Category Archives: Personal Freedom

I’m not a Broker of Emotions

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ a poem]

For a while we felt good together, didn’t we?
After I had agreed you could hold me.
You could also kiss me, and freely fondle:
I knew how much that made you feel good
and I’m all about that, you know,
making you feel good. As a woman
that validates me; gives me purpose.
And you know what else I like?
I like sleeping with you. You smell good,
you have such a warm, hard body.
Why would I not want to be with you?

So we spent time together and it was,
should I repeat it? Good, real good.
The more I gave you, the more I got
as you searched me for more pleasure:
I didn’t mind, believe me, I didn’t.
You were like a baby seeking a nipple,
I felt your desire and your hunger
and me anticipating your solace
finding your pleasure and satisfaction
in me, from me, me feeding, you suckling.
We had it all, I thought, oh, so wonderful
Until you looked down and felt your fear.

That’s when you deliberately spoiled it.
You wanted it to be more than I could give:
you wanted it to be love, you insisted
it had to be love though I had warned you
before the eyes, the hugging, the kissing,
The fondling and finally the naked fucking…
I don’t do love, OK? It is my prerogative
and why would I pretend to such a thing?
I’m not a deal maker or broker of emotions.
Yet you insisted; you insist: must be love.
I’m sorry, truly I am, but I don’t do love.
I can however, help you pack if you want.

 

Advertisements

A Winter Night’s Vigil

[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]

Deep in another long Winter’s night
when the stars sparkle as if covered in ice
that’s when I let myself, my heart, grow soft;
w
hen I dare to hold my world gentle
to my breast and give such assurance as I can
that all is going to be just fine.
Don’t worry, I whisper silently into the cold,
don’t cry in your pain and hunger.
Don’t be afraid, I speak more forcefully,
when you feel so very sick; when your body fails.
I know your pain for it is mine also.
I know your hunger and thirst, by the same token.
I know how cold you are this night
and the fear that haunts your every breath
haunts my visions and my dreams also.

Though of small comfort let me tell you this,
that this is a time of anticipated travail.
Tis a time of crossing, not a time of ending.
This for you, and for me, is our beginning.
Skeletal, we come from the desert, you and I,
already we’ve survived and overcome so much.
We did not come here to die, my beautiful one
but to transform these bodies of death.
No longer shall we beg for a crust of bread
or a place to sleep safe from storms and mobs.
No longer shall we wear the chains of slaves
or watch as they kill our children for profit.
Wake up, come, stand up and walk with me
looking neither to the left nor to the right
a few more steps, my lovely one, and it is done.

 

Compassion in a Nutshell (as promised)

OK, here goes, my stumbling attempt to clarify something that is way out of my league… but someone’s got to do it, and I promised!

Compassion in a Nutshell, as I was taught, how I experience it daily
by    ~burning woman~   expressed by Sha’Tara

What it isn’t:  When I speak on compassion as I was taught by the Teachers and how I experience it, I’m never talking about a common mixture of feeling and emotion, of love, like, attraction, desire, lust, romance, or any of the usual social relationships.  It is none of those.

What it is, point by point:  Compassion is utterly selfless.  Whatever I give to another is entirely for that other, no thought of “what’s in it for me” involved in the transaction.  At the same time I realize that any expenditure of “energy” on my part is immediately replenished and added to.  Since I am fully aware of this now, I have to say that although it seems a contradiction, my motivation is both, selfless and selfish.

Compassion is inclusive.  This needs to be understood very clearly because the compassionate being has no enemies… ever.  What is an enemy?  Obviously someone you fear, either because s/he has hurt you in some personal and real way and would continue to do so, or it is someone your society has demonized.  You fear and you hate.  You want protection or you want to attack.  These are emotional responses.  In this area it isn’t forgiveness that heals, it’s compassion.

Compassion is non-emotional.  In compassion there are no emotional responses.  This also must be clearly understood.  In the previous case of “the enemy” the concept disappears completely if there is no emotional response involved.  Does that mean then that the compassionate person is android-like?  Not at all.  If anything the compassionate person develops and experiences deeper feelings than a normal person.  I find myself constantly reacting strongly to events normal people hardly notice, take for granted or even enjoy.  When I see someone eating meat the effect is mentally devastating, hence why I block any emotional response.  To me all killing is murder and a “piece of meat” was a living, breathing, feeling “other” that a universally false belief backed by emotions, has turned into a billion dollar business from billions of helpless torture victims of “gastronomical” greed.  Hunting, fishing, violent sports such as boxing or sports involving animals in which they suffer or are in danger of being seriously hurt – horse racing for example – these are all stumbling blocks to the empath.  Try to imagine what the truly compassionate feels when confronted with instances of abuse, oppression, rape, genocide, war and mass shootings.  It isn’t just “news” believe me: it’s hell.  You don’t want to go there emotionally or you won’t come back.  Compassion takes care of it by shutting down emotional response.

Compassion does not recognize special relationships.  For a gregarious species this may be the toughest aspect to comprehend.  “You mean I can’t “love” my child more than anyone else’s?” is a typical response.  To a normal person such is unthinkable.  So perhaps it can be explained.  First, compassion doesn’t care who or what you choose to “love” or “hate” because that is neither here nor there.  Compassion, being, shall I say, “higher” in nature and power than all known types of love, overrides those emotions in any case and neutralizes them.  The compassionate being has no use for special relationships, they just cloud the issue.  So if you already have special relationships that need your presence, input and support, compassion will certainly not prevent you from doing your duty.  The difference is that these relationships, these people, animals, things you may own, are not central to your life and do not determine your thoughts and acts.  You are first of all, compassion — not just compassionate — and everything else is secondary.

Compassion is never reciprocal.  Another point that has to be clearly understood.  Most if not all Earthian relationships exist within some form or reciprocity even if it’s just a form of recognition for altruistic acts.  Ego (I don’t like using that term but most people understand what is meant by that) is usually involved in normal relationships, from the dependent to the seductive to the gimme-gimme; the protective to the controlling.  I could truthfully say I suppose that compassion is self-rewarding, that it is its own reward.  Indeed it doesn’t take long for a compassionate person to realize how much the practice empowers!  This empowerment is highly beneficial to both, body and mind.  The immune system works better and there is no energy wasted in lust, regret, recrimination, jealousy, competitive behaviour, fear or anger.  There is neither a sense of gain, nor a sense of loss as far as relationships go because compassion overrides the great “need” that drives individuals into exclusive, controlling relationships.

Compassion demands, and feeds, self empowerment.  A crucial point.  No dependent or non self empowered person can claim to be compassionate by nature.  They may express aspects of compassion at certain critical times but much of that will wear out quickly, or wear the person down because in all cases it will be the result of some response to an emotional appeal and terribly entropic.  A compassionate being is a self empowered being for the two go hand in hand.

Compassion results in detachment, not just from special relationships but from “the world” as it is often called in spiritual circles.  Compassion makes it possible to realize the true nature of joy and sorrow.  As with so many concepts, joy and sorrow are usually misunderstood and lumped in with pleasure, fun, happiness and sadness, pain, unhappiness, grief, loss, etc.  Notice that these aspects of happy/unhappy are essentially ego-centered, i.e., selfish.  It is what one feels and gets emotional about.  Properly understood, joy and sorrow come from empathy.  Joy contains all the good being experienced by the world and conversely sorrow contains all the evil being experienced.  As explained to me, Joy and Sorrow are twins, one who walks in the light, one who walks in darkness.  They can only meet when someone provides a bridge between them and that’s what a compassionate person, or being, does.  A compassionate being is never concerned about personal joy and/or sorrow.  Taken care of.

The compassionate walk between the worlds of light and darkness and bridge the two.   That is their greatest accomplishment until they move on away from here to things of higher consciousness of which I know but an inkling and cannot authoritatively speak of.

In a nutshell then, you are who you are at this moment.  You make a decision to become a compassionate being.  Being of sound mind you choose to make that your entire life’s purpose.  Then you open yourself up completely to the “power” or “energy” your irrevocable choice brings to you.  You proceed from there.  You’re on your own for every decision you make and through every “battle” you must fight.  Then you watch yourself become a different person until hardly anyone recognizes you.  And that’s it.

“What if I enter into this thing and I fail?”  one may ask.  I don’t know, honestly.  All I can think of is this: that anyone who enters into a life choice to become compassion cannot fail unless something was held back; there was a degree of “dishonesty” when signing on that dotted line.  This thing I’m presenting here is in a sense a personal absolute.  In and never out.  If you’ve seen the movie “Men in Black” you will remember that signing on meant to become a different person and disappearing from your familiar world.  You lost your name and became a “K” or a “J” or a “D.”  This is something like that except that “you” gradually blend into “Compassion” and that is the new nature you then express to the world.  Crazy, right?

If you were offered the key to saving your world, and your people, from a terrible catastrophe they’re bringing on themselves and you were convinced this was the real thing, what would YOU do?  For me it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.

Best I can do in explaining the concept.

I Like Thinking

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

I like thinking.  I think it’s quite my favourite occupation.  Much of the time spent thinking, I even think about thinking.  I wonder too, while thinking, what thinking really is.  I know what it does, but how has that incredible ability develop so that “I” could have it, and for free too? 

You don’t get much of any value for free these days, and what remains the powers that be are sitting in board rooms, and expanding R&D facilities to find ways and means to steal that from the general public and sell it back to them, drugged and artificially flavoured.

I’m wondering, which is a sibling of thinking, if they are trying to find ways to steal our thinking freedom to sell it back to us in the form of pills, propaganda, brainwash and blatant stupidity?

Oh, what am I saying!  They’ve always done that.  They brainwashed you with Religion since the infancy of the species.  Then came the “short fingered vulgarians” (a term I am borrowing from Emma in https://goodmarriagecentral.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/our-positive-disintegration/ )which she used to refer to Donald Trump, but which also serves equally well for all the BadBullyBoys of our past and present who have masqueraded as rulers, leaders and general psychopathic mayhem makers and thieves of gargantuan proportions.  Otherwise known as government, and banking, of course.

In this last century, half of which I slipped through unseen but observing, we experienced much more intense brainwashing in the form of ads from newspapers (remember those?), magazines (ditto?) radio, TV, and now the Infernet.  Some have the brainless gall to think of it as informational.  Gag me!  “Ads by Google” and “Rate this Ad.” – Rate an ad?  Are they serious?  Are people so unthinkingly, utterly brain dead that they would consider rating an ad as “good”?  “Please rate our slap in your face: was if effective?  Like it here.” “Rate this lie, here.”  “Tell us how we’re doing.  Are we stealing enough of your money or can you find ways to help us improve our Corporate Thievery? Click here to participate.

Then, in case anyone got through all of that and is still capable of an iota of free thinking, they lathered society with sports and various entertainment and entertainers to make up your mind for you.  Here you cheer for the reds, and here you’ll get clobbered if you don’t support the blues and oh, don’t miss this on YouTube: rapper JarPlixBop was interviewed and gives a brilliant analysis on the coming election.  If you’re still hesitant on who to vote for, listen to that interview: just brilliant!

There’s a whole Walmart super store of other prepackaged thinking that’s part and parcel of civilization.  Most people like shopping, enjoy wasting money on stupid stuff and stunts.  It’s all there, on the shelves, in the bubble packs, hanging by the checkout counters.  Buy, buy, buy and say goodbye to your own thinking powers.

The only problem with pre-packaged thinking is, a pile of feces freshly dumped can appear shiny and even brilliant in the proper light, but I’d still advise not to get too close. Look at it the next day and you’ll notice that much of the sheen has gone and the “shit flies” are having a field day on it.  That in itself should be food for thought, and thought, which arises from thinking, is what I was going to write about.

