NP Journal for experimenting with ideas, Copyright © 2011-2018 LJ Frank. All Rights Reserved. 


Narrative Paths Journal

“We think we know but have yet to discover.”  Thomas Aquinas
“Narrative Paths Journal is a literary magazine focusing on new philosophies and ideas.”  Uriél Dana


NP Journal for experimenting with ideas initiated 6/2011 within the context of experiences – rooted in treks, voyages, studies and work. The access, integrative content and design of the journal are evolving with the goal of enhancing the reader’s experience. The views and opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the individual authors. 

Impressions and visits to date: 2,000,000+ from over 100 countries and regions.



About Us

Brief overview of  the vision and people who offer their insights and expertise. Includes a list of NP Journal Group & Contributors: editor, assistant editor, guest columnists, writers, poets and photographers.

For comments, suggestions, questions, being a guest columnist, interviewee or photographer: Contact: L J Frank at narrative.paths@gmail.com


Introductions and links to evolving ideas, philosophies, trends with both narrative and poetic reflections on diverse issues.

Interviewees, columnists and other contributors may list their publications and presentations – books, articles, book signing events, links to periodical, radio, television, YouTube, theater and film productions, talks, speeches, other programs and performances.


Includes some of Frank’s works of abstract expressionism. Numerous works are on display in business, professional offices, non-profits and private homes.

Guest Column

We welcome guest columnists/contributors. Please note: We like to experiment with ideas and explore different philosophies, topics and trends. We offer links to your online sites, updates to your writings/publications, social media presentations. Guidelines for the length of a written article – up 1500 plus words, give or take. Much depends on subject matter and author. Photos, videos, film, You Tube, podcasts, art works, cartoon drawings and other formats are welcome. Contact us for questions, suggestions or comments.

Current: Sweet Sounds of the Road by Mary Bryant


Philosophical approaches to a variety of artistic, cultural, literary, political, religious, scientific and social matters. Current: Not all breaths are the same by L J Frank


Strives to offer insightful and thought-provoking observations of varying lengths in areas that are engagingly diverse and leaning towards the paradigmatic. Race, towards an understanding, Interview with Vanessa Holloway.

NPJ Book Review

Books from the past to the present reviewed within the inquisitive, exploring nature of the journal. All reviews are by L J Frank unless otherwise noted.


“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”  Lao Tzu, Daoist philosopher

Preview listing of L J Frank’s published books with links to retail availability. Frank is also working on two books including a philosophically oriented autobiography.


Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home — Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō

Contrasting shapes of experiences, ideas, dreams and thoughts primarily in the form of experimental poetry, short essays and conversations.The words amusing, romantic, disquieting, nonlinear, rhythmless, obscure and existential are a few of the descriptors for these jottings.


Links to archived Contributors, Announcements, Guest Column, Inquiries, Interviews, NPJ Book Review and Rhythms.

NPJ Briefing

The Briefing includes updates on Visitors by country, region and union.  Also, includes the Publisher’s Log.

Please send Comments and Questions about N P Journal to the attention of L J Frank at narrative.paths@gmail.com


Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

Early morning. A light rain embraced the forest. The wetness was warm to the skin, emitting a damp fragrance, filling my nostrils with the scent of fertile soil. I walked to a nearby mountain stream to listen to the rushing water splash over boulders and birds chirping from the hardwood branches above. I gazed at scattered wild flowers beginning to blossom. And I took a deep breath, knowing not all breaths are the same.

Ambivalence. I didn’t care to look too deep beyond the barks of the trees, nor the water’s surface nor that of the soil. I tried to block out a rabbit’s cry, it sounded like a human baby, cornered by a predator – a hawk picked up the prey in its talons. Creatures fought for survival in the underbrush while a drone flew overhead to see who was walking on the path below, everyone is a suspect in a world spiced with paranoia and electronic waves that pierce the flesh delivered by conspicuous technologies. And then I noticed a white-tailed deer standing in the stream look up upon hearing several cracking noises then leap over a fallen tree and disappear in the woods. Not all breaths are the same.

Adaptation. I turned up the other sounds stored in my brain, listening to jazz and classical notes to counteract the invasive buzzing overhead until the mechanical vulture disappeared and nature resumed its rhythms. I walked for over a mile, down a slope, meditations clearing my mind of images and words without meaning until I saw small ponds of blood on pavement and men dressed as the soldiering kind with military gear, banners and guns milling around a handcuffed body, voyeurs looking at their perceived empirical victory. I held to my aim while breathing in the rhymes to my soul, appreciative of the fact that not all breaths are the same.

Quiet. Muted suggests an illusion to those who have hearing unless floating in outer space or a sound proof room. I’m weary of imperforate silence. Though the inner space of my soul understands. Most creatures depend on sound to survive, with unique acoustics designed to lighten the burden of existence and entertain the pleasures of instinct. Deaf in a world of noise is disorienting. And certain pleasures are easily cross-referenced with pain in a given context, for not all breaths are the same.

Remote. I’ve experienced isolation in a Middle Eastern desert and a high elevation in East Asia, Europe and the Americas where the seclusion was merciless and the hush deafening. My ears and eyes strained to hear and see even the faintest of disturbances and to indulge the neurological structure of my auditory and visual senses. Though the vanishing rainforests of Central America were once overwhelmed in seclusion with a cacophony of intimacies immersed in the heat and humidity. Inaccessible I’ve learned can also be encountered in a church, synagogue and temple or on the grounds of the sacred architecture meant for togetherness; though not all breaths are the same.

Possession. I returned to a place I’d been staying and watched a pair of birds nestle with each other in a tree and imagined momentarily their dinosaur ancestors but prefer them in their current, comprehensible if not approachable size. I’m a pragmatic adventurer and an optimist acknowledging life has never been equal when people contest for a shrinking piece of soil, water, air, minerals and materials of wealth as if somehow they were in possession until the day arrives when they no longer can be and discover not all breaths are the same.

The gravel road of existence: I seek that which offers a place between the blasphemies of surreal oratory and the absurdist voices of reality dilettantes and somewhere other than a monk’s quiet and the existential concerto of war in staccato relationships with the machismo of empty hearts wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day. A place away from the unstable minds that celebrate their patriotic integrity wearing false badges of empathy misplaced and lost in the remnants of uncivil discourse. Hard work and working smart is of value when you have a network of relationships and know someone that can open a door to your survival. For luck is a nomad in search of an oasis. And a revolutionary era alters one’s perspective. And, wisdom, love, truth and trust appear as transitory nouns. So, speak of the joys not the sorrows for all is fleeting as justice is seldom discreet and impartial. Still, it’s easier to wear a grin on a full stomach and be suffused with optimism when you have an equitable share in your future. But, then again, not all breaths are the same.


An author sits at a weathered table

mission style

in an alcove with leaded glass above

light rain mists the light within,

fountain pen clasped between fingers

the ink flows on a sheet of paper

calligraphy is a sensual expression

an idea emerges intimate with it’s creator

uncongealed in its quest

wavy black lines on flat white paper


the autograph of a thought.


A nearby computer waits

its attention span needless of coaxing

in a technological cloud of voyeurism

blatant marks in a metaphorical contract

a sense of judgment with each word keyed

with varying degrees of scholarship

captioned on a Technicolor screen

an overwhelming desire for more

is enough ever enough

an enigmatic witness waits for a signature

before the idea misleads a trust.


Different words whispered

ears waiting in line to hear

diplomacy seeking an awareness

like a wanting breeze in the tropical heat

possessing a latitude and longitude of its own,

knowing a single word can be parasitical

like the Gallinipper mosquito at feeding time,

a distant, deceptive smile

an existential mask on a television screen,

and the child arrives on a rocky shore


a native is found lost in the corporate maize

an overdue notice in hand,

authentic is a complicated adjective

when the heart is on a separate journey

and the autograph of a thought

is disguised under the cloak

of an acronym.

NPJ Book Review: Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by Michael Isikoff and David Corn

My perspective:

Father Tikhon Shevkunov, the self-confident and self-serving “confessor of Vladimir Putin,” reputedly told Putin a year or two before the turn of the century that he (Putin) was on a divine mission. Putin understood and believed him. Both men sought influence and both were insecure and yet self-assured. Putin’s KGB background and oversight of political and real-time assassinations are layered with intrigue and the desire for influence and power.

Donald Trump, who was already enamored with his own reflection in the mirror, was on a mission to build his empire with his name blazoned across his buildings’ facades and where he could control people by dividing and conquering them. They were his losers. He was the winner in his mind. The problem for Trump: his intellectual and emotional immaturity concerning the US Constitution and his ignorance of  diplomacy and the cataclysmic effect of cyber warfare.

Throughout recent history countries and their agencies, reinforced by corporate greed, sought to influence the values of other countries making them pliable to do business and enhance their own corporate wealth and political stability. This report takes political influence to the level of collusion between Trump and Putin and the covering it up. What other than collusion is there that aptly fits the events and the participants?

What makes this investigative journalism so riveting is how the authors so ably weave their narrative surrounding the Russian influenced 2016 election. A full-scale cyber attack insured Trump would be elected and then set it up so that he appeared surprised by his own election.

The Kremlin manipulated the greed and narcissism of Trump to their advantage and set the stage for an unusual alliance. The sheer scope of the deceit, the lies and misinformation is troubling as we attempt to wrap our head around events, people and their web of deceit leading up and following the 2016 election within the Trump family and their followers. Fear, insecurity and greed can be powerful incentives.

A seemingly insignificant but fascinating glimpse in the machinations of the Trump’s hollow words is when he is in Las Vegas in which a small press  conference occurs. Trump points to a Russian reporter by name. She asks him a carefully worded question for which he uncharacteristically gives a carefully worded answer. What was that all about?

This work is about clandestine operations by Russia in several state elections and subsequent attacks through disinformation to get Trump elected. What makes this work valuable is the amount and quality of the documentation the authors brought to their work and the role of a source inside the Kremlin and the nature of political paranoia and the manipulations by a cast of disreputable characters.

I suspect there is much more to the story. It’s what we don’t know that is bothersome. This is a very well written, excellent piece of investigative journalism.

Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer


Suffice it to say I stood on a dock in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina looking for what I thought would be a large motor yacht. A man approached me as I must have looked bewildered. I told him my dilemma and he laughed and pointed to a trawler next to a yacht.

It was a Nordic Tug, meaning it was an ocean-going tugboat (style) and in this case had a cabin customized with exotic mahogany furnishings, fixtures and the latest high-tech navigational equipment.

As I approached the tug, the owner greeted me with a certain familiarity as we had spoken on prior occasions. She wore a welcoming smile that complimented her angular face and long black curly hair and it also seem to suggest she would wait to tell me more.

