A Self; ‘still got the guns–but she has the ring, the ocean & the stars. Who’s got that old Motorola? © CA 2009-2023 / All rights reserved
Sunset over Gangnam, & The Han River, from Gwangjin Gu (and my window)
© CA 2009-2023 / All rights reserved

Cradle of The Universe: What is it?

In 2009 I started using this web host to build my blog–Wordpress.. Before that I used Geocities.

It was an exciting time. I was living over the Han River in a 15th floor apartment provided by my boss at a Reggio Method Kindergarten in Seoul, where I sang, danced, drew, chanted–and painted with children.

Gazing Toward The Future © CA & AP 2009-2023 /All rights reserved ®
Drawings on The Window ©CA & AP 2009-2023/All rights reserved
Getting Marked
© Chang-gyu Park 2008 – 22023/All rights reserved®

I was moving up in surroundings and comfort…. It was a great time for creativity. I had recently become a Buddhist–formally–made new friends and visited Insa Dong, often–the beautifully cultural art district of Seoul, with its great galleries, museums and brush shops…. I went to Dharma talks, meeting my Zen teacher and Dharma brothers….

© 2009-2023 Carl Atteniese/ All Rights Reserved ®
This ‘has reasons for which reason knows nothing.’ – Blaise Pascal
© 2009-2023 Carl Atteniese & AP
/ All Rights Reserved ®

I had a wonderful girlfriend, and life seemed promising. It always seemed to get better in Korea, year after year. It had–arguably–been hard for a year, before, when I broke up with someone else and had to leave our awesome abode overlooking the mountains of Chooncheon….

Times always change. Can we? I had–but it was finally good, again; my new girlfriend was an artist (we had met in a gallery)–a thinker, a poet, a vegetarian, a humanitarian and cat-lover, as I was–and she was a musician–and an English teacher to boot. And she was a blogger. We even started a blog together. We had virtually everything in common, except “religion”–age, and nationality and while I no longer played the saxophone, I could–and can–whistle and & sing–carrying a tune. What could go wrong? Well, with that much right in paradise, only one thing ever triumphs over such sincerity and goodness: evil–in the form of prejudice: our differences bothered her father–and I don’t mean that he took issue over my not accompanying her piano-playing on a saxophone…. But I digress…. About the website:

Dining in Hongdae, Seoul
© 2009-2023 CA & AP /
All Rights Reserved ®

I named my blog Cradle of The Universe. This was because I was building on an idea I had come up with years before, and which was validated in words, in the Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List–a concept that was deeply personal to me, as I had taken human life more seriously since learning about certain wars in my reading and in having become an Urgent Action Letter-writing-activist for Amnesty International, and developed a multi-point thought, which I shall delineate here:

I. Life to me was–and is:

The result of long, arduous and incrementally slow–epochal …

evolutions…. (notice the ‘s’, there, please);
evolutions that were (and are when not interfered with by us):

That’s not news to anyone who is remotely and scientifically literate–but how many of us think of that on a daily basis–especially when considering the treatment of others, day to day–or when choosing a candidate, or whether or not to support one or another policy in health care, police or military issues–or when choosing a car, for that matter?

This, to me, is at the core of a most monumentally grand realization–that life–especially sentient life–taking billions of years to become… is so much more staggering, impressive and realistic an idea worthy of appreciating–far more than the lazy and archaic notion of a god making life–in a few days or even a few millennia–which to me contributes to the adoption & validation of prejudice, fiat, overlord-ship and cruelty….

And stemming from this idea is the notion–that if we and all life–so far scarce in the universe–in terms of our communicating with itdeveloped over billions of years, incrementally–and resulted in our able and industrious consciousness and bodies (which should leave the average person capable of abstract thought, gobsmacked with a whiplash in awe over how fortunate our species is–and how through the battle for survival our existence was not-guaranteed), then we should consider ourselves and all complex life“sacred”–and not unworthy“. And that all life should thus be considered so–especially–sentient life; all life–especially human–thus, should–never be disrespected, neglected, abused or worse…snuffed out–for each one of us, thinking and seeing differently, in essence, holds different perceptions of everything–even the universe itself. We hold and create these perceptions in the mind–our minds–or in us, as we are our minds.

II. Each sentient being cradles his or her version of ‘life, the universe–and everything(as Douglas Adams coined the phrase) in our cerebral cortex–generated in our conscious experience and cultivated in our heads.

III. And a similar thought–akin to the one I witnessed in my mind–as expressed above was that our minds and ourselves are part of the universe (yes, I thought of this before it was popular to say); we are a conscious part of the universe, itself.

And finally: The cradling-of -the-universe-in-our -minds-idea which is mirrored and suggested at in the Talmud, and this is what I heard in Schindler’s List–a phrase that had been inscribed on the ring given to him by his grateful holocaust survivors:

If you save a single life, you save the world entire.

This is from the Mishnaic tractate of the Sanhedrin, tradition–I have learned–as follows:

Therefore, Adam [from whom all humanity descended] was created singly, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life in Israel is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world and whoever saves a single life in Israel is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.‘*

For each mind, in its seeing not just life, not just “the world” (our tiny pale blue dot, as Carl Sagan called it, witnessing it in an image made by the Voyager–at the far end of the solar system)–but the Universe itself-possesses a potentially different view of the universe, making it a different universe, in each mind! This is to be cherished as a defining quality in human consciousness and a capacity never to be taken away for any reason, in the destruction of a human being–by anyone— ‘meaning, we should never kill anyone–anyone human….

And for me, this also meant no one who was non-human, but also sentient (Obviously, this idea becomes complicated when considering diet, for many people–and the consumption of other species.)

I was an activist against the death penalty, and a human rights activist in general, since I had been a teenager–so I had thought for years about the horrific, torturous details involved in the information I received from Amnesty International each month–about people thrown in prison around the world--for speaking their minds–people often ill-treated, neglected, poorly fed, refused medical care and legal protection, beaten and tortured–and “executed”–killed with the taxes taken from the common people–like you and me–(all working people: children with paper routes, young clerks, waiters and waitresses, old people on pensions–even from priests and monks)–and the death penalty, itself (hardly a penaltybut rather an act of political vote-garnering finality that can’t teach a practical lesson and only exacts expensive, useless kith & Kin -fear, -suffering, -mourning, -horror-producing dread, -depression and -shame--as well as justifying state-killing)–which… is called “Capital Punishment” in the United States, and which has been proven to betray a staggering 40% incidence of constitutional error–where it was at its worst–and especially in the The South, disproportionately meted out–often unfairly and via corruptions of justice–against populations descended from slaves… the African- and Caribbean- American groups of people.

