Something to ponder…

ALL people have lived in troubled times. All of our ancestors who lived through oppression, hunger, poverty, and plague have seen not only the horrors of the world, but the evil that men visit upon each other.

This is nothing new; just another cycle, another turn of the wheel. And while things have improved for some, others still suffer in sickness, struggle to find food, clean water… struggle just to survive.

Many of the problems we have now have their roots in people simply not getting their way. Whether it’s a religious viewpoint that some feel should be a law, or a freedom that is not extended openly to all, our arguments too often boil down to thinking that freedom is a made of pie, so a larger slice for some takes away from others. That’s not how it really is, but lack of education has many people believing that lie.

For me, I do want to see a more kind and compassionate world, so I am personally taking steps to do whatever I can, where I see the opportunity. And I will continue to work to bring people together as best as I can. For, even though we may live in troubled times, you can still do something everyday to make a difference to someone.

I encourage you to do just that. Not politically, not religiously, not with any agenda; just go do something kind. Don’t do it for praise, or to win over someone to your way of thinking – just do something kind because it is the right thing to do.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Fear and War

Fear leads to anger.

Anger leads to Hate.

Hate leads to suffering.

Even if you are not a fan of the diminutive Jedi Master who spoke those words, the message is as true in our day to day lives as it was on screen. Most suffering in the world could be solved quickly with the resources and technology we have at our disposal; yet innocent children still suffer and die from illnesses we can cure, veterans still live on the streets, unable to afford the price of the very society they gave their health and sanity to defend, and more people across the world are willing to ‘close the doors of their vaults’ and shelter from the world around them, rather than help their fellow human. We’ve seen this theme played out in Art and Literature for centuries, and expanded upon with film, and even video games. Yet, as we grow more isolationist, the anger and fear we have for other people ends up turning inward, dividing us in ways our founders would find abhorrent and shameful.

Last week, the Pentagon, and the Offices of the President, were sent packages containing Ricin (a powerful and deadly poison). This week, not only leaders of the Democratic Party, but the Offices of CNN, were sent packages with suspected Pipe Bombs. Regardless of where your politics lay, there is no excuse for these kinds of cowardly acts – yet, there they are. And there are no excuses you can give to justify these actions. If it’s OK in your mind that Obama get a pipe bomb, but you are angry that someone tried to poison Trump, then politics is not your problem. Short-sighted arrogance, ignorance, and a narrow world-view have a lot to do with it, but not politics.

What we are seeing now is the result of the polarization of the American Population. Extreme views from both sides of the spectrum are to blame for this, and only by ending the ‘us vs them’ mindset most people have these days can we even hope to not end up destroying ourselves. As it stands now, as ‘We the People’ stand more divided than ever, we are one gunshot away from another Fort Sumter. It’s a scenario where no one wins – not the Right or the Left. We have to take hold of our fears – whatever they may be – and learn to work together to overcome them. Compromise is the only true path for Freedom, and the only way to Govern a diverse population. Otherwise, all our fears will be our undoing. And if this Great Country falls, it will not be from the outside. It will be because of Bullshite, middle-school playground politics, masquerading as political discourse. We must learn to find common ground, and compromise on the things we don’t already agree on. It’s the only way to dig us out of this way of thinking, that is getting more dangerous each day.

If we don’t, then war is coming. Some say it’s already here – but that is not only foolish, its part of the problem. If you see everything as an affront or an attack, then you are living in fear, not reality. Sure, things are rough – things are not perfect, and they never will be. That does not make this a war.

But it will be, if we are afraid enough to literally start killing each other in the streets. If we are too short-sighted, too arrogant, and actually bring war against each other.
And war never changes.

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Somewhere in time…

Erin nervously set her bag by the car that had come to get her, and take her off to start a life of her own.

When the driver came along to place the her luggage in the trunk, she instinctively reached out to do the job herself, then stopped, letting a nervous laugh escape from her. Then, with tears welling in her eyes, she turned back to me, lowered her head a bit, and took a deep breath.

I reached out to lift her chin, and look in her eyes. “It’s ok to be nervous, my love”.

“I know, mom,” Erin answered, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. “I’m OK; don’t know why I’m crying!”

“You’ll be fine, hon. And I will be right here anytime you need me”.

Erin reached out to hug me one last time before she had to go, and I knew that, in my arms, there was a smart, capable young woman, who was ready to conquer the world. I knew I’d tried to teach her everything I could about the world, about being responsible, and kind. I also had taught her to kick ass when needed, to protect herself, and those she loved. And she had always exceeded my expectations.

As I nestled my head next to hers, breathing in the scent of her hair, I softly spoke to her.

“There is only one solid piece of advice I can really offer; live to the fullest, my love. Take the chance with your heart, love with everything you have, and try as hard as you can, no matter what you do”.

“I know, mom,” she said quietly. “I learned from the best, you know.”

The driver honked the horn, tearing into the time and space we’d made just as our own, and life once again bled over into existence. Letting go, I kissed her one last time on the forehead, and held the door for closing it securely.

The vehicle pulled away, with one of my darling daughters sitting in the back, holding her cell to the window, and blowing kisses as the pulled off into the smoggy mid-morning.

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The Fascism Waltz

This may piss a lot of people off – but I am beyond the point of giving a damn.

There is a growing portion of the population in the United States that leans toward a more authoritarian-style government (see footnotes for links). Oddly, these are often the same people who can be found waving American Flags, and yelling at brown people to ‘get out’ of ‘their’ country.

For a population that is supposedly a fan of Freedom, the reality is that they only want ‘freedom’ when it comes for them, and them alone. And by *them*, I mean other white folks who share their limited worldview. Of course, that isn’t how Freedom works. But that is what they are pushing for. And it is downright appalling.

Now, this is the point in my writing where I usually try to play the peacemaker; where I take a step back, and call on reason and intellect to take the steering wheel, and where I remind myself (and my readers) that the high road always has a better view. But that isn’t going to happen this time. With a ‘White Rights’ Rally being scheduled for Washington DC in August (incidentally, planned by the same ‘fine people’ that organized the fiasco in Charlottesville, VA), we have gone too far past the line, and danced right into Steps Three and Four of the Fascism Waltz. And even though these twits are not actually representative of the majority of Americans, their numbers are growing. This is happening for the same reasons that young middle-eastern men join ISIL – feelings of disenfranchisement, of loss of status, or loss of the future. Poverty and destitution, grown in the fertile soil of ignorance and fear, propels this trend. And it has to stop.

Our Founders sought to create a nation where all men are created equal. True, in their time, it was a widely held belief that only White Men of European decent were included in that idea. But as we have grown up as a society, we’ve come to realize that all men really does mean “ALL” people, and not just a privileged few wealthy males with a Melanin deficiency.

As for ‘White Pride’, I can personally think of nothing more ridiculous to celebrate. What exactly are you proud of – being a racist piece of crap? Feeling superior because your ancestors subjugated other people across the centuries, and now that those people are finally getting a chance to even ‘begin’ to catch up, you’re going to cry foul? Sorry, but white pride is a big crock of steaming horse-shit. You want to be proud of something? Get off your ass and *do* something to be proud of (other than just being white). Try carpentry, or writing, or art. Hell, go plant a garden for god’s sake. But don’t just stand around feeling proud because of the colour of your skin, or because you have a family history of being an asshole to other people who were not like you.

Now, Black Pride, Gay Pride, etc etc, is another matter entirely, simply because those people have been the targets of hatred and murderers for centuries. If all goes well, and humanity actually grows the frak up, then one day, we can look at black and gay pride in the same way we should be looking at white pride now; but until then, I’ll continue to support communities of colour, the LGBTQ community, and the ANTI-FA. And you should support them as well. Because if the so-called ‘alt-right’ (insert swastika here) people have their way, unless you are a white man, you will have no place in our ‘Free’ country. And only selfish, wretched people have to build themselves up by destroying or belittling other human beings.

