Friday, July 10, 2009

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Michael Jackson...murder victim????
2) News headline I'd like to see: SLEAZY POLITICO HOLDS ENTIRE STATE UP FOR RANSOM, because that's truly what Espada did.
3) The score stands as follows: Humans 480 Bulls 15.
4) Truly, this has been an Endeavour.
5) If you were at the restaurant at 354 Metropolitan Avenue last night, yes, that was me. I made a rare public appearance at Fette Sau, a new barbecue place. Looks interesting. It's an old commercial garage. I may have to go back for food one night.
6) Not in a million years would I have realistically given Lance Armstrong a chance to win an eighth Tour De France and vindicate his earlier victories. He has voluntarily submitted to daily testing AND has been subjected to at least two other surprise "random" tests.
7) Of course, if Lance did drug, maybe marijuana was his drug of choice. Sure didn't hurt Michael Phelps any.
8) Somehow, shooting gerbils doesn't seem like much sport.
9) This is why women don't cook anymore.
10) Terrorism or dumb prank? You decide.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sub-burpin' Sprawl

I am a black hole.

I'll get back to that in a minute. Let me do the set up first.

I would argue that, while perhaps not an overwhelming number, a pretty big segment of society is pretty shallow, perhaps even a majority.

Psychic space being a finite element if you look in two dimensions, part of the reason we end up in conflict with each other is that your sprawl ends up butting against my sprawl, because each of us is trying to get more sprawl.

I'd wager this large segment of society are always busy doing, well, something: Running out to meet friends, working too hard at a job, jetting off to the next vacation. They need the trappings of a "good life", the condo on the beach, the car, fine wines.

They expand sideways because they can't know there's a depth to life, too.

I call these people "Flatlanders". In the guise of "expanding themselves," adding sides (to extend the metaphor), they gain no third dimension. They buy this trinket or that souvenir and proudly display them on their shelves to boast of their travels.

They claim understanding of the world around them, but in truth, this is a false logic.

For how can you truly relate to the world if you do not relate to yourself? How can you understand someone else and have compassion for their plight if you don't understand yourself and extend that compassion to yourself?

How can you love if you have no love to give?

Love is a commitment, and commitments always demand faith. You can only have faith by delving deep into those parts of you that lie covered in darkness, shrouded by the sprawl of your flatlandedness.

Faith is not based on logic or hunches. Indeed, faith is that thing that keeps us tied to what we love when "evidence" suggests it might be time to let go.

I put "evidence" in quotes because none of us can ever really know a truth outside of ourselves. our eyes deceive us. Our ears hear distant noises that emanate from within us.

Our minds lie to us for...what? Fear? Our protection? Freud was not far off, I fear, when he spoke of the id, the ego, and the superego. Many people you'll meet have a champion superego, but no id.

Well, that's not completely true. That id shows up in the weirdest ways and those are the behaviors we look at and wonder what the hell were they (or we) thinking?

Faith comes from belief. Faith is a never-ending well to draw from.

I am a black hole.

Spending my adult life extending my self-knowledge, I have been able to give love completely.

Love does not necessarily mean another person at all times. One can love yourself, for example, or find love in the smallest acts of kindness and in the roughest, bleakest landscape.

I express this love through my art: my photography, my acting and performing, and especially my writing. By opening my heart to what goes on around me, by drinking in from the fountain of the world, I can absorb that which I see and express how it affects me.

This is something that Flatlanders never get: it's not about seeing the temples at Angkor Wat or the pyramids or Mount Everest, taking a snapshot, buying a trinket, and bragging about it later, maybe saying how you "soaked up" the local culture with a beer and some local food at a boîte.

It's about how these affect you. I probably have fewer pictures of more places in the world that I've been than anyone else. And I'd wager I have a deeper understanding of anyplace I've been than a million other tourists.

Let's say five people, including me, see a house on a high cliff and take pictures of it.

Most people will center on the house, and the good ones will get enough of the cliff to allow for the precarious position of the building.

I will take that same picture and focus on the cliff: the striations of layers of history building, year after year, one on top of the other, the roots breaking out into the air, the grass overhanging the lip.

Oh, I'll include the house, to show it as the burden the cliff must bear until it can no longer bear it, to highlight the foolish transient nature of people who build on land that is ultimately destined to fall.

To highlight the Flatlanders.

I take that picture that way because I understand the precarious nature of life, how tomorrow, we might all be gone. Or more to the point, how tomorrow I might be gone.

So I want to leave a piece of me in these places. Many people talk about leaving their heart, but for me, I've shredded little bits of my soul and left them behind. Places don't steal my heart. I steal places' hearts.

I am a black hole. I leave a small footprint on the surface, but once you've peeked into the abyss, you realize there's a lot more down there than up here.

The trouble with Flatlanders is, they insist on painting on the surface what they want me to be, to define me somehow. But you cannot define that which you cannot understand.

And then they get frustrated that I no longer fit the definition they gave me in the first place.

I am a being, not a doing. I don't worry that I've held the same job for eleven years, because while I don't enjoy it much, I know that it's comfortable for me, and as many places as I've worked, this is pretty sweet and stable.

Some may jump jobs every other year and believe they are improving their lot, but they collect nothing but a paycheck and a too-long resume. Like children with french fries, they are grabbing for the next one before they're finished chewing the first one.

Further, I understand that my discomfort there has to do with boredom, the terrible mind draining tedium of having conquered all I can on this employment.

