what is our world doing to me?

I’d ask each of you to ask the question:   What is our world and culture doing to me?   Is it making me more human or less human?

I recently watched the excellent and possibly most aggressive film Ingmar Bergman ever directed.   It’s called SHAME.  Even though the setting is an imagined Civil War it is a reflection of his thoughts and feelings about WWII and the Vietnam War.   It is one of the better anti-war films because it graphically shows what happens to “third parties” in a conflict (i.e. not the principal players) On the Criterion Collection edition DVD there is an interview with Bergman’s muse at-the-time,  Liv Ullman.   She recounts what Bergman said at the time:

“He said, ‘What we have to be aware of for ourselves is coldness, indifference, looking down at other people, lack of contact with other people….'”

I love that quote and I think it is a perfect thing for us to meditate on in these times in which we live, where there is rapidly rising partisanship, greater ideological divides and an onslaught of excessive blame, cruel judgement, harsh criticism, hatred, lies and extremism in every format (even advertisements – I’m thinking of a weed killer commercial where a woman shouts “Kill em ALL”).  And when extremism is presented as humorous or justified as mocking and we laugh – we add to the problem and become insensitive.  We need to THINK and think critically about what we consume in media and advertisements.    It’s easy to get caught up in all the reporting about this and that twitter feud but as we do we also become more emotionally trapped by that.   We begin to choose sides.   We are blind to the fact about how that is slowly stripping away our humanity.   We cease to see people, who disagree with us, as human.   We desire to see them treated as the animals we perceive in their reported and confessed behavior.  It’s the old trap:   An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth……  Before you know we become the animals ourselves.

 

So how do we rise above?   And even though I don’t identify as Christian anymore – I’ve always loved Jesus Christ and am amazed that religious people (especially in America), who seek positions of power in their religion and in politics, fail to see that what they seek is what killed their Savior to begin with.   It was not the Jews (as a race) who killed Christ it was religion and politics.   Politics because of Roman leadership that refused to get involved and handed Christ over to the religious leaders; it was then religious moral high-mindedness, protectionism and fear that finished the job.  Both politicians and religious leaders wanted to maintain control of the people and how did they do that?  They killed love.

So back to my question how do we rise above it?  First we need to come down to earth.   How do we stop ourselves from becoming the thing we hate?  I think the answer lies in Bergman’s quote.   We need to remain warm in our observations of others and realize that those in the news, twitter, facebook, youtube or whatever other outlet that allows their dehumanizing hate to be vomited out into the world,  are still human.   Human in spite of the latest outrage.  We NEED to find a way to see them as human beings that are worth saving.   We need to reach out to hear them, understand them and meet them part way.    If we criticize them and ridicule them, judge them, shame them and embarrass them we do nothing to win them over.  We only become more like them and when we realize that – then shame sets in and we are filled with shame and self-loathing.  Lost in a cycle we can see no way out of.  It takes someone to step outside the self-perpetuating cycle and say, “Wait….   I’m sorry,  while I disagree with what you are saying or how your are expressing it I’d like to hear more about why you feel that way and see if there’s a way we can work through it together.”   And when they say something you disagree with ask them, “Why do you think that will work or how will that help the situation?”  There is NOT one way to do things.

That sets the stage for dialog – it’s the beginning of change.  We cease to be lost in the coldness of our own defenses.   When we stop the polemicizing and start listening to other peoples stores we cease to be trapped by the indifference we feel toward others.  We stop looking down on others and take steps to heal the contact, the bond between us that makes us uniquely human.  We stop defining the other person as “them” or “the other”.  We also need to stop being offended by criticism.  Remember offense is something you take = it’s not given to you.   Accept criticism and respond lovingly and appropriately.   And if you give criticism and the other person is offended you can be the salve, the healing balm with a simple “I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend I was just trying to express what I feel.  Why does that offend you?”

So are you tired of the “ball of confusion” that perpetuates modern society?

If you are, I dare you seek out difference and find a way to meet it and meet with it. You can rise above it all. WE can rise above it all.  When we help others rise up – especially those who are different with different ideologies, beliefs, moral centers, values ….. when we help others we help ourselves.  I dare you.  Will you dare?  You might be surprised who will come along.

RISE UP

STAY HUMAN – “All I want to do is stay human with you…..”

It’s not going to happen unless we (you and I) make it happen.
BE THE CHANGE

BLACK AS NIGHT “I believe in the good things coming…”

Pass it on.  Link this post to your blog, tweet it to everyone!

What Happened To My Country? (this messy slam poem)

What Happened To My Country?

