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Which is most desirable in life? Ability to make changes of course. Each of us has a part to play and in order to face the challenges ahead education is a medium.

Think of your life as a point hurtling through time and place along with so many billions of points each making for a goal. Each one carries certain measure of knowledge which we share unequally as we progress in life. So quality of what we know and seek becomes vital for our progression.

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Time and Place

No one can make changes with all facts on hand; nor can actions matter if time for them is past. If you have rested on what you learned yesterday, you shall have lot of catching to do.

If you mess up the time element changes you make shall never be your servant but master. It shall sweep you away and to your cost.

Each of us can be effective and master our own life in knowing the time and having essential facts to make changes as we go ahead. In a small town growing up means learning from traditions, from your peers and from internet quality of which shall be different from a big city being thrown among people, and variety of them, so much so there is a vibrancy and here and now quality to information you gather. Is being street smart what life is all about? No it is not. Learning from people and books cannot help much if your mind is not tidied up and is undisciplined to compare impressions you are daily bombarded with.

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What good is educating ourselves beyond what we can get maximum benefit? Education from life as we go along is as important as equipping mind.

Education can only begin when mind can see limit of the printed word and in setting life no boundaries where your mind is strong enough to face challenges it brings up.

Everything you have been told as true is not tested true. Time and place shall show you quite something else and it is from an objective mind you need to make your conclusions.

Importance of life is therefore to test the events that you face and make the changes so you are benefited as well as made difference for others around you.

benny

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and science.” ~ Albert Einstein

What greater mystery can we plumb than that of life? Is there any purpose or direction for which we have been programmed beforehand?

Life is a precious gift and every man and woman has the same gift to be used and it must make sense to our rational mind. So that window of opportunity to make yourself useful to you and others around you is narrow. Between birth and death is it not wisdom if you can throw light on or connect in some way to the mystery with the key you have? If we have been endowed with fine faculties to know ourselves why do we leave it to others? Do we make sense or make sense of what others tell as truth? Of what worth is the lamp of life it it were to be shown under the direction of others than to lead our own path? These are the questions I have covered in the Illustrated Omar Khayyam.

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Mysticism:’the expression of the innate tendency of the human spirit towards complete harmony with the transcendental order’. Evelyn Underhill

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Sensing divine presence in everyday at a mundane level is more accurate than “union”. But some try harder as Hertz.

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Some like St. Teresa of Avila spoke of union with God, and some have visions. Miracles are not necessary part of the equation.

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Underhill argues that we should speak of “consciousness” of God’s presence, mysticism I would add as consciousness that works.

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I consider myself a mystic since I am conscious and experience the presence. Experience of writing the Illustrated Omar Khayyam convinces me. Writing as though fully conscious ahead, of writing through to the end was a joyous experience. Even after reading third time I can discover shades of meaning that I had missed while writing.

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Soul must be energized for any satisfying experience to build on the Presence, not necessarily religious but for any positive outcome.

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Mysticism is the perception of the universe and all of its seemingly disparate entities are encompassed in a whole entity by love. Perception is more often is achieved by intuition or inspiration.

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In mysticism love has such a role it cannot be in physical objects per se but what the Presence may raise altogether to new level.

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‘Showing the other cheek’ as Jesus spoke of treating enemies is not about self-love but settling quarrel in altogether new manner.

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Taking the anger that struck the blow and showing its inadequacy to restore equipoise is love and it celebrates the presence.

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Transcendental order in conduct is as shown by Jesus. Is there not an order sought in thought as well in actions when one settles a quarrel in turning the other cheek though abused? One does it so because it is within his power to achieve order. How enemy wants to follow up by this peaceable action is not his concern.

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Mysticism is integrated life experience from sleep or wakeful states and the Presence being interior in these states natural or induced.

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Life of the senses robs one of the sleep state which is a dynamic mode for those conscious of the presence. It helps mysticism flower in them.

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Mysticism of St. Paul:whether we live …or die, we are the Lords.'(Rom.14:8) For a Christian this is integrated life experience.

benny

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Soul is the centre of the Inner World from my stand point. How I make use of my memory and life experience is a standpoint from which I exercise faith by actions that is more than an attitude. Faith works. It is because I chose faith of my place in a corporeal universe and where I intend to go by choices in life. If I want to lead a virtuous life I will prepare my life in direction that empowers me to live more comfortably. If I had found memory passed on to me as genetic push I know that my memory I shall pass on to the future generation. So death is merely a reality that has bearing only in my corporeal being. Soul is the constant around which my memory shall bear fruits.
It goes without saying soul is more precious than earthly pain, suffering or glory.
benny

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Moths have memories, they can also remember things from their former lives as caterpillars, despite the fact that they partially disintegrate in the chrysalis
The metamorphosis involves the breakdown of most of the caterpillar’s tissues before reassembling to form a butterfly. It therefore seems unlikely that butterflies or moths would remember experiences from their caterpillar days. However, scientists have now established that not only can a moth retain memories formed while it was a caterpillar, but that experiences gained during these early stages can have drastic impacts on adult life.

