All posts by Mike Zonta

Let It Be (Across The Universe)


When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people
Living in this world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There’s still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, I want you to let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

History of the concept of the Individual and Individuality in Western Society (worldacademy.org)

augusto_forti

by Augusto Forti, Vice President
International Institute for Opera and Poetry Fellow
World Academy of Art and Science Retired Professor of Geophysics

Abstract:

We are the child of our land and the concept of individuality has been shaped by the history of our culture.

In this exercise there are two preliminary remarks I would like to make:

First, despite the geographical distance, sometimes, there are great similarities in the definition of “individuality” among cultures, for example, between the Indian and the European ones.

Second, in our globalized world, we have to look for those elements, in the puzzle that compose “the concept of individuality” which are common.

In my paper I’ll try to sketch the history of “individuality” in Europe. In the ancient Greek and Roman world as well as in the rest of Europe, till the middle-ages which were dominated by the ideal of “aristocracy”, the status of recognized individual applied only to very few.

At the end of the middle-ages, the concept of the “individual” started to emerge. But it took a long time to become a formalized universal and accepted concept. We can say that this took origin at a time that goes back to a period between the late 1200s and 1400.

Transition from the civilization of the middle ages to the civilization of the Renaissance played a role in creating individuality. The actors were science, technology, the bourgeoisie … and mainly, the “individual”.

There are two preliminary remarks I would like to make regarding the subject of Individuality: First, despite the geographical distance, there are great similarities in the definition of “individuality” among cultures, for example, between India and Europe.

Second, in our globalized society we have to look for those common elements in the puzzle that constitute “the concept of individuality”.

If we try to provide a reasonably shared definition of an “individual” as we conceive it today, we could say that: The individual is a free human being with his own values and is “protected” by the “universal declaration of human rights” as adopted by the United Nations, applied by many but not all the U.N. member states.

Authoritarian regimes do not recognize the rights of the individual, particularly if the individual brings with him his or her values which are different from those imposed by the authoritarian power. I will not make a list of these countries “pro bono pacis”; but, as you know, it would be a long list.

I‟ll now try to sketch the history of individuality in Europe.

Not so long ago, the church was imposing the dogma of the “holy writings” and was ready to condemn or simply burn those men and women who had different ideas. There was no space for the recognition of individuality as in the case of Giordano Bruno and many others who were burned alive. It was the same story at that time, for the protestant world.

In the ancient Greek and Roman world, dominated by the ideal of “aristocracy”, the status of a recognized individual applied only to a few: philosophers, tyrants, priests, emperors, augurs and a few others. It was a society of privileged individuals, where few had all the rights and many had none at all. This type of society dominated Europe at least „till the transition from the Middle-Ages to the Renaissance‟.

At the end of the Middle-Ages, the concept of „individual‟ began to emerge. But it took a long time to become a formalized universal concept. We can say that it had its origin during the period between 1200 and 1400.

This was a time of transition between the end of the middle-ages and the onset of the renaissance. An old equilibrium was breaking up. This type of status, in thermodynamics as well as in society, tends to create turmoil and novelties with the tendency towards a new status, as Prigogine showed.

The concept of the individual could not but appear in a period of dramatic transition. It was the end of a phase that lasted nearly 2 millennia, if we consider the fundamental contribution of the Greeks to culture.

The European of the XV century found himself surrounded by the ruins of his/her old certitudes. The earth was no longer the center of the universe. Where was God? Christopher Columbus discovered another world with strange animals and human beings, so different from those described in the holy Bible and those we had known for centuries. All this took place around the time that the Black Death occurred between 1300 and 1400 AD, which drastically reduced the entire European population.

The Europeans, to escape country brigands and harassment by landlords, assembled in towns protected by walls: the “communes”.

The “individual”, the concept of “individuality”, emerged in fact during these troubled times, with the rise of the “commune”, a revolutionary new social aggregation, and with the birth of a new social class: the bourgeoisie.

There are many reasons to support this idea.

The disregard for practical and manual activities and the aristocratic attitude that went back to the mental habit of the Greek and Roman society (where, for example, Euclid refused to consider any practical application for his mathematical theories) were coming to an end.

At the end of the XIII century, many philosophers and thinkers began to recognize the importance of the “artes mechanicae”, craft activities, and manual labour. Roger Bacon (1214- 1292), a Frenchman, supported in his writings the “artes mechanicae”, experimental activities and experimental research, was critical about the traditional attitude of the church, and was particularly against the Aristotelian Thomas Aquinas. Bacon said about Acquinas: “How can this person without knowing optics, mathematics and alchemy, without knowing “le arti minori” how can he know “le arti maggiori” (philosophy, theology etc.)?

Now in a transition period so important for our history, focus was on human beings, the world around us, the earth, and on a series of activities that in previous times were disregarded.

