Today feels so long
And life feels so short:
New Year’s Day
Today feels so long
A thriller I’m reading (“Kill Decision”, by Daniel Suarez, about drones), has the trope of the team of people out to save the world, and the computer guy, the hacker extraordinaire, is a young hipster type. Isn’t it time to realize that it takes YEARS of computer hacking to arrive at a top level of performance? In my world, the very best programmers are older (like myself) and have a wide range of experience. The young ones are far more limited in experience and hence in skills.
I think my generation of computer programmers has had the advantage that we had years of seasoning before the Internet came along so we know what it runs on and how to make it do things. Furthermore we are far more skilled at the social engineering side of things.
Furthermore, the image of the hacker who can decrypt hard-drives or files in a matter of minutes, or bust through firewalls with a few click-clacks on the keyboard, is simply false.
The vast majority of black-hat hackers out there are using tools they didn’t write themselves and that they don’t understand.
So let’s realize that the young guy or girl on the team with the hipster clothes and the lack of social skills is probably getting coffee for the real experts. If he or she is smart, she’s watching and learning and waiting for her chance, but its not going to happen while the fate of the world is in the balance.
to this and that, there is another self more really us
than I. And the more you become aware of the unknown
self — if you become aware of it — the more you realize
that it is inseparably connected with everything else that
is. You are a function of this total galaxy, bounded by the
Milky Way, and this galaxy is a function of all other galaxies.
You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great
telescopes. You look and look, and one day you are going
to wake up and say, “Why, that’s me!” And in knowing that,
you know that you never die. You are the eternal thing that
comes and goes, that appears — now as John Jones, now
as Mary Smith, now as Betty Brown — and so it goes,
forever and ever and ever."
— Alan Watts
— Krishna Menon (Shri Atmananda)
to pretend he’s searching for something. I guess he basically pretends
something isn’t quite right. He’s not searching in his life, but he
pretends, otherwise he can’t write a song. So I guess there’s a beauty to
pretending. Something beautiful comes out of it like the song Tupelo Honey.
Chuck Hillig makes a big point of how we’re pretending to be separate in
order to enjoy the adventure of discovering non-separateness. Even Greg
points out that awareness isn’t a final understanding, so in a sense the
realization that there is only awareness is a pretending too."
— Jerry Katz, NonDualityHighlights comment, March 16th
— Sri Aurobindo, from The Life Divine, Book Two, Part two, Chapter 18
This story has always resonated with me. It is about the Kabbalah tradition that there are 36 people on the planet at all times who hold and harmonize the world. And these 36 are not necessarily famous and well-known, they are often obscure, such as the man who cleans out-houses in this story, astold by Timothy “Speed” Levitch in the film “The Cruise”:
‘I wrote John a letter about the lamed-vovniks from the ancient Kabbalah. In Hebrew, lamed-vovnik, I believe it means “36.” And essentially, it discusses how there are 36 human beings on the planet at all times — only 36 — who uphold and create the equilibrium for all of our sufferings. They take the melees and the maelstrom, persecutions and the disasters of the world onto their own shoulders — past, present and future — throughout their flesh, physical incarnated lives. And without these 36 people, the infrastructure of the world would fall apart, and there would be Armageddon, and perhaps the Final Judgment. But not a pretty judgment by any means. Final, but not pretty. Most of the vovniks do not know they are vovniks. They suffer in an incomprehensible hell. And they swim in an entire world full of humility without the knowledge of themselves and who they are, or their importance in the world.
And the vovnik Mordechai, who left the large family of the Levis to move to Meersburg on the rocky glaciers of Salacia in the 17th century, where the Baal Shem Tov had set up Cruising headquarters and instituted the beginnings of the Hasidim Hasidic religion. And the Baal Shem Tov, the enlightened rabbi, preaching the carnivorousness and the religiosity “Enjoy,” and the ecstasy of prayer. I mean, the Hasids are no longer going to sit with prayer books, you know, silently praying in darkened synagogues. They are going to jump around the room. They are going to scream and yell their love for God. They’re going to do cartwheels.
And Mordechai went there to help clean out outhouses, basically. He was a peasant living in the town. And derelicts, and bums, and geniuses, and aristocrats, and poets, and men of every kind of occupation and phylum were going to Meersburg on the rocky glaciers of Salacia just to have their own moments with the Baal Shem Tov’s enlightened rabbi. And Mordechai reverently stood in the same room with the Baal Shem Tov a few times as he went off to do his daily toil. Eventually they called him the dancer of God because when the Hasids would form for their reels of dance in honor to their ecstasy, their God, Mordechai would jump so high, and would dance with such an exuberance, the other Hasidics were embarrassed about him and for him. And he was exiled from The Dance. And so he appeased himself by dancing alone at night in the shed reserved for the sick and dying. And he would entertain them in the evenings alone.
Suddenly, the Geon of Kiev whispers to the Baal Shem Tov one day that there is a vovnik, a holy man. They have another term for it — “A man of total equilibrium,” a lamed-vovnik in town. And so they start searching for who this might be. They interview the derelicts. They interview all the peasants. They interview the handymen. They’re looking for the guys who hang out with farm animals, and anybody who might be mentally retarded, as many vovniks are mentally retarded. Suddenly they realize that the guy who cleans the outhouses disappears the next morning. Suddenly rumors spread about. They say to the Baal Shem Tov, “He dances for the sick at night alone. He cleaned the outhouses conscientiously.” And the Baal Shem Tov wooed them away, pushed them away, and was crying. And there was silence. And the Baal Shem Tov said simply, “That one was healthy among the sick and I did not see him.”’
— ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj