A Walk After Dark

A cloudless night like this
Can set the spirit soaring:
After a tiring day
The clockwork spectacle is
Impressive in a slightly boring
Eighteenth-century way.

It soothed adolescence a lot
To meet so shameless a stare;
The things I did could not
Be so shocking as they said
If that would still be there
After the shocked were dead

Now, unready to die
Bur already at the stage
When one starts to resent the young,
I am glad those points in the sky
May also be counted among
The creatures of middle-age.

It’s cosier thinking of night
As more an Old People’s Home
Than a shed for a faultless machine,
That the red pre-Cambrian light
Is gone like Imperial Rome
Or myself at seventeen.

Yet however much we may like
The stoic manner in which
The classical authors wrote,
Only the young and rich
Have the nerve or the figure to strike
The lacrimae rerum note.

For the present stalks abroad
Like the past and its wronged again
Whimper and are ignored,
And the truth cannot be hid;
Somebody chose their pain,
What needn’t have happened did.

Occurring this very night
By no established rule,
Some event may already have hurled
Its first little No at the right
Of the laws we accept to school
Our post-diluvian world:

But the stars burn on overhead,
Unconscious of final ends,
As I walk home to bed,
Asking what judgment waits
My person, all my friends,
And these United States.

— W. H. Auden was born 114 years ago today
l acrimae rerum is a phrase from the Aeneid of Vrigil, which has been translated “tears at the heart of things”

Stretch your reality to encompass this story

As a twenty-something young man, Bob Lazar worked at a secret military installation in Nevada. He was given a half dome the size of a basketball that generated a powerful repulsive force — anti-gravity. His job was to figure out how it worked so we humans could build one.

According to the laws of physics as we know them currently, gravity only pulls, never pushes. Gravity passes through all known forms of matter as if it wasn’t there. You can add more mass that makes the gravity stronger. Perhaps you could make negative gravity if you had a negative mass, but human science doesn’t know how to produce a negative mass.

Lazar tells of his life turning to a living hell after he went public with (what little he knew of) the laboratory’s secrets.

A Global Experiment

We humans have packed more change into the last 10,000 years than the billion years* that preceded it. If we view history as an outgrowth of nature, a product of nature, then nature is saying to us that this human experiment is important enough to jeopardize the stability of the biosphere in order to give it a chance. Nature is saying she is willing to place the entire planet’s ecology in danger for 10,000 years in order to test the potential of language-using, technological intelligence to carry all of life to the next level. It’s a terrifying enterprise. Let’s hope her trust is not misplaced.
_____________________________Terrence McKenna (slightly paraphrased by JJM)

Image result for the whole world in his hands

* I think he exaggerates here. A billion years ago there was no photosynthesis and only one-celled life. If he had said half a billion years, I could agree.

A meditator touches another reality

We humans are utterly ignorat of what we are and what our place is in the universe. Humans are myopic creatures, full of hubris, to a degree that is laughable…we’ve lost any sense of our place in the Great Chain of Being. Instead, we’ve cultured our sense of an independent self, which is an amazing creation in its own right, but which has drawn us into isolation to the point where we must make a choice whether to rejoin the spiral of life or risk permanent alienation. — Daniel Schmidt

Novelist Whitley Strieber is another sensitive person who receives messages that appear to come from outside conventional reality. He has written a nonfiction book recently describing where we are in human evolution, and what are the choices before us as a species.

Chris Hedges on meeting hate with love

The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration. He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides.

But Campbell was also, despite a slew of death threats he received from white segregationists, an unofficial chaplain to the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. He denounced and publicly fought the Klan’s racism, acts of terror and violence and marched with Black civil rights protestors in his native Mississippi, but he steadfastly refused to “cancel” white racists out of his life. He refused to demonize them as less than human. He insisted that this form of racism, while evil, was not as insidious as a capitalist system that perpetuated the economic misery and instability that pushed whites into the ranks of violent, racist organizations.

