Conversations, Reflections

Contradictions…

On gossip, preaching and politicking…

Heart (to Mind): Why do you spout such nonsense, knowing it isn’t true, or worthy of you?

Mind (to Heart): Because I like the sound of my voice in my ears?  Makes me feel more in control, safer and more secure…

Heart:  Lies!  Deception! Propaganda!

Mind: Exactly what makes it “speakworthy” today…

Heart: But Truth resides with me, in Silence and in Peace…

Mind: Yes, of course… But such silence makes people suspicious, puts a target on your back, as everyone seeks to engage you.  I am protecting you!

Heart: ???

Mind: Trust me… *wink*

Heart: ?! ?! ?!

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Conversations, Reflections, Visions

Conversations With… a Stuffed Elephant…?

So, I’m sitting here, in my fevered sickbed haze, minding my own business, mulling over the revelations I’ve had today…  When suddenly I discover I’m having a “conversation.”  Not with the usual participants, mind you; no, this time it’s a small, but adorable, stuffed elephant speaking to me.

Why?  I have no idea!  I don’t even own a stuffed elephant, though I think I would want this one if I did; soft, cuddly, and pale yellow, with a lovely light floral print inside his floppy ears, and along his chest and belly…  He is sitting in a white rocking chair that is several sizes too large for him, all seriousness and sincerity.  I cannot help but laugh at the absurdity of this encounter!  (To which he takes offense, of course!)

Elephant:  You find this amusing, do you?!  Why?  Do I not fit your preconceived notions of sage wisdom?

Me:  Ummm…  Actually…  Well, of course not, you adorable creature!  But that doesn’t mean I won’t talk to you!  In fact, I’m really looking forward to it now…

Elephant:  [trying to hide a grin beneath his oversized trunk…]  And why is that?  Are you willing to take me seriously, or are you merely looking ahead to the many potential opportunities to make fun of me?

Me:  [laughing aloud…]  I don’t need to wait for such opportunities, my friend, as they are abundant and clear from the get-go!  But to answer your other questions, of course I’m willing to take you seriously, and I am grateful to have you here.  My anticipation stems from the unexpectedness of the visit, as well as the form you’ve taken; my experience tells me that such randomness, or blatant distortion of expectation, often leads to “breakthrough” moments, and that is what excites me…

Elephant:  [adjusting the round spectacles he is now wearing more comfortably across a trunk too thick to hold them…]  Well, then.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

[I can only nod, eagerly…]

Your last post had to do with the “axis of power.”  You discussed the Figure-8 Cross in terms of two intersecting paths…

[I nod, somewhat baffled by his desire to bring that up here…]

Yet the picture you later added has three (!) intersecting paths.  Was that a mistake on your part?  Or did you intend to muddy the waters that way?

Me:  Umm…  Neither, actually.  The picture was posted as an attempt to illustrate the discussion.  It just happens to be a more recent model I built (within the last decade) to help me explore the topic.  At the time I was trying to visualize how more figure-8’s (planes of activity) could be incorporated into the model, and I was having trouble doing so.  This physical model forced me to actually make the connections, but I could only physically create the three before it became a hot mess.  Still, it allowed me a little more room to expand my thought process…

Elephant:  And what did your mental model look like when all was said and done?

Me:  It becomes a sphere in the end, created of intersecting figure-8’s that each bisect the Whole.  The outer loops are what give the Sphere its curved shape…

But…  Why is this important?

Elephant:  Hmm… ? [looking up, distractedly, from the notes he has been taking…  Removing his spectacles, he taps them rhythmically against his trunk…]  A sphere, you say?  Now, that’s interesting!

Me:  [confused…]  Ok…  Why?

Elephant:  Now…  Talk to me about those trees!

Me:  The trees?!  What do they have to do with all this?

Elephant:  Well… [shifting in his seat, somewhat annoyed with me]  Indeed what?!…

Do they not possess both vertical and horizontal axis to be explored?  Do they not present a curved canopy to the outside world (more or less anyway, as their trunks hold up their tops, while their roots spread out beneath)?  Have they not been seeking to express themselves in the world in which you live?  Have they not accepted an offer of partnership in moving forward through that world?!

Hmmph!  [Shaking his head, annoyed…]

Sometimes!  I swear!…

[I can only stare at him; I have no coherent response as yet…)

Me:  So… [thoughtfully…]  Is this the point (notice I don’t use “time” here), that we acknowledge the elephant standing in the middle of the room…?

Elephant:  If you insist, of course.  Personally, I never forgot it!

[And winking at me, his image fades…]

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Conversations, Reflections, Stories..., Visions

“A Lesson on the Evolution of Rocks… and things.”

The Teacher led us to a rocky ledge, basking in the early morning sun, and bade us sit and make ourselves comfortable.  “Steady your breathing and claim your space,” she instructed us.

After some time had passed, she sighed deeply, and began to speak…

This stone I’m sitting upon is warming beneath me…,” she said.  “It’s almost as if it’s absorbing my own heat energy and reflecting it back to me.  Why do you suppose that is?”

No one responded…

Hmm…,” she mused aloud.  “Rocks evolve in a crucible of heat and pressure.  When the proper levels of each are achieved, they transform themselves into entirely different form.  Same matter, maybe (?), but a totally different expression of it, with different qualities, different strengths, different weaknesses…  The same, but different…”

She paused a moment, seemingly lost in thought.  Silence reigned upon the rocky knoll…

So the question then becomes, for me anyway… [a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth] … are the rocks then feeding me (by warming me), or are they feeding off me (by draining off my heat energy in the first place)?  Is the growing heat beneath me reflective of my healing or my weakening?”

Silence held the listeners’ tongues…  Laughing, she turned to look at each of us in turn…

Did you all follow me up here to listen to me talk to myself?”

One seeker spoke up, hesitating and awkward…  “I feel only good coming from the rock I’m with.  The experience is pleasant, comforting, blissful…  I feel more grounded, more centered, more… whole somehow…  I think the rock is helping, rather than hurting me,” he concluded quietly.

Ok, then,” the Teacher responded.  “From your perspective the rock is serving you…  Beautiful!  Wonderful!  How empowering and validating it must be to be loved in this manner!…”  She turned and looked sharply at the speaker.  “But why do you suppose the rock should choose to serve you this way?  Does it gain nothing from its interaction with you?”

Another seeker spoke up…  “Perhaps the good feelings are merely a side effect of the draining of energy…?  Some predators drug their victims so they don’t realize they’re in danger until they are too weak to respond,” she suggested.

Ahhh…,” responded the Teacher.  “In which case, the very rocks upon this Earth may be our enemies, draining us, enslaving us to fuel their evolution…?”

The student did not respond…

Seems curious to me,” mused the Teacher, “that we have so many ‘stone masters’ in our collective human history, if we are indeed their slaves.  Perhaps that is part of the shared delusion the stones create to bend us to their will…?”

Silence settled once more upon the small group.  The sun warmed as it rose higher in the morning sky.  The humans warmed,  absorbing its heat and light.  The rocks warmed, creating a haven of peace and serenity, soothing city souls…

“It seems to me,” a third seeker began, “that everything in the Universe, in Nature, revolves around the principle of exchange…  From the grossest planetary matter, to the tiniest sub-atomic particles, all forms freely exchange energy.  Each expression of matter may use that energy differently, but we are all using the same energy…  Why, then, would this be any different?  Why cast it as an either/or question?”

He looked directly at the Teacher…  And continued.

“Can we not suppose, perhaps, that the exchange of heat energy between us and the rocks is of mutual benefit somehow?”

Interesting question,” the Teacher responded.  “Perhaps we could explore that a bit…?”

When no objections were voiced, she began to speculate aloud…

So, the rock absorbs my heat energy to use for some internal process, and then returns that heat energy to me, making me feel good…?”

No one in the small gathering responded…

But is there then a purpose to this exchange, beyond the mere cycling, or recycling, of energy…?”  Chuckling softly, she continued, mostly to herself.  “Talk about the proverbial waste of time…”

“Unless…,” the third seeker began.  “Unless the rocks transform my heat energy in some manner before returning it to me…?  In which case, it’s not precisely the same energy…?”

Smiling broadly, the Teacher looked directly at the third seeker…  “From which we might conclude that we also transform such energy before passing it back to the stones…?  Or other beings we might encounter along our way?”

“Like bees!,” another seeker exclaimed.  “We, as humans, have mobility that the stones do not innately possess.  I mean, they move, of course, but not nearly as easily as we do.  Perhaps our mutual exchange allows us to carry the stone-transformed energy elsewhere, while leaving some residue of our travels behind!  Such an exchange would benefit both parties, empowering, informing, even directing the evolution of all matter…”

Another seeker jumped in, excitedly… “Gently pushing us all in the same general direction…”

And yet another seeker found her voice…  “Both pushing us forward while reigning us in, so no one form alters too dramatically in a single step!”

All eyes focused on the Teacher…

She sighed deeply, drawing in the early summer morning, then lay back upon her warmed rock.  The seekers waited, expectantly, though none could voice their need.

The same… but different,” she murmured softly.

Soon the Teacher’s gentle snoring became part of the ambient summer soundscape…

 

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Conversations

Conversations with the Other: Random…

Me:  Just waiting for the right moment… [smiling]

Other:  But there is no “right” moment…?

Me:  Sure there is!  [giggling]  The right moment is always called “now,” while the moments that are left are called “before” or “later,” or some variation thereof…

Other: [tilting head to the right] ???

Me: Exactly!!  Now…  wait for it…  Soon now…

Other: [starting to giggle]…

Me:  Now!!

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Conversations, Essay, Reflections

A Conversation with the Other About: Language…

 

A Conversation with the Other About:

Language

Other: Well… This is a rather large topic area! Any chance you want to narrow it down?

L: Sure! If I had some idea where I wanted to go with this. But I don’t. So I guess we’ll both be surprised… <grin>

O: All right, then… <grinning back> Maybe if you start with what prompted this discussion…?

L: Fair enough… Actually, I don’t think it was any one thing specifically, but rather several smaller things taken in at roughly the same time. And when I looked at them all together, the only common denominator seemed to be language…

Although, to be fair, the first desire for this conversation began with the title “…About: Hope and Other Words of Questionable Value”…

Changing it to “Language” in general seemed a more productive path to take…

O: Umm… <hesitating> Why would you consider “hope” a word of questionable value? It seems to me to be a very valuable concept…

L: <laughing> Indeed! And therein lies my problem. Because spending some time thinking about it proved that wasn’t necessarily true…

Or maybe that’s not a fair statement. The concept itself might prove valuable, for certainly it serves a purpose, but as a word it is overused and somewhat meaningless, as are many other words we rely on…

O: Umm… <slightly baffled> You might need to explain that for me. After all, you are the writer, and words are very important to you as such, so to hear you disparaging them in such a way confuses me. Especially a pleasant word like “hope.”

L: Exactly my point, dear friend!!! That’s why I needed to talk to you!

O: All right… So I’m here. I’m listening. Perhaps we’d best start with you talking at me, though, since I have no idea what you are talking about…

L: <smiling> Sounds like fun!

Ok, so there I was, thinking about “hope,” trying to define it in a way that made sense to me. And I wound up confusing myself… Because “hope” is a word like “being” (which we’ve already beaten to death in our conversations <chuckle>), in that it is both noun and verb simultaneously…

As a noun, “hope” seems valuable; something we’d all strive for or wish to have. In fact, it might be safe to say that hope is desire, or at least the “wanting” of something…

But as a verb, it is a much more nuanced word, for it can run the gamut between ultimate potential and dismal delusion, as a tool to create or destroy, as a means to uplift or depress a spirit. And that seems counter-intuitive to me, for “hope” should always be a “good” thing, shouldn’t it?

O: Keep going… I’m following you so far…

L: Good! <smiling> So it occurred to me that “hope” is an empty word, in and of itself, sometimes trite, sometimes central to a theme, but empty of any intrinsic value of its own. And it’s not alone in that, as there are many such words just like it, that have “value” only in the context they are in, or in the purpose behind their use; yet the words themselves are held in high esteem as though they had value themselves…

O: Examples?

L: Shit! I knew you were going to ask that…

Ok, how about “light,” another seemingly positive word, with deep archetypal roots, and both noun and verb simultaneously?…

Or even “love”?

And on the flip side we have words like “fear,” “anger,” “doubt,” “guilt” and “shame.”

All of these words carry heavy connotative weight, draw their relative power from the archetypal reservoir of a collective unconscious, and serve as both nouns and verbs simultaneously. And all of them are meaningless and value-less outside of context and purpose, being overused and under-owned or understood…

O: But isn’t that true of all words? Language itself is interpretive, subjective, abstract…

L: Exactly!

O: <somewhat bemused> And your point?

L: <genuinely amused now> My point? Simple…

It isn’t real! None of it is real!

O: Umm… <genuinely confused now> Of course not…? It’s language… Words are not “real.” Ever…

L: <nodding emphatically> Yes, exactly! “The word is not the thing.” We know this. Words are abstractions, and therefore removed from reality. The general semanticists showed that with their “ladder of abstraction”; and the higher-order words (further removed from reality) have even less substance than lower-order words. And all of that is what makes language work!

O: Then what, exactly, are we discussing? Or should I ask, what are we discussing this for?

L: Because it is that very fact, that tenuous connection to reality, that gives language its power, while simultaneously stripping it of value!…

O: Elaborate?

L: <grinning mischievously> Afraid to use your words, now? Minimizing their numbers does not affect their quality…

The Other raises an eyebrow in a “not amused” gesture…

L: <laughing> Fair enough, then…

I guess I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but I have a generalized sense of direction, so I suppose we should just meander along and see where it leads… Several things come immediately to mind in the wake of this “words are not real” revelation (by which I mean “new layers revealed” not “newly discovered”):

  1. Words as a medium for creating…

  2. Words as an obstacle to creation, and…

  3. Conceptual boundaries created by languages in particular, as well as particular languages…

Anywhere in particular you want to start?

O: Why not start in the beginning?

L: <laughing out loud> Because circles have no beginning…?

O: <laughing, too> Fine! Then just start anywhere, and we’ll know we’re done when we get back to that beginning…

L: Ok then, let’s start with creating…

I love to create, period. And I love to use a variety of media to do so. But my favorite medium by far is language, precisely because of its “unreality,” or some corollary thereof. Because all other media create static creations, while language creates dynamic structures…

O: Explore that a little more for me?

L: Sure! <grinning> I guess what I’m saying is this. If I craft a piece of jewelry, or crochet a baby blanket, or color a picture (my latest go-to hobby), then I have something tangible to show for my efforts. And aside from the passage of time (another conversation entirely), that item will remain the same; hence it is a static creation, real and solid…

But if I craft something with words, it lacks that same level of reality, at least in the sense of being un-changeable. The words themselves might remain the same indefinitely, but the meaning, and the value will alter. Quite frequently, in fact. Not just in the sense of how others interpret it, but in how I do; thus it is a dynamic creation, evolving over time…

And that is possible precisely because of its abstract nature… And precisely why it is my favorite medium…

Whether it’s because I am choosing words that can be purposely interpreted in multiple ways (say as nouns or verbs in the same sentence, like those already discussed), or using homonyms to create metaphors (like “I” and “eye”, for example), language is multi-dimensional, allowing a single piece of work to mean many different things, all at the same time!

And depending on the order they are laid down in, the cadence, rhythm and flow of the work, the connotative connections made, a single piece of writing can become timeless, boundless, and ever-relevant!

It is pure magic!

O: Even if it’s not interpreted that way? I mean, people “hear” what they want or expect to hear; how then can you assure that such depth is accurately perceived?

L: I can’t, of course… I have absolutely no control over how something is interpreted. Nor can I “make” anyone sense the available layers in any given work. But that does not mean they are not there… And that is the paradox here.

Because language isn’t real…

Though it discusses real things…

O: Hmm…

L: Time for a “to be continued”?

O: Yeah, I’m thinking so…

L: Fair enough… We can pick this up another time…

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