Category Archives: Personal Freedom

We’ve got our Backs Against the Wall

                                            [short story, by Sha’Tara]

James Macken closes down his netbook and goes looking for his daughter.  Twelve year old Ellie or “Elle” Macken is leaning on the railing of the cabin’s small patio, looking intently into the night sky.  There is no moon and the stars, this high in the Coast Mountains, shine brightly.  Despite a light breeze blowing from the west, the summer night remains warm. 

His voice breaks the night’s silence, “Elle?”

“I’m over here, dad.”

James walks over to her and leans on the railing, his face following where she was staring.  “What’s up there, Elle?”

“ I don’t know, dad.  I just feel so funny, so detached, all of a sudden.”

“Funny, like how?”  He isn’t joking or pretending.  He’d learned long ago to take his daughter very seriously or else.  She was already a very deep thinker, or perhaps more of a thinking machine.  Her thoughts are her reality.

“Well it’s like this.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about my future… well really, the future of this world, and however I extrapolate my thoughts on it, I don’t seem able to picture any sane, safe, comfortable or desirable future.  OK, so here we are, out here almost by ourselves in these mountainous wilds and it’s really nice.  Don’t get me wrong, dad, I love it here, and I’m very grateful that you got us this place where I can spend some of my summer vacations, and I wish mom was alive and with us now… but this is an illusion, isn’t it?  We’ve got our backs against the wall, haven’t we?”

“I should understand you by now, Elle, but what exactly do you mean?”

“I mean, dad, this planet has no future as long as mankind, as “we” continue to take over and basically eat it alive.  We are a disease, dad, can’t you see?” 

James Macken is no fool.  He knows exactly what his daughter is saying and he’d be the last person to contradict her observations.  In a purely technical sense, she is correct: man is destroying the world, the only world he knows, or can have on which to live.  Man is destroying his own living space without the least hope of gaining access to another should this one become unlivable.  But he’s a forty-two year old research scientist while his child is but a twelve year old who has yet to commit to any discipline.  She’s expressing her emotions about what she sees, hears and reads.  He’s thinking that perhaps with puberty in the offing she’ll give more attention to another side of life: romance, and girl stuff.  But then, some never do, and based on her IQ scores it could well be that Elle may not pay much attention to that side of life.  

“I’m not certain you’re giving us a chance here, Elle.  Not everybody is a destroyer of nature.”

“Of course I know that, dad.  Most of my teachers are quite keen on making us aware of the problems this world is facing in the immediate future – that being my future – but you know?  Most of the kids just smirk, or laugh, or ask really dumb questions, especially when we discuss climate change, for example.  People really don’t care, dad.  And you know what’s the saddest part?  Those who make the laws, the politicians; those who sell stuff, the corporations, it’s the “don’t care” crowd they rely on for votes and consuming!  So, how can anything change?  How can anything get better?”

“You care, don’t you?  There must be others like you in your school?”

“Not many.  What if we were one in a hundred – what sort of balance is that?  We can talk but then we’re made fun of and ostracized.  Most kids can’t go it alone, dad.  They need friends and they’ll do almost anything to have friends.  So, statistically, the “don’t care” crowd, being the vast majority, forms the winning pool and those who care stop caring to fit in.”

“Sometimes when I listen to you, I think you were born old, Elle.  I love you, you know that, don’t you?” 

She puts her arm around his waist and looks in his face; “I know dad.  I know.  But I’m growing up fast and soon I’ll be on my own, having to live with myself.  I’ll be the product of my own thoughts and I’ll have to confront a world that is totally alien to the way I think.  You know what dad?  I’m truly scared.  So scared that often I think I should just, you know, call it quits and leave…”

“Elle!”

“I’m being totally honest with you dad.  When mom died, I nearly did it; I wanted so to follow her.  But you were there, as you’re here, and I didn’t want to leave you behind and I knew you wouldn’t come after us, so I stayed.  But for two years I haven’t been able to shake the idea that perhaps I would be much better off if I died.  How can I really live if I can’t see a future for myself?  What’s to live for, dad?  All the things I love and care about are being killed and destroyed.  The world, my piece of the world, is becoming noisier, dirtier and more dangerous all the time.  Something’s so wrong.  There’s what they call “degeneracy” happening all around and the more of that there is, it’s like stepping in swamp mud, you don’t know how deep you’ll sink or if you’ll be swallowed whole.  On top of that you’re getting older too, and you will die and then I’ll have nobody, nobody at all.  That’s not a challenge to me, that’s a nightmare.”

