I can have a wish. It is allowed, at least for the moment. And since it is allowed, my wish is for everyone to slow down and stop. Just for a minute. Stop. Breathe. Contemplate life and death and what each means. This is a purely selfish wish, I am as guilty as the next person but I do find my moments in between my bursts of energy and it’s those moments that allow me access to the most calm and tranquil moments. Moments that transcend hours and days and years of work and effort. What power must be in those moments when I can, alone, achieve a feeling of peace and calm and happiness that all my hours of busy work and business have failed to provide for me and in just an hour, sometimes shorter, most times a little longer.
The beauty of this “wish” of mine, is that it’s mine and no one can argue it or take it away. It reflects my desire for things to be different than they are while at the same time I understand that if things were different than they are I may not have the beauty of this “wish”. I only think of this wish because I have seen and touched and have lived with my pain. A pain not easily understood at first. After all what have I to be pained about. What have I, the master of my dominion, the successful owner, the builder, the drinker of fresh water and the beneficiary of limitless energy for my every whim and want. What is it that I could possibly be pained about as I have no limits on my choice of what things there are in the world as I walk through cavernous storehouses piled high with brightly colored, full, engineered fruits and vegetables, no soil in sight. What have I to be pained about?
Ahh but I have answered my own question and I am my own result of the having of all that I said above and to still feel pain is indication not of trouble, at least not at first, but of health. Something is amiss, something is missing, something has been forgotten, there is a loss, there is a void, there is senselessness made sense.
I think that I am not the only one who feels the pain of life. The pain of life has been with us since we have had the gift of consciousness. However my pain is all that I can articulate and my pain is all that affects me and until I reach some kind of enlightened state it will be my pain that continues to shape, in some way, my actions in the world. So I ask myself, what is this pain?
It is the pain of arrogance. It is the pain of one who has known the greatest powers of the spirit and who has traded them away. It is the pain that burns deepest in the solitary basement of human emotion, the pain of being born and the confusion that embraces a child who come, crying into a cold world only to be lifted to his mothers breast and loved. But how is the child loved. And what does it mean to be loved. Immediately upon bringing a child into the world the mother (and father) direct onto it everything that they hope and fear and dream creating a sentimental framework from which this child will place and relate all of his discoveries. From birth the child is destined to feel the pain of the infallible human spirit trying to escape from it’s human framework.
But that is not why I wish for everyone to stop and take a breath and contemplate their life and their death. I want that because, simply, it would be so much easier that way than the way which we are choosing now and because, perhaps, there are souls who will never have the chance to know the infallible human spirit in any way other than their pain because their human framework will be so deeply structured, so tightly wound and locked that to discover the source of the pain, which is the cause of all freedom, will be possible for only the heartiest of spirits. But, perhaps, I have talked myself out of my wish in the first place, just now…how wonderful.
One of the things I have been pondering for, ohh…about my whole life, is, as Austin Powers famously (to me) says…”What’s it all mean?”.
Today, on television, public television, I found myself saying outloud that it might be a good idea to form a large group and withhold taxes from the government if the government refuses to acknowledge my (our) right to a “redress of grievances” as detailed in Amendment number uno (that’s 1) of our Constitution. Considering that we live in a world where once on camera, always on camera and considering that I am aware of this fact…this was a big step for me, an almost reluctant step into the ring of civil and not so civil discourse. And I find myself thinking, what have I done? How dare I speak up against the almighty government? How dare I want things to be different? How dare I think that I have the responsibility of luxury! How dare I question the norm!
I am writing this blog and keeping it private for now. I intend to document my life from this day forth here, or at least my life as it applies to my belief that we, as humans, can and should be much better than we are. I want to document my desire to change the system, no matter how realistic, nothing happens without someone first starting somewhere, somehow…
I am not sure what is going to happen but I know that I can no longer support this thing that we call government but which is really a cabal of crooked, greed loving, power-hungry, criminals (with some, but not many exceptions). Somehow I have awoken to in a place I don’t know and somehow there is a never ending crisis that is being perpetuated by the powers that be with very little resistance. Who are these cowards that think it’s revolutionary to demand more taxes as a solution? Who are these cowards that think that the difficult thing is balancing the budget, when really the difficult thing is having a responsible budget in the first place? Who are these jokers that think that after continually usurping power from every available spot, for years and years, that they can now claim that we haven’t been mending our infrastructure, our borders, our education system or our financial system and we now must print play money, as we have been doing all along, to try to “fix” the problem. The scope of this intrusion, this imposition, this violation of human, civil and individual rights is almost impossible to encompass in writing. Bottom line…I withdraw my support!
