Feeling Beyond Memory On Mother's Day
Martin LeFevre: There are still many places in the world where a woman risks physical violence by men for honestly saying what she really thinks. Perhaps over the generations it's become ingrained in most cultures for women to maintain a tactical ambiguity. ... The real and present danger now is of not seeing and saying things as they are. It outweighs, in the West at least, the habit of tactical ambiguity. Neither women nor men can have things both ways ... Indeed, now that one of America's political parties has become the party of lies, telling the truth has become urgently necessary...
May 8, 2021, 10:11am
Advances and Setbacks in Consciousness
Martin LeFevre: Just as the age of nations, much less empires, is over, so too the age of distinct cultures belongs to history. Yet because of a failure of perception and imagination, people cling to the remnants of their cultures, with useless traditions, irrelevant religions, and divisive identifications. ... The new culture will not be based on tradition, or memory, or even knowledge, but on awareness, insight and right relationship between humankind and nature, and between human beings. I don't know when such a global culture will emerge, but I'm certain it has to emerge if humanity is to survive and thrive...
May 6, 2021, 10:09am
Take People As They Are, One At a Time
Martin LeFevre: Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, in his response to President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress, uttered words that will go down in infamy: "Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country." ... Scott is proof that delusion does not hew to a color line in present-day America. However for a black man from South Carolina, of all places, to evince such withering denial, is soul-crushing even to whites grappling with centuries of racism in this country. ... Black people have endured "institutionalized racism" for so long that understanding how to deal with anger and suffering resulting from America's deep-seated bigotry has long since been a matter of emotional and spiritual survival...
Apr 30, 2021, 10:45am
Self-Knowing Is Learning Negatively
Martin LeFevre: The most difficult thing for humans to do is to be self-knowing. We all think we know ourselves, and that may be so, as far as self-knowledge goes. But self-knowledge and self-knowing are completely different things, and very few people are self-knowing. ... Self-knowledge is a function of memories, images and ideas, which are inevitably of the past. Whereas self-knowing is of the present, and negative. Not in the usual sense of the word - unconstructive, unhelpful and pessimistic. Rather, with the accent on the second syllable - ne-ga'-tive - to unlearn. ... How can unlearning what we think we know about ourselves reveal what we actually are, and can be?...
Apr 26, 2021, 10:23am
Recalling Neanderthals This Earth Day
Martin LeFevre: The tendency to believe what we want to believe, irrespective of evidence, has been a feature of human nature since time immemorial. Until our age however, there was a check, internally and/or externally imposed, on how far we could depart from the truth. ... The universe experiments, and so should we, not just scientifically. Apparently, the experiment in consciousness that was the Neanderthals dead-ended about 40,000 years ago in Gibraltar, the last holdout of their species. Will the experiment in consciousness that is Homo sapiens also dead end, despite our numbers, and our science and technology?...
Apr 21, 2021, 10:44am
Restoring the Soul of America Is Secondary
Martin LeFevre: In the past month, since the beginning of a "return to normalcy" in America, there have been 53 mass shootings. Pause for a moment and let that number sink in. Fifty-three. Nearly two a day. ... When a people lose their soul, as Americans did nearly 30 years ago, they can recover it, but only after fully acknowledging and mourning its loss. ... The deaths from America's evil wars over the last 20 years mirror the violence Americans perpetrate upon each other every day within the United States. ... These deaths, as much as the deaths of innocents killed in the weekly slaughters, stain America's soul...
Apr 17, 2021, 10:30am
A Belated Easter Column
Martin LeFevre: Can we have a true insight into what happened to Jesus? ... As an unfortunate point of reference, I watched, on a friend's insistence, all three excruciating hours of the film, "The Gospel of John." I don't want to do an exejesus (sorry, exegesis) of the movie, which has excellent 'production values' but lamentable spiritual values. ... The movie leans hard into Jesus as not just shepherd, but also the sacrificial lamb, who knew all along what his fate would be, just as an omniscient God would have. ... That's poppycock of course...
