Posts Tagged perception
Mild wind in blue sky with sun glinting
off snowy Cretan mountain peaks
and bird song amongst orange groves
ripe with fruit waiting to be picked,
reverberated to a double shotgun blast
as someone blew his brains out
and spread them over the plaster
landscape that was his for too long.
As I wrote mellowed by birdsong,
righteously writing about what was wrong
with no cognisance of what went on
just below my balcony.
A moment came and passed.
And I learned about it from the news.
Written a long way away.
And now when I gaze down,
the birds still sing amongst the oranges.
And the dogs still bark.
She was a cold, mirror smooth lake
in the cloud tossing tempest that raged around her,
and I stood wet and weather beaten on her rocky shore.
How could she be so disconnected?
The sad thing is that
the only people I’ve harmed
have been those I loved.
Humans tend to assume that they have a degree of intelligence that gives them awareness that isnt afforded other species.
Criteria that are used to justify this perspective include lack of evidence of empathy, of emotions including fear and sadness, and of gratitude. Or an ability to assess a given context, and to calculate an appropriate response to it.
Every day, visible instances occur that prove these assumptions are just wrong. They imply an arrogance in humanity that is breathtaking. Other creatures are sufficiently sentient to respond to both circumstance and to other creatures as we are. How could they be alive otherwise?
Here’s a small example:
We have to reappraise our relationship with the rest of the world. To imagine that we’re somehow seperate from it is folly. The whole system that we observe and are able to analyse because its systemic, includes us as a key component. As it does every other creature. This is what makes it a system. How to extrapolate this? Discussions about ‘universal conciousness’? Perhaps. How is a component within a system able to see the system from outside? We can’t know this external perspective. We can only know what we see and experience, and deduce. And we can clearly experience sentience and awareness in other creatures, even with our own emotions and intuition, as opposed to powers of analysis. And deploying this experience usefully, must surely lead us to deduce that we arent a seperate cognitive function of the universe but just a part of a mathematical curve that, if we allow it, will extrapolate. And this is the ultimate goal of evolution.
So, some compassion and respect is called for I think… and a little humility. Otherwise we risk compromising the very system that defines us.
That hard bit just now,
after that warm and yellow bit.
I wonder what’s next?
Sitting in bath warm water,
waves lapping up my thighs,
leaning on one hand on the yielding sand,
watching the moon sink into the sea.
The natural world is all that’s real.
The rest is construct and hubris.
Watching that sinking moon
over the turning world,
and the whirling cosmos of a trillion lights,
all ticking step by step in time.
And then it came to be known
amongst all sentience
that the Original Source is me,
and we are the Original Source.
Over drab hills held down
by scudding clouds,
a gap opened and sun’s rays shone down.
Splitting into a million colours
through a million tiny drops,
as the light of a star showed itself to us.
Its million aspects viewed with awe
by the only entity capable of seeing.
So see yourself like this.
Is it not odd in a world of
That a female Praying Mantis
Still eats its mate.
That it’s possible to die
By digital excess,
Or also lack thereof.
You achingly dark spangled depth.
How does my mysterious sparking
Of elemental syntheses
Mirror your endless
The qualitative universal components
That make my observations what they are.
So small are my thoughts.
Like splashing drops in an ocean wave
Crashing upon a shore,
Unrelenting in its logic.
If you wonder why you exist,
It’s because life is a fundamental component
Of an inevitably evolving universe.
As fundamental as hydrogen or carbon atoms.
A reflection not of bits but of process.
Of how these and others interact.
And of the evolution of these interactions.
And as this interaction evolves,
It acquires ever evolving conciousness.
If you want to know how to be happy,
Understand this fact.
One life everywhere
So look skyward and see
That one day we’ll blend.
And at that point
The discreet existences we all know
Will come to an end.
As entropy finally converts all matter
To nothing more than understanding
And everything finally stops.
Because there’ll be nothing more to know.
From my window I see cars
Parked like soldiers ranked
On black tarmac that in
Street light is silver,
Whilst the sky above
Has turned black from white.
It’s rumoured that we live in a multiverse, comprising an infinite number of universes wherein anything is possible. Somewhere out there there’s a ‘me’ writing something worth reading.
But I don’t think the multiverse is infinite. We may indeed live in a multiverse, but the only universes that exist are those that, from the infinite number of variances of outcome from the Big Bang, actually comprised an outcome that could, by it’s nature, go on to persist and to evolvet.
Most of the potential ways in which the results of the Big Bang could manifest milliseconds after the event were not tenable. They produced results that pretty much instantly collapsed and cancelled themselves out. They ceased to exist, even as they came into existence.
So, whilst there may have been, perhaps still is in creation, an infinite number of events that could have resulted in a universe, only some succeeded. And we exist in one of them.
Therefore there is not an infinite number of universes. Rather, there are a few. Perhaps, just possibly, there’s only one. And the rest failed to achieve suitable stability sufficient to materialise and to evolve.
And then of course there’s the question of life. At the advent of the Big Bang, when all things were possible and all things were attempted, most things failed. But one outcome was a universe that happened to comprise the elements necessary for the material coalescence of various components that are required for life as we know it, and experience it.
So our universe comprises various forms of hydrogen, carbon and other basic elements, and it’s in the nature of things that as these combine, in all the various ways that they’re capable of, the process we know as life emerges.
The sophistication of this process has also evolved. Because that’s the way of the context in which life exists… a context and combination of interlaced processes that obliges the materials involved to tend towards greater degrees of complexity.
And the ways in which life formed interacted with, and came to observe that context. It thus became more complex in its perspective, and ultimately in its understanding. Until eventually, life evolved that was capable of seeing itself within the very context from which it emerged, and of questioning it.
This isn’t necessarily the same thing as consciousness. All living things are conscious, if by conscious we mean aware of, and able to respond to, the physical environment.
But this awareness was to evolve to such a degree that it became aware that it existed, and so it became conciousness. The universe had evolved a way of critically observing itself. And it did so as part of a natural consequence of its nature – namely its composition.
So we can say that life is as much a part of the nature of the universe as say, hydrogen atoms.Or any other component. Life is an intrinsic part of the nature of the universe. The universe we know comprises life as much as it comprises anything else. So given that life, by its nature, evolves to be self aware, so the universe is self aware. Life is part of the universe’s evolution. And we are the manifestation of the early stages of that evolving process.
So open your mind to the beauty of the world, and its complexity and intricacy, and see your awareness of these things as a separate component that you have a responsibility to nurture. Because a unique quality of conciousness, over all the other elements and components of the universe, is that it’s able to manage its own evolution, and growth, and the way in which it functions.
The universe is like a small child that’s starting to understand itself, its nature and its place. It has become self aware. And it is life in its multitude of forms, that undoubtedly occur on millions of planets, that represents that awareness. You yourself are the universe thinking and watching itself. No less than that.
So wise up. Take your eyes off the money, let go of religious dogma and bigotry of whatever persuasion, see that time spent pondering why and what is not time wasted. Disconnect as far as is practically possible from the world of people, think more freely and let yourself be what you feel inclined to be. Because that ‘you’, with all its potential knock-on effects in a chaotic system, is probably why you exist. To play a part in the evolution of the universe.
With thanks to Jostein Gaarder, and his novel ‘The Castle in the Pyrenees’, for inspiration.
The truth is that as you get older, the old illusions fall away. The trivia you once aspired to, become worthless, or at least worthless in your heart of hearts. Ignore the false heart that’s fed by those outside. You become someone who’s worth more than them.
You don’t have to be old for this insight to occur. You could be just 16. Or you could be 84. It doesn’t matter. What this process is, is the emergence of an understanding. It might be triggered by something you read, or thought, or was told, that grew into something bigger that belongs to you now because only you really see it, even though you can’t describe it.
It might be an understanding that is the purpose of your life.
Odd that God, or whatever force that drives what is, should ask so little of us. Given what it’s given.
If you’re lucky, and you succeed in gaining such an understanding, I hope that when you’ve moved to a different state, you’ll be kind enough to look over your shoulder and give me a hint. Hopefully with a smile.
It’s hard to let go of things.
But once you let go of the first one,
And the memories associated with it
Become like those clouded passing visions
We all remember from childhood,
Then losing the next item becomes easier.
And then the next item becomes
Easier again to choose,
As if loss throws value into relief.
And when that next thing goes,
The context that one’s built over years
Starts to dissolve.
A process of distillation takes place
That concentrates your
Value of things
To a few.
Enough to carry with you.
Then your perspective changes
As you let go.
If you’re lucky a lightness takes hold
And your life thus far seems contrived.
Like a game played by a child.
There aren’t many years left now.
Time to turn and face yourself.
And just as your things reduce and fall away,
The markers you measured yourself by
Fall away as well.
And you’re left with a wide open
And wondrous world
That’s yours for you to wander through
For the first time.
It isn’t too late.
Because it takes just a moment
To realise the extent of your smallness
And the scale of what you’re privileged to know.
Once I was part of something flat
That lapped upon a shore that resisted.
Then I found myself lifted up
And up and soaring
Over a golden beach and curving trees,
And then I fell forward too fast
And the beach disintegrated across my face.
And now I simply go with the flow,
Up and down this unredeemable beach.
I see you wondering
With eyes fixed on a distant view,
Some place in your own mind.
Seeking a space that makes sense.
I do it too.
Sometimes it seems we think too much.
But there’s more to life than the trivial.
To know this is to be truly human.
So it’s good that you wonder why.
I do it too.
And even if it makes you cry,
Feel yourself growing wise.
One day you’ll gain strength from knowing
That you tried
And found a true perspective inside.
It was always there.
Discovering it was the point of your life.
So complex you make
Your life and its words to be.
Guided though it flows.
Spinning up the motorway
I looked to my right,
And there hanging over the endless
Was a creature of such majesty
As made me see
Myself trying to be
Somewhere I had to be but wouldn’t know
Until I arrived.
That soaring cumulonimbus monster
Spoke to me
In tones that shook me
To the core.
As I drove up the motorway.
I saw us all
At real scale
And knew us
And saw us all
As very small things.
In other cars.
I choose to wonder why I am.
Seeking some value in me, relative
To the sweeping misted air that wafts
Over gentle hills
Whilst the birds and the other animals
Continue their dispassionate chat,
Being what they are.
But something in the way that I am
Makes this process too complicated.
As the world happens around me,
I ask too many questions.
There are two worlds.
The real and the human.
I think in one
And I exist in the other.
When I die,
I want to understand the difference
Between the roles I played
Within these two domains
And their respective values.
So I finally get to know where I fit.
If I were a fly on the wall
What would I see?
What’s my perspective?
Do I see an area of moving stuff?
As though I were part
Of the sea looking up
And seeing part of a wave.
Do I see a bleating thing there
That sees through slitted eyes
A world that’s always wrong?
Or do I see the icy flow of life
Flow past it like stream over rock?
As it sits shining,
Sticking up into the flow
And casting a shadow
Like two fingers inserted
Into a beam of light.
A separate thing experiencing
Just myself in relation.
Do I see a transparent thing?
Drifting through some dark ether?
Belonging to the vast space
Between our atoms.
Some say we’re chemistry.
Some say we make the chemicals.
But whatever truth it is
That you behold
It’s unlikely to be
In my glass bubble
I lie curled watching the world,
Sure I must be safe.
I’m sure I knew a world once that was round
And not sharp and jagged and jarring,
But which ululated
Sibilant sine waves
Of gentle experience.
Slow knowing and emergent wisdom
That felt right relative to
A gently shifting world.
Not this blind frantic electronic rocket
Through twisting changes so fast
That I can’t see what’s right and what’s wrong
And where there’s no chance
To stop and think.
Cast off your uniform
And throw back your head
To watch the clouds and see
How they do what they do regardless.
And hear the birdsong.
My life this side of the great divide
But to my left we have
A dark place.
To my right we have
A place that dazzles.
And in front we have
The great divide.
Shapes whose lines break
To jagged edges,
And faces turned to see me
But are blurred
Like watching the world
Through a bathroom window.
My side makes sense to me.
Not so that other.
But it does echo so here.
As the swirling whirling world
Flew by my eye
Caught sight of a frozen moment.
Hanging there still in streaming blur,
Eyes wide watching me and asking why.
So I lied and I told him a story.
One that I came to believe.
And now I stand here looking out
Across the windblown moor.
Knowing what went wrong.
Bright water running through
A small valley formed downhill
Is channelled by what it made.
And so it seems I’ve made my life
Such that it channels me.
Should I have the temerity
To challenge this cursed valley,
I’m rebuked by obstinate circumstance.
Is it circumstance?
Or is there a guide watching my life
And just making sure
I don’t do anything that I might actually want.
Decline is predestined it seems.
No doubt the water that went before
Knew what it was doing.
At the time.
On to my inevitable decline.
Is temerity or timidity best?
Challenge, or accept?
I wouldn’t die any other way.
And die I will.
Probably sooner for this.
On a hot summer night I lie awake and listen
To the still air.
Small insect sound from somewhere.
Then the air’s viscosity alters
As a call pierces the dark.
Something happening there
That makes no sense
From my decorated bedroom
But which affects my dreams
And appeals to my blood.
Insight happens now.
Then time’s writhing fingers take
It away from me.
Writhing curling fog
Taking and hiding from me
The true world I saw.
Bluebell wood and silent son
Walking together in a quiet space
Defined by delicate birdsong
And oceans of bluebells.
We sat on a bench and watched
Grass grow and real life happen.
A place where pretensions fell away
And discussion turned to issues
That were true and worth considering.
We never stop growing up.
The questions remain the same.
Whoever you are.
Standing opposite me
And watching me
As I watch you.
The gap between us
doesn’t exist though.
In some place
We’re the same mind.
Knowing in this being alive,
The other side of the dichotomy
So we may know the whole.
I’m listening to Bach. There are two ways I can listen… one is in a thoughtful way, where I assess the music and consider how it’s affecting me and ponder its complexity.
The other way involves shutting down any form of analysis and stopping thinking all together. Then the music washes over me as though I were lying on a beach, letting waves break over my body. Now the music is an occurrence that blends me with the world and the universe around me. Now the boundary between my skin and everything else becomes less significant. As the vibrations of the music pass through the air and into me, I become part of the same contiguity. Part of the vibrating air. Part of the world around me that’s vibrating with these sounds that evoke in my consciousness, emotional responses and deeper perceptions.
How can a mere vibration through air induce me to tears? There’s something happening that is profound and revealing. Something that hints at the true nature of what I am. I am contiguous with everything else, if I let myself be so. I am capable of becoming part of something so much greater them the self contained package that part of me sees me as.
There is an underlying intelligence in all that is, and I am part of that. This material manifestation that I find myself in is wonderful, but it’s a temporary thing. A necessary lesson. Required in order to understand the vastness of the underlying power. To experience the material is to understand the transcendent that powers it. We live in order to make sense of what is. There are always two aspects to everything. The transcendent cannot be without its material opposite. And to know the transcendent, we need to experience the opposite, the material manifestation. And that is why we are alive.
Can you describe yourself
Without a mirror?
Is your image of yourself
A curvy fairground version
That’s merely what you want,
And that you’re what’s contrived as
You raise yourself up or down?
I’ll bet you have no idea
Who you are
Or what you are.
A mind borne mirage
That you choose to believe in
And that floats
In a world of your own making.
So it probably doesn’t matter.
Because the world you think you live in
Will also shimmer ghost like above
Some imagined horizon.
The river runs fast.
Faster than your perceptions,
And you start to drown.
Rise up above it.
Now look down and see it whole.
Your start and your end.
The bit in between
Is bound by landscape
And flows as it must.
Don’t cry and don’t laugh.
Wait for the true view.
Bit drunk perhaps.
When I wonder why the world can’t always comprise
Golden leaves and warm wind
That offer soft suggestion.
But the underlying crust is hard.
And I always move in too wide an arc.
So I crash and splinter,
Shards spread wide,
Each a dissipation of my potential.
And so wide spread thin
Unable to think
With sufficient wisdom.
I decided to use my life in a way that seemed good.
I railed against injustice and the despoliation of the world.
I wondered about the world my grandchildren might inhabit
And wailed woe on their behalf.
And then I saw the bill for the electricity that I’d used
In simply being and I had to laugh.
I went to see a Silurian seabed this weekend past.
Four hundred and twenty million years old
With fossil seashells that still hadn’t opened.
And my life became a very short thing indeed.
A fragment of a whirling, exploding thing
That spins in space for a short while
And then ceases to be.
And what part did I play?
Well, I tried to make it matter.
Even if it didn’t.
But for my short span,
I needed to believe I was worth it,
However much pretence that required.
Vapid dot thing am I.
And then turning a corner I saw the moon
Hanging orange in the sky like an upturned half melon.
Silver slivers of cloud ghosted each side
Like angels either side of a god.
I stopped and watched and in that moment soared
Up there where the angels fly,
Dipping down again across the dappled brown land
Divided into little patches with fences around.
A blacker curve cutting across the sky
Told me to rise and I rose in an arc with fingers splayed wide,
Up through the angels.
Up past the god.
Up into a space all of my own,
Where I stopped, sat quiet and contemplated
The worlds of gods and men around me.
Through a hundred metres
Of aquamarine, shimmering beauty
At sunbeams shining down
At acute angles to each other
And fading away into marine gloom.
And the flickering fish swimming
Across the view.
So small am I hanging here.
So very small.
A mere fluorescing fleck
Born by strange and vast currents.
Where I’m taken I go.
What I see, I marvel at.
As soft water crashes onto hard, dark rocks
There are two ways to be.
One resilient and firm.
Convinced and sure and resolute.
The other fluid and waiting.
Seeking a shape that feels right.
One so convinced.
One waiting to be so.
One that drives
And one that wants to enable
And to be wise.
The right way, as always,
Is to see the benefit of the blend.
Whilst resolute in doing.
To do wisely is the challenge.
Where is the art in our lives?
Where is the sensitivity
That prompts pondering and reflection?
That delicate aspect that tinges everything
With a coloured halo
That puts understanding just slightly out of reach.
Where has time gone?
Time to reflect.
Where is the room to be alive?
Where is the space to place rhythm
Between the hard facts?
Where has room to live gone?
There’s no wiser view
Than that of a poor person
Who yet can laugh.
So flying was I past blossoming white clouds
As I soared and soared and soared
Through blue space,
Through my life clear
To darkening blue as stars began to shine.
Then my breath grew thin
And the world turned self contained
Far beneath me.
An eye in a dispassionate face.
It was then that I’d seen too much.
The place of my world in the void.
The size of everything.
And my heart left me and stayed there,
Glorying in the glory of it all,
Whilst my mind started to fall.
And as the eye came nearer
I saw myself reflected in its blue.
An aberration in an otherwise flawless hue.
A spec in the eye of what’s true.
I came to land in a field of flowers
With solemn trees all about,
And on my back I looked back up
To a flat blue sky that had my heart
Like a cloud.
Of the dissonance.
Of the distance
Between its place
The problem is that things that have no significance
Have overtaken those that have.
My phone bill sits here in front of me
Whilst soft rain falls outside in pashy drops
That shake bright flowers
And sends them trembling,
And small creatures run for cover
While I sit here watching and smiling.
I find my life is made small,
Like a leaf being whirled on a whorl
Of water spiralling down.
But then a warm wind blows through my hair
And thunder rumbles and rain falls
And something of a natural order
Passes by my place.
And in the aftermath
I ask why that felt so different.
So much better.
One early summer morning
I walked along a beach shrouded in fog.
Still pools of waiting water.
Strands of pustulated seaweed that lay
Comatose across corrugated sand.
Silent stones lying where they’d been
For all time it seemed.
As the foghorn boomed and echoed around,
I walked through a world of its own.
Of three metre wide immediacy.
Now I see much further.
But somehow the fog remains,
Winding its gentle, uncaring way
Between every perception,
And obscuring my poor attempts at a true view.
Grey stroking fingers of a witch who
For all my life has mocked me
With smiling eyes and lead me astray.
I walked a path
Through the heather yellow and spiked
And dripping with the dawn dew of a new day.
But one path through heather
Looks much like another.
Whether the view be of hillside
Or arid plain and gasping scrub,
The questions remain the same.
There’s the rub.
‘Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer…’
It doesn’t matter.
Do what you feel with due regard
For what makes you content.
As worlds whirl past you
In fluid current
That heaves and seethes,
Quiet at both start and end
But loud and turbulent in the moment
That demands you listen.
‘Tis nobler in the heart sometimes.
There’s a layer of life that’s sandwiched
Between what you have to do,
Called human interaction,
And what you actually do.
A meeting of minds and hopefully
That through combined insight
Share the unity.
But it rarely happens
As we scramble to build
Private worlds of things
In pursuit of the good life.
Voluntarily choosing but not by choice.
That play the double agent
To our true selves.
Sat at my PC,
Watching a world supposedly
At the tips of my fingers.
A bee lies dying on the windowsill,
Sun splashed flowers a few feet away.
The world suddenly seems ethereal.
Thin and without substance.
A matrix of chance webs
Strung out and interconnected,
But thin and friable and translucent.
A small distance between
One strand and another.
Suspended in a pink light void.
And there I sit like a fly caught,
Struggling in my small and quivering way.
If I broke free I’d fall
To land caught on another strand
To struggle and look up at
Where I’d been.
And the light around me would remain
Still and pink and translucent.
The truth lies somewhere
In the constancy of the spaces between
The places to which we become attached.
Look back and reflect.
Look forward and consider.
Now is the locus.
Plangent guitar sings
And soul writhes as though tickled,
Whilst heart soars and dreams.
What a tiny thing I am.
The sum of a few interactions between
Fundamental parts of a universe
That we only begin to understand.
A small agglomeration of matter contrived
Such that it’s able to see it’s circumstance.
No. A natural result of a process
Of refinement of all that it is
That comes to know that it is.
And in that tiny aggregation of effect
Lies an awareness in us that sees
And this is the miracle of intelligence.
It’s not about God.
It’s about what is.
If you insist to me
That there is a God
Then I say that we are God.
In a universe that comprises nothing more
Than sub, sub and sub components of matter
That resolve as energy and nothing more,
The fact that there’s awareness obviously states
That there is something more.
And it’s you and I that are aware.
There’s a common force
Which we constitute,
And that may be God.
But we are not subject to
Any external control.
The responsibility is ours.
And when we experience what we believe to be God,
We’re knowing a momentary commonality
Of consciousness. A shared experience.
There is no other way that God could possibly manifest
As a force that gives us so much freedom.
We are God.
I had the temerity to laugh at her
As she slid silently down through industrialised air
And sat there watching me.
Her shimmering wings lighting the fog
That draped the air around her.
Under a wilting tree with one small apple
Clutched tight in my hand I sat and watched
This apparent apparition congeal
From thin air.
She held up a mirror and I saw myself
I saw a man.
Not one good or bad.
But one that looked at me
Quizzically with eyes that wondered why.
And then I heard myself sigh.
I turned away from her and saw instead
A land of rolling green hills
And hard working people
Who lacked the time to pay attention
To the finer aspects of sparkling wings.
They couldn’t see the beauty.
All they saw were their hands.
Wrinkled and painful
With the toil of living well.
I turned to look at her and she nodded slowly.
She was an ideal that stood proud
From our aspirations.
And as we laboured our way to oblivion,
She stood there shining in the sky
Invisible to all but a few who stood to inherit the earth.
The views much better up here in the blue fog.
Down there in the brown murk, slow fires burn blurred
Between dark spaces. But up here in the clear blue
I can see myself reflected in the firmament.
A matrix of meaning. Points of light.
So what do I do with this perception? I gaze at it
And taste it tentatively, sniffing like a cautious hyena.
Not noticing how my model and I slide slowly back into brown dark.
And as the stars grow dim and chaos’ roar sounds,
Does my soul go up or down? My heart slides
And freezes as a sense of cold reality
Strokes my shivering skin. These fires aren’t hot.
They burn cold and constraining.
And the dark places are full of demons.
There’s nowhere left but back up.
Now where did I put that lighter