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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


cat's eye nebula

A little bit ago I was watching a documentary of the Apollo moon project. A lot of film footage from that time, Ozzie and Harriet world to the max, and the various astronauts grown up with white hair, In The Shadow of the Moon. Toward the end, they all talked of their experience when they returned home. Mike Collins said on the journey back from the moon, the spacecraft was turning, and the earth appeared in the window, then the moon appeared, the sun appeared, the earth and so on. He began to see that the molecules of his body, the molecules of the spacecraft, the molecules of earth, the moon, everything in the universe, all have a common source, all of it is one. He is one with all of creation. He called it an epiphany. It changed his life. Another said a week later he gave his will to Jesus and said, I'm yours. Alan Bean said he feels joy every minute of his life that he was chosen for the experience to see all that he saw within. His face was radiant, all these years later, his eyes were radiant as he talked. What he said was radiant. The man took a great big leap in his own inner space. At the very end, interviewer wanted to know what they thought of the belief the film was made in the Arizona desert. I took home with me what one of them said, Truth needs no defense. Amen, brother, I said out loud.

It took me to my own realization, half my life ago, when I saw as convincingly as I needed that God indeed Is. Up to then, it had been an ongoing question. Experts say this, experts say that. All I knew was what other people said, from the preacher at church to Nietzsche, and civilization looked like it was going with Nietzsche. Then, it was a question for me. In my readings of Nietzsche, that is with limited comprehension, what I saw was he expounded truths, an advanced Will Rogers, but never reached the Truth. I always felt that was absent from Nietzsche. So what's the use of reading more of him than for an acquaintance? Just because a philosopher who went seriously nuts said God is dead, doesn't mean any more to me than if Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols said it. I suppose it was its time to be entertained for a century so all of humanity can cut loose with all the pressed down chaos within and act like God isn't looking and do whatever the hell we wanna. And we did. It got us wars like never ever before. It got us misery on earth like never ever before, ongoing misery. Misery in starvation and misery in gluttony. As a result of higher learning bent to war efforts where the money was, the wars inspired our technology by major leaps and bounds. They even advanced our consciousness by leaps and bounds as well. The whole century was the breaking down of the old and the emergence of new. By the place we're in now, the tail end of the old is about gone, the new is here. Kindle. Digital.

I'm seeing like a bell curve that is the time humanity lived by fire. Electricity came into use at the beginning of the century and by the end of the century we had computers running everything, and we can't forget the Christians freaking out over the end of time. Electricity is the new fire. It looks like it's tearing us down, which in many respects it is, it's like in construction. To make the old building accommodate the need for much more space, tear down the old building and put up the new one. The wars and technology itself put an end to the old ways of living by fire. The Fifties were full of commercials about living better electrically. What's a home without a range? In the early 50s my grandmother won a new refrigerator because some appliance dealer offered a free refrigerator to whoever had the oldest one. She used a literal ice box. The box that held the block of ice was lined with a kind of metal, the whole thing sealed tight to contain the cold of the ice. I hated to see it go, but she didn't. She liked her new refrigerator. Just plug it in the wall.

By now as we're approaching the end of the Mayan calendar, another freakout is gathering for another round of disappointment by zealots that The End didn't happen again. Will this movie never end? Le Fin. Whatever. Stop the world, I want to get off. Like when is it going to sink in? The end of a cycle is only the end of a cycle. Calendars are circles. There is the zodiac cycle of the earth running through all the signs very 26,000 +/- years. At the end of that cycle, the next one starts. The next day after December 31 is January 1. Not much changed except what's on television and radio from 11:59 to 12:01. The year 2000 was end/beginning of a new set of cycles, thousands, hundreds, tens, digits. Lots of cycles in that one. It wasn't the end of the world and computers didn't stop. And rock and roll albums played backwards did not say satan is king.

We're in the cycle change from however multiple thousands of years since the human species left the trees and found fire. What a change that was. We've come to the end of the cycle of living by fire. We're going into the beginning of the cycle of living by electricity. Technology has just begun. It's happened so fast in decades that by now, I feel like my great uncle Frank Brink driving a Model A in the early 50s. How many of the people my age now, give or take, have said, I'm not getting what comes after cds, like the people before us said, I'm not getting what comes after cassettes. That's not even an issue any more. We just do whatever comes next. Books, evidently, are of the age of fire. I think of the daughter of my friends, she herself my friend, who is working on PhD at Berkeley in micro biology, which I don't know enough about to know whether to capitalize the m or the b, or both or neither. She's a front line woman of the future. Her generation grew up in tech and it's their way of thinking. Twitter and Blackberries are exciting new things that make so much more possible for her. I don't know what either one is. And I don't want to know. I'm from the age of fire in transition to tech. Each of the generation gaps since WW2 had to do with steps along the transition.

It's like the man in India said on the news a few days ago, that technology is taking the young away from their religion. Sure enough. The religion is part of the age of fire. All traditions all over the world are of the age of fire and have to go. That's what the Great Satan is doing in the Islamic world, bringing them war and technology, breaking down their traditions, putting the women in thongs and spike heels, teaching government by fraudulent elections. When they do it like we do it, it looks really bad. Like everywhere else, they like tv, pop music, varieties of hipness, keeping up with the latest. When I quit keeping up with the latest, it felt like a full body/soul relaxation, like letting the air out of the Michelin man, letting him relax to the ground where he can be folded, put into his box to rest, not have to be standing up all the time like he's afraid he might miss the next latest.

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