Letter to a Friend (lightly edited)
Greetings. Good to converse with you yesterday.
I actually, dare I say it, feel ok today… bordering on good… almost good… somewhere approaching good? Maybe an inch over the line where good starts? At least I don’t feel like shit.
I wrote this in my journal(?) this morning… I know, big whoop… who cares what I wrote in my journal(?), albeit nonsense, here beit:
I like crossing stupid lines –
I respect lines that make sense.
Some lines make sense,
but the reason is trivial and frivolous…
I enjoy crossing such lines at my pleasure.
Ok… don’t ask me to explain it… just something stupid I wrote in my journal.
Yesterday Melinda and I were speaking about an author we both like who had mentioned on his blog(?) (not sure about these new fangled blogs/twits/facebookings, etc.)… anyway he had mentioned on some electronic medium of communication something about emotional difficulty he was having, and I mentioned that so many creative people have emotional issues… then added, that I used to be creative and have issues, but then grew up and lost the creativity, but retained the issues… wow, how fortunate is that? Lucky man which am I.
Ok… obviously we are entering the nonsense realm, where reality and insanity briefly meet and interchange (was going to write intercourse, but don’t want to make this thing sexual).
Sometimes I feel so close to making a breakthrough… always close, but never close enough.
Of course, I think I am the one who stops me from proceeding… fear? self hatred? stupidity? All 3 I suppose… the trinity of eric. Ok… you told me to stop being so hard on myself… so I will try.
The mind is an amazing creature… or should I say a community of creatures. At least a community for me. Sometimes I am envious of people who seem to have only one creature in their head… who can believe one thing… for it seems that I believe many things… many contradictory things.
There is a part of me that is an atheist, and there is truly a part of me that is a theist. I believe and I do not believe. I understand that I cannot fit in the categories where people want to assign others, and sometimes I almost feel bad about that. I love the Walt Whitman quote, feeling it is the closest thing to describe my community of creatures:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I was just perusing the electronic creature community and found a site that asks what means the statement “do I contradict myself” … but you know what, I don’t want it to be explained to me. I don’t want somebody else’s take on that statement, it is mine, I have appropriated and made it part of the meaning of my life. I get tired of people trying to explain other people’s words. I was reading somewhere, (of course with my memory this can only be a mangled version, and perhaps completely incorrect), recently about an intelligentsia who said something like the meaning of a text depends upon the reader, not the writer (maybe Barthes?). Of course, as always, (second time “of course” appears in this paragraph), I am sure my rendering is but a simplistic rendition missing a plethora of originally intended nuisances.
What was I talking about? Oh yes, the multitude of creatures.
Just saw a quote recently from Patton Oswalt (slightly edited for reduction of offense, forgive me Patton):
You gotta respect everyone’s beliefs.
NO, YOU DON’T.
That’s what gets us in trouble.
You have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs.
And then you have to reserve the right to go
‘That’s f______ stupid, are you kidding me?'
Sometimes liberals blow me away with their naivety… I am really stunned by the apparent willing acceptance of liberals to accept one religion… or at least the seemingly tacit acceptance, yet heap miles of vitriol on another religion that is more home grown.
Oh well, what do I know?
I could surely keep writing nonsense for a long time… well, maybe not, but one thing I am sure is that if I were able to continue writing (or typing in this case), it would surely be nonsense.
I love you my friend,
Since when did a real love for humanity and the planet become an extremist position?
On the other hand, when will some pople stop looking for a magical messiah to enter the world and solve all of our problems?
When Pope Francis came on the scene, so many progressives thought he would sweep us forward into a beautiful confluence of peace and utopian acceptance of all the minorities in the world… and acceptance not just of the human being, but a validation of their living situation or moral stance.
And suddenly, the law and authority catholics are talking against their pope, him being such a radical, extremist, way out there type of person. They say he has no business “pontificating” on anything except religious dogma… anything substantial affecting the living of the human person is apparently off limits, as if the bible, and previous popes, and early christian thinkers only confined themselves to dogmatic theorizing.
Pope Francis is disappointing a great number of people… he is not the liberal wanting to usher in new definitions of marriage, and he is not the traditionalist who wants to toe the line, with stern visage keeping everything in its proper box, and behind its proper line. Instead he is a person who embraces deeply the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth which calls him to demonstrate a real love for the human person, the weak, powerless, hungry, and poor.
And once again I find myself amazed at the wide divergence between so many of those Americans who call themselves Christian and Jesus, the man who lived in Nazareth.
I no longer call myself a christian… the term means both too much and too little.
But I do believe that god has an incredible love for the weak and suffering… as born out in the Jewish scriptures and Christian scriptures. I suppose that if Pope Francis is an extremist, so was Jesus.
And perhaps that is where the rub is… in our selfish, hedonistic, “efficient” world, anybody who breaks out of the model and dares to speak up for those who are not in power, is an extremist… going against the stream… changing the message and the tune of the accepted script for maintaining the status quo.
Those in power think that the Pope should say nothing to make them personally uncomfortable, because, well, after all they are in the right, they are the blessed, how else would they be in power if not through the acceptance and approval of god? Pope is supposed to be making all the vile sinners uncomfortable… the gays and lesbians, the adulterers (include that wicked species of people who have dared to remarry after a divorce), anybody who believes that a woman ought to have some control over the biological processes of her own body.
And god forbid we should give a poor person a dime if they haven’t earned it by the sweat of their backside, (as if the rich have truly earned all of the wealth that they hoard in their stored up treasure bins).
And the argument about global warming and care of the earth really astounds me… let us say that global warming is complete, and absolute drivel… either a foolish notion born out of sincere concern of some people for the planet, or some other type of nefarious plot by the evil left… so what? If global warming is a myth, does that justify us to take off all of the stops, gear up and open the throttle, and really slam it forward with as much toxin and poison that our manufacturing and modern lifestyles can produce? Is attempting to reduce pollution, or perhaps saving a few forests, or perhaps cutting back on our fuel consumption really such an awful thing?
We are a strange species, this Homo sapiens thing. We have made capitalism, and Adam Smith’s idea of self-interest, to be the core of our gospel, even though such philosophy so plainly contradicts the words of the person some people claim is the focal point of our American Christian nation (Jesus… you know, that poor guy who didn’t even have a place to lay his head). We want to emulate Jesus in every way except for, well, what he actually said, and how he actually lived.
If anybody who cares more about human beings than they do efficiently squeezing the very last dollar out of the capitalist behemoth is an extremist, well, I suppose I should count myself on Pope Francis’ team.
Remove anxiety from your heart, banish pain from your body, because youth and the dawn of life are pointless too.
Remember our creator in your prime,
before the days of trouble arrive,
and those years, about which you’ll say, “I take no pleasure in these”—
before the sun and the light grow dark,
the moon and the stars too,
before the clouds return after the rain;
on the day when the housekeepers tremble
and the strong men stoop;
when the women who grind stop working because they’re so few,
and those who look through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are shut,
when the sound of the mill fades,
the sound of the bird rises, and all the singers come down low;
when people are afraid of things above and of terrors along the way;
when the almond tree blanches, the locust droops,
and the caper-berry comes to nothing;
when the human goes to the eternal adobe,
with mourners all around in the street;
before the silver cord snaps
and the gold bowl shatters;
the jar is broken at the spring
and the wheel is crushed at the pit;
before dust returns to the earth as it was before
and the life-breath returns to God who gave it,
Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, everything is pointless.
I promised I would watch my steps
so as not to sin with my tongue;
promised to keep my mouth shut as long as the wicked where in my presence.
So I was completely quiet, silent.
I kept my peace, but it did no good.
My pain got worse.
My heart got hot inside me;
while stewing over it, the fire burned.
Then I spoke out with my tongue:
"Let me know me end, Lord.
How many days do I have left?
I want to know how brief my time is."
You've made my days so short;
my lifetime is like nothing in your eyes.
Yes, a human life is nothing but a puff of air!
Yes, people wander around like shadows;
yes, they hustle and bustle, but pointlessly;
they don't even know who will ge the wealth they've amassed.
SO now, Lord, what should I be waiting for?
My hope is set on you.
Deliver me from all my sins;
don't make me some foolish person's joke.
I am completely silent; I won't open my mouth because you have acted.
Get this plague of yours off me!
I'm being destroyed by the blows from your fist.
You discipline people for their sin, punishing them;
like a moth, you ruin what they treasure.
Yes, a human life is just a puff of air!
Hear my prayer, Lord!
Listen closely to my cry for help!
Please don't ignore my tears!
I'm just a foreigner --
an immigrant staying with you,
just like my ancestors were.
Look away from me so I can be happy again
before I pass away and am gone.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor;
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
I am of old and young,
of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal,
a child as well as a man,
Stuffed with the stuff that is course,
and stuffed with the stuff that is fine.
In all people I see myself,
none more and not one a barleycorn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself
I say of them.
In the faces of men and women I see God,
and in my own face in the glass,
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem…