Intelligence, Loneliness, and Solitude

There are different kinds of loneliness, of being alone, and loneliness and solitude are not the same sort of thing, I think. There is the loneliness of ideas, and the loneliness of proximity, there is the loneliness of emotions, and the loneliness of the spirit. One can feel alone in the midst of a crowd as easily as one can feel it when one is solitary. One can feel as though one is an outcast, a stranger, or an alien, even when there are other people around you. You can still feel alone, so alone, as though you are the first and the last of your kind, it’s a different kind of loneliness almost.

There is the loneliness of not having people near you who are alike to you, and this is the burden of the genius, you’re an alien amongst your people if you are without peers, genius needs genius, and that may well be its greatest weakness. You need someone who is as mad, creative, and brilliant as you are, but you really do not wish to admit to it. I don’t know if I am genius, but I have felt the solitude of brilliancy, or at least, not having anyone present with which to share my thoughts with. One does not wish to be the teacher all the time, sometimes one desires to be the student, or of equal standing.

I suppose, the genius is found looking for either a close friendship, or at the very least a worthy opponent. If they are going to compete, or even argue, they want it to be someone who is worthy of losing to. Anything less simply will not do.

Part of it is that the genius is inclined to remain alone, simply because they lock the door to their tower, and sit high in the high chambers of it, pondering the secrets of the universe, and wondering why they are alone, when all along, the door has been shut, locked, and unapproachable. Alone, yes, always, yes, and empty. The genius needs friends, I suppose.

For myself, I do have to admit, I do often wonder where is someone I can really open up to, and share with, if I do open up and share with you, it probably means I have a great deal of respect for you and consider you of equal standing with me, especially if I am speaking in a manner like what I write. I have done so on occasion, and have done so more and more, even with people whom I did not imagine I would ever open myself up to, but when the moment came, I did. That is good, I suppose it means I’m either starting to get off my high horse, or that I’m becoming more trusting of people in general. Either way, it is a good thing I think.

It’s not that I’m trying to sound arrogant, and it is hard to read this post without it coming off as such, though it is not meant to be so. Still, the loneliness of brilliancy is real, and does need to be talked of.

On the other hand, there is the value of solitude. In having time alone to be yourself, in taking moments, or hours, or what have you, to reflect quietly on your thoughts. There is a freedom in having a few moments to yourself, where you don’t have to worry about what others are doing or thinking or what have you, because they’re not present. I am a person who likes to be around people, but every so often, I do like to have a few hours to myself if I can. Mostly because I can feel like I can turn my music up without bothering people or using headphones, and while headphones are nice, they can leave you feeling rather isolated in a world of your own. If you’re like me, most of what you hear through them are not even words of your own mother tongue, or native language, or whatever it is that you wish to call it.

Regardless, even the difference between headphone and a set of speakers is nice. I hate driving, but the one thing I like about it is having time to listen to music, that part I like. It is nice on one hand, but on the other, is no substitute for interaction with actual humans. I like having the ability to play music aloud, but I do not mistake as being a valid social interaction. Still, I enjoy having a few hours alone for this purpose every few months or so.

It’s not always the case that perfection is found in the balance, but often times the best place to look for something is in the center. What is the most obvious solution to a given problem. It is also important to take other possibilities into consideration, but generally speaking, considering which among those is the most reasonable is a good place to start. It’s how I can often just jump right in and start using equipment I’ve never seen before in my life. I forget what age I was, but there came a point when I realized that if I guessed how something worked, most of the time, I could at least get it to do something, usually what it was that I wanted it to do. After awhile, experimentation and learning supplement the guesswork and you can quickly master new things. I sometimes joke to myself that “I don’t actually know what I’m doing, I’m just guessing. but don’t let them know that, let these mere mortals bask in the glory of my superior intellect!” Alright, with that last part I am just kidding, I do not actually think of my intellect as being superior or of other people as being mere mortals. However, it is true that a good percent of what I’m doing is just guesswork and intuition, very little of it is related to actually knowing what I’m doing. Now, I did learn how to drive a car properly, I didn’t just get in and start guessing how to drive. It drove me nearly mad to do so, but I did take the time to learn properly. Still, I have been known not to correct people when they say to me that they could never do half this stuff, and tell them “Me either, I actually do not know how to do half this stuff, but I pretend I do and do it anyways. It’s mostly guesswork.”

Truth is, most people are capable of doing the exact same things, but I think we live in a society where from cradle to grave we don’t like to act outside of our preexisting knowledge. The idea of learning without a teacher seems foreign and strange. I believe our education systems, including higher education, often discourages creativity in thinking, and the looming threat of political correctness doesn’t help either. Taught to question everything except itself, most beliefs of the day have a huge, gaping, whole in the center of them, obvious, visible to the outsider but unseen by most inside. Question everything except that which one holds for themselves. One result is we’re always assuming that the experts see what should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense, so we leave the hole watching to the experts, and dare not think for ourselves that what the experts say may not be true, nor take into consideration that the experts do not see the holes either. Sometimes I think ideas such as safety and security are a bit too valued, and the idea of doing something dangerous seems absurd, even if the end result is more valuable than not doing anything at all.

Of Life and Escaping Chickens

Cycles are one ways in which you can think of life, I find it odd that most of the time, if I look in a journal entry from roughly the same time a year prior, it could have been written today and still say much the same. On one hand this is a bit discouraging, on the other hand, it is not, but it is unsettling. Of course, half the reason is that I write in my journals, then later reread them, then am inspired to write some more, which tends to follow the footsteps of the first. So, for example, if I had written about escaping chickens a year ago, I read it again, and somehow escaping chickens works its way into the new, and the process starts all over again. It’s not like there is a lot of chickens escaping, in fact the chickens may have only escaped once, it’s that I keep writing about the same escaping chickens, over and over again. Now, it’s not necessarily always about the chickens, it can be about anything, the point is, sometimes life, like journal entries, seems repetitive because when we look back we are inspired to repeat the same things over and over again. In part this is because humans are rather habit forming creatures to begin with, most of the time, we ourselves are not even aware of how many odd little habits we have, many of them are parts of our daily routine. You might say that forming habits, is really quite habit forming.

Ridiculous notions of escaping chickens aside*, I do seek to be, to know, and yes, enjoy, humanity, including my own, and really, if we do not know our own humanity and understand the glorious creature that we are, we will do ourselves a disservice, and those around us. I disapprove of selfishness, but at the same time I disapprove of having such a low value for ones own humanity as can happen when we do not have a respect for the idea of being human. In the outworking of many of the world’s doctrines, I have seen people hurt when humanity is minimized. When we devalue our own humanity, we lose our respect for the humanity of others. Yes, at the same time, I acknowledge it is possible to have such a high view of your own humanity that you seek to eliminate or suppress what you deem to be other ‘lesser’ sorts. There is an opposite evil as well to devaluing humanity, and that is where a lot of ridiculous notions about superiority are from. The proper view then, would be one that respects the humanity of oneself and of the other. Such a view does not leave room for prejudice, we are equals, or hatred, we are the same. In many ways humility is needed. That fine line between pride and false humility is the narrow way, but the proper way. I hate it when I see people degrading themselves, condemning themselves, and all but proclaiming themselves to be monsters. In many ways this as bothersome as someone referring to themselves as supreme or better than you. (In talent, perhaps, in humanity, never.) Despising of ones humanity can take more than one form as well, Lord Voldemort, for example is famous for exhibiting one form, despising his humanity as something to be ashamed of, seeking to dispose of it, and turning himself into the monstrous creature he became. The other is one that is ashamed of being human because of the totality of the depravity of being human, which isn’t so very different from the first, except that it doesn’t lead as much to despising of ones own humanity, so much as ones human, and therefore supposedly degraded, nature, it does not seek to see goodness in oneself or in others, and holds very little compassion or love, the first form seeks superiority to become something more, the second wishes to be dead. Either way, it tends to produce someone who is loveless and prideful, either of their deadness, or their supposed superiority. The dead have nothing to give, and the other holds no wish to do so.

And yet, despite how there is a seemingly endless repetition of yesterdays, changes do in fact occur. Good changes, bad changes, sometimes changes that seem to be one or the other, but only later are revealed for whether they truly are. Some things that seem like blessings of the moment later prove to be a curse, while other things that seem like a curse in the moment, later are revealed to be blessings. Even this blog itself, holds evidence of repetition, and certain themes weave throughout the collective whole. Ideas such as how beautiful the world is, and the inhabitants of the world, how the universe itself is more akin to a poem than a object, the wonders of language, etc. often come up throughout the blog post. I suppose life is like a wheel, it goes around and around, but it’ll get you there eventually. And while day to day, things often seem mundane and repetitive, things do occur that alter us, change us. Every once in awhile, it is true, something occurs that jolts us in a different direction, sometimes these are indeed dark moments, and sometimes we are surprised by something pleasant, either way, however, we are rarely the same person we were beforehand. At times, such changes seemed small things at the time, yet only upon reflection do we realize that something life changing has occurred. More commonly, however, is the little changes that are hardly noticed, changes that can stretch out over months or even years, but at the end of the story, held just as powerfully in altering our journey as the sudden changes.

One of the greatest surprises that life holds is the development of friendships, nothing surprises me so continuously as the development of friendships. I am not sure if I can ever truly say when exactly I began my friendships with my friends, maybe a period of time, but never really a moment. It’s like you knew you were becoming friends, but all of a sudden you find one day that these people are very important to you, and you can’t exactly explain why, or what happened. Unfortunately the opposite holds true as well, you find that people you once were close to have gone off in a different direction, and there is very little between you, you’re strangers again. It wasn’t that there was any ill will, or anything like that, it’s just a drifting apart, and as you’ve walked separate paths, you became different people. Sometimes you meet again and friendship is at times rekindled, other times, you remain walking along separately for the rest of your life. Of course there are always times of betrayal as well, but more often, friendships grow distant simply because of walking separate ways.

Just for the record, we do not have chickens.

* It is a phrase used in the movie Chicken Run.

Of Thinking Styles

For me, I find I tend to think of myself as being alone, or more accurately, I forget that I am a part of other people’s lives. I exhibit genuine surprise when people acknowledge my presence, much like Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians does when he is seen for the first time. I forget that while I like to observe, I too may be observed. It is as though in my mind, I am an invisible entity, and it is astonishing how often, even in places like ordering coffee and such, I am surprised when I’m asked what I would like. This happens quite often, and I suppose it’s why I do not really exhibit fear about public appearances, on stages and such, because in my own mind I’m invisible, like a ghost. It is of course not true that I am invisible, I assure you I am indeed quite visible to people, all of them. What I am trying to say is that I have always been a bit of a day-dreamer, but sometimes, I wonder, if I exist in my own little world just a little bit too much. I’m not sure whether it is due to retreating away from, or from just not placing myself forwards, but I tend to remain lost in thought, drifting about.

Sometimes I think I’ll never change. I remember in my youth, zoning out while playing soccer (football for most places outside the US.) and all of a sudden I hear “Earth to Shane!” coming from the coach, who thankfully was rather amused about it. But, yes, that is pretty much the story of my life. A bit absent minded I suppose. I say I’ll never change, and perhaps I should never change. It is okay to be absent minded, or lost in thought, it’s not like there is something wrong with me because I have the tendency to be that way.

Yet, I feel discontented with myself at times about it. Where does this tendency to conform come from? And I shouldn’t even say conform to other people, but rather our perceptions of other people, sometimes it can be tempting to think of those who blurt out everything that’s on the tip of their mind without stopping to breath as just a part of the ignorant masses. No, they just have a very different style of thinking things through, rather than discussing several ridiculous notions in the privacy of their own brain, they announce it all to everyone in the vicinity, brilliant and ridiculous notions alike, which does tend to create the perception that they are not thinking things through, but they are, they’re just doing it all aloud. There is nothing wrong with that. Yet, I cannot help but wonder if it is possible for the perceptions both of this type and the silent type of thinker to not be skewed by the thinker’s own thinking style. I tend to be the kind to think about it in my head unless I’m very comfortable around you. Unfortunately, it was mostly the cat who would be on the receiving end of those discussions.

I suppose I am what they call an introvert, though I personally do not really like the term all that much, I suppose it is a superior label to shy, or bashful, and definitely better than terms such as anti-social and the like, I still do not really like the term introvert/extravert, etc. For one thing, I dislike confining myself into categories as it is without inventing more labels for myself than I absolutely need to. Also I have a mix of traits common to both introverts and extraverts, and can not neatly fit into either one or the other. This is fine, there is nothing wrong with me because I am an inextratervert. (I think I just made up that term myself, one of the things I do like about English is how easy it is to make up new words as you go along.)

One of the things about my personality is that I am rather fond of the more, I don’t know, I guess you could call it morbid, or gloomy sort of things, almost like a dark whimsicalness. I’ve kind of always been that way, but at the same time, I rather dislike cruelty and violence. My writings are filled with rather gloomy descriptions of terrifying places. Creepy places, things of that nature, yet there is to me anyways, a sort of dark beauty to them. Yet, when I write battle scenes for example, I hardly go into description at all in regard to the violence of it, though I might have spent a great deal of time describing the environment.

In my writings there is for example: Máiréad’s Labyrinth, a terrifying place, to be sure, yet I keep coming back to it several times throughout my stories. There is also Ian’s Garden, a garden centered around deathly imagery, and is more of a tomb than a garden.

As for myself, I am exceedingly fond of black, something I have been teased about, but I do not mind. I like making people laugh, or at least amuse them, even if it is a ‘I’m mildly annoyed that you wear nothing but black all the time, wear some color for goodness sake! Would it kill you to wear a little color from time to time?’ sense. I’ve gotten better, but I haven’t started wearing bright pink shirts or anything like that yet.

It is interesting how one’s personality and perspective of things can change how the world looks to them.

The Miraculous and the Mundane

It’s okay to love, to be fond of, to enjoy the existence of our fellow human beings, it is okay to delight in those we love. It is okay to hold people in our hearts. It may seem as though it is of no consequence, or importance to realize that, but it is quite an important truth. Let the truth of it set you free, free of the demons of condemnation, fear, and doubt.

For myself, I need not be doubtful, or to live a life either of fear or condemnation, I am a child of God, and my heart and soul are those of a redeemed man. My heart is a heart given by God, a pure, righteous, holy, beautiful, and true heart, a sacred heart.

When I consider others who are counted among the redeemed, I still marvel. It is as though heaven has given them wings, on which they fly, and rise above. I see the supernatural working among the natural world, the miraculous among the mundane.

And yet, in consideration of the mundane, even that I find fascinating, I ask, what are my own limits? What would happen if I pushed myself to the limits of human capacity in the natural realm just to see what it is that the human being is capable of. I cannot deny it, humanity, even its natural state, is a glorious creature indeed, which as an artist myself, is not of any surprise to me, that even though humanity has fallen, there still remains in them a reflection of the one who has made humanity, and did so in his image, it is true of my own creations as well, even when they are not perfect, my handiwork can still be seen upon them. This, in my mind does not lessen the glory of the creator, even if the natural man is a fallen one, he or she is still, though not particularly intending to, glorifying the creator. How much more does the redeemed man bring glory to him. I am rather fond of what might be called the more mythical aspects of the historical narrative, amongst them is the story referred to as the myth that came true. Perhaps it is because I am a writer myself, but I tend to see the world, and history, and everything else through the lens of words and storytelling, my view of the world is a very narrative one, with a beginning, a middle, a end, with a world that is as much a poem as it is a home, and above all, an author, an author who writes, and has written, and knows all aspects of the story, even the parts that I have not read yet, but perhaps most incredibly of all, an author who has himself entered into his own story to redeem humanity.

Yet, there is the matter of my own part of the tale, and it is interesting that in this part I both walk the appointed path, as written, and choose the path upon which I walk. And one of the things I have to face as I face my own story, is the question of overcoming the fears that bind. Take for example, my fear of the physical touch of others, and of doing so to them. While this is perhaps an understandable fear, I cannot think it a good one. It runs so deep that for so long now, I’ve withheld myself and shrank back from the touch of others, and the effect upon me has been a rather peculiar one. There are times when I feel detached, invisible, alone. I don’t like not being able to reach out and comfort the hurting, nor expressing fully my own affection by forcing myself to be distant and cold. It can make one feel at times as though one is so full of love, and joy, and mirth, and yet has nothing to do with it. As though one has taken a universe within, but has not a way to let it out again.

I wish I could take people by the hand and physically express with that gesture the warmness of my heart towards them. Also, just to clarify, I do not mean that I seek the human touch in an inappropriate sense, I speak of the human need for human contact with each other, and how it feels not to have that. Regardless, of that, I am grateful for it, it gives me a measure of compassion for the truly isolated, and alone, where my isolation is my own mental barriers cutting myself off, I am aware that some are cut off without choice.

After all, there are so many people who are precious to me and I have no means to let them know that. What is it to think the world of people if they are not aware of it? Oh, I don’t know, the point is, I do in fact, grow weary of coming across as cold and distant, when that really isn’t what I wish to be, and in my heart, is not what I am.

So, how do I find my place in the greater story? How do I lose the focus upon the little things, the little fears that seem greater than they truly are? That is the challenge, I suppose. I know it is because I do not force myself to go out and do things quite as readily as I ought that I often feel isolated. I have very little initiative. I am keenly aware that most of the trouble I have is indeed my own making, I am aware of that. It is true, that if I were to throw myself out there more, I would slowly, but surely, find myself in the company of other humans. Which is definitely something that I seek. To do so, I need to change my perspective.

So, how to change my perspective? That is indeed a good question, and one that I’m still trying to figure out how to answer. I’ll be honest, I do have a number of ‘struggles’ or ‘problems’ that I quite honestly, haven’t figured out yet. I’m fairly certain that in some form, everyone has these, some of us, myself included, are just pretty good at hiding it. It is certainly true of me that I tend to hide behind some mask or other, I’ve long been aware of it. The problem is when you can’t remember what you’re supposed to be when you’re yourself.

Not that it is all about me, it is just that I do tend to keep myself the most company, so it is easy for me to make observations of my own behavior, regardless, I do wish to know what my part in the tale is. I suppose in the end however, some stories are not meant to be told, they’re meant to be lived.

The Art of Transformation

I suppose what troubles me is that things remain a mystery, you find a work of art for example, and you can examine it, take it apart even, and yet still not understand it. You can find yourself changed, even fundamentally, as in the whole essence of who you are transforming into something new, and still not understand it. Even more complicated is the relationship one holds with the artist, did they or their work transform you? I almost want to say it would be the work far more than the artist. It holds a life of its own really, and every novel contains a universe within, and when we read it, we become part of that universe. The same is true of all stories, no matter what form they take, whether in film, or novel, in poem, or song, in a painting. The magic of stories is that they contain a universe all their own, and when we partake we become a part of it. The artist is a great transformer, truly, but their work is often greater than it was set out to be, and this is a mystery.

I suppose the question is: Do I love the artist because they changed me, or did they change me because I love them? Do I love their work because the work changed me, or did I change because I loved the work? I am uncertain of the answer to that, but I think there is truth in both. A work, no matter how beautiful cannot work upon my soul if I do not pay attention to it or do not heed it.

The fact that I esteem the artist cannot be denied, neither can the fact that I changed as a result of encountering them, but the question remains, do I change because I esteem the artist or because the artist changed me? I think in the creation of the art, we infuse ourselves into the work, and thus we do change those around us, and yet it is most effective to the soul that takes heed, that stops and ponders, and attends to the work. This is the peculiar relationship between the artist and the partaker, a transformative work upon the soul of the partaker, yes, but also upon the artist who has placed themselves within their work.

I do have questions and thoughts, and there is central to all, the heart of the matter. The heart. For years I have heard it said that my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I now think this is wrongly applied, and it has left me unable to enjoy a healthy, normal, relationship with other human beings. The heart is capable of goodness, or there would be no point in even attempting to live righteously. To the heart that believes itself wicked, it refuses to be a heart of love, it is true that I would say unto myself: “I might hurt them.” and it wishes to abstain from other humans. Nothing can be more harmful to the human condition than avoidance of humanity. I have to ask in reply: “Do you want to? No, I would do anything to benefit them.” a response that a heart, not of desperate wickedness, and deceit would answer, but a heart of love. Love says it would help and not hinder, love says it will not hurt or harm. There is no point in loving others if our heart is incapable of it.

So why be afraid. Do I have the courage to look into the mirror of souls? To see the lies, to see the glory, and feel the fire of the truth? To know myself? In the end, I believe I would see would not be an abyss black and without end, but something far more beautiful than even I have the capability to imagine. I believe the redeemed heart is particularly beautiful, but that all hearts are capable of goodness. I do not believe that some hearts are destined to be wholly evil.

The truth sets us free. So what is the truth? It really does come down to the matter of the heart, and the heart of the matter is that the heart is neither here nor there, it’s a living thing, and as such it is capable of turning to either the light or the darkness. Once again I come to the conclusion that we are defined by the choices we make. However, it must be taken into consideration that the heart is incapable of doing arising out of darkness of its own accord, and this is why humanity is in need of saving, despite our ability to make the right choices, we can’t lift ourselves out of the darkness.

I think sometimes that things are torn out of their proper context, and transformed from truth, to lies in themselves, and that it is more lies and fear that is preached than truth. Even by the well meaning, it is hard to be heard above the shouting, the still small voice of gentleness.

If a single lie, built by the twisting of the truth, has all but destroyed the notion of love for humanity, and I cannot accept that. The thing is, those who teach them are bound by the same lies they teach. I’m not sure what to name this thing, and it feels rather complicated.

However, I do believe that this is wrong, because everywhere people are being hurt. People lament that people leave, but we shouldn’t be surprised. If we turn our sanctuaries into places of harm, what can you expect?

I dislike seeing people hurt, especially when it occurs in the name of love. Yet, it is often only the result of lies believed, sometimes years and centuries of mistaken notions outworking themselves into hurting others for the sake of our own righteousness. Bearing that in mind produces a compassion not only for the hurt but often times for the one inflicting it.

