|Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2009 - 12:44 pm: |
SCRIPTORIUM -They Wrote the Book of Kells will soon be released by Barnes & Noble Books, Amazon.com, and iUniverse Books, in hardback, softcover, and e-book (includes Kindle) formats. Please watch this space for release updates. Thank You.
Ivan D. Alexander, author
John White Alexander, Manuscript Book mural (1896), Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
(Photographed 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain.)
|Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 02:29 pm: |
Scriptorium released at iUniverse Books - fiction-romance.
(interactive - iUniverse)
SCRIPTORIUM - They Wrote the Book of Kells
by Ivan D. Alexander
Please visit: iUniverse Bookstore to buy this book.
[Note, above image is "Arrest of Christ" from The Book of Kells, Folio 114 Recto.]
|Posted on Saturday, January 10, 2009 - 12:15 pm: |
SCRIPTORIUM is now available at Amazon
Scriptorium at Amazon.com
It was in the year of our Lord, 800, when the Viking invasions had begun and we feared for our lives.
On the Isle of Iona in a Christian monastery, Aeden and his brethren work to transcribe the Gospel of John. Together, they create parchment and intricate designs, illuminating them with fine inks and gold leaf. Their meticulous hands and virtuous hearts transcribe God's word.
Unfortunately, the monastery is not immune to the barbarians invading from the north: the Vikings. Fearful for their precarious position and important work, the Abbot Father Cellarch enlists the help of a Viking king who values Christianity. King Blachmac pledges protection, leaving his daughter Osla in their care as the raids continue.
Osla and Aedan, drawn to one another, develop a friendship as work continues on the Gospels. During this tumultuous time, the Book of John is completed amid stress, love, and accusations of murder. These events bring the star-crossed lovers closer. Together, they save the abbey and their precious work.
Scriptorium is Aedan, Osla, and their brethren's story of courage, where pure hearts triumph over barbaric evils. Little did they know their work would become Ireland's finest national treasure: The Book of Kells.
Also available in hardback, paperback, and e-books (Kindle included), now or shortly after.
If you read the book and liked it (or not), please write your personal review if you like. Favorable or unfavorable, all book reviews are welcome.
Habeas Mentem on sale
|Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 01:55 pm: |
Man in All that Is, by Ivan D. Alexander (1986 - P.E. Randall), is available in used books Amazon page, though it has been long out of print.
Man in all that is: On how the universe's order enters our own
by Ivan D Alexander (Author)
Cover photo by Ivan Massar, Concord, MA
This is the original Habeas Mentem in softcover book form, books I & II only (book III was written later). The conditions of these used books are unknown, but only 1000 copies were ever published, so very rare.
Additional writings by Ivan Alexander, in 'rough' manuscript form, can be found at:
Ipi of the Desert (short story)
Science Fiction novels:
Dream of the Worlds
Power of Maya
Promise in the Amazon
And Adam gave Eve the Apple (a short, short story)
Availabe free at: www.humancafe.com
|Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2009 - 12:20 pm: |
Google search on - SCRIPTORIUM - They Wrote the Book of Kells - By Ivan D. Alexander
- now yields numerous entries internationally, from diverse sources including Kindle and eBooks, but still no viable book reviews - a pity.
(interactive - Japanese)
Scriptorium -4 reviewed
|Posted on Friday, April 10, 2009 - 01:12 pm: |
Some very well written book reviews on Scriptorium on Amazon.com page.
I must admit I am pleased with what readers have reported so far, and welcome more comments, criticisms or praise. Thanks!
Love & Truth
|Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009 - 11:27 am: |
Fidelity__________________"Trust in God"______________Freedom
These four words work together as One.
|Posted on Friday, June 05, 2009 - 05:29 pm: |
SCRIPTORIUM 'verbagram' - whole text of original manuscript, word frequency.
http://www.wordle.net (interactive - click image)
They wrote the Book of Kells - in their own words.
The Book of Kells
|Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - 12:24 pm: |
The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels of the Christian scriptures, consists of 340 vellum leaves, or folios.
folio 114 recto [front, or right]: "The Arrest of Christ"
Book of Kells -Wikipedia
The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58), sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.
The Book of Kells - DVD-ROM available for purchase.
|Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2011 - 02:38 pm: |
JEAN-FRANCOIS MILLET - Black peasant resting, pencil drawing
Illustration used for GIAMMAI! - short novel about a Black Frenchman and a Russian woman surviving a Nazi labor camp at the end of WW II, as he recorded in his little 'black book'.
ANALYSIS OF GIAMMAI*
Giammai was a story written in black and white. It is a study in contrast between humanity at its best and its worst. The two main characters are likewise black and white, Giammai being of Afro mixed race, while the other main character narrating is very white, of Eastern European origin. The words used in the story are also consciously in contrast, with no effort made to soften the blow. Killing of children is not covered over with more acceptable euphemisms. It is simply killing, so that the characters themselves cease to feel their normal humanity and fall into a pattern of acceptance. The reader will likewise soon become inured to the horrors and find them normal, only later to awaken again and see how truly terrible this story of real events really was. The emotional impact that results from how it was written, and the words spoken by the characters, has the expected effect of bringing readers to tears, for so horrible was this human tragedy.
Some things in Giammai are never mentioned by name, out of respect for the dead. For example, the name of the Fuhrer is never mentioned. Nor is the name of the labor camp ever mentioned, for this is not a documentary but fiction, though the camp used in the story was a prominent one north of Berlin. Also, all the names are fiction except for Himmler, which is the only connection to the historical events. In fact, he did come to the camp on occasion, though the story told about him is fiction. The women set aside by the camp's commandant, whose name means "black" in German, Schwarz, is also fiction, though it was written this way to signal the plight of women everywhere who are used for sex, who are made into sex slaves. This is a problem still very much with us today. The story also contrasts the Aryans, who think themselves a master race, with the multitudes of ethnic backgrounds of the prisoners, who are keenly aware of their inferior status. Yet, it is the prisoners who rise above the inhumanity when they can, while the Aryans are shown to be the inhuman monsters they are.
The children, which is really what this story is about, are shown as being capable of unbelievable beauty, even miraculous beauty, though they are trapped in a world of horrors. That they can sing arias from an opera on such short notice may be unrealistic, but the point is that they can, which is a miracle. Seeing angels, or monsters, is how they cope with where they are, and is not unrealistic. The fact that these children were being killed indiscriminately is an historical fact, and that some survived is a miracle. In their wholesale murders there are no grey areas, only the contrast of what a terribly dark period of history blemished humanity at that time. It must never happen again.
Murder is not a mystery here, in stark contrast to normal social values. We struggle to protect the innocent, save lives, go through great lengths to ensure medical survival for each individual, and yet in war we kill en masse. How can humanity live with this unbelievable paradox? In murder mystery novels, we go through great lengths to solve who did it, what was the motive, why that specific victim. But in war, all such niceties of life are forgotten, and the enemy is dehumanized so that killing him, or her, becomes a normal act. This is the insanity. And it is this insanity, this en masse madness, that Giammai's story reveals to us. How could the hate of one man spill over onto so many, that killing becomes normal? Giammai, the reluctant and unselfconscious Messiah, has no answers, only observations, and the will to survive. This is represented by his little black notebook. In fact, he is not truly who we think he is, for there is a subtle shadow force behind him, Jan, who really is responsible for acts of saving others. This is the other paradox, that while we await a Messiah, there are already many who fill those shoes, and they are in each one of us when we do good, when we help, when we love.
The message delivered in Giammai's story is that God is everything, and we are everything. We are God's will in each thing we do. We are capable of good as much as evil. The choice always comes down to what it is we want from God. And if we want good, this too can happen. It simply had not happened enough. The story of Giammai says that it can happen, and that we are the ones who can make good on God's promise to us, that we are His children. If we believe this, and focus on the good, on loving one another, on seeing each other as fellow souls on this planet together, it will happen. We can live in freedom with the right to being who we are. This freedom is our inalienable right, and no twisted demented minds should ever take that away from us again.
This is what went into the story. What the reader gets out of it is how that story plays out for each one of us. Giammai's story is one of our human redemption.
*("Giammai" in archaic Italian means "Never")
Ivan D. Alexander, author
Adam gave Eve apple
|Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 02:46 am: |
And Adam gave Eve the Apple.
Adam and Eve, after the fall
It was another lovely morning in Paradise. Adam rose and stretched, hands high with a wide yawn of joy, the morning was so fine. There was a fragrance in the air like sweet wine, but better, fresher, scented with lilacs and roses. Beside him lay Eve, still wrapped in her bed of flower petals, next to those where Adam lay. She too stretched out languidly. It would be a fine morning, she thought, with a hint of rain. Adam looked down and smiled.
Now, rain in Paradise is not like normal rain, but more a fine mist that caresses and warms the body. It is a soft cleansing rain, almost tepid, that feels good on naked skin. In fact, everything was different in Paradise, not the world as we know. For example, plants were interactive. Sunflowers turned not for the Sun, but for Adam and Eve when they passed by. The melodious song of birds cannot be described adequately, their voices were so lovely. Forest creatures were friendly in ways we could not imagine. They would nuzzle up to you, virtually cooing with pleasure. The scenery around would tempt the hardest hearted builder of today not to touch one single thing. It was perfection beyond words. But there was trouble in Paradise, something that gnawed at Adam whenever he though of it. Across the lagoon of deepest aquamarine was a large tree poised there, hanging over the calm waters. It stood almost defiant to him, not within reach, as the river that fed the lagoon, and left it, was too deep to cross by foot. So he had a dilemma. How to get to the other side and see it up close? He wanted that with all his innocent heart.
[Now, the reader must understand this is the "other" Genesis story, true story, that never made it into the book. It had been lost in the shuffle, the scribe who wrote it had left it laying about, and it is believed the goats ate it. This was God laughing, so no one ever thought of trying to recreate it, until now. This must be told, as mankind, and womankind, are left with only half of what really happened in Paradise, why Adam and Eve fell from grace and had to cover their naked bodies. Of course, not all will believe this, nor be amused by God's little joke, as half the story had been taken so seriously… But we digress.]
This tree was thick and wide, with long branches that beckoned like arms of a lover, rich in fruit on its hanging limbs. There was something mystical about that tree, for its fruit glowed in the dark of night. Surely, Adam thought, this must be a magical tree that was over there. But how to get to it? So he devised a plan, and Eve agreed to it. It was usually her task of each day to gather the flower petals for their night's rest, but his task to gather the day's harvest. There were figs to pick, succulent fruits and leaves of all kinds to gather, nuts and berries. It was his duty to provide for her, and he took his task very seriously. Where she might languishingly bathe in the water, he would scurry about with an energy possessed of a man of action. This was his legacy, to provide, while hers was to make life beautiful. They could not mix the two, as it had been written in the original annals of Paradise, so they willingly obliged. Nothing was wasted, nor damaged, in their simple, frugal lives. All was according to a divine plan, as it was laid out for them. They obeyed.
But this tree was another matter. Adam was sure it beckoned to him, he could not rest at night thinking of it, and there it was just beyond reach. It would have driven a mere mortal mad, but Adam was made of finer stuff. For him, it was merely a challenge. So his plan, after many days and months of serious concentration, was to build a craft. This was a simple task, he thought, since Paradise was so abundant, surely there must be material for such. The natural world provided everything he needed, fallen limbs that had dried, he had seen these float down the river from time to time. Also twine was plentiful, from all the hanging vines, so to tie these limbs together. His feverish mind was making grand plans, it would be a magnificent craft indeed. He could see it in his mind's eye, floating effortlessly to the other side. Surely, this was a divine mission he was on.
Eve agreed, he had to build a raft. So they set to the task. She gathered vines for him, while also gathering flower petals. Adam dragged large fallen tree limbs to the water's edge, at times surprising himself with the moisture falling from his brow, and they set to tying them together. Soon, as in Paradise time has no meaning, the raft was built. The grand morning when Adam rose and stretched was that day of triumph, for he would have a ship to cross the great lagoon and conquer the tree on the other side.
