Tag Archives: Reflections

Random thoughts, Frank Herbert Quotes, taken from the science fiction series based on the “Dune” novels.

Quote- prequel to Dune: The Swordmaster said solemnly, “Bushido. Where does honor begin? Ancient samurai masters hung mirrors in each of their Shinto temples and asked adherents to look deeply into them to see their own hearts, the variegated reflections of their God. It is in the heart where honor is nurtured and flourishes.” With a meaningful glance over at Trin Kronos and the other Grumman students, he continued. “Remember this always: Dishonor is like a gash on a tree trunk — instead of disappearing with age, it enlarges.”  He made the class repeat this three times before he went on. “The code of honor was more valuable to a samurai than any treasure. A samurai’s word — his bushi no ichi-gon — was never doubted, nor is the word of any Swordmaster of Ginaz.”

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THOUGHT (from the above):  If you are not an honourable person yet insist on believing in God, then such a God is an evil construct of your own design.  Honour above all else must be the recognizable, recognized and trusted hallmark of the true believer.  False believers are many, and they are the ones who believe that their God loves them and will save them.  True believers do not entertain such foolish thoughts: they seek only to serve God without question, without excuses for failure and without expectation.

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New knowledge changes the past.

What is “democracy” but the tyranny of a minority cloaked in a mask of the majority?

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. – Frank Herbert (Chapterhouse)

Ultimately, all things are known because you want to believe you know.

Answers are a perilous grip on the universe. They can appear sensible yet explain nothing.

When you think to take determination of your fate into your own hands, that is the moment you can be crushed. Be cautious. Allow for surprises. When we create, there are always other forces at work.

Without a goal, a life is nothing. Sometimes the goal becomes a man’s entire life, an all-consuming passion. But once that goal is achieved, what then? Oh, poor man, what then?

Any path that narrows future possibilities may become a lethal trap. Humans do not thread their way through a maze; they scan a vast horizon filled with unique opportunities.  –The Spacing Guild Handbook

Hatred is as dangerous an emotion as love. The capacity for either one is the capacity for its opposite.  –Cautionary Instructions for the Sisterhood, Bene Gesserit Archives, Wallach IX  

What senses do we lack that we cannot see or hear another world all around us?  –The Orange Catholic Bible

Innovations seem to have a life and a sentience of their own. When conditions are right, a radical new idea — a paradigm shift — may appear simultaneously from many minds at once. Or it may remain secret in the thoughts of one man for years, decades, centuries . . . until someone else thinks of the same thing.   How many brilliant discoveries die stillborn, or lie dormant, never to be embraced by the Imperium as a whole?

When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path. –Ancient Fremen Wisdom

Progress and profit require a substantial investment in personnel, equipment, and capital funding. However, the resource most often overlooked, yet which can often provide the greatest payoff, is an investment in time.  –DOMINIC VERNIUS, The Secret Workings of Ix

A requirement of creativity is that it contributes to change. Creativity keeps the creator alive. –FRANK HERBERT, unpublished notes

It is said that there is nothing firm, nothing balanced, nothing durable in all the universe — that nothing remains in its original state, that each day, each hour, each moment, there is change. — -Panoplia Propheticus of the Bene Gesserit

Nature commits no errors; right and wrong are human categories.

What is this Love that so many speak of with such apparent familiarity? Do they truly comprehend how unattainable it is? Are there not as many definitions of Love as there are stars in the universe? — -The Bene Gesserit Question Book

The purpose of argument is to change the nature of truth. — -Bene Gesserit Precept

Infinity attracts us like a floodlight in the night, blinding us to the excesses it can inflict upon the finite. —Meditations from Bifrost Eyrie

Freedom is an elusive concept. Some men hold themselves prisoner even when they have the power to do as they please and go where they choose, while others are free in their hearts, even as shackles restrain them. —Zensunni Wisdom from the Wandering

There is no such thing as a law of nature. There is only a series of laws relating to man’s practical experience with nature. These are laws of man’s activities. They change as man’s activities change.

The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.

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My comments on some of the above: 

How does new knowledge change the past?  Mostly by forcing us to detach from superstitions, traditions, caveats, beliefs and assumptions that new knowledge exposes as false, or fraudulent. It also forces us to rethink our past, thus changing it.

In the current global upheaval due in large part to our facile acceptance of Western style political systems and our crass and ignorant belief that such systems are the best and should “rule” the word, we should pay heed to the statement made about democracy.  Never has it appeared as true as it does today.

Inevitably and inexorably, as we are learning from recent history, when we create, we do indeed create other forces and these will take on a life of their own as diametric opposites to our own.  The wars we fight to try to hang on to our creations, insisting that they should rule the world, are utterly useless.

“Hatred is as dangerous an emotion as love” – Indeed.  It amazes me that in the midst of rising waves of hatred on this world, so much effort is expended in opposing it with the call to love.  Can’t people see that what you resist, not only persists, but increases in intensity until both sides are locked in a death struggle from which more evil proceeds?  Yes, a great war may be fought to topple an evil regime (Nazi Germany and WWII as a prime example) but the hatred, now from both sides, is not diminished, just gone to ground, waiting for another opportunity to rise up and rule again.  Love is not the antidote to hate, only compassion has the sustaining power to accomplish such a task.  Love confronts hate, seeking to turn it into an image of itself (reciprocal action) whereas compassion destroys any force that would support and feed hatred.  It can do this because compassion is not an emotion  but an empowered personal choice. 

Re: the purpose of argument – is it wrong to seek to change the nature of truth?  Why should it when truth is nothing more than a chimera invented by mind controllers?  Truth is what is believed, therefore truth is based on numbers and force.  

 

This n’ That and the Wisdom of Frank Herbert

                             [thoughts from  ~burning woman~   ]

Let me see, now: there is work, rest, and somewhere in between, everything else, the jumble of life.  I’ve been very tired these last few weeks, mostly due to work, I realize that, but we also experience a deeper tiredness that comes from an accumulation of worn out time, year after year after year, “time passes” and to the observant, it produces a strange, disquieting litany of thoughts that run over the sands of the mind, like runnels of sand blown off the top of dunes and sliding down the sides to settle, but never for long, at the base.  The wind changes direction, comes again, picks up the sand and flings it into a sky already filled with brown dust.  Somewhere in that floating, parched wildness my thoughts float, forming a part of it, and somewhere further, as the future chooses, some of those thoughts will again form the uncertain and ever-changing top of another dune.  The wind “dies down” then the wind returns and the dance of thoughts begins anew.

I like the imagery.  Somewhere in a dimmed, distant past, beyond these times, in another galaxy, a different world, I existed on a desert planet.  I sense this more than I remember it.  The awareness of sand, not only as a symbol but as gritty reality, is as much a part of my life as is the beating of this Earthian heart.  I think of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece science fiction series, starting with the book, “Dune” – the sand and rock desert planet that would have remained unknown to the Empire were it not for the fact that it produced a substance known as “Spice” which prolonged life and allowed individuals to see through space and time.  All imperial space traffic depended on the spice, hence Dune, like Earth’s Middle East, was a planet constantly being fought over for its one and only resource, a resource without which the Empire could not hold.  Ah, but Frank Herbert was a great prophet and few realize it even today.   I will return to this thought.

Terrible, horrible man-made events are taking place all over this world.  Some of us, the ones lucky or unlucky enough to have been born with, or somehow developed, the sense of empathy, feel these things, perhaps too deeply.  They are more than troublesome, they are life-destroying.  Now thinking as an intelligent, sentient, being: is there a greater crime than that of destroying life?  I cannot think of one and yet it is a crime that Earthians have always indulged in fully, and continue to plunge themselves into in a never-ending cycle of bloody violence fed by greed, fear and lust.  A global Madness but since 99% of the asylum’s denizens are certifiable, then their madness is what passes as the norm.   

I should not be the one feeling tired from being immersed in this madness.  Surely every single ISSA (intelligent, sentient, self-aware) Earthian on this world should be equally tired, maybe even sick to death, of the bloodshed.  But no, those who are not actually cheering it on, or participating in it, are plunged so deeply into their own methods of denial that nothing disturbs them.  That remains utterly shocking to me.  Some whose conscience can still be tweaked with a shiver of awareness, blame their leaders, then return to their little, mindless motions, pretending to be alive.  

What I find so terribly sad isn’t so much the tens of thousands sacrificed daily to profit and pleasure, but the billions who are so brain dead, heart-cauterized and blind that they cannot honestly, without blame or self-justification, enter into the agony of earth and feel it burn.  Hoping it will not come to them, they ignore it and the closer it appears to their own doorstep, the deeper their head buries itself in the sands of oblivion. 

This brings me back to Frank Herbert.  Here are a few quotes I picked out of his third novel on “Dune” titled “Children of Dune.”

“If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments.  When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments.  Such assumptions are often full of holes but remain most precious to the convinced.”

“Because of the one pointed Time awareness in which the conventional mind remains immersed, humans tend to think in a sequential, word oriented framework.  This mental trap produces very short-termed concepts of effectiveness and consequences, a condition of constant, unplanned, response to crisis.”

“To learn patience [in the Bene Gesserit Way] you must begin by recognizing the essential, raw instability of our universe.  We call nature – meaning this totality in all of its manifestations – the Ultimate Non-Absolute.”

“Time is a measure of space, just as a range-finder is a measure of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.”

“The malady of indifference is what destroys many things.”

“It is said that there is nothing firm, nothing balanced, nothing durable in all the universe – that nothing remains in its state, that each day, each hour, brings change.”

And finally, “Every judgment teeters on the brink of error.  To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous.  Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.”

The Interpreter

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

Who wants to read this, hear this, I was thinking.  Then again, does it matter?  I need to write these thoughts or they will remain undigested in my mind and slowly poison it.

I’ve noticed over the last few years that when I sit with another person, or a few people, as they speak and as I listen, my eyes wander off, their line of sight moving deliberately away from the speaker.  They will lock onto some object and hold it.  I know it’s not the object they are observing but rather desperately trying to see that which is within, or behind, the object: that which is invisible, yet very much there.  This focusing effect is so powerful that often I notice everybody else turned and staring in the same direction I am.  “Nothing, nothing, I’m just listening,” I’ll say, because they seem convinced I am looking at something they all should be able to see.  If I told them I was looking at a chair leg shadow, or an upside-down book spine on a shelf, they’d think I was simply bored with the conversation. 

What is it that attracts the eyes thus?  I think I know now, and I have a new “name” or description for that invisible visitor: the Interpreter. 

When people speak, they speak of their lives; of events within their world; of information they have garnered, usually very recently, from the news media, or social media and supplying their personal interpretations of such.  Of course they are not speaking just words as if one were reading a book, or listening to a lecture.  They are telling a story that exposes who they really are.  Do they want to be heard on such a deep level?  Usually not.

Much of what takes place here is subconscious.  Usually we only listen to the sounds the speaker makes: her words.  Either we do not want to, or we do not know how, to listen to the real story.  Perhaps, we are afraid of entering into a space that will demand some personal commitment when we move past the hearing part to the listening.  Or we are afraid of the power to “read minds” as some call it, of intrusion, and we think, what if I’m wrong?

That’s where the Interpreter comes in.  

I don’t know if everyone is accompanied by an Interpreter or whether it comes only to those who seek to interact with their world compassionately.  I suspect the latter.  I suspect that most conversations remain on the purely physical level, with hearers focusing on the speaker, her tone of voice, her facial expressions, the movement of her hands, or entire body.  And of course there is often the sexual aspect coming into it, as the speaker morphs into a sex object to some.  Though usually vehemently denied, especially by women, that is often one of the effects the speaker wishes to achieve.  That’s the physically-centered Earthian species and no Interpreter needed on this level.

The Interpreter which the eyes desperately desire to bring into focus so it can be made a part of the usual façade cannot be so tricked.  If a hearer truly seeks to become a Listener, the Interpreter will take her into a sort of trance where the speaker’s true motives for speaking are exposed.  The speaker’s story is then heard on two levels: the shallow, normal word level, and the speaker’s life level. 

