Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sense of Unity


"I think nothing can be compared to the Hills for the elevation of spirit, and peace of mind...All aspects of nature lead to elevation and knowledge when you once have an idea. The commonplace growth of weeds beneath a pile of refuse appear to shine with the divine light when you know the meaning of the world and sense of unity of all things. In a great city the buildings, the machinery, the works of art, everything produced by man, are naught but the material expression of ideas. We look on lines and forms and masses of what we call matter, and we know these things existed in the mind of man in the form of ideas before they were expressed in the physical world in the form of matter. I look on the lines and forms of the mountains and all other aspects of nature as if they were but the vast expression of ideas within the Cosmic Mind, if such it can be called. Without that outlook, I am assured there is nothing in the Universe that is not the expression of mind or of life. The sense of unity is enormously increased."

- Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)
Letter to Virginia Best, Sep 22, 1925
Ansel Adams: Letters, 1916 - 1984

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Intimate Presence


"Beginning with these harmonies of the universe that could in some manner be expressed in mathematical equations, an intense scientific mediation on the structure and functioning of the universe was begun by western scientists some centuries ago. Among the insights attained by this meditation has been a sense of the curvature of the universe whereby all things are held together in their intimate presence to each other. This bonding is what makes the universe what it is, not a collection of disparate objects but an intimate presence of all things to each other, each thing sustained in its being by everything else...That the universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects is the central commitment of the Ecozoic. Existence itself is derived from and sustained by this intimacy of each being with every other being of the universe."

- Brian Swimme (1950 - ) and Thomas Berry (1914 - 2009)

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Reinvigoration


"If we analyze the operations of scenes of beauty upon the mind, and consider the intimate relation of the mind upon the nervous system and the whole physical economy, the action and reaction which constantly occur between bodily and mental conditions, the reinvigoration which results from such scenes is readily comprehended. . . . The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system."

- Frederick Law Olmsted (1822 - 1903)

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Earth's Eye


"A lake is a landscape's most
beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye;
looking into which the
beholder measures the
depth of his own nature."

-  Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Monday, April 02, 2018

Embedded Patterns


"No pattern is an isolated entity.
Each pattern can exist in the world
only to the extent that is
supported by other patterns:
the larger patterns in
which it is embedded,
the patterns of the same
size that surround it,
and the smaller patterns
which are embedded in it. "

Saturday, March 31, 2018

'Silent' = 'Listen'


"The word 'listen'
contains the same letters
as the word 'silent'."

- Alfred Brendel (1931 - )

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hush of Silence


"Listen closely... 
the eternal hush of silence
goes on and on throughout all this,
and has been going on,
and will go on and on.
This is because the world
is nothing but a dream
and is just thought of
 and the everlasting eternity
pays no attention to it."

- Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hardly Noticeable


"If you will stay close to nature,
to its simplicity,
to the small things hardly noticeable,
those things can unexpectedly
become great and immeasurable."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Crepuscular Cryptographs


"One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time; it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present hope, that the past has no reality other than as a present memory. Another school declares that all time has already transpired and that our life is only the crepuscular and no doubt falsified an mutilated memory or reflection of an irrecoverable process. Another, that the history of the universe — and in it our lives and the most tenuous detail of our lives — is the scripture produced by a subordinate god in order to communicate with a demon. Another, that the universe is comparable to those cryptographs in which not all the symbols are valid and that only what happens every three hundred nights is true. Another, that while we sleep here, we are awake elsewhere and that in this way every man is two men."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Perception of the Infinite


"Thus the perception of the infinite is somehow prior in me to the perception of the finite, that is, my perception of God is prior to my perception of myself. For how would I understand that I doubt and that I desire, that is, that I lack something and that I am not wholly perfect, unless there were some idea in me of a more perfect being, by comparison with which I might recognize my defects?"

René Descartes (1596 - 1650)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Usayable


"...trust yourself and your instincts; even if you go wrong in your judgement, the natural growth of your inner life will gradually, over time, lead you to other insights. Allow your verdicts their own quiet untroubled development which like all progress must come from deep within and cannot be forced or accelerated. Everything must be carried to term before it is born. To let every impression and the germ of every feeling come to completion inside, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, in what is unattainable to one’s own intellect, and to wait with deep humility and patience for the hour when a new clarity is delivered: that alone is to live as an artist, in the understanding and in one’s creative work."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Our Quixotic Purpose


"We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecules at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe."

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Flow of the Process


"A ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel... he must lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men... a good ruler has to learn his world's language... it's different for every world... the language of the rocks and growing things... the language you don't hear just with your ears... the Mystery of Life... not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience... 

Understanding must move with the flow of the process." 

- Frank Herbert, Dune (1920 - 1986)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Become a River


"Become a river and then nothing is needed.
That’s what The Secret of the Golden Flower says:
Achieve inaction through action,
achieve effortlessness through effort.
But first comes the effort, 
the action—it will melt you—and then
the river starts flowing.
In that very flow it has
reached the ocean."

- Osho (1931 - 1990)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Outside World


"As far as I know,
there is no proof whatever
of the existence of an
objective reality apart 
from our senses,
and I do not see why
we should accept the
 outside world as such
solely by virtue
of our senses."

- M. C. Escher (1898 - 1972)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Perpetual Stream of Energy


"Living forms are not in being,
they are happening,
they are the expression of
a perpetual stream of
matter and energy which
passes through the organism
and at the same time
constitutes it."

- Ludwig Von Bertalanffy (1901 - 1972)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Magical Illusion


"You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate "you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new."

- Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mysterious Universe


"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here. I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell."

- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Merely Vibration


"Music, this complex and mysterious act, precise as algebra and vague as a dream, this art made out of mathematics and air, is simply the result of the strange properties of a little membrane. If that membrane did not exist, sound would not exist either, since in itself it is merely vibration. Would we be able to detect music without the ear? Of course not. Well, we are surrounded by things whose existence we never suspect, because we lack the organs that would reveal them to us."

- Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Leaps of Imagination


"The brain does not own any direct copies of stuff in the world. There is no library of forms and ideas against which to compare the images of perception. Information is stored in a plastic way, allowing fantastic juxtapositions and leaps of imagination. Some chaos exists out there, and the brain seems to have more flexibility than classical physics in finding the order in it. 

In a way, art is a theory about the way the world looks to human beings. It’s abundantly obvious that one doesn’t know the world around us in detail."

- James Gleick (1954 - )

Monday, February 19, 2018

Conceptual Boundaries


"It is extremely interesting, then, to think about the meaning of the word ‘form’ as it applies to constructions of arbitrarily complex shapes. For instance, what is it that we respond to when we look at a painting and feel its beauty? Is if the ‘form’ of the lines and dots on our retina? Evidently it must be, for that is how it gets passed along to the analyzing mechanisms in our heads–but the complexity of the processing makes us feel that we are not merely looking at a two-dimensional surface; we are responding to some sort of inner meaning inside the picture, a multidimensional aspect trapped somehow inside those two dimensions. It is the word ‘meaning’ which is important here. Our minds contain interpreters which accept two-dimensional patterns and then ‘pull’ from them high-dimensional notions which are so complex that we cannot consciously describe them. The same can be said about how we respond to music, incidentally.

We human beings are macroscopic structures in a universe whose laws reside at a microscopic level. As survival-seeking beings, we are driven to seek efficient explanations that make reference only to entities at our own level. We therefore draw conceptual boundaries around entities that we easily perceive, and in so doing we carve out what seems to us to be reality."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beyond our Ken


"One night after dinner a group of us were talking about the supernatural, and one of our dinner guests said that when the electric light was invented, people began to lose the dimension of the supernatural. In the days before we could touch a switch and flood every section of the room with light, there were always shadows in the corner, shadows which moved with candlelight, with firelight; and these shadows were an outward and visible sign that things are not always what they seem; there are things which are not visible to the mortal human being; there are things beyond our ken."

-  Madeleine L'Engle (1918 - 2007)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Web of Time


"This web of time,
the strands of which approach one another,
bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other
through the centuries,
embraces every possibility. 
We do not exist in most of them.
In some you exist and not I,
while in others I do,
and you do not."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Spark of Radiance


"The spiritual task we
are given is a simple one:
to attend to that inner spark of radiance,
to hold vigil over it until
we realize it to be our self,
and to dig up and cast off
all argument we have with its love."

