Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?

Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?
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Want to Improve Your Creative Writing?

Seeking to improve your creative writing?

Are you looking to improve your ability to write creatively? Perhaps the creativity is no problem but you would like to improve the quality of your writing. There is more than one way to do this.

If you prefer to meet with people in person and can, you can try writer’s groups and semi public forums. The most important features of such groups, which are also often free or very inexpensive, is that a person can get feedback and some social contact.

The other main way for amateurs to work at improving their craft is to take classes. This can be done in person or you can use online creative writing courses. If English is not your native language there may be special ESL (English as a Second Language) courses that you can use. You may have to turn to more community education in order to be able get the level and type of instructional assistance that you need.

There are also ways to work at improving your creative writing skills when ‘by yourself’ and to differing degrees of interactivity.

As mentioned above, there are online creative writing courses. There are also online writer’s groups. OpenSim and Skype calls are two examples of how groups can meet in real time. Twitter runs LitChat and SciFi Chat at set times. There are limits to those but they are there.

Reading is actually one great way to work on one’s creative writing, but one has to use a bit of caution regarding what one takes in. Popularity, and excellence bring up the issue of what is literature and how does literature differ from and figure into creative writing in general, especially popular writing that sells well.

Another way to work on improving one’s creative writing is to just write and then let it sit. After it sits for a bit, read it again. In many cases upon re-reading one will discover either that one is happy with it or that there are numerous obvious correctible mistakes.

Finally, and this is especially applicable for those who are or who would like to turn pro, a great way to get feedback about your writing is to submit it to publications. It may be best to start with a publication that you have been a consumer of – the newspaper you’ve been reading for years. They will let you know if they will publish it or not.

 

Mother – Feeling On Your Own?

Emotions of Motherhood

There are many emotions associated with motherhood, in all stages. However, this is directed towards those women just getting started at being a mother. There is the baby, or the twins of course and there is you.

Where did everybody go?

What happens to you? Due to the lifestyle changes mentioned elsewhere in related articles, for some mothers, the biggest difficulties are going without work and feeling as if their friends vanish – or worse, like the new mother is now treated as if she does not exist. It can be very emotionally painful despite great joy over being a mother and even with the loving support of relatives – including a husband.

This problem is not insurmountable, but it can be a hum dinger when not psychologically prepared. If you go without work, then all the social relationships that went with it, vanish. You, the new mother, won’t miss any of the people who you didn’t like very much but will notice the difference. Without your own pay, learning to share money with your husband – if you hadn’t done it already, becomes vitally important to your and your baby’s survival. Kudos to you if you have wisely and sensibly married well and have an awesome personal life and are not running into this problem.

The truth is that a lot of women do, and the fact is, that it happened to me as well. I had not predicted it and did not know how to handle it. It was not that bad, but if I can help you as you adjust to being a mother, then I will be glad I wrote this.

Other Mothers

A lot of people drop out of your life once you become a mother. It may feel and be unfair. It might not trouble you half the time but then when you have a free afternoon and discover that you can’t afford to go anywhere unless your husband pays for you – you may feel stuck. Maybe you used to have money from your job. Maybe you do have money because you worked that out with your husband but then none of your former friends are available.

It is true, that for most new mothers, you have to find at least some other new mothers to socialize with.

Getting Out of the House

It is possible that you might work out a way to have a part time job that gets you out of the house while you spend most of the time with your baby. Mother and baby and mother and toddler groups abound – especially if you have the good fortune of living in the city, or in the residential part of the city or have a car and gas money.

Your New Life

Despite the challenge, most likely with time, you will adjust to being a mother. Some women find this to be so easy they don’t need to read this article. Others really need to read this article to know they are not alone in how they really feel even if and when overjoyed rather than sad about being a new mother.

For many women, it does involve just accepting that a lot of people won’t include you much for some years. You will probably be socially pressured to befriend women with a baby the same age as yours. It can be disturbing but often it works very well because you can talk about everything that matters while that is really how it is. I had one good friend who had a baby my age when I did and it helped a lot. Obviously, most women don’t automatically feel like best friends just because another woman has a baby the same age, but it can really work.

You and the baby can have a wonderful and rewarding relationship. The reality may not always live up to your own ideals about babies and mothers. A good family life can become a wonderful bastion of support and love. Feelings of being overwhelmed, as long as they do not occur too often are also normal.

You may feel very much like you are still you. For me, personally, retaining my sense of identity with my prematernal self was a big deal. I have met other women who told me their identity changed but they were happy with it that way. So, maybe you will feel like a whole new person – the flower blossoms on the bush and there is little resemblance to the previous stage of life.

You can learn to find ways to socialize, but that is easier if you live where there are people and it may help a lot if you have money, but there are ways to do it even when you don’t.

Motherhood is a ‘rest of life’ relationship, at least in most cases. Your baby will only be a baby for a year. You can remind yourself to enjoy what you love about it and fear not, your baby will outgrow whatever you don’t like about it. In all my life I have heard of only 1 exception to that; there was one girl who lived in the baby stage of development for 21 years. Don’t worry, that won’t happen to you.