To listen this way is socially risky and one needs to learn to remain quiet as this very personal information is digested.  You can’t respond to the deep “stuff” directly, so you learn to respond to the surface expressions, keeping the deeper awareness for a later time… or for never, using it only for your own edification. 

That too, I file into the expanding realm of self-empowerment.  Unless it can be knowingly used for healing, or comforting, no one needs to hear what I learned of a speaker from the Interpreter.  It can remain on the observer level. 

 

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Age of Dissolution; the Demise of the Powers

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

How I see it, as if it mattered (though it certainly matters to me) is that we have entered willy-nilly into the age of dissolution.  And what does that mean?

Think: dissolution means to end: termination, dissolving, dissipating.  What was is no longer.

You can’t tell me that everyone below the age of 70 has forgotten, or never known, what the word “virtuous” or “moral” means!  Even the young, as brainwashed by TV, computers and cell phones, the ubiquitous violence of cartoons and modern fantasies, not to mention public education, must retain an inkling of the presence of that light that makes a person a human being and not just a brain-dead consumer or an android.  Surely something remains?

But you would not think so by observation.  The observable, obvious “good” is few and far between in modern societies.  If one takes into account the general swing to right-winged politics, it puts a case-closed on the argument.  The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America  by Henry Giroux, published in http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/17/91227/ engages this topic in 14 points.  Well worth the read, if you live in America, Canada… or any where else in the world!

Back to the topic: what is being dissolved?  Not “us,” as individuals, nor this world, as part of a solar system and greater universe, but a System that has driven itself off of its own rails.  Can you see that?  Sense that?

One could say, fine, why not just let the System, which is neither us, nor our world, crash itself on its own breakers?  Why not just stand back and watch the fireworks, regaining our virtuous and moral sense as human beings, and get ready to rebuild in cooperation and general consensus?

The problem with that is we have identified with that killer System for so long we have forgotten what it means to be human, and humane – or maybe we never quite did know how?  Maybe we heard the calls; we read the books and felt the yearning to be good people, and I mean “good” in the ultimate sense, yet never managed it “in real life” when confronted with the demands of our System?

What is that System that has robbed us of our humanity and turned us into dancing dried bones of desiccated selfishness?  That has subtly pushed us to value a gallon of gas or a toe ring above the value of a child?  What could have done that?  It’s not a complex or complicated or difficult force to understand, it just needs to be broken down into its individual parts and suddenly it stands out for anyone to see, because everyone will realize how it is shackled to this Hydra.

The System, as established long before man thought of itself as a society, much less a civilization:  Religion, the State and Money.  That’s it, that’s all there is to it.  This is the Demon that robs mankind of its humanity and turns it into a selfish, fearful, ignorant, disempowered, bigoted, needy, greedy, murderous rabble of seven and a half billion unaware individuals, all seeking their safety, fulfillment and salvation through the aegis of its Evil Trinity of Powers.  All handcuffed securely to the apparatus and believing itself unable to function without worshiping, praying to or paying for, some aspect of the Powers’ domination.

Now that this great ruling Trinity of Powers is dissolving from over-reach of its own powers; from mocking the basic substance of life source as far as this one world goes at least, the crawling, groveling masses attached to this dying monstrosity are simply freaking into melt-down or numbing themselves into complete denial.  One bunch runs around on the Internet screaming that the sky is falling while the greater unwashed masses of unknowingness simply choose to believe that the sky does not actually exist, thus how could it fall? It’s all a conspiracy, however you look at it.

Meanwhile the Evil Trinity, knowing it can no longer back away from the abyss it has created; knowing its days are severely numbered, is developing ways to use the unwashed masses to block its fall into the abyss, if only for a time.  Every moment of respite is precious to the System.  It needs to slow down its fall; it needs to believe that it can “do something” to prevent its dissolution.  It doesn’t want to die.  Though old, decrepit and utterly pointless, it enjoys the taste of blood; it loves eating life alive and it dreads having its banquet of living flesh taken away, for without the living blood it dies.  It has none of its own.  Its entire life; its entire time has been made possible by gorging on the living.

