Ray Jason

Read more of Ray Jason’s work on his blog. “I live aboard my beautiful sailboat, AVENTURA, and wander the wide waters as an itinerant philosopher. My life is simple, free and joyous.” Ray currently lives on his sailboat in Panama. Previously he was a Key West cab driver.

Mar 172017
 
The Moon and the Proverb

by Ray Jason……. It was the last full moon of winter. My little ship, which was facing north, gently veered around to the east – as though she too wanted to admire the luminous moon as it rose above this jungle lagoon. Some unknown instinct had prompted me to write this essay not in the daylight or not by lamplight, but under the spell of moonlight. I abide by such mysterious murmurings. So I sat on deck with my back leaning against the mast. In [continue reading…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #210 No Responses »
Mar 032017
 
A Pantheist Makes a Pilgrimage

by Ray Jason……. My heroes do not score touchdowns or lead armies or star in movies. Instead, those in my Pantheon think deeply and dream elegantly and write poetically. They are secular saints, who tried to decipher the mysteries of the human condition and who shared their discoveries with all of us. Out of reverence for their quests, I have tried to visit some of the places that were crucial to their personal and artistic development. I sat on the stone foundation of Thoreau’s tiny [continue reading…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Island Voices, Issue #208 1 Response »
Feb 172017
 
Homage to My Little Ship

by Ray Jason……. When the world of “today” weighs too heavily upon me, I find solace in the world of “yesterday.” And I do not have to travel far to find that comfort. In fact, I am surrounded by it. That’s because my little sailing boat – which is also my little home – is a bridge across to the Old Ways. The building of boats is one of the earliest chapters in the book of human history. Tools and fire and dugout canoes were [continue reading…]

 February 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #206 No Responses »
Feb 032017
 
Social Engineering on Steroids

by Ray Jason……. I spend a lot of time away from people – so that I can better understand people. But today I needed to surround myself with real people. A week of intense research on where Humanity is being herded has profoundly shaken me. I’m sitting in my favorite café here in the Archipelago of Bliss, gazing out on the main street, which should be called Avenida Anomaly, since it is so detached from the modern world. It is delightfully out of synch because [continue reading…]

 February 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #204 2 Responses »
Jan 202017
 
Social Engineering for Dummies

by Ray Jason……. There is only one town here in the Archipelago of Bliss, and although it is in a beautiful seaside location, it has avoided the curse of gentrification. You would never confuse it with a cutesy, sterile, tourist destination that beckons to the cruise ships. But even though it fails the “postcard perfect” test – it gets an A for Authenticity. And it would get an F from any Social Engineer. In my previous essay, I discussed how those who are obsessed with [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #202 No Responses »
Jan 062017
 
Social Engineering for Fun and Profit

by Ray Jason……. I rowed ashore at twilight because I wanted my little gift to be more dramatic. My time in the islands was ending, and this little Indio family had made my weeks anchored off their simple homestead so exquisite, that I wanted to leave them a memento of my visit. As I stepped out of my dinghy, the littlest child was her normal enthusiastic and inquisitive self. At four years old, the entire world just seemed to her to be one gigantic magical [continue reading…]

 January 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #200 1 Response »
Dec 232016
 
A Christmas Reverie

by Ray Jason……. It is a few dawns before Christmas in the year 2016. As someone who finds his spirituality in the Cathedral of Nature, I note that today is the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow the spheres will align so that the light will increase and the darkness decrease. May we humans one day also adjust ourselves to embrace the light and renounce the darkness. And it is in this spirit that I share this Christmas essay with you. My topic is one [continue reading…]

 December 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Island Voices, Issue #198 No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
An Epistle to the Earthonians

by Ray Jason……. At the time, it was just an eccentric, utopian game. But now, a couple of decades later, I realize that it was a perfect metaphor for my deepest aspirations. I would find some nicely rounded, sea-worn rocks along the shore. My favorites were about the size of a mango and slightly flattened. On each one I would paint a short quotation from a wise thinker. Here are some examples that swiftly rise from my memory vault. Whitman’s “Question much and obey little.” [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #195 2 Responses »
Nov 182016
 
