On Technology

I went to school back when technology was something people knew a lot about or a little, depending on what they did for a living. For example, the scientist, mathematician, artist, doctor or chef knew next to nothing about technology first-hand. Instead, they deferred to the philosopher, psychologist or economist to explain to them what tech was and where it was relevant. This may explain why doctors still know less about using technology than, say, a graphic artist. For the latter, like the architect, knowing how to use the latest technology is critical to what they do. For the physician, what is critical is what they know — what’s in their brains and how good they are at utilizing what they’ve learned/remembered from ‘practice’.

So tech has changed a great deal in 30 years. Even those of us who use all kinds of electronic tools or toys each day, and that’s everybody here, know very little about the back story to technology as we now live with it. Here is where a little animation might fit in nicely, if you’ve not seen some of the RSA animate talks on YouTube, check out the links at the bottom. Not to digress much, technology has provided a means for people to calm themselves, to feel a part of the bigger thing that’s going on and to have that sense of being in the know. But when you just check yourself out in the morning or evening or afternoon quiet, do you really believe you know what’s going on and what you are a part of? The reason why many of us don’t (if we’re honest), is that tech was never meant to provide these things to you. The objects of technology are meant to be treated objectively as a proxy for real experience–a surrogate. In that sense, a music and video player provides me with a substitute for the experience of sitting in front of a person playing a tune with people running around doing things while the music is playing. It’s stimulating to sit by a creek and simply hear the movement of the water rumbling along its path. All of my senses are stimulated by it. Not just my eyes and ears. What about my sense of touch, or smell and taste.

You know, space has a lot to do with technology. If you don’t have any space to stretch out in, you can make believe you do by just playing with a pocket device, like a portable game or music player. These provide a false feeling of  ‘ok-ness;’ but then there’s the let down after using up all of the songs, the levels, the minutes, the something that is measured and usually priced. Unlimited minutes and data are great, though, aren’t they? That should do it. Why doesn’t it? Remember, I started by writing that technology is not well understood by those whom you would think use it the most. The artist, which I am not, understands the limits of technology quite well.  She knows that tools extend her reach onto the canvas or with the raw material which she is about to fashion into an image that expresses … something. The computer and a program enables her to render more from her imagination than mere sticks and oils ever could. But she knows there is a creative cost for her excursion into the realm of  surfeit tools and processed manipulations.  Technology says what you can do. But who or what says you should do it? Did you get the memo; were your parents or mine asked whether we wanted easy access to friends and neighbors with the click of a button or the flip of a switch? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it. It’s just that I did not order it or know it was on the menu.

Until now — or let’s say 20 years ago, we could see most things coming and decide if and when we wanted them to arrive at our doorstep. As it is today, we don’t know what is coming next; and if it arrives tomorrow in our inbox or as a tweet or a scroll on our wall, we will only be able to say OMG, right. Maybe because I’m old, I don’t see the value in having my sensibilities attacked constantly in this way. When you turn on the TV, you must have the remote handy or you are likely to be experience emotions that you aren’t prepared for. You must protect yourself, because we’ve lost control over the things that have been made. And our privacy is compromised, big time. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. People are not as comfortable with themselves as we used to be.  So many may feel like they don’t particularly want to be alone, have waking time to themselves. The phone rings, there’s a text, a twit, a message all of the time. Makes you feel kind of special, until you look at it objectively. Look, I think it matters that you feel good about yourself. Go ahead and utilize all the tools and gadgets tech has provided us with to maintain that comfort. Just don’t forget that the thing is not the thing. Friends on face book are not friends in my living room or at my kitchen table or next to me on the beach. The latter folks never ask to be my electronic friend. They visit, call, and  touch me in the old-fashioned ways.