If you look at the “nature” of man’s Trinity of Powers, and its rulers, and you consider how every man, woman and child is attached to this monstrosity, then it explains how man is the selfish, brutal, inhumane construct it has become: it responds to the goading of its Master.  The “Attached Man” also believes, through his soul-programming (the soul being a Matrix implant) that the dissolution of his Powers means his own dissolution.  That is what he is being told, what he senses at the deepest levels of his awareness.  This is Power programming, making him feel an ardent urgency to defend his Powers.

To do religion though it makes absolutely no sense in light of common sense and global observation.  To obey his government in voting, paying taxes and of course, joining up to go and kill “those others” who threaten his programmed beliefs.  To believe that life is tied in to “the economy” and that money is the root of all life.

The Powers are nothing but lies; life-destroying predators and parasites.  They cannot be anything else, having no life of their own.  Their sycophants, or priests, police, salesmen, politicians, militaries, preachers, lawyers, judges – the entire bureaucratic apparatus of power, are saprophytic, feeding on the dead matter discarded by the greater gods.  At the bottom of the mounting pile are the masses of believers, from those being born (decanted would be a better word) to those dying in various conditions of torment or emptiness.

The Power Matrix isn’t without its own set of virtues, or morality either.

Religion promotes three virtues: faith, hope and love, and claims the greatest is love.  It is: it’s its greatest achievement in fakery.

The State promotes love of nation, patriotism, nationalism, and it works though many see where it always invariable leads: to doubt, fear, dictatorial security, prisons and endless war.

Money’s great virtue is a kind of unholy grail called greed.  Greed, not as a terrible curse, but as a mighty achievement.  The more one accumulates of money and resources, the greater one is believed to be.  Those “Accumulators” become the rulers over the ignorant worshiping masses always looking up, endlessly hoping the crumbs will trickle down into their own mouths opened in praise.

The dissolution of the Powers cannot be prevented though it may be postponed at great costs of pain, loss and bloodshed as we see happening now, as we pass through the postponement stage.  They will fail, make no mistake about that.  Sadly, those attached to any aspect of these forces will suffer great loss in their downfall – a foregone conclusion.

There is a way, however, that can break the chains, the shackles, the brainwashing from the soul implant.  We were given an antidote to the Powers when we were designed originally to become human beings.  That was the plan, the goal, the great hope.  But we had to encounter our nemesis before we could activate our human template, and we had to learn, on our own, case by case basis, how to break free of our great and powerful Warden.

We were given compassion, the one thing that evil cannot corrupt because compassion can only function through self-empowerment and detachment, and such a condition is totally inimical to the Powers’ programming.

How about that, huh?  We had it, all along.  We never had to murder all those people; we never had to destroy the planet; we never had to poison, slaughter and destroy innocent wildlife.  In short we never had to do any act of evil we have done, nor do we need to continue doing the evil we do, and choose to believe we must do, in order to survive.  It was all a massive lie, from God on down to the last penny dissolving at the bottom of the sea.

Yes, we can, by personal choice, become virtuous and morally accountable for our passage here.  It was never dependent on anything, or anyone, else but me.  Just me.

 

A Difficult but Necessary Matter of Balance

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

I haven’t had much time for blogging lately, being as they say, busy.  But surprisingly, I’ve had time, perhaps too much time, to think about this world, about its overall condition and where it is heading, apparently heedless and unaware.  I know this is a judgment forming an opinion, but not once in my entire life of 70 years has my sense of where things are going ever been wrong.  It’s like a compass in my mind, something I can “see” and rely on entirely, basing my personal movements on it, knowing when to “hold and when to fold” as the song goes.