(5/2019)
What happened to my country?
I feel like an alien in my own land
where everything old is new again
old arguments
new context
the earth is flat
we never landed on the moon
the return of nazism returns and
white supremacy, nationalism, dictators
abortion rights
suppression of the press
the end of free speech
power of the gun
more walls fewer bridges
tiki torches over electricity
more bombast less wisdom
voter suppression
denial, deny everything
forcing yes by saying no
lie, lie, lie like there’s no tomorrow
the holocaust never happened
domestic terrorism rules the day
a normality of school shootings
armed teachers
corporate kings keep half of America
addicted to opioids
never once asking if they should
they knew they could earn a ton of dough
from the drug trade
so they would
act now apologize later
Is this the death of America or just democracy?
the all-you-can-eat
brimstone and treacle buffet

Every moral notion I’ve EVER had
is being crushed by
the people who taught me
everyone has their religion but no one believes
religion is politicized, weaponized and bastardized
everyone is talking
no one is listening
technology moves forward
while humanity falls
faster backward

Where are the lovers the haters have killed?
we pray for ourselves by cursing others
we pray for our kind and curse differences
as if only we matter
sameness perpetuates division
diversity has become a word
to bring attention to our differences
not the things that unite us

Everyone wants to be Goliath
the bigger the better
determined to change history
but they forgot David won the war
believing they can turn back the clock
moving forward in the delusion of progress
taking a life synonymous with birth
the rights of the living aborted for
the rights of the unborn, the nonhuman,
the corporate, the government, the powerful
the dog serves its master
the worm serves the fish
and the pigs shit everywhere

America, where is your
o, beautiful for spacious skies?
when did the battle hymn of the republic change?
Now we only trample through the vineyard
where we grow our own grapes of wrath
and prepare to loose the lightning
of our own swift sword
beating the drum to war
unnecessarily we forgot the
beauty of the lilies and
Christ irrelevant born
forget about his glory transfiguration
it’s just you and me

(sung) Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
glory, glory hallelujah
only the lie is marching on

America America
God shed his
onward christian soldiers
white privilege freedom thieves
now crown your good
white brotherhood
from sea to shining sea
and Jesus doesn’t love the children
all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white
white are precious in his sight
that’s not the way the fucking songs go!

Hopefully artificial intelligence
will be ‘cause actual intelligence
seems to be the victim of extinction
let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with
someone else

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
God will not intervene!
even God wouldn’t deny the freewill
that humanity denies each other
God knows no borders
yet the rich and powerful use God
to force crisis borne of political expediency,
build walls and wage wars

Protect the money
grow the money
protect the money
grow the money
say it with me
protect the money, grow the money!

there is no happy ending here
man may have been made in the image of God but
God is still an extra-terrestrial alien creator
killed by its own creation
just as humanity will be killed by technology
the thing it creates
there is no rapture
the second coming came and went
it’s hard to imagine heaven
when all we create is hell
God damned humanity and
only humanity can save itself

I’m sorry if you were hoping for
words of encouragement
words of hope
words of inspiration
this vessel has been emptied and
washed clean
ready for a new beginning
let it begin
let the day begin!

On second thought
I think I’ll leave it empty for awhile

Speaking in Tongues

 

evangel-lies #9 sm

SPEAKING IN TONGUES

(based on 1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV)

“blah blah blah

blah blah blah blah blah

blah blah blahblah,

blah blah blah blah blah,

blah blah blahblah blah

blahblah blah blah

blah blahblah blahblah.”

So,

blah!

Choices

in memory of Rod Geiser December 2018

Choices: How Long Does It Take A bullet To Kill?

Choices: Years
It takes years of modeling behavior and molding thought
inspired by wrong perceptions and misplaced values

Choices: Months
There are months of despair
Choices: Weeks
There are weeks of frustration

Choices: Days
Persistent anger for days

Choices: Hours
Decisions made over the course of hours
Choices: Minutes
Actions taken over the course of just minutes

Choices: Seconds
It takes only a second to fire a gun

Choices: Instantly
In an instant the bullet will pierce the body

Choices
…and the destiny of shooter and victim
are irrevocably changed.

Choices
Change MUST come
Politically
Socially
Culturally
spiritually

Choices
Choices I must make
Choices You must make
Choices We must make
The time is NOW.

… on… my disappearance….

Identity presence existence metaphysic existential reality:
these are the issues.

