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If I speak all tongues of men and of angels, but speak without love, I am no more than a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. If I can prophesy and fathom all mysteries and knowledge and if I have so much faith that I can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to the poor, or even give my body to be burnt, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude. It does not insist on its own way. It does not take offense, nor does it keep a record of wrongs. Love does not enjoy evildoing but enjoys the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.

Love never ends. Prophecy will cease. Tongues will be stilled. Knowledge will fail. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the Fulfillment comes, the partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I saw as a child, I thought and reasoned as a child. When I became a man, I put away the things of a child. Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror, but then we shall see him face to face. I do not know everything now, but then I will, just as God completely understands me.

In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love: but the greatest of them all is love.

                                                            Paul of Tarsus / 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13







Are there some things we can learn  – about ‘creating connection’ … from a former FBI Lead Hostage Negotiator (Chris Voss)?




Nathan Lozeron does a nice job summarizing Chris’s book  – “Never Split the Difference” in the following video:    (How to Negotiate)


It turns out that the key to negotiating successfully is based on the ability to (genuinely) empathize with your opponent and his feelings about his current situation… and then to get him to empathize with you and your situation.


Once you do that, the negotiation changes into a problem-solving session.


They (your adversary) can end up feeling they were understood and treated fairly … and you may well end up with what you were hoping for.

You allow them … to have your way.


It’s manipulative, I will admit.  But it works … because it is based on sound psychology – that we all have a need to be heard, understood, and respected … and to connect with others.


One of the best videos I saw this past week … is a TED talk by Lena Sisco, who worked at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay) … as a military interrogator.    (Building Rapport & Detecting Deception  – Lena Sisco)


Lena was very successful in this capacity (possibly, in part, because she is a good looking woman, but also) because she was good at building rapport.


She says that – if you’re NICE to people … it is Very Hard for them – not to be nice back.


She always greeted her (terrorist) detainee … with a smile  (a genuine smile).


Next – she would look for common ground: … ‘family’ … or ‘devotion to a cause’ … or whatever.


And she talks a bit about lying (which we ALL do) … and detecting deception.

But this video is less than 14 minutes;  it’s probably worth your time.


But now, I’d like to change gears.


Let’s talk about LOVE … as a Supreme Force.

Love is said to be the ‘glue of the universe’.


We have a saying – that “Love conquers all”.


Is this (actually) True … or is it just sentimental ‘crap’.


Well, this (very) question seems to have been taken on by a certain (Italian) movie –


Salvo (2013)

written & directed by Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza.


Salvo (the main character) is a body guard and hit man for a Sicilian mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down and kills the man who organized it … and encounters the man’s blind sister, Rita.


Rita has good hearing, and (while she is not in the same room at the time her brother is killed) she well understands what is taking place.  And (a minute later) when they meet, Rita knows that THIS is the man who just killed her brother (and, for all we know, her brother was her only family)


Then (perhaps through a TREMENDOUS DESIRE to see her brother’s murderer … we do not know, but) Rita regains her ability to see!   And Salvo is witness to this miracle!


(as must be obvious by now … this is an INTENSE movie)


Now (by this point in the film) there is no doubt that Salvo is a man of considerable courage.  You would say, actually – that “this guy’s got BALLS!”




He does NOT kill Rita (like he “should” have … for she is a ‘loose end’,  and protocol requires her death).  He decides instead … to protect her. (And all of this is communicated without words.)

PRIOR to this event, Salvo had been his Boss’s MAN … a Company Man.  But he is deeply moved by this experience; and he completely (and spontaneously) reorients and reorganizes his life.


And now, the set-up is complete.  And we see that the story is NOT about the mafia … or about killing.  It’s about Love.


Now the Test begins.


Rita has been SUPREMELY WRONGED; and she knows that Salvo has brutally murdered her brother … in their home.


Salvo (who has killed many men) is unquestionably the culprit.  He murdered Rita’s brother (within her hearing) . But …

he’s had a change of heart.


And now … these two … Salvo & Rita … begin to act out the Great Question –

Does Love have the power to overcome ANY obstacle?   even the Greatest Imaginable Obstacle?


When she has the opportunity, Rita attacks Salvo … verbally … and physically.

Salvo (only) protects himself; and never retaliates.  In fact he never even makes any attempt to win Rita’s trust with words.

Instinctively, he knows that would be ridiculous.  He has killed Rita’s brother.

His resolve to protect and care for Rita though … never wavers.  He never tries to take advantage of her sexually (or anything of that kind.)  His life has now become about loving her … whatever that requires.  We see NO indication (after his transformation) that Salvo is struggling to ‘do the right thing’.  His life has become (completely) simple:  He loves Rita.   He does not seem to experience any interior struggle or conflict.  His heart and mind are unified;  he is at peace.  Focused.

We can say that his Redemption is complete and (apparently) secure.

Rita then becomes the ‘question mark’.  Will Love prevail … in her?  (Will she also experience ‘Redemption’?)


Well, when Salvo’s boss figures out that Rita is still alive (and that Salvo is protecting her), he undertakes to solve this problem in a very predictable way … to have them both killed.  And he is not short of personnel or weaponry.

Then (we could say, that) the plot thickens.

But I do not think I will tell you any more of this story.  You should watch the movie.


On the surface, this film is so rough … that I have been generally reluctant to recommend it.  Today, however (after a little research) I became aware that ‘Salvo’ actually received 8 awards … and (another) 18 nominations.  (this would not happen in America)

Just keep in mind (as you watch it) that it is no ordinary movie.  It is Very Ambitious.  And Daring.  It deals with Extremes.

It’s not (really) an Action Movie, or a Gangster Movie … it’s not even a Romance.  It simply (and bravely) takes on the (big) question –

Is Love All-Powerful?’



Someone who does not run

toward the allure of love

walks a road where nothing

lives.  But this dove here

senses the love hawk floating

above, and waits, and will not

be driven or scared to safety


                                   – Rumi

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Free Money




We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.                                                                               

                                                                                                                                               – R. Buckminster Fuller  



Poverty could be eliminated

by an outlay of 1% of the

Gross World Product.

                               –  World Watch magazine






I’ve done some research on the idea of implementing a Universal Basic Income.  It’s NOT a new idea. It’s been around for at least a century and a half … (and in SOME form – for about 5 centuries!)


A number of countries have tried out the idea … but mainly the experiments have been quite small.  In 2016 the people of Switzerland voted on a referendum (they actually DO that in that country) – on whether to adopt a Universal Basic Income (UBI).  It did not pass.

As far as I know, this referendum is the ONLY one to have occurred so far on this (fallen) planet.


Now … TO THEIR CREDIT, the Swiss are still exploring this idea.  They will TEST it in  – Rheinau – a village near the German border.  Here is a 2-minute video about it:    


It is RATIONAL … to test the program.   You know – ‘TRY it … and SEE WHAT HAPPENS’!


In MY view … the MAIN thing we need to understand (regarding this UBI issue) … is that the human beings on THIS planet … are (mainly)  NOT RATIONAL.


It will, I think, HELP us if we can see that … because it will put us in a better position to begin BEHAVING RATIONALLY.


We can make Better Choices.


Kierkegaard pointed out – that

We can observe life only by looking backward, but

We must live it    forward.

It’s a problem, isn’t it?


At times we must all make decisions based on less than full knowledge of our current situation (or less than a complete appreciation of our alternatives for action) … and so our predictions (of the various outcomes) are imperfect.  (and our comprehension of Human Nature may also be imperfect)


Robert McNamara complained about the “Fog of War” (that war is too complex to keep up with, or maybe even to comprehend at all) … but I do not think this is a legitimate complaint.  Well … maybe it IS legitimate … but it is not peculiar to WAR.  


It’s a Human Problem.  It’s just how Human Life is.




However … while I think such (basic) problems should be acknowledged … this is NOT my complaint.  (it’s NOT why I say that we are not rational)


As I look over the thinking of the people who have (for quite some time) been proponents of (somehow) solving the (considerable) problems caused by poverty  (e.g. – by implementing a Universal Basic Income) … I am struck by how much emotional baggage (and moral baggage) we carry … even as we try our best to think of ways to relieve human suffering … or even just improve our quality of life.


Even the rejection by the Swiss people – of having a UBI (for everyone in the country) was based NOT on rationality (that is … on data)   but on (what should we call it?)  …IDEOLOGY.


Now … here’s what I mean when I say that.


We learn how to be nationalistic … from going to high school Pep Rallies … learning (and singing) our School Fight Song … from cheering for our team to win  (and so on)   Mmm?

… and then we never learn a better way of being loyal to our country … or our team    (or, seldom do we, anyway)


Also … we have illusionary notions regarding (little things like) – ‘who we are’ … or – ‘Where does wealth come from?’


Most of us labor under the misconception that Wealth is Money … and (of course) it is NOT.


True Wealth is (really) :  Good Food … Good Friends … a Loving Family … a Healthy Body … a Friendly & Safe Community … a Good Education … Good Music …  Clean Water … Clean Air … a Clean Heart … Peace … Justice … Freedom … [and of course  – clothes … shoes that fit … shelter (for warmth & security) … a dependable car (or bicycle) … good roads … electricity … the phone system … the world wide web (etc.)]


Money is a medium of exchange (making direct barter unnecessary) … it’s a legal invention … and it’s good to have some …


But it (certainly) is NOT wealth.


A (brief) review of the thinking (of the historical proponents for a UBI)  … brings me to regard it (the thinking) as (mainly) arrogant and morals-burdened … and, it seems infused with a (false) sense of self-sufficiency (that is – they imagine that they are able to come to a sound conclusion based [merely] on their own thinking … and their ‘deep understanding’ of human nature).  In other words – while their proposals may be (actually) good … I still don’t trust their thinking.


And for the BULK of us?  (e.g. – the people of Switzerland, who voted NOT to implement a UBI in 2016) … I am afraid we are “thinking” about this issue … the same way we ‘learned to “think” about (other) Social Issues (like – ‘Who should win this football game?’  or ‘What is the nature of True Patriotism?’) when we first started going to High School Pep Rallies, and cheering during a game for ‘Our Team to win’.


I would LIKE to say something here that is NOT unkind … but still apt and true.  Mmm?   (It’s a problem, you see)

I think we should conclude that such ‘thinking” is not (really) thinking at all; it’s a substitute for thinking.

Instead of a (rational & effective) process … we have only Ideology … we have only   


–      a  position !


It’s uneducated, unenlightened, and debilitating.



Many of the proponents of having a UBI (free money for everyone) are able to see – that most of the wealth that we now enjoy … comes to us from (both) the Work … and the Thought … of (not only our contemporaries)  but people who have come before us.  We are all (already) the beneficiaries of other people’s (well-coordinated) labor …and their (brilliant) inventions.

Have you ever seen the face of the person who made the shoes … or the shirt you are now wearing?   or the people who built your house?  or your car?

What if I had to build and maintain the roads that I drive on?  I would NOT be able to do it.  Mmm?


Already we (continually) receive Social Dividends … merely by belonging to a society … to our culture & economy.

So … to implement (also) a UBI … would merely be to add yet another form of Social Dividend.


Besides … what if it (free money for all) could eliminate poverty?


This would NOT be Trivial!


For one thing – Poverty is ALREADY expensive!


(from Wikipedia     ):

2.3 Trillion Dollar Total of Social Security, Medicare and Means Tested Welfare is low since latest 2013 means tested data not available but 2013, the “real” TOTAL will be higher.

Which begs the question – ‘Is this the best we can do?’

Is this the most effective way we can think of to solve the (associated) problems?


I would recommend to you the following videos –    (Case for Universal Basic Income  – Charles Eisenstein)    (Why we should give everyone a basic income – Rutger Bregman)    (Basic income and other ways to fix capitalism | Federico Pistono)    (Swiss village tests future … UBI

[universal basic income])

(If you only have time for one … I would suggest the third one by – Pistono)


In this presentation Federico Pistono points out that we need:  MORE EXPERIMENTS … and BETTER experiments.


So far, he says, that (of the 200 countries in the world) 14 have done some experimentation … but only two of these   involved more than 1,000 people.


In a 5-year study in Canada (1974-’79)  about 10,000 people were given $500/month.  They wanted to find out if people would stop working.  What they found was … “not really”.   There were 2 groups who worked less: women, who took longer maternity leave … and young boys.   But the high-school Completion Rates increased … and Hospitalization Rates fell by 8.5%


There was another experiment done in India (2011-2013)  in which 6,000 people received $4/month (about 40% of Subsistence for people in rural India).

(There was also a control group of 6,000 … who received nothing)

Here’s what they found:


An increase in (both) Food Sufficiency and in Nutrition

An increase in Livestock

No increase in Alcohol Use/Drug Use

Less illness

School Attendance increased, especially among girls (females tend to be marginalized)


People were 3 times more likely to Start their Own Business.


All these findings are promising … but the studies are too small to be conclusive.


Here’s what scares me –  We may LACK THE CAPABILITY … to CONSIDER THE ISSUE … and MAKE A CHOICE.


Koch Family Foundations have spent some $127,000,000 directly financing 92 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997-2017.

   [ref:  ]


And the hell of it is – that their efforts have been effective!


I’m afraid that this country (the United States) is an education wasteland.


We know how to take a position and argue for it; but we do not know how to pursue the truth and move closer to it (making use even of ideas and experiences of those we disagree with).


What evidence is there that we are capable of having a Real Discussion about (say) a possible UBI (free money for everyone) … (or about ANYTHING AT ALL, for that matter)   when we behave the way we do over the issue of Climate Change?




We need to have Real Discussions !


Do more experiments … then



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   (I Pencil)

          [This is an essay that can help us appreciate the phenomenon of Emergence … and the (enormous) extent to which we have (already) learned to cooperate]


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“I once happened to be dining with the Cardinal when a certain English lawyer was there. I forgot how the subject came up, but he was speaking with great enthusiasm about the stern measures that were then being taken against thieves. ‘We’re hanging them all over the place’, he said. ‘I’ve seen as many as twenty on a single gallows. And that’s what I find so odd. Considering how few of them get away with it, how come we are still plagued with so many robbers?’

‘What’s odd about it?’, I asked – for I never hesitated to speak freely in front of the Cardinal. ‘This method of dealing with thieves is both unjust and undesirable. As a punishment, it’s too severe, and as a deterrent, it’s quite ineffective. Petty larceny isn’t bad enough to deserve the death penalty. And no penalty on earth will stop people from stealing, if it’s their only way of getting food. In this respect, you English, like most other nations, remind me of these incompetent schoolmasters, who prefer caning their pupils to teaching them. Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse.”


                            – Raphael Nonsenso (of Portugal)

                                        prior to 1516

[ref:    ]


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The Body



We tend to be brats.


Oblivious and ungrateful.


This body we have … we just ‘showed up’ with it.  

We show up.  It shows up.


We ‘put it on’; and we learn to use it.


If we hold out our hand (about a foot and a half) in front of us

(palm down) … then

if we have the desire for the hand to float upward (a foot or so)

we find –

that it DOES SO.


For me, THIS is adequate evidence

to show us – that the Soul owns the Body

(and NOT the other way ‘round)


It is also an indication that we HAVE put on our body.

We have claimed it … and now we own it.

(though of course, this remains a ‘magical’ phenomenon)


When we learned to ride a bicycle

or drive a car

or operate a backhoe

or play tennis …

we had to put on THAT body too

(or, I suppose, put on that particular augmentation)

… it’s like a new app.






If I say –  “I have a body.” … who is this I?

Well  … it is NOT my body … NOT my brain… not even my mind.

It’s my consciousness.

But (to be fair)  – consciousness has TWO aspects:  the Experiencer AND our Experience.

Part of our consciousness poses as ‘our computer’ … (or whatever is around … this is when we’re in the Waking State)

and the other part (simply) does the experiencing.  That’s the Experiencer, and

is the True Self.



So … we find ourselves to be the beneficiary of the body (that we own).


It is (after all) … of Great Value to us.

How can we move toward being in Right Relation to it?

(How do we stop being [such] a brat?)

How do we stop ‘taking our body for granted?


That is the purpose of this particular essay.


I propose to give you (an imaginary) deck of cards.

The entire deck will represent –  ‘the Body’;

and each card in the deck will represent

one of the SYSTEMS of the body.


And (since I think we should carry this deck of cards near our heart)

I propose to (also) give you an imaginary coat

which has an inside (left) breast pocket.

And this is where we will keep our deck of cards

(when we are not looking at them)


You will find

that whenever you wish to take out your cards –

they were there all along …

that they’re right there where you last put them –

in your left-inside breast pocket

near your heart.


Okay?   (Easy!)


But before continuing I wish to acknowledge that there are people

who do not have all their (physical) parts

(NOT that this makes them any less of a person)


  (legless gymnast – Jennifer Bricker)


                                     (This video is less than 5 minutes)


In any case … it is (of course) perfectly okay

for you to customize your own deck

according to your own sense,

your own body,

and your own intuition.


So … let’s develop a deck of cards, which we’ll be able to use

to help us count our blessings.


We should pull them out from time to time

(one a week perhaps); and

of course, we can augment them ourselves.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *


(card one):     The Brain & Nervous System


Both the ‘central’ nervous system …  and the ‘peripheral’ nervous system

are made up of neurons … nerve cells.


We have about 100 billion neurons.


I have (more than once) heard

that the human brain is more complex

than is the Entire Universe!


A neuron has two basic states:  on … or   off.

It’s either ‘firing’ … or it isn’t.


We have NINETY THOUSAND MILES of nerve pathways in our body!


(for reference … the circumference of the earth is about 25,000 miles)    (structure of the nervous system)



In the peripheral system … there are a variety of (specialized) transducers

(a transducer changes energy from one form to another).

The transducers are all alike on the “inner” end; that is –

they are all able to make the neuron (they are attached to) fire.

But on the ‘outer end’ they vary.

Some are responsive to pressure … some to cold … some to pain … and so on.

The eye … is a virtual extension of the brain

… the ear, also.


Taste and smell … are (really) the same sense … just differently activated.


Pay attention sometime –  how the tongue pushes food around inside your mouth

when you’re eating.

It does this (heroic) work … as though there were no danger present!

It’s very impressive.


(card two):   the Heart & Circulatory System    (schematic of circulatory system)    (11 facts re blood system)

The total length of the blood vessels in our body is … 60,000 miles!

(about 80% of that length … is in capillaries [the smallest blood vessels])


(card 3):  the Lungs / Respiratory System    (respiratory system)


Our lungs resemble  a pair of ‘trees’ … growing upside-down inside our chest … whose roots are in the sky.



(card 4):  the Stomach and Digestive System   (digestive system)


[You know how Newton figured out the basic Laws of Motion?  He had an Excellent facility with Reference Systems!

Most car engines have a cooling system … including a radiator.  

There’s a thermostatic valve in the bottom of the radiator cap, which, when the engine warms up,  opens … and allows the water pump to circulate the coolant through the engine … and also through the radiator … where it loses heat to the air.

The cooling system is a closed system … with regard to fluids and pressure; but it’s open with regard to heat exchange.

We put holes in the front of our cars  (we call this the ‘grill’)

so that air can blow through the radiator

(with the help of a big fan, right behind the radiator)

The radiator is and Exchanger … a Heat Exchanger.

As always … the Second Law of Thermodynamics

functions by virtue of a ‘slope’ … a ‘gradient’.

Air passing through the radiator takes heat from the radiator fins

because the fins are hotter than the air that’s going through them.

At first, we considered the cooling system itself to be ‘The System’

But now

we just expanded the boundaries …(like Isaac Newton would)

and now the air that’s flowing through the radiator

(typical environmental air)

is also part of the System we’re considering.


Thus – the (automatic) functioning of the 2nd Law … becomes our servant.


In our lungs, for example, the circulatory system and the alveoli of the lungs are so

finely intertwined and closely interlocked

that (again) the 2nd Law operates to our advantage.

Where the red blood cells are oxygen-depleted compared to the air next to them,

then oxygen will transfer to the hemoglobin in the blood.

It’s an Exchanger …

(operated, as always, by the 2nd Law)]



Our blood system is similarly ‘married to’ our digestive system

(we have 30 feet of Small Intestine)

where the nutrients in our intestine automatically migrate into the blood plasma.

Another (very large) Exchanger.


(card 5):  the Skeleto-muscular System    (skeletal system)    (muscles)


Muscle tissue is a superb biological invention … When stimulated (activated) by a motor nerve,

it contracts … shortens … pulls … produces motion.


(card 6): Kidneys & Urinary System    

(urinary system)


The liver removes fat-soluble toxins from the blood.  The kidneys remove water-soluble toxins from our blood.


(card 7):  Reproductive System    (male reproductive organs)    (female reproductive organs)


Consider how grateful you are to have these organs … even if you do not plan to have children.


(card 8):  The Endocrine System    (endocrine system)


Some glands secrete directly, using a duct dedicated to this purpose.

The endocrine glands, on the other hand, use ‘3rd-class mail’ … secreting their hormones into the blood … which takes that hormone everywhere in the body.  Eventually it gets where it’s supposed to go.


(card 9):  The Spleen & Lymphatic System    (lymphatic system)


The lymphatic system is an important part of our ‘immune system’.



(card 10):  The Integumentary System … Skin    (integumentary system)


The skin is the largest organ of the body … accounting for about 16% of the total body weight of an adult.   Twenty pounds or more, in most cases.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Okay … that’s our deck of cards.


When you want to do a meditation on your body

(acknowledgement … appreciation … thanks … blessing)

take your deck of cards out of your breast pocket, and

one at a time … place them (face up)

in an array

‘on the table in front of you’


As you place each card on the table

name it;

and visualize that system of your anatomy – it’s most important parts or organs …

how it interfaces and is interlocked with the other systems.


Consider its Value to your life.



(What works for me … is a little [imaginary] bow … my hands together, in front of my face

… a gesture of appreciation and respect)

Imagine each organ … and the entire system

functioning at the highest possible level …

in perfect health, and in complete Harmony

with the Entire Body.

(this is your ‘blessing’)


When you are finished, gather up the cards, and

(before you put them back into your breast pocket)

contemplate your Whole Body

Gratitude (Thanks)

Appreciation (Praise)

Blessing (Imagining Perfect Health)


Return the deck to your breast pocket, and

Put your hand over them (the whole deck).


