Posted by: lecubiste | September 26, 2018

The Elevation of the Soul

The elevation of the soul

Reaches dizzying heights in rock and roll –

Stairway to heaven, journey home –

Bathing in ecstasy, spirits roam.

Spiritual energy flows,

Vibrates in rhythm, head to toes.

The power center rises up,

Balloons floating to the top.

Groundless liberation is achieved-

Angels in the clouds, souls relieved

From the entombment of the mind,

The doorway to infinity to find,

To channel the music of the spheres,

Mozart, Dylan and their peers,

The dance of Siva to return,

The purusha, inner flame, to burn.

 

NBS

ART2

9-25-18

16:55

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Posted by: lecubiste | August 6, 2018

The Great Race

The triathlete slips into a higher gear.

The Maui landscape floats by,

The island in the ocean

That feeds the human species,

While we dump into it our trash.

The race is on:

Will we destroy our planetary environment, or

Will we become responsible global managers first?

Will we burn up all the fossil fuel needed

To choke the air and heat the globe, or

Will we learn to conserve and share our earth’s bounty?

Will we grow a larger awareness of the damage we are doing and

How to fix it, or

Will we bludgeon each other through old tribal hatreds.

Can we grow up and stop destroying our ecosystems, or

Will we drown in our own pollution?

Can we become planetary citizens, or

Will we retreat into racist xenophobes,

Hiding in separatist enclaves.

Icebergs melt while islands of plastic trash float in the oceans.

Environmental organizations struggle to preserve threatened species.

War plagues the world, while disease and famine kill millions.

The United Nations seeks international cooperation.

Fires burn, drought sizzles, hurricanes destroy.

Trees are planted, protesters protect rain forests.

Chemicals poison water supplies,

Water conservation moves forward.

The Paris treaty is signed by all countries.

The biggest polluter withdraws.

This is a race! Can we change how the world operates in order to save ourselves,

Or will we destroy it first?

Can Love, Wisdom, and Courage

Overcome fear, greed, and selfishness?

There is yet hope.

NBS

Prescott, AZ

8-3-2018

Posted by: lecubiste | June 28, 2018

The Integration of Space and Earth

The mind enters heaven slowly.

Einstein and relativity,

Tesla and AC Power,

The abstract and imaginative,

Picasso.  Mondrian. Pollack.

Slips gently into an ethereal world,

Formless, shapeless, infinite.

 

The body touches the earth.

Feels warm, wet, soil.

Tastes, touches, smells

The incontinent old goat,

The guts of a squid,

Nails and screws,

Tacks and hammers,

Drivetrains,

Steel bridges,

Tools, structures,

Products,

Rock.

 

I gaze into her eyes,

Longing hidden in that sweet smile.

Is it love or passion?

I see that if I want to be whole,

I must feel everything:

My world,

Her energy,

My strength,

All of it.

NBS

6-27-18; Victorian Estates

 

Posted by: lecubiste | June 12, 2018

Ah! My Poor America :(

Ah, my poor America,

The circus has come to town,

Elephants and bareback riders,

But this time It’s the evil clown.

Russian bears assault the crowds,

Guns are fired frequently,

Victims lying on the ground,

Backroom deals made secretly.

 

Our friends from far away are chastised

While our enemies are invited in.

Thieves and robbers have been turned loose,

Pickpockets amid fraud and abuse.

The ringmaster cracks his whip, and

Dancing girls appear,

Though this time they are prostitutes,

Blackmail, extortion, fear.

 

Our only hope is the old bulldog,

Patriotic to a fault,

Backed by the Media, Courts, and Congress,

To bring this madness to a halt.

 

NBS  6-11-18 

Prescott Valley

 

Posted by: lecubiste | May 3, 2018

Of Saviors and Prophets

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The oldest of the three Abrahamic religions is Judaism. Religious Jews are still waiting for the coming of a prophesied ‘messiah’, a savior of the Jewish people. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah. They believe that he will return in a Second Coming. Moslems, the third and youngest of the religions that came from the descendants of Abraham, believe that Muhammad was the last prophet of God, but that Jesus will return one day to save the earth. A Messiah or a Son of God is expected to return to save the world. Unfortunately, these three religions all believes that each is the only true faith.

Buddhism arose from Hinduism some 2,500 years ago in India. Hindus believe that there have been many Buddhas. While the Buddhist religion itself was founded around Siddhartha Gautama, ‘the Buddha”, in Hinduism one expects more Buddhas to come. Perhaps one could emerge in the anti-religious Communist society of China, or elsewhere in Asia.

The world’s major religions have been at each other’s throats off and on for millennia as each at one point or another has been used to spread empires. Christianity led the spread  of European empires to Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australia.  Islam spread with the first caliphates after Muhammad to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and even to Spain where it languished for centuries.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims have fought each other for many centuries. The Crusades, the pogroms, the Inquisitions and Jihads go on today as we see violence in the Middle East,  anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe and the United States, Buddhists fighting Muslims in Myanmar, Hindus against Muslims in Kashmir, the ancient rivalry between Hindus and Sikhs, Islamic extremists  in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, and more.

Communism, the anti-religion, was spread by revolution in Asia, Russia, and Cuba. Belief systems help empires to spread because they provide a common belief system for its members, and they bring together disparate ethnic groups into internally cohesive societies and armies. They give what the 14th century historian Ibn Khaldun called ‘Asabiyya’, the cooperative tendencies of social groups, a kind of team mentality.

Will Isis establish a single caliphate and unite all Muslims? At the moment it does not look probable. The Muslim world is largely divided into Sunnis and Shiites, different groups descended along two lines of Muhammad’s lineage:  the Sunnis following Muhammad’s intellectual lineage, his advisor Abu Bakr, while the Shiites follow Muhammad’s cousin and his son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib. As a result, these two groups have fought each other for centuries and are now fighting over control of Islamic nations, sometimes even bombing each other’s mosques, often during prayer.

In order for Isis to achieve its goal of a new caliphate, it must stop the fighting between Shiites and Sunnis.  This seems very difficult to bring about. If it could happen though, the different strains of Islam could perhaps unite and bloodshed between Muslims would stop. The major nations  centered now in this fight are Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.

Christianity has its own schisms. How many would-be self-described reincarnations of Jesus have there been? By one count there are no less than 36 over the last three centuries. The return of a legitimate descendant of Jesus, whether in the abstract sense or as a literal descendant, if accepted by Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant sects, could perhaps unite Christianity.  The Jewish Messiah, a holy leader and a descendant of David and Solomon, was prophesied to unite the Jewish peoples. The Jews are a much smaller population of course, and Judaism is limited in its growth by its requirement that one must be born or married into Judaism, but the principle of the messiah, the holy uniting leader, is the same. Another Buddha could be expected by Hindus as historically inevitable, someone who would bring peace and harmony to society.

There are those who believe that the emergence of a prophet with spiritual powers is brought about by the awakening of the spiritual energy center said to lie at the base of the spinal column and known in India as kundalini. Kundalini is  described as wrapped around the base of the spine three and a half times, thus giving it the appearance of a serpent. The term kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘coiled’. When this spiritual center is activated spiritual energy is said to rise up to the brain as if it had wings. Thus in the Mayan cosmology is found the god Quetzalcoatl, a serpent with feathers, the dragon of Mexico and Central America, prophesied to return one day.

In China the dragon is also a symbol of heaven. While the Bible tends to portray dragons as evil figures, the New Testament has many references to spiritual rebirth that sound very much like the awakening of kundalini. Kundalini is the modern symbol of medicine, the snake(s) with wings on the caduceus, the healing staff. In ancient Egypt it was the serpent of wisdom. When a person experiences this awakening, the mind is said to enlarge and spiritual powers to develop.

The human race has grown beyond the simple confines of mythical polytheism, of superstitions and human sacrifices, into a modern world.  This growth has its benefits and its perils. Can the human race develop a species-wide asabiyya? Can we mature to our potential to manage our planet without destroying it? Can we become one people?

In theory, yes. We could transcend the wars, prejudices, and inter-tribal hatreds of the past and present. We could trade cooperatively and not overpopulate our planet. We could reduce our destructive impact on our soil, our bodies of water, and our polluted air, but it is the religions that now fundamentally divide us.

Can kundalini activation bring saviors to heal our planet, leaders with modern knowledge and scientific understanding, but who also embody the spiritual side of life? This is a tall order. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet and that there cannot be another, though they also believe in the return of Jesus at a cataclysmic time when he saves the world.

Hindus and Buddhists can simply accept that another Buddha will come. All these prophecies are really the same. It seems that the religions of the world would accept holy leaders if those leaders come in the garb and ethnic identity that the world’s cultures recognize and are familiar with. But could one person or a group save this world with its overpopulation, resource depletion, global warming, and islands of plastic floating in the oceans? Like I said, it’s a tall order.

 

Posted by: lecubiste | April 21, 2018

Angels With Invisible Wings

Angels with invisible wings,

Energy vibrations,

Delicately pulsating,

Propagating waves of

Invisible light,

Stimulating life.

NBS

4-21-18

Art2

Posted by: lecubiste | April 4, 2018

We Need More Global Warming Science

Global Warming is a term I think we should stick to.  The Earth is not cooling, it is warming. The euphemism, “climate change”, makes a general watering down of the grave crisis we are headed toward. I am 63 years old, so I will probably not be alive to see the worst of this crisis hit.

A recent study published in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the rate of dry land ice melt is increasing.  The prediction is that by the end of this century the oceans will have risen about 2 feet, though that is a conservative estimate that does not take into account sudden events like a sudden, massive movement of glaciers into the ocean, or some other event. We could see three or more feet of ocean rise by 2100.

What I concern myself with are the other effects of global warming that are less straightforward to measure and may have catastrophic impacts on life on Earth. The full palette of effects can be quite striking. I include the acidification of the ocean, the warming of the atmosphere and ocean surface, the disappearance of polar ice, the increase in hurricane/typhoon intensity and frequency, the large-scale change in weather patterns that result in floods, droughts, and heatwaves, and more.

We need studies on these kinds of events so that we don’t hear any more uncertainty in discussions of last summer’s hurricanes, for example. While carbon fuel industry spokespeople disseminate false science and manufactured doubts about scientific assessments of the effects of global warming, we delay analyzing these real weather effects. The nonsensical strikes at real science serve only the agenda of those companies that fear a reduction in profits.

Through political representatives they dilute political will and reduce attention.  This is the equivalent of Nero hiding the flames while Rome burns. It is only the UNited States now that plays at the pretense that everything is fine.    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Posted by: lecubiste | March 30, 2018

Ozymandias My Friend

Ozymandias my friend,

Did you not see it coming in the end?

Your works destroyed over millennia.

Floods bury your kingdom with sand and mud.

Wind, dust, and sun,

Wear down your monuments, your run

Long since done.

Empires come and go with the tide,

Pilfered treasures, genocide,

Wars, plagues, famine pushing you aside.

How temporary is our reign

O’er this dry and sandy plain,

Our visages disappearing in the rain.

For Paul

 

As I pondered the temporary nature of life, I remembered the poem Ozymandias by Shelley. It is a favorite of mine from long ago. The above poem came to me. After I wrote it I looked up Ozymandias online. Turns out this year is the bicentennial of its publication in 1818. Paul would have appreciated that as a publisher. He laughed loudly and with gusto. He loved life and will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.

Posted by: lecubiste | March 19, 2018

We Know How to Stop Global Warming

Image result for public domain global warming

The warming of this planet is ours to control if we choose, and if nature doesn’t throw us another curve ball  like volcanic activity for example. In order to manage the warming properly we have a few limited categories of action that can be taken:

  1. Reduce the addition of new CO2, methane, and other heat trapping gases, and

  2. Reduce those existing gases through carbon removal from the atmosphere

While Strategy Number 2 is a technical challenge, Strategy Number 1 is largely political. 

In 1987, the Reagan Administration proposed to drill for oil off the Northern California Coastline. The ferocious opposition among those living in the area stopped the proposed action.  Those pushing the further exploration of oil deposits argued that the US needed to drill for energy independence, yet at the time there was no program for energy conservation, which could have helped lead to energy independence. 

This gave the lie to the argument that more oil drilling was necessary for national security. Since that time there has still been no program for energy conservation. Those old enough to remember may recall President Carter’s program for energy conservation that included investment in solar energy, limiting highway speeds to 55 mph, and exploring electric cars.

Since the pollution and national security concerns of fossil fuel usage of the 1970s, the warming of Earth has been recognized as a crisis of epic proportions. The strategies of the Carter Administration to reduce energy dependence are the same strategies needed to reduce global warming.  Essentially,  we need to reduce the combustion of fossil fuels.

The polluting of the sky, the ocean, and the ground that comes from the use of fossil fuels – carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, unburned hydrocarbons, and PM 10 (10 micron particulate matter)  – now includes carbon. The number one fastest and most effective way to reduce the further addition of global warming gases to the atmosphere and thus, to decrease the warming of Earth, is to reduce the combustion of fossil fuels. We have the technical know-how to do that today. 

Here is a partial list of methods to reduce global warming:

  • Drive less

  • Drive slower

  • Use mass transit

  • Develop, sell, and use electric cars and trucks, electric buses, and electric mass transit

  • Install solar and wind generators and farms

  • Eat less beef (to reduce methane production and to reduce the clearing of the Amazon rain forest)

  • Switch to LED lighting

  • Heat pools with solar

  • Heat water for home consumption with solar

  • …and many other known strategies and technologies to conserve energy

There is no technical problem to reducing carbon fuel consumption.  We don’t need more science, though it is always good to develop even better methods. No, the problem is one of will power. 

Americans in particular are effectively addicted to energy and power. We don’t walk, we drive. We don’t wear sweaters, we turn up the heat. We don’t eat less beef, we put sugar on and in everything, like a true addict.

Our political leaders are so beholden to and afraid of the fossil fuel interests that our federal government has not enacted a serious program for energy conservation since the Carter Administration.  The argument of the false choice of the environment vs. jobs has been perfected by the fossil fuel interests to the extent that politicians are afraid to even discuss the matter openly. 

Even in California, the supposed bastion of environmentalism, driving times, delays, and traffic congestion  continually increase as oil continues to be drilled in the Golden State. To truly take on this fight requires politicians who do not owe their political life to oil, coal, and gas companies and constituencies.

The same is true of the American love affair with the automobile. Vehicle automation is a hi-tech and futuristic way to drive, but it can only yield incremental savings in energy consumption, and perhaps none if it encourages more driving. The US public has been brainwashed by automobile advertising for generations and is going to have to wake up if we are going to save this planet.

Urban and suburban planning have adapted to an auto-centric society such that transportation systems, real estate development, and culture revolve around driving. This is not a technical problem.  It is a psychological, economic, and political problem.

New technology is nice, and God help the solar and wind industries, but the fundamental problem we have is that we have grown addicted to the convenience, comfort, and security given to us by all that ancient energy, formed in the ground over eons. This mindless impulsive behavior is driving our world to extinction.

Posted by: lecubiste | February 12, 2018

Tension between the Old and the New

The relations between men and women are changing. As human societies adapt to their own victories over mortality, social pressures evolve. This is the great quandary: when does too much success lead to failure.

We don’t need to look back too far to see how drastically different our own cultures used to be.  One thousand years ago polygamy was the standard of culture around the world. It was practiced in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas as recently as a few hundred years ago.

When infant mortality was high around the world, women played the crucial role of the child bearer.  It was common for a woman to have five to ten children in their lives, and sometimes more. Thus child-bearing was the equivalent of a career. 

In the last two hundred years in European cultures, infant mortality has gone down thanks to improved sanitary conditions and modern medicine. As a result the social pressure on women to play the role of child bearer has decreased.  Intervening opportunities such as careers in business and government, education, and elsewhere in the economy have generated economic independence for women.

More recently we see around the world the results of this change. China for decades instituted a one child policy.  In some Asian and European countries birth rates have fallen so low that governments are instituting pro child-bearing policies, and immigrant labor has become important to many economies.

The rapidly evolving human cultures are having to redefine gender roles and these are having a tremendous impact on societies. Men must cope with the fact that women are no longer so economically dependent on them. This has had a large impact on the psychology of men, and on male-female relations. 

A new generation adapts to changing times.  Today’s young are much less concerned with homosexual behavior. Older generations of men are far more homophobic than their progeny. 

Women must now balance their roles of child-bearers and child-rearers with their relatively new role as breadwinners. Young couples must find their way through changing roles and socially defined economic opportunities and responsibilities. While none of this is easy, we can see the conflicts between modern and ancient cultures elsewhere in the world.

What would pass for conservative Christians in Europe would be liberal in some Islam nations that balk at female education and the abandonment of headscarves. We see this transition in Saudi Arabia for example where a young and more liberal leader is changing laws around, for example, allowing women to drive themselves. Conservatives everywhere cling to traditions and liberals embrace change.

Thus conservatives in America cling to the Christian Bible and “old-time religion”, while liberals embrace changing social mores and cultures. This herky jerky process of social change is testing the foundations of the US republic now as social and political polarization, the “culture wars” if you will, have led to profound divisions in the nation.

It is perfectly reasonable to justify both the old and the new.  Traditions based on old values may need to change, but the values themselves need to be acknowledged as valid. Integrity, honestly, tribal loyalty, courage, and kindness are old values found in old spiritual texts in virtually all religions.

So modern couples must deal with dating, premarital sex, abortion, homosexuality, and parental roles. As male aggression is becoming increasingly tamed, policies and practices concerning war, suicide, abortion, capital punishment, and environmental preservation are changing. Yet there are forces that resist adapting to the changing social environment.

Sometimes that resistance is based on a fear of its loss of values. Thus new age religions may look like a threat to old-time religion. Single mothers may look like a threat to traditional families.

Here is where the door of corruption opens. The televangelist who lives in idyllic luxury, the radio commentator who enthralls his listeners with a narrative both frightening and angering about imagined and exaggerated corruption and threats, the politician who cynically exploits both to get votes; these and many other examples of the corruption of public discourse exaggerate the clash between older and newer mores.

They pollute the well of social engagement that leavens our social bread dough and promote walls that separate us. Families are divided, social groups turn against each other, even nations go to the brink of war based on misunderstandings spread by propaganda. At the root of the corruption is the desire for wealth and power, and the egocentric passions of this new age.

The total matrix of causes and effects is far too complex to dig into in a short essay. Yet the consequences of this corruption both social and personal are even life-threatening. The denial of global warming may lead to the death, in the end, of a large portion of the human race, most likely through disease and starvation caused by drought, floods, and rising coastlines.

It seems to me that the values most crucial to maintain are honesty, sincerity, courage, and loyalty: Honesty in order to prevent false beliefs, sincerity to maintain heart-to-heart connections, courage in order to do the right thing in the face of challenge, and loyalty in order to maintain humility in the acceptance that none of us are perfect. Such is the time we find ourselves in now.

 

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