In part 1 I wondered about life, and how it can be defined. If you have read it (or other posts I have written), you will have seen that I took life to be connected to religion, but that is only because in my early life it was connected to religion. I had no idea what hell was, but I had been told I would go to hell if I did not obey God’s laws, or, in different words, if I committed a sin. Apparently it was a sin to break a law made by god. But everywhere around me adults were breaking god’s laws. They couldn’t seem to do hardly anything except break what I was told were god’s laws. But God told different people different laws. And it seemed he told some people it was okay to break his laws, as long as they went to something called “confession” and told someone else about all god’s laws they had broken, and even man’s laws too, if what I was told was correct. Then along came even others who I was told had been god’s chosen people, but they had not believed him when they refused to agree that he had sent his son Jesus amongst them to save them from burning in hell. They didn’t seem to know why they would burn in hell because they already worshipped god for himself, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for god, so he unchose them, and chose Roman people to be saved and worship his son Jesus as well as him, and he even added someone called a holy ghost to be worshipped too, though no one could ever tell me who this holy ghost was. But, they said, they also worshipped the virgin Mary too, even though god had not told them to worship her also. But near as I could decipher, the virgin Mary was given to women to worship, because they needed their own god…

But enough of this! I think you get the picture I am trying to draw with words instead of crayons or paints. Life centered around god, and those who believed the same all believed they were god’s chosen children. Since even I could see this was impossible, I had to figure out if any of them were right. So I started talking to different people about my conundrum,  and no one would explain their ideas of why god would make life so confusing, but they all tried to convince me their group was the correct group. So, as a last resort, I had to decide were they all wrong, or were they all right? I was too confused even to do that…

But, by this time, I was going to school. And the school I went to told me only the protestants were right, and even though there were all kinds of protestants, they were all more right than anyone else. Then, just to confuse me a different way, they told me the biblical version of creation was not the real story of creation. Some teachers said it was kind of right, while others it was kind of wrong, and still others who said it was all wrong. What and who was anyone to believe was true? Everybody seemed to know, but almost nobody seemed to agree.

And then suddenly someone said everything in the bible was a lie, and that it was just a story made up by men. I could almost believe that, but I was still too afraid of going to hell if I did, so I asked why someone would say that? Then I heard an altogether different story, that it wasn’t the bible that was wrong, but rather the people who interpreted the bible who were wrong. Oh my aching head! But, someone else told me, there were things that happened that weren’t in the bible, but should have been. One person told me the story of Jesus* going not into the desert for 40 years, but right through the desert to a country called India, where he studied under teachers of the great Buddha, who had lived many years before Jesus went there, but had taught others what life was really about. Then Jesus crossed back through the desert, and returned to the land of the Jews, where he tried to teach those people what he had learned. Only, nobody believed him, even though they wanted to believe him. So he changed what he had been taught by his Buddhist teachers, and made up his own stories based on his learning. Some people found his stories easier to believe than Buddha’s stories, and that was what they came to believe.

Och, it is time to end my story of what happened to me to start me on my path away from god, but I hope you can see what led me away. There were just too many things to believe, so one day I started to believe nothing. Rather, I chose to find out about life, and everything else not by listening to others, but by exploring my own self, and seeing what was in me. That decision was probably the most important decision I ever made in my life. And it was not one I decided on in the spur of a moment, but it was one that grew inside me as I grew around it. I was in high school now, and I was learning so many things there that most of the things I learned as a child no longer made any sense.

But, it seemed, I could not even trust what I was learning in school. Forget about religion, and how each religion wanted people to all believe their way was the right way, school wanted us to all be a different “same way.” School wanted us to all become little cogs in the machines of industry and economics. School wanted us to become identical little cogs in the machinery, and some of us didn’t want to become cogs, identical or not. And it wasn’t just me, or those of my friends who agreed with me, but there were young people all over the modern world who didn’t want to become cogs, and so we became something else. There were many labels put on us a a group, even though we didn’t start as a group, but first we were longhairs, then we were beatles, then we were monkees, and suddenly we were freaks and hippies. Amongst ourselves we were freaks, but in the world-at-large we were hippies, and we loved being hippies. And as a hippie I went through some experiences that showed me life was so much more than anyone had ever told me it could be. Life had been about growing up, getting a job, getting married, having kids, then growing old, and dying. For most people,  that’s what life for them had been about for ages and generations. We didn’t want life to be like that, and so we changed what we believed,  and we led our lives differently…

* – Jesus, as far as I am concerned, was a fictional character, but that is just my bias speaking. There could easily have been such a real person, though the miracles he performed seem to me more mythic than real. This is just my opinion.


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Life! What is it? We all know what it is, we wouldn’t be alive without it. But look in the dictionary, and what do you get? The best English dictionary in the world offers us this as its number 1 definition: The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, […]

ife! What is it? We all know what it is, we wouldn’t be alive without it. But look in the dictionary, and what do you get? The best English dictionary in the world offers us this as its number 1 definition: The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continuous change preceding death. It’s number 3 definition is: The period of time  between birth and death… While I agree with these definitions, I do not find them particularly useful. Descriptive, but not definitive. They describe life, but they do not get down to the root of what life is. Do they give you a better understanding of what life actually is? They don’t do enough for me, which I guess is why I have spent most of the period of my life from my birth till now trying to gain a better understanding of what life really is. Why? Because I have a need to know…

I started this journey so long ago I can’t really remember when it began. But I do remember where I was at the time, at least as far as my understanding was concerned. I was brought up a United Protestant Christian, which is a distinctly Canadian church combining Anglican, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches as well as a few lesser known denominations. The first definition of life I was ever taught to believe was that life was a gift from god. This worked till I went to school, and discovered others claimed god for their own. The Catholics, for one, claimed my god, but he told them different things than he told those who taught me. That was step one, I guess. If the same god gave life to others not like us, to whom else might he have spoken even different words.  Next came Jewish people. One of my better friends growing up was Jewish, and the same god gave them life too. Later I came to learn that those groups, Protestants, Catholics, and Jews were further divided into different branches, and different sects of those branches.  Even later I was able to add Mohammadens (whom we now call Muslims) and their branches and sects to my list. I was in confusion city.

What you might ask, do all these different peoples have to do with the definition of life? Well, at the time, it was just that I believed life was a gift from god, so why did he give so many people so many different gifts? We were all people, that much was easy to see. But yet some people were red, some were white, some were different tones of brown, some even had a funny greenish olive tone. But yet we all had life, the very same kind of life, human life.

And then came two other observations that led me even further afield. For these two events I ask your understanding, I was only a kid, and didn’t know any better. My best friend (not the Jewish boy, but a Ukrainian Catholic) and I used to catch bugs, keep them in bottles for awhile, and let them go later, if they were still alive. Those deaths that did occur did not affect us, death happens, though we did not know why–we did not know we had killed them, and no one told us we had. But then one day we decided to douse a spider with lighter fluid and set it aflame, just to see what happened.  The flare-up was beautiful,  as we thought it might be. All fire has a cetain beauty. But we were not ready for what happened next. The spider began to scream. And I recognized that scream, it was the scream of pain, and I had screamed that way many times in my short life. I felt that spider’s pain. (Okay, it probably wsn’t a scream, though it might have been. Probably it was air squealing out of a tiny hole in the spider’s body. But none of that can be proven either way. I heard a scream, and I can hear it to this day.)

If you have read any of my works before, you may already know I was physically abused as  a child. Some things that were done to me made me cry. Some things made me shout. And still others made me scream bloody murder. And that is the scream I heard from that spider before I stomped on it to end that scream. I can only hope that was the last time I intentionally hurt a bug, any bug, for as long as I have lived. I wish I could say that as a definite fact, but I cannot. Still, I can hope…

The second event was visually worse, and I can guarantee I have not purposefully killed another animal since. My father took me fishing around the age of ten, and where he took me we could find no worms, which was what he told me were normal bait. Instead of worms, he had me catch two small frogs, which were plentiful in the area. He took one from me, and told me to put the second one on my fishing hook. I asked him how, and he said it didn’t matter how, a fish would eat it soon enough. I put the hook though it’s stomach. There was no scream, though the frog jerked. Then it looked at me, with bewildered eyes. What had I done to it, and why. Then my father spoke up, “Don’t just ook at it, throw it in the water. So I did. The little froggie tried to swim away, but all it did  was succeed in tearing its  own stomach apart. It tried swimming away again, and it got further than before, but its  guts were still attached to my hook. They got longer and longer, and still the frog tried to escape. Meanwhile, I was getting scared. I knew by then I was hurting that frog, why else would it try so hard to get away. I brought it back to shore, and killed it with a rock. Then I threw my rod and line in the lake, and sat down and cried. “It’s just a damned frog,” my father said, as he swung his fist at me. “Now get back there and catch a fish. That’s your supper tonight.” I refused. “I’m not killing anything else,” I said adamantly. “Fine!” he said, “Then you aren’t getting anything to eat for the rest of the day.” And I didn’t. And I was glad I didn’t.ý


I must apologise to you, my readers, because when I am trying to tell the story of my experiences, I seem to get hung up in the backstories that I hope explain how I came to my beliefs. Because who I am is the totality of what I believe, and it was my beliefs that gave me the vision of what life actually is. But even though I will be telling you part of that vision in this post, depending on how long this post gets, it is not going to tell you exactly what life is, because I do not know how to say “exactly” what life is. But I will try.

Life is a spark inside of us, each and every living organism in the universe, including on this earth. Every living being there ever was, every living being there now is, and every living being there will ever be, contains an identical spark to the one carried by every other living being. On earth, we have this idea or feeling that all humans are connected in some way. Some of us call each other brother, or sister, not as in a nuclear family, but as in the family of humanity. But that is just a little bit of what i see as true reality on this plane of existence, because the actual family we are part of is the family of life. If you want to, you can make it a bit stronger by saying the family of Life, or even LIFE. You would not be wrong to do so. I myself like to use the middle term Life, but most often I just use life. Life (small “l” except at the beginning of a sentence in written English) serves me best, unless I am talking about the whole organism that we would make if we were all to be collected together into one totality of being. That organism for me would be Life. And, since I am discussing such an organism at this time, let me add that i believe our most important purpose for having life is to create one Life by all joining together. (Actually, were I to be totally honest with you, I would have to say “re-create”, but that is so far away from where we are right now that to even speak it is irresponsible of me. We will need millions of years, possibly millions of millenia, to get to that point in our existence. It is virtually a non-starter today.)

So, where do I get the audacity to claim that all life = Life? There are at least two ways of getting there, the first by looking at our very own bodies (or the body of any complex organism). If we were to look at our bodies under a microscope, we would see that we are made up of approximately 37,200,000,000,000 (37.2 trillion) cells. Were we to then take just one of these cells and put it under an electron microscope, we would see things like cell walls, and a cell nucleus (or centre of a cell) and were we to look at the nucleus of a cell through a finely tuned electron microscope, we would see inside the centre of a cell our RNA, and our DNA. Not being a scientist or a biologist I am not going to try to explain RNA or DNA to you, but please accept that every cell in our bodies contains its own RNA and DNA, which makes it a single-celled organism, and as such it is actually a single-celled living being. And for those beings, those individual lives, we the complex beings would be the equivalent of capital-L Life to them, and then were we all to join together to make one huge giant humungous living organism, it would then have to become LIFE. Thus, when I said earlier you can use life, Life, or LIFE to describe life, any  such signifier would be correct.

However, you might ask,  how can there be 37.2 trillion beings inside of one. I know my mind, and I am only one being. I have to admit, I feel exactly the same way. But what if I were to tell you that you, or I, are actually a group mind for all the cells that make you what you are? Would you believe me? Probably not, you know who you are. I too know who I am, and I am a group mind working as one mind to do the best possible actions to preserve my life, and the lives of all the cells inside me. And once all our group minds come together into one into one huge giant humungous group mind, then we will be one Life, or, rather, ONE LIFE.

Think back to what you learned of evolution in school. Organisms keep changing into more and more complex organisms, and different kinds of organisms, possibly and probably searching to become the perfect organism. But, what do our scientists find when they try to take us back to the beginning of life upon our planet. The earliest known living beings we have found evidence of are called archaea, which were single-celled organisms formed almost 4.28 billion earth years ago. No one knows for sure if they came to the earth from elsewhere, or if they were somehow created right here on earth. They are theorized to be the earliest organisms from which all other organisms, single-celled, multi-celled, and complex-celled beings came. As far as earth is concerned, it is with these beings that the earth has become populated, with all the species that can be found on earth today. Because we have no way to travel back in time, we rely on fossils or “rock messengers” from the past to inform us today of what once existed billions of years before history even started.

Unfortunately I do not have the time or space to tell you the story of how life went from archaea to all the muti-complex-beings we have on earth today, or might have on earth in the future, but the point I want to make here is that my theory of today’s beings whom I describe as having group minds all trace back to those archaea that started life on earth. So, is it really that far of a stretch for me to say that our lives are actually made from combining 37.2 trillion other beings? I can imagine it.  Can you?

Now, I have to change something I said at the start of this post, being the third in my posts on Life. I started by saying each of us has a spark in us that gives us life. But really, what I was saying, though you did not know it at the time, each cell in each organism actually has that spark, and therefore humans can be said to have 37.2 trillion sparks. But please don’t start thinking that because you have so many sparks that you are superior to other beings, or other even people, who have fewer sparks than you. Because, if that were true, imagine how many more sparks elephants and whales would have than you. They would be the tops of the evolutionary ladder* on land and in the ocean. So, it is not the number of sparks that are significant, it is what you do with the sparks you do have. And, as I said earlier, every spark is identical, so no matter how many sparks you do have, your life is still exactly as valuable as us the spark inside a one-celled organism.

*-Truthfully,  though we humans believe we are atop the evolutionary ladder on earth, until we learn to communicate with other species, we will never know who is tops. We can assume, yes, but by now I am sure you know what assuming does…


Upon reading part 4 of this series, I realized I left a lot of unanswered questions and unfulfilled promises. In this part I will try to complete those thoughts as best I can.

To begin, and I am guessing, the beings we call the archaea (part 3) came as potential life from space and those that fell or were blown into the water turned into actual living beings. We are pretty sure life on earth began in the great ocesns of our early planet. Everything we think we know about them is potentially wrong. We will probably never know for sure. It is possible chemical reactions in the sea allowed them to turn from non-life into life, but that seems a bit far- fetched. Of course, they could also have been living beings that could have survived in space, in some sort of suspended animation, or some other unimaginable to us mrthod. Anyway, they seem to have flourished in the primal soup. That, however, does not tell us which came first,  the chicken or the egg, but I’m going to put my money on the egg, as far as earth is concerned.  So, eventually these single-celled organisms worked their way up the evolutionary ladder, until their progeny turned into the complex beings e are and see today.


Having now given you my picture of life on earth, for those of you who are willing, I want to take you to the veil of death, which just happens to correspond with preparing you for the time of birth. What? Am I sure I didn’t write that backwards? I am sure. Due to extraordinary experiences, I have witnesssed a process the likes of which conjures up one of the oldest philosophical questions ever asked, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

I still cannot answer that, I hope I did not get your hopes up. But having said that, I need to ask what happened to the chicken that emerged from the first egg? She died. And humans have been eating chickens and eggs ever since…

Yes, I am joking, but not completely. The first living beings on earth reproduceded, and were born again. I bet you’ve heard that phrase before, and where do you suppose it came from? Christ? Wrong! It came from Buddha. And he actually took it from the Hindus, who probably took it from the Jains–but nobody is counting.

So let’s get back to life. One of the primary components of life, according to the definition of life I quoted at the start of this series of posts, is death. Why do you think that is? If we somehow became immortal, would we not still be alive? Technically, if life can be considered technical, I think we would still be considered alive, but immortality might challenge another requirement of life, continuous change. How long could someone or something exist before it became so bored with life it would stop changing? One hundred years?  500 years? 10,000 years? 1,000,000 years? There is, of course, no way to answer this question, but if a body could last 1,000,000 years, would a mind last that long? Again no one can know, but I’m betting at some point change would cease. And when it did, that would at the very least be the equivalent of death. So, in my pinion, death is a necessary part of life.

Why? Because it allows us go go through a totally different kind of change, one which cannot happen here in this physical realm. If you will allow me to digress again for a moment, let us look at the concept of reincarnation. Exactly where it started, or who started it, we cannot say. The oldest concept I can find of it is in the Sanskrit language, often considered as related to some of the oldest languages on earth. But this is taking us into pre-history, so unlike Abrahamic religions, Indian religions such as Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have some basis in the continuity of life after death. And I see to reason to disavow life of this wonderful, and necessary, process of life.

Jainism is apparently older than Hinduism, definitely older than Buddhism, and similarly older than all Abrahamic religions. Having said that, I cannot find how reincarnation in Jainism works, but in Hinduism it is believed that individual souls reincarnate over and over again. Buddhism takes that idea and changes it to take away the vagaries of continual rebirth and gives the individual some power of how or when or where they will reincarnate.

In all three above religions, karma plays a big part in the reincarnation process. Many people in the west think they understand the concept of karma, and use the word in ways it was never intended. Yet, they have it basically right, if you hurt others you will be hurt in this life or a following life. Karma is a kind of universal system of vengeance, and in Hinduism your past will catch up with you, though probably not in your present incarnation. Buddhists allow you to manipulate your karma, so you can atone for things you have done in hour past. It is not exactly like Catholic confession, yet Catholic confession is highly based on a manipulated form of karma. All in all, though, each stage of life in the process of reincarnation is more or less predicated on previous behaviour.

My own belief is quite different, yet it did grow out of the eastern idea of reincarnation. For me, though, karma is not a factor. In fact, I do not believe karma can exist in whatever form one might think it could. Still, the western concept of sin is based on the eastern concept of karma, so I think it needs to be looked at. For karma to come into play in life, one must have either done something good for someone (creating good karma) or something hurtful (creating bad karma). Think of it as god writing all your good deeds and sins in a ledger, and counting them up at some point and either rewarding you or condemning you. This is the state Christ* supposedly found religion in when he returned from his travels in the desert. (See part 2 of this series.) If Christ had studied in India, he would have brought a lot of these concepts home with him, including sin (karma), and rebirth or being born again (reincarnation). But as I also said in part 2, he could not explain these concepts to the people he tried to teach because the concepts had no basis in their languages. Hebrew, Greek, Latin, none of them could cope with reincarnation or karma. So he winged it, and thus brought himself down to the level of his followers, and nothing came out the way it was intended.

Life on the earthly plane, as I believe it to be, is a spiritual journey before anything else. It is a process of the sparks inside our cells being reincarnated over and over into earthly life forms in order to learn how to be good, compassionate living beings. We, the group minds for those sparks, are not here to suffer, nor are we here to overindulge ourselves. We are here to understand how to be “godly,” but not to be gods. Each of us has inside of us a vision of what a good life might look like, and the more lives we live the better that vision generally becomes. Individual beings are not reincarnated, though if you are a reader of my past posts you will know I have been struggling with this concept. In writing this account of life I think I have come to envision (remember) how reincarnation does work. So, to Sha’Tara goes a big thank you for suggesting this post which turned into a whole series of posts. Thank you. And to you, dear readers, I hope you will read this treatise,  think about it, take what you want from it, leave behind what you do not want.

I have not finished yet everything I want to say, and I haven’t yet drawn you a complete picture of what I believe. I don’t even know that I can do either of those tasks, but I think now I have laid the groundwork for future posts.

Please felt free to leave your comments, pro, con, or otherwise. It is by being challenged that I am able to strengthen my understanding of life. And I am ready to move on to the next step in this journey I am on.

But, as I try to do, I want to remind you that these beliefs are my beliefs,  and I do not want anyone to believe me because I say so. Life is about looking inside yourself to find out what is true for you. Not everyone is ready to do that,  but they will be. If you aren’t ready now, you will be. It is all part of the process that we call life. And when you come right down to it, life is all we have. Without life, we have nothing.

Until next time…

*-Just a reminder that I still think Christ is a character in a fiction, but after writing this post I am a little more able to see he might have been real, if he actually did study in India. The beliefs of Christianity are definitely based in Buddhism, but twisted to point in other directions. This is a critical error, but an understandable one. If the man Christ existed, he certainly was human.

LIFE–MY BELIEFS the abridged edition

Life! What is it? We all know inside of us what it is, we would not be alive without it. The best dictionary definition I can find reads: The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction,  functional activity, and continuous change preceding death. Does that definition work for you? It does not work for me. While I agree with it wholeheartedly, I find it descriptive,  but not definitive. To me it describes what we can do with life, but it does not get to the roots of what life actually is. This inability to express what life is instead of what it does is probably why I have spent most of my life from the time I was born until this very moment as I write this post to try to discover if I can better define what life is, or if it is even possible to define it using the English language, which is my mother tongue,  and the only language I can use with any confidence.

Why? Because I have a need to know (or at least die trying).

As I have gone through life I have watched myself, other people, animals, plants, and thought long and hard about bacteria and viruses too. To the best of my ability, I think those four categories cover all known types of life on earth. And the bacteria and the viruses can probably be combined into one-celled organisms, but since not all viruses are complete cells a lot of scientists do not believe they are alive, or, at most, are a pre-cellular type of life. I, however, am not going to deal with such tiny limits for the purpose of this post. Viruses live and die, so for me they are living beings. In fact, viruses, if we can believe those who study them, are the most plentiful type of organic material on our planet. Second are the bacteria, with plant and animal cells coming in last, probably in that order. So does this help tell us anything about life? I guess it depends on how you look at life.

Most humans are happy to go through life content in the knowledge that they are the highest form of life on this planet. After all, we can imagine things,  we can create things, we can use both spoken and written languages, we can build things (particularly tools), and we can force our will on all other things, to name just a few of the advantages humans seem to have over other life forms. But all those things are human-centric characteristics . Can we really judge our position in life by comparing all other living beings to our own specific abilities? I think we cannot. Yes, we do have one of the most complex physical metabolic systems in the world, we have opposable thumbs and fingers, we have large and convoluted brains (in every sense of that word), and again we can force our wills onto our physical systems, but still we are talking about human-centric attributes. How we judge other forms of life is almost always by comparing them to us. What if we were to compare ourselves to them? We would be inferior in as many categories as we would be superior. But is life really a competition? Survival is a competition, but again the survival techniques of animals like the chameleon and the stick-bugs, and the survival ability of the shark and cockroach all put us to shame. Be are not the be-all and end-all superior lifeforms that we think ourselves to be. And while we make life a contest between humans and other species, does it really have go be that way? I say no! There is no reason we cannot all get along together, and support each other, as the living beings we all are.

Does this really have anything to do with what life is? I think that answer is yes, but I need to throw a twist in here that most of you will not see coming.

What if I were to tell you that we humans, one of the most complex beings we know of, are not really who we think we are? Yup, rawgod really is off his rocker, insane to the nth degree. But before you cart me off to the inane asylum, let me tell you who I believe we are. We are group minds, the mental embodiment of all the cells in our bodies. Remember, and think about it, single-celled beings–animals, plants,  or microbes–are all living beings. And the average human being has about 37.2 trillion (that is 37,200,000,000,000) cells in it. Science is quite clear about that. And that is not counting the almost 40 trillion bacteria that live inside us, and the uncountable number of viruses (life-supporting, life-enhancing, life-hurting, or life-destroying) that also live in our bodies. We are walking universes, and so are all other complex-bodied beings. What are all those tiny and /or microscopic living beings doing inside us? Just sitting around with their feet up on ottomans and watching TV while we, the group minds, do all the work? No!

