November 26, 2020


Fall Canopy 01 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
Is it easier to deceive yourself alone,
or in a group?

When I look around at
the white supremacists,
the NRA,
the MAGA's,
the Qanon's,
the Roman Catholic Church,
the Evangelical Christian churches,
the Protestant Christian churches...
the list is really, really, long...

I think there is no safety in numbers,
and the more people you have, 
the less likely it is 
that everyone is doing a clarity/fact/check
on every statement 
that is being made,
and that is, at least, a possibility
for individuals in the solitude
of their own recliner.

Deception, delusion, illusion, being fooled
are all tricks humans pull
on themselves and one another.

Avoiding them,
or just recognizing them,
is a life-long task.
And, it is one that we have to recognize
as being ours to undertake,
and to know we are responsible for,
and begin the work on constructing
what is generally thought of as a
"Bullshit Detector."

What goes into an industrial strength BSD?
There are books, 
YouTube videos
and soon-to-be-surely hotlines
and smart phone apps.

We would be wise to start our own collection
of methods to keep ourselves savvy
and up on the latest aids to knowing what's what
that are available to those who want to know.

It is hard enough staying on the path
when the mud has settled
and the water is clear.
When the propaganda merchants are filling
the air with waves of nonsense and idiocy,
we have to filter everything we hear and see
through micro-strainers
to have a chance at a trustworthy interpretation
of what is going on.

Do everything you can to see what you look at,
and understand what is being said. 
Everything depends on knowing what is happening
and what needs to happen in response.




Sumac 03 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
It is difficult to know 
where Zen begins and Taoism stops,
The concept of "turning the light around"
is right there.

Turning the light around means
"Stop looking out there for what is in here!"
The Buddha is not out there!
The Way is not out there!
The Christ is not out there!
God in whatever religion is not out there!
The Enemy is not out there!

It is all in here!

When Jesus said, "Love your enemy,"
and when Paul said, 
"Wretched man that I am--
who will deliver me
from this body of death?"
They were both talking about 
the enemy within,
the one who sabotages
our best intents and purposes.

We do not will ourselves to perfection
and holiness,
deserving of the rewards of heaven
and life-everlasting.

We do not beat ourselves into submission,
or punish ourselves into sinless living.
"Love your enemy"
is loving ourselves,
and all that is within us
that opposes our idea
of who we ought to be.

Turning the light around
means receiving ourselves well,
with compassion and grace,
the good and the bad,
like the Prodigal's father
welcoming him home.

It is not by striving to be pure
and sinless
that we become whole and complete,
but through compassionate,
non-judgmental awareness
and acceptance
of all that we are
and are capable of being--
and by extending this welcoming,
gracious, generous and kind
to all others,
we participate in the making
of a miracle
that transforms
all of our relationships,
by turning the light around.



Fall Leaves 39 11/24/20 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
Genghis Khan said:
"A man's greatest pleasure is crushing his enemies.
The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, 
to chase them  before you, 
to rob them of their wealth, 
to take their horses,
to see those dear to them  bathed in tears, 
to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”   

Take his enemies,
their wealth and horses,
their wives and daughters
away from him.
Put him on an island
with water to eat
and fruit and vegetables to eat,
and watch what happens to him.
What does he do with his time?
What would keep him going?

What is your greatest pleasure?
Your greatest happiness?
What would you do without it?
Without the hope of it?
Without the possibility of it?
What would keep you going?

Blaise Pascal said,

“All of humanity's problems stem 
from (our) inability 
to sit quietly in a room alone.”

What keeps us going,
sitting quietly in a room alone?

What makes it worth our time 
and effort?



Abbott Lake 09/27/2011 — Peaks of Otter, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia
What does thinking about sex
keep us from thinking about
if we weren't thinking about sex?

What will Artificial Intelligence
think about
when it progresses to the point
of being self-replicating,

It seems (to me)
that thinking about sex
is our genes' way
of producing more genes.

What is the equivalent 
of "producing more genes"
from an AI perspective?

It could be that the problem
for the Mystery at the heart
of Life and Being
is keeping the experiment going.
So, every living thing
thinks about sex in its own way.

And Life and Being follows
a routine course over time,
except for the occasional blips
of novelty that make it interesting.

Being interested is another
problem for the Mystery.
What keeps it going?
What is the mystery for the Mystery?
What does it think about?

You can't get away from the fact
that the theological creation we call God
cannot get us off its mind.
God is consumed with,
obsessed by its compulsion 
for us to do right by it.
We drive God to distraction.
It cannot think of anything else.
"What are they doing now?"
"What are they doing now?"
"What are they doing now?"
And writing it all down
in the Book of Life.
What a life that would be.

What keeps AI going?
What would keep us going
if it weren't for thinking about sex?
(And having sex isn't as important to us,
as interesting to us,
as thinking about having sex,
which makes pornography such a hit).

What is there, other than sex,
to think about?
To be interested in?
Can we think about it,
be interested in it,
without thinking there is something
wrong with us 
for not thinking about sex all the time?

The culture would have us think about sex
all the time.
Sex sells.
Sex is good for the economy.
Sex and money are the foundations
of every culture there ever has been--
and where does that line lie?
The one between sex and money?

Sex is money.
Money is sex.
What is money good for 
if not sex?
What is sex good for
if not more sex?
What are we good for,
if not thinking about sex?

It is what we do best,
isn't it?
It is certainly what we do most,
isn't it?
What would we be doing
if we weren't thinking about sex
or having sex?

What will AI be doing with its time?

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

One thought on “November 26, 2020

  1. AI will be thinking about making more AI. Just without the biological function. We are consumed with our own creations, from chemistry to engineering. It doesn’t stop with procreation. We want to keep creating. AI will be the same, no doubt. So sad but true, friend.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: