Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This was my very first Blogpost, posted on Monday June 9th 2008 - there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. I thought that as I haven't Blogged for a while I might celebrate my return in a small way by reposting the first of my, to date, 227 postings.

"""""""""" For most of my life I have spent a lot of time thinking and reading about the existential questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Is there life after death? What does the word God mean? What is ultimate reality? what is the nature of consciousness? - the questions are endless. The answers are partial, and scratching the existential itch continues unabated.

The photograph above is of a sculpture by the early twentieth century artist Marcel Duchamp. To me it symbolises the conundrum of existence. What is the meaning of what we see here? These are familiar things, a stool and a bicycle wheel. Placed in their own contexts of riding on and sitting on we can make sense of these objects. When juxtaposed in an incongruent way we are puzzled and confused. They remind me of other incongruousness. Young innocence and painful death. The good dying young. The fullness and richness of life ending in death. The pain of love. Evil so often seeming to triumph. Injustice and suffering. What does it all mean?

My life up to this point in time has been a very rich and meaningful one; full of happiness as well as suffering just like most people. But the ultimate questions remain. What have you learnt? what are some of your partial answers? """""""""""""""

What have I learned since this first posting? - In some areas more than I can possibly say here, but in terms of ultimate things, I think the descriptions of the transcendent reality we quest for, the answers to all our questions are beyond human language. I also think that if the answers could be put into language we human beings do not have a brain that is capable of understanding these answers.

So how do we approach these questions? How do we find meaning for our lives? I feel that it is possible to approach transcendental experience through the safe discipline of Meditation, to gather understandings beyond language through the Arts and through experience of the natural world (especially by sailing : > ) - But ultimately the best and deepest way to experience meaning that goes beyond language is through love - Love in all its manifestations of giving, and in all its sacrifice.

"God is Love" so the saying goes - I feel that's the best definition of the word 'God' I have experienced to date - Love attends to both the Logos and the Mythos of our natures - Love enables a marriage between our rational intellects and the creativeness that exists at the boundary of our non rational dreaming selves, and transcendent reality - that love is both a feeling and a commitment.

Psychology portrays love as a cognitive phenomenon with a social cause. It is said to have three components in the book of psychology: Intimacy, Commitment, and Passion. Also, in an ancient proverb love is defined as a high form of tolerance within a context of compatibility - - can't disagree with any of that.



Ben said...

Hi Alden,
You see far more than I do. The art picture I recognize as a wheel truing stand I have at home.
Building a bycicle wheel is very satisfying and gives peace of mind.
Like the way you blog. One time deep digging the other time telling stories of happiness.

Alden Smith said...

You said, "Building a bicycle wheel is very satisfying and gives peace of mind" - I am glad that it works that way for you, in fact anything and everything we do where we lose ourselves does just that for us (peace of mind, satisfaction) - the key is to lose "self" - it is the "self" that gets in the way with most of what we try and do.

I am very interested to read you recognise this artifact! of course - this is exactly what a road cyclist would use to re-spoke a wheel with!!! I wonder whether the French artist was aware of that when he contrived this art work??? !!