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Johnny Mnemonic Revisited

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

When the 2021-setting sci-fi Johnny Mnemonic film came out in 1995 320-gigabytes seemed to have been an enormous amount of data, akin to one’s impression of how much the Library of Congress holds. Of course it holds much much more than that, and 320 GB is paltry nowadays when terabyte external drives are stacked on shelves much like choices of fruits or potato chips in a grocery store. But Johnny Mnemonic will always be something big for me.

I saw it during my getting-to-know-Keanu-Reeves-days many years ago, when I didn’t even notice that the Just-Johnny role doesn’t need much acting skills. Which didn’t make me conclude that Keanu Reeves couldn’t act, thank goodness. Whatever could be said about him what remains is that this actor projects respectable charisma and he’s among my enduring favorites.

Johnny Mnemonic was disturbing to me then, and even now after I rewatched it, for the fact that I felt that it used the most extreme avenue for information transfer: the human brain. It was disturbing to see that it could become possible that the brain encasement be legitimately violently invaded for electronic purposes.

brain functions by studyblue.com

brain functions by studyblue.com

Yet while I was rewatching it I realized that the idea of using the brain for induced memory storage is fantastic (even) without foreign-object implants, like that chip that Just-Johnny had.

The induced-memory/ies would just be existing in the neurons themselves. The human brain has more than enough “space” to hold such extra memories — this with the assumption that we use only about 10% of its capacity. But please excuse errors in my statements here. I’m not a brain expert; just a thought dabbler. What’s sure is that the brain is a little understood organ of our body.

In another way Johnny Mnemonic can be seen as an exploration into the wonder of the human brain, brought into popular media. However, the violence in that film seemed to have downplayed this feature. That’s another thing that imprinted that movie into my psyche — it was violent. Stabbings. Bazooka hits. Big city filth. Monster companies and disenfranchised population. A courier job that traded childhood memories for a brain implant. A strong antagonist is dressed as a preacher, and it’s only now after I discovered that he’s Dolph Lundgren that his scary effect on me has lessened.

Recently I noticed that when I download a video I’d get only images and no sound. Sure enough I found that other people are having the same problem as I do and the discussions on the solutions is replete with jargon that had me jacking up my logic fast or else I wouldn’t be able to catch any of the drift.

TRON 1982

TRON 1982 protagonists

Thankfully I understood enough to realize that there’s nothing wrong with my codecs and I need not uninstall anything. That in fact it’s not my doing. Incidentally I had figured out earlier that the safest choice, for me at least, is the webm file. I used to choose either flv or mp4 but they’ve become more of miss than hit for me. So far so good and I hope there’ll be no more seemingly-malicious hitches anymore, and forgive me if they aren’t malicious at all but most people out there seem to think so. This takes me back to Johnny Mnemonic.

What’s malicious in Johnny Mnemonic’s story is that the big-time company/ies block vital and can-be-easily-had information from getting out into the people. But here’s the third reason why it remained big time for me: a dolphin’s brain is a main conduit for information capture and release. If a dolphin could do that then how much more a human, though there’s the mention of the sonic waves that we can’t detect to consider, which gets me a bit puzzled now because they’re not electromagnetic waves. I could have heard it wrong. Oh, well, at least I took to the dolphin faster than Just-Johnny did.

TRON 1982 poster

TRON 1982 poster

Now my thoughts are threatening to go whichever way, because suddenly while I was writing the paragraph above I thought of TRON and his fight against the Master Computer. But I can’t accommodate TRON here now or I’ll get off my track.

I should be talking about my wonder of the human brain here, which basically is what Johnny Mnemonic has tampered with. Way back during my paperback-novel-reading days I got introduced into the wonder of the travelling bard of the ancient Celtic societies. He’s trained to memorize his people’s knowledge through songs and stories and it is through him that subsequent generations learn of their past. He’s responsible for training one who will follow after him and in this way precious knowledge is not lost. In that story that I read an antagonist hit a bard, causing his skull to be broken (sorry about that, but I had to retell it like that).

The author lamented the tragic loss of all those lengthy sagas and lore, all stored within that helpless brain of a now lifeless mystic. I did cry when I read that and it’s among those paperback-scenes that I will never forget. It’s like experiencing a world where all information within books and libraries have been burned down (which thankfully got saved in Aeon Flux in glass-like panels, but I can’t talk of Aeon now…)

a druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

Going back three paragraphs past, I was about to say that an okay-functioning notebook doesn’t get examined by me until I notice that accessing files and webpages are getting frustratingly slow or something’s not like the way it used to be. By looking for causes and wanting to overcome my frustration I get thrown into a world of fanciful jargon, like my newest vocabulary: splitter. If you’re not into computers then don’t worry if you don’t know what this is, yet. Without anybody to help me with computer troubles I have already figured out that I could survive just by learning from the web community itself. I’ve discovered that it’s not only me who’s having this or that problem and that there are lots of people out there willing to help out. Beautiful beautiful world.

Now, what I was about to say again is this: that as much as a single personal computer is like a brain [!break! I’m listening now to Joe Hisaishi’s First Love and I’m going berserk because I didn’t know it’s his and it’s among my favorite sound tracks, this one in The Legend/Taewangsasingi  🙂 ]… as much as the computer is like the brain the cyberspace is also like a bigger brain. But then I’m a member of the cult of the human brain and I do believe that it’s more wonderful than the web, as much as I believe that human cloning will never be successful.

a  druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

If, just as in TRON, it’s possible to have all the body’s particles be digitized — and that means a one-to-one coding has been achieved — then that means memory locations can also be specified. But my argument is this: the neurons are not fixed entities but are rather, like all the human cells, dynamic. If it becomes possible to be accurate on the permutations of the totality of neural functions then memory functions can also be tracked. I doubt if this is possible, much as I doubt if it’s possible for a successful human cloning. A cloning of the physical parts, maybe yes, but the human is not only cells and tissues. Cells and tissues by themselves will not work unless there’s a “something” else that is added (e.g., in a specifically comatose patient), and then it’s a fully functioning person. I did ask my organic chemist classmate about this and he said, yes, modern technology can now successfully produce a human clone. I did ask my teacher where the soul would come from, and he said, well, God can work in indirect ways. But I didn’t press anymore because I didn’t want to compromise anyone with my fanciful speculations. At least what’s clear is that the manifestation of a genetic trait is the function of groups of genes plus the environment, a topic yet little understood nowadays.