So–I was staunchly–and still am–vehemently opposed to ending an existentially conscious and sentient, ‘walking, talking, breathing human life’ under any circumstances wherein that life could be made better–through giving it a chance to be found innocent, or where guilty, rehabilitated, adding what it lacked and subtracting what abuse and neglect and ignorance it suffered….

Every dossier I received, detailing the lives of death row inmates, spoke of childhood neglect, mental illness, poverty, abuse–both drug and physical–horrible guardianship–or brain damage and low IQ. ‘Who expects model behavior from such victims?’ I thought: ‘An idiot–and/or vastly thoughtless and corrupt people- themselves steeped in cognitive, intellectual and moral ignorance. And the politicians who profited from this machine of horror and death: they were evil ones.

When such parties–those accused and convicted of murder–were found guilty–they were not champions of society living in the lap of luxury benefiting from the best food, shelter, clothing and accessories to the good life; they were the ones beaten by life–from birth–and such lives could be improved, made to thrive and be safe–as well as safe for others–and productive–where mental health, esteem and opportunity was restore-able and possible. It’s done in other countries. And in my dossiers I saw it done in prisons.

I took a particular interest in the prison-life of a man named Gary Graham, whose story so touched me that I drew his portrait; he had been accused of murder in the South and in a situation where he was accused of stealing food for himself and his sibling in a market altercation; and if that is not tragic enough, there were witnesses saying he was not there that night–in that place. And in prison he became a journalist, a father and a productive man. But he was later executed, anyway.

To me the tragedies of moved-trial-venues–to accommodate all-Caucasian juries–with under-paid and sleepy public defenders and evidence-free cases employing “eye witnesses”, incurred on our economies expensive death row budgets–just so we could pay to torture people like Gary Graham with an arranged and future death at the hands of the citizen taxpayers–which usually was far from painless; and this continues until today–in one Western Democracy: the United States of America–where the pharmaceutical chemical cocktail of death is hard to come by, because its manufacturers in Europe have been banned it, and its former makers will no longer furnish it to the Americans. And so makeshift replacements administered by mostly grieving henchmen and women in America, who botch executions, so men suffer horrible, painful and prolonged & embarrassing deaths on tables not unlike a crucifix–in front of witnesses, including family, watching through glass. Is it better than people catching fire in electric chairs–as used to happen? The whole business rivals medieval torture, and in my opinion makes monsters of us–we who should know better; but can you do with a country that worships Bronze & Iron-Age religions: “Eye for an Eye”. Why can’t these theists embrace the Talmudic call to save lives–or the words of their own Jesus–to “love thine enemy”?

Thus–in my view (then and now)–of course, no life should be taken by corruption or by accident–meaning taken from even a person diligently and fairly found guilty--let alone from an innocent person. This has happened in the United States many times in the machinery of our justice system. And if it has happened in the United States, it has happened and continues to happen elsewhere–in many other places–especially where there are theocracies, a lack of democracy (or in flaccid ones, where the people do virtually nothing to be politically active)–and it happens where there are dictatorships–some of which the United States has and still supports, diplomatically–in the interest of economy and national security.

So–that long explanation–which I thank you for reading (and listening to)–is part of why I call my blog and website the Cradle of The Universe, once again. It’s been a hard few years in Japan–where the people seem to exhibit such a concern for etiquette and in some cases, here and there, go out of their way to be kind–but largely, I have met with more difficulty of a dishonest, cowardly and cunning type, than I have ever before–in work places, especially; however, I don’t become prejudiced and I don’t blame the Japanese people. Indeed, some of the thoughtlessness has come from those who once assisted me and were kind to me–and a couple are from both my one culture and a variation of it. But they are human, so I understand–even if I can take no comfort in speaking with them any longer. Some people will not change; they just bounce like a ping pong ball between good and bad actor and a net (you or me).

Humans, in the wrong conditions, resort to such–after all; for as great as we can be, we still primates and have primate brains, which have not evolved since we have–to match the power of the machines we make. And–more to the practical point: the last decade has been–and the time going forward may be–extraordinarily difficult–in some ways (the ways that matter, not in rocketry and AI–but in human ways of trust, kindness, generosity, communication & honesty) tested to their limits.

The conditions have worsened this: an unequivocally collapsing Eco-system (yes, the very spacesuit sustaining us in the cosmos is failing, filled with pollutants and leaking–as it were); a degrading world-order and respect for international borders, an increase in despicable litigiousness over words, declining security in healthcare, pandemics–likely leaked from labs in horrific accidents of hubris and negligence–killing millions–and in war, with Russia acting like my country had in its illegal invasion of Iraq–the second time around–and the cause and justification, lies and campaigns–ad campaigns–for the first invasion were not stellar in justice or morality, either–or our actions in Vietnam, or like Japan in China and South East Asia, or like England in India and elsewhere) now threatening the world economy and deteriorating the rule of law; China–as usual–acting like a smiling bully, abusing their people and people in places they promised they would let democracy thrive among, the increasing risk of nuclear exchange, and the rise of populist fascism in the US, Latin America and Europe.

We seem–as we are poised to return to the moon and create artificial humans smarter than us and physically more capable–to be going backward. It is estimated by people more expert than Elon Musk in areas of economy, government and development (and he is a genius) that the populations of several economic giants are crumbling–such that there will not be mature people of reason to continue the growth that has sustained our species…. And the massive layoffs are starting now. So this–all this and that in the aforementioned–makes some people less generous, more desperate–and cruel–because they are scared.

A Roman philosopher is said to have theorized that the greatest evil is ignorance. This was a wise saying–but it is wrong:

Ignorance is the most pernicious disease; cowardice is the greatest evil.

You thought I was going to say that fear was the greatest evil. This, too, is wrong:

Fear is natural; what one does with it is either benevolent or belligerent–
the latter stemming from cowardice.

And yes:

Ignorance and belligerence orawareness and benevolencedepend on
our growth in a plethora or dearth of love & cognitive development.*

*You could read “spiritual development”–and by that I don’t mean believing in fantastic phenomena and saviors.

There are plenty of kind ignorant people. All the evil people are cowards. But the answer is not to hate them. Cowardice is created, by us, in our behavior and institutions–religions and philosophies….

Thus, I have found it helpful to return to a deeper, more intimate practice of meditation–or at times, when I don’t meditate, to powerful mental methods of control I have developed and adopted over decades–and especially since becoming a Zen Buddhist and learning Stoic thought experiments from the likes of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.

And, finally to the point of this essay–about The Cradle of The Universe: I want my influence–here and elsewhere–to reflect that freshness and maintenance of a cultivated mind–awareness, well-being and love–excitement and benevolence, which I felt in Korea (for a time)–and a continuation of the love I had and still hold within, which was pouring from me–surviving–and cultivated from childhood–whereupon it was poured in… to me (and which survived some kinds turmoil, itself)–by friends and family, beginning back in Brooklyn, New York and in Lynbrook, Long Island–from childhood, through living in and working in New York City–out to the mountains of Colorado and its wonderfully open, progressive and friendly people of Boulder… traveling on through the Mojave Desert… and on to Korea…now in Japan.

