Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Interesting Interests

Entirely self-involved, we hardly but can see things from our own perspective. (Does compassion come ‘only’ because I feel good about being aware of practicing it?) Our own perceptions do govern our apprehension of life, and the Oscar Wilde statement, “I’m only interested in...” strikes me as a symptom of our human condition. We are raised to respond to external stimuli. Something or someone outside of ourselves needs elicit our interest. Flowers, bees, spiders, and snakes! Beauty, ugliness, accidents, and loud bangs! Something grabs the attention. And as judgementalism goes: “Inferior talk is about things; mediocre talk is about other people; and superior talk is about ideas.” We are given to absolutes. We are governed by the majority. And we certainly also have a collective common sense. It is those who break the code, who betray our common values, who step out of the box that we find ‘interesting’. After all, the poor bird that bashed into the window, lying now upside down but moving, remains more interesting than those flying freely around. And since it is outside, we may watch with interest sufficiently long enough until the concussed thing flits off again. For some brief moments, in all of this, we forget about ourselves, entirely captivated by the drama without, and in that catharsis we experience but brief surcease from the perpetual self-involvement that inhabits our own corporeal state of being; release is a feeling we instinctively seek, again and again. And finding something to interest me, as the acculturation of my learning has established, becomes a lifelong pursuit. After all, that which you find so interesting, indeed, may not much interest me.


It is a phrase often heard. Our ‘taking’ an interest in something seems to elude us, generally. Were we to suffer solitary confinement, be penned up in some dim cell with virtually no outside stimuli, we might begin counting the cracks in the wall, the number of tiles, the threads in our clothing, the.... we might ‘make’ something interesting. After all, as the poet Earl Birney has it, (in the poem David) “caught on a cliff ledge, our frozen fingers and boot-nails clung to the ice, we recalled the fragments of poems”. That is, from inside the self, there is best to come that curiosity toward life that precocious children tend to exhibit. Questions. Observations. Arrested interest, yes, but then a readiness to find almost anything else also worth examining. We are better off “to take an interest in,” than we are to have something “make us interested”, indeed.

And yet...

Real life, lived life, is about hierarchies. Preferences abound. This is better than that. More is often more desired, than is less. Our five senses guide our sensibilities. Our moral rubrics; our acculturated physical codes; our liabilities and consequences; our sensitivity, and productivity, and our very inclination is driven by our proclivities born of a lifetime of acquisitions. We may indeed accrete, but do we do so entirely horizontally, ever expanding our knowledge and reach, or do we consciously go about improving vertically, enhancing our enlightenment and intuition and comprehension and integration? The questions are not always rhetorical. The choices are not always a simple uni-dimensionality of left, or right? ‘Less’ is decidedly not necessarily worse than is ‘more’. And in our every encounter on the road of life, as we, like any other vehicle, are contractually bound to obey speed laws, are necessarily subject to the traffic around us, and are indeed contained in the vessel transporting us, we are subject to things being interesting, (and may as well also take an interest in that which is all a real part of the ongoing journey.)

“Are we there yet?”

The same road, travelled very many times over, perpetually reveals something not seen before. It is because of the light. It is because of the focus given in a moment. It is because of others who point out things one has not hitherto noticed. It is because life itself is so very rich and vibrant with change and possibility and potential and interest (that word) that we can always find things to be interesting. At issue is, how ‘to make things interesting’, and not to be dependent on things interesting me; that’s how to be invigorated! (Or do I hereby speak just for myself? Hm?)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Elementry Errors

We all make them. Errors. And we don’t just make them as children, advancing through the grades. No, living is not merely an existential endeavour through a clunky deliverance of curriculum, but rather is an intuitive and implicit journey along the quest given by open-ended questions. As such, to err, indeed, is human.

It is guilt that can erode the psyche. After all, who am I to pretend to this or that when I know of my previous indiscretions, betrayals, falsehoods, lies, thefts, and even killings? After all, is a silvered book-fish not as valued a life as a bitty fly? Is a wretched mouse not as valuable as a cat? And does not my own usurping of another’s argument continue my vainglorious path of pretense, until I am more ‘whole’? No; one is now whole, as one is, now. All the fragments and fractions and fractals of one’s days amount to The Now, individually, collectively. We carry guilt with us, at best, but as a reminder not again to delve unheedful into the possible.

Repetition assails us. The possible becomes probable by dint of our own efforts, despite the vagaries of chance and circumstance. Simplicity can elude us. And connotation can confound us. Why can’t things be simple? Yet we discover the ascension of grades to be a series of similar bricks of concepts, made at times (even by ourselves) more complex by our climbing the ladder of natural ascension; baby to child, teenager to adult; adult to dotage; dotage to death. We accrete quite readily in our acquisition, our knowledge, and our experience. And as we age we can more easily let go of the trappings of youth. A sense of “been there, done that,” can settle one into the comfy chair. And as one’s wants and needs shrink, so too can we let go of our mansion, and clear the clutter, and reduce our footprint to that of a small apartment, (if not the necessity of succumbing to a nursing home.) At risk, always, is the shrinking of the mind. At risk, always, is the shriveling of the soul, such that we can become embittered, curmudgeonly, and sad. The denotation of the lessons of life can become a pile of unyielding bricks, built like a wall around (if not within) us, and we no longer may be interested in the potential, the possible, the probable, but instead may arm ourselves for death; some railing against it; some inviting it in; some so self-assured about the surcease of their physical vessel, yet reassured by the sense of an ongoing coagulation of their individual soul to meet in heaven those who’ve gone before.

We make mistakes. Our lives may well start as a tabla rasa, but quickly become a palimpsest upon which our deeds are written, and rewritten, our ‘doings’ repeated in ever larger cycles as the years go by. Once we were but the proverbial “brick and a tickey high,” (“knee-high to a grasshopper,”) but suffice to say that the errors of our ways, and those errors in our way, and the way itself was not always of our own choosing. At issue is what we do with it all. And doing, hereby, is promulgated as an instant activity, instant for instant. One grows toward peace, or not. And peace, as we know, is very much about an individual acquiescence (different from a dreaded ‘succumbing’) to the need to integrate everything ‘as it is,’ while still doing whatever one can to advance the inch-worm-like collective progress of The Bell Curve, in deeds, indeed.

Dense and turgid thinking can give way to enlightenment. One can see the forest from above the trees, yes, but to be within it and have a whole sense of it simultaneously, now there’s the thing! We do tend to immerse ourselves in the details. Yet, after all, one can only go halfway into the forest before one is headed on the pathway, leading halfway out, ha! (And given that there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, is it not astounding that we nowadays have over a million words with which to play; concepts to lead us straight; concepts to lead us astray.)

Errors are most easily overcome if they be non-intentional. Some errors are silly, foolish, immature, and careless. Some are born of laziness. Many are as a result of one being ignorant in the moment. Many are spawned from impulsivity. Most are regretted. (Sorry.) Regrettably, very many are repeated. Over, and over. Elementary errors indeed. In thought, and deeds.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Black and Red and Blue

We drove the gasoline-empty black car toward a red cliff. (Actually, our borrowed Acura kept heading toward Redcliff, but we did not know it was there.) The digital gauge warned us, and when the alarmingly fast count down from 50km to ZERO happened, we were seriously worried. Eastern Alberta prairies are an endless field after field. The gauge now read naught! Yet the engine kept running. Our cellphone did not tell us of any nearby gas station. We slowed right down, coasted the downhills, and phoned the number on our Automobile Association card. “You have to be stalled,” they told us. So long as we were going, they would not help. Well, for at least ten long minutes, or longer, we travelled in disbelief that the car did not stutter. And then, Redcliff magically appeared! A Shell Station sign enticingly beckoned. We turned left at the light, and drove up the side road toward it, only to discover a yellow tape around all the derelict and disused pumps! So, carefully we turned around, and espied a Co-op petrol station, hidden behind some other buildings, across the highway. At the light, which stayed red overly long, I envisioned us stalled while crossing the highway, and so right in the speed-path of the huge 18 wheelers, or any other vehicle, unable to see us until the last moment. And when the light let us move, I gingerly gave the gas paddle a little press, and must’ve muttered under breath, “Please don’t stall.” And... we made it! At the pumps, we replenished! And we laughed, at last angst free.

