Monday, 23 November 2009

Standing the Test of Future Time


Ah, The Future. Whatever happened to The Future? Y'know, I kinda miss The Future.

A photo-essay tour through Pierre Cardin' Le Palais Bulles (Bubble Palace) ca.1970 -- Cardin was also the designer responsible for many of the space-age fashions seen in such films as The 10th Victim.

Getting In On the Miracle

What is a miracle? It is not the intercession of a supernatural being into material affairs, not an event that violates the laws of the universe. A miracle is something that is impossible from one's current understanding of reality and truth, but that becomes possible from a new understanding.

A miracle is more than an event: it is an invitation. It says, "The universe is bigger than you thought it was." It invites us to step into a larger world, in which new things are possible. A miracle can blow apart our world if we accept it. Indeed, sometimes we do not accept it; sometimes we relegate it to the category of "that was weird," an exception to life, and we preserve normalcy and think and live as we always have, as if nothing had happened. When faced with an event that defies our usual explanations, we discard the event to preserve the explanation.

Today we can no longer afford to ignore our miracles. The world and its inhabitants are subject now to afflictions for which there is no cure, no hope from within the normally possible. Anyone who truly understands the magnitude of the global ecological crisis knows there is no hope, just as there is no hope for the Stage IV cancer patient, the MS sufferer, the victim of any of the legion of incurable diseases that arose in the late 20th century. Nor is there any reasonable hope for peace and justice in Palestine, or Tibet, or the prison system; nor for the resolution of any of the entrenched iniquities of our world. Long-ignored, the gathering crisis of ecology, energy, economy, and society pierces our complacency now with undeniable urgency, and we realize we have no choice but to accomplish the impossible.

Another way to put it is that it is time to enter miracle consciousness, and another way to put that is that it is time to accept the invitation to step into a bigger world. No wonder people reject miracles, often quite strenuously: to step into a new world is scary. But today, finally, we have no choice. The old world is crumbling around us, and there is nowhere else to go.

As we stand, tentatively, at the threshold of a new and larger world, hanging back, hesitant to step into it and sensing that when we do, a door will close behind us, it helps to be bathed in miracles, not just one but many to show that yes, the realm of the possible is indeed far vaster than we know, and no, we are not crazy for leaving normal behind. I therefore invite all present to share a first-hand story of the impossible, for our mutual inspiration and encouragement. Let us share our miracles: happenings that blatantly violate the laws of physics, the facts of medicine, the axioms of human nature as we have known them. Let us ease each other into a vast new world where healing is possible.

As you read these stories, you may feel a mix of inspiration or even homecoming, side by side with hostility or fear. The vicious stridency of the skeptic, the emotional charge behind the cynic's dismissal of miracles, suggests an underlying fear. If you feel hostile, contemptuous, or anxious as you read certain of the sharings, I invite you to sit with that feeling, explore what is behind it, and not immediately discharge it by explaining it as hoax or delusion. Simply feel the emotional quality of your response. If you find a strong underlying fear, respect it as your protector, a guardian that keeps you from leaving your world before it is time. If, on the other hand, the fear, hostility, cynicism, or dismissal seems old and tired, and the feeling of inspiration or homecoming is stronger, then it shows you are ready for miracle consciousness -- to step into a new normal.

In the passage from one world to the next, the first miracle we accept gives us hope -- the glimpse of a new possibility. The next miracle takes us beyond hope into belief. Belief invites even more miracles, and it bootstraps into faith -- living in the miraculous. Finally, when the miraculous is normal, faith turns into knowing, and we become the masters of miracles, which are miracles to us no longer. Yet always, an even bigger world awaits.

Faith is not a prerequisite for miracles -- the universe is more generous than that. When we grow up against the limits of our world, our growth exerts an unstoppable pressure that creates, in the words of Joseph Chilton Pearce, a "crack in the cosmic egg." The light that shines through this crack takes the form of miracles, visitations from a brighter and larger world. Now is time to begin pecking and pushing, striving toward that light, widening the crack.

