Are All Trumpers Self-Pitying Narcissists Like the Donald?
Martin LeFevre: The only thing worse than Trump being reelected in 2020 would be Trump returning to the White House in 2024. It would be the end of America, just as Trumpers project it is under Biden. ... In truth, Trumpers, like Trump himself, draw from a bottomless well of grievance and self-pity. ... America as a whole is deeply socially and politically ill ... Obviously the violence the Trumpers seek to provoke is not the answer. Without violence, decent Americans can stand against them, and the hatred and evil that flows through them...
Oct 14, 2021, 10:51am
Consumerism Piles Up People and Things
Martin LeFevre: There's an inverse spiritual and metaphysical relationship between thousands of desperate people piling up at America's southern border, and thousands of shipping containers of consumer goods piled up on sea and land waiting to be unloaded off America's coasts. ... The rot of racism is catalyzed by the rottenness of consumerism, which turns people against each other by turning everything and everyone into a commodity, thereby siphoning off our souls unless we're inwardly extraordinarily diligent...
Oct 12, 2021, 10:43am
Conception Prevents Perception of Beauty
Martin LeFevre: It's getting harder and harder to see and feel beauty during months of smudgy skies from wildfires erupting every year, driven by climate crisis. ... What becomes of "beauty is truth" when the beauty of the earth is destroyed? ... A prominent pundit in America recently gave this philosopher pause when he wrote: "As our old friend Kant argued, perceptions without conceptions are blind." ... I've talked with many philosophers, and I haven't met one yet who fully understands what Kant meant by much of what he wrote. ... In actuality, perception comes before conception. Our conceptions, having been formed by knowledge and experience, are always pre-conceptions where the present moment is concerned...
Oct 9, 2021, 10:30am
Tea, Truth and the Multiverse
Martin LeFevre: In the past week, I had two long talks over zoom and tea with a librarian at University of California, Davis, a man who has started 'tea, mediation and dialogue' sessions online and on campus. ... The conversation led to new insights, links between believing in the randomness of the universe and atheism, and between the multiverse speculation and denial of the existence of truth. ... At the end of our second hour-long online dialogue however, which I felt had gone well, Karl referenced a remark about truth I had made in passing during our previous talk. He questioned whether there was any such thing as "objective truth" (a term I didn't use and don't like, since it implies separation between the observer and the observed)...
Oct 7, 2021, 11:37am
History Is No Guide During Unprecedented Times
Martin LeFevre: Why are intellectuals the last to grasp that during unprecedented times, history can provide little or no guide? ... By definition, the fact that the human crisis is unparalleled means that there has been a deep rupture with the past, and previous historical cycles do not significantly pertain to the present. ... What makes the present time unique? ... First and foremost, man has never threatened the basic balance and biodiversity of the earth before. ... The so-called march of civilization, with our deeply conditioned ideas of progress in the West, is running smack up against the reality of a degraded, decimated planet, if not ecological collapse...
Oct 5, 2021, 10:26am
Get Your Head Out of Your Nation
Martin LeFevre: Renewed vigor and deeper understanding often follow a period of mourning. With the death of America and the collapse of the international order, awakening human beings must move to fill the vacuum, or some kind of authoritarianism will. Though mourning a death is natural and necessary, there's no time to waste. ... Serious people realize that humankind is facing an unprecedented historical and evolutionary crisis, demanding a new way of thinking and feeling in an interdependent global society. ... It has been said many times, but it's unconscionable that there's so much poverty in a world of such wealth. The chasm between the haves and have-nots has to close, or humankind will fall into the abyss between the walls...
Oct 2, 2021, 9:50am
Philosophers Don't Specialize
Martin LeFevre: Despite the parlous condition of American culture and Western civilization, specialization, expertise and scholarship continue to take precedence over wholeness, simplicity and childlike inquisitiveness. ... The essential flaw of Western philosophy is that relies too much on reason and rationality. The seemingly unbridgeable gulf between contemplatives and philosophers in the West has its roots in the conception of philosophy as an entirely intellectual endeavor. ... In actuality, daily stillness of mind is essential to doing good philosophy. Indeed, the essence of thinking is stillness, which means complete attention and not thinking at all...
Sep 28, 2021, 10:24am
Learning From Darkness Within, Dispelling Evil Without
Martin LeFevre: A large majority of conservatives and Republicans have given themselves over to the darkness that permeates American culture, while hatefully projecting it onto Democrats and 'liberals.' ... Such people exemplify Jesus' injunction, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." ... What can be done? We have to first and always begin with the darkness within ourselves. That includes withholding our reactions when confronted with evil, which is a very difficult thing to do. ... In any case, there's no choice now but to face and own the darkness within oneself, and meet and stand against evil when one encounters it...
