New Civilization News: On the Wings of Hummingbirds    
 On the Wings of Hummingbirds10 comments
picture15 Sep 2002 @ 11:05, by Quidnovi

Let me be a flower, dear God, in your kindness,
a flower that opens, not a needle that pierces!
---Rabindranath Tagore, "Kanika"

Meditation no.1 - Trance-Formation: Mona Lisa

"Like a living being, she seems to change before our eyes and to look a little different every time we come back to her..."

Why does the Mona Lisa look so different?

"The reason may be that the more conscientiously we copy a figure line by line and detail by detail, the less we can imagine that it ever really moved and breathed. It looks as if the painter had suddenly cast a spell over it, and forced it to stand stock-still for evermore, like the people in The Sleeping Beauty. Artists had tried various ways out of this difficulty. Boticelli, for instance, had tried to emphasize in his pictures the waving hair and the fluttering garments of his figures, to make them look less rigid in outline. But only Leonardo found the true solution to the problem. The painter must leave the beholder something to guess. If the outlines are not quite so firmly drawn, if the form is left a little vague, as though disappearing into a shadow, this impression of dryness and stiffness will be avoided. This is Leonardo's famous invention which the Italians call sfumato- the blurred outline and mellowed colors that allow one form to merge with another and always leave something to our imagination." (More)

Meditation no.2 - One, No One and One Hundred Thousand

This is the title of a novel by Luigi Pirandello. As the narrator is looking at himself into a mirror, he is told by his wife that his nose tilts to the right. This revelation bowls him over, as this is a peculiarity about his person that he had been totally unaware of until then. (The nose, here, of course, is but just an excuse for a whimsical exploration that turns immediately into a weird metaphysical escalation :-) If my nose has been all this time pointing to the right without my being aware of it, our rational thinker argues, it means that I am not to others what I am to myself. And from there springs a series of deductions with incalculable consequences:
1. It is impossible for one to observe oneself live;
2. One is therefore an alien to oneself;
3. Others can make of one whatever they want to, as one doesn't have only one image but as many images as there are people looking at one;
4. Everyone is one and one hundred thousand at the same time---a torture one escapes by resigning oneself to be no one.
A bursting of one's identity into a cloud nebula of selves no longer held together by the feeling of being "someone": this is in essence the heart of Pirandellism, that concept that one doesn't "possess" one identity per se, but changes as a result (among other things) of what others make of one through their perception of one and their judging of one's actions. Beyond Pirandellism this extends to Sartrism (and the modern contemporary theatre of the absurd). "Hell is other people", their perception of one and the judgments they pass which like the petrifying gaze of Medusa can turn one into stone, stock-still for evermore in the pose/role others have frozen them into. This is the world of "No Way Out", the hell of Sartre. The protagonists are in hell, literally so, because they can no longer change (they are dead.) They cannot make the mental leap that will give them the foresight to leave their holding cell.

Being ALIVE means asserting the primacy of existence over essence, the primacy of freedom over the practico-inert. Man is not, he/she is "BECOMING."

In 1927, Werner Karl Heisenberg (indeterminacy principle) demonstrated in his study of quantum mechanic that it is physically impossible to measure both the exact position and the exact momentum of a particle at the same time.

In the macroscopic world though, there is really no question where something is and what its momentum is, and such limitations do not exist---or do they? And what of human beings? To some degree it can be said of the indeterminacy principle that it is applicable to all phenomenon, small and large. The very act of measuring interfere with the properties of the measured object in such a way that it can never be revealed as it is in its essence but only as a function/projection of the way in which it was measured (and of who was measuring it.) The characters of "No Way Out" are dead. They have ceased "becoming." They have left the "pour soi" (the self in a state of "becoming") and literally became the embodiment of the "en soi" (a petrified self). This is the reason why they are in hell: "hell is other people," the petrifying gaze of Medusa, the act of perception that destroy reality by turning others into objects and artificially freezing in time human beings which are in a state of constant evolution.

Meditation no.3 - The silver fish

I remember an anecdote from Tagore, in which he is describing a balmy evening on the Gange River. The beauty of the evening leads to a quiet ecstasy which culminate with the vision of an enormous silver fish jumping out of the water: "It appeared to me that I was receiving a friendly greeting from a strange world, in my own language, and my heart felt like struck by a lightening bolt of pure joy. All of a sudden the helmsman, letting out a sigh of regret, exclaimed: 'what a big fish!' He couldn't see the fish other than through his desire to capture it and eat it, and was in such a way, allowing the whole truth of that alien existence to escape him."

Where am I going with all this? – another meditation

I sometimes believe that our thoughts can be like invisible hands that "touch" those we encounter. I also believe that people have it within them to become the best "we"/"they" think they can be. This is why I always try and see the best in people...

An NCN friend of mine was recently wounded (needlessly so) by the behavior of two NCN members (one of them an ex-NCN member) that, rightly or wrongly, she had been led to think of as friends.

This was experienced by her as a (double) "betrayal."

In her typical (and inspiring) fashion she has overcome that emotional set-back and made the best of it---and is possibly stronger from the experience.

As for "betrayal", betrayal is too strong a word. Betrayal requires "understanding"---the wit to know it as one sees it, and the stomach to apprehend it as one does it. No, blind and dumb in their self-centeredness some people do not betray, they merely disappoint...!

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19 Sep 2002 @ 06:48 by invictus : I like no.2...
Speaking for myself (the only person I have direct internal experience with, even if I don't truly know *them*), I think I have more selves than there are people looking at me. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if people really saw the way my mind works. Hmm... Andy, you're a very "special" boy, and you're going for a little trip to the funny farm. It's a wonder I ever manage to say anything coherently. Maybe that goes for everybody; I don't know for sure. *We* somehow manage to stay bound together by a loose bubble inside meta-Andy's head. So, umm, don't burst my bubble :).

I think the thing about Heisenberg is true too, in a metaphorical sort of way. "The unexamined life is not worth living", yes. As I'm sure many of us know, though, it's almost impossible to truly examine your life without changing its course in funny little ways.  

19 Sep 2002 @ 07:02 by shawa : Betrayal means...
...that there was something to be betrayed, a friendship, an alliance, a relationship, a link, some thing. But how can we be sure that this "something " really exists in this "virtual" world in which we can´t see each other´s faces? Everything may have a different meaning than ITRW.
Your posts make for quality reading, so thanks. :-)  

19 Sep 2002 @ 08:51 by swan : A mirror
Weather/Whether it be virtual, real or imagined it is all opportunity to look at the reflection and what is it's message. Positive or negative reflection..a opportunity to transcend the density that holds us captive. So we can soar. When all is said and done I must thank both my alies and my adversaries for the beautiful mirror they create in which I view both my self and them. All is perfect.
Thank you, my friend Francis for the reflective words you discover and share.  

21 Sep 2002 @ 14:02 by quidnovi : no.2 is alive :-)
Hehehe, I like no.2 too, Andy, I also like the Meta-Andy image :-) It kinds of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Just how many "me" are there? And we are not just talking about the Freudian three-part personality model here. Maybe something in between Jungian psychology and Kurt Lewin's Field Theory, or a combination of both: Life Space, hmmm...? Kurt Lewin believed that to understand personality you must understand a person's life space and what it contains at any given time. He referred to this as the Principle of Contemporaneity. He also contended (1936) that it would be more reasonable, model-wise, when it come to one's own psychology, to imagine ourselves living on a small island inhabited by only a few people than in a nation of millions. I find it a worthwhile concept to examine, in terms of humanity's evolution, and its psychological impact (nation-wise, family-wise, and individually) in a day and ages where satellite communication and the internet have all of a sudden made the "island" a lot bigger than it used to be.  

21 Sep 2002 @ 16:38 by quidnovi : How many "me" are there?
Why do we do and say so many things which we very much regret afterwards? Why do we wake up depressed for no apparent reason? And, on the other hand, why do we sometimes surprise ourselves by doing or saying something much better than we ever expected of ourselves, or wake up very cheerful for no cause we are aware of? And what of the fascinating subject of dissociative disorders (psychogenic fugues and multiple personalities disorder.) How many "me" are there? While there is a long history of psychologists, mystics, alchemists and magicians who have explored the depth of the unconscious AND also its summits (that superhumanly wise guidance that exists in the unconscious, which Jung referred to as "the absolute knowledge" in his essay on Synchronicity) my purpose here in bringing all of this up lays simply in its relevance to NCN. How many "me" are there? An interesting question…And more importantly how do they work together?

