morning web browse running over (as usual), need to get to work. will have to check these out later…
Don’t really update this thing much anymore. What with twitter, facebook, and blip.fm, my limited publishing desires are pretty much met. So i’m going to use this as a log for my daily bike rides. Today is day 2; i’ve set a goal to go for a ride of 30 minutes or more for 30 days in a row, at least. Call it the Bike Ridin 30/30.
Today got out at around 11am and was back by 11:45. I pretty much always bring my hand-me-down Zune along for the ride and today my favorite track was:
I hope that plays the right track, but I have a feeling its just gonna play my latest blip. ah well.
today was hazy, but sunny enough that i could feel the warmth of the sun on my face and there were bright sparkles bouncing off the ripples in the Ballona Creek culvert.
I rode out to the little turnaround next to the local vegetation information sign just passed Centinela. Just as I turned around for the ride back, Ricardo Villalobos’s “Enfants (chants)” came on and was my soundtrack for pretty much the entire ride back. Its a repetitive, minimal house track with some piano and the sound of kids doing a kind of chant-singing. was very meditative and calming. rode by the school and saw kids running around the track for gym class. pined for the innocence and freedom of youth. then remembered how trapped by school I felt as a kid and got over it and just enjoyed the moment as it was.
watched my shadow for much of the ride back since it was now a bit in front of me. obedient shadow, it does pretty much whatever i’m doing, just flattened and at a different angle.
near the end of my route along the Ballona Creek bike path i heard the sound of heavy machinery over the music in my ear buds. my eyes darted up to the Duquesne Ave bridge looking for a truck, but there were only cars going by. then i noticed something under the bridge. it was a big rig! driving in reverse through the water towards me. it was pushing (since it was going backwards) a really long trailer with a really long steel beam on it. i was trying to figure out how long it must be when i noticed 107′ 9″ spray painted on the corner. So I guess it was over 107 feet long. wow. never know what you’re gonna see down at the creek.
So last night I tweeted that I needed a break from humanity and was gonna watch some good ol’ David Attanborough nature documentaries. I selected the classic “Trials of Life” series and went for the episode on Living Together. I figured some inspiring examples of inter-species cooperation would be just what the doctor ordered. It worked wonders.
Then this morning I check my email and find my daily question from the Gaia social network that’s crafted to illicit a thoughtful bit of daily blog writing on the service. I usually pass, but today’s was “What makes us human,” so I just couldn’t resist. Below is my response:
SImply, our desire and ability to call ourselves as such. As long as there are those who choose to identify with the myriad of traits, habits, and physicality known as human, then there will be humans.
For me, what makes us alive would be a more interesting and satisfying question than what makes us human. No doubt, humanity as a species has managed what would seem to be a unique feat in its ability to perceive and adopt nearly every evolutionary strategy we observe in the world. But it remains that none of these strategies, abilities, or modes of being were invented by humanity. We have simply collected all of life’s/evolution’s hard-earned knowledge and experience into a single vantage point.
This could be considered exceptional, but it could also be seen as selfish, greedy, arrogant, a fatal flaw even. In the words of Sir David Attenborough when speaking of the many species that have learned to live cooperative existences with other species, “We ourselves have very few such relationships, voluntarily, with other species of animals. Except of course with those animals that we have domesticated and enslaved. But back in our evolutionary past we doubtless had many. Today maybe, we think we’re so powerful, or have become so detached from nature that we think we no longer need them.”
I would say that it is our need to identify as human, to separate ourselves and consider our species as somehow something more than all the forms of life that is our tragic, perhaps fatal flaw. As in the timeless story of King Lear, it is only naked ambition and blind pride that allows one to believe the earth is one’s own to cast dominion over, to divide up, to offer as a gift to our offspring, and for this, a day of reckoning surely awaits.
Last night I fell asleep on the couch after watching the first half of Across the Universe. I think the detail and music and idealism inspired my dreams in some way. I woke up around midnight after having a really fantastic dream and did my best to write it down right then and there:
I dreamed of a tech-geek wonderland along the side of bear mountain.
A loose network of kids from the country who got together in a big comfortably furnished cabin to discuss their ideas and work on their projects. Boys and Girls, Men and Women banded together in a common goal of making cool things that worked.
There was the gregarious, heavy-set guy and his super lightweight, 6 seater, person-powered tank- offroader vehicle. A central bench supported on columns with wheels at the end in a wide stance, it covered ground in a bouncing motion, its center of gravity very high due to its oscillations, moving quickly and erratically due to low friction with the ground.
There was the shy girl doing the study of the bird species that like to peck out indecipherable messages on keyboards. The messages were never the same or held any repeatable pattern, but somehow this was the method of hiding the message they were so obviously encoding.
The radical non-processed food crusader girls who had seen “Processed” years ago and had given up on any kind of factory-made sustenance long ago. One of them did a presentation on the varying shades of yellow that corn could grow in, and be coaxed to grow in for various purposes. The most yellow corn possible actually causing sparks when it was touched, and the most mildly yellow good for some kind of nutrition deficiency or eating disorder when very finely milled.
The cute girl next to me and the excited, self-deprecating way she talked of their long obsession with not eating farm or factory processed food. Liberating goats and cows from barns in dramatic missions of naiveté and adventure.
The excitement with which I waited for her to get to her presentation about a mobile application she had been working on that involved mapping and GPS. How I excitedly suggested we all exchange contact information and band together our geek pursuits into a larger, more important coordinated pursuit.
And always testing our crazy contraptions and inventions on the steep, dynamic hillside of Bear Mountain. So well-known to us, yet so varied and powerful, always able to throw up the unexpected, to push our ideas and inventions to their edges, to their maximum capacity, where they are fantastically destroyed, or fantastically and unexpectedly succeed.
I can’t believe how excited I am to be turning 30. Its not anything like i’d thought it would be, but then again I don’t think about stuff like that much anyways.
Its all so gradual, how are you really supposed to know your getting older anyways? I guess thats one of the things birthdays are for, but with the Renegade Karaoke on Wheels party tonight to celebrate, I feel like more of a kid than ever. Maybe not more than ever, but as much as always.
Today, while drivin around blastin all the great new tunez i’ve just gotten, I played Hurricane over and over cause it just feels so good. God Bless that Jamie Lidell. Especially for the breakdown. I can listen to it over and over. Who can hear it and not feel the celebration?? Its time to Celebrate!!
The breakdown of Joy!
the whole track:
A little while back I went for a drive where I was able to give myself over to the moment pretty effectively. Every light, every sound, every driver seemed more there. More a part of the whole. Every sensory input and every one of my movements a delicate piece of the great dance of life. During this time my mp3 player was on random and Radiohead’s Videotape came on. Up until that moment, it was probably my least favorite track on the amazing In Rainbows. It sounded to me too much like some sad dude leavin a somewhat lame suicide video to someone he loves. Too depressing and bleak. But I head read in a Rolling Stone article that Thom and producer Nigel Godrich considered it their favorite track on the album. This gave me pause and made me think I should probably give it another chance. A closer listen.
Now I think it may be my favorite track on the album. I get it now. There’s a part around the 1:30 minute mark where Thom’s voice starts echoing around itself and begins to sound like so many ghosts. It was then that the song hit me on another, deeper level. Not as some sad guy’s final goodbye video, but as a song awake to our entire world culture’s final goodbye, happening now. Our artifact to leave behind when we’re here no longer to tell our story.
I recently read an article in the LA Times reporting that Youtube had recently hit the 75 million video mark. And is growing by 200,000 videos a day. So much media. So many moments. So many lives. A videotape of humanity. Our desperate attempt to say to someone, anyone, this is who we are. And this is how we’re saying goodbye, not in monuments, but in media. We are our media. Someday perhaps, our media will be all thats left of us. All our hopes, all our dreams, all our triumphs, all our tragedies, all our love, entombed in red blue green. red blue green. One long day on Videotape.
“No matter what happens now. Shouldn’t be afraid. Because I know today has been the most perfect day I have ever seen.”
While I have spent most of my life as an idealist, I do not seem to be able to continue such a world view any longer.
Central to the idealist view is seeing the world not so much as it is, but as one would like it to be. Due to all humans’ inevitably anthropocentric view of existence, my “as one would like it to be” part was always solidly in the framework of a world most ideal for humans.
My recent inquiries into the ideas of non-dualism have begun to shatter these anthropocentric views on existence to the point that the very notion of a world that is ideal for humans now appears to be the very root of the unsustainable moment of madness our world currently reflects. Humanity, so concerned with the self-perceived majesty of its deluded powers of observation, now seems to me a truly flawed evolutionary experiment. Our evolutionary path towards dominance through brain-centered intelligence has imbued us with such a large set of intractable discontinuities and paradoxes that conflict and suffering are at the very foundation of our species’ existence.
But perhaps evolution itself is a process of perpetually flawed experiments. Forever interacting with a shifting landscape of reality over time, there could never be a life-form that perfectly responds to and accommodates the dizzying array of inputs that the harsh physics of both reality and the surrounding life-forms responding to reality output in a near infinite play.