Be like the artist. Use these fun things to get serious work done–for your school, your town and your planet. Check out websites like Open Culture, Kevin Kelly and TED to find out about real stuff. I mean, tech is great for looking out of your window (your eyes) and seeing what is happening everywhere. Then we have to decide how we are going to make a real difference in the real world, because the surrogates won’t.

http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/    http://www.openculture.org    http://ted.org

Morning

On a mission at dawn

to mark the world

with a singular purpose

for group persuasion

Over here, over here

listen to me

Uh, this is today’s message

we share blue sky

and clouds across many miles

you see what I see

although the chaotic but visible things

surround me closely, calling

and I must obey them

Faith shaken to its core

uncertainty gives us coupons free daily

Still today’s message is blue sky

the green of nature

the softness of soil

signifying gentle touches from tips to toes

a natural exchange of joy, beauty and love

where love’s order reigns

that truly signals a good morning

 

 

Hate is not a noun!

If I may ask, who did you think was here with you? I protest, but I’m not a protester, I preach, but not as a preacher, I sing, but…well you know. Likewise I dance, write, walk, talk, jump, shoot, stare and love; I do the verbs, but I am not the nouns. So what noun am I? To me the noun comes at the very very end of it all. And it’s not over yet. As one who believes, I will and need to keep on believing. As one who hopes, I should continue to do so – actively. As one who loves, I can assure you that I am striving to act on the impulse. But let someone else ascribe a noun or two to me at the end of my sentence. “Was” immediately follows “is;” and they attach to nouns, with perhaps an adjective alongside as a condiment. May I suggest that when we emphasize verbs more than nouns, we have a better chance of getting out of this trap we’re in (together) and can bring about change. Verbs and actions got us into this mess, and only they can get us out. Being saddled with nouns adds to his burden and mine. If he thinks he is stuck with that label, how can he change it. It may seem a deep well with very little light at the top. But if we tell them, “hey, you are digging a hole there partner, can I lend a hand to pull you out?” Just make sure you mean to lend a hand, not as a victim, because that noun will trap you and you will need help before becoming a helper. Be ready to love in the face of hating – not hate; how did that word ever become a noun? The ship is sailing; it’s moving. Waters swirl around it and push up against each of its sides. By the time it reaches the other shore, we have some decisions to make. Please do not see yourself as powerless against what faces you or someone you love. Instead, know that there is energy at work – not randomly, but purposely at work to heal and help you. All life is energy. By believing that there is purpose to it, we can always be verbs for good works and let the nouns be.

The Peace at Home Project

This is a project for men

A project for women

A project for boys

A project for girls

It includes interviews

It includes stories

It includes songs

It includes life

It requires conversation

It requires sharing

It requires feeling

It requires unity.

The peace at home project is meant to have people in their communities look at themselves with more patience and love than ever before.

The idea is to get a grip on what your experience in life is and how these are affected by everything that happens around you.

There are numerous events, occurrences and circumstances that have control over who we are and what our potential will be.

We should know about these things and begin to plan for ourselves, think for ourselves, prepare for what we want and set goals.

We are constantly told what to do, think or say.

My original mind has not expressed itself yet.

My original mind has a unique view of everything that is around me; but no one knows what I am thinking.

That may seem fine for a while; but after long lapses of listening to others only, I forget my own original thoughts.  So I am restless.

Peace at Home means that you and I look at our life carefully.

Count our Blessings.

Name each one.

Write them.

Take time to reflect on this day today.

Name the date out loud.

Today you are here upon the earth.

You are not here alone.

Many things of nature are here with you.

Many people are here with you.

Nature is made to care for you.

To love you.

Family too.

Find family to love you.

Love is family.

Create Love.

Make family.

Do work. Give service.

To make something yours means to serve it.

First quietly,

then with offering,

then with response,

then with suggestion,

then with responsibility,

then with ownership.

and only then will it serve you.

Use your eyes for peace. To look for beauty, to look for virtue

To look for pride, To look for help, To look far.

And wide.

Use your hearing for peace.

To learn

To gather real news

To let sounds flow deep into your heart

To get the message of today

meant for you, for your family.

Keep your hearing sacred

to protect the deepest part of you.

Touch for peace

Hold and hug for peace

For peace you can turn

Tap and dance, among family and friends

Carry things with care.

