Archive | October, 2010

Sense of Self [MIDNIGHT FREE WRITE]

31 Oct

 

In a reality rigged with smoke and mirrors, the membrane body that outlines the self is reflected a thousand times over. Memories stored in sequence of lifetime trajectory in the body: psychological continuity is a central feature to our sense of selves. The present moment is here now and gone again. The appearance of one reflected image, be it the original projecting source or the indistinguishable and material collection of clones, are identical to the blink of a present eye.

The difference may come down to one’s sense of self. If the sense of self is expressed through you and from beyond you, something that is inherent and within, my guess is that you have the OG substance, the true stuff of soul. If you gain your self concept through the way you are seen by the around you, sorry to say, you maybe a mirage.

The Goddess Survived the War

30 Oct

The transformation of  the past into the future, energy into life, semen in human and seed into harvest: the goddess lives within me.

Cosmic Birth

29 Oct

Cosmic Birth

Must modern-day cosmologists be mythmakers to explain creation?

by Marcelo Gleiser

during the fall of 2004, while on a night flight from Boston to São Paulo to attend a conference on cosmology, I was greeted by an improbable pair of celestial objects aligned outside my window: the Moon, almost full, and Mars, still glittering orange-strong one month past its closest point to Earth in 60,000 years. Its simple symmetry stayed with me for a long time, resonating with some primal need we all share to search for meaning in the skies. Looking at a starry night, it is hard not to feel a deep connection with the cosmos, an irrational conviction that if we pry into its mysteries we will unveil something crucial about ourselves, perhaps our truest essence. The fact is, we try to make sense of the universe for an utterly selfish reason: to make sense of ourselves. For we know that its story is our story, and that it is the greatest of all stories.

In this we are no different from ancient sky-gazers: I am not aware of one culture that did not, through some mythic narrative, try to make sense of the sky above and the mystery of creation. The Amazon’s Yanomamis, the American Southwest’s Hopis, New Zealand’s Maoris, the Book of Genesis, the BabylonianEnuma Elish, Shiva’s creation dance, modern relativistic cosmology, all tell, each with its own symbolic imagery and tools, the story of the first birth, the birth of the cosmos itself. The richness of these narratives is staggering.1 Creation myths are held as the most sacred of all myths, bringing order and meaning to people’s lives, integrating their origin within the origin of the cosmos itself.

Children, before the hormonal onslaught of adolescence lowers their focus from the skies to the groins, always ask mythic questions: “Where does the world come from? Why do stars shine? How is it there are so many people and animals on Earth? What about in other planets?” Milan Kundera, in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being rightly wrote that the most profound questions are the ones that children ask.2 For oftentimes they are questions without answers, and as such define the limits of knowledge, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human. Yanomami Indian or modern cosmologist, when it comes to the origin of the universe, we all feel as children. A relentless curiosity propels us forward, an existential itch that must be scratched. And scratching it we have been, the best way we can, from prehistory to today.


after reading hundreds of creation myths I realized they all fall within a simple classification scheme, based on how each answered the question “Did the world come to be at a specific moment in the past?” That is, “Was there a moment of creation?” The answer can only be “yes” or “no.” A “yes” means the universe has a finite age, just as we do; it appeared some time in the past and is still around today. A “no” can mean two things: either the universe has existed forever, an eternal, uncreated cosmos, or it is created and destroyed in a cyclic succession that repeats itself throughout boundless time. The Jains of India dismissed the idea of a world created by some god or gods as mere foolishness. They reasoned that if the world had always been, gods were unnecessary.

Hinduism’s dancing Shiva creates and destroys the world in eternally repeating cycles. Both ideas, uncreated and cyclic universes, re-emerged in twentieth-century cosmology with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the one used to study the Big Bang. The germs of the ideas are essentially the same, mythic and scientific. Is science then simply rediscovering ancient wisdom? Sounds like the stuff one reads in countless New Age books that claim to find “parallels” between science and all kinds of mysticism, Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, Southwestern, etc. Tempting and profitable, but not so simple. The rules of theoretical cosmology are quite different from those of the sacred creation myths of the Jains and Hindus. For one thing, cosmological models must be empirically validated, tested against astronomical observations: in the end, there can only be one scientific creation story. But what about before a model is confirmed, when only math and physical intuition guide the scientist’s imagination? Is there a role for myth then? This is where things get more interesting. There are only a finite number of archetypical creation stories. I found five in total. The same five stories emerge across cultures, dressed in their own local colors. Science happens to be the narrative that defines our modern view of the cosmos.