I feel massive waves of sorrow passing over me time and again, triggered by many encounters: a baby in its mother’s arms; an old man hunched over waiting to safely cross a busy street; a homeless lady holding a sign saying, ‘Please buy my CD, I’m hungry’ and displaying a CD she probably found in a dumpster – (she got lucky: I saw her and I chose to believe her despite all the propaganda against her) or even moved to a helpless stop by the wind’s choreography of tree branches not yet covered in leaves.  A house hunched behind a sagging gate; a rusting sign from a business that went broke years before…  

Have you ever just “thought” about “the world” and had tears well in your eyes until they started flowing down your cheeks?  Closed your eyes and brought your hands together as if in prayer, though you don’t pray?  Then thinking, ‘Do I want to be here?’ and knowing the answer is ‘No, I don’t want to feel this, this way, connected to this chaos of ignorance, of pain, of apparent mindlessness.  I don’t want to be the stranger any longer; to not be able to speak to the trees, the birds, the clouds.  I’m tired of just feeling and finding it so terribly difficult to harness those feelings; to draw intelligence, awareness, understanding, acceptance and meaningful teaching from them.  That is probably neither their purpose, nor task but I’m breaking the rules here.’ 

Life, I find, is like driving a street.  Some parts are smooth, some rough.  Some are safe and some, well, you may not get out of alive.  The truly sad part is, much of life is entered into without its overall costs duly assessed.  People are programmed, it seems, to repeat patterns and unable to stop and consider the risks, the odds, based on previous lives, previous experiences of elder people, or people in history.  ‘What are my chances this is going to work as I hope?’ Is not the question asked.  Plunge into the swamp, there are no alligators here!  But there are, disguised as floating logs.  You may have passed your swimming tests and won medals, but guaranteed: terror is but a splash behind you, and it isn’t virtual reality. 

Too dark a vision?  Probably, but some of us have chosen a path that runs counter to that of the herd and we see that which the herd isn’t permitted to see, and would not want to see in any case. 

Someone has to shed burning hot tears for the dying.  It’s a difficult but necessary matter of balance.  

 

Sudden Death Overtime and New Year Wishes

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

People say “It’s a new year” and the good wishes come a-flying from every direction.  I don’t mind, I’m all but immune from, and inured to, any good wish.  For me, a “new year” (if I acknowledged such a thing as valid) would mean something as at the end of “V for Vendetta”.  Basically, the idea expressed by “V” is,  “the world until today belonged to me and it ends with me tonight.  Tomorrow a new world is born, and you, “Evey” will nurture that new world.” 

You see, it’s a truism, like it or not, that for something new to begin, something old must die.  If all that “dies” is a number on a man-made calendar or the passing of a certain point in a planet’s orbit around the sun, that is not a death but an illusion.  People don’t change, nor do their systems and societies, just by changing a year number, from 2016 to 2017.  I think the farce has gone on long enough.  I think it’s high time for would-be adults to take responsibility for their words and “do” something instead of just “saying” something because it feels good to say it, or worse, it’s traditional.

Life isn’t about feeling good.  Am I saying something anyone hasn’t figured out yet?  Life is a series of challenges, and some of those are quite heavy.  Sometimes it’s a horrendous event beyond anyone’s control, and sometimes it’s a change that may bring good things, or bad things.  Life is a struggle.  Those who do not struggle are not living: alive, yes, but not living.

But back to my favourite subject: death.  For me, a new year has always been about death because death implies renewal: no death, no renewal.  So each year I die and each year, hopefully, if I take responsibility for my own life, I renew myself.  Dying is an interesting process.  We’re all dying, all the time, but we spend our time denying it instead of teasing meaning out of it. 

Some quotes about being dead, the dead, dying:

“Being dead filled her beyond fulfillment.
Like a fruit
 suffused with its own mystery and sweetness,
she was filled with her vast death, which was so new,
she could not understand that it had happened.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke.

“I have my dead, and I have let them go,
and was amazed to see them so contented,
so soon at home in being dead, so cheerful,
so unlike their reputation.
Only you return; brush past me, loiter, try to knock
against something, so that the sound reveals your presence.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Requiem for a Friend.

All of life is a symphony of successive losses.  You lose your youth, your parents, your loves, your friends, your comforts, your health, and finally your life.  To deny loss is to lose it all anyway and to lose, in addition, your self-possession and your peace of mind. (Isaac Asimov – “Nemesis”)

What a solemn thing is this infinity which every man bears within him, and which he measures with despair against the caprices of his brain and the actions of his life!
(Victor Hugo, Les Miserables)

We can die by degrees (while hiding the truth from ourselves with drugs, work or play) or we can die suddenly.  Sudden death is cheap: it doesn’t teach much and perhaps that is why so many would choose it.  “Eat, drink and be merry” then “dead!”  There’s death by slow-kill disease and that one is a monster though some manage to harness it, learn and teach from it.  Still, it wouldn’t be my choice because I hate pain and consider it to be an unnatural effect of a twisted and tortured world.

