Thursday, June 1, 2017
Today is the fourth anniversary of my little blog. It has been a delight sharing my unusual perspective on the world with you, and I greatly appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you so very much.
Highlights from these last 12 months include the publication of my 100th essay and clicking over a quarter of a million visits to my site. Most amazing and pleasing.
Special thanks to Naja who edits The Blue Paper in Key West. They have re-posted almost all of my essays and I greatly cherish having their readers aboard.
I continue to keep my little sharing space as pristine as possible with no ads, no donations tab and no Patreon link. Financially it is a challenge - but emotionally it is a reward.
As revealed in my recent essay entitled IN PRAISE OF UNSAFE SPACES, I am about to embark on an exciting and hazardous adventure (all true adventure involves danger). I will be crewing aboard some friends' boat as we attempt to sail the Northwest Passage - up where the polar bears roam. As someone who has always aspired to being both a philosopher and an adventurer, this is a perfect opportunity for me.
The voyage should take a few months. Will post essays whenever I can, but the internet availability will obviously be a significant issue.
It will be intriguing to see if this radical change in latitude and temperature changes my perspective.
You'll be the first to know.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
by Ray Jason
|photo by Ray Jason|
Years ago, I nick-named this modest little spot The Domino Triangle. It was too tiny for an actual building, so a tarp had been slung to provide shelter from the sun and the rain. Beneath it was a folding card table and some battered chairs, where the locals would play dominoes.
When the tropical heat would begin to lessen in the late afternoon, the men would start gathering. They arrived with beer and a little pocket money. They also brought something that is increasingly rare in our modern world – modest, earth-bound happiness.
Their conversations revolved around the elemental concerns of bedrock Humanity – too much work and not enough pay, the entertaining inscrutability of wives and girlfriends, and the follies of their grandchildren. Nobody was discussing how many pixels the next iPhone camera would have or how Amazon’s stock price is so high when they never turn a profit.
Friday, May 12, 2017
by Ray Jason
|Monique and Jack - 2 young sea gypsies|
The waters of the Archipelago of Bliss have been a wondrous reservoir of inspiration for me as I meander through my Middle Years. My secluded life amidst these tranquil islands has blessed me with a perspective and clarity that is difficult to attain by those chained to the cacophony of the Real World.
But since my earliest conscious dawning in my teen years, I have been attracted not only to a life of thought, but also to the call to action. Jack London, Joseph Conrad and Richard Burton were the type of literary figures who appealed to me because they combined both words and deeds.
Lately, I have been questioning whether the comfort of these peaceful lagoons has seduced me away from that combination of adventurer and philosopher which so exhilarates me? Have deeds succumbed to words? Peering into my heart of hearts, I have to answer, YES.
So it was time for a change. Fortunately, the gods of adventure smiled upon me with an exciting possibility. Some highly-skilled sailors, who are also very dear friends, invited me to join them in an attempt this summer to sail across the legendary Northwest Passage. When they offered me this opportunity, I immediately thought of Alan Shepherd’s line in the movie THE RIGHT STUFF when they were recruiting him to become an astronaut: “Sounds dangerous … count me in!”
Thursday, April 27, 2017
by Ray Jason
|Thank you for your brilliance Norman Rockwell|
The wind arrived swiftly. The waves built more slowly - but also more dangerously. Suddenly AVENTURA was no longer gently tugging at her anchor. She was lunging and jerking perilously. I let out more chain to calm her, but the seas kept pounding us. The gorgeous little island with its massive coral formations had protected me from the prevailing winds for the last two days. But now that we had swung around 180 degrees, those reefs were a million-machete menace.
I had snorkeled them that afternoon and their beauty had dazzled me. However, their contours had worried me. In many places the water depth would drop from 15 feet to 2 feet in only a few yards. Dashed against them, my fiberglass boat could quickly be punctured, filled with seawater and destroyed. I would lose my home, my magic carpet, my companion.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
by Ray Jason
I was awoken this morning by a tropical alarm clock – the joyous sound of wild parrots flying above my anchored boat. Their airborne chirping reminded me that the last thing that I heard as I dozed off the night before was also from the non-human world. It was the raucous barking of a troop of howler monkeys.
Perhaps it was because my sleep had been book-ended by these emissaries from the realm of Nature - but I felt radiantly refreshed. Lying in my bunk, I noticed that an amber shaft of equatorial sunlight was resting on my chart table. And there, sitting in the middle of it was a little gecko sunning itself.
A feeling of cleansing jubilation swept over me. It felt like something momentous had transformed the planet as I slept during the night. It was as though the long-rumored pole shift had occurred. But it was not a geographical reversal, it was a philosophical upheaval.
Suddenly, the ordinary people of the world had awoken to the fact that war was not about spreading democracy and ousting hideous tyrants. It was a fraud imposed on the regular people by the irregular people – who are awash in money and power and who benefit obscenely from war.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
by Ray Jason
It was the last full moon of winter. My little ship, which was facing north, gently veered around to the east - as though she too wanted to admire the luminous moon as it rose above this jungle lagoon. Some unknown instinct had prompted me to write this essay not in the daylight or not by lamplight, but under the spell of moonlight. I abide by such mysterious murmurings.
So I sat on deck with my back leaning against the mast. In my lap was a pen and my trusty clipboard, but tonight it had a small book-light attached to it. Beside me was a cup of soothing green tea. This seemed appropriate - because the catalyst for this essay had been an old Chinese proverb. That morning it had sailed back into my consciousness after years of languishing in my philosophical backwaters. It states with almost unsettling clarity and simplicity a truth that Humanity seems to be ignoring.
“If we don’t change our direction, we will end up where we are headed.”
My philosopher’s mission is to meditate on the sweeping trends that impact the human caravan and to not be distracted by the transient frenzy of day to day events. My quest is to separate the message from the background noise. An effective way to do this is to focus on our most elemental needs. Some of these basics include: water, food, jobs, security and entertainment.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
by Ray Jason
|TOR HOUSE - photo by Ray Jason|
My heroes do not score touchdowns or lead armies or star in movies. Instead, those in my Pantheon think deeply and dream elegantly and write poetically. They are secular saints, who tried to decipher the mysteries of the human condition and who shared their discoveries with all of us. Out of reverence for their quests, I have tried to visit some of the places that were crucial to their personal and artistic development.
I sat on the stone foundation of Thoreau’s tiny cabin next to Walden Pond and marveled at his 19th century journals. They are so full of wisdom that still resonates 150 years later. But my joy at being on that hallowed shoreline was tempered by my awareness that nowadays his message is but a muted rustling of leaves in a distant forest. His insistence on the need for humanity to stay connected to Nature and to be suspicious of the glories of Man is even more vital today than it was in his era.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
by Ray Jason
|Photo of AVENTURA by Tor Pinney|
The building of boats is one of the earliest chapters in the book of human history. Tools and fire and dugout canoes were all essential to the beginning stages of the voyage of humanity. And lazing about in the Archipelago of Bliss, keeps me directly connected to this heritage. Every time a weathered Indio sells me a fish from his cayuco, I am looking down at a hand-carved canoe whose design harkens back even further than the Pyramids.
This pleases me. For I believe that a philosopher’s task is to seek out that which is elemental and enduring; and discard that which is artificial and ephemeral. My job is to distinguish between events that are only important in the moment and those that are genuinely momentous.
But often this is an emotional burden. My last three essays, which examined the Social Engineering that almost invisibly controls our existence, left me saddened and depleted. So I have decided to let my senses and mind wander around my little ship, and rejoice in how splendid she is - both tangibly and symbolically.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
by Ray Jason
I spend a lot of time away from people – so that I can better understand people. But today I needed to surround myself with real people. A week of intense research on where Humanity is being herded has profoundly shaken me.
I’m sitting in my favorite café here in the Archipelago of Bliss, gazing out on the main street, which should be called Avenida Anomaly, since it is so detached from the modern world. It is delightfully out of synch because for every passing car there are 10 bicycles and 20 pedestrians. Across the street in the park, Moms entrust their children in the playground to their older brothers and sisters who welcome this responsibility. On the sidewalk an old man with a wheelbarrow full of coconuts slices them open with a machete and sells them to his lifelong friends. The entire scene is a testament to the philosophy of “live and let live.”
This is in stark contrast to those in the bejeweled dungeons of power who are colluding to hypnotize and enslave the common man. The term that best describes their hidden campaign of conquest is Social Engineering. In my two previous essays on this topic, I tried to distill down to one sentence the goal of those who are masterminding this cultural takeover. They seek greater and greater control by fewer and fewer people.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
by Ray Jason
There is only one town here in the Archipelago of Bliss, and although it is in a beautiful seaside location, it has avoided the curse of gentrification. You would never confuse it with a cutesy, sterile, tourist destination that beckons to the cruise ships. But even though it fails the “postcard perfect” test - it gets an A for Authenticity. And it would get an F from any Social Engineer.
In my previous essay, I discussed how those who are obsessed with ruling the world are attempting to steer and control the entire planet as though it was their personal Maserati. The term that I long ago coined for these alpha villains is The Malignant Overlords. I am delighted to report that their efforts to impose their Social Engineering on this little community have been an abysmal failure.
Here is some evidence that supports this claim. The people here are not addicted to television. Instead, they are out chatting and laughing with their neighbors on the streets and in the park. There are no suburbs, and there are certainly no massive highways since almost nobody owns a car. In fact, water taxis are the main form of transportation. And no one worships the god of consumerism here. You can’t buy a Rolex watch – excuse me, time piece – or a Gucci handbag here.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
by Ray Jason
I rowed ashore at twilight because I wanted my little gift to be more dramatic. My time in the islands was ending, and this little Indio family had made my weeks anchored off their simple homestead so exquisite, that I wanted to leave them a memento of my visit.
As I stepped out of my dinghy, the littlest child was her normal enthusiastic and inquisitive self. At four years old, the entire world just seemed to her to be one gigantic magical unfolding. Ah, if we adults could only retain that sense of enchantment.
I displayed the odd, pancake-shaped object that I had brought with me, and then started to blow it up like a balloon. Both the parents and the children were mystified. Once it was inflated, I held it in front of them ceremoniously and then with a flourish of my other hand I pressed a button that turned it into a light. The kids clapped and laughed and their mom and dad smiled. After presenting it to them, I explained that it was powered by a miniature solar panel that did not require electricity. They were delighted by this farewell offering which was both magical and practical.