Archive for December, 2014

Magnum Opus

If the theory holds that the good guys have to get it right every time and the terrorists only once then there is an inverse truth in the fact that the terror they have to get only once brings out the best of the good guys for thousands upon thousands of times to come.

That terror may kill several thousand and send huge amounts of treasure up in smoke but, those whom they kill do not die in our hearts and minds nor do we critically need the treasure they have destroyed. In fact the memories of those people and things destroyed become amplified and redirected back into our society as a glorious blossoming of love and wellbeing – thoughtfulness and kinship that lasts and grows as our love, remembrance and commitment blooms, matures and is reseeded a thousand times over in our communal family.

Like the alchemist of old seeking the philosopher’s stone that would turn lead into gold those dismal, misbegotten terrorist acts call forth our “Humanity Stone” that shifts us into the domain of loving service to each other and focuses us on our community and its future with a commitment stronger and deeper than ever felt before. It is our Humanity Stone turning the lead of our temporal anguish and suffering into the gold of our spiritual growth, brotherly love and unselfish service to each other and our larger community.

As long as kindness remains, Community will thrive (our Magnum Opus); adversity: our Philosopher’s Stone.

Doors and Windows

Doors & Windows

Edge, surface and shadow The page before us is bound to the next and previous by its edge and as its turn occludes the available light in a moving shadow, deepening until the darkness of one page’s complete covering ends its currency…

The Doorway Leading Out

While I’m not an existentialist (I believe, even more, in tomorrow than I do in today) I feel very certain that the senses tell us things that our imaginations turn into our reality. That makes what we “know” from so-called “empirical” data suspect until subjected to careful scrutiny with a direct eye upon the nature of the illusions we labor before. The senses tell us things about things and never the thing itself. We have this massive indirection built into our sampling of what we all want to believe is reality. That “reality” is, by definition then, totally subjective and crafted by each imagination based upon its experiences, wants and needs.

The upshot here – we are alone and isolated except for our ability to open a variety of “ports” through which we can sample the “other”. These access points bring “data” to our central awareness in ways that allow our cognition to analyze, assess and develop a kinesthetic imagination of the part of the universe in which we are isolated and currently focused. Necessity’s daughters, then conspire, introducing stochastic vagaries impossible to predict or scheme around and, in grand summation, present us with – perception. And because this knowledge can be disconcerting to some it often is rejected out of hand.

But, for me, it is liberating as it answers many questions and frees the mind of earth-binding shackles. As with my parable of the two men at the edge of the cliff (parable of the two men on the cliff ) where the one who knows he cannot fly has a very bad trip down filled with panic and abject terror, but, the one who truly believes he can fly has a busy trip filled with activity, expectation and final, important discovery. Albert Einstein once said: “Reality is an illusion: albeit a persistent one.”. And in that, gives us the nature of the beast – for if reality and illusion are synonymous then nothing changes for us. We may walk through life exactly as we did before and nothing will have changed – except us!

We now have our meta-thinking caps on and have experienced how a single meme can change everything and yet leave everything unchanged. Like falling in love or discovering the person with whom you are smitten was lying when they said they loved you too. And when we discover that the philosopher’s stone of a female touch can turn the lead of a “drive to succeed” into the pure gold of a magnificent love affair, will alchemy still seem a foolish idea and that stone but, the doorstop against the portal of our vanities warehouse.

When Malcomb Gladwell speaks of the weight of an idea eventually “tipping” the full scope of action and how the change that occurs happens in the “blink” of an eye, he is doing service to that moment of understanding, of mind changing awareness based upon a new organization and imagination’s view of perceived data. When a meme is constructed in such a way as to provoke a new opinion of the objects and circumstances it often causes the perceiver to embark on a new path with a new outlook for the future. Thus our “magnum opus” is recognition that the crucial moments when we move from one firmly held belief to another, forms the edges in our existence that are the connections that stitch our life’s “eras” together. And that these “eras” are exclusively constructed of opinion – a primary building block of illusion.

These “passages” give me pause and introduction to the kind of thinking that inspired Paul Valery to say: “The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect.” and Immanual Kant to decide that perception was all that was to be ours and apprehension forever beyond our grasp. So as with Maugham’s Philip, who had exulted in his boyhood when the weight of a belief in God was lifted from his shoulders; I am relieved of the burden of needing a “reality” I can never apprehend. Stepping out into the fresh perception of sunlit mornings, smelling the heavy scent of the dew bejeweled pines and feeling the morning mist on my face, I embrace and exult in my illusion and if I am to be “the brain in the vat” then I am going to indulge, in the most epicurean way, my tastes and predilections to maximize the potential of this illusory universe. Others dream of castles in Spain – I will live in mine!

