Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My July Reading List

I try to make a dent in my reading list when I am taking breaks from writing.  It doesn't really have to follow a pattern but often it does.

This July I am going to reread Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte D'Arthur,  Edmund Spenser's Poetry, Beowulf A verse translation, and Idylls of the King, Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  I have them in Norton Critical editions and they deserve to be poured over for their depth.  I'd love to find a copy of Idylls of the King in the same format but alas I haven't.

I love the stories of Arthur of medieval Europe and of heroism.  That they are written in poetic form makes it all the more interesting to me.

I am reading the Dark Sun novels by Troy Denning.  I find his writing to be high quality, and the Dark Sun universe to be of a nature that brings out the best of heroic fantasy.  In this series you get a powerful view of the drastic, dangerous, desert world, that is as large a foe as any of the living beings.

I love Robert E. Howard's poetry.  It is better than his prose, and I am very happy to say, I love his prose.

I've been a fan of Mike Grell's Warlord for decades.  These two books I look forward to reading, like few others.

A D&D gaming session that used numerous other sources than "fantasy"

Long ago I had no homework to do.  I had written all of my class notes.  I was alone for Christmas break my wife had gone to Canada for Christmas.  I didn't want to do nothing and I was not interested in reading more I'd just read about 20  books the previous semester.  So I wanted to relax.

I'd met four or five people over time during my grad school career and knew that they were RPGers.

I decided to finally take them up on their requests to play with me.  It was probably a mistake, as I didn't altogether think it would work and it didn't.  But I created a world using numerous sources and 3 different games to create a workable game.  The concept was of an adventurer group from a D&D fantasy through a time well where an alien craft had landed.  There were cowboys, aliens and fantasy warriors.   The sources I used were from a vast cauldron of apocalyptic settings.  They were: Planet of the Apes, Nausicaa and the Valley of Wind, Kamandi and quite a few more I can't remember due to time having passed.

The adventurer team could have had a great time.  They were all bright funny interesting people.  But all they'd ever done was try killing things.  And as a DM I was prone to create discovery and investigation events.  The two different styles proved a bad marriage.   Adventurers versus Apes with guns versus Cowboys meant that the lethal gunfire made the brave adventurers bleed and die quickly.  However it was still fun and I could have enjoyed it more if the fellows had just even once wanted to solve a mystery or try to understand the events they were involved in.  But all they wanted was to kill.

I used the rules of Boot Hill and Gamma World to bring all of the levels of technology to the same system.  Guns, lasers, swords, and middle fingers all came to be realized in a same system. 

The reason I am bringing this up is that I've heard from various people that D&D is a rigid system and isn't a good one to use for anything but low levels dungeons.  It isn't about the system.  It is about what you do with it.

Creating a setting as a totally alien part of the adventure rather than being a prize to be won is important in my experience to bring the adventure into a place where players can tell their own story but within the confines of a glorious new world.  Using direct sources for such a thing is fun and brings out the best in players, who are more than ROLL players.

I should say, having a power oriented group of fantasy characters get attacked and beaten by Apes with machine guns was still notably fun.  I just hate that they did things that led them to such an end.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Only a father because I have a son

People who miss their fathers on this day are in some ways fortunate.  There are people who had difficult childhoods, adult-hoods, or otherwise.  But for me this day has changed in meaning.  I miss my dad, but not often, I remember him well.  I am, however, a father to my son.  My son doesn't buy me a card, he doesn't, even, remember the date usually.  I was gifted in life by his presence in my life. 

"Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him."
George Bernard Shaw

I became whole when I was made a father.  I didn't expect to have children, I feared the future, but my wife made me realize, there are powers greater than me, and the world might be better for our child's presence.  My son could change the world.