To understand is not to condone. But if the ruling elites, and their courtiers masquerading as journalists, continue to gleefully erase these people from the media landscape, to attack them as less than human, or as Hillary Clinton called them “deplorables,” while at the same time refusing to address the grotesque social inequality that has left them vulnerable and afraid, it will fuel ever greater levels of extremism and ever greater levels of state repression and censorship.

Read more from Chris Hedges

After Trump became president, lawn signs started appearing in my neighborhood saying Hate has no home here. My lawn wasn’t among them. Hating the haters just leads us into an endless spiral. Welcome everyone. Isn’t this what Ghandi and Jesus and ML King and Thich Nhat Hahn have said? — JJM

A Creed

I hold that when a person dies
___His soul returns again to earth;
Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise
___Another mother gives him birth.
With sturdier limbs and brighter brain
The old soul takes the roads again.

Such is my own belief and trust;
___This hand, this hand that holds the pen,
Has many a hundred times been dust
___And turned, as dust, to dust again;
These eyes of mine have blinked and shone
In Thebes, in Troy, in Babylon.

All that I rightly think or do,
___Or make, or spoil, or bless, or blast,
Is curse or blessing justly due
___For sloth or effort in the past.
My life’s a statement of the sum
Of vice indulged, or overcome.

I know that in my lives to be
___My sorry heart will ache and burn,
And worship, unavailingly,
___The woman whom I used to spurn,
And shake to see another have
The love I spurned, the love she gave.

And I shall know, in angry words,
___In gibes, and mocks, and many a tear,
A carrion flock of homing-birds,
___The gibes and scorns I uttered here.
The brave word that I failed to speak
Will brand me dastard on the cheek.

And as I wander on the roads
___I shall be helped and healed and blessed;
Dear words shall cheer and be as goads
___To urge to heights before unguessed.
My road shall be the road I made;
All that I gave shall be repaid.

So shall I fight, so shall I tread,
___In this long war beneath the stars;
So shall a glory wreathe my head,
___So shall I faint and show the scars,
Until this case, this clogging mould,
Be smithied all to kingly gold.

— John Masefield

Rewriting Prehistory

In 20 minutes, Ben lays out the case for a civilization that ended with the last ice age, 12,700 years ago. Of course, it’s just the outline, but if you haven’t heard this before, I suggest you read widely, watch videos on UnchartedX and Graham Hancock’s channel and Brien Foerster. The impossibility of putting together a pyramid of 2 million stone blocks without machine tools is a one-line proof, but it’s not possible for most people to accept this without many months to put it together with other evidence.

So Beautie on the Waters Stood

 

So Beauty on the waters stood
When Love had severed earth from flood!
So when he parted air from fire,
He did with concord all inspire!
And then a motion he them taught
That elder than himself was thought,
Which thought was, yet, the child of earth,
For Love is elder than his birth.

– Ben Jonson

Soprano: Julianne Baird
Lute: Ronn McFarlane
Music by Alfonso Ferrabosco II (1575 – 1628)

Two deep problems of physics

One of the deep unsolved problems of physics is the measurement problem of quantum mechanics. How is it that a system described by probability function becomes suddenly a system in a definite, well-defined state whenever a measurement is made?

Another deep, unsolved problem of physics is the arrow of time. Since all the fundamental laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, why is the past a fixed history that we can learn about, while the future is an open-ended set of possibilities about which we can only guess?

Freeman Dyson had one of the most independent and creative minds in science. Twenty years ago, at an all-star gathering of some of the world’s greatest physicists, Dyson proposed a solution to both these problems at once. Essentially, he proposes adding a rule to the usual formulation of quantum mechanics that says, “Propagate the wave function always forward in time. You may use what you know to compute quantum probabilities for the future, but never the past.”

Social Darwinism is not Darwin’s

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.

Charles Darwin was born on the same day in 1809 as Abraham Lincoln.

But he was steeped in some of the prejudices of his time:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.