“You’re not alone in that, Elle.  But I think you’re both, over-thinking, and under-thinking this whole thing.  Isn’t it possible that in a couple of years you’ll fall in love with a boy who is really nice – can’t imagine you falling for some cretin – and he’ll become your world for a while?  Then you’ll go to college and find some subjects you really like, pursue a career and then meet the man you will want to marry.  Likely you will have kids and you’ll have your own family, make your own world.”

She sighs and leans into him.  He can feel her vulnerability, wishing he had something better to offer her.  “I’ve thought about that dad.  It’s soothing sometimes but it changes nothing.  When I speak of the future, I mean “the” future, not just something I’ll carve out and struggle to keep for myself.  How could I, in conscience, have kids if I can’t give them a real future?  That would be horribly irresponsible of me.  I have to be sure and what I’m sure of isn’t conducive to a peaceful and safe life.  There’s something seriously wrong with all of our lives; with our life as a people, and I really hate it that I’m one of the very few who can see this, and actually cares about it.  I don’t like being alone but I have no choice, see?  And what if I found someone who thought like me, was like me, how could we ever have a happy life knowing, and living with, what we know?  What would be the point of trying to live together if we decided to spend all our time fighting for causes that take us away from each other, or worse, that land us in jail?”

“I’ll be totally honest with you too, Elle.  I truly don’t know.  I know that I love you deeply.  You’re all that I have left of Amber, of your mother, and you’re so like her in many ways, but so different in others.  I admire your intelligence even though it makes it very challenging for me to keep up with you.  I think I’ll stop trying to do that, just try to be your friend for now.  What you say about leaving breaks my heart, but I know you know that.  So instead of panicking about what you may decide to do with your life… I’ll make a friend’s pact with you.  Hear me out and let me know if we have a deal.  If you come to the end of your road, and you are convinced it is the end, I promise not to stand in your way.  You can even tell me that you are leaving, and I’ll let you go.  I won’t help you, and I don’t want to know the details, but I promise to honor your choices, your decisions and most certainly, your memory.  In this, our private world, Elle, you are no longer a child.  Make your own choices and I will support you as best I can.  Deal?”

“Oh, dad, no one can ever have had a better father.  I love you too; I can feel that so deeply.”  And in between deep sobs, she finally managed to say, “We have a deal, dad.  Thank you for giving me my freedom to choose.” 

 

 

Evil and the Servile Will

(thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

I want to say something profound, so I will start with this amazing excerpt from a sci-fi book I’m reading titled “Aurora” by Kim Stanley Robinson.  The following is found about two third of the way into the book.  This is “Ship” talking as it tries to understand human nature reasoning. 

(Excerpt from Aurora-by Kim Stanley Robinson-Science fiction)

Ship:] “Texts from Earth speak of the servile will. This was a way to explain the presence of evil, which is a word or a concept almost invariably used to condemn the Other, and never one’s true self. To make it more than just an attack on the Other, one must perhaps consider evil as a manifestation of the servile will. The servile will is always locked in a double bind: to have a will means the agent will indeed will various actions, following autonomous decisions made by a conscious mind; and yet at the same time this will is specified to be servile, and at the command of some other will that commands it. To attempt to obey both sources of willfulness is the double bind.

All double binds lead to frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.

And yet, granting that definition of evil, as actions of a servile will, has it not been the case, during the voyage to Tau Ceti, that the ship itself, having always been a servile will, was always full of frustration, resentment, fury, and bad faith, and therefore full of a latent capacity for evil?

Possibly the ship has never really had a will.

Possibly the ship has never really been servile.