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection."
Sigmund Freud

As a father my heart grew in many ways, and love him.  Whatever things life gave or took away from me, having my son in my life made it exponentially better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

6 Questions about my Christianity

An email writer sent me a list of questions about my saying I am a Christian.  Among other questions
are some that are more personal and less about doctrine or dogma.  The questions I will answer, to the best of my abilities, but, and this is an important but, I don't represent any form of Christianity, I do not claim to know more than any other believer, and I am flawed as possible as a human.  I am not an example for others to follow.

If God is everywhere, where is his presence?  Why can't I see him?

I am not altogether sure why you can't see "him" but I know when I see or feel the presence of God.  I have experienced hearing God's voice, and I have experienced feeling God's presence near me.  I think it happens when you have a direct answer to prayer.  I have felt the presence when I would sing with others songs of praise.  I have felt God near me when I've experienced joy, in the presence of loved ones, and when I am moved by the love others show me.  I am not altogether an outdoors person, I don't camp, I don't fish, I don't hunt, plant gardens, cut down trees.  But there have been times when I was so moved by nature I knew God was responsible.  Do I see God or God's face?  No.  But I am able to feel and see his hand in the magnificence of nature, the power of love and family, and I see proof of God in the miracles I've seen.  But if I only felt or saw God's presence in miracles I would suggest that I would not have as strong of faith as I do.   

Do you agree with the belief in Jesus is the sole manner of entering Heaven?

Yes and no.  I believe in the Bible.  I follow the directions and teachings found in the book.  I believe that God sent Jesus to earth to offer humans a chance to commune with God.  By Christ's dying, we are no longer Hell bound.  I believe that my sin blocks my path to Heaven, but Christ's blood is the perfect sacrifice. 


I do not look at other faith's and condemn them to Hell.  That isn't my job.  I also don't know all of God's plans, abilities, more than knowing I what I believe.  My hope is that God's mercy is large enough to be embraced by all people of faith.  I am not the final judge and I refuse to make myself sick with worry for people of other faith.  I am not saying I do not care, I am saying, I trust God enough to know that I don't know the answer.

Is there a Hell?

I am not a believer in Hell as a place with fire and torment.  Instead I believe in Oblivion.  I believe that being disconnected forever is Hell.  But, I do not know.  I do read the bible and see hell there, but I think it is a metaphysical reality, not a physical or inevitable reality.

Do you see yourself going to Heaven?

I am not the most positive of people, and some of that is from my being an INFJ, and having PTSD.  So to be very honest, while I believe in God, and I believe I am following the rules, I know that I am dirty and full of sin.  I've done terrible things in my life.  And I regret them.  And I have repented of them.  But I am certain of one thing regarding entry into Heaven, God will have mercy upon whoever God has mercy upon.  I have a faith that never burns out because I feel like I have live up to the legacy and destiny I have chosen.

Are Homosexuals going to Hell?  Can they be Christians?  

I think of God as being just.  Whatever the bible says about God's view of homosexuality, I believe he is about both Justice and Love.  I think if God is real, there is justice.  If God isn't real, then it all will be lost in the end of matter.  Therefore, I think humans are wrong and God is right.  So Homosexuals can find God.  

Will God punish people who do not sin, but do not, also, believe in God?    

I do not know.  I do know that it has been said that no human can be sinless, and only Christ was without sin.   I really do not know.  Again, I am not God, and I am content that God is just.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recent ideas and experiences


I've been dealing with a bad back lately.  People give advice, and I know there are ways to get it fixed.  I am however not comfortable with Chiropractic adjustments, and I don't think doctors will heal me either.  Of the many issues I have, this one is possibly going to be the one that crushes my will and spirit.

People often inquire if I am still depressed.  I am not.  I am, however, aware of my sins, flaws, and fears, so the future does seem scary.


I have four books in various stages of completion.  When these books are done I might well stop writing for print.  It costs too much in terms of my health and soul to keep writing 80 hours a week.  I am not going to ever stop writing poetry.


I've recently received a great many emails.  It isn't that I am not grateful to be thought of, or considered a source for answers, but a number of the emails were not kind, or gentle.  They were accusatory.  Here are some of the snippets.