Basic misconception is that we act and our actions change the world. It is more a case for wooly headed optimism than what facts would suggest.We act generally speaking we accept memory of Life intuitively that we may do no wrong. Power of memory is so strong our actions are always under its cloud. What is evolution? Is it merely survival of the fittest which Adolf Hitler tried it by sheer duplicity and audacity? Evolution must imply much more than a single individual setting a new order by force of his will? In order to understand what he was up again we shall understand from the example of dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs as we know crashed out the face of earth some 65 million years ago due to a cosmic impact. It can be proven. Beyond dispute I would add.
But here are more dinosaurs alive today than mammals or reptiles? Birds, it has been revealed, are the result of 50 million years worth of shrinking on the part of the T-rex and Triceratops. Memory of life is such that species are not merely victims of some chance. Dinosaurs have merely learned to get under the skin of chickens. When we say chickens come home to roost it means your actions have come home to haunt you. An evil ideology say such as one Nazism represented was up against memory of life which is neither yours or mine but that of collective memory that makes life sparkle and achieve some positive ends. Thus if mankind has incinerated the earth life shall begin to put out shoots elsewhere say in an exoplanet and our memories shall find home there just as dinosaurs can live as birds.
Tailspin: In context of evil regimes for those who wonder what the new mantra of ‘Caliphate’ would mean it is a big zero for the reasons I covered in this short essay.
benny

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The life of Dr. Albert Schweitzer bears out the surge of power by which consciousness and memory can make a sea-change in life of one and serve as a key to many others.
The young Albert once got into a fight and knocked down his opponent. The boy told Albert that it would have ended differently had he been as well nourished as he was. It evidently affected him. During supper that evening, he left his soup untouched.
It marked a definite break with his past and so did his sense of values. He became a caring person.
Even where he excelled in his intellectual achievements they were to be used in service of others. At 26 he had a triple Ph.D.
Whenever Dr. Schweitzer needed money during his stint in Africa he went on tour and gave concerts and talks. But what connects the son of a Lutheran pastor in upper Alsace to Congo?
As a child Albert had often wondered at a statue of a Negro, strong in body but head bowed and in chains. It made an impact on him. Of course the fight was the catalyst. It brought memory and impressions that he merely had guessed but not digested.

Of course one cannot discount the role of chance. What made Albert decide to become a medical Missionary was due to a Paris Missionary society report, which he came across as if by chance. Thereupon he settled for Lambarene, in the heart of Africa. Where mind of man is colored by collective memory, and his own experience, chance must, so it seems to me, lose some of its mystery.
In the italics I have referred to the impact of experience that keeps repeating or recycled each to his own time and place.
Quatrain #198
From first lump of the earth what was formed,
Man to his last in his kind did intend.

Angels that of the creation did sing
With the end of it in harmony bring.( Selected-The Illustrated Omar Khayyam)
benny

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Progress as a result of human endeavour is in direct context of nature. Man versus nature. Man controlling and shaping his environment to his manifold conveniences consequently creates many chains of events that require other species sharing the same environment to respond adequately. Natural selection warrants these to adapt for the changing environment or go bust. Has not man also created a similar situation for his species? Such risks many of which are caused by humans. Bio-terrosim for instance. From pandemics to Nuclear wars, human civilization thus had to face many challenges which are existential risks, that are less understood than the most obvious advantages we have derived from the march of progress.

There are some worrying features in human intelligence that may fuel the risks of his very existence. From anthropological findings it would seem humans embarked on the march of progress too early. His branching off from his ape cousins was an event and it would indicate it was undertaken before his brain was full developed. Its consequence can easily be set down from analogy of human child. Our ape ancestor was like modern human, as a baby, with its brain developing all the while till it reaches some 20 years. (A pliable head of the baby facilitates its exit at birth from womb which is biologically safe for the mother.) This necessitates from the child all the support system without let up counted in days, years and decades till the end of his adolescence. He needs rearing from his parents in order to achieve emotional intelligence he needs. Only difference was that our ape ancestor had no such back up from his peers. His brain was in the process of developing but without nurture of some role model*.
Biologists speak of ‘norms of reaction,’ which are patterned responses to environmental circumstances. For example, some male insects are more likely to guard their mates when there are fewer females in the population, hence fewer other mating opportunities. Natural selection didn’t just shape a fixed behavior, it shaped the norm of reaction — the nature of the response,”
In humans a bad idea when he can think rationally on it brings many advantages. Increasing his supply of food at the cost of one who is weaker is one way of doing it. Annexing a territory from a weak tyrant is worth the while of a chieftain if he has a superior force. He reckons that his success would silence others and make his position more secure. It must have come handy when others would take the same path to aggrandize themselves. It is a norm of reaction that suited well for the bandit kings of yore.
When circumstances could be shaped to justify it war must have seemed a fitness-enhancing behavior. Warring parties included all those who agreed with the idea and circumstances. Like success it sets off many others.
‘Just as compassion for your offspring increases your genes’ chance of survival, violent tendencies may have been similarly useful for some species’ observed biologist David Carrier, also of the University of Utah,” Humans certainly rank among the most violent of species.” In true nature-nurture fashion, though some kind of genetic preprogramming for violence, may exist in humans as a result of our evolution. Norms of behaviour as a result evolved in that along period of trial and error method.
 
 
As a result how he created a society in terms of families, clans, tribes were all flawed. It became in most cases patriarchal leaving women in the background. Creating wars as a manly sport, would leave women incapable what with her long period of gestation and nursing. Eventually it would stamp the role of women as secondary. This we witness even this day where some societies can kill women simply for ‘honour.’ Lack of sufficient role model man simply created a swath of experience in which his brain simply was inadequate to anticipate long range consequences.
(*There is no accurate picture what made our human ancestor diverge from other apes other than fossil evidences that our human ancestors could walk as well as climb trees. The oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from one of the earliest humans known, Sahelanthropus 6 million years ago. By 4 million years ago early human species lived mostly near open areas and dense woods. Their bodies had become adapted to walk upright most of the time, but still climb trees.

“Apparently, there were multiple ways early human species had of moving around.” observed human origins expert Richard Potts of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, about a mystery species discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar region in 2009, the fossil forefoot bones, eight in all, from same era and same region of Africa as the famous ‘Lucy’ (1974).

Walking was a human characteristic before the development of oversized brains. The newly discovered foot-fossil gives us a clue why early human species might have moved around. By learning to walk upright they conceded forests hitherto their home to cousins better adapted for living in trees.)

If his brain was inadequate what could have been the overwhelming reason for him to strike out on his own? His tool making skills gave us stone age, iron age, bronze age and so on. His curiosity and cleverness of hand would develop into science and technology. His foresight in overcoming an inconvenience was not matched by foreseeing the consequences of his innovations. No more apt example we need seek than reasons for ushering in the Nuclear Age. America could stop the WWII speedily. The Allies however did not anticipate proliferation of the nuclear arsenal but soon they were in for a rude shock. Now in some sixty years we have come at a stage the nuclear secrets can be peddled at the click of a mouse. It is what AQ Khan achieved with the backing of his government.

Optimism of man is in terms of abstract than concrete. His abstract thinking has created the world as idea but in terms of its realization no two persons shall view an idea exactly as one and as a result these can only end in conflict. Workers’ paradise as envisaged by Lenin in the view of Stalin was transformed into Cult of Personality!
Bad experience of the past is such that technology and its progress can only be sustained by the systems an idea created along the line. The Crusades in the middle Ages were fought under the call of a Pope. Pope Urban II in 1095 invoked the Christian army of Europe to reclaim lands lost to Muslim invaders previously. It was on the matter of Ideology of clashing belief-systems of the West and East he could invoke them to fight under the sign of cross. Ideas keep evolving while experience remains in the bloodstream of the species. The war to end all wars as President Wilson qualified the WWI did exactly the opposite. If idea of war had achieved its goal the first war that primordial man waged would have been sufficient.Instead collateral consequences of war, misery,loss of prestige,material advantages are all such in collective experience that necessitates conflict ad infintum. Idea of war, belief-systems can only be settled with experience of humans proving its justness for all. It is inherent in the idea and man’s inability to see any other way than as idea. There are millions of ants to every man and by sheer numbers insects outnumber human population. Despite of being one among so many species we see the world in terms of ideas than for what really it is.

Over the past century we have discovered or created new existential risks: supervolcanoes were discovered in the early 1970s, and we should expect others to appear just as a nuclear holocaust is possible. The average mammalian species survives for about a million years. Hence, the background natural extinction rate is roughly one in a million per year. This is much lower than the nuclear-war risk, which after 70 years is still the biggest threat to our continued existence. (ack:the five biggest threats to Human existence/the Conversation-Anders Sandberg,29 May, 2014)

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