Bird Droppings April 6, 2022
Sometimes I feel like I am missing a day
So often, I speak of coincidences in life. A few evenings back, while helping my wife with some graphics and issues in a class she was teaching, I also thought about a new Bird Droppings. Some ideas had hit me, and I was putting them on paper or hard drive. When I got up the next day, I planned to finish and post it was not anywhere to be found. I was frustrated and bewildered. I would have sworn I wrote a dropping a great one at that. So, I started and entitled today as missing a day and was going to make excuses about my encroaching senility and old age memory losses and such, and poof, the answer was in front of my nose. I did it again. I had been writing and closed out from a page; I started getting ready to post with word closing instead of minimizing.
My dropping for today disappeared; I had not saved it yet. I was discussing science and measuring data in various graduate school classes. Research can take various forms, quantitative and qualitative, two of the most frequently used. Because teaching is an art form, there are some rather tricky pieces of that aspect to measure. It seems that areas such as intuition and coincidence are complex commodities to evaluate effectively. An effective teacher is intuitive, and I think a good teacher is also surrounded by coincidence.
Carl Jung split with Freud over similar matters and coined the word synchronicity. Back a few weeks, as I was talking, it seemed I never stopped talking, and I was drawn to the front door of my room at school; as I stepped out, a student passed by precisely as I stepped the door. It was not they are going by my door, me coming to the door, but that this student had a problem. If I had been a few seconds later, that student would have passed by later. I was drawn to the door like a moth to a flame, and was I meant to interfere, get involved in a problem, or offer advice or questions, coincidence, a chance happening, or was it synchronicity perhaps.
“The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.” Carl Jung
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Eric Fromm
Which direction do we go as we try and unravel the human condition, the frail substance about which we have evolved? Can we separate, categorize, analyze, and catalog what makes us human versus pack animals? Studies of herding and swarming animals are studying human behavior and modifying and moving people and materials worldwide. Several large cargo companies use models developed on observations of ant colonies.
“Man may be defined as the animal that can say “I,” that can be aware of himself as a separate entity. “Eric Fromm
“The mind is like an iceberg; it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water. “Sigmund Freud
“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit is often regarded as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion, and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different.” John Dewey
When beset with an issue or a problem, we so often fall victim to the most straightforward route, the way of “least resistance, least trouble,” as John Dewey would say. Years ago, in a book on the topic of Loss Control management, my father used an illustration of an iceberg; we only see one-seventh of the problem, as Freud points out with the mind. As we journey through life, we are only visible in part, only one-seventh using the iceberg illustration. The sixth sevenths of our existence stay hidden, secreted somewhere from view.
“Thus, we see that the all-important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being unlucky or lucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, lose, live or die, and finally, how we choose.” R. H. Blyth
It is how we choose that is important. Nearly every day for several years since I began this morning endeavor, I have talked of the journey in life in one way or another to students, friends, and family and my writing. I have used as a screen saver my son John’s image crossing a stream in north Georgia, stepping stone by stone across a rippling rolling stream, and it still is hanging on my wall. He is soaking wet and cold; he could have just as easily walked through the stream and avoided falling from the rocks. He was wet already, but he chose to step on the slippery rocks. The challenge for him was doing it, making the journey, not simply surviving or the destination of the other side.
“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” Mourning Dove, Salish
This becomes the difficult task of explaining how a problem has a purpose, how a human issue has a reason, in a world of measurement where not measuring is constant and so often the point. I can never find the distance between the stones of the stream as my son’s footsteps fall, crossing rock by rock.
“You can never cross a stream the same way twice,” Zen saying
“Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology…. has led modern society to damage and seared the earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.” William Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991
Going from a single individual’s problem to that of the North Slope of Alaska may seem a stretch. I wonder in today’s world of greed, global warming, and ocean access opening in the Arctic. As global warming occurs, or if you so choose to think it does not occur, daily news of countries that surround and even are nowhere near the arctic being able to cross ice-free waterways holds interest. Daily there are new explorations of countries into the Arctic, with submarines planting flags, oil drilling rigs operating after twenty-five years of trying, and many more. For the profiteers of the world and the greedy who subsist on immediate profits and filling coffers already overflowing, a world disappearing is no big issue as long as it happens in their lifetime and brings a profit.
But as we journey in life, we essentially do not get to replay our hand once we lay the cards upon the table. Yesterday by chance, somewhere before 5:00 AM, I read National Geographic and how the oil fields are so enticing in the Wilds of Alaska. Greedy people see only jobs, money, and energy. I have spoken and written about this many times, and others see the loss of habitat for wildlife and wilderness that can never be replaced.
Incredible, another coincidence this morning, I could not pull up literally what I thought I had written yesterday had disappeared, and this morning it hit me as to what had happened. I tried to recall what I wrote yesterday and concluded it was not to be, and for whatever reason, synchronicity perhaps versus senility I like better. A good follow-up, peace, my friends, and have a good and excellent day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your heart’s namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)