Sunday, March 27, 2016

Speak Truth To Power

Speak truth to power. Speak the truth and you will win, no matter how powerful the opposition. For truth IS the ultimate power. That is why others wish to silence you.

Those who seek power, as they always have been, are ultimately without a truth of their own. They erect straw men, false representations of the truth, in order to hold on to their illusions of being in charge. Their arguments are empty rhetoric combined with threats. They seek to confuse the issues but truth is a knife that cuts through such arguments.

Speak truth bravely because those who would wish to rule want you to fear. But truth has nothing to fear, no reason to run or hide. When you are afraid seek comfort in the truth. Do not attempt to utter any truth that makes you fearful, for that is not the truth. When you have the truth the truth will have you. It will remove the fear that keeps you timid. It will insist on being shared with others, so much so that it will overcome whatever fear holds it back.

The truth is not a weapon to be used against others, it is a gift to be shared. Truth is a spark that resides in all people’s hearts, and the sight of it in one will alight the bravery of all. And when the truth is shared, then fear will vanish.

Words change worlds. Think of all the money that is spent on advertisement, all the money that is put towards changing your opinion. People want to shape your opinions so that you will see through their eyes rather than your own. They want you to doubt yourself so that you will trust them. Never trust a stranger—someone who wants to lead you—more than you trust yourself. And if someone asks that of you it is a good indication they are not trustworthy.

We need to keep things on a human level, need our sense of smell to be as much a part of the equation as numbers on a spreadsheet. Factory farms would not pass the smell test, and yet dollars and cents allow them to exist. Abstract reasoning rationalizes away what is so obvious to those who experience it. We need human values, not government values or corporate values. Once we belong to a corporation or a nation we are no longer fully human.

Thou shall not kill is a human value, but corporations and governments find ways around this. They come up with compelling arguments for why we as a group must do what we as individuals never would.

Be a human. Be yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to be anything different. And then look around at others and realize they are humans too. Realize they have love and hope and all the good things that reside in you, and if they act otherwise, it is only because religion, politics, or some other propaganda machine has made them behave in such a manner. But they are still human beings underneath all the sick ideas that have been pumped into their heads. We can reach them, make them loving caring people, if we do not surrender to the ideas of hatred and division ourselves.

Remember, truth is merely good news we cannot wait to share. It is a gift that we are fortunate enough to be able to impart. But it would be vain of us to believe that we own it so completely as to be able to determine how others receive it. We must give it away, not demanding anything in return. We must share it, realizing our supply only grows greater when we do so. It is a precious gift, too precious to dilute it with fear or expectation. Such things are poison to those who receive it, and who could be expected to show gratitude for such a gift? It is only the gift freely given that can ever be expected to be freely received. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In Between The Tick And The Tock

“There is no unstoppable force but time, no impenetrable object except that which separates us from the past”

I could be happy but for the ticking of the infernal clock which intrudes upon my silence, signaling the end of all things. Why must I leave, why can’t I stay here? I could be happy here, although I long for what once was. I would be willing to forsake the past if only you would let me stay where I am.

Once I was unaware of the sound, once I could tune it out. Once the gaps in between the tick and the tock were large enough to rest within, lose myself. Now a world once full of “someday maybe” and "one more time" is being replaced with “never again”.

Time is even more fearsome than death, for death can occasionally be cheated. Time can never be cheated. It is a vast machine that never breaks down, never misses a beat. It kills and then kills again. It brings death and then leaves the living no time to mourn. Blessed is the dumb animal that awakens each morning to a new day, unaware that it is being hunted, stalked. It is senseless of what time has taken from it, sees each new day as no different from the rest. Even as death approaches the animal perceives it as just another sleep.

Time sits at my table, unbidden, as I eat. It chews casually, cuts each bite into tiny portions. I can hear the cursed sound of its knife and fork hitting the plate at steady intervals as it cuts into the meat, the sound driving me mad. It eats, slowly, methodically. And in eating it robs from everyone else at the table, not allowing anyone else to eat their fill of any course. It steals from my plate before I can finish or become sated, clears the dishes even as it continues to chew away. It treats the dishes carelessly, breaking many. Sets that belonged together are no longer whole. Heirlooms passed down from generations are slowly stripped of their value.

And still it eats.  It eats and it eats and it never rises from the table, never finishes, consumes all.

It slips into my bed at night once I have closed my eyes, so that every time I open them I see it staring at me. It lies there quietly but it never sleeps, just stares at me like a vulture patiently waiting. And in the morning it shrieks at me until I awaken, proud to know it has ripped one more day from my grasp.

It toys with us when we are children. The gaps between each second were once so large that the waiting for the next seemed unbearable. Sometimes it seemed not to move at all. In the distance between the tick and the tock were vast fields of play, large enough to hold the sum of all the days now allotted to me.

