Come As You Are

Religion, like politics, is hard to write about from a global perspective. Religion is, and it should be, a deep personal experience. Notice my chosen word, not belief, not faith, but experience. If religion is based on faith alone, the bond between ones belief and their God is lacking a needed personal daily experience. That bond for me is steeped in the spiritualism of life as in, my wonder of the universal being. You know, the ability to be awestruck as I’m watching the Milky way weave through the clear night sky or perhaps feeling a sense of oneness with nature as I watch a leaf blowing across a country road, calling out the end of our summer days.

I try not to write about religion because of that deep seated personal respect I have for religion and the belief systems of people around the world. More, I just have a general respect for the beliefs of others whether I agree with them or not. Of course, there’s also some truth that every time I write about religion, I piss some one off, usually a good friend. For some reason, if you ask a question, the question is taken as an attack on their faith? If you disagree with their point of view, it’s an attack on their faith, If you ask about a recent archaeological discovery, it’s an attack on their faith.

My takeaway, people of religious faith yell and stomp their feet demanding I respect their faith yet give my belief system no credibility. They fail miserably in giving me one iota of respect for my beliefs while demanding I bow to theirs, and it’s getting to be old hat.

I’m getting tired of the religious ilk playing the victim card.

Now, the above said. I also know people who are deeply,  spiritually religious, meaning that their faith is one of experience, open to questions, to debate and the pursuit of knowledge. While I might not agree with them, I respect them and their beliefs religiously.

There is a huge difference between having faith and having a personal experience with your faith. Having a personal experience means that ones essential being, who they are as a person, comes from having that personal experience that is based in a certain spiritual relationship. A relationship that is free from the context and trappings of organized religion. Not that, that context is a bad thing. It’s not, in fact, those trappings of organized religion serve to benefit humanity in the form of social justice, community, and as a central belief in the goodness of man and woman. These are not evil things! Yet they become evil when the spiritual oneness of whatever God you choose to believe in, is missing. They become evil because without the accompanying spirituality, the closeness of God, they become hollow facades behind which people hide and yell, proclaiming the greatness of their god and the belittlement of all other beliefs.

I find little actual religion in those hollow voices. They are not who they claim to be and when they stand before their God, they will be standing as who they are.

The Coming Synth

I like sex. I believe it’s a natural biological function and I get there’s a thousand different ways to get off. Like everything else in our lives, thoughts on sex are evolving, or perhaps just changing. There’s a lot more acceptance of gender identity and sexual preferences these days, and I’m fine by that. Good lord, I’m even fine with furries, don’t understand it, but I’m fine with it. I also get that a lot of people are uncomfortable with anything other than what’s historically been considered ‘straight sex’. You know, the only right way to do it is between a man and woman, husband and wife, missionary style. I kinda get that too.

Like I said, sex is changing, now we’re in the dawn of a new technological age, where artificiality is soon to rule, and by that, look no further than the growth of life-like sex partners infused with artificial intelligence. To the point a synth will recognize you in a crowed room, remembers your sexual preferences, and has your last couple of conversations stored for reference. Weird shit for sure!

I originally intended to write about the weirdness of synth sex orgies when I came across this article, but I got to thinking about where evolution is headed for the our species, and I’ve always believed the next huge evolutionary step is merging with our technology. And I got to thinking. Scientists are already thinking of ways to construct an artificial brain where your consciousness can be downloaded. We’re also on track to grow embryos in an artificial womb.

Artificial bodies, brains and wombs are all on the doable track to accomplish in the next couple of decades. See where I’m going? It’s not going to be too much longer where you have a synth, with an artificial brain and womb! Throw in what we’re be able able to do with genetics in a couple more decades, and basically, the human species as we know it will have come to a screeching dead end. A sci-fyish future of synth wars could be in our future, and we all know how that’s going to turn out. I also can’t help but wonder if they will be better than us, more responsible. My guess is, probably not, with their synthetic brains being comprised of human needs, desire and wants, which means not much is going to change after all.

Power Through Hate?

Being a child of the 60s and a teen of the seventies, I grew up with domestic terrorism. The Weather UndergroundSLANew World Liberation FrontBlack Panthers and a host of others. While I didn’t sympathize with them, I understood them, understood what they were protesting against; inequality, Injustice, Imperialism, racism, war, all the social ills that have never changed. These new brand terrorist groups coincided with social movements such the student movements, movements for civil rights, women, gay rights, the environment and of course Viet Nam. Without doubt, one could argue that things changed due to the unrest, but how is it, nothing seems to have changed? Sure, we made some progress with civil rights, we became much more aware of our environment, women started being listened to, the war did end and public awareness of alternative sexual lifestyles entered the public American consciousness. All good things for most sensible people, but it seems that all the small steps of progress came to a screeching halt in the early eighties. Maybe we just grew tired, perhaps it was too much too soon, could be the wind just changed. I don’t know, I have my own opinion, and it’s politically based, having to do with Reagan and the rise of the moral majority, but I wouldn’t bet my life on my opinion.

While the turmoil of the time was based in far left ideologies, I’m worried that the next wave of domestic terrorism is going to be from far right ideologies. At some point in time, I believe it’s going to happen. I’m not ignorant of the fact that there already had been far right protests and killings, I’m just of the belief it’s going to get worse. A lot worse. Why? It would be easy to blame Trump, but Trump isn’t the cause, being just a symptom of the disease. The root cause is what lives in the hearts of the individual, in how they perceive the world around them. Who they blame for all the ills in their lives. In that fact, there’s a lot of similarities to those protesters and domestic terrorist of my youth. Everyone sees injustice through their own lens, and they personalize it, needing to blame someone, somebody, and usually the wrong somebody. There is, however, a concrete difference in perception between yesterday and today. Fifty years back, people wanted better, better for all Americans, not just a select group. Fairness and equality were a concept for all Americans, not a select group.

What I see today is a much different concept, based in hate, blame and fear. What the far right wants, and I’m not sure if it’s even a white america, as much as it is, a movement to secure power as theirs alone, at the expense of immigrants, people of color, people with alternative lifestyles, and anyone who isn’t Christian. It’s not a logical concept for a Democratic Republic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. It is! And I think they’re dead set on getting it, any means possible.

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Age is fundamental. Rocks become mountains, seeds plant their identity in their roots, the universe expands, then snaps back, and memories become entangled. What was once thought to be, never was; or is birthed anew? Once, I was in love with a woman I did not know, yet I believe she knew me, yet love was probably never part of her equation, if memory serves truth to be. From fields of sand, to a lush world of Pygmies and greens, she has sent me afar, and kept me close, tantalizing secrets and tidbits of clues along the way. Not one of which I comprehend.

Here I recline, in a tattered, worn lawn chair, on an airless moon, small and grey, rock and dust, end over end, everything in motion, and I’m contemplating the small circular structure laid out before me that rises up, out above the near horizon. A coin standing on edge, lacking support, marked with unknown symbols that match those that I wear around my neck. Markings that have no meaning in reference to known things, except I have seen them before, on a scrap of parchment as well the medallion.

There is a thought that nature encompasses living things, a blade of grass in a field of brown and green, the song of a bird calling the rising sun, a mosquito alighting on an inviting arm. This too is nature, a cold dark void where there is no breath, and yet I breath. Here too, I am part of the natural world even in the denial of what is natural. What should not be possible, often is. Once, a day long gone, an old man voiced to a young man’s ear, ‘that what can not be, can always be, and ask instead, how it can be?’.

I ask, there are no answers, and I question the realities of the universe spread out before me, a universe of darkness sprinkled with specks of past and future worlds. My mind plays, I hear a cowbell, and I take note of a glow off behind the erect circular coin. I watch, and wonder what I am about to witness.

Love is not a mysterious thing. There are a thousand different flavors of such, but love is often denied to those who need it most. A closed heart, an errant mindset closes the valves of a beating heart, leading to a desolate world. Love too, is appreciation, a delight in experience, and often opens a heart to new possibilities. The world changes, everything changes. The glow becomes a bit more colorful, and just above the close off horizon, a faint hint of a new world rotates into view, and my heart settles in a vapid pulse of wonder.

I am in a timeless place, where silence is replaced with a dance of ascending world peeking out slow and dutiful to music she alone is playing, and she alone can hear, but I believe the sounds to be a majestic rhythm in beat with my heart. A blue green world of land mass and oceans arises while I watch from my weathered lawn chair planted firmly in the moon dust of my desolated little rock of a moon.

I am small. Beaten and assaulted, tired, the breath of life taken by the journey. I am old. I am, in this misery, content. Beauty does nothing to wash away the truth of ugliness, yet I come to understand the ugliness is rooted in the foundation of the age. There is a grayness to it, a coming shadow, that the light of the new world casts upon the coin, payments that I have made, and been made, or perhaps now come due as the symbols before me come to light, casting their own shadows of light and blend, as they disappear from the surface of the coin, and I am awash from the light that penetrates through the voids of space and time. My little piece of rock is alighted, as I am, awash in symbology of a new world. I do not become one with the universe, that is another’s path, one denied this old fool, but I become one with my heart, and I now know, my journey is just continues.

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Patriotism Gone Wrong

‘Love for, or devotion to one’s country’ is a fairly simple definition for Patriotism. Yet with in those seven meaningful words lies a universe of interpretation. Your idea of love and devotion, are there limitations to love and devotion? Is it without question? Undying? What is country? The Government, the land, history, the people? All of it? For most Americans, our love for our country is rooted in our Constitution, our history. However you define the word, it’s more than a word, being a belief system. ‘We the people’ defines a dream, a collective belief for every word and sentence that follows. While collective, dreams are also personal. And changing. It’s one of the reasons our Constitution is a living breathing document. So too is our Declaration of Independence, with the  preamble, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’  Words that speak to personal truths, equality, personal religious beliefs and our basic human rights as citizens, and as human beings. All men are equal. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are our rights, our legacy, given to us by whatever creator we believe in. Rights expressed as truth that is evident to all.

This is where my patriotism lies, in ‘We the people’ and the preamble of the Declaration. My patriotism is not toward political party, our military, our president, our culture, our society, our media, but to each other, to my fellow citizens. It is a belief that regardless of who you are, where you’re from, who you worship, you’re sexual beliefs, or the color of your skin, we are equals, standing before our makers at the end of the day, naked and responsible for our behaviors. That each of us are entitled to our lives, to be free, to be happy.

We live in interesting times, heartbreaking times. Where patriotism is defined as loyalty. Not to a belief, but to party, to religion, to race, to culture, to people who are like minded. So much so, that there are those who betray American ideals for petty dictators, expressing their belief that patriotism is rooted in strength and oppression. Gone is the belief of equality, the dream of a better world quashed under the hollow words of subservience to the cause.

We have never been a perfect nation, we will never be a perfect nation. There will always be injustice, and inequality, there will always be wrongs, but as Americans, our history has been to resolve those wrongs. Yes, it has taken time. Yes, we have failed at times, and we continue to take our time, and we continue to fail on issues that need to be resolved. Time and failures are not reasons to cast one’s loyalty toward a given person, a particular party, or a foreign government. Doing so, refutes all that we have achieved as Americans, denying our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.

Truth of the Matter

Given the amount of information available on any given topic, one would think misinformation, myths and lies would be a thing of the past. One would think! Of course, we all know that’s not true, and in fact, we seem to be more confused to what the truth is on any given subject than ever. I’m not talking about flat earthers, or those claiming we never landed on the moon, there will always be a small segment of humans out on a weak limb. I’m thinking more along the lines of climate change, politics, and our media in general. For instance, News. I happen to believe what I read in the headlines of the major markets, but I understand, outlets need to frame their headlines in a certain way, and that all our media is profit based. I also understand that from time to time, they get something wrong. Generally, I believe our media is honest. I do want to draw a distinction here, I’m not including political pundits, on any network. Being somewhat of a science nerd, I also tend to trust science, and yet I know science is always evolving, new theories are always emerging. And then there’s politics, and you can’t talk about truth in politics unless you mention Trump. First a disclaimer, Trump ain’t the first politician to warp the truth. He just does it better than anyone else. Ever! I never believed he had a shot at winning the Presidency simply because I thought people would see through his bullshit. I was wrong. So how is it, people accept his word as truth, and how do you fight it? Well, you can’t fight his beliefs with truth, with facts, as others would suggest. Indeed, it’s claimed that re-framing lies with facts is the way to go. I don’t buy into that. So how do you change peoples beliefs, when their truths are wrong. There’s a lot to unpack in that question, and it offers up more questions than answers perhaps. It starts with an examination your own personal beliefs, your facts, and the reason for them. You simply can’t persuade a person to change their belief systems if you’re using bogus facts yourself, or repeating a viral Internet meme as a foundation for truth. Sorry, that’s laughable. It’s important to establish why you believe a fact is true, from an emotional standpoint. How a fact moves you to laugh, or cry. For example, I find it hard to give any credit to those claiming our moon landings were all a hoax, simply because of the pride I take in my nations, and humanities, accomplishments. They could be right, for all I know, but the evidence is moot because I don’t want to hear it simply because doing so would damage that pride. It’s no different with politics. The question isn’t replacing your opponents facts with your facts, facts can be found to support any position, true or not. The question is how do you get your opponents to start questioning their own beliefs, especially when their beliefs make them feel better. Part of that answer is in the ‘entertainment factor’, part of it is in ‘being special’ and another part of it is in ‘belonging’. Trumps a perfect example, he’s entertaining, people like that. They didn’t see his mockery of a disabled journalist as beyond pale, because he was entertaining, because no one else in the room thought it was disgusting, and it bought them all together as a group, making them all special, even while knowing the behavior was probably wrong. All on an emotional level. How do you think a trump support felt when he mocked the disabled, if that supporter had a disabled child at home? I’d guess they’d be somewhat bothered, but they very well might not be bothered to the point where they withdrew their support. Same thing with his pussy grabbing. It’s bothersome at an emotional, human level, but acceptable. Why? For several reasons. First, it wasn’t too long ago where we mocked the disabled, where the term ‘retarded’ was common place, and talk about grabbing pussy, well, that really was locker room talk, something men just did. While both might stir emotional issues with a person, the emotional issues were able to be swept aside due to a sense of justification at an emotional level. An emotional connection to the person standing next to you, that you’re both part of something special. That’s a strong bond, and the only way to break it is by establishing a stronger bond, from another emotional perspective, and that ain’t an easy thing to do


