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Turtles and Freedom

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My wonderful, nature-loving wife, Marla, discovered this young, freshly-hatched Snapping Turtle wandering around in our yard and called me to take pictures. Snapping Turtles lay from 20 to 30 eggs on land — in sand or soil — and when the little “snaplets” hatch, they (hopefully) head for water. I took photos of this little fellow and then tossed him in the river that we live on. I saved him a lot of walking/wandering time and prevented him from being eaten by crows, raccoons, and such.

When i was very young — at grade-school-age — i went fishing one day with my grandfather and father. They caught a big turtle — it wasn’t a snapping turtle — and wanted to take it home to make Turtle Soup out of. Yuk! They kept the turtle in a huge fishing net (high up on the bank); the turtle was trapped in the net as it faced the water… wishing to run in. I felt very sorry for the turtle… and gave the big net a swift kick. The turtle managed to get out of the net; i never saw a turtle run so fast; it ran, like lightning, straight into the lake and quickly swam off. Of course, i got a good “yelling-at,” but felt that it was well worth it! That lovely creature got away!

Most humans are trapped and don’t even know it. The net is their traditions, their societal norms, their iron-clad religions, their immoral habits, their separative ways of looking at the world and its so-called separate parts. They think that their net, their beliefs, religions, prayers, mental projections, meditative techniques, and customs are ensuring that they remain very safe. But the net is a net… a limiting, fragmentary, man-made trap that is not helping in a holistic and truly healthy way. One cannot easily kick or leave the trap because one’s very foundation and mental constitution consists of the trap. It is very arduous to go beyond the trap but it is not so difficult if wise/keen and very pure perception occurs without all of the nettings that were crammed into (and around) one over the many years. To look without the known involves no learned technique, no remembered procedure.

That turtle, many years ago, cared more about freedom than most people do in this very nutty age… (with callous, narcissistic, dictatorial leaders popping up worldwide like mushrooms). Their well-designed traps were carefully fabricated to entrap you.

Baby Snapping Turtle (1) … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020

Baby Snapping Turtle (2) … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020
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Something is Fishy about Staying at Home Here… (2 pics and a video)…

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A man who doesn’t merely sugar-coat stuff and (lie like a snake), Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated, “Do not underestimate this virus. It has beaten us at every turn, and it has surprised us at every turn. Don’t take it lightly. Don’t underestimate it. I believe the facts will change as we go forward. The more we learn about the virus, the more the facts change, and the worse it gets.”

With this Covid-19 situation going on, some people are going absolutely bonkers with regard to staying at home. Some people are vehemently protesting the staying at home orders. All this while most people see professional medical experts’ recommendations to stay home as being very insightful, intelligent, fact and data-based, and beneficial; many people don’t mind staying at home. We live in a very rural area, so we can go to nature areas without contacting people. At our home, we don’t have to go out to be close to nature; nature is part of the essence and foundation of our living space. (We have — and have had — dogs, birds, tropical fish, shrimp, and praying mantises; not that animals can ever truly be “owned”.)

I’ve kept tropical fish for around 59 years so far. Right now i maintain around 700 gallons of aquariums. Aquariums are a very relaxing, educational, and beautiful way of keeping nature within your own home. (Many apartments, where pets are not allowed, allow aquariums.) Think about getting one for yourself. Many can be maintained without a heater. Most tropical fish, despite what the stores tell you, do very well in aquariums kept at room temperature. Petco periodically has “$1 per gallon” sales, wherein you can get a 20 Gallon Long aquarium for $20 or a 40 Gallon Breeder aquarium for $40. Air pumps from Walmart cost around $10 and can run 2 or 3 aquariums at only 4 watts. Walmart sells natural gravel. Many home-bred fish, like Endlers Guppies or hardy Corydoras Catfish (or very colorful Shrimp), can be purchased on eBay.

Most all of my aquariums have live plants. There are all kinds of very beautiful live plants that you can get and they can be very enjoyable to raise and reproduce. Some of my aquariums have shrimp instead of fish, or shrimp combined with small fish.

The following well-done, short video is by Lucas Bretz, where he talks about the “Staying at Home” thing and aquariums. I disagree with him on a number of things regarding the way aquariums should be maintained but there are a number of good ways to keep aquariums that all work well. I met Lucas at an Aquarium Auction/Swap in Champaign, Illinois, and i gave him some young Daisy Neon Blue Ricefish that i bred. Daisy’s are extinct in the wild — due to pollution — and only aquarium enthusiasts like myself and others are keeping them alive. Cory (of Aquarium Co-op) is another great source for videos and aquarium plants and supplies. Prime Time Aquatics is also a great video source. LRB Aquatics sells home-bred fish, shrimp, and plants online.

Below are two different shots of my 8 feet long Angelfish aquarium.

