do you believe in Father Christmas, do you believe in a brave New Year?
do you believe in the ten commandments, is your life filled with fear?
To believe is to accept that something exists, or that something is true, when there is no evidence or proof to back up that belief. Millions of children around the world believe in Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas….. He will remain in the hearts of children forever, and the children have proof, he brings them toys and other gifts every Christmas. This belief is useful too, for doesn’t he have a list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, checking it twice before he leaves toys and presents for the nice children, and a lump of coal for the naughty boys and girls. A perfect cautionary tale for parents to blackmail their kids into being nice near Christmas.
Some beliefs are neither useful nor true ~ like a Flat Earth. Those who believe the Earth is flat are either deranged, or willfully stupid, or as thick as two short planks. There is plenty of evidence to prove the planet Earth is more or less a sphere, as are all the other planets visible through a telescope. Also believing in a flat Earth is not useful, since long-distance navigation is based on the great circle theory, which is navigating a ship or an aircraft using spherical trigonometry. Ergo believers in a flat Earth should never ever get on an aircraft or go on a cruise.
One does not have to believe everything one hears. ~ Cicero
Another belief that is neither useful or true is Alien Visitation. There are plenty of spurious reasons given to prove that alien visitation happens all the time, and I don’t believe any of them. There is also one crushing piece of evidence to disprove the very idea that creatures / people from the stars regularly visit the Earth ~ nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The nearest known exoplanet is 4.25 light years away, so allowing for basic physics that means a round-trip of about 12 years, even if our starship can get near the speed of light. Just never going to happen.
One false belief that is useful is in Pythagoras’ theorem; the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Or more practically just remember 3,4,5. This is mostly true, but some believe it is always true. Try navigating from England to New York using Pythagoras and the Gods only know where you will land. Sometimes even the dearest held, and most provable belief is only mostly true.
Believing in God, any God, is maybe the most commonly held belief of them all, along with whichever prophet fits the religion of your choice. This belief is useful to many, especially the clergy of every religion, but there is no proof whatsoever, and that’s the whole point. Religion is all about Faith not Belief ~ and if you start to look into Faith you get into a circular argument. Anyway I think religion isn’t based on faith, it’s about the fear of eternal damnation
Some say that real belief needs no proof. And that faith is trust without reservation. All I know is I trust scientific and engineering methodologies more than I trust priests and demagogues. And I believed in Love.
the Earth is positively not flat
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And, one man in his time plays many parts.
Last night I became a broken man.
Let today be a new beginning for me.
Please listen responsibly.
The English are continually apologising, saying ‘sorry’ to one another… Accidentally bump into someone, step on their toes, say sorry. If someone accidentally bumps into you, also say sorry. More often than not both people in some kind of unintended contact will say sorry. ‘I’m sorry I trod on your toe…’ ‘I’m sorry it’s raining outside…’ ‘I’m sorry that 96 people died because of our criminal incompetence…’
Oh it seems to me, that sorry seems to be the hardest word. ~ Elton John
You know what? It’s pointless. Sorry is not the hardest word. Saying sorry is easy. Saying sorry doesn’t make things better. Even being sorry for the wrongs you’ve done doesn’t make things better. All a mere apology does is show that you are not motivated enough, not strong enough, not man enough, to actually make things better. An apology by itself is a weak and meaningless thing.
If you have done wrong, and you are truly sorry for the wrongs you have done, don’t just say sorry, do something about it. A real man tries to right the wrongs he has done, no matter what it costs him. Even if it results in his own destruction, a man should atone for his sins and make things right.
It is no mistake that 12 step recovery programmes use these words;
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
It turns out that I need to atone for some wrongs I have done. I need to make my amends. I need to put things right, quietly, without making a fuss, when the time is right and the opportunities come my way.
We all make mistakes. Just saying sorry is never going to be enough to restore true balance in this life.
tock tick tock click clock times helical cosmos
curlicued convoluted corkscrew universes
mobius numberless boundless crystal spheres
ecstatic Goddess’ eternal internal rhythms
involute rainbow reflected perpetual nimbus
concentric circles connecting countless spirals
heating burning flaming blazing raging powers
cogs within wheels within whorls within curls
turns interlocking engineering winding endless
impractical perpetual galactical infinities
around helicoid determined repeating futures
click tick tock clock times chimes the cosmos
and, what goes around comes around
words and pictures by jack collier
I am 5,975 miles away
I pray for my love every day
words cannot convey what I need to say
yet she is often very busy
ballet of shared silence, dismal dismay
building love’s long rise from lonely decay
words and pictures by jack collier
Chaos ~ complete disorder and confusion
Chaos in Clouds
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. ~ Mary Shelley
As well as disorder and confusion, Chaos also refers to the behaviour of complex systems where outcomes are so unpredictable as to appear random, which they are not. Even chaos is predictable. Hence, the branch of pure mathematics called Chaos Theory has a host of ‘practical applications’. All of these are disciplines where tiny differences in the initial condition of a model produce wildly different outcomes. Sometimes this is called the butterfly effect. One of the major applications of chaos theory and the butterfly effect is in meteorology ~ forecasting the weather. The mathematics of the butterfly effect are mind-bendingly complicated, but an easy to remember illustration is that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world. This may, or may not, be true. However there is nothing in mathematics or physics that says it is impossible.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s eventually going to be a butterfly. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Chaos theory differs from probability theory in that one tries to predict the future while the other says that predicting the future is impossible. Both are true in life. Most of life is safe and predictable, but it is as well to remember that Shit Happens. Life has some very predictable things in it, such as gravity and death, but there are also some unexpected events which we should expect to happen from time to time. Unexpected events such as; love, stock market crashes, icebergs…
Life happens. Shit happens. And it happens a lot. To a lot of people. ~ Colleen Hoover
Chaos theory also relies upon the Fractal nature of the universe. Fractal basically means something that cannot be represented by classical geometry, and looks the same whatever size and whatever portion of the whole we are looking at. It becomes really complex when we try to understand a fractal curve. Some say that a fractal curve represents the nature of God. And, that God is part of the infinite cosmos. All I know is that I have to understand that by trying to understand a spiral, which has some very complicated math to explain it. Even a two-dimensional logarithmic spiral, (such as the Nautilus shell illustrated), is quite complex ~ three dimensional spirals even more so.
Fractals and Oneness It would seem that the universe began in a state of oneness, as a singularity. Since the Big Bang, the universe has become incredibly, infinitely labyrinthine and convoluted. There is also a oneness theology which expresses the concept of God as a singularity.
Infinity is almost impossible to comprehend in the mind of man, and therefore so is God. Man quails before the unforgiving infinities. In order to make human sense of God we make him smaller, anthropomorphic… give Him a name. In my own case my higher power is the Goddess Isis ~ understandable, personal, merciful. Isis concerns herself directly with my fate and actions. A long way from the infinity of the cosmos and probably a long way from the true nature of God.
An apocryphal story says that Einstein proved the existance of God by proving that Cold does not exist.
Chaos theory says that I cannot predict the future. Fractals and oneness say that reality is a contradiction of infinite complexity and infinite simplicity. The concept of my personal Higher Power, Isis, helps me make sense of the cosmos.
words and pictures by jack collier
If your path is strewn with rocks
likely you made it that way
All men turn a good thing bad
seeing nothing worth nurturing
Give a man a woman’s love
and he will betray her without thought
Give a man your heart
and he will throw it into the dust
Give a man a true friend
and he will think friendship unnecessary
Give a man riches
and soon he will be a beggar
Give a man cool, clear water
and he will lust for wine
Give a man bright clouds and sunshine
and he will want dark clouds and rain
Give a man a glimpse of spirituality
and he will use science to negate it
Give a man God
and soon he will be graceless
Give a man the Garden of Eden
and he will cover it with rocks
words and picture by jack collier
A very short story.
The God Obsession
GOD was a drunk.
The cardinals of the Obsessive Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places were fairly certain of that. They had applied every secret ecclesiastical test and were convinced that God was an offensive, evil tempered, megalomaniacal, raging, thunderbolt slinging, quaffing rivers of booze, chronic alcoholic.
That made dealing with God more than ordinarily difficult. One wrong move and the unfortunate supplicant could find themselves transmogrified, or worse. Finding your higher power when He was suffering from a hangover or delirium tremens was bad, Very Bad Indeed. Having a proper fire-breathing dragon shoved up one’s fundament brings tears to the eyes.
There was more, and much more unacceptable. Sacrificing your first born daughter is just cruel. Although and to be fair, God had forsworn the whole forty days and forty nights of seething rain thing, after being caught out without his Mackintosh and front door key.
God’s favourite saying was; ‘You’re born, you live, and then you die, and if you haven’t been good along the way you’ll find yourself on the runaway down-bound train to the Lair of Satan.’
The damned well know that Satan could take transmogrification to a whole other low, which was exactly how God wanted it. God and Satan had discussed it over a river or three of mead.
As for God, in addition to being a dipsomaniac of biblical appetites, God was a womaniser. When He was in his cups that is, which was most of the time. God’s drinking binges could last for several hundred years. Apart from unsuccessfully chatting up Goddesses in bars, God’s favourite seduction technique was to take the shape of some heraldic beast, say a griffon, or a gigantic bull, and then convince some sorely unfortunate female that it had all been a dream. Of course, giving birth to a minotaur was apt to cause speculation among the poor woman’s neighbours and family.
Early on, the Sumarian Chapter of the Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places realised God had a nasty sense of humour. Why else would He have gone on to create the giraffe, menopausal hot flashes, Las Vagas, algebra, and quantum physics?
Of course He went too far when the created the Higgs boson, the God Particle, even though he only did that to create insanity among said quantum physicists.
That was where it all went badly wrong for God.
Using the hugely expensive Large Hadron Collider, and applying the uncertainty princple, which was one of God’s more obtuse japes, the men in white coats with bulging foreheads and lots of pens in their outside top pockets only went and discovered that the speed of light was not absolute, and subsequently went on to understand fully the Higgs boson, your actual God Particle.
That about wrapped it up as far as being an all knowing and all-seeing God of Infinite Mystery went.
Once they had understood the God Particle it was but a short step to the Nobel Prize for using the Very Large Optical Telescope in Chile, and finding out where God actually lived, and His actual telephone number. That really VLOTed God’s copybook.
From there is was only a couple of brief, but pointed, conversations with the Head Honcho of the Obsessive Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places before God had promised to mend His ways, to behave more like the sort of God the Head Honcho of the Obsessive Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places wrongly thought he wanted.
Making better sunrises and sunsets, not chasing females, attendance at twelve-step recovery programme meetings, and total abstinence from booze, hit God like the proverbial bolt from the blue.
The more die-hard among the brothers of the Obsessive Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places were a little sad to lose their old God. For example, there were fewer clearly defined areas of ecclesiastical doubt and uncertainty to exploit. It proved a bit difficult for the Obsessive Botherhood to garner huge amounts of cash, when anybody could simply phone God to ask Him what He thought on a particular question, without having to go through all that tedious religion stuff.
So here’s the thing, if you were to ask the brothers of the Obsessive Brotherhood of Quite Holy Places; ‘What is the Word of God?’ They could tell you. If they are being honest they can now quote the Word of God, with total exactitude.
The Word of God is; ‘My name is God, and I am an alcoholic.’
words and pictures by jack collier
SOMETIMES, SELF-WILL AND EFFORT ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH
In 12 step recovery programmes this is step 2. In Alcoholics Anonymous the full text reads;
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. ~ The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
For many people trying to recover from an addiction to alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, shoplifting…, this is where it all falls apart. One may have been dry and clean for a while, (although cigarettes and candy will have taken the place of the primary addiction), but here we begin to flirt with the idea of God.