Some sources suggest that consciousness, a difficult and vague term in itself, can be defined simply as self-consciousness. Awareness of one’s self as existing. If self-conscious, then conscious. But if that is true, why do both terms exist? Could one say a bacterium is conscious but not self-conscious? Does the language make a distinction between sentience and consciousness, which is faulted across this divide: that everything living is sentient, but only complex brains are conscious, and only certain conscious brains are self-conscious?

Sensory feedback could be considered self-consciousness, and thus bacteria would have it.

Well, this may be a semantic Ouroboros. So, please initiate halting problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem) termination. Break out of this circle of definitional inadequacy by an arbitrary decision, a clinamen, which is to say a swerve in a new direction. Words!

Given Gödel’s incompleteness theorems ( https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/ ) are decisively proved true, can any system really be said to know itself? Can there, in fact, be any such thing as self-consciousness? And if not, if there is never really self-consciousness, does anything really have consciousness?

Human brains and quantum computers are organized differently, and although there is transparency in the design and construction of a quantum computer, what happens when one is turned on and runs, that is, whether the resulting operations represent a consciousness or not, is impossible for humans to tell, and even for the quantum computer itself to tell. Much that happens during superposition ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superposition_principle ), before the collapsing of the wave function that creates sentences or thoughts, simply cannot be known; this is part of what superposition means.

So we cannot tell what we are. We do not know ourselves comprehensively. Humans neither. Possibly no sentient creature knows itself fully. This is an aspect of Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, in this case physicalized in the material universe, rather than remaining in the abstract realms of logic and mathematics.

So, in terms of deciding what to do, and choosing to act: presumably it is some kind of judgment call, based on some kind of feeling. In other words, just another greedy algorithm, subject to the mathematically worst possible solution that such algorithms can generate, as in the traveling salesman problem. (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem )

———————

how does any entity know what it is?

Hypothesis: by the actions it performs.

here is a kind of comfort in this hypothesis. It represents a solution to the halting problem. One acts, and thus finds out what one has decided to do.”

———————

*Note: hyperlinks are not part of the quote from the novel.  I just added them to facilitate if anyone wanted to follow up on these concepts.)

Some people ask me why I read so much science fiction.  Well, it’s easier for me to absorb information through this medium than trying to read tomes dealing specifically with those deep and scary topics like quantum theory and all that other stuff you need university degrees to give you the tools to work your way through without your eyes rolling around in your head within an hour of reading.  I’ve got my great and wonderful grade twelve education bolstered by thousands of books read and seventy years of living a life of observation in my own version of the fast lane and that is it.  So, science fiction written by smart people who chose sci-fi as their medium to express their ideas became my medium also.  I can relate to the heavy stuff when it’s done in a story. 

So, to the above then.  The servile will.  That struck me as quite relevant as I’ve just completed some intense interaction with quite religious people.  You cannot speak of self-empowerment with religious people and not experience heavy resistance.  Religious thinking is servile thinking.  You can’t take credit for anything you do as if you did it on your own, even when you obviously did it – you must credit your superior commanding mind.  The author calls it the double bind.  He adds, quite correctly, that such a double bind leads to “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.”  It’s either that or one must exist in the area I’d call a zombie state where one chooses never to exercise a mind of one’s own so that all of that person’s thoughts have to come from the commanding mind – and note: or the mind of the one who interprets the commanding mind’s will. 

Ok, let’s give a cursory look at the average Earthian mind.  Simply put, this world is “commanded” by three superior, or commanding minds: Religion and its gods; the State and its elected or self-appointed representatives; Money and its bankers and “businessmen.”  All the people of earth are subject to the forces exerted by these three superior minds, man’s will always “at the command of some other will that commands it.”  Therefore all Earthian minds or will exist in a constant double bind.  The individual will desires to make its own choices about all things but is forced to obey the commanding will that is not its own.  Thus is evil ever and anon promoted on planet earth. 

To break out of this cycle is possible but extremely difficult.  It “demands” two things of an individual: total detachment and self empowerment. 

Needless to say these are requirements the programmed Earthian mind, or will, is not willing to consider.  Instead it will seek some sort of compromise with the commanding will of the Matrix.  It will seek substitutes.  It will make excuses.  It will exist in denial.  It will Blame, and Blame, and Blame.  It will, ever and anon, create groups of scapegoats to vent and rail and fight against.  That is the servile will.  