Sep 25, 2021, 10:59am
The Nation-State Is Dead; Long Live Humanity
Martin LeFevre: Whatever games nations play in the 21st century, it's one interconnected, interdependent world now. And authoritarian regimes are stable...until they're suddenly not. ... The fact that America's vaunted legal system hasn't indicted Trump for inciting violence and sedition attests to the fact that the putrefaction is not just in the Republican Party, but in American society and polity as a whole. ... Nations serve their own interests, and no nation's interests aligns with humanity's interests as a whole. ... There was a time when the United States honestly led the world with respect to the rule of law, international norms and standards and human rights. But...
Sep 23, 2021, 11:12am
Psychological Thought Is Noise
Martin LeFevre: Is there a movement of the 'dark metaphysical' in human consciousness? That is, is there collective darkness, plus intentionality, of which the individual conduit is unaware? ... I feel yes. And we cannot avoid darkness anymore than we can avoid noise. One has to meet both, as they arise, inwardly and outwardly, while allowing daily space for a healing, sacred silence to be. ... The sounds of nature and noises of man hold tremendous meaning, if one knows how to listen. ... Normally, we react with recognition, annoyance or indifference to sounds and noises. People living next to railroad tracks or freeways can become inured to the extreme noise, even though it affects the health of the body...
Sep 21, 2021, 12:15pm
The Imperative of Self-Knowing
Martin LeFevre: Nature abhors a vacuum, and as American culture has degraded beyond recognition and repair, an entire industry of retreat centers, yoga studios, meditation teachers and life coaches has sprung up. They haven't helped. ... The ancient dictum, know yourself, has been mined out by the mindfulness movement. That's allowed the darkest voices in the corporate media to proffer spiritual and philosophical rubbish such as, "Is Self-Awareness a Mirage?" ... The "conscious self" is a euphemism for the supposedly separate self/ego, which is the problem in the first place rather than having some privileged position in the brain. ... And self-knowing isn't a matter of knowledge at all, but of direct perception and insight...
Sep 18, 2021, 11:25am
The Signs and Teachings of Hawks
Martin LeFevre: A large, brown, stipple-winged hawk takes off from the path ahead of me with some small animal in its mouth. It's near dusk, and the parkland is full of Cooper's hawks. ... Meditation - the spontaneous quieting of thought -- cannot truly begin until the mind/brain lets go of everything. No trick or technique can cause it to do so. Only undivided observation loosens the bonds and ends the grooves of thought. ... Why is it so difficult to let go? What is it about the human mind that keeps us attached to beliefs, people and problems? It appears as though the brain, using thought, is wired to attach itself to things...
Sep 16, 2021, 10:53am
Suffering Is Psychological Memory
Martin LeFevre: At the only sandy 'beach' along the creek in Lower Park, a group of parents and children frolic in the water. It's a lazy late- summer afternoon and the temperature is nearly 110 F/44C. ... Why does meditation require at least a bit of nature, if only in one's backyard? Because our relationship with nature is the ground from which all relationship flows. ... The mind-as-thought mediates experience with symbols and memories. And words, images and memories-the residue of experience-pile up in the mind and heart, clouding perception and corrupting feeling. Observing nature without the observer cleanses the mind and unburdens the heart...
Sep 9, 2021, 11:05am
The Long View
Martin LeFevre: We are in the midst of a man-made extinction event ... At the present rate of annihilation at the hands of the Earth's only sentient species, half of all animals and plants on Earth will be wiped out by mid-century. ... we have to make a clear distinction between natural creative destruction, and pointless human destructiveness, which has no precedent in nature ... Poverty, war and man-made extinction of the animals with which we evolved and share the earth are closely interrelated ... Another breakthrough, a fully conscious Insight Revolution, which is essentially spiritual in nature, must occur...
Sep 7, 2021, 10:54am
The Mystery of Consciousness
Martin LeFevre: The mystery of consciousness is as old as there have been people conscious that they were conscious. However most people, including philosophers and scientists, don't know what they mean by consciousness. That confusion is compounded when speculating on whether animals other than humans are conscious. ... The term consciousness can refer to anything from sentient creatures like humans, to 'higher' mammals such as elephants and orcas, to the awareness that pervades all life and the universe as a whole. ... Buddhists ascribe sentience to all animals, and say even lower forms of life are sentient. Scientifically and philosophically however, sentience refers to being conscious that one is a conscious being...
Aug 29, 2021, 9:58am