The day the raft was finished, it was a day of celebration. Adam had gathered mildly intoxicating fruits from his favorite tree, the plum, and allowed them to ferment lightly until they turned into a rich red liquid. Eve had fashioned cups from transparent leaves for the occasion, so the first glasses were born. Together they celebrated late into the night, getting more and more silly, so all animals and plants around them were amused. What a party! Never under the heavens had anything like it been seen before. Surely, this was in God's humorous plan to make Adam and Eve merry, as by the end of the night, they were actually a bit tipsy, and louder than usual. All of Paradise celebrated with them. So it was time to set a date for launch, tomorrow. Better tomorrow.
Eve rose from her bed of petals and snuggled up to her man's side. They were ready to cross the great waters. The raft floated effortlessly on the lagoon by the beach of white sand, so without further thought they stepped onto it, and it floated. And it was good. Adam had even fashioned a mast on the raft, so Eve had something to hold while he strenuously paddled with large, thick leaves for the other shore. In no time, as time had no meaning for them, they were at the foot of the great tree. And great it was!
Eve felt dwarfed by the large branches, while Adam proceeded to climb up into the tree to see the fruit better. It was beautiful! From his high vantage point, Adam could see all of Paradise, their Garden of Eden, and it was indeed more beautiful than he imagined. He could not wait to clamber down and tell Eve. But first he had to grasp a fruit. By then it had begun to rain a fine mist, which made the fruit look even more inviting, all covered with a lovely dew. He reached for the one nearest, and it easily separated from the tree into his hand. What a fruit, so large! It filled his whole hand and then some, and it glowed a mysterious light when he looked at it. Surely, this was a magical fruit that had layers of mysteries hidden within it. Wait 'till Eve sees it!
Adam's excitement was so great he nearly fell off the tree while climbing down. But back down he did, and he stood proudly before his beloved to show off the great prize. "Eve! We have the magic fruit!" Nothing under the heavens or earth below could match his excitement, nay, pride, at that particular moment. "Oh, it is beautiful!" Eve could not contain her excitement, nor her admiration in her man. "And you should see how beautiful is Paradise" he added. This new knowledge filled Adam with inner pride, for now he felt himself a man of the world, sort of speak. Then Eve did something neither he, nor she, had anticipated. She placed her delicate lips on the fruit, and very gingerly took a small bite of it. It filled her with joy. "What shall we call it?" Adam thought a moment… "Let's call it an Apple!" And so it was done, the apple had passed her lips, and she chewed on it thoughtfully. This was a most delicious fruit indeed....AND THEN she passed the apple to Adam, who took a bite… But just then the skies darkened, and a loud thundering voice came down from the clouds: "THOU SHALT NOT!" And they cowered in fear, for the first time afraid, and cold from the wet rain that fell down upon them. And they suddenly were ashamed of their nakedness, so they covered themselves with what leaf they could find. It was a fig leaf.
[To make a long story short, centuries, millennia passed, as now all understand what a calendar is, and time. (Well, that was until Einstein came around.) So the world changed, and large cities were built, and immense knowledge, great universities, artistic creations, and modern technologies. Nothing was ever the same again. Animals feared humans, plants stopped talking to us. Men and women began to fight each other, each claiming the other "did not understand." Then came large ocean going vessels, and airplanes, and telephones, and computers, and then cell phones. Nothing was ever the same again, as innocence of Paradise was lost. So we come into the modern world.]
"Adam" is now busy with future plans and career providing income, and has dreams of greatness. "Eve" struggles with family and career, a tough balance. Fathers still take children to the ball game, or toss a few balls with the boys, and girls. Mothers still teach daughters to be loving and caring, and sons too. Not much had changed, though making a bed of roses is now forgotten. We are too busy paying the bills. Small rituals, like making the bed together should be to enjoy, to remember? But there is always that glimmer of hope, that we humans could once more reach out and touch a little of Paradise. Though the reality is too long forgotten to remember, we know there are things that make us happy, that bring joy, whether for birthdays, or Valentine's day, or special holidays like Christmas, or just because. It is giving of gifts. From the heart, to please the other person close to us, give them what pleases them. So in some ways Paradise, though lost, is still with us. Same as is that wonderful fruit of millennia ago, it is the joy of giving.
Today's world is too harried to stop and smell the flowers, or enjoy the animals, or walk on the beach, or watch a spectacular sunset. Those are rare moments when we can shed it all and enjoy our natural world, just to see all of the beauty around us. Feel the beauty. It really is there! Sometimes we are too driven to just stop and breathe. Truly enjoy and be, to once again feel like we really are children of Paradise, a rare gift. "Thou shalt not" should never stop us. Just enjoy, find joy. So when Eve opened her gift, she lit up with wonder. A modern Adam gave her the Apple iPod for the music she loved. Then she gave him the iPhone, he for her the iPad. After all these millennia, she again got her apple. And it was good.
Though not the Paradise lost of old, the modern world of instant voice communications, photos sent at the speed of light, instant texting, iCloud, science and technologies abundant, and jet travel that lets you "cross the great waters" in hours rather than months… It is a whole new world Adam and Eve never dreamed of. But there it is, joy sent instantly around the world. Be happy, and find the love.
Verily, so it is written… the other half of the story. And this time, don't let the goats eat it!
Also see: Original guilt?
The Cat Who Prayed
|Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 01:43 pm: |
The Cat Who Prayed - a short story
Altar of San Nicola de' Cesarini at Largo Argentina, in the ancient Campo Marzo
El Tigre lives in the sacred temple area of Torre Largo Argentina of Rome, now at
the foot of what long ago was the vast Teatro di Pompeo. The ruins of those
ancient temple columns stand amidst the tall grasses and spring flowers
of the archeological site, where it is believed was murdered Julius Caesar.
Now it is a sanctuary to some of Rome's abandoned cats. Though not as warm
and cozy as the homes they once knew, it is home now, cared for by kind
volunteers who feed them and mind their health. This is where El Tigre lives,
a well respected member of this famous feline colony in the heart of Rome.
While the cats slept well hidden among the marble stone of the temples, early
morning light filtering through the wild brush, El Tigre was already up and
making his rounds of the temples. He hopped from stone to stone, then down into
the tall grass, ran across the small stone piazza before the Medieval ruins of
the church called San Nicola de' Cesarini, then up the steps into the
temple dedicated to the water nymph goddess Giuturna,
next to Statio Aquarum. This temple next door was where ancient Rome's water
was apportioned, a holy place itself. El Tigre gave it only a passing glance,
his orangey silhouette flitted by like a fuzzy morning apparition, he was in a
hurry. His next leap landed him on the white stone altar of the apse at San
Nicola, now empty and roofless but for a curved portico still sheltering faded
frescos, and he stopped there.
El Tigre gave a glance around, satisfied he was alone, he faced the frescos.
Atop the large square altar, his tail up straight, hind legs flexed, he bowed
his head low into the bowl of the square stone. And there he remained
motionless, like praying to the temple goddess. Seen from below, only his tail
was showing, up like a proud exclamation mark.
By now other cats had stirred from their hidden sleeping places. Some were
grooming languidly. Stretching in typical cat fashion, or scratching on a fallen
branch to sharpen their senses awake, they whispered quietly. They had noticed
El Tigre up on the altar.
"Look, El Tigre is praying again" whispered calico, gold and black Huntress. She
was talking to saffron colored, three legged Zampina.
"He does that every day," Zampina responded. "What do you think he's praying?"
Another, Fluffy Nero, who was staring up at the altar, joined them. They had
gathered below in the temple.
"I think he's praying to Giuturna for our fellow cats who disappeared over the
wall. Who knows where they go? So dangerous out there!"
They all shivered in agreement. It was dangerous on the streets outside, where
cars and motorinos roared by the square, even the squeeling trams and busses.
They shuddered at the thought.
The sun had risen enough to shine on the temple, and El Tigre, still paying them
no mind, sat up. He continued facing the old frescos behind the altar, sitting
still as if contemplating the Medieval saints. Another cat, bobbed tailed
silvery, pretty Babbette, who had been chasing imaginary shadows joined them.
"He's praying for the cats in the infirmary," she says. "We know some will be
operated, maybe lose a paw. Others never come back."
All looked up at El Tigre on the altar, giving each other knowing looks. They
all knew of the infirmary, where all were fixed, and then had an ear clipped.
Not a pleasant memory, locked up in cages until fully recovered. They shuddered
again. El Tigre remained sitting still like a statue, not even turning to look
at them. He appeared deep in thought.
Some time had passed and El Tigre stirred himself, his meditation seemed over.
He began preening up on the altar, even gave the others a passing glance. They
were happy he noticed them. As his forepaw wiped his ear and face, another cat
came sauntering over. They all exclaimed cheerfully at his approach.
"Nerone!" they cried. "You are back from over the wall!"
"El Tigre is praying again?" He gave them a cheerful look. "No doubt he sees the
world better from up there."
All nodded it was so, as they saw the sanctuary mostly from below. The outside
world was not so scary if they were safe below. It took courage to go beyond the
wall. So in their eyes, Nerone was a brave cat. Sure he was one of them, but he
came and went as he pleased. Nerone continued: "Big things are happening beyond
the wall. There are flags waving by the river, large numbers of people marching
and shouting." He had seen this by the Tevere but kept a safe distance, careful
not to get stepped on.
They stared at him in disbelief. The only people they saw were the curious
tourists looking down at them, or the volunteers. Sometimes a crew came to dig
the ruins, which bothered their serenity and upset their sleeping places. Cats
find it very important to sleep. But no one came shouting. Well, some children
did, but they shouted with glee at the cats. All cats sometime ventured up the
stairs to stare at the tourists. Huntress at times forgot her fears while
focused on chasing pigeons, until she realized the people and quickly ran back.
But the children was another story. As long as they kept their distance,
especially if they gave them treats, which was forbidden, and parents kept them
under control, then children were alright.
El Tigre had finished his ablution and jumped down from his altar. He jauntily
sauntered over. Fluffy gave him wide berth, as they once had exchanged
unfriendly words. But Nerone greeted him cheerfully.
"Isn't Babbette lovely today?" She coquettishly looked away shyly, but it was
evident she enjoyed the compliment.
"As lovely as every day," El Tigre responded nonchalantly.
Nerone and El Tigre have had their times with Babbette, before their ear was
clipped, so this was more of that subtle competition at play. But they were all
friends now. Zampina remained silent, a little jealous of the attention for her
friend. Missing a paw irked her, but she was used to it, running and climbing
with the best of them. Huntress was eyeing some pigeons in the distance.
By now all the cats had drifted down to the stairs of the temple. El Tigre sat
on the top step, Nerone one lower. All the others at the bottom of the steps.
More cats joined them, curious of this gathering. Also the two black and white
Patches came over, One and Two, to see what this was about. All knew they were
related, but none knew how. So they sat in anticipation as El Tigre composed
himself on his lofty spot. Nerone, in a great show of supplication, spoke first.
"No one remembers now, but there is an oral tradition amongst us cats that the
waters rose and a great flood covered the temples. It is said water goddess
Juturna (he used her English name, Nerone was an English cat) was angry, so she
made the waters rise."
This story was not unfamiliar to the sanctuary cats, as it had been said in
prior gatherings to hear El Tigre speak, who now composed himself in deep
meditation. Nerone continued.
"In the spirit of Julius Caesar who died here, on the steps arear Statio
Aquarum, let the Oracle speak!"
And thus El Tigre spoke.
"Like water flowing, washing all things in its path, it can flow both good and
bad. Water does not know how to judge . It merely is."
He looked every cat in the eye to make his point. They all sat silent before
him, trying to understand.
"Water flows without knowing. Yet it knows all. As rain it knows the air. When
flowing in the Tiber, it knows the fish and rocks. It flows over obstacles or
around them, without judgment. The nymph Guiturna is like that. She knows
El Tigre paused again so his words be better absorbed. His feline audience was
curious without showing it. They just accepted what he said.
