O’ What Colourful Splendour

My grandmother Gladys Young – God rest her soul – passed away during my seventh summer. Some days prior to her departure my beady eyes noticed her fingers had turned blue. She said it was due to removing the twigs and leaves from a large bowl of blueberries, but a part of me knew that such were the symptoms of a dying person, so after pressing her further for the truth she told me that she was changing into a blue-jay in order to keep a closer eye on me. This meant that she wanted to keep me safe and sound wherever the wind might lead me. It also revealed her affinity with our Mi’kmaq culture and our unique way of keeping our ancestors alive. To this day a burst of joy enters my heart whenever a blue-jay enters my sight.

Even though these kinds of beliefs are often rendered nonsensical in the modern brain-vain of men, they continue to hold truth in mine. Just because we can’t categorize supernatural encounters into a neat scientific box, doesn’t make these sorts of myths irrelevant, impractical or non-existent. On the contrary they bring much colour to our lives and can help us to process and understand change (e.g., death) in a way that doesn’t remove the joy of being one with nature.

Whereas when we enter into a routinized way of confronting phenomena that compels us to analize, rank and sophisti-size everything into its so called parts, we run the risk of blatantly severing ourselves into an individuality that imposes and/or projects into the world a fragmentation; i.e., instead of a ‘we’ coherency, we end up with a ‘me’ aberrancy.

One of my most beloved teachers from the ancient days was also fond of aerial creatures. Even though he is mainly remembered for his wisdom and wit, he believed that the swans ‘belong to Apollo, they are prophetic, have knowledge of the future and sing of the blessings of the underworld, sing and rejoice on that day beyond what they did before’ in the past. So even though our Socrates was willing to go further out on the branch than many of us would now care to do, there’s also the possibility that he had pertinent knowledge that made such thinking grounded, thorough and viable.

You see, we can’t just impose our own understanding – be it values and virtues, principles and standards, goals and frames of reference – upon that which resides outside of our reach and/or comprehension, and then expect to preserve an equines layout of the landscape. Unless we can empathize and understand the intrinsic values of a particular people, time and place, then such boisterous zeal can easily become a brazen tenacity that offsets or jaundices our overall view.

Unless we take the time to consider that much of ‘our thoughts are misgiven’, then we’ll never come to appreciate the transcendent colour of truth, beauty and goodness, neither can we fully participate in love, faith and hope, by which the swan becomes imbued with melody, song and dance. These nine muses give us much more than simple romance, but they help ‘to raise our life high above chance, and to remember that it is a human life’ that we seek to enhance.

Within the tapestry of our ever changing and flowing universe we remain free to co-create multiple modes of preserving the wisdom of the ages. Perhaps the markers left behind by our ancestors will one day become the beacon to a more brighter and resilient defender, if we continue to keep ourselves open to the endless possibilities by virtue of foresight and its vitally colourful splendour.

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Blackfoot Becomes Whitefeather

An Aboriginal Story by Jason Youngman
Dreamt into existence during the Blood Moon of 2021
In honor of Gaia (Mother Earth) and the preservation of her forest.

Blackfoot gazed upon the North Star at night. It gladdened him to know that it stayed in the northern hemisphere, and remained still as a lake under a calm wind. He knew in his heart of hearts that the northern light was there to guide the people back into the arms of Nature should they ever lose their way.

For Blackfoot, every step into the future was like walking into the depth of the woods during the pitch black of night. Thus Blackfoot remained true to his name, for every step forward was unknown to him. He could not even tell what would happen from one day to the next.

Fortunately he had a companion who would fly ahead of him to make sure the path was clear. Blackfoot was very thankful to the creature and the Raven was most happy to be Blackfoot’s guide. “You are my eye in the sky, and my reason for asking why,” Blackfoot would often sing aloud to his friend. Then the Raven would sing back, “You are my feet on the ground, and my reason for flying around.”

The two would often meet in Blackfoot’s dreams where they would play until the first break of day. This went on for years and years until the Raven’s feathers were nearly white. This saddened Blackfoot because it meant that their friendship would come to an end.

However, the Raven assured Blackfoot that when his feathers were completely white, then he would fly over the forest spreading his feathers upon the ground. And when Blackfoot had lots of white hair on his own head, then he could go forth in search of the white feathers, which would appear as innovative ideas that would help to light up the way.

Once Blackfoot was able to gather all the white feathers together, a majestic swan would emerge so as to sing about all the beautiful things that would come to be upon the face of the earth. Such a promise gave Blackfoot much hope, but sadly the Raven became fully white, thus disappeared from Blackfoot’s sight.

Many moons had come and gone before the great Blood Moon, which marked the beginning of a new era. The eclipse made it possible for the Raven to return to Blackfoot in a dream. Instead of a white feathered covering, the Raven now embodied the natural colours of the rainbow.

At first they played together as before but Blackfoot became incredibly thirsty, so the Raven brought him to a still lake under a calm wind. Blackfoot drank from the lake and was rejuvenated! As he drew water he noticed the reflection of the North Star above, and immediately remembered the purpose for love.

Therefore Blackfoot could no longer be called Blackfoot because the path before him was lit up. His new name became Whitefeather Undertree, because now he had eyes by which to see! Henceforth his new role as a Seer was to help keep the people together forever in peace and harmony.

In time other Whitefeathers joined him to protect and preserve all the forests of the world. Thankfully this provided the greatest degree of clean air by which the earth dwellers were restored to good health. Therefore all were able to think clearly and make wise choices.

