Tag Archives: philosophy

The Gyre Sniffer

a short story by Sha’Tara
(inspired, in part, by the article, “Gyres” by Bucky McMahon
View story at Medium.com

There are twelve of us aboard the “Gyre Sniffer” as we call our sloop. She isn’t pretty, but can take gale-force winds as if they be but a breeze. All her gear is top of the line. Our crew is the best of the best of the best as they so proudly say in the military.

Our job? Well, more of a lark, really, because we were all very well off and could spend money liberally, was to find the sea’s most horrific, deadly, large, stinky, poisonous floating garbage island. We had heard that it was guarded by a giant sea monster evolved from the materials it had found inside the floating plastic garbage.

We hadn’t had much results with satellite feeds or “Googling” our target and we didn’t care. Actually, we didn’t want to rely on advanced tech for this, we wanted it to be a sort of Moby Dick adventure. We were first of all, going to have as much fun as possible, even when we came face to face with the plastic sea monster and prepared to kill it.

It was Selina, the Portuguese girl, who was the first to throw her tablet and cell phone overboard. We remonstrated her about this, of course, but her reasoning was impeccable: they’re kin to what we’re searching for, follow them! We’d had a few drinks, the joints had been passed around and under the circumstances we thought she made total sense. That’s how serious we were.

We had managed a pretty good gender mix, five women, seven guys, everybody from late teens to mid thirties range and all of us totally freed from any sex taboos. When the sun shone we went about naked and enjoyed ourselves whenever in the mood, wherever we happened to be lying or standing, by reading and studying – yeah, right!

We ploughed on, using solar power to run our freezers, fridges, computers and minimal guidance systems, enough to avoid colliding with any cargo vessels we may encounter which to this point was none. We would get excited when we saw flotsam and made for it. But like Selina’s tablet and cell phone, they were on the way, not there yet. Since following was too slow, we calculated the flotsam’s direction and pushed on.

When high, a couple would jump in the sea for a dive and swim and more sex. Sharks? We figured in such an empty world they had better hunting nearer beaches. Yeah, we’d all seen “Jaws” – we even had a copy on a disk drive aboard. That’s how serious we were.

We weren’t so much interested in killing a monster. We certainly didn’t see ourselves as heroes. We were, to tell the truth, just a tiny segment of the earth’s richest “kids” utterly bored with our lives. We had met here and there, at parties, ski resorts, spas, even in board rooms, make that bored rooms, and in semi-drunken, stoned talk, had put this thing together. We ‘coagulated’ together as we discovered our mutual skills and sexual attraction.

We bought the sloop, had her completely overhauled, came up with the Moby Dick idea, geared ourselves up and met one foggy, dreary morning at some dead-beat marina along the Florida coast. We sailed, I mean that literally. We had thrown out the diesel engine and back-up gas engine also. We were going to sail, come hell or high water. If it meant it would be a one-way trip, so be it because nothing is worse than depression borne of absolute boredom.

Though we had this vague goal of finding a garbage patch and, mythologically speaking, finding a plastic sea monster circling and guarding it, the main point was to become the residents of an ark, the last and only remnants of humanity. So, we would enjoy ourselves, pleasure ourselves, to the hilt and to the dregs.

We ploughed on. The seas rose and fell as did our sloop. We got used to the sussuration of the sea against the hull and the music of the wind in the rigging. We got browner, tougher, smarter and quieter as the weeks passed. We began to see one-another, not just as fun partners or sex objects or casual acquaintances but as individuals; as people, as brains and minds with gorgeous bodies not just made for sex, but to admire and to remember, even in our dreams.

I dreamt of our elected captain, Sir Oliver Hampwell the Third, or “Cap’n” who was twelve years my senior.

