Saturday, March 31, 2012



In brief, the purpose of our collaborative class project is to investigate and evaluate an existing proposal (promulgated by such organizations as the World Wisdom Alliance, GlobalShift, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Wisdom University) for the development of a “Global Wisdom Culture.”  Such an intentional culture would upgrade current cultures that are more provincial, outmoded and perilous to the well-being of life on Earth.

By developing a model of a Global Wisdom Culture (GWC), proponents aim to persuade others to subscribe to its premises and principles, and to practice new behaviors self-evidently beneficial to humanity and to Earth’s ecosystems.

Although Earth’s peoples have perennially experienced “culture wars” among various clashing ideologies and belief systems, causing untold death and destruction, the GWC initiative intends to proceed peacefully and persuasively by promoting as common sense those modes of belief and behavior that lead demonstrably to communal harmony, amity and flourishing, as reckoned by good science and clear experience.

Given our ever-developing technologies of world-wide communication, virtually all peoples are now “wired” together as never before as citizens of Earth, as global citizens in need of a wise global culture to guide our collective behavior and to cope with the urgent problems caused by our proliferating population, by our consumption and despoiling of Earth’s riches and resources, by our reckless animosities, and by our pervasive insanity or lack of wholesomeness: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

We desperately need a Global Wisdom Culture to which we can commit ourselves willingly and ardently, for Earth’s sake.


Thursday, March 29, 2012


     Here at the leading edge of history
     Humanity stands at our last frontier:
     The gateway to that Golden Age to be
     When finally our intellect grows clear.
     At last, and with so little time to spare,
     We are about to enter a new age
     Of Global Wisdom to displace despair
     And darkness, folly, misery and rage.
     We have the knowledge and technology
     To chart a better course for all of Earth,
     Though we still lack one thing collectively
     Without which nothing can arise of worth.
          For all the plans and schemes we may devise
          Will come to nothing—if they are not wise.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


Though you might think how strict the sonnet’s rules
Must be, constraining and confining what you say,
As if you plowed a furrow hauled by mules,
Making forced turns an arbitrary way,
Instead of freely turning where you will,
Being moved by whim or inspiration’s breeze
With no pre-set exigencies to fill
Of Rhyme and Meter’s tyrannous decrees.
Yet you’d be wrong to abandon such a form
Before you mastered it and found, to your
Surprise, that never-thought ideas swarm
To mind by some mysterious allure
The rules provoke to generate a mood
In which the poet and the form collude.



Who you are, where are you headed in your life, and what will become of you much depend on how you regard the future, how you imagine the frontiers of human progress—although right now as a college undergraduate that may seem absurd to you.

It may seem absurd that something so large and vague as “the future” would have any notable effect on your day-to-day doings as a “college kid,” or even on your long-range plans, if you have any.  Your concerns are mostly immediate, here and now and tomorrow, with maybe a worry about what major or minor to choose, and a slight anxiety about what career you might enter or what post-graduate schooling you might pursue.

Even so, I would say that the kind of vision you imagine of what the world you will enter as a young adult looks like will make a difference in how you will live.  How hospitable will it be?  How dangerous?  What responsibility should you take as a citizen of the world for deciding on the best perspectives, principles and policies to shape our governing bodies, as well as to guide your private life and career?

One of Rollins’ stated goals is to prepare you for “responsible citizenship,” which is a rationale for my devising a course called “Writing about Human Frontiers.”  It is our responsibility to help decide what values and ideals should underlie the policies and practices we devise to form and transform the world we live in, recognizing now ever more clearly the stressful impact that our burgeoning species imposes in Earth’s ecosystems.

Our population is exploding, our technologies are advancing exponentially, and yet our global wisdom quotient lags dangerously behind the pressures humanity imposes on our planet.  It’s time to wake ourselves up to our perilous predicament and learn to avert the impending breakdown of Earth’s vital systems—and rather break through to the kind of sanity, simplicity and sustainability that would characterize us as a mature and wise species who act as good stewards to our Mother Earth.

So, how do you fit into this picture?  How are you going to shape your life course to aid the breakthrough effort, rather than abet the breakdown now in progress?  Where do you think your own latent talents may serve and save our planet from further degradation?  Think about that.

Think and write an essay in which you try to connect your interests, concerns and talents to problems and issues in the world that need our attention ad that call for our intelligent and capable commitment to be resolved.  More specifically, as a college student, what do you feel most strongly called to learn about and to develop capabilities in that might be useful to the world’s needs?



for Peter Russell

  It turned out when our species failed at last
  And proved the bane of life in Earth’s career,
  Concluding in one all-consuming blast
  That made our race completely disappear,

  We were succeeded in supremacy
  By mammals of a kinder, gentler kind
  Whose vast intelligence evolved to be
  Pacific and a wiser mode of mind.

  The dolphins and the whales innately knew
  What Jesus and the Buddha came to see
  And tried to teach us all, though very few
  Could follow them and miss catastrophe.

