Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Think Like A Caveman

Hello all.  It's been quite some time since I've posted.  I've been working on developing an e-book called Think Like A Caveman.  Well, it's finally done!  It's a short story written in parallel narrative (story/memoir).  If you are interested in reading about it, you can go to the link above.


Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Collective Subjective

The Collective Subjective

Why is it that philosophers value objectivity over subjectivity? Science as well. It seems to be that the two are married and cannot be separated without mutilating the truth.

Perhaps the collective subjective would reveal a purer reflection of truth than what we think "objectivity"can- which is really impossible. It is impossible to analyze and see things purely objectively.  For to be alive is to have the subject involved in the analysis of the object.  Therefore, since objectivity cannot be obtained, and subjectivity is all there is, the truth lies within the marriage of the subject and the object, and cannot escape it. Truth may be singularly objective in itself, but it cannot be perceived in its entirety and without corruption, since we subjectively perceive it.

Perhaps the closest we may get to objective truth is merely through its reflection in a collective measurement of the subjective in all of us.  My subjectivity, in comparison and contrast to your subjectivity, and so forth until we find the emergence of truth, that 5th note caused from the reverberation of the quartet, which marks the masterful synthesis of combined subjectivity- a note that is not at once any of us, yet in all of us.

If this truth exists, it is this kind of truth that should be pursued - a truth that is revealed in perfect cooperation. And each man holds in his own hands the purpose to play his part authentically for this sake- the sake of this emergence of truth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


One day I was thinking about why people hurt other people.  I was trying to figure out where it all started. Why would some caveman somewhere all of a sudden decide to attack another caveman.  My mind led me to the idea that it must have all started with a feeling of "fear".  Here is what I pictured:

Once upon a time there was a caveman named Carl.   Carl was happy.  He slept in his own cave which was warm at night and cool in the day.  When Carl was hungry, he crept outside and explored the plentiful vegetation that lay all around him.  There were fruit trees, nut trees, berry bushes and all kinds of interesting foods that grew from the ground like mushrooms, onions and watermelon.  Carl ate what he liked and never once thought of hoarding these foods because his mind was occupied with peace and joy.  When he was not eating, Carl either made things out of rocks, sticks and dirt, or he took long naps.  Sometimes, he would be hungry when it was dark outside so he fumbled around under the moonlit sky to a tree which had fruit that he liked and he would eat.  He smiled even though no other caveperson was around to see him.

 One day, Carl spotted another caveman eating from one of the nearby trees.  A few feelings came over Carl that he had never felt before.  At first, he felt excited to see another caveman who was doing the same things Carl would do. He could relate to this other caveman, and it made Carl feel welcomed. Carl knew that eating felt good and since he liked doing it, he imagined that the other caveman liked doing it too.  He crept out of his cave and bounded over to the other caveman excited to eat fruit with him. The two looked at each other for a moment, then looked at the tree; there was one piece of fruit left on it. Both reached out at the same time to grab it. Both took ahold of part of it. Carl tugged the fruit toward him. The other caveman tugged back. Soon, the two of them were struggling on the ground. There was biting, clawing, and punching until both of them were exhausted and bleeding.  Badly wounded from each other, Carl went back to his cave, and the other caveman left the garden, returning to whence he came.
                Carl couldn’t believe what had happened.  He was jittery, shaking, and sore.  Then a new feeling swept over him.  Carl realized that if this other caveman was eating and enjoying the same food that Carl had, maybe there wouldn’t be enough for Carl when he became hungry again.  Carl freaked out.  This was a very foreign feeling, but it made Carl feel very powerful and caused a rush of energy.  “What if there isn’t enough for me” kept  running through his mind as he remembered this other caveman taking and eating the fruit that Carl liked.  Carl thought that if he saw this other caveman again he might throw a rock at him, but  then imagined missing, and the other caveman might throw it back and not miss.  Next , he thought he might go make some scary noises in the bushes hoping that the other caveman would get scared and run away.  But then he thought it could be embarrassing if the other caveman didn’t run away and found him there snorting and wheezing in the bushes.  Carl didn’t know what to do, but all he could think about was “What if there isn’t enough left for me?”  Out of desperation, Carl crept out of his cool cave into the hot sun. All afternoon and evening the only thing Carl could think about was being afraid of this other caveman, and gathering all of the food in the garden for himself so that no other caveperson would ever come near his home again.... (to be continued).

I was thinking that somewhere along the line, we learned to be afraid that there might not be enough left over for us.  Whether it be recognition, love, acceptance, food, security, ....whatever.  And so, we began building our armor up... until today, where we are full of fears and our bodies respond accordingly- we must fight and be suspect of each other-because there might not be enough left for us.

But what if there was enough for everyone?  What if there was enough to go around? What if we could get all of the love, acceptance, belonging, security, food, etc.?  If Carl saw the other caveman eating the fruit, but noticed an entire orchard of trees to pick fruit from as well, Carl might have just shrugged, waved, smiled, and picked some of his own.