Even so, I cannot deny that some have chosen to walk in the darkness, and they do hurt, sometimes without any clear reason, but they do hurt and do so with intention. Not all cruelty is comprised of mistaken notions.

In regard to myself I wish to walk in the way of gentleness, and hope, rather than the path of condemnation. There is enough condemnation already to go around the world a thousand times, I need not add to it. I hate it when I do, and I do at times. It would be wrong for me to claim otherwise. Condemnation is an ever-consuming monster whose appetite is never satisfied. Do not feed the monster.

Instead breathe life and hope into the world, seek to transform, and to build up, seek to love and set free. In many ways I suppose, this is the work of the artist, as much as it is anyone else. Some believe art to be purely a form of self-expression, and I suppose it can be, but it never can reach the hight of its ability unless it gets beyond the expression of the self. Neither can it do so if it is in the form of propaganda, which is to say that the art itself has been highjacked by a pasted on message. Art is at its best when it is neither centered upon the artist or the audience but simply is a work from which both the artist and the audience are transformed. This is not to suggest that great art is that which is accidental or unintended, by no means, the greatest arts are those which are very intentional indeed. Intricacy is one way in which a good work is separated from a great work. A good story may be told once and satisfy, but a great one can be told again and again, each time with something new to offer to all who partake of it. Another aspect is the hidden, a work that does not explain everything outright, but has at least some measure of mystery to it. A good story may be told outright, but a great one holds a mystery to it, something that is impossible to describe, yet we wish to partake of it, even if we do not fully understand it. It is the mystery that lends these works their believability, and their beauty.

Which is, I suppose, why both as an artist and a human, I wish to transform, even as I am transformed.

Lightbulbs, Etc.

I’m alive, I’m awake, horrible piano, but I’m awake.

I should do something about that piano I suppose.

It is funny how sometimes a little change is all we need, for example, changing a lightbulb. It may not seem like much, but the ever so slight alterations of color, tone, and brightness, change the mood of the room entirely. It’s an observation that makes me wonder if I ought to look into finding one of those color changing LED lightbulbs. I like LED lights, generally speaking. There is even one that can be controlled with my iPhone. I won’t deny it, the geek side of me is very attracted to such a prospect. I suppose I still think of telephones as something for talking, which I tend to avoid, so the idea of using a telephone to control an lightbulb is interesting, and much more useful to me, than you know… talking.

The odd thing is, as a child I was a non-stop chatterbox… What changed? I do not really know. One theory of mine is it was simply the process of growing up, and one of the things I left behind was my ability to just talk about what was on my mind.

It’s a new year, and as such I’ve found it a good time to reflect on new ideas, new things. A few words have been floating around my head as such. Among them has been joy, and affection. I’m constantly seeking ways to re-examine things, and I wonder why I am not feeling particularly happy. I do not think it has everything to do with my old lightbulb. Right before starting this post I switched an older lightbulb for a newer one, out of curiosity as to whether it was the lightbulb that was giving me a slight headache, I’m pleased to say that the replacement lightbulb is proving to be much better for that. I’ve long known that color and light change my mood dramatically, and I think that is why I find summer so very depressing, the light is different, in the winter the sunlight is not quite so harsh, and is actually pleasing to me. Another thing I find affects my mood is coffee, drinking it makes me feel worse, but I keep drinking it… Why? I really must ask what is it that I keep drinking coffee, it’s like I can’t not drink it, even though I often feel very muddleheaded afterwards. Why is that? I really, honestly, do not know. I tried drinking tea, but it just isn’t the same. I know what I think the problem is, it’s not so much about the coffee, it’s about the feeling of lack of control over it. I feel like I must have my coffee, and can’t stop even if I wished it, and that lack of control, and I am not suggesting this is a good thing, but that lack of control is what makes me sad. I can be somewhat of a control freak, especially over myself, and whenever something, no matter how small a thing it is, be it a coffee bean or a world dictator, if it tries to control me, I resent it. I tried writing a similar post on Valentines Day last year about this, but I decided not to post it, it was turning too dark and depressing, and I think it will remain unposted.

Upon reflection however, there is truth in the notion of me, vs. the coffee bean.
It’s why I dislike the horrible piano, even if I am awake. I really should do something about that horrible piano I suppose. One can go through life living with the horrible piano, cringing with every out of tune note, or one could tell that piano to get tuned, and then it will not be quite so horrible a piano anymore, and with the right pianist, it may even sound beautiful.

In the end, I would not be happy for the simple reason of not being the pianist. This isn’t good, it’s alight for other people to be the center of attention, and to be more gifted than myself.

This is a side of me I find disagreeable, yet whether out of fear or desire I can never seem to be wholly rid of it.

The point of it is, I like being in control, the truth is, however, that this is not a good thing to like, and I know that. While we all have our inner Voldemorts, this is one of mine, just because everyone has one with which they contend, it doesn’t make it any less of a battle, or less in need of fighting. Yes, I am human, one might even say, only human. But, to be human is so much more than to let the inner Voldermort be victorious. The Doctor even referred to such a notion in the Christmas episode for 2013, as ‘Dalek within’. Whether it is Voldemort or a Dalek, we have things in us that are dark. For me it’s a need to control all. In the very darkest part of me, I think it is a need to control all, as in all things, through all of space, and time. The darkest part of me wishes to be supreme over all creation. This is not good, and would not be good for me or for creation. Not every desire is worth pursuing.

Neither is all desire wrong, or evil. In fact, desire, in and of itself is a good thing.

So, is the fact that I enjoy coffee an evil thing? I do not think so, but I am keenly aware that I cannot seem to stop drinking it either. This does bother me, undoubtably, but should it stop me from drinking coffee? I don’t know. Perhaps I should, perhaps not. Coffee is a good thing, it is useful, it is delicious, it really is quite delightful.

Delightful, an interesting concept, I suppose. You know, people ask that you pursue your dreams, but I do not have a dream, not at the time. I don’t know why I ceased to dream, nor why I cannot remember, no matter how hard I try, what my dreams I once held were. I think I once dreamed of things, and one day I wake up, I am doing the things I once dreamed of, and I’ve forgotten it was a dream. Dreams never seem to be as glorious in reality as the dream made them out to be. Perhaps I’m afraid to dream, knowing that dreams rarely seem to be what they are expected to be, but honestly, perhaps it would be better to agree with that assessment and say to ourselves that reality can exceed our expectations as readily as it can disappoint us, and is more likely to do so if we are not so insistent upon it bending itself to fit our expectation of it. So many times what we are given is much better than what we desired, but we only have eyes to see the small thing desired, and are thus not content in the greater dream.

A Cycle or a Story?

What is the difference you ask, between dreams and reality? Reality can be changed, a dream is but a mere reflection, a mirror may reflect, but only the reality can be altered, and only by altering reality can the reflection change.

Sometimes, I feel as though things are changing for me, be they good changes or bad changes, it’s nearly impossible to tell. More often, however, it seems as though nothing changes at all. An endless cycle of walking in the footsteps of our ancestors, and our descendants will walk in the footsteps we walk in now. From the beginning of time to today, nothing has changed, humanity forgets everything it learns and every few centuries repeats the same sins as their forefathers centuries before.

Perhaps in the observation of that reality, we can alter the reflection. We will and do, but do not have to repeat the same evils over and over again. Just because things have always been that way doesn’t mean they always have to be that way. I don’t have enough faith in humanity to trust that it will not, but it doesn’t have to.

