30 November 2014

All That's Poetic

I have found that appreciation of phenomena like the erosive force of flowing water, the mechanics of an avalanche, the phases of the moon, or the life cycle of a mayfly, invariably leads to a vast infinity of all that's poetic.
The truth is, that those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded.
— Herbert Spencer, 1889
Life cycle of the mayfly.
Die Gartenlaube (1887), p 556.

I have written poems about how flowing water seems so much like time that I imagine traveling upstream into the past.
Three miles to a moon and upstream into July
Twilight of Ensuing Midnight
Through a scientific lens, the mystery comes into focus.
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.
― Carl Sagan


23 November 2014

Considering Reality

Reality distills to perception. Naming the concept reality a definitive word like "reality" is deceptive. Naming deceives us with the alluring notion of one true reality.

To the contrary, reality is unique to an individual. The notion of reality is synthesized from our brain processing the aggregated input of our senses.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
― Albert Einstein
Einstein was likely considering how the rabbit hole of elementary particle physics manifests our perception of reality, but on a macro level Einstein's quote reminds me that reality:
  • like beauty, is in the (eye) senses of the beholder;
  • there is no one true reality, and 
  • our personal reality persists as long as our brains process sensory input. 
Despite our separate realities, mustn't there be common reality? Surely a society functions by consensus reality.

My sense of reality seems illusive because at first pass it seems that I — as an individual— possess the one true reality, but on reflection I realize that can't possibly be true.

Blindsided by the Light

Thinking about the Castaneda books we read in the 1970s. We were a generation of introspective daydreamers. We were full of hope and open to discover profundities that were routinely ignored or blithely overlooked.
“For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.”
― Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan
What happened on our watch?
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
― Martin Luther King
How did we allow ourselves and our children to be ruled by hate-filled bean counters?
We were naively inattentive to the seductive force of greed. We were willfully ignorant of the darker, self-serving aspects of human nature.

We assumed the common good was our purpose and that its emergence was inevitable.

We assumed King's moral universe, the arc of civilization, bends toward justice rather than tribal oppression.

We were blindsided by the light.