The Limits of Symbol-Based Consciousness
Martin LeFevre: As I stopped on the bike to look at the hills, I was confronted by at least 100 crows. ... Crows are very smart, and I could feel their awareness as they landed and swooped around me. ... On one hand, the evolution of conscious symbolic thought is the single greatest adaptation that evolution has ever produced on Earth. ... On the other hand, it's the most disastrous evolutionary adaptation for the Earth, since the creature in which it evolved-us-is bringing about catastrophic climate change and the Sixth Extinction, which are decimating the diversity of life...
Oct 22, 2020, 10:53am
Take a Break From Politics
Martin LeFevre: The rains haven't come yet, but the leaves have begun to turn-yellows mostly. It's early autumn in California, and the winds have cleared and cleaned the air after months of depressing smoke and toxic haze. ... This damn pandemic makes you appreciate little human exchanges a lot more. I can count on one hand the times I've exchanged more than a few passing words with strangers in the last few months. ... There are two primal fears all people share. The first is being socially outcast ... The second, and directly related inwardly, is leaving the known...
Oct 17, 2020, 10:35am
Filling the Metaphysical Vacuum
Martin LeFevre: The mass madness of QAnon has spread beyond America, the factory of reams of memes for a globalized culture. Neo-Nazi Germans believe Donald Trump will invade and save them from Angela Merkel. It would be hilarious if it weren't so terrifying. ... What is going on here and there? Not at the political level, which frightens the bejesus out of the old media, but at the philosophical and metaphysical level that QAnon represents for the West. ... What's the endgame? ... The antidote to QAnon is what "Q" actually stands for: Questioning with the honest intent to understand, not make oneself feel comfortably part of some group...
Oct 15, 2020, 10:52am
Urgency Is Not a Function of Time
Martin LeFevre: The next few months may well determine the foreseeable future of humanity. There is great urgency, yet most people, on the reasonable left and rationally right, want only a return to so-called normalcy. The comfortable status quo ante not only led inexorably to this global ecological, spiritual and political crisis however; it is gone. ... As humans, separation and manipulation of 'things' is what we do to survive. But fear, need and greed prevent us from seeing when to stop separating from nature, much less cease dividing us from each other...
Oct 13, 2020, 10:03am
Not the Column I Intended to Write
Martin LeFevre: Randomness is part of nature, but where humans are concerned, I don't believe in coincidences. I've been encountering a lot of Catholic people lately. Since I didn't begin rising as a contemplative until I became what they call a "fallen away Catholic," I'm not sure what to metaphysically make of it. ... Organized religion, I sometimes think, is a little like growing out of eating meat or playing football. ... I'm certain of only one thing-the immanence of impersonal sacredness imbuing the universe, with which we human beings can have communion (there's a Catholic word!)...
Oct 10, 2020, 10:54am
Putting God On Trial
Martin LeFevre: I felt today that that purple color must be the most beautiful color on Earth. Taking a short meditation in the meter-wide space between the house and the fence before the flowers close in the hot California sun, I was reminded of the saying: "Color is God." What does it mean? ... A film I watched with a friend last night remains with me today: "God On Trial." It was Masterpiece movie taken from a play by the same name, and is the story of a formal trial conducted at Auschwitz by a group of Jewish men. .. It is both a meditation on evil, and on the nature of God...
Oct 8, 2020, 11:49am
Why Shouldn't We Want Evil To Die?
Martin LeFevre: The deeper question for us as citizens and human beings is this: Given that the nation and world would be better off if Donald Trump died, why shouldn't we wish him dead? If Trump isn't evil, he certainly acts out of extreme collective darkness. ... The spiritual response is clear, and as decent people we have to strive to come up to the mark rather than sink down into the muck. ... First, we aren't God and cannot know what is best in matters of life and death. Though my faith has faltered lately, I still feel there is such a thing as what Christian's call "God's plan." And as inscrutable as it is, even the devil (which is a man-made thing) plays its role within it...
Oct 3, 2020, 2:39pm
What's Required To Defeat Trumpian Evil
Martin LeFevre: The first and most urgent thing for decent people (and I don't just mean Democrats, but Republican citizens who still have an auricle beating in their chests) to do is to disabuse themselves of the idea that Trump has been an anomaly, and that, in Biden's words, "This isn't who we are." ... Every person and every people have an essential intactness from their birth as a person or a people. Call it essence, or soul, or simply indivisible wholeness. We can commit many mistakes and do many wrongs, but if we lose this ineffable quality, we are dead as people. ... Once that happens, as it did nearly 30 years ago in America, the only way to regain our soul is to fully acknowledge and mourn its loss, and want its recovery more than our lives themselves...
Sep 27, 2020, 10:51am
The World Is On Fire; Be Nothing, and Then Act
Martin LeFevre: Does the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which could not have come at a worse time, and proves that metaphysical factors are fully in play in our day, signal the end of what was best in America, or the beginning of spiritual and political recovery? ... In other words, will the death of this extraordinary human being and Supreme Court Justice rouse the recovery of America's soul, or is it an even greater loss of it? ... The size of an economy, or the strength of a military, does not determine the greatness of a people, but rather their capacity to hold the challengers of humanity in their hearts and minds, and act for the betterment of humanity.
Sep 20, 2020, 11:16am
The Earth Is Mirroring Man
Martin LeFevre: The world is a terrible place, and the Earth is mirroring the sorrow of man. It isn't just that the mechanisms of the Earth's ecological systems are under dire stress from man's runaway fragmentation of 'the environment.' Rather, nature is reflecting, to anyone who can still see and feel, how woefully destructive we are as a species. ... We need to turn inward in a true way. Turning within doesn't mean hiding out from bad news. The primacy of the inner life sounds solipsistic to those who don't have one, just as passion is equated with outrage to the superficially minded...
Sep 18, 2020, 2:13pm
Which Kind of Apocalypse?
Martin LeFevre: It's often been said that what begins in California spreads to the rest of the country, and the world. God help us if that's still the case, because it feels like we are experiencing the leading edge of the apocalypse here. ... So which sense of apocalypse is it, "the complete final destruction of the world," as described in the biblical book of Revelation, or a true revelation, an unveiling and unfolding of things not previously known? ... Perhaps that depends on the few who still care, and whether they can step into the breech...
Sep 13, 2020, 11:32am
Bridging the Epistemic Divide
Martin LeFevre: Of late I often begin a political conversation with liberal friends and acquaintances by asking, "Have you heard the phrase, 'Own the Libs?" ... "Own the Libs" means deliberately triggering reactions in liberals, enabling Trumpers to "own" them, so they don't have to own their own stuff at all. ... It is a diabolical psychological device designed to allow the Trumpian projector to justify his or her darkness by getting hated liberals to react first. ... So-called Christians who support Trump and the 'Own the Libs' tactic make a mockery of Jesus' injunction: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"...
Sep 5, 2020, 4:24pm
Why Is Everything Whole and Holy Except Man?
Martin LeFevre: The smartest animal on the planet other than humans is the Orca, otherwise known as Killer Whales. They aren't whales at all, and the 'killer' adjective is species projection. ... It's said Orcas seem to understand humans, perhaps recognizing us as the top predator on Earth, as they are of the sea. ... Dolphins have shown what anthropologists call self-awareness---the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror as individuals. Are Orcas, who are much smarter, self-knowing? ... Like self-awareness and self-knowing, intelligence and smarts are two different things. This distinction, between self-aware and self-knowing, is a crucial one if Homo sapiens is to grow into beings worthy of the name we've given ourselves ('wise humans')...
Sep 3, 2020, 5:07pm
An Adequate Response to Climate Change
Martin LeFevre: The half moon is blood red tonight. ... Under the smoky skies, ominousness pervades the atmosphere day and night ... No scientist has any idea how much carbon the atmosphere can absorb, or how much human filth the oceans can take before nature reaches a tipping point, and there is ecological collapse. ... To be blunt, if there is no choice but to "adapt to the new world of the Anthropocene," our age is doomed. As the saying goes, and psychologists know, "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." ... Essentially, climate change reflects and intensifies the crisis of human consciousness. Meeting it requires radically changing from self-ignorant, tribal humans into self-knowing, holistic human beings...
Aug 27, 2020, 5:02pm
Transmutation, or The Sum of All Dark Ages?
Martin LeFevre: So what exactly makes humans different from other animals? ... We're able to consciously manipulate our environment by removing 'things' from the ecological mesh, but like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, we cannot stop, and so are fragmenting the Earth all to hell. ... We're able to study things scientifically by standing apart from them, but we're unable to wisely, justly and sustainably apply our exponentially increasing body of knowledge. ... Is it because we are only able to know ourselves when we end the ancient habit of separation?...
Aug 22, 2020, 3:58pm