Magical Synchronicities | Arundhati Roy – Stories Select the Writers, not Writer’s Selecting the Stories

I had a series of magical moments after I had moved from a cafe to a waterfront area. I was looking over the Table of Contents (TOC) of this book I’m writing and realized several pages were not ‘recognized’. I was doing the quick and assured fix of formatting the title text and making sure there were page breaks, and this one page simply would not allow itself to be recognized. It would not appear in the TOC.

I had no choice but to look at the content more closely, having decided that I had completed this page, and then realized…

…that I  could subtly change the wording of this part of the title. And, oh, I see, it would be better to omit this and re-create this series of lines instead.

I had wanted to use the quick and obvious fix of reformatting the title, which functioned with other pages, but this one page would not allow me.

So, i don’t know about you, but I think that the book, via the computer, was not allowing me to hastily skip over this page, but insisted that i look at it more closely. This part of the story, did not want to be portrayed in that way.

I think it’s like magic, and I call this a synchronicity. Like a gut instinct or intuition.

sunflowerssunflowers to the left of me sunflowers to the right

 

I understand what Arundhati Roy means when she says that writers think they cull stories from the world, but in fact, the stories cull the writers.

“Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I’m beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it’s actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative – they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.”

Here was the approaching back drop.

ducks the geese had already flown in two flocks to grass lawns

 

sunset september 6 in Providence, Rhode Island

 

sept 5th sky I had seen a green blue moon at sunset and later an orange pink crescent

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism | Le Petit Prince

I was looking over my blog stats and saw someone read this, posted several years ago. I decided to post it again, since it’s relevant, from a moral and political standpoint – uh, yes, at one time I believe, the two were part of the same fabric. uh, now wait a minute, maybe morality and political leadership have rarely been paired, and that it is an exception! I mean, as long as royal leaders, and tyrants, and corporations have the reins, morality has little to do with the people who wish to maintain their power, control and profits.

Here’s the letter:
I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author, Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of Le Petit Prince
The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot, and author of the remarkable children’s book, for adults, Le Petit Prince/ The Little Prince. There appear to be exceptions to this formidable quote, if the person happens to be morally repugnant and arrogant!

Le Petit Prince, Antoine Saint-Exupery, the Phenomenon

Le Petit Prince, written by Antoine Saint-Exupery
the Phenomenon

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of others to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs by the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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This Is Not A Love Song | Phone Addiction | lyrics by me

this_is_not_a_love_song shot of the original text

I mentioned that I was going to share these lyrics for “This is Not a Love Song”, once i wrote them. Fortunately i took a picture of what I wrote, because I lost the original piece of paper in a park a day or two later. Just finished typing it and I’ll read it at this poetry slam this evening at Librairie Scrupule

Poésie Slam Scène Ouverte

Poésie Slam Scène Ouverte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s about peoples’ device addiction, in this case, their phones.

 

This is not a love song

… lyrics may evolve from this version!>

no matter where I am
I can’t take my eyes off of you
at home, on my way, no matter what i do
anything, anyone could be near
i wouldn’t notice, have no fear

I’m addicted to you, toujours
Is it love? I’m not quite sure
I use you often, there’s no question
to capture images of myself without hesitation

it doesn’t really matter what else is there
as long as i’m captured, and I can share

this is not a love song
i can’t stand it when you aren’t there
i show you off like you’re my prize
to bring your attention to any eyes

I quickly whip you out wherever i go
just to show you off, you’re very desirable you know
if i could, i’d take a selfie with you
but alas, I can’t ever be in it with you

forever my eyes on you will be
regardless of what is in front of me
you dictate my moves, you alert me too
serendipity & synchronicity are out the window

it doesn’t really matter what else is there
as long as i’m captured, and I can share

i’m sure to display you for all eyes
when you’re not in my hand, i feel deprived
i can’t bare it when you’re not there
like a burning flame, you draw me in to stare
it’s as if no one else exists for me
i even take you with me when i pee

i can’t take my eyes off of you
i’ve waited long enough to have you
nothing and no one will get in the way
my addiction to you is here to stay

when I’m not looking, i am listening
you’re like a magnet in my hand, glistening
tuned-in-to you, wired away
certainly no one else will get in the way

it doesn’t really matter what else is there
as long as i’m captured, and I can share

no spectacle could possibly distract me
yet this obsession is not without a fee
could I live without you? i may be wrong
but without a doubt, this is not a love song

The music will come.

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Unbounded Spirit | Opposite of Addiction is Connection | Johann Hari “Chasing the Scream”

This short video “Drugs Don’t Cause Addiction” is one of the most profoundly accurate looks into our modern societal malaise and misguided notions about what is of value today. As the unbounded spirit acknowledges, “This Brilliant Animated Video Will Change Your View on Drugs Forever”, and I add, and Your View of Our Modern Society.

Addiction

Everything We Think we Know About Addiciton is Wrong

Obviously much thought went into it, as this video project is a collaboration with Johann Hari, the author of the book “Chasing the Scream”. It reveals that pointing the finger of blame to ‘drugs’ or ‘the war on drugs’ is actually completely missing the point.

"Chasing the Scream, Joann Hari

“Chasing the Scream” by Joann Hari – brilliant reviews

As is typical, the fingers are pointing in the opposite direction of the real problem. What we need to realize is that the real blame is our collective societal values of materialism over connection with others. As the western world has become more and more focused on material wealth and financial gain, this has been accompanied with increasing social isolation. The problem is not a drug, nor an individual addiction, but a collective one which has been driven by consumerism.

We need to rebuild our society towards values in which the individual derives happiness through accomplishments from actions in which he or she is engaged in which makes him/her happy and feel joy from emersion in that activity, and in which collectively we are sharing activities and experiencing joy through camaraderie and sympathy; recognizing that we are all living this life together and that only when all beings have peace, comfort and security can we all share in that joy.

Paraphrasing the video…

Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection that is happening all around us.

People have an innate need to connect. When we’re happy and healthy we will bond with the people around us. Yet when we’re traumatized, isolated or beaten down by life, we will bond with something that will give us some sense of relief; such as:

Endlessly checking a cell phones

addiction to cell phones

addiction to cell phones

 

addiction to pornography

addiction to pornography

addiction to video games

addiction to video games

 

addiction to gambling

addiction to gambling

 

addiction to cocaine

addiction to cocaine – drugs in general

because…as the video elucidates, we will bond with something, because THIS is our human nature.

 

 

Since the 1950’s the average number of close friends an American has, has been steadily declining, whereas the amount of floorspace in their homes has been increasing. Choosing floorspace over close friends, stuff over connection.

The path out of unhealthy bonds, is to form healthy bonds; to be connected to people you want to be present with.

It’s not the chemicals, it’s your cage.

We need not talk about individual recovery from addiction, but must talk about social recovery.

We need to change the unnatural way that we live.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.

I recall a ‘waking dream I had decades ago. It was not while I was sleeping, but during the day. I was witnessing what has since been created, virtual reality, before it existed. In the dream I was climbing a mountain. I could feel the breeze. The ‘camera’ pulled out so that I was then seeing myself from above, then further away looking down at the earth. Then suddenly I was climbing out of a box, an isolation tank, in my living room. I then was disconnecting these wires from my scull. When I awoke from this engaging dream during the day while I was living in Washington D.C., I recall feeling very disturbed emotionally from the thought of having cheated myself by not ‘actually’ having the real experience of traveling to a mountain to summit, but was only alone in a box – the shell of the real experience. A few years later I was startled to watch a movie while I was traveling and visiting Europe called “Strange Dayshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Days_(film) because it was recapturing the essence of the mechanics of how this ‘virtual reality’ of my vision and virtual experience occurred.

Strange Days

1995 film Strange Days

I have since continued to feel this conviction (even though I’m sitting here ‘working’ and writing, creating and communicating in isolation on my MacBook Pro – and loving and needing this machine – so I think 🙂 That if we don’t maintain a balance, our technologies will continue to isolate us from ourselves and one another. I had hypothesized that primitive people perhaps had not lost our special connection to the cosmos. A friend then pointed out to investigate my theory by looking at the aborigines of Australia. They once consistently demonstrated telepathy and ultra human powers of consciousness. As modern man relies more and more on our gadgets to do things for us, our human powers of mind and heart and connection to one another and the universal intelligence will atrophy. I believe human beings do have capabilities of telepathy and of connection with the divine through allowing ourselves to quite our minds and engage our spirits and heart – our sixth sense or intuition or gut instincts – whatever you want to call it. Yet, if our thoughts are constantly engaged and busy worrying about the past and the future and what we don’t have and judging one another and watching sitcoms and shit, we don’t have the time or space to tap into what is available to us as spiritual beings on the material physical plane. yep, I said it. I always thought it. And I keep finding other human beings who also reiterate and reverberate the same message….

