Piece Two (and what a “piece”…lol)

Perseus-Slaying-Dragon-L

This piece, like Piece One… from Steppenwolf, didn’t really ring true until I was in my late twenties and through my thirties.  From the age of 0 to 20, my life was ideal…improving my mind through school and the university…and my body through athletics.  The world was wide open and dreams were to be had.  It wasn’t until I entered the adult world…the one that requires money making…that the below passage began to sing its heartfelt tune.

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“You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless.  And whoever wants more and has got it in him — the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints — is a fool and a Don Quixote.  Good.  And it has been just the same for me, my friend.

 I was a gifted girl.  I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr.  And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough.  That is how things have gone with me.  For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself.  Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong-headed.  But that did not help me at all.  And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you.  And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been.  It was life and reality that were wrong.  It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money’s sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor.  

Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual — but it was the same road.  Do you think I can’t understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it?  I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on.  You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today.  You have a dimension too many.  Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me.  Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours –”

Hermann Hesse — Steppenwolf

Piece One

Morning commuteThis is the first of five posts (pieces) that will provide some background for my critical thinking project, that once complete, may change the direction and content of this blog…and then again…it may not.  These background pieces are little snippets from a few authors that wrote works or pieces within their works that struck a deep chord within me…a chord that rung true…to me.  There are of course more authors and pieces, but these few suffice, for they hit on some of the big questions…and their thoughts…are also taken from other thoughts…that came before.

cubiclesNow, we can all say that these pieces, which serve as foundations for my critical thinking, skew the process from the start.  But, this is who I am and how I view the world…for these few thoughts ring true to me…from what I have experienced, observed, and thought…from youth to the present.  These thoughts run deep within me and throughout me…like the blood in my veins…and cannot be extracted…without ripping out a piece of who I am.

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“Whereupon it occurred to me – so it is with every one.  Just as I dress and go out to visit the professor and exchange a few more or less insincere compliments with him, without really wanting to at all, so it is with the majority of men day by day and hour by hour in their daily lives and affairs.  Without really wanting to at all, they pay calls and carry on conversations, sit out their hours at desks and on office chairs; and it is all compulsory, mechanical and against the grain, and it could all be done or left undone just as well by machines; and indeed it is this never-ceasing machinery that prevents their being, like me, the critics of their own lives and recognizing the stupidity and shallowness, the hopeless tragedy and waste of the lives they lead, and the awful ambiguity grinning over it all.  And they are right, right a thousand times to live as they do, playing their games and pursuing business, instead of resisting the dreary machine and staring into the void as I do, who have left the track.  Let no one think that I blame other men, though now and then in these pages I scorn and even deride them, or that I accuse them of the responsibility of my personal misery.  But now that I have come so far, standing as I do on the extreme verge of life where the ground falls away before me into bottomless darkness, I should do wrong and I should lie if I pretend to myself or to others that the machine still revolved for me and that I was still obedient to the eternal child’s play of that charming world.”

Hermann HesseSteppenwolf

“Black Mark of Shame”

“This poor treatment of workers and crass commercialization of the holiday stamps ‘Black Friday’ with a whole new meaning: the black mark of shame.”

Alice Walton – daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton

The above quote turns out to be a hoax that was reported in various trusted on-line sources.  I am going to leave it as I like the quote combined with the Youtube video.  It saves me from going into one of my rants.  But, since I have been talking a lot about Heraclitus lately, let me just say that the “tension” between those few that have most and those many that have little is becoming very tense.  You can only take from the many that have little for so long before they snap…then the chaos…the blood…death.

Fools Gold

Forged from the dust of death-star fire into this ephemeral form

 

treading on the surface of an eternal bottomless ocean above and below

 

death perpetually circulating from all directions

 

You succumb to the myth that Gold is land, security, power, wealth

 

bow to the pirates and board their ship

to become a slave or yourself a pirate

 

You expend your death-star fire to swab the deck and man the oar

 

or lash the whip to bleed others into submission

 

You drink bottles and bottles of rum to numb the pain

 

of being whipped or doing the whipping

 

that you burn your precious death-star fire to make your masters rich

 

or man a ship with no direction other than to steal Gold from others

 

Mutiny will not alter the course as you are still on the same ship

 

different masters and slaves

seeking the same Gold for fools

 

Summon the courage from the depths

as the storm approaches and the sea boils with offended anger

 

return to where you began before you boarded the run away ship

 

Burn your precious death-star fire and pay homage to eternity

 

Swim man swim

 

or drown with a smile

The Perils of Success


My grandfather told me when I was a young boy to be humble.  He said, if I ever began to get full of myself to go outside on a clear night when the moon was absent and look up at the stars to gain perspective.