Addicts and people under great stress have poor memories, they will have forgotten that when they were at their nadir they will have said something like; ‘Please God, get me out of this one…’ In any event, in the quotation given above where does it say God? It doesn’t, it says; a Power greater than ourselves. Addiction is self-will writ large; egotism, egomania, narcissism, conceit, and vanity are all part of the psychology of an addict. Addicts and the otherwise mentally ill believe they are the most important person in the Cosmos ~ that belief has to be smashed.
Addiction, stress, anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, anorexia, binge eating disorder, psychotic disorders, exhibitionism…, (the list could go on and on), all produce a state of desperation. A state where the sufferer is willing to do almost anything to escape from the see-saw of euphoria and misery that they endure. Anything, except believe that there is more in this Cosmos than themselves ~ addiction and self-absorption go together like ham and eggs.
Trust me on this, one does not have to believe in the God of our childhood, or the God of our parents, or the God of whatever church or religion we theoretically belong to. Lapsed Christians, lapsed Jews, Agnostics, atheists, sun worshipers, druids, can all come to believe that there is a power in the universe that is greater than they are. In 12 step recovery programmes this sometimes known as ‘finding your higher power.’
I believe in a higher power and I believe in good and bad, right and wrong. You sleep in the bed you make. ~ Leif Garrett.
Lief Garrett, singer, actor, television personality, one time drug addict, member of the Church of Scientology, often in legal difficulties.
So we’re in physical and mental torment of one sort or another. In order to recover we need to give up some of our egomaniacal self-will, narcissistic denial, and the conceit that we can stop doing whatever destructive behaviour we suffer from, whenever we want to. Whether one believes in a Deity, or not, recovery from addiction and a range of other destructive behaviours depends on faith and spirituality. The human mind finds it much easier to believe in something, rather than believing in nothing, (although one could believe in nothingness and infinity.)
There is something about modern man and woman, particularly men and women who are suffering extreme distress, which makes it difficult for them to accept that there is anything beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or otherwise detect with one of our many other senses. Very well, what if I quote from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century? A man so smart that 99% of the people in the world don’t even understand what he was getting at.
The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms ~ this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of all true spirituality, (geistigkeit). ~ Albert Einstein, The Merging of Spirit and Science.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and philosopher of science.
Quantum physics and probability theory are both pretty wedded to the fact that nothing is impossible. People being what they are, if one gives a lot of them three choices;
- There is definitely no God, Goddess, Higher Power, or a Power greater than me.
- There may or may not be a Higher Power, Earth Goddess, Power of the Cosmos, et alii.
- There is a Higher Power, Mother Goddess, Power of the Universe, Isis and Aphrodite. I know because I have faith.
There is no possibility whatsoever that they would be able to come to a consensus of opinion. The proof of this is in Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what one believes in, as long as one believes in something that is greater than a single human being ~ that is, greater than you. We cannot go on just existing, we need faith and spirituality in order to live ~ after all, we are broken human beings.
Personally, I walked the road of recovery from my disease by believing in the power of the Cosmos. It didn’t matter what I believed in, as long as I believed that there was a Power greater than myself. If you can’t even manage that, then believe in the fact that you want to believe in something, because that will put you on the road to spirituality and recovery from whatever syndromes you suffer from.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. ~ Carl Sagan, in Cosmos.
Carl Edward Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science populariser, researcher into extraterrestrial life.
All of human life requires faith. Faith in gravity, in the laws of physics, in birth, love, life and death. To recover from serious addiction, mental illness, extreme stress, also requires faith and spirituality.
Given that I am currently not only on planet weird, I am deep in the jungle on planet weird, after experiencing reincarnation into my own life, I need a hell of a lot more faith and spirituality than most. Currently it suits me to believe in my vision of the Goddesses Isis and Aphrodite. They are my higher powers, not yours. You need to find your own higher power for yourself to achieve true spirituality.