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22 Dec 2013

Seven Years of Synchronicity

Posted by Teapots Happen. 6 Comments

This January, it will have been seven years since “teapots happened.”

And this January, I’m launching a new life – a joyful leap of faith made possible entirely upon the lessons that synchronicity has taught me, from the teapots onward.

I am following intuition, flow, and coincidence into transformation – a major metamorphosis in my life.

My energy has been occupied by this transition for several months now, so I didn’t write down or blog here about the many synchronistic smiles, winks, and nudges the ‘universe’ provided me along the way – there were a few real good ones in there, but I found myself reluctant to write about them for some time now – with the intuition that my focus should now be sliding past the coincidences themselves, and to the bigger picture that they bring into visibility.

So I stopped paying as much attention to each case, and let the larger lesson sink in. OK, so this is how the world works. Literally awesome! So now what?

What does intuition tell me, and where does “surfing it” lead me?

Well, so far, so good; last month I quit my well-paying job in internet marketing, and got married – to the very gal that I brought the first teapot to in the thrift store, asking her to help me make sense of my irrational, intuitive attraction to it.

teapots happening at the wedding

Kristin & Gabe Sehr


On the first day of the new year I’m moving out of the urban house I’ve lived in for 17 years – to make a Living on a small organic farm in the woods, with my wonderful wife and our dogs.

But first, Kristin, Cleo, Widget and I are taking a two-month roadtrip/working honeymoon, all the way to the southernmost port of Florida, working at three different organic farms along the way. Letting go of old patterns, sinking into the new rhythms and possibilities.

After 2 months of that journey, we’ll return to the north – moving into the off-grid travel trailer on the farm we’ve been building up for the past three years together.

We’ll be doing a small organic CSA, selling produce and preserved edibles at farmer’s markets, experimenting with aquaponics, vermiculture, hugelkultur, mushroom growing, and wood heat for living space, greenhouses, and cooking.

Rollo-home Sweet Home

I have no anxiety although we have no business plan. I have no fear although we have no idea exactly how thing will go, what will work, what will fail, or where this will take me in a year, or two, or ten. My mantra is “surf it,” and our farm is named after the famous saying “que sera, sera” – whatever will be, will be. I have faith that whatever the unknowable future will bring, it will be something good, something we will grow by experiencing. I have faith in both our ability to make whatever happens into something awesome, and in the amazing support system all around us – from family and friends to the soil and the land and life itself.

It’s a grand adventure – an exploration of living life in accordance with everything that I’ve worked out over the years – the coinci-dancing lessons I’ve mulled over throughout this blog.

Thanks for joining me throughout this journal of my metamorphosis! I won’t say this blog is done, but I reckon that going forward I’ll be primarily blogging at the Que Sehra Farm website …

… and I just posted a tale of synchronicity there,  check it out!


serendipitous storage solution synchronicities

“serendipitous storage solution synchronicities”

– Love!

Gabe Sehr (nee Carlson, nee Max Action)

27 Nov 2012

Trident/Trishul Piercing & Tattoos

Posted by Teapots Happen. 20 Comments


The TV was on in the living room, playing interesting-looking and muted documentaries on Netflix, while music and conversation took over the audio.

First was an old documentary from the late 50s, scenes from Africa and India – animals both human and not, doing the things they do. Lions stalking, natives dancing, rhinos charging, all glimpsed briefly, in passing. Kristin drifted toward sleep on the couch, and our friend Jacque ate some of our leftovers and relaxed after getting out of work. We weren’t really watching the TV at all. But then something visceral caught our eyes and held them – a Hindu skewering his own tongue with a metal bar, topped with a trident.


It turned out that this was just the beginning … his skin was hooked through, all over his body, chains were strung between them, and at least one plump lemon dangling from each hook and every chain. And he pulled a giant-looking wagon through town – a 15-foot wedding cake contraption on wheels, dragged along by the hooks in his back. And his shoes were beds of nails.

And: through it all, the dude had his tongue sticking out, unretractable, thanks to the spike piercing it from top to bottom.

Eventually the filmmakers quit showing the tongue-pierced guy, and we lost interest in the screen again.

I found myself pondering not what the hooks and piercings felt like, but simply what it would feel like to have your tongue sticking out for that long. It seemed like it would be somehow more unpleasant than all the rest, frustrating, claustrophobic in a way rarely experienced. I stuck out my tongue experimentally and held it there. It wasn’t out long before Jacque looked over and thought I was making faces at her.

More imitation – and laughter – ensured, as we stuck out our tongues and held them there.

.  .  .

A few hours later: Jacque had gone home, Kristin was asleep on the couch, and I was puttering around, feeding the fish, browsing on the laptop, and relaxing. It had been an annoying and stressful day at work, but now I was feeling good, back in balance. The iPod was on shuffle, and I’d put on a random documentary I had no interest in, something about an unnamed selection of artists from the ’90s. Almost an hour in, I hadn’t watched more than four consecutive seconds of it, up until I glanced up from what I was reading and saw a scene from the movie ‘Gummo.’

That caught my eye, and I watched it play out in wonderful coordination with the random music. Then it cut to a shot of director Harmony Korine, talking. I couldn’t hear him with the sound off, but I watched his face as he spoke, measured his gaze. I wasn’t sure why I was paying attention, but I was. After a few minutes, Korine raised his hand to smoke, and I laughed – he had a symbol tattooed on his hand, and to my memory it was almost identical to the tongue trident with which the Hindu in the film had transfixed our attentions and inspired our impressions.


Harmony Korine's trident hand tattoo

Harmony Korine’s trident hand tattoo

Hmm. The kind of coincidence I probably only noticed because I’d been thinking about synchronicity just before I saw it happen. And not something to write home – or blog – about. I figured the tattoo probably wasn’t really identical or derived from the same symbols.

But … it was still interesting. So I paid it some attention.

I texted my friend Dan (a huge Harmony Korine fan, and probably the reason I even recognized Harmony and knew his name), taking the extra typing effort to ensure clear communication;

“What is harmony korines hand tattoo?”

I rewound the film to get a second look at the tattoo, pausing it when he smoked. Took a cellphone pic and sent it to Jacque, with the caption “is this tat the thing that dude had through his tongue?”

Jacque: “Yes.  what is that from”

And then Dan texted me back. And that’s when the chain of coincidences went from interesting to awesome:

Dan: “Holy fucking weird!!! I was just thinking of it 2 hours ago and actually drew it on my hand. I’m looking at it now.”

I burst out in laughter and wrote him back:

Me: “Take a pic for me please”

Dan's pen trident "tattoo"

Dan’s pen trident “tattoo”

Dan reported that he’d been bored in class, and found his thoughts wandering to Harmony Korine for no apparent reason. The tattoo Korine has on his hand came to mind, and for some reason he decided to draw it on himself. (This was probably around the same time that I was seeing the Hindu man pierce his tongue with a trident.) About two hours later, I saw Harmony’s trident tattoo for the first time, and decided to ask Dan about it.

I did a little bit of online research and found that there is an incredible amount of symbolism associated with the trident – when I researched it I kept running into familiar but unexpected connections (such as Ganesha, who I’ve had an attraction toward since the aftermath of the mystical experience on Point Reyes). But I don’t know that the meaning or message of this coincidence, if there was one, is in the meanings people assign the trident symbol.

I’d been pondering synchronicity and the teapot coincidences as I sat on the couch just before this happened, and I think this may have somehow occurred because of that – further continuation of the teapots, further confirmation that the boundaries between inner consciousness and the outside world are not nearly all that distinct after all.  That paying attention to coincidences leads to interesting results, and that irrational intuitions aren’t something to simply dismiss.

Or, maybe it something to do with the symbol itself, but I just can’t bring myself to dive down that rabbithole right now.

Maybe later.

For now, I’m happy to not know; it’s cool to live in a world with a little mystery to it, anyway.


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22 Nov 2012

blog note: synchronicity links & comment subscriptions

Posted by Teapots Happen. 3 Comments

I finally added the ability to subscribe to comments, making actual conversations a lot more feasible. So if you’ve commented on a post in the past and want to know if someone responds, you can go subscribe to the comments on it …

Also, I’ve somehow lost the widget that used to be on the sidebar, linking out to other blogs and websites about synchronicity and mystical experiences, etc. I’d like to try to reconstruct it at some point, so if you know of any good resources or blogs that should be included let me know about them.

have a grateful Thanksgiving!

teapot synchronicity



28 Oct 2012

the pin – yet more thrift store magic

Posted by Teapots Happen. 5 Comments

Today four of us went to the thrift store for the first time in many months. On the way there, discussing the pros and cons of different store options,  I loudly declared that I was going to find another magic teapot. I guess I had no expectation that I really was going to find a teapot, but maybe was hoping that I’d find something serendipitous and synchronistic – thrift stores are often good for that, with their dense assortment of randomness.

I’d already forgotten my pronouncement by the time we arrived, but still headed to the kitchen section first, thinking that my girlfriend Kristin might want to browse for something useful for her canning/cooking/pickling.

Of course, that was the section were teapots are found, and where I’d bought one of the original two that this blog is named for … but …

Before I could even start down the kitchen aisle, Kristin suggested that we head down further to look at the furniture. So we did. We ‘d been in the store for maybe three minutes when she pointed out the first item of interest – a series of square boards connected by strapping, to be used as some kind of hanging shelf unit.

When Kristin pulled it off the shelf to examine it, letting it hang down to the floor, I happened to notice the back of a pin on one of the straps. There was just one – somebody had once stuck a single decorative pin into the strapping. But the way it was hanging, I couldn’t see the front of it.

After asking her a few times what it was (she had no idea what I was referring to) I managed to get hold of the strap, and twist it around so we could both see … the silvery teapot shining there.



teapot pin


We both started laughing, moreso when we remembered that I’d actually announced that I was going to find a magic teapot today.

Needless to say, that alone made the entire trip more than worthwhile. I didn’t even look very hard for anything else, since I’d found what I’d been looking for, right off the bat – yet another wink, another nudge, another confirmation of all the weird and seemingly irrational things I’ve found myself increasingly daring to believe since my mystical experience 7 years ago.


So thanks again for the reminder:  Teapots Happen. I’m still not sure what it means … but it certainly makes things a lot more interesting.


PS – oh! I forgot to mention something  –

My current girlfriend Kristin was one of the friends I was with at the thrift store when I’d found the first of my two teapots, back in 2006. In fact, she was the main person I kept coming up to, trying to understand why I was so compelled to buy the rather utilitarian-looking but nonfunctional teapot.

Unique Thrift - teapot synchronicity HQ

(She’d quite sensibly advised me not to buy it, but I did anyway.)

So, it was an extra awesome synchronicity to not only accidentally find a teapot after declaring my intention to do so – but to find it with her, stuck onto an object she’d chosen … and at a Unique Thrift Store, just like 2006.



(if you’re new to the blog and don’t understand why the heck a thrift store teapot pin makes for an interesting coincidence, read this: https://teapotshappen.com/about/ )


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6 May 2012

Teapots happen … again (50’s dinner party edition)

Posted by Teapots Happen. 11 Comments

Last weekend a couple of good friends of mine threw a little 50’s-themed dinner party, and as part of it they encouraged us all to bring a “white elephant” gift to share.


50s party hijinx

50s party hijinx


When the time came to exchange gifts, no one really remembered how to proceed, so we wound up simply writing our names on a piece of paper, putting them in a hat, and then drawing a name each. As we did so, we remembered that there was supposed to a process that involved going one at a time, and giving opportunities to steal and swap gifts, etc.

Although I hadn’t yet drawn a name and had no idea what I would be getting, I felt that the best solution was to just skip all the game aspect of the gift exchange, and simply keep what we drew, period – you get what you get, random coincidence rules. It was a simple solution and we’d already started drawing names, so everyone agreed and the drawing commenced …


white elephant synchronicity

50's greasers drawing names for the gift swap

white elephant meaningful coincidence

reading the name I drew (Kari smiles seeing it's her gift I'll get)

And here’s what I won – a gift that was intended for me, but expected to have been acquired through the normal White Elephant gift game process of stealing and trading gifts – but was instead obtained by unaided coincidence:


teapots happening, again

Bemused, happy, but not even surprised anymore ... teapots; they happen.


(if you’re new to the blog and don’t understand why the hell a book abotu teapots makes for an interesting coincidence, read this: https://teapotshappen.com/about/ )


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17 Mar 2012

Tunnels, Tags & Teapots

Posted by Teapots Happen. 4 Comments

March 14, 2012

I got an unexpected email from another local urban explorer last Wednesday morning, while I was at work – it contained two images I’d requested to see, one several months earlier, the other, just two days previously.

The image I’d requested months ago was of an Action Squad tag I’d allegedly left on a bulletin board in a vacant former hydroelectric power substation, up above the NSP Tailrace Tunnels.

11 year-old Action Squad tag, seen for the first time since


I was pleased to finally see it – while I had no clear recollection of leaving the tag 11 years ago, it was clearly my handwriting and crude logo. Laughing nostalgically, I showed the picture to my co-worker Noah.

An hour or so later, it was time for lunch – I’d brought food, but it was insanely gorgeous out and Noah was going out to get something, so I decided to get outside by tagging along to wherever he decided to go.

We left the Warehouse District and crossed the Hennepin Bridge into North East – I figured we were going to Noah’s frequent lunch destination, Lunds.

But then he surprised me by turning into the Saint Anthony Main neighborhood. As we drove over the NSP Tailrace Tunnels, I commented on them – pointing out the NSP powerplant building that we’d accessed from the tunnels beneath, and reminiscing about how much fun I’d had exploring them when I’d gone to the nearby U of MN.


NSP hydroelectric building


They were the first Minneapolis tunnels I ever explored, I explained – I had been a freshman at the U of MN when a group of my co-workers at my new job (at the Weisman Art Museum) took me to explore them (and in doing so, opened my mind up to the possibility of actual amazing Gooniesque adventures, complete with underground bridges over underground canals, rust-choked machinery from the 1800s, cave crawfish, and access to active power infrastructure).


tunnel crawfish NSP Tunnels

tunnel crawfish '95 - first time into the NSP Tunnels (photo by Natasha)


At the time, riding in Noah’s car, it did not occur to me that the tag photograph I’d been emailed that morning (and showed Noah just before lunch) was from the subbasement of the very building we were looking at, or that I’d gotten into it to leave that tag through the very tunnels we were discussing.

We drove further, and then arrived at a destination that surprised me – Santana Foods. This place had been around forever – it had been old already when I had gone to the U in the late 90s.

In fact, I told Noah, Santana was the place that Action Squad would always stop into, after our long thirsty nights exploring the NSP Tunnels – it was not only nearby, on the way back to campus, but it was open absurdly late every night.


Santana Foods Minneapolis

Santana Foods



After work that day, I get a call from my friend Natasha, which was weird – we have stayed in touch since we both graduated from the U of MN, but generally only talk once a year, around early August, when we both have birthdays.

It turned out that she was calling because that afternoon, she’d driven past Santana Foods and been surprised to recognize me sitting alone at a table outside (Noah was inside ordering his lunch).

Pleased by the coincidence, I laughingly explained how I’d come to be there that day – and when I told her about how I’d just been reminiscing about the old days to Noah, I realized that Natasha had been one of the co-workers that was with me the first time I ever got into the NSP Tailraces – the specific trip that I’d been reminiscing about to Noah, on the way to Santana Foods. (Natasha was the person that took the photo of me holding the NSP Tunnel crawfish, above.)

And only then, having noticed the Natasha coincidence, did I also realize/remember that I’d been emailed a photograph from the NSP tunnels just before I left for lunch, and that I’d showed it to Noah (without telling him where it was taken) – just before he drove me past the building containing the tag, and just before he brought me to Santana, where I sat outside in the beautiful, unlikely March sunshine … as my former NSP-tunnel-exploring friend Natasha drove past.

Interesting … spring has come early to Minnesota this year, and with it, the crop of coincidences that seem to occur every year as winter melts away, I thought.

I was amused, but not yet really paying attention. Yeah, a neat chain of coincidences, but nothing to write home (or blog) about.

But tonight the other shoe dropped – leaving it hard to ignore that the universe seems to be winking at me …


I was hanging out with some friends in my living room, and was just beginning to tell them the same story that you just read – starting, as above, with the email I’d received with the photo of my old tag.

