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

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Cosmic Consciousness

You are literally made of stardust and whatever becomes of you the particles from which you are made have been around since the dawn of time and will continue to live forever. ~Danny Scheinmann, Random Acts of Heroic Love

In other words, we are all a continuation of the big bang (if there was such a thing, but rather than looking at this as an actual event, let’s look at it as if it were the adjective about a particular event). Much the same as humans are conceived, and as thoughts are conceived, and as atoms collide, and as the earth peoples (like the apple tree apples–an idea borrowed from Alan Watts, but that is apropos I think), humans are.

TardezitaYes, no one can truly see the world the same way as another. Truly cannot see because each human has experienced his or her life, uniquely, through a unique set of happenstances and occurences and accidents and guidances etc; it is this uniqueness that establishes the subtle distinctions that can make each one of us a guru. In this way, all humans inherently possesses an infinity of probable potentialities. Each probability disappears or appears according to the conscious and willful choices made as human beings. These constitute the lovely differences between humans, which make it possible for humans to relate to one another on differing levels. When we find ourselves among greatness (whether that is a work of art, music composed, ballet, basketball game, graphic design, architecture, voice, etc.) we subjectively feel the meaning conveyed and we perceive that greatness wrapped up in a little piece of ourselves. . . so, in some ways we still experience it differently rather than the same. What we can all agree on is that as far as we know there does exist an external dimension, separate from us, yet somehow connected, called external reality (the amalgamation of all realizations, the collective mind). These are the genes of our sameness.

Fossil Sitting In Sun LightI, too, perceive in such a nondualistic manner. As the Winter leaves its cold tendrils in the early days of Spring, and as does one galaxy merges (not collides) with the other, passing through one another and leaving bits of each other within the makeup of the other, as is the nonduality in things. It can be difficult to distinguish one from the other, but only at certain levels of magnification. At one level, the distinction cannot be perceived, as a single point from which to begin or end cannot be perceived. Where do I end and Life begin?

The space around us is full of a living essence, which we are just beginning to understand. This essence is like a conduit that is affected by our thoughts. Like oscillations of a bowed string, the notes we play do matter. ~Shawn Hocking

It’s easy to travel down the nihilist path; I find myself doing this on occasion myself. Although, I don’t think of basing the why of things on their function constitutes nihilism. I think it’s a very realistic (no pun intended) way of perceiving the world about us. Nihilism only comes into play because this way does not include the existence of a god (as an anthropomorphic entity). Also, nihilism does not necessarily mean ending as in destruction. Even Nietzsche, the so-called father of nihilism, did not think this way, evident by his philosophy of the Superman. Nietzche was an evolutionist! He wanted a better kind of Man, as he was extremely displeased with the present lot.

Shawn Hocking ArtworkAnd so, that brings us to Love. Love, to me, is not an emotion, it is a way of being, a way of living in the world. Not so much with love, as *being* love’ in this way with every action, with every motion and with every will and want of your being embodies love, which is the natural tendency in humans. Love is a form of consciousness/conscience, and without them love cannot be experienced. And no, love is not only a human trait. The iconization and commodification of love is a human trait, yes. It is obvious that animals and other organisms love. Observe the cow, the lion, the cat, the dog, the deer, the elephant, the dolphin, the whale, the penguin, as well as the flower, the rock, the sea, and the desert.

Are we not all the embodiment of Life and Love, a cosmic consciousness?

[Cosmic Consciousness]*Image Credits (artwork used with permission through CC license and with express permission from Shawn Hocking)–
“Yin Yang Sky Earth — Illustration” by DonkeyHotey
“Fossil Sitting In Sun Light” by A Guy Taking Pictures
“Tardezita” by Eduardo Amorim
[Cosmic Consciousness] by Shawn Hocking
[Untitled] by Shawn Hocking

What Is ‘You’?