Even the church, with thinkers like Bacon or the school of Chartres shifted their attention from the sky, to see the life on earth around with its simple manual activities in a new light. In the past, nobody would have dared to praise the technical progress and instruments, like Bacon and Petrus Peregrinus of Maricourt did.

Bacon says of Peregrinus: “He is shameful to ignore what is known to the ignorant, he is an expert in the arts of those that are working metals and minerals of any type, and he always gave attention to the enchantments of the old ladies and those of the witches”.

Bacon was an alchemist and an outstanding mathematician, and represents an important turning point in the attitude of the Church. Bacon, the technician and inventor of all sorts of ideal machines, was the one who was able to predict with intuition the technological destiny of men.

So now, the idea that a large part of the population, and those we would describe today as commoners, had their activities recognized as well as their status as individuals accepted.

It was a great cultural change: also time was secularized, with the bell of the church replaced by the clockwork of enterprise that marked the working hours during the day. And the “machine” suddenly appeared, another crucial actor and a further step, as we will see, towards the recognition of the individual.

Many hypotheses have been put forth regarding the appearance of the “machine”, a phenomenon which is called mechanization.

For nearly half a millennium, from the end of the Roman Empire, there had been no significant technical innovation and now suddenly “umpromtù” all sort of technical instruments, tools, mechanisms and machines were popping up. Why such a change?

Was it due to the lack of manpower? In Europe, at the end of the Middle-Ages there were practically no slaves left and the Black Death had wiped out a large portion of the European population. This may have resulted in the need and interest to mechanize work.

Continue reading History of the concept of the Individual and Individuality in Western Society (worldacademy.org)

Winnie Lee

winnielee2
Circa 1985 – photo courtesy of Barbara Hill (via Facebook)

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that Winnie Lee passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 22. I don’t know that cause but for the past few months she had been in the hospital for pneumonia in Sept. and was on oxygen and had been recuperating at home. She recently had some medical tests to see why she was so weak. Winnie lived with her sister Lisa in Aiea.  Per Winnie’s wishes, there will be no services. Winnie was my first friend from Hawaii and my first experience of Aloha. she always showed so much Aloha and kindness. We are going to miss her terribly. if I missed anyone please pass this on.

–Maureen Malanaphy (via Facebook)

Confucius on being a gentleman

confucius

“A gentleman’s mistake [sin] is like an eclipse of the sun or moon.
When happens, everyone notices, and when corrected everyone looks up in admiration.”

–Confucius (September 28, 551 BCE – 479 BCE) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history.Wikipedia

The Five Ethics of Confucius (wikipedia.org)

Confucius and disciples, statues of the Ashikaga Gakko, a Confucian school and oldest academy of Japan.
Confucian ethics are described as humanistic. This ethical philosophy can be practiced by all the members of a society.  Confucian ethics is characterized by the promotion of virtues, encompassed by the Five Constants, or the wǔ cháng (五常), extrapolated by Confucian scholars during the Han Dynasty.

The Five Constants are:

  • Rén (仁, benevolence, humaneness);
  • (義/义, righteousness or justice);
  • (禮/礼, proper rite);
  • Zhì (智, knowledge);
  • Xìn (信, integrity).

Thane’s meditation from the final lesson of “Find Yourself and Live”

Thane of Hawaii

“Give me my robe.  Put on my crown.  I have immortal longings in me.”  
–Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

“Every one in this room has the urge of transcendence.  It is impersonal.  It is non-predictable.  And it is of such force that no material thing or lunatic idea will divert it.

“It is my contention that the soul of man, filled with immortal longings, reaches out through the mists of human theories and beliefs, seeking a place of contact, feeling its way through a mass of opinions and ideas.  And it is my contention that this is as fevered as the search of one seeking to grasp the beloved.

“Behold (speaking to the Cosmos), thou art fair, my love.  Behold, thou art fair. Thou hast dove’s eyes within thy locks. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet.  Thy neck is like the Tower of David builded.  Thou art all fair, my love.  There is no spot in thee.  I seek transcendence because thou in me hast ravished my heart.

“Solomon, seeking the beloved, is the story of every man seeking completeness, wholeness, which he senses, yet which he never dreams lies within his own consciousness, which is where it must be.  We must become aware of this ravishing delight within before anything lasting and satisfying will take place.

“Our urge for transcendence is saying to the Universe, ‘Thou art my beloved.’  Suddenly I looked up from my mundane routine and felt you and saw you standing at the doorway of Eternity.  I knew you were coming long before you arrived.  For the aroma of thy reality penetrated me from out the pale green stretches of imagination.

“Thou art my beloved.  I do not know what form you will take. Only that it is the form of the beloved.  And now, as I stand closer, a cloud of perfume comes from you and falls over me as a golden veil. It is absorbed into every atom of my being, just as waves of the ocean thrown upon a dry sandbank is instantly sucked up.

“Thou art my beloved.  Thou art a sheaf of lilies all glistening white and gold.  Within each chalice lies the crystal nectar of life.  One drop of it envelopes me like a mighty ocean, opening my eyes to the unuttered and undreamed of beauty of you.