The jargon that computer experts use just throws back at me the fact that information handling is a very specific arena. An mp4 is a world away from an mp3: one engages both my vision and hearing while the other has no visuals at all. This specificity is what our brains deal with all the time, a coordination of visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, proprioceptive, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive, thermoceptive and chronoceptive information handling, and simultaneous reactions, and more. Don’t be stressed about the 6th to 10th terms; they’re also new to me  🙂 . It’s all extended to the nerve system, hence throughout the body, at micro-world speeds. There’s storage and garbaging, filtering and enhancing, recycling, dissolution and recalling — all the complicated stuff happening in just seconds within 1 person, 1 baby, 1 elderly, even 1 dolphin!

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Haah! Now I’m irrevocably lost and can’t return to Johnny. But as this post gets disseminated to individual brains out there via cyberspace then small chunks of sense here and there among the paragraphs above will be perceived by one person or another. Bastante. I’m satisfied with that. As much as I wanted a coherent composition I didn’t exert enough will to muster the will power to do so. Nevertheless, the mind isn’t confined to just logic, the kind that has a neat row of arguments. Intuition and random functions are also important features, and they sometimes manifest in one wanting to stop crazy studying for a moment and go configure into words a collection of recollections, like this one here.

It’s now Yiruma playing with his lovely lovely A River Flows In You. I wish for a river to flow within you. I wish everyone a peaceful day/evening and may you be the blessing that you wish to be.

♥  Muchisimas gracias to the owners of the illustrations above.

On True Friendship

Chuck & Wilson _Castaway

Chuck & Wilson in Castaway

“True friendship holds the other accountable and treats the other with consideration.” – Lohr.

This means that consequently gestures have to be reciprocal, or it’s no friendship at all.

Gordie Chris Teddy Vern _Stand By Me

Gordie, Chris, Teddy & Vern in Stand By Me

However, there’s no general rule because situations are all different from each other. The giving and the giving-up between two friends could be of dissimilar criteria, and it’s only the persons involved who know and see and feel if there has been ‘accountabilities’ and ‘considerations’ going on in the relationship.

Dirkie & Fifi _Lost In the Desert

Dirkie & Fifi(?) in Lost In the Desert

That’s why ‘true friendship’ is labelled as a ‘treasure’ by many — because it’s not a-dime-a-dozen thing, it’s something rarely come across, and when one finds it one must recognize its value. Moreover, true friendships are tested by time, and circumstances. If it’s only a one-sided accountability-and-consideration then one must look at one’s heart for the truth of the matter, and pray for guidance on what to do.

the guys at Ying Kai _ Hana Kimi _Taiwan

The lovable guys at Ying Kai in Hana Kimi -Taiwan

Just like what Antoine de Saint-Exupery said: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

 

Ursula Janet Andrea _Ladies in Lavender

Ursula, Janet, Andrea in Ladies in Lavender

If a person has found even just 1 true friend then it deserves rejoicing. It means two hearts have recognized that invisible thing, and two persons have come to treasure each other.

♥   Salamat to the films from where I got the shots from.

To the ones who are celebrating it, Happy New Year to you!  🙂 ♥

sithandra & aeon _friends

Sithandra & Aeon, in Aeonflux.

garth and violet

Violet & Garth, in Ultraviolet.

Cha Tae-sik and Somi, in Ahjussi (The Man From Nowhere)

Cha Tae-sik and Somi, in Ahjussi (The Man From Nowhere)

On Loving Rightly

Alexandria  & Roy

Alexandria & Roy

Kiyoha-Higurashi & Seiji _looking at the moonKiyoha-Higurashi & Seiji

The prerequisite to love rightly does not lie in the rational plane.

 

The right way to love is not bound by any set of guidelines there is. It can never be fully described by rhetoric. It does not depend on emotions. It cannot be defined by sociology. Religion or theology are not adequate tools for categorizing it. Love is a living phenomenon, and therefore it is always in motion, dynamic, many-faceted, and more than the sum of any of its parts that will ever be identified. It is a creative phenomenon just as it is being continually created. It is a ‘being’ that cannot become better or worse than what it already is.

 

‘Love’ as a concept is perceived and communicated differently depending on the context — cultures, worldviews, influences — yet it is also something that can cut across these barriers. Those who know what love is are also the ones who are able to give and receive it even without being aware that it has already been done. It may not even be something emotional, hence dramatic. Loving and receiving love is more natural than breathing. Like the wind’s movement that cannot be defined it is there all the same, and is very real.

Many thanks to The Fall, Chuno, Crime Squad, and Sakuran for the shots.

Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be That Glittery

1.  big Chrsitmas tree      If I don’t feel like joining in the extravagance of the Christmas celebrations would I be betraying those who think that the glitters are essential?

I don’t feel like profusely thanking God that I’m forced to stay away from sweets, yet it’s something my folks would call a “blessing in disguise”. The reasons why I wouldn’t buy even a single chocolate yummy isn’t only emotional and mental but physical as well. It seems I now have a safety lock in my resolve to not do the usual things that I would be looking forward to for Christmas — that’s largely involving yummy yummy food and nice new things.

Then there’s also the decorations to be set up even when the Christmas tree is just a plastic imitation, there where I have lived all my life, and Santa with his thick clothes and reindeers in their sleigh are nothing more than just illustrative and illusions. The great majority of my folks have totally no idea what a real cold season means, and are not even aware of the great variety of conifers that exist or ever seen more than one kind.

Then we’d sing “Silent Night” along with “Winter Wonderland” without having the littlest idea of the theologies on Jesus of Nazareth, without the littlest idea of the hazards that snow and other solid forms of precipitation can bring. Would I be betraying those who feel that the extravagance of Christmas celebrations is essential when I say that, well, the great part of it is, uhm, a hoax? When one looks at the disparity between the real reason for Christmas and its popular image, globally, one can’t help but conclude that the bulk of it is irrelevant.

2.  Christmas tree decorsI did more than once heard it preached, by priests and pastors alike, that Christmas is supposed to be a daily celebration. But, man, how can that line of wisdom compete with the overwhelming sights, sounds and smells of the giddy frenzy of buying and cooking and eating and partying by only those who can? What about those who can’t afford to do so and at the same time have no idea that all these are, in fact, dispensable?

Oops, don’t read me wrongly. I do not mean disrespect. I value tradition and culture, in the way they bind communities and affirm living. I do like giving and receiving presents. I love to see my family gathered together in a special meal knowing that other families are gathered as well and that there’s general goodwill in the land and in the ones across oceans. I love the riot of colors and glitter that spring up everywhere many weeks before Advent. But where I have lived all my life electricity is expensive and so the Christmas lights is at the top of the list of things that make me cringe. “Fairy lights” are wonderful in the setting where they originated but transported into my tropical impoverished land they only make me think of unwanted heating and misplaced funds that should have gone to food and health.

3.  Santa in the airIt’ a blessing-in-disguise that I have no choice but to stay away from sweets, otherwise I would not be strong enough to resist perusing the arrays of enticing foodstuff inside an ordinary grocery store, here in the country where I find myself in now, which is one that employs nuclear energy and the best of technology; otherwise I would feel myself heroic in trying my best to be one with many of my suffering countrymen (over the recent hurricane and earthquake disasters). Dang, I really acquired a liking to those Turkish honeyed treats and now I can’t have them. Oh, well, half of my people can’t afford even a pint of ice-cream for years and years so why should I complain?

The issues involved are already much studied, such as poverty and wealth distribution. There’s an ocean of academics out there on these things. But man is man. Unless he chooses to pay attention then he cannot be coerced into engagement. And so life goes on. No one knows exactly where to. Would everything end up the way the movie A. I. (Artificial Intelligence) pictures it out to be, where the bios are no more and the world is run by software? As for now, for me here my comfort foodstuffs are just coconut, salted peanuts, and brewed coffee. With all the facts on poverty that I unearthed today my claim to these “comfort food” has become even a bit embarrassing.

I know I’m not alone in what I feel. I did find a newspaper article that I agree with in this, by a fellow countryman, and I’m glad that he and many like him think of things this way, too.
——————————————4.  tropical Christmas

 

from an article by Mr. Allan S. B. Batuhan (Batuhan: A stolen Christmas?)
(copied from:  http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/business/2013/12/21/batuhan-stolen-christmas-319946)

“Mostly for the simple reason that many people don’t feel like celebrating, in the midst of so much suffering. Yes, suffering. Ordinarily, we Filipinos are accustomed to seeing hardship all around us.

Our political institutions are corrupt, our politicians steal our money, and our people hardly have enough to make ends meet. Contestants join TV shows not for fun, but because they are the only means they have of raising funds for whatever pressing need they have in their lives. Wherever we turn, there are always those who are in need of something.

But the events of 2013 have made even what is commonplace and normal, extraordinary and abnormal. The sight of a beggar on the side of the street is something, but the horror of looking at pictures of devastated homes, and hundreds of dead bodies piled up beside the road is entirely another. Hearts not ordinarily moved by the endless parade of street urchins caroling beside one’s car while stopped at traffic, are wrenched and gutted by the grim footage flashing on the evening news.

So the usual Christmas extravagance goes out the window. And in its place come gestures of generosity hardly ever seen in a country already so jaded by suffering.

Which in the end, is probably just as well, because it reminds us all of what Christmas really ought to be—to share what we have with the least, and the last in life. And as long as we are in this spirit, Christmas will always be alive and well.

Dr. Seuss said it very well indeed: “Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we.”
—————————————–5.  Mandela on poverty

[SOME FACTS FROM THE NET:]

 

Number of hungry people in the world
(copied from: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm)

 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012).

The number of undernourished people decreased nearly 30 percent in Asia and the Pacific, from 739 million to 563 million, largely due to socio-economic progress in many countries in the region. The prevalence of undernourishment in the region decreased from 23.7 percent to 13.9 percent.

Latin America and the Caribbean also made progress, falling from 65 million hungry in 1990-1992 to 49 million in 2010-2012, while the prevalence of undernourishment dipped from 14.6 percent to 8.3 percent. But the rate of progress has slowed recently.

6.  very hungryThe number of hungry grew in Africa over the period, from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added  in the last few years. Nearly one in four are  hungry. And in sub-Saharan Africa, the modest progress achieved in recent years up to 2007 was reversed, with hunger rising 2 percent per year since then.

Developed regions also saw the number of hungry rise, from 13 million in 2004-2006 to 16 million in 2010-2012, reversing a steady decrease in previous years from 20 million in 1990-1992 (FAO 2012).

The above is based on the new estimates of world hunger by the FAO using revised  proceedures. It is worth noting that the new estimates give a different answer than the old estimates as the graph below shows (Lappe, 2013).
——————————————

 

(below, copied from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats)

 “According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4

Water problems affect half of humanity:

    Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

    Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.

7.  Mahatma Gandhi on poverty    More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.

    Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.

    1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)

    Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhoea.

    The loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.

    Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.

    Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water.

To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.… The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.”Source 10
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Regardless that things are always turned inside out and beaten willy-nilly I’d continue to affirm, by the grace of The Almighty, that life is good, and being alive is beautiful. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, wherever you are, whatever it means to you, even if you don’t celebrate it at all. Peace!

♥♥

Thank you to the owners of the pictures.   ♥♥

♥♥

If Not Luther, Then Who?

Just as I suspected.

Years ago I found this thick paperback on Martin Luther’s biography and I was disillusioned when I realized that interest in him wasn’t enough to get me through the book. I had a bit of confidence then because years earlier I had learned to brace myself through Silmarillion and The Abolition of Man. I just had to mention these two so that you’d have an idea of what I could make myself go through, and not to brag, because before I put a period at the end of this sentence I’d be confessing that I really had a hard time with those two, plus admitting that I don’t remember nor understood everything I read but that I did make it to their last pages. There.

Now that I’ve decided to check out Martin Luther again to my relief I’ve discovered that I can more or less absorb what I’m reading. But. He’s a difficult subject.

I’m not reading from that same paperback that I had earlier (I don’t have it with me now). I haven’t yet mustered the courage to read his works. I’m still looking for footholds from which to view him, identifying from which perspective I could possibly view from so that I’d be able to see well. I scout for posts in internet sites. I’m so happy that there are so many generous people around the globe taking their time to talk about ideas that are obscured by rhetoric and jargon.

Just as I suspected: Martin Luther won’t be an easy reading. If you want to understand what I’m trying to say here then you have to check him out yourself. From various sources. Not just from one. Don’t stop until you’ve seen differing views.

Do I like Martin Luther? I mean, like the way I like Schleiermacher, Tolkien and Tagore? No, I don’t. Whenever I think of Luther I get pictures in my head of fiery hell and gloomy purgatory. Of cold monks’ cells. Of 100,000 very dead peasants. Of words so spoken that it would leave me dumb and numb. Of words so bombastic that to keep my sanity I’d have to seriously deliberate with my thoughts which light to follow, his or the one’s he speaks against.

Alright. All that is looking at the half-empty part of the glass. On the part of the glass that’s filled this is what I see: if it wasn’t Luther who did that, e.g., 95 Theses then, then who? Who would have wrestled the Bible away from the scholars and make it available for the common people? Luther had the personality and the temperament. Melanchthon, who was a better scholar than he was, couldn’t do what he did. Whatever forces were behind his motives and actions the result is that many people became encouraged to look at the world from a different perspective.

I look at it like this: if the earth were not this distant from the sun then conditions would have made impossible for the biosphere as we see it now to exist. There has to be the magnetosphere and the ozone layer for the likes of us and the animals around us to thrive. I also look at the sizes of the moon and the sun: one is enormous and the other is a fraction of a dot but seen from us they’re of the same size simply because they’re respectively positioned that far away from us. If it were not so then we would never have witnessed the beauty of the total solar eclipse.

So, yes, I guess I could say that he was there at the right place, at the right time, to do what he was supposed to do. That’s my gut opinion. I can’t defend that argumentatively. I can only submit it with my usual smile. I’ve already accepted that he’s a difficult reading, and that means this has to do with all those philosophical, historical and theological issues that by consequence will be involved in studying him, and at the side taking into consideration contextual vis-à-vis psychological/anthropological/social questions.

I really wish some serious scholar would dare a comprehensive research on his personality.

Before I end this post there’s one important thing I’d like to share: I believe Luther had a satori. Really. 🙂 Because he figured it out that only God has free will. That is, the will that’s really free, constrained by no rules, belongs to God and to Him alone…  …and I feel like this is in the realm of my there-are-no-rules thought, the one that I was babbling about in the previous post… 🙂 🙂 🙂 …peace…

there-are-no-rules

glimpse of lightI may have had a satori. I may have had not. I think I had a satori. I believe it was one. It certainly may have been. Who knows. You can laugh at me. Call me a fake. It’s okay.

Weeks ago I was sitting on the toilet and suddenly it came to my mind: There Are No Rules.

I cannot say this to my teachers, because there ARE rules.

I thought of my father and grandfather, and I wonder what they’d think if I told this to them. My grandmother certainly wouldn’t agree. Nor my mother. There certainly are rules. They’d probably agree with me if I’d explain to them, but then I don’t have the words to do so. I don’t have the words. I can’t explain it even to myself. Nor do I want to.

I thought of God, and His majesty, and His order, and His beauty. There are rules, obviously. I thought of Job, who at one time rebelled against the rules, but then, he, too, would agree with me, that, certainly, there are RULES.

waterThere are rules. But I meant it when I concluded that There Are No Rules. Suddenly somehow my mind was at rest a bit more than before. I was not even compelled to reason against this thought, because I felt that it is a fundamental whatever-it-is — I can’t call it “fact” because that sounds empirical; I can’t call it “truth” because that sounds ideological.

I thought of all the people in the world, the many languages and sounds, different words, different thoughts, different events, different experiences, and I felt that the barriers between us will fall down when we realize that there-are-no-rules, making the act of caring for one another simpler and matter-of-fact, a consequence of being alive…

Yet I know there are “rules” and I don’t want to go against them lest I support “chaos”. I have always been a “good” student and I hope to never dishonor my many mentors. So please don’t get me wrong, because I’ve deliberated between keeping mum about it and sharing it, and I did so hoping that it’s part of the “yeast” that works out to the life that Jesus wants for us all…sleep

…now that it’s come to me that there-are-no-rules I feel freed somehow and, believe it or not, I do thank God for this, and just let it rest in His hands for now…

Meditating, After Super Typhoon Yolanda

[This post was created on Sunday, November 10, 2013]

———————–

Today my going to Church and taking communion had the special intention to be in solidarity with my countrymen the Filipinos in the wake of one of the worst land-hitting hurricanes in recorded history. Googling images using the terms Philippines, Haiyan, and Yolanda will be enough to get the whole picture… go ahead, please… because I hesitate to post some here…

Haiyan is the hurricane’s international name, Yolanda is its local name. The Y of Yolanda reflects the advent of this hurricane to us at the end of the year almost, since we name the typhoons alphabetically. Hurricane, typhoon, and tropical cyclone refer to the same thing, which is a type of storm.

I feel like picking up the entire sprawling archipelago and hug it tight, to comfort. The amazing thing is I know that somehow my mga kababayan (countrymen) will get over this because that’s how we are. Generally we’re simply naive that we can’t even think of berating God the way Job did. In Hiligaynon we’d all at once say in a resigned tone, “pag-buot sang Maka-ako”, with a bent head. The will of the Almighty.

The area worst hit by Yolanda had also suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake recently. Philippines is along the Pacific Ring of Fire as well as in the path of tropical cyclones. We are also affected by the El Niño. With these three things, at the least, it is easy to understand why our faith in God is a given thing. It doesn’t ask for philosophical considerations or systematic qualifications. Our faith in God comes as easy as breathing, a constant, so much so that even the worst of disasters is not strong enough to shake us off it. On the contrary, it is our lifeline and so the harsher the experience the tighter we cling to it. [ 13.Nov.13 Updates, below, links to 3 research websites, help elucidate what I’ve written in this post]

Earlier in our history there were those who called out to Bathala, a name that now has come to be heard throughout the archipelago by way of lessons in elementary school. Theologians will argue that this Bathala is not Yahweh or Elohim. This argument is irrelevant in this post, for a special purpose…

… Because I would like to translate Joey Ayala’s song Bathala into English as my way of being one with my people. I need to render Bathala as God in English, otherwise it won’t make much sense. I assume that when Mr. Ayala composed this piece he was referring simply to God, the One that the overwhelming millions of us go to church for on Sundays. I assume that when Mr. Ayala made this song he simply used Bathala to refer to the One whom I believe created everything, the Creator referred to in the Bible. Okay.

It can be argued that the globe is undergoing the cyclic ice ages and so humans have very little contribution to the warming. Okay. I don’t want to argue against that because I’m not an expert in that field. However, humans do so many things that result in the release of chemicals in the atmosphere, whose prevailing presence in turn blocks the escape of heat into outer space — the so-called greenhouse effect. Still, even if the cyclic ice ages is indeed the culprit of global warming it does not follow that we are free to do as we will with nature.

We do not have the freedom to unleash greed. Cutting of trees for profit. Mining for profit. Synthetic compounds for profit. Indiscriminate consumption for pleasure. The worship of ease and comfort. We are so submerged in greed that we cannot anymore tell between it and our skin. It cloaks us. Our souls are so soaked in it we feel like dying without it. We simply must consume frantically. We simply must have money in amounts beyond embarrassment.

The Homo sapiens sapiens is guilty of greed, from the poorest to the richest, from the most ignorant to those with multiple doctorates. So I appreciate it that Bathala is what Mr. Ayala used instead of Panginoon (Lord) or Poong Maykapal (God Almighty) or Diyos (God) because the song is like a confession of my people of the guilt to which we are part of. The mega-conglomerates of the global economy come to my mind as I meditate on this song yet I am reminded of Jesus’ words: forgive them for they do not know what they do.

butterflies The Mahatma Gandhi and Michael Jackson have said to the effect that if we want to change the world then we must start with our own self. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” A little less greed goes a long way. It’s a butterfly effect, like the phenomenon with the storms: a reduction in the propensity to consume will create a chain of events of unimaginable scale. Who knows, it may even prevent more super hurricanes from occurring again. Hurricanes are the collective manifestations of teeny-weeny changes of atmospheric pressures here and there over time, of tiny butterfly-wing drafts so to speak.

In calamities such as Yolanda my mga kababayan are simply too occupied to engage in blame games — that’s far from our thoughts. In solidarity, therefore, with this post I celebrate today’s going-to-church spirit of my country and render into English what sounds to me as our collective confession and supplication. I rest my diwa (inner self) and refrain from pointing a finger. Mr. Joey Ayala, sir, in case you come across this, please tell me on the parts that I got wrong; and I hope it’s fine with you that I have your song here, shared with the rest of the world. Here goes:

Bathala (God)

Bathala

Likha Ninyo ang bawat bagay sa mundo

Lupang kayumanggi’t luntiang bukirin

Alat ng dagat at tamis ng hangin

Oh God,

You created everything,

the brown lands and verdant forests,

the saltiness of the seas and the sweetness of air.

 Ang bawat bagay na nagmula sa Inyong palad

Ay may tungkulin sa mundong kinagisnan

Sa pagtupad nito ang lahat ay tinitimbang

All things that came from Your hands

have their own purposes in nature, the home they were reared in —

— the fulfillment of which entails reckoning to the detail.

 Ang tao

Inyong hinugis at pinaahon sa lupa

Pinagkalooban ng  talino at diwa

Upang mundo’y ipagyaman

Mankind —

him You shaped, established on earth,

provided with intellect and soul,

in order to enrich the world.

 Talino

Naging ararong nagpaamo sa parang

Naging kumpit  na sumagupa sa karagatan

Naging apoy na nagpalayas sa karimlan

Intelligence

became the plow that tamed the land,

became the vessel that battled the ocean waves,

became the fire that banished darkness.

 Sagana

Sa kayamanan ang mundong Inyong likha

At may bahagi rito ang bawat nilalang

Kung susuyuin lang mula sa kalikasan

Abundant

in wealth this nature You have created

and all creatures can partake of it

were the acquisition of them be done mindfully.

 Subali’t

Buhay-dalisay ay ‘di sapat sa iilan

Sila’y nasilaw sa kinang ng kasakiman

Ganid na diyos ang sinamba

However,

simply-living for some is not enough,

they were blinded by greed’s glitter,

they worshipped a selfish god.

 Pinaghati-hatian po nila ang lupa

Karagatan at himpapawid ngayo’y may bakod na

Kapwa tao’t hayop ma’y inaagawan ng tahanan

Walang nakaliligtas sa kanilang karahasan

Kaunalaran at kabutihan daw ang kanilang sadya

Subali’t ang lumilitaw ay ‘sang panggagahasa

They partitioned the lands among themselves,

the high seas and the atmosphere now have fences;

his fellow man and even the animals are robbed of their homes.

None are safe from their cruelty.

They say that progress and well-being is their aim

but what has turned out is violence.

 Bathala

Ako’y hinugis Nyo’t pinaahon sa lupa

Ang aking buhay ay dito nagmula

At dito rin inaalay

Oh God,

You shaped me and placed me in this world,

 earth is my origin/my sustenance comes from it,

and my life is a gift to it.

 Bathala

Bigyan lakas itong inyong tanod-lupa

Upang umiral sa mapagsamantala

Panalangin ko’y Inyong dinggin

Harinawa, Bathala.

kalabaw _Filipino farmer plowing a rice paddyOh God,

give strength to this earth-ranger of Yours

so to prevail against the opportunists;

may You hear my prayer;

so be it, oh God.

maraming salamat po sa mga may-ari ng mga litrato (thank you very much to the owners of the photos)

13.Nov.13 Updates:

Buddha Luther Happiness the Sun

It’s not easy to talk about Christianity when it’s wrapped up with centuries of jargon. Most of the time it frightens me to approach even one topic among the myriads in it. Having grown up in a cultural pot heavily influenced by community existence plus animism/fatalism and Roman Catholicism no wonder it came to my mind that should I abandon the family’s religious affiliation I might be condemning myself to a lifetime of ostracism and most probably the fires of hell.

Okay.

waterdrop on leafSo when I say that Buddhism says “Life is suffering” I am in the position to acknowledge that I certainly have not come to grasp all the nuances that Buddhism offers about this topic. But, to be sure, I know what suffering is. I haven’t gone hungry for a day but I know what suffering is. I haven’t been confined in hospital (thank you, Lord) for a minute but I know what suffering is. I haven’t had a toothache ever (thank you, Lord) but I know what suffering is.

As I was turning into an adult what has gradually become mystifying for me is the figure of the crucified Jesus prominently displayed in churches, even on the altar. (On the aside, where I grew up it was of St. Sebastian’s at the altar, partially disrobed and stuck with arrows, with the accompanying crimson paint for the dripping blood at his sides.) In the church where I tend to go to while I’m here (in a place very far away from home) it’s a painting of the Crucifixion so gloomy, so medieval Europe, right there where you would see it looming large before you as you wait for the minister to administer the bread and the wine to you, and especially when you happen to stand (some kneel) in the middle of the row. (Another aside, not that I’m an expert on paintings, and I still am ignorant on who the respected artist is, but I have it in mind to respectfully ask from an elder in resident as to why the proportion of the figures seem a bit lacking lengthwise, while I assimilate whatever aspect of beauty I could take away with me from such an agony-inducing representation.)

Now, life is suffering, I say this is true. I cannot overemphasize on the billions who go hungry everyday. I could imagine that for those who haven’t had a material lack in life there would still be the agony of not being able to obtain the latest car model the soonest time desired, or the temporary irritation of having lost a million dollars in a business transaction that would be rectified anyway in the hundreds of million dollar profit in other transactions. For girls, probably a run in the stockings, a glitch in the make-up, a boyfriend who seems to wane or simply the lack of one, a brand bag beyond the momentary budget, the bitchiness of another girl. Crazy life. Of course there’s more, and more to it, but I’m just randomly picking up from popular commercial images.

…back to the Cross and back to Buddhism… :

Whatever joy there is in the world
Arises from wishing for others’ happiness.
Whatever suffering there is in the world
Arises from wishing for your own happiness.

―Shantideva.

ladybug and leavesPutting it another way: All who are unhappy are so because they looked for their own happiness. All who are happy are so because they looked for the happiness of others.   — I ran into this quote earlier in the week and I recalled it as I was reading something on Lohr’s paper**. This was what I read, and I really need to copy the two paragraphs from pages 250-1, with which I need to include the notes, too, emphases and italicizing mine (…and… a beautiful excerpt from the consequent paragraph is in yesterday’s post) :

This concept of suffering is different than a sympathetic affiliation with those less fortunate or the common association of Jesus with those who suffer in society – the downtrodden and overlooked.[1]  An image of Jesus in solidarity with the oppressed provides an excellent model for Christians who want to walk in the footsteps of God in Christ.  It entails a not-so-glamorous path of self-effacement and humility and leads to a sense of liberation.  But, the concept of a suffering God in the theology of the cross goes further than this.  It indicates that God intimately knows the depths of human sorrows and pains.  It also juxtaposes the violence of execution with the glory of resurrection.  “The horror of Golgotha is the only way to the kingdom.”[2]  This is a theology of the cross.  It has to do with, among other things, atonement, Christology and salvation.

A theology of the cross is also a model of God’s grace.  It represents a “reversal” of direction: “God comes to us; we do not mount up to god. Atonement occurs when God succeeds in getting through to us who live under wrath and law. …  A ‘happy exchange’ takes place:  Jesus takes our sinful nature and gives us his righteous and immortal life.”[3]  There is no theology of the cross without the person of Jesus, and in it one finds a model of going out from oneself and partaking in suffering.  The theology of the cross teaches self-denial – putting oneself in the place of the other – and sacrificial love – the kind of love that is at the heart of the activity on the cross.  This implies that the Godly model is one of active engagement – of assuming the context of the other – a concept that certainly has implications for interfaith relationships.


[1] For a statement on Jesus’ “solidarity and compassion with others, that is, the deviant, the irrelevant, the marginalized, the oppressed, all in all the lowest of the low” see Paul Chung’s, “The Uniqueness of Christianity in Relation to Buddhism” in Christ the One and Only, Sung Wook Chung (ed.), (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 176.

[2] Braaten and Jenson eds., Christian Dogmatics vol 2, (Philadelpiha:  Fortress Press, 1984), 58.

[3] Braaten and Jenson (eds.), Christian Dogmatics vol 2, 47.

—————————————————————————————

a rice fieldI’d say that within these two paragraphs a wide range of in themselves ‘wide’, and crucial, topics are encompassed. There’s Liberation theology, asceticism/monasticism, biblical anthropology, pluralism, religious dialogues, as well as the ones explicitly mentioned within, and more. Whoa, that’s all way too much to handle at once…

Anyway, for now, what struck me the most was this: Buddhism and Christianity (respective branches or denominations aside) have the concept of suffering as a basic foundation in their articulations. So I was thinking that if one gets to the root of it all it really is suffering that is the most gripping reality to human existence. I could formulate it this way, too: the best way that God can get across to our consciousness (feeling and thinking combined) is through ‘suffering’. It’s the phenomenon right on the spot of urgency. It has to be on this medium that an effective communication, so to speak, can happen. So, I say to myself, wow, Christianity and Buddhism (sorry, I haven’t reached the stage of exploring the other areas yet) see each other eye to eye in this. Amazing.

Hahaha on second thoughts I see myself as very naive here because, well, if you really get rough on it why the heck do humans seek this numinous if not to, well, ‘get away’ from angst/emptiness/suffering/whatnot? Hence all the religions and mysticisms et cetera. Even Miyamoto Musashi who depended only on himself was I say a person of a deep sense of the numinous, along with all the samurai who took their swords really seriously. Chincha.

Anyway again, on happiness now… When I was younger I took for granted all these quotes on happiness that I would come across from time to time. I didn’t have the consciousness of ‘wanting to be happy’. I guess it was because I was yet very ignorant (I still am but a little less so, meaning that I’ve just discovered that I really don’t know anything, haha). Moreover there’s family and friends and relatives and neighbors and everyone around in the city in the island in the country and so what’s there to be unhappy about? There’s always something to eat and something to do and something to look forward to, and so what’s there to be unhappy about? I could not appreciate the idea of “wanting to be happy”, seeking/pursuing happiness, because I did not perceive it as something lacking in our lives where I grew up. Moreover, if laughter is a measurement of it we sure have lots of opportunity for it regardless of the situation. Chincha. Sure there was sadness and anger and gloom but at least for myself I did not associate it with being ‘unhappy’ or that happiness has gone and I needed to ‘have’ it again. Hehehe (… there you go… 🙂 … well, whatever… ) and although until now I still have this ‘steady’ disposition (yup, despite everything, and as measured by the amount of aid-less continuous sleep I get every night, at least 7 hours, thank you Lord) it has come to the stage where I’ve begun to sincerely appreciate the wisdom of the simplest of quotes, like Buddha’s:

Joy grows in us not out of possessions or wealth.

True joy of life comes out of a wise and loving heart.

strawberriesWow, so simply put, even cheapened by the casual use of it commercially, but I could only imagine the amount of suffering, or the sense of it, that had to be ruminated on before such a realization is reached. Siddhartha Gautama and those who have the kind of heart he had are awesome. What does it take to have a wise heart? What does it take to have a loving heart? Who do have these, and if so then how do they look at life, and how do they deal with their existence, how do they lead their lives? These are really the biggies.

Suffering, the perception of it, the experience of it, is a prerequisite to life’s realizations. It is those who have no sense of ‘suffering‘ — what it is like, how it feels, how it is like — who are not able to appreciate the value of life, of another human, of friendship, of presence, of being…

I don’t know how to wrap up this introspection. Perhaps it’s best if I simply don’t attempt to … or have I already wrapped it up…? …whatever…. Incidentally today is the celebration day for the Reformation. So it’s a holiday and all the shops are closed, all the students have dragged their suitcases across the hall since yesterday already and are now home for the weekend, since tomorrow is Friday and only the nerds go to school on a Friday (haha, you can debate on that). Incidentally, too, there are scholars that argue that the religious affiliation I belong to now cannot be strictly traced back to the Reformation. Whatever. And the Reformation itself was a source of angst for Luther himself. Haha, crazy world. No wonder I find myself deeply appreciating Zen Buddhism many a time.

a book on Martin Luther by Prof. Hans Schwarz

a book on Martin Luther by Prof. Hans Schwarz

Again anyway, I’d like to dedicate this composition to the contributions of Martin Luther to humankind. I for myself, granting how I grew up, can understand a bit the pressure that he underwent when he was formulating his 95 theses, and so for now I’d situate myself more on the positive end of the spectrum of like-vs-dislike for him. But, as how life is, shikataganai (for my favorite Korean drama characters it would be otoke? = what can one do? ), Luther couldn’t possibly have expected to be able to control all ‘the particles surrounding him that would naturally move in the Brownian motion way’ — poor Luther, his name has to shoulder much of the responsibility for all events that can be said to have stemmed off from his actions and words. It’s good to know (anyway) that Lutherans do openly acknowledge his faults and are in fact confessing that the institution’s (if it can be spoken of as that) actions do consider this phenomenon as an important part of the ‘background’.

Ah, what a happy day. And the sun is up and strong! Hahaha I sound like I’m a worshipper of the sun, but many times I feel I could understand why this phenomenon, worshipping the sun, has existed across the globe and all throughout history. The sun just being there, so powerful, it’s really wonderful I could feel all my cells rejoicing!

** can be accessed from:  https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10036/86921

— this paper is by Mary Christine Lohr entitled Finding a Lutheran Theology of Religions: Ecclesial Traditions and Interfaith Dialogue submitted to the University of Exeter in 2009. I still have a few more pages to read. It’s very good, speaking from a seriously-researching layperson’s point of view, and I’m very happy to have found it. So generous of Exeter to have it available for everyone.

froggy

old pond —
— frog-jump-in
!splash
by Matsuo Basho

P. S.   There’s this 2003 movie Luther that has Joseph Fiennes in it, of course it’s not enough to show about Luther but it’s good. There’s this 55-minute documentary (An Empires Special) Reluctant Revolutionary, it’s also good. Though just take time to research on your own because perspectives and articulations vary and are relative. The nailing of the theses on the castle church door may not have happened and other tidbits like that could be important for a serious student. Nevertheless, for his time Martin Luther was one awesome personality. Miyamoto Musashi lived in the late 16th century Japan and is a respected historical figure by his many accomplishments in swordsmanship, the arts, and philosophy. Zen Buddhism is a major component of Japanese life ever since its practice there (as a separate school it started there about the 12th century). It is said that Musashi had a Zen priest for a teacher — I read up about Musashi from a 5-part novel by Eiji Yoshikawa, but that was many many years ago; recently I got to watch NHK’s 49-episode Musashi drama and it’s said to be faithful to the novel — but more on this next time, and not that I really know much … whew 🙂  [dear different websites, thanks for the lovely pictures, if it’s yours and you don’t want them here just please tell me… thanks again!]

Ciao!

We Are Worth Dying For

tall tree“The theology of the cross … is nevertheless first of all a statement about God, and what it says about God is not that God thinks humankind so wretched that it deserves death and hell, but that God thinks humankind and the whole creation so good, so beautiful, so precious in its intention and its potentiality, that its actualization, its fulfillment, its redemption is worth dying for.”

leaves and sky— Douglas John Hall (The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World. 2003. Minneapolis: Fortress)

🙂  I picked this up from the doctoral paper of Mary Christine Lohr entitled Finding a Lutheran Theology of Religions: Ecclesial Traditions and Interfaith Dialogue submitted to the University of Exeter in 2009  🙂

I can’t get enough of reading the part God thinks humankind and the whole creation so good, so beautiful, so precious in its intention and its potentiality, that its actualization, its fulfillment, its redemption is worth dying for again and again. I can’t help but be emotional while I think of the biosphere with all the rain forests and the fauna therein, white and yellow plumeriaall the continents and the peoples in their varied songs and dances, all the music of articulated languages, all the dreams recorded in words and works of art and thriving organizations, all the curiosity bursting forth in scientific theories, inventions and space exploration that has now reached beyond the Solar System. The human is beautiful. The biosphere is wonderful. To see that it is so is just as lovely.

Months ago I met a physicist who was a bit at a loss for words when I asked point blank on his views on the world-apparently-being-slowly-destroyed. fall magicFrom his response I gathered that there are movements in nature that we haven’t perceived yet. He seemed to tell me that science knows that what we have found out for now is not enough to speak of what’s real. I felt then that I was listening to a scientist who had been humbled by what he has so far perceived of the structure of nature. I also felt that there was a hint of naive hope in his tone. In turn, I, too, was humbled in that I saw my ‘greediness’ in wanting to put markers and pointers and enclosures to things and phenomena in accommodating them into my scheme of understanding.

I understood a bit more then of how I could not do that with Creation. Creation is awesome, and that’s why it’s beautiful. Something that leaves us awestruck isn’t something that can be easily boxed, a mountain village reflectednor can even be boxed at all. Life and living cannot be outlined just within sociological formulations, nor ideological dogmas, nor faith systems that render us constrained and betrayed. Especially that Creation is a reflection of God.

There’s got to be more to Creation than just objects that ‘need’ to be defined, classified, organized, and manipulated. In the phenomenon of the Cross is a picture that could help make it clear to us how radical the valuing of Life, of Being, is…

…may everyone of us find that which keeps us breathing, gives us space for growth, and so Live…

[Thank you to the webpages where I got the pictures above from. Peace.]           

on communication

I brood over communication. I’m thinking of whether we all of us see the same hues. Since we each of us  are unique individuals with body cells programmed by our unique DNA codes, then we shouldn’t necessarily have exactly similar rod and cone cells in our eyes. Also, only a single pair of eyes can occupy a point from which to view an object. Angles of reflecting and refracting light from source to object to eye would be different then. Hence, the red that I see wouldn’t be the red that you see. The color #b10611 may not necessarily appear similar to any two persons in the world.

love♥  <<< this is in the color #b10611.

We each of us perceive differently and yet we are capable of grasping each other’s perception. I simply find this amazing. When I woke up yesterday the thought of dust-laden mucus being directed by cilia outwards of my body—not anywhere else—made me seriously question as to which of the two, cilia or mucus, should the will of expulsion be attributed to. I thought then that the mucus is a non-living substance. Therefore the life, the willing-to-happen, is in the cilia. The cilia ‘know’ what to do, so to speak, and they do it. Amazing. Billions of microscopic cilia in my respiratory tract ‘talking’ to each other so that the pollution in the air I breathe in is barred from entering my vital functions.

This webpage, from where I got this picture from, has an easily understandable explanation.

bronchicilia from bio.davidson.edu

I was about to say that everything that has life communicate with its own kind, but then I realize that the-making-of-things-to-happen is not confined within forms that we tag as having “life”, or alive. I was thinking that all cells withing our body communicate with each other, but then when I get down to the basic building blocks I end up with just aggregates of proteins interacting with each other according to the chemical laws. However, I also think of the virus that’s dead outside a living cell but alive when it’s inside. So the wood particles comprising my table react with each other, yes, but not in the same way as the particles within the pine tree outside my window.

Of course when we really get down on it everything we can observe are nothing but just permutations of chemical configurations, held together by the fundamental forces—at least this is how we know things to be. But the matter of perception-comprehension-communication between us humans are also permutations of possibilities (and so there’s a similarity there, but more). You may or may not be able to understand what I say. You may or may not be able to understand what I say the way I meant for you to understand it. You may be able to grasp something from what I say which is entirely outside of my perception.

happiness is by Charlie Brown

So I find it amazing when love and life and laughter and beauty and hope and friendship is communicated between persons of differing worldviews and backgrounds and experiences and convictions and aspirations.

I say that there is a sort of a quantum gap (my term for that which is traversed in a quantum leap, and I’m using them here for mental pictures only) between a non-life and something  alive. Life is such a profound mystery. This marvel is manifested in the way living things communicate. Their interactions with one another—cell to cell, ant to ant, mind to mind, for instance—might just seem to be on the spectrum of matter interacting with each other but the possibilities defy quantification. Science has been very good at quantifying so many things and has been taming matter for a while now, but Life still defies quantification. It eludes our grasp, cannot be boxed.

Peanuts gang

I’m reminded of what Jesus of Nazareth told Nicodemus, that the spirit like the wind is there but one cannot predict its movement. Whenever I wonder at what moves life I think of this wind and then I am humbled by the many things that I have no comprehension of but yet are evident. It is evident that the world is in shambles, yes, but one has only to look at obscure nooks and one will see that life and goodness and hope are thriving and are spreading, being communicated from one living being to another. Things that deaden are overwhelmingly everywhere—concrete or plastic everything, garbage in mass media, our inner struggles, etc.—yet we only need to look at the green leaves and know that they, too, cover the earth. I only need to remind myself that the next person’s skin is as vulnerable as mine, which means I am among humans who like myself have stories being carried around all the time, everywhere.

This communication thing, it’s as elusive as Heisenberg’s electron, but it can be done and in many different ways. Cells, and humans, thrive by communicating. I realize that communication, in its many forms, is as vital as food and air. No wonder it, too, is so enjoyable.

(Many thanks to the creators of the Peanuts drawings.)