Blog Rating

Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« A Writer Asks for Help (Part Two) | Main | Babel's Dawn Wins Oscar »


Jesús Sanchis

I'd love to attend this seminar, but unfortunately I'll be quite busy with exams those days. Not to mention the high price of the flight to Montreal. Anyway, I suppose we may have some interesting coverage of the event in this blog.
BLOGGER: Don't count on that coverage.


14-17 April 2010: Evolang 2010. I suppose we may have some interesting coverage of the event in this blog.
BLOGGER: I'll try my best.


I don't know if this enclosed has the answers to deep time as you asked, but that it is a cosmic map that indicates the way back and forward. Hope you like it.

Gold Panning

(Heaven is high, and the emperor is far away)

(Hey man, this’ll really fuck you up! No, no, no. I don’t want to get fucked up. It’s already plenty fucked up. How do you make it better?”) - random quotes

So: Concentrating the particles of planet, the cleansing wash, the spill of mountains back into the stream:

Sometimes all you need to figure out what to do are a few choice images, like in that poem which changed your life. And who knows if mercy is selfish or political, religious or practical. And who’s to say if the children born from the defected gene pool fouled by Agent Orange living in the orphanage in Ho Chi Mihn City are a wake-up gasp to imperial design or a repudiation for defiance.

What is true is that the dioxin generated genetic malformations afflicting those orphans are so grotesque that even their parents have had to abandon them, and that spirits made of stern compassion have embraced them, unto easing their suffering, unto early death, unto endless multitudes of excruciatingly painful seconds. Not even the cruelest heart can deny its breaking upon seeing a spider limbed teen-aged boy knob his double-kneed way toward you, or turn your mercy to murder by pillow upon seeing the hydrocephalic baby who, also, is the child of your country.
I don’t know how they die. But I do know there’s more than a million of them, with more to come. Yet the boy is smiling. He’s cared for, he is loved, he is touched.
The kind of love and compassion needed to care for them may be built in to the human spirit, but it still needs to be paid for. Places like where they live need roofs, walls, beds, linen, medicine, clothing, victuals, safety, and it is each of our hearts that provides it.

In daydream classrooms many of us children would project ourselves into the pasts of our progenitors, picking out nuggets from the wonderful purity of the Yuba and Feather River placers, just finding the gleaming metal like gathering the elements of our souls.
We could listen to the stones yammering their ancient songs, drift on the Ponderosa scent, the water a kind of everlasting promise inherent in a gold stream. Trout, rhododendron, rattlesnakes, minnows in the shallows, sometimes even a sapphire or garnet at the bottom of your pan.

For years my reward for doing the good work was a trip to the old placers near Downyville, a place where they take gold mining serious. My trips were never for turning a profit, but that which accrues to the soul. Over the years I accumulated enough to make a pretty show of dust and pickers, weight on the scale.

Then I saw a video of the Agent Orange Orphanage in Ho Chi Mihn City and asked my wife to take all the gold I found over my life time and send it to those kids when I died. Waking from a selfish dream I asked just how much good would my gold do then, when the need was now?

And those are all good reasons. “I am a philanthropist, bringing light to a dark world!” is a bit condescending. To wake up some morning and realize that you yourself have actually accomplished something real in the real world is also a good reason. Nobody needs to know you did it, only that it was done and how to do it again until it no longer needs to be lauded.
So, that morning, being alive now in the real world where those real children are suffering I sent them all my gold. And since I genuinely enjoy digging for gold, I’ll keep sending what I find to them.
It’s not atonement, or reparations, or identification. It’s not even mercy. It’s just love. It’s also amazing how seldom one gets there, but you should try to, sometime. And I’ll continue to encourage others to do the same, because it makes just sense.
Gold, the true and fundamental medium: the stuff of ancient treasure, the ancient work stretching back a thousand lifetimes, the face masks that sent pharaohs into forever, artistic value adding. And the reasons for getting gold are as numerous and mysterious as the origins of mercy.
Mercy is our most powerful and definitive asset. So, the tithe from digging is the waterwheel. Fame and recognition, adulation and glitter are fleeting as an oil slick. Work and love are what make the world turn. What’ll it be?

The reward is that you’ve joined Whitman’s gang of kosmos, the dharma bums, the brotherhood of man, the mystic order of the mystic order. By committing to caring action, striking a pact with sacred duty, you cast your lot with the good guys. If you’re eating, you’re getting paid.

Other mercy’s may not be so easily sidestepped.

Drill and blast, drill and blast, that’s what the men around here do; their waitress wives of the Downyville miners inform. And the well-being of the world always does come down to one person making the right choice at the right moment. Better to be ready.

In most religions practicing charity is a way to gain merit - some as a way to heaven, some as a way to a better reincarnation; better though done simply because it makes the world work better: reminding the exquisite light, the heart enfolding upon its love, she ensouled, that is the promise. Hallelujah.

Dan A. Barker - 8/12/’06

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