Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Naked once were we, just here. Now with only leaves, no longer free. Dipping in the streams, naked lovely beautiful freedom! Translucent nostalgia, just beyond the shoreline. Where now just bare feet dangle. Twisting and moving, articulate in flight, dancing from here to there. Some newly discovered self-infatuation, my companion and I.
It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved.. It's better to have loved and lost than never... It's better to have loved and lost.... It's better to have loved... it's better to have loved at all.. It's better to have loved at all, lost or not.
I was reminded or for that, told not long ago that I take any conversation and make said conversation pretentious. I suppose, as I'm told, "if there is a way to make a pretentious (Ironic because, if it wasn't for spell check I would of spelled pretentious wrong twice. Can I be something I cannot spell? ahaha) statement, by damned I can find it." If that's by quoting a novel, author, paper, well just about a quote or idea from something I've seen or taken in. I suppose, I'm a nerd... saying I'm a nerd makes me want to quote John Green, so I will. "Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself." — John Green. I love this, makes me laugh, not saying by being pretentious, everyone else is stupid. umm... back to the diatribe.
Anyhow, I can't help but let the statement linger in my mind. Battling it over and over between pretentious or not, perhaps I am. I may as well at narcissistic while I'm at it, but on some chance... maybe I'm not. I really enjoy the things I quote and I love diving into things I don't understand.
I digress, I guess I could just battle between the two pushing up boulders like Sisyphus. Just as they fall back down, again and again. I don't know, it's a thought that won't pass just yet.
So it goes...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Shambling after the mad ones, the dancers in the street seen mad!The unaccustomed tunes unheard amongst all. Maddened to live, crazy in disillusionment, interested in all things. Forever burning, raging, screaming and yelling with ooo-ing and aww-ing as a screeching halt is reached, brought upon by all the beautiful and lofty things!
With charcoaled cocaine set brain, sculptured portraits portrayed in vein - pumping diligently, raging onward. Blackened lungs, strained livers, frayed minds... grooving moving to their own tunes. Beats of dreams not yet dream-pt. Skin not yet set.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I acquit, opposing the fifth
stay quiet I shan't!
sing little bluebird sing
as if winter never came
as if fields and meadows have sustained
jet through the blue sky
fly little bluebird fly
for it's all you can
amend, amend, amend...
for it's all we can
flying amongst the cage
even the bird is caged to the sky
sing little bluebird sing
it's all you can
Saturday, December 18, 2010
It's cold and bitter outside, the white makes my teeth and hands hurt. Every winter is the same no matter where, I just hate it and the decline in weather. It's even like everyone goes through a winter depression, not enough sun or something. Last year we were at the church playing music all the time, the place we hung out most the time. Taken such a drastic turn from then but yet, I feel we are all so much happier then we were then. Perhaps it's just because our perspectives have changed... for better or worse, I am not sure. Who really knows and who the hell can see forever?
I don't feel I've done anything wrong, even if I have... I am well now (or as well as I can be) and learned from it so it's all in the gray. For better or half-ass better, it's all the same. Or I'm just part of the apathetic, indifferent, sarcastic, ironic, and it's all in jest generation. Seems quite alright to me, I feel some sort of empathy in all of that though.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The most brilliant of minds but alas intimidating all the same. I shan't, can't make contact... he bows and greets, looks piercing my soul. I do not dare meet eyes. I greet the legend, holding arrogance. I shall not make contact with eyes. I'll never kiss those boots!
Then in a voice of truth, like the gospel of Paul,
"Why must I intimidate you so?"
I deny, deny, deny!
"then look me in the eyes, boy."
I wish to go but no, I look up.
"Now, tell me, what was so hard?"
You're the great Dostoevsky, Hemingway spent his days in such a shadow you cast. So who the fuck am I?
"You, boy. Correction, I casted a shadow. Now I linger from grave to novel. Mere' thoughts, you cast the shadows, I am a figure. Write my lad and be joyous in the shadows you cast. In such times, you quote my writings... those beautiful and lofty things... so it goes. Embrace the fear with fervor and despair, even the joy."
My boots felt lighter... my soul lifted and we sat in silence, a level playing ground from then on. The rest is for me and me alone.
When I was a kid, I used to go play at the park with my friends. We'd play dragonball Z or Gundam wing... hot lava tag, make films like in the show 'home movies'. I had this pair of shoes, actually we all had a pair of shoes like this. It was like an endless pit of sand in these shoes. No matter how much we tried to get it out, there was another, what seemed to be, another pound of sand in there. I feel if I still had those shoes, they would feel far heavier. They would be heavy boots from all that sand, the abyss of sand within. No matter how much I released the sand from it's pit in my shoes, the abyss in my shoes, it would never lighten... but subtly grow heavier each time. Playing in sand or just through the daily life away from those games. Sometimes they lighten up (optimistically), but they fill up in due time.
I've lived like the Dreamer
and left that all behind
like the passn' birds before me
searchn' for warmth
Oh, these cold dark nights
are hard on my soul
oh, these cold dark nights
they sure pay a toll
oh, this cold dark abyss
quite the treacherous toll
Sunday, December 5, 2010
stabbed in the back by a rusty crucifix.
Deciphering through justice
our greatest minds falling prey to causality.
beating hearts of truth felt deep
I've seen friends go mad in contradictions wake.
self-deception seems fit, so fight we must -
aimless and faceless we fight amongst us.
Established as crazy, far gone
by the majority society sees fit.
street art leads the way for the rats pull astray
oh americas, where do you lay?
Why do you laugh so?
