Sunday, December 17, 2017 was the 844th anniversary of the death of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, known to most people in the west as Rumi. I missed the opportunity to celebrate the 800th anniversary of his birth in 2006.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Rumi was so many things in life. For me, saying Rumi is a poet is like saying Mount Everest is a hill. I believe one day students in the west will study Rumi’s poetry the way Shakespeare is studied today. But I consider Rumi to be much more than a poet. I consider him to be one of the few who attained to what the New Message from God calls Knowledge. Knowledge is the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed in each person. Rumi is someone who accomplished what I am trying to accomplish in my study of the book Steps to Knowledge. It may take some work.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? The particular translation I am sharing is by the British scholar Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969). He was one of the first scholars to translate Rumi into English. I consider this translation to be direct and to the point. There is so much that could be said about this poem. I have nothing to say that is better than silence.
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’
Public opinion polls for individual nations have been around for a long time. From time to time, polls are conducted for a certain region of the world, such as the Pew Research Center polls of the Middle East and North Africa. But I saw a public opinion poll this week that was out of the ordinary for multiple reasons.
Do you believe we deserve to be free?
The poll was conducted by a company called Glocalities. It could be remarkable in that it is the closest thing to a global opinion poll to be conducted by a private company. The poll surveyed 26,492 people in 24 countries in 15 languages. The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, were included in the survey. Glocalities reports that each country has an equal weight in the data. I take that to mean that while they might not ask exactly as many Chinese as Americans, they counted the Chinese response as much as the American response. Got that?
Do you believe we deserve to be free? While many public opinion polls have been conducted on beliefs regarding extraterrestrials, this poll has sampled more people from more countries and more languages than any poll I have ever seen. The very existence of this poll is a remarkable development in my opinion. It took a good bit of effort to conduct this poll. Someone wants to know what humanity thinks on this subject. I confess curiosity as to who wants to know, and why. I won’t find that out anytime soon, will I?
Do you believe we deserve to be free? The first question was, “Do you believe in the existence of some form of life on other planets?” 62% of the respondents answered Yes, 17% answered No, and 22% answered that they didn’t know. I would answer yes to this question. After all, life on earth exists in some very harsh and challenging environments. For example, bacteria exist in the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. There are microorganisms that live in very cold environments on earth. I can imagine some form of life in challenging environments on other worlds without too much effort.
Do you believe we deserve to be free? I consider the second question to be a stronger version of the first question. The second question was, “Do you believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe?” 47% of the respondents answered Yes, 26% answered No, and 28% answered that they didn’t know. I would answer yes to this question. After all, the observable universe is really, really big. Furthermore, the universe has been around for a long, long time. There are most likely a great many things in the universe that we haven’t seen yet. There are most likely a great many things in the universe that we haven’t even imagined yet.
Do you believe we deserve to be free? The third question was a follow-up question to those who answered yes to the second question. The third question was, “Do you think that humans should try to get in contact with advanced alien civilizations?” 60% of the respondents to this question answered Yes. That’s 60% of the 47% who answered yes to the second question, or about 28% of the entire body of respondents. 21% of the respondents to this question answered No. 19% of the respondents to this question answered that they didn’t know. I would answer no to this question. The result of this poll only strengthens my conviction that my people are reckless blabbermouths.
Do you believe we deserve to be free? The final question was “Do you believe that the first life form on earth arrived here from another place in the universe?” 25% of the respondents answered Yes, 39% answered No, and 36% answered that they didn’t know. I would answer no to this question. There is evidence to suggest life on earth emerged at a very early date. I confess to be surprised at the percentage of people answering yes. No one in my world believes this. If they do, they keep it to themselves.
Do you believe we deserve to be free? It is my sincere hope that Glocalities and other organizations will conduct similar global polls in the future. It is also my sincere hope that such polls will contain the following questions:
Do you believe that technically advanced alien civilizations are necessarily spiritually advanced?
Do you believe that technically advanced alien civilizations are present in the world in some form?
Do you believe that technically advanced alien civilizations have benign or benevolent intentions toward humanity?
American public opinion pollsters ask Americans a question on a regular basis. The question is “Is America moving in the right direction, or is it on the wrong track?” This poll is conducted for other countries as well. The respondents don’t give the reasons for their answer. Therefore, this poll doesn’t investigate the accuracy of the facts behind the response. This poll doesn’t measure the logic people employ (or the lack thereof). It asks for a very general perception or feeling about the direction of the country.
Humanity: right direction or wrong track?
I request that anyone who reads these words imagine something with me. Imagine that a public opinion pollster contacted you. But instead of asking you about your country, they asked you about humanity. What if they asked, “Is humanity moving in the right direction, or is it on the wrong track?” I have posed this question to some people in my world. Some of them have responded with bewilderment. Some have asked, “What metric are you using?” I consider that a reasonable question. One way this question might be framed is, “Is humanity becoming more capable or less capable to face challenges and take advantage of opportunities?”
Humanity: right direction or wrong track? Luke Muehlhauser created the above graph in an attempt to identify the most impactful event in human history. He offers a one-sentence summary of human history, “Everything was awful for a very long time, and then the industrial revolution happened.” Muehlhauser’s article suggests that he considers humanity to be moving in the right direction.
Humanity: right direction or wrong track? A group of eight scientists generated the above image. They titled their paper “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.” 15,364 scientists added their names to this paper in the month since it was published. I could go into detail about the data being presented here. But it is abundantly clear that the authors of this paper believe humanity is on the wrong track.
Humanity: right direction or wrong track? The New Message from God has something to say on this subject. I don’t want to just say that the New Message from God says humanity is on the wrong track. It’s more nuanced than that. After the Industrial Revolution, humanity started consuming many more resources, and having a much greater impact on its environment. This is from the revelation “The Race to Save Human Civilization,” received in 2009:
“Humanity has plundered the world and has destroyed your natural inheritance to such a great degree that the world will change now, becoming a more difficult place for the human family.”
Humanity: right direction or wrong track? I say humanity faces difficult times ahead, as a consequence of its recent success. If I had to say right direction or wrong track, I would say wrong track. But there’s more to it than that.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5, New International Version)
My people are reckless blabbermouths
I consider Isaiah to be referring to the kingdom of Judah when he spoke of “a people of unclean lips.” I am conducting an experiment. I am keeping track of how it feels when I refer to humanity as “my people.” My people might be a people of unclean lips. My people are indisputably a people of overactive lips.
My people are reckless blabbermouths. We speak when we should be silent. We are silent when we should speak. Our speech is not informed by Knowledge, the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed within each person. This is how my people are a people of unclean lips. But this is not particularly newsworthy. Neither is it my primary complaint.
My people are reckless blabbermouths. My primary complaint is that my people broadcast a great deal of information about themselves into space. Radio, television, internet, it all goes out into space when it is sent to a satellite. My people send probes into interstellar space announcing ourselves. We have gone so far as beam messages into space in an attempt to contact extraterrestrial life. We act as if there will be no negative consequence to this. We act as if there could not possibly be any negative consequences to this.
“The wise remain hidden. Your world is known to a few, but not to many. You do not want to broadcast into the universe who you are and what you have. In the future, your radio technology will have to be completely changed. You cannot be broadcasting out into space. That only invites inquiry, interest and suspicion. Right now you think that there is no one else out there, that the universe is vast and empty and that there might be some distant planet somewhere that could receive your transmissions. If you understood the situation, you would see how dangerous and unwarranted this is.”
“At the end of the second volume [The Dark Forest is the second volume of a three-volume set], one of the main characters lays out the trilogy’s animating philosophy. No civilization should ever announce its presence to the cosmos, he says. Any other civilization that learns of its existence will perceive it as a threat to expand—as all civilizations do, eliminating their competitors until they encounter one with superior technology and are themselves eliminated. This grim cosmic outlook is called “dark-forest theory,” because it conceives of every civilization in the universe as a hunter hiding in a moonless woodland, listening for the first rustlings of a rival.”
My people are reckless blabbermouths. We will have to fix that to function successfully in a greater community of intelligent life.
A person doesn’t have to be particularly clever to notice that there are quite a few meditation techniques available. Furthermore, from time to time, a particular meditation technique catches on with the general public. For example, the visit by the Beatles to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand State in India sparked an interest in Transcendental Meditation. These days various forms of mindfulness meditation seem to be popular. I consider these various techniques to be remedies, as it were, for various forms and amounts of mental chaos and suffering.
Take your meditation medicine, please. I consider it helpful to meditate in a quiet place that isn’t too bright and isn’t too dark. I prefer a place where random changes in light or sound are unlikely. Meditating in the same time and place each day helps the mind and body get used to the idea. I try not to digest and meditate at the same time.
Take your meditation medicine, please. Some things are meditation-killers for some people. For me, it’s television. If I watch a television program with car chases and explosions before meditation, my mental sky will be full of car chases and explosions. If I watch a calm program with people talking, my meditation will be preoccupied with how those people are going to solve their problems. I have to avoid sabotaging my practice by something before the meditation session. I have to talk to my mind and tell it I’m doing something a little different for a while.
Take your meditation medicine, please. I have to be willing to receive the benefits that my meditation practice offers. Someone is reading this and thinking “Isn’t that obvious?” I believe you would be surprised to discover how much self-hatred lurks beneath the surface of most people. Many people weigh themselves in the balance of their ideals, and find themselves wanting. At some point, it is necessary to say “I am worthy of my practice and its results.”
Take your meditation medicine, please. If I take it back far enough, I discover that I wish to practice meditation in order to be a better person in some way. If I take that back far enough, I discover that I wish to become better in order to bless someone else in some way. Even meditation is a group effort.
Take your meditation medicine, please. I may not, probably won’t, get the results of my meditation practice right away. It may take a little while to blaze a trail, to discover the pathway. Therefore, I consider it important to be content with the result of any particular meditation session. Thoughts along the line of “I must be doing it wrong” lie in wait at every turn. I have to avoid sabotaging my practice by something after the meditation session.
A nearby star made the news this week. The star in question is known as both Van Maanen 2 and van Maanen’s Star, in honor of its discoverer, Adriaan van Maanen. Van Maanen’s Star isn’t in the news for any current property. The star is in the news for its ancient history. Van Maanen 2 is also in the news for a place in the history of human science.
Quite a few worlds were, but are no more
It frequently happens that scientists discover things when they’re looking for something else. That was the case in 1917 when Adriaan van Maanen discovered a small, dim star. Van Maanen’s Star is a white dwarf, not much bigger than Earth. Stars like our sun become white dwarfs when they exhaust their nuclear fuel. There are white dwarfs which are closer to our sun, such as Sirius B and Procyon B, but Van Maanen 2 is the closest white dwarf to the sun that isn’t a companion to a larger star.
Quite a few worlds were, but are no more. Analyzing the light from this star offered a mystery. Van Maanen’s star contained elements that no one expected, such as iron. Between 1917 and now, astronomers discovered about 40 other white dwarfs with similar properties. Where did these heavy elements come from? Astronomers now believe they come from planets that once orbited the star. When did these planets start to orbit this star? 4.1 billion years ago. For how long did they orbit this star? They orbited Van Maanen 2 for roughly 900 million years. What happened to these planets? They were destroyed when van Maanen’s Star became a red giant along the way to becoming a white dwarf. This is a predictable event in the life cycle of stars. I marvel to think Van Maanen 2 contains traces of the planets that orbited it 3.2 billion years ago.
Quite a few worlds were, but are no more. What does this mean to me? Astronomers discovered the first exoplanet, or planet orbiting a star other than the sun, in 1992. Between 1992 and now, astronomers have discovered 3,550 exoplanets. But I learned something I didn’t know. There are many stars with planets around them now. There may be a great many stars that had planets around them in the past, but have them no longer. For all we know, those planets might have supported intelligent life, like our world does.
One of the avenues explored by the New Message from God addresses the Great Waves of Change descending on the world. You may be wondering what this declaration of future events is based on. It is based on a series of revelations received by Marshall Vian Summers. But who is to believe this? Where is the truth? Is it not just another false alarm about the end of the world?
Let’s take a look at what one of the New Message revelations called “The Global Emergency” has to say about this.
“Humanity is at the threshold of great global change, world change on a scale never seen before, caused now by humanity’s misuse and overuse of the world, by human ignorance and human greed. It is a condition now that will affect the lives of every person.
“The coastal cities and ports of the world could be flooded in 30 years. The lands will dry out. The crops will fail. There will be human migration on a scale never seen, with great tribulation and conflict arising. It will be an overwhelming situation if humanity does not prepare.”
I cannot argue with the fact that we have plundered our planet and continue to plunder it. As I see it, this cannot continue without facing disastrous consequences. I am inclined to believe what it says in this revelation. Something resonates within me at a deeper level.
Now let’s take a look at what Marshall Vian Summers himself has to say about this.
Where are the facts? Where is the evidence? Who can confirm this? All the same, something resonates within me at a deeper level. I do not need facts and evidence. It is enough to look around and feel what is going on in the world to be convinced of the truth of his words.
I am not a pessimist – I am a realist
However, for those who need facts and evidence, let’s take a look what the media has to say about this.
“In the long run, sea-level rise will be one of the most serious consequences of global warming. But how fast will sea levels rise? … A just-published survey of 90 sea-level experts from 18 countries now reveals what amount of sea-level rise the wider expert community expects. With successful, strong mitigation measures, the experts expect a likely rise of 40-60 cm in this century and 60-100 cm by the year 2300. With unmitigated warming, however, the likely range is 70-120 cm by 2100 and two to three meters by the year 2300.”
Projecting future rates of sea level rise is challenging. Even the most sophisticated climate models, which explicitly represent Earth’s physical processes, cannot simulate rapid changes in ice sheet dynamics, and thus are likely to underestimate future sea level rise. In recent years, “semi-empirical” methods have been developed to project future rates of sea level rise based on a simple statistical relationship between past rates of globally averaged temperature change and sea level rise. These models suggest a range of additional sea level rise from about 2 feet to as much as 6 feet by 2100, depending on emissions scenario.,,, It is not clear, however, whether these statistical relationships will hold in the future, or that they fully explain historical behavior. Regardless of the amount of change by 2100, however, sea level rise is expected to continue well beyond this century as a result of both past and future emissions from human activities.
There is a lot of talk about the shrinking polar ice caps and how this will effect the world.
Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent, according to scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.
I am not a pessimist, I am a realist. I understand that most people do not want to know anything about this. Maybe we’ll luck out and nothing will happen, think they. Or perhaps we can just ignore it and hope it will go away.
But do you want to be “most people?” Or are you willing to take responsibility for your life and the lives of those around you? Do you not feel that something is stirring and great changes are coming to the world? If so, look around you with clear eyes, not as a pessimist, but as a realist. And draw conclusions. Then prepare physically, mentally and spiritually.
What do I mean? I mean it just doesn’t feel good enough for me anymore for one part of humanity to succeed at the expense of another. I love my country. I want it to succeed. But I would take no joy in its success if it involved the failure of another nation. Is there any victory that isn’t a funeral? I dream a world where every nation has a memorial to the enemy combatants and civilians killed in its wars.
I must stretch myself in space and time. What do I mean? I mean it just doesn’t feel good enough for me anymore to think of some future event and say, “Well, it’s not like I’m going to be around to see it.” I feel like taking a page from the Great Law of the Iroquois and considering the impact of something on humanity seven generations from now. I consider this as 140 years. The Iroquois realized that this was tricky. In their words, it required having “skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” I’m not sure I have that yet. All I know is that I’m working on it.
I must stretch myself in space and time. What do I mean? I mean I have to adjust my awareness to think a little bit more about the success of the human family. I mean I have to adjust my awareness to think further ahead than I’m used to thinking. Can I help my people succeed 140 years from now? All I know is that I must try.
There is a certain legal trend emerging in the world. It is a trend of granting personhood, and thus certain legal rights, to rivers. Why is this happening? I believe the existing ways of thinking about rivers just don’t get rivers clean enough fast enough.
What will make us make the rivers clean? My ultimate answer is “A sufficient number of people responding to Knowledge.” By “Knowledge” I mean “the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed within each person.” But I don’t know when that will happen. I don’t know if it will ever happen. I therefore propose an interim solution. I don’t ask much. All I want is for every nation in the world to enforce a law like this:
If a river passes through or borders upon a given jurisdiction (such as a city like Wanganui in New Zealand, a county like Grand County in Colorado, or a state like Uttar Pradesh in India), that river must leave the jurisdiction as clean as when it enters the jurisdiction.
“Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind” – Bob Dylan, Blowin’ In The Wind
How many times must the warheads be dropped?
I wish to confess my neglect, and offer remediation. What have I neglected? On August 10, 2017, the human family observed 72 years without using a nuclear weapon in warfare. I have had an annual custom of observing this happy occasion here, here and here. I did not observe this in either 2016 or in August of 2017. But humanity has gone 72 years, 3 months and 10 days without using a nuclear weapon in warfare. By “nuclear weapon” I mean either a fission weapon or a fusion weapon. America used fission weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nations of the world have only tested fusion weapons, also called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs. No nation has used a fusion weapons in warfare since November 1, 1952. My people have refrained from using our most destructive weapon for almost 65 years.
How many times must the warheads be dropped? I am pleased to share with you the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). ICAN’s efforts resulted in a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Yes, I understand that nations with nuclear weapons opposed this treaty. Yes, I understand that the treaty isn’t technically in force, as it requires ratification by 50 nations. We’re currently at 3. Yes, I’m aware that it is unclear who is going to enforce the provisions of this treaty. But we have to start somewhere.