Photons have both inertial and gravitational mass (even though they have zero rest mass) and exhibit all the characteristics of material bodies. Electromagnetism is as material as breath, and an equally incredible candidate for the vital field.
As a USC student, I was able to make my way through the crowd and attain a prime patch of grass for viewing the rock concert–I mean, president’s speech. I voted for Obama, and I still support Obama today; however, I was extremely disappointed to see the attention of so many people be squandered with bread and circus entertainment before Obama spoke, and the further squandered of any opportunity to educate the voters with non-partisan information to prepare us to vote is a just system.
The following picture I was able to salvage from my camera phone:
A glimmer of the sort of stuff that mental masturbation is made of. Full podcast streaming and available for download below: Philosophy Bites presents Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
It seems as though plato thought change was a sign of illusion. its as if the real world existed behind the change, the illusion of puppets, and was timeless: an immutable form of the real thing.
The Dalai Lama recently visited Stanford University and spoke on the centrality of compassion for the future of human society. In this talk he addresses the importance of educating all people about practicing compassion and using the mind to understand the views of others. He talks about his interest in science and how neuroscience is connecting with religion on the importance of mind in relation to holistic health. The Dalai Lama feels that cultivating compassion in the mind should no longer be confined to religion, but needs to be taught in the secular arena and backed up with scientific research. At the end of the talk he answers a number of questions from the audience.
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.
Perplexed by “Nonplussed” and “Bemused”
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 data, decimate, effete, enormity, fulsome, 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?
BeMused by Design
River Rise by India Arie [Testimony Vol.2: Love & Politics]
There was always
A power I could feel
It was guidance to tell me the way to go
But nowadays I feel like can’t hear that voice
I’ve been flying blind
I need you to come and be my eyes. (be my eyes)
Carry me back home
(I cannot remember the way)
Carry me back home
(I surrender today)
I was always
A charmed flower child
I would sit for hours
And listen to the sky
But nowadays I feel like I don’t have that choice
I’ve been looking down in desperation
I need you to be my inspiration yeah
Carry me back home
(I cannot remember the way)
Carry me back home
(I surrender today)
I bow down
And I humble myself
I can’t do this
Lord I need your help
All the material things
They feel like chains
If you’re not here beside me
You’re the reason I see
(Help me to remember the way)
Help me to remember
Only you can show me
(Only you can show me the way)
(I surrender today)
You are the only way
Lord, I need you.
Free write to unwind twisted judgment.
The police and neighborhood watch are treating my neighborhood like Gotham City: knocks on the front door, flyers and phone calls, and email with subject line: surveillance have bombarded my house for the past few weeks. The incoming word, in short: there are sex offenders, lurking, strolling and seeking adult services at a house near you! During my daily walks, I have noticed an increase of adult men walking during all hours. Weather the alerts and my observations are related, who is to know.
I am looping my way home. The time is around 5:30 pm, and the hot sun shines bright lights upon every blade of glass canopys of street lined trees don’t umbrella. I was thinking about an email I received earlier during the day, an update from neighborhood watch on aforementioned matters. I was feeling unsettled, and trying to sort out why the email made me uncomfortable more so than the content in the email itself. There is a hunt for predators, and because no one knows the faces for sure, all people who match the profile are like lepers walking around here. And here I find what about the email made me uneasy: the assumption that now, educated with the information, I was to assume the same judgment based on others’ fear, profiles, and precautionary, accusatory inductive judgment. I don’t like the logic of inductive judgment. What happened to innocent until proven otherwise? And even the people who are guilty, I do not want to judge: no one person in this world is solely a sex offender, the whole person is immensely more expansive and deep than a legal or behavioral label–not to excuse causing harm, but also, not to assume it and fear it.
