INTRODUCTION


            I will soon be 74. Paying more attention now, I realize that in many ways I am jaded. "Been there, done that; gone fishing," as stated on the back of a cap my grandson Bradley gave me last year (with front inscription: "Genuine Antique Fisherman"). I am no longer interested in many things I've seen so often and long that I either ignore, take for granted, act like they don't really matter, or worse, am bored with.

 

            But I am also seeing other things, as though for the first time, which amaze me. Many of them I glimpsed long ago, even managed to hold in mind's eye, plus to write down, talk about, preach, or otherwise capture in images of eye or head; but increasingly now, I am awed when I occasionally run into them in real life.


            Till now I have mostly been dedicated to what amounts to: capturing the world, to reducing it to images of eye and mind via photography, theology, psychology, philosophy, that is, pretty pictures and sensible explanations for assorted worldly phenomena and human behaviors which interest and/or effect me, all these for use as tools in coping with life's ancient and modern forces, primarily in forms and shapes conforming to my illusions of control, which I have regularly mistaken at the time for The Truth, until the powers I had projected into them began to fade and threaten my yet fragile self, still lacking the courage and faith essential for daring to swim in the sometimes salty waters of genes and memes mixed in ever evolving confluences (I am also amazed that I still have trouble making short sentences!).

 

            But now, tiring sometimes of such temporal tasks and more curious about freedom than control, about discovering more than managing, being honest than being liked, knowing than knowing about, plus loving than being loved, I occasionally find greater delights in letting go than holding on, in seeing than in capturing sights, in hearing than in telling, in wondering than in conclusions, in participating in assorted flows than in diverting or damning many of life's assorted rivers. And when I do, my amazement escalates.


            I take the occasion of my approaching birthday to pause in my process and reflect on a few of them. I've far to go before I experience, in the words of Lili Tomlin, "awe infinitum," but increasingly I am able to confront these mysteries--puzzles and paradoxes, without running away.

 

            Before I begin, here is what I mean by amazement:


Amazement is a natural response to universal mystery; understanding is often but cloaking specific aspects of ever-present mystery with sensible theories based on limited human perceptions, that is, using what we can know to cope with what we don't, hopefully in productive ways in accord with human or personal values, but all-to-often negatively, by blinding ourselves to mystery's reality and missing the beautiful awe inherent in human existence, escaping, as it were, into "ain't it awful" rather than living joyfully in continual amazement.


            As I said at first, I have seen and eventually accepted many strange things which now seem so common place ("Doesn't everyone see what I do?") that I simply take them for granted and generally ignore them.

 

            These, however, some of which I have long glimpsed but not yet accepted, still continue to amaze me whenever I bump against one of them unexpectedly:


ABOUT MYSELF

 

**Extent of my ignorance; commonly I think of myself as fairly well educated, with a master's, doctorate, and post-doctoral studies, etc.; but my recent trip to France reminded me again of how little I actually know, even about subjects I am most knowledgeable of, like religion and psychology. In America I can easily isolate myself in arenas of familiarity, but once out of my element, I am amazed at how little I actually know and the vast amounts of available information beyond my current awareness.

 

**Extent to which habits, many of which were apparently begun or acquired before the age of three, continue to direct much of my life, that is, how ingrained and automatic they are, how blindly, as though they were instinctive, I simply act them out without thinking, and often irresponsibly, not to mention unreasonable, such as:

            *Trying to "be good."

            *Eating all the food on my plate, even gobbling it, without regard to messages from stomach and/or mind.

            *Deference to others versus expressing myself in most social situations, even when I might reasonably express what I think/feel or stand up for myself rather than giving in and pretending not to be present as a separate and responsible person.

            *Servant-hood or "trying to be helpful," to "take care of others," act in their interests (as, of course, I imagine them to be), usually with little conscious regard to myself or my own concerns. Does one ever get over being a first son and/or big brother?

 

**My energies, durability, and overall good health and confidence when I can evade the above noted habits, plus thinking "I'm too old for this."

 

**Extent of my unembraced passions, especially my potential creativity when rooted in aggression, sexuality, and thinking outside the box of accepted social/religious ideas.

 

**Degree of my facing and accepting "reality" as I perceive it, with lessor judgment, apparent threat, and/or rejection, than seems to be common with many others. Certainly I do not like many things I see, and "if I were God I'd 'a made it different," but all in all I find the world to be very good as it is and with little call for my fear, denial, hurry, or "trying to make it a better place," as though I were a god. From psychological perspectives, I seem to be less hostile, defensive, even paranoid than many others, and in religious terms, less self-righteous and godly (if not sinful!). But when I occasionally confront these possible differences, I am amazed!

 

**Extent of my insensitivity to the physical world in comparison to my super-sensitivity to social expectations and what I imagine to be "What They Think (or might if they did)." More specifically: not seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting (sensing) many presently perceivable stimuli, in favor of either "just not getting it" or else blindly reacting out of habits-of-ignoring rather than actually responding to what is present, all the way from not seeing pictures in a room or observing a woman's hair style to being less careful about physical dangers and excessively attentive to imagined psychological risks.

 

**Extent of my greater interest in "the big picture" than in immediately perceivable phenomena, the proverbial forest than the trees, in comparison with most others I meet (as they reveal themselves to me). I seem to be far more focused on motives, causes, prior-steps-in-processes and long-range-consequences, than on present events, as I find many others to be. I am more like an outside "seer," attentive to past and future, than one who looks at "what meets the eye (and other senses)" just now. To me this seems perfectly natural, just the way things are; but when I sometimes glimpse this apparent difference between me and others I meet, it still amazes me.

 

**Extent of my consciousness versus degree of personal repressions. This trait is difficult to see and impossible to compare, but as best I can tell, I seem to be less repressed than many others insofar as instincts, natural urges, and "honest thinking" are concerned. I may be less judicious, even responsible, than others in how I activate and express my darker side; but I gather that I am in fact more in conscious contact with my genes than are many others. Even if this is not true, seeing the possibility amazes me.

 

**Extent of my apparent fear of the unknown, reflected in the sometimes ruthless way I approach and respond to any mystery, as though I am constitutionally incapable of standing openly with not-knowing, and absolutely must see clearly before I can exist comfortably with reality as I find it. One consequence is my seldom recognized idolatry of Reason ("sense") and compulsive rush to cloak every mystery with some sensible-to-me explanation which I all too easily confuse with "The Truth."

 

**Size of the gap between what-I-see and what-I-know, that is, between my insights and their absorption into myself. I think this should no longer surprise me, given the length of time I have seen this fact, plus the abundant evidence I have to support it. I do not know if others take as long as I do to translate intellectual knowledge into everyday practice; but I am continually amazed at my own slowness to truly learn what I already know in my head, that is, to practice what I have long preached. I am indeed a slow learner in this regard!

 

**Extent of my blindness to and apparent disrespect for many existing systems ("The Box"), even periodic disdain for some things many others hold sacred and comfortably build their lives around.

 

**The limited, even minuscule amount of public response, either positive or negative, to my ministry, my ideas, and my writings. My fears of self disclosure, e.g., of my honest-but-heretical ideas, have proven to be about 98% imaginary, based on responses of others revealed to me. In the past I have assumed this was because I failed to communicate clearly and am consequently misunderstood by others, else they would openly respond with acceptance (at least acknowledged "hearing me") or rejection; but in practice I seem to have been largely ignored and/or avoided. Given the way I tend to respond to new and/or different and therefore exciting perspectives, my relative anonymity-of-thought continues to amaze me. It may be that the nature of my speaking and writing is so clumsy, obtuse, and difficult to follow/understand that hearer/readers simply withdraw rather than become confused. But my best current speculation (the way I seek to erase this mystery!) is that my ideas (the way I see things) are in fact so "far out," so uncommon, even so weird, that they are either so boring, incomprehensible, or personally threatening to most hearer/readers that ignoring me is the most reasonable of all reactions. While younger I was occasionally bothered by this fact; now I am more amazed and mostly grateful for the freedoms granted me by anonymity.

 

**Extent of my devotion to, even idolatry of, female values, especially as personified in those I care for. Blindly I often yet live-as-though female "good graces" are the ultimate value, and in practice as though pleasing them is supremely important, far more than pleasing or even being myself. Conversely, I am still far from self-identification with what I think to be the deepest of male instincts. Although I see, in mind's eye, much about natural masculinity, I still tend to automatically judge many of its expressions as bad, shameful, and a proper source of guilt, plus to be amazed whenever I sometimes catch myself doing so.

 

**Extent of my devotion to, indeed idolatry of, images, that is, pictures of reality, in comparison with my attention to processes, the true nature of reality, which I have largely ignored, even denigrated when they become too apparent to miss.

 

**How foolhardy I have blindly been in so many regards, as contrasted with careful; how regularly I have taken chances, been a gambler even on poor odds, in comparison with others who seem to take few risks and never consciously gamble. Mostly I don't see this; but when I do, I am yet amazed.

 

**How stingy I have been with myself in comparison to my generosity with others, as in, spending money on, accepting quirks of, forgiving, and especially loving.