Take heart, once you get the hang of being a mother, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way ever again, and you will be able to work and have friends and get your way at least some of the time even as you raise your baby. Be responsible and don’t give up.

Urban Adventure w Magical Realism

 

Book Excerpt:  The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

Chapter 1: Help When You Need It

Welcome to the Circle City; crossroads of the Midwest. A major goal was to stop being a place that New Yorkers laughed at. Finally this had happened. The new Mayor was Jason Boggs. He was the city‟s record youngest municipal leader at the ripe old age of 32.

Mayor Boggs had found the debriefings he received from the local law enforcement agencies to be sobering at best and rather disheartening. He told himself in the office after hearing over an hour about some of the local semi-organized crime, “It‟ a good thing I was born cynical or I would be incredibly depressed after that.”

Jason had managed to get elected because he was an innovative leader with a combination of intense drive, profound kind heartedness, was very clever and able to handle subtlety.

A local law enforcement leader had just informed him that he suspected that they had a cocaine dealer in the area who was moving goods at the international level and doing possibly up to a billion dollars of business in a year.

The worst part about cocaine traffickers, was that once they „went big‟ they tended to have more firearms than some of the smaller time dealers, and they tended to be slick, and they often had a lot of „respectable‟ customers.

Jason thought about it. Yuppies living in his own city‟s cherished condominiums dressing professionally and working decent jobs were equally or more liable to be supporting this villain than the blue collar working class. The 3 other thing about cocaine is that like credit cards, most poor people cannot afford it.

He determined that because of all this, he wanted to get rid of the villain as quietly and subtly as the customers made the most of the available drugs.

He had a long think in his office and then played 4 hours of video games in a row at home that night before finally falling into a fitful slumber. He muttered as he tossed and turned, “get rid of them”…”don‟t make a scene”…”no, it‟s not okay actually”…”the police”…”voters”…eventually he drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, Jason Boggs woke up and wrote briefly in a notebook that he kept by his bed. Then he went through the normal waking and dressing routines and set out to help his fair city once again. He breathed cheerfully and deeply into the fresh morning air because, dear readers, he had a plan to tackle this beast of a local problem.

He called around to people who, well, it‟s better if you don‟t even know Reader. That‟s how secret the information is. They responded according to what they knew. It took Jason hours and well over thirty phone calls to start to find the kind of information that he really needed. After that, he had to schedule in some meetings and attend to less volatile local matters such as the budget, upcoming taxes and how to improve the fitness level of public school students during school hours. 4

Someone who works „back stage‟ in the local government, gave the Mayor one super important number. This was the magic number to a lone lawyer: a man named Thomas Smith. He was your basic „white guy wasp‟ being predominant ly Americanized ethnic Englishman. He was in his 30‟s. He was very powerful. Financially stable, sharp as a brand new kitchen knife, and imbued with esoteric knowledge and wisdom, Thomas was so much more than just an attorney. He was on a spiritual path that leads men into wizardry, even in the New Millenium.

The next batch of people you meet Reader will be another part of this whole story.

* * *

Skilleas Fog was his Internet name, but he had come up with it playing darts in a pub with people from the Society of Creative Anachronisms. He had a very unusual working life. The main reason for this was that Skilleas liked to fight and he was very good at it. However, he was also often hard pressed to take orders constantly from anyone, but he wasn‟t really sociopathic so much as he was simply highly eccentric.

Skilleas had a wide variety of ways of earning money fighting. He was very gifted in this area. He had managed to make some money wrestling, and a little prize fighting cash as a boxer; he had even managed to come by more than enough to put a down payment on a house by cage fighting.

This is incredibly rare, that Skilleas could do so well at so many different forms of combat. He also knew his way around fencing, and shooting. He could bow hunt quite well and he was a keen shot with a hand gun. He had learned to 5

hunt as a boy and he served eight years in the military. They had hoped he would stay in the Marines but he left because he got into too much trouble. He would simply shrug and admit: “They‟re too strict. That‟s all it is. I can‟t handle that kind of environment.” Skilleas had considered law enforcement, but he rejected the idea based on the same problems: consistently complying to higher ups was abnormal for him and he felt it was too restrictive.

Well, perhaps you can tell by now that he‟s not exactly a „cop hater‟ type of fellow. Since this is true, and because he had such an intensely independent nature, Skilleas also tried his hand at bounty hunting. Like many of his other successes, he didn‟t do it a lot.

By that I mean, while a rock solid career professional wrestler would train and win for decades, Skilleas would train for two years, win some money, but then often get restless and do something else. This lifestyle caused him to have a breadth of talents but at times prevented him from getting very far with any one thing. Like his other efforts, the bounty hunting went alright. The trouble with that was that he had to learn to sleuth or find good detectives to work with. One of the good parts was that his fighting skills came in very handy. Another downside was the length of time he had to put in before he could get paid.