The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around; the real, deep down you is the whole universe. ~Alan Watts

From The Mind Of A Schizo, Affected

I am always thinking about what people are doing, so does that mean, I always know what people are doing? But, it seems as if they are always thinking about what they are supposed to do (what someone else told them to do). I even think about what I am doing. Why do I do that? So, if people are only thinking about what they are supposed to do or what someone else tells them to do, does that mean people can never think for themselves? If you are always thinking about what you are supposed to do, that someone told you to do, how can you ever think of anything else? If you cannot think of anything else, then how can you think for yourself?

They are only ever thinking about what someone else told them to do. Someone outside of themselves. Therefore, not you. So, you never think about yourself, and so never think for yourself. If you never think about yourself, and for yourself, then you are only think about something other than yourself, and what it (the socially constructed ego) tells you to do. You listen to some Thing else. When you listen to some Thing else, you react all the time to sounds. The sound of the alarm bell, the sound of the phone ringing, the sound of the television, the “sound” of the internet, the sound of voices over radio; all the time synthesised, mechanized sounds. The sounds of the System in which you reside. The System, although illusory, that you listen to, and let tell you what to do. These sounds become normal, because you have always heard them. Ever since you were born, you were born into this world of sound. And then you were enrolled into a school,
which told you what those sounds are. And you listened. You did not question. You let it tell you what to do. You do not think for yourself. If you do not think for yourself, do you know what ‘You’ is, or even if ‘You’ are? If you do not know that, how do you know what to do, unless a sound or someone (an other human with imaginary authority) tells you? If you do not know what to do, you are listening to what someone else is telling you what to do. Because even after you are out of school and you are all grown up, you are still listening to the sounds. If you are listening to the sounds, ‘You’are being told what to do and ‘You’ (that ego) cannot be real.

Anamorphic Polymorphic Sticker ...well it doesn't even exist*Image Credits (all artwork used with permission through CC license)–
“Digital Ego: Social and Legal Aspects of Virtual Identity” by Kevin Lim
“Anamorphic Polymorphic Sticker …well it doesn’t even exist” by Tommaso Meli

Related post

The Careful Minds of Reality Daytrippers

From The Mind Of A Schizo, Affected:

The careful minds of we reality daytrippers, tripping out on a reality we never belonged to and were accidentally born into.

Where's Wally*Image Credit (artwork used with permission through CC license)–
“Where’s Wally?” by Sanctu

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The Real World

From The Mind Of A Schizo, Affected:

Life to me is not the real world and everyone living within it in their own dichotomous real worlds. To me life is the emotionless, spineless, mixed media of human beings trying desperately to remember what the real real world is like.

We have the potential as a unified race to be more than paradise and we are too blinded and plugged in to the Machine to notice our cave . . . What is the meaning of life?

It hasn’t evolved yet.

Changing RealityA gallery of reality. Click on image for larger view.

[NOTE: These statuses come from a journal I kept some time ago while involuntarily commited in a state hospital. This will be a new series under new category, Journal.]

*Image Credit (used with permission through CC license)–
“Ruin stock city night” by Ecathe
“Sunset Over Western South America (NASA, International Space State, 04/12/11)” by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
“There is and there is not” by H. Koppdelaney
“Why does he leave Reality” by H. Koppdelaney
“Changing Reality” by H. Koppdelaney

Award of a Different Kind . . . The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile blogger nominations Actually, it was back on February 24, 2013 that Dr. Juanita Lewis presented this award to NIKOtheOrb. I have been on a bit of a hiatus throughout that time (but have been, of late, contributing to EXPLORINGtheLATERAL, if you’d like to see some of what we’ve been up to).

My apologies for taking some months to thank The Metaphysician (a great blog, by the way, and if I could, I’d add her to the list of 15 blogs the rules require I appoint). In reading through your blog, the list of other appointed blogs to whom you bestowed this (well-deserved for them all, if you ask me) award, and the many comments and compliments you received, I am humbled to be among such great company.

