Category Archives: philosophy

The Sadness of Things

 

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

Did you notice it? The Christmas hype is already on. Lights are going up. Commercial displays are popping up. I don’t know what’s on TV or radio, I don’t watch and don’t listen to commercial media but I’m sure it is already going strong. “Buy, buy, buy… buy, buy, buy, Buying all the way… Oh what fun it is to buy, and fill our cars with stuff!” (To the tune of Jingle Bells).

Personally I have always liked the so-called Christmas season. It began as a child when our very Catholic teachers inculcated the concept of self-sacrifice as the meaning of Christmas. I won’t bore you with the Christ born in a stable, a manger for a crib story, but it’s not such a bad myth, not if you have the background for it and are able to think for yourself.

As I grew up I was surprised to discover that Christmas, even among fellow believers, was really a time for permissible “debauchery” whether in drinking or in sexual promiscuity at parties that lasted through the night and certainly in ostentatious consumerism. Maybe I was a “tight ass” but I didn’t hold to that sort of behaviour. Oh, I didn’t say much about it, but inside, I felt cheated. It’s like I’d been lied to when I was a child. Christmas to me was the baby Jesus. He wasn’t so much the Son of God and the great to be Redemptor or Saviour. Jesus was, according to my version of the myth, the child of very poor people, people who essentially had nothing. Jesus represented all the poverty of all of humanity all across the globe. His presence didn’t mean a miraculous intervention in the ever-frustrating affairs of men. It meant a challenge to me to understand.

To compensate, then, for what I saw of the horror of materialism, I created a “proper” sense of Christmas for myself. It wasn’t something that could be shared with friends, the few I had that came and went, or associates in school, and later at work. It was a “me” that sought to flesh out the meaning of Christmas as I had been (I reasoned) properly instructed about. The challenge was to resist the temptation of commercialism and focus on its diametric opposite: self-sacrifice through selfless service to others. The challenge was for me to become what the mythological story of Jesus had depicted.

When we open ourselves up to the world as a compassionate and empathetic person, we are met with a literal heart-breaking tidal wave of sorrow. Whatever can be said of man’s world it remains only too true that it is a very sad place. So for me, the “spirit of Christmas” message is the sadness of things.

Having lived my life in a sort of voluntary service of one sort or another, I don’t feel any need to go looking for happiness. Happiness certainly has flirted with me many a time, and many a time I have reciprocated. What’s wrong with a little flirting if there is no intent to take it further? But happiness is a dangerous emotion. It doesn’t want you to stop at the flirtation, it wants you to become a believer. It wants you to dedicate your life to chasing your own tail.

Happiness in that sense, and it is mostly always in that sense, is a chimera; it’s a lie. If you have to go looking for it; if you have to make it happen, it’s a lie. If it just happens to you here and there as you live your life as impeccably as you know how, following a life goal you set for yourself and if you are not being dishonest towards your life goal then there is nothing wrong with feeling happy. It’s an unexpected bonus. But that’s all. Spend it and forget it. The poison activates while going to look for more of that emotion. That is called greed.

So back to the simple theme of this essay: sadness. Having a choice between happiness or sadness as my own expression of Christmas I choose sadness. Sadness is the foundation of wisdom. What good is wisdom to the selfish, the pleasure seekers? A bother at best. If however one seeks to truly understand “the condition” of the world, sadness is the path. Sadness, not to be confused with despair which is just pleasure-seeking turned inside out, leads to deep introspection where honesty and humility become the guides. Sadness, I have found, is a great gift, misunderstood and maligned by a world plummeting into gross materialism, spiritual degeneration, depravity, pornography and sodomy.

There is a tendency in this “western” post-Christian society to blame the leadership for its problems. Yes, the leadership is quasi-absolutely corrupt, no doubt about that. But we need to realize it is us who are the movers and shakers. We insist we live in these great democracies. What is a democracy? For one thing it’s government of the people, by the people, for the people. Is that true of any of our forms of government? No, of course not, but we insist on believing it is true, we insist on spreading the propaganda. Hence and therefore if there is a problem with government leadership, the problem belongs to all of us. No, we cannot have our cake and eat it too.

If our leadership is corrupt it’s because we are just as equally corrupt, one and all. Put the “blame” where it belongs; be done with it; stop pretending and living in denial. We cannot say to ourselves, “There is nothing I can do about it” because there most certainly is! That however is an unpleasant fact. So, let’s just blame. Why not? It’s easy and there’s no personal responsibility involved.

This is the time of year when, by observation, everybody should feel a deep and intense sadness for this world. How can any self-respecting person chase after an emotion as ephemeral and evanescent as happiness? How can any intelligent person think they can buy it? I’ll tell you who does: every slave of the marketplace. The happiness of a slave does not last. It is always replaced by an intense time of loss and grief. Wait for them. If you listen quietly you can hear them goose-stepping down the street at midnight.

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Le Theatre de l’Absurde

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

I’ve figured something else out from interacting with the world in the last few days, and from watching my own thoughts: we are all actors in…

(the) Theatre of the Absurd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Theatre of the Absurd (French: théâtre de l’absurde [teɑtʁ(ə) də lapsyʁd]) is a post–World War II designation for particular plays of absurdist fiction written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1950s, as well as one for the style of theatre which has evolved from their work. Their work focused largely on the idea of existentialism and expressed what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.[1]

Critic Martin Esslin coined the term in his 1962 essay “Theatre of the Absurd.”[2] He related these plays based on a broad theme of the Absurd, similar to the way Albert Camus uses the term in his 1942 essay, The Myth of Sisyphus.[3] The Absurd in these plays takes the form of man’s reaction to a world apparently without meaning, and/or man as a puppet controlled or menaced by invisible outside forces. This style of writing was first popularized by the 1952 Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot. Though the term is applied to a wide range of plays, some characteristics coincide in many of the plays: broad comedy, often similar to vaudeville, mixed with horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the “well-made play“. These plays were shaped by the political turmoil, scientific breakthrough, and social upheaval going on in the world around the playwrights during these times.

While absurdists believed that life is absurd, they also believed that death and the “after life” were equally absurd if not more, and that whether people live or not all of their actions are pointless and everything will lead to the same end (hence the repetitiveness in many of these absurdist plays).

In his 1965 book, Absurd Drama, Esslin wrote:

The Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy. It aims to shock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it. But the challenge behind this message is anything but one of despair. It is a challenge to accept the human condition as it is, in all its mystery and absurdity, and to bear it with dignity, nobly, responsibly; precisely because there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence, because ultimately man is alone in a meaningless world. The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions, may be painful, but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief. And that is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation.

