Quiet and Change
On the TV, I watched a man
Get the shit kicked out of his head
Over there in Syria just the other day.
No one should cause
Another person pain like that
Right now, humans are a pretty scrappy species
Fighting sometimes when talk is better
Sometimes picking on each other for no reason
A lot of terrible things go on every day
But you know, much to like goes on too
Now, I’m one who hopes
For a wiser, kinder mankind, as many do
I know humans always improve
From the bottom up
And the inside out
One person at a time
Sometimes improving mean you change
Sometimes improving means
Finding a good use for what is already there
Sometimes improving means you gather
Sometime improving means you throw away
Sometimes improving means
Finding out what’s there ain’t too shabby
Cats are pretty good at being cats
If you don’t think a lot of humans
Are very good at being humans
Look at yourself
Do you like yourself?
Ain’t that funny
How the only two decent people on the planet—
Me and you
Happen to be talking to each other?
Lotta good people on this planet, if you ask me
Lotta foolish people too, it’s true
If you are going to be a kind person
You gotta act kind
If nations are going to be kind
They gotta act kind
Humans are intelligent enough
To make our future
Into what we want it to be
If you don’t like our life the way it is
Or if you don’t the way you are
Then get busy changing
And if you’re the kinda person
Who likes themselves a little too much
Believe me, life will be happy
To teach you a few lessons
Learn from what is around you
Learn from what is inside
Look for the quiet and change
Already in nature
Look for the quiet and change
Remember the only person
You’re sure to improve if you’re so inclined
What do you want to try?
What are you gonna do?
Las Vegas is a brightly shining city
that never has any time to sleep.
You never really know
who you might be talking to
or who you might happen to meet.
There is a little place called Palladium Station.
out in the suburbs of that big old town.
If you go down there on a Wednesday night
you’ll find Jessie tending bar.
I used to drop in to see her
have a drink and chat from time to time.
One night when it was kind of slow
Jessie said to me,
“’Years past I was a dancer
in a brightly lit chorus line.
I learned from one of the best there was.
She had high hopes for me.
We had a lot of mutual respect.
I used to really sparkle up there on the stage.
I used to really shine.
I had a hope or two of going even farther.
‘Had a hope or two of having even more
of that diamond time.
But, you know, life is what happens
while you’re busy making plans.
I got a husband and two children.
and had to leave that chorus line behind.
Now I only dance to teach a few kids
over at the dancing school.”
Jessie stopped to draw a guy a miller.
When she came back she smiled and quietly said,
“There’s times in the dark of night as I fall to sleep
I wonder what might have been
if my life had turned out differently
and a little more like I’d planned.”
I said, “I am a writer.
I make my art with a pen.
Jessie, you’re an artist too
and you make art with your body
like an antelope running across the savanna
or a tree moving gently in the wind.
They say that art is its own point for happening
and improves upon the beauty of the world
like the stars in the sky at night
or a sunrise in the morning
painting the day ahead.
They say life has a strange way of happening.
It takes you down roads you never expected
and paths that sometimes turn out better
than you ever could have planned.
If your art becomes famous
you get to shine brightly for a few years
until your limelight begins to fade
then you spend your time reminiscing
about the glory days behind you.
instead of paying attention to
the time you’ve got left.
Show off your art
and you brighten the world for day or two.
But if you teach your art
to the young ones who come after you
you can see your sun rising
a thousand times over
in the long years ahead.”
Rules for Decent Human Behavior
1) There is something right and something wrong in virtually everything you encounter. Find both. Look for the truth in things, and remember that it almost always lies somewhere in between.
2) Live well-balanced on three legs. Do this by everyday spending as much time as you can at each at the following tasks:
a. Working or creating something.
b. Relaxing by doing something enjoyable.
c. Talking to someone you love.
3) Keep your life as simple as you can.
4) Always remember that hidden within almost every problem is an opportunity.
5) Always be kind, considerate, and fair. Bring no harm. Do not hold on to resentment. Never let go of hope. Remember to share. When you have to compromise, maximize everyone’s benefit, minimize everyone’s harm. Do not do anything you cannot respect others doing. This is called acting with honor.
6) Be aware of people’s weaknesses, but concentrate on their strengths. Keep your own affairs tidy, let others tend to theirs. If you cannot find something to respect about someone, it is your shortcoming, not theirs. This is called seeking what is reasonable in yourself and others.
7) When you are in charge, run things with as much kindness as you can muster, and keep your rules as few and simple as possible.
8) Always value people over institutions or items.
9) Prefer letting be to meddling.
10) Be true to your word.
