Posts Tagged ‘ontology’


Philosophy Tuesday

October 3, 2017

the definition of being empowered

and in action

is not that we have THE say in how something goes

but rather

that we have A say in how it goes

for there are no guarantees

as much as we’d like there to be

that what we do 1:1 will always produce our desired outcome



with glorious music

and recognition of what a great person we are


that is more likely in fantasy land

and yet

there remains quite the difference

between being attached to being THE ONE

or instead embodying THE ZERO

the game to play is not to be the golden saviour

the game to play is in the world of contribution

working like a bricklayer

adding to the body of work

sometimes we may make the foundation upon which something will spring forth

though we will never see it

sometimes we will work on the blank facade at the back of the building

that is still, nonetheless, vital to its completion

and sometimes we may be lucky enough to put the final, crowning brick

that shifts things immensely

we can never know if our actions will be the tipping point

or if it will be a step towards such

in the end, it doesn’t matter

because in the world of contribution, there is no bigger, or smaller

it’s all contribution

when we let go of our ego of absolute control

and true our actions to our authentic selves

and seek out opportunities to make a difference

we (re)gain our voice

we have our say in how things will go

things shift

worlds are created

and we go to bed fulfilled


Philosophy Tuesday

September 26, 2017

Argue for your limitations,

and sure enough,

they’re yours.

– Richard Bach


Philosophy Tuesday

September 12, 2017

A while back, I was reading a review of an RPG game based on/created for a very popular and long-running set of sci-fi movies.  The review was doing quite the thorough job and examining and discussing the numerous flaws and oddities (as it saw them) in the rules.  The responses, in comments, were quite numerous, with more than a few written in very strong and strident language.

As I read those replies, I noticed two things, the second* of which being that many of the very “animated and assertive dissenters” (for lack of a better word) diverged quickly from discussing rules and instead began “defending” the idea of an RPG in that universe/story.  Their comments became about whether the story was a good one, whether you liked that story or not, and whether it was a good idea to play a game inside it.

Questions which the review never broached once, even as teasers.

My take on it all?  A nice example (and reminder) of identity survival hijack:  “I like this thing so much, I have made it part of my identity, and here’s this person saying something critical**about that thing, therefore who I am is at stake, and I must rise to protect and secure.”  The distinctions of the text are lost, as are both the specificities of the text and any nuance contained therein.  That the article was, in many ways, expressing the writer’s like of the sci-fi property (through them buying the game, running many games with it, and writing the article because they wanted to continue) was instead lost, all washed away under the spark of identity flailing.

We humans sure are funny sometimes, aren’t we?***

Besides what I got about the game itself, this little dive into the comments also gave me a nice window into seeing another way an identity hijack can play itself out.  And through that, a little more was added into my mindfulness cup.


*  The first was that many of the defenders of the game included phrases such as “if you ignore this…” or “if you just do this…” or “this is how we play…” (or included examples of rules interactions that were incorrect).  Effectively, despite their forcefulness and opening statements otherwise, they were agreeing with the thrust of the review:  that the rules, as written (which is the purpose of a review, to look at things as they are put out into the world and/or sold), were poor.  That to play the game well required rather major changes.  I think there’s a whole world worth exploring inside this disconnect as well…

** Which doesn’t mean “bad”…

*** No word if the many species in said sci-fi universe also suffer from the same funnyness – though I’m very much sure many do in their own way.


Philosophy Tuesday

August 29, 2017

I’ve been enjoying hearing friends and many more  share about their eclipse experiences.  What’s really stood out for me (beyond the complete excitement) is the near-universality of the sentiment of how absolutely mind-blowing it is, in a way that surprised each and every one of them.  It did not matter how much they knew about it, how much they researched, or even how much prep they did.  There, in that moment of totality, in that instant of being present to a world in an eclipse, it defied all manner of expression.  It defied, and still defies, description.

There is a (sometimes big) difference between knowing about something, and actually experiencing it.

I’ve heard this shared elsewhere too, around marriage, parenting, warzones, natural disasters, concerts, and more.  My own most vivid of these is when I planted my first garden.  I knew all about the biology behind plant growth, I understood about planting and watering and that food grows, I’d read accounts of other gardeners.  But putting that tiny seed in the soil and then a few months later being confronted with a 6 foot high plant bursting with produce was almost unfathomable.  “I didn’t do anything but pour water on it, and yet… blam, look at this!”

These are context-shifting and world-growing moments, a place where our consciousness can expand and we can inhabit more of ourselves and the world.  They are times to reflect on that we are never ‘done’, we never ‘know it all’, and we’re never not able to grow.  They are a reminder to not take ourselves, and our views, and our certainties, and our supposed knowledge, so darn seriously.

And, verily, they are times for pure, unadulterated wonder and bliss, being present to what’s so, and nothing else.


* Thus too this is why imagination and developing imagination is vital.  It may not get us all the way there, but even part way can be powerful…

** And I already have begun plans for travel to see the 2024 eclipse!


Philosophy Tuesday

August 22, 2017

Often, when we say, “I could never do that,” what we really mean is, “I don’t want to do that…” which really in itself actually means “my attachments and identities don’t want to do that.”

The “I” has nothing to do with it.  Rather, the hijack is in full swing, leading us away from what the “I” truly wants.

Afraid for its survival, our identity goes on overdrive.

And, unfortunately, we end up the poorer for it.


Philosophy Tuesday

August 15, 2017

A couple of years ago, during a mindfulness and meditation panel I was co-leading, one of the participants raised their hand:

“If attachment, so suggests Buddhism, is the root of all dis-ease… well, how do you know when you are attached to something?”

Hmmm.  That was a good one.  It can be fabulous and very empowering in life to be committed to something, but at what point can we tell its crossed beyond a commitment into an attachment?

