Search Results for: miracle? All of it.

Miracle? All of it. (Feel Me)

hands-dan-stockholm-red-clay

We think of hot and cold, or of textures, silk and cotton. But some of the most important sensing we do with our fingers is to register incredibly minute differences in pressure, of the kinds that are necessary to perform tasks, which we grasp in a microsecond from the feel of the outer shell of the thing. We know instantly, just by touching, whether to gently squeeze the toothpaste or crush the can. […]

Computer chess looks intelligent, but it’s under-the-hood stupid. Reaching and elegantly picking up the right chess piece fluidly and having it land in the right place in an uncontrolled environment—that’s hard. Haptic intelligence is an almost irreproducible miracle! Because people are so good at that, they don’t appreciate it. Machines are good at finding the next move, but moving in the world still baffles them. […]

Our bodies are membranes in the world, with sensation and meaning passing seamlessly through them. Our experience of our bodies—the things they feel, the moves they make, and the textures and the people they touch—is our primary experience of our minds. “The brain is just simply part of our bodies” is how the philosopher Alva Noë often puts it. The truer cartoon, in a sense, would be “Outside In,” with the emotions produced by people bumping against one another. A key to being embodied in this way is tactile experience—what we touch, whom we touch, how many we touch, and why we find them touching. Grasping, hugging, striking, playing, caressing, reaching, scratching backs, and rubbing rears: these are not primitive forms of communication. They are the fabric of being conscious. The work of the world is done by handling it. We live by feel. […]

Later, in a café near the square, Keltner has a cappuccino and, sitting at the counter, watches the variety of human touch as it reveals itself in that unending theatre: fingers flying on the keyboard, hands darting out to make a point, heads turning to underline a joke, bodies slouching and primping and jostling and soliciting attention. An intensity of feeling combines, in our tactile lives, with a plurality of kinds.

Perhaps the reason that touch has no art form is that its supremacy makes it hard to escape. We can shut our eyes and cover our ears, but it’s our hands that do it when we do. We can’t shut off our skins. It is the obscurity of the other senses that makes us enliven them with art: touch is too important to be elaborated or distilled. It just is. What we see we long for; what we hear we interpret; what we touch we are. The art we aspire to is a remote sensation, always out of reach. Life is the itch we are still trying to scratch.

~ Adam Gopnik, excerpts from Feel Me. What the Science of Touch Says About Us


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Image: “By Hand” – Red Clay Sculpture by Dan Stockholm

 

Miracle? All of it. 


Sound of wings.  Let’s just say: Wow!


Notes:

  • Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out
  • Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle? All of it.

 

Miracle? All of it.

HongBo-Drawing

Fashionable descriptions of the inevitable triumph of machine intelligence (over man) contain many critical biases and assumptions that could derail them from turning into reality. […]

Our brains use energy at a rate of about 20 watts. If you wanted to upload yourself intact into a machine using current computing technology, you’d need a power supply roughly the same as that generated by the Three Gorges Dam hydroelectric plant in China, the biggest in the world. To take our species, all 7.3 billion living minds, to machine form would require an energy flow of at least 140,000 petawatts. That’s about 800 times the total solar power hitting the top of Earth’s atmosphere. Clearly human transcendence might be a way off.

~ Caleb Scharf, Where Do Minds Belong

Find more at Steve Layman’s Blog: A Power Shortage. (Thank you Steve)

Notes:

  • Related Posts: Miracle? All of it.
  • Drawing: HongBo 洪波 (Chinese, Shanghai, China) – Untitled, 2011 – Drawings: Pastels. Source: Thank you Your Eyes Blaze Out
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Miracle? All of it.

universe-sky-blue-tree

NY Times Letter to the Editor:

The Chirp Heard Across the Universe” (editorial, Feb. 16), about the recent discovery of the gravitational waves that were predicted by Einstein a century ago, asks, “Does science, or knowledge, really need a justification?”

The answer, of course, is no. But in a culture that has become saturated with the idea that only commercial value matters, we’ve become afraid of expressing an impulse as natural and basic as this.

Much like literature, music, philosophy and art, enjoyment of the natural sciences — and of nature itself — has intrinsic value. No further justification is required. Curiosity, wonder and beauty are enough.

~ Mark Bessoudo, Toronto


Notes:

  • Related Posts: Miracle? All of it.
  • Photo: Aberrant Beauty
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Miracle? All of it. 

lucy-barton-elizabeth-strout

At times these days I think of the way the sun would set on the farmland around our small house in the autumn. A view of the horizon, the whole entire circle of it, if you turned, the sun setting behind you, the sky in front becoming pink and soft, then slightly blue again, as though it could not stop going on in its beauty, then the land closest to the setting sun would get dark, almost black against the orange line of horizon, but if you turn around, the land is still available to the eye with such softness, the few trees, the quiet fields of cover crops already turned, and the sky lingering, lingering, then finally dark. As though the soul can be quiet for those moments.

