Personal Notes ...........................1
1. Meaning ..............................5
2. Reality ................................9
3. God .................................15
4. Religion ..............................19
5. History and Time ...................... 25
6. Imagination and Memory ..............31
7. Words ...............................35
8. Action and Experience .................39
9. Philosophy and Wisdom ...............47
10. Culture .............................51
I was one who always asked questions and sought deeper
answers. I did not want the surface answer, but answers
that would light up my soul. After years of listening to
others and reading books, I realized that the deeper
answers and ideas were within.
I understood that to share ideas requires a lot of work.
It requires using many words to explain something simple.
Ideas are complex, and words need to be carefully
explained for understanding. So, I have been somewhat
reluctant to share my thoughts and insights. I am my own
best audience and as a philosopher, I am quite happy with
Over many years, I have wrien essays and poems, but in
my personal writings, it was the shorter writings that were
most meaningful. That was the birth of these fragments.
I took my longer ideas and extracted short concise nuggets
to express what I wanted to say. I needed to get to the
point and shorter writings were more useful. People do not
really need long explanations. At some point, I just needed
to let go and share these writings with others. That brings
us to the present.
I do not speak the academic vocabulary of philosophy.
Often it is boring and wordy. But to take the categories of
philosophy (ontology, epistemology, metaphysics) and
simplify them into ordinary language is what I nd most
useful. Most people do not spend time with the philosoph-
ical study of ontology (the study of reality), but they do
think about life and reality.
I must admit, I am obsessed with time. For me, to under-
stand time is to understand existence. I write about the
movement of the mind in time – recognizing thoughts and
ideas, memory and imagination, repetition and silence.
These fragments are short, concise, and exist for their own
sake without added development. Sometimes they may
seem like a fragment of a larger thought or idea, and at the
same time they provide just enough substance to stand
alone. If seen as incomplete, then they await the reader to
add more content.
These fragments provide a window into a topic to be
mulled over and thought upon. It is not necessary to
believe these ideas, but rather to think and contemplate
them. Then from within, one’s own ideas will appear
These fragments as a style are both philosophical and
literary. As philosophical, they present ideas that question
and seek depth. As literary, they can be considered complete
as a highly constructed aesthetic form.
These fragments are not aphorisms. While an aphorism is
often only one sentence, these fragments are two or more
sentences. They exist to be experienced like poetry. They
are symbolic for a moment in time.
We seek meaning. We make, use and misuse symbols.
We seek a sense of order. We seek relationships and sensual
experience. We seek transcendence and a relationship with
Finding meaning in the present is usually dicult.
Meaning often comes after experience – sometimes
years later. Contemplation and silence are often needed
We look to culture for meaning and to nd our place.
We often see only what is on the surface without going
deep within. When we do go deeper than our ego, we
become open to expansive consciousness that dwells
within. Consciousness changes our perception and view
of the world.
How do we discuss meaning and mystery? What vocabu-
dialogs? All discussion becomes interrelated and connected.
part of the mystery we are examining. Where we start is
only the beginning – one point in time and space. It is
necessary to start again and again. The quest is ongoing.
Selection from Fragments
We seek meaning. We make, use and misuse symbols. We seek a sense of order.
We seek relationships and sensual experience. We seek transcendence and a
relationship with that encounter.
Reality is a doorway to the present and may be too complex for us to grasp all
at one time. Reality includes everything that is and has been. Reality changes.
Our knowledge of reality is unique to us.
Most true believers in God accept that there is a God, both transcendent and
immanent, the Creator who brought the universe into existence and who has
control over it. This position is affirmed by faith and can neither be verified nor
falsified. The mystics speak of direct experience of God and note that God is
beyond all human comprehension.
Religion offers a path to God through awareness and revelation. Religion
provides structure and encourages relationship with Divinity. Each religion has
its own themes, structure, and movement. Religion is social and personal.
5. History and Time
History relates to memory, time, and perception. History is a work in progress.
History is not what happened, it is a story about what happened. History gives
meaning and opens us to hope. History is a series of images, tales, geographies,
figures, lessons. It is not only facts.
6. Imagination and Memory
The faculty of imagining is imagination. It is the ability to form mental images,
sensations or concepts that are not perceived directly through the senses.
Imagination is the creative faculty of the mind that allows us to change
perception and transform consciousness.
Words shape the reality they describe. It is difficult to describe the way things are
without first making a choice of what vocabulary to use and to define the words
8. Action and Experience
From our perspective, it seems we have free will to act. God acts both in
reaction to our action, and at the same time as we act. We do not know how
much God is acting in temporal time. God is always acting in eternal time.