My faith tells me this. I am enough, and my needs beyond the space to explore my space are few. I don't need to be "seen" in a hot exotic restaurant with friends who I can only truly stand when I'm drunk, but my influence is felt none the less.

I am a black hole. By knowing myself, I know everything I encounter. No, I might not know every single fact about everything...altho most people will swear I do...but I have a deep comprehension of the truth of it.

It is that truth that gets expressed, like the radiation bursts out of the black hole.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

You Keep Telling Yourself That, Sparky

Poor Sarah Palin:
The Alaska governor spoke in taped interviews on ABC, NBC and CNN broadcast Tuesday morning.

She told CNN that "all options are on the table" for her future.

But told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she recognizes she might not have political staying power after her surprise resignation Friday, which came just as she had been expected to elevate her national profile ahead of a possible 2012 GOP presidential run.

"I said before ... 'You know, politically speaking, if I die, I die. So be it,'" she said.

Speaking in fishing waders from the town of Dillingham, Gov. Palin said her administration has been paralyzed by fending off frivolous lawsuits.

So let me get this straight: you're frustrated by your inability to win a fight in your administration because your administration has been under investigation for possible corruption...and leaving is somehow fighting?

I might be wrong, but "fighting" to me means throwing a few haymakers back. Anything else is quitting.

Cute touch with the fishing waders and the whole "family fishing business" thing. Most people in the lower 48 will assume it's like the Gloustermen of The Perfect Storm, you know, weeks on a boat, reeking of bait and a lone shower, the things real men do.

I'm betting that "fishing business" means hiring boats to go out and do the dirty work for you.

Imagine, if you will, what would happen if, say, she somehow got caught in the Oval Office with her pants down and Congress launched an investigation that lasted six years and culminated in an impeachment trial.

Think she'd quit? I do, based on this silly little girl's tale here.

Personally, I don't think she's going to run. Between the campaign jokes made about her, the recent kerfuffle with David Letterman and this obvious grandstand ploy, she's come to the realization that, goshdarnit, people really don't like her very much.

Yes, she has immense support from the conservative wing of the Republican party, but other conservatives in the party are balking mightily at the fact she seems to be dividing the party up, perhaps to create her own ("Dominionist"?) third party.

It's hard to predict where this is really going to end up. On the one hand, a Palin party would both destroy and save the Republican party from itself. It would attract the John Birchers and the fringe members of the media and with the help of Rush Limbaugh et al, would establish a legitimate national party.

For a while. See, moving the inmates out of the asylum doesn't make the inmates sane, but it makes the asylum safer.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fear is the mindkiller

Rigid thinking and black and white solutions are the mark of children, the small-minded, and Republicans.

I started thinking about this over the weekend, attempting to flesh out why so many people in this country are patriarchal.

It's the whole "my way or the highway" logic. I never understood the lack of of compassion for another person's situation. I mean, it's not like we're discussing things that require immediate action or snap judgements.

It's true, even framing the discussion as black/white (either/or) often precludes a meaningful discussion and b) any hope of solving complex problems, like immigration and of course, abortion.

So why do people do this? Why is it so easy, left and right, to paint the opposition as radical and dangerous and thus shut off dialogue?

Rather than be open to compromise and new ways of seeing things, to simplify things to some arbitrary "essentials" ignores nearly the entire tale of history. Things are never as easy as they appear.

What's turned this entire thread around was that I wanted to understand why some people can't seem to let go and grow up, that they feel the need to control and dictate over things they have no business controlling.

Like other people. Indeed, the essence of controlling someone else is to negate any possible value of that person's opinion in favor of force-feeding them your position, and then intimidating them into accepting it.

I think it comes down to views from the extremes, which I find are propelled by fear and when grabbed by fear it is extremely difficult if not impossible to see clearly and with distance.

Fight or flight. You panic and all you can think about is whether your gloves are high enough in front of your face or your running shoes are laced tightly enough.

People can't manage to take a breath and assume the other party perhaps has some validity to their views, and incorporate those, rather than attacking the views, the other party, or usually both.

But why?

I think it has to do with knowing yourself. In getting to know yourself, you learn two things:

1) The world is a lot more complex than you ever gave it credit for and, 2) you have to incorporate as much information as you can in order to present an informed judgment on something. You have biases, but as you gather information, you learn what those biases are and try to compensate.

In gathering this information, you learn about different views of the world. You learn that other people see things just as logically as you do and can yet come to completely different solutions.

When you don't know yourself, when you make knee-jerks reactive judgments based on biases or incomplete information, you panic when presented with alternative views and alternative information that discredits and maybe negates your own conclusions.

And panic leads to immature behavior. And children don't think, they believe, and when those beliefs are threatened, they try to believe even harder.

Making a commitment to something-- a relationship, a religion, a job, whatever-- requires an act of faith. It says that "I am in this fully because I believe in this and good will come from it."

When evidence to the contrary presents itself, how many people sit down and try to understand if it means something? Instead of trying to incorporate the new information either into their faith or to perhaps look more closely at that faith, the larger number of people with either reject the evidence out of hand ("He can't be having an affair! We just made love last night!") or reject the faith-object itself ("Boss, you promised me a promotion! I quit!").

Both of those are intelligent reactions, so long as they remain in the realm of first stage reactions (what we tell ourselves). Neither of those is intelligent actions until we can look deeper into the abyss of this new information and uncover what's really going on.

Our fears: justified, or not?