Tempus est iocundum

Tempus est iocundum, o virgines, modo congaudete vos iuvenes.

Oh - oh, totus floreo, iam amore virginali totus ardeo, novus, novus amor est, quo pereo.

Mea me comfortat promissio, mea me deportat negatio.

Oh - oh, totus floreo, etc.

Tempore brumali vir patiens, animo vernali lasciviens.

Oh - oh, totus floreo, etc.

Mea mecum ludit virginitas, mea me detrudit simplicitas.

Oh - oh, totus floreo, etc.

Veni, domicella, cum gaudio; veni, veni, pulchra, iam pereo.

Oh - oh, totus floreo, etc.

— — — — — —

It is the time of joy, O maidens, now enjoy yourselves together, O young men.
Oh, oh, I am all aflower, now with my first love I am all afire, a new love it is of which I am dying.
I am elated when I say yes; I am depressed when I say no.
Oh, oh, I am all aflower, now with my first love I am all afire, a new love it is of which I am dying.
In the time of winter a man is sluggish, when spring is in his heart he is wanton.
Oh, oh, I am all aflower, now with my first love I am all afire, a new love it is of which I am dying.
My innocence plays with me, my shyness pushes me back.
Oh, oh, I am all aflower, now with my first love I am all afire, a new love it is of which I am dying.
Come, my mistress, with your joy *; come, come, fair girl, already I die.
Oh, oh, I am all aflower, now with my first love I am all afire, a new love it is of which I am dying.

Listen to segment from Orff’s Carmina Burana

1 January 2014

Michael Pollan on plant “neurobiology”

No, plants don’t have nerves. But they seem capable of much more sensing and information processing and complex, intelligent response to the world than we have given them credit for. Much of the research has been marginalized, and some has been censored. It is still early to know what to believe. But some of the results reported in Pollan’s article imply extra-sensory abilities that may involve physics that we don’t yet understand.

  • Roots that grow toward an underground pipe containing water on the inside, but not leaking at all
  • Potted plants that close up when the pot is dropped, but learn after a few drops that they don’t have to
  • Roots will aggressively compete with neighboring plants of a different species, but will politely share resources with a sister plant
  • When a plant is attacked by insects, it emits chemical signals that neighboring plants receive, warning them to begin manufacturing pesticides
  • Bean plants that send tendrils out toward a pole a few inches away without ever having touched it.

New Yorker article by Michael Pollan

2 January 2014

It is not true that love makes things easy: it makes us choose what is difficult.

— George Eliot (from Felix Holt, the Radical)

3 January 2014

Listen to contralto Sara Mingardo sing the Salve Regina of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, born this day in 1710.

Pergolesi’s music is simple and intuitive, as though he pulled it from the ether. He lived but 26 years.

4 January 2014

None of us has any guarantee of a secure future, but perhaps those who have strong community ties and bonds of love, who treasure their health and live by their wits and are well-satisfied with simple pleasures—they are more robust to the uncertainties of fortune than those who rely on a big bank account.

— Josh Mitteldorf

5 January 2014

When one is aligned with the purpose of service, acts that seem exceptionally courageous to others are a matter of course.

  • When one experiences the world as abundant, then acts of generosity are natural, since there is no doubt about continued supply.
  • When one sees other people as reflections of oneself, forgiveness becomes second nature, as one realizes “But for the grace of God, so go I.”
  • When one appreciates the order, beauty, mystery, and connectedness of the universe, a deep joy and cheerfulness arises that nothing can shake.
  • When one sees time as abundant and life as infinite, one develops superhuman patience.
  • When one lets go of the limitations of reductionism, objectivity, and determinism, technologies become possible that the science of separation cannot countenance.
  • When one lets go of the story of the discrete and separate self, amazing intuitive and perceptual capabilities emerge from lifelong latency.

— Charles Eisenstein

6 January 2014

Check in — ask about your own motivation...

Every human thought, and every human action, is based in either love or fear. There is no other human motivation, and all other ideas are but derivatives of these two.

— Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God

7 January 2014

Many ancient teachings tell us that we have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through grit or grace. Techniques used to achieve these supernormal abilities, known as siddhis in the yoga tradition (from the Sanskrit, meaning “perfection”), include meditation, ecstatic dancing, drumming, praying, chanting, sexual practices, fasting, or ingesting psychedelic plants and mushrooms. In modern times, techniques also include participation in extreme sports, floating in isolation tanks, use of transcranial magnetic or electrical stimulation, listening to binaural-beat audio tones, and neurofeedback.

— Dean Radin, writing for Reality Sandwich

8 January 2014

Life is short. Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.

— Paulo Coelho

9 January 2014

Nature’s way

Ean relaxes. He swims, eats, sleeps, absorbing everything the animals have shown him. Some things he understands. The more he understands the less he knows.

One morning, after a long night in drizzling rain, Ean makes his way to a shallow cave in nearby cliffs. As he clambers inside and turns around he’s stunned to see a large lioness there, asleep, purring. Snoring beside her is a handsome gazelle. Ean slumps, motionless, silent for ages. Rain pelts outside, storming beyond the quiet, dry, cave. The great cat’s purring deepens. Rain continues all day, into early evening.

As the red sun settles beyond lustrous, purple-blue seas, Lioness rumbles and yawns, shaking Ean and Gazelle awake. She stretches and roars softly. Gazelle touches his muzzle to Ean’s hand, sniffing his ear. “She won’t eat you.”

Lioness smiles, saunters forward and rests a massive paw on Ean’s thigh, brushing her whiskers against his face. Then she walks to the cave entrance, gazing over the plains.

“Everything isn’t as it looks, unless you’re understanding everything. I know it seems unusual to see Gazelle and me together like this… but we’re always together. Lions and gazelle share real life, and blood, so we have a profound bond.”

Gazelle interrupts with a snort. “Ean, the relationship between prey and predator is ancient. As Gazelle, one of my roles in life is actually to become prey. I’m born to it. Raised for it. Some gazelle are not eaten until very old, some when young, and others in their prime. Eventually, all of us are eaten somehow. That final chase is filled with sudden fear. We run fast as this is the moment we live and prepare for. Sometimes we elude the kill. And one day you sense the moment has arrrived. Pounding fear is present, because the chase is real. When the lion’s paw knocks you down, all you can do is go with it now — Be embraced. White teeth and warm mouth wrap around your neck, pressing down in the realization of one of life’s purposes – being food, and life, for another. Pressing fear transforms to love, and surrender to life itself, in the face of death.”

“Instead… the lion fixes attention one-pointedly, becoming completely focused on the prey. In doing so the lion achieves a deep love for the gazelle, almost becoming one with the prey. In this way the lion surrenders every fibre and sinew to the kill. The lion lets everything go and gives over completely. This is the ancient relationship of predator and prey where two become one. The form of sacrifice differs for each, but is equal. And one day the predator is also eaten.”

Both Lioness and Gazelle move to Ean and press their bodies against his.

He embraces them.

They turn and disappear into the night, to hunt and be hunted, as lions and gazelle have always done.

—(excerpt from ‘Real Heart, World of No Fear”, Stuart Camps 2008, © )

10 January 2014

We will all be so much more prosperous...

Usury is the great driver behind growing debt, growing money and hence the need for perpetual economic ‘growth’ at whatever cost. It is the need to pay off eternally growing interest charges that forces debtors into ever more atrocious behavior, including rapacious plunder of Mother Nature.

— Radical economist Margrit Kennedy (1938-2014) documented for us the fact that 40% of all our productivity is diverted into banks alone, and a much higher percentage into the financial sector. This system is collapsing of the weight of its own lies, and when it is replaced, we will all enjoy a much higher porportion of the fruits of our productivity.

11 January 2014


May all beings elect to be challenged to the limit of their courage.

May our world continue to unfold in ways that surprise and terrify and delight us.

May we have the good sense to know deeply that this is Enough.

— Josh Mitteldorf

12 January 2014

The Ancient Quest

O giant stars, born of eternal light,
O winged flames wherewith the void is sown,
As dreadful prophets of a God unknown,
Ye speak the law in light!

