Thursday, November 3, 2016

about photography


o sure, We know what photography is!
But, do we really?

From the latin roots for light and writing, we get the feeling that the original use of photography was to trace objects in the real world by standing inside of a huge camera. Using a pinhole, one could create a really accurate shadow of an object outside of the camera to appear unside down inside of it. One could then trace the object in preparation for a painting.

Eventually, someone figured out that a canvas could be prepared with a special light sensitive substance, so that a permanent image of the object could be transfered to the canvas without the need for the artist to trace the shape of it.

We have improved our light writing since those days, and now weild the power to write repeatedly, or even continuously! We have dispensed with the chemicals and the light sensitive coatings. So what more needs to be done to write really well with light? It seems that the thinking is all done, and it is time to just make some files!

Not so fast! I have been writing with light for half of a century, and i can tell you that there is more to it. It is a little difficult to think about, but i will write it down if i can.

First, there is the nature of light itself. Light is a crazy, crazy thing! It barely makes sense, and shows us that our ideas about the universe are pretty much poppycock. A magnetic field and an electric field trading energies very quickly, at right angles to one another, and proceeding through space at a finite speed that sets all of the parameters of our physical universe? Wow!

In one way, 'light particles' exist on their own, and have a given amount of work that they can do. In another way, light exists as a collection of synchronized waves traveling through space together. The particle or the wave description must be used depending on the circumstances, and the math is entirely different!

What this means is that we dont know what light really is. We are missing a piece of the puzzle. It is alright, because we know a lot about the behavior of light. We know that it makes the universe of atoms possible, by allowing an electrons to change it's orbital distance from the nucleus. The light particle is the energy 'change' that the universe must pay so that electron can fall toward, or be driven away from the center of that atom. If the electron comes to a new orbital shell closer to the center, it has less energy. A light particle comes out of the atom to make up the exact difference. The shells are rigidly shaped, due to the special granular nature of energy. Since these kinds of transactions must work both ways, the same flavor of light particle may strike the atom, and be just enough to boost an electron's orbit to the higher state. The light particle goes away, and the electron takes a higher orbit.

So, that is how light is 'born', or how it 'dies'. One must understand that there is no difference between the birth and the death of light. In other words, if you focused a very small camera inside of an atom [you can not do that !], it would not be possible to tell if the camera was going forward and backwards when one viewed a single event. that is how such small events are. Electrons and particles of light have no individual identity. Each one can be any of the other ones. They can not be told from one another. Together with the idea that one can not really tell the direction of time from watching particles of matter and particles of light perform together, this gives some pretty formidable questions about the reality of matter and light!

What about the stuff that enters the eye, or the lens of a camera? I mean, it seems to be organized in some clever way, and to provide useful information about the universe. We can get our brain, or a computer in our camera, to make sense of the light particles that have entered the respective chamber. We know how the light particle was formed. But, how does the light particle convey information about objects in the field of view?

That is where things get really interesting. Objects 'out there' can absorb light particles, and have their atomic orbits given additional energy, or they can emit particles when the orbits decay. If we are seeing them, the atoms are being struck by light particles, and giving out other light particles. In addition, light particles may bounce off of the object [reflect] in ways that are understood pretty well.

In most cases [outside of a mirror], we do not see the light that originally struck an object. we see the light that it did not want to absorb. The 'color' of an object is really the energy of light that is rejected by that object! The energy of light that was exactly right to lift an electron to a distinctly different orbital shell was kept by the atom. What is cast out, to be 'seen', are particles of light that were not used to lift electron orbits in that bit of matter.

so, light particles are not directly outlining the objects that interest us. The process of looking at objects, or photographing objects is more indirect that we At fist had imagined! It gets a step more indirect after the particles reach the sensor. We still have to organize the particles, and make 'sense' of them! After all, the particles are useless for doing work, other than lifting electron orbits in surfaces that they have struck.

Let that impinge on your mind for a moment! A lot of light particles came into your eye, and they warmed it up in a certain way. And somehow, your brain learned something about the world outside of itself. It can predict things, and choose behaviors that will lead to good experiences. Similarly, a camera can store patterns in a computer chip that have something to do with the world outside of the camera's darkened chamber. unlike the products of the human eye, the camera's patterns can be shared among advanced tool users. This is remarkable, and can be seen as a kind of dream that may be shared. It is another magical thing like the uttering of organized sounds and the recording of those utterances. It allows humans to share their consiousness with other humans over time and distance.

Human thoughts have energy if they are organized. They can do work, and must be paid for in some way.  Organization in one area leads to disorganization somewhere else. I mention this because it bears on the question, should photography be done at all? This is a very difficult question, that asks other questions. What is life for? It is OK to look around, or use devices to look around, while humans are hungry or in pain? Is one here to carry water, or to play around on the internet? Grow food, or hide in a soundproof room and play computer games?

As a verified busy monkey, this author has found that some kind of busy course of action is needed. It hardly matters what exact course that it is. Simply digging holes in the ground and filling them back up would probably work just fine. Fooling around with light particles seems pretty harmless. I dont know. You choose!

Monday, October 31, 2016

real vampires!

Vampires do exist, but they are not set aflame by sunlight, and they do not require human blood to survive. They are ordinary homo sapiens organisms, that were born and raised with insatiable hunger. 

Using reincarnation language, our vampires are the lower animals that hurried into human form without satisfying all of the time consuming requirements. From the soul standpoint, taking human form is a great deal. You may be born a wealthy American, and be assured a life of abundance and plenty. Hopefully, you will not be held captive except during your earliest and final years.

Instead, you will be a great jailer. You will have pets, which are creatures of other species that you have total control over. You will have a series of machines that can do amazing things, so that you do not have to do those things. The machines will go quickly over the earth, getting food and  drilling deep holes in the earth and killing creatures that are not desired.

Hopefully, you will get to 'own' land. This is a really amazing concept! A short lived creature is thought to hold a bit of the planet captive. The human draws exact lines, and they may decide which other creatures cross that line. In some cases, the imaginary lines of ownership extend a certain distance up into the planets atmosphere, and a certain distance toward the core of the planet.

If that is not sufficiently amazing, The islands that make up the dry surface of the planet are also 'owned' or held captive. For these 'continents', the captor is a special group of the vampire humans. The group controls a portion of an island, and the control extends far up into space and down into the ground. Their influence  extends a distance past the imaginary lines, and overlaps with the influences of other groups of vampire humans.

The vampire types keep control of a larger group
of more docile humans. The docile ones are compelled to work with various obvious tricks, including the illusion that they may become a vampire, as well as a kind of hypnosis called 'religion'. The docile ones may also be compelled to leave the imaginary borders of their island, and to purposely harm other humans!

The purposeful harm is called 'war', and it includes the poisoning of the land, the  air, and the water in that other land, so that it is hard for creatures and plants to live there. It is difficult to see how this will work over time, as the illness of war infects lands that are overfilled with humans, where the land and air and water is already badly poisoned.

Can this process be stopped? Wow! It seems to have progressed past a tipping point. Many species have already departed. The atmosphere has been influenced chemically and energetically, so that it needs a few thousand years without human 'husbandry' to calm down.

Perhaps that is the answer. Husbanding has not worked. 'Husbanding' is about harm and captivity and mindless force. 'Husbanding is deep holes and barbed wire and huge fires and cluster bombs.

Perhaps the earth needs to be 'wived'. It is hard for humans to even imagine that. How would largescale 'wiving' look? Do nurturers form armies? How is love 'deployed'. What will become of the NFL?

The good news is that husbanding seems to have run it's course. Within the US, there are areas where Females seem to be loosing rights and becoming the property of men. But, in the world, Women are being given control of countries and companies. Women are shedding the hijab, and donning the trappings of office. It is the most forceful and masculine females that are  encroaching on the all male mandate thus far, but that may change in time.

Real nurturers might get power, and the real 'wiving' of the earth could begin. It is a race, and the outcome is not at all clear. A tiny minority of extremely 'hungry' humans have the upper hand. It is hard to budge them, as they are willing to puncture and burn and cause general harm to remain the 'captor' of their flock. In many cases, they control the news media in their area, and have methods of winning elections and getting laws into place.

One finds oneself in the position of a farm animal, trapped within barbed wire that one worked to put up, and lowing piteously to be set free. How is that supposed to work? It is not that great to be an animal when ones planet has insufficient room for some of it's animals.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The american nightmare

In reviewing a large number of modern movies, I have become disgusted. Most of them are American, and it is pretty clear what Americans [of which I am one] want to watch.

There are lots of movies about stealing money. Probably the second most popular theme is revenge, and the justified captivity and torture of deserving perpetrators. This shows, all too well, the attitude of the average American. The monetary system has failed, because people no longer see money as a reward for very hard work. They think that it does not matter how the money is obtained. In fact, most Americans seem to be involved in handling the money itself rather than in doing useful work.

We are living in the rotting corpse of a once great country. Our people tend to be obese and useless. Our horses have given way to great shiny machines of metal. The machines have replaced our citizens bodies, and fossil fuel powers those bodies. I see parallels with the fall of Rome, with it's dependence on human slaves and continual military expansion.

We have ceased to educate ourselves, except in the acquisition and handling of money. Practical work and resource extraction have been moved to other lands. We are proud of this, and our obesity and uselessness seem like good things. Our remnant of military might is used to grab resources that can not be purchased.

We have allowed the greediest and the least polite among us rule, and this has led to some real world problems. The US should have been the leader in reducing it’s material needs, and in switching to clean energy. Instead, we have allowed our greediest fools to deploy depleted uranium and torture to maintain their monopoly on fossil fuel. We have denied climate change, even while US cities are being covered with sea water.

We reserve real health care and effective education for the very rich. We eject people from their homes readily, and use US soldiers and militarized police to keep our own poor at bay. We are proud of this, and point to a few billionaires as our shining examples. Elon Musk is the only positive example that I am aware of. He has faced our problems head on, using his genius and creative force to tackle obvious problems.

The rest of us remain in chaotic cities, attempting unsuccessfully to get money. We vilify others for what we have done. Here is what we have done: As European rejects, we destroyed most of the native humans, and the larger native mammals of a subcontenent. We did this in a cowardly way, using disease and subterfuge. We imported a race of people to be our slaves. We carved up the land into rectangles, and have controlled those rectangles with brutal force. Firearms and barbed wire and poisons are our favorite tools.

We have replaced the healthful native creatures with mutated and diseased beasts. We imagine that we 'own' them. We make believe that the slaves in their city ghettos have been entirely freed, and that the surviving native humans are very happy in their wasteland concentration camps.

It is time to wake up. The world has seen our rigged elections, and watched us steal oil from any nation that could not defend itself. We have destroyed our own buildings to scare ourselves into surrendering up our semblance of freedom. We pay close attention to a fat and pasty Hitler wannabe, who grabs breasts and promises to lead us in one final pillage of the planet.

Who wants to live in a world like that? Do I have positive suggestions? You bet I do!

We could have real elections, where the most qualified person is elected. I suggest using the internet, and forbidding the use of big money to win elections. We could put up a lot of windmills and solar panels, and allow the oil companies to go out of business.

We could do away with the concept of the corporation. We no longer need 'middle men' to stand between the supply and the consumer. Middle men are worse than useless, especially when they are allowed to set national policy.

We could actually free the slaves, and allow the natives of this land to leave their prison camps. We could attend to our population’s health and education. We do not have a government to steal foreign resources or to read our mail. We have it to make our lives better. We could bring our aircraft and our troops back to the US, and concentrate on defending this place. It would be OK to shrink our military. We have always been able to grow it back at spectacular speed.

As far as borders, well, I honestly don’t know what to do about borders. My own people were chased here by the Nazis. Every group wants to be the last group admitted.

I am not certain that we need such a powerful federal government. The US was originally designed as a confederation of separate countries that could band together in time of war. We have given this confederation too much power, by allowing it to stay in a permanent state of war. We never wanted a king, having finally gotten out from under the British king. Now we have a king, and our once productive nation has changed from eagle to buzzard.

The US need not be destroyed in a war with the rest of the world. It can be allowed to collapse gracefully, as it is doing now. The USSR has already dissolved into states. I wish that I had a more rosy outlook and better suggestions.

Perhaps, if we were healthy and well educated, we could figure out what to do.


Monday, April 18, 2016

the case for an immediate switch to renewable fuels.

You will note the photo of the jeep and the solar ATV. Let us concentrate our thoughts on these 2 different types of transportation. It could be said that the Jeep is ready for about a 300 mile journey with it's tank full, and more of the fuel can be obtained [dirt cheap] almost anywhere that it can be driven. Detractors of plug in electric vehicles will suggest that the ATV has a relatively short range, is under powered, and that it's 'fuel' is much harder to replace after it runs out.

Look at the photo again. Right now, neither machine is in use. One is actually fueling up [very slowly], while the other is slowly leaking oil onto the ground, and venting the more volitile benzenes from it's fuel tank into the earths atmosphere. The fossil fuel is, in effect, slowly spoiling, while the plug in vehicle's 'fuel' is slowly leaking into the tank! It is earth's sun, after all, that is filling it up.

While it sometimes seems that the earth's sun is a pretty weak 'fuel', and that fossil fuel is easy to obtain, clean burning, and inexpensive, a closer inspection will reveal that conditions on earth have changed so that solid and liquids fuels should no longer be used within the atmosphere. If we will momentarily divert our genious for war and money-making into this endeavor, we will very quickly be getting about in a silent way, and harvesting as much free fuel from the sun as we [and our decedents] can ever use.

It is important to examine some of the ramifications of a switch to renewable fuels. We are constantly warned that any reduction in the use of grid power or fossil fuel would result in a drastic reduction in jobs, and a collapse in the economy. We have based our economy on the ever-expanding use of coal and natural gas and oil. We even plow the sky, back and forth, with giant metal birds that belch the burned oil into the most vulnerable layers of the upper atmosphere. How could any of this burning effect such a robust, HUGE planet? A planet whose surface is littered with volcanoes, that vent the same gasses that our machinery does?

I am here to tell you, [as a trained oilfield engineer], that decades of study of the the earths crust has not fostered in me a belief in the robustness of our ecosystem. It is the opposite. When ones job is to look deep into the earth, one gets the feeling that they are scooting about on melted rock, riding a very thin skateboard of non melted rock. When you take measurements, the temperature and pressure and chemical toxicity mount very very rapidly as you drill just a short distance down into the thin skin of non melted rock. It is a miracle that fresh water can exist near the surface. The deep holes that we drill into such a hot and toxic environment absurdly risky.

When you look at the big picture then, [including the atmosphere], it is sheer folly to bring flammable toxins to the surface. Burning them directly into the atmosphere is noisy and unpleasant, and we have already overcome the Earth's natural resistance to climate change. Additional burning will work directly against the well being of our children. No financial arguments make any sense. Money is our own concept, but I will attempt to guess the preference of unborn generations:


In short, there are some arguments for leaving remaining fossil fuel stores in place. Now, we should look at plug-in vehicles and the renewable infrastructure itself. Are renewables just a kind of hoax, along with climate change?

Certainly, renewable energy has changed my life for the better. I switched from the electric grid and generators to photovoltaics some time ago. My little town goes dark pretty often, because we are at the end of a long, and faulty bit of the electric grid. By contrast, my home solar electric runs for years at a time. If the main system needs maintenance, i can rely on two back up systems. Now, i make my own heating and cooking and even some of my motor fuel! That feels pretty good. My choices, freely made, have reduced the number of fires and explosions in the world. I have replaced fires and explosions with little patches of ground that are deprived of sunlight and slightly cooler!

Finally, there is the diffuse nature of sunlight, and the problems with batteries. OK, sunlight is not really that weak! For example, enough sun falls on your house to power anything within reason that needs doing under that roof. Enough typically falls on your car to get you to and from work. Sun or wind are universally available on earth, as long as you make allowances for non-windy periods and night and winter. Only a tiny fraction of the surface needs to be shaded by panels to meet any foreseeable needs that we might have.

Batteries have improved drastically of late, and we should see further refinements quite soon. We are ramping up our production of fairly clean lithium ion batteries now, and these already allow huge travel distances and great performance. Smart neighborhood grids and the new batteries should make our future power systems robust and very efficient.

In summary; it is within our grasp to switch to renewable power almost overnight. We are smart, smart monkeys! The Earth will be cooler and more quiet. We will feel some comfort that we have prepared the way for our descendants in the best way that we could. Stated a different way: Even if you don't believe in God, is it a total waste of time to issue a very brief 'insurance prayer' just in case she exists? Climate change; the future of the energy infrastructure; and the general quality of life for all species on Earth concern us to the point where it might be reasonable to reduce our 'burning' voluntarily.

Einsteins very first paper, in 1905, named and described the photoelectric effect. The atom is described as a slightly more interesting little machine than we initially supposed! Light can strike an atom, and give it that much of a boost in energy. The light is gone then, and it's 'oomph' goes into raising one of the atom's electrons into a higher orbit. If the 'oomph' is great enough, the electron may be free to leave the atom, and to be shared along from atom to atom. It has been suggested that we are burning too much fossil fuel, and harming ourselves. Wouldn't it be a miracle to arrange some way to use these freely marching electrons? O wait..............

How to die happy [No bucket list needed or desired]

How to be a human that dies happy.

Most people understand the idea of a bucket list, which includes the experiences that a person wants to have before their life ends. This idea seems foreign and forced to me. It reminds me of the way that some folks wait until the very last moment to do a thing that they must do. I have always been the opposite kind of person, who does the needed things at the very beggining of the 'due' period.

That is why I addressed my lifes goals very early on, even before i was a teen. When, at age 16, my childhood did not seem to be going well, I forged my parents name on a motorcycle title, and departed the east coast once and for all. Driving west felt correct to me, and I took some care to avoid a traffic stop where my learners permit would come into question.

I was frightened, but far more worried about wasting my life in a region where i did not belong, and doing pointless deeds that were merely expected of me. I recognize that people are driven through their lives by various fears, and later by the compulsion to reproduce. It is not so much that they make incorrect decisions about their lives. It seems like the ship of their life has no captain at all, and floats about at the mercy of winds and tides.

To continue with the analogy, the ship has no destination, and the only steering is to avoid dangers that are very near the prow. These unpiloted ships drift about, directed by greed and fear and community concensus. At the end of their seaworthy days, moments before a particular ship sinks to the bottom of the sea, the captain is finally tempted to point the prow in a direction and stick to it.

Although the mention of death is emotionally catchy, this essay is not really about death. It is about using timing and strength and trickery to balance the fear and greed. There is no religious component to the argument, because, it seems to me that religion most ofen serves to further constrain ones behavior. Instead, I will offer the only real evidence that i have, which are anecdotes from my own life.

Fear of death is overcome to do my first dangerous rock climb.

I started rock climbing later in life, and persued it with my typical single minded zeal. Being slender and somewhat feeble, i knew that genetics alone was not going to power me to the pinacle of climbing accomplishment. So, i purposely sought out the best climbers on earth. I noticed that some of the very strongest climbers would climb tall rock and ice faces with no rope.

I tried some short ones, and was able to do every one by overcoming brief bursts of fear. My first long unroped climb was the east buttress of El Capitan. It is on the right side of the wall, and it's most difficult move is a traverse to the right on small holds. The 'crux' is at an awkward height for an unroped human. At perhaps 60 meters up the wall, it is high enough that a fall can not turn out well, but low enough on El Capitan that the ground is real looking and 'present'.

In addition, quite a few difficult moves occur below the crux, so that retreat is not very attractive. Climbing down is really no harder than climbing up, but the participant spends much of their time looking in the direction of a possible fall to find the foot holds. This can bring on vertigo and dizziness, which will hinder the process. I remember that i was singing a silly popular song about falling, falling, falling as i approached the crux. When i reached it, the look of the moves froze me in place. I felt that there was a good chance that my little song would come true. I thought about starting down, but was disgusted with the idea of being that pathetic guy who fails at everything in life.

After a while, the anger and revulsion at being so pathetic overcame my fear. Basically, i preferred to be dead than to give up any chance of a real life while paralyzed with fear. I headed right across the small holds, finding that i could insert my arm through a sling that was hanging from a piton during the hardest single move. I would not place weight on it, but would have more than one try if I slipped. I got it on the first try, and it felt remarkably easy! It was apparent that the fear had made the holds look smaller and further apart. I still had a few hours of easier climbing to reach the top of El Capitan, but it seemed that i had passed a kind of threshold, and it was easy to remain relaxed. Later, i was to learn some mental tricks that would often reduce the fear and thereby, make the act of climbing unroped much less suicidal.

Getting over a seemingly insurmountable difficulty with leading very hard routes.

After about 10 years of concentrating my efforts on climbing, I realized that no more improvement was happening. When i attempted to lead a very hard route, a terrible conversation would begin in my brain. The cross talk took 99% of my attention, and sapped my confidence. I would always fail, and fall safetly onto the rope. Where was this cross talk coming from?

I meditated on this question for some time, and decided to travel back east and try to make 'friends' with my parents. Perhaps, it was guilt for running away from home, and for depriving my projenitors with the closure that they deserved. I arranged the trip, and carried it off with my charactoristic mixed results. When i arrived back in the west, I set out to climb 'burning in hell'. It was far too steep for my feeble frame, and the holds were simply too far apart to reach! to my delight, i found that the mental conversation had ceased, and i could, at last, concentrate on pulling myself up the rock.

None the less, i continued to fail miserably. In searching for the flaw, i quickly discounted the physical side. I was not a genetically gifted climber, but was highly trained and free of injury. I looked around me, and saw many young climbers attempting to excell. It was thought at the time that lots of pre climb meditation was needed, along with all kinds of shouting and good energy from the onlookers. So, i tried the opposite things. I ceased the pre climb meditations. Instead of practicing the moves in the air, or bragging and beating on my chest, i started bringing a chess set, and found a partner that liked to play games in between our attempts.

There was a huge difference! We would be playing chess, and suddenly, i would glance up at the drastically overhanging wall and notice that no one was climbing. I would hop up and tie into the rope, drag my slippers on in seconds, and begin to climb. My belayer would remain silent, and ask any other onlookers to refrain from the customary yelling. I started to reach the crux of 'burning'. But, being the warmest part of the summer, I would be too hot by then to make a huge reach while pulling myself to the right with my toe under the roof. Obviously, one more ingredient was needed.

One day, i encoutered a large 'possee' from Boulder Colorado in the cave. They were trying 'burning' also, and were attempting to overcome the heat by resting in the shade, and then spraying the climber with cool water just before they began. There was plenty of chest beating and yelling. None of it was working for them, but it gave me an idea for an empiracle experiment. So, seeing that the route was empty, i broke off a chess game, and went out into the hot sun. i began to run up and down hills, and do jumping jacks. I came back into the cave breathing hard and dripping with sweat, and tied myself to the rope. After asking for quiet, i quickly reached the top of burning without any difficulty. furthermore, i could always do it fairly easily after that!

How weed helped me to do Pumparama

So now, i had the basic ingredients to do short, hard routes consistently. I could do long easy routes with no rope, but was still having trouble with routes that are both long and hard. I was in Rifle, Colorado, trying to do the second ascent of a long, very steep route called Pumparama. i decided to quit smoking weed for the season, to see if that was sapping my endurance.

i got good at the lower difficulties, so that i was reaching the final tiring headwall, where i would melt off of fairly easy moves. With some disapointment, I watched the 2nd and 3rd ascents occur while i continued to fall near the top. In the autumn, i finally gave up, and a few superb guys from Oregon offered to help me to retrieve my equipment from the route. Since my quest was over, i could now smoke weed, and we kicked the hacky sack and got really stoned below the wall. The wall was so steep that the only way to get the quick draws off of the bolts was for one person to lead it, and then another person could remove them while climbing the route with a rope from above.

Those guys were smart, and knew more about the issue than i did. So, they convinced me to bring the rope up there myself, even if i had to hang on every bolt. When i started, i heard them begin to say calming things in a conversational volume. They were the opposite of battle cries, and i was disconnected from any expectations of success. Of course, i made the top easily without getting tired at all! I mean, there was never a moment of doubt. Again, I had succeeded because i was willing to experiment. However, in this case, the experiment was to stop consuming a drug that could never be of use to an elite athelete.

To elaborate further, i had quit canabis at an earlier age, and then visited the eye doctor to find that i had the glaucoma that runs through my family. So, quitting canabis for the summer probably lost me a bit of sight around the edges of my visual field. If there is a lesson, it is that there is no magic bullet that leads to triumph and success.

