Wednesday, August 17, 2022

In my much younger unusual days, an intriguing true tale from the late 60's

Here’s the old mutant in my much younger unusual days, an intriguing true tale from the late 60’s in Trevose, Pennsylvania, just a skip, hop, and jump over the river at Washington’s Crossing, next to Trenton, New Jersey.

This is late December 1967, a few months before I began living on an island near New Hope, crossing the shallow stream to the highway to get to my job as a mental health worker in a mental hospital for emotionally disturbed teens and children.

But that’s getting a head of a number of unusual stories. Only a brief one today. How did I get such short hair, the only time in my life that I had a crew cut?

How did I end up in a mental hospital in PA, on the opposite coast? Why wasn’t I still at university, at Long Beach State, and before that at the University of Nebraska? Blah, blah, blah:-)

Start at the beginning:-) I grew up, a very fervent Christian, in a moderate fundamentalist family in southeast Nebraska, in Adams, a little town of 250 about 100 miles to Iowa and Kansas. My dad was a Baptist minister; and we were a promilitary very conservative Republican family, against Kennedy for president in 1960 (‘NO, we don’t want to be ruled by the Pope’ fallacious beliefs).

In 1964, when at a Youth for Christ rally in Lincoln, Nebraska, I happened to get in a life-changing discussion with a girl at the rally (imagine that;-). However, I got shocked when I stated my family had been for Goldwater, that we ought to bomb the Vietnamese, she became very serious and said that a Christian shouldn’t want to do that! Why not?! In a number of long discussions, she explained how I ought to study the Sermon on the Mount, etc.

So, I did for over a year, as well as talk in depth to many Christians. Thus came a drastic change—me who earlier that year had had out various military recruiters to our house to decide which branch of the service I would choose after graduation (though, of course, I would probably go Navy like my dad and 2 of my uncles) made a drastic life change, convinced that as a follower of Christ, I ought to oppose the war in Vietnam!

I applied to my Selective Service Board, was interviewed, etc. and classified I-O (conscientious objector). I also had a student deferment as a college student. But, being the fervent believer that I was, I saw the huge hypocrisy of the fact that many students I knew who were safe in their student deferments actually were strongly for the war!

Thus, it was mostly non-college students who were getting shipped to Vietnam to kill. This upset me so much that I wrote my draft board that student deferment ought to be ended! And I refused my own deferment, left Long Beach State for a semester.

The Nebraska draft board promptly drafted me:-) As a conscientious objector I was ordered to do my service at a mental hospital in Pennsylvania beginning in September 1967. I drove my hippie van across country; I was a spiritual hippie, had never tasted even beer when I was 18.

My hair was about Beatles' length; only since it was naturally curly, I looked like a honky Jimi Hendrix;-)

In December, working at the mental hospital, I decided on a lark to cut it off. Voila! The girl I happened to be casually dating, responded when she saw me next—“What did you do to your hair?!”

There you have it.

Well, what about, the Cody fringe jacket? That true tale will have to wait until my next story, including how I was a missions worker on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana in 1966:-).


Dan Wilcox 8/17/22

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Are Humans what they deeply feel they are or what the facts of biology show?

HELP me out here, IF you are interested in controversial topics.

For a number of years, I have studied a particular controversy--that is HUGE these days.

ARE HUMANS WHAT THEY DEEPLY FEEL OR WHAT BIOLOGICAL FACTS SHOW?

Let's say that I deeply feel I am Native American, Navajo, even though my DNA test shows that I am not.
CAN IT STILL BE TRUE THAT I AM INDIGENOUS?

I have read both totally opposite sides of the controversy, and some in the middle, etc. Studied what medical doctors and biologists have to say about the facts, etc.

And I am frustrated that both opposite extremes--like so much of politics--exaggerates, distorts, lacks empathy, and misuses language (George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm) changing the common definition of words into their opposite meanings.

I will try and be silent, and will LISTEN to what you think and have to say on this topic if you are willing to jump off the cliff with your hang-glider;-)
I am going to use the real situation of ancestry so as to avoid censorship issues.

TRUE STORY of MY YOUTH: For most of my teen years, for many reasons, I very deeply wanted to be a Native American. I suppose this fascination, almost
obsession began from studying Native Americans as a young Boy Scout and buying authentic moccasins on a trip when young, and from later studying American history.

Then recently came the huge controversy related to one politician stating she was of Native American heritage (because her family had told her so).
Many of the opposite political party claimed she was lying. ETC.
Later it was proven by DNA testing that she actually does have partial Native American ancestry. But that didn't solve the controversy because then it became a question of other things!

HOWEVER, what IF the DNA test has shownn that she doesn't have Native American ancestry?

Can she still be Native American?!

What IF I claim that I am really Indigenous, Navajo, because I deeply feel that I am Native American, even though DNA shows that I am actually Scottish and
Northwestern European?


In the Light,
Dan Wilcox

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Travelin' Real Within

Allegedly, I’m mildly bipolar

but I spend all my days dream-widened by

the center-meridian at the equator,
jungled warm in the lush verdancy.

Super-sized with earnest emotion,

my every thought and act
floods with fervent intensity;

compassion sunburns my inner skin.

No arctic cold hardens this human clay,
no iceberg of a harsh snowy brow,

neither frozen north or south within.

At the wide equator,
I weep shards of scalding pain.

The endless sweat of warm mercy wellsprings

in this tropical brain;
morally real earnest,

My temperament’s compass directs
me sweltering true east toward the Light.


