Sunday, December 25, 2011

There is No Tomorrow.

That's the title of my new book on realization your potential in life. There is no tomorrow.  All we have is now. There is no tomorrow, the future is a little more than an illusion.

If your not moving towards achieving your personal goals, start now. If your not advancing in your career, start now. Don't wait. Do what it takes to make your life what you want it to be.

Also, Happy (late) Winter Solstice, may you find strength and renewal in the power of a new year and die to yourself in some areas, so that you may live.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Back To The Wild

I spent the afternoon in Western's Daylight Lounge reading "Back to the Wild", a compilation of photographs and letter from Chris McCandless, the main character from Into the Wild.  It's a true story about a young man from a affulent family who graduated from Emory University with a yearning for adventure. He began his journey in Virginia, and ventured West in his yellow Datsun, He adopted the nickname "Alexander Supertramp" when he took up hitchhiking after his car was wiped out by a flashflood.

If you haven't seen the movie, watch it. If you have seen the movie, this is a great supplement. While out West, Alex writes a letter to his friend in Arizona about his travels, which I've attached below.
This is a true story.
While there is much debate about the reason he left, how we survived as long as did, etc. etc The inspiration from his stories, letters, and pictures are simply incredible.

I've attached a letter from Alex Supertramp to Russ, an eighty year old friend from Arizona. (Let me know if you have trouble reading it.)



Tell me this doesn't do anything for you. Do it. I dare you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Cornfields

Just south of town along Pioneer highway lies an old farming road with a vacant field. and 9’ 6’ tall train track bridge towers over the road that dips beneath. "The Cornfields", as they were dubbed, are only 60 yards patch along this stretch of road two miles long. To passerby, it's just a cornfield. But to me, they were everything and they silently taught much of what I know about life simply by watching them.

During the summertime, waking up at 5:30 in the morning and working a twelve hour shift doesn't sound appealing to an teenager. But last summer, that what I did as Pea Viner for Twin City Foods. Your days become a rhythmic pattern of waking, eating, working, eating, sleeping. Sooner than later, the little things throughout the day begin to amuse you. Staring off into space, your thoughts working in sync with the hum of the conveyor belt. When you pull back into reality, you look over at your fellow coworkers whom themselves have fallen asleep and you listen and watch the supervisor yell over the CB, "16 Wake Up....John....Wake Up" 

You'd listen to other's, John in raspy smoker's voice would call over a Pea Truck to unload, “Pea truck to 16...Pea Truck to 16” I’d watch the his lights go on from the other end of the field and then soon see dust rising in the distance as a pea truck would race to machine sixteen.

Others viners would come to visit you as your drove around the field. Collecting Peas. For Twelve Straight. Hours. Suddenly, you became amazed at the sight of your coworkers driving giant combine's around the field. Before you know it, the simplest things start to amuse you.

But as I sat in the dirty old pod stripper, I couldn’t help but notice the corn stalks at other end of this pea field. Different. Epic. Liberating. Before long, I was caught in their trance, imaging how deep they were and how far they could possibly get me from escaping the responsibility of waking up every morning and going to this monotonous job that I dreaded dearly. My mind began to thick as deep as the cornfields themselves and soon I found myself mentally running through them.

When I got off work later that evening, Katie and Chelsea came over and we all hung out for the night. Bred out of our minds from prank phone calling the operators outside of the dollar store, we need something to do. in the Viking Village.

On our first journey ever to this place, I followed my childish desire, to run in rows of cornfields hoping for them to never end. Pointless to many, but yet meaningful to few.  We cruised south of town towards the Norman Road. With KMPS blasting on my stereo, the warm summer  breeze blew through our hair as we nibbled on our Ring Pops and gulped down our Iced Teas our goodies we bought at the dollar store just minutes before.

Scouting for a corn field. The girls had no idea. Dipping down under the train bridge, I found it. I yelled at the girls drowning their singing out with “I Think we found it, I think we found it!!“ I screamed in excitement, much like a little girl. As I pulled off on the grassy shoulder, shut my door, and jumped into the cornfields. Meanwhile, I could heard Kater’s and Chelsea, yelling in confusion, “What?..oh…Wait up, stop, Wait up Ty Ty”.