Skilleas had a few pet favorites that he felt awkward about when he dealt with other people. One of these was that he preferred hand to hand combat over armed even when it led to hospitalization or death. Most people in his generation aren‟t like that. 6

Another little tidbit was that he knife hunted, not „knife fighting‟ in some gang, but wild game hunting with only a knife as a weapon. He believed that hunting was intended to be challenging and so as a grown man he hunted animals the same way that he acquired work, in a noteworthy, successful and peculiar manner.

No one knew, he often felt, how much wisdom he had come into by doing „wild things‟ such as hunting an adult raccoon without weapons. Very few people he believed would understand or accept why he felt so gratified that he had managed to hunt and kill white tailed buck during deer season with no weapons. He ate these animals and kept their fur. He was very old fashioned in that respect.

When hunters would gather at a place during the season with their rifles and their tree stands they would tell each other how they had done. Most of them agreed that Skilleas was not much of a hunter as he would tell them truthfully at the end of the season, “I only got one with only 6 points” but would never mention that he had in fact done it either with no weapons at all or in one instance a rope trap, and in another case, a knife. Nature, he thought, has an amazing power to balance all forces. When he did it that way, he could kill enough that, with curing or refrigeration he had enough meat to last him the rest of the year, but that was only because he was a childless man.

Despite these noteworthy peculiarities, Skilleas managed to do alright socially. He was actually very kind and obviously had an intensity about fairness 7

that often seems in society to have gone quietly extinct. He was moderately handsome, very graceful and charming but not much of a talker.

It was not terribly rare for him to sulk every now and then about this. Bar maids would occasionally address this issue with him. “I know, I know,” he might grumble when a woman went off with another man.

The bar maid would look quizzically at him, “I honestly think she was more attracted to you.”

I know, but did you hear that guy?” Skilleas would pout, “He‟s kissed the Blarney Stone, he has, whereas I haven‟t. I can‟t tell you how often that happens.”

One day, Skilleas received a telephone call from someone who really was one of his friends. The man was a very strange fellow also. If you have read old comic books, then think Dr. Strange. The man calling was a genuinely good man, but he was also decidedly „different‟ in that he was a long practicing modern day magician. He had a proverbial bug up his you-know-what regarding the truth that he was not what he called „a stage illusionist‟ but rather an actual wielder of the real thing.

This other man‟s name was Thomas; Thomas was an attorney. Skilleas had no idea how Thomas could like books so much or computers for that matter. However, this man Thomas was also rare. He had a shrewdness that, like his mind, was incredibly sharp. Yet he was a gentle man, who was hard pressed to arm wrestle, let alone even contemplate something brutish such as wrestling or 8

American football. Nevertheless there was something ferocious to his manner, and maybe that‟s why he was able to succeed as a lawyer all by himself.

Thomas was not evil, but there were times in his life when he had been confused about this. He was born a Roman Catholic and he liked Church reasonably well except that by the time he was ten years old he had figured out that most other people were, relatively speaking, idiots when compared to him. As it happened, this was true. Thomas was a genius and there was little point in pretending he wasn‟t. Due to this, he learned early enough that he might earn a living more by his wits than anything else.

He had a funny temper to him, and through it he had grown towards what some definitely called „evil‟. At some stage in his childhood he had realized that he could hurt people by focusing his energy and directing it. Now this is pretty normal, whether you use fists or simply harsh words, or treachery. However, none of that was how Thomas did it. He had sent someone to the hospital by using the raw power of his mind and an angry malicious intention once when he was fifteen. That scared him so badly that he had been unsure as to what to do about his „personal weirdness‟ for some time.

Also while a youth, Thomas had suffered from two other notably bizarre types of experiences. One of these was that he would occasionally look at people and just „see‟ with his mind‟s eye, what was going to transpire in their lives. He had only been about eight years old the first time that it happened, but it just didn‟t go away. So, when he was seventeen he confessed to the Father through the grate that, “he had the sight.” He wasn‟t comfortable about it, since it had so 9

often been associated with the Devil, with whom he did not wish to be acquainted. The other was that ghosts would appear to him out of nowhere and tell him things. Now, this was not so easy to learn to take well. In some ways it had been easy, because at first he had just been a boy. One of the strengths of childhood is the open mind without fear. So, okay, ghosts would show up in his bedroom at night or when he was camping with his scout troop or with his parents. That wasn‟t really bothersome, but it had taken many times for such entities to earn his trust so that he might learn certain skills. You must understand how much Thomas‟s reasonably happy Catholicism helped him to get through these kinds of things. He would confess all of this stuff at church, which helped him to work with a professional cleric to weed out the good ghosts from any demons and to snuff out any evil before it got even a chance with Thomas.

Those were rough times for the sensitive, slender youth. He did his best to lead as normal a life as possible for a very clever modern man. He considered himself very lucky that he lived in the era of „gifted schools‟ and public education and the mass media. He didn‟t have to live in constant fear of being taken down by brute force, and he was actually thankful for this. He would have been very popular except that he was a conscientious student and that he was even more hypersensitive about having the „sight‟ as the Irish call it, than he was about sexuality. People liked him, but he felt so easily that those others wouldn‟t really understand him and a bit too often he was right. He liked other people but tended to emit an air of arrogance produced by a very heartfelt sense of superiority. He was very kind and compassionate by nature and through religious and social 10

training so even the hard edge of his condescension was tempered by these other advantageous qualities.

