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- Be here now.
- Belief, itself, is the Great Sin.
- Baby in my drink.
- I meet no one but me.
- I do not search. I find.
- I am. Therefore I think.
- A stone is frozen music.
- Seek truth - not victory.
- The door opens inward.
- Thank God I'm an Atheist.
- History never repeats itself.
- A real initiation never ends.
- Think globally. Act locally.
- Whatever you resist persists.
- All things deep end in song.
- To a fish the water isn't wet.
- The map is not the territory.
- 80% of success is showing up!
- Take the best. Leave the rest.
- Heroes are a nuisance at home.
- Science is Magic plus Evidence.
- Rights are nonsense upon stilts.
- You can't unmake a distinction.
- A school is for those who need it.
- Seek refuge in silence, not dogma.
- Chance favors the prepared mind.
- Reality is the only choice you have.
- Death is like taking off a tight shoe.
- This statement is not self-referential.
- 'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.
- Truth, like roses, comes with thorns.
- Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
- It's better to wear out than to rust out.
- Change is inevitable. Pain is optional.
- We have no art. We do all things well.
- Sex is the world's second biggest thrill.
- Failing to plan is like planning to fail.
- Knowledge keeps no better than fish.
- Following tolerates no old prejudices.
- A problem clearly stated is half-solved.
- Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
- If you think in English, you're confused.
- Start living as if your life depended on it.
- Unlearning is the beginning of wisdom.
- Freedom is the recognition of necessity.
- No matter where you go; there you are!
- Truth awaits eyes unclouded by longing.
- The grass doesn't pay the clouds for rain.
- Without imagination calculations mislead.
- If not you... Who? If not now... When?
- Whatever you think you are... you aren't.
- I've decided to live forever - or die trying.
- There is no failure. There is only feedback.
- My commitment is to truth, not consistency.
- Gradients, not boundaries, determine form.
- Words obscure what they don't make clear.
- Evolution not only continues, it accelerates.
- The search for meaning gives life meaning.
- Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
- Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
- Few people achieve more than they aspire to.
- Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
- Truth hath better deeds than words to grace it.
- If you've seen one redwood, you've seen 'em all.
- If you know who you are, you know who I am.
- Never sacrifice anything for the sake of security.
- No person is free who is not master of himself.
- Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
- You don't have to be a genius to think like one.
- Everything in moderation; including moderation.
- I didn't say it was possible. I only said it was true.
- The search for happiness is itself unhappiness.
- The pursuit of pleasure is the pursuit of the past.
- Only the truly religious dare to question their faith.
- When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.
- Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
- The only love we keep is the love we give away.
- Love your enemies for they tell you your faults.
- The best things in life are very expensive indeed.
- Without a port of call, no wind is the right wind.
- I do not choose to speak more clearly than I think.
- All questions are answered by the state of Silence.
- A first-rate soup is better than a second-rate poem.
- A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.
- For everything that lives is holy. Life delights in life.
- You don't have to be a Christian to be born again.
- A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
- Turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
- Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
- There's nothing at all unique about being unique.
- People without convictions have little power to resist.
- It's better to do nothing than to be busy doing nothing.
- Some things can't be taught. They must be learned.
- You don't so much have a purpose in life as it has you.
- The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
- Inertia, unchallenged, promotes careless philosophy.
- Think of yourself as an artist working in protoplasm.
- If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't growing.
- Doubt is uncomfortable, but certainty is ridiculous.
- There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
- The road to success is always under construction.
- Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.
- You can't commit yourself to a path you can't articulate.
- You gotta know the rules before you can break'em.
- There is no doubt about it, I am definitely confused.
- The only way to overcome temptation is to yield to it.
- If something is worth doing, it's worth doing half-assed.
- First we raise the dust and then claim we cannot see.
- If a fool will persist in his folly, he will become wise.
- First listen, my friend, then you may shriek and bluster.
- If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.
- If they called you a Ford, would you put gas in your ear?
- Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.
- "No"s are just part of the process of getting what I want.
- Every man is self-made. Only the successful will admit it.
- The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
- It is arrogant to feel a failure. Your mission is beyond you.
- Unconscious metaphysics tend to be bad metaphysics.
- Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours.
- It's not so much what you believe as how you believe it.
- Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
- One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.
- You can be/do/have/etc. anything you want - or die trying.
- One repays a teacher badly if one remains always a pupil.
- To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.
- Diplomacy is the art of allowing someone else have your way.
- Just because you have something to say is no reason to say it.
- Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
- A house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.
- Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.
- A miracle remains a miracle, even if it happens every day.
- If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
- There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
- Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.
- The opposite of determinism is not freedom. It's randomness.
- Life is not only a pleasure but a kind of eccentric privilege.
- Philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.
- God offers every mind a choice between truth and repose.
- An educated person is a learning person, not a learned person.
- The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.
- What great thing would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
- But software has no physical properties, only logical properties.
- It takes two to speak the truth: one to say it and one to hear it.
- The greatest freedom lies buried within the greatest discipline.
- For spiritual cretins, morality is merely not breaking the rules.
- Liberation is when words no longer get in the way of reality.
- Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I'll show you a failure.
- A religious outlook need not incorporate a dogmatic theology.
- Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.
- A Christian admits he's a sinner. A Scientist realizes he's a Fool.
- Accuracy in the use of words is the basis of all serious thinking.
- I don't know who discovered water, but I'm sure it wasn't a fish.
- The lion will lie down with the lamb if only it rain hard enough.
- You can be very successful and still be a robot 98% of the time.
- If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.
- Reason is not man's primitive endowment, but his achievement.
- The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
- Thinking Error #1: attributing to one cause what is due to many.
- When you become afraid of dying you become afraid of living.
- Commitment is surrendering to a decision you've already made.
- If you don't do your own thinking, someone else will do it for you.
- Alas, after a certain age, every person is responsible for his face.
- Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
- By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.
- Before you can know who you are, you must know who you aren't.
- I am the vessel. The draught is God's. And God is the thirsty one.
- All too often we are what we have been carefully taught not to see.
- Achievement is the inevitable and natural by-product of awareness.
- Hope is the feeling that what is desired is possible of attainment.
- Convictions cause convicts. Whatever you believe imprisons you.
- Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
- Evolution proceeds by choice not by chance from this stage onward.
- It's often easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
- Let us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings.
- Whether you play with shit or honey, a little of it always sticks to you.
- We will either live together as brothers or we will die together as fools.
- Science deals with other people's emotions. Religion deals with mine.
- Simple things should be simple. Complex things should be possible.
- While we pursue the unattainable we make impossible the realizable.
- An old pine tree preaches wisdom, and a wild bird is crying "Truth".
- Rules are to facilitate common transactions, not to inhibit unusual ones.
- We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.
- A good idea is like a weed. It persists in spite of our best efforts to stop it.
- I crave ideas that probe and am surrounded by recipes for tuna surprise.
- As far as we know, these chimps can't count and do not know numbers.
- All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those that realize it.
- Paranoid systems are consistent and often well anchored at key points.
- You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
- Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men's clothing.
- For all that has been. . . Thanks! To all that shall be. . . Yes!
- Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
- It's not what you know that counts. It's what you do with what you know.
- The real problem is not whether machines think but whether people do.
- If you don't do your own thinking, someone else will have to do it for you.
- Just because a Mozart symphony comes to an end doesn't mean it's a failure.
- The longer you chew fear, the bigger it gets; better to swallow it right away.
- What disturbs peoples' minds is not events, but their judgments of events.
- For it is known that language does not so much reflect reality as create it.
- Where understanding fails, there immediately comes a word to take its place.
- 9ymn9dintResd=dinb=k0my5=trub=lyvR ?9ymintResd=dinb=k0my5g9d
- If we don't change our direction, we're likely to end up where we're headed.
- When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
- The person rowing the boat generally doesn't have the time to rock it.
- Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.
- We shall, sooner or later, arrive at a mechanical equivalent of consciousness.
- If you haven't written your purpose in life, you don't have a purpose in life.
- Liberation is the nervous system devoid of mental/conceptual redundancy.
- When people care about other people, you don't have to care about yourself.
- Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- A gentleman is a man who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- The only serious philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide.
- The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
- There is no greater burden than a lot of potential hanging around your neck.
- It's as simple as changing your mind. And it's as difficult as changing your mind.
- Life is a relationship among molecules and not a property of any one of them.
- The divine does not want you to be good. The divine wants you to be happy.
- Reality is not only stranger than we conceive, but stranger than we can conceive.
- It's not what you don't know that hurts you. It's what you do know that ain't so.
- In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
- A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
- What you are is God's gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.
- Not only must we understand the truth, but we must be prepared to withstand it.
- God does not enter alike unto all hearts. He comes according to the preparation.
- Of those things about which we can say nothing, let us therefore remain silent.
- A difference between givers and takers is that givers always have something to give.
- As our case is new, so must we think and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves.
- It's not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.
- A coherent credo can neither be derived from science nor arrived at without science.
- When I am happy, I am always good, but when I am good, I am seldom happy.
- You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.
- The most comprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is incomprehensible.
- Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
- The future depends not only on what man is, but even more on what he thinks he is.
- Even if I don't always succeed, I recognize success when someone else achieves it.
- Save for the first nine months of life, no person conducts his affairs as well as a tree.
- Experience is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.
- What is man... but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning red wine into urine.
- Not to encumber Earth - No pathetic confetti, but just this: not to encumber Earth.
- There is no technique for love; it is an awakening which springs from your very core.
- What's whispered in the darkness of your room shall be shouted from the rooftops.
- Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never their absence!
- Ignorance is no excuse when once we know that ignorance is the only possible excuse.
- In order to draw a limit to thinking, we should have to think both sides of this limit.
- The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.
- A billion here. A billion there... First thing you know, you're talkin' about real money.
- Out of loyalty to others he was compelled to be aggressive by their feelings of inferiority.
- Proof is often no more than a lack of imagination in providing an alternative explanation.
- The survival of a civilization or an individual depends upon its ability to adapt to change.
- Anyone can spot wrong answers. It takes a truly creative mind to spot wrong questions.
- There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.
- Blessed are those who expect nothing much out of life, for they shall not be disappointed.
- What we call "I" is a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.
- Just because the message may never be received does not mean it is not worth sending.
- Do not meddle in the affairs of Earthling primates, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- We place no reliance in virgin or pigeon. Our method is science. Our aim is religion.
- The only way out of today's misery is for people to become worthy of each other's trust.
- Discovery consists in seeing what everyone has seen, and thinking what none has thought.
- If you can't think of three ways of abusing a tool, you don't really understand how to use it.
- If you don't get everything you want, think of all the things you don't get that you don't want.
- The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.
- I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes. We convince by our presence.
- Anyone who hasn't seriously questioned his/her sanity is either crazy or not paying attention.
- One weakness of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.
- The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
- It's all very well to forgive one's enemies, but one likes to give them something to forgive also.
- ...the ultimate redemption of the West is the redemption from the need for redemption itself.
- Some are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them.
- The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way.
- Nobody ever made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
- It only takes twenty years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.
- It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
- We cannot know without the intellect; we do not know until we experience with the emotions.
- The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
- Men must be taught as if you taught them not. And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
- The greatest penalty paid by the victims of intolerance is that they become intolerant themselves.
- After the final "no" there comes a "yes" and upon that "yes" the future of the world depends.
- But the known world in which we live is not the Universe, only a universe of our own contriving.
- You make yourself and others suffer just as much when you take offense as when you give offense.
- Fairness? Decency? How can you expect fairness and decency on a planet of sleeping people?
- Life is a comedy for those who think; a tragedy for those who feel. Or is it the other way around?
- Never justify your actions... your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't buy it anyway.
- Activity, change, process - these are the "substance" of our bodies, of our world, of the universe.
- To be free, to be able to stand up and leave everything behind... without looking back. To say Yes...
- My aim is to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.
- The optimist believes that this is the best of all possible worlds and the pessimist fears that he is right.
- To wait for purpose means that you value the subject of your desires enough to give of your time.
- Matter has reached the point of beginning to know itself. Man is a star's way of knowing about stars.
- ...governments will continue to react to each other's reactions rather than pay attention to circumstances.
- The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious... It is the source of all art and science.
- The absence of clear thinking should not be mistaken for the presence of confused thinking; and vice versa.
- The struggle between men or nations is not between Good and Evil. It is between different ideas of Good.
- People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
- People are more violently opposed to fur than to leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motor cycle gangs.
- Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible... not to have run away.
- ...people imagine they are pursuing the Glory of God when actually they are only pursuing their own.
- Outside of pure mathematics, he who utters the word "impossible" is wanting in prudence and good sense.
- We are left with a crisis in decision. Our main test involves our will to change rather than our ability to change.
- Language: the one tool that enables us to grasp hold of our lives and transcend our fate by understanding it.
- The basic thing is therefore to dispel, by experiment and experience, the illusion of oneself as a separate ego.
- A successful analysis is not one that reconstructs the past, but one that creates a useful fiction for the future.
- Think not that you can guide the course of Love, for Love, if it finds you worthy, shall guide your course.
- Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
- In denying responsibility for the stuff in your life you say you don't like, you give up your power to change it.
- There is no fear greater than the fear of loneliness - yet there is no need greater than the need to stand alone.
- Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them.
- Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.
- Nothing is true unless it makes you laugh, but you don't really understand it until it makes you cry. Or is it vice-versa?
- I am nobody.
A red sinking autumn sun
took away my name.
- Communication may be regarded as a game in which the speaker and listener battle against the forces of confusion.
- If you can express yourself satisfactorily in language, then your thoughts are no bigger than your language machine.
- Science and religion are not so different in the end, except that in science the ultimate sin is believing too strongly.
- There are no excuses for anything. You change things or you don't. Excuses rob you of power and induce apathy.
- Once a photograph of Earth, taken from outside, is available... a new idea as powerful as any in history will let loose.
- The key resource of the future is not oil or other forms of natural energy, but the force of our collective imaginations.
- The devil enters uninvited when the house stands empty. For other kinds of guests, you have first to open the door.
- If, on the other hand, men do not trust their nature or the universe of which it is a part, how can they trust their mistrust?
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: it's the only thing that ever has.
- Magick is merely to be and to do. I should add: "to suffer"... It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!
- The history of mankind is strewn with habits, creeds and dogmas that were essential to one age and disastrous in another.
- Man is never completely and permanently a stranger to his fellow man. Man belongs to man. Man has claims on man.
- The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfillment in circumstances where others choose madness.
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- A humility which never makes comparisons, never rejects what there is for the sake of something "else" or something "more".
- I am not yet so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the Daughters of Earth, and that things are the Sons of Heaven.
- Impossibility is only "logical" impossibility. Universe is not constrained by what primates imagine to be or not to be possible.
- It's important to determine not only what a person's 'true' intentions are, but also what that person thinks its 'true' intentions are.
- We must live more in the world that is and less in the world that should be if we're ever going to create the world that could be.
- Let everything be consumed by the fire in the hope that something of value may be left which can be riddled out of the ashes.
- Only in the quest for love will you find love. Only when you are willing to let love conquer you can you be the love that you seek.
- If you're absolutely certain that you are right and everyone else is wrong, you probably haven't looked very deeply into the issue.
- The evolution of symbolism is the basic problem of anthropogenesis. All other human achievements are minor or derived from it.
- Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect, then be sure of one thing: the IS has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
- I believe that happiness is the by-product of the search for meaning and that emptiness is the by-product of the search for happiness.
- He was one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.
- The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to shake off our ancient assumptions, and to build Earth.
- We are entering an age where knowledge and the use of information are becoming more important than money and the use of capital.
- Either God is everything or there is no God. If God is, God is. If God isn't, God isn't. Your beliefs don't determine what is and what isn't.
- I slept with Faith and found her a corpse in the morning. I drank and danced all night with Doubt and in the morning found her a virgin.
- Language (in and of itself), used properly, cannot achieve liberation. Language (in and of itself), used improperly, can prevent liberation.
- When the need arises - and it does - you must be able to shoot your dog. Don't farm it out. It doesn't make it nicer. It makes it worse.
- An act of speech is a happening in the world and, as such, an object of science; the branch of science which studies it is called "linguistics".
- People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the Self is not something that one finds. It is something one creates.
- The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
- We first make our linguistic habits, and then our habits make us. Ill habits gather, by unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.
- Since we invented the atomic bomb, everything has changed save our modes of thought and thus we drift toward unparalleled destruction.
- We should remember that on a map will be information which is not about the landscape at all, but which merely concerns how to read the map.
- Being enlightened doesn't guarantee that you won't act like an idiot... just that you'll know you're acting like an idiot... as you're doing it.
- Forgive yourself for past errors. You are no longer the same person who made them, and you can no longer blame a person who does not exist.
- The link is not between the word and the object; it is between the word and the concept of the object which exists in the speaker's mind.
- Five percent of the people think. Ten percent of the people think they think. And the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.
- With intelligence you can get out of a problem you're in. With wisdom you could have avoided getting into the problem in the first place.
- At any rate, your contempt for your fellow human beings does not prevent you, with a well-guarded self-respect, from trying to win their respect.
- When a recollection is put into words, those words tend to take the place of the original experience, which thenceforth becomes unrecoverable.
- So walk I on uplands unbounded, and know that there is hope for that which Thou didst mold out of dust to have consort with things eternal.
- ...but it does not seem like a profitable procedure to make odd noises on the off chance that posterity will find a significance to attribute to them.
- God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
- No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of the modes of thought.
- Few of our ancestors were perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren't even mammals and looked like alligators and Gila monsters.
- In the last analysis, what does the word "sacrifice" mean? Or even the word "gift"? He who has nothing can give nothing. The gift is God's - to God.
- Dare he, for whom circumstances make it possible to realize his true destiny, refuse it simply because he is not prepared to give up everything else?
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- How easy Psychology has made it for us to dismiss the perplexing mystery with a label which assigns it a place in the list of common aberrations.
- You have to become an individual before you can transcend individuality. The paradoxical truth here is that in achieving individuality, you transcend it.
- Among the storied heroes I can't recall one who studied up and carefully selected his (or her) crisis. Yet most of our real-life heroes do precisely this.
- There are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.
- He who has placed himself in God's hand stands free vis--vis men: he is entirely at his ease with them, because he has granted them the right to judge.
- We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.
- The brain is unstable, and we live on the edge of disorganization, whether we allow ourselves to be conscious of it or not. Wisdom is knowing the limits.
- To get into the core of God at his greatest, one must first get into the core of himself at his least, for no one can know God who has not first known himself.
- The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in tragedy and injustice. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.
- Ask not for the return of love you extend to others. As your love fulfills others, you will be fulfilled. In the process of loving, you become capable of being loved.
- I really hate this damn machine, I wish that they would sell it. It never does quite what I want, But only what I tell it.
- Your capacity to receive love depends not upon how much others love you - but upon how much, in the process of loving others, you have opened your heart.
- A grace to pray for - that our self-interest, which is inescapable, shall never cripple our sense of humor, that fully conscious self-scrutiny which alone can save us.
- You can expend a lot of time/energy/etc. trying to figure out why people do the things they do. You'll be doing well if you can figure out what they're going to do.
- Self-realization can be achieved in its full form only when all achieve it. We are vested in the well-being of all "others" and all things in our planetary community.
- When we first begin to believe anything, what we believe is not a single proposition, it is a whole system of propositions. Light dawns gradually over the whole.
- I used to think I know I know,
but now I must confess,
The more I know I know I know,
I know I know the less.
- ...the impoverishments and enrichments of a self in a world are not necessarily the same as the impoverishments and enrichments of an organism in an environment.
- Nature is the effusion , deafening and life-hungry, of a fantastic diaspora in myriads of diverse fruits, a self-fulfilling process, an iron fist sprouting ineffable flowers.
- The universe is an intelligence test. Prison is an intelligence test, too. If a mutant can't survive severe testing, it doesn't deserve to instigate the next evolutionary stage.
- The emotions are not always subject to reason. But they are always subject to action. When thoughts will not neutralize an undesirable emotion, an action will.
- "I", you say, and are proud of the word. But greater is that in which you do not wish to have faith - your body and its great reason: that does not say "I", but does "I".
- Knowledge is not creativity, but within any particular field it is difficult to come up with new ideas unless you have some ideas to play around with in the first place.
- It is easier to perceive error than to find truth for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen while the latter lies in the depths where few are willing to search for it.
- Upon the whole, I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself.
- Flowers do not work to spread their fragrance; it is an effortless happening. When the heart opens, love awakens and spreads like the fragrance of a blooming flower.
- The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them.
- If the future is to remain open and free, we have to rear individuals who can tolerate the unknown... who will not need the support of completely worked out systems.
- Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, and unknown sage - whose name is self. In your body he dwells; he is your body.
- No truth so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
- Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best, he is a tolerable sub-human who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not make messes in the house.
- Remember that you are at an exceptional hour in a unique epoch, that you have this great happiness, this invaluable privilege, of being present at the birth of a new world.
- ...he knows that there are separate things and events, and that he and others are independent agents, just as he knows the comedian's casual remarks are howlingly funny.
- We speak of provinces of meaning and not of sub-universes because it is the meaning of our experience and not the ontological structure of the objects which constitutes reality.
- What makes loneliness an anguish
Is not that I have no one to share my burden,
I have only my own burden to bear.
- I suspect that a good deal of philosophy has had its origin in the endeavor to find verbally satisfactory answers to questions that sounded as though they ought to have answers.
- True, we love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness.
- Nobody can stand truth if it is told to him or her. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself, because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable.
- The glitter of glib debate is despised by the sage. The contrived "Eureka!" he does not use, but finds things in their places as usual. This is called throwing things open to the light.
- The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measure anew each time he sees me, whilst all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect them to fit me.
- There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back. Life's point of no return.
- Mediocrity is not measured by intelligence tests but by the degree of honesty and commitment one is willing to exercise. Mediocrity is a moral deficiency, a cowardice of the mind.
- To exist in the fleet joy of becoming, to be a channel for life as it flashes by in its gaiety and courage, cool water glittering in the sunlight - in a world of sloth, anxiety, and aggression.
- What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. At every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
- Let Athens, he'd declare, be never so splendid; nonetheless, of a man whose every day is passed within its walls one says, not that he's been to Athens, but that he's been nowhere.
- Arguably then, ambivalence is the mirror image within a person of certain characteristics of hierarchically organized systems, where the individual is a subsystem in some larger system.
- There are three types of people in the world: those who think they make things happen, those who think they watch things happen, and those who think they wonder what happened.
- Religion is a purely personal matter. A genuine theology is the outcome of a single complex personality; it cannot be transferred. No two persons, if sincere, can have the same religion.
- Maturity: among other things - not to hide one's strength out of fear and, consequently, live below one's best and to exist for the future of others without being suffocated by their present.
- As a result of its metabolism, which is characteristic of every living organism, its components are not the same from one moment to the next. Living forms are not in being, They are happening.
- Love comes from within you. When you ask for love from the other, you miss the very source of love. When you give love to the other, you reach into the source of love within you.
- In the whole history of human knowledge, there is scarcely any other notion more liberating, more conducive to clearheadedness, than the notion that some questions are unanswerable.
- ...this special and supreme order of happiness is not a result to be obtained through action, but a fact to be realized through knowledge. The sphere of action is to express it, not to gain it.
- "Come to the edge", he said.
"But we're afraid", they said.
"Come to the edge and face your fear", he said.
They came to the edge.
He pushed them.
- As a climber you will have a wide sphere of activity even after, if that should happen, you reach your goal. You can, for instance, try to prevent others from becoming better qualified than yourself.
- Getting acquainted with the new neighbors happens quickly when aided by one of several catalysts: dogs or small children. They seem to serve the same function in society as enzymes do in the body.
- There are two types of people in the world: those who seek happiness, and those who seek truth. Those who seek truth believe it will make them happy. Those who seek happiness don't believe in truth.
- Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules - and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.
- There is a sharp disagreement among competent men as to what can be proved and what cannot be proved, as well as an irreconcilable divergence of opinion as to what is sense and what is nonsense.
- It cannot be denied that the Sacred Books of the East are full of rubbish, and that the same stream which carries down fragments of pure gold carries also sand and mud and much that is dead and offensive.
- All knowledge is conditioned and limited, at present, by the properties of light and human symbolism. The solutions to all human problems depend on inquiries into these two conditions and limitations.
- A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
- Love perpetually tests our patience. It robs us of all comfort; it shakes the very foundation of our adopted identity. It remakes us and remolds us in a way which we never before could have imagined.
- The person who has five ideas but throws out four of them because they are wrong appears less creative than the person who has five ideas and keeps them all because he does not realize they are wrong.
- We must never forget that, while the modern world has produced grounds for complaint, it has also produced the person doing the complaining, a person who expects more than any of his forebears expected.
- Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness - an act of trust in the unknown.
- ...showing the world the strength and joy of people who have deep convictions without being fanatical, who are loving without being sentimental, imaginative without being unrealistic, disciplined without submission.
- He was a member of the crew on Columbus's caravel - he kept wondering whether he would get back to his home village in time to succeed the old shoemaker before anybody else could grab the job.
- He believes himself to be essentially evil. He dwells on Nazi atrocities. He thinks that the current project - using the planet's finest minds to build a doomsday weapon - is proof of humanity's pathological nature.
- A person would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable and should be secured, because they seldom return.
- When the sense of Earth unites with the sense of one's body, one becomes Earth of Earth, a plant among plants, an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it. In this union, the body is confirmed in its pantheism.
- To compromise in this matter is to decide; to postpone and evade decision is to decide; to hide the matter is to decide. There are a thousand ways to say "no"; one way of saying "yes"; and no way of saying anything else.
- To undertake a project as the word's derivation indicates means to cast an idea out ahead of oneself so that it gains autonomy and is fulfilled not only by the efforts of its originator, but, indeed, independently of him as well.
- Controlled, universal disarmament is the imperative of our time. The demand for it by the hundreds of millions will, I hope, become so universal and so insistent that no man, no government anywhere can withstand it.
- Through the process of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself.
- I believe there is the tragedy of a man who works very hard and never gets what he wants. And then I believe there is the even more bitter tragedy of a man who finally gets what he wants and finds out that he doesn't want it.
- The language we use influences the thoughts we think much more than the thoughts we think influence the language we use. We are encased in fossil metaphors; verbal chains guide us through our daily reality-labyrinth.
- As a boy, when I was confronted with a statement I couldn't or didn't want to believe, my reaction was simple. I would say, emphatically and in a whining voice, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" Now that I'm older I try not to whine.
- Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it; only engage and then the mind grows heated; begin and then the work will be completed.
- History is not made by parties, unions, groupings, demonstrations. It is discreetly woven in the souls and hearts, the successes, failures, pains and joys which are a thousand times nearer to the daily life of each person.
- The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
- It cost you Americans $70,000 to kill each North Korean during that little war. Simple rationality would suggest that a certified check to each of those men would have produced significantly better results - for both parties.
- By middle age most of us carry in our heads a tremendous catalog of things we have no intention of trying again because we tried them once and failed - or tried them once and did less well than our self-esteem demanded.
- The courage not to betray what is noblest in oneself is considered, at best, to be pride. And the critic finds his judgment confirmed when he sees consequences which, to him, must look very like the punishment for a mortal sin.
- A language, as e.g., English, is a system of activities or, rather, of habits, i.e., dispositions to certain activities, serving mainly for the purposes of communication and co-ordination of activities among the members of a group.
- Indeed, it does not seem fantastic to believe that the concept of 'sign' may prove as fundamental to the sciences of man as the concept of 'atom' has been for the physical sciences or the concept of 'cell' for the biological sciences.
- I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
- It is our task to discover which of our terms are undefined or partially defined or draggled with fringes of connotation, and to catch our hypotheses and exhibit them by clear statements, instead of letting them haunt us in the dark.
- One reason the individual can rarely think clearly about the renewal of society or of an institution to which he belongs is that it never occurs to him that he may be part of the problem, that he may be part of what needs renewing.
- Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
- Fishing is the chance to wash one's soul with pure air. It brings meekness and inspiration, reduces our egotism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness. It is discipline in the equality of men, for all men are equal before fish.
- Every force tends to induce an equal and opposite counterforce. Thus, the preferred strategy for change, other things being equal, is the weakening of forces resisting change rather than the addition of new positive forces toward change.
- When the conflicting currents of the unconscious create engulfing whirlpools, the waters can again be guided into a single current if the dam sluice be opened into the channel of prayer - and if the channel has been dug deep enough.
- The self-acceptance love requires is achieved by a relationship of mutual trust and mutual acceptance. When you can't trust yourself, trusting others becomes self-trust. When you can't accept yourself, accepting others becomes self-acceptance.
- ...the time is right, the soil is ready, spring is near. Begin the conversion to hope by spreading the message of humanity's potentials to the members of the planetary body. Help them experience that the birth they are witnessing is their own.
- As a singer, an individual wears his heart in his throat; as an everyday interactant he is likely to less expose himself. As one can say that it is only qua singer that he emotes on call, so one can say that it is only qua conversationalist that he doesn't.
- ...the philosophical basis of reality has been the subject of critical discussions for some two hundred years, ever since Immanuel Kant claimed that, in the last analysis, "the real world" is a subjective concept rather than an objective fact.
- Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
- Men spoke much in my boyhood of restricted or ruined men of genius: and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been. To me it is a more solid and startling fact that any man in the street is a Great Might-Not- Have-Been.
- Words grant us the great power to perform a 'controlled' focus of our attention/awareness/etc. This amounts to the ability to ignore some data in favor of other data. "Ignore" is the key word. This ability is our greatest and most dangerous power.
- It was all a machine yesterday. It is something like a hologram today. Who knows what intellectual rattle we shall be shaking tomorrow to calm the dread of the emptiness of our understanding of the explanations of our meaningless correlation?
- We use the term "causality" to refer to the blind effect of nature and the intended effect of man, the first seen as an infinitely extended chain of caused and causing effects and the second something that somehow begins with a mental decision.
- ...we must now administer our planet well, learn the art of fulfilled living, practice justice, love and tolerance, and celebrate the miracle of life through individual peace, happiness, joy, altruism and harmony in the endless stream of a changing world.
- We are the generation born when humankind is born. We are the first generation to be aware of yourself as one and responsible for the future of the whole. Our capacity as united humankind is infinitely greater than as individuals, separate and alone.
- op=nn=stul9yf granTs=l9yTny5suiftins9yT int=6=l9yfsiT8uey8=n=v06Rz
- In the time it takes you to read this sentence more than four people in the world will have starved to death, and most of them will be children. To constantly feel the tension between that fact and your own full stomach is to become a true citizen of Earth.
- If I were conducting a telephone fund-raising campaign and I ask you for the "second number" on a list of five telephone numbers, I expect to hear the seven digits of the second telephone number and not the second digit on the first telephone number.
- The critical issue for every student of world order is the fate of the nation-state. In the nuclear age, the fragmentation of the world into countless units, each of which has a claim to independence, is obviously dangerous for peace and illogical for welfare.
- Today's civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or poetry of the night - who have never even seen the night. Especially away from the city where it is truly night and there are no artificial lights to stab or trouble the dark.
- This does not imply that the poor are destined to be poor, but rather that the most intelligent of men can reduce a fortune to ruin simply by how well or poorly they have been able to manage their personal selves in reference to the opportunities presented.
- All in all, then, I am suggesting that often what talkers undertake to do is not to provide information to a recipient but to present dramas to an audience. Indeed, it seems that we spend most of our time not engaged in giving information but in giving shows.
- Even if I was alone of the four billion people on this planet who believed in the superiority, sanctity and divinity of life, I would proclaim and practice this truth fearlessly, joyously and proudly to the very end, be it in prison or at the top of the United Nations.
- I can only suggest that he who would combat false consciousness and awaken people to their true interests has much to do, because the sleep is very deep. And I do not intend here to provide a lullaby but merely to sneak in and watch the way the people snore.
- There is a tide in the affairs of men which, when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their lives is bound in shallows... On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures.
- Smiling, sincere, incorruptible-
His body disciplined and limber.
A man who had become what he could,
And was what he was-
Ready at any moment to gather everything
Into one simple sacrifice.
- Whoever writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read but to be learned by heart. In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak: But for that one must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks - and those who are addressed, tall and lofty.
- Society provides us with warm, reasonably comfortable caves, in which we can huddle with our fellows, beating on the drums that drown out the howling hyenas of the surrounding darkness. "Ecstasy" is the act of stepping outside the caves, to face the night.
- Once you have committed yourself to evolution rather than extinction, you set in motion an irreversible process. Once the baby starts down the birth canal, it cannot return to the womb. What one hour before was a safe home has become a lethal, suffocating place.
- 6=disp=zi8=ntu=tribiuTk=rizm= izint=m=Tly r=leyd=Dtu6=nyDforordR
- ...the path of intelligence is all hard work, low pay, and a high probability that the fanatics of all ideologies will gang up on you. If a person can't accept that cheerfully, he or she should give up such a dangerous occupation, and join one of the coalitions of true believers.
- To be "sociable" - to talk merely because convention forbids silence, to rub against one another in order to create the illusion of intimacy and contact: what an example of la condition humaine. Exhausting, naturally, like any improper use of our spiritual resources.
- First of all, creativity requires the capacity to be puzzled. But once they are through the process of education, most people lose the capacity of wondering, of being surprised. They feel they ought to know everything, and hence it is a sign of ignorance to be surprised by anything.
- How far both from muscular heroism and from the soulfully tragic spirit of unselfishness which unctuously adds its little offering to the spongecake at a Kaffeeklatsch, is the plain simple fact that a person has given himself completely to something he finds worth living for.
- A modest wish: that our doings and dealings may be of a little more significance to life than a man's dinner jacket is to his digestion. Yet not a little of what we describe as our achievement is, in fact, no more than a garment in which, on festive occasions, we seek to hide our nakedness.
- The overtones are lost, and what is left are conversations which, in their poverty, cannot hide the lack of real contact. We glide past each other. But why? Why? We reach out towards the other. In vain - because we have never dared to give ourselves.
- An individual may base himself upon a purely practical, an artistic, a religious, or a scientific acceptance of the universe, and that aspect which he takes as basic will transcend and include the others. The choice, at the present state of our knowledge, can be made only by an act of faith.
- The person who is unwilling to accept the axiom that he who chooses one path is denied the others must try to persuade himself, I suppose, that the logical thing to do is to remain at the crossroads. But do not blame the person who does take a path - nor commend him, either.
- One of the major impacts of the printing press was to reinforce or enhance a transition that was already in progress when it was invented, namely, the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The exact point when this transition took place is impossible to determine...
- hu0d9ymeyrilyby9rgiuy5 iz6=valiu0vtru7ovR 6=valiu=vpr9yv=sy pypLhav6=r9yTt=pr9yv=sy
b0d9y7y5kidizp=ten8=lysm9lm9ynd=DforpypL tu9lueyzinvoK6aTr9yT ovRhu0Tmeyby6=mor k=reyDj=ssdep=vyyldy56aTpr9yv=sy for= l9rDjRgol
- In creating a new world/civilization/era/etc., the fact that some people are against it is not nearly as important as the fact that the vast majority of people haven't really thought about it very deeply or very much or even at all. This emerges as an enormous opportunity for Agents of Evolution.
- In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's really a good argument, my position is mistaken", and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again... I cannot recall the last time something like that has happened in politics or religion.
- Frequently questions cannot be answered because they contain high-level abstractions that cannot be reduced to lower level abstractions. If we cannot reduce them to lower level abstractions (preferably examples or descriptions), for all practical purposes we do not know what we are talking about.
- Nothing causes as much destruction, misery, and death as obsession with a truth believed absolute. Every crime in history is a product of some fanaticism. Every massacre is performed in the name of virtue, in the name of legitimate nationalism, a true religion, a just ideology, the fight against Satan.
- ...999/1000 of our activity is purely automatic and habitual, from our rising in the morning to our lying down each night. Our dressing and undressing, our greetings and partings, even most forms of our common speech, are things of a type so fixed by repetition as almost to be classed as reflexes.
- nau aurb9dyzh9ydaur79Tsfr0myT806R
uyk=nu9kintu=rum7y5ky5 9yheyTyu hu9ylsm9yly5
aurt=lep=7yuilbyl9yKtel=vij=n klir 9Bvy=s im=Dj=z=vaursdeyd=vbyy5uilby=mydy=TlypiKd0P b9y6=m9ynd0v=n06RpRs=n
- Total perspective is an illusion. We do not know the whole of man's history. We must operate with partial knowledge, and be provisionally content with probabilities. Perhaps within these limits, we can learn enough from our history to bear reality patiently, and to respect one another's delusions.
- My brother, if you are fortunate you have only one virtue and no more: then you will pass over the bridge more easily. It is a distinction to have many virtues, but a hard lot; and many have gone into the desert and taken their lives because they had wearied of being the battle and battlefield of virtues.
- What are called structures are slow processes of long duration, functions are quick processes of short duration. If we say that a function such as the contraction of a muscle is performed by a structure, it means that a quick and short process wave is superimposed on a long lasting and slowly running wave.
- For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way; something to be got through first; some unfinished business; time still to be served; a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me. These obstacles were my life.
- ...the setting of the psychological problem, the natural group in which it occurs, is also taken into account. Inner space is, of course, limited to one individual; outer space is not. It is now common to refer to the individual with symptoms as the "index" of group pathology rather than the "patient".
- Moral seriousness does not resolve complex problems; it only impels us to face the problems rather than run away. Clearheadedness does not slay dragons; it only spares us the indignity of fighting paper dragons while the real ones are breathing down our necks. But those are not trivial advantages.
- One should not think slightingly of the paradoxical; for the paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a lover without a feeling: a paltry mediocrity... The supreme paradox of all thought is the attempt to discover something that thought cannot think.
- Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I-
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.
But in the meantime how grievous the memory
Of hours frittered away.
- One of the most interesting times to observe impression management is the moment when a performer leaves the back region and enters the place where the audience is to be found, or when he returns therefrom, for at these moments one can detect a wonderful putting on and taking off of character.
- The Vedanta was not originally moralistic; it did not urge people to ape the saints without sharing their real motivation, or to ape motivations without sharing the knowledge which sparks them.
...Genuine love comes from knowledge, not from a sense of duty or guilt.
- How my dog frets each time he sees me packing my suitcase, and how sorry I am that I cannot explain to him that there is no need for his dejection, for the whimpers that accompany me to the front gate. There is no way to tell him that I'll be back tomorrow; with each parting he suffers the same martyrdom.
- If others do not respond to their own inner growth, they are not meant to evolve - that is the impersonal justice in the whole system. If you do not choose to evolve, you do not evolve. It is up to you. No one can choose for you. Nor can anyone deny you the choice. Freedom is inherent in the nature of reality.
- There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are, being evolved.
- Perhaps, as has often been said, the trouble with people is not so much with their ignorance as it is with their knowing so many things that are not so... So that it is always important to find out about these fears, and if they are based upon the knowledge of something that is not so, they may perhaps be corrected.
- Your fancy dress, the mask you put on with such care so as to appear to your best advantage was the wall between you and the sympathy you sought. A sympathy you won on the day when you stood there naked. The voice which gave orders was only obeyed when it became a helpless wail.
- The kindergarten class of Earth will be over. Humankind's collective power is too great to be inherited by self-centered, infantile people. Nuclear bombs, biospheric collapse, the destruction of life itself is the power that has been given us through the maturation of the intellect and its servants, science and technology.
- The notion of strict, independent sovereignty is a hopeless anachronism in a century of intercontinental ballistic missiles, multi-national corporations and ecological interdependence. But people everywhere are still willing to go to war and die for the myth, dressed up as national honor, tradition, pomp and circumstance.
- Our knowledge of the brain is in a very primitive state. While for some regions we have developed some kind of functional concept, there are others, the size of one's fist, of which it can almost be said that we are in the same state of knowledge as we were with regard to the heart before we realized it pumped blood.
- Most of us take our theories or interpretations of life for granted, not questioning them or examining them consciously. We move through life drunk with habit, at least as long as the habit seems to work for us. At times we even come to believe we really have a handle on "The Truth". We come to believe in our own objectivity.
- I am suggesting that explanation does not exhaust the capacities of understanding nor is it particularly fruitful in some domains. Furthermore, it is possible to provide some illumination of the subject - illumination tantamount to a fruitful and an appropriate understanding - without pretending to furnish an explanation.
- We are at the dawn of a new world. Scientists have given to men considerable powers. Politicians have seized hold of them. The world must choose between the unspeakable desolation of mechanization for profit or conquest, and the lusty youthfulness of science and technique serving the social needs of a new civilization.
- =p9nyork=ntiniulkauRd=s yorr=pyd=Dl9yz sent=nsuilbypasd9n6=deyhuens0meKs=bi8=n =vyoruyKn=s iniTself pRhaPs ku9yTtrivy=l d=pr9yvzyu=venyfR6R9pRtun=dyztumeyk=T8oys anDj0stly
duyuaTlystfylgreyTfL6aTyortr9y=lizpRmid=D t=k=ntiniu 6aTyuhavn9TyeT binteyk=naTyoruRd
- The quantum instant of transformation is at hand. Therefore, be sober; that is, be sensitive and aware to what is happening both around you and within you. Around you, confusion will increase. Within you, focus will sharpen, until you are like a laser beam of coherent light in the dark forest of the night.
- It makes me very happy that, in the last three years of his life, he [Dag Hammarskjold] took to writing poems, for it is proof to me that he had at last acquired a serenity of mind for which he had long prayed. When a man can occupy himself with counting syllables, either he has not yet attempted any spiritual climb, or he is over the hump.
- As an indicator of intellect, language can be misleading. Many small children pick up sophisticated phrases and use them in exactly the right context without the slightest idea of what they mean; their felicity can be confused with wisdom. Many foreign visitors speak halting English; their infelicity can be confused with stupidity.
- We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
- Why this desire in all of us that, after we have disappeared, the thoughts of the living shall now and again dwell upon our name? Our name. Anonymous immortality we cannot even escape. The consequences of our lives and actions can no more be erased than they can be identified and duly labeled - to our honor or our shame.
- A scientist's message is not devoid of universality but its universality is disembodied and anonymous. While the artist's communication is linked forever with its original form, that of the scientist is modified, amplified, fused with the ideas and results of others and melts into the stream of knowledge and ideas which forms our culture.
- The mega-crisis, however, is fundamentally an opportunity. Let us determine to see it in that light. There is no rational reason for leaving the mega-crisis unmet. There is no inherent limitation or shortfall in our capacities to meet it. We can have the world we choose. We do have the world we have chosen, and we can choose more wisely.
- The material on which the scientist works in his theoretical activities consists of reports of observations, scientific laws and theories, and predictions; that is formulations in language which describe certain aspects of experience. Therefore, an analysis of theoretical procedures in science must concern itself with language and its applications.
- Buckminster Fuller's synergetic geometry demonstrates that every unity is inherently plural, and at a minimum six. That is, infinity is ineffable and the less we say about it the fewer idiocies we will utter; but as soon as we pull something out of infinity, something we can analyze and talk about, we find it has at least six elements or aspects.
- Only after weeks had passed did I begin to think that I had, rather absent-mindedly, passed through what mystics call "the dark night of the soul," or "crossing the abyss." Whatever one calls it, I reached a depth of despair and deliberately decided to love the world instead of pitying myself; and afterwards, I was no longer afraid of anything.
- By the middle of the twentieth century, two major mysteries of ancient times - the nature of physical matter and the nature of living matter - were well on their way to being unraveled. At the same time, however, a third mystery that had also fascinated the ancients - the enigma of the human mind - has yet to achieve comparable clarification.
- Only love can achieve the next step of evolution. The separatists may impede the progress of those who love the world, but eventually they will change or else wither away through alienation, stress and discouragement. Love them, attract them, and leave them behind if they do not respond. Theirs is another day, another time, another cause.
- A computer can be the most useful tool you've ever used. Realizing its potential, however, is not automatic. It depends on the kind of partnership you form with the computer. And more than anything else, it's the user-interface that determines this partnership. With the right user-interface, you can waltz. With the wrong one, you'll wrestle.
- ...any "discovery" we make about ourselves or the meaning of life is never, like a scientific discovery, a coming upon something entirely new and unsuspected: it is, rather, the coming to conscious recognition of something we really knew all the time, but, because we were unwilling or unable to formulate it correctly, we did not hitherto know we knew.
- A blown egg floats well, and sails well on every puff of wind - light enough for such performances, since it has become nothing but shell, with neither embryo nor nourishment for its growth. "A good mixer." Without reserve or respect for privacy, anxious to please - speech without form, words without weight. Mere shells.
- I understood U Thant's belief that the world would be a good place to live in only when its four billion people would understand that they were part of total Creation; that the goodness of humanity depended on their individual goodness and internal purity; that our lives were not closed at the beginning and the end, but were part of an endless stream of time.
- He who knows nothing, loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing. He who understands nothing is worthless. But he who understands also loves, notices, sees... The more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love... Anyone who imagines that all fruits ripen at the same time as the strawberries knows nothing about grapes.
- What does date from the Renaissance is the appearance of men [and women] who made a considerable point about their individuality - who were even, one might say, rather theatrical about it. The men and women of the Renaissance found that it was exciting not only to be an individual but to talk about it, to preen one's self on it and to build a life around it.
- The devil and a friend were walking down the street when, some distance away, they saw a man stoop down, pick something up, and put it in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, "What did he pick up?" "A piece of the truth", said the devil. "That's too bad for you then," said the friend. "Oh, not at all," the devil replied. "I'm going to help him organize it."
- We can restore Earth by recognizing it as our large body and healing it by the same recognition with which we heal ourselves. We can transcend Earth by recognizing that the existing planetary body is not our limit any more than the existing physical body is. We can transcend by the use of our total power and authority in alignment with the designing intelligence.
- The bells of the world have tolled long enough for death, let them now ring out for life... A dead youth is a blasphemy against the God of Life. No one desires war but a fool or a madman, and there is no longer room in the world for madmen or fools. We deny the infallibility of the atom bomb; we affirm the infallibility of the brotherhood of man the world over.
- I am particularly drawn to people who can tell me I'm wrong. Most individuals, by the time they're 30, know almost as much as they're ever going to know, and the most important thing they can get from another person is a sense of awkwardness, confusion and contradiction. How do you live on the edge of the most sophisticated awareness that exists? Play the fool.
- First, there are what are sometimes called "dark" secrets. These consist of facts about a team which it knows and conceals and which are incompatible with the image of self that the team attempts to maintain before the audience. Dark secrets are, of course, double secrets: one is the crucial fact that is hidden and another is the fact that crucial facts have not been openly admitted.
- The Arcosanti project is "optimism in concrete". It works by believing that there is a tomorrow that can be prodigiously affirmative. We would be unholy fools if we did not acknowledge the savagery of what our politicians and our strategists are planning. We must also remember that we vote - that is, we transform reality first and foremost with our lives, minute by minute.
- In the twentieth century war will be dead, the scaffold will be dead, royalty will be dead, and dogmas will be dead; but man will live. For all, there will be but one country - that country the whole Earth; for all, there will be but one hope - that hope the whole heaven. All hail, then, to that noble twentieth century, which shall own our children, and which our children shall inherit.
- In paradigm change, we realize that our previous views were only part of the picture - and that what we know now is only part of what we'll know later. Change is no longer threatening. It absorbs, enlarges, enriches. The unknown is friendly, interesting territory. Each insight widens the road, making the next stage of travel, the next opening, easier, more fun, more exciting, etc.
- A heart pulsating in harmony with the circulation of the sap and the flow of rivers? A body with the rhythms of Earth in its movements? No. Instead: a mind, shut off from the oxygen of alert senses, that has wasted itself on "treasons, stratagems, and spoils" - of importance only within four walls. A tame animal - in whom the strength of the species has outspent itself, to no purpose.
- Each of us has a role in this time, this period of transformation. These roles are not equal nor can they be compared in terms of 'more' or 'less' value. No one, by virtue of experience, knowledge, or any other attainment is 'better' than another. Some of us are leaders. Some are teachers. Some are messengers. Some are prophets. Some are parasites. Each plays a part in the unfolding of the event.
- To eschew a teleological explanation of evolution is not to deny God. The gospel says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of spirit is spirit". Biologist deal with the flesh. They believe that, like all other aspect of our created universe, living organisms are designed rationally, and reason should be able to discern the logic of the pattern without resorting to mysticism.
- ...much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving our young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. We are stuffing their heads with the products of earlier innovation rather than teaching them to innovate. We think of the mind as a storehouse to be filled when we should be thinking of it as an instrument to be used.
- Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking - and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority. The consensus of all serves as a proof of the correctness of "their" ideas.
- Mixed motives. In any crucial decision, every side of our character plays an important part, the base as well as the noble. Which side cheats the other when they stand united behind us in an action? When, later, Mephisto appears and smilingly declares himself the winner, he can still be defeated by the manner in which we accept the consequences of our action.
- When you have reached the point where you no longer expect a response, you will at last be able to give in such a way that the other will be able to receive, and be grateful. When love has matured and, through the dissolution of the self into light, become a radiance, then shall the Lover be liberated from dependence upon the Beloved, and the Beloved also be made perfect by being liberated from the Lover.
- Well, this is one of the characteristics by which we recognize the facts which yield great results. They are those which allow of these happy innovations of language. The crude fact then is often of no great interest; we may point it out many times without having rendered great services to science. It takes value only when a wiser thinker perceives the relation for which it stands, and symbolizes it by a word.
- The Old Religion, as we call it, is closer in spirit to Native American traditions or to the shamanism of the Arctic. It is not based on dogma or a set of beliefs, nor on scriptures or a sacred book revealed by a great man. Paganism takes its teachings from nature, and reads inspiration in the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, the flight of birds, the slow growth of trees, and the cycles of the seasons.
- In short, the teller's proper relation to his tale, his telling it as if this is the first time he has told it, is generated not by him, but by his having a first-time relation with his current listeners. The genuineness and spontaneity he can bring to his telling is generated by his current listeners' experiencing of genuine suspense; he borrows spontaneity from them. Effective performance requires first hearings, not first tellings.
- Take a chair. Any goddamn chair. Right where you are sitting now. Get up and look at it. You don't see the chair alone. Millions of light signals are being integrated very bloody fast and they all pass through the verbal centers. An English-speaker DOES NOT see the same chair as the Hopi-speaker or a Chinese-speaker, as Benjamin Whorf demonstrated. You see what language and metaphor allow you to see.
- ...what the individual spends most of his spoken moments doing is providing evidence for the fairness or unfairness of his current situation and other grounds for sympathy, approval, exoneration, understanding, or amusement. And what his listeners are primarily obliged to do is to show some kind of audience appreciation. They are to be stirred not to take action but to exhibit signs that they have been stirred.
- Originally, many children win the affection of one parent at the cost of affectionate claims on the other. A child's means of controlling the family situation by pitting one parent against the other is often developed on this basis, but gives him no more than a relative security. Children who have used this technique with particular success are especially handicapped in their ability to form unambivalent relationships later on.
- ...for the adolescents emerging from childhood and school there are new factors with which they must come to terms. Some arise from developing sexuality which represents one of the most difficult and lengthy adjustments that any human being has to make, and which is not made any easier by having to take place in a society which seems obsessed, it not with sexual activity, then certainly with sexual titillation.
- How then, is the future of art to be envisaged if stylistic evolution has now reached the end of the line? Meyer is of the opinion that "the coming epoch (if, indeed we are not already in it) will be a period of stylistic stasis, a period characterized not by the linear, accumulative development of a single fundamental style, but by the coexistence of a multiplicity of quite different styles in a fluctuating and dynamic steady-state.
- Light without a visible source, the pale gold of a new day. Low bushes, their soft silk-gray leaves silvered with dew. All over the hills, the cool red of the cat's-foot in flower. A blue horizon. Emerging from the ravine where a brook runs under a canopy of leaves, I walk out onto a wide open slope. Drops, sprinkled by swaying branches, glitter on my hands, cool my forehead, and evaporate in the gentle morning breezes.
- ...our memory isn't very good. I'm not saying that we've been saved by sloppy design. On the contrary, the mechanism that regulates our ability to make a long-lasting record is likely quite sophisticated. I suspect that it's not unlike a kidney, where first you throw everything away (except for cells and large molecules), then you take back what you really want to keep from what's being discarded before it reaches the bladder.
- One of the (few) virtues of our formal schooling is that it requires the student to test himself in a great variety of activities that are not of his own choosing. But the adult can usually select the kinds of activity on which he allows himself to be tested, and takes full advantage of that freedom of choice. He tends increasingly to confine himself to the things he does well and to avoid the things in which he has failed or has never tried.
- Were all humanity taken and crowded together in one place, it would occupy three hundred billion liters, or less than a third of a cubic kilometer. It sounds like a lot. Yet the world's oceans hold 1,285 million cubic kilometers of water, so if all humanity - the five billion bodies - were cast into the ocean, the water would rise less than a hundredth of a millimeter. A single splash, and Earth would be forever unpopulated.
- The prospect is, after all, that we are going to enter an age when any duffer sitting at a computer terminal in his laboratory or office or public library or home can delve through unimaginable increased mountains of information in mass-assembly data banks with mechanical powers of concentration and calculation that will be greater by a factor of tens of thousands than was ever available to the human brain of even an Einstein.
- Clad in this "self", the creation of irresponsible and ignorant persons, meaningless honors and cataloged acts - strapped into the straight jacket of the immediate. To step out of all this, and stand naked on the precipice of dawn - acceptable, invulnerable, free: in the Light, with the Light, of the Light. Whole, real in the Whole. Out of myself as a stumbling block, into myself as fulfillment.
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- Where does the frontier lie? Where do we travel to in those dreams of beauty satisfied, laden with significance but without comprehensible meaning, etched far deeper on the mind than any witness of the eyes? Where all is well - without fear, without desire. Our memories of physical reality, where do they vanish to? While the images of this dream world never grow older. They live - like the memory of a memory.
- Indeed, the organism of a thousand minds exists today in thousands of examples: the towns and cities of the world, none too successful, most of them without a future. It is an organism so flaccid and so tenuous that even the elementary demands of sustaining its spare physical energies, of cleansing its receptacles and arteries (of giving each cell its due), of procuring for itself a coherent reference to natural elements are hardly met.
- The meaning of international integration now becomes clear. The process of transferring one's loyalty from national symbols and institutions to global symbols and institutions has become not merely desirable but necessary for the survival of mankind. The ethical standard has rarely been so obvious. We must all give up our petty nationalism and ethnocentrism to become Earthlings and learn to be more concerned with the preservation of Earth.
- idiznevRseyffor=ney8=ntur=poz9n6=lap0viGnR=ns andif6erevRu0z=t9ym huenp0bliKtrankuil=dy u0zin8RDb9y6yaBs=ns0vn9l=Dj 6aTsyz=nizpast
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- One should love God mindlessly. By this I mean that your soul ought to be without mind or mental activities or images or representations. Bare your soul of all mind and stay there without mind. Moreover, I advise you to let your own "being you" sink away and melt into God's "being God". In this way your "you" and God's "his" will become completely one "my". And you will come to know his changeless existence and his nameless nothingness.
- ...The best documented case, perhaps, is the slow development of the easy right of medical people to approach the naked human body with a natural instead of a social perspective. Thus, it was only at the end of the eighteenth century in Britain that childbirth could benefit from an obstetric examination, an undarkened operating room, and delivery - if a male physician was to do it - unencumbered by its having to be performed under covers.
- 6yansRt=6ispr9bl=m izfor6=pRformRtu segr=geyT hiz9dy=ns=z so6aT6yind=viDju=lz huuiTn=shim inu0n=vizrolz uiln9Tby6yind=viDju=lz husyim in=n06R0vhizrolz
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- The normal human being, totally uncritical as to language, sees himself not only as a separate body but also as a source of effect upon other persons. However persuasive and at times powerful this effect may be, it is nearly always uncertain. In contrast with this, he is able, with rare exceptions, to coordinate his earlier speech (intention) with later handling actions of his own. This contributes to the view of the "self" or "ego" as a more than bodily entity.
- Take a fresh look, a searching look, at things which adult (Sape) society apparently wants young people to know so urgently - more urgently than anything else - not only in ordinary conversation at work, but even more by plastering them all over the advertisement billboards, the cinemas, the television screens and the pages of newspapers. Make a list of them and then reflect on all this as symbolizing the very peak and crown of Western civilization.
- In a reality made of interdependent parts, the pretense of self-sufficiency is a measure of arrogance and ignorance. Only one system is self-sufficient ("God" permitting): the cosmos in its totality. The idea of developing anything that can do without other things is extravagant and devoid of sense. A degree of autonomy and self-reliance are more sane propositions, as they tend to discount arrogance on the one side and irresponsibility-parasitism on the other.
- Young people do not assimilate the values of their group by learning the words (truth, justice, etc.) and their definitions. They learn attitudes, habits and ways of judging. They learn these in intensely personal transactions with their immediate family and associates. They learn them in the routine and crises of living, but they also learn them through songs, stories, drama and games. They do not learn ethical principles; they emulate ethical (or unethical) people.
- For our Titanic purposes of faith and revolution, what we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre's castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening.
- How should messages issued from an interactive program refer to the program, to the computer, and to the programmer? Stated differently, whom should the user perceive as the narrator - the computer, the computer program, or the author of the program? For books, an analogous question would be whether or not the reader should perceive the book as the narrator, but it never arises because books aren't interactive. It's a new question in literature.
- ...a certain Cambridge University undergraduate was examined for persistent headaches; X-ray studies revealed that a hydrocephalic condition in his infancy had produced a compression of the cerebral tissue, leaving him with only about one-tenth of the normal volume of gray matter. Yet he was a brilliant student, and nobody had ever suspected the extent of his cortical deficiency because his intellectual functions were very satisfactory.
- The characteristic of all fundamentalism is that it has found absolute certainty - the certainty of class warfare, the certainty of science, or the literal certainty of the Bible - a certainty of the person who has finally found a solid rock to stand upon which, unlike others, is "solid all the way down". Fundamentalism, however, is a terminal form of human consciousness in which development is stopped, eliminating the uncertainty and risk that real growth entails.
- Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all in the true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
- Wake and listen, you that are lonely! From the future come winds with secret wing-beats; and good tidings are proclaimed to delicate ears. You that are lonely today, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves, there shall grow a chosen people - and out of them, the overman. Verily, Earth shall yet become a site of recovery. And even now a new fragrance surrounds it, bringing salvation - and a new hope.
- I, for one, am going to know what to say when the ducks show up. I've made a list of phrases, and although I don't know which one I'll use yet, they are all good enough in case they showed up tomorrow. Many people won't know what to say when the ducks show up, but I will. Maybe I'll say, "Oh ducks, oh ducks!" or just, "ducks wonderful ducks!" I practice these sayings every day, and even though the ducks haven't come yet, when they do, I'll know what to say.
- The energy which is expended in mere thinking, talking or writing is like the steam which escapes through the whistle of the railway engine. The whistle makes a noise, and is even interesting, but it cannot drive the engine forward. No amount of whistling can move the engine forward. The steam has to be harnessed and used intelligently in order that it may actually take the engine to its destination. That is why the sages have always insisted on practice rather than theory.
- Awareness of the tension between human needs and existing social facts is political consciousness. When Gandhi arrived in South Africa and was thrown out of the first-class compartment on the train, he was politically conscious of the tension between his need for self-esteem and the social fact of unjust discrimination. Acting out of such consciousness is politics, and whether or not one chooses to make politics out of political consciousness depends on one's personality.
- At such times, theories about totally imaginary conspiracies also escalate, because (a) times of transition make people nervous and uncertain, (b) nervous and uncertain people tend to become at least a little bit paranoid, (c) most people most of the time follow their own prejudices and anxieties much more than any technique for ascertaining objective facts, and (d) most people have no knowledge of the techniques or self-disciplines necessary to the search for objective facts.
- Some intellectual prophets have declared the end of the age of knowledge and the beginning of the age of information. Information tends to drive out knowledge. Information is just signs and numbers, while knowledge has semantic value. What we want is knowledge, but what we often get is information. It is a sign of the times that many people cannot tell the difference between information and knowledge, not to mention wisdom, which even knowledge tends sometimes to drive out.
- Let men, if they must, explain in their minds, according to whatever philosophy they hold, the nature of God and the nature of Jesus... and the meaning of his life and words. This is a perfectly natural process and need not be resisted. The evil and sacrilege come from confusing this interpretation with the original revelation itself, and treating them both as equally sacred, and... setting up my interpretation as the only true and orthodox one, imposing it, by the rack if necessary, on others.
- However, because it is the most powerful social fact of international life, the nation-state cannot be ignored. The development of the nation-state is the key to understanding the rules of the game according to which politics is played in the world today, for the world is made up of a system of nation-states. It must only be remembered that individuals create nation-states and maintain their interests. Nation-states are not inevitable machines that operate without human origin or control.
- "Lack of character..." All too easily we confuse a fear of standing up for our beliefs, a tendency to be more influenced by the convictions of others than by our own, or simply a lack of conviction - with the need that the strong and mature feel to give full weight to the arguments of the other side. A game of hide-and-seek: when the Devil wishes to play on our lack of character, he calls it tolerance, and when he wants to stifle our first attempts to learn tolerance, he calls it lack of character.
- Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, while all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.
- These are the times that try our souls. In this moment of profound evolutionary transformation Homo sapiens is faced with the choice between little "self" (the known) and big "SELF" (EARTH the unknown). The dabblers and the untested summer mystics shrink before the immensity of it all. But the ones who have a vision and take a stand on that vision now shall earn the love and admiration of a new humanity and shall for ever stand in the light of the most high.
- Foolproof contraception and, more socially important, the eradication of the fear of accidental pregnancy are just the overtures to the oncoming biological revolution - an upheaval that Dr. W. H. Thorpe of Cambridge University has predicted will create social consequences "at least as great as those arising from atomic energy and the H-bomb... They rank in importance as high as, if not higher than, the discovery of fire, of agriculture, the development of printing, and the discovery of the wheel.
- Our lives are ceaselessly intertwined with narrative, with the stories that we tell and hear told, those we dream or imagine or would like to tell, all of which are reworked in that story of our own lives that we narrate to ourselves in an episodic, mostly semiconscious, but virtually uninterrupted monologue. We live immersed in narrative, recounting and reassessing the meaning of our past actions, anticipating the outcome of our future projects, situating ourselves at the intersection of several stories not yet completed.
- A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe"; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
- We are all, in our compartmentalized responses, like the man who is a tyrant in his office and a weakling among his family, or like the musician who is assertive in his art and self-effacing in his personal relationships. Such dissociation becomes a difficulty when we attempt to unite these compartments (as, were the man who is a tyrant in his office and a weakling at home suddenly to employ his wife or children, he would find his dissociative devices inadequate, and might become bewildered and tormented).
- The renewal of societies and organizations can go forward only if someone cares. Apathy and lowered motivation are the most widely noted characteristics of a civilization on the downward path. Apathetic people accomplish nothing. People who believe in nothing change nothing for the better. They renew nothing and heal no one, least of all themselves. Anyone who understands our situation at all knows that we are in little danger of failing through lack of material strength. If we falter, it will be a failure of heart and spirit.
- The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist's world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane. The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation, just as the interesting person before mentioned is quite sure that he is simply and solely a chicken. Materialists and madmen never have doubts.
- The dialogue within the self proceeds on many levels. Sometimes it is a dialogue between the self as engaged in its various responsibilities and affections and the self which observes these engagements. Sometimes the dialogue is between the self in the grip of its immediate necessities and biological urges, and the self as an organization of long-range purposes and ends. Sometimes the dialogue is between the self in the context of one set of loyalties and the self in the grip of contrasting claims and responsibilities.
- One must act always as if the other party is a free, rational mind and never get dragged into their own childish and hysterical milieu. If they state that your position is pissy, shitty, and piggy, ignore that. Do not fall into replying in kind by stating that their position is pissy, shitty, and piggy. Explain the position logically and clearly, as if dealing with rational adults. This will, in the long run, perform the one moral form of segregation: drawing all judicious observers onto one side of the issue and all the fools onto the other.
- From the standpoint of daily life there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all, for the sake of those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to return as much as I have received.
- It makes one's heart ache when one sees that a person has staked his soul upon some end, the hopeless imperfection and futility of which is immediately obvious to everyone but himself. But isn't this, after all, merely a matter of degree? Isn't the pathetic grandeur of human existence in some way bound up with the eternal disproportion in this world, where self delusion is necessary to life, between the honesty of the striving and the nullity of the result? That we all - every one of us - take ourselves seriously is not merely ridiculous.
- Single cells, when united, create eyes to see both the single cells and the whole body. It is the whole which forms the organs to see the parts, not the parts which see the whole. It is the whole which sees itself.
Single individuals, when united into an intercommunicating planetary body, will have eyes to see each person as part of the whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Single individuals, bonded for an instant by sharing awareness of the intention of Creation, will know the whole and its parts.
- Language may be thought of as a map of some "territory". But it would be unwarranted to assume that there were not others functions for language to perform. Language may also serve as a blueprint (design tool) for that which does not yet exist.
Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent propaganda. As far as lies in its power, it tends to transform the universe and humanity into it's own image. Every person's conduct is an unspoken sermon that is forever preaching to others.
- Another crucially important example is the phrase "end of the world." Thousands of persons throughout history have believed that Jesus predicted (in Matthew 24:3) that the end of the world would come in their lifetime, and they have disposed of all their material possessions and waited on housetops for the end to come. (A bumper sticker seen around the San Francisco area a few years ago read: "Do Not Repent! the end of the world has been called off.") The Greek word translated as world was aeon, which usually means age.
- The feeling of shame over the previous day when consciousness again emerges from the ocean of the night. How dreadful must the contrast have been between the daily life and the living waters to make the verdict one of high treason. It is not the repeated mistakes, the long succession of petty betrayals - though, God knows, they would give cause enough for anxiety and self-contempt - but the huge elementary mistake, the betrayal of that within me which is greater than I - in a complacent adjustment to alien demands.
- I can sympathize and identify with the intent of the natural philosophers of centuries, even millennia, ago as they struggled to comprehend the universe into which we are all born, seeking an invariant order beyond the welter of experience and feeling. That intent to comprehend the universe has been a persistent theme since the earliest time, a continuous motive to read the message of the Demiurge and to discover the repertoire of reality. As Edwin Hubble remarked, "The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed."
- We cannot return to a simpler world. Much of contemporary social criticism is made irrelevant by its refusal to face that fact. It is true that the pressure and tumult of our society compares unfavorably with say, the tranquility of a village in Brittany. But the comparison does not deal with a choice that is open to us. We must live in the modern world. We cannot stem the pressure for more intricate organization of the economy, our production, our social, political and cultural life. We must master the new forms of organization or they will master us.
- The fundamental discoveries of modern science in cosmology, astronomy, medicine, neurology, geology, genetics, are significant as disclosures of the basic order of the cosmos. Scientific order, like the order disclosed by theology, has its imperatives. Being in "regular relations" with the truths of science, doing things the "scientific way", having a "scientific attitude" are as much responses to the imperatives of the order disclosed by scientific research as pious godfearingness is a response to the imperatives of the theologically disclosed religious order.
- Every person has at his disposal a certain zone of influence, which he owes as much to his defects as to his qualities. But whichever is the case, this zone is there and can be immediately used... And when you have done what you can in your own zone, in your own field, then you can call a halt and despair as much as you like. Understand this: we can despair of the meaning of life in general, but not of the particular forms it takes; we can despair over existence, for we have no power over it, but not of history, where the individual can do everything.
- At every moment you choose yourself. But do you choose your self? Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many I's. But in only one of them is there a congruence of the elector and the elected. Only one - which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy, out of curiosity or wonder or greed, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted to you which is your I.
- So rests the sky against Earth. The dark still lake in the lap of the forest. As a husband embraces his wife's body in faithful tenderness, so the bare ground and trees are embraced by the still, high, light of the morning.
I feel an ache of longing to share in this embrace, to be united and absorbed. A longing like carnal desire, but directed towards Earth, water, sky and returned by the whispers of the trees, the fragrance of the soil, the caresses of the wind, the embrace of water and light. Content? No, no, no - but refreshed, rested - while waiting.
- Hypnosis demonstrates the vast resources we have beyond our consciousness. A person is brought into a strange room for a few minutes and then taken out of it. Asked to list every item seen, he or she will reproduce 20 or 30 items. Under hypnosis, however, that same person will go on to reproduce about 200 more items.
Our minds have a remarkable capacity to store data, but relatively little ability to retrieve that information at any particular moment, under normal conditions. We have much more information stored than we realize, if only we can shake it loose.
- Frankly, I'd find life a bore if I weren't playing for very high stakes in a very high-risk situation. We do have the chance, now, for Utopia and even for immortality. If we who see this opportunity aren't smart enough, adroit enough, and fast enough to seize the chance, then we don't deserve to initiate the next stage of evolution. In that case, the age of the mammalian predators isn't ending, and we are deluded visionaries seeing a future that can't happen yet. The order of nature is nothing to be angry about. Meanwhile, until they shovel me under, I still think our side is winning.
- To allow simultaneous recordings from several cells, Pine and his colleagues are building "neurochips", which will house on a silicon wafer at least 16 nerve cells in wells with electrodes at their bases. They plan to inject immature nerve cells into the wells and let the cells extend their long fibers - axons and dendrites - to form connections with each other. Then the scientists plan to record communication among the selected nerve cells, and perhaps even put the neurochip into an animal's nervous system so that the "wired" cells establish connections with the intact brain.
- We are living in a period of tremendous flux. What we tend to think of as eternal verities are, in reality, time- and place-bound. We (psychotherapists), our patients, their complaints, our very concepts of treatment and cure are all manifestations of the particular epoch in which we live, and ultimately of each other. We are as embedded in our time and place as bugs in amber. The therapist who expects his theoretical and clinical perspectives to remain long relevant will find himself in the position of the little boy who is astounded to find that the train, not the platform, just moved out.
- It is interesting to speculate on what sort of technology we might have developed, given, say, the bloodhound's olfactory apparatus. Instead of a tape measure, we might carry a small box of musk. To measure the length of a table, we would open the box at one end of the table, walk to the other end, and sniff. "Six feet, three inches," we would say, or whatever units might be appropriate for olfactoring distances. Painting a room would be for the proper smell, rather than color. "I'm having the kitchen done in bacon, the living room in lilac, and the library in musty leather.
- Only tell others what is of importance to them. Only ask them what you need to know. In both cases, that is, limit the conversation to what the speaker really possesses. Argue only in order to reach a conclusion. Think aloud only with those to whom this means something. Don't let small talk fill up the time and the silence except as a medium for bearing unexpressed messages between two people who are attuned to each other. A dietary for those who have learned by experience the truth of the saying, "For every idle word..." But hardly popular in social life.
- There is nothing contradictory in itself in the idea of human ecstasy sundered from material things. Indeed, as we shall see, this fits in very well with the final demands of a world of evolutionary structure. But with one proviso: that the world in question shall have reached a stage of development so advanced that its 'soul' can be detached without losing any of its completeness, as something wholly formed. But have we any reason to suppose that human consciousness today has achieved so high a degree of richness and perfection that it can derive nothing more from the sap of Earth.
- A man who had studied much in the schools of wisdom finally died in the fullness of time and found himself at the Gates of Eternity. An angel of light approached him and said, "Go no further, O mortal, until you have proven to me your worthiness to enter into Paradise!" But the man answered, "Just a minute, now. First of all, can you prove to me this is a real Heaven and not just a wishful fantasy of my disordered mind undergoing death.
Before the angel could reply, a voice from inside the gates shouted: "Let him in - he's one of us!"
- A stroke victim known as "M.D.", say University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins scientists, has the most specific language deficit yet recorded: He forgets the names of fruits and vegetables. Such specificity suggests that the brain indexes language by category. But M.D. can correctly point out fruits and vegetables when they are named, note the researchers, whose findings appeared in Nature. In the same issue, a British psychologist remarked of M.D.'s case, "It is as if the name is the key," suggesting that the store of linguistic data is intact but mysteriously locked away in the brain.
- Perhaps you put too much energy into resentment, anger, denunciation, and similar negative energy states, and don't have enough energy surplus to achieve your goals. Perhaps you are too impatient and expect "freedom to drop into your lap as a fairy's gift," as Nietzsche said. Perhaps you are looking on too small a time scale to see the grand evolutionary pattern of higher consciousness and higher intelligence ever emerging. Perhaps you are too attached to the superficial and temporary, and regard each setback as a total defeat, without seeing that intelligence always wins in the long run.
