These two memes have been taking up brainspace along with a few Steely Dan songs....
In other news - I'm starting to DJ for Theory Radio again, which means I'm off to troll certain message boards again.
A friend and I were talking about Tibetan Sand Paintings yesterday and how they showed impermanence. That lead to a discussion on creating the world and quantum mechanics, my current obsession. Some of what he said has been jangling around in my head (along with Paul Graham's Cities Essay) like a quarter in a Chuck E Cheese funnel. Jangle, circle, jangle, circle, balanced on the edge.
I saw the universe as lines of light. Energy moving across furrows. Like the strings of a bow on a violin. The silence sounded. Are we like that sound? Destined to follow the form of the note once it's created? I think not - (at least I'm living my life based that I can change that note once it has left the bow gods be damned). What about that moment hanging in time? Frozen. Silent. Until the light shines and effects motion? Like a coin in an arcade. Like clockwork. There are hints everywhere. Reminders. Does the machine (or the string that resonates to the energy) realize it's already done this before. That this is the programming? Does each time feel as new?
It's too early in the day to get this philosophical.
Which brings to mind a conversation with another friend. I was talking about lists and plans and we were discussing relationships. He said "She's not someone I could ever imagine" (In my response to "Just manifest someone else like her."). I thought about this for a moment - watching the traffic go through the intersection - looking at the sky - and thought about my own life. Yes, there are things that happen that you can't imagine. Things you can't plan. People you can't believe exist (I hope I am one of these people for myself.) The beauty of these things is in their authentic surprise. You can't plan that. You can only enjoy it for the moment - an infinite impermanent moment.
I'll leave you with this passage from Asimov's Prelude to Foundation, page 227 in the paperback edition. It's the end of Chapter of 43.
"What are they?"
"Dainties. Raw dainties. For the outside market they're flavored in different ways, but here in Mycogen we eat them unflavored -- the only way."
She put one in her mouth and said, "I never have enough."
Seldon put his sphere into his mouth and felt it dissolve and disappear rapidly. His mouth, for a moment ran liquid and then it slid, almost of its own accord, down his throat.
He stood for a moment, amazed. it was slightly sweet and, for that matter, had an even fainter bitter aftertaste, but the main sensation eluded him.
"May I have another?" he said.
"Have half a dozen," said Raindrop Forty-Three, holding out her hand. "They never have quite the same taste twice and have practically no calories. Just taste."
She was right. He tried to have the dainty linger in his mouth; he tried licking it carefully; tried biting off a piece. However, the most careful lick destroyed it. When a bit was crunched off a piece, the rest of it disappeared at onece. And each taste was undefinable and not quite like the one before.
"The only trouble is," said the Sister happily, "that every once in a while you have a very unusual one and you never forget it, but you never have it again either. I had one when I was nine--" Her expression suddenly lost its excitement and she said, "It's a good thing. It teaches you the evanescence of things of the world."
* photo by BlakJakDavy
I know, it's been another break in the conversation - conversation with myself - har har har. Anyway, I've been holed up inside my house - and perfectly happy about that. I'm not much of a social person anyway - I've always identified as being anti-social, which brought be to technology and the internet. Damn you MFers who made technology social!!!! Maybe I don't want to interact with people. (Opposite viewpoint - I will say that Mindshare was one of the best times I had recently - I will probably check that out again.)
What have I been spending my time doing? Well, I am happy with my work and my clients and my work. It's interesting and challenging and good possibilities. I've got a couple redesigns in my mind, some travel plans and I've been spending ungodly amounts of time reading. I'm finally taking my desire to be a scientist (or at least more hard-core science) seriously and have begun my studies - jumping straight into Quantum Mechanics via a HIPPO intro book, which a dash a Chemistry and Math (and followed up with helping of Asimov for dessert).
I tell ya - the Raleigh-Jeans, Wise and Planck equations and derivation one to another made my head spin. But I was delighted to learn Planck's constant is known as "h"! 6.63 times 10 to the negative 34th power baby! That's me! Tack that onto the frequency of light waves and you've got "hv"! Now I'm just looking for n and T to add. I know temperature and numbers have got to come in somewhere... but maybe not in the right order. E=nhv?
