Regarding the infinite

The human power of abstraction, our ability to imagine something and then build upon that imaginary idea distinguishes us from lower animals. Brain physiologists might say such abilities reside within our frontal lobes, that area of the brain held responsible for higher thought, but whatever the… Read the rest

Signifying nothing

When the economy collapsed in 2008 it was widely blamed on poor home loan lending practices. People who should have never received loans to purchase a house due to their inability to repay those loans once the introductory low-interest rate period ended were granted loans anyway.

It is true that in the… Read the rest

Across the homegrown bagelverse

He stroked his beard, leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes in thought. I’d known Ben Eleazar for many years, but never could predict how long such pauses would go on. I’d once waited two hours and twenty two minutes.

“Ok,” he said, “I’ll tell you.” It had only been four minutes. “But,” he added quickly,… Read the rest

Living in an immaterial world

We think we live in a world of things: cars, dogs, trees, tables, salt shakers, cardboard boxes, underwear… the list is nearly inexhaustible. Every culture has its own words for each thing, and each thing has many sub-categories, right down to its molecular structure. So complete is the presentation… Read the rest

Marking time

Conventionally, time as we know it is a socially-constructed artifact of civilization. Subject to the application of widely differing schemes, intervals, periods, adjustments and methods of tracking, time has been variously rendered according to the seasons, phases of the moon, growth habits… Read the rest

Life’s puzzle

Like scattered pieces of a jig-saw puzzle life often seems a jumble, its meaning unclear and divided into separate bits. Examining it, a few pieces here and there may fit together easily, forming portions of an overall picture, but often the complete whole eludes us, pieces missing, lost or not quite… Read the rest

Know thyself?

What is self, and how will you know if you know it? are unanswered questions that have been the subject of endless discussion, from esoteric religious thought to reductionist scientific rationalism. Who is looking, and who is found? Even asking such paradoxical questions seems to require multiple… Read the rest

The contextual self

We live in a “me” world, where attention to self is a daily preoccupation. “I want this and you want that” is the basic functioning of contemporary society and we routinely go to sleep each night expecting to greet our “selves” the next morning.

Our sense of self is contingent, however. First there must… Read the rest

The whole in part

Separating an object into component parts and then ascribing that object’s existence to the coming together of those parts is reflected in the way most of us conceptualize the world. We call this reductionism, and from one perspective it is correct. For example, taking an automobile as object, we typically… Read the rest

Nowness for dummies

What exactly is a moment, what we commonly call nowness? Does it have duration, and if so, how long is it; if not, does nowness actually exist at all? (Warning to the easily confused: This might be a good place to stop reading).

Nowness has no physical dimensions or fixed aspects: no size, no shape, no color,… Read the rest

Row your boat

Perhaps it really is true everything we need to know we learned by first grade. The songs we sang as children, “Row Your Boat” for example, actually contained surprising wisdom. It’s a rather simple four-line song, easily dismissed:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily,
Read the rest

The body of metaphor

The typical view of the body is it is a thing apart, something we “have” but not what we “are.” According to this view, when illness occurs “it” needs to be fixed, much as we fix a broken muffler or lawnmower. This common narrative reinforces a mind/body split, objectifying our body.

An alternative view… Read the rest

The dawn of ego

The newly born infant enters the human realm pure of heart and mind. In the beginning all is one: no form, no feeling, no perception, no memory, no consciousness. Despite the varied manifestations and appearances of the world, for infants all sight, sound and feeling are the expression of one unconfined… Read the rest

The breath of the world

Go ahead and take a breath, dear one,
The earth is generous.
Besides,
You will give it back, soon.

Breathing is so constant and continuous that it’s easy to forget about it. In fact, if we could not forget about it, life as we know it would be nearly impossible. Regulated by the autonomous nervous system,… Read the rest

My life as a particle

Recent cosmological discoveries by leading astrophysicists have generated some astounding new theories about the nature of the universe and our place within it. With the rapid advance of observational technology, up to and including radio/X-ray telescopes and Hubble, our ability to measure the… Read the rest

The Morse Code of Heaven

October winds
Announce autumn’s arrival.
Leaves yellow, walnuts drop,
Squirrels nest.
The wise man
Covers split wood.

The rainy season has arrived, and with it the smells and sounds of autumn. The ground itself seems to breathe a sigh of relief after the first rain, its earthen breath carrying the captured… Read the rest