Saturday – walk along the foreshore to Hamuri Bluff

Saturday eve now.

Had a day out, south to Hamuri Bluff, in amongst fossils along the beach today. Saw many live seals, dolphins, sea birds, a newborn seal pup, thousands of amonite fossils, some pleiseosaur bones, lots of sea life – great day!

Ailsa had a bad fall on the way back, and may have broken her tail bone – very tender if not broken.

Huia is completely worn out – just stretched out on the floor unmoving.

Had a good earthquake here this morning, just before I left – only a 4.0, but centered only about 7 km to the east, and only 5km deep – so was a very short sharp shock, that rattled all the cutlery.

Below is the week’s postings:

Question of the Day January 30, 2011

How do you overcome that which prevents you from taking risks?

By sheer bloody minded force of will.

[followed by]

Reply to Ian on the Cigarette Blog

Hi Ian

Prior to getting the diagnosis of metastasized stage 4 melanoma, I had about a dozen Basal Cell Carcinomas, and a couple of SCCs and two melanomas removed over a 20 year period. None of them worried me particularly.

It took someone sitting two feet in front of me telling me that there was nothing known to medical science that could significantly alter the probability of my death – which he gave as a 50% chance of seeing 5 months, and a 2% chance of seeing 2 years.
Right now it is 9 months on, and I seem to be free of all direct evidence of cancer.

Actually getting, that there was a very small chance of me seeing my daughter reach 16, let alone 21, was not easy. She had her 15th birthday a couple of weeks ago.
Watching the effect of this on her, and on my son, and my wife, and family and friends – has not been easy in one sense, and has been amazing in another, in the depth of caring and regard that so many people hold for me – with all my faults, foibles, ideosyncracies and inconsistencies – has been amazingly moving and supportive, and as much as anything else has given me the strength to do what I have done.

Being between the daily needs to feed and care for my family, and wanting to follow my dream, and then just simply to survive !!!!

Interesting times!

Question of the Day January 31, 2011 “SciencevsMysticism”

If you are a psychic or someone who relies on the stars for guidance, (like the Jovians) what effect does the recent revelation of the Ophiuchus horoscope change have when science and mysticism appear to be in conflict?

We all have an intuitive ability, and ability to know stuff, without knowing how or why (as Malcolm Gladwell demonstrates in his book “Blink” {though he has no idea of what powers it}).

We also all like to make up explanations, and so long as they seem to fit, we are usually not too worried about rigorous tests (like the magic smoke theory of computer operation – which can be demonstrated quite easily – computers run on magic smoke – when the smoke escapes, they stop working – simple really, and so obvious, except utterly wrong).

So it is with horoscopes.

We are all so complex, and all of us live in a reality that is so complex, that we each only get to experience a very small part of it consciously. A part of our brain called the RAS directs our attention to things. We notice what we expect (at some level) to see.

Thus we can all see the predictions come true, if we look for them. It is all a matter of “faith” in a sense, and it is “real” in another experiential sense, and in a more objective sense, it is illusion.

We are all deeply connected on many levels, and none of those levels corresponds in any significant way to the predictions or mechanisms of horoscopes – I have demonstrated that to my standard of beyond all reasonable doubt, many times, by many tests.

Human belief, the human brain and mind, are extremely powerful, as is the power of suggestion in directing our attention (just watch any hypnotist at work (I have studied with one of the best in NZ and hold a diploma in self hypnosis)).

Again I suggest to everyone that they learn about testing, and the sorts of experimental errors that human beings are easily susceptible to, then test things for themselves, don’t take my word, nor anyone else’s for it – do your own testing.


You said:
You know, I am an atheist, too. The “God” people “believe” in I don’t believe in, or that such a God exists. That makes me an atheist. My ministry does not involve the God that atheists reject. Thought you might be interested to know that about me!

I had suspected that about you. 😉
Like most of the priest friends I have had over the years – they were what I consider atheists.
Most of the Jesuits I have met have been what I consider atheists.
I tend to call most such more mystic humanists rather than theists, and they usually come from theist traditions. I feel great empathy towards them.

Seems to be 2 aspects to most people’s idea of God.

In so far as people ascribe their purpose to something outside themselves, and say that this is God’s purpose for them, and they see it in signs external to themselves (some written word, or some preacher, or some other aspect of reality) it seems to be very dangerous, as it is very easy for that to be manipulated for political or economic purposes.

In so far as God is seen as something unknowable and mysterious, something beyond knowing and an intensely personal and mystic experience; then it seems to me consistent with a modern scientific understanding of ourselves and our reality.

