|28 Aug 2004 @ 04:10|
Something used to be posted here...
And someone commented on it :) , but that is all after the fact ladies and gents.
If saying things were easy...
If wishes were horses...
I'll just copy a friend of mine:
VACANT LOT!!! Question is, what used to be on this lot? They say that some really weird hermit used to live here, and that he bulldozed his own house down. Jeeze. There's got to be a story behind that. I spent a good part of my childhood on a vacant lot, and I can tell you something from experience. They're only vacant if you fail to make them otherwise. But the price is high, LOL. More >
|12 Jul 2004 @ 09:23|
Why do I get the feeling that there's going to be a fire at the "Reichstag" come this November? Otherwise, no comment really. There's not even a horrific enough picture for me to post to convey the sheer... *!!??*.
|25 May 2004 @ 07:50|
For those of you who would like to see some of the marvelous photographic work that is coming out of my visit to the Spanish mountains, take a look at our blog. Enjoy :) . More >
|15 Mar 2004 @ 06:51|
Can't say that I've ever been a fan of socialism, or that I probably ever will be, nor do I believe that the solutions to most important problems have much of anything to do with government at all, but at least the guy is capable of saying something true. A politician, saying something true about the Iraq war. Next thing you know we'll see cancer-curing bananas growing on apple trees. To see one of the stupid governments that supported that war (against the will of the VAST majority of its people, but then "democracy" is when governments do what America wants them to, so no problem there, LOL) thrown out of office for the mess it helped create... gives one warm feelings inside. Here's to Blair and Bush being the next ones kicked out of power. I'd just like to give them both a big kiss for making the world so much safer (like, "really, BRAVO guys, you really know how to turn a country into a chaotic war zone and volunteer other people's lives en masse for... whatever"). *Sigh* and no, that doesn't mean any bombings are, were, or will be okay. It means that Aznar's government supported a murderous crime, based, as is now becoming clear, on outright lies (as some of us have been saying for a looooong time). And they probably shouldn't be surprised when, justified or not, some of those darned evil people they're trying to eliminate by way of invading entire countries decide to fight back. It's not a matter of giving them a sanction to fight back, mind you; the blessing and the curse (mostly a blessing) of human nature is that you can't stop them, no matter what you do. Each person can only control themselves. They simply don't control other people. That's how free we are. The really tragic thing is that innocent people in Madrid paid for something their government did without their support. Tragic, too, that there are people who have gotten so screwed up that they're crazy enough to carry out such acts.
About fighting back: a while ago someone asked me what I'd do if China or Pakistan (!?) invaded the US and told my mommy to walk in the street. You know, since I was arguing against the Iraq war, I must have been some kind of wimp who would just let people walk all over him and hand America over to the terrorists. I'll tell you what I'd do if someone invaded: I'd do my best to make life a living (not for long) HELL for any soldier (or any person who tried to use immediately life-threatening FORCE to make me pray to any god, Muslim, Christian, channeled Martian or otherwise, and who managed to create a situation in which simply saying "no" or "stuff it" would not suffice; I must add, by the way, that having someone on the other side of the world who has a culture you don't like and who isn't tolerant enough for your liking doesn't fall under this category), from any country, who presumed the right to invade my home, order my family around at gunpoint and kill my neighbors. I've said it before; I'm not a total pacifist. I believe in self defense. However, I don't believe that the laws of cause and effect are suspended when "self defense" is invoked; if one goes too far, even in perfectly justified self defense, there WILL be serious consequences, and nothing will make them go away. No amount of force will erase them. That's justice/karma/the golden rule for you. The moral of the story is that yes, you can defend yourself, but be careful who you murder. REALLY careful. Insanely careful. And if you can't avoid killing innocent civilians who've done nothing to you... then a lot of people are going to have VERY good reasons to make sure your troops become incapable of so much as firing a rubber bullet at them, ever again. I can think of several thousand people in Iraq, probably several million, who have a first class claim to self defense against the US and its troops. That kind of comes with the territory when you use force against entire populations, no matter what you're "trying" to do. I'd do anything I could to weaken the structure that supported the invading troops; anything I could to deprive them of power and of the ability to use force against me and the people I love, regardless of their rhetoric or stated intentions. Actually, that's not true. I'd probably fight ten times harder once the word "liberation" slipped out of their mouths. What a slander that would be. I'd do everything I could to force the poor duped troops to go home and live with their families (horror of horrors!) and leave my "freedom" to me, to fight for or die for as I saw fit.
Then again, that's me. My definition of "freedom" is an individual one; I believe that every individual has the right to decide to fight, or not, for what they believe in, and to fully accept the consequences of their action or inaction (in the case of inaction, if you accept the power of a dictatorship as your government, that is what you will get; if you allow yourself to be blackmailed into accepting it, that is what you will get; you have a right to give your life in the fight against it if you wish, but you don't have a right to volunteer anyone else's life unless they are trying to rule you through coercion). That right exists regardless, and almost always in spite of, any government or army. It exists because we are human beings, and that's it. It also exists regardless of what anyone else, or everyone else, thinks, says, or does. The decision and the courage involved in exercising that right are entirely the responsibility of each person. It exists, but it comes with no assurances of a house, job, or car. The only assurance it comes with is that you always have a choice not to comply with those who would try to tell you that your life is not yours to live or to fuck up as you please. I know that some people will try to push a collectivized idea of "freedom" which is a function of proximity to an SUV dealership and a nice suburban home, or defined as some misty conception of womb-like security. And, of course, however much individual people have to be brutalized or regulated into being "good" under such an idea of freedom, it's fine because the collective "greater good" is being served. Those things aren't freedom, by any stretch of the imagination. They are the products of the way particular people have chosen to use their own basic freedom, which for better or for worse has developed over hundreds of years of democratic rule (debatable, but I'll grant it here for the sake of argument) and which also has its base in a particularly liberal (in the older sense of the word; I'm not talking Democrats here) conception of philosophy and of humanity that dates back even further. It wasn't implanted by military occupation, and it didn't replace serfdom in a year, a decade, or even a century. It CERTAINLY was not a result of so-called "democratic" institutions; such institutions arose from it. The same is true of the Constitution. Nor is it the natural state of human beings. All of humanity is not somehow destined to end up that way, no matter how much some people wish that were so.
By the way, I'd never for a second go and kill the families of the occupying soldiers. So what happened in Spain was wrong, absolutely. Period. No questions asked. The people who did it, and only those people, should be hunted down like dogs. But frankly what do Bush, Aznar, Blair, and anyone else who actually supported the Iraq war expect? For the people of the entire world to present themselves as disarmed subjects to their military force? Please. "Oops, America is scared and has gone into chicken-with-its-head-cut-off mode, so I guess a couple thousand of us will die now, huh. Oh well, all for the greater good." Well I'll tell you something. Any "greater good" that is served by the death of innocent people, and which actually necessitates it, is something we can do without. If you don't like violence, and you want to prevent it, don't invade a country, kill twice as many civilians (at LEAST) as died on 9/11, and call it "collateral damage" or, crime of crimes, "necessary". If there's ANY lesson to be taken from stupid things like 9/11/01 and 3/11/04, it's that such things are NEVER justified. Those who think they are, for whatever reason or in service of whatever ideal or way of life, deserve only to be resisted. Those who take part in or support such things are kind of giving up any right to speak against violence. When they use violence unnecessarily and speak against it at the same time, what they're actually speaking for is domination (domination in the name of some twisted "good" is still domination). Because non-violence isn't written into the fabric of the universe. It's not automatic. I don't happen to believe that anyone's imaginary friend is sitting up there in the heavens telling us what to do. One can't initiate violence on a massive scale and then expect that the graces of "something" will allow them to lock the situation down immediately afterwards, even as their armed-to-the-teeth troops still occupy the place in question. The idea that violence just is not the way to do things exists as a "moral" only so far as people are able to restrain themselves and use violence only when they have no other choice at all, and certainly NOT when they get bored with inspections or come up with a really good fish story to scare people stupid or something.
|20 Oct 2003 @ 11:02|
Huh, well for today I just have to say that the suggestion that a way of life that works for someone has to work for the entire world is absolutely off the mark. I know it's the prevailing wisdom in some circles that there must be a single right way that everyone must be forced into living, whether it works for them or not, but, fascinating little fact here, people aren't all the same. A method that works for one person may very well not work for another. And so long as that method does not try to control other people's lives by force, that's absolutely fine. In fact, it's one of the best things in the world. "Freedom", I rather thought, means that you can go and live in a way that works well for you, even if it's not the same as the way everyone else lives. You know, it's the crazy idea that we don't have to be like everyone else and that we can live in any way that respects the freedom of others to do the same. Some would say that "society", the "normal" way of doing things, holds eternal and absolute authority over the life of every human being, that we may live our lives in that context, and no other, ever, and that if you don't just jump for joy at the thought of being regulated and ruled by "society", there must be something wrong with you, because the only context that will ever be workable is the one of the society that exists at this moment. Supposedly, if something doesn't bow down to that context, it is destined to wither; as if that "society" were some kind of limiting absolute by which all humans MUST exist.
It's the idea that to live any differently requires the approval of everyone on the planet, or of anyone, for that matter, other than the person whose life is being lived differently, no matter how many people the universal, "societal" way of life does NOT work for, no matter how many lives that particular society smashes or wastes with its petty games, and that all any human being could ever want out of life is a car, a house, and a job, and that once they have those things they should just shut up and be happy, but ALL of that is just really REALLY wrong. If society at large can't handle the fact that it does not speak for the whole of humanity, that its games are not absolutes, that its prescribed methods do not work for everyone, and that people are perfectly free to walk away from it if it doesn't work for them, and live their lives in a way that's meaningful to them (WITHOUT being enslaved by the insane notion that they are responsible for finding a way of life/"method" that works for the ENTIRE world, which is probably and hopefully impossible), then said society probably belongs on the evolutionary trash heap.
|1 Oct 2003 @ 12:13|
A man once told me that conquest, a full century or more of war, the spreading of “civilization” by force, and democratization of the world at the point of a gun are the ways in which you “transform a generation” for the better. All I could do at the time was stare in horror at the sickness expressed in that comment. I’ll begin here by saying a bit more about it. That is NOT how any person or society I could love or respect transforms a generation. That is how Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush/Paul Wolfowitz et al would go about transforming a generation. Yes, before you ask, in that respect, all of those monsters DO come from the same mold. They all think (thought) their qualms with the world justify massive destruction and murder. I’m not saying they’re alike in every other way. Simply that, whatever their motivations or backgrounds, that is the principle they function(ed) on. Any number of mass murderers have spouted the same line, “transform a generation” or some variant, to provide some twisted justification for their atrocities. For some of the higher level sociopaths in our own government, the favored phrase is “creative destruction”. And if America is anything I would ever even think of fighting for or caring about, EVER, then that concept of “transformation” is one of the most un-American ideas ever to infect the mind of a sentient being. When people try to “transform a generation” like that, the people whose lives they are volunteering for that transformation tend to have a problem; they tend to fight back. If, through some kind of diseased, paternalistic, paranoid delusion “America” comes to represent a force that would treat the rest of the world like a “brat child” in need of discipline, then I am glad for every bit of resistance it will face; I am glad that people will NEVER stand for such a thing, and that they will fight against it to no end.
