Saturday, November 28, 2009

Magical Realism

Trompe L'Oeil method of creating depth perspective
 Escaping Criticism by Pere Borrell del Caso, 1874

One Fine Day: August 2009

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Spring 2009 Metro Art: Takoma to Cheverly

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Summer 2008: Summer of Swing [Semester]

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Cheverly, Environs: Fall 2007 and Spring 2008

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A William Faulkner inspirational

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November in the Mid-Atlantic

O Nature, your primal sanities
Are my disease
And I see my sickness shining
On the endless avenues of common concrete faces
To them I must seem ill

Still I resist their medication
While I'm tempted to be healed-
My mind grows obese on the delicacies
Of sex and gourmet things
And jealousy stokes my hunger

Many are the urban fruits
But each is a bit rotten
A bit plastic
A bit pappig
A bit anonymous
A bit wanton
And mostly deceptive

Trotzdem, On a balmy November day
I smell something familiar and sweet on the air
While standing at the end of the platform
And no one seems to notice

The next day is brooding, grey, and chilled
But once again near the train station
I'm struck by the wild scent
Which I find from flowers
Like little lillies
Silent among sharp osmanthus

So give me your fruits, o nature
Your pure seductions
Your wild rapture
Your chirping crickets mating desperately
Before the first frost
Give me the clean danger of animals and storms and rivers
Where I find my humble place among the universe
Of rocky tundra
Your feast and famine

In conversation ~
"Give me the Splendid, Silent Sun" by Whitman

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conservative Whining

Oh, the irony that for decades conservatives have been calling liberals "whiny" because they "cry discrimination." See how the pendulum swings. Of course it's hilarious when we consider white straight Christians acting like they're not the dominant group in society - seeing how media, commerce, and government are still geared toward them. Primary perpetrator #1. Glenn Beck, who even scares Don Imus Perpetrator #2. Rush Limbaugh Perpetrator #3. The Teabaggers Perpetrator #4. The 700 Club and Trinity Broadcasting And many more! So, let's all cry them a little river, shall we? I mean, one day soon they'll be in the minority, so let's get our tear-ducts primed and ready to feel sorry for them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Cowboy Poet

Black whispers the cliff
Black whispers the loblolly
Silver whispers the Milky Way
Open listens his eyes

Educated leather
On adventure seeking heels
Pounded by responsibility
And comfortable in silence

Whistling to his horse
Whistling to his wife
Whistling to the fence
Hearing his worries

The buffalo returned
The sage-fires bore the prairie orchid
And the plagues passed
But the nomads have changed
And are lonely-numbered

They document the earth as it was and will be:

Smelling the Blue Northerns
Kicking at the trail
Peering from beneath the brim
Singing to the page


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barney Frank bitch slaps a fanatic

Finally ~ a Democrat grows some gonads and tells it like it is.  It seems, once again, it's gonna take a gay to move the conversation forward.

At one point, confronted by an audience member holding a picture of President Obama defaced to make Obama look like Hitler who asked how he could support Nazi policies, Frank asked "on what planet do you spend most of your time?" When asked if he would respond to the question, he said "trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table."

How refreshing! You other wimpy Dems - take notes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I love Julia Child SO MUCH.

“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.” What would she have done if she hadn’t gone into cooking? “I would have married a Republican banker and become an alcoholic.” Told by Margrit Mondavi at Taste3 2006. “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” Unsourced “Why languish as a giantess when it is so much fun to be a myth?” From Appetite for Life, a biography of Child. “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.” From one of her TV shows, relayed by one of its producers. “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” From the memoir Backstage with Julia: My Years with Julia Child. When asked if she knew her cholesterol level, she said, “Medium.” Unsourced. “Being tall is an advantage, especially in business. People will always remember you. And if you’re in a crowd, you’ll always have some clean air to breathe.” From Appetite for Life. When a sommelier asked her to name her favorite wine, she replied, “Gin.” Told by a friend at a public memorial after her death.

Smiles Predict Marriage

This just makes sense. Oh Dale Carnegie is lovin' this from beyond the grave.

Yearbook Smiles Predict Marriage Success:

I know the Midwest and the South can be full of fake smiles, but are they happier?

A Conversation: Kant and Integrity in Relationships

As for integrity: I hear what you're saying, and I agree, but I'm put off by the word itself. "Integrity" means a kind of wholeness and soundness, like "structural integrity," and that seems...what? rigid? to me.
As an alternative, how about a more relational word: Trust.

What do you think?

I've never thought about the how trust can signify or relate to integrity. I can't imagine I'd ever want to use trust as an alternative to integrity. It's a good compliment to integrity, and it's important. But I don't think it would be fair or sensical to demand that someone trust me, or have the qualities of a trustful person. Trust seems to be much more daunting to most people, especially in the modern urban world, than integrity. And I define integrity as "honoring one's word" ~ like Kant's Categorical Imperative. You don't always get to fulfill on your promises or do what is expected, but if your INTENTION is to honor your word; if you INTEND to be a person of INTEGRITY, then not only is your humanity/imperfect nature still intact, but you get to create life as a game. How? By putting your word out there, trying new things, reaching for new goals, taking new risks, etc. Sometimes you'll fail, or just show up late. Either way, if you find a partner who places emphasis on integrity and understands it, then you're both empowered to "try, try again." And I'm not talking about making uneducated risks that you know may not even really want to make a good effort at. I'm talking about things like quitting a lucrative but thankless job to found a nonprofit, or taking a leadership training course, or announcing that you are dating the man of your dreams to relatives that think you may be straight. For that matter, you can make a promise to be trusting. It may not always go well, but the Intention to honor your word is there. And THAT, to me signifies true strength and health in a relationship.


Thanks for the juicy conversation, Marcos!



New Orleans Greatness

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crazy-Cool Eurovision Performances

The 2009 winner from Norway has it all.  Cute song, Norwegian folk culture, the Frikar dance group, a cute boy who can belt a catchy tune and fiddle to beat the band.

Ukrainians having a joke at the expense of the Germans - hysterical!

Powerful Serbian Song Wins 2008 - Molitva (bears a resemblance to kd lang)

Typical Germans~ shiny, kitschy, and kinky.

Russia winner 08 ~  layin' it on thick: evgeny plushenko skates, some smarmy guy plays rock violin, and the lead singer rolls around on the stage... and the olympic power lifter doesn't wear underwear.
Irlande Douze Pointe with Dustin the Turkey.  Beware of Bizarre:

Germany 2007 ~ super classy (egad!), and Roger Cicero is a damn fine musician.  Period.

Finnland's Lordi wins 2006 - those dudes in the monster outfits singing "Hard Rock Halleluja"

2005 Bring it, Andorran sexy-sexies:
2005 Croatian bagpipes and acrobatic percussionists
2005 - Helena from Greece wins with "My Number One"
2004 - The Ukrainian song with great beat and quirky shouts wins _ Ruslana sings "Wild Dances"
2004 - Germany lost because Max just can't groom himself on top of being ugly
2004 - This little chick from Albania can belt it out!  Fun little song.
2003 - WTF, Austria!?....  !? ....................   !?
2003 - More New Age pop from Belgium (?!)
2002 - Germany's vocalist seems to be petrified by stage fright ... or slightly autistic.
2002 - The winning song from Latvia is most cleverly choreographed.  The song is so-so.
2000 - I've liked this song since I bought the VIVA Hits vol 9 album while studying in Germany
Denmark wins with "Fly on the Wings of Love"
2000 - Comedian, show host Stefan Raab making fun of ?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I want to make my mark on the world in broad brush-strokes. Gloriam Slow and sensational. Laudam In one keen observation, not a flurry of struggles or endless projects. Magnificam In one moment of compassion, I'll never forget the face. Jubilatum Hail to the stranger that pushed me past the crest of the hill. Ave His work will continue to be done. And a blessing will be upon his house. Adoram I will walk in his shadow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Anger Research - NPR

Anger research NPR news 9:50am 3/26/09 Langley/Blakely/Lavely found herself yearning to continue destroying her exes belongings. So she started Sarah's Smash Shack in San Diego. The point: cleanse and diffuse anger. Freud was a fan of catharsis. John Lennon did primal scream therapy. Expression of neg. feelings was v. popular in 60's + 70's. Studies show that a big release of anger in physical activity does nothing but increase future expressions of anger. Increased arousal fosters more arousal. Saying "that makes me angry" in a non furious way is the best way. The sense of immediate improvement/release is just a sense. Breathing deeply for 2 minutes releases arousal.

What is Enlightenment?

Citing other Integralists like Cohen and Wilber, I take it to mean, loosely, the PROCESS of evolution of human consciousness (conscious life). --Notes from the January 31st EnlightenNext Salon in DC: Topic: Evolution of Consciousness and the Creation of Culture. -"Evolution is a moving target." -from the EnlightenNext article featuring Wiber and Cohen: Absolute Consciousness (Wilber's term) = Ground of Being (Cohen's term) is in an ongoing dialectic with the (state of living in the) Creative Impulse. The Creative Impulse is the world of action and creation, the same force of the expanding universe. A person is not barred from the Ground of Being until they reach "enlightenment." "I'm still the same Ego/Narcissist even though I profoundly experience the Ground of Being." ~Sam R. When we get in touch with seubject/object dialectic and we do this as a group, we speed development of society as a whole. On both individual and group levels we can re-frame (create a new context) the "collective unconsciousness"/ intersubjective. We come to question ourselves: Is it my ego-drive to gain the badge of being "better" (or "Integral" or "enlightened" or "evolved") or am I spiritually animated by evolution? The fact that we're aware of this inquiry indicates that we have one foot placed firmly in the Ground of Being (Abs. Consc.). This is the conversation wherein we recognize the presence of the ego. And in that moment, we have already transcended.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Statue on 20th St NW, Golden Triangle, DC

Once Ineffable Now Conceived & Spoken

My once best friend ~ changed. It happened not gradually, but it happened without notice. Because it's not something that I'd wish to notice; rather it's something that I'd want to deny. What's the missing quality that once was? Sweetness. It's not even just compassion, with which she has an admitted problem. She has an awful listening of it since her evidence against sweetness and compassion was displayed for her in her father. Her mother, on the other hand, is the avatar of a steeled, sometimes steamrolling will. She is not totally devoid of that tender quality. She conserves it quite specially. I suppose she figured out that she can't achieve her big goals with sweetness. Like having her friends be successful or powerful. Of course tough love is far more effective than joyful encouragement alone. I'm torn between wanting my own toughness and wanting everyone to be tender, along with its derivatives: compassion, trust, vulnerability. Sweetness: a humble, joyful simplicity of spirit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trying On Greatness

Marianne Williamson is the author of A Return to Love. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles",

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strong Poetry: A Life of Love, Dreams, and Integrity Your dreams will come to you if you live with integrity. "It's very important to know that if you don't achieve your dreams, you can still get a lot by trying for them." "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." "Brick walls that are in our way are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want things." Other notes: ~Don't just complain, just work harder. ~You can choose to have fun and draw out the positive ~Have good parents (or see the best in them) ~Parents let kids express their creativity ~When you screw up apologize. A good apology: 1. I'm sorry, 2. It was my fault 3. How do I make it right?

Astrological Coincidence Is A-Musing

Capricorn/Aquarius January 19 to January 23 "Capricorn is the tenth sign of the Zodiac; Aquarius is the 11th sign. Those born on the Capricorn/Aquarius cusp are involved with and interested in social institutions. They want to make them work as they were meant to work. They are humanitarians and philanthropists, the visionaries of the Zodiac. Friendship is important to them, and they have many acquaintances, in addition to their close friends. These people are also ambitious and disciplined, determined and dedicated to achieving their goals. They are practical, realistic and cautious not to get in over their heads." We were on a roll up until that last sentence.

