Visiting Our Cusp, Limits, Fearlessly

Sometimes during unsettled times when so many around us are disconnected, cold, detached, uncaring, and avoiding simple social kindness to one another, or hyper-charged looking for drama and some type of controversy—perhaps because they’ve been living too long in begrudging routine mediocrity or luxury—we lose sight of what really matters in life as simple human beings. We forget that there is very little difference between all of us. In fact, genetically less than 0.1%. If we would embrace this commonality, this intimate reality, our very fragility and vulnerability with each other in this daunting, life-giving Universe… then we are never alone. Never unwanted or not needed. Never without friend or family. This primal, very basic organic condition we all share will never, EVER change; at least not in the next 100,000 years or more.

Be that as it may, we do sometimes need reminding, refreshers in how very minuscule each of us are in this vast, never-ending, beautifully inhumane Cosmos that completely dictates our quality of life and death. Our time here is but a flash in the bucket in the biggest picture, BUT remarkably impactful for the ‘millisecond’ of life and memories with other loved ones. With so many things uncertain yet ready to experience, its marrow ready to be sucked down to the last molecule of our 80, 70, 50, 20, or 10-years of life, whatever it is to be, makes it… pure gold! Every second, every ounce! How will you spend it? How will others experience you and remember you?

I posted this years ago from Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I want to post it again, as a reminder… that we usually have only one chance to make the most of this short, mortal, beautifully remarkable gift called life really count the most. Oriah knows exactly how to best live and die in it:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

For the rest of Oriah’s powerful, to the bone and straight to the heart realism, go here.

 

If we do not test ourselves when life is good, plush for ourselves, and push our abilities our kind empathy, understanding, and what we can manage and gladly give, then how can we ever truthfully know how much our proactive help matters? How much does our charitable action count? How much does our voice count to help make other’s lives easier, happier in a purely humane way? It takes so much more to join the disadvantaged… raw in person and heart than simply saying words or writing a check. Joining all of humanity, the worst, the most unfortunate is where the most profound, deepest fulfillment of live is discovered. The alternative is a planet of unfeeling, insensitive, self-absorbed, non-humanity, as the song aptly describes…

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Patty – v.22

22nd century Automaton

Patty — 21st century Automaton, non-gendered, image from the 2014 film Ex Machina

Who is Patty you ask. Patty v.22 is the most human-like, human made automaton ever created to-date in the history of human ingenuity. Unprecedented. The prototype of Patty was actually designed, constructed, and finished in 1924. Naturally, Patty’s creator back then invested unbelievable, immeasurable time, care, love, exhausting hours, and sacrifice for Patty to become the most phenomenal automaton ever made. Or at least have the best chance of surviving. Patty-v.22 is undeniably and by far the highest standard of any automaton in the past, present, and foreseeable future. Patty-v.22 is indeed a creation and work of exquisite perfection! To appreciate just how perfectly engineered Patty-v.22 truly is let’s compare Patty’s predecessors.

Da Vinci’s Knight
Historical evidence suggests that Da Vinci may have actually built a prototype in 1495 while working under the patronage of the Duke of Milan. According to Da Vinci’s surviving sketches of key components, his knight was to be powered by an external mechanical crank and use cables and pulleys to sit, stand, turn its head, cross its arms and even lift up its metal visor. In 2002 NASA engineers built a rough resemblance of Da Vinci’s Knight based on extant notes and sketches. It was fully functional as designed.

The Mechanical Monk
According to legend, Phillip II’s son and heir suffered a head injury, and the King vowed to the heavens that he would deliver a miracle if the boy were spared. When the Prince recovered, Phillip II commissioned a clockmaker and inventor named Juanelo Turriano to build a lifelike recreation of beloved Franciscan friar Diego de Alcalá (later Saint Diego). Completed sometime in the 1560s, Turriano’s 15-inch-tall automaton is powered by a wound spring and uses an assortment of iron cams and levers to move on three small wheels concealed beneath its monk’s robe. Artificial feet step up and down to imitate walking, and the friar’s eyes, lips and head all move in lifelike gestures. Working together, these elements give the impression of a monk deep in prayer. The robot can walk in a square pattern mouthing devotionals, nodding its head and occasionally beating its chest with its right arm and kissing a rosary and cross with its left. The 450-year-old device is still operational today, and is held at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Al-Jazari’s Floating Orchestra
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Arabic polymath Al-Jazari designed and built some of the Islamic Golden Age’s most astounding mechanical creations. He invented a mechanized wine-servant, water-powered clocks and even a hand-washing machine that automatically offered soap and towels to its user. According to his “Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices,” published in 1206, he also designed a water-powered automaton orchestra that could float on a lake and provide music during parties. The contraption included a four-piece band—a harpist, a flautist and two drummers—accompanied by a crew of mechanical oarsman who “rowed” the musicians around the lake.

The Silver Swan
The still-functional “Silver Swan” is an avian automaton originally constructed by showman James Cox and watchmaker John Joseph Merlin in 1773. Using a trio of clockwork motors, the piece recreates the scene of a preening swan floating in a babbling brook. Levers and springs allow the bird to bend its neck and open its bill with startling realism, and an assortment of camshafts and glass rods create the illusion of a moving body of water with swimming fish—one of which the swan appears to catch and eat.
Seven Early Robots and Automatons, the History Channel’s website accessed Nov. 13, 2019 at https://www.history.com/news/7-early-robots-and-automatons

And then there is David Roentgen’s the Dulcimer Player he created in 1784 for Louis XIV’s queen, Marie Antoinette.

These astonishing, unbelievable human creations clearly showed that a human being’s passion, ingenuity, creativity, and pure relentless commitment, then or now, to make and maintain, care for, even build a legacy for the ages… could/can outlive time itself, or close to it. But there is a major catch, a major condition that comes with these exquisite works of praise and creation and their timeless evolution through the ages.

They cannot survive or maintain their impeccable beauty and awe without the creator’s (or creators’) regular attentiveness and willing maintenance.

Imagine if you will your own, perfected, tested and retested by years of design experience, an incomparable automaton creation, that relationship, commitment, unwavering persistence for your best possible outcomes for your best automaton to survive and perform above and beyond expectations. Can that human creation of beauty be robotically wound-up, put out on the sidewalks, streets, and highways of life, and be expected to go out and survive unscratched, return home in mint condition, let alone navigate all of those endless moving variables, road-blocks, pot-holes, stop-lights, one-way wrong-way signs, or never be rewound during its LONG real-world trek when its mechanisms are eventually spent, out of energy, exhausted? Can works of art for the ages just be wound up, left alone and expected to survive out there, let alone thrive?

Is it possible for a 1-in-a-million creation, work of art between two people, two hopeless Lovers to wind-up their automaton then expect it to return home perfectly unscathed? How would the most beautiful, work of creation, Patty-v.22, function in 1-year, 3-years, 10-years of no regular mechanical attentiveness by its creator/designer?

Why does anyone today think that a neglected creation of perfection, they once helped make or contributed in huge ways, might survive the hard test of time and neglect over many months or years? Riddle me that.

Then there is a more humbling, possibly deeper penetrating, painful epiphany of existence too many human-creators tend to avoid or run away from—the 500 lbs gorilla in the room, the pink psychedelic elephant roaring in the room you supposedly cannot hear—which is… what is anything we build/create or passionately care for or neglect expected to last for eternity? HAH! That is one very jagged, sharp pill to swallow and pass like a kidney stone!

Perhaps realizing and humbly embracing the fact we are so very imperfect designers, so-so creative engineers, poor risk-assessors or underwriters that we then expect WAY TOO MUCH of our creations as contributors or designers is in fact… never perfect 24/7 over 365 days a year for 5, 10 or even 50-years. There is truly a lot to be admired and treasured for those who readily admit their imperfections, flaws, and lack of regular attentiveness to others. I think much of the time we are very self-consumed primates basking in our own creations of brilliance while oblivious to the constant change, wear and tear of time that constantly beset our fragile immortal works of creation and beauty. Neglect is the virus and cancer of all beautiful timeless legacies.

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Live Well — Love Much More — Laugh Often — Be Humble — Learn Always

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Tin Can Connections

A few weeks back a very dear friend to me wrote and published on WordPress a most magnificent poem about chemical, ethereal, human connections, synapses, and interactions that are not so common and in my opinion come around and manifest themselves once, twice, maybe three-four times in a lifetime. When it magically occurs it hits you in the chest deep and almost paralyzes your brain, speech, and body. Esmeralda Cloud or Esme Upon the Cloud is how everyone knows the Madame. Here is her masterpiece, Melding a Small Cache of Electric, Eclectic Synapses:

The first blast came from nowhere,
To her heart . . . and to her hands.
Hands that touched his,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as no surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The first blast came from somewhere, 
In his heart . . . and in his hands,
Hands that touched hers,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as some surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The initial pillows of the explosion
Were numb with silent, sonic, relinquishment.
It blasted them light years apart . . . apart.
Apart from one, singular golden thread:
A chain of tenacious fire which endured;
Linking, binding. Holding fast.
Continuing the continuum, palm to palm,
Stretching out across vast, immutable distances.
At first of space,
And then later, time –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Together, yet alone, they hurtled backwards,
To be caught warmly, effortlessly,
By personal terra firma of autonomous worlds:
Comfortable fields of bright corn,
Arm in arm with solid landscapes of contentment.

And so it came to pass,
That the universe and its incalculable, enchanting
Dimensions were countless aeon away.
Yet the swirls on their fingertips tingled,
Mourning their loss, and reaching for the stars;
Every morning when they awoke,
And again, every evening, before they slept,
Falling into the arms of Morpheus –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Upon each diurnal course their planets revolved;
The cogs of every hour rotated.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards.
Decades, then centuries, burgeoned with life’s roller-coasters;
The pages of each life turned, emitting
Joys and happiness, loves and fears
For those who lived.
Tears and heartache
For those who died.
Passions, curiosities, trials, guiles and smiles,
All ensconced firmly within their hearts.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

They died, and were reborn:
In multifarious myriadal, twisting times,
Beyond quantification.
Different lives; differing planets;
Alternate worlds; alternative dimensions.
Male or female, alike and unlike alike.
Aeons arose and insouciantly passed,
Yet still, regardless of time’s toll,
The chain of fire between them remained;
Its warm glow oscillating back and forth in animated, rapacious pulses –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The fire burned them painfully at times.
And so it was that measures were undertaken:
He took a blowtorch to his end of the chain,
She an angle grinder to hers.
In fervid despair, they, in turn, had tried 
Hammers, sickles, gelignite, flint and steel,
Hatchets, guillotines and pick-axes,
Chewing and stretching, gnawing of teeth,
Acid baths, anvils dropped, dynamite, grenades.
In fact, the whole cartoon’ish caboodle of ACME warehouse
Weaponry was wily waved and yet . . .
All to no avail – the chain remained just as it was:
Immutable. Perpetual.
And elements of their souls were relieved –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Sometimes, within certain lives
One would twang the line,
Causing untold vibrations to electrify with joy,
Or dampen the other soul’s heart.
Sometimes, the other would do just the same.
And this was welcomed,
For it conjured pockets of remembered smiles;
Times when the stars waved at them as they flew,
Through the night skies with pounding, childlike hearts and eyes –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

One day, when innumerable aeons had passed,
And they were both distant copies of their original selves,
A spontaneous contraction of the chain occurred;
Like a cord shuttling back into a cosmic vacuum cleaner,
And BOOM!
Suddenly there they were once again;

Heart to heart.
Hands touching hands;
Wrinkled palm against palm;
Aged finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
One set of murky cataracts
Gazing into the other’s.
Toothless smiles;
Radiant gums.

And it came as no surprise.

And the time was right now.

And it was beautiful –

It was, as it has always been . . . forever and a day.

Please stop over to her most enjoyable, provocative, witty Imaginarium upon the Cloud. I promise you will not regret it! Tell her that her favorite suave, Steampunk, pervert Professor Taboo sent you. It will make her heart go pitter-patter and her knees wobbly. 🤭

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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