The egg metaphor only goes so far. Ours is a collective birthing, in which the emergence of each of us encourages the rest. You might say, we tear at the eggshells of our brothers and sisters. Some emerge before the rest, inhabiting the world of miracles; their continued sanity and effectiveness reassures us that these inexplicable events are not glimpses of madness after all: a sane and intelligent person can live among them.

"There are only two ways to live your life: one as though nothing is a miracle, the other as if everything is a miracle. I believe the latter." --albert einstein

Sun Ra pointed out that the Unknown was greater than the Known. He said we should be looking into the Unknown for our future, that our hope and salvation was in the Unknown because, quite obviously, the Known has failed to save us.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

2012: Information Is Beautiful


a beautiful and thorough comparison with the exception of one true fact: myth has beautifully transformative power on the human psyche, motivating changework both individually and on the mass scale. It's how we build great things, it's how we quit bad habits, it's how we overcome our internal conflicts and maximize our communal cooperations, which, coincidentally, is the new formal operative biological definition of being 'an organism'.

Skepticism, on the other hand, can lead to illuminating through the masks and veils of habitual points of view, but it also tends to make our butts fat.

So which shall we choose? Door #1?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mars may attempt communication (1924)


"Navy desires cooperate astronomers who believe possible that Mars may attempt communication by radio ..."

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

You are invited to celebrate Unhappy Hour

It's a ceremony that gives you a poetic license to rant and whine and howl and bitch about everything that hurts you and makes you feel bad. During this perverse grace period, there's no need for you to be inhibited as you unleash your tortured squalls. You don't have to tone down the extremity of your desolate clamors.

Unhappy Hour is a ritually consecrated excursion devoted to the full disclosure of your primal clash and jangle.

Here's the catch: It's brief. It's concise. It's crisp. You dive into your darkness for no more than 60 minutes, then climb back out, free and clear.

It's called Unhappy Hour, not Unhappy Day or Unhappy Week or Unhappy Year.

Do you have the cheeky temerity to drench yourself in your paroxysmal alienation from life? Unhappy Hour invites you to plunge in and surrender. It dares you to scurry and squirm all the way down to the bottom of your pain, break through the bottom of your pain, and fall down flailing in the soggy, searing abyss, yelping and cringing and wallowing.

That's where you let your pain tell you every story it has to tell you. You let your pain teach you every lesson it has to teach you. But then it's over. The ritual ordeal is complete. And your pain has to take a vacation until the next Unhappy Hour, which isn't until next week sometime, or maybe next month.

You see the way the game works? Between this Unhappy Hour and the next one, your pain has to shut up. It's not allowed to creep and seep all over everything, staining the flow of your daily life. It doesn't have free reign to infect you whenever it's itching for more power.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

On Japanese Aesthetics


The knife???s simple shape is not seen as poor or raw. Beauty beyond fanciness is an aesthetic principle that is sleeping at the bottom of Japanese perception. A guiding principle also to Japanese high tech architecture and the minimal products of Muji.

Applied to the bento this simply means: Don???t try to be fancy; don???t overdo it. A beautiful bento is done using seasonal ingredients; it is done quickly and easily.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Latest Research results from Rob Brezny's Beauty & Truth Labs

It's not just that we take our everyday miracles for granted. The further truth is that we are fantastically lucky and blessed to be alive at this moment of history.

Among the well-researched points included in the new essay are the seven below.

1. The world has become dramatically more peaceful since the end of the Cold War, with steep declines in the numbers of armed conflicts, acts of genocide, weapon sales, and refugees. In fact, our era is the most peaceful time in recorded history.

2. Crime in the U.S. is at its lowest level since it was first officially tracked. Between 1973 and 2005, the violent crime rate decreased by 56 percent, while crimes against property shrank by 70 percent. The years 2005 and 2006 brought a small increase in violent crimes, but by 2008, the rate had fallen even lower than it was in 2005.

