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    Sand and Stones

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 2:12 PM [General]

    A dear friend sent me this and I thought it was well worth sharing. If anyone knows who the author is, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

     

    Sand & Stones

    Author Unknown

     

    Two friends were walking through the desert . During some point of the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face

    The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand :

    “Today my best friend slapped me in the face .”

    They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath 

    The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

    After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

    “Today my best friend saved my life”

    The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”

    The friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

    Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone.

    They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then, an entire life to forget them.

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    My latest writing project

    Monday, June 21, 2010, 11:13 AM [General]

    Here is a taste of the book I'm working on.

    "The Tales of Ezra Dragonsbard"

     

    The Rescue of Stephanie.

     

    Early one spring day, word came of overseas piracy.

    Hanlo became despondent by the grim news.

    The wash of grief awoke Braymon from his nap.  He looked toward Hanlo as if he could see his Companion through the rock between them.

    “I come, my friend.”  Braymon sends a thought to Hanlo.

    Becoming a mist, he flies through the trap door to the castle.  The mist settles to the floor as he shapeshifts into a dragon the size of a large eagle.  He flies down the hall and out the window.  Circling the castle, he flies through the open window of the Castle Office, where Hanlo was sitting at his desk, landing on the pedestal of carved rock that that had stood in the corner of the Library since the time of Mezen.

    “What causes your grief, M’Lord?”

    “Stephanie, daughter of my brother, Budroe,” Hanlo sighs. 

    “She was trading oversea and her ship was taken by bandits.  Her captors are demanding ten times her weight in gold for her return.  They further demand a hundredweight of gold for the return of the Minerva.

    Hanlo becomes quiet, looking down at his hands.  Braymon patiently looks on while Hanlo fights back tears.

    “As this involves Family,”  He says, looking back to his Companion.  “Would you help me, my friend?.”

    “What would you have of me, M’Lord?”

    “The Droplight returned this morning with the ransom demand.  The Captain and crew are arranging her reprovisioning now.  She will be ready to sail within the week.  The Farseer will go with her in case there is need for Naval battle, which I hope will not be needed. 

    “I would like you to accompany the fleet to insure our Stephanie is safely returned. The Sengar is being loaded with extra supplies.  The main deck hold is still equipped to serve as your quarters.”

    Hanlo walks over to the window and looks out to sea.  A few seconds pass.

    “If possible, save the Minerva.”  He said with a slight growl.  “She is a worthy vessel.  If this is not possible, do not let her fall into the hands of the pirates.”

    “I shall do my best, M’Lord.”

    “With your permission,”  Braymon replies formally. “I will prepare.”

    “This good weather saved us two weeks of sailing, Braymon.”  Captain Andrew of the Droplight announced to Braymon one afternoon five weeks later.

    “We arrive at Lomera tomorrow morning and will be finished with customs late afternoon.  If their practice is the same, your quarters will be given no more than a cursory glance, on the assumption the space is going to be filled during our trading mission.” The last two words came out rather sarcastically.  “While Staff is handling official business, crew is going to nose around the town with talk about being on a trading mission.  The fleet will depart from port the next morning. You can rejoin us then.”

    “I like this idea Honlo has.”  He says with a chuckle.  “By keeping your presence hidden until the last moment, those ruffians will get the shock of their tawdry lives.

    “This part of the plan has additional interest for me at this point, Captain.” Braymon says, looking out to sea.  “I’m ready for fresh red meat.

     “Don’t misunderstand me,”  Braymon says, turning his head and giving Andrew the equivalent of a draconic grin.  “I may like red meat but I’m rather fond of venison.

    “Now seems like the time for the next part of the plan to commence.”

    Braymon approaches Andrew.   Holding his paws as if he were cupping a drink of water, he rises to look at the Captain at eye level.  As he rises, a silvery ball manifests itself from the cup and slowly floats to the top of the mainmast

    “These will remove all memory of my existence  from everyone onboard.”

    Identical silvery balls manifest over the Farseer and Sengar, not too far in the distance.  All three balls expand to cover the ships after Braymon takes flight.  Each ship is suddenly obscured by fog as Braymon dives into the ocean.

    “Damn me.” Andrew mutters, looking around to make sure the fleet was still in proper formation.

    “That was the oddest fog I’ve laid eyes on.  I thought I saw a dragon.”

    He turns and gives the order to change course for the port of Scaldar, Lomera Island.

    Three port visits later, word came to Lanribian, Master Merchantman of Sengar, of the location of some independent operators who had a load of fine silks to sell.  For an extra gold coin, the informant continued with a hint these people were pirates and there will more than likely have more than silk to offer.

    “From what the gentleman had to say,” Lanribian was saying to Captain Dominic as they drank morning coffee in the wheelhouse on Farseer.  “This group has a base on an island named Aktearn, which they use as their base of operations.  They grew from a small band of ruffians to where the Arkon, their equivalent of our Judiciary, have started paying serious attention to them, especially the tax revenue aspect of it.

    “The way it works here, as long as they obtain an Operating Permit and keep up with their taxes, they are considered a legitimate business, as long as they stay from domestic vessels.”

    Lanribian reaches into the leather satchel sitting on the floor next to him and pulls a rolled up scroll from it.

    “This map was part of the information provided.”

    Dominic takes the scroll and unrolls it on one end of the chart table, placing an unused candlestick on each corner, to stop the scroll from rolling back up.  He looks over the map then walks to the other end of the table to look at a larger map on the Quartermaster’s chart table.

    “If I read the chart correctly,” He says quietly.  “This island is but four days from here.  We are scheduled to leave this port tomorrow as it is.  Let us remain on schedule.

    “As long as we are in sight of this island, we will appear to be doing so.  Once we are beyond the horizon, we will change course for this Aktearn.”

    Andrew consumes the last of the coffee in his mug and sets it on the table.

    “Come, Gentlemen,”  He says with a wry smile on his face.

    “We have to prepare for the formal ceremony of signing the trade contract.  One mistake we made was not having an expert from the Justice Ministry.

    “Be that as it may, let us endure this last one.”

    Everything went off without a hitch. The fleet got underway with the morning tide.  Clearing the mouth of the harbor, they set sail for Fentar, their supposed next stop.  They arrived just over the horizon from Aktearn on the evening of the third day.

     

     

    “The knucklebones talk of bad omens,”  Sentar said to Jalzar, the Captain of the pirate crew, looking in the direction of the smoking mountain.  “This island may no longer be of use to us.”

    Aktearn island was unsettled at this time because of the constant plume of smoke from Mt. Galin.  A century ago at the time of this telling, Aktearn had been considered for settlement. The island had vast amounts of land suitable for farming and a large cove that would have made for a perfect harbor.  An expedition of two thousand people set forth from the island of Neibar for that purpose.  Three years later, 200 survivors of the volcano returned to Neibar.  When Galin exploded, two of the three farms were covered in ash, the earthshake caused half the fishing village to collapse and the village of Daskar to be covered with lava.

    “The Spirits sent a dream last night.  In the dream, Galin spouted a flow of lava that blocked the mouth of the harbor.”  Sentar took a flaming twig from the fire and turned to face Mt. Galin. Uttering the Charm of Protection, he traced the Rune in the air, sending the Charm toward the mountain.

    “Thanks be to the Spirits.”  Jalzar responded, kissing the palm of his left hand and holding it up to the air. 

    “I wish they would have picked a better time for this,”  He continued, with a tone of impatience for the timing of the Spirits.

    “We need a secure base of operations.  Having to change locations now is going to place additional burdens on our plans for ransoming Lady Stephanie.

    “It is time, I think,”  Jalzar muttered as he walked next to Sentar.  “For the Erne to fly.”

    The rest of the chapter can be found at

    The Rescue of Stephanie.

     

    3.2 (1 Ratings)

    Pragmatic Ontolgy

    Friday, June 18, 2010, 4:44 PM [General]

    Become at ease with the state of “not knowing.” ... A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state.

    [i]

     

    Pragmatic Ontology: the “as if” approach.

     

    Pragmatism 

    1. way of thinking about results: a straightforward practical way of thinking about things or dealing with problems, concerned with results rather than with theories and principles 

    Ontology 

    1. study of existence: the most general branch of metaphysics, concerned with the nature of being 

    [ii]

     

    When asked about the existence of the gods, Confucius is reported to have replied that it was best to act as if the gods existed. This is how I handle my approach to Ontology. I may talk a good story about “This” and “That”, but I can only yap about it as it seems to me. I’m more than willing to admit that I may be mistaken about all this, but one does need a starting point in order to discuss how things seem to be.

    One of the biggest problems we face in our discussions in all matters is the we treat our statements as if they were concrete statements. We take the attitude “This is what is” as if that were actuality. At one time the what is of atoms was they were the smallest bits of matter. We know now that is not the case. It used to be the what is of stars is they had fixed positions. We now know this not to be the case. At one time, it was taken as gospel truth the what is of the geometry of the universe was that it was flat. Again we now know this is not the case.

    What has certainty given us in the long run? For many years, whites were certain they were superior, but all that did was lead to much strife in the area of racial unrest. This idea of different ‘races’ within the human species is a consequence of how humans have a tendency to look at an issue from the surface and declare that mere surface view to be “The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth©”. All humans are the same for the overwhelming part; the difference between each of us is extremely minor. Yes, a ‘black’ human is different than a ‘white’ human, but the difference is as trivial as that between a black and a white horse, or between a red delicious and a pippin apple.

    For most of our existence we were certain that Earth was the center of the universe, look at all the trouble that came about when scientists started talking about the Earth as the body moving while the Sun was stationary. Now we realize there is no one stationary object in the entire universe. The history of Western science showed the fallacy of certitude when quantum mechanics butted heads with Newtonian mechanics; what had been assumed to be a predictable machine turned out to be semi-rational, semi-chaotic, and full of surprises. The one conclusion we should have drawn from looking back at the history of any field of study is that there is always more to learn.

    The rest of the article can be found at

    [i] “Stillness Speaks” Eckhart Tolle

    [ii] Encarta ® World English Dictionary © 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. (Emphasis mine, where added.)

    0 (0 Ratings)

    A short comment

    Friday, May 28, 2010, 2:30 PM [General]

    I just wanted to say Thank you" to all military members, past and present.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    On the Lack of Civility in American Discourse.

    Monday, May 24, 2010, 1:25 PM [General]

    We have the right of free speech but on the same token we have the responsibility to be civil in presenting our message - I may feel that a position is wrong, but my critique should be civil; you would not listen if I were calling you an idiot. I feel the biggest problem with civil discourse in America today is that we are so focused on freedom of speech that we ignore civility. We have the right to disagree with each other but at the same time, we have the responsibility not to be disagreeable about it. One can see this degrading of civility by watching most of the talk programs on television. No sooner than one side of the issue starts responding to a question, the other side jumps in and starts yapping about the first part of the response. The greatest majority of the time we have two or more people trying to get their message across at the same time; nobody is being heard and everyone is acting like infants.

    The media yaps about how ‘this’ and ‘that’ contribute to the coarsening of society yet there is no facing of the fact of your behavior being a contributing factor. Mr. Beck and Mr. Limbaugh are prime examples; they bandy about insults and act holier than thou while they are at it - even more so when they get criticized. I have to admit that I find it amusing to hear a radical on one side calling a radical on the other side ‘extremist’ - the kettle calling the pot black. Your point gets lost in your boorish behavior coupled with your gratuitous degradation of me; by the same token, my boorish behavior and gratuitous degradations of you gets in the way of my point. When you are asked a question, do you not want to be able to answer it completely or do you enjoy having someone talk over you? When I ask you a question, I will let you have the time needed to answer it before I start yapping.

    There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a person’s position on anything as long as one can remain civil about it. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with standing up for one’s position as long as one remains civil about it. The loyal opposition is an idea too many have forgotten - nobody is willing to leave the argument on the Senate floor and buy each other an afterhours drink. It is when either side crosses the line of civility that the discussion might as well end - one side crosses, causing the other side to recross until it becomes an exercise in bipartisan disrespectful futility. Both sides lose credibility when this stuff goes on and it seems to me that neither side is willing to recognize the problem even exists. When I hear you ask a question and interrupt the respondents’ second sentence to attack the first sentence, I have to wonder if you are doing this because you know your point is weak. I don’t care how much I may or may not agree with your opinion, I’m not going to listen to you if all it seems you want to do is bandy about insults in order to prove your point.

    It is this type of behavior that contributes to the coarsening of society, not that we may have differing opinions. We do much better when we find amicable ways to express our differences of opinion, for it is true that one can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I may disagree with your opinion, but as long as you are a gentleman about expressing it, I will listen to your reasoning. You are not going to get your message across if you are insulting the ones you are talking past, no matter what the message may be.

    The rest of the article can be read and/or downloaded at

    On the Lack of Civility in American Discourse.

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Fallacy of Separateness

    Sunday, May 16, 2010, 1:45 PM [General]

    The Fallacy of Separateness.

     

    The Taiji is a good symbol of unified duality. Take away one side of the symbol and you have a partial picture of the whole. The whole contains Yin and Yang; Yin alone is not whole, Yang alone is not whole. Yin cannot exist without Yang, Yang cannot exist without Yin. To use a phrase coined by Alan Watts, they “gowith” as aspects of the Tao. The whole is not Yin, for Yin contains within it a little bit of Yang. The whole is not Yang, for Yang contains within it a little bit of Yin.

    The issue of dualism has been argued for centuries without a resolution. I submit this is because we are asking the questions with faulty premises. Let us examine the premise of dualism. Is it really the case that material and ideal are distinctly separate realities that coexist side by side in some sort of parallelism? Empiricism is going to extreme in one direction. Idealism is going to the extreme in the opposite direction. There is truth in both extremes, but Truth is in the middle. Body is true, mind is true; neither alone is the Truth. A | notA is a linguistic image A↔notA is an existential image. Monism is how we experience and dualism is how we explain reality.

    The Paradox of Empty Fullness.

    Yin and Yang are complimentary aspects of a deeper unknown rather than conflicting opposites. These are not static relationships however, they are dynamic balances of growth and retreat of the sides.

     

       Positive↔Negative

     High↔Low

          Logic↔Intuition

    Hard↔Soft

     

    These patterns are not in competition with each other but a harmonious balance. hard is true, soft is true, but, neither one, in and of itself, is True. The Neomonist approach is similar to the Middle Way as talked about by Nagarjuna;  neither A nor notA have inherent existence as they are dependently arising and rely on each other for definition.

    There is unity within duality. Each side of a duality is true but Truth is the innerreaction; there must be a buyer and a seller for a sale to take place. If we did not have an idea of ‘hard’, how could we have an idea of ‘soft’? A ‘short’ piece of wood is 2” ‘long’. Boiling water is ‘hotter’ than ice but it is ‘colder’ than molten steel.

    The rest of the article can be read and is a free download at:

    The Fallacy of Separateness

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Why I Haven't be blogging lately.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010, 4:35 PM [General]

    It came to my attention that I haven’t been as active in this journal as I used to be. A bit of an explanation is in order.

    I have been working on a story since December. The basics of the story came from a Bnet friend named Birk. He has been telling his sons bedtime stories that contain wizards, pirates and dragons, One day, in the thread Welcome to St. Petes' Bar and Grille he asked me if I could do something with them.

    I have the semi rough drafts of 4 chapters posted on Scribd.com.

    The title of the book is “The Tales of Ezra Dragonsbard”

    The Black Coat.

    How Braymon came to serve Family Birken.

    The Destruction of Jartalen.

    The Rescue of Stephanie.

    These files are available as free downloads. My Bnet mailbox is open to everyone - if you read the chapters and have comments and/or criticisms, I am more than willing to discuss them. The following link will take you to a list of all my Scribd articles. I am more than willing to discuss them as well.

    My Ramblings on Scribd.

    Thank you in advance.

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Theodalatry

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 1:08 PM [General]

    Theodalatry:

    A yellow rose and a red rose are both roses.

    (For those who are unfamiliar with my writing style, -O- is the way I spell the word “God”.)

    The main problem with theological discourse, in my opinion, is the concept “Theology implies a Theos”, with “Theos” being defined as a “Supernatural Being”. Should we limit Theos to this definition? I think this is a mistake. Theology includes nontheism if one is willing to define “Theos” as “An image of the Divine.” ‘Tao’ is a nontheistic theos - it is the “Root and Ground of Being” yet it is neither “Supernatural”, nor is it “A Being”.

    I question what I call Theological Positivism. What is with this need to ‘prove’ what -O- is with the same accuracy we can prove 1+1 = 2? We can falsify things that are said about -O- but that does not falsify whatever the reality is. Is a theological image a representation of the divine or is it a representation of the divine? I choose to think it is the latter. The mistake of Theological Positivism is this concept is what -O- is, the mistake of Theological Negativism (Atheism) is the assumption the concept of -O- is false. Theological Positivism goes too far in one direction, Theological Negativism goes too far in the other.

    >>It [Science] cannot argue against nontheism with the exception of claiming that ‘Theology implies a Theos’ and dismissing it as ‘philosophy’, which is as absurd as a Theological Positivist espousing the idea of -O- as a conscious being.

    >A theology without a Theos? That is as absurd as the materialist saying there is no God.

    How is Theological Positivism less any absurd than Logical Positivism? -O- is a reality that cannot be nouned.

    Negative theology—also known as the Via Negativa (Latin for "Negative Way") and Apophatic theology—is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.

    In brief, negative theology is an attempt to achieve unity with the Divine Good through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is not (apophasis), rather than by describing what God is.

    From the Wikipedia article on Negative Theology

     

    If thou shalt not make any graven image of anything that is in the heavens above, then all these fixed notions of God are idolatrous…if, for example, you have a window on which there is a fine painting of the sun, your act of faith in the real sun will be to scrape the painting off so that you can let the real sunlight in. So, in the same way, pictures of God on the window of the mind need scraping off, otherwise they become idolatrous substitutes for the reality.

    Alan Watts

     

    The most we can say about -O- is “One” and I submit there is great confusion over the concept of one. There is the mathematical understanding of ‘one’ as singular or exclusive and there is the metaphysical understanding of ‘one’ as manifold or inclusive. Mathematical oneness comes from the language of the mind and metaphysical oneness comes from the language of the heart.

    This theological confusion is apparent when we talk about the ‘oneness’ of -O-. We assume a mathematical ‘one’ that is separate while we are discussing a metaphysical ‘one’ that is unity. While it is true to say that -O- is “one” in the mathematical sense of the term, it is also true to say that -O- is “one” in the metaphysical sense of the term. -O- is singular in that there is nothing but -O- and at the same time -O- is manifold for the same reason. -O- is not a separate one nor separate manys for the one contains the many while the many contain the one.

    >>As it has been said (Sort of) - anything that can be said about -O- is wrong, simply because it can be said.

    >Does this mean that theological discourse is a useless enterprise?

    Not at all, as language is symbolic. Anything we say about -O- is but an image and an image is not the reality. We do not mistake the word “Tree” for the reality of that thing out in the front yard so why do we assume the word “God” is the reality of that (thing out there)? As far as I’m concerned, that is as absurd as making the claim the only car is a Ford Escort and all other cars are something other than a car. As I say above, a yellow rose and a red rose are both roses.

    By forgetting that language is a symbolic tool, we make the mistake of using a screwdriver as a crowbar. We do not use a magnifying glass for long distance viewing nor do we use a microscope to view the cosmos. To say the word “God” is the reality is as inappropriate as using the Ford Escort mentioned earlier as a tractor trailer to haul a 30 ton load.

    >>What is with this need to ‘prove’ what -O- is with the same accuracy we can prove 1+1 = 2?

    >Why the emphasis on the word ‘what’?

    When we try to prove what -O- is, we reduce -O- to a thing, as if -O- is nothing more than, say, a rock laying on our desk that we can analyze. I sincerely doubt people actually think about what they are doing when they say “This is what God is”. All we are doing by this type of thinking is limiting -O- to a thing we can comprehend. This is an Idolatry of concepts, which is the same as the Idolatry of worshipping a carven idol as if it were the real thing.

    The rest of this article can be found at

    www.scribd.com/doc/28509316/Theodalatry

    It is available as a free download.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    A Fork In The Road.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 11:11 AM [General]

     

     

    Each and every moment, you face a fork in the road.

     

    You can accept the limits of your past or you can realize you are limitless.

    You can offer the open hand of peace or the closed fist of strife.

    You can do what is right or you can do what is convenient.

    You can act upon your basest desires or upon your highest aspirations.

    You can ask “What’s in it for me?” or you can ask “What’s in it for us?”

     

    The universe will not prevent you from making your choice,

    but it will take appropriate action based on your choice.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    A short comment

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 1:04 PM [General]

    I have refrained from commenting on the things the Pat Robertson types have been saying for way too long. Do these people really think about what they are saying? They talk as if -O- is the Ultimate Neighborhood Bully. In my opinion, to reduce -O- to a being that we can understand is an example of Idolatry; to say the earthquake in Haiti is ‘punishment from -O-’ is an example of Blasphemy.

    Yes, there are times I will talk about -O- as if He actually is. I do this because there are times it is the only way to talk about -O-. This does not mean that I Believe that -O- is a Sentient Being that is consciously ‘rewarding’ or ‘punishing’ us. At the most, I talk from the perspective of ‘this is what -O- is like, this is not what -O- is.’ If -O- IS what these people say, I have but one thing to say: I will go to Hell with my head held high.

     

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