Monday, September 28, 2009

Trees, forests, and sounds

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" But of course it produces what we call sound waves, but then we normally think of sound as being a tango between two, that which produces sound waves and that which can sense and make sense of the produced waves. Our brains can make sense of the sound of the tree falling via the ears, as well a tape recorder in the forest could record the sound waves, yet the making sense of the sensed sound waves needs an intelligence, and that being the brain that listens via the ears to the tape recording of the sound waves that the fallen tree produced. But without any sensors to translate the waves into 'sounds', then I'm afraid the tree falling in the forest will produce only waves that are not sensed -- a solo tango-ist. Surely the waves from the fallen tree existed, but did 'sound' too exist? Or, as George Berkeley said, "Esse est percipi" -- to be is to be perceived.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The nature of nature

Nature as evidenced by our ongoing understanding of evolution is a forever progression of change, neither good nor bad, neither progression nor recession, yet always locked in time and space, its playground. We of minds have two choices, be children of nature or be children of thought. Most chose the mind (usually by the default of evolution and tradition), and so construct sense from a surrounding nature that knows not sense. Good/bad now can become real in the mind(s) of humans, this and other concepts are constructed within, yet not found without. Nature ignorant of such non-material matters, matters that only reside within skulls, and as far as we know, found nowhere in that night sky, nor anywhere among those fuzzy yet colorful blotches populating each of those amazing Hubble snapshots. But in the end, amazing to us only, for nature is dumb to it all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vexing words

With hammer in one hand and tongs in the other, gripping another vexing word, another of those misformed words that needs but the smite of my hammer to enform it to its should be shape, and smite I do, and to my amazement that thought to be iron-like word, that word that in my mind had but one shape, yielded to my smite, not like red-hot iron, but like clay, willing, if not eager, to mold to my mind, or to any mind, and assume a new guise, for that was its soul, to mean whatever like-minded minds wanted it to mean, and always ready to change, from this to that, and not from hammer beats, but from minds, minds that are ever reshaping the world, with its words.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Nature of Art

I find both these artists of extreme interest, both are not only inspired by nature, but use the stuff of nature to 'construct' their work, and the results are what I'd call meditations on beauty that provoke the mind to pay attention! What do you think? Please leave a comment.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Books, Honey, and We

I love the feel of a 'real' book, especially those printed before 1950 or so, those printed with 'hot type' where real lead type 'kisses' the ink to real paper pages, and if you look closely, those lead 'kisses' left behind a slight impression on each page. All this tactile pleasure I think is similar to a Jewish tradition of when a young child is first introduced to the Bible, a drop of honey is placed on the first page of the Torah, then the teacher or parent tells the child to lick the honey from the page, and forever more in the memory is the sensation that God's 'Word' is sweet.

And now we have come to a time when traditional paper and ink books are being replaced by electronic books. Even though I decry that time when traditional books will be no more, I have to admit that perhaps I'm not seeing the bigger picture, the bigger picture of what exactly is a book?

I think as we humans evolved, we more and more created things that became extensions of our senses, such as telescopes and microscopes to extend the range of our eyes, or every sort of audio device to gather and funnel every sort of sound wave to fit into our ears. And so books too extend our memory by solidifying thoughts by using a progression of symbols that the last of which are the printed words on paper. Yet perhaps the electronic page is a giant leap forward in that thoughts are not only solidified, but like the mind, are searchable. Ink on paper symbols need to be searched by the eyes in a very linear fashion, whereas electronic 'words' can be searched by the CPU, the 'brain' of the computer, in the blink of an eye.

Yet I find all of this so ironic, it is as though we have evolved over countless time with a very simple goal, that of recreating what is already here -- We.

Monday, September 14, 2009


An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision.
--Thomas Aquinas

I would think angels are all about imagination, and so again the mind can take in the entire universe and still have room to create another, and another...