       Our fall was fortunate, but not as Milton meant,
       For clearly our demise was Heaven sent.



for Lewis Duncan

        A nanovangelist came to our class
        To demonstrate how humans will surpass
        Ourselves through technological advance
        And soon outgrow our mortal circumstance:
        Not dying is an option we may choose
        When scientists interpret all the clues
        To how cells operate and crack the codes
        Directing how vitality erodes.
        Once deathless, we’ll discover how to nourish
        New latencies that soon will fully flourish
        As Nanohumans prove more sapient
        Than Homosaps, whose history was bent
        By errors that will shortly be corrected—
        Unless some nanodevil’s undetected.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


  Not space, but death, will be our last frontier
  And always has been since we’ve known we’d die,
  As poets like sage Homer and Shakespeare
  Have sung, in epic or in lullaby.

  That bourn from whence no traveler returns
  Except as dubious specters in our minds
  Remains mysterious and all query spurns
  Of scientific and empiric kinds.

  Perhaps, then, there’s another way to seek
  The secret heart of such an ancient quest,
  Transcending knowing at the very peak
  Of consciousness, where certainty’s possessed:

       Such mystic, cosmic consciousness makes clear
       That nothing’s lost and all shall reappear.



Religion binds one back into the fold
Gathering us together as one flock,
Believing in one story where we’re told
That we’re one kind, derived from the same stock;

And therefore humankind must act in kind
By kindly treating others with respect,
By comprehending how we’re all designed
For harmony, and otherwise are wrecked.

Good shepherds, then, are those who teach such love,
Cajoling wayward sheep from where they roam
And showing in their ways examples of
That love which draws the lost and weary home.

     Not only we are One, but all the kinds
     Of Earthly life that holy spirit binds.


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Because you are an author, and your life is your story, it behooves you to learn your craft and become an artist of the highest stature you can.

Though you are not the originator of your life, and you are not responsible for most of the formative influences that shaped your early years, there comes a time, sooner better than later, when you must assume authority, or authorship, of the life story you will live out.  To the common question, “Whose life is it anyway?” you must answer, “Mine!” and make it so.

Schooling should not simply stuff you with knowledge, but teach you the rudiments of life-crafting. It should be formative as well as informative, developing in you the mastery to make your life a masterpiece.

As the author of your life story, as the captain of your soul, you must chart your own course and begin an adventure full of surprises, unforeseen opportunities and challenges.

You will not know your final destination or destiny until you arrive there, but meanwhile you’ll stay alert to the winds of spirit that blow about you whispering where you’re bound for, and you’ll set your sails accordingly.

Do what you love as much as you can.  Your vocation is what calls to you from within, from the center of your being, from your heart of hearts.  It says, “THIS is who you are, THIS is where to go, THIS is what you rightly ought to do.

Do it.  Become it.  Make your story come true.


Thursday, March 8, 2012


for Duane Elgin

   Why not suppose: throughout the Universe
   One Spirit is that is the Universe,
   The Source of all—the Mother Universe,
   From whom in time all lesser worlds disperse—
   Yet still remain united with their Source
   Through some mysterious and numinous force?
   And then why not suppose that somehow we
   Can tune our minds to that same frequency
   To which the humming Universe is tuned
   And with our Source may thereby be reuned,
   Feeling ourselves connected throughout space
   To that eternal fount of Love and Grace?
        But why suppose?  Instead just simply know:
        Relax, release, reune, and feel the glow.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


    In times like these when we are taught to crave
    immediate response to our desires,
    what if we learned how better to behave:
    less like a puppet jerked about by wires?
    What if, no sooner than we went awry,
    off on some wrong track or against some law,
    we suffered ill effects that made us cry
    “Alas, alack” and came to see our flaw?
    Such instant karma then would gratify
    a higher human need than selfish lust:
    the need for love, which money cannot buy,
    the need for confidence, the need for trust.
         Such is the karmic role that Conscience plays
         by goading us from detrimental ways.


Monday, March 5, 2012


A common usage error I’ve seen recently in students’ writing is to say conscience when they mean consciousness: simply being aware but without a moral implication.  Or sometimes the error goes the opposite way: “It was against my conscious to act like that.”

But perhaps, at a deeper level, such verbal confusion is justified, and these terms are more closely related than normal usage implies, with conscience being a term to represent a higher level of consciousness along a scale that ascends from the minimal awareness of an amoeba to the enlightened consciousness of the Buddha.

Which is to say that the highest reaches of organic consciousness have been defined as a “cosmic consciousness” comprehending and uniting with the universe, conceived as the living source of all existence.

Our implicit moral imperative, then, would be to develop our consciousness during our lifetimes to the highest level or finest degree of conscientious sensitivity—of compassionate care for other sentient beings.


Sunday, March 4, 2012


    If nothing else, the miracle of life
    Commands awe and respect from thoughtful folk.
    Despite Darwinian laws dictating strife
    To cull the weak, life’s still the masterstroke
    Of our grand, enigmatic Universe:
    A blessing, even when it seems a curse.

    Grant that injustice, cruelty and lust
    Predominate in our experience,
    And all too rare are honor, love and trust;  
    Is not the fact of virtue recompense?
    Does not the care and kindness that we know
    Point out the way our youthful race can grow?

         As evolutionary destiny unfolds,
         We better see the miracle it holds.