Tag Archives: substance

The Chalk Lines

The lines were drawn some time ago;
they framed the fallen corpse
where it was found to be expired
and removed, in due course.

Its owner left it vacant there,
having no further need
of its method of transport,
or ability to read.

One might imagine that the chalk
by now would be long gone,
what with the traffic in this place
and all the goings’ on,

but there it is, as sharp and clean
as when it first was lain;
it’s neither flaked away to dust
or been washed down the drain.

The permanence of some things
seems a little bit off whack;
for instance, the sidewalk beneath
the chalk, no longer black,

but softened to a misty grey,
is cracked beyond repair
and only held together
by the chalk line drawing there.

27 JUN 2005

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On Discussing John Searle

The problem with your kind of thought, he said,
is that it often leads to idleness;
and what could be productive time, instead
is spent in useless ponder, more or less,

on how the world’s become the way it is,
to what degree which species is to blame,
the perils posed to culture by big cities,
or which phenomena are rightly named.

Where science may concern itself with how,
you spin your wheels in seeking after why;
resulting in the loss of here and now
exchanged for some perfected by-and-by.

Philosophy may the sport of kings,
but in the end, it means little or nothing.

08 JUN 2005

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What good is art

What good is art if it does not instruct,
or for our “better angels” cast new wings
beyond utilitarian design,
reminding us that beauty without form
is doomed, under the sheer weight of itself
to force its rigid framing to collapse?

Art is like all religions, in that all
are but a generation from extinct;
the evolution of a form requires
that it do more than simply change its clothes,
grow gills and fins to swim in altered seas
or learn to hunt new game to feed its young.

What good are schools if they do not provide
a context beyond simple black and white,
and offer views of different paradigms
where parasites are not the food chain’s end?
That corpse is sucked of marrow, and its bones
are far too fragile to host us for long.

The arts are an essential to the whole:
without creative outlet, we are chained
to follow, sullen, on pathways not our own
in search of some elusive, unknown truth
that if found, will be meaningless, or worse,
to our imagination’s limits, dead.

What good is any dogma that insists
on praising uniformity’s facade
while damning the poor souls behind those bars
whose torment is to see outside the cage,
and fed on lies of common brotherhood
to mutate into monsters, thugs, and whores?

True culture does not denigrate the arts
if it intends to do more than survive;
and Beauty, unappreciated, dies,
its empty shell an ugly, barren waste.
What good then is mere rhetoric that claims
some great prize as its end, by any means?

16 May 2005

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When Twilight Pales

When twilight pales your umber locks to grey
and lines the apples of your cheeks with care,
takes the wind from your merry laugh, so gay,
and makes your step less sturdy on the stair,

remember this: I loved you from the first,
not for your youthful smile, nor supple limbs,
but instead for your spark, and constant thirst
to seek for substance beyond passing whims.

Who cares what strikes the fancy of the fool
that prizes most, and loves, at just a glance?
The mine is worth more than a single jewel,
whose value is determined just by chance.

For surface beauty is a passing phase;
it blooms in early spring, and then is past.
It will not warm the hearth through winter days,
nor serve as fuel to fire a love that lasts.

05 MAY 2005

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Wanting what you have vs having what you want

I paraphrase the Dalai Lama a bit here, but the gist of it is that most of the world focuses on having what you want— which is a constant state of acquisition, of needing to augment with more, of rampant consumerism that ultimately ends in devaluation of anything that is not imminently disposable.

If you find satisfaction in what you are, where you are, who you are right now, that is peace of mind that is not illusive, transitory or subject to entropy. Wanting what you have is the ultimate expression of living in the moment. The goal is to be here now, not to dwell on how much better your life could be if only …

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Communication for a New Age

This is primarily an intro to several chains-of-thought that make up the bigger picture. They probably will not be chained together in this way once each of them has been fleshed out a bit more.

Each historical age is determined by the predominant societal position given to the individuals, groups, nations or empires that can produce or have the resources to acquire whatever substance that age equates to its varied definitions of power. The Bronze Age – whoever could make the most bronze weapons and tools was the predominant culture; The Iron Age – same scenario, different metal. Once societies ran out of harder or more workable metals, they had to pause and re-evaluate their priorities. As a result, we had the Dark Ages – whoever could keep the most people in the dark about their own potential and thereby utilize the brawn of the world without the cumbersome benefit of its brain; the Industrial Age – the period during which those who appeared to be the most industrious were valued, when how much you had really first became more important that what it was you had so much of; the Computer Age – that period of time after we figured out we could get someone else to do the thinking for us, and ending just before the period of time when we began to realize we couldn’t tell the difference; and finally, we are in the midst of what some are calling the Information Age. Of course, because there are so many of us in this world now, and each of us more or less autonomously by consensus creates, borrows, buys, steals, inherits, creates, is allowed, is deluded into, or avoids their own separate, unique and individual opinion on the subject, whether we are at the beginning, in the middle, or nearing the definite conclusion of the information age is highly subjective.