The question is whether we’re doomed by nature, or by choice, I suppose I believe we are doomed by choice.

Sometimes it seems like you want to ask: Do things ever really change, or do they just go round and round? You want things to change, but you feel like you are wandering around in some weird sort of place, where no matter what direction you take, you always end up back in the same room you started in and you wonder, is life a prison or an adventure?

You ask yourself, why look for change where change doesn’t exist? Is it a worthwhile pursuit? I don’t know. Yet, staying still, I do not like to do that either, and it seems as though one sure way to waste a life is to stand still, they say the ones who get things done are those who do something.

Yet, here we go, round and round. We always end up back in the place where we started. If the destination and the start are the same place, is there a point to the journey? People like to say that there is nothing new under the sun. I cannot think of a more depressing idea than that.

You want something new. Something beyond that which you already know. Yet no matter how far you go, you always find yourself back where you started. Occasionally you meet someone else on their own fruitless journey to and from the place where they started, and for a bit, it seems as though something new has occurred, but always, we come to the same understanding, we’re just traveling back to our prison cells. We thought for a moment we escaped them, but our meeting only reveals to us the dark reality of our journey and our destination. We know that if we continue our delusion and try to escape together, we’ll only be torn apart in the end, so we walk on, accepting a little pain now to not have our hearts torn out of us by the delusion of love, whatever that might be. With no world to transcend to, no world outside the borders of our prison cells, the best thing we can do for each other is to walk on. Why continue on in a illusion that an unloved man can love in spite of that, after all you can’t love, or if you must, you must love alone. From a distance, never close.

When considering how repetitive life is, it does seem rather monotonous. For me, personally, I rather dislike it, it feels to much like being in a prison or like being trapped. Even the day to day seems so, you get up, you eat something, you do what you do that day, you cook dinner, you go to bed, you get up, you repeat everything all over again. Week to week, you go to the same places. You repeat everything you just did the week before. Year to year as well. Why? What is the point?

Yet, there is a point, if we are in a story, if life, and the world, and everything in all of space and time is a part of a story. A story has a beginning, and an end, and yes, the middle parts do sometimes feel monotonous, especially if you are the one in the story itself. It is even more difficult to notice that you are a part of the story if the story began long before you were born, and continues on after you die, though whether for a long time or short time, remains to be seen. We do not know exactly how short or long a time the future holds for us, both personally, and corporately as the human race, and that is a good thing, I should think. If we knew the future we’ll either attempt to bring it about by changing the world, or we’ll attempt to change ourselves to fit our knowledge of the foreseen. It is enough for us to know that there is an end, at the present time, as well as to know that there is a future. Not that there isn’t value in considering the future, that isn’t what I speak of. Our ideas of thinking only about our present selves, and our present generation, are leaving a very sad inheritance to our children and our children’s children. It is a sad thing that we’re leaving a world much worse than how we found it, mostly by our insistence in only thinking about the here and now. Not that there haven’t been improvements both socially, politically, and even environmentally, there has been, but for every step forward, we’ve stepped backwards twice, and thus the progress we do make not only has not made a better world for our children, we are still leaving the world worse than we found it. In that sense it is important to consider the future. The problem of knowing the future is that our attempts to conform either it or ourselves, is that it has unforeseen results, usually disastrous.  It is an uncomfortable notion, being bound to the present moment, but it is our fate.

The fact remains however, that if we are a part of a story, the story, then there is a story that is being told. This is encouraging, for though things may seem like a prison at times, and even life itself says that all is a prison, a story tells us that there is a world outside of the prison walls, that there is a place beyond suffering, and the darkness of the shadows where we ourselves often dwell. If all creation is a part of a story, then yes, there is more to life than this, and that is an encouraging thought.

Furthermore, and this further enforces in my mind the idea of the story, the world is full of interesting people. Yes, as a whole they are fundamentally all human beings, and in that sense all alike, but within that wholeness of humanity, there is a great deal of diversity. Not all people are alike, they each have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, in short, their own stories. Every human that has ever lived has been unique. Considering the population of all humanity that has ever been, the diversity involved is great indeed. Diversity is, in my opinion a good thing, it doesn’t make one more superior to another, though many have thought this, often with horrific results. In part it is diversity that makes me so desirous of loving people, I know that every person has something I do not, something to teach me, or something that I can find to treasure in them. It’s where each person finds their beauty. If we were all alike, what a horrible world that should be. Yet, it is distressing how much we are told ‘this is beautiful’ and ‘this is not’. I was astonished earlier upon seeing a poster where a normal man was placed next to your typical advertisement man. What astonished me was how much I had subconsciously swallowed the notion that the advertisement man was what I was supposed to be looking like. Not that there is anything wrong with some people having particularly fine features, but I do find it wrong that they are exalted as though they are gods and goddesses, while at the same time, these same deified people are often hurting themselves as much as they are being used to hurt. Sometimes the pictures we see of people are not strictly speaking even real, but photo manipulations, which must also be taken into account. I believe the term is ‘Photoshopped’ in reference to a commonly used image manipulation program for computers. Some industries thrive on fighting diversity, trying to sell us their particular view of what things are suppose to be. I try to acknowledge and be accepting of the idea that people are indeed different from each other, but still recognizing them as our sister, our brother, to respect them rather than insisting that either they or myself change to fit some notion of my own about what we’re supposed to look like. In many ways, I think respect, rather than conformity is a better way. To understand a person, is a gift for them, and for ourselves. To be honest, I think one of our deepest needs is the desire to find acceptance, but even if for whatever reason, acceptance cannot be, we desire to find understanding and respect.

I suppose in a sense I want to see people put aside their prejudices. I suppose it starts with me laying aside my own prejudice against those whom I bear prejudice towards, and even I do not always know my blindness.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Sometimes I wonder if happiness is the highest virtue, or if there is not something higher. Often times we live our lives as though the pursuit of happiness was the highest pursuit that we can attain, but what if it is not? I have to ask whether or not the pursuit of happiness is a noble goal or whether it is a tyrant upon the soul. Not that there is not value or even goodness to be found in happiness, to be happy is a very good thing, what I ask, however, is whether the pursuit of it is worth the cost to our souls. I think that contentment is a higher state of well-being than happiness, to be content is different I think, than being happy. Contentment accepts circumstance much more readily than does happiness. Happiness is more akin to a vapor, it comes and goes with the wind, but is largely to do with circumstances outside of oneself, where contentment is much more about the circumstances inside. The key to contentment is found primarily in gratitude, and in humility.

There is, I think, a form of tyranny in the pursuit of happiness, something that says that it is wrong to not be happy, to feel sadness, or even sorrow. It also tells us that ought to always pull ourselves up again, even though sometimes we’ve been beaten down so badly, we do not even remember how to look up. I believe the pursuit of happiness to be a tragic one, a cruel pursuit really. It’s not that I wish to feel sad, or sorrowful, but I do want to feel emotion.

Emotion above almost all other things open our hearts to empathy, the mind is too cold and rational to bother with anything outside of itself, it is efficient in the sense of cutting itself off from all that it deems to be not important to the task at hand, but it is cold in terms of our relating to other people. It was once believed that a mind detached from emotion would be a cool mind and one more in tune with truth, justice, and so forth, but it is a cold mind, and the coldness of the mind always turns the heart cold with it. The pursuit of happiness, like the mind, tells us to disregard what is deemed to be undesirable emotions, rather than embracing them as part of the human experience, part of what it is that makes us human beings to begin with.