The best kind of death, for me, is the one I’m on.  I call it, “sudden death overtime” only it isn’t sudden death at all since I’ve been in it for 20 years now.  I had set a date for myself to shed this body and go on vacation throughout the cosmos for a while.  20 years later I’m still contemplating that final separation sequence but this body isn’t showing much sign of letting go or slowing down.  It’s like a combination of the Energizer bunny and the Timex watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. 

Nota bene: I’m NOT complaining!  But here’s the difference:  I am dying, not by accident of birth, but by choice.  Each dying day brings me closer to the last one and in each, as I look towards the finish line, I learn something new about myself, something that only my contemplation of death could reveal.  

Now try to see the effect of a New Year’s good wish for me: “May you experience your good death this coming year!”  For most people, that wouldn’t go over so well.  For me, I’d have a positive response to such a wish.  What does that say of my mindset; my philosophy about life?  Certifiable… or expanded awareness?

In “V for Vendetta” “V” sets “Evey” up with a fake arrest, incarceration, interrogation, torture and constant threat of death if she doesn’t reveal “to the authorities” what she knows about “V.”  She refuses, and at the end is condemned to be excuted by firing squad.  Convinced it was her last few minutes alive, when questioned one last time she gives a resounding “No!” to the promise of total freedom if she reveals what she knows about “V.”  At that moment she earned her freedom; she had conquered her fear of death.  Her life changed.  From a frightened mouse in a horrid world she became a change agent, resilient and fearless.   

Somewhere deep in the subconscious we’re all “V” and “Evey” cocooned away, hidden.  I am convinced that what enslaves us more than anything else is our constant fear of “death” – that nebulous, unknown factor; that terrible thief  that hounds every minute of our physical life, whether we are conscious of it or not.  We hunt happiness and haunt the pleasure principle trying to get the most out of every minute. 

There are people who harbour such a great fear of death that they have to indulge in “extreme” sports and other death defying nonsense to try to prove to themselves that they don’t fear it.  It is those people who fear death the most though they are seen as the opposite.  That is how the fear of death brainwashing works. 

Try to ignore it, or spend your time challenging it: the first “effort” is a waste since the company of death has much to teach particularly on detachment and self-empowerment; the bravado of the second is a congruence of twisted cowardice and pride, nothing more.    

Perhaps one has to reach a certain age before one is comfortable in death’s company.  Or perhaps it’s a question of greater awareness; of a mind set free from the shackles of organized religion, spiritually dead scientism or ignorant hedonism.  A day came for me long ago when I was sure death had taken me.  I was relieved, so much so that when I found myself physically alive again I was not at all happy until I realized I had gained a new friend: death would walk with me the rest of the way – and I found her to be very, very wise. 

So next time you hear, “we are not alone”  know that you have one constant, steadfast companion who will walk with you every step of the way to your last breath and beyond.  She’ll show you the way, and she will help you change if you want to put in the effort.

My Friend, the Lady in Black

I walked uncertain, so dead tired
Lost in a grey shattered landscape
Of crumbling hills and broken trees,
Eroded gullies and clumps of dried grass.
I walked under a leaden sky
With the sun a deadly copper disc
Fixed overhead as if never to set;
I staggered until I could go no further

Falling and sliding against a rounded stone
That had witnessed many a season
Under such a day as this.
I fell asleep, or I died, not sure which
But when I awoke
There was the Lady in Black
Standing still beside my wrecked body.
She gestured for me to stand
I did, much to my surprise
For the body did not stir, nor eyes blink.

“Come” she said beckoning
And we walked around the hill
Into a garden to provide pleasures
Not to be found on the world I’d left.
“Enjoy” she said and vanished:
I felt terribly alone once again.