Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's Been a Lovely Ride

Sometimes I ponder about just how long I can keep up my active lifestyle; and inevitably my thoughts turn to just how long I can stick around before my used up and abused body decides it has had enough. Today I learned about the world's oldest person, the only person still alive born in the 1800's. Quite amazing to think of someone who has experienced three centuries. Emma Moreno, of Vercelli, Italy was born in 1899, and is pushing 118 years of a good long life. I'm encouraged to hear her words of advice as to her longevity: “I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies." I, too, eat more than my share of eggs, but I was glad that she mentioned cookies. The lesson I take from Emma and others is that systematic under-eating is the essential key to longevity, more than perhaps any other factor. Eat less and live longer. If I am blessed enough to live as long as Emma, I may add a few items to her list - whiskey, smiles, singing, and running, to wit. No matter, however long it lasts, it has been a lovely ride, so far. Think I'll go eat a cookie to celebrate, and maybe extend my life a bit.

The secret of life
Is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it,
There ain't nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got
To the top of the hill.
But since we're on our way down,
We might as well enjoy the ride.

The secret of love
Is in opening up your heart.
It's okay to feel afraid,
But don't let that stand in your way.
'Cause anyone knows
That love is the only road.
And since we're only here for a while,
Might as well show some style.
Give us a smile.

Isn't it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down,
Try not to try too hard,
It's just a lovely ride.

Now the thing about time
Is that time isn't really real.
It's just your point of view,
How does it feel for you?
Einstein said he
Could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space,
The smile upon your face,
Welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride.
I'll be sliding down,
I'll be gliding down.
Try not to try too hard,
It's just a lovely ride.
Isn't it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down,
Try not to try too hard,
It's just a lovely ride.
The secret of life
Is enjoying the passage of time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

the Power of One, and Zero

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) is recognized as the father of calculus, but he also discovered kinetic energy, and transformed physics with his idea that the universe is a hologram, even though physically it is a fractal (in which each drop of water hanging from a tree in a garden contains another tree in a garden with a drop of water). Leibniz was an early and prolific inventor of mechanical calculators and believed that since all thought is symbolic, then symbols rather than language is the best representation of human thought. To this end he attempted to build an alphabet of human thought - a universal language based on algebra. For Leibniz, it eventually reduced to a binary system, that he figured out by age 20, that forms the basis for all modern computing. Leibniz himself saw binary less as a computational tool than as a means of discovering mathematical, philosophical and even theological truths. While working on his binary system, Leibniz was in correspondence with Joachim Bouvet, part of a Jesuit mission in China. Bouvet sent Leibniz a woodcut of the Fu Xi arrangement of hexagrams of the I Ching which proved enormously influential to the Leibniz to the extent that he titled his paper, “Explanation of the binary arithmetic, which uses only the characters 1 and 0, with some remarks on its usefulness, and on the light it throws on the ancient Chinese figures of Fu Xi”. This code is the basis for all current computing from iPhones to the Chinese Tihane-2, which remains the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


 Aum is the vibrational sound of the cosmic machine of creation and destruction.

Aum is the name of God in its unmanifested form.

Aum comprises all manifested and unmanifested worlds.

Aum means nothing and it also means everything.

Aum is the most mysterious word in the Universe. Aum is thought to be the eternal sound.

Aum consists of three sounds A...U....M.

A - Signifies the beginning of the universe,

U - Signifies the life period of universe and

M - Signifies the destruction of the Universe.

Hence AUM is the only word which represents the three main work of God:

Creation (Brahma), Operation (Vishnu) and Destruction (Shiv) of the Universe (Srishti).

Most of the mantras in Hinduism start with the word AUM,

because AUM is pure consciousness while other words in a mantra are Nature (Prakriti).

AUM in itself is a complete Mantra; its chanting is sacred and brings enlightenment. It is the Maha Mantra.

It does not belong to any language; it is the primodal vibration of the consciousness which created the universe.

AUM has four steps: A...U....M and the last one silent

A = Physical plane , wake state of mind, Beginning, Brahma,

U = Astral Plane, dream state of mind, Manifestation,Vishnu,

M = Causal Plane, dream-less state, Destruction, Rudra.

Fourth unspoken sound = Turiya is beyond the universe, the Enlightened State.

AUM is a Sagun Mantra, Nirgun Mantra and Beeja Mantra ALL IN ONE.

Recitation of Aum brings peace and happiness and finally Enlightenment.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Spirituality of Mathematics

Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes - I mean the universe - but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders 
in vain through a dark labyrinth.
Galileo Galilei
If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6, and 9, 

then you would have a key to the universe.
Nikola Tesla

Tesla was fascinated with the numbers 3, 6 and 9, perhaps even obsessed, as he was reported to have always walked around a building three times before entering. Aside from his apparent obsession, there is substance to his fascination. The 3, 6 and 9 represent the pathways that force (energy / information) manifest through to form material. The other numbers: 1 , 2 , 4 , 5 , 7 , 8 represent the already manifested ingredients of material. Thus the structure of all things material is dependent on the sequence / pattern that force takes via the 3 , 6 and 9 conduits. The sequence changes to form the pulses (wave) force found forming and supporting all things commonly known as fields. 

9 is 3 squared and 3 is the first prime. Everything contained herein expresses the 3 or third principal. Space is defined by 3 dimensions. When working with these number patterns, think in terms of thirds. Now it becomes somewhat clearer as to why there are 360 degrees in a circle. They are all expressing decimal parity of 9 which is to say they are center focused. Even if you halve 45 and so on you will get 22.5 = 9, 11.25 = 9, 5.625 = 9, 2.8125 = 9 and so on. The 9 is a self similar axis, the Z axis. The X and Y define the surface topology of the logarithmic spiral, while Z is the central third. 6 and 3 oscillate around nine and it’s probably 360 because 3 and 6 are the “nines”.

The 4th Dimension is TIME - there are 24 hours in a day; 2+4 = 6; there are 60 minutes in an hour; 6+0 = 6; there are 60 second in a minute; 6+0 = 6. So the full revolution is a 6, half is 12 which is a 3. Around the 12 hour clock you have a constant 3,6,9 oscillation. 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock= 3, then 15 o'clock = 6, 18 o'clock = 9.... 3 , 24 o'clock = 6, and 3 , 6 , 9 , 3 , 6 , 9, ........forever.

Numbers have temporal value (series of values over a time period), spatial (occupying) and volumetric qualities. Space and time are one thing - “space-time”. They are both spirals. Everything is a curved line except the 9 - the spirit emanation outside of space and time.

Not only that but an atom is 99.9999 % space; it is a mini blackhole. Electromagnetism is radiating out from an exchange of gravity going into the 9. The 9 demonstrates the omni dimension which is the higher dimensional flux emanation called Spirit that always occurs within the center of a magnetic field. The number nine is Energy being manifested in a single moment event of occurrence in our physical world of creation. It is unique because it is the focal center by being the only number identifying with the vertical upright axis. It is the singularity or the Primal Point of Unity. The number nine never changes and is linear.

For example all multiples of 9 equal 9. 9 x 1 = 9, 9 x 2 = 18, but 1 + 8 = 9, 9 x 3 = 27, but 2 + 7 = 9. This is because it is emanating in a straight line from the center of mass out of the nucleus of every atom, and from out of the singularity of a black hole. It is complete, revealing perfection, and has no parity because it always equals itself. This is because it is flowing in a straight line from the center of mass out of the nucleus of every atom, and from out of the singularity of every black hole. It is complete, revealing perfection and has no parity because it always equals itself.

Nature always expresses herself with numbers. The symmetry of our decimal system is a principle of nature. The 9 axis causes the doubling circuit and it is the point towards which matter converges and away from which it diverges or expands. Thus the polar number pairs will be mirror images of each other, both flowing in opposite directions from the central axis. There is perfect symmetry wrapped around a single point coiling outwards the way that petals are wrapped in a rose, or a nautilus shell spirals outward.

The number nine lines up with the center of the infinity symbol and it is from this center that the linear emanations we call Spirit flow from the center of mass outwards. Spirit is the only thing in the universe that moves in a straight line. Spirit is what makes everything else warp and curve around it. The perfect number patterns are actually created by this Spirit energy. Without Spirit the universe would become destitute and void. Spirit flow is the source of all movement as well as the source of the non-decaying spin of the electron.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Talking Across the Stars

On November 16, 1974, a radio message (the image on the left) consisting of 1679 pulses of binary code (0's and 1's), taking a little under three minutes to transmit, was transmitted on a frequency of 2380MHz from the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico by SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) to the globular star cluster M13, some 25,000 light years away and consisting of some 300,000 stars in the constellation of Hercules, in an attempt to solicit a response from any intelligent alien lifeforms that might receive the message. The message was a mathematical explanation written in a basic code describing who we are as a species and where we live within our own solar system.

Why 1679 digits? The reason for this is pure mathematics. 1679 is the unique product of two prime numbers - 23 and 73. Any sufficiently intelligent lifeform would look for unique, universal constructs - such as prime numbers, chemical element frequencies and binary digits. Because ONLY the two prime numbers 23 and 73, when multiplied together, produce 1679 there can only be a single way to arrange the signal, by converting it into a matrix grid - 23 squares by 73 squares.

On August 21, 2001 two crop formations were reported near Chilbolton radio telescope in Hampshire, UK (the image on the right). The Chilbolton reply in the form of a crop formation was a startling reply. The coded message imprinted in the crop formation showed nine distinct discrepancies between what was discovered in the crop field at Chilbolton and the original message transmitted to the stars in 1974.

The numbers 1 to 10 appear exactly the same in the formation. However the atomic numbers indicating the prevalent elements making up life on Earth, has an additional value inserted into the binary sequence. This is precisely added in the correct location in the original binary code (therefore it can't be a mistake). Decoding from the crop formation, this additional element has an atomic number of 14 - Silicon. Moving down, the next change is an obvious one - consisting of an extra strand on the right side of the DNA double-helix. Another, less obvious, change is in the binary coding of the number of nucleotides in DNA itself (in the center). There are quite significant changes to the shape of the alien-like humanoid form and to the diagram of the Arecibo dish. On either side of the ET form, there are changes to both the population figure and also the height value. The latter is now 1000 in binary, or 8. If we multiply this by the original wavelength unit we get 100.8cm which is roughly 3' 4" - corresponding to the height of ET by many witness accounts. Below this there are additional changes to the Solar System chart. The third planet from the sun is not the only one highlighted; the fourth and fifth planets are as well. The fifth even appears to be emphasized even more, with three additional pixels. Lastly, the representation of the Arecibo transmitter in the original message is even more cryptic, and the binary code for the size of the transmitter is altered.

So what does it all mean? There are some fairly obvious implications from the crop formation. First, and quite obvious from the aerial view is the shape of the ET figure. It clearly has a stick-like body with two arms and two legs, but has a much larger head and two distinct eyes, reminiscent of the greys of popular UFO culture. Indeed, the modified height code of just over three feet would also confirm this. If you decode the population binary sequence in the actual crop formation you get a value of approx 21.3 billion - a lot bigger than the original transmission and Earth's current population. Perhaps this is the population of ET's planet, or even the combined human and ET population of Earth - if you believe, like some researchers, that Earth is already populated by an unseen ET contingency! If you assume that the alterations to the Solar System section in the crop formation refer to several planets, then this could also indicate the combined population of inhabited planets somewhere. There is also some indication of a change in the basic DNA structure of ET. The additional (third) strand shown on the right and also a change in the number of nucleotides indicates a different DNA than ours. It seems quite similar, so perhaps it's a genetic alteration or even a mutation of ours. The difference in the Solar System information could indicate one of two scenarios: either it refers to our own Solar System, but in addition to highlighting Earth it also highlights the fourth and fifth planets - Mars and Jupiter. Alternatively, it might not correspond to our own Solar System at all, but to the ET's own solar system - which would also appear to consist of nine planets. The sun is also depicted in the crop formation as slightly smaller. Could this be their smaller sun, or could it represent some point in our own future - perhaps when the sun has become smaller and we've populated the other planets? This latter idea, although highly speculative, could even indicate the DNA modification through increased genetic experiments.

If you look at the whole exchange on a philosophical level, it stimulates an intriguing debate about communication with other possible lifeforms. And it begs the question as to whether crop circles are a legitimate form of interstellar communication. And since the Chilbolten crop circle has an additional column added for Silicon, could this be an additional clue about the physiology of ET's? Perhaps ET is a silicon based lifeform instead of carbon based. Regardless of our take on the exchange, the formations at Chilbolten represent an immense effort to portray what we see in the field and from the air. To create the Chilbolten crop formation within a few hours of darkness over one night would have been extremely impressive, irrespective of its origin - whether human or extra-terrestrial.

Aerial Photo of Chilbolten Crop Formation

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cosmic Conundrum

This is the Chiseldon Crop Circle 
discovered in the U.K. on August 2, 1996

This is the Roswell Rock
found by Robert L. Ridge on September 4, 2004
25 miles from the famed UFO crash site

Assuming neither originated by the hand of man,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

To End All Violence

Much of the violence witnessed around the world today is the result of a revolution against secularism. Among Arabic peoples of Islamic orientation the revolution is two-fold - the first has been against the secular nationalism of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak in Egypt, Assad in Syria, and Saddam Hussein in Iraq – all regimes widely viewed even by their own people as corrupt and oppressive; the second is against the secular culture of the West, judged as decadent, materialist, and soul-destroying.

In a world of declining superpowers, sclerotic international institutions, a swath of failing states and the chaos of civil and tribal wars, religious fundamentalists and extremists are seizing power and influencing elections. We have little choice but to re-examine the factors that have led to violent conflict in the first place. If we do not, we will face a continuation of the terror that has marked the 21st century thus far. The real clash of the 21st century will not be between civilizations or religions, but within them. It will be between those who accept and those who reject the separation of religion and power.

We seem to have entered an historic period of desecularization in which peoples of faith around the world seem to be aiming to retake the cultural high ground from the trend experienced around the planet in the last four hundred years of attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis. The uprising by extreme Islamic groups like ISIS in objection to secular influence is only the spearhead of a broader cultural shift that we may expect to proliferate until more faith-based leadership usurps to power over the more materialistic leadership we see today throughout the world. The momentum that is building is not something that will be defeated. Until the factors that have led to the rise of ISIS are tackled effectively, the murderous chaos now largely confined to Syria and Iraq will become an issue that impinges ever more on all of our lives.

The problem will not just go away, and relying on conventional politics to sort it out may be of little use at all. People in the West do not fully understand the power of the forces that oppose their way of life. Passions at play run deeper and stronger than any might imagine, and reason alone will not win this battle; nor will invoking the causes of freedom and democracy. We will all need to join together to fight against extremism of every stripe to meet the challenge we now face of how to defend and protect the hard-won freedoms and liberties we have gained in the West.

The initial problem is that there is a culture gap with these Muslim extremists. They live within a time system where the minimum unit of currency is a decade, where they are comfortable looking at the world in terms of centuries. So far, their long-term problem is meeting the short attention span of people in the West. There is nothing accidental about the spread of radical politicized religion in our time. It came about because of a series of decisions a half-century ago that led to the creation of an entire educational network of schools dedicated to the proposition that loving God means hating the enemies of God (infidels). Radical Islam was a movement fueled by oil-producing countries to fund networks of schools and universities dedicated to Wahhabi or Salafist interpretations of Islam, marginalizing the more open, gracious, intellectual and mystical tendencies in Islam that were in the past the source of its greatness. The end result has been a flood of chaos, violence and destruction that is drowning the innocent and guilty alike. As long as these teachings of hate continue in Middle Eastern mosques as well as those embedded within Western culture the current violent cycle will continue.

When we attempt to understand the motivation for jihad and why young disaffected people of every background from around the world are enlisting in support of the Islamic cause, the conventional socioeconomic explanations do not work. The militaristic extremists we face are not poor, ignorant Islamic fundamentalists; they are well educated and largely come from means. It is the secular society of the West and the resulting moral vacuum that leaves idealistic youth without anything substantive to believe in, leaving them susceptible to radical influence. Young people are and have always been idealistic, but as a culture the West is very short of ideals right now, and so youth become drawn to causes that may be very dangerous.

Young people are growing up in a world in which they are not proud of their country, as previous generations have been. They have no strong identity with their country or community, and so they seek identity wherever it may be offered – on You Tube and social media. In the cause offered by religious extremists they hear talk of high ideals and the sacred to justify what would otherwise be seen as murderous acts. They are being offered an identity as part of the global nation of Islam which is presented within these social media outlets as being attacked and humiliated. In times past, radical groups such as ISIS would have been marginalized and largely unknown, but now their ideas can instantly reach a global audience thanks to the revolution in information technology. Their ability to spread a hybrid of religious fervor and political power has created an anti-modern maelstrom with a very destabilizing effect.

What is needed is a return to religious/spiritual values if we are to create any sort of competing identity that can counter the attraction to extremist propaganda by disillusioned young people. Regardless of whatever ideology and beliefs a religion represents, it gives people a real sense of their common good as members of society rather than being abandoned to founder in the self-centered ideas promoted by the secular world. We have not been addressing the theological dimension of these problems we face in the world, confronting the underlying religious issues involved. It has been said that while weapons win wars, it is ideas that win the peace. We are not going to resolve this conflict of values with bullets and drones.

The solution to the problem – reinforcing the religious principles of respect, tolerance and love of neighbor found in all faiths, better education, plus a coming together of all the faiths to fight extremism. Christians, Jews, and Muslims must stand together now, in defense of humanity, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and to honor the Divine. A new generation of religious leaders and educators who embrace the world in its diversity must be trained, with emphasis upon the generosity found within all sacred texts. There must be an international campaign against the teaching and preaching of hate. As John Locke said: “It is unreasonable that any should have a free liberty of their religion who do not acknowledge it as a principle of theirs that nobody ought to persecute or molest another because he dissents from him in religion.” If children continue to be taught that non-believers must be converted or killed, all the military interventions in the world will not stop the violence. While religion may be one of the main sources of of violence we witness in the world, it may also be the path to our mutual peace.

There is incredibly powerful idealism among Muslim youth today; they are hungry to bring about reconciliation in a secular world through restored religious values. That idealism must be channeled for constructive benefit, away from hateful teachings. In the end, no matter how much struggle we go through to reach for peace, no matter how much we try to maintain a secular world without a foundation in religion, it will only be through religious/spiritual ideals that the world returns to lasting stability.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Raising a Hand for Freedom

To defend our country we need a prepared military force, but to defend our way of life we need education. Freedom is lost when it is taken for granted. Unless we hand on our memories and ideals to the next generation – the story of how we won our freedom and the battles that had to be fought along the way are lost forever.

Most traditional cultures down through time saw and continue to see education as the responsibility of the parent or teacher to instruct, guide or command children on their path to independent adulthood. The task of the child has been merely to absorb and obey. There is a great danger in this approach, however, as those delegated as teachers to pass along the values and traditions of culture may deliberately chose to omit or abandon certain memories, and may subvert certain ideals to accommodate a particular competing agenda. In a matter of a generation of time the freedom gained through struggle may be lost through subversive instruction and guidance. The remarkable history and traditions of the United States are at grave peril right now because we have abdicated our fundamental responsibilities to pass along the exceptional ideals of our nation.

As a former professional educator, one of the things that I have always admired was the Jewish approach to the issue of education of youth - that it is the duty of a parent to encourage his or her children to always ask questions, and that the child who does not yet know how to ask should be taught to ask. Jewish folks are always questioning and arguing about religion and life with each other, and it is a wonderful thing for keeping the fires of their faith burning brightly. Judaism is not a religion of blind obedience, certainly, nor should any classroom be. In fact, there is no Hebrew word that means “to obey”. This is not the approach practiced in American schools (outside of my own classrooms) in the 75 or so secondary schools I have been exposed to public education over my lifetime. Judaism believes children should ask questions, and that instruction should begin in response to the questions asked by a child.

Socrates, who spent his life teaching people to ask questions, was condemned by the citizens of Athens for corrupting the young. Teachers today are, by and large, not prepared to address the deep and difficult questions children might raise if encouraged to do so. Colleges that prepare teachers to instruct and to guide young people completely avoid the issue, focusing exclusively upon content and classroom management at the expense of real student growth. I never learned in college how to orient instruction around student inquiry, but stumbled upon this natural approach quite by accident.

During instruction about plate tectonics to six sections of high school earth and space science, as my students had reached a point of perfect understanding and successful parroting of the fine points of my instruction, I discovered that recent theorizing about the topic I was teaching had diametrically changed and that the matters of instruction I was presenting from the text book were completely wrong. Faced with this conundrum and desiring to save face, I resolved the matter in a creative manner by telling my students that I had lied. I was amused at the reaction. My students refused to believe me. "Teachers never lie."

Insisting that I lied to them (disregarding the fact that science had evolved inconveniently in the middle of my instruction) I turned the episode into a teachable moment. After re-teaching the latest theory to replace what I had just taught out of the text book, regaining buy-in from all of my classes, I encouraged my students to always question everything that I presented to them. At first they went all in with their questions, often wandering into the ridiculous in their attempts to exercise their new-found freedom. It was not long before the questions settled down to being mostly on topic. Building upon my success, I encouraged my students to question everything in life - other teachers, their parents, their preists, news on the radio and TV and in newspapers (there was no Internet at that time). Question, question, question! As one might expect, I caught a lot of flack from all points as my revolution grew in force. While there was thereafter always a buzz of excitement in my own classroom because real learning was occurring, real personal growth, I gained a first-hand appreciation for what Socrates must have felt as I continued to further corrupt youth by encouraging them to question everything.

Alas, I abandoned teaching as a career, or rather, it abandoned me. Freedom is still borne forward by those who question the face-value of everything, refusing to accept and obey just because someone commanded them to do so. Long live the Socratic Method!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cosmic Origami

When Einstein came along with his General Theory of Relativity, all of a sudden flat-earthers had a new justification for their loony argument. Einstein demonstrated that gravity comes about through the distortion that matter and energy produce in a four-dimensional spacetime “sheet.” If one looks at the universe as a two dimensional flat sheet of paper, then what we perceive as billions of clumps of matter that we call galaxies are no more than three-dimensional forms created out of a single flat universal sheet of paper into all manner of interesting shapes through a sort of grandiose cosmological origami. It is gravity itself that causes this infinite flat sheet consisting of dark matter pervading all of space to distort and fold into the three-dimensional bodies that we perceive to fill the universe.

From our observations of microwaves we know that just after the Big Bang there was a dark matter sheet laid out evenly throughout the universe whose density varied very little from point to point. However, there were tiny density fluctuations in the first instant of time that set up ripples in the field of dark matter. In these dense regions where the sheet contracted a bit, it bunched up, eventually forming structures like galaxies. In less-dense regions the sheet stretched out to form voids between the galaxies. The observable universe arose out of clumping along the folds created by the rippling.

If we take a three dimensional sheet of dark matter and expand it into a six dimensional position-velocity phase space, then each particle of matter may be plotted against it's 3D spatial coordinates and also the three coordinates of its velocity. Dark matter has a unique physical “collisionless” property in which its particles can all pass right through each other without any effect. In this 6D space phase, dark matter’s collisionlessness ensures that its sheet can never cross itself, or tear, just like a 2D paper-origami sheet is not allowed to cross itself or tear when it folds up. The creases and folds in dark matter are important because they mark the edges of structures like galaxies.

But the analogy to origami only goes so far. The cosmological origami sheet is stretchy, unlike in paper origami. And the cosmological sheet is three-dimensional, folding up in six dimensions, unlike 2D paper-origami sheets that fold up in 3D. The origami analogy helps explain why galaxies tend to form with filaments spreading out from them. Without stretching the paper, it is impossible to form a bunched up knot in the paper origami without producing filamentary folds at the same time. The origami viewpoint also helps us to understand the growth of complexity - how the complexity of a structure increases with the amount of “origami paper” that gets folded up to construct it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

for the Love of a Good Dog

On my trail run at Uwharrie yesterday I twice encountered a gentle Shepard named Rambo who wanted to run with me in the worst way.  I had to stop in my run several times for Rambo's owner to retrieve his pooch against its basic instincts.  I could see in his eyes that Rambo and I were kindred spirits at heart, sharing the same wild passion for unfettered, rampant, explosive, free physical expression. I continued lopping on down the trail with a smile on my face, feeling very validated, knowing that the path I was following was one of magnanimous heart.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cherishing Commonalities

God has given us many faiths
but only one world in which to co-exist.
May your work help all of us
to cherish our commonalities
and feel enlarged by our differences.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Start Slow and Taper Off

This picture of drinking Coors with Walt Stack and my buddy Jeff Alexander in 1976 after the Pikes Peak Marathon will always be one of my favorite hero pictures.  I have been to a lot of races over the last fifty years, but my friendship with Walter stands above all the rest.  He was a man's man and a ladies' man, an original in a world of lookalikes.  His prowess into advanced age is still the standard that I aim for.  If credit is due for my own longevity in the sport of running, much of the weight of that lies with Walter's influence.

Before becoming the world's most famous senior-citizen distance runner, Walt Stack (who died in 1995 at age 87) first got into shape the old fashioned way: He worked as a hod carrier, ferrying supplies to bricklayers, stonemasons, and the like on his broad shoulders. But in 1965, at 57, he decided that eight daily hours of hard labor just wasn't enough. So he ran the first of what would eventually become 62,000 lifetime miles, crafting a highly visible training routine that made him a San Francisco institution - though many a Bay Area commuter was heard to mutter that he instead should've been committed to one. "I'm going to do this till I get planted," he'd say, and indeed he nearly did. Every day for 27 years, until sidelined by failing health in 1993, Stack would set out on his bike and ride the six hilly miles from his Potrero Hill home to Fisherman's Wharf. There he'd strip off his shirt - to display the tattoos of peacocks, wild horses, and bathing beauties inked across his broad, rawhide chest - and run over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back, 17 miles. Next, Walter would jump into the Bay near Alcatraz Island (sometimes accompanied by sharks) for a one-mile swim in choppy water he called "colder than a landlord's heart." Perhaps even more impressive than his daily routine, however - and a timeless reality check for those who may feel compelled to boast of their fitness exploits - was the perspective with which he viewed it. "All this work I'm doing," Stack once said in the midst of a bridge crossing, "it don't mean shit." 

In conversations I had with his wife Marcy, she confirmed all the rumored legendary tales.  I even keep a newspaper clipping of Walt swimming in San Francisco Bay with Alcatraz in the background and the fin of a cruising shark not too far away.  Marcy told me that every day he never failed to rise at 0300 to run his 17 miles across the Golden Gate Bridge, bicycle 40 miles, and swim two miles in the ocean - all before going to work as a hod carrier.

In the late 1970's or early 80's, Sports Illustrated sent a writer to do a story on Walt. The writer followed him around for a week, talking to friends and getting to know his habits and routine. when the article came out, Walt hated it. But there was a great line that I remember from that article which had to do with one of Walt's physical traits, his steady gait. It seems almost regardless of the distance, Walt ran 8.5 minute miles. So the SI writer wrote: "Walt Stack's pace is so steady, if he fell out of an airplane he probably would fall at the speed of 8.5 minutes per mile."

I still remember watching Walter in a Nike commercial on television back in the day.  The ad showed Walt in the locker room preparing to go out for a run.  Another athlete was pulling his leg and asked him if the cold weather ever made his teeth chatter, to which he responded in typical Walt Stack fashion:  "Never.  I always take them out and leave them in the locker before I run." (with a big grin and his false teeth in, the commercial ended with the classic Nike "Just Do It")

Walt and Marcy had a cameo appearance in the best running movie ever made - The Edge - with Bruce Dern.  It is all about an old guy training for the Dipsea race on the Marin peninsula above the Bay Bridge.  It is a great movie that I enjoy seeing my old friend any time I need a chuckle.  The Walt Stack Double Dipsea 13.7-mile race now commemorates his colorful history every June.  It is an event I aim to participate in before they plant my bones.  There are many stories in my head that will last a lifetime.  Following is one example, just to get an essence of who this crazy man was.

At the Dolphin Swim Club (DSE) races, Walt (who was responsible for starting the DSE) was a frequent master of ceremonies and presenter of ribbons to the top finishers and you never knew quite what to expect. At one of the Sunday races there was a runner named Gail Gustufson who had been training for an important marathon and was doing quite well. She mentioned that she intended to finish in a time that everyone who knew her thought was unrealistic.

Well, Walt heard about the prediction and after handing out ribbons one morning, he said, "I hear Gail's going to break a record in the marathon next week. Come now Gail, if you run that fast, I'll kiss your ass at the Ferry Building at high noon and give you an hour to draw a crowd!" Laughter broke out and the gauntlet had been thrown. Now to everyone's surprise Gail ran the race in the time she had predicted. So the next week when Walt went up to present ribbons, people were calling out that Gail would be at the Ferry Building at noon, and Walt was expected to be there.  As noon rolled around a huge crowd of runners gathered along with some curious tourists and other spectators. Of course we were wondering what would happen and how would Walt handle it?

What only a few people knew, was that Gail and a friend had rented a jackass costume and were off in a hiding place. As Walt walked up, the "animal" appeared, turned, and directed its hindquarters toward Walt. In the typical Walt Stack style, he walked over and planted a big kiss on its behind. Then Gail and the friend stepped out of the costume to roaring laughter and shouts. God only knows what would have happened if she had actually dropped her shorts! Anyway, there was one heck of a party afterwards.

Blue of eye with cheek of tan,
Blessings on the DSE's First Man. 

With inspiration for all who dared
(The grubby jokes were never spared.)

Len and Buck and Ruth and Stu
And Sister Marion, they all knew

Walt, with several minor flaws
Unique-a rebel with a cause.

Those who didn't run or soar
With Walt beside the Bay missed more

Than just a legend in our time;
But also lost the chance to climb

With winged feet the heights of charm
With Walt, whose character so warm

Is with us still throughout the land,
On mountain trail, along the sand.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Just Passing Through

You must assume responsibility for being here,
in this marvelous world, 
in this marvelous desert,
in this marvelous time,
you must learn to make every act count,
since you are going to be here for only a short while,
in fact,
too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
Carlos Castaneda

Monday, February 13, 2017

Living Free in the Infinite Moment

"The universe is a wonder. It is awesome. At the subatomic level it looks chaotic and random, which in many ways it is. So easily maneuvered into structure and pattern, this wonder soup which under-veils our world is highly impacted by thoughts, words and deeds. Neat! Quantum physicists are proving what seers have known for millennia. At the other end of the spectrum, the super large, the universe is an extremely cold and sterile place with pockets of hot points so infernal that elements are being created every moment. The sum total of all the physical, light, hot aspects of the universe is about 3%… the rest is dark matter and energy or the glue that holds the whole shebang together.

We live in the middle. What I call the gross universe. The heavy, the over-layered multilayered onion of physical, mental, emotional and of course spiritual framework we call life. There are patterns within patterns over-layering patterns of patterns that are patterns of patterns… and the job of most of those patterns is to continue their existence by constantly maintaining their edges in the midst of the chaos on one side and the hot exchanges and tidal forces of the four fundamental energies from the big bang.

The universe is devilish, it has a wonderful randomness which causes new structures forms and patterns to emerge at all times. It is constantly organizing possibilities, and as a result many things go the way of the dodo bird. Reach and end and done. Reality is not just perception, it is also what is not perceived. It is what is. There are forces which we cannot see, and randomness we cannot even come to understand. But what are we so afraid of? Time, my friends, time. We want more and we gamble the fools gamble on the practices as though they will give us more time.

The Solution: Living infinity in this moment… There is no future, there is no past. There is no effect directly tied to the cause of all of our work except fluidity and freedom. And freedom is beyond our sense of control. For us to face forward and be free, it will be the randomness, the things we cannot change and the way we handle that freedom from all of our patterns and all our designs on the freedom we have practiced that will help let us leap into infinity. So much is random, so much just happens for no reason at all. There is no one to blame, no one to frame, especially not ourselves. There is only our silent knowledge that it is beyond our control and beyond our awareness from these gross bundles of form that we have invested so much in to ultimately let go, release and fly.

A does not equal A or B or C in the ultimate logic of and magic of the universe. She is far too interesting to be trapped in our manipulations of the patterns. We can only practice to gather the energy; not to have a battery to combat death or the patterns or extend this point… we practice to move beyond all points of this and that and to walk into awe with awareness intact. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, it’s scary… it is what it is." - Donald J. Voss, Jr., from Random Acts of Awareness and the Senseless Random Reality

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pay Attention to the Poet

Maybe the poet is gay
But he'll be heard anyway

Maybe the poet is drugged
But he won't stay under the rug

Maybe the voice of the spirit
In which case you'd better hear it

Maybe he's a woman
Who can touch you where you're human

Male female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see

Don't let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it

Put him up against the wall
Shoot him up with pentothal

Shoot him up with lead
You won't call back what's been said

Put him in the ground
But one day you'll look around

There'll be a face you don't know
Voicing thoughts you've heard before

Male female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see

Don't let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it

Songwriter:  Bruce Cockburn

Friday, February 10, 2017

Being Happy

The pursuit of happiness is something that Americans think of as a right, but what do we know of happiness as a spiritual practice? What does it have to do with our bodies? What is the resonance between happiness and virtue? And happiness and beauty? Some people seem to radiate happiness all the time - the Dalai Lama comes to mind. They embody a profound happiness, and always seem to have a delightful sense of humor, even though they may have lived a life of pain and great suffering. How does happiness thrive in such a life of suffering?

