A double handful of remarks and observations from John Shirley

//Every bad decision I ever made was as mindless as the jerk of a thumped knee. Nothing guided the decision but fear or animal wiring or trauma. It was as if my thumb was making a decision for my whole body (sometimes another familiar part made the decision). Some dusty, bloated little person in a tiny corner office of me made the decision; an incompetent bureaucrat who runs the government from a forgotten department.

//Some like to pit heart against mind, feeling versus rationality. I tend to the rational and trust it more on the whole but it seems to me that if a feeling, a reading on reality from “the heart center” consistently bears fruit, if a distinct feeling proves its rightness then it IS rational, it’s a higher reason manifesting in the heart. And if we understood the whole process we’d call that one for reason.

//Some scientists speculate the cosmos is a gigantic 3-D computer program–that “nature operates like a computer program.” This is a gigantic vanity. It’s not that nature is modeled by a programmer; it’s that programs are inspired by patterns seen in nature…and feebly imitated, in small measure. The vanity of the hyper-analytic mind has mistaken its own faint, surfacey modeling for the superstructure of reality. 3-D is not enough “D”.

//It’s fashionable to speak of “the present moment”–and that’s good. But there are levels of mindfulness most don’t experience. Even the first level of mindfulness, being in the present moment–self-remembering–can be startling. Suddenly you’re in the real world. Birdsongs, insects, car sounds, sounds of children, the 3-dimensionality of things–suddenly seem to ‘appear’. This was here, around me, all along?

//Libertarianism? Fine–when we can count on unregulated people not to pollute, not to endanger employees (eg, killing 11 of them at a time on oil rigs), not to make dangerous pharms, not to commit consumer fraud, not to wreck the economy, not to insanely drive up the cost of health care, not to need guidance while flying planes; not to need cops, fire dept or infrastructure. Arrange those changes & I’m all for it.

//Looking at trees with new apples strange to think that they apples are communicative, a call to other species, “Eat this and spread my seeds”. Flowers also are communicative between species. Plants calling silently to animals, to insects, “Let’s trade.”

//Does falling organize the world? Isn’t gravitation falling? It’s indicated by falling; by things pulled downward, toward a center of mass. Gravity, anyway, organizes the world; it gives us an up and down, a surface we can walk on, collects mass to offer resistance we use for propulsion; it makes it possible to drop trash in a trash can and have it stay there; to put forks in drawers; to remain seated at my desk.

//For unknown reasons, when consciousness is increased enough the possibilities for free will are mysteriously (not supernaturally–mysteriously) increased. I don’t quite understand why–or, I almost understand it, but I don’t think I can express the why and how of it.

//Old age is right and proper, however dismaying it may seem as we age. What use is a candle that is not lit? It merely takes up space. When it is lit, it gives light, but it also melts. A candle that gives light but does not also melt away is either an abomination of nature, or a miracle. If it’s a miracle then it is not in our province to construct it.

//Conditions have weight. Behavior has momentum.

//There’s a misunderstanding that the right-hand-path, to use a short hand term, is about abasing or losing yourself or demolishing yourself. Not true at all. It’s simply about being in right relationship to the divine source of consciousness, and the Bodhisatvas who try to mitigate, and eventually end, the world’s suffering. But it’s not self annihilation. It’s more like a reshuffling of the inner person so that the ego takes its rightful place, as just one more part of the inner machinery. It’s like taking the keys away from a drunk driver.

//Machines that pollute are only half invented.

//The word “God” has psychological weight that distorts our understanding in a way that’s analogous to a gravity well; to gravitation bending spacetime. We can’t hope to understand the external intelligence as long as we insist on calling it God.

//Music temporarily changes our relationship to time; it reconciles us with time’s disintegration of form.

//I think that the universe is front-loaded to create life just the way it’s front loaded to produce gravity or suns or atomic motion. But I don’t see a creator being necessary. It’s just that in this (one of many?) universe the probability of life is built into the structure of things just as the structure of things is built into the structure of things. How did the strong/weak forces come about? They’re in the nature of materials at hand at the big bang; the probability (not inevitability) of life is presumably in some wise also simply in the nature of matter. There is no need to assume that life requires a supernatural spark and therefore there’s no need to assume that it arises purely by chance as such–if things are innately organized to produce it, *just because they are*, that is no more supernatural than that things are innately organized to produce gravity. It’s not intelligent design–because it’s not design. Life is not designed in; it’s just likely due to some only barely (so far) intuited immanent structuring of matter and energy.

//My character is smarter than my calculator.

//Many scientists think there’s a black hole at the center of every galaxy, central to the formation of galaxies. What is a black hole but a void, an almost infinite gravitational compaction rendering space as a sucking vacuum. Nature it appears does not abhor a vacuum but relies on it. Many philosophers have noted the necessity of death and emptiness; the importance of unoccupied space to occupied form. It should be no surprise when that principle extends to a galactic scale. Principles are as macroscopic as they are microscopic. It is also noted, in the most recent research at this writing, that the massive black hole at the center of a galaxy spins off material which somehow revitalizes the galaxy’s capability of creating stars and planets. From death, life.

//Depression is a concession.

//Everyone shares the unfolding of the universe. We call it “time”.

//We feel insignificant in the vastness of the universe but one could probably travel halfway across the galaxy before coming across another truly intelligent lifeform. It takes an enormity of planetary resources to add up to the building blocks of life and a great many other factors must converge to make possible intelligent life and then civilization. We conclude, then, that while it’s out there somewhere, it is comparatively rare. Any intelligent being then in the vastness of the universe is a rarity. Hence we are no longer to be considered insignificant as individuals.

//People without regret are either fools, self deceiving, or psychopaths. Everyone’s done something wrong, and regret shows you know it and want to do better.

//Organized religion is like organized playtime—it’s for children. But children need reassurance; reassurance is a form of compassion.

//It may be that life at best is just a series of consolations for death. Still, if you identify with perception itself, and not with the memory/personality lost at death, then perhaps death is simply immersion of point of view into the great sea of consciousness. But for most people this is cold comfort. Who knows? I am merely convinced that the root of perception is an extension of a permanent part of the universe.

//Corporate interests rule and will continue to rule. Their alliance with the theocrats will mean only science that makes the rich richer and the environment poorer will be allowed
and hence, ignorance will thrive and when ignorance thrives, corporate interests rule and will continue…

//The stars are a contradiction. They are each one a gigantic sphere of nuclear energy burning furiously in the sky, large enough to consume a planet like ours many many times; they are so big they can be seen across countless light years of interstellar space. But we see them as glimmers, scarcely there, and there are so many that, in contrast to the vastness of the universe each one is indeed tiny. Looking at them dramatizes their vastness and tininess at one time. The scale of the universe is contained in the sight of a single star.

Comments are closed.