As I spoke, I almost left out what seemed to be a minor detail – that the explorer who’d emailed me the photograph of the old NSP tag had actually sent me two photos, not just the one of the Action Squad tag. I decided not to cut that fact out, thinking that it could be seen as an attempt to sensationalize the coincidence, if I made it sound as though the email before lunch had been only the photo of the tag … and then I went silent in mid-sentence, staring off into space, remembering what the other photo I’d been emailed was.

Because that other photo was of a buried teapot.

Not my teapot – a different one, found by other explorers digging into a long-sealed cave system. A teapot – the very symbol, for me, of mysterious coincidences – the signature move of synchronicity in my life.



Looking back, it was like I’d been willfully missing or dismissing each coincidence, as they chained together – until finally the chain of connections became too much to ignore, with the coup de grace of having been connected to teapots from the beginning.


I’m grateful for the reminder:


Teapots – they happen.



buried teapot Lilydale cave

"When coincidences pile up in this way, one cannot help being impressed by them—for the greater the number of terms in such a series, or the more unusual its character, the more improbable it becomes."(C. G. Jung)





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28 Nov 2011

Teapots Happen: Christmas 2011 Edition

Posted by Teapots Happen. 2 Comments

Two years ago, I drove to my sister’s house in Illinois to celebrate Christmas with my mom, her dog, my girlfriend, and my dog – and a whole lot of coincidences went down.

This year, I took the same roadtrip to my sister’s, but this time with Kristin (Becky and I broke up in 2010), a different (and smaller) car, and at Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. (However, we were celebrating Christmas early, so it was pretty similar.)

This trip, there were not as many coincidences, but the one I did notice was a good one, right on point for me …


Shortly before the trip, Kristin bought a new teapot for my house, which she’d found at a thrift store (in classic teapot style). It was a green shade that almost matched my kitchen’s green – we commented on how it was just a little bit off, but it fit perfectly even though it was slightly different tone from the paint.


green teapot & kitchen

my teapot & kitchen


When we walked into my sister’s house, one of the first things I’d noticed was that she had the exact same teapot, in a blue that went with her kitchen:


light blue teapot & kitchen

my sister's teapot & kitchen (hard to tell due to my crappy pic, but the walls and cabinets are all light blue)


And like my teapot, my sister’s didn’t perfectly match her kitchen color scheme – it was a slightly different tone of blue (which she pointed out to me when I said that it “matched”).


Needless to say, given the background of my original teapot synchronicity, I was delighted by the coincidence.



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15 Aug 2011

The Green Bowl

Posted by Teapots Happen. 6 Comments

One lazy evening in late June,  my roommate Erin was making rhubarb pie in the kitchen, while I sat in the armchair in the living room. As we talked about something, she came into the doorway, holding a large green glass bowl that my mom had given me – and which she always made a  point to ensure I still possessed when she came by.

Although Erin has never broken any of my kitchenware and was not doing anything threatening toward the bowl, for some reason I jokingly said “don’t break my bowl!”

She laughed and looked at it, scoffing “don’t worry, I’m not going to break your green bowl.”

Then she walked out of sight toward the sink. The water ran for a moment, and then I heard her curse in surprise.

I jokingly yelled something like “what of mine have you ruined in there?!” (Although I’d just made the comment about the bowl, I’d already put it out of my mind – it was just a random comment – and besides, I’d heard no breaking glass.)

But then Erin returned to the doorway, still holding the green glass bowl – a shocked look on her face.

She held up the bowl, which looked intact – at first.

green bowl synchronicity

Then I noticed that three jagged cracks ran through it. No pieces had come apart – it had simply cracked when she’d put the frozen pieces of rhubarb into it.



It felt too coincidental to be a coincidence …. but what? Did I somehow know, at some level, that it was coming? Did it happen because we thought about it? Did I unconsciously pick up from her body language when I saw her with the bowl that she, at some unconscious level, was aware that the hot water & ice cold rhubarb that she would soon be adding to the bowl might crack it?


Even if ‘merely’ the latter, still fascinating!


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1 May 2011

Lutsen parking permit

Posted by Teapots Happen. 1 Comment

This last winter, my friend Nick helped me learn how to snowboard – the new hobby I’d chosen to keep me active during the snowy season, when longboard skateboarding isn’t an option.

Nick planned a snowboarding trip to Lutsen Mountain for early March, for his birthday. Six of us went, and I had a great time – the first day was all clear skies and amazing views of Lake Superior far below, and the second day graced us with well over 6″ of fresh powder.

