On Affairs of the Heart

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Cloudfire
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On Affairs of the Heart

In the wake of several posts addressing the need for more dispassionate adherence to facts, figures, and documentable evidence, I am inspired to hold forth about the value of the wisdom of the heart and soul. Indeed, one of the factors that makes this site attractive is CM’s insistence that fact be separated from opinion, and that assertions of fact should be backed by the appropriate documentation. This is a laudable guideline when applied to energy and the economy, and perhaps a bit less so, to the environment. But I would argue that while it is useful, it is insufficient in itself in guiding us in our decisions regarding people. In the Community Forum, there’s been an interesting ongoing discussion of the framework necessary for a thriving community, and one of the [as yet] undisputed characteristics proposed is that the ideal community is of human scale. The need for human scale is evident in the ineffectiveness of our [U.S.] federal government in meeting the needs of individuals and families . . . . . . The scale is wrong. . . . . . massive programs are simply of the wrong scale to deliver the goods that nurture the heart and soul . . . . . . . . and what differentiates us from a highly developed form of AI*, if not the heart and soul of man?

All of that is just so much rhetoric, so, at the risk of hearing the collective groans of those hearing yet another Tale of the ICU, I offer the following:

Some years ago, I received a unique patient in the ICU at the community hospital where I worked. This case was right-up-my-alley, as the patient was completely atypical: she was only 19 years old, and though there were no known risk factors (such as birth control pills), she had suffered a massive left hemispheric stroke. For those without medical background, this usually means complete loss of the use of the right side of the body, as well as loss of receptive and expressive language skills (speech). (For those who are well versed in these things, she was right-handed).  When the CAT scan films arrived, I put them up on the viewer, and literally gasped . . . . . . . . for all practical purposes, the entire left side of her cerebral cortex was gone . . . . . . the first question was “how did this happen?” The stroke was occlusive in nature, not hemorrhagic, so an aneurism was ruled out. Some kind of congenital anomaly could not be ruled out. There was a boyfriend with a violent history, but there was no physical trauma evident . . . . . It was just one of those mysteries that would never reveal its secrets.
Needless to say, this young woman was in dire straits . . . . . she was hemodynamically unstable, unresponsive, and her pupils were fixed and dilated (a condition associated with severe brain damage and/or brain death). As no two patients are the same, this one was unusual in that, though comatose, her eyes remained open . . . . . . but fixed and dilated. Even for a seasoned ICU nurse, it was a bit eerie.
As always, I continued to talk with the patient, with little hope that she could hear me, offering comfort and encouragement, and letting her know what I was doing. As I moved around the room, her open eyes were fixed, that is to say, they did not “track” me around the room. Her pupils were huge and black, nearly completely obscuring the color of her irises. As I would pass in front of her line of sight, as it were, though there were no outward signs of it, I had the eerie and distinct sense that she could see me. Try as I might, with all my training in objective assessment, I could not find a shred of documentable evidence that this was so. But going on my gut, I would position myself in her line of sight when I spoke to her in earnest.
As fate would have it, one evening, on my initial assessment, I found the technical data on this young lady indicating that she was dehydrated, and concerned about the perfusion to her already traumatized brain, I called the intensivist. It wasn’t like him to inadvertently allow his patients to be inadequately hydrated, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he told me that he wanted her “dry”, to ensure that her organs were not spoiled by overhydration, since he planned to harvest her organs soon. Well, that took me back a step, and gathering my thoughts, I stumbled forth with: “Doctor [Name Withheld], I have nothing but my gut to base this on, but though her eyes do not track, and her pupils are fixed and dilated, when I walk in the path of her line of sight, I sense that she sees me.” The line was silent, so I leapt into the breach, saying, “I’m basing this entirely on my gut, but I’ll stake my reputation on the assertion that this patient is nowhere close to brain dead.” This was our premier intensivist, and I secretly wondered whether I had just killed my career . . . . . . the line was silent for what seemed like forever, and then: “OK, I’ll give you three days”. Well, that was all this crusty old nurse needed. I related the story to my colleagues, and we went to work . . . . . . within the requisite three days we demonstrated a sufficient response that the intensivist, who was supremely competent, was fully onboard. I knew that half the battle was won . . . . . . .
About a month later, needing to move to the day shift, I had filled a slot on the stepdown unit, and was delighted to hear that my patient had followed me. She had been to Hell and back, and still had a tracheostomy and paralysis of the right side. It was assumed that she could not speak, though that could not be confirmed due to the tracheostomy, which bypasses the larynx, precluding utterance.
And oh my, oh my! Was she angry! No, she’d have none of that “I’m so grateful you saved me” stuff. She was right and truly outraged that we had saved her to live on as a “cripple”. Though she could not speak, her eyes and body language told the story clearly enough. And oh! When we got her up in the chair to improve her respiratory status, she was livid! (Skip to the next paragraph now if you’re squeamish). This little whippersnapper would reach up with her good hand, pull down her trach collar (delivers oxygen), and hurl phlegm at us with all her might! Well, that, and her despair simply had to be dealt with . . . . . .
Though it was not in the “care plan” that had been scientifically developed by the hospital’s bean counters, I went down to the gift shop, and bought a squirt gun. I loaded it up with sterile IV fluid (so no one could complain about the “risk” factor). With the usual struggle, we got this young lady up to the chair, and I handed her the squirt gun. I explained to her that if she could hit me with it, she could go back to bed. Well, what fun we had . . . . . . No, she was not smiling, but, yikes! She was determined to punish me! I got quite a workout whenever I had to visit the patient next to her room, ducking behind the station, and doing variations on the “GI crawl”. I knew that we were on the right track when she finally “got” me . . . . . . . the satisfied look and involuntary smile said it all!
Eventually, I bundled her up, wheelchair, O2 tank, suction canister, feeding apparatus, IV fluids, and all, and took her outside on a mild summer day. My colleagues thought I had completely lost my mind, and my not-so-young charge was not initially enthusiastic. But when we got outside, and she felt the wind in her hair and the sun on her face for the first time in months, the tears rolled down her face, and I knew that the battle was won.
Several months later, I was rewarded, when, back in the ICU (on day shift!), I was interrupted in my work because “somebody is here to see you”. My colleagues knew full well who the visitor was, but played dumb so they could see the look on my face when I saw this young lady walk in, with a splint on one leg, and say, “I just wanted to thank you”. . . . . . . . Even I, who was initially her only believer, was dumbfounded. She not only could walk and talk**, but she had just won back the custody of her 2-year-old son.