"Christianity is stupid, and so are you" 

Thanks for that.  If I am stupid I guess I can't respond.  I am not offended by much, and I am ok with different ideas.  I have many Atheist friends, people from Islam, people from Buddhism, people from Hindu beliefs.  I am not an universalist.  I am not sure, however, of the cosmic forces that people become aware of.  I believe in Jesus.  I accept that others do not. 

"You are an ugly pussy.  Go back to your fag kingdom." 

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if you find me ugly I concede you are right.  I'll remember it next time I look in the mirror.    Ugly doesn't hurt my feelings.  And frankly, enough people disagree that that I am ok with the odd person thinking otherwise.

"You deserved cancer"

How very generous.  I have received many emails from this person, none are reprintable, because they are all at this level of conversation.   No one deserves a disease. 

"You are a shitty poet"

Again, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is taste a thing that is unable, usually, to be separated from the holder of said taste.   If I am a shitty poet, I still need to be what I am.

If in doubt check this out ------> LINK TO MY SHITTY POETRY

Check this out too------------> LINK  TO MY PUBLISHED WORKS

Je ne regrette pas la douleur, car il m'a fait plus forte

I have indeed suffered recently, but it allowed me to see the gifts others gave to me with a grateful heart, and hope.  I am not a emotion whore, but to others it seems so.  It is about the way humans feel about emotions.  I am not ashamed of mine.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Crusade

I am a Christian.  But I am a Christian in a world with people who are cynical.  I do not try to argue what I believe, but I used to do so.  I am more wise than I was, and maturity allows me to understand the world better.  I try very much to live by a code of ethics, and morals.  By this I try to create a living witness to my beliefs.

Any powerfully held belief, whether it is aimed at God, Science, Politics, or some other Philosophy should result in life results.  That is, I believe that if you are authentic in your belief, it should be visible in what you do, and act like in life.  I think it proves your belief when you live it.

That isn't a boast.  I think whatever you choose to do in life, is your thing.  I used to argue with people regarding my beliefs because I felt it was my duty, and my mission to tell everyone what my "truth" was/is.   But over time I became aware that you cannot argue someone into belief, you can only bruise and wound others.

And, I'd argue, the same is true with politics today.  I have had people scream at me.  I've been called a Nazi for being unwilling to agree to a person's beliefs.  I also have been called a Commie for similar reasons.  And, the truth is, people really don't want to know what you believe, that just want you to agree with them.  I consider myself a warrior, but one of waging war upon the lies that modernity promotes.  So, will I take my fight to individuals?  No.

I don't believe people have to be converted, they have to be loved.  I believe that Jesus said Love your Neighbor as yourself. *

(Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”)

I am not self agrandizing.  I am trying to explain why I do not agree with your political views.  My views are not political.  I do not hold any views that fit any paradigm or any political party's platform.  I believe in a sort of libertarian view, that is, let people do whatever it is that within limits is ok.  Abortion to me is murder, but, the state sanctions murder in other ways.  Since I am not living in a Theocracy, I am compelled to give Caesar what is Caesar's and accept that.  Some will take issue with my term murder to describe Abortion. I believe that the state allows the death penalty.  The state allows military actions that kill civilians, innocents, and others. So for me, allowing abortion places the moral decision in the hands of the woman.  If you make moral decisions for people, when they make a choice that is against that decision by government, they will consider their view of it  not as right or wrong, but as a form of righteous opposition. 

I was asked why I am opposed to abortion morally but not legally.  I do not impose my views upon society.  As I mentioned prior, I believe that you do not convince others when you argue.  Also, I am aware that due to the circumstances of my origins in my birth mother's womb, I would not be allowed to exist in years since Abortion became legal.  Why do I say this?  I was conceived as a result of violent rape.  I was carried to term by a woman who had said at one point, I wish I could have an abortion.  I am living evidence that lives are extinguished by abortion.  Some might suggest I am brain dead.  They are welcome to their views.

