Musings: Numbers, quantity-What is big?
244,000 is a big number, right? It's would take too long to count to. And you would probably forget where you are, in many ways. Like when you are learning to meditate, and they suggest counting your breath, the most simple type of meditation, they will add that if you lose your count, just start over. And you do lose your count. $244,000 sounds like a lot of money. If you were retiring tomorrow at age sixty-five, it might not be enough, but if you had 244,000 one dollar bills it would be quite a stack. I guess it just depends on what you have 244,000 of.
I have more than 244,000 miles riding a bicycle. Trust me, I am not bragging. I think it is crazy. There are some who have more. Are they crazier? I don't know. Is it grasping, or do I simply value riding. I don't know that either. Perhaps, though, we are getting somewhere with this last question. Grasping (think craving), in Buddhist thought is suffering, or Samsara. We all suffer, or maybe a better way of thinking of this is that we all experience difficulty in our lives-most of the time. On the other hand, according to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, riding a bike could be a core value for me, making a commitment to riding and following through. Core values are deep characteristics that we "choose" to identify ourselves. I have suggested elsewhere that my core value is honor, even though I may not always be so. I honor myself, others, and cycling by doing it. And it could still be crazy. Crazy is not a diagnosis.
I think back to when I started riding a bike, as an athletic pursuit. I did not have a mileage goal of riding a whopping big number of miles over my lifetime. What I found was that it was something I could do, peacefully and calmly, make progress and often feel satisfaction when I climbed off. However as this cycling career winds down, it does not seem so important what I have accomplished as what I have learned about life through the experience. I do not know what has been of significance from this life, my experience of it. Perhaps I never will, but I do recognize the process
I had this dream last night. I was tossing basketballs into the air. It did not seem to matter where they went. There was not a basket in the immediate area. I would simply toss them, one, two, three, into the air, using the old underhand free throw method. I would toss them, and they would disappear. I did not care where they went. Just toss them into the air. In my dreamer's eye they did pass through a basket at some unknown distance away. I know what this is about. I watched a video by a futurist named John Peterson earlier in the evening. He suggested that Cliff High, one of the pioneers of Microsoft, has developed a method of monitoring trending thoughts on the internet. It is not like trending videos, or songs, but rather just "bubbling up" thoughts. He said the number one trending thought right now is that humanity no longer believes that we are being governed appropriately. We are tired of government as it currently exists. This idea seems important to me. You see, when speaking of core values, the question is often asked: "What really, really matters to you?" This really, really matters to me. I am tired of being lied to, cheated, used, taken for granted and my health compromised by those in government who work for the corporation and the rich.
I do not have a solution to this problem. It appears that there is more of this bubbling required. I am, though, concerned that my grandchildren may not have the time to wait. Their futures may very well depend on our finding this solution.