Monthly Archives: July 2014
To paraphrase my good friend Kurt Vonnegut, the only enemy any soldier has faced in any war is human ignorance and savagery. Human ignorance and savagery is the only enemy any soldier will ever face.
Human ignorance comes from a lack of awareness that we are human beings first, before we attach any other labels. But who will admit to being a human being? No one. We will use labels such as Canadian, American, German, Catholic, Jewish, etc. We will proudly wave flags, or some other symbol, showing that we are Canadian, American, German, etc. None of us will stand and proudly say, “I am a human being!” Why? We do not want to be associated with human beings, and we can hide this association with our labels.
Using labels creates the illusion that we are different from each other. Thinking we are different makes it easy to be savage. “I’m not killing us,” we say. “I’m killing them.” If we had more awareness, then we would know that there is no them, there is only us.
Human, All Too Human is the title of a book by Friedrich Nietzsche. This title comes to mind when I hear about someone being idolized.
In her book Lives In The Shadow With J Krishnamurt, Radha Sloss mentions how the spiritual leader carried on an affair with her mother. Her mother was married to Krishnamurti’s personal manager. During this affair, her mother had three abortions to avoid having Krishnamurti’s children.
Monica Furlong in her biography of Alan Watts tells of his extramarital affairs and heavy drinking.
The Wall Street Journal published an article in 2011 how Mohandas Gandhi sexually abused his grandnieces. His also made his followers’ wives sleep with him.
The things these people said and wrote are still valid, but it is hard to hold them up as idols knowing what we now know.
It matters not whether it is a spiritual leader, a politician, a movie star, a rock idol, or your next-door neighbor — all are human, all too human.
A large puddle of water on the road is minding its own business. A speeding bus going nowhere fast introduces itself to the puddle. I notice neither as I am walking along the sidewalk lost in thought. SPLASH! What a surprise!
I experienced the splash, yet at the same time I was out of my body watching it all happen. How weird to be involved yet not involved. It was as if it was not happening to me. I had no judgement. I could not get angry. I remained calm. I smiled. I felt at peace. I carried on my way a little more aware of puddles and traveling vehicles.
A voice in my head said, “This is how your death will be — a complete surprise. No one, not even you will see it coming. You will simultaneously experience your death, and watch it happen. It will be as if you are watching it happen to someone else. No judgement. No anger. You will smile and, being at peace, carry on your way a little more aware of everything.”
“What are ya? A Johnny-Come-Lately? Ya think the world started when you were born? That’s not new! I already knew about it.”
That is what my father used to say to me when I was a kid and ran to him all excited over something new I had just discovered. Oh how it crushed me! All my enthusiasm over the discovery destroyed just like that. Why couldn’t he pretend that he did not already know about my discoveries, and share in my joy?
Crushing my excitement was not enough for Dad. At family gatherings he would ridicule me.
“What a Johnny-Come-Lately Gary is! He thinks the world started when he was born. He gets excited about stuff that’s been around for years.”
He always said it loud enough for all to hear, and then he would laugh. Crushed again!
As I got older I would mention how I felt hurt over what he said to me, and how he embarrassed me at family functions.
“Oh stop your whining! Your problem is that you’re too sensitive,” he would say. “Suck it up! Be a man!”
In other words my feelings did not count. There was something wrong with me: I was too sensitive. There was nothing wrong with a father who constantly enjoyed putting his son down and laughing about it.
It has only been recently that I realized that there is nothing wrong with me because I feel deeply. In this respect, I am a Johnny-Come-Lately.
I must dig deep to uncover the first pain that I dumped so long ago. I am still afraid to feel it, but I must. I must. It will be painful and may overwhelm me, but I will survive. It is time to deal with it and all my pain.
Society taught me not to trust myself; not to look inside. The authorities outside me had all the answers. There was no need to go inside. Thus I regarded inside of me as worthless. It became a dump for all my pain. Pain piled on pain piled on pain piled on pain. I thought it would go away. It never did.
I am learning to trust myself. I am learning to trust The Authority within. It tells me to face my pain. It will guide me. There is no other way. Here goes . . .
Every family has one. Every family has a relative who shows up after a death looking for loot not mentioned in a will.
When we were going through our parents’ possessions, I discovered that Mom had conversations with Jeannie, my sister, about everything that was of any value. Whenever we came across something valuable Jeannie said, “Maw said that she wanted me to have this. She told me that she wanted me to have this.” How odd that Mom never had these conversations with me, my brother or my other sister.
There was some stuff I wanted, but I was not about to become a seagull fighting with another seagull over a piece of bread.
A friend told me about her cousin Agnes who was greedy and always showing up after someone died to see what she could get.
“It was a family joke,” said my friend, “that you’re close to dying if Agnes showed up at your place. Like your sister, Agnes always had conversations with the deceased over property not mentioned in the will.
“After my father died, we said that there was a box of jewellery that wasn’t mentioned in Dad’s will and that we could not find. Sure enough Agnes showed up. ‘When you find it,’ she said, ‘your father told me that he wanted to have that box of jewellery.’
‘Are you sure?’ I asked Agnes.
‘Oh yes,’ she said. ‘Your father knew about my jewellery collection and told me that he wanted me to have that box.’
“That was the last time Agnes showed up at a dead relatives looking for loot,” said my friend. “We told her that we made up the box of jewellery to show how greedy she was. You should have seen the look on her face!”
“So you figured out that we never really left you.”
Irwin, my cross-eyed amoeba Spirit Guide, good to hear from you! I was afraid I would be charged with assault if I continued to grab the muse by the throat. Where are Kurt and Mark?
“Where else? Outside having a smoke.”
“He’s around here somewhere. You know how he loves to wander around your imagination.”
You guys want me to learn to create on my own.
Why is it so important for me to create on my own?
“Suppose some psychiatrist puts you on medication which removes us from your awareness. If we wean you off of us, then you will still be able to write, create, or whatever no matter what.”
That means you will leave me again?
“We don’t really leave you, we hide. It was no problem finding places to hide with all the space you have inside your head.”
I could try finding you.
“Why waste your energy doing that when you could be creating?”
But you make creating so much easier.
“In different forms, many years ago, we weaned composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky off of us. Look at the quote from a letter he wrote after we weaned him.”
There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic.
I do not feel like writing without my voices, but experts say that you should write even when you don’t feel like it. What do you write about? Write what comes into your mind. If nothing comes into your mind, then write the same word over and over again. I hope this is a pleasure for people to read.
I have a feeling that my voices have not really left me, but are silent on purpose. They want me to become more disciplined with writing. It’s easy to sit down and take dictation from them, but much more challenging when they do not tell me what to say.
I guess this is what is known as grabbing your muse by the throat.
I do not know where the voices in my head are today. They did not say that they were going anywhere, and they left no note. My head has been empty all day. I am not sure what to write.
Funny how I have come to depend upon the voices for material. Will I be able to write anything if they leave me permanently?
What are you doing to ensure our mutual destruction? Nothing? I hope you are doing something.
Here is what I am doing to help destroy us:
- I take sides in any conflict whether local or international. The side I take is always right, and the other side is always wrong. This ensures that I see others as separate from me.
- I hate people who hate and are intolerant. I do everything in my power to make sure that their hatred and intolerance will not be tolerated.
- I hold grudges forever. I never forget.
- I gossip.
- I litter.
- I make sure to get angry, for any reason, at a family member, neighbor, or stranger at least once a day. (So far I have not found anyone to be angry with today, but the day is not over. There is still hope.)
These are some of the things I am doing, but our mutual destruction will not happen with me acting alone. I need your help. So, please, let us all work together in harmony to help to bring about the end of the world. Thank you.