Untreated: Attention Dubious / Disastrous

This is only marginally poetic, even if only in the suffering. (Suffering is allegedly poetic) I started taking medication (Concerta) in the spring of 2008. I took it for two months before there was trouble between my employer's health insurance spending account and Kaiser, my insurance provider. And while that was sorting itself out, I neglected to schedule another appointment to get a checkup/refill. Afterall, Methylphenidate is a controlled substance, so I can't just "call it in." Out-of-pocket cost = $200 - $350 for a month's worth. Why did it take me so long before I considered going on meds? Parental Part: My mom thought that I was just "bad" and/or "lazy." So her natural idea was to punish me out of my fuzzy, forgetful world. Any wonder why I worked myself into a guilt-ridden people pleaser? An expected outcome, really. Perhaps I could have rebelled, and maybe I did by turning myself gay. *wink* And since I was diagnosed during my sophomore year in college, why no medication taking?: First, my principles: I'm all for challenging myself and developing my character to change my behavior and not big on popping pills. Second: I had accommodations within the controlled environment of my college: a seperate, quiet room for testing with additional time, and a special computer program that spoke the scanned text to me. And the most recent reason for finally breaking down and trying meds as a "last resort:" I stretched myself far beyond the borders of my ability- taking on so many (often intense) opportunities including coaching four people in the Introduction Leaders Program - and it didn't work. I was suspended / fired from a job for something totally silly that had nothing to do with my performance, but was a result of trying to juggle too much and being careless. When your workplace doesn't make accommodations for ADD, or you're too chicken to ask or talk about it, then you're faced with a daily struggle upon which your bills, health insurance, and credibility depends. Failure not only seems inevitable, it is inevitable. You know it will come sooner than later. This is such a boon for one's self esteem - as you can imagine! And ADD is not an acceptable excuse, because if you have ADD then that feeds the pile of reasons why you're on the shit list or the way out the door. Meanwhile, at home I lost both sets of car keys, missed the date to apply for benefits, spaced out on my friend's birthday, didn't realize the check hadn't cleared before paying another bill... I expect these blunders to happen on a weekly basis. Oh, and it also causes friends and family to give up relying on you for things that require a deadline or financial planning. At least now I'm better now at saying no to things I know understand I won't be able to do, even though people keep telling me to try. I am happy when I can go for several days without a serious snafu. People give advice, oh, boy do I have great advice in my life! I should open up a library. Hell, that's probably one of the reasons I like to do phone counseling so much. I know the right answer. I have articles galore about Latte Factors and how to best prioritize. I know that emotions come and go, to take cleansing breaths, get exercise, have friends and hobbies, practice awareness... Intellectually it's all here in my head and learned. It's putting it into practice. It's having the discipline -- as I hear my mother's voice (and countless others') ringing in my head. So here I sit in a self-fulfilling cycle of underemployment, little income, no health insurance, no medication, constant fuzziness in decision making and task accomplishing - resulting in a retarded process of applying and finding suitable jobs. I look at craigslist and think to myself "Wow! Look at all those jobs with great nonprofits that have benefits and salary and require 'the ability to multi-task'." I would love to be a secretary, but I would hate to fuck over the execs and their schedules. I might be able to wing it and do very well with the skills I have, but it only takes one small oversight to create a big embarassment. "Your conference was in Poughkeepsie and not Pawtucket?" So, I'm researching. I've had several good referrals for inexpensive medication resources... none of them so far seem to include Strattera or the Methyl-family of drugs. I take that back - I located a 25-40% discount for Dexedrine (old school meth drug). Thanks Pfizer! Insurance at my part-time job may not be financially feasible. I hear it's $90 every 2 weeks. I hear Maryland's state health insurance program may be about $200/month. Who knows if it would even cover ADD meds. But I forge ahead.