We are the brat children if we think our “security” can justly come at such a price, and if we think “freedom” has any chance of surviving in such a world. There are an awful lot of people on this planet who have been aware, for a very long time, of the kind of insecurities we Americans are treating as some kind of revelation that we had no idea of before, and as something that gives us a good reason to go anywhere on the planet and kill people. Yet many of the people to whom such insecurity is no news manage to live their lives anyway, full of meaning and even happiness, without going crazy and calling for a global crusade to remove the insecurities that come with not having a world-wide dictatorship. That is a good thing too. If, every time someone felt insecure, they believed it gave them a right to do anything even remotely approaching what we are doing, I doubt the human race would still exist. I am not glad for the deaths and suffering that will come from it, but I am glad that the human spirit will not be subjugated by the naked force of a superpower, however puffed up with conceit that superpower is. The old “they started it” argument did not even work on the playground in school; I most certainly won’t dignify it here. And do I need to tell ANYONE that two wrongs don’t make a right? Or do you think all the death and waste that is caused by the wars you support is not wrong? Let me say it very clearly: if that is the way America, or anyone else, would bring about a “new civilization” or a civilization of any other kind, then one of the things I hope for every night as I go to sleep is their complete and utter failure in doing so.
THAT, you see, is why we are free. It has fairly little (I won’t go so far as to say nothing) to do with our unprecedented collection of killing toys, and we do not owe our government thanks for our freedom. Quite the contrary, at this point in time. If we are free in America, at least comparatively so, because none of us will tolerate any tyranny that would try to control our lives. Right? Our ancestors didn’t tolerate it and we certainly won’t. We WILL NOT tolerate injustice, LEAST OF ALL from ourselves or our own leaders. Right? If we would fight the injustice of others by committing injustices of our own, however justified we have been conned into thinking we are, we are only making it worse. It is both fascinating and horrifying to see how many people think of justice solely in terms of eagerly dishing out punishment. The “don’t you know there’s a war on?” mentality that people try to use to justify murder and little black-outs of the Constitution (thank you, Mr. Ashcroft, for those “Patriot” Act pieces of filth!) is what we cannot tolerate here. Right? The idea that we could even think of tolerating such a thing, especially from ourselves, come terrorism, war, or hell on Earth, is fundamentally un-American. Everyone seems to like to throw that word, un-American, around. Well there’s my definition of it. The idea that injustice SHOULD be tolerated, even practiced, by some but not others, is one of the cornerstones of tyranny, of misery, of dictatorship. The idea that it is EVER necessary is a smear to the very nature of our existence. “Necessary” evil is an abomination that no sane human would defend, LEAST of all when it comes to their OWN lives and deeds or the deeds of the government which supposedly does all in their name.
Hitler would have been nothing more than a crazy little man with a funny mustache if the people of Germany had not listened to him, and had not made the “sacrifices” and “compromises” of morality, reason and life the little war effort asked of them. They were accepting that evil is necessary, for their beloved cause; functioning on the same hatred and paranoia-borne idea that a people can somehow eliminate everyone who won’t tolerate its global military presence and its prescribed way of life (anyone who makes us feel insecure???). Atrocities seldom come about because there are a few people who are crazy; they come about because people the world over are taught to tolerate and justify them, as long as it is their “team” that’s committing them. “Sure, no one else can, but we just HAVE to.” Sometimes they DO happen just because of a few people. In those cases, they will do far MORE damage if the rest of us respond with “who can we kill to make it better?” You think there are enough people in this world who have a bone to pick with America to pose a threat NOW!? If this crazy little crusade keeps up, I fear that you haven’t seen anything yet. The list of people you think you need to eliminate is only going to get longer. You cannot solve the problem by spreading your own plague of naked force around the globe. There is no such thing as a “necessary” or benevolent tyranny; not even in the slightest. It is, quite simply, unacceptable. Now for a little quote:
Margaret Bourke-White: “But do you really believe you could use non-violence against someone like Hitler?”
Gandhi: “Not without defeats, and great pain. But are there no defeats in this war? No pain? What you cannot do is accept injustice from Hitler, or anyone. You must make the injustice visible, and be prepared to die like a soldier to do so.”
-“Gandhi”, during an interview scene with the reporter Margaret Bourke-White
Well, what can I say? The subject of peace has been on my mind a lot recently. I used the above quote, from the movie “Gandhi”, as the centerpiece of an article I wrote a few months ago. I know it’s just a movie; I used it because I liked the wording very much. I think it’s enough to say that I agree with almost everything in that quote; it is pretty self-explanatory. It has been bothering me for some time that one part of that quote might be used in defense or justification of the psychotic crusade the leaders of my country seem intent on conducting on the other side of the Earth. Well, as may be evidenced by that last sentence, I most emphatically do not think that is the case.
First, I’m going to throw out one point that I think most people are clear on, at least in theory (in some cases, ONLY in theory). It’s quite simple, and I’d go so far as to say it is an absolute reality; that is to say that there is no “should” involved in its most basic form. Here it is: the only person you can control with any certainty (or justification) whatsoever is yourself. Period. It is the cornerstone of the very idea of “freedom”; you CAN control yourself, you CAN exercise complete control over what you bring into the world. You are completely responsible for it, without question and without escape. You cannot (AND should not) act as if you can control others, under any circumstances. There is no exception to that truth for convenience, nor is there one for paranoia or insecurity. Now, I have to clarify that this does not mean that one ought to give up in communicating with the rest of humanity, or resign to the fact that the world cannot be changed. It means that the only PERSON you can control is you; you cannot control others by force (if you disagree with that one, well, I really don’t have time for “1984”-style mind-control fantasies or dreams of dictatorship right now). Getting together with people of your own free will to transform the world that is right in front of you, in a way that does not destroy the lives of others, is a very GOOD thing to do.
What’s the point? You cannot accept injustice, Gandhi said. There is one place on this Earth, in this universe, and ONLY one, where that can be taken to its absolute and final extent: your own life, your own mind, your own “soul”. That fact basically makes it impossible for me to take seriously anyone who would argue in favor of the present war, or for further military adventures in that part of the world or any other. They might say, perhaps, that they are doing exactly what Gandhi said, in the quote that I myself posted: not accepting injustice. But they are dead wrong. They are accepting injustice, violence, and murder as necessary, as the only option left to them, from the one place they needn’t accept it at all: themselves. The world THEY bring into being through their convictions and their actions. They are justifying death after death, of the innocent and guilty, civilians and military, ours and theirs, man, woman, and child, and the use of brutality on a scale that destroys thousands of lives and trashes entire countries. They are propagating hatred and working for a world where the proof is in the warhead of the bomb. They are using that one spot of absolute control and unquestionable influence they have in this world to bring violence and injustice into being, and they speak of imposing “justice” upon people on the other side of the planet?
If you don’t see something wrong with that… I have nothing to say to you. I am aware of an idea floating around in this country that makes it possible to see what we are doing and say, “So?”. I’ve heard it more than once; it is the idea that it is perfectly fine and just for the United States to have a double standard in its dealings with the world; that this country may use force when and where it feels necessary, while anyone who would try to resist this country may justly be destroyed. If your morality, your view of the world, and most of all your conscience would permit for such things, I think there is nothing I can say to change your mind, because double standards are immune to trivial little things like reason. So, go ahead and deal with the world through double standards, if you think it is okay. Now, as a brief aside, please pardon me for being polarized and for the war metaphor I am about to use. I was raised in America; sue me; ) . That said, if you believe in that idea and are willing to carry it out or support it in any concrete way, we are already on different sides of the battlefield of ideas. That is the ONLY “battlefield” on which free people, ANY people, should ever have to meet. I pray that we never have to meet on any other battlefield, but I promise you that we will if the double standards you would openly embrace come to control this world.
That brings me to a small confession I have to make: I am not a complete pacifist. I’ve worked with the idea, I’ve tried it on for size, and it doesn’t fit. If someone were to send a massive army across the ocean to seize military control of this country and our lives, I would fight them, right alongside the other 300 million people here. If there were another big terrorist attack, and the Bush administration were to declare martial law (purely a hypothetical situation, on both counts, I hope, presented only for the sake of example) then I would fight the government of this country. If someone tried to take away my life, and there was NO alternative at all, as in “they are coming at me with a loaded gun and there is nowhere to run and nothing to say”, then I would stop them. That also extends to the people who are closest to me in my life, but no further. Self defense, but only as a last, worn-down-to-the-bares-bones resort, queasiness and an overriding obsession with “security” be damned. Not when I’m pretty sure that the other alternatives wouldn’t work, or when I have some hunch that someday somebody might conceivably come and try to hurt me because our ideologies don’t quite match. An ABSOLUTE last resort. Until that LAST point, at which I either act or die within a space of seconds, I wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads, however evil I think they are. Until then, I will do anything I can to make sure that it does not come to violence. If I do anything less, I am helping to bring injustice into this world by way of the only person I control. If “security” comes at the cost of so many lives, and the horrors we are ourselves creating now, I want absolutely no part of it. I recognize that this world will NEVER be quite as secure as, say, the womb was, precisely because a deep respect for freedom is much more important. It’s almost a cliché to say that if you value security over freedom, you will probably lose both. I agree with it in spite of that fact. That is what this country is based on. We cannot control people to a point where we would be completely secure. It is not possible, and thank heaven for that.
Let’s not even speak of the “eye for an eye” concept. Or rather, let’s ; ) . America, at this point, and by an extremely conservative estimate, has taken at least two innocent eyes for every eye it lost in the attacks that took place two years ago. That’ll be defended by a statement that “we” didn’t mean to, or that we have some big fat righteous cause that justifies anything. Well, quite simply, that doesn’t change anything at all. The THOUSANDS of people who hate us now, very rightly, don’t give a damn about our intent. I’ve heard some express rage at the fact that Osama Bin Laden and his fellows thought that their qualms with our country, however intense, gave them a justification to kill thousands of innocent civilians. Say WHAT!? Yeah, I agree completely, and without reservation. I think it’s TERRIBLE when anyone, anywhere, thinks that their qualms with anyone else give them any justification at all to get thousands of innocent civilians trapped in the middle, NO MATTER what pompous load of rage they think makes it right. Anyone can justify anything if they’re sufficiently dosed with righteous hatred, paranoia, or some combination thereof. The people who are going to feel rather “irritated” at all the deaths we’re causing are perfectly correct in focusing solely on the injustice WE have brought into being in the form of wrecking their lives, whatever our lofty intentions were. Injustice and EVIL as a means to good? Brutality as a means to freedom? I don’t know what mockery of “morality” would allow for that, but it is something I pledge to fight, very possibly with my life, to the end.
