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Caleb Strange
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In the U.F.O.s thread ReyRey Puentes wisely wrote:

'I find it so amusing that we live in a world filled with wonderful creatures in the forest which many of us have never seen or some who've yet to be discovered and named, yet continue to be fascinated with "Aliens" .....'

This reminded me of a curious thought I had a few years back. Namely, if, right now, I found myself living on an alien planet, how long would it take for the 'Cool look at that!' factor to wear off? For the purple seas, the twin suns, and the yellow trilling goombotts, to seem familiar and mundane?

At first I thought, 'Well, for the rest of my life I would be amazed; there on that alien planet, where there was a fresh wonder around every corner.'

But then I realised that I had found myself exactly in this position once before - that I HAD previously arrived on a world entirely new to me. A staggering, miraculous place; a veritable garden of constant and strange delights. And yet, after as little as ten years, the marvellous newness of things had flaked away, and this alien planet had dulled into the known.

And the name of this enchanting place? Well, we call it the Earth. And when we are first born to it, its green seas and its golden sun are as unfamiliar and wonderful to our eyes and our minds, as any we might find on another world. Yet, too soon, we forget this, as we dash headlong into heedlessness. And all those furious glories, that we so greedily pursue in later life, are but bloodless shadows of the wonders we once knew.

So let us, once again, step onto this strange world, and see it afresh. Let us look at things as children do; then let us tell each other of what we see. Let this be a list of remembered wonder. Excuse my manners, as I go first...

Today, I watched a tree blowing in the wind. Up till today, my adult eyes had simplified what I was seeing. I'd thought of trees as swaying either this way or that (left or right, forward or back). But they don't move like this at all. The teeming canopy of leaves threshes in a THOUSAND directions simultaneously. And the branches expand and contract, almost as if the tree were breathing. Life is so much more intricate and subtle than a simple to or fro. I'd forgotten this, but now I have remembered. And I'm very glad that I did.

Remind me some more - what did you see today? What can you add to the List of Remembered Wonder?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
ChrisZampese
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Ahhh, welcome back Caleb!!
I have recently been reminded of that exact concept as my son has almost reached 1 year old (Oct 4th).

We take him places, and everything is new to him. His eyes go wide, he flips his head around, and sits absorbing the world around him as though he had never seen the likes of it before (probably because he hasn't!)

The thing that got to me was the scope of his world. His world is small; only things that are near him interest him. He does not marvel at the stars, or the size of China, or the great pyramids.....instead he seems to have an overwhelming sense of wonder about all the little things. Faces, flowers, carpet, the feel of a breeze, bubbles, dirt (especially dirt!!), grass. Just goes to show that there is an incredible amount in this world to be fascinated by.

OK, I have gone on a bit long, but I will finish with a quote from Terry Pratchett that I think holds a degree of truth....

"It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. ....... one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.
Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected. They'd say "Wow!" a lot. And no one would do much work."
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
marko
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I was watching a long line of industrious ants today. I squashed one under my thumb and watched as the other ants nearby stopped what they were doing to help. They wouldn't continue their task until their little friend had been carried off safely. I tore a crumb from the sandwich I was eating and laid it down. Then I watched as these beautiful little creatures joined together to carry it and divide it evenly amongst themselves.

It's hard to describe, but I was filled with the notion that the step from bugdom to humanity was really very small. That we humans are like ants waiting in long lines, going back and forth, and sometimes one us gets 'squashed' and no one bats a lash. That some humans have a long way to go before understanding the concept of 'sharing' the way an ant does. This may sound silly, but it had been a long time since I had fully realized just how alive these creatures (and all creatures) are.

We humans put ourselves on such a high moral pedestal as if all existence hinges on our survival. As if our ability to think, feel and speak puts us on the highest of high plains, and all else is meaningless in comparison. But none of that matters to an ant. Ants are just trying to survive on what the've been given in a cruel world where they are treated as insignificantly as raindrops. What seemed for a few moments almost supernatural to me was really just nature in motion. I don't know about you but I'll never kick another ant hill. They work too hard for that.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Jonathan Townsend
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Marko, you might want to take a close look at ant 'society' before you join the comunist party and turn in all your possesions.

A quick read of Ayn Rand's "Anthem" or Herbert's "Helstrom's Hive" might give you a clue to what the 'selfless life' might bring for you.

Perhaps just keeping in mind that there are no insect artists, politicians, scientists or magicians might help.

Though if your calling is to find a 'tribe' and lose yourself in communal activities...

Best wishes from this selfish person Smile Jon
...to all the coins I've dropped here
marko
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LOL, maybe the intent of my post came off wrong. I was attempting to articulate the humanity of ants. Not their work or equality or politics. My point was that these little bugs that we often see as being just 'things' actually have instincts that allow them to care for eachother in somewhat humanistic ways. I found that encouraging. The fact that no one of them is destined to rise above and become a great individual (as Communism suppresses such things) was not my point. But then again I'm not an expert on 'insect politics' (nor 'human politics').
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Jonathan Townsend
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marko, here in our society people from all over the world trade with each other, make friends and chose mates. In ant society... well let's just say such things don't happen and spare you the pathetic nightmares of racewar, hive raids, the 'one queen' and her brood facts of life... and of other things best left unmentioned.

Ants are NOT human. What they do is what they do. They have been around a LONG time and while not individualistic or able to communicate across species, or trade or showing any signs of change in the last several hundred thousand years... they do have a remarkable collective behavior.

I'm not going to argue against collectivist political/economics. I do suggest you have a look at the sources cited (Marx/Rand) or the Frank Herbert book to get a feel for what it could mean to adopt such a mode of being in human society.

And of course it's not nice to go stepping on ant hills. The decision to act and its motivation are yours, as is the Karma/consequence.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Chrystal
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I still think I am able to hold that sense of awe when looking at nature on our planet. The occurance happened innocently enough ...a small blurb in the paper asking for volunteers to "count the spots on lady beetles". The purpose was to be able to identify the local population of those with no spots up to 13, native in my area. To those of the giant European lady beetles that had 9 spots and 24 for the Asians ones. Hmm didn't realize that did you? I thought it was a great science project for some kids I knew...although they tired of it after three weeks I became hooked. The purpose of the study was to see if the ones that had been imported would soon overtake our native population.

My neighbor caught me looking at the underside of leaves at 7 am one morning and remarked.."what the heck are you doing" seeing my fingers frantically pointing and making fast motions. "Well I'm counting spots on lady beetles, um doesn't everyone?" So that's how I became involved in doing research for the Canadian Wildlife Federation. It's also how I discovered another world existed..one that most of us never bother to take the time to notice. The more I did research for these little creatures is when I noticed that my plants didn't need pesticides as the aphids were eaten up by the ladybeetles. Growing things that the ladybeetles liked would keep them in ample suply as in their larvae stage they eat up to 2,000 aphids a day.

I know what you're thinking now...Yikes!! she has no life! Smile The opposite happened actually I became busier than ever..being out in the garden and noticing the biodiversity made me want to learn more. This led to noticing birds, butterflies and bees in the yard. Did you know that without bees we would have no fruit? As they need to pollinate the trees in order for fruit to bear. Jeez, I never realized their importance. I also found out that beautiful Humming birds were becoming extinct due to eating bugs loaded with pesticides. Same with butterflies whom are practically non existant in cities due to the high polution and in outside areas as they are very vulnerable to pesticides on plants. So in a nutshell, this led me to become interested in birds and I would sound official sounding when I quoted I also did bird counts for the Cornell University Ornithology dept. Smile

....Then...it caused me to be interested in growing things that would assist migrating birds on their journey, attract wildlife and have a bit of a santuary in my backyard. To do this meant borrowing countless books in the library and sitting in gardening meetings with lots of little ole ladies with blue hair. Again, another world I never knew existed.:O)

A year passed and I won the gold medal for my city for environmental gardening. I think I made the judges laugh when I paper mache'd giantic snails and bugs and placed them stratically in the yard. I was then asked if I could allow my home to be shown in a nation wide contest that pitted cities against each other.

I recieved an official looking invite to a formal affair at city hall. Lots of gardening snobs attended and one made comment of my lack of knowledge when I had the nerve to ask him what the latin name of the plant on his table was. I felt humbled by my ineptness. Mins later my name was called and the mayor honered me with a plaque from the city for placing third across Canada for environmental gardening. (Somehow I see a vague resemblance to magic with this story)

I wrote about the experience in a letter to a editor of a gardening mag...all the time making fun of myself as to the lack of knowledge but that the interest was there. Soon after, my email was full of mail from people all across North America telling me they loved my "story". My three page letter to the editor was printed as an article. haaaaaaaaaa!

Sheesh who woulda thought all this would happen from a small blurb that caught my eye in the newspaper? I should mention it's the same year I won Comedy Magician of the Year and was nominated for Entrepeneur of the Year for my business.

Yuppers, there is a whole world out there that we can expose ourselves to that makes life interesting. It may be cars, magic, gardening, nature or even needle point ...the thing is never to become so dormant that we lose our sense of how wonderful learning something new can be. It allows us to associate with others that have the same interest and values at the same time constantly meet new people. It's often been said when we lie on our death beds we never wished we had worked more...it's "I wish I had time to stop to smell the flowers."

>>Steps off pedestal...gets back to busy life.
Caleb Strange
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Chrystal, that is a heart-warming, and inspiring story. I absolutely agree that 'the thing is never to become so dormant that we lose our sense of how wonderful learning something new can be'. When I take my young son for a walk in the park, we often see people sailing model boats on the lake there. Now, although I don't really share an interest in such things (I'm not very mechanical) I always feel a sense of kinship with these modellers, who design, build, and play with intriguing, wonderful, and fun things.
So many people have a passion for something, and get their hands busy exploring the nuts and bolts of something creative and new. As magicians, I'd guess that most of us are pretty creative people. But perhaps the trick to living fully, as Chrystal suggests, is to extend this creativity into all areas of our lives.

Marko, I very much enjoyed your account of remembering the aliveness of of other creatures. It is a remarkable thing life, and it is always good, I think, to be reminded of its dazzling ubiquity.

JonTown, thanks for the Herbert reference. I read a lot of his work last year, but didn't get round to 'Helstrom's hive.' I'll pop down to my subterranean library, and blow the dust off my copy.

Chris, many thanks for the welcome back. It's very nice to be back. I was very interested in your comment that too much wonder can be a bad thing. I guess you're right. An overwhelming sense of the numinous is not what you want when you're trying to tile the bathroom, or unblock a drain! I too have a young son (two and a half years old), and I know what you mean about the bright eyes of infants being dazzled by the minutiae of life.

As it happens, my partner is expecting our second child; and just this weekend, I felt, for the first time, its little limbs kicking in her belly - a quiet flutter beneath my clumsy palm.

And, as I type, it is lying there, that new life, that tiny tiny child, scarcely imagining what lies beyond the boundaries of its safe and little world...

Warm regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Chrystal
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Caleb thanks for the kind words and wow your news is awesome! Congrats to you and your family on your little miracle!!! Smile
Caleb Strange
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Chrystal, thank you. I'll pass on your congratulations to the rest of my family. Our son is quite excited at the idea of having a little sister/brother. He sings a lullaby (of his own composition!) to the 'little baby', before he goes to bed. He sings, 'Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my little brother.' It's rather lovely to hear him do this. Smile

Warm regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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I'd like to add a line to our list of remembered wonder.

I had occasion to meet someone for lunch. And we had a conversation. They spoke of how their past motivates their present and how they experience some of their world. I tried to do the same and communicate some of my experience.

Which brings to me the item.

The worlds we live in as people are different from the world we share. Each of us has our own entire world and history.

Can we add each and every person's unique world to our list of wonders?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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