Tag Archives: Environment

The Sacramento River

The Sacramento River” by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

And the mountain disappeared . . .

Sometimes I’m simply stuck in that urban jungle and today I was awaiting repairs to my car, the chariot to new adventures.

But not all in life is an adventure. Or is it?  Perhaps we can make it so . . .

Continue reading The Sacramento River

The Tide is Shifting

“The Tide is Shifting” By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

So a couple of days ago I published a post about my last travel experience titled, “Exhaust.” It didn’t get much readership, but I’m really not surprised. I’ve been absent a lot this past year for a variety of reasons, but if you’re blogging you sort of owe it to your audience to actually be blogging 🙂

I also made that post at mid-day and I usually get more readership if I post in the early morning. But I picked up a few more folks with my post yesterday about Mt. Rainier. At any rate, I’m thrilled that I haven’t lost all of my readers and hope they will all return eventually.

I’ve been trying to decide what direction this blog should go. Clearly, not all posts can be about a metaphysical experience while hiking through the wilderness. So maybe I should broaden my view and start looking at some of the writing prompts and just bang something out everyday.

Who knows what I’ll come up with . . .

In Metta

Rabbit Hole: One of the factors interfering with my writing right now being is that I am actually having neurotoxic reactions from handling the laptop. It seems I’ve developed problems with many plastics or else it’s a chemical treatment applied to the plastics. Sad, but it sort of takes the fun out of using the keyboard.

Exhaust

“Exhaust” by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

As I awake in the morning darkness, I see a hint of Grandfather Sun rising in the East.  A bit of a tease as I am shaking off my tent after forty-eight hours of continuous rain.

Inhaling, exhaling, I’m rebreathing my own exhaust in this confinement. Over and over again.  In – out, in-out, as the oxygen concentration decreases, and my carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise.

I can smell and feel the dark, dankness of mildewed canvass. Constricting around me like a massive snake. A death-grip of a hug that will take you to oblivion. If you don’t break free . . .

Not all days are good when you are on the road.

Continue reading Exhaust

An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Warning: This post is about mystical stuff. If you don’t like that kind of stuff you can stop reading now. 🙂

***

Quite a few years back in my undergrad days, I had access to the biofeedback lab at the university.  The goal was using their machines to lower my heart rate and respirations.  To achieve a state of complete relaxation. 

The little tones beeping from the machine you wired yourself up to weren’t a distraction but were an adjunct to assist you with hitting the set goals.  The rate of the beeping reflected the rate of your heart rate and respirations until you were able to lower them to the desired parameters. Thus, heart rate lowered, respirations decreased, no more beeping. 

I would be laying on a mat on the floor. My head on a pillow.  The temperature of the room was warm and comfortable. 

But while I was relaxing in the lab one day, I experienced a “side effect.”  I guess you could call it that.  I had a spontaneous vision, or experience, or a visualization; whatever you wish to call it.  I discovered, just recently, a term for these experiences – transpersonal.

Continue reading An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

The Cape

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled into this Washington State Park.  I wanted to spend a couple of relaxing days on the Ocean.  Rejuvenate my body.  It’s not that my Mind or Spirit needed rest.  My senses had been flooded this trip with such a continual string of breathtaking sights that I was on a natural high.  But I had been punishing my Body.  Pushing myself to my physical limits and beyond.  On the road an average of every six to seven days, without pause, and hiking continuously.  I even needed to do some sewing before hiking again, repair my daypack, as I had managed to tear a few holes in it.

Yeah, a few days on a Pacific beach sounded wonderful.  And besides, I’d have a new experience of staying in a Yurt. 

Continue reading The Cape

A Book Review . . .

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Disclaimer:  The views expressed below are entirely my own.  Other people reading this work of non-fiction may have a completely different take on it and find my conclusions to be erroneous.  But they can write their own blogs, this one relays my experience and my interpretations.  Also, the book is 484 pages long, so in my attempt to condense and summarize, I may have to leave out specific details out of necessity.  This does not mean that I did not read this book thoroughly, I did. I felt compelled to write this review . . .

The book is: “Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West,” written by Stephen E. Ambrose.

I give Ambrose credit for his research and thoroughness with telling this story, however, at first blush, I must point out the obvious bias the author demonstrates towards Meriwether Lewis.  All throughout the book, the author describes Lewis’s effort to get William Clark recognized and share equal stature with himself.  For example, the War Department turned down the request to give Clark an equal rank with Lewis and only approved a Lieutenant’s rank for Clark as opposed to a Captain’s rank.  Yet Lewis and Clark decided not to tell their men this and addressed each other equally as Captains.  They served as co-equal partners commanding the expedition.  This was emphasized over and over again.

Yet despite the constant dialog throughout of Clark’s equal status, the author noticeably leaves Clark’s name out of the title of the book.  It is, however, the author’s book and he is obviously free to choose the title, I just picked up on this smack-you-the-face contradiction between the title and what’s conveyed in the text between the covers.  Hard to miss that one.

But before I venture too far with my criticisms, I do want to point out what I consider to be remarkable about the book and the personalities described therein.

There is no doubt that the trek across the American West by these individuals is remarkable.  Round trip, it was some 8000 miles.  These guys were tough.  Lewis frequently walked the banks of the Missouri River while his men navigated via keelboat, canoes, and pirogues, using paddle, pole and wind, and the expedition averaged some 20 miles per day going up-river.  Lewis kept pace with the vessels by simply walking, and I remember at least one mention of hiking some 35 miles in a day. 

That’s tough by my standards.

The men endured various illnesses and treatments with the completely wrong medicines, and all survived except one man.  They also endured times of food shortages and serve weather.  Lewis even survived being shot in the ass by one of his own men with a .54 caliber Army issue bullet.  Whether this was accidental or on purpose no one knows as the shooter denied having shot his Captain.

Sacagawea, a Shoshone, joins the group as the 15-year-old wife of a French-Canadian named Toussaint Charbonneau, who had won her in a bet from the Hidatsa, who had, in turn, captured her in a raid on Shoshone encampment. She was six months pregnant at the time and would give birth to her son during the expedition.  She would also provide her knowledge on food sources and serve as a translator to the Shoshones and assist the bargaining for Shoshone horses to cross the Continental Divide and the Bitterroot Mountains.  Clearly, she endured more than the men, yet little credit is given to her, and the author notes that she received no payment for her services as did the men.  (The party procured horses from the Nez Perce on their return trip as well as collecting some of their previous ones).

Back to the successes of the adventure. 

While no continuous water route was found to the Pacific coast as was sought, the party encountered many First Nations Peoples, promoted peace between the tribes (albeit arrogantly and with no understanding of the cultures and customs), and they did “find” the overland route to connect the Missouri breaks with the Columbia River and mapped out the territory.  I’ll get back to that word “find” in a little bit.

Lewis is credited as being a planter, soldier, ethnographer, botanist, zoologist, geographer, astronomer, cartographer (that was really Clark), linguist, woodsman, and explorer.  Basically, he is portrayed as a God-like figure who most probably carved out the entire basin for the Pacific Ocean with his bare hands after swallowing a dozen buffalo in one bite for lunch.  Oh, please excuse my sarcasm.  On page 482, the author finally backpedals and states: “His talents and skills ran wider than they did deep.” And he points out that his best quality was actually leadership. (Footnote 1) .

In a footnote on page 404, the author credits Lewis by stating: “He had discovered and described 178 new plants, more than two-thirds of them from west of the Continental Divide, and 122 species and subspecies of animals.”  I take strong issue with the word “discovered.”

And now for my real criticismsWhat I said above was just a warm-up. 😊

Ok, so let’s go back to the beginning.  On the very first page of text, in the introduction on page 13, the author states that Lewis was the “first” American to cross the Continental Divide.  Ok, this is a joke right?  The author totally ignores some 14,800 years of history that has been extensively documented of the First Nations Peoples’ occupation and travel across the Americas.  In fact, the expedition had to rely on Indian guides to take them through the mountains on established Native trails.  Had the guides not crossed these mountains first, they obviously could not have served as guides. (Footnote 2).

I will have to say, that I have never read the words “first” and “discovered” so many times in a single book attributing credit to a single individual, while completely ignoring the actual people who encountered these plants and animals and made the journey through these mountains and up and down these rivers for centuries prior to the colonists’ arrival on the East Coast. 

The proper term for Lewis, in these contexts, should be the “first white, European, colonist,” or perhaps “imperialist,” of English descent, who did whatever it was Lewis did after so many others had before him – including, perhaps, French trappers and Spanish explorers. 

Lewis and Clark’s travels were also probably preceded by the British traders based up in Canada that were frequently mentioned because of the desire to shut the North West Company out of business.  But I get it, first “American.” Right. There are only three times that I remember the author saying the “first white man” to have done or experienced something.

I will give credit to the fact that Lewis drafted lengthy descriptions of the animals and plants encountered and putting that into writing in the English language may have been a first.   The First Nations’ Peoples largely relied on storytelling and hieroglyphics but were probably more insightful as to the beneficial relationships and usefulness of the natural resources.  The Native populations also practiced conservation, while the Europeans preferred mass slaughter and harvested resources into extinction, but I suppose that’s another story for another day. (Footnote 3).

Included with Ambrose’s litany of Lewis’s “firsts,” is claiming that he is the first American to kill a Grizzly Bear (p. 247).  Lewis, with his superiority complex, pays no attention to the warnings from the First Nations Peoples about showing this Spirit some respect and how difficult it is to kill one.  Instead, Lewis assumes that if these individuals had trouble killing a grizzly, it must be because of their primitive and inferior skills and weapons.  He soon learns just how wrong he is about engaging in such combat as the Bears show no fear and go on the offensive even when shot multiple times.  His men are seen running away from the Grizzly on more than one occasion.  (Footnote 4).

There is nothing short of continuous denigration of the First Nations Peoples by Lewis with the constant over-lording references to their new “Father” or “White Father” referring to Jefferson (a prominent slaveholder).  Lewis is plagued with an extreme inflation of his own self-importance as he talks down to the tribes and believes he can command them with his pronouncements.  He also never misses a chance, as “ethnographer” to insult the Native populations, even those Nations who provided him with food and assistance.  Never. Even if he has extended a compliment, it is followed by an insult.

On page 357, after describing an instance where Lewis nearly let his anger override his judgment regarding the “Chinookans,” where Lewis may have torched a village if a few goods that had been pilfered had not been recovered, Ambrose states:

To modern eyes, this looks suspiciously like racism, just as Lewis’s resolve to burn down the village raises images of the U.S. Army in the Indian wars and in Vietnam. But if one means by racism a blind prejudice toward native Americans, based upon false but fully believed stereotypes, Lewis was no racist. When he talked about Indian ‘nations’ he meant the word just as he applied it to European peoples. He was keenly aware of the differences between tribes, a subject he wrote about at length and with insight. He liked some Indians, admired others extravagantly, pitied some, despised a few.

His response to native Americans was based on what he saw and was completely different from his response to African Americans.  With regard to blacks, he made no distinctions between them, made no study of them, had no thought that they could be of benefit to America in any capacity other than slave labor.

But, despite his cold-blooded words and resolutions, and his hatred of the Chinooks, what stands out about his journey up the lower Columbia in the spring of 1806 is that he got through it without ever once ordering a man to put a torch to an Indian home, and no man ever fired a rifle at a native. “

I could easily point out the poor choice of words Ambrose uses in this last sentence distinguishing “man” from “native,” but I’ll laugh that one off.  Despite Ambrose’s attempt to paint this white European arrogance as anything but racist, on pages 370-372, for a second time, Ambrose refers to Lewis’s statement made at Lemhi Pass in 1805, “that anything the Indians could do, he and his men could do.”  “Even after seeing the Clastsops and Chinooks in their canoes, after seeing the Nez Perce ride their horses, he retained the notion of white superiority.”  (Both tribes demonstrated vast superiority with their skills over the white imperialists.)

To further cement this notion, if there were any doubt, when Lewis is describing his Indian plan regarding improving the American fur trade, Lewis states that it was “a scheme . . . the most expedient that I can devise for the successful consummation of [our] philanthropic views towards those wretched people of America.” (p.442) Lewis’s scheme was to run the British out and create trade-dependence with the Indians – subjugating them through capitalism in modernity’s tongue. (Footnote 5).

He even thought that to boycott the Sioux, the least susceptible to his pronouncements, would bring them begging to the great “white father.”  Of course, this simple mindedness completely ignores the First Nations Peoples’ ability to survive the harshest of circumstances – those which the white Europeans on this very expedition would not have survived, except for the help of the native populations.

