Being Alive, Being Alive

Imbolc and the Waiting to Cross Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Kep, my 5:30 guy. Dr. Doverspike. My son. Jen. Ruth. Gabe. Stars. Searching. for meaning. Meaning. Purpose. Eudaimonia. Life. The cycle of life. The interdependent web of all Souls. The deep Ocean of connected life and collective memory. Our desire to know, to learn, to love. Compassion. Humility. Boundaries. Books. Movies. Paintings and sculpture.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Brain


Zoom. Facebook. The telephone. Television. Inadequate, each in their own way, when compared to face-to-face, body-to-body encounters. Yes. But I would miss them if they were gone. Zoom allows me to keep up with folks I care about but cannot see face-to-face very often, if at all. It allows me to have powerful moments of connection every Sunday morning with my Ancient Brothers. Facebook. At a less connected level I see old high school friends. What their life contains. Our lives turning over at the same rate. All 76 now. College friends long dispersed throughout the country. Even CBE friends when they travel.

Would I give up my breakfast with Rich this Friday? My lunch on the same day with Alan? Thursday mussar. MVP once a month? Of course not. And those encounters are richer. Needed. Loved. Rebecca is back from India and I look forward to seeing her soon. Tal and Luke have their own late twenty-something arcs to their lives. And I’m part of all these.

We love to find the downsides. Especially to technology. The ways it robs us of something. I see the upsides. Perhaps it is the solitary life I lead at home. Which I want, need, love. Yet solitary with no desire for isolation. In the average week I prefer to have the predominance of my hours experienced alone. But not all of them.

A break while I fed Kep led me to this observation. Wonder if we’re confusing correlation with causality in the instance of Zoom and social media. Stipulated: they’re not as good as fleshly encounters. But. What if the deficits we ascribe to them are the result of too little human interaction, not the medium? If that were the case, the prescription would not be to have less zoom or Facebook, rather more fleshly meetups. And use Zoom and social media when you can’t. This feels true to me.


All righty then. Having said that let us to turn to other matters. Like the capture of the GOP by Trump’s base. Which may not save him in this campaign for the nomination. But. Which will make all GOP candidates do obeisance to the hard right constituents in their state or congressional district. What will this mean for the 2024 campaign/election cycle? Unclear for now, but it could divide the GOP into a moderate (sort of) camp, think Mitt Romney and the Proud Boy, insurrection crowd. Gonna be messy.


Watching a PBS series, Searching: Our Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science. Alan Lightman has a sort of Saganesque persona and speaks in the oracular voice that we’ve come to expect from scientists in serious documentaries. I don’t find him convincing.

His quest for meaning is earnest. A bit too earnest for my taste. He’s apparently never wondered if he’s asking the right question. For example. A couple of Joseph Campbell quotes on meaning.

Joseph Campbell: “There’s no meaning. What’s the meaning of the universe? What’ s the meaning of a flea? It’s just there. That’s it. And your own meaning is that you’re there.”

Joseph Campbell: “I don’t think [the meaning of life] is what we’re seeking. I think [it’s] an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Lightman does make an interesting observation at the end of the third session, the last one. He muses that all the atoms in his body came from the stars. He refers to them oddly as his atoms. When he dies, he goes on, his atoms will disperse into soil, the sky, another person. That’s the future he thinks, that we are all connected in that way. Weak tea as an idea, imho, even though, or perhaps because, it’s so obviously true.

Two more to watch. Watched number 3 first. Maybe they’re better.