And now for the rules: 1. Post a logo of the award received. [check]; 2. link back to the person who presented the award. [check — see above paragraphs and just for good measure, here you go]; 3. appoint 15 other bloggers for the award. [this will not be difficult as that includes just about everyone I follow at WP. For the list, see below]; and 4. tell 7 things about yourself [without running the risk (and lazy thing to do) of repeating myself with the 5 things I listed when the wonderful Kozo presented this blog with a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, I will do my best to give 7 new things about myself, as best as I can. No promises, though. :-D]

15 Well-Deserved Blogs and Bloggers to whom this Award is appointed and no words could accurately capture the greatness of their blogs:

1. Everyday GurusEveryday, Everywhere We Are Guided Towards Happiness
2. The Liberated WayLiberty, Wisdom, Creativity (love the look of the new site!)
3. Carla R. Herrera(some of the best creative writing on WP)
4. Holistic WordsInspirational Words for the Holistic Mind
5. physics4me“Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler”, Albert Einstein
6. Riding effortlessly on a large green turtleTall Tales of Travel, Spirit, Love, and Poetry
7. RD ReviloConscious Thought: Driven by Intelligent Awareness
8. bodhisattvaintraininginner workings of an untamed mind
9. Walking No Line-Wandering here and there, wondering at this and that, trying to find my Way.
10. Utopia or Dystopiawhere past meets future
11. TreeYo PermacultureSustainability Education and Ecological Design
12. rarasaur. . .frightfully wonderous things happen here.
13. EXPLORINGtheLATERALWe live in the forest and all of our possessions fit in our backpacks [shameless plug]
14. Mind HacksNeuroscience and psychology tricks to find out what’s going on inside your brain.
15. h-madnessThis blog follows the history of psychiatry

7 Things About Me:

1. I live with SchizoAffective Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
2. I spend nearly everyday in the woods, walking barefoot, breathing in the trees and the soil. It’s how I keep my sanity.
3. I don’t know the names of many of the animals and insects I see in the woods, but I know much of their behavior and habits.
4. I produce and edit a nature show on YouTube (and EXPLORINGtheLATERAL) exploring our adventures in the forests, particularly hard to witness activity with birds, insects, chipmunks, snakes, turtles, and the like. We’re  right down on the ground with the animals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             5. My favorite number is the Fibonacci Sequence.
6. I love to watch old science fiction films like Metropolis and THX 1138.
7. I am fortunate enough to spend every moment of everyday with my boyfriend, just hanging out.

The Other Side: Part Two

Ain’t a story. It’s the truth. My friend told me. He doesn’t lie, man. He ain’t got no need to. He’s made it three times. He’s free, man. He can do whatever he wants.”

“And the guy who made it’s brother, what about him?”

“He was ahead of us. He went in already.”

“Did he come back out?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“No. I guess not.”

They waited in silence, taking hits off their cigarettes and watching the line shrink until they were at the front and someone else was way back there where The Roulette looked like a gray dot on the horizon.

The taller boy envied those behind him. He wanted to go join them, start other forbidden conversations with another kid, and hear another truth. But he couldn’t. They, the guards, would get him for sure if he stepped out of line. At least by waiting, he had a chance.

“Hey, man, you all right?” the smaller boy asked. “You’re shakin’.”

“I’m just cold, man. I’m just cold.”

“Okay. This your first time through?”

“Yea. You?”

“Nah. Third. Last time, man. Then I’m free. Free, man, free! You know what that means, man? Freedom? You can go anywhere. Do anything you want, man. You never have to worry about nothin’. Jesus, man. Free. I want it so bad, I can taste it.”

“You’ve come out the other side two times? What’s it like on the other side?” the taller boy asked, awed.

“It’s wonderful. Sometimes you got family over there, sometimes not. But the third time, man, they say everybody’s over there. Even the President, man. The President. He gives you this award or some card that says you’re a free man. And then you party, man. Party `til your legs fall off, man. Damn, I want that.” The smaller boy fell silent, seeing his party; the President, giving him his free papers. He free to roam, untouched by anything. Free.

“Do you think you’re going to make it?” the taller boy asked the smaller boy.

“Huh? Oh, yea, man. Definitely. I come from a family of lucky kids, man. My two older brothers made it, hell, even my sister made it. They’re all free and they’ll be waitin’ for me on the other side.”

“How can you be sure, man? It’s all chance. You might not make it. The guy in front of you might.”

