The Real World: Attending To The Here And Now

This is the typical human problem. The object of dread may not be an operation in the immediate future. It may be the problem of next month’s rent, of a threatened war or social disaster, of being able to save enough for old age, or of death at the last. This ‘spoiler of the present’ may not even be a future dread. It may be something out of the past, some memory of an injury, some crime or indiscretion, which haunts the present with a sense of resentment or guilt. The power of memories and expectations is such that for most human beings the past and the future are not as real, but more real than the present. The present cannot be lived happily unless the past has been ‘cleared up’ and the future is bright with promise.

There can be no doubt that the power to remember and predict, to make an ordered sequence out of a helter-skelter chaos of disconnected moments, is a wonderful development of sensitivity. In a way it is the achievement of the human brain, giving man the most extraordinary powers of survival and adaptation to life. But the way in which we generally use this power is apt to destroy all its advantages. For it is of little use to us to be able to remember and predict if it makes us unable to live fully in the present.

What is the use of planning to be able to eat next week unless I can really enjoy the meals when they come? If I am so busy planning how to eat next week that I cannot fully enjoy what I am eating now, I will be in the same predicament when next week’s meals become ‘now.’

If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.

~Alan Watts

Holy

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

Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

I have no ego. . . my psychotic episode.

The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source

Recommended readings on the absence of ego in the SchizoAffective (schizophrenic) mind:

Features:
“What You Want”, “Bent and Broken” and “The Complex” by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
“Tech-No-Logic” by In[Perfektion] off album Perfekt Chaos, freemusicarchive.org/music/InPerfektion/
“In Suspense” by Psychadelik Pedestrian off album Nocturnia, freemusicarchive.org/music/Psychadelik_Pedestrian/
“Eerie Horror Scene”, “Strange Days”, “Hell”, “Spooky Water Drops” and “Pterodactyl Scream” sound FX recorded by Mike Koenig, SoundBible.com

*Image Credit (used with permission through CC license):
“walking on the razor’s edge in the underground train world : manhattan (2007)” by torbakhopper

Happiness In Sadness

Louis C.K., delivered in his talented, comedic way, illustrates the reason why his girls do not have cellphones. He makes a valid point in his philosophy that it is okay to feel alone and to just feel, to be present in loneliness, sadness, and empathy; as from this emotive dance comes happiness and gratitude. Louis C.K. points out that cellphones can disconnect human beings from being present with their feelings, from learning to empathize with other human beings. Although, humorous, his point has veracity.

The Parable of the Cage

The dawn of freedom--digital-artOnce, on the air there lived a bird who loved to fly. The bird was not at all extraordinary or even beautiful, but all of its extraordinary beauty was seen in its flight. It loved to fly higher than any other bird even the prettier ones, as if it were not afraid of ever falling to the earth. And this bird was not afraid of falling to earth, for it never did, so skilled and adept it was at flying. As if flying were an extension of its thoughts, as if it were mate to the air and the air pleased to do its bidding. The bird would wrap the air round its body and wings in such ways that it could perform the most difficult feats with an unmeasured ease. The bird loved flying so much it did not build a nest for the clouds cradled it, it did not mate for the air was its soul mate, it rarely ate for the feel and view from the air sustained it.

mutationOnce in a while the bird would plummet to the earth as if it meant to crash headlong into it, but would flick a wing at the last moment and always the air was there to catch it so would soar once more into the depths of the sky. People would gather below to watch the bird and even the dullest of wit could recognize its art. But it was not the dullest of wit that sought to possess the bird and its artful flying, so planned to capture the bird on one of its rare plunges to the earth. A man, the cleverest of all the rest, devised a contraption that he may have the bird for his own use. He also built a cage, a special cage, customized for the bird and its special talents.

MadalenaOne day, everything done and after much stalking and careful observance, the man knew the bird made its plunges only on rainy days, for the bird adored the sun, so loved flying those days most. The next rainy day the man took his contraption and his plan down to the place where he knew the bird would plummet, and stood ready. The man placed his contraption on the ground, painted to camouflage the ground; gate open, painted to camouflage the earth. The bird, fooled by the disguise Prison Planetbecause it did not know harm could come by it on the ground, for it had grown accustomed by the air, sky, and sun, plummeted, but before it had chance to flick its wing to again take the air, it heard a clang and found itself trapped inside walls. The bird tried to escape but could not feel the support of the air in order to gain speed enough to burst through the walls. It would not have mattered, as the man was clever and fashioned the walls much too thick to break. So, the bird lay on the ground held fast by its gravity. Like this, the man carried the contraption, the cage, and its prisoner back home.

How do you interpret The Parable of the Cage, reader?

A.D. 2050*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Caged” by Jeff Babbitt
“The dawn of freedom — digital-art” by balt-arts
“mutation” by Ozge Gurer
“Madalena” by Catarina Carneiro de Sousa
“Prison Planet” by Mark Rain
“A.D. 2050” by jaci Lopes dos Santos

Existence Is Weird

The reason why certain people turn to philosophy, why I became a philosopher, since I was a little boy, I always felt that existence as such was weird.  I mean, here we are.  Isn’t that odd? ~Alan Watts

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

Big Road Blues (A Look At Humanity’s Alienation through Industrialization)

With the advent of the automobile, civilization changed greatly and at great speed. Henry Ford, the first to use the assembly line technique to build his Model T cars, also created (unbeknownst to him at the time) the precursor to scientific management and the alienation of Man from his humanity. When skill and mastery were removed from work and delineated along an assembly to many people (who need not have the skill) performing the same task repetitively over many days, months, years, Man became divorced from his own sense of accomplishment, efficacy, and benefit from the fruits of his own labor. His being was reduced to numbers and algorithms, he became quantified and thus his trajectory towards a life of drudgery and misery. Rather than the life of leisure at first thought promised to civilized Man, his life became one of automation and robotification. Empty and emotionless.

This music video is an attempt to illustrate that story.

Credits (all clips are public domain or used with permission through CC license)–
Music:
“Big Road Blues” by Tommy Johnson from Internet Archive
Clips:
“American Road 2” from Prelinger Archives
“Wheels of Progress (circa 1927)” produced by U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, Department of Agriculture, Educational Film Service from Prelinger Archives
“Black Girl” by livedtap
Stock Footage filmed by NIKOtheOrb
Edited by NIKOtheOrb

Other music videos.

 

What is Schizophrenia?

EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

What is Schizophrenia?  

“A good question, with no simple, short, or straightforward answer, since each sufferer is unique and schizophrenia is a complex phenomenon. In general, schizophrenia is an extremely introverted, psychospiritual mode of perception, or way of relating to the world; or state of consciousness involving (what I have called) ‘extreme empathy’. This simultaneous blessing and curse is due to a fragile, fragmented, dead, or lost ego, or conscious personality structure. The normal, ego-enforced boundaries between the self and the world have broken down, such that schizophrenia sufferers – for better and worse – find themselves identifying with everything within their scope of perception. It is because of this ego loss, or ‘dis-integration’ that psychosis, shamanic initiation and mystical experience are so inextricably bound. The schizophrenic person may appear to family, friends and doctors to be lacking in emotion, but in reality is in a state of intense…

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