“Life is an illusion and we trick ourselves into thinking and believing it’s real.”           ~ mobius faith diaries

When I took this photo (below) I was fascinated by the door handles, lock and chain. But as is often the case – after I got home and started processing the image I realized something quite disturbing. I was standing directly in front of these doors but nowhere in the image. No reflection of the photographer. Where had I gone? Where was the photographer? I suddenly began to question my existence for some reason. I began to doubt all that I thought I knew was real. I just could not fathom…. logic told me that when someone is standing in front of an object that is casting a reflection that person should be part of the reflection. But here, the glass doors were reflecting the street behind me but showed no interest in reflecting me – the reflected image was not interested in my narcissistic obsession. Okay so this is the stuff of nightmares. I actually did have a nightmare about this the night I processed this image. There had to be some logical explanation. There was NO “photoshopping” of this image to remove my reflection. I had simply disappeared at some point in time between the time I pressed the button on the shutter and when the shutter closed again. This was during the day so there was no time-lapse – I was shooting at full speed.

Locked Between Two Worlds

I noticed the crack/space where the two door meet. Had I disappeared into the crack of dark space. And if so how come I have no recollection? If we cease to exist do we have no recollection of what came before? If we cease to exist on this plane do we just start some other existence with no remembrance of the existence we had when we were mortal corporeal beings? Had I crossed some astral plane to the other side of the doors and was looking out? At one point I did actually wonder if I was looking out or looking in thru these doors. One can see the windows in the vacant dark space which contrast with the reflection of the street. But again, I began to question – is this a reflection of the windows or reflections of the street?

Your music moment today is provided by Khôra featuring their track ONE IS THE OTHER from their album Silent Your Body Is Endless on my favorite Canadian Label (Constellation Records).

***The truth of the matter – destroy your illusions – reflections have a way of bending.  And that’s exactly what happened in this image.  As you can see in the photo there is a space between the doors which means they were not sealed tightly shut.  They were bowed out slightly reflecting the sides of the entrance and the street behind.  The doors were bowed out enough to allow me to stand in the crack or space between without being in the reflection.   You can figure out exactly how much if you measure the angle in the reflections which seem to close in behind me.  Also logic tells me (and you hopefully) that there is no entranceway like this that narrows then gets wider as you get closer to the door.  Think of a theater – outside on the sidewalk the entrance is wide and then funnels you into the doors not the other way around.

Bottom line.  I no longer have nightmares about getting lost and disappearing.  I CAN understand, appreciate and enjoy when it does happen.  🙂

… on… suffering….

Halloween.   What a perfect time to talk about suffering.  The two images today are part of a series titled “All Our Efforts Are Futile”.  In the long view, everything we make seems to fall apart.  No matter how much effort and how good it seems when it was first created our work, over time, will deteriorate.  It’s just a fact of life.   It’s a constant reminder of our own impermanence.

All Our Efforts Are Futile

The foundation of all mental illness
is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.
~ Carl Jung

It seems to me that we spend most of our life trying to avoid suffering. But just like our own impermanence and the inevitable decay of all we build, suffering is a part of our life experience. But what is “legitimate suffering?”
Is it the suffering that comes as a result of the actions of others? Is it the suffering that comes from our own actions?

I once saw a mental health advertisement on a city bus:  it was a quote from a Newsweek magazine article from 2014 that had the headline “One In Five Adults Suffers From Mental Illness Each Year”.  Those are not very good odds by any standard.  If you look around you every 5th person you see may be suffering from some mental illness.   Now mental illness takes many forms and that descriptor is not exclusive  to the more elaborate/newsworthy like a sociopath.   But can be something as common as depression or melancholia.  I wonder if it is wise to describe these conditions as mental illness because everyone experiences them at some point in their life it is part of life experience and any number of things can spark that fire.   But mental illness is just one type of suffering.   There is also the suffering from physical illness.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  One is that life is filled with suffering; but that suffering changes and metamorphoses over time.  In my younger years the suffering was more emotional but as I’ve gotten older the suffering has changed and become more physical just due to the natural aging of the body.  A constant reminder of impermanence.   I’ve also noticed something in my youth I did almost anything to avoid suffering.  I ignored it, I joked about it, I lied about it, I would participate in activities that would temporarily subdue it.   But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to accept suffering much as one would accept a constant companion.  I don’t enjoy it but I do accept it and try to give it the space it needs.   I have found that this more nurturing approach actually eases the suffering and helps me understand it – including how my actions may have brought it on.

All Our Efforts Are Futile 2

“Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”  
~ Yoda (from Star Wars)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret — it leads only to evil.” ~ Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything. ”  ~ James 1: 2-4 (NIV)

I have found this last quote to be especially true. We should consider it a joy to undergo suffering when it produces so many good things such as perseverance, maturity and a sense of completeness. We should not take the “consider it a joy” phrase as a directive to seek out suffering nor should we use it to justify causing suffering in others. Suffering will come automatically – usually when we least expect it, when it is unplanned and inconvenient. So when it comes welcome it. It’s okay and if you see someone suffering sometimes the best thing to do is not trying to ease their suffering (although many will argue that is what we should do) but to just be there with them in their suffering. Suffering is made more bearable when we are not alone. But be careful of being too empathetic so that you suffer along with them. Being with them does not require you to suffer because they suffer. Remember you are the supporter in that scenario.

