Thursday, June 30, 2011


Communing with my muse in silent rapture,
I sit with joyful poise, intent to capture
On my lap pad what visionary glints
Spontaneously arise—those subtle hints
That something beyond matter matters more,
A realm of meaning I might well explore
And must, if I’m to comprehend aright
The cryptic Cosmos in its truest light.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I have ascended the mountain to find Paragonia, or a vision of Paragonia, or at least a glimpse of a part of it.

High in the Colorado Rockies, beyond Boulder, lies Estes Park and an exhilarating YMCA retreat center campus with acres of pine cabins and lodges, a dining hall, a general store, a chapel and plenty of undulating roads and trails from which to see the surrounding vista of green, forested hills and distant, snow-draped mountain peaks.

I went to lofty Estes Park for four days last week to attend a conference of English teachers and professors.  Our topic was “Teaching Literacy for Love and Wisdom,” an apt title for a group called the Assembly for Extended Perspectives on Learning (AEPL), because it would take such a far-out perspective as theirs to consider such immeasurable qualities as love and wisdom in the bean-counting realm of academia, where learning outcomes are weighed and calculated, and test scores are worshiped.

“Paragonia” is my name for an as-yet imaginary place that is neither a never-never Utopia nor an evanescent Brigadoon, but which shares with both a visionary hopefulness that this world of ours can glow and grow into a saner and more sustainable habitat for all creatures, great and small—human beings most especially, grown wiser and more humane.

What I found in Estes Park was a group of educators working to humanize their profession by proposing that education, in the area of “English” in particular, should address fundamentally the highest human needs for moral, ethical and spiritual development, and not simply literal literacy or the technical analysis of texts.

Literature should help to humanize human beings, opening our way to discovering the further reaches of our potentials, even examining and nurturing our souls.  Or so literature would, as would the teaching of literacy, in Paragonia.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hi!  I
’m a No-see-um.
Bye, bye,
Carpe diem!


Sunday, June 19, 2011


      “In dreams begin responsibilities.”
                         —old Chinese saying

If I’m responsible for what I dream,
Then all the more am I for my belief
In this or that.  Though life is not a play,
Still, what’s at play inside my head will work
To shape the seeming world in which I live,
And my beliefs could use a little help.

Though many say belief in God can help
With everything, some say that’s just a dream,
A comforting illusion kept alive
By wish and hope and fear, a dead belief
Debunked by science long ago, the work
Of superstitious minds—or rather play.

And yet I much admire the mind at play.
I think that what we do in play can help
Us live more happily and even work
To rectify our wretched days, as dream
Can pacify our fretful nights.  Belief
Is but a kind of dream by which we live.

You think we live by fact alone?  We live
By so much more than what we know.  We play
At knowing, being scientists.  Belief
Is the hypothesis we form to help
Imagine what is real.  It is a dream
Conceived in hopes to show how things might work.

By such-like suppositions, which may work
Or not, we stumble on and learn to live
By our approximations, though we dream
Of finding truth.  Meanwhile we mostly play
With our As-Ifs and call them Real.  They help
Us through the night.  We’d die without belief.

And we’d do best to cultivate belief,
To choose beliefs that serve us well, that work
To energize our deeds.  Belief can help
Us struggle against odds, and help us live
Into reality what first was play:
We are responsible for what we dream.

What first we dream evolves into belief
Which, put in hopeful play proves it can work
To let us live and thrive.  Belief does help.


Thursday, June 16, 2011


My college roommate used to sit and brood
For sullen hours in an easy chair;
Then sometimes in the night he’d rise and stare
Semi-recumbent, fixed, like someone who’d
Just seen a ghost, though he was still asleep.
We roomies thought it cool to gawk at him
While cracking jokes throughout the interim,
Not knowing he was somewhere rich and deep.

But decades later, Paul and I conversed
At a conference on Noetic Science,
Where he revealed that he was blessed, not cursed,
By visions of a spiritual alliance,
And other-worldly beings guided him—
Angels, perhaps, entrancing Seraphim.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


What is the aim of education we
Who teach intend to reach by what we do?
How is it that our students ought to be
For all the goals we ask them to pursue?

The simple answer is: their heads are wise,
Their hearts are soft, and yin with yang complies.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


“I hold these Truths to be self-evident”
Employs a phrase I wish I could endorse,
Implying certain Truths were Heaven sent:
Hence valid and unquestionable perforce.

But all the truths I know seem relative,
Contingent on peculiar circumstance,
Not perfect Absolutes by which to live,
At best but dreams that bind me in a trance

Until the spell dispels and, undeluded, I
Return to skeptical uncertainty,
Disheartened for a while, until I try
Yet one more hope for True Philosophy.

     What joy, what cosmological relief
     If I could own True Knowing, not belief!


Monday, June 13, 2011


Assuming there’s a better way to live
Allowing Earth to flourish and survive,
We need to take a path that’s positive,
The wisest that clear thinking can contrive.

Outmoded ideologies must die,
The failed experiments of duller days,
And since there’s time for only one last try,
Enlightenment must sweep away our haze.

If we can find the way to wake in time
And change the course of errant history,
Inspired by a wiser paradigm,
We’ll learn at last what we are meant to be:

     Exemplars that the Cosmos can evolve
     To crack the code our forebears could not solve.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


The human body/brain tunes in to Mind,
The source of all cosmic intelligence,
By which the universes are designed:
That Oversoul from which all things commence.

Yet what we ordinarily perceive
Is but a narrow band of the whole scale,
As wide, though, as we’re willing to believe
Letting Mind’s inspiration fill our sail.

Though few, so far, have found how to awaken
From humankind’s willful oblivion,
We need not stay abandoned and forsaken,
Since we may seek reunion with the One:

     Attuning our receivers to the Source,
     Setting our wayward species back on course.


Saturday, June 11, 2011



(the APEL 2011 conference theme)

I decided to become an English major in college because the literature I’d read and studied by that time had touched, moved and inspired me, occasionally even transporting me to realms of wonder and glory.

I enjoyed reading fiction and poetry (some much more than others) and could think of no other field I’d rather to play in (though both philosophy and psychology also beckoned).  And I preferred the metaphor of field to the sterner word of discipline

Yet what I found out as I pursued college courses in English was that the “discipline of English” was rather more like science than sport, more rigorous analysis than larking about in joyful ecstasy—the kind of feeling I’d had when reading Emerson and Frost in high school, or Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov as a young teenager.

Studying the science of literary analysis was the price I had to pay to graduate as an English major: learning to discuss techniques with technical terms, and literary motifs more than human motivations.  Writing analytically and critically rather than emotively or impressionistically was how we played the lit-crit game of dissecting literary specimens.  We studied specialized “approaches” to literature, various critical “methodologies,” from the historical and the moral to the very latest mode then (which never quite found a name): the New Critical method, all the rage in the ’50’s.  Since then, of course, have evolved a plethora of esoteric postmodern literary-critical methods: psychoanalytic, Marxist, new historicist, structuralist, deconstructionist, feminist, and post colonialist, for example—all requiring careful indoctrination into the specialized terminologies of each tribe.

More heartening to me, however, has been the parallel development over the last fifty years of creative writing programs in colleges and universities, which permit students smitten with literature to make some of their own, usually in imitation of contemporary idols and fads.  At least, though, they get to feel their way into the methods and manners of the models they emulate, rather than detach themselves academically as clinical, critical observers of specimen texts.

It seems to me that the aim of developing a “Literacy for Love and Wisdom” is to respond to the disheartenment I’ve felt over the last half century as an English major, teacher and professor: the disappointment that talking about being “touched, moved and inspired” by reading literature has been dismissed as simple-minded “impressionism,” unworthy of well-credentialed professional literary analysts who must compete for credibility with sophisticatedly theorized colleagues in rival disciplines.  We’re supposed to develop our intellects, think with our heads, not—gasp!—feel with our hearts.

    To such ears, “literacy for love and wisdom” sounds oxymoronic, because literacy means learning literary theory and critical methodologies, a job for professionals, not amateurs, i.e., lovers.  Love and wisdom are nebulous notions, finally undefinable, not the stuff of knowledge—more gnosis than knowing, subjective not objective—not science.  Yet scientism is our ruling Western ideology, and it does not admit of epiphanies.  It does not credit heart-knowledge, even though love and wisdom arise in our hearts as the fruits of intuition not cognition, of empathy not theory.

But the adolescent lover in me of Emerson and Frost (one who later grew to love Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Dickinson, Austen, Brontë, Bishop, and many more enchanters) still endorses as valid and valuable our efforts to encourage students to be touched, moved and inspired by the affecting literature of Great Books.


Friday, June 10, 2011


for Ervin László

The universe is mental, first of all:
From thought emerge the things that fill the void,
The source of life and creatures great and small,
By whom, in their degrees, Mind is enjoyed.

Mind matters; not the other way around,
As if from inert stuff Mind might arise;
Things need a ground of being more profound,
A matrix from which forms may realize.

Therefore, if things aren’t going very well,
Attend instead to how your mind’s attuned
For in your mind the keys to heaven and hell
Both hang, by which your life is raised or ruined.

     The God by which reality’s designed
     In the Akashic Field is Cosmic Mind.


Thursday, June 9, 2011


My worldview’s slowly turning upside down,
My paradigm is shifting inside out,
Now everything’s a verb that was a noun,
And former certainties are cast in doubt.

Once everything was mass and energy,
Which laws of physics tidily described,
And “Spirit” but an antique fantasy,
Delusion from what maniacs imbibed.

Despite what cautionary skeptics urge,
Materialists insisting there’s no more
Than meets the eye, who eagerly would purge
The metaphysics mystics still adore,
I’ll cast my lot with visionary folks
And be the butt of blind men’s jibes and jokes.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I’m not religious, bound by any creed,
But tied to That from which beliefs proceed.
I honor what old saints and sages found
Depicted as the Light with which they’re crowned.

Their aura of illumination shows
The transcendental spirit that arose
From their enlightened hearts and shining minds,
A kind of liberation that unblinds.

And what they saw I’ve since seen feelingly
Probing the Oversoul revealingly,
For which I thank Ralph Waldo Emerson
For leading me to such a luminous One.

     Though that experience was long ago,
     The radiance in my heart remains aglow.


Monday, June 6, 2011


Religion rightly ties us back to God
(From whom we’re loosed when we arrive on Earth),
Yet not as captives ruled by sword and rod,
But voluntarily as befits our worth.

Though we may fondly fancy we’re unique,
Determining our own erratic course,
We’re godlings in our souls and rightly seek
To reconnect ourselves with our true source.

This cosmic game of Hide and Seek displays
Its whimsy in the synchronicities
Befalling us to guide us through our maze
Of wayward days toward true felicities.

     The winners are those souls who reawake
     And are bound homeward for their Maker’s sake.


Sunday, June 5, 2011


Imagine Mind as frequencies of waves
Abounding in the universal net
And each of us a node that traps and saves
The brightest information we can get.
Each brain has access to infinity,
Yet would be overwhelmed by so much knowing
And therefore limits what it comes to see:
How much we do affects our rate of growing.

Our goal, then, ought to be to fathom Mind
As deeply as we can, training our brains
To operate as well as they’re designed,
Transcending all that hinders and constrains,
Then, with technologies we fabricate,
We may in time assume a godlike state.


Saturday, June 4, 2011


Imagine a place we’ll call “Paragonia” because it represents the paragon of human societies, a model of excellence and a peerless example.  And, since paragon literally means a whetstone, along which you sharpen a dull blade, think of Paragonia as a tool by which we can sharpen our own dull social systems.

But distinguish Paragonia from Utopia, since utopia (another word with roots in Greek) means not a good (eu-) place, but no (u-) place, a Never-Never land of mere imagination (specifically the imagination of Renaissance humanist Sir Thomas More in 1516).

Rather, our imagined Paragonia is a proto-reality, a vision of how things might and ought to be—like the blueprint of a unique building not yet constructed, or a new spacecraft, not yet flown.

While the potential repertoire of human behavior is very wide, culture serves to limit and govern which behaviors will actually be expressed in any society.  Therefore, if we aim to alter certain harmful behaviors in groups of people, then we must design and institute apt adjustments in culture—in customs and mores.

The point of imagining Paragonia, therefore, is to conceive of human behaviors more salutary than those now prevailing and then to reprogram our attitudes and actions accordingly, altering outmoded and obnoxious lifeways.

Although to imagine Paragonia is a speculative and visionary project, it aims to be not merely fanciful but practical: to serve as an inspiration and a guide to the development on Earth of “advanced” societal systems, cultures, customs and practices—our ways of being human.



Descartes’ ruling delusion has finally dissipated from the minds of many scientists, who now recognize the limited applicability of the materialist premise for describing the operations of the universe.

Granted that immense credit goes to the theorizing of Descartes, Newton and other reductive scientists who have limited their attention to the mechanistic dimensions of matter and energy, mass and force, thereby establishing properties and laws of physics—to the exclusion of metaphysics, discarded as superstitious and unreal.

But now the “ghost in the machine” has returned, not to haunt us but to liberate us from the Flatland of two-dimensional consciousness, devoid of spirit/mind.  The Cosmos has been re-enchanted and now not only says but sings.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


It seems all I believe, I have been taught
And given formulations predefined
So that I comprehend things as I ought
And not according to my private mind.

For what a danger to society
It were to have a skeptic heretic
Declare an alternate reality:
Oh, no—pronounce him lunatic or sick!

But still, my intimations will not fade
That something beyond measure, mass and force
Pervades the universe by which we’re made:
A cosmic intellect that is our Source.

     Though I be ostracized for such a view,
     It is the course I’ll ardently pursue.