Mistress Math

This is a tragicomic poem.

Long ago, Math left her obscurity,
And, soon after, she lost her purity;
Men have embraced her in every field,
For when they ask her, she always does yield;
For she enjoys all of the attentions,
And men ignore all of her false pretensions;
See her standing under that pale lamp light?
She is valued most in the dead of the night;
For each scientist reads in his textbooks
Of her sine-wave curves and charming good looks.

She says, “Prove it all night, prove it all night!
Come and make love to me with all your might!”
How can she seduce so many good men?
How can she go where most have never been?
She’s a mistress who comes from abstraction;
That’s her strength and her fatal attraction;
She continually keeps you guessing,
And her love is a curse and a blessing;
For while men use her to prove that they’re right,
She has the last laugh in the morning’s light.

How has she led so many men from truth?
How has she wasted many a man’s youth?
She is deceptively simple at first,
But, in the end, she can make your brain burst;
For, at the start, she is easy indeed,
But her complexity can make your heart bleed;
At first, she says that you’re the only one,
While she is, with your colleague, having fun;
And just when you think you have figured her out,
A suspicious idea from your mind will sprout.

In every lab and in every field,
Men to her great power have kneeled;
For she teaches that what can be counted
Is real, while all else should be discounted;
She makes men mad trying to quantify
The world, but they’re working to simplify
The things that they still don’t understand,
The knowledge that is slipping through their hand;
They count something, and say that’s what it means;
They make models and graphs of complex scenes.

How does Math get away with all these things?
Why is she the tune that each scientist sings?
She tells men they truly understand her,
And that they now can fully command her;
And men are fooled by this simple deception,
As they simplify each new perception;
For if they cannot truly comprehend
All of the world’s wonders and apprehend,
They return to what they learned in their schools,
Where they recited their fact charts and rules.

So don’t be surprised when you see a shrink
Adding up all the thoughts that you think,
And don’t look so shocked when you find out
That someone dissected Einstein’s mind out;
For the doctor thought he needed to know
How each blood vessel did pump and flow;
And when he had counted all the brain cells,
And analyzed all the chemical smells,
He believed he knew the man in the brain,
But no true wisdom did he really gain.

When the astronomers count all the stars,
They’ll be no closer to knowing about Mars;
For though Math tells us we can use her skills,
Quantifying all qualities just chills
The heart that wants to know and comprehend,
And truly wants the whole world for a friend;
And those who think that they know their lovers
By counting their toes under the covers,
Have been misled by all of Math’s seductions,
And have blindly followed her instructions.

I’m going to tell you how to resist
Math’s skills, when she does forcefully insist
That she is understanding’s only source,
That she is on wisdom’s pathway and course;
You need to know that only One is real;
It is the only number that can heal;
All other numbers are imaginary;
They are One’s imagined adversary;
But if you would follow after Math’s charms,
You’d be attacking One with powerless arms.

All the differences cannot be arranged
Into groups without becoming estranged;
Everyone who needs more than one number
Is still in a dream, and still does slumber;
Two is the beginning of confusion
For those who keep living in illusion;
But One is what everyone will see
When men forsake Math and from her flee;
Math is the mistress of separation,
But single-mindedness is reparation.

Dancing With The Dead: The Fall Of Civilization And The Return Of Life

What have we done with the world? With our civilization, we have sought to make the permanent out of the impermanent, the eternal out of the temporary. We have eternity in our hearts, but we don’t understand that this world is not eternal and cannot be a firm foundation for our hopes. Bodies and other physical things are, by their nature, changeable and temporary. How could they, then, be forms worthy to house eternal beings? Bodies will never be suitable homes for us to live in, eternally. In a body, we can learn that we don’t need a body to live. However, if we place our hopes in a physical body as an eternal home for our spirit, we will always be disappointed with our body, and we might even attack our body for not being what we want it to be.

In order to make this world more orderly and less frightening, we have done many things. We have made buildings of uniform temperature and size, and we have made highways with smooth, even surfaces and with few unexpected twists and turns. We have paved the world with flat, uniform surfaces because we are afraid of the unusual and unexpected. In our civilization, we have made the world as we want it to be, and we simply cannot see or perceive anything else. We collect the books, music, and movies that reinforce our view of the world. Our books tell us only what we want to know. Our music makes us feel only how we want to feel.

