I know that over the years I've given a lot of people the idea that it was the failure of my marriage that caused my battle with depression. Truth is I was having problems long before that.
Looking back, I feel that it was because I had slipped through the bottleneck of the hourglass and my perspective changed from that of someone sitting atop the other grains of sand looking down and switched to someone looking up from the bottom. It is the existential fate of the human race that people who are observant of what it's going on around them, will inevitably reach the point in life where they, in spite of all their optimism, will start to not only view the glass as being half empty but to also began to question the thirst of person holding the glass.
I don't believe that my wife leaving me was the source of my problems, but rather it was the change in my perspective that has created most of the problems that have plagued me since.
The flooring fell out from beneath me and put me into a basement I didn't know even existed. That's the problem with thinking that a big pile of sand contained within a small hourglass will support your weight forever. I fell victim to one of Christ's most prescient warnings; not to build your house on foundations of sand.
The true problem was in my lack of a spiritual upbringing. I rejected the teachings of the Church fairly early in my life, or at least, in how they were being taught by people who no more knew what they were saying than I did. The thing was, I didn't replace them right away with anything of lasting value. Nietzsche said that if humans kill off God, we would quickly fill the void with mud, rocks, feathers, sticks, and money. In my case, the material world offered up the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, an ample supply of drugs, and a lot of suddenly sexually liberated females. Being young and foolish, and believing that these things were approved by most of my peers, I foolishly latched on to them in order to medicate wounds I wasn't even aware were causing me to bleed.
It's hard to rebuild a house from the basement up. You don't know if you need to roof or replace the flooring. I needed to go in search of new building materials, materials that would hold up while the ground shook all around me. I went to therapy for about a year, I read lots of books and I thought about shit all the damn time. Existentialist thought is like that, it is a fundamental search for meaning that no longer allows you to drink six beers and watch a football game to make it go away.
The first time you wake up in the morning having the existential debate over why you should bother getting out of bed, it will never, ever really leave you. You can put it in the closet for minute or two, shove it under the bed, place it on the backburner, or hang Christmas ornaments on it, but it's like that annoying friend/relative that you don't really want to talk to, but who texts you every ten minutes.
Another problem is that you can't escape noticing all of the machinations, twists and turns, and outright blathering of everyone around you trying to capture more than their fair share of moments of happiness where they don't have to think about life's inevitable outcome. You become something of a pariah in a tinfoil hat, someone many seek to avoid.
"Don't take my games away. Leave my movies alone; my music brings me great joy!" they scream in unison while their games become their passion, their movies turn to indoctrination, and their music can debases and but seldom ever uplifts. Their eyes plead, "Don't make me aware of all this; I don't need no self awareness; I get up in the morning because I love bacon and eggs and coffee." There's nothing wrong with bacon, eggs and coffee in the morning, all these things would serve very well if we have built solid foundations and a decent framework on which to construct our reality.
I've been searching for some substitute flooring for an awful long time, and everytime I turn around, life gives me something else to worry about. All I know is that I can't have the Big Bad Wolf blowing my shit over for the fucking third time. I urgently need to lay my hands on some brick and mortar.
This morning, I found a diamond in the coal mine though, a passage I read made of something far more substantial than the typical cotton candy floor tiles offered up by the dipshits currently in charge of of us at this moment in time.
It says something to the effect of, "Culture should always be the expression of awe at the immediate presence of the sacred, involving the whole being of the self and regarded in the light of lived experience that begins with the arrival of "primal appearances" where the world is shown as a "plenitude of divine configurations". In other words, knowing that all of creation is divinely configured and that we humans don't invent meaning, meaning is revealed to us.
It went on to say that if we can avoid looking at culture as only an external manifestation, and take the phenomenon of sacrifice more seriously, we can realize that culture should originate in revelations so powerful and pervasive that they compel a community's devotion."
Let me ask you a question, when was the last time that our culture has revealed anything other than someone's egotistical desire to profit in money, power, slavish devotion, or the mixture of all three?
"You sure you done shut the power off?"
I answered the question by giving Pop a stern look that said, "Do I look that fucking stupid?" He answered the question by looking up from his whittling, smiling grimly, and saying, "You sure?"
That one made me angry, "Look here, Pop. I ain't near as stupid as you think I am. First thing I did before I started poking around in this here breaker box was turn the power off."
Five seconds later, I was lying flat on my ass after bringing my screwdriver in contact with a live wire. I fell hard backwards onto my wife's brand new, but flimsy, glass covered patio table, breaking the table, and cutting my left calf in the process. I was pissed and aimed my anger at my dad who was sitting there, stone faced, whittling.
"Don't you say a fucking word, Old Man. You say anything smart and I'll start putting itching powder in your Preparation H."
"Didn't say a thing."
"Didn't have to. I know what your thinking. In fact, this was your fault."
He put down his whittling and looked me exasperated.
I kept on, "If you hadn't a said nothing this most likely wouldn't have happened."
"My fault for asking you to double check?"
"Damn right. I shut the main switch off before I even started. For all I know, you mighta turned that switch back on yourself. Besides, you don't know everything there is to know. When were you born, 1926? We got lots of new shit, brand new shit, stuff that you could never imagine with your backwoods thinking. You need to lighten up with your criticisms and always being on my back about shit."
"So, I did this?" He waited for me to answer and I just went and switched the switch to the off position. "I'm the backwards one, huh. I might move somewhat slower than you kids, always rushing everywhere like you got someplace to go. I move slow, I admit it, but I don't often end up breaking my wife's patio furniture either, or blaming other people for my mistakes.
"You always got to be right though, even when your wrong."
"Let me ask you a question. What happened that time in the championship contest when you got that rebound with 40 seconds to go in the game."
I threw down the screwdriver in disgust. "Here we go again, blaming me for losing that game."
"I ain't blaming you, Son. Our defense sucked the whole game, and our shooting was even worse; you getting that rebound represented hope and opportunity though. It gave us the potential for overcoming all our sins, offered us redemption. I asked you a question. What happened."
"I grabbed it, turned and went, and ran over my defender causing a turnover."
"I violated one of the cardinal rules you had drummed into us which was always 'turn and look'. I told you a million times, Pop, I'm sorry for doing that. You can't know how sorry I am. I asked you over and over to forgive that me of that sin."