-Dan Wilcox
1st pub. in The Camel Saloon


Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Negativity and Untruthfulness of Buddhist Philosophy

Several of the central claims of Buddhism:

1. Desire is bad.
2. There are no selves.
3. Extinction is the goal.

HOWEVER,
1. “desire” isn’t bad. On the contrary, desire is good—is the basis of survival, life, hope, creativity, and achievement. What is wrong is inordinate desire, desire that is selfish and destructive.

2. There are, indeed, selves—billions of them, dolphins, whales, bears, cats, dogs, pigs, and human primates. The more complex ‘selves’ such as humans not only are really alive, but consciously aware of themselves, and a sense of moral ought, and transcendent reality—the Good, the True, the Just, the Beautiful.

If there are no ‘selves,’ then, of course, there would be no Good, no moral truths. Nothing would be wrong. But real human selves exist that can be harmed by immoral actions.

What Buddhism gets wrong is to assume that a ‘self’ must be eternally permanent to be real.
But on the contrary, temporary, finite selves are VERY REAL!
They just aren’t endless.

Instead, temporary humans are finite conscious processes that come to life, exist, become self-aware, learn to think, create, read, write, make
inventions, study atoms, DNA of life, the geological history of the earth, and some of the billions of stars in the cosmos, etc.
And finally die.

3. Extinction isn’t a worthy, good goal for humans. The opposite is true.
What is the worthy, good goal is to experience transcendence beyond matter and energy in our finite time of living.

Some Buddhists recognize that their philosophy needed correction such as Thich Nhat Hanh who helped bring about Engaged Buddhism, where each individual is of real inherent value, where life is Good.


In the LIGHT,
Dan Wilcox

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Getting Back to the vegetarian Garden:-) with a little humor



I got only 2.
I won't eat--pork and beef/liver.

How about you?



In the Light of Care and Good Eating,

Dan Wilcox

Friday, June 3, 2022

The Nature of Human Sexuality, Orientation, and Truth

Currently in the news, the huge focus this month is on:

What is true and good about sexuality, male and female, and marriage?
June has been titled PRIDE MONTH.

On nearly every topic at present, it seems Americans strongly disagree.
Consider other ones beside the sexuality controversy:

What is true of politics, elections, and our democracy?
What is true about pregnancy and abortion?
What is true about refugees and building walls?
What is true about mass murders, guns, and the Bill of Rights?
What is true about slavery and racism of the past and this generation?
ETC.

However, the central focus today is on sexuality because it is being called PRIDE Month. Even Niagara Falls has allegedly been colored to support same sexuality and one sees the gay pride image everywhere.

Not a day goes by but central news stories are reporting for or against same sexuality. Two Christian denominations are even splitting over the issue, (the huge United Methodist Church and the smaller Mennonite Church U.S.A.) Some others have divided in the last 20 years.
What is true and good about sexuality, male and female, and marriage?

What do you think of the following 4 life stances on sexuality held by millions of Americans?

1. Sexual orientation is morally neutral just as some humans are naturally right-handed and some are naturally left-handed. In the
historic past (even still believed by some humans) left-handedness was considered morally wrong.
But now most Americans accept both right-handedness and left-handedness as natural and good. The same ought to true of how we view sexuality as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled legalizing ‘gay marriage’.

What ought to be opposed by everyone instead are clearly destructive immoral actions including promiscuity, adultery, sexual harassment, prostitution, rape, etc.

2. A partially accepting view within some conservative Christians and others is that “same sexuality is problematic, not the ideal, but not inherently morally wrong.”* This view is similar to a local school here on the central coast of California that emphasizes elementary school students ought to write with their right hand (even if they are left-handed).

3. A more negative view of many creedal Christians, orthodox Muslims, orthodox Jews, etc. is that same sexuality is somewhat like the
tendency of some humans toward alcoholism—an orientation that is innate in some humans, but only wrong if one gives into it and drinks alcohol.

4. The most negative and traditional view for thousands of years among monotheists is that same sexuality is an immoral and evil choice that no human ought to make. Sexual orientation doesn’t exist.

-- * These points are presented very well and in depth by the Mennonite theologian Ted Grimsrud in his lecture on same-sexuality.
"The Bible and same-sex marriage"
PEACETHEOLOGY.NET
Ted Grimsrud Lecture presented at Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Smithville, Ohio)




In the Light of the Good, the True, and the Just,

Dan Wilcox


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Reflecting on the Awe and Wonder of Reality

If we as humans reject the horrific unethical beliefs of many Muslims, Christians, and Hindus such as their claims that a god plans all evils, natural disasters, plagues, famines, murders, rapes, and human slaughters...
And we already have rejected delusions and fanciful mythological stories of religions in general as various thoughtful theists have done since Plato...

HOW
do we limited human primates go about thinking about “Ultimate Reality”
(usually and traditionally termed “God”)?

Ah, the God question.

WHY?

Nothing like trying to solve the nature of existence, multi-billions of years of cosmic history, why the Big Bang happened, and why is it possible (to paraphrase Einstein) that mere primates came to self-aware consciousness
and the ability for creativity, reason,
science, technology, aesthetics, music,
moral realism including justics, human rights, and compassion.

The how is often answered by cosmologists speculating about multi-verses and quantum events. Fascinating stuff. As for humanity’s sometime actions of altruism, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speculates that ethical ideals might have come about by a “misfiring” of evolution.

However open agnostics such as the astronomer Chris Impey of the University of Arizona-Tucson raise very good questions about the unusual anomaly of Homo
sapiens in the midst of what appears to be an unconscious, thoughtless, amoral cosmos.

Astronomer Impey: “If the universe contained nothing more than forces operating on inanimate matter, it would not
be very interesting."

