Random Thoughts

Einstein: Do you believe in God?


When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:
- Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
- I believe in the God of Spinoza.
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy.
(Spinoza) : God would say:
Stop praying.
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I've made for you.
Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That's where I live and there I express my love for you.
Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don't blame me for everything they made you believe.
Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can't read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son's eyes... ? you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me "will you tell me how to do my job?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.
Stop asking for forgiveness, there's nothing to forgive. If I made you... I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies... free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I'm the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?
Respect your peers and don't do what you don't want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.
My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.
I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.
? I can't tell you if there's anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
So, if there's nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won't ask if you behaved right or wrong, I'll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?...
Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don't want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?
I'm bored being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me.
Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you've been taught about me.
What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?
The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.
- Spinoza


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July 2014


The rainy season is winding down. Now it rains about every 5 days. It's winter here -- summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern half. The temperature has gotten cooler. I would say about 10 degrees cooler. It used to average in this high 80's, now it's staying in the high 70's. Much nicer for me. It's also less humid. In fact, it is really really pleasant. Like spring in Hot Springs without all the rain.

Less rain means we can use the scooter more often. It's easier than taking the car -- except that the whole family can't go with. We made the final payment on the Honda scooter so it is now officially ours. I enjoy riding the scooter -- fresh air, open road, all that. There are not very many "large" motorcycles like in the US. 250cc is considered large here. There are a few Harley's and Ninja's but not very many. I had a Honda 90 sport when I was 16 in the US. That would be about 1966-1968ish. There are still quite a few Honda 90's still on the road here. If it runs -- no matter what condition -- someone will use it.

Unlike the Philippines, there is very little pollution from automobiles and scooters here. There is a lot less pollution overall than I saw in the Philippines. The rivers are muddy and full of debris -- but that's because of all the rain and runoff. The one big river near us is a class III white water rapids river. You need 8 people to rent a raft with a guide but I can't find anyone brave enough to go with.

I turned Yuli on to internet marketing and she (we) have started buying and selling clothes. It's a nice thing. Like I said, it is very difficult to find anything here. No one really advertises. They might hang a sign outside of their storefront, but there are a million storefronts along the streets. So the idea of bringing the clothes into these small villages is a good idea. Yuli has some agents working for her, but she sells a lot all by herself. It is producing some much needed income.

She has also become famous in the area for her cakes and cupcakes. And is now taking orders for cakes and goodies. I plan to buy her a real oven soon, because cooking and baking is something she really enjoys. The kind of oven she wants doesn't have and burners. It's a standalone oven. Runs on propane (bottled gas).

There's not much I can do here... I can't really help with any of the farming. The family is afraid I will hurt myself and I'm not much help anyway. It's also difficult because I don't speak Indonesian and they don't speak English.

I am participating in Ramadan -- a month long fast. I was worried at first that I my blood sugar would get all whacked out. So I tested myself the first couple of days. But, to tell you the truth, I believe that my type 2 diabetes has been cured. I don't have any symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels.

Fasting is from sun-up to sundown. We get up at 3:30am and eat a good breakfast and then have to wait until sundown to eat again. It was really hard for the first couple of days, but isn't that hard anymore. The purpose of fasting is to strengthen your will power and it does do that. Fasting also includes liquids which is even harder than not taking any food.

We still do lots and lots of vegetables and fruit. Meat is harder to come by. The chicken here is good but beef and lamb is a real hit or miss thing. They don't cut the cows and lamb like in the US... you can't get some nice steaks or leg of lamb here. They just kinda chop the animals into small pieces. They also don't remove much fat or gristle. So lots of times beef or lamb does not taste so good. Of course, there is no pork at all. So I eat a lot chicken.

more to come


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I have been living in Indonesia for about 7 months now. Some of the awe and wonder has worn off a little, but quite a bit of awe and wonder remains.  I am still impressed by the landscape, people, and scenery but I'm not so surprised anymore to see 100-foot bamboo; or bananas growing in a pine forest.

I have learned to drive on the wrong side of the street with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car. I'm getting braver both on the scooter and with the car. I have extended my range. I have memorized enough places that my fear of getting lost is minor.

I feel totally safe here. Even though this is a Muslim country (over 85% Muslim) there is no hostility. The people that I come in contact with are very friendly and kind. I am "Bulee" (Bo-Lay) (means white person) which is very rare here in rural Indonesia.

Where I live is mostly farming communities. It is very labor intensive at planting time and at harvest time. But that is exactly what this country needs. There is plenty of work though the pay is rather lousy by our standards. Most things that you need are really really cheap (like food). Western or modern items are fairly expensive.

Yuli's father has planted the second rice crop. It is amazing that they can get two rice crops in the rainy season and one corn crop in the dry season. The rice that Yuli's father grew is organic. I was surprised. It is so much easier to use Roundup and other chemical processes to kill insects and fertilize -- so it surprised me that Yuli's dad took the effort and time to use "organic fertilizers and pest controls". The rice is extremely tasty. Well worth the effort.

We got another 4-5 kilos of coffee from the lot that Yuli and I bought. This is the third "picking" so far this year. There is plenty more to pick. That's not going to make us rich -- but it sure is satisfying to produce and consume your own products.

My brother-in-law (Wanto) had a fairly large fishfarm. But he got attacked by varmits. A band of civets (small weasle-like critters) ate all his fish. He had 2000 fish but when he drained the pond to harvest the fish there were only 80 left. It is unfortunate that they will probably try to kill the civets. These are the creatures who eat coffee beans and poop them out. These coffee beans are processed and are the most expensive in the world -- renowned for the flavor. This is called coffee-lewat.

I have become an expert on take a bath from a tub. Cold water too.

I haven't learned much Indonesian... but I have picked up a few words... usually from the babies and children.

One of the hardest things about being here is the loneliness. I cannot take part in many conversations so that isolates me alot. Good thing I am accustomed to being alone and it really doesn't bother me. It is annoying not to know what people are talking about.

More to come.... hey. does anyone have any questions for me.

All in all, it was a good decision to come and live in Indonesia. I'm living off my social security. I can do it here. But I don't think it's possible to live in the USA on social security alone.

I went to the hospital again the other day. I thought I was having a gout attack. Turned out not to be gout... but some arthritic flareup in my feet. Got some meds and got repaired. The bill was about $14. The hospital charged $1.40. The doctor charged $1.70. The lab (blood test for uric acid) was $1.20. Meds were about $10.00.

In the US you got Obamacare. You are required to buy medical insurance. If you don't the IRS will levy a fine on you. How stupid is that.


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Stranger in a Strange Land