Improbabilities

  
I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. I subscribe to chaos. I believe in the randomness of the universe as movement, collision, coincidence and correspondence. I believe in an ontology of chance. Cause-and-effect is real, but we humans are not always accurate tracers of chains. We are a lazy species, thus the teleology of throwing-up-our-arms-at-space with a surrendering shake of the head and declaring that the proof of the universe’s supporting life lies in our being here–the best science has to offer after unsuccessfully tracing the mathematical and natural laws to their inevitable ends in hopes of figuring out everything, just everything. We theorize origins and evolutions. We interpret from variables of experience, anatomy, observation and subjectivity. I do not trust absolutes. I believe in intention and will, though not necessarily in intended results. Thus speaks the rational mind of me.

The smoke and whispers, the mystery of which intuition is born, lean into those uninformed leaps of faith inside an unthinking gut and take me in another direction: a life unfolds according to its makeup, an already-has composition that merely needs room to spread out and manifest. Choices come from inherent brain patterns in conjunction with pathways generated in reaction to lived experience. This orchestrated tapestry of evolving human is the carpet unrolling from birth to death, a definitive starting and ending point that always ever was because of whom I was born, when and where. In that way, choices logical and whimsical alike, are prefigured, patterns predetermined even in their ensuing alterations and modifications. A determinism I am not comfortable with somehow associates the mystery of the inexplicable to me–my fuzzy teleology.

Pico’s Postulation

  

And I wondered if that old Italian philosopher Pico was right about humankind’s dignity and creative nature, the will of the gods, that if a man chooses to wallow with the pigs or dance with the divine, so he might do either according to how his nature blossoms from his choices. I wondered about pregnant possibilities and free will, humans as chameleons, shapers of their own destiny and fulfillers of their potential as they absorb what is around them, choosing to be like bats and hang upside down in a cave or cravenly ritualize baby killing or kiss the feet of the holy one. How free is the will of a beaten child, however, or a man gone mad from the war?

 
credit: wikipedia

 

   

    

Mindfulness: Culturally Diverse not Divisive

  
My Eagle (Eastern Washington University Eagle) and I speak most days about her training, school, roommates and life in the Northwest. Her pre-season schedule keeps her wickedly busy, but yesterday we ended the day unwinding to the news of her day and mine. 

After reminding me of her class schedule, one class being African American studies, we began a discussion about cultural appropriation, having referenced the class that Rachel Dolezal (former professor at EWU and President of the NCAA who made the news recently by her parents outing her as white) would have taught. 

Not surprisingly, she and I differed. She thought social media had gotten it right this time. People should not be consuming cultural artifacts as if unattached to the people who suffered or strove through the badges, persecution or honors of and by those cultural expressional effects. 

One example she insisted on was the appropriation of “clueless white girls” adorning themselves with henna though they do not care a whit for Indian culture or people. In fact, she claims, these same young white girls actively discriminate and ridicule cultures different from their own (if whiteness is a culture as well as a position of privilege and power?), including Indians.

Admittedly, my most played role as devil’s advocate annoys my children. But this time I was not baiting. I countered with labeling and generalizing as liable to injure as much as the lack of consciousness of some consumerists. Not all cultural appropriations spell disrespect. 

We live in a multicultural world, America being one of the most diversely populated. Adapting the behaviors, clothing, styles and language of other cultures organically arises from living among others. What matters–the same always–are words and actions consciously spoken and taken. 

To love another culture so much as to adapt it is not uncommon. People move to other countries more suitable to their natures. Look at Cat Stevens, who left American fame and fortune to live in a culture more nourishing to his spirit. One can question his or anyone’s motives for “abandoning” his or her birthright, but why, what’s the point?

The people my daughter–and her social network–criticize, live inauthentically and thereby injure others, I suspect. To affect the style of another group is an act of honoring, blind imitation, or malicious mockery, depending on the intentions of the adapter. 

But all behavior may be measured as moral, immoral or amoral, depending upon the degree to which the actor moves beyond him or herself toward another–and with a conscious intention of producing good or ill will.

Mindfulness is an overused term, quickly turning trite. But in truth, to bring mind to bear on everything we do matters most. Morality is another term that gets maligned in its use, overuse and abuse. But the morality that the philosophers hypothesize about in classrooms, bars and libraries through time immemorial informs the morality I believe defines mindfulness:  an ethics of right behavior toward others, which is situationally switched on by a mind and heart likewise opened and active.

I am not foolhearty enough to believe in a “correct” behavior for every situation, but the footpath toward morality starts with a consciousness of the causes and effects of what we do, otherwise known as awareness. Thinking awake and remembering that we belong to a community are two steps in the right direction on that path.

At the conclusion of our call, I asked her what I should write about next, after plastic bags and waterless urinals. She offered sex work and cam girls. Um….wait, what?
 

credit: socialwork.simmons.edu

Ananda

  

Pleasure: watching the mercurial orb gurgle to and fro inside the glass of an old-time thermometer, the gift of orgasm from an-in-love-with lover, the runner’s high

Delight: the last piece of the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, the unexpected twenty dollar bill in your jeans pocket, the lightbulb moment when it all makes sense


Happiness: skipping down the path just because; lightness in your step, in the being

Joy: turning from busy-ness to spy your infant’s gaze following your every movement  

Cheerfulness: the unforced mental smile naturally unfolding at the thought of another day as another opportunity to get something right

Sensual pleasure: the house-filled aroma of garlicky tomato sauce simmering; the sweet, milky scent of an infant’s head; your mother’s finger tips lightly caressing your face 

16th MuhUrta: the last sliver of sun that paints the sky magenta

End of the drama: resolution after the struggle, war, riot, tussle, tragedy–triumph in acceptance

Enjoyment: a book to live in for a while; the first bite of deep, dark, smoky chocolate; poetry’s silent spell 

Thing wished for: Satisfactory endings to poor beginnings, if not understanding then acceptance

Beatitude: Break-through acts of kindness, a helping hand when all hope is lost, a miracle, nature’s whisper

Kind of flute:  hollow, wooden, champagne, salve to the ears and mind

Sensual joy: Late Friday afternoon nap, unclothed and entwined

One of the three attributes of Atman or brahman in the vedAnta philosophy: the oneness at the tip of the final exhale concluding meditation.

Name of the forty-eighth year of the cycle of Jupiter: the comfort of order, prediction and patterns; the recognition of the unknowable vastness of that which we are particulate matter and the burden that relieves

Pure happiness: Seeing the fruits of your efforts to help others thrive or blossom, the awe of creating another human being through unimaginable struggle

Kind of house: All shelters that provide the safety and security that you imagined as a child gleefully building blanket forts in the living room.



Note: Classifications of Ananda are in the Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit; definitions are in the mind of the Gaze.


“In the Name of Love: Shame and Love”

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Credit: bleedingcool.com

Trying to find some clues as to the usefulness of shame in love, I came across this article, “In the Name of Love” by philosopher Aaron Ben Zeev, that quite frankly did not help me at all. Maybe I am missing the point, not reading well. I did find some portions of the article interesting but I did not understand much more than shame and love are both powerful emotions that can either build or destroy. Am I missing something? Does this article clarify the relationship between love and shame? It’s short, so feel free to read and comment, educate me.