Thursday, December 22, 2011
- Workdays are too damned profane and other-dominated.
- Holidays are - more or less - free days. A holiday is like the freedom we can never really have.
- Holidays are days to remember: family, friends, etc. Even I - who have no close friends anymore - remember my friends and cherish my more-or-less disfunctional family.
- Holidays are evanescent, like so many "good" things (ie, preferable or stimulating things) - they are usually pleasurable.
- Among others who also keep the day, there's a feeling of elation - marginal or not, but often there IS something there in people's moods and responses.
- Holidays that are taken to heart may have the last hint of the sacred left in our lives.
- Festive lights! Again, a pleasure, evanescent, of indifferent value, but felt.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Another headline re Iran:
Iran cleric warns EU, UN against backing Britain
Again, spontaneous emotions work to the advantage of the ruling machos. Ahmedinejad, meet Bush; Bush, Ahmedinejad. Sharks vs. the Jets. The embassy attack may even work to Ahmedinejad's advantage in distracting us from the ineffectual attempts to retard Iran's nuclear power & weapons programs.
Sanctions against Iran (the people) will not help, only solidify the Islamofascists' control. "Radio Free Iran" - is there such a thing? Rather I should say that, Of course there is - it's called Twitter!
It will be very interesting to see how the Islamic Resurgence plays out over the years, with Oil and Nukes at their disposal.
It's tempting, of course, to give in to the visceral reaction to these headlines - to the Crusading impulse. But that, also, only plays into Ahmedinejad & Co.'s hands.
Decency is not a natural state - and it has little place in revolutionary times. Yet it is the Human thing, the thing that (I feel) needs to be preserved.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
To the extent that a man's hand is real, & setting aside death and violence, then to that extent he may use his hand as he chooses.
So also with self-acceptance. If you decide you are inadequate, or choose to believe so, that judgment will result either in self-castigation to no useful purpose or (at the other extreme) to spurring oneself on to improvement & accomplishment. If you simply ignore judgment (the notion of better or worse) and say to yourself,
"I'm my self and that's all; nothing will change who I am, so it's unreasonable that I should try to be that which by nature I am not,"
then you are abdicating self-guidance, abdicating the ruling faculty, even abdicating oikeioosis (self-interest), the fundamental rule of dynamic nature. It may be that you can never truly & fundamentally change who and how you are, but at least you can learn and improve and often - in many cases - excel in relation to your original self or others.
To refuse to accept your condition, your essential given - whether a world of causes you have no control over, or a self you cannot exchange for another - is in either case to condemn yourself to despair or self-hatred. To simply and passively accept conditions is, however, to abdicate what little freedom you can exercise and diminish yourself altogether. The untidy answer is to do both - accept the world or yourself as the starting point ("warts and all") and then proceed towards the Good therefrom.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
I mean, of course, the flood, the cascade and chaotic cavalcade, of beautiful women. How, at age 56, can I still be astonished at the numbers, beauty and particulars of women on the street? A few is more than enough, but here are hundreds and hundreds, most all possessed of this or that sort of fatal charm.
This is silly; a female is a person, a living thing, a biological sample, with both species marks and unique flaws and endowments; that is all. And the supposed 'beauty' that I respond to is, after all, a complex of traits within me, part natural impulse, part learned values, part longing for adventure. Seen from that angle, there is, in effect, no beauty, only impulses and responses to visual stimuli. In other words, I should be able to change the subject and ignore the presence of the females.
A large part of the mystery is the fact of visual & physical proximity combined with near-total social removal or distance and my own fierce social alienation. That is to say, they are "all up in my face" presence-wise, but I am socially mute & valueless, and each and all of them are in a hurry to avoid needy males.
Nor should I even appear to be a needy male since I AM married to a decent and attractive girl. But, of course, I am - little has changed, really, over the years regarding my regard for female form.
As I said above, I should be able to shift my viewpoint & ignore the vital, curvaceous, liquid presence of the females. Ah, "Should", yes, yes. Despite my perturbation and over-stimulation, despite the sad one-sided ineptness & frustration, at heart I still desire the delusion of desire, the wanting, the impulsive unrepressed ache - despite its absurd futility.
I get so exercised over this!
Monday, September 12, 2011
What does the world need that a petty, timid, conflicted creature like myself could supply? Instead of waiting for the answer - the wrong approach, to wait for an answer - I have to waive the question and proceed. Part of the answer must be my family.
But another part could be the Stoic College. Even my pathetic hash of a brain and my too-soft little slip of a soul might help in the transmission of the Stoic wisdom (as opposed to obsessive duality and polar extremism) to people. And that would be a positive thing on this divided, bloody-minded, madness-driven Earth.
Hmmm. Question answered?
Friday, September 9, 2011
Of course, for lender corporations and so on to "police themselves" would mean stopping their flood of advertising (unlikely, because then the artifically inflated loan market would falter), which advertising is intended to sucker people (and I mean here human people, as opposed to the corporate 'person') into bad loans (a loan being defined as bad for human people if it has variable interest rates, balloon payments, or - of course - high interest rates, ie, a loan more of a threat to the borrower than a help) and providing, instead, good loans (fixed interest rates, required background checks, low interest rates, built-in mediation in case of disaster to the borrower, legal penalties for borrowers who lie about their assets and income to begin with).
Since some 90% of polled Americans think they are smarter than average (!? see note), "pulling a fast one" is the modern borrower's method of choice for getting ahead in the world. This, like bad tenants in real estate situations, creates an adversarial position between borrower and lender. And the lenders, of course, are not stupid - they have adopted exactly the same ethos with regard to lending - make the loan then sell it to another 'buyer' who will then sell it to another, and so on - with no regard for honesty or for the borrowers involved.
Good old class warfare - exploit the loopholes, steal from the downtrodden, ransack the blind engines of economics! Of course, the people who are hoodwinked by these barbarians on both sides are the rest of us, the ones who want to live rather than "pull a fast one".
So, when I see a legal class action against the bad guys shot down, I'm disappointed. A normal moron, unlike the present one, would think, "Oh, good - my company is doing well!" But I think, "Oh, crap, the people lost another round; the old cycle continues."
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Yet events and dirty old reality have combined with Catholic dogmatics and illogic to dampen most all of the hope John Paul II had kindled in this sad old world. This is true in areas of Ecumenism, of inter-faith toleration and respect, and in intra-church areas, such as the role of women and so on. The greatest dismay comes from the most unexpected areas - one now common knowledge, and the other still largely ignored: (i) The bumbling, embarrassed cover-ups, secrecy and priest-shiftings that enabled for so many years the sexual abuse of kids within the Church; and (ii) The rape and sexual abuse of nuns by the African clergy, a less-reported nightmare that has been going on for many years, too.
This second crime-wave is, I feel, even more disturbing than the first. It is mostly occurs (to my knowledge) in Africa, arising not only out of male needs and African sexual mores, but also out of the African AIDS epidemic. Fearful of satisfying their natural but illicit sex desires with prostitutes, a group at high risk for contracting the fearful virus, Catholic priests - Priests! - have apparently taken to bullying nuns into this role. It is an astounding and under-reported crime wave.
For a priest to break his celibate vows is one thing; but to compound that sin by rape is another. For while a "simple" rape of a woman by a priest, however managed, is crime enough, it is still a worse crime that a dedicated religious person, who keeps a sacrament of remaining chaste in accord with her calling, off all people, should be violated - it is more than indignity and trauma, it is betrayal and crime. And yet, beyond this, not only is that woman vicitimized and her religious vocation sullied, but if pregnancy ensues, the poor victim must be punished by being completely cast out of her vocation.
But it does not end there. Add to this the horror of an AIDS epidemic running like wildfire through Africa, and foolish people - including apparently many in the African clergy - embracing an appalling, superstitious folk-fallacy that sex with a virgin somehow "cures" AIDS! Now female religious orders are turned into prime targets for rape, living "morning after pills" for priests' ill-advised sexual dalliances! Worse still, horribile dictu, the poor victim by then is then infected - in effect, given a death sentence - while the ignorant arrogant perpetrator goes off in the mistaken belief that he no longer has the AIDS virus! An unbelievable horror that the Holy See had, at the time of the book's writing, completely and utterly refused to respond to.
