A life infested with surprise

Navigate towards goals by position and expect surprises.

The road to your goals will hide unexpected surprises that hinder and support you. Placing yourself in a position to handle the surprises will make life easier in achieving your goals.

The road to your goals will hide unexpected surprises that hinder and support you. Placing yourself in a position to handle the surprises will make life easier in achieving your goals.

Whilst I may have no desire to climb mountains or throw myself out of aircraft, small and insignificant changes in how I live my life result in mind-blowing adventures and outcomes.  Two insignificant things I do is I like to pick up unusual sticks or stones on the ground, and I like to read or think about philosophy in public or nature areas in Colchester.  Doing both these things this week, a stick in one hand, thinking about Heraclitus whilst enjoying the sun on a bench facing the ancient Roman walls, someone rang the police to report a man with a knife.  Fifteen minutes later I am in a surreal situation wasting half-an-hour talking to a police officer, my harmless stick on a wall, drinking a carton of milk having been stopped on my way home.

Experience has taught me how pointless it is to impose control on my life and plans.  Perfect and hard-worked plans to prevent or achieve outcomes fail because events happen that are often billions-to-one odds of happening.  As I sit in dismay and confusion of the wreckage of beautiful ruined plans I feel an evil gremlin has deliberately set out on a sadistic mission to make my life difficult.  One face of nature is random, and another face is self-ordering so that all outcomes appear in a paradox of synchronicity out of random and seemingly related events.

Having goals is good, but a controlled plan to those goals is going to disappoint you.  Better to have a flexible plan, and the attitude of a navigator on rough seas in working towards your goals.  Better to think in terms of position rather than roads in working towards goals, since if you are in a good position in relation to your goals you can seize unexpected friendly opportunities that assist you reaching your goals, and navigate around the surprise hostile opportunities that appear to undermine you in your efforts to reach goals.  Nothing is deterministic, but some weird order emerges in the random events that manifest as you work towards your goals.

72. Fire in its progress will catch all things by surprise and judge them. Heraclitus.

Nature loves to hide itself

Nature is at each moment in a state of becoming.

I was caught by surprise today as Amber our garden fox suddenly materialised behind my back and went to sleep near my oak saplings.  There is one acorn that has yet to show shoots, and I hope one morning to discover the last oak sapling to emerge into becoming.

Amber our garden fox suddenly materialised from hiding behind my back today and went to sleep near my oak saplings. There is one acorn that has yet to show shoots, and I hope one morning to discover the last oak sapling to emerge into becoming.

In the modern context the word nature often describes end states, the delusion that the river we might see in front of us is a permanent end state.  In ancient Greek philosophy nature is in a state of coming into and going out of existence, a state of becoming, which changes one moment to the next.  In the Ice Age a river ran near my house full of fish, today it is a road full of cars, the river is long gone.  Evolution reflects this sense of becoming, the T-Rex dinosaurs may have chased our ancestors for lunch yesterday, but today it is often the human chasing the animal the T-Rex changed into, the chicken.

If you orientated yourself into living in a world of becoming rather than fixed states, you will live in reality rather than delusion.  This new perception helps you to let go of attachments, because everything around you is temporary and changing.

Heraclitus in his cryptic observation of nature said:

17. Nature loves to hide itself.

I sat in a wood yesterday working out what Heraclitus meant, and a baby bunny rabbit appeared from the bushes, watched me a few minutes, then vanished.  As nature is in a state of becoming, in any one moment the old reality is fading away, and a new reality is coming into view.  In any one moment we live in a ghostly world of things fading out and coming into existence, though our brains process the moment as one end state.  Reality is nature in a state of hiding, the fading away and coming into existence is like the rabbit half-hidden in the bushes.  It is because of this ghostly state we exist in that we gain a sense of time, or things in motion, and it may be so that Zeno was right when he says motion as we see it may be a delusion, as he demonstrated by his paradoxes such as the Arrow.

“If everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless.” Zeno of Elea.

Invest rather than speculate

Investments based on blind faith are likely to ruin you.

Growing your own food is probably a sensible strategy rather than continuing to have blind faith in the buying power of paper currency that has nothing to support it but debt.

Growing your own food is probably a sensible strategy rather than continuing to have blind faith in the buying power of paper currency that has nothing to support it but debt.

I met activists from Green Peace recruiting members at an event today in Colchester.  I said to these activists I would have nothing to do with them because of the disaster where one of their staff speculated in casino types of speculation on money markets losing their members millions of pounds.  The activists were dishonest to me denying the staff member was gambling membership money, but then I checked the news sources again and found it was gambling that lost the charity its money.

It would seem that if we could send all the bankers on a one-way ticket to Mars  this world would reverse many of its challenges traced to the door of bankers and their greed, gambling and debt.

The world lives in a trap of dishonesty and fantasy, only valid whilst we all believe and participate in it.  The paper, base metal and numbers on a computer database we call money has no assets backing it, but pots of debt that the bankers move around the planet to maintain this vast illusion of nothingness.  If people stopped believing in paper currency the billionaires would see their piles of money rendered worthless overnight.

If you can see beyond the illusion, a jar of honey is worth more than a $1 million in paper currency.  A jar of honey is tangible, you can feed your body with it, but paper currency can only feed your body as a medium of exchange for a jar of honey if you have faith and opinion the paper is worth something, but in reality nothing but debt supports it.

Those with wisdom might foresee that the game of moving pots of money around the globe is coming to an end with serious consequences for everyone, which means anything valued on paper such as shares, currency or options will become worthless.  It is to tangible things that won’t vanish in value due to blind faith such as land, food, solar energy production, water and buildings that will ensure security if the economic situation changes for the worse.  You cannot eat paper money, but you can eat the potatoes you grow in the garden.

Through strife good outcomes emerge

 When life is easy, beware.

Only through the strife of sun and rain storm did this beautiful Summer Solstice rainbow emerge.

Only through the strife of sun and rain storm did this beautiful Summer Solstice rainbow emerge in Colchester.

The philosopher Heraclitus has restored my hope in humanity, though the path to that hope will be through extreme suffering.  Heraclitus said through conflict/struggle all things become:

26. It should be understood that war is the common condition, that strife is justice, and that all things come to pass through the compulsion of strife. Heraclitus.

If conflict/struggle did not exist, all things would cease to exist.  There would be no rainbows for instance if there was no opposition of rain storm and sun.

27. Homer was wrong in saying, “Would that strife might perish from amongst gods and men” . For if that were to occur, then all things would cease to exist. Heraclitus.

When there is no strife, things fall apart. When you stop using your brain and muscles it is inevitable that they will begin to weaken and atrophy, whilst if subjected to the pain of exercise, the brain and muscles become strong and efficient.

50. Even the sacred barley drink separates when it is not stirred. Heraclitus

When life is easy, when there is no struggle, the worst of human nature comes forth, followed by tragedy and ruin. Think of the spoilt child who gets everything they demand from their parents, I know of no case study that a spoilt child turned into a wise, caring and humble adult.

96. May you have plenty of wealth, you men of Ephesus, in order that you may be punished for your evil ways. Heraclitus.

I made a study of the newest generation of teenagers in the UK to get a rough idea of how the future might unfold under their rule.  Experts call the new generation, Generation Citizen (Generation C) a caring-sharing generation, interested in their communities and social issues.  Gen C are conservative, non-rebellious, and the most ambitious generation in a hundred years.  Compared to other generations the UK Gen C score low on crime, drug abuse, drinking alcohol and smoking.

The teenagers of the 1960′s and 1970′s are the exact reverse of Gen C, who have been the decision-makers who ruled this world for the last 25-years, under whose stewardship greed, control and stupidity has brought the planet close to ruin.  This is not to say that other generations contributed, but it is the stewards who must take responsibility, they had power to do something about it, and failed.

The difference between the outlooks of the teens of the 1960′s and 1970′s against the teens of Gen C is economic conditions.  The 1960′s was the start of economic boom in the UK: plentiful jobs, where you could lose your job on a friday and walk into one on a monday; easy access to credit such as hire purchase; inflation was only emerging; cost-of-living was low; welfare was easy; the government paid the education fees of students in higher education.  The teenage rebellion, culture and movements of the 1960′s and 1970′s was due to the easy availability of money, but it created stewards who failed to care for their planet.

Gen C in the UK are unable to access credit; jobs are rare or non-existent; welfare benefits are constantly cut and eliminated for the young; higher education courses paid for by student loans that fail to cover living expenses, the young start life in extreme debt; cost-of-living is high, the young struggling to pay their food and rent.  Despite all this hardship, an amazing generation has emerged.

I now realise that good things happen through strife such as wisdom, liberty, sustainability and creativity, and when times are good, it a time of unseen dangers such as hubris, selfishness and greed.  In times of great hardship such as in prisoner-of-war-camps and earthquakes human innovation and empathy emerge in abundance.  As Heraclitus says: “strife is justice.”

The sum is greater than its opposing parts

All things need opposites to exist.

Some argue Colchester grey squirrels should be destroyed as pests, yet without a squirrel burying a nut in my garden I would have no hazel tree growing there.

Some argue Colchester grey squirrels should be destroyed as pests, yet without a grey squirrel burying a nut in my garden I would have no hazel tree growing there.

My friend recently said that all rabbits in Britain should be destroyed as pests.  I disagreed on many levels.

112. “Joints are at once a unitary whole and not a unitary whole. To be in agreement is to differ, the concord-ant is the discord-ant. From many things comes oneness, and out of oneness come the many things.”  Heraclitus

What Heraclitus infers is that an object in nature has its opposite, from this opposition everything come into being.  As an example, fire from the sun and its opposite water in a rainstorm produces a rainbow.  If either sun or rain was missing, no rainbow.

In the USA the rabbit is a major food source to the Bald Eagle.  The rabbit is in opposition to the Bald Eagle, but needs the eagle to exist to control the rabbit population that would quickly consume its food sources leading to mass starvation.  If one of the opposites of rabbit and eagle vanished, both would probably vanish, whilst other plants and animals that needed rabbit and eagle would suffer too.

Scientists are observing that the rivals raven and wolf are following the paradox of oppositions working together in harmony for mutual benefit, they are both helping each other in the hunting down of food.  If the raven spots a sick elk, it will make the wolves aware of the prey; the wolves in killing and ripping apart the thick pelt of the elk provides the ravens a feeding opportunity.  Scientists observe that when wolves return to an area colonies of ravens will appear too.  The ravens will play and interact with the wolves.

106. “To God all things are beautiful, good, and right. Men, on the other hand, deem some things right and others wrong.”  Heraclitus.

I hope humanity will abandon the delusion of good and bad in favour of the opposites, for without the conflict of opposites nothing can exist.  The rabbit is just a rabbit, doing what rabbits do, neither inherently good or bad.  The solution to a rabbit problem is looking for its opposite, a bird of prey for instance.  Introducing an opposite causes hidden new possibilities, for instance a new plant species may emerge because the birds of prey reduced the rabbit population.

Spooked

Nature hides hidden surprises to scare you.

Nature offers many surprises, even a cat in nature.

Nature offers many surprises, even a cat in nature.

I frequently hear of people indulging in roller-coasters and other artificial means to scare themselves, an attempt to rise above a dull life they feel they live.  There is an invisible open doorway via nature for those who desire adventure and surprises, all free and guaranteed never to disappoint.

I am eating in nature in my garden.  I try to get away from my cat Pebbles who can match any dog in making you feel guilty eating whilst they make it clear you should share your food with them.  A huge bumble bee appears and starts circling around my head, it is about to land on my head, I panic and run.  Pebbles is stalking me, I startle her and the cat flees as well.

I calm Pebbles by offering her kitty treats.  Ten minutes later the wind rises.  Pebbles is acting strangely.  The cat is looking at something I am unable to see.  Pebbles chases something, then she flees.  The cat seems to see something invisible to me.  The cat is acrobatic, jumping up on the shed roof, and across a wide space to the house roof with a thud.  The cat spooks me.  I have to coax the cat down with food, who appears now trapped and unsure how to get back down.  It is a strange moment, though I enjoy the realisation that offered food an unpredictable animal becomes predictable.

Empathy and pain

Empathy means exposure to both happy and painful emotions.

Life is lived in the moment.  In empathy we are exposed to a range of happy and painful emotion.

Live life in the moment. Empathy exposes us to a range of happy and painful emotion.

When you allow yourself the opportunity and time to enter into a relationship with a living thing, animal, plant and human, you expose yourself to the happy and painful of emotions.

I have empathy for a fox called Amber, and so I experience the happy emotions of seeing her, and the anxiety that exposure of my emotions brings to a wild creature at the mercy of the elements of nature.  For two weeks Amber vanished from her frequent daytime visits to my garden to enjoy the warm sun.  I am aware of a new fox running around at night, young, strong and fast.  I was anxious and hopeful that Amber remained in control of her territory against a new potential rival.

I was happy to see Amber emerge once more in the garden today.  Anxiety however emerged with the visit of Amber, she was coughing.  My research might suggest my beautiful fox has suffered infection by lung/heart worm, a parasite that infects a fox that has eaten infected snails, a species that has exploded in population due to the extensive rains Colchester has suffered.  The parasite sometimes is fatal for a fox, a reminder that nothing lasts, death will come to us all.

When a person exposes themselves to empathy for a living thing it brings with it the full range of emotions, happy and painful.  This is the risk of living, to feel this range of emotion.  Although I am aware that hardship and death is always present in the shadows, my philosophy is to enjoy the moment, celebrate the life of a beautiful living creature, and enjoy the living creature that now lives sleeping in the sun in front of me.