Har har - just a little heather math humor. In other news - the boyf brought home an asteroids game - an original 1979 one. I can tell I am going to get good at it. I am personally striving for a pinball game - preferable one with "multi-ball".
And that's about what is happening in heatherland these days. Science, great clients, site redesigns, desert designs (oh, I might have forgotten to tell you I've started architecting options at the doubLL Ranch) and some travel plans.
The other week the boyf was accusing me of being into confrontations or liking confrontations or liking conflict. While I don't like confrontations, I don't shy away from it. (And I am actually quite good dealing with a confrontational situation.) People have disagreements and different points of views and goals, etc, and when those don't line up and are ignored conflict occurs. To pretend the conflict isn't there is to ignore an elephant in the room. Confronting the difference is not a pleasant thing - but it must be done to move forward.
I was trying to figure out a way to explain my attitude toward confrontation, when I picked up Strengths Finder a few days ago. I found my answer under "Command" one of my top 5 strengths.
"You are not frightened by confrontation; rather, you know that confrontation is the first step toward resolution. Whereas others may avoid facing up to life's unpleasantness, you feel compelled to present the facts or the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. You need things to be clear between people and challenge them to be clear-eyed and honest."
This pretty much sums up my attitude toward confrontation and conflict. Look, I'd love it if we could all get along - but when we're not or when we disagree or have a misunderstanding, we must address the issues - and it's probably not going to be pretty. I'd prefer to not bring up the issue at all - but I'm not going to pretend it doesn't exist.
Which brings up a rant of mine - about people who are unwilling to meet you halfway/face to face to resolve a conflict or avoid a confrontation. There is no way to resolve a conflict if the other party refuses to even meet. This is the most frustrating situation for me and those who pull that on me lose my respect. I know it's hard, life is hard. But I'd rather resolve and move on - then be stuck back there pretending the issue will go away. A lot of times, it doesn't. It just gets bigger.
Anyway, end rant. :)
I was pondering upon things as I am wont to do, and I realized that the past few years that I have been doing "way out" stuff on so many levels, is because I've been building my borderlands. I've been going as far out as I could possibly imagine and then I'd go further to see what was beyond. I've been wandering in these borderlands going more and more out there. I've had moments of "wow, I really am way out here" losing touch almost with the places I used to be.
I've ventured far - and now I'm ready to come back to familiar places.
This is just a reminder that there are good days and then there are really good days. Today was/is a really good day. Thanks Universe.
Update: Why was today such a good day? Nothing huge happened. No big life changing news. Just the regular stuff. Flexing with changing schedules, working in the morning, driving the convertible on Laurel Canyon, great client meeting, shopping at favorite store in Studio City, meeting up with a friend at Abbot's Habit and good conversation ("The truth simply is, its lies that must be spoken" - Chicken John), great exercise classes at the Y, lovely dog walk, boyfriend comes home and we decide to go out to a smancy dinner at Fogo de Chao, unlimited pao de queijo and meat, home again to awesome dog and best bed in the world.
Extraordinary in the ordinary.
A morning text message reminded me that it's Bruce Chatwin's Birthday. I'm deep in his Australian desert adventure - which reminds me of my own dream to motorcycle across Australia (although at this point I am willing to trade it in for a Land Cruiser).
That reminds me of something I said several years ago - something about having a kid and then heading into the bush after 3 years in LA. I'm in the middle of that 3 years. I've had my metaphorical kid and it's growing up just fine. And now Australia calls again. Will this be the year for 40 days in the desert? Oh, I hope so.
By the way - Happy Birthday Bruce. You continue to inspire me.
The past week has been one filled with bliss, peace and satisfaction. It's a strange feeling - as I am usually not satisfied with anything, constantly striving to improve. It's not that I've lost interest in improving myself, the world and living my dream life - I just feel no anxiety or rush associated with it. For the past week - I have been content to be.
