Forgiveness.

Some ancient wisdom strikes at the very root of truth. Which is probably why we consider it so wise. Take this modern English version of a line from a lengthy poem by Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.

Succinct and simple at first glance. Now let us delve into the wisdom buried within.

First a little background. I was browsing the timeline of a simply complex man who walks alongside me on Twitter’s path. That path can be painful at times, studded as it is with uncut gems. @DaveGrigger posted a link to a post regarding forgiveness that you may choose to read.

My subsequent reading of the post referred to caused my own reflection on the nature of forgiveness.  I responded with my own version of the truth:

The only way we humans ever truly forgive, is when we forget.

Do I wish I could forgive? Of course, as forgiveness strikes me as a most worthy thing to do. Unfortunately, there is a caveat that renders forgiveness impossible for any human save a simpleton.

Outrageous!

No, simply the truth as I see it. You see, for forgiveness to be real requires that there be no exceptions to it. True forgiveness must be absolutely unconditional. We can’t partially forgive someone. We can’t conditionally forgive someone. We can’t forgive them, with reservations and exceptions. Thus the only way we can ever truly forgive someone who has wronged us, is to completely forget they did. That requires us to be a simpleton who is completely incapable of remembering. I don’t believe such simple humans exist.

Let me use an example to try and clarify my meaning along with my understanding of what I think Alexander Pope meant. I’m unlikely to succeed, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Someone deliberately deceives us in order to win a contest.

We forgive them.

We enter another contest. They deceive us again, and win again.

If we are truly capable of forgiving, then there is no limit to the number of times they can repeat the wrong they do us. Do you know anyone who is capable of such forgiveness, other than a complete simpleton?

If we truly forgave them the first time they deceived us, then forgiving them again is easy. However that is not the nature of humans anywhere. Though we forgave them the first time, when they repeat their deceit we remember the first occurrence. Since we remember their treachery, we have not truly forgiven it. The most we have done is grant the wrongdoer leniency, while retaining the right to withdraw such leniency.

That is not forgiveness. Not at all.

Forgiveness is far beyond the realm of human behavior. So far beyond that it can only be in the behavior of the divine.

I’ll leave you with one last thought. Forgiving someone who has not wronged us really isn’t forgiveness at all, it is arrogance. It makes countless assumptions about whatever deed we deem worthy of forgiveness, it makes further assumptions about the person or people who were wronged, and it attempts to place us in judgment over the actions of others. What is that, save arrogance?

To forgive requires two things. First, that we are personally wronged. Second, that we completely forget.  I don’t wish either of those on anyone.

Now look back on the number of words in this post.  Compare them to the number of words in Alexander Pope’s poetic line, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  Honestly, I think Alexander Pope said all I have said and more, in barely a single line…

Ancient wisdom, indeed.

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The price of hair.

By Julia.

Most people have hair, I have brown hair, my best friend (one of many yet so few), as seen in the picture, has blond hair.

Each year around 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US 35,000 children are currently in treatment for cancer. Some 25% of all kids who are diagnosed with cancer die.

So what’s the cost,
of hair that is?

I have hair, I bet you have hair too. So why do we cut our hair, without thought?
Why do we let it fall to the floor, without thinking?
Why don’t we do something magical?!

Let’s start a revolution, lets…
give hair to the little girls and boys who really need it most. A child’s path to survival is brutal, they lose their hair, their eyebrows, their eyelashes. So why not give to them what they might never get back, or might never have the chance to get back?

There is a magical organization that with your help, helps young children with medical hair loss, cancer included. The organization is called “Locks of Love”.

Two precious girls who have just given.

Two precious girls who have just given.

Now, you see that picture above? That is one of my best friends, and I after two years of careful care, we had just donated our hair to Locks of Love. She gave 10” I gave 12”.
I have donated my hair 3 times. My goal is 10 times, I encouraged my friend to donate for her first time, and I’m glad I shared that experience with her!

So grab a best friend, and donate something that’s price is a little unfair…

{PS. I first posted about this when Julia and her friend made this donation. My take on Julia’s story appears here.}

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Gonzo

Back in the mid to late 1970s, my brother-in-law, Desmond, though I don’t think he had yet married my sister, Elizabeth, when this happened, was managing a farm. Desmond rescued a baby bushpig from his farm laborers, who had managed to capture it.

A female bushpig - females have no tusks.

A female bushpig – females have no tusks.

{The image above is borrowed, under their creative commons license, from this post on Wikipedia. Take a few minutes and read a little more about these fascinating creatures. *Note 1.}

Using a piece of twisted wire, the laborers had hung the piglet up by it’s snout and one of it’s front legs. They intended to eat it for dinner later in the day.  Desmond bought the baby pig, paying substantially more per pound than the cost of the meager amount of pork on the piglet’s frame. Desmond cleaned up the open wound on it’s right-front leg left by the wire, then brought it to our house. We named the tiny little pig “Gonzo”, which is Shona for “Rat”. Why?  Because Gonzo was about the size of a cane-rat, and the same coloring too.

Gonzo attached himself to my youngest brother, Nick, and would follow him everywhere. It was quite a sight to see Gonzo hobbling after Nick, trying to hold his bandaged front leg up off the ground where it would remain unspoiled. Contrary to common belief, pigs are quite fastidious in their grooming habits.

Along with all of us, Nick took great delight in waiting until Gonzo was distracted, then hiding from him. When Gonzo realized his adopted “mother” had vanished he would squeal and dash all over the place until he found Nick. Gonzo’s behavior was completely uncharacteristic, since most baby wild animals instinctively freeze at any danger. I know for a fact baby bushpigs do, because we once captured another who “froze” right in the middle on the road on the way down to the Zambezi River on a fishing trip. We stopped, walked up to the little pig, picked it up, moved it over to the side of the road to which it’s mother had run and put it down. {We were pretty stupid back then… wild animals generally don’t take to people interfering with their young so don’t do it!}

Looking back, I realize how cruel our behavior toward Gonzo was. The poor little animal must have thought he was about to be captured, forcibly removed from his mother, strung up, and wired to a pole all over again. Since Gonzo’s fear overcame his instincts, he would literally run wild until he found his “Mom”.

Back to the story.

Though he was quite clean {I’m talking about Gonzo, not my brother Nick} he had a problem many babies have.  In order to feel secure, he needed to sleep with someone. Unfortunately, also like many little babies, Gonzo had another serious problem…

Each evening as bedtime for the pig approached Nick would get up, walk into the bedroom he shared with my brother Chris, sit on Chris’s bed, pat it, and whisper, “Here Gonzo, here boy!” Like a well trained dog, Gonzo would leap onto the bed and burrow in. About ten minutes later Chris would get up, casually stroll into the bedroom, sit on Nick’s bed, and repeat the process.

Gonzo loved playing this game.

Unfortunately for Chris, he would usually lose the Battle of the Pig. How do I know this? Because pretty much like clockwork when Chris went to bed a loud cry would echo through the house as Chris yelled, “That bloody pig has peed in my bed!! Again!

You see, the other serious problem Gonzo had, is that he would wet the bed. {At least this is what Nick claimed…}

Of all the wild animals we rescued and temporarily kept as pets, and we had many, from bushpigs to Nag Apies, I think Gonzo might well have been the one with the most character.  I may post other memories of him on this blog, so stay tuned.

{Note 1. The image above could almost be of Gonzo. The only difference is that Gonzo was a male, and male bushpigs grow substantial tusks – which is how I know the image is of a female bushpig.}

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To Do, To Dare.

~ To Do, To Dare ~
~
When children we are,
when children we do,
and we dare,
without worry or care,
then we age,
and we don’t,
for how others will think,
we now worry and care,
and thus we don’t
dare.
~

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Negative, turned about, is positive.

How did it come about that society has so indoctrinated us into believing that questioning how things are is “being negative”, while accepting our miserable lot in life is “being positive”? I look at our world, for that is what it is, our world – least for the short time we dwell upon it, and I wonder how it came about that so very very few ride upon the hog’s back, and that we are the hogs upon which they ride.

The few and precious memories of my childhood seemed so carefree, and so different to the moments of my children’s. Were things that different only fifty years ago? I know they were, for then a universal trait of people was that they put other people before themselves. That trait has largely died, extinguished by another now held in much higher esteem than selflessness, and that trait is selfishness. We are taught to “do whatever it takes”. Before we succumb to such an insidious demand we should realize that for us to take, others must give. Do we ask ourselves if they give willingly? For if they do not, then we have become the instruments of the single source of evil in our world. What is that, do I hear you ask? It is something current society holds in highest esteem.

The source of all evil in our world is not some unseen, malevolent force. It is human greed.

Modern society teaches us that…

  • We should work harder so we can have more.
  • We should compete with one another with intent to win.
  • We should be content with our lot in life.
  • We should obey the government.
  • We should abase ourselves before whatever deity the religion foisted on us holds high.

The truth is none of the things society, under the direction of unscrupulous, greedy people, teaches us. The best lies are those that seem as though they might be truths. Society’s teaching are some of the best lies.

We should work harder so we can have more.

We should work as hard as required to sustain ourselves and grant sufficient excess to be generous to those more needy than ourselves.

We should compete with one another with intent to win.

Rather than compete, we should cooperate.  When we compete, we should compete for fun.

We should be content with our lot in life.

Regardless of our position on society’s pyramid, we should never be content with our lot in life. Never.

Those who are monetarily rich are spiritually poor. How can they be content when they know they have more than their share? Only a spiritually impoverished person is incapable of recognizing their own greed. Should they be content? No, they should strive to balance the scales of eternity by using their largess to better the lives of the multitudes.

There are varying degrees of  financial insecurity, ranging from the impoverished through to the apparently well off and so-called middle class. Regardless of where on that scale people dwell, those who are financially insecure are nothing more than modern day slaves. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again.


The best slaves are those who think they are free… You own your own home, you’re making a decent wage, you have investments, you have medical insurance.

You think you’re free.  You’re not.

Do you have a mortgage? Then you don’t own your own home, the bank does. And who owns the bank?  And how is it that after hundreds of generations people are still struggling to own a home of their own?  Did their parents not succeed in that goal?  Who owns the home their parents eventually owned?  How is such a rudimentary debt never repaid?

You’re making a decent wage.  What if you lose your job?  How will you survive then?  What else will the loss of your job cause? Your home, your health, your family?

Investments are subject to market crashes. Where is the security in worrying your future can be destroyed at any time?  What happened to pensions that guaranteed we’d have an income once we retired?  How did it come to pass that we became responsible for the savings that our employers once looked after for us?  Now we must not only do our job, we must also become an investment expert as well.  We must assume a responsibility that once belonged to another. Where is the security in that?

What happens to your medical insurance when you can’t pay the premium?  Are you still feeling secure?

Now for the base truth.  If you owe anyone anything, then they own you. That is what owe and owner mean. If you are owned, another word for you is slave. Should slaves be content? Not until they throw off the shackles of their unseen and unknown masters.

There are no classes of people. There are only people. Yet the powers that be have somehow segregated society into two very distinct classes. Those who have far far more than they could ever consume or need, and those who are indebted. If you are not one, then you are the other.  Neither segment of our segregated society should be content.

We should obey the government.

Government has only one purpose, only one. To serve its citizens. Precisely how this twisted through one hundred and eighty degrees to become citizens should serve the government, I don’t know. Do you see how close this particular lie is to the truth? When two lines lie in parallel how does one determine which line is the lie?

We should abase ourselves before whatever deity the religion foisted on us holds high.

Let me be absolutely clear. I do not believe in your god. It does not matter what name your god bears, they are not mine.

Does this mean I don’t believe in the divine? No, it does not.

Every successful organized religion shares certain common traits. They all align neatly with societal lies. They all instruct the masses to obey those in power, the only difference is that those in power are the clergy of whatever religion you subscribe to. They all make promises they cannot fulfill by offering rewards that only come after life ends. No organized religion provides any evidence the rewards they dangle before the hypnotized eyes of their lay exist, none of them, not a single one. What every organized religion offers, is eternal salvation in exchange for cold hard cash.

Don’t be fooled. You cannot buy passage into eternity. No ticket any human sells will ever cover the cost of your soul.

In every organized religion there are two classes of people. If this sounds familiar, it should. There are the ordained, and there are the lay. And once again, every organized religion shares the same fundamental problem. The ordained, are ordained by humans, not by the divine.

Every organized religion has strange, often ancient, writings they hold as sacrosanct. These writings, sometimes called scriptures, are allegedly the words of divinity. Once again these writing all share something. They are written in human language. Now ask yourself this, what need have the divine of language created by humankind? Were a divine entity to talk to us would we not understand them? We must. Yet if a divine entity were to speak in a human language we don’t speak then we could not possibly understand them. The language of the divine is universal, yet it is not a language created by humankind. It is the language our soul speaks, and it is the language every single human ever born can comprehend if they choose to listen. It whispers in our inner ear, it tells us when we do wrong, and it tells us how to do right. Do we listen, or have we long single forgotten conscience call?

The base measure of societal success is money. An early and elementary lesson, repeated ad nauseam, holds that the more we have the better. How foolish are we to believe that more than we need is not greed, but good?

Foolish indeed…

If you’ve got this far you might be asking yourself why I titled this post as I did. I did so because I am gradually realizing I really am a positive person, not the negative one society has taught me to believe I am. I want to see better things for all humanity, and to try to achieve that goal I am willing to strip away the superficial truths society uses to cover its deepest lies. I am struggling to show that the world is capable of sustaining all its life, and humanity is merely a subset of that life. We can sustain each other, but first we must throw of the shackles of lies with which we bind ourselves. Is that not a positive aspiration?

{PS. If you are interested in another view of true, then please subscribe to my blog. It always holds my truths. I’ll promise you one thing only, that my truths are not the same as yours. You might also be interested in my philosophy, which though simple is couched in complex fantasy with a lyrical lilt. If you are, then start reading a substantial sample of Beltamar’s War right here in your browser, for free. I hope it encourages you to spend a few of your hard-earned dollars and buy a copy.}

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Colors

~ Colors ~
~
Black, white, indigo and grey.
They’re all just pigments
at the end of the day.
Brown, red, yellow, and white.
They’re all just skin tones,
what do they matter,
when we turn out the lights.
~

My youngest daughter, Julia, wrote this. It was on a page of, “they aren’t any good”…

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Dream’s Embrace

~ Dream’s Embrace ~

~

Midnight closes the gates of Awaken,

wood nymphs ease from the shadows,

in dance,

a fleeting glimpse of hidden beauty,

granted,

as we step over the threshold,

into dream’s embrace.

