Thursday, December 18, 2008

Note from Meeting with Desani

Look closely at where we come from. We are on a journey. We need tools, devices. Take from the past those good procedures as instruction from a revered teacher. Use them carefully, and when the present generation gives them up to the future our children will enjoy and appreciate what we did. Our acts should leave a residue, an accretion, on the gemstone of human history that gives clarity and brilliance. They will, if we seek knowledge, love, truth, and beauty, and do good deeds according to standard cultural norms.

Besides the great lord who is omnipresent there are everywhere smaller lords too. Some are tiny, infinitely small.

For whatever activity undertaken, there is a spirit for that doing and that spirit in time gets a life of its own, gets self awareness as it goes on. These acts eventually become forms of worship.

Knowingly or unknowingly our acts, ritualized and regularly played out, constitute worship, praise of spirits. The meditator eventually becomes the object of meditation.* These spirits range from the infinitely small to the infinitely large, from the most terrible evil to the most beautiful good, and so on.

Doing good enhances goodness. Goodness is the reservoir drawn from when acts of kindness are done. And it is thereby increased. These acts are like accretions. Charity grows by use. Doing right this time makes it easier the next and so forth.

Worship must have been discovered not invented.

Where the concentration is, there is the persistent, the lasting, the permanent. That to which attention goes is that which returns. In a sense to attend to something is to put consciousness into it, to bring it to life, to self awareness.

If born a warrior one concentrates on being such. One works at the tasks of warriorhood, makes the craft a permanent feature. So the warrior lives on generation after generation, life after life. The consequence is that the craft gets more efficient as time goes on. The power of war machines grow. The display of the hardware more and more glorious, awesome. There is no end to it except maybe annihilation. Probably the essence of the warrior is the death wish. The wish to be free.

*From the Bhagavad-Gita “Worshipers of spirits and goblins go to spirits and goblins, worshipers of the departed fathers go there, worshipers of me come to me.” (Krsna)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

On Experience

At the moment of supreme focus there is nothing there. The dichotomy, that is, between experiencer and that experienced disappears. We say, “lost in the moment…” to explain this. What happens is a melding of the ego, the mode of the experience, and that being experienced. He who loves his God disappears, God disappears, all remaining is “love of God”, for instance. In a “Zen” sense, if you take the well known phrase, “when hungry, I eat” and change it to “when hungry, eating” you have a sense of what is meant here, assuming the eater focuses on eating to the total and absolute exclusion of all else. The void, into which all stimuli disappears at the moment experience arises, for one who has total concentration, subsumes the whole of creation in a kind of quasi death. This is rapture, for the acolyte, pleasure, for the seeker thereof, adventure, for the mountaineer, and so forth.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Decide

The voice of the void: "Alive, I can't die; Dead, I can't be born."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

On Will , Faith, Instinct, Reason, and Thought

My use of the word Real below is as an aspect, a recognizable face (facet), of the motive force, spirit, that informs all that is. One could as easily use other words such as God, the Truth, the One, and so forth. This note ties in with much of what is written elsewhere in my blog and takes a step or two towards making a case for free will.

My reading of Blaise Pascal Pensee 340 wherein he observes that animals will but can't do math leads me to contemplate that there can be will without thought. Consider that will as principle preexists thought in that sentient life must emerge, become self aware, evolve a sense of cause and effect, and develop the use of symbols before the emergence of thinking itself. I am suggesting that thinking in the anthropomorphic sense does not occur for every order of being but that will perhaps does. The Real itself is a kind of being but does it observe the consequences of action within itself and think to affect those consequences by offering different action? Or does the Real rather through an exercise of will set creation in motion and let the consequences work themselves out? I don't think the Real apart from utilization of the self conscious faculties of created sentient beings has self awareness. I do think it has awareness itself but in the sense that one is aware equally of all that is in every particular as well as in total, that awareness can't be reflexive. It is only when awareness, consciousness, enters into a part of the whole and looks back on the whole from the standpoint of a separate being that self awareness enters into reality. So I think thought is an expression of consciousness in adequately developed sentient life forms. Furthermore in the Real awareness is something possessed in the sense that it exists as a potentiality awaiting the arising of conditions suitable for its emergence.