Once he was a young grown man, Thomas delved into religious and occult studies while an undergraduate, but he loved the sciences to and daydreamed about being a true renaissance man, able to have high levels of knowledge in all the important matters in life. Still steady in his religious practices, he began to move out beyond the limitations placed upon him by his clergy Father and took up the challenge of what he had learned to call his magickal will, and what he also had learned were known as „spells‟. It was once into his twenties that he had begun to really come to terms with why no one „messed with him‟ in general but on those rare occasions when someone did he often would get extremely riled up but not physically violent and within twenty-four hours something undeniably deleterious would befall whomever had upset him in the first place. Of course this made anger management a serious matter with a whole different dimension to it. The whole thing made him feel a bit odd on an all too frequent basis and it was possibly because of that feeling of being distinctively peculiar that he had somehow just „hit it off‟ right away with the very different Skilleas Fog.

Thomas was quite a good attorney, and he enjoyed making connections with people who often intimidated the general public such as politicians. Through his work, after years of law school, he had made friends with several people in the Mayor‟s Office and had become known as a bit of pinch-hitter in certain touchy situations. 11

In fact, over a dozen years or so, matters grew most unusual indeed, but to tell it all would take far too long. Suffice it to say, that Thomas developed a well deserved reputation of being one man who could help to clear up troubles that went far beyond the kind of „touchy situations‟ that he had initially handled.

If you asked him how, he would readily admit that there was more to it than just his Church Fathers, though he maintained a high level of intimacy with his

…..Buy Now: The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

 

 

How To Use A Ghostwriter – For Your Business

How To Use A Ghostwriter – For Your Business

How to use a Ghostwriter  -  For Your Business

Your Need

You have a business. It may be online, or brick-n-mortar or both. You have communications that you need written up. Now and then you need some help. Maybe you need help regularly but not enough to provide a full time job to someone. You want to outsource but would like to establish a relationship with whoever helps you meet your writing needs.

You can hire the work out to a writer. Many freelance writers are willing to work as ghostwriters. In these cases, a ghostwriter is not so much a specialist as someone who will simply not have their own name on the finished piece.

You can find these people online or by networking with people who you know on or offline. Ghostwriter Needed is the website of Miriam Pia, who works as both a ghostwriter and author.

Every writer has their limitations. Miriam Pia is not willing to just do your university doctoral thesis for pay. Miriam is not able to write a medical book for a physician without a lot of research and help from the doctor or nurses because she is not a trained medical professional.

Miriam Pia is excellent for books, and for articles. She has written reports and has done some academic writing. She has written online curriculum. she has written for adults and for children but has more experience writing for adults.

Research projects are acceptable, but the less the area is one of experience, the more research is needed. Fees are commensurate with the size and scope of the project and the amount of research involved.

Editing and proof reading services are also available.

Deadlines

Deadlines and schedules need to be discussed during negotiations. If Miriam is not otherwise busy, it is often feasible to get 1000 words or fewer turned around in 24 hours from when the deal is made. Entire books require 1 full year when the author is not too busy.

Rates

Rates are dependent upon negotiation. Miriam prefers $0.20/word or better, but has worked for less and would rather work and get paid than get nothing from lack of better paying clients. Flat rates are possible. For example: $50 per article, $15K for a draft of a book.

Contact

Please contact Miriam Pia at the Contact page to make your deal, and meet your business’s writing needs.

You – Invisible You

‘Shout Out’

I thank you all for having bothered to meet me via the blog, and for engaging with me in any friendly manner.  

‘Trying’

Despite having heard the phrase ‘Do or do not, but do not try’ I believe more in the little engine that could:  ‘I think I can; I think I can’, and so I try and meet with both failures and successes.  This blog post is actually like this because I tried to ’email followers’ all at once but failed to.  However, since you may see this, here is my email to you.

Weird feelings

Recently my posts have been more professional in tone and so this one feels more like an email as it is rather emotional by comparison.  If you would subscribe or comment on the posts and do whatever you have learned to do, to line us up better for future communications I will be glad.

My own preference is to reach all of you at once and new people on some occasions but to also be able to interact more privately – in small groups or as individuals.  I assume you are all sort of the same but of course we are also each unique.

 

The image selected above

I am a fan of comic book art and anime styles but mainly only as a spectator.  I wanted to acknowledge that suddenly this morning you all seem like heroic champions to me for having connected with me.  I did want to, but for some reason unrealistic impressions and images abound, symbolized by a group of my favorite comic book heroes.  I am a typical woman in that I was hardly even into comics compared to a lot of the boys but for a female person I was pretty into them.

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Philosophy & Gender

Does philosophy have a gender?

Interestingly enough, this depends on what one believes about knowledge.  Throughout history, many in the field felt that abstract reasoning and logic had no relationship with gender.  Truths could be revealed and everyone who used the correct methods and the correct information would get correct answers.

