Wisdom


Keep on Trekkin

As I did at the end of 2013 & 2014, so I do again here at the end of 2015 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year (travel blogs I finished or made additions to) include:

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Feature - Washington DC-1

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That’s the summary for 2015. Some are carry overs from 2014, but I finished the blogs in 2015, after my last post on travels (see: Travels of Spocklogic II) in December 2014 or earlier if I made additions. As I alluded to in recent entries, I will take a break from this Cogito Ergo blog for a while in 2016. I’ve had 20 years of internet exposure and been blogging for 10 years (see: 20 Years of Internet and Mapping the Internet). I hope to return again with a fresh perspective down the line. There’s plenty to explore in the Cogito Ergo blog archives until then (see the link to: Browse Blog Posts). Best wishes for the New Year 2016! See you in the future…

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On February 27, 2015, Leonard Nimoy died at age 83. What a life and career he had! He played many roles in TV series and films during the 1960’s and 1970’s. For me he was first and foremost, Mr. Spock in Star Trek (ST), but also the voice of “In Search Of…” (ISO) and the character of Paris in Mission Impossible (MI). As a man, he was more than the characters he played, as writer, poet, photographer and philosopher. I could not begin to express how this man shaped culture in his career, and his death is a loss to the world, but we must remember everything he gave to us while living. I don’t intend this to be something personal in my reflections, and I keep that to myself here, but do wish to pay tribute this man, so offer some links that speak for themselves:

Watch some of Spock’s best ST episodes: http://bit.ly/SpockEpisodes
Listen to Spock’s/Nimoy’s greatest hits: http://on.mash.to/1ASC0kD
Enjoy Leonard Nimoy poetry: http://leonardnimoypoetry.com/
Appreciate Leonard Nimoy photography: http://bit.ly/1a4wqlo
Leonard Nimoy’s autobiographies: http://bit.ly/1ECvEsc
Official Leonard Nimoy Fan Club: http://bit.ly/18cjw4h

Here’s a scene from Star Trek TOS, Season 1, Episode 24, where Kirk Challenges Spock, that I think is a particularly good one illustrating the emotion of Spock brought to the breaking point in human ways. Even Vulcans are vulnerable (like humans) to the emotions of life. William Shatner (as Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (as Spock) do this scene well together.

Beyond emotion & logic, beyond life & death, beyond time & space lies the ultimate “Final Frontier”. You Lived long and prospered, inspired a generation and left a legacy to be remembered – Thank you, Sir! Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end and though I never met you, I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Go Boldly now with Bones and Scotty…

I end with Leonard Nimoy’s last Tweet, a rather poignant expression, and well said.

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1.) I stopped watching/listening to the news at the beginning of the year. I am starting to feel a bit better! It’s not that I don’t care, but it’s all so negative and very repetitive. I’m tired of terrorism (7 days a week, 365 days a year for 12+ years) and Russia (ever since I can remember decades back), not to mention a plethora of diseases and a seemingly endless stream of sundry criminal activity. Enough is enough and I’d rather be uninformed than unhappy. I can’t avoid it entirely (the ‘News’) but can limit my exposure and see if it has further beneficial effects for me.

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All the news that’s fit to print today – all bad!


2.) My brother Jerry’s 2nd daughter was born at end of January. Her name is Nina Victoria, born on January 29, 2015, 7 lbs. 1 oz. I have some photos of the baby girl to share:

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My brother Jerry’s 2nd daughter


3.) The New England Patriots’s won their 4th Super Bowl on February 1, 2015, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28–24 at University of Pheonix Stadium in Arizona. Booya!

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New England Patriot’s – Super Bowl XLIX Champions!


4.) The visa for Tong was approved by the Chinese consulate in Guangzhou on February 3, 2015, and she can come to the USA now. Here is the timeline, more for my own reference, perhaps, but maybe of interest to others. See my blog post Looking Forward III for reference.

I-129F petition for visa (January 29, 2013)
Visa petition approved (September 12, 2014)
Notice for K-1 visa received (October 11, 2014)
Visa Interview Letter received (January 9, 2015)
Visa Interview in Guangzhou (February 3, 2015)

All-in-all, just about a year to have an approval for Tong to visit the USA from China. There is quite a lot of bureaucracy involved in such things, but it’s done now. Part of the problem is that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is involved in the process too (hence the ~8 months just to have a visa petition approved to apply for the visa!). It’s a Ridiculous department (DHS) and we need to get rid of it, but I won’t get started on that.

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Me, Tong and her daughter, Yee, in Chengdu, China (Nov. 28, 2014)


5.) My father’s health is continuing to improve I think, and he had quite the difficult time last year and almost was near death. But he’s back, an although still has some issues, he says he feels good and continues to feel better. I last saw him 0n June 9, 2014 with my daughter Jennifer (a first since we had all been together since she was born in 1990). Tong and I will visit him when she comes to the USA…

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My Dad, Jennifer, and Me – 3 generations!


Just some Life Notes here to share in 2015 for things I thought of note. This year is starting out great and the trend will continue I hope. It’s taken me a little over 1/2 century to reach a point in my life where I feel really satisfied and content (for the most part) about where I am as a person in the present, how I reflect on the past and what I see ahead of me in the future. As Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Understanding this is one thing, but really feeling it is something special!

Brian-Erice-Self

Erice, Sicily with view of Trapani (August 1, 2014)


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot- 1955Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

~ T.S. Eliot (From the poem ‘Little Gidding’, 1942)

kirk-and-spock-travel-back-in-time-to-2014

As I did at the end of 2013, so I do again here at the end of 2014 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year are a couple of blogs I finished and some reviews that may be of interest:

spocklogic_Lyon-France_travel_blog.
spocklogic_Wroclaw-Poland_travel_blog.

spocklogic_Kirin-Hot-Pot_review.spocklogic_Long-Chao-Shou_review.
spocklogic_Ram-Pam-Pam-Pam_review.spocklogic_Raclawice-Panorama_review

That summarizes some travel selections for 2014. I did travel to Italy also in July 2014, and have some links to share for photo collections I put together for a special year in Erice to celebrate a 40th anniversary of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy (ISAMS):

Rino: 40 Year Erice Celebrations (2014) – Erice, Italy
2014 Erice Workshop: 30 July – August 5 – Erice, Italy
People (2014) – Erice, Italy
Places (2014)
– Erice, Italy

In addition, I traveled to China again this year in November 2014, but am still working on my travel blog for that, so it will have to wait until my 2015 account of my travels. I will make this type of entry something traditional at years end to cover where I have been and what I have done in travel ways. It’s all rather like the City on the Edge of Forever perhaps…

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Loose-endsThe definition of ‘Loose Ends’ is given as: A part of something that has not been completed. In life we all have those things that are or were a part of us, but remain uncompleted. What satisfies understanding at least in the end of such things? In other words, what does it take to feel something is completed and there are no ‘Loose Ends’ left over? If it is a personal issue, I can say that all it takes is some communication. Silence can do a great deal of harm on its own over time, but a silence can be broken for making those ‘Loose Ends’ in life seem to fit together better. This is perhaps a thought of advancing years, when the days of youth are well behind, and there is a desire to feel centered, without the unresolved past to disturb that balance. The nature of a person is to guard the self – never mind the altruistic visions of love and giving yourself to another person. The women I have known in my life, without exception, chose self over love in the end. I don’t blame them – it’s a rational choice to believe in head over heart! This is, however, where ‘Loose Ends’ enter and caused by disparity between head and heart. It can be from a relationship, a job, a social occasion, and any other number of human interaction. My philosophical premise is that ‘Loose Ends’ come from head vs heart in human interaction.

We all have stores to tell, and I will tell some here:

1.) I knew a woman who did not want to leave her family and familiar surroundings to take a chance in life. We had a daughter together, and were divided to what was best. She chose her way and I chose mine. In time all the ‘Loose Ends’ were tied together because we communicated and had our daughter to take care of together, even though separate.

2.) I knew a woman who was in some conflict with her home life. I tried to get to know her, but pushed a bit too much maybe, and she pushed me away. That was lost long ago, but there was resolution to that ‘Loose End’  when she told me the whole story many years later. We communicated and brought our interactions to some understanding.

3.) I knew a woman who did not know whether she wanted to live or die, but took a chance on living. We were together for 10 years and I thought she loved me, but today I do not know if she ever did. I won’t speak on the details, but there were odd happenings at the end, and they were never explained to me. There was no communication to understand.

4.) I knew a woman who had issues with me, and was not afraid to speak of them. I appreciated this initially, but when it went on and on, one thing after another, I kept a distance always between us. We were together, but apart for 5 years. There was misunderstanding and pain in the end. We communicated a few years later and sought clarity with each other, to some success.

Well, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad, but I should say that #1 was a constant communication, as it involved our daughter. In regards to #2, it didn’t happen until some 20 years later, so better late than never rings true and I am glad for that. She contacted me to discuss it, and that was meaningful. We are friends now. For #3 I am totally baffled. I have not talked to her for 10 years, but reached out to her a couple years ago. There was no response, so with no communication there can never be understanding. In selfish ways, I always felt she owed me an explanation on the odd happenings,  and all I did or tried to do for her in love and devotion. Some people just are not capable of facing the past and prefer to live as if some part of their life never happened. I can not judge and only say there are ‘Loose Ends’ there because there was no communication then or 10 years later now. This brings me to #4, which I have already written extensively about in this blog. I appreciate she reached out to me and wanted to have closure and tie up those ‘Loose Ends’. I think she has anger issues and she thinks I may have Asperger  Syndrome, albeit a mild form, but we can agree to disagree or consider what is inside us that needs to be thought about.

My examples and explanation here all deal with my relationships with women. In my life I have much of what I want or desired, not through any random luck, some with perseverance and belief in my abilities. In the ways of love & relationships I am perhaps a failure and it is the focal point for my ‘Loose Ends’ to tie them up. I have done so for the most part and feel happy for that. One is missing (#3) and I guess I just wish I knew the odd happenings that led to the end. The last time I saw her,  I hardly recognized her, and that memory stays with me to this day. Sometime the ‘Loose Ends’ have very long threads indeed. As I said, I have 3 out of 4 and that should be enough, but I was hoping for 4 out of 4 to say:

But thanks
For your time
Then you can thank me for mine
And after that’s said
Forget it!
If there was a word
But Magic’s absurd
I’d make one dream come true
It didn’t work out
But don’t ever doubt
How I felt about you

It a total perspective, the ‘Loose Ends’ in life do affect us in time and over time, and with communication they can become threads in the tapestry of life to make a story of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. I might maintain that some ‘Loose Ends’ may be good for us in the short term because they provoke thought, but in the long term, provoke a manifestly profound alteration of ones psyche. There is this quote usually attributed to Anain Nin, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Maybe that’s what ‘Loose Ends’ tell us, more about the way we are than the way things are..

In the beginning there was an idea to share information and seeds of the internet were born sometime in the 1960’s. Segue to the early 1990’s and there is altavista & webcrawler for search engines, no advertisements and the start of the internet for everyone. There were modems that worked over the telephone line and squealed their functionality with signature precision. They were slow, but the internet didn’t need speed back then as it was mostly text based information. Then it all began to change: AOL, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook and the people didn’t really want information, they wanted to socialize. That was the real revolution of the internet.

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The Internet (c. 2007)

 

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The Internet (c. 2010)

 

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The Internet (c. 2013)

 

Interesting from a certain viewpoint (don’t think physicality in the construction similar to the continents, but where you are and where you go to online based on the map designations). In this sense, it’s another travel dimension of sorts! It’s rather like the the maps you see in the Age of Discovery in the centuries past when men explored the world in sailing ships. The maps were crude at first but became more refined over time. There is a perspective here to be appreciated and that is the following: All things human begin from the fundamental to the advanced – that is how our species learns and understands. We seem to be better at this in some ways, especially technology, but not so good in other ways, especially getting along with each other.

A final comment: The internet is capable of breaking down barriers like class, religion and wealth and everyone can participate (in principle). The reality is that the human species does not use the brain it has developed and the instances of this are too numerous to mention in the thousands of years of civilization. Although Carl Sagan did not live to see the full potential of the internet age, I like what he had to say about humanity in general – The Frontier Is Everywhere:

We were hunters and foragers. The frontier was everywhere. We were bounded only by the earth, and the ocean, and the sky. The open road still softly calls. Our little terraqueous globe as the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds. We, who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture into space?

By the time we are ready to settle even the nearest other planetary systems, we will have changed. The simple passage of so many generations will have changed us; necessity will have changed us. We are… an adaptable species. It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars. It will be a species very like us, but with more of our strengths, and fewer of our weaknesses; more confident, farseeing, capable and prudent.

For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness. What new wonders undreamt of in our time, will we have wrought in another generation, and another? How far will our nomadic species have wandered, by the end of the next century, and the next millennium?

Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds through the solar system, and beyond, will be unified, by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the universe, come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross, before we found our way.

References:
The internet 2007 – http://xkcd.com/256/
The Internet 2010 – http://xkcd.com/802/
The Internet 2013 – http://jaysimons.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-the-Internet-1-0-427143215
Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot

 

 

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Xietong – Great Wall at Juyongguan

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Xietong – Anlan Bridge at Dujiangyan


“Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s good, and melt at other’s woe.” 
~ Homer

I have a  fiancé in China and her name is Xietong (or Tong Xie in English). The circumstances of how Tong and I met are as follows: My good friend of many years in the USA (Gang Lei) had a good friend of many years in China (Ping Li) who had a friend (Ning Zhu) that knew Tong. So, we were introduced to each other and communicated in email for a couple of years until I finally came to China to visit Tong in her home city of Chengdu, but also visited Beijing together in travel ways. It was a splendid trip, and she definitely was the person I got to know in email, and then some… In sharing the time in person together, we made that bond a reality. Returning home to the USA, I didn’t wait long before before suggesting she come to the USA on a fiancé visa. Well, engaged in email maybe, but no sense waiting. We are right for each other I think and I’m ‘All In’ so to speak. I’ve come to believe two years is about all it should take to make a plan for a future together in Looking Forward with someone.

I remember sharing a song with Tong before we met called “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard & Marja Tuhkanen from the film “Once” (2006). When I visited Tong in China she told me she listened to it every night before bed. That is very sweet, and maybe is Our Song now, something in shared experience and sentiment towards each other for the meaning it has for us. We have some work ahead in Looking Forward, and some forms to fill in government bureaucracy in achieving a visa for Tong to come to the USA with me, but together we will see it through and find some happiness together. It’s a learning process for me in discovering all the ways a government can complicate two people just wanting to be together. Well, governments are mostly paranoid institutions and spy on each while making other nefarious and/or covert plans to gain political advantage in some pointless power struggle. So, they complicate life for everyone in this way. Most people just want basic things like shelter, family, love, rewarding work, and to enjoy life. This is my discovery in traveling the world, but one has to swim this sea of government silliness to secure any satisfaction. I don’t want to get started on this topic…

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Xietong and Me in Chengdu

So this is part of my life at present and I think I found a ‘Real Love’. It is just a matter of time now and there will be good developments for 2014 in Looking Forward for Tong and me. The opening lyrics of the Bob Seger song “The Real Love” says it all:

I think I’ve found The Real Love
Genuine and true
I think it’s really come my way today babe
I think it’s really you

I remember moments looking in your eyes
Could have sworn I saw the spark of love babe
Flickering inside

I’ve been around and round this track
And the only thing I lack
Is The Real Love

I found the only thing I lack now, The Real Love, and it’s just a matter of government boundaries I suppose and swimming the red tape sea. That’s the way of the world and government institutions. Eventually people become free to be people…

Travel blog link: China – Beijing, Chengdu & Beyond (Nov 10-22, 2013)

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” ~ Steve Jobs

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