And as a youth I spent such moments like a wastrel, though, to be fair, there was no way I could have saved them. Now the gap between the swinging of the pendulum has shrunk, or I have grown too large, or slow. Now I cannot seem to fit into any of them, where once they were so wide apart I could string up a hammock between them and rest in their shade.

Once they were of no consequence, like flies that buzzed about me as I went from task to task. Now they sting like wasps. Now I walk through life, acutely aware that one of them shall be my end, each a bullet randomly fired until the one comes with my name on it. For time never ends, but every timer has its final moment.

And still I hear the horrible rhythm, calm and patient, deadly and indifferent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Darwin, Capitalism, and the Rise of the Economic Stinkbug

Here you see a man with enough money to hunt endangered animals on other continents. This man assuredly views himself as a lion in the economic sphere, which only goes to show what a perversion of nature our economy has become. If this is what we regard as an example of human nature at its peak, then humanity shall swiftly pass from the face of the earth, and justly so. Evolution will not long permit such an aberration.

The laws of the market determine different winners than the laws of nature. And what happens when a man lives according to laws contrary to nature’s laws? He becomes unnatural. Inferior men are thrust into positions of power they themselves know they do not deserve. Unlike a natural man, an unnatural man senses he is a fraud and feels always on the brink of being discovered. Like a wounded animal hiding its defect, he becomes defensive, more prone to lash out lest anyone discover the hidden flaw. He acquires more and more as a way to convince himself and others that he is as great as he feels he needs to be. He becomes cruel, indifferent to the pain of others. The natural man will kill in order to sustain himself and his family. The unnatural man kills because he comes to enjoy it, or because he no longer accepts that he himself has any role to play in the death of others. He has re-written the natural rules, the universe is his to define. It is the law of the market that speaks, and morality has no part in it. The market dictates that you take whatever you can, whether you need it or not.

A lot of people say that capitalism is simply taking the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, and applying it to the world of finance. That is not true. Capitalism uses one principal of the jungle, yes, the ruthlessness, but it removes tooth and claw and brute strength from the equation. It substitutes instead the attributes of the worm and the mole, the gnat and the mosquito.

Jonathon Swift once said: “If you ever find an intelligent good looking aristocrat it’s probably the coachman’s son.” The best offspring of the capitalist class are spawned in torrid affairs but it is not the bastard offspring that get the benefit of the wealth but the lesser ones that are hatched in a financially constructed household. To them are the nests feathered with hundred dollar bills while the hardiest of the breed are lucky to get a college education. Thus the wealth of a capitalist society, like that of the royalty of days past, is inevitably concentrated in the hands of the mediocre inbreds.

But money does a good job disguising bad genes. Acne medicines, plastic surgery, liposuction, well-tailored suits all go towards making an inferior product look appetizing, like a well-waxed apple. And a Harvard degree, made possible only because your father went there and could afford to send you, is more important than intelligence. Just look how smart the Scarecrow seemed once he got his diploma.

What physical strength is necessary for the capitalist? None. Intelligence? Only a rudimentary amount. Too much is counter-productive. A mind interested in maximizing profit should work only on the economic level. To them existence is only comprehended in the economic sphere. All of mankind’s great ideas are lost to the man of money.

His eyesight need only be good enough to see the bottom line, his hearing need only be able to hear the cash register ring.

His attributes are no doubt refined, but like the whippet or the aardvark, are useful only in limited applications. The intelligence of the capitalist can best be witnessed in the likes of Donald Trump, an idiot-savant who nonetheless is able to succeed extraordinarily well with what few talents he possesses. You only need enough intelligence to learn a sucker’s game, like three card monty, and then play it over and over again. Too much intelligence and you would soon be bored with the game.

Most of all, learn to serve your master, whether he be your boss, you prospective client, the masses, whoever has cash they’re willing to part with. Identify the teat with the most milk and do what ever it takes to get it flowing.

The traits of the capitalist are these:
Ability to hide your sociopathic traits
To a lesser degree, work ethic

And there you have it, the traits of the 1/10 of 1% These are not traits of a lion, but those of an ant or chihuahua. Persistence wins over strength, intelligence, or worth to one’s fellow creatures. To pass on these genes is to pass on traits unhelpful to the species as a whole, not to mention the planet. Too much a love of money in ones genetics is as harmful to oneself as a predisposition for alcohol, and much more harmful to others. The worst harm a drunk has ever caused that I can think of is the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which while awful, pales next to what the oil industrialists are doing overall.

Think about it. Those who would never waste the time nor money on an art degree are the very same ones who own the world’s greatest art. It hangs on walls of rooms seldom visited. And when looked at, it is not appreciated as art, but is there rather as a trophy, next to the head of a lion they shot while on vacation. This is not natural, it is a perversion of nature that needs to be rectified. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bonus Material: Scraps From The Cutting Room Floor (Part 2)

Once again I give you snippets I had intended for inclusion in one of my novels that ended up never finding a home. I think the words are worth reading, they just didn’t go with the décor, so to speak:

Much of our intelligence lies outside of ourselves. Much of what guides us is external wisdom. We intuit it, become attuned to it. We allow it, unconsciously, to guide us. Were we conscious of it, we would reject it as irrational.