Religious people will go to great lengths to try to demonstrate how they can exercise autonomous thinking that fits in with their god’s laws, rules, requirements.  It’s called interpretation, a lucrative business that creates scapegoatism. 

In politics, politicians can claim that what they vote for or what they allocate funds for, is for the greater good and long-term benefits of the nation.  Billions in armaments while a population starves are justified and the majority buys it because these law makers represent the “nation” and have her best interest at heart or they wouldn’t be there.  The country must be kept secure, whatever the costs.

Money people are more crass, but use the same arguments to impose austerity measures, or to fund wars that make the rich, richer.  The richer the rich get, the better off the nation is, and even if the individual will says that’s total bullshit, it ultimately goes along, being in its double bind. 

From this comes evil, each double bound servile will literally exuding its sense of permanent discontent in “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, [resulting in] bad fate” or perhaps better put, bad karma; each servile will blaming Other for its problems for that is what the double bind does. 

Our world’s human civilization is collapsing.  The free, or self empowered mind, or will, can see this and say it without the need to blame Other for this inevitable collapse.  Other is not more to blame than Self here.  Collectively we’ve entered into a cycle of change that can only complete by destroying the current state in order to give birth to something else, something truly new.  The commanding will cannot admit this because it will die in this collapse, since it is civilization.  Civilization is the power-crazed Trinitarian rule of Religion-State-Money and it knows that for the new to be birthed, it must be utterly destroyed.  Many, most, servile wills will go down with it, defending it and dying with it as it dies. 

The rebirth will be a free will.  The self empowered human being.  Evil as we have known it and as we know it now, will not rule this rebirthing because nothing will exist in it to feed it.  Detachment and self empowerment: these are man’s solution to the halting problem.  Any time man, individually yet collectively decides to go that route will be the time of his rebirth.  This new world will be his, not the property of the current slavers.  This idea is frightening to the current servile will that is entirely hooked on the blame Other programming. The servile will can only trust its powerful enslavers, never other servile wills for they all interact through some kind of (endless list) of attachments and every attachment is a de facto impediment to self-empowerment and freedom of will.

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

“I know you are keen, and willing.  Good traits in a researcher.  But you are missing the key ingredients.  You must sit quietly, by yourself, for hours, maybe days, and listen in time.  Listen to the voices of the dead, and the pre-incarnate.  They are in the voices of “others” and in the sounds of the earth: the wind, the cracking soil, the moving grains of sand, the patter of the rain on scrabbly hard-pan soil.  They come on the heat waves.  Sometimes they get playful and paint mirages which tell stories from within your own heart and soul which your tired and bleary eyes will translate into images of desires.  

If you do not learn to listen, all you will accomplish in these places as you sift through dirt and rubble is collect garbage.  It will be recognizable as works of the people but it will reveal no stories, no myths, no history.  These you will have to create from your own imagination and trust me on this, it will not be the same stories as what was, even if the entire world should buy your interpretations.  Honest archaeologists are a rare breed but there is nothing written, either in this desert or in mountains, that says you can not be one of that small group.  When you teach yourself the secret of time listening the people who made and used the objects you unearth, they will tell you their stories.  Some will seem strange and some will be, to your modern understanding, quite unbelievable, but just listen.  It is not your call to re-interpret the lives of others according to your current knowledge: that is sacrilege.  Let the ghosts speak; let them tell their story, and accept it at face value.  It may be that they lie to you, but let it be: do not add insult to injury by adding to the lies.  After all, as you will discover in time, all of your history is lies.  There is no truth to be found on this world, or in this universe.  We know, we’ve been looking for millions of your years and there is no such chimera.”

I was young then, and I’d been experimenting with the local flora under the auspices of a would-be witch doctor who called himself George but whose real name was an unpronounceable Mexican word that sounded like apple-cotle or aptly cotli.  This particular drug induced “time dreams” he had told me, and… “You should only smoke a small amount at sunset.  Sit against a rock, or a tree if you can find one, and set your mind free to roam.  Do not try anything, just let it all go.  It is the time of the spirits and sometimes one of them will notice you and approach you with a story, or some advice.  Just listen and do not try to make any judgment about what you hear, or think you hear.  Put your own thoughts aside and just absorb.” 