This brings us to myths that choose a cosmos with a birthday. The overwhelming majority of myths fall into this category, which can be subdivided into three groups. Of these, one is by far the most popular: creation myths where the world is fashioned in some way by a god, goddess, or an assembly of gods. Genesis fits here. The cosmos is the result of a supernatural act, perpetrated willfully by a deity or deities.

The main message of these creation myths could be summarized as “from one the many.” Every creation story assumes the existence of something Absolute, godlike or not, that becomes or creates the relative, the reality we live in, with its polarized distinctions. This dissociation of absolute into relative is also true of scientific cosmic birth models.

Of course, taken at face value, a myth where creation is the result of divine intervention does not resonate with any modern scientific creation model. There is no such thing as supernatural phenomena in science, including the origin of the universe: either things happen, and are then amenable to a scientific description, or they don’t and thus are not the province of science. A phenomenon is by definition natural. The archetypical germ connecting science to myth here is of a more philosophical nature, the notion of unity as the essence of physical reality, the “from one the many” concept.


in physics, the notion of unity comes from geometry. The idea that the essence of nature is described by mathematics is the cornerstone of the physical sciences. But the notion that all physical phenomena may be reduced to a single unifying principle rooted in geometry is not. This belief can be traced back to Plato, who believed that truth could only be contemplated within the abstract world of geometrical forms. Platonism echoes strongly in the offices of theoretical physicists, especially those preoccupied with questions of cosmic origins. Stephen Hawking has equated understanding the origin of the universe to knowing “the mind of God.”3 The metaphor is no accident. God is the ultimate geometer. It is geometry.

Physics searches for ordered patterns in nature. Each ordered pattern is associated with a specific symmetry, such as the perfect symmetry of a sphere or that of the six-sided snowflake. Symmetries are also present in the way elementary particles of matter, the building blocks of physical reality, interact with each other. Those symmetries cannot be seen with the eye, but exist quite concretely in the mathematical formulation of the laws dictating how particles exert forces on each other. A physicist describes the world as composed of elementary particles of matter interacting under different forces. A century of experiments with particles led to a remarkable result: all manifestations of matter in nature can be described by combinations of only twelve elementary particles acting under the influence of four forces. Two of these forces are familiar—gravity and electromagnetism. Two are only active inside the nucleus—the strong and weak nuclear forces. But that’s it (at least so far): twelve particles and four forces, each with its own associated mathematical symmetry.

There is one more important concept in modern physics, that of a field. Every force has a field associated with it. A particle with a mass has a gravitational field around it. One with electric charge has an electric field around it. There is nothing ghostlike about fields, even though they are usually invisible. Think of them as music, flowing from an instrument that never stops playing. So, if there are four forces, there are four force fields, each with its own mathematical symmetry.

We can now go back to the search for unity in physics. The hope is that the four forces—or fields—observed in nature actually spring from one, the unified field. Imagine a majestic river that splits into four on its way to the sea. We live on the coast, where the four rivers run their separate courses. No one has ever swum far enough upstream. Those who tried have failed. But an ancient legend tells that if we could, we would see the four rivers merging into a single one. This belief sustains each new attempt.

The theory that attempts to unify all forces is known, humbly, as the Theory of Everything (affectionately named t.o.e. by its seekers). Einstein spent decades struggling to crack its secret. Hundreds of theoretical physicists around the world dedicate their professional lives to it. Although there are indirect observational reasons to pursue this idea, its main fuel is not empirical evidence but a deep-seated Platonic notion that all is one and that one is geometry. The key idea is that we live in an asymmetric world, described by four separate forces. However, as we probe reality at higher and higher energies—as we swim upstream—these forces start to behave more and more like a single force. At incredibly high energies, such as were only present during the first moments after creation, all forces were unified into one. In this sense, if we equate oneness with the creative force in the cosmos, the search for unified field theories springs from the same source as the “from one the many” creation narratives. This does not take away from the beauty and power of modern scientific narrative; it simply helps to contextualize it into a broader cultural perspective.


i recently invited alex vilenkin, a professor of physics from Tufts University, to give a colloquium at Dartmouth. Together with Hawking, James Hartle, and Andrei Linde, Vilenkin is one of the pioneers of quantum cosmology, the application of ideas from quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole. His colloquium was on the very controversial topic of anthropic reasoning and how it can help us understand why our universe is unique. Anthropic reasoning is a softer name for the so-called Anthropic Principle, which claims that the universe is the way it is because we are here: only a very special kind of universe could evolve in order to have intelligent observers asking questions about its origin and properties. Its premise is that we can use the fact we exist to learn quantitative things about the cosmos. Vilenkin made the case that we can actually use anthropic reasoning in a predictive fashion: he used it to justify the value of a mysterious component of the energy of the universe called “dark energy,” whose bizarre effect is to act as a kind of anti-gravity that pushes distant galaxies apart. Can we use anthropic reasoning to fix its value by saying that if it were any different we wouldn’t be here? Do we learn anything new from doing science this way?

Needless to say, anthropic arguments have met with much skepticism. In my book The Prophet and the Astronomer,4 I have equated it with the scientific equivalent of throwing in the towel: by accepting that the-universe-is-the-way-it-is-so-that-we-could-be-here as its starting premise, it stops people from asking truly fundamental questions. It drains science from its predictive power; it makes scientific understanding depend on the facts it’s supposed to explain and not passively accept. Our existence should be the end result of science, not its starting point. The anthropic principle places too much importance on humans, resonating with the “man is sacred” religious arguments. Not that Vilenkin or most of the defenders of anthropic arguments have a covert religious agenda. (Some do.) Quite the opposite, they claim that our universe is just one of an infinite collection of universes where things conspired to produce life. That is, we are just the odd case out there, an improbable statistical freak. The danger is that from anthropic arguments to the question “why are we special?” is a fairly automatic jump. Things get muddled together in the minds of many: this universe has evolved in a rather special way so that we, unique as we are, could be here. There is talk of “cosmic coincidences,” where only an old universe would be fit for life, since it takes billions of years for stars of the right size to evolve. In turn, coincidences breed thoughts of causes behind them, and the whole thing smells of teleology, a universe with a purpose. Anthropic arguments are worrisome. Apparently, there is a generation split; older folks are more easily attracted to it. Ask me in 10 years.


in our days of warring monotheistic fashions, it is refreshing that many creation myths do not assume an act of creation by an all-powerful supernatural being or a sense of cosmic purpose as their basic principle. Case in point, the second group of creation myths with a beginning states that the world came out of nothing. There were no gods, no time or space. Suddenly, out of a primordial urge to exist, the cosmos burst into existence on its own. An example of this kind of myth comes from the Maoris of New Zealand: “from nothing the begetting, from nothing the increase. . . .” Creation out of nothing is also the way modern cosmology describes the origin of the universe. Of course, the “nothing” here is quite different from that of the Maoris, which truly signified the absence of everything, including gods. The nothing of modern cosmology is based on the concept of a quantum vacuum, a nothingness pregnant with incessant creative activity.

It all started in 1900 when Max Planck proposed that atoms exchange energy the same way we exchange money, in multiples of a fundamental quantity, the quantum of energy. The quantum of the American monetary system is the cent: every financial transaction happens in multiples of this unit of currency. Before Planck, it was believed that all physical systems, from planets and bicycles to drops of water and atoms, absorbed and emitted energy continuously.

In 1913, Niels Bohr carried Planck’s idea into the inner structure of the atoms, proposing that electrons were only allowed to circle the atomic nucleus at certain fixed orbits, each with its own associated energy, like the rungs of a ladder. It all made sense: atoms only exchanged energy in little quantum packets because electrons could only jump between fixed energy levels, each jump related to a fixed quantum of energy or a multiple of it.