- Resisting death, over-breeding, hoarding and gorging are expressions of biological drives that are, under natural conditions, one-sided because the control is provided by the environment. Regenerative mechanism within the organism may normally be controlled at the environmental level. These are cases in which the paradox of "What you want is not what you want" is resolved by pointing out that there are two different levels to the word "you": What you1 want - as a system consisting of a single organism - is not what you2 want - a system consisting of organism in environment.
- After laying 4,476 kilometers of cable, AT&T workers returned to shore for more, allowing scientists to get 19 days of data with the unpowered cable grounded to the ocean floor. Using some fancy statistical footwork, the researchers separated out the direct-current (DC) component due to the core currents from the tangle of alternating-current (AC) signals arising from a variety of sources, such as the erratic flow of ions in the ionosphere, that induced currents in Earth. They obtained a DC potential voltage drop (which is proportional to current) of 0.072 ± 0.050 millivolts per kilometer.
- A final point must be suggested about backstage relationships. When we say that persons who co-operate in presenting a performance may express familiarity with one another when not in the presence of the audience, it must be allowed that one can become so habituated to one's front region activity (and front region character) that it may be necessary to handle one's relaxation from it as a performance. One may feel obliged, when backstage, to act out of character in a familiar fashion and this can come to be more of a pose than the performance for which it was meant to provide a relaxation.
- Persons who carry on a specialized activity develop technical terms and locutions; these shorten speech and make response more accurate. Such are the specialized vocabularies of fishermen, carpenters, miners, and other craftsmen. These terminologies contribute to the dialectal differentiation which exists in all fair-sized speech communities. The special vocabularies and turns of speech which are used in the various branches of science belong in this same general type; only, as scientific observation reaches beyond the interests of ordinary life, the vocabulary of science becomes very large.
- It does seem curious that the size of the brains, which had been increasing drastically in the last 500,000 years of human evolution, has not continued to increase since the beginning of language. An adaptationist would argue that now, in a culture dominated species, selection for increased braininess should operate more powerfully than ever. There is much evidence that we do not need all the cortical neurons we already have. Is it possible that a switch to parallel processing gave such an enormous advantage that we have not yet caught up to the information processing potential we already possess?
- Actually, free science, the unfettered following of curiosity, has never proved to be trivial, selfish, or purposeless. The sober record of experience shows that the trained human mind, if you give it free play and a congenial climate, turns to deep and significant enterprises. The rational approach to life is a successful and productive approach. The most important and powerful movements in the history of science have arisen not from plan, not from compulsion, but from the spontaneous enthusiasm and curiosity of capable individuals who had the freedom to think about the things they considered interesting.
- The first sign that a baby is going to be a human being and not a noisy pet comes when he begins naming the world and demanding the stories that connect its parts. Once he knows the first of these he will instruct his teddy bear, enforce his world view on victims in the sandlot, tell himself stories of what he is doing as he plays and forecast stories of what he will do when he grows up. He will keep track of the actions of others and relate deviations to those in charge. He will want a story at bedtime. Nothing passes but the mind grabs it and looks for a way to fit it into a story, or into a variety of possible scripts.
- Thus, a properly dressed woman who closely examines the frame of a mirror on sale at an auction house and then stands back to check on the truth of the mirror's reflection can well be seen by others present as someone who hasn't really been seen. But if she uses the mirror to adjust her hat, then others present can become aware that only a certain sort of looking had all along been what was expected and that the object on the wall was not so much a mirror as a mirror-for-sale; and this experience can be reversed should she appraisingly examine the mirror in a dressing room instead of examining herself in the mirror.
- It may seem difficult at first glance, to distinguish any kind of order in the jumble of experiments, organizations and theories whose incessantly growing mass forms the baggage-train of the human caravan. Purely quantitative progress, the skeptics tell us. But if we stand back a little, and look at the phenomenon as a whole, we can see that all is not confusion. For it then becomes apparent that this accumulation of features, bewildering at close quarters, does in fact outline a face: the face of mankind gradually acquiring the knowledge of its birth, its history, its natural environment, its external powers, and the secrets of its soul.
- Everything the mind perceives is sorted, filtered and censored by the unconscious before it reaches awareness, and as much as 99 is never even registered. Our blind spots block these perceptions and in so doing offer us a sense of security, but at a psychological cost. The mind actively shields itself from anxiety by twisting attention away from painful truths. Thus, in an effort to avoid anxiety, the unconscious censors information, whether it be perceptions of the moment or distant memories. The result of this filtering is a soothing self-deception which diminishes anxiety - but the price to be paid is a blunted experience of life.
- The only way to change our attitude to language is to accumulate enough evidence as to the degree to which it can be understood. But the evidence must not only be accumulated, it must be pressed home. The wild interpretations of others must not be regarded as the antics of incompetents; but as dangers which we ourselves only narrowly escape, if indeed we do... The only proper [One] attitude is to look upon a successful interpretation, a correct understanding, as a triumph against odds. We must cease to regard a misinterpretation as a mere unlucky accident. We must treat it as the normal and probable event.
- Thus it is through the achievements of the community, made available to the individual by his participation in the common language, that the individual is able to gain a self and mind and to utilize those achievements in the furtherance of his interests. The community benefits at the same time in that its members are now able to control their behavior in the light of the consequences of this behavior to others and to make available to the whole community their own experiences and achievements. At these complex levels of semiosis, the sign reveals itself as the main agency in the development of individual freedom and social integration.
- What does this conquest signify? Does it merely denote the establishment, in worldly terms, of an idealized system of logical, extrinsic relationships? Is it no more than an intellectual luxury, as is commonly supposed - the mere satisfaction of curiosity? No. The consciousness which we are gradually acquiring of our physical relationship with all parts of the universe represents a genuine enlarging of our separate personalities. It is truly a progressive realization of the universality of the things that surround each of us. And it means that in the domain external to our flesh our real and whole body is continuing to take shape.
- A child learns abstract terms gradually, after becoming familiar with concrete terms. Once he knows the word "conscious" he may in time deal with "consciousness" as an abstract term. A host of other words will instigate the gradual growth of such abstractions as "honesty", "furniture", "mind", "education", "athletics", "religion", "time", "corruption", "space" or "olfaction". Such concepts form the warp and woof on the loom of thinking as we daydream, spin yarns, read detective stories, argue with friends, or write terms papers... Once we have the needed abstract terms, thinking is free from the impediment of listing concrete examples.
- Physics is supposed to deal with objective realities, these little hard things called matter. Everybody can see, feel and count them. They move around in time and space. Physics measures them and tells how they go.
That is the classical view. In the third decade of this century the development of the physics of the microcosm shattered that view. It opened a new debate over the most essential of ontological questions: What is real? That is, what does 'real' mean, and what, if anything, can be called real? Today, 60 years after physics reopened these questions, they are still with us, still vehemently debated, still unresolved.
- May your virtue be too exalted for the familiarity of names: and if you must speak of her, then do not be ashamed to stammer of her. Then speak and stammer, "This is my good; this I love; it pleases me wholly; thus alone do I want the good. I do not want it as divine law; I do not want it as human statute and need: it shall not be a signpost for me to overearths and paradises. It is an Earthly virtue that I love: there is little prudence in it, and least of all the reason of all men. But this bird has built its nest with me: therefore I love and caress it; now it dwells with me, sitting on its golden eggs." Thus you shall stammer and praise your virtue.
- Lord make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled, as to console.
Not so much to be understood, as to understand.
Not so much to be loved, as to love.
For it is in the giving that we receive.
It is in the pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in the dying that we awaken to eternal life.
- Humanity is coming to the end of a long road. The world will organize as a community or human life will perish. If some elements of humanity should escape destruction, then the drama of evolution towards world community will begin again, and in time these remnants of humanity will once more arrive at the same decision point which we are now facing. It is inevitable: the Earth Community will be formed and human life in Earth will become organized, either in the next few years or after an interval of ten thousand or a million years. It is inherent in the destiny of aggregate lives, of which humans are the most advanced visible Earth form.
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- But the basic phenomena that allow each of us to have a sense of self, to contemplate the world, to forecast the future and make ethical choices, to feel dismay on seeing a tragedy unfold, to enjoy music if not too preoccupied with talking or planning-these things we may owe to the same kind of process that gives Earth abundant life. Each of us now has under our control a miniature world, evolving away, making constructs that are unique to our own head. There may or may not be life evolving on some planet near one of those thousands of stars that I see in tonight's sky, but comparable evolution is taking place inside the heads of everyone in Woods Hole tonight.
- Nasrudin was out riding when he saw a group of horsemen. Thinking this might have been a band of robbers, Nasrudin galloped off hastily. The other men, who were actually friends of his, said, "I wonder where Nasrudin is going in such a hurry!" and trailed after him to find out. Nasrudin, feeling himself pursued, raced to a graveyard, leapt the fence and hid behind a tombstone. His friends arrived and, sitting on their horses, leaned over the wall to ask, "Why are you hiding behind that tombstone Nasrudin?"
"It's more complicated than you realize," said Nasrudin. "I'm here because of you, and you're here because of me."
- Social relationships are created initially to satisfy human needs. As the relationships become daily routines, they are maintained as existing social facts and are rationalized, institutionalized, and bureaucratized. As social relationships age into social facts and institutions become increasingly unresponsive to the original needs they were created to satisfy, decay sets in. Old social facts break apart, revolutions throw them over, and new relationships are created in their stead. All phases of social development go through recurring cycles of creation, maintenance and decay from the simplest love and business relationships to the complex relations of governments, nations, and empires.
- In human society, at all its levels, persons confirm one another in a practical way, to some extent or other, in their personal qualities and capacities, and a society may be termed human in the measure to which its members confirm one another...
The basis of man's life with man is twofold, and it is one - the wish of every man to be confirmed as what he is, even as what he can become, by men; and the innate capacity of man to confirm his fellowmen in this way. That this capacity lies so immeasurably fallow constitutes the real weakness and questionableness of our present civilization: actual humanity exists only where this capacity unfolds.
- Science cannot come into being without a personal choice of the values we wish to achieve. And these values we choose to implement will forever be outside of the science which implements them; the goals we select, the purposes we wish to follow must always be outside of the science which achieves them. To me this has the encouraging meaning that the human person, with his capacity for subjective choice, can and will always exist, separate from and prior to any of his scientific undertakings. Unless as individuals we choose to relinquish our capacity for subjective choice, we will always remain free persons, not simply pawns of a self-created behavioral science.
- As a boy in California I spent a good deal of time in the Mother Lode country, and like every boy of my age I listened raptly to the tales told by the old-time prospectors in that area, some of them veterans of the Klondike gold rush. Every one of them had at least one good campfire story of a lost gold mine. The details varied: the original discoverer had died in the mine, or had gone crazy, or had been killed in a shooting scrape, or had just walked off thinking the mine worthless. But the central theme was constant: riches left untapped. I have come to believe that those tales offer a paradigm of education as most of us experience it. The mine is worked for a little while and then abandoned.
- Much as single cells are combined in a many-celled animal, separate persons are combined in a speech community - a higher and more effective type of organization. If the word 'organism' be not confined to denote an individual animal, we may speak here, without metaphor, of a social organism. Primarily, the social organism is the speech community - the community of persons speaking one language - but bilingual or multilingual persons mediate everywhere between these communities: cultural areas, such as Europe with her daughter-nations, approach the coherence of a single-speech community; some degree of communication now subsists between all persons in Earth.
- The process of maturing can be described as moving from subjectivity to objectivity, from self-centered intolerance to loving tolerance, from simple rigid solutions to more complex and flexible solutions, from the local to the universal, from instinctive reaction to rational decision, from contentment with a limited meaning of life to the search for fuller meaning, indeed for a satisfying and joyful faith. It is a movement that cannot be guaranteed, a movement that is inevitably painful, irregular and highly dependent on the help of others; and it involves a constant uneasiness about the picture one has of oneself and the assumptions one is making about the world and the other people in it.
- These [proof-reading] symbol systems are not by any means fully institutionalized, and many idiosyncrasies are found among printers, firms, editors, and the like. In an effort to standardize matters, journals and publishers sometimes print up a set of instructions detailing the symbols and illustrating their use. The editing and proofing of these statements provide special problems in editing and proofing, for although the symbols were selected in part so as to be easily distinguished from typewritten or typeset text, that easy differentiation breaks down when it is these symbols themselves that must form the text. This is a minor example of a very general frame issue considered at greater length later.
- Primary frameworks vary in degree of organization. Some are neatly presentable as a system of entities, postulates, and rules; others - indeed, most others - appear to have no apparent articulated shape, providing only a lore of understanding, an approach, a perspective. Whatever the degree of organization, however, each primary framework allows its user to locate, perceive, identify, and label a seemingly infinite number of concrete occurrences defined in its terms. He is likely to be unaware of such organized features as the framework has and unable to describe the framework with any completeness if asked, yet these handicaps are no bar to his easily and fully applying it.
- Neither Aristotle nor his immediate followers realized or could realize what has been said here. They took the structure of the primitive-made language for granted, and went ahead formulating a philosophical grammar of this primitive language, which grammar - to our great semantic detriment - they called "logic", defining it as the "laws of thought". Because of this formulation in a general theory, we are accustomed even today to inflict this "philosophical grammar" of primitive language upon our children, and so from childhood up imprison ourselves unconsciously by the structure of the language and the so-called "logic", in an anthropomorphic, structurally primitive universe.
- But how does the cormorant decide when it is time to stop fishing and time instead to sun itself with wings outstretched? When to stop wing-flapping and just sit there looking around? When to move on to another pond? Differents cormorants do things different ways; they're not ruled by the sun in quite the fashion that bees seem to be. How does an animal's brain make these big decisions, starting up one movement program rather than another? is it the same way we decide to get up from the chair and take a stretch? And perhaps raid the refrigerator? Surely we humans have some fancier kinds of decision-making, but are they variations ona primitive theme, or of an entirely novel kind?
- The teacher has evidently to be a kind of person who, because he is growing himself and because he has a warm respect for people, has to do three things at one and the same time. He has to help and stimulate their growth at any appropriate point in terms of real decision-making, meaningful activity and deepening exploration in relationships; he has to operate efficiently a structure that provides opportunities for such growth; and he has to formulate for himself, and help others to formulate, a view of what is going on in the world, the individual's place in it, and the purpose and mainspring of it all. He has in other words to be activator and enabler, friend and administrator, counsellor and man of faith.
- Creativity is a function of knowledge, imagination, and evaluation. The greater our knowledge, the more ideas, patterns, or combinations we can achieve. But merely having the knowledge does not guarantee the formation of new patterns; the bits and pieces must be shaken up and interrelated in new ways. Then the embryonic ideas must be evaluated and developed into usable ideas. Without sufficient knowledge, imagination cannot be productive. Without imaginative manipulation, abundant knowledge cannot help us foresee new possibilities for the future. Without the ability to synthesize, evaluate, and develop our ideas, we accomplish no effective problem solving.
- Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that "I" and all other "things" now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them; to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed, you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it's no help clinging to the rocks falling with you. If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over - fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.
- My acceptance of the universe is not optimism, it is more like patriotism. It is a matter of primary loyalty. The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it. The point is not that the world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. All optimistic thoughts about England and all pessimistic thoughts about her are alike reasons for the English patriot. Similarly, optimism and pessimism are alike arguments for the cosmic patriot.
- Now. When I have overcome my fears - of others, of myself, of the underlying darkness: at the frontier of the unheard-of.
Here ends the known. But, from the source beyond it, something fills my being with its possibilities.
Here desire is purified and made lucid: each action is a preparation for, each choice as assent to the unknown.
Prevented by the duties of life on the surface from looking down into the depths, yet all the while being slowly trained and molded by them to take the plunge into the deep whence rises the fragrance of a forest star, bearing the promise of a new affection.
At the frontier...
- In the rough, a symbol is defined as a sign which stands for something. Any sign is not necessarily a symbol. If it stands for something, it becomes a symbol for this something. If it does not stand for something, then it becomes not a symbol but a meaningless sign. This applies to words just as it does to bank checks. If one has a zero balance in the bank, but still has a checkbook and issues a check, he issues a sign but not a symbol, because it does not stand for anything. The penalty for such use of these particular signs as symbols is usually jailing. This analogy applies to the oral noises we make, which occasionally become symbols and at other times do not; as yet, no penalty is exacted for such a fraud.
- But vision alone is not enough. The translation of individual commitment and resources into collective accomplishment requires alignment of individual energies. Rowing together represents a whole new dimension. Many find it difficult and frustrating. But, when a team starts to jell something very exciting happens. Each individual begins to perceive a totally new sensation as eight blades strike the water in unison. There comes a unique rush of power with the recognition of what the TEAM can accomplish. When this condition of alignment is allowed to develop, individuals transcend their roles as separate team members to experience themselves as THE ENTIRE TEAM during periods of exceptional performance.
- Our fathers supposed themselves to go back no further than yesterday, each man containing within himself the ultimate value of his existence. They held themselves to be confined within the limits of their years on Earth and their corporeal frame. We have blown asunder this narrow compass and those beliefs. At once humbled and ennobled by our discoveries, we are gradually coming to see ourselves as a part of a vast and continuing process; as though awakening from a dream, we are beginning to realize that our nobility consists in serving, like intelligent atoms, the work proceeding in the universe. We have discovered that there is a whole, of which we are the elements. We have found the world in our own souls.
- SAN DIEGO - Navy doctors are performing hundreds of free cosmetic surgeries at taxpayer expense on Navy personnel and their families - a benefit rarely provided by private health insurance and specifically prohibited by Veterans Administration hospitals. In San Diego alone, 544 free cosmetic operations were performed during the past two years. From 1986 to 1989, Navy doctors nationwide performed more than 1,800 breast augmentations, face lifts, nose jobs, liposuctions and hair transplants - operations that usually cost thousands of dollars apiece.
Navy officials say these surgical procedures allow doctors to hone their skills and practice their craft in readiness for wartime...
- Algebra applies to the clouds; the radiance of the star benefits the rose; no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who, then , can calculate the path of the molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by the fall of grains of sand? Who, then, understands the reciprocal flow and ebb of the infinitely great and the infinitely small; the echoing of causes in the abysses of beginning, and the avalanches of creation? A fleshworm is of account; the small is great; the great is small; all is in equilibrium in necessity. There are marvelous relations between beings and things; in this inexhaustible Whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn: all need each other.
- This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances complaining that the world won't devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch that I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before passing it on to future generations.
- As we have seen, a pathological belief is a rigid image of the world that does not fit reality. In other words, a human being's perception of reality is pathological if he can not adjust his world-view to take new information into account and if he stubbornly maintains a rigid outlook that becomes increasingly distant from what is actually going on. A pathological condition is one that prevents a human being from using social facts to satisfy his needs. The more basic the need that goes unsatisfied the more extreme the pathology. Kenneth Boulding has come to the logical conclusion that since the nation-state system breeds narrow-minded nationalism and can no longer satisfy the basic human need of physical security, it is pathological.
- All information will come in by super-realistic television and other electronic devices as yet in the planning stages or barely imagined. In one way this will enable the individual to extend himself anywhere without moving his body - even to distant regions of space. But this will be a different kind of individual - an individual with a colossal external nervous system reaching out and out into infinity. And this electronic nervous system will be so interconnected that all individuals plugged in will tend to share the same thoughts, the same feelings and the same experiences. There may be specialized types, just as there are specialized cells and organs in our bodies. For the tendency will be for all individuals to coalesce into a single bio-electric body.
- Charles S. Peirce, whose work is second to none in the history of semiotic, came to the conclusion that in the end the interpretant of a symbol must reside in a habit and not in the immediate physiological reaction which the sign vehicle evoked or in the attendant images or emotions - a doctrine which prepared the way for the contemporary emphasis on rules of usage. William James stressed the view that a concept was not an entity but a way in which certain perceptual data functioned representatively and that such "mental" functioning, instead of being a bare contemplation of the world, is a highly selective process in which the organism gets indications as to how to act with reference to the world in order to satisfy its needs and interests.
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- A child talks to himself at first out loud; then he learns to mumble or whisper; finally, he suppresses all audible and even all visible movements of speech. In the popular view no movement at all is supposed to remain. This is a view which we could adopt only by abandoning the basic assumptions of physics. We must suppose rather that the movements of speech - which, as we shall see, consist of a small number of contrasting units - are replaced by internal movements, at first presumably as mere reductions of the normal movements of speech, but capable, in the course of time, of any degree of substitution. This inner speech accounts for the main body of the vaguely bounded system of actions that in everyday parlance goes by the name of "thinking".
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- Sensor receptors economize on their messages by accommodating to a monotonous stimulus. The message sent to the brain might be, "Ho hum, nothing much going on here. Just the same old thing, over and over. I'm going to close down, so you just assume that until you hear otherwise from me, it's just more of the same. 'Bye." When you "tune in" to that sensation, your central sensory areas tell you what is going on, but they do not need to hear directly from the peripheral organ, which has stopped sending. Only when there is a change in the stimulus will a message be sent. The "unexpected" requires information to report. The unsurprising message is very cheap. Announcing "Today is my unbirthday!" is unlikely to get you many presents.
- Paganism has always been a religion of poetry, not theology. The myths, legends, and teachings are recognized as metaphors for "That-Which-Cannot-Be-Told," the absolute reality our limited minds can never completely know. The mysteries of the absolute can never be explained - only felt or intuited. Symbols and ritual acts are used to trigger altered states of awareness, in which insights that go beyond words are revealed. When we speak of the "secrets that cannot be told", we do not mean merely that rules prevent us from speaking freely. We mean that the inner knowledge literally cannot be expressed in words. It can only be conveyed by experience, and no one can legislate what insight another person may draw from any given experience.
- The only real fault I would find with most of the heroes is that they are overworked. Partly this is their own doing; partly it's due to the shortage of heroes. (Heroism is in scary repute these days because some who stood charismatically tall have been shot down. I believe they asked for it, some of them. They came to rely too completely on audience and visibility, until the vainglory showed and drew a bullet. If you sell your soul to the crowd, by and by they'll collect.)
It seems to me that the best solution to dead heroes and over-worked heroes is not no heroes but more heroes. Spread the load. Spread the consciousness and responsibility. (And, as they told us infantrymen, don't bunch up all the time, you're too tempting a target.)
- Masks are arrested expressions and admirable echoes of feeling, at once faithful, discreet, and superlative. Living things in contact with the air must acquire a cuticle, and it is not urged against cuticles that they are not hearts; yet some philosophers seem to be angry with images for not beings things, and with words for not being feelings. Words and images are like shells, no less integral parts of nature than are the substances they cover, but better addressed to the eye and more open to observation. I would not say that substance exists for the sake of appearance, or faces for the sake of masks, or the passions for the sake of poetry and virtue. Nothing arises in nature for the sake of anything else; all these phases and products are involved equally in the round of existence...
- The exact responses, and the careful and often complex calculations of science, enforce an unusually meticulous style of speech. The syntactic scope of forms and the domain of substitutes have to be clearly indicated. This, with the elimination of personal factors, produces a general scientific style of utterance. The sentences may extend to great length and may invoke an immediate response only in hearers and readers who are favorably predisposed by training; on the other hand, the message, once grasped, is unmistakable. In pseudo-science the difficulties but not the advantages are imitated; the clinical symptoms are locutions which do not lead to handling response, appeals to personal or ethical connotation, and, above all, an obscurity which remains even under analysis by a trained recipient.
- It is worth reminding ourselves in this context that many eminent scientists in the nineteenth century thought that life depended on a "vital force" and without that force organisms would be dead matter. For such vitalists it was unthinkable that life could exist without a vital force. If such vitalists could be shown the discoveries of modern biochemistry, their reaction would probably be, "But how does that account for the vital force?" Likewise, some philosophers, if they could be confronted with a future neuroscience, might respond be asking, "But how does this account for consciousness?" The point is that certain philosophical problems are not solved. Rather, the categorical framework of thinking about the problems is so radically altered be science that the questions no longer make sense.
- As an individual plays with the tensions in his social life to satisfy his needs, he discovers that his higher, spiritual needs force him to become the roles he took on in passing. Such higher level needs are called by many names: self-actualization, self-determination, freedom, peace, and justice. Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote of such self-actualization needs: "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be." But to satisfy his ultimate needs, a person must do it with, through, and for others. He not only becomes his part; he becomes his people. Just as he finds himself frozen in his roles to hold the tensions of his individual self together, so he also submits to ideologies to keep his collective self in balance.
- Staying alive begins to look like a pathology of immoderation, like an excess of strawberry shortcake, and yet all pathologies of immoderation must be one side of the coin of survival. We must ask, for instance, why is it that human beings (and some other species as well) may make themselves sick by over-eating but not, in general, by drinking too much water or inhaling too much air? Some drives must be self-limiting in the individual under normal circumstances, because they are not limited by the environment (cows rarely graze themselves sick), while others may be unlimited in the individual precisely because the environment provides the limit. The instruction "Eat" is clearly more economical than "Eat until you reach satiety", because in the second, a mechanism must be provided for the recognition of satiety.
- In the architecture of my music I want to demonstrate to the world the architecture of a new and beautiful social commonwealth. The secret of my harmony? I alone know it: each instrument in counterpoint, and as many contrapuntal parts as there are instruments.
It is the enlightened self-discipline of the various parts, each voluntarily imposing on itself the limits of its individual freedom for the well-being of the community. That is my message. Not the autocracy of the single stubborn melody on the one hand, nor the anarchy of unchecked noise on the other. No, a delicate balance between the two; an enlightened freedom. The science of my art. The art of my science. The harmony of the stars in the heavens, the yearning for brotherhood in the heart of man. That is the secret of my music.
- ...organic life, in all its manifestations, from morphogenesis to symbolic thought, is governed by "rules of the game" which lend it coherence, order, and unity-in-variety; and that these rules (or functions in the mathematical sense), whether innate or acquired, are represented in coded form on various levels, from the chromosomes to the structure in the nervous system responsible for symbolic thought (language)... The rules are fixed, but there are endless variations to each game, their variability increasing in ascending order... There is also an overall-rule of the game which says that no rule is absolutely final; that under certain circumstances they may be altered and combined into a more sophisticated game, which provides a higher form of unity and yet increased variety; this is called the subject's creative potential.
- Further more, the very open-endedness of physics seems to be bringing to it a heuristic limitation, paradoxical as this assertion may seem. Insofar as I am able to judge, the frontier disciplines at the two open ends of physics, cosmology and high-energy physics, seem to be moving rapidly toward a state in which it is becoming progressively less clear what it actually is that one is ultimately trying to find out. What, actually, would it mean if one understood the origin of the universe? And what would it mean if one had finally found the most fundamental of the fundamental particles? Thus the pursuit of an open-ended science seems to embody a point of diminishing intellectual return. That point is reached with the realization that its goal turns out to be hidden in an endless, and ultimately tiresome succession of Chinese boxes.
- He seeks his own comfort -
and is rewarded with glimpses of satisfaction followed by a long period of emptiness and shame which sucks him dry.
He fights for his position -
all his talk about the necessary preconditions for doing something worthwhile prove an insecure barrier against self-disgust.
He devotes himself to his job -
but he is in doubt as to its importance and, therefore, constantly looking for recognition: perhaps he is slowly nearing the point where he will feel grateful when he is not criticized, but he is still a very long way from accepting criticism when he is.
You asked for burdens to carry - and howled when they were placed on your shoulders. Had you fancied another sort of burden?
- Unlike children, dandelions, and cockroaches, computers do exactly what they're told. This may sound like a good thing, especially to those who are about to use computers for the first time. But a bit of experience, with computers or even with children, is enough to demonstrate otherwise. Having a child do exactly what you say is not the same as having a child do what you want. Most of us have experienced impish children who respond to instructions by choosing the most literal interpretation. You tell them to jump into bed and they do, nearly breaking the springs. You ask them if they're happy or sad, and they say "yes." the first few times a child does this sort of thing, it's cute. Thereafter it's annoying and frustrating. With a computer it's almost the same thing, the difference being that it's not cute... even the first time.
- One of the most important developments going on in our time - perhaps the most important one - is that the age of the mechanical world view is now entering its decline. Many people now understand that something is up. We are in a curious position now, a kind of twilight zone. Dante said it of the last major metapolitical shift - the end of the Middle Ages - and it applies equally today: "In the middle of our journey through life, I awoke to find myself in a dark woods." It is clear that the old mode of discourse is starting to break down, and this leaves us, ostensibly, without any direction. It is also clear, at least to many, that if it is not starting to break down, we are doomed. Many of us are starting, if only privately, to realize that the price of the old paradigm, on a number of levels, is too high; we don't want to pay it.
- There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased... There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction: a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
- Change is bewilderingly rapid in our post-industrial era. We cannot always foresee what knowledge we will need in later years to meet life's challenges and problems. We can, however, develop attitudes and abilities that will help us to meet future situations creatively and inventively and to foresee as much of that future as possible. In this way, we can plan our actions rather than merely react to what happens. We can "shock the future" instead of suffering "future shock". These attitudes and abilities may serve as a sustaining philosophy of life. This philosophy calls for an active stance rather than passive acceptance. A futurist tries to sense, foresee, and then create a desired future, not merely waiting for the future to arrive but instead "dreaming" the future, and then actively pursuing that dream.
- O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A wild kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and may yet do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all - what is it? And where did it come from? And why?
- But knowledge is not enough. It never is. It could be used to enslave us as well as to liberate us. In truth, the considerable technical grasp of organization we now have has often been used in ways that are damaging to individual integrity. Knowledge will be a safe weapon only if it is linked to a deeply rooted conviction that organizations are made for people and not people for organizations.
The whole purpose of such knowledge is to design environments conducive to individual fulfillment. It is ridiculous that the institutions people have designed for their own benefit should work to their disadvantage. We can never eliminate the conflict between people and their institutions, nor would we wish to, but we can insist that one of the aims of any organization be the development of the individuals who make it up.
- Contrary to what others might think, I'd bet that we will achieve speech and consciousness in robots sooner than we'll solve some of the more machinelike tasks such as driving a car in Boston rush-hour traffic. I will also bet that we'll solve problems such as robot locomotion not by mathematical analysis and careful engineering of robots, but rather by shaping up a robot brain via much the same trial and error that children go through-the robot will first thrash around (as a fetus does in utero), then crawl, then stand, then run, and only later ride a bicycle successfully. Once we've trained such a robot (or it has trained itself by attempting to mimic what it observes in people), we will then clone the robot brain-not understanding what goes on in that copied brain to produce locomotion any more than two parents understand how they've produced a child that can walk.
- All around town you see beggar dogs, each the proprietor of a tennis ball lying on the ground in front of them. They are, however, well fed. Their eager eyes are soliciting humans: Please throw my ball! The old white dog by the volleyball court waits patiently by the edge of the court, watching the game with his tennis ball nearby. Periodically, one of the players will, without prompting, walk over and throw the dog's ball toward the softball field, as far away as possible, and the dog will happily chase it, returning to wait alongside the court again. It seems to be a local tradition.
If five minutes goes by without someone helping out the dog, he will carry his ball onto the court, wag his tail somewhat sheepishly, and generally disrupt the game until someone gets rid of him by throwing his ball. It is quite clear who has trained whom.
- A key to managing complexity in human activities is recognizing the role and the limitations of human short-term memory. Most people cannot deal competently with a great many things at the same time. Whether we're in our office or our kitchen, if there're too many things going on at once we get "frazzled"; we spend too much time keeping track of what's going on and not enough time dealing with it. The evidence for this "frazzle factor" is widespread: managers in traditional organizations rarely have more than five to ten people reporting directly to them. It's easy to remember seven-digit phone numbers and five-digit zip codes, but it's hard to remember twelve-digit credit card numbers. And even with phone numbers, it's harder to remember 2029361472 than 202-936-1472. Structure helps by partitioning possibilities into manageable chunks.
- For me, this was a story that resonated beyond the boundaries of the people involved. I think this is true for nonfiction in general. I believe that if you examine any human story closely enough, you reach essential truths about every person. The trick is to find stories that are both interesting from the outside - enough to keep you motivated to keep digging to the inner story that is universal - and have enough pathways for you to get to that inner story.
One reason so many good books - as well as bad ones - focus on murders is that they are intensified stories of the human drama suddenly thrown into the public domain. Formal investigations begin. Records are kept. People sharpen their memories about incidents that otherwise would be forgotten (though in some cases people repress memories). And people have to grapple with the dark side of human nature.
- Communication experts have estimated that a person receives ten thousand sensory impressions (exteroceptive and proprioceptive) per second. Obviously, then, a drastic selection process is necessary to prevent the higher brain centers from being swamped by irrelevant information. But the decision about what is essential and what is irrelevant apparently varies from individual to individual and seems to be determined by criteria which are largely outside individual awareness. In all probability, reality is what we make it or, in Hamlet's words, "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." We can only speculate that at the root of these punctuation conflicts there lies the firmly established and usually unquestioned conviction that there is only one reality, the world as I see it, and that any view that differs from mine must be due to the other's irrationality or ill will.
- I think of this book as a machine, in the sense that Le Corbusier described a house as a "dwelling machine." These lines of words and images are a mechanism, a crafted tool, to disconnect the user from all maps and models whatsoever. The machine doesn't care who you are or what you think. Plug it in and it does its job. The job here is to put you in the head space where a ouija board predicts the future; where you are living in a foreign country and it all begins to seem normal to you, so that a visitor from your home country suddenly looks alien and strange; where a new scientific theory begins to make sense; where a work of art that had seemed a hoax or a barbarism abruptly becomes beautiful and full of meaning; where you are first waking up and can't remember who you are or where you are...
The machine does its job. It doesn't care whether you like the trip or not.
- Legge made a fetish out of literalness, as if a certain air of foreign remoteness, rather than clarity, were the mark of fidelity. What Mencius said was this, in exactly twelve words in Chinese, that when two armies were lined up with spears and shields to attack a city, "the weather is less important than the terrain, and the terrain less important than the army morale." Or, more literally... "Sky-times not so good as ground-situation; ground-situation not so good as human harmony." To any Chinese child, "sky-times" simply means the weather and can mean nothing else; "ground-situation" means the terrain, and "human harmony" means the army morale. But, according to Legge, Mencius said: "Opportunities of time vouchsafed by Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation afforded by Earth, and advantages of situation afforded by Earth are not equal to the union arising from the accord of men."
- The primary perspectives, natural and social, available to members of a society such as ours, affect more than merely the participants in an activity; bystanders who merely look are deeply involved, too. It seems that we can hardly glance at anything without applying a primary framework, thereby forming conjectures as to what occurred before and expectations of what is likely to happen now. A readiness merely to glance at something and then shift attention to other things apparently is not produced solely by a lack of concern; glancing itself seems to be made possible by the quick confirmation that viewers can obtain, thus ensuring that anticipated perspectives apply. For surely we have as an important motivational relevance the discovery of the motivational relevance of the event for the other persons present. Mere perceiving, then, is a much more active penetration of the world than at first might be thought.
- Actually doing something, rather than just reading about it, has long been recognized by educators as a much better way to make something stick. Copying out a phrase, or speaking it aloud is a technique reinvented by many a student. When your learning strategies finally permit you to memorize something without moving your lips, to scan a page and effectively recall its contents, then you have tampered with one of your major mechanisms for separating illusion from reality: that actual movement is a prerequisite for memorizing. If you then regulate that recording mechanism poorly, you'll flirt with the extremes of believing the imagined and of being a slow learner. Learning to learn involves playing around at the boundary between illusion and reality, coming to cope with the middle ground - where you spin scenarios without necessarily letting them from your short-term into your long-term memory.
- There are two main sets of values served by science which, to oversimplify, can be characterized as spiritual and as practical. The former of these is intended to include all those overlapping ethical, artistic, humanistic, and intellectual ways in which science enriches life by revealing the nature of man and of the universe in which he is placed. The latter of the two is intended to cover that great array of ways in which man's physical health, comfort, and convenience are served by science and technology, including the ways in which science strengthens our economy and protects our freedoms. It must, of course, be recognized that the two sets of values are interconnected at many points. For example, a man cannot normally be philosophically content and artistically effective if he is ill, cold, or hungry. Because of interrelations, if for no other reason, it is not sensible to rate one of the two sets of values as more important than the other.
- It was at this time that I became aware of the complexity of one's make-up. When I acted in our stable-theatre I seemed to be two people: one making up dramatic lines and rendering them in fine action, and the other listening, approving or disapproving. I was actor and critic at the same time. I found that this was disturbingly true, whatever I did. When I talked with father or helped mother with household arrangements, I always heard and saw myself doing these things. I must be hopelessly insincere, I always thought. But the sense of guilt did not change me one bit. So vivid this inlooker self became, that I called it "the thing in the corner". Among my old papers I find a curious document, written in my fourteenth year and beginning: 'Tis seldom that one personality speaks to another. Even more rare is it that one's other personality speaks to another personality. Too seldom alas, for more often than not they speak another language.
- The vacuum is physicists' term for the lowest possible energy state, the zero level devoid of matter or energy. Everything that exists occupies energy levels above the vacuum, which is the rock bottom on which physics is based. Or perhaps not quite the rock bottom. Energy scales are relative. A state lower than the vacuum that we observe is conceivable, and the inflationary cosmology implies that such a state could exist for the universe.
If that is so, the universe as we see it is based on a false vacuum, and some appropriate nudge might send it crashing down to the true vacuum with a catastrophic rearrangement of physical structures and processes. Some physicists have feared that something in the laboratory, perhaps some very high-energy collisions of particles, could make a hole in the dike, so to speak, starting a process that would grow until everything in the cosmos was sucked into it and disastrously rearranged.
- The most simple-minded utopia that has yet been written still possesses notable human qualities that are entirely lacking in the plans of "scientific supermen" and moral imbeciles who have devised the current Russo-American military strategy of total extermination. Utopian idealists who have overestimated the power of the ideal are plainly much more fully in possession of their senses and more fully linked to human realities than the military "realists" who have turned the use of absolute weapons into a compulsive ideal. These under-dimensioned minds are ready to mutilate or annihilate the human race rather than to abandon the arbitrary and irrational premises upon which their corrupt - and now bankrupt - strategy has been based. The leaders of technology and military affairs who have most despised the function of ideals have actually yearned the expansion of their equipment for destruction and extermination into an ultimate ideal.
- When I open my eyes I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion, and I must despise the world that does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, the wine that inspires one to new generative processes, and I am the Bacchus who presses out the glorious wine for mankind and makes people spiritually drunken. When men are again become sober, they have drawn from the sea all that they brought with them, all that they can bring with them to dry land.
I have not a single friend; I must live alone. But well I know that God is nearer to me than to other artists; I associate with Him without fear; I have always recognized and understood Him and have no fear for my music - it can meet no evil fate.
Speak to Goethe about me. Tell him to hear my symphonies and he will say that I am right in saying that music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world.
- Naturally occurring atomic nuclei get as large as about atomic mass 250. By striking nuclei against each other, however, physicists can sometimes make them amalgamate for a fleeting moment into something like a supernucleus, with atomic weight around 500. One thing such a supernucleus has is an extremely strong electric field. And physicists were hoping that in this way they could make a field strong enough to produce positrons out of the vacuum - or, as some of them put it, to produce positrons by ionizing space-time itself.
Decades ago, as part of his prediction of the existence of anti-matter, the late P. A. M. Dirac postulated that the vacuum, which physicists [well, some physicists anyway] regard as the zero energy level devoid of all matter and energy, actually contains a sea of virtual electron-positron pairs, which can be pulled into actual existence by the proper forces.
- What matters after all is never how saved or whole one is, but the extent to which one restores to others, through presence and passion, a sense of possibility and independence. As for myself, what I prize among my comrades these days has nothing to do with enlightenment or heightened consciousness. It is instead a fierceness, an animal tenacity, a sense one sometimes gets from others of a complex, evolving person, of a rare and lusty insistence on a complex, honest and solitary privacy that protects life in the flesh against abstractions, ideals and even salvation itself. The most difficult task of all is to steer between exhaustion and illusion, between resignation and escape into dogma.
Those who try it will find a kind of grimness and weariness, a kind of loneliness. But if they are lucky, they will also get a glimpse here and there of light and depth, an occasional sense of freedom and potency, a few good comrades to hold in their thoughts and arms.
- Let us define a semantic environment as any human situation in which language plays a critical role. This means that the constituents of the environment are (1) people, (2) their purposes, and (3) the language they use to help them achieve their purposes. Because there are so many different human purposes, there are, of course, many different kinds of semantic environments. Science is a semantic environment. So is politics; commerce; war; love-making; praying; learning; reporting; law-making; etc. Each of these situations is a context in which people want to do something to, for, with or against other people, and in which the communication of meaning (language) plays a decisive role. A healthy semantic environment is one in which language effectively serves the purposes of the particular context in which it is used. The semantic environment is polluted when language obscures from people what they are doing and why they are doing it.
- Other Crowley exercises the author tried are not described here, because they are too dangerous for ordinary or casual experimenters. Crowley always insisted that nobody should try his more advanced techniques without (a) being in excellent health, (b) being competent in at least one athletic skill, (c) being able to conduct experiments accurately in at least one science, (d) having a general knowledge of several sciences, (e) being able to pass an examination in formal logic, (f) being able to pass an examination in the history of philosophy, including Idealism, Materialism, Rationalism, Spiritualism, Comparative Theology, etc. Without that kind of general knowledge and the self-confidence and independence of thought produced by such study, magick investigation will merely blow your mind. As Brad Steiger has said, the lunatic asylums are full of people who naively set out to study the occult before they had any real competence in dealing with the ordinary.
- The objective of training is to make good people better, better at particular functions and better as persons. There is little point in improving their functional performance if what might be termed their personal performance is not likewise improved; at the most elementary level, for example, acquiring greater skill in some activity can actually put a leader in a worse position, not a better, if he is unable to communicate it acceptably, that is if his skill in personal relationships is too small for the situation. Indeed, when we stop to think about it, most of the serious upheavals in organizations are failures in relationships, generated perhaps in divergent or even clashing attitudes, in a lack of imagination or of communication, in what are felt as personal affronts or willful disobedience. In fact, fewer real troubles arise from genuine ignorance of procedures or from inadequate ability to promote activities, yet we go on "training" leaders as if such were the real weaknesses.
- The success which can be confidently expected for the future study of the nervous system raises an issue of some philosophical importance for our later considerations. For once the nature of the interconnections of the human brain are sufficiently well understood, it will probably be possible to direct specific electrical inputs into the brain. These inputs can then be made to generate synthetically sensations, feelings and emotions which have no causal connection to any events in the real[?] world. That this possibility is by no means remote was shown by a recent experiment in which a rat was wired for electrical stimulation to the pleasure center until it collapsed from fatigue. We can thus anticipate the imminent realization of a further aspect of the Golden Age, thanks to what might be called electrophysiological eupsychics. Mortal men will soon live like gods without sorrow of heart and remote from grief, as long as their pleasure centers are properly wired.
- While it may properly be asserted that there is nothing so practical as a good theory, nothing so effective as good thinking, it is just as true that there is no need more urgent than for a back-and-forth movement between thought and activity - each testing and modifying the other, each cutting the other down to size maybe, each forcing the other to face basic questions. In so far as a person can do this for himself, within himself, he is training himself: someone else may help him to start the process or to set it on a new path, but no other person can do it for him. The leaders we need today, let alone tomorrow, are less men and women who have been "trained" than those who are still training, less those who have accumulated experience than those whose wisdom lies in an objective probing of themselves and of others. In such people, compassion can be united with common sense; questioning is constructive because it is disciplined; inspiration is locked on to its target by reflection.
- Dennis Gabor starts by positing what he calls the tri-lemma now facing mankind: nuclear war, overpopulation, and the Age of Leisure. If either of the first two catastrophes is realized, mankind will be equipped to deal with it. The survivors of the holocaust would scramble back up to regain what was lost, and the hardiest among them would rebuild civilization [maybe]. And the effects of over-population, life at the brink of starvation and confinement to narrow slave quarters, are only too familiar aspects from the past. But the third catastrophe, the advent of the Age of Leisure in which mechanization and automation will have rendered human labor largely superfluous, will find mankind's psyche unprepared, since leisure for all will be a complete novelty in human history. Boredom devolving from having no useful work to do might well lead mankind to a general nervous breakdown, similar to the psychic disturbances now not infrequent among the idle wives of the upper-middle class.
- These concepts are powerful, but they have lacked a framework with suitable building blocks. A Darwin Machine now provides a framework for thinking about thought, indeed one that may be a reasonable first approximation to the actual brain machinery underlying thought. An intracerebral Darwin Machine need not try out one sequence at a time against memory; it may be able to try out dozens, if not hundreds, simultaneously, shape up new generations in milliseconds, and thus initiate insightful actions without overt trial and error. This massively parallel selection among stochastic sequences is more analogous to the ways of Darwinian evolutionary biology than to the "von Neumann machine" serial computer. Which is why I call it a Darwin Machine instead; it shapes up thoughts in milliseconds rather than millennia, and uses innocuous remembered environments rather than the noxious real-life ones. It may well create the uniquely human aspect of our consciousness.
- How well I understand the mirror symbolism in Cocteau's Orphee. To break through the barrier which, when I encounter reality, prevents my encountering myself - to break through it, even at the price of having to enter the Kingdom of Death. Nevertheless - what do I long for more ardently than just this? When and how shall I find the occasion to do it? Or is it already too late?
Is my contact with others anything more than a contact with reflections? Who or what can give me the power to transform the mirror into a doorway?
Chance? Necessity? Am I not too "sensible and well- balanced", that is to say, to self-centered socially to surrender to anything less than a necessity? One which can be accounted for!
"At the frontier of the unheard - of..." Aware of the consummatio of the deep-sea dive - but afraid, by instinct, experience, education, for "certain reasons", of putting my head under water, ignorant, even, of how it is done.
- Of course, the narrowing process is not wholly avoidable. If the process of maturing were not selective and narrowing, one would have no coherence and no focus in one's life. Furthermore, everyone has settled habits that have no great justification except that they are comfortable. The scientist who will discard a pet theory on a moment's notice may fly into a rage if the housekeeper discards his pet pipe. And who knows whether the pet pipe (plus all the other comfortable continuities of his life) provides precisely that margin of security which permits him to lead the reckless life of innovation.
In short, even the self-renewing person has fixed habits and attitudes, but they are not of the sort that interfere with continuous renewal. If the scientist changed his pipe weekly but never his theories, he would be in serious difficulty. The moral is clear. If we must have some continuity in our lives - and we must - let it be of the sort that does not prevent renewal.
- The experimental device consists of an array of push buttons. The subject is told that certain of these buttons must be pushed in a certain order and that it is his task to discover this order in a number of trial runs. He is further told that correct performance will be signaled by a buzzer. However, in actual fact the push buttons are not connected to anything and the buzzer is rung quite independently of the subject's performance, and with increasing frequency, that is, relatively rarely at the beginning and more and more often toward the end of the experiment. Invariably, a person undergoing this experiment quickly forms what we have termed third-order premises, and is extraordinarily reluctant to abandon them even if afterward it is shown to him that his performance had no connection whatsoever with the ringing of the buzzer. In a certain way, then, this experimental device is a micromodel of the universe in which we have all developed our specific third-order premises, our ways of being-in-the-world.
- A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk. "Monk", he said, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience, 'teach me about heaven and hell!"
The monk looked up at this mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain, "Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dirty. You smell. Your blade is rusty. You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can't stand you."
The samurai was furious. He shook, got all red in the face, was speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword and raised it above him, preparing to slay the monk. "That's hell," said the monk softly.
The samurai was overwhelmed. The compassion and surrender of this little man who had offered his life to give this teaching to show him hell! He slowly put down his sword, filled with gratitude, and suddenly peaceful.
"And that's heaven," said the monk softly.
- Even if there is some kind of internal program that describes the mind as cognitive scientists hope, the deep theory of that program will have to be based on neuroscience just as chemistry is based on quantum theory. The complexity of this undertaking is immense and lies in the future. People who argue against the reductionist view point to the fact that we hold beliefs, that we have a mind and possess consciousness - categories of psychological life that for them are irreducible to biological functions. Yet I would say against such views that the terms "consciousness" and "mind" as we loosely use them probably do not refer to anything we can study scientifically. I believe that in the future, as the cognitive and neurosciences advance, such terms will be replaced by other more precise categories of thought describing our mental experience, categories that may also find their way into popular language. Until that time we will have to make do with these vague but important concepts. Our intellectual progeny will excuse us.
- So now the age-old struggle against nature to vanquish poverty is nearly over. It has been a hard fight, won thanks to mankind's indomitable spirit and the closing of the ranks between the knights of science and technology. But because of the ever-accelerating kinetics of progress, the state of economic plenitude arrived so suddenly that human nature has had no time to make the necessary adjustments. Gabor [physicist Dennis, not Zsa Zsa] recalls that Moses, after showing his people the Promised Land, led them around in the wilderness for forty years, so that a new generation could grow up that would be worthy of it. According to Gabor, "the instinctive wisdom of the social body" has found the twentieth century equivalent of the biblical wilderness, in which people can wander until the new generation is on the scene which is adapted to the Leisure Age. That wisdom is none other than "Parkinson's Law" which reduces the degree of leisure that our present technology could afford by creating enough unnecessary work and waste.
- For a given system, the environment is the set of all objects a change in whose attributes affect the system and also those objects whose attributes are changed by the behavior of the system.
The above statement invites the natural question of when an object belongs to a system and when it belongs to the environment; for if an object reacts with a system in the way described above should it not be considered a part of the system? The answer is by no means definite. In a sense, a system together with its environment makes up the universe of all things of interest in a given context. Subdivision of this universe into two sets, system and environment, can be done in many ways which are in fact quite arbitrary...
It is clear from the definition of system and environment that any given system can be further subdivided into subsystems. Objects belonging to one subsystem may well be considered as part of the environment of another subsystem.
- Consider education. We think we believe in it passionately, and perhaps we do. Yet we accept all kinds of shoddy education that is no more than going through the motions. We pretend that so many courses, so many credits, so many hours in a classroom, so many books read add up to an education. The same is true for research, on which we now spend billions of dollars annually. We seem immensely satisfied with the outer hush of the enterprise - the dollars spent, the size of the laboratories, the number of people involved, the fine projects outlined, the number of publications. Why do we grasp so desperately at externals? Perhaps partly because we are more superficial than we would like to admit. Perhaps partly because we are too lazy or too preoccupied to go to the heart of the problem. But also because it is easier to organize the external aspects of things. The mercurial spirit of great teaching and great scholarship cannot be organized, rationalized, delegated or processed. The formalities and externals can.
- The fact is that while Western man's intellectual tool box contains many devices for describing something of the gods and beasts he detects within himself, that same tool box has been found singularly wanting in devices for coping with them. Allocation of massive sums of money has not bought off man's demons; proliferating government agencies have not brought them to heel. This is so, according to Daniel Moynihan, because the liberal establishment has failed to state adequately the questions facing people today. These questions, he maintains, are not those of poverty, or hunger, or population control, or war and peace, or race; the questions are those of human values - of morality and ethics, of behavior, in brief, according to norms that are not within man's power alone to construct. Moynihan does not hesitate to say that the questions are radically religious in nature, and that our failure to regard them as such is nothing other than a body blow to the culture itself, a blow from which the culture may not recover.
- Life is not only good; but it has been glorious in the experience of millions. The glory of all human virtue clothes it. The splendors of devotedness, beneficience, and heroism are upon it; the crown of a thousand martyrdoms is upon its brow. The brightness of the soul shines through this visible and sometimes darkened life; through all its surrounding cares and labors. The humblest life may feel its connection with its Infinite Source. There is something mighty in the frail inner person; something of immortality in its momentary and transient being. The mind stretches away, on every side, to infinity. It's thoughts flash abroad, far into the boundless, the immeasurable, the infinite; far into the great, dark, teeming future; and become powers and influences in other ages. To know its wonderful Author, to bring down wisdom from the Eternal Stars, to bear upon its homage, gratitude, and love, to the Ruler of all worlds, to be immortal in our influences projected far into the slow-approaching future, makes life most worthy and most glorious.
- His talk was entitled, "The Role of Toys in the Modern World". He pointed out that in the previous ten years (i.e., roughly 1972-1982) in the United States, toys had become a six-billion-dollar industry; that seventy percent of them were purchased for children by parents at Christmas, suggesting that they served a form of bonding function for the family at a stressful time; but that their essential function was to induce separation and isolation, for most toys are designed to be played with by the child in a solitary situation ("Go play by yourself", we typically say to a youngster). ...a toy in this sense, something designed and manufactured by adults to enable or encourage children to be by themselves, is a very recent invention. Down to 1750, the historical pattern was group play. This phenomenon thus constitutes a real historical break, a break with tribal culture and custom. From 1750 on, the tendency has been to induce solitariness in children, which really amounts to teaching them to tolerate loneliness by means of diverting themselves with objects.?
- I have suggested that in addition to sustaining a story line in any stream of interaction, the individual is also capable of sustaining subordinate channels of activity, of which four were discussed. This implies that individuals possess a nice capacity to give no outward sign of attention and little, if any, inward concern to something that is, after all, within cognitive reach - and in the case of regulative cues, must be. The issue, I think, is not that the individual at any one moment will be merely simulating interest in the story line but that he establishes himself in the setting and manages himself so that at any juncture, should the need arise, he smoothly carries on his official involvement in the face of something distracting that has begun to occur, including the need to convey furtive signals through the concealment channel. This capacity to cope with a range of disruptions - anticipated and unanticipated - while giving them the minimal apparent attention is, of course, a basic feature of interaction competency, one seen to develop with "experience".
- It is customary to belittle the traveler who presumes to give his immediate, unripe impressions of a place he is visiting for the first time. Yet his first impressions may have a freshness and clarity that he will never recapture.
Despite the capacity of travel to bring about fresh perceptions, it would be a mistake to suppose that everyone who has stayed in the same place or continued the same style of life has necessarily gone to seed. Thoreau lived as constricted a life as one could imagine and yet found within himself and his immediate environment sources of renewal that have nourished succeeding generations. There is in anyone's normal environment enough depth and variety of human experience, enough complexity of human interaction to place endlessly new demands on the mind and spirit - provided that one has within oneself the gift for constantly searching one's small universe, as did Thoreau, with an undimmed eye and an unhackneyed mind. Unfortunately those are precisely the qualities that most of us fail to preserve as the years pass.
- Randomness has gotten a bad reputation largely through ignorance of its power: see Richard Dawkins's the Blind Watch-maker (Norton, 1986). My favorite examples of "purposeful randomness" concern movements. Randomizing directions is one way a bacterium in your gut finds food while swimming around: every so often, it does a wild, disorderly dance and then zooms off in whatever direction it is pointing at the end of the dance. By itself, this would be just a "random walk". But if the little E. coli is finding enough nutrients, it suppresses the dance and continues in the direction of more food - and so randomization plus selection yields "purposeful" behavior. It's just a faster version of Darwinian natural selection operating on the random mutations and permutations of the genes. A big improvement is to simulate the random-plus-selection act inside a brain, trying out some random possibilities, seeing what happens (at least as measured against memorized experience with such environments) and then acting on the best of them.
- Chimpanzees come the closest to human-level novel planning when they engage in little deceptions (a behavior rarely observed in monkeys). A chimpanzee who comes upon a bountiful food source - say a tree full of ripe fruit - usually utters a joyful "food cry" that quickly attracts the other chimpanzees of the band, who similarly exclaim in delight upon seeing the bounty. ut if the first chimpanzee sees that there are only a few fruit to be had, it may keep quiet, attempting to silently eat all the fruit before any other chimp wanders along.
Foresight-prompted deception occurs when the lone chimp, hearing the approach of other chimps and worried that it will be deprived of the rest of its feast, leaves the limited bounty, casually strolls over in a different direction, and issues a food cry in the midst of dense foliage - where there is no food! This decoys the other chimps away from the limited supply of fruit. While the others are excitedly looking around the false site, the first chimp circuitously returns to the true site and finishes off the feast.
- There's been a lot of loose talk going around lately about people's gray matter and considerable wringing of hands over our having tended to lean a mite too heavily on the logical left hemisphere of the brain. Now, it seems, the right idea is to use our entire brain, both the logical left and the intuitive right.
In my small way, I have done what I could to make pals with my right hemisphere - feeding and exercising it regularly, giving a sympathetic ear to its little complaints. Now I'm delighted to report that my attempt at establishing a meaningful relationship between it and myself has been so successful that these days I can hardly tell us apart.
This first bold move was merely the beginning of new insight. In no time at all I noticed myself viewing certain formerly puzzling phenomenon of civilization in an altogether new light. I realized I had been observing them in left-brain fashion: as isolated entities. I had even - and this is certainly very "left-brain" - been accepting the explanation of my own existence at face value.
- He who became the Master Therion was once confronted by this very difficulty. Being determined to instruct mankind, He sought a simple statement of his object. His will was sufficiently informed by common sense to decide him to teach man The Next Step, the thing which was immediately above him. He might have called this "God", or "The Higher Self", or "The Augoeides", or "Adi-Buddha", or 61 other things - but He had discovered that these were all one, yet that each one represented some theory of the Universe which would ultimately be shattered by criticism - for He had already passed through the realm of Reason, and knew that every statement contained an absurdity. He therefore said: "Let me declare this Work under this title: 'The obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel'", because the theory implied in these words is so patently absurd that only simpletons would waste much time in analyzing it. It would be accepted as a convention, and no one would incur the grave danger of building a philosophical system upon it.
- In a complex world like ours, to be able to view a political situation without distortion is hard, perhaps impossible. In that sense all human beings may be somewhat pathological. For at times all of us perceive the world through static snapshots and are too rigid to grasp the quick changes of the complex reality we are experiencing. We see the world through our up-bringing, through our culture, and through our nation. Our sight is colored and limited by our experience just as the language we speak is the skin of that experience. Disliking uncertainty and ambiguity, we sometimes grasp quickly for a simple explanation that will momentarily rescue us from our anxiety. Such thinking is particularly true of our anxiety about foreign people, languages, and cultures. They should speak our language, we think. There is a natural human tendency to over-simplify reality and reject ambiguity by reverting to stock responses we have learned from our national culture. Although our universal human needs may be the same as those of foreigners, our human nature has been nationalized.
- Residents are aware of many "vicinal" noises, extending from the usual clamor of birthday celebrations to the sound of the daily routine. Informants mention the wireless, the baby crying at night, coughing, shoes dropped at bedtime, children running up and down the stairs or on the bedroom floors, strumming at the piano, and laughing or loud talk. In the connubial bedroom, the intimations from the neighbor may be shocking: "You can even hear them use the pot; that's how bad it is. It's terrible"; or disturbing: "I heard them having a row in bed. One wanted to read, and the other wanted to go to sleep. It's embarrassing to hear noises in bed, so I turned my bed the other way around"... "I like to read in bed and I'm light of hearing, so it disturbs me to hear them talk"; or a little inhibiting: "You sometimes hear them say rather private things, as, for example, a man telling his wife that her feet are cold. It makes you feel that you must say private things in a whisper"; and, "It does make you feel a bit restrained, as if you ought to walk on tiptoe into our bedroom at night."
- Feedback has been accurately referred to as the secret of natural activity. Systems with feedback distinguish themselves not only by a quantitatively higher degree of complexity; they are also qualitatively from anything that falls into the domain of classical mechanics. Their study requires new conceptual frames; their logic and epistemology are discontinuous from some traditional tenets of scientific analysis, such as the "isolate one variable" approach or the Laplacean belief that the complete knowledge of all facts at a given point in time will enable one to predict all future states. Self-regulating systems - systems with feedback - require a philosophy of their own in which the concepts of pattern and information are as essential as those of matter and energy were at the beginning of this century. Research with these systems is, at least for the time being, greatly hampered by the fact that there exists no scientific language sophisticated enough to be the vehicle for their explanation, and it has been suggested that the systems themselves are their own simplest explanation.
- Moreover, the nation-state and systems approaches to world politics can easily stimulate a belief in man's powerlessness. National and global complexities are made to appear so overwhelming that one loses sight of what a single individual can do. Whether individuals use great power for good or evil purposes is another question. A humanistic theory does not guarantee humanistic results, although it does tend to pinpoint human responsibility for success or failure. Furthermore, the humanist perspective highlights the ways in which great political personalities have created effective strategies to mediate between their own needs and the needs and opportunities of societal, national, and international politics. We can learn from their examples without adopting them as models. Perhaps we will be able to create a more humanistic world politics by knowing enough about their mistakes to avoid them. Their blindness may sharpen our sight. And their examples of effective willpower may shake us out of our powerlessness long enough to go out and help the world, our nation, and ourselves.
- For about two days now, I have been trying to figure out what is the last thing on my mind. It's not an easy task because you have to think of all the first things on your mind, then the middle things on your mind, and then there's a lot of false hopes raised as you just think you've thought of it and then suddenly you're thinking something else. For a while it was "my big sister's toe", but then "ball peen hammer" occurred to me. I was about ready to write that down as the last thing on my mind when "foodelee-doodelee" struck me for some reason, and then in quick succession, "caraway seed", "twelve feet", and "dog pie". But then I realized how stupid I had been. The last thing on my mind was always, "The last thing on my mind". Every time I thought of something, I would check to see if it was "the last thing on my mind". So no matter what I thought of, it was always followed with, "the last thing on my mind". Therefore, according to the law of infinite regression which says it is illegal for anything to repeat infinitely, the last thing on my mind is "the last thing on my mind".
- Similarly, in planning what to say next, we plan ahead no more than about a half dozen words; while we're pronouncing those words, we make up the rest of the sentence, one reason that it is said that we usually don't know how a sentence is going to end when we start it. If each word of a seven-word sentence stands for something very simple, like a digit, then the sentence itself cannot say much. But if each word stands for a whole concept and its many connotations, then a unique seven-word sentence can encompass much:
"The dreams of reason bring forth monsters."
- Francisco Jose de Goya
"Lost in a gloom of uninspired research."
- William Wordsworth
"Science is the record of dead religions."
- Oscar Wilde
"We are products of editing, not authorship."
- George Wald
- Taken all together, the primary frameworks of a particular social group constitute a central element of its culture, especially insofar as understandings emerge concerning principal classes of schemata, the relations of these classes to one another, and the sum total of forces and agents that these interpretive designs acknowledge to be loose in the world. One must try to form an image of a group's framework of frameworks - its belief system, its "cosmology" - even though this is a domain that close students of contemporary social life have usually been happy to give over to others. And note that across a territory like the United States there is an incomplete sharing of these cognitive resources. Persons otherwise quite similar in their beliefs may yet differ in regard to a few assumptions, such as the existence of second sight, divine intervention, and the like. (Belief in God and in the sacredness of His local representatives seems to constitute currently one of the largest bases of dissensus in our society concerning ultimate forces. Tact ordinarily prevents social scientists from discussing the matter.)
- Oh, I admit that you have your case and have it by heart, and that many things do fit into other things as you say. I admit that your explanation explains a great deal; but what a great deal it leaves out! Are there no other stories in the world except yours; and are all men busy with your business? Suppose we grant the details; perhaps when the man in the street did not seem to see you it was only his cunning; perhaps when the policeman asked you your name it was only because he knew it already. But how much happier you would be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.
- How long will the process of transformation last? How long is the great transition? What is the timing of planetary birth? It is quick! "In the twinkling of an eye," wrote Paul, all shall be changed. The sufferings of the present will be forgotten in the glory which shall be revealed. The former things will pass away, and will scarcely be remembered; just as we cannot remember our life in the womb of our mother, so we will be unable to remember our life in the womb-phase of terrestrial life.
The transition will accelerate in the next generation - twenty to fifty years can reveal the outline of universal humanity, if we so choose. We have free will. The choice is ours. We cannot choose whether or not the world will transform. We can only choose whether the process will be graceful or disastrous.
All the problems accelerate exponentially in the next twenty years; over-population, pollution, depletion of non-renewable resources, arms escalation and self-centered conflict cannot continue in a closed system. They will be stopped, either willingly by choice or forcibly by natural catastrophe.
- Playfulness, then, is one form of make-believe. A second is fantasy or "daydreaming". Although children jointly act out spurts of free-form make-believe, the typical arrangement is a one-person production, often solitarily sustained. The individual imagines some strip of activity, all the while knowingly managing the development and outcome to his own liking or disliking. Daydreams involve reveries of an acutely cautionary or pleasant kind, whether cast in the past or the future. Interestingly, daydreams are not merely not shared in the act, but, unlike dreams, are not even seen to be subject matter for retelling later. These flights are characteristically short and not very well organized, although, of course, an individual may spend a great deal of time thus engaged. (Surely the total number of man-hours a population spends per day in privately pursued fantasy constitutes one of the least examined and most underestimated commitments of its resources.) Note, daydreaming presumably occurs in the mind, there being little outward behavioral accompaniment, overt signs of talking to oneself being the principal exception.
- Since we have had little notion of how the brain works until recently, it is not surprising that explanations have all been of the hand-waving variety, e.g., the notion that an immaterial soul controls a subservient brain, analogous to a driver (made of soft stuff) controlling a truck (made of hard stuff). Such passing-the-buck explanations merely put off the question without enlightening anyone. Passing the buck not only occurs with postulating that the most interesting properties of our brains are outside the brain, but makes a bizarre appearance when investigating the origins of life itself. Postulating that Earth was seeded with life (or at least DNA) only moves the interesting question to another location, inaccessible to inquiry. Like the soul, panspermia may exist but it tends to become a repository for the window-dressing we use to hide embarrassing ignorance. Yet such "passing-the-buck explanations" illustrate the dilemma: we explain things mostly in terms of analogies to devices and systems which we understand better, and the 17th century technology of Descartes' time didn't have much to offer in approximations to intelligent behavior.
- Our only close brush with the law came once when we were making our getaway, three of us in the front seat of the car, and the back seat loaded with stuff [stolen goods]. Suddenly we saw a police car round the corner, coming toward us, and it went on past us. They were just cruising. But then in the rear- view mirror, we saw them make a U-turn, and we knew they were going to flash us to stop. They had spotted us in passing, as Negroes, and they knew that Negroes had no businesss in the area at that hour.
It was a close situation. There was a lot of robbery going on; we weren't the only gang working, we knew, not by any means. But I knew that the white man was rare who will ever consider that a Negroe can outsmart him. Before their lights began flashing, I told Rudy to stop. I did what I'd done once before - got out and flagged them, walking toward them. When they stopped, I was at their car. I asked them, bumbling my words like a confused Negroe, if they could tell me how to get to a Roxbury address. They told me, and we, and they, went on about our respective businesses.
- Thus, in giving a talk or lecture, the speaker remarks on how pleased he is to be present and how unworthy he is of the introduction received; he provides a little joke to show that the role that is about to be assumed has not driven its taker into an overelevated view of himself; and then he briefly locates the material to be covered in a wider context and defines the style of presentation, giving an apologetic account for it. When effective, this routine succeeds in prospectively recasting all that is to come, adding to the whole an additional lamination, namely, the understanding that what is to be heard is merely one special measure of the talker, not an expression of all of which he is capable. (Indeed, some talks seem to function primarily as a means of display through which the speaker demonstrates what he can stand outside of, and through this provides a model for that particular kind of self-possession.) When the talk itself is ineffective - which is frequent - the audience finds that the speaker cannot be easily dissociated from the speech, and that his effort at framing the talk is something that lingers on inside the frame, disrupting the work it was meant to do.
- Nation-states, like all other social relationships, go through developmental phases of creation, maintenance, and decay. That is, organized social relationships, like nation-states, are created when people get together to satisfy common needs and to solve common problems. To the extent that those social relationships are successful in meeting the needs for which they were created they are maintained are become cultural routines and institutions. However, institutionalized relationships tend to become rigid and bureaucratic, cut off from the original needs they were created to serve. Decay sets in, old routines break down, and rebellions and revolutions result. Then another group of individuals gets together to solve human problems by creating new social relationships, renewing the old nation-state, or creating an entirely different one. All national leaders have their historical opportunities limited by the developmental phases of creation, maintenance, or decay in which they find their nation-states. Their individual power to satisfy their own needs and those of their people depends upon their ability to accurately perceive those limited opportunities and to make the most of them.
- LANSING, Mich. (AP) ___ A lonely 78 year-old man who thought he was being neglected on Father's Day may plead insanity to charges of fatally shooting two family members and wounding four others, his attorney said yesterday.
Melville Henwood is accused of arriving at his daughter's house around dinnertime Sunday, killing her and her husband and wounding his wife and three grandchildren...
The man apparently had been depressed because his invalid wife was staying with their daughter. Before the shooting, Henwood recorded a tape in which he spoke of his loneliness and mistaken belief that June 8 was Father's Day. [June 15 was Father's Day]
Funeral services were held yesterday for Henwood's 43 year-old daughter, Elizabeth Flory, and her husband, John Flory, 47. Two of the wounded grandchildren already have been released from hospitals. Edna Henwood, 78, and Gayle Scott, Mrs. Flory's 15 year-old daughter from a previous marriage, remained at Sparrow Hospital yesterday. Henwood was listed in critical condition, while Gayle's condition was serious.
- In formulating a separation of some kind between person and role, one should in no way precommit oneself to notions about the "essential" nature of each. There is a tendency to assume that although role is a "purely" social matter, the engine that projects it - the person or individual - is somehow more than social, more real, more biological, deeper, more genuine. This lamentable bias should not be allowed to spoil our thinking. The player and the capacity in which he plays should be seen initially as equally problematic and equally open to a possible social accounting.
Nor should images of biology and "animal substratum" confuse us here. Thus, the social role of mother is securely relevant to matters biological, as securely, it would seem, as the creatures of fashion who one year believe that their fundamental nature obliges them to become mothers and the next (and I think more warranted) that a political doctrine of destiny is serving to keep women in their subordinate place. Moreover, what is individual or person in one context is role or capacity in another. Just as one can speak of women who are or are not mothers, so one can speak of presidents who are or are not women.
- To begin personally, on a confessional note, I was at one time, at my onset, a single cell... I do not remember this, but I know that I began dividing. I have probably never worked so hard, and never again with such skill and certainty... At one stage I possessed an excellent kidney, good enough for any higher fish; then I thought better and destroyed it at once, installing in its place a neater pair for living on land. I didn't plan on this when it was going on, but my cells, with a better memory, did.
Thinking back. I count myself lucky that I was not in charge at the time. If it had been left to me to do the mapping of my cells I would have got it wrong, dropped something, forgotten where to assemble my neural crest, confused it. Or I might have been stopped in my tracks, panicked by the massive deaths, billions of my embryonic cells being killed off systematically to make room for their more senior successors, death on a scale so vast that I can't think of it without wincing. By the time I was born, more of me had died than had survived. It's no wonder I can't remember; during that time I went through brain after brain for nine months, finally contriving the one model that could be human, equipped for language.
- For there is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trap: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out. So to keep the farce going, the tubes find ways of making new tubes, which also put things in at one end and let them out at the other. At the input end they even develop ganglia of nerves called brains, with eyes and ears, so that they can more easily scrounge around for things to swallow. As and when they get enough to eat, they use up their surplus energy by wiggling in complicated patterns, making all sorts of noises by blowing air in and out of their input hole, and gathering together in groups to fight with other groups. In time, the tubes grow such an abundance of attached appliances that they are hardly recognizable as mere tubes, and they manage to do this in a staggering variety of forms. There is a vague rule not to eat tubes of your own form, but in general there is serious competition as to who is going to be the top type of tube. All this seems marvelously futile, and yet, when you begin to think about it, it begins to be more marvelous than futile. Indeed, it seems extremely odd.
- The evolution of human hands, with the greatly enhanced mobility and sensitivity of our fingers and the development of a fine coordination for tool making and tool use, has gone along with the evolution of a vastly improved position sense, both for our motor brain and our sensory brain. A consciousness of the position in external space, as well as knowledge of what part of our own body is being stimulated, is a very important element of our sensory processing. The ability to tell the difference between, say, a tetrahedron and a cube by "touch" alone does not seem remarkable to us. If we could feel only the sharpness of the angles, without tracing with our fingers the directions of the flat planes, the task would be more difficult. A little reflection will convince you that what goes on in the mind as you make your tactile exploration of the blocks is a reconstruction in "visual" space of the external shapes and that you are very little concerned with the particular areas of skin that are actually being stimulated. (In fact, the very words cube and tetrahedron betray the visual bias of our sensory brain. If we were really thinking in tactile terms, we might call them "eight blunt corners, six smooth faces" and "four sharp corners, four smooth faces," respectively.)
- To whom must propaganda appeal? To the scientific mind or the less educated masses.
The task of propaganda does not lie in a scientific education of the individual but in pointing out to the masses definite facts, processes, necessities, etc., the significance of which in this way is first to be brought within the masses' range of vision.
The art lies exclusively in therein, to do this in such an excellent way that a universal conviction arises of the reality of a fact, of the necessity of a process, of the correctness of something necessary, etc. Since it is not and cannot be necessary in itself, since its task, just as in the case of the placard, consists of bringing something before the attention of the crowd and not in the instruction of those who are scientifically trained or are seeking education and insight, its efficacy must always be oriented more to the emotions and only in a very restricted way to the so-called "intellect".
All propaganda has to appeal to the people and its intellectual level has to be set in accordance with the receptive capacities of the most limited persons among those to whom it intends to address itself. The larger the mass of men to be reached, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be set.
- The interpreter of a sign is an organism; the interpretant is the habit of the organism to respond, because of the sign vehicle, to absent objects which are relevant to a present problematic situation as if they were present. In virtue of semiosis an organism takes account of relevant properties of absent objects, or unobserved properties of objects which are present, and in this lies the general instrumental significance of ideas. Given the sign vehicle as an object of response, the organism expects a situation of such and such a kind and, on the basis of this expectation, can partially prepare itself in advance for what may develop. The response to things through the intermediacy of signs is thus biologically a continuation of the same process in which the distance senses have taken precedence over the contact senses in the control of conduct in higher animal forms; such animals through sight, hearing, and smell are already responding to distant parts of the environment through certain properties of objects functioning as signs for other properties. This process of taking account of a constantly more remote environment is simply continued in the complex process of semiosis made possible by language, the object taken account of no longer needing to be perceptually present.
- The concept of defense has always been somewhat naive in the sense that it has rested on an egocentric and ethnocentric view of the universe that takes the defended person or institution as given, known and valued and the outside enemy as also given but unknown and negatively valued and regards the problem of virtue as that of the preservation of a little island of defended goodness in the middle of the howling chaos of the hostile world. Unilateral national defense has created an enormous amount of human misery through history, but, up to the present century, it has been a workable system, in the sense that it has provided occasional protected heartlands of peace in which civilization and the arts could flourish even though surrounded by a periphery of war. Now it is no longer workable... unilateral national defense seems to me to be sheer lunacy; it can only persist as an ideology because of the smallness of men's imaginations and their refusal to let go of an outworn concept that has served them in good stead in the past. The abandonment of the ideology of unilateral national defense is particularly hard for Americans, who for 200 years have been served well by it, because of the accident of geography and history. Unless we abandon it, however, I believe we are doomed.
- So once again one is faced with the recursive character of framing. The resources we use in a particular scene necessarily have some continuity, an existence before the scene occurs and an existence that continues on after the scene is over. But just as this is part of reality, so conceptions that this is so become part of reality, too, and thus have an additional effect. There is no "objective" reason why a flag or any other piece of ritual equipment should not be treated as sacred while it is functioning within a ceremony but be treated in an everyday way while being manufactured or, after being in use, while in storage awaiting the next ceremonial occasion. And that, by and large, is what occurs. But close examination will disclose that although flags and the like are treated in a relatively matter-of-fact way when not in ritual use, some small circumspection will continue to be displayed. And this continuity of character is not forced upon us by the continuity of material things but by our conceptions about the continuity of spiritual ones. Sacred relics, mementos, souvenirs, and locks of hair do sustain a physical continuity with what it is they commemorate; but it is our cultural beliefs about resource continuity which give to these relics some sentimental value, give them their personality. Just as it is these beliefs that give us ours.
- Perhaps the most interesting experimental evidence of global [brain] activities comes from a study of those electrical waves obtained by computer averaging of the electro-encaphalo-graphic potentials taken from the scalp electrodes on normal human subjects. One class of these waves, called "cognitive evoked potentials," is seen only when the subject is presented with a stimulus in which he or she recognizes some specific cognitive feature. For example, a group of short sentences is flashed on a screen, one by one, with some containing an unexpected or incorrect construction. There is often a specific electrical response to these "semantic incongruities". In another example a subject is shown randomly flashing red or green lights. When the subject is told that she will win money every time the red shows, and lose on the green, a particular waveform appears after each stimulus. The waveforms are recognizable, one for "win", and another for "lose". Their shapes do not depend on whether winning is on the red or the green and thus are determined by the "meaning" of the stimulus and not its particular color. These experiments demonstrate direct electrophysiological evidence that extensive populations of neurons spread all over the cortex participate in the cognitive interpretation of sensory stimuli.
- But there would seem to exist an intellectual limit to physics which is most unlikely to be transcended by any future recourse to auxiliary logical hardware provided by computers. This limit devolves from the circumstance that the fundamental, and I suppose innate, human epistemological concepts, such as reality and causality, arise from the dialectic between the facts of life of our infantile environment and the genetically determined wiring diagram of the brain. Evolution selected this brain (and the bent for ontogenetic development of its innate epistemology) for the capacity to deal "successfully" with superficial, everyday phenomena, but it was not selected for handling such deeper problems as the nature of matter or of cosmos. Or, stating this in a different way, our innate concepts represent an axiomatic system, which, according to Godel's theorem, contains open-ended propositions. When we encounter such propositions and try to deal with them by tampering with our innate axioms, we pay for the gain in logical coherence with a loss of psychic meaning. For instance, through the replacement of deterministic by probabilistic causality in the [a] consideration of subatomic phenomena has made possible their successful theoretical formulation, the results achieved seem to do violence to [one form of] common sense.
- When audience segregation fails and an outsider happens upon a performance that was not meant for him, difficult problems in impression management arise. Two accommodative techniques for dealing with these problems may be mentioned. First, all those already in the audience may be suddenly accorded, and accept, temporary backstage status and collusively join the performer in abruptly shifting to an act that is a fitting one for the intruder to observe. Thus a husband and wife in the midst of their daily bickering, when suddenly faced with a guest of brief acquaintance, will put aside their intimate quarrels and play out between themselves that is almost as distant and friendly as the one played out for the sudden arrival. Relationships, as well as types of conversation, which cannot be shared among the three will be laid aside. In general, then, if the newcomer is to be treated in the manner to which he has been accustomed, the performer must switch rapidly from the performance he was giving to one that the newcomer will feel is proper. Rarely can this be done smoothly enough to preserve the newcomer's illusion that the show suddenly put on is the performer's natural show. And even if this is managed, the audience already present is likely to feel that what they had been taking for the performer's essential self was not so essential.
- ...the issue is that an individual may not merely be in error - as when he adds a column of figures wrongly - but that certain of these errors prove to be a matter of "misframing", and consequently involve him in systematically sustained, generative error, the breeding of wrongly oriented behavior. For if we can perceive a fact by virtue of a framework within which it is formulated, if "To experience an object amounts to being confronted with a certain order of existence," then the misperception of a fact can involve the importation of a perspective that is itself radically inapplicable, which will itself establish a set, a whole grammar of expectations, that will not work. The actor will then find himself using not the wrong word but the wrong language. And in fact, this metaphor is also an actual example. If, as Wittgenstein suggested, "To understand a sentence is to understand a language," then it would seem that speaking a sentence presupposes a whole language and tacitly seeks to import its use. A person who is bilingual in English and German and in the company of others who are similarly competent can hear a sound he takes for "nine" and believe he is involved in talk utilizing English and its numbers, when in actuality a negation has occurred, namely, nein, and German is being spoken - a question of hearing the right sound but responding in the wrong frame.
- Birth and death, love and pain - the reality behind the dance under the daylight lamps of social responsibility.
The philosophers of science are right when they insist on rigor in scientific method; indeed scientists themselves insist on it. But this misses the main reason for the success of science. The success of scientific inquiry does not depend on scientists' rigorously adhering to some set of rules laid down by philosophers, scientists, or anyone else. Scientific inquiry is successful because it is, like the evolutionary process, a powerfully selective system. Scientific theories, by design, are always vulnerable to destruction just like a species, subjected to environmental pressure, is subject to extinction. Because of that vulnerability, scientific truth has the strength that comes of survival in a challenging environment. The skills of the scientist (adherence to rigor being one of them) are practiced in the arena of intense criticism and experimental test - they are vulnerable to challenge and challenged they are. Even when scientific theories fail to survive, as most eventually do, their evolutionary progeny carry the best "genes" - the ideas that still work - of the previous theory intact. Ironically, it is the willingness to risk everything, even existence itself, that is the guarantor of survival. Welcome to the world of scientific method - red in tooth and claw!
- Very often an emergency is not obviously an emergency. Is the man lying in the alley a heart-attack victim or a drunk sleeping one off? Are the short sounds from the street gunshots or truck backfires? Is the commotion next store an assault requiring the police or an especially loud marital spat where intervention would be inappropriate and unwelcome? What is going on? In times of such uncertainty, the natural tendency is to look around at the actions of others for clues. We can learn, from the way other witnesses are reacting, whether the event is or is not an emergency.
What is easy to forget, though, is that everybody else observing the event is likely to be looking for social evidence, too. And because we all prefer to appear poised and unflustered among others, we are likely to search for that evidence placidly, with brief, camouflaged glances at those around us. Therefore everyone is likely to see everyone else looking unruffled and failing to act. As a result, and by the principle of social proof, the event will be roundly interpreted as a non-emergency. This, according to Latan and Darley, is the state of pluralistic ignorance in which each person decides that since nobody is concerned, nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the danger may be mounting to the point where a single individual, uninfluenced by the seeming calm of others, would act.
- In courts of law, the phrase "I believe" has no standing. Never a witness gives testimony but that he is cautioned thus, "Tell us what you know, not what you believe."
In theology, belief has always been regarded as more important than that which our senses say is so. Almost without exception, "belief" is a legacy, an importation - something borrowed, an echo, and often an echo of an echo.
The creed of the future will begin, "I know", not "I believe". And this creed will not be forced upon the people.
It will carry with it no coercion, no blackmail, no promise of an eternal life of idleness and ease if you accept it, and no threat of hell if you don't.
As a suggestion and first rough draft, we submit this -
That I am here
In a world where nothing is permanent but change
And that in degree, I myself, can change the form of things
And influence a few people;
And that I am influenced by the example and by the work of men [people] who are no longer alive.
And that the work I do will in degree influence people who may live after my life has changed into other forms...
- Listening... When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk or do - just hear me. Advise is cheap. 25¢ will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper. And I can do for myself. I am not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy. But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.
And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when you know what's behind them. Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people - because God is mute and doesn't give advice or try to fix things.
So please listen and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn and I'll listen to you.
- The individual comes to doings as someone of particular biographical identity even while he appears in the trappings of a particular social role. The manner in which the role is performed will allow for some "expression" of personal identity, of matters that can be attributed to something that is more embracing and enduring than the current role performance and even the role itself, something, in short, that is characteristic not of the role but of the person - his personality, his perduring moral character, his animal nature, and so forth. However, this license of departure from prescribed role is itself something that varies quite remarkably, depending on the "formality" of the occasion, the laminations that are being sustained, and the dissociation currently fashionable between the figure that is projected and the human engine that animates it. There is a relation between persons and role. But the relationship answers to the interactive system - to the frame - in which the role is performed and the self of the performer is glimpsed. Self, then, is not an entity half-concealed behind events, but a changeable formula for managing oneself during them. Just as the current situation prescribes the official guise behind which we will conceal ourselves, so it provides for where and how we will show through, the culture itself prescribing what sort of entity we must believe ourselves to be in order to have something to show through in this manner.
- To most people, Huxley's prophesy is still improbably distant. I hope to persuade the reader that, on the contrary, there is already one mechanistic analogy for consciousness. It isn't yet implemented in computer hardware, and it may well prove to be insufficient, but it shows that human consciousness has proved capable of thinking about its own roots in the brain, about how it differs from the sensibility of other animals, and about how it came to be that way.
And I don't mean consciousness in any superficial sense; important as it is, I'm not simply talking about the brain-stem region that controls sleep and wakefulness, nor am I only talking about cognition, how we become aware of something. I really do mean CONSCIOUSNESS in the sense of the metaphorical 'little person inside the head', the conductor of our cerebral symphony, who contemplates the past and forecasts the future, makes decisions about relative worth, plans what to do tomorrow, feels dismay when seeing a tragedy unfold, and narrates our life story. And I mean MACHINE too - not specific machines such as are currently on the drawing boards, but a class of computing device that I call Darwin Machine, so named because one of this new type works like a greatly speeded-up version of biological evolution (or of our immune system) rather than like the familiar programmed computer. The Darwin Machine can evolve an idea...
- The difficulty inherent in trying to understand life in physical terms is, according to Bohr, "that the conditions holding for biological and physical researches are not directly comparable since the necessity of keeping the object of investigation alive imposes a restriction on the former, which finds no counterpart in the latter. Thus we should doubtless kill an animal if we tried to carry the investigation of its organs so far that we could describe the role played by single atoms in vital functions." Thus there seems to exist for the living animal an "uncertainty principle" formally analogous to that of the electron, in that "there must remain an uncertainty as regards the physical condition to which the organism is subjected, and the idea suggests itself that the minimal freedom we must allow the organism in this respect is just large enough to hide its ultimate secrets from us. On this view, the existence of life must be considered as an elementary fact that cannot be explained, but must be taken as a starting point in biology, in a similar way as the quantum of action, which appears as an irrational element from the point of view of classical mechanical physics, taken together with the existence of the elementary particles, forms the foundation of atomic physics. The asserted impossibility of a physical or chemical explanation of the function peculiar to life would in this sense be analogous to the insufficiency of the mechanical analysis for the understanding of the stability of atoms.
- The ancient Greeks carried on mathematical demonstrations largely in ordinary language; it was the development, in the early modern period, of arithmetic and algebra, with its box-within-box markings of scope, that divorced scientific calculation from not only ordinary language but, to all practical purposes, from vocal utterance. People learned to calculate rapidly and accurately by visual reception and graphic manipulation of a small stock of characters in simple arrangements. Thus there arose the plan of conducting, or at least outlining and testing, scientific discourse by means of simple and rigidly manipulated graphic systems.
Without an entirely sharp boundary, we have, then, linguistically, two types of scientific discourse which we will here distinguish by the names informal and formal. (We are here using the term 'formal' in its everyday sense and not with the technical meaning which it has in logic.) Informal scientific discourse uses ordinary language with the addition of technical words and turns of phrase and with syntactic and stylistic restrictions in favor of uniform response. It is generally capable of reception by a qualified listener. Formal scientific discourse uses a rigidly limited vocabulary and syntax and moves from sentence to sentence only within the range of conventional rules. In general, it can be carried on only in writing, mainly because no vocal equivalents have been devised or practiced for the elaborate markings of scope.
- The phrase "organize for freedom" has a paradoxical sound today when to many intellectuals the very idea of organization seems hostile to individual freedom. But in fact we have been organizing for freedom for a very long time. Our legal and constitutional system is, after all, an aspect of social organization designed to protect the individual from mistreatment by others, including the social organization itself. It is useful to remind ourselves that very few of our freedoms would exist without effort on people's part. The person in the street thinks of freedom as the natural state, and the lack of freedom as the unnatural, artificial, contrived state of affairs. He imagines that freedom, like sunshine or fresh air, is always there to be had if someone isn't forcibly preventing him from enjoying it. But freedom as we now know it has been exceedingly rare in the history of mankind. It is a highly perishable product of civilization, wholly dependent on certain habits of mind widely shared, on certain institutional arrangements widely agreed upon. This is worth saying because some moderns are so enamored of the idea of individuality that they would not think of speaking out on behalf of society. They imagine that the only effect a society can have on the individual is a destructive one. But it is by means of a free society that people keep themselves free. If people wish to remain free, they had better look to the health, the vigor, the vitality of the free society - and to its capacity for renewal.
- Communication between the brain and the immune system appears to be more complex than many scientists have assumed. For example, in initial studies, researchers found that some immune responses of bereaved men and severely depressed patients are weaker than those of healthy controls. But the same researchers now report that immune measures are far more likely to decline in depressed individuals who are middle-aged or older.
Researchers used two substances to stimulate lymphocyte reproduction among 88 severely depressed patients and 88 healthy controls. Subjects ranged in age from 18 to 80. Depressed patients in their mid-40s and older had a smaller proliferation of lymphocytes than their age-matched controls, while younger patients had the same or, in a few cases, greater lymphocyte responses than controls. In addition, the number of T-helper cells and natural killer cells, two components of the immune system, were markedly lower only among older depressed patients. The most severe cases of depression were associated with lower immune measures at all ages.
"We don't know what's going on in the immune systems of depressed people in relation to age," says Schleifer. For instance, he explains, depression that begins during adolescence may alter immune function differently than depression that begins during middle age. "There's no simple relationship between immunity and depression," adds Schleifer.
- Now training a Darwin Machine is quite another matter. Were a Darwin Machine used as a personal auxiliary brain (as I described in the River That Flows Uphill on Day 13) that did some "pre-thinking" for you about the facts you'd stored there, it would gradually acquire some of the judgment ability of the person who trained it. You might even be able to let it run the shop for a week while you went on vacation.
After its human trainer died, the auxiliary might live on, a repository of many of the facts, and ways of thinking about them, that were in the departed brain. It could continue thinking about them, armed with new facts from other sources. The auxiliary might more readily acquire humanlike ways of looking at things, including ethics (or sociopathic behavior, if trained by a sociopath), than conventional robots. And it would be nice to have Einstein's auxiliary around to ask questions of-the next best to the real thing. We might be able to clone it (assuming that it will be easier to go from silicon to silicon than from organic molecules to silicon). Some versions will likely be fixed to learn nothing new after the trainer's death )so as to continue to approximate Einstein's 1955 working habits and knowledge base) and others allowed to keep up with developments. If an auxiliary were good enough at freewheeling without human guidance, it might discover new research strategies that are beyond the abilities of human brains.
- But the problem of man and technics is almost always stated in the wrong way. It is said that humanity has evolved one-sidedly, growing in technical power without any comparable growth in moral integrity, or, as some would prefer to say, without comparable progress in education and rational thinking. Yet the problem is more basic. The root of the matter is the way in which we feel and conceive ourselves as human beings, our sensation of being alive, of individual existence and identity. We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of out own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that "I myself" is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body - a center which "confronts" an "external" world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. "I came into this world." "You must face reality." "The conquest of nature."
This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves", the universe "peoples". Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.
- Century-old bugs resist modern drugs Canadian scientists say they have grown 142-year-old bacteria taken from the frozen bodies of two Arctic explorers who were part of Sir John Franklin's doomed search for a Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific (1845-48). The bacteria showed a surprising resistance to modern antibiotics - a finding that may force scientists to revise current thinking about the mechanisms of resistance.
The knowledge may help researchers develop better antibiotics. "We're running out of weapons," notes Kinga Kowalewska-Grochowska, a microbiologist at the University of Alberta Hospitals in Edmonton, who reported the bacterial findings in October 1988 at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Los Angeles. According to current theory, antibiotic overuse creates drug-resistant bacteria; the new research suggests resistance may be caused by more than one factor.
The Canadians traveled to Beechey Island in the Northwest Territory and removed tissue specimens from two crew members. Both bodies were well preserved, having been frozen since the explorers died in 1846. The tissue samples were kept frozen for transport and then cultured in the laboratory. The researchers grew six strains of a common intestinal bacterium; subjecting it to the antibiotics clindamycin and cefoxitin. The bacteria showed resistance to these drugs, and unexpected finding since the two men died before the development of antibiotics.
- Another discrepant role is one that is often called the go-between or mediator. The go-between learns the secrets of each side and gives each side the true impression that he will keep its secrets; but he tends to give each side the false impression that he is more loyal to it than to the other. Sometimes, as in the case of the arbitrator in some labor disputes, the go-between may function as a means by which two obligatorily hostile teams can come to a mutually profitable agreement. Sometimes, as in the case of the theatrical agent, the go-between may function as a means by which each side is given a slanted version of the other that is calculated to make a closer relationship between the two sides possible. Sometimes, as in the case of the marriage broker, the go-between may serve as a means of conveying tentative overtures from one side to the other which, if openly presented, might lead to an embarrassing acceptance or rejection.
When a go-between operates in the actual presence of two teams of which he is a member, we obtain a wonderful display, not unlike a man desperately trying to play tennis with himself. Again we are forced to see that the individual is not the natural unit for our consideration but rather the team and its members. As an individual, the go-between's activity is bizarre, untenable, and undignified, vacillating as it does from one set of appearances and loyalties to another. As a constituent part of two teams, the go-between's vacillation is quite understandable. The go-between can be thought of simply as a double-shill.
- Science stands today on something of a divide. For two centuries it has been exploring systems that are either intrinsically simple or that are capable of being analyzed into simple components. The fact that such a dogma as "vary the factors one at a time" could be accepted for a century, shows that scientists were largely concerned in investigating such systems as allowed this method; for this method is often fundamentally impossible in the complex systems. Not until Sir Ronald Fisher's work in the '20's, with experiments conducted on agricultural soils, did it become clearly recognized that there are complex systems that just do not allow the varying of only one factor at a time - they are so dynamic and interconnected that the alteration of one factor immediately acts as cause to evoke alterations in others, perhaps in a great many others. Until recently, science tended to evade the study of such systems, focusing its attention on those that were simple and, especially, reducible.
In the study of some systems, however, the complexity could not be wholly evaded. The cerebral cortex of the free-living organism, the ant-hill as a functioning society, and the human economic system were outstanding both in their practical importance and in their intractability by the other methods. So today we see psychosis untreated, societies declining, and economic systems faltering, the scientists being able to do little more than to appreciate the full complexity of the subject he is studying. But science today is also taking the first steps toward studying "complexity" as a subject in its own right.
- We are aware of a train of thought - silent speech, as it were, talking to ourselves on familiar terms or maybe just imagining movements before carrying one out. I suggest that this conscious sense usually corresponds to the best of the trains shaped up by that ensemble of planning tracks, the one that was let out onto the main line but not necessarily all the way to the muscles (it may also be the most common string among the population of serial buffers). The other candidates are the immediately subconscious - and there is surely a lot of activity going on there, because they are shuffling and mutating, trying new schemas for both sensory templates and movement programs, creating new sequences. And a lot of nonsense most of the time, but occasionally a winner. But how are the potential scenarios evaluated?
Consider a case when they aren't evaluated, at least not very well: the candidate strings that we call dreams. You see an occasional alternative sequence when the story line takes a sudden turn, hinging on some feature common to both old and new story line. But then you may come back to the old story line, though not always at the same point in the story, as if it had progressed some while you were paying attention to the new episode - rather as if one had switched from one TV soap opera to another, and then back 10 minutes later. Awake, the reality filter censors the nonsense much more and also keeps one from jumping around as much between scenarios - but in sleep, and occasionally daydreaming, you can see several unrealistic story lines simultaneously meandering via all the "channel-changing".
- The last thing that can be said of a lunatic is that his actions are causeless. If any human acts can loosely be called causeless, they are the minor acts of a healthy man; whistling as he walks; slashing the grass with a stick; kicking his heels or rubbing his hands. It is the happy man that does the useless things; the sick man is not strong enough to be idle. It is exactly such careless and causeless actions that the madman could never understand; for the madman (like the determinist) generally sees too much cause in everything. The madman would read a conspiratorial significance into those empty activities. He would think that the lopping of the grass was an attack on private property. He would think that the kicking of the heels was a signal to an accomplice. If the madman would for an instant become careless, he would become sane. Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgement. He is not hampered by a sense of humor or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
- It is not strange that, thousands of years ago, men worshipped the Sun, and that today that worship continues among the Parsees. Originally they looked beyond the orb to the invisible God, of whom the Sun's light, seemingly identical with generation and life, was the manifestation and outflowing. Long before the Chald¾an shepherds watched it on their plains, it came up regularly, as it now does, in the morning, like a god, and again sank, like a king retiring, in the west, to return again in due time in the same array and majesty. We worship Immutability. It was that steadfast, immutable character of the Sun that the men of Baalbec worshipped. His light-giving and life-giving powers were secondary attributes. The one grand idea that compelled worship was the characteristic of God which they saw reflected in his light, and fancied they saw in its originality the changelessness of Diety. He had seen thrones crumble, earthquakes shake the world and hurl down mountains. Beyond Olympus, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, he had gone daily to his abode, and had come daily again in the morning to behold the temples they built to his worship. They personified him as BRAHMA, AMUN, OSIRIS, BEL, ADONIS, MALKARTH, MITHRAS, and APOLLO; and the nations that did so grew old and died. Moss grew on the capitals of the great columns of his temples, and he shone on the moss. Grain by grain the dust of his temples crumbled and fell, and was borne off on the wind, and still he shone on crumbling column and architrave. The roof fell crashing on the pavement, and he shone in on the Holy of Holies with unchanging rays. It was not strange that men worshipped the Sun.
- When linguists became able to examine critically and scientifically a large number of languages of widely different patterns, their base of reference was expanded; they experienced an interruption of phenomena hitherto held universal, and a whole new order of significance came into their ken. It was found that the background linguistic system (in other words, the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas, the program and guide for the individual's mental activity, for his analysis of impressions, for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade. Formulation of ideas is not an independent process, strictly rational in the old sense, but is part of a particular grammar and differs, from slightly to greatly, as between different grammars. We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds - and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut up nature, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way - an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, but its terms are absolutely obligatory; we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data which the agreement decrees.
- The brain is a storehouse of uncountable volumes of data, yet only a narrow portion of that data is drawn upon in formulating new ideas to solve any given problem. This untapped capacity can be drawn upon if one learns how to usefully connect apparently irrelevant data to problems. This involves overcoming a pronounced tendency - conditioned into most of us from early childhood - to censor many of our own ideas. Much of our education is little more than an elaborate game of "guess what's in the teacher's head" - a useful approach in many ways that unfortunately can become a lifelong hindrance to our creativity. We have been taught to censor ourselves continually, so that we don't say the "wrong" thing and make fools of ourselves.
This training reinforces very logical, straight-line problem-solving in which we follow a familiar process. We think of similar situations we have faced in the past and the solutions that we devised then. We feel confident that we will come up with the "right" solution because we are on comfortable and familiar ground. We perceive a logical, clear connection between the problem and the solution.
However, in an environment increasingly skewed toward experimentation, where information proliferates at a dizzying pace, will "tried and true" solutions be enough?
Probably not. But despite conditioning against use of the approximately relevant in problem solving, this key innovative skill can be learned. Innovation skills will increasingly be sought and implemented as more and more completely new challenges appear - because it will be practical to do so.
- A young man, adamant in his committed life. The one who was nearest to him relates how, on the last evening, he arose from supper, laid aside his garments, and washed the feet of his friends and disciples - an adamant young man, alone as he confronted his final destiny. He had observed their mean little plan for his - his! - friendship. He knew that not one of them had the slightest conception why he had to act in the way that he must. He knew how frightened and shaken they would all be. And one of them had informed on him, and would probably soon give a signal to the police.
He had assented to a possibility in his being, of which he had had his first inkling when he returned from the desert. If God required anything of him, he would not fail. Only recently, he thought, had he begun to see more clearly, and to realize that the road of possibility might lead to the Cross. He knew, though, that he had to follow it, still uncertain as to whether he was indeed "the one who shall bring it to pass," but certain that the answer could only be learned by following the road to the end. The end might be a death without significance - as well as being the end of the road of possibility.
Is the hero of this immortal, brutally simple drama in truth "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world"? Absolutely faithful to a divined possibility - in that sense the Son of God, in that sense the sacrificial Lamb, in that sense the Redeemer. A young man, adamant in his commitment, who walks the road of possibility to the end without self-pity or demand for sympathy, fulfilling the destiny he has chosen - even sacrificing affection and fellowship when the others are unready to follow him - into a new fellowship.
- The IBM researchers are not alone in their pursuit to "manhandle" minute objects formerly off-limits even to remote-controlled probing. Ian W. Hunter of McGill University in Montreal, working with colleagues from MIT and the University of Aukland in New Zealand, reports using a tele-microrobot system to grip and manipulate individual muscle cells while viewing the microscopic operation with a three-dimensional vision system. As with Hollis' system, an operator may literally get the feel of an object.
And at the February meeting in Napa, mechanical engineers Yotara Hatamura and Hiroshi Morishita of the University of Tokyo described a prototype "nano-manipulator" for ultraprecise manufacturing tasks of the future. Although they say the ideal nanomanufacturing environment would enable a human tele-operator to experience even the sounds and smells of the ultra-Lilliputian operations, the Japanese researchers have set their sights for now on a "nanorobot system", which would enable workers to see and fell what the nanorobot is doing on submicron scales. So far they have built and used a prototype robot to make millionth-of-a-meter scratches in aluminum with a fine tungsten needle, A stereoscopic scanning electron microscope helps the operator watch the actual process. A strain sensor monitors the tiny forces between the aluminum and the needle and provides feedback so the operator can better control the depth of the scratch. Hatamura and Morishita envision using improved versions of the technology for such applications as microsurgery, storing data as etched surface features, and modifying and testing tiny regions of microelectronic circuits, thin films and other materials.
- As far back as 1817, physicians reported isolated cases of dual personalities in individuals undergoing periodic epileptic seizures. There have been a couple of recent reports of an unexpectedly high rate of multiple-personality disorders among patients at a seizure clinic in Boston, but for the most part, this condition is thought to arise from psychological conflict and trauma, such as that produced by child abuse. Seizures, however, are more commonly implicated in cases of multiple personality than is often assumed, say neurologist, D. Frank Benson of the University of California at Los Angeles and his co-workers. In the May ARCHIVES OF NEUROLOGY, they describe two epileptic patients displaying "Jekyll-Hyde" personality transformations.
The two young women, ages 22 and 19, were normally pleasant and close to family members. But one became belligerent, irritable, hostile and, at times, violent, if her seizures were eliminated for more than several weeks by anti- convulsant medication. The other underwent similar changes that lasted from a few hours to several days before a seizure occurred. In each instant, the "abnormal" personality denied the other personality's existence as well as any connection to other family members, who were considered imposters. In the 'normal' state, the women expressed some knowledge of the other personality, but this knowledge was learned from family members rather than being truly remembered, say the researchers. Personality consistently shifted back to normal, they say, with the onset of a major seizure.
While these cases point to a link between epilepsy and some cases of multiple personality, the underlying causes of the disorder are unknown...
- Yet science is descended from the same roots as the philosophy of Bach and Handel; Newton surely considered himself to be attempting to understand deeply his Creator's works. In most cultures, there is little distinction between religion-philosophy-science; even in Western civilization, they were all one subject until only a few centuries ago, when religious and natural philosophy split apart, the former being theology and the latter again splitting in the last century to become science and what we now call philosophy. The scientists of Bach's time surely considered church music their music, not that of another tradition.
But music is music: it can stand by itself, transcending the centuries independent of rational and irrational beliefs about other things. No one really approaches modern religion like the proverbial cultural anthropologist from outer space. ("But they organize all their good deeds around this gruesome symbol of torture, and their highest ritual is play acting cannibalism, and they constantly reaffirm their own version of what in other cultures they call magic and animism. They seem to expect members to check their brains at the church-house door!"). Yet cultures cannot simply start over fresh with a new vocabulary and new traditions untainted by past enthusiasms and misunderstandings; it is simply too easy to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Instead, religions rationalize the past in various ways and go on from there with the real business: relieving suffering and building hope and advancing understanding. The philosophers and scientists have merely become the understanding specialists over the last several centuries. But of we've left some of the excess baggage and comforting rituals behind, we still revere the music.
- We are then in the midst of a cognitive revolution in which (1) cognition is shifting rapidly to the fore to dominate the structuring of every area of life, and (2) self-consciousness of this process and of its radical implications is slowly developing... What we thought of as social conveniences for individual interests, our social institutions, are shifting toward being an external nervous system, determining the capacities and structure of our species intelligence. Recognition of this is also a new part of our self-consciousness.
And both our new design capacities and our emerging cognitive selfconsciousness have raised in acute form the true nature of our own intelligence and personhood: the questions of transcendence. These processes are, I suggest, the true and secret significance of the twentieth century. They define, more truly than quantum mechanics, television, moon landings or the World Bank, what is distinctive about the underlying structural shifts in the life processes on the planet in our times.
Meanwhile, we poor individuals are caught. Caught between scepticism and mysticism. We cannot expect the next moments of history to resolve the issues for us. Caught between the normative and the descriptive: caught between the assimilation of the past to become the persons we can now be and the preselection of the future, to become the persons we may hope yet to be. We cannot expect some external "nature" to make these decisions for us. Caught between the cognitive and the political, between commitment to the historical process of science and the historical process of political and personal liberation... Perhaps, like the mystics, we may be given the grace to intuit the transcendent self through the mosaic.
- Even an old dog can learn new tricks if enticed with enough food. Now researchers at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Sepulveda, Calif. have discovered how the reward of food may facilitate such learning in animals.
...a gastrointestinal hormone released in mice during feeding can enhance memory by activating fibers in the peripheral nervous system. While in past work the hormone, cholecystokinin (CCK), has been associated with enhanced memory, this is the first proposed mechanism for that link.
In their studies, the researchers first showed that hungry mice, fed immediately after learning a task, later remembered how to complete that task much better than did other mice, some of which were hungry and fed three hours before learning, others of which were fed prior to the experiment.
...CCK injected into the mice's abdomens mimicked the memory effects of feeding. The question, then, was how CCK, which is too large to cross the blood-brain barrier, is able to influence the brain. The researchers discovered that CCK enhanced memory only when the mouse's vagus nerve was intact. This nerve is part of the peripheral nervous system and is anatomically connected to a memory region of the brain. The researchers believe that CCK affects memory by activating vagus fibers leading from the gut toward the brain.
They suspect that the link between gastrointestinal hormones and memory has given animals an evolutionary edge by helping them remember how they successfully found food in the past. As for humans, the lesson may be that the most memorable, the after-dinner speech should be given before dinner.
- We can do more than simply struggle to stay afloat; we can discover a more reliable source of continuous buoyancy. We can do more than cope. We can see now that burnout need not always be an enemy. If not a best friend, it can at least be a catalyst, even a guide, for the inner work, the work on ourselves, which is the foundation of all true service, and the only way to maintain energy and inspiration. If we can view the places where we encounter fatigue and doubt as clues and signposts for that inner work, our journey will not only go more lightly but go further, deeper. We will not simply survive. We will grow.
Meanwhile, it will always serve to stay grounded in humble respect for all that is involved in the work to relieve suffering - a compassion for ourselves which is the source of compassion for all others. Whatever helpful hints for support and freedom we come upon must be tested against daily practice. We will slip and fall again and again. The struggle between heart and mind is fierce and continuous. The need to see suffering relieved is an essential ingredient of our humanity. Inevitably, we will feel the poignance and despair that arise on those occasions when affliction is not eased; indeed, it grows and spreads, cruel and ominous, despite all our efforts. The pain of the world will sear and break our hearts because we can no longer keep them closed. We've seen too much now. To some degree or other, we have surrendered into service and are willing to pay the price of compassion.
But with it comes the joy of a single, caring act. With it comes the honor of participating in a generous process in which one rises each day and does what one can. With it comes the simple, singular grace of being an instrument of Love, in whatever form, to whatever end.
- He was impossible. It wasn't that he didn't attend to his work: on the contrary, he took endless pains over the tasks he was given. But his manner of behavior brought him into conflict with everybody and, in the end, began to have an adverse effect on everything he had to do with.
When the crisis came and the whole truth had to come out, he laid the blame on us: in his conduct there was nothing, absolutely nothing to reproach. His self-esteem was so strongly bound up, apparently, with the idea of his innocence, that one felt a brute as one demonstrated, step by step, the contradictions in his defense and, bit by bit, stripped him naked before his own eyes. But justice to others demanded it.
When the last rag of the lie had been taken from him and we felt there was nothing more to be said, out it came with stifled sobs.
"But why did you never help me, why didn't you tell me what to do? You knew that I always felt you were against me. And fear and insecurity drove me further and further along the course you now condemn me for having taken. It's been so hard - everything. One day, I remember, I was so happy: one of you said that something I had produced was quite good -" So, in the end, we were, in fact, to blame. We had not voiced our criticisms, but we had allowed them to stop us from giving him a single word of acknowledgment, and in this way had barred every road to improvement.
For it is always the stronger one who is to blame. We lack life's patience. Instinctively, we try to eliminate a person from our sphere of responsibility as soon as the outcome of this particular experiment by Life appears, in our eyes, to be a failure. But Life pursues her experiments far beyond the limitations of our judgment. This is also the reason why, at times, it seems so much more difficult to live than to die.
- So the soul, however given up to the occupations of daily life, cannot quite lose the sense of where it is, and of what is above it and around it. The scene of its actual [conscious] engagements may be small; the path of its steps, beaten and familiar; the objects it handles, easily spanned, and quite worn out with daily uses. So it may be, and amidst such things that we all live. So we live our little life; but Heaven is above us and all around us and close to us; and Eternity is before us and behind us; and suns and stars are silent witnesses and watchers over us. We are enfolded in Infinity. Infinite Powers and Infinite spaces lie all around us. The dread arch of Mystery spreads over us, and no voice ever pierced it. Eternity is enthroned amid Heaven's myriad starry heights; and no utterance or word ever came from those far-off and silent spaces. Above, is that awful majesty; around us, everywhere, it stretches off into infinity; and beneath it is this little struggle of life, this poor day's conflict, this busy ant-hill of Time.
But from that ant-hill, not only the talk of the streets, the sounds of music and revelling, the stir and tread of a multitude, the shout of joy and the shriek of agony go up into the silent and all-surrounding Infinitude; but also, amidst the stir and noise of visible life, from the inmost bosom of the visible man, there goes up an imploring call, a beseeching cry, an asking, unuttered, and unutterable, for revelation, wailingly and in almost speechless agony praying the dread arch of Mystery to break, and the stars that roll above the waves of mortal trouble, to speak; the enthroned majesty of those awful heights to find a voice; the mysterious and reserved heavens to come near; and all to tell us what they alone know; to give us information of the loved and lost; to make known to us what we are, and whither we are going.
- The difference between an utterance of speech and all other events is naturally paramount in the study of language. The human acts which are observable under ordinary conditions are thus divided into language, the vocal utterance of the conventional type, and handling activities, a somewhat narrow name to cover all other normally observable acts, including not only manipulation but also mimicry, gesture, locomotion, acts of observation, etc. The linguist studies sequences in which language mediates between non-linguistic events.
Language creates and exemplifies a twofold value of some human actions. In its biophysical aspect language consists of sound-producing movements and of the resultant sound waves and of the vibration of the hearer's eardrums. The biosocial aspect of language consists in the fact that the persons in a community have been trained to produce these sounds in certain situations and to respond to them by appropriate actions. The biosocial function of language arises from a uniform, traditional, and arbitrary training of the persons in a certain group. They have been trained to utter certain sounds as a secondary response to situations and to respond to these slight sounds, in a kind of trigger effect, with all sorts of actions.
In their turn, on a tertiary level of response, handling actions may be subjected biosocially to language: specific handling actions are conventionalized as a response to specific forms of speech, and these handling actions or their products serve as stimuli to call forth these same forms of speech. These substitutes for speech occur scantily in simple communities but play a great part in our civilization. Apart from speculations about a prehuman or semi-human antiquity, in man as we see him, all handling actions which bear elaborate communicative value owe this value to their biosocial subjection to language.
- The man who, being really on the way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it, thus making of it a "raft that leads to the far shore". Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring.
Thus, the aim of practice is not to develop an attitude which allows a man to acquire a state of harmony and peace wherein nothing can ever trouble him. On the contrary, practice should teach him to let himself be assaulted, perturbed, moved, insulted, broken and battered. That is to say, it should enable him to dare to let go his futile hankering after harmony, surcease from pain, and a comfortable life in order that he may discover, in doing battle with the forces that oppose him, that which awaits him beyond the world of opposites.
The first necessity is that we should have the courage to face life and to encounter all that is most perilous in the world. When this is possible, meditation itself becomes the means by which we accept and welcome the demons which arise from the unconscious - a process very different from the practice of concentration on some object as a protection against such forces. Only if we venture repeatedly through zones of annihilation can our contact with Divine Being, which is beyond annihilation, become firm and stable. The more a man learns wholeheartedly to confront the world that threatens him with isolation, the more are the depths of the Ground of Being revealed and the possibilities of new life and becoming opened.
- Please Call Me By My True Names Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply; I arrive in every second to be a bud on a spring branch to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile, learning to sing in my newness, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope, the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond, and I am the grass-snake who, approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the Politburo, with plenty of power in my hands, and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to my people, dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills all four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and so the door of my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.
- ...there is the role of "shill". A shill is someone who acts as though he were an ordinary member of the audience but is in fact in league with the performers. Typically, the shill either provides a visible model for the audience of the kind of response the performers are seeking or provides the kind of audience response that is necessary at the moment for the development of the performance. Our appreciation of this role no doubt stems from fairgrounds, the following definitions suggesting the origins of the concept:
Stick, n. An individual-sometimes a local rube-hired by the operator of a set-joint [a "fixed" gambling booth] to win flashy prizes so that the crowd will be induced to gamble. When the "live ones" [natives] have been started, the sticks are removed and deliver their winnings to a man outside who has no apparent connection with the joint.
Shillaber, n. An employee of the circus who rushes up to the kid show ticket box at the psychological moment when the barker concludes his spiel. He and his fellow shillabers purchase tickets and pass inside and the crowd of towners in front of the bally stand are not slow in doing likewise.
We must not take the view that shills are found only in non-respectable performances (even though it is only the non-respectable shills, perhaps who play their role systematically and without personal illusion). For example, at informal conversational gatherings, it is common for a wife to look interested when her husband tells an anecdote and to feed him appropriate leads and cues, although in fact she has heard the anecdote many times and knows that the show her husband is making of telling something for the first time is only a show. A shill, then, is someone who appears to be just another unsophisticated member of the audience and who uses his unapparent sophistication in the interests of the performing team.
- Each year more that 11 million hectares of tropical forest - an area larger than Austria - are lost to agriculture, firewood collection, rural development and logging. That loss, besides wiping out 500 to 1,000 plant and animal species per year, affects more than 1 billion people by reducing the long-term agricultural productivity of the land, contributing to deadly flood, to soil and water degradation, to fuel wood scarcity and ultimately greater poverty, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO). And that explains the excitement engendered within the international development community this week by a new five-year action plan to arrest and ultimately reverse this growing destruction of tropical forests.
An international task force convened by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Resources Institute authored the plan. A report of their recommendations list specific projects addressing the most critical individual needs of the 56 nations most affected by tropical deforestation; it includes the estimated cost of achieving these goals in each country. A 55-page appendix of case studies highlights successful small-scale projects that might serve as example for plan implementers.
According to the plan's authors, tropical reforestation and forest management must become essential components of any long-range plan to "alleviate [the region's] hunger and deprivation, arrest dangerous assaults on Earth's environmental support system and provide the basis for sustainable economic growth."
World Bank President A. W. Clausen says the action plan "carries the Bank's full support" - despite its $8 billion price tag. The U.S. Agency for International Development, UNFAO and UNDP have also pledged to support the new action plan. Already under discussion as one of the first steps to implement the plan is a 1986 "summit" meeting of world leaders to iron out specific funding and political priorities.
- To visualize how the connection between intermodal processing and language developed, let us imagine a neural network designed to communicate among several discrete sensory inputs, each of which had its own specialized and unique code. The visual input line tells about form and color. The auditory channel refers to pitch and loudness, neither of which can have any conceivable meaning in the language of the visual processors. Then there is the olfactory input that reports in a language that neither the visual nor the auditory paths can possibly understand. What is the poor brain to do to bring these different, mutually incompatible classes of information together for some common processing step? There is no way these disparate inputs can be fed into a common processor without being translated into a code that is capable of handling all of the modalities at once. What might that code be? It cannot talk about sights or sounds or smells. Such information would be meaningless to all but the specialized portion of the sensory brain that had always been committed to each of these senses. It cannot, in short, be a code that deals with sensory signals emitted by some outside agent. It must be a code that refers to the thing itself, not the stimuli it emits. The new code symbol would not be "small, black and white, furry," nor "pitter, patter, snuffle, stomp," nor yet "awful, acrid smell!" the code would have to be a symbol that stood simply for skunk - a symbol for the external reality itself, rather than a set of partial sensory reports about the outside world. Sensory codes consisted entirely of adjectives, and this universal cross-modal code introduced nouns. By the same cross-modal process the nervous system developed a code that integrates individual messages from muscles, stretch receptors, and again the eye, to move beyond the body with a symbolic code that refers to space and movement in the world outside of the skin, rather than angles of joints and stretch of muscles. Thus verbs were born.
- Picture, if you will, a large cafeteria. Fifty or sixty different kinds of foods - soups, salads, vegetables, meats, breads, desserts, beverages - are in a colorful display. The patrons walk down the line, making their selections. Some choose on the basis of impulse (the roast turkey smells so good!), childhood memories (mother used to make rice pudding like that), imitation of another's choice (he probably knows what's good here), or self-indulgence (everything's gone wrong today; I deserve to treat myself to two desserts). Others choose on the basis of some idea or organizing principle, such as economy - in which case only the inexpensive items are chosen, or the desire to lose weight - in which case starches and sugars are avoided, or vegetarianism - in which case meat and fish are excluded. And in still other cases there is an organizing principle plus exceptions due to impulse, memory, imitation, self-indulgence, etc. (Well, I didn't take any bread, butter, or potatoes today, so maybe a little dish of chocolate pudding won't do much harm.
If we were to analyze the trays of all the patrons at the end of the line, we would discover that rarely, if ever, are any two trays filled in exactly the same way. The differences between them are thus a tangible externalization of the uniqueness of each individual, and of his own unique selectivity.
Now imagine that one of the patrons, having laden his tray solely with mashed potatoes, cherry pie and milk, suddenly shouts, "I have the only true food! I have the only right tray!" at every person who passes. "You must go back and take the same things I did! I fear for your health if you don't!" HE is making such a nuisance of himself that the manager finally appears and with the help of a few strong men escorts him away, still raving and screaming.
A preposterous, unlikely scene, you say? Yes, but not any more unlikely or preposterous than what has actually happened in the religious history of the world.
- Here is a useful means for posing questions about ways our knowledge of the workings of things enters directly into our perception: try to hear the world as a tape recorder does - not listening, merely hearing. Sit down quietly, breathe gently, and attempt to let all the sounds in.
There can be no directionality to hearing. The intensities must be received in strict accordance with a physical conception of absolute loudness and softness.
Success is impossible.
You hear an airplane pass overhead, and because it is an airplane, because you know it is an airplane and about how airplanes move, your capacity merely to hear is undermined. You are expectantly attuned to the airplane's passage, to the increase in loudness as it approaches and the decrease as it passes on, to its known movement through a known sky up above. The possibility that the airplane will at any instant disappear is inconceivable. Your hearing is unavoidably affected by such understandings: your hearing becomes listening, and reaches forward and upward toward that airplane's traverse, no matter how strenuous your attempt at indifference.
You hear someone walking up the stairs, and thereby hear not one tap and one tap and one tap, but a series of steps: one, then the others. Having heard the first, knowing what is sounding, you reach for the next with a grasp toward its timing. Your understanding of stair layouts and stair-climbing draws you into the action. Your hearing becomes listening, and you are pulled as you push yourself away from other surrounding affairs.
No matter how you struggle to suspend your knowledge of what is sounding, struggle merely to soak in the world, to squirm yourself into the state of a simple receptacle, you will fail. For these understandings are not accompanying intellectual facts to be bypassed by a stronger thought or will: they are understandings built into the ways of your ears.
- In the writings of many contemporary psychics and mystics (e.g., Gopi Krishna, Shri Rajneesh, Frannie Steiger, John White, Hal Lindsay and several dozen others whose names I have mercifully forgotten) there is a repeated prediction that the Earth is about to be afflicted with unprecedented calamities, including every possible type of natural catastrophe from earthquakes to Pole Shifts. Most of humanity will be destroyed, these seers inform us cheerfully. This cataclysm is referred to, by many of them, as "the Great Purification" or "the Great Cleansing", and it is supposed to be a punishment for our sins.
I find the morality and theology of this Doomsday Brigade highly questionable. A large part of the Native American population was exterminated in the 19th century; I can not regard that as a "Great Cleansing" or believe that the Indians were being punished for their sins. Nor can I think of Hitler's death camps, or Hiroshima or Nagasaki, as "Great Purifications." And I can't make myself believe that the millions killed by plagues, cancers, and natural catastrophes, etc., throughout history were all singled out by some Cosmic Intelligence for punishment, while the survivors were preserved due to their virtues. To accept the idea of "God" implicit in such views is logically to hold that everybody hit by a car deserved it, and we should not try to get him to a hospital and save his life, since "God" wants him dead.
I don't know who are the worst sinners on this planet, but I am quite sure that if a Higher Intelligence wanted to exterminate them, It would find a very precise method of locating each one separately. After all, even Lee Harvey Oswald - assuming the official version of the Kennedy assassination - only hit one innocent bystander while aiming at JFK. To assume that Divinity would employ earthquakes and Pole Shifts to "get" (say) Richard Nixon, carelessly murdering millions of innocent children and harmless old ladies and dogs and cats in the process, is absolutely and ineluctably to state that your idea of God is of a cosmic imbecile.
- The complex treelike silhouette of a mature nerve cell can vary continuously, with individual branches extending, retracting, disappearing or forming anew, report scientists at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. Many of the signals from other nerve cells are received along these branches, which are called dendrites. Long-term changes in the nervous system occur at specialized communication sites, known as synapses. An important question has been whether the long-term changes involve primarily alterations in the function of existing synapses - for example, those changes described in the marine snail Aplysia (Science News: 11/16/85, p. 308) - or whether there are structural changes in the nerve cell.
A new technique now allows scientists to analyze the shape of an individual nerve cell over days and months. Robert D. Hadley and Dale Purves have examined mouse nerve cells on the surface of a cluster of cells, called the superior cervical ganglion, located in the animal's neck. They anesthetize the mouse and photographically record the location of a nerve cell. Then they inject the cell with a nontoxic fluorescent dye that diffuses into the dendrites, revealing their shape and length. The animal is allowed to recover from the anesthesia. A few days to a few months later, the procedure is repeated to provide a second view of the same cell.
"Dendritic arbors contract and extend, but mostly extend," says Hadley. He reports an average dendritic growth in young adult mice of about 10 percent during three to seven days. After longer periods, there were progressively greater changes of dendritic geometry. "The subtle changes in single cells that we describe would have been impossible to discern by looking at populations of neurons with conventional means," Hadley and Purves say. "These morphological changes are almost certainly associated with functional changes in the synaptic circuitry." They conclude, "Such modulations of connectivity may bear on the cellular basis of long-term change in the central nervous system.
- If the human race develops an electronic nervous system, outside the bodies of individual people, this is almost precisely what has happened in the organization of cells which compose our bodies. We have already done it.
Furthermore, our bodily cells, and their smallest components, appear and disappear much as light-waves vibrate and a people go from birth to death. A human body is like a whirlpool; there seems to be a constant form, called the whirlpool, but it functions for the very reason that no water stays in it. The very molecules and atoms of the water are also "whirlpools" - patterns of motion containing no constant and irreducible "stuff". Every person is the form taken by a stream - a marvelous torrent of milk, water, bread, beefsteak, fruit, vegetables, air, light, radiation - all of which are streams in their own turn. So with our institutions. There is a "constant" called the University of California in which nothing stays put: students, faculty, administrators, and even buildings come and go, leaving the university itself only as a continuing process, a pattern of behavior.
As to powers of prediction and control, the individual organism has already accomplished these in a measure which must have astounded the neurons when they first learned the trick. And if we reproduce ourselves in terms of mechanical, plastic, and electronic patterns, this is not really new. Any evolving species must look with misgivings on those of its members who first show signs of change, and will surely regard them as dangerous or crazy. Moreover, this new and unexpected type of reproduction is surely no more weird than many of the great variety of methods already found in the biological world - the startling transformation of caterpillar into butterfly, or the arrangement between bees and flowers, or the unpleasant but marvelously complex system of the anopheles mosquito.
If all this ends with the human race leaving no more trace of itself in the universe than a system of electronic patterns, why should that trouble us? For that is exactly what we are now!
- Somebody talks. Through skills whose organization we never describe, the talking is transformed into a text: "Hi, how are you?" In the place of ongoing courses of accomplished bodily movements, the talking done, we now have a picture, the talk seen-silent, still sights. And we do something we often do with sights. They are divided up. Names are given the various parts. The parts are subdivided by the names into more parts. We have nouns, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, for instance. Parts of speech.
Nonsense. They are parts of sights.
The sights are looked over with a taxonomic mentality. An organization is sought. What must a human being be like to produce such sights? Though the answer lies in exploring how the transcribing secretary uses his fingers with a typewriter while listening to a tape recording with hands and ears, we forget about him. Instead a search is made inside the skull for the sight-producing machinery, for a source of sights, which, however, bears only a second-order relation to the original conduct.
As an organization of our sight-naming skills and our ways of looking, the parts of sights have such an elaborateness that there must be an intricate mechanism beneath the surface, the searchers say - a cognitive structure, a generative syntax, differentiated lobes for special functions. Thus the naming process gets more elaborate. Complexities of the naming process seem to compel a view of the complexities of the generator, and vice- versa. Then the attempt is made to simplify everything back into a beautiful model of thinking and linguistic competence.
Yet the whole construction is nothing but a sheer invention of the language, which invention seeks to analyze itself while staying immune from itself. The theories that result become embarrassing at just that point where the need is encountered to patch up the connection between product and process, to contrive a complete theory from start to finish. It is in such convolutions that brain theory turns into the deepest mysticism.
- In saying that performers act in a relatively informal, familiar, relaxed way while backstage and are on their guard when giving a performance, it should not be assumed that the pleasant interpersonal things of life - courtesy, warmth, generosity, and pleasure in the company of others - are always reserved for those backstage and that suspiciousness, snobbishness, and a show of authority are reserved for front region activity. Often it seems that whatever enthusiasm and lively interest we have at our disposal we reserve for those before whom we are putting on a show and that the surest sign of backstage solidarity is to feel that it is safe to lapse into an asocial mood of sullen, silent irritability.
It is interesting to note that while the members of each team will be in a position to appreciate the unsavory "unperformed" aspects of their own backstage behavior, they are not likely to be in a position to come to a similar conclusion about the members of the teams with which they interact. When pupils leave the schoolroom and go outside for a recess of familiarity and misconduct, they often fail to appreciate that their teachers have retired to a "common room" to swear and smoke in a similar recess of backstage behavior. We know, of course, that a team with only one member can take a very dark view of itself and that not a few psychotherapist find employment in alleviating this guilt, making their living by telling individuals the facts of other people's lives. Behind these realizations about oneself and illusions about others is one of the important dynamics and disappointments of social mobility, be it mobility upward, downward, or sideways. In attempting to escape from a two-faced world of front region and back region behavior, individuals may feel that in the new position they are attempting to acquire they will be the character projected by individuals in that position and not at the same time a performer. When they arrive, of course, they find their new situation has unanticipated similarities with their old one; bot involve a presentation of front to an audience and both involve the presenter in the grubby, gossipy business of staging a show.
- I got some requests from the after-dinner group to explain just what I meant by sequencers, and Rosalie provided the perfect example: the switching device that controls washing machine cycles. The schemata it sequences are all movements, called "Fill, Wash, Rinse, Empty, Spin, Pause". It can vary the duration of each cycle, can omit some if you like, perhaps repeat a rinse-empty sequence. The sequencers of the brain operate in fractions of a second rather than in minutes, but otherwise the principle is the same.
Suppose that we wanted, for some special occasions, a washing machine whose cycles lasted exactly ten minutes, right down to the split second. But that the available model of washing machine sometimes had an eight-minute cycle, sometimes an eleven-minute cycle - was, in short, jittery. There is a clever, though extravagant, way around this problem. We could take a hundred jittery washing-machine controllers and run them all together with one washing machine (such as by triggering a cycle whenever half of the controllers had agreed that it was indeed time to start up). This "averaging" of the times in the hundred controllers will improve the timing precision by a factor of ten: if an individual controller jitters over a range of one minute, the tandem arrangement of controllers will jitter over only one-tenth of a minute. Want a hundredth-of-a-minute accuracy? Just use 10,000 controllers.
Now in between those very special occasions when you're feeling paranoid and want to wash your most delicate sweaters for exactly the time it says on the instructions, you'd have ninety-nine extra controllers that weren't really needed for anything. Suppose the schemata they could manipulate included sensory schemata such as books, flowers, boats, and boots, that they could try stringing them together along with "wash" and "spin" to create novel scenarios. But that there was a "realistic or not" censor that commented "washing boats is a common practice, but washing books has seldom happened in your life so far." Still, even if scenarios from ninety-five of the idle controllers proved unrealistic, four might yield realistic scenarios, though each with a different "quality" score. Suppose that you just might pick the one with the highest quality score for your next act? Is that imagination?
- In the prescientific view of these matters, a term such as "reasoning" covers, on the one hand, observations which cost no great labor and, on the other hand, utterances of speech which are not recognized for what they are. Thus there arises the notion that knowledge may be obtained by a process of "reasoning a priori". Everyday observations, generally human or systematized by tribal tradition, are viewed as innate data of reason, and the ensuing deductions are clothed in a mystic validity. If the deductions are correctly made, the "a priori" procedure differs from an ordinary act of science only in that the basic observations are unsystematic and remain untested.
In scientific procedure we mean by deduction the purely verbal part of an act of science which leads from the report of observation and the hypothesis to a prediction. If we replace the report of observation by arbitrarily invented postulates, the discourse makes no pretense to validity in the sphere of handling actions. Deductive discourse of this kind is produced in logic, mathematics, or the methodology of science. It is made to fit some type of observational data, or else it exists for its own sake, in readiness for the emergence of observational data to which it may be applied. Until modern times, Euclidean geometry was viewed as an "a priori" system: the underlying everyday observations about the spatial character of objects were viewed as inborn and unquestionable truths. Today the same system, apart from the correction of flaws, is treated as a purely verbal discourse of deduction from postulates. It is especially useful because these postulates, by virtue of their historic origin, are such as to make the discourse applicable to the placing of objects, as this placing is observed in the first approximation that is customary in everyday handling. We have learned, however, that astronomical magnitudes make sensible the errors in these postulates, and they accordingly demand a different discourse, based upon other postulates which, in turn, will be chosen so as to fit the new observations. One employs postulates which fit the observed data within the margin of error. The postulates are chosen so as to yield a simple calculation; the discrepancies are set aside to await more accurate measurements, which, in their turn, will make possible a more closely approximate discourse.
- Once again I mention Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker, who could not be perceived, who could not be conceived of until all the minds on all the planets and in all the stars and in all the galaxies united into a universal universe's mind. Then, and only then, the creature faced his Creator.
Then and then only was the Creator seen as an artist in a state of High Indifference who, without pity, without empathy, without sympathy, without sentimentality, was ready to abolish his creation in order to start over in another mode with another universe which he had not yet conceived. The Star Maker's artistry consists of trying totally new combinations in totally new universes without regret for those which are past and without expectation for those that are future. This God, the Star Maker, constructs universes as operational systems to see what they will do once created, to see what comes next once each of these is destroyed. As the Star Maker constructs universes, he expands his own primitive consciousness to include multiple complexities which in the pure Consciousness-Without-An-Object he could not visualize. Each universe created and destroyed adds to his store of materials for future universes. This god can create anything he can conceive, including paradoxes which do not involve energy, matter, space and time. Pure, abstract universes, lawful universes, universes without reason, without intelligence-on and on and on through multiple eternities.
In this view, what are we? We are small accidents in a current universe about to become obsolete. We are an organism either given a certain mental power or who developed a certain mental power unnoticed, unsought, without feedback from anything but a single star named Sol. It is even arrogant to suppose that we are a product of the Star Maker. We may be only a product of intervening processes, accidentally generated in a small portion of Superspace. We worship ourselves, we worship our own fantasies, we worship our projections onto the universe as if they we God. If to the Star Maker there is any such thing as blasphemy and High Indifference, this is it. That such small, weak, puny creatures as man could assume that they can even conceive of their Creator is the height of pride, of arrogance, of blasphemy, of irreverence, of unconsciousness, of a lack of consciousness of Reality.
- Atoms on the surfaces of microscopic gold crystals appear to be in constant motion. Not only do they hop from site to site, but they also continually shuttle between a crystals orderly columns and clouds of atoms hovering near certain surfaces. These recent observations result from the combination of a high-resolution electron microscope and a video-recording system that magnifies gold crystals about 20 million times and, on an atomic scale, tracks their growth as it happens.
"The motion of atomic columns and the existence of atom clouds revealed here may have important consequences from crystal growth, surface science and catalysis studies," say David J. Smith of Arizona State University in Tempe and his colleagues at the University of Lund in Sweden. Their report appears in the Sept. 5, 1985 Nature.
The researchers use a powerful electron beam to bombard 55-atom clusters of gold scattered across a carbon film. These tiny crystals turn out to be unstable, and some crystals begin to grow at the expense of others. A TV monitor allows the scientists to watch the rapid changes in crystal shape and orientation.
It's like watching living atoms, says Smith. "You can sit and look at one small particle for 10 minutes," he says. "You may get 29 different shapes in 30 seconds, and then it will sit still for a while, and then it goes on. We also see different effects according to how big the particles are." In addition, the ever-changing cloud shapes seem to show the pathways that atoms follow out of or into the lattice columns. In some instances, parts of a cloud look like miniature tornadoes directed toward particular crystal columns.
"It may well be that column hopping and changes of cloud shape are an indication of how atoms locate the most favorable lattice position during crystal growth," the researchers say. Using the same equipment, it should also be possible to monitor the way in which a variety of atoms interact with a metal surface. This is an important question in the study of how catalysts work.
One concern about the research is that the motion observed may be due to the effect of the electron beam rather than a characteristic of crystal behavior. "We're on a fact-finding mission," says Smith. "How general is the phenomenon that we have observed?" So far, the researchers have seen similar although not identical behavior at platinum crystal surfaces.
- Here is someone who has never seen a cat. He is looking through a narrow slit in a fence, and, on the other side, a cat walks by. He sees first the head, then the less distinctly shaped furry trunk, and then the tail. Extraordinary! The cat turns around and walks back, and again he sees the head, and a little while later the tail. This sequence begins to look like something regular and reliable. Yet again, the cat turns around, and he sees the same regular sequence: first the head, and later the tail. Thereupon he reasons that the event head is the invariable and necessary cause of the event tail, which is the head's effect. This absurd and confusing gobbledygook comes from his failure to see that the head and tail go together; they are all one cat.
The cat wasn't born as a head which, sometime later, caused a tail; it was born all of a piece, a head-tailed cat. Our observer's trouble was that he was watching it through a narrow slit, and couldn't see the whole cat at once.
The narrow slit in the fence is much like the way in which we look at life by conscious attention, for when we attend to something we ignore everything else. Attention is narrow perception. It is a way of looking at life bit by bit, using memory to string the bits together - as when examining a dark room with a flashlight having a very narrow beam. Perception thus narrowed has the advantage of being sharp and bright, but it has to focus on one area of the world after another, and one feature after another. And where there are no features, only space or uniform surfaces, it somehow gets bored and searches about for more features. Attention is therefore something like a scanning mechanism in radar or television, and Norbert Wiener and his colleagues found some evidence that there is a similar process in the brain.
But a scanning process that observes the world bit by bit soon persuades its user that the world is a great collection of bits, and these he calls separate things or events. We often say that you can only think of one thing at a time. The truth is that in looking at the world bit by bit we convince ourselves that it consists of separate things, and so give ourselves the problem of how these things are connected and how they cause and effect each other. The problem would never have arisen if we had been aware that it was just our way of looking at the world which had chopped it up into separate bits, things, events, causes, and effects. We do not see that the world is all of a piece like the head-tailed cat.
- The manner of Gregory's dying in 1980 was very different, for he and his family had all had a two-year period of knowing that his death might come at any moment, a period when he had already been written off by conventional medicine. Lois, caring for him at Esalen, began to fee early in the spring an ebbing of vitality as he moved around less and less. Although his lung cancer remained in remission, he developed pneumonia and sharp pains in his side that we associated with the cancer. From day to day he became more intolerant of hospital care and impatient for death, puzzled about the nature of the letting go that would release him.
After two weeks in the hospital, Lois made the decision to take him out and the San Francisco Zen community put us all up in their guesthouse. The Zen students shared with us in the tasks of care and sat in meditation near his bed, breathing in rhythm, around the clock. There were no tubes attached to Gregory's body, and when he ceased to accept food and brushed away the oxygen from his nostrils, we did not insist. The tranquillity of the Zen Center and the repetitive tasks of caring for Gregory were healing, as we cleaned and turned his great recalcitrant body.
Within the context of the careful detail of Zen attention, we each found our own small rituals of greeting and farewell. Watching alone with him in the dark and tranquil house during the last night before he died, when he still could press a hand and acknowledge loving presence but no longer spoke, I read aloud the passages he loved from the Book of Job, where God speaks of the mysterious wonders of the natural world, and held up a flower as one might hold up a cross to the gaze of a dying Christian, the only expression I could find, other than our own bodies, of the natural order he revered. Gradually, for another half day, his breathing slowed, and then it ceased. Lois closed his eyes and we bathed and dressed him and continued to take turns watching by his side for two more days, as others visited and the sense of his presence slowly receded.
After three days, our Zen friends went with us to the crematorium, into the actual room with the ovens, and we piled his body with wild flowers and parting gifts, a bagel from Nora that referred back to a breakfast-table conversation at Esalen, and a crab that John and Eric, his son and stepson, captured in the San Francisco Bay the night before, symbol of the dearest moments of childhood and of all the "fearful symmetries" of mind and nature. Our Zen friends chanted. Then they guided Lois to press the control on the great oven, and we went outside where we could stand in a meadow watching the line of smoke rising to the sky.
- We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience - a new feeling of what it is to be "I". The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing - with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all know taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego. I am not thinking of Freud's barbarous Id or Unconscious as the actual reality behind the facade of personality. Freud, as we shall see, was under the influence of a nineteenth-century fashion called "reductionism", a curious need to put down human culture and intelligence by calling it a fluky by-product of blind and irrational forces. They worked very hard, then, to prove that grapes can grow on thornbushes.
As is so often the way, what we have suppressed and overlooked is something startlingly obvious. The difficulty is that it is so obvious and basic that one can hardly find the words for it. The Germans call it Hintergedanke, an apprehension lying tacitly in the back of our minds which we cannot easily admit, even to ourselves. The sensation of "I" as a lonely and isolated center of being is so powerful and commonsensical, and so fundamental to our modes of speech and thought, to our laws and social institutions, that we cannot experience selfhood except as something superficial in the scheme of the universe. I seem to be a brief light that flashes but once in all the aeons of time - a rare, complicated, and all-to-delicate organism on the fringe of biological evolution, where the wave of life bursts into individual, sparkling, and multicolored drops that gleam for a moment only to vanish forever. Under such conditioning it seems impossible and even absurd to realize that myself does not reside in the drop alone, but in the whole surge of energy which ranges from the galaxies to the nuclear fields in my body. At this level of existence "I" am immeasurably old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy.
The difficulty in realizing this to be so is that conceptual thinking cannot grasp it. It is as if the eyes were trying to look at themselves directly, or as if one were trying to describe the color of a mirror in terms of colors reflected in the mirror. Just as sight is something more than all things seen, the foundation or "ground" of our existence and our awareness cannot be understood in terms of things that are known.
- The cat has already been let out of the bag. The inside information is that yourself as "just little me" who "came into this world" and lives temporarily in a bag of skin is a hoax and a fake. The fact is that because no one thing or feature of this universe is separable from the whole, the only real You, or Self, is the Whole. The rest of this book will attempt to make this so clear that you will not only understand the words but feel the fact. The first step is to understand, as vividly as possible, how the hoax begins.
We must first look at the form and behavior of the hoax itself. I have long been interested in trying to find out how people experience, or sense, their own existence - for what specific sensations do they use the word "I"?
Few people seem to use the word for their whole physical organism. "I have a body" is more common than "I am a body." We speak of "my" legs as we speak of "my" clothes, and "I" seems to remain intact even if the legs are amputated. We say, "I speak, I walk, I think, and (even) I breathe". But we do not say, "I shape my bones, I grow my nails, and I circulate my blood." We seem to use "I" for something in the body, but not really of the body, for much of what goes on in the body seems to happen to "I" in the same way as external events. "I" is used as the center of voluntary behavior and conscious attention, but not consistently. Breathing is only partially voluntary, and we say "I was sick" or "I dreamed" or "I fell asleep" as if the verbs were not passive but active.
Nevertheless, "I" usually refers to a center in the body, but different peoples feel it in different places. For some cultures, it is in the region of the solar plexus. The Chinese hsin, the heart-mind or soul, is found in the center of the chest. But most Westerners locate the ego in the head, from which center the rest us dangles. The ego is somewhere between the eyes and between the ears. It is as if there sat beneath the dome of the skull a controlling officer who wears earphones wired to the ears, and watches a television screen wired to his eyes. Before him stands a great panel of dials and switches connected to all other parts of the body that yield conscious information or respond to the officer's will.
This controlling officer "sees" sights, "hears" sounds, "feels" feelings, and "has" experiences. These are common but redundant ways of talking, for seeing a sight is just seeing, hearing a sound is just hearing, feeling a feeling is just feeling, and having an experience is just experiencing. But that these redundant phrases are so commonly used shows that most people think of themselves as separate from their thoughts and experiences. All this can get marvelously complicated when we begin to wonder whether our officer has another officer inside his head, and so ad infinitum.
- To know and understand the peculiar nature of mythico-religious conception not only through it's results, but through the very principle of its formation, and to see, furthermore, how the growth of linguistic concepts is related to that of religious ideas and in what essential traits they coincide - this requires us, indeed, to reach far back into the past. We must not hesitate to take a roundabout way through general logic and epistemology, for it is only upon this basis that we may hope to determine precisely the function of this sort of ideation and to distinguish it clearly from the conceptual forms which serve theoretical thinking. According to the traditional teachings of logic, the mind forms concepts by taking a certain number of objects which have common properties, i.e., coincide in certain respects, together in thought and abstracting from their differences, so that only the similarities are retained and reflected upon, and in this way a general idea of such-and-such a class of objects is formed in consciousness. Thus the concept (notio, conceptus ) is that idea which represents the totality of essential properties, i.e., the essence of the objects in question. In this apparently simple and obvious explanation, everything depends on what one means by a "property", and how such properties are supposed to be originally determined. The formulation of a general concept presupposes definite properties; only if there are fixed characteristics by virtue of which things may be recognized as similar or dissimilar, coinciding or not coinciding, is it possible to collect objects which resemble each other into a class. But - we cannot help asking at this point-how can such differentiae exist prior to language? Do we not, rather, realize them only by means of language, through the very act of naming them? And if the latter be the case, then by what rules and what criteria is this act carried out? What is it that leads or constrains language to collect just these ideas into a single whole and denote them by a word? What causes it to select, from the ever-flowing stream of impressions which strike our senses or arise from the autonomous processes of the mind, certain pre-eminent forms, to dwell on them and to endow them with a particular "significance"? As soon as we cast the problem in this mold, traditional logic offers no support to the student and philosopher of language; for its explanation of the origin of generic concepts presupposes the very thing we are seeking to understand and derive - the formulation of linguistic notions. The problem becomes even more difficult, as well as more urgent, if one considers that the form of that ideational synthesis which leads to the primary verbal concepts and denotations is not simply and unequivocally determined by the object itself, but allows scope for the free operation of language and for its specific mental stamp. Of course, even this freedom must have its rules, and this original, creative power has a law of its own. Can this law be set forth, and can it be brought into relation with the principles that govern other spheres of spiritual expression, especially the rules of mythical, religious, and purely theoretical, i.e., scientific, conception?
- If there were a body, just one single ball, with no surrounding space, there would be no way of conceiving or feeling it as a ball or any other shape. If there were nothing outside it, it would have no outside. It might be God, but certainly not a body! So too, if there were space alone with nothing in it, it wouldn't be space at all. For there is no space except space between things, inside things, or outside things. This is why space is the relationship between bodies.
Can we imagine one lonely body, the only ball in the universe, in the midst of empty space? Perhaps. But this ball would have no energy, no motion. In relation to what could it be said to be moving? Things are said to move only when compared to others that are relatively still, for motion is motion/ stillness. So let's have two balls, and notice that they come closer to each other, or get farther apart. Sure, there is motion now, but which one is moving? Ball one, ball two, or both? There is no way of deciding. All answers are equally right and wrong. Now bring in a third ball. Balls one and two stay the same distance apart, but ball three approaches or retreats from them. Or does it? Balls one and two may be moving together, towards or away from three, or balls one and two may be approaching three as three approaches them, so that all are in motion. How are we to decide? One answer is that because balls one and two stay together, they are a group and also constitute a majority. There vote will decide who is moving and who is not. But if three joins them it can lick'em, for if all three stay the same distance apart, the group as a whole cannot move. It will even be impossible for any one to say to the other two, or any two to the other one, "Why do you keep following me (us) around?" For the group as a whole will have no point of reference to know whether it is moving or not.
