Saturday, August 12, 2017

The 2nd Axial Period

Have been thinking lately about the cycles and periods of history.  Karl Jaspers, in the middle of the last century and around the time I was born, put forth the idea that a critical time in human history was the middle of the millenium before Jesus.  Across the world from Greece to the Far East, there was a change from emphasis on group identity towards the individual person.  Below is a clear description that I'm studying.  

The article is from Ilia Delio's web site, The Omega Center. It is by Matthew Wright, an Episcopal Priest.  The second paragraph of the article is included here.

The Second Axial Emergence

The religious landscape is shifting—no one will argue with that. People are leaving traditional religious frameworks in droves, while the number of those identifying as “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) is on the rise. While some of the religious faithful decry this shift as inherently negative, I believe there’s a framing in which we can see it not only as a hopeful sign for the human family, but for our religious traditions as well.
The twentieth-century philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the notion of the “Axial Age”—a window of time that fell roughly between 800 and 200 BCE.1 It’s the period of human history during which the headwaters of all our great religious traditions began to form, seemingly independently around the globe: Lao Tzu taught the way of the Tao in China; the seers of the Upanishads were busy realizing the Self in India; the Hebrew prophets preached social justice and monotheism in Israel; the early Greek philosophers emerged; the Buddha had his great awakening. A planetary shift in spiritual understanding was underway.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rudolf Steiner and how to Win an Argument

Thought for today.  Re-discovered this when reviewing Clippings in my Kindle.  I've still not finished it.  Can't say that I understand this book very well.  The book is How to Know Higher Worlds  by Rudolf Steiner.  I don't recall the context but it speaks for itself a truth that needs to be communicated.  The title to this post is tongue-in-cheek.  The goal should not be to win the argument.

This thought is: “It does not matter if what I think differs from what the other person thinks. What matters is that, as a result of what I can contribute to the conversation, the other discovers what is right out of themselves.” Permeating ourselves with thoughts of this kind seals our character and conduct with the mark of gentleness. Such gentleness is one of the main methods of esoteric schooling. Gentleness removes obstacles, opening our soul and spirit organs. But harshness—callousness—frightens away the soul forms that should awaken the eyes of the soul.

How to Know Higher Worlds (Rudolf Steiner)
- Highlight Loc. 1187-91 | Added on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 04:37 AM

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Designing Your Mind - an essay from This Will Make You Smarter

For Christmas I received the book This Will Make You Smarter.  Published in 2012, it consists of about 150 responses to the question “What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?”  The responders are scientists, doctors, journalists and other interesting people with a connection to science.  The essays are short, three or four pages on average.  All of them had a valuable point.  Several jumped out at me, particularly this one.

Designing Your Mind – Donald Tapscott

I only discovered this person in the past year.  Donald Tapscott is a Canadian business person, about my age, who has followed, examined, and written about how the digital world is changing us, affecting how we do business and what will come about in our world because of it.  He and his son are now exploring and publicizing about the blockchain and alternative digital currencies.  In my opinion, 2017 will be the year that everyone becomes aware that this will revolutionize our financial transactions and in addition that it will affect our lives in ways not yet  conceived.  I’ve enjoyed several YouTube Videos by him.

His short essay is titled “Designing Your Mind”.  He states that

“Given recent research about brain plasticity and the dangers of cognitive load, the most powerful tool in our cognitive arsenal may well be design.  Specifically, we can use design principles and discipline to shape our minds.”

In brief, he provides evidence that our brains are sufficiently plastic that we can, by how we use our brains, effect physiological changes for our benefit.  We can re-wire our brains. 

“Results from studies like these support the notion that even among adults the persistent, concentrated use of one neighborhood of the brain really can increase its size and presumably its capacity.”

He cites Stan Kutcher that

“There is emerging evidence suggesting that exposure to new technologies may push the Net Generation [teenagers and young adults] brain past conventional capacity limitations.”

But not just the young can do this, even an oldster like myself can do it too.  Ways to accomplish this include mental rehearsal, memorizing, and practice.  By doing these things, we are taking an active role in designing our minds.  This is especially pertinent to me because at 66 I recognize my mind is not as sharp and quick as it used to be. This gives me hope that there is still a chance for improvement in certain ways and that I can remain useful to my loved ones and society.  



This Will Make You Smarter, J. Brockman ed;     ISBN-13:  9780062109392

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scientists of Other Faiths and No Faith



Interesting and beautiful sentiment expressed in this quote by Stacy Transacos in an interview over at the Biologos website.

When I worked as a scientist, I collaborated with people in labs around the world, many of whom I never met face to face and most of whom were people of other faiths or no faith. That’s the beautiful thing about science. It can unite us like a good meal can unite diverse people around a table. 
I feel the same way.  I've always enjoyed meeting other scientists and engineers from here and abroad.  Am thankful for the people I've met and from whom I've learned.

See more at: http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/science-on-the-wings-of-faith-an-interview-with-stacy-trasancos#sthash.Mz60HCBw.dpuf

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Bulrushes - The Bongos









 One of my favorite eighties groups.  They were kind of like American punk, softer and more melodic than the British version.  This particular song to me has a sixties feel like a combination of the Beatles and the Shadows of Night.  It was filmed purposely to emphasize that.




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Regarding: Drink Bad Coffee and Change the World

Jonathan Storment posted this article titled Drink Bad Coffee and Change the World.  Jonathan is describing and honoring a book by Richard Beck titled Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for  Doubters Disenchanted


I particularly liked this quote.

"The church is a laboratory of love, a place where material care, sharing, hospitality, and mutual honoring are practiced and lived out…."



Saturday, August 06, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Thought for July 7, 2016

From my Kindle copy of Meditation As Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love
- Highlight Loc. 46-48 | Added on Sunday, May 15, 2016, 03:01 PM Arthur Zajonc quotes:


Simone Weil put it well when she wrote,“To love truth means to endure the void and, as a result, to accept death.Truth is on the side of death.”* Something dies in us every time we change.To make space for the true, familiar well-worn habits must give way.


* Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. E. Crawford and M. von der Ruhr (New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 11.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Thoughts on the Nature of Consciousness Summer 1978



Some notes I found in the attic from the aged 27 me.  It was the summer of 1978.  I've wrestled with the nature of consciousness for a long time.  Also note the opening three lines I'm writing for myself three lines of a piece of music by Yes- Starship Trooper.

"Does consciousness begin?
Does it have an end?

What is feeling?  What is sensation? What is sight?
How can they exist where there is nothing to feel, see, or hear?

If there are no objects to touch, no sound waves for the ear, no light for the eyes, what would there be to be conscious of?
Is it possible to be conscious without these?  Is consciousness involved only in this existence?

Conscience exists now, does it have to end?  

Why does feeling, like sensation have to end?  Why death?
What is soul?

( knowledge
  sensation)       Whats the relation between them?
Is it possible to think without thinking in worldly terms?

Is that why we're here?  To experience, feel, touch?  Perhaps these don't exist on the other side?  Perhaps the structure of language will not permit talk of the other side.  The other side is untranslateable."




Monday, June 27, 2016

Bret Victor's Personal View of "What Can A Technologist Do About Climate Change?

I've just discovered a remarkable blogger, Bret Victor.  Plan to spend some time going back through his work.  A late 2015 article discussed what can be done technologically for addressing climate change. I highly recommend this.  A careful once-through reading is not enough, there are so many links, graphs, and models for the reader to come back to for further understanding and depth.  I'm learning a lot from it.

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