Category: Philosophy

Speak to us of Houses

Then a mason came forth and said, Speak to us of Houses. And the Prophet answered and said:

Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls. For even as you have home-comings in your twilight, so has the wanderer in you, the ever distant and alone.

Your house is your larger body.

It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hill-top? Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow. Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.

But these things are not yet to be.

In their fear your forefathers gathered you too near together. And that fear shall endure a little longer. A little longer shall your city walls separate your hearths from your fields. And tell me, people of Orphalese, what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors? Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power? Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind? Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain? Tell me, have you these in your houses? Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master?

Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires. Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron. It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh. It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels. Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.

But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed. Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye. You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down. You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living. And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing. For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.

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Gibran on eating & drinking (post #100!)

What better way to celebrate 100 published scribbles than to ramble about food and food choices? As I type this I’m sitting with my laptop (1:19:27am) in the main stairwell of my apartment building. In less than probably 2-3 minutes a few slices of pizza will arrive via deliveryperson. Yum!

Soon it’ll be the drones delivering pizzas. Odd. Today I was out playing with a toy drone and happened to walk by something pretty cool: a block or so from the Macalester campus a small falcon/hawk (?) dashed within about 3 feet of my face, sort of perpendicular to the sidewalk. It carried with it some sort of a rodent or small brown creature (squirrel?) that was neither squirming nor resisting. Pretty limp. Snack time! I had never been so close to a bird that moved in that way except in a dream last year. So it was nice to see those huge rippling feathers for real!

Here’s Gibran on SNAX

Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light.
But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.
And let your board stand an altar on which the pure and the innocent of forest and plain are sacrificed for that which is purer and still more innocent in man.

When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
“By the same power that slays you, I too am slain; and I too shall be consumed.
For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”

And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,
“Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”

And in the autumn, when you gather the grapes of your vineyards for the winepress, say in your heart,
“I too am a vineyard, and my fruit shall be gathered for the winepress,
And like new wine I shall be kept in eternal vessels.”
And in winter, when you draw the wine, let there be in your heart a song for each cup;
And let there be in the song a remembrance for the autumn days, and for the vineyard, and for the winepress.

Winter: 1 Ian: 14

At 2:20pm on Wednesday, January 31st of 2018 I lost my annual war with winter.

Winter is by far my favorite time of year: It’s the only season that one can have some privacy while outdoors. All of the programmed, voting normies pretty much go inside and focus on their petty tasks and organized delusions for the winter months, leaving the expansive snow-dappled city to the crows and squirrels and frigid silence. As long as the sun is gone and the temperature is low you can rightly expect ungrateful and unsturdy normies to be stuck indoors, lamenting the loss of the July heat and their unremarkable tans.

Yes: winter is a time to be outside by yourself, with yourself, & for yourself. I love winter not just because of the solitude but because of the fun: walking or driving in snow is like a video game set to medium-hard. Ice is like the fictional-frictionless surfaces you learned about back in your high school physics class – and the cold turns the whole world into an ultra-low-temperature chemistry set. There are real challenges and threats that a few people face during winter but for the most part, privileged normies have no place to whine.

If you feel down on winter, worry not – there are mental habits you can undertake in order to improve your mood and stop complaining about the weather. The only thing worse than shoveling a car out of the snow is listening to your neighbor complain about how they, too, had to shovel their car out of the snow. The way to enjoy winter is to make a game of it. Just 9 minutes ago I lost a round of my annual game-with-winter and although I’m ashamed I have dragged myself here to fess up and describe the loss.

 

Every winter I make a point not to slip on the ice and bust my ass. It sounds redundant but you’d be surprised how many people just walk along through a snowstorm as if nothing has changed on the ground. You gotta watch that shit. Whenever Mother Nature takes a swipe at me and causes me to slip I take note. Sometimes slips are big – sometimes they are little – or sometimes, *cue music* they are catastrophic. To me a noteworthy slip is when both of your feet leave the ground. The game is this: to count how many times you experience a noteworthy slip over the course of winter, to count how many times your noteworthy slip turns into a fall, continuously tracking the values of each. Every time you experience a noteworthy slip and land safely back on your feet you earn one point. Every time you experience a noteworthy slip and fall back on your ass, Mother Nature earns one point. To me a victory in the game-with-winter is to have a perfect streak (for the entire season) with no falls. To that end I had experienced a total of 14 noteworthy slips this winter until I experienced #15 outside just now. But #15 was different – I had just placed a chair in the snowbank in front of my house so that a passerby might grab it. I turned around and jumped onto the walkway leading up to my house – landing on my right foot- and immediately my bottom half flew out from under me.

“SHIT!” I landed on my right hip, right knee, and right hand. Stood up – with a massive and begrudging smile – “You’ve got me, ok? Fair and square, ya got me.”

Instead of 15-0 I was suddenly 14-1. No doubt an admirable score, but still a losing one. And it’s only 1/31/2018! She got me pretty good this year but I’ll be back for more next year!

Amygdala regulation

Ain’t easy. Especially on low sleep. I recently stumbled upon some literature describing the relationship between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. Specifically it went over the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdalae. Will have to come back here & post the link(s) but wanted to jot this down here, as it’s timely & highly relevant to mood disorders.

Sleep is a fickle thing & it seems that quality and duration of sleep is related to one’s ability to keep their amygdala functioning well. The absence of good quality sleep of proper duration can lead one to experience impulsiveness, out-of-control distractibility and responsiveness to irrelevant stimuli, and immense irritability. Take it from me: the vast gulf between being contented & calm or being a murderous monster can be crossed, in part, by hitting the hay.