Sunday, June 25, 2017



In the moment of transition between life and death only one thing changes:
you lose the momentum of the biochemical cycles that keep the machinery
running. In the moment before death you are still composed of the same
thousand trillion, trillion atoms as in the moment after death.

As you degrade, your atoms become incorporated into new constellations:
the leaf of a staghorn fern, a speckled snail-shell, a kernel of maize,
a beetle's mandible, a waxen bloodroot, a ptarmigan's tail feather.

But it turns out your thousand trillion, trillion atoms were not an
accidental collection, each was labeled as composing you,
and continues to be so wherever it goes.

So you're not gone, you're simply taking on different forms.

Instead of your gestures being the raising of an eyebrow or a blown kiss,
now a gesture might consist of a rising gnat, a waving wheat stalk and the
inhaling lung of a breaching beluga whale.

Your manner of expressing joy might become a seaweed sheet playing
on a lapping wave, a pendulous funnel dancing from a cumulo-nimbus,
a flapping grunion birthing, a glossy river-pebble gliding around an eddy.

From your present clumped point of view this afterlife may sound
unnervingly distributed, but in fact it is wonderful.

You can't imagine the pleasure of stretching your redefined body across
vast territories, ruffling your grasses and bending your pine branch and
flexing an egret's wing while pushing a crab towards the surface
through coruscating shafts of light.

Love-making reaches heights it could never dream of in the compactness
of human corporality.

Now you can communicate in many places along your bodies at once,
you weave your versatile hands over your lover's multiflorous figure.
Your rivers run together.

You move in concert as interdigitating creatures of the meadow,
entangled vegetation bursting from the fields, caressing weather fronts
that climax into thunderstorms.

–David Eagleman

Kai Fagerström


Saturday, June 24, 2017

meditation on death


Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old.
Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly contrives.

In all creation, be assured, there is no death—no death,
but only change and innovation; what we people call birth
is but a different new beginning; death is but
to cease to be the same. 

Perhaps this may have moved to that and that to this,
yet still the sum of things remains the same.

Ovid, Metamorphoses
translation by A.D. Melville


Friday, June 23, 2017



There is no universe without perception. Consciousness and the cosmos are correlative. They are one and the same.

Reality is a swirl of information in the mind. This means that absolutely everything, from the trees “out there” to our sense of time and perception of distance, is all being continually constructed and perceived by lightning-quick life-based information systems.

—Robert Lanza
Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness,
and the Illusion of Death


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Short Talk on the Withness of the Body, excerpt


What departs at death is 19 grams (= 7/8 ounce) of you
shedding a soft blue light.

–Anne Carson

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

hearing the names of the valleys


Finally the old man is telling

the forgotten names

and the names of the stones they came from

for a long time I asked him the names

and when he says them at last

I hear no meaning

and cannot remember the sounds

I have lived without knowing

the names for the water

from one rock

and the water from another

and behind the names that I do not have

the color of water flows all day and all night

the old man tells me the name for it

and as he says it I forget it

there are names for the water

between here and there

between places now gone

except in the porcelain faces

on the tombstones

and places still here

and I ask him again

the name for the color of water

wanting to be able to say it

as though I had known it all my life

without giving it a thought

—W.S. Merwin
from The Rain in the Trees, 1988

Friday, June 16, 2017

mystical realization


This is the essential experience of any mystical realization. You die to your flesh and are born into your spirit. You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. You die to the vehicle and become identified…with that of which the vehicle is but the carrier.

–Joseph Campbell


not to worry


The ultimate nature of the experience of life is that toil and pleasure, sorrow and joy, are inseparably mixed in it. The very will to life that brought one to light, however, was a will to come even through pain into this world; else one never would have got here. And that is the notion underlying the oriental idea of reincarnation. 

Since you came to birth in this world at this time, in this place, and with this particular destiny, it was this indeed that you wanted and required for your own ultimate illumination. 

That was a great big wonderful thing that you thereupon brought to pass; not the "you", of course, that you now suppose yourself to be, but the "you" that was already there before you were born and which even now is keeping your heart beating and your lungs breathing and doing for you all those complicated things inside that are your life. 

You are not now to lose your nerve! 
Go on through with it and play your own game all the way!

Joseph Campbell
Myths to Live By