This week I wanted to understand the thinking process better, so I said to myself (a clue): “Think of a cow”.
Obviously a real cow cannot fit inside my skull, so I was curious as to what would happen. I expected some image of a black and white animal with horns and a huge udder 🐄 to somehow appear on the screen of my mind.
I saw three things instead: the letters ‘c’, ‘o’ and ‘w’.
Somehow these letters signified bovine meaning.
I had to really insist for an image to appear.
Then I thought of my wife. This time four letters appeared, starting with ‘w’. The appearance of my beautiful bride was only a secondary consequence. I got into trouble when I related this story. 😩
My thinking is not pictorial. It is linguistic, a set of boring grammatical constructs.
And nowadays in English, instead of that wonderfully nuanced Dutch.
The rich fabric of everyday life is transformed, abstracted and reduced to a sequence of letters obeying syntax rules.
Thinking is silently talking to myself. Letters and words, mostly without a real referent in that wonderful universe that I am immersed in.
It is said that 100 years ago the average human would have 5,000 thoughts per day. Now it is 50,000! Mainly tiresome and pointless repetition.
And no pictures!
Spending time in the world of thought is like living in a hex core dump. That’s how a computer spits out it’s memory contents when it encounters a syntax or logic error.
Why would I?
Given that our galaxy the Milky Way consists of 500 billion stars,
given that our universe contains between 200 billion to 2 trillion galaxies,
given that there may be multiply universes,
given that the whole shebang came into being and whirls about governed by a small number of laws that can be known,
doesn’t it seem odd that I believe that I am separate from all of the above, that I am an individual, that I have free will?
I am in and of this world.
The universe is my I.
I am a type 1 diabetic.
My pancreas broke, it stopped producing insulin and other essentials to life.
In practical terms, without frequent insulin injections and constant management of blood glucose levels, I’d be dead within weeks.
My name is with me for life. Yes, I can change it. Not to be undertaken lightly, though.
So it is with boat names.
I like taking photos in cemeteries.
This one I took on my daily get-da-suga-under-control walk on a cool autumn morning. The rays of the sun had just burnt off the remnants of the fog. It was a beautiful day. Read More
A couple of times a year, the usually placid Barron River is swollen by a tropical deluge, and becomes a swirling brown torrent.
So also today.
About 300 millimetres of rain fell in the last two days, and the catchment was already sodden from the 500 millimetres that fell earlier in the month.
The only road into and out of our little village is cut.
Nowhere to go.
Nothing to do.
All day to do it in.
It’s like not having FaceBook. A sea of time and opportunity opens up.
Groups of locals stand around near the water to knowledgeably discuss time and tide.
Whose will be the first vehicle to be washed off the road?
School’s out, no teachers today.
The one and only shop in the village does a roaring trade.
Couples and families are strolling, seemingly aimlessly, inspecting the water.
Will it come into the house?
Slowly the tide that held back the torrent from the mountain is dropping.
One or two risk the road.
Soon the bus will come again, and life will be as it was.
I’m sticking to it.
When spring arrives,
If I’m already dead,
The flowers will flower in the same way
And the trees will not be less green than last spring. Reality doesn’t need me.
It makes me enormously happy
To think that my death is of no importance whatsoever.
If I knew that I would die tomorrow
And that spring was the day after tomorrow,
I would die happy, because spring was the day after tomorrow.
If that is its time, why should it come at some other time?
I like everything to be real and to be right,
And I like it that way because that’s how it would be even if I didn’t like it.
And so, if I die now, I’ll die happy,
Because everything is real and everything is right.
You can pray in Latin over my coffin, if you like.
If you like, you can sing and dance in a circle around it. I have no preferences for when I can no longer have preferences.
What will be, when it is, is what it will be when it is.
7 November 1915
I can’t paint.
But if I could, I would paint thick strokes, outrageous colours, boundary-less swirling energy, with perhaps one feature in focus, all bathed in the most surreal light.
It would be the world before the word, before the concept, before the boundary, before I, before non-I.
The All as it was created. Before ‘God said’.
The wind of Spirit hovering over the chaos.
Chaos as that wind, billowing into what we have learnt to call ‘this and that’ , ‘you and I’.
That is what I would, if I could.