Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We are all dancers

Yet another perspective on life ... We are all beautiful dancers. We dance together, we dance apart, and we each have our own instinctive sense of rhythm. Our dancing influences and changes the entire world all around us. We co-create with everything else. This dancing, the patterns and rhythms, is art, and it reflects the beauty of all creation.

There are many facets of reality. As much as we are hamsters spinning in our wheels, so we are graceful and talented dancers as well. The gift is being able to discern reality at these different levels and not becoming stuck in one point of view.

I have started exploring podcasts on philosophy. Those on religion and spirituality seem too confined and perhaps dogmatic, trying to prove a particular point of view rather than discover what is going on here.

One new podcast I tried is called "Philosopher's Cafe." I just downloaded one episode, with guest speaker David Kirk. He introduced himself by describing what he is NOT -- a teacher, or a philosopher, or a particularly wise or enlightened individual, with any recognizable qualifications to speak of. He then played the trump card: as a member of the human race, he is eminently qualified to speak on our human condition. He had me hooked!

Yes, philosophy is the great equalizer. It acknowledges that our view of reality is completely subjective, despite our belief that our senses provide us rock-solid evidence of the world around us. Kirk (or should I call him "Captain Kirk," boldly going where no man -- err, no one -- has dared to go?) was starting to explain how quantum physics indicates that we are all part of the same global "organism" or energy bundle, not separate at all, and we are connected so intimately that there can be no actions that do not affect the entire organism ... which is at least global, and possibly cosmic. He also launched into the curious question of why we all seem to share an equal and opposite propensity for creation and destruction. And why we aren't all aware of how interconnected we are. We are supposed to be these great sentient beings who have achieved a high level of consciousness, and yet we continue to rape and pillage our earth and each other.

My response? I-love-it! Not, certainly, the rape and pillage part; but this man has filmed documentaries of horrifying manmade disasters, and he had earned the right to talk about it. To talk about how he could just walk away from these enormous tragedies, because he was on a deadline, and that was what his producer and other business cohorts expected, and he had to do it to save himself, finally, from being dragged down with all the other victims. (Again I embellish somewhat the words he actually spoke.)

 I was getting into a bit of a rut with my other podcasts. Even "This American Life" was wearing on me (how could that be, I know).

Then there was another short but enjoyable podcast, Philosophy and Pop Culture, where the two speakers were talking about the conflict between freedom (as in free will) and God's being a predictive, all-knowing sort of deity. For instance, let's say that you decide to have a hamburger for lunch tomorrow. God already knows you are going to eat a hamburger for lunch, as well as every other detail of every present, past, and future life of everybody. Unfortunately, his knowing that you will eat a hamburger seemingly precludes you from making any other choice tomorrow -- even if you see the grilled chicken salad on special and realize it's much healthier, not to mention a great price, less greasy, more nutritious, etc.

So to digress from the actual discussion on the podcast for a moment: the problem with free choice/predestination seems to be with our sense of time. The only things that can be known with certainty, in our world and from our perspective, are the things that have already passed, whereas the future is completely subject to change. The pivot point is always the present moment, where we supposedly have free choice. But one minute into the future, we can no longer change what we did one minute ago, and so forth. I doubt the evidence of our senses, though, that time dictates this change in such an ironclad way. It seems to be a localized constraint, born of our existence on this physical planet and our limited ability to perceive ultimate reality while in these carbon-based lifeforms.

So, notice this podcast made reference to Pop Culture? Well, midway into the podcast, the speakers suddenly launched into an enthusiastic review of "The Matrix" like truly rabid fans. It seemed that they had been biding their time, pretending to talk about philosophy until they could get to the really good stuff -- like who on earth thought that Keanu Reeves was a good choice for the main character of Neo? (Was that really his name? So it said when I Googled it.) The discussion went on in this vein for some minutes (Kevin Spacey and Will Smith were rumored to have been in the running for the characters played by Lawrence Fishburne and Reeves, respectively; the narrators tossed about the idea of Spacey and concluded he would have been good, but not as physically imposing as Fishburne. Smith was hands-down seen as a much more exciting choice than Reeves).
I hadn't been paying close enough attention, it seemed, and I had completely missed the segue from philosophy into Matrix matters. I backtracked, and it went something like this -- where in pop culture is this philosophical issue mentioned? Apparently, for all you philosophy fans out there who don't want to work so hard as to actually read the likes of Aristotle or Nietsche, "The Matrix" movies have all the deep philosophical issues, and tangles, and paradoxes, embedded in the movies as various plots and subplots. I recall that it was difficult to jump into a "Matrix" movie without fully comprehending the premise of the entire thing. Otherwise, you just saw a bunch of whirling black-clad people doing improbably rapid-fire kung fu moves. I also recall reading my fellow blogger, Sardine Mama, mentioning that the plotline of "The Matrix" was perhaps impervious to the average person (especially middle-aged type women like myself, notice I didn't include her in this group) and could better be understood by the mind of a juvenile male. Or any male, actually, with access to their inner juvenile male. So perhaps I'm outta luck on that one. Back to the books!
So, I like this podcast too. Fun and philosophy, all together -- who could beat it? Although it's on the short side. I like a good, meaty 30-minute or more podcast that will at least fill up a one-way commute to or from work. Lately, I've been communing with God on the morning drive, so that leaves the return home for my podcasting enjoyment.

Enjoy your dance, my fellow member of the human race!

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