To be a part of the whole is to be yourself. Any compromise is to fit into something that is less than the whole.

By the time you’ve heard of a new scientific theory it has probably already had practical applications developed by the military and the propaganda machine.

There are scientific principles that dictate the rise and fall of paradigms, tipping points that overcome civilizations.

The moment of the leap, between the trenches in which we do most of our living, is the epitome of freedom and fear, the edge of insanity.

God created millions of stars to awe us, but we watch big screen TVs instead.

We must deny the opinions of the past or we could not stand what we have become.

The pain of existence is the pain of a piece of a puzzle that doesn’t know where it fits.

The group mind pushes on regardless of the individuals that compose it.

They take the genius of the mind and use it to sell toilette paper, just as they take rhino horns to sell as aphrodisiacs.

At the root of it all is small little men who want to be bigger. So they play with powers beyond their understanding as if they were mere toys.

“A few individuals can swing a herd.”
“Do we have the right to do that?”
“It is already being done, and not by people who have the herd’s best interests in mind.”

Even as they witnessed this the view began to fade. The knowledge faded from her consciousness, but she knew it still resided in the shared subconscious of humanity.

People seek to amuse themselves with distractions their whole life, spinning wheels so they never have to venture beyond the box they were born in, never have to be more than an animal.

For a thinker, discovering a new paradigm is like a miner discovering a vein.

The only energy is life, and the misdirection of it is the only power evil has.

We are defined by fear. Fear limits us, gives us boundaries. The less we are limited by fear, the greater we become, the less we are defined. The ALL is limitless.

Where is God when there is no mystery left?

People have sought to cover over the things they cannot understand, in the same manner that they buried the wilderness under concrete, sought to explain away their primal fears.

Lastly, here are some attempts at song lyrics from The Amazing Morse. I originally was intending to use the lyrics from George Harrison’s Beware of Darkness, but when I decided to self-publish rather than look for a publisher, I didn’t want to deal with copyright issues. For a time I did a mad scramble, trying to get the permission for lyrics from several different less well-known groups and while I waited I attempted to make some up on my own. I was fortunate enough to get the permission of Neil Morse and Radiant Records to use the lyrics of Duel With The Devil from Transatlantic, so I didn’t have to work with any of these.

In the dark I see
Lies my destiny
In a cage lies my freedom.

I’d welcome the darkness
To obscure the truth
Of adulthood’s vision
Eclipsing youth.

Even the darkness is better
Than what it hides.
Even a prison is better
Than what’s outside.
But there’s no protection
From within.

Once again, thank you Neil Morse for not making me have to go with any of those.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Individuality Or Insanity?

“Genius must ever border on madness. It must see things as no one else does, must come from a viewpoint different than the world’s. Both must separate themselves from the world, to believe that what others accept as obvious is wrong, to confidently disagree with the commonly held beliefs. Both are a step away from being thought the other, sometimes depending on little strokes of luck.”

If you talk to yourself and nobody is there does it mean you’re crazy? Perhaps not, but if you write day after day and nobody reads what you have written, it’s only natural to question your sanity.

I mean, at some point someone is going to catch on to what you’re doing, and if you’re halfway decent at it you’re going to attract an audience eventually. Right? Well no, not if you’re insane. Not if you’re deluding yourself so badly that you don’t realize that what you write is completely unappealing to the ordinary reader.

It’s hard being out there completely on your own, hard knocking on doors day after day without ever managing to get your foot in any of them. The further you go the more you have to choose between either believing further in what it is you’re doing or beginning to believe that you are losing it. In other words, you eventually have to believe you’re either a genius or a madman. And in that position, you’ll likely vacillate between the two from one day to the next.

I read a quote once from a man in a mental institution that read something like this: “They told me I was crazy and I told them no, they were the ones who were crazy. But they outvoted me.” It’s hard being on the edge, hard being so distant from what people consider normal. Madmen and geniuses are similar in that they believe themselves right and the greater part of society to be wrong. Sometimes I think the difference between normal society and those who are considered insane or genius is that normal people prefer to conform to the accepted way of thinking because they are afraid to be alone, to be thought different. It is a choice we make. It takes courage to look beyond the status quo. It takes faith both in yourself and the greater world at large to believe you can wander so far from the safety of the herd and not fall off the edge of the world or be eaten by whatever lurks in the darkness.

It’s even harder when you’re teetering on the edge to try to encourage others to your point of view. The mainstream does not like to leave their position of comfort. They do not want to leave home even if the house is on fire. The multitude, though we find it unpleasant to admit, like a strong leader. How else does one explain a Donald Trump, Adolph Hitler, or Jim Jones? People like someone to tell them what to do so that they won’t have to choose for themselves, won’t have to be responsible for their own lives.

