Monday, December 31, 2012

Health



    Diagonals, or short cuts, are not necessarily the better way to get from one point on a circle to another, because each point on a circle is very much the same, unless like me you cleave to the up-hill and down-hill of circles. Or, if you are one of those whose major symbol through life is a circle that contains five diagonals, and you can call such a thing a star if you wish to.  The Pythagoreans called their pentagram "Health."  And even here, when you're going up hill and you reach the place called "steepest" you know that you are exactly half way to whatever the opposite of "steepest" might be.  It's a loop, a helter-skelter, a round and round with up and downs.  A diagonal, might not take a person from the one good point to the same good point, it can only take a person from one particular point to another particular point, and by so doing will exorcise the quality "good" or "health" from the circle altogether.   And this is why a person has to suspect that Time Travel is the ultimate in purposelessness, which means that when it is invented, it will probably be available from the Fulfillment Center at increasingly bargain rates, with the first "Time Travel free" if "You take three friends."

    Then when you introduce the concept of aging to circles, you can begin to sense "spiral." That funnel toward the end moment.  A moment which if we are human, and while we have seen it come to others, remains invisible to those of us who might not share the idea that the "end moment" is no more than a pinhole on the other side of which there is white light and floating around in new and wondrous circles.   It's this idea that becomes "migration of souls," and most likely it goes back in time to the very earliest days of the debate our species has had with the question "why?"   That first line in the dust that joined to make a loop.  It  was a 'holding of hands' against "why?"  A curve in the unknown of  "where does a straight line go," and a circle came as welcome relief to minds that pondered, because it gave them power through reason beyond muscle, or over what Walking John, at his most open-handed, would have called "Brutishness."   Always interesting that there have been, and still are in the world, people who will not eat meat because by doing so they risk eating a person who might once have been, and is currently residing in the shape of a Lamb, or Cow, or perhaps a Koala Bear.  Interesting too is the somewhat barbaric idea that only people have souls, and if that is the case what a nightmare those circles beyond the pinhole will be.   But, even more extraordinary, tomorrow is 2013, and I might still be here.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions




    Don't actually recall when I last stayed awake until midnight on the last day of a year.  It could have been last year or it could have been ten years ago, or it could have been fifteen years ago.  I just don't remember.  And sometimes I cast back through these pages in an attempt to find useful tidbits from time past that might be of some relevance to current preoccupations. But, really there are none.
  
    This casting back is a cardinal error, because I increasingly find the mind of a total stranger, who is most obnoxiously awful, horribly conceited and a terrible waste of space  The sort of person I'd hide under the bed from, if he came to visit.   I have to think of it as a structural issue, which could require potlatch.  And what better time to do it than at twenty three, fifty five tomorrow night.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tintern


    These are recent pictures of Tintern Abbey, or Abati  Tyndyrn, as the Welsh language has it.   The abbey was founded on the 9th of May 1131.  It was to be the first Cistercian abbey in Wales.  In 1136 building began in earnest, and building continued for the next four hundred years. 


     When Henry the Eighth dissolved the monasteries four hundred an eighty odd years ago, Tintern was taken from the Cistercians and give to an A-hole, called  Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester, who took the lead off the roof and made a pretty pile of money by doing so.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Mingle



    A Western Mind is a description of a mind imbedded within Western Ideas.  A product of culture, or perhaps of cruel disciplining through Peer Review.  This is not to say that a Western Mind is somehow anatomically distinct from, let's call it an Eastern Mind, or a Southern Mind, or a mind that falls somewhere in the middle of any one of many points of the compass.  Or, as someone once put it, "An Individual is a million people divided by a million."   I would say also, that it's possible to think of a Medieval European Mind, a Stone Age Mind and on it would go into a Literary Mind, a Tasmanian Mind, a Fulfillment Center Mind, all the way back to an Individual's Mind, or what might be called,  "that part of mind which is the product of a particular one million divided by a million."

     If I call it a Western Mind, or a Stone Age Mind, or any one of many points on a compass Mind, I am more inclined to think of it as a set of Stone Pillars within a Cathedral around which the faithful gather, or at least persuade others to gather.  If I think of it in terms of, "a million divided by a million,"  I see less of a Cathedral and the confidence of solid Stone Pillars, and more of a "mingle," which I agree is a truly unpleasant word that has in it the suggestion of a high moisture content and stickiness between people that inevitably leads to insanity of behaviors, cocktails  and the end of the world as we know it.  But, because of these exasperating intersections within this rambling curve "mingle," of the two ways of conceptualizing whatever it is the Western Mind, or The Stone Age Mind, or any one of many points on a compass Mind represents, I have to say that "the product of a particular one million divided by a million," is a more accurate representation of how  minds are attached to adjectives.  


