Know earthly desire

Walking along Alameda Creek

Last week on NPR’s Science Friday was a discussion with Avi Loeb, who has earned major academic credentials in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology, discussing the subject of the possibility of other intelligent life in the universe. He suggested that Oumuamua was associated with alien life.

He is obviously much more knowledgable than me in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology as well as academic achievements

As a child I had this discussion and many time over the past seven decades.

There is a difference between “might be” and“is” and science requires empirical evidence for an “is.” Agree “there might be” alien life, but it is one thing to say that the human known conditions for life are the conditions where life will exist, more accurate it is where life might exist.

There is nothing to prove there is or is not other life in their Universe. And responsible thought based on scientific knowledge suggests there might be but there might not be either.

We know conditions on Earth can support and perhaps even create life and that other planets appear—to the best of our scientific knowledge—to have the same or similar conditions as Earth. It is quite another thing to say this means there is life in other places in the universe, it means logically there might be.

We cannot know what we cannot experience through our five senses and we cannot know what does not exist. WE have never sensually —see, hear, touch, smell or taste—experienced the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, and we have never experienced any material manifestation evidence of such life . Or perhaps we have experienced it and did not “know what it was.

Alien life could be similar to humans, or quantitatively, or qualitatively, different.

Suppose aliens and humans shared some senses and not others such as between humans and bats? Or humans and aliens could share the the same set of biological senses but different quantitative capabilities such as hearing and smell between human and dogs,

Suppose they had a completely different set of biological senses which organized the same small particles we know scientifically make up the Universe into different “things”—we might presume different dimensions. but dimensions themselves are problematic, Human experience the universe in four dimensions because we are biologically constructed that way but other life forms may well have different sensor functionality. But becuase humans experience and thus organize the small particles of the Universe in four dimensions doesn’t mean other life forms will.

Think of all the stories, novels, songs, tv and movie shows about aliens, and in many of them the aliens make contact with pretty much stereo types humans —Why would aliens want to get touch in government officials only, Why would they make contact by kidnappping a human and take it to their vehicle? Why would they be seeking either peace or war? Why would there be an Area 51 where the US government supposedly has decades of research on aliens but no one else in the world knows of the aliens ? It could ijust as easily be “The Day the Earth Stood Still? or Alien?

And perhaps worse, suppose that we on Earth achieved “World Peace” and after some generations no longer had the ability to defend ourselves militarily . . . and then we were invaded by aliens. Maybe that is what they patiently waiting for.


Over the past months I have presented images of Krishna wondering if people can get a better understanding of Krishna from looking at pantings rather than reading words. Words are ink on paper and painting are color on some medium—which tells you more.

Words seem “more objective” but pictures fill in the spaces between words and even letters . . . Krishna seems to like the girls.
Image from A festival of Krishna Harsha V. Dehejia


For 3 1/2 years I was involved with the care for my mother after she suffered a stroke, loss of memory, and developed Expressive Aphasia. She spent time in memory care facilities, hospitals and rehab-nursing care. During that time my wife and I saw her at least once everyday. with me using a small point&shoot making a photographic record,

Everyday can be a different situation. When she had to go somewhere for testing or consulting, first I made the trip alone to determine a time schedule, checking to see what parking was available, if there were stairs or other physical challenges, and whatever other problems I could foresee.

We went to the emergency room a few times. Mom was naturally curious and liked to be out and about, both before and after her stroke. Going to the ER could be an impromptu adventure, there was no planning for the event and once we were there for over 16 hours. The emergency room has a main desk with one or more rooms some of which may have more than one patient separated with a fabric curtain.

One long night in the ER—not because of Mom’s situation but there were too many serious emergencies that a doctor could not take the time out to sign her her out. We were alone enclosed by a sheet, for hours and behind the neighbor’s sheet was a loud-self-pitying- feel-sorry-for-himself drunk yelling at the top of his lungs that he wanted to die.

Waiting rooms can be a challenge, Mom may not have patience for a long wait, if someone else in the waiting room e is offensive to her she might speak her mind out loud. Generally “most” people were tolerant, but remembering the venue is a doctor’s office and at other times two patients with memory loss and whatever problems would have little patience and a discussion might develop.

My sister (Skype user) lives out of the US so we put a phone in Mom’s room in the first memory care facility, Generally my sister called when I was there, we scheduled it, it seemed to work better. I also used personal photographs to stimulate her mind and see her response to measure, I am not quite sure what, at least it felt like I was understanding her more.

“In the dementia field” the person receiving the care is generally referred to as “ loved one.” Mom was in the hospital a few times, its a different schedule. There is a doctor assigned to the patient, and I wanted to talk to the doctor directly. If I was there and the doctor was in the hospital and I tried to contact the doctor, usually by phone and usually had to leave a message and even in those rare times when you got the doctor on the phone, he or she phone might not remember the specific details. Or even if you made an appointment sometimes the doctor could not make it because of the normal other things that arise daily in the hospital.

But usually the doctor has a regular schedule which gives a window of time that you can plan a visit and generally, not always, you will have a face to face, all-in-one-place with the doctor, with the patient and with the patient’s record. Same with food, there is a schedule for lunch and dinner and the nurse at the desk can tell you.

During her life Mom was intelligent and curious, and after her stroke it seemed to me that she knew her life had qualitatively been altered, but she did not understand it—And she was determined to understand it. We would talk about it, I don’t think she ever found an understanding, just some way to forget abou it t for periods of time.

The first memory care was also an assisted living facility, Entering one would pass the check in/out desk and then the general room of the assisted living often with residents actively sitting around interrelating, Next walk down a hallway past rooms of assisted living, often with their doors open, to the locked door of the memory care facility.

As we walked down the hallway Mom would always see and want the independence of the assisted living.

For a while she seemed to believe it was something she had to earn and she loved a challenge. Other times she wold put up a tantrum in the hallway but after getting her past the locked door in 10-15 seconds he would have forgotten. But it was a very poor architectural design for its function.

She had a slight hip fracture, underwent an operation and spent two months in a rehab/nursing facility. In a California nursing facility the patient can be restrained without their permission, there is a doctor on staff who can legally “prescribe” a medical justification. Patients in memory care facilities can not be restrained without their permission and usually they cannot legally give their permission. State laws may may even consider bed rails an unacceptable restraint in memory care.

She had liked shopping before her stroke, and sometimes I would take her out to a mall and do fun things—You can look at a store as a place to buy things or you can experience at a store as just another place to walk around and have fun.

Like Dorian Gray, olde memories don’t die, they just fade away. or go out of focus. Not in focus, or not to the point??? but still fun and what else does a photograph need to be?
Filene’s Basement, about 1971

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