The right smell will light you up and make you look around

change your mood, bring a smile

smell right.

And taste the food of life

Water, Grapes, Greens, and other plants of the earth

Taste them in peace and love for family

Prepared with a smile or a song

Remember as you eat

Send a signal of peace

in what you do

or reflect it by being still

Quiet.

There are many signs

that we can see

and hear

and feel

and smell

even taste,

if we search

The secret to peace is not hidden

But we are very busy

Racing along

Too fast

Crash

In suffering and silence

it becomes clear

what matters

after all

Given another chance

we can learn

to make family

create love

and have peace

at home.

 

Notes to Teresa

Notes  8/9/2017

Without knowing how to express

or to emote, still I’m happy;

and not only did we see and share

one another’s joys, there was more

Too much to say at once, but I did take in

the  that  that is you, again only you

and I keep it here, for now and then

a reference, perhaps a journal of what

I hope will be the best.

as running to, like running from

is still a run;

at rest I like me

and see you aviye

someone to give care from within

because of your acceptance

a moment is lasting and all in a moment

at peace with aviye

embraced by sound

in tune with hearts beating

to be home as aviye

and share the scale

of greater gifts

in praise

out of hope

for aviye

Real Shade

Write like the wind
as it blows through the trees
may your spirit awaken
feel the flow of the breeze
Make what you want to
of life and its meaning
by giving your all
from the end to beginning
See what you want
and retrace every stage
with steps you’ll be taking
and folks you’ll engage
Speak what you’re saying
or do what you will
But both is much better
than just sitting still
Taste the great fortune
brought in from the tides
then praise the high God
for such grace that abides
Tell all your story
to ears who will hear
a witness to courage
and conquer of fear
Touch endless sky
from your standing position
and shoulder your smile
despite the condition
Write what you plan
and again when you’re done
The shade in the middle
are the battles you’ve won

Who decides

Who Decides?
Who said that people don’t see what they see
and things don’t happen unless they said so?
When was history and how long ago was that?
And even though this is the present, it keeps moving
and shifting to another time and place.

So where space and time meet is not a where at all;
It is a what. And what is the what, when is it and why?
The history I had was like a TV dinner with so many
ingredients, I was scared to eat it, but I was hungry, man.

They give us these stories told by Dr. This and General That.
But who are these guys. And how do they know so much bout
India, Africa, Asia and Miami Beach. Have they been to these places? I’ve only been to two of them myself. Can’t say I came back with a textbook worth of indisputable knowledge about the people or places; but I shore liked the water. It was blue and that’s a fact.

Now, this history I studied, and theology, and philosophy, got me so confused that I had to take a break from the books for long time and talk to real people today. One thing I have found out is that no one can say much more than they have heard. And I can do that as well as most folks.

But who can say more? The decisions about what did happen, who gets the credit or blame, and how we got to be this way. “What we,” you say?

That is another great question. Some folks wouldn’t mind side stepping themselves, if they could. And there is no way to side step your brother or sister or parent or neighbor, try as we might.

History has a way of creeping up on the educated and uneducated alike. It’s like that show, Lost. Makes no difference who I think I am and what I think I know.

Right now, there is an avalanche about to come down. I don’t mind trying to help you, if you don’t mind helping me to. Run!

Song of Words

From deep within the saying goes

my heart appeals to you

before words arrive, I feel the sounds

a cadence sweet and new.

It bubbles first and shapes a tune

with playful melodies

then on it goes to make a chorus

all so secretly.

What words I ask myself can she

accept by invitation

for it’s not an easy thing for me

to break in conversation.

Songs are harder to express

than words or poetry

but heart will give you

nothing less

than full sincerity

The notes are light and chords do change

with every beat I hear

the muses all are meant for you

and I have none to fear.

Something hidden long ago

now catches by surprise

the two of us in daydreams of

a smile and staring eyes

It needs a song, a step and sway

to help us work this wonder

the romance that we never knew

a spell has put us under.