My years have taught me that the purpose of our existence as human beings is to be happy. While we were created to be happy, often suffering is the unforeseen route by which we must find our happiness. It may not be a life anyone would dream of, but such a life still holds a blessing within every challenge. The goal in life is always to fully restore right relation with the Divine, but sometimes the journey there requires us to follow a pathway of suffering; happiness comes from discovering the blessing within the struggle.

Happiness does not come by asking for it from the Divine or from the government or from anyone else. It can only come from within, in the way we decide how to meet the circumstances of our life. Happiness does not always come just because we are pursuing it; sometimes the deepest happiness comes when we are least expecting it. Sometimes we don't need to pursue happiness at all; we just need to pause and let it catch up with us - one of the reasons that the practice of meditation has been so magnetic for people in the West.

In the West most of us chase after happiness for much of our time, day after day; those who make Christian religious practice a part of their lives take time each week to allow happiness to catch up to them. It's called the Sabbath. Muslims pause five times each day to kneel and pray.  The simple act of daily prayer can put a punctuation on the busy lives we lead. Ramadan, Lent, Yom Kippur are all religious times of pause to allow us to change the tempo of our lives. At the heart of each celebration devotees discover a vital calmness of the mind that seems essential to restoring and maintaining happiness. Daily prayer allows us to stop and take pause in the world at regular intervals to find balance throughout life.

Three things happen during prayer: The first is giving thanks. The second is confession, admitting to our mistakes to enable us to grow. And third is what we feel by reflecting in the presence of something far greater than any of us, coming to understand that the universe is not indifferent to our existence, deaf to our prayers, or blind to our hopes. There are many different ways to pray. Some pray with images and some use prayer as a sort of emptying out. The Celts found all of life to be a prayer - blessing every moment, whether it was blessing the milking of the cow or blessing the washing of dishes. I find a blessing on each of my runs as I put my body to work and give my mind time to pause. Prayer enables each of us to participate in an act of awareness and attending; taking time to be aware of the presence of the Divine in every breath, the beauty in every moment, the virtue in every challenge and encounter. It is that awareness and attending that is so significant to finding happiness.

Happiness must be more than cerebral. We were born with bodies that naturally desire pleasure; our bodies are tools that help us find wonderful satisfying happiness throughout life. There are three approaches to satisfying our carnal needs - heathenism, the worship of pleasure; asceticism, the denial of pleasure by training the body so that the mind becomes the central pathway to happiness; and finally, the sanctification of pleasure by respecting the body and its needs as a blessing, evidence of the Divine's love for continued creation in the world. Happiness in this sense is about bodily needs being satisfied - having enough to eat, adequate shelter, meaningful work and personal relationships.

Gifts of the Divine are ever to be found and enjoyed in our daily lives. In the Talmud there is a statement that in the future we will have to give an account of every legitimate pleasure that each of us deprived ourselves of in this life, because we were gifted this world to enjoy, and should seek to find happiness within it in every moment. All traditions practice some form of hospitality - it's not just our own pleasure and personal happiness that is at stake, but giving physical pleasure by way of a blessing to those who have less, or who have need, to ease their suffering, offering us perhaps the greatest spiritual reward we can experience. In this way of sharing, the greatest spiritual happiness may be found.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Time for a New Story

The year 2016 was a time that witnessed the collapse of failing narratives about culture, history, and eschatology (growth towards goodness, the march of progress, etc.) and the emergence of previously marginalized traditional ones. Our stories are cracking; things we have pretended to believe about the world have turned out not to be true. Things that have been banned from the public conversation – feelings, ideas and worldviews that had been pushed aside or deemed taboo - have charged back with force across the globe to demand attention, angry at their rejection heretofore. Some believed we had moved beyond such marginal considerations, but it does not work like that. Those on the left who champion the dissolution of the nation state, global human equality, a cosmopolitan world civilization, fair and free trade, and secular democracy, saw their momentum grind to an abrupt halt with the Brexit vote, election of Donald Trump, and growing populist/nationalist sentiments in retaliation of imposed globalist initiatives. Amidst the flailing and finger pointing, those subscribing to socialist New World Order agendas have been left with many regrets and little recourse as they witness a 180-degree shift in history.

The standard worldview among the opinion-formers of Western democracies since 1989 is now crashing, grinding to a screeching halt. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that the arc of the moral universe ever bends towards justice. But whose justice? The arc is in the process of swinging from the perceived justice of progressives to the perceived justice of conservatives. History has not all of a sudden reversed itself into regression, nor is it temporarily going sideways as many on the left believe. History marches on regardless of politics and does not follow any sort of imagined inevitable path towards goals that progressives consider to be just and worthy. Progressives see their narrow goals as so obviously desirable to all that they find it inconceivable that anything should rise up to stand in the way of ever stopping worldly progress towards them. They believe that the triumph of what they consider right and just is inevitably tied to destiny itself. But the shift in history that is occurring right now is not an aberration; the left's hopes and dreams for progress is not inevitable.

There is a stark, raving madness in the air across the world. When people disagree about Brexit, they are not really arguing about Brexit. When they object to Donald Trump, they are not really objecting to Donald Trump. When they want to put a halt to Islamic migration, it has nothing to do with religious prejudice. Brexit, Trump, and Islamic migrants have become symbols, archetypes of the kind of future we want and don’t want, the kind of people we think we are and the kind of people we think others are. It is as if we are fighting over myths, stories, representations of the world as it is and as we want it to be. The answer to these problems is not to hold onto the dying stories, but to look to marginal ideas and figures from the edges of history for new stories. The world’s great religions, philosophies, art forms, and even political systems and ideologies were, for the most part, initiated by marginal figures. There is a reason for that - sometimes you have to go to the edges to get some perspective on the turmoil at the heart of things. Doing so is not an abnegation of public responsibility, but a form of it. In the old stories, people from the edge brought back or introduced ideas and understandings that the mainstream could not generate by itself.