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tangent as Product


     Tangent is error, many will say.  It distracts flow, confuses narrative, causes a mind to yearn for a familiar pattern of idea.  And rightly "tangent" should be removed to the jailhouse of footnotes, where only the ardent might find them.   And yes I would be happy enough to find  a familiar pattern, stubbornly stick to it, describe a map of the world with special attention to the universality of symbols, or discipline. "Mile Stones," I guess they would be called.  While I think of them as "Sign Posts."

     But then when I try to think of a "Mile Stone" I  hear some cloying voice, aged anywhere between four and seventy six say, "My First IPod," "My first Learjet,"  or "My First Heart Attack."   And this rings so loud in my ear, I see "Sign Posts" all of which point directly to what the Ancients might have conceptualized as Hades. Which I guess is why there is no product here. A circumstance described as  "an anathema" by the pure, and I hope as a  "glorious folly" by the freer willed. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pleasing, or Happiness as Higgs Boson.

    I'll argue this.  Pythagoras of Samos saw mathematics as a meaning in consciousness.  But if I say this, I have to have an idea of how Pythagoras might have used words to define consciousness.   "Go all Heidegger on his ass," as the existentialists might put it.  Which is not an easy thing to do, because most of everything known about Pythagoras' thinking is written and said by others.  So the result of my own definitions of his meanings, will more likely be suspect, and it will remain suspect in my mind.  However this prospect doesn't usually stop me from leaping off the cliff, where I fall, and while I fall I am aware that sooner or later I will crash on the rocks that traditionally lie at the bottom of a cliff.  Which, when it happens to me is a sound no one might hear.  Nor is this preoccupation unique to me.  Pythagoras would have felt it too, which is why there are reports about him which suggest that the sect he fathered was primarily a secret one, that required initiation, which is the equivalent to agreeing to hold hands and leap off the cliff together.  A sound that at least someone else will hear.  Pythagoreans ultimately  lost ground to  the political class, the sect's  meeting places burned, their reputation sullied, and Pythagoras forced to flee.

      Aristotle claims this of Pythagoreans, "they fancied the principles of mathematics were the principles of all things."  And as I see it Pythagoras'  idea of "all things" was a relationship between the infinite, or "the boundless" and the finite, or "the limited."  It was "limit" that permitted "the boundless" to take form.  The process was a "breathing in" by "the limited" of "the boundless."  And how this happened could be understood through mathematics, or "the thing that fills void."  The Higgs Boson of 500BC. There'll be debate of course, but here I'd argue that the work Pythagoreans gave to musical harmony, where mathematics can be applied to a sound that is "pleasing," as against a sound that is less "pleasing," suggests they saw in our ability as people to know "pleasing" a combining of "the boundless" and the "the limited."  A something which if it were unallied to "pleasing" is a something I'd like to call "life."   As well,  it's claimed Pythagoras could  "...wander through the ether like a bird" in the way that Shamans and those close to death have claimed, and still claim to be able to.   There is also a suggestion from several sources that Pythagoras had a golden thigh bone.  And I guess there are times when a great idea as it approaches the rocks inclines toward chicanery in the interest of its furtherance.   Which is why in my defining of Pythagorean consciousness I will include the word "levitation," which is so much nicer than variations of the word "witch."


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Father Christmas, Give Me Your Money


    A quick perusal of internet links produces a wet mop of sentiment associated with this particular day in the calendar.  Tempted to call it a flowering of Lotos and we are mariners suddenly in an altered state that is socially insisted upon.  But such a poetic rationalization by the 1st Baron Tennyson might void the pleasant sensation of curling toes that can sometimes accompany a most rewarding curl of the lip following a fifteenth or twentieth "have a 'blessed' and 'safe' new year."  Nor am I certain what happened to turn me so much like King Herod for whom a truer blessing might have been to have increased the age range and to have included all of Galilee in his pogrom, that way the Savior might have been given to the world somewhere on an island a great deal closer to the equator.  I could trace this sourness through possible incarnations starting with the obvious excuse others might make on my behalf, that it belongs to being born with sociopathic or Republican tendency which begins its journey by taking no joy whatsoever from the idea of anyone having fun.  Which suggests a more secure calling for me might have been that of Trappist Monk, until I realize the Rule of Saint Benedict was not "Silence" rather it was more like "the avoidance of unnecessary speech."  A something I am clearly incapable of. 

