June 2012 Archives

» Rad note - today's entry orginated as an update to (& reflection upon) a previous entry that I posted last month, titled » Geeks vs the Government | Game On [dated 15 May 2012].

I cut-n-pasted the following text that you find posted here because it was starting to get long enough to be its own entry and because the subject was so different.

So when I say 'this' .. I might really mean 'that'. =) Plus, I have since added to it. Here goes nothing:

Baloo & Mowgli | Jungle Book»»» In reflecting upon the surprising amount of VIGOR that found its way into my previous entry ..

.. it occurred to me that » I have needed to defend myself .. against false (unjust) accusations.

In court. Many times. For years. [ An eternity. ]

The waaay I did this was by » responding IN WRITING. [ Merely trying to figure out what legal FORM to use .. is surprisingly difficult & time-consuming. ]

As the years went on, the SIZE of these written responses grew.

I have submitted, for example, more than one 20+ page response .. along with contacting (.. out of desperation) my Congressman & Senator & the press.

In other words » I have plenty of EXPERIENCE writing these types of documents ..

.. where I make my case by pointing out bullshit (injustice). I'm talking about things for which I care very deeply. Things for which the motivation comes easily.

Responding to that kind of shit will hone your skillz in a hurry. I'm talking about shit that tries to separate you from your son. Your focus becomes remarkably clear.

Against a SYSTEM in which you have no legal representation .. cuz you have no more money .. at a time when our nation is experiencing the greatest Economic Crisis since the Great Depression.

Yet you are up against both .. both money and the legal representation it buys .. which includes tricks-of-the-trade. [ Tricks-of-the-trade are still tricks. ] So you need to make .. Every. Sentence. Count.

Cuz sentences are all you have.

Sadly enough, the truth plays less of a role than I would've imagined. Your sentences therefore need to convey your own special flavor of outrage. You need to make yourself clear. Crystal. The stakes are so high.

Land squarely with both feet in the game and go for broke. Win or die trying .. cuz no other option exists.

Distance Brings Pattern-Recognition Perspective

From the distance of one lunar cycle, I am able to make out some of the same David-vs-Goliath similarities between those legal documents (.. that I submitted to the court) and this document (.. that I submit to you).

In other words, I have experience (.. much more unfortunately, than anybody would ever want) .. first-hand experience .. up close (tho not very personal) ..

.. dealing with the SYSTEM .. which seems to care about little more [.. and yes, I know this sounds mind-blowingly unbelievable, but hear me out ] .. than the money.

<ignore this intentional body-text marker>

Note » This entry is PART 3, continued from » Part 2. Today's entry was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, without further commercial interruption, we present the conclusion of » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith.

Radiation tri-blade warning symbol» Full Circle

Returning to our original topic of money/wealth (or lack thereof), near where we started, I think the reason that Jesus says this ..

.. is cuz people trust in that .. which is easy to do .. especially in a capitalistic society, where money/wealth plays such a dominant role. Definitely was for me.

Nothing wrong with money, per se .. you just don't want to put your trust in it or love it or serve it. Cuz that spells trouble. Most Christians, I think, would agree.

And it is difficult to trust in "uncertain riches" when you don't have any. =/

So we've come full circle. "Seek ye first" .. which is why today seems like a good day to post this entry .. seeing it's the first day of summer. Key word being » FIRST (.. as in » first things first).

And I neednt tell you that most Americans spend far more time thinking about money .. if what comes out of their mouths is any indication.

I should note that the very verse / idea that got me started along this line of inquiry .. is not the punch line. Getting "things added" is not the end of that line of teaching. Cuz there one more verse in that particular chapter ..

.. which says (I'm paraphrasing) » "Dont worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You got enough shit to deal with today."

So notice how this seems to be saying » Stay focused in the present / now / today (.. which ties in well, I think, with my earlier point of how faith is about » "living in the moment".

Or to put it yet another way » getting-things-added to you is NOT the most important thing.

» In Reflection » Seek Ye First (HIS Righteousness)

In reflection, I think the reason he stuck the phrase "and his righteousness" in the middle of that verse .. is cuz .. righteousness gets you grace (which is God's "unmerited favor").

Actually grace gets you righteousness, which gets you everything you could ever possibly need .. both today and every day.