No! No! No! No! No!  They are all trying to work together (not counting destructive viruses and bacteria) to keep us alive and living! And we should be using them as shining beacons of cooperation and compassion to learn from. Life lives on life lIves on life, to be sure, but life also relies on life relies on life to persist and continue to persist. And we need life to exist, for without life nothing can be known to exist. And we cannot know life without life. We cannot know love without life. Simply put, we cannot know if there is no life.

But there is life. We are Life.  Every living being in the universe is life. Yes, the universe. And it is  completely necessary to live together and work together in order to sustain what we have, but could so easily lose!

Ah, it is time to calm down, and get back to our original question, what is life? If you can concede me that all single-celled beings are a part of life, we can now look a bit harder at what life is, at least in my mind. Life is a spark of energy, one that exists at the cellular level. And because it is energy, those sparks never die. We, the group minds, die, in a manner of speaking. As each cell in our bodies die, so do we. But the sparks,  being energy, change into a different state that cannot exist on our plane of existence. Our physical reality is real, but it is not the only reality there is in the cosmos. The universe we live in will exist as long as there is life to know it. Should life ever end totally in our universe, it will subjectively end also. While objectively it may still be there, it will be of no consequence to any living being. So end of life in this universe = end of universe. But the cosmos, that place of living beings, will still survive, because (in human terms at least) it will always have some kind of life to be aware of it. We humans may not be there, but the sparks that are inside us now, will always be.

But I doubt at this time you are interested in cosmology. Probably you are most interested in life here on earth, more specifically human life, and still more specifically, your life, or if you will, the possible 500 trillion lives that make up your life.

You are special, you know, though you may not know it, or even feel it. You are special because these 500 trillion lives chose you to drive the bus for them.  They are completely in your control. Before you read this, you thought your responsibility was only for yourself,  a total of one living being. But, if I am correct, then you are actually responsible for a minimum of about 500 trillion living beings, give or take a billion or so. But does it stop there? I don’t think it does. Taking responsibility for yourself cannot be an isolated occurrence. Responsibility is a two-way street. In order to survive, we also need to depend on others, and those others need to depend on us. We have to interact together with other humans, with the animals from who we obtain protein, with the plants from whom we obtain our vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, etc. We even have to depend on insects to pollinate our plants to help those plants grow seeds, or to make different foods like honey. We have to depend on microbes too, they help us digest our foods, expel waste materials, as well as in food processes such as baking bread, or making yogurt. These are just the human interactions, everything else also interacts with all the others in ways we might not even know or understand yet. Life cannot survive without life. But everything, and I mean everything, can survive without us, without humans, and human intervention. What does that say to us? What does that say about us?

But, as usual, I digress. Our world is teeming with life, but it is only through teamwork that it all comes together. And teamwork is one of the things humans must learn.  Right now we are only team players with those we choose to be on our teams,  at least that is what we seem to think. But, in our global economy, we are actually teaming up in some ways with almost everyone, whether we admit it or not. We have no idea of the race, nationality, religion (or non-religion), gender,  sexual persuasion, or any other distinguishing feature of those who grow our food, provide us with raw or manufactured goods, various services, or provide us so many of those things we now use and enjoy daily. Would you stop eating a particular food if you knew it was supplied to you by a gay, white, female, buddhist from North Korea? Or would you stop wearing your favourite article of clothing if you knew it was designed by a oriental muslim, sado-masochist ex-criminal man who was born in Cuba? I doubt it, in answer to either question. Yet if you ran into either person on the street, would you say “Hi, thank you for what you made it possible for me to enjoy.”? I highly doubt that too, though you may have some choice thoughts about even sharing a bit of space with them for even a moment. Teamwork! That is what life is all about.

Life is a particular type of energy, a special force that science mostly ignores. Life is a spark within us, something that every living being in existence has. And it is a spark that starts at the cellular level, and grows from there. But the funny thing about it, life is like a pregnancy, you either are alive, or you are not. The division between life and death is an instant. One second there is life, next second there is no life. Yes, you can sometimes see death happening, as when someone is slowly dying, but still, when death comes, it is undeniable that has happened. But, since life is a form if energy, it can be restarted,  occasionally,  with the addition of more energy. Whether it is manual energy,  as in CPR, or electrical, as in defibrillation, it is possible to restart life. It is also possible to keep life going mechanically, or chemically, as in life support. You can keep a body alive when it would die without that support.  But sometimes even that is not enough, because keeping the body alive does not ensure keeping the mind alive. That right there is a clue to tell us that life is NOT a physical energy or force. If the body can be maintained, can be kept alive, AFTER the mental ability of the person inside the body is gone, then they must be two seperate things. So suddenly (as far as this essay is concerned) we have two types of life, physical, and something else. While physical life is obviously important, it is the other kind of life that is the valuable one. But what can we call it?

Thanks to the internet,  we have at hand a whole list of words that refer to an energy or force that is differentiated from physical life. We have mental energy, psychic energy, psionic energy, and life energy/life force. In other languages we have words like chi, qi, or prana. The first list, the ones in English, do not exist, according to our scientists, because “they cannot be measured. ” The last list, the feign words, cannot be adequately expressed in English for us to know whether they actually mean what we need them to say, because while they sound good, they are energies or forces that “have to be awakened” in us to be used, so it sounds like they are more of a super-energy,  or super-force, that have more to do with consciousness than with life itself. So, I would like to coin the word mind-life to express the idea of the energy or force that makes a living being able to make the body usable.

Some people might question whether a microbe, or even an insect or a plant, could have mind-life, but that is asking a question that is virtually impossible for humans to answer at this point in our evolutionary process. As of this present time, we believe the difference between human and most other species is sentience, or the ability to think. We know that we are sentient, but we really have nothing to compare ourselves with. We believe whales and dolphins, for instance, are sentient, but it could be a different kind of sentience for all we know. Nor can we say without sureness that any lifeforms cannot think. What do spiders do while they are waiting for the signal that says food has arrived in their web?  What does a turtle do while it is withdrawn into its shell waiting for danger to pass? And even more significantly, what does a male penguin do while it sits on its egg(s) for six months or more while the female is off resuppling its body with food off the coast of Antarctica? Do they just sit there doing absolutely nothing, not even thinking, waiting for instinct to kick them back into motion? I cannot accept such an idea. Nor can I did put it, of course, but truly it makes no sense to me. They have to be doing something, and some kind of thinking is what makes the most sense.

