I write to encourage others to go beyond conditioning, blind acceptances, and stagnation. Most of us were deeply conditioned in early childhood — and beyond — to absorb and follow what elders spoon-fed to us; they (i.e., the elders), without question, were deeply conditioned themselves throughout their early (and later) lives. We accept so many myriads of things and most of us blindly adhere to these things without question. Most of us are unaware of the extreme degree of our conditioning.
Conditioning is largely illusory in its essence; a conditioned mind is often a rather disorderly mind (though, to itself, it appears to be very orderly and “normal”). A conditioned mind primarily goes on in the same, old patterns while not questioning their value, essence, or impact. Society is a reflection of this conditioning and society is full of illusion, disorder, conflict, separation, friction, and turmoil. Many of us try to escape from such situations via entertainment, amusements, sports, incessant music, vacations, dreams, and various activities. However, the problem is not solved until we question intelligently and understand our own minds deeply. But going beyond being secondhand is very uncomfortable to a lot of people and so fundamental change does not take place.
The dictionary defines time as: ‘The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.’
Since Einstein, many scientists have been referring to “spacetime,” wherein space and time are united and not separate.
When we look at time or spacetime in the ordinary way, we — as we were taught — look via the known… via limited measurement and inherited pattern-making. Such time (or spacetime) is circumscribed and very limited. We look via the known and usually see things in a circumscribed, bounded, finite, fixed, and confined way. Such looking is fragmentary, partial, and quite constrained. Very few of us look beyond the known, beyond the second-hand, beyond the restricted templates and limited symbolic arrangements. A beautiful psychological transformation or metamorphosis can enable us to exist beyond such bounded, limited perspectives. However, time is not a factor in getting there; that would be absurd. There is no path to the pathless.
We are predisposed to incessantly label and categorize everything. This was hammered into us at school and most of us have largely become products of that miseducation (or very limited education). We habitually look through a screen of patterns and labels that was handed down to us (by our primitive society). We see what we were taught to see. We usually recognize merely according to what we were programmed to recognize. What we see is usually very limited, second-hand, fragmentary, and banal. Then many of us end up depressed, ordinary, and — to a large extent — mediocre.
Please question what you were taught and (often) go beyond it. Please look without all of the crap that was spoon-fed to you. Please often look at things holistically, without all of the divisions, distinctions, separations, run-of-the-mill labels, and distance. Question what was poured into you. Go out, appreciate what you see, and breathe and live as if for the first time.
There is the silence of a still evening as the sun is setting when none of the beautiful trees have leaves moving or fluttering about. There is the limited silence between notes being played by a wonderful musical instrument. There is the echoless silence in a large theater when no one is there. There is the murmurless silence of a dragonfly peacefully resting.
Silence of the mind can be a most beautiful, spiritual, divine, and wise thing. True spiritual silence is not an act of will. Will is a projection of desire and will is never truly free, though many of us insist that it is. True spiritual silence that comes about naturally, spontaneously, without any cognitive/mental effort, can be a miraculous thing. It occurs when the mind is aware but is not merely accumulating or striving. Control has nothing to do with it, for control is in the pattern of the opposites and is manipulation toward an end; it is merely part of the cause/effect continuum. True spiritual silence is beyond ends to attain; it is beyond cause and effect patterns and sequences. Such silence is an explosion beyond the known… beyond the cunning and ludicrous patterns of man.
Creation seems to be a concept that our primitive, sequential, time-oriented brains lock onto. The universe can have its own intrinsic, organic intelligence (which may reflect — but not be created by — a higher order to some extent). However, that higher order exists beyond conflict and separation. Love is beyond conflict and separation; it is a wholeness.
Regarding those who are pompously dogmatic, who pontificate, telling you exactly what to do according to rigid creeds or beliefs that they expect you to adhere to… may i suggest running away from them (and wisely discovering and examining things for yourself beyond set patterns). And many say they’ve “gone beyond society’s crude patterns” while, all the while, they continue to carry them around mentally (tricking themselves that they’ve gone beyond). It’s so easy to deceive oneself and to wallow in (and “as”) that deception; it’s so easy to live a mechanical, robotic-automaton life, falling into programmed, spoon-fed habits and perspectives sadly beyond the natural, holistic, unfettered (living) beauty.
A few students walked past the elderly Lo Zu as he was sitting quietly in nature. As they were passing, they briefly paused near the wise and highly respected Lo Zu and he briefly stated this: “Beyond all of the so-called religious mumbo-jumbo, just sit still and perish to what you’ve been told. Do not try to ‘make’ the mind silent; just be passionate about the intrinsic beauty of true silence and then perhaps true silence will naturally manifest. You cannot make the un-makable.”
Four young people saw the elderly, willowy Lo Zu walking (as he often did with his trusty meandering cane). They asked him where he was going. Lo Zu replied, “I am going nowhere and I am coming from nowhere. A truly silent mind is of no place, so it is nowhere; being of nowhere it may, thus, be everywhere.” The sagacious Lo Zu — who had immense compassion for all living things — kept on walking, leaving the young students pondering. And though he left them, he was always with them.
I like this song by Rush. It has a lot of meaning in this day and age regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine and regarding wars that are the result of perceiving via separation.
I see the Middle Kingdom between Heaven and Earth Like the Chinese call the country of their birth We all figure that our homes are set above Other people than the ones we know and love In every place with a name They play the same territorial game Hiding behind the lines Sending up warning signs
The whole wide world An endless universe Yet we keep looking through The eyeglass in reverse Don’t feed the people But we feed the machines Can’t really feel What international means In different circles We keep holding our ground Indifferent circles We keep spinning round and round
We see so many tribes — overrun and undermined While their invaders dream of lands they’ve left behind Better people — better food — and better beer Why move around the world when Eden was so near? The bosses get talking so tough And if that wasn’t evil enough We get the drunken and passionate pride Of the citizens along for the ride
They shoot without shame In the name of a piece of dirt For a change of accent Or the color of your shirt Better the pride that resides In a citizen of the world Than the pride that divides When a colorful rag is unfurled
We — most of us — live in (and “as”) the linear past, moving into what we think is the future. However, this future is, for the most part, a projection or fabrication from the past, and when unusual things later pop up we arrange them to fit into our storage of narrow past recognitions. (These recognitions constitute what we “are.”) We can fool ourselves into thinking that we often live in the present — in some kind of here and now — but usually it is the clockwork past deluding itself. Self-understanding and critical self-awareness may go beyond the limitations of all this. Such understanding and awareness are not merely the result of some learned processes or taught techniques.
