As I planted my feet in the ground, I slowly opened my eyes. I could sense the form examining my every move, even though it had no eye sockets. As the mysterious figure looked upon me, I was totally mortified. I cannot describe how apocalyptic the alien was. But as soon as I touched the form..... I wasn't sure if this was still reality.
Alone in a Dark House
To paraphrase Johnson: what men deny with their lips they often confess with their actions. So it is with me on nights like tonight. I am alone in a old dark house. It is a house where many have lived, over the centuries. My rational mind insists that no one else is here. It is a voluntary act - to be rational. It is a method of self defense - so that we can delude ourselves into believing that our minds can impose order onto this incomprehensible creation, and thereby deny the horror of the chaos before us. But within me lie the older ones also, the superstitious ones, the believers. Let this mind emerge dominant, and listen to what it perceives. I listen for those who lived in this house, long ago. Yes, I can feel them now - it is a faint impression at first, and the rational mind objects, but I can temper that discordance, and let the older ones emerge within me. They are still here with us, I can sense that now. Their distinctiveness is still with us, like some translucent multi-color vapor, seen only by mind, not eyes. How they feared death when they were living! And what futility - the passion, the doubt, the certitude and dogma - what vain emotional turmoil it all was! The Nothingness - we can all see that now! The End of Life? What about the End of All - the Final Dissolution, the Nullity beyond! How can it be, that we are nothing within Nothing?
Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels We Have Heard on High
Apparition of Death
I awaken suddenly near dawn. I am feverish and disoriented. Turmoil swarms my mind. I recall dreaming frightening scenes, too painful to remember. I am convinced now that God has given me 5 minutes to perceive, to apprehend, and then I will die. I am absolutely convinced of the finality of my life in 5 minutes. I arise, almost completely naked, and walk downstairs, in a dazed state, terrified. Visions of the dead, long ago passed, invade my mind. I see legions of their expressionless faces. They seem to say: all emotion now is spent, our lives were nothing, and we are forgotten now. You see us now, but will not ever again, and will not have time to communicate what you have seen to anyone. The fear now is overwhelming. I must flee. I walk outside into the crowded morning streets of a large city. Commuters in business suits stare at me like I am some sort of zoo exhibit. I walk down the street, about a 1/4 mile. I slowly become aware of the warm morning sun on my body. I notice that I have been walking for some time now with my arm extended so that my hand blocks the bright light of the sun. I slowly realize that death is not imminent. I feel mild pangs of shame at being in the street, almost completely exposed, with so many people noticing me. I turn around, and walk back home.
At the Foot of the Throne
At the Foot of the Throne. I am in the desert, struggling under the merciless heat. I falter, and fall, and am resigned to die. I feel consciousness slip away - and I am being transported. I see a blinding light and below the light an enormous throne. I reach up to touch the light. I am now aware of all events, all time, throughout the eons. I can see the end of time. I am in the presence of the Everything, the All. Then slowly I feel the pangs of thirst enter my body again. The light is fading away, and I can feel the sun's heat again. I slide back into consciousness, to find that a friend has found me and is getting me to safety. I will live yet longer on this Earth.
Auld Lang Syne
Auld Lang Syne
Autumn Leaves. Here we let ourselves feel the inexorable marching forward of time, and our inability to control it, and with that march we see our lives change, some parts of us die off and are lost, never to be retrieved.
Before I Wake
Before I Wake. I am sleeping. I look up and see a strange figure standing over my bed. This person has been dead for a long time, perhaps over 150 years. I attempt to stand and find I cannot move my body. My limbs feel extremely heavy. The figure is staring at me ominously, and I want to get away. It then occurs to me that I only thought that I had awakened - now I realize that I am still asleep. I settle back down into the slumber and try to relax. I try to tell myself to wake up - that way I can get away. Slowly the figure fades, and I begin to see the rough outline of the walls in the room in which I am sleeping. It was just another soul visiting me while I slept.
Before The Nothingness
We are alive, breathing, self-aware. We exist. We also understand, or at least believe to have evidence, that our lives are finite. There is an end, we believe. Is that end - is it the final ending? Is there a nothingness beyond this life? Here I contemplate that nothingness. Is there a something to the nothingness? There must be, it seems. But that itself would be a contradiction. We cannot experience a true nothingness, because that state, the nullity, I call it, the ultimate state of non-being, cannot exist. Our own existence precludes the nullity. But will our self conscious state exist after our deaths? Will We still be somewhere?
Being and The Present
We exist in the present. We experience the current moment only. The past is a foggy memory, incomplete and inaccurate, and the future is merely an abstraction - a hypothetical model. We move through the world, through life, like we are viewing existence with a fish-eye lens: the present moment jumps into cognition - all other events, past, quickly merge off center at the periphery of our sentience. How strange it is to be alive.
Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse is an enormous red giant star in the constellation Orion, visible from vast distances due to its extreme luminosity. The size of this star, its energetic output, essentially all of its physical reality is so beyond human experience as to defy visceral comprehension. In this composition, I attempt to portray a physical realm utterly alien to human experience.
Between The Stars
A human mind cannot completely grasp the vast distances that separate the stars in the sky. We can put numbers to these distances, talk about them in a mathematical sense, but the scale of the universe is alien to us. The natural state of reality is a vacuous, amorphous gas, a thin vapor in a vast nothingness. Out of this we are born. The slow motions of vast clouds of amorphous gas almost imperceptibly evolve to create the stars and planets, and life.
Beyond the Wind
I am in West Texas, in Big Bend country, hiking over a small mountain in late autumn. A cool wind refreshes me. I can sense, almost taste, the ancientness of these rocks. They were here long before me, and will be here long after me. I am a quick and quiet shadow on this ancient landscape. Within the wind, the very particles, the molecules, atoms, have been participating in the unfolding drama of the expanding cosmos for billions of years. Let me drift with them, I ask. Let my spirit wisp over these primal rocks like them, for centuries hereafter. I sense that there are others who have uttered this same prayer. Let me go with them, I ask. I want to be part of the primordial landscape, for long after mankind, even after the earth, into the unseeable future.
Carol of the Bells
Carol of the Bells
Carol of the Bells 2012
Carol of the Bells 2012
Clouds of Creation
This composition was inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the Eagle Nebula. Here we see the natural creative processes of the universe. We can see that it is written in the very fabric of time and space, matter and energy, that ours is a creative universe, one that is actively creating. Our universe is about the Possible yet still Unknown, the Potential. We as sentient beings fulfill not just our individual ambition, but the ambition of the Creation with our creative enterprises. Not just our minds too. We can see that even our corporeality, with its drive to survive, and the sexual instincts, whose purpose in the end is to create other sentient beings, are manifestations of the same physical processes that are unfolding, and have unfolded, throughout space, since the beginning. We are Creators, in an unfolding Creation.
The question is not only why the physical laws of our universe allow for the extra-physical or epiphenomenal state of consciousness. No, that is not the only question, though it remains one of great mystery. No the emergent concern must therefore be this: can this exist in a domain without our physical laws? The Big Bang was the apparent beginning of this universe. That beginning contained within it the possibility of the conscious thinking mind, although no computer program could have helped us predict that from first principles. The universe had to evolve for this state to occur. The question is: is that conscious state dependent on specific physical laws, or can it exist extra-physically? In other words, is our conscious state a hint at a greater reality, one that is not constrained by the specific physical laws of our universe? Another way of asking this is: did an independent conscious state exist prior to the big bang? I see absolutely no reason to think that it did not. I cannot see how a materialist, atheist or agnostic could possibly claim that this state did not exist prior to the Big Bang. It almost follows logically, that if such a state could emerge spontaneously in this universe, it must therefore have existed before. Another question then arises: if this state cannot have been predicted from first principles, then are there other states, heretofore unknown, that this universe can achieve, but have yet to emerge? And what other states of being are possible beyond the confines of the physical laws of this universe?
Cygnus X-1. Cygnus X-1 was one of the first stellar mass black holes to be discovered. In the gravity well of such an object, bizarre relativistic effects occur. If a sentient being could survive a plunge into such an object, that being could be transported to vastly distant future times. This communicates to me that distant past and distant future are linked and associated, but we humans do not experience that linkage in our solitary consciences. In this composition, with its tone clusters and lack of melody with only a whiff of a tempo, I attempt to portray the transplantation from one time and place to another far away and at a distant time.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
It's light in the afternoon but dark as midnight at night.. I'm walking slowly to the pond and all of a sudden I can't see, I brought a flashlight so I turned it on and it didn't help, the wind blew and the street lights still didn't go on I was not in luck. I was there but I couldn't see. But before I knew it I was still sleeping, but it was still dark as midnight.
Dark Moonless Night
I am standing by a large lake under the midnight sky, with no moon, I can see vast clouds of stars down to the horizon. The well known constellations are a little harder to find, due to the enormous number of visible stars. The universe beyond the Earth is palpable - I feel as if I can almost reach out and touch it out to vast distances. It is obvious that we are a minor planet floating in a fathomless sea - that we are vulnerable - and that the vast bulk of creation is indifferent to our fate. That vast creation could at any moment completely extinguish us, and there would be no visible effect of that extinction, almost anywhere else. We are truly nothing - our lives meager, meaningless. The entire history of the human race - of our planet - makes not the slightest impression on this vast landscape.
What are these “Dark Skies” all about? Well, the term for me has two different broad meanings. First, dark skies as in meteorologically dark, thus metaphorically the term here represents impending conflict and emotional turmoil. These are the trials in life that every human soul must endure, the dark periods, the times where the meaning of our lives is in question. The purpose of life, if there is one, is not clear during these times. We see death looming behind the mist somewhere there in the future, knowing full well that someday we will meet our ends, and we wonder what if anything comes after this life. Second, dark skies as in astronomically dark. With these dark skies, the blinding brilliance of the warm sun passes, and we begin to glimpse the true nature of the universe, that there are other worlds, other places, indeed other states of being, and we begin to understand that the warmth and light of the daylight in some ways prevents us from perceiving the more compelling truths. In this sense, the darker the skies the better, as the darker the skies the greater the potential for insight into this reality.
Dark Skies 3
Dark Skies 3
Dark Skies Part 2
Dark Skies Part 2. Track 9 of the Dark Skies CD.
Darkness and the Stars
I am standing outside, under the boundless firmament, on a moonless, hypnotically dark night. The galaxy spreads out before me- it is out there, above me, seemingly within reach. I can sense - I know - we are not alone. I have no empirical evidence to support this belief - I just know that it is true. The pettiness of human affairs is obvious now. We are almost nothing. The universe before me is filled with wonders that I have not the imagination to see - I long to discover them, to travel in the endless space, to be immortal in such a magnificent creation. The destiny of life, perhaps not mankind, but life, somewhere, is to experience the whole of this creation - to see it all, touch it all, inhale the entirety of the wonder. Will one of us ever know such completeness?
We are alarmingly immune to most of the suffering that is being experienced. This suffering is not confined to the present. We live in a world shaped in part by the extreme suffering - mental, physical, spiritual - that others endured in the past - human beings that perished long ago. Their demons live still among us - disguised, in shadows. Here in this work I go back to them, as they were then, to record their pain and anguish, so that it is not forgotten. I must always remember them. I must bear witness to their suffering, and remind us all of their tormentors, real and imagined.
Distant Storms at Twilight
I am standing on desert mountain at twilight. Far off on the horizon I can see a distant thunderstorm, with lightening dramatically flashing in the distant clouds. The storm slowly moves toward me, then away and distant again. I now sense the innumerable, distant, unrecorded storm and tumult of far away times, and remote places. The subtle echo of these events now ripples through the cosmos, never completely extinguished. We are a part of all this, of distant times, we are part of the continuum, we belong, we are not aberrations, we are here to witness these events, to perceive the subtle time-ripple of all events, all places, all times.
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