Picture your body

the way it was when you were twenty.


Imagine how you will USE this (perfectly healthy) body …

the things you will DO with it …

HOW you will ENJOY it.



The effectiveness of such a practice

will (necessarily) be (partly) dependent upon

our knowledge and understanding

of the body

and how the various systems work

(and how they interact)

So … we should spend some time

increasing our understanding.




You should know about Gunther von Hagens

the father of Body Worlds.

    (von Hagens’ Body Worlds philosophy)

    (Plastination – Gunther von Hagens

                                                                                                                                                  6.5 minutes)




You may wish to include one or more cards for your chakras                                                                

and your various Subtle Bodies:  the

Etheric Body

Emotional Body

Mental Body

Astral Body

Etheric Template Body

Celestial Body

Causal Body


You can do your own research.



I think you should be aware of the work of Alex Grey –


    (Alex Grey’s art)




The Origin of the Praise of God


for Lewis Thomas, and The Lives of the Cell


My friend, this body is made of bone and excited protozoa!  And it is with my body that I love the fields. How do I know what I feel but what the body tells me?  Erasmus thinking in the snow, translators of Vergil who burn up the whole room; the man in furs reading the Arabic astrologer falls off his three-legged stool in astonishment; this is the body, so beautifully carved inside,with the curves of the inner ear, and the husk so rough, knuckle-brown.


As we walk, we enter the fields of other bodies, and every smell we take in the communities of protozoa see, and a being inside leaps up toward it, as a horse rears at the starting gate.  When we come near each other, we are drawn down into the sweetest pools of slowly circling smells … slowly circling energies … The protozoa know there are odors the shape of oranges, of tornadoes, or octopuses …


The sunlight lays itself down before every protozoa,

The night opens itself out behind it,

And inside its own energy it lives!


So the space between two people diminishes, it grows less and less, no one to weep, they merge at last.  The sound that pours from the fingertips awakens clouds of cells far inside the body, and beings unknown to us start out in a pilgrimage to their Saviour, to their holy place.  Their holy place is a small black stone, that they remember from Protozoic times, when it was rolled away from a door … and it was after that they found their friends, who helped them digest the hard grains of this world … The cloud of cells awakens, intensifies, swarms … the beings dance inside beams of sunlight so thin we cannot see them … to them each ray is a vast palace, with thousands of rooms.  

From the dance of the cells praise sentences rise to the throat of the man praying and singing alone in his room. He lets his arms climb above his head, and says: ‘Now do you still say you cannot choose the Road?’


                                                                                                                                             – Robert Bly


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“As a child, I was enthralled by the small animals I encountered in the woods. The first specimens I dissected were beetles, frogs, and other small animal corpses that my friend, I found in the woods. These deaths shaped my thoughts on mortality, preparing me psychologically for my career as an anatomist.

Nowadays, in an accelerated technological age, when our environments are fashioned from steel and concrete, being in close proximity to animals—both domestic and wild—return us to authenticity. Outside of the rainforests and flora, they and we are the last remaining pieces of nature. They are our co-habitants on this spinning blue globe. ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, is both a celebration and an homage to animals both familiar and rare.”


                                                                                                     –  Gunther von Hagens

                                                                                                                                (creator of Body Worlds)


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Good habits are worth being fanatical about.

                                    –    John Irving

                                             Setting Free the Bears




Habit: n.  – A shackle for the free.

                                  –  Ambrose Bierce

                                       The Devil’s Dictionary






We have all (I am pretty sure) – made mistakes.   Some of them big ones.


But –


It could well be … that   ALL OUR GOOD CHOICES




                                    ALL OUR BAD CHOICES


Are less important

(have less impact on the quality of our life)



                 OUR HABITS … THE THINGS WE DO EVERY DAY … (and what we DON’T)



                  OUR ASPIRATIONS.




Here are a few excerpts from Paper 100 of the Urantia Book; but I would recommend that you read the entire paper (particularly the final section (Sec, 7)



100:1.2 (1094.4) Some persons are too busy to grow and are therefore in grave danger of spiritual fixation. Provision must be made for growth of meanings at differing ages, in successive cultures, and in the passing stages of advancing civilization. The chief inhibitors of growth are prejudice and ignorance.


100:1.3 (1094.5) … Real educational growth is indicated by enhancement of ideals, increased appreciation of values, new meanings of values, and augmented loyalty to supreme values.


100:1.4 (1094.6) Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates; precept or even example is not lastingly influential. Loyal persons are growing persons, and growth is an impressive and inspiring reality. Live loyally today—grow—and tomorrow will attend to itself.


100:2.6 (1096.3) The goal of human self-realization should be spiritual, not material. The only realities worth striving for are divine, spiritual, and eternal. Mortal man is entitled to the enjoyment of physical pleasures and to the satisfaction of human affections; he is benefited by loyalty to human associations and temporal institutions; but these are not the eternal foundations upon which to build the immortal personality which must transcend space, vanquish time, and achieve the eternal destiny of divine perfection and finaliter service.


100:3.7 (1097.4) Man cannot cause growth, but he can supply favorable conditions. Growth is always unconscious, be it physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Love thus grows; it cannot be created, manufactured, or purchased; it must grow. Evolution is a cosmic technique of growth. Social growth cannot be secured by legislation, and moral growth is not had by improved administration. Man may manufacture a machine, but its real value must be derived from human culture and personal appreciation. Man’s sole contribution to growth is the mobilization of the total powers of his personality—living faith.



And I’d like to share with you (an excellent) video … on the power of habits  … habits aligned with your Life Vision –



It’s by Jon & Missy Butcher … who have been practicing their (carefully chosen … daily, weekly, and yearly) habits now for three decades.


Their habits support well-being and growth in (each of) the various areas of life –




Career / (financial)

Mental   and


They do physical exercise daily.  Maybe only half an hour (or even ten minutes) … but they do it EVERY DAY.


To support their love relationship (with each other) they do a daily Connection Ritual.  One hour – walking together, holding hands … and sharing with each other about their respective days.


And – once a week – they have an (overnight) date … no matter what, and no matter where they are in the world.


They do other things too.     (Watch the video – it’s 10 ½  minutes)


Unavoidably … we’re going to have habits.  We should choose the best ones we can come up with.



These virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions.  

…we are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.

                                                                                 –  Aristotle (& Durant)


As Joey Klein says –

Love the life you live

Live the life you love.


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Sustainability (the meaning of)

Peace, n.  In international affairs, a period of cheating

                    between two periods of fighting.

                                                             –   Ambrose Bierce           The Devil’s Dictionary







One of the domain names I “own” and maintain (but still haven’t done anything with) is


                            Sustainability Equals Survival


(which is true enough, but)

I have come to appreciate that ‘Sustainability’ is also a euphemism for Survival.


It allows us to talk about Staying Alive WITHOUT the unpleasant ideas of (maybe) dying.  We live in a society, after all, which is NOT comfortable with (our own) mortality.  


We Americans spend more on entertainment … than we do on Education and Healthcare combined.


Now, I suppose that it’s possible that our tendency to stick our heads in the sand is completely unrelated to our determination to keep ourselves distracted … but – realistically – what do you think the chances are of that?


Probably … these two behaviors are (quite) connected.


No doubt – quite often when the term Sustainability is used its meaning is a bit mushy … (vague).


it is NOT meaningless.


The only way this term can be understood is to put it alongside its opposite – Unsustainability (or Unsustainable)

Up and Down.   Left and Right.  

Such terms are meaningful only in the context of each other.


Also – it will be worth noting – that Sustainability (just by its nature) tends to be a bit invisible.  There’s no drama.        