This way of looking at it made it both better and worse for women because it meant that learning philosophy written by men would not be a waste of women’s timeee but it also meant that women’s ways of thinking and doing things were not considered to have anything of exceptional or particular philosophical value.  This meant that any female who received the training and used her mind correctly would be reliably able to do philosophy and it also meant that if she noticed any kind of ‘gender bias’ in the field she could be accused of having just imagined it or of suffering from some flaw or fault – possibly due to her gender.

Over thousands of years, women have now and then at least been able to contribute to the field, often by teaching or assisting.  In many nations there were major setbacks and lots of confusion regarding what information women had and what they (we) did with it and what men knew and how they handled that information.

In many cultures religion and philosophy were inseparable for centuries, including in Europe due to censorship and the religions of the governments in which work was done.

By the end of the 20th century, women and men worked together well enough that women came up with new books and articles outlining the most noteworthy philosophically active women of Europe and North America.  While it was intimidating that it was harder to find as many brilliant female philosophers as men it was also encouraging that there were women who managed to do something that has survived to this day.

Cultures in which the female people received better education and opportunities show the greatest rise in female activity within the field of higher quality.  In the 20th century the prominent female philosopheresses (British English / old fashioned English) were:  Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Carol Gilligan, Luce Irigaray and Ayn Rand.  The first was a Jewish woman when there was drama about that in Eruope, 2 were French and 2 were Americans.  Ayn Rand was a rich conservative who worked more outside of academia whereas Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir were the most ‘respectable within academic circles’ during their lives.

Does it matter?

Simone and Luce – French women, did at least some writing in philosophy specifically about women and gender.  They broke one of the sad molds from the male philosophers of being insulting about women at best.  Some of it was outright hostility and some of it was nothing more than male environments in which men are right to tell each other to not be women instead of men.

There were relationships between class, and civil rights conditions in time and place that had an intimate bearing on who was able to do what.  In the case of women, better conditions did tend to yield better results.  The ability to do extraordinarily well in philosophy is uncommon in both genders but to be able t learn logic as well as math is something that everyone can do with proper education – whether done privately or at a public school.

Ayn Rand’s Objectivism has virtually nothing to do with gender at all, but as a person and thinker she was of course affected by being a woman.  Much of the work done by both women and men in philosophy has no clear nor direct relationship to gender or gender issues.

For those who feel effected or like their gender is important to their thinking then some reading of philosophical works involving gender and about gender differences would probably be valuable and helpful whether a man or a woman.  For those teaching in the field one may well get both types of students and well educated is better prepared to adeptly address student questions or problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Wilber & His Philosophy

2000 words

Ken Wilber & His Philosophy

by Miriam Pia

Ken Wilber is one of the dominant and ‘game changing’ American philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His work broke with the status quo of academic philosophies of both the West and the East. Because of that, his work, although famous outside of most Western philosophy based universities has not become popular or frequently taught within them. The one place he is best known for having taught is in fact the first established Buddhist based university in the United States of America, the Naropa Institute in Colorado. As it happens Boulder, Colorado with the Rocky Mountains does mimic some of the basic underlying type of geography as the Tibetan culture and philosophy which came into being in the snowy Himalayan Mountains.

What makes Ken Wilber’s Philosophy so different?

Epistemology is the area of philosophy devoted to figuring out and clarifying what knowledge is, since only by knowing what knowledge is can we – as individuals and as the human race, know what to be sure of as being truth and what remains ignorance of one kind or another.

There are clear traditions of ideas and beliefs about what the truth is and how to determine it in both Western and Eastern philosophical traditions. The main radical measure that Ken Wilber takes in his ‘integral philosophy’ is that he reviews the Western tradition and makes a new organized schema. For many in the Western tradition, to borrow from the philosophy of science of the 1980s, Wilber’s Integral Philosophical system creates a new paradigm. He does this by showing how much of what was argued over in terms of their relation to truth in terms of priority and hierarchy in the preceding 300 years of philosophical tradition can be couched into new language and put together into a new schema without denying any of them.

The main schools of thought in the Western tradition about truth and knowledge are:

Idealism: Plato and Kant, and later Hegel and other German idealists. These posit that truth can be learned through mental operations and that abstract thinking can lead to real world results because of 2 factors: 1 is that much of truth and the ability to perceive it is built right into the human mind, and that 2 logic and mathematics and proper philosophical inquiry, and later also scientific research methods also yield real and legitimate results.

Plato argued that the truth of things is right in the perception of them within a realm seen as the human mind or perceivable by the mind. The main example is what has come to be known as ‘the principle of the thing’, where Plato taught that the principle of any object was real as an idea or ideal and that if anything, things took shape from the reality of the realm of ideas more than the other way around.

Kant explained that some of what is true shows up right in the mind – these are a priori ideas, which are true of the human mind and indicate what is true about the world. Kant read Plato and Aristotle and knew at least some Christianity, and possibly knew post-Judaic Christianity (after the Council of Nicea people could become Christian without having to convert to Judaism) very well.