Many of us primarily live in the particular and not in the general, not in — or involving — the whole. We merely function as we were taught, and we exist in (and as) the particular. For so many of us, the particular is apart from the whole; we try to solve things by focusing on the particular as apart from the whole. Then conflict ensues and even more problems arise. We see ourselves primarily as separate human beings. We must change.
Psychologically, the one who perceives something is not (to a large extent) separate from the perception; so, a man or a woman who is discussing something with someone who is standing in a bed of flowers is — in a very peculiar but real way — conversing with the flowers.
(A favorite excerpt from a very special movie):
I could while away the hours Conferrin’ with the flowers Consultin’ with the rain And my head I’d be scratchin’ While my thoughts were busy hatchin’ If I only had a brain
I’d unravel any riddle For any individ’le In trouble or in pain…
When one was in grade school at, of course, a very young age, one was in one’s upstairs bedroom. Suddenly, one was in an extremely perceptive state in which thought/thinking was not in occurrence. One realized, without internal words or symbols, that it was a very “special” mental state (much different from regular, mundane consciousness involving thought/thinking). Somehow it was instantaneous in nature, not involving time and the sequence that words and time are involved in. From then on, one would occasionally go into that dimension (or “special” mode).
Back then, one did not label it as anything. “Meditation” was not a word that i was familiar with; “meditation” was not discussed or mentioned in my culture or educational background at the time (way back then). Only later, in one’s college days, did i discover more about the term “meditation.” Interestingly, one found that a lot of what some gurus from the East were presenting as “meditation” was really a form of self-hypnosis (involving mere concentration, effort, resistance, and time). Thought/thinking, being a sequential mental process, involves (and actually is) time. Profound perception is beyond time; it is a beautiful timelessness that thought cannot “make happen.”
My prayer is — and always has been — in the doing, not in mere words. You can’t put food in an unfortunate starving man’s belly with a prayer.
As i’ve said to Harini (i.e., thelongview) in my previous blog posting’s comments, i have been donating to various food banks benefitting the Ukrainians. More of us should do the same. 💖
(Note: It seems that Leonardo DeCaprio did not donate the 10 million dollars to Ukraine like i had written about here initially. That information — that went viral about him — was not true. However, he did donate to various organizations pertaining to people in need, including the victimized Ukrainians.)
While watching a YouTube video on Putin, there was a section of the video that showed him (at an elderly age) kissing something in a church and making the sign of the cross. (Hypocrisy unmitigated concerning the exterminator of innocent people!) We’ve also had a so-called leader in the United States, holding a bible upside down while trying to use it as a prop. (By the way, the two are friends.) Donald Trump STILL refuses to criticize Vladimir Putin.
“THE ROUNDED CATALOGUE DIVINE COMPLETE.” by Walt Whitman
[Sunday,–– – ––.–Went this forenoon to church. A college professor, Rev. Dr.——, gave us a fine sermon, during which I caught the above words; but the minister included in his “rounded catalog” letter and spirit, only the esthetic things, and entirely ignored what I name in the following:]
The devilish and the dark, the dying and diseas’d,
The countless (nineteen-twentieths) low and evil, crude and savage,
The crazed, prisoners in jail, the horrible, rank, malignant,
Venom and filth, serpents, the ravenous sharks, liars, the disso- lute;
(What is the part the wicked and the loathsome bear within earth’s orbic scheme?)
Newts, crawling things in slime and mud, poisons,
The barren soil, the evil men, the slag and hideous rot.
Here is an excerpt from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman…
How beautiful and perfect are the animals!
How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it!
What is called good is perfect, and what is called bad is just
The vegetables and minerals are all perfect, and the imponderable
fluids are perfect;
Slowly and surely they have pass'd on to this, and slowly and surely
they yet pass on.
I swear I think now that everything without exception has an
The trees have, rooted in the ground! the weeds of the sea have!
I swear I think there is nothing but immortality!
That the exquisite scheme is for it, and the nebulous float is
for it, and the cohering is for it;
And all preparation is for it! and identity is for it! and life
and materials are altogether for it!
The dictionary defines Nirvana as: ‘(in Buddhism) perfect bliss attained by the extinction of individuality.’
And the following — which may reflect the above definition — may be one pristine part of the bible that managed to get through without being adulterated much over time by those with mythological propensities:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
When we consider things mentally we are living in the past. Merely living in the past, in all actuality, is not truly living. Past structures past recognitions, past images and patterns are restructured and re-manipulated. This re-manipulation may seem new, but if the components of it are of images and memories of the past — which they usually are — then what seems somewhat fresh is, for the most part, merely a restructuring of the same old stuff.
In psychoanalysis, looking into the past to get at the source of one’s fears usually isn’t treading new waters whatsoever. It also is a continuation of the past. This past is never truly liberating, for it is an extension of the remains of the stale, the old, and the accumulated. Bringing up old accumulations doesn’t — in any profound way — produce anything liberating and fresh for the mind. The mind that probes into its past is that past; and what it perceives with is dictated by (and actually is) the very past that it is desiring to look into. In actuality, it is very much like a dog chasing its own tail.
Instead of trying to find out about the source of the fears that one thinks one has, it may be much more prudent to perceive that one is not psychologically separate from what fear is as it occurs. Being in right relationship with fear doesn’t take time. Probing into one’s past and psychoanalysis take time. Time is not profoundly liberating in this… because like a dog that chases its own tail, it is a waste of energy. Looking at the past with the past is, for the most part, often a waste of time.
Trying to analyse fears takes time. Trying to control fear takes time. (And trying to control fear presupposes a segment of the mind that is separate from fear and that is capable of manipulating it.) Trying to suppress fear takes time. Escaping from fear, though various forms of entertainment, for example, takes time. Being in an intelligent relationship with fear (as it occurs) does not take time; there is no separation (i.e., no conflict) in that intelligence.
Lo Zu was sitting peacefully, adjacent to a beautiful, small creek with splendid, lush vegetation growing all around it. A towering, majestic mountain stood in the distance. Four inquisitive, very young students came by, and one of them said to Lo Zu, “Tell us something of wisdom; please tell us something that will amaze us.”
Lo Zu turned to them, smiling, and said, “Well, my friends, that’s a very tall order!” The youths all affectionately smiled at the aged Lo Zu and agreed. Lo Zu gazed at them and said (half to himself), “Let’s see… what can one say (or do) that would sufficiently satisfy such a tall order?” Then Lo Zu said, “How about if i get that mountain to move? Would that be sufficient?” “Oh, yes it would, indeed,” said one of the young students, “but it can’t be done.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be so sure,” Lo Zu stated, grinning. Lo Zu continued on, “You see, in the mind, psychologically, it is such that the perceiver is (in a big way) the perceived. If the mind feels anger, it is the anger; if the mind feels joy, it is the joy; if the mind sees a tree (the patterns and the colors of that tree become what the mind is); if the moon is perceived, it’s image becomes what the mind is (psychologically). So the perceiver is (psychologically) the perceived. The two are as one.
“Yes,” the students said. Lo Zu went on, “So if one of you students looks at the mountain, and i move you… then in a big way, the mountain will move.” “Very interesting,” the students proclaimed.
Then Lo Zu said, “”There is a great book, stemming from a great and very wise man, that was written in a foreign land a short while back. It was a cornerstone book that was rejected by the authoritarian (so-called spiritual) bureaucrats in that land (who wanted to manipulate people and did not want them to be independent); they arranged for all of those who cherished that book to be executed. The book was called ‘The Gospel of Thomas.’ Here is one of the sayings from within that book: “When you make the two into one, you will become children of humanity, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here,’ it will move.””
In my last (recent) blog posting — just prior to this one — in the comments, Marlene thanked me and wisely mentioned how our conditioning causes us to forget (or fail to deeply see) the more realistic unity and wholeness (beyond the individual “I”). One answered back to her, responding that there are endless subtle ways that the isolating self tries to manifest… such that most of us, unfortunately, are hardly perceptive of it.
We are hardwired (by our crude society) to refer to the self habitually, automatically, without question. Going beyond the “I” is considered by many to be heading for insecurity, instability, and chaos. In reality, however, it may be that this limited (but deeply ingrained) notion of a central “I” (in each one of us) is what contributes greatly to the conflict, disorder, selfishness, instability, chaos, and lack of true harmony in the world.
And this constant, deeply ingrained referral to the “I” happens to so many of us, even to those of us who see the unintelligence of doing so. People will automatically, for example, say, “Well I’m working on my meditation or… I am trying to work on my mindfulness more.” So they still — either subtlety or grossly — are maintaining the “I” as a controller and power-source of regulation. Of course, our language itself is designed and structured to often refer to and depend upon the “I.” The “I” is a habitual obtrusion of thought (and it is not truly “in control” as we were programmed to think it is); it reinforces gross separation, selfishness, and (often) indifference. Truly transcending this takes one to a realm of real wholeness — beyond the limited image of “me” — a wholeness of real order, compassion, perception, and true harmony. (One can still, in communication, cautiously use the word “I” but nevertheless be acutely aware of its limiting, superficial aspect.)
Lo Zu was sitting upon a meandering Oak log, as he so often likes to, silently gazing at the beauty all around him. His right hand — of course — held his splendid, sinuous walking cane. Three young students came by — in the hope of again gleaning some insights of wisdom from him — and they began asking questions. One of the questions, from one of the students, was, “What is the nature of the self?”
Lo Zu smiled caringly at them and said, “See those majestic mountains in the distance? Each one has a name. Each one seems different and separate from the others.” Just then a little toad hopped by, and Lo Zu remarked, “Then too, the warts upon this beautiful, little toad… each one seems separate and distinct from the others; the warts do not have names — as the mountains do — but nevertheless, they are quite similar.” “Kind of like those bird eggs that you told us about once, right?” remarked one of the students. “Exactly!” said Lo Zu.
“What are you getting at?” one of the inquisitive students fondly asked. Lo Zu then said, “The self, which each one of us allegedly has, is like one of those mountains or like one of those warts. However, the mountains are — in reality — all connected and unified by the ground beneath that supports them. Each wart, too, is part of the whole toad. We, as humans, however, get lost in the separateness, the isolation, and do not see the whole (which is the real truth and true reality). We were miseducated, and we accept the limited all too easily and mindlessly; one is conditioned to look at oneself as an isolated, separate mountain, or as a separate wart. We are not just one mountain; we are the whole range (and then some). We are not just one, isolated wart; we are the whole toad (and then some). Thought/thinking is usually limited and isolating. Transcending the habit of superficial thought/thinking may enable truth and unadulterated, holistic beauty to be seen. With (or ‘as’) such beauty, real compassion flowers.”
“Yes,” said one of the students, “but I see that I am separate from my own separate thoughts and I see that I control the thoughts and the thinking process.” Lo Zu answered, “We — over many generations and from early (in life) input from so-called others — have been taught that the ‘I’ is the boss and is the powerful controller of thoughts. But, in reality, it may be that thought itself has projected this image of ‘I’; in other words, the ‘I’ itself may be the product of thought/thinking and may erroneously be imagined as ‘being in charge.’ The more thought attributes power and control to this imaginary ‘controller,’ the more the mind becomes conditioned to take it for granted and accept its supposed controlling power (as reality). More and more of these associative occurrences further condition the mind. However, the alleged separateness and the alleged power of control of this imagined ‘I’ may not be truly grounded in reality. The wise mind that sagaciously sees this does not fall into disorder or disarray but, rather, functions beautifully in (and ‘as’) a most holistic, deep, and profound order (beyond mere ordinary control). Hopefully, the beauty of it can be seen.”
The students graciously thanked Lo Zu and went on their way… pondering deeply.
When you look at nature, if you are merely looking through the patterns of space and distance, are you really looking at all?
A free and wise mind that is not dependent upon things of disorder, needs neither alcohol nor drugs.
Some wise scientists have said that the truth of how the universe works probably exists far from what we have surmised and discovered. And some wise men realize that true spirituality exists far from what mundane, organized religions have maintained.
If you remain in (and “as”) mediocre acceptances all of your life… then it may be that when you die, you are just a little bit more dead.
It may be that only physically and tangibly helping others is any real form of prayer… and that praying with mere thoughts and words isn’t really praying at all.
It is easy to pass the truth by and ignore it; it is easy to see everything through separative eyes of fragmentation, division, and distance (just as you were miseducated to do).
That happy baby isn’t separate from what one is; that injured dog isn’t separate from what one is.
It may be that gross immaturity likes to fly around the world in aircraft that spew inordinate amounts of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, (thus harming all of life)… in order to see “beautiful” natural sites (with patterns that are wonderful eye-candy).
I’ve been waiting for coffee at this table for over 20 minutes, and still no coffee!
True spiritual search lies beyond mere motives; then somehow it magically transcends what search is constituted of.
The pyramid of life (depicted on every U.S. dollar bill) has the all-seeing, all-perceptive eye at the very top. And your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.
The past and the future seem so very different (to our limited, unsophisticated eyes).
Eliot eloquently, poetically wrote: “Time past and time future allow but a little consciousness.”
When you listen to music, are you really separate from the tones and the melody?
If we marginalize the environment, neglecting it and being lackadaisical about it, it will come upon us with a vengeance, with uncontrollable fires, pandemics, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Waking up too late, mankind, isn’t waking up.
The beautiful flower doesn’t care if you stop to notice it or not… and that is part of its innate beauty.
Not that it’s the worst thing in the world (by any means), but exclusively clinging to the orthodox religion that you were born with may be like feeding from a formula-bottle for your entire life.
To look without the background of the past is what looks without contamination and time.
It is most noble to investigate into truth without letting fear cause one to cling to inherited, comforting beliefs (or to self-concocted beliefs); deep intelligence does not let fear alter (or cloud) what it sees.
Education is not just memorizing and regurgitating back information; true education involves questioning, pondering, and investigating far beyond what you are “told.”
An intelligent, holistic mind is also a mind that is appreciative of humor and laughter.
The real problem with kleptomaniacs is that they always take things literally.
Intelligent, vicarious suffering often acts to help other people, animals, and the environment as a whole.
Marionettes are easily worked by strings; gullible people are easily swayed by nefarious, diabolical (so-called) news channels that perpetrate hatred, misinformation, and separation.
A truly good doctor (i.e., general practitioner) informs you about how to eat and act in a more healthfully appropriate way and does not merely robotically and hurridly dispense out synthetic pills to you.
Fear necessitates time and requires time. It is often the past dreading what may happen as the future. To transcend fear at its roots, psychological time must be deeply understood and transcended.
The deepest truth exists far beyond the limitations of time and searching.
To look without the background of what others poured into you… may be of pristine clarity and wholeness beyond description.
We tend to cling to groups (involving separative countries and religions) and are afraid of standing alone on our own.
When we were young, they taught us that doubt is a very bad thing; on the contrary, doubting often involves the beautiful awakening of true intelligence and wisdom.
The human body is a miraculous, delicate, balanced instrument. We must take precise care of it with tremendous care, concern, and natural, healthy processes… not abuse it with thoughtless neglect and misuse. A healthy body can nourish a healthy brain.
To holistically perceive without separation may bring real compassion and wisdom.
A very beautiful mind inwardly… perceives beyond the dull limitation of symbolic words, fragmentary thoughts, and habitual acceptances.
It’s very comfortable to remain entrenched in traditional beliefs and groups, but it may not at all be wise, noble, or highly intelligent.
The sweet whole can clearly be seen by a mind of sweet wholeness.
Gross oversight is failure to notice the reality of what is actually taking place, failure to notice the whole, (while one, all the while, is fixated on the parts).
It may be prudent to remain with (and “as”) the suffering of loneliness without merely habitually trying to escape from it.
The earth and the moon do not argue amongst themselves about which one is more round, and they dance along with each other just fine.
Most of the food sitting upon selves in the grocery stores of the U.S.A. … is not healthy food.
The scientist said to the man who fell and broke his knee, “Do you understand the gravity of the situation?”
Compassion and wisdom… not two separate things… the one is the other.
Many people of many countries and religions were born into each of those so-called countries and religions, and often inherently (and hereditarily) think that theirs is “the best” and is “very special above the others”; we keep killing ourselves in bloody wars based on separative borders and beliefs.
Maybe humans could learn a thing or two from some simple, natural creatures. What humans are doing to the earth is unnatural and cruel. We need to change.
(Please consider going green more, and please consider donating often to such places as the Environmental Defense Fund and The Sierra Club. I donate to these monthly.)
Safe in the crimson spread of things
the foliage is my home and my guardian
I will eat it little by little
but will not eat too much of its purply protection
It will guard me, protect me, and feed me
It will become me
It is my world, my universe, my abode
It is not what i will merely destroy and abuse
Reaction is fragmentation in (and “as”) time. The entire thinking process is essentially one set of reactions after another. These mental reactions are largely symbolic, virtual, secondary, and are parts within a sequential cause-effect continuum. Most people exist in (and “as”) these reactions, one following another. One’s consciousness largely consists of these reactions. Even when one thinks one is merely “looking at things,” those things are recognized (i.e., re-cognized) by the brain, which is essentially a continuation or extension of the sequential reactions involving the thinking process.
Many associate “not thinking” with stupidity, with not being intellectually capable. However, there is, we say, a “going beyond thinking” that is of marked intelligence, insight, and wisdom. This intelligence goes beyond the limitations of thought/thinking, beyond the fragmentation of limited symbols, beyond conflict, and beyond mere patterns of reaction; this intelligence is of a pristine wholeness that is of vast order and compassion. (True compassion naturally exists beyond the conflict, the illusions, the needless fragmentation.)
There was a man
and everything he looked at was a fragment in time.
As time went by, he continued to merely exist as fragment after fragment;
He saw others as part of the fragments and he helped them a little but not a lot.
There was a woman
and she would often perceive beyond the fragments, beyond mere sequential time.
As time went by, she was not merely what was always clutched by time's partitive claws,
and she often helped life's inhabitants (whom she did not perceive from a dead, learned distance).
Holistic silence cannot be induced. It is not merely the result of some cause, either physically or mentally. One cannot make oneself be holistically silent. All effort, by the brain, involves motive… and motives are a result of desires and goals; with such effort, there is always a thing to be achieved, a reward to acquire.
A dynamic mind, that does not merely robotically bounce from one desire or one goal after another, may perhaps come upon (or manifest as) holistic silence. Holistic silence is not the result of any calculated direction, nor is it what merely radiates in limited and calculated directions. It cannot — as so many mundane things are — merely be recognized and pinpointed; this is one reason why one cannot “know” that one’s mind is of a holistic silence. It, being rather timeless, is beyond mere possession and acquiring. But perhaps it may occur when the mind perceives the conflict and limitations of thoughts, noisy mental images, and concocted mental patterns.
Holistic silence, perhaps a bit like the sun — we are using a crude analogy here — though it does not radiate in one, limited direction, can emanate with beautiful, miraculous effects. If we merely darkly, robotically, and habitually cling to one reacting thought after another — which most all of us do — then there will be little possibility (and space) for such dynamic, natural, bright silence to manifest. Thoughts are generally old, second-hand, residual, limited, of the past, and merely symbolic. If the mind — as most minds — is merely content to exist as one series of sequential thoughts after another, then (like what the previous sentence suggests) it is darkly moving from one sequence of old, limited, symbolic images to another. The new does not take place where the old merely is what is constantly repeating endlessly.
Understanding the mind, understanding thoughts and going beyond the habit of foolishly always merely being them — without technique — may perhaps open a door. Whether the magic of holistic silence flows through or not… well that is another matter…
Once there were three little birds effortlessly sitting in a tall tree
They watched a man down below
with his legs firmly crossed while trying to meditate
The birds were very curious as to why the man did not move
They flew away, enjoyed life, and a good while later returned to the tree
One of the birds defecated on the man's head
The man did not notice
He was too busy craving for something to descend upon him
He later went home (weighing a bit more than before)
Integrity is very significant in life. A mind that is merely a sponge, just robotically spewing out what it absorbed, is likely not of integrity. A mind without integrity and order is limited and fragmentary. Integrity means wholeness, soundness. Integrity is of an unadulterated innocence. A mind full of limitations is of conflict and is bound to do divisive and chaotic things. Wholeness exists beyond the limitations. Many of us, when we were younger, accepted behavioral patterns — which society spoon-fed to us — based on competition and conflict. Most of us have accepted such behavioral patterns — largely based on fragmentation and conflict — and have gone on in existence, adhering to these patterns of limitation and conflict. True bliss, however, is not of limitation and fragmentation; true bliss exists with (and “as”) wholeness, integrity. But so many of us have merely accepted what was poured into us when we were young… and we have gone on in the old ways; we have gone on in the antiquated traditions.
Limitation, being based on conflict and tending to produce conflict, inevitably contributes to the divisive and chaotic attributes of society. Limitations — based on conflict — are restrictions, and they snag the mind and keep the mind within (and “as”) constrained and blocked realms. Blocked mental realms often manifest as disorder and conflict. Disorder and conflict do not generally reflect wholeness and integrity.
Interestingly, our very concepts of time are based on fragmentations and limitations. We accepted these time-oriented fragmentations and limitations from society; we fully accepted them as being totally legitimate. However, it may be that we have largely accepted what is fundamentally erroneous and distorted. Our limited conceptualizations of spacetime may be largely fragmentary and perverted; we see what we were programmed to see. Our time conceptualizations may be somewhat relevant physically — in getting actual physical things done — but in the psychological realm, they may be rather absurd, limited, and illusory. One says, “I will try to be less envious of others tomorrow,” but then (at that moment) one creates a space between what one considers to be “oneself” and “others”; one additionally fabricates a “tomorrow” that is separated from “now” by psychological time (which also is of a concocted space). This concocted space is of conflict, which was a distorting factor (initially) in the situation. To live in limitation, conflict, and distortion may not be order, may not be bliss. Deep joy and order may come when distortion ends, when limitation is not just overwhelming.
his looking, day after day year after year,
Was through the mental screens and motifs that They provided
Hence, it wasn’t his “looking” whatsoever; it was Their “looking”
And it wasn’t “seeing” whatsoever; it was the death-like absence of really seeing
The mentally isolated are confined. They, by their own misperceptions and separative viewpoints, are (unfortunately) in a limited sphere that is not in touch with everything. (You can be in a large group of people and be mentally isolated, with a separative self.) Mental confinement is limitation; it occurs when the mind is not caring (about others); it occurs when the environment seems separate from what you are and when you are not very curious about it.
Today, because my wife has passed a little over a year ago, i had a pet sitter come to my house to see about possibly taking care of all of my critters (i.e., pets) should something happen to me (like needing to go to the hospital or something similar). I told my little miniature Dachshund, Lola, (in the morning) that a lady would be coming later in the day; i told her to be nice to the lady. The sitter was to arrive at 2pm. I didn’t say anything, but a little after 2pm, Lola began ceaselessly barking loudly; she never does that in such a manner. I looked outside, and there was no sitter, no car of the sitter out there. After about 5 minutes of ceaseless barking, the sitter arrived (with her two teenage daughters). She said she inadvertently passed my house but eventually circled back and found it. Apparently, Lola sensed they were near (even though they have never been here before)! Lola, and other dogs we have had in the past, seemed to have a form of perception that extends out past the “usual realms.” When my wife Marla was alive, she would tell me about how Lola, and previous dogs we’ve had, would “realize” i was coming home (in the car) 5 or 10 minutes or so before i actually arrived home.
When the sitter arrived, i briefly told her about my wife Marla’s passing… about how, for 12 years, Marla (because of medical complications) was unable to eat and was strictly on enteral feeding (i.e., tube feeding) to her stomach. I told the sitter that, before i retired, i was a teacher for the multiply handicapped and that some of my students were on tube feeding. I would be the one helping them to get their tube feeding nourishment (for years) long before Marla developed eating difficulties. The sitter remarked that our marriage was almost “meant to be”… (regarding how my unusual employment situation benefitted my wife later in our marriage). Well, it was “meant to be”; it was pre-arranged by a wholeness that extends past the “usual realms.” (It is very beautiful regarding how that pre-arrangement took place, but i am not at liberty to go into it in detail). Lots of things can happen beyond the “usual realms,” but if you merely crave for these, nothing will happen; they will come to you (perhaps) without you inviting them… come to you with your natural curiosity, especially if it extends beyond the “self.”
A noiseless patient spider, I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated, Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself, Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
Thanks to monicat for his comments on spider webs in my previous posting, and check out this amazing article on Jumping Spider Visual Acuity (that pstachowski provided in his previous comments to my blog):
[Note: The two large fangs (i.e., chelicerae) of this spider can be seen here. The lower one (of this tilted arachnid) is more in shadow, but the upper one can be seen a bit better. It extends from just under that little red-orangish area to where it curves (fang-like) to the right and backwards.]
