Archive for June, 2008

am i a christian?

June 29, 2008 2 comments

I got that question recently and as i often do i gave a rather bungled answer. For one i’ve put some thought into and answered regularly you’d think i’d have an answer. I do but i have lots of them, talking points depending on who asks. Sometimes none of them really seem to fit and i sputter around trying to answer the question. As with perhaps all binary questions the real answer is yes, no, neither yes nor no, both yes and no, and the question is meaningless. Its a big universe.

What i would have liked to have said might be something like this. I believe in the universe for lots of good reason. I believe in my own existance for many more. I have looked to see what i am and have some preliminary conclusions at least. I am consciousness with volition, the ability to process sensory information, remember the past, imagine almost anything, and i have some degree of self awareness. I know my consciousness arises in a process of emergence, self organization of simple routines. I believe the universe is likewise. Like my brain and body spinning off mind stuff that has achieved self awarenss it is conceivable to me that the universe has done likewise. The physical universe is perhaps 18 billion years old. I am fascinated by science and believe it is telling a largely self consistent narrative of how things came to be and see no serious reason to doubt the universe began with a Big Bang some time ago. As the first stars formed planets coalesced as well, perhaps 17 1/2 billion years ago. On one of those planets life arose which achieved self consciousness for the first time. On that planet one being had to be the first, allowing the first conversation and the creation of the information universe. Before this the universe consciousness had no one to talk to and without another there is no self consciousness. We are created through conversation. Words are the component of the internal dialogue the matrix of the self. In the beginning was the word and the word was god and the word was with god. Information has no particular location nor time. It just is. This first being achieved self consciousness and created the information universe and for all practical purposes invented god as they reflected each other. I have no reason not to think this first being incarnated on this planet as Jesus. I have had religious experiences that lend this idea credence, I don’t ask you to believe on my word but i challenge you to have your own experiences in whatever way is meaningful to you. Spirituality to me is less about what you believe and more about what you experience, though of course our experiences are mediated by our beliefs. the 2 forces that shape our higher consciousness are love and meaning. Deny a newborn love and it will die. Once we exist we can live without it, i have seen evidence of this but there is no evidence a self consciousness can develop without love. Nor can it exist without meaning. Meaninglessness would prohibit communication and we are created in a social context. No man is an island but every man and every woman is a star. A luminous being of the light of consciousness. We shine in this world and another, though it be just a story that is alright. Thats all anything is, anything real. Until its a story its existance is only as potential. probability. Reality breaks down into probability without an observer. Why is heaven referred to as the Book of Life? Jesus said both i have made many mansions and ye shall do far greater things. He quotes Psalm 82:6, ye are gods but shall die like men. Each of us creates our part in the universe of ideas. Mediated by our experiences in the material world we create a self and equip it with tools; ideas, language, stories, memories, the capacity for imagination and conversation. These are the treasures of heaven that moth and rust cannot destroy. The ideas of things are more real than the things themselves. So i am a christian in that i am a co-heir with christ. I am a child of the god that made the universe, if not by creation than observation, as i suspect the universe made god as much as the other way around. The god i tip my head to is the sum total of all things, the emergent organization of all mind in the universe, all that is and all that has ever been, and all that anyone could ever imagine anywhere and anywhen, and probably more as well. Its too big for words. All words lie in that they create necessary assumptions that obscure the total truth.

Categories: philosophy

talking about primates

While writing that last post I got a work call. A client was passed out drunk and there was some homeless guy with more beer locked my co-worker out of the house and wouldn’t let her check on the client. I told her she’d had a long day and to go home and i would get in and check on client and try to talk him into going to detox. Random Dude wouldn’t answer the door and a neighbor filled me in on the scene and got Random Dude to come to the door. I put my business card in the door and told him to let me in and check on client’s safety or i would call the po-pos to do it for me. He let me in my client was safe for the moment, not ready to evict the homeless and go to detox, so i scheduled an appt. for the morning. I could have strong armed him into detox and put smug little random dude on the street but i respect peoples right to choose, even badly. Frankly between you and me most people’s choices seem ill considered to me. Look at the planet and you’ll see what i mean. We broke the weather for god’s sake. I could have justified my ape dominance behavior. Drag the crippled monkey where i wanted him to go. Make the little chimp go sleep in the streets because i could and he defied me. But being aware that most human interaction is chimp politics. Dominance and submissive behavior. I sat on the floor when i talked to the drunk and apologized for intruding to both with my only castigation a fact based account of how they were destroying my client’s life. I called my co-worker to update her on the situation and i said we assertive community treatment not aggressive. I feel like it is easy for me to rationalize almost anything i do to give it at least the appearance of being reasonable. Who said The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance?