I suppose a madman is not afraid to assume that type of leadership position. Perhaps it speaks for my sanity that I have no desire to rule others or convince them through inordinate confidence that I have the truth on my side. I want people to think for themselves, choose the best options for them based on the evidence at hand. But perhaps that is only a subtler form of persuasion, a passive-aggressive sort of means of coercion.

Perhaps commitment is the best path to take. Anyone working day after day on something, even if he IS crazy, will eventually draw the attention of others. People like oddities, people appreciate dedication and commitment. It takes patience, and confidence, or at least conviction, to walk that road. It is a long lonely road, and yet there is an appeal to it. It appeals to me precisely because I choose it, and I choose it because it has not been laid out by others. It is a trail I blaze, though where it leads I do not know.

And while I think I’m going where no one else has gone before I know that is not true. I have been influenced by a thousand different people, and their pursuit leads me on, perhaps to go just a shade further than they were able to. And if I can happen to illuminate a further section for others, well perhaps that is not genius but for me it would be enough.

And if that sounds crazy to others, so be it.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Shell Shock Sample

This is darker than the last sample I shared, but similar. I've had a productive week of writing and am eager to share a little of what I've accomplished. All you really need to now is that Emily plays piano for the silent movies in 1917:

The images appeared on the screen, preparation for a major offensive. It was not the United States at war, not yet. Then the bombing began, a saturation of cannon fire in order to soften the enemy’s resistance. It was rather more graphic than Doug would have imagined.

He had seen people killed before. He had seen horrors equal to battle, but not on this scale. And never before had he sat and watched helplessly.

He heard in the music that the film was affecting Emily as well. Each bomb that fell onscreen was accompanied by chords hammered upon lower notes. It was amazing what she was able to add to the score, the ability she had to bring the horror of war to senses beyond his sight. She played with such strength he could actually feel the resonance from the soundboard. It was Chopin again, but she was adapting it to what she saw onscreen, stretching it beyond anything the composer intended.

Somewhere in the rhythm was a beating heart, the frantic heart of a soldier at the edge of panic. The terror of the combatants was translated through mere notes, and Doug knew that she must be surrendering herself to the full range of emotion in order for her to be playing what she was. There was no holding back, but he wished that she did. He wanted to spare her the pain, as well as himself.

He had to look away from the screen for a moment, had to turn away from the tragedy of war. He hoped Emily would too, but her playing merely increased its intensity. He could see in his mind’s eye the violence that was occurring onscreen, each note a detail of destruction and death.

It frightened him, her capacity to tell a tale so dark. It was as if the violence was playing her, using her to spread beyond the celluloid into the small little theater.

The violence on the screen ended and the music became somber. The wounded of both sides were shown, as if the camera could not distinguish which camp the wounded soldiers belonged to. A temporary lull in fighting allowed both sides to clear the dead from the battlefield.

All of what Doug saw was accompanied by music so subtle he hardly identified it as such. Instead, it was a mood, a depression that fell upon him. It was the wails of children who would never see their fathers, the mourning of mothers who had given birth to soldiers destined to die on foreign soil. Again he would have turned away but he lacked the volition to do so. There was so much destruction and yet Doug knew they would run out of film before they ever ran out of carnage to record. The lack of color kept from him the full sensory impression of the blood that was everywhere, but no color was required to see the emptiness in the stares of men who had seen too much.

Then he thought of Emily again. It was in the music, there was no denying it. She too must be experiencing the full horror of it, must be taking upon herself all of what the soldiers were feeling in order to translate it so fully in the music. It was no longer Chopin at all, now, it was emotion ripped from her guts and drawn with all the skill and feeling within her.

At length the music drifted to silence as cameras panned across forests blasted into ruin by endless missiles, soldiers resting from the battle but never really recovering. The silence spoke as eloquently as the music: there was nothing more to say.

From the mass devastation the camera turned to the face of a single soldier, a face that reflected everything the movie had shown. He appeared uninjured but his eyes… His eyes betrayed a vacancy as if he was staring at something in the distance that simply wasn’t there. Somehow the man’s face seemed to melt away so that all Doug saw was the blackness in the soldier’s eyes. Whatever he saw was not what was in front of him. The eyes seemed to reflect an endless emptiness inside, as if all that had made him human had fled from what he had been forced to experience. The silence matched the emptiness.

Everything on the screen faded from Doug’s sight, insignificant compared to the depths of the soldier’s eyes. And then a second set of eyes caught his attention, as if he was seeing double. But the eyes he saw seemed to come towards him as if they were emerging from the flat screen.

Slowly Doug realized who the eyes belonged to, saw the face that framed them. It was Emily, standing up in front of the screen. The image on the screen moved from the soldier but the dead eyes remained, Emily’s eyes, that stared at something no one else would be able to see. Images moved about the screen, scenes of death and destruction, but somehow they were not as vivid as what those eyes expressed. Gone was the woman he loved, drowned in a sea of organized violence that resulted in random death. For all the precision that went into the making of armaments, where they landed and what they destroyed was up to chance. And bombs that fall in Europe can yet destroy a heart that thinks it is safe an ocean away.

From her mouth came a voice that was not hers but the voice of war, of mindless, purposeless death.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Love In The Time Of The First World War

My first attempt at writing of love. The year is 1917, and silent movies were accompanied by live musicians, in this case a pianist.

Soon houses thinned into farmland and wilderness. Doug turned around, desiring the company and the light the town provided. How long he walked he did not know, not conscious of where he was going but merely trying to stay on whatever road seemed most well-travelled. Here and there were people headed towards their destinations, but Doug did not know what they were. Perhaps they were on their way to visit family and friends, on their way to houses that provided comfort and camaraderie to those who knew the owners.

For the first time in recent memory, Doug felt alone. Whatever the downsides of a lumber camp, there existed within it a certain comradeship. Interdependence required as much. And before that, even though alone, there were other words more apt to describe what he had been feeling. Fear, frustration, despair, but not a longing for human companionship. Perhaps his time in the woods had achieved the desired aim—he was thinking and feeling normal human thoughts and emotions again. Even the events of the last few months had not been able to prevent the healing that had taken place. Whatever might be wrong with the outside world, it did not have to leave its mark on his soul. He was beginning to feel whole again, and feeling whole, he realized that man was not meant to spend all his time alone.

Music drifted into his mind that seemed to accompany his thoughts. Elegant, beautiful music that stirred in him subtle and wonderful emotions. Anonymous longings sprang up in him like long-dormant flora, feelings universal and timeless. Another soul was touching his, telling him of deep mysteries beyond the understanding of man.

Music. It was a language that spoke of things over which words had no power.

Chopin! Tears came to his eyes and he did not know why. It was beauty, beautiful music beautifully played.
He did not realize it but he began to walk towards the source of the music. It was only a piano, but each note reverberated in him. It was another thing entirely than the music he had been used to of late, a fiddle played by oversized hands accompanied by a concertina and doggerel verses.

And just as suddenly the music changed. It was as if at once a chase began, and if to accompany it came a hunting song or a madcap dance. Looking up to the source of the sound he saw a rather large building and upon it read the sign for a moving picture show. He had come upon a theater, albeit a very humble one. A woman sat at a window, distractedly. The show had apparently already started, but Doug was able to get her attention and purchase a ticket. He entered into a small dark room with perhaps no more than fifty chairs arranged in front of a silver screen no more than ten feet across. And upon it played some drama concocted by one of the major studios. But while in other circumstances he might have been interested in the movie, it was the piano that called to him. It was too dark to see the people inside the theater as more than shadows, but he could see the movement of the pianist. It appeared to him a ballet dance, so fluid and lovely was the body as it swayed to the notes. She was positioned to the right of the screen, facing it so that she could respond musically to what was being shown. Every act and emotion upon the screen was played out more convincingly in the movements she made, more so in the music itself.

Doug could not even recall the movie he was watching, only that it was the most moving he had ever seen. Not the story itself nor the actors but the accompaniment. It lifted everything, from the simplest movement to the look of longing on the starlet’s face. Music infused the story, making it sublime.

Sometimes as the light on the screen was brightest, he could make out her fingers touching down gracefully upon the keys and it appeared to him in his enchantment they moved like tiny faeries in an intricate dance.
He did not see her face and yet he was convinced he loved her. Her grace and gentle soul, the playfulness that let drop hints of her depths like ripples on a pond. He was content to sit in the dark, alone with the music she played.

It was over far too soon. The film ended and the lights came on and-lo and behold! She was beautiful. Beautiful as the music she played, lovelier far than the starlet that had been on the screen. Long brown hair pulled back into a pony tail, with here and there a strand escaping like non-conformists. Her entire person seemed to radiate grace, as though you could not feel uncomfortable in her presence.

And yet Doug felt extremely uncomfortable at the moment. He wished to approach her, make her aware of his existence, and yet knew no way of doing so. He was a stranger in a small community and knew such forwardness would be quite unacceptable. He knew of nothing he could do to catch her eye. Already she was surrounded by others from the audience. And yet Doug could not help noticing there was no one who seemed to be either suitor or husband.

She was young, younger than Doug by several years, but seemed in possession of a maturity beyond her age. His eyes slid from her face as she happened to glance in his direction and in that moment he noticed no ring on those fingers that had danced so eloquently on the ivory keys.

She left amid a group of people, family he couldn’t help thinking, judging by a similar look among a few of them. Doug too exited into the darkness, alone but with thoughts of another, one whose name he did not even know. And all the events of the last few months receded in his memory, and all the concerns of the last few years slipped away. He had sought to flee what had been haunting him, the inescapable truths of a world too large for him, and at last he knew what he had been seeking.

Love was the answer. Love was the cure for all the sickness and ugliness in the world. The revelation came not as a thought but as an emotional welling up within him, like the passionate passages of a nocturne.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Understanding My Novels

Thoughts I had at work today regarding the series of novels that include The Amazing Morse Series and Seven Stones, as well as novels yet to be finished:

I am constructing the paradigm through which humanity needs to look if it wishes to survive.
How’s that for a bold statement? Give a few moments before you judge. I think my books best make the case but I’ll try to summarize for you. It's not so much of a perfect summary as thoughts upon the matter.

The Amazing Morse was a story of an individual overcoming the restraints one is capable of placing upon himself. Your worldview can act as a straightjacket upon you, restricting your ability to move in the directions you wish to go.

Perchance To Dream, my second novel, involves the individual overcoming the restraints society places upon him. In the end, it shows that the disbelief of a single individual in a shared vision, can save the whole.

The Association deals with the inevitable rise and fall of societies due to their imperfect conception of reality. In it, it is stated that in the fall of a dominant paradigm, people and groups of people constrict, and fear and defensiveness take the place of trust and interdependence. The tragic result is always violence, war. Man can no longer survive war.

War. It is the symbol of all that is wrong with the human race as well as the one great human evil that we must evolve from if we wish to survive an age of atom bombs and ICBMs. I go back in time 100 years to do an earlier series which will tie into my Amazing Morse series, beginning with Seven Stones. I decided that seeing the foibles of the present age might prove too difficult for some, and so I went to another era in order to critique it. That we do not see the foolishness of our own era and find it so easy  to mock whatever is different about another era is a theme that runs through The Amazing Morse Series.

The year is 1913, shortly before the start of WWI. I wanted to show the senselessness of war and this one truly looks pointless in retrospect. At the beginning of the 20st Century, Mankind had emerged from primitive means of production, had at hand the tools necessary to build whatever society he wished to build, and yet morally and emotionally had not been able to elevate from the fear of others and the desire to protect himself through violence. The very science he believed could free him from his past had built new and unimaginably cruel weapons to kill him. The seven stones in question are representative of the seven continents. Divided, each stone is a strength but one that does not work with the others. Individually, power is destructive. It is only the unity of the seven stones that can achieve the understanding mankind requires.

The era immediately preceding World War 1 was also a beginning of new perspectives. In art, different perspectives were being represented in a single painting. Albert Einstein was postulating ideas that were tearing down our conception of the universe. Constants were being shown to be relative. The very world we lived in, or at least our understanding of it, was beginning to break down. We needed to find new ways of thinking about the world, not just simply more answers to plug into our existing paradigms.
The Seven Stones trilogy will end with an understanding of what has gone before and a laying of a basis for understanding that will spread throughout the 3 Amazing Morse books as well as the not yet written The Beyond Show  trilogy. It is the shattering of humanity’s mindset and the rise of a new, more comprehensive one. It is the realization of our interconnectedness and the rejection of violence as a means of change.

The Amazing Morse: To liberate oneself before being able to liberate the world, or at least one is able to liberate the world only so much as one is self-liberated.
Perchance to Dream: The doubt of an individual can save the whole. It only takes one person to put a crack in a paradigm held by the group, allow cracks to show in it.
The Association: The idea of a society coming to grips with the collapse of an imperfect understanding is not resolved in the action of the novel, but the roots of what will happen in novels to come are revealed.

Magic is my description for the ability to see unimpeded by the intellect (i.e. whatever paradigms we have acquired), to see through the eyes of a child. Because life is truly magical when we are young, although occasionally very frightening. This is not to say our vision should not be assisted by the intellect, the paradigms we have imagined, merely that we should not mistake the finger that points at the moon for the moon itself. We should never mistake the model for the real.

Perception versus reality, that is the source of all struggle. The more we mistake the finger for the moon the intellectual construct for what it represents, the more religion and philosophy divides rather unites us. Two differing vantage points are not reasons to quarrel but opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding.

In denying another person’s perception of God we are limiting our own understanding of God, and in a very real sense denying God. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bonus Material: Scraps From The Cutting Room Floor

Like the final edit of a movie, a lot of what is recorded in the making of a novel never sees the light of day. In looking over discarded ideas, I’ve found a lot of bits and pieces that help describe ideas I think are very important to grasp. So I’m sharing with you some rough, unfinished ideas that I feel contain a kernel of insight. Take a look, if you dare.

“Do you wish to be in charge of your own life or do you wish to bow to an anonymous authority, the passionless god that is science? Do you wish to live in a breathing universe or a sterile, scientific one?”
“You don’t get to choose.”
“Don’t you?”

They scoff at me, those who have never seen what I have seen and yet judge. They mock me when I say the Northern Lights portend something. But if you were to see them, you would say, “how could they not?”

Man’s rational mind can create things too powerful for his irrational mind to control. And visa versa.

Groups, governments, and corporations take on interests of their own, become entities.

Do you know what you call a person who thinks his town has the best food, his neighborhood the best people, his government the fairest laws? Happy.
We’re all just human beings slogging along, ingesting information the way a worm ingests food. But it all means nothing.