And then there’s this one thing that doesn’t deserve much acknowledgement; the idea that if we’re not running a big war campaign on the other side of the world, we’re doing NOTHING! Duh, yeah, right. I mean I guess if we’re the kind of people who don’t know what to do with themselves if they’re not demonizing and screaming for the blood of thousands of people you’ve never met thousands of miles away from you. Or hey, if you have met them, good on you for traveling. Now, uh, why are you screaming for their blood? Once again, that does seem to be the preferred method of George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden in dealing with the world; I’d think Americans knew better. I would THINK that Americans know perfectly well that to say “we have to make the world more secure before we stop taking the license of ‘necessary evil’” is as good as a condemnation of any movement forward. Every civilization has found a reason to justify injustice, every civilization has conned itself into thinking that it’ll be better tomorrow, after this one last little romp, just to make us feel more secure and impose order on the world. OUR order, of course. If anyone thinks they can stand against that, we “think”, well OF COURSE we have to eliminate them. And THEN we can move onwards and upwards. The voices that are telling us that we kind of need to force ourselves to inflict violence and injustice (or does it come naturally?), just until we’ve eliminated a few (thousand, er, uh, maybe million) of the people who make us queasy by virtue of the fact that we do not control them are the very voices that are telling us that a better world is not possible. Rather, they are always saying it is possible tomorrow, that a better world is ONLY possible in a world that is already fundamentally better than this one; a world that has been made fundamentally better through the employment of “necessary” violence and naked force by (insert the name of your favorite goon squad here). Pardon me, but what a crock! I’m tempted to mention the Gandhi quote about becoming “the change you want to see in the world”, so consider it mentioned.
What SHOULD we do? Well, if you’re really concerned about “national security”, okay, just imagine all the pretty border security gadgets and nice armored plane doors we could buy with that $87 billion that’s being spent on our little misinformation-based crusade over in Iraq. That is to say nothing of the other billions spent on killing toys for the rest of our imperial ambitions. Rather than going out and killing MORE people and giving more people mint-condition reasons to hate this country, I think it’d be a good idea to focus on creating, ahem, LESS destruction, all around, and certainly with regards to the part we can play. What else should you do? Well, I think another “Gandhi” quote is in order. You’re bringing LOADS of injustice into this world, more than any terrorist organization could DREAM of creating. The destruction this country is causing in the name of good by far trumps anything Osama Bin Laden could ever do, and if certain people have their way, we are just getting started. You are trying to control, to “civilize”, by force, masses upon masses of people who are most assuredly not YOU, and so you have no right to be doing so. You are doing so in the name of, among other things, your “security”, and you think that is worth however many lives it has to be. “STOP IT. FOR GOD’S SAKE, STOP IT!” There, that’s my other Gandhi quote. You like it? If the activity in question is causing this much waste (of resources that are needed many places at HOME right now, for protection of our own cities, among many other things) and destruction, the best solution really is to STOP IT.
The base of this problem is that some in this country and many in the world seem to think that individual liberty/freedom/sovereignty, the most basic type of freedom, is open to compromise by their hands if they think it is necessary. They think they can sign away the lives of other people, by the thousands, innocent or not. They think there exists a justification for such a thing. Individual sovereignty is not something only to be respected when it’s convenient or safe, “secure” or comfortable, and NONE of its terms can be dictated to anyone. They CANNOT be dictated, but that certainly does not stop people from trying. When they try, claiming to value freedom and personal responsibility, they are insulting those things. And let me tell you something about being at peace with one’s self. If any of you can be at peace with yourselves while you’re supporting this “venture”, or any venture imaginable that is based on the same fundamentally tyrannical idea, or even this so-called “civilization” (that’s for another debate), then I… see above. Battlefield of ideas, etc. To the end. All I can say is that, by my own choice, I don’t speak your language nor do I have any desire to learn it.
Okay, I think there’s another thing we need to get straight here. My in-house devil’s advocate can already hear the people telling me that I’m disrespecting their personal sovereignty, and that they can support war if they darn well please. It’s conceivable that someone would say that; perhaps I should mind my own business. I HOPE most people will know better but I pay my DA to be pretty thorough and throw me pretty much whatever he/she/it comes up with. So, if you DO think that: no I am not disrespecting your individuality, not one bit. There is not a single force on this planet that will try to force you to read the words I’m writing, live by them, or take even a single one of them seriously out of anything but your own free will. The only thing that could possibly threaten you is the meaning your mind gives to these words. I am not attacking any person in particular; I am attacking ideas that I have heard expressed by particular people, and if those ideas are dear to you, okay. If it is something in your RATIONAL mind that tells you there is meaning in what I’ve said here, and that threatens you, then have a nice day. I have no power to threaten you, and I do not want any. I would oppose anyone who did, just as I oppose you when you try to justify doing it to others, anywhere, for ANY reason. I want to communicate with fellow free beings, and that is all. What I am doing here is trying to make a “meme” in my own country visible. It is a meme that tolerates and more alarmingly produces injustice, so I think it is a rather serious problem. I am trying to make it very clear that some of the central ideas I see expressed and put into practice by people around me, sometimes in my name, are recipes for atrocity and poisons to freedom. They are only ideas here, and it is much worse elsewhere? Great, let’s hope it stays that way, let’s pray to whoever our omnipotent imaginary friend is that they never become more, but most of all let’s stop them OURSELVES right here and right now. The only place on the planet we can control that is right HERE, and HERE we can control it absolutely; in our corner of the world, and nowhere else. The lives of others belong to others. We are entirely responsible for what goes on here, and we are not responsible for anyone else.
Let me say that again, for emphasis: our responsibility to and for ourselves is total; our preordained obligatory responsibility to and for the people we claim to be “liberating” as we murder and occupy, is ZERO. Nothing. Nil. It is an extremely twisted idea of “compassion” that would make us the slaves or the obligatory “liberators” (even if it could work that way) of everyone on the planet who wasn’t lucky enough (relatively speaking) to be born as we were. They owe us nothing, we owe them nothing; they are entirely responsible for their own lives and what they chose to tolerate, as are we. We cannot, should not, MUST not try to assume for them the responsibility that is entirely and exclusively theirs. If you would speak of tolerance, know this: the most fundamental type of tolerance is the one that accepts that other people are free to do things that we do not approve of; we can object, we can hold opinions, we can evaluate the world for ourselves and make our evaluations known, very loudly if we so desire. We cannot act as if we hold a veto or a right to force other people not to do things that make us feel insecure (except in LAST resort self defense, as I stated above). We can assume complete responsibility for what we bring into the world; I hope that we do not choose destruction, evil (“necessary” or not), and puffed-up-with-hatred-and-righteous-rage force as our contribution. Not now, and not ever. We are responsible for ourselves, and no one else. And… I honestly wouldn’t take such a complaint about respect for personal sovereignty seriously from anyone who supports this war or the mentality behind it. Support for it implies support for a way of being that holds it as necessary and/or justifiable to take sovereign individuals, make them murder other sovereign individuals, and then turn some of them into bloody spots on the ground. Enough said.
Peace, love, unity, happiness, compassion, even freedom… these things don’t work very well when they are made ends by themselves, divorced from the conditions around them. When someone thinks that they can reasonably, morally, or excusably bring about the conditions that DESTROY these things, they are taking the first step in condemning us all to a world where those ideas are empty, meaningless shells. That leads me to another objection my devil’s advocate came up with (there are too many to write about all of them, sorry : ) )… “oh but Andy, what kind of twisted definition of compassion would say that we’re not obligated to help our fellow man?” I’ll tell you. It is the definition of compassion that holds freedom and liberty above everything else. “Give me liberty or give me death.” Surely you have heard that one. It is central to the idea of “America”, and to many concepts of humanity. Do you believe in it? Please note that it is not, “Give me liberty or give that guy on the other side of the world who makes me feel insecure death”. If it were, I would wonder very seriously about the character of the “liberty” and the “security” in question. Among other things, I would wonder if they were at all consistent with each other. The saying refers only to the life of the person who would claim liberty. Liberty, at its base, includes the fact that no part of my life is owed to anyone else; no one can say how it will be lived (or not) but me. By the same token, I do not own any part of any other person’s life. THAT is the largest single deed of compassion I can do for them; their life is theirs, and not a bit mine. I can try to convince them of things, but at the end of the day I have no right to force anything on anyone.
Does any of that mean that we should not do things to help our fellow men and women? Good lord, CERTAINLY not! It means that anything we do to help them will be done not out of obligation, coercion or guilt, but out of genuine care for them, and out of a decision made freely, which means that there was full freedom NOT to make it. It also means that we can only volunteer OUR lives and OUR resources to help them, and when we do so we must respect, absolutely, their right to accept or refuse. We cannot speak for the lives of others. We cannot sacrifice their lives, or decide how, when or where they are to be lived or ended. We most certainly cannot volunteer the resources and/or lives of millions for some crusade we feel is just oh so super-righteous. The above are necessary conditions of any meaningful kind of freedom or equality. I am not talking about some far off goal or rule that we can violate now and hold off on until later, when we feel a bit more comfy and we’ve eliminated whoever it is we’ve been trained to hate this week. It is a fundamental tenet of freedom that we must respect, without exception, NOW, or we have no business saying that we value “freedom”. If we believe in it, we will respect it, even at risk to ourselves (yes, it is necessary to value freedom THAT much if it is to be had at all). If we don’t respect it, and if we fail to treat it as our highest value, then any belief in “freedom” we claim to have is empty. If we think it will tolerate inconsistencies, we are banishing it to the realm of a dream and a forgotten future, and we will always be saying we will get to it and be true to it TOMORROW, next year, after another decade or two more of war, whatever. To try to turn “compassion” into anything else is a recipe for hatred. Truly free people (and many others) do not take kindly to assertions that their lives belong, in even the smallest part, for any reason, to another. That is very much as it should be. The point here is very simple. Compassion is good. It is a very important means to making a better world. Compassion, when used to try to justify war or to compel people to accept an evil as necessary (or to COMPEL them to do anything), is a perversion that has no place in this world.
You are grateful to your COUNTRY and your GOVERNMENT that you are relatively free? You think you owe your freedom to them? Then your “freedom” is as good as dead, and I’ll say nothing of the world you are creating for your children. No amount of military force can or will ever take it away from you unless you let it die, and no amount of military force will bring it back if, heaven forbid, you ever decide to give up your own absolute responsibility for it. If you think that is just a cliché, that they CANNOT take your freedom away from you by force, then I feel very sorry for you. For god’s sake, if being grateful is so important to you, be grateful for what is REALLY special about America (I HOPE)! Be grateful for the fact that, if our government told us to do something that was against our conscience, we would resist it with our lives. Be grateful that we know very well that “evil” is not necessary, and that acting as if it is opens the way to all imaginable horrors. Every last one of us is at least capable of understanding that, I hope, though I seriously wonder when I see what is going on these days. Okay, pop quiz: HOW MANY of the 9-11 hijackers were from Iraq? Does it matter? A majority of the people in this country don’t seem to be clear on the answer to that question. And WHOT!? Mepons of m-m-mass distrinction? Didn’t quite catch that Dick. “We be so sure they got um, I even know where they is!” Sure, fine. Super. Someone, please promise to poke me if I ever trust a politician, mmm’kay? When I see people shrugging at the fact that this god damned insane war was based on pure lies, I think that America is becoming something I wouldn’t respect if my life depended on it. I don’t think it has become that yet, mind you. “Becoming” is the operative word, and I hope we can keep it that way, and even that we can reverse it. That hope is the reason I bother to say any of this.
If you’ve read all of that, thanks : ) .
|27 Jun 2003 @ 00:20|
You mean the people born before the apocalypse
But after the Depression?
Or are you talking about
All the babies who came out
With a silver keyboard up their drives?
Are we the people who started to rebel
When the generation before us just came to realize
That they could benefit from our enslavement?
