April Springs

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April Springs

I’ve outlived my dreams
and discovered true achievements
have all been unseen, now
traceless remnants I left in your pasts
reward me as
life’s glints scintillating memory’s deep
– a net of gems –
moments with twinkles in certain eyes,
sudden smiles across certain lips,
visions of grace rim-lit by cascades of light,
skin soaking warmth through hair tingling breeze,
the sound of breath holding me close in hushed dark,
bursts of emotion on seeing your face,
the touch of your hand walking timeless through space,
smells of your earthy excitement that sparked me alive,
your joyous abandon in muscular tussles,
the beating of hearts pulsing each other,
the image of your sweet repose,
the beauty of your thoughtful care,
the tolerance of your silent anger,
the gentleness of your just revenge,
the fading of sorrows trailed by regrets,
desires mellowing to insights on youth,
the blending of memories to soothing acceptance,
the calming of passion becomes gratitude
and awareness sharpened by time becomes peace.

9 April 2018

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The Flavor of Nectarines

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The Flavor of Nectarines

Our lives are eternal when we are aware,
and our histories are less than dust when we are not.

Bite into a nectarine
and feel the sweet, fragrant juice
run down the sides of your mouth,
the soft flesh yielding to your tongue,
your fingers and lips
sticky
with the sweet kiss of succulent gratitude
from the orchards of late summer,
sending their seeds into the world –
blindly –
wrapped in enticing nourishment.
Leaves quiver like petals of light,
a flickering translucence in the breeze,
like a cloud of butterflies
scintillating as a breath of sun.
Close your eyes,
run your tongue along your syrupy lips,
and inhale the sweet swollen fragrance released.
Breathe it deep, into your lungs, into your blood, into your mind,
and feel the sunlight sinking through your skin,
the faintest brush of air gliding over the back of your hand –
isn’t everything here?,
completion,
eternity,
peace?
Who is it that is unable to find this?,
why is it necessary to search?
Is not God’s mercy great,
that in the farthest reaches
and briefest instants
even the least among us can find
the great bliss, the transforming grace?

Knowing what is right is embedded,
doing what is right is the test.
In the stilled mind
with no thought,
you know at any instant
what is right.
That is where God is.
For each, there comes a time to run,
a time to fight,
a time to stand,
and a time to abide.
When you release your desires, you lose your fear,
and find your self:
you awaken,
you live,
you transcend concepts and conventions,
you are released from your history,
and now, you are able to face death.
That is freedom in this world.
Once freed, your compassion is able to affect the lives of others.
This is peace.

3 September 2002

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Einstein-Hawking-Pi Day #1

March 14 is given the name “Pi Day” by many mathematics enthusiasts because the numerical calendar label “3/14,” for the month (March) then day (the 14th), coincides with the first three digits of the irrational number Pi, 3.14159…

I have called today, the 14th of March, 2018, “Einstein-Hawking-Pi Day #1” because it is the first instance of the triple ‘resonance’ of: an anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birthday, the actual date of Stephen Hawking’s death, and a Pi Day.

I commemorated the day by taking photographs of living eternity, that is to say eternal (so far as we are concerned) principles expressing themselves in radiant instants of life-giving beauty.

I added 10 of these photos (at maximum resolution) to my Flickr site, for display. They are the first ten scenics “from top down” at the following webpage. You can view them, and get technical details there.

MG,Jr. Photostream
https://www.flickr.com/photos/138500512@N05/

Enjoy

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Love & Life, Then & Now

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Love & Life, Then & Now

When I was young,
life was fast
and love was slow.

Now I’m old,
life is slow
and love is fast.

In the 1960s
girls wore miniskirts
and I wanted to see more.

Fifty years later
they wear leggings
and I want to see less,
much less.

Her:
“Oh!, So it’s my fault, huh?”
Him:
“You are the fault of my life,
and sometimes it has an earthquake.”

Gerrymandered expression is mandatory
to be loved by all, then and now.
But
I’m old, bold, cold, told and unsold,
so who cares?

11 March 2018

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Mister Rogers


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Mister Rogers

Imagine,
a man who does not have to protect his cool —
that is power!
He could look a child straight in the eye
and speak slowly, gently,
with utter respect,
acknowledging the God within,
the intelligence before him.
He stood tall —
without apology, without embarrassment, without fear —
for compassion,
indiscriminate compassion.
What man alive dares be so reckless?

The second coming —
all look for a Jesus to come back and save them,
something more than just the three days of Easter,
and yet, that second coming is here now,
every time a person becomes infused with the spirit of Jesus —
awakens, becomes a bodhisattva —
and walks among us
manifesting the eternally animating principles
that walked in the footsteps of Buddha,
that walked in the footsteps of Jesus,
that walked in the footsteps of Dorothy Day,
that walked in the footsteps of countless others –
known and unknown –
that walked in the footsteps of Mister Rogers,
that could walk in your footsteps,
and mine,
but for a dose of courage,
a courage that seems to come easily
once belief permeates into experience.
Love and compassion and power and peace
must be breathed into life.
“It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive.”