My belief is that we are near the end of the Information Age; and that means that a new age is on the imminent horizon. I will outline my reasons for this belief, both in its ceasing to exist and clearly waiting to exist aspects, in a while. For now, let me just skip forward to my conclusion: The next age we are about to enter is the Wisdom Age, and unless we start thinking about gathering some of it together now, you and I and a lot of people on this planet are going to be on the bottom of the food chain, socially speaking.

The first question I would put forward to anyone I encountered in this new age would not be, “Do you speak MY language, stranger,” but rather, “Can you sing in your OWN (language)?”

At the conclusion of my initial interrogative statement I would commence to demonstrate a song of my own devising, in my own language. If there was no reply in kind, then that person would be required to locate someone of his own kind who could in fact sing a few bars. If that individual was willing to teach the first “stranger” something of the way of singing, then improvement of that culture could continue. Of course, there would be attempts, in the beginning of the age, where some would try to get others to sing on their behalf (which would of course give credibility to the singer and only by association improve the standing of the employer in some respects, and lower their believability in other respects), or would learn, by rote, someone else’s songs and try to bluff their way through (of course, a true singer would know that the song was not of the singer’s creation, and would know something was false in the communication). But this would rapidly prove the exception.

After the first exchange of songs in each of the singer’s native languages, translation of ideas and other information could ensue. Without a meeting of equals, an individual or group, no matter how extensive or impressive or overwhelming their other assets, had no basis for transacting communication and no wise way of achieving that objective. Unless two individuals can understand,
through that shared experience of each other’s inner being that singing your own song weaves into reality, what really is important to the other person, there is no fair, equitable, honest, open, profitable or moral grounds for business, trade, marriage, treaty, alliance, division, disagreement, censorship, condemnation, ridicule, friendship, religion or warfare – in short, none of these partnership activities can occur. If you want any of those things but can not get your songs in order, you just have to wait. You’re obviously not ready for whatever it is you think you want. So you have time to work on your song and get it together.

Maybe this will help put things into a bit of perspective:

Imagine walking down the sidewalk on an early spring morning, a light mist still hanging in the air in the coolness of the day. You could be in a metropolitan area, or out in the middle of the desert (of course, the construction and very nature of your sidewalk will vary depending on that first choice). There could be thousands of other people involved in this selfsame activity, or you could be the only one. For the sake of this illustration, imagine yourself and at least one other person who will become aware of your presence at about the same time you gain awareness of them.

Now imagine that instead of having a set of headphones on your head that is fed from Sony Walkman, you are accompanied in the open air by a group of between two and six musicians, all accompanying themselves using whatever acoustic (that is, non-electrically powered) instruments, devices, accessories, tools best describe and reproduce the music that describes you. This may take a while to imagine, and of course, at different times, the group may be composed of different and perhaps interchangeable individuals and/or attachments. Chances are you’ll have several varying groups, but at least one or two. Now imagine the body of work that they might perform. It might be songs from the radio, ambient sounds, religious hymns, classical works, etc., etc. At least one of the songs must be an original work (exactly how original is always going to be a problem, it always has been, but I think the nature of the problem will probably change in the future), the performance of which you take an active part whenever it comes into rotation, or by request, whichever comes first. Since this discourse will get confusing unless we somehow divide its parts into recognizable segments, let’s call this first imaginary product in the course of this analogy “The Soundtrack of Your Life.”

Don’t worry if you think you might have left something out – there’s going to be ample opportunity in the future to expand your repertoire.

15 MAR 2005

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Stirring the Pot

As you delve deeper into who you are,
quite often you touch things that make you ill —
those tendencies and habits that so far
you’ve managed to ignore. Until you still

the chaos that engulfs your conscious mind
and focus past illusion’s palimpsest,
where all you’ve done is written, you’ll find
yourself embroiled in strife, strain and unrest.

Lost tears you’ve never cried will fill your eyes,
the slightest provocation sparks your ire;
and ’til you’ve cut your hidden beast to size,
it and the whole wide world seem to conspire

to prove you are both madman and a fool.
Such are the lessons taught in wisdom’s school.

03 JAN 2005

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