore it. Bake something wonderful. Make love. Go stargazing. Be rapt in the sensuous. Think upon your dreams, your cause for hope, your contribution to goodness, your virtues, your genuine and valid opinions... the State of Your Own Wondrous Union.
Monday Link Disco!!!
I've been saving up all sorts of goddies for you. Let's dance!
Well now, that was fun, wasn't it? I just had to get these out of my system (and bookmarks folder).
The blog was similarly stricken by a case of the sleepies today. It promises to revive tomorrow.
The blog was sleepy today. It's winter, after all.
Something is always getting in
If only I could stare, full-bore- at the Sun
Yet I avert the eye, and in so doing,
The earthen mug from Peru which holds my morning tea is warm
The light that creates shadows is symbolic for a reason-
Closing my eyes, I feel the window's draft-
Has anyone a clue what this is?
It looks like a cross between a crayfish and a lobster with some characteristics of a large prawn or crab but even the experts are stumped about the identity of this crustacean.
Christopher Chan, Operations Manager of Mimpian Jadi Resort in Tuaran, noticed it crossing a tarred access road, while driving to work with wife Rosie last Friday.
"I've never seen it in my life," said Chan and sought Daily Express for help. We showed the pictures of it to a certified diver who shook his head and said: "I have no idea."
...There are more than 500 species of crayfish in the world. Could this be one of the 500 or could it even be a new species?
Characteristic of crayfish is its joined head with the thorax (mid-section) and a segmented body, four pairs of legs and a pair of pincers.
This creature has all those general features but there is something very unusual about the pincers - they are not equally curved claws as in most cases.
Rather, the lower claw is short while the upper claw shapes like a sharp blade three times longer.
And it is combative and fierce.
At the Beep: Physicist hypothesizes creator left messages
A University physicist has proposed that temperature fluctuations in microwave radiation may contain messages from the universe’s creator.
“It’s one of the most speculative possible hypotheses,” said associate professor Stephen Hsu, a member of the University’s Institute of Theoretical Science.
However, it may be 20 or 30 years before experimental physicists develop instruments refined enough to collect the data necessary to test this hypothesis, Hsu said.
Hsu said he thought of the idea many years ago, when theoretical physicists at Stanford and MIT addressed whether a universe could be created in a laboratory. They hypothesized that this could be done by creating a bubble of super-dense matter that would expand into extra dimensions.
“If you did create such a universe, how would you tell the occupants of that universe that their universe was made in a lab at MIT?” Hsu said. “One place to put the message would be in a microwave background.”
Another installment of "Revival Policy" will be posted shortly. Keep in mind that I'm writing in a whole new style I've never tried out, so it's going to be klunky going for the next little while.
Short Fiction - The Revival Policy - Part III
As a writer of science fiction, I had used the same literary devices that I felt were now being used on me. I knew nothing really of the technology of molecular nanobots, specifically of the kind that were inhabiting my brain and organs. I had to stop and think- I’d been frozen for a hundred years, brought back to fucking life, injected with this and that, and despite a gaping lack of real answers, had swallowed the new program hook, line and sinker. Paul said that he could help control my mood if there was a problem. What was he, some kind of camp counselor? Obviously not. There was no proof that it was really 2111. There was no proof of anything. Thus, that first night in the cabin saw my first existential crisis after only been alive, again, for a month and a half.
I went into the kitchen, lit a candle and poured a tall glass of Tokaji. The flannel pajamas felt good on my skin, and I sank into a wicker couch to think. I relaxed into the idea that maybe I was catching up on some the karma I’d put my characters through. A voice loudly split my thoughts and I almost spilt the damn wine.
“Micah, it’s Paul. Is everything alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Are you... how did you... are you watching me?”
“It’s your first night. We- I have to monitor you for signs of adjustment stress. I was passing by and saw the light. Would you like to fall asleep? I can send a signal-“
“No, please, thank you Paul but this was something I always did back home. Y’know, have a glass of wine before bed. I never lived in a log cabin before. You guys could’ve made me a beach house... heh.”
“I see. Just remember Micah that your system is still a little fragile at this time, especially mentally. I’ll address this in therapy tomorrow. I recommend that you finish that glass and not consume any more alcohol at this time. I have to monitor your night time activity, just for the next few days, and you really need your sleep. Try to sleep Micah, and if you find that you can’t please press the call button. Remember, I’m here to help.”
“Yes, sure, thanks Paul. I feel better already.”
Shit. I was being monitored, and I had no idea as to the mechanism. How could the other Revived tolerate this? How could they so easily allow this? Perhaps I had read far too much Kafka in my previous lifetime, and I was clearly experiencing classic paranoia. But how valid was it? As I returned to the bed, pulling the covers over my head, I thought of all the things that truly inspired me; the stars, the moon, the waves at play along that stony beach back home, in that other time. Time, how thou hath vexed me. I thought of Roy, Muppet, driftwood, agate, taking the kayak out into the surf. I thought of Sunday afternoon walks, the joy of long hot baths with Roy, the bottle of champagne celebrating yet another book deal perched precariously on the edge of the tub. Life has changed; I was alive and my world wasn’t. Phoenix Ranch was a mere fabrication. It was a shallow attempt to coax me into comfort. This was the kind of thing I’d rallied against my whole life. Why did these people even take the risk of reviving me?
I slept with the insecurity of a newborn. My dreams were all landslides of fear and maze-running desperation.
Short Fiction - Revival Policy - Part II
(see Part I below)
If I had known as a younger fellow that I was going to die, but a hundred years down the lane be revived, and brought to a place I couldn’t leave where all of the dťcor was western-themed, I would’ve tried far harder to die completely and stay dead. The community center of my newly appointed neighborhood at Phoenix Ranch was over-the-top gaudy; large framed photographs Dale Evans and Trigger hung on one wall, saddles and spurs and fake cacti and all manner of kitschy western ephemera filled the large, open room. I asked Paul if there were other motifs available, and he laughed politely. At least the years hadn’t diminished my gay wit.
New Category - Short Fiction
I'm doing something a li'l bit different and am going to start presenting short fiction here on the blog. The first selection is a piece I'm in the middle of writing, and will serialize it weekly until it is concluded. This piece is quasi-science-fiction, about a novelist who is revived from cryogenic suspension after one hundred years. He "died" in 2009. I haven't written fiction in ages, so I beg your indulgence, should you choose to read it. Feedback is welcomed. And since this is a work of fiction, I've got to invoke copyright.
by jay joslin
You don’t always get what you pay for.
those million holy whispers
It's Sunday, and the mist that falls
You move on,
You desire much, yet are filled by these little moments.
The coot, the wizened black preacher,
A Gray Saturday, and a little light
Good evening, friends. It's been a quiet, gray day, which I decided to dedicate to musical exploration, and I've happily come across many fine tunes. I'm about to finally cut my hair, which has become a bit of a, overgrown metropolis of tangles and curls.
The spectre of my unemployment seems to have finally been exorcised, though with somewhat shakey results. I will hopefully begin doing adult mental health in the community, a population change (and salary drop). That does sound very, very exciting, on paper, desite the cut in greenback. I have applications in two other places, and this gives me a chance to criticise the State of North Carolina: if you have no intention of following up on a resume, please inform the sender. Thanks. That's all.
The adult MH is one gig, and another part-time gig really has me excited: teaching positive parenting, prevention and divorce education classes. I really love conducting trainings, and this gig along with contracting to train with my old company will hopefully eventually mean that I will be able to survive financially. I've always had many jobs simultaneously, so this is nothing new. I'm not out of the woods yet, though: I've only worked eighteen hours in the past week. Thus, I'm reframing my Fund Drive and turning it into the "Not Out Of The Woods Yet" Drive. I'm optomisitc, though, which has made this experience far more tolerable, and the fruits of my industry far more rewarding.
Tonight, hopefully a little merry-making with friends. Thanks to everyone for your deep and lovely support- it's really helped me get through what could've been far more difficult. When I put my situation in perspective with most of the planet, however, I'm damn lucky, and that comes as a somber realization.
I stand in gratitude, and also profound respect for this world, and her unpredictable orbits.
In Japan, Cute Conquers All
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who adore Hello Kitty, and those who just don't get why the little fluffy feline with no mouth has managed to attract a global cult following. I get the part about Hello Kitty being cute, innocent, and sentimental. She likes to have tea parties and make friends all over the world. How sweet and precious. I just can't understand why this would be of interest to anyone beyond the age of 10.
But Hello Kitty is a $1 billion-a-year franchise for Sanrio, Japan's biggest maker of cartoon characters. It licenses Kitty's image to product makers far and wide. My two daughters, aged 6 and 3, have Hello Kitty pens, cups, toothbrushes, stickers, and a toy vacuum cleaner that makes a lot of noise when dad is trying to watch the World Cup. Last month, the two nearly overdosed on cuteness at a Hello Kitty amusement park in suburban Tokyo.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not interested in dissing Kitty here. It's just that I've long been fascinated by Japan's cult of cuteness -- it's rather like an obsession. The everyday visual landscape of Tokyo -- the ad banners on the subway, storefronts signs, digital display screens, and various forms of mass media like manga (Japanese comics) and fashion magazines -- are just oozing with cute stuff.
Cartoon characters are often used as pitchmen for Japanese products. All manner of companies and services, even banks, have licensed characters like Kitty or imports such as Snoopy, Pooh, and Miffy to jazz up their advertising. Spend five minutes in retail centers like Shibuya and Shinjuku, and you almost feel like you're in cartoon town. Cute sells big time in Nippon.
Japanese cute, which the Japanese call kawaii, isn't just a marketing gimmick. It's embedded in the culture and manifests itself in social and gender roles, particularly those of young Japanese women. Cute isn't just a fashion statement -- pink lipstick, butterfly hair bands, and pastel colors -- it's also a mode of behavior. Cute girls often act silly, affect squeaky voices, pout and stamp their feet when they're angry. It seems to be a cultural statement.
Decades-old mystery: Who visits Poe's grave?
Continuing a decades-old tradition, a mystery man paid tribute to Edgar Allan Poe by placing roses and a bottle of cognac on the writer's grave to mark his January 19 birthday.
Some of the 25 spectators drawn to a tiny, locked graveyard in downtown Baltimore for the ceremony climbed over the walls of the site and were "running all over the place trying to find out how the guy gets in," according to Jeff Jerome, the most faithful viewer of the event.
Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, said early Thursday he had to chase people out of the graveyard, fearing they would interfere with the mystery visitor's ceremony.
"In letting people know about this tribute, I've been contributing to these people's desire to catch this guy," Jerome said. "It's such a touching tribute, and it's been disrupted by the actions of a few people trying to interfere and expose this guy."
The cryptic visits began in 1949. Jerome has seen the ceremony every January 19 since 1976. Poe was born in 1809.
"They had a game plan," Jerome said of the spectators. "They knew from previous years when the guy would appear."
Blogger uncovers US mercenary spy ring in Haiti
I seem to have uncovered a strange little black ops organization that's spying in Haiti and elsewhere. Not long ago, they were also looking to drum up some business in the US in the Homeland Security market. I got a few tips from whistleblowers. But all of the most substantial information has come from one of their own employees who wrote me a number of long letters... CAG, ostensibly staffed with ex-military and ex-"agency" personnel, wished to remain unknown and inasmuch as it was known, it wished to be known as a "management consulting" company. It was founded by US ex-patriates and is registered in Panama. And, very specifically, CAG did not wish to be seen as either a private military company or as a security company. They claimed to be management consultants.
Well. All right then. Management consulting.
An affordable endeavour? Cost of Iraq war could top $2 trillion
The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.
Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries.
They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.
"Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are," said the study, referring to total war costs. "We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars."
Before the invasion, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be "an affordable endeavor" and rejected an estimate by then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey of total Iraq war costs at $100 billion to $200 billion as "very, very high."
Futurepositive: Connecting Synergistically
Within the complexity field we spend much time talking about state space and the total possibilities open to the system. Here alternative answers come into their own, and in this sense complexity studies is more a female oriented approach to choice than a male one. Synergy is the study of how interactions within systems affect their joint fitness, and this depends largely upon the forms of interaction employed. In the ancient philosophy of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, and also in its close relative Taoism, we find the observation that as well as the view of 'me' and that of 'you' we can also have the views of 'both me and you' and of 'neither me nor you'. In other words, when we view combinations or interactions we must take into account all the possible combinations, and not just those obvious or familiar to us.
Relating this to our two forms of interactions, the male 'rights' approach seeks to keep 'me' and 'you' separate and to mediate a sort of mutual non-interference pact between us - a uneasy truce (as seen in the politics of Rawls and Dworkin). The female 'care' mode addresses the 'both me and you' viewpoint, and seeks to benefit both as a result - a compromise, more concerned with emotions, intuition and trust (e.g. in the work of Noddings and Baier). But what about the 'neither me nor you' viewpoint, what do we make of this ? Here we step up a level, we transcend the limitations of individual viewpoints and enter a new plane, a social viewpoint. In complexity terms this is a form of emergence and leads to new system properties coming into being, properties or opportunities that do not exist in terms of individual viewpoints.
