On Abortion.

Words matter to me. A lot.

Especially when I discover that words are being used to manipulate me.

I don’t like being manipulated. At all.

And thus to the topic of this post. A topic that rears its ugly head every time an election is coming up, then buries that head in the proverbial sand once election time is over. That topic is the question of Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. Since there aren’t any imminent elections this seems like a very good time to address the issue. Why? Because the waters haven’t been muddied by manipulative politicians.

Let me tell you right now – I think abortion is wrong. I don’t believe a single person in the world is pro-abortion. Not a single person. However my beliefs aren’t the issue. The issue is whether a woman has the right to make the choice to terminate her pregnancy.

Please make special note of my words. I’m not twisting them in order to manipulate your emotions and thereby reduce your capacity for clear thinking. I’m choosing my words carefully to try and convey the essential issues. And one of those essential issues is that the person pregnancy affects is the woman. It is “her pregnancy”.

Convention in the United States holds that the politically correct way for a couple to describe pregnancy is with the words, “We are pregnant.” Before you nod agreement with how that phrasing asserts the man’s involvement and commitment to his partner, stop and think. {Notice I did not use the words, “his wife”.} A man cannot be pregnant. It is not physically possible. Yes, a male’s semen is required for fertilization of a female’s ova – but a male cannot be pregnant. For the male to claim, “We are pregnant”, is not only ridiculous it is offensive in that it diminishes something which is the sole prerogative of females. It also implicitly claims ownership of the female’s pregnancy. Pregnancy is not owned, and it most definitely is not “ours”. It is “her pregnancy”.

Do you think the last paragraph is making a big deal out of something innocent and cute? It isn’t. Words really matter. They hold immense power to twist our perception. I wonder who originated the expression, “We are pregnant”? I wonder if it might be the same clever people who came up with the slogan, “Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice”?

Manipulative words…

I am not only pro-life, I am pro-choice. There is no “versus” in that statement. I believe life is a remarkable, generous, incomprehensible, and utterly inexplicable gift from the divine. I also believe I have no right to compel any female to see an unwanted pregnancy to term.

No one has a right to make choices for other people. No one. Not in religion, not in belief, not in sexual preference, and not in pregnancy.

The only competition between those who want every child to have a chance and those who want every woman to have a choice is a manufactured and manipulative one.

Words really matter.

Allow me to share some of the thoughts that come to my mind every time the emotive matter of abortion raises its ugly head.

Why did the woman fall pregnant, was it due to a lack of sex education, or a lack of adequate access to birth control? Surely prevention is better than its terrible alternative?

What in the female’s situation compels her to consider abortion? Is she young and ashamed? Is she a victim of abuse? Does pregnancy place her at risk? Can she afford to raise a child? Is she alone, or with a committed partner? Does she feel she has a choice?

Raising a child is a lifelong, incredibly expensive commitment. Yet I NEVER see the financial considerations raised. Are those who are so committed to eliminating a woman’s right to self-determination offering to pay to raise the child? No, they are not. They don’t even offer to pay for the delivery, let alone the lifelong costs. They allude to help being available, but they don’t actually say, “Come to this address. We’ll pay for your travel costs. We’ll pay for your accommodation and medical expenses during your pregnancy. We’ll pay for the birth. We’ll guarantee the child is adopted by a loving family. We’ll take care of everything, so long as you don’t choose abortion.” They don’t make any such commitments, yet they are willing to force the pregnant female to make them.

Who is carrying a child inside their body? Is it me, or is it her? Since it is her, what right do I have to make the choice for her?

No matter what I believe, or how strongly I feel, I simply cannot reconcile myself with eliminating any other person’s right to self-determination. Can you?

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Nothing ever changes.

But it should.

I have come to the inescapable conclusion there is no longer anything supreme about the US Supreme Court. To me they are a bunch of bought and paid-for moral cowards who are more interested in the letter of flawed laws than they are in justice.

Justice isn’t about technical details, justice is about what is right and what is wrong. And what is right, is equal protection under the law.

Consider how the supreme court have ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect the people. According to their understanding, the duty of the police is the enforcement of laws.

The enforcement of laws…

That sounds entirely reasonable, doesn’t it? Only on its surface. Only if the laws are reasonable. Only if the laws are fair. Only if the laws are just. Too many “onlys”. What about when laws aren’t reasonable, fair, or just? Far too many laws are not reasonable, fair, or just. How can they be when they are designed to maintain the status-quo, and the status-quo is anything but reasonable, fair, and just?

What prompted this post? A shocking statistic I heard this morning…

The approval rating of Congress, that far from illustrious body of people we entrust with writing our laws, is currently at 15%.

Think about 15%, then think about how reasonable our laws are likely to be, then think about the duty of the police being the enforcement of those unreasonable laws, and then think about how nothing ever changes.

I believe things can change, but people must be willing to stand up and be counted. These posts are my way of standing up. What is yours?

Nothing ever changes…

Almost two years ago I reflected on the subject of same-sex marriage. The supreme court played a role in that post as well. I find it rather sad that my predictions on their ruling proved accurate. Instead of addressing, and then righting a social wrong, they chose to side-step the issue. What is the social wrong to which I refer? Equal access to marriage for all consenting adults, regardless of gender. Back in 1967 a different, far more courageous Supreme Court addressed the matter of equal access to marriage, regardless of color.

Yes, for all of you who just shook your heads in disbelief, it was once illegal to marry a person of a different race. Miscegenation was a crime. The moral crime is that such a word even exists.

Nothing ever changes, until we make it.

What exactly did I find shocking about the statistic stating how a mere 15% of people approve of Congress? That the number is as high as fifteen. That 15% of the population are gullible enough to believe Congress actually works for them is just sad.

Earlier in this post I said that what is right, is equal protection under the law. Who am I kidding? Laws should be written with the best interests of the people at heart. Instead they are written to suit amoral, wealthy corporations such as Monsanto and big oil.  When that happens equal protection becomes a meaningless concept.

Fact. The vast majority of laws are not about justice, they are about property.

There is an adage which states, “Possession is nine tenths of the law”.  Unlike the linked WikiPedia article, I understand that adage to mean over ninety percent of laws are about who owns what and how they get to keep it.

It seems to me that property has very little to do with justice.  We should all be working to improve the lot of humanity, yet instead we’re working to maintain the status-quo. It is time for us to stop working.

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A brother’s poem

In that it contains things that are personal to me, my blog is sort of like a diary. Today I’m tearing a page out of another person’s diary, that of my brother Jan. He sent me this email a few days ago, from Africa, where he still lives, to America, where I now reside.

No big deal, right? I mean, an email happens virtually instantly, so all that’s happened is the world has been made a whole lot smaller. Wrong. Nothing makes the world smaller, nothing eliminates distance, and nothing replaces a touch.

Read my brother’s missive, and weep with me for what the entire world is losing. And what is it that the world is losing? Family.

Jan’s email message.

In dim memory sometime, years back, I penned these words…
To what avail? Time has passed.
The deed is done.
Yet I love you all still.
Jan.

~ Worlds Apart ~

We live with our children in separate cities
Apart from one another
In separate countries
On separate continents
In separate hemispheres
Our hot wet summers are your icy snowbound winters
Your hot humid summers are our cool winter days

Our children grow up not knowing one another
Yet we are family, one family spread far apart
How long do we endure our self-imposed separation?
And what becomes of the love we have for each other
From desolate days to lonely years spent in intercontinental isolation
The vastness of distance refuses to be overcome by brief sojourns
We cannot catch up with each other while we do not walk the same paths
Our children learn otherworldly pastimes and play games
But not with each other, and then not even the same games

I yearn for the times we shared
Together in the wild places of Africa
For the memories of childhood and youth
Of times on farms with brothers
On rivers with family and friends
Of boats and trucks and tents and tiger fish
Kudu and cotton and bushpigs and mealies
Where has it gone?
Will our children ever be together?
Do we just grow old and leave it too late?

Will we really be together then?
Wish I could look forward to that time, only I don’t know when
And where will our mother be then?
Will our babies know their granny then?
Wish it could be when, at least we were together
Did Africa really tear us apart?
Or did we only imagine it happened that way
While we do it by ourselves?
Hope it’s not too late now

Let’s turn back the clock to our future together

Will we come home then, when we need to be in Africa now?

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On Belief

What do you believe? I believe many things, and since I said I’d say what I believe, and I try to do as I say I will, here are some of the things in which I believe, along with a spattering of things in which I don’t. If there is any repetition it might be poetic liberty, or it might be in error, your choice as to which.

~ I Believe ~

~

I believe in what I can see, unless what I feel tells me that what I see isn’t really real.

I believe divinity dwells within, yet for whatever reason we seek it without.

I believe we all know the truth, and that the truth is different for all.

I believe in the soul, and that souls are fragments of the divine.

I believe that every living thing, from the smallest single-celled organism to the largest tree, has a soul, and that it takes every single soul to make up the broken fragments that may once have been a single whole.

I believe all life must end, yet souls seldom do.

I believe in fate, as much as I believe in freedom.

I believe the divine speak a universal language every soul understands, if only they are willing to hear.

I believe the divine don’t need to teach us how to hear, for that is knowledge we already bear, though we may have forgotten, or closed our inner ear.

I believe I can fly, and that in my dreams, I do.

~

I believe the goal of all organized religions is the sustenance of its clergy, before sustenance of its adherent’s souls.

I believe any god who has a chosen people is the creation of those whom he chose.

I believe souls are the animators of life, that they are only gift the divine will ever grant us, yet that they are not a gift at all – they are a temporary loan we may invest or squander as we will.

I believe we can nurture our soul with our good deeds, or starve it with our greed.

I believe material wealth is the blade that slays the immaterial soul.

I believe the path to nirvana is paved with our good deeds, and barred with our ill.

I believe in your soul, do you believe in mine?

~

I believe truth is the foundation on which trust is built.

I believe words are the foundations of deeds.

I believe thoughts are the foundations of words.

I don’t believe I know what forms the foundations of thoughts.

I am willing to believe, until I perceive the lie.

I believe in what I feel, more than in what I see.

I believe in what I understand, more than in what I’m told.

I believe in equality, and that no human holds authority over any other.

I believe in my own truths, more than I believe mass-media lies.

I believe you matter, and that I do too.

~

I believe that to every absolute, there are exceptions.

I believe that mortal flesh is a temporary housing for a soul.

I believe the surest way to starve our soul, is to feed our mortal greed.

I believe our soul cannot be destroyed by anyone save us.

I believe those eager to slay another, have already slain their soul.

I believe in words more than in silence, yet I know that sometimes I need silence more than I need words.

I believe that when we are lost, our soul always knows the way.

I believe that one ill deed far outweighs a thousand good.

I believe that while our flesh is mortal, our soul is not.

I believe that although our soul owns our flesh, we do not own our soul.

I believe I can try, and that in my dreams I do.

~

I believe we were all once fluent in the language of the divine, it is that little voice that tells us right from wrong, it is an inner voice of reason in a world that’s lost its mind, it is a voice that grows dimmer with every ill deed, until we hear its voice no more.

~

I believe that while human words might be wise, they are never holy.

I believe the divine have no need of intermediaries, for their words flood our heart and echo in our inner ear.

I believe everyone who claims to speak for the divine is a liar, for what need have the divine of translators?

I believe those who listen to their clerics often turn a deaf ear to their soul.

I believe that risk should be balanced with reward, but that reward should not be repayment for risk.

I believe the truth is never ugly, though what it reveals too often is.

I believe greed is an instrument of evil that bears many forms, all of which are sculpted by mortal desire… there is greed for influence, wealth, power, sex, control, and a myriad more.

I believe indoctrinating children is an act of malicious evil.

I believe in me, do you believe in you?

~

I believe there is only one evil creature on earth, and that creature is man.

I believe that what the oceans relinquish, the sky returns as rain.

I believe no cleric holds the keys to heaven, yet many open the gates of hell.

I believe in justice, more than I do in laws.

I believe eternity is a very short time.

I believe that though time passes, it does not exist, and we are swimming against its flow.

I believe the only fitting punishment for murder, is to be murdered.

I believe it is better to be loved by one than to be remembered by a multitude.

I believe respect is earned, not assumed.

I believe none should speak for the gods, for the gods can speak for themselves.

I believe those who call for villainous deeds, are as guilty as the villains who commit them.

I believe forgiveness is far beyond the realm of mortals.

~

I believe that when sellers are honest there is no need for buyers to beware.

I believe there has never been a just war, yet I know many honorable men have fought.

I believe that for every inch won, an inch has been lost.

I believe divinity dwells within, and we are merely its decorators – we can choose to clad our soul in the splendor of good deeds, or the squalor of ill.

I believe humanity should be Earth’s caretaker, not Earth’s cancer.

I believe a god that is not universally known, cannot be a universal god.

I believe any question worth asking, is worth answering honestly.

I believe our heart is the chamber in which the words of our soul echo, and that when it murmurs we should listen.

I believe if we’re too scared to dream, we’ve given up the better part of life.

I believe I can cry, and that in my dreams I do.

~

I believe that, as with freedom, for truth we pay a price.

I believe women are the far better half of man.

I believe those who cannot question, will never understand.

I believe memory is fiction, though we think of it as fact.

I believe that for everyone who cares, there are a multitude who don’t.

I believe we are all born innocent.

I believe good people sometimes do bad things, yet once people turn bad they never again do good.

I believe that whoever, wherever, and whenever we are, we are merely people.

I believe we all seek understanding and happiness.

I believe no one is born better than any other, yet their deeds can make them so.

I believe we should seek understanding before everything else, including material wealth.

I believe if we can’t reveal our real self, then that self is not worth revealing.

~

I believe everyone values truth, yet everyone still lies.

I believe in a myriad things which may seem silly to you, yet remain crucial to me.

I believe who we are can be far, far more than just our genes, or far, far less.

I believe that while no good deed goes unpunished, good deeds must still be done.

I believe that mistakes should not be punished, while willfully wicked deeds should.

I believe that while my truths might work for me, they probably won’t for you.

I believe words really matter, though they rarely do.

I believe that those who call for the murder of their foes, are the foulest of our form.

~

I believe we should celebrate beauty, acknowledge shame, and not be so eager to apportion blame.

I believe that though we should honor our beliefs, it is inevitable we will sometimes fail.

I believe the principle sign of intelligence is the ability to change our mind.

I believe that history is written by the victors, and too often it’s a biased lie.

I believe we should vote on the issues, not on our emotions.

I believe that for one person to be rich, a multitude must be poor.

I believe that what I hold true today, I might see as false tomorrow.

~

I believe that honor is never for sale.

I believe a soul for sale is not worth its price.

I believe humanity consistently displays collective stupidity, and individual brilliance.

I believe we should try, even when we know we’ll fail.

I believe in free will, yet know the majority still won’t.

I believe the world needs less tolerance of poor behavior.

I believe that X resources divided among Y people, where Y is greater than seven billion, should be X over Y, not (½X / 85) = (½X / (Y – 85))

I believe truth is a matter of life, not a matter of mathematics.

I believe that no matter the magnificence of the garments covering a lie the lie remains ugly, while the shabbiest garments cannot cover truth’s beauty.

I believe we are drawn to truth, and repulsed by lies.

I believe that no one really knows, though some will claim they do.

~

I believe happiness has become a hopeless goal, where once it was reality.

I believe in the right to self-determination and self-defense, not compulsion and attack.

I believe that just as no size fits all, no truth does either.

I believe that those that care matter, and those who don’t, don’t.

I believe the purest truth flows within the caverns of our heart.

I believe partial truths are often complete lies.

I believe what we say doesn’t matter if no one hears our words.

I believe short-term profits never justify long-term pain.

~

I believe that if we seek beauty we’ll find it, but though we close our eyes to ugliness it remains.

I believe that if we seek understanding we’ll eventually find it, but if we don’t we won’t.

I believe that though time waits for no man, eventually it claims us all.

I believe that once you wear a price tag, you’re always up for sale.

I believe that though change is inevitable, people are always the same.

I believe in contradictory truths more than I do in neatly aligned lies.

I believe when something is so obvious it must be true, we need to examine it again.

I believe we should listen to our heart before we bow to our mind.

I believe our heart often calls the foul, long before our mind perceives the lie.

I believe that in a choice of difficult versus easy, we’ll choose easy almost every time.

I believe that though collectives are easy to fool, individuals are not.

I believe that when someone claims to have your best interests at heart, they really have their own.

I believe the only things we truly create are our children, yet they are not our creations at all.

I believe honor relinquished can never be regained.

I believe there are holy words, but other men don’t speak them – they echo in our ear, for only us to hear.

I believe true friends are so rare the fingers of one hand suffice to count them, and that number excludes the thumb.

I believe that when we find our soul unbalanced we can either stop, sit, and reel, or carry on, and fall.

~

I believe that sometimes the universe sews two souls together, and sometimes it rips them apart.

I believe that love is like a light, and someone else is at the switch.

I believe sometimes we do things wrong, and cannot put them right.

I believe if we refuse to look into our heart, we cannot hope to see.

I believe the last person I’ll ever understand, is me.

I believe there has never been anyone like you, and there never will be again.

I believe sometimes the universe is kind enough to let us glimpse its glory, and sometimes it simply doesn’t care.

I believe I can fly, and in your dreams you can too.

~

And after this tiny, fractional list of some things I believe today, I think you may still find yourself asking the question, “But does he believe in the same god as me?” If you do, I must ask, “Why does it matter, is the revealed content of my heart not enough?” However, I’ll also answer with an unequivocal, “No, I don’t believe in the same god as you.” But that is so complex a subject it must wait for another day.

{P.S. It is said that a writer should show, not tell. I seldom listen to platitudes that pretend to be wisdom, so here I have simply told. However if you’d prefer to see, then here you’ll find the “show”.}

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On Blasphemy.

So many people are such moral cowards they find themselves unable to question things that are obviously wrong.

Could this trait be one of the poor outcomes of that terrible policy known as “political correctness”? Do we fear speaking the truth as we see it, because we’re afraid we might offend someone who sees truth a different way? Are we so unsure of our own beliefs we don’t dare listen to someone who believes differently than us? When did we become so proficient at self-censorship?

So-called “political correctness” effectively suppresses one of the most fundamental rights of humanity.  The right to Freedom of Speech. Political correctness, is wrong.

And when the topic turns to religion, political correctness goes rampant. Is the topic of religion repulsive? Perhaps it is to you, but so what? Just because you’re uncomfortable saying what you truly believe, the rest of humanity must shut the hell up? Get over yourself. I don’t care if talking about something that affects substantially more than half of humanity makes you nervous – this is something humanity needs to talk about.

In ages past I think political correctness had other names. One of those names is censorship, which is something every thinking person abhors. Censorship is never good. Why? Because it actively prevents the dissemination of information. Censorship does nothing to protect people, and it is never enacted with that goal in mind. Censorship is enacted and enforced to protect special interests. Censorship is sold to an unthinking populace through the use of emotive, distracting words like “safety”, “national security”, “pornography”, and “decency”. When censorship began failing, political correctness made an appearance.

We’re now subtly encouraged to censor ourselves, with all the same lies as the motivators to our silence. That is precisely what political correctness is, our silence on troubling topics.  No thanks.

Another past name for political correctness may well have been blasphemy. And thus begins the real topic of this post.

Throughout the ages the word blasphemy has been one of the most effective tools of censorship in existence. Sadly, this remains true today. The word blasphemy holds enormous power over people. Virtually nobody is willing to be labeled a blasphemer. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter whether you’re devoutly religious or virulently atheist – you don’t even want to think of yourself of as a blasphemer.

You’re scared.

Scared people are easy to control. How does it feel to realize you’re being controlled through your fears? For me, it doesn’t feel good at all. Indeed, it feels so badly wrong that I’m spending my very precious personal time writing about it.

Dictionary.com defines blasphemy thus:-

noun, plural blasphemies.

  1. impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.
    1. an act of cursing or reviling God.
    2. pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the original, now forbidden manner instead of using a substitute pronunciation such as Adonai.
  2. the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.
  3. irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.: “He uttered blasphemies against life itself.”
Since things on the Internet are constantly in flux, the image below is of the page as it existed when I wrote this post.

blasphemyThe very definition of the word blasphemy reveals just how ridiculous the concept is. Allow me to examine it from another view of true. Actually, since I’m a active proponent of Freedom of Speech as a fundamental human right, I don’t need your permission to say what I think, so I’m not asking for it. If you don’t want to risk reading something that might just possibly contradict something you hold so sacred you dare not question it, then leave now. Freedom of Speech does not include a clause that requires other people to listen.

Clause 1. “impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.”

The definition could stop there. This clause is such an effective, catch-all, gag order that there is pretty much nothing more that needs saying. Except, of course, that there is a lot more that requires addressing.

For example, the implicit monotheistic assumption that God is singular. How offensive is that assumption to those who choose to believe in multiple deities? It is so offensive it should be labeled blasphemous. It just isn’t politically correct at all! Strike it from record!

The first clause’s definition then moves on from the sublime to the ridiculous by mentioning, “or sacred things.” Seriously? Is the Sun not sacred? How about the wind, the rain, the sky, the earth upon which we tread, or the heavens overhead? I’m not allowed to make impious utterances about anything? Give me a break already. Actually don’t bother, since you hold no authority over me I don’t need your permission and I’ll just take one. {But hold that thought… you know, the thought about who holds authority over you.}

Clause 2. “Judaism.”

First, I must say I find it extremely offensive that one of the most numerically insignificant religions in the world gets such prominent placement in a dictionary.  Such prominent placement that far more popular religions are not even mentioned. Look up the numbers, Judaism accounts for less than a quarter of a single percentage point of the entire world’s population.

Oh, I’m sorry, is my mentioning a statistical fact that reveals how something insignificant is given completely disproportionate weight blasphemous? Too bad. It is a fact. Which makes it the truth, and how could the truth possibly be blasphemous? {Actually, I don’t believe in the concept of truth, I believe in the concept of perceptive truth. More about that elsewhere on my blog.}

The sub-text of clause b further highlights just how ridiculous the concept of blasphemy is. If dictionary.com is to be believed, and I don’t see any reason to doubt it, then it is actually blasphemous to pronounce the Tetragrammaton, which is the Hebrew word for God, the way it was originally written in the Hebrew holy texts. I’m trying hard to wrap my mind around this, but it is so transparently stupid I’m actually having difficulty comprehending it.  What this apparently means is that somewhere, sometime in the very distant past, somebody decided that something someone else had written was so holy it could no longer be said. So this person, whoever they were, apparently has greater authority over a religious holy text, held by Judaism to be the holy words of their deity, than their deity himself?  Wow. Just, wow.

Clause 3. “Theology. the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.”

Since when is thought a crime? No, I’m not saying I think I have the rights or qualities of god, singular, I don’t. But I absolutely refuse to deny anyone, anywhere the right to think as they choose. If they choose to believe they are a god, or the only god, that is their business, not mine. You will note that in this section the words that are mine do not capitalize the word god.

I want you to know why I don’t.

It is because I just don’t know. I don’t know if there are gods, or if there is one overall god. I don’t really even know what a god is. From all the writings on that subject I do know what god is supposed to be, but I have a fundamental problem with all of those writings. My fundamental problem with them all, is that they are all written by men. No man is a god. Therefore since I don’t know who or what god is, of if god is singular or plural, or masculine or feminine, it seems impious of me to ascribe the word a capital letter that indicates reverence. What if the god to whom I ascribe that reverence turns out to be the wrong one, or what if they {plural}, turn out to not exist at all? So capitalizing the word  seems irreverent, which I am, so I don’t. Simple.

Clause 4. “irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.”

I said it before, but I have to say it again. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Now I’m not allowed to be irreverent toward something held to be priceless??? Would my describing the Mona Lisa as “just another portrait” be blasphemy?

A three letter phrase commonly used in the texting internet era that begins with “o” and ends with “g” pops to mind. But I won’t use it. Why? Because, strangely enough, after all I’ve already written, I think that little acronym is offensive, crass, and rude.

Why do I think that three letter acronym is offensive, crass, and rude? Because it implicitly ascribes special value to our personal deity. They are ours, and therefore they are special. I firmly believe in equality, which means that our deity cannot be of greater worth than that of anyone else.  I don’t care if your religious text proclaims it is the only “true” religious text, which most religious texts seem prone to doing. It isn’t. It is just another of many religious texts.

Why did I bother writing this post?

Because blasphemy is evil, but it isn’t evil in the way so many think. It is the proclamation that something is blasphemous which is evil, not the utterance itself. Why? Because such proclamations are nothing but weapons in the arsenal of those people who strive to control the way you think. Which is all they are. People. People, just like you and me. Who gives them authority to chain our thoughts so thoroughly we dare not even think?  It certainly isn’t a deity, oh no.  Indeed, if anyone gives them that authority, it is you, and you are free to take that authority away.

The next time you listen to a cleric of any religion, bear this thought in mind. They were ordained by another human, and no human is a deity.

I also wrote this post to show my reverence for the staff of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine. If you are financially able, I encourage you to support them with a donation. Let free people everywhere show those who would quell free thinking an explicit message.  A message that we won’t be cowed into silence by violent extremist terrorists – regardless of what brutal deity supposedly demands it. I hold those murdered staff members in far higher esteem than the murderous villains who attacked them.

Just to be clear… I consider every person who condones or promotes murder and oppression in any name to be an evil, inexcusable, waste of human skin who has no place in our world. Sadly, that definition encompasses an enormous number of Muslims, who actually seem to think people who abandon their faith should be executed. {Go ahead and verify that statement for yourself.}

Here is a heads up. You actually think someone should be murdered for a change of heart? A change of heart doesn’t make them evil. The evil one is you, for ever considering murder as a punishment for freedom of thought.

If you can’t question your clerics, then it is past time you questioned your faith.

Blasphemy should not be something we fear, it should be something we encourage because it opens the mind to new thoughts, and those new thoughts are ours – they are not the bigoted dogma of some other human who claims to speak for god.

If you hold Freedom of Speech, along with the requisite Freedom of Thought that precedes it in high esteem, then throw political correctness out into the stinking trash where it belongs. And while you’re at it throw out archaic, irrelevant words that curtail your freedom to think. One of those words, is blasphemy.

{P.S. What do I really believe? I talk about truth, and I do so because truth really matters to me. But truth doesn’t define what I believe, what I believe is defined by truth as I perceive it. But that doesn’t answer the question, does it? It doesn’t say whether I’m a Theist, or an Atheist. What do I really believe? I’ll post more about that another time.}

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Boobs, Boobs… Glorious Boobs.

This post is about the misconceptions many women have in regard to what men think about their breasts.

During a conversation with a female friend, the topic of men’s bad behavior came about. Normally I’m fine with that. However, when I heard her opinions on why women have breast implants, I realized we men are the victims of other people’s poor choices. Feet first, I leapt to the defense of men everywhere. Read on and discover, sort of, how the conversation went…

Throughout history, men have been the cause of a lot of bad stuff. I’m a man, I’m willing to admit this, and if you subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter you’ll know I am not averse to addressing our shortcomings. However, there are instances in which men take the fall for something that just plain isn’t our fault.

So-called breast enhancement surgery is just that.  Blame for it is a bad rap men don’t deserve.

Before I continue, let me offer you an out. Like everything you’ll find on my blog, this post is my opinion. And, just like every other post I write or Tweet, it is the truth as I see it. I seldom try to back up my view of true with statistics, so if you’re more interested in formula than in feelings, then my blog is probably not the place for you.

Okay, the preamble is finally done, so let is get on to the conversation.

Lady:Men ask women to enlarge their breasts, and the stupid women do. They do it, but they do it for you.

My Response:

That is a complete fallacy! A fallacy which is probably propagated by an industry dedicated to making women feel insecure about themselves.

In my entire life, I have never heard a single man say they wanted their girlfriend or wife to have a boob job. Not once.

What does this tell me? It tells me woman have breast augmentation because they think they will feel better about themselves, not because of pressure from their partner.

The men I know whose girlfriends or wives had breast implants invariably went along with it because they wanted to please her. What man in his right mind would be willing to trade natural for fake? None I know. Especially when fake comes at such a high cost. No, I’m not talking about the monetary cost of an unnecessary surgery. I’m talking about the physical costs the woman’s body bears, including nerve damage, sensitivity loss, and dozens of other major health risks. I’ve never met a man who would willingly subject his partner to such enormous, pointless risks.  Especially when the only reward is fake breasts, regardless of how enormous they are.

Ladies, if men wanted fake women we’d buy inflatable dolls. But we don’t want inflatable dolls, we want you, and we want you exactly as you naturally are.

Lady: “Then why are men obsessed with big breasts?”

My Response:

I hear how men are obsessed with big boobs all the time. Not only do I hear it, but I constantly see and read it in magazines and on the internet. But strangely enough, I never hear this from other men. Never. Except when we cruelly joke about big-breasted bimbos, but that strikes me as closer to derision than obsession.

One of my daughters is a part time waitress. She’s told me how waitresses she knows who have had breast implants tell her that they get bigger tips as a result.

Do men tip waitresses with bigger boobs better? I don’t. I tip all waitresses as close to twenty percent as I can mentally calculate, unless they’ve done a shoddy job – in which case I tip them a lot less. However, from what my daughter says, and from what I’ve heard elsewhere, it seems highly plausible some men do tip women who have had breast implants better.

Lady: “Doesn’t that prove men are obsessed with big breasts?

My response:

I don’t think it does. I think it proves men are obsessed with an implicit promise of sex. They aren’t tipping better because of breast size, they are tipping better because they think if the waitress in question is willing to have her body butchered in order to attract men… Well, they think that is a very obvious, and very explicit promise of sex.

Lady: “Then, you haven’t met the ones that I have! I’ve heard women say ‘My husband wanted bigger boobs, so I granted him his wish’, and the husband even agrees!”

My response:

Unadulterated nonsense! {Admission: I didn’t use actually the word “nonsense”, I used a word that begins in “bull” followed by another four letters.}  Let me present the scenario of what I think is really happening there.

Woman: “Don’t you think I’d look better with bigger boobs?

Man, realizing he’s in potential trouble: “You already look amazing, but if you want…

Woman interjects: “So you do!!!

Man attempts to mitigate the damage with a positive, falsely enthusiastic response: “Yes!

Woman, after recovering from a pointless surgery that didn’t make her feel any better about herself, but did make all her female friends realize she is a complete idiot: “He wanted me to have it done!

Man thinks, ‘Seriously!!!??? How is this my fault? It wasn’t even my idea!’ However he isn’t stupid enough to speak aloud, so he eats humble pie and says: “Yes dear, it was all my idea.

Ladies, let me tell you precisely how your man feels about your breasts. He thinks they are perfect just the way they are. All that stuff you read, hear, and see?  All that media nonsense that insistently whispers the way you naturally are isn’t good enough? It is all lies!  Lies, designed to make you feel insecure about who you are and how you appear.  It is all lies to which you should pay no heed. If you don’t believe me, then ask your man. But don’t ask him a loaded question that hints at how he should answer. {We men really don’t do well with leading questions.} Take him somewhere private and ask him outright. Or even better, show him, and let his reaction be his reply.

Summary.

I think the world has lost a great deal by objectifying sex to the point that young people are beginning to believe sex should be separated from emotion. The insecurities the mass-media sews about breast size is a perfect example of objectifying something that should be private and personal, and is beautiful the way it naturally occurs.

One size does not fit all, in anything.

Bigger is not better.

And fake never trumps real.

Even if the way you are is not the media’s pronouncement of perfection, it is precisely the way we want you to be.

Before I end this post, allow me to stress that it is strictly about breast implant surgery performed for reasons of personal vanity. My heart goes out to women who have suffered mastectomies or disfigurement.  Nothing I have said here applies to you – you are a magnificent, brave person who deserves to look as visually splendid as your inner spirit already is.

Finally, if you leave this post with anything, I hope you leave it with this truth in your heart.  A woman’s breasts only come in come in one size – ideal.

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Editing Resumes.

Isn’t English a wonderful language?  So many ways to say the same thing, and so many things the same words can say.

Does the title of the post mean I have taken up a new line of work and am now assisting others in the creation of polished, compelling applications for a new job?  No, it doesn’t mean that at all. It means I have once again resumed editing the second book in my series, Malmaxa. An enormous amount of time has been lost. Why?  Well my editor took a turn for the worse in her personal circumstances and proved unable to dedicate her time to editing.  It is more important for her to spend her time recovering, it is also more important to me that she heal than refine my work.  Perhaps in the future she will edit for me again, I hope so, but only the passage of time will answer that question.

Unfortunately that leaves me over six months behind in the editing process.  Do I regret the loss of that time?  I do not.  You see, just as time is never gained, it is also never lost.  Time simply passes.  In the time that has passed, in those “lost” six months, I have not read The Pilgrimage at all.  I now find myself looking on my work with fresh eyes and this is what I see…

Beautiful messages obscured by clumsy words, I see passion and I see pain, I see guilt and disdain, I see love flourish as it is gained.  Sometimes I am unable to see at all, for my eyes focus on the eternity scribed into those words so long ago, and sometimes my vision blurs from tears I still find myself unable to shed.

One might think such powerful emotions would drain.  They do not.  They replenish a well that for many reasons has become depleted.

Emotional energy is like a reservoir, that which we expend on others, others must replenish for us, or pretty soon, we simply run dry.

I find it fascinating how my own words are proving able to rejuvenate me. Perhaps my prime goal as an author is the sincere hope they do the same for my readers, should they prove willing to delve deeper than the depth of a virtual page.

Yesterday, in a text conversation with my eldest, she asked if I kept a private journal.  I replied that I do not. She said, “That surprises me given how active your mind is”.  Her answer both flattered and intrigued me. How can a mind ever be inactive?  I believe our mind operates continuously, even during sleep.  Perhaps sleep regenerates conscious energy from a subconscious pool, which in its turn is regenerated by our conscious thoughts?  I like the thought of flows, almost as much as I enjoy the flows of thought.

Back to the topic at hand.  Journals might be a good idea. Especially if they allow us to capture the essence of our emotions for later consumption, in the times we find our emotional energy low.  Yes, thought of as an emotional battery, journals might be a fantastic idea indeed.  In a similar way I am finding Malmaxa is proving itself to be a bottomless reservoir of emotional energy for my sorely depleted soul.  Even if the only soul Malmaxa ever replenishes is mine, I consider it a success.

So, let me correct myself.  Yes, I do keep a journal.  Malmaxa is my journal, as are these words, my Twitter tweets, and every word I write.  My journal is extremely private, yet parts of it I am willing to share. I hope you enjoy those parts, and that even when you do not, that they give you food for thought, if not sustenance for your soul.

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A question, of worth.

Of a farm laborer, a nurse, and a doctor, who is intrinsically the most valuable?

Were we to make this judgment using remuneration, society’s current standard of value, the doctor would be the clear winner, the nurse would trail far behind in second place, and the farm laborer would literally be left in the dusts within which they labor.

However, when we to think about this in anything more than superficial depth, we reverse these values.

Why?

What better basis of value and worth is there than need? We need to eat on an almost daily basis. We need the aid of a nurse perhaps three or four times a year. And we need the aid of a doctor far less often than we need the assistance of a nurse.

I encourage you to question the above statements, but when you’re done you will inevitably come to the same inescapable conclusions I reach below.

Without food we die – that is a guaranteed certainty.

Without a nurse we might suffer through infrequent bouts of poor health, but would we die? Probably not.

Without a doctor to tend us through our most dire illnesses we might well die. But how often in a human lifetime do such dire illnesses come about?

The answer is extremely infrequently, as witnessed by the existence of primitive tribes, who manage to survive in perpetuity without ever seeing a doctor or a nurse – not even for the delivery of their newborn. Yet how long could any of those tribes survive without food? Before you dismiss the continued existence of primitive people as irrelevant in this modern age, remember that such small tribal units are the root of all of humanity, everywhere.

So why do doctors earn multiple times the pay of nurses, who earn multiple times the pay of farm laborers? How did society come to place such inappropriate, excessive value on such seldom used skills? And why has modern society so severely devalued the most crucial people within it – those who labor daily to keep humanity fed, clothed, and housed?

I have my own ideas on these questions, many of which you’ll find throughout this blog. I may even write further about them, so if you’re interested please subscribe. And if you choose to continue seeing another view of true, please support me by reading, and buying my book[s].

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Relationships

Why do happy relationships collapse?

When the Motivation to change  is greater than the motivation to remain. Yet too often the change occurs in favor of another person who turns out to be remarkably similar to the last.

I fear this may be how broken people happen… when they repeat the same mistakes in their choices.

If you find yourself happy, but still dissatisfied in some personal relationship, then let me leave you with this thought.

Relationships. Don’t hope for more than you have, when what you have is so good it can’t be bettered.
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Space.

Space is not something for which I feel a dire need.  Now bear in mind that space comes in two essential flavors.

Personal space, is the space around us into which we don’t like other people to intrude when they approach us.

Living space, is the space we consume for our living quarters, or our home.

You might be interested to know that the size of both types of space varies wildly about the world.  Countries in which land is in crucially short supply tend to place correspondingly small demands on both.  Those in which surface area is abundant tend to have bigger demands.

Let me stress the word again for emphasis. Demands.  Space is not a right, and after the minimum requirement, it is not a need.  It is a demand.

I was thinking about a living space variety just a few minutes ago as I shambled into our house.

We have so much, yet we need so little.

Our former neighbors, an immigrant family from India with two girls ages 7 and 9 recently moved into a bigger house.  The principle reason stated, was that they didn’t have enough “space”.  Their house next door, which is very similar in size to ours, is 2200 square feet (204.3 sq meters). The new home into which they just moved, is 3200 square feet (297.3 sq meters).

Let us look at this in perspective.

Not only are our two youngest children a lot older than theirs, which presumably means they demand more space, but our “grown-up” daughter and her boyfriend live about half-time in one of the rooms in our house.   Our house is so big that not only do we virtually never see Dannielle and her boyfriend, but we pretty much don’t even know they are here… Well, we do of course, but I’m sure you understand my meaning.

So let me leave you with this thought, for this day.

When is enough enough?

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Dreams

Why do so many fear their dreams?

I have read research that indicates people have more nightmares than they have dreams. Personally, I don’t believe it. Why? Because I am a people, and I remember as many of my dreams as I do my nightmares, indeed I probably remember more dreams than I do nightmares.

So how could the scientific research being done, be wrong?

Well, like so many types of research, I think it is only as good as the questions it asks. That is a major flaw isn’t it? If the researchers are asking the wrong questions, then how can they expect to get the right answers? Is scientific research really only as good as the questions it asks when it begins? Sadly, in many cases I think so. Why? Because of the way in which the research is currently undertaken.

Let me explain my thinking. Research is no longer done for its own sake.  Actually, I don’t know if research has ever been done for its own sake. Apparently no one can afford pure research. Research must be funded before it can really begin. This funding is often provided in the form of grants given in response to proposals that state specifically what the research hopes to uncover.

That is a poor state of affairs indeed. It bodes ill for such obvious reasons they should require no explanation. {Of course, I’ll address a couple of the most significant problems because if I don’t, then what would the point of this post be? :)  Read on, and find out.}

Primarily, and perhaps most importantly, research proposals must be written so as to attract funding. If a sponsor can’t be wooed with the explicitly stated goals of your desired research, then your research is unlikely to receive funding, which means it is unlikely to move forward.

Think about that, and you soon realize this inevitably means research attractive to wealthy sponsors is undertaken far more often than research for research’s own sake.

Think about that, and you soon realize research that can be converted back into money is far more attractive to wealthy sponsors that research which cannot. Why? Well, think about it… The principle interest of wealth, is its retention.

Secondarily, and perhaps equally as important as the already clarified “most important”, is the inescapable fact that all research projects have a lifespan. Why is this significant? Because once a researcher completes their current research project, though their project might be over, their life is not. Which means they must find another research project. Which means they must fund another research project. Amazing how a single letter can change the entire meaning of a complete sentence, isn’t it? Sooner or later everyone realizes that if you’re nice to people they are more likely to be nice to you. Which means that if your research is favorable to those who funded it, you have a better chance of returning to the funding honey/money pot for a second helping. Which means that if your research is not favorable to your funder… well, the funder you found won’t long be your funder, will they?

Both of these reasons inevitably result in biased research.

But how can science be biased, you ask? Easy, by focusing on the wrong questions. How can questions be wrong? Easy, when they lead to the answers someone wants.

And thus to the question with which I opened this post. Which I’ll now rephrase as, “Why do so many fear remembering their dreams?

To me, that is the real question. Why are so many so scared of remembering their dreams?

You see, I believe dreams are crucial to our well-being.

Indeed, I don’t simply believe that, I know it for an absolute fact. How do I know that? Well, firstly from my own experience, and secondly because some investigation has been done into this rather unprofitable area of research. Such research invariably finds that if animals are deprived of Rapid Eye Movement sleep for any significant time their performance significantly degrades.  And yes, contrary to popular belief, we humans are indeed animals. My own personal experience, on which I place at least equivalent weight to the scientific research, has shown me that not only does my performance degrade, but I also start suffering from signs of dementia in which I start becoming confused by waking dreams.

All said, I figure that if dreams are sufficiently important that our bodies literally enforce them on us, whether we’re awake or asleep, then they must be crucial to our well-being. I honestly don’t care what anyone says contrary to this – everything our bodies and minds do, is done for a reason. Nothing “just happens”.

Dreams are about reason. If we’re deprived of dreams, we lose not only our ability to reason, but reason itself. In other words, we go crazy.

I don’t doubt that for an instant.

What I don’t understand {Okay, okay… there is lots I don’t understand!} is why so little research is done into something so crucial to life itself. Sadly, I am fairly certain it isn’t because people aren’t interested.  No, I’m pretty sure it is because no one has figured out how to sell the concept of making money from other people’s dreams to those with the money to fund the research.

What a sad state of affairs for humanity! If money is not to be made, it doesn’t matter… Wrong.

Anyway, back to the opening, and subsequently modified, question of why so many are scared of their dreams.

Many, many reasons – not based on research, just on my thoughts. Some of these thoughts are further questions which I answer, however I encourage you to provide your own answers, and maybe even ask yourself additional questions.  Remember, the best questions always lead to another why, and often to another way.

Where do answers come from? From questions…

Do we awaken to nightmares more often than we do to dreams? I think most people do, but I don’t think this is because we have more nightmares than we have pleasant dreams. I think it is because most people are sufficiently scared by their nightmares that their body actually rouses them to wakefulness in order to flee. Terror is not a fun state of mind, but it is certainly sensational. Sure, some people tell themselves they enjoy being terrified, as witnessed by the popularity of horror movies and books, but I think what they are really enjoying is the sensations terror induces.

If the assumption that people wake to nightmares more often than to pleasant dreams is correct, then it is quite obvious why people would fear remembering their dreams.

However, this begs another question. Do we have nightmares more often than we have pleasant dreams? I don’t believe we do, however I do believe we fully awake to nightmares more often than we do to pleasant dreams. Why? Because when we feel ourselves awaking from a good dream, we are rewarded not by waking, but by lingering within the dream. I’m pretty certain the following statement is true… For us to remember our dreams, we must be awake.

Good news! We can remember our good dreams. All we need to do is learn to wake up as they are ending… Think how amazing that would be. Not only could we enjoy our dreams when we’re having them, but we could enjoy them forever by remembering them at will.

I know how to remember my dreams. I do it often. I will not tell.

What I don’t know, is how to ensure I will dream dreams worth remembering.

Why hasn’t research been done into this? I believe it is because no one knows how to make money from other people’s dreams. I believe it is because true happiness lies within more than without. Happiness is readily accessible in our dreams, if only we knew how to initiate and recall them. Happiness can’t be bought at any price, and price is what the funders of research are focused upon. Happy people don’t need things to make them happy, and the funders of research are more interested in things they can sell, than in dreams – which are free.

What do you believe?

~ Dreams ~
~
Inspiration,
dwells everywhere,
it is in our dreams,
and in the air,
it is the wind that blows
without,
and it is the air we breathe
within.
~

Though I won’t tell how I remember my dreams, I have told of my dreams. My work {to me Beltamar’s War is far more than merely a novel} is an example of my dreams. Malmaxa is a place where humanity is freed from the self-imposed constraints of survival, it is freed to live, and also to die. Malmaxa is my dream of a better humanity than that which now savages our Earth.

Soon, I’ll post a poem based on another type of dream. If you’re interested in reading it I recommend you subscribe to my blog using the option in the top right. Why? Because I usually refrain from posting my most passionate thoughts, and this poem is based on a dream of passion. Why do I so refrain? I certainly don’t refrain from passion, indeed passion rules my life. However, like everyone, I dread the harsh judgment of others. Perhaps, at its root, that is why people are so scared of remembering their dreams.  For, you see… In our dreams, is the only place we are ever truly free. True freedom, is scary.

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I know What, but not Why?

People are incredibly arrogant. They think that all they need do is shake their head in scorn at anything they don’t understand, or for which no scientific explanation exists, make some derisive comment, ignore their intuition, and their vision of a world in which they are in absolute control of their own destiny remains safe.

Which is precisely what many do when it comes to questions about the moon. That something so far away can have such a dramatic impact on the behavior of so many  simply boggles their minds. It casts a veil of doubt on their safe little view of reality. Sadly such close minded people are often able to impose their narrow minded thinking on their children.

The moon… it hovers overhead, held in place by a force scientists explained through the use of created mathematical formulae.  Gravity.

Yet no one truly understands what gravity actually is.

Forget about the apparent fact that gravity exists, and tell me why gravity exists.  You don’t need to tell me what gravity is, I know.  What I don’t know, is why gravity is.

Once you’ve accomplished that, which you’ll never manage, I’d like you to reconsider this imprecise sentence. You’ll notice an assertion about another non-specific, namely time itself.  Which will then become your next topic of research.

I’d really appreciate you explaining why Time is.  But in the matter of time, let me be the first to admit I don’t even know what it is, even though it still controls every aspect of my life.

Why?

Why did I write this post?  Because for the last few days I’ve been angry and miserable.  But I didn’t know why until someone called me on it.  On impulse, I looked up the current phase of the moon.  I know what I did, and what I found, but I still don’t know why.

I fear modern humanity has already lost more knowledge than it will ever gain.

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Is Love’s perfect measure, a Tootsie roll?

In the USA we celebrate two rather peculiar Holidays.

The first of these is called Halloween. The principle attraction of this holiday, at least for young children, is something called “Trick or Treat” – a fun time for both parents and children. Parents dress up their young children, then parade them around the neighborhood, proudly displaying their progeny for all to see. As for the kids, they get to be praised by all for simply being kids, but most importantly, they also get showered with free candy.

The second strange holiday is called Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that no one has yet managed to ruin through commercialization. Essentially, it is a pretty traditional family feast. In our household my wife has become such a masterful chef that everyone loves Thanksgiving. I don’t think I exaggerate in saying our family looks forward to Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. Indeed, I think even my wife enjoys working like a slave for the days leading up to the actual feast. She heaps our plates with fantastic foods, and we heap her with praise. A classic win-win situation :).

So, precisely what does any of this have to do with measuring love with a Tootsie roll? I’m getting there, impatient one.

Our oldest daughter lives in Athens, Ohio. This year Athens celebrated Halloween on the evening of October 27th. Eden, our almost five-year-old Granddaughter, scored in the candy sweepstakes. Later, while counting her stash of well-gotten gains, Eden found a Tootsie roll. Eden knows I love Tootsie rolls, so she turned to her mom and said, “I’ll save this for Granddad.” She then put it aside.

A month flies by.

This year Thanksgiving fell on the 24th November. Along with her mother, father, and baby sister, Eden arrived. After greeting each person individually, she arrived at me, kindly granted me a hug, {which she has been known to withhold,} then held out a tight clenched fist and said, “I brought something special for you, Granddad.”

I reached out my open hand, into which Eden dropped a warm and soft little Tootsie roll. I unwrapped it and ate it immediately. As I did she said, “I know you like them.”

I managed to assure her that I did before I had to turn away. Some troublesome gnats must have flown into my eyes.

How do you measure the length of love?

Usually, I don’t measure love at all, for Love truly is incomparable. However, a few days ago I found Love’s perfect measure, at least for that moment. A single, hand-melted Tootsie roll. Should you ever be so lucky.

Avidly look for love and you’ll find it, and often in the most surprising of places.

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A Butterfly’s Breath.

The breath of a butterfly changes the world.” I have no idea who first realized that truth, or who first formed it into words. When I heard the expression as a youngster, I questioned it with thoughts along these lines…

How can something no one can possibly see, do anything that affects me?
And if it doesn’t affect me, then how can it possibly change the world?

It took years for me to realize the errors in my thoughts. I erred by including the center of my universe in my thoughts. Namely, “me”.

The arrogance of youth…

There is no requirement for things to affect us to make them matter. The universe does not center about any individual, certainly not around me, and not around you either. Indeed some of the things that matter most don’t affect us at all. Some unethical company can dump toxic waste into a river on the other side of the world. My drinking water is still clean, so that doesn’t affect me. Some unscrupulous monster in the guise of human flesh can torture, rape, maim, and murder people deep in Darkest Africa. That doesn’t affect me! After all I don’t live in Africa anymore, I live in the safety of suburban America.

Only those deeds do matter.

We can remain completely unaware of something, and it will still change the world. That isn’t an opinion, it is an inescapable fact. Everything affects everything else. There is no ripple too small to change the world, and there is no ripple that ends until it has.

The world is the way the world is, but I don’t for a moment believe the world is the way it is meant to be.

Would I have the world be another way?

Yes, I would have humanity be just. However if anything changed the past, this would not be the present we occupy, would it? Would the present from a changed past have you here, reading this post at this precise moment in time? Would it have you with yours, and me with mine? A present from a changed past would have none of the things we hold most precious. In a present from a changed past, you and I would likely not exist at all.

A butterfly’s breath changes everything.

A present from a changed past would likely be as terrible as the present we’re already in, so best we stick with our present, and make no vain wishes to change our past. By “terrible”, I don’t mean for you or for me. After all, we’re in the comfort of wherever, reading or writing this on some computer screen, somewhere. We, you and I, have it vastly better than the overwhelming majority of humanity. Indeed, we have it pretty damn good. However that doesn’t make the world a good or just place, it only makes you and I unjustly privileged.

No, the world is most definitely not as it is meant to be.

But perhaps we are who we are meant to be. Though we cannot change the past, we can change the future…  Be the smallest ripple, and change the world. But please, change it for the better – not for the better of you and me, but the better for everything.

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Should family come first?

Today is Thanksgiving day.  Thanksgiving is a time of family, both for enjoying the company of your family, and for reflecting on its importance in your life.  It makes me ponder the apparently obvious question of whether family should come first?

For me family always has. My children hold an importance in my life I think they will only begin to comprehend when they have children of their own in their lives.

So, yes. Family comes first.

However that is only a partial bit of a greater truth. Another partial bit of truth is how we place the ones we love ahead of ourselves. And yet another bit of strictly personal truth {When is truth ever not personal?} is how I am biased against “first”, which is what this post is really about. Now be warned  I’m going to explore this matter at some length, so feel free to stop reading as soon as you get bored.

The initial thoughts that pop into my mind are that first requires there be a last. First turns things into a competition, and love should never be a competition. Not for children, who should never need to compete for their parents love. Not for parents, who should never love one child more than another. And not for people in love, who should never think their love is greater than that of those who love them.

Sadly, we often fail in all these instances.

Time for an admission – I really don’t like competition. Sure, when I was growing up competition was everywhere. I competed to gain an entry place into the High School I attended. I competed with every other student in my grade level for placement in the top class. I competed in sports, both team, and individual. The day scholars competed against the boarders. My school competed against others, both academically and in sports. I constantly competed against my own siblings, then we’d team together and compete against the neighbors. When I entered military service, I competed against other conscripts for officer selection training. In the School of Infantry we were split into teams that competed against each other. We also competed against the members of our own team, in order to remain in officer training. After our basic training we competed for the military units we wanted to serve in. Some competed for secure headquarters postings, and some competed to gain an active duty posting in the field of combat. I fell into the latter category.

And then shit hit the fan.

We started competing for our lives.

I am still alive.

So why do I not feel like a winner for surviving?  During the war I felt like I was, and yet my side lost.  To my first-hand knowledge, the Rhodesian Military never lost a battle, yet the insurgents won the war.  The victors write history, and the losers are soon forgotten. Years later might have been when I finally realized that in war the soldiers who do the fighting are never winners, regardless of the side on which they fight. The aftermath of war is not victorious soldiers and vanquished, faceless foes, it is victims, some of whom were once soldiers, who were once people.

Are there no winners in war?

Yes, there are winners in war.  They are the unscrupulous politicians.  They are the financiers who profit from other peoples’ deaths.  They are the manipulators calling the shots, while cowering behind the scenes. They are those who never lift a weapon in combat, yet speak loudest of Defense, Justice, and Liberty.  The winners in war are the liars and the thieves.

Mortal combat is the final competition.  Don’t mistakenly believe that combat is the ultimate competition, for ultimate has connotations of good, and there has never been, nor ever will there ever be, a good war.  Not ever, and nor ever.  Strong words?  Yes, but obviously not strong enough, since wars still ravage a humanity foolish enough to be easily manipulated by those who profit from death and misery.

Perhaps this post gives clues as to why I am so biased against “first”, even in the case of family.  You see, for me,  first connotates competition.

Competition…

Competition should for be for the joy of competing, not for mere survival.

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