Let Me Introduce Myself.

The human mind is our most complex evolved tool. It’s the tool behind the first twig we dipped into an anthill, and it’s still doing much the same thing today. It consequently led us forth to add honey to our twig of ants, with mixed results.

We realized then it would be better to learn about such consequences from others rather than have to learn directly that, while bees did seem to be social creatures, they could also be very unsociable when it came to being poked at with a stick.

This information sourced the social behavior of groups we still see today. When groups find themselves confronted with an unknown and possibly dangerous circumstance the most clueless member of the group is hustled to the front, handed a stick, and persuaded to go out there and poke it to see what happens.

You would think that the fatality rates in these herd experiments likely improved the gene pool. Current evidence indicates it did not. An argument can be made for admitting that when those humans who were most open to whatever comes next were removed from our midst, the result was a herd which did not know what was going to happen next and had no way of finding out. This of course has led us all into the current donnybrook of clubs we employ against one another in our frustrations.

But I digress. I will return to the point here: Way back then we realized it would be better to learn about what was afoot here from others. So we invented language.

Language is the most complicated and challenging set of representative, symbolic variables in the human experience. The possible combinations of word concepts which can be formulated in the human mind to create a solution, a conclusion – even a complexly formulaic world view – exceed the threshold of chaos.

The ultimate goal in such a realm for human beings is to find order and orderly relationships within that realm which transcend the presence of chaos and locate a constant, a stable ground on which to stand. Most of us rightfully stop when we have figured out what not to poke with a stick.

The far endpoint of those sequences of calculation is a seemingly impossible and infuriating goal: to find a place of truth, a point of perspective centered in the absolute reality of the universe. Only a good mind in a magnificent fool would even consider the attempt.

Hello. My name is Bob.

“Fool” is part of my resume’ and it is included there in the present tense.

It will be amended to “Former Fool” after I am dead, and not before.

This is as it should be for more than just the purpose of accuracy. It is necessary in order to maintain the concept of temporal stability in the universe; to reaffirm that there is indeed a then, and a now.

Time is a very insecure thing in the universe at large, and requires reassurance from human minds in order to maintain the small frame of stability it enjoys there. As do we all. It should be noted, however, that the desire for stability often obscures one truth of the human predicament. Things are never completely under our control.

Anyway…

I remain devoted to poking at the beehive of language with a stick. Nobody had to persuade me to do this. I was just curious about what knowledge I could tease out of it.

Some of the results have been magnificent, and so I persist.

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Today Is Lenore’s Birthday

Happy Birthday, Honey.

I love you.

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A Covid-19 Letter, Just in Case

Hello All,

If I get infected by covid-19 my age (71) and health condition (I’ll never tell) pretty much guarantee it will kill me. Facts are facts and this is one.

Considering the current lack of ventilators, let alone ECMO machines (basically a machine which delivers oxygen through the blood rather than the lungs), at present the odds that I would receive or even qualify for treatment with either apparatus are going down daily as projections of equipment shortfalls rise.

Triage protocols will rightfully put me to the sideline (quite possibly on a gurney in a hallway near a morgue, drowning in lung fluid – not my idea of the best way to go) because even with treatment the resultant lung scarring from the virus, along with the present condition of my compromised lungs, indicate that my post-treatment survival chances – let alone my quality of life, which is even more important to me than my survival, just as it was with Lenore – are extremely low.

If I manage to avoid being infected until a treatment or vaccine is developed, that is the best-case scenario. I doubt that will happen. I think the probability of that is low. Yet probability even on that order also holds hope. I will hope for the best even as I acknowledge without illusion the nature of those odds.

I am taking all the measures I can to avoid the virus. In spite of the many times I have wished to die, particularly in the days since Lenore’s death, I have learned that the biological imperative to survive is deeply embedded in human beings, and not easily over-ridden by the determinations of the prefrontal cortex. When I do die, I expect it will be accompanied by a measure of relief in light of the fact that I really have lived a full and complete life and am ready to go on and find that girl and discover what comes after death.

I feel like I ought to say goodbye now to anyone who needs it. Yet at the same time it seems unnecessary. I have no last words. I will speak about something until I can’t, as some of you know all too well. Yet it has all already been said. My experience and nature, for better and for worse, is on the record here at the Cascadian Wanderer, and in the book I wrote, and in my computer archives. It is in the hearts and memories of the people who know me, the people who love me, and the people I love.

Writing has been a part of my life for nearly as long as I have been alive. I would take this moment to say that I never felt compelled to polish most of what I wrote. I realize that what I said and how I said it was often not polished information which slid into the mind easily to be stored there.

I offered ideas which could be chewed over in the mind of a thinking reader and lead them to a deeper understanding of their own perspective. My mind was dynamic and far-ranging. In addition to being lazy, I think the other explanation for the lack of polish in my writing was I was just too busy to do so. There’s a lot to discover in life. I have been fulfilled by what I discovered, and learned, and actualized in my life.

The life Lenore and I shared was the culmination of all of that, and a grace-given experience which refined it all the more. It occurs to me now that our love was the one worthy thing in this life I encountered which deserved being polished to perfection. We did that together, and together we succeeded.

The only thing to do now is carry on my present days, wait, and meet it if and when it comes. That day, whether soon or later in the future, is one we all arrive at. My life has been full and held much of what is good here. I have no unfinished business. I think I did rather a complete job of it, all things considered. My love to all,

Bob

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Information, Transformation and Narrative in the Age of Pandemia

The human world as we know it is precariously balanced these days. There is an abundance of evidence in place documenting why this is so. We are technologically dependent, we are consuming planetary resources at a rate of atrophy, and we are acting as a fever-inducing virus on our planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic in play now and its ongoing effects are just a more vigorous and personal reminder of what is happening to humanity along with the many canaries dropping in other holes we have dug for ourselves. We have been informed of their demise, and the information has been steady and overwhelming in volume.

Information isn’t transformative, it’s informative. It becomes transcendent when it leads a person to know who they really are. Lenore and I used to say that a lot to each other: “Don’t Forget Who You Really Are.” (The caps are part of it. Every word deserves the emphasis. A pleased, happy little laugh of simple joy naturally follows as you remember to do so yet again.)

The acquisition of information is not a productive end in and of itself. If information does not inspire reflection, and thought, and verification by experience in the mind of the informed, and is not actualized into action – then it is merely a pile of sometimes lovely and often articulate expressions of a greater truth behind it. It takes a mind and an effort to locate the source, the substance, the truth, and the relative value behind the form – at a ratio of about 3 units of processing and thinking per one unit of information I’d say, somewhat facetiously, if I had to quantify it.

In the beginning was the word, and the word became the story. Humanity’s odd vector toward its end can be explained by the story it is telling itself over and over these days. It is a terminal linear narrative which comes to a conclusion, an end. The problem is it is being told in a reality which requires a circular narrative if it is to be understood and met with the onboard tools and qualities humans possess. A new beginning is the best way to end a story which enables the potentials of humanity to meet, adapt and survive adversity.

The circular narrative’s appeal and power in human culture is demonstrated by the long-lasting presence of religion stories, which offer a life continuing after death; a continuous, ongoing connection to life itself. Heaven, Reincarnation, even Nirvana – each contains the assertion of a new life, a new beginning, rather than a terminal and unavoidable end. It meets and moderates and even solves the gravest human fear of all, the fear of the grave itself. When we alleviate this primal fear we have adapted to it, moved beyond it, and we can go on to confront other conditions which challenge us.

This is what human beings do, over and over; we meet, we adapt, we survive, we move on. This process in itself is better described by a circular narrative and not a linear one. If we section out a piece of our timeline we can always cut the narrative so that it has a beginning and an end. Yet the reality is that when we arbitrarily cut the ongoing narrative of our history to create a linear narrative with an ending, it has no relationship whatsoever to the true nature of humanity’s basic story. We go on. Every end has within it a new beginning. We go on and we meet other conditions which confront us.

This is not to say that we are not capable of ignoring threats which will extinguish us. All our extinction stories include new beginnings in which humanity has yet again survived, and so our sensitivity to a true extinction level event has been attenuated, our sensibility numbed by circular narratives which may no longer apply to our survival as a species in the universe. And so, oddly enough, it is our belief in the immutability of the circular narrative promising survival which may destroy us. 

What then is the new story which we must consensually embrace? Will a Buddha, Christ, or Mohammed appear to deliver the next story we need to survive the threat of our own extinction? Will it be another circular narrative with the viral appeal other such stories have held in the past? Will it come before the great flood gathering in the skies above us?