Note that whereas two ball alone can move only in a straight line, three balls can move within a surface, but not in three dimensions. The moment we add a fourth ball we get the third dimension of depth, and now it would seem that the fourth ball can stand apart from the other three, take an objective view of their behavior, and act as the referee. Yet, when we added the fourth, which one is it? Any one of them can be in the third dimension with respect to the other three. This might be called a "first lesson in relativity", for the principle remains the same no matter how many balls are added and therefore applies to all celestial bodies in this universe and to all observations of their motion, wheresoever located. Any galaxy, any star, any planet, or any observer can be taken as the central point of reference, so that everything is central in relation to everything else!
Now in all this discussion, one possibility has been overlooked. Suppose that the balls don't move at all, but that the space between them moves. After all we speak of a distance (i.e. space) increasing or decreasing as if it were a thing that could do something. This is the problem of the expanding universe. Are the other galaxies moving away from ours, or ours from them, or all from each other? Astronomers are trying to settle the problem by saying that space itself is expanding. But, again, who is to decide? What moves, the galaxies or the space? The fact that no decision can be reached is itself the clue to the answer: Not just that both the galaxies and space are expanding (as if they were two different agents), but that something which we must clumsily call galaxies/space, or solid/space, is expanding.
- Within the molecular machinery of living cells, information of a chemical nature flows almost as freely as the oxygen that facilitates life. Biomolecules signal each other, exchanging, updating and using chemical data to keep the cell healthy and functioning.
"In principle, any protein that transforms an input signal could act as a computational, or information-carrying, element," says Dennis Bray, a chemist at the University of Cambridge. For instance, "an enzyme in a biochemical pathway 'reads' the concentration of its substrate and produces a corresponding level of product."
From the viewpoint of information processing, every cell contains unique "biochemical circuits". These perform various simple computational tasks, among them amplifying, integrating, and storing information.
"In unicellular organisms, protein-based circuits act in place of a nervous system to control behavior," Bray states. "In the larger and more complicated cells of plants and animals, many thousands of proteins functionally connected to each other carry information from the plasma membrane to the genome."
A cell's internal and external environment affect the concentration and activities of those macromolecules, giving rise to what Bray calls a "memory trace". As with a computer's RAM, which serves as temporary storage for transient information, a cell's proteins maintain a record of its ever-changing surroundings.
Because of their high degree of interconnection, systems of interacting proteins act as a neural network, trained by evolution to respond appropriately to patterns of extracellular stimuli. Communication within such chemical networks relies on the diffusion and concentration of information-bearing molecules, a characteristic that gives them unique features not found in conventional computer-based neural networks.
"This are of research is very intriguing," says John Ross, a chemist at Stanford University who has measured the capacities of biomolecules to serve as logic elements. Chemical agents can serve as information processors, Ross says, adding that by bringing analytic approaches from computer science to bear on biochemical reactions, a researcher can shed light on the flow of information within living systems.
As far back as 1943, neurophysiologists working in the field of artificial intelligence showed that a few idealized nerve cells, hooked together as feedback circuits, could perform logical processes and make simple calculations. Though scientists scoffed at the simplicity of those systems, even skeptics acknowledged that, in principle, neurons in the central nervous system could behave in similar ways.
"As with neurons, so with proteins," Bray argues. "Protein molecules are, in principle, able to perform a variety of logical or computational operations."
Serving as logic elements, proteins provide cells with tool kits for building circuits. However, unlike silicon-based computers, cells make calculations purely for their own maintenance and survival by monitoring and responding to environmental changes.
"Many proteins in a living cell are used to build macromolecular structures, produce movement, degrade unwanted molecules, or synthesize specific molecular species," Bray says. "The molecular interactions that regulate chemical catalysis and direct motion merge seamlessly with those involved in the transmission of information."
As scientists look to chemical systems for computing potential, Brays concludes, nature's own methods of regulating cell functions may give insight into how molecules process information.
- ...in developing any theoretical models of living organization we cannot neglect the through-put not only of material substance but also of information. Even the simplest living creature is an information-gathering and information-organizing structure. The through-put of information, however, is a very different process from the through-put of material substance. Material substances, in which I include energy, obey strict laws of conservation. The basic law of conservation is that the increase in anything in any system is equal to the difference between what has been taken in and what has been given out. This is true of water in a reservoir, of any element in the body, and it is true also of energy. It is not true, however, of information. The through-put of information in an organization involves a "teaching" or structuring process which does not follow any strict law of conservation even though there may be limitations imposed on it. When a teacher instructs a class, at the end of the hour presumably the students know more and the teacher does not know any less. In this sense the teaching process is utterly unlike the process of exchange which is at the basis of the law of conservation. In exchange, what one gives up another acquires; what one gains another loses. In teaching this is not so. What the student gains the teacher does not lose. Indeed, in the teaching process, as every teacher knows, the teacher gains as well as [or even more than!] the student. In this phenomenon we find the [a] key to the [a] mystery of life.
There is a good deal of evidence that just as there is "regulation" with in the egg or the embryo so also there is regulation within the chromosomes or general genetic structure itself - that is to say, the "know how" of the individual gene is not dependent merely on its internal structure and specific form. It is dependent also on its place in the over-all structure of the chromosome. However this may be, we must assume that in the case of each organism there is some over-all genetic structure. Genetic structure has two important properties. It is a pattern which is able to impose itself , that is, to reproduce itself on part of the material substance with which it comes into contact. It does this through cell division in which the over-all genetic structure is, as far as we know, simply reproduced. In this sense it acts like a printing machine, printing endless copies of itself on the matter around it. This is what is known as the "genotype".
The genetic structure has, however, an even more astonishing property. It is able to organize the through-put of matter around it not only in a copy of itself but also into an organism wholly unlike itself - the "phenotype" or the biological organism as we see it in nature. Beginning from the single-celled egg the genetic structure organizes itself into complex plants, animals, and even human beings. Before the skill of this genetic structure one is lost in admiration. It exceeds in subtlety anything which the human mind has up to now been able to do. Machines of human contrivance, even the most elaborate and beautiful of them, are crude, clumsy, and inept compared with the exquisite machinery of the body which is built by the know-how of the genetic structure. When one reflects that all that we are and do which is not of our own wills was in some sense contained in the fertilized egg that each of us once was, one is inspired to an emotion akin to reverence. The extreme imperfection of our understanding of this process is reflected in our almost complete in inability to reproduce it. Nevertheless, we know that it must involve something like an image, that it must involve a "teaching-learning" operation, and that it involves the organization of matter into patterned structures through the transfer in information.
- There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can't have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn't be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side-by-side with white, or white unless side-by-side with black.
In the same way there are times when the world is, and times when it isn't, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don't. So because it doesn't get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It's like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It's also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it's always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn't always hide in the same place.
God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.
Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that's the whole fun of it - just what he wanted to do. He doesn't want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self - the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.
Of course you must remember that God isn't shaped like a person. People have skins and there is always something outside our skins. If there weren't, we wouldn't know the difference between what is inside and outside our bodies. But God has no skin and no shape because there isn't any outside to him. [With a sufficiently intelligent child, I illustrate this with a Mobius strip - a ring of paper tape twisted once in such a way that it has only one side and one edge.] The inside and the outside of God are the same. And though I have been talking about God as "he" and not "she", God isn't a man or a woman. I didn't say "it" because we usually say "it" for things that aren't alive.
God is the Self of the world, but you can't see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can't see your own eyes, and you certainly can't bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.
You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn't really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It's the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.
- Once you have committed yourself to evolution rather than extinction, you set in motion an irreversible process. Once the baby starts down the birth canal, it cannot return to the womb. What one hour before was a safe home has become a lethal, suffocating place. Once you begin the process of self-evolution toward whole-centeredness, you cannot return to the old limits of self-centeredness. If you do, you will rip the fabric of your inner being to shreds. You will suffocate your higher self, which has entered into your system, turning on the mechanism of survival as a Christ-like body and turning off the mechanism of survival as a mammalian body.
The biological quantum instant for human beings occurs when the infant begins to breathe oxygen itself through the lungs. Once its umbilical cord is cut, it can no longer take oxygen directly from its mother.
The psychological quantum instant occurs when a person has passed from the womb of self-consciousness to the larger world of wholistic consciousness. This is the moment of 'rebirth', or enlightenment. Once having experienced enlightenment you can no longer survive psychologically in the dark box of self-centeredness. That would be to the psyche what the return to the womb would be to the body.
There is yet another kind of quantum instant which is still to come. You have experienced the biological quantum instant at your birth. You experience the psychological quantum instant at your 'rebirth' of enlightenment and discovery of the Christ-within. You have yet to experience the planetary quantum instant, which is the forthcoming collective experience of oneness, universal life and shared contact with the God-force. In an instantaneous pentecost, a planetary smile will ripple through the minds of the self-elect within Earth, those who are choosing to transcend to the next stage of evolution, able now at last to transform their bodies from perishable to imperishable, to contact other life, to leave this Earth alive, and to know that they are natural Christs, universal humans, sons and daughters of God.
Once the planetary quantum instant has occurred, there will be an irreversible distinction between those who have chosen personal evolution and those who have chosen person extinction.
Just as it is impossible for those who have been born biologically to return to the womb, it is impossible for those who have been reborn psychologically to return to the state of unknowing. Similarly, it will be impossible for those who are self-transformed within an interacting planetary system to return to the state of social separation.
Just as the cells are triggered into a new state by the birth of the baby, human beings will be triggered into a new state by the planetary birth experience. This event is as certain as the fact that once a child is conceived, it will surely be born. Even if it is aborted, it is born... dead. Even if it is still-born, it is born... dead. It must eject from the womb once it has been conceived.
And so it is with the planetary system. Once it has conceived self-conscious humans who learn the powers of science and technology through the development of their intellects, it must experience planetary oneness, birth and universal life.
Earth may be an abortive planet. It may be a still-born planet. It may be a healthy planet. In any case, you shall inevitably pass through this phase of evolution, never to go back again.
The process of evolution is irreversible, intentional and directional. An adult cannot become a child. A child cannot become an embryo. A planetary species - Homo sapiens - cannot return to the first Garden of Eden wherein the self separated out from animal consciousness. Homo sapiens can only go forward to a second Garden of Eden wherein resides the tree of life. You shall have the power of the gods and be godly - or you shall surely die. There is no other choice. Amen.
- It is a common assumption that aging often impairs the ability to think and reason. But declines on two important types of intellectual function among the elderly are largely avoidable and, in many cases, quickly counteracted by supervised training. The same training boosts the performance of a substantial number of older adults whose intellectual abilities have remained stable.
There are different types of decline in thinking ability with age, some of which are associated with neurologic loss. But for many older adults, we think our data indicate that decline occurs because they don't use acquired skills as much as they used to.
Not all investigators are confident that training can pump up fundamental thinking skills, but Willis points out that this is the first study to chart intellectual decline over time and then examine training effects. A number of studies have shown that training techniques improve the performance of elderly subjects on tests of memory, reasoning and problem solving, she notes, but researchers do not know whether these approaches remedy a loss of function or bolster the skills of people suffering no decline.
Schaie and Willis addressed this problem by comparing measures of the same thinking skills - inductive reasoning and spatial orientation - obtained from 229 healthy adult volunteers in 1970 and in 1984. Subjects were screened for neurologic and mental disorders and ranged in age from 64 to 95 years by the end of the study. A significant decline on one or both of the measures occurred among 122 subjects; the rest remained stable.
Inductive reasoning was assessed by showing subject several series of letters, numbers and words. They were asked to find the pattern in a series and select the next element from among five choices. Spatial orientation involved the ability to mentally rotate two- and three-dimensional objects.
Subjects then were assigned to five-hour training sessions in reasoning or spatial orientation. Those declining in one area took training in that ability; subjects who declined in both areas or who remained stable were randomly assigned to a training program.
More than 60 percent of subjects whose performance had declined in one or both areas since 1970 achieved markedly higher scores after training; 40 percent scored as high as their 1970 performance levels. More than half of the subjects whose scores remained stable over the 14 years also showed significant improvement after training on either ability. Training effects, say the researchers, were unrelated to differences in age, education and income.
In other words, says Willis, relatively simple training techniques reversed declines in two primary intellectual abilities and improved performance among the considerable proportion of subjects - almost 47 percent - whose scores remained stable. The training has practical consequences, she adds. Reasoning skills relate to everyday tasks such as under- standing instructions on medicine bottles and food labels, and spatial ability aids in navigating neighborhoods and buildings and in reading road maps.
"The study was meticulous," adds Birren, "but the researchers may be measuring something other than basic intellectual capacities. I wouldn't expect fundamental abilities to change so much after only five hours of training." Psychologist John L. Horn of the University of Denver agrees that "this is a very important study if it's replicable, but it's not really known if reasoning or spatial orientation tests apply to general types of thinking."
Further long-term studies are needed, says Horn, to examine whether training specifically helps the elderly or has comparable effects on subjects followed from youth to middle age... In their report, however, Schaie and Willis stress that the improvement and reversal of decline they demonstrated "may be a rather conservative estimate of what could be achieved by more extensive programs of this kind." the "$64,000 question," adds Willis, is: What distinguishes the older adults who responded to training from those who were not helped?
- Underlying all social interaction there seems to be a fundamental dialectic. When one individual enters the presence of others, he will want to discover the facts of the situation. Were he to possess this information, he would know, and could give the others present as much of their due as is consistent with his enlightened self-interest. To uncover fully the factual nature of the situation, it would be necessary for the individual to know all the relevant social data about the others. It would also be necessary for the individual to know the actual outcome or end product of the activity of the others during the interaction, as well as their innermost feelings concerning him. Full information of this order is rarely available; in its absence, the individual tends to employ substitutes - cues, tests, hints, expressive gestures, status symbols, etc. - as predictive devices. In short. since the reality that the individual is concerned with is unperceivable at the moment, appearances must be relied upon in the stead. And, paradoxically, the more the individual is concerned with the reality that is not available to perception, the more must he concentrate his attention on appearances.
The individual tends to treat the others present on the basis of the impression they give now about the past and the future. It is here that communicative acts are translated into moral ones. The impressions that the others give tend to be treated as claims and promises they have implicitly maid, and claims and promises tend to have a moral character. In his mind the individual says: "I am using these impressions of you as a way of checking up on you and your activity, and you ought not to lead me astray." the peculiar thing about this is that the individual tends to take this stand even though he expects the others to be unconscious of many of their expressive behaviors and even though he may expect to exploit the others on the basis of the information he gleans about them. Since the sources of impression used by the observing individual involve a multitude of standards pertaining to politeness and decorum, pertaining both to social intercourse and task-performance, we can appreciate afresh how daily life is enmeshed in moral lines of discrimination.
Let us shift now to the point of view of the others. If they are to be gentlemanly, and play the individual's game, the will give little conscious heed to the fact that impressions are being formed about them but rather act without guile or contrivance, enabling the individual to receive valid impression about them and their efforts. And if they happen to give thought to the fact that they are being observed, they will not allow this to influence them unduly, content in the belief that the individual will obtain a correct impression and give them their due because of it. Should they be concerned with influencing the treatment that the individual gives them, and this is properly to be expected, then a gentlemanly means will be available to them. They need only guide their action in the present so that in its future consequences will be the kind that would lead a just individual to treat them now in a way they want to be treated; once this is done, they have only to rely on the perceptiveness and justness of the individual who observes them.
Sometimes those who are observed do, of course, employ these proper means of influencing the way in which the observer treats them. But there is another way, a shorter and more efficient way, in which the observed can influence the observer. Instead of allowing an impression of their activity to arise as an incidental by-product of their activity, they can reorient their frame of reference and devote their efforts to the creation of desired impressions. Instead of attempting to achieve certain ends by acceptable means, they can attempt to achieve the impression that they are achieving certain ends by acceptable means. It is always possible to manipulate the impression the observer uses as a substitute for reality because a sign for the presence of a thing, not being the thing, can be employed in the absence of it. The observer's need to rely on representations of things itself creates the possibility of misrepresentation.
- This text is written for those in whom the flame of expectation burns - those who are attracted to the future and who desire to participate in the spiritual transformation of themselves and Earth to a state of greater consciousness, freedom and order.
The moment of this transformation is near. Through those in whose hearts such expectation is already burning, this flame can now be ignited in millions of others. How? By their attraction to the field of shared awareness of our potential:
to live as universal, not merely planetary humans;
to live as co-creators with God, co-creating consciously with each other and with the designing intelligence of the universe, as revealed in the evolutionary pattern.
Each individual who is consciously attracted to this field experiences a profound sense of anticipation and growing empathy for others. At a certain point the contagion of this empathy becomes exponential, every few minutes doubling the number of people attracted. Just as the word of President Kennedy's assassination spread very quickly, so will the realization of humankind's potential to co-create with God.
People on the street, in shops, in homes, in hospitals, in schools, in cars, in airplanes, in conferences, in the halls of government, industry, labor and academia - all will suddenly feel and know that something profound is happening world-wide.
When atoms are aligned in the same direction on the physical plane, magnetism occurs. Similarly, when thoughts are aligned on the mental plane, psychomagnetism - one-mindedness - occurs. We see this phenomenon demonstrated frequently in parades, concerts, celebrations. We have also seen it misused in mass movements by diabolical persons such as Adolf Hitler.
Our mission is to use this power for good. As co-operative psycho-magnetism builds among the peoples of Earth and between ourselves and beings in space, humankind will become receptive to spiritual intelligence as a shared experience. The "gifts of the spirit" that were experienced by many at the first Pentecost will, when amplified by mass attraction, become at once available to millions the Earth over.
The Instant of Co-Operation will be a shared experience of a Loving Presence, the realization that we are neither individually nor collectively alone in this universe. The invisible life that surrounds us has been experienced in diverse ways by the cultures of humanity - as inner voices, visions, commandments from God. It is such experiences which have lifted humans from their animal condition to the expectation of life everlasting.
Many in the Judeo-Christian world have personally experienced the Loving Presence as the Christ. They have anticipated a "second coming", which has yet to occur. Other cultures have shared the Loving Presence differently, and accordingly they have different personifications of its fulfillment.
None has ever known precisely when and how the Loving Presence will express its fulfillment. As Jesus said, "only the Father knows." But our expectation of fulfillment, in all the forms it takes, reflects an accurate racial knowledge: evolution does not proceed only by incremental steps but also by quantum leaps in the fullness of time - timing which many may intuit but none can predict.
We now begin to intuit that the fullness of time for such an evolutionary quantum leap is at hand. Enough of us are now aligned mentally in a psycho- magnetic field of attraction to our full potentials that we can receive together globally what has formerly been experienced only by individuals and small groups. As the 'vertical' alignment to God is experienced by a critical mass of individuals, 'horizontal' alignment unites God's human family.
The Instant of Co-Operation is a planetary pentecost. When enough of us share the co-operative vision, spirit will pour out through all who are paying attention. This experience will alter forever the planetary state of mind and our perception of the nature of reality.
- Early Bronze-Age Greek man first thought of himself without using mass nouns or the binomial formula. That is, he thought of himself as the juxtaposition of individual nouns: arms, legs, the heart, lungs, and so forth. Snell discusses this with reference to Greek "geometric" art, in which human figure actually look like parts out together at joints rather than a whole. Soma meant only dead body, self-reference was by name, and skin was about as close as one could get to our concept of body.
With the advent of new mass nouns (for example, flesh) it was necessary to invent new containers (body ). At this point in the development in the topography of early Greek man we have an imaginary container in which there are mass nouns. It is hard to realize that body was not always used as a concept, yet body, like drop or stick, cannot actually stand without its contents and is "imaginary", whereas an actual container, for instance skin, can stand empty. At this stage, man talked of himself as we talk today of a "stick of wood" or a "drop of water". There was no spiritual area divorced from the corporeal. Hence, man thought of his actions as resulting from changes in his organic contents (the mass nouns). Vapor was a particularly popular mass noun, and vaporous changes were thought to cause behavioral changes. Although we now know [believe] this is wrong medically, real vapor, such as that which appears to come from the body when we breathe on a cold day, was being referred to when early Greek man talked of vaporous changes.
Just as there was a different concept of the individual, there was a different concept of the community. The group or community was thought of as having a soul which belonged to the God-King. The well-being of the community was considered as deriving from that of the king. Regicide, therefore, was an act of destruction against the whole tribe. To a certain extent this tribal dependency on the king appears to have been related to the scarcity of vital resources such as bronze armor and chariots, tools, information exchange, and commerce, which only the privileged few could utilize. For survival purposes it was thus necessary to depend on those who did possess them. The social ferment that followed a change in this distribution (with the advent of the Phoenician alphabet, coined money, cheap and plentiful iron) was extraordinary. The warlord was no longer necessary. But until the time when commerce, weapons, and writing were available to all, there existed this group cohesion - not only in fact but in the way people thought about themselves, in their psychology.
The person, conceived of as entirely physical, belonged to the state. Just as we would not credit the little finger with individuality or soul or decision, so the person was not credited with it in early Greece. Man was not seen as one who could initiate any deliberate actions, nor, for that matter, did gods appear often to help him do so. The tribe led by the king was said to be the exclusive executive organ. There were no provision in the psychology for modern, executive functioning by the individual. Men were led to believe they were essentially reactors, not initiators. This led to an individual who was savage and impulsive, by our standards. In the rare event that individual reflection and hesitation occurred - for instance when Achilles, although fuming, does not draw his sword on Agamemnon - it cannot be expressed as an inner dialogue (that is, as his doing) but is seen as an imaginary outer dialogue: Athena appears to him, pulls his hair, and warns him of the danger of fighting with Agamemnon. This is not just a figure of speech used for color. The author cannot say, "He holds his temper" (notice that that figure of speech "objectifies" a process by making temper a noun), or that Athena "gets his attention". Much of the narrative of the Iliad is, for us, interrupted by the appearance of gods, whose presence was used to express the rare situations when thought occurs. When it came to explaining further what happened in the outer dialogue, the god was said to literally add (breathe in) some vaporous mass noun to the contents of the body. Thus we still have with us the term inspired. At this time it was taken literally.
- The greatest saga of the twentieth century will be written not in space but here on Earth. Humanity is rushing toward a rendezvous with dysfunction and destruction, or toward accomplishment of a major shift in attitude, values perspective and organization. There is not much time in which to choose; and not to act is in itself a choice - a dangerous one.
In order to play a positive role during these years of remarkable and unavoidable change, we need to know what the philosophy of a new and humanely different world might be. We need also to understand what must follow from that philosophy in practical and functional ways if a new and different world is to be organized to provide peace, to overcome want, and to extend individual choice and freedom.
So frequently have there been times of crisis, of war and travail in human affairs that we may fail to observe the essential difference between our present dilemma and all those of the past. Through the advances of science and technology the world has been rendered unitary and whole. The implications, however, have not been drawn. Our world is now an emergent system, but that is not the way we perceive it. We, and particularly our leaders, still see the world in older terms - as a collection of relatively independent and autonomous nation-states - a guiding social framework which has served humanity well for several hundred years. That framework is neither immutable nor adequate. We already live in a community of states, bound through communication and economy to a common destiny. Psychologically and attitudinally, however, we have not begun to come to terms with our new estate.
The inevitable result is chaos, insecurity, and the multiplication of out-size human problems in every important area. Our actions as nations contradict the changing reality, and consequently lead us further into difficulty. The arms race, of course, is the prime example. Although it has an internal logic of its own, it is in fact insane - as insane as the acronym for Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) - which has been the basis for the planning of national security for the past thirty-five years. There is no escape from this madhouse on its own terms. Escape lies in glimpsing an entirely different order of affairs.
A major shift is required to provide for human survival into the twenty-first century - but what kind? What are the new myths, the new values, the new philosophies, policies and structures which can not only save us but provide a new beginning for life here on Earth - one in keeping with our highest aspirations and understanding?
The roots of such a vision lie in several directions. They lie in the lucid realizations concerning human convergence telegraphed to a deaf-eared Church in the 1930s by a Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. They lie in the recognition of a Tom Paine that in fact, "the world is my home." They lie in the experiences not only of Paine but the other founding fathers of the United States as well, in the effort to form a new and inclusive polity from the thirteen North American colonies - a "grand rehearsal" for our time. The new vision was dramatized by the astronauts' personal and powerful experience as they viewed the Earth from the moon.
The vision is contained in the age-old dream of an inclusive and effective world organization. In modern times this idea, seeded but stunted and then killed as the League of Nations, has grown sapling-size in the United Nations, still too weak to play its needed role - its higher purposes unremarked by most.
Global civilization must come into its own in these latter days of the twentieth century or mankind's magnificent experiment in self-awareness and socialization will abort in titanic catastrophe. A new organism in the process of being born will be born unless it is destroyed. This is the nature of the predicament and human opportunity in its ultimate terms. In the pages that follow, Donald Keys deals unflinchingly with these ultimates. We have worked together through several decades to sound the alarms and to point to possible new directions.
Most important, it seems to me, is the sense carried throughout that the future is up to us, that we can change it and mold it to suit the needs of all life on Earth. Implicit is the call to us each to recognize and to accept our responsibility, and to exert ourselves fully in easing the transition to a humane world order.
- Between the event to which we feel no personal connection and a tragedy that breaks our hearts, there is a vast range of affliction. In this domain we make our choices: Shall I become involved or not, and if so, how deeply? How much human pain to let in, and whose? Because the suffering around us is endless, the choices before us seem limitless. We must weigh them carefully, lest, once we have opened Pandora's box, pain overwhelm us, and jeopardize our fragile control of the universe around. This range of choices is recent and perhaps unique to our present culture. Where people live their whole lives in close proximity, there's very little choice. Suffering involves all. The village's orphans are everybody's children.
But affluence have bought us privacy, and the apparent power to guard it against the encroachments of other people's adversity. As individuals and as a society, we set up lines of defense. We isolate poverty, old age, and death so that we need not confront them in our daily lives. The poor are off in the ghettos, the elderly in retirement homes, the dying in terminal care wards. We pay to push suffering away. But privacy exacts its cost. How quickly, for example, it turns to loneliness and alienation. Our defense against one kind of suffering, ironically, turns out to have invited in another. We may somehow feel safe from the troubles of the world, but we also feel dry, empty and alone in our insulated havens. Gone is the mutuality and spontaneous support that arise naturally when lives are led in common. With doors closed to the pain of others, we banish that which would release our compassion and engagement with life. We need heart-to-heart resuscitation.
Nor does the privacy actually end up buying us any final protection. Despite it, we're still interconnected with the peoples of the planet. While our isolation may give us some degree of temporary peace, there's little security in peace based on exclusion. As America has found out, the insistent goad of the world's suffering will ultimately force entry even into our well-protected castle. The pain and anger of those who are oppressed shape the challenges of our political life. If their suffering seems abstract, it is nonetheless ever present through networks of communication which extend our knowledge of human affliction to the outermost reaches of the planet. We can push it all away only so far. Because our privacy is ultimately unfulfilling, and the pain of others ultimately can't be ignored, we find we must choose how much suffering we can let in, and what to do with it once it's there.
These choices are usually made in the midst of a mighty struggle between the head and the heart.
The suffering of others spontaneously releases our desire to help out. Our heart begins to open. But then there is a thought: Is this problem too heavy? Do I have what it takes? If I offer to help, will I ever get away? Set off by fear, the mind is startled into self-defense. The fear, of course, is in part a reaction to the suffering itself. But it is also a response of resistance to the heart natural compassion as it reaches out to engage someone's pain.
Fear is the mind's reaction against the inherent generosity of the heart. Because the heart knows no bounds to its giving, the mind feels called upon to define limits. Under such tension, little wonder our choices of how to respond to the pain of others seem so difficult.
Perhaps we seek to resolve this tension without really having to open the door to suffering: a quick call to a sick friend; a charitable contribution slipped through the mail slot; some grain to a third-world country. But do these measures really feed and satisfy the heart, our heart and theirs'? As useful as they may be, they often short-change our compassion. We know there's more to helping than this.
Perhaps we open the door partway. We define boundaries of time and space for our involvement: a year off for the Peace Corps; every Tuesday morning at the battered women's shelter; eight hours a week with AIDS patients. We'll vote ourselves, but we won't go out to register others. "I'll visit Aunt Rosie in the convalescent home, but I won't bring her home to my house." Our service takes place in the fifty-minute hour. Careful boundaries assure that suffering won't spill over into the rest of our lives. These may be necessary; we all have other commitments. As often as not, however, they are artificially contrived to ward off that loss of control which so threatens and frightens the mind. But frequently these gestures fall short. Our boundaries prove to be Maginot Lines. Suffering presses through. So we retreat to our next line of defense: the mind itself and its array of tactics to protect its security in the face of pain.
There is, for example, the early-warning system of denial which often comes into play almost automatically. We blot out the suffering right before our eyes. We walk down the street past beggars and people obviously in pain without even noticing them. An ambulance goes by; it's just a loud noise, it'll pass. We hear cries in the night; it's only a family feud, we turn over and go back to sleep. Potential nuclear annihilation is only twenty minutes away; we can't handle the thought of it. It's as if we have an invisible screen that deflects evidence of pain as soon as it gets close enough. How easily we delete it from awareness, without even being aware that we've done so."
- To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense. We should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across our own minds. Yet we dismiss without notice our own thoughts, because they are ours. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
The power that resides in each of us is new in nature. We but half express ourselves and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.
"Trust thyself." Every heart vibrates to that iron string. The great have always done so. We now must accept the same transcendent destiny. We must be guides and benefactors, advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each share-holder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater.
The virtue in most request is conformity. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be great must be a non-conformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
I do not wish to expiate but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.
Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself.
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word. But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory? Suppose you contradict yourself; what then? Never rely on your memory, but bring the past for judgement into the thousand-eyed present. Live ever in a new day.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. A great soul has nothing to do with consistency. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
There will be an agreement in whatever variety of our actions, if they are each honest and natural in their hour. These varieties are lost sight of at a little distance, at a little height of thought. One tendency unites them all. The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance and it straightens itself. Your genuine action will explain itself and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.
Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough today to do right and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Always scorn appearances and you always may. The force of character is cumulative. What makes the majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field, which so fills the imagination? The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind. They shed a united light on the advancing actor. He is attended as if by a visible escort of angels. That it is which throws dignity into Washington's port and America into Adam's eye.
Honor is venerable to us because it is no ephemera. It is always ancient virtue. We worship it today because it is not of today. We love it and pay it homage because it is not a trap for our love and homage. It is self-dependent, self-derived, and therefore of an old immaculate pedigree, even if shown to a young person.
Though I would make humanity kind, I would make it true. Let us reprimand the smooth mediocrity of our times. There is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working whenever we work. We belong to no other time or place but to the center of things.
When we trust the self, who is the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self on which we may ground universal reliance? This primary wisdom is intuition. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. For the sense of being which in calm hours rises is not different from things, from space, from light, from time. It is one with them and proceeds from the same source. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence. We are the receivers of its truth and organs of its activity.
Whenever the mind is simple and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away - teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made sacred by relation to it. The soul is light: where it is, is day; where it was, is night. History is an impertinence and an injury if it be anything more than a parable of my being and becoming.
We dare not say, "I think", "I am", but quote some saint or sage. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are. We postpone or remember. We do not live in the present, but with reverted eye lamenting the past. Heedless of the riches surrounding us, we stand on tiptoe to foresee the future. We cannot be happy and strong until we too live with nature in the present, above time.
If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong to be strong as it is for the weak to be weak. When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures.
And now at last the highest truth on this subject remains unsaid; probably cannot be said; for all that we say is the far off remembering of the intuition. When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the footprints of any other. The way, the thought, shall be wholly strange and new.
Life only avails, not the having lived. Power resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates; that the soul becomes.
Inasmuch as the soul is present there will be power. To talk of reliance is a poor external way of speaking. Speak rather of that which works and is. Who has more obedience to it than I masters me, though he should not raise a finger.
Those who are plastic and permeable in this way, by the law of nature must overpower all cities, nations, kings who are not. Power is, in nature, the essential measure of right. The poise and orbit of a planet, the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind, are demonstrations of the self-relying soul.
We must go alone. Live no longer to the expectations of others. Say to them, "Oh, father, mother, wife, brother, friend, I have lived with you after appearances. Henceforward I am the truth's. From now on I obey no law less than the eternal law. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I trust that what is deep is holy.
If you are noble, I will love you. If you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions. I will seek my own. I do not do this selfishly but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men's, however long we have dealt in lies, to live in truth."
So may we give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power to save their sensibility. Besides, all persons have their moments when they look out into the region of absolute truth. Then will they justify me and do the same thing.
The populace think that our rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standards. But the law of consciousness abides. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. It denies the name of duty to many offices that are called duties. But if I can discharge its debts it enables me to dispense with the popular code. If anyone imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandments one day.
And it truly demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, clear his sight, that he may be doctrine, society and law to him- self, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others.
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death and afraid of each other. But with the exercise of self-trust, new powers shall appear. We will be the word made flesh, born to shed healing to the nations.
A greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all our offices and relations; in our religion, education, pursuits, modes of living, property, speculative views. Nothing can bring us peace but the triumph of principles. Nothing can bring us peace but ourselves.
- In our own Anglo-American culture there seems to be two common-sense models according to which we formulate our conceptions of behavior: the real, sincere, or honest performance; and the false one that thorough fabricators assemble for us, whether meant to be taken unseriously, as in the work of stage actors, or seriously, as in the work of confidence men. We tend to see real performances as something not purposely put together at all, being an unintentional product of the individual's unselfconscious response to the facts in his situation. And contrived performances we tend to see as something painstakingly pasted together, one false item on another, since there is no reality to which the items of behavior could be a direct response. It will be necessary to see now that these dichotomous conceptions are by way of being the ideology of honest performers, providing strength to the show they put on, but a poor analysis of it.
First, let it be said that there are many individuals who sincerely believe the definition of the situation they habitually project is the real reality. In this report I do not mean to question their proportion in the population but rather the structural relation of their sincerity to the performances they offer. If a performance is to come off, the witnesses must by and large be able to believe that the performers are sincere. This is the structural place of sincerity in the drama of events. Performers may be sincere - or be insincere but sincerely convinced of their own sincerity - but this kind of affection for one's part is not necessary for its convincing performance. There are not many French cooks who are really Russian spies, and perhaps there are not many women who play the part of wife to one man and mistress to another; but these duplicities do occur, often being sustained successfully for long periods of time. This suggests that while persons usually are what they appear to be [at least they think they are], such appearances could still have been managed. There is, then, a statistical relation between appearances and reality, not an intrinsic or necessary one. In fact, given the unanticipated threats that play upon a performance, and given the need (later to be discussed) to maintain solidarity with one's fellow performers and some distance from the witnesses, we find that a rigid incapacity to depart from one's inward view of reality may at times endanger one's performance. Some performances are carried off successfully with complete dishonesty; others with complete honesty; but for performances in general neither of these extremes is essential and neither, perhaps, is dramaturgically advisable.
The implication here is that an honest, sincere, serious performance is less firmly connected with the solid world than one might first assume. And this implication will be strengthened if we look again at the distance usually placed between quite honest performances and quite contrived ones. . . . All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn't are not easy to specify.
The recent use of "psychodrama" as a therapeutic technique illustrates a further point in this regard. In these psychiatrically staged scenes patients not only act out parts with some effectiveness, but employ no script in doing so. Their own past is available to them in a form which allows them to stage a recapitulation of it. Apparently a part once played honestly and in earnest leaves the performer in a position to contrive a showing of it later. Further, the parts that significant others played to him in the past also seem to be available, allowing him to switch from being the person that he was to being the persons that others were for him. This capacity to switch enacted roles when obliged to do so could have been predicted; everyone apparently can do it. For in learning to perform our parts in real life we guide our own productions by not too consciously maintaining an incipient familiarity with the routine of those to whom we will address ourselves. And when we come to be able properly to manage a real routine we are able to do this in part because of "anticipatory socialization", having already been schooled in the reality that is just coming to be real for us.