In a time of great change, when shifts occur, when cracks appear, it is easy to take sides, and that is why it’s a good time not to. The flow of history will settle in due course as new ideas replace the old, and as new stories replace old stories. Before joining the battle we must be sure we are on the right side of history and choose a worthy role within the new story, and not disappear with a failing narrative that is now resigned to a quickly forgotten past. Rather than despair, attend to Gandhi's advice: "be the change you wish to see in the world"; help write the new story

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's Full of Stars

Of all movie scenes, perhaps the one that stands out to me as the most awe-inspiring of all the rest was during the epic film "2001: A Space Odyssey" when astronaut David Bowman confronted the monolith in orbit around Jupiter's moon. What has stuck with me as one of those unresolved memories of a lifetime was what he could only utter in amazement when he looked into the eternal blackness of the monolith: "My God, it's full of stars." Every time I look into the night sky from some remote desert canyon or through a break in the canopy of great leafy trees on a clear night I return to this quintessential awesome experience that goes back before I had any memory. As I stare, as David Bowman must have, into the infinity of stars, I cannot but feel small in my awareness of how amazing it all is, standing alone, together in the middle of this vast wonderful universe whose size we can never truly encapsulate in our meager awareness. I am left with only awe, wonder, and humility.

Then I look within my own body and am struck with the same awe. Taking an imaginary journey at the micro-cosmic level within, there are equally amazing vistas to be found within our bodies. We are colony beings with processes that hum along without the slightest bit of our attention all the time. Our bodies are harmonious colonies of bacteria, viruses, cells, and organs adapted over millions of years to process and convert energy to maintain a complex structure of nerves that for some amazing reason is self-aware; moving mysteriously through an awareness of time and space, knowing that it knows. The explorations of science have led us to understand that the extent within matches the multitude of universes without. The bodies we inhabit are literally every bit as expansive as the universe of stars above.

The further I go along on this earthly walk, the more deliberate I become to take in knowledge and information that goes beyond the petty details that I used to care about before. In part, I am guessing that my biology acknowledges that it no longer seeks replication through selfish duplication of my being. Perhaps I am growing more aware that I have little time left, especially for the vanities of fear, clarity, renoun, and power. The battle with time ultimately leads all of us to confront infinity on a more personal basis.

I seek more silence in the world now, and spend more and more hours watching nature, science, and mystical shows on television and the Internet. With the perspective I have earned over time, the politics and conflicts that seem to be given so much attention seem now to be such a waste of my time and energy. The light bathing our planet today is the same as that from the beginning and will still be the same long after all political feuds have been forgotten. I stand in the sunshine breathing deeply with full awareness and a smile, bathing myself in its eternal life force, grateful for the fresh air and good food I enjoy.

The wisdom I have picked up along the way tells me that we humans need to wake up to the co-creative struggle in our partnership with the earth. As creators of the world around us, we are directing the evolution of everything on this planet. It doesn't really matter who will win the next election. The only meaningful question is what am I doing to bring harmony to the world right now. What inheritance am I leaving those who will follow on this planet?

We must all look deeply to see that "it's full of stars". The overwhelming awareness that we all share in is full of wonderful stars. Everything was made in the stars. Everything was created within the vast compressions and explosions of the mighty forces of the stars. We must return to an understanding and responsibility of who we are and abandon this naive belief that we can do nothing to effect change, that we are powerless. We have within our reach the ability to use the gifts of the stars to power our world completely and to truly heal ourselves and our planet. Awaken. We are all starseeds and wunderkinds. Gaze into the darkness within and without and unlock the awesome gift of the stars.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Don't Like the Headlines? Change Them.

Too often we lose sight of the fact that we live in the best of times - right now. We forget that each of us chose to be here right now, that each of us is on assignment to seed and anchor an emerging reality that will spring from the limitations and chaos that now seem to surround us. We forget that no matter how bad we think things are, we should not resort to fear, under any circumstance, because fear only serves to fuel the things and outcomes that we fear.

Energy ALWAYS follows thoughts. Powerful energy is generated with each thought, especially when infused with passionate emotion. If enough people devote their energy to the same fears, their collective consciousness sets up an energetic pattern that imprints itself on the quantum field of all possibilities, ultimately manifesting as their reality. We are powerful creators of every outcome we witness. We are called to assist in the shift of humanity's consciousness by lifting the veil from the collective mindset of fear.

The mass of humanity lives day to day in a trance, in the erroneous belief that they have no control over outcomes. People forget they are much more than the three-dimensional reflection looking back at them from the mirror. People believe they are separated from the larger picture. They experience the sensations of the physical body they inhabit and allow themselves to be programmed by limiting ideas and beliefs. They have forgotten they are limitless multidimensional beings of unlimited potential.

Most folks are proceeding in just the opposite way in which they could. They focus on the things they do not want. They worry about not having enough. They forget that their thoughts and anxiety projected onto the quantum field of all possibilities attracts what they focus on - "not enough".

We are each invited to remember who we are and remember that we came here to learn how to overcome the challenges three-dimensional reality would throw at us. Each of us is a catalyst, an alchemist, an agent of change of immense power, beyond measure. We are here to show the way of how to empower our own focused intentions.

See the world as One; realize the Divine presence in yourself and all the world around you. You are a unique portal through which divine light and love enter three-dimensional reality. When you read the headlines or listen to the news and become distraught or distracted, triggered or enraged, shift your focus to the way you would like the world to become instead. The world too often reflects the empowered focus of exactly what the collective opposes. If more people shifted their focus to more positive outcomes, the headlines would quickly follow.

Do not call on beings of higher dimensions to intercede and shift the world you wish to change. You are master of your own domain. You have come here and been put in charge of making your own reality according to your own focused intent. You choose to focus upon the chaos and confusion. Behind it is a grand transformation and ascension process at play. You have already effected mighty change to reach the point we find ourselves today. Continue to expand your personal consciousness. Be aware of who you really are, and anchor that awareness with appreciation and abundant gratitude. This simple act shifts your perspective and you begin to see the landscape of reality from a higher viewpoint as you seed the world you most desire to experience.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I'll Find My Way Home

You ask me where to begin
Am I so lost in my sin
You ask me where did I fall
I'll say I can't tell you when
But if my spirit is lost
How will I find what is near
Don't question I'm not alone
Somehow I'll find my way home

My sun shall rise in the east
So shall my heart be at peace
And if you're asking me when
I'll say it starts at the end
You know your will to be free
Is matched with love secretly
And talk will alter your prayer
Somehow you'll find you are there

Your friend is close by your side
And speaks in far ancient tongue
A seasons wish will come true
All seasons begin with you
A world we all come from
One world we melt into one
Just hold my hand and we're there
Somehow we're going somewhere

You ask me where to begin
Am I so lost in my sin
You ask me where did I fall
I'll say I can't tell you when
But if my spirit is strong
I know it can't be long
No questions I'm not alone
Somehow I'll find my way home


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Future Security in a Smarter World

Advances in technology are redefining our understanding of work. The rapidly evolving applications of the microchip have already reduced or replaced the need for human labor in many work environments, leaving former workers scrambling for retraining or standing frustrated and idol on the sidelines. The accelerating advance of robots and machine intelligence can be expected to continue to replace both blue and white collar workers, making the need for any human contribution obsolete. So what are people going to do to make a living?