The Sea Gypsy Path to True Freedom

by Ray Jason……. During the shrill cacophony of the U.S. election campaign, many friends and strangers asked me why I did not comment on it. The reason is because I try to observe the world as a philosopher – and not as a pundit. My belief is that pundits assess the short-term flux of events, whereas philosophers examine the long-term trends and consequences. Here are some of my conclusions. Intriguingly, they might provide some comfort to both camps – those devastated by the results and [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Island Voices, Issue #193 No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Looking Astern

by Ray Jason……. A few hours into every long voyage there comes a precious moment. Most sailors pay it no heed – but I never miss it. Suddenly, the gradually thinning margin of land and sea disappears. The land has drowned. The sea surrounds. The domain of Humanity has vanished. The realm of Nature is resurrected. Now my only companions reside in the sea and the sky. The only laws are timeless and elemental – the mighty ocean currents and the churning atmospheric systems. Most [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #191 1 Response »
Oct 142016
 
The Huxlandia Trap

by Ray Jason……. In my previous essay I tried to convince you that two of the great masterpieces of 20th Century literature have been disturbingly accurate in predicting the Human Trajectory. In George Orwell’s iconic 1984, he argued that humankind faces a totalitarian future where every individual is controlled and monitored by the State. “Submit or die” might be the most accurate way to describe his dark vision. Aldous Huxley, in his prophetic BRAVE NEW WORLD, suggested that the State would dominate the masses not [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Island Voices, Issue #188 2 Responses »
Oct 072016
 
Orwellia and Huxlandia

by Ray Jason……. Two of the most enduring novels of the 20th Century are Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD and George Orwell’s 1984. Unfortunately, these dark masterpieces have proven to be stunningly prophetic. Much of the grim, totalitarian future that they predicted has already materialized. And we are steadily careening towards a nightmarish Tommorowland even more diabolical than they predicted. Each author foresaw a bleak future where the Individual was completely subordinate to the State. Fortunately, we have not yet fully descended into a serf-like, [continue reading…]

 October 7, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #187 1 Response »
Sep 232016
 
Simple Consolations

by Ray Jason……. It was the silhouette hour. A cayuco came paddling towards me in the deep dusk as I sat with my back against AVENTURA’s mast. The oarsman’s stroke was smooth and strong. There was a child in the back tending the fishing line as her dad rowed. When they were 20 yards away I realized that it was not a father – it was a grandmother. Even though she was as ancient and weathered as her hand-carved cayuco, she propelled it like a [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #185 No Responses »
Sep 092016
 
Sunshine and Sadness

by Ray Jason……. I walked into the little Panamanian drug store feeling sorry for myself because I had a nasty cold. Two minutes later I walked out feeling humbled … and desolate. Inside there was a mom and her young teenage daughter consulting with the female pharmacist. My arrival instantly turned the scene tense. I could sense it – but not understand it. Then I realized that the druggist was showing them how to use a pregnancy testing kit. Suddenly, the insignificance of my runny [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #183 1 Response »
Aug 262016
 
The Ten Commandments of the Lords of War

by Ray Jason……. 1. Thou shalt not notice that those of us who start the wars never fight and die in the wars – and neither do our families and our friends. 2. Thou shalt never describe War with words like “despicable,” “sick” and “repellant,” but shall instead use only approved words such as “heroic,” “glorious” and “necessary.” 3. Thou shalt overlook the core Truth that War is the deliberate murder of innocent people with whom you have no grievance and who have done you [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #181 1 Response »
Aug 192016
 
The Old Hippie and the Banana Birds

by Ray Jason……. The old hippie has found his bliss. He runs a ten table restaurant down here south of many borders. If it wasn’t for the sign out front, you would never even realize that his business exists. It looks more like a garden with a roof on top. Besides serving food for the body, it also features food for the mind and the spirit. That’s because even though it doesn’t have walls, it has shelves filled with thousands of books. It is the [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #180 No Responses »
Jul 292016
 
Finding Joy in the Abyss

by Ray Jason……. Why do I linger here in the Archipelago of Bliss? After all, my stalwart little ship could carry me away to any of the exotic lands that have whispered to wanderers down the centuries. We could drop anchor amidst the palm-fringed isles of the South Pacific. We could explore the mist- shrouded coast of Japan. Or we could visit Easter Island – with its gigantic stone heads that endlessly stare at the Wide Waters. And yet I remain entranced by this little [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #177 2 Responses »
Jul 082016
 
Sea Gypsy Nocturne #2

by Ray Jason……. Something startled me from sleep. Because solo sailors need to be extremely alert in order to avoid catastrophes, my finely-tuned emergency reflexes immediately kicked in. I lay on my bunk in the darkness listening for unusual sounds and monitoring abnormal movement. But I detected neither. Suddenly, I realized what had unsettled me, and I laughed quietly. I had been awoken by the intense stillness and silence. In a modern world drowning in frenzy and noise, such profound peace and quiet was … [continue reading…]

 July 8, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #174 No Responses »
Jun 242016
 
