Defining Sustainability

“Our labor system is set up so that people must be employed in order to gain money to survive, while the actual contributions these occupations have to society are highly suspect, showing that jobs often exist just to keep people doing something in order to live and support the economic structure itself. This is a waste of human life.” ~from the video

 

 

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On The Winter’s Morrow

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Winter Snow Path

 

Living outside, I would not say that I have control over my own life (for who really does? I give my will to the universe and move in the ever present Now, walking along the beach of the unknown), but I am much freer than when I lived inside, bogged down by some of the fabricated economic controls that are too often in the US used as fear-mongering. Out of doors, I am much happier and at peace outside of society’s box than inside it.
But what of the winter, I have been asked many times.

Two years ago, when we (my boyfriend, Stephen, and I) first walked away from our home it was still winter and the coldest we slept was 18 degreess, with no problem, and that was without a tent and only summer sleeping bags we zipped together. The average winter temperature is not very cold here in this part of Pennsylvania (for instance, nothing like Alaska’s or Maine’s winters).

Cold NoseI am looking forward to the winter, it will be beautiful to witness as the snow falls or to wake up to a mountain top of snow. Outside, one can see all of the changes, even the subtle ones, as the seasons merge with one another. For example, the official date of Autumn is September 22, but when you live outside, you notice that Fall begins well before that, usually around the end of July and beginning of August and lasts, in the tiniest, minutest ways all through August, even before the temperature changes in September. You can smell Fall coming in August. One day in August, we woke up and the sound of the wind in the treetops was different and we both knew right then that Fall was on its way. The sound of the forest changes, the animals behave differently well before the end of September. Everything PREPARES first for the Fall and you can see all of the preparation throughout August and September, something otherwise missed if living inside. You learn to synchronize with your natural surroundings. We would weather the winter as easily as the animals do.

SeasonsJust the other night, in the tent we listened as a thunderstorm began miles away in the distance and the reverberations of the insects’ calls danced off the still air and anticipating trees. Then we saw lightning, and listened intently as the wind picked up, starting at the tops of the trees first, before descending around their barks and rushing through the forest proper and down near the ground. We listened as the insects hushed, just slightly, as if they, too, were waiting for the storm. And we can hear it coming, we can hear the sheet of rain rushing towards us like the sound of a train. The sound is unmistakable. Last year and earlier this year, when we used to live near a stream, the sound of the stream increased as the storm approached. And when we walked about outside, two years ago, we were often caught in the storms and we were still awed by their beauty. We have seen colors of lightning that have dazzled us, we have seen the satellites shoot across the air, we have seen red lightning (called sprites, I think) that actually occur high above the clouds, we have been so close to lightning strikes as to feel its heat and notice that lightning actually burns a fire orange! Like looking at a string of flame, it was incredible! We saw the rare Strawberry Moon two years ago, we have watched the positions of the constellations change as the seasons and the earth revolve. Nature calls the spirit within humans. . . my boyfriend and I just answered back. We have never regretted it. We often wonder whether we can sleep again while inside. Although, one day, we will probably eventually return to the indoors , for now the Winter’s morrow bothers us not, and we look forward to exploring the seasons merge from one to the other, as humans merge from one phase of life to another, as the universe slowly moves on towards an unknown eventuality. We await. . . and we prepare looking for the mysteries beneath, looking past our physical eyes . . . seeking more to see.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Winter Snow Path” by blmiers2
“Seasons” by Dawn Ellner
“Cold Nose” by Laszlo Ilyes

Deranged Delusions

deranged delusions dance before dawn
daring to be real in the fit of a new day

apologies for carefree freedom rings
ringing but w/no bells, just sound

trees killing themselves in cities
ocean waves rolling tides over white music

but no voices
volunteers borrowing some other country’s sorrow

in the middle of the day, crying
crime of 3:30am prepubescent penal passions

love raining elusively over neo-noir-nouveau fashion
shows

silly salacious serenity says too many faces of insanity
saddam hussein’s feral feeble reminders

of a death invented just so we can stay alive
sublime silence screaming behind bars

bare & naked & nothing else to see in
nonsense

sensing this moment: a now, & now

the end

QOTD Alan Watts

“The ego is nothing more than the focus of conscious attention. It’s like the radar on a ship, a trouble-shooter, to see is there anything in the way, and conscious attention is a designed function in the brain to scan the environment, like a radar does, and note for any trouble-making changes. But, if you define yourself as your trouble-shooter, as your ego, then naturally you define yourself as being in a perpetual state of anxiety. The moment we cease to identify with the ego, and become aware that we are the whole organism…then the ego becomes servant, not master.” ~Alan Watts

To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns

INSPIRATION:

Albert-László Barabási, author of LINKED, wants you to think about NETWORKS:

“Networks are everywhere. The brain is a network of nerve cells connected by axons, and cells themselves are networks of molecules connected by biochemical reactions. Societies, too, are networks of people linked by friendships, familial relationships and professional ties. On a larger scale, food webs and ecosystems can be represented as networks of species. And networks pervade technology: the Internet, power grids and transportation systems are but a few examples. Even the language we are using to convey these thoughts to you is a network, made up of words connected by syntactic relationships.”

‘For decades, we assumed that the components of such complex systems as the cell, the society, or the Internet are randomly wired together. In the past decade, an avalanche of research has shown that many real networks, independent of their age, function, and scope, converge to similar architectures, a universality that allowed researchers from different disciplines to embrace network theory as a common paradigm.’

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about recurring patterns and liquid networks:

“Coral reefs are sometimes called “the cities of the sea”, and part of the argument is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities. These patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of news tools on the web, the same shapes keep turning up… when life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents”

Patrick Pittman from Dumbo Feather adds:

“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.

“…Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behavior of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge.”

James Gleick, author of THE INFORMATION, has written how the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding and how Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.. (Its an ECO-SYSTEM, an EVOLVING NETWORK)

“If you want to understand life,” Wrote Richard Dawkins, “don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” (AND THINK ABOUT NETWORKS!!

Geoffrey West, from The Santa Fe Institute, also believes in the pivotal role of NETWORKS:

“…Network systems can sustain life at all scales, whether intracellularly or within you and me or in ecosystems or within a city…. If you have a million citizens in a city or if you have 1014 cells in your body, they have to be networked together in some optimal way for that system to function, to adapt, to grow, to mitigate, and to be long term resilient.”

Author Paul Stammetts writes about The Mycelial Archetype: He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.

An article in Reality Sandwich called Google a psychedelically informed superpowered network, a manifestation of the mycelial archetype:

“Recognizing this super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple “aha’s!” when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed. That Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up. The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent.The devices of desire are those that connect,” because as Johnson says “CHANCE FAVORS THE CONNECTED MIND”.

*Source

The Joyous Cosmology

“So the relationship between the organism and the environment is transactional. The environment grows the organism and organism in turn creates the environment. The organism turns the sun into light, but it requires there to be an environment containing a sun for there to be an organism at all. Now the answer to it all is they are all one process. And it isn’t that organisms by chance came into this world, but rather that this world is sort of the environment which grows organisms. It was that way from the beginning.” ~Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology

*The fractal sphere by Scott Draves and the Electric Sheep

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The Spirit of Chaos

“Take one of those individual threads in the fiber that seems to be so chaotic and go into the constitution of that, and again you will find fantastic order, you’ll find the most gorgeous designs of molecules.” ~Alan Watts, The Web of Life

Why is it that we think we must depend upon our brains to lead us through life?

It is not the brain that experiences (the brain is more like a recording apparatus) but our minds, our consciousness experiences and perceives and conceives our environment (environment here does not necessarily exclude an urban or suburban environment). Since our minds experience, by what process do we undertake this experimental existence? Intuition. We feel, we sense what surrounds us, because we ARE our environment.

Intuition is that part of us, as conscious beings, that processes those constant changes within our environment, which can be aware of those incalculable factors. What’s more can interpret, assess, and comprehend those factors, like a kind of calculation (albeit, one that does not involve counting). Intuition can do this faster than the mind can think, and even more rapid than logic can compute. Why then should we depend upon the brain and its logic? Why should we use it, rather than or as substitute for intuition? Logic is limited, therefore, finite. More, it is flawed, because it can only compute either/or, it cannot perceive a dynamo of information (i.e., factors and variables) simultaneously, all extending from separate directions, chaotic stillness. Logic, that is to say linear systems, regulates an environment, and in that regulation transforms that environment into a static environment, the reduction of infinity to the finite. Our intuition, on the other hand, embraces chaos and randomness without fear of punishment or failure, because our intuition knows that in chaos there is order. The brain and its logic attempts to order chaos. So, we as intuitive beings choose life and health, imagination, our wild nature, exploration, and experience to be more alive, to evolve. For this, we as intuitive beings are uncontrollable, incorrigible, impossible to regulate, and non-linear. If intuition is the spirit of chaos, then life be the canvas.

Through an intuitive, fully open, wide-eyed, sensual and honest experience of existence, it is possible to transcend hopelessness, pessimism, disbelief, etc. by living in the moment and accepting things as they come. To really enjoy living and look at life as an adventure, we open our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits to our natural intuitive state of being. In this way, we can enjoy every moment of discovery in the world…and we can become like children on a playground. Now, this does not imply that we possess knowledge, intelligence or wisdom to be absolutely sure about anything, however, it does mean that we are free to change our minds quite often, because the more things we experience, the more our perception changes, and the more we grow and evolve as human beings.

We are not meant to be miserable beings…we are meant to be vibrant, fully open, playful, sensual, universal beings. We are more than we can become, because each of us is a fractal of light…and we are all connected.

“Light, here, means awareness  to be aware of life, of experience as it is at this moment, without any judgement or ideas about it. In other words, you have to see and feel what you are experiencing as it is. And not as it is named. This very simple “opening of the eyes” brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure illusion.” ~Alan Watts