Archive for March, 2008

The question is Why…

The question is why. It is what every philosopher asks upon the subject. And in the situation, I am the subject and the questioner, who unfortunately is me as well, needs to ask why. Not why am I here, because I am here for the same reason as every other entity on this planet, but why do I do these same self-destructive things to myself. I have an excape-goat ready, but that isn’t the true answer either. I fear a much greater tragedy developing here. The setting for this auspicious time in my life is right before a great transformation. I will leave this country, and move to a new hostile environment where I will need to adapt and develop a new person that is much like me, but different from who I am now in order to keep existing. With this on coming transformation, I look back at the path that I have traversed to get to where I am now, and I look with wonderment at what I preceive the greatest moment in my life. It isn’t what I would have expected it to be. Most would think it would be when I toured with prominent jazz musicians like Wynton Marsellius, Slide Hampton, Ernie Sallies, or the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; or the time when I set the collegiate record for most miles ran in a day at 87, or even my collegiate running career; or even more the day I ran the mini-marathon in 1:38:54 and then graduated from college with two degrees and four minors, but that is not the greatest moment in my life. Not to take anything away from my accomplishments, they all happened and have had a significant impact upon my life, but the one event that changed my life completely was the day I met Jane ( I changed her name for privacy issues). I remember it vividly, and all the corresponding events that took place afterwards. Now, after they have transpired, I look back, and even with all the pain she has caused me, I still want her in my life more than ever. Everyday I get up, run 5-10 miles, chop some wood, and cook for my family, and while I am doing these activities, I am constantly reliving my memories of her, and every conversation we have ever had runs through my mind like a film. Nights are the worst time of the day for me, I lay down and all I can think about is her. I relive every conversation I have ever had with her at this moment, and then I fall asleep, and every night my dream is the same thing. I dream that I am cuddling with her, and that we are a couple again and both of us are in pure bliss and harmony together. Then I wake up and realize that she isn’t there, and that is a very sobering thought to wake up to every morning.

Now the question is why? Why do I take up all of these self-destructive tendencies to fight my memories? For example, tonight I drank quite a bit, a bottle of Pinot Noir that was aged for 25 years,  then had 5 Summerset Wheat beer, and then 3 glasses of Whiskey neat. I did all of this with the hope of not remembering her for a night, yet this hasn’t happened. Now I just have a headache, and still have the memories, and they are even more vivid than before. I can almost smell the scent of her shampoo. But, the question remains, why should I go through such efforts to forget her, when I can’t have her, shouldn’t I embrace the memories that I do have, because then I would have something that we both shared together. We would both have the time that we gave to one another, and I can always look to that in the times that we cannot share, or do not want to share any more.

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Possessions?

Today, I woke up and two cups of delicious coffee, got dressed, and headed outside for some manual labor. I had to chop a lot of wood into firewood for my parents, and in doing so had many thoughts come to mind. One of which is the topic of this blog. The song, My Girl, by the Temptations  just came to my mind, and I started thinking about the meaning of the song. I decided that I didn’t like the song on some wording issues, although I will still occasionally sing it. The song My Girl refers to a girl, namely the girl one is seeing, as your property hence, My girl. This category of possessions creates an idea of ownership, and as a result a person is delegated as only another possession one has. Such as, I have a guitar, a girl, a coffee maker, an espresso machine, a sewing machine, a car, etc. Then as a subject of just being some property, the owner has the right to do as s/he pleases with his property, and who are we to say what s/he can and cannot do with his own possessions? Then any mistreatment done to the parties can be sufficiently explained as ones right to do what he pleases with his/her property. The same can be said vice-versa. The case of a man being called “My Man,” is in the same curious position as being thought of as property. Therefore I will not ascribe to this doctrine of calling anyone my property.

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Word games

Today, I haven’t heard from her, but at least I have my memories. One of my favorites involves both of us playing a word game I made up. It is really run, and very amusing, that is, if you have an active imagination. I find that the game is more fun with more people, say at like a house party with people who like words. The game consists of two parts. The first is the culmination of words. To do this, you select a random word from a dictionary. Then go around the group and each person has to say a word that rhymes with the selected word. A designated person will then write down all the words that are said. You continue in this manner until you cannot think of anymore words. Then you select another word and repeat the process until you feel that you have a nice size list. I would suggest a list of words ranging from 75-150. Then, after your list is made, you make copies for everyone playing. Once everyone has a list, then the fun begins. Each person is to write a short story that uses all of the words on the list, and the story should make some sort of sense. It is really really funny what some people will come up with. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game as did all of my friends that are quite wordy, or sophisticated with their words.

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A Time for Change

For the past few weeks all I can think about is one of my ex’s, and for anyone who knows me, I will call her Thee ex. I have decided to follow my own advice and talk to her. If for any reason, to let her know the truth, and as we all know from the cliche quote, The truth will set you free. I don’t think anything good will come of this, nor do I expect the worse, I only think that it will either go unanswered, or I will get a response that is intended to neutralize my feelings, and our history together. I do, however, fear another response. A response that is intended to create pain and cause many tears to fall, although I do not think it will come, I would expect that to come before what I want to hear; which is that she feels the same way, or has thought about me since then. Time will answer. Timing is not on my side, nor is my intuition, but my instincts are to talk to her before I leave for a few years, and this is the only way I see a conversation happening between us.

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Contradicting Signs and their effects on people….

Today was an interesting day, mainly because I got a message from a person I knew awhile back, we shall name him John, and he was rather upset with me because of something he saw. I recently displayed a painting I did just over a year ago, and I meant it to be contraversial. In it, there is a golden heart, a black swastika, and a blue peace sign, all over a blood red background. This is to illustrate a point of symbols and their meanings to us.

The Swastika originates from Hinduism and Buddhism. Then, the Nordic tribes took the regular roman cross and bent the arms at right angles to create their version of the swastika, and they used that to crucify people. They even went to such lengths to break peoples arms and legs, just to get them on the swastika. Centuries later, Hitler took the swastika and created an ideology of hate towards everyone not of pure blood. Thus leading to the creation of Nazism. Presently, many people have forgotten the true origins of the swastika and the meaning of peace,  love, and harmony.

The Peace sign. Interestingly enough, the peace sign originally was a sign of death, and destruction. The peace sign first came to fruition during the Roman Empire. Under the leadership of Nero, the dramatist and destroyer of the Roman Empire, the Roman armies waged war to reclaim land. Nero, one for vanity, decided that he wanted a symbol that would inflict fear in the hearts of anyone who wanted to go to war against him. He decided that he would paint a circle on his shield with three lines intersecting the circle. One line straight down the center, one at a thirty degree angle towards the center, and the other at a 150 degree angle, and the two angled lines would stop where they intersected the center line. Thus the peace sign was created, mainly out of fear and bloodshed.

The heart is a relatively new symbol from the previously mentioned symbols. It has no real history, and from my findings it has only symbolized the concept of love and passion for everything.

John was originally considerably upset with the swastika in the center of the painting. I then proceeded to tell him what the symbols meant originally, and then he was more at ease with the concept of the painting. I then told him that he had a choice to make, one we all must make, and we do make daily. His decision was either to hold to the belief of the modern idea of the swastika or to choose to have an historical vantage point, and choose the idea of love over hate. This is the decision we must all make. To choose love over hate, or hate over love. Both are contageous and both can be used as a means to an end. To this I leave you. I have made my choice, now it’s your turn.

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Better?

Today, while I was on a 7 mile run, I had ran across two other runners, and one claimed that he was a better runner than I. Then, for some strange reason, a little poem that I had learned in elementary school came to mind. It goes something like this: Good, Better, Best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best! Then I started thinking about indoctrination and socialization, and started wondering why we are indoctrinated into believing in the idea of better. What does better mean anyways? According to The American Century Dictionary better means: of a more excellent or desirous kind. So it can be taken that the word better is a means to an end of comparison, such as a bike is better than a car. Does this imply that a bike is always better than a car, or that in that one situation a car is better than a car. The term better is a subjective term, and doesn’t have any means of measurement. One cannot measure better, for it could apply to anything, and everything. With that said, does the term apply to people as well? We hear it all the time, so and so is better than (insert name here). But is this an adequate statement. Take Ghandi and Hitler. Most people would claim that Ghandi is a better person than Hitler. Now, how is Ghandi a better person. Just because Hitler perpetuated one of the worst acts in world history makes him a bad person? I don’t think so, I don’t agree with anything he did, but I think his actions are not him, just like he is not his actions. He does his actions. There is a slight difference there. Hitler was a very articulate, smart, and ambitious man, many of the same traits that Americans value. Ghandi on the other hand, was a virtuous person, brought down the Brittish Empire in India without a single bullet. That takes courage, strength of character, virtues, and a steady mind. Both these men, were leaders, and created world history, but is one better than the other. I say no, because there is no such thing as better. There just is. We are ourselves. We do actions, that we feel we should. It takes a second person, or even a third person outside of ourselves to tell us if it is better or not. Thus the comparison is made then. We seldomly make a comparison of ourselves unto another person.

