What was it that killed the neighbor’s kitty?

Curiosity killed the cat, caught the catfish and fed Fred. Curiosity is the key to change, discovery and the next thing. Without curiosity there would be nothing new; there would be no joy, no one to read these words. Curiosity feeds fin, fowl and the hairy beast; it draws us to the stars and transforms chimps to champs as the pursuit of solutions straightens the back, calms the brow and finds more and more uses for finger dexterity.

Curiosity compels those who possess it to improve; it enhances desire and defines progress. Plato possessed it. You possess it. So do I. So does the rat in the Skinner cage. Curiosity gives way to discovery, change and an opportunity to gather knowledge. What will we learn? Can we depend on what we learn? Knowledge often disappoints. Today’s knowledge is soon replaced or enhanced by tomorrow’s startling revelation. We depend heavily on that which promises to fulfill our need for Truth. Failure to do so often results in supplanting knowledge with belief. Knowledge depends on measurable, observable events. Belief can be supported by knowledge but more often relies simply upon habit or on faith. If the supply of observable events is low, the believer may seek information which seems to support a preferred theory. The most readily available tool for adding strength to these methods is the tool of Affirmation. Where Curiosity is a means of Discovering Reality, Affirmation supplies a method for Creating Reality.

Though gathering knowledge brings with it the joy of discovery and the alluring thrill of adventure, it is also very stressful; we are incapable of spending all our waking hours in pursuit of new and better answers to the questions which assail our brains even as we sleep. Life does not provide enough time for gathering a supply of information adequate to the task of bolstering the confidence of those who seek it. There is only one immediate reward, the alluring promise of Truth. However, one who is experienced in the techniques of gathering information understands the temporary nature of that which appears to be a revealed “Truth”. The ardent researcher realizes that the quality of this objectively acquired “information” is dependent to some degree on additional “News” as yet undiscovered. Some of us can live with that; most of us cannot. We need something reliable, something Never-changing. Some of us can satisfy this need with a philosophy of observable, behavioral principles of social behavior. Some need something more reliable, something which though difficult to prove is equally difficult to disprove, therefore somewhat defensible. In this category can be found the religious and the atheists of the world, both intent on securing the title of Most Knowledgeable on the subject of God. The greatest of their differences seems to be whether to capitalize God’s name.

“Seek and ye shall find” says Scripture. “Wait long enough and you will be provided with plenty of support for whatever you choose to believe” taunts the Scholar. There are testimonials supporting every idea known to mankind.

The religious among us argue for the virtue of Faith. Yet a well founded religion built over time already has all the answers. Some might argue that a much greater degree of faith is needed on order to live the life of a Scholar. The Scholar, unlike those whose Rock is contained in their religion, lacks the reassurance of “the Group”. This individual has already observed Change. The Scholar has very little to depend on, in the way of Timeless Information and must maintain an extremely high level of Integrity. The Scholar is motivated by adventure and knows the Joy of Discovery discarded by many of us as we leave our childhood behind.

In order to maintain the level of integrity required to live such a life, the Scholar must face the possibility of living out an existence filled with loneliness. It is much more difficult to build a society around a concept of “Lack” than of “Abundance”. Only the Religious have “All the Answers”. The Scholar is faced with the temporary nature of discovered information. The religious among us have for the most part, an explanation of life which supplies them with a hope of “Life Everlasting”. The Scholar must settle for knowing that though he will not be provided with enough answers to turn this lifetime or anything to follow into Nirvana, there is a well supported belief that Science and sound thinking can and must improve the lot of all mankind. The same can be said for those whose life is supported by their Religion.

If the reader was expecting to be persuaded to one or the other method of gathering information, I apologize. And to those who fit into neither category, I offer my condolences. To know only a desire to satisfy the most temporary needs of the moment must be the most desperate approach to life, though I doubt that such knowledge is disturbing to chimps.

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An Ojibwa Prayer

Grandfather,

look at our brokenness.

We know that in all creation

only the human family

has strayed from the sacred way.

We know that we are the ones

who are divided.

