Clockwork Purple – We have to juggle work…

Clockwork Purple Writers group, October 9, 2017
Miracles Happen by Brian L. Weiss, MD
Unseen choice page 87 by Aingeal, line 12 Charles – creates our unseen prompt …We have to juggle work, relationships, and interactions with other people at every moment. Alexa set the timer for 46 minutes … Starting now. That makes it 11:05 for the ending of my entry.


I am not a circus clown! And yet everywhere I encounter people’s expectations of me, demanding things of me that I am incapable of physically delivering or sometimes even responding to. Thus, I tend to slip away into various spins on reality that spring up spontaneously from … I don’t know where. I really don’t know where. Sometimes they are puns on the keyword in what my interlocutor just said, or any word that might generate a laugh, or failing a pun on a word or a laugh I will begin talking about the deeper meaning behind whatever the conversation might seem to be leading to. Sometimes I focus directly on what is being said and respond to that theme with precision, and sometimes just the opposite springs to the fore and I go blurry, foggy, atonal, or like a tail-wagging dog and just walk away. Perhaps everyone is like that and just hides it from everyone, including themselves.

I spent a lot of my early years living with my mother’s mother and to some extent, I am her seventh child; thus, when she came to her years of raising me, she was very experienced with kids. All seven of us kids grew up to be honest, reasonable, ordinary citizens playing our role in society as was expected of us. I was always an outlier in the family and I was accepted as being what I was. I wasn’t encouraged to be different, just to be who I was. We were all treated that way, and perhaps we all felt that way and that we were all just who we were. We all felt that we were guests in our family environment and were treated as guests. We treated each other as welcome guests, honored guests. I never thought of it that way at the time, but when I look back on my youth that description seems to fit the way it was. I can’t remember my mother ever criticizing anything I did, nor praising anything either.

We had a family tradition of showing 35-millimeter color slides on a projector at family gatherings, like Christmas. It was fun! We all laughed a lot at the funny pictures we had created and enjoyed each other’s company, but I don’t remember any criticism or praise either. We were just living, enjoying what we did and doing what we felt was right.

Being on a farm we all worked together a lot out in the fields or sometimes in the house. An example of that was one Christmas morning about 1965 when we were all squeezing into my grandparent’s house in Madras, Oregon. On Christmas morning when everyone was washed up and dressed, but before breakfast, my Grandma said, “Clean up time,” or something like that, and all her kids started doing house chores, and the grandkids, myself included, jumped right in and started cleaning up the house. Instantly, there were a dozen people running around, including the three-year-olds and the eighty-year-olds, cleaning up the house. It was great fun and with so many of us working we were done in a few minutes and sat down to breakfast.

I suppose it was my grandmother who instilled that work/play behavior into all her kids and they into their kids too. That we have to juggle work, relationships, and interactions with other people at every moment was never explicitly said to anyone of us. But all of those things were done with a feeling of joy. It wasn’t an obligation to do things, it was a joy. That way of living was created by my grandmother in her kids and working was as easy as laughing.

Thank you. Thank you, Bertha Aspinall Eidemiller! Thank you. Thank you for creating such a wonderful family.

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The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt

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This is a book that is easy to read because it is so interesting and well written. The story of Adam and Eve precedes the Christian era and perhaps the Hebrew time too, and it grew and flourished as fantasies until the Renaissance. Then with the rise of artistic skills, of painters like Masaccio (1425 AD) and van Eyck (1432 AD), those original humans transformed from people of the imagination into real human beings. The problem with that transformation was that the many inconsistencies that had been accepted as allegorical in the fluid telling of a religious story created difficulties as the story became thought of as historical reality. After that trend had continued for a while, the multitude of impossibilities and inconsistencies make the whole story absurd. Those became real problems for the church and civilization because those inconsistencies became impossible to explain. These problems were compounded by John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost (1667 AD), which also made the whole episode of humanity’s creation seem vividly real and contributed to making the idea of the human race coming from two people seem implausible. 

What I enjoyed even more than the main story, which is excellent, were the Appendices to the book: #1. A Sampling of Interpretations by various famous authors within the Western tradition, which are so strange that it is difficult for me to believe these people were sane. — #2. A Sampling of Origin Stories from various cultures, which are so strange it is hard to believe the sanity of the authors within cultures which had no contact with intellectual reality.

This book is a new revelation on how bizarre human beings really are.

Do we need anything beyond the Sun?

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The last couple of days I’ve been writing about Zoroaster, the Egyptian monotheists, and their reverence of the Sun. It is a good object to choose as the prime deity for people lacking modern technology and telescopes because without it our Earth would soon become incapable of supporting any life on the surface. There have been living things found in the deepest mines, supported at present by heat and nutrients from deeper in the Earth, and those could survive without the sun for a long time. However, anything beyond tiny organisms would soon fail without the Sun.

Just for the fun of the speculation I have been taking that existential idea a bit further and projecting our Sun and its surrounding planets and other stuff out of our Milky Way galaxy. Say we somehow found ourselves halfway over to the Andromeda galaxy, in one of those newly discovered intergalactic strings, and I was wondering if we could survive. Is there anything that our galaxy provides to us in our present condition that we couldn’t live without? Perhaps there are extragalactic flows of deadly radiations that would fry us. Exploding stars can sometimes create destructive energies if you are too close, and too close is a very long way, but it’s probably not halfway over to Andromeda. Really big events like colliding black holes are rare enough to be really distant. The magnetic fields generated by our Earth’s turbulent core of iron protect us from some radiations and might do so even outside our galaxy.

Perhaps our galaxy is providing us with materials that drift in and give us extra matter and energy, but all of these things don’t seem to make much difference now that we are here. On first look, it seems that our Sun and our Earth would get along just fine when floating along all alone in deep space, we humans, love looking at our stars at night, but if we were halfway to Andromeda all we would see on a black night would be a few soft galactic glows. Of course, when great telescopes like we presently have were made, it would make our lonely world a lot more exciting. It would make our existing at all even stranger than it already is. Presently, we are just one of a hundred billion stars in our galaxy but if we were all alone we would feel even more isolated and more special than we already do.

Perhaps I should follow suggestion 52, to desire only things which I can honestly earn. By that idea there isn’t much to be earned by such speculations if I were floating so very far away from everything. Even a two-way communication back to the Milky Way would take millions of years for a reply, and it would be very boring waiting for an answer.

Being absolutely isolated makes working with your fellow beings for some common goals the meaning of your lives.

There are many opportunities for kindness.

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Wherever there is a living thing there is an opportunity for kindness. That is an important idea for you to consider implementing because the more opportunities you have for being kind the more stable will become your habit for seeing where a kindness might be done and doing it. Why would you want to use your personal energy to be kind to others when it would seem to be more beneficial to yourself to be kind to yourself? I discussed this a couple of posts ago in Old age isn’t for sissies, or is it? The key to living a long, healthy, happy and productive life is a good relationship with one’s self and that is generated by habits that create those end results.

“Those people who are in the habit of being kind to other people are cultivating the habits of being kind to themselves at the same time.” If you have an abundance of kind actions that you have cultivated for treating other people, animals, insects, plants and even non-living things, then you have also created the habit of doing those same kinds of actions for yourself. The non-living things are included because if you cultivate the habit of treating non-living things well by helping them to perform the functions they were designed to perform, then you generate in yourself those same habits. When you are taking care of your physical things—your car, or house, or shoes—you are not only helping them perform their function better, you are generating the habits necessary for taking care of your physical self better.

When you help any living thing to get through its life better, you simultaneously help develop that habit for taking better care of your own needs in that realm of behavior. Catching a fly in your house and putting it outside helps you to be more aware of your own needs for being in the environment where you can thrive. Here’s a video to illustrate that point. To catch a fly. Save his life and yours too.

In some ways helping the fly through a door is better than helping a human being through a door. The reason is that the fly doesn’t have an economic transaction with you, and your actions are totally altruistic toward him and are satisfying your own human needs for generating habits of being kind to yourself. When you open a door for a human being they will usually thank you for that kind action, which is fine and expected, but their thank you is a form of economic transaction, and that makes your action into a completed action of making human society a little more comfortable for everyone. That is great, but a greater practice for your development of treating yourself kindly is to do that deed in such a way that there is no thank you solicited or expected. You open the door for the other person in such a way that they don’t owe you anything. It takes a little effort at learning but you can get the swing of it such that you benefit the other and cultivate the habit of kindness simultaneously.

Wherever there is a living thing there is an opportunity for kindness.