"The presence of sentient life-forms like us
(and perhaps unlike us) is the zest, or
the special ingredient, that gives cosmic
history dramatic tension."

"We’re made
of tiny subatomic particles and are part
of a vast space-time arena, yet
we hold both extremes
in our heads.”
How It Began By Chris Impey

Yes, the amazing ability of conscious primates to hold the concept of the macrocosm to the microcosm within each of our heads, to create new things which never existed, to have a sense of ought which often thwarts what is biologically advantageous...

So, if we humans want to move beyond our personal feelings and inner intuition in regard to Ultimate Reality, we need to look to brilliant scientists and philosophical thinkers.

While atheist thinkers have posited that everything is due to cosmic
Chance (Jacques Monad, Stephen Jay Gould)
or
Necessity/Determinism (Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne),
in striking contrast
astrophysicists such as George Ellis,
thinkers such as mathematician/philosopher
Alfred Lord Whitehead
and philosopher Charles Hartshorne
think that Meaning and Creativity and the Good
are at the center
and beginning of
everything.

Consciousness, creativity, reason, morality, aesthetics are somehow inherent
in the essential essence of the cosmos,
not meaningless anomalies like atheists claim.

Since Charles Hartshorne comes from a Quaker background, attended Haverford Quaker College
and is the most recent brilliant theistic thinker,
let’s first take a look at him
and his concepts and philosophy
which he terms,
panentheism.

Earliest Spiral Galaxy

For Hartshorne, the future is OPEN. Creativity, possibility are there. God and all conscious life have real alternative choices to create.

"A hallmark of Hartshorne’s neoclassical theism is that the universe is a joint creative product of (a) the lesser creators that are the creatures, localized in space and time, and (b) the eminent creator which is God whose influence extends to every creature that ever has or that ever will exist."
--Donald Wayne Viney, Pittsburg State University
http://www.iep.utm.edu/hart-d-t/

"Charles Hartshorne, (born June 5, 1897, Kittanning, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died October 10, 2000, Austin, Texas), American philosopher, theologian, and educator known as the most influential proponent of a “process philosophy,” which considers God a participant in cosmic evolution."

"The descendant of Quakers and son of an Episcopalian minister, Hartshorne attended Haverford College before serving as a medical orderly in World War I. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University...earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1923. Hartshorne studied in Germany (1923–25), where he met Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl."

"He returned to lecture at Harvard (1925–28), after which he taught philosophy at the University of Chicago (1928–55) and at Emory University in Atlanta,
Georgia (1955–62). He then taught...philosophy at the University of Texas--Austin...He also served as president of the American Philosophical Association and the Metaphysical Society of America."
http://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Hartshorne

In the LIGHT,

Dan Wilcox

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

JOHN BARLEYCORN or Alcoholic Memoirs by Jack London

What an unexpected find! The very powerful, suspenseful memoir by Jack London. When checking out all of my shelf section of London books in the garage in preparation to take a few with me for a Jack London study an Alaskan Cruise, especially when we get to the '98 Gold Rush pass up at Skagway to B.C., I came across Barleycorn.

Side note: I had evidently picked the memoir up somewhere some years ago but never got around to reading it. There are--as I’ve discovered reading an extensive London bibliography online, at least 7 or 8(!) books by London I’ve never read! So odd, since I thought I had read all but a couple.

Not only is Barleycorn a fascinating memoir, riveting with London's excellent ability at writing suspense, the book gives personal, private details and reflective musings about his youthful times and some deep complex philosophical thoughts. All of this, he expresses in his amazingly powerful poetic prose.


London wrote his memoir against heavy drinking, against getting drunk, promoted Prohibition and did so while also supporting women's suffrage! Tragically, despite his opposition to heavy drinking, getting drunk, and his keen awareness of how alcohol contributed immensely to his tragic life problems, London never quit drinking.

It was his constant abuse of alcohol, too, (besides tropical diseases), which led to his extremely early death at only 40 years of age. That and his negative life stance based in an almost suicidal nihilistic materialism.

The book is an intriguing analysis, with vivid stories, of his own introduction to drinking when very young and the social reasons why he engaged in life-long drinking even though he didn’t like the taste of beer!

He reflects upon the historical fact that drinking alcohol is primarily men’s social way, how they find friends, express themselves emotionally after hard work, party, share, let their macho image down and commune—all around Ethyl. How sometimes alcohol-imbibing even took the place of women!

Only about 20-30 pages in the third 4th of the novel are weak. They are too abstract, miss the intense storied details of the rest of the memoir, and seem sort of thrown together.

Especially fascinating about his memoir, is the story of his unlikely rise to becoming the world's most well-paid writer. When one considers how London's had a spotty unfinished formal education, how he missed most of high school yet got accepted into college after cramming on his own in prep for the entrance exam but then dropped out after only one semester, his accomplishments are amazing. His prose is lucid, complex, poetic at times, incredibly good.

Barleycorn is well worth the read.

Another result of reading this is that I am much more strongly inclined to stop drinking in general, except when I have a little with Betsy for supper or out for a social event.

This book helps me see the horrific result that drinking has caused for multi-millions of humans, especially working men. I understand, again, why my mom so strongly opposed alcohol and why and how my two uncles were so deceived by drink and how it led to tragedy and wreck in their lives and their family’s lives.

In the last 5 years, I had forgotten all of that being too caught up in the fun side of having a glass once-in-a-while, after unexpectedly starting with that Category 5 Hurricane at Joe’s Crab Shack 8 years ago at Pacific Beach, California.