Chuckle at my contradictory behaviors
my slacking lazy bones
even this willy-nilly stature upheld
We crazy underground men
filled with laziness
stuck are we in conundrums wake.
how it is ever a spectators game
Oh americas, watch us burn
with limp minds and dull bodies
americas watch these flaming paradoxes
these smoldering ends.
Baffled onlookers gaze on..
generations befuddled travelers
unceasingly praying and constantly smoking
onward down the road
I just wish to be but after learning & "intellectual higher consciousness" can this ever happen? or am I just and underground* man? This is most likely untrue... just a fool am I, aimless in paradoxes. I am what I critique and nothing more.
Oh to will one thing! Just be, just to be...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
These feelings grow stronger for her as a couple say hello, this couple all clingy and matching each other... They appear to be a new couple or at least still have some flame between them. She gazed at them fondly as though that's what she wants... then peered back to her boyfriend wondering why are we not the same? but gives into this is what she has, so she shouldn't argue or push against the grain. I don't know why she sticks with it, but I'm preaching to the choir here. I've done this exact same thing. I've been there; in complacency or some deeper push of trying to make it work. Pushing through and closing off to what matters only works, for so long. She thinks no one notices, but oh they do and I do. I feel for her... I've been on each side of such a debacle. More times the dude I see, but self-conscious and never in sweats.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?", Banksy.
The path to the cross is suffering, the end is death. How will we leave this labyrinth of suffer? Perhaps, heaven? Not quite sure anymore, but perhaps even it's the peace or joy in the labyrinth.
What shall we learn? Yes, we suffer indeed. But why not pick up some sort of talent? Learn to play music, knit, draw, etc. Kafka suffered, Plath depression, Tolstoy, depressed through his own pursuits... Great writers but they created from despair for muse, like Kierkegaard. When that eternal despair wilted, so did the muse... perhaps I don't know anything. I'm just the same anyhow, less structured and I use more stencils (quotes.)
Is a race really a term of endearment or proper analogy for life? Biblically a good term for hope and despair in the cross, taking the burden of the cross. Socially, not as much by the tagging term, "rat race" life isn't a race to be won, who really wins in the end? It's like the end of an eating contest, there is no winner... In the bathroom context so to speak, the full circle of such an event.
Even then, all allegories have there issues, Tolstoys allegory in the well or the labyrinth, where is hope? Perhaps it fits on the context of our suffering itself and the juxtaposition to each event. Forever paradoxical, not just a lexical gap for the issue but a black-hole in our understanding not even light can escape. Time and space is altered to it's (The black-holes entity) and not our own, the damn Thou not the I's/it's perception...
If success is counted sweetest to those who ne'er succeed then it's not the race, but the journey? "so not all who wander are lost" but just seeking? Seeking what? I have no answer... guess I'll just enjoy being lost. Whenever I find myself thinking I'm right on an issue, I learn later and very roughly that I am so very wrong.
I'm in this shadow you cast
Far and Beyond.
Don't mind; combust if I must...
Flames, burning twirling brightly graffitiing skylines
feeding the auroras ; Borealis to Australis
Grasped still by shadows cast
splishing and splashing about.
Ought naught fight expectations set
for nought is all returned.
bending breaking the withering tree,
what that was, was never me.
Despite the inquiry of such, I depart
Depart from these weary lands
filled with anguish traversing paths
questioning of which, depths of Faith
No longer warm, no longer sought
out of sight from peaks above.
Disbarred from joy; pry these lips from upon this alter
Reap from which you sow no more.
Vast the distance, silent the path
Destruction awaits. peer in my soul...
gazing down the barrel
how bitter and colds this night.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
She had an brutally honest with quite a bit of tact and left me baffled intellectually... but emotionally thrilled. If I was Sisyphus, I had finished and made it to the top but as soon as my mind caught up. I was back to the bottom of the hill to start all over again.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
and there you stayed; until today.
the windy city and north country blues
seen far beyond the skyline; into deep infinity
for there, was a true love of mine.
indeed, down the way... she may be gone.
I still defy the stars.
I fucked up long ago; tripped up in my trap.
You may see her on the trapeze artists road, Cadillac parked in.
for there she is,
two worlds in shots frame.
beating hearts, pacing minds, running the race...
down beat paths, laden disasters hiding away...
pounding, hitting, slapping, clawing out into frame...
but when all is said and done.
And if's and but's were candies and nuts...
wouldn't give no shits anyhow.
So trolley come on up, wasn't homeward bound anyhow.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
from shooting star to rising sun.
passionate bursts in direction sought
into set breezes passin'
prudent sense of indiscretions.
laden path set indolence
in the course of time perhaps idiotic
live recklessly young
much seen with keen eyes
Gin filled grin, from the top window in
Chaotic in flight; one to the next
this copper-eyed angel seen from afar
waving on high, to gatherers below.
This copper-eyed misery
pan-handling on-lookers; (grace)
madness flows like a stream
never ending, righteousness
holds up like a
never shaking mountain
interchanging gospel lenses
drifting towards insanity
madmen raging yelling crowing screeching
lending single lenses
Truth of truths, beyond all measure
socially inept, physically stature.
in the shadows Romanesque manor.
Rough around edges
Kierkegaard's withering ironic eternal flower.
Love for all it's worth
finding haystacks among the needles.
All the intently derived narratives,
vacantly speaking forward in time.
intensity high, the end is nigh.
Now gazing out, pondering so.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
with prose and cons.
The draping curtains;
in light of orangish/blues,
falling around curves.
Peering down the mountain tops.
