Monday, September 15, 2014

Carraway on Smiles

It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. 

It faced - or seemed to face - the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. 

It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. 

Romantic Idealization

Love and imagination are inextricably linked because imagination gives love form through the enterprise of thought, while love, that warm, profoundly tender, passionate affection felt for another provides the inspiration for this sharing.

Human creative acts of perception join passive and active elements in thinking and impose unity on the subject of our romantic affections. The faculty of mind that manipulates images devises its own linkage between beloved and "intuition". As opposed to purely mechanical justifications for the allowance of emotional sentiment, romantic idealization attains the absolute by consulting self-awareness in the process.

Romantic idealization is Bergson's élan vital, "a vital impetus, containing within itself the possibilities of a multiplicity of life-forms". The élan vital - which I call Romantic Idealization - gives rise to a process of eternal struggle between love, intuition, and matter; the process is Romantic Creativity.

Falling in Love

Falling in love thrusts the mind upward. Owing sensation to intuition, each moment spent romantically idealizing a person, idea, or situation, produces an increasingly complex intelligence about the nature of the experience, which increasingly expands the intuition by inspiring it to grow toward new parameters established by the connection. The idea is similar to the joy one experiences when love is renewed: the pre-existing notions softly dissipate into the background as the recognition of new sensations flood one's conscience with new truths.

Love is an extension of our conscience awareness that directs our attention upward toward the ideal: it inspires behavior, as well as attitudes, and in an all-consuming eloquence of mind, ignites a smooth, elastic, adaptable, mindfulness that immerses itself in the immediacy of the moment and soars. 

Imagination conceives of this intuition and announces its intention to "imagine". It is the mind that loves with the entirety of its being and begets the intuition and imagination to work in collaborative harmony with the divine within. 

Indicative of the intensity love brings to imagination, excitement soars at discovering divine sentiment. We then allow ourselves to be fascinated and hypnotized by the intensity of each interaction, in this case, Romantic Idealization; i.e., love that has momentarily confounded life, alters behavior and indeed, as the heart sings, praises it through expressions of delight combined with inventiveness. 

Inventing new moments is the burden of romance that is lifted from within to create tender arrangements from which the romantic narrative takes flight. As these new inventions increase, so too do their effect upon the conscious and subconscious self. Love songs are sweeter, time slows down, and fanciful invention arouses the romantic spirit. 

Romantic idealization

Romantic idealization conceives of itself through another. It lifts our attention toward mindfulness. It is the aspect of self that conceives of that which lies beyond oneself. It is the excitement of discovering another that stirs us from within. It expresses delight before the world and declares to itself the word "love" ~ a word recognizably "too short a word for too long a feeling". 

Romantic idealization is our heart's response to a superior understanding that dwells within. In it, we value new concepts of time by allowing ourselves to experience truths we did not previously know existed. In doing so, our minds rearrange past notions into fond, heartfelt memories to make space for the enormity that encompasses the heart, mind, and essence of self. 

Love is spontaneously intuitive. Both love and romance are codified in the creation of life and involves two bodies, though one could conceive of the notion that each being is held by the other in desirous affection. There is nothing mechanically repetitive about love. Love is always new. The difference is ultimately linked to a pure state of intuition that has the capacity to recognize new truths. 

As romance evolves into love, it becomes increasingly aware that it must continue to find new truths, which may be anything other than what was previously understood, and which we equate with discovery. Allowing for discovery is the intellectual realization that one is "in love with love" and that we need love to live. 

Love compliments our being, connects our intuition to our vision, and allows us to see straight through to the source of our affection. This seeing connects us in a way that boundaries dissolve, problems dissipate, and possibilities abound. Anything that is not integral to the flourishing of love is diminished so that the expression of self and truth might flourish. 

It is upon the path toward truthful flourishing where romantic idealization reigns. Sentiment is the impetus and imagination is the preface to A Love Story that we script for ourselves. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Kamikaze Bunny Ballad