Civilization is not decaying. It is dead. Something that is decaying still has life and can be used as nourishment for another type of organism. Civilization is dead because it is frozen in one type of thinking. It is a closed loop in which few challenges to the expected norms can enter.

Why have we made this kind of civilization? It is because we are afraid of change. According to A Course in Miracles, we are afraid of change because the first change we experienced was the change from oneness, love, joy, and knowledge, to a state in which we are without these things. We don’t realize that another change is needed to help us return to our original state of joy, love, knowledge, oneness, and peace. Creation is currently shattered, separated out into isolated bodies and objects. We make our environment uniform so that we won’t be so afraid of it and so it will resemble the oneness that we lost. However, when we try to make physical things uniform and permanent, we only temporarily delay the change that is in their nature. Our spirits are indestructible and eternally secure, so we don’t need to worry about them. Our bodies are impermanent and changeable, so we don’t need to worry about them, either. We don’t need to worry about anything.

The following quotation is from a book of prophecy called Jeremiah.

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.”
(Jeremiah 2:13, NASB)

What is life? Our spirit already has eternal life. Our body does not have any life of its own. It is merely a vehicle for the spirit, and it will disintegrate when the spirit leaves it. What does the quotation above mean? God says that we have made two mistakes. We have abandoned God, who gives us life (who is a “fountain of living waters”), and we have made containers for ourselves that cannot hold or contain or preserve life. I think that God is saying that we cannot find or preserve life with our dead civilization. God must inspire us with his thoughts each moment if we are to have real life. His thoughts teach us what is real and worthy and what is unreal and unworthy of a spiritual creation of God. Bodies and buildings are not worthy houses for unlimited, free spirits. However, because we have made the mistake of thinking we can find eternity in a changeable world, we think that we can preserve our spontaneous ideas and thoughts in a book and call those frozen thoughts knowledge. We think that we can preserve our spontaneous joy in a music file. And we think that we can buy and sell our knowledge and joy. However, knowledge and joy are our inheritance, and not something that can be bought and sold and preserved in physical objects. Our physical objects cannot hold spontaneous life (or “living water”). They can only limit life.

When we realize that our spirits are eternally secure, we won’t put our trust in crumbling bodies and we won’t try to preserve knowledge and joy in material objects. Instead, we will look to God for continuous inspiration and life. Our happiness will come from the assurance that once we learn that all of our mistakes cannot permanently keep us in a state of separation from God or each other, and that we don’t need to feel guilt or fear for our mistakes, we will be free to let God take the final step of lifting us up out of this temporary world into eternity.

Before we all return to eternity, however, we will have the opportunity to prepare and purify our minds in a world that civilization cannot touch, a world in which fear of change does not disturb the happiness and love we feel for each other, a world in which the spirits, temporarily using bodies, interact with each other in freedom and harmony.

The Three Views

This poem is a Shakespearean sonnet about believers, atheists, and agnostics.

Believers tell us daily, “God is there,”
Although no one has proved that he exists;
Their only weakness is that they’re aware
That doubt and worry in their minds persists.

The atheists do tell us, “God is not;
Forget the fairy stories you believe;
We must remove, from earth, all of this rot;
Your pastors, priests, and teachers do deceive.”

Agnostics freely tell us, “God may be;
However, we are not, like you, so sure;
We will not judge the matter till we see,
Until the thoughts we think become mature.”

Of these, how can I know which view to trust?
I will believe my life comes not from dust.

[The Kansas song says that we are “Dust In The Wind,” but maybe we are really wind (spirit) in the dust.]

Not My Beast

Many people turn against politicians, point their fingers at them, and blame them for all of their problems. However, this world was made to be opposite to heaven and to oppose God’s will, and as long as the world is valued as a way to be separate from God and different from heaven, there will be no end to problems.