Monotheism, Queen Tiye, Zoroaster, Freud, The 7 Sages of Greece

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Eight years ago I blogged a post, Queen Tiye, Monotheism, Moses and the Hebrews. It began, “Sigmund Freud wrote Moses and Monotheism which was not published until after his death in 1939. Apparently, he didn’t want the trouble of defending his unusual theory on the early history of the Jews from attacks.” Because the book I am currently writing, presently titled Love Your Life, has a section dedicated to the Seven Sages of Greece, it was necessary to check for the sources of their 147 suggestions for leading a good life. Those suggestions appear to have been assembled about 570 BC and published on stone tablets at the site of the Delphi oracle, “an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world (as early as 1400 BC).” Those ideas were popular, and copies were sent throughout the Greek-speaking world. That brought me to Zoroaster, who lived sometime between 1,500 and 1,000 BC and founded a widespread religion before the Pre-Socratic period, which began in the sixth century BC. He lived a thousand or more years before Jesus and a minimum of five hundred years before the Old Testament which was mostly written after that date and which was based on a protean verbal tradition.

The point is that the 147 suggestions of the Seven Sages were based on much earlier thinking, and those ideas were probably derivative of or at least influenced by Zoroaster of Iran via his religion now known as Zoroastrianism. That ancient religion stresses worldly wisdom and that is what the 147 ideas of the Seven Sages of Greece exemplified. His dates are speculative but they either overlap with Queen Tiye of Egypt or follow hers a little, but both of these influential people were creators of a Monotheistic tradition whose primary symbol is the Sun and both of whom predated the Classic Greeks by centuries. I suspect that Queen Tiye was a key to the creation of the short-lived Amarna monotheistic religion and not her husband or son because she was known to be brilliant and fierce and her king husband appears to have been a hereditary placeholder. Her father Yuya was thought to come from Mitanni culture which is within the Zoroastrian influence and near where Zoroaster was teaching.

The above links are weak and their exact dates speculative, but within a hundred years, and their philosophies not identical but they do form a reasonable sequence from which the ideas of the Classic Greeks also sprang. The PIE culture (Proto Indo-European) seems to have had a common core of seeking a reality based on natural forces like Earth and Sun. What a surprise came out of that for me!

Those 147 precepts in Love Your Life appear to have an ancestry going back to Zoroaster.

My new idea yesterday is as ancient as Zoroaster

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Yesterday’s post named “Old age isn’t for sissies, or is it?” concluded with “Old age is for sissies, sweet happy old sissies.” The route to that idea was that a person who treated others well developed the habit of treating themselves well and thus their old age was healthy and happy because they were living with a kind person and that person was themselves. People who are nasty usually die off before they reach old age, but before they go they complain about how unpleasant it is to be alive. The so-called sissies usually say they are happy and often say they are happier than they have ever been.

Today I was planning to write about goodness itself and quickly came across a quotation by Zoroaster a pre-Pre-Socratic philosopher from Iran. “Doing good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness….” – Zoroaster. That quote is found on page 200 of Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom by Andy Zubko. That is essentially the subtitle of my current attempt to write another book – Love Your Life – A Way to Approach Health and Happiness. The man Zoroaster may have predated Socrates by a thousand years.

The problem with ancient Zoroaster is that all of his original works have been lost, and only derivative and probably only pseudo works attributed to him survive. Thus what we are left with is Zoroastrianism, with the emphasis on the “ism” part of that word. But that is like approaching what Jesus said by listening to a modern sermon. The contact with the source is very tangential and more a grasping at an authority for unsubstantiatable assertions.

My current feeling is that the past is gone and therefore it is no longer good or bad; only how it is influencing us at the present is good or bad. We must work with what is, the past is fixed and gone, and we must also work in the present with the inevitable things that are certain to come in the future. That relationship with the future is what is at the core of wisdom, and the more accurately an individual’s wisdom reflects physical, social and personal realities, the healthier and happier the person will become.

Love Your Life suggestion # 140 – Work with what is and what will be.

 

Old age isn’t for sissies, or is it?

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Someone in my Tuesday group actually said their mother told them in all seriousness the famous quote, “Old age isn’t for sissies.” This alerted me to the prompt in my Monday morning writing group, “Being loving to others and most definitely to yourself,” which led to a disquisition by me on old age. The gist of that literary exercise was that people who were unkind to other people when they were younger adults cultivated unkind behavioral habits that reflected back upon themselves. When they grew older those habits were so ingrained in their behavior that their emotional relationship with themselves was nasty. Thus they were living most of their conscious time with a nasty person who treated them badly, and therefore they were miserable.

Those nasty people would certainly be feeling a lot of emotional pain and because of their uncaring attitude probably were in the habit of not taking very good care of their bodies either and therefore after years of neglect would be feeling physical pain too. The opposite has got to be true also. Those people who are in the habit of being kind to other people are cultivating the habit of being kind to themselves at the same time. It is inevitable that over a long lifetime those other people we know as friends will turn over, old friends will move on and new ones will come along. But we are always the person who is here and thus we are the primary recipient of our kind and unkind actions.

It is the sweet kind old people who are considered to be the sissies in common observation and the nasty old ones who are thought to be the toughies. It is the toughs who are seen facing old age with grit and grimace and the sweet ones who are all smiles and cookies. But who is it that has cardiovascular problems and cancer, the diseases that between them kill over half of Americans? It’s the high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) people who grow up nasty, and live nasty, brutish and short lives. They, on average, don’t get to become old and those who do don’t enjoy old age. My conclusion:

Old age is for sissies, sweet happy old sissies.

In my meditation

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Clockwork Purple – Bend writers group October 2, 2017

Our sourcebook was Inner Vegas by Joseph Gallenburger PhD

Unseen randomly chosen page 100 by Aingeal

Unseen randomly chosen line 5 by Gail

In my meditation, I was alone in process

Alexa set timer for 45 minutes


I am such a bore that several times per day people tell me to shut up. They are usually polite in their phrasing of that request, but the message is always clear. This problem began at my very first day in school back at Homedale, Idaho, when I was five years old. I was put into school because there wasn’t anything for me to be doing out on the family farm, and the teacher was my cousin Millie, so it was an easy thing for me to transition from playing at home to playing at school. Homedale was a tiny town at that time and our tiny schoolhouse was big enough for a dozen or so kids, which meant in this case that all of the local kids grade one through three met in that one small room. It didn’t seem strange to anyone that I wasn’t even old enough to be admitted to the first grade in most school districts, but there I was all polished up and filled with smiles sitting in the center of the front row. That seating arrangement was probably so Millie could keep my youthful enthusiasm under control better, but I took it as an honor to be front and center.

Glen Eidemiller and Charles Scamahorn

This picture was labeled the first day of school. Jr. already has his H.

Within minutes of when the classroom was stuffed with little kids, I began my formal education with Millie informing us of the rules. Basically, that was to sit quietly in our seats until recess times, to pay attention to the teacher, and to raise our hands before speaking. So, immediately I raised my hand and started talking. Millie was standing in front of me and was talking too, so I shut up, but in a few moments a new thought came to me and I started talking again. Millie told me that I must raise my hand before talking. So, once again I stopped talking and Millie continued with her first day’s lesson plan.

A little time went by and I had another thought and raised my hand and started talking. Millie once again told me that I must raise my hand before talking, to which I replied, “Millie, I do have my hand up.” She, rather patiently, told me that I must wait until I am called upon before I start talking. “But,” I said, “Millie, you don’t hold up your hand when you’re talking.”

That was my first day and the first hour of my formal education and it is characteristic of every hour of group meetings to this day. I could give a multitude of examples of that kind of response to my public presence. I think I have a genetic propensity for this style of behavior, and so I don’t feel any particular resentment to people responding to me as if I am a dunce. Later that day I was talking with my grandmother about how I should respond to what I felt was an unfair imposition on my liberty, and she, no doubt, gave me very mature reflections on how I should respond, but in my meditation, I was alone in process and I chose to be who I am and how I am.

Over the years I have done what I saw to be the right thing to do and have been able to get away with being me. It has cost those around me considerable aggravation and that includes those with legal power over me, like my teachers, my commanding officers in the USAF, and the government officials too, including people like Senator Joe McCarthy, and even people at the Bend Science Pub.

All of those people and even Governor Ronald Reagan have lost their battles for control over me.

A typical Sunday plus my 82nd birthday.

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I am shocked at how many years I have lived. I became aware about the age ten that my grandfather was 59 and that was the life expectancy of American men. On more recent checking on that morbidity scale, I discovered that my cohort life expectancy in 1935 was 59 years. Actually, the public health and medical progress and antibiotics made the survival rate much better. Check your own cohort’s survival percentage from this 247 Special Report

For me …
United States population 1935 = 127,521,006
United States population 2017 = 326,001,517
Percentage increase since 1935 = 255%
United States births in 1935 = 2,155,105
82-year-old population in 2017 = 1,049,356
People born in 1935 who are still alive: 48.7%

There is a huge difference between the expected life expectancy in 1935 and what actually happened. I was unaware of that and had been saying earlier today that I was twenty-three years past my expiration date. That is true only if they stamped my expiration date on my butt, which they didn’t as you can see below.

20 month old boy getting out of a tub

Charles Scamahorn age 20 months taking a bath.

I went to the UU church early and as usual took a stone for use in the labyrinth. Today’s offering was a very ragged fifteen-pound strange lava piece. I’m the only one doing this personal ritual but it gives me a chance to walk the labyrinth and think with focused attention on some topic of my own choosing. Today I was observing the uniqueness of each and every stone and its personal development and how common it probably was in its native situation. It was just a blending together of whatever was there and then a separating and a remolding over and over until someone picked it up and brought it to its current, certainly temporary, location. Actually, I skipped along and didn’t do this analysis of every stone, but only lots of them.

The sermon by our new UU reverend, Scott Rudolph, was wonderful and he spoke to a packed audience in our new building. My strange reminiscence was the realization that with such a young minister and such an old me I won’t get to hear him speak when he is my age. I wonder what that maturity will bring to such a thoughtful young man?

I got to the Central Oregon Atheists meeting for a discussion of the book End of Faith by Sam Harris, which was quite good too, but very different because it was simply a discussion rather than a sermon plus a lot of other stuff like singing and meditating.

Debbie and I had a fantastic lunch at the Drake restaurant in downtown Bend, and because the folks there really like us they came over and sat and chatted for a while. Actually, that kind of thing happens quite a lot. I like to think that it is because I am being successful at becoming a nicer person. I have tempered my sarcasm a little and people accept what I now say as humor.

We came home, Debbie read to me from The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt until I dozed off, and then woke me back up an hour later to go to the Spiritual Awareness Community meeting. It was another meeting that was distracted by our turmoil with the owner of the Old Stone Church. The situation is complicated by the fact that he wants to sell the property, and we have a lease in perpetuity that makes the sale more difficult. We have now resolved the problem peacefully, but now there are adjustments that we will have to make. We had preplanned a potluck dinner that was pleasant, but it complicated Debbie’s and my diet plans. Both of us are on the track of losing two pounds per month and we are both nearing our ideal BMI weights of 23.41.

Happy Birthday was sung to me, concluding with “And many more.”

Update on my life risks as of my 82th birthday.

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Tomorrow is my 82nd birthday, and these last few years I have been reviewing the risks to my health and continued existence on my birthday. I looked back to October 1, 2013 and found Update on my life risks as of my 78th birthday. At that time I rewrote the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s famous Categorical ImperativeMake your every action suitable for a Universal Law. That is too complex a thought for me so I wrote a parallel idea which I called,  The Personal Imperative – Avoid everything that might harm your body or mind. 

I have been cultivating that idea as a habit for the last four years and have upgraded it a bit to be more inclusive of other people. It would now be … The Social Imperative – Help other people avoid everything that might harm their body or mind. That sentence sounds intrusive and manipulative but it is intended more as a suggestion and not as a directive command.

The idea behind that statement is that it is easier to see things that are external to one’s own behavior. It is hard to observe your own behavior while actively doing a thing because your consciousness is caught up in what you are doing. In the moment of action, everything is running on automatic and any thinking during the action is going to degrade the quality of that action. Thus to avoid injuring your mind or body it is helpful to observe others doing dangerous things and project yourself into their situation and consider what your actions might be. This procedure works with your own mirror-neurons’ automatic behaviors and the advantage to you is that when you make a mistake you don’t get hurt. However, you can learn new habits using that technique.

I watch Steven Colbert’s TV show and occasionally while interviewing successful celebrities they will discuss how they developed their public personas. One of the techniques they often mention is copying and rehearsing the actions of their successful predecessors. If one wants to be a standup comic, rehearse and personalize what you perceive of those successful standup comics. If you want to live a long and contented life, watch carefully people who have those qualities and rehearse the actions that appear to lead to their success and personalize them.

Mingle with the masters of your chosen direction in life.