I paused for a moment to let this percolate.

“I’d say that… if you find yourself righteously hot, fixated, uncontrollably going on about something, and you’re gripped by it… then it’s probably an attachment.  There’s a visceral component to it, one of those ones that defies neat and accurate description but if you let yourself be sensitive to it you get to know that grip.  Actually, you can probably think back to a time when something was said or done or you learned that just had you react with such recoil and fury that seemed to come out of nowhere… well, bingo, that’s the feeling, that visceral reaction.  There’s something there beyond just a commitment.

And this is really good to notice, not only because attachments can cause us such distress, but because it robs us of our freedom and, perhaps counter-intuitively, kills our performance and our power.  It also means that maybe we should check that commitment, because I’ll bet ya if we have that reaction we’re actually attached to something other than what we’re saying we are committed to.  And if our authentic self wants us to embrace that commitment, authentically, then we’re going to want to deal with that inauthentic hidden attachment.

Once we’re out of the grip of attachment, we are free to play and be who we truly want to be.”

A great question that had me distinguish something for myself that day.


Philosophy Tuesday

August 1, 2017

Back in June, while I was in Los Angles, I took a visit to the Annenberg Space for Photography and saw the show “Generation Wealth” by Lauren Greenfield.  The show examines the influence of affluence, both locally and how it has influenced (and maybe we could say has even been exported to) other countries around the world.  The idea wasn’t to simply look or catalogue the so-called “lifestyles of the rich and famous”, but more so to examine and highlight the pervasive desire for more.

It was a good show (and it will be going on until Aug 13th if you can visit before then), and there was a lot to take in.  There was one particular caption for a photo, however, that really stuck with me.  To paraphrase:

“Girls at a young age learn that their body has currency.”

“… has currency.”  That strikes me as a really interesting concept, and I think there’s juice there, well worth looking into.  So this post will be just that – I don’t have a particular ending point or great conclusion I’m driving towards.  I just want to explore it and see what might open up.

Currency.  Noun.  Something that is used as a medium of exchange.  If you have currency, you can spend that currency as capital to get something else.

Homer: Oh, twenty dollars. I wanted a peanut.

Homer’s Brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts.

Homer: Explain how.

Homer’s Brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Homer: Woo-hoo!

I’d surmise that most of the time when we think about currency, we only think about the “paper” kind: money.  But if we step back for a second and look, there’s really a lot of things that we can (and do) use as currency.  Things we attain, culture, try to make grow, and even horde, so that we can use them in some way to get something else.  Yet they’re such a part of the fabric of the/our culture that we don’t even notice that or when we’re doing it.

We are social creatures.  In the same way we’ve declared and agreed that a particular piece of paper is worth “10 dollars”, we’ve also placed values on all sorts of intangible things.  And we’re exchanging those things all the time to get other things.

If we go from there… “ok then, what do we value and consider as currency in our society?”

Bodies.  A particular style/type of body.  Access to bodies.  Certain clothes.  A style.  Type of language.  The way we act:  macho, sultry, partier, etc.  Fan of a particular thing/team/singer/etc.  Likes and shares online.  Followers.  Goods of a certain calibre, or brand.  Connections or people we know.  Favours, of all types.  Philanthropy.  Notoriety or infamy.*

What’s the price to pay (pun semi-intended), though, when they become wrapped up in the same contexts we have in our head for currency/economy/exchange?  Because we can get decidedly weird and act very bizarrely around money… So too then will we around anything that fits in our minds as a currency.  Often including actions and decisions that don’t always turn out to be in our best self-interest.

And then things can get even more entwined when we spend actual currency to bolster and increase these “virtual” currencies…  (Which, again, in reality, are just as much of a fiat currency as is the “real” currency of money.)

It is that craziness wrapped up in the way we operate around money that has me so intrigued about this distinction and calling out of the other things we traffic in as currency.  Why I think it’s valuable.  Especially since so much of it we just inherit from our surrounding culture and society.  There’s nothing necessarily good or bad in any of the things we might hold as a currency, it’s just how we might be impacted when they get caught up in the notions of an economy.  We can form barriers that limit us from being and acting in ways that are expressed, fulfilling, creative, related.  Something that is authentic for us can instead get hijacked by our subconscious machinations around money.

Like anything, taken too far to one side or the other it can become destructive.  There’s what we hoard, the inappropriate and inaccurate meaning we can place on it, the judgments, the pathological pursuit of it, the crushing despair of not having it, the dying a thousand deaths if what we put so much of our energy into begins to slip away and we realize we are bankrupt (in many metaphorical ways)…. Likewise too there’s what we spend it on, how we spend it, and the misguided ways we try to spend it, perhaps attempting to gain companionship, attention, agency (ie the feeling of power), self esteem, all things that too easily also flit away.

Perhaps above all this is also just the basic, absolute, deadening of anything that gets reduced to a mundane transaction, a footnote in a ledger, all forced into perfectly equal rectangles and an eye on zero-sum games.

And if things we cherish and derive genuine self-actualization from gets supplanted by that kind of everyday mundane monetary economic context, then that is an unfortunate thing indeed.

Creating a window that allows us to see what would otherwise be hidden is always a first step in not getting trapped.  That little caption is opening up a whole new realm for me to check out and examine.  A brilliant little distinction by Lauren.

What do you see?  What else do we/you use as currency?  Or spend it on?  How might it be acting as a straightjacket?  If you have any insights or thoughts, please share…  I’d love to explore this more.


* Another photo by Lauren noted the rise of some celebrities who are famous almost entirely and only for being famous.  They gained their fame through a sex tape or other item that went viral, and rather than being a scarlet letter it instead became the foundation of their fame.  A fame that becomes capital to be spent… acquiring more fame and capital, and so on.