I didn’t even know I was gone and not in the present. Say what?
From time to time I find myself at a place that feels normal and balanced and hints at the centered and successful person I could be… if I can just maintain the now I am in.
Memory, Thought, and Age
Perspective is everything. Fluid and Crystalized memory work together to help us navigate life. Crystallized memory can be thought of as wisdom or previously acquired or navigated knowledge. Fluid memory aligns with the formation of new knowledge, with the processes of logic and problem solving. When we are in balance we can work from wisdom and continue to create and explore.
This past week, I found a pretty comfortable place in my mind and heart from which to live and work. I was sinking into the comfort of crystallized memory. Crystalized knowledge or memory increases with age. For some reason this made me think of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.
Then, Once Again, I Lost the Zen Balance
Then I turned on the news this morning. More babies killed in a school, this time in Nashville, TN. Three adults who worked to create and maintain the babies’ school were also killed.
Semi-automatic rifles are weapons of war intended to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. There is no valid reason for the common person to own them. F the people, the gun industry, and the gun lobby that promotes these weapons of mass slaughter.
We must do whatever it takes to stop these monsters that care nothing for our children, for a civil society, nor our brother and sister Americans. Greed, selfishness, and amoral principles guide the pro-personal-war weaponry-owning factions in our country.
I cannot now even pretend to even want to get back to some kind balance. The place where I was in both head and heart last week will not become a a commonly visited place in my near future. National homeostasis or a balanced system is not likely to occur any time soon in the U.S. Actually it isn’t very likely that any sort of balance will emerge or be found any where in the world any time soon either.
But shouldn’t we try to make a better world?
So, why am I talking about this? It is because there are two paths before me and I have to decide which one to take.
One path leads off to the left, and one to the right.
In one situation an individual action can impact the system as a whole. In the other, the action occurs but nothing changes. But could this system change anyway, in a similar way to what would happen when an individual impacts the system, to re-regulate itself without the individual action?
I suspect that this is “both and” situation. But both implies two, and I visualize three states in my scenario above. I love to discuss how and why we think. But I only have minor education in philosophy. Anyway, here goes.
Chaos theory has an aspect that most people refer to as the butterfly effect. It states that small differences can shift outcomes of processes dramatically. Since I am not a mathematician, I like to use the example of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life where the influence of one humble man has vast and wonderful influence on the people and community around him.
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principal is the only thing I can think of that is similar to the second path, where we consider inaction. You know the physics thought experiment I am sure. Is what is happening inside the box life or death? The only way to know this is to open the box. I have always found this to be rather frightening.
This topic of what influences what is heady stuff. Ultimately I have to believe in something, and I have seen the impact of small kindnesses, and of small indifferences and intolerances. I have to presume this is true of most things in life. I want err on the side of goodness and the belief that kindness creates a kinder world. But to think that is true probably also means that inaction and mean-spirited actions also can have expanding spheres of influence.
Some people think the philosophical nature of these arguments means that nothing about any of these beliefs is true. They believe that nothing matters and everything is meaningless. That is nihilism.
The nature of reality may not be able to be known. We may only be able to guess at meaning, but what if we do have impact on the system at large, on the world as we know it?
This is where Pascal’s Wager comes in.
I think of Pascal’s wager as a logical thought experiment about whether good or evil will win in the end.
Philosophy is a rigorous discipline and most people do not have the interest, nor the stomach, for looking at probabilities, the contradictions between the finite and the infinite, and whether belief can be created through logical application of probability. Most people seem to like to condense Pascal’s wager into something like:
There are two ways of being. Belief and non-belief.
- If you do not believe in God, and there is a God, you will go to Hell.
- If you do believe in God and follow a set of godly teachings, and there is no God, you will at most be deprived of some pleasures and luxuries in this life.
What if God Was Simply Goodness?
Women have the power to change the world. To do so we must start acting. Now. En masse. Everywhere. All the time.
There are many ways to start, but I think it starts with belief. Not religious belief. Just belief in goodness, in and of itself. Let’s start with that and see where we end up.
Many of our current problems must stem from the nihilism born of greed, violence, and imposition of beliefs on others. Let’s be good.
More to come.
B in #AtoZ2023 – Balance, Back
written in late March for April 3 publication