9. Philosophy and Wisdom
Philosophy literally means "love of wisdom." It is the rational investigation of
the fundamental nature of reality and meaning. Philosophy is also the study of
truth in time.
Culture is a form of expression and includes patterns of human activity.
Culture is a way of acting socially, symbolically, and selectively, through beliefs,
values, and traditions. Culture includes the capacity to communicate and classify
human experiences symbolically.
Interview with New Hampshire author Steven Maimes on
the publication of his new book Fragments Within Time
Are you from New Hampshire?
The past 32 years I have lived in New Hampshire. I am previously from the San Francisco
Bay area and Los Angeles. I have deep California roots, especially from the 1960s and
1970s. I think I have finally adapted to the New Hampshire culture.
Your bio says that you are a philosopher. What does that mean?
Philosophers question reality. My quest throughout life has been mostly through the lens of
religion. I began at age 10 with Zen, Christianity, and Judaism. I studied philosophy and
religion in college. I deeply explored Hasidic Judaism, Sufism, and spent time with various
eastern gurus. I had the opportunity to learn in-depth comparative religion and
metaphysics working at Shambhala Booksellers in Berkeley. Later, I explored
contemporary Christianity, theology, and sacred philosophy. All these studies had one
thing in common: the philosophical quest for the depth of reality. My philosophical
approach now allows me to step outside of religion and speak with words more familiar to
the general public.
You just published a new book - Fragments Within Time. What is this book about?
This small book contains 240 short and concise writings on such topics as meaning, reality,
imagination, and time. It presents ideas and insights to be mulled over and thought upon.
Over many years, I have written essays and poems, but in my personal writings, it was the
shorter writings that were most meaningful. That was the birth of these fragments. I took
my longer ideas and extracted short concise nuggets to express what I wanted to say. I
needed to get to the point and shorter writings were more useful.
Is this book philosophical?
I do not speak in the language of academic philosophy but rather present short concise
ideas and insights. As philosophy is ongoing, ideas are also ongoing. I see philosophy as a
dialog. One person presents an idea and then allows the reader to continue the idea, pause
and contemplate the idea, let the idea sit in silence, or reject the idea. The process is a
movement in time.
Are these short fragments aphorisms?
These fragments are not aphorisms. While an aphorism is often only one sentence, these
fragments are two or more sentences. Fragments as a literary style can be considered
complete as a highly constructed aesthetic form – like poetry. The ideas exist to be
experienced like poetry.
Have you written any other books?
I wrote a book on tonic herbs called ADAPTOGENS. It has become a best-seller among
herbalists and is the definitive popular book on adaptogens.
Essay by Steven Maimes
Surely, we know that our moment-to-moment living is but a fragment of our entire life.
Whatever we do is fragmented and constantly changes. We may repeat the same actions,
but our self is always a bit different and older in time.
Our thoughts are fragments and constantly change. They are part of our ongoing mental
activity, part of an inner dialog. They are temporary with no conclusion; they vanish over
time. They are like breath, we take them in, observe them, and let them go. Some thoughts
morph into other thoughts or exist as stimulus. Thoughts like people have a life, they are
created, they live and die.
When we form our thoughts into words, we freeze them for a moment, we articulate the
thinking process. As our thinking is fragmented, so are the raw words that we initially use.
They do not exist in a final version, they are fragments. In one sense, fragments stand alone
for a moment in time.
Fragments are a major part of writing today. We write in fragments with text messages
and tweets, Instagram updates and Facebook postings. Reports contain fragmented bullet
points. Poems are often composed of fragments and authors compose stories and narratives
By fragment, we mean short and concise. For a fragment to have an aesthetic literary form,
it needs to be longer than one sentence and no longer than one paragraph. It needs to be
polished by the writer. It needs editing and revising. Sometimes it needs to survive a
waiting period with time for contemplation and silence.
Fragments point to a slower way of communication. Before the Internet, people wrote
letters and waited for a response, people read newspapers and slowly absorbed
information from the environment. People did less multi-tasking, stayed more focused, and
had longer attention spans. Because our attention is often disrupted, we might find
fragments easier to read.
When reading fragments, we are more likely to remember what we read. Fragments are
tools to remember. Our brains are often bad at remembering details – they get the gist of
things. We try to remember details of the past, and often remember only fragments.
Reading fragments can open the door for discovery and exploration. A fragment is not an
end, but a means to exploration. If we recognize fragments as fragments, we can accept
them as poetry, not requiring more. The absence of more words allows the reader to
continue the fragment by thinking, questioning, and imagining. Sometimes this additional
activity is more powerful than anything the fragment could say.
– Steven Maimes is a writer, philosopher, and author of the new book Fragments Within
Time, available on Amazon.