Risk is often miscalculated. Yes, we’d checked the gas gauge before setting off. Our destination would’ve left us with 80km to go. But given the excessive headwinds of a chinook, (that warm wind that Albertans love in winter,) as well as the posted speeds above 110 kmph, we must’ve swallowed more gas than estimated. And the rest is history. At the very least, we barely made it in time for our appointment at Medicine Hat. At the very least, all was well.

But not so if the black car stood for a bank column, the red cliff stood for imminent debt, and the helpline was, like a perched vulture, awaiting one’s bankruptcy. The simile abides. Then the metaphor changes. Then the analogy can be scary. Then the story gets more complex.

Given colour, red states and blue states battled it out, these past elections. Particularly in the USA. But so too for Canada. Conservative versus Liberal. Republican versus Democratic. And then there are the other parties. The orange and the green. We are so easily divisive. We are so easily contrary. We are so readily persuaded. In Alberta, the oil-rich but untapped province that voted entirely for conservatism, there is now much talk of Wexit*. Many want to leave Canadian liberalisms! The Alberta west wishes to establish itself, like Quebec, a sovereign nation. And so, the disgruntled populace of Alberta, suffering under growing joblessness and plummeting real estate values, wrestling with clogged reserves and not sufficient arteries to get the produce to the coast, is considering withdrawing from the federal playing field. In the USA, the president’s impeachment is under the microscope. In Canada there is anger over the prime minister’s face masked by black makeup. And yes, like most things, one needs to have been there, seen that, even done that, in order more fully to appreciate the references. We do prefer our own colours!

An autumn friend turned eighty. A summer friend turned ninety-six. The years tick by. The decades grow by dint of time, irrespective, in spite of, and despite ourselves. We each have a tank of gas, and unlike the car, we do not easily refill. Our lot is our lot. Yet “living on borrowed time” is not so unusual a phrase. So too for “having one’s luck run out.” And in the meantime, we travel into the future, by diurnal turns, minute for minute. We sleep. We arise and vote. We go make our choices. We live, impassioned, and full of intention, and we take our chances.

But when the brown-rich topsoil is all stripped from the skull of the land, and the exacerbating wind distributes it all, will-he, nil-he, against the arid and unyielding surfaces of our fears and concerns, shall we still ride in our luxurious vehicles of privilege, despite our constraints; and shall we all be heading toward a cliff, lemming like, from which there really is no return? Or might we each, each by each, check our gauges, determine our co-ordinates, and take fewer chances? After all, above us, does the sky not quite often still become an unblemished blue?

* https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/wexit-federal-registration-1.5347597

Friday, September 27, 2019

Moving Metaphors

We are so dependent on our batteries. We are so dependent on the vessels that buoy us. Even afloat, we have the swirl of potential and possibility happening around us. Logs can suddenly surface. Big obstacles can impede one’s flow. Waterfalls plunge. Rapids rock. Driving too. The traffic can be so very unpredictable. Just like life. We contain ourselves in the shell of our exoskeleton and hope that all our memories, all our treasures, all our luggage, stays intact. Even though we may not handle all of it our self. Along the way, we must entrust to others much of what once was ‘just’ ours. But even so, wrapped up, boxed, locked in the trunk, and hidden from view, very many of our treasures do not get seen until we ourselves unwrap them.

Adam Broadford (in his: Admission, A Story Born of Africa; as well as in his: Transition, From Africa to Canada) finds a constant need to rely on his own battery. It is the vital source impelling him from place to place, from predicament to predicament. So too for each of us. But admittedly, Adam has an extraordinary set of challenges, much beyond the average experience. His need to keep himself charged up, ready for reaction and response, becomes habitual. Most of us, thankfully, may take things more easily.

Yet all batteries can lose their juice. Compartmentalized, each cell does its thing, yet is essentially interdependent on the others. Like the Johari Window. It’s four panes look both outwards and inwards. 1) We see ourselves as others see us. 2) They see things in us we do not see. 3) We know things about ourselves that others do not know. 4) And then there’s the unknown that neither of us know. So? What is it that invigorates one to open one’s window to the outside world and invite change, impel the move to yet another place? How does one maintain a sense of equilibrium within the resultant flight from one place to another? Does a yacht not pitch and yaw to the rigging of the sails? Does a plane not shudder and gyrate in the turbulence? Does a car not screech at corners too sharp, squeal at sudden stops? And does the body not ache from the muscular adjustments to the variant slopes of the floor, the shudder of lifting packing boxes, the unending sorting of one’s stuff? Even pack horses must sometimes go uphill. Even steam trains need sand on the rails to prevent the big engine’s drive wheels slipping and squealing against the incipient threat of sliding backwards. Buffeted by winds, the free bird on the wing adjusts. But not all is a voyage with wings outspread to the ease of thermal dynamics.

But ‘bad’ batteries do not respond to kick-starts, push starts, or even to patience. Kaput, they give but an ineffectual clicking at the starter. And then, with one’s bonnet open, and the jumper cables, like blood red and old black placenta dangling, awaiting vital connection, well, it can be an awkward thing. Help. Please. Someone must stop; and have the generosity of spirit to regenerate the evidently immobile.

We move. Most of us move without much thought to the effort it takes to rise from inertia and to go about one’s daily gig. For some, each movement costs. For some, a steeling of reserves and intention and objectives becomes essential to lift a mere cup of sustenance, never mind the focus needed to move boxes, furniture, stuff. And the batteries are best removed from clocks that may be packed away for a year. But the battery in the vehicle, well now, that best be changed. Especially after packing up and needing a boost, twice, within the last fortnight.

We move into the unknown. The new place; the new city; the new friends to make; the new adventures to have. At issue is whether one moves horizontally (despite the accretion of yet more to know, and to have,) or moves vertically, acquiring yet more insight, more clarity, more enlightenment. That Johari window is most easily rendered with four equal panes. But real life is not about equality. Is it? We each are not given the same. We each take on different paths. And we each use our batteries according to the will within. Especially when adult. Especially when given license to be independent; and most especially, when free to move.

Still, best to keep one’s battery charged. Best to renew the old one. And best to have jumper cables handy in case we need help. After all, we’re never really, truly, independent. Are we?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Grist For The Grail

Since antiquity we have searched for The Grail. Alas, its elusive quality remains ephemeral. We can but briefly attain it. Out there, beyond ourselves, it might be felt or glimpsed or realized in a moment of consciousness, in happiness with an object, or in a paradigm shift of apprehension that evolves our sometimes-sluggish psyche. But always, it is attained comparatively briefly, before we must be off and on The Quest, for yet more. After all, stasis goes nowhere. And deep in the atavistic instinct of each us, surely as we each indeed were the winning 'swimmer' to attain fusion with the fertility of being born, we are profoundly restless. We want more. We want somewhere else. We needs be doing, be going, be producing, be attaining, be fabricating, and even be sustaining. Movement is all. Who can sit still, always? Eventually, we want elsewhere.

So long as The Grail is elsewhere, we shall pursue it. Given that it be something beyond our inner selves, we shall never be happy. We can forget our essence. We can forget the precise moment by moment of The Now. We hanker. We yearn. We fear being selfish. We understand that our ‘real’ connection, since birth, is essentially about interconnection. To survive, we first needed a parent. Then we wanted a family to fit into. After that we wanted to establish our individuality. Competition gave us status. Then we gave of our individuality an allegiance to a larger group, subscribed to our parental or self-chosen religious base, subsumed ourselves to an established organization, or affiliated ourselves to a political base. Fence sitting is felt to be too wobbly. One needs to declare oneself a part of This or That. And to have one’s feet straddling two camps is often construed as betrayal of another’s paradoxical singularity of cherished ideals. Integration comes slowly. It can wear the cloak of arrogance. At worst, it does not without contempt suffer fools. At best, it creates the illusion of benevolence. After all, without oneself at the helm, where would one’s ship of state be? And then, realizing that the very ship one sails is depending on the egalitarian equitability of all counterparts, one may well yoke the entirety of mankind into a collective, (yet still deem all those who misunderstand an umbrella of protectionism to be essentially misdirected.) After all, some are fools, idiots, and even oxygen thieves. Full Integration, compassion, absorption, assimilation, and acceptance comes but slowly. After all, just who do you think you are? Indeed, to differentiate so drastically from the generality of the acculturated contention of one’s compatriots is to have entirely to be self-reliant, to have hold of The Grail, to know peace with every moment, and who among us is always ‘there’. No, peace has its place; and then one moves on. Irritation, grief, annoyance, dissatisfaction, incompletion, and wont impels us elsewhere. The Quest persists. After all, as even John Wayne (that icon of manly and independent self-actualization) is purported to have said, “we can cry more comfortably in a Mercedes than we can on a bicycle seat.”