When I was born, my family didn’t have much money.  My dad worked for a trucking company where he started as a management trainee on the dock.  My dad’s father (the man who told me to look at the stars) was a high school science teacher and football coach and didn’t make much money.  But, my grandfather told me he decided to teach as opposed to going into business, because he felt he could make a difference in people’s lives.  My parents seemed to look down on that decision to some extent.  They thought he chose that profession because he experienced the Great Depression and teaching was a more secure path.  After all, why would one chose to make less money if one could make more in business?

At a very young age, prior to third grade, I lived in a nice little house in a nice little neighborhood in Ohio.  Kids played outside and there was a small forest behind the homes.  Our house was decorated modestly and filled with family photos and things that symbolized something about our life.  Everything seemed to make sense.

Time moved on and my dad progressed rapidly up the ranks.  When I hit second grade we moved to California due to my dad’s promotion.  He was promoted to the second in command for a large Fortune 500 company.  Eventually he got the top spot and we moved to a really nice house.  This was the house that was backed up against a beautiful nature preserve that I discussed in my previous post “Enigma”.

Along with my dad’s success came noticeable changes in my parents and what decorated the house.  The family photos and meaningful things were replaced by modern art-work and decorations that matched the paint, carpet, or furniture.  The meaningful things were stored away or hung downstairs in dark hallways or the laundry room or bathrooms.  My parents began to travel often, go to events, and wear nicer clothes.  I could see that they began to act and think like they had arrived.  I used to talk to my grandfather about how strange they are behaving and how I didn’t like the feel of the house.  I told him it felt more like a cold museum than a home.  He agreed.

Eventually I went off to college that wasn’t too far from my parents.  I could visit them on a weekend or during breaks.  While I was in college, my dad was let go by the board of directors.  Apparently, his decision to buy a large corporation took too long to integrate and turnaround the financial performance.

During my visits after this major event occurred, I saw my dad spending hours slumped in a chair watching TV.  Here was a powerful strong man who had lots of money, yet there he sat, utterly deflated, depressed, lifeless, surrounded by meaningless decorative art and things.  He spent decades of his energy, passion, and time in an entity that one day decided he was no longer needed.

I asked myself why doesn’t he go enjoy the fruits of his labor and travel, write, read, or whatever he may find of interest.  He has no economic barriers to pursue something that he may be passionate about.  But there he sat, in that same chair, slumped over watching TV.

And it was at this point that I realized his dad might have never told him to go outside on a clear night when the moon was absent and look up at the stars to gain perspective.  And if he did, perhaps my dad simply ignored his advice.

Presidential Debates

Fall Leaves — Canopy

Two men debate the same old issues and tell the dumbed-down masses what they want to hear.  As if one middle-aged decaying corrupt corpse could actually reverse our self-made death spiral.

Meanwhile, the leaves have begun to change color at this small corner of the planet.  The winds have picked up and a slight chill penetrates to the skin.  Two young people, whom believe in true love, walk in a tree-lined park holding hands admiring each other and the autumn leaves.  The colorful leaves drink the last drops of fading golden light.

Soon, strong winds will approach with cold that penetrates bone.  The leaves will be torn free to die and enrich the soil.  Little children will heap up piles and plunge into that which gave them air and now soil to grow.

The change in season hints that we are part of something infinitely larger than man and his silly age-old adolescent problems.  The earth’s tilt, rotation, and orbit around the sun determines the change in season.  The earth, the sun, our galaxy, every galaxy, are plunging through the vastness of eternity at incredible speeds with no guarantees for a tomorrow.

So let these narcissistic men twirl their wretched tongues.  I prefer to listen to the wind blowing through the trees and watching the fading light flicker among the colorful leaves.

Human Waste

The Eternal Truth is precisely the reason I often contemplate Utopian visions for mankind.  I observe the status quo and ponder why man has elected to create structures that essentially enslave himself rather than structures that free himself.  The primary example is the man-made concept we call economics.

Economics at its core is really quite simple — human beings work together to provide each other with food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, and other things we may want or need including free time to ourselves for individual fulfillment.  Human beings working together can create almost anything we can imagine, need, or want.  We are unique relative to the animal kingdom on planet earth.

But the concept of economics is corrupted by a few bad apples that use it as a means to hoard more power and riches for themselves.  They view the vast majority of human beings as subjects, pawns, puppets, and fools to be brainwashed, exploited, controlled, and enslaved.  They don’t view children as precious sparks of fire that can transform the world.  They don’t view human energy and the application of that energy as the most valuable aspect of human potential.

Instead, they set out to burn human energy for their own ends leaving the vast majority in a pile of human waste.  Such men have always been in existence. They essentially embody our primal instincts we needed to survive before we emerged from the jungle.  They are gluttonous whores subject to, controlled from, and consumed by their dark side.  No light can penetrate their cold steel souls.  The skyscraper is the symbol of their control, inner being, and what they stand for.

