They say that God is everywhere.
I know the Christian one and he's not what I find
everywhere I look.

The one who claims to be love
but in his teenage years ordered genocide
and never said a disapproving word about slavery

He's pretty easy to find
in the words of preachers and books
in church services
in imagination

He's not so easy to find
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
in the chocolate slave trade
in the famine and ethnic cleansing of the Sudan
in the greed of Wall Street or the drug trade
in the segregation of the churches

What do I find
everywhere I look?
the light of perception, awareness
Lying in bed, awareness is present
Walking down the street, awareness is present
Sitting in front of the computer, awareness is present
Sleeping a dream, awareness is present
Driving the car, awareness is present
Watching the news, awareness is present
Talking to a friend, awareness is present
Lost in a daydream, awareness is present

Wherever I look, awareness is present
Where awareness is not,
I find nothing because
I can't even look.


power corrupts

Reading the following passage in Losing My Religion by William Lobdell, I had the thought that it reflects a truth of all human populations. He's writing about his wife's journey from faithful Catholic to unbeliever.
For years, she said she had been "judged up the gazinga" by priests during confession and counseling sessions, making her feel guilty and worthless. Now she was finding out that these same preiests had been convering up fro their molesting brethren, or that they themselves had unconfessed sins far greater than hers. She came to see Catholic priests as regular people who belonged to an all-male clube that absurdly believed its members held special powers -- like turning bread and wine in to teh literal body and blood of Christ -- that set them apart [from] the rest of humanity.
My insight was that the more any culture or group of humans sets some members apart with special status and powers, the more it creates the opportunity for abusive and fraudulent behavior on the part of the privileged group. That is, power corrupts, etc. And it seems that this effect is proportional to the distance between the classes and the impermeability of the barrier between them. The greater the distance between the privileged and the disenfranchised, the greater the incentive to present oneself as a member of the privileged class, even if such is not the case, the less the incentive for the privileged to treat the disenfranchised fairly, and the greater the opportunity for the privileged to abuse the disenfranchised. The more difficult it is for a disenfranchised to pass the barrier and become a member of the privileged, the greater the resentment and pain of the disenfranchised is likely to be and the less the incentive for the privileged to treat the disenfranchised with respect. Such dynamics are likely to encourage the privileged to make the barriers even higher and the distance even greater, to isolate and protect themselves from the understandable resentment and rage of the disenfranchised.

These considerations are relevant within nations as well as without. As the gap between wealthy and poor continues to increase in the U.S., the greater the pressure for equalization as well as the greater the incentive of the wealthy to keep the poor at a distance and unable to move into the privileged class. Similarly, as the developed nations move farther and farther ahead of less developed nations in terms of technology, energy consumption, per capita pollution, per capita comfort, and so forth, the greater the incentive for the developed nations to maintain the gap and the greater the pressure for social justice.


The System Is Broken

US national labs receive lots of money to research energy production and consumption, how to mitigate the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption (global warming, habitat destruction, etc.), and ways to produce and consume energy with less impact.

Yet those same national labs waste amazing amounts of energy on a daily basis. Here are just a few examples.
  • The food served in the cafeterias is consistent with the standard American diet (SAD) -- lots of meat, dairy, and highly processed foods. Food starts out as simple plants. To produce meat and dairy, we feed the plants to cows and chickens, losing a significant portion of the usable calories and emitting significant quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the process. To produce processed foods like bread, snack foods, desserts, and highly sweetened beverages, the plants are processed in various ways, again losing a significant portion of the nutrients and emitting greenhouse gases. We could save energy by simply eating the unprocessed plants in the first place.
  • Consumption of the highly processed food served in the cafeterias over time leads to chronic disease -- obesity, vascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Eating unprocessed plants instead would save energy by reducing the future per capita healthcare requirements.
  • More could be done at relatively low cost to encourage and support staff members getting more exercise and saving gasoline by riding their bicycles to work. Bike paths, lanes, and shoulders cost much less than the full roads required for cars or the fallout from accidents. Safety is a big issue at the labs. Why can't we make it safe to be green?


Who am I?

Who am I?

What am I?

Looking for I, nothing is found. There is just the looking. No looker to be found behind the looking.

Where do thoughts come from? They seem to simply appear from nowhere. It seems sometimes as if one thought leads to another, but there doesn't seem to be any way to be sure they are connected. What is seen is this thought, then another, then another, arising from nowhere, returning to nowhere. Or from God. Or from the conditioning. We can attribute the thoughts wherever we like. I still don't know where they come from.


How long can one enjoy a flat, tasteless life devoid of meaning? Maybe you can do without one of them -- meaning or flavor -- but not both.

Where does meaning come from? What connects signifier to signified?

Not the connection but the process that makes it -- awareness, consciousness -- that who is, what is, all that is.

Where does that process come from? Is it created by the brain or does it contain the brain? A moebius strip -- locally two sided, globally one sided.

Is it enough? Enough, not enough, all a judgement. Make the judgements happy. Be at peace. Or not. What else can you do?


So What?

Reading the coverage on the tazing of Andrew Meyer, I noted that a number of the stories pointed out that Mr. Meyer is a "known prankster" or has "a history of practical jokes."

Are practical jokers exempted from the right to free speech? Or was the point that this was just another of his "pranks"? How is the contents of his website relevant to the story?


Trying to read your T-shirt

Men are stereotypically accused of looking at women's breasts. This conversation floated through my head earlier today and seemed funny...

Attractive woman wearing T-shirt: "What are you looking at, jerk?"

Me: "Um... I was trying to read your T-shirt."

Attractive woman: "Nice try."

Me: "It's true. Your breasts kind of get in the way. Sorry. Never mind."

Woman: "It says, 'Yanni Live'."

Me (looking away): "Thanks"