From then up to the present there have been schools of thought which developed out of believing that idealism is true, believing in idealism in a limited way, and running counter to idealism. In the ancient world, Plato came right before Aristotle but unlike Plato Aristotle was not an idealist. He thought Plato’s theory of forms was wrong and went around cataloging species of life forms for Emperor Alexander. Aristotle is considered a proto empirical scientist of the Western world. Aristotle believed very strongly in the world as being real and as existing without dependency upon any human mind for its existence, but did view human perception as having some kind of reality.

The development of the empirical sciences and scientific method during the previous 3 centuries, although there were scientific and technological breakthroughs going back thousands of years before the advent of modern science: in Western cultures was directly related to accepting Kant’s idea that part of what is real and some of the truth that can be perceived has to do with the human mind and the ability to think and the rest of it has to do with the outside world. Hence, by relating to the world of sensory experience the right way, and by thinking the right way, humans have a good chance of learning the truth. Theories are the closest to the truth that can be reached given careful examination of the evidence found in the world with lots of help from excellent thinking with a human mind.

Ken Wilber notes early on in the description of his own philosophy the matter of how much the empirical sciences seem to award truth value to the outside world but none to the subjective experience of people. Not only that, claims Ken Wilber, but scientific theories also seem to dismiss society in determining what is true or not. One Continental Philosopher of the 20th century who emphasized the effect of society and in society was Michele Foucault, who’s writings were mainly interdisciplinary. The French tendency to post modernism which Wilber is also aware of, developed with existentialism as a mostly idealist, atheist philosophical movement of the 20th century.

Integral Theory & Truth Quadrants

In Ken Wilber’s integral theory, KW recognizes 4 types of truth which he posits exist for every individual. One, if the subjective realm. This does contain Plato’s world of forms and Kant’s a priori concepts, but also contains everything from logic to dreams and emotions, hopes and fears of individuals. Personal truths about the self and one’s point of view and so on, can all exist in this realm.

Another quadrant of truth, according to integral theory, is the truth about the world, more familial to people as involving a world of sense objects and social relations that exist regardless of human perception but that humans may be able to perceive the truth about.

Wilber’s integral philosophy contains two quadrants which are simultaneously private but also external and existing in a shared realm with other people and other creatures. One of the two is the external world from the perspective of an individual and the other is more the mass scale social scene.

Steps & Stages: Spirituality & Buddhist influences

In actual practice, one of the main differences between Ken Wilber and most of the traditional Western philosophers is that KW learned to meditate within the blended context of Buddhism in Colorado and the more general cultural context of the Rocky Mountains, Christianity – mostly Protestantism, Hippies and Chogyam Chungpa/ Trungpa – who was the first major Buddhist lama (and really a ‘bad boy’ as lamas go) who trekked to North America and introduced Dharma and founded the Naropa Institute when KW was a young boy in the region.

Because KW did bother to learn to meditate, and turned out to be very good at it, he included in his philosophy 4 major states or types of consciousness which in Western philosophical tradition go predominantly unmentioned. Here and there someone refers to imagination and dream states in Western philosophy but normally not in a well organized manner.

How it proceeds

The bulk of Ken Wilber’s philosophical writings explain how he sees his theory functioning within individuals and societal groups. It includes a history and philosophy of human development that goes from the rudimentary and biological up to the spiritual. Through the descriptions, he teaches readers and followers how to get some idea of which levels they are operating on as individuals and then, by knowing where they are, shows them how they might reach subsequent levels. In that respect KW’s philosophical works are infused with inspiration and hope as they are designed to enable readers and followers to really do something in their own lives with the philosophy rather than it being one of the types of philosophical treatises that is full of explanation and description but for readers has no direct, practical value beyond maybe being able to understand why research exists and what it is like when it makes sense.

How it fits in

Beyond what has already been explained, Ken Wilber’s thought has been enigmatic and profound in that it is not a simple rehash of what has been done in the past and yet it really does break with tradition without just destroying tradition.

As an individual, Ken Wilber is someone who was able to become well known and well liked and to fit in in those senses but he has always stood out from the crowd in part due to being exceptionally tall and thin but also due to being a brilliant man who boldly did something like study Plato but also learn to meditate and not run away nor hide from what he learned by doing so.

By reputation, Ken Wilber has become a well known American philosopher despite being regularly ignored by academic philosophy and philosophers because he is 1) an odd ball, and 2) they weren’t responsible for his success and don’t know him and may feel put out that he is a great philosopher out of nowhere rather than after having carefully ensconced in academic philosophy for at least a decade and showing up as a little bit important by contributing the American analytical philosophical tradition with a new treatise on computer logic and the implications for hospital ethics in the 21st century or something ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ like that. Instead, integral theory has grown into a diverse set of organizations that surround sales of Ken Wilber books and workshops. The philosophy has been picked up and partially learned and bandied about as much by corporate coaches as by academic philosophers.

