Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The End of Adulthood

     If you look around you might find a few, there are still some left. But they are fading quickly, the older ones descending into a second childhood. They were the ones who told stories with morals to them, without the swear words. They were the ones who told you not to take anything you weren’t intending to eat and to eat whatever you took. They lived in the real world, learned their lessons the hard way. Tom Brokaw called them The Greatest Generation, but in truth they were merely the last of the adults.
     My dad was six years old when The Great Depression hit. The Great Depression ended for him when the Great War began. And after that, well maybe his generation just got tired of great troubles. They’d paid their dues and deserved a little peace and prosperity. Maybe they wanted to try great consumption instead. Maybe they just wanted to finally live life and get a little enjoyment out of it. There’s nothing wrong with that, after all. You can’t blame people for wanting to avoid suffering and sacrifice if they can get away with it. And we were a country on the rise, reaching peaks never experienced before.
     There’s the bitch of it, isn’t it? I think we can all relate: we struggle and suffer and finally get to a point where we feel we can relax a little, spend a little…and bam, just when we let loose a bit something smacks us when we least expect it. We can never afford to get too comfortable in this life.
     But we did get too comfortable. Not so much the greatest generation themselves, they had learned their lessons too severely to ever forget. But when it came to their children, well they did try to instill the values their parents had instilled into them. But times had changed and it was hard to relate such values to a time of never before seen prosperity. Besides, there was this thing called mass media, and it screamed from the center of the television, from billboards, and magazines that we were living in a new era where The American Way was a way of consumerism. Technology was the god that provided for us all, and we would hardly be grateful recipients of her blessings if we did not dutifully give homage. In the process, those gods The Greatest Generation worshipped didn’t seem so relevant anymore. We began to turn inwards. Well, not really, actually we turned towards television, which told us our individual needs were greater than any communal needs. We were the land of the free and freedom meant doing your own thing. Of course, deep down, no man is an island unto himself, so doing your own thing leaves one awfully lonely. And when we get lonely, we get scared. And when we get scared we cry out for our mommy. And since mommy was now at work in order to provide for all of those things television said we needed to own, the generations that followed the Greatest Generation found a surrogate parent: television. Television was always there to provide support, to tell us that we were okay, that we were deserving. In fact, it never told us otherwise. Television never disapproved of anything we did. Because television wanted to support our childish needs and desires. That was TV’s role, to keep us children in need of an authority figure. There were many institutions paying millions of dollars to ensure that they had receptive minds in front of them, minds that could shift smoothly from a talking puppet show host to a cartoon shill for sugary cereal.

     There’s a book called The Hidden Persuaders. In it is discussed the ways advertisers played to the aspects of our psyche that acted beneath our conscious mind, talked to our baser instincts. The book was written in 1957, so Heaven knows how much deeper the propaganda machine is able to burrow into our minds nowadays. But seeing how The Hidden Persuaders was a chilling read in its day, and that the trend has increased rapidly, it’s safe to say the reality of the situation would be jarring and frightening to the average person if the truth were to hit home to him or her. So much so that they would most likely be willing to climb back into their hole that they’ve been living in for their entire lives. The discrepancy between what the average person perceives to be their reality and what truly is is pretty vast. And while we would all like to think we would be Neo in The Matrix, AKA the chosen one, most of us would rather avert our gaze and continue upon the comfortable path we are walking. It’s the same psychological motivators that lead animals to the slaughterhouse. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Does God Exist?

     Humans are funny, aren’t we? We tend to have an overinflated sense of self. Given a scrap of knowledge we believe ourselves omniscient. Only today while at work I thought I would come home and write out my feelings and thoughts on the existence or non-existence of God. I would look deep into my soul, peer into the deepest depths of me, and discover from that whether or not there was a deity.
     It’s hard to get much more arrogant than that, isn’t it? It seemed like a plausible thing at the time, after all I was only intending to be honest with myself and my reasons for wanting or not wanting to believe. But implicit in that thought was the idea that God, The Creator of all that was, is or shall ever be, would cease to exist if should I decide that I had insufficient reasons to believe in him. Or that if I chose belief that it would be the confirmation He needed to keep his job, as though He needed my reference on His resume.
     But people seem to have a bias towards knowing and understanding God. And those who do not believe in the existence of one seem to think since the position is left open that they have dibs on it. Humility, that’s what we need, believers and atheists alike.
     But humility is not a natural inclination. We are not born humble but as gods to ourselves. We are the center of our universe as children and it is only through hard lessons that we grow out of such an assumption. We learn by stages that we must take into account the feelings of others, not just our own. We get fairly decent at it after a while, accumulating friends along the way. What is harder for us to relinquish than the conviction that ours are the only feelings that matter, is the idea that ours are the only perceptions that matter. We, all of us, believe we are right. Sure, we give lip service to the idea that people can see things from a different perspective, but we know we’re right. The music we listen to really is the best, our favorite movie is really the best movie ever made. And lastly, our morals are really the right ones. Everybody else, no matter how good they are, are somewhat lacking morally because they lack our perfect understanding. If I believe in God, then I somehow get the notion God has granted me His sacred understanding. And if I don’t believe in God, hey, I’m even smarter than Him.
     That’s the weird thing, though. Humans have this tendency to want to stand tip-toe on a stack of old books in order to reach up and peer through God’s eyes. Atheist and believer, we all want to stare through that telescope and we all believe we can. And the attempt is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s wonderful that we try to see beyond our limited point of view. It’s only a bad thing when we start believing that we can do so to any great degree. It’s only bad when we forget that we are just mortal men, with senses and intellect so tiny compared to the universe that we are nothing. That’s where humility comes in, the realization of how tiny we are as well as the realization of the harm that we can do when we think ourselves as something larger.

     But to get back to my original question: does God exist? Well, I decided, but I don’t want to say. I want to keep Him guessing.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blue Collar Writer

I’m legit. I’ve got cred. I’m as blue collar as any other writer out there. There is nothing fake about me. I once spent six years in an office, but I’ve spent twenty in a factory. I’ve thrown garbage, dug ditches, painted, hauled loads over my shoulder, and pushed wheelbarrows. I’ve always been working class.
But somehow that’s hard to show anymore. These days everyone dresses like a bum and talks like a sailor. Everybody tries to fit the mold because deep down they want to be that guy. But those who talk the talk without walking the walk don’t give a very flattering picture of what a working man is. So let me try to convey to you what being a working man means to me.
Everything I have in this life I’ve earned the hard way. I’ve always earned my daily bread by the sweat of my brow. I’ve never earned a penny from somebody else’s labor, never told another human being what to do. I’ve often seen an easier way of getting what I wanted but never took it. I want to know that I earned what I have. I want to know that what I have was not taken unfairly from another or that what I have is mine merely because I spoke up louder in my desire for it.
But working class doesn’t mean folksy to me. Sure, it means keeping my boots on the ground, but it doesn’t mean my thoughts can’t float amongst the clouds. To work with my hands means I sell my labor for pay. Some people sell their minds, having their thoughts working towards another’s interests. And many sell their souls for money. Me, I sell my body. And physical labor, honestly done, is a balm to the soul. In selling the efforts of my body, my mind is free to think thoughts I want to think. I do not have to hammer my outlook into one that is pleasing to the powers that be. I do not have to buy into the system, whatever system it is. It usually boils down to the bottom line, a desire to make the most money possible. I’d rather nail that number down with a set amount so that my thoughts can then be put towards more important matters. If your main concern is the bottom line, your thoughts are never far from it.
To me working class means I’m basically no different than anybody else. The person that cleans the toilettes at my work is as important to me as the guy who keeps the computers up and running. As a matter of fact, I place far greater value on clean toilettes, and I appreciate the work done to keep them that way more than the guy who’s keeping clean in the office.
I don’t like it when the working guy gets stiffed, or put down as being less important than the mucky mucks who run things and get paid the big salaries. I see blue collar workers putting in 60 hour weeks and I wonder how many more hours the CEO puts in each week. If he’s earning 10 times the pay does that mean he’s putting in 600 hours every week? Sure, he’s got the education, but when I’m on the shop floor I question what he was taught in school. I see it every day, the consequences of his decisions. But while his communication runs all the way down to the bottom, to me in other words, my feedback never makes it anywhere close to him. He is ignorant of my input in a way that a driver of a vehicle can never be ignorant of where the rubber meets the road. His value is a perceived value, and does not correlate to actual product being made.