I need that love, kindness and anti-violent benevolence my life has always been about–and which most Korean hosts showered on me in Seoul, and some offer in patience and generosity in Tokyo–today–to be available to all I meet. But I hope for it to emanate from everyone–you, too–and I want its resurgence to be showered on the people of Japan–and the world, where it is needed, respecting and cherishing life… every human life.

And if we are really mentally advanced, I want that love and well-being–stemming from this awareness of the cradle of the universe in all sentient life, to be afforded other sentient creatures, because, come on, dear reader–or listener, you know other mammals are just like us; be honest with yourself (the foundation of honesty with others-and the base of your mental health)–those other creatures we share the Earth with don’t belong to us (what a sick idea); they feel, think, wonder, socialize, care for one another, dream, play, rejoice, and betray in their actions narratives in their heads; they are conscious! And they suffer… and die… as we do–and in far worse ways–thanks to you and me. It’s not natural; it is unnecessarily man- and woman -made suffering, like the suffering we mete out on one another–because we are scared, and cowardly.

It’s time to wake up and love–for every sentient mind is a cradle of the universe–because–we, Earthlings of all types–are sentient minds, seeing the universe differently from every single other sentient mind. ​

Thank you for reading. I wish you love, peace, joy, enlightenment… and courage.


Invisible Finger Sketches & “Bad Words”

Stone Age And Rocket Age Records—Lost in Time (or 1s & 0s)

I saw a cartoon on a friends Facebook page, by Wiley, of Wiley Ink dot net. It depicted a Paleolithic cave-dweller beginning an inscription on a wall. By the likes of the image, he is using a primitive means of inscription (Duh!) —probably the ash of a spent fire-stoking branch. The caveman had only succeeded in creating one line, whereupon another stone-age dweller—his wife?—hands on her animal-skinned hips at the mouth of the cave exclaiming – “Woah, woah, woah! Stop right there, before you get any more offensive!“ Amused by the apparent over-sensitivity implied in this cartoon—obviously about our social media age and its regression into puritanically controlling speech-limitations, I had a “Eureka!” moment.

‘This is brilliant’, I thought—but for an interpretation my cortex likely read into the work—which maybe the cartoonist didn’t intend (or maybe he did):

Hardly anyone ever stops to think that the Internet is something that is not even seen in the real world (can you hear Lawrence Fishburn’s ominous and sarcastic voice from The Matrix?), thus the setting in the cartoon--a cave.

One needs an electronic device to see anything that’s written on the internet—drawn, created or stored there; I’ve thought about this many times:

All of the writing and digital artwork I have created on the internet is electronically generated and must be seen via a machine. If I don’t print my photos, drawings, photography and essays—my comments, maxims, petitions and books in progress!—print them out and store them somewhere–they could be—and likely will be—lost—were some disaster to befall our civilization (in which case, depending in the severity of the disaster (aren’t all disasters severe?)—it might not matter. Well—what about a partial disaster—say, with ISIS, the Taliban or Russia destroying the Internet?

In a thousand years, if our electrical systems and mainframes have not been destroyed—or even if they haven’t been—virtually no one (if we are still here) will know about the volumes of things that have been created and kept there—unless (and even then) their creators are famous—if they are not stored on memory devices compatible in some future world of tech—gone, forgotten… as good as never made—for that matter, unless they are so prophetic, ground-breaking or helpful that they wind up in museums or nuclear-war- and killer-asteroid- proof time capsules. Kids today don’t know how to “turn on a cassette tape”. Remember Zip drives? Floppy disks? ‘Neither do I.’

It’s almost like we’re tracing out invisible finger sketches—of math problems—in our pockets—lasting long enough to draw a sum.


And for people to get upset about what other people say in this near invisible medium—is likely something our descendants will laugh at—if they even know about it.

Moreover–even if I and all creators on the Internet were to print out everything they did on paper, bind them in books, magazines or manuscripts and save them, think about this: People read very few books, magazines, journals, periodicals or even letters any more—how many in their lives—in their lives? And most people read digital media. And many are out of fashion in a decade–forgotten. Have you ever been to a used book store? Oh yeah?—how long ago? It’s a grave yard one has trouble finding classics in—and I don’t mean the classics;I mean last year’s best sellers.

Imagine people seeking out the digital media of forgotten people and times, even thirty years ago!

Who is going to remember what Elon Musk or Donald Trump said, other than historians?—or a rapper who thinks he is good at design and philosophy. People argue over what Neil Armstrong said—even though people skilled in dialects and those who knew him know what he said—and he’s as famous as Jesus Christ—and Caesar! And he really did fly–a lot faster than the wind and better than most pilots. really did walk on the moon, which some people will die on a hill over–to say he didn’t.

‘What’s a pilot?…’—people will say in a hundred years, ‘one of those people who used to drive planes?’ So maybe we should lighten up about what is said by a famous so-and-so on social media–or a not-so-famous so-and-so. And definitely stop causing professors and comedians to lose their jobs over a joke no one will remember–especially because, we won’t find in 10 years—or know what it means in 30.

Read a book—and write a real one.

This can also be found on my website at My Site

Thank you for reading.
Carl Atteniese,


Words Matter

I’m Carl — but some people call me “Charlie.” Others call me “Mando.” When I was a small boy, my mother called me “Bootsie”.

In Junior high school, classmates and friends of mine called me “Spaceman.”

My most recent ex called me “Leo.” That was weird, but I liked it–perhaps naively? Or maybe it was not weird; after all, I was born in the month associated with that constellation named for the lion (though, astronomically, that is an incorrect appellation).*

My high school wrestling teammates called me “Cal”, and when I think of it, gratefully, I feel they should have called me ‘Matt-back’! (They probably didwhen I wasn’t within earshot!)

Apparently–we are all different things to different people–but who are we? What are we?

To many people, the most important thing about us is not what we are or what we are named (and I happen to think ignorance of the ‘what we are part’ is problematic, and so had Alan Watts). However, often people say that the way we think or what we do is that which defines us and our identity. Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. said it is ‘the content of our character that defines us‘–or should.

To me, all of this — who and what we think we are (and what we call ourselves and one another) — depends on words — even our perception of character depends on words.

We first learn words–and then we think with themat least that’s what we do with the thoughts we express to others (we express them in words) — and those are the thoughts and words that matter to everyone around us…. To me, this is why it is most important to get the words right.