Disposable People

I suppose the Holiday season is a good time as any to highlight how we treat our elderly and disabled. NBC news does that pretty well with this bit about nursing homes kicking elderly patients who can’t pay, to the curb. Who would do such a thing? 

If I walked in my front door and my mother was setting there in her wheelchair because she couldn’t pay her 10,000 dollar monthly obligation, I’d be more than just ‘pissed’. Truthfully, I can imagine that happening. My mom needs 24/7 care, and doesn’t know her ass from page three, and I say that lovingly. The problem is the system, it’s all for profit, even when the nursing home is non profit. Christ, they stripped her of her life’s savings, her life insurance policies, her stocks, and everything she owned that was of value, and now she’s eligible for Medicare. That said, my mom has it pretty nice, her environment is pleasant, she eats well, and the staff are attentive. More than I could offer here at home. I’m thankful she’s where she is. Like I mentioned, unfortunately, I can imagine a scenario where she’s evicted and dumped off on my front porch. I have a son with severe schizophrenia who lives in a group home. A few years back, he was discharged from a previous group home to live independently, with a support plan in place. A support plan that was woefully inadequate, and lead to his eviction. A support plan that was so not fucking followed through, that he ended up living with us for a year. Either that, or the Salvation army! I love my son, but that was a year of hell, emotionally and financially. He’s in a good place now, and like my mother, gets decent care, and the staff are dedicated. That brings peace of mind that you can’t buy. So to answer the question of, ‘Who would do such a thing?’. People that don’t care, staff that are untrained, and over worked, or don’t care, and organizations motivated by profit. Sons and daughters, family members too, carry some burden. Trusting their loved ones advocacy to their social workers, not knowing the laws, not caring enough to pay attention, being too submissive in having a say, all contribute. All the conditions make for the perfect nightmare, and when I say nightmare, try cleaning up your own mother when she’s shit all over the place. Been there, done that once, and nightmare doesn’t come close to that horror.

Life as I Know it

Being an old fuck, one would think I have a wealth of perspectives to weigh in on. You know, tidbits of wisdom, experience gained, things I’ve learned along the rocky road, but the soulful truth is, I don’t know shit, ain’t learned nothing to pass along, to make your life better, easier. I’m a bit troubled by that, ‘specially when I see all these life coaches out there, spouting words of wisdom to make the lives of their audiences better. I mean, like where did I miss the boat, more so, fuck, wheres the river? Maybe it’s because I’ve never listened to anybody, cuz I’ve always thought the only voice of value was my own. ‘Cept my wife, when she speaks, I listen. Listen like she’s God handing out the ten commandments. That doesn’t mean I’m a pussy, just means I’m smart enough to admit there’s one person in existence that’s smarter than this old man. When the skid-marks hit the underwear tho’, and I think back over the course of 60 some years, from a childhood lost in the dark jungles, to losing my virginity at 14, drug addled teens, a stint in the military, raising a family, and years of toil in the blue collar workforce, I can’t help but wonder, what the fuck! Yeah, it’s been alright, might even say it’s been good, even happy good. Somethings missing though. I used to be full of wonder and awe, used to believe life held some great mysterious answers that would be revealed along the way, but the only thing that’s been revealed, is that I’m going to end up like my mom, lost in time and space, unable to recognize God and her commandments. Was a time, a few decades back, when I thought humanity was on the cusp of something great, that all or achievements listed out in that book of good things  that humans have done, at the top of that list would be the creation of something that would bring the peoples of the world together. Turned out to be a shit show. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet. Thing is, it’s taught me the one thing I do know for fact, that the only voice of value is mine. Now I don’t know if that’s closing the circle, or even if realizing that, is a good thing, but it is all I have left. Not saying I’m smarter, better than anyone, cuz I know for a fact, there’s better, smarter out there, but damn, if I can find ’em, and that’s due to a difference between value, worth, and intelligence. Kinda like knowing a cup of Starbucks coffee ain’t worth the hundred they want. Interesting too, as I read back through these weighted babbling words of whitespace, is there ain’t no vale in them. I am struck, however, by the comment I made about once being filled with wonder and awe. If anything, I’m saddened by that loss, meaning I don’t have any dreams left, and I figure that’s because dreams are for the young, not for old foolish men like me. Foolish because chasing ’em, well.., you gotta be an old one to understand.

The Rights a Bunch of Lazy Cocksuckers

Democracy is a work in progress, and the key word is work. Work through participation, and participation is more than voting every now and then. Participation is questioning our Government, speaking out when injustice is perceived, researching issues, listening to both sides of debate, in other words being active in our democracy, hence the word activism. I get I have friends that voted for Trump to shake things up, because Washington was a cesspool. It still is, and worse, with no signs of changing. It’s easy to cast a vote for a candidate, just because your dissatisfied, it’s a lot harder to cast an informed vote for a candidate you might not like, but might be a real agent of change. It takes a lot of soul searching as well, determining what’s not only best for you, but what you believe is best for the American people. That ain’t easy. The left is active in topics such as climate change, womens rights, gun control, pay and gender inequalities, our environment, and a lot more. The right, not so much, their activism is based on denial, and throwing shit and seeing what sticks, and gerrymandering, moral supremacy, and hypocrisy. The right was outraged, and rightly so, when Kathy Griffin posted a meme with a decapitated Trump, but remain largely silent with the recent horrific fake video of Trump taking out a church congregation. Why? It suits their purpose, a purpose of creating division, and hate among all of us. If you’re a Christian, and don’t speak out against wholesale murder happening in a church, or you’re a trump supporter and let the violence slide, and don’t speak out, you’re a lazy cocksucker, set in your ways. But let’s not stop with that, if you’re fine with betraying our allies, the Kurds, if you’re fine with Trumps attacks on minorities, with crippling our farmers, with the GOP redrawing voting districts to thwart the American vote, you’re a lazy cocksucker, refusing to research issues. Lazy cocksuckers believe reposting memes, sound-bites, propagating rumors and hearsay, and watching Hannity, is participating in our Democracy. No one likes a lazy cocksucker. Don’t be a lazy cocksucker.

Life Ain’t Fair, but…

Living paycheck to paycheck all my life, I’m used to financial pain and the continuing struggle of being a common American on the lower rung of the middle class. I put in my forty hours, pay my bills 

on time, and I’m happy for the 1% raise I get every few years. I’ve been a good boy. I’ve always been aware life ain’t fair, my daddy taught me that when I was a young one, so I never expected otherwise. I’ve always known injustice exists, and I’ve always told people what I think about that shit, never thinking that what I have to say would ever make a difference. It hasn’t. Being a wild man in my youth, I naturally knew that when I stepped up in front of a judge, I wasn’t going to like what he had to say, but I’ll never forget the day when a child molester stood before Judge Ryan, just before I did, and got probation, because he was a pastor or some damn thing. I remember thinking old man Ryan was a pretty lenient judge, and that I was going to be OK, until the jail cell door slammed shut behind my ass for the next six months. Always thought that was odd. Me, setting for half a year for drunk driving while some pervert was walking around free. Never have I understood our judicial system, but what I’ve always known is, is that there’s one for them, and one for me. If you’re looking for a definition of who ‘them’ is, well you simply haven’t been paying attention, or you’re one of them. Chances are you’re no Felicity Huffman or you’re last name isn’t Sackler. One a celebrity, and a minor one at that, and the other, rich fucks, major rich fucks. Now, 14 days in prison and a thirty thousand dollar fine for Ms. Felicity might seem an appropriate sentence for the movie star, ‘cept I don’t think she’ll set in the general population of San Quentin for two weeks. And the thirty grand, well, her hub has that covered. Hell, she paid half that to cheat.  When it comes to the Sackler family business of pushing drugs on unsuspecting citizens, not one of ’em is going to spend a day behind bars. Sure, they’re going to pay billions in compensation, but not out of their personal deep pockets. Their company will pay that shit, and just to make sure, they’ve moved billions of their personal money off shore.