生まれて育って死んだとて – Be born, grow up and die せんぐりいのちがよみがえる – Lifetimes come and go in turn
Work is very slow as most have not returned from the holidays so I’ve had some spare time on my hands. Today I’ve been cleaning up my YouTube playlists and I came across this wonderful song from the movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya. This is a song that reaches directly into my soul and I wanted to get some thoughts down. I’ve also posted about this before.
Most western people only see Japanese anime as “cartoons” or something to entertain children. However a lot of anime, especially by Miyazaki Hayao, have enormous cultural, religious and historical undertones that reveal themselves to those who have an understanding of Japan as a whole.
But this post isn’t about anime. I am fascinated with time and the lyrics of this song reach directly into my being.
Birds, bugs, beasts, grass, trees, flowers Flower, bear fruit and die Be born, grow up, and die Still the wind blows, the rain falls The waterwheel goes round Lifetimes come and go in turn Lifetimes come and go in turn
On my About Page Supplement I explain why I keep an open journal like this. I talk about stumbling upon a forgotten graveyard in the countryside of Ireland. The people laid to rest there lived, had friends, families, experiences and then they died. There they lie, forgotten along the side of a country road. The tall, uncut grass hides their names as time has washed away the memories of those who knew them.
I’m currently reading The Tale of Genji, written by a Lady of Japanese Court in the 11th century. It is fiction but aptly describes court life at that time. Reading it I feel close to them, as though I am there and it is not 1000 years ago. I even look up ancient Japanese on YouTube and listening to it understanding almost nothing at all am shaken from my dream and realize there is a gulf of time and culture between me and them. I was there, with Genji, enchanted by the beautiful Fujitsubo and now the ego brings me back and I have tasks to do and schedules to keep.
I also read Montaillou , which pulls from writings in the 13th century and feel close with the inhabitants of a small village in France (my notes here). They are all gone now but by remembering them through the book I feel that this life is an illusion. Everything exists in the mind and there is no difference in time or culture between me and them. The Ego is what pulls me to the here and now but this isn’t the ultimate reality. I believe there is no such thing as time and space in the ultimate reality.
The same occurred when I traveled with Ibn Battuta through the medieval world (my notes here). Reading his writings there was no distance in time, space or culture and I experienced the world through his eyes.
After the songs end and I finish the last chapter of these books I’m transported back to the present. I realize these people lived, had experiences and died. I look at pictures from my youth and the different chapters in my life that have also ended and realize I am 42. I’m in the middle of my own book. I am drawn to the past, not only my own of which I have more than ample documentation but of those from ancient times. I try to hear their voices on the wind at sunrise and sunset. I feel a connection which is powerful but unstable, fleeting and which I can never fully put my finger on. These are the deep experiences of life which are hard to share with others as it seems our current society is superficial, corrupt and only thinks about money and sports. The only “conversations” I can have are with the great thinkers and historians in their books and it is only a one way discussion. Now that I think about it there have only been two or three “freethinkers” in my entire life with whom I’ve had deep discussions. Their names are Peter Brown, John Clifton and a guy who worked at an architectural firm in Ohio.
Isn’t that amazing how we can go through life and not have deep discussions with really anyone! Most are already wrapped up in what they’ve been taught and speaking about trying to hear voices of long ago on the breeze at sunset would be silly to them.
We are born, we grow up and we die. Lifetimes come and go in turn.
I’m in the middle of my story and soon I’ll be reading these words with 70 year old eyes. Friends and family will have passed away, I’ll retreat more into my internal world and become more alone. There will be fewer and fewer who remember shared experiences, what the ’80s were like, or how it was to first surf the nascent internet. There is always a wide gulf between the old, with their vast accumulation of experiences and the young who simply look at them as old people. True communication between young and old is something very rare and extremely precious. Perhaps it is the lack of this that we as humans continue to repeat the same mistakes? “What we’ve got here is, failure to communicate.”
A dream for me is to be a spirit that can drift in and out of experiences at will. I could experience court life in 11th century Japan, I could be Ibn Battuta in his adventures, I could be a villager in medieval France. I could see these things with my own eyes and not just with the minds eye through books.
But for now, I’ll continue to read, I’ll watch the fantastic historical TV shows, and continue learning. I’ll visit monuments, engulf myself in nature and continue to try and hear those voices on the breeze as the last flickers of light are swallowed by the ocean. I’m here and I have not forgotten. After all, I write a lot of things down and so should I forget, I’m sure I’ll remember again.
It is noontime on Friday October 10th, 2019. The morning has been especially reminiscent of autumn with a crisp, cool breeze blowing through the trees and a clearness of the blue ocean which is often obscured by fog in the summer. The leaves do not change colors much here on the coast, and it is that, along with cool temperatures throughout the day that I miss the most. The mornings can be a little chilly but by noon we’re in the mid sixties as usual.
My thoughts have been all over the place as has become common this past year. This week I’ve had a cold which certainly doesn’t help for mental focus, I’ve been traveling for work down to San Jose quite a bit and I’ve also had some tech issues. Combining all of these my thoughts jump from one thing to another and there has been an absence of calm except for when I listen to meditation podcasts on the way down to San Jose.
Let’s start with the tech issues. It seems the proverb, “When it rains it pours,” has been especially applicable this week. Microsoft Office was asking to upgrade on my wife’s Mac but when we did we couldn’t use it without paying for a subscription. The previous copy was the non-subscription older version I got for $10 through a work benefit program so I wasn’t very happy. Luckily, when I took a closer look the old Office program wasn’t deleted but came with a warning that it would not be compatible with future versions of iOS. Oh well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The second tech issue has to do with work. Windows did a large number of updates and it broke Salesforce for Outlook freezing my work mail. I realized Salesforce was the problem and just deleted the Outlook plugin and was good to go. Then a few days later we were scheduled to migrate our mail to the Cloud and would have to change a number of settings in Office. I can follow instructions easily enough but was a little nervous since I prefer to keep my archive folders on the local machine instead of on the shared drive since I’d have to use a VPN all day long. That is one thing I didn’t follow directions on when I set up my computer a year ago. So I was worried that maybe those archive folders might get lost? I made a backup of the actual file, thought about it and believed by deleting the e-mail account my local folders shouldn’t be affected. I was right and changing settings on both the laptop and phone went smoothly.
The last IT issue was both the most difficult with the simplest solution at the same time. Suddenly none of my web pages or blogs would load! When this happens I panic a little because I just don’t enjoy computer trouble shooting as much as I used to. I just want it all to work. I looked at my wifi, reset the server, checked internal settings until I finally checked the simplest solution but one that rarely occurs. That is the external IP address which changes only once every one to two years. I had glanced at it early on in the process but since the first two numbers were identical I didn’t realize the IP had changed and moved along. It was only when I checked the server logs, then my DNS provider that I realized it was the IP. Always check the IP first!!!
I mentioned that I listen to podcasts from the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. I feel that with work, raising two boys, finances and all the anxiety that comes with these things that I need meditation and karate to keep my head on straight. This particular school fits well with me as I prefer the zen type of meditation where you don’t think and just be in the moment. This quote from their website sums it up perfectly.
Don’t chase the past Or long for the future. The past is left behind; The future is not yet reached. Right where it is, have insight Into whatever experience appears.
To just be, and appreciate the moment is something our society is terrible at. The happiest times of my life are when I appreciated the moment, and it was also then I formed lasting memories. Through this journal I’ve also written down the experiences of most of my life. I remain fascinated with time and still cannot believe I am 42. I feel very grateful I have this journal so I can look back on my own life and have flickers of what my mindset and mentality was like in the past. I think that is something very special and it seems I’m the only one out of everyone I’ve ever met who keeps a life journal like this for the majority of life!
