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

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.

Secret Notebook

Something in our dna carries the recollection of what our families have learned over many generations. These secrets are still important today; but they are masked by flourishes of technology treated and  chemically engineered veils. Sure, there is a use for all of this stuff. We have access to greater amounts of and, occasionally good quality information at a moments notice. Breaking news is always at your fingertips; but how helpful is it to have it instantly, every minute of the day? It does not have to be from the handful of trusted news sources that manage what we see and hear daily. Tweets are flowing in from friends and relatives who focus on self-distraction and personal entertainment constantly. Food is faster, of course. Where is it coming from and how is it made? I really don’t want to know how that poor potato was treated before it was cooked, salted and pressed into that little red box for me. As for the meat. Oh well, as we used to say when I was younger–you better pray over it.

However, the purpose of our finite lives evades many of us today perhaps more than it did our parents or their parents. I can’t say I know for sure, but what appears to be happening is that we do not interact as much with nature as they did. First you have to address the premise of existence before your date of birth and that after the date of death. Bummer, who wants to think about that, right. Like someone on your team asks, what if we do lose this game? Kick him off the team…now. Life and death are different though. I was born and will die. No, not right now (sorry). Still some writing left to do. If you slow down long enough to think about it, at least the question of what happens after death should be considered, or even if you believe that death is the end. Where did that notion ever come from? There is and has always been an abundance of evidence that we will never cease to exist. It is usually expressed indirectly or in symbolic ways, allowing some of us to pretend we don’t notice. Take my word for it, this life is only the beginning. At the same time, it is a critical step in laying the groundwork for our spirit selves that go on to live forever.

What if I don’t believe I have a spirit self. Um, well, it kind of does not matter. No pun intended. There is enough time to sort things like this out. Just stay tuned; keep an open mind. Perhaps we’ll get there together. The main thing to know for now is that the secret notebook and secret recorder is within you–likely functioning at thousands of frames per second. Your thoughts and actions affect every system in your body, including your reproductive, which will influence future generations. So how you treat yourself is very important. Your relationships are important; and then the fruit of those relationships is important. And yes, corny as it sounds, it’s all about love, both kinds–vertical and horizontal.

Vertical love involves where you came from (parents and their parents, all the way back to the first parent–Who is That?) Horizontal love has to do with how you treat those beside you. And since we are all miniature universes in constant motion, we have a profound impact on each other everyday. This complex dynamic has an influence on the bloodstream and other physical attributes. Moreover, our interactions impact our spiritual attributes. Why does this matter? Simple, because we are creating a body of work that will be measured at life’s completion. We are unaware that there will be a playback of our lives–my life and love will be compared to the standard of the origin of life and love. Sounds ominous. It is. But truth, guidance and education are offered out of sincere empathy for our plight and love from our original true parent. The bottom line is that there is a standard of love; and once we know better, it helps to do better. Let’s talk about this more soon.

HSH

It has taken so long to come up with the biggest, baddest, topic to write about. All along, I was looking around–like 360 degrees around–to ascertain what would interest me enough to write constantly. Home. I have not been home in some time. Did you know that you have to know where you are before you can enjoy where you are.

For the past two weeks, I have been here at the apartment, wanting to get out, enjoy the sky, the air, seeing people, interacting a little, and then returning. Everything I do is predicated on the assumption that, at the end, I can go home. But I am just starting to appreciate that. Maybe until now, I was getting back to the apartment and closing the door behind me. Ahh, the feeling is great; but I did not realize how great. Taking somewhere like this for granted is a missed opportunity every time it happens. How would you describe home to you. There are things, and people of course. Not here, there’s just me. I would love to share my living space, or rather, have more space and share that, with someone. But it first needs to be home to me. I should have a connection with this space, if only because it’s mine–not as a possession, but as a blessing. I could just as easily be blessed somewhere else. So it does not have to have this address. I need only to be able to address it as mine.

Oh, what a sacred sphere that surrounds its dweller with tranquility and repose at the beginning and ending of each day! Some say that a pet is precious, or perhaps a mate, or partner, or child. I agree. Any or all of these are to be enjoyed in our shared rooms with no need of locked doors, just windows and blinds or curtains. We keep in our loved ones and keep out the strange; let it wait until tomorrow. And  when I return to my precious place and precious ones, I’ll recount the strange places and people encountered out there, from in here.

Favorite Poem One

If there is a stone to throw and a pond to skip, we should both go.

My mind wants to dwell on a thing to hold and watch, while talking to you.

When we reach the edge of the fog on bikes made for hiking, let’s stop.

To pick up stones and throw them across the pond, through the invisible mist.

I’ll remember it as a moment we shared together, even for just a minute.

Because it started as a thought, then an idea being put to words, briefly.

You heard me and allowed the video to play in your mind, then agreed.

To get on these bikes, ride down this hill, pick up some rocks and throw them.

What Now

Although there is much to gained by attending to the demands of the day, the question of what is most important (now) is a persistent one. Should the attraction of current events, be they of a political, economic or entertaining nature, dominate my mind and heart; or shall the will of God prevail over all. There was a time when I was pressed into service and executed my duties with little stress, anxiety or concern for personal gain. By contrast, the relatively minor activities of each of these days pale by comparison in their challenge or import. Yet they tug at my patience and are even unnerving at times. Why? Because I have capitulated to the lesser material concerns of life without foreknowledge or prudence.

First therefore, is the task of identifying those areas of weakness and division, which have served to compromise faith and diligence toward the Divine Will. Compare the acts of the restorative pioneer with those that muddle through days and nights searching for a sign, as we have always. Of course, the greatest of “signs” appeared to us, lived and prayed among us, taught us the standard of life in heaven (in both body and spirit); then he departed.

So our life–my life–takes the form of a meter. We are measured against the standard set before our eyes. It touched our hearts and sparked both inspiration and imagination, unlike what other generations knew. Look from within, if the tools obtain. Let the phenomena of my senses, even my sensibilities come to my remembrance. At what point on the spectrum of his divine life is my existence. Is there any room? And does it matter?

I submit it does. Simply because the thought is there. The ‘Ergo Cogito Sum’ is undeniable in the sentient and the spiritual being. But numb have I become in the pressing matters of the day. In the choices and selections–where to get lunch or coffee. All the futility of the mundane was cast on the spiritual, while the spiritualists watched. Then the thoughtless cast its short-sighted view of things on the thoughtful, the temperate. How grand is the irony that old foes, faith and reason, were both cast aside, while we embrace everything else. I said I had limits, but I don’t get to set the standard where no platform for standards exists. This is how you know when the end has really come. When not only does nothing matter; but there is really no way to ascertain value in time and space. I don’t think the devil himself thought this possible. This can only come from the extraordinary reach of a people lost.

How many are praying for our demise? The grief and sorrow we cause seems to have no end. We mean well; we apologize sincerely, then find new ways to corrupt and plunder. Most egregious, though, is the motivation. Combine the horror of horrors, the gory of gore and coldness of a recent killer. You will still have no comparison to the motives of one who rides the back of innocents to break them apart and remake them into living slaves. This is why hell comes. Spirits are enslaved by their passions, with no respite, save the Savior, who breaks the yoke of sin that has them bound. On earth, we are plagued with the life of the zombie, who is similarly yoked and controlled by an unspecified force. As long as selfishness is worshiped, the abyss we create will have no bottom.

Make no mistake, reason is gone. Faith is gone–each to its own hiding place. Who will search for them, wading through the sewage of insincerity and the milestone of membership? To what does the pilgrim belong? Where is his allegiance? He is cast adrift on the sea of despair, all ties severed, daily uncertainty, and total reliance on reason; or is it faith? No solace, save his Savior. He sharpens his skills and advances technology remarkably, because necessity has dictated he do so. What about faith? Faith is simply the venturing toward that which is yet unknown, yet unseen, not yet experienced, but fervently desired. Faith is the hand of reason’s discovery. His curiosity is not  quashed by his reason or faith. There is far more volume in the pilgrim’s life than any who have settled for the the world below.

So, what now? I have got to return to the pilgrim’s path, should grace allow. That high road beckons because the Savior walked it, talked it and even paved it for me.