In my scientific understanding, it seems that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know; and the less certain I become about anything.

It seems that this may in fact be an infinite process.

It seems that our models of understanding and prediction break down at their limits.
The smaller (or larger) we look, we find that our models and laws of understanding and prediction break down, and we need to create newer stranger models, which have our older understanding as a special case of something more general, and yet there still remains a degree of unpredictability at the new margins.

This uncertainty at the margins seems to be entirely consistent with the more mystic experience of God being beyond human comprehension.

In another aspect, the personal subjective experience of being that we have, seems to be just the tip of the mental “iceberg”, yet it is an even smaller tip than that of an iceberg, probably less than 1% (with an iceberg showing about 10% of its mass above the surface).

It seems that for us as humans, only about 1% of what we are actually surfaces in the form of conscious experience, and yet all the other 99% is there, and is an essential part of who and what we are.

It seems to have two major classes of components to it:
the habitual (based around our neural networks, with a cultural history going back over hundreds of thousands of years with all its layers and levels of complexity and relatedness); and
the intuitive (based around a side effect of the way we store and retrieve information as interference patterns {“holographic recall”}, that is personal and private and present since our brains started functioning a few months before birth, and seems capable of infinite recursion and depth – and via its holographic nature is connected to all our perceptions and via them to all reality).

In the sense that people give this intense personal level of unconscious knowing the name God, and they influence it through prayer, meditation or contemplation; I can fully understand and align with the approach.

In so far as people follow the words and actions of others, over their own inner knowing (the dogma of religion), I see so many dangers to society; so much opportunity for the unscrupulous to exploit the majority for their own short term gain, and the long term detriment of the group.

Question of the Day February 1, 2011 “Self-esteem”

Do you need worldly and/or material things to give you self-esteem?


And I do find them useful, both in terms of feelings of security and in practical ways, like giving me shelter (house, clothing), space for growing food (section), tools to interact with others a long way off (phones, computers, broadband).
Also interests – like transport (bicycle, 4WD, car, canoe, boat, dinghy, …..).

[followed by]

Very interesting OM

A couple of years ago, with Ailsa entering menopause when our relationship was at its lowest ebb, and Ailsa told me she was leaving me, and I had to come to terms with leaving our home, and most of my possessions, it was a very interesting feeling. Not nice at all, and interesting.
I accepted leaving everything I had worked for, and starting again with nothing (at 52).
There was all sorts of different emotional stuff going on, and I was also clear about the self esteem side, that it really didn’t have anything to do with possessions directly. I got really clear that my self esteem was definitely wrapped up in my ability to generate possessions, but not necessarily in retaining them.

I got to visualise myself living an existence without any more property than I could wear, and there was a real sense of freedom in that – no more mowing lawns, pruning trees, tending garden, fixing house, fixing plumbing, walking dogs, feeding cat, ……

In all my alternate planning scenarios, the one thing I had not made any plans for, was the breakup of my marriage to Ailsa.
Fortunately, the breakup was over within two days, and it was a very interesting experience, on many different levels.

It really did give me the opportunity to examine exactly how much of my self esteem was attached to possessions – and it was very little.
Almost all of it seems to come from a sense of integrity, which is great in one sense, and in another, mostly what I get to see is where my integrity is “out”.

[followed by]

You are not wrong about illusions OM.

It seems we all have so many of them, so many different types and levels of them.

All of our perception of “reality” is illusion in a sense, yet in another sense, it is real enough.
It’s like the flat earth thing, all our illusions have a sort of “fit for purpose” quality about them, that breaks down if we push them too hard.

In a sense, all of our simple binary distinctions are illusory with respect to reality, which includes the idea of “true and false” in so far as they relate to reality.

It seems that a probability based view has far greater utility. 😉

[followed by]

Speaking from personal experience – I agree with OM.

Losing everything, family, home, toys, looking good, community respect; felt really bad – really really bad!!!

There was an intense feeling of failure, in the reality of failing to meet the needs of one’s family, and failing to meet the expectations of culture and society. And yet throughout, I retained a fundamental belief in my own worth.

I guess I have read enough history to know that many who eventually know great success, have experienced great failure along the path.

I’d say feeling like shit covers it fairly well.

[followed by]

Hi Star

I disagree that “we are defined by everything around us”.
Certainly we are influenced by everything around us, in many different ways.
Certainly our initial emergence as a self aware entity, has a lot to do with the specific circumstances of our lives.
And it is possible to nurture and grow levels of “awareness” and “context” which give us an anchor internally, and allow us great degrees of freedom from many of the external influences around us. As one of Brian Johnson’s little mantras goes “I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others.” {repeat at least 10,000 times, until it becomes a habit}.

So in one sense, in the sense of the initial formation of awareness, yes our initial self esteem has very strong links to culture and environment, and the further we push our inner development, the less strong those links become (as we create more internal links and support structures within our own perceptions, abstractions and intuitions), until there is essentially an independence; in the sense that even the greatest of external influences cannot diminish our self esteem by more than about 10%.

Certainly the evidence seems overwhelming that without a world to experience in, we would have no existence – that is almost tautological – in that our ability to create an inner world relies on us having a physical existence – in the same sense that sophisticated computer programs require computers with power to do their magic.

[followed by]

It seems to me that there is a lot of truth in what you say Star.
There are lots of mechanisms of mind that cut in at levels that can totally isolate our highest awareness from the ability to act.

About 8 years we ago were down at Omarama, and I was getting a bit of gliding in with the Christchurch club, and was acting as wing man for a launch. The job of wing man is to hold the wing of the glider level, as the tow plane accelerates, and let go when you can no longer keep up running. On this launch, I was at full speed and focused on the aircraft, and didn’t notice a rabbit hole, which my right foot suddenly went into and got stuck.

The pain, as the full weight of my 6’2″ frame running at full speed pivoted on my ankle, came to a halt and hit the ground, was excruciating, and my awareness sort of got locked off in a “cupboard of my mind”, and left the body to deal with the pain on automatic. My body reacted like a wild animal had it, and was thrashing around trying to escape the pain. I was aware of the thrashing, but seemed unable to do anything about it – it sort of felt safe and comfortable being isolated as I was from the direct impact of the pain. One of the other guys (Tony) came over and sat on me, to stop the thrashing, and I was able to “let myself out of the cupboard” and regain control. It was a very weird experience, it caught me completely by surprise.

I have also had many experiences of being in very high stress situations, fire, accident, etc, where my focus has been so narrowed by the response of the sympathetic nervous system, that I was not able to see or consider options other than the one I was following.
It seems to me that the key is in being aware of the context, changing the context at the top level to remove the interpretation of danger that results in stress, and thereby keeping one’s options open. Easy to say – often not at all easy to do.

Question of the Day February 2, 2011 “Bouncing out of bed”

Some people seem to be able to just bounce up out of bed first thing in the morning with an incurable irritating enthusiasm to embrace the new day. Is this rational behaviour? Do you suffer at the hands of such a person?

I am both married to such a person, and am often such a person myself.

To us it seems perfectly rational behaviour.

When you have had as many near death experiences, dealt with many sorts of depression and anxiety, and come out to experience amazing things beyond, as we have (both separately and together) – then every day is just such an amazing opportunity, a grand leap into the unknown.

Knowing that our brains distinguish that which we look for, we both know that there is plenty of material “out there in reality” to interpret as either positive or negative. Looking for the positive doesn’t change reality, but it certainly changes what we notice in reality, and how we feel about our situation in reality as a result.

This life as a human being is such an amazing experience of possibility. It is so sensitive to the context of interpretation that we bring to it.

Question of the Day February 3, 2011 “Angels”

Have you ever had an experience which put any Beings like “angels” into your reality?

Only under the influence of psychedelic drugs (so not really in “reality” – I was aware of the illusion), and not for many decades.

While I have had many experiences of hearing voices and seeing things, I have interpreted them as my brain providing me with information, rather than any sort of external “being”.

Question of the Day February 4, 2011 “What Kind of Person”

What kind of person would you say you are if you had to sum it up in just one word?


[followed by]

I like how you guys include me:

Thanks for the good laugh OM

Question of the Day February 5, 2011 “Organ Donations”

What are your views on organ donation?

I’ve had my drivers license registered as an organ donor since I was 15.
Any bits anyone wants when I’m finished with them they are welcome to.
Since getting melanoma, I think no one will be interested in any bits from me now.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to Saturday – walk along the foreshore to Hamuri Bluff

  1. Oh my gosh, Ailsa has a potentially bruised and/or broken tailbone? That’s got to be excruciating! Please let her know that I’m “zipping her in the pod” (aka distance reiki).

    And an earthquake to boot! You two certainly know how to push the envelope.

    As always, I enjoyed reading the conversation thread – thank you for pulling it together in one place.

    – Laurie


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