Cycling alone up the east coast of Great Britain, and desperately fearful of being apprehended by the police, Adam Broadford was in search of The Grail. In the sequel novel to his Admission, A Story Born of Africa, Adam makes the transition from Africa to England, then to Scotland, the remote Orkney Islands, and finally to the frigid north of Canada. His story, called Transition, is actually more about the inner journey toward enlightenment than it is about the outer journey of geographical displacements. For Adam, being essentially autotelic, meta-cognitive, and impelled by an entelechy (an innate drive) to surmount and surpass the circumstances of his birth and upbringing, he strives to transition from a world of victimhood to a world of choice. Many of the cages in which one dwells are cages of one’s own acceptance of circumstance. For Adam, creating a life of freedom for circumspection; for freedoms of choice; taking advantage of varied opportunity; and taking on a chosen citizenship (as opposed to being compelled by the circumstances of birth and acculturation,) his journey is of one of adventure and excitement, yet also a journey of profound inner transition. One learns to forgive the past.

The Quest is ongoing. The Grail is always there, however fleetingly observed. Thing is, to awake each day to its presence. Our interconnection, our integration, that’s grist for The Grail.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Of Truth in The Tales

Ask Dorothy, our imaginings can bear fruit, (oh my!) To be here, or to choose not to be there, is the question. So very much is predicated on our choices. (Woody Allen has it that 80% of life is just showing up.) Yes, when we act, we do contact the future. Even the actions of our thoughts, like silken silvered threads, can connect with materializations, so that long-ago friendships can be rekindled, or our more immediate ones we may allow to fragment. Our actions stir. We give energy a form with our constructs. Words matter. Images do too. Concrete words create imagery.

Yes, twixt truths and tales lies a colourful tapestry of one’s past. Yet golden-yellow bricks may but be clunky concrete through our personal chronology. Old decades become specific years; are months; are days; are hours; are right now. (You’d think we need no reminder.) Yet without an ontology, or our suspending disbelief in our meaning-makings, we may become but robotic. We do this. We do that. Our choices can become uni-linear. This is better than that. Honesty is better than lies. Dicotyledonous, we can eschew multidimensionality. We grow more left than right, or is it ‘righter,’ than left? Even then, our accretion may be but horizontal, scarcely vertical. We do not necessarily evolve in our paradigm shifts. Should we not, intentionally, aim at wisdom and insight, we can grow bitter, unloving, cynical, and distrusting. We can close ourselves off to forgiveness, to hope, to love, and to growth. We may just choose: This, which is better than That. No abstractions about it!

Truths and Tales dominate Adam Broadford’s extraordinary past. As the protagonist, the narrator, in his ‘Admission, A Story Born of Africa;’ and in his, ‘Transition, from Africa to Canada,’ he makes constant choices. Truths are necessary; his tales give them meaning. (Yes, Dorothy meets the tin man, lion, and scarecrow. But by twisting at the tale, it can bedevil those who know ‘the real’ Truth.)

Then again, we do like to know the truth. “Did you really kill?” someone asks. And as questions become more intimate, so too do my deflections. After all, a novel is just that: a work of fiction. (Still, I would not set my novel in Paris, or Turkey, having never been to those places.) No, it’s better to write from what one knows. It makes the passages more visceral. It makes experience more real. It makes the story, the tale, more believable. It gives scope and dimension and insight a chance to dance. Yes, novels, we know, are not the truth. One ought best, when reading a novel, (like being absorbed in any theatrical play, or when captivated by a film,) suspend one’s disbelief.

Yes, that one might learn something is not always the goal of entertainment. Catharsis is not so much a paradigm shift of apprehension as much as it is a release from the constancy in our containment of the self. Catharsis, in Plato’s realization of it, can be achieved in the moment of utter and total absorption in the shadows on the wall, such that one momentarily forgets the self.  As such, comedy and tragedy, like the iconic masks of theatre, are indeed yoked. (Indeed, too much of didacticism, of preaching, of persuasion, or even of teaching, can be much off-putting.) 

Yet for me, specifically, I most enjoy something created that engages me more than a temporary sense of relief from the self, (pretty as a perfectly or abstractly painted vase of flowers may be). I prefer stretching into other precepts and percepts, or my yielding into the sense of spiraling on a tangential path, so that the wondering and wandering and time spent with another’s work may leave me, specifically, feeling that my time was well spent. Indeed, to be here, or to choose not to be there, remains the question. And choosing the pathways that are less trod, in deeds, may make all the difference. (Truth be told.) Abstraction, indeed, is among the great treasures of life!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gradual Gradations

           The Integrative Gradation Theory: (by Richard Michelle-Pentelbury)

            “Adam? What one word sums up your understanding of life?”

            “Grades,” the word came out. He wanted to explain, ‘but not in actual years; it is about one’s individual insights, progressing through the grade levels, in ‘the school of life,’ and about us all, all of us, being simultaneously in the various lessons, our individual integration dependent on our own handling of life’s curriculum. To wallow, or to grow.’

            But Thom, the older man asked: “As in ‘mental age’?  Different from our actual age?”

            “Yes. We have different degrees of innate intuition.”

            “To what purpose?”

            “To contribute to the health of the whole. To learn.”

            “Will we ever stop learning?”

            Adam laughed. “There will always be continuing education.”

            “And who is in Grade Two? And who in Grade Three, or Four?”

            “All of us. Simultaneously. In some things one may be in multiple grades, but in some things, predominantly, living chiefly in a given grade. We ascend, depending on our own perceptions, our own taking in of lessons. We grow, or wallow, given individual understanding, by our insight on any given aspect of progress. It is not for the lesson to teach All, but for us to learn All from the Lesson. Tadpole to frog. Caterpillar to butterfly. At a sophisticated insight, we may become dimly aware of something to yet learn, while processing yet another lesson, chiefly, at a ‘grade three.’ One may even be in high school, while trapped in aspects of a ‘grade one’ lesson. Kindergarten, or University; our ascending, our ‘aging,’ is not dependent on real-time.”

            “This is positive and negative? Grade-One being negative, compared to Grade-Thirteen?”

            “Not necessarily. A person chiefly in Grade Two is better asked to be the best that he can be, within Grade Two. We progress toward the next grade, independent of physical age. A given child may be wiser than an elder. Still, it could be foolish, inadvisable, to ask either the Grade Two child, or Grade Two elder, ‘entirely’ to practice the more mature Grade Six, or to accommodate an inappropriate aspect of more complex lessons, for most lessons are there for all to see, or hear, almost all the time. We each do as we can within our own understandings, our own awareness.”

            “I see. Do we all get ‘older’? Do we all, invariably, progress up this graduated ladder?”

            “Yes, and no. If by ‘we,’ you mean the individual, the ‘I, me, mine,’ then not necessarily. If you mean by ‘we,’ the collective, the amalgamation of like-mindedness, the gathering together of fragments in order to progress toward the next junction, or level, then ‘yes,’ we collectively evolve, progress, contribute, ascend, but each by each, contributing, yet not simultaneously.”

            “Wonderful! So, you’re saying we do not necessarily retain our ‘individual’ identity once we’re dead, but fragment, spiritually, and regroup into some other evolving individual, as it were.”

