The Flower of Possibility

Jan Rose Kasmir photographed by Marc Riboud. Comments worth reading at

Jan Rose Kasmir photographed by Marc Riboud. Comments worth reading at

I have been mulling my previous post,

as I often do to touch base with the interconnectedness of ideas in a mind “spread like butter over too much bread,”  “Up In Arms” pesters my sensibilities…a bit more of a rant than I normally like to engage here. While there’s nothing essentially wrong with a rant – they can clear your head of angry phlegm like a good sneeze, and be just as entertaining – they stem from anger and frustration, angling for catharsis, and are not supported by sustainable energy as they scream over top of details.  So they don’t encourage hope quite as efficiently as more considered expressions. But, if we can stand to sift through the spew, there is usually at least a nugget of salience in a rant. After I washed the goo away from my previous words, the useful seed I found was:

Do we want to be a society of care?  

Do we really want to see an end to our morass of violence?  Because I’m not entirely convinced that we, as a global community of souls do.  There certainly have been a plethora of realizations of the method behind our deep seeded violent and aggressive systematic behavior, plenty of sound ideas for fresh humane processes, and more than enough Miss Americas desirous of world peace.  But we continuously parse out just enough tidbits of these humanistic understandings to veil the caveman within us, and continue on the path of aggressive acquisition, while giving just enough to feel better about ourselves. It is, in fact, hard to share everything and care about everyone given our current orientation toward convenience and consumption.  An emotional populace, up in arms about issues and ideologies is readily satiated with shiny things.  

The Caveman Within

The Caveman Within

But say I’m wrong.  It’s happened before.  Suppose we do want to grow beyond a world of winners and losers.  How do we release ourselves from our cycle of comfort cum anxiety cum immediate gratification, in order to develop our human nature toward its rational and nurturing potential?  Perhaps the most confounding dynamic at play is always the plethora of options, so how to begin? I like to look toward our planet for cues to proceed toward wholeness, since she is such a fine example of how to sustainably nurture life.  Then we can potentially apply our reasonability to all of the wondrous sentience, concentrate on actual dynamics and let go of fantastical utopian ideals, in order to clarify a set of humane values that we can sustain with simple actions.

Through that lens,

one thing I notice right away is that there is no end of violence.  It is a natural aspect of the flow of the activity of life. All of the natural elements exhibit violent behavior, and with no regard for fairness (there’s a fantastical utopian ideal for you).  From dead calm to category 5 hurricanes, including those pleasant soft summer breezes, the wind is and is not. Violent actions and reactions are a part of the everyday existence of every species, and is a factor in staying alive…and sometimes having fun.  That doesn’t mean we have to accentuate and encourage excessive and unnecessary violent behavior by institutionalizing our compulsions to choose up sides and exert control over others. We have the power to choose to be calm and inclusive in the face of threats and difficulties, to forgive transgressions, and remedy their root structure.  In fact, as a species with the capacity for rational thought, it is our responsibility to do so. As Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” From a more scientific perspective, this from DNA Worldwide –

We’re beginning to understand that the choices we make can have a long-term impact on our health and can cause genetic level change, which could even impact future generations. Individual responsibility for our lifestyle choices is therefore more important than ever before.”  (

I so dig science.

Which is odd, since my mind (as it is now) is not really built to handle that kind of math.  What sings out to me when I read about scientific discoveries, is the philosophical poetry of the natural world,that grounds us as we perceive ever-unfolding truths.  I read a book once, “Ideas and Opinions” by Albert Einstein, ¾ of which really made sense to me.  Then he got to the math and my mind went numb. But among the many salient thoughts in that book, one that impacted me the most was his understanding that everything he ever said was theoretical and from his perspective.  Acknowledging his mistakes, and completely willing to be proven wrong, Einstein oriented himself toward finding as much truth in the world as he could…and sharing it. He, as most scientists, seems to have understood that discovery is more helpful to humanity than achievement. As a side note, there’s a book out by physicist Carlo Rovelli, titled “The Order of Time”, that I really want to read, cause it seems to challenge our limited notion of time, and is apparently easily digestible for minds like mine.  Since we’re stretching time, it occurs to me that Chinese scientists, somewhere around in the 1st millennium BC, observed in the elements of our planet an essential expression of energy that encompassed all life. An all inclusive oneness that avails each individual the opportunity to be a part of everything that is, was, or might be. This lens offers a view that there is no one thing without its other thing, because they are of the same dynamic. For example, there is no peace without violence. Reality, then, is the ebb and flow of the peace-violence dynamic, and how the many and varied bits of life relate to that dynamic.  This perspective of more or less raises questions, acknowledging the constant fluctuation and relativity of all things, to open the door to possibility and understanding.  Whereas, absolute knowledge builds a rigid platform of answers and ideologies, that manifest divisive issues.  Of course, the perspectives of more or less, and absolute knowledge exist on the same plane of relativity.  So the quality of our choices depend on how we orient ourselves on that spectrum.

