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This was Plato's way. When Plato banished the poets from his ideal Republic, he did so to protect the impressionable young from depictions of ugliness and evil. Plato insisted that enlightenment could be attained only by training the mind on the good. But then there is the other way, the dark way, the path of imperfection and suffering.

This is the way of Dante, who, following Jesus' example, knew that to reach Paradise he had to travel through the Inferno. Dante's way is also the way of Job, and the way expressed by the Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi when he writes:. Be a full bucket, drawn up the dark way of a well, then lifted out, into the light. I have become, perhaps by force of necessity, a seeker of the second kind, a seeker of the dark way of the well, traveling upward toward the light, but knowing that in the end some force larger than me must lift me out.

I say that I'm now a seeker of this second kind, but it wasn't always so. Once I was a seeker of the first kind, on the path of beauty and perfection.

In my spiritual questing through my teens and twenties, I sought transcendence, enlightenment, bliss. I learned meditation, retreated alone into the wilderness, and experimented with drugs, waiting for the transforming vision, for the voices of angels robed in fire.


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I sought God in the extraordinary, in things not of this world. The summer after I finished college I took a bus to California, and after various adventures sublime and sordid, I hitchhiked to a religious commune that I knew of, in the basin and range country of eastern Nevada, a land of sagebrush and dust, jackrabbits and coyotes and rattlesnakes and antelope, a few cattle and fewer people.

At the base of the Snake Range, this commune was no hippie hangout, no faddish Age of Aquarius retreat but a community founded in the s by a Methodist minister's son who had spent years studying yoga with an Indian spiritual master. I spent a week at the commune, doing farm chores: I learned to pick apricots, to make a garden fence that deer couldn't jump over. I learned that before you chop a chicken's head off, you should swing the chicken by the feet to calm it down.

But for much of my time there I meditated and studied, did breath work and kundalini yoga, seeking the sort of mystical, transforming experience that to me constituted the one true glamour of the spiritual life. At the end of the week I went up into the mountains, for there above the farm the peaks of the Snake Range rose to 13, feet.

Now it so happens that on the shoulder of the highest peak there lives a grove of bristle-cone pine trees, some of them over 5, years old, the oldest living things on earth. Having been a tree-worshiper from a young age, I saw a journey to these trees as a fitting end to my pilgrimage. So I got a ride up the narrow road that takes you to about 9, feet and then hiked in several miles until I came upon them.


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Perhaps you have seen them in photographs: gnarled trees, seeming almost lifeless, the bark blasted from their gray weathered trunks except for one thin lifeline that snakes up to sustain the green bottle-brush needles. These grotesque forms grow where nothing else survives; in a high place of wind and snow and stone they push up through glacial rubble with their delicate offering of green. I walked among them, in silence, while sheer walls of stone rose above me a thousand feet to jagged peaks, their crevices veined with ice.

Though this was July, snowfields slumped at the shadowed base of the cliffs. Turning my back to the cliffs, I could look out across thirty miles of sagebrush valley to where the next range of peaks glittered in sunlight. If ever there was a place for transcendence, I told myself, this was it. On the tortured trunk of a tree several thousand years old, I found one sticky, golden drop of bristle-cone sap, which I plucked off and solemnly placed on my tongue, wishing for long life.

And then I prepared to meditate. Settling down with my back against the ancient tree's trunk, my legs crossed, my spine erect, the sun warm on my face, a gentle breeze lifting the hair on my forearms, I closed my eyes, ready for my vision. It began as an itch, a small one, low down on my back, something that with discipline I could ignore.

I bore down, counted my breath, focused on my crown chakra. The itch had become a tickle, and moved higher on my back, disturbing my focus.

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I held on, projecting a cone of white light from my crown to the heavens, seeking contact. The tickle rose between my shoulder blades, becoming a torment, and I could bear it no longer: I writhed and scratched, trying to hang on to my perfect moment. What was this thing? It was an ant.

An ant had crawled up inside my shirt, on business known only to itself. It was stubborn and elusive, and after more violent contortions, my meditation spoiled, I removed my shirt, shook out the ant, and spent the rest of the afternoon rambling over the rocks before hiking down to the road.

