Monday, May 27, 2024

 



What Kind of World Will We Leave Behind?


I have been personally examining the possibilities that may lie ahead for the human species in the years ahead by attempting to extrapolate the more immediate impact of the kind of communal decisions and choices being made throughout the world during the current era. In this examination, I have chosen to look at what I consider to be a so-called “worst case scenario.”


From the perspective of the global political environment, I see some disturbing tendencies. There seems to be an unsettling rise in the popularity of autocratic rulers who have openly expressed a blatant attraction to fascistic principles even within the Western-style democracies. Important examples of this trend are evident in the policies and pronouncements of such leaders as Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Vladimir Putin of Russia. These leaders are currently involved in brutal and ongoing wars against avowed enemies that barely disguise an effort to expand their dominion.

These wars are taking such horrendous tolls on the lives of their powerless foes – the Palestinians in the case of Israel and the Ukrainians in the case of Russia. The toll of this savage aggression endured by ordinary citizens in each instance is sadly reminiscent of the behavior of the Third Reich during World War II. In addition, the popularity of Donal Trump in the United States as the 2024 Presidential election approaches is surprising and notable especially in regard to his often-stated affinity towards autocratic rule in place of adherence to the rule of law, and political democracy.

The underling reasons for the popular support for autocratic rulers and repressive policies and political agendas is complex and multi-faceted. However, it is my contention, that the essential driver for such tendencies is fear, and that fear arises from an internal sense of instability and uncertainty regarding the future for those who have assumed that they hold dominant positions within the social order.

In many ways this unfolding of events is terribly reminiscent of the cycle of the rise and fall of human civilizations that echo throughout human history. The unfortunate tragedy of these kinds of historic events in the present technological era is that so much is at stake in regard to the immediate future of the human species.

Autocratic rule does not bode well for the future state of humanity for a variety of reasons. The foremost of these is that the lie is used to supplant a striving for truth - the unmitigated use of falsehoods and propaganda to propel forward an arbitrary and inherently dangerous agenda is a proven tactic to purposefully exploit the underlying fear and uncertainty of the population. We have seen this in the case of Netanyahu who has allowed lawlessness on the part of Israeli settlers to terrorize unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank and elsewhere often resorting to burning down houses and shooting innocent individuals with total impunity, held Palestinians captive in Gaza for the last sixteen years and committed terrible atrocities against ordinary Palestinians in Gaza with merciless bombardment, resulting in tens of thousands of needless deaths, provoking mayhem and the likelihood of terrible famine in much of that very crowded region. We have seen the insidious nature of autocratic rule on the part of Vladimir Putin in Russia in his relentless pursuit of incorporating by violent means the Ukraine sovereignty into the Russian empire. Lastly we have seen the repeated use of the lie and callous and provocative propaganda during the presidency of Donal Trump who has more or less embraced a clearly racist ideology and who has contributed to the tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the midst of the COVID pandemic by downplaying the severity of the onslaught of the disease - disregarding the advice of public health experts and who proudly proclaimed that Climate Change is a hoax. This trend towards autocratic rule and its accompanying social and political repression is not isolated to the above examples – in fact, it seems to be a worldwide phenomenon.


If this trend continues throughout the human world, then the voices of peace, social and economic justice, equality of opportunity, reason and intellectual pursuits would be effectively muted and suppressed. The ultimate consequences of this predilection towards obeisance to autocratic rule and governance would prove to be unsustainable in the long term.

As has been repeatedly demonstrated in human history, pursuits of the intellect, science and broad-based thinking would be profoundly discouraged. As a result, the absolute need to address the overweening issue of Climate Change would have no traction. As a matter of fact, the conditions that contribute to this human-created problem would be seriously exacerbated. Climatologists have periodically enumerated the new reality that would emerge on planet earth if their warnings go unheeded. This would include the fact that regions of the earth that are inhabited by hundreds of millions of humans would be essentially unlivable due to the extreme heat and humidity. These would include regions in the Middle East, Asia, especially India and the African continent.