Awareness, in terms of mindfulness and meditation, is not a calculated escape into some kind of fabricated domain beyond what is all around you. The world is largely a big mess right now, chiefly because of man and the disorder that man propagates. The world of nature basically has a beautiful intrinsic order. Awareness perceives this order and also perceives the disorder (primarily involving man). Again, awareness is not some kind of escape into some kind of domain (fabricated by the mind to, supposedly, exist in a utopian, blissful state). Awareness is not sitting with one’s legs in a lotus position, thinking that one is achieving something extraordinary. That is usually a form of self-hypnosis, and there is nothing extraordinary about that.
Deep awareness remains with (and “as”) what is, but that “what is” is not merely the result of what one was molded and trained to see. Merely looking at things through a mental screen of words (which are mere symbols) and isolated images — in a separative, pigeonholing, divisive kind of way — is just a continuation of mindless, limited conditioning and, therefore, is not deep awareness. Deep awareness shatters through stale acceptances, worn-out systems of looking at things, dead traditions, and preconceived iron-clad concepts, and bursts beyond these mere reactions. Deep awareness is not mere reaction, it is action. Deep awareness acts and ends disorder. Again, deep awareness is action, not mere reaction. Deep awareness exists beyond effort; effort is always for a limited goal — in time — and is of reaction. Reaction is mechanical, robotic, rather dead, unalive, ordinary, and it comfortably fits into the current rotten society just fine.
Leafhoppers are not often seen because they are savvy enough to perceive a person approaching them and they subsequently quickly move to a portion of the plant, that they are upon, that is not visible to the oncoming individual. They are very visually and vibrationally perceptive, which is a limited type of awareness.
And while he observed the diminutive insect gazing out from the base of the leaf, there was no immediate labeling, there was no separation between the leaf and his consciousness, there was no separation between the insect and what he was. (They taught him that he was separate, but he didn’t listen.)
[NOTE: This poem and this posting is just designed for some innocent, scary, Halloween fun. It is not meant to reinforce anyone’s hatred of spiders. When i see a spider in the house, i gently grab it in a soft Kleenex and subsequently release it (gently) out-of-doors. Spiders are generally harmless, are great pest removers, and can be admired for their own intrinsic beauty; humans probably look ugly to a lot of perceptive animals!]
When we were very young, during our education — or, rather, miseducation — a lot of us sagaciously felt or understood that there was something wrong or lacking in what the adults were telling us. But, over time, most all of us accepted what they maintained and we fell into place as we were expected to.
They taught us to look via separation, to look at separate things (largely disconnected). They taught us that running away and trying to escape from aloneness was the norm and that that is the way we should react. They didn’t encourage us to perceive everything holistically (i.e., without mere separation and division). They didn’t reveal to us that, in aloneness, may exist true stillness, a stillness that is miraculously dynamic, timeless, spiritual, and precious. They didn’t encourage us to investigate about and be very appreciative of that stillness which is not merely a part of a mechanistic, mundane, run-of-the-mill life cycle. (By the way, it is good to socialize at times, but it is also extraordinarily important to be alone often, allowing for a deeper penetration into the beauty of unadulterated stillness.) They didn’t encourage us to look beyond the confined limitations and fragmentation of symbolic thought and thinking… (and all thoughts and thinking are limited symbols and are of fragmentation); all thoughts are sequential, abstract, and, hence, are very computer-like and rather virtual. They taught us to exclusively depend upon thought/thinking.
It is good to have hobbies. I have some. But too many of us, as adults, are caught in endlessly trying to escape from our “aloneness” by pursuing endless entertainments and places to visit. (Like the perpetual donkey going after the carrot tied to a stick, so many of us travel, travel, chase, chase, and yet continue — no matter where we go — to carry an overriding staleness, mundaneness, and melancholia.) Without facing and understanding aloneness and the mind, a feeling of lack and mediocrity will endlessly follow you wherever you go, like a shadow. One must face that aloneness and, without effort, allow it to blossom into something priceless and dynamic, beyond mere measure. Then the real miracles can happen. But if we merely perpetually escape from that aloneness — as society conditioned us to — then we will forever remain frequently unfulfilled, mediocre, defeated, and ordinary.
(Additionally, please listen to the very short song, entitled “Just Trying to Be,” included in this posting.)
Many of us think, at times, pictorially (via mental pictures) and emotionally. And to a large extent, many of us think via internal words and sentences (i.e., verbally). This verbiage is called “inner speech,” and it allegedly involves one talking to oneself. Is there a separate self or separate “center” that is truly separate from this inner speech? One does not think so. Regarding inner speech, the perceiver is the perceived; fabricating (mentally) a separate observer is a waste of energy and causes needless separation. Too many of us look at things — such as fear and such as nature — via mere separation. (We were taught to perceive things, internally and externally, via separation.) (By the way, not having the illusion of a separate, central self does not negate eternity/the eternal; on the contrary, it invites it.)
We think, internally, in a multitude of ways; most of us are constantly chattering, internally, about something. This inner chattering largely consists of words and sequences of words. Words are symbolic and are always fragmentary, always limited. (One often speaks internally with a virtual copy of one’s own voice.) Stillness — which allows for wholeness — is imperative. But one cannot “make” stillness occur. True stillness is not merely an effect brought about by some mechanistic, calculated cause. True stillness comes with holistic perception beyond mere cause and effect reactions. This is why you cannot decide to meditate. You cannot say you will meditate for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. This is why “practicing” mindfulness is ludicrous. True meditation occurs naturally; it is uninvited and is not the mere result of some premeditated cause or desire. (You cannot “know” that you are meditating, by the way.)
The watery pool of the holistic, reflective mind (in stillness) will mirror the truth. An agitated mind, full of clatter and turmoil, reflects nothing.
The dictionary describes “oblivious” as ‘not aware or concerned about what is happening.’ Many are neither concerned about the environment, about stopping the current virus from spreading, nor about curtailing the injustice and discrimination going on in the world. Looking with the mechanistic brainwashing that was likely poured into you in your youth, is not awareness. True awareness transcends the mediocre, conditioned, superficial platform that society tends to educate its children with. Words are symbolic patterns, virtual reactions, and to merely look at the world through (and “as”) symbolic patterns and conditioned reactions is not real looking and is not real awareness.
The dictionary describes “narrow-minded” as ‘rigid or restricted in one’s views; intolerant.’ Many humans have rigidly clung to the restricted and limited educational patterns that were poured into them. They go through life, looking at things in pre-molded, pre-planned ways — set up by organized bureaucracy — which isn’t really “looking” at all. No wonder then, that there is much indifference and callousness taking place in (and “as”) their minds. Of course, there are a good number of people out there that have noble arrangements or professions that really help people (and animals) but the world needs far more of such people. Indifference, rigidness, and unconcern are far too rampant.
There is no rule or method to follow that enables one to truly go beyond mental superficiality and rigid methodologies. One must do it with the heart in a way that goes beyond the mere symbolic patterns of words, learned patterns of separation, and self-concepts. The true living heart has no boundaries and does not cling to man-made limitations.
If you happen to have a physical handicap, ailment, or disorder, one does not think that it would be prudent to take it out on, or blame, some “higher power.” There is a sacredness that exists, but one does not feel that it interferes much with the natural, organic occurrence of things. If it did, there would be no end to the multitude of illnesses and physical problems that needed fixing and if it fixed everything, for example, we would be living in a cartoon-like, plastic-plant-like world where things were disgustingly artificial.
My wonderful wife, before she passed, had all kinds of physical problems (and handicaps). I, more than once, advised her not to take it out on that higher order and vast intelligence. By the way, things happened in the past, such as adult neighbors getting in front of my wife with their car as she was walking down our rural road for exercise, and laughingly mocking the way she walked, stopping their car in front of her to block her walking. This kind of thing is unbelievable, especially from adults. (By the way — and this is not mere politics — i was not at all appreciative of the way Trump, in the past, openly mocked and disparagingly imitated that poor man who was handicapped.) There are some people out there with no hearts. It is very sad.
I was a teacher for students with multiple handicaps, and i occasionally would talk to them about their situation. Some were as intelligent as you or i but, for example, were quadreplegic, not being able to move their arms or legs with coordination and not being able to feed themselves. Yet we got them to laugh often and feel good about themselves. Let me tell you, when anyone of us humans (including animals) suffers… the whole world suffers in a way and (in a way) shares in that suffering. We can help each other and all do better; all of us are like the fingers of one hand, and although the fingers seem separate, in reality they are not separate.
If you happen to have handicaps, keep your head held high; do not feel inferior; please do not blame that sacredness. Let’s face it, in a big way all of us humans have some kind of handicap(s). (Many of my students, while being severely handicapped, smiled more often and were kinder and far more caring than a lot of the ordinary, so-called normal businessmen that i met in the outside world.)
If you don’t understand what living is, deeply and passionately, then you will not understand about physical death. A man (or woman) who often is psychologically dying to the dead past, to corrupt (limited) conditioning, to illusory limititations, and to robotic traditions and habits… is someone who is deeply living.
By the way, regarding physical death, it’s not what you have been told. It’s not any of the crap that people have dished out to you. It’s not that your special human soul floats away to a bliss with an anthropomorphic god or gods. It is not that when you are dead, you are dead (and that that’s it); it is not that you are reincarnated to some kind of better life; it is not that you go to some kind of heaven or hell; it is not that you float around like a ghost or specter, looking down upon everyone else. It is not what you have been told (by others). So what happens? One must find out. Intelligence must find out. I certainly am not going to tell you. It’s for deep perception to find out (and discover); it’s not for being told (for people to merely robotically believe or not believe). Again… it’s not for being told.
The dictionary defines “discrete” as, ‘individually distinct, separate, discontinuous.” For most of us, our education primarily taught us how to function with separate, discontinuous things (in ways that helped one to be triumphant and successful). For millions of years, we have been functioning largely on the basis of performance and manipulation involving separate things. The fact is, however, that not one thing in our existence is truly distinct, truly separate. Such distinction and separation is only illusory and unreal. It is like the left hand thinking that it is separate from the right hand; it is like you thinking that you are separate from the people in another so-called country.
We distinguish things by making distinctions according to their attributes and properties. That is a function of the thinking process. However, the thinking process is geared toward survival, pleasure, individual success, and fulfilling essential needs; it is not geared toward perceiving the truth, perceiving the whole. In a truly wise and intelligent person, thinking occurs when it is necessary for fulfilling basic, essential needs, but it is often left in the background while deeper, holistic perception occurs. (There is no legitimate technique or man-made method — that involves time — that can take you to that pristine, timeless dimension.) Deep perception exists beyond the cold, fragmentary nature of thought/thinking. (Mere thinking basically sees things in only piecemeal ways.) With deep perception comes intense compassion, caring, and the lack of indifference.
Attachment is very prevalent in most peoples’ lives. Most people are heavily attached, psychologically, to a large number of things. Attachment can give one a sense of security, safety, stability, and self-identification. People are, for example, attached to their religion, their country, their political propensities, their spouse, their house, property, and possessions. People are attached to their beliefs, their traditions, their opinions, and their prejudices. People can be attached to practicing some robotic, absurd method of meditation or mindfulness that they engage in often and that they think is just phenomenal. People are often attached to their conceptions of others and of certain groups; many are attached to the habit of endlessly pursuing pleasure; many are attached to seeing everything with (and “as”) preconceived labels and words. People, over the ages, have been attached to their anthropomorphic mental obtrusions of God and of divine beings. Many people are attached to existing in (and “as”) a competitive way of life, competing against others habitually (without question). Many are attached to football games and other sporting events (that glorify competition and survival of the fittest). Most people are heavily attached to their own images of self, that self (having a name) and being of a supposed real center.
This is all well and good… but, really, it may not be so very well and good. True freedom and profound wisdom exist beyond myriads of accepted attachments (however safe they may erroneously make one feel). Being bound by attachments causes the mind to be bound within limitations. A limited brain is not, under any circumstance, likely to be visited by the unlimited. (You can’t put the ocean in a goldfish bowl.) Little wonder, then, why so few people are ever visited by that sacrosanct eternity. Beliefs, that so very many people are deeply attached to, tend to divide the world causing much friction, fragmentation, turmoil, and even wars (which people die in, with all of the concomitant suffering). Most of us ardently cling to our attachments, because without them we are essentially nothing psychologically (and we are so very afraid of being nothing).
