24 April 2014

Once upon a time.

Once, in my taxi-driving days, I had a two guys in my cab who were as drunk as they could be, or, at least, maybe they pretended to be. When it came time to pay me, they got out of the cab, (I did too) and stood around for a minute before one of them decided to pay. He pulled out of his pocket the biggest wad of cash I've ever seen, hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars in big bills. He wobbled and weaved and kept waving the money around in front of me. Eventually he found a twenty (a 'double sawbuck,' as we said back in the day) or something, and shakily aimed it in my direction. I took it. He didn't ask for change. They both lurched drunkenly off. The whole incident was so odd that I've thought ever since that they were decoys, undercover cops trying to entrap me into stealing their money.

23 April 2014

In the Beginning

  • What drives evolution on? What is it about atoms that wants to form molecules, molecules to form long chains of inorganic and then organic structures, organic molecules to give rise to life, and life to consciousness? Putting aside the question of why anything exists at all, the forms that existence takes, and the steps, leaps actually, that existence/evolution takes, are deeply mysterious and completely unexplained. The stages that I list, matter to life to consciousness, don't display anything that we can discern as explanations for their existence. Unless, possibly (and this is a Teilhardian idea), life and consciousness are inherent in a potential, virtual state from the very beginning (whatever that is) in the simplest, most basic particles of matter. Unless, in other words, consciousness itself is drawing matter on, leading it to create ever more complex structures in which consciousness can manifest itself. This is called the "law of complexity consciousness." This leading, drawing force can be called "the good" or "spirit" or any like term, to indicate that there is agency at work, inherent in the universe itself and not separate from it.

  • "There is no arrow.....there is no goal." Maybe. But this is mere assertion, unproven and unprovable. Physicists (or at least Stephen Hawking) say (and Everything I Know About Physics I Learned From Television) that before the Big Bang there is no time, that the BB began at a singularity, where time stops. So there is no cause outside the universe to start it off. This is an old idea, a Deist one I think, the notion that God put all the parts together and set the universe running, but has no part in its operations.
  • All the dark things, all the evils we can imagine, aren't the whole story of evolution, even human evolution. If they were, there would be no good to which we could compare them, by which we could judge them. We strive after goods which we can't even name. That doesn't make them unreal, or unreachable, or powerless. Why should not the good be the most powerful force in the universe? Why should evolution not be, ultimately, good? Why should it not be, perhaps, ultimately, divine?


A few days ago I took myself and a friend to look at the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition at the De Young. The sensuality, eroticism even, of many of the flower paintings is striking. The painter, back in the day, was shocked by this kind of interpretation. Another friend described her art as 'tantric!'

21 April 2014

The Temple of Bast

At an Easter party this afternoon, I noticed in my host's parlor a small sign which read: In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this.

09 April 2014

Sic transit.

On the 49 bus a young man said, "Two years from now I'm not going to look 24! I'm not young any more!"

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

In a café this afternoon, a young father introduced his son, who could not have been older than 8, to the use of a credit card. He showed the boy how to add a tip, and how to sign the bill. He proudly explained to the boy, "Today you have made your first purchase! Good for you!" The day is not far off when banknotes and coins will be rare, and they will look as quaint to the boy as Spanish doubloons look to us.