I do not think this is the best we can do. I refuse that government is the only or even the best answer and I refuse the short sighted, arrogant, ignorant, group think that continues to push more and bigger controls onto the backs of individual people. I subscribe to the fact that each human being is created free and each human being is the best judge of what is right or wrong. I refuse to accept that what is needed is more laws and more regulation and submit that what is needed are more honest, integrous people to uphold and enforce the laws that we already have. I believe that there are two foundational forms of thinking and they are as follows: You either believe that an individual is the best judge of what is right for him/her OR you believe that someone else or something else other than the individual is the best judge for that individual. From that core belief all else is formed. No system is perfect and we should not expect perfection in this day of spiritual and ethical darkness, not yet. But I believe in individual sovereignty, I believe that the individual is the source of all things good and evil in the world and that we must have a system that acknowledges that duality and is able to be absent to allow the good to flourish and to be present to allow the bad to face justice. Any system that attempts to place itself above the individual is corrupt and evil by nature, whether or not the people involved in that system may be, and they may be.
So in a way I have proclaimed today that I do not support, I no longer support this system, or as the late, great Peter Tosh was fond of saying, this “shitstem”. As Americans, as the most free people in the history of the world, we can do better and we must and if more people don’t stand up we will have a continuation of the darkness that we already see now. Bear in mind that either path will not be easy, both will be frought with significant hardship, the point to remember is … and this is the main point… Do you want our pain to be temporary or forever? Do you want our pain to be an investment in the future, a future of freedom or simply a down payment on more pain to come?
It will not be easy at all. I have a wife who we have just learned is pregnant. I made the decision to stand up in a more vocal way one day before hearing from my wife that she was with baby! I cannot endanger the life of my child and I cannot help but wonder, by doing nothing, am I endangering my child more? This is just the beginning I believe. But I have an answer, I have an answer but I don’t know if I have the courage to achieve it. The answer is:
Many many many people standing up and withdrawing their support from our government. So many people that the government is forced to submit to our will, forced to, as the servant government they are. This is not my answer personally, it’s is not native to me, but it certainly makes all the sense in the world. Vermont is a place that could achieve results. We have local control. We have local communications…But not for long…not for long if we don’t stand up to the monster that is posing as our federal government.
And as I begin to ramble…I notice and I say good night and good luck and, as the Zen Master said to the little boy in response to the little boy asking if it was a good thing…”we’ll see”.
THIS IS THE ISSUE!
The Death of Voice Mail – I Proclaim “I knew all along”
Pork is Good for Your Health – The clarity and confusion of hypocrisy
The Trouble with Direct Democracy – Is that it’s not what the United States was supposed to be
The Death of Voice Mail: This is a personal one for me. For at least 3 years, probably more like 5 or 6 I have been anti-voice mail, anti “leave a message at the beep”. The best thing about voice mail or message machines have been recording the message that people hear before they leave their message. “The Wild” was my favorite message ever, it was created by four bored roommates one rainy day in Burlington, VT and consisted of us each mimicking the animal that we mimicked best (of course all boys know what animal they mimic best) at full volume, at the same time. The resulting message had people calling us who didn’t even know us, just to hear it. Needless to say the fun was in the making and had nothing to do with the purpose of voice mail in the first place.
I have known, for some time, that voicemail didn’t work for me but it was hard to explain. Most people looked at me like I was sick or woefully ignorant of the way things should be, when I told them that “No” I didn’t have voicemail and “Yes” it was intentional. I have had many conversations in which the person who had been trying to leave me a voice mail or phone message tried, incredulously to understand why I didn’t have the message option and it was like the people themselves were turned into children, unable to accept that this pillar of communication that they so relied upon in their life, wasn’t such for someone else. There were the few, kindred spirits, who after realizing that I wasn’t kidding, that I did not check voicemail or listen to phone messages, that, at some points in my life I didn’t have the ability to do either, nor did I want it, paused, thought and then exclaimed, in mostly a defeated way, how wonderful that must be. The defeat came in, I suppose, because they realized how much they relied upon voice mail, they realized the imprisoning nature of it but, alas, they were already imprisoned so they could only fantasize from the inside of their self imposed cells about the blue skies of freedom and the inconsequentiality of what they had created.
When I saw the article, “The Death of Voice Mail” in today’s Boston Globe. I didn’t have to read it, didn’t need to. I understood and now maybe I won’t have to explain quite as much. But the best thing about it, the best thing about the death of voice mail is that it’s the natural human progression of seeking efficiency and value. Simply put, voicemail doesn’t return a good value, I mean who has time? and people are beginning to wake up to it and that’s cool. This whole voicemail thing can be used as a metaphor for anything…like, say, the process of human thought in general! How many times will we all swear that we have found the answers, how many times will we all swear we cannot live without this or that. How many times will we all swear that this thing or that thing is irreplaceable? Just to be proven wrong, just to continue to believe the same thing about the thing that proved us wrong in the first place.
The theory of voice mail, from its uses to its values, is no different than the theory of welfare, the theory of The Stimulus, the theory of the health care crises, the theory of Iraq. We humans love to see things as immediate and vital to our lives, we love to see things as “we can’t live without” or we “must” or we “mustn’t”. Funny people. We run and we run and we run and we run and we proclaim, ohh how we proclaim and really, when it comes down to it, we don’t need much. Just think right now, this minute, what do you need? You are breathing, you are conscious, this minute…what do you need?
Pork is Good for Your Health: The latest health care bill that is being debated in the hollow halls of our Nation’s Capital is a staggering piece of legislation…meaning…it’s really, really big and really complex, estimates are that the bill itself is around 1000 pages! For those that are readers, Les Miserable, the epic Victor Hugo novel is around 1200 pages (I have been reading it for more than 6 months). 1000 pages is HUGE and when you consider what it is that needs to be read the bill might as well be a million pages. The Stimulus bill was 1,132 pages and the energy (Cap and Trade) bill that just passed was 1,200 pages. There is no question that our legislator are NOT reading these bills, it has been said publicly and even if it hadn’t been said, reason dictates that it would be next to impossible to read the more than 2,000 pages necessary in the passage of Climate and Health Care…to say nothing of understanding what is read! I want the reader to understand that it is all but impossible for our “lawmakers” to read let alone UNDERSTAND the complexities of what they are selling (voting on), yet they continue to sell (vote). Used car salesmen and financial traders do this too! It makes me say, “huh?”.
Ok so back to pork and hypocrisy and health, the article today was talking about certain portions of the health care bill that contained directives to build parks and allocated money for certain public works projects. Wait a minute, someone IS reading these things…or at least looking at the chapters. The argument by opponents say that a health care bill is no place for construction projects. The backers of the bill say that these are very specific construction projects based on the desire to have a healthier nation. Projects like public parks and bike paths. It all sounds good, right? I mean who can argue with public parks and bike paths? I can. And here’s why. It’s not about public works, parks, jungle gyms, farmers markets or bike paths (all the things that have “money” allocated in the health care bill). This bill, as are all the bills you see coming out of Washington, is about control. It’s about the few having control over the many. And it’s all packaged, all of it, to seem like it’s the other way around. Like it’s the many that will benefit over the few. The irony is, and this can help when you are fishing around the recesses of your mind to make sense of it all, the irony is that it’s the FEW that are making these rules, not the MANY.
Senator Kennedy said about this health care bill “These are not public work grants; they are community transformation grants”. This was in response to the opponents saying that politicians were behaving as they always behave, by inserting money for things that have nothing to do with the nature of the intended bill. This is not a new thing, not new at all. This is the “Pork” that we all hear about. But the beauty of it is that the public is becoming more aware, the internet is allowing more access than ever before behind the curtain and it’s NOT pretty. Kennedy and others now must justify their thinking. This is becoming a wonderfully amusing and terrifying thing as we begin to actually hear the rational of our elected “officials”. I will write it again…Kennedy said “…they are community transformation grants”! Community transformation? Transformation to what? Transformation to WHAT?! I will come back to this.
A spokesman for Kennedy, Anthony Coley took it a step further when he said “If improving the lighting in a playground or clearing a walking path or a bike path or restoring a park are determined as needed by a community to create more opportunities for physical activity, we should not prohibit this from happening”. Ohh the fertile field of a politicians mind! I quote these people to demonstrate their thinking, these people that have control of making laws for the rest of us to follow. First, if ANYTHING is determined as “needed by a community” for any reason what does the federal government have to do with it? This guy, this guy Coley is the spokesperson for one of the guys who makes the rules. When you read that quote does it strike you as paternalistic, authoritarian, condescending? What does he mean when he says “…we should not prohibit this from happening.”? Why would the federal government be involved in prohibiting a city or town from opening a park or a bike path?
Look at how insidiously the government has inserted itself into our life. Our community would somehow be “prohibited” from doing something if it weren’t for the government. And that’s not the worst. What’s worse is the fact that maybe today, more than ever, need doesn’t accurately reflect ability. I am not saying that people and communities don’t “need” things (although we don’t need as much as we think…just look at voice mail…) I am saying that just because people or community “need” things doesn’t mean that they can get those things in reality. This is the essence of the dilemma and the essence of the conflict in the minds of many. Those that have given up the fight to resolve the conflict are the ones who proclaim that just because we “need” something means we are to have it, they proclaim that just because we “need” we get.
Remember, we don’t have any money. It’s being printed to make more, printed on paper. Yes the government is transforming communities and yes this bill if passed will transform communities, just like Kennedy says…but with the type of thinking that is so prevalent in government the question is WHAT will the transformation look like? What do you think? What does it look like when a person is given something they think they need, just because they say they need it, again and again and again. What does it look like when that way of thinking becomes common place and even celebrated? Does it look like health care to you? Does it look like the path to a healthier nation?
The Trouble with Direct Democracy: Is that the United States was never supposed to be one. Yes, it’s true. We are not supposed to be, nor do we want to be a Direct Democracy or any type of Democracy. If this pisses you off or you don’t understand it I encourage you to do 5 minutes of research on the phrase “Direct Democracy” and then “Constitutional Republic” and find out for yourself that you have been deceived since middle school. It’s not pretty but it’s true.
The theory that we are or should be, in any form, a Democracy is a belief so firmly rooted in our psyches and in our common language that it’s difficult to refute. But as with everything today, just because we don’t accept it, just because it’s difficult to refute does not make it so. It is well documented for those that want to find out that the people who wrote our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the ones that actually put their lives and fortunes on the lines, the ones that faced bullets, not bullshit never intended for Democracy. Never. In fact they knew that Democracy would eventually lead to the “tyranny of the majority”, sound familiar? Although this thought goes deeper and in fact we have something that is not Democracy either because it is not the Majority that is benefiting here…so not only are we incorrect in assuming America should be a Democracy, we don’t even have a Democracy. Ok, hold on for a minute, lets take a step back…
Back to what John Adams defined as a Constitutional Republic, “a government of laws, and not of men”. A Constitutional Republic is one where the government is governed by a Constitution, not by the will of a majority. The fact that a paper like the Boston Globe and it’s Editorial Board actually promote the misinformation that we are a Democracy as if it was what we were meant to be is an indication of the depth of the problem that faces us today. If the Globe can’t get it right, the Globe that is owned by the New York Times, how can WE the people be expected to get it right? Well that’s why I am writing. That’s why I do this. Because it’s not right and it’s not opinion. It’s fact that we, AMERICA, are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic. That is what our founding fathers fought for, that is what they died for. Not for Democracy and certainly not for whatever it is we have now.
Look it up would you, please. Five minutes on the difference and history of both a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic will change 20 years of your understanding. It’s ok, it’s not your fault that you were taught this, you didn’t know, very few people knew. But now, now, as an adult, as a person with an independent mind and consciousness if you choose comfort over truth, if you choose status quo over truth, it is your fault. It is your responsibility now. Things are not ok here in our fair country and it’s not because of the economy or the health care crises or the war or energy or poverty…these things are all effects of not understanding who we are are and where we have come from. These things are the effects of our choice not to better understand, not to question, not to speak out when we know that things are not right. The information is available out there. It’s available but it won’t come to you unless you take a step to it. If you are reading this, you’ve taken a step…take another.