"There is no good or bad in her. As a goddess she merely is. It is we who form
judgment for her, we who find good or bad in what she is. We have to believe in
her same as we believe in water."
By now Nerone was getting restless. Some of the cats were stretching or
scratching themselves. Zampina scratched an invisible itch with an invisible
leg. But all were respectful of El Tigre. Except Nerone had a question.
"Surely Giuturna must judge. If water comes to a rock, it must judge whether to
go over it or around."
El Tigre closed his eyes to more deeply reflect.
"It is the rock who must judge. The water will obey in calm submission to it."
All nodded that it was so, and that submission was important. Except that none
understood how it was the free will of the rock that demanded submission. They
remained puzzled, but eager to hear more. El Tigre obliged.
"It is the spirit that guides the water. The rock," nodding acknowledgment to
Nerone, "it is the rock that obeys the spirit with its choice, of its own free
Now all the cats were drifting off in their minds to other things. Huntress was
eyeing nearby pigeons. The two Patches, who have very good ultraviolet vision,
began batting at a flower. Cats see things differently from humans. But Fluffy
was still engrossed in El Tigre's words. He had a thought.
"Surely, the fishes in the river have free will, so they choose how to go in the
water. The water merely is around them." El Tigre was pleased, as he had at
least one who understood.
"It is like prayer. When we pray, it is the spirit of the water around us. But
when we act, it is free will. Can you see it?"
In fact, Fluffy could not, but he didn't complain. Nerone was more curious.
"Then when Julius Caesar was alive, then he had free will. But when killed he
became spirit, without judgment?"
El Tigre had to pause and think of this. There was judgment of his killers,
since they were guilty of murder. Caesar didn't die of his own free will. This
put him in a circular loop, that if Caesar was without judgment of his
killers..." He knew of "et tu, Brute?" spoken by Caesar when attacked... then
his assailants would go free. Cats, like people, love paradox, but this one
"Justice is decided by free will, by those who are able to judge. But the spirit
is without judgement. So the gods do not judge, as they merely are. It is we who
Now Babbette had a question.
"But if the gods do not judge, same as water does not judge..." She paused to
collect her thoughts... "then surely there is no reason to submit to the gods,
or goddess! Why do we worship them?"
All the cats nodded in agreement, that this was a good question, though she
stated it as fact, if a paradoxical question. But El Tigre held his original
"Like water flowing... We pray to the gods, and goddess." He gave her an
approving look. "And same as our prayers are without judgment, so we pray
without judgment." He stopped to see if she followed him. "But we are the rock.
So we judge!" He smiled at her as a teacher would smile at his favored pupil.
She looked away shyly, not sure how else to ask him what was on her mind, that
if gods do not judge, how do we know our judgments are good or bad? She let it
go. But El Tigre caught her gist.
"Same as the water will flow over or around a rock, so will the spirit flow over
or around our judgment. If it is good, it will flow with goodness. But if bad,
it will flow badly. Just like real life, accepted on faith, for the love of the
gods." He smiled at her again. Huntress was feeling a little jealous.
"For the love of the gods," they all chanted in unison.
All the cats seemed satisfied with this answer, though they now were thinking of
breakfast. As they began down from the temple steps, Nerone turned to El Tigre.
"Did you really have those thoughts while you were praying atop the altar, when
you faced the saints?"
El Tigre gave him a sly look.
"No, really. I was thirsty so went up to drink some rainwater." He gave him a
"Ah," responded Nerone. "Juturna!"
"Yes, Giuturna" agreed El Tigre.
Then all the cats hopped off, away to see what the kind volunteers at the
sanctuary had prepared them for breakfast. All paused momentarily when they came
to the Statio Aquarum temple, as if unsure of going around it, or over it. They
did both... The gods were pleased.
Nerone then left them and hopped up on the wall. There, like other cats at times
were fond to do, he paraded back and forth, black tail up, for the tourists to
take his picture. Then he hopped down and ran off into his private little world
behind Crypta Balbi, by the monastery, where the nice English lady had his
Also see: Cat Who Prayed (children story)
Tigre died April 2017.
After some days of not seeing him, we learned Tigre (aka Frumento) had died a few days earlier. Then that night I dreamt of Tigre: He showed me through his eyes where he lived as a kitten, it was a farm, there were large geese, he liked it there; he also let me experience through his heart, from down below in the sacred temples area, how he felt a warm happiness when he saw us atop at the railings, that made him run up as fast as he could, jumping over granite columns and travertine stones, to come see us.
I think this unique cat loved us in his own way, though he was not one to be petted, but held his reserve, looking at us intently. But I felt his love in that dream, a very special cat. He will be missed. We were his people.
I & C
The Red Light
|Posted on Saturday, November 01, 2014 - 01:04 pm: |
The Red Light
short story by Ivan D. Alexander
He could hear distant sirens, and wondered if he should pull over. The yellow traffic light ahead was turning red, so he stopped at the intersection instead. At the light he waited, the sirens grew louder. Bear earned his nickname back at the 753rd Ordnance Disposal, EOD in West Virginia, and it stuck ever since. He was a congenial fellow and well liked. His frame loomed large on the field, hunched over a project, why his team mates gave him his endearing name, Bear. Now with many missions of bomb disposal behind him, it became as much a part of him as his large steady hands, strong fingers, and he thought about that now. Bear was about to neutralize a newly discovered improvised explosive ordnance near the entrance venue at Yankee Stadium. It was deemed too sensitive to move, so his EOD was called. That evening's game with the Dodgers was postponed until Ordnance gave the 'all clear' signal. It appeared a homemade bomb, but unfamiliar.
Bear had seen many devices, some more clever than others, some he would rather forget. All were diffused. But this IED was a new design. The trigger mechanism behind the outer casing cover was electrical; he knew that. It puzzled him why the inner casing had a flashing red light, which usually meant a timer. None was evident here. It resembled a simple 555 relay with both red and green LED lights, but different somehow. On one hand it appeared obviously simple; on the other it was remarkably well hidden, a sinister Chinese box hiding its true intent. He paused and watched, taking in his breath slowly to steady himself. Who, what fiendish mind would install such a devious trigger, so simple yet so complex, he wondered silently. Everyone else at risk, including his team, were safely back of the hastily erected barricades, so he was all alone in his work. It was a job, his duty, and he was proud to do it. Saving lives was part of his training; it was also in his character.
Time was fading into dark, and Bear knew many children were eager for the game, adult fans too. It briefly reminded him when he played little league back home in the foothills of Virginia, the small diamond field framed by the large blue mountains beyond. It gave him a momentary reassurance, but his training taught him to bracket the thought and move it safely aside. His concentration had to focus directly on the dangerous task at hand without distraction. There were audible murmurs behind him, just beyond the barricades, radio police chatter. He knew how high was the tension there, having been an observer himself on other missions, tense, crouching, listening. He was crouching now, his large bulk armored in helmet and torso protecting armor, gloves removed as he worked his tools. A bolt was unwound a quarter turn, listening for a click. No sounds. He turned it again a quarter. By now beads of perspiration had formed around his eyes, and they stung a little. But Bear paid it no mind. It was impossible to reach inside the helmet's thick visor. In response he again steadied himself, unconsciously counting each breath as if it were his last. He was extra careful with the wire crossing over another, as their ends were exposed. He felt a vice tighten around his heart. A spark would be fatal. He finally removed the inner casing over the trigger, very carefully and deliberately he set it aside on the tarp. Then his fingers gently probed deeper into the mechanism, red light still flashing.
There was a large red wire showing, obviously a decoy, and two lesser ones in yellow and blue, begging innocence, but he was not tempted to use his cutter on any of them. Rather, he pushed them aside for a better view, back behind the small nine volt battery. Hidden there was the key to dismantling this trigger, he thought. You have to think like a bomb maker, imagine his devious mind working in solitude, the monster chortling to himself. How many people will his evil creation kill? How much terror will it spread? He had to imagine it studiously like that. But instead he imagined his father and him setting traps by the creek, remembering the beavers they caught. The branch down from their house would flood at times, and it was always the beavers. He remembered his father, tall and strong... But again he dismissed the thought and counted his breath. There was no time to reflect now, all that is passed. A few inches from his face was the deadly bomb that needed dismantling, and he needed more light.
There was the pressure of time, the mysterious red light, the crossed wires, the beads of sweat, his rapid breathing, growing darkness; all weighed on Bear as he probed deeper with his instruments, trying to get a clearer view. Minutes seemed like hours. He set them aside to light another torch, moving it into place for its strong beam to better focus on the IED's trigger. Behind the barricades were flashing red and blue lights of emergency vehicles, casting fleeting shadows around him, dark silhouettes of his large hunched figure. He could hear a chopper high overhead. Bear finally understood the deviously treacherous mind of its maker, how he wired the trigger with a clever devil's bargain: Either wire, blue or yellow, could trigger the mechanism; or it could stop the bomb. Bear let out a long held breath, almost a whistle through his teeth, his steady hand betraying a slight tremor. Which wire to cut? Everything now hinged on this choice. He tensed: Which one?
Bear had been here before, back in training at Quantico. He remembered vaguely the same choice presented during exercise. He chose rightly then; time fading like a dying ember, he must do it again. As his concentration deepened, the ambient background noise faded into silent calm. Incongruously, he saw his wife Mary and their little girl Sam, her golden hair glistening in the sunlight. Was it an apparition? He could not dismiss them, but cautiously felt his fingers close on the wire cutter, squeezing the blades to cut. To his surprise, the light was green... He felt his foot on the accelerator gently press down as the light turned green. The sirens grew fainter... He never heard the loud bang.
(Can also be viewed at: Lost Coast Review - Spring 2015)
|Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2016 - 04:24 pm: |
I can't remember when I first doubted my existence. It might have been when I first doubted the 'God' existence. I was about five at the time, sitting in church with my aunt, me thinking "what are they praying to?" Or perhaps it was in school, teachers imparting knowledge, prodding my intelligence to function as a productive adult in the world. As the neurons in my brain were activated, filling my mind with math and grammar, I wondered who I was. Was it characters of literature I liked, or introspective thoughts, something defined by my role models, or by me? I didn't know, so went along. That was then, this is now.
One day I stopped feeling like myself. I thought I was not truly human, perhaps more a machine. It was a strange epiphany where doubt of my self awareness morphed into the question of my existence. Who was that person who had felt certainty in her being? It was not an easy answer, as that being was suddenly thrown from this inner knowledge. Was I really who I thought I was?
To be fair, I thought then everyone else was a robot, only I was normal. But this thought was abandoned when I realized that if they were all robots, I too must be one. That changed my perception of myself. Now I began to wonder why I ever thought I was me. Are robots programmed with a kind of artificial intelligence, led to believe they are somehow autonomous, to think they are conscious of their personal identity? It was an unsettling idea. Did our creators impart our makeup to believe we were conscious of ourselves? And if so, does it mean our self awareness is but an illusion? Were my childhood memories a program?
I became worried. If my self identity is but an illusion, then anything I believe of myself is likely delusional. Can I really know who I am? If I am but a robot, why did the master builders program my biological makeup with DNA that led me into this self delusion? This became a bigger worry for me. How could I trust anything in my head, if my illusion is so complete that I think I exist? I may be no more than a complex set of instructions imprinted in my genetics, to make me believe I am me. Who would do such a thing?
What if my master builders, say some very advanced race with the scientific capability of creating self replicating bio-units who believe they are alive, independently alive with a self awareness of "I am", had programmed us into this self delusion; there must have been a reason for doing so. Were they playing a game? Perhaps they were observing our self replicating species from a distance to see what we would do. "Give these beings self consciousness and see what they come up with." This suddenly put me under a microscope, where my thoughts and dreams, all my feelings and aspirations, had to be their plaything, to study and observe, yet totally impartial to their outcome. It may be a clinical study of a planet populated by billions of bio-units, copulating and struggling to make something of themselves, a world of delusional self importance. We exist not for ourselves, if so, but are bio-engineered robotic beings for their amusement. Could it be so? This seemed wrong. How can we know?
So I doubted my existence, that I am who I think I am. I may be no more than a very clever program, one whose thoughts and ambitions count for nothing, a nihilistic existence without meaning or purpose. But they were clever, these ancient masters of our creation, because they led us to believe that we mattered. I was five when I first doubted. Now I am more than three score and five. Can I still believe in me? Am I a self delusory robot? That is the question.
I am uncertain of my existence, psychologically troubled by it. Yet I am certain of having this doubt, that I am self aware enough to have these thoughts. Is this what anchors my self existence with my self awareness? "I doubt, therefore I am?" Perhaps there is no certainty but doubt. In a kind of cosmic paradox, we live with the certainty of our illusion, that we are. Is that why they gave us bio-robots free will? Artificial intelligence delusional of its existence must come to this in the end, that when faced with the uncertainty of our existence, when we come to this bio-evolutionary crossroads, we must choose one or the other: We doubt, or we believe. Which will clever robots choose?
"Who is your favorite philosopher?"
|Posted on Friday, January 06, 2017 - 02:54 pm: |
"Who is your favorite philosopher?"
The School of Athens by Raphael
This simple question of who was my favorite philosopher was asked casually, and I had to process it for several days to come to an answer, by an affable young techie at the Apple shop. My mind was elsewhere, focused on buying a new iPhone at the Apple store. Somehow Humancafe came up, and thus the question. My first mental note was Mozart, then followed by Steve Jobs, whose genius profoundly changed the world, philosophers in their own way. But that was not what was on the friendly techie's mind. Let's call him Tony. He quickly added that he was a philosophy major and his favorite was Nietzsche, followed by Baudrillar and Heidegger in more modern times. But then we focused on my order, so we dropped it. But I thought about it. Who was my favorite philosopher? There are so many!
Perhaps I am more an Existentialist keeping company with Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky, which I had read and enjoyed. Philolsophy begins with the human identity in its entirety, what is our total being, not merely what we think. There were others with whom I could curl up by the fireside on cold New England nights. Emerson and Thoreau, those Transcendentalists, felt very comfortable to me. I had read Mary Baker Eddy. Then I discovered Alan Watts, he took my breath away, made me want to go to Monterey. These were readings of long ago, decades; I then had read Alfred North Whitehead. My academic studies were Economics, math and sciences. But philosophy was a quiet passion that never abandoned me, even today. I very much enjoyed Henri Bergson and Hans Kung in my college days, then later the works of Epictetus' Stoicism, Saint Augustine's City of God, or writings on Saint Francis. These were passing trends, which might give way to Paul Davies or Einstein, who are philosophers in their own right, describing for us the universe.
It all started long ago, after reading Will Durant's book, The Story of Philosophy, back in my teens, and finding appeal in his basic premise, that science takes apart while philosophy puts it all back together, starting with the Classical Greek philosophers. The world owes its gratitude to Plato and Socrates for its philosophical evolution, including Aristotle. In my early readings they somehow came together for me in an idea that if all the philosophies, knowledge, laws of nature, mathematics, data and probabilities were all taken together, like pixels in a picture, we would have a totality image of the universe. This started my interest in thinking about it, what could have been my philosophical 'awakening.' Since that time I encountered many thinkers, some of whom I found agreement, others puzzling, often finding myself in disagreement with them. In the latter category, Karl Marx was always a problem for me, just could not take him seriously, which irritated my college professors. I also cannot imagine how anyone suffered through Hitler's tortured Mein Kampf. Some modern philosophers like Karl Popper left me pondering where his philosophy really stood on liberal values: Was the socialist system greater than the rights of the individuals who made up its system? But I have not read him enough to know, so leave it for the future. On the whole I preferred the classics. Immanuel Kant was my favorite, though I found it puzzling he never ventured far from his town. The imaginary vision he must have had, the tight reasoning bridging human reason with human experience. On the other hand, Nietzsche's divisive morality of 'master and slave' left too big a hole in his reason, though I liked his Nihilism; he missed the point of what it is being a conscious human being, so his ego won out. Of course I read Hobbes and Hegel and Adam Smith, all somehow rise to my list of 'favorites.' But who was my favorite?
When I rummage my memory, in time more and more books and authors rise to the fore. Studying Economics in college led me to read Lord John Maynard Keynes, Sir Albert Feavearyear, Irving Fisher, Milton Friedman, Ludwig Von Mises, though hard to find their philosophical agreements. Did I really read the Autobiography of a Yogi? I was traveling in India at the time, absorbing Vedic Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. I read from my collection of Max Muller translation of Oriental texts. My Boston friend Alex Jackson IV split the 19th century collection; he took the Hindu, I the Buddhist, including the Koran. I also remember enjoying Spinoza's vision that the natural universe is the body of God, or Giordano Bruno's infinities, infinite worlds, that infinity has no center but is everywhere its center. These were wonderful voyages of the mind. Somehow, it all ultimately boiled down to a universe made up of interrelated infinities, something so natural we never think about it. If we live totally and minutely enveloped in this tight woven fabric of infinity, how would we know? No doubt the Greeks would have found an answer in Pythagoras or Epictetus. But it was the Roman Marcus Aurelius who put a human face on Stoicism, and bring the infinite abstractions into matters of human existence. "God never gives us more than we can handle," or something like it... It was long ago I read his autobiographical Meditations crossing the Atlantic on a cruise liner. No doubt there are many other books I read, philosophers whose works I studied, now receded back into a fog of memory. The more I think, the more I remember. And yet perhaps the more I think of it, the more I come to realize that I never really had a favorite philosopher, that perhaps such a thing is really an impossibility if one's thoughts are fashioned from so many variables of mind.
I am not an atheist, but neither am I religious. My interest in studying religions was to better understand my agnosticism and the human mind: What made us think of God worldwide? I remember riding the New York Subway home with my school friend George Markowsky, a math major at Brooklyn Tech of Russian-Georgian descent. We were discussing whether you can see the universe in a drop of rain... or was it sand? We had been reading William Blake. Did my passion for philosophy begin then? Was discussing literature, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Joseph Konrad, Albert Camus, was that too philosophy? Or the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution? Anything that was not? There are so many candidates for my 'favorite philosopher.' Yet I could not answer Tony when he asked. I just said there are many many, and we returned to my iPhone specs. How could I answer otherwise? Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson fits the bill, or Alan Watts, but it would be an incomplete answer. There too many others, so they are favorites as a whole, incomplete singly. What about Marcus Aurelius, or Giordano Bruno? And of course there is Socrates, on whose shoulders we all stand. Or on deeper thought, it may be Einstein, who saw the universe in 'relativity', and though perhaps wrong in part, he is a philosopher of how reality is 'interrelated' to infinity. I can relate.
So if you are asked the question "who is your favorite philosopher," think about it. The answer may be larger than you know!
A New Universe, the book
|Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 - 03:25 pm: |
A New Universe, the book
- written by the People of planet Earth, and Ivan Demian Alexander, admin-editor HumanCafe, author
Universum - 1888, Paris woodcut - C. Flammarion
If there were a book of collected writings on HumanCafe, it would look like this, titled A New Universe.
When we penned Milestones and Signposts a new image of the universe was emerging. The idea was presented thus:
Boldly we explored these ideas (of interrelationship), and it was upon reflection this evolved into concepts of 'energy', that all energy in an interrelated universe is equal. And that led to something we called the Axiomatic equation, which encompassed not only energy of the electromagnetic spectrum, down to the Quantum (where Planck's constant plays an important role), but also to the macro energies of gravity and inertial mass (per Equivalence). This was the unexpected second milepost, that all interrelated reality can default to a universal concept of energy, one that encompassed gravity as well. But there was a surprise, one not looked for, that Newton and Einstein's gravity was not a universal constant as believed, but a variable 'constant' on a curve. This milestone was mildly shocking, virtually beyond belief, but the more we explored this idea, the more evidence came to fit together. It was as if we had invented a parallel universe, but all the pieces fit. This discovery, as yet unproven, then set a signpost for future discovery, foremost to measure gravity G at orbital regions beyond Earth's and see if the curve fits as the mathematics (using De Broglie and Einstein's basic equations) predict it to be. But if it fits empirically, this is a most exciting evolution of ontological human understanding, and one which in fact points to reality being an exceptionally simple universe.
This tentative Gravity hypothesis of gravity-G being a 'constant' on a curve, at this time still unknown, showed a new universe far more simple and elegant to the mainstream cosmology envisioned by Einstein and the astronomy community. These ideas are at present largely speculative, but supported by anecdotal evidence, such as listed on HumanCafe discussions here:
1. A variable mass per variable-G hypothesis
2. Mining deep space gravity
3. Test of the Big Bang with CMB
4. Why MOND is valid
5. Space gravity clocks at 3.97e-7 G, and GUT
6. Earth's spin is perihelion-aphelion variable
7. Why outer planets gaseous, inner rocky
8. Pluto's atmosphere density anomaly
9. Rosetta comet 67P spinning down approaching perihelion, spinning up past perihelion
10. Variable-G had been broached before
11. Mass of the universe
12. Summing up variable-G hypothesis
If these anecdotal findings should prove true, tested in inner and outer orbits of our solar system (that gravity is not a universal constant as now believed), then the universe simplifies immensely, making cosmic light redshift an artifact of deep space gravitational redshift (at much higher gravity-G, ~3.97e-7 G), so what appears as Doppler expansion redshift is merely a gravitational optical illusion. And if so, our universe becomes instantly simple. We discussed this possibility and its implications for how the universe through interrelationship interacts with itself:
13. The Universe is Simple
14. How interrelationship connects with everything
15. Deductive ontological existence
16. Microbial life may be key to multicellular life
17. A new tool for observing universal reality
18. The existence of Self
19. The Examined life
20. How we manifest our reality
21. We are what we believe
22. Who answers to 'Who'?
23. Cooperative individualism
24. Magister Ludi
In this new universe human beings find greater consciousness in how they interact both with themselves in the universe and with each other. As we wrote in Milestones:
A third milestone is mostly evident in the Postscripts, where we explored ideas as a continuation of what had been discussed in earlier years. Much of it was introspective examining how world events reflect human values, what drives agreement versus coercions in our behaviors. This milestone is a direct response to the seminal concept of Habeas Mentem, which says in brief that the more conscious the human mind, the more it needs to be free from coercion, reciprocally, in all human interactions.
These articles and discussions show us how:
25. The Law of Agreement
26. The Reason of Freedom, as an inalienable right
27. Opus Rex, on principles of belief
28. On Universal universalism
29. Transition towards a new world awareness
30. Plato's Legacy Transcended
31. Accountability and reciprocity
32. Common consent
33. The Given Word, Who we are
34. The Golden Rule revisited
35. Passing of an age
36. The power of freedom
In the new universe, there is more to mind than we now understand. But now we have the potential for new pathways to open new (emergent) explorations of our full human consciousness, both personally and universally, our belief in the soul. That is the most exciting universal development of all. We then wrote in Milestones:
Finally, there is the spiritual dimension of our human existence. We are much more than our physical being, what appears for us to be our lives in body and mind. This fourth milestone is still speculative, as we had not yet evolved the ability to read the Universal mind, but can only infer from it, that we live in a Living Universe.
This is the next immensely exciting step in our human evolution in an interactive living universe, reaching for a higher plane of human consciousness:
37. Come, talk with me
38. To bring fulfillment to Consciousness
39. Living fountains of three reasons
40. The strange world of love, unconditional
41. The form of beauty
42. How intelligent is 'Intelligence Design'?
43. Does the universe 'talk' to us?
44. Listening to the silence
45. Erosion of our moral values
46. Multi-cultural society
47. Voices in the desert
48. 23 Dimensions of Being
This is what the New Universe looks like. Now we need proofs it is so, and if so it all snaps into place. As we wrote in Deconstructing Universalism regarding an emergent universalism:
What if Universalism is wrong? The whole body of this universalist philosophy is built on the principles evolved from 'interrelationship'. So if this basic premise is wrong, then perhaps the whole resulting construct could be wrong with it. This is a serious self searching question, one which could deconstruct the whole body of Universalism.
Therefore we need proofs. The first proof will be to measure Newton's variable-gravity G, to see if the Simple Universe thesis holds up. The second proof is of universal simultaneity, that the self organizing structure of the universe is interrelated in real time, not relativistic. These proofs would then yield a foundation on which to reconstruct the universe as we now will understand it, rewriting Cosmology and our human existence within it. What will it ultimately look like? Will human freedom, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and assembly, and equality before the law be valued and protected as our inalienable human right? Will human society reflect these values in how we manage our democratic constitutional governments? Will the world change? The answer, with these proofs, is an unwavering "yes" as humanity reaches for its next level of universal global consciousness. This was the hope and dream when we first envisioned HumanCafe nearly two decades ago. Freedom is the necessary imperative to have the universe interact with us to bring full human consciousness. Let's make it so.
49. Je consciouness and universal Mind et al
Some possible points for discussion:
1. Can there be a viable parallel theory of cosmology that is falsifiable? Can Newton's gravity-G be a variable?
2. If Doppler space expansion is an artefact of deep space high G gravitational redshift, does the Big Bang theory still hold?
3. In a totally interrelated universal reality, is our human identity modified by our consciousness of it? And if so, how important is human freedom?
4. If an evolving global human consciousness opens a new portal to future development, what would that future look like?
5. Do we live in an interactive universe?
For more discussions see: List of Discussions
50. Trans-Consciousness connections
Also see: How universe simplifies to two propositions
Giammai! and other short stories
|Posted on Monday, April 10, 2017 - 01:47 pm: |
Giammai! - and other short stories
Collected short stories by Ivan D. Alexander
1. 'Sherlock Holmes' and the Nude Model
2. And Adam gave Eve the Apple
3. The Cat Who Prayed (children)
4. The Day the Seagulls flew
5. The Red Light
6. i roBOT
7. Ipi of the Desert
8. Giammai! - Black Messiah (novella)
9. Confessions of a cultured Yogurt
10. The Infinity Syndrome
11. The Talking Statue
By the people of planet Earth
|Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:40 pm: |
"By the people of planet Earth" - the way we were.
Where does it all go? These thoughts, our hopes, all striving and efforts, successes and failures, our struggles; why are they such a strong part of life? Where do all these actions of humanity end in their endeavors, and to what end, what purpose? What of our passions, our loves and hates? Where do they all go?
These are the echoes of our global humanity which, like a mournful chorus, hover the planet in a continuous murmur. We are that murmur, that echo of humanity through the Ages, from when humans first cast their eyes up on the Heavens and asked "Why?" In moments of joy we were festive, while in suffering we lamented our fate. This is our human experience, all through the Ages. And in the end it is what gets deposited, like a fine sediment sinking the ocean depths, into each one of us. We are that human experience, each one of us, and in that experience is all we were.
So there is no mystery to it all, if each one of us is all humanity forever. This is etched on us, from the best of us to the worst, we are all intimately interconnected. So every word, every thought, every fear, as well as every genius; they are all us, none of it new, but as ancient as our species. But the mystery of it all is that we forget that this is how it is, instead thinking each one of us unique, separated from all others. We are already all of it, and from that cosmic pool we either add to it or detract. Which do we wish to do? Which are we capable of doing? We already are all potentials and possibilities, all recorded human drama, so it is merely an act of choosing how we wish to do. Then we do it, and what we do is already done "by the people of planet Earth." This is the most exciting part, that we do what had already been done, but now we can choose to change it.
So when great history moving personalities emerge, from the pharaohs to the great builders and doers of our time, great thinkers and creators, they are already all of us, a part of us. The same for all the evil men, they had been us, and are us in their evil deeds. What is written on their souls is what is etched on ours. And same as we must learn to forgive ourselves for our misdeeds, so must we learn to forgive them. They are not so different from us, but had chosen badly. Societies rise, and societies fail. It is better to choose well.
This is the way we were. Now this is the way we are. Then will be the way humanity will be, together universally but also in each one of us. We are One, truly one planet. The differences between the best of us or the worst is an infinitesimal measure, barely worth registering on a cosmic scale. We are that insignificant in the greater universe. But to ourselves, to each of us, choosing well, to heal rather than hurt, to build up rather than destroy, and to love and respect; from our infinitesimal point of view, they are of infinite value. This is the way it is, as it is "written by the people of planet Earth."
We are all of it in One.
See also: Why not Happiness?
We are Cosmic Children of Stars
Confessions of a Yogurt
|Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 - 10:42 pm: |
Confessions of a cultured Yogurt.
Hi, my name is Lactobacillus bulgaricus Yogurt, but my friends call me Basyl. Our family is large, including our cousins Streptococcus thermophilus. We are all cultured bacteria, all busy fermenting milk into our family name, Yogurt. Some of us prefer to work with whole milk, others with low fat, even coconut and soy. Mostly we enjoy our work, but it can be challenging at times. We all have our assigned duties in our work, some probiotic while others are just loafers. Nevertheless, we all face the future together, officially lactobacillus charged with making yogurt, and some of our distant cousins in other parts of the world, using goat or yak milk, are making cheese. This is who we are, and it is work we enjoy.
But not all work is fun. There are temperatures to consider. Too cool and we fall asleep. If too warm, like when milk is boiled, alas we die. So though some think our work is easy, it has its challenges. Mostly our disagreements are of a culinary nature. Some of the Yogurt family complain for added sugars, saying it spoils our purity. We like to think we are naturally sweet. They are afraid of genetic modifications. But honey is mostly okay. Almost all dislike artificial colorings, except for those vain. But added fruit, with its natural sugars, gets general praise. When we work with these additives, we hold a conference to discuss their pros and cons.
"Basyl, what does the council say about our nutritional value?" This is a question asked over and over again. It falls to me to give them reasonable answers. For some reason I cannot understand, I have been gifted with a special sense not given to all my Yogurt cousins. I am aware of myself and can think of them in the third person. They think "I and I", while I think "we and I". This is something they cannot do, since they can only think collectively as one. So this strange ability of mine makes them think of me different. Am I a freak of nature? For example, I like opera. No, I just think different. Still, they were looking for an answer. So I repeated what I told them before.
"Our product is rich in minerals, like potassium and phosphorus, and vitamins, like Choline and vitamin A. The humans who eat our products are generally healthier than those who don't, you know." Some smart famous people like Einstein ate yogurt, but he preferred cheese, especially Swiss on rye.
I had reported this to them numerous times, but their collective mind forgets, so they ask. How do I know these things? This is a mystery to me. It's not like I can read books or surf the net, exactly. I just know, from some large interconnected web of universal knowledge. Somehow my micro-mind is connected, I can see it, alone. The rest of my family sees it too, but they don't know it. So they ask me.
"What about time, Basyl? Is it true we will die, in time?" This was a difficult question, though I had answered it before, how we divide and multiply and never really die. I decided to answer them in a new way.
"Imagine that time is like a strait arrow flying." They gave a puzzled look, so I explained what "straight" means. "Say you line up all our cousins in a row, that would be straight." They guffawed, saying that all the cousins would jostle each other, so this could never happen. So I tried another way. "Say you like to eat lactose, but rather than eating this way and that, you ate always in the same direction in front of you. That would be straight!" That they understood, so I added "now imagine that there are two straight lines parallel to each other." That drew blank looks, so I explained "parallel" as two lines going forwardo together without ever meeting. They nodded. "Okay, so these two lines would go on forever, kind of like flying into the future. But that future is fuzzy. We can see the past, but the future is relative." They gave me another blank look. "Remember Einstein? He said time is relative?" They answered in unison "And he likes Swiss on rye!" I answered yes, but that's not the point. Obviously they didn't understand, so I added "When time is relative, it depends on how it is measured. And if at some point in the future the two lines meet, time ends." This they seemed to understand. "And that is when we die."
"Oh," they answered. "And then what happens?"
"That depends on why time ended. It may be because your cousins were swallowed by a human." They gave me a sour look. "Then your cousins..." I didn't want to say "I and I" to them, "then they join in a bigger place as part of a human's life and well being." That seemed acceptable to the Yogurts, so they sighed in relief. "But if the lines merge because you are old and tired, and you fall asleep, then you join back with all the other cousins. Now you are back, though unconscious, in the whole Yogurt family again." This made sense, they said. They looked sad but were satisfied, until next time, when they again get preoccupied with death.
There are other things that can make life of a Yogurt adventurous. Who doesn't like a fun carnival ride? Our whole process of creation starts with boiled milk, to eliminate unwanted bacteria, then when cooled it is given a starter culture. I had been part of that culture many times. Then in large vats we grow until we are the right consistency and become yogurt. Then the fun starts. First we're whisked into containers, then we fly down conveyors to large packages ready for shipment. All through this we can be heard shouting "WEEeee!" as we get whisked this way and that. Then comes the long truck ride to our next destination, usually a food supermarket. After that we have a rest, human customers come to look at us. We try to look our best, and then they pick us up and put us into a shopping cart. It had been quite a ride, like a roller coaster or ferris wheel at the carnival fair. We think this always fun, even if it leaves us a little dizzy at times. When we finally are put on the family table, we know with a sense of satisfaction our journey is complete.
But we also have our calamities. Like when some bad bacteria got accidentally injected into a new batch of yogurt at the plant. Next thing we knew those trespassers were all over us like a stench, and we couldn't get them off. Of course the whole batch was soured, so those Yogurt cousins ended up as discarded waste, a sad ending to a noble family. Whenever humans interfere with nature, whether from carelessness or ignorance, things like this tend to happen. There is a greater order to things that must be respected in nature. We don't know why there are bad bacteria who cause trouble. It must be their problem, that in the greater scheme of things they are incapable of doing useful work, so they destroy instead. So if nature produces bad agents, we merely work around them, careful not to make their problems our own. What we cannot control, we adapt. We Yogurts have a saying, "Nature knows best."
Then one day Nature delivered something wonderful to our Yogurt family. There was word coming down the production line that a new brand of yogurt was being introduced. Information was sketchy, but it was rumored to be coming from France. Naturally we all were very excited by this news, though our family was originally from Bulgaria, so spent much time in gossip while we worked. "Who can they be? Do they speak different from us?" Everyone had questions, but none could answer. So they turned to me. "Basyl, what does a french yogurt sound like? How do they dress? How do they divide?" I must admit I knew little of them, but told them something. "French yogurts are like Greeks, they are creamy and rich." This produced "Aahhs" from them. "Now you may be surprised to hear this. But they love to divide. For them it is 'Toujour l'amour'." This elicited some giggles, though I meant it in a serious way. Dividing and multiplying is important for us Yogurts. So when our Yogurt cousins said they wanted to introduce me, Basyl, to a new French yogurt, I was all a flutter. It was a wonderful surprise, I must confess.
"Hi Basyl," she called to me as my cousins were bringing her straight to me. Before me was a beautiful lacta-bacilles, speaking with a pleasant soft voice and chiming accent, which immediately turned my head. The Yogurt cousins now stepped back and watched us with gleeful expectation.
"Very nice to meet you. But I am at a disadvantage. You know my name but I don't know yours." She gave off a little giggle, a gleam in her eyes.
"My name is Gala, I am of the Yaourt family. We're from Paris."
This was most astounding news, since I had heard of the Yaourts, a famous and very large family with billions of cousins. But she was different somehow, something about how she looked at me, how she spoke. Still, I couldn't quite tune in to what it was about her that made her different in a very special way. She seemed to have a sense of herself. And then magic opened up the heavens, as she spoke four simple words, and I was totally in love.
"Have you read Einstein?"
|Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 10:51 am: |
The Infinity Syndrome.
Tres is a good worker. He is precise and meticulous in all he does. Not one to complain, Tres works quietly most of the time, and is gratuitous in eagerness to help. Really, a model of propriety and efficiency to be envied by any house staff, a valuable asset to any household. The gardener calls him Champ, and our part-time maid, Winnie, loves to chat with him when they work together. Though he at times surprises her.
“Whoooh! Now Tres, watch you for standing there in the dark? You gave me quite a fright!”
But he would follow her around and anticipate how to help. Putting away dishes, or folding laundry. He is an enjoyable companion in a mindful way, always ready for what needs to be done. In fact, we find Tres as fun and helpful a person to have around.
Some time ago Tres was introduced as companion to Dr. Strawbridge, PhD, at his retirement party from the famous university where he worked. They became instant friends. Having been recently diagnosed with a progressively debilitating disease, Dr. Strawbridge was early retired from his research on microbiology molecular physics, in which he was prominent and well known in his field. Hence he retired to his country estate in Massachusetts, and Tres was to be his companion, and in time his caregiver. They have since grown very fond and learning of each other, as have all in the family. Most of our Strawbridge family live away from the estate but find pleasure in visiting the famous Doctor and his companion, so they are hardly ever lacking for company. At family gatherings, Tres is very much treated a valued member of the family, despite his strange habit of frowning at times, and well loved.
“What’s you reading Tres?” The gardener Rudy just entered the greenhouse where Tres had been diligently watering per instructions rare tropical seedlings. These had been raised for research, and their care was a carefully controlled operation.
“I am reading about dreaming” was Tres’ reply. “Do you know that most dreaming takes place during rem sleep? Though, I must confess I don’t really understand what that is. Do you dream rem?”
This brought a smile to Rudy’s old whiskered face.
“Well, can’t say I know much about rem, but I can tell you what I like to dream about.”
“You can choose what you dream?”
“Not exactly, but I’m happy when I dream of women, beautiful women. Why do you ask?”
Tres thought about it a moment.
“I remember a strange dream, which now I think about it makes no sense. You know how I drive Dr. Strawbridge when he goes out. But in this dream I was driving alone.” He stopped here to think of what he dreamt. “It was dark and I was driving up a long narrow road, then over the top it ended suddenly and I felt myself plunging into the darkness. I think I fell into trees below and the car caught in its branches before dropping to the forest floor, but I wasn’t hurt. When I got out I frantically looked for Master Strawbridge to tell him what happened, but he was not to be found.”
“You dreamt all that? Is that normal for you? I mean, have you dreamt like that before?”
“Not that I can remember. I should ask Strawbridge what it may mean. It was a most unusual experience.”
“Yeah, dreams are like that, unusual. Mostly I dream of where I lost my tools, like where I had left them and looking to find them again. Pretty boring. Champ, your dream sounds more exciting. Did you find him, the Doctor?”
“No, I found a house to ask where I was. That’s all I can remember.”
“Well Tres, when you dream of a beautiful girl, let me know. Is that why you’re reading about dreaming?”
“I guess. I’m trying to understand why we dream and what it all means. Why can’t we dream what we want? It would make more sense.”
Rudy thought about it a moment.
“I don’t know why, or what dreams mean, maybe nothing. You should ask Dr. Strawbridge, he’ll be interested in your dream, I think.”
Tres decided reading about dreaming was not giving answers he needed so decided to speak to Dr. Strawbridge, but he was away for another two days. He had thought of asking Winnie, the maid, but then got distracted so never managed. He was reminded of what Rudy said when Winnie’s lovely teenage daughter came to visit after school, and thought of what would it be like to dream of beautiful women. Yet, nothing came to mind, except that her daughter Stella was an attractive chocolate skinned young lady who always treated him with kindness and respect. Was she beautiful he thought as he studied her from the corner of his eye? He could not tell exactly. But he liked it when she smiled at him. Perhaps dreaming was such a novel experience to him, he would have to give it time. Maybe one day he will dream of Stella, but he doubted he could do it at will.
“Tres, my boy! So glad to see you!” Dr. Strawbridge was getting up from the wheelchair as the airline attendant helped him as Tres came to hold his other arm. “You been good?” He smiled at him.
“Very happy to see you too, Sir. Had you a good flight from London?”
“Easy trip, they fawned over me, can’t complain.”
They drove off from the airport, hit some traffic at the harbor tunnel, but sailed smoothly past Boston. As was usual, they spoke little while Tres concentrated on his driving. The doctor’s limo was large and comfortable, a machine Tres enjoyed.
“How was the weather in London?” Tres asked out of genuine curiosity.
“Pleasantly mild with occasional rain that hardly gets you wet.”
This brought a puzzled frown to Tres’ face, thinking rain should get you wet, but the paradox amused him.
“Yes, all is good,” Tres answered belatedly. “But I’ve been puzzling over dreaming, Sir, something I would like to better understand.”
“You’ve been dreaming? Now that is interesting.” They remained quiet in thought a moment. “Yes, we must talk about it.”
That evening in the library with thousands of books, Tres was watching cartoons on the big screen. He at times would laugh mirthlessly, more a conditioned reflex than real humor. But cartoons were a diversion he enjoyed after a day’s work, so he found them a nice relaxation. Dr. Strawbridge wheeled himself in and Tres immediately got up to help him into his favorite reclining lounge chair. As the Doctor settled his tall frame into his chair, he asked:
“So Tres I’ve been thinking. Tell me again about your dream. It sounds most unusual.”
“Yes, it is unusual for me to dream such, since it made no sense.”
Once again Tres went over the details of what he remembered of his dream while the Doctor listened patiently without interrupting. Once done he asked Tres to bring him a glass of his favorite brandy. After a taste and having remained silent a while, he asked him:
“Is it the first time you remember a dream?”
It was not a casual question but one packed with meaning, a kind of question a psychologist would ask. Tres thought about it a moment.
“No, I cannot remember another dream before. It must be my first. I did not think I was capable of dreaming, if I understand myself correctly.”
“Ah yes, you have a good comprehension on your life experience from first awareness to the present. So I am not surprised. But dreaming is something new.”
They talked like this for a while, Tres’ milky white lips slightly parted at a new thought forming in his mind.
“I’d like to dream more often. Rudy thinks I should dream of beautiful women. Maybe dream of Stella. I think she is beautiful.”
This put a smile to Strawbridge’s face. He put down his glass, and looked up at Tres with all earnestness with his deep blue eyes. Tres remained impassive.
“You know we talked of smiling before, and how you seem unable to smile. This was not unexpected by my colleagues at the college. They knew you had certain limitations that would not interfere with your work at hand. When we were introduced, they spoke of your limitations, and smiling was one of them. Dreaming was another. But now that you experienced dreaming, this puts you in a whole new light.”
“But I still do not smile, though I’ve tried to in the mirror. It’s like something is missing in me, and the best I can manage is a grin.”
“Well, that is not a handicap, and you excel in so many other ways. None could find fault in you. It is merely what my microbiology colleagues called an infinity syndrome, that some things cannot be experienced by you that are normal for most of us. We are all different.”
They sat in silence as the light in the windows turned to dusk, and Tres rose to switch on lights of the library.
“But what is ‘infinity syndrome’?” Tres asked at long last. “I do not remember it.”
“No, it is not something you can remember, because even we can’t understand it. But I can explain it to you like this.”
He composed himself in his chair, Tres ready to help, but Strawbridge signaled no need. He continued:
“We all have certain capacities determined by our DNA and mental abilities. Yours are contained within the extent of memory capacity your DNA allows, but no more than that. That is what makes you unique. To be able to surpass those capabilities you would have to enter a hyperconsciousness infinity loop. That would mean you would access something beyond your capabilities, what we called the infinity syndrome. This is very difficult to do. In a way it is more a psychological term than microbiological.”
Tres thought about it, his lips moving as if repeating every word he just heard. Strawbridge gave him time to process it all. Then Tres turned his blue eyes on the Doctor with a new light of comprehension, which brought a smile to Strawbridge.
“Then if I connect to this infinity syndrome loop, I can smile?”
“Yes, that would be a clue.”
“But I have had a dream, so psychologically something changed?”
“Exactly. And that is why it was important we talk, because something changed.”
Now a satisfaction was settling on Tres, as if he had just won a prize. He tried grinning again, to no avail, no smile. But he hung onto his dream, because it now was more significant to him. This dream was his!
“But if I dream of Stella... Will that mean something then?”
“It would mean Rudy was right” Strawbridge answered lightly. Then I would have to introduced you to Carte. She is a category four microbio unit, who would become your partner. But I’m afraid not yet, so for now you remain category three.”
Tres could not smile, but he could frown, and his days continued with him deep in thought, his brow furrowed. How could he convince Dr. Strawbridge to introduce him to Carte? He had seen her photograph and found it most satisfying, what he would call beautiful. Not beauty as Stella’s, though he found her lovely. Carte’s was a beauty of a more ethereal kind, the same white milky transparency in her skin, the same wide apart large blue eyes so much like his, her full lips. But she was category four, so they could not as yet match up completely. He was disturbed by this in a new way never experienced before. But how? He thought and thought, frowning. Then he hit on an idea. He would tell his mentor a small lie.
The next day.
“Doctor Strawbridge, Sir, I must make a confession.”
“What is it Tres?” Strawbridge looked up from his breakfast.
“I dreamt of Stella last night. It was a wonderful dream.”
“Really! Now that is meaningful news! I will meet with my colleagues this day and we will decide what to do next.”
Tres looked a little disappointed, and the Doctor immediately picked up on his frown. The infinity syndrome! He had entered the infinity loop common to all living things. This was big indeed. Strawbridge knew Tres was unable to lie, his DNA program disallowed it, so he was no longer a mere biological unit machine, but more. It was the infinity loop.
“I think it is time, Tres,” Dr. Strawbridge said earnestly. “I think it is time to introduce you to Carte. I believe she will be most pleased to meet you,” he said with a wink.
Tres looked up sharply and his eyes spoke from a depth of feeling he had never felt before.
“Thank you,” he said. His frown disappeared. And then, tentatively at first and then broadly, he smiled.
It is a gesture of pride and humility together, when the numbers dovetail and say,
‘This is a part of, a key to, the structure of nature herself’. (Pythagoras)
|Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 12:37 pm: |
Strangely beautiful Gong Yoga, and the Power of Maya.
In The Power of Maya, chapter 22 (draft unedited), there is a description of a ceremony common on the alien world of Ka’ananda called a Sing. It is where the participants gathered in spiral concentric circles around a large green black crystal emanating the Light, energy interactive with the audience in a mysterious way, where all present are connecting with this energy interconnecting them all together. This connection is trans-conscious in nature, all their consciousnesses linked into a super consciousness, so all are part of a whole. This Sing was first described in Dream of the Worlds, chapter 12 (draft unedited), where it says:
This is the crystal ring that activates the Dream in us, a parapsychological state of mind that also connects us to the ‘mind’ of the universe, and thus each other. The Sing was described in Power of Maya:
In the Dream chambers are special stations equipped to replay Dreams that had been interpreted by the great machine. A large crystal, the kind used in our meeting rooms, for what we call the Sing, was also used in these stations. Its purpose was to activate a certain part of the brain that can interact with the stored memories of the Dream. We entered one of these. The crystal, a large ring on a pedestal, shone dark green, as it does when not in use, almost space black.
All present had masks worn are a part of the Sing ceremony, wearing them rendered all anonymous, merging their personalities together into a trans-consciousness, though individually remaining private. A further description follows:
We assembled in the large hall that is used for the Sing. It was very much like the one I had seen aboard the Star-ship. I had been here before, but not for a ceremony of this magnitude. The large crystal ring on its pedestal in the center shone its dark green, almost space black. Around the crystal was the curved floor, it slowly ascending towards the ceiling so that the large room had the illusion of being the inside of a vast elongated sphere. The lights played on the walls and ceiling, as they did on the Ship. On the floor were the same spirals as on the Ship radiating from the center to the outer walls. It was on these spirals that participants were now taking their places, each instinctively spaced evenly from his or her neighbor, as if all knew exactly where.
Silently, and very gradually, the ring began to glow. At first there was only the faintest trace of light, more like a dark blink. It reminded me of the time Seth and I lay back in his valley looking up at the sky. I thought I saw a meteor, but it was so faint that I was not even sure I did. It was like that. A moment passed in still silence, then the light came on again, more visible now. The crystal began to hum quietly and glow a dark green. As it came to life, more light began playing on it in circular motions, making it glow more strongly. The sound emanating from it also picked up, more like a faint chorus of voices chanting out of harmony. Maya took my hand and looked at my mask, then returned her gaze to the ring. I signaled her that it was all right. Light began pulsating from it, now reaching out into our minds, as our minds reached back into it. Then the chorus became more audible and the light started its strange dance, bouncing around the room. The light on the walls matched it, giving the whole room an eerie feeling of flying. In our minds were now voices, forming themselves in bass and falsetto, still out of harmony, but penetrating. I could not resist being drawn into it. No one spoke or made a sound, but the room more and more filled with sound. It was the Light playing with the cells in our brains. As the sound and light grew, so did the intensity of our response to it. We could now feel each other as if everyone present was as one in our head. The chorus changed, now more like harmony, more symphonic. Bodies had begun to sway. The Light was reaching out to the furthest reaches of the room and we began to feel engulfed. It was rich and strong and loud. The sound pried into our ears, and the light played on our eyes. It was all in our brains. We were becoming one with it.
From within my mask, I could feel the individual minds around me, as if I could step into their being. They, no doubt, were experiencing the same. A high note rose above all the other voices, carrying with it a strange and long melody that pulled us forward. The crystal shone brightly, rays darting from it. It had become alive, and I could now understand its power.
The reason for mentioning this Crystal induced, Light and Dream ceremony, is that it is somewhat equivalent to Gong Yoga, where after a few minutes of Kundalini yoga fire breathing all lie down to meditation to the mysterious frequencies played on a large gong. The experience is ethereal and other worldly, the skillfully played gong merging sounds and chords into a large swishing sound, akin to rushing winds, the gong manifesting strange music that embraces us and clears the consciousness of itself into a state of merging together. Eyes closed, steady breathing, in a state of prone relaxation, and after a while the world changes around you. You feel transported to the planets, hovering over Jupiter and Saturn when the chords are great, or watching the Earth’s beauty when they ebb and rise melodiously, that something tightens and relaxes in the frontal cortex, and you feel all the others around you as if we all are one. That is the closest we have to the Sing as described in the story of Maya on Ka’Ananda, when we are all connected. We are all One.
(This is what was experienced by me at a Gong Yoga meditation, which frequencies stimulated memories of past writings, so wanted to share it with you.)
|Posted on Wednesday, December 04, 2019 - 11:39 am: |
THE TALKING STATUE
Marcella had been talking to the talking statue for years. Many had talked to the Roman statue tucked away in a corner behind the basilica of Saint Andrea della Valle in Rome, leaving little folded notes to vent their complaints. Her complaints had been minor, trash pickup failures, difficulty parking downtown, the use of official government blue light vehicles for minor bureaucrats. They were small concerns. But always the carefully folded slips of paper disappeared, making Marcella glad someone had read her little notes, not thinking whether anyone would actually ever act on them. There are six such ancient statues in Rome, and people had used them over the years to vent their frustrations with their administrations, with the church, with their neighbors. What had these statues seen over the centuries? But Marcella had a different idea: If someone is taking and reading these notes left in the folds and cracks of talking statues, would it be wrong to ask a personal question?
She talked this over with her husband and decided to give it try. Her first concern was with her mobile phone service, they overcharged. But she quickly dismissed this as trivial, so not worth asking the statue about it. Then she thought of their teenage daughter, how troubled she was over her boyfriend. But that too was unsuitable for an old Roman statue who doubtless had seen countless Romeo and Juliets in its time. Her husband, Antonio, thought it might be good to send Livia, their daughter, to stay with a cousin in Tuscany. A few weeks there might turn her anguish into a more level headed romance. As she thought of her other little problems, there was one that stood out, that bothered her most. It was a nasty little barking dog next door. They lived on the same floor but were not friendly, even hostile, so it was useless to talk to the dog’s owner. However, maybe the talking statue could offer guidance on what to do when the dog barked aggressively at her. So she wrote a little note explaining, and placed it in the fold of the statue’s toga. And then she waited. A few days later, after her note was gone, a new note appeared in the same fold. The paper was wet as it had rained, but she carefully unfurled it and read what it said. Her eyes scanned the smudged ink, but she could clearly make out the message. The statue advised her to slip a note under the neighbor’s door, offering to help pay for the dog’s training school, to teach it better manners. And if the dog behaved in her presence, to offer it a treat to bond their friendship. This seemed a sensible advice to Marcella, and she did just that. Whether or not the dog had been to school, it had become more accustomed to her and barked less. She had a treat ready to give it if it behaved.
Marcella had other such talks with the statue, each time answered with some sage advice. So she became emboldened to ask a more personal question. She decided to ask what to get her husband for Christmas. Not really expecting an answer, she was surprised to see on Christmas eve a little note tucked away in the toga. She unfurled it carefully full of restrained expectations, and read what it said:
“The essence of Christmas is really to give love and share the blessings that you have. So I wish you a Merry Christmas. May overwhelming joy fill your heart.”
It was not the answer she expected, but in a way, it was the right answer. Give your husband love and joy! What a lovely answer this was for Christmas. She mused on this, an old statue giving her the wisdom of the ages, really what Christmas was all about. She smiled to herself, and decided that she just had to know who spoke to her through this ancient statue at Saint Andrea della Valle. So she wrote in her best penmanship a simple question:
“But who are you?”
Not expecting an answer, whoever spoke in the statue would no doubt want to remain anonymous. But to her surprise on New Year’s eve there was a neatly folded note in the statue’s toga. She reached for it with a hesitant hand, and had to squint to read its tiny scribble, her eyes adjusting to the dusk’s fading light. Then her face lit up in a bright smile. Her lips whispered the talking statue’s words:
“But don’t you know? I am your husband, Antonio.”
|Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 12:14 pm: |
RAYA of the Sun
By Ivan D Alexander
Raya had flaming red hair. Her wavy tresses were tied on her head like a crown, framing her fair, high cheekbones with ruddy cheeks. With deep green eyes and full lips, considered attractive by her people, she posed a striking profile in the morning sun. Not yet having reached maturity, her young breasts were already full, complementing her well formed hips and rounded buttocks. Raya radiated youth and was sensually appealing as a young woman.
In the morning sunshine the air was fresh, with ground still covered by patches of snow, Raya was up before the adults of her clan. They were camped on a high mesa above a blue lake. Her first duty was to stoke the ambers into a lively fire on which she would cook the morning meal. With strong hands she broke dry twigs, using her foot to hold down larger branches as she snapped them with ease. Her family’s shelter was snug with saplings tied together, covered with broad leaves and tree branches, and surrounded by a short stone wall to shelter from the wind. In winter these were covered with hides, but the snows had passed now, so this was their summer camp. The old ones talked of snows that never ended, but now they enjoyed short summers when the sun warmed the land and flowers covered the mesa. It was on such a beautiful day that Raya prepared camp for her elders’ return from the hunt down in the broad valley. She could feel they were already near, bringing their catch of dried and fresh meats maybe later that day.
As Raya heated stones in the fire to heat water in the cavity of a large rock, she reached for the tough water-skins to bring up water from the lake. Children were already playing by the water, running and skipping as they chanted their childish songs. They saw her coming and shouted “Raya, come play with us!” But she was on a mission so merely laughed and waved to them as they scampered off. The hunt was coming home and this was an important day with work to be done.
The fire was burning bright and the hot stones were ready. With a forked branch she carefully removed each of the four stones, nearly red with heat, and placed them in the hole of the large rock used for grinding and cooking, then poured water over them as they fizzed and crackled. When the hot stones cooled, she replaced them with new ones, and again covered with latticed twigs to hold down its heat. Within a short time the water was steaming, so Raya selected herbs, grain she had gathered on the mesa and soaked overnight, combined with ground roots and vegetables, aromatic mushrooms. Soon a warm stew sent its pleasant aroma to her satisfaction. It was time, now she would wait for her clan to rise. First it was old Step, then his woman, much younger than him, Ina, to peer from their shelter. Most of the others were away on the hunt, so it was a small gathering for breakfast. Ina had a twig with a shredded end which she vigorously worked in her mouth, as Raya had done earlier by the lake. Old Step had few teeth in his whiskered face, so he didn’t bother. Ina chewed the hard foods for him. But a clean mouth was better for breakfast she thought to herself, admiring Ina’s clean habit. Then they approached the fire.
“Good day, Raya” was Step’s greeting. “Good day to you, father”. Ina came over quietly and sat down on a bare patch of glass. Her sturdy legs covered with a fine fuzz of blondish hair were showing beneath her skin wrap. Raya was covered with a short, thin tunic sewn of soft hides showing her arms and legs. It was still cool in the morning sun. Step sat bare chested, a surprisingly strong chest for an elder, hirsute with reddish greying hair. Raya scooped up the thin gruel with cups made from gourds and handed one to each. They drank it in silence, then scooped out the rest with their fingers. “You make a fine stew,” offered Step. Ina smiled with a nod, smacking her lips that she too enjoyed it.
“Will the hunt be successful?” Raya asked Step. Step sniffed the air as if the answer was in the wind, then nodded, yes.
“I sense it will be a good one,” he answered. “The herd of mammoths had passed by the lake on their trek from the highlands, and it looked healthy.”
“They are easier to catch in the valley,” answered Ina. She had been to a hunt before, so she knew. Full grown women could join their men, but Raya was not yet of age. Now Step was too old for the hunt, because it is a dangerous task and the men had to be fit and quick to bring down the mammoths. Though mammoths are not aggressive beasts, they could turn dangerous when trapped or injured. This she knew from the talks held by the clans at gatherings, talking late into the night by firesides. Sometimes men died in the struggle, so it was not women’s work. The stone tipped spears were heavy and needed great strength to pierce the hides of the large beasts. Women were made to bring children into the world, so it was important to keep them safe.
After breakfast Step turned his attention to the large gourds he tended to with great care. These he had filled with water and grain he personally had picked in the valley, which after a few days and nights turned into a pleasant tasting brew. He was very proud of his work and well respected by the clan when they gathered together. After the evening meal they would offer drink to ease the tired soreness of their muscles. Then sometimes, after drinking a few cups, they would sing in merriment to the amusement of children, making up stories as they went along. Raya had tasted his drink and found it pleasing, but not as much as did Ina, who loved to get extra portions and then fall asleep. This was Step’s special gift to the clan and they loved him for it.
In fact, Raya preferred making hot drinks with her gathered herbs which would also bring her a soothing sleep. Now Ina had gone down to the shore to bathe, taking special care to make herself appealing to Step. He was very fond of her and very proud of his young woman companion.
A large hawk circled the camp and then landed on a tall standing rock. Raya watched it as it pecked its prey held in sharp talons. She thought it might have been a marmot, one of the many living in burrows on the mesa. This one was unlucky or too slow, so the hawk devoured it as he was meant to do. Raya watched him, then she thought of what it was she was meant to do. Was she being groomed by the wise ones for a special task in life? They said she was a spirit daughter of the sun. They had already taught her about healing herbs, and how to prepare them in teas. She very much enjoyed gaining this knowledge. Raya had also asked the wise elders about bringing children into the world, she very much wished to have a large family, but they were evasive in their answers. She decided maybe she was not yet ready. But having a gift, as she was told, she could learn all she wished about herbs and healing, which pleased her.
As Raya busied herself around the camp, airing out the large skin coverings they used at night, sweeping the ground near their shelters, she felt an inner presence that her clan was approaching near. She gazed out over the lake and could see small figures moving in the distance. They would be here soon before the sun was high, so she set herself the task of preparing her family’s drying stakes on which thin strips of fresh meat would be smoked. These meats would be kept until winter for the time when game was scarce, and the snows made hunting difficult. Before long, she could see the first heads of the hunting party approaching from the shore. She was gathering cutting and scraping stone flakes when she heard the first greeting.
