Wednesday, December 30, 2009

47 Minutes to think about

On the radio I heard a short snippet about a man in a hospital who was dead for 47 minutes before being revived. story here And wow does this bring up a lot of questions. Here are some of my thoughts on what this incident means:

1. wysiwig - What you see is what you get: We are simply biological functions, nothing more and when you are dead you are dead, your memories and essence are gone.

2. Thinking about time: There is a longer period of time before you pass into another realm of existence and it is more than 47 minutes. (This brings up the question of where you are during this time. Maybe the same place you go when you sleep?)

3. You can travel back and forth between this place and that place. We just don't know how, or we don't do it much, or when we do, or when in one place we have no recollection of the other. Did joe spend 47 minutes in an afterlife and doesn't remember?

4. Time is irrelevant: This is hard to grasp but time, being a major focus of this essay, is actually irrelevant. How long you are dead is not important because it doesn't equate in the other life. Although the concept of eternity does kink that up a bit.

5. The unknown and unthought solution: This one really ticks me off because it is probably the right one. Maybe the answer lies in something that I cannot grasp, don't even have an inkling of a shadow of a clue about.

addendum: It will be interesting to see whatever becomes of the people cryonically frozen at Alcor But then again, if any of them are brought back to "life" will it really answer any questions?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where was I for the past Billion Years?

This is a question that really affects me. Where was I for the billion years of infinity before I came into what I know as my life? It's very bizarre. As far as I know, the universe existed for a very long time before I came into existence. Why is it that I don't have any recollection of anything during all that time of existence?

A big thing to consider about this is whether or not that time actually existed. I mean that time is a very peculiar thing. We all sense it -at least we think we sense it. But there is nothing but a never ending now. There is only the "now" of now.

Ok, the really big question is " When I die, will I go back to that same place I was in for the billion years that I don't remember"?

Harrowing thought.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Endless strains of meaningless crap

I have three thoughts for you today.

It is an absolutely beautiful day here in New England, even a bit blustery. The trees are giving up the last of their colored leaves and winter is being prepared for. These three thoughts came to me during my walk.

First thought: Why is it that thoughts come so easily to me when I walk? I don't think this is just peculiar to me. I think it is a human thing. We walk and think. They seem to go very well together. The simple act of walking gently invigorates the mind. And, it's funny how people don't walk like they used to walk. Everybody drives. Kind of a shame. This theme reminds me of a short essay I wrote entitled: A Walk in the Snickering rain.

Second thought: This one addressess the title of this post. We, as humans, occupy ourselves with an awful lot of stuff. I mean that there are endless strains of amusements and thoughts and other things. We seem to spend a lot of time on things that aren't really important. Seriously. Why do we waste so much of our lives on things that don't matter? You know what I am talking about. You do it too. We all do it - spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on things that matter so little - car, tv, bills, what people think, things, on and on and on and on. When it comes down to it what is really important?
Now before you say "Family". I just want to say what about the big question? What the heck is this all about? Doesn't anybody spend any time on that?
In any pursuit one of the most important things you have to ask yourself is "What is my outcome?" It is important to ask yourself this question so you can get a clear grasp of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you should do it.
Doesn't this apply to life too? Whats your outcome?

Thought three: I am really stuck on the whole subject of Michael Crichton. I have been an admirer of his for most of my life and I can't get over his death. He was a life long learner and explorer- not just a writer. He explored life on many different levels and he laid this out in his book "Travels". In that book he talks about his travels through life both external and internal. He lays out his attempts to explain the unexplained. Well, this got me thinking that maybe there are clues in that book. I am going to have to re-read it and see what comes. Maybe he laid out a way to contact him after he passed. Interesting thought.

Friday, October 30, 2009

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Friday, September 25, 2009

An Endless loop of Gods - and why my cat sits on the radiator

I was listening to a radio program that had Erich von Daniken as the guest speaker and he said something that I thought was very profound and interesting. This is a small excerpt here:

"The Creation of the Spirit of Creation"

This statement brings up a lot of thoughts. First off it makes me wonder about the nature of creation and how it seems to almost be the all of everything. The creative force is an amazing thing and it lies at the very heart of the mystery. It is one of those things that sits in the center and knows while we dance around the circle and suppose.

But the real profundity of the statement is the implication of the creation of god. Let's assume that God created the universe. God had this desire to create and God created. But what instilled in God the desire to create? What created the spirit of creation? Was it a God that created God? Is there an endless loop of Gods? Does this circle go on forever? It's a paradox and paradoxes are something that I will be exploring in further posts.

Is what we think of as God simply "The Creative Force in the Universe?" The Force that through the Green fuse shoots the flower?

Is there a God?

Is there an endless loop of Gods?

Or is it all something we simply cannot fathom?

And that last question brings me to my cat and the radiator.

It is Autumn here in New England and the mornings are getting brisk. There is a beautiful chill in the morning air. This morning chill re-ignites a seasonal pattern in my cat. He sits on top of the radiator in the kitchen because it is nice and warm. He enjoys the warmth of it. Does he have any clue about what all had to be created and what all had to happen for that radiator to be warmed? Nope, He doesn't understand any of it and he is incapable of understanding how the Gas company pipes gas to my house and how the boiler in the basement warms up water and how the water circulates through pipes and passes through the radiator giving it a soft and comfortable warmth.

Nor does he understand that I keep all of this in motion by paying the gas bill and by adjusting the thermostat.

Nope, he doesn't understand any of that.... yet he enjoys it and, in the way of cats, he appreciates it.
And what does this all lead us to? I am not really sure because as in just about every other post on this blog I end up with more question marks than I expected. But, The sun is shining outside and it's burning away the morning briskness and I think that maybe I will just go outside for a walk and enjoy the sunshine on my face.
Next post: I just recently returned from a trip to Greece and one of the things I visited was the Oracle at Delphi. This is the place that the Ancient Greeks considered to be the Center of the Universe. I will be posting pictures and my thoughts about the experience and the place.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A World Without Keys

A World Without Keys - I stopped in a shopping center one morning to get myself a cup of coffee from a Dunkin Donuts. As I was walking back to the car I stepped on something. Looking down I saw a key. It appeared to have been run over a few times and the key ring was pretty rusty.

It started me thinking about the simple deception that a key is. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was no need for keys in this world?

But, regrettably, there are keys. And it leads me to the very scary thought that everything we see is all there is. It leads me to the thought that we are just biological units that live then die and that's it. We are simply units in a chain of meat that is vying for natural resources, nothing more and nothing less. And this is why the need for keys. Because natural resources are precious and must be guarded. After all, sitting in my ivory tower I must admit, or at least acknowledge, that people die of starvation every day. And if I am to be sure I do not follow in that path I must use a key to lock away things, hide them and protect them from others. The implications are saddening. . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Bahai or not Bahai

I have had this book for years, nay decades and it remains one of my favorites simply because of the profundity offered inside. You have never read a book like this. It takes a child-like wonderment look at it all.

A Note to Guy Murchie: If you are out there somewhere, or in there somewhere, or around here somewhere, or still exist in some shape or form of thought or being and you can hear me then I want to say thanks for this wonderful gift of a book:

The Seven Mysteries of Life

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Circles within Circles

Its a basic contradiction of my quest for the meaning of life.

Every post I write and every thought I think when it comes to this big riddle we are all involved in is that each postulation brings about at least two more questions.

Its a paradox but every thought brings up more questions. Is there a point where the questions start to get answered? Does this never ending cycle of questions fold down into a vortex where a single answer can be found?

dunno, hope so

That last post with the golden ball of spirit brought up a whole mess of ideas and questions. I don't even want to write about them. It seems pointless.

Epiphany on a bus... or maybe not

I was riding on a bus and just enjoying the undulating countryside and I was thinking about people. All these people in this world -wow, there are so many of us. Each one different and each one living his or her life. It is really amazing. This brought a few thoughts to mind. And, of course, a few questions.
What are all these people? Are they all just biological functions?

Well, I had this image in my mind of all these golden globes of beautiful light floating along the country side; seated inside homes, sitting on the other seats of the bus, walking along the streets and paths, up and down escalators and elevators.

I pictured everyone as a beautiful glowing globe of spirit - a soul if you may.

It felt good to visualize the people of the world this way. And its a pretty common thing to think about. I haven't revealed anything new here.

But I did want to say something about this. Where the heck is this glowing globe of beautiful golden light? Why can't I really feel it? If it is so beautiful and so wonderful, and if we really are spiritual beings having a human experience why is it so well hidden?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Dream of a Dragon Swallowing the Moon

Its a peculiar thing but it is absolutely true.

If you have been reading this blog you know that I have just recently returned from a trip to Japan. It was a wonderful trip and I had a lot of reasons for going. And I am not even going to get into the peculiar thread of circumstances that created my adventure and trip to the land of the Rising Sun.

But I do want to talk about one particular event.

It was my very first night/day in Japan. I had just finished a marathon of planes, trains, airports, buses and what not. The whole thing from doorstep to doorstep was about 31 hours. I started my journey at 5am and finally reached my first resting point in Japan at about 11pm Japanese time which made it noon time the next day back home.

Anyway, On that first night, I went outside to enjoy the beautiful tropical evening (Quite a contrast from New England at the time because it was 35 degree when I left and felt like it could snow)
And I was just enjoying the smell and feel of Japan. I was basking in the wonder of how quickly I had traveled all the way around the world and in the wonder of how very different Japan was - even in the little things.

Well, to the point here. I looked up at the sky to verify that the moon, ever constant, was still the same regardless of where I was on the Earth. And I was taken aback in almost shock.

Before my very eyes a large cloud formation was in the shape of a big Japanese/Chinese Dragon, complete with horns and a long undulating body. And its mouth was open and I watched in utter disbelief and shock as this dragon swallowed the moon.

Now wait just a second here. What I saw was not a cloud that kind of looked like the shape of a dragon. It was the most remarkable thing I have ever seen. The darn cloud looked like a dragon. I am earnest here. I simply could not believe my eyes and I had to wonder if I was hallucinating from the long and arduous journey I had just completed.

But it took its time and it gave me plenty of time to verify and re-verify what I was seeing. It was a big ole dragon with its mouth wide open and it just slowly swallowed the moon. It took a couple of minutes and I just stared at it in rapt awe.

Was this some kind of a message? Was there a meaning in this? It's been bothering me ever since and I have thought about this incident many times since I got back. And while I was there I gave it a lot of thought.

Now Onto the Quest for a Sword

One of the things I really wanted to do while I was there was to buy an actual samurai sword that was made there. It was a very personal quest and I had a lot of trouble at first. I had no clue as to where to go to get one and it took me over a week just to figure things out. Anyway, I was in this one particular shop (the picture below is of the shop, the evening before I had arrived just a half hour after they closed)

Anyway, I was in the shop, and it wasn't the first one I had been in to look at the swords - and there it was, a beautiful Samurai sword with a hand painted dragon on it; and it looked to me like there was something near the head of the dragon that was either the moon or a cloud of smoke. Nevertheless, it struck me pretty hard. Was this the reason for my vision? Was this sword a manifestation of what I had seen? Was the vision of the dragon swallowing the moon a message to me to buy this particular sword? Whatever was going on it was uncanny and well, I bought the sword and had it shipped home.

Now, for the rest of my trip a sense of relief had come over me. It seemed right that the vision of the dragon lead me to this particular sword and everything had fallen into place. But something has been nagging at me. I have been wondering if there is something more to this?

If you have any thoughts on this I would be glad to hear them. And if you have some expertise on Japanese/Asian folklore or fables I would love to hear what your opinion and thoughts are about my vision, the dragon, the moon and my samurai sword.

Here are two pictures of the actual sword I bought:

East Meets West

I get the sense that us westerners tend to scoff at stuff like this. - bah , you saw a shape of a cloud that looked like a dragon, big deal? and it happened to pass over the moon, whoop tee doo. You were thinking about it all week and the first thing you saw with a dragon on it made you think it was a messaage bah! Just read your Jung, its plain old synchronicity without any hidden meaning.

But, the eastern philosophies, and a heck of a lot of other philosophies for that matter, wouldn't agree with this scoffing. The mysteries and the messages abound, we usually just don't pick up on them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Philosophers Walk in Kyoto Japan

I have so much to say about this little span of time in my life but let me see if I can titrate it down a bit. About travel: I have mixed feelings about travel when it comes to questing for the meaning of life and I have talked about this before. First off, it is difficult to get philosophical when you travel - you are just not in the right frame of mind (quiet) There is just too much to absorb and too much new going on. Second, I do believe that travel can help with the quest to find the meaning of life but only after you get back home and take time to contemplate what you saw, learned and discovered.