So, my, that story got long . . . . . . . I apologize for that, but my point is this: that while the data are very useful, sometimes it takes a human heart, courage, and a heaping dose of faith to make the right decision. To my knowledge, none of those are quantifiable by scientific means.

So, how is this applicable to community at large? Far be it from me as a lover of the oscilloscopes and LEDs available in the ICU, to negate the value of technology, appropriately applied science, and objective data. Without these, modern civilization would not be possible. But also, without the unquantifiable values of the heart and soul, civilization, as I understand the concept, would be equally impossible. I tremble to envision a society in which we worship the trinity of technology, science, and mathematics. It’s not hard to imagine the rationalizations that could be made for infanticide, euthanasia, cannibalism, and the mythological soilant green. It is not hyperbole to understand that these are the potential endpoints of logic unchecked by the human heart and soul. It’s a slippery slope, my friends . . . . . . let’s check the slide with our roots firmly grounded in the hearts and souls with which we are so generously endowed.

An with that, I declare, that I am, for better or for worse, truly "back". 

 

* Artificial Intelligence

** Though the vast majority of right-handed individuals are left-dominant, that is to say, the capacity for speech is located on the left side of the brain, this young lady turned out to be one of those very rare individuals who are both right-handed and right-dominant, so her ability to communicate was preserved.  I wasn't present, but I can, from experience, well imagine the first choice words that came out of her mouth after the tracheostomy was resolved!
 

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Amen Cloud!

While I do sometimes support a rational approach and pragmatism (especially on this board, it seems), I am most definitely a "gut feeling" girl.  (For those of you who care about MBTI personality theory - I'm a dyed-in-the-wool INFP).  All the data and rational argument in the world will never convince or sway me if I feel, deep down, that the opposite is true or there is something missing. It has taken me a long time to balance my feeling side with my thinking side so that I don't go off half-cocked; but that feeling side definitely trumps all. I absolutely will not ignore a bad ju-ju feeling ever again!

I think that our culture now blindly worships Science and the Rational in way that is just as unreasonable as Mysticism and Superstition. We need both our heart and mind to make good decisions! A person will always have a preference toward Thinking or Feeling... but it's important to develop the weaker one so they're more in balance. Thinkers can stand to be more compassionate and Feelers can stand to be more pragmatic. Balance in all things, Grasshopper.

BTW - I loved your brain trauma story. Since my neurophysiology is anomolous, I love hearing about others who came out ahead of the curve because they were built all wonky! When I was younger, I was in a bad car accident and took a healthy crack to the noggin. At the ER no one realized the extent of my concusion because I was writing and talking and tracking, etc. But one nurse noticed a little thing that got me into the CAT scan really quick... I was writing with my left hand now and she remembered I was using my right hand when I came in. Since I am ambi, I can write just fine with either hand, and since my right hand wasn't working quite right, I was doing everything left handed!  If she hadn't gotten, or paid attention to, that niggling feeling that something wasn't as it should be, it's possible that they could have sent me home or I could have coded in observation!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Welcome back Cloud, thank you for your ICU story, that is a great example of the value of intuition and instinct (and lots of heart and creativity). You patient was fortunate to have such a dedicated and observant nurse.  Hi Plickety.