But such is NOT the case with a behavior which is (very) unsustainable.


Suppose you notice some broken glass on a roadway … and you take the trouble to remove it.  Then you sit a while and watch the traffic. It will probably be boring. No drama.

But suppose (on the other hand)  you PUT some broken glass onto a road … and then observe the cars as they pass the spot.   Soon – one or more cars will pull over with a flat tire.

This is (a little bit) more newsworthy.  Some drama.


Sustainability is like that.


So (to get clear on what Sustainability means) – we’ll need to look at (extreme) Unsustainability.   


Let’s consider two recent movies


‘Peppermint’ (with Jennifer Garner) 2018


‘Cold Pursuit’ (with Liam Neeson) 2019 [released less than 2 weeks ago]          


These are (both) “revenge” stories.

In both stories, the protagonist suffers the loss (by murder) of someone they loved dearly … and decides to seek revenge personally and directly.


I haven’t seen either of these films  (but I’ve seen other ‘revenge’ movies.  They’re not rare.)

Probably ANY revenge story will contain an example of severe mistreatment.       


And mistreatment is NORMALLY dealt out with a sense of impunity, isn’t it?   


But when someone is able to beat the odds … to prove that it was a FALSE sense of impunity … that’s what makes for a ‘good story’.   Mmm?


Did you know that (during the Revolutionary War) before Washington ‘crossed the Delaware River’ … that Gnl. Cornwallis (who let the British Army) had gone home.    

He reckoned that the war was over.   (Washington’s army was dreadfully underfunded and ill-equipped.)  But the Americans won that war anyway.    


You may like to read the (great) Declaration of Independence –




It carefully details why the colonists regarded their treatment by the British Crown … as intolerable mistreatment … (which is, of course, the essence of social unsustainability)   


There are (of course) other arenas  (than social)     to which may be applied the notion of Sustainability.






Personal practices which are healthy, life-sustaining, and produce general well-being … may be said to be Sustainable.  (good habits, universal kindness and respect … etc.)


Alcoholism may be regarded as a good example of a practice which is personally unsustainable.   

Even though it is not uncommon, it (nonetheless) brings destruction (families dissolve, careers collapse, health deteriorates, etc.)  The misuse of alcohol causes enormous human damage.


Our Environmental unsustainables include –


Our addiction to fossil fuels

Our laws which permit planetary destruction

Our miscreated (ill-designed) corporations


And (if what Noam Chomsky says is true) our (own) Republican Party is the most dangerous organization which has ever existed … because they are determined to destroy the whole planet.

(Here’s a 2-minute video on the Republicans & global warming)



(and here’s an 8-minute video from Democracy Now)



Basically … the Whole of Human History is one long Nightmare of Mistreatment, Exploitation, Greed, and (the resulting) Suffering.


Nevertheless … it seems to me … that True Sustainability

is actually devoid of any and all forms of mistreatment and exploitation.


We need to learn how to treat each other … like Family … and our Planet – as if it were our HOME.  


We need to figure this out.

Our very survival depends on it.          



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Spiritual Problem


Millions of persons long for immortality who do not

know what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon.

                                                                                         – Susan Ertz


We wear more clothes than any people who have ever lived.  We eat more different kinds of food than anyone since Louis XIV.  What goes on in the corner drugstore the bazaars of Arabia couldn’t match.  What we find piled at the supermarkets is the harvest of the world in all seasons at the same time.  And as we push through the aisles, grabbing this and that from every corner of the globe, with the Muzak sludge overhead, we should be the most contented people in the world.  Are we?

                                                                                                                                                 –  Agnes de Mille


YouTube is now owned by Google.  I doubt whether anyone there (at either place) actually knows who I am.  Yet I have come to the (somewhat uncomfortable) realization that YouTube has become an (external) augmentation of my (own, internal) mind.


I mainly use a desktop computer.  The people (that is – the software) at YouTube know which computer is mine.  That is – they presume that it’s always used by the same person (and perhaps this computer I use is even associated with my name)


No doubt the people whose job it is  to perfect the software which chooses (from among countless millions of possibilities) WHICH videos to present to me (or to anyone) based upon our previous ‘choice history’ … these folks are very well paid.


They may well even be (self-consciously) aware that they are trying to figure out how the human mind works.


For one thing, it is Very Important HOW the incoming videos are categorized … how they are characterized.  The system must have the capability of making a good guess as to the REASON we watch a given video.


If 300 hours worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute    and the average length of a video is 4.3 minutes … that means that (about) 6 million videos get uploaded (to YouTube) every day.

YouTube videos are watched by 1.3 billion people … about 5 billion videos are watched          per day.


Perhaps they have a way of getting the people submitting the videos … to (effectively) categorize them.  (I don’t know)


But what about the problem of Quality Control?   That would have to be handled “in house”, wouldn’t it?


In any case, YouTube recently began suggesting (to me … by offering them) videos containing the thoughts of Carl Jung … for whom I happen to have a Great Deal of Respect … (affection, even).


(Now … let it be noted – that I never SEARCHED for anything by Carl Jung!  The SOFTWARE still figured out that I might like them!


That’s when I realized – that YouTube … has become my assistant.  They’re making intelligent guesses … as to what I wish to learn about!


I’m grateful for this.   (and also … it gives me the creeps, a bit)


For many decades I have had a Deep Interest in the Human Condition.  (What is the nature … of Human Nature? … or of the Human Situation?) So anyone who shares this interest (or, by any means, aids me in my search for the Truth of this matter) … is my ally.


I just (still) have a hard time     imagining YouTube (the computer programs that make it work) … as my ‘friend & ally’.


It’s a New World, I reckon.


But let’s have some Real Content –


Please take the time (13.5 min.) to watch –      (Carl Jung – the Spiritual Problem of the Modern Individual)


In hopes of (possibly) preventing World War III    Jung did his best to Understand and to Explain why world wars (I & II) came about.


He believed that (we) humans were unprepared to grapple (effectively  / well) with the (tremendous) existential problems of Human Life … (now) without the help of the ‘crutch’ of religion.  Modern man now feels he is on his own   to deal with (any and all) existential dilemmas.


With the Industrial Revolution (and urbanization) came the phenomenon of Mass Society … wherein the Modern Man feels himself impotent, insignificant,  and powerless. Our psyche’s (organic, natural) tendency is to attempt a compensation, which (if NOT brought into the realm of the conscious mind) can pose a Great Hazard to our well-being both as individuals and as a society.  We will (then, if the urge remains within the Unconscious) seek Power … perhaps even Lust for power.  This makes us vulnerable (and susceptible) to some rising dictator … promising us the power we long for.


I would also suggest –    (Why Passivity Breeds Mediocrity and Mental Illness)     [which is only 8.6 minutes]


It suggests that Modern Man now finds himself in possession of (considerable) Discretionary Time … and that we (literally) do not know what to do with ourselves.


One of the most popular new diets is the Paleo Diet.  It makes sense to us – that if we want to be healthy … we should eat what we were eating during our (long) evolution … rather than eating the foods which now happen to be available (and which the ad men want us to eat)



Like that –  human beings have had to struggle just to survive … for many eons.  And now (all of a sudden) we find ourselves with our survival (relatively) assured … and we have all this time on our hands!

We are tempted to imagine that it makes sense – to do as little as possible.


Well … this turns out to be a Bad Program.


[Now, I’m going to assume you’ve watched these 2 videos … and offer you a quote by Parker J. Palmer  –


I remember talking with a friend who has worked for many years at the Catholic Worker, a ministry to the poor in New York City.  Daily she tries to respond to waves of human misery that are as ceaseless as surf in that community. Out of my deep not-knowing, I asked how she could keep doing a work that never showed any results, a work in which the problems keep getting worse instead of better.  I will never forget her enigmatic answer: “The thing you don’t understand, Parker, is that just because something is impossible, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.”


We need to apply our energies to something we (deeply) care about.


How about … ‘Let’s save this planet’  ?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    (The Science Delusion  – Rupert Sheldrake) [an excellent talk]  [Did you notice the photo (of the ‘pro-science’ demonstration) in the Spiritual Problem video … about 4 minutes in?]

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Warrior Training


The great movies enlarge us.

They civilize us.

They make us more decent people.

                                              –  Roger Ebert




It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. …

It doesn’t interest me who you are, or how you came to be here.  I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

                                                                                                                                                          –    Oriah Mountain Dreamer






During the years I lived in Seattle (‘74 – ‘85) my best friend and I developed a form of ‘cheap entertainment’ which I came to refer to as our ‘Fear of Death Workshop’.                      It was … a rope swing.

We would take a piece of heavy nylon rope to the 20th Avenue NE bridge where it went (in a level fashion) over the creek and ravine of Ravenna Park.  This short stretch of road was supported by an old style (erector-set type) steel bridge. There was a big arch, each end of which was (in turn) supported by a big concrete “foot”.

We would bring the rope with us each time we used it. (If we had left it there, some city employee would certainly have been instructed to cut it down or remove it.  And this would not have been good from our point of view; for our rope was a piece of Samson Cordage, continuous filament, tubular-braided mooring line … which I had salvaged from the big “paper” dumpster which was (always) on the pier, near the submarine tender I was assigned to in the Navy, in San Diego.  Though slightly worn, it was plenty strong for the use we were putting it to … it was probably one inch in diameter. Soft … but very strong. Ideal for this purpose.)

We put a good-size (bowline) loop in the top end.  And this loop was protected from wear by a short length of fire hose, which encased the entire loop.  We would climb out to near the middle of the arch, and (with a girth hitch) suspend the rope from a certain steel girder.


What a set-up!  This was ideal for a rope-swing.  We also tied (another, permanent) bowline loop in the bottom end of the rope.  This was to put your foot in, so that you did not have to depend merely on the strength of the grip of your hands … to keep you alive.  Your foot and leg could then take most of the force.

The south slope of  ground (under the south end of the bridge, downhill from the ‘foot’) was a long stretch of soft dirt.  From this slope you could easily reach the stationary rope … or, if you just rode the swing till you nearly stopped swinging, you could easily step off onto the slope.  And yet you would never hit the slope when you swung.  It was perfect.


To get the ‘full ride’ you would have to climb up on top of the big concrete foot (from the uphill [south] side … then (with someone else’s help, and by means of a length of small rope) pull the big rope up to you.  Then, sitting on the edge of the concrete precipice, with one foot in the loop, and one hand just above (the strategically placed) knot in the mooring line … with a considerable drop just beneath you, the abyss in front of you, and the weight of the rope pulling you into it … (sometimes after several minutes of mental preparation … looking death in the face) … you go for it.

The effective length of this rope … was only 50 feet, but it seemed like more than that.

I just now did a calculation for the period of a 50-ft. pendulum.  It’s nearly 8 seconds. That means that rope swing would take you north for four seconds … then south for four seconds.

But I don’t think this really conveys very much.


One time (with my friend Tony Littrell hanging onto me (not the rope), and his foot on top of mine) … when we got to the end of the first full swing, I came to the realization that I was hanging onto the rope with only my last finger joint(s) … just my finger tips.  The force was considerable.


Another time (I think this was the time we came the closest to death, doing this), my best friend and I were down near the creek, when a friend of ours jumped off.   And we both watched as, when she let go of the rope, at the bottom of her first swing … and she sailed … perhaps 15 feet above us, spread-eagled, face up, rotating gracefully … and landed in the moist earth and grass on the north side of the creek.  She split the crotch out of her jeans and got the wind knocked out of her … but she didn’t die. (in fact, she was basically uninjured) But she very easily could have died, had she happened to strike a rock with her head.  Minutes after this incident, Dave and I removed all the rocks from this “emergency landing field”.

We didn’t realize (till after) – that Jacquie was wearing cotton dress gloves.


After that, I found a piece of nylon seat-belt strap … enough to wrap twice around a person’s waist and then tie off (making a safety belt) … and this would get connected to the main rope with a short length of stout nylon rope (which I tied there permanently) … and could be joined to the safety belt with a big carob beaner.

After this … a person (even if they had a heart attack) would not die from swinging from this rope and losing grip.  You could not fall off, once fastened in.


But (even after that) … the business of getting yourself to jump off into the abyss (especially if you’d never done it before) … was scary as hell.


We did this for years (every now and then … especially when we had special company / guests).

Sometimes I would charge people (a stranger who happened by)  five cents   to go on the rope swing.


I’m grateful that no one ever got much hurt doing it.


In any case, the whole rope-swing exercise will count as warrior training … even the technical/technological aspects of it.

A warrior must be willing to confront death, danger, defeat, humiliation, pain & discomfort … many things.  And the best warriors will be those who train the most.


Actually, we are all training.  Every day …  we train something.  

And the way we are right now … it’s the result of all our training.


For example … suppose our toilet (in our house) malfunctions.  What will we do? Will we take the lid off the tank and try to figure out what’s going on with it?  Will we try to fix the problem?

If NOT …  then we are deficient in our warrior training.  If we do not even try, it’s probably because we have given ourselves permission to steer clear of humiliation … of the feeling of inadequacy.  We do not want even to risk feeling ‘stupid’ or ‘inadequate’.   Mmm?


I have on occasion – tried to encourage young math students – by trying to help them see that learning math … is excellent warrior training.  That’s because math is hard.  It’s constantly humiliating. It makes you feel stupid.  

Concepts you were getting acquainted with about two weeks earlier are beginning to make sense … but what you’re studying right now … you always feel at sea with that.

It’s warrior training.


In this (12-minute) video



                    Tom van der Linden discusses the importance of the Warrior Archetype.

                            (I like him very much.)

The warriors which appear in our movies and comic books are expressions of this archetype … which is a Basic Building Block our our psychology.

It’s the most controversial of all the archetypes … because of the existence of the  “shadow” warrior  – the bipolar dysfunctional archetype.  This type of warrior revels in cruel behavior, often masking their hidden insecurities and their unresolved emotional issues.

Most warriors are men, it’s true; but the warrior archetype (inside us) helps us ALL (not just men) claim our power …  and assert our identity.  It helps us confront and overcome our fears; it helps us find courage.

The inner warrior arrouses … energizes & motivates us.  It pushes us to take the offensive, and face the challenges that life puts before us.  

The warrior does not see himself (or herself) as a victim … but takes responsibility for his own life.

Carol Pearson says –

                                 To identify as a warrior is to say – ‘I am responsible for what happens here’


                                  ‘I must do what I can to make this a better world for myself and for others.’        





               King, Warrior, Magician, Lover     by Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette


               The Hero Within

                  (Six Archetypes We Live By :  Orphan, Innocent, Magician, Wanderer, Warrior)

                                            by Carol S. Pearson

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When it all comes down to dust

I will kill you if I must,

I will help you if I can.

When it all comes down to dust

I will help you if I must,

I will kill you if I can.

                 –    Leonard Cohen
                              Story of Isaac




If you liked School

you’ll love Work.