As I thought about Cap’n I felt years slipping from my heart. I was getting younger and increasingly introspective. I found so much emptiness in my heart, I had to dig in our stores to find the classics Eugene and Mira had insisted on packing (though they had yet to pull out a single one.) I chose Moby Dick simply because I’d studied it in college but never actually read it. Certainly not to grasp the deep philosophy underlying the story. I read. I actually read. When approached by Darwin who’d been swimming and looked like he really had a ‘need’ I actually turned him down, me! “Not now, Darwin, I’m busy. Later maybe?”

“H’m… sure. I’ll find somebody else, no probs!”

That’s how it was with us. No one would ever insist on getting their way, they’d just find another way, someone else. I was ‘in love’ with all our guys actually, it’s just that I was discovering I developed ‘my moments’ when I had to belong to myself. It was nice to be desired, of course, but even more so to be understood and left alone in those times. I think one could say I was re-birthing myself, re-creating myself. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I was giving myself a life: I’d never really had one before.

We ploughed on. Less and less we listened to satellite radio feeds. There was so much traffic, so much noise, it jarred with our ocean-filled ears. We got more serious about life, more introspective, more eager to share and understand; to listen to another’s story. I would say, “Jesper?” and not “Hey you!” I wasn’t the only one changing, we were all going through it.

We became philosophical. Imagine that, us, the spoiled brats of a planetary elite, seeking the meaning of life.

“When we return to the real world, it’s going to be so different,” said the diminutive Suki. I wonder what I’ll do…”

“Maybe we won’t return. Maybe Suki, this is the real world and we all came out of an illusion. Maybe this ship will sink into the waves and we will become part of something so big we can’t even imagine it,” said Clive, our fabulous cook with the body of an Adonis. I didn’t want to see Clive drown, what a loss, it seemed to me then.

“We won’t sink, we’re past that now. We will sail, we will grow, we will learn more and more. We will all change, evolve. Best of all, we will seek and gain understanding. We will see signs and events in the sea and the sky no one ever saw before and that will make us both, certifiably crazy, and the wisest of people. We can never return to our old lives, you realize? Our past is non-existent. We can only go forward.” So spoke Cap’n, the wisest among us.

We ploughed on, the seas parting freely for the sloop’s proud prow. One sunny morning, with the spray shooting up, I walked up, naked, to the jib’boom to lie on it like a goddess figurehead pointing the ship in the direction of good luck, and a safe harbour. I made it, eyes full of salt spray and I saw the gyre-created island to starboard. I cried out, “Island to starboard!” and slowly worked my way back to a safe deck then joined in the work of rigging our change of direction.

We circled the plastic island for days, smelling the horror of it when downwind. We were indeed horrified. We thought there could never be a man-made disaster worst than this.

Then we heard the news as we were attempting to communicate our find to the “real” world: The US had just dropped nukes on North Korea and both Chinese and Russian nukes had annihilated the US surface navy and taken out most major cities of continental US and Europe. In automatic response, US and European nukes were heading for Russia and China.

Our monster had struck before we could confront it and it mocked us as it sang to us of the end of the world.

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This and That, Why Not?

As you may  have noticed, er, hm, I’m writing a story that seems to be turning into what is called a novel.  Why a novel?  No idea except that it’s not a novel idea.

Anyway, be that as it may and all the rest of the massacree, once in a while it’s good to just stop.  Catch your breath, stop chasing after those characters who can run circles around you and disappear in the blink of an eye and you can’t find them again.  So, I got ’em where I want ’em and I’m putting on the brakes and taking a break.

That being said, I found some questions in “THE” note book that I want to share, maybe get some feedback.

“Is an unenforceable law still a law?”

“If it is enforceable but no one wants to enforce it, is it still a law?”

“Is an idea that is in words only a valid concept?  or  Does it gain validity only when it is proven that it can be applied and that it works?”

“The future is not an extrapolation of the past, it’s doing things differently.”  Does that mean that when we don’t do things differently we are not moving into the future but living in the past?  I think that question is loaded and demanding scrutiny.

And a quote that most can probably identify with:

I look at my past life as at a field lit up by the sun when it breaks through the clouds, and I note with metaphysical astonishment how my most deliberate acts, my clearest ideas, and my most logical intentions were after all no more than congenital drunkenness, inherent madness, and huge ignorance. I didn’t even act anything out. I was the role that got acted. – Fernando Pessoa

And that’s all folks!

 

The Mob Wars

The Mob Wars
[short story from   ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

What do you think, when you look upon a mob?  Or worse, you encounter one?  That had been the lesson of the day and the cadets in the class, all five of them, 3 girls and 2 boys, could barely restrain their yawns.  They really wanted to laugh at the instructor but there were rules at the Academy, and laughing at an instructor was bad business.  Punishments varied but they weren’t something you wanted to think about.

“A mob is dangerous.” droned on the talking head instructor, a short dark-skinned female who spoke the lingua franca as if she’d learned it from a computer.  Hardly surprising since she had learned it that way.  She wasn’t from the Clayborne worlds but from another galaxy altogether.  Still, she was human and you could relate to her as long as you remained totally mechanical, never betraying any emotion towards her, or her course material.  “A mob has no leader, that’s what makes it dangerous,” she carried on.  “If you see a mob coming towards you, purposefully march in another direction and as soon as you can, find a safe place to hide until it passes by.  Any grouping of ten or more individuals walking together and sharing information, or making loud statements constitute a mob by legal definition.  It is your sworn duty to the Imperium to report any observed mob activity, noting its coordinates and direction.  Anyone who observes a mob formation and does not report it is de-facto part of a conspiracy and liable to a charge of sedition.  The penalty, as you know, is ten years in the mines, the location of the punishment to be determined by the courts but always outside your home worlds.”  

We may be cadets but we weren’t born last night, or even the year before.  The Claybornes, a grouping of three planets orbiting their sun practically equidistantly, thus making each world almost a mirror image of the others climate-wise, were a relatively recent addition to an expanding Imperium.  “Space, the final frontier” boldly claimed a cartoon character from a series of funny little anecdotes that had been transcribed upon holos and would sometimes be available for viewing.  The quaint language and costumes and the posturing would bring out waves of rollicking laughter wherever they happen to be projected.  Final frontier indeed: the abysmal ignorance and hubris of our ancestors makes us wonder that we ever got off the ground of our original world at all. Too quirky.

I was writing about that line, the final frontier.  Even now with everything we’ve discovered and learned, most of it at great cost and unnecessary loss, we still cling to our ancient xenophobia and bigotry.  Once we “know” a thing, we believe that we’ve found the truth, or at the very least, some truth, something we can hang on and build upon.  Our awareness, our ideas, we believe, can be stacked up one upon another, like the modules we fabricate then build living units or space ships with.  It’s as if we choose to forget that no matter how long these modules fit together they must eventually disintegrate, starting with the oldest ones, but we don’t notice the rot and rust, and we keep on building on top.  There comes a point of attrition and entropy and whatever is, soon is no longer.  Simply put, the base collapses.  We accept that but we never see to apply the obvious lesson in it to our interaction with what can only be called the nature of things.

Which brings me back to my story about the mob.  Whatever the Cirillian teacher says about mobs, she really knows nothing at all about them.  But we Clayborners do know about mobs.  Our own societies were basically evolved from a mob mentality.  You see, the Claybornes were chosen by the Imperium as a dumping ground for all sorts of individuals who could not be coerced into the herd mentality, or group-think that serves the Imperium’s aims so well.  We are recent descendants of “deplorables” and “undesirables”  Our grand parents were those who could not be cured.  Many were anarchists.  Some were judged with criminal mentality because they openly defied and called down the Imperium.  And oh yes, we had more than a sprinkling of lower class criminals, the murderers, rapists, bank robbers, psychopaths.  As a fourth generation myself, I say good for them.  It’s here, on our own Clayborne world which we call Armistice, that you can really see the evil that is the Imperium. 

I discovered subsequently that the Imperium had hoped we would not only “break” open these worlds and extract every ounce of resources that could fuel their space economy and finance their Earth-based economy, bolstering ever-expanding wars of conquest, but that once the worlds were bled dry, that we would destroy ourselves, with a little destabilizing help from Imperial guards. Considering the make-up of our local civilization, it seemed inevitable that we would destroy each other when times got tough, a time when the resources ran dry and the Imperium ceased supporting us with the necessities of civilization that could not be manufactured locally.

Even early on in the colonization of the Clayborne worlds, that is exactly what happened.  Unwisely, to say the least, the Imperium representatives gave the game away too soon, when dreams of independence rode high in the minds and hearts of the colonizers.  Conflict ensued.  But at first it wasn’t against the Imperium.  That seemed too big a slice to tackle.  In anger and frustration, various groups, and towns led by gang lords, armed themselves by whatever means, mostly clubs, compound bows and arrows, long handled barbed spears and long knives or machetes, as well as agricultural implements which had reluctantly been allocated to them, and began to attack each other for control of the worlds.

That wasn’t according to plan since by now little or no effort was being made to mine the planets.  Everybody was too busy strengthening their defences and protecting their fields and other food supplies while attempting to lay waste to “the enemy’s” fields and food supplies, transports and storehouses and stealing resources and useful labour and women.

We could almost hear the screams of anger from stock market and “trading houses” all the way though space from an incensed earth, home base of the Imperium, as resources from the Claybornes’ came to a quasi-standstill.  Fortunes in speculation were being lost by the month, the week, even by the hour.  Action was demanded of Arch Imperator, Junes Kohlmadir.  She did what her kind do best: responded by massive force of arms against the wayward planets.

The Imperium intervened  with iron fist and jack boots.  Martial law and a general ban on every sort of weaponry was declared.  Walls around fortified towns were dismantled, sometimes with explosives, more often with slave labour from those arrested for disturbing Imperium-mandated peace; those that is who hadn’t been publicly executed in the first reactionary wave of the new military dictatorship.  They executed thousands of individuals, including women and young children – as an example.  As any thinking person would know and expect, more violence ensued, now directly aimed at the Imperium troopers and subsequent governors sent to negotiate and re-establish a working peace.  Adding insult to injury, the Imperium representatives decreed that any existing facility that could produce a space-faring vessel was to be utterly destroyed, not simply mothballed.  The Imperium set up its own space station to repair and upgrade its own ships.  All merchant ships had to have (and pay for) a complement of Imperium troopers on board, and an Imperium representative to accompany the captain at all times whenever it landed on one of our worlds.

This is the tipping point, where the Imperium, instead of subduing us, only succeeded in uniting the entire planet against the Imperium.

These people, my people, learned through bitter and bloody experience to hate the Imperium with passionate fury and vowed never to let the predators get their resources as cheaply as they had in the past.  We vowed to fight the Imperium to the last man, woman and child on our world.  There would be no free interference in our affairs.  Autonomy or death, was our slogan and war cry.  In the morning the call to arms and resistance would show up, painted on walls, fences, and even on the side of Imperial armoured personel carriers and tanks.  So the people began to organize; to create larger and larger political groups and legally challenge the Imperium’s manipulations.  We lived in wave after wave of bloody crackdowns and brutal repression but any talk of surrendering resulted in another body hanging from a pole, or tree, for the troopers to cut down and dispose of.  We would no longer be the Imperium’s “hewers of wood and drawers of water” forever, or until our worlds became unable to sustain life due to heavy extraction of natural resources and unchecked man-made pollution and we were abandoned to perish in the depths of space, with no hope of ever seeing rescue transportation off our dying rock.

Whenever the Imperium landed a detachment of Guard troopers, mobs formed and there was the inevitable bloodbath.  It is said that half of the population of Armistice died in the anti-Imperium “mob wars” that had already lasted two generations when, at sixteen, I found myself fighting for freedom.

So, ask me, do we know what to do if we encounter a mob?  Sure, if it’s from our side, join in.  If it’s from the enemy side, slink away and report its movements to our side, then form our own defensive counter-mob and attack.  To hesitate is to loose.  Now we are solidly united with our own spilled blood against the Imperium.  There would be no quarter from our side, for we are the legitimate people of this world.  

“Let me repeat:  a mob is a leaderless group of ten or more people bent on destruction and murder.  Report any mob to the nearest Guard post.”  Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am and why don’t you pack up your stupid course materials and return home by the first shuttle, with no due respect, ma’am?  Take some Star Trek holos back with you and base your next history course on them.  Maybe your students won’t turn into zombies on the first day. 

Meanwhile, what’s the real mob? There can be but one answer to that: it’s the Imperium.  The real Mob is always the largest, most powerful predatory group, for a mob takes what it wants because it has the power to do so.  Smaller groups, or “mobs” serve but to justify the real Mob’s oppression, or to do some of its dirtiest “wet” work.  Think “terrorists” as the vanguard of the Mob.  Oh yes, I have read quite a bit of the home world’s history to understand why here, on Armistice, we do what we do, and why we call our world by that meaningless term.  A mob, leaderless?  Never, no such thing.  The “leader” may not be a human being, it may be injustice, hunger, oppression, enslavement, but oh yes, a mob always has a leader.  In fact such a leader is the most powerful and motivational if it isn’t human, but an irresistible force, when choice is no longer choice.  Where, or when, anger and hate fill the collective vat of despair and feet begin to walk; hands grab sticks, stones, anything defensive or offensive, and charge down the street.

There came the inevitable bloody clash between Armisticians and troopers.  I was wounded in it and captured.  I was then seventeen earth years of age.  I am now an old but still strong woman from the hard labour I have performed my entire captive life.  I survived the mandatory torture and gang rapes, solitary confinement, sub-standard food fare and damp, cold, filthy accomodations.  Today, from my life imprisonment cell on Rebus, one of several Imperium prison planets, I write this for the “counselors” to read and ponder: “Down with the Imperium!  I still hope to see its final downfall.  How dare you call yourselves “civilized” and us “savages” and “terrorists.”   You are nothing but cowards who starve and kill women and children so your elites can wine and dine, get richer and brag.  Your lives are as hollow as the insides of our tiger reed.  I could almost pity you but will never: I vowed eternal hate and enmity between us and so it shall be.

Signed:  Selinia Armstrong of the free world of Armistice

Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!

What’s with that Mind?

(A point of view from “The Other Side”  with   ~burning woman~   and Airn WilloWitch) 

 Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement…  ~ Buddha ~
Years ago, attempts were made upon me to get me to “quiet the endless chatter of the mind and go into that silent center…” from which, presumably, would come all the great wisdom I was seeking.  I could almost hear my “Teachers” chuckling as I pondered that ponderous teaching.  Never did it make sense to me, much less did it work.  What great wisdom lies in the silence of nothingness?  Like a good service truck full of useful stuff clattering purposefully down some road or street, my mind rattles and chatters along, happy as can be… Doesn’t yours?  If it doesn’t, you must be dead! 
 
But I had to ask anyway, and today I got an answer of sorts.  Good teachers, naturally, never give you the answers.  They just point in some direction, usually down into the earth, and hand you the shovel.  You want to know what’s down there? Dig.  Not here dummy – over there.  Use your empathy!
 
What’s mind chatter?  Imagine you are a tourist lost in a semi-arid countryside amongst rolling hills.  You can sense the land is immense, but you can’t see very far.  You pull to the side of the road, reach for the map in the glove box and step out.  You spread it out on the hood of your dusty Toyota four-by to locate yourself.  There is a breeze, so you anchor the map with small stones.  The wind blows under the paper and it flutters. But you are intelligent and you know that the map isn’t talking to you to tell you where to go.  It just makes you aware that it is there.  Now you look it over and since you know how to read map symbols, you can make some sense of map and surroundings.  You can locate yourself and become un-lost (Do not confuse becoming un-lost with being found!)
 
