It’s dots all the way up, and turtles all the way down.
Inner space is as infinite as outer space.
Where there is life there is hope.
Religion is a box; spirituality is a golden spiral.
Sentio Ergo Cogito Ergo Sum!
I feel, therefore, I think, therefore, I am!
Put that in your pipe and smoke it Descartes!
If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipresent, and omnipotent, why do you think Jesus told his father while he was on the cross: FORGIVE THEM FATHER, THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO?
I must credit the title of this short essay to a friend of mine whose health I am currently deeply concerned about. In fact, he is a man who is not unlike a mentor to me. I should also explain clearly that he cannot be accused of implanting any of the thoughts beyond the title in my grey matter. This is me just grabbing a ball that was thrown my way and running with it; or perhaps it is more akin to sauntering vaguely Westward like an owl with a broken wing and a dead mouse in one claw. Perhaps I should be skipping happily Eastward instead, merely being happy to be alive. But that could be explored in the future, assuming my mortal coil and the remains of the dead rodent I bear retain enough nutrients and calories to repair my broken wing. Yeah, the wing will likely heal.
As you may have guessed by now, the meat of the subject at hand is politics, economics, life, death, pain, suffering, and finally hope. It is surely the job of a gifted wordsmith to describe their understanding of their perceptions of the times as well as they are able for the posterity of history and progression of human thought and action; or at the very least to assess the current health of society at large. Unfortunately, I could not find a gifted wordsmith, so I feel compelled to write this rather trivial piece of literature myself instead.
We are currently living in an illusory global financial emergency and an actual, yet not fully acknowledged global environmental melt-down. Even first world countries are currently being cannibalized by regional and world powers through finance or war. There is general material instability among the vast majority of the world’s populace and total lawlessness in some places; Somalia is a good example of this. Then there is also the ever-present vexation of actual starvation for far too many.
Probably more importantly, there is a proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons; which may actually make our species susceptible to near catastrophic global annihilation. The threat of nearly global nuclear destruction has surely been perceived to be more likely in the past. Yet this threat remains, and has become a part of everyday life that is nearly a joke for the simple reason that there is nothing anyone thinks they can do about it. A wise man once said to me: “Sometimes [Impartial Juror], you’ve got the choice of either laughing or crying.” He always laughed after repeating this anti-platitude. So perhaps it is healthy that we can laugh about it; but it doesn’t mean we should merely brush off the danger as if it doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, I will always be grateful for this wisdom that was passed on to me, and laughing.
Americans live in a society where a nearly half of the population simply lives from one paycheck to another, and a third are near bankrupt. Under such circumstances there is surely going to be some inordinately common and serious social turmoil in essentially all of our lives. Only the most well-to-do are able to avert such serious situations as possible evictions, divorces, addictions, physical illness, mental illness, or even actual starvation.
It is during these times of turmoil that many of our elected officials find the audacity, excuses, and audience that will support their policies of regressive tax policies and cuts in social welfare programs despite the clear evidence that such policies are actually counterproductive. How do they do it? The short answer is that they divide and conquer through manipulation using fear and intimidation. The long answer is a different article entirely.
Should it be any surprise that it seems like everyone knows somebody who is absolutely in complete crisis? Somebody who has had or is having part if not all of their world shaken so violently that the magma at the center of their planet is in danger of exploding out of the globe and destroying an overwhelming amount of their health, security, and happiness? And who is benefiting from all this misery? Is the answer not most assuredly that the global elite are the only ones profiting from this suffering?
With that in mind, I admit that I too am a part of this shared, sustained, national trauma. It has become an accepted part of life in our society that, not out of callousness, but out of sheer necessity, nearly everyone is jumping from crisis to crisis trying to manage situations that are often inevitably unmanageable, forcing us to leave some behind.
This sort of lifestyle takes a toll on people. The effects have become evident in every community in this nation. We must bring this to an end. We have to make this rock bottom and rise again. If we don’t take action soon, I fear we will not have the resources or freedom to act at all. In fact, we need to take action yesterday ladies and gentlemen. I have some ideas, and they will be forthcoming in future posts.
All that said, I must admit that it’s good to have something to write about. There is no bad experience for a writer, just material. I think my pal is right about that. Though I wish the material at hand was more positive.
So, let’s inject some positivity into this post in the form of a song about a woman, a single brave woman who made a difference. Let us not forget that we all can. Furthermore, alone we can make waves, and together we can move oceans.
This woman had the determination we have lacked, the passion we should be adhering to, and the kind of courage we need, Mary Harris Jones, Mother Jones. Her story always gives me strength and resolve, and Ani Difranco has paired up with Utah Phillips to write an inspiring song about her. It encourages me and gives me a sense of hope for humanity whenever I listen to it. It reminds me that if she alone could make so much of a difference, together, we can make all the difference in the world. So, without further ado, let’s listen to a song about the most dangerous woman in the world! May Day is coming!
Cherished moments linger on
I look to faces soon to be gone,
My moment briefly came and passed,
Reality sets in so hard and fast,
I’ve lived with passion, a spark of flame,
Ignited by love and hope and pain,
It’s embers glow with dying light,
Thoughts linger still this starry night,
I could have been most anything,
The sky called my heart,
But not my brain,
It was short and sweet, and passed so quick,
My life will be no more than this,
I’ve fallen from my lofty perch,
The world came crashing home it hurt,
The life I knew is gone tomorrow,
I’ve never known a greater sorrow.
Note: I wrote this poem 17 years ago – perhaps others can relate and it will help them. I’ve come so far since then. We all will grow I think. Peace and love brothers and sisters!
A rigorous study has shown that when congregations of people pray for an ill person and that person is told about the prayers of the congregation they die more frequently. Apparently “God” hates it when we nag him.
We obviously have no time for logic here, but the logical answer is that all those people knowing about the situation stresses sick people out. The pudding in that proof is that when strangers pray for ill people there is no difference in their survival rate.
I recognize that this is “old news” but people still don’t understand this simple truth.
I’m off to go pray for Dick Cheney’s health and then send him a personal letter telling him I’ve prayed for him. Afterwards, I will send a letter to his congregation asking them to do so as well. I’m sure they’ll take care of making sure he knows they prayed for him, essentially doing anything short of actually taking any action to help him. Actually, now that I think about it, the study was about people with heart problems. I’m pretty sure Dick doesn’t have his own heart, he has someone else’s heart, so perhaps none of this applies to him.
Of course, I jest, I don’t wish death even for sociopathic mass murderers. Even without a religion, for some reason I’ve put this silly idea in my head that all human life is should be respected, if not sacred, and not taken by each other. Of course, it could be sacred, as long as we can acknowledge it’s a completely made up self-serving concept.
Years ago I met a woman in a novelty gift shop. It was a strange day. At the time I was very philosophical and I was preoccupied with the number 8. We got into a discussion as I was purchasing some merchandise and she was sitting in a chair near the till chatting with the owner of the business. Somehow during the conversation I managed to tell her “I’m an 8,” which was my “great insight” of the day, and I mean that quite sarcastically. She understood my meaning and replied that she was an 8 too because she was 80 (or perhaps she was 88 – I honestly can’t recall). We continued talking happily about this and that for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company and discussing the nature of existence. At some point she passed on to me René Descartes‘ famous axiom, “cogito, ergo sum,” explained that it is in Latin, and that the English translation is “I think, therefore I am.” She further explained that the reverse is also true, “sum, ergo cogito,” and told me the English translation is, “I am, therefore I think.”
I have found others who have had this insight as well; but I do not know if she had it first or who to attribute it to. I tend to think that others have stumbled onto this related axiom as well, but in my heart she will always get the credit. Since then it has become a mantra of mine when thoroughly engaged in and confused by philosophical thought experiments with friends to say cogito, ergo sum and then sum, ergo cogito. It always makes me smile because if I can prove nothing else with philosophy I can prove that I exist.
Since then I have read a bit of Descartes and noticed in his justification of this statement that he says he feels he thinks. I have been thinking about how to use my right brain more actively and intuitively for many years. I have attempted to do so in various and varied ways. I will not bother you with recounting any of the methods I have tried or pondered as they are not the primary focus of this composition. Instead I will leave you with the insight that I reckon I have stumbled onto or perhaps into (though someone may have beaten me to it). I have attempted to translate this thought concisely into Latin to honor Descartes. I would welcome anyone who has a greater understanding of Latin to correct me on my translation if it is not accurate.
Sentio, ergo sum – I feel, therefore I am.
Of course, I posit that the reverse is true as well.
Sum, ergo cogito – I am, therefore I feel.
It is typical of Western thought and our modern world to disregard feeling and assert the primacy of thought. I am asserting that feeling precedes thought; and it appears to me that Descartes alludes to this in his work without even realizing it. I have decided to use this as my mantra from now on. I think and feel that it is more correct, or at least as correct as the original thought. It may be just a right-brained reflection of the original though. Perhaps it will allow me to get into the right hemisphere of my brain a bit more efficiently. Even if it doesn’t, I like it better.
Better yet, maybe I should be saying “I feel and think, therefore I am.” I think it feels more whole this way. Thoughts and feelings are certainly at least as important as each other; and to be clear I am speaking of emotional feelings, not tactile feelings etc. Do you feel me? Do you think me? Do you see what I mean?
I welcome your thoughts and feelings on the subject.