The featured photo was shot by my father, Ronald Neumann. Three of the images shown with the poetry are royalty-free from MorgueFile. I created the remaining four pictures with the program, Fresh Paint. (See if you can discern which is which). As always, I hope you enjoy the poetry:
Where do I start?
I concentrated on my antique lamp, carefully analyzing the dust coating its base. It felt like me, I assumed. I felt like dust clung to me. “Yet it’s brighter than I’ll ever be.”
Everything I had to do that day, and tomorrow, seemed overwhelming. It was hopeless. It was repeated torture.
“Today is the day I do it. I’m really going to.”
I looked out the window—the sun piercing my swollen eyes.
I’m a lover of words. I use language to identify myself and others. I connect memories by composing an autobiographical narrative.
Let’s Update the Plot
It’s so arrogant
For one generation to
Presume that it “has
Always been this way” and worse
Still that it shouldn’t be changed.
The environment produced human beings. The simplest of physical laws interacted through a cycle of entropy and gravity to make stars, galaxies, particles, planets, and even complex and sentient life forms like us. Regardless of religious choice, indecision, or rejection, something within all of us ought to recognize that this ever-evolving system is a miracle. And the fact that we hardly understand the dynamic interplay between forces makes it that much more magical. People are, obviously, intelligent (relative to most ambient life). We consider ourselves sentient (as Descartes said, “Cogito ergo sum,” “I think; therefore, I am”), merely because we discern our consciousness as separate from the environment. It is certainly not the case that sentience depends on knowing how or why our consciousness exists, or most of the human race would not have it (except maybe a few neurobiologists and philosophers). Most people assume that no other animals or plants sense individuality (proto-ego or id-sentience—a primitive form of intellect), with little to no evidence supporting this claim. Our (seemingly) unique capability of thought allows human beings to discern the right action from the wrong actions—or, put more bluntly: ethics. Morality compounds two forms of thinking—logic and emotions—into a mode for decision-making. Philosophy compounds two disciplines—science and humanities—into a common love of wisdom. Spirituality compounds two attitudes—rational and empathetic—in order to develop a deeper understanding of absolute being. Morality, philosophy, and spirituality all correlate to each other. A person’s spiritual beliefs ground all morality, since our rationality and empathy correspond to our relationship with other beings. Spirituality is a subset of philosophy—it lies in the metaphysical, ontological realm concerning static identity. I believe the solution to the encroaching environmental, ecological, and economic calamity rests squarely on the shoulders of a spiritual revolution that takes into account the equilibrium of force and the value of life.
Meditation to Cure Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism is a hard disease to fight, because it begins as a mental disposition and turns into a physiological and psychological dependence. An alcoholic wakes up and the temptation to dull awareness beckons. Going through life naturally becomes painful; sobriety becomes incarceration. Fighting the mental battle, meditation offers a solution with no side-effects.
I read an article today about the connection between Buddhism and Quantum Mechanics. I agree. Science tells us that everything changes form. Science tells us nothingness has creative qualities. Science tells us we’re all connected. I want to discuss a key component to Buddhism: no-self (or anatman). I believe science would agree with these spiritual insights.
Despite what you might think, Buddhism and Science getting along doesn’t mean it’s without empathy.