Innumerable many of us, without question, accept our limitations, accept our attachments, and accept our fragmentary lifestyle (which isn’t really living whatsoever). Improper education in the past, really, had a lot to do with it. We were taught to accept words (as symbols) as basically equivalent to the real thing; we exist as words and we worship these words. The world’s climate is changing rapidly like wildfire (due to human negligence and indifference). Most of us (because of habits and attachments) continue to live in (and “as”) the same patterns that have caused the problems in the first place. We must wake up and fundamentally change.
Listening is very important in life. How you listen matters tremendously. Most people listen with — and through — the background of their conditioning (that stems from past accumulation). With that accumulation, they listen… which really isn’t listening at all. They then walk around mistakingly thinking that they are “free” and “open.”
True wisdom may be beyond the mere accumulation of patterns (from the past). It may involve deep insight beyond what you merely have been told and accumulated. Insight is timeless; what is timeless is not of mere piecemeal accumulation (which is in time). Piecemeal accumulation is time.
A group of students came walking by and they observed the aged Lo Zu to be peering deep into a large, flourishing bush. The students remarked to themselves that Lo Zu would often be seen closely examining things of nature… nature’s treasures. “What are you observing,” the students fondly asked of Lo Zu. “Life on its journey,” replied Lo Zu. One of the students remarked, “Well, I’ve heard that one before from you. Do you mean deep within that bush is life on its journey?” Lo Zu responded, “I am observing you traveling students; it is yourselves who are life on its journey. And since one is not truly mentally separate from what one observes, this old entity, too, in seeing you, is life on its journey.”
“Interesting remarks,” the students replied. Lo Zu invited, “Take a look at the little eggs within the nest deep inside of that bush. Tell me if you see an egg that looks apart from the rest. Please tell me what you see.” The students eagerly peered into the bush. They excitedly exclaimed, “Yes, Lo Zu, one of the eggs seems to be apart from the rest. It seems different and separate from all of the others.”
Lo Zu replied, “The one is different, but is it really separate?” One of the students answered, “Well, it is different, but it is not really separate from the others; it fits in and is together with them.” “Exactly,” said Lo Zu, “It is different, such that you can distinguish it from the rest, yet it is together with the others, contacting them, and is not separate from them. When you look at things, they seem to be different from what you are — and they are different — yet what you look at, (in other words) what you observe, constitutes part of your consciousness and, therefore, is not really separate from what you are.”
“Profound observation,” the students remarked. Lo Zu then interjected, “Listen to this carefully. Whoever thinks that he (or she) is separate from what he (or she) is, inevitably falls into a lot of needless conflict and friction. Such people go through life fragmented, mentally crippled, and broken up into needless pieces. Beware of accepting separation as the norm (such as is what is taught and endorsed by all of the fighting and competing others). Please look deeper and see without all of the separation. There is great beauty and joy in that.”
The students thanked Lo Zu and went on their way. But only one had really listened passionately.
I met Kurt Vonnegut many years ago when my wife and i had gone to a book signing event in Chicago. I do not agree with everything that he says, but i am appreciative of the seven very sagacious terms which he seriously provides below. Will the people of our planet change to substantially improve the health of the earth as a whole? That is not likely (in substantial enough numbers). However, at least some of us are trying. Meanwhile, with the Covid situation improving, oodles of people are once again flying around in polluting jets and are long-distance traveling in fossil fuel vehicles to get vacations that they feel they are owed. The blue sky will be getting smoggy again and the crazy winds will continue to get even crazier.
Letter to the Future, From Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:
“Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088:
It has been suggested that you might welcome words of wisdom from the past, and that several of us in the twentieth century should send you some. Do you know this advice from Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’? Or what about these instructions from St. John the Divine: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment has come’? The best advice from my own era for you or for just about anybody anytime, I guess, is a prayer first used by alcoholics who hoped to never take a drink again: ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’
Our century hasn’t been as free with words of wisdom as some others, I think, because we were the first to get reliable information about the human situation: how many of us there were, how much food we could raise or gather, how fast we were reproducing, what made us sick, what made us die, how much damage we were doing to the air and water and topsoil on which most life forms depended, how violent and heartless nature can be, and on and on. Who could wax wise with so much bad news pouring in?
For me, the most paralyzing news was that Nature was no conservationist. It needed no help from us in taking the planet apart and putting it back together some different way, not necessarily improving it from the viewpoint of living things. It set fire to forests with lightning bolts. It paved vast tracts of arable land with lava, which could no more support life than big-city parking lots. It had in the past sent glaciers down from the North Pole to grind up major portions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Nor was there any reason to think that it wouldn’t do that again someday. At this very moment it is turning African farms to deserts, and can be expected to heave up tidal waves or shower down white-hot boulders from outer space at any time. It has not only exterminated exquisitely evolved species in a twinkling, but drained oceans and drowned continents as well. If people think Nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy.
Yes, and as you people a hundred years from now must know full well, and as your grandchildren will know even better: Nature is ruthless when it comes to matching the quantity of life in any given place at any given time to the quantity of nourishment available. So what have you and Nature done about overpopulation? Back here in 1988, we were seeing ourselves as a new sort of glacier, warm-blooded and clever, unstoppable, about to gobble up everything and then make love—and then double in size again.
On second thought, I am not sure I could bear to hear what you and Nature may have done about too many people for too small a food supply.
And here is a crazy idea I would like to try on you: Is it possible that we aimed rockets with hydrogen bomb warheads at each other, all set to go, in order to take our minds off the deeper problem—how cruelly Nature can be expected to treat us, Nature being Nature, in the by-and-by?
Now that we can discuss the mess we are in with some precision, I hope you have stopped choosing abysmally ignorant optimists for positions of leadership. They were useful only so long as nobody had a clue as to what was really going on—during the past seven million years or so. In my time they have been catastrophic as heads of sophisticated institutions with real work to do.
The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature’s stern but reasonable surrender terms:
Reduce and stabilize your population.
Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you’re at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
And so on. Or else.
Am I too pessimistic about life a hundred years from now? Maybe I have spent too much time with scientists and not enough time with speechwriters for politicians. For all I know, even bag ladies and bag gentlemen will have their own personal helicopters or rocket belts in A.D. 2088. Nobody will have to leave home to go to work or school, or even stop watching television. Everybody will sit around all day punching the keys of computer terminals connected to everything there is, and sip orange drink through straws like the astronauts.