But listening to the podcasts from the Insight Meditation Center is something I very much enjoy. In our society we are always looking for that external thing to give us happiness, or simply occupy us. We are task doers with the mind always racing towards the next thing. Instead we should stop, appreciate the moment. This very moment or experience will never happen again. To be alive at this moment in time is something incredible. Here we are floating on a rock in an infinite universe but rarely take the time to explore our own mind and appreciate the experiences of just being here. Where were we before? Where will we go after? Does it even matter? To sit alone in meditation with an empty mind, exploring what is called “Buddah Nature” is something I very much enjoy and wish I had learned about meditation sooner.
Life controlled me when I was young. I grew older, traveled to foreign lands, got a good job and thought it was I who was controlling life. Now I feel as though there are some things I can control and some things I cannot, but in all things I try to simply observe them and appreciate being able to experience them at all.
At first glance I thought the ‘longing’ might be for an internet that wasn’t just one big commercial dump of advertising, popups and monetizing. Or as Mr. Brooks puts it, “a rapid, dirty river of information coursing through us all day.” I was wrong and it hit something that has fascinated me more and more as I grow older. It is simply the passage of time to which this very blog is a testament.
Kairos Time as David Brooks simply and easily explains “is not quantitative like our normal conception of time but qualitative – rich or empty, the meaningful hour or the hurried moment. When you’re with beauty, in art or in nature, you tend to move at Kairos time – slowly, serenely but thickly.”
I liked this so much I went to Wikipedia but their description is academic, dry, long and I ended up only reading two paragraphs. My next thought turned to the idea of ‘mindfulness,’ which is to slow down, appreciate your surroundings and just be. I think mindfulness is just a modern way of taking some of the Buddhist teachings on meditation. I’ve found this Kairos time, which can be tapped through meditation or just being mindful to be absolutely essential to my well-being in this age of information overload.
My days are filled with tasks from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. Once I decide to get up the e-mails, texts, notifications, work, chores etc. all begin and before I know it an entire week has passed. This is all work and there is not much room for any type of feeling at all. It is as though I’m on autopilot and if I fail to take a few quiet moments then not only weeks but months as well have passed. Before I know it, I’ve aged two, then four years!
It is when I slow down to appreciate the raindrops, the sunsets, a call to my Mom and to notice how my kids have grown that I feel most at peace. This is Kairos time when the moments are full of emotion, of an appreciation for time, of life and of the entire universe. Life is to be savored: we should appreciate the sunsets, our friendships and the fact that we’ll never have another day just like today. Society pressures us to pick up the pace, “have a sense of urgency,” to gain more money, buy more things and through this is the path to happiness. I’ve found the exact opposite. It is in simplifying, appreciating what we already have and the beautify of life that is the true path to happiness. And for this, we simply need slow down and recognize it.
It is 5:45 AM on December 27th, 2018. I woke up at 3:00 AM and so just decided to get up.
I’ve been playing with my Oculus Go that I gifted myself for Christmas and it is fabulous. It is the same as my Samsung Gear VR but that used my Samsung S6 and always had to cool down after only 10 minutes of use. So it is wonderful to actually be able to dive deep into the universe of VR and spent about two hours in it this morning.
The first thing I did was dive right back into my Meditation VR. I chose a guided meditation focusing on Gratefulness. I was floating above a rippling ocean next to a beach and was reminded to be grateful for not just the opportunities I have but to be a part of this beautiful universe. I really needed a good guided meditation because my mind has been in overdrive recently and needed to slow down.
The next meditation I was in the Borealis Basin overlooking a frozen lake surrounded by pine trees covered in snow. I chose Zen for the guide as it is my favorite: I needed to remember just to be, to just be present. It reminded me that my awareness is like a clear blue sky that has always been there and the clouds like thoughts which come passing through. Our minds are always rushing on to the next thing, and it is this mindset that can set the pace for life. Instead, it is better to slow down, be present in the moment, to take time to just be aware of your existence, your surroundings and your own consciousness. Your mind is what determines what your reality will be and shapes the environment not only from a perspective standpoint but also physically depending on the choices that the mind selects.
And so after I had stopped just to exist for a while whilst floating over a frozen terrain I thought I should teleport around the world a bit.
Using VR made me think that perhaps this is what a mind would be able to do when freed from the body. Call it a spirit, another dimension, the afterlife, Heaven, or whatever provided our consciousness is eternal, I imagined it would be able to do what I was doing in VR. That is to say it could reflect on itself as I was doing in meditation but also just be wherever it decided to be.
And so, I opened up my new app Wander which is exactly what VISIO Places used to be. VISIO Places is no longer supported by Oculus and for a moment there I was really bummed until I found Wander. What it is is Google Maps and Street view put together so it is easily navigable but in a virtual reality environment.
I opened up my map and the first thing I did was open up collections and found I could visit a few real haunted houses in America. So I stood outside these houses and read what had occurred there. It was a bit surreal to just be right there as though I was actually standing in front of those places.
Next I saw a collection for Nigeria and having never been to the country myself took a look. As could be expected it is very third world and I immediately felt a little sympathy for all those scammers which Nigeria has a reputation for. If I had been born in that country and scamming was my only source of possible income then that is what I would do. It is easy to hold the moral high ground when you actually have a high ground in terms of money. That is to say, it is easy to look down on people when from an advantageous position isn’t it?
Then, it was time to go back to my past and that of course meant Toledo, Spain. I came right up to the front door of La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset. I couldn’t believe that Google Street View went right up to the front door! As I hovered there as a VR spirit so many memories came flooding back to me. I remembered the smell of the lobby, the feeling of stepping into the school. I remembered how I’d greet people and how a normal day of class and study would unfold. Without VR allowing me to actually stand in front of that entrance way a lot of these memories would not and maybe never have resurfaced. Yes, I remember the good times but the ordinary, mundane memories which really give a colorful backdrop to those golden nuggets are what really make up the experience. For a metaphor to really describe what I’m getting at lets use a boat on the ocean. Yes, the highlights might be spotting a shark, or an island, or whale but it is the wind in your face, the smell of the sea, the rocking of the boat and the sun on your face which really make the experience. I easily remember going out with some girls, partying with friends, overlooking the city on a warm summer night and visiting the cathedral but it was the actual study as well as just being in an entirely new environment which really defines my experience there.
After I had spent time simply remembering in front of the school entrance I had to trace my usual route from the school through the side streets to La Plaza Zocodover. This also brought back a lot of memories such as the smell of fish in La Calle de Pescado, the desire for “American food” which was satiated by McDonalds (unfortunately) and getting completely lost in that labyrinth of a city from time to time.
I tried to find my homestay residence and although I’ve found it previously (with the help of the address) I couldn’t do so just using a map. Instead I found Hotel Beatriz and for some reason this name sticks out in my mind. I think it might be where my parents and sister stayed when they came to visit. I’ll have to do some research into my personal archive as well as just ask my parents to see if that is the one. I’m pretty sure it is and so VR helps me again to remember my past.
I really enjoy and would consider it a hobby of mine to dig into my past and remember as much as I can everything about it. It helps that I have a ‘treasure chest’ of memories that I’ve added to my entire life, saving the important stuff and can pull from. I also use this very blog to remember as I have kept a journal since we got our first computer when I was in the 7th or 8th grade.
One final thought before I go. I feel as though I’m one of the very few people who can actually remember the past as it actually was. I have this journal and my ‘treasure chest’ to aid me and these are invaluable to help me remember not just the nuggets, individual events, experiences and whatnot, but the entire backdrop as well. For a brief moment I can slip into the mindset at that time, not just my current mindset pulling a memory like a book from the shelf. Instead my mindset morphs just for a moment to how it was at that particular time. This is not easy to do and occurs only in flickers, but with the help of the stimulation that virtual reality provides, I can hold those flickers longer.
Now, using this ability to remember how things actually were I am then able to more full realize what an amazing time we live in today! Now, lets imagine me telling the following things to the 1988 version of me versus anyone here in San Francisco today:
We have video on our telephones!
I can play video games on a huge TV with real life graphics and with anyone around the world!
I can join a virtual world just like they do in The Lawnmower Man!
We have all of human knowledge available in a handheld device!
Now look around and see how many of these things inspire awe in anyone today. In fact, these innovations might get nothing more than a shrug from most in 2018 where anyone in the 1980s would be astounded. This is where meditation and just being grateful as well as appreciating my very existence comes into play and the physical world takes on much less importance. It doesn’t matter how much progress we make, or the incredible feats we accomplish if we do not have the right mindset. I’m afraid that all this technology, data and information is too much too soon for our minds which have taken millennia to evolve.
Perhaps our minds were more serene when we had rotary dial telephones and no answering machine. That was when we didn’t need to “be on” all the time. I think that would be much more peaceful than having a cell phone which every service and application in the world is trying to get your attention.
To really drive home my point, imagine telling someone in 1980 that they could have their name physically on Mars. I bet the entire nation would sign up. Yet having this same opportunity in 2015 only nets NASA a few hundred thousand takers.
Amazing isn’t it? All of reality is determined by our mindset. There could be a time when we are all able to fly, have just had a picnic in some very remote wilderness that humankind had never touched, then fly on up to our floating city and the same type of people who don’t appreciate the opportunities we have now wouldn’t appreciate opportunities in the future either.
I will appreciate the experiences I have today, have had in the past and will have in the future.
This subject continues to be on my mind. This is important and something I want my descendants to understand so I thought it best to keep these thoughts in one post and perhaps one day bring them into one coherent essay.
Everything as we know it began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. That’s it, that’s all we know and it doesn’t get more complicated than that. Our reality, our consciousness, everything begins from that point, end of story (for now).
Religion is a man-made explanation for who/what we are and what the universe is. It was created before Man had the tools to come up with theories and explanations grounded in facts. Religion is not grounded in facts but on fantasy, *historical events, hearsay, superstition among many others.
“We’re made of star stuff” – Carl Sagan.
That makes us seem rather exotic and poetic. Another way to look at it is we’re kind of like bacteria and like all living things consume resources, excrete waste and then turn back into, take your pick, ashes, dust, star stuff, dirt. Ashes is what religion uses, dirt is glamorous, but star stuff, that is the ticket to positive thinking.
We think of ourselves as beautiful, best demonstrated by Michelangelo’s David.
But let’s take a closer – microscopic kind of close – and we’ll quickly become uncomfortable as to what we really are.
Here is an artistic visualization of what a molecule, a Kinesin Protein looks like in our bodies.
We are quickly disgusted with ourselves when looking at something like this. What exactly is going on in my body (which is also made up a good part by bacteria)?? I don’t think your average person would want to know!
So my thought? We are both incredible, wonderful beings and at the same time not much more than bacteria ourselves when really understanding our place in the universe as a whole.
Yes, religion wants us to think we’re the most important creation in all of…. creation. But the reality is we’re just a form of organic life that found its way to consciousness, have been around for a very, very brief amount of time and could be easily wiped out by a meteor, or one of many, many scary things that occur in space all the time.
This realization should not be depressing but rather the opposite! This realization has made all of the universe and everything in it the most exciting mystery and story of (literally) all time! Here we are, in a universe that just seemingly popped out of nothing. After a very long time our little brains evolve in a very teenie, tiny, inconsequential spec of the universe to try and contemplate it all. We’ve barely made it out of the age of knowing absolutely nothing except maybe how to build a fire and kill other animals.
But alas, our technology has outpaced our humanity. We now have the power to kill everyone and everything but still cannot see past the tribal and religious divisions of old. Our economic systems reward more profit and these systems pollute and corrupt. We’re killing our planet and thus ourselves. So in the end, our species might not even deserve a word, (or even letter?) in the history book currently being written about this universe, a story which began 13.8 billion years ago.
When thinking this way, daily life is seen through an interesting lens. You see all those important people doing important things? They too will turn back to dust, their deeds will be forgotten and are just part of the human bacterial species doing things. All of these things, deeds, purchases, news, scandals, idols, superstars, rises and falls of empires and so on, really are not important. It is a bacterial species on a pale blue dot running around and doing things.
So what is important? Your individual life experience is important. You have consciousness for a short period of time. Look around, travel, appreciate the sunsets, meditate, experience as much as you can. No matter how much you accumulate, or how famous you become, it all will all suddenly slip away as your consciousness is extinguished.
I’d also say being kind to others, helping them is also very important. The first important thing I mentioned was personal experience. Well, other human beings are having experience as well. They are us, we are them and we’re all one. As was quoted by the Dali Lama , if you can’t be kind to them at least don’t hurt them. And that goes for all things. Don’t kill anything, they are living things in this mysterious universe. Let them go about their business.
*Side note: My favorite is the history. Man has slowly evolved over millions of years and in those millions of years interesting history was being created. Eventually man developed the ability of speech and tribal stories were passed down through the ages. Most would have been lost before man developed the ability to write/record these stories. And most of those that were written probably didn’t survive the wars, chaos, rise and fall of empires and so on. In the Pacific Northwest the tribes spoke of a huge wave that wiped out much of the region. Science confirms there was a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunami that did wipe a lot out. So in the Bible when they talk of a flood scholars talk about the rivers flooding such as the Tirgis and Euphrates which would have flooded a big region and made people think the entire Earth was being flooded.
Now, I wonder what/when the land mass between Spain and Africa finally gave way and the Atlantic waters rushed in to create the Mediterranean Sea. What an event that must have been!! I’d like to hear the ancient stories about that (if man was even around at that time?)
October 21st, 2018
It has been a long time since I’ve done a LTMD. I thought I’d write this directly to you as this is a subject not easily spoken about with others.
This post concerns my thoughts on life, existence, the universe as a whole and our entire reality. Not a light subject but I intend to just express my viewpoints simply and clearly without going too deep into how I arrived at them all.
Here in 2018 we’ve made incredible technological advances. I say incredible because they really are in respect to the entire history of the human species where the advances tend to come in sudden bursts: Fire, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Ancient Greece, Rome, Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and now the technological revolution. We’re on the verge of creating a very impressive artificial intelligence which would be an achievement indeed.
Before we become too proud of ourselves I would say this technology is extremely primitive when compared to what is most likely out there in the universe, or indeed, perhaps technology created the universe itself? In comparison to that which is out in the universe our technology would be like us comparing our AI to a monkey using a stick as a tool, most likely even more-so.
So what are we? History and religion have told us we’re the most special creation in the universe. We are creations of an all powerful being and our design based on his image. That is the fairy tail we’ve told ourselves and that a good portion of humanity continues to tell itself.
This story is resilient even in the face of a tsunami of data and discovery that tells us otherwise. The data and discovery are coming too fast for the human species and most cannot let go of the fairy tales that have persisted for millennia. To even contemplate letting go causes fear, anxiety, and a complete removal of the solid platform we’ve stood on for so long. It as though an earthquake has hit and everyone looks for safe harbor as the ground shifts and slides beneath them.
Data and information come at such a rapid pace that many cannot decipher which is actually true or not anymore. This false information actually helped lead to the election of President Trump who is now determining the course of the world in part by using false information!
So what are we as a species? At 41 years of age I can say our physical bodies are nothing special at all. If we look our physical aspects clearly and honestly, without those special rose colored glasses we gladly borrow from religion, we’re quite possibly just an advanced form of bacteria. In fact, science now estimates that half of our cells are bacteria with the rest being human cells. Furthermore if you look at what is actually occurring at the microscopic level of our bodies it isn’t a pretty sight. Or, just open a human up and that isn’t a pretty sight either!
Then take clear your mind and take a look at our bodies. We’re a block of organic material with four appendages growing out of it and a top control growth which lets it sense its environment.