And that’s what I was referring to earlier when I said a working man’s feet never leave the ground. It’s the blue collar man’s job to make the pieces fit when those in the theoretical realm miscalculate. While I have my pet theories just like everyone else, I know they have to be placed in the real world before I know their value. I make a living, and the most I ever sell is my labor.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Lamb To The Slaughter

WARNING: There are images of animal violence on this post which most human beings—no, all—will find disturbing. To find this not disturbing would mean that you were something less than human.

     We’ve all seen the videos, haven’t we? The dog and the elephant as best buddies, the dog and deer cavorting around the yard, playing as if they were litter mates, the cat and the crow. There’s even a video of a dog trying to splash water on a fish out of water. So often are we inundated with such images that we forget how cruel nature can be. Even among domesticated creatures, savagery lurks just beneath the surface. What you are about to see may be shocking, but it is a necessary reminder that animals are not to be left alone with other animals of a different species. While they may play together and behave as though they are best of friends, cruel instincts can be brought forth in an instant.

     Here you see Lola and Lamby in a quiter moment. They seem like natural buddies, don’t they?

     Introduced to each other when they were both young, they were inseparable. Lola was fond of carrying Lamby around as if she was one of her children, while Lamby was content to lie by Lola’s side.
     But my wife became too comfortable with the relationship, trusted Lola’s basic tame demeanor over her carnivorous ancestry. The abuse began as rough play, but nobody noticed. And then came the day my wife thought it a good idea for Lamby to keep Lola company in Lola’s kennel while my wife went to work. It was then that the tragedy occurred. Again, I must caution you about the pictures you are about to witness. You might want to have the children leave the room before you scroll down any further.
     My wife returned from work that evening to find this:

     So badly mauled was poor Lamby that we would have had difficulty identifying her had it not been for the trademark Santa hat she was so fond of wearing.

     It is obvious by the photos there was nothing we could do for poor Lamby.

     We gave her a fitting funeral in the trash can. And while we closed the lid on her poor mutilated body, I’m afraid we will never be able to close the lid on the images that will forever haunt us.

     So please remember that however friendly your pets are to each other, there still lurks in the hearts of many natural predators an instinct to hunt and kill, an instinct that no amount of nurturing will ever rid them of. Never leave your pets together unattended like we did. Learn from our tragedy. Do it in Lamby’s memory.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Random Thoughts Part 6

Sometimes I feel truly alive and thoughts come to me and I see the beauty that exists in the world. Then I am reminded that I am at work and it is in my job description to squash such feelings. Here are some thoughts I managed to scribble down and sneak out of the corporation that owns me 8 hours a day:

Too often we submit to the herd instinct rather than tap into the group intelligence.

Have you ever found yourself cursing at an inanimate object, a wrench or tool that slipped and smashed your fingers? Of course you have, it happens all the time. How many times do we blame people equally as innocent? The dice are against me. The world is against me. In truth, the world is likely as indifferent to you as a pair of dice.

Even our sense of smell is better equipped to judge the outside world than our intellect, but the intellect is better at convincing us it is right. Think about it, if something does not seem right but our mind cannot find a reason against it, we say that “something smells rotten” or “it doesn’t pass the smell test. For one day, abandon reason for scent and see if it does not make you happier.

Simplistic ideas are the weapons with which the thoughtful are clubbed.

I often hear people ponder about humankind, what is so unique about us that we have come to dominate the planet over all God’s other creatures. What vanity. It is like Babylon pondering what made their civilization superior to all others, or a child contemplating how he got to be king of the hill. It is a thing of the moment.

When we abandon our gods, we cease to be human.

The gulf between liberals and conservatives is not as vast as the gulf between the people and their leaders. But our leaders do everything in their power to keep us focused on the former rather than the latter.

The essential knowledge of the virtues civilization needs is embedded in the great religions. I cannot think of another institution they inhabit.

Once art served to educate and edify, now it distracts and amuses.

We used to base our hopes in the idea that tomorrow would be the same as today. Now our hope lies in a future radically transformed from what we have. We have switched from relying on the natural world to relying on technology. We base our hopes on our ability to game the system.

Sometimes you cannot trust the goodness in another until you can see it in yourself.

There are books that contain within them more life than many who draw breath, ideas and words that are worth living for and dying for.

The problem is not that the right path is seldom known, it is that it appears to be the more imposing path to take. But in reality, while it starts out through brambles and rough road, it is in the end the straighter one.