When a psychiatric patient is on the verge of discovery, that discovery is surrounded by barriers of fear. Such is the state of mankind now, we are on the brink of a profound discovery, but are afraid to take that final step. Our demons arise to stop it from occurring.

Some people live in a mansion and yet never seem to leave the room they were born in.

Look about you, this is nature, not science. Science is man’s interpretation of nature. When you worship science, you worship man’s creation. Science is the act of destroying the awesome with explanations.

Primitives thought misfortune was the wrath of gods. Does science provide more comforting answers? Are we not still left desiring justice? Is randomness a satisfactory answer?

You chase science as though you could catch it. But you are too slow, too human.

You don’t understand how conspiracies work. It is not a massive collusion, it is just group think kicking in. We think our congressmen are individuals, but they are people with a similar desire who have spent their lives making themselves cogs to fit the machine. Our mistake is believing our leaders to be rugged individuals when in fact they have ridden the prevailing winds to get where they are.

Pigeons can differentiate between Monet and Picasso, although they are not cognizant of it. We are capable of many things, too, that we are unaware of.

We adapt to our immediate environment rather than the whole.

The intellect is an evolving 6th sense, one that is not yet fully developed. If you are not fully aware of what it is you are sensing, you fear it, the way a deaf man would fear hearing sound for the first time.

It’s about power. To shape the world is to own the world. To shape your mind is to own yourself.

The collective must break down the small world, the idols, in order to see the divine. This is the mission of our age, to demolish the existing paradigm in order to see the larger one behind it. It is God or another façade? Perhaps it is just a deeper understanding, a clearer perception of God.

We have evolved to be collectively smart, yet we foolishly cling to the belief that our individual intelligence can help us through the universe we inhabit.

Rest In Peace, George Martin

The passing of George Martin is a sad day for Beatles fans, doubly so for those of us fortunate enough to know of the band Stackridge. It's hard to overestimate his influence on music and simply impossible to overestimate his influence on my own life. The music he helped The Beatles create in the studio are part of my earliest memories and yet are still capable of surprising and delighting me after all these years.

I have to think that he more than perhaps anyone was responsible for transforming Rock and Roll from pop musical for teenagers into an art form that was capable of exploring the depth of human experience. Albums, once merely a collection of songs in the same way a photo album contained a collection of photos, became an experience unto itself. The barriers between one song and the next became not so distinct, and from the separate pieces was woven something more than the some of its parts. From the work of George Martin emerged the idea of the concept album.

Imagine if you will some of your favorite Beatles songs produced by someone other than George Martin. Imagine In My Life without the piano solo, sped up and sounding like a harpsichord. Imagine Strawberry Fields had it all been recorded from one instead of two different takes. If it weren't for George Martin, I could hardly imagine the album covers of Revolver and Sgt. Peppers looking the way they did, as they were obviously reflective of the style Martin helped to create.

Listen to the track below and judge for yourself the stamp that George Martin put upon Rock music. And beyond the work he did on this particular track, his influence extended to an entire generation of musicians that helped push music's boundaries beyond perhaps what any other has done before or since.

As preposterous as this statement may appear, I don't think I can imagine my life without the influence of George Martin nor would I want to. The music of The Beatles and what followed in their wake has been the soundtrack of my life. But even more than that, my sense of humor, tastes in the visual arts, philosophy and appreciation for Eastern Religions have all come from an era that George Martin was instrumental in bringing about. Thank you for having been such a huge part of my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Random Thoughts (Part 19)

If only money was as capable of caring about people as much as people care about money.

Do not strip away life’s little illusions, for without them life is merely death, flowers merely dirt. And then we are unafraid to die but afraid to live. For belief is life, all else is nothing.
Genius must ever border on madness. It must see things as no one else does, must come from a viewpoint different than the world’s. Both must separate themselves from the world, to believe that what others accept as obvious is wrong, to confidently disagree with the commonly held beliefs. Both are a step away from being thought the other, sometimes depending on little strokes of luck.

How many psychologists, rather than focusing on how to raise healthy children, study instead how many times a child has to pester his parents before they take him to McDonald’s?

Genius doesn’t have to be right, it just has to be honest.

It takes no great wisdom to see the problems that lie ahead for an addict if he follows his addiction. Similarly, it is not difficult to diagnose the illness, much harder to treat it. So too there is no great skill in the role of the prophet who sees a society heading in the wrong direction. The trick is in convincing a society to change its course.

How many more guns will be required before we achieve world peace?

There are eras when all you want to do is keep up on the newest thing, since new ideas and perspectives are being floated about at every instant. Then there are eras when you are best to retreat into the past, where the genius that once existed will always be available. From those who spend their time in the past shall come the vibrant eras of tomorrow.

The saddest thing about life is that we can see it but never really taste it. It is there, it is real, we know it. And yet we can never get closer than yearning, for our itch is never fully scratched.