Apr 13, 2021, 10:49am
Don't Blame the Agricultural Revolution
Martin LeFevre: So what is the basic flaw in 'human nature,' and can we radically change it? It is the universal tendency to take that which we separate to be actually separate, and therefore feel separate from nature. ... And by believing thought's separations are more than just a functional capability, we are fragmenting the Earth all to hell. This deep, existential mistake, as old as man, also still divides us from each other -- ethnically, religiously and nationally. ... what needs to radically change is the domination of thought in the human brain, since thought is inherently and inescapably separative, and unchecked, has become unsustainably divisive and fragmentizing...
Apr 11, 2021, 10:52am
Children Can Understand Before They Have Words
Martin LeFevre: When I was a young man, I spent a fair amount of time teaching and simply being around little ones. I've always felt an affinity for young children, and being around them taught me more than I taught them. ... Working or being with young children, I felt a responsibility to be acutely attentive to them and to oneself at the same time. ... Though it may seem strange to say after a year of remote learning, the quality of the relationship between the teacher and pupil determines not only the quality of the content a student learns, but often, the character he or she develops...
Apr 7, 2021, 9:09am
Solitude Is Not Isolation and Loneliness
Martin LeFevre: When you turn off your cell and sit by a stream, or even in some relatively quiet spot of nature in a city, it allows you to listen, look and feel what is happening outside and inside oneself. One realizes that our identities are socially derived constructs, whereas our beings are solitarily discovered states ... Nature and the universe are imbued with limitless solitude. So when a human being is completely alone, allowing for even a half hour of solitude without isolation every day, the Earth and universe open to us. ... One finds one's need for others dissolves in the embrace of solitude. Paradoxically, when we return to society, we are more complete and compassionate social beings. ... ...
Apr 2, 2021, 1:53pm
How To Prevail Over Evil
Martin LeFevre: Does the devil exist, and if so, what is it? ... if evil, which in essence is collective darkness imbued with intentionality, is supernatural, then the Christian view is as good as any. ... But if, as I maintain, evil is not supernatural, but a byproduct of the willfully suppressed and neglected 'dark matter' in human consciousness (hatred, grudges, jealousy, greed, etc.), then a deeper philosophical and psychological explanation is necessary. ... Essentially, if human consciousness has subconsciously generated evil over the millennia, there is no reason to fear it, since it's man-made...
Mar 28, 2021, 10:19am
Many Paths or No Path To Truth?
Martin LeFevre: To be frank, I'm sure there is a completely impersonal sacredness that suffuses nature and the universe, because one touches it on nearly a daily basis during meditations in nature. But I'm not so sure about the existence of God, much less gods, that care about the future of humanity. ... These are distinct questions to my mind. What I'm concerned with here however, is the confusion and conflation between what the human mind decides is sacred, and what is actually sacred...
Mar 20, 2021, 11:55am
Nature Doesn't Care About Me, But the Cosmic Mind Cares About Humanity
Martin LeFevre: It's late afternoon. The foothills are astoundingly clear after raining all night and morning. A few lines of gray and white cumulus hover over the hills, like stationary waves crashing upon a fluid shore. ... Experiencing the actuality of communion with the numinous is immeasurably more important than any description or philosophy about it, however lyrical or intellectually persuasive. ... The conundrum of language aside, bringing the awareness and presence of the numinous into one's life in society is much more difficult than experiencing intimations of the sacred alone...
Mar 16, 2021, 9:45am
Be a Window for the Sublime and Sacred
Martin LeFevre: On one of the last days of the year before winter set in in the mountains, I drove up to Lassen Volcanic National Park, the entrance of which is only about an hour and a half from here. ... The essence of one's meditation practice is this: Opening all the senses in nature and watching the movement of thought/emotion without division. ... Our individual consciousness is as inseparable from collective consciousness as eddies are from a river. In a dead culture such as this, meditation is not a luxury, but a matter of inward survival...
Mar 12, 2021, 10:14am
True Dialogue Is a Symphony of Meaning
Martin LeFevre: Dialogue is a word that has been rendered almost meaningless by having so many meanings to so many people. ... As I see it, dialogue, as joint inquiry, is the social equivalent of solitary meditation. Awakening the meditative state is an almost inexpressible solitary art, which involves effortlessly gathering undirected attention sufficient to silence the chattering movement of thought. ... Meditation allows the space and stillness for a spontaneous, quantum leap in awareness. The social counterpart, which is almost as difficult to convey, is the art of questioning together in dialogue, with the intent to ignite mutual insight...
Mar 4, 2021, 10:38am