Anyhoo about the actual philopher's walk in Kyoto:

I spent a few minutes being smug because it was just a bunch of tourists all being smug at how smart they are. We all kept glancing at each other trying to show how smart we were to be philosophising about the meaning of life. I guess I am just human like everybody else :) Anyway, I took my time and walked the path and earnestly tried to contemplate the meaning of it all. I came up with no reveleations but I did take this one little video... hmm... makes you wonder.

About the Philosphers Walk:It was a daily path along a small canal that the philospher Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945) would walk and contemplate philosphical things. He was a professor at Kyoto University. His work was predominanlty involved in a merging of Eastern and Western philosophies. Its a beautiful walk and the canal is lined with Cherry blossoms that bloom in Mid April. They say that when these cherry blossoms bloom this is quite possibly the most beautiful spot in all of Japan.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Triangulating on the elusive woodpecker

Off in the distance i heard the striking of a woodpecker. And the thing about this is that there really was no way for me to find out exactly where it was without moving. From a single perspective it is not possible to find it.

My ears can give me a rough line to it but depth is another issue.

So, to find the woodpecker I had to move to another spot so I could "triangulate" on it and get a better sense of where it was.

Is this the same thing with the meaning of life? Is it not possible to find the elusive hammering of an answer from only one perspective?

This particular riddle might be perfectly fine with me - I have no problem seeking out, finding, observing and feeling from as many perspectives it takes but..... What if all of these perspectives, in this current life as I know it are actually just one perspective?

This leads us to think that the only way to get another perspective is to cross that cloudy veil into the next. (If there even is a "next"). Hmm... For that matter what if I am the woodpecker?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Should I stay or Should I go?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go is the title for an old song by the Clash and it's fitting for what I want to talk about in this post.

It is a neverending question that spins around philosophers. Do you search for the meaning of life within yourself or do you travel and quest to find it? Of course it seems to me that both are necessary. And Paolo Coelho, in his famous book The Alchemist he lays out an excellent answer to this question. And I won't tell you about what he says or how he says it just in case you want to read the book and discover for yourself.

But I want to propose that both are absolutely necessary and here are my arguments for the case.

What would you be like if you were born in a cardboard box? ( The Box Man: A Novel )
And your whole life you lived in this box? The sum total of your experience would be what you experienced within the four cardboard walls. What would your internal dialogue be like? What information had you gathered to help you understand yourself and the world? For one thing the world is, to your experience very simple and small, corrugated and smelling of processed paper.

So, this is a good argument for adventuring out into the world and gathering data and experiences, of which in this world, there is an abundance. And this experiencing isn't just hedonistic. They are important because they enrich you and make you more capable.

But it goes beyond this. Because I believe there are places in the world that are something more than they appear to be. There are places in this world where the wall between what is, and what appears to be, is very thin. The ancient Celts had a name for places like this. They called them thin places.

So, you need both the internal and the external, and the two have to compliment and help each other. You can't just sit in one place and discover the truth and you can't just adventure out looking for the truth. This is the truth.

About Thin Places

I have been working on my third novel for quite a while now and it will be finished soon, the pieces are falling together. But, what I want to say is that well before I heard about thin places A portion of my novel takes place in this large stone structure that juts up into the air. At the top of this structure is a monastery. In the novel I call it Speyer after a town in Germany.

The thing about this place is that I thought I created it on my own. And its a funny thing how just a few days ago I discovered a thin place called Skellig Michael in Ireland. And it has me wondering, because I am Irish, if there is something more to what I have written down in my novel. Is it just a coincidence that I "created" my own Skellig Michael? Or have I been there before?

Anyway, It is now on my list of places to visit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Being Michael Crichton

There is this great little indy film called "Being John Malkovich". It is a wonderful, quirky and insightful movie where the characters actually find a doorway right into John Malkovich's head. I read somewhere that they were making the movie and when John Malkovich heard about it he volunteered to join in the production. Anyway its a great movie.

But, I am envisioning a movie called "Being Michael Crichton". This comes about because of his recent battle and death to cancer. He was quite an amazing man who did a lot of fantastic things including directing movies, writing blockbuster books and graduating from Harvard as a medical doctor. He had the curiosity to deeply look into many things and the courage to say and do what he believed was right.

I always felt a bit of a kinship with him, I am not sure why, but since I read "The Andromeda Strain" at some point in the early seventies. He went on to pen such amazing works as Jurassic Park.

Now to the point:

Of all the things he has done and written there is one, in my mind, that stands above everything else. It is one of his lesser known books called "Travels". It is a very personal account about his life and his travels in this world in exploration of the external world and in an attempt to uncover the mystery or possibility of another world. Its a remarkable book and I believe it is the only one where we get a real peek at Michael. He was a very private person when it came to his own life.

Anyway, this book had a profound effect on me and I am going to re-read it to see what further insights I can gain from him and his quest to find an answer.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Battling the inevitability of my eyes

When I got to a certain age I started having a little bit of trouble with my vision. I am a heavy reader and this was quite a challenge for me. Right around the time my vision started giving me trouble two people I know, who are the same age as me also started having trouble with their vision. We all ended up getting glasses around the same time.

What's my point here?

Well, this little coincidence got me thinking. Is something going on here? Or is it just a coincidence? I did some research and sure enough, if you have had normal vision eyes since birth it is pretty certain that your vision will deteriorate at a very specific and linear rate. An ophthamologist can tell how old you are by examining your eyes or by just looking at your prescription.

This is mind boggling to me. What is the purpose of this? Why all these changes as we age? Skin, organs, eyesight, hearing, teeth. The whole shooting match. Why the decline? What is the purpose that is being served here?

Ok, this is no big revelation. But the thinking here is that nature always finds the optimal solution and it seems to be a pretty optimal solution to insure no individual of a species lives too long. It is necessary, for flexibility in the species, for new individuals to enter the stream.

That's the easy answer. But are there other possible answers?

How about the "Everybody gets a turn answer?"

It sounds silly but it could be true. The plan could be to give everybody a turn at the mystery and the miracle of life. Why not? Kind of like a pass on the roller coaster. Hey, you had your turn now step aside and let somebody else ride!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Horseshoes, Sneakers, and the Meaning of Life

Horseshoes, Sneakers, and the search for the meaning of life

It is common knowledge that nature finds elegant solutions to problems and amazing answers to questions. This ability of nature is evident in every aspect of life and the lessons nature has for us are manifold - from the mathematical patterns that ants follow in their foraging to the amazing navigation of bees, to the structure and strength of balsa wood and bamboo.

I could go on and on about the solutions nature has found to problems but you already know all about it. We are all aware of the fact. And we have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to seeing the ways nature has solved problems.

Of course, this is what the sneakers are about.

I have these really great pair of sneakers that are comfortable and feel really good to run in. They were a gift and I didn't at first realize they were horseshoe shaped underneath - until one morning when I ran in a light coating of snow. Upon a second lap I noticed the horseshoes!
They seem to be very well designed and very comfortable. And an interesting thing about them is the very subtle clip-clopping sound my feet make as I run. It seems to be a kind of feedback and I can get a good sense for the evenness of my running by this subtle clip-clopping. It makes me wonder if horses use their ears to monitor and correct their running?

But, About man and nature:

I do have a couple of criticisms about these sneakers though. First off, in the picture you can see that the horseshoes are backwards! The open end is toward the front.. hmmmm.... And secondly, a horseshoe is not a creation of nature, it is a man made invention that is put on the foot of a horse. I am willing to bet that a sneaker designed after a real horses foot would be even better than the horse shoe design. Just a thought.

Now on to the Chatauqua

There are two distinct parts to this. The first part is the obvious part and in the second part I will be a bit more penetrating.

What nature has to say about the meaning of life

First Part: First of all she says to live according to how you are supposed to live, do the things you were meant to do, in the ways you were meant to do them. Second, be the piece of the puzzle you were meant to be, the good of the whole is good for you too. Eat, sleep, drink, procreate, be fecund, contribute to the circle in the way you do. All of this is easy but is there more?

Second Part: Yes, I believe there is more. I believe you should be grateful and thankful for this mystery and this existence. And this is evident in nature. I have a reasonable proof of creatures actually being grateful here (The thankyou bird)

And you should enjoy and appreciate the mystery of life and your existence in it. I am certain that my cat diitto does. He really revels in the joy of his life and the beauty of things, particularly in springtime. The philosophers Garden

Now for the really hard question. What is the "purpose" of all this? Is it simply to be? Is it to enjoy and appreciate the gift? Is it something more? Is it much less? What is nature showing us?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will I die when I find the answer?

I have been on my quest for many years now and the idea that I will die when I discover the answer to the meaning of life has crossed my mind many times. It's an interesting and very weighty idea. And a bit of a paradox.

Here are some variations on this theme:

Fulfillment of my quest: This is the biggest thing. Often I could consider that when I discover the answer my role here is complete and it's time to move on. Of course that is conjecture because I don't really know if there is anyplace to move on to. I would imagine the answer would answer this question. or maybe it wouldn't.

The quest is the meaning - I definitely do not like this one at all. It says that the meaning of life is the quest itself. Robert Pirsig sums it up pretty well: "Life is not about getting to the top of the mountain, all the life and beauty is along the side and the climb". That's a rough paraphrase of how I remember it anyway. If this were the case I probably would die, of heartbreak. Seems too pedestrian to me.

A Revelation before dying - I also have this thought that each person, just before dying, is revealed the meaning and answer to everything. Seems like a neat package with a great bow but beats me if its true. If it is true I haven't been able to verify it seeing as I am unable to talk to anyone who has been there. And it brings up the added thought that I am attempting to short-circuit the way it is meant to be. If the revelation comes just before or during death then is my search wrong? Will my answer come to me in time (of my dying?) And if I found the answer sooner would I then force the hand and die?

Here is how I feel about the whole question raised in this post.

About a month ago I injured my right calf during a run one morning. It's one of the risks of running in very cold and icy conditions. While it still bothers me, I haven't stopped running. I get out there every morning. Why? Because If I stop to let it supposedly heal, I may fall into the rut of not running and never start up again. Or worse, once it heals I may not run again for fear of a re injury. And that fear is not something I will allow. Same goes for my quest. I will not allow the fear of dying to stop me from questing. Especially seeing as It's only conjecture. Anyhoo, Like Percival I must continue on in my search for this grail of grails.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wisdom, Truth, Honesty and Ethical Dilemmas

Being a seeker of the ultimate truth and the ultimate answer I often puzzle over ethical dilemmas. First off there is always the question of if there is a higher truth to things. I mean that a lot of ethics and morals are based in societal needs. There are a lot of ways we act and think in order to keep the harmony in society. And these values change over time and vary from society to society. As an example some cultures don't mind picture taking but some cultures consider it very taboo to take a persons picture without permission. And some cultures don't permit it at all.

Before you jump and say "when in Rome you follow the Roman rules" I just want to say that this is not my real point. My real point is the question of if there are ethical rules that go above all else and are universal. And by universal I mean the whole tootin universe.

Let me get to my point here. It is a theory I have called "Path Interruption" and it applies to conscious beings (but then again I am not going to say a rock is devoid of consciousness, who knows right?)

Path Interruption

I feel that a potential universal ethic is that of awareness of path interruption. I think that every human being is on his or her own path and he or she must find and follow that path. And, you as a person have to be very careful about that path. You have very limited right to interrupt that path in any way. This ties in very nicely with the ethics of hurting someone else which is bad according to path interruption. You have changed their path. And forcing someone to do something they don't want to do is also a bad form of path interruption.

Now, what about ethical dilemmas and path interruption.

This brings to mind a pretty common psychological test. In the test the subject is told that they are watching some railroad tracks and a train is coming. Now the subject can see three people working on the tracks and they have no idea the train is coming. They are wearing hearing protection and the train will run them right over - it is certain that they will die. Now the subject as an observer of this is right near a track switch where the switch can be thrown and the train will change tracks and avoid the three workers, but, on the other track there is one person and this person will be killed. hmmm... interesting ethical dilemma. So what would you do?

Often times people will choose to kill the one person because its better to save three than one. But, how does the theory of path interruption fit into this? If you do nothing, three people die, true but if you take action one person will die - the difference being that you have taken action and in effect you have, by your action, killed this person.

