Portrait. This is the first self-portrait I ever took with a web-cam. Date: October 1, 2003. Cam: the now defunct Orange iBOT USB2 camera. The setting is where I spend countless hours: my home office. My wall of books is in the background. Even though the resolution on the picture leaves much to be desired, I like this picture because it is prototypically me: I'm wearing a t-shirt and sitting at my computer in my office.
dziadzia. Dzia-Dzia is the Polish term for grandfather and is what I called my mother's father. I loved Dzia-Dzia deeply, even though I only saw him once or twice a year after we moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania. His day job was working a pharmaceutical factory in Detroit, but the arts were his true love. He was a professional photographer and had his own studio where he shot portraits and developed the photos in his darkroom. He organized a local theatre group when he was younger. He suffered a stroke in his 70s which left him bedridden. One of his lifelong regrets was being unable to return to his homeland in Poland. So what my mother did was to do a large oil portrait of him, filling in the background with landscape photos that had been taken near his village. That way, in a sense, he could see himself "in Poland." He cried when she presented the portrait to him. When my mother died in 2002, my brother and I divided all of her paintings, and I got Dzia-Dzia's portrait. I took photos of her collection and posted them a couple of years ago at: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/uraportfolio.html .
archetype. On April 30, 1974 I had a very intense dream which I recorded (I was keeping a dream diary at the time). The full dream is too personal (read: contains sex) to post on LJ, but I'll quote the following section: "At that exact moment, I heard my voice, as though I were split in two and talking to myself. My other self was narrating what was happening. My voice said, 'And as I thrust, I also felt a sharp pain and saw the symbol which I knew to be my Jungian archetype.' And crystal clear, I saw it." [I drew the symbol that appears on my icon.]
23. You'll have to read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger to understand the full significance of this number. But, essentially, it is a number of synchronicity.
Global Brain. I discovered the global brain concept in the 1980s when I found a short film on the subject. The basic idea is that the earth resembles a super-organism in the sense that life forms are connected to each other in ecosystems, and that channels of communication within and across systems represent the nervous system or brain of the planet. Actually, I had read similar ideas in the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; the newer global brain concept is just somewhat more quasi-scientific (which is to say, most scientists think it is a stupid idea). Despite being a skeptic, I can't help but be intrigued by the global brain hypothesis.
gratitude. This is one of the three attitudes (the other two being compassion and attention) that psychologist Timothy Miller recommends we cultivate as a means of overcoming psychological problems and developing a sense of well-being. I strongly recommend his books to people who want to work on their well-being. Sadly, they are out of print, but one can find used copies on the interwebs.