Malahat Summit

Here, above the morning mists
I see nothing gives way
to anguish, or nausea
no matter what is said
by my outmoded mentor
of existentialist persuasion.

There’s nothing heavy enough
at the heart of me
to make me fall through clouds
tumbling down, down, down
into that harsh, predictable reality,
which is not so.

The trick is not to look
up, or down, or round
with eyes heavy as stones,
but to accept the vision
for what it is in this precise
and every other precious moment,
a concatenation of spirit, giving
meaning to everything –
even the vast imponderables
it knows it cannot know
are questions of my own making.

And I am forever, and ever so
despite this nagging notion
that my essence is all mist,
swaddled in this thinking flesh.


Bare metal consciousness

For days now I have been trying to comprehend the meaning of Hurssel’s ‘epoché’. I still don’t have a confident grasp of the process, and do not even know if my understanding in any way matches what he intended. But a sense, useful to a searcher, coalesced this morning into breathtaking focus.

Starting from his notion of ‘bracketing’ or suspending our ‘presuppositions’ surrounding sensory data I am reminded that:

  • Sense experiences are simple and immediate;
  • The five senses are separate and distinct;
  • Sensory data is fundamental to our notion of time, as time is essential to the interpretation of sense data.

The implications of these rather obvious premises intrigue me. Even before following through with them, I can see they place me on the threshold of a paradigm shift. Things get even more delightfully precarious when I cross reference the reality of my version of epoché with my previously adopted schemata of the four aspects of human consciousness – the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

This combined perspective on being reveals a rich, meaningful, exciting philosophical framework, which will be a background element of my literary development and exploration from now on.

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Why do dogs chase sticks?

Sitting on the beach at Fairy Lake, Diana and I watched a pair of otter, hunting in an area where a fish had jumped some moments earlier. As we watched, a third otter made a beeline for the same zone.

That got us thinking about the remarkable intelligence and resilience of nature, and how quick we human beings are to underestimate the other animals that share this planet.

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VANcouver Island adventure

Diana and I drove from Chemainus up to Cape Scott, leaving Friday last, returning Monday. It was the inaugural voyage in our newly acquired Euro van, and the first holiday we’ve taken in quite a while. We had a great time!

McMono kimonos to go

Diana Durand’s McMono Show, at Duncan’s Excellent Frameworks August 2 to 31 – with the official opening Saturday, August 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. – was inspired by a discarded McDonald’s french fry box, which she found one evening, while walking her dog.

Inhumanity at its worst

Image from the Gallus Domestics show by Diana Durrand

There are no words to adequately describe the inhumane behaviour of a group of men whose job it was to round up for slaughter a flock of ‘free run’ chickens in a Fraser Valley barn this week. Heartless, cruel and stupid will have to do.

But after we’ve tried to make ourselves feel a little better about being homo sapiens by expressing our outrage, we have to ask the same question SPCA animal welfare specialist Geoff Urton posed: “Why are these people abusing these animals in the first place? … There’s a fundamental disrespect for animals,” he said. “These workers need to see that these are living things that are capable of suffering.”

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Does secular humanism have anything positive to say?

I joined a secular humanist society here in B.C. hoping to find some kindred spirits; got tired of all the ranting and railing against Christianity and let the connection lapse.

But the experience reminded me of a couple of things. First, praying still has its place in our world. I pray all the time… to my fellow humans, hoping they will embrace more humane ways and learn to enjoy the beauty of this planet we share; to flowers for growing, and bees for pollinating, and seeds for germinating; to dogs for being dogs; to those closest to me and all around me to fulfill themselves in loving, meaningful ways.

Second, humanity has gone through many stages as consciousness unfolding in this universe, belief in gods of one form or another among them. Without those previous stages – including Christianity, paganism, Islam, the fabulous cave art of Altamira – our current belief in science would never have manifested. We’d still be sleeping in trees at night praying not to become the prey of the magnificent saber toothed tigers lurking down there on the forest floor.

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