Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time - to fly

All the things I wanted to say,
I forgot,
there is nothing else on my mind
except, here, now...
or the small fragment of my consciousness that is in slight contact with it...


As my consciousness grows, new landscapes setting in, my voice grows, thoughts are inflated by the wind of granular experiences, none of which I can understand completely, but that mesmerize me with their inscrutable beauty.
It is, for instance, mesmerizing to me how different my desires are from most people. I want to be a “gardien d’immeuble” in Paris. Something that most people would absolutely despise and abhor. Most Portuguese that were doing this job are coming home, to their families and friends, and their familiar landscapes. Most want proximity, acceptance, and, most of all, they want a world where they can feel “at home”, where they can trust their neighbors, be admired and even envied, be safe and cozy.
This is a job that pays very little, where you have to clean up, deal with the garbage, and, worst of all, stay away from your friends and family and live in a country which, for me, is being torn apart by the confrontation between the new and the antique, the French and all the immigrants, and a general lack of true values instead of the representation of old traditions. Nevertheless it is a place of very hospitable and civilized persons. Most of all, it is a place where there is *time*:
Time to breath,
time to have pleasure,
time to make love all night and most of the day,
time to see movies,
time to read,
time to write,
time to see the world around us,
and meditate about it.
Time to think, to reflect, to simply see
what’s around.
In modern society, by the contrary, you have all these luxuries and reputation, and, nevertheless, you have got no time for anything. You wake up and there it is: time to go to work. And then you work all day, counting each second, employing each second to some “useful” activity, which generally has nothing to do with you. You eat on a schedule, you go to the bathroom on a schedule, you arrive on a schedule. And then, then you watch tv. You watch tv to try to relax, you watch tv to try to justify this way of living, to live with yourself.
News tell you how bad the world is around you, that you are lucky to have this kind of life. Soap series give you the life that you could not have at home. You live other’s problems, other’s love affairs, other’s talk with their children and spouses, and you go to bed with a feeling of ample satisfaction. You have lived, you have worked, you have felt hard experiences brought on by tv. And tomorrow is another day. Possibly even a glorious day. If only there was no alarm clock!
And then you go, until the end of the week, when you finally have time to be with your family, to see nature once again, to have time, time to do nothing... but even that is on a schedule, and on Sunday afternoon’s you already feel that time is running out, and that tomorrow, tomorrow, you’ll be back on the dungeons of the alarm clock.
We live for our children: they are happy! And we sustain their free lives, their games, their parties. We get back at them with school and homework. But in general they are happy enough so that we may think that our life as a purpose, because we are sustaining theirs. And their time will come, when they will have to support the weight of building a family of their own.
Except many of them wont. You may call it selfishness, I call it like of suicide tendencies. Why should you want to destroy your life. It is so short, so fragile, so precious. You have this time that has been given to you. You don’t know for how long, you don’t know why (yes, I know we may *believe* in all kinds of awkward explanations, but we don’t *know* it), you don’t know what for. What you do know is that you have an *opportunity*, in each moment, to do something with that moment. You can be free (whatever that means), you can mold that moment like a piece of art and say: this is what I do with this moment.
So, even if you want to have kids, would you want them to live like machines in a machine world? Pieces of corporations, consumers, voters, to be bought and sold and carried around by other pieces of this big human society. Would you like to raise children so that they can be one more ant in this vast system?
I don’t. I would like to raise children if they could be happy. But this human world only provides luxuries, addictions, illusions of grandeur. So I skip that task and I try to enjoy the best of times in this lunacy.
To nationalists I offer my laugh. To religious fanatics I also offer my laugh. And I also laugh to those enslaved by riches, by compromises with nothing, nothing at all. I laugh and I pity in both measures, and, in a third equal measure, I admire and rejoice. For all these people, blind and bonded as they are, to their illusions, are growing and dancing in a beautiful and magical world, of which they are a beautiful and magical and mysterious part.
I love the king as a I’d love a snail, or a reptile trying to catch his lunch. I love the trees just I love the mothers who daily give their lives for their childs. I love the football player, the star, as much as I love a beautiful rock which distinguishes from the others by its exquisite colors, texture and weight.
Humanity is part of the cosmos. As a man I can only eat my wife. I cannot eat a rock. I could not sustain myself only out of water, I will not live for centuries like trees, or billions of years like some stars. But I am not only a man. I am a man who is alive. I can see. And the colors that I see are bounded by humanity. They came all the way from the stars of different galaxies to illuminate my night. I am no more than a man, but, in my mind, I can see much more of the cosmos, I can imagine what it is like to be a tree, a tortoise, a mouse, a penguin, a rock orbiting a distant star, an ice crystal in the rings of Saturn, a liquid rock in Earth’s core, a moving mass in Jupiter’s immense atmosphere / Ocean.
My human body is just a vehicle for the trips of my soul.

Oh yes, I want that cheap job that nobody wants in Paris.
Because there, there it will be the launch pad for the dreams of my soul. There, in a quiet cubicle, I will build by Tardis, a vast world where the only limits will be the limits of my human mind and heart.
I want to fly in this spaceship, in this timeship, which most men call a body.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blindness - the movie

There's this book by Saramago, and now they made a movie out of it.

I guess I never read Saramago, the long paragraphs putted me off. So the movie was for me a good place to start. And I did start. And it was amazing to find, on English, an English movie with an English director, that old same morality that priests have been teaching us Portuguese for centuries: it is better to suffer an evil than to commit an evil. The good are the humble and meek.

And so there we have it, a girl who can see, that did not abandon love for the sake of selfishness, a model of morality...

But, as things go on, we start to comprehend the absurdity of it all... she is so good that she will let the bad guys go on and on in their evil doings... wtf??

Is this morality? Contemplating evil and destruction and doing nothing? Is this the right behavior? Would it be better to stay on the side when Hitler ravished through Europe with his madness, or, as the Americans did, was it better to stand up and say: that is quite enough!

Boy! I love Portugal, and I really love to have been born in an inconspicuous place open to the world, but this is, by far, the thing that I abhor above all in Portuguese culture: the thought that just to do nothing, to let it be, perhaps waiting for some divine justice to set in, is not only morally admissible, but the moral ideal that we should aspire too.

By the contrary, I believe that all Existence is made upon a dance and that when you dance, you dance with everything that you got. If you can find love and poetry and romance of course you go for it,. But if someone wants to fight, you fight back, and it is not the good one that always wins. Many times it will be the one with the best strategy, with the greater vision.

To exist we need to fight for our space: vegetarians and omnivorous are equal in this respect: we need land, we keep other beings from existing because we exist. This happens with the planet, with the solar system, everything precludes something else from existing. My physical body prevents some rocks from existing, all of the live animals on earth prevent an oxygen-free atmosphere from existing.

At the basic level we must fight. Perhaps we fight for the right not to fight. Perhaps we build prisons so that, just by seeing them, no one will take more than its share. Perhaps we build vaccines so that we won't have to fight diseases. But the ability not to fight is based on a previous fight. With the environment, with previous cultures, with other lifestyles.

We cannot be tolerant with intolerance!

We must fight back when someone attempts to suppress our way to live in freedom and peace.

God bless the USA and their fighting spirit. With l the mistakes they have made in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central America, and many other places, I much rather prefer their military defense of freedom rather than the sick complacency that affects our Portuguese morality.

In that sense, I think this is the most pro-militaristic, pro-Republican, pro-war movie that I've seen in my entire life.

I'm usually a pacifist.

Monday, August 3, 2009


In my view, by far the greatest illusion that affects men from industrial and information societies is the illusion of separateness. For instance we tend to minimize our cultural inheritance. There are few people I know of that are aware that they think what others think. That the patterns of thought that are in our minds are distributed from one another over generations. These sentences I am writing are like clashes of things I've read about, things like «memes», Plato's dialogues, Osho's tirades, friends and relatives comments and many interesting conversations. All that, boiled up in my brain, gave origin to this text. If I had been born in a farm, if my days were passed looking at fruits and vegetables, I would probably be thinking if aunt Ginnie was feeling ok, or if that batch of tomatoes was ready to be cropped, or about the weather, or if my mother really liked me, and stuff like that.