                   –  from a Seattle sidewalk





Between 1974 and 1985 I lived in Seattle, Washington … in the Wallingford district.  West of the University district (and the I-5 freeway), and north of Lake Union.

One evening as I was walking home, I happened to take a route along the ship canal (under the interstate bridge) … and happened upon some graffiti, spray-painted onto the sidewalk :


If you liked School … you’ll love Work.


I wish to say “Thank You!”  to whoever it was that wrote that there.

(You are my Teacher and Benefactor)


You helped me to see the connection and continuity between how we are (herded and) handled when we’re students … and how we’re treated when we ‘join the Work-force’.  A bell rings … and we all get up and go where we’re supposed to go next … (and do what we’re told).


Yesterday I came across a video (which I watched).        It’s with Michael Moore :    (Why Finland has the Best Education System)


I would suggest (if you can spare 9 ½ minutes)  that you watch it right now.


Apparently – it’s illegal (in Finland) to have a school which charges tuition.

How un-American is that?


We can’t have our superior (rich) children hobnobbing with riff-raff!


And it (most certainly) would not do – to (actually) teach Critical Thinking skills in our public schools!

I mean … what if (when the riff-raff kids grow up) they were to figure out what’s really going on!


They might become Activists (or something awful) … they might get involved in politics and turn our beloved (oligarchical, ‘pretend’) “democracy” … into a Democracy!


That definitely … would not do.


One of the best ever testimonials for learning how to Think … is Alexandre Dumas’ novel – “The Count of Monte Christo”

Early in his story, his main character (‘Edmond Dantes’) finds himself in a (Very Unpleasant) French prison.  And he doesn’t even know why.  Except that he was framed for the crime he was alleged to have commited.

After 4 or 5 years there, he hears ‘scraping’ … in the wall of his cell, and decides he must aid whoever is tunnelling on the other side.  After a few days of digging (fairly ineffectually, except that he had managed to remove a stone from the wall behind his bed) … he happens to make an (aloud) exclamation … and a voice answers him.  They have a conversation.  Dantes is told to cease digging.  Two days later a person emerges from the hole in his wall.  A fellow prisoner of the Chateau d’If (since 1811 … four years prior to Dantes’ own imprisonment there).  He is ‘Abbe Faria’, a priest (who is highly educated).  While Dantes is not the sharpest tool in the toolshed, he very quickly realizes what a brilliant thinker and intelligent man his new friend is.  So … Dantes soon asks Faria to help him solve the ‘mystery’ – of why he finds himself in prison.  For the priest – this is an easy task.  He asks Dantes a number of questions … most importantly – “Who would stand to benefit from his being imprisoned?”


Dantes experiences a great burst of clarity … a (sudden) Opening of the Mind.  He excuses himself, goes (through the connecting tunnel) to his room … and spends the whole night thinking through (what he then realized) had befallen him … and what he would do about it.

The next day, he begs the priest to teach him a bit of what he knows.  Faria agrees … saying that human knowledge does not amount to much … and that he could teach him everything he knows … in two years – (mathematics, physics, history, and three or four living languages.  [I took this to mean – that they would not bother with Latin])


Now, let us leave this story … and come back to our own




It’s the Super-Rich.


Who benefits – from the American People – paying SO MUCH attention to Fashions & Sports?


If our lives tend to be increasingly superficial … who benefits?


Who benefits from so many housewives being busy … clipping coupons?


Who benefits  – from our being Such Good Consumers?


If college students (upon graduation) find themselves saddled with OVERWHELMING debt …


if a great number of couples find they must both work – just to make ends meet … who benefits?


If (in general) our involvement in politics … our involvement in improving the health of our society – (making a better life for everyone)… is minimizedwho benefits?




The Super-Rich …


The Occupiers.


And … these people are … our enemy.


If someone is trying to destroy me (to kill me) – they are my enemy.


But suppose I am a child in an occupied country; and another nation is committed to bombing my homeland.  There is bound to be collateral (sideways) damage. Some civilians (including women and children) will also (if inadvertently) be killed.  It is then legitimate for the people (even the civilians) to regard the aggressor nation as an enemy, because they are committed to a course of action which puts them at risk … and those actions are bound to kill some (as “collateral damage”)


The Ruling Elite (the Super-Rich) are committed to a course of action – of keeping us riff-raff distracted, uneducated, struggling, and superficially occupied.  Their strategies substantially prevent us from interfering with their scheme to exploit us (as ‘their consumers’).


They deliberately make our lives worse!


See    (Noam Chomsky  – 10 strategies of Manipulation)


and    (Chris Hedges  – The Pathology of the Rich)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    (Story of Isaac  – Leonard Cohen)    (Chomsky  – Who Rules the World?)    (What the 1% don’t want you to know  – Bill Moyers, with Paul Krugman, discussing Thomas Piketty’s book – Capital in the Twenty-First Century)     (Manufacturing Consent  – Noam Chomsky)




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Happiness is not a matter of intensity

but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.

                                                                     –   Thomas Merton





“ … that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


This line (from the U.S. Declaration of Independence) is VERY well-known.  Certainly every American is familiar with it.  But I suspect that it has (in no small way) contributed to our dysfunctional relationship with the notion of Happiness.


It does NOT SAY that everyone has the right to be happy.  It does NOT say – if we pursue happiness, that we will attain it.   It does not even say that we should pursue happiness as a goal.


What it means is – that a person should have the opportunity to make his (or her) life better … that those efforts should not be hindered by (the state or) anyone else.


It is worded the way it is – for economy.

(I have read that – Thomas Jefferson never said two words when one would do.)



I wish to commend to you 2 (TED talk) videos that I happened to watch recently –    

(“There’s more to life than being happy”  – Emily Esfahani Smith)

Emily spent many years researching the HAPPINESS problem.  She found that pursuing happiness can actually make us unhappy.  She came to the conclusion that what we need is –

MEANING.  And she found that meaning seems to have four pillars


Belonging  (Love)

Purpose  (Service)


Storytelling  (how we interpret … and ‘frame’ our life)


I think that Emily’s talk does a good job of clarifying – that these Big human Issues do not reduce to “information”.  One must develop a “vision of life … for them to make sense.

It’s our vision (of life) which gives us the power to interpret individual events.      Mmm?


Another TED talk is    

(“What 1 skill = an awesome life?”-  Dr. Shimi Kang)


She says –

“I’ve been a medical doctor for 17 years.  I’ve researched the science of human motivation.  I’ve worked with thousands of people from all walks of life, and I believe that we humans are in trouble.”

“We’re in a place of negative evolution.  We have made sleep deprivation a symbol of ambition, and ‘rested’ a symbol of laziness.  We have made being too busy a symbol of importance.”


The World Health Organization says that

 “Stress is the #1 health epidemic of the 21st century”

But … Dr. Kang says – there are a few people who are better than ever.  They have passion and purpose and meaning and joy in their lives.  And so I wondered – What is the difference between these two groups?  What does one group have … that the other one doesn’t? Passion maybe? No.  Nor is it ‘grit’ – (hard work).


It turns out, it’s … adaptability.


She refers to the ‘Grant study’  (the longest yet study of human development … spanning 70 years) which concluded that “the key ingredient for well-being is … the ability to make lemonade out of lemons”



Albert Einstein said –

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”


Dr. Kang wrote a book (about dolphins … and what we can learn from them)  … called – “The Dolphin Way”  (now translated and published in many other languages)


She uses the basic (dolphin) family unit – the POD to remind us of the basics of ADAPTABILITY & BALANCE.