Personally, I think it is not worth denying that despite the ill fit with the majority trends in the American analytic philosophical tradition early in the 21st century, Ken Wilber really is one the best American philosophers certainly of his generation and quite possibly for the century for the Americans.

In truth, to give perspective another way, he is more the spiritual and philosophical son or descendant of the Englishman Alan Watts who was a British philosopher who was one of the first of the 20th century Western thinkers to attempt to engage with Asiatic and Buddhist philosophy. Their 19th century predecessor was actually Friedrich Nietzsche and Louise Andreas-Salome (maybe J. Ree) who tried to go beyond the limits of what they had learned from the ancient Greeks and their philosophical forebears in a decidedly Christian European and North American world.

In that respect, it is proper to understand these thinkers as trying to be more worldly, and cutting edge and inclusive in the scope of their philosophical endeavors, thoughts and trying to write for what Thomas S. Kuhn (philosophy of science 1980s) called a new paradigm.

Conclusions

Ken Wilber’s philosophy is far from useless but really is best understood in the context of trying to bridge Western and Eastern thought, but also trying to push forward with Western consciousness, and draw new conclusions about the debate about which takes philosophical precedence about truth: self, world, a priori ideas or logic?

In general, idealism faded during the 20th century but did not entirely disappear. American and British philosophy became more analytic and atheistic. Continental philosophy became more atheistic but also more interdisciplinary and some forms of idealism persisted but were changed as their context switched from empirical sciences and math over to areas such as music, art criticism and so on. The women’s movements as part of the continuing saga of human civil rights was also involved and showed up because French women existentialists on the Continent and radicals – like Ayn Rand, who was as free standing in her philosophical efforts as Ken Wilber but being a woman, and a conservative, unlike Ken Wilber she was able to do it in part thanks to the funding from her husband while living as a wife.

It may take some decades before universities figure out the best way to place the work of Ken Wilber in relation to the canon for the philosophy curriculum, but already, Ken Wilber has made himself into a prominent American philosopher. Not everyone will agree with him and that one point makes Ken Wilber just like every other great philosopher who has ever walked the Earth.

Sharbenau the Squirrel

Juvenile Fiction
“Sharbenau the Squirrel”By Miriam Pia
*Its about a small mammal who is unusually spiritual
This anthology is a fund raiser for the Cardio Dept of a Children’s Hospital.

             Sharbenau realized at some point that he was not like the other squirrels in a few ways. In most regards he was a normal squirrel. He grew at the same pace, he liked most of the same foods, his tail was bushy the same as all the others. His temperament was also not that different from many of the others of his tribe.  

           Sharbenau lived in a large colony of squirrels. They had 3 tribes, 2 of these had 15 families and the other tribe had 9 families in it. The older ones taught the young ones how to live and do well in the forest that they lived in.  Like it or not, it became clear that some of the older squirrels seemed to ‘do better’ than the others.  

           There were times that made Sharbenau very sad. When he was young this happened the most when he saw another get injured or sick.  He hated to witness their suffering but did not want to turn away from them – he knew that would make him appear cold hearted when he was not. Well, that problem won a lot of Sharbenau’s attention for quite a time.  

         Once, when another squirrel was hurt, he tried to help it. Partly, he just gave the other animal comfort and somehow – he wasn’t even sure how; he tried to change things.He tried to help the other heal.  Sharbenau wasn’t sure it did any good but then his grandmother mentioned it to him once. She complimented him. She told him, “Now little one, that was very creative and quite kind. This is a very rare thing, but it is something that you should feel good about, rather than bad about.”      

         Sharebenau thought that his grandmother meant well but was a little strange. The thing is, because she had been kind to him when he was feeling a bit sad or lonely or something – he remembered the incident. The squirrel children found that they often had enough time to play and to have fun as well as having time to learn how to take care of themselves and one another.  Most of the time, they were told to stay home when it was dark.  The real reason for this was to protect them from danger.  There were other animals. The way that they saw things made it harder for the squirrels to identify danger during the dark time.  It made it easier for them to make the young stay close during these times.   Sharbenau felt this made sense and didn’t fight it. He was actually a very well behaved child squirrel. Most were, but a few of them seemed different. Over what felt like a very long time, he noticed what happened to the different individuals depending on what they did.  There seemed to be 2 main effects amongst the more adventurous squirrels. Some had sad fates: they were often injured and many died young in tragedies.

       Others had happy fates. It seemed they were blessed with great energy and talents andadept at surviving. So, Sharbenau developed a new understanding of that type of squirrel.  Even so, he did not stray far from his elders. It did not seem to be his nature to disobey or to go against sound advice.
       One day, when Sharbenau was out climbing a tree in an area where he was allowed he had a most unusual experience. A large crow, at least twice his own size,came near enough to him – they looked each other in the eye. The bird lowered its head and moved it towards the squirrel slowly. Sharbenau saw this large, sharp, dangerous beak coming at him but for some reason he did not feel the usual fear and he did not skitter away. Suddenly, he reached out one of his front paws, and tapped the bird on the beak.Well, after that happened, both of them panicked. The squirrel pulled back his hand very suddenly. The bird jerked back its head; this had never happened before! The bird cawed. The squirrel was terrified by the giant dangerous open mouth and horrible sound. Sharbenau began screaming and scampered along a few branches and fled tsafety. There he panted, calmed down, resumed his daily life. The experience stayed with him. Because he remembered it so well, he felt it might have deep meaning.  
       After his experience with the crow, Sharbenau tried helping others when one was hurt or injured. He did not do this every time no matter who it was, but he tried it. Over time, the others started to talking amongst themselves about it. They were starting tthink that he might have some kind of power to help them. They wondered if it woulwork if they tried the same things – if it worked the same way that their elders could show them how to find food and what to eat. They also wondered if maybe it was Sharbenau. 
       One day Sharbenau was out on an excursion. He was feeling more mature and quite proud because he was off on his own again. In truth, he had not gone far from home. He found a berry bush. He was joyful because he found his own meal without help for the first time in a long time. On this special occasion Sharbenau brought a small amount of the branch with him.Some time after that: it seemed like a long time, but it may have been two weeks,Sharbenau was with a squirrel who was not feeling well. Spontaneously, Sharbenau tapped the other squirrel with the berry branch, shouted 3 times, and danced around for half a minute. Then, just as suddenly, he just stopped. He suddenly felt embarrassed. He looked at the other squirrel, and found that the other was smiling at him. Sharbenau felt the fur on his tail fluff up. He pulled his tail in and around. Then quickly, Sharbenau found a way to just leave.
       Later, just 2 days later, there was a new sight. Sharbenau was at the nearest stream to get water. He saw the squirrel he had danced around and touched with the branch. The other’s health seemed much improved. Sharbenau the squirrel just watched silently from the shade. He was beginning to wonder if he had some kind of power after all, and wasn’t just imagining it.
        In reality, the other squirrels in the tribe really noticed that one. It seemed to all of them that Sharbenau had helped the other squirrel heal.Everyone began to watch Sharbenau a bit more, to observe whether or not anything else ‘surprising’ or ‘amazing’ might happen. At first this made Sharbenau very uncomfortable. Then, he realized that he could use it as encouragement to try things sometimes. So, after that he was more likely to follow through on his ideas about healing, or figuring things out. Now it seemed that if he did anything peculiar the other squirrels would also say, “Well, that’s Sharbenau. That’s why.”
        One day, Sharbenau was out – again, he was just a little bit apart from the rest of his group. He had not really left the group, or anything like that. He was on the side of tree one day, head down on a large oak tree when another of these ‘strange events’ took  place. Sharbenau felt the presence of another life form. It was a large creature, very large. The smell of it was noticeable but not unpleasant. He did not know what type of creature it was from the smell. There was the sound of movement, but the entity moved slowly. Sharbenau decided to keep still. He looked down. He looked at his front paws and felt the strong grip that he had on the thick oak bark. This was a very stable situation from what he could tell. Again, the large creature moved. This time, Sharbenau could look and see some part of it on the ground. It was like nothing he had ever seen before. He flitted his tail tand fro. He sniffed the light breeze. There was more motion. Sharbenau knew that he was taking quite a risk by not running off. He had a curious sensation in both his body and his mind.  This time, another large portion of the creature came into view. It turned out that it really was gigantic compared to a squirrel but Sharbenau still thought it was much smaller than the tree he was on. Still, although his tail trembled slightly, Sharbenau did not snicker and he did not run. What happened was that the creature began to make noises; when Sharbenau still did not run, there was a minor miracle when the creature touched him without causing any harm. Sharbenau was not sure how to react. He was quite pleased but not sure why – probably simply because this type of event had never occurred before and might not ever happen again. The entire experience lasted just a few minutes. Then the large creature made a different set of sounds and started to move quickly. The squirrel felt a new type of pressure on his back and then he suddenly scrambled forward, down and then around and away from the strange creature. He went up much higher and away. In fact,Sharbenau never looked back.
      He told the other squirrels of his tribe about it. Well, they talked it about so much that the old ones heard about it. Eventually, grandmother squirrel told 2 of them that she thought the creature he had seen and that had touched him, might have been a human being.
         From that moment on, no one treated Sharbenau the way they had before.It was strange because the change was somehow subtle but in other respects obvious. Sharbenau wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Neither were the others, but it was something and they all knew it. After a long time, the squirrels developed a word for it,and they started to call Sharbenau a shaman. Slowly, they tried to share this information with the other tribes. 
        Sharbenau himself felt a bit peculiar. After all, he was only trying to be himself;he was just this squirrel. He loved his family, he liked a lot of his life and he enjoyed the tribal lifestyle. For some reason he was a bit different from the others. He even worried about whether or not he would ever cure someone with the berry stick again – after it had worked the one time.
       The most amazing thing, was twofold. First, when Sharbenau returned to the tree where he had met the giant creature the one day, he sometimes found offerings. The other astounding fact is that for the first time in history, a human being realized – but didn’t understand why this idea occurred, that animals might have their own medicine people.