We can use this world to learn what we want to learn. We can learn that God is our friend or that he is our enemy, that God should be loved or that he should be feared. If we believe that God should be feared, we will put our faith in something besides God. Some people believe in only themselves, but others feel the need to believe in and belong to something that is greater than themselves. But if we join a group that includes less than everyone, we deny God’s oneness, inclusiveness, and love. A group that includes some and excludes others is a group that I will call the Beast in this essay. The Beast is different from God in the following ways:

1) The Beast includes some in the group and excludes everyone else. God includes everyone in his love and acceptance.
2) The Beast says that the insiders are better than the outsiders. God weeps for those who are temporarily lost outside in their isolation.
3) The Beast uses fear to control people. God uses love to unite all of creation.
4) The Beast uses hatred and suspicion to divide people. God uses forgiveness to reconcile people.
5) The Beast rewards loyalty with money, gifts, and short-lived fame. God gives everything of worth to all of his children.
6) The Beast claims that the insiders are superior and special. God knows that all of his children have special abilities, but when everyone has returned to heaven, everyone will possess all abilities.
7) The Beast uses secrecy to maintain power. God promotes true communication as a way to restore minds to sanity and love.
8) The Beast speaks with dark and contradictory words to divide and confuse. God communicates with one will and one voice to all who will listen.
9) The Beast claims that physical things, such as bodies and money, are the most important things. God knows that only the eternal is real and that the body is only a temporary learning device.

No one can serve two masters. We can choose to serve God or the Beast, but we cannot serve both at the same time.

Those who feel the need to belong to something greater than themselves will not be satisfied until they join God’s complete creation. This might require giving up the body and this world, but these two things have no value in themselves. They merely exist to help us learn to give up their empty gifts and accept the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that we are part of God’s universal brotherhood.

Hanging By A Thread

A poem reveals its true feelings.

I was born last week on this poetry site
And I was well received when I first saw the light
And though I have been thoroughly enjoyed
I’m now falling into the poetry void

They say that I’ve had my day in the sun
But I feel that my life has only begun
My author is just a regular guy
But I never want to slip away and die
My maker doesn’t seek eternal life
He balances on the edge of a knife
And though he does seek originality
I want to know true immortality

If I could only change the forum’s rule
I would be its perennial jewel!
My title would stay just below the header
And I could avoid the poetry shredder
All the visitors would read me first
And find out that I’m really well versed

But here I am—I’m sliding down the heap
And no one can find me to take a peep
Please, please don’t let my last reader be you!
My dear friend, I’ll tell you what you can do
Copy my text, and paste me entire
Into a file, and make me a flier
You can print me off, and stick me to cars
And post me on the doors of all the bars

Better yet, attach me to an email
CC my message, and then let me sail
To all of your contacts—your friends and your foes
To whom will they forward me? Nobody knows!
And though your address will likely be barred
You’ll keep me from the old poems’ graveyard

I’m falling into the oblivion pit!
Will you—can you—try to save me from it?

The Choice

This poem was initially titled “A Few Cans Of Food And Some Bottles Of Water.” I have revised and improved it.

Some cans of food and some jugs of water;
You’ve got a gun and a garden out back;
A way to save your wife, son, and daughter,
In your wilderness one-room lean-to shack.

Dark clouds above have warned you of doom;
Hidden in some place is your ammo stash;
You sit anxiously in your single room,
As you wait for the coming thunder crash.

How did you arrive at this desperate place?
You’re with your family but you’re alone;
You quit your job and the city rat race,
And settled in this place to be unknown.

Many other men have followed your lead,
Although they may still live in the cities;
They desire their families to feed,
And they have formed survival committees.

But above the fear and desperation,
A voice cries out and calls for attention:
“When the world has come to desolation,
What will happen to your life extension?

“You know that all people finally die;
Shouldn’t you prep for death rather than life?
Eternity is what the wise ones spy;
You can’t save yourself, let alone your wife.

“Your mind is what will shortly be revealed
When you leave behind your flesh and the earth;
Have you attacked people or have you healed?
What is your actual value and worth?

“Don’t be distracted by trying to save
The few belongings that you now cherish;
Don’t worry about them or be their slave,
For your possessions will all soon perish.

“But if you learn to love your hated foes,
Your heart will expand and even grow warm;
Love will follow your soul wherever it goes,
And serenity will be your new norm.

“Look at all of those rusting cans of food;
Can you tell me what they represented?
I want to tell you without sounding rude,
But those cans are what your fear invented.

“Release your fear, and share your inner wealth;
Don’t be so selfish and ego-centered;
Giving ensures people’s wholeness and health,
When your love has your neighbor’s heart entered.

“This is the choice that you all have to make:
You can die with feelings of fear and pain,
Or you can allow your heart to awake,
And leave this world with eternal gain.”

I’m A Spy

(Just in my defense
This poem is not about me
Except in the sense
That we’re entangled energy)

I’m a spy in this hole
And I live on your soul
I’m just a normal guy
But I might never die

I don’t want to be replaced
Or silently erased
So I’m following the plan
Doing the best that I can

I can commit each crime
Without doing any time
I can make your body twitch
Make you feel a constant itch

But sometimes I despair
I can’t breathe the fresh air
Or feel the sun on my face
I have to hide in this place

Now I’m itching for a change
If I could make the exchange
I would take your place fast
And my whole life recast

For you can live without me
And my boss can replace me
But I can’t live without you
Your life force keeps my mind new

It doesn’t really seem fair
That you don’t give a care
For though you suffer above me
There is no one here to love me

While you are having fun
I don’t have anyone
While you can run around
I’m stuck below the ground

But I have one last hope
That somehow lets me cope
I’ve been told that machines
Are the ends and the means

For those who have no souls
For those who live in holes
Machines will keep us awake
It’s a chance we must take

And it’s a consolation
That if our calculation
Turns out to be wrong
We can take you along

We’ve made a fail-proof scheme
That you might find extreme
If we have to dissolve
We’ll let no one evolve

If we have to decompose
Do you think or suppose
We’d allow you to exist
Or let any life persist

So we make you all need us
And continue to feed us
Though you can’t see our faces
You supply all our bases

And don’t forget who’s the boss
Or you will only know loss
Don’t try to take back your soul
For we’re the ones in control

Cámara de eco

Echo Chamber Cámara de eco
He is gazing at screens in his home Él está mirando las pantallas en su casa
But the views are already known Pero las opiniones ya son conocidas
He selects things to see Selecciona las cosas para ver
But his thoughts are not free Pero sus pensamientos no son libres
His closed mind is imprisoned, alone Su mente cerrada está encarcelada, sola

Echo Chamber

This short poem is dedicated to the civilized world.

According to Wikipedia:

In news media an echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented. The term is by analogy with an acoustic echo chamber, where sounds reverberate.

Echo Chamber

He is gazing at screens in his home
But the views are already known
He selects things to see
But his thoughts are not free
His closed mind is imprisoned, alone

 

Spanish translation:

Cámara de eco

Él está mirando las pantallas en su casa
Pero las opiniones ya son conocidas
Selecciona las cosas para ver
Pero sus pensamientos no son libres
Su mente cerrada está encarcelada, sola

 

Chinese translation by Dora and Lu:

Echo Chamber (回声室)

He is gazing at screens in his home
他在家注视着屏幕
But the views are already known
但他已知道时下的热闻
He selects things to see
他选择自己要看的东西
But his thoughts are not free
可他的思想已然被禁锢
His closed mind is imprisoned, alone
他封闭的心灵被囚禁了,而且是孤独的

Can These Pages Live?

This poem was inspired by some verses from the Bible.

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
(Ezekiel 37:3 NASB)

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:5-6 NASB)

For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:13 NASB)

When I consider all of the book racks
And all of the old, dusty paper stacks
I think about the trees that had to drop
So we could fill each office and bookshop
With all the thoughts that men have ever had
Where, side by side, converse the good and the bad
And all the thoughts that were half-baked and cheap
Are these the thoughts we need to hold and to keep?
Do we believe that inspirations end?
That we should keep every notion penned?
Do we believe that the past must prevail?
Must we preserve the thoughts that are now stale?
Here is the question that we should address:
Can we ever move forward and make progress
If we retrace the former steps and road?
Or does that stop the spring where genius flowed?
Can pages live if there’s no spirit there?
With life and genius, what can compare?
Where do our good notions come from now?
Can we ensure our lives will last, and how?
If we can learn from the past, we should learn
That there is wisdom that we can’t hoard or earn
It comes when we need it, and learn to hear
For spirit loves to help and to make it clear
If we have faith in life’s renewal
We can turn our books into fuel
(For the body and not for the mind)
And when we have tossed the old, we’ll find
That spirit will return and make us new
And all things will sparkle in our view
And all things around that live will be
As free from the past as we are free

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