Thursday, October 21, 2010

HELP wanted

by Dub Riley

Blogs being what they are, a writer has certain liberties that she may not have been granted in the time of PB (no, not peanut butter but Pre Blog). The post blog writer often breaks rules that he never studied because, hey, he isn't a writer by PB standards. Probably isn't a journalist, may have had some writing in school, even possibly was on the newspaper staff in junior high or high school or college (wow, that is a credential I can actually claim!--amazing). But given the tedious rigors of PB writing jobs--books, articles, on the staff for a city newspaper, even a person scraping by with submissions to magazines, the PB writer had to work pretty hard for even two stripes on the sleeve (I can only speak for the Army, but it went like this--one stripe private, a stripe with a semi circle under it called a "rocker" private first class, two stripes--corporal, three stripes--sergeant, three stripes and a rocker--sergeant first class, three stripes, two rockers--sergeant second get the idea). But stripes. No sleeves even. No ink stains. Sitting here in our underwear at 3 am. Awake.

Who, what, when, where, and why. I remember some writing teacher driving that into us. Was that junior high? Wasn't Arch Wrisinger was it? I digress. But let's say it was Arch. He also told us that all that should go right up front. Even in the first sentence if possible. And if you're really feeling spunky, throw in "how." Rule one--already blew it. I'm already in the second paragraph and I'm still rambling. That is a blogger for you.

But you know, these are interesting times. If you haven't seen the Facebook movie, I recommend it. Zuckerberg (zat his name?) went to a talk at Harvard in which Bill Gates explained that the next Microsoft inventor might be in the audience. Quite a difference between Microsoft and Facebook. But there are enough similarities to the story about Harvard smart guys becoming billionaires faster than in the time of PM (pre Macintosh--giving a well deserved nod to Steve not Harvard, Reed College in Portland, Oregon) and with a certain chutzpah that says a lot about our culture.

These inventors may have less control over their destiny than we give them credit for. What if Microsoft had to happen for the convergence of resource depletion and financial collapse and spiritual evolution so the masses would have tools available to deal? Or without being instantly connected to new friends across seven seas and twelve time zones who met three weeks ago on Hubspot can collaborate on the invention that will avert the annhialation of the species that dinosaurs or the Mayans couldn't avoid?

How is it that a five year old Mozart can write the music for thirty instruments when some of us were expressing our creativity by explaining away our bed wetting tendencies? Don't you think Mozart just had to happen? Einstein too. Beatles. screeching sound...Zuckerberg? MMmmmm. Well maybe.

The dude gave 100 million to the school system in New Jersey. Has anyone else wondered about people from New Jersey? S'like, is there something in the water up there or what? People from Jersey are a trip! So a cool hundred mil for those kids--pretty slick (maybe give another couple mil for research about the water treatment plant). The point being, the world's youngest billionaire is already putting some pretty cool stripes on his sleeve. Billy Boy wasn't so generous until Melinda came along.

K, so how many rules have been broken up to now? Jeez...too many to count. Flip it. No turning back. Penmanship as we know it is dead. Long live the blogger!

Here's the story. I'm breaking one of my own rules. Don't come to the blog in the middle of the night without an outline. Forget that one. I haven't done an outline in my life. Middle of the night? I live here.

And to add injury to insult, I've lost three fourths of my readership (translation two people) and I haven't even started talking about what I came here to say. Real quickly, on the whole time we're in angle and social media, blogs, computer technology and young billionaires, it occurred to me the other day how sad it is that our young geniuses divert their massive intellects with this one pounding echo which is trying to blow a whole on the inside of their heads--MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. What if some teacher somewhere along the line had spoken with a soft voice and showed them a way to hear an internal teacher who spoke more like Jesus, or Mahatma Gandhi or Gautama Buddha or Emerson or Whitman. Where would we be today if these young geniuses would have scored symphonies or found the missing mathematical sequence to finally make sense of nuclear fusion so that energy is no longer a great source for wars and division? Where would we be headed today if both Bill Gates and Zuckerberg chose to muster their resources to convince the masses that we should pay our politicians very little and our teachers a lot, thereby flipping the paradigms. Politicians then would serve by conviction and the best teachers would rise to prominence because of reward. But this is not what I came here to say.

Bloggers! Can't live with em. Can't get away from em. They're everywhere! Can they even spell?!!! Depressing.

(Insert Steve Martin clip here)

What I came here to say is that there isn't a hair widths difference between what Gopi Krishna and Jesus were frantic to get across. What the Taoists from both the Northern and Southern Schools of Complete Reality and what Chan Buddhism (precursor of Zen) were really all about was getting to stillness so you can have communion. Not like little pieces of bread and grape juice but the other kind of juice--ONENESS.

Religions are killing us. Literally. Fighting for turf over whose God is the real deal. Go to church! Great. Pray. Wonderful. Take meals to women and families who have new babies and collect money for missions. No problem. Well, the mission thing is sort of like how we are spreading democracy. Saving people from their own wrong view of God? Ouch. But the act of going on a mission, especially to help kids and ease suffering, all that is pretty cool. So Christians and Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, Taoists and Zoroastrans--study your scriptures...use meditative techniques such as prayer and Inner Smile. Listen for the gentle steady voice of God. But can we agree to stop arranging wars over our religious differences?

There's a great article in the current Newsweek about the new book by Sam Harris, the neuroscientist and rationalist. The book is called The Moral Landscape. Seems he defends his spirituality with the writer of the article, Lisa Miller. That's right, spirituality. Doesn't sound at all like Dawkins or Daniel Dennett.

He actually believes in God, he says, but not a personal deity who takes an interest in how people live. I can't say what God is or what it is, how it works, whether it listens to my prayers or divides the sea so this army can cross or whatever. How will I know. How could I? But I know that I shouldn't lift a hand against my neighbor who is a Muslim or a Mormon because the stories of Muhammad or Joseph Smith don't ring true for me. And yet, don't I take sides in religious conflict when I have a view about Israel or Palestine?

I'm preaching, I know. I'm a worse preacher than I am a writer. God help us! But I've heard the voice of Gaia, and she whispered, "Help Me." Man, what a time we're in!