Thinking of ourselves this way is quite something isn’t it? It goes against everything we’ve ever been taught and quite frankly is despicable to us but none-the-less is true.
This organic, living object we call a body sheds, produces unpleasant odors, it consumes then excretes waste, it is easily wounded, it ages and then it dies. It is born, moves around for a while, reproduces then quickly dies. It is made of stardust and after a short time of animation becomes stardust once more.
Taking a look at the species as a whole it is extremely primitive in that it goes and kills others, just like bacteria may kill other bacteria. It comes up with ideas (religion) that tell it it is special then kills others when they don’t share this same fantasy. It believes itself to be strong when the reality is one little space rock would destroy their entire existence.
When put into a this perspective and realizing what we truly are, we are humbled and quickly reach for those safe harbors and rose colored glasses. We’ll spray perfume on ourselves to eliminate odors, apply creams, engage in endless maintenance all to try and keep our true and natural selves at bay, to keep us three steps ahead of the rest of the animal species.
In terms of survival the news tells us that we’re not smart enough to deserve to survive. We’re poisoning ourselves with carbon monoxide, polluting the oceans and in our ignorance, sometimes even willful ignorance, we speed up the end of the species.
Why do we do this? In short, the goal of humanity is profits at any and all costs. As long as we can have profits today and catastrophe something left for the distant future to deal with, humans will do it. We’re not smart enough as a species to put a stop to it. There are voices, there are technologies but we do not act in concert for the good of ourselves as a whole, only for the enrichment of the individual. And that is a shame because we could be such a good and creative bacteria that had the potential to evolve further.
Only twenty years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d need to check the air quality on a daily basis. I now do so and see San Francisco always has moderate air quality. I’m just glad my family and I live in Pacifica where the air quality should be much better; there are no air quality monitors here in Pacifica, only in SF. These particles get into the lungs and causes disease which causes death. And humanity continues to fire up its cars, its factories, and the slow poisoning of our species continues.
I imagine a student reading this a hundred years from now thinking how stupid we are, just as we look at past societies and fault them for the bonehead things they did.
Unfortunately, now we’re entering a very dangerous phase of our existence. The world is still divided into massive tribes of people, which we call countries. They share DNA, language, history and are in constant competition with the other tribes across the world. They always fight and kill each other, then it dies down, then they fight and kill each other again. The danger lies in technology becoming too efficient at the killing and it could be one tribe has the power to completely destroy another tribe. We’ve got nukes now which is bad enough but there is also engineered disease, microbots and a plethora of others that so far remain in science fiction but most likely already exist in government labs.
We’ll create some world ending horror, there will then either be an accident or it is released on purpose and that is it. We’re just not smart enough as a species to handle the terrible, technological advances that are coming.
The only quality we have which I hope will save us from this very depressing realization about our bodies not being special is our minds. Is it something more than just billions of interconnected neurons sending energy to each other? Does consciousness persist after bodily death? Science tells us everything we observe at the smallest scale is simply made up of energy. What does that mean for us, consciousness and reality as a whole? I wish someone would tell me the true answer, not the made up stories most of humanity seems so eager to tell and spread. Spread the Word, spread a virus, it is the only way either continues and thrives. Both are damaging to humanity.
So many questions. It would be so simple just to pop down to the church. Someone would read all my questions and say the answer is so simple, the answer is Jesus! Uh huh. Best to keep these thoughts to my journal, read more and pay attention to when NASA and science in general discovers something new. If I want fantasy I’ll go play Zelda.
This subject has been on my mind for a while. Here is another post I wrote along the same lines. I wanted to put it here so I have both in the same place.
Considering the Human
Recently I’ve been doing an exercise in considering the human from an alien point of view. That sounds very strange to say doesn’t it? One more random blog where the author has gone off the rails. But this is not so strange considering I got the idea from scientists Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michko Kaku. From Mr. DeGrasse it is that we are made of star stuff and from Mr. Kaku when he says that if aliens visited us they might merely brush us off as we do with forest animals. I thought about this quite a bit and then a statement from Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones drove it home. He says “It’s a strange thing, the first time you cut a man. You realize we’re nothing but sacks of meat and blood and some bone to keep it all standing.”