      But I do remember, many years ago, being a little south of Jerusalem on a very cold day that contained a suggestion of sleet.  I forget the name of the road, but I have to think it was called Manger Road because it ran  near The Church of the Nativity, and I could hardly move for bloody pilgrims some of who were singing merrily and all of whom appeared to be horribly sober,  which caused me to think that it must have been around Christmas Day.  They were dressed warm, and I guess they were blissful in that rosy cheeked and overly enthusiastic manner that disallows alms giving.  I had no coat and was trying to get a ride south where I'd been told I could find work that did not first require a work permit.  Those of course where the bad olds days, long before the year of 1977 when Ray Davies penned the seminal work "Father Christmas, give me your money..."  A verse from which I still draw  "Comfort and Joy" in sufficient mass to consider the song a part of a traditional observance of this fourth day after Winter Solstice, and have sent the odd email to the Pope in the glorious hope that one day Ray Davies might be considered for Sainthood. Replies so far have been polite and in English, so I reckon there's a chance.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Rapture


     Those of us who have spent time within the confines of a Fulfillment Center will be familiar with a phenomenon that begins to proceed apace at this time of year.  You come back from the State mandated "fifteen minute break with pay,"  smile at you neighbor, roll the eyes and otherwise signal associative-ness.  There's a bonhomie, to use the French word,  a camaraderie which is a word that looks better if it starts with a 'K', but which if it starts with a 'K' it does not pass the spell test, or when uttered in public subsumes a person to the bottom layer, a category that includes 'commie.' 
 
     Then you turn to the lonely business of maintaining a 'productivity,'  which is a measure through mathematics of 'quality and quantity,' around which the ambitions of managers revolve in their never ending quest to achieve what I guess must be some idea of their own perfection as measured against the perfection of others of their rather unpleasant and venal kind.  And oddly enough in that part of the Fulfillment Center that occupies me, the  manager has his picture on the department's notice board, and under his name is the word 'owner.'  When the Afternoon arrives there's "Jingle Bells" through the loud speakers and you look up to grin at your neighbor, but your neighbor is gone, disappeared.  It's to the Rapture perhaps, to the infinite made possible, but more likely it's to a winter without work. 


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Indomitable Courage


    Raccoon the size of a small Bear on the way to work this morning.  He had the big eyes, and he stood up in the middle of the road to give me my opportunity to test the vehicle's braking system.  Bless him.

      At that early hour, at this time of year, on that bit of road, it's usually a Deer that chooses to demonstrate indomitable courage.   Quite way it's pretty much always the same spot, I don't know.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Jejune

  
    End of the World predictions are wonderfully regular.  And I guess it's possible to predict End of the World predictions with greater accuracy than the End of the World itself.  When that does actually happen, it will of course refer to the end of our own species, because our own species has this fond inclination to believe that without us there will be nothing. A symptom of youth, or youngness, or a jejune, perhaps.

     Nor am I remotely interested or impressed by the coteries who draw some kind of comfort from a concept of consciousness that mistakes consciousness for politics. Puts it as a universal that has an idea of properness. The Great One Out There is not waiting for us to behave ourselves.  So hanging around Stonehenge, makes no sense whatsoever, the Druids knew less than we do.  Potato Rocks and Nuts from the Shag Bark Hickory, however, do make a great deal of sense.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Big One



    I think one of the issues which needs always to be remembered, is the potential from confusion in a domicile that possesses more clocks than necessary.  In this modern age, most electrical devices appear not to be permitted to leave their place of origin without having some sort of time keeping equipment attached to them.  And it's these time pieces that either blink in a most infuriating manner, sulk during power outage, or shine bright with insistence when all around is pitch dark and resting.  Either way, in the early hours of this morning one of the Priests here where I live, chose to rouse the household on the basis of  what turned out to be an erroneous understanding of the truer time.   So there was a great deal of rushing around looking for layers of clothing, which a wiser man might have prepared on the day before, and this manic rushing around, was followed by a long, and I have to say rather peaceful wait.  Which gave everyone an hour or so to mentally prepare for straight line winds carrying sleet and snow.

       My own preoccupation while waiting for the big moment, was a series of images I had of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Kaaba in Mecca and Chaucer's Tales from bawdy pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.  The Wall and the Kaaba struck me as places where an ostentation can be seen displayed in all its many and often lip curling ways.  The rolling around, the rocking, the arm raising, which in my view, unless completely unallied to will, can only be for the benefit of others.  But in the travelling to these events, I'd like to hope Chaucer's Tales better reflect the mood of supplicants as they attempt to merge with whatever their belief and stranger hopes might be.  As well, in my mind  I saw the ash on foreheads, a something I have always found a trifle disconcerting, as I can't help but tell myself,  "I thought he or she was normal."   The hats and bonnets towing children that can sometimes be seen wandering the aisles of the Grocery Store, fill me with a genuine angst from the question "why?"  Wedding Rings.  It's a long list, and when an Arctic gale outside howls through the electric line, a person has to ask if the Mayan Priests had a predisposition toward the Southern Hemisphere when they chose to end their Long Calendar on this particular day of 2012 at a little after six in the morning.  