Books and classes changed my thought direction, they imprinted doubts, strange ideas, mirabolant questions. Through language I entered in the minds of others, I lived parts of other peoples lives. Reading Hermann Hesse, Goethe and Süskind I lived the passions and emotional barrages of people other than me. It's like they imparted part of their lives on me. As if I had lived part of their lives. As if I had become what they were. Like amoebas never die for they divide, so people transmit to others part of what they are, of how they see the world, how they deal with things. We are a collection of past people, an amalgamate, some of which we chose, some we stumbled upon, some which were imposed on us, some that we thirst for until we found them.

We are not only recreation of past people their experiences and ways of living, we are also the pairs of many current people with which brains our own brains fuse through language, symbolic and non-symbolic, and it is these pairs that function well. Today I did many things with and because of people. If it wasn't for all these people who would I be, would I be even «one»? Probably not, «one» of us is only one because it is connected with many people, we gain identities, we establish ourselves, our personalities in this game of: I am this, you are that, I like this club, you prefer the other, I like breasts, and I know there are others like me, kissing them gives me great pleasure. We learn how to be by being with others, by relating to others. We are fruit of our society. If I had been born in another country, or even in another town or family, I would have certainly became a very different people, the same with Einstein and any given Pope. Any person you might think of would be no more intelligent and would have no more manners than a cat or dog if he/she were raised from childwood in the mist of cats and dogs. This applies to Popes and Presidents and Nobel Prizes, and me and you and everyone. We are the product of our society.

But it is not only this communal nature that seems to escape many of us. More dangerously, we have forgotten that we are animals. That, like other gregarious animals, we desire to bread, cuddle, have friends, play with others, feel support of the community, enact socially important roles, and so on. And also that, like other hunter animals, we feel pleasure in destruction (it is important for hunters), we are able to put our life at risk quite easily, our aggressive nature can easily show out, etc. And also like other preyed animals we are easily scared and run away even from things that can do us no arm (like rats and spiders). Like mammals we have a very limited degree of intelligence. Each of us, if raised alone, would be probably not much smarter than a dolphin or some other kinds of primates. What truly distinguishes us is not so much our greater cognitive ability but our millenarian culture. It was this culture that allowed us to create agriculture, to put some kinds of animals to our services, and to colonize a great part of the planet. It is not our intelligence. Our intelligence has not grown a lot in the last hundred thousand years. We have the same kinds of brains that our predecessors that inhabit the savanna. It is not our brain but what goes inside that really gives our power. And that was inherited, that is our most important inheritance: knowledge is indeed the root of power.

What would happen to a man that discovers that he is not alone in the world, that he is the continuation of a large set of beings, displaced in space and time and running and perfecting programs, ideas, ways of seeing the world?

If he was a typical man I think he would at first be shocked, for we learn that man is different from nature, that we are somehow "better" than nature, and we believe this with such candor that for us it is even an insult to put us on a par with animals. After all, animals are eaten, animals are sold and bought and killed and their carcasses are opened up for a small fee so that I have a taste of their meat on every meal. They are there *to be used*, even to be abused. So when you compare me to an animal, you are perhaps doing me the greatest insult possible, it would even be better to call me a lunatic, for at least he has a possibility of returning to "normality", to "humanity", while an animal can at most be a pet.

This is our current program, and it is doing us much harm. First of all it does not allow us to see the immense beauty that surrounds us. By not seeing how nature has created so many diverse ways of living, and how so many of these ways of living are in many ways better than our own, we have a much more difficult time in improving our life standards. For instance dolphins have a style of life based on pleasure and acceptance of one another. They don't kill each other working, they are not jealous, they simply play, they make love, they swim and are happy. that is the typical life of a dolphin. It has advantages and disadvantages, but it is not clear that, if there was such a thing as a soul, seeing the life of a human and of a dolphin, it would prefer that of a human.

On the other hand by breaking the link with other animals we are also breaking the link that makes possible our understanding of ourselves. Much of the things we do, we hate and like have parallels with other species. If we studied other species more we could understand better the effects that these ways of living have in societies and individuals.

But the greatest problem is that this illusion according to which man is somehow superior to other parts of nature, gives rise to many other illusions, Gods and deities, magical explanations that leave us in a limbo from where it is hard to get out of.

(to be continued...)


I am only certain of the mystery.

Descartes said he was certain of his own existence. Cogito ergo sum. His argument is logical, but it relates two mysteries, the ability to think, desire, feel, etc (the cogito), and "existence" (the latin sum). It creates a relation between them that seems psychologically necessary (by doubting my own existence I prove it, because I would not be able to doubt if I did not exist), however, because I really do not understand what existence is, or what the cogito is, I cannot really assess that relation. Although it seems obvious that, even for me to be deceived into a simulation (like in The Matrix) I would have to exist. But this is a psychological sense of obviousness, be it logical or intuitive it is still me who is finding it obvious. But for many people it was obvious that the earth could not move (or we would all the displaced by its movements) and yet, it moves. Most people would say that two parallel lines can never meet, and yet, they can in certain geometries. So what seems obvious to me sometimes is not real. So all these intuitions and evidences, however clear and distinct, only show that they are clear and distinct to me, nothing more. The things in themselves remain shrouded in mystery.

Another perhaps more interesting way out for Descartes is to show that there is an idea in him, the idea of an absolute perfection, that not only must exist (it's part of its perfection), but can also be a source of trust for me in what I experience. This source would not mislead me if I did the best I could in using the faculties given to me. This is an interesting idea, I wonder how many people can find in themselves such an idea of absolute perfection and, if they can find, how many would follow Descartes conclusion that such perfection must exist and must be entirely «good» (not jealous).

I must say I've found that idea in me, and, as a matter of fact, it is the only thing I hold secure: that existence is perfection, although we, with our limited minds, don't see it as such. Science, as far as I can see, reflects to a certain extent this perspective of existence. From the eyes of an animal - even an animal informed by a millennial culture like me - reality is visible only at a certain scale, simplified in an enormous extent. For instance we look at a tree and we see its fruits, its leaves, etc. However, if we look at what we found about the world through hundreds of years of critical thinking and experiments, we know that the tree is actually a set of elementary particles connected in very complex ways to the rest of the Cosmos. The tree obeys the same set of rules that other particles throughout the galaxy do, it is just their connection which renders the set as what we see with our human eyes as "tree". We can eat its "fruits" and sit in its shadows and breath it's oxygen. But one thing we cannot do is put the real image of the tree (the set of elementary particles) as an object of our perception. Neither our senses nor our minds are even remotely fit to the task. It is like asking an orangotang to give a class on general relativity.

What would we see if our brains and senses could really capture reality as science shows us it is? We would see the same rules and entities all around. Only the mixing would be different. And all these entities would derive from a particular law, translatable, we believe today, by a set of equations. This would be "Reality", this law and the way it unfolds to give rise to all that is, including our minds, tv shows, black holes and distant stars and planets.

To me this sounds harmonious to what I feel inside, that Perfection is Existence, that the only thing that Exists is perfection and we, as fluid beings, existing in space and time, are ways of expressing parts of the whole, but the whole never ceases to connect everything for every thing, to exist, depends on all the rest.

For instance, I kissed my girlfriend today, all that we felt, the thoughts and emotions, the touch, our relation, the home we live in, is only possible because there is a black hole in the center of this galaxy, because there is a sun exploding trillions of atoms in each nanosecond and because there is four thousand millions years of history of life in planet Earth. We are just a small fragment of that huge book, and we only make sense, we are only possible, in that gigantic history.

In this perspective, it is not possible for men to understand itself. Our brains are too small and primitive. But we are the first species in this planet of which we know of that can build (at least in principle) artificial brains or make genetic improvements, so that, some day, perhaps thousands or millions of years from now, some conscious being will have that understanding. His mind will perhaps encompass much of the history of the earth, much more detail about the world around him, much more ability to describe and deal with so much complexity. He will see himself with a self-awareness regarding which we can only dream about.

