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Philosophy & Action Essays
Volume IX - Essay 74: January 2008

"Fine Tuning"

        Years ago I went to a couple seasons of the L.A. Philharmonic Symphony in Los Angeles. I liked Mozart and Mahler, and being in such a metropolitan location provided the chance to see and hear oddities like Morton Subotnik conducting his own work. Venues that I went to most often were the outdoor Hollywood Bowl and Downtown's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I also bought a season's seats at the Ahmanson Theatre, and attended stage plays there, which I remember included Lillian Hellman's "Little Foxes" with Liz Taylor, who was then still working as an actress.

        What never made sense to me was the concert facade, women dressing up in their minks and other pirate swag, males in tuxedos with brocade cummerbunds, standing along the lobby walls sipping white wine and snubbing the proletariat.
        (One of the reasons that I feel very much at home in New Mexico is that still-dark jeans are okay just about everywhere, with or without cowboy boots & hat. The arty Taos & Santa Fe folk do have pretensions, but even Gov. Richardson is mostly seen in Dockers-type pants.)

        This essay was triggered when I was reminded recently of watching the orchestra setting themselves up for concerts as the patrons found their seats. The orchestra members mostly carried their instruments on-stage with them, except for the drums, pianos & tubas – the larger hardware. One of the last to appear was the Concert Master, who by tradition is the First Violin. At some point a handful of minutes before concert time, the Concert Master gets the musicians' attention and sometimes with the piano people but always with the string section, the other musicians set their instruments to perfectly match the Concert Master's pre-tuned violin A-string.
        Now this does not matter to a hairs-breadth, some hundredth of a tone. The principle is that the entire orchestra is aligned with X, who happens to be the Concert Master.

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        And what has this to do with philosophy?
        Easy. The question arises about what each member of Mankind is tuned to, as individual and also as small and large groups, and even as societies.

        First off, we are not all tuned to the same X, and not all are even tuned to the same realm (such as the music analogy); some are tuned to analogous color settings or height or width or time or power measurements. Thus, all the mad conflicts in the world.
        And then so many are basically fighting over what is right to be tuned to. "I decide." "No, we decide." "No way, we have always ..." The result is madness.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Here is how to straighten the mess and make things work: The Universe is existential. In its entirety. The Universe exists, and that is all that need be said.
        The best access to the existential Universe is by objective Reason, which itself is existential. Subjectivity does not give existential, only objectivity gives existential access. If it exists, then it *IS* true. The description generated by some people may be kinda-sorta close, might be off just a mite, but the Power from accessing the existential Universe thru Reason is greater in accordance with the accuracy of the description. Sorta close gives medium Power, pretty close gives plenty of Power to Make A Difference, and very, very close gives major Power. (How you know your existential description is accurate is by the amount of Power that it delivers.)

        Religionists who describe the Universe (and how to deal with it) thru 5000-year-out-of-date or thousand-year worn-out barbarian paradigms or hundred-year-old Marxist theories derive less Power than they need to survive, so they revert to Force. The Taliban & Wasabi factions of Islam, the Baptist Taliban, the Red Chinese, military dictatorships in Second- and Third-World countries – all want to take over everybody else, to make their Belief the Supreme Belief, and would take over Antarctica and Space too, if they could live there.

        Any belief system that offers a Way to follow to some Someday Good Life (not in this Life) for the uneducated, terrorized and exploited masses is only as good as the extent to which the given rules match the existential Universe.
        Death and destruction as a career field? Hypocrisy as one's Gross National Product? Disinformation as one's Purpose In Life? Despoliation of the Planet, bequeathing poison and sickness to the next generation, and the next? Ignorance and superstition as a Value? All such activity is counter to what the existential Universe requires. All such destructive systems also destroy Power.

        Wolves catch rabbits for food, not for pleasure. Seasonal floods bring nutrients to the soil. Rain and snow bring life-giving moisture to members of the biosphere. Vermin and bacteria do their job cleaning up the mess. Rocks bounce off a cliff and gather below to form a dam where beaver and trout can thrive. Bees pollinate the plants, unaware of their central importance in The Scheme of Things.
        Nature works just fine without Belief. The mechanism that is earth's Holy Biosphere chugs along in diurnal and seasonal cycles, and cycles too vast for Man to measure.
        Belief is unnecessary for living in the World. Tuning one's concerns to the cycles of Nature, tuning into the existential What's So of the local Universe removes the pull to conflict, the artificial war of My Belief versus all other beliefs.
        The What's So is merely What's So – without Belief.

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        If Mankind is an orchestra, or a series of orchestral organizations, then most of them are tuned to worlds and concepts that do not exist. No country has ever operated inside a Capitalist {see Essay #40 on Paleo-Capitalism} Economy and yet billions of dollars are stolen and re-stolen in the name of Capitalism. The cry for War justifies acts of terror and genocide. Big business colludes to capture slaves to replace paid labor – and the slaves see no option but to agree to their own subjugation. Propaganda hammers into the culture the belief that profits trump Human Rights, the profits supersede the niceties of ecological integrity, and the masses nod their heads and wonder why their lives suck. War-profiteers and slave owners stack their treasure in secret vaults and live inside armored limos and community walls strung with concertina wire.
        Belief gives them this.

        Mankind is out of tune, out of rhythm, they cannot read the score on the (metaphorical) music stand, and instead fight to the death over sitting in the most prestigious chair. The conductor is wholly absent, or drunk with False Power and scheming for more. The (metaphorical) symphony hall is a dangerous place to be for everyone. Not much music gets produced. But outside that Symphony Hall of Belief, where the existential Universe is available to be tuned into, there may be only a low din from inside the edifice of Belief. And as one moves away from the cacophony that is Belief and Superstition, the Working Mind can be present to the song of the bird, to the chitter of long-eared rodents, to the buzz of the industrious bee, to the burble of water across river rocks, to the plop of a trout who leapt for (and caught) the fly.
        In tune with the existential Universe, one can see the white flash of the tail of a deer, one can stare into the open face of the fox or wolf, one can smell the jasmine and the rose, one can smell far-off newly-cut alfalfa, one can see the entire neighborhood by the light of the moon.

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        Your Life is given by what you are tuned into, by what you aspire to, by where your attention is directed, by the actions given by your Commitments.
        What exactly are you, The Reader, tuned to? What are you in step with, who and what do you follow?
        And why do all the choices given by Belief lead to dis-harmony and fear and pain?
        Shake your Beliefs off and see the world without the false protection that they provide. Tune in to the existential Universe, hear the Music, and learn to Dance.
        Harmony and serenity and peace are available by tuning in to Harmony and Serenity and Peace.

[copyright 2008 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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