Monthly Archives: April 2016

Philosophers In Plain Sight

Tonight, homage is paid to a philosopher that lived so close (his daily comic strip) that he hid in plain site, as the old saying goes. Shultz delved into a myriad of life’s quandaries in his simple vignettes. They say you don’t know something until you can explain it. Charles must have known quite a bit about life, because he explored some of our most vulnerable life questions in his little strip. He revealed the various archetypal characters we all must deal with. We’ve all had our Lucy, a Linus, possibly a Woodstock, hopefully a Snoopy, and likely a Pigpen or Peppermint Patty, and some of us may feel we’re Charlie Brown.
We were discussing today, at school, how writing may be cathartic, how it can help one investigate the past, sometimes providing the clarity of seeing it write there before you in the black and white of your particular syntax and diction. And, if one gets really good at putting it down on paper, they might momentarily compare with Shakespeare, Nietzsche, or Charles M. Shultz. 

Studying Seagulls

               
                              Studying Seagulls

Father and his son measure the lake’s slopping shore.
The boy suffering two steps to the man’s one,
shot-gunning questions to his father’s plaid shirt.
“Why do birds fly?  Stones skip, Daddy? Fish jump?
Waves mess up the shore with driftwood and foam
and empty clam shells?”

Over them—a seagull rides the afternoon’s air current.

“Pa, what’s that? The youngster inquires.
The obliging parent raises arms skyward.
                        (Pop! Pop!)

It is then I notice the .310 shotgun discharging,
its cigar puff of smoke from a blue-black barrel
above the polished stock. The bird    

    drops

            akin to a single

                     floundering

                                      melting

                          snowflake,

Lying broken at their booted feet.

“A seagull, son.” The father flips
the bird’s lifeless head from side-to-side
with the rifle’s barrel. “Flown all the way
from the coast probably.”

Physicists relate, the action of examining mass
changes it. Substances (indeed) may appear                           
altered:                                    close up.  




ME and Indra’s Net

First, if these presentations ever sound like lectures, let the emphasis be that they apply to (me) as well as to anyone else who might be reading them. I’m ruminating with the idea that sometimes the topic may hit on something that seems common ground to us both. Thinking in public so to speak. Like speaking in public, it may be a scary pursuit, but may further an investigation for both of us that hardens or softens one of our opinions on a particular subject or other.

My concern tonight is the ease of ME promotion. Thanks to the internet and sites like this blog, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter ME promotion has risen above most editors. (We) all have immediate access to (ME) promotion. 

Mindfulness thinking, as this me observes it at this time, involves meditating on ego and the isolation and examination of SELF. SELF might be found to be a fabrication that humans created over time. A fabrication that helped preserve our race across the expanses and challenges of natural selection. Preserve the I from bodily, mental, spiritual harm. Preserve the I and send our genes forward into future time.

Yet, meditation on “these thoughts” may find one discovering there is no (one) having them. One is not his/her thoughts, despite what Jimmy Carter thought in his Playboy interview. Oldsters will probably recognize the reference—youngsters may have to do some research.

Freud wrote on the members of the trio he believed existed in the human ego. Scientists are researching the two sides of the brain that—though connected—control various functions of what make us human. Within those two sides, separate sections divide the work of governing our bodies and psyches even more specifically. Driving a car, one part of our consciousness can be mulling over the impending work day while another part controls the car, another our bodily functions, other parts other tasks—all a balancing act to control that creature we are habituated to address as ME.

Some fear, our culture, in time, may have become too focused on the ME and not the US or THEM. Just as our bodies and mind enclose a multitude we imagine is ME, we are also part of the universal HUMAN race. Our genes were fashioned over millenniums by our ancestors to forward our contribution to the human race. We are one, but we are many, only a facet on Indra’s Net.

In Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979), Douglas Hofstadter uses Indra’s net as a metaphor for the complex interconnected networks formed by relationships between objects in a system—including social networks, the interactions of particles, and the “symbols” that stand for ideas in a brain or intelligent computer. (Wikipedia)
In closing, there is a danger in social media to concentrate too much on ME promotion. Advertising and promoting merely ourselves. How often do we utilize our recently obtained freedom to promote US? It might be as easy as checking our Facebook pages, blogs, and other methods of internet, instant communication to observe how often we utilize those self-promotional pronouns: I, me, we, and us. Are they the only ones we use? Are we becoming a nation of ME? Do we include the other pronouns that contribute with us to form Indra’s net?