How do we imagine life leading us somewhere, and the randomness of it all. The synchronicities and consequences of our actions? Unless we, looking over our lives, reflect on who we are, and how we got to be this person, we might miss the importance, the value others have had on our thinking, and as a direct result, our lives, and experiences.
This world lost the presence of a great soul Easter Sunday morning, while so many of us were celebrating the resurrection of one, I found myself reflecting on the loss of another. Will Swagel and I met at New York University – we grew up barely 20 miles from each other on Long Island, but it took 18 years of life for our sacred contract to bring us together. The day I walked into room 601 at the Brittany Dorm on 10th St. was one of those rare occasions where, when you meet someone you feel a connection, in the minds eye, that goes back centuries, millennia. Thinking back, it may have been to the wisdom schools of Greece, because to me, it was as much philosophy (love of Sophia – knowledge) as it was friendship. It was Will who put Isabel Hickey’s book Astrology: A Cosmic Science in my hands. He introduced me to the poetry of Joni Mitchell, and Marshall McLuhan’s – The Medium is the Massage, James Joyce, Beethoven’s Symphonies, and there is the night to remember in New Paltz, NY, under a icy, starlit winter sky, where we concluded that Prometheus may have given us fire – but that “Man took the fire, and there was hell to pay”.
Will was born in the sign of Aquarius, the water barer, in the crisp cold electric air of winter, and I a Scorpio, a fixed water sign – ice … We had a connection. Aquarius, Hickey says, is the most human sign of the Zodiac, and while we all have flaws, Will’s humanity lives well in my mind; He freely shared whatever was his to offer, he had a unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a love of the arts, and literature, and of course his own self-expression in his assenting voice and always through his writing.
In the 1970’s everyone drove Volkswagen’s, and another connection we had was “Jerome” (named after Jerome Ave in the Bronx, NY) a sky blue 1967 VW Beetle – any collector today will tell you they were the best year made and he proved it. When we left NYU, Will and his two closest friends, Renee and Jerome left to go on a cross country adventure, while I turned wrenches at at Bell Bug works and listened to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High. But our bond remained and not more than 6 months after they returned Will and I were roommates again on Misty Road, Rocky Point, NY – Cats and kittens, lot’s of maryjane, and endless conversation about the meaning of life. We both drove our beetles, rode my motorcycle, and listened to a collection of LPs, many of which I still do. We read a lot and we never owned a TV. It was the end of the Vietnam era, and our country was changing, as were we – leaving Misty Road to continue our education, me to the car dealers, and Bill to SUNY New Paltz, to finish his degree.
And so we grew, up and apart, but there were letters, photographs, phone calls, and families to raise. I admired his move San Francisco, he knew what was right, and did it, he knew how to love, and shared it well. I always felt our connection, no matter the years, a phone call always brought us back to our own Ode to Joy.
Step by step he was lead to Sitka – the old Russian Capital, this Russian Jew, who got beat up when he was a kid for killing Jesus, found his home in Sitka. The ocean, the nature, the people. I always felt a warmth from him when he talked about his life there. The place that held him warmly in its heart, as I know he felt the same. I can only wonder at what fond stories his neighbors will tell, but I do know this man, who lives as a brother in my memory. He will be missed, by me and by people I will never know, in ways too numerous to describe, except that we share a common bond; We knew the man, his sometimes sly laughter, his cigarettes, his unbuttoned coats, who wrote ten times ten thousand words, touched just as many hearts and will live lifetimes over and over in all of our hearts.
In the beginning
Let there be light
In the beginning
The word was
And the word
The point being
Fell on the land
Photo: Sedona Sunset by gfs
I need to apologize and reflect on why so much time has gone by, life events, or just days melting into the past, makes me wonder about myself and my shadow.
I cannot write / publish to WordPress using my tablet, even though that is where I spend most of my time reading these days. Yet as many reviewers of eReaders note, a tablet is a terrible distraction, a book does not have a web browser built in, and there is no YouTube to drift into.
I am a fan / follower of Marshall McLuhan, ever since I heard “The Medium is the Massage” many years ago, after it was produced in audio form by Columbia special records.”There ain’t no grammatical errors in a non-literate society”
There are many distractions to my life in recent years, not the least of which is our relocation from New England, back to New York. Only this time not Long Island, but the foothills of the Helderberg’s in what has been called the “Burned Down District”. It is a region of the state where so much of the Revival Movement took place in the 19th century. Along the corridors of the Iroquois and the Mohawk, Leatherstocking region, and only a few hours drive from Herkimer Diamond Mines, and Palmyra, the place where Joseph Smith found the (in)famous Golden Tablets, that started the LDS movement.
In a sense I feel I belong here, yet I miss the ocean. I replace the smell of salt air, with fields of grass, and decaying leaves turning to clay, and layers of million year old slate.
I hike the Helderbergs, and have become friends John Boyd Thatcher State Park and its Indian Ladder trail, a huge escarpment that overlooks the Mohawk Valley, with sights that have stood unchanged for eons of time.
To the east Vermont, and the Green Mountains, to the north Saratoga and Fort Ticonderoga, Lakes George and Champlain, and the Adirondack Mountains – the foundation of some of the oldest rock on the face of the planet. Being a Scorpio I am absorbed in my work, having been laid off in 2016, and starting a new position as an IT manager at a local company in 2017. I’ve realized I’m good at what what I do, or best to say what I put my mind to, so whether it is IT , or blogging, it generally comes across well.
So, you see, there are distractions from my blog, yet I realize more and more, that in this time and place, this blog, this pseudonym of grandfathersky, is a calling, a way to share that “still small voice” with the world at large, even if at times it feels that I am singing to the choir.
So my friends, in so many words, I have been distracted, yes, I continue to write, and yes, I will share those words with the world, again, and again, and again … From my heart I say “Thank you” all for caring, for your many returns to the well. For those who thirst, like the Springs at Saratoga, there is always a new source of water finding its way through the shale to the light …
Photo : “The Dunes Sunrise” gfs 2018
This is from many years ago ago, but came to mind again today / tonight …
Thesis, antithesis, synthesis …
Simple enough, but make no mistake this is a well thought out confidence game. You may have heard reference to the Hegelian Dialectic, it is bantered about with some regularity, taught in university curricula, and generally misunderstood.
Hegel, didn’t even define it as his own, but our children usually bear our names and that seems to be the case here, as the moniker adds a mystique to the name – it’s not a “yogi-ism” it’s “Hegelian”. It sounds serious, intellectual, above our pay grade. It’s not, and it needs to be understood, and its presence in history past and present recognized, and reacted to. Think of it in this light – Order, chaos, solution.
A thesis is not just something that gets written in college. In any circumstance we as people, reason about what is happening around us, in our world. Our fundamental observation of our circumstance becomes thesis in our mind. It is the recognition of details, order or chaos, resolved into meaning against our background of experience.
Antithesis is the contradiction, or the ultimate betrayal of our thesis. Think disaster movie; Everything is fine, life in Southern California is sunny, then … Wham! An earthquake rocks the protagonist’s world to the core. The antithesis works best on the crowd when it involves thought, feeling, and emotion. The more we are engaged by it, the more our world is rocked, the more unwitting we will be for the next aspect – synthesis …
While it doesn’t have to be, in my opinion the synthesis, is used more and more in a deliberate manner to achieve a nefarious result, a solution, resolution, a war, a blame placed and new laws created (that were sitting on shelves waiting for their time). Personal freedom is usurped, and people are taken advantage of, under the guise of protecting them from a great evil. The dialectic complete, mission accomplished a new normal established.
Why do we ignore the signs. Look at the news for any period of time and it should be easy to see that the thesis is ever present, then in a moment, often out of the blue, the antithesis rears its ugly head, followed by the Knight wielding his synthesis; Saving souls, and promising protection in the coming dawn, while the protected never seem to miss that little piece of their soul given up in the process.
Beware the nightfall, the witching hour, and the coming dawn – You that have eyes; let them see!
Kahlil Gibran states in “The Prophet” that beauty is eternity gazing at itself in the mirror, only you are eternity and you are the mirror. This is the continuing paradox of consciousness. Is the universe conscious of itself, or is it conscious of itself by seeing itself through our eyes? I’m taken back by the common hours, the days I spend in support of myself, family, and the things that surround me, realizing how temporal all of this is, and yet how important it remains to being. For without it, there would be only void – paradox indeed! Ray Kurzweil and others tell us that the world around us, is a singularity, a construct of our biological computer, where what we see – perceived light reconstructed from the tuning mechanism of our eye, into a construct of the world – realm – around us. The same can be said for sound, for smell, for touch, and for taste. Who is to say that what I see as green, you see as yellow, what I smell as mint, you smell as sage, and what I hear as water rushing you hear as wind. Shall we believe we are simply a biological computer and consciousness is nothing more than the sum total of a collection of elements and electrical discharges that begins at our first breath and ends with our last?
Then there is The Matrix, a construct of intelligence far beyond our own, something with a closer understanding of consciousness so it / they are able of manipulating our state of being, our thinking, into abdicating our free will, and handing over all our free energy to them. Carlos Castaneda and Don Juan talk of the The Flyers, reminiscent of Dragons, a Quetzalcoatl who controls the destiny of humanity.
What I can most assuredly state is we live in a consensus reality. Keep this in mind every time you listen to the news, stand up for your flag, or bow your head in prayer – Are you making a conscious decision, or are you assuming a consensus? Had I been raised in New Delhi instead of New York, my consensus reality would be far different than what it is today. So the question is – In consciousness do you question? Do you ever question? Do you question everything?
Consensus reality can be easy, and it can be very dangerous. Any behavioral scientist will tell you that mammals, including humans, are relatively easy to train, to program, in a sense, to carry out tasks with little or no interference from reason or will. We live in a free will universe for certain, and the reality is we are all acting on our own free will, except that will is easily co-opted, once we decide we are “this” or we are “that” (insert label).
Jung talks about our Shadow Self. If we are to believe that we are more than elements miraculously merged into a thinking machine, we have to delve into thought, and the idea that even as light casts a shadow, then it follows that thought, as energy, casts a shadow as well. Alan Watts tells us that we can’t see our self, we cannot take our eyes out of our head and look back at our self. Movies might be as close as we can get, but who can stand seeing their bare naked self on a screen. (Except for selfish narcissism, in my experience, most people do not like to be filmed). Yet our shadow self, is the where darkness follows behind us, the part of our being – ego if you like – that haunts us every waking hour, gives us headaches, the common cold, and a thousand other maladies, we define as illnesses, not accepting them as shadows.
Consciousness sets us free or haunts our lives, our being, without it all of these words are just in stains, are just just wind blown autumn leave, yet metaphors make the argument ever more certain that consciousness may only be a paradox to those who question it. Otherwise, thought is simply a means to an hollow, nihilistic end, a shadow lengthening in the twilight, and dust returning to dust.