Sunday, August 27, 2006

Inspiring Story...

This is a story about Lola, a little 7-week old kitten. What makes her special is that she doesn't know she's different from other cats. She can only walk on her front paws. I hope she finds a good home. She deserves one. I can only think of Helen Keller or Ludwig van Beethoven as the human equivalent.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Something I Can't Put My Finger On Bothers Me

Several months ago, a close friend gave me a broken Dell Optiplex GX240 that his wife had had. They had come into some money and repaid me $3,000 in loans. They had bought new systems and didn't need the old one and they didn't feel like repairing it. I diagnosed the problem, bought a new part for it that cost me $80 and fixed it. I used the system as a Linux workstation for remastering KNOPPIX Live CDs that I've used at work. It was very handy for that. Then, out of the blue, he asked for it back. He planned to use it as a server for his wife's psychologist because the old server they built was underpowered. Now they will turn around and charge the psychologist for the "new" server and the server migration and such. At first, I turned them down but when I got home from work, I got an email from him offering me a laptop in exchange for it. I turned it down because it would be an underpowered laptop. It was his wife's old laptop, and she's hard on equipment. I countered that if they'd pay me $100 which was my costs for fixing the system, they could have it back. He told me flat out that he couldn't afford that. He told me that they owed the IRS $4000 in back taxes for his wife's Social Security Disability Benefits that they had to sue the government to give them in the first place. Their lawyer had told them that the benefits weren't taxable, but the IRS begs to differ. I told him that he could pay me after the server migration, but he didn't like that idea either. I went to bed, but couldn't sleep. I decided that I shouldn't let a thing get in the way of a friendship, so I got up, yanked my hard drive out of it, and drove it over to them. I get home and he calls me asking me if I have any hard drive rails. He'd given me two sets when he gave me the system. I found the spare set and drove them back over to him. (They live across the street in another apartment complex.) This whole episode bothers me. I mean, I can ignore my own hurt because I can live without that system. It was nice when I had it, but I'm not hurting if it's gone. I suppose I realize that my friends will likely sink further into debt the way things are going if they have to ask me to give back a "gift". Maybe that, I don't know. But something really bothers me about this whole mess.

Sanity Within Overall Insanity

Kind of fell into this. Not much on and they have some retro 60's music concert playing on PBS, KERA Dallas.
Rob Grill and the Grass Roots band played Let's Live for Today. The first stanza is:

When I think of all the worries people seem to find
And how they're in a hurry to complicate their mind
By chasing after money and dreams that can't come true
I'm glad that we are different, we've better things to do
May others plan their future, I'm busy lovin' you

One of the flickers of Light (Civil Rights, Music, Space Program) in all the Darkness of the Sixties (Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis, Racial Riots). Society responded by criminalizing drugs that at the time were legal, but not controlled, educating kids like me that all drugs other than prescription drugs were bad, and the formation of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Now we have a society where the pharmaceutical companies are making up diseases to scare people into buying their drugs and their best selling products are for Erectile Dysfunction. Got a problem, take a pill. Prescription drugs are useful, but they've become quite costly. The price keeps going up instead of down. Cocaine has actually dropped in price according to this article.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Transcending Situations and Events

If the whole purpose of being an Enlightened Being is to transcend situations and people such that they don't disturb your inner peacefulness, then I fail miserably most of the time. Mindfulness is the goal, but how does one stay mindful all the time? Is it like perfect practice makes perfect?

The four ways that I know of (Tolle, The Power of Now, pp.133-135) to transcend mind and be more mindful are:

1. Be in the present all the time.
2. Disidentify with my thoughts.
3. Pay attention to the feeling of aliveness within my body (variation of the first point?).
4. Surrender, accepting what is, the letting go of mental-emotional resistance to my currrent reality or situation.

Julie asked me the question, "What is transcendence?"

The short answer is to be a human cat. The long answer follows.

Tolle says that:

"The ultimate purpose of the world lies not within the world but in transcendence of the world."

One doesn't transcend or rise above reality in any physical way. How can any one if you are an integral part of that reality? It may be that one is transcending or in truth, altering one's own psychological perception of reality in order to see or perceive a truer, saner reality. If so, then only changing the quality of one's perception is the key. Perceiving stimuli without bias or judgement or comparison (how simple and yet, how difficult) is what everyone is striving to do at either a conscious or unconscious level. How many lies, fictions, or misperceptions will one put up with before reality shows the falseness of one's perception? (As many as it takes?)

Another way to look at it is that one doesn't care. You don't care enough to judge, interpret, or condemn anything or anyone. But at some level, one must care. You need to care for yourself in order to survive, in order to perceive, unless even that is secondary. Perhaps, transcendence of the world means being in complete peace with oneself. Everybody desires peace and security, but few ever seem secure or at peace all the time.