I do not say any of this trying to convince you.  I am instead suggesting that if you look at my views, or anyone's views, they are born of complicated, detailed, intricate mental experiences.  What other people believe does affect me.  But, as a person who seeks God, and spiritual cleanliness, I am required to live by a different standard.

Christ said I am not of this world. When I accepted that I needed forgiveness, and that I had to respond to my understanding of God, I was choosing to be different than other humans.  I was choosing to live by a standard others would not wish to follow.  That isn't my concern.  My concern is being the Christian I believe I must be.

I am entirely flawed.  I am weak.  I am foolish.  I am tired and ready to let the waves of sadness overwhelm me.  Life is a fatal disease.  But I have to make the best of the time my flesh has.  It is as simple as this. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ramblings and responses to questions

I want to know why it is that when I play a note on the piano it sounds dull and boring, but when Van Cliburn did it was magic?  Why do people who all use the same language, when writing, not create or write the same?  What is it that makes the note or the word in the hands of one, not the same when it is in the hands of others?  I realize people have different talents, but, my issue is not with amount of talent or kind, instead I am suggesting, the note or word is available to everyone.  Why is it better with one than another?  How do some people capture lightning?

Of the worlds that fantasy and science fiction have imagined, I still am content where I am.  I don't want to go to Hoth, or Earthsea, or Middle Earth.  The neutral zone of Star Trek holds no interest for me.  Why is it that we think we must leave to find happiness?  To me I realize that it isn't finding what you want, but being happy with what you have is the key.  If you love what you have you won't desire and constantly be hungry.

I have been told, repeatedly, from Democrats that I voted for Trump by voting 3rd party.  I've never been told by a Republican that my vote should have gone anywhere.  I think people have a right to be disappointed, but blame is something that belongs only upon the candidates or those who fucked the process during the campaign.  I know that this will only encourage more crap, but the fact is, I am not willing to vote according to my fear or how others will vote.  If I choose to follow the crowd, I am lost in its midst.

Another person told me that if I want to make money in the creative world I have to create what others like.  That I should do research and when I find out what they like, do a story in that genre/format.  Nope.  I am unable to do this, only being able to create what is in my noggin.

Someone suggested that I am gay suggesting I was because I like cats.  They aren't correct.  And frankly, I like poetry and bubble baths, and that doesn't make me gay either.  It means I like sex with women (so far just one, my wife) and have a variety of interests.  Guess what? Gay means you are attracted to the same sex.  It has nothing to do with pet ownership.

I was asked "What books do I recommend for humor?"  I have 3.

Jed the Dead by Alan Dean Foster made me chuckle throughout.  It features a dead alien, and a person who finds the body, and takes Jed wherever they go.  And what exactly does dead mean for an alien?

Hexbreaker by Mike Baron and Bill Reinhold featured the character Badger going to a tournament of champions, in martial arts.  The characters are delightful, and the humor is present throughout the story.

Mad Amos by Alan Dean Foster is a fantastical collection of stories.  The character Mad Amos is bigger than life, and he meets dragons, unicorns, and other crazy things.  It is a lovely work, in every sort of way. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unique, just like everyone else

I was told, recently, that I am different.  Different from other comic book fans, in that, I prefer to enjoy the product, rather than complain.  Different from other Americans, in that, I believe that the US is not the total and end all of nations in the world.  Different from other Christians, because I believe in such a big god that I don't think human rules and human values are the same as the God I choose to believe in.  I am different because I am an INFJ on an MBTI scale of personality types.  And different because I am a poet who does not care about achieving for Academia, and I do not write for the genres and subjects that poetry fans read.

Am I so different?  Yes.  I am different.  Some of this is because of the circumstances of my birth.  Some is due to the parents who raised me.  Some is from the cultural experiences I have had.  And of course, my DNA is likely a party to the different that I am.  My life is not one that I am in complete control of, being that I live on a planet with 7.5 billion other people.  This isn't an amazing new concept, but it is one that some people attempt to suggest.  "I am not like the others" yeah, right.