 

**Extent of my semi-conscious attention and devotion to, even idolatry of, What They Think in contrast with what I think when I sometimes chance doing so honestly, e.g., as a tool for trying to get Their understanding rather than accepting, clarifying, and living by my own; how much more attentive and diligent I have been (and often remain) to the understanding of others in contrast with focused on clarifying my own ("getting theirs" versus "standing-under/with mine").

 

**How fearful I have been of making errors, that is, diligent in "trying to be perfect," mostly without realizing so at the time, in spite of my long-glimpsed awareness that mistakes are inherent in nature, indeed written into the script of real life.

 

**How fearful I have been of mystery, not in my head, but in practice. I have largely lived as though well-being requires understanding, and accurate ("right") knowledge at that, rather than acknowledging the limitations of all knowledge and the ever-changing faces of truth. Unwittingly I have worked to avoid seeing/encountering the reality of processes via fast freezing them into images, unaware at the time of both the temporal nature of all images and my own idolatry of such illusions.

 

**How inherently exciting and stand-able, participating in any process is, in comparison with illusions of truth, ease, and comfort I have long found in images of eye and mind.

 

**How easily and quickly I slip from honestly participating in a present-but-fleeting moment (as they all are) into illusions of objectivity, by way of captured images and/or judgments of what I see.

 

**How challenging I find it to be as passionate as I naturally am and as socially responsible as I know to be, without creating a battle between the two or falling into disrespect and/or attempted negation of one or the other.

 

**At the distance I habitually keep between conscious decisions and personal desires; how regularly I am moved by blind habits and/or the wishes of others (as I imagine them to be), and how rarely I risk natural passions–both sensual and sexy.

 

**Apparent difference between myself and most others I know in degrees of interest in understanding human motivations and social behavior. There is no way I know of to measure this difference, but I am amazed when it sometimes becomes evident that I seem to give much more attention to trying to understand myself and others than others seem to do. When confronted with this fact I cannot but wonder why?

 

**My compulsion to explain to myself "how things work" in nature and the social world, and my blind habit of trying to explain myself to others, as though my very existence in the world around me requires explanation for authentication.

 

**Extent of my blind resistance to "reading the directions" and "following orders," that is, accepting and doing what others tell me to without checking it against my own knowledge and desires at the time. I gather that to others I may appear to be extremely stubborn at best and systematically rebellious at worse; but given how I feel, I am always surprised when I find out that others may see me in these ways.

 

**How compulsively and blindly I defend myself when questioned and/or feel attacked, consequently, not hearing whatever another person may have intended or actually been saying at the time.

 

**How presumptuous I have been for so long in believing I know how other people should live, especially in daring to tell them so, as in, preaching openly for 40 some odd years and covertly before and afterward, plus thinking so in my mind even when I sometimes find the good sense to keep my mouth shut.

 

**How easily I let pragmatic labels, such as, psychiatric diagnoses, become just one more covering for the sin of judging, just like I do with many ordinary observations, such as, fat, dumb, ugly, pretty, or the skin color of others.

 

**My blindness and/or tolerance for irrational elements in religion, that is, the extreme disparity between all religions and the human capacity for reasoning. I have been actively involved in organized religion all my life, beginning with regular church attendance at three weeks of age and continuing both as a participant and professional until I retired from the ministry at age 66. At the same time I have, for as long as I can recall, been a devotee of sense-making, that is, trying to make sense of or understand "reality" as I perceive the world and other people, and to be reasonable in analyzing what I sense. Looking back now, I am amazed at some of the glaring irrationalities I have lived with, mostly without seeing them, not unlike secular Santa Clauses, Tooth Fairies, and Storks bringing babies. Among them are:

 

            *The existence of a religious type Santa Claus in the sky like the secular one at the North Pole.

            *That even if a personified World Creator/Manager did exist, such a Super Magician would be male rather than female, given our readily available knowledge about where the balance of gender powers actually lies.

            *That soul is some sort of permanent entity residing in a temporary body, and destined to live forever in a Hell "down there" or a Heaven "up there (or somewhere)."

            *That a loving God (without a Goddess) could/would have only one son, no daughters, and then sacrifice him to appease a devil He had also created.

            *That the deeds of one, even self-sacrifice, who lived long ago could erase the natural consequences of the deeds of others living 2000 years later.

            *That any temporal mental belief might be able to save one's soul forever, that is, that an act of mental conviction, such as, "believing in Jesus," could determine one's future destiny for all time. This is even more incredible to me than comparable notions that behaving by long-dead Mohammed's rules could do the same.