This video was put together with http://www.patreon.com

patreon

patreon dot com description / kurzgesagt

http://addiction.mobydigg.de and the unbounded spirit.

 

 

 

carol keiter, blogger, arizona, wwoof

Carol the blogger in her Moose-themed residence at her first WWOOF experience in Arizona

 

Here’s a pic of me, the blogger in my ‘moose lake lodge’ residence in the Sonoran desert where I’m participating in my first WWOOF experience on the Veteran’s Ranch, a means of avoiding homelessness while at the same time being very interested in learning about farming techniques from the pros – the people who run the farms and ranches – and I absolutely love and adore animals of every type.

 

When I’m not working with the animals or on my own projects, I’m taking pictures of sunsets.

Solitude, Serenity, Sonoran, Sunset, Feb. 20th 2016

Solitude and Serenity Sonoran Sunset Feb. 20th 2016

IMG_0003

And I’ve started to take videos of the animals, with the incentive to capture the sounds, to then weave into some new music (sounds on the ranch 🙂

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

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In addition to the fact that donations are always welcome and appreciated, I just discovered to day February 20th, 2016 patreon, which I am very happy to join and am about to create an artist profile. It is a very similar concept to something I conjectured a month or so ago: wishing there was an artist residency somewhere where the artists can collaborate if they choose, yet which is based on earning money for what they create. They are paid, as they commit to producing work. Well, patron is not a residency, yet it does offer capital, and I’m pretty stoked to have discovered it. Certainly it will act as a motivator for all artists, lighting a fire to keep them producing new work!!! I’ll sign on to patreon as a blogger/photographer/illustrator/author creating a profile tomorrow, and will be de light ed to find some patrons encouraging me to keep on producing work!

Journalist who Reveals the Truth | George Monbiot

Eureka, yesterday I made an astounding discovery, the writings of George Monbiot. I feel like I’ve struck gold. Perhaps this reveals my naïvité. I hadn’t been familiar with his name or writings, having not been a regular reader of the British Newspaper “The Guardian” among the places he has contributed. Monbiot’s candid humor amuses and his scope pierces your awareness. Recirculated by The Mind Unleashed | Uncover Your True Potential Monbiot’s article “The Eco-Apocalypse in Indonesia That No One is Talking About” was extracted from his writing within his website category Environment and the Natural World, Nothing to See Here. He states, “In the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st Century (so far), Indonesia has been blotted out by smoke. And the media.”

His website http://www.monbiot.com features a ferocious list of categories of articles he’s written about. The blog posted yesterday within this same category, is provocative, to say the least.The Dolphin Killers of Cardigan Bay/ Subtitled and predicated with the statement “Why does the Welsh government propose this gratuitous act of destruction? It refuses to say.” He talks of the absurdity that the primary place where dolphins gather in the British Isles, Cadigan Bay, which is – his words, ‘on paper’ – a ‘Special Area of Conservation’, is precisely where Welsh scallop dredgers and beam trawlers are given reign to destroy the seabed; the primary source of food for young dolphins.

George Monbiot, blogger, rspb, Royal Society Protection Birds

Here’s a picture of George Monbiot as guest blogger on rspb | Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Giving Nature a Home


His writings are crisp exposés, rather than soggy, one dimensional limping around the truth. His broad perspective brought to every analysis comes from his driving thoroughness in investigating the topic and background interest in the environment, politics and economics. This makes all of his writings on whatever subject refreshingly clear, in how he pierces into the truth rather than the typical white-washed and watered down mass media glimpses into a story.

Life-changing for me, because he’s a true journalist who cuts to the core, uncovering and revealing stories from multifaceted angles. “The Eco-Apocalypse in Indonesia That No One is Talking About” reveals promptly the difference between typical mainstream journalism and his crisp dissection of the real issues and correlation to the real sources of the problem. In this case, the continuing practice of clear-cutting and burning rain forests in Indonesia, to support the lumber and palm oil industries, which together with El Niño and climate change, are manifesting as the worst ecological disaster and highest input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, to date. His exposé of the political and economic culprits behind this manmade disaster lie beneath the story of the damage that is being done to the inhabitants, wildlife and nature there.