Art helps you connect to the world, not escape from it. That is the difference between art and entertainment.

We live in a world of distractions, and distractions--by definition--are never important. Nobody has ever been distracted from a video game by a novel or a philosophical treatise.

They call them living rooms but they are not, they are shrines to television. In them, no living occurs, merely passive viewing.

Though there are advantages to it, never allow yourself to become too practical. It is a short step from practical to cynical.

My doctor just diagnosed me with attention deficit oh, look, a clicky pen.

All religions have begun as a movement to counteract previous religions.

Christianity was founded on faith, hope, and love, not on a book.

People are always being forced into choosing either A or B. Just remember that there’s always at least a third option. That is what makes humans better than computers.

The larger world is mostly built by little men with little minds who have little idea of what it is they have helped form.

A society that spends its wealth on machines that can read genes cares no more about morality than one that spends its wealth on churches cares about science.

The movies and books I enjoyed as a child usually had villains that were sympathetic and were simply good people twisted by misfortune. Now it seems rare to find a story where even the hero is very sympathetic.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Random Thoughts Part 5

Like many others of this age, I am still capable of thinking in short sprints. Unfortunately, like others of this age, I have too many distractions to actually think for any extended duration. By the way, have you noticed that we live in an age of distractions and that distractions are never good? Nobody is ever in the middle of playing a video game only to get distracted by War And Peace or The Symposium,  are they? At any rate, here are some thoughts, if you have time for such things:

It is foolish to argue with God if you believe in him, more so if you do not.

I do not listen so much to whether or not you invoke God or science so much as if you have a degree of humility in your voice.

Intelligence is merely a tolerance for ambiguity and a reticence for judgment. Both of these can be acquired through practice.

If you want to make a person feel helpless, convince him he is a victim. If you want to make him dangerous, tell him he belongs to a group that is victimized.

There is no such thing as a good law, only a necessary one. Laws are the tombstones of ethics.

Over-tolerance has at its roots the same causes as intolerance: the unwillingness to make complex moral decisions. One provides a simple answer which says everything is permitted. The other establishes a black and white view of the world that does not allow for intricacies.

To the creationist, the extinction of a species must be the gravest of crimes.

Can one have pride without accomplishments? Faith without acts? Confidence without hard work?

A starving man will eat rice intermixed with dirt rather than trying to sort out each little grain. The hungry man will work a little way towards purifying his intake. The gourmand will insist upon purity. Such it is with art.

Never mistake democracy for America, liberty for a flag. Do not confuse abstract ideas with reality.

It is naïve to think big government can solve all our problems, foolish to believe the free market can.

I don’t care about your political persuasion so much as your commitment to facts.

Society needs a moral authority, be it the church, the government, etc. Today, the moral authority is the market, which preaches that whatever is profitable is good.

When I was growing up in the 70's we didn't have things like Facebook and Texting. If you wanted to send a message back then you had to knock on ceilings or pipes or tie ribbons to trees.

I find it absolutely disgusting that they're finding plastics in our great lakes' water. From now on I'm drinking only bottled water.

We smugly act like we are superior to kids today, but guess what? This is the world our generation has created. We were too busy pursuing material goods to share our time with them, instead giving them electronic devices to amuse them so that we wouldn't be distracted from the game or soap opera we were watching on TV.

Isn't blaming government for the abuses it sometimes enables kind of the same thing as blaming guns for the uses criminals put them to?

Our Founding Fathers established a government that was very limited in its reach and its ability to tax. It was called The Articles Of Confederation and it didn't work.

Speaking the truth means being hated and misunderstood by both sides of the issue.

Creationists: living proof that the theory of evolution is wrong.

It’s perfectly acceptable to mock the past for its absurdities so long as it does not permit you to turn a blind eye to the foolishness of the present.
The difference between Western hillbilly hatemongers and Islamic extremists is actually pretty thin. Both like to marry girls before they are old enough to make decisions of their own, both like to feel morally superior despite being intellectually inferior, and both justify violence in the name of God.
Certainty is an illusion, but it is a pleasant one. And illusions that work are more practical than realism that doesn’t Cherish your illusions, for they are the efficacious agents of their own achievement.

The present is the balance between yesterday and tomorrow. He who is not on equal footing, cannot live adequately in the present.

There are only two things one need be concerned with: the real and the possible.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rat Poison For The Soul

I’ve been working on a new book that I hope to have out before too long. It’s a play on the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. I call it Rat Poison For The Soul. It’s a collection of seriously disturbing and depressing thoughts. Here’s a sample:

You’ve already met the right man, the one that is perfect for you, and he’s married to your cousin.

Even vegetarians eat animals because there are bug parts in everything you eat.

If your husband finds you unattractive, he’ll probably never tell you.

No matter how disgusting your wife says something is, she’s probably done it before, with some other guy.

There are more things crawling around in your mattress than in your flower bed.

In the next five years, it is likely that your job will be done by a machine or an overseas worker.

You will never be sure whether or not you mouth wash and deodorant work as well as you think they do. Nobody will tell you, they’ll just talk about it with others who know you.

You’re going to die. Seriously, think about it. You and everybody you know. Even babies.

How many men has your wife really been with? Does she still think about them? You know in your heart that she thinks this about one of them: “he wasn’t husband material, but damn was he a great lover!”

God exists but he doesn’t like you.

Think about the last time your dog licked you and then think about how long your dog can go without licking itself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Secret Sacrifices Of Scott Walker

 Governor Scott Walker is not a complainer. Or a bragger. That’s why most of us are unaware of the personal sacrifices he has made to help keep the budget of Wisconsin afloat the way he has. I've heard people say that he has balanced the budget on the backs of schools, teachers, and other workers. Many people think that his cuts to every program that makes this state a great place to live—from grade schools to the university system, from state parks to Wisconsin Public Radio—placed the burden only on the least fortunate Wisconsinites. I am here to tell you that’s not the case.
     Many have assumed that Scott Walker’s election commercial showing him carrying a brown bag lunch was a cynical ploy aimed to appeal to the average voter. But I have it on good authority that since the time of his election he has eaten a simple sandwich for lunch every day. Not roast beef on artisan bread mind you, or even bologna, but generic peanut butter on day old bread. A simple Google search will provide you with ample evidence that even when dining with his wealthy contributors from out west or with the heads of state he needs to meet with to make things better for us here at home, Governor Walker is right in front when it comes to sacrificing for our great state. And if you want to sit down with Governor Walker and cut him a six-figure check, you better bring your own brown-bag lunch too.
     There are countless other ways he has sought to save money, from cutting down on heating bills in the capitol by insulating it with protestors, to forgoing the Governor’s Humvee and choosing instead to ride his white stallion, Rocinante, as he patrols the boarders of our state.
     I am reminded of a great tragedy by Sophocles—I believe it was Oedipus Rex—when the people are suffering and call upon their king for help. Oedipus tells his people: “Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I. Each of you suffers in himself alone his anguish, not another’s; but my spirit groans for the state, for myself, for you.” Well, perhaps it was not Oedipus I was thinking of, but surely Scott Walker is reminiscent of some great tragedy.

     So protest if you must—especially on cold winter days when the need for your body heat within the dome is at its highest. Just remember that our leader would not ask from you any sacrifice that he has not already taken upon himself.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Book For Kindle For Three More Days

I've got my book, Perchance to Dream, free for Kindle for the next three days. Here's a hastily written intro meant to entice you:

A mass suicide is about to take place, but one mother cannot bear to include her son. She sends him away from the little village hastily assembled on an island far from anywhere, telling him to pick berries and not to come back until his pal is full. He returns hours later, only to find that everyone he has ever known is dead. But the voices of the dead seem to talk to him, whispering secrets only the dead know. Perhaps it is only madness caused by horrors too great for a young boy's mind to endure.
It's 20 years later. The boy is now a man.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A New Holiday

I came across this today and felt the need to share:

I felt it today, a certain change in the air, like a spiritual spring has finally arrived. Don’t ask me how I know, but I do: I know that as of today the human race has finally found its footing and is ready to move towards accomplishing the destiny it has always been striving toward. Our record so far has been of struggle and misunderstanding, of hopes followed by disillusionment. But we’ve finally realized both the inevitability of the struggle but also the inevitability of the victory. It’s going to be quite a journey, but we now know where we’re going. We know that while we are free to worship God in whichever way we choose, or to not worship at all if that is what we believe, that we need to respect the practices of others who are not harming anyone else. And if we see another of our brothers or sisters in error, it is up to us to show by example and perhaps by gentle persuasion the path of peace, of hope, of love. I feel it, know it to be true, this burning love for life inside of me. It is a love not only for the life I have been given but by extension a love for all the life that is. For life is life no matter what vessel it resides in. We are all rays of the same sun.
And that is why at eight o’clock this evening, March 19, I stood and looked outside from the highest window in my house with a candle in hand. I looked upon all of the houses I could see from this window, and knew them to be filled with people just like me. I knew all of them were capable of love, and that it only needed to be given the proper conditions to flourish. I knew all of them were in need of love, and that I had a vital role to play in giving love. I knew all of them, just like me, were going to err and stray from the path and that we all needed to work together to get to that future that awaits us all.
It’s a simple message. It requires no religion or government or corporate sponsorship. It just requires individuals who realize that they are connected to the rest of the world in a very deep and beautiful way. You just need to know that the light will shine through any darkness.
I looked out tonight, and mine was the only candle lit. But I would be back again next year on March 18, and every year for as long as I lived, and someday I would look out and see every household with a candle, or a flashlight, or whatever kind of light they wanted to shine.

If you feel it too, if you know in your heart that we are all connected by the heart, I invite you to shine your light on March 18. And I invite you to share the words I wrote. Do not share a link, or tell where you found these words, just share the idea. Let the idea stand on its own and do not let any other thought or “ism” attach itself to it. It doesn’t matter where the idea came from, it belongs to everyone.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Short Excerpt From My Novel In Progress, Seven Stones

Yesterday I shared a more contemplative piece of writing from the same book, today I offer this:

     They were entering through the door, obeying the call of their master. It was the stone that was the master, not Delavois, he knew that now. Delavois had put his own twist on the evil that radiated from it, but he was owned by it as well. He was just another meat puppet it commanded to carry out this horror.
     Doug looked around him,  at the shambling beings that entered the house, as well as the jellied remains of individuals that ran together in an obscene soup. Black ooze floated body parts in a semi-sentient slosh. Amongst it all was the sense of suffering. He could feel it now that he had possession of the stone. It was all the suffering the living could feel brought to another level. But as horrible as it was, he knew it was not the evil he felt. Suffering was not evil, it was that which caused it that was evil. He had mistaken the fear he had of suffering with the fear of evil, but he knew better now. He had learned at last—too late—something that would have served him well in life. Still, better than not to have learned it at all.
     The creatures were almost all through the door. One of the more ragged things was dragging itself through with one good hand and a stump. Doug recognized it as one of the creatures that had frightened him the most, now it elicited the most pity. Its suffering was more palpable than any of the others, though a small thing compared to the overall stew of tortured flesh. The flesh demanded release, but something flowing through their veins obeyed the will of the stone. Doug hazarded a glimpse at the stone and noticed its radiance seemed to throb. Looking away, he saw the accumulated filth that was once human flesh seemed to move in response to the pulsations. It called to them, pulsed within them, sought to command them without the use of the medium that Delavois had been, what it called out to Doug to be. It seemed as though the urge to die and the urge to obey the stone warred within each of them, jerking their bodies in a forbidden dance. Doug could feel the pulse within him too, as if a second heart had taken up residence in his chest, pumping fear and compulsion throughout his veins, but he choked it down as he might nervousness.
     He saw what he assumed was the last of the creatures enter the door, a desecrated hunk of flesh so obscene that Doug wondered how it made its way here. He had seen animals hit by trains look more possible of motion than the mass of exposed flesh and bone. In some part of it that Doug assumed was its head, two white eyeballs stared in his direction.

     It was time. He would go to the gas soaked curtain and light it with his torch. Then he would stand guard at the door as the house burned to ruins. It would be over soon. And as much as he feared death, he knew he was doing the best thing possible. But as he moved towards the window, attempting to avoid contact with the living corpses, he felt a strong grip on the arm that held the torch. The terror he had been able to keep at bay now flooded in on him and he instinctually tried to move away. He was halted by a less than sentient mound of flesh.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Sample of My Writing

This is the kind of writing that I really love to do, and I'm increasingly convinced it's the kind of writing people are uninterested in reading. If I had to describe it I would say it was Victor Hugo smoking hash. I'd really love to hear you opinion of it:

     A knock upon the door of the man the entire neighborhood knew only as Ashavan awoke the old man from a long bout of contemplation that had been taking place over a book resting open on his table. At some point the conversation he had been having with the writings of an ancient writer had abandoned the book’s pages and taken up residence within his mind. So frozen had he been that it almost appeared he had found some spot outside the stream of time.
     Such places exist among the endless abodes of every major city, places that seem to be sanctuaries from the present, immune to the hustle and bustle, the sound and fury that in the end change nothing. Like long unopened books sitting upon dusty shelves, there exist people filled with knowledge that has somehow been saved from extinction. But buried as they are by time, there abides in them yet a seed awaiting the proper condition for germination. There is some process that occurs in dormancy, some subtle shifting of the fabric of reality that science has yet to discover. From such forgotten places as these occasionally springs, in some unseen future, a gigantic oak whose day has come.
     He had been on the verge of something, some subtle thought that he could sense was true, profound. It was a butterfly that fluttered towards a deeper understanding, a new way of perceiving the world. He had experienced it often enough in his life, this briefest glimpse of something at the edge of consciousness. He had experienced it enough to realize that this was how all great discoveries began, like discovering the first thin tendril of a vein of gold that awaited mining. To be dragged away at such a moment was being awoken from a very pleasant dream. But as much as one tries, one can only stay so long in the world of reverie before returning to the far more unpleasant world that the collective mind had so far been able to cobble together.

     Annoyed as he was by the interruption of someone at his door, he managed to realize there was some connection that existed between what he was reading and the person who stood outside. There was, after all, some purpose to his long searches into the past. Flowers would someday bloom from the roots he followed downwards towards nourishment. Such a flower perhaps now awaited him.

The Left Wing And The Right Wing Are Not Working

I am occasionally reminded we have this thing in our house called a television and that my wife pays some satellite provider money to supply us with channels for this audio-video apparatus. Such was the case today while I ate lunch before returning to playing on Facebook—er, I mean writing. I turned the thing on and sought something to amuse me while ingesting calories. Since the news channels are so spiritually degrading, and since my wife doesn’t pay extra for the naughty channels, I ended up on C-Span. What I saw was an author named Jay Cost discussing his book, A Republic No More. The event was hosted by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank. As he spoke I could not help but admit that his grasp on American History was vastly superior to my own. And as he sat and discussed issues with two representatives from the Cato Institute, I realized that they too spoke from a wealth of knowledge beyond mine. And from their conversation they did not look to promote any agenda or to obfuscate the truth but endeavored to get to the facts of the matter.
Now at this point I have to admit that on the scale of things, I’m pretty far to the left of the spectrum. And when I say “left”, I’m not talking Vote For Hillary left. But beyond the political sides of an issue, I am first and foremost interested in the truth, rather than what information best supports my biases. And the speakers at this event spoke the truth, were clearly digging for facts rather than trying to heap arguments upon a faulty premise. That’s the sort of thing I can respect, the sort of thing all of us should respect.
When the author was done with his presentation, there came a time for questions from the audience. Again, I beheld thoughtfully asked questions with an earnest desire for truth rather than confirmation bias. And towards the end there was a woman from some left-wing organization that asked an intelligent question. And that intelligent question was asked respectfully. And then, and this was perhaps the most astounding thing of it all, the conservative writer from the Weekly Standard, brought to speak by The Cato Institute, cited Ralph Nader as the man he has been reading the most lately, stating that Nader had been the earliest critic of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, long before the 2008 financial meltdown. He then mentioned that perhaps it would be up to the far left and far right ends of the spectrum to come together under a new coalition (an idea, by the way, that Ralph Nader has also been espousing).

The truth can sometimes be so obvious that you hardly see it, but occasionally it takes the time to smack you upside the head. Those talking heads and politicians that you see and hear all the time through corporate media are not the real representatives of either the left or the right. They are demagogues put there by the powers that be to create straw men for the hard-working but underserved to cast their rightful anger at. The left and the right do in fact have much in common if they’d get beyond the leaders who are allegedly speaking for them. If we began to once again accept the idea that there is a universal truth that we could all reach some sort of consensus about, if we discuss the issues both critically and respectfully, we could work on solving many of the problems that are affecting this country, and by extension, the world. Rather than have our politics resemble two kids in the back seat on a long trip, we could be an example of how a republic could be run. And lastly, and this cannot be overstated, if we were to do this we would never again have a Bush or a Clinton in the White House again.