And when you have the favor-of-God .. coming on you and overtaking you .. you probably won't be needing much else (.. unless, of course, it serves some purpose).

I am still a rookie, but I have figured out (.. regarding this favor/grace) that you exercise your gift (of grace/favor) in proportion to your faith. (Big sentence.) Fortunately, that (faith) is something that we can do something about.

Expect obstacles. Be diligent.

Regarding that diligence, note that Paul wrote to the Hebrews something interesting. He said  » "And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation"

Now » eternal salvation .. I'm totally down with that, dawg. But I couldnt help but notice the word obey.

Regarding that word, I found three references. See what you think.

  1. the first is according to the very first thing that Peter (the eyewitness) wrote
  2. the second is something Jesus said according to John (another eyewitness)
  3. and the third is again according to John the eyewitness

Now, at first, I focused on the "favor" part of grace .. but I can't seem to get away from the "unmerited" part. I mean, at no time does the God's favor become merited .. or EARNED.

That is a difficult thing / idea / concept / notion for me to wrap my head around. Perhaps because I grew up in a society / culture where we are rewarded according to our works.

It is certainly a humbling concept .. and perhaps even uncomfortable .. this idea that there are things that I cannot do for myself. 

Unfortunately, humbleness was never one of my strengths. In other words, that was not an easy hump for me to get over.

The Fiscal CliffNotice that in a capitalistic culture / society, where money and finances and the things they can buy are elevated to a position of preeminence ..

.. we are taught early-n-often .. that we will be rewarded according to our "works" .. often measured in and rewarded in units of hours/time (.. which represent our lives).

This programming goes back far, very far (at least, for me) and has a high refresh rate. Because it represents the very foundation of Capitalism.

I think this mindset is reason WHY it has been so difficult for me to deal with (grasp) these ideas of grace (unmerited favor) and righteousness (right-standing by faith, not works) ..

.. very difficult. A formidable challenge to surmount (.. tho not impossible). A head-bender. They seem to go against everything I've been taught growing up and since becoming an adult.

Cuz, if I am going to have things "added unto" me .. I feel like I NEED TO EARN them. This thought or mindset COMES SO NATURALLY .. as tho it is a part of me. I never realized how much a part of me it is .. until I tried to shift away from it.

Certainly the process of understanding grace has been a humbling one. In other words, the workaholic mindset can be counterproductive here. Because, from a Capitalist mindset, grace makes no sen$e.

What I'm saying is .. even tho faith seems straight forward (it is simply believing) .. it is not as easy as it might look .. specifically BECAUSE OF these deeply entrenched thought-pattern$.

The idea of getting something without paying for it naturally arouses suspicion. "Okay, what's the catch?" you find yourself asking.

The impression I get here is one of railroad attendant switching the tracks .. from the track labeled $$$ to the one labeled Faith. Two different value-systems. [ Nietzsche is the guy who first got me interested in VALUES .. in analyzing them more closely. ]

Speaking of money, wealth & possessions .. Paul said he lost everything .. and considered it all » shit (.. "dung" in the King James version).

Before him, Moses refused the treasures-of-Egypt, no doubt with a similar opinion of it. Why would anybody do such a thing? What could they see that looks crazy to any capitalist in good standing?

Cuz Elijah might argue here that hanging out by a river during a drought (economic or otherwise) with God is better than living in the finest mansion .. especially if that's as far as your faith extends.

It is no big secret that the global economic system is quaking .. like a diseased man (rotten to the core) .. unsteady on his feet. No telling when the dude might go down (again). Or whether he will have the wherewith all to get back on his feet.

Note » This entry is PART 2, continued from » Part 1. Today's entry was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, here is the continuation of » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith.

» The Hoverboard of Faith & Living in the Moment

Tho the faith stuff is cool .. cuz is kinda feels like you're riding a hoverboard of sorts .. that is the impression, tho it would take too long to explain right now. A hoverboard that you build by a process similar to gardening. =)

Blue hoverboardAn invisible hoverboard that you "step on." Just cuz you can't see it however, doesnt mean you can't "detect" or perceive its presence. Very clear sense.

A hoverboard that takes you to places you can access no other way.