The Kamikaze Bunny Ballad

Just look at us where we stand;
Our bedtime is at eight.
We don't like carrots in a can,
Because they are so very fake.
'Do you like our oozies?' we ask.
'And aren't they kinda cute?'
We agree it is a disagreeable task
To turn docile creatures into brutes
We with our little fluffy tails
That bounce while we eat
You cook us with our entails
And on your keychains put our feet
'It is our custom,' you say
'To take that which we see;
And that's just our way -
A fluke of fate, if you please.'
But budding is our plan
Though it may seem a wee bit mean,
We follow lead from the Great Lapin
The wisest bunny ever seen.
So, having no mercy to give
We swipe away your lucky rabbit feet!
And cry the cry by which the Kamikaze Bunny live
And thump you on the head as we screech:
'You have no right to cut off our tails
And throw the rest away,
And if we catch you recounting lucky rabbit feet tales,
You'll drop to your knees and pray:
'Forgive us y'all
We think not as we toil -
It seems that thinking above all
Is for some like taking castor oil.''
But we are armed and ready,
To blow you away all together
So that no bunny suffers your indignant pedi
And keeps their parts together
I shook myself awake and tried,
To think of all that which we do:
'Come, little bunny tell me how you feel,' I cried
'And together we'll hug it through!'
They said 'We hunt for the naughtiest human prize'
Among nature's spies
And pounce upon them in the silent night
And giggle when they realize
That rabbit feet are not lucky
Carry instead a nugget of gold
For carrying around furry little feet is yucky
And the custom is really getting old
And sometimes they listen and update their scrolls,
So that future progeny might learn, too
Keeping us as pets will not console
A baby bunny pruned
'And that's our tale' (they gave a little wink)
'By which we reconsidered lucky rabbit wealth -
And very gladly did the moral sink
Into our books upon the shelf
I heard them bounce away, as I had just
Made their furry little plight shine
Rescuing bunny feet from wicked clutch
By composing this little rhyme
I thank them much for telling me
How not to demonstrate our wealth
But chiefly for their hearts, so brave and wee 
I toasted them to noble health
And now, if e'ver by chance I see
A lucky rabbit's foot dangling from a chain
I'll cry the cry of the Great Lapin
And summon the Kamikaze Bunnies again
Who will point their oozies at your toe
A very heavy weight, indeed
And remind you of that which you already know
That Kamikaze Bunnies only need
A gentle hand, a speech that is
So that their whiskers don't flicker with woe,
And their faces don't wince in sorrow,
Their eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who bring us joy to and fro,
And hop and bounce, and oh
Are so very cute and loveable
And if we cut off their little feet, like so
We'll incur their wrath, just like long ago
So don't act like you don't know
That Kamikaze Bunnies exist, to keep us on the straight and narrow
All before their bedtime at eight.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fingers, an Organ of the Mind

Richard Mas - Sexy Fingers at Art Monaco 2012


Cartesian-inspired dualism directs our attention to the head when searching for mental activity, but the fingers challenge this dichotomy, offering tantalizing possibilities that can only be found by following the fingers.

The world takes form as we graze, tap, and wander with our fingers. We see an object and instantly we imagine what it would be like to touch it.

Hands are the sine qua non for the manufacture of artifacts, but fingertips pull tactile images into our conscious mind, tickling us in the process. A fetchingly curled finger may say "come hither," whereas a other gestures can communicate a broad range of other expressions.

Everyone touches differently ... all hands are unique because fingerprints differ from person to person.

The things we touch leave traceable memories in our fingers, sensory engagement that connects our thinking and engages our imaginations in retrospect (memory) or in anticipation (imagination). Some sensations may not be fully preconceived of in thought, but neither are sensory precognitions without merit.

Thoughts direct the fingers but the fingers determine the will toward the organ of the sense. Exploratory in nature, fingers seem to consciously choose and initiate movement. In extraordinary and meticulous detail, fingers communicate back the relation between shape and thought, between recognition and "second nature."

I can feel the twinkle in the eye of his handshake.
~Helen Keller

Researchers McGlone and Reilly 2010; Morison, Löken, and Olausson 2010, argue for the inclusion of pleasant touch (in addition to tactile, painful, thermal, and pruritic / itch) as a fifth modality in the cutaneous system, which relays information to the central nervous system. The empirical motivation for this claim comes from the identification of receptors, which respond preferentially to low-force, slow moving stimulation. 

The areas linked to the sensory and emotional processing of touch (pain, and other cutaneous sensations) are the posterior ventral medial and medial dorsal nuclei of the thalamus as well as the dorsal posterior insula and the anterior cingulate (Craig 2009).

Touching other people influences the perception of touch on one's self, suggesting that, rather than merely involving the same brain areas, observation and perception of touch also involve shared cognitive representations (Singer and Lamm 2009; Serino and Haggard 2010).

Fingers and their hands are wondrous tools with astonishing versatility ... eclipsing other sensory organs in terms of the sheer magnitude of information they relay back to the head.

When we rub our hands and fingers together, we are essentially both the perceiver and the perceived. This duality of perceiver and perceived facilitates a sense in the body as being both that through which we experience the world as well as the experience of being perceived by others. Husserl said that touch is the only sense that facilitates perception of what does the perceiving. In other words, eyes do not appear to one's own vision, but the perceiver-perceived intimacy known only to our hands and fingers is a unique experience of self-touch. Touching oneself is a sort of self-reflection, a unidirectional relationship of the one who perceives to and well as the one who is being perceived.

We think with our hands - and some of us talk with our hands. Together with our fingers, they have a direct link to our thoughts. Whether or not bodily gestures are among the material vehicles that realize cognitive processes is a matter of debate, but it is ever true that together they make a coupled system of neural activity in which fingers aid us in the realization of a thought.

However we perceive tactile experiences, they offer a distinctively rich adaptiveness and flexibility of intelligent thought and behavior. Sensations occur in our fingertips, but the phenomenon is realized in both the brain as well as the non-neural body.

The case for embedded cognition has been made by many scholars. I suppose the burden of proof lies in how profoundly the ideas we touch / touch us.

Our Blog Apologizes

You no doubt remember the early posts. Nice, quietly contemplative, unfamiliar with the gaze of public scrutiny. At one time, perhaps, but not any more. 

I have been asked by the blog owner, in my capacity as blog writer and conscience of our little blog, to offer an apology from the creators of Happy Thoughts Travel Fast (HTTF) for our occasionally frequent "going off topic" tendencies. Like many small-blog folks, we at HTTF care very deeply about the humor effort. And it is was this effort we believed we were assisting when we fell for the smooth talking "it's my blog and I'll write what I want to" idea. 

If you look to your left, you'll notice our 100% Reputation. If you are reading this from your phone, it looks like this: 

Those honeyed numbers - 100/100 - illuminate our blogiotic duties, bringing an assortment of responsibilities to our blog readers. Each post is created inside a very small library or on the corner of a cozy, leather couch and stored on a GIANT server. Each post aims to feature tasteful images and concepts to multiple Readers with a variety of interests. Naturally, when one of our blog posts are featured by other sites, retweeted, or otherwise shared, we are publicly appreciative, but privately shocked. 

"How in the world do people find our little blog?" the blog author once told me. "Do people have nothing better to do with their time than read internet fodder?" 

Of course, speaking as the individual writing the internet fodder, I totally get why people enjoy reading it. 

It's fun! 

During all those moments when we have absolutely nothing better to do with our time and our entertainment-centric brains are out surfing the web for funny or otherwise interesting tid-bits of data, here comes HTTF to the entertainment rescue. 

So, apparently people haven't lost their senses. Readers assure me that there's "good stuff" in here. Each post contributes to the archive - some 1200+ posts - in an effort to raise our Google ranking and chances of being "discovered" as a true literary talent not to be dismissed. 

The Readers of HTTF, for example, send emails and instant messages to influence the posting of certain articles ... to suggest jokes, to share background information, to share things they probably shouldn't share, and mainly to ask things like: 

Why did you post that? ... 
Where in the world do you come up with all this stuff? ...
What are you smoking? ...
Can I have some? ...
How do you know all this stuff? ...

To which the author of the blog responds with clarity, wit, and a slight air of dismissiveness in an attempt to not get too overly personal - a logician's kryptonite. 

So, this is HTTF. Yonder, on the right-hand side of your screen, is a real picture of the author on a Really Good Hair Day ...

So, here we stand, naked as the day this blog was created, next to the HTTF-verse that was created in April 2011. Old "Sophy 'softly' Laughing" turned Happy Thoughts Travel Fast. "Why?" you ask? 

Because there's enough serious stuff out there. When it comes to internet fodder, I take mine with a side of wit, a pinch of playfulness, and an extra helping of whatever-comes-to-mind just to make the mixture a bit more palatable. 

Now, back to that apology. We hope this apology for occasionally going off topic soothes the soul as much as a nice warm beverage soothes the savage adult. Though you must know, in all reality, the author of this blog assumes no responsibility for the posts that fail to entertain while simultaneously taking 100% of the credit for the one's that do. 

Many a perfectly good morning has been spent pecking away at a pristine MacBook Pro laptop instead of sleeping in ... Who knew one could create such a space in the wee hours of the morning before the pets wake-up? The pets, maybe. But there you are. Up with the animals writing in a blog just to entertain self and others. 

Not a bad way to spend a morning ... 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fostering Sensibilities

For Rousseau, moral learning, as recognized in natural philosophy, became a matter of fostering sensibilities within the individual. In contrast to the utilitarian "felicific" calculation that was gaining ground among progressive thinkers, Rousseau's notion of "sensibility" and concept of individual self-expression emphasized the education of a morally autonomous individual and portrayed the notion of education as a process of self-development, more dependent upon experience than book learning. 

Whether or not one agrees with Rousseau, the reading of this passage makes one cognizant of the value of life experience and self-made adventures as opposed to theoretical work as having a central place in our thinking lives. 

Discovery - learning - and pedagogy all prepare us to acknowledge ourselves via our relationship to the world. The approach we choose, ideally speaking, should be the one that speaks to us, that enlivens us from the inside out, that inspires us to delve deeper to that place of knowing that lies within a given subject. 

The path some choose is the direction they believe others wish for them to take, or sometimes the direction others strongly encourage them to take. This trajectory and the one they might have chosen for themselves is not always the same. 

Sometimes choosing the safest (western mindset version of "safest") route is best. It helps us focus, work hard, and get through it... so that we can move on with our lives. Of course, we move on in an entirely different direction.

I have questioned (and actively tested out) whether the safest route isn't that which we know more intuitively -vs- that which we think we should know or have a responsibility to ourselves and others to learn. For some, going to college is the smartest decision only because it is the safest decision.

If you have a burning passion and you know that the easiest way to co-participate in that experience is via university, then by all means go to university. If you have a burning passion to become the world's best skier while you're young enough to do so, do that! Go to school later - but only IFF the institution is offering you something you want for yourself.

University is like an a la carte menu. A smörgåsbord of intellectual delights! But if climbing a mountain in the himalayas is more to your liking, it seems to me that you should pack up your gear and head out.

"But what if you have to sell or give away your stuff?"

People have asked me this question before ... and my general answer has been "let them have it" (unless it is something I actually need to take along with me, I'm happier knowing someone else is enjoying the things I don't need).

Fostering our sensibilities is about recognizing that which sparks the flame inside us ... nuances, sensibilities, and expertise follow this ignition, as we naturally immerse ourselves in the world of sensory experiences that are closer to our personal liking.

Someone very wise once told me that anything was possible. The only that we had to decide was what were we willing to give up to have exactly what we want out of life. And in reality, is it really giving something up, if we want something else more...?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to be the Best You Can Be

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? 
     Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you... as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~Nelson Mandela

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. 

~E.E. Cummings

Filling our minds with positive thoughts, getting up to do something productive when we'd rather sit around and do nothing, taking chances and doing new things ... these are the types of actions that lead us toward becoming the best versions of ourselves. 

Being 'the best you can be' is about letting go of what others consider best for you and doing for yourself what you think is right - and if you're uncertain about what is right, just look for the love

Look for the love is just another one of those short, pithy statements like "actions speak louder than words" ... but surprisingly enough, as familiar as we are in theory with these witty little maxims, few of us test them out. 

Look for the love is about 
knowing what you love 
and doing that. 

Exploring is what it takes to become the best versions of ourselves. We never know which experiences (or which people) will ignite or bring out our passions, our raison d'etre, so we have to allow ourselves to explore, to take chances, to get into a new situation and instead of bring old mindsets along for the ride, allow ourselves to look around, to survey the landscape, and to try out new things .... or be open to new ideas and suggestions. 

If you have people in your life with whom you enjoy spending time, places that inspire you, things you like to do, songs you like to sing, art you want to make, bikes you enjoy riding, mountains you dream of climbing, new experiences you dream of having ....

Go for it! 

Take an ordinary wall and paint it! 

Make each moment amazing! Indulge yourself! Dive into life ... because swimming in the world feels better than sitting by the side of the pool wondering what the temperature's like.  

And if you're gonna get in the pool,
make a big SPLASH! 

You'll get wet ... and it might be cold ... and you'll have to shower and get cleaned up afterwards ... but how happy will you be in the moment? and how happy will you be that you jumped in? and how relaxed will you feel after having done so?

This relaxed contentedness is called self-satisfaction. It is the feelings we experience when our wishes are being met. We cannot become the best versions of ourselves without this feeling and this feeling cannot be faked. We can pretend to others that we feel this way, but we know the difference on the inside. 

The best of who we are is reflected in how we choose to live, laugh, love, and play.

That's what people remember 
... that's what brings us close.