And we are the ones

who must come back together

to walk in the sacred way.

Grandfather,

Sacred One,

teach us love, compassion, honor

that we may heal the earth

and heal each other.

“Ojibwa Prayer” was composed by Dr. Art Solomon, an Ojibwa Elder from near Sudbury, Ontario.

Interlude.

Most of life’s ills I’m told, occur after forty.

Most of those ills can be prevented with exercise and good nutrition.

My sources tell me that more than half of life’s ills can be prevented even with a crummy diet by taking large daily doses of vitamin C and sub-lingual B12 or bi- monthly shots of same.

More than half of life’s ills can be prevented by replacing most if not all of the animal products in their daily diet with home cooked beans and two tablespoons of broken walnuts or pecans. There are millions of very old vegans who believe this.

I’m old. I take care of myself because I am enjoying this stage in my life. I want to continue learning, loving and living. That being said, let me tell you about a sandwich I made today. But first a few words about food preparation in Lee Broom’s kitchen.

I eat lots of veggies. No animals. No cheese. No eggs. One exception. I buy an unusually healthy mayo containing neither preservatives nor high fructose corn syrup. It is made with eggs of course, so I use it once a week and no more than that. On weekends I like to cook. While beans and rice simmer in the background, I make use of this two-hour period by slicing and dicing veggies and making salsa and soups.

Today at lunchtime I put a paper plate on the chopping block and placed on its surface five fingerlings of cooked carrots from Sunday’s cooking session. I mashed them. I sprinkled them liberally with red pepper flakes and stirred in some broken walnuts. Two tablespoons of this great mayo made in Utah and another quick stir, slice a tomato, grab some lettuce leaves and plop this veggie goodness between two slices of today’s fresh bread from the corner bakery. I carried this wonderful creation to the table and returned for the fruit desert and plain soda water tinged with the whizzed remains of a dozen blue berries, and seated myself. I then thanked the Love of my Life for this wonderful moment in an otherwise hectic day and slowly feasted to the accompaniment of Chopin. Thanks for joining me.  Lee Broom.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

THE LAST OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS

Kamal Amin, Architect, Structural Engineer

It was at the little cabaret theater at Taliesin West.  The fellowship was gathering for the weekly social event, when Mr. and Mrs. Wright  had dinner, and saw a movie with the The first time I saw Mr. Wright, was on a Saturday evening in November of 1951.  apprentices. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, and we stood waiting for the Wrights to walk into the theater.

I had been an apprentice for slightly over a day, largely preoccupied with becoming acquainted with my new environment.  I had learned English in high school as a second language, but I never had a reason or a chance to use it until I came to America.

I was about to see for the first time the man who had inhabited my mind and soul for the previous three years, while I lived in Cairo.  With the many layers of anticipations and expectation I had projected on him, he had become something of an abstraction that I clung to in order to retain my sense of myself.

As I laid my eyes on him when he walked into the theater, I was looking at a very handsome, imposing figure, with an interesting face, framed in his famous mane of white hair. He looked at me with kind eyes and a warm smile, and asked me if I was comfortable in my new surroundings.

The following eight years constituted my period of apprenticeship and association with the greatest architect of all time.  Like my fellow apprentices, I learned my craft by living and working in the company of genius. My day started, progressed and ended in a pervasive atmosphere of creativity and strong beliefs.  I learned from him, simply by being close to him, walking the same earth and breathing the same air.  When I heard him speak, it was like listening to the voice of the ages. He possessed a sense of eternal wisdom, which included the present moment in the progression of history. He was a cosmos unto himself, much like a natural force, which received its instructions from an intangible universe.

The most precious moments for me, were the times he came to my desk, gently moved me over, shared my seat with me, and worked on my drawing.

Magic sprang out of his hands, as he moved them swiftly and decisively, enhancing the complexion of the design.  The statements, instructions and comments he made to me then, remain engraved in my sensibilities.

One late morning on another Saturday, eight years after the Saturday I first met Mr. Wright, he was standing at my desk discussing with me and instructing me as I was working on a spectacular residence he had designed to be built on three adjacent peaks on Mummy Mountain, in Paradise Valley, for Mrs. Daniel Donahoe of Texas.  He had already signed off on the design, but in vintage Mr. Wright, the building is finished only after it had been built.  It was about noon, after an hour or so of work. Then  Mrs. Wright breezed in the drafting room and said,“Frank, it is time for lunch.” And asked him to accompany her.

Later on that evening, being a Saturday, we, all dressed up, waited outside the theater for Mr. and Mrs. Wright to arrive for the evening event.

The wait was longer than usual. Then someone came to tell us that Mr. Wright was taken to the hospital to be operated on, having had severe abdominal pains during the afternoon.

The news was particularly shocking for me, since I was just working with him a few hours earlier. He was ninety two years old, but he was very healthy.  According to his doctor, he had the vital signs of a forty five year old.  I remember times when I needed to run to catch up with him. I expected him to return in a few days.  But a few days later, my good friend Davy Davison, walked to my tent at five o’clock in the morning, I had just awakened, and  said,

“Mr. Wright is gone.”

The news was so devastating to me that it actually threw me off center.

Observing my devastation, Mrs. Wright asked me to tend his grave, mow the lawn, plant the flowers, and generally care for the environment around him.

She came to visit her husband’s grave almost every day. We knelt by the stone circle around it and shared some soulful moments, as we snipped off dead blossoms in order to preserve energy for new growth.

It was during that period that I realized that I was tending the grave of one of the founding fathers of this country.  I was making an in depth study of the history of the United States, and discovering that it is the most interesting and fascinating of all time. The more I read of it, the more I could see that Mr. Wright’s cultural contribution was an organic growth of what this country was all about.

He was born eighty years after the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

During those eighty years, there were the Federalist Papers, eighty five essays published by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, in order to promote the ratification of the constitution.  Then there was the Marshal Court, which rendered the decisions that started the process of defining the intent of the constitution, as a basis for establishing the different institutions of the country. Then there was the challenge of the war of 1812, which Andrew Jackson brought to a spectacular American victory against the finest British troops in the battle of New Orleans, forcing Britain to recognize the United States claim to Louisiana and west Florida. Then there was the crisis of nullification of tariffs, spear(-) headed by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, 9and) then the senate Force Act introduced by Daniel Webster. Then there was the Henry Clay compromise which averted conflict for a time. That was followed by the civil war and reconstruction.

By then, America was on her way to becoming a global force.

What was sorely lacking was an aesthetic identity which sprang from the soil of this country expressing the uniqueness of the ideas and forces which converged for the first time in history, to create this society. The prevailing aesthetic was borrowed from classically feudal cultures which the idea of America was intended to resist. In the country’s capital, Washington DC, government functions were and largely remain unceremoniously trapped in Greek or Roman temples.

The monumental efforts made by many during the first eighty years of the life of this country, eventually established a structure upon which, this society was built.  The work was focused on the survival of the country. But the soul of the republic needed to emerge, in order to express in a tangible way, the meaning of the inner freedom of every American citizen, as an independent mind.

Two years after the civil war, Frank Lloyd Wright was born, on a farm in Wisconsin.  It was the signal that an American aesthetic was about to be created.  As a hard working young man, then a young architect in Chicago, the spirit of America, from the Declaration of Independence, through the many events which highlighted the dignity of the individual, were natural components of his make up.  Some time in his youth, he decided that he had a part to play in the realization of the dream which is America.

Very quickly he saw himself as the instrument needed for this unique culture to blossom into a visual expression defining its intent as a way of life.

The way to do that was to become an architect, whose contribution was to enhance God’s work, by building structures springing from and belonging to the soil supporting this culture.

For seventy years of practice, against the overwhelming habitual sentiments of the herd instincts, he did accomplish his purpose, and made a contribution which helped to define America. The five hundred buildings he built stand on God’s earth declaring the sovereignty of the individual.  By simply doing his work, he gave permission to architects across the twentieth century to explore every conceivable structure.  There would not have been twentieth century architecture without him

That was the second Declaration of Independence.

A Few Basics

A Few Basics.

CuriousAbner.wordpress.com

I am not The Lemming. During the last couple of physically aggravating weeks I was encouraged and empowered by following these basic bits of advice.

 

1; Question everything or live the life of The Lemming.  Mother

2: Look it up in World Book. Father

3: Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it (and don’t do what you’re not supposed to).  Jim.

4: Trust God and do the Next Thing.  Meister Eckhart.

5: Spiritual, emotional and physical wellness are the rewards of reason tempered with faith. Approval? Not so much.. Lee.

6: Nobody warned me.  The Lemming

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

THE LAST OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS

Kamal Amin, Architect, Structural Engineer

It was at the little cabaret theater at Taliesin West.  The fellowship was gathering for the weekly social event, when Mr. and Mrs. Wright  had dinner, and saw a movie with the The first time I saw Mr. Wright, was on a Saturday evening in November of 1951.  apprentices. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, and we stood waiting for the Wrights to walk into the theater.

I had been an apprentice for slightly over a day, largely preoccupied with becoming acquainted with my new environment.  I had learned English in high school as a second language, but I never had a reason or a chance to use it until I came to America.

I was about to see for the first time the man who had inhabited my mind and soul for the previous three years, while I lived in Cairo.  With the many layers of anticipations and expectation I had projected on him, he had become something of an abstraction that I clung to in order to retain my sense of myself.

As I laid my eyes on him when he walked into the theater, I was looking at a very handsome, imposing figure, with an interesting face, framed in his famous mane of white hair. He looked at me with kind eyes and a warm smile, and asked me if I was comfortable in my new surroundings.

The following eight years constituted my period of apprenticeship and association with the greatest architect of all time.  Like my fellow apprentices, I learned my craft by living and working in the company of genius. My day started, progressed and ended in a pervasive atmosphere of creativity and strong beliefs.  I learned from him, simply by being close to him, walking the same earth and breathing the same air.  When I heard him speak, it was like listening to the voice of the ages. He possessed a sense of eternal wisdom, which included the present moment in the progression of history. He was a cosmos unto himself, much like a natural force, which received its instructions from an intangible universe.

The most precious moments for me, were the times he came to my desk, gently moved me over, shared my seat with me, and worked on my drawing.

Magic sprang out of his hands, as he moved them swiftly and decisively, enhancing the complexion of the design.  The statements, instructions and comments he made to me then, remain engraved in my sensibilities.

One late morning on another Saturday, eight years after the Saturday I first met Mr. Wright, he was standing at my desk discussing with me and instructing me as I was working on a spectacular residence he had designed to be built on three adjacent peaks on Mummy Mountain, in Paradise Valley, for Mrs. Daniel Donahoe of Texas.  He had already signed off on the design, but in vintage Mr. Wright, the building is finished only after it had been built.  It was about noon, after an hour or so of work. Then  Mrs. Wright breezed in the drafting room and said,“Frank, it is time for lunch.” And asked him to accompany her.

Later on that evening, being a Saturday, we, all dressed up, waited outside the theater for Mr. and Mrs. Wright to arrive for the evening event.

The wait was longer than usual. Then someone came to tell us that Mr. Wright was taken to the hospital to be operated on, having had severe abdominal pains during the afternoon.

The news was particularly shocking for me, since I was just working with him a few hours earlier. He was ninety two years old, but he was very healthy.  According to his doctor, he had the vital signs of a forty five year old.  I remember times when I needed to run to catch up with him. I expected him to return in a few days.  But a few days later, my good friend Davy Davison, walked to my tent at five o’clock in the morning, I had just awakened, and  said,

“Mr. Wright is gone.”

The news was so devastating to me that it actually threw me off center.

Observing my devastation, Mrs. Wright asked me to tend his grave, mow the lawn, plant the flowers, and generally care for the environment around him.

She came to visit her husband’s grave almost every day. We knelt by the stone circle around it and shared some soulful moments, as we snipped off dead blossoms in order to preserve energy for new growth.

It was during that period that I realized that I was tending the grave of one of the founding fathers of this country.  I was making an in depth study of the history of the United States, and discovering that it is the most interesting and fascinating of all time. The more I read of it, the more I could see that Mr. Wright’s cultural contribution was an organic growth of what this country was all about.

He was born eighty years after the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

During those eighty years, there were the Federalist Papers, eighty five essays published by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, in order to promote the ratification of the constitution.  Then there was the Marshal Court, which rendered the decisions that started the process of defining the intent of the constitution, as a basis for establishing the different institutions of the country. Then there was the challenge of the war of 1812, which Andrew Jackson brought to a spectacular American victory against the finest British troops in the battle of New Orleans, forcing Britain to recognize the United States claim to Louisiana and west Florida. Then there was the crisis of nullification of tariffs, spear(-) headed by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, 9and) then the senate Force Act introduced by Daniel Webster. Then there was the Henry Clay compromise which averted conflict for a time. That was followed by the civil war and reconstruction.

By then, America was on her way to becoming a global force.

What was sorely lacking was an aesthetic identity which sprang from the soil of this country expressing the uniqueness of the ideas and forces which converged for the first time in history, to create this society. The prevailing aesthetic was borrowed from classically feudal cultures which the idea of America was intended to resist. In the country’s capital, Washington DC, government functions were and largely remain unceremoniously trapped in Greek or Roman temples.

The monumental efforts made by many during the first eighty years of the life of this country, eventually established a structure upon which, this society was built.  The work was focused on the survival of the country. But the soul of the republic needed to emerge, in order to express in a tangible way, the meaning of the inner freedom of every American citizen, as an independent mind.

Two years after the civil war, Frank Lloyd Wright was born, on a farm in Wisconsin.  It was the signal that an American aesthetic was about to be created.  As a hard working young man, then a young architect in Chicago, the spirit of America, from the Declaration of Independence, through the many events which highlighted the dignity of the individual, were natural components of his make up.  Some time in his youth, he decided that he had a part to play in the realization of the dream which is America.

Very quickly he saw himself as the instrument needed for this unique culture to blossom into a visual expression defining its intent as a way of life.

The way to do that was to become an architect, whose contribution was to enhance God’s work, by building structures springing from and belonging to the soil supporting this culture.

For seventy years of practice, against the overwhelming habitual sentiments of the herd instincts, he did accomplish his purpose, and made a contribution which helped to define America. The five hundred buildings he built stand on God’s earth declaring the sovereignty of the individual.  By simply doing his work, he gave permission to architects across the twentieth century to explore every conceivable structure.  There would not have been twentieth century architecture without him

That was the second Declaration of Independence.

 

 

Richard Dawkins, spoken at TED Conference, Â Thinking the Improbable

 

“Science has taught us, against all intuition, that apparently solid things like crystals and rocks, are really almost entirely composed of empty space. And the familiar illustration is the nucleus of an atom is a fly in the middle of a sports stadium, and the next atom is in the next sports stadium. So it would seem the hardest, densest, solidest rock is really almost entirely empty space broken only by tiny particles so widely spaced they shouldn’t count. Why then do rocks look and feel solid, and hard, and impenetrable? As an evolutionary biologist, I’d say this: our brains have evolved to help us survive within the orders of magnitude of size and speed which our bodies operate at. We never evolved to navigate in the world of atoms. If we had, our brains probably would perceive rocks as full of empty space. Rocks feel hard and impenetrable to our hands precisely because objects like rocks and hands cannot penetrate each other. It’s therefore useful for our brains to construct notions like solidity and impenetrability because such notions help us to navigate our bodies through the middle sized world in which we have to navigate. Moving to the other end of the scale our ancestors never had to navigate thought he cosmos at speeds close to the speed of light. If they had our brains would be much better at understanding Einstein.”

— Richard Dawkins, spoken at TED Conference,  Thinking the Improbable