So this is why Blackfoot’s story has continued to be revealed in light of the way and why the North Star provides colour to all that would otherwise turn grey. Therefore when you gaze upon the night sky, that is why you will hear him say, “Aim for the brightest star to know who you truly are!”

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Philosophy Begins in Wonder

“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth.” – Albert Einstein

At the heart of a good education remains wonder. No matter how you turn the principles of learning, as long as they cohere and remain as one, they reveal the wellspring of wisdom, which means genuine fun for everyone. Lovers of Sophia are naturally drawn towards these ideals as though they are intrinsic elements of our very being, the gems by which cognition can come into play, by which others may participate in a colourful, meaningful and creative way.

By way of analogy we can represent goodness, beauty and truth with the three primary colours of the light spectrum. As long as these colours line up in the right way (as depicted in the image above) they will provide a unique pattern that consists of three additional or secondary colours, as well as a form void of colour at its pith. Continue reading

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Give Colour to Virtues

“My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” – Louis Riel

Another way to conceptualize the four pivotal virtues of civilization is to contemplate how they each shine in their own way without detracting from their synergistic interplay. So let us begin with the primary of the other three by which there can be no integrality.

Prudence may be rendered here as practical reason. Like the Chief in command it possesses the intellect to act appropriately under particular circumstances, and to instruct and/or command the governing body so as to work in cohesion. It possesses the foresight to avoid unnecessary barriers and to create pathways that keep us mindfully aware, thus my reason for associating it with the element of air. Continue reading

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Love Knows No Bounds

Virtues and the fruit thereof.

“Store up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys or theft extorts and breaks; for where your treasure resides, there your heart partakes.”

Behold the diamantine flower depicted in the image above, the chord by which we are restored through love. Placed along the edges of this cardinal rose are virtues that blend together ever so gracefully. Their union feels as natural as the sun and sky, water and earth; the very elementary forces that sustain the world thro’ endless rebirth.

Even though we may immediately recognize the drawing as 2 dimensional in form, in potential it can open up into a multiform. For example, the four pointed star in the foreground can be the base or root of a tree that reaches up into heaven. In other words, imagine yourself directly underneath this tree looking up; from this lower vantage point it will be impossible to see with the naked eye the tree’s trunk reaching up into the sky. Continue reading

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To Everything Turn…

“Inconstancy is my very essence; it is the game I never cease to play as I turn my wheel in its ever changing circle, filled with joy as I bring the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top.” – Fortuna, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

What goes around comes around, and what goes up must come down. These two proverbs are one and the same, if you consider them in view of the Wheel of Fortune; a mythical representation of the natural ebb and flow of mankind’s journey through time. The first statement implies ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’, and the second statement refers to the recurring rise and fall in power and/or civilizations. Continue reading

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Speaking Words of Wisdom

“Who is she who looks out as the morning, beautiful as the moon, clear as the sun, and awesome as an army with banners?” – The Song of Songs 6:10

Philosophy has been my greatest consolation, friend and teacher in life. In the beginning she spoke to me through kindness. As a child thro’ reproof, a constant reminder to be good and kindly toward others, and during my emergence into adulthood, a natural blending of confidence & competence, courage & consideration, compassion & composure.

Now that my eyes have beheld her moon, she has become gentler still, graceful and rejuvenating. From the yoke of slavery she has pardoned me, allowing simplicity, moderation and self-control as the means to keep my will and intellect in check. Continue reading

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Digging for Philosopher’s Gold

“Men dig tons of earth to find a measly piece of gold.” – Heraclitus

An ounce of pure gold will land you about 2 thousand dollars here in Canada. Should you hire a private contractor to dig up your backyard for a swimming pool, then expect to pay a lot more than that; neither are you guaranteed to see a profit on your investment.

What the sage seems to be implying in his maxim above can be reduced to one word; namely, redundancy. That is to say people have a tendency to waste time and resources on things that provide nothing more than a splash, or rendered in the words of Socrates, ‘he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things.’

Continue reading

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Mind the Heart it falls Apart

“The character of those things you often think about will be the character of your understanding, for the mind is dyed by its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

My photo above reveals an aspect of a naturally occurring form or what others might render as organic art. It is a piece of ice similar in size to the human brain. In it we see air pockets that appear to have been trying to reach the surface during solidification. This image happens to be an ideal analogy for the nature of thinking. Take this line of thought as demonstration:

Before the mind becomes frozen in time, our thoughts are potential in every paradigm. Dynamism allows for all kinds of life to form, yet when the heart no longer remains warm, by nature the element loses its norm. So this similitude perpetually sings, no matter the lens by which we make sense of things; in spite of science or how we come to cohere, we gradually lose our ability to remain fluid and clear. Continue reading

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Adjust Mindset towards Offenders

“Keep these nine points in your mind – take them as gifts from the Muses! – and begin at long last to be a human being, while life remains.” – Marcus Aurelius

Things have a way of embedding themselves into our psychology through repetition, in turn reinforcing our beliefs or biases about the world, so if we are not selective about the quality of thoughts we regularly contemplate, then we may find ourselves at odds with the way things are by nature, and acting contrary to our best interest.

This sort of mindset seems to play a part in Marcus Aurelius’ undertaking of chapter eighteen in book eleven of his Meditations. Here he lays down 9 approaches by which to subdue the attacks (including those which exist in potential and of his own imaginings) that may derail him from his ethical orientation and/or philosophy. Continue reading

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