Wednesday, December 06, 2006

About God or Not

I was listening to a radio show and the guest was speaking about his book on God and Religion as a biological function.

His theseis was that God, religion and spiritual experiences of all types are simply chemical reactions in the brain. It actually all made a great deal of sense.

He says that the thing that makes humans different is their self awareness. It is this self awareness that has made us so special and so able to survive and thrive. Self awareness is the trait that allows us to say "Darn I am cold so I should do something like make a coat." Whereas all the other creatures would have to wait eons for thicker coats to grow.

It's a good point.

And from this awareness of self comes the horrible realization that self will soon cease to exist. And it is from this angst of knowing we will die that we have biologically evolved a chemical neurological sense of god and religion. I would imagine that the bloodlines that have evolved this trait have been more successful in life and therefore are the bloodlines that thrive and survive.

All of this makes a really good sense but there seems to be one hole in the whole darn thing.

What about the absolute mystery of this existence we live? This incredible mystery of the should-be-nothingness that is actually the is-all-everything?

Can't reason that one way with chemical I would say.
Want to travel with me on my quest to find the meaning of life?
The search for the meaning of life continues

Galileo's Dad

I play classical guitar pretty much every day and I have a lot of books and sheet music. Yesterday I was going through the books looking for a new piece to learn and I stumbled onto a simply amazing piece.

It is called Saltarello which is an italian dance step in a peculiar three step rhythm. The thing about the saltarello dance is that even though some of the music still remains we don't have any record of how the dance was danced. It is lost in the past.

So I am playing this piece of music that is 500 years old (Galileo himself lived from 1564-1642) and the thought occurs to me about the nature of this existence we live. Isn't it amazing that there is this thread that passes through all of us throughout all the centuries? Galileo's Dad lived his life, he loved, he pursued his passions and he wrote a piece of music that lives on 500 years later.

To you my web visitor: I hope you do the same as he did. Live your life, love everything about it and pursue the things that you are passionate about.

Play the Saltarello and while it plays get up and create your own dance - it is believed to be two steps then a hop! Live your life like Galileo's Dad. Life is too short not to dance when you can.

PS : If you were to ask Galileo's dad how fast the past 500 years went by I bet he would say they passed pretty quick.

Well, the next 500 are going to go pretty quick too. Don't waste them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Great Quote by Mark Twain

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

Mark Twain had a remarkable way of seeing the truth in things and expressing his point with humor.

This quote is humorous yet so very insightful and I am going to expand on it.

It is true that we are all mad, and it is also true that we are all blind. Does anybody actually know anything for sure?

In the quote he says that life stands explained.I think that what he means is that life is unexplainable, and a madness - something only the mad could understand.

The mystery remains yet the madness continues.

Keep searching

Friday, September 29, 2006

Kurt Vonnegut, Cats Cradle and The Meaning of Life

The First Book
Warning from title page: Don't be a fool! Close this book at once! It is nothing but foma!

Verse 1: All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.
Verses 2-4: In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.

Friday, September 22, 2006

About the Book The Seekers by Daniel Boorstin

I started into this book with high anticipation. Maybe it would lend me some insight into the meaning of life. After all it goes through some of the great people throughout history. People like Socrates, St Anthony, Aristotle, Kant, Descartes and more.

But I was surpised to see that none of these people really looked for the underlying meaning of existence. They all looked for making sense of life through the world that they lived in. True that all of these figures brought about change in the way the world thought about the world but not in the way that I seek.

some of the bios were interesting and some of them dragged on for too long. Boorstin explained the ups and downs of their lives, the political maneuverings, where they lived, what they did and so on. This all proved the premise that each persons viewpoint on life was shaped by the circumstances in which he lived. And that left out the underlying search for the real meaning of our existence.

I took extensive notes from this book so I could further look into some of them. Here are some snippets.

Socrates - The unexamined life is not worth living
Aristotle - Obsessed with the notion of the changeful world of motion and the unmoved mover (God)
St Anthony - The first hermit the the virtues of the simple life
Herodotus - the father of history, he changed myth into history
Descartes - What path of life should I follow?
John Locke - Sought a definitiion of teh limits of human knowledge and postulated that from experience all knowledge is derived
Hegel - The World Spirit

Hebrew Prophets - reached upward
The Greek Philosophers - Reached inward
The Wheel of Samsara - Life-death-life
The Spanish-Arabic Averroes - There is only a single mind in which all souls participate.

If you would like to help me in my quest to find the meaning of life consider buying this book. Thanks :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

a quote

found a great little snippet from ALbert Schweitzer's The Philosophy of Civilization

Only when we are able to attribute a real meaning to the world and to life shall we be able also to give ourselves to such action as will produce results of real value.
Great thought and I don't want to comment on it. Just let it roll around in your presence for a while. Funny abuut this book. I was methodicaly going through books at the public library looking for something that would help in my quest. This book is so old the embossed title is rubbed right off. So it sat in the shelf nestled between two other books. I passed right by it to examine some other books that looked more interesting but I thought better of it and returned to pull it out. I didn't want to miss one single opportunity. This is how the search goes. I have to be careful not to overlook anything.

Funny how the library check out card is still in its sleeve in the back of the book. The little red stamp shows that the last time this book was checked out was June 3 1964.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Heartbeats and Bedposts

I was laying in bed last night and it was such a beautiful evening. The window was open and everything was so very quiet except for the gentle rustle of the curtain.

A small sound came to me as I lay there. It was a tick,tick........tick,tick

I lay perfectly still and concentrated on it. It was coming from under the bed near the wall. I lifted my head and it stopped so I lay my head back down again and it started again. Determined not to lose it again I just lay very still and listen to its tiny ticking sound. It sounded like a little piece of wood gently flicking against another piece of wood like a gentle and quiet clicking of a fingernail.

I tried to understand the rhythm of it. Why was it tick, tick.......tick, tick. It was kind of like a heartbeat. And in thinking this I turned my focus in toward myself and listened for the beat of my heart and what I thought was happening was really happening. The gentle beat of my heart was shaking the bed just enough so that where the bottom of the bed post was touching the baseboard on the wall it was grabbing and releasing and with each grab and release it made a tiny ticking sound.

My heart beat on gently and the ticking sound continued until I fell asleep.

It was a set of circumstances that just came together perfectly. A motion that was probably no more than a thousandth of an inch was transformed into a sound that beat with my heart.

I wonder if there is a way I could do this to the whole world. Could I somehow transmit a gentle ticking sound of love from my heart to everyone? If I did, would anybody hear it?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

There should be a great nothingness

There should be a great nothingness. A neverending nothing that takes up no space and no time. Not a blackness but a nothingness.

Yet there is something. We see and feel it. We are here - inexplicably.

THere is a reason why. It is my quest to find this reason.


Maybe its a puzzle who's pieces need to be gathered

I am convinced that nobody knows the answer and this has been a roadblock to me. I have been almost paralyzed by the thought of traveling and meeting people, going to special places and discovering that nobody knows any more about the answer than I do. This brings me to a nihilistic place. Why should I bother to travel and ask? When I already know the answer is "I don't know"? Oh, there are plenty of people out there that will tell you they know the answer. But they don't. If they knew the real answer we would all know it. We are all just staring at shadows in the cave.

But this thought has occurred to me. Maybe there are a multitude of answer-fragments out there. And maybe I need to gather them up and put them together correctly to see the answer.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

A songbird sings a thankyou

Under my kitchen window I have a nice little garden section. It has a bird bath, suet and lots of flowers. Several days ago I was hard at work editing my latest novel when through the open kitchen window I heard a bird sing a song. It seeped into me while I was working and without even realizing it I said "You're welcome" to the bird.

After I said this I snapped out of my work and realized what had happened. The bird found my little spot and really liked it so it sang a song of thanks. Something inside me realized what the song was and acknowledged it. It was an amazing experience and something that could never be forced consciously.

Sometimes I have to fight the urge to scream at the world: "Open your eyes and see the true, open your ears and hear the true." But it is something that can't be made to happen, it just has to happen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lack of tools revisited

I was watching a special about police dogs and they showed this one test where they took a dog to a stadium that holds three thousand people. They gave the scent of a man to the dog. One the previous day there was a baseball game there and the man had sit in one particular seat in the stadium.

It was the challenge for the dog and it's owner to find out what seat the man sat it.

Think about this. Three thousand people were there yesterday and the man sat in one seat.

Well the dog found the exact seat that the man had sat in. This boggles the mind.

This is something that I, as a man do not have the tools to do. Plain and simple.

Is this also the case with the search for the meaning of life? Do I simply not have the tools to do it? -Maybe so.

the scent of the man was there all along and I as a man had no idea. Is the answer that I seek right here in front of me? Yet I have no idea?

This brings up another possibility: If I cannot find the answer is there a tool (like the dog) that I can use to find it for me?

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the lack of tools

I am forever wrestling with the fact that it is quite possible I do not have the tools to understand/comprehend the real answer. It may simply be beyond me/us. Something that cannot be grasped in our current form and capability.

Even within my own language of English there are strict limitations. After all, my thoughts are formed and guided by the languages I speak. What if there are no words for the answer? What if it can't be explained or understood with the tools I have?

Let me give you a little example. Here is a word in portuguese that has no translation in English:


If my language has gaps in its ability and is limited within the realm of normal human experience and expression how will I be able to use it to understand something that seems to be outside the normal range of human experience?

The search for the meaning of life continues

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I was in that place between the waking world and the sleeping world when a thought came to me.

What if the meaning of life were also searching for me? What if all I have to do is make myself known to it so it can find me?

What do I do to let it know that I am here?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Misguided Brilliance

This is a copy of a post from my blog called misguided brilliance. It is very relevant to the search for the meaning of life so I copied it here. Gives you something to think about.

Misguided Brilliance - What is it?I used to work at a very peculiar company. It was very progressive and very successful. Many millionaires were made from this company. It hasn't been around very long.Anyway, one of the things that makes this (high-tech) company successful is their ability to attract amazing people. After all it is the people that make any company.

Ask anybody with Merger & Acquisition experience and they will tell you that the product almost doesn't matter. If you get the right (talented) people you could sell anything to anybody.

This company was a triple shot of good fortune. They had the right people and they had the right product and at the right time. Needless to say they skyrocketed in value and size.

Back to the story.

I was sitting in a meeting, at a large oblong table with a dozen people at the top of their game. we were discussing strategies and plans of action. In particular we were focused on the A53-173b product. (Note that this isn't the real product. I made this number up. But it doesn't matter. It's all the same.)
Ideas were flowing freely amongst the group and I was amazed at the brilliance in the room. Really. I'm serious here. These are some smart people. And a thought hit me like a thunderbolt.
Why were they spending this brilliance on the A53-173b product?
Why don't they apply this brilliance to something that really matters? Next year the 173b will become the 173c and the b will be long forgotten. If you extrapolate this a bit then next century all of this will be a silliness.

Why do we spend so much of our brilliance on so much that matters so little. Why don't we spend it on things that really matters?Why is our brilliance so misguided?

Somewhere in the past we made a wrong turn and have been following the wrong path all this way.Misguided Brilliance will look into the past and find out where we went wrong. I will stand at the fork in the road and point you to the right path.

more coming, come back

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Help with this question

I caught a snippet of a tv show on pbs. It was some kind of a travel show and the host was somewhere in South America (I believe) He said that the people who lived here believed that we are all living life in a dream. This is their true belief.

Do you know who these people are? I would like to add them to my quest.
send me an email:

The dream of a cube

I had a dream that a man showed me a multi-colored cube that swirled and moved. He told me that the answer I sought was inside and all I had to do was look. I didn't. I awoke and spent the rest of the night and the following morning making a cube that looked/felt like the one he showed me.

I first drew it on a sturdy piece of thin cardboard so it could be later folded into a cube. Then I painted it flat. As it was in this flat shape and waiting to dry I thought that I will fold this piece of flat into a shape and inside will be nothing.

I fear that the problem with the cube and the quest is that even if you have the courage to look all you will see is the shadow.

I will allow you to see the cube I made Darkness

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Release bottle messages

I will put messages in bottles asking about the meaning of life and I will release them into the ocean. I have a friend with an ocean worthy sailboat. We will sail out into the atlantic and release them. I don’t expect a serendipitous event out of this. After all will my message be found by someone who knows the answer to the meaning of life? But it is something I have to do.

steg ti rehtruf eht yrt I redraH ehT

The Harder I try the further it gets.
I have been reading a lot and researching the meaning of life and it's discouraging. There is so much material to sift through. I keep hoping that I will find a gem that will set me on the right course.
I keep getting these recurring thoughts that interrupt my search:

Maybe it isn't meant to be found. Maybe it has to come to me

Sometimes I think that there is a way to titrate it down -cut it in half; then cut it in half again and again until eventually it all comes down to one syllable and that would be the answer to the search.

It sometimes feels like there is no answer, or it simply wasn't meant to be found. I just find it so hard to believe that this is all a meaningless accident. There should be a great nothingness -there should be even less than a nothingness. Defining nothing implies something. But there is something We see and feel it all around. How did this happen? and has it really been going on forever? And on into forever?

I remember this great quote from Carl Sagan "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch you have to first create the universe." Staggeringly deep. I wonder what he is doing right now?

Beethoven's Fifth and the Meaning of Life

I have a lot of artistic pursuits. I draw, paint, play classical guitar, and write among other things. One day I was reading a book about being an artist. It about being a traditional artist in the sense of using paint and palette. One line in the book struck me. It was something like this: An artist uses his medium to express things that can't be expressed in words.

This statement is actually quite profound. We are, after all, verbal creatures. Verbal communication is at the very center of what we are. But artists transcend this.

It got me thinking about the various art forms and how they can travel toward each other. So a thought hit me. Is it possible for me to write a piece on the guitar that expresses the color blue? It's an interesting thought.

That thought lead me further along and I began to wonder about this thought in existing music. Has anyone ever composed a piece that probes into the question of the meaning of life?

Beethoven Did; and it's one of the most recongnizable pieces of music that ever existed. Who can't hum that four note motif; dah, dah, dah, dum.

I am not going to give you a long essay to prove my point. Besides, how well could I do it? It goes back to my earlier point about an art form expressing something that the word cannot express.

Let me just leave you with this: In the middle of the first movement there is a stunning oboe solo

Friday, April 28, 2006

A peculiar dream

I had a peculiar dream the other night. I woke up during the dream and in the real world I willed myself back to sleep so I could continue the dream. I did continue the dream and at some point I discovered I was in another place/state. I moved between the other place/state, reality, and the dream world easily.

THis is hard to describe but after I awoke and I reached for my writing pad and I tried to explain.

There is another place/state. It is not sleep and it is not awake. Nor is a a place in-between. It is a different place. Maybe I can return there and gain an insight into the meaning of life. How you ask a question depends on what state you are in.

My 43 things list of things to do in my quest

I have been trying to thing about how to keep my quest organized. I have a lot of things to do in my search for the meaning of life. So I started a 43 things list. it is located here:

43things search for the meaning of life

First quest?

I have been thinking a lot about what kinds of things I will do in my search for the meaning of life and maybe I have found my first sojourn. It is a short sojourn and it revolves around a painting called: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? It is by Paul Gauguin and it is being kept in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Massachusetts which is within reasonable driving distance for me.

Wikipedia has an excellent explanation of this painting:
The Painting at Wikipedia

A little about Gauguin: In 1891 he sailed to the tropics to escape the european world and as he describes it "everything that is artificial and conventional" He wanted to find a simpler life "where he could live on fish and fruit."

Here are two interesting quotes by Gauguin:

In order to do something new we must go back to the source, to humanity in its infancy.

I have tried to make everything breathe in this painting: belief, passive suffering, religious and primitive style, and the great nature with its scream.

The search continues

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Proof of God

Every day we are surrounded by this amazing and awe inspiring thing we call life. But for the most part we are blind to it. Busy making money, paying the bills, watching tv, dealing with the little things that consume us.

The complexity and the sheer scope of it all is enough of a proof that there is something beyond us and we will call this something beyond us God -not as an old wise man with a grey beard, but as a force that brought everything into being.

Proof for the skeptic

Now if all of this isn't proof enough for you - You might say it is just a series of things that happened, or it is a grand coincidence, or evolution or whatever you want.

God knows you would think this and he created something to convince you of his/her/it's existence. -- The eclipse ---

God created a moon and set it in motion around the earth in exactly the right place and distance so that it would exactly cover the disc of the sun. This is no coincidence. It was done on purpose. It is part of a language that god uses to speak to us.

What is he trying to say? He is saying: I am here and here is the proof.

Join me in the search

Monday, February 06, 2006

Book Review and thoughts about "The Alchemist"

I was driving through some countryside that I hadn't gone through before and I spotted a book store that sells used books. I made a note of its location and a few days later I made a special trip out there.

Something like this is always a wonderful event for me. Little bookstores like this often hold serendipitious events for me.
It was many years ago that I discovered a tattered copy of the hobbit in a bookstore just like this. And this was before anybody ever heard of the Hobbit. It wa also in a bookstore like this that I discovered Dostoevsky and Watership Down.

Combing through the stacks I came across a book that was on my list for a long time: "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coelho. I took this as a good omen and I bought it.

There is a small irony about this book and me. I had asked for it as a christmas present from someone and they gave me the wrong one. There is another popular book called The Alchemist. I read that one but it doesn't compare. That one is pretty much just a run of the mill fiction work. Interesting and fun but not what I am looking for.

Back to the real Alchemist.

It's a good book, simple and short and with a great theme and idea but it suffers the same affliction that many of these kinds of books suffer from, books like Illusions by Richard Adams and even The lord of the rings.

Let me explain. THis book has a mysterious, seemingly all-knowing character that appears to our main character as he sits on a park bench. Hey there's something new.
These books always seem to have this kind of character that sets our hero on the path he must embark on.

Well, that's all fine and good but it doesn't do me, or you any good. In real life there is no character like this. So how am I to embark on my quest to find the real meaning of life? Beats the hell out of me. It would be so simple if some Gandalf, or King of Salem would come and show me the way -show me even a glimmer of the way. But there is no Gandalf.

Every single one of us here on this planet is standing in a cave and looking at shadows on the wall. Every single one of us.

The Search Continues