As a “recruited sailor,” I was bound so to speak by the rules of the Captain. “He’s quirky but a good guy and experienced. He was born in Nassau,” and she added, “is an alleged descendant of Anne Dieu-Le-Veut, a female pirate who lived in Tortuga in the late 1600s.”


She gave me a hug and took my leather duffel bag and tossed it into the cabin.  I admit such a journey even for a comparatively short distance worth several hundreds of nautical miles gives one a sense of liberty one doesn’t have on land. The Intracoastal offers protection and shelter and has its signage, guideposts and hidden obstacles one needs to be cognizant of, where the vastness of the ocean can be breathtaking, especially from the perspective of a smaller boat.

The Intracoastal Waterway extends from Boston, MA south along the Atlantic coast and in places retains the textured relief as it waters mingle with the Atlantic Ocean and down to the southern tip of Florida and up the Gulf side all the way west to Brownsville, Texas with some substantial mixture of ingredients from the salty waters from both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

We were scheduled to head south with an ultimate destination of Fort Lauderdale. After casting off, the owner and I explored our mutual thoughts, which seemed effortless in its rhythm and flowed seamless into the sounds of nature, the caress of a breeze and the fragrance of flowering trees blooming early. After watching a few seagulls skim the watery surface searching for food and insects buzzing our head we left the small deck for the cabin and a sip of fine wine when I caught a glimpse of an alligator slipping into the water.

The Captain had a few books that he kept on a shelf: a worn copy with book marks of a 2017 Reed’s Nautical Almanac and a copy of North American Reed’s 2009 Nautical Almanac East Coast, both very useful as a sailor’s reference, along with a series of Intracoastal Waterway Chart Books, informative cruising guides – I would describe them as a basic tools, good for planning ahead.

Interestingly, there was also a copy of James C. Simmons Castaway in Paradise, which I was familiar with and in turn made me pause wondering if there was another exotic “voyage” in store.

I hadn’t given much thought to the idea we might actually consider sailing for the high seas and some remote islands – perhaps, the Bahamas my mind suggested, “It’s for entertainment value,” she said with a grin, referring to the book.

“Ah. An adventure for its own sake. And without the need for a physical or spiritual benefit or profit.” I replied.

“To philosophical dispositions. And the enigma of the Intracoastal spirit,” the owner raised her wine glass.  Our glasses clinked as we toasted.

A few hundred nautical miles later I recalled that our journeys and destinations are never precisely what we plan. And as if knowing my thoughts, the captain, under the owner’s direction, steered the boat toward the Atlantic Ocean.

An essential trait of my philosophical and writer’s disposition is adaptability. *

*a ghostwriting project.

Vanessa Holloway is a historian and philosopher of political theory, legal history, law and policy, race and rights.

Follow her on Twitter@ iam_vholloway.

She is the author of:

Black Rights in the Reconstruction Era (forthcoming, 2018).

 In Search of Federal Enforcement: The Moral Authority of the Fifteenth Amendment and the Integrity of the Black Ballot, 1870-1965 (2015).             

Getting Away With Murder: The Twentieth-Century Struggle for Civil Rights in the U.S. Senate (2014).

*Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-A.-Holloway/e/B00R0OOZU0


NP:  In your studies of race in the United States is there an ebb and flow to our understanding of the intricacies of class, racial and sexual distinctions?

Holloway: Yes there is an ebb and flow, and the causes are the economy. When social privileges are given to whites, but denied to nonwhites, the effect leads to a struggle to find one’s place in society.

NP:  James Baldwin, the essayist, social critic and writer, wrote about, among other things, how we close our eyes to reality and the moment we do, we invite our own demise. Has slavery the institution served as the foundation for the psychology of racism and do we have the potential to rid humanity of its devastating impact? Is there such a thing as racial literacy?

Holloway: Using the mutual causation theory, slavery encouraged racism directed at people of color. That is, slavery was responsible for inducing racial discrimination and because of its systemic character, eliminating racism requires a radical change in local, state, and federal institutions. Interventions at all levels must also develop economic programs. Is there such a thing as racial literacy? Yes, and when using tools of critical discourse analysis, racial literacy is necessary to address cultural differences.

NP:  Within any given society skin color, gender and names serve as opportunities for labeling and discrimination or intolerance. If everyone’ skin was transparent, we would all be witness to our inner workings and I suspect for most it would not be a pleasant experience. Is there something more provocative at work than mere skin color concerning our intolerances and fears?

Holloway: We must unlearn what is untrue about people. Instead of seeing the person, we are conditioned to see a skin color and fear and distrust it. When our differences are reinforced and institutionalized through socialization, we begin to see the effects of “symbolic interactionism.”

NP:  What has surprised you the most in terms of student knowledge about racism?

Holloway: Students are not learning its full historical context. Many are misled about the close and complex relationships between race and law.

NP: Where are race relations headed today based on our history? What has the effect of political leadership or lack thereof on that future?

Holloway: Race relations today are better than they were 50 years ago, but in order to move toward a greater positive direction, we must breed an atmosphere of trust in every facet of our social, political, and economic institutions. Effective political leadership is essential to this and must facilitate attainment of public goals.

I’ll admit it. I’m a road lizard, a highway junkie, a white line freak on asphalt though I’ve been known to explore dirt roads leading to nowhere.  I love the road, I love driving or riding but mostly sitting behind the steering wheel. I love the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of the wind riding with the windows open.  I love the flavor and the color of the different pieces of the patchwork quilt that make up the intoxicating terra firma. I can’t get enough of it.