Categories: primates, work

going crazy part 6

June 25, 2008 1 comment

The driver of the van that had immediately pulled over, apparently at my command, was a dumpy looking woman in her early 50s perhaps. She looked remarkably like my mom, shorter lighter hair but largely the same feel, gestalt if you will. She pulled back into traffic and asked where i was headed. I told her i didn’t know and preceded to explain that i’d inadvertently fallen in with an apparent gang of international drug smugglers and that i’d fled coercion into smuggling because i didn’t know what to do. She drove as i explained this listening intently with no apparent disbelief. She pulled off at an exit and parked next to a small park. She said it was foolish and dangerous to get involved with drug smugglers and i should be very careful. She said the Schipbol was dangerous, a frequent pathway for smugglers and heavily surveilled. She suggested i leave by Denmark I think it was, and she drew me a map of the easiest way to cross the border. I told her i had already ditched the drugs but she looked like she didn’t believe me. She was excited and concerned and looked near tears but happily so. She dug in her purse and pulled out a 50 guilder bill. She pushed it into my hands with the map which i remember as being on a cocktail napkin and made me promise not to spend it on drugs. i promised her i wouldn’t and impulsively added that i would use some of it to call my mom. i pulled out my backpack and walked across the park to find the train station she had mentioned on the map.

I was overcome by a tremendous weariness. I again recalled it must have been over 10 days. It was definitely in the middle of the second week I’d slept last and if we were to leave today it was day 21. I saw children playing and such and looked for an out of the way place to rest. I wouldn’t sleep, that wouldn’t be safe but i could not go on. I walked around some bushes, benches, perhaps a calliope and came to a bench out of the way. I sat my bag down and stretched out, I closed my eyes, the weariness overcame me.

I looked up to yet another blocky blond guy with a big forehead and a strong chin. This one looked a bit more rural, bibs perhaps, or jeans and a flannel, he was older but in the prime of life, muscled in a workingman kind of way and he was holding an axe. Not menacingly but prominently across his chest. He asked me what i was doing there? He appeared nervous but trying to hide it. I couldn’t decide if he were making conversation and just happened to have an axe or if he using it as a badge of authority to question my possible vagrancy. I looked over and saw the train stop, i couldn’t find, across the street and said i was waiting for a train. “Well be about it then” as the train rolled into view. It was definitely the homeless guy push off and i took it.

I rode the train the way it was going. I looked at the map on the train and tried to determine where i changed lines. I pulled out my cocktail napkin map and realized it was like a 3rd grade geography assignment kind of map that marked like the borders of a few countries but didn’t have anything about train lines and such and i couldn’t remember what the mom-lady had said. I rode the train until things looked familiar and i was able to find the stop closest to the mind spa.

I walked to the door and rang the bell, unsure of what i was looking for, what i would do if no one answered the door or what i would do if someone did. Our host opened the door and looked mildly surprised to see me. I asked if he had heard from Debbie and he said he hadn’t. I told him we were separated and i had missed my plane and come there to see if she had called. he said she hadn’t but i could come in and work out what to do. I told him that was alright, I had friends i was going to stay with and thanks just the same. He seemed surprised but didn’t argue. Everything was pregnant with meaning. Every conversation, every thought had for seemingly forever but it did not lessen its impact.