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More than in those ancient trees, more than in the mountains, more than in the vast space stretching out before me, the true nature of God was revealed to me in the humble climbing of an ant, after an intriguing smell, perhaps, or the pleasing salty taste of skin. It was the ant that returned me to the world, that called me to another way of worship, the way of all things ordinary and small, the way of all that is imperfect, the way of stubbornness and error, the way of all that is transitory and comes to grief.

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The ant was my messenger, calling me back to a world that in truth I had never left. Eliot writes:. We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. And so I have returned to become a seeker of the second kind, a seeker of the dark way. I've grown suspicious of perfection, seeking not a perfect life but a full one. We have all had our magic moments, when we enter that forest clearing where dragonflies dance and sunlight descends as a kind of grace.

But we know such bright moments only because of the darkness that surrounds them. The clearing needs the forest, and I've learned to be thankful for its shadows. T he other day, my wife, my children, and I watched toads breeding at Bearcamp Pond.

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Their loud trilling drew us to the sheltered lagoon where toads slid and tumbled over one another in the shallows. Our eyes were drawn to one mating pair, the smaller male clinging to the larger female's back, out in deeper water, now sinking, now rising to the surface, now resting, now stroking their rear legs together, a languorous and lovely dance.

Not for some time did we see, with a slight shift of focus, the snapping turtle just below—an old giant, half boulder, half jaw, big as a hassock—waiting in the depths to devour them. Who's to say where God lies? We have all heard poems, songs, and prayers that exhort us to see God in a blade of grass, a drop of dew, a child's eyes, or the petals of a flower.

However, it is generally the case that cross-trained employees are not as productive as employees who are originally trained on a specific task. Also, the productivity of the cross-trained workers depend on when they are cross-trained. Save to Library. Create Alert. Share This Paper. Figures from this paper. Citations Publications citing this paper. References Publications referenced by this paper. Superman and Supergirl were metas from Krypton who gained their powers from exposure to Kryptonite radiation.

Supergirl was the last being to leave Krypton after many failed attempts to save the planet. She and Supermen then journeyed to Earth, where they fell in love, got married and had a son, Superboy. Supergirl gained the ability to shapeshift from Kryptonite radiation and used it to transform into her secret identity of Lo Slane. S'Age claims that Supergirl could still be alive as she was a self-regenerating protoplasmic lifeform who was active from the First Heroic Age to the time of the Legion of Titanic Superheroes.

She also believes that Supergirl once went crazy and tried to the destroy the world, an event called the Crisis. Garrett's mother tells her that the "S" badge, an ancient relic from Old Earth, belonged to Sardine Girl, who was created from super scientific mud. It doesn't prove very effective. Other humans are seen holding a razor and a hairdryer, which they seemingly believe are also weapons.

The historical records on the asteroid museum Warriors celebrating the life of Guy Gardner claim that he fought injustice from the day that he was born punching the doctor who slapped him , had a normal and happy upbringing, was always at the top of his class in high school, was a great athlete, served as the leader of the Justice League and was always faithful to his lady love, the goddess Ice.

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The museum does acknowledge that some archival sources suggest that Guy came from a dysfunctional family and that he was a high school dropout, a mediocre sportsman and an "obnoxious, womanizing hothead" who turned on the Green Lantern Corps. However, the tour guide Lumita claims that all of these stories are either inaccurate or were deliberately created to sully Guy's reputation. It turns out that Guy is still alive and well, Lumita is his daughter and he created Warriors to promote himself and his legacy.

A lampshading from the Post- Zero Hour! Legion of Super-Heroes. A museum curator in the 30th century tells visitors: "-and of all the surviving structures of the second millennium, we know the most about the Alamo. For example, it was here that Panamanian strongman George Washington wrote his classic poem, 'The Raven'-" Transmetropolitan takes place in a future where no one even knows for sure what year it is.

When Spider tells a presidential candidate who just quoted Tennyson's Ulysses that it was Bobby Kennedy's favorite poem, his campaign manager says, "I'm sorry, who? He was in Led Zeppelin.