- Adyashanti (1962 - )

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Mysterious Cocoon


"The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon, focusing the mind on one place, one time, one rhythm - the turning of the light. The island knows no other human voices, no other footprints. On the offshore lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself, and no one will say you're wrong: not the seagulls, not the prisms, not the wind."

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Content of Cognition


"In a sense it has been my way to transcendental experience: to the discovery that matter metaphorically speaking, is the creation of the spirit (the mode of existence of the observer in a domain of discourse), and that the spirit is the creation of the matter it creates. This is not a paradox, but it is the expression of our existence in a domain of cognition in which the content of cognition is cognition itself. Beyond that nothing can be said."

Saturday, February 10, 2018

When the Mind is Quiet


"I hope that you will listen, but not with the memory of what you already know; and this is very difficult to do. You listen to something, and your mind immediately reacts with its knowledge, its conclusions, its opinions, its past memories. It listens, inquiring for a future understanding.

Just observe yourself, how you are listening, and you will see that this is what is taking place. Either you are listening with a conclusion, with knowledge, with certain memories, experiences, or you want an answer, and you are impatient. You want to know what it is all about, what life is all about, the extraordinary complexity of life. You are not actually listening at all.

You can only listen when the mind is quiet, when the mind doesn't react immediately, when there is an interval between your reaction and what is being said. Then, in that interval there is a quietness, there is a silence in which alone there is a comprehension which is not intellectual understanding.

If there is a gap between what is said and your own reaction to what is said, in that interval, whether you prolong it indefinitely, for a long period or for a few seconds - in that interval, if you observe, there comes clarity. It is the interval that is the new brain. The immediate reaction is the old brain, and the old brain functions in its own traditional, accepted, reactionary, animalistic sense.

When there is an abeyance of that, when the reaction is suspended, when there is an interval, then you will find that the new brain acts, and it is only the new brain that can understand, not the old brain".

-  Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The 'I' is Not Apparent


"Just as a man shudders with horror
when he thinks he has trodden on a serpent,
but laughs when he stoops and sees
that it is only a rope,
so I discovered one day that
what I was calling 'I' is not apparent,
and all fear and anxiety
vanished with my mistake"

Monday, February 05, 2018

Without Beginning


"It is without beginning,
unborn, and indestructible.
It is not green nor yellow,
and has neither form nor appearance.
It does not belong to the categories
of things that exist or do not exist,
nor can it be thought of in terms
of new or old. It is neither long nor short,
neither big nor small, for it transcends all limits,
measures, names, traces, and comparisons."

- Huang Po (? - 850)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Color in Motion


"A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art. And from this results that modern desire for rhythm in painting, for mathematical, abstract construction, for repeated notes of color, for setting color in motion."

- Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Winds and Seas


"The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth an light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do, is well done, and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. But we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility."

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929 - 2018)

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Illusions


"I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain."

- René Descartes (1596 - 1650)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cosmic Order


"What now is the answer to the question as to the bridge between the perception of the senses and the concepts, which is now reduced to the question as to the bridge between the outer perceptions and those inner image-like representations. It seems to me one has to postulate a cosmic order of nature -- outside of our arbitrariness -- to which the outer material objects are subjected as are the inner images...The organizing and regulating has to be posited beyond the differentiation of physical and psychical... I am all for it to call this 'organizing and regulating' 'archetypes.' It would then be inadmissible to define these as psychic contents. Rather, the above-mentioned inner pictures (dominants of the collective unconscious, see Jung) are the psychic manifestations of the archetypes, but which would have to produce and condition all nature laws belonging to the world of matter. The nature laws of matter would then be the physical manifestation of the archetypes."

- Wolfgang Pauli (1900 - 1958)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Process


“It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually - if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning - you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as - Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so - I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it.” 

Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nobody Knows How It Can Be Like That


"I am going to tell you what nature behaves like.
If you will simply admit that maybe
she does behave like this,
you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing.
Do not keep saying to yourself,
if you can possibly avoid it,
‘but how can it be like that?’
because you will get ‘down the drain,’
into a blind alley from which
nobody has yet escaped.
Nobody knows how it can be like that."

- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)