As it is, words are already deficient in describing our visions and ideas. This is precisely because even the best words and most carefully chosen ones put into the most eloquent phrases may differ alone and together from how different people perceive reality and describe its conditions–because each person’s conscious experience is different.

William Carlos Williams thought words were inadequate. He said, “words are broken wheel barrows….” That means words do not convey the meaning they are meant to carry as well as the meaning they represent in our minds.

And yet… we use words to name whole groups of people, and to free them, entreat them, gather them, and guide them–even to condemn them–in collocation, kin, companionship, company, country and conflict.

If words prove to matter so much, then meaning must be at the heart of words, and thus meaning must matter more than the words themselves. After all–the meaning comes first to us–however unconsciously, sometimes (if not usually); then we form words to define the ideas…. So, I suppose, then, that we should use the most appropriate and accurate words, in the most thoughtful and honest arrangements to affect the most clear and approximately correct meaning in our minds--and to the best of our ability. And finally–the goal of all of this must be the achievement of understanding — the foundation of all human relations.

Thus I implore you to remember:

Words matter–meaning more so–understanding, the most; so listen for the meaning, not the words–yet use the best words to convey the truth to affect the greatest virtue in what you say in deed.

Thank you for reading.


Copyright Carl Atteniese 2022 / All rights reserved.

The crime problem in America is cultural and can’t be solved with guns.

Mr. Preston, a Florida police officer, survived four gunshot wounds and expressed his gratitude for being alive on Linked In (link below); this was my comment to him.

Brett! I’m so glad you survived—for yourself and your loved ones.

I trust a good man such as you are will permit me to make a suggestion; kindly hear it out as coming in good faith:

Goodness & medical science haven’t saved you to “fight another day,” but to live, and live you should—stopping, and letting someone else take up the gauntlet—thrown down by an insane society and government.

You’re not in a war. War is with a determined adversary which possesses a “head”, as wild species have heads—and which try to subdue you.

Wars eventually end via conquer or diplomacy; neither outcome can happen in the battle you’ve signed up for:

America’s problem is not that logical; it’s mental, but lacks a head—to be negotiated with or to be removed—stopping the onslaught of the “monster;” it’s a cultural problem—deciding that individuals not in combat or peace-keeping need firearms. That is actually clinically insane for a society that guarantees the pursuit of happiness.

You’ve done your part–more than most. Now—you have yourself and your family to survive for—with extreme prejudice toward that end.

This battle can’t be won in the streets or from behind the wheel of a squad car. That would be like continuing on in Afghanistan or Vietnam—after realizing the locals are spiritually invested. That’s shoveling against the tide, which is going to keep coming.

We need an education system and government ensuring peace not but by law but philosophy, too. We’re not there yet.

The battle can only be won in the minds of those who mature and are mentally healthy–in the citizenry and government.

I wish you well, and thank you for your service!

Not A Teacher

Interac Group

ESL Leaders in Japan, What Do You Think We Are?

It has always annoyed and perplexed me—that in some parts of the world—the people hiring teachers seem somewhat clueless as to the fact that one becomes a teacher—at least in part, and for among other serious reasons—because it isn’t desirable to look like a scheming Wall Street stock trader (not there is anything wrong with stock traders–or even Wall Street—per se)… in one’s personality, lifestyle, attitude… in some unoriginal and uncomfortable bus-boy monkey suit.

One becomes a teacher, because he or she manages to isolate among his or her abilities and shortcomings, multiple talents and aptitudes—socially, cognitively, intellectually, culturally… a love of helping, learning, sharing knowledge and teaching.

A teacher, tutor or instructor finds the diligence and dedication to make students comfortable (not in costume—unless teaching children on Halloween, at a special event or for the purpose of making the lesson easier to understand).

We like to help others with what we are adept in—or at least naturally expert and interested in. We have tried to hone an ability in communicative conveyance, imparting knowledge and ideas—retaining strategies for learning and possessing & cultivating a philosophical and creative mind, of sorts, (or attempting to)—which puts one deep in the humanities—and not necessarily in the organizing of the “business” of education, though some may excel at that, too.

Appearing too business-like, in this writer’s opinion, seems to be the sales-end of the endeavor of teaching, and not the education end. And it is this writer’s firm opinion that when recruiting for teachers, the education-end of the teachjng industry should appeal to that—not the cash-register concerns of HR, owners and stock-holders.

We can’t be ignorant of the fact that strictly “business” is what harms so much of the world—and while many businesses are in the business of helping and saving the world, it isn’t the best of looks for a teacher to have to look like a salesman or -woman.

Strictly business—the way the model in accompanying ad looks—is what it could be said brigs us war, corruption, even… cancer. This model doesn’t look kind and sharing; he looks smarmy and crafty? Strictly business brought us the Enron scandal, the infiltration of Latin America by corporate-led foreign policy, which ushered in broken international laws, assassinations, death squads, shattered countries; it gave us the lies that led to the second invasion of Iraq, the 2008 world financial crisis. It is what exploits trade agreements, ensuring big tobacco and big oil is forced on developing nations, against their sovereignty, at pain of economy-crippling sanctions and law suits.

Strictly business is why insurance companies in America stand between sick people and proper health care.And it is responsible for all the regulation tax payers have to pay for, to keep us and our planet from being poisoned and polluted by corporations—which buy our politicians’ compliance. This is what some native-speakers see when they see the look and attire of this “teacher”.

Business is important—but at least for this teacher, it shouldn’t be the only face on education. We become teachers to be independent thinkers, educators, representatives of hope and truth—and eliminators of ignorance… not purveyors of it—and we don’t want to look like businessmen—many of us, anyway. We don’t want to wear a uniform that erases our human and originality—our individuality—and look like every other poor stiff humping out life as a corporate soldier in the dehumanizing, fascist corporate world. Again, there are wonderful people in business—but why does this ad not show that? And where is the color, style, creativity, personality? That is what a good teacher has. Education is not the Marines.

To much of HR in Japan:
Why is it that you pretend these are the only people worthy appealing to in ESL education? I mean, that is why you want teachers to look corporate—not creative, academic, scholarly, or… like real teachers—isn’t it? If you say, ‘this is how teachers look in Japan’, then, are you demanding that foreign teachers not look like foreign teachers? Are you aware that we are teaching foreign culture when we teach language? If you are not, you are trying to strip the culture from not only the language (a very unwise thing to do)—you’re trying to strip it from the teacher, who happens to be a human being.

