Concerning Bottlenecks and Breakthroughs
Martin LeFevre: A pair of mallards flies about 50 meters above the turbulent, whitecapping flow far below. Two fat Canadian geese, flying upstream, come so close that one almost strikes me as it swoops over a rock on my right. ... Watching every thought and emotion as they arise, memories, knowledge and associations fall away. The heart fully opens, and all separation ends. When thought is completely still, the human being is nature, and the sacredness that imbues nature and the universe flows through one. ... What is the relationship between knowledge and experience, and the experiencing of the immanence that imbues nature? There is none. Knowledge has to be consciously set aside, and experience has to be effortlessly negated, for the experiencing of sacredness to be...
Apr 23, 2018, 5:15pm
Cosmic War Is a Comic Notion
Martin LeFevre: There's a new installation on roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, "a spare and unsettling sculpture" according to the New York Times of two huge creatures---a draped, human-like thing bowing before a reptilian other. Spare, it is not; and it's only unsettling if you accept the late Stephen Hawking's theory of human nature and our place in the universe. ... Befitting our cynical age, the ironically named exhibit is, "We Come in Peace." The title derives from the 1951 movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and "ripples with other associations: colonization, invasion, imperialism or missionaries and other foreigners whose intentions were not always innocent."...
Apr 21, 2018, 2:55pm
What Is 'Intelligent Life?'
Martin LeFevre: The search for life on other planets is intensifying. A field that was dismissed as fringe science two decades ago is now closing in from different angles on the question of extraterrestrial life. ... If past or present microbial life is discovered in our solar system, it will mean life is the rule, not the exception in the universe. And if it is the rule, then extra-terrestrial 'intelligent life' undoubtedly exists in our galaxy. But what is intelligent life? ... I define intelligent life as a self-knowing, scientific/technological species in basic harmony with its planet. Obviously, Homo sapiens doesn't qualify. ... Given these premises, probably no communication could occur until humans stop causing the mass extinction of fellow creatures on earth...
Apr 18, 2018, 5:10pm
A Philosophical Breakthrough
Martin LeFevre: In the early 1980’s, after 15 years of intensive philosophical inquiry into the question of how human disorder could evolve out of the natural order, I had a shattering experience that answered the question for me at literally a gut level. ... It was during such a state of greatly heightened sensitivity by the Merced River ... I heard it first as a distant roar. In the next instant I knew exactly what it was—a B-52 from the nearby Castle Air Force Base, now closed. I also knew at that moment that the thing was going to fly directly overhead. ... Beyond words, in my shaking gut, I saw: This thing is man; I am man, the maker of this thing...
Apr 15, 2018, 4:52pm
Localism Increases Fragmentation
Martin LeFevre: At bottom, "localism is the belief that communities can and should find solutions to their own particular problems, within their own particular contexts." The seeming irrefutability of this idea is precisely why it has become so pernicious. ... Localism is a reaction to the global reality in which we all live. As such it is increasing fragmentation rather than producing diverse solutions. ... There is an urgent necessity to question the game of power itself, because as long as greed and the competition for power remain given, humankind will continue to be riven. ... Diversity flows from wholeness, not particularity. The more particular the reaction, the more superficial the response. When we take a whole approach, which means ending tribalistic thinking in all its forms, our minds and hearts are open to creative solutions at all levels...
Apr 11, 2018, 5:34pm
Perceiving Without Recognizing
Martin LeFevre: With regard to the human mind, I am not as interested in what it takes to recognize things, but rather what is required to perceive no-thing. That's a difficult insight to grasp ... At the risk of creating another duality, the human brain is capable of two completely different kinds of consciousness--a consciousness rooted in the known, and a consciousness arising from the unknown. The known is memory, experience and knowledge. The unknown is mystery, insight and love. (Duality is negated when one realizes that for true consciousness to be, the known consciousness has to cease operating.) ... Insight-consciousness is based on a completely different set of principles--not recognition, but perception without recognition; not association, but awareness without remembrance; not labeling, but the stillness of thought...
Apr 9, 2018, 4:55pm
"2001" Was Religious Philosophy
Martin LeFevre: When "2001, A Space Odyssey," came out in 1968, I was in the 10th grade at a small Catholic high school in Michigan. Like many boys of my generation, I was enthralled by the space race, and enamored of science fiction. ... Before "2001" was released, science fiction inspired flights of imagination. After seeing the film on the big screen that year, I became a philosopher. ... We read Arthur C. Clarke's companion book, and asked the same questions "2001" implicitly asked: How did humans evolve? What is consciousness? Where is our evolution headed? Is artificial intelligence part of our evolution, or will it be the destruction of our humanity? ...
Apr 5, 2018, 4:18pm
How Many People Still Give a Damn?
Martin LeFevre: An old friend and I are having a friendly argument about how many people still give a damn. He thinks about 30% still care. I said it's become more like 2%. ... The question is, to what degree does the American crisis embody and exacerbate the human crisis? ... When, on the scale of human virtues and vices, the fragile thread of goodness is stronger than the cumulative experience of darkness in a person, that person can be said to care. ... Caring doesn't extend from 'my self,' to 'my family,' to 'my community,' to 'my country,' to humanity. It flows in the opposite direction, with little or no prominence given to the source of human darkness, 'my self.'...
Apr 3, 2018, 2:46pm
What Really Happened To Jesus?
Martin LeFevre: As I write, Christianity is commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, which purportedly took place between noon and 3 pm on Good Friday before he physically resurrected from the dead on Sunday. ... (Even as a boy, I questioned a literal Resurrection, and whether Good Friday should have been called 'Black Friday,' though that term now refers to another dark day of the year.) ... Growing up in the upper Mid-West, everything stopped for these three hours. It's hard to imagine now, but towns and cities shut down, and an eerie silence pervaded the streets. ... Can we ever have an abiding insight into what actually happened with Jesus? I've come to feel that Jesus' greatness was that though he knew his mission had failed, he saw it through to the excruciating end without giving up on humanity. ... Jesus' pain was for his people and humanity...
Mar 31, 2018, 3:36pm
Healing Ourselves, Healing Humanity
Martin LeFevre: This insight seized me in the shower this morning: Homo sapiens is an experiment in consciousness that is failing. Why are we failing, and can we stop? ... The vaunted victory of capitalism has enshrined selfishness and greed on a global scale. On the other hand, the inevitable failure of communism arose from the denial of the individual. ... The individual matters, not as the fundamental unit of capitalism and consumerism, or even so-called democracy, but because the freedom and creative potential of the individual is sine qua non of humanity...
Mar 27, 2018, 2:08pm
Experience Is the Enemy
Martin LeFevre: Below my feet, after days of heavy rain, the little creek on the periphery of town is like a gray-green animal surging ferociously and relentlessly forward. Above my head, as the wind blows hard from the east, a great wall of dark clouds hangs like the curtain of God over the western sky. ... Thought is the generator of darkness. There is no darkness in the universe except what the mind of man and creatures like man make, wherever thought dominates minds, hearts and brains. ... The value and validity of experience goes unquestioned. We are conditioned to believe that with experience comes wisdom, but that's false. Experience is part of conditioning, and insight and compassion flow from a completely different source...
Mar 24, 2018, 5:02pm
Animals, Mind and Brain
Martin LeFevre: In quick succession along the short path after the footbridge to the picnic site, there were three close encounters with animals. First, a stipple-winged woodland hawk alighted from the nearest branch, spreading its great wings and gliding to the next nearest branch just 20 meters away. ... Psychological time is the false continuity of self and thought. Therefore once the separate observer falls away in passive awareness quicker than thought, ask: Is time operating? ... When time ends one sees, beyond words, what Emily Dickinson meant by "the brain is just the weight of God."...
Mar 20, 2018, 4:36pm
Do the Gods Exist?
Martin LeFevre: Are there beings in another dimension of consciousness, freed from thought, space and time? In other words, do the gods actually exist, and if so, how did they come into being? ... Beyond the spadework of our individual paths, what is the common factor, the shared element of our journeys? ... I don't have fixed beliefs, but I feel humans are meant to grow into human beings, and human beings are meant to grow into gods. And just as no human can grow into a human being if he or she is resigned to being a human, no human being can grow into a god if he or she is satisfied with being a human being...
Mar 19, 2018, 10:13am
A Workable Global Polity
Martin LeFevre: Will an effective global governance emerge in the foreseeable future, or will it continue to be seen as utopian science fiction in our increasingly dystopic world? The answer does not depend on nation-states and the UN, but on the growing body of world citizens. ... A basic feature of human consciousness is tribalism-my country, my ethnic group, my religion and my family. Though the tribalistic mentality is fragmenting to the smallest possible unit-my self-it is still the basic source of division, and the main divisive force in the world. ... We can make ourselves heard and heeded as citizens of the global society, but only if we emotionally see ourselves as world citizens, rather than nationals of any country, members of any religion, or kith and kind to a particular ethnic group...
Mar 16, 2018, 9:49am
The Vast Difference Between Esoteric and Occult
Martin LeFevre: There’s a pervasive conflation and confusion between occult and the esoteric matters. Are they actually two completely different and distinct things, which have no relationship to each other? ... Occult things have to do with the power of darkness, in which a good human being does not traffic. Esoteric insights, on the other hand, reveal themselves as one grows in self-knowing. The esoteric dimension emanates from the intelligence of the universe, whereas the occult forces emanate from the mind of man...
Mar 13, 2018, 4:11pm