Thursday, October 22, 2015

Random Thoughts Part 15

I've re-read these and still think they were thoughts worth thinking:

When you are at a loss for what to do, remember that the answer is to love, not hate, to have faith rather than fear. Always. Because love grows from love, hate from hate. Faith like fear radiates out into the world. Faith makes the world a safer place for us, though it does not always seem to be the case. Sometimes hate seems to be the safer course, but that is merely fear talking.

There are two ways people choose to look at humanity. The first is to subject humans to the worst possible conditions and respond to how they act by saying, “this is what humans are like beneath the veneer of civilization.” The second is to encourage people, forgive them when they have erred, and say “this is what we are capable of.”

You cannot effect positive change with negative thoughts and emotions.

Peaceful protest requires more courage than going to war. In war you can abandon yourself to primitive impulses, to the kill-or-be-killed mentality. The peaceful protester must face violence fully aware, must experience it with all the sensitivity civilization has imparted.

Once upon a time there was a law beyond the market, but no more. Once religion or love of king and country were foremost in a person’s mind, but now there is only profit.

The intellect is a boat which can take us to the very shores of understanding, but once there we must leave it behind in order to grasp true meaning.

To entertain a child is to open his eyes to a larger universe, to present new possibilities to him. But to entertain an adult is to distract him from that larger universe. An adult does not need to be entertained, he can truly experience life rather than have it explained.

We are too busy reacting to reflect. Leisure is our greatest treasure, and we have lost the ability to appreciate it.

You are not the man you were five years ago, you are the man he made.

A story is merely a vessel for something more important.

It is not whether you win or lose, it is the game you choose to play that matters most.

Never argue philosophy when facts are available—unless the facts are against you.

The longer one remains a fool, the harsher the lesson learned.

Technological progress will never compensate for our moral and spiritual shortcomings. In fact, in the final analysis, it will make matters even worse, will place powerful new tools in the hands of our lesser angels.

Life has not changed even slightly since the time it first appeared on the earth, merely the packaging, the bodies it wraps itself in.

Our greatest minds used to pursue beauty and truth, now they pursue marketing and amusement. There is no one looking out for us.

Perhaps big brother has not yet arrived, but we have left the door wide open for him, and set out the welcome mat.

The intellect does not enable one to experience the divine, but it can help spot the false prophet.

See it as it is, not how it fits into your life story. As you grow towards adulthood and begin to have an understanding of life, the pieces that do not fit the narrative you have written tend to fall to the wayside. So much we perceived in childhood is forgotten because it is inconvenient.

The more we are conscious of being observed the less we act according to our own motivations and act in reaction to those we believe are watching us. Who at work feels they are doing their best when they have the eyes of their supervisor on them? And when are we ever left to ourselves nowadays? When does someone have the opportunity to truly be an individual, the best person he can be? When do we write down our thoughts for ourselves rather than for an audience, when do we care more about what something means than how it is perceived?

We are caught between Eden and the Promised Land, believing there was once or ever will be a resting point.

No child believes he will look like his parents when he grows up. It is an idea too horrible for a young mind to contemplate.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How A New Novel Is Begun

I never would have dared share something like this before, but since I’m now on my fifth novel I’m comfortable enough with the process to know it’s going to work. It seems absurd on the face of it, to think that I take such crude, unrelated elements and weave them into a novel, but it’s the way it works for me. Some people couldn't imagine doing it on the fly and outline the entire story before they begin writing: such an approach is equally incomprehensible to me. For me, the story has to unfold itself, it has to grope its way from one location to the next. Sure, I’ll have my next destination somewhat in mind in order to guide me, but I always like to be surprised at how I get there and what direction it sparks me to head towards next. So here I am, throwing out a few things I have in my head which inspire me to write. And from them shall come another novel which I am confident I will be proud to say I wrote.

Opening Scene:
I have an image in my head of horses pulling a sled stacked with fallen trees up a big hill. Steam will be rising from their bodies as they exert themselves to the utmost. They are not sure why it is they must accomplish this task, but somehow the exertion seems to be what they were born to do. And so they labor and strive until at last the top is reached.
But as they reach the top they now realize that what once was a weight to be pulled is now a danger behind them. The weight of the sleigh is bearing down on them now with full force. They run madly to escape what is behind them, but in their madness they act individually and soon run into each other. One horse collapses, sending another and still another down, until the sled runs them down.
Our Main Character from the last novel, Seven Stones, will be witnessing the event. And to him he will see the world as it now is, a world that struggled to reach a higher summit only to see it all come crashing down upon them. It is 1917, and World War I is raging.
Doug Slattery is a draft dodger, avoiding the war by hiding in the woods of Northern Ontario. He has seen too much to view the fight as anything other than senseless. He has seen the promise of a better worlds slip away.
As a logger, he is part of the destruction of the natural habitat. So when odd things start happening in the region, he starts to think it is the result of the destruction he is a part of. Loggers go out in the woods but never come back. Their bodies are later found, horribly mangled. Is it some spirit of the woods out for revenge? Or is it some other form of butchery that is causing supernatural events? Gradually, Doug learns of an institution that is harboring veterans of the great war, shell-shocked wreckage from a devastation the likes of which the world has never known. The damage the war has done to them is still working its power through their war-ravaged minds. Doug will have to infiltrate the asylum disguised as a patient if he can hope to find the answers he will need to stop the horrors he has been witnessing. But the outside manifestations are but little compared to the madness within.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Random Thoughts Part 14

In making the decision to reflect rather than react I have come up with my daily dose of observations.