But before I stray too far from my original point, Ambrose’s attempt to paint Lewis’s racism as nothing more than white supremacy is what I believe is facepalm worthy.  Seriously, Ambrose has such a man-crush on Meriwether Lewis that he tries to gloss over what he has painstakingly proven throughout his book. Lewis may have seen and written about differences between tribes, but he believed blindly that whites were superior to them all – that, my friend, is racist.

In perhaps another wave of ironies, Lewis’s and Jefferson’s Indian plan required a full-scale change of all First Nations Peoples’ cultures and lifestyles.  It was predicated on “inducing the Missouri River and Rocky Mountain Indians to become trappers and traders” and to abandon a nomadic hunting and sustenance culture that included inter-tribal raids and conflict.  In fact, a Hidatsa warrior drove this point home when asking Lewis what their nations would do for chiefs should peace be attained, because chiefs were selected based upon their heroic acts in battle.  Bravery was the prime virtue in the structure of Indian politics.

Ambrose continues: “They would have to be conquered and cowed before they could be made to abandon war. Jefferson’s dream of establishing through persuasion and trade a peaceable kingdom among the western Indians was as much an illusion as his dream of an all-water route to the Pacific.” (p. 288)

Ambrose calls this a “great disappointment” that the “men of the Enlightenment” would accept because these men accepted facts, and Lewis, the great ethnographer, through his documentation helped to establish these facts. 

Ok, so I found myself laughing at the concept of these men being “enlightened” in any fashion, and I backtracked to refresh my memory of what defined the so-called “Age of Enlightenment.”  This “age” was defined as a European intellectual moment during the 17th and 18th centuries in which the use of “reason” was the predominant focus for humans understanding their universe to improve their condition; the goals of which included gaining knowledge, freedom, and happiness.  

Another summation, pulled from the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica stated: “The great geniuses of the 17th century confirmed and amplified the concept of a world of calculable regularity, but, more importantly, they seemingly proved that rigorous mathematical reasoning offered the means, independent of God’s revelation, of establishing truth.” (Footnote 6).

So there you have it, these “men of Enlightenment” supposedly fully comprehended the social, cultural, and political structures of the First Nations Peoples and decided the inferior race needed to be conquered to promote commerce. And conquering meant destroying. “While Lewis and Clark had a great interest in documenting Indian cultures, they represented a government whose policies can now be seen to have fostered dispossession and cultural genocide.” (Footnote 7).

To sum up:

The expedition lasted from May 14, 1804, through September 23, 1806.  Jefferson requested $2500 to fund the expedition but he granted Lewis authority to write unlimited “draws” so the total cost ended up being $38,722.25.  That would represent a tremendous sum in today’s dollars.

For inexplicable reasons, Lewis hung onto his journals preventing their publication, and it wasn’t until 1814, five years after his death in 1809, that his journals were published having lost most of their relevancy as the frontier was no longer new and unexplored.

Lewis died on October 10, 1809, at the age of 35 from a horrendous suicide involving him shooting himself twice and cutting himself “from head to foot” with a razor. (p. 475).  At the time of his death, he was suffering from alcoholism, opium and morphine addiction, syphilis, malaria, and quite apparently depression.  

Now there are some facts that were never conveyed in any history class I have ever sat in.

In Metta

Feature Photo: It seemed appropriate to include a pic of the Pacific Coastline in light of the subject matter, an expedition to the Ocean and back. And even more appropriate to include one of Cape Disappointment – right around the bend from where the Columbia River greets the Ocean – the ultimate objective of the expedition. I had a hard time deciding which pic to post because this area is so beautiful. Wish I could have seen it in 1806.

Footnote 1: Indeed, Lewis had received training in these fields through President Jefferson and Jefferson’s associates, but his weaknesses are revealed when he must hire experts to prepare his journal for publication.  Something he delays and that doesn’t occur until after his death.  BTW, he never hired an editor, which would have been the wisest thing he could have done given his and Clark’s own limited proper grammar, usage, and spelling of the English language.

Footnote 2: In fact, there is other evidence of ancient tools being found in Meadowcroft Rockshelter Pennsylvania dating back to 19,000 years old, which could support a theory of early European migration.

Footnote 3: I will use, for the most part, the terms “First Nations People” in place of “American Indians” when describing those living in the Americas prior to the mass European invasion, because there are those who like to contest the terms “indigenous” and “native” because the first people here migrated from Asia on the West Coast, and possibly, although not confirmed, from Europe on the East Coast.  DNA evidence confirms the migration from Asia all the way down through North America to Argentina in South America.  And the well-preserved remains found in Monte Verde, Chili date back to 14,800 years. 

Footnote 4: To put some of my remarks in context, Ambrose is frequently quoting from Lewis’s or Clark’s journals, so they are speaking in the first person.  So when I refer to certain remarks, it is not from an inference by Ambrose, it is because Lewis and/or Clark are directly speaking through their writings.

Footnote 5: We see how well this political plan worked between the US and China., where the US thought the introduction of capitalism to China would destroy Chinese Communism and make China dependent on the US.

Footnote 6: Enlightenment: European History: Age of Reason Aufklärung, siècle de Lumières

Footnote 7: Lewis and Clark Expedition: Pacific Ocean and Return

Rabbit Hole1:

I point out a basic defect with “American History” as taught in this country, which is plagued with bias and inaccuracy. I use for example the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. Do you think most people in this country actually know the history of this war? When did it start and when did it end? (April 19, 1775 through September 3, 1783.) Most people I talked to seem to think the war either started or was over when the Declaration of Independence was issued on July 4, 1776, and they know absolutely nothing, correctly, about the events leading up to the war.

They also don’t know the history behind who became the country’s first president. George Washington was the first president under the US Constitution, which was adopted on June 21, 1788 and which created the executive branch of government. Washington was elected February 4, 1789. Technically, the first “President” following the Revolution was John Hanson. He was the first President of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation and he served from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. He’s even the guy who established Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, although we know the history behind that has been blurred considerably. Hanson was one of eight men appointed to serve one-year terms under the Articles of Confederation before the Constitution was ratified. See The John Hanson Story.

While some might believe such details are unimportant or irrelevant, I believe knowing the true history, and the surrounding circumstances is essential to understanding how this county’s government functions. Or if it’s in a state of dysfunction. Just like it’s important to know this country was born out of slavery and genocide. It’s convenient to ignore those facts, like the men of the “Enlightenment.”

Rabbit Hole 2:

I have a couple of pet peeves regarding The Declaration of Independence that are appropriate to address in this rabbit hole.  In the list of grievances the colonists delineated begins with the statement:

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

It then lists 27 grievances, the last of which reads:

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

Chew on that uninformed bias for a while.  Why would the First Nations Peoples feel their independence was declared in this document? And who perpetrated genocide on who?

My next peeve is that people simply do not actually study their own county’s history or read and understand the country’s significant documents.  I don’t know how many times I hear people saying that the United States Constitution guarantees us the rights to pursue “life, liberty and happiness.”  In fact, the Constitution says no such thing.  The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution state that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law.  This is by no means a guarantee, and “happiness” is no where to be found in the document that sets out the supreme law of the land.

“Happiness” is included in the Declaration of Independence in the sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The Declaration does not set out enforceable law.  Sorry folks.  You’re responsible for your own happiness.  It is not law and is not the government’s responsibility.  😊

The Wrong Lens

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Radiance Sutras

There is a Place in the Heart where Everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, Senses, Soul, Eternity – All are there.

Are you there?

Enter the Bowl of Vastness that is the Heart.
Give yourself to it with Total Abandon
Quiet Ecstasy is there,
And a steady, regal Sense
Of Resting in a Perfect Spot.

Once you know the Way,
The Nature of Attention will call you to Return.
Again and Again,
And be saturated with Knowing,

I belong here, I am at Home here. 

***

As I attempt to understand the Nature of our Existence, Our Essence, I naturally try to define it with terminology.  And I then end up chasing other terminology to define that terminology.  This process repeats and stretches on into infinity . . .

At least it does for me. 

So, do we really get an answer to those time-worn phrases?  Terminology dissects and divides, which is one of the basic problems with understanding just who and what we are. 

Continue reading The Wrong Lens

Gray Days – Again and Again

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I began a tradition a couple of years back. A tradition of repeating words. Words that I had written to describe the day and the season we were entering into. I’m a bit late this year as November slipped by, and that’s when I usually re-post this. This November wasn’t as Gray as last, but December is pulling that cloak over this Northern Hemisphere.

While Winter is not officially upon us yet, the days of Autumn have definitely past. Grandfather Sun is still moving South. And the atmosphere is shifting into Gray.

I wrote about this “Gray.” It’s “color.” It’s feel. It’s taste. It’s sounds. It’s moods. And eventually, it’s brightness and it’s “Inner Fire.”

So as we enter this season of hibernation, before the awakening and emerging from the Dream Lodge into the new life of Spring, I share these words again.

I hope you will enjoy them.

Continue reading Gray Days – Again and Again

A Walk About In My Mind

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Who, then, is “animate” and who “inanimate”? Within the assembly of the Lotus, all are present without division. In the case of grass, trees and the soil . . . whether they merely lift their feet or energetically traverse the long path, they will all reach Nirvana.

— Zhanran the Sixth Patriarch of Tendai Buddhism (1711-82)

*****

As I was walking along the creek’s bank, my head was in a swirl.  So much internal noise, while the outside world remained placid.  Utterly calm and quiet.  The only noises came from the trickling, crystal-clear, emerald water.  The hum of seventeen-year cicadas.  The occasional bee, wearing a cloak of pollen and having a belly full of sweet nectar, barely able to carry its own weight on its flight path back to the hive.  And from the trees swaying, or rather dancing, in time with the Chief Western Wind. 

A Black Swallowtail fritters past, in complete silence.  Not a care in the world.

But, oh so much internal clatter.  An orchestra of out-of-tune instruments each playing a different symphony.  Does this tumult of turbulence comprise what we’ve come to call our Consciousness?  Does all of this internal noise make us “Aware?”  And “Aware” of what exactly?

>>>>><<<<< 

Continue reading A Walk About In My Mind

Consciousness, Emotions, and EMFs

By Harold Stearley

Yesterday’s post, which briefly touched on the symbolism of the Tower of Babylon, got me to thinking more about how humans seem to like to convey human attributes onto the Gods they believe govern their existence in the physical plain and the afterlife. (This statement, of course, presumes there is both a limited physical and eternal Spiritual existence for us.) And, this train of thought led me down the path of pondering just what are emotions, what are thoughts, and what is consciousness??? 

Three questions get three question marks. 😊

To add to this thought-wave pulsing through my brain, I remembered a response I received to a post I made on another social media platform recently.  The post was this well-known quote:

“Holding onto anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Author Unknown

The response I received was something along this line.  Anger is an emotion given to us by God, and therefore, it is supposed to be experienced and is not detrimental.  That’s my summation of the response anyway, and I may have actually given it more meaning than what the author intended, but that’s the way my brain interpreted it.  I can happily extrapolate further if you like by placing it in the context of current world events.  

Ok, maybe not.  😊

Now, I’ve heard many other claims of things or feelings or “rights” that are supposedly “God-given,” such as for possessing guns, but this comment on anger was a new spin for me. 

BTW, I really don’t think an omnipotent being thought up the idea of a right to gun ownership that then spontaneously worked its way into the American Constitution.   That type of “law” is man-made, as is the weapon itself.  But I digress . . .   

What this is all about, of course, is anthropomorphism. 

We are bestowing human characteristics upon other members of the animal kingdom or upon Gods or even upon other objects – animate or inanimate.  As a literary device, anthropomorphism may make sense because we usually need some descriptive or comparative form in order to carry on a conversion about some things – to visualize them.  It’s also fun.

But utilizing projections and metaphors and analogies is not necessarily the same, nor could it be, as capturing a clear, unfiltered, objective, tangible observation of something in space-time reality. I mean really, why would an all-powerful being be a slave to human infirmities, passions, and prejudices?

I guess that makes four questions. 😊

Now those of us who are not science-deniers, and who have even marginally read about the magnificent machine the human body is, know that a great deal, if not all, of the functions of the body are chemical-electrical in Nature.   If you prefer big words, these functions are neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neuralhormonal, and neurophysiological.