    Going to this place for the first time we went for fun, and excitement. Just three kids on an average august afternoon with childish dreams to pass the summer time away. Now the reasons have matured into my life, my future, my relationships, myself. Now, when I pull over onto the damp wet grass along the side of the road, I realize that my once childish dreams evolved into responsibilities. The corn has since been harvested. But even if the corn hadn’t been harvested, and I were to jump out of the truck, and run through the tall dry stalks of corn, I still wouldn’t be as satisfied as I was the first time I came because my wants and needs in life have changed.

Sitting here in the Stillaguamish Valley, I am less than a mile away from my Grandma Murphy's Homestead. My mind is flooded with the stories of her childhood, and the wonderful memories. She tells stories of old Stanwood, and families that use to live in the valley, and how its changed so much since her time. alks about the valley every once in while.

I understand the importance of what she’s talking about, because on a different level, I have strong personal connection with it as well. , almost as lover has a strong emotional bondage to their lover. I feel at home, right where I belong. it’s at this spot in the world that my personal feelings for certain people that I held high in my life, are deepened and strengthened to a deeper level. With my new life experience, and knowledge, it reminds of the T.S. Elliot quote, We shall not cease from exploring, and at the end of our exploration, We will return to were we started, and know the place for the first time.

Sitting here in the cool of the night, the dark and relaxation overcomes you. This place seemed to helped me change a lot about my beliefs. Throughout high school, my ego would try and impress other with my atheistic outlook on life. But here its In some weird way, I would always try to impress everyone with my atheistic outlook on life, but its here its

Comfortable and stable in my beliefs, I nestle into my sleep bag in the bed of my pickup gazing at the heavens above. Staring at the this mind boggling sky that so many take for granted. Although I’m not intellectually satisfied, I believe that is what keeps me attracted to this mysteriousness, and wonderful “higher being” and ultimately pulls me closer and closer to the energy of the universe. This place also taught me be "true to myself."

But rather, I would ask the Divine, "how the hell they came up with this idea of life?"

Through the course of time, autumn arrived, and the corn was harvest. One day, tall, healthy, green stalks towered over the land. The next day, brown stubs dotted the ground. My own personal heaven was changing before my eyes.

Life is a psychological journey. This revelation reminded of me of Joseph Campbell's quote, that sacred space isn't some physical location, but the place in your mind you can arrive at every time. But still standing there, I experience another flashback.

Soon you find yourself contemplating the universe. Everything begins to fits like a jig saw puzzle and you reach the conclusion that you ultimately hold the power to change this world you live in. Not necessarily change it, because there are circumstance in which we have no control over but you can change your attitude, your drive, and ostensibly the world you live. You feel this change come as the result of the moonlit ground, as you stare off in the distance feeling that you are so far away from civilization but knowing that it lies right over the hills in all directions. You see the orange outside light of the houses pierce the hillside, and occasionally watch a car or two drive down Pioneer Highway in the direction of Silvana.

The Corn stalks stood perpendicular along the train tracks. At some point every ones life, we realize we have to grow up, but really don’t quite know how true those words are, for me it hit me like a train.

Shortly after one in the morning, you can hear the train go by. Like clockwork. Its in the silence of my room, I’m reminded of the vivid memories with each blow of the train engineers horn. I gazed into absolute wonder into my Christmas light lit room to reflect on the impact this place had on me.


In that respect, Life seems to work like the passing of a train. With time represented as the tracks, life represented as the fast paced train.  These rail of life come to life as the train passes.. The train comes to you at such an alarming rate much like life happens at such a fast rate, we often forget to live, so we continue to live life with insincerity, appealing to other's egos

By the time, we get "it". It's often too late. because we don’t know what we have ahead of us, a lot of us are unprepared. Nobody teaches you how to grow up. Sooner or later, you'll get "it". However you want to play the metaphor out. Life saves you. It's the only way it works, instead of living life, life lives us, because we know we can’t stop the train at the rate its going, we also know we can’t stop time either because we’re soon watching that the train makes no stops on its journey, and continues onward without stopping. We understand that we need to take action and move away from the train tracks or the train will move us.  In relation to life, we need to move and be somewhat prepared for what life gives us regardless of the circumstances.

If you can picture yourself right up close to a train track at night. You watch the train come around the corner slowly, listening to it's horn. Then on the straight away, the light appears stuck. But the train is moving fast. As it comes we are scared because we have no idea what the train’s contents holds, and we are almost scared of life because we have no idea what’s in store for us. At this point in life, as we watch the train come around the corner is a metaphor for when we realize that we will die someday. We instinctual understand that we must move and make something of ourselves.

Some of us are still caught in bright headlight coming from the train and enticing loud horn, the illusion of its secure position in our time and space. We don’t want to move because we want to be close to it and experience it.

As the train gets closer, the tracks begin to violently shake, and only then do I realize that when I move off the tracks, the conductor in the train, will have no idea of my existence. He will have no idea that only minutes before I’d spent watching his train come to life on track. Only to make a move at the last minute, similar to the way a predator watches their pray, or the way an average teenager watches their future and adulthood.

The clear blue summer sky didn’t talk to me it was the change of seasons that they told me that things don’t stay the same. Everything, I venture out there a new lesson is waiting in the tilled soil, or the cricket filled night.

When Emily asked me, “Wait, why are you writing your memoir on a cornfield?” I responded with a hesitant "I honestly don’t know” Prior to this, I’d never thought about what it was that kept me captive about that place. It was on self reflection once again on my trip later that day to the cornfields that I understood exactly what the Cornfields meant.


I saw experienced and beared witness to a transformation in life. I watched this fun, wild place, where awesome memories lie transform over the next few months into a quiet, deserted, place perfect for clearing my mind. I watched the seasons teach me a lesson about time. I know that I never leave drive away without being nothing less than amazed.

Our individual life experiences, the places we occupy, the world we've found ourselves in can teach us beautiful and transcendence lessons, but only if we let it.



Written originally in 2006, revised in 2011.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hitchens 10 Commandments

Christopher Hitchens, on the Ten Commandments.
10 Commandments
1) Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity, color.
2) Do not even think about using people as private property, or a slaves.
3) Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relationships.
4) Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
5) Do not condemn people for their inborn nature
6) Aware that you too are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try to think and act accordingly.
7) Do not imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospecus
8) Turn off that fucking cell phone.
9) Denounce all Jihadis and Cruscaders for what they are-Pscycopathic criminals with ugly delusions- and terrible sexual repressions.
10) Be willing to denouce any God or any faith if any of the Holy Commandments should contradict the above.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What is Globalization you ask?*

Taken from a friend, another excellent description of Globalization.
Question: What is the truest definition of Globalization?
Answer: Princess Diana's death.
Question: How come?
Answer: An English princess
with an Egyptian boyfriend
crashes in a French tunnel,
driving a German car
with a Dutch engine,
driven by a Belgian who was drunk
on Scottish whiskey, (check the bottle before you change the spelling)
followed closely by Italian Paparazzi,
on Japanese motorcycles;
treated by an American doctor,
using Brazilian medicines.
This is sent to you by an American,
using Bill Gate's technology,
and you're probably reading this on your computer,
that use Taiwanese chips
and a Korean monitor,
assembled by Bangladeshi workers
in a Singapore plant,
transported by Indian lorry-drivers,
hijacked by Indonesians,
unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen,
and trucked to you by Mexican illegals.....
That, my friends, is Globalization
-Unknown

Soloman's Child

Written in 1980 by Tom Dulack, Solomon’s Child, deals with the mental deprogramming of a nineteen year old male, named Shelley, who recently joined a dangerous cult. When Shelley experiences significant mental, physical, and emotional damage on behalf of the cult, Shelley’s father, Allan, has several individuals kidnap and deprogram Shelley in hopes of saving his life. Solomon’s Child is startling reminder that questions the role of cults around the world in inhibiting humanity’s survival and advancement. Solomon’s Child exposes the cult behavior in contemporary religious belief and behavior.

Often times, religious organizations exhibit the same characteristics as cults. Sacred & Profane, a learning community class taught at Skagit Valley College by Anne Will and Trish Barnes, outlines the similarities between cults and mainstream fundamentalism. Cults have the following characteristics, they are “harmful, brutalizing, take money, separated, isolated, exclusive, and often run by a charismatic leader” [Will]

Shelley’s participation and involvement in the cult severely affected the progression of his physical and mental health. Shelley belonged to the United Congregation, where they preached renunciation from earthly possessions and services. Shelley became disillusioned to the point that he abstained from food. "I don't require earth food, earth nourishment; I am fed by the flame of the Holy essence" (Dulack 9) Naomi, a former member of the United Congregation, recalled that "Shelley got the bleeding ulcers, one of the elders told me. He [Elder] thinks its Satan invading him.” (Dulack 29)  In today's society, Scientology does the same thing. The cult was denying Shelley the medical attention he needed. Naomi said "This is how it works in the Unified Congregation. I came down with appendicitis, and they wouldn't let me see a doctor. The brothers and sisters, Shelley included. They said the pain was Satan invading me." (Dulack 29) Believing that evil spirits are the cause is nonsense, we understand the extent micro bacteria plays Thanks to advancements in science, we understand that the host of problems caused by malnutrition and micro bacteria and the buffer food can provided by eradicating nutrition from food is a necessity for the continual sustainable of life. micro to the cause of illnesses and when you are malnourished you become a host of deadly illnesses. Retaining and sustaining a medieval mindset about physical illness and associating them with supernatural causes is wrong, and potentially lethal.
 
Naomi, also recalled the time when Shelley was “stealing welfare check from some poor ignorant old black lady in Harlem” (Dulack 48) The welfare checks made their way into “bastard[s} pocket” of the cult leader. (Dulack 48) Scientology in our modern culture exhibits the similar behavior. Prominent Scientologists are want by the IRS for tax evasion, and denying their followers the proper medical attention when they needed it the most. There are denominations within Christianity that teach abstention from food for short periods of time as a way to show their dedication and obedience to the spirit and power of God.


Cults also erode our physical and emotional health and the ability to think critically.  In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a chart outlining the basic biological needs to the complex psychological desires man needs to reach their full potential,  Abraham Maslow said that man will not advance in becoming a unless his “Physiological Needs” and “Safety Needs” (Simons) are met. The cults imposition and dictation of moral codes in our physical and mental existence of the world inhibits the growth and environment where critical thinking skills should be applied. Shelley could not think for himself, as he wanted to contact the United Congregation for help. In the midst of the deprogramming, Balthazar is questioning the motives of the Shelley by asking “Can’t you function without them? Can’t you think, without their telling you what to do?” (Dulack 62)

Maintaining a primitive mindset, and separating themselves from society in the 21st Century, where mankind has traveled to the Moon, and genetic engineering of planets and animals is possible, poses numerous problems. The United Congregation, as well as many other cults around the world, denies their followers of the vital tools necessary to solve the problems of their everyday life. When we destroy illusions, we are in a better position to make informed, healthy decisions. Cults complicate and create illusions, and disconnect us from the world.

Cults corrode our innate human curiosity that has undoubtedly led us forward through march of time. Throughout all of human history, we have slowly advanced to this point in time through leaps and bounds. Thinking critically on behalf of Alan, Shelley’s father, saved his life. The critical thinking that saved Shelley's life was not a byproduct of religion or cult activity. Steve Weinberg disambiguate religion from morality by stating that the cult members or religious "have a moral sense which allows them to distinguish between what is religious and what is not religious. George Bush said that these terrorists have hijacked a great religion, because of their actions, their terrorist actions, don’t fit his idea of religion. Do you see what's happening there? Instead of using religion to decide what's moral, they are using their moral sense, which fortunately is a perfectly reasonable enlightening sense, to decide what is religious. And if that's the case, what’s the point of religion?" (Miller)


If Shelley’s cult was ever allowed the opportunity to gain political power, dangerous Shelley's cult activity would probably reverses the progress of the past 100 years. Reversal of hundreds of years of legal, moral, government advancement would prove detrimental to legal precedents that we hold to be sacred.  Within the United States, if the Christian Right had their way, Roe vs. Wade would be reversed making abortions illegal, Creationism would be adopted into public education curriculum, and the separation of the Church and State would be ignored. Careful consideration would be replaced by extremism thinking that would defy significant amounts of evidence. Everything we know could hang in the balance.


Solomon’s Child is startling reminder that challenges fundamentalism of religion that exists in our culture, and the threat they could pose inhibiting humanity’s survival and advancement. Through corroding our ability to critically think, cults can also filter information that would otherwise allow human beings the ability to become, as John F. Kennedy stated, what “man will be what he was born to be: free and independent”[Kennedy]

Monday, August 1, 2011

Is Religion Good for the World?*

Christopher Hitchens in a debates with Tony Blair, "Is Religion Good for the World?"


What we have here, is a distillation and of precisely what is twisted and immoral in the faith mentality. It's essential fanaticism, its the consideration of human beings as raw material, and its fantasy of purity. Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment, where by we are created sick and commanded to be well. And over us to supervise this, is a celestial dictatorship. A kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent, greedy for uncritical praise from dawn til dusk, and swift to punish the original sins with which is so tenderly gifted us in the first place.


However let no one say there is no cure. Salvation is offered, redemption indeed. At the low price at the surrender of your critical faculties, I am asking you....is it good for the world to appeal to our credulity and not to our skepticism? Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars? And human affairs? To appeal to our fears and to our guilt? Is it good for the world? To our terror of death? To preach guilt and shame about the sexual act and sexual relationship? Is this good for the world? While asking yourself if these are religious responsibilities. To which I claim they are. To terrify children with the image of hell and eternal punishment of not only themselves but of their parents and those they love. Perhaps worst of all to consider, women as an inferior creation. Is that good for the world? Can you name me a religion who has not done that? To insist that we were created, not evolved. Contrary to all the evidence.
Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first thought to think. Beautiful, almost perfect. Now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia so that I may do the work of the Lord. No!


Now let me ask Tony again. Because the place he is seeking peace is the birthplace of monotheism. So you might think it's a unusually full of refulgence and love and peace. Everyone in the civilized world has roughly agreed including a majority of Arabs and Jews and the international community that there should be enough room for two peoples in the same land. I think we have a rough agreement on that. Why can't get it? The U.N. can't get it! The U.S. get it! The P.L.O can't get it! The Israeli Parliament can't get it! Why can't they get it? Because the party of God has a veto on it and everybody knows this is true. Because of the divine promises made about this territory, there will never be peace, there will never be compromise, there will instead be misery, shame, and tyranny. And people's will kill other people's children will kill each other over ancient books and caves and relics. Who is going to say this is good for the world?

Reagonomics

Editor, The Times:

It isn’t pit bulls, pigs, or lipstick. It’s Reaganomics, stupid! Thirty years ago, America made a an economic wrong turn. Corporations reveled in a n orgy of deregulation. The invisible hand of the free market, we believed was the hand of God. It was the hand of greed. Instead of freedom, we got corporate feudalism.

Reaganomics is a shell game: With one hand slashing taxes, another steal real wages, real health-care benefits, pensions and home equity. Reaganomics busts unions, out sources jobs, defends public infrastructure and spawns obscene disparities between worker and executive pay. Lobbyists write legislation. Wall Street makes war for profit. Corporations get no bid contracts and fat tax breaks, enslaving the middle class with debt.

Reaganomics insults our founding fathers, demonizing government as a succubus. But we the people are the government, founded to protect the commonwealth from privileged self-interest. In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I hope we shall crush the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare to trial by strength.”

Reaganomics dumbs down America’s genius for balancing public and private interests. Once labor unions, progressives taxes and the GI bill helped working folks afford homes, healthcare and higher education. A vital middle class was born. Now citizens choose between heating the house or paying the mortgage, while their bankers get federal bailouts.

Trickle down economics is a lie. Freedom rewired more than free markets. Freedom requires government. America must return to the path of Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, and vote for Sen. Barack Obama.