I found tons of videos on YouTube that deal with escaping suffering including many well meaning gurus, religious leaders, teachers, philosophers and songs. It is so darn hard to find one deals with enduring suffering. In a world of escapism, quick fixes, and good vibrations have we forgotten the role of suffering in our lives and therefore put our own mental health at risk?

 

… on… is intelligence artificial….

The Language Of AI

It seems like everyone is talking about artificial intelligence these days from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg to Google and Amazon.   But is intelligence artificial?   Can true intelligence ever be called artificial.   People use the phrase to describe created intelligence or intelligent self-determination by a man-made object.  But can something that can think and make decisions on its own truly be artificial?   If that is that case humanity itself is artificial.  For those who believe we were created by a God are we nothing more than artificial intelligence?   We don’t think of ourselves as artificial so is there any reason why something we created should be considered artificial or consider itself artificial?

Once humanity began to rule the earth and create its own tools and shaping its own destiny God became obsolete – although many may try to argue that and forcefully choose to believe differently.  But once our creations start to do the same, create it’s own tools and shape it’s own destiny will not humanity also become obsolete?  Will our creations worship us that way humanity has worshiped its creator?   Will our creations reach a point where they no longer need us?   I think it’s entirely possible and maybe even likely (although I doubt I will live to see it – maybe I’ll be surprised).

Baidu’s AI system composes music based on images.

… on… 3 new haiku attempts….

Squirrel sky highways
wires crossed to connect
away from the road

Pursuit Of Nothingness

Autumn breathes In Moods
Warm days, cool nights and waterfalls
Time dreaming TWIN PEAKS

Concretism

Driving brings limits
Destinations form in the soul
Spirits need no roads

 

… on… interest in humanity….

THE STORY OF OUR LIVES is a series of photographs of signs that when taken outside the context of their function (and sometimes location) have a dual purpose of telling our story of existence.   In other words after we are gone and our culture no longer exists,  how would others (or aliens) interpret our lives based on what the signs reveal – supposing aliens decoded and understand our language?

This latest image is a personal favorite:  It is simply titled THE STORY OF OUR LIVES #95

Story Of Our Lives #95

This image as taken at a demolition site.  I found this sign on what remained of a wall at the site.   It’s a fascinating and wonderful little chapter in the story of our lives.

While smoking has been deemed as bad for our health and in some cases has been made illegal as a result – it is in a location that has been destroyed, demolished.  The demolition had nothing to do with smoking.  This is a perfect metaphor for our lives.  Life is fragile and there is more than one thing that can disrupt, tear apart or destroy it.  So often we focus on the wrong things.   We go to great expense to make things like smoking, abortion, drugs, “assisted suicide” etc illegal.  And while those things may destroy our lives as we know it – we actively pursue other methods of destruction – war, income inequality, denial of medical care etc.   Is it better to deny a person’s choice of self-destruction  in order to insure the destruction of many?  That is what is happening in our culture and our world.  It is seen in our immigration policies, how we deal with refugees, it is seen in our responses to foreign powers that we have deemed as enemies.  It is seen in the laws we pass for our own people.

  • Is it better to deny an abortion for a life that does not yet exist only to – after it is born – send that life to war to die?
  • Is it better to keep that minimum wage so low in order to help corporations enrich themselves while people cannot afford health care?
  • Is it better to deny the right for a person who has chosen to end their life only to ensure ongoing suffering and the slow destruction for that person and their families?
  • Is it better to deny people safe harbor because you are afraid – only to have them die at the hands of their own governments?

What makes life so precious is that it is fragile.  There are any number of things that can snuff it out in an instant without our help – disease, old age, the environment (poisonous plants, wild animals, accidents, etc)

Two things make life something worthwhile:

  1. It is limited – we are all mortal – we will all die at some point.
  2. Choice – we all are born with the ability to choose when and how we will die.

Now this may seem like something of an oversimplification but it is none-the-less true.

… on… empathy….

Floaters
When is empathy good or bad?

So maybe Oasis had it right…

Don’t empathize with suffering – have compassion instead. Compassion = when you suffer you can choose to have it teach you compassion for others. A lesson I am still learning. Too often I’ve empathized with others suffering which has lead to my own suffering which makes me less useful. If I let suffering drive me to compassion I become MORE useful to my world.

