All major religions include esoteric and exoteric expression. Esoteric is the inwardly manifesting, mystical dimension of religious experience sometimes referred to as the great work, secret realm, transcendence, or liberation. As such, it is beyond rationality, full explanation, conceptualization,… Read the rest
AI and the implicate order
Now that the age of AI – Artificial Intelligence – is upon us, so are fears of being replaced. Workers in disciplines as varied as medicine, engineering, law, and scientific analysis are running scared, and they should be.
History teaches that any new groundbreaking technology disrupts… Read the rest
On being neurotypical
Neurological function varies and past conceptions of “mental disorders” unfairly placed some people in pejorative categories. With increased understanding, “retarded” gave way to “handicapped” which yielded to “disabled” and finally to “neurodivergent.” Appreciation of differences in neurological… Read the rest
What’s the point?
So read a recent comment on one of my philosophical articles, and it’s a worthwhile question to contemplate. A friend of mine made a similar remark during a past conversation. “I like talking about practical things,” he said, indicating that philosophical talk was not useful. Yet another friend of … Read the rest
The seed of consciousness
The definition of consciousness complicates any discussion about it. Consciousness is a matter of degree, ranging from subtle to gross, lower to higher. At its minimum, consciousness is simple awareness, ie: perception that generates responsiveness to events and conditions in the immediate environment.… Read the rest
We all know about something, how it looks, how it feels, how it smells, and so forth. Our lives are fully populated with things, both objects and ideas. We live in a positivist world, treating all the things we know as if they are absolutely real.
When it comes to things made of matter – eggs, cars, … Read the rest
Transcending our predatory animal nature
Life grows, that is its character. It grows over time, has duration, and passes along growth information when the spark of life is bestowed upon successive generations. Growth requires energy, however. Complex plants solved that problem through photosynthesis, the sunlight-driven process that… Read the rest
The fluid continuity of the real
“Be here now,” wrote the late Richard Alpert, aka Baba Ram Dass, fellow researcher of psychedelics and consciousness at Harvard University with Timothy Leary in the 60’s, and self-made mystic sage. His instruction is easier said than done, since now is a timeless transition of no duration; perhaps… Read the rest
Blues and the abstract truth
It’s pretty easy to feel down about the state of human affairs. There’s so much greed, so much suffering, so much to feel bad about. What’s to be done when feeling blue?
There are those who view the current moment as deterministic, that everything that’s happening is simply the result of previous causes.… Read the rest
Feeding the tiger
Responding to the many dire situations in the world reminds me of a Buddhist parable. While in the form of a Bodhisattva, the Buddha encounters a starving tiger with two cubs to feed and willingly sacrifices himself. He first offers his leg to the beast, and then his other leg. The starving tiger needs … Read the rest
A pinnacle of success
In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, a pre-human hominid throws a thigh bone high into the air, and in a cinematic transition, the thigh bone becomes a space vehicle in orbit around planet earth. This scene typifies one quality of living things, the way we extend our reach to display ourselves in the space … Read the rest
Why we must endure
Classical Buddhist cosmology places humanity within The Saha World system, a time-bound realm of endurance. “Endurance,” etymologically speaking, shares the same Pre-Indo-European word-root as “duration,” deru, (to be steadfast, firm, solid), associated interestingly, with trees and longevity.… Read the rest
Have you thanked your kidneys lately?
This colorful portrait of me, insides and all, is one of a series of CAT/PET scans recently produced to determine whether or not a lump in my right lung is malignant. I particularly like how it captured the profile of my nose. Thankfully, the lump appears to be some scar tissue that formed during a serious… Read the rest
I’ve been wondering about the purpose of things, personal and universal. Of course, it’s possible there is no purpose as such, and the very idea of purpose is simply a by-product of human thought. But the universe seems purposeful, and one might say the existence of anything, let alone everything, is… Read the rest
The probable uncertainty of being
“It says here that seniors are changing their spending habits due to inflation,” my wife mentioned to me yesterday, “eating out less, just like us,” she added. “Yup,” I replied, “we’re just a statistic.”
For many years I’ve said, “I’m just a statistic,” a comment that’s often irritated my wife, but as… Read the rest
Nature always wins
Simple rules can produce complex outcomes. This is easily illustrated in games like chess, where the rules governing the movement of pieces on a fixed playing board arranged in a grid of squares produces over 10111 positions, a number greater than all the observed atoms in the universe.
Despite… Read the rest
The life and death of a Vasculopath
For reasons not entirely clear to me, I build up gunk on the walls of my blood vessels. My coronary arteries have needed cleaning and repair, and I’ve just been told that my right carotid artery is building up gunk and needs additional examination.
“You’re a vasculopath,” my physician declared during… Read the rest
My new friend ChatGPT
At my advanced age I’m losing more friends than I’m gaining, so it was nice to spend a little time online chatting with my new buddy ChatGPT, the latest iteration of Artificial Intelligence available to the public. When I was a teen, one of my friends was named Chad, but I’ve never known a Chat before. We … Read the rest
Homo sapiens roughly translates as “wise man”, supposedly distinguishing us from earlier hominids like Neanderthals. I’m not sure about the “wise” part, but we people certainly are thinkers. The precise definition of thinking is not as straightforward as one might, well, think. Thinking, you see,… Read the rest
Walter Clifford Barney – RIP
My friend of nearly 50 years died in his sleep a couple of nights ago. Clifford Barney, whom I called Wally because he called himself Walter when we first met and hung out together at Kurt von Meier’s Napa Valley ranch in the early 70’s, was 92 years… Read the rest