In the Light of Truth, Goodness, and Justice,

Dan Wilcox

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

After the Yellow Warning Light

At the stop before the exit
I hunch, feathered, on my late day perch
Above the overhead red light
Next to this enameled quick cam,

Black next to white,
I glance at the human tech
Then down its lens,
Wide the aperture
To the hectic-busy stopped cars
Beneath

Gazing down through time
To their future deaths
These preoccupants
Too busy for this Present,
Way too many,
So it goes--
Evermore.



In the Light,

Dan Wilcox

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

What Fiction books have you read more than once, novels that inspired, even changed you?

HERE’S my CURRENT LIST of
BEST NOVELS:
Ones I’ve read (most at least 3 times) that have incredibly real characters, suspense, setting, and theme—novels that take you into another life,
where for 2 hours or more,
you live a different life in a different time and place,
totally forget your own life!
Novels that have such deep meaning that you reflect on their themes repeatedly,
novels that inspire or warn,
that leave you changed!


THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells

EXODUS by Leon Uris

WATCHERS by Dean Koontz

ONE DAY AWAY FROM HEAVEN by Dean Koontz


THE PEACEABLE KINGDON by Jan De Hartog

THE HOST by Stephanie Meyer

THE ORIGIN by Irving Stone

THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER by Amy Tan

THE SHORT STORIES OF JACK LONDON

11/22/63 by Stephen King

THE COVENANT by James Michener

IN DUBIOUS BATTLE by John Steinbeck

FLOWERS FOR ALGERON by Daniel Keys

BIRTHRIGHT by Nora Roberts

JANE EYRE by Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte)

ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens)


In the LIGHT of Truth and Goodness,

Dan Wilcox


Thursday, April 7, 2022

What are 10 nonfiction books that have had a major impact on your life-stance?

Ones that are the best you’ve read in your life?


GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Basis for the keen insights of human behavior in T.A. psychology by Dr. Eric Berne

THE WHYS OF A PHILOSOPHICAL SCRIVENER
Amazing life-stance views by famous philosopher and thinker Martin Gardner

SOPHIE’S WORLD
Humorous, suspenseful intellectual travel through the history of human thought by Norwegian writer and educator Jostein Gaarder

ALIBION’S SEED,
Social-cultural history of America, how 4 British life-stances impacted most of us by historian David Hackett Fischer





HOW IT BEGAN
An amazing time-space journey from the beginning at the Big Bang to the Present by famous astronomer Chris Impey

THE TRUE BELIEVER
Explanations why multimillions of smart educated humans, in history and at present can so easily be misled, even to commit immoral and unjust
actions by the working-class thinker Eric Hoffer

NIGHT
Memoir of writer's Elie Wiesel’s tragic life in the Nazi Concentration Camps, including Aushwitz

THE ARTIST WAY
Best how-to create book by artist Julie Cameron

MORAL MAN AND IMMORAL SOCIETY
Why are human societies so guilty of slaughter, injustice, abuse, etc. when individual humans are often kind and considerate of others by Reinhold Niebuhr

FRIENDS FOR 300 YEARS
Powerful history and commentary on the Society of Friends by Howard Brinton, that emphasizes 4 centering ways of truthful living: mystical, evangelical, rational, and social.

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
Deep, introspective understandings of what it means to pray, not for things, but for truth by Thomas Merton

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
Deep insights into what it means follow Jesus by the German thinker Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Note: I couldn’t get it down to 10. And, of course, there are many other deep nonfiction books that have had great influence on my life. But here’s the ones I came up with today:-)
Some I’ve read 2-7 times!


In the LIGHT of the GOOD, the TRUE,

Dan Wilcox



Sunday, April 3, 2022

Retreaded, not yet board and carded

Retreaded

I’m retreaded but road-tired,
Rolling across cantankerous land
Though, thank heavens—knock around
On pavement
And redwood,
Not yet sent off to a ‘board and card’ mansion,
Rehearsing...

You know where decks and bingo
“Was a dog…” chips or
Markers
Define the tokened measures of your/our life--

Or where, too
Reclining and breathing entertain you/us.

Or tipped-wobbly with 4-wheels and unfeeling-ed feet
I walker about at Morro Strand beach-coast
Staggering in wonder...
Here
Until my brief spark of awed experience embers out

Gone...

Yet
This cosmos Ultimately
Transcendent



In the LIGHT,
Dan Wilcox
4/3/22

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Good and Letting Go of Temporaries

For Goodness Sake

Throwing away clogged chests of keepsakes,
Raking out cluttered drawers of dead objects
Including a plastic modeled ’57 Cadillac
In a faded blue hobby shop box,
Wondering why I hoarded all this lifeless stuff

Childhood items, once precious, without memory,
Forsaking cobwebbed, dusty dead things
A colorful but broken beaded neck chain
From where—my mission on the Cheyenne Reservation
Or maybe a childhood week at Nemaha Baptist Camp?

Folders of impersonal letters and receipts
Depleting musty cabinets of shrouded sheets
Showing our past giving to outreach and missions
A gray-scaled photo of World Vision’s child,
Srongkeit who grew to manhood far long ago;

Cleaning out grubby shelves of faded news magazines,
Endless bookcases dead full for too many years;
I thunk-drop foldered objects into the recycle bin
They clutter down to a grayed bottom
Falling from our noisy lessening lives,
Me no longer trying to save our past.

Last, but certainly vaguest of gagged all,
Reluctantly letting go of deceased beliefs
Tightly held doctrines so for wanted shelter
But now proven wrong, my impacted mind
I break open; beliefs slip-slide down, sinking to oblivion;
From my upturned minded tumbler, mental mug.

And finally, too, my senses, gut, left leg, skin and joints
Cycle down unwilling objects soon to be forsaken
Yet trying to hold identity from its final demise
The inevitable forsaken descending into the cosmic ‘has bin’
Of former living; billions gone; nothing ever lasts—

Except for
Goodness
Sake



--Dan Wilcox

First published in Word Catalyst Magazine

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Those who forget; this time it's the Russian Orthodox Christians.

Why are many Russian Orthodox Christian soldiers on the orders of their leader, Putin, who is Russian Orthodox, invading and killing Ukrainian Orthodox Christians?
Again, like so many times in European history...
the Great War...

the Crimean War...
War of the Third Coalition, etc.,

Christians are invading and slaughtering for God!

Saturday, February 19, 2022

"Get Back to the Garden"--moving toward vegetarianism

Murray Rose won six Olympic medals, including 4 Gold, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze and held the world records in 3 different swimming races.
Because of his vegan lifestyle, he was nicknamed the “The Seaweed Streak.”

And according to a biography written by his father, the meatless health food diet was largely responsible for Murray’s athletic success.

As a young adult, I was deeply impressed—I wanted to be very healthy and strong, too. How could emulating an Olympian’s health regimen not lead to a robust healthy life?

Furthermore, the main person who opposed my new way of eating was a chain-smoking hospital RN. Despite her medical degree and position, she seemed to be an unreliable judge, since she abused nicotine.

I didn’t like to see animals suffer. So why have animals killed so that I could eat supper?

And, besides that moral reflection, and the testimony of Rose, the Olympian Gold-Medalist, another significant motivation for me to move to a health food diet was that a brilliant young woman, who I liked, had just embarked on the vegetarian life. Why not follow her lead?

Plus, didn’t Genesis speak of a meatless Garden before humans chose to do wrong?
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:29-31ESV

Yes, “got to get us back to the Garden” like Joni Mitchell wrote and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young sang.*

So I launched pell-mell into a healthy program of nuts, fruit, vegetables and grains, ostracizing ham, chicken, and beef.

Did I become an Olympic star? Hardly.

I lost about 50 pounds, dropped down to 112 pounds at 6’3’’—looked like a pale, bony, lethargic Gandhi...actually became malnourished...

I had to quit my job and be put into a doctor’s care.

Oops...I learned the hard way, just because one side of a controversy is wrong, doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite side is right.

So I eventually forsook “health foods’ living. Oh, and the girl quickly quit vegetarianism after only several months, long before me, and dropped out of my emaciated life. So much for youthful error and illusion.

But then how had the Olympic star Rose achieved the opposite?
Who knew?
Maybe he a very different physical body to begin with. While I came from a genetically skinny family background, maybe Murray Rose’s family tended to be heavy set.

-- Fast-track 35 years forward and I again decided to move down the food levels toward the Garden. Because of a transcendent quest to become more and more moral in how I lived.

Only this time, I was going to do this slowly, not become, again, a fundamentalist convert to “health foods,” like in my disastrous past. Move toward ethical living carefully and quietly.

So, I mostly eat grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, again, but also fish, shrimp, eggs, and cheese. I’ve become a fish-atarian this time around:-)

Since, my recent stroke of bad luck at the age of 72, our doctor and my specialists think it is very good that I eat salmon, not red meat.

Now if I gave up cookies, they would be even happier.

To be continued

*”I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
(He) said, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, and set my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

by Joni Mitchell

In the Light and the Kind,

Dan Wilcox

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Review of the powerful, suspenseful biography of Timothy Leary by Robert Greenfield

TIMOTHY LEARY: An Experimental Life by Robert Greenfield

An amazing, detailed, suspenseful, excruciating biography and expose of Timothy Leary. While the tome is one of the best biographies I have read, my view of Leary has changed from thinking him a fairly benign 60’s LSD visionary and promoter and peaceful hippy leader to viewing him as a ruthless sociopath.

We discover at first, he seemed for the most part to be a rising brilliant leader of the establishment, even a West Point soldier/student, then a brilliant Harvard psychologist.

But then we learn, not only did Leary go very wrong like his own father, but became far worse.
Early on Leary was a constant womanizer/adulterer including wife-swapping parties while a psychologist at UC Berkeley, (which led to his first wife’s suicide), became a negligent-criminally-harmful parent to both his kids.

For instance, at one point he talked emotionally powerfully about a close loving episode he had with his son, Jack. Only the facts were that the event never happened. He seldom gave his son any attention or guidance, and they were alienated from each other for many years!

While Leary often spoke in glowing terms of his love for his son and daughter, it appears to have been empty words. He regularly failed to care for them, spend time with them, but instead was preoccupied with constant drug use and constant promiscuity. And he even encouraged them and led them to also do drugs, while they were still young!

Throughout his life, Leary was an almost sociopathic opportunist, constant liar and spinner of fallacious narratives, a brilliant charismatic carny-conman, who manipulated everyone from strangers to his wives and best friends.

Years later, after he escaped from SLO prison, (where he had been sentenced unfairly for 10 years because of a few ounces of marijuana), he rejected his promotion of enlightenment, peace, and love via LSD and mushrooms.

Because his escape was planned with the help of the Weather Underground and the mafia-drug-cartel, falsely-named Brotherhood of Eternal Love, Leary moved to Algeria and became an avid supporter of violent revolutionaries and terrorists, the Black Panthers, Eldridge Cleaver, the PLO, and worse.

Also, Leary became involved with Alister Crowley’s grossly evil beliefs and actions, continued to do constant drugs, even tried heroin. He met and praised other exiles, criminals and degenerates including Williams Burroughs, and, yet, all the while continued drawing millions to his immoral and unjust beliefs and actions!