 

**Like everyone else, I heard it said long ago; but as a former preacher and present writer, I am yet amazed to be reminded that one picture is worth a thousand words. In time perhaps, as I also heard, the tongue is mightier than the sword, but in the short run I remain amazed that the power of images for eyes of the mind are so minuscule in comparison to pictures seen by the eyes of the head.

 

**Increasingly illusive nature of my short term memory, like where I left my keys, what I came here for, or what I was beginning to tell.

 

**How different I am when completely alone or where I am anonymous, that is, how blindly inhibited I must yet be in my habits of response, more literally, reactions to other persons.

 

**How automatically I pull my punches in human encounters, even in playing games where I think I want to win.

 

**How quickly and efficiently my body heals itself from injuries I inflict or accidentally have, when I simply give it time.

 

**The size of the gap between how creative and productive I have actually been in the past (and can probably be again) and my conscious perceptions of myself at any given time. Although I believe creativity, barring self-repression, to be a universal human capacity, still I am amazed at how rarely I recognize the trait within myself.

 

**How long it has taken me to even begin to be as careful about life in the world as it seems most females are born knowing to be and automatically are.

 

**How regularly I miss self-affirming pleasures readily available, even within the small circle of social permission, such as, watching the sun rise or set, listening to water, tasting food, touching softness, and lusting discretely.

 

**How dependent I am on small habits, like drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigar, carrying a camera, or holding a pen in hand, for daring to think outside The Box, or even approach natural creativity.

 

**For longer than I can remember I have known, as I wrote in a poem long ago, that lived life is into the sun, with shadows left behind; but I am still amazed at how regularly I forget what I know, including the fact that presence is only possible here and now.

 

**How challenging I find it to translate my beliefs in the Wholly Spirit into the practice of following Her; how easily I turn instead to worship Time and Habits for directing my oft dispirited life.

 

**That grass grows, air planes fly, credit cards work, and some women still put up with men quietly.

 

**Even in the midst of vast amounts of contrary data, my early-acquired belief that honesty is the best policy continues to blindly determine many of my expressions in the world. But I am amazed, when I occasionally open my eyes, to see that I have long been wrong. More wisely I would have learned that discretion, even lying, is a far better policy in the social world, with honesty carefully reserved for realms of private spirit.

 

**How dependent I am on "knowledge," that is, intellectual data (mental images), for my sense of confidence and well being; how lost I feel when present in an obvious unknown, such as, being anywhere without a mental map of where I am; how diligent I am in acquiring "facts" which I take to erase the unknown of any situation, obscuring the actual limitations of all human knowledge; how confident I feel with a plausible-to-me explanation of anything, and how shaky I become when happenings "don't make sense" to me.

 

**How moved I yet am by compliments and criticism (especially the latter) from anyone, in spite of my knowledge about how personally motivated both may be; the lengths I still go to curry the former and avoid the latter.

 

**How difficult I yet find it to "just be," that is, to be fully alive and aware and to do-no-thing at the same time. Even though I affirmed this possibility many years ago as a major milestone on the path to heaven here, I still find the temptation to "do something (even if I do it wrong!)" almost impossible to resist. The power I regularly invest in this blind habit amazes me when I occasionally glimpse it in operation. Why can't I just be myself, uncloaked in some doing?

 

**Even knowing the fragile, temporal, fast-changing, and often wrong nature of human knowledge, I remain amazed at the amount of comfort I take in illusions of its presence, and the extend of discombulation I feel when caught without it.

 

**When I sometimes go back to read something I wrote long ago, I am often amazed to realize how long I must have seen things I am only now beginning to know.

 

**How beautiful and inherently amazing are abundantly evident every day happenings, such as, plants growing and blooming at the same time in distant places. Do they have a private way to telling each other "Now's the time"? And wounds healing, bugs mating, computers working (sometimes), and many people living in proximity without trying to kill each other, plus how easily I can miss these and countless other common miracles.

 

**To realize in retrospect how foolhardy I have always been, taking for granted things which are beginning to matter more and more, such as, health, memory, and tenure; and how lucky I have been about having them all–so far.

 

**Appearances and conscious awareness to the contrary most of the time, at how deeply I care about what other people think of me, even anonymous ones as well as those not yet born. What, I sometimes wonder, is so powerful about posterity? Could it be but projections of my denied caring in the present? I suspect so...

 

**At how quickly and strongly I react to the bodies of others in comparison with my slowness and hesitation in responding to my own impulses, desires, feelings, and thoughts, especially if I see theirs as beautiful or imagine them to be somebody.

 

**How hard I find it to ease out of long established habits, like gobbling my food rather than tasting and chewing each bite and listening to my stomach to know when to stop eating.

 

**How dependent I am on mental maps for any sense of comfort in a strange place; conversely, how quickly I feel disoriented when I lose illusions of "knowing where I am."

 

**How long and devoted I have been to images (pictures of eye or mind, such as, photos, ideas, and beliefs) while remaining relatively inattentive to the processes from which they are drawn and which give them the appearance of life within themselves; and now that I recognize the relative insignificance of the former in relation to the latter, how difficult I find it to let go of old dead image-concerns in favor of focusing on living movements.

 

**How often I have blindly chosen to rough it, even in the midst of readily available comforts, as though I must believe it virtuous to do things the hard way.

 

**How few folks seem to either understand or share my identification of sin with judgment, or otherwise realize what high prices we all pay for this habit which seems to be almost as common as breathing.

 

**How relative age turns out to be in comparison with all the attention commonly placed on it, as in, birthday parties or worrying about it, as though this might help!

 

**How my eye for beauty sharpens as my visual skills dull, along with any feasible reasons for its pursuit. 'Tain't fair!

 

**At the amount of pleasure I find in such irrelevant events as catching a fish or saying (or writing) exactly what I think. What can compare with a 5# bass on a top water lure, or finely honed honesty?

 

**At how redundant I am, even in seeing these things which amaze me over and over.

 

 

***********



PINK ELEPHANTS

(SOCIAL BLIND SPOTS)

 


            In India, I am told, sacred cows often wander freely through the streets of villages and cities, visible for all to see, yet protected from human harm. In America, I observe, pink elephants often wander freely through the paths of our minds; but unlike the cows of India, they are carefully kept invisible and protected, as it were, from the lights of sense and reason.

 

            Even though these pink elephants are vastly larger and more powerful than many of the smaller creature ideas we freely observe and live openly with, it is as though we all share a secretly accepted conspiracy of visual silence (to mix my metaphors), that is, like the emperor's nudity in the fairy tale, no one wants to admit that we see what is easily evident if we open the eyes of our minds.

 

            It is as though we don't want to see them, and if we don't look, perhaps they will go away or at least not step on our mental toes (if not bodies), allowing us to continue in illusions of comfort we blindly take in their imagined absence.

 

            I, like most, have grown up with many of these seemingly invisible pink elephants, sacred cows of the American mind, and commonly brag on the fine clothes of our current emperors (again, to indulge in mixed metaphors).

 

            Occasionally, however, in instants of lapsed denial, I find myself bumping into various pink elephants in ways I find difficult to ignore. Maybe they step on my mental toes and hurt too much. I don't really know what makes me look as I often do. I must also admit that I am often curious about trying to see pink elephants (sacred cows, naked emperors, etc.).

 

            I cannot but reason that, like the sacred cows of India, our pink elephants are easily visible if we only open our mental eyes; after all, an elephant of any color is hard to miss. Or so it seems to my sensible eyes. Is it that we wisely learn so early to ignore naked emperors that the change required for paying later attention may be hard to make? Or is it that we learn so quickly and well about what may happen if we ask about them that unlearning is simply too hard to do?

 

            Although pink elephants (naked emperors, etc.) may be easy for any child to see, all too often there are indeed serious social consequences for those who acknowledge seeing them, ranging from: denied co-seeing ("I don't see any elephant here.") to negative judgments ("What's the matter with you? Are you seeing things again?") to personal rejection ("I won't like you if you don't agree with me") to punishment ("How dare you say those things! I'm gonna wash your mouth out with soap.") And so on.

 

            Anyway, whatever the reasons may be, I am often amazed both to see one of them myself, and to wonder at how artfully many others seem not to see them.


            Here, for example, are a few of the pink elephants which sometimes amaze me when I find the nerve to look at them myself, that is, some of the social blind spots, uncommon things I see which seem to be hidden, unrecognized, and/or denied by many others (if indeed I don't simply imagine or make them up):

 

 

**Natural superiority of women, commonly cloaked by illusions of superior males as assumed in most religions and wished for in typical male fantasies; confusion of outward male domination with personal power.

 

**Irrationality of all popular religions underlying their immensely pragmatic utility in society as well as the personal lives of their adherents.

 

**99% bullshit of most all social conversations.

 

**Illusion of America as a democracy–that is, moved by "we the people" rather than by money, politics, and powerful special interest groups (paid lobbyists).

 

**A man I heard of who makes up the bed even while his wife is visiting her mother.

 

**Overwhelming use of human minds for rationalization of personal desires, that is, the immense rarity of honest reasoning in most all human decisions (including my own).

 

**Extent of prevailing human repressions of self in service of social acceptance; denial of inherited powers for personal creativity, commonly projected onto self-created gods "out there," e.g., male images in religions and female images in society and marriage.

 

**Extent and virtue of actual human "selfingness (power inherent in genetic capacities, both common and unique)," almost always seen in society (if at all) as "selfishness" and properly to be suppressed and denied, if not condemned and killed.

 

**Long range dire consequences of trying to live as though martyrdom for a cause is the ultimate virtue and self-becoming the ultimate sin.

 

**Rarity, even rejection-in-practice, of such commonly idolized virtues as: faith, reason, self-responsibility, freedom, and certainly, love.

 

**Deepseated and widespread fears of fun, that is, of larger degrees of personal pleasure inherent in genetic capacities activated.

 

**Rarity of truly personal decisions based on honest weighing of all available data ("being sensible") rather than dictated and determined by blind habits, social directives, or the will and wishes of imagined gods and/or other persons, that is, moving in the world as informed Spirit (symbol of personal wholeness) leads, rather than by ever-present and available shoulds and oughts.

 

**Presence and power of The Box into which we are all born and mostly continue to exist until death, that is, established ways of thinking and acceptably acting. The Box is a metaphor for commonly unacknowledged forces of memes. We are allowed to wiggle a bit in this invisible box, even to try to prove already established ideas within it. We may also seek to refute or expand accepted ways of thinking and acting (if we do so cautiously); but if we step outside The Box social consequences can be vast, even devastating and destructive. I remain amazed at how hidden The Box often seems to be.

 

**Extent of accepted human idolatry not seen as such, e.g., of The Box, God, Ethnicity, Mother, America, Womanhood, Wealth, and Winning.

 

**Deprecation and suppression of natural masculinity; the "bad shake" given males beginning in early childhood for activating inherited masculine capacities.

 

**Erroneous identification of saving faith with a frozen mind, that is, mental rigidity, blindly accepting beliefs of others rather than thinking for oneself; missing the apt comparison between religious beliefs and mental shit, "dedication" and constipation, and unwittingly making a virtue of mental suppression at best and brain death at worst, in favor of group loyalty and religious support.

 

**Unrecognized current shift from honoring heros to blind elevation of victims, from focusing on self-responsibility to always-blaming-others; greater concern now for all forms of potential personal abuse of "victims" than on possible courageous actions in the face of dangers.

 

**Extent of male focus on and pre-occupation with time, numbers, and logic (not reason) as basis for making decisions as well as establishing personal stability, plus, the commonly unseen idolatry of women.

 

**Ease, temptation, and high cost of falling into judgments, down or up, rather than remaining present on the level ground of all humanity and responding sensibly with faith in each situation (especially, my own).

 

**Scope and beauty of the common temptation to create devils, both religious and secular, to evade responsibility for our own dark desires and denied capacities.

 

**That at least 98% of conscience, the "little voice within," is informed, if at all, by our mothers and society rather than by God and/or Mother Nature as we prefer to believe.

 

**Extent, power, and cost of prevailing denials of the existence of childhood sexuality, plus the social possibility of guiding its emergence positively from birth, rather than leaving its activation up to socially uninformed instincts and private courage and/or rebellion alone.

 

**Extent of male vulnerability to female desires, either real, pretended, hinted at, or imagined; degree to which men commonly abandon all reason, sense, and attention to consequences when we think we see a woman's pleasure–even its dim possibility, especially her passions revealed.

 

**Extent of social, especially female, denial, suppression, rejection, and/or attempted control of masculine instincts in their most natural forms; the size, shape, and power of negative judgment maleness gets in current social circumstances and typical female presence, in comparison with the open acceptance, even adoration, of corresponding and biologically complementary female instincts.

 

**How consistently (universally?) males seem to fall for these circumstances and react with self-suppression, self-shame, self-denial, and eventually self-repression rather than daring to remain honest with ourselves and learning to swim artfully in dangerous social waters.

 

**Vast chasms between knowing about and knowing, knowledge and wisdom, masculinity and femininity, seeing and absorbing sights, male and female sexuality.

 

**Unacknowledged common knowledge; easily seen phenomena usually ignored; our most shared repressions:

            *Extent of self repression in service of social acceptance.

            *Extent of social bullshit, public dishonesty, personal insincerity in relationships.

            *Extent of human idolatry; creating and empowering of icons–images, visual and mental, sights and ideas, and blind bowing before them, all at the price of inherited personal potency, e.g., female breasts and religious beliefs.

 

**Use of images as protection and shield against the flow of reality; irrational striving for permanency of things and ideas to evade obvious facts about ever-changing reality.

 

**How powerful and long lasting are modes of survival and coping learned at our mothers' knees, if not womb, lap, and breasts, and how impervious such habits remain to all later insight and reasons.

 

**How deeply ingrained is the wisdom of male gene eyes scoping for conceive-able females, and how dumbly we who bear this dark knowledge commonly activate it in the lighted world.

 

**How blindly and habitually women past age 30 remain determined by genetic wisdom evolved to end then, and how rarely they seem to embrace other inherited powers for personhood past mothering and male control, which only kick in after egg supplies run out.

 

**The extreme disparity in social approval given to scopees and scopers, the first being universally honored, the second being regularly judged as impolite at best and abusive at worst.

 

**Extreme difference in power inherent in any picture (visual image), even the poorest of them, and any words (verbal descriptions), even the best and most reasonable.

 

**Scope and extent of repression of natural capacities in service of social acceptance; personal prices paid for repression as a mode of social survival rather than responsible consciousness, that is, for the victory of memes over genes in what I see as an unwise war to begin with. The most prevailing human repressions I observe are: 1) selfingness, 2) sexuality, and 3) creativity, in that order. More specifically they are: 1) emotionality, 2) sensitivity, and 3) sensualness in males, and: 1) killerness, 2) rationality, and 3) sexiness in females. Easily I see these in theory, but when I confront them in reality, I remain amazed at the observation.

 

**Scope and extent of unacknowledged differences between men and women, beginning with male illusions of superiority and cloaked-but-operative female powers of control.

 

**Unacknowledged common-law marriage between society and religion, reflected in religious support of existing social values even when they fly full in the face of stated religious principles and beliefs, and the hands-off social policies on religions, no matter how weird and irrational they become.

 

**Size and costs of the "bad shake" natural masculinity gets in present society, all the way from denigration of aggression (except in war) to adoration of commitment to monogamy.

 

**Unseen possibility of agape as the apex of eros, rather than resulting from successful genetic suppression.

 

**That the effectiveness of prayer must be about 100% psychological and 0% spiritual.

 

**Overwhelming use of reason in service of rationalization, that is, the perversion of a human capacity recently evolved, I speculate, for higher levels of sense-making, into an excuse for blindly operative personal desires left unmoderated by reason.

 

**Commonly accepted over-valuing of honest communication in marriage, cloaking the reality of conflicting dark desires better acknowledged and kept secret than revealed.

 

**Genetic wisdom of most social prejudices; illusion and impossibility of the accepted ideal of being unprejudiced, rather than smart about natural prejudices in social circumstances developed after they were well ingrained.

 

**Extent and acceptance of marital prostitution, that is, the irrational irony of cloaked use of sex for security and long range wealth, along with condemnation of the open use of sex for immediate money.

 

**Extent of assorted forms of blindly accepted idolatry flying full in the face of the first Christian commandment against it, e.g., of women in general and mothers in particular, of one's own race, ethnic group, family, country of origin, and even of one's private images of God him?self.

 

**Denied/cloaked self-servience of all successful politicians and political parties.

 

**Near universal assumption that love of others (persons and country) requires self-sacrifice, and that martyrdom is the highest form of love.

 

**Rarity and difficulty of truly honest and reasonable personal decisions about anything–that is, blind dependence on habits, time, What They Think (wishes of others), etc., cloaked with illusions of "making up my own mind."

 

**Dearth of mature, available older men in comparison with an abundance of similar women.

 

**Opposing but comparable male repression of sensuality and female sexuality, both missing their actual union in nature.

 

**Cloaked comradery, including sensitivity and emotionality, of naturally aggressive and independent males while engaged in outward endeavors, such as, teams, hunting, sports, and war.

 

**Extent of female cattiness commonly cloaked in polite behavior and nice conversation, but easily dropped when away from the presence of an offending party (often another female).

 

**Inevitable private sacrifices made by males, consciously or otherwise, in any successful, long term marriage, in comparison with more visible and often stated female tolerances.

 

**How easily naming any perceptions, such as, things and people, becomes a substitute for seeing/sensing them anew in present moments.

 

**How easily we confuse physical existence with spirited life, that is, being conceived and staying alive with being oneself and living well, as in, pro-live and anti-euthanasia movements, as well as a general public focus on physical health and bodily safety while ignoring values of spirit.

 

**Addictive powers of Alcoholics Anonymous (and other self-help groups), where the cure may sometimes be worse than the disease because it comes with a powerful temptation to the sin of self righteousness, a danger to soul as well as body.

 

**Immense rarity of any truly personal decision, that is, the distance most folks (myself included) seem to live from the idealistic notion of free will, in comparison to our moves directed if not completely determined by genes, memes, and habits, such as, instincts for self survival, enhancement, and replication, and/or powerful social forces embodied in ever-present shoulds, oughts, and What They Thinks, plus, of course, what or the way "we did it before." Does anyone ever truly "make up their own mind" based on individual choice ("free will")? I would be even more amazed to see such an event.

 

**How large and pervasively powerful the impersonal and unrecognized forces of genes and memes are, and how small is the space for human choice between the directives of instincts and social shoulds. When the additional powers of psychological patterns and quirks, plus habits formed from them, are added, there seems to be little room left for "free will." And it now amazes me to realize how dedicated I have been in the past to the concept of "free will" in contrast with more evident "determinism."

 

**How immensely rare are truly honest human encounters, even making full allowance for pervasive, unrecognized repressions and long-learned deceptions.

 

**The scope of truth in the ancient observation: the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, that is, the pervasive power of habits acquired at our mother's knees, et al, such as, bodily shame and how to cope with the world.


**The amount of courage and faith required to be oneself in a society which touts individualism and self-becoming while consistently supporting and honoring opposing values.

 

**Prices blindly paid for sacrificing bodily innocence on the altar of social approval, along with the inherited possibility of being both honest and discrete at the same time.

 

*At the depth of the union between lust and creativity, and the lengths religion goes to in trying to keep them separate, even to the extent of creating devils and gods for bearing projected human powers for each.

 

**At the amount of deception required for any successful, extended human relationship.

 

**Unrecognized dependency on fads (often called "style") for making personal decisions about what to wear, plus how to wear it.

 

**The seemingly universal assumption that "there has to be a reason" for whatever happens, especially, "bad things," that is, that "life must have a meaning (apart from any we give it)." Why must every effect have a cause, ever deed a motive? It amazes me that the preponderance of evidence for a willy nilly world arising from an ancient big bang and apparently headed no place in particular is so easily cloaked with notions about prior plans and some inherent-but-hidden meaning.

 

**How powerful and comforting the irrational notion "it was meant to be" can be.  

 

**How little intellectual disbelief in sky gods or heaven and hell post death effects the ongoing and unrecognized idolatry of many liberal thinkers, not to mention adorations of their secular counterparts.

 

**Extent of irrationality in all popular religions, resulting in an inherent conflict between what is popularly seen as faith and reason, impossible of resolution, at least to me so far. Who can understand how such an irrational, powerful, paradoxical phenomenon continues to exist, even escalate, in a so-called “modern age” of enlightenment? Post-consciousness religion is truly amazing to me.

 

**I consider consciousness to be the latest, greatest gift of evolution to humans; but I am amazed when I sometimes realize how we commonly ignore, if not abuse it, almost as much, I think, as we do our capacity for creativity, which probably gave rise to it.

 

**I’m talking averages, so of course there are notable exceptions; but still I am amazed at the lengths most men go to in trying to please women, consistently unparalleled in its reciprocation; almost as much as I am about what most women will go through to try to look good to men, even to those they could care less about.

 

**What, I wonder, is so scary about seeing clearly, especially of who we naturally are?  

 

**At how rare it seems to be for anyone to truly think for themselves and make sensible decisions based on all available data.

 

**How confidently some are able to speak on and on with only a wisp of data, e.g., something someone said, or a line in an advertisement on TV, while others with a wealth of hard earned and finely honed knowledge on the same subject enter conversations appearing to be ignorant, ashamed of what they know, or else tongue tied. I am amazed at the apparent fact that those who know the most often say the least, and vice versa; at how low is the correlation between actual knowledge and willingness to discourse freely, even confidently on any given subject.

 

**How natural creativity is, as evidenced in all small children, in comparison with how most adults either see it a special talent of the few, to which they don't belong, or else avoid engaging in as though it were a sin.

 

**How apparently threatened many folks seem to be by any idea not already old to them or else of their own creation, as though they must re-invent any mental wheel before it can safely be allowed to turn round in their minds.

 

 

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UNCOMMONLY SEEN POSSIBILITIES

 


**That genes and memes might co-exist with equal honoring and sensible merging, rather than continuing the ancient war between instincts and civilization, as though they exist as separate entities and are mortal enemies, with only one to ultimately prevail.


**That agape might be the apex of eros consciously embraced rather than the product of personal passions denied–that is, that true love of others might emerge from overflowing self love.

 

 

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TRANSITIONS

 


            Some of the current changes occurring in my life and perspectives amaze me when I occasionally recognize them happening, such as this:


**Shift from forming, collecting, organizing, promoting, and focusing on images to recognizing them as such and instead devoting my energies to participating in the various processes of which images are but frozen frame perceptions.

 

 

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