I don’t think so. It will appear after the fact of the imminent catastrophe rushing toward humanity now. That is how we learn, that is when the new narrative appears: after the fact has commenced. There is a circular narrative which is endemically visible in our culture now. Good reigns for an era, and is conquered by Evil. Evil reigns for an era, and is conquered by Good. This is the end of the era of Good. Evil now approaches the gates, same as it ever was.

This is our eternal narrative, and we can merely locate our position in it, not change it. We don’t have a consensual, powerful, embedded story in our collective consciousness to improve on that yet.

Or do we?

If there is a solution to our present condition and a cure to its future repetition, it is a simple one. We will need to be emphatically and even forcibly reminded, often, by ourselves and others and an endemic and pervasive cultural narrative, of Who We Really Are.

We are beings who have the capacity to destroy worlds. We are beings who are capable of being one another’s keepers. We are beings who can choose to be one and not the other.  And we are beings who are destroyed by the first, and fulfilled by the second.

It is not a new narrative. It is simply one we have marginalized, and in many cases forgotten.

A new beginning is coming, and with it a reckoning, when we will once again pay the price for ignorance of Who We Really Are.

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A Letter to Lenore

Hi Honey,

Well, it has been 3 years today since you found out what I still wonder about.

I still don’t know where you are now. If you are somewhere where you can hear me then I know you have heard me speaking to you every day for these last three years. If you are somewhere where you know my thoughts then I know you have known mine, every day.

If you are somewhere where you can feel then I know you have felt the abiding love for you I have in me and the poignant sadness I feel because you are not here with me. I know at night you have felt me move my hand across the cold sheet next to me seeking your warmth, have felt me squeeze your invisible hand before I say goodnight to you, have heard me say, every night, the last thing I say at the end of every day.

I love you.

I hear your voice often. I hear your laugh, I see your eyes. There are times when we share our knowing nod to one another in moments when we are together and connected in calm and beautiful natural places. The woods, the mountains, the river and ocean.

Yet you are not here, and I don’t know where you are. I don’t know where I will be when I go, gladly, to join you.

I do, however, have a picture of it which I know will please you, and make you laugh that happy laugh of yours I hear every day. It comes from what you told me before you died of what you felt would come next.

You are, and we will be, together, a happy little vapor flying around in the big ol’ physics of the universe.

I love you.

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Randomly Occurring Thoughts of an Old Man

Ever since Lenore died I’ve made many attempts to describe the nature of the relationship we shared. It has proved impossible. It is beyond words.

Yesterday I sat outside, quietly regarding nature. When I’m feeling contemplative and connected I look over at Lenore, sitting near me, and we share the knowing smile and imperceptible nod to love and life we often shared at such times.  

Twin souls, twin flames, twin rays – there is a lot of strange and questionable information draped in spiritual jewelry, poesy and woo-woo about the nature of what we were, how we searched for and then found one another, what we grew into, what we became and experienced as two people who became one person – one full and complete and fully realized human being in two separate minds, spirits and bodies. I still try to describe it, and still fail.

What can I say? It’s real.

When I think about the early evolutions of my own spiritual growth through personal experiences and exposure to various denominations I realize that I retained the essence of the principles advanced in the churches and spiritual meetings I attended, while the expressions of denominational specialness or primacy tended to slough off as time went on.

I recall that there was a place on my path when I realized that, if I did not acknowledge the unknowable, unexplainable mysteries of spiritual connection which I had experienced, I was imposing limits on my experience here and living a limited life.

So I lived that way. I acknowledged my spiritual nature, thought about it, experienced it, grew into it, and realized it.

Now it all seems a dream, a thing conjured up in the pliable physics of an alternate reality, created by an observing mind weighing input on a personal scale of plus and minus values.

My reality beyond thought is the tree, the earth, the air and fire and water; it is the artifacts of history stored in my heart and woven into memory; and it is our love for one another, real forever and yet simultaneously slowly fading, like smoke in time’s wind.

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A Thought Near Day’s End

Our science is a series of observations; a bundle of sticks tied together with a string. Our art is a collection of thoughts and feelings, tied together in the same way. It is all expressed in symbols like mathematics and pictures and words.

The mind, the heart – this is where our dreams come from. Sometimes they are good dreams.

Yet behind it all is the unfathomable substance, purer than any formula, clearer than any word, more poignant than any image. We live here. We die here.

Live here, and live and share the good dream with at least one other person.

This is the secret of a good and happy life.

This is the secret of a contented death.

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