There is no dispute that messages in the brain are tossed about by electrically charged neurons, and as these messages jump from gap to gap between neurons an electromagnetic filed is created around those neurons holding the same information that is being transmitted.  This has been confirmed by electroencephalograms (EEGs) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and has served as the basis for the theory of “CEMI” – the Conscious Electromagnetic Information Field.

Neuroscientists argue over what this exactly means in terms of consciousness.  And I got to tell you that reading through the scientific journals and news reports, this is some pretty tough shit to conceptualize.  But I’ll try to summarize this in a way we can understand it.

Traditionally, philosophers have argued that there is a mind-body dualism.  This philosophy is a step beyond materialism as it implies consciousness is occurring beyond the physical realm.  Free will is supposed to fit in here somewhere, although there are still debates as whether the mind and spirit are different, or the same, or if the entire “mind” concept should be discarded as being superfluous to a body-spirit duality.

Classic scientists advocate their own monotheism that consciousness is generated by the physical brain itself and its network of billions of neurons.  This is not to say automatically that they disbelieve in the Spirit, but rather that consciousness is distinguished from Spirit.

But the neurobiological dualistic theory being advanced most recently is that we have physical matter, our brain, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that compose our consciousness.  In other words, the difference in the dualistic theories of the philosophers and the neurobiologists is the distinction between matter and spirit versus matter and energy.  

Physically speaking, our brains have some “5 million organically-formed magnetite crystals per gram;” each with a north and south pole, “serving as in/out information channels, the basis for awareness,” forming a complex network to broadcast information at “a fraction of the speed of light, unifying conscious experience.”  Whereas the monistic physical model argues integrated information is physical, the dualistic model argues:

“ . . . that nearly all examples of so-called ‘integrated information’, including neuronal information processing and conventional computing, are only temporally integrated in the sense that outputs are correlated with multiple inputs: the information integration is implemented in time, rather than space, and thereby cannot correspond to physically integrated information. . . .

. . .only energy fields are capable of integrating information in space.”

Ok then, if we can wrap our heads around this so-called measurable scientific standard, we not only have to contend with the concept of consciousness not being integrated in physical structures or physical space, but also with the concepts of sentience, awareness and emotion.  All of which can be considered part and parcel of consciousness. 

Maybe we just have too many words here trying to describe the same thing.  One could simply argue that the EMFs created in, or associated with, our brain are the equivalent of what many refer to as the Spirit. 

Energy fields, like Spirits, flow through space and are not bound to physical structures or to time.  

Now, sentience is defined as “the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively” and is distinguished from thought.  Awareness is having “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.”  And, emotion is defined as “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.”

If the existence of EMFs equals consciousness, and consciousness embodies thoughts, sentience, awareness and emotion, then Mother Earth, with its magnetic field, is indeed a sentient living entity.  As are rocks, plants, and all other forms of life on the planet for that matter.  Maybe we just haven’t learned how to fully measure consciousness in other entities or bridged the communication gap. 

Ponder that for a bit . . .

That’s why I personally find Naturalistically-oriented Spiritual beliefs, such as the ones that First Nations Peoples have adopted, to make so much sense.  Everything is part and parcel of the Source.  “All My Relations” are alive and deserve my recognition and respect.

If we accept that energy fields compose our consciousness, and then add a bit of deductive reasoning, this may very well answer other questions for us and give us a scientific basis for understanding such things as extrasensory perception, telepathic communication, and even how artificial intelligence can transfer to sentience. 

Think of the future of robots.  

And we should also think of the consequences and effects on our own consciousness that creations of ours that emit EMFs may have.  They could be enhancing or very, very destructive. 

So, perhaps this is a scientific quantification of Spirit of sorts.  Science and Religion have always been compatible, so I’m unsure why some try to differentiate them. 

But, getting back to “anger” for a second.  I still believe this powerful emotion is detrimental to us both physically and mentally.   And if you wish to believe it is God-given, then perhaps the Source gives us this emotion as a challenge to discipline our brains and for controlling our thoughts.  After all, traditional dogma tells us that the Source challenges us in many ways to develop and live a spiritual existence free from judgment and the inferior human emotions.  

And no matter how much some people might wish their God was as racist and bigoted and judgmental as they are, I don’t think Gods work that way. 😊

In Metta

Photo: This is an actual image of my brain from an MRI I had. I darkened it a bit so you could see the contrast better of my blood vessels being lit up by the contrast die. Not to many abnormalities present – LOL! I used this image in a bit of prose of mine titled “Neural Roadmaps Revisited.”

