Last night I dreamt that a group of politicians were in a dark board room with a long rectangular table that seemed to go on forever, well at least I couldn’t see the end of it. They debated what they considered to be a very “serious” issue – Traffic Control. Everyone kept shouting about how dangerously congested the traffic was becoming, and that something needed to be done or else people might have to wait for days in traffic. It was like the ridiculous war room scene in the film Dr. Strangelove (“There’s no fighting in the war room!”). People yelled out all these different plans of which I had a hard time understanding because so many people were screaming at the same time. After bickering for what I guessed to be several minutes, they finally exclaimed together, “We have a solution!” How they got a solution in all that madness is beyond me. Well, they agreed to rig all the major highways and bridges with nuclear bombs and detonate them during peak traffic hours. After that, I was somehow transported near a large bridge filled with cars, and in a matter of moments it was blown to smithereens… I suppose that’s one way to decrease traffic, albeit an absurd way.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I’m a simple man without a great amount of money, nor a great desire for money, but even a cursed fool such as myself recognizes the far reaching power of money into every part of society… And so here are some thoughts on this whole money matter from other more notable minds than myself.
“If a man runs after money, he’s money mad; if he keeps it, he’s a capitalist; if he spends it, he’s a playboy; if he doesn’t get it, he’s a never-do-well; if he doesn’t try to get it he lacks ambition. If he gets it without working for it, he’s a parasite; and if he accumulates it after a lifetime of hard work, people call him a fool who never got anything out of life.”
“Money is coined liberty, and so it is ten times dearer to a man who is deprived of freedom. If money is jingling in his pocket, he is half consoled, even though he cannot spend it.”
“The lack of money is the root of all evil.”
“There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.”
Monday, August 15, 2011
Oh this word LOVE, this word which has been uttered a zillion times in a zillions ways throughout the course of human history. And now here I am uttering it a few more times.
LOVE is commonly associated with emotional, erotic elements (and rightly so), but I want to focus on the unselfish facets of LOVE, on the disinterested concepts of LOVE, on the unconditional aspects of LOVE. This kind of LOVE is not centered on feeling good. This kind of LOVE transcends feelings. It goes beyond the internal fluctuations of emotion and mood… Think of the parents of a newborn child. I would imagine that it’s not always enjoyable to listen to the incessant cries of an infant, and it’s probably not always enjoyable to be responding to their needs at all hours of the night, but that is LOVE.
Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) once wrote, “If we wish to assure ourselves that LOVE is entirely disinterested, we must remove every possibility of requital, but this is exactly what happens with respect to the dead, if LOVE perished persists not withstanding this then it is in truth disinterested. If you therefore wish to prove that you LOVE disinterestedly then sometimes pay attention to how you behave towards the dead. Much LOVE unquestionably, the most if subjective to a sharper testing would appear to be a selfishness, but the fact of the matter is that in a LOVE relationship between the living there is always a hope of requital, at least of a reciprocated LOVE and this is generally what happens, but this hope together with the requital produces such an effect that one can’t definitely see what is LOVE and what is selfishness.”
The Golden Rule says to treat others how you would like to be treated, but that rule kind of bothers me because I’m not so sure I would want others to treat me as they would like to be treated. I wouldn’t want a Viking to treat me like a Viking or a mobster to treat me like a mobster and so on and so on. The extreme ethic of unconditional LOVE goes beyond the golden rule. Unconditional LOVE says to me that we should treat others better than we would like to be treated, that we should love without terms, without reciprocity, without compromise, that we should LOVE others more than we LOVE ourselves. Unconditional LOVE urges us to break free from the singular concept of “me” and embrace the plural concept of “we.”
And on a different note, I would like to thank Mr. David Powers King for bestowing upon me the "Blog on Fire award." Much LOVE, chief.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
What is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivete, we would watch the passing clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not float so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or is it the place where we would sit on Mother's knee, enraptured by tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous and playful childhood?
If that were patriotism, few American men of today would be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill, and mine, while deepening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. No longer can we hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears and grief.
What, then, is patriotism? "Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. [Samuel] Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman...
Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others. The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that from early infancy the mind of the child is provided with blood-curdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition...
-by Emma Goldman in the year 1908 San Francisco, California