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Things and Things that Move


 
    Today, there will  be a serious circle drawn around the Eve of Winter Solstice by thinking about metaphysics and Kant, who died in the 1804, which is also the year in which the first small commercial shipment of Banana arrived in New York City.  When I look at an image of Immanuel Kant, read his thoughts as they are on paper,  best to keep him in mind as a man of great influence on the side of "reason," or "ideas for a more reliable way of being."  Then if I know that Kant's father was a harness maker in whose household the Bible was a literal truth, and if I know that in all of his lifetime Kant never travelled further than ten miles from his home town of Konigsberg, odds are I'll better appreciate the power of his mind to maintain a discipline that too many might think of as a prison.  For a while Kant tried to think of  God through an intellectual understanding  of beauty, the sunset, the hillside, the starry firmament and so on.  "The sublime" I guess it would have been called, and probably still is.  But toward the end of his time he is said to have become agnostic.  Which has always been a neutral zone for people who can't stand the atheist and find even less meaning amongst the pious.  
  
     One of Kant's  "things"  was this.  He could absolutely feel his will gather together a desire to lift his arm.  And he could see his arm lifting.  But he could not say with certainty of something like mathematics that it was his "will" that lifted his arm.   Anyone who thought they could, he argued, was drawing a conclusion from some very suspicious data that certainly would not, or should not, stand up to the scrutiny of a court house, or "reason."   In other words, before you could blame your will for lifting your arm, better to have some idea of the "how" of it as well as the "why" of it, or the "metaphysics" of it.  The German language has two words for the English word "understanding."  The one meaning of "understanding" is  "The Understanding itself" which in my own little world is a "thing."  And then there is "understanding" as the  "intellectual happening by which an understanding is achieved," which in my own little world is a "movement."   And in my own little world these are two very different meanings in "understanding."  For example, God, I'd argue, is more like a "movement," than ever he or she or it was a "thing" or a "word."  And today, so as not to altogether avoid pomposity,  I will also try to think of "reason" as "ideas for a more useful way of being." 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ice Cream Moment



    It's very possible that Kant's essay on The Metaphysics of  Morals, does not lend itself to a translation into Lines and Circles.  His categories of imperative, better left to thirty thousand words, none of which tell me what "civilization" or "happiness" is.  And it's possible that  language belongs to a different dimension to that in which geometry owns space.  But at the same time, it's always interesting to watch those who have a passion for guns, discussing guns with those of us simpletons who do not care so much for guns, or the noise they can make, and who prefer to put them into the category of "damage causing device," rather than pursue them as a "source of happiness."
  
     The correct name, and the correct pronunciation of each category and part of gun.  The "round," the "barrel," the "stock."  "A Bullet." So I guess it's a passage, a circumcision, that once endured becomes a source of pride, or a presumption, or a status, all of them ingredients in a glue called cohesion.  However, it does seem to me, the gun itself, the passage, the circumcision, is all of it buoyed around that one part of a gun called a striker, and without which a gun is no more than a collection of decorative parts.  Which suggests to me at least that it's the act of firing a gun that can become a part of a person.  A shovel for an ice cream moment. 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lines and Circles


    In a continuum between two opposites there is a line.  And at each point upon that line there is a small circle.  Each of these circles represents a coherent argument.  At the center of each small circle is an interest, or source of a coherent argument.  The work of process is to ensure that the line between two opposites itself remains within a circle at the center of which is an interest, or source of coherent argument.  Process begins to become incoherent when this wider circle no longer embraces each circle on the line between two opposites.  The line buckles.


     Small circles drift off, become isolated and dreamy, gather mass, shine bright as the sun as they drift further and further away.   It's a combination that tempts those still within the embrace of process.  They look out and see the possibility of a new line, stretching into the horizon, on endlessly toward newness. Toward blissfulness, some will say.  Perfection perhaps.  But mostly, small circles that drift do so when they disavow the real, and soon enough, no matter how bright they become, they lose coherence.  Then when they fall there is nowhere to go.  As for me, I like to hear at least an apology, that way I don't have to look along the line and ask "What did we expect."


Monday, December 17, 2012

Alignments of Meaning


   Triple anti-biotic ointment is more effective against  a "biotic" than is single anti-biotic ointment.   And there might have been a time when I would take such an assumption as having a basis in something vaguely resembling a fact.  Now days, I am inclined to curl the lip, because I have learned that much in the world is the work of an ambition unsullied by pursuit of the authentic, and is instead invented to suit a lounge chair whim, or is in support of nefarious motive.


   Indeed if I hear "real" or "natural" or "whole" or "original" or "guaranteed" or "Merry Christmas" or "Virgin Olive Oil" or "Legislative Body" or  "Juried Art"  or "Blog Spot" or "Face Book" or "Twitter" or "Christian Book Shop" or "Constitutional Lawyer" or "Supreme Court Justice" I am inclined to leap for the assumption that I am subject to an infernal attack by forces determined to completely liberate me from the meaning of words as I might have once understood them. Which is the sort of thing that makes old farts harp on about "Precision in Language," and the end of civilization as we know it.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Deed Poll.

    For some reason I don't like the name Stewart.  No offence to those who might have Stewart in their name, because nor am I that fond of the three names I was born to.  And such a shame that John 'Walking' Stewart, contains the name Stewart.  But what name would I chose for myself, and who in this world I wonder actually likes their own name.

     I have to think the question of whether a person likes his or her own name, or names has more to do with a self understanding.  And I'll never know whether John 'Walking' Stewart liked his name.  It's not something harped upon in the normal course of events.  Either way I'm going to start thinking of John 'Walking' Stewart as "Walking John."  And to hell with any confusion that might arise.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Moral Motion.


    The Dialectic of Me, should I guess be counterpoised with an idea of what Walking Stewart would call "Moral Motion."  Moral, of course, is a word that would not exist if everyone was me.  And it's this area, - the area of others - that I'd suggest Heidegger wrote so much about, and rather endlessly, in his "Time and Being."   The "Me" as guided by outside of me, or censured by others. A school prefect in my world, and a head master.  Which could be a person or "nature."  And it's how and why we all get along, that so preoccupies people.
  
     Fortunately, it hit me at work today.  And oddly I was applying opaque wrapping to remarkably large and very life-like silicone penises.  My grasp of "being," I decided, is primarily a naive concept, by which I mean "simple."   And it's naive, because, I have done away with an idea of Good or Bad, both of which are precepts that arise within relationships between people.  Then I can think in terms of the massacre in Connecticut, as a failure of social relationships, rather than dismissing it as belonging to the existence of something called,  "Evil."


Friday, December 14, 2012

Dialectic of Me


     Structure is usefully defined this way, "The interrelation or arrangement of parts in a complex entity."  This definition suggests that a structure exists, and to understand it fully, better to dissect out its parts, give them names, lay them out on the table, point to this or that part and declare, "X looks like this and in the whole it performs the function of B."   Then if I wish to replicate a structure, I can do so with some sense of confidence.  And while doing so, I can perhaps add a little something here and a little something there, which might either enhance the structure or cause it to fall down when the wind blows.  Structure can also be thought of in terms of reasoning.  A logical argument has structure.  A belief in facts as the basis of an understanding has the makings of integrity within a structure.  The Earth is currently a middle aged Globe, which travels around the Sun.
  
     My own struggle with structure is perhaps less complex.  I have found that applying myself on as daily a basis as I can manage to the mostly nonsense upon these pages, I am able to develop what I will call a, "structural integrity."  Certainly this integrity is more likely an integrity within the structure of my emotions, and this is, I have to admit, an integrity that could also be achieved through medication by prescription drug or regular visit to the liquor store.  However, the question I ask myself is why I attempt to share these pages with others.  This motion within me, is  maybe something to do with pandering to an outside and self perceived entity that has authority and from whom I may receive the occasional pat on the head. And this thought unsettles me because it calls me to it, in the way that Sirens called mariners to destruction on the rocks that surrounded their flowery island. Which I guess could be called a "dialectic of me."  But I prefer to think of it as a geometry, because "dialectic" in my mind implies progress or advance, where as geometry more likely, just is..  A necessary distinction in an understanding of "being," or "consciousness," or "awareness," or "nature."


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Awareness, Consciousness, Being, Nature.


 
    For what it's worth, my own interpretation of Walking Stewart's dialectic is this.  There exists a shyness between people, a kind of mistiness..  The work of intellect was to push through this shyness, achieve an understanding of being that was rewarded by the condition of happiness. When this reward was power over others through social position or wealth, happiness could be a result, but there was invariably a corruption of happiness because nothing ever remained the same, even if great efforts were made to ensure that it did.  And here it's well worth quoting Walking Stewart on the English and Berlin intrigue which sought to support the aristocracies of Holland, Flanders and Poland in their opposition to the spread of French Revolutionary fervor.  "Hence the fupport of their own ariftocracy  (those of Holland Flanders and Poland)  the moft abandoned, shameful, of any upon the face of the globe; who not fatisfied to buy one half of their confituents,  hire braves and ruffians to beat the other half into compliance."  Which was a circumstance in which happiness was clearly unattainable for anyone, unless happiness was an ill-defined word, which meant also something like "miferable paffions," or "mifanthropy."   And so, intellect would necessarily push through the mist to again achieve an understanding of being that was rewarded by happiness.

     Walking Stewart doesn't use the word "being" in his long view of the world and its people.  He prefers to think of it as "confcioufnefs," and it's relationship to what he called the  "pre-eminence of thought, or mental powers."  And in this respect he was certainly similar in his understanding to Hegel, who preferred to use the word "spirit" in his search for a noun that might serve as a descriptive vehicle around which to build the idea of what it is a person might be.  That part which is "I."    An unidentifiable phenomenon that nonetheless identifies itself.    And which is presumably going somewhere.   For Walking Stewart this "going somewhere" was  "moral motion or knowledge of felf."  Consciousness and thought, because they were never still, and especially when rendered miserable, would conspire.  And then "arrive at the goal of intellectual exiftence, when confcioufnefs and thought will augment the happinefs fought after, and procured in an enlightened ftate of nature."    Discourse between consciousness and thought, in other words, would 'augment' the chase after happiness, and it was this motion of chasing or pursing or looking for understandings, that came from "nature."  It was this word "nature" Stewart used when he thought about the thing that we are.  For him consciousness was more like awareness than it was like the word I am so prone to use which is "being."    And I agree the eighteenth century use of  the letters F and S, is on the one hand hysterical and on the other hand frustrating.  



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thermometer



    Glamorous frost this morning.  A winter wonderland in two jacket and woolly hat temperatures.  And I might have been out there with the device that takes photographs, but another infernal device upon which we have learned to depend took to its sick bed, and no amount of cooing would persuade it to pull itself together.  Me, I go into decline on such occasions, become rambling, and generally speaking some sort of injury occurs to either the cooer or the cooee.  I had a couple of minor scratches, a sore leg, I might have pulled a wing muscle and the stress produced a headache. So I gave the cooee a thermometer to put in his mouth, that way both of us might at least look productive, while I contemplated parts from one of those places where I imagine the lucky employee is encouraged to smoke cigarettes, drink beer and play air guitar in the work place.  And it's those sort of parts that can take weeks, so I went ahead and ordered a selection.

      The Artist, on the other hand, responds very well to these sorts of calamity.  While I was engaged in random rushing around, desperately seeking the correct tool for what I hoped was the correct job, she spotted a boy Deer with six points.  And she explained to me that because his antlers did not extend much beyond his ears or his shoulders, and despite his six points, this boy Deer was a youngster.  His voice hardly deep enough to be considered a paragon of the Deer world.  She was also able to take a few photographs of the wonderland.   By mid-afternoon, with the sun high, I removed the hat, and I was able to find a degree of calmness. I decided a solenoid was stuck, so I snatched back the thermometer from the infernal device, and did some internal tapping around with the end of a screwdriver, which can sometimes be foolhardy.  But, I believe the French modestly use the word 'voila' on such occasions.  For my part I suddenly decide I am a God.  Always an error, because one hour later there was a thermometer back in somebody's mouth.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Pound


    A current view suggests the asteroid that killed off the Dinosaurs sixty five million years ago, did a similar damage to all terrestrial species with a body weight of over one pound.  Quite how this scholarship measured its conclusion I couldn't find out.  More convincing to the gist of their theorizing perhaps, are the species that either do or do not achieve a body mass of more than one pound.  A bathroom scale would for example require about eight very well fed Mockingbirds perched calmly upon it to measure one pound.  And when the Mockingbirds had had their turn on the bathroom scale, a person would have to corral  between eighty and a hundred Ruby Throated Hummingbirds to achieve a one pound reading.

      A Kestrel,  averages around one pound and four ounces, so he'd be right on the edge of becoming extinct.  But an Eastern Screech Owl, who can trill the daylights out of a person, and when it's dark can sound as though he has the intention of dining upon somebody's spine, usually weighs just under a pound.  A Bald Eagle is up there with a twelve or thirteen pound Turkey, and he'd certainly not make it through an Asteroid Winter.  Nor would an Ostrich.  A boy Ostrich, who is well fed and proud, can weigh up to thirty thousand Hummingbirds, and when he looks around he can be almost seven feet tall. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Mesoamerican Moment