That trip was my final snowboarding for the year; afterward, winter and snow slowly relinquished their hold on Minnesota. By the end of March, the snowboards had been put away, the snowboard rack removed from the top of my car, and one of the final remnants of the snowboarding season was my parking pass from Lutsen Mountain, which was still floating around the car, getting stepped on and coffee stained.

This parking pass surfaced as part of an amusing synchronicity on one of my earliest Spring trips out longboard skating …

It was late March, and I was out with Jay and Andrew driving around Minneapolis, hoping to find a decent place to ride the longboards around a little – someplace without snow or rivers of snowmelt. This quest was proving difficult; it really wasn’t skating season yet, but I was really chomping at the bit, eager to get out and get my body moving after a long cold winter. (Snowboarding had been great, but it just wasn’t the same.)

We wound up driving alongside Lake Calhoun, and I noticed that the paved lakeside path looked sorta dry – certainly not ideal, but we’d been hunting for awhile and I was getting impatient.

So when two cars pulled away from their parking spots at once just as we approached, I impulsively turned the car around 180 degrees and pulled into one of the open spots.

Jay protested that the Lake path looked crowded with people, and he was not feeling like such a lengthy skate. I argued that it was as good as we would find, it wasn’t a very long skate, people can be dodged, and fuck it – we were there and parked, let’s just roll!

As we discussed it and Andrew and I pulled the longboards out to test out and prepare for action, a car pulled in behind us, into the other newly-open spot. A young woman got out and started to prepare her small child and stroller. She started talking to us – her name was Susan, and she was quite friendly and easy to talk to. It turned out that she used to skate, pre-baby and pre-Achille’s tendon injury, and she missed such activities. Now her ankle was finally healed, and her daughter was getting old enough to bring along on outdoor adventures. She repeatedly told us that she “used to be cool” – and she took my board around a little bit to see how it felt on her ankle.

Although Susan joined me in encouraging Jay to skate the lake, it was to no avail. So we all said goodbye – Jay walked home (he lives nearby), Andrew and I went to skate the lake clockwise on the bike path, and Susan the friendly mom left stroller-jogging counter-clockwise on the walking path.

The bike path was wet and sandy and gross and clogged with wayward pedestrians – but it felt so good to be out on my board that I still enjoyed it heartily … even though the sandy slop on the griptape and the wet wheels made it almost impossible to generate momentum by ‘pumping’ the board back and forth. It was joy enough just to be out without winter gear, pushing along, re-energizing slumbering muscles and tendons and movement patterns.

We saw Susan and her daughter briefly as we zoomed past in the opposite direction, and waved.

I got back to the car a couple minutes ahead of Andrew, and stashed my board in the back … and then felt an impulse to leave a note for Susan. I wasn’t trying to hit on her; I just thought she seemed really positive and pleasant, and the first skate of spring has left me in a mood very open to connection and following flow and coincidence.

So I looked for something to write a note on – and found that parking pass from my Lutsen snowboarding trip. I scrawled a quick message, and stuck it under her windshield wiper before we drove off.

A week or two went by, and I’d almost forgotten about the incident when I got an email from Susan. We emailed back and forth a bit, and I decided to look her up on Facebook.

I found her – and was surprised to find we had one friend in common. I started to email Susan to mention the coincidence – but it wasn’t until I was describing how I knew the mutual friend that I realized that following the flow/my intuition had led me to synchronicity yet again:




Our mutual friend – Nick – was my snowboarding friend – the same guy who had planned and booked the trip to Lutsen Mountain, and who had handed me the parking pass that I’d used to connect with Susan when we’d met.



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27 Apr 2011

pardon the dust

Posted by Teapots Happen. 4 Comments

moved the site to its own domain to get away from WordPress’s annoying ads and CSS extortion, some things are broken (random post links, some youtube videos, my old blog/website link lists, etc) … working out the kinks (and have a new post ready to go as soon as I get my mitts on the relevant artifact for scanning).

27 Apr 2011

more a great thought than a great machine

Posted by Teapots Happen. 3 Comments


“The stream of human knowledge is impartially heading towards a non-mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm.”

Sir James Jeans