Angelfish and Italian Val Plants … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020
Large Aquarium with Angelfish, Emerald Corydoras Catfish, and Ivory Mystery Snails … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020
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Goodness and Fear

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It is intelligent to be fearful during this Covid-19 thing. Not being fearful would be a form of foolishness and ignorance. Fear has its place. Is one separate from the fear that one has? Well, one doesn’t merely “have” or “own” fear. Psychological fear is actually part of what one is. If that part gets to be too habitual, too excessive, too dominant… then unnecessary disorder manifests. What is it that is going to “get rid” of excessive fear? What is it that is going to “control” fear from a distance? Is it going to be a supposedly separate set of habitual fabricated images and “learned mental patterns” that are designed to think that they are manipulating fears that are “there” (at a distance) to manipulate? (Such supposed psychological distance is fallacious and is a barbaric inheritance that maintains conflict and illusion. The internal psychological distance creates a false duality; it manifests as the “controller” and the supposed separate “controlled.”)

Security is important in terms of being healthy with food, clothing, and shelter. However, in the quest for mere self-oriented security, the mind-heart can become cold, mechanical, robot-like, over-anxious, and dependent upon strange and unethical patterns. Of course, in the present crisis, if you do not have enough food, fear is a very legitimate factor; good governments and groups need to do more to help people; currently, they are not doing enough. When i was young — and not so young — i quit a good number of jobs because i did not feel that what they were doing (or making) in them was ethical. I left quickly without much concern for what may happen to me. I like what Senator Bernie Sanders recently said: “We must break away from the worldview that everybody should try to become a billionaire — and you can lie, cheat, and steal if your goal is to make billions and not pay attention to the suffering of others.”

Life, real life, is so much more than a Monopoly game.
Compassion, these days, is not prevalent enough. But $ in people’s brains certainly is. Many cling to the apron strings of $ and security… and the real joy, extraordinary spiritual bliss, and meaning of life, unfortunately, pass them by. (Kudos to truly dedicated medical staff and other critical needs and essential needs people working at risk — selflessly — to help others in these very precarious times.)

We think internal fear is there to manipulate (at some kind of distance) and we think organisms that suffer are merely “there at a distance.” We may have been taught wrongly.

Mushrooms don’t have to Social Distance. Photo by Thomas Peace (from a distance) c. 2020.
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Why are so few of “wholeness”?

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Why do so few people perceive the whole? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Perhaps the question itself is a wrong (i.e., faulty) question. It may be that wholeness is simply “what is” beyond the dualistic, separative perception involving an “observer” and “that which is observed.”

Very few people are of wholeness, though (certainly) a good number think that they are. Most people are of fragmentation… perceiving from — and through — that fragmentation. We were taught, by elders, about how to perceive, how to react, and about what to believe in. We live in (and “as”) mental symbols; we accept those virtual-mental symbols as true realities. Most of us stay in the rut of that limitation, that conditioning, and remain that way until the day we die. Is that ever really living?

Throughout school, we were not encouraged to question things deeply; we were not encouraged to go beyond the accepted values and the accepted ways of perceiving things. Man, throughout the ages, evolved from animals; we (being so-called sophisticated animals) still harbor basic instincts for focusing on elemental parameters, (just like the animals do… only what we do is a bit more “sophisticated”). Few of us go beyond that. You could count those (living wholly) on one hand. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Through eons of conditioning over generations, people are locked into reacting as they inevitably do. The following video, by Donald Hoffman, is worth a watch; it has its limitations, but it helps to illustrate some about what one has been saying for a long time. (With other of his video/audio sessions, one feels that he relies too much on old, fragmented, mathematical, and speculative approaches that can leave us merely analyzing ad infinitum.)
Is, by the way, the watcher separate from the watched?

This is not a toad… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020
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Timelessness

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People, animals, and plants all exist in (and “as”) time. Thought/thinking is fundamentally sequential and is of time. It (i.e., thought) takes time in cause and effect (causal) sequences. Few seriously question about whether or not humans can exist beyond time’s framework. Fewer still ever exist in communion with the timeless.

Timelessness is, itself, a symbolic word and, like all words, has real limitations; the word is definitely not the thing. People tend to live with (and “as”) words and mental images, all of which are sequential symbols that basically are not the things that they represent or stand for. The word “energy” is not the energy; the word “sacred” is not the sacred. Yet we accept words and cling to words and mental images — habitually — and go on in that superficial way until we die.

If people could somehow be visited by the timeless, they surely would perceive it as being sacred, beyond the ordinary, beyond the mundane. That sacredness is never part of the field of time. It is not composed of patterns that you can see; it is not composed of patterns that you can hear; it is not composed of things that you can feel. The timeless and time never fully meet at any point. For it to visit one — and “visit” is a very crude and limited way of putting it, as all words are — one cannot merely be composed of sequential images, thoughts, patterns, fears, prayers, wishes, and desires. Most people are incapable of that — with all of their innumerable habits — and so they remain as they have for generations upon generations.

