In the tension between our immersion in the fabric of being and the atomized self’s struggle to achieve a stasis, a utopia, not of richness, but an illusory concretion of wealth, in which we wish to stop without falling; we define the human condition. The workings of consciousness are so easily misunderstood as signs of separateness from the rest as epitomized in Cogito Ergo Sum. Yet consciousness, our phenomenological embededness in experience is the only window we have through which to glimpse an awareness of our integration into greater systems and structures.
I put this presentation together last April. I’ve been “sitting” on it, waiting to see how it held up before releasing it. Now seems to be the right time. This was originally written out as an essay, but after experimenting with different formats, I think it is best suited to the slide show. I useContinue reading “Mastery, Not Control”
Those who chose truth – IF they can cleave to its root and meaning – carry on a different struggle. They, we, are striving to come into alignment with something outside that, while hard and intractable like wood, embodies the dynamic of growth and is rooted in the source of all Life. It is outside of us, but the hints of its existence it leaves us to find all point back to an underlying unity greater than ourselves, but/and, including us. We are not in the position of authority, not wielders of power in the name of will, but searchers grappling with that which can, IS, the only source of confidence or assurance that we can have to guide our actions towards results that bring our expectations into alignment with what can be.
“With a tow, you often know with sharp certainty that disaster is coming, inexorable and unavoidable – Let’s say an engine failure on the tug while towing an immense fuel barge. – yet there’s nothing to be done.”
I’ve opened a new venue.
A long, protracted, distracted, and haphazard conversation begins within us with this realization. We return to our deepest core instinct, the one that asks us to listen to the quietest voice, the weakest signals, because they are most likely to point out the greatest danger. That same voice of the little child who first had to navigate a dangerous world unaided. This voice tells us in its annoying, insistently feeble whisper to listen to this objection to the validity of capturing control, wresting it from the incompetents, and “making some progress for a change!” The loud voices, spurred on by the grand emotions – if not simply out of fear – beginning with the ones inside us, the ones tired of seeing us off-kilter and under expressed, insist that efficacy is still the standard. Control should go to the ones who have the insight. Our frustration grows, willing us to cut this knot and get on with it!
We inhabit – or would, if we stopped looking past it – a wondrous unfolding present. We are, or can train ourselves to be, witnesses to that unfolding. The discipline and humility required to inhabit our present: to live within a gift, is in itself a corrective that might lead us to a future we cannot predict. If we fail to inhabit our present we lose the only thing we know we have. Unless we turn our meditation on the future into motivation to focus on our present, we give up a “sure-thing” to remain within a chimera, a fantasy of heaven or hell, imagined brightly or darkly, arrived at actively or passively; but assuredly no-where.
We are creatures of empathy. We are in a double-bind – one among many. Either suppressing our empathy, or letting ourselves feel even a fraction of the death and destruction we are complicit in takes a tremendous toll. When we look timorously at the effects of collapse we discount what I expect to be anContinue reading “Creatures of Empathy”
In the Autumn of 1962 I went to school, came home, turned on the television, and worked on my stamp collection at our kitchen table. Outside, a glare-y sun beat its post-September light low over the water as it dropped behind the tip of Long Point. On the oval black & white screen, beneath aContinue reading ““We’ve Never Had It So Good!” A Capsule Autobiography”
In the past we had place. Now we don’t. In the future place may re-assert itself – at least I hope so…. Any search for a carving out of our own agency soon comes to the absolute necessity for a place on which to stand. Most fundamentally that distills down to a physical place uponContinue reading “War of the Worlds”
This has been the most recent example of the machine doing exactly what it does. It was the result of an arrogant and willfully blind way of being and acting, thrashing against very clear and visible limits, working to its fullest capacity to do nothing but lead to disaster. At this level, and coming from such a position of hubris, pleas of intentionality, that this was unintended, can have no sway, just as the pleas of a killer’s intent have no sway in a law-court. These are no more than cries of surprise at being caught-out when the perpetrators had always felt secure. Not secure that they were blameless, doing good; only secure that they were unreachable, that the consequences of their actions would only fall on others.
The “crises,” the “disasters,” the “mistakes,” and “unforeseeable” consequences that inundate our lives today are not any of those things. They are not the system perverted or de-railed, they are the system expressing itself exactly as such a system would and does and will express itself.