Tag Archives: death

Burying the dead in the beginning

Adult raven photograph by Ron Hanna via https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/common-raven#photo3

Studying Jewish folklore brings one around many old testament stories, and with that, the source of many cultural idioms and expressions: “the writing on the wall”, the value of atonement, among much else.

Something new to me is a source of wisdom on burying one’s dead. I did not realize advice about it for Jews goes back to beresheit:

After Hevel [aka Abel] was slain, he was lying in a field, his blood spattered over sticks and stones. The dog who had been guarding Hevel’s flock now also guarded Hevel’s corpse from the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky.

Adam and his mate came and sat by the corpse, weeping and mourning for him, but they did not know what to do with Hevel’s body.

A raven whose companion had just died said: I will teach Adam what to do. The raven took his dead companion, dug up the earth before the eyes of Adam and his mate, and buried him in it.

Adam said: We will do as the raven. At once he took Hevel’s corpse and buried it in the ground.

Commentary on the fourth reading of the first torah cycle, via https://headcoverings-by-devorah.com/MidrashBereishit3.html, with image via https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/common-raven#photo3

Visiting a neighbor’s fire

Though the work is easier together, we spread out in the darkest time of year to cozier burrows, diffusing the weight of winter, lighter on the land.
Though it is dark, we are warmed to know there are familiar others nearby. Our struggles are tied up together, and while one faces scarcity, someone else has more than enough to share, so that we may survive together and work together in brighter times.

So it has been through the ages. So it is still in little ways in overdeveloped places where big systems eclipse mutual aid: we turn to neighbors for power during long outages, for tool shares, for relationship. So it is still in big ways in underdeveloped places where small systems are made sufficient by human relationships: cooperating to cultivate land, to maintain infrastructure for basic needs, for relationship.

The lessons of the seasons proceed before us, though we may be distracted by a house on fire, our own or our neighbors.

May we be there for each other, so that we may all meet our needs, in mutual benefit with the sources of that sustenance and satisfaction. May peace be upon you.


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happy renewal

In cultures around the world, the quarters of the year come with special significance. Here at the midnight of the year we have the fullest darkness yet with that a moment of renewal, of a change in direction as if hitting a rock bottom. Hopefully a soil bottom, but anyway. . .

A merry Christmas celebration of the birth of the solar Son of G-d in many traditions; a happy חֲנֻכָּה lasting of the fuel of the flaming trinity which is a candle (flame, wick, wax); and to all the rock bottom & bounce back of seasonal midnight, winter’s dawn. With that: a new year, an inflection, an arc to bridge the fall and rise, an angle to connect the number lines of one’s lives. A threshold – where you going? I&I H.

שלום One Love

Mapu e Ixã remixed: Grief and Gratitude on Environmental Empathy And Fundamental Flux (cr0 & Mu)

I give thanks
for the source
for the music
for the indigenous people who share it
for the mutualism one can live
showin’ the way

Thanks
For the present

The grief of a flower.
The grace of a bird.

The wisdom of a way.
The finality of a word.

50 million year + mutualism
Resounding generation – we hear’em

A grief. I feel it for a brief time now and now again. Takes ya to the deeps, something that comes with ya to ya sleeps.
Environmental, mental, an ever sentimental scent that scarce sense keeps dyin’
What I & I am finding
Renewal keeps tryin’, LVX movement illumine what’s next
Each particle a wave
Each ending a new beginning
A new in-ing, a new unfolding
A new present olding
Each one teach one, love some way to say two become one
Some one to be, the one self you see part “I” part “the” part “we”
A memory out of each moment, a moment of momentum
And on and on and on went
. . .
5 element theory got folks kinda leery
Got me in peace like a circle and a square
And I dare in this bi-polar world to try to be a triangle in the spot
ne dot in a circle
That’s sun, that’s light, that’s life, that’s one
The boom of mn in the room ylin’ through forests and tombs
And tunes, as life goes on
And on and on and on went
. . .
New beginnings, for ever
Grief and gratitude, toward Home one better
Shalom
Shalom Shalom
One Love

Peace via Mutually Assured Destruction

Reminiscent of Dark Forest Theory, Yuval Noah Harari spoke with Sam Harris about mutually assured destruction. Humanity faces various existential threats now (nuclear war) and in the future (AI), with some threats coming from human enemies (cyber warfare) and some from a common enemy/ourselves/no enemy (climate change). Yuval pointed out how the common enemy of mutually assured destruction itself may be our salvation. When two parties recognize that it is in their best interest to avoid any potential catastrophies with nuclear war, because of the mutually assured destruction that can come with such a path, they step back from that precipice. The same applies for future potential catastrophies both parties might pursue or affect, like AI or even climate change. ‘The only way to assure I am not destroyed is to work together with them to ensure none of us get destroyed.’  By recognizing the potential for mutually assured destruction, we can work together to overcome existential risks.

Dark Forest theory is from Chinese Sci-Fi series In Remembrance of Earth’s Past, also known as Three Body Problem. It focuses on various existential threats at a bewildering set of scales, from neighboring alien civilizations’ mutually assured destruction, to the mutually assured destruction of All in the Universe.

Advice on Dying

Summary of advice from Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life by Dalai Lama

  1. If you cultivate a sense of the uncertainty of the time of death, you will make better use of your time.
  2. To prevent procrastination with regard to spiritual practice, take care not to come under the influence of the illusion of permanence.
  3. Realize that no matter how wonderful a situation may be, its nature is such that it must end.
  4. Do not think that there will be time later.
  5. Be frank about facing your own death. Skillfully encourage others to be frank about their deaths. Do not deceive each other with compliments when the time of death is near. Honesty will foster courage and joy.

Severity

The man with the clear head is the man who frees himself from those fantastic “ideas” and looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it is problematic, and feels himself lost. As this is the simple truth-that to live is to feel oneself lost-he who accepts it has already begun to find himself; to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to cling to, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce. He who does not really feel himself lost, is inexorably lost; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality.’
– The Revolt of the Masses