Someone asked me once what my favorite sound was – it didn’t require much thought for me to reply, “the sound of the tires crossing the expansion joints on the highways that I travel.

That the journey is as important and as pleasurable as the destination to me is a no-brainer.  The whir of the tires and the hiss of the wind are music to my ears.  When I am fortunate enough to find a mild thunderstorm, or hear rain tapping on the roof of the car, it just adds depth to the symphony.

I realized on my most recent trip how important those sounds are to me.  I decided to try books on tape (or rather CD) for the first time. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were nothing more than an unwelcome distraction.  I quickly extracted them from the CD player.

One of the reasons that I love car travel alone is to be able to take memories of recent events and roll them around in my mind like a fine wine.  Refining details of sweet conversations I’ve had with my children or grandchildren or lovers. I relish reliving previous trips taken with family when I was a child, or thinking of drives across country with my sisters.  These memories become better with time.

Or, listening to favorite music – singing out loud like I’ve never had the nerve to do with an audience.  Belting out “Crazy” with Patsy Cline, or “L. A. Freeways” with Guy Clark, or “Gain Control” with Rodney Crowell or “Night Life” or “Good Hearted Woman” with Willie Nelson.  I just know if any of them could hear me they would have to wonder why they haven’t included me in their bands. Or, solving problems that I can’t seem to deal with in the reality of the distractions of work or the routine of daily life.

There is a certain clarity that comes with guiding a car gently between the lines of the road – finding a temporary new zone to occupy.  Add a few steep curves and hills – feeling the centrifugal pull and hearing the tires squeal just a bit or engaging the passing gear for maximum speed, all make driving a real joy!  Did I fail to mention that I also like speed?

The sounds of the road are sweet indeed.

*A romantic traveler

He was gazing at the long black smooth polished marble

made rough by too many names inscribed,

a war is a flood of tears amid the sacred joy of flagellation

wrapped in a tattered flag of promise

statues of combatants and names of generals,

intimate diplomacy requires a compassionate heart

but the fiery ball was looking to descend beyond the horizon

flames extended on a 24 hours news cycle,

and he shrugged and walked the distance and found himself

sitting on the stone steps leading up to a temple,

larger and taller offers greater security is a tale to behold

for the arc of long and thin may get you in

said a person of official standing

who sat down next to him placing in his hands a contract,

at the bottom a footnote in small letters discreetly suggested

short and thick often times does the trick.


The probes in the vast dark space are expenditures

of human curiosity

and may serve as remnants of humankind’s journey,

but, the power over another life beckons

with greater stimulation,

Is there no limit to fingering pawns with the title of soldier?

Fantasies of warlords seduced

by phallic shaped metallic devices of intrusion,

once inserted within

greeted by the bodyscape of pink and red desire.


He knew from experience the effects of human wishes,

the dead body lying by the roadside emaciated

with a shriveled baby nursing on a dried tit

dirt encrusted roots protruding from the mother’s mouth

while the vulture of greed looked on with ravenous eyes

beak open from a city too close by,

past human understanding

the possibilities to remedy are still endless

under a dusty blue sky.


Equality and health do not exist on the field of competition

people are unequal in capability and opportunity

the participants merge into marketed intelligence

and the naked body and mind arrives within context

content consists of many flavors or not,

the true believer’s delight is found in their audience

of a satiric three act comedy in search of a belly laugh.

Artist Conception. JPL, California Institute of Technology

Voyager I and II space probes were launched in 1977 to primarily gather information about our solar system.

The images sent back from the probes have been used in textbooks. The probes have provided more information than originally visualized.

The real spacecraft trajectories of the Voyagers are updated every five minutes. Distance and velocities are updated in real-time. Voyager I is in interstellar space cruising at over 38,000 miles per hour. Voyager II on a different trajectory is cruising at over 34,000 miles per hour.

The probability of gaining more insights and knowledge as the Voyager I probe travels through Interstellar space is intriguing. The same may be said of the Voyager II probe once it enters Interstellar space.

Mission Status update

Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

“The soul cannot exist without the body, which is, as it were, the urn of the soul.” Lucretius, De Rerum Natura. Bk. Iii, I, 554 (c. 45 B.C.E.)

Man invented the word soul. That doesn’t mean there is no higher intelligence in the universe. The word soul in ancient times meant from the “water and blood” and eventually evolved into possessing a “mist” like quality. See, The Barnhardt Dictionary of Etymology on the roots of the word soul.

The Greeks, Plato among others, spoke of the soul, much in pragmatic terms. In ancient Egypt we find the belief that the soul has five divisions or parts. In India there existed the beginnings within the Vedic culture the idea of eternal truths and the soul being hinted at in the mere question of “who am I?”

From native Americans, to the ancient ethnic groups of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America to a host of world cultures, most retained variations in meanings of a human (and animal) soul with the linguistic use of “from the water and/or blood” appearing to thread them together. The desire to live beyond this life and hence offer it greater meaning is found even among the nomadic tribes of prehistory as discovered in burial sites.

From a number of theological perspectives the human body is viewed as an instrument of the soul and the soul in turn considered an instrument of “God.”

There is no scientific proof for the existence of a soul. Rather there exists the human desire, if not need, to believe and the personal testimonies of believers and the literature, rituals and traditions made sacred by those believers. The gracious aspect of the soul for the living is the value of it in the present life in how we live it. The concept of the soul is connected to the human heart and mind aside from an “airy” or “mist like” afterlife.