I understand that most of those dressed like this—and who assume the demeanor of this apparent attitude—cannot usually speak proper English, but that goes for most people (very few people in any culture speak their native language perfectly). However, to my more salient point, Doctors don’t look like this—when working, and neither do scientists, engineers, nurses, crafts-people; they don’t look like this! Bakers don’t look like this. Home-makers don’t dress like this. Actors do when paid to. Politicians, also fall for this dumbing-down conformity—like we are all a bunch of children at some personality-deleting authoritarian and fear-driving school…. It’s excruciatingly boring–to say nothing else of it. And it’s uncomfortable for a teacher. Teachers should be dynamic; not sewn into tight garments as if going on an interview for an internship at a bank. I have taught people in every industry—and the more they free themselves, the more successful and happy they become—the less they look like this. Who chooses to look like this? Really?

Of course this is a direct indication that the schools, here, think the teacher should imitate the dress of the business man—as alluded to above…. Well, who came up with that sad and inane idea? If you are a corporate trainer, then it can be argued fairly well. But are all English teachers in Japan only teaching corporate clients? Even then—why do the teachers have to look like their pupils? Further more, are all business people so afraid of going to an institute and studying that they need their hands held in a way that is represented by the attitude, ‘look, we don’t eat students; we’re just like you?’ That’s catering to the immature. Indeed, business people–who depend on marketing (the psychologically-driven strategies of coercing people into buying what they don’t want or need) should be glad to experience diversity–that way they can see how people really are and better understand how to exploit them–or sell them things they do need and want. Don’t you think they know this is a con? As an engineer I once worked for once told me: “Carl, you can’t bullshit a bullshitter; I wrote the book on bullshit.” And every businessman and business woman has memorized a bible of bullshit. Why do you want your teachers to look like bullshitters?

It’s almost as if you want us to pay for the adventure we have attempted to carve out for ourselves in living abroad—thinking: ‘We have to suffer, so you have to suffer, too; you can’t just come here and enjoy our country and do what you set out to do! you must be like us! Prisoners of an economy and unimaginative mindset that takes the life out of people!’

Why would we want to look like some of the people we teach—even when we do teach businessmen—instead of dressing comfortably, neatly, presentably and according to our own personality and taste—like the people whom we really are? We are the teachers; why don’t we have them dress like us? They are the students—students of a foreign culture. Aren’t they bored silly looking at carbon copies of themselves? Is that why they have entered careers involving foreign culture and language?

When you think about it, a brash military uniform with ribbons and all its decorations exhibits far more personality that the horrid business suit this ad features–with the actor-teacher squeezed into it like a child whose parents cannot afford to clothe him in properly fitting garments. We teachers have liberated ourselves from that life—or some of us thought we had… and even on Halloween, no one wants to look like that—unless to affect the humor of a bad joke: “I’m an international spy” said a personality-lacking character in a suit, on Halloween, on the Bob Newhart Show in the nineteen-seventies.

This is what the guy looks like who cheats you out of your pay, doesn’t re-sign your contract because the secretary—who doesn’t speak English or understand your culture—misunderstands a good deed that you did; this is what the guy looks like who wants to build more coal fire power plants and run corporate advertising on flatbed trucks around Shinjuku, polluting the atmosphere and giving people lung asthma, COPD, chronic lung disease and cancer—for the profits he gets from boy bands.

This is what the guy looks like who idles his car, eats veal, votes for corrupt politicians and dumps toxic waste in the landfill and ocean. This guy is trying to impress girls and look like an actor on “Suits” or “Madmen”. And he doesn’t—not the nice girls, anyway. This is the guy putting girly magazines in convenience stores, so children have to look at boobs.

This is the guy who doesn’t worry about the atmosphere, and so promotes tobacco and fossil fuel and cares nothing for global warming or whether the product that he’s selling you, like hot liquids in plastic, sold in Japanese convenience stores, will give you cancer or your children ADD—or a bent spines—or mixed gender. This is the guy whom armies of lawyers have to do battle against to save our lives and our biosphere.

See here, please: Again, my beef is not with the actor or model–it is with those who think we want to spend our days looking like. We live once, you know. I should say, I don’t hate business people. I feel sorry for them. I also think that maybe if they cold dress as adults shouldwhich means, neatly, presentably for work, but as they pleasemaybe they would not be making the world pay for their daily discomfort via the deals they make…. That’s just a theory.

I admitof course, I am generalizing (not stereotypingthere is a difference); but that is what we do as primates—and that is why you think this is what a businessman should like likeand why you childishly think a teacher should look like a used car or insurance salesman.

Get it straight Interac, Nova, Aeon—and Gaba—because it’s unequivocally true. Some people like dressing this waymost don’t. It isn’t normal; the proof is, very few people dress like this unless forced. And, yes, I know there are there are nice guys who dress like this—I vote for them, but they dress like this only when they have to, because HR beats humanity into submission. Most importantly, I doubt most teachers want to dress like this.

There is nothing wrong with business per se–except with that of the conman; they are not teachers; con men are takers. Teachers are about the truth–or they are not real teachers. And teachers should not have to dress like salesmen to appeal to the childish idea that everyone should dress the same wayif any of them even have that childish idea to begin with. It’s really the affliction of the marketing mind at the agency and school; it needs to die, because it is stupid, and no one with a personality geared toward creativity, intellectual pursuits or the opened mind wants to dress this way in the dynamic environment of the classroom. This is not the “roll your sleeves up” look (unless you work for NASA in the 1960s, when suits looked cool. This look isn’t cool.

This is the attire of servitude. If you want servile employees—you don’t want teachers. You want slaves. And teachers become teachers to avoid slavery. Stop trying to control everything; it’s the first rule in student-centered learning–and good relationships.


Ukraine Defends Us All: Is It Right?

Friends, Family, Brothers & Sisters in Democracy:

The recent attack by one of the two remaining illegitimate superpowers on a democratic European nation had us all shocked–despite the very real possibility, the history of the offending aggressor nation and official warnings from President Biden.

The shock didn’t last long, however; since 2016, the rapid decline of the status quo, the threat to democracy at home in the United States, a world-sweeping and murderously unusual corona virus pandemic and accelerated climate change have tempered us to a capacity for sudden awareness like we hadn’t experienced since September 11th, 2001. So let us do all that we can civically–and more–to aid embattled Ukraine in her ‘nineteenth-century’ struggle–in this, the twentieth-first century. Because it’s our battle too.

The preservation of democracy in Europe, now–under assault by Russia–will define the remainder of this and the coming century. Perhaps we should have done more when Russia acquired her other satellites by force, and now we may steel ourselves for aggression to come–from the other international bully whose secretiveness (along with some agency) leave us in the dark about the true origins of the recent and still-present pandemic. But is steeling ourselves enough?

I realize that recent rant calling for a coalition of democratic republics to warn Russia out of Ukraine at pain of an air campaign & repelling assault was a bit premature and in ignorance of the conventions our countries have in place surrounding the NATO alliance–but I don’t think it would be a bad idea in the future to have a vast network of integrated military response systems in place to make such a plan a reality, so that its existence and seriousness of purpose would render any similar plans for aggression short-lived in the minds of despots.