                   P    O    D

                     l      t       o

                       a     h      w

                         y      e      n

                                    r       t

                                      s       i




(POD  = Play, Others, & Downtime)


We are in trouble if we don’t play.


But FREE PLAY, she says, activates our frontal cortex.  It stimulates all kinds of pathways for abstract thinking, for emotional regulation, for problem solving, for strategy.  Play makes us comfortable with uncertainty. It makes us take risks, and to learn from trial and error.



The “O” (in POD) is for “others” … and it’s WHY we adapt.

While dolphins are exquisitely connected to their families, their groups, and their communities … humans have forgotten – that social connection is a basic of life.  

Being lonely is as much of a risk factor for death as is smoking.


When we don’t honor the basics, we are in trouble.


Humans have also forgotten – that rest and relaxation is a basic of life.

(DOWNTIME …  This is the “D” in POD  …   and it’s WHEN we adapt)


We are so “on the go” that stress hormones are wreaking havoc on our brains and our minds.


When we don’t honor the basics, we are in trouble … and we do things – like driving & texting … and yelling at our kids to calm down.


The research on


Slowing down

Paying attention

is outstanding.

It improves our focus, our memory, our concentration, our relationships, our life-satisfaction.


DOWNTIME … The most progressive companies in the world are bringing in yoga classes, meditation rooms, and beds … because they know – that “breaks” is the moment of “breakthroughs” … that looking inward gives us innovation and inspiration.


So that’s “POD”.  And POD is how we adapt.  And adapt is how we thrive.




(book) –   “Man’s Search for Meaning”  by  Viktor Frankl    (Why Denmark is the Happiest Country)

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                                                 We don’t have to put it together

                                                        It is together.

                                                                                     – (the back of the Whole Earth Catalog)



We have all come to the right place.

We all sit in God’s classroom.


The only thing left for us to do, my dear,

Is to stop

Throwing spitballs for a while.

                                                                        –   Hafiz



All the dangers were outside us

And we knew them all by name.

                         –  Barbara Keith
                   (from The Bramble and the Rose)





What is the difference between a tragedy and a melodrama?


Well, it turns out … it’s this:    preventability.


In either case … bad things happen;

but whether the story is a tragedy … or (just one more) melodrama

is NOT determined by the basic “facts” of the story.

(No.  They may be just the same in either case.)

It will depend on the (subtle) way the story is handled.


If the “point” the storyteller is making

Is simply:  that ‘shit happens’

(lots of Country & Western songs fall into this category)

then  – it’s a melodrama.


If, on the other hand, the storyteller wants you to understand

that the (bad) things which occurred

could have been prevented … then

the story warrants being called  – a tragedy.


For example … when New York’s Twin Towers were bombed

our president (at the time) … got on the radio

and told us … that there was no justification (of any kind) for this act of terrorism …

that it was (simply) an “evil act”.


He was, you see, taking on the role of the storyteller

and he wanted the American People to see these events in a particular way.

He wanted us to see ourselves as wearing the White Hat

and ‘these terrorists’ as wearing the Black Hat.


He wanted us to see ourselves as the (innocent) victim in the story

and the ‘terrorists’ … as the perpetrators of evil.


He wanted us to see ourselves as in a melodrama.


If (on the other hand) there had been a Real Leader in the white house at that time,

he (or she) would have convened a Family Meeting (of the entire country)

and addressed us something like this:


“A terrible thing has just happened.  We have been attacked

on our own soil … and the lives of many good people

have been lost.

And so … we need to take a Hard Look

at how we have been deporting ourselves.

What have we been doing that would cause someone to hate us so much?

We need to figure it out.

And we need to find a way

to do better!”


[And then, (logically)  – he would have put the core principles of our Foreign Policy

‘on the table’

and  proceeded to consider them openly and honestly.

He would (in essence) have led us on a path of repentance

(so that it would be unlikely … that such acts of hatred

would recur in the future)]


That’s what would have made sense.


But, you see, the entire show

was insincere.

This was actually the debut of the war on terror.

(What a Great Invention!

but, of course, since ‘terror’ is a tactic, one can NOT wage a war against it)


When the ‘bad guys’ do it, we call it Terror … and

when we do it, we call it “Shock and Awe”.


And we never had any intention of humanizing our Foreign Policy.


But … we still imagine – that we are waging a war on terror!


It’s all just storytelling … (putting the right slant on the events)




The reason there are so many melodramas being told

Is because it’s what we want to hear.

It’s because we would like to believe that we wear the White Hat, and that

we are not complicit … that

we are not accountable

for the bad things which happen to us (or elsewhere in the world)


When Ambrose bierce defines peace this way –

Peace, n.  In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.


he is trying to get us to see

that we are responsible for the wars that occur …

that we are actually accountable.

(that we could treat everyone like Family … and cultivate peace, instead of war)


He is trying to get us … to grow up.   



Most of us try to live life inside out … Backwards.


We think that our Emotional State is at the mercy of events exterior to ourselves.


“I’ll be happy … when I get a raise.”


Or … “Boy, if he does that to me again … am I going to be Mad!”

(you see?   … We even Make Plans   to be angry)


We imagine that we are the victim of what happens to us.

We think that our Happiness is dependent upon external events.

(and then, since we believe it … it becomes   as though true)


What we are actually messing with here

is one of our Fundamental Powers.


We are (in a sort of mystical … but very Real way) the Cause

of what we see around us.


We would do well to realize

that our Situation  … is showing us

what is inside us.


It is (as though) … a Reflection.


We (in general) think we know how the Universe works … but we don’t.


(this is Good News, actually … because, if we can figure it out, then our lives can get better)


The Key is … our Inner State.

If we Show Up in a high (emotional) state …

if we’re coming from a place of Love, Peace, Joy, (etc.)

then the world around us will be seen through the lens of that emotional state.


But if we’re all Stinkface, and coming from a place of Fear & Doubt, then

the world around us will look very different.


Once we understand … that we are accountable

for (whatever) state we show up in, then

we can begin the Work

of choosing … the state we show up in.


Viktor Frankl (in his     Man’s Search for Meaning) tells us

that the ability (the power) to choose one’s own attitude regardless of one’s situation …

This is something that no one can take away from you.


Frankl was in the Nazi Concentration Camps … and he witnessed it himself.

He saw people (who, though they were themselves starving)

give their little bit of food to others who were hungry.


And this happened often enough

that he was forced to the (above) conclusion –  that

we can choose our attitude.


Which means, of course, that we [always] do choose our attitude.


Of course, if we’re entertaining the belief – that we can NOT choose … that we’re at the mercy of our environment, then

this belief will (seriously) interfere with our (God-given) ability to

choose our Emotional State.


(That’s why we try to live life inside-out …

because we are entertaining bad habits and Wrong Beliefs)


[To anyone who is interested in a System

to help them correct this (deadly) pattern,

I would suggest you read Joey Klein’s book: The Inner Matrix

in which he outlines the basics of Conscious Transformation.]


I am certain that before you read this essay … you already had a notion of

(what I am calling) – accountability.



there are a number of notions … (of Cognitive Categories)

which are crucial to a good understanding of Human Life in general

(and of our Current Situation, in particular) … and also to simply Living Life Well … and


accountability … is one of these.


It is my hope that this little essay has increased your regard for accountability …

and you will take a more active interest in fostering it (and  your understanding of it) in your own life.


It’s important.


In the Great War of Ideas

it is the Pivotal Idea

in one of the Great Battles.


[this War is in all of us, and

we are all in this War]




I Heard God Laughing

             Renderings of Hafiz    by Daniel Ladinsky


I just now added “The Bramble and the Rose”  to the Songs page (under References)