In Praise of Lower Education

by Ray Jason……. One of the great joys of my sea gypsy life is the wonderful sense of camaraderie that exists amongst the ocean sailing community. Because we have voluntarily embraced dangers that land-dwellers vigorously avoid, we have a deep sense of kinship. And when we gather together in foreign ports, we are extremely helpful to each other because we are essentially a wandering, water-winged tribe. This is a far cry from the isolation and suffocation of the modern suburbs. A common fixture of our [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am Island Voices, Issue #172 2 Responses »
Jun 102016
 
A Super Bowl Epiphany

by Ray Jason……. It probably seems odd for me to post an essay on this topic in June instead of in February when the game takes place. However, the ideas in this piece just came to me in such a spontaneous gush, that it seemed like they wanted to get out into the world. So here is another example of my “fictional philosophy.” ******* During the third quarter of the Super Bowl, the legendary quarterback suffered a helmet to helmet injury that looked extremely severe. [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #170 No Responses »
Jun 032016
 
Sea Gypsy Philosopher - Third Anniversary

  Hello Dear Readers, Three years ago today I began my blog with the modest goal of sharing my unconventional outlook on Life with whoever might be interested. Because I come from a street performing background, where my juggling act was available for free to whoever walked by, I was delighted that my site could have the same sort of “give it away” purity to it. Even from the beginning I refused to litter my website with ads or to ask for donations. I wanted [continue reading…]

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Island Voices, Issue #169 No Responses »
May 272016
 
A Monk Without a God

by Ray Jason……. A black-crowned night heron was clinging to my anchor chain, searching the quiet sea for a fish. As the sun eased its orange rim just above the horizon, the little bird looked up, and so did I. This sunrise held exceptional promise because of the cloud formations scattered about. There were immense walls of dense cumulus flanking a high ceiling of delicate cirrus. When the sun fully emerged from the sea, it transformed the sky into a magnificent, amber cathedral. Here was [continue reading…]

 May 27, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Island Voices, Issue #168 No Responses »
May 132016
 
Where the Blue Meets the Blue

by Ray Jason……. Never before and never since – had I felt such an elemental connection to our wet and wondrous planet. I was clinging to the top of AVENTURA’s mast, gazing at a panorama saturated in “blueness.” The dark blue of the Sea undulated to the horizon where it mated with the delicate blue of the Sky. It was like a “white-out” in a blizzard – but here in the Far Pacific it was a “blue-out.” I had climbed the 18 steps up my [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #166 No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
Sea Gypsy Nocturne #1

by Ray Jason……. In a far anchorage of the Archipelago of Bliss, the thick tropical night heat had glistened my little ship. As I came on deck, I was delighted to find her shimmering with moon glow. A single night bird was calling for a mate – or perhaps it was just saluting the almost unbearable beauty. I was carrying a pitcher of water to pour over myself with the hope of cooling down enough to go back to sleep. After dousing myself, I stood [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #164 No Responses »
Mar 182016
 
When Cowardice is Courage

by Ray Jason……. Some fictional philosophy… Dearest Sister, It happened on the fifth midnight raid. It was on that mission that I “snapped.” But that is definitely the wrong word. Because what truly happened is that I finally “saw.” My vision came into focus so suddenly and shockingly that it reminded me of lightning at night – instantly the flash reveals a startling landscape that only moments before had been stormy darkness. But what suddenly came into view with brilliant luminosity was not “things” but [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Island Voices, Issue #158 No Responses »
Mar 042016
 
THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE IDEALS

by Ray Jason……. “Sailing away from it all” remains one of the most alluring fantasies in our modern world. The idea of abandoning the misnamed “real world” and escaping to the South Seas on a sailing boat still intoxicates millions of people. But it is not the fantasy of the sea gypsy life that entices me. It is the reality of it. Far out on the Wide Waters, it is imperative to recognize things as they are rather than as you might wish them to [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:45 am Island Voices No Responses »
Feb 192016
 
The Sea Gypsy Concept

by Ray Jason……. A wise ocean sailor “hopes for the best but prepares for the worst.” When far offshore – in what we call the Blue Water – there is no swift assistance readily available. You have to be able to solve your own problems. Spare parts, proper tools and practical skills will either save the day or sink the ship. Weather awareness is also a critical component of success or failure when out on the Wide Waters. In the olden days, a master mariner [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:49 am Island Voices, Issue #154 No Responses »
Feb 052016
 