To appreciate this concept and it effects on us today is to peer into human genetics – the development of the human personality and the attributes associated with the soulful aphorism found in several ancient cultures of “doing into others what you would have them do unto you.”

Over the centuries the concept of the soul has evolved. The soul in all of its varied architecture is tied to human empathy, nurturing, understanding and inner peace. Historically the heart and mind have become broken when empathy is siphoned away into the material world and greed is manifested in its multi-textured shapes and forms.

The rituals of “sacrifice” by ancient humans may attest to the fear surrounding the broken and irreparable soul. For even the ancient non-believer there was the note of truth to the idea that the urn created by an artisan is interwoven with the soul of its creator. For the urn without a soul has no value.

Our humanity and the concept of the soul have been historic, intimate and interpretative companions in life’s journey throughout the ages.

 I’ve read about the Stendhal syndrome (also known as the Florence syndrome), where one becomes physically and emotionally overwhelmed by viewing a work (s) of art. The syndrome is named after the French author Stendhal, the pen name for Marie-Henri Beyle  I didn’t put much stock into it.

Then it happened. Recently my good friend Bev and I took a short trip to Milan, Italy.   There were several things on our list of “to do’s.”  We agreed on a day trip to Florence on their very efficient high-speed train.  We had mastered the mass transit systems, buses, subways and trains so with great confidence we made our way to the Milan Central Train Station and fearlessly headed to Florence.

Bev and I are experienced travelers though the energy of our youthful years is somewhat spent, so even with the help of public transportation we found ourselves taking every opportunity to rest, people watch, sip some thing different at each stop and breathe in the magnificent art and architecture. The viewing of David in Florence was the turning point for me creating a dizzying sensation.

Michelangelo’s David resides in the Academia Gallery.  As we were standing in line to get into the gallery, my memory took me back to the 5th grade in the middle 1950s in small town Kansas. There was a picture of David in our history book. I was pretty naive and had no brothers so I wondered why he had a leaf covering his lower torso. (I suppose at that time public schools were not allowed to show pictures of nude bodies.)  I knew little of male genitalia and wondered what all of the boys in the class were giggling and whispering about…what was behind the leaf? What could it possibly be covering up? And where could it have come from? It just looked out-of-place.  I pondered that question until my mother came home from work that evening.  She was not happy or willing to discuss this with me.  Sex education was not a priority.

Michelangelo’s David. Credit: Mary Bryant, photographer.


Back to David… all 17 feet and over 12,000 pounds of David… carved from a single piece of the whitest marble possible …Carrara marble from Tuscany.  Perfectly proportioned David with blood vessels sticking out on his arms and hands.  The detail was amazing from his curly hair down to his toes –  smooth and shiny and muscular David.  It’s arguably the most perfect and beautiful piece of art in the world. David has stood in solemn silence for over 500 years as literally countless visitors have admired and photographed him.

Until visiting Florence and viewing David I have never had a problem communicating, verbally or in writing, but David literally struck me dumb. Shaking. Crying. Covered in goose bumps I was unable to move.

Michelangelo’s David, Mary Bryant, photographer.





It was exquisite. It’s art on another level and was more than I had anticipated, and something I couldn’t really comprehend. I still grapple with words to describe David and to give Michelangelo and his creations justice. I found out later a local hospital, Santa Maria Nuova, has a few of their staff available to comfort tourists who experience the syndrome.

After our visit with David, my friend Bev and I sought comfort in a glass or two of Tuscany wine drinking in silence during the early evening at a restaurant watching people and gazing at the architecture.

*A romantic traveler

Mindful Politics, A Buddhist guide to making the world a better place. Ed., Melvin McLeod (2006)

Decades ago I experienced the nature of Buddhism from living in Japan to studies and work in India. It’s not something you only read about. To understand and appreciate one needs to experience.

This book has been gathering dust on my shelf and I thought no better time to revisit. Buddhism is a moral philosophical approach to life in all its spheres. For Buddha all acts have a political aspect about them. Buddhism doesn’t pretend to achieve absolute perfection and its practitioners are imperfect at best.

And in this collection of essays the various thinkers, whether the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, David Loy, and many others. it offer insights not so much about policy approaches to politics but rather understanding leadership and human relationships and how one presents oneself while shedding one’s ego, how we treat each other particularly in an age of increasingly strident language. The rise in racism, misogyny and narcissism are but a few examples of concern. Though statistical graphics can show decreases in pure violent acts depending on the country, the reality is poverty and abuse remains high and it coincides with the wealth in fewer hands. Poverty is the worst form of violence as Gandhi observed.

The writers speak of the lofty Buddhist ideal versus harsh reality and the nature of politics on a personal, corporate and various governmental levels. From environment, health issues, the global economy and war the issues are vast.

One essence of living a life of “mindful politics” is found in simple truths though humility and away from the arrogance of power and greed. To feed the hungry to redirect spiritual and physical starvation and to acknowledge our humanity each hour of each day and to come together knowing there exists divisiveness but showing the wisdom of acknowledging in word and deed by working towards healing and negotiating the differences. No easy task and this book through all of its discussions and conversations both in poetry and prose is a step towards mindfulness. Mindful Politics demonstrates the imperfections even within Buddhist philosophy though still offering morsels of intrinsic value to seriously consider.