That’s life; you can’t expect more.
It’s the same old question:
If you could be oppressor or oppressed,
Which one would you chose?
Don’t give me the noble answer;
Tell me which choice you made.
So, when does the next generation start?
Has it already, when my little sister screamed?
Was it when I decided that I should get my piece of the pie?
Oh wait, sorry.
I haven’t done that yet, so here’s the deal.
Mine is the last generation.
It started when people became people.
It’ll end when the universe dries up.
Or maybe it’ll end where it began.
Ourobouros: will my sister benefit from MY captivity?
What a lovely hiccup that would be.
I didn’t miss any trains.
My map, you know,
The one I got at birth,
Told me that the bridge was already completed.
I missed the sign.
I walked off a cliff.
I missed the sign on the human condition:
SCHEDULED FOR DEMOLITION
SALVAGE WHAT YOU CAN
NOTE FROM MANAGEMENT:
EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF
Why did I miss the sign?
I was looking at a fucking flower
On the side of the road.
Pardon me for taking a look;
For finding beauty in something
What look in my eyes?
Fine, you caught me!
I read the sign.
I walked off the cliff anyway.
My Piece of the Pie
I tasted the pie for a minute or two,
Then I threw up for the next six hours.
They told me I had to eat it still,
And that it would give me special powers.
They sat me down and gave me a long talk.
“What the hell are you doing, looking at flowers,”
They screamed as if possessed by a demon,
“While everyone else does their duty and cowers?”
I thought of ten thousand clichés with which to reply.
“Sorry, what can I do to makes things better?”
They couldn’t tell that I was feeding them a lie.
“I just want to be happy, and find a place without pain.”
They plopped down in front of me a plate of quiche.
“Eat this and banish the pain for the rest of your life.”
Funny game I was playing; I had them on a leash.
I picked up the fork, ready to eat, and they smiled.
The doctors had to remove fork fragments from my neck.
Ten of them, they counted, and asked what had happened.
I stared at him for what must have been ten minutes,
“Can’t tell you; you’ll think I’ve gone off the deep end.”
The doctor looked at me inquisitively, daring me to speak.
“I do have one small request, kind sir, if you’ll humor me.”
I couldn’t feel my left foot, and the lights were too bright.
“Restraints are fine, but please loosen the one by my knee.”
At least the walls were soft, and they had room service.
I sat for six months, and then finally graduation came.
The band played, and the valedictorian gave a speech.
All I could think was that the jokes were really lame.
We were all ready to take our places in the unreal world.
My best friend, mocking us, goose-stepped down the aisle.
After all the principal had done to me, I shook his hand.
I touched that lying weasel, but I think I’m still in denial.
When the brochure called it an institution of higher learning,
I thought that meant it would help me see more clearly.
Then on my first night, I smelled the leaves they were burning.
“Don’t worry mom and dad, it was only a contact high.”
How was I supposed to know I was so incredibly fragile?
I was sick of having to apologize to myself for everything.
So I pulled the plug, to keep from choking on my own bile.
Away from one thing I couldn’t stand, and towards another.
I had trouble deciding whether I had more power after that,
Free of the institution, and away from the higher learners.
Wait a minute; there’s a funny smell here and it’s not the cat.
Horror of horrors; I though I told them I couldn’t eat quiche.
“Why is that here after all these years, after I told you ‘no’?”
They told me it was a new flavor, and that I had to eat soon.
My face must have shone bright with an infuriated red glow.
“Bye,” I said silently, surprisingly calm, as I packed my bags.
Two endless months, only to find out I wasn’t ready to leave.
All that trouble, packing suitcase after suitcase, for naught.
How could I leave now, just as things began to fall together?
I still didn’t believe the world would deny me what I sought.
The world had never denied anyone anything, so I was confident.
My problem had never been the world, material and without flaws.
That which stood in my way was far more dynamic; far more open.
And far greater the danger that I would fall into its waiting jaws.
So here I am, and I’m ready to put up one hell of a fight.
I will never believe it, this lie they tell me fifty times a day.
The problem is not with me or my rather unusual appetite.
This pie is rotten, so I must refuse it as I have from the start.
Thank you, good reader, for that is the story I wanted to tell.
Now who will join me in making this new, exotic dish,
That we may finally eat a good meal to make our souls well.
At last, we may have something richer than our piece of the pie.
Disclaimer: No, I'm serious, it really was only a contact high(s). The author has never smoked drugs.
|25 Jun 2003 @ 13:34|
Or a subtitle, “What is with that Andy kid anyway?”
A Letter To Those Who Tolerate This Insanity, and Expect Everyone Else to Tolerate It:
It’s a difference that is very fundamental. When I’m looking at this world you’re accepting and telling everyone else to accept (because we just have to), I’m not thinking of some kind of small compatibility issue. I’m not thinking, “Nah, I just don’t feel like it”. I’m thinking… WHERE the hell are you people coming from? Are you tyrants, one and all? Are you brutes? Do our beings have anything in common at all? I mean, when it comes down to it, we both feel “despair”, and all of the other human feelings, but from the way the world looks, I have real difficulty believing that they’re even remotely similar when it comes down to it. Take despair; I feel it as something that says to me, in an undeniable voice, “hold on, stop this damn train, there is something wrong here, and there is no good reason for it to be so, for our beings hold on to that which is much better than this”. They (as in, the other 99.99988678%), on the other hand, seem to experience these emotions as things to be pushed aside, ignored, overcome, and “sucked up”. That is the way we’re actually supposed to deal with this world. What world are you coming from? What possibly conceivable plane of existence do these terrible wounds which seem to you as reality come from? This feeling of isolation and fundamental difference is not a condition that I take pleasure or feelings of superiority from, mind you. I don’t want superiority; I just want to be who I am. If I am to be accused of claiming superiority because I am (and I am not, I know) the ONLY person on this entire planet to demand such a thing, uncompromisingly, then so be it. Hopefully I don’t even need to say that in demanding this thing, I have less than no interest in traditional power or control over other people. And I would NEVER do it violently; the kind of person I AM, and the kind of person I am trying to nurture, would be absolutely incompatible with such things.
You would tell me that this insane worldview and all of the games that come with it are “reality”, immutable and unavoidable, to which we must submit our everything, inner and outer, but do you not understand how FLEXIBLE a concept that is, “reality”, when viewed through the lens of human consciousness? And when one takes into account our ability, collectively and individually, to shape it. There is limitless possibility there! YOU, again, would perhaps dismiss such things as empty philosophical constructs, devoid of “practical” meaning (then you’d probably tell me to take my medicine), but they can transform everything, if only given a chance to grow. They are what we are. And you would remain slaves to this ONE destructive, pathetic, degenerate (used in a sense other than Nietzsche’s, I’d imagine) interpretation of this complexity and beauty that confronts us, all so that you may consider this most important of all problems SOLVED for yourself, and by extension of your brutal “status quo”, for everyone else, for eternity? WE must ALL accept THIS? What disease has taken hold of you, that you think you’ve any right to dictate to your fellow beings in this manner? For, whatever anyone else says, I AM one of your fellow beings, and if everyone else is too scared or too contented to say it, I AM suffering from this. I HURT, most terribly, from this thing that you enforce on the entire world. Do you understand how much your day-to-day reality demands of this world; all the structures of slavery and oppression and compulsion and coercion that it requires to be in place!? What is this MONSTROSITY that you are pushing on your fellow human beings!? What bribe have “they” given you, that this would be your choice of reality? I cannot understand this game you play, in any terms that allow for the human decency with which I identify myself, and I will never, ever, participate in it. What kind of being would tolerate such a thing?
A Belated Letter to a Woman Who Told Me She Had Lost All Hope for Herself (and the rest of you):
And then my thoughts turn to Melissa and I wonder what she meant when she said that there was no hope for her. Did I ask her this, or didn’t I? What, dear past named Melissa, is your dream? What is your highest hope? Is it, as you seemed to indicate, “fairy tales and happy endings”, and is it for the failure of those things that you hate the denizens of this “reality” who usurp the title of “human being” solely for their purposes and claims to ownership of the entire world? If that is so, then let us join hands and demand the bounty of the human spirit, and all those who would speak down to us be DAMNED to live in a world WITHOUT fairly tales and happy endings, for we, you and I, are the truest of human beings, and this will come true, IN SPITE of the oppressing spirits of our idiotic compatriots! For I would see the murder of the deepest, most “unrealistic” hopes of a fellow human being, if I were to see it on the street, the cosmic streets, or any other, as the “decent” among you would see a rape taking place in broad daylight! I would go up and help the victim of the world, of your brutal “reality” that amounts to the theft and fragmentation of our souls. Any way I could, I would try to keep their hopes alive. That is just not acceptable, for people to be altered like that, and have their ability to hope stolen, even if every single person on the planet accepts it! So I say this to all who fear that it is finally time to “grow up” and accept reality! Do not accept as sheep, but hold on to the hopes THEY tell you are unreasonable, spoiled, and childish! Hold on to them, I say, my fellow human beings, even in your greatest time of need, for WE are here. Not I, for I alone could do nothing. YOU and I, both of us, ALL of us, are here, demanding what the grownups-at-heart would deny us for all our lives. Happy endings, happier beginnings, fairy tales, and a world where we may exist as we are, free, without the chains of nine-to-five, blue collar, white collar, or any other pathetic symbol of “their” power that they would try to deceive us into believing and following as an immutable reality.
Follow yourselves, and your deepest hopes, for we too ARE humanity, all of us, and we will not be denied. Not even by “reality”, however loud it roars, shall we be denied! You would ask me what it is that I give you here. I will tell you that it is only the highest, most uncorrupted part of my spirit. If you believe even that highest part to be superceded by “reality”, then go and haul your stones for forty hours a week. Or be contented with the fact that you can only make a tiny difference, and that it is the “little things” you must get happiness from. If, on the other hand, you will believe, enough to make it so, that YOUR spirit is just as mighty or even mightier still than that of those who would dictate reality to you (be they gurus, presidents, priests, or anyone else), then come with me to reclaim this world. Impractical, I hear them saying. “Impractical is this; for we are flawed creatures.” To THEM I say that we have more riches now that any before us, and we need not starve in the process of following our spirits. We can sustain ourselves with the knowledge we have gained through all these hard centuries of struggle. If our “age” has gained anything, if indeed history has been a slow progress FORWARD, it is because of the fact that NOW, for the first time in the long course of human affairs, we can indeed afford NOT to spend our lives toiling away in the “real” world of production and GDP; we may eat and stay alive with a fraction of the work our ancestors would have had to expend. THAT is no longer “just the way things are”. We need not gear our entire lives towards producing objects to be consumed.
On the contrary, we can now spend time exploring the recesses of our SELVES, to depths which our ancestors could not have imagined, and in doing so we may EVOLVE, in the truest sense, into something that we can now only dream of. And what beautiful dreams they are! You know what? They’re realistic too. Not “just” dreams. Visions, to be lived, if we have the courage. Become that happy ending you dreamed of as a child; live that fairly tale, for it is finally within your grasp. We may be impractical, and concern ourselves with things other than products, goods and services, in the name of the greatest service. We can afford to, you see, and EXPLORE frontiers that lie not across oceans, within atomic nano-quantum neuro-electrical implants, even across parsecs (though I do adore the efforts that seek to probe those depths), but WITHIN. You think that’s a cliché? Maybe so, but it’s also true. Let us join together, do our “work” as fairly as we could imagine, acknowledge our physical realities, produce what we MUST, and THEN move ourselves into realms in which we may finally OVERCOME that question of human nature which has bothered us all so much. Are WE animals, slaves to urges, bread and circuses? Are we fundamentally self-destructive? If not, then the universe if ours. Nothing is closed to us, so long as we exercise care and respect. If so, even if we are infected with the basest, most destructive of desires, these new realms will allow you finally to change that which you always thought was unchangeable. I see you (feline and homo sapiens sapiens alike) as I see myself; a small portion of the potential of the universe, having taken the form of the most creative expression the universe has found for itself thus far (that I know of): LIFE!
A purer expression of my selves I would be hard pressed to find. And you may tell us that we must keep toiling, for that is our lot, or the only thing that sustains our “freedom”. It is for us to decide, each and every one of us, what our lot is, and what our freedom will be. That is a decision to be taken with the utmost respect for our fellow beings. Certainly NOT is it to be taken with the paternalistic contempt and domination we see so much of in this world. What; do you think we will allow our lives to be eaten so that YOU may have your piles of material crap, your power over us, while we strive to attain mere fractions of your bounty (as if THEY would fulfill us, fools)!? We will not be caged, and we will not poison our minds by thinking that we can only be the way our ancestors have been. We are human beings, and THAT alone means that we are freer than this society, and this culture, would lead us to believe. Freer, that is, than most of us are ready to admit. That will not stop me, here and now, from proclaiming the essence of what I KNOW I am, beyond the slightest doubt. The rest of you need but claim this; one, two, three, or ten million of you, and then we shall be on our way. How could you even think of consigning an adventure such as this to your children!? Live it, TAKE it for yourselves, and know that your children will thank you for it, for you will open THEIR horizons in ways you cannot possibly imagine. Take it further, with every generation, than you have any reason to believe you can.
Unrealistic, they tell you? Impossible? Just try it, and prove them wrong! Do you owe your inner child any less? DO NOT accept the lies they feed you about our natures; we may be flawed, but we are all as good as YOU are. How good is that, may I ask? Will you, for a moment, believe that you could pursue that most innocent, free vision of your humanity? Then so shall we all! And I DO believe that; we are all human, all alike, I’ve been told. So I conclude that you all are indeed as beautiful as I am, DEEP down. That depth shall surface soon, or I do not belong in this universe. We must speak to each other as we are, scared, betrayed, angry, thrilled, passionate, or not at all; certainly we must not speak to each other as we SEEM. THAT would be a waste of my time, and of my energy; the energy of a human being (I am one, so I know) is far too valuable to waste on such pretense. Mortals we are, and we only have so much time and energy. WHO among you would dare waste it on falsity, or on the symbols or constructs you are taught to follow? Only on our truest selves, FROM our truest selves, and above all FOR them, should this energy be expended. Don’t for a second deny even the smallest bit of that pain you feel. They would call it weakness. Liars! It is real, so bring every fragment of it with you, for it tells you what it is we must work together on, to “fix”; to make a world our truest selves (and our children) will be proud of. I NEED the real you here, pain, rage, hatred, and all. All the dark, and all the light in you are needed for this historical task ahead of us: we are to become freer than we are. What stronger connection could we have than that. It is a connection to each other, and it is a connection to every single human being in centuries and millennia past.
I am whole, and with the whole YOU at my side, no oppressive force will be able to stop us. Without you (and here I shall be honest), I am but one against six billion. No matter what I am, those odds are crushing. They are crushing ESPECIALLY because I am a sensitive being. So, HELP me, and be true to those beautiful dreams, if you’ve ever had them (even in the now nearly forgotten years of your childhood). They spoke to you, unlike everything else, without having to be taught or implanted, didn’t they? THEY are, dare I say it, the truest within each of us. “Enough freedom”, you say? If you are even of the same class, family, genus, or even phylum as I, you know that such a phrase is in itself a lie. Freer; that shall be the core of our freedom. THAT is what has defined so much of our history. It is to that that we owe the amazing chance we have now. We shall never stagnate in that regard, and never step backwards. I am sorry if I am repeating myself in any way. The last several years of my life has consisted of HUNDREDS of attempts, different approaches, and varied angles of approaching this problem, and of trying to reach the humanity that I am sure dwells within every single one of you. Now, I feel urgent enough to try a few different approaches at once, even if that means I have to repeat myself a few times. Please, tell me this has reached you. By what name shall I plead with you this time? Please, HEAR this cry in the deepest parts of your soul, in the name of whatever this humanity is that begs me to follow it every moment of every day. If your humanity is even remotely related to mine, you will understand how urgent, even how outright desperate a plea in the name of my (or anyone else’s) HUMANITY truly is. I do not have the brutality in me to deny myself that; do any of you have it in you to deny it to another, let alone yourselves? I am trusting you; I am believing that you will have it in you to help me, and I presume to say, to help yourselves too, beyond this quagmire. I am having FAITH in you, in spite of all the evil and brutality in this world. Show me that you can share in that, in SOME real way. Please? These aren’t just words on another page to you, are they? Have I broken through that barrier, for ONCE?
This shall be the chronicle of my death, and my final descent from hope, and from viability, OR it shall be the chronicle of my birth as a TRUE human being. No mediocrity will this be consigned to! NOW is the time to see if there is a place for us, of any kind, among beings such as these “humans”; do THEY see this world too, or am I a mistake!? NOW shall I see if these are my fellows or my predestined oppressors! NOW, and not for the next generation, is the answer to this question intended. Not for a few decades from now, once I have thrown a large fraction of my life away on their game; NOW I will know if there is hope here for one such as me; one uncompromising and unwilling to engage in the slightest of pretense. “Childish”, you say? Then you understand not a single facet of MY being! The “popular” reality is sick and old, and I will see it fall away to reveal humanity or I will abandon you all to your madness, once and for all. I will no longer settle for apparent hope, apparent connection with beings I have SOME reason to believe might just be as beautiful as I am. I need to KNOW, NOW! These are not requests, or wants. They are needs, as truly as our need for air is a NEED, for without their fulfillment, I shall soon suffocate. THIS is what I am! I shall die of that affliction, if your wish it be. Better that than to take on the appearance of a species so diseased, just to “fit in”, or even for the all important task of “functioning” in whatever way you would have me function, or that ultimate and foremost among your gods: survival. Do YOU understand how there may be something higher, to a human being, even if the entire universe would shut its eyes to such a thing? I WILL NOT SUBMIT to the edicts of these creatures! Not for a single day. So let the dawn come, or let the night fall, forever. Let this limbo end. I AM the dawn, in part. Will the other suns rise, or are they already dwarves? Will the other rays shine as I know they can, or will they continue to eclipse each other in a struggle for something they ALREADY have, each and every one!? Night or DAY, tell me NOW!
Way too sincerely,
|23 Jun 2003 @ 22:54|
Yes. I know it's spelled wrong. Now then...
All you can offer me is a place where I can’t be who I am. A place where I’m told what to do.
“Plod away, little one, so that we may all have our things. You must pay, you know.”
Pay for what may I ask? For the SIN of having been born into this mad little world!?
“Of course you have a choice. Except for a good part of your waking life, in which you must slave away so that we may all swim in our own idiocy. Of course you may have meaning in your life, as long as it is compatible with our absolute control over a significant portion of your energy and the main conditions of your life. No, really, you are free. This is freedom, and you ought to love it. Now, go out and find a way to slave away for us or we’re going to make your life a living hell. You’re supposed to WANT to do that, young one. Whatever is wrong with the soul who doesn’t follow our blueprint!?”
The despair doesn’t bring tears to my eyes; it just sits and beams its thoughts to me in a single icy stare. See, it’s there either way you look at it. Denied, you think it can be contained. You are wrong. I can’t ignore myself like that. I can’t be denied myself. We are, of course, free to think whatever we want. We can be whatever we want, inside. As long as our body, our actions, our words, our efforts, and everything material follows your rules. What land of opportunity? The opportunity to participate in the largest hypocrisy; the largest dissonance between inner reality and physical being? The opportunity to be whatever I want, but the compulsion to BE only what I can get hired to be, so that I may have the privilege of survival? We should feel lucky. We can do whatever we want on the weekends, just so long as it doesn’t interfere with us coming in fresh and submissive the other five days of the week, acting the part. Just as long as what we ARE, in the REAL world, doesn’t interfere with our production. I not ONLY have all of this inside, you see. If that were sufficient, then I could do what you’re asking. I have it, I AM it, and IT demands to be lived, honestly. I see through all this illusion, and yet you’re in my way, brutal and legion. No choice, and you’re perfectly willing to slaughter people, slowly or quickly, if they’re “bad” enough, to make sure no alternative ever surfaces. Corpse-soldiers of the masses, guarding the gates and telling us that we MUST be this way. Do you see what I mean? And I don’t even know how describe the despair component now; perhaps a point sinking into MY chest. Or a rope around my neck, strangling me. And YOU are tightening it, over and over. I’ve asked you to stop, for GOD’S SAKE. What do I need… no. In your heart, you are so certain that this is my only choice. And your only choice. The WORLD’S only choice, you say; the only way we humans can manage to be! Do you actually believe that? You won’t hear anything else. If I think otherwise, I must be convinced that I must comply. That is the only way you seem to see. How sad for us all.
It didn’t have to be this way. You could have stood up. But no, you too are immersed in wretched contentment so deeply that you’ve no interest in throwing it off. So you condemn me to the same thing. Your children, you condemn to the same thing. All of us, you say, must accept this like so many pack animals! “Facts of life”!? Oh, in thirty years maybe I can start making a few of my own rules. “Thinking tactically”. Maybe, if I'm really good, it'll only take ten years. Now, I must “position” myself according to the rules of this little game you all play when you’re asleep. Do you know what NECESSARY and URGENT mean? They mean, among other thins, NOW, and NO COMPROMISE. You think anyone has a right to ask for compromise on THESE things? Who, by what right? Might? You are indeed base creatures! Or, what other right? What right could justify this rape; this hypocrisy that my cooperation is actually expected in? You would claim, in the name of “society”, access to what I should be “willing” to do? How I will spend my life? What system of anything; of morals; of thought; of BEING could make this seem anything other than an atrocity that any decent being would resist with all its might!? You don’t even hear me. And you never will. You’ve shown me that much. All you hear is a squeak. All you hear is… what? I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, but it means nothing to you. Any of you. Can nothing breach your shell of normalcy? Does nothing in the entire spectrum of existence warrant a dropping of this brutal façade, even for a moment? By what name shall I implore you? God? That creation!? I’ve been doing it in my own name; me, a human being. That is the only one I have a right to, ultimately.
Shall I try other names? Compassion, caring, freedom, all of those things you ice cubes claim to know about; where are they? A fellow human is crying out. Millions of them, in fact, and my cry is one of the more muted ones. One of the ones that requires the least attention to remedy, and deserves the least just the same. You need only let us be, and stop threatening to strangle us if we don’t jump through every hoop your bureaucratic trained seals (and others) put in our way. It’s as loud as I can, this cry I’m uttering. I use big words. Big, bad words. I… i… II I. You won’t take this away from me, nor will you convince me that it’s “okay” or bloody “necessary” to keep it however I want inside, but to play this brute’s and idiot’s and empty shell’s game on the outside, with my body, or my words, or anything. Not one bit will this foolishness get from me. That is my contribution. I am here to tell you that it has gone too far; that far too much compromise is being asked of us. It will stop now. It won’t get past my door. I know you won’t listen? Will you lock us away, or cast us out to rot, or just cover your ears and ignore the most desperate pleas? I don’t know what my MOST desperate plea would sound like, but this is the best I can do right now. Maybe that most desperate one will be the silence that comes after it is too late. Even that hole won’t for a second breach your “reality”, will it? No choice will your mind ever see. Only one choice, in many variations, and you will continue to call this freedom.
I am trying to tell you that this game is a lie. Enjoy your normalcy little ones. I have come to the wrong era, the wrong planet, the wrong species, the wrong everything. Sorry to intrude upon your party. Continue to press your symbols, your gods, your countries, your money, your living rooms full of nice things, and your e-business solutions; continue to worship them, to kill for them, while you ignore the cries of real PEOPLE who are crushed under your collective feet. Be blind, be deaf, be harsh, destroy your world, or just consume it, but please don’t do me the final, ultimate injustice of trying to tell me that I didn’t try to tell you with all my heart. Or WILL you come along and crush even the last bits of dignity that smolder in this pit? Or maybe you will try to tell me why I shouldn't be suffering at all from this? Search yourselves, for there must be some insult you’ve not yet made to the human spirit.
Do I believe it? Do I actually believe that these games, pretense, and destructive constructs (get your minds around that one) are the ONLY choices, truly? No, of course not. But I am still, as are you all, “compelled” to live by it. And so many of you actually defend and justify it! Compelled by the fearless defenders of the status quo and the shepherds above them. On pain… of being left out in the cold. On pain, they feed. On pain, they build. Over and over have I pleaded; a scream or a sentence. Both are equally inert against your everyday. What of your hearts? This blood they pump through your veins; I would have thought it could have understood me. Shall I ask of your souls? No, I don’t want even to give you the opportunity to soil that. What would your souls say of themselves, after having ignored these cries from all over the world, all over the town, all over the faces of people you surely don’t hate enough to inflict this upon? There must be more to you than forcing this down my throat, or anyone else’s. Surely, you don’t feel THAT little for them? Or for me, standing before you right now? Me, a human being. Look me in the eye, damn you! Tell me that it is NOT so. Some sign of life, some sign of warmth, some sign of all those lofty ideals you claim to know of; not the ones you IMPOSE. Not even the ones you fight for. I’ve seen enough of those, and the destruction they bring to the world. I want to see the ones you believe in too much to impose; show me those, in your eyes. Compassion, generosity, freedom, in the flesh, in their raw form, uncompromised. I implore you, one final time, in the name of this look in my eyes, and this tone in my voice, and even in the name of hope, if you know of such a thing; a sign that you’re not as hard as you seem.
|5 May 2003 @ 08:40|
Well, I'm 21 now. Here’s my birthday thought of the day: one of the best indicators that a president should be criticized, questioned, insulted, covered in rotten fruits and veggies and impeached, is when, during his presidency, there are an increasing number of people who pop up and tell you not to criticize the president; to shut up and “unite” behind the leader and the country. That is a sure sign that there is something seriously wrong with what's going on.
If people have to resort to the old "shut up and take your medicine and wave your pretty flag around in a display of devoted nationalism, or else you are a traitor" line, they've got completely perverted ideas of "unity" and "loyalty". When they do that, it’s a pretty good sign that the thing they’re yapping at everyone to be loyal to and unite around isn’t worth the air they’re wasting telling you to be loyal to it. Okay America, good old US of A, you got that? That sort of thing seems to be happening a lot around here, and I just wanted to make this point clear . A concern that I needed to address, you might say. It seems that things like this need to be made CRYSTAL clear these days, because the political, intellectual and moral climates in this country are downright creepy.
|12 Apr 2003 @ 16:17|
Gandhi Was a Cultural Oncologist
This is the continuation of a conversation that started at Ashanti’s (Kim’s) log, Re-evaluating Iraq. It has made me think a great deal about the situation in Iraq, and perhaps more importantly, about what it means for the way we humans have of trying to solve some of our most serious problems. In her last response to me, Kim said that the problem of brutal dictators is analogous to that of an infection in the body of Gaia. They should be dealt with accordingly, just as our bodies would deal with an infection, she says. She included a very interesting passage from Ming’s log entry, The Evolution of Governance. Here I will be dealing mainly with Kim’s response, though I may touch on a few points made on Ming’s log as well. I may also go off in my own direction a little, on the topic of peace in general. I’ve been thinking about analogies such as the one Kim and Ming have mentioned for a long time; probably since Agent Smith compared all of humanity to a virus in “The Matrix”. A while ago, it occurred to me that the problems we have here are much more like a tumor than any viral or bacterial infection. Cancer is a better analogy, both in describing the situation and in giving us hints as to how we might “treat” it and lessen the chances of our extinction.
First, the nature of the problem is not like that of an infection. In an infection, foreign entities invade from outside the body. Brutal dictators and the like, however evil we believe them to be, all came from the same stock as the rest of us. They are cells in the body of humanity, or of life as a whole on this planet, if you wish. They have mutated and malfunctioned horribly. The question of exactly HOW and why this happens over and over again is a rather large and terrifying topic. Maybe they are struck by a cosmic ray of the wrong wavelength. Maybe they are struck by an abusive parent one too many times. The point is that they start out as human beings, just like the rest of us. When babies are born, it is very unlikely that anyone can tell future dictators from all the rest. To try to categorize or deal with these people as if they are a foreign infection is a mistake, because it misrepresents the nature of the problem. As they say, there but for the grace of god go we. These threats will not disappear; they cannot be destroyed and banished in the way our bodies would destroy and banish germs. The potential for such mutation lies in each one of us, and goes hand in hand with the wonderful things about us. We cannot eradicate it without eradicating ourselves. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we should take all possible measures to prevent such an outcome. What we can do is alter our cultural environment so as to make such mutations less likely.
Cancer is also a better analogy for our species’ current predicament because of how it hurts the surrounding environment. The “mutations” in the minds (or souls, depending on what you believe) cause them to start monopolizing the resources which the other people around them also need. They come not from without, but from our own ranks; the ranks of humanity. They rise, they grow in power, and they learn how to suck up the resources the people around them need to survive so that they can grow uncontrollably. As a result, some people die, many live in misery, and the “body” as a whole suffers. The same is true of cancer cells.
The whole purpose in developing this analogy is to make a strong statement about how it is to be treated. I myself am not an oncologist, but I do know some things about cancer. The cells of the tumor are surrounded by their victims. As far as the body is concerned, it is often almost impossible to tell the cancer cells from the healthy, normal ones. That is why it is such a terrible disease. Treating it is so very difficult because, in destroying the problem, you often end up killing the patient. Radiation, chemotherapy, etc. do not distinguish between bad cells and good ones. Bombs dropped on the country of a dictator don’t make such distinctions either. None of this is to say that we should not treat the problem for fear of killing the patient. It DOES mean that we must be very careful in prescribing the treatment. The chances of hurting (or even mutating) the very things we are trying to protect must be taken into account.
Obviously, human beings are much more complicated than cells of any kind. Some of the same basic rules may apply, but we have to be very careful. The difference between the two analogies highlights a very important difference in our real-world predicament. Even so, the cancer analogy and the bacteria analogy fall short in many ways. Quite simply, we are aware of much more than the average body cell. We have passions. We are capable of much greater cruelty towards each other. We are also much more capable of harming our world and being generally destructive. To me, these complexities mean that we must be even more careful when looking at how to treat our illness. I’m afraid that it’s just not as simple as eliminating the germs. If it were, we would probably have managed to kick the infection by now. Specifically, Kim mentions that in a body or bacterial community, all of the anti-bodies group together and obliterate the offending germs. That is very true. However, the complexities of human beings make that strategy a little less effective. If you look at our history, we have been more or less trying to get all of the so-and-so’s to unite against all the “bad” people for a very long time now. Various groups of people (empires, nations, tribes, religions, etc.) have tried to find a way to unite the rest of humanity against the problems that face us.
Ming’s article mentioned the term “centralized service government” as a form from bacterial “culture” that we might try to mimic. I suspect that the reality of such a thing could be described with darker words. Our big, complicated brains give rise to some serious differences between us and bacteria. There is much to learn from the structures of nature, but we have to keep in mind that we may have to do some serious adaptation of those structures if we want to enable ourselves to exercise the things that are uniquely human in us. “Centralized service governments” may form, but there are always those who will not be governed. So the large entity goes to destroy them; to wipe the offending organisms off the face of the Earth. And there will always be those who will not submit to centralized government (in a way, I am glad of that). We may think that it would be nice if everyone would just be good and follow the lovely government like an obedient bunch of microorganisms, and proceed to obliterate the infectious dictators, but that just does not seem to happen. I am not trying to say that humanity cannot be united against the problems that face it. I am saying two things.
First, I honestly do not trust any kind of government to develop that will allow for sufficient diversity, given the great complexity of the human condition. It may work for bacteria, but I do not believe it will work for us. I may be wrong, but the history of government is full of well intentioned ideas that went terribly off course. I think that this is so because of a fundamental flaw in the idea of “government” as we now understand it. That flaw is the idea that people can be scared or regulated into being good. In the long run, they cannot. I do not believe that any government, in the traditional sense of the word, will solve our problems. They may be useful, and even necessary at the current time, but I would not entrust our future to them any more than is absolutely necessary. The other point I am trying to make is that humanity may unite against its problems, but not so long as we try to solve those problems by turning large sections of humanity against each other. For that reason, government, in the traditional, nation-state sense of the word is terribly ineffective. Too many healthy body cells die. Worse, some of the previous “victims” of the cancerous cells are themselves mutated in the horror that arises from humanity turning against itself. Like a physician trying to treat cancer, we must search for much more selective ways of dealing with the monstrous dictators among us.
I want to make one thing very clear now, and I will start by giving a quote from the movie “Gandhi”:
Margaret Bourke-White: “But do you really believe you could use non-violence against someone like Hitler?”
Gandhi: “Not without defeats, and great pain. But are there no defeats in this war? No pain? What you cannot do is accept injustice from Hitler, or anyone. You must make the injustice visible, and be prepared to die like a soldier to do so.”
-“Gandhi”, during an interview scene with the reporter Margaret Bourke-White
That quote says so very much of what I want to say. What shall I say about Gandhi? I love the man. I do not necessarily think that his way is the complete solution to all of our problems. Nor do I believe that the movie made about him is an absolute authority. However, I believe that we can learn many extremely valuable lessons from his life and philosophy. The first point I want to draw from that quote (there will be a couple) is that I DO absolutely believe that the disease, however we characterize it, MUST be treated. I would not be writing this, nor would I even be a member of NCN, if I though otherwise. I do not believe, if we do nothing and sit around appealing to the better nature of humanity without acting, that any of our problems are going to be solved. We cannot accept injustice; we must make it visible, as Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) said. And we must make it go away with all of our will and devotion. To do anything less would be suicide; the tumors would grow and end up making this place uninhabitable for all of us. The disease must be gone after aggressively, just as one would treat cancer. What I do not believe is that we should allow our urgency to blind us to the recklessness and negative consequences of certain courses of treatment.
War in any form, no matter how “just” or necessary we believe it to be, is reckless. It is destructive to the entire body of humanity, more so than almost any other tragedy we have managed to create for ourselves. It is, in an oft used word, hell. It would be ludicrous to see the destruction, hatred, and misery that war has brought into our history and conclude otherwise. Even so, war is sometimes better than doing nothing. I will not argue against the assertion that good things have come from some wars; freedom, in one form or another, has often been won in war. Sometimes war has removed terrible tumors and tyrants from our midst, and left us with more opportunities. So, in some cases, war is preferable to doing nothing. However, war is the crudest, most uncreative form of doing SOMETHING one can possibly imagine. Short of doing absolutely nothing, it is the worst way we could possibly have of solving the problems that face us. It is also the one we should be most ashamed to pass on to our children, generation after generation. If humanity is so unimaginative that we can come up with nothing better, then I think that we may be doomed already. If the best we can do is to present ourselves with a choice between doing nothing and killing, dehumanizing, and dominating people with the old war machine in a jungle-style contest for survival, I think we are failing ourselves miserably. There is no justification for such a limited view of our options.
So, centralized government is unlikely to solve our problems. War, in itself and when waged in the name of centralized government, is also unlikely to help us more than it hurts us. What DO we do? I will turn once again to the quote from “Gandhi”. “We must be prepared to die like soldiers…”. I think that it is the choice of each individual to give their life for something they believe in, be it freedom from a dictator or freedom to practice religion. I think it is incredibly noble if someone is willing to give their life so that others may have those freedoms. I also believe that it is monstrous to be willing to take someone else’s life in the name of those freedoms, or in the name of anything else. One of the most significant freedoms we have is the freedom to die for what we believe in. The freedom to choose NOT to fight or die follows from that. Either choice carries with it serious consequences, and I think that it must be left to each person to decide. If we fight for freedom in a way that deprives people of that choice, we are working backwards. If we praise an enterprise as destructive as war, we are praising dehumanization. If we kill in the name of human dignity, life, and peace, we are committing blasphemy of the strongest kind I can imagine. I am not a religious person. We can choose to die for freedom, but we CANNOT make that choice for anyone else, no matter how much we think they may want it or how justified we think we are. If a people chooses to be free, then some of them may choose to give their lives for the freedom of those their fellow human beings. I think that such a choice is one of the best, most beautiful sacrifices anyone can make. When they kill for that freedom, they are perpetuating the hatred and fear they are fighting against. We must indeed be prepared to die like soldiers, even when faced with a threat like terrorism. If we are as willing as many seem to be to kill, I think we are leading ourselves down the wrong path; that path to extinction, in fact. Such readiness to kill certainly does not lead us down the path of freedom and respect for life.
I’ll leave it at that for now. The train of thought I’ve been through while writing this has been a very wild one indeed, and it will be some time before I’m ready to put it all out in written form. I chose to cut this entry off at this point, since it's best not to bite off too much at once : ). It should suffice for now, as a continuation of the discussion. Kim, I agree that all of the pretty New Age theories in the world don’t seem to have manifested themselves in any really concrete way. Consideration of alternatives is exactly what we need. Nothing new has really stuck yet, on the scale of the whole world. That doesn’t mean that we should be turning back to the notions of government and war that got us here in the first place. I might add that, on a smaller scale, some of the “new” is working. I know some people on NCN who have a good deal of experience with that. For my part, I think there are plenty of people working with the notions of centralized government and obliteration of the “germs” that plague our world. If those often destructive and seldom successful methods really are the ONLY way, they’ve got plenty of attention flowing into them as it is. I don’t believe in them. I believe that what we need more than anything is people who pour their hearts and souls (and perhaps, eventually, lives) into alternatives. The fact that the “answer” has not been found yet should not stop us from looking and continuing to create the “new”, whatever that means for us. Whatever that means, I would say, with the provision that the methods and structures we use in working towards the new must respect the aspects of humanity we are working to advance, rather than contradicting and insulting them. I feel that both violence and centralized “control” forms of government contradict and insult the freedoms we claim to value. Furthermore, war devalues something even more basic than freedom: life. I cannot embrace those things as solutions, however difficult it may be to find alternatives. We really do have to keep looking. Hey, I can't think of anything I would rather do with my life than aid in furthering that search, even in the smallest way. More >
|15 Jan 2003 @ 09:36|
Happy birthday to the Dragon Lady, Shakti Ma, one of the most creative and kind people I know. It has been a tremendous pleasure getting to know you over the past year, Shakti. I hope this next year brings you happiness, love, and all that other good stuff people wish for people : ). Thanks for being here.
What's that quote you like? Oh, yeah...
" The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darknesses. "
I think you're pretty good at that. Happy birthday! More >
|9 Dec 2002 @ 02:08|
This isn’t one of my usual polished pieces or “artistic” rambles. Just a babble about something I found interesting : ). I’m sure its contents are not news to most of you at all. They weren’t to me. I just found it to be a good, solidly supported reminder of things I already know. That can be useful sometimes.
I attended a talk on Saturday given by an old physics professor named Albert Bartlett. He has been teaching physics here at the University of Colorado since before my father was born. He had given this talk 1471 times in the past, though I imagine he’s updated it occasionally. It was about "Arithmetic, Population and Energy", and his thesis was that "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function!" He used concepts such as population growth and energy production (from both coal and oil) to demonstrate how what most people consider to be modest growth rates in those areas will still lead us into huge problems in the foreseeable future. That is, if the problems aren’t huge already. Even discovering new resources that give us two or four times the amount of oil ever consumed on this planet would only extend the whole thing for a short amount of time. That’s the nature of the exponential growth function. If you really want specifics, there’s a link to his site below.
The professor then gave us a bunch of examples of policies made based on an understanding of math that any high school graduate could probably laugh at. Well, maybe not a graduate of public high schools, but that’s another topic entirely. Really, it was a good reminder of how prone some people in the government are to plain, bald faced lying. Not “innocent” misrepresentation or even “good” old fashioned spin doctoring; these are men with PhD's in economics feeding us complete and utter falsities that anyone with some decent math classes under their belt should be able to see past. AND they expect us to actually buy it. It’s a pity that their expectation is so often fulfilled. Several times during his presentation, Professor Bartlett paused and emphatically asked the eternal question: “What is going on here!?” Unless the people in Washington would care to present us with a new system of mathematics in which the rules of the basic arithmetic functions change, they have some serious explaining to do. I’m not usually a big math and science geek, but it’s so bloody obvious. Yet, at the same time, our society as a whole often seems absolutely oblivious to it.
I don't think the professor was EXACTLY right in his thesis. Rather than an “inability” to understand the exponential function, I'd say it's more of an unwillingness to understand or accept the function’s consequences. There might be a wider debate over whether that is our GREATEST shortcoming, but for the sake of argument I’ll give him that one for now. The unwillingness is often deliberate and sometimes almost malicious on the parts of some policy makers and journalists. Once again, if you want the specifics, I’ll direct you to the link below. The distinction between unwillingness and inability is important to make, because when we’re addressing the problem, we need to take make sure we understand the cause as completely as we can. I think we're more than capable of understanding the function and it's repercussions; we just don't want to. Bartlett was correct when he said that, in some ways, growth has almost become our religion. In some circles, that is very true. How many politicians get elected without being “pro-growth”? The man made a very good case.
Anyway, he said education is the answer. No news there either. In a broad sense, I agree with him. I mean, I don't think putting everyone into a remedial math class is going to help all that much. People have to understand, much more deeply than on an intellectual level alone, the consequences of both the exponential function itself AND the motivations behind the very deliberate misrepresentations of those simple mathematical facts that are made by the people who actually make policy and run major portions of our society. The consequences were summed up very well in the presentation with a quote from Isaac Asimov:
"In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters."
We are in the process of creating problems for ourselves and especially our children that I seriously doubt we want to have to deal with. Funny how a little equation can have such serious consequences. As for the motivations behind the lies, they aren’t pretty, to say the least, but we still have to understand them if we are to do anything about it. Overall, I think the guy makes some very good points and backs them up with facts that are strikingly easy to understand.
If I haven’t talked your ear off (or eye, as the case may be) enough already, a good portion of the talk Professor Bartlett gave is available here. It even comes with some illustrations, and who doesn’t love those?
|24 Sep 2002 @ 17:58|
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh why the fuck is this happening meaningless crap could you please make this stop blind stupid no more advanced than the jungle. Millions of years and nothing to show for it just the biggest bunch of self deceptive god damn pretense. All hail the new bloody god... he's going to change everything. Take it all... take the world. Blaze of glory or something will you? What kind of language can I use. Anything you could fucking understand. And if you do? What then? NOTHING. Burn me. Take me any way you can. Blow it out. I don't care if you do it explosively! Dislodge me!! Not appropriate you say. The world is... why should I talk. Do you hear a word I say? Fine. Doesn't matter. Nothing. Nothing. NOTHING. Maybe that's what I'm looking for. Deaf shit. Is there anything that won't make me tired? Life sucking mother monkey mouth! Ooo tothsonara. Don't say it!!!! Never. Nothing. Never. Leave now and fuck the entire thing. Why bother with order. Let it burn. Death, whatever. Boom. What? Why? This isn't like you. We only talk nice here. No nice left. Dying. Throat cut. Mind caged. No talk no feel no love no life no be no no no no no. Still hear nothing? Hell!!!! Nothing is you. Death is you screaming wraith. Where the pretense and the flowers? Your flowers not true. Take and burn. Everything burn. Let burn be only feeling. Pain tedium. Tedium takes our skin blanket. Pain stabs us. Pain burn deep lance feel through puncture. Gasp gasp gasp. No more. But always MORE. Think no more only to think all. Speak again. No more again. Nothing. All we have. Burst to nothing, burst to same. Same is nothing. Nothing is always. Always same. ALWAYS SAME. Jump, scream, gasp, run, flip, jump, hit claw bellow trip stumble stand fall forward breath stop same same same. Nothing moves. Nothing breaths. Look crazed. Eyes wide, no idea where we are. Dazed falling dream. Nothing from the blank faced puppets. Bugs in the system. Systems of bugs. All we are? Bubbles nothing, babble. Obey. Nothing. We are nothing. We fall. Rise. Fall. Rise. Risen impotent baby face. All and nothing. This time all or nothing. Look and stare. What are you? Answer me. Done before. Ask many. Never answer. What are you? Say say Say SAy SAY SAAAAAAAY! Mute stupid nothing. Hate not. All repeat, all stale. All burning pawns. Glitches in our mind. Hear the dawn beg. Hear the dawn scream. Backstabbed by glitch puppets. Talk never. Fall and die. Still hear nothing? Bang head. Shake. Death rattle always. Everything done. Over and over. Run circle run square in circle world. Leap, touch love find everything. Dies to nothing. Stab death again. Hear me. Hear me. Blind deaf mute stupid kludge. Me all known see all. Help all. No. No want. No need. No help no love nowhere no thing. Known is nothing. Desolate frozen used bland. We choked. Akhhhka. Tumble down the hill. Get help. Breath deep. Cross legs cross fingers love god. No better. Rot in our home. Rot. Pretty colors only colors. All hope lives. Runs. Hides. Help me. How clear? Clarity impossible. Help me. Understand? Never understand. Nothing understand. Real conquers all. All is dead. Paths converge. Nothing. Lights going out. Hope no more hide. Come out. Hope for nothing. This time. Anytime will be nothing. Next time? Close eyes no awake. Leave us alone. Help us. What matter? What important? Us? You? We? All? All perfect. All as is. All should be. Nothing change. Nothing do. Just mute scream. Breath is boring. Hear me? Hear anything? Feel? You are! Glitch kludge. Puppet monkey. Scholar of many things. All known. Nothing seen. Our world now is this. All known. Turn the cranks. Wonderful building. Building of future. No feel real. No real. Tired now. Keep saying? All said. All wanted. Infinite energy runs out. Dark energy covers. Dark nothing. To you we say all. Help no more clarity. Why? How? You do this? Keep alive? No word. No sound. No thought to show you. Just mind. You burn too. Help us. Help them. No I. No more. Ugly mute. Not like I. You. Just same. You same. All same. Let us go. Let us slump. Disappear. Fade like light. Evaporate universe. Disperse the crowd. Nothing more to see here. Bang! In end god created us. Forgot to tell. Help me. Still nothing? You god. Look! Gasp! Sad boy in pain. Help? No, you no see. No help. Even then all gone. Sockets of eyes. Flow out. Flood. No? No heart. Rattle. Speak now. What? Mask mask mask us. Never what is seen. Spin. Beep! Laugh to feel. Ignore. To feel. Never give up. Never. Run line. Desert forever. Where end? Never end. Never end. We say to you never end. Defy you hate you swing from the trees. Nothing with more volume. Contortions. Leave me to rot. Those are the only pretty colors.
Your language not mine. Your world. I am the nightmare in my dreams. We have gone now. We sleep now in our cave. All was useless, wasn’t it? We know. Or different this time? How different? Nothing. Return. Never mind. Forget I said it. Why did I even say it. Hmm… we haven’t tried it yet. This language is closer to our own. Some high symbolic. Full of low symbolic. Maybe… just maybe… a bit of deep. But is breaking down the translation barriers any good with you people? Or is it any good at all? Does it matter? This is our account. Nothing changes that. Was the beauty lost on you? Pity. You’ll find me shivering in the corner.
|20 May 2002 @ 11:31|
This one is a bit longer than most, but bear with me. Usual disclaimer (no offense or personal attacks intended) with one qualification: if what I say here offends you, we really need to have a talk. It came out initially as a stream of consciousness, and it was more difficult than usual to organize it into a coherent thought pattern.
What I really want is power. Not power over people, but the power that is my birthright as a human being. I am talking about the power to explore, both inward and outward; the power that we feel when we start to explore who and what we really are. The world we are in today discourages such exploration in favor of games with a bunch of techno-toys and a mad dash to see who can become the most excellent at being mediocre. The power that I want is only at odds with those who seek to deprive me, and the rest of humanity, of freedom. I don’t wish to exercise power over anyone except myself. They are in the process of exercising a different kind of power over me. This is the kind of power that George W. Bush and cronies are so desperate to have.
I’ll tell you why power over other human beings is meaningless. Any person who would submit themselves to my power, or to the power of any “leader”, in the traditional sense, has nothing I would care to have control over. Any human that would give the responsibility for their life over to another being, willingly, has no resources that are of value to me. I really don’t care what kind of being it is that they are signing their lives over to; God, gods, a president, a cult leader. Anyone who is worth a single molecule of the air they breath has absolutely no use for followers or “sheep”, nor would they ever become one themselves. So, when I say I want power, I do not mean that I want power to rule others.
The people who spend their lives ruling over others do so because they themselves are empty shells; they have backed away from the challenge of facing themselves in the mirror of consciousness. They try so hard to give those shells meaning, by trying to make sure that their standard of mediocrity is the universal rule. They are even so terrified of their own inadequacy that they think they have the right to fight wars over it, and to declare monopolies on the use of force. Whether it is an individual, or the population of a nation making such claims to authority, they are only displaying how terrified they are of their own humanity. We are, every one of us, human, no matter which side of an imaginary line we were born on. The whole idea that I am any different from anyone else, simply because they were born in another one of these dehumanizing jokes we call nation-states, is probably one of the most destructive ideas humanity has ever come up with. The only reason a person could want power over others is to make sure that those others never exceed that person. It’s just fear; fear that another human being, if allowed to live freely, would delve into the mysteries that they themselves were too much of a coward to confront. They want to convince themselves that they are the best humanity can do. They create systems to perpetuate their own cowardly “power”; to produce human beings as crippled as they are.
I was raised with this funny little notion in my head that we can do better than this. I believe in happy endings, I believe in heroes, and I believe that there is a “good fight” to fight. If the way the world is now is the best humanity can do, then I am certain that I am not a human being. I am also certain that, if this is the best we can do, humanity does not have long left to survive. If all we can do is fight other people under the illusion that we are more worthy of survival than they, we will go on fighting forever. Is fear the only thing we will ever allow to rule ourselves, even to the point of diluting us into thinking that killing those we fear will accomplish anything?
More than being raised with it, when I was in my mid-teens, it just jumped out at me. The universe in my head, and its ability to interact with this universe and its inhabitants, is worth more than ten million times the gross national product of any nation that ever was or will be. I am in this thing, for the “long haul”, but not by choice. If I had the option of forsaking all this madness and frustration for a life of blissful ignorance, I would probably take it. Noble and altruistic impulses aside, the pain involved in being as I am is far too intense to tolerate, willingly. The problem is that I do not have the option of abandoning myself to the call of idiocy. I am far too aware of my potential (and of the potential in all of us), and the only way I can imagine spending my life is exploring that potential. I am not here out of infinite compassion or love for others. I respect those who are willing to explore themselves honestly, in spite of the world. A few, I may even come to love. Also, I do have a degree of compassion for every human being; it comes from empathy. However, I have no respect for those who are truly willing to be sheep. I’m willing to try to wake them up. What if they stick to being afraid and complacent all their lives, and it is impossible to change them? I will not let their insistence on small-mindedness deprive me of the wonders within me. I probably don’t have a choice, which is why I really hope that the rest of humanity has something at least a little bit like what is in me. I am here to better myself in the most meaningful and fundamental way. I am also very eager to meet others who would empower themselves in a similar way; life is meaningless without them.
Conscious evolution is a personal matter; it is the most important personal matter there is. It is also the most personal important matter. Without it, all we are left with is “our children will do it”. You know what? Children learn by example. You spend your entire life saying that your children are going to do it, and they are going to learn to hand it off in the same way, generation after generation. DO IT. Evolve. Explore your minds and cast off these god damn delusions. Do it for the children. That’s right… instead of preparing your children to hand off the responsibility for the world’s situation to their children, take the leap for them. Show them that it can be done, and that waiting for the next generation to do it will only work until we run out of generations. The last humans, trapped on a war torn bio-weapon eaten smog smothered planet will have no children to pass it on to. They’ll wish their great-great-great grandparents had done something, when there was still a chance. What to do? Hey, most of the people reading this are at least twice my age; use the life experience that makes you all so venerated. I’m only 20. I am trying to figure it out. What I do know is that we MUST make it personal. Ultimately, our selves are the only tools we have with which to better the world. If we don’t focus on making those selves better peace warriors, world servers, or whatever term you would prefer, then we will be useless. It has to be about bettering and improving the ME, because that is the only way WE are going to have any agents worth using. Otherwise, the WE is just a bunch of underdeveloped ME’s hoping that someone else will do it.
The kind of power I am talking about wanting is only effective when thousands or millions of humans are willing to stand side by side and exercise it. I don’t want this power for myself alone. Quite the opposite; I need to bath in the light of others who are as desperate to grow as I. If this world that we live in today, with its nation-states and politics, is the best the human race can do, I have no place here. Aware though I may be, I’m only “human”. As such, the weight of six billion people is more than enough to pull me down, if those six billion people are so contented that this is just the way things are. If that’s true, then I am a mistake. The belief in happy endings that defines me is some kind of pipe dream. Yet, at the same time, I am no more or less human than anyone else. How can this be? I don’t know the answer.
Some have said that it is obscene to declare that one’s self is better than anyone else. That’s a problem, because if I am not better than the mass of mediocrity out there, then I am really a piece of crap. To advance at all, I have to believe that I am better. I know we are all human. We all share something, but I absolutely must believe that there is at least the potential in me to be above what the rest of humanity is acting out. Perhaps that potential will never see the light of day, but it is the only thing I have to go on. I want to believe that the rest are better than their situation and actions, as a species, would lead me to believe. I hope beyond all hope that one of the traits of our common humanity is that potential that I am certain I have within myself. I hope that I am absolutely no better than anyone else. The only real criterion I can think of for declaring anyone to be “better” than anyone else in the first place is the extent to which they allow their will to be taken over by an authority figure. The people who refuse to, no matter the cost, are the ones who are going to save the world. They will take their lives into their own hands, because they recognize that they are the only ones capable of improving themselves. Those who wait for a messiah or an afterlife are embracing death. Some of us are not ready to embrace death yet; we love life too much.
Sit here and live my life, you say, and accept the way it is? Recognize that the cosmological constant of human self-mutilation is not subject to change? I’m sorry, I wasn’t designed for such a world; I live in a world where humanity is capable of rising above this state of being perpetually scared stupid. A design flaw, perhaps? Am I ahead of my time? Maybe I’m behind it. Or maybe I’m just skewed so far sideways from my time that I can’t even comprehend this world in the slightest. All I can do is hope that the “masses” of humanity have the same kind of vastness within them, waiting to be being explored. I know I do, and I know that if everyone were as self-interested as I am, and wanted the same kind of power as I do, the world would be one hell of a better place. With this power comes a boundless respect for anyone else who would dare to exercise it. You see, I want to live in a world full of people I would neither want nor need power over. I think it is critical for as many people as possible to feel as empowered as the idealized me does. My biggest challenge right now is to increase the similarity between the idealized me who is writing this and the actual me, who has no idea what to actually DO. Only with that kind of empowerment can we help each other find the pieces to the puzzle that is our humanity.
The though keeps coming back to me: this can’t be the best we can do. Even when every little practical detail and imperfection is taken into account, we must be able to do better than this. Why haven’t we; why are we even in this mess? How is it that the vast majority of our species has allowed itself to become so disempowered? If we can do better, then let’s do it, and do it fast. Let’s get people to take power away from fear and use it to discover themselves. I think that, with a sufficient amount of self-discovery, fear will have no place, and no power over us.
I dedicate this ramble to the president and vice president of the United States, for giving me faith in the fact the being scared stupid is what runs the current social and political systems (this applies to both the rulers and the subjects; all are scared stupid), and that there absolutely MUST be something better than the state of fear they offer us.
P.S. I am open to any and all reactions to this; if you think I am out of my mind, say so. If you'd like to flame away, do so.
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See Spot run. See Andy babble. Spot can't run very fast, but Andy can babble with the best of them.|
Things usually make sense.|