     Eleven days until Winter Solstice.  And especially exciting because it marks the end of a five thousand one hundred and twenty five year cycle in a Mesoamerican calendar.  No one is quite certain who might be responsible for this particular understanding of a person's place in the world.  It could be Mayan, five hundred years AD. It could be Olmec, fifteen hundred years BC.  It could be earlier.  Nor is modern scholarship comfortable with any part of a conclusive interpretation of what it was this long count calendar meant to those who devised it.  This state of inconclusiveness, allows wandering imaginations to indulge preoccupation with "renewal" by Horsemen of  Armageddon, or Black Hole at the center of our Galaxy, or by change in the magnetic arrangements within the planet Earth that will turn us all into wonderfully calm and peaceful creatures devoted to the fulfillment of others.  And, it also permits a comparative view of the manner in which disparate groups of people, spread across the planet, have preferred to conceptualize their place in the world, in relation to time. It's a familiar pattern, from an external beginning through a middle, to an end.  All of which is why in our own Kentucky celebration of the moment of Winter Solstice, there will be a circle of 'nuts' from the Hickory Tree.

      I'm told Chinese script is ideographic, Japanese and our own script is more syllabic.  Ideographic is an idea contained within a diagram or symbol, for example a no smoking sign.  Syllabic is where symbols reflect sounds within spoken words.  The original Latin script had twenty three characters, and it gained a few more over the years, but  to be functionally literate in Chinese a mind has to be familiar with up to four thousand characters.  And as far as I understand it, Mayan script has both syllabic and ideographic elements as well as a large degree of latitude in technique between and amongst those whose role it was to record meaning, idea, history and so on, into written form.  All of which is why, what the Mayans themselves actually meant  by their long count calendar will probably always be as speculative now days as it probably was two or three thousand years ago.  And here, I am very tempted by an argument that might offer a legitimate role to a script which is both ideographic and syllabic, in the very early morning celebration on December 21st.  Assyrian cuneiform contains both syllabic and ideographic elements.  The pictures today are of two ways an ancient Assyrian might have written the idea "wheat."


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

  
    Look who turned up!  I'd prefer not to give thought to the idea that she might have been there all along, and  through some  flaw in my own sensory apparatus I'd become blind to her.  Certainly there is an element of disorder on my table, and there are a number of places where she might have been hiding, even though I did hunt for her.  Her sudden reappearance however, unless a Christmas miracle, has to it a suspiciousness.


     Always possible that whoever took her was stricken by guilt, while I was saintly and wonderfully calm at the work of fulfilling hopes and dreams of boys and girls, men and women, for this joyous season.  Sorry to say a great many of you are going to be receiving what I at least would consider "re-giftables" for Christmas.  And for those who might be concerned, The Great Black Wasp is still exactly where I last saw her.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Solstice as Prophecy (2)


    Solstice as Prophecy, offers that chance  to wander beyond a "wishing for the same old, but much better circles."  And here The Artist, in her inimitable way, entered my dilemma of The Winter Solstice of 2012.  She must have sensed the vacuum, so she wandered boldly into my imagination, or what passes for it, and declared she had an idea about how best to address the arrangement of things so that mind might have its opportunity to move beyond the chains of usefulness.  Certainly the Mayan Priests were people, great thinkers, flamboyant in their outfits and art forms, and a person would like to think of them as earnest.   Not for them a devotion to the after-party.  For them, I'd like to think,  it wasn't just a question of putting on the hat, walking around looking serious, then when back in private quarters, a return to the reckless debauch of flesh.  In other words I'd like to think they were serious about their work. And I would understand completely the occasional lapse, during moments of great depression that can be summed by a "To hell with this."  And as well, I can sort of see that lapse developing into a life's work, because lapsing can be "jolly good fun."  And I can see the pompousness of it all, as it shapes a contrast between what should have happened to something like the harvest, and what did actually happen to something like the harvest.

      Yet the minds that predicted a circles end as the Earth reverses tilt on this particular Winter Solstice of 2012, demand some form of recognition.   I can picture them, holding their breath, counting the days, and, on the off chance that not much happens, I can picture them wondering back through their calculations in search of excuses, and who to blame, and all that nonsense from egotistical nuttery.  And out there, where at the moment it is damp, we do have several trees that produce nuts. The Artist calls some of them "Hicker Nuts."  My own description of them is "Hickory Nuts," or I sometimes think of them as  the "Nut of the Shag Bark Hickory Tree," and I do so because I myself, am inclined to a pomposity Mayan Priests would envy. And here I do have to admit that I once thought these particular "Nuts" belonged to the Buckeye Tree, which are poisonous and I'd warn against them in terms that left no one in doubt as to my own sense of native-ness, but fortunately others where I live are often polite or less judgmental.  Either way, this December twenty first, a little after six in the morning, The Artist leans toward a "Hicker Nut" circle, as means to concentrate some part of mind upon the many dilemmas that this years celebration of Winter Solstice will attempt to encompass.   Potato Rock piles, and The Artist proposes the pouring of water.  All of which I think absolutely bloody brilliant, and for the first time in months I sense mass attaching itself to my thinking about this coming Winter Solstice. 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Solstice as Prophecy.