It’s not easy waiting…

patience may wear thin when you know the end of the Play is just that

and nothing else,

staying productive is a personal habit for the breath of the soul

and the health of the mind.

its easier to smile when not knowing a given moment

fear and jealousy have few places to hide

mere obstacles begotten from the semen of vanity

ill to the beating of the heart,

the body is only troubled when movement is uncertain

to see is precious when unable to

and to taste is sensual when received and given free,

distant from the inability to recognize another face’s honesty

unable to view their judgment unless spoken,

it’s inevitable for energy to mask self-awareness

opportunity is swept up in the wind like a flower’s pappus

only to serve as seeds for the next performance.

A former Russian troll speaks: ‘It was like being in Orwell’s world’

  February 17  Washington Post

“I arrived there, and I immediately felt like a character in the book “1984” by George Orwell — a place where you have to write that white is black and black is white. Your first feeling, when you ended up there, was that you were in some kind of factory that turned lying, telling untruths, into an industrial assembly line. The volumes were colossal — there were huge numbers of people, 300 to 400, and they were all writing absolute untruths. It was like being in Orwell’s world.”


Dr Fulton Johns, a dentist and scientist by training and study is a theorist in search of deeper cosmic meaning.

https://www.facebook.com/ CDMFFT/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.facebook.com/New- Book-Release-198780997327765/

NP:  In a 2017 article in The Journal of Astrophysics and Aerospace Technology you wrote about The Great Cosmic Sea of Reality the Dark Matter Fractal Field – A Conceptual Premise of the Structure and Functional Dynamics of Our Universe. What was the inspiration causing your interest in this subject matter?

Johns: I became aware one day about fifteen years ago that science had advanced at an amazing rate since my days of basic science study and decided to “retool” by using new technology to audit courses at numerous prestigious universities and reading many of the scientific papers and books by these researchers. In that journey, I was struck by a concept that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. That is what I present in The Great Cosmic Sea of Reality, the Dark Matter Fractal Field! 

Writing this book occurred over time and became more like an obsession following me around for years. I have been a perpetual student for as long as I can remember, following a desire to always understand more about this amazing creation we share. In particular, I have been focusing my studies on the physical sciences for the past eight years, especially in the sciences of particle and condensed matter physics.  The more I researched the theory the more questions it seemed to answer. I was astonished. So concepts that relate to this theory just seem to come to me in particular very early in the morning.  It is not unusual for some thought to come to me as I wake about halfway asleep and I either write down some notes on my Note 8 phone then go back to sleep or get up and start writing and research the topic for support as it relates to my theory.  So even now it is an ongoing project because I am in the “so what” stage I call it. I mean it like this ” so …ok …you think the world works like this then so what does that change.”  I have already written two scientific papers one of which was published in The Global Journal of Frontier Science Research (https://globaljournals.org/ GJSFR_Volume17/1-Possible- Origins-of-Virtual.pdf)

The other I have just completed and should be published this spring.  These are all good signs the theory has validity.  The paper you cited in your question was my original paper that was 28 pages long, which I was told I needed to shorten to get it published – it was too long for a scientific journal so I refused to do that and decided to add much more and write a book.

NP:  Perhaps the first thing we might tackle is how do you define fractal in layman’s terms? And how are we affected by fractals every day?

Johns: Think of fractals as a self-similar pattern that repeats itself at multiple scales of observation in a recursive nesting fashion, much like holding up a mirror and looking into another mirror behind you and the reflection receding into the distance. This fractal recursive theme is repeated in nature not only in forms and shapes in clouds, mountains, the human lung or circulatory system (morphology) but even in the sounds of a heartbeat, the seeming chaotic sounds of electromagnetic waves, and harmonics of those energy waves all of these have order in the seeming chaotic disorder at smaller scales.

Fractals are in fact ubiquitous anywhere you look and at many different scales. That is in fact why I believe there is a common unifying force or field at work directing this nested recursive pattern called fractals at all levels of our reality. Thereby, the name fractal field in the name of the cosmic dark matter fractal field theory.  Another good example of fractals is Matruska dolls “Russian nesting dolls one similar form residing inside another at different sizes or scales. The fractal is the ubiquitous signature of structure found throughout nature at all scales. The fractal was named and first described by Benoit Mandelbrot, and above all, to Mandelbrot, fractal meant self-similar. In fact, fractals represent symmetry across scale and because of this unique feature fractals represent a type of order in the midst of disorder, meaning in the midst of chaos. However, there is a very unique geometrical property of fractals. Complexity can be increased along with increasing the surface area within, to almost infinity, without increasing the outer dimensions of the original shape. Check this video and many others: ( https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xLgaoorsi9U)

NP: In your theory, as well as other scientific theorists in the field, suggest we experience an aspect of reality every day. If that’s the case, is our concept of reality open to question and what are the scales of reality?

Johns: That is a very important question and in my view that is the very question I was asking science but never really got a satisfactory answer. The question led me to write this book.  So it really isn’t a short answer because it took me years to figure it out and a 70-page book to answer it.

However, I can say what I have found that it isn’t!  Physicists have been saying that our reality is highly illusive and not what it seems as result of quantum weirdness related to what is known as particle duality as revealed by the most famous experiment of quantum physics which was not only counterintuitive but against common sense. Their conclusions from the “double slit” experiment, which is probably the most repeated experiment in science, I believe, are mistaken. The idea that the only time your reality is there in solid form is when an observer looks at it is just not true. Our reality is not merely a construct of our consciousness or only something that exists when we are looking at it.