What is it like being an adult with ADHD? The positive

Excerpted from an article by Edward Hallowell, MD (who has an ADD diagnosis) "Usually the positive doesn't get mentioned when people speak about ADD because there is a natural tendency to focus on what goes wrong, or at least on what has to be somehow controlled. But often once the ADD has been diagnosed, and the child or the adult, with the help of teachers and parents or spouses, friends, and colleagues, has learned how to cope with it, an untapped realm of the brain swims into view. Suddenly the radio station is tuned in, the windshield is clear, the sand storm has died down. And the child or adult, who had been such a problem, such a nudge, such a general pain in the neck to himself and everybody else, that person starts doing things he'd never been able to do before. He surprises everyone around him, and he surprises himself. I use the male pronoun, but it could just as easily be she, as we are seeing more and more ADD among females as we are looking for it. Often these people are highly imaginative and intuitive. They have a "feel" for things, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters while others have to reason their way along methodically. This is the person who can't explain how he thought of the solution, or where the idea for the story came from, or why suddenly he produced such a painting, or how he knew the shortcut to the answer, but all he can say is he just knew it, he could feel it. This is the man or woman who makes million-dollar deals in a catnap and pulls them off the next day. This is the child who, having been reprimanded for blurting something out, is then praised for having blurted out something brilliant. These are the people who learn and know and do and go by touch and feel. These people can feel a lot. In places where most of us are blind, they can, if not see the light, at least feel the light, and they can produce answers apparently out of the dark. It is important for others to be sensitive to this "sixth sense" many ADD people have, and to nurture it. If the environment insists on rational, linear thinking and "good" behavior from these people all the time, then they may never develop their intuitive style to the point where they can use it profitably. It can be exasperating to listen to people talk. They can sound so vague or rambling. But if you take them seriously and grope along with them, often you will find they are on the brink of startling conclusions or surprising solutions. What I am saying is that their cognitive style is qualitatively different from most people's, and what may seem impaired, with patience and encouragement may become gifted. The thing to remember is that if the diagnosis can be made, then most of the bad stuff associated with ADD can be avoided or contained. The diagnosis can be liberating, particularly for people who have been stuck with labels like "lazy," "stubborn," "willful," "disruptive," "impossible," "tyrannical," "a spaceshot," "brain damaged," "stupid," or just plain "bad." Making the diagnosis of ADD can take the case from the court of moral judgment to the clinic of neuropsychiatric treatment. " by Edward M. Hallowell, MD © 1992

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Impressions: Washington, DC

Spring peepers salacious Yelling for themselves Nightly by the tracks Knitting urban and field In the confused thoughts Of city people boarding trains They sing with my voice The city dimly remembers Through stone veneer Around the basin We awaken to blossoms And rhythms To which the young still dance Snow of pale on black So crisp in the air Like an Eastern dream

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Silliman's Blog

A weblog focused on contemporary poetry and poetics.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The German Poetry Library :: Die Deutsche Gedichtebibliothek

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Composed: Shulman and Nogai's Architectural Photography Nogai explains: "People are not thinking anymore; they're just shooting." Some would agree that the digital age has enabled a decrease in deliberation. If you can fill up a memory card with 1,000 images until you get the perfect one, after all, why stop to carefully compose?

But what most typifies a Shulman/Nogai photograph is meticulous composition that will guide your eye endlessly, if you allow it. These photographers are notorious for the amount of careful consideration that formulates each frame. They've spent up to nine hours on assignment to leave with a mere 11 frames. Eleven perfect frames, that is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Copyrighted Material

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Free from urgency A poem runs Wherever It wants Through crumbled crayons And rusty spigots From the nostrils of cows on October mornings Breathes something fantastic And fashion-ignorant Like an apple An apple An apple ~ (c) TA Freeman~Sirtosky

Despond by Jim Harrison

At midnight in his living room a man is angry at a fly that is bothering him. How can this be? A man is angry at things that never happened and never will happen. He's angry at the woman he'll never meet because she refuses to meet him because, not existing herself, she has no idea that he exists. He's frying potatoes that don't exist at sunset. The frying pan is a black sun and out the window in the gathering dark the ocean looks so heavy that it might fall through the earth and join another ocean. At dawn he wakes. There's a fly in the room but perhaps it's a miniature bird. Magnified, the sound is the basso rumbling o f the universe the peculiar music galaxies make when they fray against each other. He sleeps again, his hand on his dog's heart which says don't be angry. She senses the steps of the last dance saved for us

The Climb

"Most people think, when they're young, that they're going to the top of their chosen world and that the climb up is only a formality. Without that faith, I suppose they might never start. Somewhere on the way they lift their eyes to the summit and know they aren't going to reach it. Happiness then is looking down and enjoying the view they've got, not envying the one they haven't." ~Dick Francis via Phyllis Sokol-Wood and the Velocity Seminar

The Art of Love - Giving

The art of love-giving Resides in a house Deep in forest of mind And in the white residue Of evaporated water on the kitchen table And in my grey cat And in the heartbreaking Bonds of parent nature A foolish heart is often broken Because it believes that the love it gives Will return - -Recognizable- When love is given By a foolish heart It is blind to the love it receives In return ~(c) TA Freeman~Sirtosky

Poetic Humor

Hamlet II: Gravedigger 1: "Where the hell is everybody? Question the Is that be to not, or be to." ~from the Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Emotion Could

I still wonder that the human emotions Suffering and Joy Are not powerful enough to pull the world apart - or at least Were we to fashion it with copper wire Have it fuel the world The chaos in its crossing The friction in its evolution The resistance and the flow Are as seismic as the sun Because I've seen molten tears sear through flesh And laughter pierce a warrior's skull And peace flood houses I know its power But where does it go? It does not stop there The tsunamis of love and hate I don't think it turns into gas or meteor dust I know it's in the quality of the moment But what is quality when there are supernovas you can see? What human emotion can outshine or out-destroy that? And now it comes to me: None. And All. As a poet I'm cursed to compare the astronomical With the personal Always looking for the forward Whether I vet solid starfury Against amalgamations of electro-chemical reactions in an animal Or while hearing a friend tell the story of their day. ~ (c) TA Freeman~Sirtosky

Cheery Beggar

by Gerard Manley Hopkins BEYOND Mágdalen and by the Bridge, on a place called there the Plain, In Summer, in a burst of summertime Following falls and falls of rain, When the air was sweet-and-sour of the flown fineflower of Those goldnails and their gaylinks that hang along a lime; . . . . . . . . The motion of that man’s heart is fine Whom want could not make píne, píne That struggling should not sear him, a gift should cheer him Like that poor pocket of pence, poor pence of mine. . . . . . . . . Recommended by Kevin M., a favorite of his. And mellifluous it is.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Juggernaut

What draws me to the fire?
To be in its presence is like a steel-smelting furnace with its white intensity,
Much like the futility of ignoring a campfire in the blackest night.
What draws me to the fire is the sight of myself with the skin gone, and soul aflame.
But I abhor that consuming heat because it responds only to that which is hot.
And it consumes, it consumes, and consumes
The Darkness, all... it is relentless.
Its world only of light, fury, and heat.
And I wonder as I contemplate the fire; to it, what has infinite intrinsic value?
And still, with interest, it consumes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Conversation on Ego, Immortality, and Admiration

If all else fails, immortality can be always assured by spectacular error."   -  John K. Galbraith
This is an existential trick on the ego:  The fact we would consider screwing up the world in order to be remembered is the ultimate irony of ego.
Be used by a purpose greater than your desires.  Inside of that, be willing to deny some of your desires, not all, but some.
Let's distinguish Success - what does it mean?
Distinction Success - it's empty and meaningless.  After I die, I will turn to dust, and after a time no one will remember.  Why should one star demand to shine more than the others?  Herein lies the ego's wish to be immortal.  
The ultimate win is lasting admiration.  We are addicted to approval.  The ego craves these things and will do anything to avoid disapproval and failure.
Ask yourself, "how do I spend or invest my resources;  money, social capital, gifts, talents?  And what does my ego get out of it?  Can I be satisfied to spend without any acknowledgment whatsoever, or even be satisfied with constant disapproval and/or failure?"  If I require success and admiration, I am collapsed into ego.  
"As he put the vial of poison to his lips, he realized there were two of him, one an egotistical asshole and his higher self, and the asshole was about to kill them both."
But there's nothing wrong with death either, and if we experience no anxiety about dying alone and soon forgotten, then we have found the egoless death.  Immortality is a paradoxical hoax, for the only truly immortal constants are outside the realm of memory.  Immortality can belong to no individual, it can only belong to everything that has ever been. 
Post Scriptum:  Thank you, Jess for your contributions (in blue) to this conversation!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Post Post Scriptum: Malcolm Gladwell's new book Outliers talks about the radically successful and how they came to be so extraordinary. And he says it really does involve major moments of luck - redeemed or cashed in. Unmissed moments of opportunity so rare and often so bizarre that it makes your head spin. I've heard tales of a gentleman from New York who was more than likely the first in flight, perhaps a year earlier than Wilbur and Orville (sorry Losantville!). So many similar stories would fill several books, so much so, that we know this as a major narrative of humanity. Just ask Darwin's elder colleague J Wallace, who fell into obscurity, and during his own time consented to call the theory Darwinism even though, for several reasons, his ideas first appeared on the scene. So the narrative of luck and recorded/remembered history in the realm of success is also rich and sordid topic indeed. If part of success is how(much) we are remembered, then so much of that is also a crap shoot, a gamble as well.