We are the pioneers, we are bringing consciousness about. We are opening the horizon for a Mind, just like plants opened up the possibility of photosynthesis.

In the above text I detailed many theories and beliefs. That seems paradoxical in someone who started by declaring that he was only sure of the mystery.

There are several levels in which I can say I know something. For instance is someone asks me if this foreign coin is real I can say «yes, I brought it from my trips». If someone asks me if I trust my girlfriend I can say «yes». But all these certainties are based on bets that we do either consciously or unconsciously throughout our lives. For instance I may have decided that the most important thing in life was to understand the World around me, other people may have decided that it was «being happy», other to «be on top of the world», others to be «productive» and so on. There are myriads of choices. But what really assures you that what you decided to take as the most important goal is indeed important in itself. Some people don't care. They do what they like and that is enough. Is that the right perspective?

I am not sure of the answer to «how am I suppose to live». I've found many people who think they know what is best for me, some are religious, others are skeptics, others are artists, others are dreamers... but, although I can see their point most of the time, I really have not find the answer that fits me. In fact the only thing I know with absolute assurance is that I don't understand the world. I understand how a motorcar engine works, if its a four-cycle engine it will have at least two valves, but some (like my Toyota Starlet) have 12 and more. I know the importance of a good air filter for your carburetor to deliver... «I know» which means: «it usually works». I don't know why it works, I don't know what makes elementary particles and laws so stable, I don't understand why there is a world. I just know that, in the world I live in, four-cycle engines usually will work for years in top shape completing thousands of rotations per minute without most of its moving parts ever touching one another due to the qualities of the oil.

I am a functioning human being, I know how things work around me, I've learned. Socially, technologically, ethically, etc. Compared to my human fellows I am kind of normal, I can do the usual things most other people can do. But I am also deeply aware that, although it does work, I don't understand why it works or what it is that is working. I can understand how a motorcar engine runs but I haven't the faintest idea of what it is. That is, I cannot imagine how the motor would look like to someone who could see it in complete detail (at the level of elementary forces and particles, and the history and source that brought it to that particular space and time).

So, to me, more than 99% of the world is mystery. My main goal: to find clarity. How? I use science and critical thinking to examine my ideas and hypothesis, I distinguish and note what is absolutely clear to my mind, but I also drink from spiritual experiences, the senses, others reports, etc, to open up to the cosmos.

I feel very unfortunate to live in a society where people are either blinded by credulity or skepticism. I am a spiritual being, and my thinking generally agrees with that of Thomas Paine and others alike. Although I cannot claim to know that there is a God, I have no doubt that we, animals (even those helped by culture like us), have but the faintest clue of what's going on around them.

My goal is to find out whatever I can.

I am a searcher for clarity, my goal is Reality.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The small boy in the bubble had a very tiny window with which he could see the sky...

One day he imagined it to be there... just on the palm of his hand...

He imagined he could swallow it all, in a single gulp, make it his veins,

The sky was his biggest inspiration...

Galaxies, a giant core,


He felt the Sun...

Disappearing to


transform itself in


living creatures, singing and dancing and eating each other

trying to get

another piece of sun


single moment of life...

like the sweetest taste of life.

Clouds and liquids, weather and even seasons,

the sky illuminated worlds
created worlds


how they responded!

The grateful trees
The thirsty beetles
The savage horses
The hungry men

Civilizations arose,
all over the universe
with the intricate details of their
information societies
the intricate complexity
of the

A word replicating a World
at least trying
for the force that fed the word
could not appear in it.

The symbol was not the thing.

There was something amiss...

And so these beings traveled
far and away
to find
that pure essential fragrance
of time

in which we live and can
make EVERYTHING ours...

They lived and lived

and then died

from the explosion of happiness
that was so big
has the sun
they exploded
to give life
to yet
another set of worlds

endlessely recreating
the adventure
the ecstasy
the magic
and the mystery