Mind chatter is there to remind you that you have one, that’s all.  Shut that down and you’re left with what? 
 
So, what’s the mind, then?  The mind is that which contains the map to the cosmos.  Every single “thing” that is, is mapped in the mind.  Every hair on every head, every drop of rain, every grain of sand, every star, every universe, every entity is symbolically represented in the mind’s map.  The mind is, in fact, a hologram of life and as life is ever-expanding, so is the mind. 
 
Is it any wonder that those who’s survival depends on our blissful ignorance would have us shut it down?  Take that map off the hood of the car, fold it up neatly, put it back in the glove box… and drive on until we are so lost, we’ll accept any kind of help… from anybody?  Can you see now why this planet is in the mess it’s in?  Instead of becoming un-lost, we keep being found — and found-out for not knowing how to read our own mind. 
 
Everything is connected to everything else.  There are “filaments” – like silver threads – connecting everything.  When these “threads” bunch up in groups connecting similar things, they form channels, or flows (or black holes or worm holes) of great energies.  Magnetic flows, gravitational pulls, orbits, and on worlds such as Earth, rivers, warm and cold winds, tornadoes, typhoons, clouds, great ocean currents.  Down into the micro, the attractions of cells to form bodies, of atoms to form molecules, of particles to form atoms… ad infinitum.  But more, these connections form attractions of sounds to form music; of thoughts, of ideas, of beliefs.  They also form collectives.  And collectives within collectives.  But no matter what, every single “event” remains connected individually to every thing else.  It gets complicated only if you don’t know how to read the symbols. 
 
The awakened mind knows this.  It can see it.  Not the way eyes see physical reality.  Eyes, after all, are terribly limited concepts – they are just physical lenses designed for one purpose: to reflect  physical surroundings into a physical brain, and the physical is such a tiny portion of all that is.  But the mind can locate itself anywhere in the Cosmos.  It can see, feel, taste, touch, hear as if it were one expanded (Cosmic) sense.  And really, that’s what the mind is. 
 
To the awakened mind, the Cosmos contains only knowable reality.  There are no secrets anywhere, and there are no mysteries.  Only reality, a small portion already explored and an infinite amount yet to be explored, as well as an even more infinite (say what???) part yet to be created.  In this, I hear the echoes of my earlier teachings – “Nothing is impossible;  Believe all things, believe in nothing -these are the paths to freedom from the bondage of systems and time.”
 
Amazing? And the best part of all, it’s a ride offered to anyone willing to look at the map, not as a colourful piece of paper fluttering in the breeze, but as a meaningful, carefully drawn set of symbols representing the offerings of infinity.  If you can read your own map, you can go anywhere and never get lost.  Once this is understood, the next step is, you begin to create.  You drive to the end of the road on the map.  And you pick up that shovel again.  But now, you know where to dig, and why.  And you won’t be hurting anything there because there is, as yet, no-thing.  The gopher is safe and snug in his burrow behind you, as are the earthworms, crickets and other creepy, crawly things.  Your shovel becomes a magic wand…  
 
Look out Thirteenth Floor: I’m adding a new wing on this side!
 
And the point being?  No one needs to remain lost (stuck) in time. 

How does a Thing Become “a” Precious?

            [thoughts from  ~burning woman~  ]

…  and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into blossom:
as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious
—Lisel Mueller, from “In Passing,” Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. (LSU Press; First Edition edition October 1, 1996)

          A thing can be longed for, can be thought of as precious, but until it is lived for; deeply sacrificed for; even bled for (or killed for) and finally apparently hopelessly lost, that thing can never be accurately described as truly precious: it remains an illusion, a story in a book of fiction.  However good the fiction is, it is still fiction.  The book isn’t purchased, it isn’t owned, it is merely borrowed from a library. It hasn’t cost anything that is irreplaceable: I think that’s the key here.  

          In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and continuing in “The Lord of the Ring” there appears a character called Gollum.  Gollum possesses a ring which he calls his “Precious” and is driven mad by it.  Gollum’s ring was indeed his precious because he had paid a great and terrible price to attain it.  Back in the ancient days when he was still a normal being he was called Smeagol and he had an inseparable friend, Deagol.  It was Deagol who found the ring at the bottom of the river Anduin, but when Smeagol saw the ring his desire to possess it exceeded all bounds.  Deagol wouldn’t give up the ring, so Smeagol killed him for it.  Many long years later, the outcast Smeagol, now known as Gollum, lost his “Precious” to Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit.  Then did the ring truly become Gollum’s precious – he dedicated his life to finding the ring and getting his revenge on “the nasty Hobbit Baggins.”  In the end as we know, Gollum died with the ring: they both fell in the fire of Mount Doom. 

    How many of life’s offerings can we call precious?  Of all the obvious: air, water and land from which we draw our sustenance and cannot live without: precious?  Not according to my observations of how man treats his natural environment – definitely not his “Precious” is it. What about people relationships?  I suppose for the few, some relationships become precious as they are engaged, then irretrievably and inconsolably lost.  But for most?  Generally speaking relationships come and go, most easily replaceable.  The gregarious Earthian prefers its creature comforts of body and mind to the pining and the dying for, that puts the meaning of precious in a relationship. This is especially true of today’s consumer “throw away” society.  Most relationships are cheap and easily replaced. 

    I’m obviously fishing in deep waters here: what comes up from the deep?  I’ll tell you: the unexpected; the frightening; the dreadful and also the ineffable that literally takes our breath away so that when it disappears we long for its return to the point that we are willing to die to find it again.  I’m talking about the things that lurk in the depths of the Cosmos; that sing and dance and call beyond our memories, our experiences, our survival instincts and all our paraphernalia of security or ecstatic expectation.  Beyond the symbolism of religion, the greatest works of the mystics and even the best efforts of the poets.

    Nothing can keep us safe from what shows up to become something truly precious.  For to be precious it must be of a nature capable of taking over both mind and heart, all of one’s life, and can never be owned or controlled.  Once one has engaged one’s Precious, one’s life is forfeit.  It belongs to its Precious. 

    According to ancient wisdom, there can only be one Precious in one’s life. “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  After many long years of thinking it was irretrievably lost to me, I found my Precious, or rather it found me.  Well, perhaps to be fair to both, we met half-way and recognized each other.  Following that meeting, there was a test of my commitment: it called for my life and I in a gesture of genuine forfeiture, gave it.  That it gave me my life back, if for a time, only lengthened the period of testing – it did not conclude it.  It will be my “master” until I die, and beyond, for my Precious is of a nature that does not die and it is now as much a part of me as I am of it. We are inseparable.  Just to make sure I am not misunderstood here, I am not talking about another human being, or other “being” such as a god or “saviour” in a romantic or agape-love type of relationship.  Nothing so common: this isn’t about love.  Repeat: this has nothing to do with love.

    As I was writing this and thinking about the truth of it, I was wondering how many people have a working relationship with their Precious; how many are even aware that such a state of mind is desirable for life to make sense; how many are aware that without a commitment to one’s Precious, one is left helplessly open to being consumed by some force or other with which it has the relationship of a slave; of a believer in wizardry. 

    The force or forces one responds to when not committed to one life-linked “Master” or “Precious” would say in so many words, “The purpose of our relationship is on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.  Just follow any of the approved paths the rest are on.  Believe and don’t step out of those paths.  The outcome isn’t for you to know, just to worry about.” 

    And that worry becomes fear, fear becomes anger, anger becomes hate and the rest is history, or as some like to say, His story.

{Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.” — Grant Morrison, The Invisibles, Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution. (Vertigo June 1, 1996) }