on Father-Figures

As we age how we treat our children, and how we want them to treat us changes.  A lot.

With our first two children, Tamryn and Dannielle, my primary concern was being their father.  With our younger two, Gareth and Julia, being accessible as other than an authority figure has become extremely important to me.  Indeed it is so important, and so satisfying I’m now trying to encourage similar relationships with Tamryn and Dannielle. However this is proving much more difficult, probably because the roles assumed in relationships established over many years are difficult to change.  Yes, that is a subtle dig at how old my two older children are… no, it isn’t.  It is an apology to my two older children that I wasn’t more of a friend and less of an authority figure to them.

Why do I feel many people will actively discourage me from wanting my children to treat me as a normal person, rather than a father-figure?

Well for one I am a normal person… well, as normal as the silly standard of “normal” can be in a world filled with billions of utterly unique individuals.  But even more important is the growing realization I am an aging, real flesh and blood person.  Besides the obvious issue of age, I have all the failings of flesh and blood.  I have all the doubts, hopes, dreams, regrets and woes which render any person real.

What does that mean?

It means I would rather be seen as a flawed yet accessible man than as a lifeless caricature composed of societal definitions of the way fathers “should be”.  You see, to me that is all any figure is.  Including “father-figure”.  A father-figure is a two-dimensional, empty, pen and paper sketch with grossly distorted and exaggerated authority.  But worst of all, just like many pencil outlines, they have an empty white space where their heart should be.

I don’t want to be a father-figure to my children.  Yes, I want to be their father, but I very much want to be accessible as someone they might care to consider their friend as well.  And honestly?  Once my children are no longer children, the second is more important to me than the first.

Everyone knows our children are our children forever.  Our parents are the same, but why not also be friends?  It is said that you can pick your friends, but you cannot pick your family.  How wonderful would it be if we picked our family as our friends?

Please don’t bother regaling me with hollow wisdom which asserts that before I am my children’s friend I should be their father.  Instead regal me with why you personally think such a statement is wise.

Thank you for spending your time on the musings of a softening old man…

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on Little Things

A funny thing happened today. It made me feel very good, so naturally I want to share it with the world.

One of the programmers at the company I work for is an oriental lady named Waverly Chang who hails from China. She was already working for the company when I started, but unlike me she had no children and vocally proclaimed she had no interest in having any. I always told her straight up that children are the most wonderful thing anyone can ever have.  Regardless of the heartache and misery they will invoke, the joy, love and meaning they bring into our lives is simply incomprehensible to people without children.

At first Waverly was adamantly opposed to the idea of children, however she always seemed interested to hear little stories of what my kids had done, or what mischief they had been up to. And like all children, mine got up to an awful lot of mischief.  Anyway after a couple of years Waverly changed her mind. Her son Allan was born about a year later. She was so proud of him, but he was so much work!  As an exhausted new parent deprived of sleep she very naturally immediately asserted that with only one, they were done!  Allan was thereby doomed to the miserably lonely existence of an only child. {My choice of words, not hers :).}

I reassured her by sharing stories of our firstborn, in which my wife and I were the heroes and our oldest child, Tamryn, was the villain.  Stories, which if you know anything of me at all, you know are truths.  One such tale was of Tamryn’s first six weeks of life.

Tamryn was born wide-eyed, alert, curious, and hungry.  The first three we immediately recognized and felt as proud as any young couple could be – after all, this gift was the fruit of our loins.  That all changed the first night we brought Tamryn home.  Without fail Tamryn would wake up screaming every two hours.  As every human knows, the pitch and tenor of a newborn’s scream sends shock-waves of discordant distress throughout our bodies.  We were literally beside ourselves in our efforts to appease our baby.  We soon established a ritual, we’d pick her up, comfort her as best we could while our numb minds kicked into frantic overdrive from our exhausted, disturbed sleep.  Once in reasonable control of our faculties we’d change Tamryn’s diaper which, to add insult to injury, was pretty much always soiled.  Then my wife would nurse Tamryn until she quieted and fell asleep {Tamryn, not my wife:)}.  And then the cycle would begin again, with the virtual two hour clock ticking so loud we’d be hard pressed to get back to sleep before the screaming began again.

According to the doctors everything was fine, Tamryn was alert, slowly gaining weight, and my wife’s boobs were so engorged they felt more like two bricks than two breasts.  It was beyond miserable, in fact at one point I recall turning to my teary-eyed wife and exclaiming, “I can’t believe anyone is stupid enough to have more than one of these!” {It seems by my own proclamation we’re pretty stupid, we’ve had four :)}

Turns out the doctors were wrong.  I think it was my mother, but it could have been a friend who suggested we try supplementing breast-feeding with some formula.  We were opposed as there is no question a mother’s breast milk is far and away the best for babies, both nutritionally and long-term health wise. Those aren’t a hippy’s opinion, they are medically proven and indisputable facts.  However a desperate need for sleep soon overcame our reluctance.  {It seems that when a promise of sleep knocks on the door, principle flies out the window.}  We bought some formula… and Tamryn slept for six straight hours!  Yes, bliss is indeed a number a direction and a time, bliss is six straight hours.  Turns out Tamryn was suffering from something my mother called Starving Baby Syndrome.  The poor little tike was getting just enough nutrition to not fall into the red flag zone weight wise, but in order to do so she had to be fed every two hours.

As for those mega-boobs?  Well, spectacular though they appeared, they were not producing enough milk to satisfy our child.  We tried pumping, and it turns out we’d actually got an age old expression completely wrong.  It shouldn’t be “You can’t squeeze blood out of a stone”, but, “You can’t squeeze breast-milk out of stony boobs…”  Once we supplemented Tamryn’s feeding with formula life soon returned to normal.  I sincerely hope you don’t believe that last sentence, because it is a complete lie!  Life never returns to normal after you have a child, so if you think you’ll pop one out then go back to partying like a carefree teenager… well, you won’t, but more on the pros and cons of that later.  Anyway, Tamryn started gaining weight at a better pace, and we have never once looked back.  Not once!  Nope, we’ve looked back thousands of times.  Funny thing how abject misery turns into some of the most wonderful times of your life when related to friends…

You might be wondering why I would be so callous as to tell Waverly such horror stories? After all wasn’t she suffering enough with her own newborn? First off, suffering is not an appropriate word to use to describe the situation – indeed it doesn’t even come close. Second, and more important, there are many valuable lessons to be learnt from personal tales.  Lessons we have significant difficulty gleaning from books, yet which we readily pick up by listening to our more experienced friends and family.

Onward!  It took me a while, but I eventually convinced Waverly that depriving Allan of a sibling would be cruel and unusual punishment.  She eventually capitulated and a few years later they had a little girl who they named Kelly.

So where is all this leading?

Well recently Waverly has been commiserating with me about the miseries of a working life.  Today I saw her in the company kitchen and asked how things were going.  She quickly glanced around before whispering, “Thank God it is Thursday, only two more days till the weekend and I’m with Allan and Kelly!” I corrected her by saying, “Only one more day, we shouldn’t count today…”

This is where this post led.  The thing that made me feel very good was how Waverly and her husband have two wonderful little angels in their life.  To Waverly, those two bundles of joy literally make it worth suffering through a five day week at work if doing so means she can be with them for a two day weekend. I feel even better for having some small part in helping her reach the decision to have them.

As for all you folks out there weighing up the pros and cons of whether or not to take the plunge and change your lives forever by having children?  Think of the workweek to weekend ratio mentioned above.  Five to two, says it’s the best thing you’ll ever do…

Such moments are some of the little things it is so easy to not notice. The little things that make life worth living.

~ why Kids ~
Little babies,
little smiles,
little moments,
with our little child…

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on Farewells.

To say farewell to those we love is bittersweet, even when we anticipate seeing them again.

We have all experienced such partings, most likely many many times.  Perhaps at a rare family gathering, during which bonds of blood are renewed.  Little compares with the joy we feel as we once again see our relatives, even if we don’t particularly like them.  That first hug… well, it is a pretty powerful thing, and no, a handshake simply will not do.

And then our together time is spent, time comes to go our separate ways, and we must say farewell.  I wonder why such partings are so incredibly painful?

Probably because they are completely unnatural.

Save humans, what other social animals deliberately leave the ones they love except perhaps to find food, and likely not even then?  After thinking about this, the only circumstance which comes to mind is the case of young adults who are either forced out, or set out to find mates and establish family groups of their own.

Yet in human society these partings have become the norm, not the exception.  How much harm do we do ourselves by fragmenting and separating our extended families?  How many relationships are we willing to lose in order to gain tangible things we can touch, but which have no capacity for love?  When did we decide things we can hold are more important than people we love?

Right about then is when humanity went wrong.

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on Depression

My firstborn suffered from depression, I suspect she still does. It has taken me many years to realize its most likely origin is not her mother, but me.

~ Depression ~
My eyes I dry, I must not weep,
and thus I send my soul to sleep.
In my broken heart, a jagged hole
from which seeps my unsoothed soul.
The woods are lonely dark and deep
they are not a good place for souls to sleep.
Anguish, from the twilight shadows seep.
Night sees our inner demons upon us creep.
Is there escape on these crippled feet?
Or is the hill from Anguish’s vale too steep?
To return to Joy, which on yon hill awaits?
Or to stay and with our Despair,
our inner demons’ hunger sate?
Choose Joy, and bid the dark woods goodbye.
Choose Love, and return to happiness on high.
Choose to Live, or choose, to die.

Why does anguish have such a powerful hold over us? Perhaps to someone who has never been in a terrible depression it is patently obvious that simply smiling helps alleviates the mood.  Which means the decision to smile is a no brainer.

They aren’t wrong.  However someone suffering from depression understands the metaphors used to describe the emotional state are frighteningly real.  Indeed the very word “depression” indicates something lower, but that isn’t the only metaphor used to describe this condition.  We literally tumble down into depression.  It isn’t a gradual decline, it is a precipitous fall.  Once we’re depressed we’re gripped by chains that literally bind us in place.  We find ourselves in a dark foreboding forest in which every innocent tree appears as a predator out to consume us.  To escape means we must climb out of the emotional hole depression is.  The problem is that we have enormous difficulty even getting back on our feet, let alone finding the emotional strength to climb a hill.  No matter how insignificant the climb out of depression appears to others, when we’re depressed the only word that comes close to describing how difficult it is, is impossible.

Earlier I said the decision to smile is a no brainer.  I used those words the same way I use all words, for a reason.  You see depression isn’t a thinking state, it is a feeling state, and while there is little brain in depression there is a great deal of heart.  So if we can’t think our way out of this miserable condition, then what are we to do?  I wish I knew the answer, if I did I would freely share it with the world.  Unfortunately I don’t, and I don’t believe drugs are an appropriate solution.

Sitting here, writing this post, it seems so obvious all I need do is smile, walk up a little hill, and I’ll be free of this wretched feeling.  But I can’t.  I can’t think my way out of a feeling state.  Even a single step back toward joy is quite literally beyond my capabilities.  I wonder why that is?  Perhaps because our soul seeks balance, and what balances ecstasy best is misery?

I don’t think I believe that, it is just a thought.  But since I’m depressed right now, perhaps it’s more a feeling than a thought.

The universe works in cycles.  I know this for my soul tells me it is so.  Depression, for those afflicted as I am, is cyclic.  It will pass when it passes, all I have to do is survive until it does.  So if you’re like me, please try to survive until the time for joy comes around again…

{P.S. Allow me to stress that this post, along with all my posts on this blog and indeed everywhere, are strictly my personal beliefs. Yours will certainly differ. What works for me may well be the breaking of you, so for that reason I strongly encourage you to question always. Question everything, and one day may you be fortunate enough to find the answers you seek.}

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on Social Media

Social Media had so much potential… it promised faster, easier, more robust, and vastly more interactive ways to communicate with friends and family.

What happened? What happened to destroy its promise? What turned Social Media from social, to selling? When did people decide punching “messages” from their own little pulpit, or selling whatever it is they want to sell was worth discarding any semblance of social for the hard-sell? Greed for fortune, fame, glory, or notoriety has co-opted the promise of Social Media.

Not only is there virtually nothing social about so-called Social Media anymore, but it has now transitioned to teaching people terrible habits.  Social Media encourages people to mask what they truly believe in order to present what they think others want to hear.  It is the worst possible form of political correctness, the form where we never reveal what we really think for fear of losing ground in some completely imaginary popularity poll.

We don’t agree” can be taken one of two ways.  It can be the end of a conversation, in which case nothing new is learnt and therefore both parties lose.  Or it can be the beginning of a new conversation, in which case both parties learn another point of view, and therefore both parties gain. In a conversation, “We don’t agree” need not be about seeking consensus at all, it can simply be about conversation itself.  However when we are speaking at an audience, as we invariably are in social media, we aren’t having a conversation.  What we’re doing is standing on a pulpit, while hoping our audience will think us praiseworthy. What we’re doing is talking, while hoping everyone else will listen and not talk themselves.  What we’re doing is feigning sincerity in order to sell our viewpoint, or our product.  What we’re doing is presenting ourselves as a “brand”, not as a person.  What we’re doing in Social Media aren’t very social behaviors at all, are they?

It is said true leaders lead from the front, they don’t push from behind.  And I say that for conversation to be conversation, it must be with one another.  We don’t necessarily have to see the person we’re conversing with, but we do need to be talking to them, not talking at them.  So-called Social Media is more about a marketable audience than it is about social friendship.

Social Media also teaches us to present a false face not only when we speak, but also when we pretend to listen. It teaches us it is good to be surrounded by friends or “followers”. It teaches us to not only anticipate, but also to expect reward for the most inane comments we make.  It teaches us to interpret “likes” as “listens”.  And possibly worst of all, Social Media teaches us to feign listening by “liking”.

Social Media teaches us we are perpetually surrounded by an avid audience who applaud our every word…

When was the last time you stood in a circle of your closest friends and they clapped whenever you spoke?  When was the last time you stood in a circle of friends?  Indeed, when was the last time you stood with a real friend?  Do you even recall what standing with a friend means?  It doesn’t mean “liking” everything they say, it means being there for them, it means telling them to stop when they open their mouth to change their feet in public, it means laughing at their terrible jokes in private, it means delighting in the outrageous together, it means saying shocking things secure in the knowledge nobody else will ever hear.  Now contrast those behaviors with standing with your Social Media friends.

Social Media is about counting your character’s worth by numbering your “followers”.  How many real friends do you actually have? It might shock you to learn the average person in the USA today has just two, yes, count them TWO, real friends. [1] It should shock you to realize that number is down from three just twenty-five years ago.  Thanks, Social Media, for causing a thirty percent reduction in real friendship, while giving us an exponential explosion in virtual  acquaintanceship.  Not!

How many of your supposed social media friends know anything about who you really are?  How many of them do you think actually care?  Here is a clue. Maybe the same number as you have real friends.  Maybe, but more likely a couple less…

Social is precisely what “social media” is not.

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on Talent

This post is a well-deserved tribute to my sixteen year old daughter, Julia. The following is entirely her work, edited and formatted to the style I use for this blog.

Talent: Natural aptitude, or skill?

In art you are often told, “Oh you are so talented!”, or “You are so lucky to have such talent”. And for some it may truly be a talent, but if you are like me you didn’t pick up a pencil and suddenly know how to do everything you can do today. I practiced a lot, hard, for almost three years. I’ve spent hours reading articles and books, watching videos,and drawing, so to take all of that and chop it down to talent is belittling. To say I’m talented is not true, I am well practiced. I can’t say that about every person who does art, but I can say it about myself, Talent has nothing to do with my art ability… all it is, is passion and practice.

Author: Elsewhere in this blog you’ll find a few poems and pictures by Julia, they are some of the brightest gems in my own personal midden heap, and well worth digging for. In our lives some of us are lucky enough to encounter fallen Angels who fill our hearts with joy, our minds with inspiration, and our souls with satisfaction.  Julia is one such.  She is also the Julia within A Crystal Tear, a Fairy Tale I am currently expanding into a short book.  By another name, Julia is also the principle heroine of Malmaxa. Unlike her father, Julia tends not to name her poems. Here is one I have titled “stars”, partially because it allows me to format the poem to the visual style I prefer.

~ Stars ~
I dreamt that I was the one who laid stars in the sky,
ultimate power under my finger tips.
When my childhood home was sold
I was told I have the perfect hands
to play the piano that sat in our dining room.
Fingers that reach key after key,
pressing gracefully against that ivory,
like only the gifted can.
I never learned to play the piano,
I played the trombone.
I was in the library, 16 years old,
fingers reaching for a book,
stretching to reach the wisdom of the top shelf.
A woman said she wished she had hands like mine,
fingers long and thin
that demand attention,
that accent long elegant limbs.
She told me “I bet you do ballet!”
I didn’t have the voice to say
“When I step on the dance floor, people get hurt.”
I dreamt that I laid the stars in the sky,
that my limbs sweep across,
and leave galaxies in their wake.
As a child my mother told me I’m like a baby giraffe,
with long elegant limbs
I don’t really know how to use.
I never learned how to play the piano,
my arms were the perfect length for the trombone.
I never learned how to dance a ballet,
but my fingers dance across pages of books
like that is all they were made to do.
I never did put the stars in the sky,
But I found someone who treats me like I do…

Author: Julia is wrong. As with others of her ilk, she is largely unaware she does indeed put the stars in the sky. And sometimes also, the tears in my eyes.

Posted in Julia, Poetry | 2 Comments

on Boxes

Primarily because I believe beauty deserves to be shared, I recently showed a spectacularly beautiful image my sixteen year old daughter Julia drew to a couple of my co-workers.  One person’s response to the picture appalled me.  That feeling has indirectly lead to this post, in which I’m sharing two of Julia’s drawings.  The first appears immediately below.

Pencil Art

The comment this wonderfully essential image invoked from my co-worker was, “She’s a sixteen year old girl drawing pictures of girls butts? I’d be worried if I was you…”  Though I wanted to respond by asserting I’m not in the least worried as I know my daughter while they do not, and then asking what century they think we live in, I refrained, turned away, and showed the image to someone less judgmental and thus infinitely more able to appreciate beauty for its own sake.

A few days passed, then, in the way of the universe Julia brought me a gift. Another incredibly beautiful, incredibly essential drawing, possibly provoked by an earlier discussion we had had about how universal, widespread, and immoral the subjugation of women is. That image appears below.

"Boxed In" by Julia

“Boxed In” by Julia

Julia’s second drawing lead me to reconsider the comment made to me by my co-worker.  Perhaps they made their judgmental remark precisely because they are themselves “boxed in” to what they have been taught and conditioned to think is “right”.

Artistic people like Julia are a gift to us all. They make us realize the universe is benevolent.  They allow and encourage us to delve the depths of thought, feeling, spirit, and motivation.  Their visions of beauty open our hearts and let our eyes and minds perceive things we might not notice on our own.

Are you boxed in?  Did you willing climb into the box society demanded you dwell within?

Boxes do not improve life, they constrain it.

If we are truly moral beings then we have no need for external rules, for within our souls we already have all the rules we’ll ever need.  By their very nature these internal rules must be universal, and thus they must be universally true for all sentient and moral beings, which I believe most humans are.  What are these universal moral rules? Well, if they are indeed universal you should intuitively know them, and you should also know they are true.  If they are indeed universal then where they reside is within you, and they might be uncovered by delving the depths of yourself, as art encourages.

But be warned, you may have to dig deep for many societal influences seek to impose some nefarious agenda on us.  These influences presume to impose their rules, constrain us to their goals, and place us in boxes from which they tell us it is immoral to escape.  Since these influences are external, they are not universal and therefore they are artificial.

Art is the light that allows us to see into ourself.  Art allows us to dig deep into our own psyche.  Art allows us to climb out of the boxes others place us in.  Art allows us to discard the superfluous and clearly see the essential.

Universal moral rules are the things our soul has always known, without need of any external teacher.  Perhaps you think the Ten Commandments are these universal moral rules?  They are not, they are just another constraining box into which far too many unquestioningly climb.  The truly universal moral rules are few, and furthermore are essential to our survival as collective humanity.  If, as I believe, there are indeed universal moral rules, then they exist within us all, every one of us should abide by them, and every one of us should search for them.  That search begins within, and art is the gate to the start of the path that leads to personal enlightenment.

To me the essential universal morals are very simple and very few. They include these thoughts:-

  • Never be Greedy.
  • Be inclined to Love more than you are to Indifference.
  • Grant dignity to all until they deny it to you.
  • Be tolerant of difference, for without diversity we are doomed.
  • Trust the unvoiced whispers of your soul more than you trust any external law.
  • Abhor cruelty in any form.

Our soul speaks to us.  It tells us right from wrong.  But do we listen, do we hear then choose to ignore, or are we deaf to our own conscience call?

I also believe there are many grossly immoral external laws, however since these are merely my personal thoughts I don’t consider them to be universal.  They include…
Since they encourage and facilitate greed, laws which allow one person to gain while another loses are immoral.
Since authority should be earned not assumed, laws which compel obedience are immoral.
Laws which are more concerned with property than with morality are, by their very nature, immoral.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you also for thinking.  Should you be interested to learn more of Julia you can find her in my work of Philosophy Couched as Fantasy, Malmaxa.  In Malmaxa Julia goes by another name, but she is Julia no less.

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on Aged Beauty

Beauty cries out to be shared. It need not be polished, nor shiny, nor bright, nor new. Beauty is everywhere, if only we choose to see it. And yes, I believe the perception of beauty is something that improves with practice. Practice looking for it, and you’ll soon see it everywhere and in everything.

dwells in everything
we see
true beauty need not be
true beauty, is bettered
by age
and mystery…

ancient, abandoned, mysterious, beautiful no less

ancient, abandoned, mysterious, beautiful no less

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on What my writing Isn’t

Someone on Twitter was kind enough to send me a comment via DM about her reasons for deciding not to read my work.   Essentially this post encapsulates her comment and my reply, which she entirely motivated.

Beltamar’s War, and the series it begins, is the work in question.   As there isn’t a genre whose description correctly defines precisely what Malmaxa is about I was forced to choose the closest mismatch, which is “Fantasy”.  So, am I saying my work isn’t Fantasy?  Yes, I’m saying precisely that – Malmaxa is not Fantasy.  Unfortunately, to grasp what Malmaxa is you’ll have to read it for yourself. And no, that isn’t an artfully designed sales pitch – read the reviews to see how others perceive my work.

In order to let me to reciprocate, I use a free program called CrowdFire to monitor who follows and unfollows me on Twitter.  One of CrowdFire’s features is the ability to send a message to new followers.  Please note this welcome message is the sole method of automation I use on Twitter, everything else is manually me.

And with the preamble done, back to meat of this post.

My CrowdFire greeting message, as it was during this conversation:-

Welcome! If I’m not on your TL, I soon will be:)
Meanwhile, read real reviews
& try it if it appeals. -via @crowdfire

The DM comment.

Excellent reviews. I’m afraid they didn’t change my mind. In fact, they reaffirmed that fantasy’s not for me. One review mentioned it read like a mystery. That appeals, but I think it would lose to a far out world and a cast of characters with odd names and powers. I don’t enjoy many movies of this genre either. Sorry, I’m sure it’s wonderful for the right person. Your writing is phenomenal. I’m impressed and intimidated. I love to read for enjoyment and I think your book would require more from me than I have to give. You’ll do well, my friend. You’ve produced a first rate novel. I hope you won’t unfollow me because I’d like to stay connected.

My Reply.

I think you should reconsider.  I use Fantasy as a means to place people in situations within which they can suspend disbelief and allow their minds to consider fundamental questions of the nature of right, wrong, and human motivation from a viewpoint other than their own.  My work isn’t about fireballs, obvious evil, ultimate good, and supernatural beings – it is about human relationships, their incredibly complex interactions, and the obscure little things that make us do the seemingly inexplicable things we do.

I encourage you to read the free sample, which includes the first couple of chapters of the book before you dismiss my work as mere fantasy. To that end, here is a link to it on my blog – you can read it on your web browser of choice. 

As to unfollowing you because you choose not to… well that is simply not who I am :)  Who am I?  I am a character in my own book, but interestingly enough I’m not the character my own family firmly believe I am.  They think I am Jalgar, but Jalgar is actually a representation of my Godfather, and my pseudonym.  Yes, the names may at first glance seem unusual, but there is meaning behind every one, and those who choose to investigate them will discover most exist in our own time.  For example the apparent villain’s name is Adelmar, you might be interested to look it up on the Internet:)}

Regardless of whether you decide to read further or not, thank you so much for taking the time to reply.  I truly appreciate how valuable our time is, indeed I am saddened so few of us do.  Thank you for spending a little of yours on me.


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on Money pt3

This is the third post in my ruminations on denominations.  aka on Money.

Money is a disassociator.  Wait a moment!  Disassociator isn’t even a word!  Strange how it takes a word that doesn’t exist to adequately describe money, which shouldn’t exist as it is something with absolutely no intrinsic value.

So what do I mean by a “disassociator”? Finally! Now we’re getting to the reason money is inherently evil.

What is evil? Evil isn’t some malign presence nobody can see or touch or feel, yet which mysteriously motivates people to do terrible things to one another. Evil goes by another word, and that word is greed. Whatever evil exists within the world can be directly traced to greed. Please bear in mind how greed comes in many forms. However, the essence of greed is invariably the same – the greedy want more than their fair share. It isn’t complicated, indeed it could not be more simple, or more obvious. And money finally shows its true colors…

Money isn’t black, it isn’t white, it isn’t silver, and it definitely isn’t gold. The true color of money is camouflage. Money is that which lets the greedy hide in plain sight. How does money accomplish this remarkable feat?

By disassociating true value from perceived value money lets the greedy hide among the destitute.

Have you ever wondered why you can’t see the size of the paycheck of your coworkers and they cannot see the size of yours? Is it a matter of privacy? No, it isn’t. This enforcement of monetary secrecy isn’t accidental, it is deliberate, and it is malignant.

Let me explain through the use of a hypothetical example.

Imagine a hundred people live on a small island which is only capable of producing enough food to sustain those hundred people. Now imagine what would happen if one person attempted to take twice their share. Do you think anyone would notice when they tried to carry off twice the amount of food as anyone else? Let me rephrase the question. Do you think anybody could fail to notice such blatant greed? Now imagine what would happen to that greedy individual. The greedy person would be taken to task immediately, and most likely harshly. There is simply no way such visible greed would be tolerated because when a single person takes twice their share, two people only get half theirs. For that greedy person to get fat requires that two people starve. The math is inescapable.

Or is it? Perhaps the other ninety-nine people could divvy out the remaining ninety-eight portions? And right about now is where money steps in.

Money is a disassociator.   Money lets the greedy take much more than their share by hiding the share they are taking. If nobody knows how much everyone else is getting, how does anyone know who the greedy scum that are responsible for making everyone else go hungry are? And the answer is, they don’t. And that is precisely what money does. Money hides who is taking more than their fair share.

In the hypothetical example above I have difficulty conceiving how anyone could bear the shame of knowing their greed made two other people go hungry. If you were one of those hundred islanders could you do it? Could you take twice as much as you require, knowing two other people would then get half as much as they need? I could not, and I’m pretty sure that if you’re spending your precious time reading my blog you couldn’t either.  And yes, your time is far more precious than money will ever be.

Sadly, an awful lot of awful people can and do take much more than their fair share, every day of their miserably greedy lives.  However money steps in again and hides them from shame.  Money is a sop to their greedy conscience.  Money tells them they aren’t responsible for two other people starving, as they don’t really know just how little others are getting or even who the starving are.  The evil equation of greed not only obscures the greedy from the impoverished, it protects the greedy from their conscience.

Money is a direct facilitator of greed, and greed is nothing more than another word for evil.  Money facilitates evil by obscuring who has more than their fair share.  Period.

{P.S. Period, but not the end…}

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on Words

Words are such powerful things.  Words can be a power for good when used well, and a power for ill when used wrong.  Something seems wrong with that last sentence, doesn’t it?  But this post isn’t about grammatical errors, it is about wrong words.  It is about how using the wrong words facilitates enormous suffering throughout the world.  This post is about the power of nuance.  It is specifically about one wrong word in particular

One has to wonder why there is public resistance to making tobacco products illegal?  I suspect it is extremely clever public policy influencing by incredibly wealthy, incredibly immoral, and incredibly greedy corporations.  Sadly not only are pubic officials easily influenced, but outright bribery and corruption is alive, well, and officially tolerated in the form of “campaign contributions”.  An abominable lack of governmental leadership has permitted big tobacco to confuse people everywhere into thinking smoking is a matter of choice when it is really a matter of addiction.  As a result many people are keen to “stand up for their rights“, indeed many people who don’t even smoke tobacco are willing to support the rights of smokers.

What rights, precisely, are they standing up for?

The right to become addicted to a drug with no known benefits and a massive laundry list of detrimental effects, many of which are fatal?  The right to a significantly shorter and unhealthier life?  The right to part with a substantial amount of their income, for no benefit whatsoever?  The right of irresponsible parents to addict their children to an utterly worthless and incredibly damaging drug?  The right for individuals to adversely affect the health of everyone around them, as well as their own?

Standing up for those individual rights is downright wrong.

Do you still think using tobacco is a personal right?  Then let me give you some personal information that might sway you to correct your thinking.  And yes, the evidence is incontrovertible, if you still think tobacco is a personal right your thinking needs to be corrected.

I have calculated the personal direct monetary cost of smoking in my household, where only my wife smokes.  In the thirty years we’ve been together she has spent enough money on cigarettes for us to purchase three brand new mid-range cars.  In that same time period we have only been able to afford three brand new mid-range cars.  And what have we gained from the exorbitant expense of her addiction?  We have gained the anticipation of her leaving this world years earlier than she should, unfortunately that is not a gain, it is an enormous loss.  My wife is not some weak-minded wimp, she is a wonderful person who cares enough about her family to never smoke inside our home or cars.  However she is also a hopeless addict who doesn’t even want to try and kick “the habit“.  It is well past time people everywhere changed their thinking and stopped using words like habit to describe this filthy, damaging, and disgusting addiction.

Perhaps when we start using the right words things will finally start to change, and the right word for tobacco is not “habit“, it is “addict“.

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on a Woman’s Wiles

An interesting tidbit of information is how the word babies use for “father” is almost universally some form of “papa.”

Like most tidbits, digging deeper uncovers further interesting tidbits – some of which give clues into the psychology of our most ancient ancestors.

Pah-Pah, the universal sound babies make for father, is just such a tidbit.

