Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tieing it All Together

also grows

I seem to remember wanting to keep the world famous blog away from heavy topics, and focus on trying to provide something light, and/or amusing. Here I am knocking on the heavy topic door, and hearing a pretty good sized group of folks already crowding the room inside.

But here's the deal.
One coincidence is probably just that- a coincidence. Now I know little of the mathematical laws of probability, but I do know that if one coincidence is unlikely, two in a row are less likely still. And as the number grows, the probability gets smaller with each link in the chain. At some point in the process you begin to suspect that there is a greater hand at work in all this. I noticed when I read the story of Joseph, Gen:37-43 that that whole part of the story can be seen as one improbable coincidence following another. Same with the story of Moses in Ex:2. There is a story told of St. Patrick wherein he is escaping from slavery, on the run, and somehow finds himself leading a group of rough and very dangerous men who expect him to be able to find food. They round a bend in the road, and seemingly out of nowhere encounter a bunch of feral pigs. They are saved from starvation and Patrick gets the credit.

"Oh, yeah, right JWM. So now you're telling us that God himself was helping you finish restoring your old Schwinn, find your Celtic art book, and then giving you a blog so you can tell everyone how they too (with just a little help from the Man Upstairs) can achieve enlightenment, cure the fantods, find a really awesome babe, and maybe even score some good weed in the process.

Maybe. My wife is a Nichiren Buddhist. I tried the practise for a year shortly after we were married, but I couldn't stay with it. But during the time that I was there I heard story after story of people stumbling into the most unlikely series of events leading them to find jobs, mates, friendships, business deals- you name it. And, regardless of your religious beliefs or lack of them, I would wager that with not too much effort you could come up with some pretty astonishing series of coincidences yourself.

Weigh the number of them in you own life, and in the stories you have heard from family and friends. They are common enough if you take the time to look. And that, in itself is astonishing if you think on it: that occurrences with infinitesimal probability are relatively common. That does suggest to me that there is a greater hand in all this.



julie said...

I really like this image - if you follow each color from start to finish, it's fun to feel the eyes looping the loops :)

As to the series of coincidences, I agree wholeheartedly. My life is just one gigantic strand of them (with lots of points where what seemed bad or disappointing at the time turned out to be the best thing that could have happened in the grand scheme of things), and to paraphrase Bob, lately the syncoonicities have been stacking up like cordwood. I still have no idea where it is that I'm headed, but I do have an idea that there's an awful lot of unseen guidance taking place. Lately, I've tried to focus less on worrying about the future and more on being worthy of whatever it is I'm being guided toward (hence the whole Patience and Trust issue).

walt said...

Well, uh ... don't stop there! If everything is a part of everything anyway, then the story can go on and on. You have just begun to Blog!

Yes, my daze have been full of extraordinary "luck" and co-incidence. Yes, intuitive thinking works as well as the other kind. Yes, peripheral vision offers a wider view. And enlightenment is like having eyes in the back of your head, because you can see past and future all-now. (Ho-hum, what else is new?) You won't get argument from me.

The only problem is that no red light flashes to tell you when it's working and when it's not. Maybe it's always on? Sure -- why not?

Anyway, it's the details and the stories that make it seem real, so don't let up! Ben and I were yapping about you behind your blog today, saying how nice it is that you're doing this ....

walt said...

And by the way, the article you linked was by the author of The Beginning of Wisdom, which Bob quoted in a post about a year and a half ago.

Robin Starfish said...

Yup, what they said. Live in Synchroni City or don't live at all.

I've tied the 2-D version of the center of your knot many times out on the river - and it's a bitch. Yours many dimensions is that?

wv: I deem it fluxciat.

jwm said...

Robin: Don't feel bad. I just tried to do that clover leaf, and I couldn't figure it out either. I did these drawings a long time ago, and while I remember how the basic construction works, I have just plain forgotten how to do a lot of it. I have pages of notes and how-to sketches buried somewhere. This stuff is sort of like computer skills. There isn't anything intuitive about it. The rules aren't complicated, but if you're not right on top of it, and doing it every day, it fades. I've had fifteen years of fade time.

Thanks for the encouragement, but I feel like I'm already running on empty with this project. I had hopes of feeling that creative energy reawaken, but all I've done here so far is recycle stuff I did a long time ago. The toy project was essentially finished by '04. The narrative, and pictures have just been sitting, and waiting for a venue. As I mentioned, the Celtic stuff was done in the mid 90's. I have three more knotwork pictures I could post. The best piece was never photographed. Incidently, that's why I have these pictures to post at all. I had the work photographed at a commercial studio in hopes of being able to sell some reproductions.
I wasn't kidding when I said I really can't draw for shit. These pieces start with a layout in pencil, and then the lines are fleshed ot later. For all of them I had to draw, re-draw, erase, and redraw again and again until the bristol was damn near wrecked. Then I'd have to trace a clean copy, to continue working. The final was traced on a light box using rapidograph, then colored in with colored pencil. Then I took a number 10 x-acto, and cut the design free from the page. The next step was to ink all the edges so they would disappear on a black background. The final piece is sandwiched between two panes of glass so it floats above the matting in the frame. The only way they can be photographed is to pull the cut-out out of the frame, stick it to black mat board with post-it glue, and shoot it under polarized light. But as I said that took a professional photographer. Incidentally, if anyone would like a print of any of these I still have the 4x5 negatives around somewhere.


mushroom said...

Here's the problem, J, you are actually creative.

The reason I started was because I was too stupid to realize I didn't really need a blogger account to post comments on OC. That, and I liked seeing my screen name in blue and underlined. Then I thought it might be polite not to eat all Bob's comment space with my weird, random tangents.

On the probability thing, as long as each event, e.g., a coin-toss, is independent, the probability is the same. Even if you toss a million heads in row, the probability of the next toss being heads is still 50-50, just like it was for the first one. The coin doesn't know. The series becomes highly improbable but the individual event remains the same. If I haven't already written about it, maybe I'll post about one of my coincidences.

wv: entim -- might be.

walt said...

Whoa, Pard'ner!

I wuz serious: You have only begun to Blog!

That much I gno from experience -- the details are for you to un-veil!

Faxes R faxes: we never can go home again! What you will be doing isn't what you did. Remember what I said about the Voice? I was trying to re-create myself into a new business that had a striking similarity to the business I walked away from. And, it was a struggle, but I was making "progress." And right in the middle of a trade show the Voice said, "You're finished!" So, I said "Okay," and walked out.

Time for something else.

One of the first things a blog can provide, especially for folks of our demographic, and I mean that actuarially as well as spiritually, is an opportunity to engage in "Life Review." Ho! You've already begun! But there is great value in re-viewing various past experiences and refining their meaning and then sharing them -- brings them forward in time, forward from your subconscious into your present, and integrates you into your present company, your loyal Raccoon readers. Don't underestimate this.

Along with this, you get to "see" what parts of yourself are important to you now. If such things haven't yet happened, no sweat! A pattern will emerge! Ask ... well, any of us. Or reflect on the changes GB has gone through. Bloggin' is a way to make that process visible. This is no small thing.

And somewhere in the mix you may spy a "clue" to The Next Thing, the thing that will unfold next -- or is unfolding now just below your awareness of it. I mean, didn't you just write something about contingency, and syncoonicity? What -- you think there are any accidents in this game?

Strangest of all: while you are waiting for "the burn" to re-consume you, WE are just waiting to hear from YOU. Sure, what people post is neat, but it's THEM that makes it interesting. In other words, your ideas and experiences are as interesting to a Raccoon as anything you've made or photographed -- i.e. you've still got plenty of new material!

Remember the Blogging Rules:
1- There are no rules.
2- You make it up as you go along.
3- A pattern will emerge.
4- No one is allowed to stop.

jwm said...

Thank you Walt.

John M

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey John,

Heavy...light...tastes great...less's all Good! In fact, I'm not an expert or nothin' but sometimes light stuff is heavy and verse visa.

I have no doubt your in-prov will coontinue to be top notch and all that jazz. :^)

Hey Walt, you're gettin' me all fired up here. Very inspiring post n' comments today.