Had we but sight to see and comprehend,
Your countless fires were as a language plain
To tell us all that we have sought in vain;
The quest were at an end.

O younger worlds, whose tireless-pinioned flight
Climbs eagerly the sheer and topless deep!
O shrivelled planets that obscurely creep
On orbits sunk in night!

Alike ye falter in unceasing gloom
That shrouds the deathless Truth ye may not find;
Alike for ye the flaming suns are blind,
And light may not illume.

For Life whose God-ambitious eyes would see
The stellar-manifested truth sublime,
Must gaze with sight immutable as Time,
Large as Infinity.

— Clark Ashton Smith, born this day in 1893

In his forty-eight years Smith has been a variety of things—a journalist, a fruit picker and packer, a wood chopper, a typist, a cement-mixer, a gardener, a hard-rock miner, mucker and windlasser. Though his verse may occasionally sound as if Smith lived in an ivory tower, this is far indeed from the facts. —from a bio by August Derleth

13 January 2014

David Bohm and the Implicate Order

Referring to quantum theory, Bohm’s basic assumption is that “elementary particles are actually systems of extremely complicated internal structure, acting essentially as amplifiers of *information* contained in a quantum wave.” As a conseqence, he has evolved a new and controversial theory of the universe--a new model of reality that Bohm calls the “Implicate Order.”

The theory of the Implicate Order contains an ultraholistic cosmic view; it connects everything with everything else. In principle, any individual element could reveal “detailed information about every other element in the universe.” The central underlying theme of Bohm’s theory is the “unbroken wholeness of the totality of existence as an undivided flowing movement without borders.”

During the early 1980s Bohm developed his theory of the Implicate Order in order to explain the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles--behavior that quantum phyicists have not been able to explain. Basically, two subatomic particles that have once interacted can instantaneously “respond to each other’s motions thousands of years later when they are light-years apart.” This sort of particle interconnectedness requires superluminal signaling, which is faster than the speed of light. This odd phenomenon is called the EPR effect, named after the Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen thought experiment.

Bohm believes that the bizarre behavior of the subatomic particles might be caused by unobserved subquantum forces and particles. Indeed, the apparent weirdness might be produced by hidden means that pose no conflict with ordinary ideas of causality and reality.

Bohm believes that this “hiddeness” may be reflective of a deeper dimension of reality. He maintains that space and time might actually be derived from an even deeper level of objective reality. This reality he calls the Implicate Order. Within the Implicate Order everything is connected; and, in theory, any individual element could reveal information about every other element in the universe.

read more…

14 January 2014

In the first movement, our infancy as a species, we felt no separation from the natural world around us. Trees, rocks, and plants surrounded us with a living presence as intimate and pulsing as our own bodies. In that primal intimacy, which anthropologists call “participation mystique,” we were as one with our world as a child in the mother’s womb.

— Joanna Macy

15 January 2014


Make a new mistake today - one that you haven't made before.


16 January 2014

Quanta in the brain

A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Physics of Life Reviews claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in "microtubules" inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.

Does this sound like esoteric minutiae? Here is why it is important to me:
A “standard scientific view” of the relationship between mind and brain is that the brain’s neural circuits are the cause of all that we experience as conscious awareness. Further, the brain is modeled as a Turing machine, an idealized class of computing devices which also includes the transistor-circuit computers with which we’re all familiar. Hence maybe it doesn’t matter what kind of engine does the computing; our consciousness is embedded in the software

There are other capabilities of the mind, however, that have never been reproduced in a computer, and I think we have no idea how to do so. Intuition, premonitions, synchronicities, telepathy are all widely reported, but scientific skeptics claim that these abilities are impossible in principle. Quantum mechanics adds another dimension to brain capabilities. Quantum systems may be entangled at a distance, and across time into the past and the future. It is much easier to imagine a basis for pre-cognition and telepathy if our brains are quantum machines.

“The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality.”

read more from Science Daily

17 January 2014

A Taunt, and a Reductio ad absurdum

For the last year, a young physicist who tells us only that her first name is Dolors has posted a series of provocative videos in which she explores fundamental issues about the nature of reality and the human condition, using quantum mechanics and information theory as a background.

In her latest video, she skewers the philosophical perspective that is our heritage as scientists. It is the idea of the mechanical universe, unfolding according to fixed rules, perfectly predictably (in the 19th century version) or in a combination of deterministic laws on the large scale and randomness on the small scale (20th century version). Life, in this view, is simply a combination of matter that has come together by chance that happens to be able to make copies of itself, and therefore has done so with ever-increasing efficiency and robustness, because of the laws of natural selection. Human consciousness is an illusion created by a certain level of complexity in the computations that have evolved for the purpose of more efficient and robust reproduction.

At the end of 11 minutes, see if you don’t feel with your best scientific/intuitive self the absurdity of maintaining such a perspective, the fact that there is no basis for it in physics (which looks more and more like information flow the more we know of it) and certainly not in our own experience, which is of the glow of conscious awareness, impinged by sensory data and filled out with thoughts and intuitions which seem to arrive in our awareness on their own schedule, and over which we can exert a limited prerogative of choice in the moment. Of all of this, we possess an imperfect selective, and intermittent store of memory, on which feeds and informs our reflexes and choices in the present.

— Watch The Clockwork Universe and explore other videos and comments at Cracking the Nutshell

18 January 2014

The Ultimate Bait and Switch

Love draws us in with the most powerful ego attraction known to man, and only for the purpose of teaching us her lesson of selflessness.

— Josh Mitteldorf

19 January 2014

Mysticism keeps us sane

Men talk of the extravagances and frenzies that have been produced by mysticism; they are a mere drop in the bucket. In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic.... The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism — the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem.

— G. K. Chesterton

20 January 2014

This is not
GK Chesterton

Jet lag

Next time that you feel fatigued on a 5-hour airplane flight or an 8-hour flight or feel that you are at the end of your rope during a 12-hour flight, think of the Alpine Swift, which migrates from the Himalayas to Africa and remains aloft without roosting for six months on end (sleeping? on the wing).

Huffington Post article based on research from the Swiss Ornithological Institute.

21 January 2014

Listen to Three Speeches for Solo Flute by Dimitris Dragatakis, born 100 years ago.

22 January 2014

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

— Derek Walcott, born this day in 1930

23 January 2014

Michaelangelo Caravaggio

Bhutan and the Gross National Happiness index

The Tibetan kingdom of Bhutan has burst upon the global scene, not only as an elite tourist destination, but as a champion in the quest for human happiness and sustainable economics, its leaders making international headlines as they invite other nations to wake up and get on board with the pursuit of Gross National Happiness.

GNH, as the Bhutanese call it, was conceived of by the country’s fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who, in the mid-1970s, realized Bhutan could no longer remain hidden from the rest of the world like a real-life Shangri-La, but would need to modernize or risk being erased entirely. How could this be done without wrecking Bhutan’s diverse and precious natural resources, subjecting its people to unfettered capitalism, or prostituting its complex and rich Tibetan Buddhist culture to tourism? His answer was Gross National Happiness, and he is famously quoted as saying, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.”

— read more from Orion Magazine

24 January 2014

Socialism says your children are as important as mine...

Currently, there are 22 empty homes for every homeless person in the country. Many are dilapidated and some beyond repair. These properties could be picked up for pennies. The homeless need homes, the unemployed need work. Save the homes that can be repaired, demolish those that can't. Create new neighborhoods and manage the program through lease ownership. Train the young, help the old. Invest in people, creating a profit of better lives for all. No longer is it a question of guns or butter; the question becomes societal survival or disintegration.

— read more from David Glenn Cox, writing at OpEd News

25 January 2014

Not such a bad cosmology,

…as cosmologies go.

— Watch The Egg (7 min)

26 January 2014

Jordan Stevens as God

Sat nam

…means “I am truth”. I have never deeply understood how truth relates to Kundilini practice, or to my own discipline.

Maybe truth is enough. Certainly it is an all-consuming practice, if pursued consistently. There is very little of which I am certain. Are my pronouncements appropriately modest, or do I grandstand where most I doubt the ground on which I stand? A commitment to truth is a practice of staying closer to my own immediate experience in everything I say, and to regard theory and generalization of all sort with appropriate skepticism. A commitment to truth demands that I watch what I tell myself, as well, that I examine my own motives in all that I do and I say, not to pretend that I am acting from a high purpose when perhaps I may only be doing what is convenient for me...

Countless times, truth has kept me from getting into trouble in relationships. Many more times, truth has led to anger and hard feelings. I have a propensity to judge others, and when I combine this with truth I get into trouble. Perhaps it is just what I need to prod me to deal with my judgmental side.

— Josh Mitteldorf

27 January 2014

A new biology for a new century

Biology today is at a crossroads. The molecular paradigm, which so successfully guided the discipline throughout most of the 20th century, is no longer a reliable guide. Its vision of biology now realized, the molecular paradigm has run its course. Biology, therefore, has a choice to make, between the comfortable path of continuing to follow molecular biology’s lead or the more invigorating one of seeking a new and inspiring vision of the living world, one that addresses the major problems in biology that 20th century biology, molecular biology, could not handle and, so, avoided. The former course, though highly productive, is certain to turn biology into an engineering discipline. The latter holds the promise of making biology an even more fundamental science, one that, along with physics, probes and defines the nature of reality. This is a choice between a biology that solely does society’s bidding and a biology that is society’s teacher.

A society that permits biology to become an engineering discipline, that allows that science to slip into the role of changing the living world without trying to understand it, is a danger to itself. Modern society knows that it desperately needs to learn how to live in harmony with the biosphere. Today more than ever we are in need of a science of biology that helps us to do this, shows the way. An engineering biology might still show us how to get there; it just doesn't know where “there” is.

read more from Carl Woese

28 January 2014

An easy path to stem cells?

Background: The cells in our bodies are mostly specialized to perform a task. Nerve cells or muscle cells or skin cells or blood cells do their particular jobs. There are also stem cells, whose job is to grow more of every other kind of cell. Stem cells are important for renewing body tissues and for healing. Specialized stem cells can grow into several kinds of tissue, for example white or red blood cells. The most powerful stem cells are completely undifferentiated, and they have the potential to grow into any other kind of cell the body might happen to need. They are called pluripotent stem cells.

Before the Republicans, with their superior ethics, took over the rules of research at NSF, there was an abundant supply of stem cells for research, gleaned from aborted and stillborn fetal tissue. After that route was closed off, there was a race to create stem cells in the lab, turning adult cells into stem cells, IPS stands for “INDUCED pluripotent stem cells”.

The race was won by a Korean lab, which first created IPS cells by careful doctoring of ordinary skin cells. The next breakthrough came from a Japanese lab. Their technique was refined and streamlined until, a few years ago, it was common to say that just 4 chemicals needed to be added to a skin cell to turn it back into a stem cell.

In Nature this week is an article about another Japanese group that claims an even easier path to create stem cells, just by starting with ordinary skin cells and reading them the Riot Act. These IPS cells were introduced into an embryo, in order to demonstrate that they have the ability to grow into any of the body’s tissues.

Read more from Nature

29 January 2014

“The world’s a forest, in which all lose their way;
though by a different path each goes astray.”

— George Villiers, born this day in 1592

30 January 2014

The Flushing Remonstrance, 1657

Given the circumstances and the era, the Flushing Remonstrance was a striking document for a variety of reasons. First, its concept of religious freedom was more generous than any at the time. Europe had been wracked by religious conflict since the Reformation; perceived wisdom across many European states, including England, was that religious uniformity was the correct path to take. Even the two contemporary documents often noted in the history of American religious freedom — the 1649 Maryland Toleration Act and the 1663 Rhode Island Royal Charter—restricted their toleration to Christians only.   The Flushing Remonstrance, on the other hand, extended the “law of love, peace and liberty” to “Jews, Turks and Egyptians,” and further stated that “our desire is not to offend one of his little ones, in whatsoever form, name or title he appears in, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker, but shall be glad to see anything of God in any of them.”

...For their efforts, Feake and the other magistrates who signed the document were all imprisoned…

read more from Wei Zhu

31 January 2014

Queen of Hearts — Archive of past entries. Bullfrog Design