On Thursday, May 18,2023,at about 3 pm, edt, I'm sitting inside, because outside, everything is wet, damp, from the short thundershower we had a little while ago. Only the screen door is closed, so I can see outside, and breathe the humid air, as the sun appears from behind clouds. Tweety the hen is on the porch outside the door, settled where we can see each other, and Speckles the rooster is under the edge of the building, where I can hear his occasional commentary on environmental stirrings. Lollipop the cat is probably still in the carport on the hood of my car, where he can see but not be seen. It has already been a tumultuous day, full of irritating details that test my patience and require attention RIGHT NOW before anything else happens. Thus the scene is set for describing the vignette that inspired this post. My casual encounters with strangers happen frequently in the grocery store, where someone is blocking an aisle in front of what I want. Sometimes I'm the guilty obstructionist, when I'm trying to find something that has been moved, sold out, disappeared, or is changed in appearance. I usually try to lighten the mood of the moment with a disclaimer, a "we're in this together" statement, such as, "Whatever you want, it's on the bottom or very top shelf, in the back, if they have it at all, and they have probably changed the packaging." This usually gets a smile. The other day, I passed a befuddled-looking man in front of the spice rack. He acknowledged my comment, then suddenly saw what he wanted. He said I brought him luck. "I only cared," I replied, and moved on. Since then I've pondered the power of caring, even in the small things and in the moment. The encounter brightened my attitude and my day. The stranger got what he wanted, as well as some unexpected good will from a fleeting interaction. It has led me to speculate about the many forms of communication that exist outside of and beyond words, sounds, or sight. Other physical sensations, such as touch, taste, and smell communicate silently but stir internal responses that are varied and hard to describe, but they are unique to each individual. I think of other cultures, and of the puzzles of history and the sciences. Even the notions of "good" and "bad" show value judgments that split experience into categories of acceptability. Does everything balance out in the end, if there is an end, or do white holes in space grow out of black holes, as some astrophysicists claim? Does the yang in Oriental philosophy contain the seed of the yin, and vice versa, in a perpetually spinning cycle of cosmic balance? Expansion and contraction seems the only constant. In the cycles of time, as we perceive them, there exists infinite creativity, stretching out in multiple dimensions, with more occurring all the time. I'm glad Mr. Spice found what he wanted. I hope he enjoys the result.
Category Archives: Philosophy
What Makes You Laugh?
Friday, April 28, 2023, at 9 am, edt, I'm contemplating a blog I just read on rielpolitik.com about Kat Timpf's book, "You Can't Joke About That". It led me to wonder about humor's ability to relieve tension and to uplift mood and attitude. A sense of humor, or irony, in others attracts my respect, admiration, and curiosity, sometimes friendship, but the ability to laugh is an internal gift. The antics of animals, or children, can inspire laughter in the observer who sees comedy in the unexpected but harmless actions of the actor. The desire to amuse others runs deep within me, yet it only shows in casual encounters, in off-hand comments delivered on the fly. A smile is my reward for having brightened a stranger's day.
Cycles and Solipsism
On Tuesday, April 25, at about 9 am edt, I begin attempting to contain the last ten years within the confines of my solipsistic vision of time. I've read my journal notes for April, 2013, which reveal what most concerned me ten years ago. The underlying philosophy has remained consistent, though circumstances have changed. I remain unabashedly individualistic, despite external pressures to adopt or pretend to adopt prevailing social beliefs, for or against this or that group or individual. I continue to follow the timing of the planetary cycles, and of the symbolic relationship of the earth to its cosmic environment. In astrological terms, the earth is entering the 2500-year period designated as the Age of Aquarius, as the North pole of the spinning earth wobbles backwards to point in the direction of that constellation. For an individual like me, solipsistic in the sense that I can't know experience outside myself, I read the signs to compare the cycles of astrology with the period of my life between 2013 and 2023. Robert Kennedy, Jr. has announced his presidential bid. Tucker Carlson has left Fox News. The date April 19 is significant in US history, for a number of reasons, but this year it marked two events that turned the tables on established institutions which have grown too rigid to withstand easily the winds of change. The "shot heard round the world" that started the American Revolution was fired on April 19. RFK, Jr. and Tucker Carlson are both individuals who have long track records of seeking truth within frameworks that could not accept their divergence from the official script. In mythology and astrology, Saturn and Uranus are joined by Saturn's fear of retribution for having castrated his father, Uranus, and throwing the testicles into the sea. In astrology, Saturn and Uranus are forced to co-exist as co-rulers of Aquarius. The implication is that the structure imposed by immortal Saturn is continuously unsettled by the chaotic unpredictability of his immortal father. The human family can co-exist peacefully, as both Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Tucker Carlson are showing in the Now.
Life is Terminal
Here on Earth, on Friday, April 21, 2023, at around 9 am edt, in the US of A, as determined by conventional, political standards of measuring space and time, I’m contemplating the belief in death.
This belief is conventional among some human cultures and individuals, but a belief in re-incarnation after death also exists. Some religions promulgate the idea that death represents a transformation of the being’s basic essence to another plane of reality, a “heaven” or a “hell” and various extra-spatial locales designated for those who hold certain beliefs.
But so far as we know in the Now, our physical bodies are destined to wear out, sooner or later, and the physical remains will decompose to their most basic components.
No one really knows what happens to the individuality that animated the living body, even though religion, myth, and philosophy claim special insight. None can say how they know what they claim to know.
My philosophy, encapsulated in my novel of imagination, rests with Beon, the protagonist, who is consciously immortal, beyond death, and must adapt to the rules of a time-enclosed universe. 4-D circumscribes space and time within limits created by human beliefs about life.
Life is terminal, in 4-D reality, and the only real “cause of death” is time, despite claims by those who blame this or that person, circumstance, disease, war, or actions by others. “His time was up.”
What would an entity like Beon do, if he had an eternity at his disposal? In “A Matter of Time” Beon must learn patience with time, since he finds himself trapped in 4-D through a failed suicide attempt, through a solipsistic belief in his ability to extinguish life.
Beon, Bud, and the Rev
Wednesday, April 19, 2023- For Beon,a prisoner in this 4-D universe, solipsism is a disease of loneliness. For Bud, the blue-eyed white cat, solipsism is an art form. For the Rev, a 20-pound white rooster, solipsism is a religion. Bud generates vitality through his purr, which tunes the cosmos to his specifications. The Rev uses his vitality to enliven his surroundings and to inspire those within hearing range to attend to his loud, repetitive "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo" RIGHT NOW, to save themselves from more of the same. Sparky, the green parakeet, appeared on the Cosmo Cruiser at an unspecified point in time and space. Beon suspects Bud acquired the bird on one of the planetary explorations Beon made after his failed suicide attempt from his home universe of seven dimensions. He only proved that suicide is impossible. The attempt merely reduces dimensionality. Thus do we have Beon trying to convert his Biggest Mistake So Far into a Stroke of Genius. He hopes with the EarthSave Project to save these Earthlings from themselves and to earn his ticket back to 7-D.
A Matter of Time
February 1, 2023 In Beon's seven-dimensional universe, time is only one dimension. Everyone is timeless in 7-D. Vitality flows strong or weak, but it never stops. Unfortunately for Beon, his interdimensional travels have exposed him to the disease of Solipsism, which leads its victims to deny any reality other than their own. The disease convinced him he had control over his life. After he accidentally spread Solipsism throughout 7-D, Beon decided he could rid the dimensions of his perverse influence by plunging his Cosmo Cruiser into a black-triangle black hole and annihilate himself through suicide. His attempt failed. Beon found himself trapped in a 4-D universe, where cognizant beings believe in time and death. Beon be-bopped around 4-D for forever, accompanied only by his immortal companions from 7-D: Bud, his white cat; the Rev, a rooster; Sparky the parakeet; and an assortment of critters collected by Bud from life-sustaining planets, when Beon touched down to explore or to save a planet from itself. During his perpetual incarceration in 4-D, Beon had also had time to design and build a number of robots, which he programmed to assist in his various planet-saving initiatives. A few millennia ago, as Earthlings measure time, Beon had encountered Earth, a planet in great need of salvation from its human inhabitants. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * So this is the setting for my timeless novel, appropriately named "A Matter of Time: Beon, Bud, and the Bots". It's only a matter of time for me to evolve this novel concept to its denouement at some point in the mutable future. In Real Earth Time, I must face the challenge of ever-changing technology, rules, and personal segues into Real Life but I do intend to follow up with descriptions of the Solipsism epidemic in 7-D, Beon's EarthSave Project, and Joe, Beon's super-duper wizard of artificial intelligence engineering, who is programmed to save these Earthlings from themselves. Here's to the unknowable future . . .
The Power of Fear
Those who promote or stoke fear use ancient control tactics, and for what? Are they themselves afraid and want to share their emotion? Do they enjoy being afraid and wish to inspire others in a commonality of tension? A man once told me he enjoyed being angry. I wanted to ask why but didn't and have wondered since what might prompt feelings of pleasure from an emotion that is so unpleasant for me. I've wondered if anger is a derivative of fear. Is fear the first emotion that arises when something disturbs the status quo? I have used my most recent blog title, "Fortune Tellers on the Payroll", before, in 2016. Then, as now, I contested the predilection of some people to stoke fear by posting predictions of danger, even disaster, ahead. Why? Does fear of the future tempt a person, group of people, or world to predict the most threatening outcome of any current situation? Might we also be tempted to steer our lives into the very futures we fear? Is it possible that we can meet whatever future with fortitude, courage, and the determination to learn and grow from whatever happens, and to inspire others similarly? My life is a question. I have no answers.
