Frank Herbert – Author

I was fifteen years old the first time I read Dune. I had been an avid reader since I was eight years old, when I began reading novels in the third grade. I read the books that inspired me over and over again, I read all kinds of things, but at that point in my life I read mostly fiction, and with that said, at the age of fifteen, I found Dune to be somewhat dense, and challenging.

I had taken that first copy from the carousel of the library at the alternative high-school I was attending. I read it, perhaps not as carefully as I should, but as carefully as I could, and I went to see the motion picture when it came out later that year.

I found David Lynch’s adaptation to be one of the worst movies ever made, and with that Dune passed from my thoughts for a time.

In the summer of 1988 I was visiting a friend in Montana, and I picked up a copy of Dune from the bookstore in Bigfork. I needed something to read on the bus ride home to Minneapolis.

Four years later I was able to engage the book in a completely different way, after the first two pages I was hooked. I was nineteen years old, and in the intervening years I had learned enough and grown enough to understand what Frank Herbert was getting at.

Dune changed my life.

I would read it and all six books in the original Dune series, eight times in sum, as well as everything else Frank Herbert wrote on my quest to absorb his wisdom.

He was a giant.

I have given away dozens of copies of Dune throughout my life, and recommended it to more people than I can count, always with the words this book will change your life.

Many of them came back to me to tell me that it did.

Frank Herbert wrote science fiction, but he wrote science in his fiction had less to do with spaceships and laser beams (though it had those things), and more to do with the science of politics, religion, ecology and psychology.
What is most significant about Frank Herbert’s writing is this: he opens a window for the reader on what it means to be human, and he asks open ended questions about the range of human potential, in a way that allows the reader to believe in those possibilities for themselves.

Frank Herbert is inspiring.

He makes the reader believe that we can do more, be more, see more of the world than our sense sallow…if we are disciplined, if we are attentive to the world around us, and if we cultivate within ourselves the desire to live a life without fear.

He died thirty-four years ago today, when he passed a heroic light left the world.

 

Given First – 2020.02.11
Frank Herbert

Halloween

When I was young I imagined that Halloween was for children.

It was costumes and candy and imaginary play.

Halloween was an escape from reality, it was a chance to take a glance into another world, to pierce the veil of the real and the true.

We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases slung over our shoulders, taking candies at nearly every door we knocked on, with every bell we rang.

We scoffed at the people who only handed out little bibles, or toothpaste, or home-made fare, thinking they were doing something good.

We would rather have nothing at all, than have those things, which quickly found their way into the trash.

I remember the drill of searching through our candy piles at the end of the night, looking for suspicious things, open packages.

We understood that some people hated children and would slip needles, or razor blades into the candies.

I never found anything dangerous, in all of those years.

Halloween is not all fun and games, though, it has a deeper meaning, than we were taught as children, a long history

Halloween is was not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches.

In the celebration of Halloween an ages old conflict is present, between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion,” the customs of the pagans, paganus, pagani, the country folk and their persistent traditions lurking just beneath the surface of the Christian rites.

On the Christian Calendar; Halloween is All Hallows Eve, a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before, who had gone to meet the maker.

For the old pagans; whose traditions are tightly interwoven with the church, Halloween is a celebration of the dead, plain and simple, of all of the dead, of the saints and sinners who have passed from this world together.

Halloween is an acknowledgment of the dead whose spirits live among us still; good and bad, honored or not, and more often than not Halloween celebrates the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening and the weird, those qualities and characteristics that every person hides within themselves, because they are in fear of the world.

I was fourteen the last time I went Trick or Treating, and really, I was only chaperoning my younger brother, I was not dressed up, but I took some candy nonetheless.

In that same year I remember the Pastor at my church lamenting the popularity of the pagan festival. Believing that the Christian feast should be honored above it instead, or better yet, to the exclusion of anything else.

There was no fun in that.

In the years that followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%, so the media outlets say.

Halloween is no longer considered safe or wholesome. It has yielded to the real dangers of the real world.

For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or any evidence of magic.

There are real horrors in the world, package bombers and angry middle-aged white guys with guns.

We have a pumpkin colored demagogue for a president, spreading fear night and day at every turn.

2018.10.31

Given 1st – 2016.10.31

Emergence 3.0 – Section Four, Kathy; Part Twenty-six, Adulthood; Chapter Six, Religion

Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 195, Saturday
July 14th, 2018

Chapter Six: Religion

Religious conflicts began to shape the later 20th, and the early 21st centuries. Kathy’s input regarding the origins of these conflicts was invaluable.

Current events had to be understood in their historical contexts. The histories of the tribes moved them long after the members had forgotten the particular details of a broken promise, an injustice, or a blood feud.

Kathy’s ability to pinpoint the specific moments in time that were the antecedents of those tribal conflict was uncanny. If she could not reach the understanding through her own ancestral memories, she could commune with the spirits of the dead, she could pull the insight she needed from the nous-sphere, through the cynergenic field.

Her memory produced volumes of insight for her handlers, but questions along those lines left her deeply disturbed. It caused her to dread the entire human race, the vile antipathy people held toward one another, and how easy it was for the bucolic life of a farmer, or a herdsman to become twisted by greed and to drive them toward the calamities of war.

The human psyche was incredibly easy to manipulate. People were supple, pliable, soft and reducible.

Human beings had a vast capacity for self-delusion, and a profound willingness to be complicit in it.

In the midst of research Kathy often felt the instinct to flee, to run away from everything, to never return.

Just as she had been abandoned by her parents, Kathy wanted to abandon the world.

She desperately wanted to be alone.

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Faith Seeking Understanding

Belief Beyond Knowing

Does God exist?

Does the universe, and do we human beings as a part of it, have a purpose beyond the fulfillment of our immediate desires?

Is the entire construct we call reality just an accident, a random sequence of events that are completely unnecessary, un-called for, and as meaningful as the void?

Listen to Aristotle: one moment instantiates another, there is a cause behind every event (no matter how small), but there cannot be an infinite chain of causality.

There must be a first cause, a first source and center to all that is, a prime mover we call God.

God exists!

This is more than a statement of faith.

We human beings are not merely organic machines.

The existence of the universe is not an accident.

We are not gears spinning in a wind-up toy.

The universe is not a random event, an unnecessary phenomena. It is not the product of chance.

The universe did not emerge from nothing, because nothing is nothing, and from nothing, nothing comes.

Saint Augustine was wrong when he penned his doctrine creation ex nihilo, for ex nihilo nihil fit.

In nothingness there is not even the chance for something, not even the possibility of something.

Nothing is not, it does not exist.

As human beings we have been given the cognitive capacity to comprehend the notion of the infinite, but we cannot imagine it in its particularities.

The universe itself is the existential infinite, the eternal thing/being, that/who beneficently confers the reality of existence on every other thing and being.

While I cannot know it, while I cannot grasp it in its entirety, I can imagine the universe without end, imagine the unbound material order, a limitless electromagnetic field, with every galaxy, every star, every world, and every person in it, conscious and aware.

I can imagine it, and believe in it, though I cannot know it in the same way that I know my name, or yours, the name of our world, the star we orbit, or the spinning milky-galaxy we were born into.

In science, God is the first cause.

In philosophy, God is the one being who exists sui generis, by its own self, independent of any other being, while beneficently conferring the reality of existence on everything that is.

In religion, God is the universal and loving Parent.

My personhood, my sentience, my consciousness, as well as that of every other person on Earth, is a construct of tissues and neurons, of fibers and cells.

We are an electromagnetic phenomena.

My own consciousness is a minor part, a miniscule subset of the broader electromagnetic field that envelopes the world I was born to, Earth.

Planet Earth, our mother, is alive, she is sentient as well. Her sentience is different than mine, but nonetheless real, Demeter, Ceres, Gaea…you have so many names.

Like us, the field of her electromagnetic consciousness is but a subset of a broader field, with our bright yellow star Sol Invictus, at its center…and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.

The entire universe is one vast electromagnetic field, a field that carries within it each and every person, planet, star, thinking and alive, as a subset of it.

If it makes me a pantheist to call this thing, this field, this structure God, so be it, this being is God. As a twenty-first century Christian, not bogged down by the neo-platonic dualism that provided the intellectual framework of Christian thought, I am untroubled by that heresy.

Pantheism, pan-entheism, these systems of belief are not contrary to the teaching of Jesus, at all.

Logic tells me that these claims are true, my faith is ratified by my understanding of science, and ratified directly through my own experience.

Knowing, is a tangible force. Certainty is a feeling.

What a person believes they know is what drives them.

This is true to the extent that our constructs of knowledge are always the controlling factor in the decision making processes we are engaged in. This is true whether or not the knowledge we possess, the things and categories that we imagine to be true, are objectively true and accurate.

Truth does not motivate us, only what we believe to be true about the things we believe we know, whether or not our knowledge is real, only that motivates us.

The truth beyond all knowing is this; while lies are counterfactual, which is to say, they does not represent what is real, the lies we tell ourselves are real, regardless of the their factuality.

A lie is a lie, and that is true, I know it.

When it comes to our discussion of God, the infinite and eternal creator, the source of all things and beings, the navigation of objective realities amid the hidden currents of relativism becomes tricky.

How do we test our assumptions?

How do we come to understand the veracity of our faith?

First we first believe it, we must act as if the things we believe are true, we must trust in the propositions that we have put forward, and we must do it without reservation.

Again, we must act as if our beliefs are true. If we are able to, the world itself will provide us feedback regarding the integrity and coherence of our faith, and we must be sensitive to it.

We must operate under the pretense that the beliefs we hold are true, we must do this without reservation, and then incorporate those beliefs into our daily lives, and then we are able to generate feedback from the world around us, which is evidence concerning the value of those beliefs.

Were your beliefs helpful or hurtful, kind or mean?

The community you live in will let you know, it will tell you in thousands of little ways.

Did your beliefs promote justice or injustice, violence or peace, did they harm or heal?

Be mindful and you will see.

By the fruits of our actions we will be known.

With certain knowledge we may determine how good it is to believe what we believe, what good it promotes in our lives, and in the lives of others, whether our beliefs illuminate, edify and harmonize with the world.

We will see if they do not.

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words – Section Four, Kathy; Part Twenty-six, Adulthood, Collected Chapters

 

Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 190, July 9th, 2017

 

Chapter One: A Place in the World

 

As she advanced in her skills and gained control of her powers, Kathy’s sensitivity to the motives of those around her became profound.

 

The intentions of the analysts who questioned her were an open book.

 

Millions of dollars were spent to mask them, to foster in her a sense of belonging, with ever increasing difficulty.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 191, July 10th, 2017

 

Chapter Two: Valued

 

In her work place, every little detail of her environment was contrived, scripted, fake.

 

No effort was spared to engender within Kathy feelings of safety, and love.

 

In her youth Kathy saw through the contrivances, while valuing the sentiments behind it, taking those for genuine.

 

Over time all the false fronts vanished. She was cynical.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 192, July 11th, 2017

 

Chapter Three: Work

 

The analysts came to see her nearly every day, Sundays being her only respite.

 

Kathy listened to them.

 

She read their papers, watched their films, and when they put questions to her, she shared her insight from the depths of her memory.

 

She read ancient languages, interpreted obscure symbols, and saw the patterns in everything.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 193, July 12th, 2017

 

Chapter Four: Career

 

Kathy loved problem solving. She took joy in it, helping people pleased her. It gave her a sense of purpose.

 

In the cases she was presented, or the analysis she was asked to give, the greater the complexity and length of time, the better it was for her.

 

She was fascinated by encountering new things.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 194, July 13th, 2017

 

Chapter Five: National Security

 

In order to maintain their own secrecy, her handlers deliberately narrowed Kathy’s focus.

 

They sought her understanding of minute details, doing everything they could to limit the information that she could glean from them.

 

She kept her full abilities masked.

 

She never revealed to them how easy it was for her to penetrate their thoughts.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 195, July 14th, 2017

 

Chapter Six: Religion

 

Religious conflicts began to shape the later 20th, and the early 21st centuries. Kathy’s input regarding the origins of these conflicts was invaluable.

 

Her ability to pinpoint specific moments in time that were the antecedents of tribal conflict was uncanny.

 

Her memory produced volumes of insight, but questions along those lines left her deeply disturbed.

 

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #55Words

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 196, July 15th, 2017

 

Chapter Seven: Writing

 

The intelligence operatives stopped visiting Kathy in person, they engaged her by proxy, through handlers.

 

They submitted questions in writing.

 

She in turn wrote papers giving detail, and context, responding to the questions they submitted to her.

 

Oftentimes she did not answer questions directly, she supported their work by helping them to ask better questions.

 

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Emergence 2.0

Section Four, Kathy

 

Part Twenty-six, Adulthood

 

Collected Chapters

01 A Place in the World

02 Valued

03 Work

04 Career

05 National Security

06 Religion

07 Writing

 

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #55Words

 

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