This is not the Church that I believed existed in the Roman Catholic world. The foolish and constipated sanctioning of such hideous crimes by the Catholic hierarchy, by the current Pope, and by that appealing old man, now passed on, Pope John Paul II himself, has fouled those waters that I had hoped still possessed some sense of mercy, and order, and decency. I have read this from one book, and have yet to catch up on the status of these problems as of 2011, but I have a feeling that even now little has been done, whether to castigate the wicked, educate the fools, or to purge the priestly ranks.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Re (1), both belligerents should have acknowledged that they were speaking at cross-purposes - Thomas was right on grounds of English etymology and general usage of the word 'heathen'; but Annia's claim was correct in the context of her group, that for her & her friends Heathen was an identity marker. All this could so easily have been cleared up by acknowledging that 'heathen' was the general noun (equal to 'pagan') but that 'Heathen' (initial cap'd) was a proper noun, proper to Annia and her co-relgionists. But no one looked for any resolution other than simply being Right and Numero Uno.
Re (2), the arrogance of the "rationalist" attacker was his weak point, yet I don't believe she ever attacked it: both of them were so intent each on his or her own absolute and exclusive claim on the truth, that they could not even discuss questions of knowledge - it was that same old "right or wrong", no room for discussion, "I win!" mentality.
Re (3), I'm not sure where that went wrong, but after civil overtures from the other woman, they ended up on the far side of the thread denouncing each other over who and what language they should use to post in, Annia making jingo-istic demands that the woman (of Latin language heritage) needed to learn English and being denounced in turn as a bigot.
At each turn of discourse, Annia & her detractors never missed a chance to stoke the fires of ignorance; these people went on and on; in the end, there were in excess of 400 comments on that thread! Instead of trying to understand what was going on in the mechanics of their foolish argument, each sought to win by sheer insistence. It's amazing - the hunger people have for strife and domination, their inflexible faith in their own infallibility, and their over-copious contempt for everyone else. It's amazing - but it seems to be very, very much the norm.
Monday, August 1, 2011
In 1981, through his brutal and vicious budget cuts, Ronald Reagan inaugurated mass homelessness in this country on a scale never before seen since the Great Depression.
People forget that it was he who turned the crazies loose on the street, and not the "Liberals".
Reagan ... used to refer to them as “urban campers.” They were [Reagan believed] like fucking lazy hippies; they were dropouts who wanted to be free of all responsibilities, like reporting for work in the morning, and they were sleeping on the sidewalk every night out of choice. Which is utter bullshit. The majority of the homeless are mental patients who got kicked out of the hospital because of budget cuts, and they should be housed in an institution and given medication. The rest are members of the middle and working classes who slipped through the cracks. By the way, did you make your last credit card payment? Living paycheck to paycheck like most of the country?
These are asides from an essay on Bartleby the Scrivenor by Wolcott Wheeler.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Much of depression & failure is attitude - but even more of it is neurology, I think. The soul is its own prisoner: it has a bent that must be tested against the world. The individual's half-assed leaps forth are smacked down, & too often, he or she goes off to sulk. Given this, the question is one's reaction to being smacked down. Natural winners & crooks still desire to win, while losers "would rather not". And then, beyond that, there are the distracted and defective - what are they to do? The answer from all sides seems to be:
Gear up, Buckle down, 'Get It', Get over it, Fuck the world, 'Just do it', Go for all the gusto, etc., etc. Not sure what the current such phrases are, but they're going to be similar.
Barbarism is the watchword, culturally. Only the 'winners' matter or deserve anything. The Boehners and Bin Ladens and Limbaughs all HAVE TO WIN and they reject understanding or intelligence out of hand, since such things involve a pause and mediation of one's own thoughts. Liberals like myself give lip-service to understanding and intelligence, but how many of us really understand life's evil, and how many of us really have the resolution to suffer through such evil for the sake of this understanding & intelligence that the violent automatically dispense with?
Jet planes, 24-hour television, college educations & the Internet have all - like atomic power - been put to use for violence and domination. Without such, how could the many Islamic terror cells and their supporters have prospered as they do? Or how could the resolute American nationalists, launching colonial wars willy-nilly, have so successfully made the USA into that very "Great Satan" that old Ayatollah Khomeini oh-so-dearly wished for?
But what is all this to me? Neurology - brain chemistry - whole body chemistries? Is there something else that creates the winner versus the loser? Not even all the 'winners' win, I must remember.
And there is something else, a notion of some importance: the daimon; the Bent of a person. His or her interior rudder; whether 'tis good or ill, it's insistent and organic; it can't be truly denied, but will out - here & there; one way or another.
Monday, March 21, 2011
At home, my daughter, being my daughter, cannot decide, cannot produce the will and the act, to get up from bed. Not only does she have no interest in school, she has almost no interest in social interaction. Everything social, for her, is adverse. And the non-illness that she feels so acutely - nausea, "butterflies", "funny" feeling in her gut - sounds so very, very familiar to me.
I sympathize. But nature and the world were not made to our order. Institutions like school are formed by others, and are (more or less) for those others. Individuals do not, in nature, matter very much. We have each a little weight, as water droplets do on the side of a cold glass. Others bubble & roar & fly about, like steam, vented, airborne, purposelessly purposive, very good at what they do. But then there are these droplet-people, the bumps on the log, who move little and haven't the heat the steam-people have.
Where does it leave us? Go back to the Virgin, go back to the Temple of Zeus, meditate, linger in Christ's embrace? Perhaps - but, above all, get moving. To be in tune with self or world, we must be in motion.
Monday, March 14, 2011
A while back I ran across a very interesting defense of Conservatism & Tea-Party-istics by an Internet denizen who styled him-or-her self "kingtroll3". I don't know if the original thread exists still or not but it was: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/10/AR2011011003002_Comments.html . The pertinent text follows:
"This is what 99.999% of conservatives and tea party Americans are like:
- We don't murder people.
- A conservative is an American who has been raped by liberal agendas for decades.
- They cherish god (insert yours here), family, community, private property, work and liberty.
- They have common sense, and know a fraudulent scheme when they see one.
- They want to be left alone.
- They want government to use common sense and be effective at defending the country and keeping our waterways, roadways, and infrastructure working and modernized.
- They want to help others voluntarily.
- They want people to try to support themselves, and when some just can't seem to make it, help those who are truly needy.
- We don't want government running our lives.
- We don't want narcissists telling us what our problem is and trying to fix us.
- We want everyone to look to themselves and determine who and what they are first, before they go out trying to tell everybody else what to do.
- Conservatives are healthy, happy, capable people that are the core of this country and we are here to stay."
For folks who are Progressive or Liberal or simply Good-hearted, there is no need to ignore the problems they can instantly see in this defense - e.g.: You say you've been "Raped by the Liberal agenda"? In what way?; or: Granted, most Conservatives themselves are not murderers, but they do tend to support foreign policies that mandate large numbers of collateral damage, i.e., wholesale murder of civilians; and so on. But I think that if the Democrats and Lefties want to be useful, they will incorporate what is decent in this manifesto into their own perceptions of what America and American Life is all about. For example, the public dole is not always something to defend - after all, it is NOT a good thing in itself: as an institution, besides helping some, it also operates as a major enabler of poverty and brutishness, and it is a huge invitation for people to cheat the government and the taxpayers; even people who are affluent hide that fact and use government programs intended for only the neediest. (Yes, it is rather like corporate behavior in that area.)
This is always the problem: The tough guys want anarchy, the rest of us want a system - and nobody is happy. We tend to forget that this is a Democracy, a federation of antagonistic human types; we tend to listen far too much just to echoes of our own prejudices.
Ut valent Americae Conpactae Civitates!
Friday, February 4, 2011
But isn't it already just a quality of the phantasia, a later stage of it? For my part, it is not, but an important separate stage, one often possessing a different quality. It is, after all, not the initial phantasia, but having been manipulated into a bundle, a presentation, a stage-play or fiction which appears to reflect the deeper reality of a thing; it is a sort of underdeveloped phantastikon - a fantasy or dream - linked to the sense evidence yet not identical with it. It is the bundle, formed and identified, that is presented to the ruling faculty for assent. It is, as we would say, your 'first impression', a coherent assemblage of 'facts', yet one that is not yet validated.
Why even add another term, another hair-splitting way-station, to the Stoic chain of perception? Because there are times when it is useful for an individual to differentiate between the raw data of the phantasia, the sense-information, and the assembled package thereof that is submitted for assent to the ruling faculty as ostensible truth. It is where sense-data and 'first movements' may still be intertwined but not yet assented to. And to apprehend and unmask 'first movements' which are automatic false assents is a major goal of thinking rationally.
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