The Mirror


Over a hill, under a dream,
is a beehive you once passed
reflected in a lily pond.

You were a child,
about six,
and they sky ahead of you

protected you from the shadows
of your life to come.

The bees played, and you played,
and the honeysuckle-breeze
kissed your smooth face,

and you didn’t know such a thing
as happiness
because you were happiness itself.

Then an errant bee stung you,
at about eight,
and the sky rained tears,
and the honey tasted like wax.

You grew, and the shadows grew,
and the lily pond dried in your mind,

Then you worked your hive,
your life’s work,

the programs and the commands,
the lines and the rules,
the fears and the hesitations.

What did you become?
What was it?
Were you the bear or the bee?

And now, you’re near the end of it all,
sifting through the confusion
of the millions of life-reflected bits

of the mirror inside you – the one
that separated you from you,
the one whose image

you fell into love,
the one that set you off on
your long trip from the hill

and the lily pond
and the beehive
and the honeysuckle breeze.

Over the dream
is that stinger –
the bottom of
the lily pond fed on
it all these years.

Go there:

the stinger
was a bell
of waking,
a mugger’s knife
telling you

to let it all go,
to keep letting it all go,
to keep giving it away
like breaths and heartbeats,
telling you:

that you are not the bee
that you are not the bear

that you are
the happiness
reflected in the pond.

You always were.
The stinger just threw you,

and you startled yourself out of paradise.

It’s not too late:

the lily
and the bee
are dying for your return.

And the honeysuckle-breeze
longs to kiss
the shadowy creases

around your human eyes.

– Phil Baumann, a father to his son.

The Philosophers

The philosophers don’t aim for conclusive evidence.
They plough the endless lands where it can be found, or lost.

The philosophers don’t paint pictures of watery lilies.
They trudge their way toward the snowcaps.

The philosophers don’t carve love poems into the bark.
They dig beneath the roots to where the core burns, or dies.

The philosophers don’t prescribe the antidote to ignorance.
They underwrite the persistence of curiosity.


The Internet is the Force

The medium is the message. Yes, this is true in that the medium itself is the impact – regardless of its content.

The Internet – as mother of all media – evolves and coalesces new media and inter-relationships among media.

Regardless of the content, the connections, the people, and the machines which it subsumes, the Internet  exerts its own selective pressures on the world and itself.

Unlike a medium, which is its own message, the Internet is its own force – and it is a force that is more powerful than any message.

The Internet is the force. Be careful.

Je crée, donc je suis!

Je pense, donc je suis. 1600-ish to Now.

When Descartes initially published those words, he was thinking about proof of existence – but he was also echoing the direction of civilization: from myth to reason.

500 years of thinking ourselves into being.

That has been the pump driving civilization: the linear, categorical, mechanical, reasonable world-view (including the derangement of the instruments of reason: holocausts, wars, national debts, mind-numbing factory jobs, libido-depleting consumer economies).

It’s a world that you can mostly conceive of a priori: scientific inquiries, democratic governments, railways, electric grids, computers.

It’s a world that helps us to overcome the ravages of nature and superstition. It’s also a world that misplaces creation with replication, and weakens our emotional immune system.

It’s a world where our being derives out of thinking.

Je part, donc je suis. Now.

I share, therefore I am. This is the world into which we are moving into everyday: I share with you, you share with me. All of us sharing tiny sumulacrum – tweets, status updates, hyperlinks. Maybe you share with me something I shared to someone else three days ago.

In fact, it’s sharing of sharing of sharing ad infinitum. Taken to its logical conclusion: a world of shells forms, like some strange cloud of simulacra.

It’s not curation – it’s just sharing.

And although these sharing acts can have value, what’s happening in the larger scheme of things is that we are becoming the sharing.

Not 500 years of thinking into being, but 5 years of sharing into being.

Ours is a world where our being derives out of our sharing.

It’s not a world that’s easily imagined. What does it look like? What do virtual nations look like? What do our brains do all day? What of democracy and reason and meditation?

We move from Pense to Part – from contemplators to particles.

But this second step in our societal evolution – it’s not where we aught to go, is it?

Just because we can, it doesn’t mean we aught.

So, what to do to avoid this opiate sleep of being that piles around us like alluring falling snow, tweet by tweet?

What wakes us into the fullness of being?

For that matter, what conveys us beyond mere being into presence?

Je crée, donc je suis.

Our being – if it is to have meaning – must derive from creation.

I create, therefore I am.

The more you share, and the less you create, the less you truly are.

This is the danger facing us if we do not bring forth the effort to create ourselves into being: We may vanish into electronic simulacra that give us the seductive illusion of social exchange.

You can think. You can share. You can create.

Do all three, and you might find yourself awake to a better world.

And if it’s not a better world – if it’s a destroyed world – the being you create becomes a presence onto itself. It’s yours and nobody else’s.

Nous créons, donc nous sommes!

– Phil Baumann