Lying Is As American As Apple Pie
Martin LeFevre: The word in Chico is that Trump was coming to the site of the most devastating wildfire in American history to throw plastic spray bottles at survivors, in keeping with his empathic gesture of throwing paper towels at survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. ... There are almost as many forms of lying, as there are liars. America has perfected them all. No wonder we're in such a world of shit. ... One form, which we're presently enduring in Butte County after the wildfire destroyed the formerly idyllic community of Paradise, is what I call the 'dribbling lie.' ... It took root after America'a egregious invasion of Iraq under Bush Junior, and works by releasing the numbers of deaths in increments, so that the public is conditioned (read numbed out) by the time the full facts come out....
Nov 18, 2018, 3:07pm
The Brain Is Much Greater Than the Mind
Martin LeFevre: For 23 years, a UK based group, the Scientific and Medical Network, has been hosting yearly conferences called "Beyond the Brain." The core premise of the conferences is doubtful: "Our minds seem to extend far beyond our brains." It is, in my view, exactly the opposite-our brains have the potential to extend far beyond our minds. .... We (and by 'we' I mean philosophers, scientists and thinking people) don't even have a consensus view of what the mind is. ... "Minds are also extended in time." Yes, and therein lie the roots of man's enslavement to thought. The extension of thought from the past, through the present, and into the future denies a much deeper and immeasurably more important capacity of the brain --- to transcend time and death by remaining with and having insight into what is...
Nov 15, 2018, 4:31pm
Patriotism and Nationalism Spell Militarism
Martin LeFevre: The city council members of the recently incinerated town of Paradise, all of whom lost their homes in the conflagration, voted to hoist American flags for Veteran's Day along their devastated main street. ... We still haven't reached bottom in America, but we're way beyond the problems of this small country with its small president. ... As a contemplative and philosopher long asking questions with respect to the human prospect, I cannot help but inquire into the metaphysical aspects of this terrible tragedy. ... Why is this happening? ... Is it because this is what the entire world will look like if we don't begin to think together, ignite insight, and act from insight to bring about a breakthrough in human consciousness?...
Nov 13, 2018, 2:50pm
It Is Happening to You
Martin LeFevre: At sunrise, the black smoke coming from the mountain community of Paradise as it burned to the ground 15 miles away looked like a roiling purple and pink cloud. ... I rode the bike to the foot of the Skyway, the main highway into Paradise from Chico, about half a mile from the house. Cars were streaming down the hill bumper to bumper on both sides of the four-lane road, a vehicular caravan of desperate refugees. ... It made me wonder, how many people fleeing for their lives in this American caravan of suffering have been heartlessly nationalistic about the caravan of mostly women and children fleeing violence in Central America? ... In physics, there is a proven principle called 'non-locality,' where an electron in one place instantly affects an electron in another, with no apparent link. It's called 'entanglement,' and they have no idea how it occurs...
Nov 10, 2018, 5:43pm
Are Monasteries Necessary?
Martin LeFevre: As a young man, I didn't understand why people lived the monastic life, but I do now, though I still have no urge to live in a monastery. The maxim of the monastery near here, New Clairvaux, is "God alone." That's not only the core intent of the Trappist monks in their daily life of prayer and tending to the vineyards; it's a renunciation of the world. ... Thomas Merton, who is the patron monk of the Trappists (though he never visited New Clairvaux), said ... "Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for spiritual joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and spiritual joy you have not yet begun to live." ... These insights, and the imperative of having an inner life in such dark times, don't require entering a monastery...
Nov 7, 2018, 3:14pm
The Brain Need Not Deteriorate
Martin LeFevre: There's a lot of talk about cognitive health these days, and whether people can prevent terrifying brain wasting diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. The accent is on memory retention, but I propose a great paradox: deleting useless memories preserves and renews overall cognitive function. ... Memory is the material of thought, but most of what we store up from experience is unnecessary and becomes stultifying as we age. Recognition is a certain type of memory, and when one is truly seeing things and people anew, recognition is secondary...
Nov 3, 2018, 6:19pm
Right Living Is Complete Moments
Martin LeFevre: 'Proprioception' refers to the bodily sensation of the location of one's limbs in the space you occupy at any given moment. When you close your eyes with your arm held out and know exactly where it is, it's because of proprioceptive cells in your joints. ... I feel that we can, through self-knowing, acquire proprioception for the movement of thought. Just as the body can, if we listen to it, tell us about our emotions, our emotions can, somewhat proprioceptively, provide a sensation of our core thought processes. ... As one grows proprioceptive of thought (that is, of the past and time), the accumulations of man, which are suffocating of the human spirit and preventing the growth of the heart, drop away...
Nov 1, 2018, 6:05pm
America Has Lost Its Soul
Martin LeFevre: What is happening in our world, and within human consciousness? ... Continuing to view events in the same frameworks that produced the conflicts and violence increases the darkness and disorder. ... Just as there was a time in pre-history when tribalism wasn't evil but a given, so too there was a time in history when nationalism wasn't evil but a given. Now however, if you see yourself first as an American, Russian, Chinese, or any other thing, you deny your humanity and contribute to the destruction of humanity. ... The antidote to resurgent nationalism and rapacious globalization is the direct, emotional perception wholeness of humanity...