The Hikikomori: Shutting Themselves In
After years of being bullied at school and having no friends, Y.S., who asked to be identified by his initials, retreated to his room at age 14, and proceeded to watch TV, surf the Internet and build model cars - for 13 years. When he finally left his room one April afternoon last year, he had spent half of his life as a shut-in. Like Takeshi and Shuichi, Y.S. suffered from a problem known in Japan as hikikomori, which translates as "withdrawal" and refers to a person sequestered in his room for six months or longer with no social life beyond his home. (The word is a noun that describes both the problem and the person suffering from it and is also an adjective, like "alcoholic.") Some hikikomori do occasionally emerge from their rooms for meals with their parents, late-night runs to convenience stores or, in Takeshi's case, once-a-month trips to buy CD's (sic, shame on NYT). And though female hikikomori exist and may be undercounted, experts estimate that about 80 percent of the hikikomori are male, some as young as 13 or 14 and some who live in their rooms for 15 years or more.
Chopra: The Peace Economy
These are all "soft" alternatives to our other great exports, aerospace technologies, weapons, foreign military bases, and war itself. Since 1960 the U.S. has adapted to losing its smokestack industries (primarily steel), its energy base (oil), and now its large-scale manufacturing (automobiles). Change is hard, but if we can adapt to those things, we can adapt to becoming a global "soft" economy.
Peace is soft. It doesn't hide in fear behind borders. It accepts influences from outside. It makes friends of foreigners. GM knows that it can't survive without making cars in China, so that step has been taken. The oil industry realized that it had to concede the lion's share of energy revenues to Middle Eastern regimes (unthinkable at the end of World War II), so that has happened as well.
The economics of peace consists in giving the military-industrial complex a new role. Step by step the military boondoggle must be diverted into such peaceful uses as rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, funding a future for the poor, providing meaningful jobs for the elderly after they retire, and feeding the world. The Soviet Union had such a devastated infrastructure that it was like a Third World country with a space program. We are well on the way to becoming a military empire with impoverished masses at home.
Key 23: The Feral Magician
...In American culture insecurity is rampantly bred into us. So people limit themselves to safe bets. But there's also the fear of success. Fear that magic really DOES work, which requires having a responsibility of some sort associated with one's practice of it. People are afraid to take the reins of a power they deem godly; they fear becoming Icarus, of falling prey to hubris and being struck down.
We're also kept down by modern Western thought, which dictates causality and Cartesian duality. Not content with disagreeing with more esoteric thought, the egregore of Western civilization has sown the seeds of fear into our heads--the fear that, if we embrace beliefs outside of a certain norm, we are insane. Not evil, which can be romanticized and thereby reclaimed, but insanity, which supposedly denotes a REAL danger. Few people fear demons; magicians and mundanes alike rarely tremble at the names of the Goetia, and rare is the person who even really believes in Satan any more as anything beyond a symbolic construct. But many fear the insane; even those who are harmless, who have something as relatively benign as bipolar disorder, are looked at with distrust by those who claim no ills to the public. And so that stigma is attached by mainstream society to anyone who practices magic, believes in spirits or otherwise plays in the ocult sandbox.
Chaos magic lent some unique credibility to magic by boiling it down to its base components and explaining it with physics. Yet overexposure to Chaos magic can breed the misconception that magic is wholly psychological, that it can be captured within one's head, that the entities one works with are purely symbolic and have no life independent of human thought. This is just as draining to the spirit of magic as the idea that it doesn't exist.
This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.
The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.
Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.
Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.
Hypertime, Hyperself, and Googling The Akashic
From a psychological perspective our experience of Universe has been equally if not more profoundly changed and expanded since our ancestors were struggling with fire. Imagine further the gulf between our ontological space and that of an insect or small microbe. Now imagine looking beyond our current technology and psychology, to the future of post-human intelligence vastly exceeding our own. Who is to say that these other dimensions of space described by string theory and quantum gravity will not open up to us? Who is to say that parallel universes (which apparently are right next to us - less than a micrometer, just in a parallel dimension out of our 3d space) will not become known and experienced by our future post-human selves?
If David Bohm is correct about the implicate order, then there are an infinite number of dimensions of space, time and everything else, within us and all around us. All we need is believe in them and open ourselves up to them. It doesn't require any fancy technology, only a willingness inside you to go there. You'll soon learn that our physical bodies, space and time, and all that other stuff doesn't matter very much. It's just this tiny place we happen to be in at the moment. But the next moment, the one right after now, can become the first moment you are living in infinity. Many people who have taken sufficient amounts of psychedelics to have experienced these hyperdimesnions. The best part is we don't need drugs anymore to go to these places. The helped show many of us the way, but the way out is past the drug experience. I know this view has given me some flack here on this 'psychedelic' site, but I believe ultimately that drugs are a dead end. It's kind of like an old tool that has served us well, but is now no longer necessary. We cling to it because it gave us fond memories, but it no longer serves us. We have outgrown it. We have become one with these higher spaces, we are going there in dreams, in OBE's and NDE's. Death is an illusion.