The smaller boy was suddenly angry. He grabbed the taller boy by the front of his T-shirt, snatching him down to his level.

“When did you become such a fuckin’ expert? Don’t you ever fuckin’ say that to me again, man. Ever. I’m gonna make it because I’m lucky, man. And I’ll spit on you, man. So, fuck you, man. FUCK YOU!” He released the taller boy, shoving him a step out of line, warranting them their first and only warning from one of the guards along the line.

They waited in silence once more. They were so close now that the taller boy could smell the pungent odor of sweat and fear The Roulette burped from its throat. Faintly beneath that, he could smell the other side. The sweet, summer honey smell of freedom. He shivered in spite of himself.

“You cold, man? Here.” The smaller boy handed the taller boy his jacket. Beneath he was bare-chested.

The taller boy put on the jacket thankfully. The smaller boy didn’t apologize for his outburst, and the taller boy didn’t ask for one.

The line moved and they moved with it. It was terribly silent now that the two boys had stopped talking. The taller boy watched the bodies swallowed by The Roulette and wondered if they will make it. He thought of their families, of his family. His mom, really. She was his only family. He’d had a father, he had been shot by one of the guards when he tried to run. And an older brother, but unlike the smaller boy’s lucky lineage, he never saw the other side.

. . .to be continued.

Part One here and Part Three here.

More short short stories here.

*Image credit: “Desert Tree” by StockF8.

The Other Side: Part One

“How long you been waitin’?” the tall boy asked the smaller one ahead of him.

“About two hours. You?”

“About the same.”

The two boys glanced down the line ahead of them. Fifty or more people snaked out of the doorway of The Roulette. They didn’t mind. They were in no hurry.

“What’s your name?” the taller boy asked.

“Jason. Yours?”

“Terry. Nice to meet you.” They shook hands.

“Yea,” Jason agreed.

“Know anyone been through and made it? Cigarette?” The small boy pulled a crumpled, nearly empty pack of Smokes from his jacket pocket.

“Nah,” Terry said, taking a cigarette. “Thanks. You?”

“Yea. Had a friend, knew this kid once, his brother.” He lit their cigarettes. He took a long drag, and then said, “About ten years back when they first opened The Roulette here. `S been about half a dozen or so around, but this was the first one here. This kid’s brother was part of the first bunch of kids to be selected after they stopped takin’ adults and started using kids. He was about, oh, I don’t know, think he was about the twentieth person in line. He was behind this red-haired kid. But uh, they got to talkin’. You know, small talk. Don’t really mean nothin’. Just talkin’ so’s not to have to think about what you’re in line for, right? They get to be about fourth or fifth in line, and this red-haired kid starts freakin’, right? This kid’s brother’s like trying to keep him movin’, right, hollerin’ and cryin’, prayin’ and all that, man. This kid’s brother starts getting’ nervous, you know? Starts thinkin’ that if they think he’s with ‘im, and just take `em both now, you know? They can do that” The small boy paused to take a hit off his cigarette.

“Go on, man. What happened?” the taller boy urged, glancing down the line. The building loomed closer, the line shorter.

“They let the kid sniffle and scream `til they’re right at the door, man. Next, right. These huge guards snatch him outta line and take him through this other door. This kid was kickin’ and screamin’ the whole way, man. Bawlin’, right?”

“Chicken shit.”

“Yea, right? The brother watches them all the way, man. Just starin’. Just before they drag the kid through the door and into whatever hell beyond, the kid stops cryin’ and looks at this brother, man. Right in the eyes, man, and just stares. His eyes are blank, like nothin’ behind `em. He says somethin’ to him. He says: ‘I saved you.’ Freaked this guy out, man. Then they pull `im through and there’s nothin’. Just silence.”

“Wow.”

“This kid’s brother’s next now, right. And he goes in and comes out the other side, man. But the kid behind him: No.”

The line moved up. The two boys could see those ahead of them entering the dark mouth of The Roulette. They heard nervous almost insane laughter, and some tears ahead. They were the only ones talking. It was against the rules to converse with the person in front or in back of you, but no guard had been by to warn them to shut up.