So while you might not know when you're out of it, you definitely know when you're in it, when you're in faith (.. like how you know-that-you-know .. when you're in love).

Speaking of love .. that's the fuel for your hoverboard. Seems we get an endless supply. That's good news, cuz I go thru quite a bit myself.

And there is only one rule, far as I can tell .. so it's not like you're gonna have trouble remembering.

On the surface, the rule seems certainly noble, but almost dismissibly simple. And it IS simple, but the complexity seems to be in the implementation, which is » not so easy.

And here is the deal [ i just noticed ] » you run into parts of yourself .. parts that may be less than perfect. So a commitment is required .. on this end. And I have committed, but left the actual implementation to him.

My strategy here is simply to » get in the flow (alignment) .. and let the flow do the work. And how do you do that ? » by faith, of course.

[ Uh, I am starting to recognize a pattern here. It's not like I havent tried other ways. ]

That is an interesting design, no? Simple yet sophisticated. Very discriminating, wouldnt you say? Highly discriminating.

One unusual thing about faith .. is that it seems to operate only in the present. It can certainly operate ON the future .. tho the future does not yet exist .. and the past is gone. The past has been relegated to history.

So learning to live IN THE PRESENT is one of the main things I've been working on lately. But that's a whole nuther story .. and I am still working on it.

But if you think about it a sec, you'll see that you can't believe anything yesterday, cuz you're not there and the past is forever gone.

And you can't believe anything tomorrow, cuz you're not there (yet) and "the future" never arrives. Now, you CAN believe something tomorrow .. but only when tomorrow becomes today. Is this not intuitively obvious? .. to even the most casual of observers? But there's no need to wait.

So .. far as walking-in/by-faith is concerned (ala Habakkuk) the only time that matters/counts is » the ever-present now. .. which poets & philosophers & lovers call » LIVING IN THE MOMENT.

[ Yoga, and especially meditation, is very much about » being 'present' .. in the (continuously-self-updating) now. Mastery of which is trickier than it might otherwise seem.

Also note how Paul seems to suggest that the things we can see are somehow connected-to or related-to or limted-by » TIME (.. which is the great insight that Einstein gave us). ]

The effect here -- and I know this sounds a little strange -- is that you » stop time. Or that is at least the effect. Hard to describe, I admit. But very cool.

John Hancock's signature» The Coolest & Most Artistic Signature

I am not positive, but I think .. that the way the deal works .. is that ..

.. if this here what you're reading is indeed true .. and not merely more religious dogma .. then God could / should / would .. let you know.

Oh .. hold on a sec. "What's that?" Okay .. he says, "He will. Most definitely! So you can count on it." =)

.. tho we're not supposed to SEEK signs .. but rather believe .. seeing that the highest form of faith is that which believes the word only .. regardless. Come what may.

And He always does it in the coolest way .. in a way that nobody else could, and in a way that has meaning to you, personally. In a way that would have never occurred to you (.. to your mind).

Cuz, if you could have thought of it yourself, that means it coulda came from you. (Obvious, no?) I think the word here is » confirm.

And I hear He doesnt play favorites .. so you will see what I'm talking about. (When you least expect it.)

My experience is .. these are 'things' that likely mean nothing to ANYBODY BUT YOU. If you say to somebody, "Look at that! Look at that!" .. they will shrug and say, "Look at what?"

One may be easy to write off as mere coincidence. Two would be more difficult, but still possible. But after the third, you think, "No way can that be mere coincidence."

Oh, and TIMING .. pay attention to timing. Cuz time is really part of space (.. even tho is doesnt seem that way). It is always a cool thing when a glitch-in-the-illusion created by our brains (electro-chemical impulses) enters the spotlight of our consciousness. Very cool.

Tho never underestimate the power of doubt. Even if a guy wearing clothes that shine walks up and shows you daylight thru the holes in his hands and gives you his Calling Card ..

.. with an address that says, "right-hand of the Father" .. you will STILL need to exercise your faith (.. cuz that's the way the system works).

» The Signature that Spans the Centuries

Indian Paintbrush FlowerNotice how closely the word 'signature' is to "sign". In other words, God 'signs' his work. And he has the coolest signature.

His signature spans generations. Centuries. Millenia. Epochs. The ages. Time itself.