I like thinking.  I like linking thinking, stringing it out as far as I can make it go, wondering, which is another aspect of thinking, how far I can think it.  Did you know you can’t out-think thinking?  It just keeps on.  All you need do is follow, and open doors and gates as you get to them, keep following.

There’s all sort of thinking.  There’s directed thinking, like when you want to participate in an open discussion and try to stick to the subject at hand.  There’s recreational thinking which is a lot of fun, especially if you happen to be alone and need someone to play with.

Nothing however beats wild thinking.  That’s my favourite type of thinking.  Suddenly you encounter it, as if out of nowhere (which as everybody knows, is left of everywhere and what’s left of everywhere) and you decide, heck, I’ll follow him today.  So you think-track your way through a wilderness of thoughts you had never even dreamed could have existed.  You realize that all your life it was this close, so close you could have been a thinking wanderer lo those many years.  But never mind, you’re now tracking the Sasquatch of Sasquatches.  You’re swimming after the Loch Ness monster and practically holding it by the tail.

Wild thinking knows no boundaries, none whatever.  The more you track wild thinking the more of societal dummied-down, drugged sluggishness oozes from your mind.  You begin to feel your freedom and before you know it, you really are free.  You realize you can exercise your own thinking in an increasingly pristine wilderness of thinking where free thought meets free thought and the greatest love affair of all times begins to coalesce.

From the heights of the wildest mountain imaginable you look back upon the smog-filled valleys; you remember the noise, the commotion, the hates and fears and doubts that polluted both mind and body, and you know you’ll never go back down again.

I think of a simple ladybug.  It finds a blade of grass, or a finger pointing up (it doesn’t care if it’s the middle finger), walks up to the top… and takes off but only when it reaches the top.

I can think whatever I want.  There is no power in heaven, on earth, or in hell, that can force me to think otherwise.  If I say to myself, I think so, or I don’t think so, that is the one thing I can totally rely on to be true.

“I am therefore I think.”  (Sorry Mr. Descartes but that is the way it is.)

 

Folding Space and other Tales

         [voice from the other side – by Sha’Tara]
    Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.” (The Mountains are in labour, a ridiculous mouse is born.) – Horace
   
“A beginning is a very delicate time…  In this time the most precious substance in the universe is the spice mélange… The spice extends life; the spice expands consciousness; the spice is vital to space travel.  The Spacing Guild and its navigators whom the spice has mutated for thousands of years use the orange spice gas which gives them the ability to fold space – which means travel to any part of the universe without moving. (Excerpt from Princess Irulan’s “Opening” – Dune – by Frank Herbert)
    Some may remember the movie, “Phenomenon.”  At the time the movie came out, I was asked, “The light George Malley saw, where did it come from?” (I’ll get back to that)
    I had a dream some time ago, location a “parallel earth” – same as this one in general aspect, but containing serious differences.  In this dream I was looking for an animal that was a cross between a squirrel, a cat and a rabbit.  I did not believe such things existed, yet I saw them.  I took a picture of one with a digital camera (in the dream – I don’t have it to put on this screen unfortunately ) and was almost able to pet the animal.  There were many people in this world I recognized, though none of them live on this Earth. 
 
   Where is this “parallel Earth”?  Where does that particular reality reside in space?  If we answer, “It does not – it’s just a dream” – then how is it we can interact with it with such detail?  Where do dreams come from?  Who does the elaborate “staging” so we can just walk in and experience it all as if it were home?
    How did Frank Herbert perceive his characters “folding space” and traveling to any part of the known universe without moving?  How do you move something without moving it?  Does it come to you, or do you go to it?
(This reminds me of the saying, “if the mountain will not come to Mohamed, then Mohamed will have to go to the mountain.”)
 
