Archive for June, 2009

Here and there…life and not.

Posted on June 28, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Music, Philosophy |

It’s been a strange and surreal couple of weeks. I’ve had some personal issues, and whatnot (all fine!) so haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like. I have been aware of the world around me though, and have had my own, sometimes quite emotional reactions to events.

I don’t have political or moral commentary here; it’s not my prerogative. I’ll just share a few videos I’ve found inspiring or evocative which tie to recent events. First, I acknowledge the passing into a different dimension of four public personalities. I feel I grew up with these people; they kept me company or helped shape philosophy in “interesting times”.

There are many funny and touching moments; this one just seems sort of real:

The next is how I like to remember this person:

This next one moved me strangely; you may have followed the story of the “dancing inmates”, a YouTube sensation. They’re an interesting story. They put this together in 10 hours. The ending, especially got to me:

Finally, amid all the celebrity passings, the drama of the Iranian elections continues to unfold. This is Stand By Me, in Persian and English, by two huge pop stars of their respective countries (Thank you, Deirdra, for tweeting this):

PEACE in all things, all ye who read here.

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The illusion of control

Posted on June 16, 2009. Filed under: Games, HowTo, Philosophy, Spirituality |

Just returned from a lecture, and then an impassioned discussion with a fellow attendee, about pragmatic philosophy. (Impassioned discussion is almost my favorite kind of passion.) ;)

The lecture began by telling us that as infants, we were very connected to the larger life force; the expanded beingness from which we all (from the lecturer’s point of view) came. This connection enables us to live in utter bliss, if we wish to, and instantly to give and receive anything we wish. Little by little, sometimes quite quickly, we lose that ability to just tune into the greater cosmos and realize we are all one; always connected, always creating.

My first questions were: If that’s so; if we came from that, why do we bother manifesting as human persons, in our separate bodies? Why not just stay as part of the whole and create from there?

Apparently, becoming physical beings gives us the opportunity to look at life through linear time, for instance, and to experience “that which we do not want” in order to get more in touch with what we do. (want.) This is, supposedly, the greatest creative exercise there is, and all the Universe appreciates us for taking it on and allowing knowledge to expand. (You’re welcome!)

Most of the time, and more and more, I appreciate the life I live. I look around me at beauty, culture, lovely and amazing people, and animals, and mountains and trees—all things not available on the non-physical plane. One of the best things about being physical is getting to grow and prepare and eat food!!! Try that, you non-physical beings! :)

So, I can see that working with material reality gives us new and interesting ways to express. I get the feeling that non-physical beings, wherever they may be, look at our world as a video game rental shop. They come in and choose which role-playing game they’d like to play, and pay their rental fee in cosmic currency. They have a variety of games to choose from: Adventure (Discover the lost secrets of the Celtic Babylons! Only you can re-assemble the seven fossilized power stones to form the magic bridge to the World of all Explanations!), or Strategy/Thriller: (Nine hours remain until the mass-disintelligence bomb will detonate in downtown Kripsoria! Can you find the clues left by the evil Ima Nutcase in time to disarm the bomb without becoming too nice in the process to want to bother?) Or, even a Shooter:  (You are General Stuffinsuch. Your mission: to deploy your troops and fight for control of Mental Island in the Battle of the Hunh?; the key conflict in the Norwegian/Canadian war!)

From our broader perspective, we react to “the game of life” in much the same way as our physical selves react to playing video games, or seeing a really good movie, or reading a fine novel. We can be VERY immersed in the story, emotionally involved, and profoundly moved and changed. But, in the end, although some parts of our brains react as if that Stephen King horror movie a was a “real” experience (but that’s another post), most of our brain knows that the game is “just” a game; the book “just” a book.

If one believes at all in the continuity of consciousness— i.e. that it doesn’t begin at birth and end at death—then seeing life as a cosmic video game does not seem at all outlandish. But, what if one has played through all the scenarios and wants something new and fresh? We can search for a new philosophy, or for a new way to interpret our religion. We can ask our friends about which games they’ve played that gave them a good experience. We can, as, for instance, my friends Deirdra and Rikard do, invent and produce our own games. The great news is that we don’t have to become programmers or designers in order to do that. We can create at the most basic, pre-cellular level; according to the latest theories of theoretical physics. (That’s yet another post.)

SO, after all that, the big question that came out in our discussion is: IF that is true; if we can create things just as we like, than how come, fer’evens sake, DON’T we? At least a lot of the time?

