Where’s Jimi?

BuddhaEverything we know about Siddhartha Gautama was all written down more than four hundred years after his death. Have you ever wondered what gets lost–and created–in a game of “Chinese Whispers?” He was never a Buddhist and, given what has happened over the 2500 years since he was alive, he would not likely be interested in becoming a Buddhist today—nor would he likely be very impressed with the way things have played out in his name.

Jesus was a Jewish carpenter with at best “unusual” parentage. Nothing was written down about him until a century and a half after his death. In hind sight, he probably came to know more about carpentry, nails and betrayers than he might have liked. Given the history of Christianity over the past 2000 years, he would not likely be interested in becoming a Christian today—or be at all impressed with the way things have played out in his name.

Muhammad was an orphan and a trading merchant (Deja Vu EST?) with Jewish roots all the way back to Abraham. I am pretty sure Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim the same roots—quite an amazing tree one could argue. Given the history of Islam over the past 1500 years, since Muhammad died from fever, I doubt he would become a Muslim today. He likewise would not be very impressed with how things have played out in his name.

Confucius was a writer and a politician—a politician? Really? They do not make politicians like they used to apparently. He likely died not knowing or imagining Confucianism—and certainly never getting to vote on it.

Now really–what is all the confusion about?

The next prophet will have it much more difficult. I mean, at this time, how can anyone go a hundred years or more without having anything written down about them? Perhaps they will simply have to come from another planet.

And where the heck is Jimi, anyway?

— Lao-Tzu,
Very old—and obviously-coffee-inspired-poet (and Alan Watts’s side-kick)

Charles Buell

The dinosaurs may get the last laugh—I can hear the roar.

If you listen very carefully you may be able to hear the roar too.

10% of me

It is not hard to notice, and one would almost have to be living under a log to not notice, the world is in trouble. Actually, not the world itself, just people.

The world spun relentlessly for billions of years prior to the advent of humans. By all accounts it is likely to spin on just as relentlessly without us. The oldest of the dinosaurs died out some 75 million years ago as they paved the way for more modern dinosaurs that themselves were extinguished some 65 million years ago. They chased each other around for over 165 million years. Mind boggling really.

Humanity is barely the blink of a dinosaur’s eye by comparison.

Given our current and past behavior we are not likely to leave nearly the legacy, in terms of time, that the dinosaurs left.

The two major religions on the planet appear to be on the edge of a precipice where it seems inevitable they will drag each other kicking and screaming into the abyss.

I find this interesting because neither side can objectively claim a high ground, and the extremists on both sides, have caused problems for all of humanity for a very long time. The atrocities of the inquisition are reminiscent of the atrocities of ISIS. In fact one could argue that the inquisition was worse because it was supported by the hierarchy of the church itself.

Even within our own country we only have to look at Christian treatment of Hawaiians, American Indians and Blacks to see that our own experience is somewhat tarnished.  In many ways this treatment has become institutionalized.

ISIS does not represent Islam any more than the Ku Klux Clan represents Christianity.

There is a tendency for the believers in either faith to interpret things from the perspective of their own faith and therein lies the problem.

People all around the world are really no different. The vast majority of people practice their religion perfectly willing to allow others to practice theirs. It is the few wackos on both sides that have the power to taint all others and by default end up being associated with them.

While it is easy for Christians to see that they are not like the Ku Klux Clan, it is likewise easy for Muslims to see that they are not like ISIS.

The problem arises when Muslims are taught to see that all Christians are indeed just like the Ku Klux Clan and all Christians are taught that all Muslims are like ISIS at their core. This becomes a sort of collective psychosis, with all the associated delusions, propaganda, hallucinations, and paranoia.

The degree to which this is true is what will ultimately result in both sides losing control—as over the cliff they go.

If ever there was a time for understanding, tolerance, acceptance and turning the other cheek, it is now–both sides teach this, and of course there are ruthless radical factions on both sides that teach the opposite.

At the rate we are going, there will not likely even be a fossil record of us in 165 million years.

When you consider that human beings seem to be destined to destroy themselves, over what amounts to nothing but rhetoric and self-created delusions, the dinosaurs have to be getting the last laugh.

At least it took an asteroid to take them out–they did not do it to themselves.

Charles Buell

Hibernation

I find hibernation a fascinating adaptation of some animals.

twinpondsjan11-028Turtles in particular are interesting. They can spend a huge percentage of their lives buried in mud as the world goes on above them. They go to sleep when their environment is too cold and then wake up again when it is warm enough.

While one might think humans do nothing similar, the reality is that humans also hibernate in their own way.

If we look at hibernation as simply a time of “unconsciousness,” one could argue humans spend an even larger percentage of their lives in hibernation–and with less obvious reason. While our hibernation is not typically controlled by the temperatures of our environment, it is controlled by our temperaments.

We typically do not even recognize the various methods we use to induce unconsciousness. But all the things that define us as humans can also be used to drug our senses and give us a brief respite from our preoccupation with “awareness.”

Obviously there are the kinds of unconsciousness induced by an assortment of chemicals. We even delude ourselves into thinking these drugs (from heroin to alcohol) “take us somewhere,” such that when we come back, we are in some way “different”–even enlightened. Usually it is only our wallets that are “lightened.”

For the most part, “wherever I go—there I am,” holds as true as ever.

Besides the drugs, the things we use to transport ourselves to places outside of ourselves can be as varied as the number of us there are–or have ever been. The interesting dichotomy is that it is “versions” of these very things that make us feel “alive” as well.

It is none of these experiences in themselves that is problematic but whether we remain the experiencer or become the experiencee. Who owns whom?

Many times we are not even in a position to know. I can make a strong case that it is part of the human experience to never really know for sure; and, that even hindsight cannot adequately teach us.

Some of the poisons we consume, whether chemical or psychological, cripple us so badly that we sometimes stay in hibernation our whole lives–the pond above us freezes over and never thaws. We can take comfort in the fact that we are all “recovering” from something. We are all “over-dosing” on something.

Turtles don’t worry about either waking up, or the pond not thawing.

Humans worry about both all the time and sometimes don’t wake up anyway.

Those around us can often see the truth, but many times they are viewing us from their own state of hibernation.

Obviously the 7 Deadly Sins could act as a “short-list” of some of the things that we use to both be alive and take us away from being alive–but really most anything will work just fine.

What we use to take us into hibernation today, may not necessarily work tomorrow. Moving from consciousness to unconsciousness and (hopefully) back to consciousness again is a wonderful and mysterious thing.

twin ponds 60913 (30)aTurtles know this.

However, human beings are pretty dang lucky–compared to Turtles. At least–I am pretty sure that is true.

The world is still hereWhile turtles have no choice but to hibernate when it gets too cold, human beings, at least theoretically, have a choice to not go unconscious when the mood strikes them. While the frequency with which human beings exercise this choice is not great, the possibility is at least there.

With the development of the Internet, human beings have created a way for their lives to carry on in spite of their adventures into unconsciousness.

The ability to actually write something down, post it on the internet, and have IT take on a life of its own–regardless what it’s writer does–can actually work in the writer’s favor.

So while the writer may have stayed up too late partying, and is way too hung over to amount to anything at work the next day, the fact that the internet never hibernates can be very useful. Think of all the advantages of an Internet that doesn’t drink, doesn’t chase women, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t overeat, doesn’t bet on sports and truly favors no religion over another.

While we hide in the mud, the world above us stays alive above us.

It just keeps plodding along–like a turtle–even during our moments of unconsciousness.

It will still need for us to be “participatory” at some point–but it can provide a bridge over those times of hibernation.

While probably not a good idea, we can in fact hibernate for months–and the Internet keeps on working for us, more or less oblivious to our condition. It is almost as predictable as the genetics of the turtle.

Invariably the world will still be there when the turtle wakes up in the springtime.

Invariably the Internet increases the odds that our jobs will still be there when we wake up.

 

By Charles Buell,

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