Human beings are designed to be empathetic creatures, perhaps it is why we have emotion in the first place. I see the result of cold minds and the pursuit of happiness. Together they create monsters. People with cold hearts pursuing happiness often times are those who are interested in ‘getting their own way’ and little else. Those who are out to get their slice of the pie, if you will, and their neighbors too if they can get away with it. We ask what would compel someone to take something from somebody else, for example, in a robbery. I think it is the pursuit of happiness in the hands of a cold heart that more often than not is to blame. It’s hard to say exactly why this is, and what it all means, but it remains doubtless a reality of the human heart. Yet, it is also true that people are more complex than a single aspect, and while a dominate characteristic of these folks is to seek to look out for the most important person in their view, themselves, there is usually some aspect to them that is far more complex. It is difficult to find a human so totally given over to evil that there is not something good to be found in them.

What I’m trying to say is that while happiness is important, I think we err to make it the chief goal of our lives, and in many ways, I think it deprives us of the fullness of our experience to do so. There is value in both the light and the darkness, the day and the night, the joy and the sorrow.

I am a human being, and as such, I experience things, some of those experiences are good, and others are not, and while we sometimes can choose to improve our experiences, often times, we cannot. Circumstances can lie outside of our ability to control them, and we cannot become so unfeeling as to remain entirely emotionally detached from them even if we wish to be. And when we do succeed in doing so, what we find is not a state of peace, but something more akin to a state of torment.

Another thing I think that we err to do is to be so independent that we no longer concern ourselves with our fellow human beings. We are fundamentally, if you will, community centered creatures. Or tribal, if that word suits you better, the point is, we do need each other. in my own country, however, we value our independence so much that we pretty much cut ourselves off from everyone around us, and even in the closest of relationships, we have a notion of our own personal space, or something to that effect. I understand, sometimes it is necessary to be alone, and solitude can be, and is, extremely valuable. No, what I question is whether it is wise to have an entire civilization given over to it on a permanent basis. We need each other. I think the greatest danger to American civilization is fragmentation, when it comes to a point of taking our independent spirit too far. Granted, some wonderful things have taken place at the hands of Americans, I also acknowledge that some terrible things have as well. There is a long, sad, trail of American atrocities, stretching from its beginnings all the way until today. There is not much we can do about our past, it is done, but we can take care about our future. We can learn from our own evils, and in so doing, turn aside from committing them further. It is not that I do not love my own country, I do, but I do not wish to let patriotism blind me from its faults. It may seem the better thing in the moment, but in the end, it is a much greater disservice to it. I am not so blind to the whole of human history as to not believe that we are not as capable as every other civilization of not only rising to a hight so high as to soar upon eagle’s wings, but falling so far into the abyss as to never rise again. We have a story, as people, but also as a community, and as a civilization. Not all such stories have to end badly, but many do. What will ours be? I think much of our independence stems from our pursuit of personal happiness. We believe, wrongly, I think, that we are happiest when we have a universe of our own to command. I don’t think we find happiness there, I think we find a taste of Hell.

We have much to decide, but one of the things we do have the power to do, in the moment, is to reach out, to love our neighbor. To forget the ‘American Dream’ that is robbing us of our ‘Human Reality’.

What About The Monsters?

Halloween is a few weeks, and the conversation can often turn to monsters, and yes, some of them, I suppose, are scary. But the scariest monster of all is the human being. Yet, I also wish to have compassion on them. I am constantly in a conflict with myself, I want to meet people, where they are at, and accept them, and then I come against the darkest of humanity, what am I to make of that?

Take for example the reality of human trafficking. Those who are trafficked, these are my brothers, these are my sisters. These people are precious, and precious to me. I want to believe that humanity is beautiful, but what do I make of the traffickers? In light of that, is it wrong for me to seek to see the best in people? What do I make of the monsters? I think humanity as monsters scares me much more than things traditionally considered scary, for example, ghost, and so forth. With humanity, I want to see them as beautiful, so the horror is so much more pronounced for it. I feel conflicted, perhaps because of conflicting ideas. My love for humanity coming up against the horror of the human monster.

Another example is those who would bully those around them, for example, I recently saw an example of a person who obviously had a dislike for a certain form of music, calling someone ‘trash’ because they said something relating to that particular form of music. Seriously? Over a difference of taste in music?

Why are people cruel? Why does evil prosper and why do the good suffer? Don’t tell me their are no good people. I’ve had that thrown at me more times than I can count. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is responded with “There are no good people.” Do not say that. What, are we all monsters? Is there truly no such thing as goodness, as beauty, as truth? What is the point of life if there are no good people? There is none, not that I can see. But if people are capable of even a glimmer of goodness, than life is not only worth living, it’s worth living in a land of shadows, and horror, and death, and pain. To say that there are not good people is a terrible thing to say, and if gives no meaning to this life. There is no reason to be good if goodness is not possible. If there are no good people, than all people are monsters, and life is but a vain joke, a deception, a trick, a lie, and the vain hope of trying to be human, a vain, and empty hope, with no purpose, and no future. If there are no good people, than there is more hope to be found in hell itself. Do not tell me there are not good people.

The existence of good people is why we have the monsters, but at the same time, it is why even the monsters have hope. We’re not all monsters, and even more importantly, we are not doomed to be monsters forever.

I cannot forget that I too, in the past, would have argued beyond reason or feeling, about frivolous, ridiculous, things, like musical taste, valuing my opinions above that of the heart of a human being. I too have been the monster. I really don’t know why my mind has changed, and I am not such a firebrand as I once was. It is not like I can point to a single event, or thing, or person, and say this is what happened. It’s not like that. I do not know what it is about, only that it is. Perhaps part of it was the Lord of the Rings, and another part was Harry Potter, perhaps I learned how to think while trying to understand Severus Snape. I won’t deny, trying to understand what happened atop the Astronomy Tower, it has been a huge boost to my skills upon how to think through something, to see if what is seen could be different than what truly is. You might say that Severus Snape taught me how to think.

It’s also true, however, that when you see people as beautiful, suddenly, they become beautiful. You do find that you are quite fond of them. They become inexplicably precious, wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, people. It’s really a great way to see the world. Suddenly you find that all these people are precious to you. A view of others that encompasses this mindset is almost an enchantment. The enchantment, is it possible that I had cast it upon myself? But, now, what a thought, consider the artist who passively sets the captives free just through their artwork alone.

Sometimes, the artist is a most fragile creature. Sometimes, in some of their work I perceive slight insecurities in them about themselves. They don’t know how special they are. I wonder how many people believe they are nothing, not realizing how beautiful they really are. As such, I am really beginning to hate condemnation and what it does to my sisters and brothers. Take a former student of mine for example, past all the hurt there is a beautiful creature. She, however, believes the lies that say she deserves hell. Truth is, I myself thought this way, and still do at times, much more than I desire to actually. Lies do hurt people, I know, I’ve lived through them.

Condemnation tortures the human soul into believing that they are without worth, beauty, or anything good. It holds captive people in a sort of self-sustaining slavery. It, more than anything else hurts people. Even abuse victims, a lot of times, regardless of truth, will suffer from condemnation, and thus believe that they are somehow deserving of the abuse, it can even become desired. It’s still slavery, and not their fault.