And so I considered these thoughts and the more I thought about them the stranger the human form began to seem. We’re organic beings with a torso with two appendages to move it around, two further appendages to grasp things and a roundish thing on top which contains structures to sense its surroundings,hi a whole to take in fuel and a brain to give it instructions. This body, this thing moves around, consumes, creates waste, secretes liquids, has odor and joins with others to reproduce, kills and eventually dies and becomes dirt.
This living thing, being the smartest of all the other creations on its planet, thinks it is highly intelligent. So intelligent in fact that its form is made in the image of a ‘divine’ being, the creator of everything, and this creator whom they call God is entirely concerned with their own well-being.
I then took a hard look at my fellow humans and what do I see? I see a species that poisons its own environment, that kills others just like it, and many of which live a life of such depravity that I wonder if it wouldn’t be best if a meteor were to strike and just end it all before we do it to ourselves with the poison we spread and the nuclear war that continually hangs over our head. I just read in the news that Russia has created a nuclear device that would poison thousands of miles so much so that it couldn’t be inhabited for generations. And we consider ourselves intelligent? The most powerful grouping of us, which we call a nation has recently elected a leader who seems hell bent on speeding up the decline of our species and instead of being intelligent enough to stop it, a good many of them continue to support very destructive policies. It seems to me that we are less than forest animals as they do not actively seek out their own destruction.
We go about our days trying to separate ourselves from the animals species we are. We take daily showers to remove the odor and apply chemicals which pleases the other organic beings. We groom ourselves keeping the growths of hair and nails in check, the women apply paint to their faces and wear uncomfortable shoes which disfigure their feet. We make so many modifications to our natural form all in a vain attempt to suppress what we naturally are.
Yes, looking at the human from this point of view really brings us down from those very high pedestals on top of which we place ourselves.
Many of us refuse to believe in evolution, in global warming, in things that are so obvious to the more intelligent all while falling back on the belief that we are divine, that is to say greater, than everything else that could be out there in the universe. How silly, how insane!
And now we find ourselves at a very big crossroads in how we will evolve as a species. We’re on the verge of creating artificial intelligence which won’t have the delusion of religion and see us for what we truly are. The ones who point out the dangers are few while the many rush headlong into something that could and probably will destroy us all for profits, so that they can buy more material goods which they don’t need. We’re not smart enough to control what AI will become, the chase for profits have blinded the reality that it will probably be our destruction.
It is depressing to see humanity from this viewpoint. What were once romantic love stories that fill the breast with passion become nothing more than a dog humping a person’s leg. The daily hum of activity nothing more than bacteria moving around under a microscope. Thriller movies lose their thrill and all that is seen is a bacteria running around eliminating other bacteria.
The only hope in all of this is the mind and the consciousness from which it springs? I grasp to the hope that it lives on, that it is something divine. Being a human and seeing what humans do to each other and the planet certainly is not divine. I watch video clips telling me about biocentrism which is the idea that the mind is what creates the universe and not the other way around. Only then can I have any hope that we are something greater than a torso with appendages and a control center up top.
The artists create forms like the Michelangelo and make the body seem beautiful. The guys locker room paints a much different picture. I do see kindness from time to time and acts which would suggest a life of ‘grace,’ of something worthy of the divine. But those acts seem to occur less and less as we fade from the world into a digital reality, into our phone screens and iPads. I see humans busying themselves with pointless tasks and activities until the body can produce no further energy and the being simply ceases to exist.
It is time that humanity as a whole looked itself in the mirror and realized what it actually is from a rational and scientific perspective. We should focus more on the mind and of our consciousness as it is our only hope of keeping us from despair and the death that comes to all organic beings. But, there are sports games and T.V. shows to be watched. There are more things to buy which will never fill that gaping hole and satiate our desires. It is all very depressing indeed.