    Our type of life exists as a blatant, in your face, contradiction.  Some call it polarity.  Opposites.  It doesn’t matter what you call it – it’s the contradiction that makes it real.  So real we lose track of the contradiction and create mountains from mole-hills – our sacrosanct belief systems.  We are infested with belief systems, every single one a complete brainwash.  We can’t see the forest for the trees and we spend our precious illusory ‘moments’ going through the invisible (indivisible) forest, counting trees, deciding which are good, which are bad, cutting some down, planting others, sawing them up into lumber and building our castles in Spain; sad remnants of consensus-driven belief systems.
    Eventually, our limiting belief systems based on body-maintenance energy tell us that the “forest” is running out and in our quest for “new” sources of energy we move from trees to coal, to crude oil, to electricity, to hydrogen, to whatever – each a limiting and destructive concept of energy misuse.  We cannot see that the “forest” did not get destroyed – it simply disappeared into the mists of Avalon where our Matrix-induced lives cannot go. 
    As we move deeper into the illusion of the physical, the mists that hide reality thicken and we simply turn away thinking we’ve seen to the end and there’s nothing beyond.  Sure, we can  plunder a limited-concept world of its resources.  We can, through belief systems imposed upon a mute world condemn billions to horrible death, but can we plunder life itself?
 
   George saw a light that struck him down to the pavement.  It came from the stars, but the canopy of stars were in his head – part of the great consensual belief system that sustains people in this world.  By introducing the “alien” in his thought patterns, everything changed for him.  Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to deal with it – it overloaded his brain circuits and he died.  He saw too much, too fast, of a reality not bound by his Earthian consensus beliefs.  He became a mutant without shores.  The new world he interacted with was too big, did not have the necessary boundaries his will demanded and it tore him apart.  To survive such an “awakening” one must have spent a lifetime learning to detach from consensus reality, even while functioning within it without violating its basic rules – being a fringe dweller by choice.
 
   The Space Guild Navigators “folded” space by using what George could not.  They had learned to transcend consensus reality to some degree and to  superimpose a greater reality of their own upon it – that of “distance” as a mind concept.  They became adepts at this and were able to bring “things” into their reality in order to “move” them from point to point.  The object to be transported was brought into the greater navigator mind (dream), and “translated” instantly in the other part of reality in the navigator’s mind (or dream) – the part agreed upon earlier where the object wished to be.  Nothing moved.  A reality shift, that’s all.
    Once the “translation” was accomplished, the object was again in its smaller, space-bound reality.  If it left planet “A” and traveled to planet “D” 20 light years away, it believed it had actually “traveled” that entire distance because of some strange power kept secret by the Space Guild navigators.  The object (person) could not return to planet “A” without going through the Space Guild or, if the technology existed to physically travel “real” space with a machine, or ship, at the speed of light and finding everything on planet “A” now twenty years older.
   Yet even so, the spacing guild was itself a slave.  Every guild navigator was a total spice addict.  Without the spice, the navigator was blind in space.  Yes, even the ability to fold space was but a mountainous effort giving birth of a ridiculous mouse; on par with the (did they, or didn’t they?) Apollo moon landings and moon walks.
    I knew someone working with a concept called “the law of attraction.”  That supposed “law” only works for those who write and sell books, or make movies, about it.  It’s just another aspect of religious faith.  Isn’t it interesting that something so basic to the workings of life’s contradictory flow would be so little understood?  That any power that can be called “the law of attraction” or “faith” resides within my own mind, nowhere else? 
     That is as it should be when those we trust to be teachers are bound brain, hand and foot to quantifiable observations, even when they speak holy, invoking divinities and/or spirits.  They have no imagination because long ago they bought the Matrix lie that imagination is for children and is useless in the day-to-day workings of the “real” world.  These “teachers” then become the living dead, zombies bound by their lesser reality of a physical universe that exists only in a tiny part of their mind – the part their brain can electrically interact with and be affected by.  Everything else of necessity must remain myth, fiction, fantasy; the unreality of dreams not understood.
    To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence.” — William S. Burroughs

The Stories I Could Tell

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

Oh the stories I could tell when I set my mind free from the tick-tock revolving thoughts of only this is true and the rest is all fake and fiction.  But it’s late and I don’t have time for even one story, or perhaps I don’t have the energy left to write one down.  I do, however, have something to say that may cause some raised eyebrows, or some knowing nods of partial agreement.

We live in a strange sort of reality where all the things just seem to repeat themselves, whether these “things” happen over millennia, or over days.  We exist, while here, in cycles of happenings.  How can that be when we claim to have evolved, and to be evolving?  Shouldn’t we be honest and say we have revolved and are revolving?

All right, brass tacks.  The reason we keep “revolving” and “revoluting” (which does not necessarily mean we are revolting but it’s tempting to look at that as a truism).  What it really means is, by not trusting ourselves, and I mean “myself” as an individual, self knowing and self-empowered, we endlessly turn to systems to carry the responsibility for life.  We ask systems to do that which our mind is designed to do, and would eagerly do for us, and that is, take responsibility for all aspects of our own life.

What’s wrong with relying on systems, you may well ask.  Well, there’s the obvious, that they keep bringing us down; keep destroying anything good we once in a while decide to build – say, declare our nation to henceforward by a democracy with freedom and justice for all, irrespective of, blah, blah, blah – until next thing we know we’re plunging back into some unthinkable dictatorship; some authoritarian regime ruled by some religion, some financial system, some group of plutocrats or elitist apparatus and we wonder what the hell happened to our dreams.

I’ll put it briefly for now, it’s late and I’m feeling it.  The problem with systems, any and all of them, small or large, is that they tend to exclusiveness and absolutism.  All systems, bar none, can only grow or die, they can never simply be setup to run, like a machine for example.  They must swallow up all competitive systems, or be swallowed up.

How many times have we observed this; how many times do we see this now; how many times have we wondered about that?

What’s wrong with competitiveness that is motivated by absolutism?  It’s totally evil; life destroying.  Life can only exist where there is natural balance but when a competitive force rises above all others and establishes itself as “the” ruling force, that system reaches entropy exponentially.

There is such a system ruling planet earth today, and that system is called “man”.  Not individual people living and working together to produce a healthy living balance through sharing or allowance, but the man-system; a system primarily driven by Earthian males and primarily fed by all those who by decree are forced to be subordinate to the man-system.  Those who feed this competitive, now ruling system, are its victims, even those who think they benefit from it.  Over time the system rose above individuals to rule all and sundry.

Is there a way out of this horror?  I can see but one and that is to become self-empowered.  To look at the system and with or without proof, declare it to be anti-life and a massive lie in which there is not one iota of truth and within which there is nothing that can be trusted, or even fixed.  The self-empowered individual will challenge the machine, the man-made, man-ruling, earth-ruling system at every turn and through great effort, danger and very possibly loss of life, will eventually cause the monster to crash and die.

What will happen to civilization if the system collapses, implodes, dies of entropy?  A civilization built upon oppression, repression and massive death through calculated famines, genocides, wars and systematic poisoning of land and food sources must not survive: it must die with the machine it built and fed.  Only free individuals can outlive the monster.  Only self-empowered individuals can live without systems, be they religious, political or financial.  They are, all of them, but chimeras but what a job they’ve done of convincing people they can’t live without them.

So I say to those who continue to believe that they can tweak this system thing; that they can fix parts of it; legitimize some of it and recycle other parts, you are extremely naive.  None of it can be converted into life-giving energy: its nature is killing and dealing in death.

Yes, it’s hard to let go; to watch something you’d spent years working to support, or used to support yourself and perhaps a family.  It’s hard to tell the younger generation, don’t drive our old machine, it’s a deadly poisonous system that has no fix.  Let it die while you dream up something new; something that has a chance to become an equitable, just, fair, open, kind, simple way of life for this earth; something that allows free room for all types of life interacting here; something that knows nothing of taking, of fear, of killing.

Utopia?  Of course.  It’s the monster’s lies that has convinced people they cannot have a utopia on earth.  It is self-empowerment that will call for compassionate interaction and eventually re-awaken our natural heritage we call empathy.

 

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.”