11) Do not ask for a favor you cannot return in kind.
—- From “The Questioning Way” by Dewey Dirks
we all are connected!
Like God has a net
like the earth has a web
we all are connected in the vast fabric
of the biosphere of our planet
In Africa, thousands of years ago,
a tribe exhibiting the human adaptation
for cutting down rainforests
moved into an area of rainforest
inhabited by malaria carrying mosquitoes.
The tribe cut down the rainforest.
The change in the environment
allowed previously less successful
and malaria carrying mosquitoes
to vastly increase in number.
Since many animals that inhabited the rainforest
had to leave when it was cut down,
and since more humans
now lived in the area
due to their greater food production
more humans were both reproduced
and killed by malaria.
Humans in the area were then put under selective pressure
by natural selection to select for the sickle-cell genes.
because sickle-cell genes carry a strong resistance
In a few generations,
a significant portion of the human population
in the area
carried the sickle-cell gene.
The reasons for the malaria
and the sickle-cell gene remained unknown
for many generations
until another human culture
from across the Atlantic ocean
holding other culturally evolved points of view
noticed that the incidence
of both a resistance to malaria
and the sickle-cell gene coincided
in a certain area of Africa.
All humans are naturally curious beings
because our habit of using cultural adaptation ensures
that natural, sexual and kin selection all likely to select
for curiosity in humans.
So, the sickle-cell data represented a mystery
for naturally curious humans to solve.
Investigating the mystery
caused humans to increase our knowledge base
thereby increasing our ability to adapt.
So, the complex interactions between several features
of the world including rainforest trees,
mosquitoes, parasites, and humans across many generations
all combined by means of phenotypical adaptation,
natural selection, sexual selection, and kin selection
to result in (among many other things)
an increase in human adaptability
and this poem….
And that, my friends
is a good example of how interconnected
our biosphere actually is.
God has a net
The earth has a web
Painted Into A Corner
In times like these
When all the world
is starting to change
Lotta people are very worried
Lotta people don’t know
what might happen next
I’m here to tell you the changes
that are coming are because
of a very good thing
Big countries, my friends
over sixty years ago
all grew so powerful
with weapons of war so destructive
that they could no longer fight each other
so, they fought against each other
by using smaller countries
like Vietnam and Korea
Now, here in the early 21st century
even smaller countries have grown
so skilled at making war
that big countries can no longer
fight them and expect
to hold onto them for very long
Here we are with our huge societies
that are used to making weapons
no one can use much anymore
So the changes that are coming our way
All involve changing our economies
in ways to reward
much more than just greed
and making war on each other
My friends the real reason
why things need to change
is because technologically
Humanity has painted
ourselves into a corner
when it comes to making war.
are very worried only because
they know the old ways
of doing everything
from business to diplomacy
needs to change
and no one has figured out how
to do that just yet
Simple As That
A human is as complex
and as simple as two hands
and two feet
Hold your lover close
under soft sheets tonight
Rest as best you can
for some of us, yesterdays mistakes
will mire us in the mud
yet one more day
and do nothing but hold us back
While others will craft those same mistakes
with love and care
into stepping stones…
Touch the future
with your hopes and dreams tonight
My friends, I promise you this—
Love runs very, very deep
in the human heart
We all have souls
brilliant and strong
made of stardust, hopes,
and hard lessons learned
from lost loved ones pain
Seven billion eyes close tonight
each person with their own set
of worries, aspirations, and plans
Each person with ideas swimming
around in their head
wishing for a better world
one way or another
Seven billion eyes will open
In the morning
as we each awake
What used to be tomorrow
will become today
lost on most of us
in plain sight
is that the distance between
where we are
and where we want to be
is one day closer
one day more hopeful
one day wiser
one day more resolute
are a very resourceful species
We all know we cannot live long
living as we have in the past
and so, we’ll change
simple as that.
Don’t worry about whether or not
things are going to change.
The change has already happened.
It is the best kind of change.
One that is based on hope and love.
It’s just going to take some time
for the cultures of our planet
to do the work
and for everyone to realize
the extent of what has happened.
Like most people who are
isolated from life, our leaders
are likely to be among the last
to find out.
Men of Peace
There have been many men of war
They come and they go.
Do you remember all their names?
That is because it is easier to fight
Than it is to be intelligent.
In the fullness of time
the men whom
everyone everywhere remembers
The men whom we teach our children
to aspire to
The men on whose words
our science, entire religions, cultures
and systems of morality
are all built around.
Jesus, Mohammad, Socrates
Confucius, Lao Tzu,
Gandhi, and Buddha
These, my friends,
were men of peace.