I think some intellectual types rely on gut more than they realize  and then find the facts to support their feeling.  I have read that one of the originators of the double helix theory of DNA based his final theory on a dream and then completed the scientific research to back it up. I love science, have loved it since I was a kid, but not everything is quantifiable by our limited intellects.   We are not smart enough to quantify and prove every truth, are we?  As Dr. Martenson says, "trust yourself".  There is not the luxury of a  research study to  prove what you know is true at every turn. Of course opinions can be biased and lies can be used to mislead people and this has to be factored into the equation I think.

I think there is sometimes a tendency for people to try to dismiss the things that we don't understand because of anxiety over our confusion. One day I hope we can understand how intuition (gut feel) and instinct occur, how we process the information to make these gut feel decisions, I bet it can be put in scientific terms when someone is smart enough to figure it out. 

Denise

 

 

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

BTW Cloud

Your report of your experience in the ICU is very objective, like a  naturalistic study or Case Study, both of which have served as the basis for important medical research over the centuries....the initial studies of HIV started with around 3 case reports published by concerned physicians in northern California, if you recall.   There is not enough credence given to these individual reports now that the FDA and much of Big Pharma are so focused on profits instead of healing. JMHO.

Denise

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

c1oudfire,

What you've written above has put into words how I feel ... 

I talk with people every day as best I can to get the message out about CM.com and the Crash Course. It is part of a daily ritual, day by day. I found that I can give a grand description of how many $1000 dollar bills will stack up in miles times by 80 will give a figure beyond the scope of the human mind, or, I can find a clear and precise answer for whomever doesn't get the enormity of the issues ahead by finding a humane, heartfelt and soul filled comparison along the lines of how it affects their daily lives. The result is that no amount of pushing, however passionate, will lead them toward watching the course, going through all of The Six Stages of Awareness, fluctuating over hours, days, weeks and months, without a true emotional focus, even if a true plan of action comes from studying facts. You cannot have one without the other in the purist of senses and I for one wouldn't be writing here just for my ability or the ability of this site to compile facts. It is much more than that and more than frankly illusive ...

... to put it into words without a metaphor for me is also beyond my scope ordinarily ...

Lets just say that for myself, I'm driven from the core on gut feeling and reaction, and only then will I be able to compile facts ...

Rosemary Sims linked this short lecture from the Ted catalog a while ago. I think that Jill Bolte Taylor will take many on quite the journey from the perspective of someone that ordinarily derives facts from study than from such an impressively emotional and personal  standpoint ... :-

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

PlicketyCat, as ever, I find you fascinating ...

Best,

Paul

 

 

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

I will certainly have some things to say/stories to tell on this thread, but time isn't there right now.  But soon...

Glad you're back, c1oud.

Viva -- Sager

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

 C1oudfire,

That was an amazing story that I will never forget.  Welcome back.   

I just keep thinking about how one should never underestimate the power of a human being who refuses to give up.  

becky

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Hi, all;

I've been away from the 'puter for the past day, so I apologize for the delayed response to everybody's amazing posts:

Ah, Plickety!  As usual, you've hit the nail right on the head with your characteristically colorful way of saying exactly what you mean . . . . . . Balance, indeed, is key . . . . . .  And, I loved hearing your head injury story. . . . . . indeed, you were fortunate in not having one of those let's-just-get-through-the-shift nurses.  It's funny how these things work out, isn't it?  BTW, I'm pleased as punch that you're made "all wonky" . . . . . . it's personally enriched my life on more than one occasion . . . . . .

Hi, again, Denise . . . . . So good to have another healthcare professional weigh in on this . . . . . Yes, I remember reading that about Watson and Crick's "discovery" of the double helix structure of DNA, and I've experienced the same phenomenon myself, though not with such earth-shaking consequences.  And (I hope he's not listening), I have often suspected that Dr. Martenson's conclusions draw not only on facts and figures, but also a healthy dose of intuition, or at least, I hope so.  After all, raw data is just a smattering of numbers . . . . . . it requires a human mind to make sense of them on a human scale.

With regard to scientifically studying intuition, I am truly not certain that will be possible.  From my experience, it seems that while one can access and to some degree integrate "information" from both conventional intellect and intuition, there are inherent problems in "quantifying" (conventional intellectual function) the intuitive.  But, I think it's an interesting area of study as long as we aren't tempted to negate intuition based on a failure to quantify it.

Paul;  I owe the recollection of this patient's story to you, as you shared your nurse-mum's story with me.  Thank you.  As usual, your encyclopedic mind has pulled up the perfect clip to demonstrate that you truly "got it", and to take the expression one step further:  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html.  My husband and I were both moved to tears, hearing this woman's story, and her explanation of the interaction of the right and left hemispheres was simple, direct, and elegant.  I was giggling at every turn of her description of the battle between her left and right hemispheres, as I experience much of life that way on a day-to-day basis. . . . . .  As Plickety so aptly pointed out:  it's the balance that counts.  Jill Bolte Taylor said it quite well when she emphasized the need to be able to access both the linear and intuitive brain functions, as needed.  During my historical Zen practice, I developed the rudimentary skill of shutting off the left hemisphere (which theretofore had been my preferred method of knowing).  Later, as I learned the drawing skills necessary to express my garden designs, I had to take that one step further, and learn to quiet the left brain just enough to let the right brain see things as they really are, rather than as I conceptually understand them, all the while keeping enough left brain function to manage the "quantitative" aspects of design, such as spatial requirements.  Indeed, it is a matter of balance, Grasshopper.

Hi, Becky;  I am glad to hear you were touched by this woman's story.  I've always had a soft spot for "fighters".  Indeed, that's what I saw in this young lady's eyes from the beginning . . . . . she had "spirit", and rather than being annoyed by her angry "shenanigans", I found in them the seeds of hope . . . . . . apathy and whining just weren't in this lady's repertoire, and I respected that.  My colleagues knew (only too well) that if they wanted to punish me for some perceived slight, all they had to do was corner me into caring for the ever-present token "whiner" on the unit . . . . . it was the one personality characteristic that was like fingers on a chalkboard for me, lol.  Give me the lady who was spitting-mad any day, but please don't make me answer the dreaded whiner's call light!

Collectively, thank you, all, for affirming my sense that community is an empty concept without heart and soul.  And a special "thank you" to you who, behind the scenes, have renewed and inspired me.  Indeed, as intuition is the capacity that allows us to "connect the dots" of economic data, heart and soul are the glue that hold a community together.

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Awesome story, c1oudfire!  It is good to have you back.

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

This thread reminded me of a discussion I was having the other day about fairies, elves and other things "supernatural". My argument being that it's entirely possible these things exist, but our rational mind dismisses them and our instruments just can't measure them. Perhaps the reason we can't find any positive evidence is because we have chosen not to... through our culture or whatever. Perhaps the reason that children believe in these things is not because they have fanciful imaginations, but because they haven't learned to be rational and jaded yet. A classic example of the rational killing the intuitive.

I have always found it quite ironic that people can have faith in God, the Devil, angels, demons and saints; but refuse to even accept the possibility of ghosts, ESP, goblins, gnomes and pixies. It's almost as if we've decided that only a certain amount of intuition and faith are allowed!  Personally, since I can neither prove nor disprove any of these entities and aspects, I have to accept the possibilty of their existence. But Science doesn't like loopholes like that... if it can't be quantified, it must not exist! Humans are odd little creatures - ROFL.

I'm a sucker for fighters myself, especially if they are underdogs. I swear, there have been days I think I survived on the sheer force of my will alone. I might whine a little just to vent frustration, but can't imagine completely giving up and giving in. Anytime I get tired and feel like giving up the good fight, there is such an upswell of anger that I think "well, screw that!"  Everyone wants to make anger "bad" these days, but healthy anger is a natural response to not having your needs met. If you're pissed off enough, you'll fight to fix the problem!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
PlicketyCat wrote:

I might whine a little just to vent frustration . . . . . 

Somehow, it's impossible for me to imagine you snivelling, Plickety.  You're Plucky Plickety, in my mind . . . . .

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

hi c1oud

jeez i didnt know you were gone ....................you see you are always in my heart

om shanti

joe

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

LOL... PC

Interesting that you should mention that many "mythological" beings cannot be proven or disproven by science. Fact is our reality is mutable. Shrodingers cat, is it alive or dead, we don't know until we look, its in an indeterminate state. If we scale this out significantly, then what we have is observations of phenomena are impacted by the observer. Which very likely leads to phenomena are impacted by the observer.

Great Story I have from is from CERN one of my Professors who was at the time a hugely spiritual guy, and one of the best quantum and particle physics people I've ever met, described this experiment he performed. He had a hunch that something was wrong with the way that some of the experiments that they were performing was performing, so one weekend, he set up the following. He was working with a bunch of guys who were all friends, and all trusted one another, so he created a scenario where he was hunting for a quantum state that hadn't been seen before, and deliberately messed the math up, since he knew that he'd never done this before (the math messing up), and the people running these experiments trusted his math. Well off he went for the weekend, leaving the experiment in the capable hands of the team. When he came back, they were very quiet, then went berserk, he'd found a new quantum state, and he was a genius. When he said what he'd done, everyone went quiet, checked is math and realized what happened was impossible. They re-ran the test, and it failed, which is likely why he's not in the history books.

This opened up to him an interesting fact, the power of belief, everyone who was present at the experiment (when they first ran it) they were doing believed it would work and it did, when they re-ran it, everyone believed it would fail and it did. Which is empirically quite significant

So what did he learn... Our reality is based upon our belief, which opens a big door to some interesting possibilities. Suppose we have a reality bubble, that we travel through the universe in. As certain beliefs increase, others fade, altering our reality. Did Fairies, et. al. exist when enough people believed? Maybe, we cannot disprove it since we do not have the "quantity" of belief (it took seven people to believe in a 20 eV quantum state) to perhaps bring them into being similarly all mythological beings. However I hear you say, if there were dragons how come we can't find their remains? Remember that reality bubble I was describing, well since we don't believe in those things they blinked out of our reality, including all previous evidence proving or disproving them. Of course this doesn't stop at Mythology (if the theory holds correct) but reality itself. It's an interesting concept, of mind and universe, I can't disprove it either way, but I like to think about it from time to time, because it leads me to believe that the Universe is not purely a mathematically driven system, and there is the ability to affect that universe towards our desires that goes beyond just physically doing it.

So back to Shrodingers cat, one of the other possible parameters of whether the cat will be dead or alive when you take a peek, is whether you believe the cat is alive, or not.

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
joe2baba wrote:

hi c1oud

jeez i didnt know you were gone ....................you see you are always in my heart

om shanti

joe

Thank you, Joe . . . . . I'll take that as being sincere, not PC, since being PC is generally not one of your faults  . . . .

But, I am thinking of changing my name to c!oudfire, just for the fun of watching you look for the SHIFT key . . . . .

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Ah, not one, but two metaphysicists in the thread. . . . . . What could it possibly mean?   This could be the beginning of a dangerous epidemic . . . . . better administer the blue pill, and put you on lockdown, stat! 

 

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

I guess I should out myself as a devotee of Pragmatic Metaphysics.  You know, doing things that in the Cartesian world seem utterly goofy, and in the Otherworld are completely "normal" -- and in the mundane daily world, have palpable (positive) effects.  It works well for me, but Your Mileage Will Almost Certainly Vary.  One of my longtime mentors is Robert Moss, who's been doing a kind of dreamwork for about 20 years now.  Long story short, I find active dreamwork to be a boon in negotiating life's many roads.  Dream strong, ya'lls!

Viva -- Sager

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
pinecarr wrote:

Awesome story, c1oudfire!  It is good to have you back.

Thanks, Pinecarr.  It's good to be back.  Surely you'll find time for philosophizing later . . . . . . .?

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
c1oudfire wrote:
PlicketyCat wrote:

I might whine a little just to vent frustration . . . . . 

Somehow, it's impossible for me to imagine you snivelling, Plickety.  You're Plucky Plickety, in my mind . . . . .

Thanks    But, trust me, I can pull a total Rain Man and pitch a glorious fit on occasion... even the weepy whiney kind. I just don't let it happen for too long or too often!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

From culturechange.org -- a commencement address given 5/3/09 by Paul Hawken.  I wish he hadn't conflated Bono w/Moses & Mother Theresa, but otherwise...this guy's talking about the kind of community-with-heart and a way of being in the world I find exciting...

www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=426&...

 

VIVA!  -- Sager

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
SagerXX wrote:

From culturechange.org -- a commencement address given 5/3/09 by Paul Hawken. . . . . . This guy's talking about the kind of community-with-heart and a way of being in the world I find exciting...

www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=426&...

Wow, Sager, That was direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.  Mission accomplished!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart
c1oudfire wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

From culturechange.org -- a commencement address given 5/3/09 by Paul Hawken. . . . . . This guy's talking about the kind of community-with-heart and a way of being in the world I find exciting...

www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=426&...

Wow, Sager, That was direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.  Mission accomplished!

It also smelled like cinnamon & cardamom...and I *like* cinnamon & cardamom...

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

 

c1oudfire wrote:
 
pinecarr wrote:

 

Awesome story, c1oudfire!  It is good to have you back.

 Thanks, Pinecarr.  It's good to be back.  Surely you'll find time for philosophizing later . . . . . . .?

  I hope so, c1oudfire!  Still doing the work-full-time, be-a-mom, start-a-new-garden,  what am I doing (?),  beat-my-head-on-a-wall thing:)  But I do love this thread!  Kind of a sweet treat, like one of those fancy chocolates you get on the pillow at a good hotel...or so I've been told!:)

Gungir, that's another great story.  How interesting!  I used to read volumes of such stuff just because it interested me so much.  Too bad there wasn't enough time to read about all the things that interest me!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

 

Alright . . . . .  as long as ya'll are gonna go all metaphysical on me  . . . . . . In full disclosure I must tell you that I don't actually compose some of my posts . . . . . . . I know this sounds freaky, but many of my posts are "composed" in my sleep . . . . . not really in a dream state, but I am certainly deeply asleep when this occurs.  My original post in this thread is an example of this process.  While all of the events actually occurred, and the thoughts and emotions are mine, I must admit that the actual composition and the direction of the interpretation of these events feel as though they are divinely inspired.  For me, it is without question that, when I "compose" by this method, my writing takes on an entirely different, and I would say, more esoteric tone.  On awakening (at 3 AM in this case), I go down to my office, and start typing the essay which is, for all intents and purposes, fully composed in my head.  (I am reminded of how Mozart claimed to compose).  Sometimes, I actually have to look up the definitions of words that are in the composition to confirm that they are appropriate, as they are not part of my usual vocabulary.  Thus far, I have not run across an instance in which a word was inappropriately used in the "precomposed" essay. 

So, to some extent, I must consider the possibility that I am not fully the author of all of my posts.  So, who would this ghost writer be? . . . . . . . Well, at the risk of inciting the ire of the no-faith-allowed-on-CM crowd, I must testify that the only "spirit" that I have invited to use me as a "medium" is the Holy Spirit, and that, indeed, I pray until sleep overcomes me every night.  I know, I know . . . . . this "confession" will make some shrink away in horror, thinking that I trapped you into connecting with the divine, but I assure you that it was not until a day or so after I started this thread, and noticed Sager's post about dreaming, that I realized that this is what may be happening. 

FWIW

BTW:  Thanks, Sager!

BTBTW:  This post was also largely composed in my sleep.

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

For a minute there I thought were talking about sleep blogging... like sleep walking or similar. I have actually gotten up, gone to the computer and type out full threads in my sleep before. I don't know if this is the Divine speaking through me or just that my brain didn't shut off; but I do find some of those posts to have amazing insight even if I don't completely remember writing them. I've also woken up with something fully composed (and imperative) in my head, like you describe. Whether you call it God, the Holy Spirit, or tapping into the Universe, or expressing your higher subconscious... it all amounts to same the thing: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something (i.e. epiphany).

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

My mother had a good friend that composed poetry (which she said came directly down the figurative stovepipe from the Almighty) in a liminal not-sleep/not-awake state.  That doesn't squick me out at all.  Sometimes our best work is done when we get the rational mind out of the dang way.  And there are some things that require the rational mind.  Knowing which is which and when to use what is the real skill, IMO.

I've had a number of purely precognitive dreams wherein I've been given knowledge of things I simply could not otherwise know.  It used to flip me out.  I've adjusted nicely since it first happened (1988).  

Generally, though, my dreaming is helpful in terms of sifting through possibilities, understanding what I'm really feeling/needing, or getting a hint about what to do about something.  It's also just a heckuva lot of fun doing dreamwork w/people.

Viva -- Sager

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

I think people who trust in their intution are more likely to experience these sorts of ESP-like partial dream states. Whether the Divine is trying to tell us something, or our own brain is trying to tell us something is really irrelevant in the grander scheme of things. I've had freakishly prophetic dreams on occasion; but I don't claim clairvoyance (although it could be for all I know)... I suspect that it was my subconscious and intution stitching things together in the background then smacking my forebrain with it

I've kept a dream journal for the longest time and noticed that there is a distinct difference in the flavor of the dreams that were telling me something and the dreams that were just brain jumbles... almost like they were movies shot with different lenses or at different film speeds (if that makes any sense). Since I'm such a light sleeper, I tend to remember most of my dreams so it's really fun to do dream work and interpretation.

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

Thanks C1Fire!  Great story and very appropriate subject for this site.  WE as a community (if we are to be considered a community) must take everything to heart whether it be fact or opinion or feeling.  It's all applicable to anything that is discussed in society.

Thank for sharing!

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

(I'm cross-posting this to the Community Building thread, too...)

Here's a dream I had back in August 2001.  I present it here merely to observe that (a) our dreams often contain useable "action plans" and (b)  I've been dreaming about this future for a good long while now.

Viva -- Sager

 

"Dream Journal -- August 2001 -- 'Adelphoi'

 

In this dream I am walking through a lightly-wooded area. There is clearly a habitation of some sort up ahead as I can hear the various sounds of human life -- children shouting and laughing, a hammer pounding away on something, a dog barking and so forth. Eventually, the woods end and I emerge into a clearing perhaps 200 yards across. There are stables off to my left and several outbuildings/sheds. At the center of the clearing is a large 2-story building. Sure enough, a group of a half-dozen kids is playing tag, running all over the place. A man in his mid-forties is up on the roof of one of the outbuildings working on the shingles. A shepherd/collie mutt is racing hither and yon with the children, barking excitedly.

 

I stride forward towards the central house and am met on the porch by a woman in her late twenties/early thirties. She smiles warmly at me but does not speak and simply leads me into the house and shows me around. There is a large kitchen and dining-room that seats perhaps thirty or so people. Adults in the kitchen are hard at work making what looks like dinner. They cutting up vegetables that my guide makes clear have been grown on the surrounding land. The dining-room is decorated with the artwork of children. Adjacent is a classroom-looking space with dry-erase boards and projection/AV equipment. Down the hall from there is an den/library with "Shhh!" signs hung up. There are locker-room-type shower/changing facilities and an adjacent laundry. My guide leads me up the stairs at the rear of the structure.

 

On the second floor are offices and a few guest rooms. We go out onto a veranda and in the distance my guide points out the vegetable gardens (several acres' worth) in the distance. There are also buildings for livestock and, interestingly, a baseball diamond.

 

Then she leads me back into the house, down the hallway and pauses outside a door and gestures me past her into the room. I walk by her, and turn left. In the room in front of me a 60-ish woman is sitting on the windowsill outlined by the late-afternoon sun. When I enter she is gazing out the window, but turns her head towards me and -- her head in silhouette and wearing a halo of the sun's white disk -- says clearly "Adelphoi."

 

 

When I awoke I was very excited by this dream. It had such a depth of waking reality to it, and the community I had toured a sense of purpose, peace and satisfaction. I researched "Adelphoi" and it is a Greek word referring to a faith community, specifically a group of Christians living together as a community. While I eschew any particular organized religion, I have been yearning for a place in an intentional community of like-minded people -- people living a spiritual and conscious life. 

 

Since moving to New Paltz last Summer, my wife and I have been seeking out Good People and Community -- and we have had success. However, this dream takes the idea to an entirely different level. A group of perhaps 10 families living on a large-ish chunk of land together; each family has a simple bungalow/cabin/cottage in which they have the bare necessities (sleeping quarters, toilet); a larger central building encompasses most of the indoor life of the community -- meals prepared and served/schooling of children/"entertainments" such as television and "communications" like internet and so forth/infirmary/business offices/guests rooms -- are all located in the main central buildings. The members of the community have a complementary set of skills: physician, teacher, animal husbandry, farming, managing the business end of things, techie ("computer husbandry"? ), carpentry/plumbing/electrician, and not leastly healing arts (massage, acupuncture, Pilates, herbs/aromas/nutrition et al.). "

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Re: On Affairs of the Heart

  Hello Sager   , Great dream !  Hope it works out for you .   I read in the early American History pilgrims did this to survive  .   But what did not work out was those that did not do their part and were "free loaders ."   Be careful  to make a few lists of expectations .

 The American Indians  had it down to a good practice with a few flaws of finding wives and such .

 It worked some also for those in the very early church .  But they were in constant  fear of being caught and persecuted . They were taught to gather together with "like minded " people  . To support and encourage one another . 

   It makes sense that  not everyone has to buy a log splitter, expensive ladder , small tractor  and such .   We had a commune here in the county for a while .   I do not know what all happened but there is only one family left down there .  I am suspicious that human nature and selfishness raised it's ugly head and caused the split .  

Our best example that has been working fairly well is the Amish Community  here in our county .  They own separate land  but come together for church,  school, health care, and when there is work to be done.   So everyone is accountable for the condition and success of their own farm .  But  they know the value of helping their neighbor and having the help  available  when they  have need . I am sure that even there they have issues they have to work through .

 I hope you find the fellowship you desire .

Diana

 

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On the Spiritual Basis for Community

Hi Pinecarr and Sager;

I loved hearing about your dream, Sager, as I often have the same sort of revealing dream, by which I become aware of hidden aspects of a current circumstance that I have not heretofore considered.  The draw toward a community with a spiritual center is also appealing, as I have found that behaviors emanate from beliefs.  Generally speaking, I have found that when I hang out with persons of widely divergent beliefs, it is only a matter of time before behaviors emerge with which I am not content.  So, a community of spiritually like-minded individuals has the benefit of avoiding certain predictable conflicts.  It is also clear to me that spiritually homogeneous communities will still have some degree of friction, because, as humankind, we are deeply flawed, and despite our best efforts, it seems impossible to entirely transcend our corrupted human nature while living as a human creature.

A spiritually-based community also has this benefit:  Since behaviors flow from beliefs, and beliefs are generally deeply rooted, both are likely to remain stable under extreme duress.  Unfortunately for secular society, the rule of law does not seem to have the same power over man's behavior . . . . . . when people perceive that they are under threat, the importance of laws diminishes in their minds, and the only limiting factor that prevails is whether they will get caught and whether the PTB have the will and the power to enforce the laws.  Internally held beliefs, however, are inescapable, and therefore have greater ability to restrain the more debased impulses. 

I fully understand your tendency, Sager, to avoid organized religion, as this arena has been used by many unscrupulous individuals to do all kinds of evil.  But, without delving inappropriately deeply into this subject, I would suggest that it does not necessarily have to be so, and that without some kind of formal agreement as to beliefs, it would be impossible to be assured that one's comrades hold the same values.  So, if we reject the idea of formalized beliefs, we are in a bit of a conundrum, if we truly want to live with like-minded people.  I would suggest that modern literature has done an excellent job of discrediting the concept of dogma, and that original research would reveal that, in fact, dogma can be a way of formalizing the process of clarifying spiritual mysteries for those who are unable to commit time to the very involved process of doing so, or who lack the knowledge required for conducting such investigations.  The historical purpose of dogma has been to ensure that members of a given community have a similar set of basic spiritual beliefs, and therefore can be expected to behave within the guidelines of those beliefs.  In terms of community this has useful far-reaching ramifications. 

I would suggest that, in our modern, privileged society, the idea of tolerance is elevated to a position that is not warranted, nor supported by any meaningful test.  It seems to me that this concept [tolerance] that we hold in such high esteem, has limited practicality in communities that struggle for existence in the real world.  There is little doubt that horrific crimes have been committed by persons who abhor anything and anybody that is unlike themselves.  But the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme, and we are tolerancing ourselves into meaninglessness and purposelessness.  In my mind, tolerance is often a euphemism for apathy, and the American public, especially, is hesitant to speak out against all kinds of evil, for fear of being accused of being [gasp!] intolerant

For myself, I am unapologetically intolerant of many things.  Among them:  lying, cheating, stealing, and arrogance, as well as the spiritual beliefs that underpin those behaviors.  I realize that there are many folks who will shrink back from this assertion, in horror, assuming that it means that I will impose my beliefs on others.  I freely admit that, if it were within my power to have the entire world hold the same beliefs as I do, I would not hesitate to do so.  (For if that were not true, I could not truly be said to believe.)  But it has been my experience that imposing beliefs by force is essentially impossible, so there is no worry there.  I would suggest that the greater danger is that we cave in to the demands of those who want admittance to the party, without paying the cover charge, which is to adhere to certain beliefs, and the behaviors that emanate from those beliefs.  Again, I find little authentic value in separating beliefs from behavior, as they are metaphysically inseparable.

And, with that, I've expended my metaphysical musing quota for the day, and I'm off to recharge my batteries by finishing my new log-walled veggie garden,   so that I have the wherewithal to consider, resist or ignore (according to their merits) the probably flurry of objections to my musings.

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Re: On the Spiritual Basis for Community
c1oudfire wrote:

A spiritually-based community also has this benefit:  Since behaviors flow from beliefs, and beliefs are generally deeply rooted, both are likely to remain stable under extreme duress.  Unfortunately for secular society, the rule of law does not seem to have the same power over man's behavior . . . . . . when people perceive that they are under threat, the importance of laws diminishes in their minds, and the only limiting factor that prevails is whether they will get caught and whether the PTB have the will and the power to enforce the laws.  Internally held beliefs, however, are inescapable, and therefore have greater ability to restrain the more debased impulses. 

I fully understand your tendency, Sager, to avoid organized religion, as this arena has been used by many unscrupulous individuals to do all kinds of evil.  But, without delving inappropriately deeply into this subject, I would suggest that it does not necessarily have to be so, and that without some kind of formal agreement as to beliefs, it would be impossible to be assured that one's comrades hold the same values.  So, if we reject the idea of formalized beliefs, we are in a bit of a conundrum, if we truly want to live with like-minded people.  I would suggest that modern literature has done an excellent job of discrediting the concept of dogma, and that original research would reveal that, in fact, dogma can be a way of formalizing the process of clarifying spiritual mysteries for those who are unable to commit time to the very involved process of doing so, or who lack the knowledge required for conducting such investigations.  The historical purpose of dogma has been to ensure that members of a given community have a similar set of basic spiritual beliefs, and therefore can be expected to behave within the guidelines of those beliefs.  In terms of community this has useful far-reaching ramifications.

Hey C1oud, I'm both agreeing with some points and disagreeing with others.

The first paragraph I quote I term Core Values, these are the things that define us and define our behaviors in specific circumstances, inherently an individual will not go against these values. Rule of Law is an external effector, but not intrinsic to the individual, therefore people will abide by rule of law because either it happens to coincide with their core values, or because of fear of enforcement.

The second paragraph gets to dangerous ground with me, you can re-write the last sentence to read.

"The historical purpose of dogma has been to brainwash the members of a given community to have a similar set of basic spiritual beliefs, and therefore can be expected to be controlled within the guidelines of those beliefs.  In terms of community this has useful far-reaching ramifications."

Which is why I have an issue, unfortunately organized religion has proven itself to follow my version of the sentence, while the original intent may have been your version.

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