The holographic theory provides a great map to understand and integrate this beautifully simple and inclusive worldview.
The NSA's domestic surveillance activities that began in early 2001 reached a boiling point shortly after 9/11, when senior administration officials and top intelligence officials asked the NSA to share that data with other intelligence officials who worked for the FBI and the CIA to hunt down terrorists that might be in the United States. However the NSA, on advice from its lawyers, destroyed the records, fearing the agency could be subjected to lawsuits by American citizens identified in the agency's raw intelligence reports.
Ecoliteracy: A Path with a Heart
I think self-organization and the newer understanding of life and complexity, when it is applied to the social realm and human organizations, can help people to find their authenticity as human beings The old paradigm model is a mechanistic model where people are seen as parts of a big machine and the machine is designed by experts who either sit at the top of the organization or are brought in from outside as consultants. Then this design of new structures is imposed upon the people who work in the organization and they are pigeon-holed in certain departments with well-defined boundaries. So the underlying model is that of a machine working very smoothly.
What self-organization tells you, among many other things, is that creativity is an inherent property of all living systems. All living systems are creative because they have the ability to reach out and create something new. In the last 20-25 years we have begun to understand the dynamics of this creativity, in terms of emergence of new structures and in terms of instability, bifurcation points, and the spontaneous emergence of order. This is the underlying dynamics of creativity at all levels of life.
When people understand this they will realize that human individuals as well as groups of individuals are inherently creative. So when you have an organization and you want to design a new structure and you bring in outside experts and then impose this structure on the organization you have to spend a lot of energy and money to sell the idea to the employees and the manager. Since human beings are inherently creative they will not accept the idea as it is. since this will deny their humanity. Therefore you can give them orders and they will nominally adhere to the orders but they will circumvent the orders; they will re-invent the orders and will modify it, either boycott it or embellish it, adding their own interpretation.
Because this is important...
Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.
The blog resteth today.
Skipping down a road that's closed
We are the road we follow
I could be some many names
Skipping down a road that's closed
County Line of Desire
I've been on the still prairie of whispering grass
Oh, how transcendant is the open sky to the traveler;
To the lover whose passage is my mind, whose body is the curve of mountain,
I've had this pack on my back, heavy with effects, charms, and notions,
Oh companion of dream, I breathe you in:
I give you, nameless one, these words:
Now, under star and phantom feather, I lay me down-
I will rise again fulfilled by the very thought of love.
We're having a teasing bit of warm weather, as if Winter Itself has decided to sleep in, slack off, and let things to all to bright-n-sunny for a while. Doubtless, this slacktime will be noticed and the proper weather will be brought back on line toute suite.
There's hopeful movement on the job front, key bills have been deferred and payment plants writ in plasma. I'm feeling a bit safer now, though the finite resources which I use to supply cat food and eggs and frozen pizza are becoming ever-more finite. I've become amazingly resourceful in how I conserve what I've got, and life has begun to take the form of an extended camping trip through the wilderness of the self, and all the goodly beasts therein.
Today, the aims are clear: cut my hair, trim a kitty who's having similar fashion faux pas with his long hair, make a high-placed phone call and/or a visit to a prospective employer with fingers and all manner of limbs crossed and entwined, maybe the gym, maybe a stroll around the Biltmo' House, since I have the irony of being dirt poor and having a year pass, finish consuming vitally nutritious leftovers, get some work done on the "secret project" since I've had to out school on hold, and perchance cap the whole thing off with a visit to our local Drinking Liberally faction after sundown.
Despite the haze and mist over my present situation, I'm maintaining an optomism that, while it may be reminiscent of Nero, that fiddling bastard, is persistent. This is the longest spell I've ever gone without gainful employment since that itself became a necessity when I was but a freakish pup just out on his own (19 days). There are ends in sight, not all ideal, but ends to this, nonetheless. I certainly will miss the rather leisurly pacing of my daily life (is today Thursday?): the soft-shuffle to the morning kitchen to feed the mewling ones and my own mewling and curious pallette, the unknown quotient of what theme the unstructured day will tether to, the spontanaiety of river walks and amazingly bad yet guiltily delicious movies. I suppose that all this leisure may well be the result I postulated for with the Universe for a time to rest. That it has been, and thus, my vision is clearer, my spirit gently rises.
There is movement toward resolution, in this situation, and in all situations. The gradual lengthening of day promises that spring, and summer, and another fall and winter must come. Even if my place in it is strange, the perpetuity of the world is enough to satisfy, indeed, enough to exalt.
Paul Davies: Physics and the Mind of God
The mystery is all the greater when one takes into account the cryptic character of the laws of nature. When Newton saw the apple fall, he saw a falling apple. He did not see a set of differential equations that link the motion of the apple to the motion of the moon. The mathematical laws that underlie physical phenomena are not apparent to us through direct observation; they have to be painstakingly extracted from nature using arcane procedures of laboratory experiment and mathematical theory. The laws of nature are hidden from us, and are revealed only after much labor. The late Heinz Pagels-another atheistic physicist- described this by saying that the laws of nature are written in a sort of cosmic code, and that the job of the scientist is to crack the code and reveal the message-nature's message, God's message, take your choice, but not our message. The extraordinary thing is that human beings have evolved such a fantastic code-breaking talent. This is the wonder and the magnificence of science: we can use it to decode nature and discover the secret laws the universe follows.
Many people want to find God in the creation of the universe, in the big bang that started it all off. They imagine a Superbeing who deliberates for all eternity, then presses a metaphysical button and produces a huge explosion. I believe this image is entirely misconceived. Einstein showed us that space and time are part of the physical universe, not a pre-existing arena in which the universe happens. Cosmologists are convinced that the big bang was the coming-into-being, not just of matter and energy, but of space and time as well. Time itself began with the big bang. If this sounds baffling, it is by no means new. Already in the fifth century St. Augustine proclaimed that "the world was made with time, not in time." According to James Hartle and Stephen Hawking, this coming-into-being of the universe need not be a supernatural process, but could occur entirely naturally, in accordance with the laws of quantum physics, which permit the occurrence of genuinely spontaneous events.
Take a leap into hyperspace
The US military has begun to cast its eyes over the hyperdrive concept, and a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in putting the idea to the test. And despite the bafflement of most physicists at the theory that supposedly underpins it, Pavlos Mikellides, an aerospace engineer at the Arizona State University in Tempe who reviewed the winning paper, stands by the committee's choice. "Even though such features have been explored before, this particular approach is quite unique," he says.
"Judge Doom's" Application for Employment
I can't quote the whole thing here since it's an image file, but not surprisingly, ScAlito believes in "the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values." That meaning, of course, that many pervert that gets the slightest wood over Brokeback Mountain ought to be rounded up and publicly shot, paying for the bullet beforehand. I kid mostly, but this kind of openly political statement (and others, read the app) deeply concern me. If the Preznit is so serious about not selecting activist judges, why did he pick Alito?
The CPAP Rap
As a followup to this post, I finally have an answer about my sleep apnea. I was actually laying across a picnic table on a closed-off stretch of the Parkway when the call came in. The walk, by the way, was incredible- I was the only human for miles.
On the night I went in for my test, I stopped breathing 52 times in a five hour, forty minute period. The longest I went without breathing was 27 seconds. I snored 112 times. I tried to do that right now just for comparison, and it was difficult. I will go in for another evaluation later this month, hooked up to the dreaded CPAP unit. It sounds as if that machine may soon be my newest accessory. HAWT.
Me: Hey, you wanna crash out?
Obviously, this will require bigtime lifestyle adjustment. Nonetheless, having a real answer is a relief.
The blog is observing a randomly observed day to rest and relax.
Greetings from the homefront
This new year has started off fairly well, with the obvious exception being that I'm not working. I have accepted a position with a loathsome pay rate, and I'll have to locate a third job in order to keep myself afloat... while making a few notable sacrifices (one of which being the not-looked-foreward-to incorporation of low-profile Google or Blogads on this site). Yet the time has helped me clear my head, play, and relax. I've also used the copious lack of preoccupation to begin a new "msytery project," that *no one* will know about until March 4th, 2006. Tee-hee-hee.
I've been writing here and there, though not as much as I'd like to. There is a traditional mid-winter slump I go through that is usually broken by the first real snowfall. I have had, most happily, the time to read. My stack of books crying out to be digested has grown to Pisa-like proportions, and I'm taking one at a time. What's really pleased me is that my typical wintry saunted into the clinical blues has not set in; my outlook is good and realisitc, I'm keeping myself occupied in this vocational interim, and really have had a staggering series of complimentary and supportive energies flung in my somewhat meanding direction. These buoy me against the tides that churn, nonetheless, and spin toward those numb pockets of wintry desolatry.