This is what Raven does, it is like facing internally the horrors of Máiréad’s Labyrinth, or the prisons of the Dark Prince. It is a prison that is so much a part of you that you forget you’re a prisoner. Raven is the perfect tormentor, he knows the best possible way to break the humanity of every person. Condemnation is one of his chief weapons in that. This is the state of humanity, they dwell in a prison and are tormented at the hands of the perfect tormentor. The kind that is believed. The people believe Raven’s lies. They believe his words and blame themselves for his tormenting of their souls. I hurt in my heart to feel this, to see this in my brothers and sisters. These precious ones. They deserve our compassion, not our condemnation.

It is amazing though what happens when you start viewing those around you as something precious, as something beautiful. And because all humanity is created in the image of God there is something beautiful to be found in all of them, if for no other reason than that they are made in God’s image, that alone makes everyone someone beautiful. It is also beautiful how when you start seeing people as beautiful the world becomes really, really, beautiful for it.

Suddenly all these people are not a nuisance but are precious to you. It makes life beautiful for me, and I hope I can in some way be a blessing to these precious people.

It is also why there is hope, even for the monsters.

The Heart’s Desires

The Blimey Cow Community created a photo-a-day challenge for July, one of the days was “Want”. I ended up posting a picture of a pear, but, it got me thinking:

What is that I want, what do I want? I fear my deepest desires could be harmful if not handled with great care. What I want is for understanding and to be understood. I want a friend, a friend who who I can be transparent with, but there will always be secrets. I have a dark nature, surely, how could I ever be completely transparent? I’m not Alice.

I suppose in a sense, I want moral ambiguity, to be accountable and answerable to no one. However, this would only separate me further from all whom I love. I would become inhuman if I had this wish.

I suppose what I want is is innocence? Can such a thing even exist?

What is it that my heart desires above all? Peace? The ability to be in a peaceful mind, always? Truly, I am weary of a constantly troubled mind. How can I be at peace? I am not ignorant enough to remain peaceful. Knowledge is troubling.

In an odd way the sum of all my desires, I suppose, is found in death, the dance of Death always reigns as the deepest desire of my heart. I could be said that I have no greater desire than the desire of death. What I mean by that, is that in an odd way, life is good, but it is also quite wearying. This world is a beautiful place, true, but it is also a place of suffering and pain, and while we sometimes know the greater joy for having gone through the suffering, there still is a desire for something more, something deeper. We desire an end, as well as a beginning. There is in us a desire to escape from endlessness. Life is very circular, it is comprised of seasons, and returns unto itself often, we desire for the endlessness of that to come to a closure. It’s true. Death can be a comfort thus, by bringing about a closure to a life. It is not the desire to die, that is different, than the desire of death. The desire of death is one that accepts our fate, as mortals that are immortal. In short, it’s not the desire for death, or even the desire of death, but the desire of eternity. It is then that shall I know all that my heart longs for, save one: Romance. There is no marriage in Heaven, we part at death.

The sacrifice of this one desire, a lesser desire I suppose, compared to the desire for eternity; is it a price I am willing to pay?

Yet, consider the possibility of a world without those of whom this world is not worthy of. Those shining stars, and precious jewels. Those whom all the greatness and beauty and majesty of the Universe itself cannot compare. Imagine a world apart from these sons, these daughters of Heaven. What if they had never been? Is it really a lesser desire?

Is it really a sacrifice worth making? Is it a sacrifice or is it selfishness? So, what is it that I want? What do I want? I want to love, I want to be loved. I want openness, I want the ability to be transparent. I want perfection.

They say things about being heavenly minded, and I understand what they mean, both those who say that you can be so heavenly minded you are of no earthly good, this is a valid criticism, but I’ll get to that later, and those who say you can only be of earthly good if you are heavenly minded. This is correct as well.

All of which again brings death as my heart’s deepest desire. Though, to be honest, if there was someone who loved me, then perhaps that would be sufficient reason for me to desire life. But I know of no such love. Perhaps, my only true love is Death himself. Maybe it is a good thing to desire a human soul, maybe even it is a good thing to love even as I wish to be loved. I may never be loved, but that doesn’t mean I cannot love others.

Still, I suppose I do want to be loved. Or perhaps I desire acceptance. Unconditional acceptance. What do I want, and what could I answer? I want neither fame nor fortune, comfort, food, rest or the other things. What do I want? Now, I did say that neither fame nor fortune moves me, but there is one that does: Power. Authority, that does tempt me. But do I want it?

I can’t bear the thought of holding power or authority over the sacred ones. And all the power in the world can’t alter that. Why is that? What is it about these that is able to thwart even my darkest desire? It’s like I’d have all the world bowing before me, but couldn’t bear for these to do so. So, what do I want? That is a very good question, and somewhat haunting. The fact that I have no desire to lord over others, though the desire to rule runs hot within my blood, demonstrates that what I truly desire is to love and be loved, and it overcomes the darker desire to rule, the desire is still there, but love transcends it.

I suppose most of my musings over the past decade or so have been an attempt to answer the simple question, what do I want? Want, in and of itself is not an evil, and it is only within certain religious belief systems that all desire is thought to be an evil. I suggest the fact that we have desires, and yes, want things, is in fact a very sacred part of who we are as human beings. I think even God himself has wants, for example, he wants for all men to know him. Want, desire, in and of itself is not an evil.

I wish to speak of the notion that one can be too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good, and I think it basically comes down to suggesting that our desires should not be in this world, but while this sounds like a wonderful thing, I have to ask, is it?

Yes, I can understand the appeal of wishing to be rid of desire, to transcend all physical and emotional desires for the greater spiritual good. A concept that is much the same in both many of the teachings American Christianity of the West that I’ve heard and also the philosophies of the East. Even this past week at a conference for church leaders, I heard this downplaying of the physical in favor of the spiritual, which sounds good, but is it? We are physical beings in a physical world, and surely the body and the flesh are not the same thing. How can they be? I question these, in part because of the amount of times I see people trying desperately to suppress the very things that make them most human, things like emotions, that is, and also holding their own bodies as a thing contemptible to them. It’s a common notion in religion, but I confess, I am a little concerned about its presence in American Christianity.

I think that the idea of shunning the physical, the material, and such, doesn’t make us more holy. What it does, however, is make us calloused to the sufferings and the hurts around us. I see this in those who are into prophecies and such, and when I was, I saw it in myself. Way too often suffering is ignored if an event has something to do with prophecy. Now there are exceptions, I’m sure, but for the most part, it seems that its easy to ignore the terror and the horrors of war, if it was a prophecy or interpreted to be such. I think that sometimes when we choose to ignore the present place where we are dwelling it doesn’t make us more compassionate, but cruel. This is what it means to be too heavenly minded that one is of no earthy good. I’ve seen it. I see it all the time. Some little thing is used as justification to treat another human being abusively. Yes, there may be things in the scriptures that say that some practices are wrong. I understand that: That doesn’t give you a right to abuse your fellow human beings about it in the name of righteousness. This is nothing new, and it is the sad story of most religion in general, the oppression of human beings in the pursuit of righteousness. It’s an ancient oppression, and it continues even to this day, and probably will continue into the future. It is in pursuit of righteousness, more often than not, but the pursuit and the actual fulfillment of righteousness is not the same thing. The righteous heart doesn’t oppress, doesn’t lord it over others, and doesn’t abuse.

For myself I desire courage, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, those things against which there is not law. In other words my desire is to be consumed by the Consuming Fire. To walk according to the Spirit. I will admit, there is in me a resistance to anything that feels remotely like an experience based faith, or even knowledge. It’s not that I deny or don’t believe the leading of the Holy Spirit, it’s more that I dare not follow what I feel to be when doing so is to war against myself and my own better judgement time after time again. In many ways there is an enmity, or at least a decided difference in nature, between my mind and my heart. My mind is like Elinor Dashwood’s, by my heart is like that of Marieanne. My mind says to remain calm, live in peace. My heart says there is nothing more noble than to die for love, to live openly, and passionately, and to die accordingly, in the heart it is better than to live like my mind says, in the heart, that is a wasted life. To my mind, my heart is reckless in its abandonment. it is true, to follow my mind is to strictly rely on things that are seen, that which is rational, reasonable, etc.

Once again, I come to the conclusion that I am better off to follow my heart. My heart is righteous and it is from my heart, and not my mind, which is apathetic, form whence I feel empathy, love, and compassion towards my fellow human beings. When my heart is followed it is my second nature to love and care for, to cherish, and to feel empathy towards others, feeling both their joys and sorrows. My mind, however, is apathetic and cold, a survivor, its nature is to hurt and value objects over people. My heart is the best of me, I should want very much to follow my heart.

However, I know there are those who say: ‘The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?’ A philosophy built around an ill-applied verse. Nevertheless, to confess: “To follow my heart” as what it is that I want, is to be openly rebellious against the religious establishment in my own country, and I do not desire rebellion, but redemption, reconciliation, and reunion. I suppose what I do want is to be an artist: The heart of the artist, simple enough, is the one who adores tradition, while rebelling against the establishment.

I suppose I question why I am one who cares at all, why don’t I just retreat so far into myself that I can no longer hold the capability to care for anyone outside of myself. In many ways, I believe that it is beneficial to be outside of oneself, to give yourself to those around you, but one question always haunts me , what if what is better is to refrain? Refrain from what? The most radical thing in the human experience: Love.

What if we could consider those whom we’ve disagreed with, or even hated in the past and then consider that she is completely vindicated. That he is to be seen as innocent, and without fault?

Nevertheless, I find it difficult to overcome the notion that my presence is not a curse to those around me. I suppose it is a notion that is even stronger in regard to others, precisely because of the fact that I do not know them well, but I find them to be very dear to me, regardless of that. It is difficult to ask myself any question, and to consider all possible intentions. I admit, some considerations are excruciatingly painful to consider, because they are so very dark, the idea of such darkness dwelling in me, is both terrifying and painful. I respect the sacred enough that I’m willing to face the pain of such a deep and personal introspective interrogation with myself. It is out of respect for them, if there is an inner monster within me, however, I should face it whilst we are yet afar off, so that I may turn aside, if need be, if the monster cannot be defeated, so that they would not be hurt. After all, my ‘goal’ if you wish to call it that, is to do whatever it is that is of benefit to them. I desire to give, and receive nothing in return. I admire, sure, and respect, true, the sacred, and so I should. There are many who are worth knowing, but that doesn’t mean we cannot admire one person at the expense of the many, as temporal creatures we do have certain confinements and limitations placed upon us by our existence in time.

However, we can only love the whole of humanity, by loving humanity one person at a time. If we claim to love all of humanity without investing ourselves in people individually, we love superficially. In order for our love to be genuine and true, we must love those around us, one by one. No, we don’t bear the whole of humanity maliciously, but genuine love requires personal investment. If we love, we take the time to know personally those whom we love. At the very least, we love them on a very personal level. It’s easy to make blanket statements about loving everyone, but the practice of it is where we are tested. Love that is tested on the personal level and shines forth as true is a true love indeed. Love that fails the test of individuality, is not love, but is the claims of one who knows not love, or loves only superficially, either out of malice or of error. Malice is what occurs when one claims to love, but in truth, is seeking the gain of the self, which may take the form of keeping up appearances, regardless, it is still malicious in its pretending to be something that it is not.

Therefore, I would not be overly concerned about your regard for the sacred, in this matter, I think it is best to follow your heart, to love, and not feel apathetic or cold towards them. If you see them as being someone who is very precious, of course they are going to be very precious to you. In many ways that is the nature of love, to behold someone and know them not for what they are, but what you see. To see, not what is seen, but what is known. To feel in your heart what it is that they truly are, regardless of external circumstances, or appearances. You love, some might call it, unconditionally, and it is difficult to say whether it is something I have chosen to do, or the natural outpouring of love that isn’t restrained. My thought is that it is something I have chosen, but again, I want to draw attention to the idea that a love that is not individual, is not love. Now, given this, I must conclude that in the matter of the sacred ones, I have chosen to love, but when did I make that choice? It must have been upon making the acquaintance, and did so with joy. But, it is but a dream. They are and are not. I do not know how to make sense of all this, and perhaps I’m not meant to.

Meant to? Is there such a thing? Is anything meant to happen? I have to ask, whether things happen because they are supposed to, or because of cause and effect. If the later, then it is perfectly explainable, yet so dreadfully natural, almost to the point of tragedy, as to why I would care for the sacred. Or are there such things as destiny, predestination, fate? Is it a decision that occurred in my own heart, or has this been a story, of which held its foundations before the foundations of the Earth itself? Why? I suppose I embrace the notion of fate, or predestination, of things happening for some greater reason, because it seems a little more justifiable to do things that are outside of the societal norms. Truth is, I grasp at it because there is always the desire to ‘have God on my side’. But, do not all religions believe something to this effect? A fundamental conviction of having the gods or God, or the higher powers that be, on one’s particular side. I ask why the sacred ones, because deep down I do want it to be more than just the story of one human liking another human. Deep down I want it to be epic, to be something legendary, a story that began before I did, as opposed to simply being the story of now. It’s not enough to simply be, in my mind I want it to be the hand of fate, and so when I say that things are perfectly natural and explicable, it is indeed, in my own mind, a tragedy. To have the hope of the heavens, but the crushing truth being that it is all in ones own head, there is no hand of the heavens involved. On the other hand, perhaps there is a greater purpose, perhaps our lives are the telling of a story, as an author, it is not necessarily cruel of me to keep my characters in situations where it truly seems as though there is no way out.

Would I know anything about pain, or hurt, or what it’s like to feel rejection if I hadn’t ever felt those things. How shallow would my heart and soul be if I had not known what it is to be tried by fire, and rise from the ashes a new man. Pain is a great teacher, I don’t care what I’ve heard some say, pain is a tool of a good teacher, a means of instructing. I must indeed take the view that we enter into the fire, are tried by the fire, and rise from the ashes a new person. I must take the more transformation centered view of my faith, rather than the psychologically comfortable view of what good parenting, be it human or divine, should look like. If by the breaking down, the purification, and the remaking of us, heart, body, and soul, into a new creature, and to be in a cycle as such until we shine with a holy and sacred brilliance, yes.

Pain is a necessity, in this world, it is not something to say that God is evil, or does not care, it hardly constitutes as abuse. The distinction must be made, however, between the purification process of a poet, and the punishment for error. We are the poem, and the purification process is taking something pretty and making it gorgeous beyond our knowledge of the concept of beauty.

In the end, we are creatures designed to love, to be loved, and it is all that we are, loved creatures, and we have one mission. To love.

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I’ve been chipping away at this post for the last two months, and I still feel it’s rather disjointed, but I am sharing it in spite of that. In part, because I just keep adding to and editing it, but not posting anything in the mean time. Sometimes, you just need to stop chipping away at a work and share it. :-) I may come back and edit it further, but for now, I’m just going to stop pouring over it, and move on to regular posting and such.