All though my day I maintain this calm - and the late afternoon walks with the dog are downright blissful with the beautiful yards, gardens and flowering trees.
I am happy with myself, my life and what I have accomplished. I am focused on where I want to go next, what I want to accomplish and who I want to become. There is time to become that person, do those things and go where I desire. For now, I'm content and happy.
"mercy is not receiving punishment that we deserve"
and how would we know what punishment we deserve? (compassion) and whose judgment is the correct one? Isn't it better to learn from the experience (forgiveness) and not interrupt the flow? and what stops the merciful from feeling like they got away with something?
All of these are ultimately about how you use your energy. Would you rather have your energy get stuck in holding onto petty bullshit (as I remember Bruce Wagner talking about) or using it to change your world? I remind myself that my battle is not here with everyone - but out there. This is merely the playground, the practice field. And that puts everything into a different perspective.
Several years ago, I was exploring the concept of "hope" and how I felt like it may be the worst evil from Pandora's Box. Hope did nothing to change a situation and may stop someone from practical action - and never realizing their dreams.
In my morning web walkabout I found the connection. Hope is the turning point. Hope is seeing the light. Hope is the glimpse of some other possibility. However to realize/manifest the change, you must act. Hope is not an action, it is an attitude adjustment that allows a moment, a flash of energy to get yourself unstuck. Once your attitude has been adjusted, you must take practical action.
Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
the stars threw down their spears,
And water`d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
I've really enjoyed theses spring dog walks. I've found a nearby neighborhood where my eyes feast on the houses, the streets and trees. It's not typical Los Angeles, with white picket fences and non-palm-tree-lined streets. The Jacaranda's have been fabulous. It's one of my favorites times.
Everywhere I look is a visual feast.
Fat avocados on a bare tree
Delicate yellow flowers hidden in vines
Click-click pattering on the pavement
The wind caresses my neck
I inhale a sweet scent
Raise my eyes to the sky watching
ravens and crows, finches and jays.
Patches of purple flowers shower the way
better than any red carpet.
* photo by Autumn Leaf
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A million people die on this planet every week. One of those weeks will be mine. One will be yours. I realized that if I wanted to live consciously, I had to live in such a way that I was ready to die each and every day. If I don’t feel ready to die, I know I’m doing something wrong. Specifically, that wrongness is the act of pushing my dreams and desires into the future, thereby stealing power from the present and driving myself into a lower state of consciousness. If I consider that today may be my last day on earth, I can’t give in to fear. I have to summon my courage to push through that fear.
I reached for the screw driver, but it turned into an ax. I put the transformed tool back on the shelf, to pick up another tool, but in each place, there was the same ax. I dare not pick it up, lest I use it. The ax is a delicate tool with shattering results. I must not wield it lightly. The blow is not one that can be recovered from. Severed. Divisive. End. of. the. line.
In the back of my mind, the mantras of compassion, mercy, we are all one, undivided, working for the best possible world, in the direction of highest enlightenment, for the good of all. Kohlberg's levels - and the axes vibrate in their tool nooks. I visit the faces of the past. Each experience educates. I ask my future self for advice - the person who already lived though this and more. I do not want to follow-past blueprints. Relive past mistakes. Free-will is about jumping the groove. I'm ready to jump. I'm ready to do something different.
I don't know what to do and then the answer appears. The ax flies to my hand and the deed is done. The present severed into the past.
It could have been the screwdriver. And somewhere, it is.
Interesting article theory on why religion evolved:
In a piece reported on in New Scientist, Maurice Bloch has proposed another basis for religion: imagination. Because we can project ourselves and imagine the "transcendental" relation in social and personal relationships, we can imagine that there are agents not visible or present, he claims. The paper is also a good historical review of theories of religion, and makes the point that "religion" is not well defined as a topic of investigation of explanation.
From Evolving Thoughts
I'd like to clarify a misunderstanding about the word ruthless. In the society we live in today this word has a negative connotation that is often misused. It's a subtle word that I continue to unveil its layered meaning in my meditations. In reviewing my writings on it here I like this description from Nick Walker
Ruthlessness, as I understand Castaneda's use of the term, isn't the same as callousness or bloodlust. It's the ability to draw a line, to stand firm, to do what has to be done no matter who it pisses off, to do the right thing even if it's not the polite thing.