I mean, they don't call him the 'Master' for nothing. He's an Artist. And sometimes, you even get to be a paintbrush.

[ Paul said » "To me, the LEAST of all saints, was this grace given..." So there's hope for us all. (Because you can't earn grace.) ]

Which is why Paul cautions believers against "thinking more highly than they ought" .. cuz you eventually learn » it aint you, hoss. =) [ .. a point I now make explicitly for the first time. ]

Tho it certainly feels that way, sometimes. Easy to get the big head when God starts pulling strings and prep'ing his canvas.

I dont know why it is .. but you usually can't notice the signs until AFTER the fact .. even tho they were right there in front of your face .. sort of like the way an economic bubble works, or a credit bubble .. in that you can only recognize it AFTER the fact.

Seems like it would make things a lot easier .. if you could see in real-time .. instead of navigating by faith.

And lest you think me something special .. I should note that God confirms HIS WORD .. never the person. (Unless, of course, the person IS the Word.)

That much becomes clear. Rather quickly.

[ There *is* a personal confirmation .. but that is done, uh .. personally. (Inwardly.) ]

In other words » it Aint Me, dawg (.. notice that I've said it twice, now) .. which is the same thing that ALL the prophets down thru the ages have said. Not hard to figure that out. If I recall correctly, this is very similar to what Jesus said.

Isaiah suggests that God flexes his muscle (bares his arm) on our behalf thru our faith. Paul says a similar thing.

» Happy first-day-of-summer!

Back in the day when the dome was my home .. and I served as a Minister of Radiation Safety at numerous Neutron Cathedrals nationwide  (.. as a Migrant Nuclear Worker of sorts) .. there was a guy who had performed a radiation survey in a highly radioactive space.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant | Hudson River, New YorkLater, his supervisor questioned a number that the tech had entered on the document he'd subsequently written up ..

.. because the value had exceeded the maximum capability of the meter.

The technician famously replied that he'd "estimated" the value .. based on the speed at which the needle pegged. =)

It would be like someone asking how fast you were driving .. when your speedometer was pegged hard.

Now, for the uninitiated, this is an honest mistake, and the tech was genuinely trying to report an accurate value.

The correct approach would be to merely document " > xxxx mr/hr ", where xxxx equals the maximum radiation level capable of being detected by the instrument.

An even better approach however, would be to re-survey the area with an ion chamber capable of measuring the higher radiation levels.

Nevertheless, in the weeks & months that followed, it became a running joke among the other techs .. who would perform little skits, such as, when they exited a highly radioactive space, would come out holding their wrist and wincing, as if in pain ..

Radiation detection meter / instrument.. claiming that the needle had pegged with such force that it caused the meter to torque so violently that it nearly broke their wrist. =)

I always found it interesting, if not ironic, that guys who work in such a serious industry .. could be so funny.

I mean, I can be funny myself, but these guys are downright hilarious. Highly entertaining. Often funnier than folks you might pay money to see.

Other times, guys would be sitting in the break room, writing up their surveys, seemingly talking to themselves, muttering something like, "Hmmm. Let me see now ..."

.. where they would go about estimating a "torque value" for their meter .. or calculating a "torque coefficient," as it became known. A multiplier, if you will. (As you probably know, smart techs can be wickedly funny.)

» Nuclear-Grade Military Training to Deal With Deadly Unseen Dangers

More seriously, tho .. my point here is that » I have spent many years .. studying and working in a field .. where something you can't see, something you can't taste or smell ..

Danger! Radiation Run!.. can kill you. Silently. Invisibly. Deadly.

Can't even feel it .. until you start to feel .. a little weird. With enough exposure, it wont be long until you start wishing you were dead.

This has caused me to "view" the world a little differently.

Just because I can't see something .. doesnt mean I dismiss it. Or ignore it. Or refuse to believe it exists.

No, sir. Not hardly. Au contraire.

I'm not worried about the train coming down the track. I can SEE that. I can hear the whistle blow. I can feel the ground rumble.

I can step out of the way. As can any man with even a lick of sense.

Sliver of Light Spectrum Visible to Humans

We'll return later to this invisible-but-deadly theme. But first, let's discuss something everybody is much more familiar with.

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