Category Archives: Society

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?


Bring ’em back

Courtesy of the lovely Doctor Martina, I learned of the 27 Club; musical artists who died at the tender age of 27 years.

Well, shit, that’s pretty damn young to die, I will admit. And the list is sad — there’s no other way to describe it. Sad.

FreddyMercury

But, let’s say that if we all clap loudly and wish wish wish (and fling pixie dust out into the netherworld) we might bring ONE of them back. And not just those who donned the shroud of death in their youth — but others who died too early.

What musician would you vote to bring back from the dead — to live another 20 years (at least)?

 

  • Michael Jackson
  • Jim Morrison
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Janice Joplin
  • Amy Winehouse
  • The King – Elvis Presley
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Buddy Holly
  • Prince
  • David Bowie
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Bob Marley
  • [In the comments?]

 

 

 


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.


I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.

Go.

For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.

 

 


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.


Club Internet

If you have a raw nerve exposed, you can bet I’m going to be one of those who tries to tweak it, maybe shock it. Certainly pinch it a bit. OUCH!

Yeah, sorry about that. (But not really.)

And this is of course an exaggeration. I recently, yesterday or something, wrote about all of us being bloggers. 100% of us. And how I thought that that was an issue. Now, many of us here wanted to point out that, and rightly so, it’s not an issue, “exactly.” It is a “thing” and blogging does exist as a club or a membership but, so what? That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

So, I thought about this, and sure enough, I’ve come to realize that the internet has become an array of vertical stovepipes of membership. It is now Club Internet.

Let me take you back… In 1995 when I first began to “surf” the internet, that’s exactly what I did. It was a wild, unorganized place full of strange and odd and interesting stuff. I recall spending hours and hours just bouncing from page to page. There were no “search” engines, just some primitive DMOZ style indexes and link-exchanges. And there was no membership. It was just a vast, crazy “Woodstock” sort of experience.

Later, when I learned how to code the web, and built my own Web Logging software, there was still not much membership or exclusivity built into the net. My “blog” was just this diary I hung off a few of my sites — as was every other “blog.”

Today? Today the web is nothing if not collectives of “potentially” like minded people who “belong” to membership oriented enclaves. AND THAT’s OKAY.

When I wrote about bloggers being a circular group of people — well, they are, we are. But so are instagramers, snapchatters, fadebookers (I suppose), WeChatters, and so on and so forth. (In fact, nearly every site out there expects you to become a member, or join them in some way, and if you don’t, you can’t participate — period.) But, in the beginning, it wasn’t like that.

I think I was just now coming to grips with the fact that whatever I write here… Yeah, it’s not gonna be read by the “public.” It used to be read (or could have been read) by the public. But today? Only bloggers will read this. And, again, THAT’s OKAY.