Consider also that instinct is related to will while reason is related to thought. So animal's instinct is a more primitive expression of the principle of will than in man while reason is similarly an evolute of the development of thought.

This brings up the question of whether faith is the opposite of will. I think not exactly. Faith is not intention but the yielding to intrinsic intention, existential will. Seeing there is something in the nature of existence that in reality is beyond my understanding, while I apprehend benevolence therein, I yield, that is, suspend "my" little will to preexisting will, that exists potentially and really in the very stuff of being. That, I think, is faith.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Verbindung II

Here is a black one. It is acrylic on canvas. Something tightly bound, it is. A presentation, a setting held firmly in place, a vast mystery as to origin, as to what exactly is going on, as to purpose, meaning, emotion. Is it love? Is it not? Perhaps it works to express and expand consciousness. Maybe it is so tightly held that any such expression is futile. Is it a surd? Is it without reason? Perhaps. But how can one possibly know whether it is not some kind of heuristic energeia? My intention is that it is the latter. It is self learning potentiality embedded in the kernel of the Real itself as a kind of meaning the expression of which is an infinite ingress of fractaling purpose.

Entelechy II

Entelechy II was my recent gift for Kristi Ann Harris. It wasn't really her 24th birthday gift but it was close. She says it is her favorite. We have had long discussions about the use of black in my art and it is of course significant that she chose a white piece for her own. I told her black represents the existential void which idea she finds disturbing. Kristi has lately taken to the path of faith so I explained that it is on faith that the void, with an infinite subtlety, becomes full of the divine. Nonetheless unless sustained by a belief system of some sort it can shift back to everlasting emptiness yawning at our feet. All creatures must cope with this teetering on the brink of meaning and not meaning, of purpose and not purpose, of love and not love, of God and not God. It is our intention that foreshadows whether our path is into nihilism or solipsism, or deism. It is our determination that takes us into everlasting darkness of the abyss or into the redeeming light of infinite bliss which is union with the divine.

Oil on canvas.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Entelechy I

Entelechy is from the Greek entelechia. For Aristotle it meant being at an end. This is oil on canvas.
Don't know if you believe in the spirit world but those two "entities" towards the right of the painting represent "disembodied" spirits. One has a sort of eye while the other is a little vaguer but you can tell they are both "watchers". They have their existence in subtle bodies, matter still, but more ephemeral than ours. They are mostly transparent and sort of like gossamer but they have appetites which they feed by watching, attending to, the activities of human beings. This is sort of like the vicarious experience we have watching a play or a movie. They aren't very smart. They are just appetites. Their existence consists of parasitic attachment to particular indulgences of their hosts and in fact their hosts often do these indulgences at the urging of the watchers. Of course they are not the end within, unless you lose your will to theirs. The end within is the secret fire under the domed hierarchical form, the pyramid, and is heuristic energeia. It is eternal, imperishable, and has the quality of conferring individuality and actuality. It is existential mass. It is capable of being or not being any actuality and is continuously self learning new actualities. The entelechy of potentiality is actuality.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ritual Object

This is a found objects assemblage I did. All of these art pieces I will publish here were done about the same time, i.e., 1970s, during the period of my life when I fancied I wanted to find validation as a visual artist. I entered contests, won prizes, and such, even showed my stuff in a museum in Austin once but my other interests trumped this effort and I gave up the idea of making a living at this. At any rate I found a certain kind of fulfillment in these creations and my attraction to them has not diminished over time. In their creation my mind was beautifully, exquisitely focused. I like reentering these states of consciousness. I have had opportunities to give these away to family and friends over the years and even to sell them on a few occasions, but the price was never sufficient to make me part with them. I am glad I still have them around but would like to share them. So I will put them here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

dense tearful dance

if can you too where want did dense tearful dance
(propensely waiting for falling me)
and little lubricant folly for hidden things,
reality slips concretely between ego's soul
i tend to manhood by degrees of you
(wait for me please, after all)
my petty exhortation is your echofile.

generally any particular thing loving knows,
this or these that those
(where why and wherefores see
wait for me can't you please).

while being allowed hollows hallowed thoughts
suffering goes where wild wind blows
as long gaunt ghosts before time
we tend our seems as dreaming deems
(but really is merely and lovely plain
please wait for me, and anyway)
dreaming deeds is doing
all nothing does.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Acrylic and found objects on panel by me circa 1973. The theme in my mind to which I was attempting to give aesthetic expression was of human life being in the grip of an infinite regress of technology where only efficiency was of value. Today we might speak of this sentiment as relating to the so called singularity.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Evolution of History

Some thoughts provoked by Daniel Boorstin*, his chapter on evolution of history.