My thoughts were interrupted by a man walking alone, a man who I have seen before on these street a handful of time walking alone. I stopped thinking and began observing, as he was a half of a block ahead of me and we held the same pace. His left foot kicked like there was a rock in his shoe, which was counter balanced by an overly weighting swing of a flat palmed right hand. The unbalanced foot and hand were not so much orchestrated like clamor in tandem, but rather, outbursts of simultaneous idiosyncracies. As we walked down the main road, he would divet into the first few feet of a cross street, walk straight, and then divet out again to the main road sidewalk: a compulsive performance of an illogical formula.
After a few minutes of observing, my old thought string reentered my internal discourse. Sex offenders. I crossed to the other side of the road. I resented myself, loathed myself, judged myself, for every step I took crossing the street, as my pace was beginning to gain speed on his. I was judging the man for fitting a profile, then avoiding him like being close to him was a potential threat to my well-being. Like we weren’t made from the same stuff. Like we had different values or intentions. And I felt horrible about myself.
Then, it dawned upon me, that perhaps I had not been brainwashed by emails and cautionary flyers, and that I had moved because of my own discomfort for the unbalanced and compulsive nature I observed. Yes. I Intellectualized and explained to myself the reality of my judgment: the swinging right hand out of balance is an ipsolateral connection to the left side of the brain, and combined with his compulsive tendencies, naturally I would assume there is something not right in his left hemisphere, where reason and logic are conscious.
A moment after feeling the relief of resolution, and the unclenching jaw of self ridicule and judgment for profiling, I realized that I had tricked myself with a justification. I had re written my reaction to suit the beliefs and values I’d like to think that I hold always, and consider the cornerstone of my character and integrity. What I really did was move because he fit the profile I had been told to assume was dangerous. Imagine, I thought to myself, if the time and place were different I was told to fear another race instead of a sex offender. The principle would be the same: avoid the other for your safety. And I acted as a precautionary measure. My behavior was a reaction to align itself with my thoughts.
I stood at the front door of my house and sighed. There is no way to know if my judgement was based on anything but my own assumption of others fear, my own profiling, or my own intuitive perceptions and observations. Perhaps a combination of them all. I only can know that I judged and moved further away from another person, and judged myself for that judgment. I wrote this all free write as soon as I stepped inside my home as way to understand myself and avoid any lasting self judgement: I do not want to judge myself or others, and it all begins to blend into understanding when knowledge of self increases with reflection, and I look inwardly with compassion in hopes that the same gaze will look with new fresh eyes out into the world on my next walk.
BeMused by Design Graphic Collection 2010©
We are all so interdependent today, we cannot escape the consequences of others actions. And interdependence is a law of nature, not of individuality.
We are all made of star dust. We are all fashioned from the same substance. We are not so separated or so individual as we once thought.
Straight Lines Don’t Occur in Nature
BeMused by Design, Graphic Showcase
When you stare out into the universe, the universe stares back.
Now, imagine a fish.
The philosophical statement and the concept of a fish fit into a common associative category, or at least, it feels like the two fit together better than they don’t fit together.
I’m still reading Memories, Dreams & Reflections by Carl Jung, and once again, a simple statement he made in passing warped my mind into a whirlpool. He was describing a dream of his with a fish which he referred to as “…an unconscious and mute fish…”
It seems strange to me that unconscious and mute were explicitly stated: both are implicit assumptions when conceptualizing a fish. From there my mind wandered, wondering if unconscious and mute were used to describe the fish as a literary function, like an inverted mirror, functioning to point out to the reader that the non-fish and human characters in the dream are vocal and conscious creatures.
When you stare out into the universe, the universe stares back; however, the sense or feeling of the universe staring back is elusive and evades all quantification and calculations that could prove this using the scientific method. Such is the way of transcendental beliefs and a test of spiritual resolve: faith is acknowledged in silence.
A fish underwater may stare at the surface, and from above one may stare back. However, the mute and unconscious fish does not know the presence as the presence knows it, sensing it yet not with a mutual understanding.
Infinity is two-sided. Staring into the universe is the infinite, and staring into the unconscious is infinitesimal: macro and micro representations of infinity.
Truth is constantly unfolding, and at this moment the above statement is my closest understanding in investigating my associate between the philosophical statement and the idea of a fish.