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oldtortoise404

61 M Montclair, NJ

My Details

Last Online
Jun 14
Orientation
Straight
Ethnicity
White
Height
5′ 10″ (1.78m)
Body Type
Average
Diet
Mostly vegetarian
Smokes
No
Drinks
Socially
Drugs
Never
Religion
Other, and very serious about it
Sign
Education
Graduated from law school
Job
Politics / Government
Income
Rather not say
Relationship Status
Single
Relationship Type
Offspring
Doesn’t want kids
Pets
Speaks
English (Fluently)

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My self-summary
I'd like to find a true friend and companion in life. Wouldn't we all. But I'm a "specialty item", a rare bird, perhaps a "one of a kind". If I'm not, then please let me know! Nonetheless, I'm definitely not the usual "cup of tea" for most people on this site, as experience has shown!

In a nutshell, I am a mixture of geek, "sociable hermit", and someone searching for God but doing it without religion. I spend a fair amount of time alone. I don't do much traveling anymore, am mostly content to stay close to my "cell" (a small suburban apartment). I spent my quiet time reading, doing chores, writing, exchanging written thoughts with friends, bits of prayer and meditation, cooking, that sort of thing. I don't talk on the phone all that much; writing (or texting, when necessary) is more my style.

Nonetheless, like most, I need some social connection. I get together with people, go out to restaurants, enjoy having face-to-face conversations . . . it's just that my balance between aloneness and social interaction is a bit skewed. It's a Taoist yin-yang thing, a swirl of dark and light, a dynamic between the social and the "eremetic". I appreciate both all the more, because of their great contrast! Despite much time alone, I hardly get depressed. I really DO enjoy humankind and life, all the more for having some quiet time to digest and contemplate it!

I'd like to find someone who shares my values and interests and "sociable hermit" karma; someone I could spend time with and who could spend time with me without upsetting our balance. I'm not in a big rush with this search. I'm not an "old tortoise" for nothing!

[For more on sociable hermits, there are two good books describing this lifestyle by Barbara Erakko Taylor, "Silence" and "Silent Dwellers". There is also Marsha Sinetar's "Ordinary People As Monks And Mystics". And then there's Greta Garbo, so I'm told. Wikipedia says that despite vanting to be alone, Ms. Garbo had a small but steady circle of friends. Sociable hermits are not likely to be found in Norman Rockwell-type paintings of big family dinners. We sometimes eat alone, sometimes with one or two close friends.]

I'm a sociable hermit tortoise for a variety of reasons. I could list those reasons -- partly age and declining energy levels (and need for sleep!), partly my retirement-planning financial situation, partly a demanding job situation and a bunch of other stuff, partly to make time for reading and writing . . . but mostly because it's just who I am (the "karma" thing).

Soooooo, I don't anticipate getting into a serious dating and commitment situation in any big rush. I'd like to find the rare bird who I could SHARE my lifepath with, who sees life through a similar prism. A fellow 'sociable hermit' would understand all this . . . if there are any other ones out there!!! This is my candle in the window, just in case someone else like that actually still exists.

Sorry, but I'm not really the guy to get together with for movies or restaurant nights or museum trips every other day. I focus on value-sharing, interest-sharing, intelligence and mutual respect in relationships, much more than raw passion, sensual experience, entertainment and cultural sophistication. There's nothing wrong with those things! I had my share as a young man; but I guess that the season of life is changing for me . . . do you remember . . . the kind of September . . . (yikes, sorry for that!).

Thus, I'm looking for a rather rare bird, the bird of the same feather, the bird who shares my own "weird-duckness". (Ooooo, sorry for the mixed animal metaphors, turtles and birds . . . but then again, both of them relate to dinosaurs, which some people have called me . . . ) I'm looking for a slow start -- slow starts make for slow finishes, in my book. I understand that this is not what 99.99% of people on this site or any other e-dating site need.

My own intellectual strengths and interests lie mainly in science, math and logic; that's what interests me, that's what I can offer. I'm not very artistically inspired, I don't travel much, I don't go to the movies much. I hardly read fiction and I'm not 'culturally sophisticated' (again, nothing wrong with those things; I tasted of them when younger). Relating to children never was easy for me (even when I was a child!). Sorry for such negativity, but sometimes it takes dark lines to outline the brighter areas. I don't read much poetry these days, save maybe for the spiritual stuff by poets like Katherine Raine.

I do like to study history, philosophy, politics, science, and other interesting new ways to analyze the world. At the same time, I have a strong spiritual interest . . . I'm not am atheist. I ponder religion and the many ways to approach 'the divine'. I take the QUESTION / EXISTENCE OF GOD very seriously. I feel that the question of God is basically a Zen koan (I am a novice Zen practitioner -- my quasi-Buddhist involvement).

I've been haunted for most of my life by the idea of God and by the ideal of using reason and intellect to help humankind approach (but not know or possess) God. In the end, I stand in awe of this ultimate, unanswerable question (the ultimate koan). And I ask, what does it mean that so many people throughout history have found the question to be so important – and so unanswerable?

You see, that's why I'm so interested in cosmology and brain science and how the mind works (from a scientific perspective) . . . I'm looking for God in the equations. Most people don't like this approach to the Eternal, but . . . it's my song and I have to try to sing it; even if nobody else sings along.

Religious background: Brought up Roman Catholic; but at this point in my life, I don't see Jesus as the Christ (too unscientific!!). However, I DO believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the great earthly prophet of God and faith, killed by the Roman Empire and Temple establishment around 32 CE. There is much more to say, including God's feminine aspects and the contemplative 'apophatic' viewpoint; that's why we need to listen to all of the great spiritual prophets. The Tao is a delight, the Upanishads never fail me, and the Sufi mystics can be wonderful. And of course, there's the Great Buddha to be reckoned with. I'm hanging out with the local Zen sangha, tryin' to be a Dharma Bum. I try to get to zazen every week down at our zendo!

So I'm a man of Jerusalem (and maybe Kyoto too), but I'm also a man of Athens. I believe in my heart in the Enlightenment; in critical thinking, in philosophy, in learning, in human rationality. I worship before the Holy Trinity: Plato (the father of The Forms); Aristotle (the earthly incarnation); and Socrates (the spirit energizing the triangle). And don't forget Pythagoras, a saint preaching of the perfect triangular form.

I enjoy deepening own views and paradigms through reading and discussion. I respect the ways of research, writing and critical thinking, and I think they can lead to an ever-growing appreciation of the mystery of the divine (despite the fact that most scientists today are hard-core atheists, e.g. Steven Hawking). God is there somewhere in those complex equations behind quantum mechanics and the Standard Particle Model and Superstring Theory (although lately I'm coming to like Loop Quantum Gravity). I'll never find God just standing there in the open, but I can see what look like hints and clues amidst all the wonderful stuff that the cosmologists and high-energy physics people are coming up with these days.

What else? I'm a 60 year old government bureaucrat working for a law enforcement agency, was married for a few years back in the 80s but never raised a family. I like to read, write, listen to / watch Teaching Company Great Courses, etc. I do have plenty of books -- mostly non-fiction. Even though I'm not an academician, I consider myself an "eternal learner".

On the Enneagram, I'm a type 5 -- i.e. on the edge of Aspie territory (saw the movie "Adam", loved his monologue on the formation of the Universe). I'm not on "The Spectrum", but some of the stuff explained in "The Reason I Jump" might apply to me slightly, such as 1.) sensitivity to disorderly sensory stimulation; 2.) thought processing overload when things aren't properly systematized; and 3.) resulting mental logjams that occasionally slow down my outgoing communications, especially when anxiety is involved. Thus, I enjoy people, but I might not always be emotionally present; I might "close up my shell" when I'm under overload and stress (as any good tortoise would do).

Myers-Briggs once said that I was an INFJ, you know, a sensitive quiet and introverted kind of person. BUT, LATEST UPDATE: recent tests show I've crossed the line to INTJ. Tough times call for tough temperaments, I guess!! Nonetheless, I still mean well. I spent 10 years working for a non-profit community development agency in a poor urban town, after volunteering with them for 2 years, and I recently did some volunteer grant writing for a small NGO based in Kenya. Once I retire, I hope to get involved again with a social justice ministry of some sort, maybe as a part-time / low-pay job.

Political views: Ex-semi-socialist (ah, the idealistic days of youth), ex-doctrinaire liberal. I still sympathize with liberalism, but the conservatives need to be considered; they're making more sense to me as I get older. Lately I'm reading Victor Davis Hanson and George Will and Krauthammer and good old Brooksie. But I still can't stomach Rush and Sarah and their like. The Tea Party is not my cup . . . I still want to see Obama succeed. Glad that he finally seems to be getting his mojo in the second term.

Other less important interests / hobbies: Blogging, jogging, web sites, computers, photography, trains and railroads, politics (love to read RealClearPolitics, but I don't get involved with politics), hiking, exercising, vegetarian cooking, science (have a subscription to Sci Am), stamp collecting, red wine (zin man here! not the white stuff!), craft-brewed beer, birdwatching, Calvin and Hobbes, essential oils / aromatherapy, growing plants in my apartment (14 different ones, a mini-rainforest!).