So, what is the absolute right thing to do? Do you get a karmic point bonus for saving a persons life? Or do you get a karmic minus for killing somebody? Does it really matter?

(The interesting thing to remember is that the choice you make determines the path you take)

So, is it ok to just be an observer in other peoples lives, or is it right to take action based on what you feel is right? I am sure if you asked that one man standing on the railroad tracks alone he would give you a very strong opinion about what you should do and how you shouldn't interrupt his path by throwing the switch.

Where does wisdom fit into this?

I have always considered wisdom to be very important however intangible it is. A good portion of wisdom comes from experience and understanding that many of the rules we live by are not set in titanium. They are good in most cases but sometimes it is best for all parties involved to not follow the rules. This is wisdom on the level of society. But what about the ultimate ethics and wisdom? What is it and how do we acquire it? Or is there even no such thing?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Half a Sufi?

I am not an expert on Sufism but it does seem rather interesting to me. There of course a lot written about it but I will give you my nutshell thoughts on what it is and what it means.

It pretty much can be boiled down to two points, I think.

The first point is the search for truth - and I really like this point which is not unexpected seeing as what this blog is all about and that truth is the thing I seek. So this part of Sufism is something I really like.

But, the second part of sufism is the rub for me. I kind of can sum it up by saying it is all about moving toward enlightenment or purity or a oneness with everything and with god or the god force, or the soul and spirit of the everything.

Now, it seems to me that there is a basic contradiction there - And to point that out let me pose you a question. What if we are perfection? What if there is no need for striving toward anything? What if we are the perfect in every way? If this is the case then the second half of Sufism is not really valid. And the first half hasn't been successfully accomplished because we didn't see that.

Interesting conundrum there. Nonetheless, I am not saying I am right. I have to stick to the golden rule, but what If I am? The implications are staggering.

SO It is possible that I am half a sufi. And if I were to discover the truth (that we need to strive toward) then I guess I would be a whole sufi because I would surely strive toward it.

Okie, Tomorrow I have another interesting essay called " Wisdom, truth, honesty, and the ethical dilemma.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I am heading to Japan and looking for suggestions

I am booked, paid for and all set. I am heading to Japan for a while. The funny thing is that I am going there for reasons other than my quest for the answer to the meaning of life. But, as wonderful and mysterious as the world is I can fold my quest right into the trip. But I don't really know much about Japan, Japanese culture or even Japanese Philosophy. So I have to do some research before I depart. I have some time to do this.

I thought maybe you could give me advice on what to see and what to visit that will help enrich me on my path to enlightenment. Do you know of any special places there that I should visit? Are there any must sees when it comes to the meaning of life, philosophy, religion and wisdom?

Any insight you can lend me will be greatly appreciated. - and even the fact that you are reading my blog is greatly appreciated !!

Thanks - you can email me privately or just post comments. I don't want to say exactly when I am going or how long I will be there - its just prudent internet security :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Golden Airplane or Why is my Bubble so Small?

Every morning I go for a run -early, before the sunrise. It's a beautiful time, quiet, and it's just me, the birds, and a few squirrels.
During the morning, around the same time; before the sun has broken the horizon yet is illuminating the sky above, I see a golden airplane. Being that high up in the sky it catches the rays of golden sun and shines quite beautifully.
I see the plane at the same time every weekday and I don't see it on weekends. It must be some kind of commuter plane coming from Boston and heading off to who knows where.

There are two things that strike me about this. First off I have to ponder the fact that it is quite beautiful in a couple of different ways. The way it glints in the sunlight with a golden color is breathtaking as it slowly traverses across my sky. Second, I have to marvel in awe at the remarkable thing that is an airplane. There are a whole lot of people sitting in that thing right at that moment and heading off to a place.

This is where my bubble comes it.
I live in a bubble of awareness. I can only see a certain distance and if I don't look up toward the sky that distance is quite small. And when it comes to hearing my bubble is even smaller. I can only hear within a certain radius and become aware of sounds that are in the distance only if they have the will to be strong and loud.
So, why is my bubble so small? I read somewhere that the human mind can only process something like 110 bits of information per second. I can't recollect how accurate that is but it makes me think that there are two very different things going on here. There is a duality, a shifting between two different things.
True, my bubble of the perceived world is only a certain size, yet, as I watch that golden airplane fly past I can put myself inside it. I can visualize the seats, the rows, the people all sitting and doing different things. I can watch as the stewardess shows us all how to fasten our seat belts and I can see her hand motions as the points toward the emergency exits.
Now, this changes everything about the size of my bubble.

I have, in effect, this enormous bubble inside my head. It is an accumulation of life experiences and I can draw upon it and even manipulate it. - And by manipulate I mean I can re-assemble things and try new configurations. Heres an example:

I am on that commuter flight from Boston to wherever it goes and I am laughing because it was a real event. Boarding was quite astonishing because one of the passengers brought a baby elephant. We all laughed as they stewardesses struggled to get it through the doorway of the plane. It eventually squeezed through and now it is sitting in one of the rows near its owner. We were all laughing at first but now its just not as funny because, frankly, the thing doesn't smell too good and because I am sitting next to it I have to keep getting up to help people climb over it to get to the bathroom in the back.
See how my experiences can be manipulated and changed? What is this act of creation that is going on? How has my bubble grown so large?
This came out of experiences that I have had. But here is the rub: What about the things I don't know and the experiences I have never had? What about the things I don't know and the things that I have never seen? And the things I don't even know I don't know? Is there something very important that I am missing, overlooking, or just not seeing?


Regardless of the things I miss there is something magnificent going on here. Is is truly that my bubble has the ability to encompass everything? Or is the everything that I can create and experience just an illusion?

For my own part, I have never had a thought
which I could not set down in words
With even more distinctness that which I conceived it.
There is however a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy
which are not thoughts and to which as yet
I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language.
These fancies arise in the soul,
Alas how rarely, only at epochs
of most intense tranquility
when the bodily and mental health are in perfection.
And those mere points of time
when the confines of the waking world
blend with the world of dreams.
And so I captured this fancy
where all that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

-Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Blood Splattered Night

--Warning, This is a graphic and true story-- Not for children or the faint of heart -- Seriously. If you are disturbed by some of the suffering that occurs in this life then do not read this. --





I don't know exactly what happened last night but I will tell you as much as I can and fill in the blanks as best I can. I think my guesses are correct.

It was 3am and for some reason I woke up. Not sure if I woke up then woke my cat (Ditto) up, or if he woke up then woke me up. Either way we were both up at 3. Well, as it always happens, if we get up in the middle of the night he wants to go out. I walked out on the porch to see how cold it was, and approving of the temp, I let him out.

But something didn't feel right and before retiring back to bed I took a look out all the windows. I am not sure if I heard something or if I simply felt something. But looking out the front window I saw a very big dog just standing at my front fence and looking into my yard, very quietly. This was one of those dogs that are bred to fight, big jaws, strong shoulders, and it was trailing its leash like it must have gotten away from somebody. And it was a hunter, I could tell by how quiet it was. I figured he either spotted or smelled my cat and that's why he was looking in the yard.

This sent off some alarm bells and I went out on the porch to make my presence known to it. Yup, wearing pajama bottoms and no shirt. It was about 15 feet from my porch on the other side of the fence and I glanced over to my left to make sure the gate was closed - which it was. Then I waved my arms and called to it in an attempt to shoo it away.

The darn thing was spooky as it just slowly swiveled its head and looked at me. Our eyes locked and I saw a dull blankness. There was a lifeless sense of no concern like the thing was a ghost and I didn't matter. Yet there was something there that I can't quite put my finger on. The duel lasted several seconds and I took a step forward, spoke to it more and waved my arms more.

It just looked at me, then decided as if it were really not anything at all, to trot off down the street. I watched it as it passed my gate, continued down the street then around the corner.

Once I was sure it was gone I went outside and called Ditto. He came running and we both retired for the rest of the night.

The whole scene with the dog reminded me of a scene from the old version of the movie "The Omen". It was rather chilling.

Anyway, I woke up around 5:30 for good and started my morning routine, getting the coffee going, putting on my jogging clothes and checking on my email when around 6 am while I was pouring my first cup of coffee I heard what I could swear was a gunshot, which was followed by what I am sure was several angry barks from a dog. hmmm.....

Shortly after that I see flashing blue lights through the mini blinds and taking a peek there are several police cars parked with their flashing lights on. Several officers are discussing something.

Finally after all that clears I am ready for my run so I leave the house and the first thing I see as I hit the sidewalk is drops of very red blood. I walk down the street further and follow the trail around the corner where it gets worse. The drops and drips went on for quite a ways and I stopped following the trail so I could cross the street and head to my usual running spot. When I returned from my run I grabbed my camera and took some pictures.

The whole incident got me thinking about a lot of different things.

- Things happen in the world around us that we don't know about. As we sleepwalk through our days and nights there are a billion interactions going on. It's kind of strange. We are all one yet we are all separate, yet we are all one.

- There are things that happen that are bad, and things that happen that are good. I won't go as far as to say good and evil but this might be the correct interpretation.

I had a moment with that dog. Maybe it had a moment with me too and I am not sure about that. But I sure had a moment. Maybe it was the dull stare, the pure emptiness, or the knowledge that its number was coming fast.

You know, when my son died, he and I, and the rest of the family, went through this horrible three week ordeal where he was constantly assaulted without stop, and he resisted stubbornly until capitulation came and he eventually, and inevitably knew his time was close. He simply knew.

I think it might have been the same with the dog - he simply knew his time was close. I felt it and he felt it.

- Another thought about this whole incident is the thought about this dog coming into my life for a brief moment. Did I, and my cat feel this? Did we sense the danger and or the impending death? Or did my cat just see the dog outside and wake me up. I don't know. I can't really remember how it all happened. But I do know that there are things in this world that are difficult to explain.

- Maybe I misjudged the dog and I could have saved it? Maybe it was perfectly tame and I could have taken it by the leash and brought it in the house. Dunno, but it didn't feel that way.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wouldn't it be great if some wise old man just handed you the answer?

It hasn't happened to me, and well I am not saying that it happened to anyone but I want to tell you a story out of one of my favorite books. The book is called "The Art of Looking Sideways" and it's not a novel. It's more of a creative, thinking resource for seeing things. This is a big book and I have been slowly savoring it for a couple of years now. It's not something you rush through.

Anyway here is story by the author that crosses two pages of the book:

" I was working on an exhibition about the creative discoveries and technological inventions of the twentieth century. One day an unsavoury disheveled stranger suddenly barged into the studio, said he'd heard about the project, wanted to be involved, slapped a diagram down on the table, and shouted at me, 'that's what it's all about,' and left. I never saw him again. This is the diagram. Maybe he was right?"

This is an interesting image and if you want to examine it more closely I have a bigger version posted to my website here: The Chart of Meaning

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Follow the Feedback to find the answer

The most important part of any system is the feedback. This applies to everything from a corporation to a society to a machine, a computer, an ecosystem and simply every system. This feedback is necessary to keep the system running the way it is meant to run. A poignant example of this is a favorite project of mine (it's not my project, I just mean that it is a project that I am following). It is the project of the clock of the long now. It is a clock that will continue to mark time for ten thousand years. And it will give a different series of chimes each day for these ten thousand days! It is quite a human endeavor and a wonderful way to think about time. But the real purpose of me mentioning this is that in order for this clock to stay on time for 10,000 years it has to have some kind of a feedback system that will keep it in proper step. This clock will use the position of the sun as feedback to stay in sync with its goal which is to count and chime the days accurately for 10,000 years. (which is 3 million, six-hundred and fifty-two thousand and five hundred days.

Ok, now I have made my point about feedback and now we can apply this to the mystery of life, the universe, the creator and the whole kit and kaboodle. The universe is replete with examples of circles within circles that mimic each other and follow the same rules. So, is it so far-fetched to think that the biggest system, the grandest system, the system that wraps around all other systems, also uses feedback? It seems to make sense to me.

So, to find the answer you have to figure out what the feedback stream is and follow it back to the decision maker that makes adjustments according to the information provided by the feedback.

An argument against this:

Well, you might be saying that the whole system is perfection and perfection requires no feedback. And this is true, a perfect system would require no feedback because nothing needs to be tweaked, modified or changed - it is perfect. But to this I would say couldn't feedback simply be another part of the perfect system?

If you have any thoughts on this let me know and if you have a hunch or idea about what the feedback stream might be let me know, we could trace it back to the source of all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What there "Should" Be

If you really try to clear your mind and give it some thought you come to the realization that there should be absolutely nothing. And I don't mean the nothingness of space or the nothingness of a vacuum. I mean absolute and utter nothingness. There are no words that can describe what should be. Void? nope. desolation? nope. Emptiness? not good enough.

When you have a complete and utter nothingness there is absolutely nothing. So from there we can have no impetus for anything. No impetus for thoughts, things, stars, creation, candy apples, postcards, or grape vines.

Impetus is something and you can't get something from nothing. Yet.........

I can't deny that I am pretty sure there is something. It's actually quite remarkable, miraculous, spectacular, awe-inspiring, humbling, and mind boggling -that instead of a big nothingness (Scratch that, I can't use the word "big" implies a size of nothingness and nothingness is nothing; there is no size).

And, the remarkable thing about this lack of nothing is that the something is so beautiful in its variety and in its intent. It really boggles my mind.

Just sit down for a minute and think about what is instead of what should be.

If you can feel it you will come to understand why I am on my quest. Why is there something? What is the meaning of it? And what is the purpose of it -this lack of nothing?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So where is this mysterious thing?

A few weeks ago I had a cat-scan of my head done. It was an interesting process and I brought a camera with me. I had the tech take pictures of me inside the machine and it was pretty cool. He laughed. I also requested all the results from the scan and the software to run it. I got all that stuff and it's pretty cool. I can scan through my brain looking at all the different levels and well.. its rather baffling, intriguing and interesting.

So this is the machine that changes the world? Or is this the translator that translates the world into something that I can understand. Or is this is the thing that gathers information, changes it into electrical impulses, then assembles it into concepts.

Anyway, What I really wanted to say was that if you ever ask a person to point at themselves they invariably point at their heart. Yet if you ask a person where their soul is they invariably point to their head. Interesting.

Well, I took a really hard look at my brain scan and I couldn't find a soul. Not even a hint of one. But then again what does a soul look like? Here, you take a look and let me know if you can find it.

This is a screenshot from the scan of my actual skull. Am I, the thing that is I, the I that I am, In there somewhere?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Quote that will stagger you

I spent a few quiet hours yesterday reviewing my TSFTMOL notebooks (TSFTOMOL = The Search For The Meaning of Life). I was looking for new patterns and paths; and I ran across one quote that I had jotted down that gave me pause to think. It's very visceral and it hits you like a blow to the solar plexus. Thing about this quote is that I didn't note where I got it. So, it's not mine, and I don't know who wrote it.

I have some thoughts about this quote but I am not going to give them to you. I just want you to take a few minutes and think about it and draw your own thoughts and conclusions about it. If you want, comment about it. But I am probably not going to comment. (I would love your comments, particulary because they won't be influenced by my thinking).

Anyway here is the quote:

"Time is an efficient killing machine."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Exact Location of God

Okie, Now the title says "God" but you know what I mean. I am talking about the force that through the green fuze shoots the flower, the singularity, the prime mover, the creator, the one, the thing that is all - you get the picture.

I am going to explain to you my theory of exactly where this slippery fellow is but first I of course have to make some assumptions; 3 to be exact:

assumption 1: that there really is a "God"

assumption 2: that Einstein is right about relativity and time

assumption 3: that everything goes in circles (?) more on this

Okay, here is my explanation and theory on the exact location and how we can find him. Get yourself a snack or refresh your coffee because this is going to take a while. - but if you want to know then stick with me.

First lets talk a little bit about time. (assumption #2)It is pretty much standard accepted scientific fare that the faster you go the slower you experience time - in relation to something else traveling slower. The old adage is that if you have twin brothers and you send one on a rocket ship going at a speed approaching the speed of light and he returns to earth after a year in his own life his twin brother will have aged decades. This depends of course on how fast the space traveling twin was going. Ok now my point.

We are going pretty fast right now. We are on a planet that spins pretty fast, something like 1,000 miles per hour at the equator. And the Earth itself is rotating around the sun at about 67 thousand miles per hour. Not too shabby. Now you also have to consider the fact that the sun, towing its little planets, is also traveling in a big orbit within the milky way galaxy at around 486,000 miles per hour, and of course the milky way itself is traveling through space.

Now, before you start analyzing my numbers don't worry about them at all -they are really not important. What is important that you see that we are moving pretty fast. And that means we are experiencing time at a rate. And this is important. We are not experiencing time at the rate of rates or the real rate. It is a relative thing and we experience time at the rate we experience it. And who knows, maybe some of these wheels within wheels that we are spinning within are speeding up, slowing down, changing speed - and what does that mean? That we experience time at changing rates. Pretty spooky or awe inspiring depending on how you look at it.

Now lets move on to assumption #3 and tie it in with assumption #2

As far as I can tell everything moves in circles, electrons move around the nucleus, the moon around the earth, the earth around the sun, the sun around the milky way, And the milky way is part of a cluster of galaxies that is "probably" revolving around something else - something bigger.

So let me make my point. Everything in the universe is spinning around something. It's just one big spinning thing and toward the outer edges of this time is moving pretty darn fast because that stuff is moving pretty fast.
Lets picture the whole universe as a single galaxy so I can make my point. At the outer edges of the entire universe we move prettty fast and we experience time pretty fast. What happens as we move closer to the center of this rotating universe? Time slows down right? Okie, what happens as we move even closer? Time slows down even more right?
Okie dokie, what happens when we get to the very center of it all? The place where there is no motion? The exact center around which everything in the universe revolves? Well, there is no time there. Time has stopped, but not in a freeze frame kind of way, in a way that means time is all time yet no time. The total experience of all time is in that no time. The complete experience of all time is in that space that has no time. Get what I am saying?
And it is in that very place that God is.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Update on what's coming and what I am thinking about

The wheels are ever turning and looking over my search for the meaning of life notebook I realized I have a lot of themes and ideas

to explore. Here is a short list of some of the things I will be covering in the near future.

  • Essays: I have several more essays coming:

  • The Operation Instructions

  • A Video called "Inside the Box"

  • Venus over D'angelo's

  • The Plasticity of Time

  • Resonance

  • Separating the I from the us

  • Are we being lied to?

  • "A" truth versus "The" truth

I will be covering a lot of ground and this week I plan on taking a trip to boston. As an aside to the real reason for the trip I am planning on stopping in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to take a look at a painting by Gauguin called: "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?"If they allow pictures I will take a picture of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Endless loops and the Happiness of Sisyphus

I have a definite fascination with Sisyphus and I am even envious of his plight. I will explain the envy at the end of this soliloquy.

Thinking about the plight of Sisyphus gives me an overwhelming sense of irony. First off there is the whole repetition of his quest which is a circle within a circle - that goes on forever. From here you have to start thinking about Sisyphus and how he relates to you and me. The metaphor of him doing his meaningless task on and on is obvious and has been well covered by Camus as far as how it relates to all of us. Is this really what we are all doing? Rolling a nonsensical rock up a hill over and over?

But, lets ask some questions about Sisyphus. The first and most important question is: Is he happy?

That alone starts us on an absurd cycle of further questions. What is happiness? Is there a happiness? Or is there "the" happiness. Is happiness defined by the person? Or can people fool themselves? What the heck is happiness even? A chemical response? A charade? a malleable and ever changing thing?

See what I mean, It's like the typical exploration of anything philosophical. The more you ask the deeper the circles go and the less you realize you know... kinda ticks me off because it feels like I'm rolling a rock up a hill.

Anyway, About Sisyphus and why I envy him.:

At least he knows why he is doing what he is doing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Socrates, Einstein and Now

Odd Title but let me tie it all in.

Socrates was famous for walking through the streets and asking questions. He saw the people of Athens as living only for money, power and fame. Through his relentless questioning he tried to get them to examine their lives; the why of what they were doing.

Ok, now Einstein. And I can sum up the right impression with a quote from him:

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed". - Albert Einstein

Now the Tie-in:

We are all stuck within inches of the skin of this remarkable and frail little blue planet. Its quite an enigma and quite the mystery; while the universe spins on around us every direction forever. we are bombarded every day by rays of wonder, amazement and astonishment. Yet we don't seem to notice. We too often tend to just continue the ant march following the same paths every day, doing the same things and chasing after the same meaningless things.

I have a task for you:

Roll up your sleeve and look at the inside of your wrist. Watch the veins as they pulse with blood and life. It's absolutely astonishing. It's a little thing we seldom think about but it is part of the schema that surrounds us. Take a little time out from your day today to think about the mystery and the riddle and the enigma and the puzzle and the conundrum and the why of it all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The funnel

I was thinking the other day about the possibility of people having spirits or souls. Well, this got me to thinking that there is quite a large number of spirits or souls traversing across the living mesh of this planet.

I thought it would best be described in a picture:

Now this is just a visual metaphor for the concept that I am talking about. You and I don't really see the spirits and souls flowing in and out of the mesh of life on earth. But it is something to think about. And if this is really happening then why?

Some interesting stats about life/death About 150,000 people die every day and 350, 000 are born every day. Its quite a large number of spirit souls isn't it? Well of course I haven't really verified those facts but here is a very interesting site with some mind boggling statistics. Click on the daily button The World Clock

Beginning and Ending

Is is true that everything that has a beginning, has an ending? Its a concept. But is it true.
Let's take a look at life, mine, yours, everybodys.

As far as I can tell I had a beginning. And before that beginning there was nothing. So if the beginning/ending theory is true then I will truly have an ending.

Here is the real question, the one we can't seem to know: Is the ending of this simply the beginning of something else? And of course that leads us to think that this beginning we are in now is actually the ending of something else. Is there an endless chain of beginnings and endings?

This just brings me to a thought about the big bang theory. If it is true that the universe began, then is it also true that it will end?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thinking about "Free Will"

Free Will is really big when it comes to philosophy (and religion). But I have to say that I am skeptical about it.

Here is the typical philosophical conversation:

"Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?"

"Because we have free will, that is a gift given to us, and it is up to us to make the right choices."

I think this free will stuff might be an illusion. Let me explain why.
Free Will, by necessity means knowing all the facts about a situation. There is no free will if you don't know all the options.

Here is an example: (Pretty much a metaphor for life I would say)

You wake up in a labyrinth and you see lots of corridors you can go down. So you get up and start walking. There are plenty of corridors and you get to choose whichever one you want. But is that free will? Do you know what is down each corridor? Do you know the goal? Do you even know how you got there? Do you know what the goal is or where it is? Or if you even want it?

Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope and nope. You don't know any of these things. So how can it be free will that you are engaged in? You are making decisions based on nothing.

Heres the nutshell:

If I don't know how I got here, where I was before I got here, why I am here, or where I am going after I am here then where is the free will?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Philosopher in Meditation

This is a painting by Rembrandt. It is called "Philosopher in Meditation" and it is one of a series of paintings Rembrandt did on the subject of philosophers. Now the remarkable thing about this painting is that it captures more than just a philosopher in meditation. It is a commentary or speculation by Rembrandt himself on the very same issues that philosophers think about. The symbolism of many things in the painting are very clear including the light shining on the philosopher from the window, the curved staircase that goes both up and down, the figure stoking the fire in the lower right and the circle that is almost in the very center of the painting. Of course the over abundance of darkness is also very important.
If you have any thoughts or comments on this painting I would love to hear and/or discuss them. -Will

Friday, January 02, 2009

My Second Biggest Fear

In the previous post I discussed one of my biggest fears in my search for the meaning of life. It was pretty easy for you to interpret and it pretty much can neatly be summed up in a couple of ways. First off, and the best explanation, is running in circles. The hero in the story is doomed to run in a big circle forever, never getting even one inch closer to his goal, yet he is standing on the goal all the time.

This second fear is a little more visceral and I think even more tragic. You see, the first fear implies that there is an answer and I just don't know how to find it. I don't have the tools or I am going about it the right way. That's kind of tragic but this second, to me, is worse:

The second fear can all be summed up by A comic from the 70's "Flip Wilson" . He had a character named Geraldine that had a few different funny one liners. The most famous of which was "What you see is what you get!"

Therein lies the angst. Is it possible that Geraldine is the greatest of philosophers and it comes down to "what you see is what you get"? This is traumatizing for me. Will I, we all, return to that place we inhabited before consciousness - nowhere? Is what we see all we get? Is there no more?
It evokes a certain sadness to think about an absolute end to the self.
A geraldine video: Fast forward to about 2:05 if you want to hear the famous line.