Flowing peaks of Colorado
orange/purple rooftops to the smooth grasslands.
searching the towering pillars
from top to bottoms, I've looked.
Keeping each measure,
on the rooftop of america.
Rough around edges
Kierkegaard's withering eternal flowers.
Love for all it's worth
pulling hay among the needles.
Monday, November 1, 2010
what was and is to come
still calm center standing,
eying back deeply staring
inside, out this harsh dark night;
translucent in this gazing view
In the colossals sight
She's dimly dying
back to dust of which we came
tranquil colours; of lofty settings
towering down beyond high waters.
precipitations bound to fall
no luck in short ends
meek and bleak this colossus tears.
caught in self-deception
of what was and is to come
some twenty odd years.
A colossus grew
amongst the storm.
pieces laden; distraught
the maiden, aimless is she.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
the meaty autumn breeze
stings as a slap
gritty cold sand between my feet
white foam flows
rocking softly to the shore
amongst the shells and pebbled rocks
wiping discretions clean
rest at ease these rocky shores
appease the passersby
extend a helping hand
take hold, take hold the water-chopped shores
leaving traces in sand
doesn't take long for time to take hold
and mend the placement in time.
displacing all constants
taking hold, taking hold
these green-blues splashing and swirling
revealing the tame grasping strength
that subtly hides in the ocean blue
but fear not the tide
nor the passersby with time
fret not this distorted sea
in due time, all will just be
Saturday, October 30, 2010
An icon of the Midwest
a majestic play land
The sand pit of mystery
Pacing on meat and potatoes
no core practice
distinguished one size fits all
brought sheer malice
indulgence in mass markets
silk lining and brass tacks
market of faith
sprauled out dreams
forlorn the future
screams the commentor
beware powers that be
shouts the pundit
forsaken the poor
reads the prophet
by blood and faith
cries the redeeming son
hear no evil
see no evil
speak no evil
says the blind man?
drawing down time
like the eternal flower.
fire and damnations
spouts from hell
hope nowhere near
peddles dwindle down
it was written in sand
and as the tides come
it's washed anew
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
'tis all I ponder
all I've sought
what ales me so.
masochist motions forward
into a trudging pit; despair.
never quite sure...
never quite through...
It's progress I suppose
on your own
do as you will
oh, the cadaverous broken soul
the butchered souls
the burning souls
the new souls
the old souls
The ghouls that haunt us,
sins behind closed doors
forever more, perpetual motion
inside the darkest depths
ready to blow...
"It's not necessarily that you are incorrect."
"Then what would I be? If not incorrect, I would be correct..."
"No, that's not it. I'm not talking about the core issue of right and wrong."
"If you allow me the pleasure of speaking, I shall tell you."
"ok... please, go on."
"It's in the issue of tact and no tact."
"yes, how you handle the situation. In which you are so gun-ho in proving yourself, you forget people are people. Yes, we will hurt other peoples feelings. That's not saying that you negate how you talk to people all together. You know?"
"Well if we deal with everyone like Childrean, we won't get anywhere."
"Not... not the point."
"Then what is your point?"
"That you can do as you wish... but tact and love is important."
"If we deal in just love, no one will ever change."
"Then do what you wish my friend."
"I guess this is the difference between a pacifist and my own opinion."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
She thought for a second and mentioned real quick, "I'll sip it." She picked up the cup really fast and took a sip. "It's great!", she said. The coffee is $1.48 and she gave me a $5.00 bill. I exchanged the change she had. I told her to have a great day and enjoy her coffee. She perked right up and said, "You too!" very excited. I fell in love.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Baths were far more of a commonality for me when I was younger, I feel that is the same for anyone. There is the opinion of if you can do it sitting, you might as well... showers just seem so much more grown up in my mind. In the past few years, they have started to become more frequent but only under situations of stress or when in need of relief. I believe this is a trait I picked up from my last ex-girlfriend who when ever noticing I was under a great deal of struggle or strife would bring up a bath for me. Leave in some music and a book, just let me be with some tea. One of the few things I gained of positive strength from then. Which is another story...
I digress, in my younger days I read a bit on alchemy and like most things. It became full circle, years later reading up on more alchemy. It was the start of chemistry, so why not. In the mean time though, I read much of religions around the world... theologies to a great extent. Which engulf almost all of my time. To understand religion one must know philosophy and history. The effects are great and useless to just know one or the other. They all balance one another to bring us closer to understanding. This was before I knew a deeper truth.
I find myself at a point, sitting in a tub where I grew up. Relaxing after working and reading for the day. Previously in the day I learned that not only did a psychologist Carl Jung study alchemy, he used it in comparing to psychology itself. Many things in history can be linked to alchemy. Even Christianity, Thomas Aquinas studied alchemy. Issac Newton spent more time on alchemical research than physics. Islam, Buddhist, Hinduism... all have past relations to the elixir of life, the philosophers stone, lapis... pursuits of eternal life and immortality. Searching for deconstructions of elements to bring them back together once again into another, better material. Through equal exchange or the ability to create through other nonequivalent means. Through perhaps some great work from within ourselves, humanity.
Reaching no true or realistic end point for thought. I put my head under the tub water, not hoping for anything but to clear my mind with a glazed vision through the tub water. As I feel the water settle, I hear everything around me... clearer. Music gently playing, cellphone buzzing, heater kicking on, the house moving and water rustling. I can slightly hear the train about half a mile from my home. Passing over the tracks going to who knows where... and I wonder, if anyone is on there... if they can sense me sitting still as my mind moves in awe and wonder of what the hell is going on.