I don't mean to make this an intellectual exercise. All spiritual wisdom and teachings point to experiential perception. You are always experiencing (perceiving or misperceiving) being a human being. Everyone is.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Denying the Truth and Living with Fictions

There are countless examples of wrong beliefs interfering with the pursuit of truth or reality. I will name a few:
1. Heliocentric versus Earthcentric view of the Cosmos. The Church persecuted Galileo over his position over heliocentrism. One could also say that this is a debate over a relative truth versus an absolute truth.
2. Evolutionary Theory of Life as proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
3. The birth of Quantum Physics.
4. The proof that viruses cause some cancers (that some cancers are contagious).
5. The Tree of Life has three banches.
6. The proof that gastric ulcers are due to an infection and not stress.

It took fifty or more years for Rous' work to be recognized, twenty years or so for Woese and his new evolutionary tree to be accepted, and ten years for Marshall and Warren. And, we are talking Science and Medicine here.

Douglas Adams raises several interesting points in his Digital Biota Speech. He points out that religious ideas are treated differently than all other ideas when they likely shouldn't be. He also points out that some collective fictions we live with are for convenience, such as money, or the Bali Temple Calendar for growing rice in Bali. We shouldn't let our egos get in the way of Truth, but we shouldn't throw out ways of living that work because they're irrational or fictional on the surface either. The tone of this entry was about denying truth in the face of proof because of egoic delusion, but it became something else with Adams' perspective. It's about accepting our ignorance, proving ideas instead of blindly accepting them, keeping systems or ways of living that work instead of discarding them as outdated (another form of egoic delusion?), and living with perspectives that are at odds with everything we've been taught. It's about wisdom, using and proliferating useful knowledge and ideas to live better lives.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tiptoeing Through a Mindfield

I was chatting with a coworker via gtalk Tuesday morning. She was watching I, Robot. I told her that likely I'd never watch the movie because I was a fan of the book. I reread the book several months ago. I remember reading I, Robot when I was 11 years old, one summer in Alpine, TX., while my Mother was attending college, getting her Education Degree. There wasn't a lot to do in Alpine except climb hills, read, or watch TV.

Well, back to the story. I explained that several attempts had been made to adapt I, Robot into a screenplay. Harlan Ellison had tried and he wrote an essay about why I, Robot would never make it onto a movie screen largely intact. I explained to her that a lot of science fiction movies were dumbed down by Hollywood. They weren't true to the original story or just loosely based on a short story. Hollywood has based several movies loosely on Phillip K. Dick short stories. It's enough to make one ill. (Dick was mentally ill. He died in a mental institution.) Surprisingly, she became indignant. What passed for a conversation is below (unedited):

me: ...perhaps it's because they dumb it all down
the best movies challenge the audience
4:05 AM Sydney: who is it you are saying wanted to dumb it all down?
me: a lot of what passes for science fiction is dumbed down
likely the people who approve the scripts
4:07 AM Sydney: suddenly I feel so insulted
4:08 AM simply because I said I liked a movie
me: insulted by whom
the movie is yours to enjoy
4:09 AM I just won't enjoy it because I've read the original work
Sydney: I am enjoying something that is dumbed down
4:10 AM me: I don't know that, it's just a guess based on experience
4:11 AM Sydney: maybe they did a spectacular job with whatever adaptation they came up with and some of us who are more intellectual than others enjoy it... unlike most of the other sci-fi crap I've seen here lately
me: ask gary if this movie is dumbed down
4:12 AM Sydney: I'm not interested in this conversation anymore
me: likely he's read the original work and he likes the movie
Sydney: no offense
ya'll are so opinionated it's frightening
I thought I was opinionated
4:13 AM me: everyone is opionated
Sydney: not so

Likely, I'll have to be very careful with what I say from now on around "Sydney". I feel like I'm tiptoeing through a minefield with this person. I've already had one misunderstanding with her over an ironic statement. Now this.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sudden Radical Thought

I was standing outside Discount Tire waiting for them to open watching people commuting to work and this thought came out of nowhere.

"What if this World is Heaven?"

It's not an original thought. I'm sure countless others have thought it as well, but it's so at variance with what we are taught. Jesus said the same thing, "The Kingdom of Heaven is all around you and you don't see it".

Sunday, August 06, 2006


If two beings share a great unconditional love for one another and one of them dies before the other, are they still connected by that love? Is love a conscious act?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Which is the Better Path of Growth

Which is the better choice - to avoid working with a person who unknowingly irritates you or to work with that person so that you can find out why he or she irritates you so that you can correct your behavior?

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