Eduardo Galeano, Monster Wanted (a Tomgram article)

The following is a copied article from Tomgram (see links), there being no “reblog” button on that site.  It is an introduction to a book that sounds very intriguing.  ~Sha’Tara~

Tomgram: Eduardo Galeano, Monster Wanted
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: If you’ve never read a book by Eduardo Galeano, believe me, your life has been lacking. Read his first book, read his last book, read something he wrote anyway. I offer you the Engelhardt guarantee: you won’t regret it. Start, if you wish, with his final volume, Hunter of Stories, featured in today’s post and then work your way back through a writer to remember.  Tom]

I’m 73, which means that saying goodbye for the last time is increasingly a part of my life.  Today, with the deepest regret, I’m bidding a final farewell at TomDispatch to one of the more remarkable writers I’ve known, Eduardo Galeano. I initially got involved with him in the early 1980s. I was a young editor at Pantheon Books and, on some strange impulse, decided to publish Genesis, the first volume of his Memory of Fire trilogy, based on no more than a few sample passages translated by the remarkable Cedric Belfrage. Call it intuition when it came to a book that had already been rejected by a number of U.S. publishers. (Admittedly, at the time I proudly thought of myself as the “editor of last resort” in New York publishing.) That modest decision launched me on the print journey of a lifetime.

This was back in the days many of you won’t remember when a book was translated and edited, often over long distances, without benefit of the Internet or email.  Belfrage had been exiled to Mexico during the McCarthy years, so he and I worked together in the old-fashioned way: by mail. (I wouldn’t meet him until years later: a little grey-haired gent with a cane who — I was still young enough to be staggered by the thought — had covered Hollywood for the British press in the silent film era.) It took forever to produce Genesis, though the process had a certain beauty to it. That first volume came out to modest attention and reviews, but its life and influence and that of the whole Memory of Fire trilogy would continue to grow in a way that only books could in those years and perhaps even in these. Eduardo was the most dramatic and beautiful of writers and he caught history — the history of these continents and of so many of the half-forgotten figures who struggled for what truly mattered — in a unique fashion, often in little passages of hardly a page or more. (I can still remember reading some of the more wonderful of them to my children as they were growing up.) I once wrote of him, “You somehow take our embattled world and tell its many stories in ways no one else can.” How true.

It took me years to meet Eduardo, since I travel nowhere, though he voyaged endlessly. (A friend of his once told him, “If it’s true what they say about the road being made by walking, you must be the commissioner of public works.”) Never have I met a man of more charisma who seemed less aware of it. Being with him was an experience because people regularly approached him to tell stories about their lives that were… well, there’s only one word for it: Galeano-esque. I saw it happen.

I’ve featured his work many times at this site, always with the deepest pleasure. This, I suspect, is the last time for both of us. The passages below are from his final, touching volume published by Nation Books, Hunter of Stories. And so, let me take this opportunity, one last time, to say goodbye, Eduardo, and thank you for everything, especially for the worlds you captured forever in words. Tom

A Visit to Heaven and Hell
Mapping Planet Earth
By Eduardo Galeano

[The following passages are excerpted from Hunter of Stories, the last book by Eduardo Galeano, who died in 2015.  Thanks for its use go to his literary agent, Susan Bergholz, and Nation Books, which is publishing it next week.]

Free

By day, the sun guides them. By night, the stars.

Paying no fare, they travel without passports and without forms for customs or immigration.

Birds are the only free beings in this world inhabited by prisoners. They fly from pole to pole, powered by food alone, on the route they choose and at the hour they wish, without ever asking permission of officials who believe they own the heavens.

Shipwrecked

The world is on the move.

On board are more shipwrecked souls than successful seafarers.

Thousands of desperate people die en route, before they can complete the crossing to the promised land, where even the poor are rich and everyone lives in Hollywood.

The illusions of any who manage to arrive do not last long.

Monster Wanted

Saint Columba was rowing across Loch Ness when an immense serpent with a gaping mouth attacked his boat. Saint Columba, who had no desire to be eaten, chased it off by making the sign of the cross.

Fourteen centuries later, the monster was seen again by someone living nearby, who happened to have a camera around his neck, and pictures of it and of curious footprints came out in the Glasgow and London papers.

The creature turned out to be a toy, the footprints made by baby hippopotamus feet, which are sold as ashtrays.

The revelation did nothing to discourage the tourists.

The market for fear feeds on the steady demand for monsters.

Foreigner

In a community newspaper in Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood, an anonymous hand wrote:

Your god is Jewish, your music is African, your car is Japanese, your pizza is Italian, your gas is Algerian, your coffee is Brazilian, your democracy is Greek, your numbers are Arabic, your letters are Latin.

I am your neighbor. And you call me a foreigner?

The Terrorizer

Back in the years 1975 and 1976, before and after the coup d’état that imposed the most savage of Argentina’s many military dictatorships, death threats flew fast and furious and anyone suspected of the crime of thinking simply disappeared.

Orlando Rojas, a Paraguayan exile, answered his telephone in Buenos Aires. Every day a voice repeated the same thing: “I’m calling to tell you you’re going to die.”

So you aren’t?” Orlando asked.

The terrorizer would hang up.

A Visit to Hell

Some years ago, during one of my deaths, I paid a visit to hell.

I had heard that in the underworld you can get your favorite wine and any delicacy you want, lovers for all tastes, dancing music, endless pleasure…

Once again, I was able to corroborate the fact that advertising lies. Hell promises a great life, but all I found were people waiting in line.

In that endless queue, snaking out of sight along narrow smoky passages, were women and men of all epochs, from cavemen to astronauts.

All were condemned to wait. To wait for eternity.

That’s what I discovered: hell is waiting.

Prophecies

Who was it that a century ago best described today’s global power structure?

Not a philosopher, not a sociologist, not a political scientist either.

It was a child named Little Nemo, whose adventures were published in the New York Herald way back in 1905, as drawn by Winsor McCay.

Little Nemo dreamed about the future.

In one of his most unerring dreams, he traveled to Mars.

That unfortunate planet was in the hands of a businessman who had crushed his competitors and exercised an absolute monopoly.

The Martians seemed stupid, because they said little and breathed little.

Little Nemo knew why: the boss of Mars had seized ownership of words and the air.

They were the keys to life, the sources of power.

Very Brief Synthesis of Contemporary History

For several centuries subjects have donned the garb of citizens, and monarchies have preferred to call themselves republics.

Local dictatorships, claiming to be democracies, open their doors to the steamroller of the global market. In this kingdom of the free, we are all united as one. But are we one, or are we no one? Buyers or bought? Sellers or sold? Spies or spied upon?

We live imprisoned behind invisible bars, betrayed by machines that feign obedience but spread lies with cybernetic impunity.

Machines rule in homes, factories, offices, farms, and mines, and also on city streets, where we pedestrians are but a nuisance. Machines also rule in wars, where they do as much of the killing as warriors in uniform, or more.

The Right to Plunder

In the year 2003, a veteran Iraqi journalist named Samir visited several museums in Europe.

He found marvelous texts in Babylonian, heroes and gods sculpted in the hills of Nineveh, winged lions that had flown in Assyria…

Someone approached him, offered to help: “Shall I call a doctor?”

Squatting, Samir buried his face in his hands and swallowed his tears.

He mumbled, “No, please. I’m all right.”

Later on, he explained: “It hurts to see how much they have stolen and to know how much they will steal.”

Two months later, U.S. troops launched their invasion. The National Museum in Baghdad was sacked. One hundred seventy thousand works were reported lost.

Stories Tell the Tale

I wrote Soccer in Sun and Shadow to convert the pagans. I wanted to help fans of reading lose their fear of soccer, and fans of soccer lose their fear of books. I never imagined anything else.

But according to Víctor Quintana, a congressman in Mexico, the book saved his life. In the middle of 1997, he was kidnapped by professional assassins, hired to punish him for exposing dirty deals.

They had him tied up, face down on the ground, and were kicking him to death, when there was a pause before the final bullet. The murderers got caught up in an argument about soccer. That was when Víctor, more dead than alive, put in his two cents. He began telling stories from my book, trading minutes of life for every story from those pages, the way Scheherazade traded a story for every one of her thousand-and-one nights.

Hours and stories slowly unfolded.

At last the murderers left him, tied up and trampled, but alive.

They said, “You’re a good guy,” and they took their bullets elsewhere.

***

Quite a few years ago now, during my time in exile on the coast of Catalonia, I got an encouraging nudge from a girl eight or nine years old, who, unless I’m remembering wrong, was named Soledad.

I was having a few drinks with her parents, also exiles, when she called me over and asked,

So, what do you do?”

Me? I write books.”

You write books?”

Well… yes.”

I don’t like books,” she declared.

And since she had me against the ropes, she hit me again: “Books sit still. I like songs because songs fly.”

Ever since my encounter with that angel sent by God, I have attempted to sing. It’s never worked, not even in the shower. Every time, the neighbors scream, “Get that dog to stop barking!”

***

My granddaughter Catalina was ten.

We were walking along a street in Buenos Aires when someone came up and asked me to sign a book. I can’t remember which one.

We continued on, the two of us, quietly arm in arm, until Catalina shook her head and offered this encouraging remark: “I don’t know why they make such a fuss. Not even I read you.”

Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015) was one of Latin America’s most distinguished writers.  He was the author of many books, including the three-volume Memory of Fire, Open Veins of Latin America, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, and The Book of Embraces.  Born in Montevideo in 1940, he lived in exile in Argentina and Spain for 12 years before returning to Uruguay in 1985, where he spent the rest of his life.  The passages in this post are excerpted from his final book, Hunter of Stories, translated by Mark Fried and about to be published by Nation Books.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Excerpted from Hunter of Stories. Copyright © 2017 by Eduardo Galeano. English translation copyright © 2017 by Mark Fried. Available from Nation Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. By permission of Susan Bergholz Literary Services, Lamy, N.M., and New York City. All rights reserved.

Love and Compassion… or is it Love versus Compassion?

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

Let’s dive in with this quote from D. H. Lawrence:

“Life and love are life and love, a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets, and to drag in the idea of a point is to ruin everything. Live and let live, love and let love, flower and fade, and follow the natural curve, which flows on, pointless.”

There’s so much being said in those two lines.  Life and love are life and love just as a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets.  We have a saying here, “a thing is what it is and it isn’t something else.”  …and: Bingo!  Love is love and it isn’t something else.  Now then, can we define love?  I think it’s very easy: love is an emotion.  Therefore love is not any of those other things people (with agendas) “love” to drag love into.

For example, the biblical injunction to love your neighbour as yourself, or to go even further and to love your enemy, and one step more: to give your life for another because of love.  Well, here’s why that has never worked and will, guaranteed, never work: you can’t force an emotion, you can only experience it after something else has happened.  Love therefore is never a motivator, it is the result of something else having happened first.

I don’t see any problem with that; no difficulty in understanding it.  So carrying this on, love then, can only be reciprocal: it manifests only as a result.  It is dependent upon a cause.  Whatever the cause may be, love will manifest and will carry on the nature of the cause.  Hence, you can love your country and kill or be killed for it (a blatant contradiction to the claims made of love) because you first are a brainwashed patriot who has never asked: what do they mean by “my country?”  What am I defending, against whom, for whom?  In comes the enemy.  Can I love my country, defending it against an enemy and love that enemy at the same time?  Am I a spiritual contortionist?

Let’s briefly look at the most common type of love: romantic.  Two people with the right combination of chemicals acting simultaneously “fall in love” and when this is acknowledged, desire flares up usually to sexual intercourse.  It is called “falling” because for those caught in the vise, it is a falling, not a deliberate engagement to a carefully considered end.  Certainly some relationships begun as love, continue, and end well.  But to claim such are sustained entirely by love is giving “love” false credit.  I consider this type of love as a form of suicide… 🙂

As there is no point to any emotion, so there is no point to love.  Emotions are exhaust from feelings.  We get feelings from a variety of sources, some physical, some mental, body and mind reacting to even more primitive or distant input.  Feelings are analyzed and used or discarded.  This process creates emotions.  The main problem with the emotion of love is, people have been erroneously taught (for controlling purposes and to create guilt) that they can use love as a motivating force.  Sure, just as much as you can use your car exhaust to fuel your car.  Love is entropic.  Love does not arise from deliberation, from rational thought.

Is it “love versus compassion” after all?  Once more into the fray, let’s see if I can make this point: that love and compassion are not buddies but diametrically opposite.  I hear people say, “with love and compassion we could…”  That’s like saying, “with salt and sugar we could doctor our coffee.”  Predictably, the result of such thinking, and it is global in scope, is that nothing changes or you have an inedible cup of coffee.  In fact to the great dismay of those who promote “love” as the modus operandi for the world’s ruling agencies change goes from bad to worse… always.  Yes, that’s always.

What then is the big deal with compassion?  Compassion is a power, a source of energy.  It is a stand alone program that can be used as an operating system for the entire spirit-mind-body that we call a human being.  Compassion is there.  I cannot choose to have compassion, I already have it, having been born an *ISSA being.  It is part of me, of you, of all sentience.  All an individual need do is choose to use that particular operating system rather than those offered by the Matrix, which translates as the status quo or the System.

Switching to compassion as our OS will mean a change of programming, naturally.  If  you’ve ever switched from Microsoft Windows to Linux you know what I mean.  This new OS is lean and uncompromising.  It will remove three of man’s most common virtues and foibles: faith, hope and love.  Gone.  Under compassion, you learn to live independently, as a self-empowered being.  The choices you make now are not suggested, they are dictated by compassion.  Your choices become non-choices because any attempt to use to old ways will result in an error message.  For example, if you are thinking of using “love” in a particular dilemma the message will read: “The concept you are attempting to introduce is incompatible with your current programming.”  Then you remember, and you return to your new nature and re-discover that compassion is all you need to approach your current situation.

Advantages of compassion over love: compassion is a part of you, love only manifests as emotion, a johnny-come-lately, meaning it is utterly compromised.  Compassion is free of condemnatory judgments, i.e., free of any external input seeking to motivate choices.  Love thrives on being told what to do.  Compassion is self-motivated whereas love is always reciprocal.  Those who speak of “unconditional love” really have no idea that they are speaking of a contradiction, a chimera.  There can be no such thing as unconditional love.  Can’t be found anywhere on earth, or in history.  Compassion demands self-empowerment and detachment whereas love collapses under endless loads of dis-empowerment and attachments.  Compassion is never found in collectives whereas, again, that is where love thrives, from the family unit or tribe, to the ends of the empire.  You can become compassion by nature but you can never become love by nature.  If you are, by nature, a compassionate being, compassion is your life, you don’t need to activate it, or search for it or hope it will be sufficient to meet any situation: you are it.

Love on the other hand has so many faces and levels of entropic energy it is guaranteed to fail at the most critical moment and you’ll have to fall back on other choices.  Take that critical moment:  you’ll pray, throw money at it, join with others against it, vote and hope, turn and run, sue, demonstrate, give in, change your mind, convert, put up.  Whatever choice done in the name of love, if you lose you will experience the bitter taste of loss; you will know loneliness, pain and suffering.  You will eat humble pie.  Much of that suffering translates as physical ill-health or psychoses, followed by drugs, injections, hospitalizations, the rise of addictions and lack of self-control.  Follow the trail left by dashed expectations.

The compassionate being, self-empowered and knowing both body and mind, living from spirit source, experiences differently.  We become a bridge between a world’s joy and sorrow, feeling all, knowing all.  By transmuting the worlds’ happiness and pleasures to joy, the world’s pain and suffering to sorrow, compassion makes it not just bearable but understandable.  This leads inexorably to becoming an empath.  Before that happens to me though, I want to be “outta here!” because then “I” would have to feel the world’s extreme feelings and emotions before they became joy and sorrow.  Try to imagine what that would mean.  Already I feel it closing in.

Nevertheless, due to programming there are likely millions of individuals who would choose to live a compassionate life but never see the dichotomy of love versus compassion and remain firmly trapped within the love morass, the love belief, having to make difficult and contradictory choices on a daily basis, choices which compassion would instantly make for them, equipping them to act in the moment rather that toss and turn the idea looking for some proper or logical outcome which can only exist in compassion.

If I were a teacher, I would emphasize this: remember, it is never love and compassion but always love or compassion.  Then, if you make the choice to live a compassionate life, be prepared to lose everything… that you may gain yourself.  Here’s a well known parable that illustrates seeking for compassion:

*”A long time ago an important man came to a Zen master seeking to be taught Zen.  The master quickly realized by the tone of voice that this rich man was used to command obedience.  He listened while the rich man said: “I have come today to ask you to teach me about enlightenment, about Zen.”  The Zen master offered to discuss the matter over a cup of tea.  When the tea was served, the master poured a cup for his visitor.  He poured and poured until the contents overflowed on the table and spilled unto the rich man’s robes.
“Enough!” cried the rich man.  “Can’t you see the cup is full and you’re spilling tea all over?”
The master stopped pouring and said, “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added.  Come back to me when the cup is empty.  Come back to me with an empty mind.”

There is another saying that should be familiar to all Christians at least: “Unless you become as a little child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

*ISSA: Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware

*Story of Zen master borrowed from:
https://konekrusoskronos.wordpress.com/author/theburningheart/

Western Leadership does us Proud

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

“History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That’s why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices.” ― Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat.

    When I wax philosophical in mind I immediately look around, within and without to discover the source of the unease.  I learned over the years that thinking of a philosophical bent is neither natural nor normal.  It doesn’t “just happen” because, say, you were born with a penchant for philosophy.  There is no such thing.
What I suspect there is, however, is awareness.  What is awareness?  It’s that which most people have no concept of, no clue about and would consider a great inconvenience, much like discovering a conscience in an age of decadence and moral turpitude.
“Everything I like is either immoral, illegal or fattening.”  That was one of those “cute” sayings of the 70’s.  Looking back on it, it wasn’t a cute saying at all, but a prophecy of the coming end of civilization.  Since that time it’s been nothing but a mad rush towards the abyss of inhumane and inhuman proclivities, particularly for the western world.
The western world has been a leader in many great things, like banking; like income tax; like false morality; like the making and breaking of laws; like the invention of chemicals to maximize monetary profits in, well, everything; like propaganda and advertising to make lies into tools of success and entertainment; like weapons of mass destruction and endless war.
Particularly, the western world has been a leader in decadence and the making of waste as well as the amazingly successful invention of state and personal debt, putting every nation on earth into hock (including the inventors, but let’s not go there right now).
I was raised within that unthinkable world of applied discipline, meaningful correction, punishment for breaking home and school rules.  I was told never to waste food (and when you work on a homestead as a kid you learn what that means: that waste translates into serious loss which everybody feels – it isn’t loss transferable to unknown denizens of “darkest Africa” or Asian slave pools.  We were our own slaves, and the “plantation” that grew our food was all too real; all too “in your face” and all too ready to turn on you and leave you destitute from one bad move or a turn of the weather.  “Waste not, want not” was our motto.  We didn’t have to like it.
Then came the miracle of corporate propaganda and purchased elections and elected representatives.  Overnight, while almost everybody was sound asleep, all of the western world’s values turned over and were summarily dropped into a “Glad” garbage bag and dragged to the curb for disposal.  America and its satellite states turned into national garbage dumps.  Open waters no longer safe to drink.  Foods that fattened and killed.  Air that poisoned lungs.  Anthropological climate change.  Resource wars.
And, that was that.  A few more years and a Donald Trump sat on the American throne spewing out his bile at the entire world and the people so dummied down over fifty years of living a complete lie, too stupefied to realize what had happened, or what should, or could, be done about it.
So this short rant is all about leadership, you see, because without leadership we could never have accomplished so much, and been such effective trendy leaders.
Isn’t it amazing what we have accomplished?  And to think we’re hardly done yet.  We still have coal, gas and oil to burn.  Weaponry to unleash upon a shocked world.   Bigger lies to spew.  Legitimate regimes and governments to overthrow.  Women to exploit, rape, oppress and beat up.  Blacks to exploit, oppress, disenfranchise, jail and kill.  We still have loads of immigrants who can be used, abused, enslaved, mistreated and deported when no longer of use as field and house slaves.
I can imagine all sorts of ways the western world can continue to lead by example.
Yes, we’re the West… we’re the Shit, man!

