21 May 2006

I used to be an atheist till I realized I was God.
- Anon.

A set of cues, a channel of perception corroborates the identity of my sentient self with my physical body.  I am well-trained to keep my attention in that channel.  I forget my dreams on waking, and I regard my intuitions with skepticism.  I discipline myself to base decisions on ‘reality’, i.e., on physical perceptions and reason. 

But I retain a vestigial awareness of another channel, another reality, another gestalt  I can remember from childhood relishing a sensation of absurdity when I focused in just the right way on the thesis that “I am Josh”.  It was easier then for me to locate the inner conviction that I am more objective than that, something more like the universal observer than the will within the corpus.

So which is the reality and which is the illusion?  Am I this highly-evolved system of organic molecules far from equilibrium?  Or am I the weltgeist?

Where do I want to focus my attention?

20 May 2006

“Conviction brings a silent, indefinable beauty into faces made of the commonest human clay; the devout worshiper at any shrine reflects something of its golden glow, even as the glory of a noble love shines like a beacon from a lovers face”

Honore de Balzac, born this day in 1799

19 May 2006

“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.
- Victor Hugo

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain

“Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.”
- Rollo May

“Our whole life is an attempt to discover when our spontaneity is whimsical, sentimental irresponsibility and when it is a valid expression of our deepest desires and values.”
- Helen Merrell Lynd

18 May 2006

“Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.”

~ Margot Fonteyn, born this day in 1918

17 May 2006

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.”

~ Carl Sandburg

16 May 2006

Imagination cries
hat in the grand accountancy
What happens to us is false;
Imagination makes,
Out of what stuff it can,
An action fit
For a more heroic stage
Than body ever walked on.
I have learned
Trying to live
With this perjured quid of mine,
That the truth is not in the stones,
But in the architecture;
Equally, I am not deceived
By the triumph of the stuffing
Over the chair.
If I must build a church,
Though I do not really want one,
Let it be in the wilderness
Out of nothing but nail-holes.

Stanley Kunitz, 1905-2006

15 May 2006

“After Adam and Eve have eaten of the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’…after they have become human by having emancipated themselves from the original animal harmony with nature…they saw ‘that they were naked – and they were ashamed’.  Should we assume that a myth as old and elementary as this has the prudish morals of the nineteenth century outlook, and that the important point…is the embarrassment that their genitals were visible?   This can hardly be so, and by understanding the story in a Victorian spirit, we miss the main point, which seems to be the following: after man and woman have become aware of themselves and of each other, they are aware of their separateness…of their different sexes.  But while recognizing their separateness they remain strangers, because they have not yet learned to love each other (as is also made very clear by the fact that Adam defends himself by blaming Eve, rather than by trying to defend her).  The awareness of human separation, without reunion by love – is the source of shame.  It is at the same time the source of guilt and anxiety.   The deepest need of man, then, is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness.”

~ Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving