Connecting The Dots64 comments
picture29 Mar 2004 @ 01:08
Looking for serenity
you have come
to the monastery.

Looking for serenity
I am leaving
the monastery.

---Soen Nakagawa

I want to sing like birds sing
Not worrying who hears or
what they think.

---Jelaluddin Rumi

Vladimir: Did you ever read the Bible?
Estragon: The Bible... (He reflects.) I must have taken a look at it.
Vladimir: Do you remember the Gospels?
Estragon: I remember the maps of the Holy Land. Coloured they were. Very pretty. The Dead Sea was pale blue. The very look of it made me thirsty. That's where we'll go, I used to say, that's where we'll go for our honeymoon. We'll swim. We'll be happy.

---Samuel Beckett

The Prayer , (1907)
patinated bronze

Do you believe that if you do something wrong God will punish you, and that if you're good He will reward you? Do you think if your nation easily takes over an oil-rich country somewhere, it's proof God is on your side? If I envision myself healed and if others gather themselves together to pray for me to be whole and happy, will it happen? I've always wondered about these kinds of things, and lately I've had occasion to try to pull together some conclusions.

I got an email the other day from an Internet friend in Houston. She had forwarded my writing "A Date With Surgery" to a cancer survivor friend of hers. He had written back that my article was an attempt to "justify" my position, and that in his opinion I failed. He said, "Your friend would have to be taught and accept the underlying emotion that is causing his dis-ease. To do that he will have to be receptive. Reading his 'excuses' tells me he has delegated his health to a white jacket and chooses not to accept responsibility for his own health." He said he'd never "go near a doctor with a knife in his hand." This man claims healing is not medical but spiritual, and that is how he accomplished his own.  More >

 A Date With Surgery29 comments
picture25 Mar 2004 @ 03:59
...and he was almighty because he had wrenched from chaos the secret of its nothingness.

---Jean-Paul Sartre

When you get there, there isn't any there there.

---Gertrude Stein

God never appears to you in person but always in action.

---Mohandas K. Gandhi

Bernard Safran: A Surgeon Working
1982, 37" x 48", oil on masonite

In some ways this article will not be typical of my writing. In the first place I shall begin with a caution about reading it at all. The main information about what I'm doing and what is happening to me---hopefully in some kind of equal balance---is simple and I can tell you that right away. As a routine procedure for prostate cancer, which we have reason to believe I have in a very early stage, I received a total body bone scan last Friday. The results were shared yesterday and they were excellent. We see cancer has not moved into the bones...and there are not other marked abnormalities. It's time to take the next step and that is selection of treatment, and I have done that. We have a date for surgery to remove the entire prostate gland on May 3rd. My urologist, with whom I have been working for a year, will perform the operation.

Some may want or need to read no further. This situation is all about male anatomy of the most personal kind. Surgery is not the stuff for a morning read over your first coffee either...at least for most of us. I'm going to talk about the operation and why we selected this option. I'm going to write about the risks and what may happen to me. You may not be interested in knowing any of that. I certainly never wanted to...until my time came, as I guess in one way or another it comes to us all. I shall not be insulted in the slightest if you simply X out this item from your screen and move on to something you like better. You're now aware that from here until the operation I shall be preparing, and afterwards I'm going to be laid up for a few weeks. That may be enough of an alert. I would appreciate if someone would volunteer to Ming to, or if Ming himself would, edit the Logs for Front Page placement for a couple of months, beginning in May.  More >

 The Big, Bad, Terrifying Medical Machine21 comments
picture20 Mar 2004 @ 03:41
Endless is my vow
under the azure sky
boundless spring.

---Soen Nakagawa

I wish we were not so single-minded about keeping
our lives moving, and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves and of threatening
ourselves with death.

---Pablo Neruda

Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest.


A couple of times during my life, circumstances have forced me to accept quite atypical work off the beaten path of success for my career plan. The first time was in the late '60s, following a devastating (for me) divorce, when I became a glorified attendant of some sort in a private psychiatric hospital outside New York. The second time was more recent, after we'd moved to Ohio and I took a bureaucratic job with the Social Security Administration. Both jobs involved receiving considerable hostility from the people I was supposed to serve. But I think of those times fondly because I learned so much.  More >

 Diagnosis7 comments
picture17 Mar 2004 @ 18:42
The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by.


I tell you: one must still have chaos in one,
to give birth to a dancing star.

---Friedrich Nietzsche

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning.
Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

---Erich Fromm

Sir John Everett Millais (British, 1829-1896)
The Picture of Health

Dear Friends,

This afternoon my doctor reviewed with me the analyses of 2 groups of experts regarding the samples sent them. He has decided a diagnosis of prostate cancer is appropriate for me. Yes if it is there, it is a little teeny spot...but with this disease drastic measures are necessary. He offers two options for me. One is surgery...and it is all or nothing. That is, the whole gland would be removed. The other is radiation, and there are a couple different forms of that procedure. Both options are major and involve a good deal of time for preparation and recovery. Essentially I'm still in the state of trying to accept the situation. But I need to make a decision as well, and thankfully there are wife, friends and family to help. I'll not write a great amount about all this I think, but I have been interested to let you know what was happening in the event things get serious. If I tend not to write or communicate as much, or to live up to expectations and responsibilities for a while, please understand. Thank you for your continued concern.

Richard  More >

 The Scientist and the Poet5 comments
picture15 Mar 2004 @ 01:50
Paul A. Cantor is a Shakespearean scholar and the Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books, including Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization. Significantly for me, he also wrote an essay on the contemporary painter Odd Nerdrum, whose Revier (c. 1990 - 1994) I coincidentally chose to grace this entry. [link] The writing that follows may be heavier going than that one in some ways, but I found the ideas most compelling and decided to share it.

The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot." Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.

---John Burroughs

He taught me all that I don't know.

---R.H. Blyth on D.T. Suzuki


The Scientist and the Poet
Paul A. Cantor

"The worthiest professor of physics would be one who could show the inadequacy of his text and diagrams in comparison to nature and the higher demands of the mind."

--–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is the kind of comment we expect from a poet on a scientist. Poets generally seem to be unsympathetic to science; they question its capacity to tell us the full truth about our world. Typically, poets claim that science offers us only abstractions, and destroys the living phenomena it purports to study in the very process of analyzing them into their separate (and hence lifeless) parts. As William Wordsworth famously put it: “We murder to dissect.”  More >

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