Upon reading the title of one of his books, “The Age of Consent; A Manifesto for a New World Order”, I immediately thought of Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent; The Political Economy of the Mass Media”. Chomsky proposes that the mass communication media of the United States are a system of effective and powerful ideological institutions carrying out messages that reinforce certain ideals and tendencies among the population – propaganda. He states that the former ‘anti-Communism’ model of social control was replaced by the present ‘War on Terror’. In The Age of Consent, Monbiot writes that “Our task is not to overthrow globalization, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity’s first global democratic revolution.”

In Michael Meacher’s “ review of Monbiot’s The Age of Consent ” for the Guardian, Meacher states, “This is an extremely important book. George Monbiot offers a searchingly rigorous analysis of the sources of American power and presents a package of proposals that would radically redraw the present world order. It is breathtaking in its radicalism, but for anyone who is serious about tackling the current US hegemony, it is difficult to fault the logic.”

There are plenty of topics George Monbiot has written about, which you can read and educate yourself to your heart’s delight.

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/georgemonbiot
http://www.monbiot.com

Posting a ‘job/home/community relocation’ info ad for myself!

I, Carol Keiter, blogger, writer, musician, composer, environmental and nature enthusiast and animal activist need to relocate within weeks. I need to hone into> the right location, community and sources for work that will fulfill the job description which has evolved, as I’ve been writing this!

I realize that my job description is along the lines of broadcast journalism. The fact that I have a curiosity about many many subjects, the desire to travel and use my language skills, love of researching information, working with all sorts of digital media, interacting with people of myriad backgrounds and observing natural environments, and an interest in science and technology, with a joy in extracting and compiling information and then sharing it.

I am in search of a place to relocate, within not 6 months, but several weeks, as a start! My preference is to be based in a European city, where I can further develop and utilize my language skills (French, German, Spanish or Italian); where I can work together with a team making productions similar to what I’ve described as well as independently getting stories.

Carol Keiter, blogger, Make Music New York,Times Square, Yoko Ono

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

I’d like to focus on success stories about individual people and communities who have made a difference through their recognition and implementation of adopting better practices to safeguard their own environments and that of the animal habitats within their area. With a focus on the need to live interdependently and respectfully with other species; as the human species can act as caretakers of the planet and all creatures to celebrate this incredible biodiversity, not exploit it.

Within my challenge is the need to find housing, art or music cooperatives, live/work exchanges or just that perfect job I describe that will enable me to continue to do what I do best; observing, asking questions, writing and taking digital photos and sharing stories.

My goal > continuing along the lines of using my laptop computer for writing, photography, photoshop, sound recording, illustration (portrait art) and musical instrument skills (bass guitar and piano) & composition skills, and language skills to do work that involves > researching, compiling and exchanging information along the lines of technical/environmentally sustainable practices/renewable energy alternatives/habitat awareness and support for various species. All of this is relevant to the world’s current urgent need to organize campaigns to inform communities and support actions that employ and implement renewable energy systems in communities and DIY projects, awareness of how one’s own diet, transportation habits and actions reflect on the larger picture, the need for ocean cleanup, the need to wean ourselves from coal and oil and petroleum based energy resources and products to the awareness of animal rights and habitat preservation.

I wish to work with a team sharing enlightening information about what community success stories and how other communities could adopt similar practices and behaviors.

I wish to base myself in preferably a European metropolitan center to work with groups along these lines – where I can also develop and use my language skills, creativity, joy of interacting with divers peoples and groups – and a significant or equivalent amount of time traveling to areas which I wish to document and research> ideas and success stories revealing positive alternatives that can be adopted.

healthier living environments
habitat preservation
best practices as far as what types of foods one is consuming and how this affects the environment
better technological infrastructures for transportation that consider other species
healthier attitudes and respect of other species in general
infrastructure to provide mutually beneficial habitats for humans and animals and all of the interdependent life on the planet
the transition of infrastructures from coal and oil industries to the implementation of jobs supporting renewable energies; solar, wind, wave, biomass
encouraging new approaches to DIY technology to improve your own communities’ means of adapting and implementing all sorts of earth-friendly technologies for energy, healthy living and as stewards of all of the other species on the planet

Does anyone have any suggestions or leads? Along the lines of Al Jazeera America’s ‘Techknow’, National Geographic and a plethora of other environmental organizations from NRDC to Greenpeace.

Bottom line: I need to make a choice of where to relocate within weeks, and am looking for leads, ideas, groups to work with and a place to land.

Any offers or advice? I have no income or savings. Hence, sending this first ‘job/home-base search letter’ out there so that more ideas may spring up regarding what part of the world to go to?

My skills and passions are for the most part, besides motion and travel – a.k.a ‘nomadbeatz’ – as an environmental activist/researcher/journalist/portrait artist/illustrator/musician/composer/teacher/lecturer. I could be persuaded to dip towards any to these: writing, illustration, music composition for film and screenwriting. Yep, they are all over the place, yet they all interconnect.

I am physically, mentally/emotionally and spiritually fit, resilient and strong. Conversant in French, German and Spanish in addition to my native English.

The politics of fear and consent through silence and non-action, are not part of my playbook.

We can do it, if we put our minds and hearts together and sing and dance as we work.

résumé/portfolio:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/curriculum-vitae-portfolio
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/parcel-of-my-portfolio

music:
http://www.myspace.com/nomadbeatz
http://www.reverbnation.com/nomadbeatz

ebook:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/final-metamorphosis-of-the-ebook-trailer-for-adora-vitali-a-spin-on-the-matter-of-motion/
http://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092#1

social networks:
http://www.facebook.com/carol.keiter
http://carolkeiter.tumblr.com
http://www.twitter.com/carolkeiter
http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/carol_keiter
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/carol-keiter/7/124/b63

Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it.

Donations towards Carol Keiter’s writing, eBook, music composition, photography & illustrations are graciously accepted! PayPal Donate Button

Carol Keiter the blogger with camera in hand at MMNY-MakeMusicNewYork

Carol Keiter the blogger with camera in hand at MMNY-MakeMusicNewYork

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

NPR Part 4 on Identity | Pico Iyer’s TED talk: “Where do you call home?”

Today I happened to turn on (NPR) National Public Radio, to hear Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episodes on Identity, of which I knew nothing about.

TED, Technology,Entertainment, Design

TED Technology Entertainment Design Ideas worth spreading

This one featuring Pico Iyer’s TED talk about his perspective of “where one calls home”. It certainly grabbed my attention, the topic alone, since I’ve lived in quite a number of different places, among different communities in several countries. This particular presentation by the writer Pico Iyer, regarding “what do you call home?” is quite intriguing because of the way in which he eloquently describes his intimate understanding of the situation of having no particular identification with any one place.

He realizes at one point after living in numerous countries and having had his parent’s home burn down, that “My home would have to be whatever I carry around inside me.”

He calls it a terrific liberation in fact, since he speaks of how his grandparents grew up in a community, in which their whole sense of home, community and enmity, was assigned to them at birth. They didn’t have much chance of stepping outside of this.

Pico Iyer, TEDTalk, Identity

Pico Iyer’s TEDTalk on Identity

Nowadays, some of use can choose our home, create our sense of community and fashion our sense of self, by stepping beyond the black and white divisions of our grandparent’s age.

The number of people living in countries other than their own, is currently 220 million.

It is one thing to have ‘moved around a lot, and quite another, when one is fleeing their country – which is happening at alarming rates these days, with political refugees seeking asylum from the violence in their homelands. Yet, listening to Pico’s smiling voice articulate examples of people who are by birth, of two different ethnic backgrounds; living in a third country that is neither of their parent’s homeland, ads an additional subtle twist.

Perhaps this talk will be soothing to anyone who hears it, to reassure us all that home is what one carries within ourselves.

Iyer’s final statement: “Home is not where I sleep, but where I stand“.

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism

I was looking over my blog stats and saw someone read this, a very early blog. I decided to post it, since it’s relevant, from a moral and political standpoint – uh, yes, at one time I believe, the two were part of the same fabric. uh, now wait a minute, maybe morality and political leadership, have rarely been paired, and that it is an exception! I mean, as long as royal leaders, and tyrants, and corporations have the reins, morality has not a fucking thing to do with the people who wish to maintain their power, control and profits.

I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author, Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery author Le Petit Prince
The Little Prince

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of others to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs by the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.