Fortune-Tellers on the Payroll
Fact: 2023 has arrived, if you subscribe to the Western, mostly Anglo-Saxon convention of measuring time.
I have the pseudo-convenience of today’s technology, in the form of cell phone, internet, WordPress, and a comfortable chair and roof over my head to convey words that may communicate the wide-ranging explorations of my mind.
I’ve been reading predictions for the coming year, during which our Earth is predicted to continue its revolution around the sun we accept as the center of a solar system that includes the earth, other planets, moons, asteroids, and debris, like human-made satellites.
But the Living Now intrudes, as Miss Tweety Pie appears at my door, threatening to poop under any future placement of my foot. I step outside to the clearing fog of the first New Year’s morning, to hear the ebullient celebrations of the Gun Clubbers down the street, blasting away at clay pigeons, in an exercise some people believe is entertaining.
Who is knowldgeable about the future, any future, as “the future” is determined moment to moment by the unpredictable Now?
Miss Tweety-Pie is now busy preening her feathers, here on this wet bench, while Speckles watches from his spot under the building.
And now, machine noise starts up on the other side of my vibe space, promising Human inventiveness thrives, so far, in 2023.
Happy 2023 from Miss Tweety-Pie.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022--I write a lot about my chickens, my perceptions, imaginings, and sensations, both in my hand-written journal and on-line. My purpose is to communicate to the outer world and to myself, better to externalize the ever-shifting panorama of my inner reality. Today is almost over, at 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, in the US of A, and soon "today" will be a different day. Just establishing the time of day takes time, and focus. That's why there are so many methods for orienting oneself in a dimension outside physical space. The weather constitutes its own dimension, although climate is not given the status of dimensionality in common parlance. Yet with a temperature range of 30 degrees Fahrenheit today, weather begs for inclusion in our beliefs about reality on this Earth plane. Curtains open. Curtains closed. Doors open or closed. Windows open on one side of the house and closed on the other. These are the adaptations required to maximize comfort this fall so far in Savannah. We are broaching fall, as the calendar reports it. The calendar itself has changed over time and over cultures. The measurement of time is the bailiwick of politics and cultural beliefs. Time is as fluid as the weather, hard to pin down mathematically or predict with certainty. According to the Greenwich, England standard of measuring time, which begins tomorrow in fifteen minutes, in my time zone, but not for another hour a little west of here, the Earth's spin on its axis takes a mathematically convenient 24 hours. Trouble is, the earth's rotation takes 25 hours, thus we have "leap years" every four years, and compensate by giving February a 29th day, to account for the fact that the earth's rotation actually requires 25 hours, so a solar year is actually about 365 1/4 days. Natural cycles are perverse that way. They refuse to conform to human mathematics. The moon, almost a quarter the size of the earth, is just as unyielding. Its 28-day cycle doesn't allow mathematics to control its motion, so we have fabricated calendars and clocks according to mathematical parameters, striving to create precision in the wobbly dimensions of time and space. And now, it is 12:13 AM, EDT on September 22, 2022, according to the latest version of the Western hemisphere, planet Earth's calendar. Good night.
Astrology and the Cycles of Time
On Monday, November 11, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun, beginning at 7:35 AM EST and lasting five-and-a-half hours. It will be visible during daylight hours throughout the Americas and seen as a small dot on the sun’s surface, with viewing through solar-filtered telescopes and binoculars recommended.*
Meanwhile, the October 28, 2019 issue of The New Yorker magazine includes an article about the resurgence of interest in astrology. Titled “Starstruck: Why we’re crazy for astrology,” by Christine Smallwood, the article claims that interest in this ancient discipline petered out after the 1970s but has made a comeback in recent years, especially among millennials. The current trend employs all the panache of modern technology, from pod-casts to computer apps and on-line chat rooms. There are on-line classes. There are zodiac-themed products like clothes and lingerie. It has become a booming business, complete with all the glitz of modern commercialization.
The astrologers interviewed in the article highlight astrology’s ability to describe character in non-judgmental terms. They downplay predictions, and emphasize timing. In short, it appears that this new appreciation reaches a deeper level than I remember from the 1970s and 1980s.
I have studied astrology for over 35 years, and still keep an ephemeris (a table of planetary movements) beside my reading chair. I still have the tape recording from my introductory horoscope reading. I was so impressed with the astrologer’s ability to “see my soul,” that I bought the classic beginner’s guide, Isabel Hickey’s Astrology: a Cosmic Science, that day. For several years, I was possibly obsessed and collected two full notebooks of horoscopes on everyone I met. I joined the American Federation of Astrologers, attended conferences, hobnobbed with other astrologers, and shared the language, which sounds like a secret code to the uninitiated.
I soon learned to downplay my interest, and finally, not to mention it, because people were simply not interested, scornful, or even threatened. But I found the astrological approach consistently provides a comprehensive framework for understanding human character. My natal chart highlighted potentials that soon prompted me to take the science pre-requisites to enter, then attend, medical school. I followed up with a psychiatry residency but was astonished to learn that astrology far surpassed psychiatry in its grasp of the totality of the human psyche.
Fundamentally, psychiatry—and possibly all Western medicine—focuses only on the negative, on abnormalities, disorders, or illnesses. Astrology offers balance.
There are many ideas about whether, why, or how astrology works. After all these years, I’m still skeptical, even though it has greatly contributed to my philosophy of life. In the early days, I felt in touch with the ages, knowing I was studying a system that in one form or another has evolved over 6000 years (at least), in every known culture. It corresponds to the “archetypes” that Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung described. Jung himself was a student of astrology and alchemy, for their spiritual aspects.
Fundamentally, it is based on geometry and is the parent of astronomy. Long before we had religions or governments, we had the sun, moon, and stars. Early man looked to the heavenly bodies for guidance and learned to predict the coming of the seasons by the gradual lengthening and shortening of days. The moon’s cycles, too, became associated with certain kinds of earthly events. Over time, and over cultures, the visible planets (“planet” means “wanderer”) were noted to move against a background of stars that formed patterns of constellations in a ring around the earth. In Western astrology, some of these patterns became the twelve constellations of the zodiac.
It’s important to note that a horoscope is completely impersonal in that it is a symbolic map of of the skies as seen at a specific moment in a specific place. That’s why an astrologer can cast a horoscope for anything, such as the time a question is asked (horary astrology), the signing of a contract, or the birth of a nation. The natal horoscope, then, pinpoints a time and place, and an individual’s birth is an event that occurs then and there. The individual then embodies all the potential of the moment. As the child grows, the moment becomes personified through the individual’s experiences, choices, and reactions.
Given that we are, so far, earthbound beings, it’s understandable that astrology would take a geocentric perspective. At birth, the individual is stamped with the cosmic pattern of that time and place. I like to think in terms of electromagnetic frequencies, with each planet (as well as the sun and moon) having its own electromagnetic character. As they move through time in their various cycles, and with respect to each other, the patterns change, as with a kaleidoscope, and either influence or reflect the meaning behind happenings in an individual’s life.
To understand the concept behind astrology, it’s convenient to think of a natal horoscope as a coded depiction of that person’s life drama. The individual is the star of her own play. In Western astrology, the planets–with the personalities of the Roman gods for which they are named–are the supporting actors; the signs are the filters or lights that they operate through; and the houses the props and stage.
As the sun, moon, and planets continue their cycles through a person’s life, they make angles (called “aspects”) to their natal positions, with each moving at its own pace.
Common questions about astrology have to do with whether it is presumed to “control” people’s lives. My answer is a different question. “Does the clock control your life?” No, but it makes sense to go to the grocery store when it is open, if you want to buy food.
“Shouldn’t a life be timed from the moment of conception?” is another common question. I respond that until birth, by whatever means, an infant is shielded from external cosmic influences by its mother’s protective vibrational field.
I once asked a fellow astrologer what she valued most about the study of astrology. “Tolerance,” she said. I had reached the same understanding on my own, and I still find that to be the case. There are no “good” or “bad” moments, and each moment is unique in its opportunities and challenges. Considering the infinite possibilities inherent under the cosmic clock that astrology reveals, the potential to deepen and bring that moment to fruition in a “meaningful” life becomes a horoscope’s greatest gift and challenge.
*For the astrologically literate, on November 11, Mercury will be retrograde and conjunct the sun at 18-19 degrees of Scorpio. This conjunction will square my natal Mercury in Leo from 2nd to 9th houses, perhaps inspiring this blog post.**
**Added November 13, 2019: Haha. The joke’s on me. I was doing something else when I suddenly realized the conjunction noted above occurred in Scorpio, not Sagittarius, thus squaring my natal Mercury in Leo and triggering my grand square in fixed signs. The full moon in Taurus on the next day (November 12) was involved, too, with the moon conjunct my natal Jupiter at 19 degrees Taurus that day. This is an embarrassing error, but is consistent with other features of my horoscope that indicate public embarrassment. It challenges me to admit error, and apologize to anyone I might have led astray.