A question remained, though: why didn’t the electron fall into the nucleus? It was Bohr’s young assistant, Werner Heisenberg, who came up with an answer: the world of the very small is marred by an intrinsic uncertainty that makes it impossible to know precisely where something is at a given time: if you try to measure the electron’s position by interacting with it you end up bumping it somewhere else. To measure is to disturb. It is a slippery property of the quantum world, this uncertainty. Slippery and fundamental, for if you don’t know the electron’s position with precision, you also don’t know its energy. So, the electron is best pictured not as a little billiard ball, with a well-determined position in space, but as a wave-like entity, whose position is smeared across space. It doesn’t fall into the nucleus because it can’t fit there. In the world of the very small there is a residual quantum agitation that never goes away, a perpetual effervescence of being. This means that even empty space has fluctuations of energy, that the vacuum is never empty, that there is no such thing as absolute nothingness. Bring in Einstein’s famous E=mc2 formula, which says that energy and matter may be inter-convertible, and those fluctuations of energy may actually create, even if fleetingly, particles of matter. And if all there is in a universe is energy in different manifestations, these fluctuations may even create entire (tiny) universes. In the quantum world, there is no sharp boundary between being and becoming.

Armed with quantum uncertainty, we can present a version of how the creation-out-of-nothing cosmological narrative goes: “In the beginning, when the t.o.e. reigned supreme in its timelessness, there was a quantum vacuum, empty yet bubbling with evanescent energy fluctuations. This primordial soup was pregnant with infinitely many cosmic possibilities, each a potential universe, each a cosmoid. And they were of many kinds. Some, over-dense with energy, grew for a while before imploding upon themselves, victims of their own gravitational self-cannibalism. Others, emptier ones, expanded at a maddened pace, making it impossible for gravity’s inexorable pull to gather matter together into cosmic structures such as galaxies and stars. But one cosmoid, perhaps more, happened to have the right balance of attractive matter and expansive zest—a pin standing on its end—allowing it to survive for billions of years, its dynamical physical processes triggering the evolution of material forms of increasing complexity: nuclei, atoms, galaxies and stars, planets and intelligent observers. This cosmoid became our universe, a creation out of quantum nothingness, a causeless birth.”


there is one more group of creation myths with a beginning, completing the five archetypical answers to creation. These narratives state that before the world existed there was chaos, which embraced both creation and destruction in unstable tension. Order emerged spontaneously, and opposites were differentiated as creation unfolded. Creation always implies a polarization of reality. A Taoist myth from before 200 bce starts: “In the beginning there was chaos. Out of it came pure light and built the sky. The heavy dimness, however, moved and formed the earth from itself. . . .” The formation of Earth is narrated as a self-starting dynamical process, a condensation from a heavy dimness. This idea resonates with modern descriptions of how galaxies, stars, and solar systems form as a result of large contracting clouds of matter—mostly hydrogen and helium gas sprinkled with heavier chemical elements. Large gas clouds contract due to their own gravity. Their added rotation causes them to flatten at the poles and to stretch at the equator, somewhat like pizza dough when it is spun. Lumpier spots—points of higher “condensation” (density) become stars while less lumpy ones planets. Is a Taoist creation myth scientific? Certainly not, as it has no intention of offering a quantitative, empirically validated, description of reality. The overlap is at most vaguely suggestive and the end results quite different. The point here is not to clip the scope of scientific creativity into a neat-fitting “nothing-is-ever-new” kind of scheme, but to argue that science, at least that concerned with questions of origins, belongs to an ageless tradition of meaning-seeking mythical narratives.

In order to be scientific, cosmology must in the end break away from its historical mythic roots. Myths cannot be contested rationally, but must be accepted by faith. To a Maori, a Yanomami, or a literal Christian, the myth is the uncontestable truth, God-given or shaman-revealed. Other mythic narratives are dismissed as false without a moment’s hesitation. There is no universality in belief. Much of the world’s history has been (and is being) written as a result of horrifying clashes between different creeds. Science, in turn, aims at being universally accepted. Its strength lies in its emphasis of having every idea empirically validated by laboratory experiments or astronomical observations.

For the past 10 years or so, we have been witnessing a true revolution in our understanding of the universe due to a number of enormously successful ground-based and space-borne missions. We now know that the universe is 13,800,000,000 years old—the time elapsed since the beginning—and that its geometry is flat or very nearly so. The Big Bang model describes a universe with a very dense and hot infancy. This much has been empirically validated and is a great triumph of modern cosmology. Does this mean that we have also understood its origin, that we can explain with confidence how the universe came to be? No. Cosmic infancy is not cosmic conception. The modern cosmological narrative has elements of the three classes of myths with a beginning: the belief in a unifying principle, the concept of a creation out of (quantum) nothing, and the notion of growing order to form increasingly more complex localized structures such as galaxies and stars. So far, only this last aspect has been shown to be correct. What about the origin of the universe itself? Does the current cosmic birth narrative, in the shape of a mathematical model of the cosmos, have predictive power? Can it be validated as other scientific theories, or are we dealing with something new here?

This is where things start to get messy. It is really hard to come up with present-day consequences of things that happened during the first cosmic heartbeats. There are some possible effects, but they are extremely hard to measure. Maybe things will change in the future, but for the moment, most models opt for the second-best approach: concordance—only those models that lead to a universe with characteristics similar to the one we live in are acceptable. It is an obvious strategy. As wrote Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, “[the theory] must be perceived to have a unique inevitability about it—a resounding ring of truth that compels assent.”5 Ideally, the models being proposed by cosmologists are not only in mere accordance with our universe. They should also predict something new and unseen, perhaps a new kind of particle or radiation that will help prove them right or wrong. The hopes are high. A whole fantastic bestiary of possible cosmic inhabitants has been proposed (some admittedly by this author), consequences of different cosmological models. We know they exist, but we don’t know yet what they are. Our eyes, however, telescopic and otherwise, are wide open. Not having all the answers is actually a very healthy thing. It is a precondition for learning more. Science thrives on crisis.

At the apex of plausible narratives sits the origin of the universe itself. The starting point we know: our universe must be unique, because it was one cosmoid out of the primordial quantum soup that survived long enough to house stars, planets, and people. It is a commonly accepted notion that we must be rare, that most cosmoids never grow into anything worth thinking of. At least according to anthropic reasoning. Of course, we have no clue if this is true or not, as we cannot step outside our expanding cosmoid to visit neighboring ones. The argument states that there could be countless, perhaps infinitely many, cosmoids out there, each with its own set of physical properties. In that case, as we have seen, our universe, our existence, would be the result of a mere statistical accident. We are unique because we belong to the tiny subset of cosmoids that can harbor life. And, perhaps more to the point, because we are the ones who create the theories that try to explain our existence. Andrei Linde, who embraces the anthropic reasoning, advanced the concept of a “multiverse,” the absolute meta-entity that spends eternity birthing cosmoids, most doomed to an ill-fated, ephemeral, existence. We don’t know how such an idea could ever be tested. Perhaps some of its very indirect consequences could, but that would not be strong evidence, only circumstantial. At the very beginning of time, the boundary between science and myth gets blurry.

Does this mean that cosmologists trying to explain creation are modern-day mythmakers? My contention is that we have no choice but to be mythmakers. However, there is a key distinction from faith-based mythmaking: in cosmology, the myths are necessary only to sustain the scientific creative process, acting as catalysts to the imagination. They stand out there, a distant magic mountain that must be reached by braving the territory in between. The science—the good stuff—is what comes out of this exploration. If we were to ever reach the mountain, it would stop being magical and become real. If this final goal were to be reached, myths would have no role left, as we would finally have discovered the rational model of reality that has all the answers. Unless, of course, this meta-theory is a Holy Grail. At this point, we do not know. Meanwhile, its luminous image sustains the search. It is no coincidence that Nobel-Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg called his book describing the search for a unified field theoryDreams of a Final Theory. In his words, “We have to assume we shall succeed, otherwise we surely shall fail.”6 The power of a myth lies not in its reality, but in its believability.