    Since around the end of mid-September, which in early December always feels like a place that only exists on a distant planet, I have struggled with The Winter Solstice of 2012.   Easy enough to blame a preoccupation with a Mayan Dynasty and a prediction which basically says that this Winter Solstice marks the end of a titanic circle in time as observed in the movement of stars.  A something I believe is a complete folly on their part because an understanding of a circle in which there is a point of renewal on the circumference, utterly defeats a clear understanding of  "renewal" as defined in most understandings of "renewal", which is an understanding of  "renewal" within the circumference of the circle, in which case a mind is not addressing a circle, it's addressing an object within a continuum or on a straight line. Circles themselves simply repeat, on endlessly for ever and ever, the same old thing, day after day into eternity, a routine I can well understand sympathizing with.  But this Winter Solstice for Mayan thinkers, I'd argue, could be summarized in the following way.  It would be like saying, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  Surely I don't need to share with you the intensity of such a depressing twelve step idea of "renewal."  Our Planet and its Universe will never be in recovery, it does not sop its fill in the swimming pool of beer, it does not appear before the magistrate, and it will never be sent to anger management class, or driving school.  And frankly,  it does not respond to ceremony that includes popping the heads off chickens or enemy prisoners, or unsullied boys or girls according to which star might be where.  Nor does it in anyway grasp what those of us who are sanctimonious call "prayer."  Or staring heavenward with eyes closed. Or raising the palms of the hands.  Or risking further injury to already damaged knee caps.  Or putting the effigy of a fish on the tailgate of your pickup truck for any reason other than impressing girls or for political purposes. Or running around beating yourself with chains.  Or visiting Mecca, and then adding the word Hajji to your name.  Or contortions while sitting upon mats of any kind at all.  Or chanting.  Or claiming to have seen an angel.  The list goes on, increasingly outlandish and wholly peculiar.


     However, the species aboard our planet, do have the capacity to both effect and affect other species in often dramatic ways.  And here it's possible Mayan thinkers gave consideration to this notion of an ecology or a symbiosis amongst life forms, and possibly  it's from within this context of the content of a circle, rather than an ever repeating travel around a circumference, that Mayan thinkers grappled, as I do, with an understanding of "renewal."  They would have experienced the failure of harvest, the pressure on land from population increase. They would have been familiar with political discord, the problem of offering the wealthy a cohesive justification for being wealthy, war, armies, anti-union legislation and the panoply of  that set which accrues to the species I belong to.  And here when everything unravels, I guess it might be possible to be sporting and  say, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  And indeed, amongst species, it's possible to gather emotional support from thinking about titanic circles that go on repeating themselves endlessly, or at least until our Sun gasps its last breath and swallows most of our solar system.  And too, it's all very well sending vehicles off to accidently explore the Ort Cloud, contemplate the Job Creating potential of giving billionaires the opportunity to operate dune buggies on the moon, and that whole range of self serving adventures that accord to a rather facile view of progress that gives imbeciles like Ayn Rand and the Objectivists best seller status amongst the more practical morons who have never reached quite beyond "I'm Biggles in Wonderland."  And, I admit,  it's from this rather pugnacious point on a straight line of argument that I try to understanding  the relationship I have with a Solstice.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with species.  It has to do with a tilt in Earth's axis, a moment of stillness in which the thing that I am, might share consciousness and being, with both matter and time.  Call it "sanctimonious" if you wish to, but it's something I am increasingly less humble about, as I try to think of it as an act of mind that contains future, a something that preceded meaning, or interpretation, or words, or the semi-colon.  And here, the usual aftermath, the glow of longer days or the upheaval of longer nights, the uphill or the down hill, the failed harvest or whatever, should be no more than a predictable irritation  to the confines of the moment itself, even if the immediate aftermath does appear to usually end up with an equivalence to, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  Which is mostly a resignation by an individual life form to its place in collections of life forms, all of which are no more than brief caterwaul, and it should not be confused with our contact with forever or with the gist of our being and its origins while un-ravaged by need or preconception or other outside force, or bloody Biggles, or Xmas....  I could go on, and probably will, because a lengthening daylight is kind of like ice cream with Pecan bars, or another chance at perfecting the white bread and Tomato sandwich.