            “Ha! Constructs are but a theory, I am thinking. Some of us are personally sure. Some say, ‘possibly, yes.’ Some say, ‘definitely no!’ Some identify, piecemeal. And we may integrate not just once we’re dead. We can connect, spiritually, and become collective even while alive. It all is One. But dead, some, I am thinking, may maintain selfhood. Ghosts. Others may yield themselves up, fragment, into the greater whole. Down here, alive, some are of one people, one tribe. Others free themselves only to come together in yet another grouping, made of many different tribes, but now dependent on the new collective. That is why one is better off, I am now thinking, comfortably alone. Alone, yet connected to all. Alone, yet intentionally learning. Alone, we are to find our own truths.”

            “I see. Are truths, individual or collective, ‘wrong,’ or ‘right’?”

            Adam smiled, remembering an answer to that sort of question, so very long ago: “I am thinking, truths as constructs are neither completely wrong, nor entirely right, except in the minds of those whose thinking makes it so. We allow for all. We integrate all. We accept all. Ha!”

            “Hmm. Evil too? We can ‘allow’ it? And besides, what of those lesser things than us? Animals. Stones. Grass. Other material things. How do they fit into this theory?”

            “It all is in One!” Adam laughed. “But just like people, some are ‘denser’ than others. Concentrated. Evil is intentionally destructive. Purposefully harmful. Dullness thinks little of consequence. Some energy is slower. Less reactive. Less responsive. But it all is One. Energy. And it moves, feels, breathes. And we all know, somewhere down deep, whether our part in it is healthy, or feeling ‘off,’ or ill, or selfish. Even a bare room, or this home of yours, I am thinking, has a feeling, even when we are gone from it. We give energy. Positive, a concept, can be suspect, fake. And so too can Negative. Yet we all share energy. It all is One. We may choose to be healthy, to contribute to the health of the whole, or we may choose to be self-centered, to focus only on that which we want, which we understand, which we hold dear. And most of us feel ourselves fitting somewhere in between it all, aware, but not aware, depending on the circumstances, the lessons, the impetus of our own lives. It all makes for One, in the end. Ha! Sorry, I’m preaching.”

            “In the end? What end?”

            Adam reflected. “Change. We all recognize that the change of one thing to another brings about an ‘end.’ So too will this universe perhaps collapse and fragment and change into other things, eventually. Unrecognizable things. Even as the caterpillar, I am thinking, never exactly suspects that it will become a butterfly, but deep down, somewhere in its subconscious, its ‘other-knowingness,’ I surmise, it knows it is surely and steadily on a path of metamorphosis. Change.”

            “And it is better to be a butterfly than a caterpillar?”

            “Ha! That too is a matter of perception. Tadpole, or frog? But most helpful to us all is the common feeling that we reach for, that we think of, that we prepare for: something better. Ha! Even those who think only of making ‘the now’ the very best that they can make it, day by day, for all of us, make our tomorrows ‘better.’ Healthier.”

            “And you? What grade are you in?”

            “Well, certainly not at Graduation Day, ha! Then again, the same as anyone else: in every grade, simultaneously. Parts of all. Yet wherever we are most comfortable, where our awareness feels the most accord, there we are most to be found. Whatever is, ‘predominant.’ So too are the grade levels, or gatherings, or given societies, for each of us, and all. Yet we are all One.”

            “And what would the advantage of our understanding be that we progress through Grades?”

            “Compassion. We could, I am thinking, allow the one mostly in Grade Seven to progress predominantly within that grade, knowing he will eventually pass through it. We may evaluate ourselves, our own reactions, our own grade, which, ideally, is more about ‘integrating,’ being considerate, than is our having a negative attitude, or judging. We too were once in Grade Two. So too might we take more responsibility for some Grade-Two soul, so that he does not, as an older mentor once said, ‘We do not just allow for the child to fall down the stairs!’ Ha!”

            Thom paused. “Hm. So, is there such a thing as predestination?”

            “Hm? Predestination pretends at certainties. One thinks one is important enough that some Overlord, in the fact of the burgeoning billions of us, can take time out to care for just one special little me? Ha! There is but choice! Response, and reaction. Grow, or wallow. Lessons. Grades.”

SEE: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190617-deep-ethics-the-long-term-quest-to-decide-right-from-wrong?ocid=global_future_rss&ocid=global_bbccom_email_18062019_future