So now we have life and mind-life. Basic life, or physical life, we know can exist without mind-life, though it is not common. But can mind-life exist without physical life? Not as far as we know. But physical life without mind-life is has no real purpose or value, as far as we understand life. There is of, course, potential value, or potential value in this latter situation, if the physical life could somehow be revived by adding mental force to it, but to the best of my knowledge, once a living being has been proven to be brain-dead, mind-life has never been restarted.

When some people talk about what I am calling mind-life, they use words like vitality,  and animation. Particularly medical people, and scientists, use this kind of language when dealing in life or death situations. Those can be very expressive words, but do even they describe life?  I think they might describe life in very particular situations, but I for one do not feel comfortable with them. While talking about physicality, as in


You have 7.6 billion siblings to be responsible for, because they are all humans. That makes about approximately 282,720,000,000,000 000,000,000, or 282.72 sextillion (or maybe septillion, my mathematics is a bit rusty) lives connected to human beings alone. We could go on to add in all the animals, plants, free- floating bacteria,  and unhosted viruses, and we don’t have the words for that kind of number, nor do we have the minds to conceive of such a number. And we haven’t even entered earth’s oceans yet. Earth is teeming with life, and we need to team with it.


Some Poetry About Life–and some about writing poetry

unadulterated shit (Owned by Donald Smith of St. George, New Brunswick, who loved this poem so much he paid me $25 to buy it in about 2001. MY 1ST OFFICIAL SALE!

i sat beside a mountain brook
and wrote a book
and when i read what i had written
i was smitten by the
of reality

the words did not make sense
and the plot was much too tense
for the mood and for the tone
which had shown the anti-idealism
of surrealism

so i threw it page by page
into the water which did rage
with laughter at each word
till a bird flew by and read it
and shit on it

a poem of silence

noises unheard
not one word
no peep nor cheep
nor footstep creep
nor bleep!

no one home
but me
does anybody be?
i cannot see

to be alone with silence
is to be alone
in the universe
not knowing for sure
if anyone else exists

this could be frightening
and border on insanity
but not necessarily so

silence can be:l,
peace of body
peace of mind
peace of soul

just me
and the universe
in cosmic harmony


a ball of words

sometimes i wonder
is it really worth it
to spend my time on rhyme and verse
to curse the world and all its faults
to praise the beauties i can see
and then i answer
it is
to me
even if not to anyone else
for myself it does wonders
to calm a confused mind
and straighten out my head

moments like these
are ever so rare
in our galloping world
that to curl myself up
into a ball of words
is a pleasure
of uncommon delight

the miracle

pictures are worth a thousand words
but poetry is worth a million
so on i write
into the night
cringing in fear
with insanity near
breathing new life
into words as old as death

isn’t it amazing
in all the length of time
humanity has spent upon this earth
someone can still combine
words into lines
that never before have graced
the printed page


are all around us

if only we had

the presence of mind

to see them

epitaph at birth

allow no man
to be my teacher
for he cannot live
mine life for me

allow me not
to be his teacher
for i cannot live
his life for him

let him help me
where he can
and i shall help him
wherever i can

we are brothers

let us remain that way

following my desire

like an eagle on the wing
soaring ever higher higher
trying to capture sun and stars
following my desire

like a mole beneath the earth
burrowing blindly through the mire
digging deeper than before
following my desire

like a leaf cast off by tree
like a snowflake softly falling
sliding down then gliding up
seeking rest — yet stalling

so i live my life each day
to opposing goals i do aspire
learning good exploring bad
following my desire


why do i see
when everyone i meet
sees mere humanity

is this a cursed blessing
is this a blessed curse

like a near completed puzzle with
just one piece to go
but the last piece doesn’t fit
that’s how i feel

i cannot fit myself into
the puzzle of this world
no matter how i stretch and strain
this enigma lies beyond my brain
to remedy

significant language signs

goes bacon in the dead of night
awakening my neighbours
who pound on my door
who pound on bacon
whom i see nevermore

propound a baconism
if you know one
(i don’t
i didn’t mean to wet your appetite
or rain on your purr-aid)

a pound of bacon
for breakfast
a bunch of bananas
for lunch
and for supper a steak
with roast potatoes
and you

you are my night
if i were a woman
would you be my knight
i mean if you were male
wearing mail
i might add

twenty-two plus twenty
makes forty-two
but even douglas
doesn’t know the question
from adam’s
garden of eve

have no meaning
but the meaning i give them
when i write them

and if i believe that
you’ve got some prime property
(canada grade a bacon?)
in florida
to sell me
but i have no money so
i can’t buy that

so why do i continue to string signifiers one after the other (as if they were words in a sentence {You’re Guilty!}) in a vain attempt to communicate my thoughts to some imaginary being called ‘reader’ (providing they get past an even more imaginary being called ‘publisher’) whom i cannot be sure exists and who has no conception of me (that was my mother’s job)

i am a person
at least i was
until i wrote these words
at which point
i became
a poem

and that me immediately vanished
by the ticking of the clock
ripped asunder
by the tickless time bomb
as under the foot of a flea
who got swept down the gutter
of gravity

imagine the coincidence
the play i saw last night
concerned gutters
kate and annie
maggie and polly and ellen
(they made a lot of offal jokes)

is that what inspired this crap
crepe-paper pancakes
inedible solid liquid

a lunar tune

to crash wildly
through jungles
of green
to chase wildly
on dewy
changing streams
in the middle
of a
changing screws
in the middle
of a
to follow
after none
but those
you don’t know
to fathom
the heights
of green

Letter to a Theist

Dear Readers,

Today as I was reading The Common Atheist’s post on 2.4 Billion and 1.6 Billion and no Bliss, I came across this posting on Three Paradoxes of Atheism by Neil Shenvi, or NAShenvi, as he calls himself.. He is a Chemical Theorist, and quite obviously, a theist. I was intrigued. You know I HAD to read that post. Not only did I have to read it, within just a few lines I HAD to reply to it. Only, there was no place for commentary. So I went to his attached website, and still had to search for awhile to find a way to contact him. You know, of course, I am not computer literate. Even moreso, I am NOT WordPress literate. But eventually I came across his email address, and following is, almost word-for-word (I corrected a few small errors I missed while proofreading):

His full quotes are in red, his broken into pieces quotes are in magenta:

Dear Neil,
May I kindly enquire why it is you have a website and a blog on Word Press, yet you choose to make claims that cannot be publicly addressed since you do not leave a space for comments. You have an idea of “atheists” in your mind, obviously, yet you seem to know little about who atheists are. I am one. I have my own idea of a cosmology that does not include a superbeing of any kind, but does include a very strong spirituality that connects all living beings together. Yet, as I say, I am an atheist. How can this be?
It is mainly because we are not a group, nor a club, and especially not an anti-religion. NO TWO ATHEISTS think the same. Yes, there are those who try to stand up and speak for all atheists, but they can only represent themselves. NO ONE ELSE! Does that surprise you? It should, because like most people who are not atheists, you are likely so bound and boxed into having strength in numbers, you have probably misplaced the knowledge that the strongest number in the world is 1. No two atheists think alike, or even pretend to think alike. Atheism is a belief in one’s own cosmology, and no one else’s, therefore you are misled from the get-go. You cannot truly fight atheism as long as you believe atheism is a quantitative philosophy. IT IS NOT!
Yet you say we believe… Please allow me to correct that statement, because WE do not believe anything. The best that can be said is “I believe!”, or “in my opinion (IMO)…” Had you looked at who you are really dealing with, you would have known this. But it seems you have taken the easy way out. As a chemical theorist I would have expected more of you, but maybe you are too busy with chemicals to understand what words mean, and who people are.
But please, let me answer the charges you have levelled against atheists, such as “it is very hard for atheists to explain why seeking the truth is intrinsically good or why we are obligated to seek it.” My first thought is, why would I try to tell anyone “seeking … is intrinsically good,” when “seeking” is not something everyone does, so it is not “intrinsic” to anything. Millions upon billions of people on this earth seek, or rather desire (which is the correct verb in this instance), to be left alone, to live their lives as they see fit. No one, as far as your argument is concerned, has proven seeking to be intrinsic to anything. It is but an unproven assumption, intrinsic to nothing. But allow me to expand your statement one step, “the truth is intrinsically good.” Goodness has its root in the word “god,” so to a believer such as yourself, the truth is intrinsically god-like. Don’t  you think that is a rather fatuous statement? You are applying your belief system where there is no call to do so. God has not been proven yet, though nor has he been misproven. The point is moot. For now we will have to agree to disagree, because we are getting into an area that has absolutely no meaning in my vocabulary, so again, IMO, I cannot argue for either side. So, let us expand your statement once more, “seeking the truth is intrinsically good.” This, I presume, is part of your argument, though it is stated as an “a priori” truth,  or “truth is truth.” But is it? My truth is not your truth, and your truth is not my truth. So, either truth is relative to the beholder of the truth, or it is non-existant. There can be no “truth” when two people hold the same “truth” to be different. Truth either lies in between the two positions, or it lies nowhere at all. You can expound your belief all you want, that is your privilege. I won’t bother expounding anything because, as I said previously, the words are meaningless to me. They are beyond argument.
Ah, at last, we come to the crux of your statement, which is “it is very hard for atheists to explain why.” I could rejoin your argument with its counter, “it is very hard for a theist to explain why,” but why bother. Ring around the rosy, a pocketfull of posy, husha, husha, we all fall down! Not I fall down, not you fall down, but WE fall down. We fail to make headway from either side to the other side. We both end up looking like (biblical) asses. Yet you seem to think you have scored some points… And you may have, if like Trump you believe all you have to do is state an assumption is true and it will become truth. But that is not how the real world works. You must either prove your side, or disprove mine. You can do neither. For my part I just ignore the entire claim as meaningless, though I feel it is my duty as a living being to point out your so-called “facts” are fantasy. You really ought to check them before you try to make them true.
And finally, “or why are we obligated to seek it.” You may be obligated to seek out truth, I am not. If I choose to seek out truth, relative as it may be, I do so for my own edification. And when I find my version of truth (I much prefer understanding to truth, it is so much more meaningful to me), I may tell it to some others, but I do not offer it willy-nilly to everyone, but to only those who are looking for it. And, I ask deliberately that no one believe anything I say unless it is meaningful to them in some way. I will never again say, “Here is truth, believe me when I tell you. I KNOW WHAT TRUTH IS!” I do know what “my” truth is, I have no idea what your truth is.
So why do you feel obligated to find out “why?” Why is such a spurious question. Any two year-old understands that. At first s/he really means it, but soon the child learns it irritates the adult, and so continuously asks “why?” There needs to be no why. Because it is there. Because I made up the question. Because I want to learn. Because I want to understand. Take your choice. But that is what why is, a choice to know or not know, to understand or not understand. You ask, Why? I answer, Why not? I could tell you why if I wanted. I doubt you could tell me why not.

“The paradox of atheism is that the atheist, while usually committed to living a life consistent with reality, cannot bear reality as he believes it actually is.” Say what? To transliterate from theist to atheist language: the self-contradictory absurdism of atheism is that I who am living a life consistent with reality (as I find it), cannot bear reality as I believe it to be.
Oh, my. Oh, my. Oh, My! I must shorten that statement to make it even pretend to be understandable: I CANNOT BEAR TO FACE WHAT I BELIEVE IS REALITY? Please, give a person some intelligence, even if only that of a two year-old child. Since “what I believe to be reality” is something that I choose it to be, why would I construct a reality that I would not want to be in? The insanity of that thought is incredible! My reality allows me to be joyous, to smile, to laugh, to cry, to scream “I am alive! And I love it!” My reality does not require that I suffer, that I be in constant pain. My reality allows me to be in control of life as I know it, not to exist at the whim of some other being. Truthfully, Neil, you think an atheist cannot bear to live? I am appalled. I am human. Why would I want life to be anything but what it is? I, for one, do not want any other life. Thank you for asking.

“I am not asking whether atheists can do good. Rather, I am focusing only on the impact that atheism has on our moral motivation.” Dear sir, it is no wonder you do not understand atheists, in particular, this atheist. What have I to do with “moral motivation?” Morality is for theists. I am an atheist. I have no need to be moral. I have no need for motivation. What I am is responsible to all living beings. What I am is self-obligated not to intentionally hurt anyone, not to take life needlessly or frivolously. To help they whom I see need help. To soothe those I see are in pain. To succor those who are destitute, and I can give help to.
And I do this not through motivation, or through any sense of morality. I do it because I care. I do it because I can. I do it with compassion. And I do it because “I CHOOSE” to do so, not because I am told to do so.
What you call morality I want no part of. No one but me can tell me what is right or what is wrong, because there is no right or wrong. There is only life! And life is what I share with every living being, including you.
But I don’t believe you will care about me, because you have no duty to care. You might care about my soul, but believe me, you would be wasting your time. I have no soul. All I have is me, my life, my spirit, and Life itself. And that, sir, is why I am writing you today, because I care that you are working with fallacious facts, unbelievable understandings, and a need to be correct in whatever you write. Be honest with your readers, Neil, they deserve nothing less.
Thank you for your time.



A Philosophy for All Living Beings (the NEW Part 2)

“Like social workers, people from all backgrounds, all races, all nationalities, all physiologies, all psychological types, all social communities, and all spiuritual communities, or lack of any acceptance of all or any above states and biologies of being, may choose for themselves what they want to believe, or even not choose to make a choice. All reactions are welcome, and all choices are acceptable. There is no right or wrong. There only is.” (quoted from the end of Part 4, or the real Part 1)

But, is that true just for humans? I must ask you, Do you really thing we are the only beings who count in our portion of reality? What about the whale, we know not it has sentience–or consciousness. What about the orangutan, possibly humanity’s closest relative? You will give me those, maybe, but certainly nothing else! Why not? Our scientists appear to have proven that the octopus, that alien creature that lives in the sea, with eight legs just like a spider, can have some sort of sentience. One octopus can watch a fellow octopus find its way through a complicated maze, making all kinds of mistakes, until she completes the maze, just once. The second octopus seemed to know she was in a maze, because she kept fighting to get out. Now put the first octopus in a second maze exactly the same as the one the second octopus went through. How many mistakes do you think he makes before he escapes the maze? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? How about, not one? He watched the other octopus just once, making all kinds of mistakes, yet he zipped through the maze like he had done it a hundred times. Will this count as sentience for you. The first octopus had not only to learn what a maze was, but also learn how to escape it, by watching his fellow octopus find her way. I don’t know exactly what that says, but it sure says something. Most adult humans would not  remember the correct way through a maze by watching one other human try and try again to get out. Are octopi smarter than humans? Apparently, at least at mazing running.

But, is sentience really a requirement to know how to live, how to be alive. Please allow me to take you on a long ride backwards in history. So far back the only history we can read are the fossils that tell us what life was like, say, 4 billion years ago. Can you even think that far back? 4 billion years is a long, long, long, long, lllooonnnnggggg time ago. The earth was still being formed, it was mostly water, and the crust of the earth was so thin that the heat from the center of the earth probably boiled the water in some places. And in that ocean, so old we called it primordial, or basically “existing at or from the beginning of time,” (Well, actually, it missed the beginning of time AND the beginning of the universe, which has been mearsured at 13.772 billion years, give or take 60 million, or any portion thereof.)  we will just say our planet, Earth, had been around only half-a-billion years when living beings began to show up. But, decendants of those early one-celled lifeforms are still around today. They live deep in cold oceans, yet even deeper in warm oceans, but where they live doesn’t matter. New lives are forming every day somewhere on Earth. And they can trace their biology back to the very first one-celled beings that came before them. In fact, every living being on Earth can trace its ancestry back to those unicellular beings who came to life (we do not know how) 4 billion years ago. But how is not important to this philosophy, but who is!

The first unicellular beings had no real building blocks of life, no DNA for certain, but probably no RNA either. Yet through the next 500-or-so million years they learned how to make RNA and DNA, and they were happy little beings. Without going into the history of one-celled lifeforms, allow me to say eventually they became two-celled lifeforms, then three-celled lifeforms, and so on until they can now be as large as hundreds of quadrillions of cells in one lifeform, the blue whale, which is not even the biggest lifeform on Earth. No one knows how many cells are in the largest lifeform, a fungus growing in Western Oregan and British Columbia. We humans are so much smaller than either of these humungous behemoths at an average of only 37.2 billion cells.

But are you seeing what I am seeing? Every living being on Earth has one physical thing in common: From smallest to largest, all lifeforms are made up of cells, the very same cells that lived in the primordial ocean 4 billion years ago. I think that is amazing! Do you?

But let’s look at this sameness a little closer, because now we know all lifeforms, no matter who, no matter what, no matter how, are all related. I always say, never believe anything I say, unless it works for you. But this is the one exception to that insistance, please believe me when I say, “We are ALL related!” Because we are. It may not seem like it, especially if you believe humans are the superior form of life on this planet, which  may or may not be (I do not think we are) true, but then so is every other species of life, be it viral, bacterial, plant, animal, or something we have not yet discovered or labelled. When we get right down to basics, “We Are One.”

And this is why I say, the philosophy I believe in is “A Philosophy For All Living Beings.” We are all made of exactly the same stuff as formed the first types of life on this young planet about 4 billion years ago. That same stuff still makes all of us up today.