After these experiments, i began to ignore all of the folk wisdom of climbing. I ceased with any kind of special diet or silly sport snacks. As the climbers turned from street people to affluent office workers, i became a object of ridicule; with my ancient ropes, course manners and ripped blue jeans. But, once i had realized that climbing was just a part of ordinary life, i did much, much better. I would feast on boiled eggs and baked potatoes while the others ate power bars and 5 dollar bags of spiced tuna. I learned what to say to the office workers so that they would not yell at me while i was climbing. I learned to choose partners very carefully. One could often find a Norwegian or an American mechanic or farmer to climb with. i learned to hide from the crowds of weekend warriors, and to camp and climb with others that 'lived' climbing.

I repaired climbing shoes out of my truck, so I had no need to travel to a city to obtain income. There was no sense of security, and litterally no safety net at all. There was something else besides sucurity and safety. And here is the catch.... it seems that the safety is illusury. Just like there is no way to get fat enough to live out the rest of your life without eating food again. There is no way to get ones bank account fat enough so that one is 'really' safe. Human safety is not in obesity or wealth. Indeed, it is the opposite! Safety is in avoiding extremes of poverty, illness and injury, and healing from these conditions faster than new misfortunes arrive. It is not so important to entirely avoid hunger, extreme behavior, or risk. Life is like a big machine, with inputs like food and information, and ouputs like poop and behavior [and even new machines!].

Ones machine does not run in outer space. It is emersed in a sea of other machines. That is the complicated and important part. It is the interactions between the machines that is 'seen' by the universe. One's inner struggle takes place largely in secret. There is already a concept of the 'good deed', but 'good deeds' are not strange abberations of behavior motivated by a supreme being upon nearly senseless single cell organisms. 'Good Deeds' are the way that cells of some kind of extended body cooperate to maintain life. Death will be assured if the cells of this proposed body loose all contact with one another, and each cell behaves as if it were alone in a harsh and dangerous environment.

I do not suggest that anti-biotics, bombs, guns and tall walls are of no use in this system. If the universe were like that, there would be only red blood cells needed in the circulatory system, and no need for militaristic [and potentially harmful] white blood cells. How does one deal with situations where love will not work? This question is to be answered in another essay, as this writing is about maintaining a healthful ballence between two extremes. Here are some strange tips for getting older:

All of your friends will die. As tempting as it is to pick one or two humans, and consider them to be all of humanity, this approach may lead to a series of balloon popping events. Eventually, one may just give up the drivers seat after enough of these deflating events. I am pretty sure that I have seen this happen to many humans. As I look around, I see a kind of deep communication between humans that is not easily explained by Physics. As mentioned, I believe that this somewhat unseen 'bobbing of sparks' in the huge darkness is the real business of humans. Avoiding unbearable regret can be as simple as remembering the sparks while wallowing in the earthly mire.

Later, you will not remember the times of total comfort. It will be the times of rapid personal growth that stay sharp and clear in the memory. As long as the growing outpaces the dying, well, that is called 'life'. This should slightly redefine the meaning of 'safety'. I mean, sometimes, a person's way to see beyond themselves is to run really, really far, or to try a dangerous activity. So, there are grades of foolhardyness, that range from attempting to fly from a tall building, to trying a friendship with a human that is not exactly 'inside the box' of comfort. Being too 'safe' can itself be a kind of danger!

So, what is the summary of this essay? Do I suggest that everyone quit their job, and start bungie jumping and hitch hiking about? Well, if you are frozen in place, and no longer growing, some kind of shake up might be in order. But, I am not suggesting that one pilots ones own ship by constantly making random course corrections. One picks far off gails, and heads in that direction. If the ship is not making headway with the sails how they are now, the sails are reconfigured. Although one makes one's own choices, one stays on the radio with the other captains who are out there, themselves making choices in the dark and briney deep.



About Me

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I am a fine art photographer and filmmaker. Lately, I have been doing panoramic images of the Canyonlands area, and printing them using archival materials. These large images are placed in work cubicles and homes, and can sometimes briefly transport the viewer to a contemplative location.