My studies indicate the theory may have disquieting and specific explanations about the solid tangibility of our reality.  I can also say the theory supports a finding of our universal connected consciousness and how the memory of our mind may work as a part of that and how it links to influences that appear out of the direct sensory awareness of most people. To address the last part of your question …what are the scales of reality? This is a question that is critical for you to understand our reality and particularly the hidden influence of fractals. In this case a video can can explain it better.  (http://htwins.net/scale2/)

NP:  Our senses cannot detect the extremes of the microscopic or the cosmic scale of these patterns. What examples and implications of these extremes? How do you define dark matter and dark energy and how it affects us and on what levels?

Johns: Well most of us have limitations of our sensory perceptions which vary from individual to individual as each of is gifted in different ways, as we age and as well as influenced genetically, epigenetically and environmentally which also affects those perceptions at a higher level than previously thought.

I think you are also speaking of our human limitations perceiving different scales beyond our human capacity, that of course is what microscopes, telescopes, particle accelerators and all kind of advanced detectors are about as we probe the microscopic, subatomic and cosmic scales to try and understand the clues that give us a theory about how all of this reality works as one unit and that is called a unified theory which science has been looking to discover for centuries.

What makes the Cosmic Dark Matter Fractal Field so different is the mind-blowing awareness and implications it has for our understanding of things right in front of us and all around us at all scales. Dark matter and Dark energy is so named simply because we can’t see it or detect it except indirectly.

Fortunately, the only reason we even know it is there is because of the one way we think that it interacts with our world and that is the tremendous gravity influence it has on absolutely everything. We are only here asking these questions and contemplating reality because of that influence.

My theory literally predicts that Dark matter and Dark energy holds our reality together moment by moment as we sit comfortably on this rock we call Earth.  Earth travels in a never-ending corkscrew path at high velocities as one of many rotating planets orbiting its star, in one of innumerable solar systems moving around the galactic center, and as one of many hundreds of billions of self-similar galactic black hole centric galaxies in our universe.

All of this makes up only 4% of our known cosmos the other 96% is Dark matter and Dark energy another analogy that helps you understand the context and relationship we have with Dark matter/Dark energy. The best word picture for this concept is a Christmas tree. If you saw the Christmas tree at night from a distance and knew nothing about it, you would see a triangular pattern of lights suspended in the black of night. You would never see the very structure of the tree that gives it that shape. The lights represent baryonic matter of our universe (our world) and the tree the dark matter / dark energy that gives our cosmos its apparent form and structure at all scales.

NP:  Considering the depth of your research do you sense that energy contains an intelligence factor? If so what are the implications?

 Johns: It’s a scientific fact that energy literally equals information. Our information age I see as a primary demonstration. The implications of this fact within the framework of this theory is a perfect example of how a good theory keeps on giving answers and expanding as new questions are posed and answers offered. I do have a working model of this theory, which, I have inserted this very question in and that will be the subject of yet another scientific paper in the works along with all of the papers that are generated from this theory will be included in a second edition.

Implications? I can tell you that the information /energy connection is huge as what this theory (CDMFF) can tell us about a number of questions we might have about our cosmos. Here is a complex nutshell summary:  There is a process of ongoing cyclical creation and enhanced reformation in our cosmos. It begins at the Planck scale of the baryonic matter / cosmic dark matter fractal field interface (BM/CDMFF/I). And it’s directed by a formative causation through morphic resonance directed by the morphic fields that influence both. Working within the CDMFF, it produces our baryonic reality at the Planck scale (See http://planetfacts.org/planck- scale/). This cycle is then completed as this baryonic matter makes its way through the flow of space-time to the black hole space-time singularity at the Planck BM/CDMFF/I and at the core of galaxies and other rogue solo black holes dispersed throughout the universe. This is where both space-time and baryonic matter, with its information, is engulfed, preserved, and returned to its source in the CDMFF theory.

 NPWithin the scope of your theory is time and gravity affected and if so, how?

 Johns: Wow, once again you have ask a very difficult question that requires long answers but here is a summary of another scientific paper that I am currently researching. Because, you are entering the realm of Einstein’s General and Special Theory of Relativity so the real short answer to the question is… E=MC^2.  Just kidding, but not really the real eye opener to this question is concerning mass (M) in the famous equation above and energy (E) also in the equation.

What this new theory helped me see is that our reality reveals itself in what I call relativistic phase transitions.  The simple way to understand that statement is what each of us knows about water.  Water is a very simple molecule with very special qualities so lets talk about emergent properties first. The water molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen both are gases you can’t see or feel, ingested individually they are necessary and support life. Yet when combined in the water molecule an emergent property occurs you can both see, feel and drink. Water is required for life. Another example is salt made of one sodium atom a solid and one chloride atom a gas. If you ingest either one of these by themselves they are toxic and will kill you, yet when combined in a sodium chloride molecule you get salt with an emergent property also essential for life. Water as a molecule is known to exist in three different phases based on pressure and temperature a solid as ice, a liquid as water and gas sometimes visible as steam or fog. The same molecule is always present in every phase just in a different phase or form but always water.

One of the not so well understood meanings of E=MC^2 is our reality exist in three different phases, from energy to mass and finally from mass to coherent domains CD (when I say CD you think invisible fields like the ones that form and direct schools of fish or flocks of birds flying in formations) as directed by morphic fields you cannot see or feel yet they are the unseen influence that gives all form and shape even function. But in each of these other forms it is always energy! The Dark Matter Fractal Field is definitely foundational to all of this.

