Category Archives: Philosophy

We all wear masks

In the United States, Thanksgiving is over and most of us can store away the masks we wear for family occasions. We unlock the chest, rummage to the bottom, and tuck them beneath the yearbooks and faded photo albums. We’ll unearth them again at the Winter Solstice holiday (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year).

Meanwhile, we’ll only have to tote around the two or three we use daily to get through our work-a-day lives. Flip-slip-snap! On goes the work-mask. Zip-clip-pip! Here we swap one out to talk to our children (or elders). Peal-squeal-kneel, we don the one we wear for our spouse.

These masks we wear, do we even consider them? Do we ever resent them? Or, embrace them — gathering them in droves as flavors of personalities we expose?

And then, at night, we sleep and our masks melt away while we dream; our true selves bubble up through the falsity of cultural-behavioral control. In our dreams we are who we are, our masks flitting over our faces like tissue — there and gone, torn away by our unconscious desires to be both ourselves and our un-selves.

How many masks do you wear? Are there those you find uncomfortable? Alluring? Disturbing?

 


Suicide: the selfish solution

Nearly 45,000 Americans killed themselves in 2016, twice the number who died by homicide.

OK, you can curtail your churlish condemnation of the Anonymole pointing out that suicide might be a drastic, selfish solution to a (potentially) soluble problem.

I think of death daily. (Yes, I really do. The tape measure is out and I’m down on my knees measuring my anguish vs the benefits of existence — nanometer by nanometer.)

But, what existence has in its corner is this: the pain I would cause is always more than the pain I endure.

Bottom line. Bottom measure. Bottom of the barrel looking up — those looking down would suffer and suffer and suffer — no doubt about it.

Now, if I had no one, nobody around who depended on me, or felt deeply attached to me, and who, I know, would not steep in a decade long malaise of loss, then I’d take the first train to never where. CLICK CLICK, TICKETS PLEASE.

Alas, that is not my kettle of fish. My fish swim and feed and breath and look to me for presence, support and, potentially, guidance in the coming years and decades. And so, I scope with a narrow lens the trauma my absence would cause to my fish and know, in my heart of hearts, that to take my life, at this time, would induce far more spiritual agony than it would alleviate.

And the strange source of this examination is a quote from a “Blacklist” episode where Raymond Reddington says, “How could one do that to the people they love?”

Well? How could you?


A bramble vine basket

Humanity evolved creating stuff.

Everyone in a tribe or clan contributed to the group’s survival. If things needed to get made, everyone (I imagine) pitched in. Sure some segregation of tasks took place, but I suspect most jobs were shared across gender, age and ability.

Here you see a simple bramble vine basket I made just for fun. (I later hung this up in a small tree in the woods thinking it might become a nest for some woodland bird.)

BrambleVineBasket

The thing is utterly simple yet effective. Crude but serviceable. Just what, we could imagine, some bygone set of folks traversing the hills and valleys of ancient lands — eons ago — might make, on the spot, to help them gather berries or herbs or for ceremonies to honor deities and spirits they found compelling.

It probably took me 30 minutes to weave from wandering bramble vines I found in the backyard. The effort was thoroughly fulfilling. Taking a weed and turning it into a functional tool easily cast my psyche back to a time I know our ancestors found invigorating.

In those times, everyone (I’m sure) participated in the survival of the People. Sharing was a built-in response to everything that was done. If you had two, you gave one away to another in need. Of course you did. And you did this knowing when they had two, they would do the same for you.

The unit of survival was the group, the tribe, the clan. Your kin were all those people around you who knew you and protected you — and you protected them. When the group needed housing you all pitched in. When the clan needed to process an animal — all were on deck. When you found a cache of vines to make baskets, you picked all you could, shared the resource and if you wove many, passed them out without expectation of recompense (not entirely, but the spirit was there).

I think we’ve lost that altruistic sense of collective prosperity — enacted on a daily basis. Giving when you can. Accepting kindness when you can’t.

A simple, empty basket seems the most unlikely symbol of charity, don’t you think? But, filled with wild-picked berries, you can see what a gift it might be.


Have we met? I love you.

Imagine having a relationship with someone for years, decades perhaps, and never having met them.

I’ve known people, through my work on the net, literally for decades. One fellow, Charles Carroll, I met while writing magazine articles for MIND (Microsoft Internet Developer) in the late 90’s, and while we worked on that ancient technology known as Classic ASP. We still connect, though infrequently. I’ve never met the man.

I once worked for a fellow for five years; we never spoke. Only exchanged emails.

These days it’s as common as “Alexa: play my morning mix”. We get to know folks — through the internet — and may never speak to them, never see them, never identify who they really are. But yet, we know them.

Attachment through familiarity. Time does that to folks in occasional, or frequent contact — regardless of the medium of communication. Consider penpals: a 19th and 20th century pastime which hooked up people from across realms, countries, continents. They exchanged pleasantries, goings-on, and perhaps, more deeply, misgivings, personal beliefs and aspirations.

Did they meet? Seldom is my guess. But still, they developed a relationship. Perhaps a true and soul-penetrating connection that may have held the two ends-of-their-string up for years.

Today this exists anew. All of you have people you interact with whom you’ve never met. Will never meet. Are such relationships lesser than because of this physical divide? I think not. I think there are those of you with whom I’ve connected, on some level, through this digital bridge. And I think you too have made connections to folks you feel attached to, indebted to, cosmically enmeshed to the point where their absence might leave you wondering — what happened? Where are you? You might feel deflated somewhat, lost.

What if they were to go away and you would never know them again. Their cheerful notes would cease. Their place in your ritual would gap open, unfulfilled. Their vanishing would leave a hole in your life, one that you might not patch, not really knowing if their absence was permanent — or their delay of interaction simply stretched out.

Stretched out and out… until forgotten.

I’m certain, were some of us to meet, we’d be fast friends, confidants and fishing buddies. And as you disappear from my virtual life, and I from yours, recall that there was a spark of connection shared between us.

I’ve never met you, but I love you.

 


The mother’s dual role

A mother does two things.

  1. Provide a controlled, safe, blockaded environment in which a child can grow and learn and flourish.
  2. Surrender that environment and transition to the supportive, conducive enabling agent which will see their child launched into the world.

These two things are diametrically opposed.

Early on a mother MUST contain and protect her child. The world is a vicious, evil place and youth, unguided and unprotected WILL succumb to the temptation or provocations that exist there. The world is there to lure young children into servitude, enslavement, and abuse. A mother must be there to ensure her children are guided away from, and protected against such seductions.

A child needs a wholesome childhood in which to allow abandon and whimsy to flourish and blossom.

Of course that environment does NOT exist in the world. And only a mother can provide that sequestered enchanting world where a child feels safe, free and loved.

Later, when the child learns of the evils of the world, the dastardly vicious workings of people dead-set on taking what that child has worked for, the conniving salacious pursuits of those eager to destroy a young life, the mother must transition into one of support and surrender. She must release her wards, her babes, into a world she knows will try to destroy them.

But in this final act, she must convert her protectionist way to expansionist dreams. “Go, my son. Travel, my daughter. See the world, experience life. I’ve protected you long enough. Now is the time for you to protect yourself. I give to your freedom.”

Imagine the angst in a mother’s heart. The agony of, for years, ensuring the safety and well being of a child, only to, eventually, reverse this mindset and push them out, force them out into an unforgiving world.

For their own good. Always, for their own good. What trauma the poor mother must endure. Protect for ages and then surrender, willfully.

Christ, I’m glad I’m a father.


100% of you are bloggers

Consider this:

A small town newspaper, with one reporter, one editor, one distribution manager, one advertising manger and one printer (all of whom are the same person) produces one edition per day.

The ONLY people who read this edition are the OTHER small town newspapers (those that also have a single reporter, editor, etc. all of whom are also a single person).

Imagine a network of small town newspapers that are read ONLY by other small town newspapers.

Does that strike you as strange? This is blogging.

Wouldn’t you, as a small town news/editor producer, want to have your paper read by other folks besides the editor of just the next-town-over newspaper? I would think that as a custom content provider you’d want to infiltrate other markets that are NOT just small town newspapers, right?

Something’s wrong here. It’s like were all just piranha (some small, some huge) all swimming in the same stretch of river. All feeding off of each other. What sense is that?

Why would I care that what I write is read by the next-town-over’s sole reporter/editor? Their town’s people ain’t gonna buy a copy of MY paper. (Nor will they actually by a copy of that editor’s paper…)

Blogging, as it turns out, is this incestuous, internally facing universe of people, writing, not for the world, not to be read by the “public”, but to be read by other bloggers — other small town newspaper reporters.

That seems like a broken model to me.

 


Blog me to death!

STOP!

Stop right fucking there. If you think there’s some gotdamned yardstick you think you’re measuring yourself against by posting every gotdamned four, or six or twelve hours to this got-forsaken situation (the web/internet) — then you’ve swallowed the wrong gotdamned pill.

This ain’t no way to run your pathetic life. The internet is not going to solve your social, financial, moral ills. It’s not. STOP. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, if get 10,000 followers, 100,000 participants, 1M people to pay attention to the drivel, the absolute fucking drivel I spew out twice or three times a fucking day — then, I’ll be famous and achieve my life’s goals.”

Bollux!

Quantity is NOT, IS FUCKING NOT QUALITY.

Here’s some potting soil. Here’s some piss and shit from a chicken farm. Here’s some spring rain from Hawaii. Here’s a container — now go grow a fucking soul!