Each loop is a moment of action which determines the values with which we approach the next loop.

Each loop is a moment of action which determines the values with which we approach the next loop.

Now I can hear the echo

of the DNA Worldwide caution bouncing off of the anxiety of the youth of America, ringing through the canyons of a globally militarized corporatocracy that commands us to stress over the possibility of being dominated by Koreans or Muslims or the other political party, or that guy at work, or whatever other convenient “them”, and take an aggressive stance…to develop habits in our common living to gain control, get the upper hand, own the other, and win…to get more, newer, faster, better stuff so i feel better about myself…to celebrate violence with parades and entertainments that encourage a desire for domination and explosiveness that in turn make AR-15s and automatic handguns and dead people attractive to certain mindsets.  We orient our society toward answers and possessions which must be promoted and defended with physical and emotional abuse. When I take the time to listen attentively, the voice of reason clearly profers that the time-tested emphasis on violence and separation pays big dividends to a few when people believe that the spectre of evil is real and time is of the essence. So what if it costs 100 or so lives a day. Then I can let go of my frustrated rant, and simply ask myself, what do I do that contributes to those deep pockets.

While protest speeches and marches can be a helpful reflection of what is on our minds; and have proven to move the needle of conversation, like the rant, their singular issue orientation desires a cathartic release of energy, which diffuses our power and focus once we’ve been mollified by a conveniently written amendment to the Constitution, or an impeachment, or whatever denouement might be concocted and properly sold.  Over the long haul, it’s the smaller momentary actions that shape each day, and our actions are spawn of our orientation and perspective. So the quality of care with which we address each choice dictates not only our present and future, but our past as well. What we choose to look at on the computer or television set (or Dog forbid a book) and how we receive that information, the objects we choose to hold; how we acquire them; and how we use them, the way we share moments with each other (including going to protest marches) and perhaps more importantly with ourselves.  These are what shape our spacetime. Even – and especially – the care with which we wipe our ass can effect change on a molecular level. The knit of our social fabric, woven by the quality of our questions with the thread of our focus, determines our ebb and flow of dynamics. When we spend our most formative years learning to grab hold of criteria and put them in their proper place with a corresponding label, whether they are people, places, or things, we orient our society toward absolute answers and possessions which must be defended in competition with the best weapons we can muster.  With regards to the peace-violence dynamic, when our focus is on the weapons, if we ask questions at all, they must be about which weapons kill the best, who gets to use them, and who we should use them on to preserve safety and security (there’s another fantastical utopian ideal). Trying to grab hold of that which is fleeting, gun violence grows as a natural outcropping of that focus. Whereas, with a focus on the solid ground of human cooperation, understanding, and the more or less flux, we get to ask questions like, what are the dynamics that compelled a particular person to kill? How can we alleviate the stress in those dynamics for that person?  What are the common threads that connect them with other murderers, that we might see deeper stress points? What compels us as a society to merely chalk them up as tainted people and kill them or isolate them further? What is the quality of mercy? (How did that question get away from us all these hundreds of years later?) How can we better educate every single one of our children to discover their true value and help them express it? How can we better model the more respectful behavior that we encourage some of them to engage in. What do we truly value?  I mean the “all of us” we, not the “those of us that think or believe or look like me” we. That is an important distinction to make, because the cost of freedom really lies in taking complete responsibility for all of our individual and communal actions, and determining the knit of our social fabric, so that hopefully we can avoid the cost of freedom having anything to do with people dying.  There are a lot of flowers out there, and a lot of environmental influences to coordinate. Sometimes I get frustrated. I feel shame. I want to blame. But when I take the time to breathe into a moment, allow questions to lead to questions, and see the loops of each leaf and petal, my lifestyle takes a more considered and considerate bent.