In the 1970’s, Leary began writing and promoting weird conspiracy-apocalyptic-new-age claims such as his new book that claimed a nearing comet was going to reveal aliens and we humans were going to be transformed, and some of us humans were going to create a star ship to travel the galaxy!

When the U.S. government finally caught him in Afghanistan, incredibly, Leary created a new persona, denied his 60’s message, became a government informant and began to snitch on everyone he knew.

He even betrayed his devoted wife (who he had claimed to love with all of his being), betrayed the lawyers who had helped him escape from prison before, and many other 60’s best friends. He did this in hopes that all of these betrayals would get him out of prison! A self-centered, ruthless user!

Eventually sent to Folsom prison where his next-door cell mate was Charles Manson, Leary spent time conversing in a friendly way with Manson. Though I suppose if one keeps in mind that Leary had been a brilliant and famous Harvard psychologist, maybe he was only operating in a nonjudgmental objective psychologist mode, not really being friendly.

When I was in a therapy group, the psychologist did not once question the continuing adultery that a group member spoke of being engaged in. It’s one thing to not be judgmental when observing, entirely a different thing IF a leader conveys to individuals that their horrendous behavior doesn’t need to be changed! Of course, in the case of Manson, his prior evil actions of murderous slaughter had been far worse than Leary's minor drug arrest, promiscuty, aduldteries, lying, etc.

Throughout most of these chameleon changes ove they years, Leary continued to proclaim that all humans needed was to LOVE! Tragically and absurdly, his many years of actions had nothing to do with love, but only manipulation and using others.

Finally, after Leary abandoned his 60’s enlightenment, love and peace message, while in prison he asked Joanna to sneak a gun to him! He planned to kill his guards and escape. She was able to sneak a gun into him because she was so good at acting the bereaved wife, that the famous prison didn’t even check her when she came through lock-up with the gun in her waist pants! She also had two large knives in her high boots to use.

They rehearsed this plan over and over, according to Joanna. She had even, already, rented a house for them to hide in. BUT then Tim decided not to carry out their murders, not because he would feel guilty, but because he decided there were too many practical problems in such an escape attempt!

Obviously, it appears, that NOT one of Leary’s many thousands of idealistic pages and speeches for years of love and peace meant anything, not when he wanted what he wanted. Leray was the classic user. Heck, later after release from prison, when, Leary, again reinvented himself, he completely denied that he had ever been a druggie, ever advocated drug use, etc.

His new message was support for the establishment, anti-drugs, etc. But Leary actually continued a chaotic life, with promiscuity, major lying and deceit; he daily abused alcohol, chain-smoked, regularly took marijuana, a lot of cocaine, some Ecstasy, DMT, even a dangerous steroid drug for animals (because it had psychedelic results).

Leary emphasized that Hugh Hefner is a central hero of America and gave huge support to Larry Flint, the publisher of Hustler Magazine.

And Leary continued to draw young women into his upper-class social circle. He knew and hung out with many famous people including Johnny Depp, a Getty daughter, Tony Curtis, Liza Minnelli and many others in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and LA.

Finally, in his 70's, when Leary was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, many, many devotees came to his house to give him support and help. Some of them stayed and they cared for him since no nurse would any longer take the job. Major networks, magazines, etc. contested for exclusive interviews. There were often many people waiting outside of his rented house to be let in. Everyone from Oliver Stone to Larry Flint.

His strange life had become the Cult of Leary.

Earlier in his life, he had planned to have his body put in a cryogenic tank in order to be brought back in the future. But toward the end when the tank was brought into his room, Leary became angry at the cryogenic workers and cancelled it.

Instead, he talked repeatedly of possibly doing an online suicide, with cameras videoing him at his computer. But Leary later changed to a different plan.

One prison psychologist in his evaluation of two famous lawbreakers, Leary and Manson—wrote that they both had very elevated views of themselves—what is often the case of famous charismatic human leaders—but that while Manson was psychotic and evil, Leary was sane, however had little personal conscience.

So very strange for the apostle of enlightenment, peace, and love adored by millions.

Now, in the 21st century, there has been a return to the extremism and injustice that destroyed the late 1960’s. At least 84% of Evangelicals and nearly all Republicans avidly support the immoral, unjust actions and huge lies of Donald Trump, and the grossly wrong views of the leftists such as the BLM organization, violent protesters, and CRT. Extremism is accepted and promoted by major Democratic leaders, the National Educational Association, etc.

We seem to be, again, living in a time of massive delusion.

This powerful, suspenseful biography looks backward, and successfully shows the tragedy and absurdity of the charismatic Timothy Leary, of one of the 60’s most famous cultural heroes. Robert Greenfield shows how so much evil and darkness can result when multimillions of humans become avidly fixated to a morally dark leader.

It seems hardly any of us humans ever find the True, the Good, and the Just.

Evaluation: A++

Choose the Light, the Good, the Compassionate, the True,

Dan Wilcox

Monday, February 7, 2022

WHY DO millions of dedicated Christians accept obscene cursings and unjust actions by their Christian leaders?

Tragic, absurd times--when famous Christian leaders, supported by millions of Christians, CURSE at others:

Look at a few of these statements from famous Christian leaders in the U.S., many of whom have strong support from millions of Christians:

--“Mother [F obscenity], I'm aloof with you because I don't want to talk to you.”
--“That’s a great asset, more inflation...What a stupid son of a [B obscenity].
--Calling another government leader, “a [F obscenity] idiot”!
--“They’ll be hit so goddamn hard. If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so goddam poor.”
--Calling another Christian leader, “That [F obscenity] and a “corrupt [MF obscenity].
ETC.