Both darkworkers and lightworkers can be ruthless. It can look the same; however the motivations and reasons for using ruthlessness are very different. I have a specific recent example of this, but I'm not ready to share it yet.
The important thing to notice is the intention. What _is_ your intention? Is it for personal gain or the benefit of the whole? Yes, you can hide your true intention with icing from the other side. You can set up a situation where a lot of people benefit (masses or your cronies) - but if you're acting with your own personal gain in mind - that's your intention.
Here's a way I like to see it. If you're climbing the pyramid, you're willing to use people to get to the top - your goal. There is another alternative to climbing the pyramid - and that's raising the pyramid from the bottom. This is much harder because you must look at the pyramid as a whole - not individual bricks or levels.
Often it's hard to know your true intention and motivation. We are such tricky humans programmed by "the village" that unless we have unraveled our own programming we're running off someone else's script or worse, unaware we're even programmed.
As I'm reading this and it hits me - I don't get darkworkers. I understand their motivation and why they do the things they do, but it's not my bag.
Is a darkworker evil? From the perspective of a lightworker or from non-polarized people, you could say yes. From the darkworker’s perspective, there are basically two possibilities.
First, the darkworker might say, “No, I’m not evil. I’m pursuing my own good, which is the highest good there is.” Darkworkers are Machiavellian and expedient. They recognize that running over people is often more efficient than working with them. If you have to treat a human being like a slice of bacon now and then, so be it.
The second possibility is that the darkworker identifies with evil and consciously embraces that role: “I’ve decided to be evil, and I like it.” (See For Love of Evil.) In this case the darkworker identifies with the social consensus about evil and recognizes himself as having those qualities. However, he doesn’t see this as anything bad or problematic. Evil is equated with freedom and power. The darkworker views non-evil people as weak and sometimes stupid. If the darkworker identifies with the role of the villain, it’s because the villain is the smartest character in the game.
Either way the result is the same. The darkworker’s conscience is aligned with self-service as the highest possible good. Physical reality is a playground for the darkworker’s personal pleasure, and other people are merely tools to be used.
I've been used by these darkworkers and it hurts. I do what I do for the good of mankind and those darkworkers have taken my ideas and pimped their own ass not even thanking me for showing them the way. That's why the last and in some ways most important step in getting your heart's desire is to say Thank You. I constantly think about my teachers (they probably don't know how often I think of them) and thank people who have helped me. And I go out of my way helping people and connecting them to people and ideas that help them make their dreams a reality.
My motivation in doing what I do is because I want to improve the world - and the ability for people to achieve their dreams, having their dream life and the courage to do what they are here to do - not cringe in fear to follow their passions. So what about a darkworker applying my methodologies to make their egotistical dreams come true. On a theoretically level I'm down with that, but as darkworkers execute on their self-serving plans it makes me hate this world and want to be gone from it.
It sucks my motivation and gets me second guess the value of my work. I don't want to think that I have to protect myself from these types of people, because that stifles my own creativity and derails my execution.
So what to do? And how do I protect myself and my work from these vampiric darkworkers in the future?
"I love planning, if only to diverge from the plan."
And that is what I did this weekend. I was originally going to SF to celebrate, see friends and check out Maker Faire. I changed my mind at the last minute due to the $4 gas price, the excessive amount of driving for such a short trip and I just couldn't put the dog in the kennel and stayed closer to home. (I'm dog-whipped).
Instead I did a 70's bikini bicycle photo shoot for lemons and avocados before headed to San Diego County to see my 86 year old Great Aunt. I acted her chauffeur in my G35 and drove her around town running errands and going to dinner. She loved having us visit and Romeo crashed out SO CUTE with these big panda and dog stuffed animals while we watched a movie on her new DVD player.
