Sunday, December 7, 2014

Emotional Alchemy

    1. an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness. 

    1. a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
    2. any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
Many Middle Age and Renaissance practitioners, and indeed Sir Isaac Newton a few centuries later, were focused on this quest, the transmutation of base metals to gold.  Why gold?  I venture that it is because of its beauty and malleability coupled with its incorruptability.

My gold wedding ring, seen in the picture above, is an example.  It was able to be shaped into the form desired and I wear it every day with no concern of tarnishing or rusting.  Twenty years from now, it will retain its pure beauty.

Would that I could experience an emotional state like that, eh?  It would be an emotional state that was beautiful and retained that beauty through the day regardless of the corrosive efforts of events and interactions with others.  It would be malleable and formed to fit my core, my individuality, my world experience.

So, this would be the quest of emotional alchemy, the transmutation of base emotions to emotional gold.  It would be a mood elixir, a universal solvent for experienced problems.  There are two fundamental aspects that would need to be answered to find this emotional gold:
  1. What emotional state is this gold?
  2. If we can define that, how do we get there, especially since we said the emotional was not volitional?
Well, I propose that these are two questions that individuals have been trying to answer for themselves since time immemorial.  Selling the answers in various ways has become quite a thriving cottage industry.  Some say the answers are to be found in religion and giving oneself to God.  Some say the answers are in meditation, some in philosophy, some in wealth and acquisition, some in competition, some in withdrawal ...

If you came here for an answer, I fear you'll be disappointed.  I don't think there is a universal answer that can be defined.  But ... every so often ... ah, there it is.  Oh, that golden moment!

How does it appear for you?  Do you have a path of return?

My good friend and fellow Loose Blogger, Ramana Rajgopaul  encouraged me to come back and write a piece, something I haven't found motivation to do for a while.  Good news!  I enjoyed it and that is part of the path to return, so we shall see ...  Go visit the members of our consortium to see what they came up with,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman, good eggs and dear friends all!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Peek a Boo

My granddaughter Danica, 10 months

Ashok brought us this topic and I immediately thought of my newest granddaughter and of the game of Peek a Boo.  That made me think of her development and started my research.

Piaget felt that Peek a Boo, and the fact that it delighted the child so much, was an indication that the child had no sense of object permanence yet, that when you covered your face, the infant felt that you were really gone!!!  But, science doesn't allow a theory to stand on the merit of its beauty of though alone and observation with clever experiments and better ability to observe have thrown this into question.

When a train is moved behind a screen after a small child can see a mouse is in the way of the train's progress, then the mouse is moved when the train and mouse are behind the screen and the train emerges on the other side with the mouse still in place after the screen is removed - uh, I couldn't think of a way to say that more awkwardly - the child should show no more interest than when the mouse is not there if they had no sense of object permanence.  Yet, as young as 3 1/2 months, they do show more excitement, indicating that they have some awareness of the objects impending collision behind the screen!  They must still be aware of the objects to show that excitement.  Or some such.

Does this change your world?  Perhaps not, but for me, I found it fascinating, just as I found it fascinating that a dog has much greater sense of object permanence than a cat and that a crow develops a sense of object permanence fairly much on the level of a human.

Now, who'd have ever thought that the word Peek a Boo would elicit such wonder??? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Personal Debt

This topic was brought to us by the sage of the Loose Blogger Consortium, Ramana Rajgopaul of Ramana's Musing fame.  And, since he did so, of course synchronicity immediately came into  play ...

Ben Bernanke has a mortgage on his home in DC, a domicil valued at $815,000.  Bernanke gets $250,000 per speech and just signed a book deal for seven figures.  But, he just changed jobs and he was turned down when he tried to refinance!  What was the job he formerly had, you might ask.  He was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve for America.  Yes, it is that Ben Bernanke.

How stupid is this?  Is there no human intervention or common sense left at all?  Can you imagine anyone who is a better bet to successfully pay his mortgage off in time?

It used to be individuals who had the corner on insanity.  Now it is the system.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

All's Well That Ends Well on a Dead End Street

Two weeks ago, Maria brought us All's Well That Ends Well and this past week Maxi/Rummuser - which must be an interesting hybrid individual! - brought us Dead End Streets.  Since I am behind and since my life refuses to slow down, I thought I'd be clever and combine them just as Maxi and Ramana have somehow managed to do!

Life is fairly literally a dead-end street.  I mean, there is really no other exit than to die.  Makes things interesting.

Of course, unless you really get deep into physics and spirituality, life is also a one-way street.  You are born, you grow, learn and age, then you exit.  You don't get to change the order.  That means you really are commited and really need to figure out how to deal with it.  Otherwise, it really isn't going to end well, is it?

So, what does ending well mean?  Well, it means that all the journey to this point is redeemed with meaning and value.  At least that is what I get from it so far.  If we are lucky and persistent, it may also mean that we enrich those sharing the journey in some loving way or another.

But, there is also another way to deal with the end, a way which is also consistent with the first view I've given: change your perspective on the dead-end.  A living example from my own literal street is the description of it as not a dead-end street, but instead as a cul-de-sac.  A cul-de-sac, as nearly as I can tell, simply differs from the dead-end in that it is easier to turn around on and is designed to let you range back through the entry path by design.  The life equivalent of a cul-de-sac is the ability to revisit one's past at will as the end nears to heal relationships left hanging, to enjoy bucket-list items of things undone and to heal one's own regrets and wounds so they don't continue as burdens.  It allows viewing life in a more flexible manner allowing gentle correction.

It does something else, though.  It allows the view that not all is futile.  It means merely that it is personal and, as with all cul-de-sacs, there is a privacy so important to peace.  And it means that you have neighbors with which to share that quiet privacy without the hurry and the noise.

I like our cul-de-sac.

I like the cul-de-sac that is my life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Are the Mystics Right? Is Time an Illusion?

I am late getting this piece to press, a rather ironic statement considering the topic.  And considering that I was the one to suggest it to the LBC.

We have been told by mystics since what we perceive as the beginning of time that time itself is an illusion.  Annoying isn't it, when they tell you things that are obvious balderdash.  Every one of us experiences time ... well ... all the time!

In the days of the earlier scientists, time and space were separate, set entities like we observe in our everyday experience.  Then along came Einstein  and he did a funny thought experiment.  He asked himself if he were sitting on a light beam, traveling with it at the speed of light and the light hitting his eyes were from a clock face, what would he see?  Well, he reasoned, if I am traveling at the same speed and in the same direction a the light coming to me from the clock face, then I would never see the hands move!  The image would always be the same image!  Does that mean that time would stop????

Excitable guy that he was, he started going off into mental journeys pursuing the implications.  Kind of like Lewis Carrol projecting his imagination into Wonderland to see where it took him, Einstein had found his own Wonderland.  Most people would have left it at that, a flight of frivolous but fun fantasy, but Einstein wasn't made that way.

Before he was done, he had worked out theories of Special and General Relativity that turned our understanding of what was constant and what was changing totally on its head.  The beauty of it was that he created predictions of experiments ALL of which had to come out as he predicted or the entire theory was invalidated!

Rather than go through the proofs, I will give you some of the proven results.  An astronaut that has been in orbit is slightly younger than he would have been had he stayed on the ground.  It is proven by sychronizing two atomic clocks, putting one in orbit for awhile, and then comparing the two after the landing.  And, just precisely as predicted at the turn of the 20th Century, the clock put in orbit would show a time slightly earlier than the one on kept on the ground.

But, just as the mystics have told us in their pronouncements about time, Einstein did not replace certainty with the random.  In fact, by Einstein's theories, we have greater accuracy in measurements of time and motion than with Newton's.  In fact, I have read that he originally wanted to call his theories the theories of IRRELATIVITY, because they showed what was irrelative to the motion of the observers.

So, this is not an effort to be loose in thinking or to lose ourselves in some fun fantasy, it is an effort to tie down physical truth as far as possible.  The underlying, proven truth is that time as we experience it is in fact an illusion.  There is instead an unobservable combination called spacetime - and no, space is no more constant than time - and the truth lies below the surface of our five senses.  In other words, spacetime is a proven reality, but time as a separate thing is an illusion.

That we can be fooled so completely about the nature of our reality should usher in a profound humility.

Be sure to check out what the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium have to say.  The active bloggers, give or take a topic or a day are: AshokgaelikaaMaxiRamana and Shackman.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Teaching Values

Disclaimer: this piece relies heavily on cultural stereotyping.  Sorry about that, but I need archetypes to illustrate my point.  My bad.

When I was in my early 30's, I went to a seminar for mental health professionals about child care.  It was led by one of the leading sociologists from Europe, a woman of fine academic / practical pedigree, and the presentation was very well done indeed.  Out of this, I learned something that has stuck with me ever since and it goes like this ...

There are many types of mothers in many cultures in our world.  Some of the most notorious are Jewish mothers when it comes to passing along values, conscience and ethics to their children.  How do they do this?  By suffering with every move their children make and every change in the world, they guarantee a little guilt to continuously monitor activity and ethical concern.  The world is no longer an abstraction, but encapsulated in the mother and there are consequences to actions.  And, sometimes, it isn't even possible to solve.

Question: How many Jewish mothers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Answer: That's OK, I'll just sit in the dark.

Gee, Mom!  I try so hard to make you happy.  You are with me always, everywhere.  There is only one mother in the world more effective than you in creating guilt, a tremendous motivater of ethical restriction, the Japanese mother!  She ALWAYS suffers silently.  The only thing more potent than the tangible is the imagined!  My Japanese friend must carry the weight of his mother's imagined inner agony in all situations.

Well, our family is not like either extreme.  We don't generate all that much guilt, we just romp together.  But, heaven help us, look what we've fostered:

Now, enjoy the entries by the other active LBC members.  I think I have their links on the right, but will check that out as I slowly get my act back together, LOL!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

An Honest Effort to Restart

Blogging, short for Web Logging, has migrated into something a bit more than logging for most of us.  It has become a philosophical and life values platform for people often having little past public profile.  We all become authors, pundits and leaders, for doesn't social media offer us "friends" and "followers" from all over the globe.  It really has some dramatic pluses.

However, what really matters in terms of life responsibility is what we find right in front of us, our families, our jobs, our face-to-face contacts on a daily basis.  That must come first and it can be quite a challenging thing here on the mortal coil.  People around us age, natural disasters happen, illness can befall even the young - and all of these things can lay claim upon our most precious resource, time!

I have always treasured my friends of the LBC.  That is the real reason I make this effort to restart, sitting on a bench in a developing back yard with a silly golf driving setup which works and was used yesterday by my son and me.  Soon, where I am sitting will be covered by a pergola and more dry climate plants will find their place as befits the changing water needs of California.

I invite you to sit with me and share with me as you would a friend or acquaintance in your tangible world.  Let us treat one another with respect and support, even when challenging ideas we share.  Whether you are Republican or Democrat or Independent, believe in God or not or, like me, have a more nuanced view of it All, I can treasure your right to your well-considered personal views.  Likewise, I ask that you have a tolerance and respect for mine and know that both of ours grow with time.  Otherwise, it is best that we wish one another well on our journeys and part in peace.