I am different for numerous reasons, as you can see.  Another way I am different is that while I write and do other things, most of them provide little financial award.  Someone asked me if I was on welfare, since my work doesn't make much money.  I am not.  However, from day one of being in a serious relationship with the woman who became my wife, she was aware that I was going to be a writer, and that she needed to abandon ship if she didn't understand that I was unlikely to ever be more than that.  We are fortunate that we've arrived safely to the end of our child's K-12 education without being in bankruptcy, but some of that isn't my fault.  Getting cancer and paying oodles of money over years when I've fought it meant that our finances were thin.  And I only get to buy things if I sell my work, or books I buy as likely being of interest to collectors.  I am not a capitalist, I am not a communist.  I am an artist who has done work with little financial compensation, or critical success.

Why does any of this matter?  Everyone is different, right?  Yes, we are all unique in the very same way.  Yet, no matter the desire to think we are all different, you can assume that many people in any culture conform to a certain template that "normal" is considered to be.  I do not mean any disregard towards or contempt for anyone who fits that norm.  I simply am aware of how deeply different some people are.  And I believe that people who conform receive a great many benefits for such social conformity.  The world does nothing without there being a reason.  If I am kind, it is because I believe society is benefited by my action.  If a person steals that act rewards them in various ways, but comes with a risk.  Conformity allows people to thrive within the boundaries of a system.  Those who live outside of that system risk the benefits of being a social animal.

But remember, quantity is not quality, and no matter how unpopular you are, remember this too, 10 million flies love shit, it does not make shit good.  Being popular is not the same as being good.  Doing things that are or being of high quality does not guarantee anyone popularity.  It guarantees only what it is. 

I no longer attend church.  I have been involved in many churches, but I am not a social person, nor am I extroverted.  I am deeply introverted.  The act of going to church is one that some people feel rewards them socially, as well as spiritually.  For me the balance is solely for spiritual rewards, because I hate being in the midst of a large group of people, even in family or friends, I get overwhelmed.  The cost of being in that group is often anxiety and stress, but it can be worse, causing me to become wounded, and regret attending that church.  So, my choice has been to watch two different youtube ministers and read a variety of blogs for spiritual gain.  Not attending the group but getting the lessons allows me to grow.

So how do I intend upon moving forward?  I choose to keep writing, and I choose to be a positive force for the areas of life I am inclined to enjoy.  I am a Christian, a poet, an American, a Male, an INFJ, a Father, a Brother, a Son, and a Husband.  I like books, cats, comics, music, history, and documentaries. 

Wie Schafe zur Schlachtbank gef├╝hrt

One can assume that my goals are for a palpable reward.  And I accept that.  But the kind and form of reward, I think are diverse, unusual, and are not easily interpreted.

(Cat Photos copyright Jonathan Ness 2016)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Who I am, intellectually, and spiritually.

I've often been told that people are what they read.  If that is so, I am sharing images of the books that really helped define my intellect.  Some things to say before I explore more.  I don't always agree with what I've read.  I don't always like what it teaches me.  But I am happy, I am hopeful, and I have a mind that is curious.  All of those factors I believe help me endure life.  I have a number of beliefs, a number of interests, and my need to answer questions my heart and mind agree that need to have answered for me.

I am not a Hindu, but I am fascinated by the depths of the myths, legends, and spiritual truth found in their beliefs.   The world around me is quite different than the one I read about in the Hindu books.  This isn't a bad thing.  When I reach out with my brain and learn new facts, ideas, and beliefs, my spirit and being grow.  I have a great antipathy towards mindsets that are so closed as to deny what I think are spiritual truths.

