It’s funny how, every once in a while, if you listen to the subtle messages unfolding around you on a constant basis, you pick up on a pattern of small bits of information that seem to build into something substantial. That happened to me recently on the general topic of effortlessness. Like many would-be adepts, I have a number of daily practices that I fit into various parts of the day. Sometimes they pay off with feelings of increased awareness or energy but, if I were being totally honest, most of the time they feel like drudge-work… a part of the day that occurs more out of habit than anything else… with the basic idea being one of consistency rather than joy.
I was listening to the latest Sam Harris podcast today and ran across an interesting take on something that should be familiar to most Western Ceremonial Magicians. Eric Weinstein was talking about finding meaning in license plate numbers as he drives around (don’t we all do that when we first start on the Path?) and the way he explained it was:
“…it’s important to notice what it feels like to discern meaning where there is no meaning… it’s important to get in touch with the “as if madness” experience in order to guard against madness; so I’m hoping to suspend my insistence on Truth for periods of time…”
I’m not sure about the connection with madness, per-se… and I’m wondering if that wasn’t just a ploy designed to wrap up the thought before getting interrupted. I realized when he said that that another good reason for discerning meaning where there is none is to prevent intellectual ossification (my term… it didn’t appear in the podcast, as far as I know). The belief that one particular way of looking at things must serve as the filter through which we see everything else from that point forward seems to be common in most philosophies and pretty much all religions. Adherence to a strict theology makes us less able to evaluate contrary ideas on their own merit. On the other hand, by constantly playing fast and loose with one’s synaptic network, so to speak, one might stand a chance of maintaining enough mental flexibility to recognize a true Epiphany when it finally does come.
It’s ironic that avoiding intellectual ossification was one of the main points that Sam was trying to convey just moments earlier… that there’s no logical reason to use one or more points-of-view which happen to have been elaborated thousands of years ago over new points-of-view developed by one’s own reason in the present time. Of course, that’s easier said than done and when most people start on any sort of Philosophical or Spiritual Path, they’re usually not capable of the kind of deep reasoning that would discern the “true meaning” of the Universe at first glance… so we may need to use ancient philosophy and religion as a crutch for a while… in order to bootstrap our thinking to the point where we *can* reason with some depth on the Universe and our purpose within it. But I expect that we all have to eventually drop the rhetoric and design our own systems based on First Principles.
I was listening to an interview with the authors of the new book The Distracted Mind on NPR this morning and they touched on a favorite pet peeve of mine that centers on a basic misunderstanding of the term multitasking. According to Wikipedia, the first published use of the term “multitask” appeared in an IBM paper describing the capabilities of the IBM System/360 in 1965. Is is only recently that the term has been used in the common vernacular to refer to the apparent ability of humans to “concentrate” on more than one task at a time.
I don’t imagine anyone capable of reading these words hasn’t already heard that the musical legend David Bowie is no longer with us. There’s not much I can add to the seemingly endless stream of articles and posts bidding farewell, but I felt moved to ruminate on what his passing meant to me personally.
This is just a quick note to help simplify the Japanese postal address system. It’s different from the system used in the US and many other countries but once you understand the theory, it’s really not that confusing.
Anyone who has been poking around on this blog or the static web site it replaced knows I was once involved with Scientology. An old-time friend of mine, who also dabbled a bit in Scientology many years ago, recently asked me what I felt I got from OT3, whether it was worth it, and whether it really resulted in becoming super-human.
After exactly two years as a smartphone user, I recently traded up from a Fujitsu Arrows Z to an Xperia Z2. I did a lot of research online to discover what people liked and didn’t like about the phone before making the leap. After all… $800 is a lot of money, even if about 2/3 of it eventually comes back in the form of carrier subsidies (more on that in a future post if anyone is interested). This post is meant to return the favor so future prospective buyers can benefit from my short experience with this model.
I’ve just discovered a web site called Numbeo (http://www.numbeo.com). It was created by a guy who used to work for Google Ireland. The idea is to have regular people from around the world submit prices in their areas for certain common commodities and services and to use the results to compare the cost-of-living among various cities. Since I am often asked what it costs to live in Tokyo, I’ve bookmarked this page as my new standard answer.
Among the many social forums in which I tend to roam, I also happen to be one of many moderators on a forum whose name I won’t mention (since this post derives, at least in part, from a conversation on a private section of that forum). The issue was a recent change to the rules allowing (perhaps even obligating) moderators to edit posts that contain personally-identifiable information like email addresses and/or physical addresses. The issue is not one of free advertising (which is also an issue on this particular forum) but “protecting” newbie posters from mistakenly revealing information they might not have otherwise. One of the reasons given was that moderators have an “obligation” to protect users from themselves.
Have you heard? Nokia recently announced the “Nokia X” — a new phone that’s based on Android… but it doesn’t have any Google apps and isn’t compatible with Google Play. It uses a “Windows Phone style shell” which I assume is referring to the main UI. The apps will come from the presumably extensive collection on Nokia’s own app store.
It would be interesting to sit on on some of their Marketing meetings. They must be convinced that if they gold-plated a turd and stamped “Nokia” on it, people would buy it. Apple?… maybe. Nokia?… they must be smoking something pretty good over there.
No Android fan is going to buy this thing with a Windows UI and no access to Google apps. Windows fans won’t buy it because it’s got Android inside. And iOS users… well… they won’t buy anything that doesn’t start with an “i”. So it must be targeted at Nokia fanboys who are willing to bet that the company might be around for a while to service the phones when they break and to write 10,000 new apps to replace the ones you can’t download from Google.
If you hail from the States, don’t look for this thing on shelves any time soon. Rumor has it they don’t intend to market in North America.