3. After rising steadily since the beginning of time, the number of people in the world living in absolute poverty has fallen by nearly one-third in less than three decades.

4. A Nobel prize-winning economic historian has shown that those of us alive today are far hardier and healthier and smarter than our ancestors, even those of 150 years ago. We get sick less, overcome the sickness we do suffer from better, and live longer. Even our internal organs are formed better.

5. Torture is no longer a commonplace feature of the justice system, as it was in many places of the world for centuries.

6. The rate of child mortality in the developing world has dropped precipitously, while literacy is increasing steadily.

7. Life expectancy is rising steadily. People live more than 50% longer than they did a century ago. Many scientists believe there is no absolute limit to the human life span, and are working hard to extend it.

while you're at it, go get your Pronoic Prognostics for the week ahead.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

In Search of Freedom

That reminded me: I hadn’t read “The Odyssey” since college, and because I was pretty sure that my copy was at the bottom of a carton of books in faraway Minneapolis, I Googled the original text. I browsed several versions before downloading what seemed like the best translation. Because my interest lay specifically with the Sirens (quick Web break to make sure that should be uppercase), I sifted through a variety of classicists’ interpretations of their role. Then — and this seemed reasonable enough — I searched for the “Sirens” episode in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” I can’t quite recollect how I got to the video for the song “Sirens,” by the alternative rock group AVA, but that put me in mind of Blink-182 (with whom AVA shares a frontman), so I clicked over to that band’s site to check for any updates on the release of its new album, then watched its reunion performance from February’s Grammy Awards. . . . When I looked up, three and a half hours had passed.

And that is why I need the mast. It came in the form of an app called Freedom, which blocks your Internet access for up to eight hours at a stretch. The only way to get back online is to reboot your computer, which — though not as foolproof as, say, removing the modem entirely and overnighting it to yourself (another strategy I’ve contemplated) — is cumbersome and humiliating enough to be an effective deterrent.

Peggy Orenstein wants to stop the net so she can get out; indeed, if they want to imbue communications skills in our twenty-first century children then 'Net Focus' should be a fundamental skill taught in schools from grade one on. I tell my kids how, in my day 'research' meant many trips to many libraries, letters written, lectures and films desperately collected so as to amass sufficient information for any meaningful study -- in their era the key skills is to valve the incessant barrage of information, the judiciously filtre all but that which is most salient to the point, and to be wary of going out looking for information, because where once the hawkers wanted to sell you snake oil potions, today they want your attention drawn to a description of it.

'Sirens' is a pretty apt metaphor, really, and Ulysses was probably wise to keep the access to himself only while empowering the crew to constrain his own experience with it.

No wait, turn back!! I need to look that up on the Wikipedia!! C'mon guys ... just one more YouTube and we can head home. Did you know these Sirens used to record for Polygram? ...

There's another aspect to this that I've blogged on before, on the old site, and that is the slant of the 'information' acquired from a device that thinks 'Java' is a programming idiom and while it incessantly compares Windows with the Macintosh they never actually defenestrate the fruit: Someone once said that computers were a great aid to doing only those tasks that do not need doing, and after now 24 years online, I begin to wonder if the Internet contains any information, any signal within the noise. So rather than buy some software to turn my computer off-line for the day, I just asked the same question of every page and link encountered: Why do I need to know this? ... beyond 'curiosity' that is.

dead cats

And that's how civilization ended, not with a bang, but with an endless childlike abandon into a garden of curios. An auditorium of people stand in ovation before a kitten who has just done a normal silly kitten thing. Like our evolutionarily quite valid thirst for salt, fats and sugars, a 'natural' craving that served us quite well for a million years of nutritional scarcity, our natural craving to 'investigate and understand', our inherent child-like curiosity which brought us to such fantastic understanding of the Natural Sciences over the past dozen millenia is now faced with a situation of our own clever-making where the intellectual mind-candy is delivered by the truckload, with more trucks queued up behind it, mountains of intellectual delights, and we can't stop at just one.

Welcome to the new Calorie Counting.