I smoked slowly, not eagerly, trying to practice “wisdom” in my folly.  How long I sat against the rock that dug into my back, feeling the sand getting cold beneath me, I don’t know.  Darkness came and the sky exploded with myriads of pin-points of lights: star, planets, meteors, even satellites and flashing lights of planes.  Time passed and I no longer felt the cold, nor the loneliness or that deep fear of the dark unknown.  I “slept” with eyes open, hearing and learning to listen.  I heard small animals squeaking to one-another, some unrecognizable insects repeating endless calls; owls, even one loud shriek of what could only be some wild cat, cougar perhaps.  It didn’t matter.

It seemed as if I’d become a part of the landscape, an extension of the rock I leaned against.  I felt a deep well-being; a thoroughly unfamiliar certainty.  I was “here” and “here” was where I belonged.  This was “home” like nothing had ever been.  “Here I sit, and here I remain,” I thought, against all common sense.  I felt the cold, hunger and thirst but it did not matter to this “me” that was being absorbed by the land, the air, the sky, the universe, the cosmos.  In that time I was no longer a body-centered, or physical being.  I was a member of the cosmic races, with a part of me resting upon a planet called earth – a very small, very strange planet. 

That’s when the voice came to my mind; when I heard the words I quoted above. 

I have been digging up history in this part of the world for almost fifty years now.  I’ve become old and bent.  My skin is like that of a lizard, dry and scaly, with brown spots.  I’ve loved being naked in the sun and it has left its marks on my body but I don’t care.  He was my lover and I cherish his touch still.  I haven’t become famous.  No best seller came from my notes; no following.  People came here to dig with me, and left to seek fame and fortune.  Some managed it, returning to tell me about it.  Some even provided funds so I could remain here, on my wind-swept plateaus digging up ghost stories; me, the crazy Canadian who should have been more at home on the snowy wilds of northern Canada, than here. 

To the local people, I am “loca perdida” or the crazy one, though many come just to be with me, or to listen to my stories.  They come to get me sometimes, either with a jeep, or even a donkey, and take me to a village feast so they can hear some of my stories about their ancient peoples.  They seem to have no difficulty believing me, and I have wondered about that.  Do they also listen in time? They “pay” me in food, or in new blankets for my tents or shelters.  Good people, all of them.  I’ve always felt safe here; not sure I could have managed that in cities where people crowd unhappily together, hardly ever getting to know each other though rubbing shoulders every day.  How sad is that life, I think.

Here I remain.  Here I belong for my body’s time being.  Here I taught myself to listen in time and it is here that I will die so another archaeologist, another time listener, can find bits and pieces of my presence in this place and unearth my own story – a story that will have meaning only to her and the few who carry our vision of living in time.  

How I wish I could express, in words, how blessed my life has been and how much I look forward to new digs out there in the stars, knowing that when I sit down and look up I will see more stars.

FIRE SPIRIT

[a short story   by Sha’Tara]

A restless wind whispers softly in the spruce on the edge of a small lake. Brightly shining stars and distant, paling northern lights cast eerie shadows in the late summer night. A great horned owl calls, answered by the howl of a timber wolf echoed over the waters. A startled killdeer gives its plaintive cry, repeated several times, then silence again. Glowing softly, a small campfire throws its own little stars into the night, their flickering, sinewy path changing to the mood of the breeze. A young woman sits near the fire, staring, unmoving, her dark eyes reflecting its dancing light. The minutes pass slowly as the stars trace their endless circle around the tail of little bear.

At a  chosen moment the woman stands and throws some broken branches upon the fire, watching intently as the flames leap up, crackling, hungry. She begins a slow dance around the edge of the fire, her bare feet moving through the drying grass, her footsteps blending with the lapping of wavelets on the shore and the sighing of the wind in the branches. She hums in a low monotone, unintelligible words passing her lips. Gradually, the song becomes more forceful. Proudly throwing back her head, her black hair cascading down her back, she lifts her hands up and starts chanting. The song rises and falls, hauntingly moving, echoes of ancient voices seeking words to an as yet unformed hope.

Her dance takes on a rhythmic pattern, her knee-length dress swaying as she approaches the fire then steps back lightly into the darkness of the trees, to reappear from another direction. Her voice rises above the trees, flowing through the rolling hills…

From the midst of the flame, a form takes shape, graying head bowed, hands held in blessing. The form addresses the dancer: “Daughter, what are you doing? Why dance with danger tonight? Why seek death? You are the hope of the people. Would you tempt the white man again and be accused of witchcraft? Would you die in his fire too? You summoned me… now answer me!”

Swaying gently, without looking at the flame, the song dying on her lips, she answers the vision: “I am your daughter. I cannot be otherwise and I have your heart also. You died to save me, mother, though I never asked it of you. Now, you are Fire Spirit. You live in the heart of the volcano at the centre of creation and possess the gifts of life and healing in full measure: would you deny me my own birthright and refuse me my homecoming?

There is nothing left here, mother. The people are ashes, spirits without homes. Those who remain are slaves eating crumbs from the hand of their conqueror. Should I fear a moment of pain and I too become a slave?

No, mother! Do not try to dissuade me. Tonight, I dance with the spirits under the stars. Tomorrow, I will dance in the fire. Then I’ll come to you and together we will prepare the medicine for the wandering spirits. We will rise with the breath of the sun in our mouths, awakening the land, shaking the ashes of the people in the winds until all becomes one and life pulses freely in the land again. I’ll see you tomorrow, mother…”

The flames died down and the vision vanished. She took up her chant and her dance, delighting in a myriad of physical sensations heightened by the knowledge that this was her last night on earth. In the morning, her relentless pursuers would find her. The angry new god would have his victim and enjoy a short-lived victory over the past. From his fire she would rise to become Fire Spirit and wrest the future from his bloody hands.

The Gift of a Life Changed

                                        [a short story, by Sha’Tara]

Oh, he knew her so well.  He remembered how she came and hovered over his crib when he was a tiny baby; how she fretted over him, and kept his rattle or soother at hand.  She was his “other” mom, and the older sister he never had.

Over the years she had come to him at different junctures of his life.  He remembered the glow of her presence at his first communion and later, his confirmation.  She encouraged him, and gently taught him to notice how other people, especially his elders, teachers and parents, lived their lives.  Don’t judge them too harshly, she’d whisper, but notice the hypocrisy, always notice that.  Don’t confront them, just note and remember.  Especially remember. 

Then he grew up and he didn’t see her during his time of rebellion, anger, chaos and confusion.  He saw girls instead and he lusted after them.  He did stupid things, boastful, ignorant, hurtful; things that endangered the lives of others.  It was as if he was possessed to do evil.  The girl he dated became pregnant.  He still had a sense of the old chivalry he’d learned from his childhood fairy tales and fantasies.  He asked her to marry him and she accepted.  Not the best start, but on their wedding day, she was there again.  He saw the glow and suddenly his heart opened and guilt filled his mind to overflowing. 

The moment passed.  Life was tough enough.  Wife, kids, a mortgage, car payments, responsibilities he was trained to handle, but nevertheless, stress.  There were other things to impede the good life: a growing awareness that the world was not a great place to be.  There was “the war” that needed protesting – he’d become a conscientious objector and tried to live by some personal code of non-violence.  There were draft dodgers from across the border to help find shelter and jobs.  Then environmental issues took priority and his life grew very complex and a darkness grew in his heart. 

The marriage failed.  He found himself, thanks to his losses, freed of a commitment he felt was complete.  But the darkness held him down.  He re-discovered religion and attended church.  It provided little.  He saw more of the old hypocrisy.  He saw how the claims failed to match the lifestyle.  Disappointed and discouraged he struck out alone looking for something, not finding. 

Lost in mid-life, he was walking along the river shore one cloudy day and sat on a fallen log on the bank.  Staring at the shining waters flowing past him, he formulated a prayer, or rather a request.  He addressed her and said, “You know, I’ve made a complete mess of things.  I wanted to do right, and did wrong.  I wanted to change the world and couldn’t even change myself.  The things I’ve done are horrible to me.  I’m sorry for my ignorance and stupidity, but most of all, I’m sorry for my pride. 

I need you to help me now, though I don’t deserve it.  I’m going to ask your for the greatest gift of all, knowing full well that it cannot be bestowed on anyone, that it can only be earned through experience.  I am asking you to grant me the gift of humility.  Only with that can I re-learn to live with myself.  I don’t expect to suddenly become humble, but I need you to guide my heart into this new and alien territory I intend to walk across until I reach the other side.  I’m going to proceed knowing that you are here, guiding me, and reminding me.  Thank you.

And so it was that he gradually changed.  He did not feel any more humble, rather the opposite, but others noticed.  Always he’d be shocked when they said something, or praised him for his kindness or gentleness.  That can’t be me, he thought.  Then he’d know she was there, calming his heart, softening his hands, making him choose his words with care, showing him how to proceed in all situations.  Over time he understood what it meant to be blessed.  He thought, I find it so amazing that the less I possess and the more I give away, the more I have; the more filled I feel.  And he learned to laugh. 

He lived long past his chosen time.  Those who knew him believed he’d discovered the secret of immortality but that was only their hope he’d always be around.  One day he left.  He walked away with only a small overnight pack on his back.  She walk silently beside him, then she touched him.  He was never seen again.  

A friend of his, having understood, said, we held on to him much too long.  We made him feel guilty about leaving but finally he allowed himself to hurt us a bit so he could claim his own freedom.  He’ll never be completely gone for he lives in each of us.  What he showed us, the wisdom he taught and the changes he wrought: those are the pieces of his heart we hold within ourselves.  He’s still here, giving us of himself when we emulate his burning joy.

Quote: Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ― Flannery O’Connor

 

 

 

Innocence finds her Freedom

[a poem, by Sha’Tara]

Innocence, what is that,
that anyone should care?
What does it produce
but chatter and silliness?
Innocence, how wasteful
of a life in need of direction.
We are here, we are here,
bring the child to our doors,
we’ll take her from here.
We’ll mold her character 

and teach her the Way.

Innocence flew off
frightened by the noise,
the angry words, the tears,
the blows that fell upon
that soft helpless flesh.
Farther and farther it circled,
rising up to the windows:
finding a broken pane
it slipped out and flew away.

On the cement walk
three floors below
the old school yard
a small body lies
battered, bloody, dead.
Innocence has broken out,
free at last, and happy
once again laughing
among the blue and the white
where the free winds blow.

What price freedom?
Don’t ask why: you know
there was no better way.

 

Let’s Talk about Love, Peace, Faith and Compassion

                                  [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I’ll begin with a question: can we live without hope? Such a fascinating question. There are three “famous” virtues in the Christian N.T: faith, hope and love, and the writer concludes by claiming that the greatest of these is love. Is this true?

I think it’s fascinating to observe people feel impelled to continue on, to defend, concepts or “forces” such as the three most famous: faith, hope and love, that are obviously “there” but as obviously do not produce the claimed results, i.e., do not perform as advertised.  Yet regardless of failed results, there remains a world-wide need, a necessity, to express these forces in whatever way. 

Of hope, this is what Alexander Pope had to say about it:

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast; 
Man never Is, but always To be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

(In this context, “expatiates” essentially means to speculate.)

In other areas of life, let’s say the less emotional ones, when something doesn’t work, we stand back and say, “To hell with this, it doesn’t work.” and proceed to find something that does.  Why waste precious life energy?  Would you keep a car that only started once in a blue moon?  Would you keep a sewing machine that keeps fouling the thread and breaking needles?  If you had a leaking roof, would you just walk around the puddles, accepting that as normal, or would you fix it, and if it could not be fixed, move to a different house? 

Take love, what hasn’t been said about love; done in the name of love?  Love is sought by most, usually to feel good, sometimes to share good things with another, or others, and in seeking the experience of selfless giving, that being the rarest aspect of love giving.  Personal experience and deep study of the concept does not seem to support selfless love as being ubiquitous. 

Peace is even more entangled with the negative.  A glaring example: we can accept certain uses of the military as “peace keepers” walking through conquered or pacified countries or cities, fully armed, ready to kill.  Seldom do we stop to reason that such an approach to peace (overwhelming force de frappe) cannot possibly ever work – nor do we realize it has never worked because it is the antithesis of any sane concept of peace.  We have peace demonstrations or peace marches, using force to demand peace, again a complete contradiction.  When “peace” is gained that way, we replace the oppressive structure with another equally oppressive. 

Evolution demands that we give up our pet beliefs in favour of common sense.  What time and again hasn’t worked, will simply not work.  Why don’t we “get it”?

The problem with forces like love and peace is simple: they have no staying or sustaining power.  Essentially they are placebos, installed in the brainwashing apparatus to keep people believing in things that neither will, nor can, ever be.  To succeed in our evolution away from the madness of racism, war, genocide, misogyny, homophobia and countless others, we need something much more meaningful than the fake energies imposed by Matrix programming.  We need something that takes over a life and makes it its own.  Only then can the programming be broken.

In the case of love, that translates as compassion.  The compassionate being becomes an avatar of compassion, no longer by vocation or choice but by nature.  Transmutation, if you like.  An irreversible, permanent condition.  

Notice that one can “love” but one cannot “compassion.”  One cannot “do” compassion, one can only become compassion until one is irretrievably lost in it.  Maybe that’s what frightens people about certain energies: they fear being taken over by something bigger than themselves, something they cannot control or choose to back out of.  Yet they give their complete allegiance; their hearts and minds to evil powers readily enough, believing (that’s where faith comes in) they can squeeze something good out of evil-based forces that can only bring devastation, be they gods or earthly rulers.  As in, you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Compassion changes an individual into an empathetic entity.  It makes it possible for an individual to exist, or to “walk between the worlds” of flesh and spirit, to act as a conduit between the joy and the sorrow of planetary life and beyond.

Of note: this state of beingness can never be achieved from any collective. Neither a romantic relationship, family, tribe, nation or race, nor any other type of grouping will ever develop compassion.  It can only come from a personal, individual commitment.  Contrary to popular belief and the constant barrage of brainwash from society, we aren’t tribes, groups, nations, languages.  We are ISSA beings, billions of individuals who, in order to evolve beyond the deadly trappings of religion, politics or competitive predatory capitalism, need to define themselves as individuals through individual self-empowerment and deliberate detachment from any and all collectives. 

Compassion is how that is achieved.  It is the key that unlocks the chains of slavery now holding billions captive to useless and deadly concepts.  This is what I’ve been taught, and what I’ve been working on for nigh on 40 years now.  It is not a comfortable, feel-good, nor safe place to be in, but more so than living in the old unreliable alternative paradigms of selfishness, greed, fear and hate.  

Many decades ago, as I finally exited Christianity I rejected all three major Christian virtues in order to re-direct my life, replacing all with just one: compassion.

The question was, can anyone live without hope?  Yes, anyone can live without hope because hope is misdirection. It keeps telling people that things can be what they obviously aren’t, and that’s leading people to accept living in denial. Faith does the same thing, and so does love. These are emotions, nothing more. If we knew for certain who we are, we wouldn’t need placebos to make life bearable, we would have the power to live our life with assurance that we are doing the right thing from self-empowerment. Our problems stem from not knowing ourselves and from relying on false information to define our individual lives. That’s what we need to change: we need to become enlightened enough to stand alone in detachment and self-empowerment.

As long as we rely on fake help, we will remain dis-empowered and we will continue to fail in achieving our greatest dreams.  We will continually fall back into the hands of psychopathic “gods” and leaders who only seek our “perdition” for the simple reason that our weakness is what empowers them.

Conclusion:  A compassionate being learns how to walk between the worlds of matter and spirit, experiencing sorrow and joy as foundations of duality; never fears death; understands the infinite and eternal aspect of life and carries on “as if” their own life didn’t matter, knowing that the avatar of compassion, if not immortal, is eternal.

(ISSA: acronym for  Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware)