Let us not look back in anger,
nor forward in fear,
but around us in awareness.”
― James Thurber
That all things are connected is pretty obvious if you think about it a little. Your intelligence, for example, isn’t set off all by itself in the cosmos; it’s an aspect of the whole thing, completely interwoven with the whole thing. There is a life force flowing through the cosmos. Step back and you will see that the cosmos is itself that force — what’s more, you yourself are that force. All things are connected. If you think, that’s the cosmos thinking. Realms of Gold: Excursions in the Sea of Intelligence is designed to explore how all this fits together.
Looking back, it’s easy to see my books, written over several decades, were times-out for a look at all this wonderful interconnectedness that’s so often taken for granted. If you look at the descriptions below of some of them, you’ll see they were pointed to this present look around. The Sea of Intelligence is on one thing going on, and we humans are an aspect of it. This website, Excursions in the Sea of Intelligence, will make that clear. Realms of Gold is about why it matters.
- Montage, Investigations in Language, which I wrote with William Sparke decades ago, was an interactive book long before the internet. It is full of quotes and stories, and poems and essays and puzzles and photos and science and math and music and grass and sky and air and God knows what. It was designed to engage the mind in thinking about how the world works and how a human being works. If there were any bored readers, I never encountered them.
Montage is all about language too, of course, and how language can imprison the spirit or free it. You can’t read Montage without realizing that prison or the open road is our own choice, to see or to perish, as Chardin rightly said.
- Image, Reflections on Language traces the emergence of selfhood from before conception to after death. Who were you before your mother conceived you? In the beginning was the Word. What are some productive ways to think about that? How can a spiritual being live in a world of settled ideas? It’s the job of every one of us to disturb settled ideas. How can I take out life insurance without injuring my soul? Where do I live? Is it possible to live where I live? How much of my day is spent on what has happened; how much on what’s up ahead? What’s left?
Image, Reflections on Language does not solicit answers; it simply holds the door open. Reflection on such things enriches our lives, and we don’t care if school keeps or not.
- Thinking About Thinking sets up explorations into our own minds, using the mind to think about the mind. How does thinking actually work; what is the physics of it, the chemistry, the coding and decoding? Where does metaphor fit in, logic, love? What about the genetic code?
Thinking About Thinking isn’t a how-to book. It’s a playground for messing around with ideas: Whatever you say a thing is, it isn’t. What are some ways to look at that as being true? Whatever you say a thing is, it is. How about some ways that that’s true, too. Can something be true even if it didn’t happen? What are some perspectives from which that idea makes sense? We think by feeling? We feel by thinking? Make both of them true.
If you aren’t smiling, are you really thinking?
There’s so much gained and so much lost in words, in the Word. And there is always Why bother in the first place? Can’t we just memorize the rule book and avoid the pain of figuring things out on our own?
The point of these explorations is not to get answers, which after all are only placebos, but to get a good look at this infinitely large and infinitely small universe. Wonder isn’t an answer. It’s an experience.
- Teaching Human Beings: The Role of Language in Education is about a way to involve students in this journey no matter what discipline is being investigated. If you are looking at a clump of grass in a biology class or examining the periodic chart in chemistry or the subatomic field in physics or Ode to Joy in music, it’s always about getting a clearer picture of one’s own world, not merely about storing masses of information in the left-hemisphere of the brain. Ask Walt Whitman or Richard Feynman. It’s also about the feeling of wonder that sometimes comes over us on a bus in San Francisco.