People might say this is what NATO is for–with its “an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us” motto–but what NATO lacks is the ability to defend a nation not yet in NATO, which tempts nations to do what Russia has done and what China threatens to do to Taiwan; it also allows for the temptation to use nations like Ukraine as allies in spirit with no obligation to protect them.

I am reluctantly heartened that the EU is committing to a contribution of war planes and other nations are contributing lethal aid packages (6 billion from the US) to Ukraine’s war effort against Putin’s imperial expansion, but would prefer seasoned war powers do the work, so that we don’t wind up with weapons caches left over for the taking by rebels and paramilitary groups & terrorists after the conflict–as often happens (see Iraq war aftermath & ISIS and Afghanistan post the American reprisals for the Saudi attacks of 9/11).

We should also be inspired that President Zelinsky may have his request granted for expedited entry into the European Union–and by the determination and resolve of his people; their courage, on what is ironically a war front we all share against this aggression–should not be borne alone, or connected to us only by aid from afar–or via electronic screens. There is no honor in proxy.

Going forward, Western powers interested in preserving and promoting peace, democracy and stability in the world should consider expanding the UN so that its coffers and fighting forces could maintain a peace-keeping ready coalition worthy of the concept–with long, sharp teeth cut from the experience of the NATO alliance and the funding of all the free world economies; it makes little sense and engenders no respect or honor if the remaining rogue nations can threaten the egalitarian democratic world. We are in the majority. Democracy and human rights are right, full stop. Defending progress and decency should be easy–and a sensible moral obligation. And that defense should come swift, like lightening.

World War II should–scratch that; Putin’s foray into Ukraine should … be the last insult we suffer… after having paid the price around the globe for the horrors of World War II–(and Russia paid enormously)–in the name of our fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts–who lived through that nightmare and saved the world–and in the names of those who died trying.

Besides, we don’t have time for this nineteenth century primitivism any more; there is a nuclear furnace in the sky frying our planet.

Peace, love and integrity to us all,

Carl Charles Atteniese II,


This was sent to leaders of NATO nations on Facebook

Advice for Learning English

Language is a feature of culture. The ways in which a people live form their words and phrases. Therefore, we need to understand a people and their culture to fully understand the nuances of their language. This is why people pay attention to art when learning a language–not just grammar. By art, I mean books and other media–such as TV, radio, plays, talk shows, movies and visual creations. You may think you are paying attention to those things for pronunciation–and maybe you are, but there is much more to it than that-or should be

The thoughts and feelings of a people in a culture–especially English-speaking culture–can be quite complex; just think of the large number of native English-speaking countries. It isn’t a list that comprises only the United States and Great Britain. Canadians are native-speakers of English, of course. You knew that; but that’s just to get me started. Ireland and Scotland are native-English speaking countries. There is also–naturally–Australia, and New Zealand. The Scandinavian countries and Germany utilize English so well–English could be called a first language in those places. All these western countries (not “westernized”) have been speaking English for hundreds of years–some of them closer to a thousand. And the writing system of the English language is Latin–called the Roman Alphabet. So you can see the multiple cultures infused with English–not to mention that England and France have intertwining histories, their countries having ruled and been at war with one another for long stretches in their history. Many English words hail from the Dutch, too, who were the Vikings when they were conquering vast tracts of England–before it became a united kingdom. And English comes heavily from the Celt language and the German one as well.

Practice with Native Speakers
Thankfully, though English has so many cultural inflections and dialects and it stems from many tongues, today, if you speak standard English, basically anyone from most of the English-speaking countries and many of the English-as-a-second-language speaking countries will understand you–though–it may be a little more challenging for you to understand them. So, in the least–practice with and listen to native speakers. These are the people you are practicing to be understood by. Now–if you work with many people from countries where English is a second language but where the English spoken does not sound like native English, you might say you want to be understood by and understand those people, but then you are not shooting for the highest mark, are you?

And though there are many learned and lettered language teachers whose first language is not English, and they are valuable scholars--because they understand the struggle of learning a foreign language, and they may be technically proficient in grammar and style when fluent; and they may speak your native language and the target language of English–so understand your cultural and cognitive challenges, you must choose carefully. Not every bilingual speaker of English is necessarily all that helpful in a comprehensive way; many may exhibit broken English speech patterns–possess a shallow knowledge of colloquialism and idioms and some may be looking at English–still–through the filter of their own native culture. But the most harmful element is the broken speech patterns, which are absorbed by students–especially young ones.

A few years ago–maybe more than ten, actually–I had in my possession a reference, a book written by linguists specializing in English and Korean; I was impressed to find out in this work that what I thought about the importance of studying with a native-speaker teacher was true: that an educated non-native speaker teacher is not as good as a non-educated native-speaker teacher, for helping a student practice English.

The reasons are probably many, but I will name a few from my own thought:

  1. The native speaker learned in infancy, so English is natural to him or her; this cannot be over-estimated. It means that the native-speaker was absorbing and cognitively correlating syntax (word order), cultural inflection (when to say what), pronunciation, enunciation, vocabulary, expressions, idioms and meaning–as well as emotion attached to all of the above–as a survival skill–when his or her brain was interpreting the new world it found itself in–organically. This rooted the native-speaker a sentient being to all experiences spoken about, linguistically. The learning was not abstract. It was an element of its biological experience. This means that the human experience of English for the native speaker who began absorbing English from infancy has the language deeply rooted in its cortex as elements of its conscious state. This is very different from learning a language through another language–the most second-language learners acquire their second language.

    Of course not all native-speakers are good teachers, and some are terrible. And naturally, a teacher with some vast experience and some knowledge of how to teach, as well as expertise in grammar and style, or, the conventions of how we use the language is a great benefit to the student, but the non-native speaker had better speak fluently without non-dialectical inconsistencies if the learner wants to acquire native habits.Hearing bad English makes the student’s English potentially as bad. It is the non-native tutelage coming from non-native -speaking teachers–who likely have impediments created by transliteration issues (trying to write foreign words in a local language ), and those who have not been immersed in a native-speaking target language environment long enough–who bring the bad habits into the classroom or study hall, which causes whole populations to speak with local broken-English patterns of speech; that is why a whole group of people in a country learning English will say the same incorrect things. They are reinforcing one another’s errors–and thus create dialects–such as “Singlish”, “Indlish”, “Japlish”, “Konglish” and “Chinglish”, to name the ones I have heard of, experienced and thought of. A dialect is a version of a language which is different from the standard, which and understood by a community–and often a dialect contains differences one would consider incorrect were they put in written form. The fact that thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people use these “incorrect” versions of a language and understand them–normalizes them, and it is this normalization which makes them ‘dialects.’

    All of this is okay–in a manner of speaking; if people understand and one another despite their non-standard speech, what’s the problem? Well, that’s up to you and your associates, which may include your teachers, employers, coworkers, partners and family.

    Now some will say these versions of language–accepted and not–don’t come from teachers–but rather from poor students; that can be true. but it can–in the English as a Second language world–also not be true. There are local and foreign teachers who sometimes teach the wrong things; this is a case of when education does matter–or proper exposure to standard language. And a college or university degree does not mean one can teach–or that one knows how to teach, or finally, whether one speaks well. I have answered basic grammar questions coming from teachers who have degrees. And–most impressive: all; you have to do is watch the news or politicians and academics in America or England–to name only two countries–to see that very influential people, including scientists, politicians and teachers (certainly actors and ancestresses–even narrators and writers) speak with endemic error–which in may cases is a form of dialect–because so many of them do it.

    To be continued….

    Copyright 2022 Carl Atteniese / All rights reserved

Japan’s COVID – 19 Response

QUESTION from COVID-19 Japan (A Facebook Community Page):

‘Honest question: What do you think can convince the government of Japan to take some serious measures to try to keep COVID-19 under control?:’

I have been wondering about this for a long time, myself. #Masks: I observe that most people seem to wear masks in Tokyo, but the growing sizable minority that does not has worried me.

We all know that the decrease in social activity in response to the coronavirus in Japan has come in waves, but has never really come to a halt—as in other countries, and when it has slowed significantly, locals and foreigners alike, here, continue to seem to be fearless, standing & sitting close on transport—even near to people unprotected; going out in pairs or in groups where at least one person is unmasked and all remain close, and in not establishing a controlled timing for entrance into places of business, as is done in the US. I attribute this to several possible factors:

Lack of engagement on issues: Generally I don’t think the Japanese talk to each other about controversial issues (this may also benefit their protection–as not talking to strangers during a pandemic has its advantages in slowing the spread of the virus), and they must read about it less, because I see a general ignorance among them in many situations that would appear to betray a lack of the latest information. When they are engaged (I do this with them—feeling a sense of necessity in manhood- and civic duty) they provide little to no resistance or opinion—unless it is easy to agree. So, in general, I don’t see thought or discussion being much of a part of the social fabric—though I would have to imagine it takes place to some degree among confidants. Japanese people tell me themselves–that they lack this or refrain from this activity. Though there are plastic sheets at registers in stores, and later cam plastic dividers between seating t tables in some types of fast-food restaurants–this change was extraordinarily slow to come, as was the donning of PPE by all staff (I’m speaking of activity I have witnessed in the grossly ubiquitous convenience stores; and still, unprotected customers are admitted—to breathe on and touch everything).

The government is apparently not doing its part to inform the public, in a general way—for example in hosting plenaries or hanging signs, displaying posters or mailing flyers about how to take precautions. I confess I don’t watch TV here; are there public service announcements—as there are constantly broadcast in my home state of New York? Private businesses do this, however.

4. POOR ATTITUDE I suspect that due to points 1 and 2 above (and other social and/or historical factors in the national consciousness?) the Japanese people possess an undeserved confidence and even a sort of malaise due to the social challenges the country is famous for and lives with since the initial rise of their economy post-WWII.

I just went a local convenience store and saw multiple people—couples and lone shoppers—out for an early morning walk or to run errands and at least half of the dozen or so individuals I encountered were unmasked. In the store—which is always the case in these tiny and not-so-tiny shops, I encountered unmasked patrons as well. I cannot fathom what is going on in their heads.

I have to conclude that the Japanese–for the most part–are merely going through the motions in relation to COVID19 and are not thinking about this pandemic as seriously as one would expect, in part because:

A. They are in their usual mode of acceptance.

B. The government only stumps on the issue at worst and makes the minor necessary effort at best—because it knows there will be little backlash and as pronounced, it is more concerned about the economy and about being popular (on the part of individual politicians)—which is an easier stance to take given the lack of testing and suppressed case numbers in order to underwhelm hospitals—and it wants to project success–decreasing worry. Look at how they encourage holiday travel.

C. The people possess a mix of hopelessness and over-confidence—the latter possibly bolstered by actual government bragging that they can ‘live with the virus,’ and that their ‘superior culture’ has been a bulwark against it. Of course hither-to low case numbers (however arrived at—perhaps in part due to the Japanese tendency toward discretion and conservative-social-outing-hours—with people tending to head for home around the time the trains begin to stop service—and for the fact that this is not a hugging culture… and that Japan offers superior restroom facilities most everywhere [though the majority of men, at least until now, didn’t seem to wash their hands properly in my experience—after using public restrooms]) has led to a less than ideal public response.

Indeed, on a daily basis—without fail, I find myself very frustrated with the apparent unconscious behavior of an uncomfortably large minority of people I encounter—and this is increasing. People come too close, are often unmasked and exhibit no above-average concern for precautions; I have to initiate every time;

1. Cashiers attempt to touch my hands when they give me my change, touch items to an excess (unless I force them to scan the item’s bar code from a distance).
2. Store clerks and pedestrians are ubiquitously half-masked in many places.
3. Commuters touch every handle and railing when there are other options for one to steady oneself.
4. Commuters and passengers show no concern at unmasked travelers in the immediate vicinity.
5. Commuters stand and move too closely and go up and down stairs and escalators unmasked.

I feel that in general, Japan is not a safe place right now—being perhaps more dangerous than the US in some respects—certainly more so than Korea and less safe than, say, New York, even—because though there is resistance to common sense there (in the States), it is found in pockets of conservative or evangelical communities across the nation—but it’s not a general phenomenon; and the fighting against precautions is a result of thinking (even if wrong-headed)—and where there is thought, minds can be changed; here in Japan, a lack of thinking, communication, and an increase in hopelessness and overconfidence do not provide the kind of environment wherein change happens, in my opinion—especially given the country’s conformist- and shame-oriented culture—unless the government enforces that change, and with an acquiescent, obedient public and a cowardly government, I don’t see that happening.

Some people have suggested Japan is pursuing the herd mentality strategy and others have suggested the low testing rate and disinformation many accuse Japan of are a result of not only economic stability concerns but due to big pharma in Japan using a natural course method as medical research; one student I know of also thinks this has to do with the descendant leadership tied to the infamous World War II era military Unit 731 and their philosophy of dispassionate experimental view of human beings; I find that hard to believe and even harder to want to accept. Either way, the current policy is a nightmare in the making as COVID 19 cases mushroom in number and no leadership is in sight to stem their increase. With the Obon national holiday beginning next weekend, I expect things to get worse.

Carl Atteniese,

The Importance of Honesty

In a time when fake news is an issue, this is the antidote ー in a manner of thought.

Someone asked why lying is wrong, and this was my answer:

Honesty is the kernel of spirituality, all higher perception and related reason, self-knowledge, mental health, cognition, and relationships ーincluding with the self. 

If you lie to yourself about anything, especially about your observations, feelings or beliefs, you will lie to others, which in the case of those who trust you amounts to a human rights abuse—of sorts; people who trust you, in private life or in business, depend on your honesty to understand the world that you reveal to them. If you lie, you paint a false image where they depend on you for an accurate one—and this his is deception, which denies them a true picture of the world which is important to them. It makes a fool of them in the worst way, because it makes a fool of them in such a way as it facilitates their making a fool of themselves–because they had decided to trust you. That is the heavy answer to your question and the one that matters most.

The light answer is: Honesty that is self-serving is a vice or a tool for self-aggrandizement; honesty for the benefit of others is a virtue.

In conclusion, dishonesty is the root of all problems as a factor in one’s not loving oneself and thus others. The only time lying is virtuous is when it saves lives and promotes righteous justice (which never, ever includes harm to anyone, for any reason (not even to facilitate punishment, which is primitive and which will one day be done away with).

© Copyright 2018 & 2021 Carl Atteniese All rights reserved

Who’s Thinking in The Shower?

The Buddha said it. Sages have said it. Jim Carrey says it. Even Sam Harris would say it — after a long, drawn-out answer to a question on the subject: that there is no subject. There is no “I”.

I have taken to saying things such as: I experienced this image/thought/idea… because though the conventions of Standard English demand I use the first-person pronoun to allow a listener to know who is doing the doing or the experiencing in my sentences (not all other languages require this — Korean, Japanese and Chinese don’t require the use of subjects), I do not feel authorship for most of what happens in my brain, and ‘I’ usually (not always) implies a sense of authorship.

We witness our actions and thought, but we say “I thought of something,” “I came up with an idea/solution/poem. I did this thing.” In reality, you might be good enough to admit, we have ideas, we witness solutions, we discover poetic verses. These things come to us. And when we finally get up to go to the bathroom, doesn’t it seem as if we could honestly say, ‘my body finally got up’, when I had just been thinking about it? Think carefully. How often have you decided your favorite color, taste, or even dating type. Doesn’t something inside you do this for “you”? I have been thinking about this for decades – long before I heard of or read Sam Harris. The point is, it is a phenomenon common to us all – if we are observant and honest.

The Buddha said the brain was a witnessing gland, an interpreter, an observer; actually he said it was a sense organ. We can manipulate what we interpret in the world, design sentences to describe it, formulate equations around the properties we observe or imagine to be responsible for the properties we think we sense in the universe and edit the words that come to us in the writing of a poem. But these things — these processes we invent come from inspirations, flash-points, touchstones.

Ideas: Whence Do They Come?

Many people will tell you — myself included — that we get the best ideas in the shower, or during other mundane acts, when basically the mind and body are united in a task that does not allow for too much ego-driven control. Some might be tempted to say that during these deeds, such as in the act of bathing, we are following patterns — some learned, some programmed by habit, and some just common sense: you drop the soap and pick it up in the exact same way you had when you were five years old — minus any age- or injury- inducing changes in your locomotion.

And this deed, be it watering the garden, washing your hair, or doing the washing up (the dishes) is a “thoughtless” activity — and yet, the brain “thinks” as freely as if we were dreaming. And we get ideas. Some might say these mundane acts should indicate the brain is in its programming (programmed) modse. We are doing tasks — such as cleansing, organizing or even driving the car — a more or less programmed set of rituals and scripted responses to the world outside — which we ingrained the memory and motor circuits of the brain to come to engage in unconsciously. But during these acts of washing, working mindless tasks and driving, we sometimes find it more obvious to notice what the brain is doing behind the scenes all the time: thinking for itself. So, I would say that that part of the brain is on “auto-pilot”, whilst the rest is in “free-flight” mode. And this is where our genius comes from.

Einstein imagined the scenes that became his basis for the theory of relativity. He saw himself riding a light beam through the cosmos. He wasn’t in the shower, but haven’y we — in our busy lives — been deeply involved in working with water, as I alluded to, before — when we have experienced ideas we wouldn’t honestly say we authored?

Bears And Big Thoughts

I remember the first time I bathed in a roaring creek. I was on a back country camping expedition in Colorado — with a girlfriend. We had no other way to wash. Well, I can tell you that in bear country, you don’t blithely dream away a twenty-minute period amidst dense forest as you throw frigid water on your naked body in the out-of-doors. First, you want to get the task over with, because the water is nearly freezing cold. Next, you are scanning the horizon – which is basically a hundred yards in any direction, except up and down stream — for something big and furry that might want to miss the fish for a day for a side of human sushi and creek drink.

In the hunter-gatherer days, this is how people washed — carefully. Could it be that this was one of our first meditative acts in which the mind and body are engaged in auto pilot, whilst in the background the stirrings of conscious dreaming were in their infancy, in such a way as they could be called up today whilst we are in water? And in the time that ensued in which people became more used to this — effectively having our brains say, ‘fuck the bears’, I need a bath, this act of washing became more and more relaxed and automatic and so our contemplative thoughts increased at this time.

Sow we find ourselves, today, a hundred thousand years hence washing in total abandon — unless we have to make a commute. Could it be the body (or the part of the brain that is the body) tells the mind it is okay, now, to take over — when we are touched with water — because of our nascent experiences as a species, always in thought — with that medium?

More to Come on This…

Art Copyright Carl Atteniese 2018

The Dangers of AGI

How dangerous is Artificial Intelligence? Chances are you are viewing this thanks to a device in your hand which constitutes AI in many of its functions.

Are Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking right in saying AI is the greatest potential threat to humanity? Sam Harris (samharris.org) originally thought their pronouncements to be hyperbolic — but now he agrees and adds that the only scarier potential prospect regarding AI besides developing its super-intelligent, self-learning and self-replicating AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is not developing it, because it can solve our problems. ‘However’ — Dr. Harris points out — ‘if we develop to the extent that it is a million times faster than the greatest human minds, it could go through 20,000 years of human intellectual development in a week.’

Harris goes on to say that we will have deprive AI access to the internet at first — how we have to solve the political problems we have such that this thing does not cause unemployment at 30% — how we will have to program AI to not do what HAL did in the epic and prophetic film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (though he did not put it that way), because if you give AI instructions to protect humanity, it could wind up waging war on what it sees as deleterious or harmful members of humanity…. Sam Harris also worries about the fact that — as he put it — ‘some of the people working on this are keyed up on Red Bull and apparently on the Asperger’s spectrum; they have totally “drunk the Cool Aid” on AI.’

This has to be heard.