I walked to a one of the restaurants that had a small necessities counter and bought a pack of cigarettes. Galouis blonds, I was smoking then. Happy to be using the exotic locally. I thought of my promise not to buy drugs and did it anyway. Oh i wanted one. That moment of elusive clarity, focus at least. I took the change to a payphone and flipped through the business cards i had collected over the last couple of weeks, there were about 10 but mostly Americans who wanted me to look them up in the states. I had gotten the number of a tarot card reader I had let come in and set up at the cannabis cup. We had talked pretty intensely and he had given me a reading fraught with meaning that i no longer recall. I do recall its eerie prescience as certain events unfolded over the coming weeks but the vast majority of what occurred is lost to me, was lost to me even then. Living in the moment at the cost of history, identity even. I not only embraced The Now, i was Lost In It. And I hadn’t even yet had the dream….

going crazy part 7

going crazy part 1

Categories: insanity, travel

a good american

June 2, 2008 Comments off

Since I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks i feel an update is in order. It has been a pretty hairy couple of weeks and my down time has shrunk to virtually nil. I’m barely reading, even, and thats usually the last thing to go no matter how busy things get. Mostly I’ve been reading comic books of late. I bought a whole box of them for a dollar and i’ve been working my way through them slowly but surely. I am also reading Summerland by Michael Chabon which is a little disapointing. His The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay is one of my favorite books. Its about the early days of comic books, coincidentally enough, and two Jewish cousins who are comics artists and how they deal with Nazis and stuff. Its really great and has some interesting metaphysics talking about Superman (KaneĀ  & Schuster’s not Neitchze’s) as a golem. I also really like his newest The Yiddish Policeman’s Union a sort of alternative history where Jewish refugees had been settled in Alaska rather than denied sanctuary and left to the holocaust and a hard boiled Jewish detective is trying to solve the mystery of the murdered messiah. Also metaphysically interesting. Summerland, not so much. There’s too much baseball and the fantasy is a bit cheezy. I’d recommend comic books. Besides not reading and not blogging I’ve been spending a lot of time at the house. I am starting to settle in though I am ashamed to say i haven’t finished even some of the basics of a move in cleaning. I’ve been doing a lot of lawn stuff. Bought a push reel mower which is fun but a lot of work. i also bought a weed whip for the annoying tall grasses the push reel leaves behind. Its not as pretty as the manicured golf green types that surround the place but its better than most hippy lawns and the carbon foot print is a sight better. I have also been steadily turning over ground, the less to mow. I planted lilac bushes (struggling but normal i hear), a persimmon tree, some lillies (looking real sharp), plus a vegetable plot with cucumbers (I opened the last jar of bread & butter pickles to celebrate, when i was a kid we would plant some corn in the center of the hill for shade but this year i am going to try Cosmos), tomatoes (beef steaks – a hybrid), basil, marigolds (repels bugs from the tomatoes) and two rows of carrots and radishes (the radishes come up quick to mark the rows). Tomorrow i hope to put in some okra and i also have summer squash (2 kinds) and something else. I have been real pleased with the soil, its a little clayey but there is some definite topsoil action going on. I also got my compost bin up & running. Its been mostly fun hanging out with dad. It has been a huge struggle with smoking being around it all the time. I had a bad spell and went back on the chantix and am back on track which makes me feel good. It was really work that pushed me over the edge, coming back from Michigan and my cousin’s wedding to driving out at 9:30 at night to see a suicidal client was just too much. I’m becoming a little frayed. Last night i got a call our homeless client getting out of jail, 9:30 at night no place to take him. i let him crash on the floor of the guest room. It was too much to pick up his gear i was storing in the garage and take him out and put him out to camp in the wet somewhere. So had a client here when i went to bed and when i woke. Saw two other’s today, taking them to Oxford House (self run recovery cooperative houses) interviews. One got accepted which will make my life easier as i won’t have to run out to the sticks (styx?) to pick him up every other day. I think i am going to take a comp day on Thursday to make up for it. Working on the house and hanging with dad has made me realize how much energy i put into work (way too much). Nonetheless i am a good american, working in my yard, spending money i don’t have, enjoying the luxuries of 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a 2 car garage. Last weekend i couldn’t help but think the honored war dead would be proud, for if i can’t buy top of the line appliances just because i don’t have the money than the terrorists will have won.

Categories: baseball, books, gardening