Control You and I will find a multitude of books, recordings and seminars giving us the tools to do just that. Do the tools work? Yes. But…it all goes back to Motivation, and Intent. Our discussion concluded (after a bit of argument, and bewilderedness) that, in our current view, that the major stumbling block is the illusion of control, and the desire for control. You’ve seen the books that promise: “Manifest a million dollars with__________ (affirmations, meditation, goal lists, laws of attraction—you fill in the blank). I probably own a dozen or more of these books. All great, fun reads. All adding to my store of knowledge and mind-tools. Some even ask me the question (and it’s the most relevant question to ask): “WHY do you want a million dollars?”

The answer to that, if we are honest with ourselves, is the key to the whole process. More on that in the next post! :D

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I had a run-in with my former “me”

Posted on June 13, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Health, HowTo, Musings, Philosophy |

…but the point isn’t either to justify my own behaviour, blame someone else for it, or be unkind to myself regarding it. The point is to learn, integrate and see the situation as an opportunity.

That being said, I am given to analyse what happened at the meeting I chaired today. I had just been named as the new exec. director of an arts organization—which was great: warm welcome; glad you’re back in an executive position; (I’d served on the Board before); even, Whew! now we can get some things done, and regroup (!)—all fine and dandy, except that the previous person in charge also was in attendance. She used the opportunity to rant about why we could not get this done, and that done, last year, which I felt was inappropriate and unhelpful. I told her to calm down at one point, and I realized she has issues with letting go.

We have several new Board members this term, and while they are people who are grounded, and willing, and excited, they did look askance at this behaviour.

However, if I’m going to stay true to my current belief system (and I had a look at it again before writing this to be sure it’s still one I subscribe to) I have to put my philosophy where my mouth is. None of what I’m currently feeling (shell shocked, embarrassed, angry [actually, pissed off], and ineffectual) has anything to do with the person of whom I blog. It is, as all things are, completely my responsibility.

So. Now what do I do?

a) Complain about the person of interest; pointing out how nutty she sounds, and how she’s just on a power trip (OK, I ‘fess I’m doing a little of that here).

b) Ignore it and hope it gets better on its own (she might calm down after a while). or

c) First imagine, and then draft a plan about how I would like board meetings to go, and take responsibility for moving them along when they get sidetracked this way.

I know, looking back, that I could have prepared for this meeting better. Going into it somewhat flustered, and nervous, and—another confession—somewhat apathetic, just added to the confusion. I’m just looking at how I chose not to declare what I wanted from the meeting (either to myself or others) and therefore got back from it the rather scattered state of mind and negative emotion I brought along.

Here’s my plan:

Email all the participants (including the person of interest), thank them for their contributions to the success and future plans of our organization, remind each of the projects they agreed to take on during the meeting, and of the date they are expected to report on same, (including those tasks I agreed to myself), and begin to work on a very focused agenda for the next meeting.

Additionally, I choose to make a timeline (or flowchart, or something like that) with points of focus highlighted (First rehearsal, social events, concert dates) with lists of what needs to get done prior to each. (Newsletter, emails, publicity, management issues).

Here’s another important point: All of this, for me, must be FUN! (Well, realistically—in my current state—, 80% fun.) Otherwise, my mental energy will not be there, and I’ll just be going through the motions. If that’s so, than I’m in the wrong place.

As I write this, I do know I enjoy the org. and want to see it prosper. I must ask myself how I know this to be true.

—Is there a purpose to marketing such an organization to the community? Their pleasure? Edification? Community Spirit? What about to the participants/performers themselves? Why should they be involved? What motivates ME to be involved?

—What educational and enrichment opportunities can we bring to ourselves and our audiences? What makes us unique among similar organizations, and why?

And, finally, how willing am I to let the organization go away; disband; disintegrate; rather than forcing it into a mold it does not wish to be in? I believe that organizations are entities with their own distinct personalities. The personality of a particular endeavor will make itself known if we listen; if we really want to hear what it says. Many entities exist for hundreds of years, but do undergo cosmetic or radical surgery from time to time. Others live brief but intense lives, and leave us with a memory, having enhanced our experience. Most fall somewhere in between.

The organization I’m speaking of here has been around for many decades; not a hundred years, yet. Should it be? What sort of retooling would make that possible and enjoyable?

I must thank my colleague, the person of interest, for giving me the opportunity to explore these thoughts. I hope to become a better director for it. And thank you for reading. It helped me to type this, knowing that you might. :)

Have a good weekend, and I wish you choices close to your hearts.

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Musey Psilon’s Blogalot

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Health, HowTo, Music, Musings, Philosophy, Science |

***WARNING***This post is very nearly completely silly. {You have been warned}

Gosh, I love this title! I needn’t write another thing, need I? I shall, though. I feel compelled to explain it.