There is a utopian concept that has been around for awhile and is once again gaining traction, that being the idea of a "universal basic income". This would amount to a flat sum of income paid to everyone, regardless of wealth or social status or employment or even ability to work. In his 1516 book "Utopia", English philosopher Thomas More imagined an ideal republic where private property is abolished and all receive a basic stipend. It is an age old libertarian dream which would expand the welfare state with hopefully a greater degree of control and purpose. As far out as it may sound, such a proposal is already on the ballot in France for this April's election. The proposal would largely be funded by a tax upon industrial robots. Current welfare programs in advanced countries are so ridden with inefficiencies that, with a radical overhaul, considerable funds for any proposed stipend could be freed up. National or local governments in Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, Scotland and Brazil are already evaluating how such a revenue might work in practice, with Finland furthest along with a 2000 citizen trial already initiated there on January 1 this year.

Proponents believe it would give everyone a safety net and encourage new modes of thinking. Work might no longer define our lives and instead we might find productive existences in volunteering for the greater good, or in the creative arts. A basic income could replace unemployment benefits that can discourage people from retraining in new fields or taking on lower paying work that society genuinely has need for, such as care for the elderly and work in many other service industries. If mass unemployment and growth of technology are trends we can expect to continue, giving everyone a basic income gives the jobless a step up with a basic level of security, upon which they can then build at their option.

Detractors slam the idea as a costly way of rewarding the lazy and the feckless. Worried that large numbers of people will choose not to make a productive contribution beyond receipt of their basic income, there is understandable concern about where the money will come from.

One thing is certain: As new technologies continue to replace workers, a looming question in our future may be how best to provide economic security for all. A universal basic income may be an unexpected part of the answer.

Friday, February 3, 2017

On Which Side Do You Stand?

I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, a time of considerable civil unrest with young long hairs rising up in protest over the United States' involvement in the conflict in Viet Nam, women's rights, and civil rights for African-Americans. As a stereotype hippie, I vividly recall sitting in the streets of downtown Morgantown, West Virginia, blocking traffic to get attention and raise awareness, risking arrest, among hundreds of other sign-toting young people who shared a belief and conviction that they were making a difference by actively protesting government policy in Viet Nam and the inequitable treatment of blacks in our country. While I soon thereafter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to serve my country in time of war and also to better understand that which I was protesting, I would later find myself peacefully protesting, once again, along with the Berrigan brothers south of Boulder, Colorado, with strong conviction to raise awareness about the need to clean up the Rocky Flats Nuclear Arsenal, a dire safety concern for everyone living along Colorado's Front Range. While the Berrigans spent more time in jail than not, I never experienced anything worse than being hosed back and threatened by police and federal authorities.

There is still a revolutionary streak running through me, with some dissenting view always ready to be expressed, but it is always approached with reason and intelligence as to how any dissent is to be communicated, always guarding against involving emotion with any contrary opinion. If something makes me angry, the anger within must first be resolved before any action is taken or I raise my voice.

There was most always a profound respect displayed during the hippie movement for the passive resistance approach of Mahatma Gandhi, and of course for the peaceful marches of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Violence was a non-starter among any protest I joined at that time. It was the "Peace, Love, Dope" generation, but there was most always a certain respectful morality behind any defiance of authority and efforts to raise public awareness. There were some few that acted through violence and performed bombings resulting in the death of innocent bystanders, but they consisted of small factions of sadistic ideologues with less noble objectives. Unfortunately, while the civil disobedience of the hippie movement came and went, after making a definitively positive social contribution to ending the war and improving the rights of women and blacks, a certain element of revolutionaries that exercised violence without moral boundary has continued to this day behind increasing support for the terrorist ideology of the likes of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

We live in a time, once again, of huge civil unrest. But unlike the time when hippies protested in the streets, today's protests are angry, violent, largely unreasonable, and seem to hold to no standards of behavior. The rabid demonstrations we are witnessing appear unprecedented in their anger, unlike anything in American history, and a true disconnect from reality. The aftermath of the recent inauguration of the new administration saw protesters assaulting Trump supporters, setting fire to structures and a limousine (which happened to be owned by a Muslim businessman), shouting profanities, and stoning authorities. These were riots, not peaceful protests, with verbal threats made openly to assassinate the President and burn the White House.

Protests we see today show much greater organization and a level of funding support never seen before. There is a high level force of insurrection at work that wants to destroy the United States as we have known it through violent acts of anarchy. One of the nastier recent protests was the Occupy movement. (and by the way, the Soros money behind Occupy is the same money behind the anti-Trump movement today) The Occupy protests were marked by widespread rapes, assaults, robberies and holdups. Protesters publicly defecated and urinated on police cars, leaving behind a swath of destroyed private and public property and a pigsty of waste in their wake, left for public workers to clean up.

A large part of the problem is that liberal Democrat protests are not held to any civilized standard of behavior by Democrat leadership and the liberal fourth estate. Neither the press, nor Democrat officials, nor our former Democrat President admonish such menacing behavior as assault, rape, verbal threats, and defecating on police cars. Democrats and liberals accuse Republicans of conducting a war on women. Assault, rape and murder are the worst things that can be done to a woman. Yet a significant majority of the assaults, rapes and murders of women are done by people who identify as liberals, and if they voted or had a party affiliation, it would be Democrat. In fact, if we examine criminality in America – whether murderers, muggers or prisoners – it would be dominated by people who would be described as liberals, Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton supporters. And virtually all of the violence against police – whether it’s throwing stones, ambushing or murdering – is committed by liberals or people who’d identify as Democrats.

In contrast, have you ever seen Republicans/conservatives rioting, turning over police cars, looting, setting places of business on fire and shouting obscenities while marching. Have you ever seen conservatives marching with chants calling for the murder of police officers? Tea Partiers didn’t set fires, stone police or engage in the other kinds of despicable behavior like the liberal Democrats are doing. Tea Partiers were not arrested for assault, rape, robbery, and rioting. And when their protests were over, they left the areas where they protested cleaner than when they arrived.

The sides are drawn. On which side do you stand? Which group best represents your character and the interests of your family and community? While each one of us would like to see improvement in some regard in our lives, I somehow continue to have faith that the vast majority of Americans would prefer to conserve what is good about our country while engaging in civilized discourse over our objections, and protest when necessary, rather than destroy it all through violence and anarchy. Gandhi and Dr. King would both agree that the only way to help things improve is through a non-violent approach to dissent. Violence and anger are never the right course of action. May the hippie in me never fade away.

The Spartan Warrior in Me

I must have been a Spartan warrior in a former life. It is a lifestyle and mindset that suits me, and maybe always has. Being a Spartan in...