In that strange moment, I have some hope and inclination that we are all connected and necessary. Needed, though built with the same compounding elements and spitting image of whatever God or gods created us. Unique, necessary, normal, ordinary and all together complexly tied and bound to something I'll never quite get.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
we dig for the underworld
opening pandora's box
confusing I & Though
for sustaining self-satisfactions
and the moment...
seeming all to trivial.
OH! the ticking of time
the work & mystery
all that can be seen
the heart that can mend anew
and change being ever constant
Continue seeking the Heavens...
There's better ways to bide your time
then to look back and see your lost years
lack a sense of empathy
wrap yourself in apathy, unless it's for yourself.
Bring dramatics to this place
I don't care to run that race
pull away from that void
I feel comfy here in my own space
I'm sorry never cut it
miscommunication was rubbish every time
my throat was cut long ago
inevitable to end, complacency kept us here
It's the opposite of apathy
when taking matters for yourself
What takes presidence today
is the worry you've gained.
Written by: Kristoffer Denoyer
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This is part of the narrative from the main character... needs editing, lots of editing!
You know those days where, you just ignore calls, texts, facebook messages, instant messages and if you can, someone at your door? I've been in one of those moods lately where all I do is go to work and come home to eat some food. The biggest thing I did this week was get a chai latte w/soy as I was grocery shopping. Also, it has not been just a day. More accurately, about a week it's been. My phone is ringing right now, I can hear it from underneath something in the room. It's been so long I can't quite remember where I left it sit. There can be a million and one reasons I decided to lock myself up, but none of them were to write. None of that has gotten done this week, I've watched more old Nickelodeon cartoons this week. Which was a lot of ''Angry Beavers.'
Part of me wishes I was locking myself up to write in this long extended period. A writer Chuck Palahniuk wrote in his book ''Stranger than Fiction'' that a writer goes between being very outgoing and public to just not. Going between loneliness of writing, making the work all you know. Until you are finished and go right back outside again to meet more people, finding more stories to form into something. I love this, it just was never me. I had to be in it and around people while I wrote. It's not like I would forget or something, it was more of a journal. Later on I form a song or poem, from time to time a short story. Everyone around gave the right push or right idea to get the ''juices'' flowing in the proper direction.
Which brings my thoughts to another writer I love. I find some strange connection between that idea of locking yourself into how John Green discusses how writing for him can losing himself in nostalgia. He brings up a quote by Emily Dickinson, "Success is counted sweetest/ by those who ne'er succeed." It was during a time he was visiting his ole stomping grounds at his boarding school, he even wrote about it in ''Looking for Alaska.'' This smoking hole everyone used to smoke at, it was passed down to the different students along the way. When he arrived he found no cigarette butts there, so first thinking, ''maybe no one smokes anymore, that would be great.'' A thought came in of, 'What if no one remembers this place. Perhaps the spot that was supposed to be a legacy is gone to be left and never remembered.' He looked up to see that Dickinson quote ''graffiti'' on the wall from a few years previous to his visit. Giving him hope and losing himself in thinking this place is not lost. It will be remembered. The legacy of his and who he knew will be remembered for years to come. As if that moment will be shared like liturgy is shared throughout time. The past, future and present will be enjoying the glory of the smoking hole together into infinity. Going far, but it's what we hope for in our pursuits to leave something behind. In Greens' height of nostalgia, gets stung by a bee. He relates this later on to writing. Most of his moments are real, like Palahniuks' stuff some basis to it is realistic to begin with. Green discusses how when he writes he cannot be taken out of his stories by a bee sting and that his past can be remembered in that way. That perhaps being young is sweetest from those who are no longer young. Even in it's despair and pain, it's different in the eyes of those grown. Writing about it is the only thing that keeps it real... "Youth is counted sweetest by those who are no longer young.", Green. No broken glass on the ground I cut my foot on when swimming in the river with my friends.
Perhaps that's what these weeks are for, a reset in nostalgia... (where ever I feel like going with that... leave it for later.)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Transcription of the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address - May 21, 2005
(If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"
This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story ["thing"] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.
Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. So let's talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about quote teaching you how to think. If you're like me as a student, you've never liked hearing this, and you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. But I'm going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we're supposed to get in a place like this isn't really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I'd ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.
Here's another didactic little story. There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. And the atheist says: "Look, it's not like I don't have actual reasons for not believing in God. It's not like I haven't ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn't see a thing, and it was fifty below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out 'Oh, God, if there is a God, I'm lost in this blizzard, and I'm gonna die if you don't help me.'" And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. "Well then you must believe now," he says, "After all, here you are, alive." The atheist just rolls his eyes. "No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp."
It's easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people's two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy's interpretation is true and the other guy's is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from INSIDE the two guys. As if a person's most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice. Plus, there's the whole matter of arrogance. The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They're probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. But religious dogmatists' problem is exactly the same as the story's unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn't even know he's locked up.
The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too.
Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realist, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.
Please don't worry that I'm getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being "well-adjusted", which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.
Given the triumphant academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets very tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education -- least in my own case -- is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.
As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.
This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.
And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.
By way of example, let's say it's an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home. You haven't had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be: very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. And the store is hideously lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it's pretty much the last place you want to be but you can't just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store's confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough check-out lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can't take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.
But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.
Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn't yet been part of you graduates' actual life routine, day after week after month after year.
But it will be. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides. But that is not the point. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it's going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way. And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.
Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious liberal arts form of my default setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic being disgusted about all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV's and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks, burning their wasteful, selfish, forty-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper-stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest [responding here to loud applause] (this is an example of how NOT to think, though) most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers. And I can think about how our children's children will despise us for wasting all the future's fuel, and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and selfish and disgusting we all are, and how modern consumer society just sucks, and so forth and so on.
You get the idea.
If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn't have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It's the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's priorities.
The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he's in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.
Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.
Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it's hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat out won't want to.
But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she's not usually like this. Maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible. It just depends what you what to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.
This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it JC or Allah, bet it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and [unintelligible -- sounds like "displayal"]. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don't just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.
The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.
It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
"This is water."
"This is water."
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.
I wish you way more than luck.
Back to marginalia.org
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The narratives have been written, tides turn consistently, push and push we must until the dam breaks and freedom reigns in a destructive wrathful swipe. Two of the lesser evils, two sided coin of the same end. I still pull hay from the stack... no more I wish to feed on.
"As destructive as the world is, what god needs an apocalypse with such a creation as humanity?"
Friday, September 24, 2010
St. Francis wouldn't go, hey be like me... he'd say, be like Jesus and what the true-self that is in you would be. Jack Kerouac wouldn't want you to use his book as a handbook into his idiocy or intellectual beat ways, however you see that. I don't wish to be like Bob Dylan, to where my art takes over and nothing else is me besides that one thing. I could just be presuming far too much though and I cannot speak for these people, so in a way I selfishly speak for myself. From where I am at.
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"
I'm no old fish to tell you the water or what that is... or what temperature makes it luke warm or what percentage of salt makes a sea, the sea. Not here to say that the water is your reality as a fish and you've been missing it the whole time. I can in no way say what your waters are or will be. I can let you peer into what I've seen and the waters I've been through and share those moments, those infinite moments at sea or the nostalgic past where bees, broken glass and ex-girlfriends I don't talk to can't pull me away. I could also show the murky waters of the broken glass, ex's and poor decisions along the way.
But in no way would I want you to be just like me, express art how I do or divulge in life as I do exactly. I feel Kerouac and Dylan would agree. You're happening and don't let that happening stop, dig what is around you, but don't do it for the norm of that group or that you are trying to pull into some inner artist you wish to push out. Being surrounded by the weird doesn't make you an artist or surrounding yourself with spiritual people doesn't make you spiritual. Tolstoy surrounded himself with thinkers and writers, just to realize it's pretentious and tedious. They wrote for their own indulgences in groups and couldn't careless of the world around. Thomas Merton didn't want his books to sell, he'd try and write them different so they wouldn't go anywhere. I doubt he'd say, live like me. I wish to stray away from those who say such things. Follow Christ for the paths that were paved for you from the dirt and sand, for He knows the path for you. Beauty is all around to learn from... from fire breathing rings to pop artist shows.
So I'll try and be me, whoever that is...
even if that is quietly watching and analyzing... understanding something I may never get and joining in when the feeling strikes me. Not so curious as to jump right in to everything possible searching for all experiences, for somethings... I'll just take heed and learn. But never stray away from the oddity of it all, but I don't necessarily need to jump head first.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
flaming raging flowing through veins
thicker then blood
burning twirling flaming minds
spiritual sisters & brothers
under these nights sky's
Spinning bursts boldly blazing
the light that burns brightly
burns half as long
Thursday, September 16, 2010
"A good man would try to spare lives as possible but a great man would stop such injustice before it occurred."
Is this idealistic perspective based on my definition of justice, injustice, righteousness and irrational self-serving idea of justice?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I really am at a crossroads...
Friday, September 10, 2010
Your the best home I know
We've flown to the moon and left our foot prints
and all the classy times had
hope I took care of you as you took care of me
So long, Illinois
we found Poseidon depths there
You were scared when we chimed right in
So long, Illinois
and the advice that you shared
Like telling me to stay when my bird had took off
So long, Illinois
and all the times we shared
like when we did the breast stroke
and saw that breaching whale
There is another way
I read that it changed on the 3rd day
So good day, Illinois
there's one thing I've learned
that I ain't seen these things in vein
This is my last verse
You have been my greatest curse...
This is a song, I have the chords and all of that. Really just a journal I wrote about how I miss home and I listened to ''Chicago'' by Sufjan too many times. I wanted my own song for home. One that selfishly has hidden meanings that only a few close friends will understand. This is how I felt when going to Texas and it's not a good song... just a song of how I can't move on from home. No matter where I go, I just couldn't and can't move on from here.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation
God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:
"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory -- must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I won't forget this... "Oh, I forgot you have grace." still confused... I'm nowhere near to graceful or compassionate. Where is my place or for that, where is the place of a pastor these days?
Monday, September 6, 2010
I remember this so well, because the day she was buried, that ring was still on her hand. A fake engagement but a real moment, that I shall never ever forget.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I once knew a girl
who broke my heart
with a text message
I’ll write a song
of how she did me wrong
but no words come to mind
This is just a rambln’ song
about that girl but I never even cared
The news is on
with all it’s absurdity
It’s just clanging gongs
I could write a song
and all the injustice done
This is just a rambln’ song
about the politicians I never voted for
Now it’s Sunday morning
and the preacher is preachn’
all about the Word
I could write a song
a gospel hymn
giving all praise to His name
This is just a rambln’ song
about our Lord it feels so unlike me
Forget the girl that left me
it never really mattered
it’s just old news
(it’s just dust in the wind)
about those politicians
who ain’t face value
Caveat emptor to all
can be a stress
but it’s home for now
(Jesus is coming back around)
this is just a rambln’ song
about my life and where I’m standn’ at
Monday, August 30, 2010
The anxious settling
stomach all tied in knots
tossing, turning, sleepless nights
all nerves at ease
traveling is settling in these veins
and haven’t yet departed
When it appears everyone is lying
push and pull to pry the underlining meaning
no more allegories, poetics nor prose
straight truth of what your meaning
it’s a cool breeze on the summers day
supple rain during a dry heat
luscious greens and blues transcend all things
but those smiling dimples with breezy brown hairs
keep me focused all day
her dazed and confused pale days
when all changes
mumbled words, mixed in errors
one hundred eight degrees
where the hell did it go, unsettling
Remember that day, we acted married
the 25 cent ring, for ten minutes more
would give to infinity
just for one minute back there
Just mixed up confusion
and Lord it’s killn’ me., Dylan
Just passengers on the train
Thank God, nowhere but here
Headn’ over Jordan, I’m headn’ home
pick me up I’ve fallen
while meeting someone new
I wonder what you’d be thinkn’
This I’ll never know
I’ll never know
stomach filled with whiskey and coffee
apathetic towards the sleepless nights
nerves all shot
the minds only at ease traveling
by, Kris Denoyer
Friday, August 13, 2010
2. lack of interest or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.
3. Also, Apatheia - freedom from emotion of any kind.
Origin: 1600 French, "Freedom from suffering"
Latin, Apatheia, "Freedom from suffering, impassibility" from Apathes, "without feeling," from a- "without" + pathos "emotion, feeling, suffering."
Originally positive quality, sense of "indolence of mind, indifferent to what should excite."
I ask myself, "Does the negative or positive of this lead me to any of the choices I make? Or is there a positive to such a thing? Perhaps it's just negative, where it's a slippery slope to forgetting humans and becoming locked in a tight little bubble. Have I made decisions of pacifism, vegetarianism, friendships, relationships, theological views based on... apathy or genuine care?"
I would hope the latter, but I will give this some deep thought. Sorry for no answer, I just have contemplation.
I find the word usage very intriguing, "Freedom from suffering." Could be true, not letting the emotions of the situation get the best of you, but at the same time it could be quite negative. Not letting any emotion come in what so ever, could create a disconnect.. anywho, I'm just rambling.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Recently I realized while being the teacher at youth group, it really doesn't matter. I'm considered as just a child and at most someone to pawn things off of. Your child lied? I'm sorry, I told him not to. I'm at fault, because... I told him too? I remember very differently... ok, guess it doesn't matter. I'm the fall man and since you consider me a child, why do I put time and effort into lessons? You don't seem to care about me, I'm a baby sitter... a child watching after children. I guess I should feed them milk as well. Get the pun there? ahaha I laughed, I need the humor.
So to my point... it seems every time I work and strive to help, well I think I'm doing good work and God is working through me. The opposite happens. I get run out of town, not literally. ahaha feels like it. Maybe it is as Wesley says, if I haven't been run out of town I haven't preached the gospel correctly. This could be by actually living and preaching the gospel or great circumstances.
I knew this kid, I wasn't a close friend of his... but I really can't be now. I heard the story of how he passed and it's sort of stuck with me for some reason or another. This will be depressing, I must warn you. one night, the wrong night.. he got drunk. In the wrong part of town and decided to use a phone. Wrong neighborhood, wrong time, wrong house to knock on the door. This guy apparently had a bad night and was waiting for someone else. This drunk young gentlemen was treated to being shot at the wrong house. All created by bad circumstances.
Now I know, the fall of man and the entrance of sin. Bad things happen...but it does lead one to wonder, what is the point? When a barrel is waiting at the next random house on a bad evening... just waiting there for you to make one uneducated mistake. He shouldn't of been drunk, nor went to a random house. In a way we are all stumbling through life and can make such a mistake ourselves.
So it could be a grander plan or it could be nothing... ahaha not really sure, I'll let you know when my day comes and I sit in front of my maker. Well if I do make it there.
anywho, here is a short story I wrote.
In the purpose of story, I am not a man to care about what most would see as significant knowledge. It really is not of great purpose in what I do. I mean, it is as simple saying I ask not how this existence has come about? I ask, why and to what extent is it here? 'How?' has too many theories and you could say that even 'why?' has just as many or more. It is really an issue of empirical knowledge vs rhetorical. The how it happened can have palpable truths, but the why is far more paradoxical. The moral paradox seems much more enthralling than a theory of two universes converging in a wormhole.
Saying all that, I must wonder who in their right minds would relate to a character such as myself. I mean, relating and having empathy for a character is what draws one in, yes? I would not feel any pains or lasting sadness if you were to put this short story down right now.
If it is not something you dig, then continue on your search. Perhaps you will find relevancy and shalom (peace) elsewhere friend. I mean, what common person wants to be Holden Caufield, Tony Stark and for some of us Ayn Rand? Even Kierkegaard forced himself into despair, what a fine idea he had.
My apologies, I have not properly introduced myself. I am Thomas Whitman. Not Tom, not Whit or Wit. Please no witty or lame nicknames. It's either Thomas, Whitman or Thomas Whitman. I have no middle name. No, I never wrote down no middle name on documents. I have no jokes of any sort pertaining to it. For any matter, since I don't have a middle name... I do not write down a middle name. It's just a useless spot on forms in my opinion.
I digress, I am a man of many ages. I find the older I become the younger I am. Dylan said once, "Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." You'll find that I am a man of quotes, Solomon the wise said, there is nothing new under the sun. Which is the smartest thing he ever said. You have to be pretty intelligent to figure out something so obvious. Being an analytical man myself, I miss the bigger picture. But do no fret, the portrait is mostly hidden anyhow. You see no cat and no cradle... but so it goes. (Vonnegut)
Alas, I have so much to say... but I have so little time my dear friend. For I fear my time is near. Wait, I do not know why I wrote that last sentence. I do not fear the end of my time. "Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread you last day. Nor long for it." Marcus Aurelius. He may have been a horrid man in the eyes of some of my brothers and sisters, but his philosophies were fabulous. Even poetics and Christian morals can come from a man who persecuted them. You can find great hope from a single crack in the darkest of moments.
Perhaps not telling you simply about myself will be the better choice. It appears one could pull out some understanding even from such a diatribe so poorly written. Do not worry, there is a story at play here. Patience just does not appear, it is gained with great trial. Some call via salutus (way to salvation), holiness or deification.
I ponder as to how I am at this place you see me now. As you hopefully have noticed there are three sets of prints. Two of them going up... as you can tell mine end where you have found me. One heading back down, I would assume and another that continues after I had fallen. I do not fear my end, but the taste of the fruits that grow up top that I will not receive. For that taste and sight over that mountain top seems so appealing to every sense of my mortal and eternal being.
On the other hand the mountain top could be tainted fruits or in some perpetual nonexistence. Which baffles me if so, the dirt below my feet makes the journey so real. What sick and hideous joke it would be if it was so different than my presuppositions have always lead me to believe. Wait! Not presuppositions, for my conscious has been as a compass and the pointer has lead the way.
If finding nonexistence was the pointing light of the soul; Then why would there be moral obligations naturally set into our subconscious? If the moral self was in constant leading into no existence while embracing a false self; Why would uneducated anarchy not reign supreme?
Knowing that you have read this far and not put down my letter. I feel we would have been friends and such a splendid dialogue would ensue. In another life I suppose.
I do not wish to take much of your time, for you have further to go I would guess. Also, I wish to assist you. For what is a life worth living if they do not help in making the world a better place? Do not look to live just as I did, for not even the saints would wish that. I would think they would want you to learn from them and be your own. Take from their mistakes and triumphs. They were sand, just as you or I.
As you think of me, I don't need to be remembered specifically. For behind this mask of a Thomas Whitman there is a plethora of layers in which make my soul. Without even being there, I know you are just the same. Consisting of a million different faces, places, perspectives, sufferings, passions and loves. Both self-loathing and narcissistic, you find yourself the same place as I. For better or worse, you shall find out.
I have never sought after much. I don't think people seek narcissism or how to love themselves. For that, I don't think many people seek fame. It just happens or I could be placing my ideas on others. For I didn't seek to be where I ever was. It happened and whatever I was or am came from such happenings. Like this mountain top, it was in the list of happenings. It was the next most probable and logical occurrence of course.
I hope not to cause a disconnect here. For we do not all live in happenings or a similar logic. I must ask though that for this moment, you accept that. To at least place yourself in my shoes. I must once again go back to the beginning, I will not hold anything against you for getting up and to decide to never finish reading. I never will read any novel by Faulkner. Forever I will pick it up and set it back down, to never be finished. I will not hold a double standard in such a matter.
I am sorry if it seems I am lecturing. In my days I was a professor and a preacher, it's what comes naturally to me. The combination makes for a man who does not shut up when asked of his opinion. You may laugh, that was my crack at humor
Monday, May 10, 2010
With a new year does not mean a conversation is new. With the birth of Luther or Wesley did not mean the Church or "real" Church began, not at all! It was with Christ, we are commentaries and our conversations have been going on for ages. WE should not be so arrogant to believe just because I enter this dialog it has now started. It is literally older than dirt. It started with God, beginning and end.
So we pose a ''I think there for I am'' standard of time? What about the Church fathers and saints... Errasmus or St. Francis. By saying this is new do we disregard there trials and sufferings of the Gospel?
What seems to be occurring could be a small thing in the spectrum of time and a fabric of it could hold true of what seems to be the core of a paradigm switch. The emergent Church seems to want to ask questions and uphold truths. The problem is the far end of the spectrum that is feared. That there is no truth and we cast all orthodoxy aside, in my simple mind could be a path towards post-Christendom that is also perhaps feared. But that is just the extremist view. What the core of it appears to be is orthodokandia the heart and passion of our orthopraxy. To say we have our orthodoxy perfect and praxy fail is a spiritual down fall. James "Faith without works is nothing."
Because this movement has been so prevalent means there is some credibility, correct? Perhaps its' not this that disturbs others... but the post-modern pull, Which is a totally other bag of fun...
Paul thought he was to preach before Caesar. But nah, he was chained to a table instead. Boldly and without hindrance spoke to those who were near. He was to love those close instead of these earth shattering I TAUGHT BEFORE CAESAR thing. How can we make changes if we can't do that simple thing of love this town, neighborhood, block or even those in our church.
The message is for all. Everyone, this good news and love. If God is Love and this Gospel is for all then love is for all.
Paul at this end was under house arrest loving "without hindrance" to preach the Gospel under great persecution even. We can see similarities of this in Bonehoffer.
'Jesus, I don't think during His walk on earth asked do you think this is a social or political problem? to a hungry person, he fed them because to a hungry person bread is the Gospel.' Tutu
Preach the Gospel, when necessary speak. (can't remember who said that)
So it's a love around us thing. I mean I think of worldly issues and problems. Famine, destruction, Child soldiers... it can drive one insane.
Jesus did a lot of fixing the cosmos bringing a chaos into order again. But when we see Him in His actions its very personable, how can we change a world when our brothers and sisters are not loved by us?
We say God's love is beyond us, undeserving but we receive that love, unconditionally. Christ died to show that love, so all was unified. Paul is a demonstration of such in his imprisonment, but the opposite is the freedom he was bestowed from Christ. He is imprisoned but his soul is free.
"Freedom will break out. People are made for it just as plants tend towards the light and water." Tutu
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
seems to have died with the first generation iPods, you know the ones, with no videos and were like 5 pounds. It had the scrolly wheel, that's what made it cool... they are still cool but now you can touch the screens instead.
I digress, in the age of twitter, youtube, and being able to update everyone on your status regularly; the idea of writing in a public journal seems obsolete... even though I trudge forward, not for the want of a reader (even though some day I'd like to actually write in a more, novel like format and have people read it) but for the constantly forever bettering of a writing style.
If history tells me right, language and writings have been the best tool for understanding civilization.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
To think of it in such is arrogant and immoral.
To feel as though your perfect world would work can mean a good heart or it's inevitably gonna be a totalitarian society. What shall you do with those that disagree? Does your world collapse or does the disagreer (pretty sure that isn't a word, but it's the person who disagrees with said thought of as a perfect world... sorry.) get destroyed even denied access to what is "your" ideal realm?
Our Christian duty isn't just to love but to show Eternal Grace filled Love.
Organizations don't save a world, it isn't a living breathing thing. It doesn't change with the times. It's merely a wilting flower, perishing.
Do not place hope in man, place hope in God. Trust his spirit to work through people, if you deny humanity, you can deny Gods works even. It's just how you place hope, in a way. Perhaps, a passion in Faith.
Love is paradoxical. People are hypocritical.
God is love.
People lack understanding and obtain their own presuppositions.
Foolish enough to compare Gods love to our own.
Grace is for all and everything. Amen.
Unnecessary confrontations occur when you place your own dispositions and presuppositions upon others.
We are humans living, it's hard to do anything away from that.
You can easily criticism me, I am not what I write but I write in hopes I can be such. There is no formula for life and if there was. Mine would be significantly different then yours.
It's easy to come to scriptures in an 'it' instead of Thou. In which it's more of get to know God in all we do. Where as an 'it' can just be some magical being that is at our beck and call instead. What would be Grace if we have a pixie to save the day? Once can say Jesus is like a magical pixie, until the point of choices to follow Him (away from Calvinism, the assumption is more of a Wesleyan background) where the pixie can just fix it.
There are transitions in Faith alone, the love your neighbor commandment is just a doing but can be a doing love (just loving as I'm told to), a need remember to love, it can be a love doing. Even a love loving. I fell in love with the commandment but it was more of a loving and learning who God is. He revealed Himself in the commandment and in my Loving others. Alse he revealed Himself in the ones I love. I can find more of Him in everything around.
"I used to wonder where You are, but now I wonder where You're not!"
I pray I can do this.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Olivet - Common Grounds
I'm sitting in the far back corner (left) of the café de le sol commando grounds. I sit with my back to the exit door that no one uses. For what it has been the past days, it's nice outside but still cold. I can feel the uncomfortable cold on my back but the heat coming from the vents (perspiring occurs) in the front of my body. Goosebumps amongst chills in the back. Yet my body is to confused to decide on which as a constant. Neutral Milk Hotel pumping from the iPods small speakers in the center of the table. Next to my journal, Works of Love and cellular phone laying atop it. Across from that is Brocks' History of Ancient Philosophy book, with headphones astray on the table. Also Brock is here, well not currently. He is away to the water closet Also Known As the restroom... I wonder as to why it's called the restroom... technically no resting is involved. The water closet is confusing as well. Anyways, I digress, we sit here in a café', midwinter, no coffee (no drinks at all actually), reading and discussing.
Ugh... I'm starving.
4:52 pm - 8 minutes ti'll 5:00 pm
- 23 minutes ti'll dinner.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Mediocrity is a killer, the stabilizer of the spirit to absolute zero. The force to create an ‘I and It’. A pull back into the false-self of the self. Which is a mask of the same, a safe-self away from silence or pain or suffering (maybe), some mediocre mask with subtle differences, but always the same as the rest.
Purgation can occur, some divine ray of contemplation. Crack in the mask from a relation or conversation with the Thou, calling us in our dark state to make a crack in our mask of complacency. Any shining good only comes from the Lord but a change in our being. A “Great Perhaps” of what our life can be. For that what our heart or soul could be. A consistent battle between what our real and false self could be (in which a choice can be made.)
The false is quite tantalizing it isn’t an easy choice. We have a simple point of self-deception to cheat ourselves out of the best thing, Love, a graceful Love. The full passion of Christ (coming from a Christian pre-supposition.) There is a self-deception of us doing the right thing. But there is a living such a thing that changes active engagement. An “everything makes sense in light of the faith you now have. There’s a boiling point of Faith. Living experience of Faith transforms your rationality.” Until this point, the thought is quite unthinkable, unless you are reborn.
For most (people) such things are not instantaneous. The Ray of darkness in the dark soul takes time. Long days of silence, conversing, prayers, readings, and even frustration with tears. In a personal statement once seeing in (a great perhaps or the self –deceived perhaps), one finds himself in troubled strife’s with himself and all around him. It’s hard to turn back.
Hoping one day to have God face to face with our soul.
Seeing the eternal Love face to face. A love that never blossoms in doom it would one day perish. To perhaps one day comes through such turmoil into a manifestation at contemplation, speaking, and action (perhaps in stages.)
-St. John of the Cross
-St. John of the Cross