Should this calamitous situation become a reality, it would mean the forced emigration of huge populations of humans – the kind of migration that would certainly provoke horrendous conflict and would engender an unsustainable living environment for a substantial portion of the earth’s human population. This kind of impact precipitated by Climate Change is a major one, but certainly not the only ramification of unfettered and calamitous change. Others include the impact of rising temperatures in the world’s oceans leading to the probable extinction or diminishment of many species of marine life that currently provide a necessary protein source for many animal species including Homo sapiens. In addition, the change in climate would precipitate savage and unrelenting storms in many regions on the planet resulting in additional stress upon human survival.

The collective impact of these alterations on the living planet would likely result in the gradual and ineluctable diminution of the human population, ultimately resulting in and end to the technological age due to the degradation of the advanced infrastructure that is required to sustain it.


If this kind of scenario actually unfolds, the severely diminished human populations would most likely coalesce into tribal relationships over the ensuing generations. The lifestyles of these “New Humans” would conform to earlier neolithic ways of living if the state of the local natural environment supports agriculture or be more likened to a paleolithic culture should the local environment support a hunter/gatherer style of living. The net result would be a rich variety of tribal societies that may or not come into conflict depending upon the degree of competition for survival. In any case, the memories associated with technologically-based human civilization would gradually fade from communal recognition. In a sense, the human species would have been rebooted. It would take a prolonged interval of time before the living world fully rebounded from the trauma of human-caused environmental degradation. How humanity would evolve in such a setting is difficult to imagine.


Keep in mind that this vision is entirely speculative, and, of course, it is conceivable that humans in the current era could make choices that would significantly alter the future for the benefit of all creatures on this most remarkable planet. It is also conceivable that the ultimate outcome of a failure to act responsively in attempting to avert this kind of calamity may not be as dramatic or catastrophic as this bleak scenario describes. However, the future that does enfold will most likely result in a scale of pain and suffering that would have been totally avoidable if only humanity acted intelligently and cooperatively to avert a disheartening future. In the final analysis it is up to all of us to take significant action at the present time for the sake of future generations.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Ghosts of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler, that “remarkable” German leader, who in about 12 years (1933 – 1945) managed to engineer and inspire a most “remarkable” war machine that in the final reckoning was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of seventy-five million human beings throughout the world as well as the physical, emotional and psychological damage inflicted on so many in the post- World War II era. He was a madman who has been dead for almost eighty years, yet his ghosts still haunt humanity.

These ghosts have successfully populated the mind and spirit of current day madmen who have aspired to leadership positions throughout the world. Individuals such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Donald Trump of the United States, Viktor Mihály Orbán of Hungary, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Ali Khamenei of Iran have taken on this “glorious” mantle.

These individuals espouse and attempt to propagate those core values as established by Adolph –

· The imposition of autocratic and despotic rule over an entire population.

· Unbending adherence to lies at the expense of the truth.

· Arbitrary judgements and pronouncements at the expense of reason and the rule of law.

· The blind acceptance and belief of the absolute superiority of a particular ethnic group and/or ideology.

· The unrelenting focus on demeaning and undermining a particular group(s) usually a minority, those who express contradictory points of views, those who are a minority in terms of sexual orientation or religious affiliation. This kind of dogged antagonism is usually designed to inspire the loyal adherents to fascistic principles to act with malice and violence against the designated “scapegoats.”

· The use of collective punishment directed at those deemed inferior who rebel against the ironclad and autocratic rule that defines their existence and usurps their freedom. Current examples of this practice can readily be seen in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israeli invasion of Gaza. These two examples reflect a careless brutality and total lack of respect for human life; for the safety and well-being of children, the elderly and the weak who are treated as less than human on account of their association with what is considered to be an inferior group.

At the end of his despotic reign, Adolph Hitler killed himself and left his native Germany in ruins. Strangely, it seems that the policies, as outlined above, still seem to have traction in this twenty-first century. The human world apparently has learned little from the clear and explicit lessons of the past.

Gaza - the New Holocaust



At the current time, February 14, 2024 it has been reported that over 27000 Gazans, mostly ordinary citizens, have perished – victims of the Israeli onslaught mostly from the air and the remainder murdered by Israeli soldiers. This ongoing war was waged in response to the attack of Hamas fighters on Isreali citizens killing an estimated 1200 indiviuals and the taking 0f hostages.

Although this terrifying attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians is deserving of a response, it must be remembered that the people of Gaza are essentially defenseless except for the Hamas fighters that are themselves no match against Israeli military power. In addition, the majority of Gazans are children and as a result, a staggering proportion of the dead have been children.

It is important to note that for 16 years the Israeli government with the help of the Egyptian government created a horrific situation in which over 2 million individuals were forced to live in a veritable prison in which they could not leave and a living environment in which the supply of power, medications, foodstuffs and water were arbitrarily rationed.

Many of the victims in Gaza perished as the result of bombardment from the air. Repeatedly the Israelis dropped 2000 pound bombs, weapons supplied by the United States, in the midst of densely populated neighborhoods. The level of destruction from these weapons resulted in the total collapse of many residential structures crushing men, women and children to death and leaving many victims with grievous injuries.

Eighty percent of the entire population of over 2 million Gazans were forced to abandon their homes and relocate attempting to find some safe haven within the Gazan ghetto. The Israelis imposed a prolonged siege on the entire population resulting in the forced scarcity of adequate nutrition, decimated water treatment facilities, diminished availability of a safe water supply and severely diminished access to fuel and therefore power.

Currently the Israeli government plans to forcefully evacuate over a million people from the last bit of Gazan territory that was considered safe. In addition, spokespersons for the ultra conservative wing of the Israeli government have begun to propose forcefully expelling Palestinian residents of Ganza and subsequently bringing in Jewish settlers with the aim of permanently occupying Gaza – reminiscent of what occurred in 1948 during the aftermath of Israeli-Arab War and creation of the Jewish State. This idea regarding future plans for Gaza might also explain the ruthless decimation of the Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza that is currently underway with no plans to restore what has been destroyed.

The saddest aspect of this current historic reality is that the methods employed by the Israeli government against Hamas and the people of Gaza reflects many of the techniques used by Nazi Germany during World War II including that of harsh and horrific collective punishment using overwhelming force against an essentially defenseless civilian population. This behavior also underlies the strongly held belief that Palestinians are somehow less than human and can certainly be imprisoned in such a dehumanizing environment over a prolonged period of time with no regard for the immeasurable harm that this does to the human spirit.

It is terribly ironic, that the Israeli people who had suffered grievously from the inhumane and reprehensible impact of the Holocaust are now responsible for a Holocaust of their very own making.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Swimming in an Inexhaustible Sea of Information

I am thoroughly impressed with the sheer amount and breath of content that is swirling and streaming through the varied information portals that inundate the human world. We seem to be swimming in an inexhaustible sea of information. Much of this tidal wave consists of purely personal data amplified ad nauseum on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, anecdotal information outside the realm of personal experience, lies and misinformation disguised as truth that is mostly transparent propaganda, and a plethora of advertisements designed to sell products and support causes of all kinds. A vanishingly small portion of this informational tsunami contains real data of any significance.

In spite of this daunting aspect of modern human existence, the reality principle remains intact. This reality is that we are ephemeral creatures with a limited lifespan existing in a amazingly expansive universe in which we are but an infinitesimal part. Within our evolutionary journey as a sentient species on planet Earth we have “inherited” a most amazing organ, the human brain, that has given us self-consciousness and a most extraordinary tool – the ability to comprehend and appreciate this fabulous cosmos we inhabit if only briefly.

I do whatever I can to minimize my involvement and exposure to the ever-growing virtual matrix that encapsulates the dimensions of our cultural terrain. It is an expansive space without dimension; it is infused with a light that is deficient in its capacity to illuminate; it is a joyless space where happiness is encouraged but never realized. It is a place of continual distraction.

Humanity appears to be stuck on a treadmill of its own making – where abysmal conclusions are drawn from spurious data and the same mistakes are made over and over again in spite of what history teaches. These mistakes often lead to disastrous consequences such as war, starvation, genocide, and the cumulative impact and trajectory of these choices may well undo our capacity, as a species, for survival.

On the Propensity of Humans to Do Harm to Each Other

I am struck by the complexity of the nature of human relationships when one considers the manner in which human identity is established within each of us during our lifetimes. Constantly faced with a panorama of choices that constitute so much of our dealings with the world around us, our minds must continually filter, interpret, and analyze the constant stream of data that we take in through our senses. The sense of belonging that is such a potent driver within the self and in relation to others is further enhanced by one’s association with family, tribe and nation.

These processes are complex and overlayed by our ever-changing state of mind, and the state of health of both body and mind. In addition, all of these “cerebral gymnastics” are influenced by our variable and often volatile emotional states of being that originate from a distinctly separate part of the architecture of the human brain. These choices are also constrained by the summation and convergence of innumerable past experiences that influence so much of the decisions we make.

I am pursuing this line of investigation into the nature of the internal world of the human mind (i.e. brain) in order to understand why there is so much suffering that can result from human interactions. It may be that the level of complexity that is inherent in each of us, as briefly outlined above, is further magnified in the arena of human interactions resulting in a vast panorama of possibilities and outcomes. To quote a line from the Bob Dylan song, Idiot Wind, “It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”

Within the swirling matrix of human interactions, differences in attitude and viewpoint are bound to surface. It is within the nature of politics to find mechanisms to assuage differences in order to reach practical and sustainable solutions to societal problems. Within this elaborate matrix of human interactions with its wealth of possibilities, it becomes inevitable that there are those who succeed; those who fail and those who succumb.

I remember what my dear friend, Ralph, of long ago who was an immigrant from Jamaica and living in New York City, at the time, said to me. To paraphrase, he marveled at how well New Yorkers seem to get along given not only the sheer and often overwhelming population density but also the fact that so many came from disparate and diverse backgrounds. To me, this reality highlights the natural human longing to find harmony whenever possible. Sadly, this tendency is too often overshadowed by the equally powerful propensity to surrender to the emotionally-laden feelings of prejudice, bigotry, fear, and hatred.

As members of a particular culture, we are taught to rationalize these darker emotions by categorizing our enemy as somehow evil or less than human. Within the framework of this kind of propaganda we are never trained to consider our own culpability. In this way we are destined to repeat this pattern again and again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Fate of the People of Gaza

To further support this pathological pursuit of the destruction of Gaza by the Israeli government is sheer madness. How could we remain silent in light of this unrelenting carnage raining from the sky with continual aerial bombardment for nine consecutive days without apparent letup? It is a massive imposition of collective punishment wrecked upon the ordinary citizens of Gaza who have already endured 16 years of a joint Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has created what is regarded as the largest outdoor prison in the human world. Within this blockade, almost everyone of the 2.2 million individuals is trapped within a very small area. An overwhelming majority of the population of Gaza are young with many very young with not hope of escape or improvement of their abysmal living conditions on the horizon.

Further exacerbating this untenable situation is the barbaric siege imposed upoon Gaza that has resulted in the blockade of all electrical power, water, food and medical supplies. Ironically, the scale of this inhumanity as a means of collective punishment is behavior reminiscent of Nazi Germany. If this behavior continues, massive death and unspeakable suffering will surely follow. Is this the kind of future scenario we are embracing with our silence?

After all, the overwhelming majority of the population of Gaza are not members of Hamas, or participants in the fanatical and violent extremist actions perpetrated by Hamas. Can the Israeli government actually claim innocence in the midst of all of this horror? Can they continue to propose that Hamas alone is evil as they are the originators of the horrific blockade that has persisted for so long, and as they intentionally bomb buildings where people reside, target ambulances, mosques, communal marketplaces, hospitals and even cars filled with individuals attempting to escape from the worst of the mayhem.

In the final analysis, in this the twenty-first century where we find humanity engulfed by two major conflicts, it seems that the human species has not learned much in regard to actively pursuing a path of social harmony and peace in over ten thousand years of civilization. This unavoidable reality still dominates human behavior even though science has clearly shown that all humans are members of the same human family and that as stewards of this planet, we continue to act in a way that is responsible for the inexorable deterioration of the ecological fabric that sustains all of life on this most remarkable planet Earth.

Shadows of War

On September 8, the world was rocked by the incursion onto Israeli territory by gunmen directed by Hamas, the radical group in control of Gaza – from the extremely tiny territory of Gaza populated by over 2 million inhabitants that have been subjected to a severe and unconscionable blockade for 16 years. This blockade has successfully interdicted shipments of such important commodities as medical supplies, water and with effective control of electrical power that is supplied to this enclave. Free passage out of Gaza by Palestinians has been made virtually impossible. Gaza has been described as the world’s largest outdoor prison.


On Sept 8, a state of war became the second major global conflict in the human world adding to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War.

My thoughts on this situation –

At times like these, it is tempting to take sides and offer a plethora of rationalizations regarding the infinite wisdom of going to war and fill ourselves with a sense of righteousness ennobled by our grievances. And yet, the age-old song of violence and retribution gets played once again. And once again, humanity is infected with a bolus of rage and hatred that will ultimately get us nowhere. And once again, true human progress is thwarted.

What is not clearly understood is that the human world is heading towards an unsustainable future, for humanity is undermining its own prospects by maintaining a structure with a vast imbalance in the distribution of wealth and the reliance on massive violence and death to sustain the status quo. This subservience to power leads inevitably to needless suffering on a massive scale. In addition to this recurring onslaught, we are collectively laying waste to the biological infrastructure that sustains all of life.

Shadows of War


Darkness once again falls

heavily upon this tiresome human world.

Shadows of war

propelled by ridiculous dreams of dominance and empire

sustained by minds

unable to see the horrid future they project,

unwilling to embrace the pain and suffering

they inflict,

unreceptive to the laments of mothers

over the children forever lost to the shrill

call of bombs and bullets

as explosions rip through the fabric of neighborhoods,

unrepentant for the death they distribute

to the innocent like candy,

for all the blood and bones and carnage,

for all the wrecked lives and distorted hatred

injected into the future,

unable to embrace all of humanity as equals,

ever ready to crawl into bed

with hollow and pointless death.

Shadows of war,

a long and tiresome story

revisited again and again

the litany long,

the dark foreboding song always the same,

the list seeming endless,

stretching back

to the very beginnings of

civilization.

How long can Homo sapiens endure?

how long can the natural world

upon which we depend

sustain us?

when we choose

chaos over harmony

needless death and unimagined suffering

over love and life,

darkness over light,

stupidity over real intelligence

over and over again.

Darkness once again falls

heavily upon this tiresome human world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Dance of the Generations

 


Periodically I go through my collected works of art and literature and on this one occasion a particular idea inundated my consciousness with insistent clarity. An inner truth revealed itself to me. The driving force of my creativity is to capture through some medium the real nature of reality and my response to it. Art strives to peel away the layers of distraction and confusion and affect that permeates the human world in an attempt to reveal what lies underneath.


In the evolution of humans, there came a time in the development of the species that a spark lit the pyre of the consciousness of self and that startling quality of perception that instantly changed everything for the better and the worse. As a result, we have both the wondrous capacity to comprehend the nature of things and yet we can value our individual selves so highly that it can thoroughly obstruct our vision.

Reality’s Song is vivid, persistent and exists beyond our control. Time moves forward, pushes boundaries, ushers in the constancy of change and glides into the future with precision. As individuals we are powerless within this domain no matter how well taught we may have been regarding the supernatural forces that supposedly operate purely for our benefit and work tirelessly on our behalf.

When the mind is opened to the majesty of Reality’s Song; to the enormity and power of the cosmos, to the universe extending outward to extraordinary dimensions; to the remarkable aspects of the natural and living worlds; to the ever-present and dynamic mother Earth; to the wonders of the human brain, life reveals itself as a remarkable gift. From this perspective, an individual life journey, however brief, is a fantastic experience.

Reality’s Song embraces everything. It touches us with inexplicable joy and immense sadness, with love’s surprise, and promise, and untold grief, with the inner-workings of the natural world; with the star-filled midnight sky, with the dance of the planets, with black holes and supernovas, with the enormity of space and the incessant rhythm of time. Although we may witness the many variations of Reality’s Song, it is not sung for us; it is not here for us. Reality’s song is an intrinsic and inescapable aspect of the expansive universe.

Reality’s Song teaches that life is fleeting, that pleasure and pain and emotions and thought, intellect and reason are products of the human brain and have no existence outside ourselves. Reality’s Song clearly demonstrates that the cosmos is immense and that humanity is not a necessary component of its existence, and that the continued presence of the human species is far from guaranteed. Reality’s Song embraces truth and does not coincide with delusional ideas and fantastic conclusions.

To be a sentient being existing in all of this incredible splendor is a reality that I gladly embrace and feel immensely privileged to experience however briefly.



During this final phase of my existence as an autonomous being on this earth, our only home, I would like to shift my focus to that somewhat intangible aspect of being I refer to as peace of mind. I did refer to my time in life as a final phase not on account of any serious or debilitating illness but on account of the inescapable reality that the time ahead of me is far shorter than the time that has already elapsed. Realistically, we are all dying in that as soon as we are born our trajectory is clear although the time allotted may vary.

I have included the following poem –



Ode to the Elusive Peace of Mind



I wish to say farewell

to all trivial considerations,

all venal and self-serving dreams,

all of ego’s darlings

piled up like so many useless magazines

cluttering the thoroughfares of the mind.



I wish to terminate the leases

of all the shabby and unwanted tenants that

occupy the precious real estate within

my neuronal wonder.



I wish to finally release all the hostages

reminiscent of bygone desires and

missed opportunities,

they take far too much succor to retain.



I wish to welcome all of

life’s truly wondrous aspects,

of nature’s magnificent presence

and finally let all of existence consume me

within the grasp of perfect peace.



These series of wishes as outlined above, represent both individually and collectively a challenging set of goals. Over my lifetime, I have accumulated a torturous array of tattered remnants that no longer serve any useful purpose and that, in fact, present serious obstacles to a fuller appreciation of the wondrous quality of being.



All humanity is part of the “dance of the generations” where those living move about the Earth interacting with each other and the natural world that establishes place and time. Encased within the recesses of our bony skull lies that remarkable organ that projects the essence of ourselves, maintains our intricate library of memories, initiates our thoughts and desires and that propels us forward. Each of us expend our allotted time in our own unique ways. This dance eventually propels us into the oblivion of death so as make way for the next generation. This is the inescapable truth. We may try to deny this reality, or obfuscate the implications, but that is no matter – the dance goes on. It is far better to appreciate the dance and join in the revelry rather than bemoan this fundamental aspect of the reality principle.



To quote the master (William Shakespeare) -



THE SEVEN AGES OF MAN

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice,

In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws, and modern instances,

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


As You Like It (Jaques, Act 2 Scene 7)



I am fast approaching my 79th Birthday (October 2023). I have had the privilege to have had “many turns at the wheel.” I have lived in many domiciles throughout this country; slept in many beds; walked many, many miles both amid the wonders of nature, and traveled through vast expanses of this human world.

On the chalkboard of my life I have attempted to highlight those experiences that remained vivid to me.

On my chalkboard of life there are many fanciful entries filled with preposterous expectations, and there is a multiplicity of lists enumerating tasks planned, tasks completed and tasks abandoned. On my chalkboard of life there are protestations of love and impassioned pleadings; there are expressions of precipitous joy and the howling of despair; there are intricate tapestries of proclamations of brilliant successes and barely perceptible references to utter failures; there are entire litanies of somewhat intelligible references to dream sequences and idle wishes; there are inchoate rants against absolute lunacy of the human experience.

Throughout the chalkboard of my life there runs the very current of experience, of choices and consequences and the meanderings of love.

On the chalkboard of my life, there is a more limiting space left for a future that still has me in it. My fondest hope for all the future generations that follow is to achieve the fullest degree of happiness, joy and enlightenment that life may bring.

Furthermore, my deepest and most sincere advice to anyone who will listen is to imbibe fully the experience of existence; taste every moment; savor all the nuances of the space you occupy; express your feelings no matter how mundane or profound; live and love as if your breath might suddenly fail you; do not judge yourself and others harshly – better yet do not judge at all. Embrace the art of forgiveness and lighten the needless burdens you may carry.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be stupid and never listen to stupid people for stupidity pays homage to lies and sows seeds of mistrust, malice and hatred. Stupidity prepares the human world for endless cycles of hapless aggression, vengeance, and dissolution. Stupidity shutters the mind and in so doing thwarts the possibility of real human progress.



These are my suggestions that spring from the cumulative weight of the lessons my life has taught me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Reality's Song

 


Periodically I go through my collected works of art and literature and on this one occasion a particular idea inundated my consciousness with insistent clarity. An inner truth revealed itself to me. The driving force of my creativity is to capture through some medium the real nature of reality and my response to it. Art strives to peel away the layers of distraction and confusion and affect that permeates the human world in an attempt to reveal what lies underneath.

In the evolution of humans, there came a time in the development of the species that a spark lit the pyre of the consciousness of self and that startling quality of perception that instantly changed everything for the better and the worse. As a result, we have both the wondrous capacity to comprehend the nature of things and yet we can value our individual selves so highly that it can thoroughly obstruct our vision.

Reality’s Song is vivid, persistent and exists beyond our control. Time moves forward, pushes boundaries, ushers in the constancy of change and glides into the future with precision. As individuals we are powerless within this domain no matter how well taught we may have been regarding the supernatural forces that supposedly operate purely for our benefit and work tirelessly on our behalf.

When the mind is opened to the majesty of Reality’s Song; to the enormity and power of the cosmos, to the universe extending outward to extraordinary dimensions; to the remarkable aspects of the natural and living worlds; to the ever-present and dynamic mother Earth; to the wonders of the human brain, life reveals itself as a remarkable gift. From this perspective, an individual life journey, however brief, is a fantastic experience.

Reality’s Song embraces everything. It touches us with inexplicable joy and immense sadness, with love’s surprise, and promise, and untold grief, with the inner-workings of the natural world; with the star-filled midnight sky, with the dance of the planets, with black holes and supernovas, with the enormity of space and the incessant rhythm of time. Although we may witness the many variations of Reality’s Song, it is not sung for us; it is not here for us. Reality’s song is an intrinsic and inescapable aspect of the expansive universe.

Reality’s Song teaches that life is fleeting, that pleasure and pain and emotions and thought, intellect and reason are products of the human brain and have no existence outside ourselves. Reality’s Song clearly demonstrates that the cosmos is immense and that humanity is not a necessary component of its existence, and that the continued presence of the human species is far from guaranteed. Reality’s Song embraces truth and does not coincide with delusional ideas and fantastic conclusions.

To be a sentient being existing in all of this incredible splendor is a reality that I gladly embrace and feel immensely privileged to experience however briefly.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Ode to Existence Revisited

Enmeshed and so often, entrapped

within this human world

distraction the norm,

conversation distilled into

a kind of relentless babble

born on the wings of bits and bytes,

joy equated with pleasure

and childish excitement,

happiness to be forever

pursued and hoarded like treasure,

a synthetic world of trinkets

and idle possessions,

heirlooms acquired,

building vast fortunes

of synthetic and finite illusions,

all with no consequence

all with little meaning.



And yet,

the reality of existence

moves along its

indefatigable path,

within the boundaries of

the wondrous cosmos.



Surrounded by the matrix

of the living world,

passengers aboard this fabulous spaceship

Earth,

caressed by capricious winds,

greeted by morning mist

tossed upon perilous water,

enlivened by sunlight,

subdued by nightfall,

intimidated by fearsome storm,

forever surprised by the intrinsic beauty

delicate intricacies of nature’s tendrils

that reach into every corner and crevice,

every delicate spring blossom,

every blade of undulating grass,

every tree no matter how massive or

diminished,

every creature within its domain,

every idle thought that triggers

perception,

every substantive or meaningless dream.


Surrounded by this most amazing

universe,

this most fabulous galaxy

decorating the heavens with

innumerable stars,

witness to the dance of the planets,

subtleties of light and dark,

to the wild configurations of

shape and form and texture and color.


Blessed with this most awesome capability

of the sentient mind

to uncover the mysteries of

the nature of things,

to explore the vast and inner terrain of

self,

to find meaning,

to explore possibilities,

to appreciate detail and

discover function,

to search for truth

and find it,

to know peace

and appreciate the essence of love.


Life is a voyage and a journey,

bounded by explosive birth

and the finality of death,

constrained by the

vagaries and vicissitudes

of unfolding time,

life is to be affirmed

by wrapped attention,

life is to be possessed

from moment to moment and

neither squandered nor abandoned.

The Existential Joy of Living

 I will start by claiming that humans living in the Western and so-called “developed world” have been sold an erroneous bunch of goods. By that I mean that from the capitalist-oriented perspective, the many aspects of an individual life have been neatly bundled into a very concise and complete package. The primary elements of this package clearly specify that if one adopts the appropriate attitudes and addresses life in the prescribed and appropriate manner, living comes with a precise guarantee of security, safety, fun, happiness, and especially prosperity. This model for living within the boundaries of a consumer-based existence is essentially delusional. In my estimation, this is all nonsense.

At birth, regardless of one’s country of origin, color of skin, gender, culture, economic class, there are absolutely no guarantees. It is true that throughout the world, regardless of nation, humans belong to two distinct classes – the small minority of the privileged that have accumulated exorbitant wealth and power and the rest of humanity subject to the priorities and whims of the privileged who have attained a level of influence that gives them enormous authority. This delineation of classes has been a dominant force in the history of civilization. Unless one proposes that humans will miraculously undergo profound transformation, this organizational model will persist into the future until the species undermines its own viability and moves backwards towards a more primal existence.

In spite of this persistent and delusional representation of reality that surrounds us, no one is immune from the vagaries and vicissitudes of life and death’s untimely arrival. No one can escape the depth and scope of human feelings and emotions. No one can avoid the consequences of the forward movement of history that is the repository of the collective choices humanity has made over time.

In many ways, the unfettered accumulation of wealth introduces a constant source of distraction and often negates a deep-felt appreciation of existence. In my mind, it is no small tragedy to live one’s life deadened to the wondrous presence of the natural and human worlds that we are such an integral part of. It is a waste of individual existence, to move through life bound and constrained by a subservience to delusional thinking.

As individuals, it is within our power to free ourselves of such limitations and open ourselves up to the existential joy of living – a fundamental appreciation of our intrinsic connectedness to the totality of all that surrounds us. In this way, we can appreciate the fragile, wondrous, compelling, ever-interesting and finite nature of existence within the matrix of an amazing universe. In this way, we can come to embrace our own mortality.

Beyond the delusional fantasies that have been fashioned and refined over the millennia of human civilization, the inescapable truth is that each of us has one turn at sentient existence. It is up to each of us to decide how to experience our individual journey before our stay is irrevocably terminated. We may protest, but reality is, in fact, larger than us all.

There is a powerful urge for humans to look with pity and with a sympathetic eye upon those who seemed to have suffered a “cruelty of fate” - overcome by a grievous illness or cataclysmic accident obviously victim of circumstances beyond their control. This response may seem altruistic, but the internal motivation of such an outlook is decidedly more complex than it would seem. In my judgment, this response also satisfies the need to uplift once own life; the first-hand experience of someone’s suffering is a potent reminder that there is no fairness in life and that we are all prone and subject to calamities of all kinds. It is a stark representation of the fragile nature of existence. Feeling pity also represents a distorted view of the experience of living. Even within the midst of profound suffering, each of us has the capacity to appreciate the joy of existence.

Of course, there may come a time for anyone to reach a point when the intensity of suffering may far outweigh the will to live; when living can no longer embrace an appreciation of being alive. As sentient beings we do have an intrinsic right over our own lives and should feel free to make a reasoned choice to end our earthly sojourn. That is the nature of true autonomy.

In conclusion, it is really up to me to fully appreciate and enjoy the precious and ephemeral moments that I have the good fortune to experience. After all, death will come soon enough.