I think the reason behind this particular sound being ascribed to mean father is because the “pah” sound is one of the easiest sounds to form.  It can be visually copied and easily imitated by babies long before they control their vocal cords.   Pah-Pah it made with nothing more than the lips, an exhalation, and a repetition – all of which babies control with ease.

What does this tell me?

It tells me women are incredibly smart.  Women bond with their babies through holding, nurturing, and feeding them.  Men bond with babies through the baby interacting with them.  So when the woman tells the man “pah-pah”, that oh-so-easy to form sound, is the baby addressing them it makes the man feel special, which strengthens the bond between man and child.

Of course it is extremely easy for the mother to teach her baby  “pah-pah” means that smelly hairy thing that occasionally comes around to poke and bare its teeth…  She could just as easily teach her baby “pah-pah” means “I’m hungry”, but she doesn’t.  I wonder why?

Universally, women are not without their wiles…

{P.S. For those who subscribe to my blog, no I haven’t forgotten about the next installment on money, I’m just not quite ready to release it.}

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on Time

If you’re like me you wonder about things, a lot.  You think about strange things, silly things, mundane things, and things that really matter.  One of the stranger things I’ve wondered about for years, which have become decades {no exaggeration}, is the nature of Time.

I recently posted this comment on Twitter, in response to a question on the nature of Eternity.

Can linear beings comprehend cycles which neither begin, nor end?

The following are a few of my thoughts on Time, taken from an even more recent conversation in which I was asked to explain how I can believe that time does not exist.

What is time… if it cannot be modified then it cannot be.

Life is a linear construct in a cyclic universe. Universal cycles do not have a beginning and an ending, they are perpetual.  Yet life has a beginning and an end, and our way of grasping how we transition through our beginning to our end is to measure something that does not exist.  We create numbers that are quite literally meaningless when compared to the scale of our existence.  What difference does it make if another solar system is 10 million light years away, or 100 million when such scales are compared to a lifetime of 100 years?  All 100 years is, is a measure of the life of a linear being who needs measurements to comfort itself that it means something on the cosmic scale.

Yet why do we even need scales?  We have souls, and our souls are not bound by time.

{P.S. In case you’re interested in some of my other thoughts on time, here are a few more posts on the subject:- “Streams of time“, “Perceptions, of Time” and even my most recent post, which considers Now -vs- The Future, “on Now“}

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on Now

Will things ever even out, or are we trapped in perpetual imbalance? We all need a way to “unwind”, and when our only hope of such is some time in the future… well, here is the thing – the future never comes.  Please don’t rely on promises things will magically get better some time down the road.  Make them better right now, because right now is the only place we humans ever live.

When we can’t find time for joy life becomes a convoluted mess.

We’re told a continuous string of lies about the way things are and the way things will become.  And the lies that head the list are, “Accept your lot in life“, and “Things will get better.”  Things will not get better unless we make them get better, and the only way to make them better is to refuse to accept our “lot in life”.  There is only one time in which we can ever act, and that time is NOW.  Now.   Not some time down the road, not some time which will never come, not some distant future which never gets any closer.  This very instant is where we live, not somewhere in a future that never comes.

It has taken me more than half a century, but I am finally learning to find joy in that which I have.  Joy in the heart is worth so much more than a promise of future joy which may never be fulfilled.  And what a wonderful joy it is to find.  Perhaps even moreso once we realize it is has always been there and it is we who never bothered to look down at the instant in which we are.  Why?  Because we’ve been taught to focus on future instants which may someday come.  Someday never comes, but now?  Now is right here.  Now is where we humans live.

Live well, live now.

{P.S. If you’re interested in finding moments of joy captured within a larger tale, please try my rather unusual book, Beltamar’s War.}

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~ Memory ~
When we tell things of the past
little details come back,
yet if we never take the time to tell,
those tiny things fall through the cracks,
straight down into hell…
Might hell be where forgotten memories go
there forever
in misery to dwell,
unclaimed thoughts with no Soul
who of them
will proudly tell?
Immortality is naught
save fond memory.
And death, its silent cousin,
is moreso naught,
a forgotten place reserved for those
of character so bland
for good they never
bothered to take a stand.

Every day is another opportunity to secure for ourselves a piece of immortality.  We cannot accomplish this extraordinary feat with force. No amount of money is sufficient to buy a single ticket to Destiny.  Yet every single day opportunity resurrects itself again in hope it will be grasped in both hands. Opportunity awaits the willing, it is there at every turn. It is a chance for you to take a stand and do whatever good you can.

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