And some Christian leaders also lie, bully, demean, are cruel, proud, etc.
VERSUS

...Put on hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience-endurance.
Colossians 3:12
altruism, joy, peace, goodness, generosity, modesty, self-control, fidelity...
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Galatians and I Corinthians 13



In the LIGHT, the GOOD, the TRUE, the JUST,

Dan Wilcox

Monday, January 31, 2022

MEDITATION on SHIMMERING PALMS

Meditation on Shimmering Palms

On more days and nights, an invalid,
In pain and loss, I often just want to go...
Unconscious;
But then, again, I stare out
To the wind and sun
From our upstairs
Window;

There tower above, 2 lone palms
In sight from my weak haven
Swaying in that blue expanse
In a lively coastal wind,
Their mop-tops of slender fronds
Shimmering
Like flashing magnesium flares
From brilliant reflecting
Sunshine.

Those two undulating sentinels dance
over/above my fading consciousness,
Ailing awareness--
A duo/two unconscious guards,
While I lay here filled with sacred
Remembrance, mindful
Of my former festive living,
Becoming, and doing...

Yes, the wonder of being a human primate
Living, but finite, so brief, and this
Gift, this Present
Shimmering--
Then we’re gone.



new poem from Dan Wilcox,
the mutant poet:-)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

What is the Meaning of Human Sexuality?

The Meaning of Human Sexuality
Surely, I must be joking? Thinking I can take on the herculean (adam-evesques) task of explaining the meaning of human sexuality? That would be like climbing Niagara Falls or trying to explain the theological significance of Viagra;-).

The meaning of human sexuality is so deep and so transcendent and so complicated and so controversial, it would first be better to tangle with the behemoth or leviathan mentioned in the Book of Job. But since none of us can get away from the topic (and I seldom have ever wanted to except when revoltingly sick).

First a good example of “love” from Sherman Alexie:
Roman and Grace are a married Spokane Indian couple. He is standing close to her with his basketball between them, as if the ball represents the expectant infant they will soon create… “Michael Jordan is coming back again,” he said.
“You can’t fool me,” said Grace. “I heard it. That was just a replay.”
“Yeah, but I wish he was coming back again. He should always come back.”
“Don’t let it give you any crazy ideas.”
Roman pulled the basketball away and leaned even closer to Grace. He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing. Other people claimed that you can't choose who you love—it just happens!—but Grace and Roman knew that was a bunch of happy horseshit. Of course you chose who you loved. If you didn't choose, you ended up with what was left—the drunks and abusers, the debtors and vacuums...
Damn, marriage was hard work, was manual labor, and unpaid manual labor at that. Yet, year after year, Grace and Roman had pressed their shoulders against the stone and rolled it up the hill together.

In their marriage bed, Roman chose Grace once more and brushed his lips against her ear.
-From “Saint Junior” by Sherman Alexie



Since sex only has three letters, how did it become a four-letter word (the selfish, often angry "plow" word versus the kind, romantic "love" word)?











Bad examples:
“Sex is like pissing. People take it much too seriously.
Painter Diego Rivera
“If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was only the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.”
Painter Diego Rivera
“Chastity: The most unnatural of the sexual perversions."
Aldous Huxley
"I think I could fall madly in bed with you."
Anonymous
“To me heaven would be…two lovely houses in the town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on nine different floors.”
Ernest Hemingway
"The [marriage] vows should be written like a dog's license that has to be renewed every year…I think vows should be changed because they've been in existence for 600 years when people used to live until they were only 35. So they only had to be with each other for 12 years, then they would die anyway. But now it's a big commitment because you're going to be with someone for 50 years. It's impossible…It's such a rarity for people to stay together that 68% of marriages fail. I don't want to urinate on the party, but one must consider that before getting married.
Rock Musician Rod Stewart

How does an instinctive procreative act characteristic of all humans (and most forms of life down to fish and below) come to mean everything from the degrading and sadistically obscene to the uplifting and creatively divine?

From the violently aggressive to the joyfully receptive?

From one-sided self-centeredness to intimate communion of two lives?

Regardless of one’s worldview, most humans* think humankind has reached a state in evolution
wherein individuals of our species can creatively use human innate characteristics,
adapting them for many different purposes and in very different ways.

This “plasticity” of human abilities enable billions of individuals to use their physical and brain skills, not only for time-immemorial practical acts such as plowing a field or constructing a building,
but
for transcendent goals.

Humans can use their brain consciousness and muscles to do acts that have no practicality at all such as play suspenseful sports in the Olympics or dance in complex moves across theater stages or construct beautiful poetic songs.

This “plasticity”—for good or ill--is, especially, true for human sexuality as shown by the wide variety of statements about sex by famous individuals in the first installment of this series.

Here is another striking example:
Alan Watts, a former Episcopal minister, became a prolific writer and famous transmitter of Buddhism to the American cultural scene. (When I was a teenager, and still a Baptist, I watched his show every day on PBS at 6 pm, marveling at his spiritual points and esoteric philosophical explanations.)

So far, so good, it seemed.

But then I read his shocking, repulsive autobiography, In My Own Way.

Alongside such spiritual gems as “The cross is at the heart of the universe,” which Watts quotes from a mystic,
he then describes his view of human being and sexuality.
“…Deep down inside, almost everyone has a vague sense of eternity. Few dare admit this because it would amount to believing that you are God..."

"My own sexual mores...I do not believe that I should be passionately in love with my partner...and still less, married."