You cannot invite timelessness. It can never come if you are craving for it. It (i.e., timelessness) is not responsible for what takes place in the field of time, for neither did it create the field of time nor does it get involved with changing things (i.e., manipulating things) in the field of time.

So one who is wise can go beyond merely habitually existing as superficial symbols and other sequential mental patterns; then being beyond mere habitual routine, the timeless may or may not occur. But there is more to being wise than meets the eye.

From E. E. Cummings:

there’s time for laughing and there’s time for crying— for hoping for despair for peace for longing —a time for growing and a time for dying: a night for silence and a day for singing but more than all(as all your more than eyes tell me)there is a time for timelessness

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The photo is of some diminutive wild plants that grow amongst our lawn-grass. There are two or three insects in the photo. Do you see them?

Growing amongst the grass… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020

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Wisdom, Viruses, and existing beyond Chaos

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These are very tough times for the world’s people right now. There is the virus going around, many governments (worldwide) are becoming more and more dictatorial, suppressing such things as human rights, the right to vote, and fair and balanced systems. I’ve included another video, down below, by Dr. Campbell, for you to look at if you have not seen it already. He sagaciously suggests something similar to what i have been blogging about for a very long time… that we should stay local — not pollute the air by (needlessly) flying in jet planes (that most all of us ludicrously assume we have a “right” to fly around in) — and produce and consume more goods locally, rather than (cheaply) getting them from overseas. Our population, too, needs to be kept in check. The over-populated (crowded-in-large-groups-cities) Native American Hopewell culture likely descended from the earlier low population hunter/gatherer Adena culture. With much larger populations concentrated together (in large “towns”), the Hopewell culture went through devastating periods of human to human disease transmissions (i.e., devastating viruses); this may have been the primary reason for the Hopewell culture’s demise. Sound familiar? But people tend not to learn; they tend to follow and merely imitate; hence, dictators and lack of freedom are popping up again as phenomena. Few people, in the many nations, are really talking about lowering population levels. So my premonitions (from childhood) about deadly viruses and a deadly-polluted globe seem to be, indeed, transpiring.

To compromise a lot and to look the other way and make excuses is not great order. Only great order as (and of) the mind can allow the possibility of a true (not fabricated) visitation by that sacred, eternal energy to take place. Then there is a real communion, not all of that phony stuff. If it (i.e., such a visitation) never takes place in one’s life, then one’s life may have, unfortunately, turned out to be like a seed that never germinates, an egg that never hatches. With such visitation may come real wisdom about the whole, and not all of that phony stuff; with it, eternity is revealed deeply, and superficiality continues to significantly dissipate.

Dr. Campbell is right, we need to be close to nature and the outdoors. We need to be responsible for our little, delicate planet. We need to care.

Please, if you are able, donate to your local food bank (as we have been repeatedly doing).

Cutleaf Toothwort Wildflower and Insect in the Woods… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020
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Covid-19 and the Future (continued)

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Stay safe and be cautious and prudent in this current viral crisis. This thing will likely be around for a long time. Additionally, in this polluted world, more deadly viruses will be coming. Unfortunately, our government officials are superficially looking at things fragmentarily and are not seeing things holistically with a lot of insight. In the U.S., for instance, i feel that Trump is adding to the nightmare of this. I am basically an apolitical person, but what i see this non-compassionate, narcissistic man doing is horrifying. My friends in other countries are equally horrified with the current U.S. administration, and with good reason. It’s like a horror movie. He has a cult-following around him and, while people are dying, he talks about his ratings. He promotes and endorses racism and he is dismantling just about everything that President Obama did in the past… including (recently) the drastic weakening (i.e., ending) of an Obama-era fuel economy standard that made new cars more fuel-efficient and more environmentally friendly.  This will increase pollution while the world wrestles with a respiratory virus pandemic (that Trump had called a hoax) and a climate crisis. (Is a deadly-polluted world really the legacy that you want to leave your kids?) Then there is the drastic cutting of Social Security and Medicare, putting kids in cages, being puppets for the fossil fuel industry, and the GOP’s diabolical suppression of voting in many states. This is an immoral society and we are allowing ourselves to be bamboozled by extremely immoral so-called leaders. Personally, if you subscribe to such nefarious stuff, i would prefer it if you unfollowed this blog and stayed away. Such nefarious behavior is a danger to mankind and the animal and plant kingdoms. Besides, subscribing to such drivel certainly nullifies any chance of ever being visited by that sacred, holistic energy; its order and vast intelligence does not visit the disorderly, the visionless.

I highly recommend watching Dr. John Campbell’s (daily) videos on the coronavirus. (One of his wonderful and very helpful videos that i especially like is provided below. He is from England, and one meter equals around 3.3 feet.) He is a top-notch medical expert (now retired). We all need to talk more about population limitation, healthy environmental measures, and living cooperatively. And please donate, as i did, to your local food bank (in these very difficult times).

Stay safe!

Easter Eggs (kind of)… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020