I find it remarkable that the few can enslave and condemn the majority to a life of slavery masked as something else.  Structures should be created to render such men powerless, but the momentum leads to the perpetual cycle where young people are subject to the old.  The cycle can’t be broken as huge populations with watered down education continue to emerge as new subjects for the few.  As such, so much energy is burnt to no end other than for the benefit of a few shrewd men.  Those that understand they are slaves must expend enormous amounts of energy just to get short breaths of freedom.

The unfortunate result is that humanity takes its form and shape from the few bad apples.  Imagine if you can the forms and shapes we could take if we created structures that leveled men consumed by their primal dark sides?  Imagine what we could create and how we could live if we removed our own chains?  But this is nothing but a fantasy.  The majority would have to understand and believe in the Eternal Truth.  For belief in the Eternal Truth removes most of the contraptions used by the few to entrap and enslave the many.

Rounding up the Herd

The game of business and economics is really quite simple.  One doesn’t need an education or a PhD to understand the essence of capitalism.  The core goal is to round-up the herd — all seven billion of them via the marketing and advertising vehicles.  Through the television, billboards, magazines, internet, mobile phones, show them the way to the green pastures and let them gorge.

Once their bellies are full and they can’t “afford” to eat another blade of grass, gently nudge them in the direction of the slaughter-house.  The few sit at tables decorated with white linen and carve into their bloody steak and enjoy a bottle or two of a fine red.

Reprocessing the Middle Class

Given I have firsthand experience of the reprocessing (term borrowed from my beloved brother known as Dragonstrand) of the middle class, I figured this post might carry some weight when taking into account the status quo for the vast majority of American citizens.  In a nutshell, I went from making at my peak $180,000 with bonus, to a three-year period of unemployment or no full-time job, to recently taking a night shift job making $11 dollars an hour with a huge corporation.  I still have two years of federal taxes to pay and over ten grand in credit card debt to pay off.  I have a few personal reasons for my predicament, but nothing that would realistically prevent me from landing a decent job at a decent wage relative to my experience and education.  I don’t really have any other options available.  I have tried to pull myself up and applied to over a thousand white-collar professional jobs during that three-year period, but I couldn’t secure a job offer despite over a decade of solid work experience and higher education from well-known undergraduate and graduate institutions.

The middle and upper middle class in America has been downsized and is being “reprocessed”.  To understand this phenomena one must agree to a fundamental principle.  Wealth, as measured by money, does not grow for the money supply in theory is constant.  Sure, those in charge of the money supply can print more money, but that simply waters down its assumed value and purchase power.  As such, wealth is merely lost by one and gained by another.  There is only one pie to cut up and serve.

 In the United States, the few have mastered the art of accumulating and taking more and more and more money away from the many.  No other developed nation has such an enormous gap between those few that have most and those many that have little.  The art the few have mastered to siphon money away from the majority centers on a multi-pronged strategy and a closely knit group in powerful positions in banking, Wall Street, venture capital, huge multinational corporations, media (advertising and marketing), and government (controlled by lobbyists and big campaign donors).

The only problem with their strategy is eventually the many have little left for the few to take and the well runs dry.  And when the well runs dry they have to figure out how to appease or deceive the mob to avoid a rebellion before they take their winnings and leave the country.  Currently, the power structure is employing delay tactics to avoid the inevitable – a revolution.  The game can best be described as kick the can.  Obama, a man of change, says the right things, but his actions are merely status quo.  And the republican presidential front-runner wants to return to the Reagan era where the wolves were set free.  The truth of the matter is that there is no way out given the current power structure.  Politics and your vote isn’t going to create any change to the fascist power complex.

My next several posts will summarize the multi-pronged strategy used by the few to siphon away money from the many.  Much of this has been discussed in this blog via previous posts, but I feel now is the time to re-iterate and summarize.  The upcoming election between a republican presidential candidate and Obama is all smoke and mirrors.  The game ahead of us is quite simply a game of kick the can.  We have reached the stage of no way out unless we are willing as a majority to make bold moves.  All that is really needed is an enlightened sense of what is and what will be if we do not act.  I am the farthest thing from a protestor or revolutionary and I have a son I dearly love, but if there is a movement with intelligent momentum, I would be willing to put all that matters in this one life on the line for the many that are yet to come.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Mankind only has two options.

Live by the cold, efficient, pure laws of nature and accept the consequences, or evolve into a cooperative, humane, and intelligent species that takes control of its own destiny.  The middle ground simply isn’t sustainable under our current constructs.

Extinction feeds off compromise.