Well next you ask about time (C^2) in the famous formula.  Now that is the most slippery subject and the best way to understand its implication in this theory is there is no change in our understanding of time provided, thus far, by this theory. But what is time really?  It seems to me that it is a human construct based on how many times one planet rotates on its virtual axis in relation to its orbit around its star.  That means only something to us as a measurement of events specific to us.  Therefore, it is not only relative to the speed you are traveling compared to another observer which slows time as in special relativity, or your proximity to a large massive object like earth or a black hole which also slows time as in general relativity but it is different on every planet in our solar system as well as all of the other planets in the cosmos.

 NP: At the turn of the century I met Stephen J Gould, Harvard paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and we discussed “punctuated equilibria” and the puzzle surrounding fossils and the intervals of single cell development to complex organisms in very short periods of time between longer intervals and the potential cause of it. I was wondering what are your thoughts on his observation and do you see patterns in that causation?

Johns:  This is also another exciting and far-reaching prediction of the Cosmic Dark Matter Fractal Field Theory. The phenomenon of punctuated equilibrium observation pointed out by the published work of paleontologist Niles Eldredge and Steven Jay Gould, as seen in Earth’s geologic record, could be explained by this theory. One year before this landmark paper was published, Eldridge had declared in a paper that gradual evolution was seldom encountered in the geologic record and suggested allopatric speciation might be an explanation for such biodiversity. However, if you broaden your view of the potential reach across space-time of shared morphic resonance of Morphic fields occurring throughout the cosmos by way of cosmic dark matter fractal fields, this evolution finding by Eldredge and Gould makes sense. These heretofore unrecognized species on Earth could have been formed by morphogenetic fields propagated by morphic resonant influence through formative causation of other successful species from the biospheres of other Earth-like planets. This phenomenon could account for the sudden appearance of an unknown species here on our planet, as seen in the geologic record of a rather common species on other planets with similar environments. Therefore, these new life forms, functional patterns or instincts, possibly even crystals, might be well-established morphic habits in other Earth-like biospheres producing formative causal influences through morphogenetic fields in self-similar planets with self-similar environmental conditions over the evolutionary history of our cosmos.  This could in fact occur rather quickly, at least in geologic time, if the morphic memory is repeated billions of times on other cosmic Earth twins, employing formative causal influences in self-similar worlds transmitted across the vast abyss of our cosmos.

NP:  There has been much discussion about a  “Theory of Everything” – your thoughts?

Johns: I believe that the Theory of Everything (TOE) is a synonym for the Grand Unified Field Theory used more often in the physics arena they both refer to a kind of “Holy Grail” of the scientific community in general, but it is all about finding a theory that unifies the structural and functional dynamics of the very large cosmic scale represented now by the Newtonian Law of Gravity Theory and the micro-subatomic or Planck scale represented by Quantum Mechanics Theory.  We know that everything in our reality no matter how large, is always made of something smaller there are limits on both large and small scales as to what we can measure and observe, however, this truth is a unifying fact.  So the best theory should build from the bottom up.  The theory that describes how this happens, how our reality is built and functions from the smallest scale known, the Planck scale, up to supper-massive black holes and explains how that structure and function of our reality works from the bottom common denominator the Planck scale up… that will be the TOE.  There is very good progress of this theory doing that!


Image for Writings

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

I arrived at the rented beach house in the early evening as the sun began to slowly disappear beyond the trees on the other side of the earth and the Atlantic’s rolling waves were now accentuated with rising white caps and splashing the shore.

Upon unpacking my clothes, groceries and other stuff I briefly sat down in front the fireplace and pondered my life as a technologically oriented author who decided to forsake the future for a few days with a manual Smith Corona typewriter that I quietly brought with me. Intimacy arrives in different forms.

The patio door was open to a fragrant breeze from the ocean sweeping across the sands causing the typing paper to flutter while I was in the midst of pondering my words. The prefabricated though stylish dwelling began to creak and moan, then all grew quiet save a few seagulls skimming the surface of the waves near the shoreline calling out for fish.

And, I thought how fortunate I was typing on this effective manual tool near the beach with the idea that each word was nowhere else recorded or digitally stored. It was an intimacy between the author and his words that meant little to others except himself or at least I thought at the moment. Still, I now could write anything to my heart’s content and no one, except myself would be the wiser. How I envied those authors of ages ago who possessed the privilege of privacy with a manual typewriter though admittedly rewrites and making copies are indeed a chore from the viewpoint of the technological future.

So I continued to write my story with my back now turned to the patio door window as it grew dark but felt someone looking over my shoulder only to discover it was a seagull perched on the patio railing with an eye towards my work and a full moon was above the waters. So I adjusted my chair and small desk and I heard the seagull’s voice, as she or he may have felt slighted by my desire for private moments with my words.

By the time I finished I heard additional noise outside when there were now two sea gulls looking in on me and I began to question whether they were corporate drones until I went to the refrigerator and retrieved a small fish then threw it on the patio deck and watched the birds dive in to and divide up the gift though I never saw them eat it. I could have sworn I heard a buzzing sound but then changed my mind when it looked as if a dropping began to emerge from one the birds.

Bemused I shrugged and returned to the business of typing my short  story oblivious to the world around me and satisfied I’d done my best until I lay down for short spell only to awaken to the sound of the two seagulls waiting to see what I would do next with what looked like a smirk on their beaks or perhaps, I surmised, they accidentally flew into the door.

I looked over at what I was writing and on the page I’d been typing on contained the following seven words at the top, with their dramatic sounding irony; “Little did the seagulls and he know.”

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