Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Survival no more

For millions of years mans basic purpose was to survive and procreate. All of our social, economical, and political structures were created around this purpose; survival. Today there are still some people living the survival paradigm, but there is also a good portion of the population who do not live in this paradigm anymore.

Some of us live in a society where basic needs are satisfied without much effort or suffering. This is due to medical and technological advances. We have entered a new phase of human history that is unprecedented and a little unreflective of the times. Since most of our social, economical, and political structures have been conditioned to revolve around the survival mentality, what happens now?

We are focused more around the want, rather than the need. So how does, or how will our common structures change? This is a pretty significant shift considering where most of our history has been focused. So whats the next step? What is a practical way of thinking about life that revolves around this new paradigm, rather than the old? Its almost like how do you react to the butterfly when we're used to dealing with the Caterpillar.

What is ever present in this new society? Technology and rapid communication. These things have sped up life, ideas, and have changed how we view different parts of the world. Is mythology dead because of this? Has fantasy flown? I will revisit this soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Orbit

I don't remember the first time I heard the word, but I remember that tucked in a place between consciousness and unconsciousness it remained for a very long time. I had this thought that we, as human beings are like worlds that are dense and thick with matter and that have objects that orbit them. I feel as though we all have this paradigm of the things we know that are in the light and in our line of vision, things that are there, noticed, but unrealized, in our peripheral vision, and things that are unknown, i.e. on the dark side of the moon.

I feel as though this theory of metaphysics, for me, has made its way from the peripheral to the "in the line of vision." The Oxford dictionary states that Metaphysics is "the theoretical philosophy of being and knowing." I've heard and seen the word hundreds of times, but like a scared child afraid to go into a dark room I never ventured past the pronunciation.

I guess that starting point to this issue would be weather you view metaphysics as as random or planned phenomena. If it is planned the solution is simple; you are because of a plan and you know because of a plan.

If you believe that metaphysics is a more random occurrence, then I think the solution is a bit more complex; if there is one.

Random being occurs when the right elements, temperature, and timing line up in order to support life. Then the environment and chance contribute to whether or not a species is going to be intellectually sentient of itself. I'm no mathematician, but my guess would be that the probability of these things happening is pretty small, maybe minuscule. That being said, if there is such a thing as luck I think that we humans may have stumbled upon it. Reflecting on this, it seems nonsensical how we behave as a species, i.e. seeming to destroy more than we create.

The knowing part seems like a conundrum as well. That is we are able to know that most of us use only 5% of our brains, but we aren't able to figure out how to use the other 95%. So we know, but not really. I think that a human that used all of his/her brain might observe our species and either laugh, cry, or being violently ill at our shortcomings and/or what we spend our time being concerned with.

I'm exploring the cliched "tip of the iceberg" so bear with me on my journey. I've found it helpful, though, to write my thoughts down in order to see the trees in the forest.

Friday, September 25, 2009


"Its not about the destination, its about the journey". This quote has been used over and over by many. I'm not sure of its origin, but I think I really get it now. I understood it before, but now I GET IT.

I was blessed to have been born with somewhat of a above-average intellect (I'm not trying to be boastful), however, I, for a long time, lacked any real drive or motivation. I allowed myself to get by with any real effort.

Throughout High School and College I relied on my intellect to get by, but then my bubble burst. Almost from the first day of law school I realized this was a whole different situation that any I had encountered before. My world was turned upside down.

Instead of relying on intellect I turned to hard work, I was super-motivated, but more out of fear, than some drive that originated from deep down inside me. In this experience I worked harder than I had ever worked and barely survived.

I finally made the decision to be a teacher. The first four years of my pedagogical existence was based on raw survival skills that included little intellect and little motivation, but more of a flight or fright decision making scenario.

I presently feel that I am at a place in my life where I can combine inborn talent, with learned motivation and hardened by survival situations to be the person that I always fantasized I would become. I've turned that romantic person from a fantasy into a classic reality. This is my evolution, my journey.

I'm not sure what the next step is, but that's OK. Becoming self-aware of how the past has made me into the person today, and being self-conscious of the person I am right now is, I know now, an essential part of me being me. So here's to the journey, for the destination means there's an end and I'm not ready for that just yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


When my daughter cried last night at around 12:30 am for water a certain thought hit me. It was one of those that you better write down or you'll try to remember it in the morning with not luck.

I had this thought of a person, who from birth, experienced the same stimulation, was exposed to the same stimuli every day of his life. One day, maybe in his late thirties or early forties, the stimulation stopped. What would happen? Would he go insane because he was so conditioned to the experience of the repeated stimuli? or would he survive?

On the other hand, would we be anything without any stimulation? Probably not. Its how we respond and experience stimuli which shapes who and what we are and become.

This made me think are we, you and I not in that controlled environment, exposed to the same stimuli everyday unknowingly. We've created this safe paradigm where everything fits. This is why the unexpected provokes a heightened emotional response. My question is, if we consistently exposed ourselves to new stimuli would we expand our paradigm, thereby expanding our understanding of reason and how the world works? This seems rhetorical. Of Course. But how realistic is it to push the limits of our own reasoning or experience all the time?
Or what specific types of stimuli could help us positively expand our understanding and reasoning in the way that we want it to? But I guess if we don't know the end result of certain stimuli we don't know what the destination is. But I think that this is how all news ideas are created, trial and error; create a hypothesis and test possible solutions until something works.

More to come.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blind Faith....Literally

I've been reflecting on the purpose of ideas lately. Thanks to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" , which is taking me an unusually long time to read, but that's OK because its like savoring a rich piece of flour less chocolate cake. Sorry, diets will usually cause food analogies.

Anyways, to jump tracks for a second (I'll connect them in a second) I was playing some music for my kids today as they jumped on the bed; a favorite past time of ours. I put on the song "Can't find my way home" by Blind Faith; a brilliant Eric Clapton collaborative album that I was addicted to when I was about 15. Although I've listened to this song hundreds of times one of the lines finally clicked.

"I just thank God for time". How is our actual existence even decided. Is it an organic, chaotic chance occurrence or by design? Who do or what do we thank for being sentient beings? Is it God? That would be an easy answer.

A Romantic answer to this dilemma is simply yes, in God's great design we exist because he/she/it has deemed it so. But where is the evidence but in scripture and long ago iffy witness accounts?

A Classic answer to the dilemma is that it is an organic chaotic chance existence. The simple evidence that I see is the creation of life by humans from flora and fauna creations to cloned beasts of burden.

This Classic/Romantic discord comes from "Motorcycle Maintenance." Its the difference between what is and what if, basically.

So we burst into our own individual existence for a limited period of time to survive, procreate, and die, right? Then why are we given the ability to perceive logic, appreciate art, feel pain, live love, indulge in emotion and contemplate concepts beyond our current realm of reasoning?

"Zen and the Art" talks about expanding our realm of reasoning to assist us in being able to answer some of the more difficult problems that confront us in our modern society where a good number of us don't have to worry about the basic rules of survival anymore. This makes sense to me, but how do we expand the realm? Which way do we go? Laterally? Horizontally?

If anyone can contribute to this conversation, please, its time to move it forward, or in a different direction.