“Thou art my beloved. I am flooded with the love of you.  I am warm, glad because of you.  I am swimming with you in the infinite sea of life in which are all things.

“Thou art my beloved.  I am straying with you at dawn.  The world is dew-drenched with freshness and purity.  We are bound together by an unseen chord as slight as a spider’s web strung with a million diamond dew drops, and yet as mighty as a thousand thousand strands of steel.  There is nothing binding us stronger than a spider’s thread and yet nothing can tear us apart.  My urge for transcendence is thyself.

“Thou art my beloved.  Thou art my soul.  The substance of my being.

“Thou art my beloved.  You stand at the portals of my cognition, a white and burning light of revelation and beauty.

“Thou art my beloved.

“And so it is.”

Thane’s meditation from FYL Lesson #37, the final lesson, “Summing Up, Somewhat”

Does Time Exist? Why Our Gut Feelings Are No Match For Physics

timetravel

Author and Science Historian

Physics often makes a fool of our gut feelings. James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History makes this point using the most elemental example. You, sitting or standing to read this now, your gut feeling and experience tells you that you’re sitting or standing on a flat plane, on an immobile surface. Science has some news for you though, in Gleick’s words: “You’re actually on the surface of a giant sphere that’s spinning at high speed and hurtling through space, and by the way there’s no difference between up and down except an illusion that’s created by the force of gravity.”

Radical readjustments of accepted perception is central to the nature of physics – even if something isn’t proven, our mind has to stay open to the possibility that maybe, things aren’t as we see, feel or intuit them to be. This is particularly relevant to the debate surrounding time. Does time exist, or doesn’t it? Is time only inside our minds, or is it a force acting upon us? It might seem ridiculous to question the existence of something that radically shapes our lives – our days, hours, minutes, our life span, our grandparents, our grandchildren.

Einstein’s teacher and contemporary Hermann Minkowski offered his vision of space-time as a single thing, a four-dimensional block in which the past and the future are just like spatial dimensions, with a north and a south. Some physicists say there is no distinction between the past and the future, and that time is a dimension just like space.

This seems at odds with what we feel, which is that the past has happened and the future is not yet determined. The future and the past are different to us, but in physics they’re the same. Gleick’s realization in the face of the multiple hypotheses on time is that just as our feeling about the stability of the surface we walk on is not so simple, our perception of time may also be radically more complex than we think. At this point, every expert’s ideas in this debate are provisional, but we have an obligation to take these ideas seriously.

James Gleick’s most recent book is Time Travel: A History.

(bigthink.com)

“Consciousness is the answer” by Mike Zonta, H.W., M.

zonta

So what’s the question?

The question is:  “What the hell do we do now?”

Consciousness (or more correctly, a lack of Consciousness) got us into the problem and Consciousness will get us out.

Lack of Consciousness gets us into all sorts of problems.  Believing we are limited, physical man who has a mind rather than being Mind itself is the problem and it leads us to a life of disease, disharmony, egocentricity, war, want, injustice and unhappiness.

Consciousness opens us to a world of health, harmony, ego deflation, peace, fullness, justice and happiness.

Lack of Consciousness can  lead to a Donald Trump presidency.  Lack of Consciousness (or enough to swing the Electoral College) decided that we needed a strong man to “make America great again.”

It’s interesting to note that Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is continuing to grow and could reach over 2 million voters.  And that’s indicative of the American people’s state of mind.  We do not believe in White supremacy.  We do not believe in male supremacy.  We do not believe in heteronormativity.  We do not believe in fascism.

Well, you’re just talking about identity politics, you may say.  Yes, it is all about identity.  And the point of teachers such as Jesus of Nazareth, Buddha Siddhartha, Socrates, and schools of study such as The Prosperos is that, while it may appear that we are physical humans with a limited brain and limited lifespan, our real identity is Consciousness, that is, Being itself.

Because as Descartes said, “Cogito, ergo sum” or “Je pense, donc je suis” or “I think, therefore I am.”  It takes awareness to realize anything and at the most basic level, it takes awareness to realize beingness.

And a realization of beingness in our lives brings about what might be called divine intervention.  But the divine intervention comes not from some God in the sky, but from the God within us all, from the innate wholeness within each of us.

This divine intervention can even take on a Trump presidency.

As Christopher Fry says in his poem “A Sleep of Prisoners”:

         Thank God our time is now when wrong
         Comes up to face us everywhere,
         Never to leave us till we take
         The longest stride of soul men ever took.

         Affairs are now soul size.
        The enterprise is exploration into God.

Many Prosperos are concerned that we must preserve the teachings of The Prosperos (Cosmic Intention Therapy, Advance Seminar, Translation, Releasing the Hidden Splendour, Self-Encounter, and so on) for future generations.

I think even more important is that we utilize them.