All life amazes me.

~ Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel


Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge.  Her new book, My Name Is Lucy Barton, was selected as An Amazon Best Book of January 2016.  The excerpt above is not representative of the storyline but Strout is a master at story telling.  “My Name is Lucy Barton” is highly recommended.

Check out the book reviews:


Notes:

  • Related Posts: Miracle? All of it.
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Miracle? All of it. 

birds-sun-light

Whirring notes of a varied thrush soak in through the walls of sleep.  Gradually ascending toward consciousness, I struggle to remember where we are, then realize what shore these songs ring out across. As the sky pales toward sunrise, I awaken to a world of dreams.

More varied thrushes join the first, until the woods and thickets chime like a chorus of bells. Other birds blend into the medley: fox sparrow, robin, hermit thrush, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, Townsend’s warbler. Their sounds are trapped and magnified in the forest, made rich and deep in the saturated air – ribbons and lacework of song, shadows and flickers of song, splinters and shards of song, and the whispered secrets of unfamiliar song.

The cove fills up with bird voices, until even the noise of surf fades to irrelevance. And what of the songs beyond this patch of shore? If we hiked down the beach or back through the woods, we would hear the same chorus, repeated endlessly, permeating the air with sweet, mingled phrases. I wonder how many thousands of birds are singing at this moment on the island alone? How many millions along the north Pacific shore? And how many billions in the curved shadow of dawn that lies along the continent’s western flank? Throughout this vast expanse the land breathes with song and pours an anthem of morning into the sky. In the flow of a summer sunrise, the living continent sings.

~ Richard Nelson,  The Island Within


Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Notes:

Driving I-95 S. Miracle? All of it. 

gif-driving-illustration

7 am.
Clear. 50° F. Blue skies.
I’m flowing down I-95 S.
I lower the windows and rest my arm on the door frame.
The gusts fill the cabin. November chill.

70s on 7 is spinning Neil Sedaka and Bad Blood.
Doo-ron, doo-ron, di di, dit, do-ron-ron

To hell with these nonsensical lyrics. I plug my own.

I do what I want to do.
I hear want I want to hear.
I See. Thank God I can See.
Good Blood. Good Blood. Good Blood.

And the brain train starts to pull,
the steel couplers snap between the rail cars,
the words begin to slide down the rails.
And here they come. [Read more…]

Miracle? All of it. 

fingers-fingertips-touch

“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said. “I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back.

The ESPN pundits were chattering about the NFL preseason in the background.  Upon hearing Fingertips – Feeling – Not coming back, my attention moves from the morning paper, to the broadcast. I listen.

“It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.”

I gently release my grip from the newspaper, and with feather touch brushes I slide my fingertips over the paper. Back and forth and then again.  And again. And again.

Skin on paper.

A boy, hand in his pocket, fingers his favorite polished stone.

The paper is dry, smooth.

I release.

A trace of ink stains both fingertips.

Today’s the Day!


Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Notes:

Miracle? All of it. 

hair-breeze-wind-red

I hear the wind blow,
And I feel that it was worth being born
just to hear the wind blow.

~ Fernando Pessoa, from “Uncollected Poems


Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Notes: Poem excerpt: Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Ines Perkovic (via Simplicidade do Ceu)

Miracle? All of it. 

hands-legs-sand-black-and-white

I wish to raise my hand. Well, I raise it. But who raises it? Who is the “I” who raises my hand? Certainly it is not exclusively the “I” who is standing here talking, the “I” who signs the checks and has a history behind him, because I do not have the faintest idea how my hand was raised. All I know is that I expressed a wish for my hand to be raised, whereupon something within myself set to work, pulled the switches of a most elaborate nervous system, and made thirty or forty muscles — some of which contract and some of which relax at the same instant — function in perfect harmony so as to produce this extremely simple gesture. And of course, when we ask ourselves, how does my heart beat? how do we breathe? how do I digest my food? — we do not have the faintest idea.

~ Aldous Huxley, The Divine Within


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Notes: Photo – Maiyet. Quote: Brain Pickings

 

Miracle? All of it. 

bee-hive-pollen-plants-nature

“The various colors of pollen in a honey bee nest or hive indicate different source plant species.”


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Source: Alex Wild Photography via Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

Miracle? All of it. 

antarctica-ice-shelf

“People standing on top of Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. This is Antarctica’s largest ice shelf and is the size of France.” (Photographer: Sue Flood)


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Source: invisiblestories

 

Dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us


Who can use the term “gone viral” now without shuddering a little? Who can look at anything any more — a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables — without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unliving blobs dotted with suction pads waiting to fasten themselves on to our lungs?