When the individual does move into a new position in society and obtains a new part to perform, he is not likely to be told in full detail how to conduct himself, nor will the facts of his new situation press sufficiently on him from the start to determine his conduct without his further giving thought to it. Ordinarily he will be given only a few cues, hints, and stage directions, and it will be assumed that he already has in his repertoire a large number of bits and pieces of performances that will be required in the new setting. The individual will already have a fair idea of what modesty, deference, or righteous indignation looks like, and can make a pass at playing these bits when necessary. He may even be able to play out the part of a hypnotic subject or commit a "compulsive" crime on the basis of models for these activities that he is already familiar with.
A theatrical performance or a staged confidence game requires a thorough scripting of the spoken content of the routine; but the vast part involving "expression given off" is often determined by meager stage directions. It is expected that the performer of illusions will already know a good deal about how to manage his voice, his face and his body, although he - as well as any person who directs him - may find it difficult indeed to provide a detailed verbal statement of this kind of knowledge. And in this, of course, we approach the situation of the straightforward man in the street. Socialization may not so much involve a learning of the many specific details of a single concrete part - often there could not be enough time or energy for this. What does seem to be required of the individual is that he learn enough pieces of expression to be able to "fill in" and manage, more or less, any part that he is likely to be given. The legitimate performances of everyday life are not "acted" or "put on" in the sense that the performer knows in advance just what he is going to do, and does this solely because of the effect it is likely to have. The expressions it is felt he is giving off will be especially "inaccessible" to him. But as in the case of less legitimate performers, the incapacity of the ordinary individual to formulate in advance the movements of his eyes and body does not mean that he will nor express himself through these devices in a way that is dramatized and pre-formed in his repertoire of actions. In short, we all act better than we know how.
When we watch a television wrestler gouge, foul and snarl at his opponent we are quite ready to see that, in spite of the dust, he is, and knows he is, merely playing at being the "heavy", and that in another match he may be given the other role, that of clean-cut wrestler, and perform this with equal verve and proficiency. We seem less ready to see, however, that while such details as the number and character of falls may be fixed before hand, the details of the expressions and movements used do not come from a script but from command of an idiom, a command that is exercised from moment to moment with little calculation or forethought.
In reading of persons in the West Indies who become the "horse" or the one possessed of a voodoo spirit, it is enlightening to learn that the person possessed will be able to provide a correct portrayal of the god that has entered him because of the "knowledge and memories accumulated in a life spent visiting congregations of the cult"; that the person possessed will be in just the right social relation to those who are watching; that possession occurs at just the right moment in the ceremonial undertakings, the possessed one carrying out his ritual obligations to the point of participating in a kind of skit with persons possessed at the time with other spirits. But in learning this it is important to see that this contextual structuring of the horse's role still allows participants in the cult to believe that possession is a real thing and that persons are possessed at random by gods whom they cannot select.
And when we observe a young American middle-class girl playing dumb for the benefit of her boy friend, we are ready to point to items of guile and contrivance in her behavior. But like herself and her boyfriend, we accept as an unperformed fact that this performer is a young American middle-class girl. But surely here we neglect the greater part of the performance. It is commonplace to say that different social groupings express in different ways such attributes as age, sex, territory, and class status, and that in each case these bare attributes are elaborated by means of a distinctive complex cultural configuration of proper ways of conducting oneself. To be a given kind of person, then, is not merely to possess the required attributes, but also to sustain the standards of conduct and appearance that one's social grouping attaches thereto. The unthinking ease with which performers consistently carry off such standard-maintaining routines does not deny that a performance has occurred, merely that the participants have been aware of it.
A status, a position, a social place is not a material thing, to be possessed and then displayed; it is a pattern of appropriate conduct, coherent, embellished, and well articulated. Performed with ease or clumsiness, awareness or not, guile or good faith, it is none the less something that must be enacted and portrayed, something that must be realized. Sartre, here, provides a good illustration:
Let us consider this waiter in the cafe. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tightrope-walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually re-establishes by a light movement of the arm and hand. All his behavior seems to us a game. He applies himself to chaining his movements as if they were mechanisms; he gives himself the quickness and pitiless rapidity of things. He is playing, he is amusing himself. But what is he playing? We need not watch long before we can explain it: he is playing at being a waiter in a caf. There is nothing there to surprise us. The game is a kind of marking out and investigation. The child plays with his body in order to explore it, to take inventory of it; the waiter in the caf plays with his condition in order to realize it. This obligation is not different from that which is imposed on all tradesmen. Their condition is wholly one of ceremony. The public demands of them that they realize it as a ceremony; there is the dance of the grocer, of the tailor, of the auctioneer, by which they endeavor to persuade their clientele that they are nothing but a grocer, an auctioneer, a tailor. A grocer who dreams is offensive to the buyer, because such a grocer is not wholly a grocer. Society demands that he limit himself to his function as a grocer, just as a soldier at attention makes himself into a soldier-thing with a direct regard which does not see at all, which is not longer meant to see, since it is the rule and not the interest of the moment which determines the point he must fix his eyes on (the sight "fixed at ten paces"). There are indeed many precautions to imprison a person in what he is, as if we lived in perpetual fear that he might escape from it, that he might break away and suddenly elude his condition.
- The Future of the English Language
Computers and other technologies will standardize and stabilize English and spread it around the globe.
Bemoaning the state of English has become a popular pastime. Commentators fret that standards are being abandoned, that words are losing their meaning, that other languages are threatening the primacy of English, that ugly bureaucratic and scientific jargon is polluting our speech. Among the culprits linked to the demise of language are television, under-funded schools, advertising, bi-lingual education and computers. And, because it has become a modern truism that change is accelerating, the language police assert that the state of the language is likely to go from bad to worse.
Their fears are not without substance. Directional signs and advertising in buses, subways and public buildings are increasingly found in English and Spanish. New words are entering the language every day. Advertisers continue to place impact before correctness [accuracy] in crafting their messages. Computers seem to be turning everything else topsy-turvy; they do, after all, have their own languages. And, as government continues to expand, will it not continue to draft more nouns into service as verbs, to lengthen more words with prefixes and suffixes just as it continues to lengthen ZIP codes, and then to reduce all titles to acronyms because they are too long to repeat more than once?
English is the closest thing the world has to an international language. It is currently spoken by some 403 million persons, second only to Mandarin Chinese. Will its power diminish with the growing populations and political influence of developing countries like China, India, Mexico and Brazil? And is it not simply being realistic to expect that other threats are waiting in the wings?
Though some of these fears are facetious and others are transparent allusions to other social or political issues - immigration policy or the growing influence of technology - change in the language is a significant concern, and there are increasingly powerful forces like computers and mass communication that will shape its development.
The state of the language has always been a popular topic of debate, and the passions it arouses suggest that more than aesthetic concerns are at stake. Language is closely linked to political power. Debates over the primacy of language have even become violent in the twentieth century in Quebec between French and English, in Belgium between French and Flemish, in India between Hindi and Urdu, and in Sri Lanka between Sinhala and Tamil.
Battles over the conventions of language are almost always fought between social classes, and the ruling class typically defends traditional standards. They see, quite rightly, that the dominance of their English at home and abroad supports the continuation of a political order in which they wield considerable power. This political background should be kept in mind when looking at the perceived threats to the language.
The areas of international commerce in which English is the official language are an important indication of the power of English. For example, all containers of manufactured goods must be marked in English, and English is the official language of airport control towers. The international power of English can be seen in India, where 150 languages are spoken, and Hindi, the most common, is spoken by only 30% of the people. Indians have chosen English over Hindi as the bridge language among the various languages. Although England's colonial rule in India explains the prevalence of the language there, the economic and political power of the United States explains its continued importance in India and its prevalence throughout the world. For the same reason, the Soviet Union commonly includes English training as part of its aid programs in developing countries.
American businessmen and politicians want to see English spoken everywhere because it makes trade easier and facilitates the export of U.S. political ideas. U.S. English speakers particularly want to keep English dominant in the United States. A lobbying group called "U.S. English" is promoting legislation to eliminate the use of multilingual voting ballots. The group fears that the primacy of English is threatened and that making allowances for those who do not speak English will weaken the country. Former Kentucky Senator Walter Huddleston has urged and amendment banning multilingual ballots to head off "irreparable damage to the fragile unity that our common language has helped us preserve for over 200 years." Some people take the argument even further, calling for the elimination of bilingual education.
Computers and telecommunications systems are changing the face of the world, we are told every day, and they are almost always mentioned in discussions of the future of language. But no one has a very clear idea [no one the author knows, anyway] of exactly how these new technologies will change English or whether the impact will be seen in the structure or prevalence of the language. Yet, the lessons of the past can tell us some important things about what to expect.
Telecommunications improvements will have an effect very much like that of the invention of printing. They will expand the sphere of influence of the language of those who control the technology - in this case, primarily English. More people will see U.S. television programs and hear broadcasts of U.S. radio programs. This is virtually inevitable in the early years of expansion of T.V. broadcasts via satellite because those receiving the new technology, largely developing countries, will not have the resources or the time to develop their own programs. And even when they do begin production, the quality is certain to lag behind U.S. programming. It will not be easy to keep viewers tuned to a talking-head lecture on sanitation when popular entertainment is available just a click away.
Of course, government officials will have some say over what is offered to viewers, particularly with cable systems. But satellite systems will certainly dominate for many years because renting time from a communications satellite is far cheaper than lacing a country with cables. Most countries will receive programs at centralized antennas and then rebroadcast them locally, offering some control. But it will be difficult to stop those who can afford them from buying their own antennas.
At any rate, nothing in the spread of television is likely to lessen the influence of English, and almost certainly more people will have contact with the language through T.V. This will not only spread the language but also limit the formation of dialects and accents that usually accompany the diffusion of language.
Computers and English
Computers are another technological force that could exert an influence on language. Most computers in use today were made in the United States and have English based operating languages. One can certainly learn to operate a computer simply by learning the key operational words on the keyboard and the basic commands, but the process of developing computer competency must be slower for someone who does not know the literal meaning of the commands. And, with almost all programs written in English, the English speaker continues to have an advantage in using the technology.
Some possible developments in computer technology could change the importance of English in computer use. The Japanese are trying to develop an international graphic language as part of their effort to produce the fifth-generation computer. This new language would be equally accessible to all people, no matter what language they spoke. If such a language could be developed and be widely accepted, it would eliminate the need to learn English to use computers more effectively. Another possible direction for computer technology would make English even more important for computer use. Research is already under way on the development of computers that respond to verbal commands. Users would have to pronounce the commands properly, making it easier for English speakers, though the machines would still allow one to enter commands through the keyboard. Considering the growing importance of international markets, the computer industry is unlikely to put much effort into a device that would not have international appeal. For the near term, computers will probably increase the use of English because computers speak English or a derivative of English. And computers seem unlikely to corrupt the language from within. The language of computer commands may not be elegant, but it does require precision - one of the "endangered" qualities of the language. Thus far, no one has had trouble distinguishing computer syntax from ordinary writing, and we do not seem to be in danger of losing English to FORTRAN. People know how to distinguish between specialized jargon and everyday speech.
Rather than destabilizing English, the computer could further standardize the language. Computer programs to correct spelling are already popular, and editing programs have already appeared. The spelling programs will sometimes try to discourage the use of an unusual word, but they can alert writers to misspellings as well as typos.
Editing programs would be a little more problematic, probably tending to reduce prose to a lowest common denominator of directness and clarity. This might help the worst writers, but the inevitable sameness of the results could be disheartening. The best writers would undoubtedly shun the editing programs, but many people would choose to hide behind a program rather than expose their writing to criticism. Machine editing also raises the specter of an impoverished language like that which George Orwell describes in 1984. Computer technology does not make it any more likely, but it does make it more achievable.
While editing programs would ease the transition for those who are learning a new language, translation programs would make it unnecessary to learn the language. Voice-interactive computers combined with translation programs and an extremely fast computer could permit phone conversations between people speaking different languages. Such a development would counteract other trends leading toward fewer languages and an increased use of English. But are we likely to trust machines at such sensitive tasks? the multiplication of errors possible with voice interpretation and translation will slow the acceptance of this approach to scaling the language barrier.
Toward an International Language?
An international language is appealing because it would improve communication, increase trade, and perhaps promote global cooperation. The movement to make Esperanto an international language has few followers, particularly in the United States. One hundred years after its creation, only about a million people speak Esperanto, though Esperanto radio programs are broadcast in Italy, Poland and China. Most people think that their own language should be the international standard. Even Basque, which has 200,000 speakers, is promoted as an international language. English, which is the leading candidate for an international language, will run into resistance in some countries, but so will any other language.
Many people fear the homogenization of the world and fight to preserve cultural heritage. As English becomes more dominant, this movement could gain in strength in response to U.S. cultural hegemony. But, while people will try to preserve their native languages, the convenience and practicality of an international language in a world that is ever more closely interconnected seems likely to be a prevailing consideration.
The popularity of English as an international rests on the political and economic power of the United States. As the leading military and economic nation in the world, the United States has a pervasive presence, and written and spoken English is a manifestation of the presence. From scientific journals to snack-food labels, English constantly impinges on the world consciousness.
English in the Future
For now, almost all indicators point toward increased stability and influence for English for the next 25 years. Within the United States, the technology of computers will increase the standardization of the language while introducing little change. Increased interaction with computers will force us to be more precise in our use of words.
English seems to remain the language of power in the United States, and that is enough to ensure that all Americans will want to learn it. The proponents of bilingual education, ballots, and public documents see these programs as a transitional strategy that will enable people to function in the society until they master English. And they are mastering English.
Mass communication and the spread of computer technology will keep standard English in front of people throughout the world. No country has the power to exert a significant influence on the language, and as the world grows closer, English will grow in strength and popularity. On the other hand, computer translation programs, if perfected, would slow the spread of English.
The political future is hardest to predict, and it will have the most profound impact on the spread of English. People study English because it is the language of power, not because it is the best language. Also, people want an international language, and English is the most likely candidate. Cultural activists may display some resistance, but the overwhelming forces of technology and political power will ultimately prevail...
- This text tries to explain how minds work. How can intelligence emerge from non-intelligence? To answer that, I'll show that you can build a mind from many little parts, each mindless by itself.
I call this scheme "Society of Mind", in which each mind is made of many smaller processes. These we'll call agents. Each agent by itself can only do some simple thing that needs no mind or thought at all. Yet, when we join these agents in societies - in certain very special ways - this leads to true intelligence.
There's nothing very technical in this text. It, too, is a society - of many small ideas. Each, by itself, is only common sense, yet when we join enough of them, we can explain the strangest mysteries of the mind. One trouble is that these ideas have a lot of cross-connections. My explanations rarely go in neat, straight lines from start to end. I wish I could have lined them up so you could climb straight to the top, by mental stair-steps, one by one. Instead they're tied in tangled webs. Perhaps the fault is actually mine for failing to find a tidy base of neatly ordered principles. But I'm inclined to lay the blame upon the nature of the mind: much of its power seems to stem from just the messy ways its agents cross-connect. If so, that complication can't be helped; it's only what we must expect from evolution's countless tricks.
Common sense is not a simple thing. Instead, it is an immense society of many painfully acquired practical ideas.
If common sense is so diverse and intricate, what makes it seem so obvious and natural? This illusion of simplicity comes from losing touch with what happened during our infancy, when we formed our first abilities. As each new group of skills matures to work efficiently, we build yet more on top of them, not knowing much of how the old ones work. As time goes on, the layers underneath become increasingly remote till, when we try to speak of them in later life, we find ourselves with little more than synonyms for "I don't know."
One ought to ask, if thinking is so complicated, then how could it all seem so simple? Is it really possible that our minds use such intricate machinery and yet are unaware of it? It scarcely could be otherwise.
In general, we're least aware of what our minds do best.
It's mainly when our other systems fail that we engage the special systems we call "consciousness". Because of this we cannot trust our offhand judgments about which of the things we do are simple and which of them require complicated machinery. Each portion of the mind can only sense how quietly the other portions do their jobs.
The Investment Principle: Our oldest ideas have unfair advantages over those which come later. The earlier we learn a skill, the more methods we can acquire for using it. Each new idea must then compete, all unprepared, against the mass of skills the old ideas have accumulated.
This is why it is almost always easier to do new things in older ways, instead of starting fresh. Each new idea, however good in principle, seems alien and awkward until we master it. The old ideas keep gaining in strength; the new ones can rarely catch up. And then those older, well-developed skills will tend to spread to other worlds of thought in which they do not really work so well - but are just good enough to keep better, new ones from forming at all. In the short run, it is usually easier and better to use bad, old ideas than to start afresh.
Isn't it amazing that a mind can grow, yet keep on working while it's making changes in itself? How do we do it? A mind can't simply shut down work and say it's "closed for renovations". How can we stay alive and well while vital parts are being modified? One way human institutions cope with changes is by assigning managers to be responsible for getting important jobs done. And we expect those managers to maintain flexibility by keeping open good alternatives by making several workers interchangeable. Then, while one is being changed or trained, another can be made to do its work. If this is done at every stage, then we can even change the managers. This is one reason we build pyramids of power and authority, both outside and in the mind.
It is an old idea that brains are made of opposing hierarchies. The ascending system must compress large amounts of low-level information into simpler, more meaningful representations, so that those million-featured pictures on our retinas can lead to memes [thought units] for apples and chairs. The descending system must convert terse instructions from higher levels into multitudes of more specific signals for smaller agents, as when your wish to walk across the room must cause a hundred muscles to pull in a hundred different ways.
Consider two different situations. In the first case, I hold up an apple and ask, "What is it?" In the second case there is no apple on the scene and I ask instead, "What do you call those round, red, thin-peeled fruits? " Both times you end up with an apple-thought. We have agents that recognize a certain kind of state of mind or - if we dare use the phrase - a certain combination of ideas. In this sense, both physical and mental objects could engage similar representations and processes.
People often ask, "Could a machine ever be conscious?" I'm often tempted to ask back, "Could a person ever be conscious?" I mean this as a serious reply, because we seem so ill-equipped to understand ourselves. That in itself is understandable: most of our evolution came long before our brains became intelligent enough to start to know themselves. They still don't seem to have good ways to reach the records of their own activities.
How much genuine self-insight is possible for us? I'm sure our memory machinery provides some useful clues, if only we could learn to interpret them. But it is unlikely that one part of the mind could ever obtain complete descriptions of what happens in the other parts because, it seems, our memory-control systems have too little temporary memory even to represent their own activities in very much detail.
To "know thyself" more perfectly might seem to promise something powerful and good. But there are fallacies concealed behind that happy thought. No doubt, a mind that wants to change itself could benefit from knowing how it works. But then, such knowledge might encourage us to wreck ourselves - if we had ways to poke our clumsy mental fingers into the tricky circuits of the mind's machinery. Could this be why our brains force us to play those games of mental hide-and-seek?
Just see how prone we are to risk experiments that change ourselves; we're drawn irresistibly to drugs, to meditation, music, even conversation - all powerful addictions that can change our very personalities. Just see how every-one's entranced by any promise to transgress the bounds of normal pleasure and reward.
In ordinary life, our pleasure systems help us learn - and, therefore, to behave ourselves - by forcing checks and balances on us. When "enough is enough", they saturate and satiate. But when we seize control of them through perverse tricks that break those bounds, then we can reproduce the pleasures of success, yet freed from any need for socially approved accomplishment. And that's the end of everything.
Then, what prevents such meddling? Our minds are bound by many sorts of self-constraint. For one, it's hard to see inside the mind. And even if our inner eyes could see what's there, I think we'd find that many of the agents we'd most want to change would be among the harder ones to change, the ones which first, in infancy, helped form and shape our longest-lasting self-ideals.
The reason these are hard to change comes from their special evolutionary origin. For the long-term stability of many other mental agencies depends on a certain sluggishness of our images of what we ought to be like. Few of us would survive if, left to random chance, our most adventurous impulses could freely tamper with the basis of our personalities.
In real life, you often have to deal with things you don't completely understand. You drive a car, not knowing how the engine works. You ride in someone else's car, not knowing how that driver works. Most strange of all, you drive yourself to where you work, not knowing how you work, yourself.
But how do we understand anything, really? Almost always, I think, by using one or another kind of analogy. And what is that but to pretend that each new and alien thing we see resembles something we already know. Whenever a new thing's internal workings are too strange, complicated, or unknown to deal with directly, we extract whatever parts of its behavior we can comprehend and represent them by familiar symbols - that is, in terms of familiar things that seem to act in similar ways. This way, we make each novelty appear to be like something we've known before. It is a great idea, that use of words and symbols, icons, images, and names. They let our minds transform the strange into the commonplace.
This then is the point of consciousness: it is a part of the mind that is specialized for knowing how to use other systems which lie hidden in the mind. But it is not a specialist in knowing what those systems actually do, inside themselves. Thus one walks without much sense of how it's actually done. It's only when those systems start to fail to work so well that consciousness becomes engaged with small details. That way, a person who has sustained an injured leg may start, for the first time, consciously to make theories about how walking works: "To turn to the left, I'll have to push myself that way" - and then one has to figure out, with what? Actually, we do not often reflect on how our minds solve their problems. I suspect that it is mainly in those moments when we recognize that we're confused that we call up what little knowledge we have about our strategies of thought. Then we find ourselves saying things like this:
Now I must get organized. Why can't I concentrate on the important questions and not get distracted by those other inessential details? Paradoxically, it is very smart to realize that one is confused - that is, in contrast to being confused without knowing it. For then we can apply all our intellect to altering or repairing the defective process.
If our internal mental agents can't communicate, how is it that people can, in spite of having different backgrounds, thoughts, and purposes? the [an] answer is that it is easier for people than for mental agents, because each person knows much more than any smaller portion of that person's mind. Besides, we overestimate how well we actually communicate. We may seem very different from one another in many regards, yet many of our concerns are based on common knowledge and similar experience. This means that we do not really need to tell each other as much as we suppose. Often, when we "explain" something, we merely show some examples of what we mean, and some non-examples; these indicate to the listener how to link up various structures already known. In short, we often just tell "which" kind of thoughts to think, but not "how" to do it.
It would be wonderful to never make mistakes. One way would be to generate such perfect thoughts that none of them are ever wrong. But such perfection can't be reached. Instead, we can try, as best we can, to recognize our bad ideas before they do much harm. So we can imagine two poles of self-improvement. On one side we can try to stretch the range of the ideas we generate: that leads to more ideas, but also to more mistakes. Then, on the other side, we try to learn not to repeat mistakes we've made before. We know that all societies evolve prohibitions and taboos to tell their members what they shouldn't do. That, too, must happen in our minds: we build up banks of memories to tell us what we shouldn't think.
Serious learning tends to change the ways we reach our goals. Humorous learning tends to change the goals themselves. Our culture regards humor as a pleasant but pointless luxury we do not really need, a thing detached from practicality. Actually, humor has an important, practical function in helping us to learn to suppress certain ways of thinking. It censors thoughts.
Humor as a censor would explain why humor is so often concerned with prohibitions and mistakes. Our most productive kinds of thinking are precisely the ones that are most liable to error. Careful, logical thinking can sometimes be make relatively error-free, but then it rarely leads to powerful new ideas. Much more can come from working with analogies and metaphors. The problem is, analogies are often wrong, and metaphors can easily mislead. That's why so many jokes are based on recognizing comparisons that are inept or inappropriate.
Why is it so hard to see that humor plays such vital roles? Because, I think, it has a funny side effect: when humor turns off other thoughts, it also shuts off thoughts about itself - and thus becomes invisible.
We like to think of memories as though they could restore the things we've known in the past. But memories can't really bring things back; they only reproduce some fragments of our former states of mind, when various sights, sounds, touches, smells and tastes affected us. But then, what makes some recollections seem so real? the secret is that real-time experience is just as indirect! the closest we can come to apprehending the world, in any case, is through descriptions which our agents make. In fact, if we inquire, instead, about why real things seem so real, we'll see that it depends, as well, on memories of things we've known before!
For instance, when you see a telephone, you have a sense, not only of the aspects you can see - its color, texture, size and shape - but also how it feels to hold it to your ear. You also seem to know at once what telephones are for: that you speak into it hear, listen there; that when it rings you answer it; that when you want to call, you dial it. You have a sense of what it weighs, of whether it is soft or hard, of what its other side is like - although you haven't even touched it yet. Those apprehensions come from memories.
Whenever you "get a good idea" or solve a problem or have a memorable experience, you activate a K-line to "represent" it. A K-line is a wire-like agent that attaches itself to whatever mental agents are active when you solve a problem or have a good idea.
When you activate a K-line late, you arouse the agents attached to it, pulling you into a "mental state" much like the one you were in when you solved that problem or got that idea. Because so many of the same agents are active again, you should now find it easier to solve similar kinds of problems!
In other words, we "memorize" what we're thinking about by making a list of the agents involved in that activity. Making a K-line is like making a list of people who came to a successful party. Here is another image of how K-lines work, suggested by Kenneth Haase, an MIT student who had a large influence on this theory.
"You want to repair a bicycle. Before you start, smear your hands with red paint. Then each tool you need to use will end up with red marks on it. When you're done, just remember that red means 'good for fixing bicycles'! Next time you fix a bicycle, you can save time by taking out all the red-marked tools in advance.
"If you use different colors for different kinds of jobs, some tools will end up marked with several different colors. That is, each agent can become attached to many different K-lines. Later, when there's a job to do, just activate the proper K-line for that kind of job, and all the tools used in the past for similar jobs will magically become available."
(We keep everything we learn close to the agents which learn it in the first place. That way, our knowledge becomes easy to reach and easy to use. This is based on the idea of a type of agent called a "Knowledge-line" or "K-line", for short.)
This suggests a way to make our machine learn to do this job more quickly and easily: we can build a memory that simply keeps a record of which lower-level action-agents were activated during the "Trans-action". So, when we play that sequence back, this "trans-script" would put a second apple in that pail - without invoking any higher-level agencies at all.
We could call this "learning by rote" or doing things so automatically that one can think of other things at the same time. When such a script can work at all, it can work very fast because it has no bureaucracy. But rote-learned skills have serious limitations. They are inflexible because they can work only in narrow ranges of conditions - precisely because they lack bureaucratic super structure. They have no higher-level anchor points to use to call for help when anything goes wrong. Because of the lack of hierarchy, there is no place to appeal when an agent gets into trouble.
When someone says "John threw a ball," you probably unconsciously assume some certain set of qualities of color, size, and weight. These are your assumptions by default. They might be derived from some ball you owned long ago or, possibly, your newest one. But since such optional details are usually too weak to hold against the sharp insistence of reality, other stimuli will find them easy to detach or otherwise adapt. Defaults don't make strong images, and when they turn out wrong, we aren't too surprised. [Ha!]
But why use defaults at all, instead of simply seeing what's really there? Because, unless we make assumptions, the world would simply make no sense. It would be as useless to perceive how things "actually look" as it would be to watch the random dots on untuned television screens. What really matters is being able to see "what things look like" - and this is why our brains must have special machinery for representing what we see in terms of artificially distinct "objects" or "things". For every idea of an object embodies many assumptions we make that "go without saying" - that an object has substance and boundaries, that it existed before we saw it, and that it will remain afterwards - in short, that it will act like most other things. For example, we never see all sides of an object at once, yet we always assume that their unseen sides exist. Perhaps the larger part of what we know is represented by default assumptions, since there is so little we know with perfect certainty. We use default assumptions in personal relationships, too. How does the writer's craft evoke such lifelike characters? It's ridiculous to think that people could be well-portrayed in so few words. Instead, our writers use phrases which activate great networks of assumptions that lie already in their readers' minds. It takes great skill to create those illusions - to activate unknown processes in unknown readers' minds and to shape them to the writer's purposes. Indeed, in doing so, a writer can surpass reality. For, although words are merely catalysts for starting mental processes, so, too, are real things: we can't sense what they really are, but only what we see them to be.
It is not only a matter of language, this ability to simplify or encapsulate other mental processes. We also use this ability to "conceptualize" - that is, to treat ideas as though they were objects - in other areas of thought. Suppose one manages to solve a hard problem after a long and painful search. If we can apply our powers to treat the steps of what we did as though they were parts of an object, then we can "think" about what we did and reassemble the parts that "helped" into a new structure which will do what the old one did, except with much more speed and with much less thought.
An explanation of the difference between older and younger children was first proposed by Seymour Papert in the 1960s, when we first started to explore "Society of Mind" ideas. Most previous theories had tried to explain Piaget's experiments by suggesting that children grow new, different kinds of reasoning as time goes by. That certainly is true, but the importance of Papert's conception is in emphasizing that it is not merely the ingredients of reasoning that matter, but how they're organized: a mind cannot really grow very much by only accumulating more and more new knowledge. It must also develop new and better ways to use what it already knows. That principle deserves a name. Papert's Principle: Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on acquiring new skills but on acquiring new administrative ways to use what one already knows.
Somehow, each child learns better ways to learn. But it is very hard to guess the nature of those strategies only from watching what the child does. The problem is that those "learning-learning" strategies are twice removed from behavior. If it is hard to guess how our A-brains produce our observable behavior, it must be more than twice as hard to guess how our B-agencies learn to train our A-agencies! Perhaps, in order for a child to become unusually smart, its B-brain must experience a "lucky accident" - the kind that focuses a hidden but persistent interest upon the process of learning itself. If so, then perhaps a major concern for education should be to find out how to get children less concerned with solving particular external problems and more involved in learning better how to learn.
There is one way for a mind to watch itself, and yet still contemplate what's happening. Divide the brain into two parts, A and B. Connect the A-brain's inputs and outputs to the real world - so it can sense what happens there. But don't connect the B-brain to the outer world at all; instead, connect it so that the A-brain is the B-brain's world.
Imagine a simple brain composed of separate "proto-specialists", each concerned with some important need, goal, or instinct like food, drink, shelter, reproduction, or defense. On one side, there must be administrators to resolve conflicts between those separate specialists, so that they can work together to control a single body without becoming engaged in paralyzing conflicts. On the other side, each specialist needs ways to use the knowledge that the others gain to fuse the system together. In animals, with limited abilities to learn, a loosely-knitted league of almost separate agencies with almost independent goals might be enough to survive in a suitable environment.
But human minds don't merely learn new ways to reach old goals: they also learn new ways to reach new goals. If we did that without constraint, we'd soon fall prey to accidents - both in the world and in the mind. At the simplest levels, we need protection against accidents like learning not to breathe; at higher levels we must not acquire lethal goals like learning to suppress our other goals entirely - the way that certain saints and mystics do. What sorts of built-in self-constraints could guide a mind toward goals that won't destroy itself? No possible inheritance of built-in genes can tell us humans what is good for us! For, unlike all other animals, we build for ourselves the world of problems that we face. Then what could teach us what is "good", if our values change from each generation to the next? the answer is that our goals must be constrained, not by our genes, but by our social heritage - and that's exactly how we work. Unlike the other animals, we each must learn our goals anew, from one another, through our traditions and cultures. But still the question remains: what mechanism leads us to do that? How could machines that are built by genes help transfer socio-cultural goals - without the least idea of what they are? This is done by indirect but specific ways - by exploiting what we call affection, attachment, and love.
Thus our earliest emotions have roots in the machinery through which our original, inborn proto-specialists control what happens in our brains. But soon our cultural surroundings begin to work to overrule those built-in schemes and start to try to teach us what we ought to feel. First our parents, then our teachers and friends, and finally our own self-ideals try to impose on us their rules for how to use the mixed-up remnants of those early states; they teach us how and when to let each kind of emotion-sign show. By the time we're adults, our own expression-systems have become too complicated even for ourselves to understand. What's more, once we have passed through all the stages of childhood, our grown-up minds have been rebuilt too many times to clearly remember or understand what infants feel. We're too far removed to be sure that our sympathies, however strong, are authentic.
Yet how could all these steps and stages lead to any sense of unity? Why wouldn't they, instead, lead us to feel more fragmentary and dispersed? I think the secret is that when each new stage's work is done, its structure still remains available for further use. Then those remnants of our previous selves supply our personalities with a powerful resource: for whenever one's present mind becomes confused, it can exploit those stored-up, earlier minds to try old ways to manage things. Although those older selves may not have been so smart, they had much more experience and found many useful ways to cope.
Yet, on the whole, the present personality is almost wholly unaware of this; it has no sense of what it owes to older personalities, because it cannot share their conscious thoughts. And so we just imagine that we have an ever-present Self - a sort of ghostly person-friend inside the head, whom we can always ask for help.
What could be the biological and psychological purposes of the complex, unconscious self-images which we grow inside our child-minds?
The answer seems quite clear to me: that's how Selves start! Consider that our models of ourselves are so complex that even adults can't explain them. Surely, no fragmentary infant mind could know how to build such a complicated thing without some model to base it on. We aren't born with built-in Selves - but, fortunately, we do arrive with built-in human caretakers. And then our ancient attachment mechanisms force us to focus on our parents' ways, to construct crude images of what they want us to be like. Then, stage by stage, those simple models grow until they lead powerful, coherent policies of thought.
This is how the values and goals of a culture are passed from each generation to the next. It is not the same as the "ordinary" kinds of teaching based on signals representing failure or success. Instead, our children learn their deepest values under the influence of attachment-related signals. This is why, when we maintain our standards, we feel virtuous rather than merely successful and why when we violate those standards we feel shame and guilt rather than mere disappointment. These kinds of emotion are not the same, because they're wired differently.
Why should mental growth proceed by anything like steps at all? Why can't we grow by steady, smooth development?
There are many reasons why it is easier to construct large, complicated things in separated episodes. They are much the same reasons why all large corporations have divisions and departments, and why all complicated living things are divided into organs.
Splitting structures into parts makes them easier to build, maintain and change.
It is always a dangerous experiment to make changes in things that work. What if the new way seems better at first, but later shows some serious flaws - can we get back to where we were? One way might be to keep such complete records that we could "undo" all the changes we've made. But what if those changes caused our quality of thought to become so poor that we could no longer recognize how poor it had become? A safer way would be to keep that older mind in tact and build a new one close to it. Then we can use that "previous stage" not only as a "back up" to use if the new one fails, but also to evaluate the new one's performance.
Indeed, one very conservative strategy would be not to permit the new stage actually to take control until it demonstrates the ability to out-perform its predecessor. In that case, an outside observer would see "plateaus" followed by sudden spurts of growth. Yet that could be illusory, for the "silent period" might actually conceal the new mind's time of fastest growth. The best part of this scheme is that it permits the person to continue to function while growing - to maintain "business during renovations". For the "working version" can hold still, while the new one catches up and gets ahead.
How could an early stage teach anything to a later one, when it knows less than its student does? As every teacher knows, this is not as hard as it might seem. For one thing, it is usually easier to recognize a solution to a problem than to discover a solution. A teacher need not know how to solve a problem, to be able to reward the student for doing so.
It can make sense to think that there exists, inside your brain, a society of different minds. Like members of a family, they can work together to help each other, each still having its own mental experiences that the others never know about. Several such agencies could have many agents in common, yet still have no more sense of each other's interior activities than people whose apartments share opposite sides of the same walls. Like tenants in a rooming house, the processes that share your brain need not share one another's mental lives. If each of us contains several such mini-minds, could any special exercise help put them all "in closer touch"? Certainly there are ways to become selectively aware of processes which are not usually conscious at all. But as for becoming aware of everything that happens in one's mind, that surely would leave no room for thought.
If you agree that each person has both a left-brain mind and a right- brain mind, then you must also agree that each person also has a front-brain mind and a back-brain mind! To understand what we call the Self, we'll need to understand what Selves are for. One function of the Self is to keep us from changing too rapidly. If we changed our minds too recklessly, we could never know what we might want next. We'd never get much done because we could never depend on ourselves.
As far as I'm concerned, the so-called problem of "body and mind" does not hold any mystery at all: Minds are simply what brains do.
Whenever we speak about a mind, we're simply speaking of the processes by which our brains proceed from each state to the next state. And this is why minds seem so separate from their physical embodiments: it is simply because nothing can affect that state-succession except the connections that govern how each agent changes its state - and thereby causes other agents to change their states.
In earlier times, we could usually judge machines and process by how they transformed raw materials into finished products. But it makes no sense to speak of brains as though they manufacture thoughts the way factories make cars. The difference is that brains use processes that change themselves - and this means that we cannot separate such processes from the products they produce. In particular, our brains are usually engaged in making memories, which change the ways we'll subsequently think.
Because of this, we cannot trust our common-sense judgments about "thinking machines". even our technical, scientific theories about such matters are still embryonic, since the whole idea of self-modifying processes is relatively new to science.
The principal activities of brains are making changes in themselves.