If you were to see my apartment right now, you'd think it a madman's lair... I've been so busy keeping myself busy that I haven't done the best at domestic business, so that's on today's agenda. So was attempting to bring a dead laptop back to life; alas, poor Lazarus, he riseth not.
I've been thinking a lot about two subjects, and hope to do write-ups: the myth of the American family structure, and whether Jesus actually existed as an incarnate being. There are so manr corollaries between his story and that og the many, many magi and messiahs in his day that, combined with the imagination of Paul, might have helped to create a religion quite from scratch. That certainly doesn't mean that Christian spirituality has lost meaning in my eyes, as brilliant people have pured their life into creating this body of work. But since there are no historical records that prove anything about his life, or his teachings, it's a matter of individual faith. I've been non-Christian now for over twenty years, and as a child wasn't a particularly dependable one. Yet this myth of Jesus is so massive and has shaped aour world if oft brutal ways that it must be understood and reckoned with in order to be of use to the thinking mystic.
Anyway, time to reheat some beans and settle into some luxurious movie watching. I know the blog hasn't been an exciting place lately (though I did get a link from BoingBoing), but other interests have pulled away my blog time. Actually, once I get into a steady job, things will pick up here a bit, as the structure lends itself well to content provision. For now, I savor the bittersweet lack of structure, and joyously abide by my own whims.
Consciousness in meme machines
If we hope (or fear) to make a conscious machine it would be helpful to know what consciousness is. We do not. I shall not claim here to solve the hard problem, or to say what consciousness ultimately is (if anything). Instead I shall argue that ordinary human consciousness is an illusion. Therefore making a machine that is conscious in the same way as we are, means making one that is subject to the same kind of illusion. Before explaining this in more detail I want to distinguish this view from some other major positions on machine consciousness, crudely divided here into three.
[via bruce eisner]
Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging, Yale researchers report in the journal Science.
“Although there is a large variation in lifespan from species to species, there are genetic aspects to the processes of development and aging,” said Frank Slack, associate professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and senior author of the paper. “We used the simple, but genetically well-studied, C. elegans worm and found genes that are directly involved in determination of lifespan. Humans have genes that are nearly identical.”
A microRNA and the developmental-timing gene it controls, lin-4 and lin-14, affect patterns of cellular development at very specific stages. Slack’s group found that mutations in these genes alter both the timing of the worm development stages— and the worm lifespan. C. elegans has been the premier model organism for studying the genetics of aging, and an excellent predictor of genes that also control mammalian aging.
To test their functions, they made mutants in both of these genes. Animals with a loss-of-function mutation in lin-4 had a lifespan that was significantly shorter than normal, suggesting that lin-4 prevents premature death. Conversely, over-expressing lin-4 led to a longer lifespan. They also found that a loss–of-function mutation in lin-14, the target of lin-4, caused the opposite effect — a 31 percent longer lifespan.
An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.
Charmed, I'm sure. Via metachat.
"I am one"
I had a dream in the early hours of today about a building that had collapsed, apropos of the German ice rink and West Virginia disasters... I did fall asleep with NPR on, afterall. Anyway, I was in the building, which was massive, when I received a vision of an old woman at the base of the building who was still alive. In the vision she was in her bed, breathing hard due to the increasing lack of oxygen, and at peace, thinking that if she were to die, she'd rather die in this bed than any other. She started to fall asleep, when as if to state her last words lound and clear, she loudly proclaimed "I am one!"
This vision shook me, and I ran to where the rescuers were concentrating their efforts. I told them that a woman was alive on the ground floor, and yet she had very little time. The rescuers scrambled to the area; they were dressed in monkey masks. I suppose they saved her.
A dream it may be, but what she said and how she said it had profound impact on my waking day: I am one. Not a million disolate parts, not a mind-body-spirit 'trichotomy,' but one. The self is profoundly more profound than it can possibly know, yet the work of the seeker is to know that, to know that they coexist within a thinking, feeling, and aware universe. We are one with the most embarrassing moments of our histories, our most illumined glories, and our most mundane farts. Buried beneath the rubble of the material, we survive, and we see life for what it is... one within One.
At least, that's how it strikes me in this era of my life so ripe for big dreaming.
Introduction to the Psychology of the Four Elements
The first step in working with a psychology of the four elements
Your dangerous ideas: 2006
Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in evolutionary biology, physics, information technology, genetics, neurobiology, psychology, engineering, the chemistry of materials: all are questions of critical importance with respect to what it means to be human. For the first time, we have the tools and the will to undertake the scientific study of human nature. [via metafilter]
Intro to Hermeticism
Hermes was taken to be the inventor of writing. Texts that covered religion and philosophy were said to be due to him, as well as those on magic, alchemy and astrology. It is the former that make up Hermeticism, however; the latter have nothing more in common with them than their being credited to Hermes. Nevertheless, it was common practice to ascribe a text to Trismegistus in order to give it more credibility.
It was thought by Renaissance translators that Hermeticism could be traced back to the Egyptian mystery schools, through the Neoplatonists and Kabbalists, but some of the texts have been shown to be contemporaneous with early Christianity.
2005 stats in review
Here's the stats for birdonthemoon.com over the years.. we've really grown, and I'm really honored that so many poeple are interested all of this wonderfully crazy nonsense.
2005: 609,816 visitors
115/175 countries so far under the belt. I need the following coutries and territories to complete 'my collection...' lemme hear ya holla!
Ascension Island, Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Antarctica, Aland Islands, Burundi, Bouvet Island, Botswana, Congo, Republic of, Cook Islands, Serbia and Montenegro, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Dominica, Western Sahara, Eritrea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Micronesia, Federal States of, French Guiana, Guernsey, Guinea, Guadeloupe, Equatorial Guinea, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Heard and McDonald Islands, Iraq, Jersey, Kiribati, Comoros, Korea, Democratic People's Republic, Liberia, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Mali, Northern Mariana Islands, Mauritania, Montserrat, Malawi, Niger, Norfolk Island, Nauru, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Palau, Reunion Island, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Sierra Leone, San Marino, Turks and Caicos Islands, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan (c'mon Turkmenbashi!), Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and Mayotte.
Jay tackles cultish behavior
I just concluded a heated conversation with a person who is trying, with great skill and sincerity, to initiate me into a group which has origins with EST and Scientology. I was really happy with the way I was able to disassemble the programming and false logic the group uses to induct people, as my skills in confrontation aren't always that great... kinda left the person sputtering. I know, quite humbly, that I don't have any Answers whatsoever other than my own, but I also know that linear thinking, dogmatic belief systems and agressive recruiting equal cause for concern.
My own truth, and sense of awe and empowerment, is far larger than any particular human-made method of perfecting the self. And that, my friends, is not to say that I've got it all together... but the rays of light through the trees and and the hoot of a screech owl is, to me, far more powerful than any man-made attempt to qualify all wisdom, all potential, all growth in a vastly impossible to understand and express universe. I guess this means that I've chosen the path of a mad mystic.
So be it, I reckon.
2005's 21 Most Memorable and Powerful Moments
With all the glad tidings of 2005, I'm glad that this symbolic chapter is closed, and I'm already liking 2006. It began in ritual, performance and poetry, there was a surprise tuition refund check in the PO box I never check, and I will have great friends over tonight for the official 'ring it in' event with black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and really fabulous white wine.
Paul Ford at Harper's has an excellent review of aught-five for the more globally impacting goodies. Meanwhile, I'm getting my proverbial sh*t together in many ways, and clink a glass of ginger ale your way in the hopes that we all have a happy and prosperous 2006.
contained within this website, excluding external links and items listed
are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All.
i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning.
Progressive Voice of the Mountains
Free Radio Asheville
Eclectic Music for Mountain Folks
(see rights notice at bottom)
Keep it even,
"Not all who wander
You contain everything
Everything contains you
If you desire the Infinite,
look no further than the window.
Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe
0. If you find yourself
wonderstruck, donít forget to return the favor. 1. Always be of service to
the whole and the Holy. Youíll 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 youíll find that when itís your turn to be in the night
that thereíll 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. Youíll 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. Youíll find that some of
your choices couldíve been better, or at times were downright stupid. Thatís
okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them
I wouldnít 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. Donít count on second chances. 7. In those times when
everything collapses around you, and whatís left wonít go right, donít
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 youíre
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
thereís 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 youíre doing,
celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what youíve got
when youíre done. Magic lives in the action. 9 Ĺ . All matter is energy.
All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short
time in this shape until weíre 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. Itís one of the few risks Iíd 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 donít make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as
best you can, because thatís what you get for choosing this goofy,
unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.
0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, donít forget to return the favor.
1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. Youíll 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 youíll find that when itís your turn to be in the night that thereíll 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. Youíll 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. Youíll find that some of your choices couldíve been better, or at times were downright stupid. Thatís okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldnít 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. Donít count on second chances.
7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and whatís left wonít go right, donít 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 youíre 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 thereís 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 youíre doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what youíve got when youíre done. Magic lives in the action.
9 Ĺ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until weíre 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. Itís one of the few risks Iíd 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 donít make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because thatís what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.