Since it appears that there in fact isn't enough of everything to actually go around in this world, how might we (if we want to that is) steer clear of letting fear drive our behaviors? How might we not allow ourselves to become calloused, suspicious, judgmental?  I think that is where LOVE comes in.  Love makes us do weird things.. right?  Like being O.K. with the other caveman eating the last piece of fruit and actually be glad for him because we know it tastes so good and we know it would make us feel good inside if WE were the ones eating it.  We transcribe our joy-filled feelings onto the other caveman.  In those rare moments where we feel so "full" because of love, in those moments where we don't want to "wake up" from the experience we are having because we are so content, these are the moments when we are happy to allow another person the room to get their needs met.  I think of a quote from the movie The Matrix:

The scene:
Neo, the hero, is growing in his stature, learning how to become "The One" to save the world. He goes to see the Oracle, the one who will confirm his identity.  Before he goes in to see her, he is in a room filled with other "potentials".  One possible candidate is a young boy who is bending a spoon with mind-power. Neo, with a puzzled look on his face, has a hard time believing what he is seeing.  The boy, recognizing that Neo is struggling, speaks up.... "It is not the spoon that is bending, it is you.  You must first realize that there is no spoon."   I've found, and would like to share, with the hope to inspire someone out there, that when I have let go of my firm grip on myself and my needs, is when I find myself O.K. with helping others get theirs met. I can go hungry if I want to.  I can be second if I choose to.  I can choose to find more satisfaction in filling a need than filling my own when I want to.  In those rare moments when I get tired of stuffing my face, when I am weary of biting and clawing, in those moments where I start to think... wait a minute "if there wasn't a spoon, I wouldn't care to bend it", that is when I am able to be flexible.  That is where I revert back to a very organic place.  A place where my body desires peace and to help others before I fight for myself.  Somehow, maybe, if you can relate, maybe we have just forgotten that we prefer to feel peace? We remind ourselves that we don't like being afraid... that we don't like fear.  We remember, somehow, that "the good life" must be one that doesn't make room for fear. And when we go back to this memory, this deep, deep memory, we prefer to imagine that there actually is enough... at least for the other person.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Advice

"There is good and there is bad, but the coffee is always black." My brother and I didn't know what to make of these words that slipped through the dying lips of my mother Halloween night.  I've often thought of these words and what she was thinking. What do they mean to me, or to others who might hear them? Somewhere in them, I think she was trying to pass on some good advice.

Good advice. A precious jewel, rare among the thousands upon thousands spoken each day.  Organic Lime is a place to capture and share those proverbs, inspirations, events, or pieces of good advice that have made all the difference for us.  A place to pass on those important stories or words that have shaped our commitments and our personal philosophy about life.  A place to post, and read posts, about our glimpses into the wisdom of the organic life. A place to bookmark, to return to, when we feel like we've become a conglomerate of chemicals, byproducts, synthetic reality, and buzz-words. It's a place to exchange our Twinkie-clogged throats for a refreshing glass of ice water with a twist of lime.

So, in the accepted manner for a teacher to perform, I will offer up a piece.  Prayerfully, somehow, somewhere, someone will move a step closer to their idea of "the good life" through this piece of good advice that I received twenty-two years ago.

The scene:
I was a senior in high school. A close friend of mine asked me if I was going to apply to college.  This friend, happened to be, and still is, one of the smartest people I know.  His father is smart, his mother is smart, and his sister is smart. In his family, it was a given that everyone goes on to college.

On occasion, throughout our high school years together, my friend would invite me over to his house. I remember getting grilled at Sunday night dinner by his well-meaning Italian family.  Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, all sharing a common destiny and language, and me- the Oregonian "friend" of the rising star. I came from moms who went shopping in their curlers, and dads who drove eighteen-wheelers. He came from nuclear physicists, psychologists, and attorneys.

The elders would take turns asking me about my grades and what my future plans were.  They would exchange guffaws and inside jokes about philosophical concepts and mathematical equations, the like of which I had no idea about.  All the same, though I felt a bit nervous about the whole scene, I felt that they were trying to teach me something.  Trying to inspire me. Trying to invite me in to witness a new world of possibilities.  Lovingly, they would, without fail, give me good advice.  One piece of which, I have never forgotten.  It was uttered by this close friend of mine the night of our graduation.

Friend: "So, are you going to college?"

Me: "I don't know. I think I'm going to take some time off and just work."

Friend: "Look at it this way: In five years, you will be five years older. You can be five years older with a degree or without one. You might as well have a degree to go along with it."

Me: (dumbstruck).  It hit me like a sledge hammer to the face. It was so obvious, so simple, so profound, yet something that had never, ever, crossed my mind.  I know it sounds silly to you, but for ME, Wowwwww.... It made so much sense.  If I had to be older anyway, why not have more going for me when I get there? Right then, I changed my mind.

Today, I have an  M.A. I am still taking classes for additional certificates and degrees as I write to you now (classes start Jan. 18).  And many, many times, as I have become frustrated with the grind of attending classes, writing papers, juggling family responsibilities, and planning lessons for my own students, I have reminded myself that five years from now, I will be five years older. I might as well be five years older with more degrees behind me to go along with it.

J.P. Lethcoe

Now go ahead, share your thoughts on this advice, or post your own eye-opening precept to share with the rest of us.  Here's to "the good life"... the flourishing life, (the "Eudiamonia" as Aristotle would say)... for us, it's Organic Lime.