If you've read this far, thank you. This is long, weirdly long . . . but that's what contemplative, semi-eremetic writers-at-heart and searchers-for-the-infinite do, i.e. write long articles. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
What I’m doing with my life
** Working as a grants manager and mini-info-system developer for a law enforcement agency.
** Until recently: Helping my brother to take care of our aging mother, who took good care of us when we were kids and needed our help. That mission is over now, and even though I wasn't very enthusiastic about it at the start, I can now see just how meaningful it all was. I wouldn't have believed it 10 years ago, but I really do miss her now. If your mother is still with you -- don't take her for granted, OK? And if you have kids, I hope you and they live long enough for them to appreciate all you did.
** Writing up my thoughts on my blog, even though no one much reads it (it's the antithesis to Twitter, let's say).
** Wondering if I should write a book, even though no one would be interested enough to read it before the 23rd century. Perhaps about the theology of uncertainty, i.e. why not knowing if God really exists is actually the best way to know God. As the Zen masters say, not knowing is most intimate.
** Cooking most of my own food, because I like my cooking, it's vegetarian and healthy, and it's cheaper and fresher than buying prepared food.
** Pondering my six decades on this planet, giving thanks for many, many good times, hoping that I made some contributions that amounted to something, wondering what can be done with whatever time might be left.
** Trying to pray and live life as if prayer meant something, however imperfectly and techno-geek-ily.
** Continuing to be a 'sociable hermit', balancing solitude and the contemplative life with limited but regular and on-going forms of social activity and friendship-building.
I’m really good at
darn if I know. I'll let you be the judge.
The first things people usually notice about me
Darn if I know, or care. The first thing that you see in anything or anyone that you look at is what you WANT to see. What I'm interested in is what you would see and notice were you to invest the time and energy to truly get to know me. You remember the saying about bookcovers and books. HOWEVER, since we are earthly creatures after all, I've put up some pix as to give you a pretty good idea of what the bookcover looks like. (And sorry, but I'm not giving up on paper books! I like tablets, but NOT for reading a book!)
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I can't say that there's any musician or musical genre out there that I favor. I find the songs that I like where I may. I can hardly stand to listen to a whole album from any one artist, or for any one style of music. Maybe one or two songs will hit me, and the rest will just waste my time. (Only big exception was Asia and their first three albums, back in the early 80s, and now their two new ones! (Make that three, with "Thirty".) Also, I have been impressed over the past few years with Three Doors Down.).

Take the Mamas and the Papas, for instance. I had no interest in their music back in the late 60s. But then Cass Elliot put out a beautiful song that just said it all for me. The refrain is one of the best pieces of philosophy I've ever heard: "You've got to make your own kind of music, sing your own special song; make your own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along". I also enjoyed the hard-edged cynicism of Steely Dan, Warren Zevon and Elvis Costello, back in their day; and yet could shed a tear during a Jackson Browne or Dan Fogelberg ballad (back when I was an INFJ, anyway!!).

The music that most "sounds like me", from my perspective: the piano solo to ELP's "The Play" . . . at least on my most serious, self-absorbed days. At other times, it's more like "Looking for a Lifeline", or even "Crawling from the Wreckage" {metaphorically; in real life I try to drive responsibly}.

Food? Fresh, balanced vegetarian meals. Yea, I have one of the various Laurel's Kitchen books, two of the Moosewood series, American Wholefoods Cuisine, the Veg Times Cookbook, and a few other veggie books. And I ain't afraid to use 'em!!

Movies - I'm not big on film, I see maybe one movie a year (my 2012 movie was Lincoln).

Books - My biggest reading interest right now is on the topic of human consciousness, the interaction between brain and mind, science and subjectivity. And also on "big science", including quantum physics, chaos theory, emergence and self-organization, information theories, dark energy, the big bang/big inflation scenarios of cosmology, vacuum energy -- that sort of thing. (Not really a big fan of the "multiverse", though.) Because consciousness is somehow going to relate to all of that. But, my other recent intellectual dabblings have included the history of the Roman Empire and the portrait of Jesus of Nazareth that has emerged from "the third quest" for the historical Jesus. Oh, and Thomas Merton and his fellow monks. I'm not a Catholic or a Buddhist, but I admire their monastic traditions. Guess that I'm a monk at heart. Also love the Tao.