I feel a little dizzy, as I've just scanned the Cauldron back to some of the earlier comments in the Chat-Room. Trying to understand what makes some of our members tick. I must say that it is a shame that some of those exchanges of ideas did not take place outside of the Cauldron or cannot be sorted by theme and made public for reference and/or further development. I read something about "organization" and "decision-making" and "legislature"(?) and "some semblance of a judiciary"(?!!) And while I understand why one of our members whom I respect (and who has had some involvement with some of the principles of governance on which our Democracies are founded) would have an interest in trying to replicate some of those operating structures here at NCN, an alarm rings in my mind as I look at what a mess such structures have brought forth ITRW and how inescapably contaminated by politics such structures have become. If the member of whom I speak is disturbed by what he perceives as the play of politics in NCN under its current form (an evaluation with which I disagree), I suggest to him that he would become even more deeply disturbed at what would result out of the changes that he suggests. I too have had some experience with governance, and my experience was not that of a teacher---hence, possibly, our diverging views on the subject.

Democracies, though I will concede that they are, no doubt, a positive evolution from the feudal system that preceded them, are still based on an adversarial system---hence the partisan politics and corruptions and other banes that come along with them.

NCN is about finding OTHER WAYS not about replicating existing flawed models.

I find the concept of the human personality fascinating and most relevant to NCN as psychologists too have been struggling with the identity concept. How many me are there? And how do they work together? Is our identity organized along the lines of a Democracy or an oligarchy?---I most certainly do not think so!!! Here is an interesting model to study---NCN has an ORGANIC FEELING to it and it's precisely what makes it what it is. I find it in fact to be a model so OPEN that I don't see any reason for those of us who want to play "Democracy" not to create a workgroup dedicated to that purpose and set up for themselves a platform from which they can "organize" their actions, conduct surveys, greet new members as they see fit, and whatever else strike their fancy (just a thought.) As I see it NCN is not a buffet, it is a potluck. If Democracy is your thing, just do it. Do it democratically--- do not impose it to others. Create a work-group, promote your work-group, and see who is interested in participating in "participatory-democracy." Given time such a group could prove to become a valuable "chamber" of NCN (I would find it for my part an interesting laboratory---kind of like an emulation room. I might even create a monarchy-group next door, just for the fun of it--- Merlin would be such an interesting role to play :-) But such a group will never become, in my opinion, the way NCN is run as a whole. Because if that were to happen, NCN would cease to be NCN the very minute it happened and the experiment would be over.  

21 Sep 2002 @ 17:47 by quidnovi : Follow-up on Shakti's rejoinder
How can we be sure that things really are what they seem in this virtual world in which we can´t see each other´s faces? Point well taken Shakti!
I've heard rumors that there might be some among us who are using more than one NCN identity in their interactions with others. Another interesting take on "How many 'me' are there?", isn't it? I have taken a look into this (Hehehe...NCN is a school and class is always in session :-) and though I have found so far nothing to coroborate these rumors, the thought does not surprise me however---it can be done (and rather easily at that) and therefore it stands to reason that most certainly it must have been done, for so is human nature.
Unlike you I do not share your apprehensions about the virtual though. "How can we be sure that this 'something' really exists in this 'virtual' world in which we can't see each other's faces?" is a good question, but on the other hand, how can we be sure that things really are what they seem in the real world (ITRW) in which we can see each other's faces---faces we see but hearts we do not. No doubt, you will agree that the inner world is just as real as the outside world with which we are familiar; in fact I think you will be one to agree that it is in fact MORE real. I believe the same thing can be said of the Virtual and the Real world. In the real world too most people also do play a role---they play at not playing a role---and sadly there are many who play a role and yet somehow manage to remain unaware that they are playing a role. If the roles people play ITRW often lie, the roles people play in the virtual world, on the other hand, cannot lie because such creations are imaginary and imagination unmasks human significance---quoting Ionesco, "standing at the frontier between reality and unreality, art connects our world to the world beyond." But again, just as in the real world, there are "artists", and there are "con-artists." So I will add this warning to Shakti_ma's rejoinder: USER BEWARE, in the virtual world as in the real world, EVERYTHING IS REAL OR NOT!  

22 Sep 2002 @ 06:58 by jazzolog : Fearless Foibles
I like your analysis in this rejoinder, Francis. Surely we all feel baffled, disappointed, depressed even with the ongoing challenges of human relationship. For many people things are even more complicated on this "labor-saving" device. For one thing right now we're here instead of in the arms of a loved one. How much time do we spend here? Do we get another machine and a hub? Then at least Dana and I could chat at the same time we'd each be online. :-) Do the kids suffer?

I think you're right about sabotage artists being ITRW just as cleverly and insidiously as in here. I don't think I've ever held a job where there wasn't somebody whose whole life seemed to be involved in gossip, manipulation and control in the office, plant or building. I believe people gravitate toward these sharks out of fear that (s)he will turn of them next. Probably the thing to do here is what we do there: we concentrate on the job, stay focused on what we do best, make improvements---even when "suggested" by the bad guy(s)---and treat paranoia gently if possible. Paranoia responds well and even heals, I think, simply by shining the Light on it.  

22 Sep 2002 @ 22:31 by simpleman : THE REAL WORLD????????
Personally, I don't like the phrase "in the real world". I suppose it is because the experiences in my life(my world) are different than the experiences in someone elses life(their world). For me to discount something or someone because it or they do not apply to my world, is like passing judgement on that something or that someone, which I try not to do in my world. I may not agree with something or someone, but I don't have the right, at least in my mind, to say, that doesn't apply "in the real world". Do they live in the fake world? Here at NCN we give a little bit of ourselves in an attempt to make the world a better place, to make ourselves better, not to be put down, or shoved aside, or humiliated for trying. It also seems to me that anything someone is capable of saying or doing here on the pages of NCN, they are capable of doing in their world, which is part of our world. As Richard mentions, gossip, manipulation, and control, they all exist in the virtual web just as much as anyplace else, they're just easier to hide in the virtual web. Sometimes I wonder if some members here in NCN have any feelings at all, or if they just don't care about anybody elses. Well, enough of my ranting, besides, in my world its time for some ZZZ's.
Uh? Gregg...I don't think that anyone was trying to "discount" anything or anyone here in the way they used the words "real world" nor was any attempt made at invalidating anyone's reality. Rather, I would suggest that the word "real" was intended in the current context as meaning nothing other than the "non-virtual" world (i.e. the world outside of the internet) and that no one was "passing jugement" on the value of anyone's world, be it virtual or otherwise.
I couldn't agree with you more, though, "here at NCN we [all] give a little bit of ourselves in an attempt to make the world a better place, to make ourselves better, not to be put down, or shoved aside, or humiliated for trying", this is in essence PRECISELY what my Log was about. Thanks for your input---and your concern.

23 Sep 2002 @ 13:56 by quidnovi : Shining the Light
I am not sure who are the "sharks" and the "bad guys" of which you are speaking, Richard, but I hope you'll take your own advice and find "your" own Light. Those who are at war with others are seldom at peace with themselves. One doesn't have to blow out another's candle to make one's shine bright.

A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A timely word may level stress.
A loving word may heal and bless.  

24 Sep 2002 @ 02:13 by jazzolog : Blessed Healing
I'm sure my candle will be glimmering much brighter at NCN, Francis, after the results are tabulated from the survey/feedback project planned here~~~ As we can remember and reread, Scott and Alana are helping Ming coordinate the project and other changes. Errrr, Scott? Alana?  

Other entries in
1 Jul 2010 @ 12:14: Happy Birthday Canada
25 Oct 2008 @ 05:37: Politics, economy, culture and society of New Civilization
10 Apr 2008 @ 13:52: Survival
8 Apr 2008 @ 18:19: Freedom and Self-Selection
1 Mar 2008 @ 16:56: Whimsical Gardenings
30 Jan 2008 @ 18:06: A Bigger Flag to Fly
25 Nov 2007 @ 11:18: A Mournful Thanksgiving
8 Nov 2007 @ 01:49: The value of connections
12 Jul 2007 @ 14:58: Auroville.
5 Jun 2007 @ 20:31: Biocities.

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