"You are always asking the wrong person for forgiveness, Son. Besides, It ain't sin if you come away with the lesson you were supposed to learn."
"I did. When I play basketball now, I always turn and look."
He spit. That was his way of expressing exasperation.
"Answer me this then, how many times in your senior season did you get thrown out going for third base?"
"Six times, well, maybe seven."
"How many times of those seven times did you fail to either look at, or just plain ignored the third base coach?"
I didn't answer him, by coming at me from another angle, what he was saying hit home.
He let it sink in good before he went on, "Whether you know it or not, the rules of sports are patterned after the rules of life. There's fucking limits in everything. They can be annoying, and they also slow you ass down some, but they are there for a reason,"
I nodded and went and picked up the screwdriver off the ground, walked back over to the fusebox and made big deal out of checking the fuse box. When I was done, I went and poured myself a glass of tea and sat down by my father.
"These stories of yours are good, Pop. But why don't you ever make a point by telling me how Glenn screwed shit up. or Scott?"
Pop chuckled before saying, "Glen wasn't fast as you; he hit singles and got on base by walking too. He got caught looking a lot. Caught a fastball in the mouth once looking for a walk. When I wiped blood off his face, I told him 'There's your lesson, Son, hit the motherfucker before it hits you. Now your little brother Scott solved them problems by parking the ball in the stands. His problem was swinging at change-ups."
"What did you tell him?"
"We always had a fan in the dugout; it was usually hot. He'd come out that batter box with his head hung down, and I'd point to the fan and tell him I'd didn't need him to stir up a breeze."
"He ever learn."
"Put it this way, he been married four times."
It was my turn to chuckle, "Pop, you ever get caught trying to take third."
He responded was by giving me the biggest grin, in fact, the first such grin that he had mustered up since we had buried mom a little over a year before.
"I set the Arkansas state record of getting thrown out at third 21 times in my career. Got caught looking maybe another 15 times and swung and missed 12 change-ups. Got shocked a few times too."
"Truth be told, Pop. It sounds like you weren't all that great a player."
He leaned over and started to spit but stopped and leaned back into his chair, "You right. I was decidedly mediocre. You don't have to be great to learn a lesson as a lot of them sumbitches are best learned when you make a mistake. But I ain't never tried to sit down on a flimsy assed glass patio table either."
This time we both grinned.
"Come on fucking, People! Quit being so fucking stupid!" I didn't say it out loud, but I thought it so loudly that it echoed through my multi-leveled house and came back to me sounding like Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech. If I had a cat, I would have kicked it.
I was reading a comment feed about the kid who went to Kenosha and killed two rioters. The comments below the meme were a perfect testimony to the ability of human beings to be both stupid and evil at the same time, or, as I call it, the multitasking of sheep. When you mix stupidity with evil you create an extremely destructive explosive called Demonic Thought.
Throughout recorded history, it has typically been wielded, for some strange reason, by brain damaged, one-eyed fools and their intellectually stunted children. Normally, they blow themselves up and destroy their own domiciles. The problem is when they bring about the death, pain, and suffering of other children of God, many of whom have lived righteously and have helped greatly to alleviate the suffering of others.
In this particular comment feed, it talked about the boy with AR-15 as if he was a hero and lot of others agreed with that. It also talked about the people he killed as being heroes too. One message said, "White people have always hated us people of color." Another said the boy deserved a medal for protecting us all from vermin.
When I was young, I was obsessed with reading Greek Mythology. I came away with the distinct impression that the Olympian gods amused themselves by meddling in the affairs of men. I thought of it as the Olympian version of television where the Gods sat around drinking vodka martinis and good Scotch and laughing as the humans struggled to extricate themselves from the insane sitcom situations the Gods had placed them in.
A great example would be that of the hero Odysseus who left his own kingdom and went to war in Kenosha, Wisconsin sacrificing twenty years of his own life and happiness to do what he thought was right. Because he was so smart and proud of his own accomplishments, the god Poseidon punished him grievously, making him wander about the Midwest and almost costing Odysseus his life, his son's life, his kingdom, and most importantly his beloved wife Penelope. He finally arrives back home in Fresno, physically and emotionally scarred but a hell of a lot wiser. Wise enough to question his previous decisions, I hope.
I think the comment thread also reveals the Gods, or in this case, the economic/corporate/cultural elites, are once again meddling in the lives of men for their own twisted amusement and also to firmly establish their position of dominance over a world threatened by both the population explosion and competition for scarce resources.
They sit up in their penthouses, whisper into some flunky's ear, and instantaneously the mainstream media starts chanting some ridiculous slogan which is then presented to us as a litmus test for the ideologically pure.
"Trump Hates Unborn Babies! Democrats Sacrifice Squirrel to Obama! Hillary Eats the Dead! Trump Offers Bounty on Rioters!"
And the great unwashed below, eat this shit up with a bucket sized shovel and start chanting too. On a mountain far above them, the tuxedo clad Xing Xiao Ping claps an American CEO on the shoulder and they share a laugh as they watch a despicable young thug crash a brick into the head of elderly, unsuspecting white pedestrian.
"When the shit hits the fan, I'll protect you, Dougie."
I'll remember these words as long as I live even though they were spoken close to fifty years ago. The speaker was my childhood best friend, a younger Mexican-American kid who lived across the street. He didn't mean anything by it other than expressing his feeling that our friendship went a lot deeper than the thin layer of epidermis that covered our physical bodies.
I remember thinking though about the other thing it implied and that thought carved a home in the hidden depths of my consciousness where it resides to this day among the dust and spider webs gnawing on the leg bone of a lamb and occasionally grunting and using its one functioning eye to survey a darkened landscape being illuminated by burning city streets.
I remember thinking almost the same thing that I did when my Baptist Sunday school teacher she foolishly told me that God was going to burn me if I didn't immediately become pen pals with his son.
"Why? What have I done wrong." Like I said, he only wanted to express the deep bond we had, so I didn't say it out loud because it was one of them great moments in time where I actually felt good about life and all of its possibilities, so I let it go.
I did keep a firm hold of the lesson I learned from contemplating his words though. I also found the lesson supported in the story of the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate the apple, it opened up their eyes to the potential of great beauty and the understanding of truth and love.
But at the same time, it exposed them and their progeny to a more explicit knowledge of impending death and human vulnerability. It is this knowledge of human vulnerability that led to the creation of evil. It's no accident that they had two sons at the time whom we have since known as Cain and Abel, but which we should properly think of as 'Right Thinking' and 'Wrong Thinking'. Wrong Thinking killed his brother for the crime of being and doing good.
I think this world went wrong when we quit eating family dinners together. My brothers and I are bonded forever, and I don't give a fuck what happens, it's always going to be that way. And we are aligned with the thinking of our parents, godly people who loved everybody they knew.
We had some issues during the Vietnam era when the discussions got pretty heated because my older brother and I had foolishly both bought into the thinking of the socialist loving elites the first time they tried to destroy this country. It was the commonality of that dining table, and the middle ground it represented, that kept our family together and eventually healed the wounds caused by our youthful rebelliousness.
I love both my daughters, but we didn't eat a lot of family dinners, and it shows in our political discourse. We are not allowed to to talk about a lot of subjects. At that time in history, both parents worked outside the home and ordered out a lot. They still do.
My oldest daughter, one of the sweetest, kindest and empathetic human beings who I personally know recently posted a poem by a man who calls himself a Reverend.
The poem goes,
"I think you were so busy looking for a riot that you missed the gathering of the grieving.
I think you were so busy looking for looters that you missed the lament and heartbreak of a community.
I think you were so busy looking for trouble that you missed the tragedy of systemic racialized trauma on the bodies of black and brown people.
Tonight, tomorrow, and even the next day I beg of you, look again. Look again."
Don't get me wrong. It is very easy to agree with the sentiment. It is a good one, and in truth, the thing it laments happens a lot more than it should. Every one of my daughter's Facebook friends thought so and commented and liked it. I like what it says about her as a person. I didn't like the fact that it has been left to me alone to point out its one flawed perspective. It makes me wonder if she even has a best friend like I did. Him and I could have talked about it honestly, even argued, and still played a great game of basketball afterwards. It sure doesn't seem that you can do that nowadays. Nowadays, everyone seems to crave agreement and acknowledgement more than anything else, even more than knowledge of the truth.
I know a lot of conservative people, and I don't know anyone of them who goes outside looking for evil in people. Yet, they get it shoved in their faces daily in ever increasing amounts and by people who mistakenly believe their own ability to pretend that evil does not exist in the hearts of their own enables them to corner the market on virtue and somehow grants them the ability to bestow it on whoever they deem fit, be it looters, murderers, criminals, or political grifters.
This poem only contains partial truth, and it is what it omits that makes it dangerous.
Most of the people I know would agree with the poem's sentiment, recognizing that there are deep, fundamental problems in American society that need to get fixed. But I don't understand how a person who presents himself as man of God can so falsely assume the motives of people who merely disagree with his politics. The words of this poem can be construed as being just as narrow minded and racist than those it attacks because it falsely assumes evil in the hearts of those who simply believe differently. How is this any different from McCarthyism?
I would like to edit it to include the line,
"You were so busy impugning the motives of those who disagree with your own false assumptions that you missed a perfect opportunity to reach out and help them to reveal their inherent goodness."
The media not only deals with such partial truths, it does so by carefully using them to craft the false narrative that America is completely evil and not worth the effort in would take to save it unless they began anew without any of the traditions and values that once made it the envy of the world.
As it so happens, this would put us into perfect agreement with the likes of Xing Xiao Ping, Karl Marx, Bernadette Dohrn, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, which is pretty much why I can't stomach this approach and will never be be able to understand the people who do. And it breaks my heart that my own children, many of the kids who I've taught and coached, as well as many of my own friends, have come to regard these folks as mentors, or even worse, as heroes.
I would have the good reverend also explain why is it out of all the athletes in the world Nike that could have chosen to represent them, people with strong character and voices who could have raised awareness of social justice issues in a positive voice, why did Nike chose the one who had "kill piggies" written on his socks? Are they so desirous of the China markets, they they are willing to bring down the last real bastion of democracy and freedom of thought to gain them?
Why, of all the organizations and institutions who could have brought us all together, did the corporate world and professional athletic organizations chose the one surest to divide us and whose platform includes the abolition of the nuclear family, a cause that even divides the black community?
It is obvious that the people pulling the strings behind the scenes, the ones causing all the hatred, the Gods of Olympus, our corporate masters, do not want us mere mortals to solve these problems for ourselves. It appears they don't even want us to save this country. Is it because our our existence as a nation and the independent thinking of our people interferes with their plans for global expansion?
In hindsight, it is plain to see that the politicians, who work for them and them alone, and the media members who sustain themselves by sucking on their pimpled asses, have kept us mortals apart and arguing with each other ever since the Sixties. These Gods hate the fact that we all were starting to get along despite of their poisonous efforts to keep us apart. It might lead to us deciding to, paraphrasing Nietzsche, "Reason the Olympians out of existence." And what would that do to their children's future as deities?
They're the ones who are putting these memes up people. Probably the same person puts up both. The Kenosha kid should not be regarded as a hero for being underaged and taking a gun to riot. Where are his fucking parents, I'd like to know? The media is pushing this idea hard, preparing us for the outbreak of hostilities, urging us to buy more guns and bullets to kill our fellow country men. We should all, everyone of us, resist that urge to kill. I have to say that, something that, in more honest times, should have gone without saying.
Instead, we should demand that any politician or member of the media who stands in the way of ending these riots immediately are arrested, jailed, and tried for first degree murder. We can easily make the case for 'malice of forethought'.
And the stupid or naive people who call these vicious rioters peaceful protestors should have their cell phones confiscated and sent to bed without their supper. When I grew up, I would have also have gotten a good whipping if I had played with matches in such a derelict way to have endangered my family, our home, or the homes of our neighbors.
I understand the frustrations. I have commented on memes when I shouldn't have myself, and I'll still probably succumb to that temptation. A much better idea though would be to make your children sit down at a table across from you at dinner time and discuss shit across the table. Make them all feel comfortable in talking about what bothers them. You might disagree with them, but you will learn from them, and they from you.
Then when it gets established as a routine, have them invite a few of their friends over to dinner, then invite the neighbors, hell, establish a common dining space for your community.
This might sound naive; fuck, I know it sounds naive, but it is a lot less naive than that poem, and it sure beats the hell out of blowing your eardrums out from the inside out, lauding the wrong people as heroes, killing somebody, or simply wanting to kick the hell out of a non-existent cat.
The other night, I was watching a video on the sixties/seventies era revolutionary group the Weatherman. The documentary clearly made an effort to present the violent revolutionaries as the social justice reformers of their day, (and probably in a effort to steer the viewer to vote for the liberal presidential candidate in the upcoming election.)
In the attempt to depict Weatherman leader Bernadette Dohrn and her husband Bill Ayres as true social justice warriors, they kindly omitted Dohrn's remarks at the group's 1969 War Councils where she not only praised Charles Manson and his twisted family, she glorified their grisly deeds, joking about the Manson victims and stupidly raising her fingers in salute to the fact the members of the tribe stabbed the pregnant Tate in the womb with a fork. People who were there said the whole room rose up and returned the salute as Dohrn stated "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!”
I next watched the first two episodes of new series about Charles Manson and Helter Skelter. As they explained the race war that Manson and his followers had tried to start, it dawned on me that what's currently happening on the streets of our cities is the sequel to that era's effort to destroy this country. The language and the terminology is the same and also derived from the same Marxist sources.
Tom O'Neill's well researched book CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret history of the Sixties argues that the government was probably responsible not just for the actions of the Manson family but also in channelling public attention to the idea of the Helter Skelter narrative via the magician tricks of CIA brainwasher in chief, Louis Jolly West and Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi.
The secret that it took author twenty years to discover was that Louis West and the Government were involved in a program to implant false memories in people by using hypnosis and psychotropic drugs. Dr West was proven to be in the same building, the fabled San Francisco Free Clinic, where Manson met his parole agent. Dr. West is also noted for meeting with Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald's assassin, in his jail cell, violating a federal judge's orders, just prior to Ruby to becoming strangely yet very conveniently incoherent.
Coupled with the fact that Manson's parole agent only had one client at a time when the state average was over seventy, and that the said agent engaged in outright legal contortionism and professional incompetence not to revoke Manson's parole certainly makes Manson appear like a candidate of Manchurian descent.
James Angleton, the CIA's associate deputy director of counterintelligence at the time, was said to have analyzed hundreds of thousands of lines of text from the prolific and rebellious writers of the counterculture. He also searched for the source of the funding for magazines like Ramparts, which had been a Catholic journal before turning into a trumpet for the resistance. It is said that Angleton was never able to prove convincingly that it was the Communists who were funding the counterculture media, but thought that the fact the Soviet Union or China was never mentioned when the text discussed the true nexus of evil in the world, and instead the United States of America was always identified as being the most vile place on earth suggested that the omission contained more truth than the printed word.
Remember all this manufactured hippy dippy perspective on history came out after Mao and his cronies had created the largest man made famine in the history of the world; where it was said that upwards of forty-five million died of starvation and government coercion. In 1989, a Soviet weekly, listed Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death total as a very conservative twenty million.
Yet in the minds of 60s era youth, America was the greatest evil. Go figure. It was such a compelling lie the the political leaders of a certain party still treat it as the gospel, and their minions in the streets of Seattle and Portland, scream it nightly into the faces of an always anxious America without the slightest degree of shame for not truthfully understanding a bit of it or grasping even an iota of the bloody history of the words that engendered the greatest mass murderers in the history of the world.
Ironically, this ignorance look like it petered out and largely disappeared mainly because of the media's coverage of the Manson murders and the increasingly obvious fact that the youth of 60s era America, or at least those getting high and casually screwing everything in sight and not bathing afterwards, were never as creative, mature, or well meaning as the pandering Hollywood elites and media portrayed them.
In retrospect, they appear to have been just a bunch of naive yet brightly painted puppets dancing and putting on a diverting dramatic play in the middle of war for the future of civilization. We never ever got a definitive answer for any of the world shaking events that plagued our generation, mainly because we were either too mesmerized by the hippies getting high, acting stupid and fucking in the marketplace, or we were ourselves too busy getting high, acting stupid and fucking in the marketplace.
Why have we been incapable of filing away the files on Vietnam, the Assassinations and attempted assassinations, the suspicious death of Marilyn Monroe, the actions of the Manson Family, the Warren report, or the MK Ultra project? Why do we still not know for certain who killed Kennedy, who funded the counterculture, and why does the counterculture always seem to align themselves with institutions who actively seek the end of Western Civilization? Even if these things can all be explained by official answers, why is it we still don't believe them?
Could it be that, just like today, the people who were officially charged with telling us the truth back then always lied to us about the most important things. Remember the time that Walter Cronkite, the reputed Most Trusted Man in America, lied to us with such passion about the results of the Tet Offensive, telling us we had effectively lost the war immediately after our forces had inflicted a massive military defeat upon the enemy. At the very least, his timing was extremely suspicious.
We've known for three years that the Hillary and the DNC paid for the Steele Dossier. We know now that the very people who pushed the narrative of Russian collusion in public, denied under oath that they had any evidence to make that accusation. The mainstream media comes off as the biggest liars in American History and the conservative media comes off looking like a pint-sized chihuahua charged with guarding a chicken ranch.
It took me years before I finally managed to cut my hair, put on a normal looking t-shirt, quit smoking dope, and freed myself from own self-inflicted puppet strings.
The bad thing is that the youth of today seem a lot more naive. It is clear that these kids demonstrating such monstrous actions in our urban streets are seriously suffering from psychic entropy, a condition resulting from an overload of half-truth and nonsense being stuffed up their asses like a poisonous suppository by the kapos of our current cultural elites.
These kids actually seem to know even less than we did despite the fact they all carry around the collective knowledge of the world in their Levi pockets, or maybe it's because that knowledge has been dessicated and fragmented into such tiny, bite-sized, sugar coated pieces that the pieces no longer convey anything near the truth that they would if viewed in the whole.
And even worse, the progeny of the puppet masters of the 60s have become so much better at their craft after learning from the mistakes their parents made and diligently practicing for the last 40-50 years that the public is no longer capable of making out the pulling of the strings, and nowadays, their CGI created puppet shills appear so lifelike that, unlike Pinocchio, they have no longer have that problem with their noses, and the only way that we can tell that they are lying is when their lips are moving.
Back in the day, I attended church regularly. It came to a point where my younger brother and I were the only two people in the building who hadn't been saved. One Sunday, a bunch of people rose from their seats and came back to the last pew and surrounded my brother and pressured him into answering the call. After a few minutes, he stood up and walked up to the altar with them. I asked him later why he had done it.
He gave me a sheepish grin and said, "I panicked, man. Too much pressure."
Unsatisfied with one soul and emboldened by their success with my brother, they turned in unison and set their sights on me. I wish I could tell you that this never happened, but I can't. Convinced in their own self righteousness and rectitude, and determined to save my soul whether I wanted it or not, they started walking my way.
I wish I could say I didn't get up and walk out the back door, but that is exactly what I did. I wish I could say that the incident in question didn't turned me off to organized religion for years, but I'd be lying. The idea that they, no matter who they were or what their motivation was, were going to brow beat me into acting that I believed as they did whether I actually believed it or not, was a key moment in my journey to find meaning.
You see examples of this happening all over nowadays, and it is usually more violent and the people doing it are motivated a lot less by a willingness to save souls and a lot more by the desire to destroy those who don't echo their voices exactly.
I learned a powerful lesson back then that you can't browbeat people in acting like Jesus, my brother's forced conversion notwithstanding. It is a lesson that humanity has never fully learned. Tens of millions of people have died because of the failure to grasp the import of this lesson. At one time, the Church actually burned people for little more than a doctrinal difference or having a wart on their nose. Remember that our modern world was shaped by the Church threatening to burn Galileo for pointing out a easily provable scientific fact.
We, humanity, I mean, should have learned one simple fact long ago. You can not force people to believe the same way that you do. You can convince most with solid evidence of how your belief benefits their own understanding of the truth, you can force them to lie and pretend, or you can kill them.
Nowadays, it doesn't seem like we care too much that the first option is actually how things should work; it seems safe to say that we have become so enamored with our own virtue that many would rather destroy someone who cannot recognize just just how great they really are. It also seems true that they are more willing to go to outrageous lengths to prove to their fellow travelers that their own belief is greater than all others. If one person says, "Hey look, I'll knock out my own grandma out to prove how down I am," it wouldn't be five seconds before the next person says, "That's nothing; I'll pull her guts out and feed them to her!" The game finally ends when the first petitioner vomits at the sight and a third volunteers to eat the vomit.
There used be common ground. The late Tim Russert was an example of someone who could disagree with your politics then buy you a beer after the show. We don't have that shit anymore. Speaking your thoughts in public is getting increasingly dangerous because there are so many fucking flesh eating zombies masquerading as human beings, soulless ghouls who exist only to loudly disagree, gobble flesh, rut and defecate.
It is a fact that we are facing serious problems, and each group seems to only have one piece of the puzzle, but they all insist that their tiny sliver of truth is the only one that really matters, so much so, no one even pretends to understand for a second that maybe putting the pieces together might work a whole fucking lot better than holding up a single bloodied piece of the puzzle in one hand and a molotov cocktail in the other.
Where did all the common ground go? People, left to their devices, have come together, swapped ideas and goods and enhanced our life on this planet for thousands of years, and it suddenly disappears without a trace? There is only group capable of turning our commonality into a gaping canyon which reduces us all to a bunch of blathering idiots screaming for the death of everybody on the other side. It is the people who run this shit. People who are probably sipping mimosas and filling out their racing forms while watching the lunacy unfold beneath their safe perches and occasionally sending coded messages to their minions in the media and the halls of power.
Pretending that there are not real issues taking place in the inner cities all across our nation doesn't work, it never has, but neither does pretending that all the tragedy and violence in those places is brought in from the outside by the police. Politicians are the main culprits in this mess. They are paid good money to fix things, yet always seem to find a million reasons in fundraising dollars as to why they need more time. One side jealously guards its fiefdom like a medieval warlord and the other uses their frustrations as an excuse to retreat into their gated communities and washing their hands of the situation by pointing out all the feeble efforts they had made.
Either way, the problems are never solved, only exacerbated. And it doesn't help matters that we voters have become so addicted to the sugar coating that we have lost most of our teeth. And heaven help if someone tries to explain what kind of sacrifices are needed to actually fix things; we can't chew on those ideas anymore, we can only gum them to death.
Then there are also forces who contribute their own poison simply because they lack any real substance and hate anyone who possesses the virtue and character they themselves lack, social arsonists who love the flames and the smell of smoke, people who wreck trains for sexual pleasure. They hide behind the scenes, but leave their fingerprints and slime trails behind, evidenced by their efforts to destroy the family unit knowing full well, that the lack of two parent homes has been of one of the key factors in both the corrosion of the the inner cities and the weakening of this nation.
It should have been a relatively simple fix, put some programs in place that strengthen the family and figure out a way to offer hope to the hopeless. And it is something that everybody could have agreed upon, but they didn't. Instead, of all the name calling and finger pointing, how is it that we aren't looking for the one who made sure that the 10 commandments were stripped out of courthouses, or those, who in the name of religious freedom, made sure that there is no longer any vestige of essential meaning being taught in our schools. Run those two trails down and you'll find the true culprits.
Growing up, most of us had that one friend that you could trick into doing anything or fighting anybody by merely getting two of you together and going back and forth saying, "Yep, I heard that!I heard that!"
The people behind this mess have recruited an army out of our slower witted friends, and they are now employing them in an effort to destroy this country.
I know why it is still possible and necessary to love such people. We know that if someone attacked us, they would have our back no matter what. Yet, they are the ones who keep driving around in multicolored cars with crushed fenders and always making bad decisions based on impulse and partial knowledge. We should always want to help them. But there's never a need to be like them.
When Sollozo's men shoot Don Vito Corleone in the movie The Godfather, Vito's second son Fredo tries to pull out his own gun but fumbles it away. Then, shamed by his display of incompetence, Fredo sits down on the curb, breaks down, and cries.
I must assume when people branded Chris Cuomo with the nickname of Fredo, it must have been in reference to his journalistic incompetence. Let's face it, Cuomo is about as much a journalist as Lester Maddox was when the former Georgia Governor was fighting in defense of the segregation of schools; he comes off as more of a rabid attack dog really.
He just went on television and echoed a similar comment by Joe Biden that Black Americans basically can only have one political point of view, and it has to be the one that the people who pull the strings and pay his salary at CNN agree with. Strangely enough, Don Lemon his colleague at the network seem to agree, deriding Senator Scott's relationship with the Republican president. In so doing, Cuomo is accusing people with far more evidenced character of being as callous, shallow and fundamentally lacking in dignity as himself.
The fact that Cuomo is paid millions to vomit and reroute the contents of his bowels so that it flows out of his mouth somewhat shakes my faith in mankind's future on this planet.
Lemon needs a sobriquet of his own. He has certainly shown himself to be equally incompetent as Cuomo as witnessed by his statement that objectivity at CNN allows him to speak truth to his own voice (in others words excuses his shameless bias). It's apparently not biased nor can be said to be a subjective opinion in any way it comes out on CNN. Or worse, CNN is excused from their one-sided to news because they are so much holier than everyone else and Jeff Zucker has God himself in his list of contacts.
Problem is, these men and their minions are nowhere close to being holy. Holy men don't slobber and gloat, They don't tickle their brother's testicles on national television, they don't try to ruin the lives of innocent youth, they don't drink the blood of their enemies, they don't clip the videos of life in order to make it fit the narrative of what they want to believe (or what their corporate masters want them to believe), and they don't dismiss facts in favor of cheaply purchased and largely baseless opinions. And when they see sin, holy men call it sin and do not look for a way to spin it so that it always points away from the sinner.
It's going to get worse, much worse; there is just too much video evidence of Joe Biden revealing his true character floating around. Then there's also the fact that nobody on the left really believes their own lies. There is way too much video evidence of them revealing what they really think of Joe Biden. So, these so called journalists and their co-workers/colleagues in the Democratic Party are going to have to go on warp speed in order to produce a mass illusion that the combined visions of Houdini, David Copperfield, P.T. Barnum, and Cardinal Bellarmine would not be capable of producing after a week long brainstorming session where weed, wine, hallucinogens, backrubs, and brainwashing was supplied in ample amounts.
Think about it, in the next few weeks, they will have to 1) convince the more sensible members of their party that Joe Biden is not one of the most vacuous sacks of shit ever produced on American soil 2) convince the rest of America to deny the reality that the flies we see buzzing around his mouth are not being attracted by the foul breath odor of his dead decaying soul 3) continue to trick the low hanging fruit of their own followers into believing that they are, in fact, not working for the very corporate masters they claim to detest 4) try to trick us all into believing that their insane slogans, stunted opinions and repeated lies are far better than spiritual truth and scientific fact when it comes to the framing of reality.
There was a huge run on toilet paper and Lysol at the advent of this timely pandemic. There will most likely be a similar run on knee high rubber boots, hard liquor, and Febreze as this election cycle nears its fateful conclusion.
I recently read somewhere that the Egyptians when preparing a mummy would place corn seeds in the wrappings and wet them. When the seeds started sprouting it announced that the soul of the deceased had transformed, and it was time to complete the burial ceremony. Learning this moved me. My dad's birthday was coming up, so I bought some forget-me-not seeds (couldn't find corn seeds because of the pandemic) and planted them on the 10th of August.
I had this feeling that there was something to this notion. Last night, I found something that supported it in a book that I bought yesterday at a used bookstore in San Luis Obispo. The book is Marie Louise Von Franz's psychological interpretation of Apuleius' The Golden Ass. It mentioned Apuleius' belief that everyone has a daimon (not demon) that serves as a guide or protective spirit or a type of personal angel. This daimon, in psychological terms, is thought to be a type of a pre-conscious awareness of the self and the pre-conscious ego rolled into one, think who we were before we became who we are.
In the Roman world, if someone lived a good, moral and spiritual life this daimon developed into a positive form known as a Lar and the Lar remains behind after the person dies to protect the family's household. In Roman houses, the memories of those who had passed on were worshipped and given a honored position in the form of small statues placed upon the hearth. Many scientists feel that this is where the Church developed its views of sainthood as it was commonly believed that some people lived in such exact accordance with their spiritual selves that it was possible to see their spirits while they were still alive. Such a person's daimon was a felt to be a lot stronger than most. Socrates was said to be such a person.
This term daimon translates very well into the word genius, a protective spirit that makes one genial. This type of genius is derived from the root word genus or sex. It was believed that the proper development of the genius, or protective force, made a person sexually potent, capable of functioning, and spiritually fertile and creative.
In other words, the Romans, and many other groups before and after them, believed that there was link between how an individual lived his/her life and what remained behind them after death. They also believed that it was possible for us mortals to access and use that residual goodness to bring goodness into the material world.
I know that some will think that this is superstitious nonsense but when explained psychologically it makes a certain sense. My dad, for example, was kind, hard-working man who loved to smile and laugh. He was like that despite living a life that must have often seemed like he had pissed off Poseidon. Pop had his flaws too. Everybody does.
I often get so down that I need to be reminded to laugh, to smile, and of the need to help others laugh and smile too. When I honor my Pop's life, I can take that good residual memory that he left behind and employ it in an effort to make life better for myself and those around me.
Think of all your love ones who have gone on. I'm pretty sure each of them had something special, a trait, skill, or genius that they brought with them into this dry, dusty plane of existence, something with moisture and nutrients, something they left behind them to help you help others.
And all you have to do to honor them is remember.
Chapter Five - Still Life at Dawn
She ran out of the door at the first crack of lightning and the sound of thunder. Rushing to the car, she completely forgot that Pepe, our little mutt of a purebred poodle, often slept in the rut beneath the left rear tire.
I mentioned in the first chapter how the main character of any story is shown to be dissatisfied about something in his/her situation. Human beings are just built like that. It is the way of the world. No matter what we have it is never enough. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the world, and the humans in it, being made out of energy.
And I don't care if it was John D. Rockefeller sitting at his large dark mahogany looking out the window from the top floor of the Empire State Building having his nuts tickled by Marilyn Monroe while munching on a bowl full of them little bite sized Butterfingers; sooner rather than later, he's going get bored and wish it was Myrna Loy tickling his nuts and he had a handful of peanut M and Ms.
The only time I can ever remember of being truly satisfied with my own life was on Saturday mornings when I would sit on the back step with Pepe and watch the sun come up from behind the line of tall trees that Mr. Mirandola had planted in the middle of his property.
That was some golden shit right there, and I've never since felt sunlight feel so much like velvet as on those mornings. Pepe always sat on my left side taking it all in too. He knew those mornings were special.
I've since read a lot about how the alchemists have been searching forever to find the secrets of transmuting lead into gold. Hell, I knew the secret when I was ten years old, sit on your backstep with your best friend basking in the first light of morning sun. The gold them alchemists were searching for was almost always a metaphor. You couldn't drop it on the counter at the Candy Store and exchange it for anything, but I knew even that young age that it was something tangible and was worth possessing, something to long for and to anxiously desire.
I don't know if would ever had got bored and needed to change the view for a vision looking out of rocketship at the backside of Mars or Pepe for a canine equivalent of Myrna Loy, like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. The golden moments never last long enough for me to grow bored with them. They were perfect while they lasted
When my brother and I walked into the living room that night, my dad was sitting on the sofa crying. The sofa was in the middle of the living room, and he sat in the middle of the sofa which caused his head to be haloed by the light coming from the bulb that lit our kitchen. My dad never cried.
We turned and looked at our Mom and she was crying too. Scot screamed at her something about killing his dog. Later, mom told me that he wrote the date down using a red crayon in the family Bible. "Mom killed Pepe."
It was just one of them things, one of them horrible, horrible things. Sometimes when I am mulling about in a blend of feeling both melancholy and morbidity, I realize that Mom had to have known immediately by the feeling of the tire as it rolled over Pepe's sleeping body. She had to have felt that feeling. I do know that in spite of her concern for our safety, she had got out of the car and told my dad before rushing off to save us from the lightning. Pop was left to deal with the wreckage. He buried Pepe in the backyard before we got home.
This thought sometimes comes up when Mom's being somewhat annoying about something. Before I let that annoyance turn to anger, I think about what she must have felt at that moment when she remembered that Pepe like to sleep beneath the car and also the moment when she learned her dad had suddenly dropped dead during the middle of the war, and also that moment when her husband of nearly seventy years collapsed and died on the bathroom floor after showering on the morning of their anniversary. It helps keep things in perspective.
My dad exhumed the body of our beloved pet that same night. He dug the body out of the wet ground with my mom holding the flashlight. Pop fashioned a small coffin out of some scrap lumber and lined it with a thick cotton towel. Mom wrapped Pepe's body in piece torn from an old sheet.That next morning, as the sun began to peek over the top of Mr. Molinari's trees, our family gathered by the side of a small hole in the left hand corner of our lot. We prayed.
Dad mixed up some concrete in a wheelbarrow and poured a small slab over the grave. Mom wrote the words.
They shouldn't have said two weeks. After that, everything seems like a lie. I know some people will defend them by saying they didn't know at the time. If so, they should have said, "We don't how long." Saying two weeks and then admitting that they were wrong doesn't speak particularly well for either their veracity or their competence.
And it doesn't lend their cause much credence when they seem to pretend that there are no other, not so pleasant effects, created by their efforts to solve the problems. Those in charge inevitably come across as ostriches arrayed single file with their heads planted firmly in the anus of the ostrich in front of them. As it is, it causes us common people to try and seek out answers from people who haven't told us either mistruths or mistakes, and it's proving harder and harder to find such people.
I listened to KMJ one morning when a caller called in to tell the host about some sketchy video he had seen. The host (I think it was Ray Appleton) exploded on the guy. I know what the host was saying, but his self-righteous anger made me pretty angry. I wanted to pull over on the side of highway and call the station. I know that the wait times for phone callers are long or I would have.
What I wanted to ask the host was where, in this puzzle pieces scattered on the floor reality, is the average person supposed to find truth, the mainstream media, social networks, our politicians? Hell, even our religious leaders talk out both sides of their ass nowadays.
The great German philosopher Nietzsche in a lecture about the woes of modern education(as far back as 1872) said that once schools were placed in the service of science and state and started teaching that the purpose of learning is bigger paychecks, the academics not only couldn't find the truth if it was tattooed on their buttocks and they were sitting on a mirror, but they also became inadvertently engaged in the effort to kill it,
"We are already at point where the scientist or academic as such has nothing to say about any serious general question, especially the deepest philosophical problems while a gluey mass that has worked its way into and between all the sciences -journalism- exists precisely to address such questions."
Did you catch that? He was lamenting even back then, that education with its focus on specialized subjects and empirical knowledge, no longer knows how to answer inquiries about the underlying truth of existence. Then he points out that journalism has become the new bible of the modern age. I'd hate to tell him that it hasn't gotten any better.
We have taken that and added a new layer of gluey shit to believe in; we have made comedians (I use the term loosely in that it no longer refers to people who engage in humor but nows references snarky commentators who spew the corporate line) as a source of truth, or at least a tinfoil hat facsimile of truth. In 2004, a large percentage of college students said that they get their news of politics from the Daily Show and/or Saturday Night Live. Can you even imagine what this means? How many levels of stupidity it reveals about American culture. Chris Cuomo as a prophet? St. John Stewart?
Nietzsche goes on to say, "Anyone who still lays claim to culture or education...... typically relies on a sticky layer of journalism -a substance as sturdy and permanent as the paper it's printed on -to grout the gaps between every form of life.....every art, every science, every field." He finishes with, "The Journalist has taken the place of the genius, our salvation...and leader for the ages."
In other words, the average person can hardly be blamed for looking at sketchy conspiracy videos in an effort to find some foundation for their thinking. The atlases of truth are no longer shelved where they used to be. And if some of the more lost individuals want to believe that people like Bernie Sanders, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Lebron James, Marshall Mathers, Kanye and Pete Davidson are paragons of virtue and the ultimate sources of truth, what good will it do to argue with them?
But they shouldn't have said two weeks.
Chapter Four - A Wild and Wooly One-eyed Sense of Wonder
"Damn, did you see that?" A basketball sized shooting star had just blazed across the summer sky traveling from north to south. I've seen lots of shooting stars but never one that large. You could make out its circular outline and flames coming off of it. The flaming tail was spectacular.
We were sleeping outside at Riley Morello's house. There were five young kids there, Riley, Jerry Bones, his brother Dickie, me, and my little brother Scott. We were just talking about shit, when of a sudden this flaming spectacle lit up the whole sky. I've never seen anything quite like it since.
After a while, our enthusiasm for discussing the matter waned ,and we began to wander off to sleep. Riley and Jerry were the first to go under. Then suddenly we began to hear strange moaning sounds coming from south of where we were.
Severino, Riley's dad, owned a block long property with a couple of fields for running a few cows. His land stretched all the way from Orion Avenue in the north to Owens Avenue in the south. The moans we heard were coming from far beyond the border of his fence line, from somewhere in the direction that the flaming visitor that flown.
"What the hell is that?"Scott breathlessly whispered.
"What?" Dickie asked all the while knowing the answer.
"That damned moaning sound. Don't you hear it."
I joined in, "I don't know what it is, but it sounds spookier than hell."
"It's coming from the direction that thing went," Dickie added. "You think it's got something to do with that?" His fear spread across the space between us like a virus.
"I don't know, but I ain't going to stick around and find out. I'm outta here," my little brother said.
Scot stood and gathered up his sleeping bag and started walking across the field that separated where we were from our back door. My dad always left the door opened just in case."
"Are you freaking crazy? What if it's out there. "I pointed to the darkness.
Scot just looked at me and then said defiantly, "I can see our back door from here and besides there's the hole in the fence. Nothing's going to catch me. You coming?"
I looked over at Dickie and then toward where the others were sleeping. I finally looked back at Scott, "Naw. Imma gonna stick it out here."
"Well don't blame me when that sumbitch eats your ass." Then Scott took off running for our house."
I looked back into the frightened eyes of Dickie when he asked, "When what eats us?"
"Don't mind his ass. He's just scared. He thinks that was a spaceship or something and that something's over there at Miller's barn eating them cows or something like that."
"What do you think, Danny? We oughta go?"
I hesitated for a moment. I realized later that my decision to stay where I was was predicated largely on the fact that I was afraid of venturing into the darkness alone as much as anything else. "Do what you want, dude. Imma stay here. How would we feel in the morning if we left these two sleeping here and they got ate or something?"
He took the information in and processed it, "We could wake 'em."
"Naw, they wouldn't believe us."
"They would if they heard those noises."
"Like I said, do what you want. Your house is further than mine."
Earlier that year, in fact, just a few months before I had had an experience with a ghost, my grandma's. The incident had set me on edge and opened my mind up to the darkened attics of our consciousness, those rooms that scientists tell us don't exist.
My parents used to play dominos with another couple. They were playing on our kitchen table that night. A swinging door separated my brother Glen's and my room from the kitchen. One of my parent's friends was a lady named Millie Ford. Millie had medical condition that her skin look gray and ashen. I liked her a lot because she had a biting wit and a great sense of humor, and she liked to joke with me.
Millie said something to the others. I couldn't hear what, but I could feel the tone of her voice in the next room. Whatever she said caused my mom to laugh loudly and that caused me to look up toward the door. I could see the light outlining the door. I could also see an almost shapeless form of a woman looking down at me, and that scared the holy crap out of me.
At first, I tried to sharpen my focus in order to make out what was causing the apparition, thinking it was only a trick brought about by the fact that I was half asleep. The more I focused though, the more the image became sharper. It appeared to be the form of my grandmother in a high waisted dress and apron that she always wore in pictures. She looked concerned and worried, she didn't appear to be menacing in any way.
Nevertheless, I pulled by bedspread over my head, shut my eyes tightly, plugged my ears with my fingers, and prayed for deliverance. I slept like that for over a year afterwards.
I also often since wondered what would have happened if I had just smiled and said something like, "Sup, Grannie? Good to see you."
I've read a lot about Carl Jung's thoughts on synchronicity where he said that there are things and moments that definitely lie outside the links of causal connections to nature. Science acknowledges that there are such things that go against the narrative but would rather not explain them; the lab coated priests of empiricism prefer to hide such things under their beds and pretend that the miraculous doesn't exist merely on the evidence that they cannot explain it.
There was lot time on this planet when our views of the miraculous and reality were part and parcel of the same line of thinking. It was only after the Church became the shills of the Roman Empire that this way of thinking changed, and then it was the results of the Galileo case that provided the shovels and tools that dug out the channels that forced the two types of consciousness into separate streams.
Cardinal Bellarmine, the man who spoke for God at the inquest was later made into Saint, meaning his words actions could never called into question. Galileo tried his best to explain the truth of Copernican theory but apparently fooled himself into thinking that the good Cardinal was there to listen. He wasn't; he merely attended the inquest to put an exclamation mark on the "NO!"
The Cardinal didn't have to be so rude and inconsiderate. The fact that he was indicates that he was blatherer who did not understand what should have been the Church's real position. What he should have told Galileo was, "But you are not taking infinity into consideration."
We are all, in fact, every last one of us, situated squarely in the middle of an infinite universe, so, the universe kind of actually does surround us. This would have exposed those methodical revolutionaries for what they were, the people who labeled the world in front of us by pretending the world inside of our heads, outside of their purview, doesn't exist.
The separate channels of consciousness only exist in the material world. In reality, and in the light of an infinite universe, they are still united and their blended waters pour into the Caribbean Sea at New Orleans, into the Mediterranean at the Nile Delta, into the Atlantic ocean in Brazil and into the Indian Ocean near the Sagar Island. There is a bigger ocean inside of us all, the biggest ocean ever, and it feeds and irrigates the soil of our material worlds where each of us live and toil.
It took me years to get over the fact that my own spiritual advisors threatened to burn me in eternal lake of fire, and years to understand that maybe it was just possible for my Granny to be concerned enough about me to rise up from the soil of Oklahoma and plan a visit to my bedroom in California.
That night though when that fireball flamed across the summer sky, I only knew how glad I was that Dickie stayed with me that night, that my brother Scot made it unmolested to the safety of my dad's backdoor, and that I trusted enough in my abilities to squeeze my eyes tightly and my fingers to plug my ears to guarantee that I would make it safely till the morning light.