I am rather inclined to think that there is only one absolute truth, the conditio sine qua non, though infinite approaches to that truth are possible. These approaches are mere artifacts, and this is Boorstin, "shards" of mental pottery, transient vessels of aspiration for the "Truth". Therefore, knowledge is not constant or immutable, but ephemeral, as dew on the rose. Knowledge is a mere contemporary of its zeitgeist. It paints the way, yes, but soon along that way, there will be newer signs appropriate to new contemporaries.


When there are no clouds
the sun shines-

Is that drinking tea from an empty cup?

All historians, indeed, all artists, theologians, and scientists, sate themselves on the contents of an empty vessel. I agree with R. G. Collingwood that only philosophy, of all man's endeavors, categories of being, Stages on Life's Way**, provides the framework wherein its practitioners can come to see that true understanding springs from the consciousness that returns on itself. Release the dichotomies! One simply cannot be brought out of darkness into light because darkness and light are in an interesting way the same thing.

So! Jews were never brought out of Egyptian slavery into the promised land. This historical/mythological paradigm of Christian salvation, coming out of the evils of the flesh into the salvation of the spirit, is one dichotomy. Christians are never "saved" from their sins by virtue of one defining moment in history. Similarly workers never free themselves, by whatever device, be it collective bargaining or revolution, from bondage to the controllers of the machine apparatus of production. And don't fail to note the "self similarity" of the two historical trends of Christianity and Marxism touched on here. (One is a fractal of the other.) Freedom, individuality, independence are a simple turn of the mind away for one and all. A gymnastic juggernaut is not required. Living through a hellish history based on false myths of original sin is not requisite. See that art, religion, science, history are mere preparations of the mind for philosophy. Philosophy is the culmination of the journey past or through these signposts. Their modes of consciousness are directed out from itself. Philosophy is man's consciousness turned back on its origin. That turn of the mind is a requisite of true understanding.

Collingwood's Speculum Mentis lays out this idea that the first signpost, Art, is expressive of the aspiration for beauty and is a search for, a longing for, the "other", that which is lacking. But is it really? In what respect would we lose our identity in blissful union? Isn't annihilation already and always there in that empty cup? Religion posits absolute reality in an absolute other. History posits its goal in a distant future to be achieved through evolution. The faith of science is that measurement of infinity is achievable and mistakenly conflates knowledge with understanding. All are instances of the attempt of the soul to go beyond itself, of the urge to see reality as greater than it is.

There are, of course, many other considerations some of which I have addressed previously in this space. Beauty, truth, liberty, love, and similar attributes of consciousness are, besides what I say here, I believe, facets of a divine being and are in a sense also spirits in themselves in that "their" being is added to, enhanced somehow by participation in them of sentient life. The principles grow by being called on and their luminescence increases through this use. It also bears repeating that existential mass embodies these principles as potentialities that emerge, so to speak, in the presence of sentient life. Our consciousness directed in these categories is fertile soil for the growth of these spirits. Thus it is that God has commerce with creation. Thus it is that God has self experience. For what other purpose could there be for making this being? I am here at the cusp of projecting, I see, my human nature on the cosmos. This is a conundrum that recurs throughout history. My answer is that I am the cosmos in a sense, so this projection is of the cosmos onto itself. Keeping all the caveats mentioned here and elsewhere in mind, that is how I am able to be confident in my appraisal.

*The Discoverers
**Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Note on fractals

Yesterday I mentioned fractals in comparison to the increasing complexities of life. Creation has built in uncertainty so while every instantiation of the real contains within itself all that went before it also embraces new elements. This is why it is true that while nothing changes in reality it is also true that at the same time the real is forever new. Look closely at your breathing, for instance. Every breath is somewhat like all that went before yet if you look closely you will see that every breath is also unique. This pattern repeats itself endlessly. To know something in this environment is impossible just because of the uncertainty that seeds the new. Therefore only heuristic learning is effective learning. As we approach an understanding we see that final knowledge escapes our precision and minor flaws emerge in our calculations. On these "mistakes" we ground ourselves anew and the self learning, self teaching, continues.