This morning we headed up the 15 to Riverside to see my other aunt - Mary Pat. She is an amazing woman. Every time I visit her she's got something cooking - metaphorically and literally. She has 3 horses (she breeds) in her backyard which is filled with herbs and flowers and gardens.
We sat in her backyard, in the shade of a tree, a light breeze blowing, watching the horses and birds (pigeons and crows) swoop and dive. and talked about her new business, real estate and our usual analysis of family personalities. Romeo loved running around in the yard and he was fascinated (yet kept his distance) with the horses.
Later we made cupcakes (MP is an awesome cook - she used to have her own biz in Texas making "just desserts" before Just Desserts existed) and she showed me the cookbook she's working on with our family history, stories and pictures about everyone.
I'm back home now, nursing a sugarhighcrash - and I've got about 2 dozen more cupcakes here. Maybe I'll send them to work with the BF tomorrow before I go to the gym.
Several years ago I went though several months of reading most of Bruce Chatwin's work. He is one of my favorite authors along with Italio Calvino and Jonathan Carroll. At that time I collected and read most of his books - but not all. A collection of short stories stared it's title at me most mornings. (I have a bookshelf facing my bed in the bedroom) called "What am I doing here?"
I pulled it out the other night and started reading. Immediately I was taken back to the delight of reading his prose. I came across Chatwin's writing just when I decided to make my writing both more non-fiction as well as fiction. The line between truth and reality is often fuzzy perception. I prefer to fuzz the line in the direction of fiction as far as possible while keeping the story activities in the truth. That's why for the past several years I've been walkabouting through intense activities - creating the borderlands. That and the novelty factor.
But there's something about coming back to a place you know well. A place you not only know but love well. That includes the writing of Bruce Chatwin.
My inspiration to travel has returned. I use to feed that wanderlust by traveling to the furthest, exotic, difficult, rugged locations. I've flown into tin shack airports in the south pacific in the middle of two political coups. I've traveled 5 hours over sand dunes to get to a remote beach in the north of Brazil - twice. I've boated up and down the Nile, picking through Eqyptian Temples and hiking into the pyramids, not to mention navigating haggling for belly dancing costumes in the largest bazaar in Turkey.
But those locations are no longer foreign. The most dangerous and exotic small locations in the world are right here in our backyard - it is a small town America.
This first occurred to me when I went to a small town outside of Reno to demolish some cars. Let, me take that back. This idea first occurred to me in 1996 while driving the gravel roads in fecund Iowa summer. It was a comparison of the fields, forests and plains of the midwest to the savanna of Africa. The only reason we don't think the things around us are exotic is because they are so familiar.
That is why I think the small town is a most exotic place. If you've ever lived in a small town - it's freaking hard to make a living. It's much harder to make a living in Cedar Falls, Iowa than New York City. Hard to believe, but true.
Anyway, I've meandered. My point is that in my travel revival due to Chatwin's wonderful writing I've restarting my exotic travels - to the most exotic locations on earth - small town America.
I had an unusual sense of relaxation and contentment yesterday. Even as I drove through traffic and had difficult discussions - I felt - content. Satisfied. I looked down at the floor of my metaphorical stage and saw the bucket of balls I usually juggle. They beckoned to me to pick them up and show off - if only to myself.
But I didn't want to juggle them. I was happy with the few balls I had in the air. And I was happy with the balls in the bucket. (I haz a big buket.)
Then I thought, maybe I won't do as much and keep a relaxed and leisurely pace. Then I sat down and wrote out my dream life requirements - which were quite different from what I thought they would be. I care less about achievement than execution, but I want to leave my mark and make my contribution to our mutual self-actualization and evolution.
I do not want to ride the plow through the ocean waves.
This thought dovetails the arrival of my next intimate collaborator - a tricked out Thinkpad T61 that replaces my famous T42 (who was on the cover of the LA Times with me) that I've had for almost 5 years. I already see the emergence of one of my most secret and yet visible personas with T61. It's quite surprising it has not shown it's face before, but the time is now. I don't expect the gun wielding culture jamming explosive fire making hbomb will go away, but it's time to let her run free in the desert and get down to some serious work here in the city.