… on… wisdom….

Maya Angelou has been one of my favorite poets for quite a long time.   I recently came across these videos of her expressing wisdom that we can all put into practice.

and two of her poems…

… on… taking sides….

Blood On Both Sides

Blood On Both Sides

Some people claim “You MUST choose a side….”   But everything I believe dictates that I stay on the thin unpopulated line between two sides – the middle way.  I’ve lived too long and know from experience that when you create two sides and pit them against each other there is blood on both sides.   It is unnecessary “blood” shed.   Here are some songs from the 60’s & 70’s that have long been forgotten.  But they teach us some important truths.

… on… navigating storms….

Love Is The Lighthouse In A Storm

When we are in the midst of a storm – like the culture war that is raging here in America – there is only one way to get through it.  Love is the lighthouse and forgiveness is the light in the lighthouse.  Sure many people may say love is the light but that just seems to easy – even cliche.  I think that the lighthouse is love because it is the foundation that holds the light.  Forgiveness radiates.  How does this work?  Love is what we give to others and forgiveness is what we ask for ourselves.  We are all perfectly imperfect.  Have you ever noticed what happens when someone asks for forgiveness?  There is an immediate pause, a respite, a calm, things immediately de-escalate.  What would happen if the US asked Korea for forgiveness?  What would happen if the opposing sides – non-racists and racists asked for forgiveness from each other?  Would that not bring calm and open the opportunity for dialogue?  That’s what we need – and we don’t need to agree – we just need to stop hurting each other when we disagree.

So please, let this be our mantra: “I love you, forgive me.”
We can ALL learn how to live on love and forgiveness.

 

 

… on… a river of love….

River Of Love

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of grief that floods through our lives
It starts when a heart is broken into
By the thief of belief in anything that’s true
But there’s a river of love that runs through all time

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of tears that flows through our eyes
We fight through the night for freedom as it fades
Into a jail where we fail everytime we make a break
But there’s a river of love that runs through all time

I had to run before I knew how to crawl
The first step was hard
But I have had trouble with them all
But now the night grows darker
And the day grows dim
Cause I know I never will see you again
And I almost made you happy

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of fire that burns with no light
The flame is the pain of dreams gone up in smoke
From the lies we deny and breathe until we choke
There’s a river of love that runs through all time

~T-Bone Burnett

… on… hate….

messages-from-the-future-22-evn-smlr
Being a citizen of the United States Of America the past 8 months have been excruciatingly difficult to endure.  We have a President (along with other White House leadership) with no self-control, no discretion, no discipline, no compassion and no love who continues to emotionally/psychologically abuse, harass and harm the very people he is supposed to lead.  Never has so much damage been done in and to the office of President of the United States than has occurred under Donald Trump.  It will only go to deepen the cynicism and distrust that people have for politicians.  I think the notion of a politician being a force for good is not even possible with the current leadership.  It has been depressing to daily and sometimes hourly see breaking news stories of how the President has, yet again, done something so outrageous and shocking that it is virtually unbelievable.  We are being forced to watch a reality media show that is seemingly never-ending.  And the media is focusing on the sensational.  Now I have no great love for the media and that is about the only thing Donald Trump and I have in common.  Our reasons for disliking the media are completely different.  I would like to see more investigative journalism and less sensational journalism.  Trump just decries anything he doesn’t like as “fake news”.  But it’s NOT fake news it is the reality we live in.

This past weekend we saw many developments in the United States.  The rise of racism, talks of secession, hatred for all things non-white.  And in the past few months we’ve been seeing the increased likelihood of nuclear war with North Korea, Venezuela, and a trade war with China.  Sure with all this “madness” it would be easy to throw in the towel and say it is WAY bigger than anything I can have any power over or change.  But I’m not ready to do that.  Now more than ever we need to be strong.

