Rants. raves and ramblings from celestial circles . . .

Archive for November, 2012

WHEN NOTHING IS EVERYTHING

‘There is Nothing in the Desert, And Every Man Needs Nothing’

 

The actual quote is from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and it reads, ‘There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing’. It was recently used in the film ‘Prometheus’, from Ridley Scott. It’s a great line and very significant in the film. Where once again we witness the dangers of technology and the humans that create it. Mary Shelley warned of us how our passion for striving to be as powerful over others as God, could lead to our own self-destruction. But we don’t have to read ‘Frankenstein’. All we have to do is look around us every day. Man’s attempt to reach that divine plateau of knowledge, mimicking our own concept of ultimate power we have perceived as God, can be both a blessing and a curse. It is only by our own cautious manipulation of those great powers we have achieved, that we will control our own fate toward advancement or destruction.

Need I remind you of this as you stare at your computer screen? Or dabble with your phone? Or sit complacent for hours in front of your television? What I can remind you of . . . is how every technology is simply a tool. And like any tool, it can be used for good or for evil. A hammer or a wrench can build or fix the greatest of challenges, but they can also be used to strike the life of another living being.  And a tool is not a human being. We can use tools to improve the lives of other beings. But tools do not have a heart. They do not feel and they do not love. We often use tools to win the love of others; a new car, a new phone, a new toy. But are we giving with the assumption that the work involved to acquire and gift that tool to win someone else’s love, is equivalent to the love we gift as fellow humans? Is the material gift we give, equivalent to the love of our smile, our compassion, or most important, of our time?

Most of us do not live in a desert. We live in a world where the illusion of abundance surrounds us. An abundant illusion so perfectly manipulated, that we feel no remorse when discarding those things we no longer deem valuable. Our abundant world immediately offers a replacement. We can always buy a newer car, a smarter phone, or another plastic container of water; all of them disposable and replaceable. Of course, only if we happen to be lucky enough or wealthy enough to afford them. But where has our disposable existence of material objects led us? It has led us to another illusion. An illusion where we do not have to face what becomes of our disposable resource once we discard them. We are allowed to wear our blinders and walk away from the refuse of our own existence. There was a time when man’s only disposable waste was his own excrements, or the bones left behind after a meal. We were equivalent with all of life around us, because we shared the same requirements, and we left behind the same by-products. We weren’t leaving our discarded by-products strategically buried for future generations. We were simply returning them to the Earth, where they would recycle into the basic elements of the Earth.

We have learned to accept the illusion of abundance, surrounded by all those material possessions that provide us with the comforts we require. And so I journeyed to the desert. And it is here I realized . . . every man needs nothing. Without a relative perspective in our existence, we have no bearing. And without bearing, we have no existence. All of the material possessions in the world cannot provide the necessary direction for existence. This is the lesson Buddha learned from self-depravation. This is how he achieved enlightenment. There are two examples I will provide (although many others exist). The first example is the child born to wealth. Unlike his parent, who may have started with nothing and achieved great wealth, the child has only known wealth. An entire life will be wasted in a pursuit of happiness through material possessions. And although this person may achieve limitless joys in hedonistic exultation, there will always be an inescapable empty hollow within their lives. Without ‘nothing’, ‘something’ is worthless.

The second example is the starving artist. A master of their Art, but impoverished. In their barren material world, they can create masterpieces of painting, music, and literature. They have the perspective of ‘nothingness’. So to them, every meager possession is a possession of wealth. Here again, their life’s fate can move in either of three different directions. They might continue broke and desolate, creating magnificent works of art. And likely die broke and desolate, but a great artist. Or they can achieve wealth, and their lives will take one of two paths. Either they will lose their creative spirits and immerse themselves in their newly found material wealth. Or, if they are wise, they will continue to create art, but maybe not as passionate or inspired as before.

There are countless examples, every day, all around us, of both the wealth born child and the starving artist. And then there are the rest of us, somewhere in-between. Without knowing ‘nothing’, we will find nothing. And without finding nothing and knowing what we have found, we will not ever find anything else. I have found nothing in the desert. And in the desert I have found everything. I can now see that although I have had everything in my life, without finding ‘nothing’ in the desert, I would not know what it was that I had. I would not know what others do not see. And I would not be able to give you ‘nothing’. Knowing that it is the only ‘something’ I could ever give you, that will keep you nurtured and without thirst, in any desert.

 

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

 

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THE MACHINE KILLED CREATIVITY

The machine killed creativity

I saw it for myself.

It bludgeoned all artistic strides

and massacred the rest.

 

Musicians were first bound to atoms

and then cast down to synthesize.

Pouncing notes on keyboards

for light waves to analyze.

 

Painters great were also slaughtered

by brushes of true bits.

Destined for the graphic tabs

and bland electric tits.

 

Sculptors once again were chained

by circuit boards and digits

building funky little trites

of solder, wire and widgets.

 

Writers were then gathered up

and tortured by their software

making  acronym of literature

and cleansing hard drives bare.

 

Movie folks were also brandished

and scattered without vision

destined for the rerun click

on the mouse of indecision.

 

Poets, whom of course were last

bore out the worst derision

for they were left with just a hint

of electric mysticism.

 

The machine killed creativity

I’ll show no remorse

I’ll keep my wafers powered up

for the next new resurgent force.

 

I SET SAIL

My sails have weathered and aged
through the years.
They are not as crisp as when they were new.
Yet they take good form to a hearty wind.

My strong treated hardwood masts
even now, stand tall and looming,
proudly visible from a distance.
My polished bow still gleams
in a splash of favorable sun.
And though my deck has keenly felt
the belting torment
of a thousand salty ocean storms
it remains immaculate and polished.

My rudder does not fail
to hold my bearing,
my journey and direction true.
All my instruments are accurate.
And all my lines and ropes, secured, not frayed.
My cabin is a hearth, both warm and soft
of carved and shiny patterned wood
with fathomed depth and heart without bottom.

I am still the captain and the first hand
and the sailor
and the laboring crew.
I still float brisk along bobbing waters
and long to feel the edging wind upon my back.
I still follow guiding stars in pitch black darkness.
And fear the trembling storm
seeking the promised light of a bright new day.
For I was born a great and mighty vessel
and I shall push forward
until my creator
to the great ocean
does call me home.

 

——————————————

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INTO THE SKY

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ABOVE THE SEA

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ACROSS THE WIRE

A PRAYER IN TIME OF WAR

A pagan killed a Jew
A pagan killed a Christian
A Jew killed a Christian
A Christian killed a Jew
A Muslim killed a Christian
A Jew killed a Muslim
A Muslim killed a Jew
A Christian killed a Muslim
They all bowed to pray
to the same ignorant God
with deaf ears
and a passion for killing.
Dear God forgive them.

————————————–

LOVE ROAD

They are tearing up that old road again.
The road we built.
with sweat and blood
and paved in dreams of love.
Old man Grady died there.
Fell off the steepest of the ridge cliffs
into a mad white torrent of river
clutching his pick axe firmly.

For three dark days
we stopped work.
His wife still visits every year.
Throwing fresh colored flowers
grown in her lonely summer garden.
Back then we all worked the mules.
And at the end of every day
the men would all gather
with full whiskey bottles and rye.
Women would bring the cheese and bread.
We laughed and proudly praised the road.
God would smile upon us.

Before the labors
we never could cross
when the hard rains of spring came.
And when the heavy snows of winter fell
we became an isolated island.
No one would ever dare the mountain.
But every six months
when the summer sun cleared the pass
we would haul our goods to town.
Selling animal skins and crops
we kept the children happy.

I hear the roar of the bulldozers coming now.
Our love will soon be paved and covered over.
The women and children are crying.
They’ve hit a silver vein.
And the mining company
brought their bankers and lawyers.
Our love has been bought and sold.
They are tearing up the road again.
The road we paved
with our dreams of love.

——————————————

December 13, 2001

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SHADOWS OF FALL

SHADOWS OF FALL

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SHADOWS OF LIGHT

SHADOWS OF LIGHT

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SHADOWS OF COLOR

SHADOWS OF COLOR

WOODS END

I followed her nightly into the forest

her pain was azure blue

stems of her legs

thin saplings

trunks of stone

between the leaves

and the autumn moon

she would whisper her secrets

unfolding in the darkest brush.

 

One night of the new spring

our eyes met

we had no one road to travel

only empty pastures

of drunken light.

————————————

IN THE HOLLOW MOSQUE

It’s an empty hole now
where the religious wise once preached hate
the mosque they teach peace in
survived.
It’s flowering back to heaven
from where it came
and rose again
this holy land that does not lose
it’s holy history.

Deep below the buried mounds
of bones and dunes and battles
where in the hallowed mosque
tales are told
of peace and love and sorrow.

Is it not the will of men
to teach the will of peace
to love tomorrow?
So the wisdom of the mosque
is not in men
but in the hollow.

_____________________________

(2003)

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THE NATURE OF MEN

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THE FACES OF GODS

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