Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Poetry: Untitled

Jejune. Glut. Clouds. Fog.
Purposeless. Here. Floret.
Obscure. Days. Fissure. Daze. 
Same. Neurotic. Brain.  Bouquet.
Sane. Space. Strain. Shame. 
Thought. Plenty. Empty. Shanty.
Scanty. Passion. Exhausted.
Foisted. Fashion. Hoisted. Bastions.
Lofty. Laurels. Green. And. Graying.
Grayling. Strafing. Stray. Decembrists.
Brain. Decay. Systemic. Peace.
Polemic. Cease. Remembered.
Thought. So. Rendered. Join. 
The. Day. Being. Seeing. 
Watching. Feeling. Reeling. All.
Wretched. Rancor. Duty. Calls.

Forget. Beset. Till. And. Trawl.
Advise. Inform. Facts. Reform.
Tales. Write or Reed. Bite to Bleed.
Vacancy. Meaning. More. Or. Less.
So much. Too little. Too late. On time.
Demand. How much? Our values. Writ.
Be still. Proceed. To. Shape. Or. Shift.
Gift. Needs. Wants. Rift. 
Bridge. Bird. Shoal. Warmth.
Clandestine. Give. Get. Sift.
Glance. Doubt. Cheer. Jeer.

Coerce. Route. Tout. Release.
Grasp. Pipe. Flask. Bump. Blast. Off.
Fast. Taunt. Conceal. Concede.
Wonder. Wandering. Refuse. Reprieve.
Build. Breed. Gallup. Grieve.
Free. To. Be. As. I. Believe.
Will. Steely. Breeze. Spree.

Sprig. Spring. Living. Tree.
Consistently. Erratic. Miserably. Emphatic.

Jejune. Bloom. Ensconce. Entomb.
Wonderfully. Nomadic.
Always. Out. Of. Tune.
Haberdasher. Soul. Stitch. Spirit. Twitch.
Anchored. Pitch. Born. Crying.
Living. Dying. Lying. Loom. Lusting.
Trusting. Brooding. Ogling. Purge.
Forgive. Forget. Significant. Drudgery.
Mire. Admire. Begrudgingly.
Flippant. Strewn. Plant. Or. Prune.
Honesty. Is. Nature's. Broom.
Always. Sweeping. Weeping. Tears.
Watering. All. That's. Near.
Making. Taking. Room. So. Dear.
Whence. Toward. Where E'er. Steered.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Divided Brain - Iain McGilchrist

"...the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant, but has forgotten the gift."

"Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist describes the real differences between the left and right halves of the human brain. It's not simply "emotion on the right, reason on the left," but something far more complex and interesting. A Best of the Web talk from RSA Animate.

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. Before he came to medicine, he was a literary scholar -- and his work on the brain is shaped by a deep questioning of the role of art and culture. As his official bio puts it: "He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise -- the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains."
His recent book The Master and His Emissary explores the nature of the brain's two hemispheres (the right is the "master," in McGilchrist's terms). How have our two hemispheres evolved to relate -- and how did their relationship create our consciousness, our culture, and our ability to understand our own brains?"

Friday, February 6, 2015

On Being, Not Becoming

My state-of-being is a temporary residence. It is one moment amidst an infinite amount of moments. My state-of-being is one flap of one hummingbird's wing amidst a limitless charm of them inexhaustibly fluttering about. Each moment, however insignificant it may seem or unnoticed it goes, has changed me. I am never as I was. No matter how strongly I am influenced by an experience and any accompanying beliefs, emotions, and ideas; no matter how strongly I cling to them and the sense of identity that is derived from them; and no matter how apparent some tendencies or themes appear to remain, something has changed. Something has been introduced, reinforced, revised, or removed. Even as I write these words I am changing. Life (be it as a human or any other expression of existence) seems to be dynamic. To attempt to understand the current moment, as it continuously unfolds before me, from the perspective of previous moments is to miss the mark every time, and yet it seems like the only perspective I can ever proceed from. Lest I trust that understanding is an inherent characteristic of each moment that I need only ever to experience - to be is to understand.

If the me I will become a moment from now does not yet exist how might it be accurately contemplated, discussed, or prepared for. It is an attempt to address what can never be known. Everything seems to exist in this state; from one moment to the next compulsively chasing the unknown. Motivated by the desire for certainty or control I plan & predict. I analyze, anticipate, reason, and or speculate. I must realize at some level of my being that I can never accurately capture, much less comprehend life beyond our species' anecdotal, conjectural, or so-called factual insights into it. Such insights are themselves limited to human cognizance. Currently, my insights lead me to believe that life is from one moment to the next. The most I seem guaranteed of is my experience of it. We seem capable of choice, so we are in this sense self-deterministic; however, in choosing a devotion of some kind or another a resistance to the general dynamism of life's current arises. I assume that the mind must match said dynamism if it is to avoid the conflict or confusion that naturally accompanies
such obstinacy and Promethean idealism. If the mind is tethered to an unreasonably rigid (or even well rationalized) conviction it seems necessarily at odds with the very context from which it originates - namely the mutable nature of life itself.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On My Mind

After reading a 2012 blog post on The Secret Life of an INFP - Inside My Mind  I commented on several things I relate to, many of which I could not put in to words as succinctly as its author, aelthwyn, had. Some were as follows:

I enjoy novel experiences. I love people's stories. While I have an aversion to ambiguous feedback and gossip the behaviors interest me. I appreciate  thoughtful conversation, that is to say what folks "think, feel, and theorize about various topics of mutual interest" and their own individual interest. What was shared in the post reminded me of something I reflected on in a blog post of my own as regards "small talk": On Honesty.

I too, like the author, have background noise; what some call thoughts and others voices. The noise is often breached by the grating of intrusive sounds. The sensation is as though a real life conversation had been interrupted; sometimes a symposium, other times it is the dissonant rambling of several voices vying for attention, and at other times a euphonious chant or chorale. In some instances the breach is a welcomed interlude and in others it is entirely inconvenient. My mind frequently repeats familiar songs and composes original melodies, which I routinely hum. Occasionally (be it minutes, hours, or days later) a lyrical element will be realized. I do not know musical notation and I am too shy to perform or to record myself. Admittedly, some part of me longs to sing with others, and envies those who do.

Sometimes, I'll stare blankly in to space; a sudden lapse in consciousness is how I'd best describe it. When asked to recount the experience there isn't much to tell; it is typically brief and I don't seem to be reflecting on anything in particular, as there is nothing for me to convey. When it happens in the presence of others I'm usually met with an, "Albert. Albert? Albert!", "Hellooo?", "Are you alright?", "Are you paying attention?" or "Where were you?" The closest thing I can relate it to are the absence seizures I've read about. However, those occur more often in children. Another person brought up partial seizure, but short of visiting a Neurological specialist I can't know for sure. I prefer to walk barefoot, unless it is unreasonably scalding or cold. While rocks, sticks, and stones are sometimes uncomfortable to walk on or slow my pace I enjoy the sensation of them underfoot and the idea of my flesh touching the Earth's, much like the keen satisfaction I derive from skin-to-skin or eye contact.

Friday, December 12, 2014

On Self Love

There comes a time when you finally understand what it means to be yourself, and that to do so requires above all else a love of self. Perhaps until then you had thought it a struggle; grappling to define or find your self amid the expectations of others, social roles, and norms - the ever elusive you. All the while there you'd been, and all that was ever needed was for you to remain still enough to recognize and appreciate yourself. There you had been, where there was never anything to strive for to begin with. There, chasing approbation, status, and wealth. It's like pursuing a phantom, expecting to seize what does not exist in the hope that you will some day be handsomely rewarded with fulfillment in any or all of its imagined forms. But, true fulfillment, if such a thing even exists, might only by realized through self-understanding because it is only with such an understanding that we can engage honestly and meaningfully with life.

I occasionally compare myself to others despite knowing better. I have embellished things for shame of my shortcomings both perceived and real. Awash in self-loathing and tormented by a fear of rejection my life has been a cycle of happiness for people & their accomplishments, covetousness and disappointment.

Now I realize that covetousness is a reflection of a lack of self-acceptance. My covetousness is based on the desire to be happy and mistaking happiness for being that when I am this. Sometimes, when I hear people speak happily about their interests & preoccupations I am unnerved  because I am reminded of my baseless dissatisfactions. Such times are best addressed by exercising gratitude, that is, being mindful of (and perhaps acknowledging aloud) the good in ones life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Poetry: 'Sediment & Sepulcher'

Let us burn our dead in furnaces for fuel
Like the carbon-rich corpses
of the plankton lost at sea
that drift downward deft & steadily
From their epipelagic throne
- deposed, entomed in sweet repose -
'til Earthen throws or We obtain
by dint of drain we'll reign
In warmth the plankton thrive,
but for their insatiability
None to check their rampant bloom
Their very lives and those they fed
await in dead and fix them room;
a sedimentary tomb; 
a carbon coffer womb

The carbon age upon us
The carbon cage surrounds
A prison which adorns those
found bound by such compounds
A warmth that we've enjoyed
Soon a heat to scald the skin
We bathe in oil; this perfect foil
Much to man's chagrin
a carbon tale is told us
The earth prognosticates
With nothing to restrain mankind
from razing at their pace

While what we're here to service

lay dead beneath our feet
When all that we rely upon
is gone or very scarce
Like dead decaying plankton

which sink and settle down
This ship: Exceptionalism
will also run aground

We, as oil & shale, may live to tell the tale
In coming times when future kind
unearths us in their wells
Mayhap they'll blaze our children's graves,
ignoring precedent,
to reap the warmth of ancient sunlight
trapped in sediment.