“Oh Lord, I need her” is my prayer

and it is not a question

“So go tell her,” my Lord replies

with more than a suggestion.

I’m taking music over there

to see if she’s receptive

the song is always best with words

that show my hearts reflexive.

Without Delay

Without Delay

The thought, the thought

has come to me

to free these words

and let them be

While looking at

a site online

the thought occurred

to spend some time

just writing words

upon this page

and making fodder

for the stage

a poet’s rhyme?

no, to be sure

each word intends

to be so pure

now listen closely catch a phrase

that never happened on a page

oh take the brush and dip it slow

as if to write upon new snow

Is it a color

you favor most

or first did one

become your host

a canvas stares —

awaits your touch

to take new form

and become as much

A second moves

on times command

behold an oasis

on barren land

each stroke you make

on the canvas sheet

reveals a story

not yet complete

So paint a picture

without delay

to tell your tale

with words you say

What will you do?

Karl Malden was someone who had a big impression upon me as a youth. I was always fixated by tv and the distraction it provided from daily life. The distraction continues, but I am more interested in daily life now than before. You did not ask why, but I will share anyway. That is the new thing this century: sharing even when they beg you don’t.

One of the reasons why life now is more interesting than screens is because screens are everywhere; and anytime something becomes ubiquitous, the content suffers from a lack of meaning and purpose most of the time. What I find now is that things that are worth viewing on tv or the web is based on something that actually happened anyway, not something created for the screen. You know what I mean? People being shot or beaten by police is fascinating to watch, since it is happening. If it was just a fiction portrayed by actors, it would be so very boring as to be considered a nuisance. This is why when something is designated as fake news or a fabrication, it is an immediate turn off; no one cares what you have made up anymore!

The mainstream is so big, it seems like the sky now. You don’t notice it unless it doesn’t look blue or something up there makes a whole lot of noise. If its mainstream, it fades easily into the background–the images, the noise, even how it feels sometimes. How about taste. Are your taste buds bored? Sure they are. We have developed sophisticated gadgets and things, but we eat the same things all the time. Don’t want to take chances I guess, which we will do with a new video (song, game or movie). Our ears are the most bored thing on our bodies. For some it may be an unmentionable region; if so, that’s difficult to treat. But let’s stick to taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.

It’s not good to have a bored sense of hearing. What goes into the ear lodges itself in our psyche for (many many) months if not years. Of course the same seems to hold for what we see; yet sounds are quite compelling. Sound can be absorbed from any angle, while vision is limited by our periphery; and what we see on the side is less compelling than what we see in front of us. That’s why there are so many options on where we put speakers in our space. Sound has such a cool factor and can stimulate us without much help from the other senses. Words from a sweetheart or honey linger for long periods of time, and you don’t mind if that person says those sweet words to you over and over again. When it comes to what we see, the thrill wears off pretty soon; and the same happens with taste as well.

What about smell. That is still a new frontier! Marketeers have not come up with a way to get to us through smell yet. They put fragrances in magazines, but for the most part, not enough work has been done to digitize scents and lead you to the retail checkout with something as subtle as a whiff. But a sound or a song – done. A picture or video, well you get the point. We are still living in the sight and sound dimension–a theme park where everything is reaching out to us and for us, making us laugh, cry, dance and sing. We will eat because people have to eat anyway. Even if what we had doesn’t taste like anything anymore. It goes in, maybe tips it’s hat to a few taste buds with whom it became recently acquainted, and passes through and down the hatch. Rarely is the experience memorable anymore; and memories matter.

Which reminds me: what you hear is very important indeed. That is why music and all of those things that are called music these days are important. We claim to have content preferences and companies pretend to cater to them; but both they and we are in denial. Not much of what we hear matters anymore. It sounds like sounds. If we change the volume, or break up the cadence or vary the beat, then moments of stimulation are the result. Those moments are fleeting, and your level of satisfaction started to level off when you were still a teenager. I’m sorry, but this has happened to sounds, to sights to touch and tastes. So smells are the final frontier. But wait.

The final frontier is whatever your heart wants it to be. This I can guarantee: you and I must hear something new, taste something new, see something new, and feel something new. Touch is a funny thing, because we can feel externally and internally. Actually, the other senses are also external and internal, but sounds from within you are absurd; right? Visions in your mind, we are told, should not be trusted. Somebody on tv has to tell you when and whether it is alright to host visions and sounds of your own. If you are recognized as an artist, you might be allowed to share what your mind’s eye sees or what your inner self has heard. Seems pretty regulated to me though. If you want something new, get in line – over there; that line way over there is for those asking for something new. There will be a significant wait for it. If you don’t mind the same old, no waiting.

Waiting for the new phone, or burger, or song or virtual reality thing? Let me remind you that the real reality thing still has wicked potential. But you first have to know who and what you are – at least a little. You have a purpose as one person and as a member of a group. Life itself has a purpose, and no, it’s not to eat all the wings and store all those songs in the cloud or see everything that they did with the story line for the 5th straight year. Really? I swear it’s not that; but you already know that it isn’t.

Our dilemma; who said something about a dilemma? I did. Our dilemma is that we feel stuck and our energy is drained. Look at those folks who are getting on boats and in strange cargo vessels to get from the third world over to the first one, where we are. They have a lot of energy, drive, enthusiasm and desperation. No one can argue with that. But the lie I was told was that I didn’t need to have the same desperation and “last act” mindset because I’m already in the promised land. We are already in heaven, and already saved. You see where this is going, so brace yourself. This is not heaven here; nor are we saved yet. But it is important to the system process that we feel like we are saved and comfortable.

You can hear these words in your own mind now. Sounds different because it is different; it is cutting through the numbness of the noise that surrounds us. Karl Malden did these commercials when I was a kid that had in them the provocative line: “What will you do?” The pitch was for traveler’s checks which only upper class folks would even worry about. I walked around as a kid asking myself this question hundreds of times throughout my life. And I have answers. They key is to change the sound, the vision and the feeling. Starting with a strong desire, you can do anything; and help will come to you.

So, to paraphrase another actor today, let me ask you, “What’s in your heart, and what will you do?”

 

Nonlinear

The nonlinear is what makes life as interesting as it is, or should be. Our training has molded and shaped us in a way that makes it wholly possible for us to never recognize the spontaneous emergence of color, sound, beauty, resonance or opportunity. It is no wonder that we miss so much of the substance of virtue and celebrate its symbolism instead. Our personal aspiration is a passing dream in relation to the planned and deliberate actions of those on the nonlinear road.

Where is that road? Some have called it the road less traveled; others the path not yet trod. Through a field or forest, there is no discernible pattern. The obscure openings between weeds, stalks or trees extend their invitations, but we are not sure. Where will these steps lead me? Is it where I want to go. In fact, have I ever decided whither I should go.

Are there always suggestions in front of us? Advertisements of every kind reach out to bring us along the path that ostensibly leads to mutual satisfaction, with the finely printed disclaimers, if any. Moment by moment, we wile away hours, days, weeks and years. We no longer have months, actually. Seven days are seven times seven days–nearly two months, before we realize that  we are somewhere else now. Did you choose to be where you are right now; or did you just arrive here by other forces? How much of it did you control? What does your mind’s journal say? Computers have a ‘back in time’ feature that, if working, will put the device in the state it was in on some date in the past two or four months. So can you do the same thing? Why not.

The nonlinear is the what you decide it to be for you. But you will find out that cooperation with a wide range of human and natural forces are necessary to get you down that road. There must be an openness that gives others unfettered access to your mind and heart; and they will offer access to theirs. You will agree  on what to look for and how to determine if the chosen path is the right one for all parties–two being the best number. The best thing about this journey is that it will belong to you and you alone; like that of legends Lewis and Clark. You will know where, when, why, how and who. But what’s funny is that if the time comes to explain or share about this adventure, it will only be understood by others in linear terms.