Digital Conscience

"Lyin', cheatin', hurtin'—that's all you seem to do..."
- Led Zeppelin, Your Time is Gonna Come

"Daddy is he a goodie or a baddie
Daddy can I be a warrior
Once upon a time there were cannibals
Now there are no cannibals any more"
- Mark Knopfler, Cannibals

I started this essay two hours ago, on paper, with four different quotations: The Moody Blues, EJ Pratt, Scott Merrit, Willie P Bennett. It's so easy to touch the subject of conscience!

But what does the digital have to do with conscience?

Well, it's handy to characterize our era as digital, for obvious reasons—pretty well any discussion, inquiry or debate these days can be settled with a quick browse on the net. On the other hand, conscience is universal in human development. If conscience is not currently something we bring to mind on a daily basis—if it’s too often “off”—then the juxtaposition of the digital with conscience may be fruitful, even meaningful!

In The Western Canon, Harold Bloom waxes gloomy over the threat of a pending Theocratic Age in literature (literature is “where cognition, perception, and sensation cannot be wholly disentangled.”1) C’est la vie, eh!? If religion helps us stay mindful of our conscience, theocracy may be a method of coping with the usurpation of universal, real conscience by digital conscience. If that makes you wince, be soothed by the wisdom of the Koran: “There is no compulsion in matters of faith.”

It’s time to get ready for lunch—lucky me!

Toronto
May 12, 2007

Harold Bloom, The Western Canon (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994), page 441.

- 30 -

Wax

II

The night is of the colour

Of a woman's arm:

Night, the female,

Obscure,

Fragrant and supple,

Conceals herself.

A pool shines,

Like a bracelet

Shaken in a dance.

Excerpt from “Six Significant Landscapes” by Wallace Stevens

A fine snow fell yesterday. A gibbous moon (waxing) is perfectly positioned for eloquent interaction with scudding or hazy clouds just when we’re scuttling home for dinner.

Jeff Warren (The Head Trip) teaches that we dream constantly and speculates the concomitant—we’re also conscious as we dream. “Thus water flows over weeds.”

Are we not created to create and thence to have a constant communal colloquy of consciousness? “Let your conscience be your guide!”

Toronto
Dawn, November 17, 2007

spanning

"I have my books and my poetry to protect me..."

- "I am a Rock", Simon & Garfunkel

Listening to the quiet discussion of the elders sitting in the next room, around the dinner tabletwo married couples, relaxing before bed, keeping company til the last one finishes her bathis calming. Such effortless attention to one another in this shelter from the cold and wet outdoors, such accustomed civility rewards the respectful listener with awareness of the possibility of future peace.

And where does the discussion lead? Laughter, tonight; memories later; a tendency to tolerate when fear threatens, perhaps. In using channelsbody language, a look, a tone, aural magnetismthe channels are deepened, the connections established. See the towers straddling the valley, ask how the first wire was drawn across the gap!

My brain is failing with age: it often takes so long to think of a word as I speak that I have time to remind myself not to fret but instead to be grateful that the words come at all. This is my best excuse for the inordinate amount of time I spend looking for the right version of the song in my head, the song I want to add to the growing list of favourites I put on my YouTube channel. I feel as though I have grown up developing a playlist for my YouTube channel and I have a little time to pick them before I forget them forever.

Jane Jacobs must have had fun writing Dark Age Ahead: nobody would call her, even hershe who was so devastatingly detailed in her reckoningto account for not making her last book longer with more evidence of mass folly, like conspicuous consumption and a naive fondness for the convenient. She'd be preaching to the converted.

"And for all the little piggies, life is getting worse."

-       Piggies, The Beatles

A good sleep and pre-dawn meditation bring the sweet rejoinder: "Kiss the joy as it flies!" (Nin?)

Ichinomiya, Japan

February 14, 2010

Awareness and survival

“In the garden of consciousness
in fertile mind there lies the dormant seed.”    One Voice, Smith/Daugherty

“Sometimes I wonder about the road I’m on
When I feel like a stranger in my own sweet home
When happiness comes so easy, still I can’t be satisfied
There’s no rest for the wicked
And I feel so tired.”        No Rest for the Wicked, Colin Linden

There will come a time when human awareness of the delicacy and preciousness of all life is acknowledged as the basis of all life—of survival, too.

The urgency of our hunger to know the meaning of life increases as more of us accept that our home will not sustain us much longer—we will die off—unless we respect the creative forces in it.

Average global levels of carbon monoxide exceeded four hundred parts per million in May, 2013. It has become realistic to pray for the survival of our species, a novel aspect of our relationships with our creator.

Will you bicker about what the creator asks of us? Our survival depends on our collective repentance and our openness to what happens when we turn from seeking safety, security and comfort; when we address our vulnerability with a matching humility.

We who have so much must let go. Our treasure lies elsewhere, as our hearts know.

Toronto
September 12, 2013

 Our Daily Bread

       Salutation                                                   Love

 

       Mother Earth and Father Sky                       We love and are loved

       Hallowed be thy names!                              are fed by and feed each other

       Thy consciousness be ours!                        as soil is rained on

       Thy ways be ours!                                       as water sifts sun.

       In our minds as in our hearts.

                                                                          Humility

       Give us this day our Daily Bread

       and forgive us our trespasses                     Our thoughts distract us

       as we forgive them                                      and our needs we neglect

       who trespass against us.                             we breathe without thought

                                                                          unaware of our frailty.

       Do not reveal paths to destruction

       but deliver us from our folly.                      Patience

       For thine is the essence

       the source and the sweetness                     Help us pause, connect,

       beyond the measure of time.                      check our greed

                                                                          respect our boundaries

       Gratitude                                                    await and hold anticipation.

 

       With gratitude we are fed                            Compassion

       our relationship complete.

       In gratitude we rest                                     With compassion let us go then

       and are renewed.                                        riding a wave in the moment

                                                                          aware and submissive

       Joy                                                               engaged and inquisitive.

 

       Joy too is due and natural                           Faith (devotion)

       In stillness of joy we are held.

       Dreamlike, delicate, a gift                           As we falter, as we doubt

       in which we partake.                                   in loneliness, in pain

                                                                          your healing saves us

                                                                          the darkness becoming promise.

                                                                                                (For Father Malcolm)

Toronto
Christmas morning, 2014