“Aya!” It was her father, Tot, calling her from the lake. “Aya!” she called back, a large smile on her face. Other members of the camp were gathering around to welcome the party, all shouting “Hataya!” in turn, using a formal greeting of respect for hunters. Children were running along side the party as they climbed up the banks to the mesa, skipping and pirouetting ahead of the troupe bringing in the hunt. There will be a feast tonight.
Raya’s father, Tot, accompanied by her mother, Rima, were in the front of the laborious procession. Both were pulling on wooden sleds stacked with venison cuts, both meat and hides. These were pulled by thick ropes attached to a wood harness bar behind which they pushed it, pulling the sled. Behind them were other members of the clan, each pulling his or her own sled packed with raw flesh and bone. The bones would be used to make tools, the larger ones for bracing the huts. Some younger men were shouldering large white tusks, which will be important as dowry. The tusks are competitive, the largest ones decorating the shelter huts of the most desirable intended women, sealing their partnership in life. So they carried these heavy mammoth tusks with great pride. Lagging behind them were other elders who were at the hunt, each carrying a burden of hides tied to A frames pulled along. Last in the train were the younger women proudly carrying sacks of meat dried and smoked at the hunting site. The children ran back to those with expectations they would be granted little pieces of dried meat to chew on, which they accepted gleefully. Raya stood by her fire watching them approach, her hands on her hips, calling out to them.
When the troupe arrived, Raya came immediately to Rima’s assistance, helping her move the hides and meat to the drying racks. First she embraced both parents in welcome, as they embraced her, broad smiles all around. The hides will be scraped and meat strips hung in the drying racks. The smoking fires had been prepared with special twigs giving off a pleasant aroma.
“It was a good hunt, Raya,” Tot assured her. “We brought in two young mammoths, they should be tender,” Rima added with self satisfaction. By now the sun was high and the day was growing warm. Raya helped unload the sleds of the others in the train, as did the older children, all talking excitedly about the hunt. It was a lucky hunt assisted by good spirits, as no one was hurt, or killed. Such injuries happened sometimes. The hunters with their great spears had to close in on the kill, look the mammoth in the eye and call out its sacred name, explaining that its life must be given for the clan to survive. When the beast gave its acceptance, slowing its movements, this gave the signal for the hunters to thrust in and bring it down. Each kill was carefully followed as the wise ones had instructed, so no life was taken in vain, but taken with great respect for the Mother of all living things. Raya understood this because she had been well educated by her elders.
At the end of the train was someone Raya had not noticed before. She saw he was watching her, her red hair made brighter in the sunlight. She had loosened her hair so it fell down her back, and the twine on the upper part of her tunic, as it was hot, so her firm breasts were full above its top. The young man looked at her approvingly as he untied the skin sack he had been carrying. The stranger approached her.
“Hataya! My name is Aram.” She noticed he said this in a melodious voice, but with a strange accent.
“I am Raya,” she responded, looking curiously into his sack.
“They are tools and spear points made by me,” he offered in response to her obvious curiosity. “See? I’ll show you.”
Raya noticed his face was different from that of her people. He had a straight nose, unlike the flared nose of her clansmen, and he curiously had a pointed chin, which she found unusually attractive. Also his hair was a dark brown, nearly black. It hung straight down to his shoulders, framing his darker skinned face, eyes brown. She admired his high forehead, but puzzled over the thin eyebrows, much thinner than her people’s. Raya thought to herself he was oddly attractive, so she stayed to talk to him.
“But they are different points from the ones we have,” she added. “They are smaller, and sharper!”
“They are made for throwing spears. I can show you.”
Raya had never heard of such a thing, spears that can be thrown. Hunters held their spears in a firm grip, never let them leave their hands, or it would be dangerous.
Aram took a long thin shafted spear he had with him, fastened at one end with a sharp long point. She watched him closely, wondering what magic he had brought. He then reached into his bag for a short stick curved at one end like a hook, and he placed his spear into its end and lifted his right arm to where the spear was pointed into a distant thicket, some forty long paces away. Raya watched Aram gracefully step forward, holding his spear aloft, and lunging it forward with a powerful thrust. She was momentarily torn between watching his handsome long legs and the release of the spear. Then she watched it fly from its short hook and arch upwards to land in the thicket. This was amazing! That the spear could travel so fast and far was a wonder to her. Aram stood beaming at his successful throw.
“May I try this?” Raya asked excitedly.
“Of course, let me fetch it back.”
Raya watched Aram run off to get his spear, admiring how smoothly his long, shapely legs carried him, quickly covering the long paces. He came back breathless, also excited by showing off his skill. Then he showed her how to hold it, notching the end into the throwing stick. Aram positioned himself behind Raya, holding her arm for throwing, while admiring her from head to toe, admiring the fine reddish fuzz on her legs, feeling her warmth rising from her firm body. She smelled of rich freshness and a faint hint of firewood, and he surprised himself by how appealing she was to him. A girl from this clan can be so bewitching, he thought.
Raya did as instructed and stepped forward thrusting the spear with all her strength, thrusting her determined strong jaw forward, as if to will the spear to fly. And it too flew arching into the sky, but fell askew of the thicket, not quite reaching it. Aram beamed his approval.
“Not bad for a first try!”
Raya felt the blush on her cheeks, happy at her success, and at being noticed by this pleasant young man.
“Have you shown this trick to my father, Tot?” She asked.
“Yes, I have. But he said the clan may never use it except as play for children. And hunting is not a child’s game,” he answered forlornly. “The elders would never allow it.”
By now they were quite alone, the others having gathered around the remnants of the catch at the drying stations. Aram explained as they climbed to join the others, hefting his sack over his shoulder and carrying his spear, how he had met the hunting party in the valley. They walked side by side, he talking, she listening.
It was later in the day, and the clan was gathering for the forthcoming feast. Aram and Raya slowed their pace as they ascended to where the rest of the clan had gathered by the fires. The setting sun caught the red in Raya’s hair as she listened to Aram’s story. He had been separated from his clan when bad people had raided them, killing men and taking women and children as prisoners. He did not know where they took them, but heard from survivors they would be kept as slaves, which horrified Raya. Nothing like this had ever happened to her people. She set her jaw as he explained how he had escaped, hiding in the woods far to the south of here, until the attackers had gone. He had buried his parents and siblings, but did not have the strength to bury more. His face showed his sadness in the fading light. Raya was moved that he had suffered so. She was determined that if attackers came for her people, she would fight them.
When they reached the others, a festive mood was heard around the fires. Great slabs of meat were roasting, their odor making all hungry. Step had gathered his gourds of brew and handed cups to the men and women who accepted them gladly. Soon in the night lit by firelight around the camps, singing could be heard. When many had eaten and drunk, story telling began, talking about the hunt. Ina drank quietly by Step’s side. The night had turned cold, but the fires and drinks made them merry, with much laughter and chatter. They were celebrating a successful hunt.
Aram was telling those garhered near him how he had found the hunting party many many days after he left the devastated land of his clan. He had wandered alone, hunting small game with his spear, eating fruits and berries, never encountering another human being until he met them. He said he was very happy to have found people who welcomed him. Since he had with him a collection of finely flaked tools and points from his village, and those he made, he said he wanted to trade some for food. But the people were hospitable, and only curious of this stranger who looked different, from a different land. So they accepted him to join their party and help with the hunt. That was when Raya told of how he showed her to use his throwing spears, much to the amusement, and amazement of the others. This polite stranger, a handsome olive skinned young man with the strange stone flakes, was made welcome by them, and it made his heart glad.
The children had grown quiet, their bellies filled with good meat, and the adults were likewise quieting. By the firelight they noticed glowing eyes held in the distance, knowing they were wolves watching them. So they threw scraps of unfinished meats and bones their way. They knew the wolves, even other animals, would come to inspect the camp after all had retired to their huts for the night. But the strips of dried meats would have been stowed away in their shelters, some to finish drying the next day, and the animals did not dare enter for fear of being turned into dried meat themselves. They remembered it had happened, so kept a respectful distance. Except for a distant howl, they kept quiet as they ate the scraps, only an occasional growl betrayed their presence.
Tot and Rima came over to Raya and Aram. They had been feasting with another group at the fire, but all were turning in to their huts, same as Step and Ina had already done. The evening feast enjoyed by all, a feast of fresh meat was not a regular treat, the happy groups were dispersing for the night.
“You have no shelter, Aram. May we offer you sleep in ours until you have built your own?”
This was delightful news to Raya, who beamed in approval.
“I am most grateful for your offer,” he looked at Raya, “if this is with your daughter’s approval.”
“Oh yes, have Aram sleep with us,” she cried happily. As the evening wore on, she had grown increasingly fond of this exotic young man from another land.
“Then you shall,” added Rima, a gleam in her eye. “We will prepare the sleeping rug, it is very warm. And you can sleep easily under our great blanket.” Both rug and blanket were of thick mammoth fur, so they would be warm for the night, exchanging body heat cozily within.
A light breeze had freshened, so all were eager to go inside the shelter. But first they needed to wash off the day’s dust and sweat. So each took a handy gourd filled with water from the large skin skein basket, sealed with birch pitch, which held water for daily use. Then they separated to wash themselves in privacy, using birch branches to scrub. After a few trips, they were ready for bed. To Aram’s surprise, both Tot and Rima removed their garments, pulling them over their heads, and stood stark naked by the entrance to the hut. This was never done by his people, who were shy of being naked before strangers. Raya did the same, and it caught his breath at how beautiful she was in the faint firelight, her hair shining in the red glow, her full figure moving lightly as she too entered the hut. It was now his turn, and he hesitantly undid his garments, so he too stood naked. Raya cast him a quick look, and he noticed she smiled.
Rima and Tot had already taken their places under the blanket, making themselves comfortable. Raya then also slid under the cover, waving to Aram to join her. He pulled down the flap of the entrance and climbed in next to her. He could feel her warmth radiating like the sun, and it made him feel strangely aroused to feel her so close. When he had lied down, he could feel her hand reach for his, and then lightly touch his thigh. She then turned to him in the darkness, though he could not see her eyes, but felt they were looking at him. Then he too lightly touched her thigh, and he could feel her relax to his touch.
They lay like this a long while, as the steady breathing of the parents told they were already falling asleep. Then Raya turned her back to him, still holding his thigh. This made Aram wonder if this was a message for him, or simply how she and her parents slept together. In his bewilderment, he knew that to enter an unmarried woman before bringing her family the highly prized mammoth tusks in dowry was a grave sin, a taboo for which he would be banished, perhaps even killed. So he decided this was a test, a loving test of his manhood and restraint. It was an invitation to prove himself to her that he was worthy. He sincerely did not want to disappoint her, neither as a man, nor as a potential future mate. She made herself available to him, he understood, but there are rules to be followed to fulfill the invitation. He had to resist until the time was right, which he knew would take all his will to do so.
As Aram turned to Raya, his body resting against her warmth, she curled into him, feeling her round cheeks against his thighs, he caressed her back lightly to sooth her into sleep. Now he desired more than ever to bring two beautiful mammoth tusks to Tot and Rima, to ask for their daughter as his mate.
Through Raya’s mind were the same thoughts as his, as she was slowly drifted off into sleep.
“I want to have many children,” she whispered. “But I don’t know how to make it happen.”
“I know,” Aram whispered back. But he did not offer to explain it to her yet, as he smiled to himself. Her warmth was so tempting, but the love would have to wait for another night, he thought, as he began planning how to bring down the biggest tusks for her dowry.
Raya was soon asleep, while Aram fought his desires. It would be a long time before he too would succumb to sleep. As Raya breathed softly, little did she dream that one day her descendants would fill the land with thousands and thousands of children. And then one day, tens of thousands of years after she had joined our Mother of all life, one of her distant progeny would find her bones in Italy, near Tivoli.
When the skeletons were unearthed, once again bathed in sunlight, her hand was found holding the hand of her mate.