Growing Increasingly Dissatisfied

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

Of late I have tried to be more open, more honest, nor only with those around me, but particularly with myself.  Less hiding of unpleasant awareness (I dare not call it facts), however annoying that might be.  It remains true, of course, that I am profoundly dissatisfied with life as I find it, or as it has found me and insisted on being my constant companion.  Whatever some people may say, and people do say many things, most of which are more the effluent of emotions than truly thought out philosophy, life on earth is not beautiful.  It isn’t wonderful.  It isn’t pretty or sweet smelling or amazing.  It certainly is not safe, nor is it predictable.  It’s neither caring nor loving.  I’d go so far as to say that earth life “is” and that’s about it.

I observe. That’s the first problem.  I think about what I observe: problem number two.  My mind’s the mind of a fixer and that is definitely problem number three.  All of my adult life has been one of observation, analysis, reaching conclusions about this world’s mega problems (obvious to those who observe and who go so far as trying to understand what they are observing) and going about finding solutions to those problems.  In this process I’ve done a lot of crazy things, not all of them “wise” in retrospect, but the consolation is that at least I was trying to do something positive.  However tempted, I never blew up anything, or shot anybody, and yes, in small ways I have to admit to myself that once in a while I did make someone’s life better with my meddling.

That being said, I repeat, I’m increasingly dissatisfied with it all.  This world, ladies and gentlemen (and anyone else in between, or crosswise) is a mess.  It’s the kind of mess that spreads, like a disease, which it really it.  It is the kind of mess that hurts people, many of those in extremely serious ways.  It is the kind of mess that steals people’s right to a decent life, and often takes their very life.

I could look at that as so many do and think, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  How about this great Americanism: shit happens.  Life explained in two words that need no translation or explanation.  Once that wonderful two-word philosophy has been expressed, the next logical step is, “Don’t worry, be happy.”  Sure, be happy.  Why not, if nothing can be done about the state of the world?

Here’s a wonderful quote:

Imagine if suffering were real.
Imagine if those old people were afraid of death.
What if the midget or the girl with one arm
really felt pain?  Imagine how impossible it would be
to live if some people were
alone and afraid all their lives. 
— Jack Gilbert, “Games”

Don’t let the sarcasm pass you by… hold on to it for a few moments of deeper thoughts.  Imagine, for one moment, if all that pain deliberately manufactured on this world… was real.  If children were molested, or slaughtered, mass-murdered in resource wars.  Imagine if women actually didn’t enjoy being sex objects, or being subjected to rape.  Imagine if being a war refugee wasn’t as romantic as you thought it would be.  Imagine if having your home bombed, or burned down, actually was a problem.  Imagine if having nothing to eat, and no water to drink was more than just a bit of an inconvenience.

Jack Gilbert says, “Imagine how impossible it would be to live” … and I paraphrase: if we had to endure what all these other people are enduring.  Let me add this: imagine further how even more impossible it would be if we realized we were the cause of this suffering?

Being an empath on this world is a terrible curse.  Imagine having to feel what other people feel, and not having the choice of feelings, whether they are experiencing torture, or the pleasure of an orgasm.  That is the lowest form of hell, so when some spirit agent or angel or divine presence offers you this gift, let me warn you: think long and hard before you say, “yes.”

I’m now going to take you to a different world; a world inhabited only by empaths.  It is not a very crowded world because these people need their space and they know how to keep it.  Nevertheless we’re speaking here of several millions scattered over a world maybe half the size of earth. These empaths are also telepathic and their lifestyles are ‘in tune’ with their natural environment so they need very little technology to live the kind of lives any of us would envy.

I asked one of the residents from that world what happens there when there is violence; when someone is killed in a fight, for example.  How does the justice system function?  There was a long moment of silence, then the woman I was speaking to answered.

“Your question has no legitimacy on our world.  May as well ask, what do you do when blue turns red?  There is no violence on our world.  We have no crime.  There are no predators.  Nothing is ever taken for all is freely offered.  We have no government for we have no such need.  We have no religion, nor money for the same reason.  No one is ever forced to do anything against their will; no one ever imposes any belief system upon another though all are free to believe whatever they desire; whatever helps them develop their personal awareness of life.”

I insisted on pushing the point further.  “What would happen, say, if a child died in an accident, perhaps a drowning, or from choking and no one was there to help?”

“Apart from the fact that such a scenario could never happen because we are empaths and telepaths from the time we are born, I can tell you what would happen.  The entire world – millions of individuals, not only of humans, but animals, birds, all sentient life – would come to a shocked stand still.  The enormity of the “crime” would be felt by all and nothing would proceed until the reasons for such a terrible tragedy taking place were understood. 

“Then the entire world would mourn deeply. 

“Then the entire world would come together to develop some way to prevent such a terrible thing from happening ever again. 

“But remember, this is taking me back many millennia, to the beginnings of our empathetic and telepathic civilization, a civilization that gives equality to all sentient life and that respects and honours all of life.

“As embodied entities we are not free of needs.  We do consume plants; we drink the water and we breathe the air.  We have various types of shelters for those seasons when it is necessary to allow the weather to get colder, or wetter so as to balance and replenish the environment.  None of that, however, is done without awareness of the energy flow between all of us, by which I mean sentients, plus the air, water, plants and soil.  We are “us” – nothing is excluded from our awareness.  A mountain; a flower, exists in my thoughts with the same intensity or “value” as my own child.”

That conversation took place a long time ago.  In the intervening years I’ve compared the performance of Earthians (who claim to be human) with what the Altarians (Yes, the world I was writing about is called Altaria) have managed to accomplish through a reasonable observation of what works, and what can never work, rejecting what they observed had never worked and would never work.  They didn’t change their environment, they changed themselves.  They rejected the selfish nature by developing two hidden senses that all pseudo-humans possess: empathy and telepathy.

Earthians’ great failing (they have many!) is their obdurate choice of solutions to societal problems that can only make those problems worse.  Tied in to this failing is to insist on regurgitating “solutions” that have been tried countless times, and failed abysmally in equal measure and equal number of times.  That is not a sign of intelligence, quite the opposite.

Speaking of telepathy, man’s technology is in the process of forcing this upon the population of earth.  It won’t be a gentle, open, joyful sharing of a people’s deepest thoughts, hopes and longings though.  It will be an extraction of information.  The information, by itself is pointless and meaningless, but that’s not the point of the surveillance police state.  The point is to rape the mind.  Do “they” give a damn whether you prefer to poison yourself at McDonalds rather than Burger King?  That you support “the Broncos” rather than “The Colts” or whether you’re homosexual rather than hetero?  That you pray to Allah and not Jehovah?  No, of course not, but they will make you think that because it creates fear and anger.  Fear and anger lead to endless anti-life aberrations; to violence, pain and death.  Why would the Status Quo want that?  Because that is how it manufactures power over life.

Yes, I long for my “transition” from earth to Altaria.  I’ve been working diligently to qualify as a novice and trainee in compassion, empathy and telepathy on my chosen next world for many years now.  I regret none of the time spent developing a mind that can understand and live on such a world.

The downside has been a gradual “separation” from the accepted, and acceptable; for my part, a pain-filled growing awareness of all the horrible crimes committed daily, mostly unawares, by people without feelings for those (human, animal, etc) they use, abuse and whose lives they destroy without any qualm, guilt or even a passing thought. 

“Pass me those wings, will ya?” 

“Git ‘er Dead” A sticker on the back of a  pickup canopy advertising a type of bullet accompanied by the picture of a dead buck lying on the ground. 

Cheering when more “boots on the ground” are sent by the President to some country the cheerers couldn’t find on a map. 

By what right?  By all those “rights” that are destroying this civilization day in, day out and none the wiser.

I’ll tell you this: there is but one weapon of mass destruction on this world: it’s its pretend humanity; every single one a weapon aimed at every other and the world they exist on without ever bothering to develop a life purpose.  Aye, there’s the rub: no real purpose but to exist and die.

And that, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is my “close.” You may retire for your verdict but regardless of what you decide, I already know what will be the outcome.

The Antidote – short story

Hey guess what: tomorrow is October 3, and ever since I was born, October 3rd has been my birthday.  I’ve clocked 71 of those tomorrow.  71 earth orbits around the sun, that’s a lot of space miles, yes?  Or is that space smiles? 🙂  I’m not fishing for “Happy Birthday” wishes here, in fact I don’t much care for them, but I am reminding myself that I’ve made it into the company of “elders” and that gives me some leeway, as Ashley King of  https://misfitspirit.wordpress.com/category/blogging/ said in her latest post, to express unpopular opinions.  Well in my case, I call them thoughts, but they remain unpopular nevertheless because, well, they don’t come from the same trough most people fill up their minds from.

So, without further ado, here’s a short story (longer than my usual shorty shorts) or if you prefer, a parable, that expresses my life’s philosophy to this point.


The Antidote

[a short story by  ~burning woman~  told by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Since my house burned down I now have a better view of the rising moon”― Mizuta Masahide (1657–1723)

Quote: The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.” ― John Keats

It’s wrong… it’s all wrong, all so wrong!”

The old woman lies, thin and straight in the center of her retirement home bed, small bony hands clenched in tight fists pressed hard against her temples, pushing up strands of thinning grey-white hair.  She has her eyes tightly closed, as if she’s trying to see something in her mind that her physical surroundings would only confuse or cancel out.  She hears the voice again.

Please auntie Zee, please don’t make a scene or they’ll give you more pills to calm you down and I’ve come a long ways to visit with you.  Can we talk, please?” 

Zee opens one eye, slowly, deliberately, and stares at her eighteen year old grand-niece sitting primly in the bedside chair.  With great effort, she unclenches her hands, drops her arms onto the covers and cautiously opens both eyes.  With piercing blue eyes, she looks at the tall girl, scanning her attire and tight pony tail of thick auburn hair.  She lets out a deep, deep sigh.

Oh Sandi, thank God it’s you and not Jean.  I had a very complex dream last night, or was it earlier today, and I was re-hashing what I was being shown.  You probably don’t want to hear about that – Lord knows the rest of the family sure doesn’t want to hear about my “visions” and dreams.”    

Don’t lump me in with them, aunt Zee.  I’m only eighteen but I’ve always preferred listening to your “stories” than to the rest of ‘em.  They bore me to death, those people.  That’s why I left home to be on my own.  I’m fed up with the whining, the oneupmanship and infighting plus the endless BS.  You know that money you and uncle Doug gave me so I could at least get a couple of college years in?  They were trying to get their hands on it.  ‘We’ll invest it for you,’ they said.  I’m done with that bunch.  So, sure, tell me about what’s all so wrong.  Tell me all of it, I want to hear it.  Can I record it?”

Auntie Zee, known as Mrs. Zelda Mortimer to the retirement home files and Ms Zee to the staff, pushes the button that brings her bed up and leans back into a thick pillow for comfort.  She smiles at Sandi.

Sorry, again, for thinking of you as part of the family.  You were never.  Of course you can record what I have to say.  You may find some of it useful, who knows?  Could you pass me that ice water and bring the bowl of jelly beans closer so we can dig in?”

She sips her water through the straw, grabs a few candies from the dish and sighs.  “Some of life’s little but important pleasures, my dear.”

Sandi giggles and helps herself to the jelly beans also, then waits.  Zee closes her eyes, chewing slowly on her jelly beans then begins her “sharing.”

Way back when, even before I was a teenager, I used to have dreams, visions, and “encounters” which I’m sure you’ve heard about.  Maybe I should have never told anyone but it’s hard to keep such things to oneself, especially when the information is not for you particularly, but concerns so many people.  Did you know you’re never too young, or too old, to be taught, and to learn?  That even when you know you’re close to dying life remains a deep mystery unraveling itself in your mind?  That when you are thus engaged, life and death blend into each other and you don’t really mind “dying” since your mind has freed itself to wander away from your body, rediscovering an old freedom it used to know before it incarnated?  I’m telling you this because I know you have it in you to be a visionary, though what you do with this information is your business, not mine. 

Zee let out a deep sigh.  “The problem is sorting it out, the real from the fake, the truth from the lie.  I used to believe that it didn’t matter as long as I could hold the entire picture together, at the same time, in my mind.  I could see the juxtaposing of lies and truth; of real and, well, not so real, or at least, not so real in this space.  Nothing, you understand, can ever be “unreal” and there is no such thing as fiction…”  

“Stop, wait, auntie Zee.  What do you mean, no such thing as fiction?”

“Well, what’s fiction?  Is it what can’t be… or what we can’t figure out how to make it be?  What’s real, what’s not real?  Let’s take some truly dichotomous examples: a cow versus Tweety Bird.  They’re both “characters” but to the average mind, a cow is real whereas Tweety is a cartoon character birdie.  Tweety, to the average mind, does not, and cannot exist.  This way of viewing reality is what causes mankind to repeat mistakes and never actually learn anything.  It is the kind of thinking that always leads to a far wall from which you can only turn around and retrace your steps.  Listen to me, Sandi, and try not to think of me as a crazy old woman.  The wall is what isn’t real.  If you want to, you can enter a world where a cow and Tweety exist side by side and there is no dichotomy – no problem of discerning what is real.  It’s all real.

“Think of it this way: how did the cartoonist discover Tweety, and his other friends in the Looney Tunes cartoons?  They had to come from somewhere, so we say, they were imagined.  That is the same as saying that anything imagined comes from nothing, making the “imaginator” a kind of god, having the power to make something out of nothing.  How many previously imagined things have been made real through science and technology in particular? So, something “real” comes from “nothing” and no one, it seems, notices the very serious problem here, that people can actually make something from nothing.

“There is, however, another conclusion that can be made.  That would be that these “unreal” or “imaginary” things come from another dimension, another universe perhaps, but they have to come from somewhere, somewhen, somehow.  Close your eyes and walk to that boundary, that wall that claims to be the end of reality.  Walk through it.  Don’t tell me what you see there, just let your mind absorb the view without getting absorbed in the details – they don’t make any sense at first.  Have you ever heard of the 13th floor?”

“Well, there is an older movie on that topic, people traveling forward and backward in time, that sort of thing.  At the end, the main character finds himself in the future, on the 13th floor, and looking forward in time, he sees that nothing is as yet made.”

“What do you think the writer, and the movie, were attempting to portray about life?”

“That either nothing is real, including myself, here and now, or everything is, and that it is us who create ourselves and our reality.”

“And what do we use to create that reality?”

“I’m not sure.  I’d say, imagination, but that’s too slick an answer, and it doesn’t explain anything, not really.”

“I always told you you were very smart, Sandi.  Even as a young child, you weren’t fooled.  You questioned everything.  When did you stop believing in God, or in deities in general?”

“Oh, when it no longer made any sense to pray for stuff to an omnipotent deity and nothing ever, I mean not ever, happened.  There never was any sort of undeniably miraculous response to all the prayers I heard.  Those who prayed stayed in the same boat as those who didn’t and those who openly rejected and mocked.”

“When you stopped believing, did God stop to exist?”

“I think that God never existed; that I believed in a man-made chimera, a convenient fiction invented by a certain class of individuals to lord it over others, and to take their money.”

“That’s a stock unbeliever answer.  Can you do better than that?”  Zee smiled at Sandi, her piercing blue eyes now wide open and challenging.

“You want me to say that…”

“Stop!  Stop right there.  I don’t want you to say anything.  I want you to think about your answer regarding God’s reality.”

“Oh, I see.  Fiction.  If God is a chimera, fiction, that means He exists, no matter what I think.  That means God has existed on man’s world from the beginning that man began to “see” God and will continue to exist here as long as someone believes in Him.  God is eternal and omnipresent, but not omnipotent because his creator, man, hasn’t evolved into that dimension as yet.  But God and Man are essentially one and the same, though most people would hate to face that, not being willing to take on the mantle of responsibility they continue to drape God with.  So, because of belief systems, God exists, is real, and does whatever his believers or followers ascribe to Him even though it’s the people, or nature, that have accomplished what is ascribed to God.”

The old lady claps her hands, if feebly, exclaiming, “I knew you would figure it out!”

“Does that mean that “I am God” as in the sense of that New Agey teaching?  Should I think of myself as God, then?”

“Why bother with the title?  It would be a totally unnecessary burden.  The concept of “God” is so corrupted and compromised to greedy and evil corporate entities, why would anyone want to wear that label?  Why not just be Sandi?  If you called yourself “God” do you think that would help you get things done easier?  Do you think it would allow you to perform real miracles?  The most serious problem with the God concept is that it is too alien for this world.  People haven’t figured out how to be “God” and yet they have projected their “God” into this reality, hoping against all nature, science and common sense, that their character will perform acts his creators cannot.  Does that remind you of something?”

“Yes, Looney Tunes!  The characters in those cartoons can do many things, and survive many incidents that their creators could never do.  Essentially, God is still nothing more than a cartoon character at this point in time and our mental evolution.”

Zee nods her head slowly and closes her eyes.  There is a satisfied look on her face.  She is proud of her niece indeed.

“Auntie Zee?”

“Ah yes dear? 

“If we are given time, do you think that eventually we will become, you know, like God, omnipotent; able to do things that today can only be classed as miracles?

“I can’t imagine humanity ever becoming omnipotent, that being what you’d call an absolute and no mental or material reality can support an absolute value.  We can know of their existence but we could never “go there” since we chose to participate in the created orders and left Spirit.  Only pure Spirit can exist within absolute values without destroying itself.  I can however imagine us getting pretty close.  I can imagine us developing empathy and creating a utopia based on such a sense.  That in itself would be already be far superior to any of our divinities’ revealed characters.”

“Aunt Zee, when I woke you up, you were saying something scary.  You said “It’s wrong, it’s all so wrong!”  Do you remember?  Can you tell me what it is you saw in your dream, or vision?”

“Oh, that.  Yes certainly.  A recurring nightmare.  Not so unusual for dreamers or visionaries in times like these.  You see, I observed the destruction of this global civilization.  I saw the chaos, the famine, the wars, the genocides, the incineration of entire cities and death beyond counting, not only of people, but of much that remains of wild and domestic animal life on the planet; birds literally falling out of the sky, and millions of fish dying in the seas and their putrid flesh washing up on sea shores and rivers all over the world.  I saw what appeared to be the end of mankind, only it wasn’t the end. 

“In all our visions, there is always a ¹deus ex machina: either a remnant, or some divinity comes to the rescue.  It doesn’t matter to me which; all I know is, we will not be allowed to destroy ourselves completely.   Why not? I asked.  The answer is one that few, if any, ever want to hear.  We won’t be allowed to destroy ourselves completely because our real masters, which are hidden forces, powers and authorities; the puppet masters who lord it over these worlds, feed on our suffering and pain.  They lust after the smell of warm, freshly spilt blood.  They thrill to the screams of the dying: that’s where they congregate to gorge themselves and hold their macabre dances.  That is why they will not allow wholesale nuclear destruction in the coming wars.  The nuclear option is too quick, giving too short a time for them to enjoy the horror attendant to the deaths. 

“Our civilization’s end is going to be one of their great orgies, lasting hundreds of years during which billions will suffer and die in brutal, primitive ways.  But there still will be no end to the suffering.  Even as we die, they have already made plans to stop the carnage and rebuild the race so they can nurture a new death orgy in time.  It’s in our programming, you see, to never, ever, learn from our mistakes.  We don’t see them as our mistakes, but always as someone else’s.  It’s never our fault, therefore we never can truly repent and change.  So… we remain mind-slaves and victims and while we indulge our innate violence against one-another so creatively, we never discover who our real “leaders” are, and what they want us for.

“We don’t understand what it means to change our mind.  There is a joke from my time about having an open mind.  At the height of our materialism we allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into believing that our brains and mind were one and the same.  So the joke went like this: he was told to keep an open mind, so he did and eventually, his brain fell out.  But it was more than a joke, it was a deep belief that to change your mind is to express doubt; to show weakness  so that eventually we will be unable to maintain our great religious, national, race, values.  Believers and patriots are not permitted to change their minds, although they can move their allegiance between a trinity of “gods” or ruling forces.  They can believe in their religiously defined God.  They can believe in a particular type of government, or aspect thereof.  They can, if the first two don’t do it for them, switch their allegiance to Money, to some sort of powerful financial system, for example capitalism.  These three are in essence the gods of mankind. They have the power to make people do things completely contrary to their own nature, remember that, Sandi and you will not be taken by shock and surprise when you see people you thought you knew do things you know they would never do “in their right minds.”

“There is a block on our understanding so that sooner rather than later, after every war, we plunge ourselves into the manufacture of “new and improved” implements of war, ever and anon because we love war; we love the financial benefits derived from it;  we are ever seduced by the “romance,” the adventure, the thrills, that tradition ascribes to warfare.  Our trinity of powerhouse “gods” – religion, the state and money – unite, join hands, in times of war.  Without that agreement wars would not be possible.  However insane this may seem, it is who and what we truly are.  

“If you doubt this, consider how many best sellers were written about war during the episode we call ‘the Cold War’ where the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation was kept foremost in our thoughts, much as it is being repeated at this moment in time.  Religion was a very big factor in promoting, not just the cold war, but its peripheral “hot” wars that justified it.  All the world’s governments, through the United Nations, and their economies, were involved in this conflict.  Capitalism came to rule and ruin all national economies without exception, while the world’s focus was on the conflict-for it’s always but “one” conflict regardless of how many theatres it plays in. 

“Wars give us a new sense of freedom from a constraining legality and morality that we hate, all denials of it to the contrary.  We, the people of earth are not what we believe ourselves to be and our historical performance, as a species, proves it over and over.”

“Wow, aunt Zee… you’re kind of scaring me with this.  I’ve never heard you speak like this.  Is this what you were shown in your visions and dreams, or did you figure it all out for yourself?”

“Both, I think.  It’s hard now to sort it out, what I remember from my dreams, what I remember from reading and observing.  I didn’t mean to scare you, but I wanted you to know this, to have it for yourself.”

It’s OK, I can handle it now.  But tell me, is that what you meant by “It’s all so wrong?”  That we are doomed to repeat our history, however horrible, like, forever?”

“No dear, I’m afraid I haven’t told you the saddest part yet.”

“Oh!  What is the saddest part, aunt Zee?”

“The saddest part, as I’ve been shown, is that we are born equipped with the antidote to our repeating folly but we refuse to consider it, or use it.  We would rather condemn billions of our own, never mind the others, to unimaginable horror and death, than try one simple move that would cancel out this coming nightmare –“ aunt Zee snorts – “ah, what am I saying, we’ve always been in this nightmare! Only now with greatly increased population and the congregating of the largest groupings into cities, with less supporting land to fall back on, this means the coming horror must spread exponentially.”

“Bottom line then, aunt Zee, what should we do, what can we do?”

“There is no longer any “we” in this.  The “we” has been an abject failure and is about to demonstrate how terribly dangerous “we” can become. “We” is going to make things a whole lot worse than they are now as you will see for yourself.”

“What can I do then?”

“That is the proper question.  If you would practice being “God” your future is going to give you plenty of opportunity.  The antidote to Armageddon is the unfeigned practice of compassion through self empowerment, or self-reliance if you prefer. 

Oh yes, you will see people walk forth into hell on the wings of love and brandishing their weaponry.  On their faith in “God” and calling divine blessings on their weaponry.  Filled with hope in the invincibility of their weaponry.  They will see their weapons, their fears, hate, and lusts, as all aspects of their particular God.  They will not be aware of any contradiction between their beliefs and their acts.  They will pray, and they will kill and be killed.  Even at the worst of times they will not come to an understanding of how to end it.  They will choose death because that is what they have always done; it is what they are programmed to do.  

“Now listen to me carefully, this is critically important for you to grasp this, to try to understand.  The compassionate will do none of the things I have mentioned.  She will never participate in any of it.  She will stand her ground and offer whatever she has, or can, to all and sundry.  She will not take sides.  She will not defend her “space” whatever that is.  She too will die, of course, but it will be a death of no value to the vampires; it will be a poison to them.  She will be an oasis of change and if the resurgence of “man” is based on her stand, then the new race will be of no value to the predators and they will leave this world. 

“What is so wrong, is that so few will have the mental wherewithal to understand this; the vision and courage to reject all of society’s old values that have been, since time immemorial, specifically tailored to serve the predators.”

Zee showed signs of exhaustion at this point and Sandi exclaimed, “That’s a lot for me to think about, auntie Zee.  I’ve totally tired you out and I have only a half hour left to get a taxi and catch my bus at the depot and I can’t afford to miss my shift at the lab.  I’m sorry I made you talk so much.  I’ll come back next Tuesday and we’ll talk about what I’ve learned from this; what I decide to do.”

“Come here, Sandi.  Hold me…  Look dear, there isn’t going to be a next Tuesday for us; I’m going home.  I waited for you, so I could tell you.  This is my last vision and my last share.  I’m so thankful it is with you.  Let’s say our final goodbye now, then you go on and live the best life you can figure out for yourself.  Perhaps we will meet again, out there, though I’m told that isn’t how it usually happens.  You’re the life-raft I’m casting out from this old sinking ship.  Look to the stars and sail smart.”

Sandi felt like remonstrating but knew better than to argue. “If that’s the way it must be, then good bye, auntie Zee.”  Trying to put some levity in it, she adds, “And say a big and loud “Hello!” to the Cosmos for me.  You know what?  I’ll look for you, I don’t care what doesn’t usually happens.  Our conversation isn’t finished, damn it!”

Sandi wiped the flow of tears from her eyes, and cheeks, smearing make up as she walked deliberately through the door and down the hallway without looking back.  She wouldn’t be coming to the funeral: that was a matter for the rest of the family to fight over.  She had an appointment with her own destiny that had yet to be formulated.

¹Deus ex machina: The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. (from Wikipedia)