Sunrise Again

Another sunrise.

I returned home from my week long trip, but still found the time to go see the sunrise on Saturday morning. How many sunsets will I see? How many sunrises? They happen every day, why do I only find time to see them rarely?

Sunrise To Moonrise, what did you do today?

The Sunrise over Cape Canaveral.

So much of this earth is unknown to me; yet I want to see each rocky coast; each shoreline and mountain and river and field and valley, and river and village. I want to look into the eyes of every human and remind them that this life is for living, and not for dying. Life is not meant to be slaved away in an office and spent one salaried hour at a time; dug out reluctantly as coins from a misers purse.

The best hours you have are being spent right now… Right now… Right now.

Today will never return. Tomorrow will soon be gone.

The Moonrise over Tunisia.

Moments To Reflect

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Life is always full of things to do, places to go, and people to avoid. I never seem to have a moment to stop and to think, to pause and to reflect on the passage of time. I am constantly finding myself transported forward in time, as the days and weeks slip from my fingers while I am not looking. Someone wise once said: “Life is yours to waste”.

How much more time will go by before I next realize how much I have missed? When my life is over, and my breath is nearly gone; will I then understand the whole story? Will I look back upon my past -my life that I chose to live one small insignificant decision at a time, and understand that I did something meaningful? Did I raise good kids who became wise adults? Help my fellow man? Live my life well? Did I have a goal and a purpose? As the small grains of sand that are moments slip through my fingers; I wonder if they will add up to anything of value, or merely fall onto the dust pile of the ages?

A year ago, I lost my brother in a car crash, he was younger than I, and I have had the thought many times since: as my memories of him fade, and time crawls by that life and memory and time are temporary; that the powerful play goes on, and that I may contribute a verse.

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, 

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) 

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer. That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

 

― Walt Whitman – Leaves Of Grass

I know that no matter what happens, I too will one day die as well…

I don’t fear death, I am indifferent to life and death, I was not consulted at the beginning of life, and I won’t be at the end, so I don’t feel particularly attached to either state, but I do not want to live so that I have regrets when it comes time to die. In all estimations of average lifespan, I have about half of my life left, so I wish to life like Marcus Aurelius.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” 

― Marcus Aurelius

-EJH

Where Do We Go From Here?

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Where do we go from here?

Anticlimax is the word I would use to describe the state of the world at the moment. As humanity as a whole we no longer really have a goal. The world has shrunken and become less interesting as more and more exploration and discovery have lessened the mystery around us, replacing full questions with half-answers.

In the time of the Reformation and the Renaissance: the intellectual pursuits were knowledge and discovery for their own sakes. In the industrial revolution that came after; thinkers were replaced with consumers, and nation-states with alliances of nations that span the globe. What used to be petty wars between small entities became global conflicts that pushed humanity to the edge of destruction, and spawned the construction of weapons that for the first time in history have the power to destroy completely their own creators.

Tell me, where do we go from here?

To the stars? Or do we turn inwards and lose ourselves in the process?

I would be happy to say we will someday have colonies on Mars and perhaps in the high cloud-tops of Venus, but I fear that we are so close to a tipping point, that a mere breath will push us over the brink into destruction. The ‘modern world’ has been saved from the edge of destruction before, can we save it from ourselves again?

Graffiti To The Gods

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Immortality.

That is the cause that drives all of us; we meat-puppets, bio-piles, self-motivated obsessed carbon life forms that we are. The reason we do everything that we do is because we die. The meaning of life is that it ends.

The scrawled hearts on the park bench, the scratched names under your desk are cries from the past; reaching yearning, calling from that abyss where all things must go. We build cities and businesses, and lives because they are graffiti to the gods, and we want them to be hard to scrub off the walls.

Think about laborers under the beating sun dragging blocks for the great pyramids, think about the lives that were spent to turn great blocks of stone into a massive tomb for the ruler of a sand patch at the end of a muddy river. Thousands and thousands of hours of back breaking work, of lives spent like devalued currency, and for what? So one man could have a glorious tomb and take his riches into the after-life? Yet ten thousand, thousand men and women and children were buried in shallow graves in the sand. No embalming for them, no hope for an afterlife for them.

You think we are any different today? We work and sweat and labor to build high-rises that will be used, and then neglected, and then dilapidated, and then razed. Gone. Cities rise, cities fall, ruins fill the landscape and the flesh-toned tide of humanity rises and falls, ebbs and recoils, fades and though it is always dying, always being born, it is a continuous thread that stretches back into history, one meager life at a time.

Do you really think you are going to make your mark on the world?

Time is death, death is time. Eventually I will be gone, you will be gone, and perhaps if we are fortunate, we may be remembered by our descendants, or if we have done something famous or infamous we may be remembered long into the future, though that future does not really matter much to those still trapped like a fly in amber locked in the past.

I look at those scratchings on a park bench, and wonder at our own mortality, the great mystery that is death. What deep scratches are you trying to leave behind?