Philosophical Acceptance

  by Ray Jason……. As I sail deeper into my Middle Years, my ship of self seems to be entering the Sea of Paradox. On the one hand, I am comfortable with the inescapable termination of my physical self. But on the other hand, I am troubled by the possibility that my work – my little essays that strive to inform, awaken and inspire – will also vanish. And I do not mean that they will disappear simply because they are not perceptive or poetic [continue reading…]

 February 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Island Voices, Issue #152 1 Response »
Jan 222016
 
A Most Unusual Ship

by Ray Jason……. Three magnificent Tall Ships sailed into the Archipelago of Bliss yesterday and anchored only 200 yards away from AVENTURA. I consider the sailing ship humanity’s finest blend of form and function – or as I prefer to describe it – beauty and purpose. So, seeing such majestic examples of this artistry had my heart astir. Because the evening light was insufficient for my camera, I decided to row over early this morning to snap some photos. But one ship had left just [continue reading…]

 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Island Voices, Issue #150 1 Response »
Jan 012016
 
A Sea Gypsy Haiku Sampler

by Ray Jason……. It was a most unusual voyage. I was sailing South in search of a world free of screens. Still reeling from a month in El Norte, witnessing the tyranny of technology, I needed serenity. I sought a peaceful lagoon, where people were not submissives – dominated by their TV screens, computer screens and Smart phone screens. When the anchor was down in one of my favorite hideaway coves, it felt like a great emancipation – a return to solitude and stillness. Within [continue reading…]

 January 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am Island Voices, Issue #147 3 Responses »
Dec 252015
 
A Pantheist Looks at Christmas

by Ray Jason……. As soon as I finish this essay and send it out into the world to find its way, I will begin my own private Christmas celebration. I will cast off the dock-lines, hoist the sails and head off to a little cove that will bequeath me the wondrous gift of Solitude. My only companions will be the creatures of the Sea and the Sky and an occasional fisherman drifting by in a cayuco. What I will be seeking in this isolation is [continue reading…]

 December 25, 2015  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #146 12 Responses »
Dec 112015
 
It's Not Just a Movie

by Ray Jason……. Sometimes, when I am anchored alone in the far reaches of the Archipelago of Bliss, I will see a group of Indios gathered around a camp fire sharing stories as the twilight deepens into darkness. Everything in such a scene is primal and elemental and authentic. If there are children in the circle, I suspect that the adults are probably passing along their tribal story. They are teaching the young their shared history and their common values. Because language was invented long [continue reading…]

 December 11, 2015  Posted by at 12:58 am Island Voices, Issue #144 2 Responses »
Nov 272015
 
The Invisible Frenzy

by Ray Jason……. It was a genuine “laugh until you cry” moment. Two of my absolute favorite people and their son were sitting across from me in a plush Palo Alto restaurant. Five minutes into our meal I looked across at them and was astounded. Spontaneously, but quietly, I leaned towards them and said, “Good god, you eat like refugees!” They laughed heartily and acknowledged that their lives are so dominated by the need to constantly hurry, that they barely notice how revved up they [continue reading…]

 November 27, 2015  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #142 1 Response »
Oct 302015
 
WHAT I THINK I KNOW - TAKE TWO

  by Ray Jason……. As the years thunder by, I pleasantly discover that my needs and desires keep decreasing. Health, Happiness, Friendship and Freedom are now the cardinal points on the compass of my life’s voyage.   Because today is my birthday, it is natural to ponder whether my Ship of Self is sailing smoothly; or whether it is struggling through troubled waters. Fortunately, the year astern of me has been splendid, and the days ahead look promising. For me, one of the joys and challenges [continue reading…]

 October 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:25 am Island Voices 2 Responses »
Oct 162015
 
The Dire Need for Refusal

  by Ray Jason……. One of the many reasons that I linger here in the Banana Latitudes is because the local people still have backbones. Or to use a more creative description that a friend of mine favors – they have not yet been “sheepified.” First of all, they demand that the government do things to actually help the real people and not just the rich people. For example, there are free clinics for pregnant women and there are local market days where food is [continue reading…]

 October 16, 2015  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #136 4 Responses »
Oct 022015
 
You Can Have the Pope- I'll Take the Peace Pilgrim!

  by Ray Jason……. She walks alone and unnoticed down one of America’s scenic but barely-traveled highways. Like any true pilgrim, she is penniless and her only possessions are the clothes on her back. But she also carries precious cargo with her – the message of Peace. For 28 years she quietly delivered her little peace talks wherever people were willing to listen. She was The Peace Pilgrim. He arrives in a motorcade led by a phalanx of motorcycle cops and surrounded by his massive [continue reading…]

 October 2, 2015  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #134 6 Responses »