“What’re you saying, man?” the taller boy questioned, his voice shaking only a little. But he wasn’t nervous, just a little cold. That’s all.

The smaller boy rolled his eyes. “I’m sayin’, if they hadn’t dragged that kid outta line, he’d’ve been the guy on the other side and this kid’s brother . . .”

“Shit, man. Shit. That’s a helluva story, man.”

to be continued. . .

Part Two here and Part Three here.

More short short stories here.

*Image credit: “Buckner Building” from Granny Moo Stock.

Where Time Stands Still

            Hello! And welcome to the 26th Dimension. Careful, you will encounter many unusual attractions. Please mind where you step, the floor in the 10th dimension can get a bit runny, and the walls in the 17th dimension disintegrate altogether. Of course, by the 20th dimension, the telescopic ceiling will evaporate for your mental safety, but you’ll not be able to forget the pregnant pull of event horizons on your body I promise you that. No, please don’t touch that, the material feels and shatters like wedding china.

If you look to your mirror left you should find the bloated gases of infant galaxies comforting, and to your asymmetrical right you may see carbon planets coalescing in the dense, elemental heat. Ah, yes, the explosion of faraway bangs gravid with potential, peaceful isn’t it? I must warn you, Time will dance with the oscillating furnishings before you, and after you, if you pay close attention, but, only briefly, and only with your permission.

Are you chilly? I’m sorry, but I have only a blanket of anticipatory silence to offer you. Stay close, the perverted mobiüs strips of these corners can cause confusion and loss of coordination.

Yes, these five dimensional doorways do belch an ambiguous bouquet. I smell it too. I suppose you could cry out, but the reverberation of collapsing space would swallow it before it reached the end of your face. Apologize for bringing you here? I guess I could, but who (or what?) would bother to wipe up the mess? You could leave this particular dimension, but I wouldn’t if I were you, the doorknobs tend to move with the ticking of the space-time continuum, and you would definitely get lost in some obscure year or century, and I wouldn’t want that on my record. I’m looking to be Tour Guide of the Month, you know. Yes, those bulbous masses of what seem like satisfying sofas are ages scrolling forward and backward, but rest assured, presently we are still. No, I wouldn’t open my eyes just yet, infinity multiplied by infinity tends to stare back, I’m afraid. Even if we did remove, odds are we’ll begin again at the end, so it’s best to just move on to the end of the beginning, don’t you agree? We’re nearly around the room. So glad you noticed, the day breaks (and quite literally too!) here, often, while strange geometrically impossible shapes flap against that upside stairwell. Nothing equals nothing, so something refuses to exist here. Speaking of something, some thing with slobbering jaws and comfortable shoes just floated past your shoulder, and I think you’ve begun to grow a sixth appendage from your ribcage. No matter, the water still tastes like water every other Friday, and like cotton on every opposing Tuesday, that is, when such concepts as “Friday” and “Tuesday” bother to exist. I’m Contradictory? I suppose it may seem so. I can’t tell anymore, I’ve been here a long time. At least, I think I have. It’s difficult to know, all the clocks here are figured in modular arithmetic. Well, believe me, I don’t mean to be cryptic, but numbers are theoretical here. No, if you lean against that wall, you’ll lose viscosity, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? I know you’re tired, but we’re nearly through. See? Here’s the way in again. Oh, you needn’t worry about anything, your senses will reconstitute when you return to your own dimension.

Thank you and I do hope you enjoyed the tour. For your pleasure, there is a universal whiskey bar that serves cosmic-strength caffeinated coffee at the opposite end of the spectrum, a mere six billion light years to the negative sixteenth power from here, and a café that serves three dimensional tea that tastes faintly of summer ginger with a pinch of relish may open in an hour, when and if the hour decides to re-present itself.

Mind your step at the edge of Time on your way out.

*Top image: “Where Time Stands Still” by Thy Darkest Hour
Second image: photomanipulation by NIKOtheOrb using stock “Cosmos 4_0008 “and “Starfield” by Funerium distrubuted by Resurgere Stock and “Yoga Model” by Stock Gallery
Third image: “Constellation of Time” by FractalAngel-Stock