Ah, and I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit to my collection of railroad history and railfan photo books. I was once very much into all that good stuff, and actually worked on a RR for a short time in my youth. (And P.S., if you check out Thomas Merton's photo collection, The Geography of Holiness, you'll see that he also took pictures of railroads! E.g., http://fatherlouie.blogspot.com/2007/08/railroad-station.html
also: http://www.merton.org/hiddenwholeness/).
The six things I could never do without
Books about science, especially the BIG stuff like cosmology, information theory, complex systems, entropy, chaos theory, emergence, particle physics, etc.
Books about the brain, cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind.
Any other serious non-fiction books, including economics, public policy, politics, history, technology.
Teaching Company courses.
My own cooking -- very vegetarian.
My computers.
People who have been thru the mill and yet still have some idealism left, deep-down inside (even if my own has burned out). People who still believe, who are still nice to others, who still work to better human-kind and the planet. You make it still worth getting up in the morning!
I spend a lot of time thinking about
What is consciousness? Does it tell us anything about God? Will we every really be able to know what it is, reduce it to a scientific theory? What is the good life? What is philosophy? What else to think about -- well, maybe Thomas Merton, neuroscience research, chaos theory, quantum physics concepts (I'm not good with all the math behind that stuff, however), how does the immune system work . . . that kind of stuff. Yes, that's the stuff that I'd like to pen-pal about for a while -- if it were to interest you, it would be a good way to get to know each other.
On a typical Friday night I am
OK, Friday night: used to go to my mother's house and have dinner with my mother and brother. Did my wash. I went to the supermarket. Then I went home and put the stuff away. Then I did a little bit of web surfing. Then to bed to read. Then I said a quick "night office", something like compline (look that one up). Then to sleep.

Now -- dinner with my brother. When the first drinks come out, we toast to our late, great parents. Then, drive back to the old homestead (my brother still lives there). Start my wash. Watch "That Metal Show" with Eddie Trunk on vh1. After the dryer cycle, go back to my apartment, check the computer, put on a history video then fall asleep to it in the easy chair. Get up around 1230 and crawl into bed. Still try to say compline before dozing off once more.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
is that I'm not everyone's cup of tea. But do take this with you, in whatever new relationship that might come your way. Remember what Aristotle said about friendship: the true friendship is about seeing virtue in another, and through one's own virtue acting to protect and foster your friend's virtue. (And yes, if your friend's virtue is true, then he will do the same for you.)
I’m looking for
  • Girls who like guys
  • Ages 52–64
  • Near me
  • Who are single
  • For new friends
You should message me if
Ok, who should message me? Darn if I know. Here are my best guesses: someone who is mostly content with her life and at peace with herself. You're in no hurry. You don't need anyone to come and change your world. You want to take it slow, swap some letters (e-mails, but old fashioned written letters wouldn't be a bad idea!), exchange thoughts on physics and theology and chaos theory and cooking, share some observations and experiences of life. See what there is to talk about, find some common ground without any panic.

To repeat (sorry for being so redundant), I'd really like to meet someone interested in science and the quiet life (quieter, anyway). And also in theology and spirituality. And thus, in the interaction between theology and modern high-energy / "theory of everything" physics (and how semi-hermits might approach this). Is there a God hiding in the equations? Or are Hawking, Dawkins, Carroll and the many other modern atheist boffins correct as anti-theologians? Would love to discuss it with you, if you too have been pondering such stuff.

I respect all you literary and artistic people, you have lots to say about spirituality . . . but that's just not the song that I can hear and sing in my own life. I also take my hat off to all of you who find closeness to God in regular religion and evangelize your faith, but again . . . that's a chord that my soul just doesn't resonate with at this point. As to you believers who 'take it to the street' to work for social justice . . . well, you might get my attention.

If, after a warm-up period of pen-pal-dom (because we both like writing and make time for it) where we share thoughts on science, theology, the stars and the universe, humankind and politics, and other such stuff, it seems like we have a lot in common and enjoy hearing from each other . . . then perhaps then we could find a Starbucks or Paneras that is reasonably accessible to share a cup and a table (if one can ever get a table at a Starbucks! Might need to just stand outside or find a local park for a walk). From there, just see where it goes, see how those stars line up. Again, without any panic or rush. All in good time.

If it isn't love everlasting, no problem; life is still good. Zen and the Tao say so, and I believe them! Remember what the Buddha said about desire. If you seek Zen and Tao with much effort and much desire, what you will find will not be Zen and will not be not Tao. If you seek romance with much desire and haste, well . . .

Finally . . . to paraphrase Lord Winston Churchill: I have nothing to offer but toil, tears and sweat (i.e., understanding science does require some of that!). We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of effort . . . . You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one phrase: It is the search for the infinite, however long and hard the road may be; for without that search, there is no survival, no survival for the urge and impulse that can move humanity forward in its noble quest. I say, come then, let us go forward together with our united strength. Let us brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if our lives would last a hundred years, men and women will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'