"For there is a special and humanizing delight in erotic friendships with no strings attached..."

"My life would be much, much poorer were it not for certain
particular women with whom I have most happily and congenially committed adultery...”
Alan Watts

HUH?

Most of us aren’t too surprised by the sludge coming out in the media or by so-called red-necked vulgarity.

The guttural view of sex has probably been around since cavemen first spoke;-), but when a highly educated, philosophical, spiritually oriented individual such as Alan Watts glorifies promiscuous sex,
we surely know that human sexuality
is, indeed, very ambiguous with many strange variations,
and many of them destructive,
and so contrary to the Truth, the Good, and the Beautiful.
When he writes, "I most happily and congenially committed adultery...," it is clear that somewhere he took a disastrous ethical detour.

We’re all sexual, and in different ways, but, hopefully, we don't major in being unfaithful, disloyal, and promiscuous and, even worse, declare our harmful dysfunctional behavior with pride to the world.

Speaking of Buddhism, actually the latter, contrary to Watt's view, for most of its history had a very different view of sexuality.

The Vietnamese Buddhist nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh, emphasized that humans seeking to become enlightened live their sexuality in enhancing ethical ways.

Other forms of Buddhism go to the opposite extreme from Watts' adultery and promiscuity. These Buddhist leaders
have a very negative view of all human sexuality and even state that women must become men before they can be enlightened!

“...a large part of Theravada texts is devoted to the depiction of women as disgusting creatures too repulsive to touch.” --Rev. Patti Nakai

Touching--now that reminds me of my own spiritual tradition, the part I hated as a fundamentalist teenager, words from good ol' Paul:
“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
I Corinthians 7:1, New Testament

Maybe that would have been good advice for Hugh Hefner and most of the secular individuals I knew at university who argued for 'free sex.'

But Paul's extremely negative remarks were difficult for me, especially when first going out on dates with friendly Nebraska country girls:-)
Remember the famous Beach Boys song from that era, "California Girls"?

Paul's advice was exasperating.

Don’t get me wrong. I am talking about hand-holding and kissing,
traditional “necking,”
not anything below the neck.

But get it, my even having to explain our particular religion’s very conservative sexual understanding shows how wide human sexual understanding and behavior is.

Why, hey;-), when I was very naive in junior high, our Christian books so warned against kissing
that I really thought girls got pregnant from smooching!!

Shows I lived in a small village and attended a very strict Baptist denomination where movies, dancing, rock music were banned,
that I didn't grow up on my grandfather’s farm where many animals did 'it' all the time.

Contrast this religiously-sheltered ignorant upbringing with the ninth grader I encountered when I moved Lincoln,
the capital city of Nebraska.

The knowing teen smirked and demanded to know if I knew all about “69.”

I knew it was 1962, and did know the “6” and the “9” weren't referring to years, but to something sexual and forbidden.

Just what I didn’t know, and tried to not think about. But sure did:-)

Enough on autobiographies from Watts to Wilcox...

From New Age Buddhism to fundamental Baptist Christianity...

Then there's orthodox Judaism with its Jewish men's prayer thanking God for not making them a woman or a slave:-(.

I’m sure you get the general point, without my bringing in many details from Secularism, Hinduism, Islam and Paganism.

Yes, sexuality is a very powerful force/drive within humanity which has been shaped like soft plastic into countlessly different configurations by humans and their worldviews.

The earlier modern quote about the basketball player and his wife catches the true spirit of human sexuality, as God intends sexuality to be—a joyous monogamous daily choice by two equals.

Sexuality is a whole life response by a couple committed to a life-long relationship, neither temporary glandular instinct nor a restricted negative necessity.

Here’s another fine explanation: “...Your understanding of love will change as you get older...I remember my second date...I totally lost my cool and told her I loved her. On our SECOND date!!"

"You know what? I recently told that very same girl how much I love her, and how glad I am that I married her...But what I meant when I really meant it 23 years ago is a lot different from what I mean when I really mean it today!"

"In 23 years, I’ve learned to put aside my selfishness more often, and I’ve learned more ways to love and cherish her...the heart of genuine love [in human sexuality] is an immovable decision to put your lover’s joy and welfare ahead of your own."

"Usually, you don’t fall into that kind of love; you climb into it. It’s not just something you feel [nor an instinctive urge]. It’s a decision you make.”
Duffy in Breakaway
-- Sexual love is a monogamous life-long commitment, a unique “ultimate” relationship—where two individuals give themselves to each other emotionally, mentally, and physically.

That’s true love.

True love (in the commitment sense) is unlike any other human relationship.

In the Light,

Dan Wilcox

*Except, of course, for the theologically and materialistically fatalistic

Monday, January 17, 2022

Instead of White Supremacy, CRT, intolerance, divisiveness, hatred---Choose Reconciliation and Beauty like Daybreak in Alabama by Hughes



Daybreak in Alabama

When I get to be a colored composer
I'm gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I'm gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew
I'm gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
And big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I'm gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
Touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a colored composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.


Langston Hughes, "Daybreak in Alabama" from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Copyright © 2002 by Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates, Inc.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Seal of Stone


STONE WHALE --





SEAL OF STONE-

Seal of stone
Gray lighted in the dusked evening
Scarred, laying low in the damp sand
Snout seeped in the incoming eddy of tide,
Waiting eons and eons
Covered
Uncovered
Covered
Repeatedly
Ceaselessly
By the Pacific sea,
Worn down by its cold crashing breakers,
The rolling, rolling of sand and small pebbles
And the sometimes perch of a hungry gull,
For the stone fish that will never come.


Dan Wilcox