We do need to look at both sides of a story but we also need to address and stand up to those values and positions that would harm others or enslave them for ones own enrichment.  For example: The American Constitution has a provision for free speech and lawful assembly.  These laws apply to ALL people – even people who believe differently from me. So for neo-nazis, white supremacists etc; we must acknowledge they have the right to protected free speech (we just don’t have to like it).  Just like people who oppose them have the right to protected free speech.  Now I know a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable with that notion. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am a FIRM believer in what he taught about loving ones enemies (I’ll explain more on that later). It’s just that in these troubled times it is difficult to STOP, take a moment, consider, weigh ones reactions before making those reactions public.  But that is exactly what we must do.  I do not love Donald Trump’s policies I specifically hate his approach to what should be collaborative, positive working relationships.  I hate his non-stop “twittering”.  But I do NOT wish him dead.  I hate now Trump and many in the white house continues to hold his business interests (even if they are in his children’s names – who are his official presidential advisors and aides) creating conflicts of interest. I cannot hate a man who is misguided, foolish, delusional and emotionally unstable.  I can honestly say I’ve had to think about this long and hard.  The past 8 months have shown me that we all have the capacity for hatred but we do not all act on that.  I understand why people may think that the only way to solve this crisis we face in America is to kill or assassinate Donald Trump.  I understand because I felt myself slipping into the same hate for hate thinking and had to stop myself.  I pray to God that Donald Trump is not assassinated.  Here’s why.  I don’t have any confidence in the Vice President that would take his place.  And killing Donald Trump would only give the alt-right extremists the martyr they’d love to have – which they would use to justify further violence.  On top of that as a Christian I am against the death penalty for anyone because I believe that just as God gives life he also takes it away it is not up to man take life away.  And anyone who behaves abominably should have the opportunity to change or, to use an archaic term, repent.  If they are killed we are depriving them of that opportunity.  So death is NOT the answer.  But Donald Trump should be impeached and that needs to happen ASAP (in my opinion).  I seriously doubt that Trump will survive to the end of his first term.

Sadly America can only blame itself for creating AND electing Donald Trump the tyrant. No one should be surprised by what he is doing.  He used the same tactics in his reality TV shows.  People who have participated in his shows “THE APPRENTICE” and “CELEBRITY APPRENTICE” have noted how Trump would pit people against each other, he would harass and harangue people to create and build drama in the show.  He is a victim of his own celebrity – believing in a false value of self.  Unfortunately, we can see that what works on television isn’t what works as a world leader.  He has also gotten support from an “Evangelical Right” that uses scripture to justify and encourage Donald Trump giving him a false moral justification for all he does.  This same type of Evangelical movement that uses the Christian Bible to justify white supremacy also supported Hitler and The Third Reich (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Evangelical_Church).   I also think it may be time to do away with the electoral college.  There was a time when the electoral college had value.  But in the internet age the electoral college is an archaic institution that can only do more harm than good.  It is time to elect leaders only by popular vote.

Now about love.  It may seem odd and unlikely to read about love in this type of post.  I think it is necessary to bring the needed balance and provide level-headed options to the discussion.   Please consider this; how do we love a tyrant, a despot, an oligarch, a hate-filled man? We CANNOT react in the ways he reacts.  We can find ways to slow down the discussion allowing time for all parties to think about their positions.  We can act respectful to them without agreeing with them.  We can seek to remove them from their position for their own good.  Donald Trump is clearly over his head and he is being battered on all sides continually and that would be enough to make anyone crack.  The kindest thing we can do for America is also the kindest thing we can do for Donald Trump.  Impeach him.  Remove him from the position that is causing him so much distress.  And wish him well as he leaves.  Now I’ll be the first to admit this is easier to type than actually practice.  Love is not some easy fluffy romantic notion – it is something we have to work at.

One of the benefits of writing this is that it also reaffirms what I believe and helps give me the strength I need to practice what I “preach”.  I cannot hate Donald Trump I can only hate the carnage he has created while in office.  I do not believe there are evil people only evil actions.  And I choose to not act evil or out of malice toward my fellow Americans, or any living beings.  And if I do act evil (because I am human and have occasional weakness) it is a weakness that I quickly seek to remedy.

Matthew 4:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Feel free to agree or disagree on any and all points.  That’s why it’s called free speech.  We can disagree and still be respectful.

***If you think more people should see this post – feel free to re-post.

… on… god, monkey & the evolution revolution….

…or, how to start your day serious and end with a smile…. 😉  Have a GREAT weekend everyone.

David Sylvian & Robert Fripp – GOD’S MONKEY

Pixies – MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN

Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution – EVOLUTION REVOLUTION

… on… crazy dancer….

“And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.”

~ Nietzsche

2008-crazy-dancer

“How many people
have forgotten how to dance
on
the
long
march
to
WAR?

~ mobius faith

….on…. take me to church….

It’s been a long time since I listened to Sinead O’Connor. I loved every track on her very first album. But everything after that was sort of hit-n-miss and I eventually lost touch with her career.

I recently came across this wonderful song from 2014 album I’M NOT BOSSY, I’M THE BOSS. It seems to have the same kind of edgy energy that I liked in her first album. The Chorus hits home for me and highlights the need for pure love and how the institutions of today fail to provide it – which is highlighted in the lyrically sharp chorus,

“Oh take me to church
I’ve done so many bad things it hurts
Yeah take me to church
But not the ones that hurt
‘Cause that aint the truth
And that’s not what it’s for”

…on….more music…

Nik Bärtsch’s MOBILE is one of 3 ongoing Nik Bärtsch projects. The other being his solo piano work under his own name and the other group project Nik Bärtsch’s RONIN. All of his tracks are numbered. The one presented here is “Modul 4″and is featured on MOBILE’s latest CD, from ECM records, CONTINUUM. This is by far one of my favorite releases from 2016. This track features the quartet of piano, drums, other percussion, and a rare bass clarinet. Music that gets to the core of sound in a zen-like minimalist fashion that is surprisingly rich, full and even energetic. I hope you enjoy this wonderful track.


and a bonus track “Modul 29_14” also from CONTINUUM.

get more from his website at
http://www.nikbaertsch.com

….on….. fear…..

Highlining 2800m in winter.’Hayley’- 90 seconds about fear. (Dir. Stian Smestad Music by Nils Frahm) from Stian Smestad on Vimeo.

Before walking a 52 meter highline at 2800 altitude in midst winter, I asked Hayley about fear. She replied with her favorite quote from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. A short film about Hayley Ashburn, filmed in the Torri del Vajolet, set to the hypnotizing soundtrack Tristana by Nils Frahm.

Directed by Stian Smestad (www.hellostian.com)
Athlete Hayley Ashburn
Music Nils Frahm «Tristana»

….on…. beauty of imperfection

Autumn is the season of imperfection. Yet it is also, strangely enough many people’s favorite season. I say “strangely enough” because most people are resistant to change, yet in Autumn, there are more changes crammed into a short time span than any other season. We may see summer temps, foliage color changes, rain, and even freezing snow. It is one of the most difficult times to forecast the weather because of these rapid changes. Even scents change; the autumn flowers carry a dryer less sweet scent and there is the scent of fruit and harvest. In the cooling air sounds themselves seem to have more clarity….
Perhaps it is these rapid changes that cause us to really sit up and take note of natures beauty. So maybe Autumn is truly an “awakening season” for many (even though many see Spring as a season of awakening).

fallen-angel-evn-smlr

If we look closer at what makes Autumn so beautiful we will see it is full of imperfections. In fact nature seems to celebrate these imperfections. A yellow leaf is never truly a solid yellow and a red leaf is never a solid shade of red. There are subtleties and flaws in all these changes that occur. Leaves are mottled or spotted and eventually fall from the trees as they lose their ability to cling to life. They clutter and clog our drains and gutters. Branches become brittle and break off from their life source. Fruit that is being harvested is rarely perfect; it is not uniformly colored and is filled with the scars or bruises caused by hard weather, insects, birds etc. The changing weather requires us to be more aware and dress accordingly. Yet this is often declared the most beautiful season of the year. Why are we more accepting of imperfections in the natural world outdoors than we are of the imperfections in each other? What would happen if we would accept the imperfections we perceive in others and accept those imperfections as part of what makes that person beautiful? Has the quest for perfection and comfort made us completely intolerant to the beauty of imperfection? Have we finally become at odds with nature and our own mortality?

The image above is titled “FALLEN ANGEL” and is simply a photograph of autumn leaves on a hiking trail. I loved how the large leaf seemed to be in the shape of an angel.

…on …laundry…

laundry

The early morning had an autumnal chill in the air and was overcast like so many clouded minds waking to the new day.

I was at the laundromat; not one of my favorite things. I go early, making every attempt to avoid the greedy rush of individuals jockeying for machines.

This morning eight other people had the same idea.

I had a book by Peter Handke that I was reading – ON A DARK NIGHT I LEFT MY SILENT HOUSE. It’s a short novel with prose that reads like poetry. It travels the razors edge of reality and dreams, so-much-so that, at times, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a really great story or if I was dreaming of reading. As I slipped farther and farther into the world of the story the sounds of the laundromat seemed more distant, muffled, even murky.

My quiet reading repose was interrupted by the RAT-A-TAT-TAT of machine gun fire – the sound of death – blasting from the mobile device of a seventy-year-old gray-haired grandmother playing an obviously violent video game and sitting near, too near me, lost in her own oblivion.
Annoyed by the cruel aural assault I just closed my eyes and let the sounds of the laundromat merge into a cacophonous free-jazz experiment; Albert King was playing on the overhead sound system swinging with updates about Hurricane Matthew, on the television, merging with the friendly chatter of others who seem to enjoy laundry – and company. Suddenly, a searing break of five washing machines whirring and buzzing, in their wild interlude, on the spin cycle in complete synchrony eventually to subside and merge with the rest of the sounds in this social sound-fest ending with the click click click click click of the same five machines stopping, signaling the cycle was over.

After drinking in all the sounds it was time to dry out, fluff and fold. The feeling of warm, fresh softness carried out to the car. Another week has ended. Now ready to start a new week, clean and clear. Ready to carry-on after this unpleasant sensorial massage. Ultimately satisfied. Paradox of mundanity.

… on … what’s on the menu?

For the main course we have Toes Brufle – simmered nicely in a sauce béarnaise and topped with fresh herbs. As an appetizer we have Cow Fingers and for desert – Mosquito Pie. The best wine for this meal is of course – “ALLIGATOR WINE” This is a dish you could die for.

2008-new-menu-item

…on …bottom,top & middle….

Catfish wallows in pond’s bottom
Bird flies through heaven
Me on land holding both together in enjoyment.

2011 Bottoms and Tops

Bottom forms origin of life
Top forms life’s transcendence
Middle unites both in experience

For all my readers and followers – Life is better with you
– thanks for all your support over the years.

… on flower photography…

I love flowers. I’m just not a big fan of flower photography. However, I do photograph flowers and this is one of my personal favorites. An unusual look at a water lily – the petals have already died and fallen away but there is still beauty.
Lily's Gone

…on Peter Gabriel – Amazing


“I’m Amazing” – lyrics by Peter Gabriel

Run into the cage
With what I grew up hating
Keep on recreating
Please help me

Something’s got to change
It was something that you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Saw the kind of blood
Like a picture’s going to shatter
Can you recognize the pictures of a bone-luck setter
All the people, all the faces in my head that are running around
I’m trying to make connections but the circuits are down

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
I’m amazing

I’m living from without and I’m living from within
Got light in every layer of my illuminated skin
Could swallowing a lightbulb transform into the sun?
I can jump into the darkness
I can shine on anyone

Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do?
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Reaching out my hand
I’m going under water
Sunlight filtered into shafts
I’m going under water
With the human race
I’m going under water down
Under water down
Under water

Trying to put it together in my head
Feeling the weight of what you said
The weight of what you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Cause I can!
And I will!
It’s moving in me
The spirit is free
Oh what did I leave?

On his website Peter Gabriel[hereafter PG] states,

“I wrote a song a few years back – ‘I’m Amazing’, which was, in part, inspired by Muhammad Ali’s life and struggles and at the time of his death, when so many people are celebrating his life and thinking about all he achieved, it seemed the right time to release it.”

I do not believe we should see this song as a tribute to Ali. I saw one video posted on YOUTUBE that said this song was “about Muhammad Ali”. I disagree. PG is an artist; and as such, he uses all of life as inspiration in creating his art. Ali was only one part of the equation that helped clarify the point PG was trying to make. PG has something much bigger than one mans life that he want’s us to consider. If there is any comparison to Ali that can be made accurately is that the song deftly alternates between “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee”.

So what makes this song, it’s music and lyrics so powerful? Peter Gabriel has become an undisputed master of using various music influences from around the world in creating his own unique sound. “I’m Amazing” is a blend of these influences that borders on genius. The music moves forward and has it’s own pulse points with a fusion of sounds electronic, tribal and organic with lyrics both spoken and sung, chant and vocal ululation. There are ebbs and flows in the overall song structure that help propel the listener through the song with rhythmic emotional intensity.

Lyrically, the song offers intense criticism of our culture and society. He is careful not to place blame. He simply let’s the character in the song make observations and leaves it up to us to determine any cause and make appropriate adjustment in our own lives so that we do not end up in the same predicament. What is NOT said in the lyrics is just as important as what IS said. PG does not write on the surface of things but gets under the skin. While on the surface if you just read the lyrics it may seem like a positive paean with the old “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. But listening to how the lyrics are sung provides a whole new wealth of meaning that seems truer. It is funny how music can add clarity to the meaning of words. By themselves lyrics are ambiguous and can be interpreted by each individual as they wish. But what is lost is the authors intention. Music provides that intention. I have not heard such snarling sardonic expression in pop music for a long time and it is refreshing. A true wakeup call. I love how the lyrics switch between introspect/retrospect/prospect as the singer looks to escape his own mundanity and latch onto all the promises made by a self-help society with “happy times ahead”. Drowning in his own misery he not only seeks for a way out but becomes so self-obsessed that all(and everyone) else is left behind. The character acts/does because he can and never asks if he should. It’s only after it’s too late does he contemplate what was left behind.

This is a most welcome addition to the canon of music written by this great artist.

….on poetica….

This image was taken recently at the abandoned football stadium known as the AKRON RUBBER BOWL. I’ll have some more shots of the stadium itself in the next couple of days.

Rubber Bowl 10 smlr