Musings from the brink of nothingnessity

an inchoate blackness bled into 
the waning gray, 
cloistering the senses in its chiaroscuro brooding.
a restless sweep, its deliberate cloak, insinuating
its pallid Geist onto the remains of our precious day.
Arduous night; beguile, delight and steal my restless soul, 
with sudden attention, away from those accidental disguises. 
she, a woman - I, not;
looking together at separate pieces
up along the streaming vision of our reflecting eyes
into that half-dark mirror, slicing twain;
that one infinite, inaccessible
this one less so... 

picture the eyes as two-way mechanisms (send/receive) the 
brain taking in the input from sight, touch, smell and sound, 
adding understanding and imagination and sending out a conical 
beam of its abstract comprehension to cover all, at least to 
the edges of visual periphery, and that those abstractions and 
metaphors are constructed, as they stream, into the requisite 
detail to reflect back upon our retinas as the world around us. 
This streaming vision of our reflecting eyes constitutes the 
whole of our visual perception. Our world, then, is a 
sympathetic resonance - a distortion compounded from the 
stimuli we receive at the core of our cognition in a continuum 
of feedback moderated by the imagination.

The vision then: without imagination and cognition the 
sensate world becomes invisible to our perception. The 
world is just a flat white panoply of "noise". Kick in 
the cognition and imagination for sorting and shaping 
and a beam is projected against that "whiteness" to 
saturate and fill the entire perceptual field with our 
perceived reality.
I think therefore there is a world for me to be in. 
Everything, then, is a figment of my imagination. 

culture - not art, music, literature or dance but, 
the ingression of the metaphors, the abstractions 
that represent to us our perception of the sphere 
of our existence

reverberation, resonance, vibration, reflection, 
amplification, modulation joy/sorrow, love/hate, 
light/dark, figure/ground, i am/i am not, edge/plane
It is all about difference (after the vibrations are 
sensed that is). The edges and intersections of stuff 
that allow us to "see" the world around us (or our 
perception of it).  Draw a white line on a white surface 
- can you see it? Stand behind the waterfall and speak 
- hear it? Place the rose in the garbage can - smell it? 
Stand in front of the bonfire - feel the sunshine? No 
discernible edges: No ground against which to isolate 
the figure.

Does gravity, in fact, exist or does everything just suck? 
Is it getting old out…and sad in here?

Steven Wallace sees himself as Peter Quince not with a 
pen but a keyboard making the music that is the feeling 
that makes the story of Susanna and the passions that 
exude therefrom. So Bard writes the play about Quince 
writing the play that is the center of the Bard's play. 
Wallace writes the poem about the music that is the story 
that is focused on Susanne who's feelings help describe 
Wallace's and are central to his poem. Big fleas...

The myth holds that Sisyphus' punishment for offending 
the gods was to continuously roll a large boulder up a 
mountain only to have it teeter near the top and roll 
back and force him to start over eternally. Camus tells 
us that we should picture Sisyphus as happy. That his 
toil is an allegory of the human condition and that for 
him (as for us) life occurs in the walk back down the 
mountain to start the toil again. Life is an endless 
cycle of being driven to work and taking breaks in which 
to focus on the experiences of life.

Kafka's "Little Fable"-mouse continues down his ever-
narrowing corridor until finally he notices how 
restrictive it has become and he spots the small 
dead-end room (cum trap) on the loom. At the 
recognition of the situation he has fallen into 
the following cat tells him he has only to turn 
and devours him. Thus the gnostic "truth" of 
change in direction/change in fate to set you 
free - free to die in different ways.
"If we must fall what matters it how we fall?" 
                   "If fall is all we have then how matters!"

Remember Jerry's rule #1: When faced with overwhelming 
force - run, hide, sneak! Faced with ZUGZWANG the Jerryophile 
says: "Oh - I'm just holding this seat for the mug that is
playing this loser!"

At the point where we finally notice how restrictive our 
lives become and consider changing, death intervenes - 
which was stalking us all along the way.

We are all too willing to allow any monkey to hold up 
our parade: but, once resumed it continues on its well-
worn route.

When I consider how my light is spent
o're half my days in this dark world and wide...

..when I can look life in the eyes
grown cold and very worldly wise
life will have given me the truth
and taken in exchange my youth.

...this is the way the world ends
not with a bang but a whimper.

If you wish to live like the rest of humanity; 
follow the arrows and watch for the cat. 
Just get on the road and follow it: roads have 
but one purpose; to take you where someone else 
wants you to go. It is the easy way in (or out).

© 2018 What's That On the Road – A Head
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