I don’t want us to be the species that ruins it for the rest. What we do not consume we poison. Sometimes we do both. Perhaps that is how we shall end, by consuming the poisons we have created.

Build on questions, do not build on answers. Answers are the death of thought.

When trying to understand why events worked out the way they did, never overlook random chance and stupidity as contributing factors.

If you are constantly criticizing the “other side” for their opinions without actually putting forth positive alternatives, don’t pretend you are not the problem.

Most people respond better to simple truths repeated often rather than extended stories that more fully encompass what is. They prefer rhythm to melody.

Books are like batteries for ideas. They can be stored away for ages, only to supply a spark to someone long after.

A thousand cultures used to have each their own stories, all based upon their experiences with nature. Now we have one story, based on marketing.

Notable moments of decline: when people began to express themselves through their choice of underwear.

We must deny the past’s opinions or we would not be able to tolerate what we have become.

Most people are not aware of their motivations, though they suffer from the illusion that they do.

The problem is a lot of people get paid a lot of money to tell lies, and no one is paid to speak the truth.

Damn right the world has a lot of problems, and I can tell you two of the main causes for them: those who think they have all the answers for them, and those who think there’s nothing they can do about them.

If patriotism is a scoundrel’s last refuge, then the concept of freedom is his first sales pitch.
We do not become bitter because we lose. We lose when we become bitter.

There are two problems with growing old: the first is all the things you have loved and thought would be around forever changing, the other is all the things you hated and couldn’t wait to see pass stick around.

I am enough of a conservative that when I walk through a crosswalk I don’t leave my safety in the hands of others, but I am enough of a liberal to appreciate the crosswalk being there.

You don’t need a gun to be brave nor do you need to engage in violence to show courage.

You have the right to do things you shouldn’t. Don’t.

A kiss was once more of a commitment to marriage than a child is nowadays.

If we do not remember our own sins while noticing the sins of others, we are merely adding to our own pile.

Monday, March 7, 2016

TV's Children

Does capitalism have your children’s best interests at heart? Do you ever feel the need to protect them from what is shown on corporate-owned television, to restrict their young eyes not only from the programming itself but from the commercials?

Do you think the foods that are little more than sugar and processed flour are a result of anything other than the capitalist’s desire to prey on the young and the helpless, or do you actually think it is the fault of parents that children are facing an epidemic of obesity and diabetes?

I watched another of those video clips the other day about college students who couldn’t tell you who won the Civil War and yet could name who Brad Pitt was married to and what show Snookie was on. Like everyone else I was shockingly disappointed by the results and yet I shouldn’t have been surprised.

You see, a lot of people in their disgust blame the youth of today. They blame the education system, the government, the liberals, etc. But what those people are missing is the fact that they know what society teaches them. They are not ignorant, they have learned what society has told them is important. And what society tells them is that Snookie and the love lives of celebrities are important.

After all, we could have a different system if we wanted to. We could have media that actually teaches us something worth knowing. We could have a history channel that has programming about history, an arts and entertainment channel that has actual art and artists on it, or a music channel that deals with music. We could have whatever kind of media we want; it is a free country, we should decide.

But that’s not what we have. We are constantly being told that we live in the society we wanted, that our society is the result of our decisions. And yet the world is not what we want it to be. Why is that? Are we stupid? Assuredly we have our flaws, our weaknesses and are capable of being distracted by things not so important to us. Yes, we are imperfect, but that is not the whole story.

The fact is, our weaknesses are being played upon. There are those who work very hard and are paid very well to make sure we don’t focus on what is best for us but instead become distracted by that which is not vital to us. They are artists when it comes to playing upon our baser instincts, our sexual urges, our insecurities, and a myriad of other shortcomings. They manipulate us—there is no other term for it—into becoming pliable consumers willing to buy what they are selling.

And you cannot lay that at the feet of anyone other than the capitalists who own our media, who for the better part raise our children because they have taught us it is our duty to be at work rather than with them. We do our best to instill in them human values rather than corporate values but the television, the radio, and now a host of other media have far more of their time and attention than we ever will. We can try to keep them in a bubble, and some of us do, but they will not be able to avoid those others of their generation, the majority, that have been raised with values that are alien to the human race. Corporate values.

They cleverly tie cute cartoon creatures with sugary treats, designer labels, and violence. They hyper-sexualize adolescence and brand them when they are young so that by the time they are adults, they will not even see the cage that has built for them.

Aldous Huxley saw it clearly enough in 1931, put it all down for us to read in Brave New World. He saw the manipulation of young minds so that the adults they grew into would be incapable of thinking outside of established parameters. And you can bet that advertisers envisioned it too. Of course they did not see the damage it would cause, their narrow vision only saw the profit they could make from such a system. They pursued it the way any unthinking creature in an excited state pursues its prey. And they were very good at what they did.

So the next time you see people knowing nothing about their history and everything about the Kardashians, let it be known that our education system, the real one, the one that is fully funded, is doing its job capably.