You want to be proud? Stand up for unity. Stand up for Freedom for ALL. Everywhere.
Accept nothing less. Then maybe you’ll have a reason to feel proud of yourself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/in-a-new-poll-half-of-re…/…

https://www.pri.org/…/got-authoritarian-streak-study-says-o…

https://foreignpolicy.com/…/survey-one-third-of-republican…/

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Something is not as it should be

There is a problem in this society that, while noticed daily, is sadly becoming more and more ‘acceptable’. It is not a problem that is Democratic or Republican, wealthy or struggling, and it knows no racial boundaries either.

Before I call out the problem, I’m going to step back to something I heard the other day, while watching a documentary on Talk Shows in the 1990’s. The folks that made the Springer Show were talking about how, in order to save their jobs and keep the show on air, they decided to go with the ‘sensational’ topics that they believed young people wanted. I believe the phrase, ‘we just gave them what they wanted’ came up more than once. And that, I believe, while certainly not a smoking bullet, that it is this mindset – this “Give them what they want” attitude, that has led us to the place we are now – where civility is labeled as weakness, and anything less than arrogant capriciousness is considered to be somehow lacking in character, or even ‘less human’.

The 90’s talk show spectacle was more wild and sensational than what we see today – but that is partially because we’ve become used to it. When the envelope *is* pushed, it goes much farther than before – because that is what is required to get attention. And we now crave attention, like a child craves candy, like an addict craves cocaine, like an alcoholic craves booze.

Notice, in each of these parallels, we (mostly) have enough sense to realize that, just because someone craves something, doesn’t mean they should have it, when it is BAD for them. And, like giving in to the addict and getting them high ‘because the wanted it’, we did a disservice to the country by giving in to the ‘craving’ for 24 hour sensationalism. Now, you can’t even turn on the Weather Channel on a sunny day without seeing something that is designed to catch your eye, in much the same manner as a train wreck catches your attention. You see something that you cannot process, and find you cannot look away.

Many people were made very rich, and many have done it by just ‘giving the audiance what they want’. Sounds a little too similar to ‘I was just following orders’, but that is another discussion.

Now, when academic achievement, intelligence and respect are passed along as weakness, stupidity and foolishness, we have new kings ruling the roost. Piousness, baseness, and entropy are now wearing the crown in America, which is just what the puppet-masters behind the curtain have always wanted. Because an ignorant society, convinced of their superiority, is always more easy to control, and to subjugate, leaving the hidden virtuosos to profit on the backs of a fallen society.

So, what is the problem in America today? It’s pretty simple, really. No one listens to hear another person – they listen only to build a response. The educated are cast as fools, and the weak-minded believe in their hearts that they are the chosen ones, so they question nothing they are told, as long as their Emperors keep telling them how special they are (all while robbing them blind in the process). What they fail to realize is that their new emperors are still wearing invisible clothes, no matter how regal they think they are. The rest of us, and much of the world, sees right through to the bare naked truth. And while we may work to return civility and academics to their rightful places (along with respect, and meaningful conversation), we will not simply join in and normalize the crowd that flocks to see their new kings parade around like the jesters they are.

Remember, remember – the *6th* of November (midterm Elections)

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On the Question of Eternity:

I’ve seen some discussion recently regarding the afterlife – either the belief in eternal nothingness, the idea that something perpetuates when the body dies, etc etc. And there are people here that hold each of those views, and a hundred of variances in between. I felt that would add my two cents (.007 cents after taking inflation and currency exchanges into account).

The ‘big question’, as many cultures see it, is what (if anything) waits for us when this body dies. I believe that we truly cannot know with absolute certainty, for many reasons. Sure, it makes sense scientifically that once the electronic processes inside our bodies cease to function, that any modicum of what would classically be called a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ would also fade out. Like a light bulb being switched off, as the electricity leaves the element, the light ceases to shine. End of story.

Or, maybe not. Consider that same science, which is an ever-growing exercise to understand the nature of the universe around and within us. One hundred fifty years ago, there were wavelengths of light that we had no idea existed. As little as ten years ago, things like the Higgs-Boson particle were theorized, but not observed. Many highly educated people were uncertain that it existed, or that we could ever ‘prove’ in any meaningful way, that it existed. But, with time, patience, and science, we did prove the Higgs-Boson was real, and observable.

So who is to say that the same may not be true of the spirit? That, in some form, the essence of us continues to experience awareness, in a way we simply cannot observe and measure.

So, what about the afterlife? Like the very concept of the soul, I believe the notion has been framed in a way that humans could relate to; and lets face it, for most people living today, concepts that are abstract, or go beyond what they can see or feel without thinking about it, are far too complex. It’s only when you introduce math, science, quantum mechanics, etc, that a truly ever expanding universe of possibilities starts to become imaginable, let alone relatable.

I for one take comfort in the mystery of it all. If this really is all there is, here and now, in this moment, then each moment is still an undiscovered country, ripe for exploration. But, in the infinitesimal chance that even a sub-atomic particle of our life essence continues to experience any form of self-aware existence after these vessels have stopped living, what wonders could await you? Sure, it is unknowable for us in this form of existence. But there is always tomorrow 😉

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Meaning of Life

I know some people who feel like their life has no meaning. Some are not religious, and others are. And I see people from both groups suffering under the weight of thinking that no matter what they do, there simply isn’t a reason or a purpose that means something to them. Now, I hate to sound harsh, but to me, the question of ‘meaning’ is in and of itself simply ludicrous. From a scientific standpoint, we all are links in a chain that supports an ever-evolving life cycle on this planet. From a spiritual standpoint -we are here; shouldn’t that alone be enough? If there *is* a higher purpose behind the existence of each and every human (or – let’s expand that to *soul* and include all sentient life on earth) then that means there is a higher being with a web of pre-determined plans, making us all pawns in a game on a scope so large and timeless that we are totally incapable to seeing it in any meaningful scope. So, in many ways, the question itself begins to grow so vast that we could never begin to comprehend the answer even if it were handed to us with an outline and summary explanation page.

But that does not have to mean that life is So, I look to give my life meaning by raising my children to be happy and well. I work toward meaning by being kind to others, by defending those who cannot defend themselves, and by working to bring peace to the lives around me. And if that fits into a more ‘grand plan’ on a cosmic scale, so be it.

One day, I will die. I will either completely cease to exist, or my consciousness will continue in some form that is beyond what we can know. Regardless of which is right, I can’t spend my life worried only about an afterlife; that misses the point. Live for each day; love where you can; create art, literature, teach children, grow old. Dance. And if there is a deeper meaning to it all, now, or even in an afterlife, at least you won’t have wasted your *life* wallowing in the mire of feeling meaningless.

Find your joy, and you’ve found all the meaning you need.

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Lessons – Part II

another lesson I’ve learned; you can be a good person, but when you put your heart and soul into someone who is not right for you, it can poison *both* wells – turning you each into people that do not truly define who you are. And eventually – – you have to forgive yourself. You don’t have to ‘forgive’ them – but you should, because eventually you remember that holding on to the hurt that led you there – that just isn’t who you are – it’s who you became when you were with them.

One moment, one hour, one day, cannot define your life. For people who think otherwise – how truly sad for them, that they live in that moment, instead of moving on.

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If the Dead can dream, can we ever know what’s real?

If the Dead can dream, can we ever know what’s real?
by D E Dykes

They say the dreaming dead lay sleeping, deep in the earth and sea.
They say they dream of lives they lived, and what they thought would be.
In their dreams they see the sun, shining brightly in the sky
and lounge around in shadows cast, not knowing that they’ve died.
Some say that in the fields at night, you’ll hear them screaming so
in the moments when they wake, and see their dreams all go.
So one must ask, if you can, between their muffled cries
When you see the dead can dream
What you’ll dream, when you die?

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The tale of the girl

‘a child once strode upon a battlefield, three days after the decimation of the army of light. Alone, with only the dead for company, she stepped lightly through the fields now littered with people she knew. They now lay before her, working hard to become one with the earth below her feet.

As she walked, she could see them all. There was the baker, next to the mailman. Just down the row was a teacher she’d had as a little girl. Next to her was the policeman, and the fireman that had stayed at her side when she lost her mum and dad in a house fire.

She walked among these corpses, who had been so utterly destroyed in the battle. “Why did they have to die?” she asked herself, as she closed the eyes of the people she loved. “How did this happen?”

“It happens, my love”, she heard a voice say. But before she could respond, it continued, “as it has happened time and again, throughout the long forgotten tales of your people”.

She looked around, seeing some of her loved ones sink quickly into the ground. Then, she noticed a particularly cruel neighbor in the fields, eyes staring open against the fallow sky. But the earth rejected that person; no matter how much rot and fungus enveloped her body, nothing left went back to the earth.

The girl asked aloud, ‘Why won’t she go? Why take my loves – my friends – and leave this cruel woman here, even in her death?”

The voice answered, as a gust of wind, “She brings hate; and no matter what she says she hates, her true pain was hatred of herself”.

The girl knelt down to her, and reached out to close the woman’s eyes; but the immediately opened again.

Before the question could be asked, the voice of the earth answered, “When she is ready, after lying here on the deserted field of a battle that never needed to be fought – only then will her torment end. Only then can she be at peace”.

“But, that’s so sad” the little girl said, standing up from the hateful, loveless woman, and taking a step back.
“How can we help?”

The voice formed a whirlwind beside her, taking the vague form of a man. Reaching out to caress her shoulder, it gestured with its arm to show her the bredth of the land around her.

“Billions, my love,” it answered. “It takes a billion heartbeats rooted in kindness and love to truly show one rooted in darkness that there is a better way”.

The girl reached up to take the whirlwinds hand, feeling its fingers gently hold her own, as they blew between the digits of her own hand.

“Then, how can I help?” she asked, her heart overfilling with emotion.

The wind looked to her, looked into her heart, and answered, “You’ve given her all you could, my child. It’s up to her now, to take that to a place that will save her”.

The girl still looked to the woman. Outside of the battlefield, she’d known her. Not always cross, but always sad, though she could never understand why.

“I’ve one more thing I can do”, the little girl said. With an understanding nod, the whirlwind released her hand, as she walked toward the eternally dying corpse of the hateful woman, who lay dying on the eternal battlefield, eyes wide open, and unable to be closed.

“I know you, miss,” the girl said, “but I don’t know your name”.

“Name?” the dying woman asked. “By what name would you know me, you foul, pittiful thing? I’ve never debased myself to consort with vermin of your ilk!”

The little girl knelt, and held the dying womans cheek in her hand.

“That’s alright, my lady,” she answered, tilting her head to one side, so the sun, low that it may be, shone brightly against the shadow casts by ‘her’ head. “There is a place for you. There is peace.”

“How would YOU know?” the creature intejected, becoming less human with each passing moment.

“Because – I remember you” the girl answered. And, as the creature, once human, lay there dying, here eyes finally opened wide, as a little girl held her tight.

Some say the embrace lasted seconds. Other say it is still occurring. Regardless, the innocent love of one being reached out, in the darkest of places, and showed one who was eternally cursed to live in hatred, the real power that comes with love, with forgiveness, with kindness.

Be that girl; live that kindness, even after your life.

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