A Great Mystery

Flower_and_SnowI’ve been contemplating the mystery of life, and how very lucky we are to experience it. This is a good thing to do as winter wanes and spring has yet to bloom across the landscape.

We do not know how frequently life develops; we know only that planets like our own seem to be quite unusual. In all likelihood, life sprouts elsewhere, but probably those upswellings are relatively infrequent, and the beings who arise from them may be very different from ourselves. Continue reading

Dreaming an Alternative to Blame

Awaiting_SpringIt is a lovely, chilly day, one of those almost perfect late winter days filled with sun and cloud, a day when one can see a long way.

I’ve been having conversations with folks recently about responsibility and blame. Mostly these discussions happen around the painful moments in people’s lives. In our culture, the prevailing belief is we are always and totally responsible for what happens to us. Given that, I guess I should not be surprised when others tell me they know the problem lies with them, or when I find myself saying such things about my own experiences.

The opposing view, just as much a part of the culture although less often acknowledged, is that everything happens pretty much by chance, or conversely, is completely predetermined, and there is not much we can do to affect the trajectory of our lives. One expression of this view was the long-held belief that genes were fate. Of course, genes do play a crucial role in our lives, yet this role turns out to be much more fluid and plastic than first thought. Life experiences, lifestyles, and learning all contribute to how genes are expressed; we are not automatons! Continue reading