Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Diary, "INDIVISIBLE" webinar & networking. All hands on deck, they say. What do I have to offer?

A few days ago I attended a “Indivisible Colorado Action Network & Rural Colorado United” webinar about effectively organizing and messaging in rural communities!  It was a call to civic duty and a networking opportunity because networking is key to success.

In that spirit of reaching out, I want share what I have to offer to other activists.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Being an Element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

edited November 5, 2021

Although I’m a family man, with my share of friends, along with being community-minded, there’s a part of me that rarely fully connects with people, leaving me with an impression of being on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of the self-destructive direction people are driving our future towards.

Over the decades I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what makes my fundamental outlook and instincts so foreign to the general mindset.  It’s only recently, with the hindsight of 65 (now 66) years, and coming off of this “Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity Project” with all it’s side trips and then discovering the light at the end of the tunnel and Dr. Mark Solms enunciating the substance of Neuropsychology.  

A body of work which convincingly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” (and all the distracting intellectual mischief that gave birth to).   Neuropsychology brings us face to face with the reality that our consciousness is basically the inside reflection of our body/brain interacting with its environment.  

Now there’s something worth chewing on, if your looking for intellectual challenge, or simply want to understand how things work.  

Back to my struggle to make sense out of myself.  So, a year ago I was able to enunciate what made me so different.  Basically, I possessed a visceral awareness of, and appreciation for, being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.  

What was it that opened that potential up for me?

How was it that the Abrahamic Mindset always felt foreign to me, if not plain wrong, (even if it wins all the battles).

I think I also finally nailed that one.  It goes back to my early childhood, even before starting kindergarten at John J. Audubon Elementary school in Chicago.  I’d been playing in the pool of warming sunlight streaming through the window onto our living room carpet, lighting up dust motes like fireflies.  I remember focusing on watching the dust motes floating around and then rushing after my mom, when she’d pass by.  I was already fascinated by the night sky full of sparkles and these motes seemed like little universes to me.  

Who knows, except I really was fascinated by the scene.

Then I hear myself asking mom: “What is god?"

I like to think she took a few beats before answering:  “A speck of dust that wanted to be more”.

I must have been primed because it really blew my mind in a way that literally permeated by entire being.  After the initial shock wore off, it didn’t provide any sort of insight, it was simply the suggestion, the question, the challenge.  God as a speck that simply wanted to be more.  It was beautiful and awesome to this little boy and I carried that conception with me for the rest of my life.

It’s take over 60 years for me to fully appreciate it’s impact and now to understand the why of, what happened that set me on my singular path.

I believe what happened was that, that notion of a little speck of dust wanting to be more, wound up filling and satisfying that little niche' of my brain, the "god" niche' where our human longing for the ultimate answers originates.  

So when the Abrahamic self-serving image of an egotistical God was presented to me, there was no place for it to take hold in my brain or heart, so I was free of its shackles and free to find my own way through what life served up for me.

This sense of self and spiritual solidity emerged out of a lifetime of curiosity and learning about myself (though that's another story) Earth, deep-time, her amazing evolutionary story and the development of life and creatures and ourselves.  Appreciating why we can’t understand an organism, without also understanding it’s environment - all of that offers insights we can apply to our day to days.  (How does endlessly pondering outside sources of consciousness inform one’s actual living life?)

Especially realizing how the components of my own physical body had their origins eons ago.  The visceral awareness that for the most part mammals have the same skeleton and parts I do, except that are in different proportions - that's amazingly deep for a meat eater.  Even before that, if you consider how Earth herself had to go through intense processing before promising molecular tricks and biological solutions to life’s challenges would have the material resources at hand to allow them to be put to the test and prosper.

It’s a long, amazingly complex story that keeps evolving as more evidence gets collected and processed into shared scientific knowledge.  Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time.  Considering I’ve been paying attention to it since my grade school days, it’s inevitable that I’ve achieved some insights along the way.

In the end, the thought of being an intelligent self-aware element of creation, one who is capable of savoring the pageant of Earth’s amazing Evolution is more than comforting.  It provides me with a spiritual foundation and solidity in the face of challenges, inevitable failings and my coming death, that possess a depth of peace and security no Holy Book, or fast-talking pick-pocket preachers can get close to offering.  It's good news worth passing around to the few who are honestly curious.   ✌️

Regarding Deep-time

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

edited November 5, 2021

I believe, consciousness, “mind,” can’t be understood by studying modern people in these modern times.  It requires an evolutionary perspective of the natural, biological forces at work in concert with geologic processes that produced creatures that eventually evolved into us.  It me it seems rather self-evident that our current masterpiece body/mind is the result of hundreds of millions of "experiments", untold iterations unfolding over an unimaginable expanse of seasons and generations.  

So how can we ponder the human brain and mind without appreciating how it evolved out of the mammalian body plan and life style.

A couple years ago I realized that for all the talk about body-mind, consciousness, perception, reality, or no reality, there’s a most fundamental divide, that I believe, needs to be explicitly enunciated and thought about.  A prerequisite before anything else can really start to make sense. 

Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics and Earth’s laws of nature.  It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and Earth's evolving creatures, (and one in particular that learned to contemplate the universe and its short life), along with everything else around us.

Human Mindscape is all that goes on inside of our minds.  The landscape of your thoughts and desires and impulses and those various voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts.  The ineffable ideas that our hands can turn into physical creations, that changed our planet.  

Monday, April 5, 2021

What is “Earth Centrism”?

edited November 5, 2021

The Earth Centrist’s perspective acknowledges that Earth; her material constituents and physical processes, unfolding one day at a time, are our fundamental touchstone with reality.  We acknowledge Earth and glory in understanding her pageant of Evolution and appreciating how that pageant is reflected within our own bodies. 

We find justification in the physical fact that humans were created out of Earth's processes. 

Science shows us that we belong to the mammalian branch of one of Earth’s amazing animal kingdoms.  Yet, it’s undeniable that something quite unique happened around six million years ago when certain apes took a wild improbable evolutionary turn.

By and by, besides the marvel of our two hands, we developed two feet and legs that could stand tall or run for hours and a growing brain that learned rapidly and remembered. 

During this period our brain physically morphed in some significant ways that enabled it to host a profound leap in cognitive information processing, storage and retrieval ability. 

On the outside hominids learned to make tools, hunt, fish, and select plants, plus they mastered fire for cooking and better living.

On the inside our brains were growing and benefiting from the new super nourishment while human curiosity and adventures started filling and stretching our Mindscapes with experiences and knowledge beyond anything the "natural" physical Earth ever knew.

By Mindscape, I mean the product of all that our body/brain perceives and processes, which of course, evolutionarily speaking, was dependent on our brain’s hardware keeping pace with and driving the ever increasing volume of information and thoughts.

While the human mind and spirit seem ineffable mysteries, they are also of tremendous consequence and real-world physical power.  They drove our growing ability to study and manipulate our world; to communicate and record our experiences; and to formulate explanations for a world full of mysteries, threats and wonders.

People learned to think and gossip and paint pictures upon the canvas of cave walls, and even better, upon the canvas of each other’s imaginations.  We’ve been adding to our mind’s awareness and complexity ever since.