Be discerning. 
Recognize the universe is in you. 
Let your experiences make you wise. 
Let the joy of living pervade your days. 
Enjoy your participation in living. 
Take pride in your opportunity to contribute. 
Know, with confidence and competence, that life is worth living. 
The universe is a place full of wonder . 
~ Joan Denoo 

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Joan, what did you do with the universe's indifference?

It's massive, you know.

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

Does the Universe exist without me?
There really is no way of knowing about it.
No matter how unrealistic it sounds,there is some credit to it.

Oh yes! Tom, that is the point! The universe exists whether or not I do. I have the privilege of being born, of being conscious, of having a conscience. They are born in me and I have nothing to do with creating them. What an opportunity to think and act and enjoy and create and all the other things of wonder that I can do. The universe does not care if I live or die, or if I am well or sick, or if I am free or live in leg iron or mind bindings.

The next reality is that you and I live in a social system that can support human individual rights or it can take those rights away from us. The universe cares not. I care and so do you.

Now, it is up to each Homo sapiens to take on that struggle, and struggle it is. Religion came into being as a device to control people, to manipulate them, to exploit them. Freedom is worth the struggle. White, Anglo-Saxon, protestant males have dominated to everyone's peril. Even white men live enslaved by the dogmatic domination of other W.A.S.P.s. Therefore, each one of us has to take on the struggle and give it our best shot.

Living in obedience to some delusion has lasted quite long enough, thank you very much. Human kind reveals that we need leaders, and leaders need followers. So, who has the power here? 

Joan, I live among people who, year after year, elect to leadership the candidate who promises to work the hardest. Several years ago I was asked to run. I replied "I'm not a workaholic."
For the workaholic, the leader-follower relationship here is a cruel Darwinian thing. The lucky workaholic merely burns out, which is not a happy experience. The unlucky workaholic has a heart attack or worse.
How do the followers reward their leaders? They give the unhappy wretches what healthy people get during their happier younger years.

Tom, I am spending a week with my daughter, her husband, their two daughters and their families. They live in the forest of NE WA state, off a country road, with houses hidden by trees of the forest. They have 17 acres with just enough clearing for their homes, machinery, animals and a spot for growing vegetables and fruits. They have chosen rural living as opposed to urban. There is a cost to that decision. The only fire protection is from a volunteer fire dept. So, all the adults are members of the volunter fire dept, the kids get involved in fund raising, and different activities to draw awareness to the need for more volunteers.

They all spend an incredible amount of time, Larry as a board member, Laura as secretary/treasurer, the girls and their mates as firefighters, the teenagers as junior trainees, and the little ones as participants for parades and such.

Living in the country, they experience the kinds of community that I did as a child. Everybody needs to participate, not all do, and those who do are so busy, they don't have time to gripe or complain.

Just down the road from them is a home that burned to the ground. Laura, Larry, the girls and their mates ran to the fire as quickly as they could and nothing could be done. When it was all over, they felt the grief of not being able to save a family structure and at the same time feeling strong, competent, and proud that they had left their nice warm beds to go fight that fire. There is something enobling in a person who gives their best, even if their best isn't good enough.

Some people, urban or rural, never have that experience, they wait for someone else to solve a problem.

Today, we were sitting on the south porch enjoying our morning coffee and had to endure the sound of the neighbor target practicing. The sounds were very annoying and we could hardly hear each other's conversation, when all of a sudden a bullet hit the house, my daughter ran to the east and at least two bullets went through the bushes and hit the dirt in front of her run. My son-in-law ran to the west and a bullet went by his head. I saw him flinch and he let out a shout. He was not hit, but the sound of the bullet going by his head startled him and he responded with reflexive dodge.

We gathered in the kitched, which had the most walls between us and the shooter. The dogs ran in with us and were shaking visibly. Laura called the sheriff and the neighbor, and Larry and Zac headed for the home of the shooter.

Larry, very calmly and firmly stated what we experienced, demanded they put the guns down. It turned out to be two friends of the owner, who was away to a soccer game with his children. 

The sheriff arived, as did the owner. The sheriff dug the bullet out of the side of the house, and did a match to one of the guns. Two grown men, shooting guns in the woods, endangering lives without care or concern. 

Life is raw in the country. It is close to the Earth and dangerous in ways that people can make them dangerous. Larry's quiet, firm, determined action was the kind of intervention that did not escalate the dangerous situation. Laura and Larry's decisiveness and working as a team brought the incident to an end, even as the law and prosecuting attorney will now take the case forward. 

The men will be held accountable to their endangering this family's life, my five great-grandchildren were witness to the assault and the ways the grown ups handled it, and I am sure the owner of the property and his family learned not to let friends use their place for target practice. The incredibly stupid man who shot the gun was weeping the last we heard. Tears are a small price to pay for the danger he caused. Local country law enforcement and court system tend to the needs of the community. At least in this case, the cops and courts are not bought officials. 

Should the wide world roll away
Leaving black terror
Limitless night,
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand
Would be to me essential
If thou and thy white arms were there
And the fall to doom a long way.

"Know then thy-self, presume not God to scan,

 The proper study of Mankind is Man."

Alexander Pope

(It's sort of related to the your universe.)

Life is an illusion and so is death
Projected by the confinement of physical perception
The tapestry of consciousness entails everything
The essence of existence is soaked in its reality
I have consciousness, I am consciousness 
I AM WHO I AM.

I did not choose to be born and one day I'll be gone
But this bit in between is fucking Awesome!

It became awesome only after I shook a lot of shit from my head and some more people shook more shit from it!!!

We know almost nothing about our massive universe really. What a thinking person does know is that the universe itself disproves creationism. If the religionists don't blow up our world trying to usher in "destiny" perhaps there will be a time that we know so much more about it. I won't be around at that time, and my time will go back to before I was born. The least I can say is that I was proud to have had my moment in time.

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