For a fractal galery go here. More from MathWorld here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Old Flames

I don't think this is going to work the way I would like. Usually when I come here I have a fairly clear idea of what I want to write but today I have only the need to write. I am patient though, and will dwell here a little to see what happens. There is plenty to say but I just don't know how to do it this time. I am not confused. I am overwhelmed. Life is so full of so many myriads of experiences and all need to be put to words. Doing so not only is an affirmation of those events it is also a validation and a way to immortality. Sort of. It is like having children and knowing with certainty that you live on in them and in those of their issue forever.

The landscape of my dilemma is vast and presents itself like a white dove fluttering in the featureless void. This is what I feel like. I pull back from the abyss, or I am pulled back by fate. Invisible strings? Fruits of intention? Answers to fervent petitions to a personal deity? I don't know but it is certainly true that whatever your intention or petition the response when it comes will be rife with complexities unanticipated. Life is above all a kind of fractal. Recall E.E. Cummings, "Deeds can't dream what dreams can do." Knowing this, that discovery is the action of the unknown, vulnerability is my natural state. Risk is almost a metaphysical category in my life so I trust instinctively, and love. This is something I have long cultivated. Yet at this juncture there are no paths and I must pick my way carefully. Not that there ever were, though I imagined them. Here is a generous spirit, an incomparable beauty, and compelling desire but these are understood. Not as a measurement, not as something known, but as something intimately owned. A part of me that is a part of another, truly an apotheosis. Yet, it is an expression only begun, a running, tripping, headlong rush through the void. That plummeting, fluttering white dove suspended in darkness, no place to rest, find completion, no twig to grasp, none, nowhere. So vulnerable. So helpless.

We make our own light here in this fastness of the soul. I would shine and thus show a path for others but how to make a path through the abyss? What are the signposts? The dove? No, that is an aspect of spirit. Love? I think love is more. This is it. Love is a lot more. It is, in fact, the void itself. The abyss unrecognized. The unfathomable void. If someone asks you what you mean by love tell them that love is meaning capable of filling any emptiness whatsoever. Even if that emptiness is the whole cosmos. And with that the circle is completed and Beauty and Truth with Love shine like facets of the same jewel and their light penetrates any darkness whatsoever, any darkness anywhere. To be open to this is to share in everlasting, eternal joy and to make another see this is even greater because it is in reality the divine spark finding and kindling anew eternal fire, fire that burns everywhere and consumes everything. It is the annihilation we so earnestly desire, to be lost in the other. So, yes, I have looked into eyes and realized while I was falling, a white dove fluttering, that the darkness in the midst of our eyes was the same place, that we were one and the darkness is also the light universal, centered everywhere, bounded nowhere, an infinity to be discovered, not a mystery to be unraveled. I don't want to know. I want to always be on the cusp of the new, discovering roads untrodden, lighting the way on an eternal journey. So, yes, I have and still do love. The words come easy. So right. So easy. "I love you." Go tell someone in words, in deeds, even with a soulful look into their eyes, and if they ask what you mean, and that is natural, they are asking for what is said here. Choose your words carefully after a close reading of your hearts and the meaning they convey will be near the truth here expressed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gate Opener

Sheesh! I was out on my bicycle ride. It was cloudy for awhile. When the sun came out I reached in my pocket for my sun glasses. When I pulled them out my gate/garage opener came with them. I heard it hit the pavement. I said out loud, "oh shit!" as my rear wheel ran over the opener. I stopped and laid the bike down in the middle of the road and walked the few paces back to where I saw the pieces laying on the pavement. There was the printed circuit board, the cover, the insert that constituted the "buttons", and the base. I collected and inspected these. All appeared intact except the cover which was missing a three eights of an inch of plastic on one of the short edges. Still I was able to fit it all back together. Then the ride home. I was in the ninth mile of my thirteen plus mile ride. So I got to consider for another forty minutes or so whether the device was ruined, and to what extent. I got to the gate. It worked! Seven tenths of a mile later I got to the garage. It worked! Life is good.