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Monthly Archives: June 2008

Sunset BeachYou asked me today why I don’t do something with my summer.

I have one last summer.

One last summer.

After that my time is no longer mine. I have to bring myself into the world of the working man.

You suggested that I place myself on a beach, in exotic heat. Or find a mountain, to scale its snow capped glory. Or visit some historic ruin of venerable antiquity to scour to my hearts content.

All of which are appealing ideas. They all tug at that wonderlust that lurks in a corner of my soul, habitually uncared for and chained to its leash.

I have my reasons for rejecting this pull.

I have the sensation, the expectation, the certainty, that I’m standing at the edge of a precipice. Standing and staring down a into a hole whose depths are as incomprehensible as they are inevitable. It is the sensation of staring into the edge of the future and the turbulences of time with the foresight of inevitability.

To suggest I go holiday, to go frolic in some foreign pasture, is to suggest that I fidget on the edge of the abyss. That I should meet the inevitable with something less then the grace and firm perspective that is required. To wring my hands and shrink nervously from reality.

I won’t do that.

I won’t.

Connected to that first reason is another.

As unfashionable as it may be, I’m looking forward to returning to the real world. I want this summer to end. I don’t want to prolong it with fluff and holidays, planning and organising and expeditions. They’re distractions, deviations, from that particular path I want to take. I’ve made that decision already.  I know what I will do with the time that is given to me. Suggesting that I should consider a vacation is to tell me to reconsider that decision for no reason.

I won’t do that either.

I won’t.

I’m content to wait here, with my projects, my friends, my things, and wait for the passage of time to do what it does.

Senātus Populusque Rōmānus When, in 75BC, Cicero stepped of the boat at Brundisium, having fulfilled his duty to the Roman republic as quaestor of Sicily he imagined that all Rome would be abuzz with the news of his performance.

As he sailed into the harbour he keenly anticipated the praise that he would soon have lavished upon him by the citizens of the republic.

Cicero thrived on the praise of the people. Especially keen for Cicero was the hunger for  praise from his social betters. To the great and not so good of Rome, Cicero keenly desired to prove his unlimited ability and potential. To prove that he deserved his place in their midst.

He waited in vain.

Stepping off the boat he was greeted with indifference. No one noticed the return of the great Roman magistrate sent to aid in the governance of Sicily. Events occupied the minds of the powerful in Rome, and these events were not the banal management of a distant colony.

Cicero learned an important lesson that day, one that he did not forget for the rest of his career.

No matter what glories you achieve in distant lands, no matter how great the tales told of your prowess, people are consistent in one thing. They do not remember what they hear.

But what they see? Visions and images stay with them forever. What is seen has impact. Everything else fades away.

Appearances are important.

As important as substance.

One of the best photos I’ve ever taken.

The clouds and the lights combine with the tree in perfect harmony.

Yet it persists, inspite of all the doubts, all the puffery of rhetoric, that in these still days spent in  virtual isolation, Providence (fully deserving its capital P) will persevere in its perverse endeavour to breath life in to that chain of events that can only bring from my head a shake at the surreal nature of life and we the living.

And yet it persists also to provide those glories, those opportunities that will admit no other effect but to cause my lips to declaim an unflagging gratitude to a Providence.

A Providence that  by its actions is shown to be so generous and bountiful, that its inspiration and will must be surely all that is needed to substain an infinite universe beyond the boundaries of any mortal’s grasp.

Charging a lawyer for ethics violations is like charging a wolverine for “failure to adhere to vegan principles”.

RIAA’s Throwing In the Towel Covered a Sucker Punch

Hindu’s tell a parable to illustrate how old the universe is.

Imagine, they say, that Mount Meru – the sacred mountain of Hinduism, a 1000 times taller than Everest – were made entirely of an unfathomably hard metal. A metal harder than any steel or iron we could contemplate.

Imagine there is a bird of prey, that flies around the Mountain in its hunting.

Once a year the softest feathers on its wing brush for the briefest moment against the side of Mount Meru.

The universe is older than the time it would take for the mountain to be worn to dust by the brushing wing.

 

Self-medication may be the reason the blogosphere has taken off. Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings.

But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits.

Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery.

A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.

Blogging–It’s Good for You: Scientific American

Montreal_Canadian_GP_Circuit_638225Welcome to the seventh round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Montreal’s Ile Notre Dame.

It looks as if we could be in for a very wet weekend, with predictions veering from thunderstorms to showers and back to thunderstorms in recent days.

At present, Thursday is forecast to be partly cloudy and dry with an ambient temperature high of 24 degrees Celsius.

There will then be thunderstorms on Friday through to Sunday, with the temperature fluctuating between 26 and 29 degrees.

The Official Formula 1 Website

A wet weekend is on the cards in Montreal, Canada

With two long straights, high speeds, long delicate curves and the odd hairpin or two, this is a track where rain should raise a healthy amount of chaos.

Particularly the start of the start/finish straight, where the racing line is to go hard on to the curb and skim within inches of the solid concrete wall that lines that straight. Last year Heidfeld was going so close the sides of his tyres covered in the white paint that was formerly on that wall.

This is a track which presents decent scope for overtaking, and charges high penalties for mistakes, such as Robert Kubica’s spectacular crash last year. 

Which should combine to make it a fascinating race.

The drivers hate wet weather because it increases the risks and turns the established order upside down.

Fans, if they’re honest, love wet weather.

It’s one of the main factors in turning the ceremonial procession that is a dry race into an open race where the outsider teams can grab at glory.

You’re not going to see Adrian Sutil in the Force India ahead of a Ferrari driven by the World Champion Kimi Raikkonen in any other circumstances.

The rain at Monaco made this a reality in Monaco two weeks ago, at least until Kimi drove into the back end of Sutil’s car.

If it takes wet weather to make formula 1 more entertaining and competitive, then we should be glad as long it keeps raining.

I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.
~ Albert Einstein.

Its gone on for so long, Hunaid is cracking jokes.

Another friend shrugged their shoulders with a ‘well duh’ look. It was that obvious.

My parents seem to be taking it in their stride.

What is ‘it’?

My growing disillusionment with religion.

I’m floundering on the big picture questions. Why are we here? Where are we going? Why would I want to go there? Why the black and white divide of heaven and hell?

Who is God? How can he exist without being creation? What’s the point of creating if your an omnipotent, omniscient being? Why would such a being need our prayers? Why would he need or even want our acknowledgement?

Ten thousand questions like this. Questions popping into my head every day, wondering how I can live so strongly within the rules  when I’m uncertain about so much.

I’m not the first person to ask these questions. I know that. And others have provided answers. I want answers from those inside my spiritual tradition. Those are denied to me.

Then there is the stuff that’s obviously wrong.

Religious teachers pushing geocentric models of the solar system. Not being able to explain how it worked, or why it was valid. Just asserting that it had to be accepted.

Except I’ve heard of Carl Sagan and read about Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo. I know what the orbit of a planet should look like from the earth in a geocentric model, and I know what they actually look like when charted in the night sky. They don’t match.

Religious teachers telling me with a straight face that physics hasn’t advanced from Aristotle, and that all things are made from the basic elements of air, fire, earth, and water.

Nobody wants to talk about Newton, Einstein or the Copenhagen Interpretation. No one with a clue where protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks and flavours fit into that Aristotelian model of the universe. As if nuclear weapons were built by compressing dirt and setting it on fire. As if 2000 years of progress doesn’t exist.

There are hard limits to the depth of my fall. So far anyway.

I don’t doubt there is a God. I don’t doubt my particular branch of Islam. I believe Maula is everything he says he is. I believe that without this muhabat and walayat for Maula I would have given up on religion all together.

Where does that leave me? For the moment, it leaves me with growing disillusionment.

It leaves me in a strange limbo: a faithful skeptic.

I have questions. I have no answers. Not even the prospect of answers. There’s no one to hear the questions.

I’m a thinking person. I trust my head. Whatever steps I’ve taken to modify and expand that, the intellectual is my primary way of approaching the world.

My religion must satisfy me on that plane  to sustain me.

I’d like answers, clear answers that take a position. No hemming and hawing. No telling me that I’ve asked a very good question, but they can’t answer. Or worse yet vague handwringing answers that don’t address the question.

If you don’t answer, maybe it’s cause you can’t – you don’t have an answer. Maybe the imponderables are imponderable all the way up the food chain.

Maybe all this is just some form of social control. Another giant pyramid scheme of religion.

And I’m wasting my life playing to the Rules.