I say no life-form as this is a classification which humanity and all other species and evolutionary experiments are intractably subordinate to. But life itself… it is something beyond classification. Life, in its totality. Life as the complement to the part of reality that is non-living, and even beyond that, the whole system that is life and non-life in perpetual balance with each other - here may be an idealism that actually exists. But it is not a point to be reached, a state to strive for, or an accomplishment to laud. No, this ideal state is forever and perfectly in process in every moment. For while there is no life-form that evolution has ever birthed to reality in perfect, perpetual balance with the world, there is also no perceivable time or place in which the game of life is not ever-present, nor ever out of balance. It is only in our perception of the details of life, the fractured moments of limited perception that our mind holds so dear, that humanity is doomed to see the need for suffering, for desire and for change. When the truth is there is never any need to bring about change, for change is forever. Change is perfect. Change is the face of the ever-present balance that our brain perceives in multiplicity and our soul accepts as one.
I do not call myself an idealist anymore because I no longer strive to be at odds with “practical life.” Practical life - that which is already occurring and is forever is where I now choose to exist. For even though this practical life is all that is, it is humanity’s unique distinction that allows us to choose to think otherwise. For it is only the mind that is capable of creating that which is not, while existence is simply that which is.
I ordered a new book from Amazon this week, You Were Never Born, by John Wheeler. After reading a physics article (that I can’t find now) calling him a “poet physicist,” I began a search for books by theoretical physicist and Einstein collaborator, John Archibald Wheeler at Amazon. Instead, You Were Never Born by a totally different John Wheeler came up. It wasn’t what I was lookin for, but it had all 5-star customer reviews, and the first one, titled, “Probably the purest teaching I’ve come across,” intrigued me. It talked of a technique of spiritual teaching using “pointers” as a method to allow one to see one’s true nature. It is a recent book from a field known as Non-dualism whose principles were familiar to me, but whose name was not. On reflection, my very nickname, Y2, is a kind of non-dualist question/statement. Why two? Since of course, there is only one. This is the central precept of non-dualism in reaching its purpose, self-knowledge.
I’ve only read the introduction and have not yet gotten to the meat of the book, the dialogues, but already the book has affected me. Particularly Wheeler’s contention that there is no effort, special place or time, or work that needs to be done to reach true awareness of the truth of existence - what he and non-dualists call presence-awareness. Since presence-awareness is always what we truly are - it does not fade or change from waking to sleeping or due to changing emotional states or thought processeses - there is nothing that needs to be done to become aware of it. From this perspective, the very idea of enlightenment is a falseness and an impediment to reaching for what need not ever be reached for. So the logic of non-dualism goes, if enlightenment is a state that one must reach that is not currently attained, then a separation is required, which is against the aim of a non-dual state. The non-dual state is described as the consciousness or awareness that every experience, thought, emotion, and object of the world rests on. All of these are illusions of separation while the truth of awareness is infinite, unchanging, and forever.
At least, thats what I can describe it as at this early point in considering the teaching or pointers that John Wheeler has laid out. So far I’ve found the act of simply acknowledging (accepting? appreciating?) the state of being-awareness that is beyond thought and emotion is, as one questioner posed, a bit like a dog chasing its tail. Wheeler writes that the mind cannot process or think this state of being. It is not a concept. It is beyond thought. A fascinating proposition, but as of yet I must admit to difficulty in recognizing this state without cognition.
However, I do believe there was a time in my life that I may have been in acceptance and peace with this state for a moment and perhaps now look back on Read the rest of this entry »
Of course my next phone would be called “Android.”
Oink’s Pink Palace, my favorite site on the entire internet was shut down this week. October 23, 2007 - a sad day indeed.
I don’t think I could give a better epitaph than DJ Rupture did on his blog. A musician aware enough to actually be encouraged when he found his music available on the revolutionary sharing site.
“Oink had everything by certain artists. Literally, everything. I searched for ‘DJ Rupture’ and found every release I’d ever done, from an obscure 7? on a Swedish label to 320kpbs rips of my first 12?, self-released back in 1999. It was shocking. And reassuring. The big labels want music to equal money, but as much as anything else, music is memory, as priceless and worthless as memory…”
Getting invited to Oink was one of the most exciting and vindicating experiences of my internet life. The black market community of music distribution through file sharing has always been intensely interesting to me; it was at the heart of my initial romance with the internet. In the beginning, there were simply websites with mp3s for download and lists of ftp sites that were traded around on IRC. Then came Napster, which brought the masses into the game, and then came Soulseek, which shared Napster’s user-friendliness and simplicity of use, but managed to stay underground for reasons i don’t really understand to this day.
But Oink was a revelation. It was truly a music lover’s paradise. It was a community based on love of music, sharing, cuteness (avatars were required to be cute in an endearing attempt to foster kind communication), quality, and organization. It remains the benchmark for what a music service can and should be. I guess stuff like that is always destined to come up against the harsh reality of “too good to be true.” Oink, you will be missed.