Tag Archives: consciousness

Please Die Already

Rage.

Rage.

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently about the healthcare reform bill, incited mainly by this man and this woman. Why are they ranting and raving about Democrats creating “death panels” that will decide whether or not the elderly† or mentally disabled‡ continue to receive medical treatment? Can’t they see that America is chock full of people ripe for Death’s annual picking?

The Democrats want people to have access to “end of life counseling.” That is a nice way of them saying “we want to encourage you to die without eating up millions of millions of dollars in care.” And the elderly and infirm DO eat up millions of dollars; 80% of the money you spend on healthcare will be spent during the last three months of your life. Is it really worth it? To spend hour after hour, barely breathing, barely thinking, hooked up to life support with a feeding tube in your gut?

Americans have become highly sensitive to the issue of death. I thought that the whole reason behind this mushy Christianity stuff was to make people comfortable with the idea of dying. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s always the afterlife! Feel free to pass away as you wish.” Nope. Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics are amongst the most adamant individuals who support your right to clutch on to your existence by any means; even if your body and mind have rotted away to nothing.

Actually, they’re not even supporting your right to life; they’d keep you alive regardless of how you feel.

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddman crochety old for the State to continue financing your life."

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddamn crotchety old for the State to continue financing your life."

What about my right to death? Listen to me: people need to die. People have been dying for millions and millions of years. Its natural. It happens all the time. The problem is that no one has instructed us on how to cope with and move past these tragic events.

Wait. Tragic? It shouldn’t be tragic; it should be joyful. The joyful passing of your loved one. We are so far removed from our natural state of being that we no longer value death… excluding the deaths of our enemies; that has always been joyous.

Lion King

Even Disney supports death panels.

Human bodies were not designed (intelligent or not) to last forever. Our cells stop regenerating as well, our joints become rigid and sore, our systems fail to save over and over again until it gets to a point that your body just dies. All of this extensive healthcare is in denial of the natural ‘Circle of Life‘. Certainly the deaths’ of those who did not live up to the prime peaks of life are tragic; they died too soon. But that only covers people up to about age 40; if you live past that point, I will be joyfully celebrating your passing with explicit glee.

So lighten up. Embrace death (the insurance companies have been running death panels for years now). Maybe even buy a t-shirt. It’ll balance the budget for Christ’s-sakes.

You don’t want to be alive for the zombie apocalypse anyway…

†‡Not that either of these groups really qualify as  being ‘that alive’ in the first place.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Filed under philosophy, Politics, science, social commentary

Moving And Scott Hamilton

This past Friday I moved to Bowling Green to start my Master’s program study of Public Administration. It is, to say the least, a big change. I don’t know anyone, I don’t really know where anything is at, and I feel awkward on a daily basis. This change of faces and scenery is also an opportunity, however, to further my progress as a human being towards that inevitable point B.

Some of my friends remarked that my move was “a chance to reinvent” myself; I have to disagree with them. Not because they’re wrong—you can certainly reinvent yourself somewhere where you’re about as notorious as a circus flea—but because I don’t want to reinvent myself. I like who I am. I like who I know. Reinvention speaks to me of some kind of abandonment of my identity, my personality, whoever it is that I am that so dearly clings to this existence.

The problem of my past is the potential for success; there wasn’t any chance of me achieving that potential in Freedom Township USA. I’ve got great ideas for this world and I need a bully pulpit to project them from. I need eyes and more importantly ears waiting in anticipation to receive me. I need welcoming curiosity, not the hard dick and bad attitude of borderline-inbred numbskulls.

The university is one of the last places in this nation where intellectuals can express ideas freely. Yes, there are still constraints, but nowhere else can you find such a level of brainpower matched with open minds for progress. I may very well make my home at a university sometime in the future, assuming that a cat doesn’t catch my tongue at my upcoming first lecture (gulp).

Bowling Green was not my top choice; I was a top pick for them. I was one of hundreds who applied for a spot in their Political Science department as a Graduate Assistant. Credit was finally paid where it was always due. I’ve never been awarded a scholarship (or even a Student of the Month in high school, geeze).

Anyway, I live on 2nd St. South of 2nd is 5th. Yeah, 5th. And North of 2nd is Scott Hamilton. You read me right—Scott Hamilton. I had no idea who that was, but he most sure be something special.

175px-Scott-Hamilton-Golf

Scott Scovell Motherfuckin' Hamilton. Golfing while skating. Sick.

I had to go do some registration stuff today, and I ended up speaking with some rather aged ladies about the peculiarly named street. Apparently Scott Hamiltion was raised in Bowling Green, fought off some crazy disease, and then went on to win 4 U.S. Championships and a Gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics. Now he does commentary on skating for ABC or some crap.

Believe me, my jaw was loose, my mouth a gaping hole of wonderment at the amazing feats of Scott Hamilton, and in that moment I realized that if I really, truly put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything. And have a street named after me. Maybe even in Bowling Green. I don’t even have to combat a freaky virus while I’m being ambitious. I only hope that you’re there, watching, waiting for the triumph of my ascension.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Cute: A Conspiracy Theory?

I’m always interested in the presence of abstracts in reality. I touched on this with my question of good and bad in my last post, but I come back around to it this week. (Because midnight and the end of Monday looms? We shall never know).

The question turning over in my mind right now regards cuteness. What makes something “cute?”

This idea was put to me in, I kid you not, honors Philosophy 101 my first semester of college. Of course, the prof didn’t use such a useful object for consideration. Instead, he presented the question of abstracts by means of a table.

We all know what a table is. What it looks like. We can consciously picture one if we try. And we could all definitely spot one from a hundred yards and say, without doubt, that it is neither a chair, nor a flamingo, a slide, or a plate. It’s a table.

But what makes it a table? Is it what it is made of? Wood or other materials? (So are chairs and some plates.) Is it what it has? A flat surface and legs? (So does a chair and a slide.) Is it what it does? Something you eat off of? (Like a plate or a very confused flamingo.)

The point is that in reality, any of us could see an object and correctly identify if it was a table as opposed to, say, a pink, stupid-looking bird. This is because (and I think this is from Plato, but I’ll defer to my philosophy-buff fellow writers, who’re probably fully erect right now because I said philosophy and abstract in the same post) we each have an abstract idea of what a table is. Without having to picture a distinct table. We know what a table is. Unassailably.

Back to my question. Forget the stuffy table example. Forget Philosophy 101 (erections drooping, I know). Back to cute.

I’ll ask again. What makes something “cute?”

Let’s start with an unassailable, we-may-even-rightly-call-it-borderline-abstract example of cuteness:

baby tails

This is a picture of my dog, Tails, when he was a 3-month-old puppy. No one, and I mean no one could argue that he’s not cute. Look at him. (To put it in perspective, that orange toy, Mr. Binky, is about 4 inches tall.) He is A-dor-a-ble. And cute.

But this post isn’t about a gushing dog owner’s infatuation with his pooch. It’s about understanding the greater depths of thoughts. About pushing boundaries.

So, as I was sitting here, thinking about what to write, I looked at Tails and thought, “why is he so cute?”

Bear in mind, he’s now over a year old and looks like this (still pretty cute, I think).

older tailsSo, while I can admit that he’s not as cute now, my question remains. What makes something “cute?” We have an abstract sense of cuteness. We can judge cuteness in variable spectra (e.g. “Tails was cuter as a puppy, but still cute as an adult”).

But would I know cute if it walked up and smacked me in the face?

Can I see what cute is? What it does? How it’s used? What it looks like?

Cute, unlike the easy table example my philosophy prof used, is even more abstract. But no less important.

I offer this post as a chance to wake up to the abstracts that surround each of us. Recognize the cute things around you today. Or the beautiful things. Or the any-number-of-other-adjectives-things.

Abstracts, they’re all around you. And you didn’t even know it.

davidrsheehan is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog. You can also tweet directly with him: davidrsheehan. He is happy to provide more cute pictures of his silly dog Tails, if anyone would like to counter his statement that Tails is unassailably cute.

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Filed under philosophy

Where does your paradigm come from?

I’m hoping that this post can be an interactive one.  I know the whole premise of blogging implies the opportunity for interaction, but this one in particular needs it.  The purpose of this post is not for me to share what follows, but to induce others to share, creating a collective conversation that is greater in depth, breadth, and quality than any individual contributor could produce.

Paradigms….these are the frameworks, conscious and unconscious, that we use to make sense of our world.  They are the lenses that we see everything else through.  The ideas that guide our thoughts, distort or even create our perceptions.  From our perceptions comes our experience, which further informs our ideas about the world.  It is perfectly circular.  This circle can be sublime or tortuous, or most likely a bit of both, depending on the day. 

I firmly believe in consciously creating your own paradigms.  I reject out of hand that these things are inherited, pre-created, and culturally derived.  That may be for people who sleepwalk through life, but not for me and not for anyone else that dares to take up the reigns of guiding their own evolution.

That being said, I did not create my current incarnation of my constantly evolving paradigm in a vacuum.    Ideas from great thinkers, writers, artists, philosophers, and some everyday people have all contributed raw material to this structure that I’ve built.  So I’m going to attempt to list the top 10 sources of raw material for my paradigm.  As I write this sentence, I have no idea which of the many influences from my life search are about to make this list, but I am about to take the time to hash it out.  I will try and provide a brief intro to each of the items in this list without getting to lengthy. 

Again, the idea is for people to share persons, ideas, books, songs, movies, or any other kind of source that has deeply impacted or informed their personal paradigm.   There is no need to come up with at least ten, or to limit yourself to ten,  it’s merely an arbitrary number I picked for myself to give some structure to this post. 

 

Ok, I’m back.  This is what I came up with.  These are in no particular order (ranking these things seemed to be a futile exercise)

  • An infomercial for self hypnosis tapes that aired in 1984
    • This was my first exposure to the idea that human potential exceeded what the majority of people displayed in ordinary life.  (I was 6 years old)
  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
    • I found this book when I was 7 years old, and it was really the beginning of my love affair with the genre of books associated with human potential, development, and ultimately spirituality.
  • Louise Burrell-Christe
    • My grandmother taught me about devotion, spirituality, and that the Divine is not just something to talk at, but also something that will talk back if you listen.
  • Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
    • These books helped me to heal a schism that had formed in my young mind.  I had deep spiritual experiences associated with the ‘G’ word, but so much dogma and rules attached to the word “God” that I couldn’t reconcile the two.  This series of book helped me to re-conceptualize what the Divine is in such a way that it worked well for my evolving paradigm.
  • Integral Life Practice by Ken Wilber, et al
    • This is really just my favorite of a long list of books about the integral theory.  It is about putting integral theory into practice, integrating mind, body, spirit, and shadow.  The AQAL framework does a great job of holding all sorts of things and showing the relationships amongst them.
  • Simplified Magic by Ted Andrews
    • I had always been drawn to the meditative science of the Qabala, but this was the first work that seem to demystify the mystical enough for me to finally be able to understand why I was drawn to it.
  • The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life (Volume I and Volume II) by Drunvalo Melchizedek
    • Probably  the weirdest book on the list, but one of my favorites.  It is possibly the most complete information I’ve ever found in a single source about Sacred Geometry.  
  • The band Tool. 
    • Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics speak to my path, what I’ve been through, how I’ve gotten where I am, and the kind of bizarre spirituality that I’ve carved out along the way.
  • The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
    • A simplified explanation of string theory that solidified the foundation left in my consciousness by The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra.
    • My Big Picture Theory of Everything (My Big TOE) by Thomas Campbell
      • Helped to smooth the edges in my consciousness between my scientific and spiritual tendencies. 

 

I could go on.  The list is actually very, very long and continually growing.  And here’s the not so hidden agenda behind this (hopefully) interactive post:  I’m always looking for something new to add to this list, something that will send me reeling in a whole new direction the way each of these ten did.  So please, share.

 

merkaba33 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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One world government: Sign of the Apocalypse or evolution of human consciousness.

Sorry it’s so short this week (and the last two).  Next week I don’t have any out of town visitors and I plan to have a lengthier, more in depth post.

The idea of a one world government is often vilified by conspiracy theorist, fundamentalist Christians, and militia men. The theory goes that any international form of government will inevitably undo the US constitution and strip us of all our rights. The book of revelations supposedly prophesizes that the anti-christ will unite the world under his reign in the end times. The UN has been demonized as the beginning stages of this insidious overthrow of the US (and every other country’s ) independence. On the flip side, there is the thought that individual nation states, and the wars they wage, are symptoms of a consciousness based in duality. As the collective human consciousness evolves to an understanding in the unity of all things, a one world government makes sense as an expression of that unity. Rather than being the ultimate in control and the violation of rights, it could usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. So what do you think? Is either of these more likely in your opinion? Something in the middle? Something else entirely?

 

merkaba33 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Embracing Shadow Material….profound inner work, or neo-psychobabble?

Carl Jung coined the term “shadow,” referring to the disclaimed, repressed parts of our personality that we find unacceptable, disturbing, and/or wrong.  Literally these parts of ourselves become split off from our sense of self and we lose awareness of them as being a part of us.  We then begin to see them as unacceptable parts of the world around us, seeing these traits in other people that we do not like. 

Ken Wilber talks of the importance of “shadow work,” where we actively engage uncovering, owning, and embracing these lost pieces of ourselves.   Through this, he says, huge amounts of psychic energy are freed up to pursue the development of the other three parts of an integral approach (body, mind, and spirit). 

Tool has an amazing song about the powerful transformation that can take place from engaging in this important work:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tja6_h4lT6A

So I’d like to test the premise, here, collectively.

1)      What is one quality or trait in a person that really annoys, upsets, or irritates you?  (If you have a list, for the purposes of this exercise, just pick one.)

2)      Can you possibly imagine that this quality or trait is actually a disowned aspect of yourself?  Is it possible that at some level this describes you?  Do you spend time, energy, and effort proving that this is NOT who you are?

3)      What positive outcomes or effects could there be if you embraced this as part of yourself.  That is, how could you use this quality or trait to your advantage in your life?

So is this profound inner work, or neo-psycho-babble?  What do you think?

 

merkaba33  is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Filed under philosophy, Uncategorized