Wood nymph,

where are you?

Hidden… till you answer

slumber’s call.

~

 I recently found this draft, which mystified me as I have no recollection of writing it. From its date-stamp it may have been associated with “A Cyrstal Tear“, a short Fairy Tale I wrote about the same time.

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Finding Watson.

Look into this subject even superficially and you’ll find the benefits of pet ownership, particularly and especially dog ownership, are so significant they should pretty much be a requirement. This is especially true for elderly people, who are at significant risk of loneliness.

Although I never considered myself to be a “dog person”, my family always had pets. I grew up around pets, and we invariably had dogs. But I never had a whole lot of interest in them, and they never seemed to have more than a superficial interest in me. In South Africa where I lived alone in an apartment, I never had pets, and I never missed them. When I married, my wife insisted on us having dogs, so we did. But to be quite honest, I could have done without them. For whatever reason they were all pure-bred, and pure-bred dogs can be high strung, have health issues, and generally be demanding.

Then we moved to the United States. Due to living restrictions we couldn’t have pets for the first year, but the moment we moved into our own home my wife dashed down to the pound and rescued Watson. He was in such bad shape the pound almost refused to let him go, for fear he would die.

Watson changed my life. For the better. When my wife told me what she’d done, namely snuck off to the pound and rescued a dog, I was more than a little irritated. At the time our house was tiny at about 1200 square feet with two bedrooms, both filled with two people.

Where were we going to keep a dog?

That irritation dissipated the moment Watson came into the house. He looked at me with these terribly deep soulful eyes that entreated me not to beat him. I don’t know what the people who left him at the pound had done to him, but Watson knew we had saved him from certain death. It took years before Watson stopped cowering and stood tall and dignified once more. In all the years we owned Watson, we only saw him growl at one person, a man that came down the driveway to read the electric meter. As I write this, the sudden feeling that Watson growled at that man because he knew him strikes me.

Watson died with his head held in my lap. Yes, that was a very sad day, and one which I have no doubt we’ll relive when Bacon, another pound rescue, eventually dies. Sadly, dogs don’t live as long as people. However, into their much shorter lives they pack more love than most people are capable of giving in all of their much longer lives.

The bottom line is that Watson bettered our lives, and there is good news!

There is a Watson waiting for you right now, and you are his final chance. If you’re not “a dog person”, then find the courage to go and rescue Watson, and in turn you’ll gain something you’ve never experienced before. The unconditional, absolute love of a friend who will never forget you, always be there for you, come at your every call, be happy at sight of you, be sad when you step out, be solemn when needed, be playful when the time is right, be mischievous, be greedy, and always, always be giving. In return all you need to do it feed them, exercise them, and care for them. There is something therapeutic in caring for others, whether those others be animals or not matters little.

Dog-ownership is a win-win, but I think the real winners are the “I’m not a dog person” people more than the dogs they rescue.

When it comes time to pick your Watson, pick wisely. Don’t go to a pet store, he doesn’t live there. Don’t go to a puppy farm, he isn’t there either. Yes, your Watson might have been born in a puppy-mill, but that isn’t where you’ll find him. You’ll only find your Watson in one place. On doggie death-row, where someone else has left him, unaware of the treasure they held. Your Watson might be big, he might be small. He might be hairy, or he might be shorn. He might bark, or he might be still. He might be black, he might be white, or any color-combination at all. He might be old, or he might be very very young. Why, your Watson might even be a she. Yet whatever your Watson is, when you see him, or her, you’ll know. And if your heart is so injured it remains so blind you cannot even see, then rest assured, your Watson will recognize you.

Go on, find your own Watson today.

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Keys, to things past.

Last night my entire immediate family had the good fortune of being together. We were all talking about “old times”. My daughter Dannielle asked if I was in any serious relationships before marrying their mom. When I said I had been engaged once before, Dannielle was quite startled. I don’t think this is unusual, for some reason few of us ever think of our parents as having had a life outside of “us”. Anyway, one thing led to another and eventually my wife mentioned how I still had a necklace that my first fiancé had given me. {Which is somewhat of a stretch of the truth as she is the one who actually had the necklace :)}. She then went on to mention how the necklace was engraved with “Charlie”. I asserted that is was not as I never allowed her to call me that. My wife promptly went to get the necklace in order to prove me wrong.

Indeed I don’t allow anyone to call me anything except my name, which is Charles, and this includes my wife, which is probably why she seemed a bit irritated as she went upstairs to fetch the offending piece of jewelry. My daughters all noticed this. They mistook it for jealousy, a misconception I actively encouraged until I heard my wife coming back down the stairs. Yes, I enjoy mischief as much as any three year old and I apologize for it as seldom as they do :)

As is often the case it turned out my wife was correct, however the strangest thing was that even when I looked at the necklace I still read it as “Charles”, right up until I really examined it closely under good light.

As I haven’t worn the necklace in over thirty-five years I said any of my daughters who wanted it could have it. Julia immediately claimed it, after which Dannielle said, “But what if I also want it?” To which I replied, “Then you two can share it.” Dannielle then responded, “No, what I really want are your dog tags.” To which my wife asked, “Which ones? Dad has two sets.”

This prompted a flood of further memories.  I agreed, “Yes, the first set was issued to me on my conscription, and it has the number 124041. The second set was issued when I was commissioned, and it has the number V4051″. At this my third daughter, Tamryn, butt in, “Well if you have two sets then I want one of them.” So Dannielle got one set.  According to Dannielle, she got the real set as I had used them while on I served on active duty. Dannielle kept asking what they had been laminated with. I don’t know why Dannielle had so much trouble understanding that the so-called laminate was the results of 3 years of sweat imbuing them and the parachute cord from which they were suspended :)

In case anyone is interested enough to question why there are two tags, one is highly resistant to acid and the other is highly resistant to fire – no, I don’t recall which is which.

strange memories, of irrelevant things that make us wonder... why?

My Rhodesian Army Dog Tags.

So what was this post really about? Well, I entered National Service in the Rhodesian Army in 1978. My basic training lasted six months, yet somehow I still remember my conscription number. I don’t remember how the symbol of a passed love, from the past, had been inscribed with a name I will not tolerate anyone using to address me, and perhaps might even be the cause of that particular element of me. I don’t remember what the strange little symbol vaguely indicative of a Bactrian camel on that chain represents.  Of all the important things I could remember, why did my brain retain two utterly irrelevant numbers?  Why do I specifically remember striking the zero into that tag twice?  Why do I remember the feeling of resentment that they made me scribe a religion?  Why do the memories I so badly want elude me, yet memories I don’t need, remain? Twisted…

Oh, I did place a condition on both Tamryn and Dannielle, which I didn’t place on Julia. I told them that under no circumstances are they allowed to give away or dispose of the dog tags. After all the excitement settled down my wife admitted she was quite irritated with me. She is sure our girls will just take them off and discard them, I am not, but if they do I don’t really know that I’ll care…

Strange how we hold onto some things that really have no value other than the memories they embody isn’t it? In this case I didn’t hold onto any of those things, but my loving wife did so for me. However, and this is the real point of this largely pointless post, there is a loss from way back then which I deeply regret.

The loss I mourn most, is that of my personal poetry book, it held thoughts I cannot recapture, from an era that will never return.

Somehow, somewhere, I misplaced that little black book, along with all the poems I had transcribed therein.

Those are the things I miss the most, the memories I’ve lost.  Things, those we can replace, thoughts and the memories they make, those we cannot.

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Daniskira

Similar to Faroene, this is a character poem wrenched from the heart of the Symbologist, Daniskira.

As poetry so often does, it lays bare words, feelings, and fears that Daniskira dare not consider while she remains trapped inside my epic tale, Malmaxa. Should you find yourself confused, don’t be distressed. Sometimes we mistake our intuitions for suspicions. At others we mistake our suspicions for intuitions. Perhaps one of those circumstances leads to our confusion.

~ Daniskira ~
~
My match’s memory sets my heart aglow.
Such fire burns deep.
Such fire burns slow.
A smiling face to the world I show,
yet when my eyes close,
to my Demons I’ll go.
~
Demons that in my dreams await,
Demons that stir my fears,
their hungers to sate.
My opening eyes their feast do abate,
yet their shrill screams
still cast doubt on my fate.
~
How I long to take comfort,
in the arms of my mate.
~
Will my match’s love last,
will his feelings for me hold him fast?
To these troubled thoughts,
my Demons emit a derisive blast,
“Surely such good things
as Beltamar must pass!”
~
How I dread the days spent apart,
will our return to Malmaxa,
grant us
a new start?
~
Deaf ears to our pleas do our Demons turn,
and on our shoulders they pile
and heap up their scorn.
You see, it’s for misery our Demons do yearn,
and so,
our happiness do they spurn,
and into our hearts cast Doubt,
in which each of us
eternally burn.
~
My back bows beneath such weight,
the hours grow long,
the hours grow late.
Till finally from slumber I wake,
and from my dread dreams I escape.
A clear mind shows me the path,
that leads from their miserable hate,
yet toward whence I know not,
nor my ultimate fate.
~
Oh how I yearn for the arms of my mate,
Beltamar will offer me comfort.
And yes, his comfort,
I’ll gladly take.
~
My hanging head releases my tears,
from my eyes to the earth,
do I watch them pour,
my misted vision blots out all fears,
and in my Chukrah’s embrace am I,
once more,
secure.
~
Sunrise heralds a new dawning day,
bringing relief, as into my duty I wade.
The unmarked wait in slow moving lines,
My task, my duty, my goal,
and also my why,
is to etch in their flesh their Soul sign,
Soul symbols,
granted by ancestors on high.
~
Soul signs shimmer…
these symbols of the Soul do I see,
my Chukrah reveals their aura to me.
Pure images in my mind flash on by,
Soul signs,
overlaid, on a starless, blue sky.
Pure colors coalesce,
Segattoo quills into these colors combine.
And then,
with fingers made nimble and sure,
by the gift of my Chukrah,
Soul signs into their flesh
do I draw,
~
Soul signs simmer…
Soul signs burn,
Soul signs into living skin
do I set,
Soul symbols,
which I simply, can never forget.
~
In the dark depths of my mind
Soul Symbols digress,
Chukrah calm staunches my unshed tears,
Chukrah joy fills my heart,
and my head,
Chukrah joy…
oh why,
does it seem,
such is ecstasy’s sigh.
~
Safe in my Soul
and in my heart too,
my match does dwell.
I long for comfort in the arms of my mate,
comfort Beltamar granted,
comfort,
in which I so sorely long to partake.
~
Till Beltamar’s return,
till Malmaxa into the night sky will rise,
till Malmaxa beneath the full moon does swell,
in the clutch of my Demons I’ll dwell,
held fast by their claws
in misery’s hell.
In Malmaxa I’ll be freed from
my Demons’ tight grasp.
Beltamar’s love is the key
by which, at last,
I’ll soon be set free,
so onto his dream, and his match,
I hold fast.
~

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Gaza

Why am I writing about the current conflict between Israel and Gaza? Because my principles demand I do. Regardless of who you are you aren’t going to enjoy this post, however I assure you it is the truth as I see it. It certainly isn’t going to win me any friends, it isn’t going to help me sell my books, and it has already resulted in a number of unpleasant encounters on Twitter by people why strictly adhere to the mainstream American media’s view of this conflict.

If we hear about it in the mass-media it must be right.  Right?

Wrong.

Read on and learn about a truth that is never told in the USA. Let me correct myself. Read on and learn about a truth that has never been told by the mainstream media in the USA. Thanks to the emergence of Social Media like Twitter, that is beginning to change,

Changing views of perpetual conflicts.

I was born and raised in Rhodesia. In the late 1970s, I served as an active-duty combatant in the war that embroiled that beautiful country. Back then, I held Israel in high esteem. Everything I knew told me Israel was the underdog, and I usually root for the underdog. I saw many parallels between Israel’s military and the Rhodesian military. From a military point of view history has shown the effectiveness of both. I felt sympathetic to Israel.

I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in the early 1980s. It had a significant and highly influential Jewish population. The view of Israel presented in the South African media was extremely positive.  Indeed, the South African public’s perception of Israel was much like that consistently presented by the US Media, where I’ve lived since the mid-1990s. I remained sympathetic to Israel.

I only learnt how biased those perceptions were when the internet emerged. The internet has made internationally unbiased information widely available to anyone with the desire to learn more than a single side of truth. I stopped being sympathetic to Israel.

My reasons for my change of view appear below.

I’m not sharing my sources with you. Search the internet for the facts for yourself. The evidence is overwhelming. Everything I mention below is widely available on a staggering number of reliable, unbiased, and non-commercial websites. However, you have to do the research for yourself. Why?  Because the deeper you dig, the more you’ll realize how badly you have been misled.

To start your research Google this search string, “number of Palestinians killed by Israel”. Now start reading, making notes, noting sources, checking validity, ascertaining impartiality, and falling into despair as you realize just how brutal one people’s treatment of another has been, and continues to be.

It is shocking to realize something you’ve accepted as unquestionable is a biased lie. It is shocking to realize the nation you long assumed is the underdog is a brutal bully. It is shocking to realize Israel is a nation far more deserving of the title “Rogue” than even North Korea.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to kill civilians using military might? Yes, both sides of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict are guilty of this. However, speaking strictly numerically, Israel is far, far more guilty than the Palestinians.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to use civilians as human shields for military operations? Impartial evidence gathered by highly reputable, unbiased organizations proves that Israel has done this multiple times, it also proves that the Palestinians have never done it.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to assassinate opposition leaders? Evidence proves that Israel has consistently used this “tactic” hundreds and hundreds of times, both inside and outside of active conflict. And the Palestinians? They have only used it once, but even once is one time too many.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to shell impartial observers?  Israel has, multiple times.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to steal land simply by occupying it?  Israel has, multiple times.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to demolish entire civilian neighborhoods as punishment for the acts of the insane unknown?  Israel has, multiple times.

Under what circumstances is it permissible to kill ten for every one of your own slain? Biblical text in Matthew 3:38 states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’” Apparently Israel has misinterpreted this to mean an entire jaw for a single tooth. By the way, if you decide to read that text please read the entire passage. It is quite enlightened in its encouragement of tolerance and forgiveness. Sadly tolerance and forgiveness are two admirable traits both sides of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict lack.

Under no circumstances should it ever be permissible to kill children. I am not going to tell you the numbers of children killed by either side. You must find that out for yourself or the truly appalling level of this ongoing brutality will just become a number, and murdered children deserve to be considered as more than a mere number. However I will say that the ratio of these murders exceeds ten to one, and the worst offender is not Palestine.

Yesterday I tweeted this:-

How is it that a nation which survived Nazi atrocity, has become so accomplished at committing it?

I have great difficulty understanding how a nation whose people have been subjected to brutality can adopt practices that can only be described as excessively brutal. I have great difficulty understanding why a nation that actively practices racism by subjugating and denying basic human rights to an entire ethnic culture is tolerated in today’s world.

The USA’s mass-media coverage, and the US government’s ready adoption of rhetoric biased toward the Israeli side of this conflict does not serve the best interests of the American people.  That is my opinion, which I am not only entitled to as an American Citizen, but which I believe I am justifying throughout this post.

I am disgusted how the facts and real scale of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict are actively disguised with immoral euphemisms. Fancy words are well suited to disguise abhorrent behaviors.  The mass-media and the US Government uses them for just that purpose with alarming regularity. I’m talking about the little sound-bites that continually crop up, and are invariably pro-Israel. Disingenuous, immoral sound-bites such as:-

  • Proportionate Response. Proportionate means balanced. Ten Palestinians does balance the scale of a single Israeli.
  • Retaliation. There is no such thing as pre-emptive retaliation, yet measured over the duration of the state of Israel’s existence, Israel initiates the majority of conflicts.  Brutally attacking a civilian population based on unsubstantiated data is not retaliation, it is punitive aggression.
  • Surgical strikes. Couch a murder in the cleverest words you like, it is still a murder.
  • Containment. Locking people away behind thirty foot high concrete barriers is not containment, it is imprisonment.

Over the last thirty years my view of Israel has gone through a 180 degree turn. I continue to believe that the Jewish inhabitants of Israel have a right to exist, but not if they extract that right with the deaths of other people.

I strongly believe the American people have been misled by their government and by the mass-media. I strongly believe we need to change our perception of this conflict based on the truths we research for ourselves, versus the ones we are spoon-fed by the biased.  I strongly believe that when America befriends a state like Israel, it should understand why it has so many enemies.  I strongly believe we must start doing what we know in our hearts is right.

The time for political expediency is over. Conflict is never right.

This is the age of Social Media.  The age of people blindly believing whatever political rhetoric their governments and the mass-media spew at them is rapidly drawing to an end. Use your new-found ability, the internet, to find and verify independent, non-partisan, unbiased truth. Then use your Social Media voice to raise awareness of whatever situation fills you with passion.  If enough people speak, change will come.

Please remember what some wise person once said… “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.“[*1]

Staying silent, is doing nothing. Even though it costs me, I refuse to stay silent.

If you’ve got this far you might be interested in another example of my refusal to stay silent.

[*1] – Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence attributing that quote to Edmund Burke.  Don’t be so ready to believe whatever you are told…

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Reflections of Divinity

~ Reflections of Divinity ~
~
You are the voice of reason,
I am the one that’s insane.
You are the bringer of joy,
I am the one filled with pain.
You are the one that gives,
I am the one who gains.
You are sunlight so bright,
I am the moon on the wane.
You are the essence of pure,
I am a spreading, dark stain.
You are the glow of warm sunlight,
I am the dismal dark of cold rain.
You are the most delicate moth,
Irresistibly drawn to my flame.
~

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An issue, clear cut.

Have you ever heard the expression, “This issue is black and white”?  It essentially means that whatever the issue is, it is so clear cut that there is no possibility of misunderstanding.  It is so obvious we can’t mistake right for wrong.

However, before we decide the nature of right and wrong we need to clear the slate and start with no assumptions at all.  This means we have to root deeper and deeper into fundamental issues.  We have to dig through layers of societal debris that cover our core being.  We have to dig until we find our real self.

People often say something like this, “The issue isn’t gray, but black and white for me.”  I must ask where statements like that came from. Why is black bad, and white good?  Is it because we’re diurnal creatures who hunt with our eyes, and fear the darkness for the predators it hides? Since this perception of black being bad and white being good is so ingrained into so many cultures, it probably does boil down to something as rudimentary as our most primal fears.

But now I must ask you this.  Has humanity not evolved at all since our most primitive of days of hunter and hunted?  Why is the time we’re programmed to kill still considered a better time than the time we’re programmed to gather close within the company of those most special to us?

Maybe the whole black and white thing is completely reversed.

Before we follow the path so neatly marked out for us by thousands of years of programming by man, not by god, and not by our divine souls, we have to recognize that it really is a planned path.  If we can’t see that, then we are doomed to never progress.  We’re doomed to follow a path that does not lead to understanding, wisdom, or salvation.  We’re doomed to follow a path that leads to our children’s obedience to an utterly broken humanity.  A cruel collective in which there are a very very few with absolute power, and a vast multitude who will never be more than unwitting slaves.

