Musings on Monday

I have lost my internet connection and feel totally helpless. Could I survive without the internet? I remember shows on Oprah where they would take away what people were most addicted to – like their phones or computers or whatever. I used to laugh at that, thinking their addictions were ridiculous. But I guess must be right there with them.

I’m not sure all of this technology is a good thing. At least not for me. I used to enjoy getting outdoors, reading, getting together with friends for nice long leisurely conversations. All of those connections went out the window once I discovered the virtual connections you could make with the internet!

One day, during a nice hike in a beautiful area in Austin, my husband and I got into a deep discussion about virtual reality. His view was that virtual reality will one day be just as real as actual reality. He and I could be sitting together on the bench under a tree virtually, but it would be exactly the same as if we were actually together. Can there be a blurring of virtual reality and actual reality? Do we actually know what actual reality is? We think we are real, but are we? If we aren’t, then what we think is the blurring of virtual reality and actual reality is not reality at all.

I used to think about this sort of stuff all the time. I don’t think about it so often anymore because the day to day drama of life got in the way. Drama isn’t real, not in actuality, is it? It’s just drama – my (or another’s) personal feelings about a situation. Is the situation real? Or just a fleeting moment in time, which isn’t real, either?

My husband says that scientists are now proving that the universe is expanding. If it is expanding, then nothing remains as it is, not even the universe. And if it doesn’t remain as it is, can it be considered “real”?

I mean, is who I am right now, real? Tomorrow I will be slightly more grey and wrinkled. Eventually my body will decay altogether. It’s possible my personality could last slightly longer than my body, through the memory of people who knew me and the stuff I have written. But there is no way it can last forever, and what other people think of my personality is simply their opinion, not a reality. So is my personality real?

If I die, and my body and my personality die, too, what about me can be said to be real? Did I exist? Or was I nothing more than a dream? And if I’m a dream, who’s dream?

The Old Day Timer

I was cleaning out a closet and came across an old DayTimer I didn’t know I still had.  It had journal entries dating all the way back to my wedding and honeymoon in 1991. There are entries about the birth of both of my kids, our many moves, and life in California before we moved back to Texas in 2000.

It was interesting reading through all of those entries – all the hopes and dreams and heartaches.  What most struck me was a list of goals I had created in 1992.  Some of them I accomplished: close knit family, strong marriage, stable household…   But I have moved very far away from others, especially being in sync with nature and remaining healthy.

When we lived in California, we shopped at Trader Joe’s, Wild Oats and the Farmers Market. When we moved back to Texas, money was tight so we started purchasing cheap food from the local grocery store.  When we lived in California, we went camping monthly and hiked in beautiful natural places weekly.  Most days, I made the 3 mile walk around Lake Mission Viejo or at least the shorter walk around the trails in the hills behind our home.  We made our last camping trip less than a year after moving back to Texas, and quit hiking altogether, too.  I continued walking until my ankle gave out on me over 5 years ago – but now I rarely go for walks at all!  I’m hardly ever outdoors!

Once upon a time I could barely function unless I got out in nature on a regular basis.  At the very least, I’d have to make a drive through Trabuco Canyon with the kids so I could get my head on straight.  I remember talking to a friend and asking if I could call her back because the sun was setting on the Saddleback Mountains and I didn’t want to miss it.  She fully understood the necessity.  If  I stood at just the right place in my living room, usually with a child on my hip, I had a beautiful view of the sunset. These days, I rarely experience natural environments, and even though we live off of a natural greenbelt (because I wouldn’t buy a home without some sort of view when we first moved here) there is a fence blocking our view so I rarely pay any attention to it. And I don’t stop for sunsets anymore.  I don’t really stop for nature at all these days.

I love the quote by Ramakrishna – “The winds of grace blow all the time.  All we need do is set our sails.”  I am setting my sails for a more sustainable, natural healthy future.

Human Dominance/Dominion?

I watched a beautiful film tonight called A Life Among Whales.  It’s about Dr. Roger Payne’s work to save the whales.  He helped create a moratorium on whale hunting several years ago, but today whale hunting is alive and well again, although now it’s done under the guise of “science”.

It reminded me of an issue my daughter encountered when she was very young. A bunch of kids were out in the front yard stamping on ants and other insects they found.  My daughter was appalled and made the statement that these animals could be their great grandparents for all they knew. I’m not sure where she got that idea because it isn’t a view we subscribed to, but it’s a good question – why be disrespectful toward the ants and other insects? We really don’t know that much about them.

It instigated a discussion about heaven and the absolute fact, according to these kids, that bugs and animals don’t go to heaven. Therefore, you can do what you want with them. A further insinuation was made that my daughter was “evil” for for suggesting bugs might have been human beings in another life.

It was Christmas-time, and she received a “gift” from a little girl, about 5 years old who had been involved in the discussion.   It was a picture of Santa Claus giving coal to my daughter. My daughter thought it was hilarious, but I was horrified! My daughter’s compassion was being condemned by this child’s Christian brainwashing!

It makes me wonder, sometimes, if our disrespect toward animals wasn’t born out of a misinterpretation of Genesis?  Or maybe it’s just a bizarre interpretation of the ancient Hebrew that eschewed stewardship and misinterpreted dominion as some sort of absolute dominance? The Hebrew Bible says we are supposed to be the stewards of the land and has all kinds of laws for the ethical killing of animals, if they must be killed. You don’t just kill animals because you are human and they aren’t!  Perhaps we do have dominion, but does that give us the authority to do as we please?  Does that even make sense? Would God be so pleased with his creations if he created one to mindlessly destroy all others? It just doesn’t make sense.

Ride of the Mergansers

I have had a subscription to the Earth Cinema Circle for years and rarely got around to actually watching the films until just recently. You will have to forgive me if I offer a bunch of posts on films from the circle. I’m learning so much!!!

I loved Ride of the Mergansers.  It made me smile from ear to ear! It’s a wonderful short film!!! (It was on the Premier Collector’s Edition of Earth Cinema Circle.) It’s not a heavy political film, just a beautiful film about some wonderful ducks that may soon become endangered because of human practices.

The Hooded Merganser is a rare, reclusive fish eating duck found only in North America (primarily in the Great Lakes region). The 11 minute film documents the newly hatched ducklings from birth to their great “leap of faith”.