Oct 29, 2018, 5:16pm
From Cognitive Shift to Cosmic Consciousness
Martin LeFevre: The cognitive shift that occurred in East Africa about ten millennia ago gave rise to a new species of humans, Homo sapiens, from which all 7.7 billion people now on earth are descended. ... If the cognitive shift that produced modern humans had not occurred, the human species may well have become extinct. The next evolutionary leap, one that humans are messily undergoing at present, is fully conscious. (It seems the conscious are becoming more conscious, while the unconscious are becoming more unconscious.) ... The essential difference between cognitive consciousness and cosmic consciousness is the quality and degree of attention and awareness....
Oct 27, 2018, 5:23pm
‘I Choose,’ a Tremendous Illusion
Martin LeFevre: There are choices in life, but the independent chooser is an illusion. So what is the basis of right action? This conundrum and question goes to the heart of the problem of freedom and determinism. ... Freedom has no meaning if determinism is the law of the universe. Determinism can account for the element of chance, since quantum physics is a function of probability. But determinism is false if there is an element of creativeness in the cosmos. ... But just as there is a creative element in nature, there is, potentially, a creative element in human consciousness. Not just art, but with respect to the transformation of consciousness...
Oct 26, 2018, 6:30pm
Imitating Mr. Rogers, Badly
Martin LeFevre: The loudest dog I've ever heard is the often-neglected Labrador of the lunkheads living behind me. ... It's impossible to sleep or work when their dog begins barking. ... I asked her to tell the owners that their dog had been disturbing the peace for hours. ... A half hour later a female police officer appeared at my door, accusing me of harassment. ... An experienced older officer with the wisdom of years on the force, he said he now often encounters people who call the police when they are the offenders, preemptively slandering their neighbors. ... When "the structures and systems" of a society have broken down, leaving only meaningless economic activity and the industries of escapism functioning, the answer cannot be found in others, in halcyon "networks of care." To spiritually and emotionally survive in a culture like this, one has to develop an inner life, and keep learning non-accumulatively every day, no matter how dark things become...
Oct 21, 2018, 5:39pm
Nationalism and Tribalism Are the Same Thing
Martin LeFevre: Frank Borman was the least poetic of the Apollo 8 astronauts, the first to orbit the moon and see the entirety of the earth from space. Borman was so mission-oriented he didn't want to take a TV camera with them. As fate would have it, they took the most famous and influential photo of the 20th century, 'Earthrise.' ... On the other hand, the astronaut who actually took the photograph, William Anders, said recently: ... "I don't think the Apollo program has yet brought as worldly a view to humankind as I had hoped. And even today when I hear people chanting that we ought to go on to Mars, I'm thinking, well, why don't we get our act together here on earth first, and go to Mars as human beings, not as jingoistic Americans, or Chinese or Russians or Indians. Let's just do it as human beings."...
Oct 18, 2018, 5:23pm
God Beyond Beliefs and Religions
Martin LeFevre: Masses of magnificent white and gray clouds fill half the sky, but it's completely clear to the west, where a brilliant sun slides slowly towards the horizon. ... Against the vast spaces and incredible splendor all around, human technology appears as insignificant as the model planes, toys in the infinite beauty of the earth and cosmos. ... The undulating horizon swallows the sun. Then, marking the setting point, a pure line of golden light rims a low-lying section of the coastal hills. ... With complete negation of thought and self-centered activity, there is God. Not the God of religions or of belief; nor 'God the Father' or God as 'Supreme Being.' Rather, God as immanent presence that cannot be named or known, only felt and experienced with total negation of self and thought...
Oct 14, 2018, 5:05pm
Not Minority Rule, Mob Rule!
Martin LeFevre: With every 'win,' President Trump has taken America closer to open fascism. When I predicted Trump would be elected, I said he would return again and again to the mob (aka his "base") during his presidency. The same forces that enabled him to become president would be used to take America into tyranny. ... As the extremist Grover Norquist, founder of the innocuous-sounding, Americans for Tax Reform, said after the Kavanaugh confirmation, "We have been winning little victories with regulation. This is the big win. We are cutting down the forest, not the trees. ... This is what slouching toward tyranny looks like. And since we have not experienced fascism in the United States before, people in the political and punditry class don't know how to deal with it...
Oct 9, 2018, 5:43pm
Humankind's Dark Night of the Soul
Martin LeFevre: So what is darkness? The metaphorical, metaphysical darkness of which I speak is both a condition of the culture and human consciousness, as well as a euphemism for evil. ... So, without psychologizing evil, is there an adequate philosophical explanation for it? I feel so, if we begin with the premise that evil does not exist in nature but is a byproduct of human consciousness. And end with the realization that the intentional darkness in human consciousness (aka evil) is total deadness, as it itself is nothing and knows it is nothing. ... The complete, spontaneous quietness of thought in effortless attention to its movement is the antidote to darkness, not some imaginary continuity of unbroken thought...
Oct 7, 2018, 10:43am