-EJH

Ants On A Rock, Halfway Between The Atoms And The Stars.

Florida From the ISS, Where We Live

I love looking down into a valley where I can see the curve of a river, or the shape of a town, and then compare that mental image to a map of the state or country to get an idea of my size relative to the earth, or the natural formations around me.

This image was taken by an astronaut on the ISS, and shows Florida at night. I can see the shape of Cape Canaveral, and even the tiny tiny little tip of light (just below the tip of the arrow) where the bridge from Titusville to Cape Canaveral is, and where I often go to sit and watch the yachts on the Indian River. I see formations of light that I recognize as towns and areas where I have driven and walked, and ridden my bike. I can imagine how it must feel to be up in the ISS looking down and seeing familiar places, and think about the memories shared on those small specks of light. It must be an amazing feeling to be high above the earth, but close enough to recognize land-forms and visualize your place on the little blue jewel that is the earth.

I will probably never go to space, commercial space-flight is far enough out that I probably will be too old to go, but I love looking at images like this, and thinking of myself and others like little specks on a small ball of rock spinning through the cold depths of space. We are in a peculiar place, half way between the atoms and the stars, small enough to be insignificant, and yet large enough to comprehend the laws governing the heavens.

EJH

Time Is Money

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Time Is Money, Time Is Life, Therefore Money = Life

Spend your money wisely.

How much is your time worth?
Each one of us sells ourselves every working day of our lives, you sell little bits of your life to your employer every day you go to work. How much is your life worth?

The most basic economy is a barter economy, this is where I can take the milk my cow produces, (costing me lots of time and energy to prepare, care for and manage) and then barter it to you for some of the corn you grew last season, (which also cost you in time and effort) I then have what I wanted, and you have what you wanted. I don’t need to grow corn since I can turn my labor into milk from my cow, and then turn that milk into corn by trading to you. This system works only when you have something I need and I have something that you need, but what happens when you don’t need or want the milk? Perhaps you want a new rake instead?

So I take my milk down the street to the blacksmith instead and trade him the milk for the rake, and then the rake for the corn I need….. you see the problem of-course. This system has major limitations because I can never be sure I can turn my product or service into the things I need efficiently, so the market comes up with one step in-between. That step is money.

Money is simply abstract time/labor, you might not realize it, but we are still very much using the same kind of transactions as a barter economy, but what we are doing is using a sort of universal labor credit (the currency we use to make transactions) to facilitate those trades.
I still work hard to care for my dairy farm, I still expend time, energy and labor, and in return my cow gives milk which is a commodity that I can use to get other things or services with. I sell the milk to the market (anyone who wants it) and get money in return. This money is an abstract representation of my labor. It is a portion of my life and energy made into something I can hold in my hand. Money is abstract time, money is your life.

Every dollar you earn is a little bit of your life that you have sold to someone else, it is your life energy made into small paper bits that you trade with other people to get what you want, and for them to get what they want. The more money you have, the more life you have. Think about this:
If I want to build a house, I can do it 2 ways: I can either expend a great deal of time and effort and do it all myself, (very difficult in modern times because of various restrictioans, but lets imagine it on a more primitive scale) or I can have that same house built with the money I have accumulated over time, (my savings) since that money is my time turned into a tradable item, I am really just using my own time to build that house. I choose to hire a crew of workers to build it, but since they are selling me their time for bits of my own time that I have saved up, it serves the same purpose. My house gets built by the expenditure of my own life and energy.

Money is life. Perhaps not your own, since you can inherit money, or perhaps come into a windfall of wealth, but fundamentally the money in your bank account is time, and the debt you have, is a debt of time.

Spend your time wisely.

-Ezra Hilyer

Restructure.

Cut out the cruft, and streamline. Look to the goals I have set.

I need to restructure my life, to concentrate on my goals and dreams. I need to work on cutting out all the cruft and create a better faster more streamlined me.

Ezra 2.0

There isn’t enough time in one human life to do even half the things I want to do, so I have to throw out the old and choose carefully the direction I want to go. There is no room for mediocrity.

 

Balance

Life is all about balance. Between pleasure and duty; between desires and reality.
I can’t seem to find a good mix between my Maker side, and my Minimalist side.

On the one side is my obsession with creating things, fixing broken stuff, and modifying and generally tinkering constantly with electronics, bikes, cars, you name it. This makes a huge pile of parts, pieces, bits, odds and ends.

On the other side is the rest of my personality which is driven to simplify, refine, purge and clarify. I don’t like stuff lying about unorganized, and I also resent the time I have to spend thinking about the detritus of my life. I see those pictures of the minimalist rooms with everything perfectly aligned and nothing out of place and I am frustrated at my own lack of zen.

A few times a year I set out to just drop anything unnecessary, and get rid of all this clutter in my mind and also in my house, but each time I go through the boxes of parts that I keep organized, I feel torn.

Why can’t I be single faceted?

-Ezra

Career Choices

Why is it that nearly everyone expects, and wants a career that is dependent on others? A larger entity than ourselves seems to offer stability and control, we don't feel like we are all alone on the seas of change, we are anchored to something larger and greater, and that gives strength to our small petty lives. A career is something like that, it is a system of climbing up through the ranks of others who are doing just the same, and who are fighting you for a chance to be where you want to be.

I have always looked at the idea of a career with apprehension and suspicion. It seems to be only a gilded coffin to climb into and then pull down the lid, and nail it closed with your own hands. The idea of staying inside the same system year after year, and moment after moment is so limiting and degrading. I want my horizons open and the skies clear of clouds. I like to keep my bags packed and always be ready for the next challenge. After about 5 years of doing the same thing, and being the same place, I start to get itchy feet and want to head out and start new.

Several years ago, I worked in maintenance at a manufacturing plant, and there were several people who worked on the production lines who had been there for 20 years doing the same job. That would be torture for me. The complete end to everything I am. I would shrivel up and die if i didn't have variety in my life. I can simply not imagine a life that is unchanging like that. How can one possibly cope?

I remember that they were nice guys, but their whole life revolved around going home and cracking open a beer in-front of the TV. How is it possible to live like that?

-Ezra

Neutral Education

I want to send my daughter to a good school. What parent doesn’t want that for their kid? I want her to learn the skills she needs to survive in this damn mess we call a society. What I don’t want is to send her away to be indoctrinated into a narrow-minded view of the world. I don’t want to send her to the Warren PA public school system because I have seen what comes out of that school system and I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want the influences of the kids she will be around, and I don’t want the constant undermining of our parenting. I don’t want her to be indoctrinated into secular humanism or any of the other narrow mindsets of modern public schools. I don’t want her to come to see the state as the solution to all the problems in the world, I don’t want her to lose sight of who she is, or to be bullied into submission. I want her to learn critical thinking.

So the obvious choice from there is to send her to a private school, but the options around here are very limited. I want a school to focus on academics, critical thinking, and history. Once she learns to read well, the rest will naturally flow from there. I learned nearly everything I know simply from reading books and observing life, I have no reason to believe that she won’t be the same. So I want a school who will allow her to come to conclusions based on facts, who won’t be a harmful influence to the upbringing of her parents. This seems impossible here.

I most want her to attend a Montessori school, I believe that she would do well in that setting since she is a naturally very bright kid, and she takes to things with excitement. She does have trouble following tasks through to completion, but the environment that would foster her creativity is what would do her the most good. Trouble is, that there are no Montessori schools near this horrible little town of Warren PA.

There are only a few choices around here for private education, and most are nearly as dismal as the public schools. We will probably end up putting her in Lighthouse Baptist Academy in Jamestown NY. I am not thrilled at that prospect since it is just another form of indoctrination that we will have to overcome, but my wife attended there, and we do have some friends and contacts who send their kids there, so it won’t be all bad, I do think that they will give a strong early start to her education, and since we won’t be living here long-term I can allow it for the time being, but I want so much more for her. She is such a bright little kid that it would be a cruel shame for us to continue to live in this cesspool of a town and settle for a redneck education. I will not stand by and let it happen.

-Ezra

The Source Of Poetry

Poetry is not something that simply spills from the mind unbidden.

No, Poetry is an essence that travels from one being to the next; it is shared by ingestion of life.

A life absent from the poetic expressions found in the trees, the fall colors, the simple poetry of life will never give birth to anything more than a crusty paper of a lie.
One who lives on a steady diet of hard truth, dipped deep in the stone well of natural poetry will become suffused with the stuff until it weeps from the very pores, and spills dark ink upon the page already stained with tears.

-Ezra

Lucidity

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‘Lucidity’ is an absolute clarity and understanding. As if all the shadows have been cleared away, and all that remains are hard truths. In average existence, our minds are busy with the details and routines of everyday life; we often exist almost as machines. As if the conscious mind stays just behind the present, and reacts on delay.

I used to work cutting tires for a disposal service; the job was repetitive in the extreme. Pick up a tire, throw it on the table, pull the lever for the ram, reverse the ram, rotate the tire 1/3rd turn, and repeat, throw the cut piece and then rotate again, cut and throw. Then repeat the same process once again. In the mornings I would see my huge pile of tires to cut and it would seem an impossible task because my mind was too aware of time and of my own existence. But after the first 10 minutes I would begin to lose the present and become more detached from what I was doing. Time would then begin to move much more quickly and aside from interludes of clarity (or lucidity) I was just as unthinking as the machine I worked with.

Much as sleep is an existence where the conscious mind loses it’s grip and in effect dies to time for a while, only to be re-joined again upon waking, so it was for me in working that repetitive job. All those hours were lost never to come again. And what did I gain for them? Nothing but a few dollars spent on bills and items long lost to memory.

So I ask you, how many of your waking hours do you spend in lucidity? How much of your life have you really lived, not just existed?

Think back on your life, what are the moments that stand out? The seconds or hours that have defined your life?

Live in Lucidity