Notes:

  1. A valuable collection of creation myths with commentary can be found in Barbara C. Sproul’s Primal Myths: Creation Myths Around the World(HarperSan Francisco, 1979).
  2. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Faber and Faber, 1984), 139.
  3. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (Bantam, 1988).
  4. Marcelo Gleiser, The Prophet and the Astronomer: Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World (W.W. Norton, 2003).
  5. Martin Rees, Before the Beginning of Our Universe and Others (Perseus Books, 1997), 159.
  6. Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory: The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature (Pantheon, 1992).

[FREE WRITE] Across the Universe, Timeless Interpretations

28 Oct

I want to know everything that the celestial and terrestrial symbols expressed the moment I emerged in this life. She who gives birth to life. The divine feminine. What question is the point and purpose of this quest called life? What does it mean to be to a yolk and born through umbilical cord connection into an egg of my own, now an energy bean and body to carry the yoke  that I essentially am. The continuity of soul is an elastic coil, both infinite and cyclical.

Perhaps besheret, or soul mate, is the dark matter one is winding or bending around and with through life and lifetimes and time and space: the missing half of ones double helix.

When I die, the egg deteriorates and the yoke carries on once again in the form of energy and potential. Life is, always and forever. Living and dying is the way of the world according the human creatures limited eyesight.

Observations, measurement and patterns: the method through which society acrews a body of knowledge is based on that which has physical properties and presence. The knowable and the physical. The artist carries the wind and the whimsical, exploring through the sensation of the invisible connections and networks, transformations, re-arrangements and transmutations, for which no scale or ruler can be applied.

I align myself in a dream reality where both apply. And often, very often, I am misunderstood. The weight of silence  and smoke; the charge  and spark of magnetic attractions, the gravity of truth: my method for knowing is both scientific and supernatural, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This BuMused kicks it by Old Skool Termz

28 Oct

 

Perplexed by “Nonplussed” and “Bemused”

November 18, 2008

By Ben Zimmer

Yesterday, our “Editorial Emergency” duo of Simon Glickman and Julia Rubiner launched a salvo against a common usage of the word nonplussed, a word they “wager more people get wrong than right.” That opens an interesting can of worms: if a word or phrase used to have Meaning A, but more people now use it with Meaning B, is it time for the Meaning A folks to stand aside?

In the case of nonplussed, the old meaning is “bewildered,” while the new meaning is “unfazed.” Simon and Julia aren’t the only ones bewildered by the change of meaning. Meghan Daum, writing in the Los Angeles Times, was similarly disappointed by Barack Obama’s use of the “unfazed” sense of the word when he said of his daughters’ response to media scrutiny, “I’ve been really happy by how nonplussed they’ve been by the whole thing.” Daum despairs, “Et tu, Obama? It seems so.”

For her L.A. Times piece, Daum consulted with University Pennsylvania linguist Mark Liberman, who ended up posting his response (as well as a follow-up) on the group blog Language Log (where I also contribute). Liberman covers the historical developments well, but commenters on his post, much like those on Simon and Julia’s article, were sharply divided about whether we should simply accept the new meaning of nonplussed as part of our ever-changing language.

A similar case was discussed on Sunday by Jan Freeman in her Boston Globe language column, again involving a term related to Obama. Freeman observes that “a lot of writers have thought bemused was just the right word for Barack Obama’s benign, unruffled presence, especially in the debates with John McCain.” As the Visual Thesaurus wordmap for bemused indicates, the two primary meanings of bemused are “deeply absorbed in thought” or “perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements.” The way that political reporters have used it about Obama, however, is “above it all, with a trace of amusement,” in the words of New York Times deputy news editorPhilip B. Corbett. Corbett adds, “but that’s not what bemused means.” Well, it’s not what the word has historicallymeant, but the newer sense, influenced by amused, has become mainstream enough to enter some dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate.

So here we have two words that have traditionally meant something like “bewildered” or “perplexed,” but they’ve each veered off in different semantic directions — one towards resolute calmness (nonplussed) and the other towards mild amusement (bemused). How common do these new meanings need to become before they can be accepted as standard and conventional, appropriate for good writing and speaking? In the eyes of the Merriam-Webster lexicographers, the new sense of bemused has already reached that point, but the new sense of nonplussedis not quite there.

Even if these newer senses become enshrined in the major dictionaries, that won’t be much solace to those with a more traditionalist take on language, who would see the semantic drift as mere error. We’re left with words that are difficult to use in either the old or the new way: if you use the traditional meaning, you might confuse those who are unfamiliar with with it, and if you use the newer meaning, you might annoy those who feel that the meaning is wrong. Bryan Garner, in his book Garner’s Modern American Usage, refers to such words as “skunked terms”:

When a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another — a phase that might take ten years or a hundred — it’s likely to be the subject of dispute. Some people (Group 1) insist on the traditional use; others (Group 2) embrace the new use. … A word is most hotly disputed in the middle part of this process: any use of it is likely to distract some readers. The new use seems illiterate to Group 1; the old use seems odd to Group 2. The word has become “skunked.”

“Skunked terms” on Garner’s list include datadecimateeffeteenormityfulsome, and that old usage bugaboo,hopefully. Each of these items has undergone a transformation similar to nonplussed and bemused. Garner’s advice for dealing with skunked terms is one of avoidance: “To the writer or speaker for whom credibility is important, it’s a good idea to avoid distracting any readers or listeners — whether they’re in Group 1 or Group 2.”

What do Group 1-ers and Group 2-ers think? Are these troublesome words best left unused until their meanings become more settled? Should we preserve the old, embrace the new, or attempt to do both?

Wonder why they call ya bitch, I betcha.

27 Oct

Bitch is a loaded gun. I looked up its origin and it comes from Female beast. A pretty common bit of etymology. I resent the comparison, truthfully. I loathe to use the word as a gendered (feminine) adjective. A bitch in heat is a female animal tool. Man’s possessions need a larger tool belt. A bitch obeys or is a disobedient bitch. That’s how you know who the word is truly serving, and in essence if the word is still relevant and used, who its presence and continued purpose it really reflects…

Which puts me in a bind. because people around are hollow. Integrity with more holes than a sieve. Boring and self-centered. Self centered on surface. Saying nothing and continuously seeping out a tweet or chat or sms or sos god held me i do not know why they are ‘chatting’ when they say nothing.

Not bitches. Bitches serve a purpose. These ladies create a drama from a surface shadowbox reality based on nothing real and develop a sense of self worth by making others feel small and for assests they’ll have lost by the time they’re 55 years old. Beauty doesn’t talk behind the back of another sister. Sisterhood means together. How bored are you to make conflict when it doesn’t exist. How low is your self esteem to seek that attention? I dont care. I will be that puppet. What. ever. point and laugh. I dont and i cant care. through my eye your true colors are shining on through and your behavior is reflects you in your worst light rather than making me feel bad about myself. Which clearly, is embedded in your intentions. Not a bitch. A brat and a baby.

Pensemientos Libros [free write, pm]

27 Oct

Cuando yo camino, escucho a los podcasts de SURVIVAL SPANISH. Entonces, voy a tratar a tomar los dichos y las palabras que yo he aprendido y escribirlos en el contexto de la vida aqui.

 

es todo.

The Butterfly

25 Oct

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“The Butterfly”

The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing

against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly ‘way up high.

It went away I’m sure because it wished to

kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.

But I have found what I love here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don’t live in here,

in the ghetto.

– by Pavel Friedman

Pavel Friedmann was born in Prague on January 7, 1921. He was deported to Terezin on April 26, 1942 and later to Auschwitz, where he died on September 29, 1944.


Dream Journal Free Write

25 Oct

Wide-eyed and surprised, I must have cried a well within the context of my dream because…(auto-draft didn’t save and internet connection lost so the middle chunk of my stream of consciousness dream is lost and I must go to math. Only the ending survived, thus–)…

One of my mother’s sisters asked her what was wrong. I looked at my mom. On the outside she was a jack-o-lantern She opened up a latch on her chest/body I had never noticed and inside she was a Mango. A mango! Her insides were carved out and the gunk was seedless and looked like the inside of a well-gutted pumpkin, except the lining was mango. She had a birdcage for a ribcage. There was no heart inside. My mother had no heart.