If individuals can’t break free, what chance is there for humanity?

Personally, I am not willing to walk that predetermined path any longer.  I am going to raise my voice and question things that are so obvious we shouldn’t question them.

If you’ve read Beltamar’s War, do you recognize that sentiment? Perhaps more importantly, do you understand why this is so important to me? Do I scare you?  And if I do, why?

Let me leave you with this thought.  The easiest place for wrong to hide, is within the guise of right.

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Integrity

A short while ago, I tweeted this.

Intergity, when our heart knows right, and we do it, when our heart knows wrong, and we don’t.

Before you continue reading, be warned this post contains graphic imagery which might disturb you.  If you’re squeamish, please stop reading now.

The issue with integrity isn’t right and wrong at all, it is that we are trained to perceive things a particular way.  If we’re unable to determine that we’ve been trained, then how can we ever know if what we think is right really is?

How can someone who has been indoctrinated since birth break free of the bonds their indoctrination binds them with? How can they do something they’ve been taught since birth to believe is wrong?

This frames one of the many things I hold against every organized religion I have encountered. Dogma. Ask any free minded person what they think about something as elementary as a prohibition on eating the flesh of pigs and see what they say.
Religiously based morals are not based on right and wrong, they are based on mental control.

At its most fundamental level, morals must break down to matters of life and death.  Yet even there, where are the clear lines defining the one from the other?

We all think we know we shouldn’t kill sentient beings.  But sometimes we also know that is the only right thing to do.

Years ago my wife accidentally reversed over a kitten sleeping behind one of the rear wheels.  The kitten’s spine and rear legs were crushed, it’s stomach burst open, emptying its entrails and most of its organs, which remained attached.  We heard it mewl, I got out of the car.  A single glance told me the only right thing to do was to kill the kitten in order to spare it a slow, cruel death.

My wife had stopped the car halfway up the driveway.  Along with her, our two young children were craned forward trying to see.  I indicated she should reverse the car out of the driveway, my intention being preventing our young kids seeing the painful death of the kitten.  She reversed back about 20 feet and stopped again.  All three of them still craned forward.

By now I was extremely angry since every passing moment was unnecessary agony for an innocent animal.  I made a very emphatic gesture at her that meant “GET THE #$$%^ OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!”  After looking momentarily affronted, she finally reversed out of the driveway and down the road to a point the children could no longer see.  I closed my heart and crushed the kitten’s skull with my heel.  It died instantly.  But that instantly came many seconds after the determination of right and wrong had been made.

What would an unquestionably ethical religion like Buddhism have had me do?  Let the kitten suffer, while appeasing my conscience with mental mumbo-jumbo about the ebb and flow of life from one state to another in reincarnation?

The only absolute, is that every absolute has exceptions.

That is the fantastic thing about our true soul. It knows what is right, and it encourages us to do it, it knows what is wrong, and it encourages us to not. All we need to do, is hear its voice.  But to hear, we first have to learn to silence the ambient noise of a society gone deaf.

The problem, is the things we’re taught, not the things we know.

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Giving thanks, where thanks is due.

This post is based on a recent email conversation.

I have to say that the generosity of honest reviewers never ceases to amaze me. They  spend their time for no reward other than being transported out of our troubled world into a world that only exists in the mind of someone else.  And then they spend still more of their time compiling words that give away both everything, and nothing.

Honest reviewers are courageous.  They talk about both the good, and about the not so good.  They don’t sugar coat their words, but neither do they coat them in bile.

Honest reviewers are easy to spot, but incredibly hard to pin down.  They’re easy to spot because their reviews don’t contain generic, nonsense catch-phrases that could be {and probably have been} used to describe an encounter with a particular brand of laundry soap. They’re incredibly hard to pin down, because every honest author wants their attention. {Dishonest authors have no interest in honest reviewers, their only interest is in 5 star reviews, the more generic the better, and they all seem to have lots of these.}

Honest reviewers are humble, invariably putting the needs of the work they’re reviewing ahead of their own needs.  They are often authors themselves, but they seldom plug their own work, and if they do it is relevant to the review.

In this burgeoning world of self-publishing, honest reviewers hold a very high position on the publishing totem pole.  Yet they seldom receive any compensation other than a “free” copy of the work they’re reviewing. “Free” is a word that should not be used, for it comes at such a significant cost of time.  Honest reviewers do a lot of work, and they get nothing in pay.  I’d like to see some creative way to rectify this bizarre situation, but I don’t see how without compromising their integrity at worst, or casting a shadow of suspicion on it at best. {For now, I make a point of personally thanking them if I have some way of contacting them.  I also try and ensure they have the opportunity to read my up-coming work before it is published, but I question whether that is an adequate reward, or even a reward at all.}

In summary, writing honest reviews is a largely thankless task.  So, to every honest reviewer, please accept my thanks.  I’m sure every honest author joins me in that sentiment.

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