2 March 2003

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In 1969, President Nixon wanted to cut Public Television funding in half.
Fred Rogers had 6 minutes to try to convince the Senate otherwise.

May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications
https://youtu.be/fKy7ljRr0AA

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Fred Rogers (20 March 1928 – 27 February 2003)

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Art versus Stomach


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Art versus Stomach

Whether an artist will have enough means to buy the next meal, and subsequent meals, depends on how much editing and limitation of his artistry he is willing to accept. If your aim is to produce the greatest and most refined art you are capable of, then you cannot expect to capture a sufficient audience to meet your ego’s hopes for approval and enriching rewards, nor your metabolism’s need for its necessary nourishment. This is the eternal conflict between art and commerce, between fulfillment and popularity. Committed genius is more likely to die of an empty stomach, than a reliable hack is to want for a full belly. A happy artistic life is one that strikes a balance between the extremes of: an isolating commitment to the compulsion for creating excellence, versus the popular mediocrity of a comfortable prosperity.

28 January 2018

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Anti-War and Socialist Psychology Books and Movies

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Anti-War and Socialist Psychology Books and Movies

On 24 November 2017, Amanda Almanac McIllmurry posted a request for: “Any suggestions for ‘socialist’ psychology books that are easily digestible [for a young student interested in becoming a psychology major]? Also, any suggestions for books with a leftist analysis of the military, which a teenage boy that’s super into the idea of joining the Army could read” [and reconsider such a choice.]?

Here, I have pasted together my various answers (from 27 November 2017 and 22 January 2018) to Amanda’s query (which I think is very important).

ANTI-WAR:

“Dispatches” (1977) by Michael Herr. This book was called the best “to have been written about the Vietnam War” by The New York Times Book Review; novelist John le Carré called it “the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time.” Michael Herr co-wrote the screenplay to the movie “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) by Stanley Kubrick. (See the wikipedia article on “Michael Herr”). I would also recommend the movie “Sir, No Sir!” (2005) about the anti-war movement (resistance!) within the armed forces during Vietnam War. You can find it on-line. The ultimate anti-war movie of my lifetime is “Hearts and Minds,” (1974), which is a masterpiece by Peter Davis (and won an Academy Award in 1975!). You could ramble through my huge web-page called “Haunted by the Vietnam War,” which is on my blog (manuelgarciajr.com), and which lists many links to books and videos (and probably gives links to the movies mentioned here).

“All Quiet On The Western Front,” a classic of 20th century world literature, and also made into a great movie, starring Lew Ayres (a pacifist). Another world-treasure movie to put you off war is Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.” Both these movies are from the 1930s, when the bitter memories of WWI were still very fresh. Since both are masterpieces, they have been restored in recent times, and look and sound good (and on DVD). Modern movies that could put you off war are MASH (1970), but it has so much humor that some might miss the anti-war basis of the film (I sure didn’t in 1970!); and “Full Metal Jacket” by Stanley Kubrick (about the Vietnam War), but the violence in it might be a bit too much for the young. For Americans today, I think the all-time best anti-war film is the documentary “Hearts and Minds.” It is THE BEST film about the Vietnam War, and was released in 1974, while the war was still in progress. I just saw it again a few weeks ago; incredible. What is so compelling about it is that almost all of it is the telling of first hand experiences of soldiers who survived (not always intact). It just so happens I took a Vietnam Vet friend of mine to the V.A. hospital today, for a pre-op medical visit. There were numerous patched-up survivors of military “service” (use) in the hallways. For a combination of humanizing psychology and overt anti-war basis, see the movie “Captain Newman, M.D.,” (1962) which stars Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson, Eddie Albert, Tony Curtis, and Bobby Darin (in an amazing performance). Capt. Newman tries to heal soldiers from PTSD, and he hears about what gave them PTSD. Once “cured,” they’re shipped back out into action. This is a great film, a total anti-Rambo.

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SOCIALIST-PSYCHOLOGY (E-Z):

This is harder for me to find. Reading numerous titles by Chomsky, Balzac, Alan Watts, Hannah Arendt and C. G. Jung would be a bit much for a teenager or young college student. I would suggest “Man’s Search For Meaning” (1946) by Viktor E. Frankl, one of the supremely inspiring books of the 20th century – easy to read, yet causes much thinking; written by a psychiatrist based on his personal experiences in survival. I wrote an essay on this idea of “socialist psychology” and survival, called “Epiphany On The Glacier,” which is also posted on my blog. I give references to a number of books (including Frankl’s) that helped me present the main concept. My essay is presented as an adventure story of survival in the snowy wild.

The psychology book I enjoyed most is more of a philosophy-autobiography book, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” by Carl Gustav Jung. It’s not hard to read, nor too long, nor preachy nor text-booky, and it has the virtue of being quite different than the usual orthodox psychology books. But I can’t say it’s overtly leftist, though it is intended to be very humanizing. I, personally, found it fascinating and have read it several times. With Jung, it helps a lot if you also have a very strong interest in Taoism and Buddhism (and Asian philosophies, generally).

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The photo is of John F. Kennedy’s grave in 1964. I took this photo while on a class (school) trip.

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