My friend Sarah told me she had her colors read with her mom a few days ago. She was a mango.

A strange arrangement, indeed.

What’s In a Word? FREE WRITE

24 Oct

The function and purpose of words for politicians and journalists, respectively, serves to sever the fluid body of accessible public information into an oil and water divide.

Power and Truth. Man is the storytelling primate. Power and truth are binary opposites, where the desire line that drives a narrative is the channel drawn between the two polars. One pole must best the other pole in order to tempt the oscillating ball (i.e. you or me or the protagonist) towards resolution.  The further from power, the closer to the truth. Words can be tempted towards either extreme. Be conscious and aware of your sources, be prudent with your words and when you speak, follow the footsteps of the truth seeker and the courageous. A note to self.

Man is Time, Woman is Space

24 Oct

So we coil and twist and survive the test of time with adaptation, stories and a thread connecting and interweaving every tense and sense that possibilities provided existence.
Graphics I made at library after a defeat with trying to print Maus for under 13 $. It remains un-printed. one day…

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Loyalty Has a Dark Side, Too.

22 Oct

The combine of politics shows true bruised colors inside of a light box. Welcome to the puppetshow America.

Redemption Song [free write]

21 Oct

A story about freedom. A story about bondage. A story about occupation, infertility and living in the shadow of the oppressor. A story that sleepwalks a thin line of waking numbness and a story about wrestling with what lies beneath through the night in fits of alive and fighting to breathe under the canopy of scarlet drapes lit from below by a brass candelabra during nightfall.

What exists with the power for destruction, invisible unknowable unseeable, and what one can do to illuminate the truth from within and dissolve the threat altogether.

Resiliant recognizance: the alchemy through a veiled mystery towards the inner wick and flickering flame of truth–finding the substance of soul, of self. We are all born with a questions. The story of my quest.

T.S. ELIOT “THE HOLLOW MEN”

18 Oct

The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot, 1925

Mistah Kurtz- he dead.

The Hollow Men

A penny for the Old Guy

I
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when 5
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass 10
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost 15
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
II
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom 20
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are 25
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom 30
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves 35
No nearer –
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
III
This is the dead land
This is cactus land 40
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this 45
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss 50
Form prayers to broken stone.
IV
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley 55
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river 60
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom 65
The hope only
Of empty men.
V
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear


Here we go round the prickly pear 70
At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act 75
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion 80
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm 85
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow 90
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends 95
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world end

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Free Write [p.m.]

17 Oct


Waves of wonder bemuse me  and make way the tide: daydreaming a parted river as the days stream by.

I have the lifespan of a cricket. I carry a concerto on my back of sad day ends: a viola, a cello and a violin, trying to vibrate a frequency high enough to shatter the glass cage entrapping me, trapping me, captivity.

Water skipper lands on lily pad feet, four dots turn stillness into doppler diamonds until its flow and force dies–in the end, stillness becomes the water and the footprint always dies.

Destruction predetermines the absent shape and form that a new creation comes to embody and fill.

Listening to the sky, thunder cries and lightnings rips sounds of furry, together rolling through the ministry of hills, mountains, plateaus and vallies. Nature’s way is forceful but always fair. No blame to place on a snake shedding its skin; the snake will shed its skin, at the rate that it sheds its skin, and so it on, on and on.

Consciousness is a dream catcher. Synergy of space debris wove of itself a tapestry. input: breathing collapse retract react adapt synaptic snap; output the stuff of the same substance in a new hypothesis.

I am nature just the same. Sense of self creates me and destroys me, for without it I would see that the world is just in its shifting degrees because a 360 perspective unwarps the bending curvature of time where all people and circumstances funnel into me, me, me. And the world seems weighted and accelerated, intensities and winds whipping with personality and intentions and it’s just a dream weaver’s objectivity and delusions. The world is fair. I am built to sense it otherwise.

Morning may bring yellow into my heart. Underneath my skin a cold wind blows, weathering and erosion determined to work in the ache of empty spaces. Blue, sunken, heavy. Tomorrow must be better.

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