When a person claims that one person is better than another person, s/he is generalizing all of the persons traits down to one thing, either bad or good, both of which are subjective and different for each person. Thus, the person doing the comparing is making not one, but three errors. First, generalizing both people down to their traits or actions, and secondly, forcing their subjective opinion onto them and making them fit a mold of what a good person is, and what a bad person is. This leads to their third error, and that is limiting and stunning our growth in their eyes, thus limiting their growth by way of interaction with us. 

Therefore, I try to not think of one person as wholly unto their actions, or their traits, but I  see their actions for just what they are, actions, whether they be becoming or unbecoming of the person committing them. In the case of Hitler, his actions were unbecoming of a human being, but becoming in the manner of a dictator. Ghandi’s actions on the other hand, were unbecoming of a citizen of India under Brittish rule, yet very becoming of humanity and the world of free people. 

 Finally, I should state that I am not at all against comparing things, such as idea’s, or the like, because that is a mode of learning.  Although, I am against the idea that we should compare people, because no one is better than anyone else, we are all humans, thus we are all of the same value, and the same can be said of all living things, we are all alive, thus we are all of equal value, and the price of this is measured in the act of living. We can however, compare peoples actions, such as killing is better than flogging, or loving is better than hating, or hugging is better than shaking hands. These are all subjective statements, but there are things to be learned from these statements, where nothing can be learned from the statement, John is better than Suzie. 

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Day ???+1

Its becoming more and more clear to me that I am experience a painful transition that encompasses an paradigm shift. All my life, I have been in the pursuit of knowledge and the acquisition of such would leave me with a feeling of greatness and importance in the social world. However with this paradigm shift in goals, I have given up on the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit that would entail for another path through life, and now I search for the realization and incorporation of spiritual manna in everyday life. More over, what I am searching for most is wisdom. It should be noted that wisdom and knowledge are two completely different things.

Knowledge, as I have been taught in my years at ISU, is a series of Justified True Beliefs that are built upon one another in a faction to create a systematic way of living that is coherent and in touch with human superiority. For a statement to be Justified, it should be able to be tested and proved right, such like most scientific facts. The world is flat, gravity exists at a rate of 9.81 meters per second within the earth’s atmosphere, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius, etc. The second part of knowledge is that it should remain true for a vast amount of time, and thirdly we must remember that these facts that have been tested and have remained to be true are only beliefs, and thus we can conceive of all of the human knowledge are just a culmination of systems of belief that have been tested. This is what I have been chasing, and for my part have gained a lot of in my tenure of life, thus far, yet a lot of knowledge remains elusive from me, and from everyone.

Wisdom on the other hand takes more of a spiritual reference, and it comes from having a complete understanding of the world, and mans place in the world. This wisdom, over the vast regions of time, and in different religions in the world have taken on different names, but remains to be the same. It has been called, enlightenment by Buddhist, satori by Tibetan monks, kingdom of heaven by Christians, The realm of Allah, by Sunnis, It by the Beats, Existing in the light of life by the Toltec, Becoming God/Goddess by Wiccans, just to name a few names. To gain wisdom one shouldn’t go to schools or learn from books, but has to learn from within and without but only within the living.

The hard part about gaining wisdom is that you have to unlearn everything that you already know. One must erase his or her mind and learn to learn from himself/herself and once they gain the wisdom they can go back to gaining knowledge.

This is where I stand now, on the crossroads of either continuing down the path of knowledge, and gaining more specialization, or erasing my mind by unlearning everything and starting my journey for wisdom. Time will tell, but if you ask me what time it is, i will always give the same answer, The time is now.

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