I like science, and I’m fond of the absurd. This post blends them. I must wonder why? Why are our minds attracted to certain things, and combinations of things—even Things on top of Other Things? Why would I just, splendidly, enjoy theoretical physics AND Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Both these things are acquired tastes. While the former is seen as a “legitimate” interest, with a “place” in society (it’s a Branch of Science, after all!), I’d argue that the field of “comedy” has just as legitimate a place in society as does science. What comedy does is shake us up; it tears a hole in our everyday reality and makes us look at life in a new way. And that’s what science does, too! I used to think that “science” was about “discovering” the “facts”. Then, one manipulates, exploits, and recombines them—to what end? Well, primarily because it’s fun for the scientists. (If you are a scientist and not having fun, get out of the field! Now! I mean it!) :eek: But, secondarily, I believe, to “benefit” humankind. Comedy does not appear to have as direct a benefit. I propose that, although a more “lowbrow” form of entertainment than, say, the Ballet, it has its place. We would not survive as a species without comedy!

The title of the post came to me when I discovered that the great Tony Award® winning musical play Monty Python’s Spamalot is coming here to Tucson! I am of course looking forward to seeing it. Did I say this play has won awards? From the legitimate theater award organizations? You know, the mainstream, “serious theater”, well-respected organizations?

I just wanted to be clear on that, because, amazingly, I’m not sure with whom, amongst the many Tucson theater-goers I know, I shall attend. I am a Python-Geek(1), defined as “someone who has memorized all the skits”, and most of my peeps are not. :( When I think of one or two or three people I’d love to share this magnificent, culturally significant event with, I only come up with people who roll their eyes when I mention Monty Python. :roll: I fully realize that Python is not to everyone’s taste. :? However, even though one or two of my friends might attend this play with me if I ask them, I refuse to go with an eye-roller! I’d rather go alone! Which I may do. (There is no shame in that!)

I’m also a Star Trek geek. (I told you I was going to talk about science, too!) Therefore, with this overly verbose bit of background out of the way, I’ll explain my post title:

(“I feel Musey! Oh, so Musey! I feel Musey, and Newsy and Glib!”)

So, “Musey“. This is an affectionate, diminutive, nickname for my blog name, “Muse”, which had already been contracted early on by some of my incredibly affectionate and diminutive readers.

So, “Psilon“. I thought I had made up this word. I wanted it to rhyme with “Cylon” (see below) but also have it relate to “psi” phenomena because the title sounded cool that way. Behold! a Wikipedia entry on the very term! “A Psilon is a unit of length that is equal to 44 manly strides or, less precisely, 0.025 miles (a quarter of a tenth of a mile).” However: “This article’s factual accuracy is disputed.Nevertheless, I had to practice my “manly strides” in my living room to see how far 40 of them would really take me. Unfortunately, my room is only four “manly strides” long (if I’m doing the “manly” part of the stride, right. Wait a minute; isn’t “Stride Rite” a brand of baby shoes? How did they get into a post about striding Manfully?) So, in order to perform 44 “manly strides” I had to go ’round and ’round my living room four times (the circumference being ten “manly strides”, or would be if I walked right over the sofa as well as the television cabinet). After thus going ’round and ’round, and beginning to feel considerably less “manly” at each turn, I gave up on the “psilon” as a useful measure of anything; agreeing completely with the Wikicritic.

Still, there is the aurally identical “Cylon” to consider.  “Cylon stands for Cybernetic Lifeform Node” and is a term to describe cybernetic workers and soldiers in the television series Battlestar Galactica. For months; nay, years, I tormented my friends (both sci-fi fans, and not such) with the query “How do you know I’m NOT a Cylon? (You see, [if you haven’t watched Galactica, and if not, why not?] the latest evolution of Cylons [and yes, I used the term “evolution” deliberately] look identical to humanoids!)

And finally, the last word, “Blogalot“, I believe, is fairly self-explanatory(2)

Thank you for reading this far, if, in fact, you did. You have an incredible amount of fortitude and spamina stamina. :D

1 The thing is, when I recite the sketches for some of these unenlightened friends, they do laugh. I can be a one-person show with this, using different silly voices for each role. I have mastered Silly Walkery (yes, I really did practice it) and I have a pet ant called ‘Eric’. (Alright, I made that last bit up.)
2 Camelot” (musical play) >Spamalot” (very silly musical play) > “Blogalot” (unforgivably silly blogger).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

***Broken news (from 2008) “Michael Palin to replace Sarah Palin on McCain/Palin ticket!” (This seems to have been just a rumor, but DO scroll down and watch the video.)

***In a related story “Michael Palin’s reaction to his ‘niece’ Sarah Palin’s nomination”. (I didn’t know she was his ‘niece’! Did you?)

***In a somewhat related story, John Cleese tells how he’d thought Michael was the funniest Palin; his place has been usurped. With Cleese’s commentary on the American politcal system. Candid; estute; inflammatory—quite Cleese.

***My aplolgies for excessive linkism in this post. I imagine I’ll get back to normal one of these times.

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