I don’t believe in destiny, but I do believe that those who do are capable of achieving things others would believe impossible.

Every moment of the day we are given the opportunity to think, to give birth to some new idea or perspective. How often when offered such an opportunity do we merely react?

It is better to have evidence without answers than to have answers without evidence.

Too much analysis always reveals imperfection. Any potential love interest will fall from angel to animal with enough scrutiny. Magic is killed by demanding too much proof.

Our primary motivator is not inspiration, a quest for happiness, morality, or a sense of purpose. It is habit that most determines our behavior.

I’d rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right.

Technology is becoming ever more marvelous, but what good does it do if it does not serve humanity?

What if the imbalance of the individual is necessary to the balance of society? What if making the individual “normal” through medication is making society as a whole abnormal?

Never trust those who talk philosophy when facts and science are readily available.

A country content to be directed by the free market will soon see Shakespeare and Plato replaced by the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo.

God is love, yes, but what if love is God? Does it require any less faith?

Those in the earnest pursuit of the truth are too busy in that pursuit to have time to refute every lie.

A rising tide lifts all boats, but it drowns those without one.

We live in a world we’ve created and yet do not understand.

I saw a starving child yesterday. The temptation was strong to help him, but I resisted. Instead, I told him to close his eyes and believe in the magic of the marketplace.

If you want to ensure that you have an accurate measurement, be sure to use more than one measuring device.

No society arises without religion and spirituality because you cannot use doubt as a base.

There is no such thing as a purely economic transaction. All transactions involve human beings with human considerations.

Truth is not the sort of thing you can draw a circle around and claim you have defined.

It is the easiest thing in the world to judge someone. It does not require understanding them, in fact judging them is an easy way of avoiding having to understand.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Random Thoughts Part 13

25 more ideas for blog posts waiting to be written. Or 25 concisely written epithets, your choice:

A nation run by bankers will never be out of debt.
A nation owned by weapons manufacturers will never know peace.
A nation that allows a small segment of its citizens to write the laws will never know justice.
And if these elements own the media, then we will never know the truth.

Knowledge is knowing.
Wisdom is knowing you do not know.

When we can no longer find anything to believe in, that is when it is up to us to become something to believe in.

Writing, as I suppose other forms of creative activity, is both hard work and the ultimate form of relaxation.

The rules of finance were written by rich people looking to get richer. That part about the “magic” of the market place was thrown in to make the workers feel better. You think they wrote the laws because they were selfless? You think it was to benefit you?

If you have a sufficient desire to do something you will not only find a rationalization for doing it, you will find a moral imperative for why it must be done.

Every man is a heretic to another. No two think exactly alike. What people mistake for exact same thought is in fact not thinking at all.

The problem with government is that it inevitably leads to a bureaucratic nightmare. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to spend the next eight hours on the phone with my insurance company.

There are always those who urge war and revolution as a way to rid the world of evil. If violence purged sin our world would be a Paradise.

We are not raising children to be free but to conform. When they are told rather than asked they are taught to obey rather than question. What kind of freedom can come from such teaching?

Most of the world’s problems begin when people decide that if some is good then more is better.

Imagine if all the discontent people felt was channeled towards changing our society instead of being quieted by prescription drugs.

The difference between a scientist and public relations expert is that a scientist does not answer when he is uncertain and a public relations expert is never uncertain.

There is nearly always an economic excuse for not doing the right thing.

The trouble with technology is that it is in the hands of people.

It’s not like there is anything new to say. We merely have to repeat the words of a play performed a thousand times before until we deliver the perfect performance.

Always try to see yourself in another person, even if to do so means you must see yourself as an idiot. It’s hard, but it’s never too far from the truth.

When yes and no are no longer sufficient answers, wisdom begins. Spirituality, too.

God is life, everything is alive, and love is the awareness of this.

How could a species smart enough to build atomic weapons be stupid enough to build atomic weapons?

Science is the process of disproving false gods. So is religion.

Reality is altered by belief just as it is maintained by disbelief.

The trick is to be tough and independent without becoming cruel and indifferent.

Our children’s minds are in the hands of corporations as firmly as German children’s minds were once in the hands of Nazis.

No one is so foolishly optimistic as they are when buying a lottery ticket or voting for a political candidate.