Who can think of kissing a stranger, jumping on to a bus or sending their child to school without feeling real fear? Who can think of ordinary pleasure and not assess its risk? Who among us is not a quack epidemiologist, virologist, statistician and prophet? Which scientist or doctor is not secretly praying for a miracle? Which priest is not — secretly, at least — submitting to science?

And even while the virus proliferates, who could not be thrilled by the swell of birdsong in cities, peacocks dancing at traffic crossings and the silence in the skies?

The number of cases worldwide this week crept over a million. More than 50,000 people have died already. Projections suggest that number will swell to hundreds of thousands, perhaps more. The virus has moved freely along the pathways of trade and international capital, and the terrible illness it has brought in its wake has locked humans down in their countries, their cities and their homes.

But unlike the flow of capital, this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has, therefore, inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of the flow. It has mocked immigration controls, biometrics, digital surveillance and every other kind of data analytics, and struck hardest — thus far — in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt. Temporarily perhaps, but at least long enough for us to examine its parts, make an assessment and decide whether we want to help fix it, or look for a better engine.

The mandarins who are managing this pandemic are fond of speaking of war. They don’t even use war as a metaphor, they use it literally. But if it really were a war, then who would be better prepared than the US? If it were not masks and gloves that its frontline soldiers needed, but guns, smart bombs, bunker busters, submarines, fighter jets and nuclear bombs, would there be a shortage?

Night after night, from halfway across the world, some of us watch the New York governor’s press briefings with a fascination that is hard to explain. We follow the statistics, and hear the stories of overwhelmed hospitals in the US, of underpaid, overworked nurses having to make masks out of garbage bin liners and old raincoats, risking everything to bring succour to the sick. About states being forced to bid against each other for ventilators, about doctors’ dilemmas over which patient should get one and which left to die. And we think to ourselves, “My God! This is America!” …

People will fall sick and die at home.  We may never know their stories. They may not even become statistics. We can only hope that the studies that say the virus likes cold weather are correct (though other researchers have cast doubt on this). Never have a people longed so irrationally and so much for a burning, punishing Indian summer.

What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Some believe it’s God’s way of bringing us to our senses…Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

~ Arundhati Roy, from “Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’” in Financial Times (April 3, 2020)


Notes: Photo: Arundhati Roy via bbc.co.uk. Quote Source: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels

 

Flight Log: The Final Frontier

Travel, story,weather,airplane,aircraft

My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation), Detroit and Chicago. This is the last leg of the journey.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below along with the post dedication.)


The 45 minute hop from Detroit to Chicago was quiet. No chop. A Quiet cabin. Light snow was falling in Chicago carpeting the catering trucks and the luggage carriers. A slender, stoop-shouldered man guided the aircraft in. His hoodie was covered in snow. His fluorescent batons offered a soft illumination. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas Eve. In February.

The City that works. The Machinery was humming this evening. Plows. Sand trucks. Baggage handlers. Crew. De-icers coating the aircraft in a lemon colored bath. A beautiful orchestra. All to get us somewhere safely. I’m feeling gratitude.

My Son was born here. In Chicago. I burroughed deep and back to find a moment. Susan is pulling him on a red sled to greet me as I walk home from the train station returning from work. His chubby cheeks are red. His hair is matted and wet from layers of clothing. His smile…a lighthouse beacon. His arms reaching up. “Dada! Dada!” I reach down to grab him. I hold him close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck as he nuzzles. I miss my son often. And especially when I’m tired. Like now. When the aching just won’t stop.

Cheryl found me eerily calm during this journey. I had many hours to contemplate why. She no longer covered my business and left about the time I started blogging. This hobby. This community. This labor of love. This stringing of words together and having someone actually care to read it. A miracle drug. It stills and softens the mind. It injects peace where none formerly existed. Albert Camus said “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” This. THIS allows me to turn away from the world.

My finger lingers over the Publish button. The cabin is dark with the exception of a handful of us hunched over our screens. 35,000 feet in the air, my wireless icon is flashing. I’m wired.

It’s a miracle. All of it.

Me. Family. Our dog. Friends. You, yes you, reading this. This iPad. My Eye sight. This plane flying. Pizza. (I’m famished.)

All of it.

Too big to figure out.

Too important not to find a small corner of it to call my own.

My finger hovers over the Publish button again. Proof read it again? Is it too much? Is it over the top? Is it good enough?

Friend, you’re asking yourself the wrong question. The only question that matters to help you decide if you should hit Publish:

Is it a miracle?

(PUBLISH)


Same trip – related posts:

This post is dedicated to Shara who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to book and re-book flights, get seat assignments, and keep me moving forward to my destination at all hours of the day and night.  Thank you Shara.


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