Interesting enough, my very first on my blog was titled, “Consciousness.”

Disclaimer: I do not profess to be an expert in such matters as neurobiology, or theology for that matter. I am, however, reasonably educated and enjoy pondering complex questions about the nature of our existence. :-0 I am also open to any other insights or perspectives anyone else may have.

Remember also: the first law of thermodynamics, energy is neither created or destroyed, it merely changes form – thus, it’s eternal in Nature.

Past Blog Posts of Mine on Brain Stuff:

Move Your Body, Move Your Mind

Writing to Survive

Wired

Boring

If My Memory Serves Me

Brain Games

Sources and Further Readings:

Could Human Consciousness Just Be Brain’s Own Electro-Magnetic Field?

Neuroscience Researcher Todd Murphy Says: Consciousness is the Subjective Experience of the Brain’s Magnetic Fields

Controversial New Theory Says Human Consciousness Is … Electromagnetic?

The Experience of Emotion

Feeling Our Emotions

Integrating Information in the Brain’s EM Field: The CEMI Field Theory of Consciousness

Researcher Proposes New Theory of Consciousness

The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (CEMI) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy?

Fact or Fiction?: Energy Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed

Are You . . . ?

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

There’s a lot to be said for living on the road.

In motion.

Breaking free from all of those forces we allow to hold us down.  Those voices that tell us that we can’t fly.

To live in the moment.  See, hear, feel, smell, and even taste those expansive vistas that take us to other worlds.  That show us there is so much more to life than just a material existence.

And while we are breathing in such vastness in the physical and metaphysical worlds, there is also a lot of time for introspection.  Visiting that inner, mental world.   Of equal breadth.  Time for looking deep within, into our brilliance and our shadows and . . . judging.

Continue reading Are You . . . ?

Hello Dear Friends

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Hello to all my friends in cyberspace!  I wanted to apologize for not being around lately.

You see, I’m in the middle of a Walkabout.

Traveling season.

It is a bit different this year since we are confronted with COVID-19.  Social distancing, per se, has not changed in my wilderness hikes, but it has definitely shaped travel and I do miss out on the human contact and story exchanges that I would normally have at the end of the day in some public forum.

I’m changing locations more frequently this year too.

Less of a base camp and more of an eternal romp.

I’ve also been in many places where I’ve had no connectivity.   Being unplugged does have some nice advantages.  For one, I’ve not missed all of the hateful commentary perfusing the Net.  I’ve also been able to meditate easier, although one can travel internally too far if one is not careful.

I’ll write that story later and tell about how Mother Earth dramatically called my attention to it and how I needed to be “grounded.”  Still healing . . .

On a metaphysical level, for the past couple of years, the Bear has been visiting me in various forms.  And this continues with a new materialization this season.  I’ve recently been blessed with watching some Elephant Seals and I discovered that Marine Mammals, known as “Pinnipeds,” or the “Fin-Footed Ones,” all descend from a common Ancestor called “Enaliarctos.”

Which means “Bear of the Sea.”

It had Bear-like teeth and used flippers to swim.

Apparently the Spanish settlers in California called Pinnipeds “Lobos Marinos.” Or, “Sea Wolfs.”

So comparisons to land mammals is how we land creatures relate.  At least we recognized the power of these mighty apex predators.

Whatever you wish to call them, they are amazing.  Breathing and breeding on land, spending months in motion amongst the waves on the hunt, and being able to withstand the ocean’s crushing pressures for extended periods.  Quite the adaptations.

Us Two-Leggeds might learn a thing or two from these guys.

So anyway, I am crafting stories in my head as I go, but it will be a little while before I get them on “paper.”

Please don’t disappear or give up on me.  I will return . . .

LOGOz

Photo: The Pale Evening Primrose.  I encountered these beauties in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  They are armed with very sharp thorns.  The Beauty and the Beast 🙂

1-Wildflower - Pale Evening Primrose - 1+C1

Hiatus

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

. . . pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process, pause, break, interval, interruption, suspension, intermission, interlude, gap, lacuna, lull, respite, breathing space, time out, recess . . .

Continue reading Hiatus