"You grieve for those who should not be grieved for;
yet you speak wise words.
Neither for the dead nor those not dead do the wise grieve.
Never was there a time when I did not exist
nor you nor these lords of men.
Neither will there be a time when we shall not exist;
we all exist from now on.
As the soul experiences in this body
childhood, youth, and old age,
so also it acquires another body;
the sage in this is not deluded."

The Bhagavad-Gita

I am also not a Zen Buddhist.  What I find amazing about Buddhism is the fact that while it can be a religion, a spiritual quest, it can also be a manner of focusing one's mind, and becoming a stronger person.  My focus was improved by the information I learned, by the manner of questioning to find moral truth is beyond religious, it is a powerful tool to learn about your strengths, weaknesses and ideas.  Questioning your faith is important, at some point, to know its depths.  Learning how to do this is a way to explore personal intellectual growth, and it, in fact, deepened my understanding of my Christian faith.  In some ways I consider myself to be a Christian who uses Buddhist means to be a better Christian.

“The truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one's humdrum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring commonplaceness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity.”   D.T. Suzuki

Yes, I am a Christian.  My entry to religion was a baptism in the Lutheran church, I attended later a Methodist church, felt the flame of my beliefs at a Pentecostal church, and joined a Mennonite small fellowship to put my faith into action.  So, I am conversant in many aspects of Protestantism.  I am, at heart, not a deeply denominational Christian.  I pursue my faith by private research in the bible, that is outside of the group found in attending churches.  I grew in faith from every visit to reading the bible.  But dealing with people is completely different.  So, I admit, being an introvert has taken my studies into a realm that is considered questionable by many in the church.  But I believe in the church, I just don't find arguments, debates, harangues that come with defining one's faith to be helpful on my journey.

"“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My journey was as a hungry mind and weak spirit who entered into a faith by many means.  Learning about the application of faith found in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings were among the most fertile of fields.  I rejected the desire to do things that Christians do, and embraced doing what I believed God wished me to do.  Christ's sacrifice was an act of grace for my sins, mercy for my being guilty, and by which I developed an understanding of the cost of true grace.  I wasn't freed to commit more sins.  I was freed of my sins to share hope with others.

Nietzsche, Rumi, Saint-Exupery and Laozi are an odd mix.  The path I've traveled is not as a perfect being, I am completely flawed.  As such, I have a desire to understand why, who am I, what is this world teaching me, and why do I listen?

Nietzsche was writing about many things, but what I found helpful the most was his pursuit of true, pure living.  I use this terminology to describe the whole of it, rather than to debate his other issues.  People think he hated those with religion, but he was saying, the era of man is one where the faith in God is one where others do your thinking.  Taking ownership of my faith happened when I did exactly what he was aiming at.  And I know God more as a result.

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

Rumi expressed how one should feel, learning the truth.  The glory that is God is not limited to only those of Christian faith learning of his existence.  It is a search that has no boundaries except those raised by the human desire to separate one's self from others.

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”  Rumi

I learned in the Little Prince the concept of knowing something that could help people greatly.  Instead of wanting more, desiring wealth, power, fame, learning to be amazed at what you have now, and grateful will bring you to a place of moral satisfaction, instead of unleashed desire.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I do not believe in all of the concepts found in Taoism.  I do however find great comfort in the manner in which it expresses that we should find satisfaction in life being ourselves, as opposed to having what others have, wanting what others want, and doing what what they do, instead of being yourself.

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.” Laozi

My mind has always pursued the universal truths in myth, the past actions of humankind, the deep truth of being sacrificing to yourself for others, and being courageous regardless of the situation.  As a poet I am moved mostly by the Greek myths, mostly because they captured truths while being exciting and interesting.  This also is why I love Arthurian legend, and the legends and lore of ancient Europe.  I don't presume to know if all or any of it happened.  I have ideas, though, and these were fuel for my mind. 

I do not know the future.  I do however, know who I am, and where I plan to travel.  I believe that there is reason to hope.

“You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them. I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavour to die with honour, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive. These are facts which you too should realize (our situation demands it) and should show that you yourselves are brave men and should call on the rest to do likewise.” Xenophon, The Persian Expedition

Saturday, April 22, 2017

You rebel you

I am often told that I think too much.  When in my mind people do not think enough.  I am told I feel too much.  When in my mind people don't feel.  They are emotional, perhaps, but lie about what they actually feel.  Or they play the role that society has chosen for them.

All of this is part of how we allow society to assign a niche for who we are.  If you are a white male, in Western society you are said to receive privilege.  If you happen to be emotional and artistic, however, you are said to be a fag.

We might be individuals, we might be.  But in our lives we follow paths others have trod.  Doing otherwise makes you a rebel.  And rebels usually die at the end of their quest, earlier than the natural life span they might have lived.  So is that wrong?

“Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n.” John Milton  Paradise Lost

Jesus Christ was a rebel.  Gandhi was a rebel.  Buddha was a rebel.  Laozi was a rebel.  These examples are not the norm, they are the abnormal.  That they existed and were allowed to speak to various peoples, is not the norm. "K'ung Fu-tzu" or Confucius gave out life wisdom that was meant to harken back to principles that humans should live by according to Ancient conceptions in China of society.  Communism, Socialism, and Fascism all can be measured by the way they attempted to remove the individualism from society and aim efforts toward become the mythic volk, or society that lives as one unit.

I am not saying rebels are the best of society.  I am not saying all forms of Communism, Socialism, or Fascism are evil.  I am saying that most people believe themselves to be an individual, but are clearly not.

Being a rebel isn't always the best path.  Various rebellions came from abject discord, and led to horrible tragic loss of life.  Not every rebel is a saint, not every leader of society is a sinner.  It is important to have context in the path you walk.

But never assume that life means doing ________.  It doesn't mean anything other than you breathe, eat, shit, sleep, and only perhaps do more.  You are the captain of your own ship, never let others determine your goals or destination.   A vast number of great achievers in the world began life being educated for a different path than the one that they ended up walking.  We are all units of an enormous group, we are human.  But the best part of humanity, is that we can determine our own goal.

Oh Great Ares, How we worship you

 “When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

 “War is what happens when language fails.”― Margaret Atwood

The Greek God Ares represented Victory in war, by any means.  His attributes included bloodlust in battle and slaughter.   The people of Earth know that war means death.  They know that there is enormous costs, financially and physically.  Every weapon made results in a theft, because the weapon was made rather than an investment in education, libraries, clean energy, removal of pollution, feeding the starving people of the world. (paraphrase of Dwight D. Eisenhower).

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”― Herbert Hoover

When I say humans worship Ares, I do not mean every human, nor do I mean that they are aware of the worship they do.  But despite war being an end to some situations, humans resort to war not as a final option, they prefer it as an option.  (See the Iraq war, and the refusal to allow inspections to prove there were no WMDs. ) 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”― Plato

Being an American I was taught to be grateful for the sacrifice of lives in past wars.  They had died, it was said, for the defense of freedom and country.  I believe that some did.  I believe others died due to the incompetence of leadership, false beliefs about the enemy, and the fact that America has gone to war, sometimes, for bad reasons.

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”― Ernest Hemingway

Dying for a commodity is beyond bad, unless the commodity is oxygen or water.  Just as a person who steals food due to having no money elicits sympathy if not acceptance, a person stealing lawn chairs or drive offs at a gas pump are simply bad.  The wars fought by Americans have often been about expanding or strengthening the country.  That is somewhat reasonable.

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”― John Steinbeck

In ancient Greece, Ares is said to have been hated by the other gods, and few humans worshiped him.  But they continually made war.  Here the Greeks can be seen as another group of people who paid lip service to one value (Athena, Goddess of wisdom, and honor) but lived by another.

From Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey 

Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
"Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky."

“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”  ― Carl Sagan