-Fred LaMotte, Steilacoom (The Seattle Times; Tuesday September 16, 2008, Local B7)

We are now only beginning to reap the fruits of seeds we planted decades ago.

Silly Tree Huggers. Taxes are for kids

QUIT your whining, we recieved a tax cut. Quit being so lazy. Innovation is great when you cut childcare, K-12 education, community and technical colleges! Social Security is funded independly of the federal budget, but thank goodness we cut the PAYROLL tax, I could of sure used that $714 now to buy something useless. Did I mention I want to work until I die? While we're at it, let's seize all flow of money in the economy and cut unemployment benefits. Disintegrating infrastructure, what an inviting and cozy environment for businesses. But thank god I have my extra $714 knowing society is faced with greater hardships. That's okay, I'll put in my savings account which is depleting inflation. It's hard to be a diligent investor you know, because I can't exactly place my money into a Certificate of Deposit because the Federal Reserve is lending to banks at extremely low rates. Freezing federal spending levels GENIUS! Lets return to the government of 1960's even though our population has grown ten fold! I'm glad to see our government can work in a bipartisanship way to screw us. hahaha Silly Tree Huggers. Taxes are for kids!!

We need to stop viewing taxes as a burden and rather as a investment in our society. Taxes that allow our society to function at its most basic level. Cutting services and stranding the poor is a great way to bring about instabilitly and give rise to the Hitler's of our future.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What employers look for in new college graduates?*

In a study published in a book by William D. Coplin titled "10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College" hiring manager say they want college graduates with the following skills and attributes:

1. Communication skills
2. Honesty/integrity
3. Teamwork skills
4. Interpersonal skills
5. Strong work ethic
6. Motivation/initiative
7. Flexibility/adaptability
8. Analytical skills
9. Computer skills
10. Organizational skills

Experience with Nothing.

"What would I be doing if I weren't alive?" If I weren't flooding the sandbox. Granted I wouldn't know any different, but where was my conscious prior to life? What was I doing in the run up to this[Life]?" As a 10 year old boy, I became terrified. The prospect of death, or non existence sowed its seed early on. The thought plagued my mind, the question destroyed every mental comfort I could conceive of, every nook and cranny in my mind was mercilessly destroyed. I couldn't escape, and still can't. Ruthless in its path, enlightening in its wake. There was no place safe and no safe place within my head. Terrified memories still give me goosebumps.

As a child, I began I gained a keen awareness of time. I firmly remember the island I built in my cousin's sandbox. Keeled on the ground, I recognized moments from then on as the bright overwhelming orange light of the sun that rests every night between the wooden planks of the fence would begin to cool the surrounding sand. The warm sand that is being blasted with life from the sunlight will begin a process to cool itself. An expository tale of the world around me played itself out through the sand. Of how my surrounding came to be through weathering. This process wasn't anything new, but along the way, my existence was.

Staring at the trees glimmering in the sunlight across the street, I felt that somehow I was communicating with nature. And she'd gentle whisper using the life blasted sand particles to speak with me. Of course I was way to young I couldn't place this experience into words, nor did I exactly want to, I was completely comfortable coming to awareness, into the stage of my life without telling anyone. The cycles, the seasons, day and night, time marched on. I had a covenant, everyday that would come, the stars in sky, and sun on the horizon reinforced the message of there is nothing to worry about.

I experienced that parable, I didn't read it. I understood instinctively what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6:25-34. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I already knew and by the time the Bible came around and made it big in my life, I wasn't satisfied with what it said anymore, it wasn't enough, I was ready for next step. My curiosity was thrown into overdrive. Determined to discover what life had to offer and how I could advance in my journey.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Favorite Quotes

Life is ironic. We are absurd creatures.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. -Einstein


I don’t think we are seeking a meaning for life rather I think what we are seeking an experience for being alive. So that the experiences we have on purely physical plane will have resonances within our inner most being and reality so that we have the rapture of being alive. -Joseph Campbell

We shall not cease from exploring, and at the end of our exploration, We will return to were we started, and know the place for the first time. -T. S. Elliot

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -Douglas Adams

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

I must study politics and war, so that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
-John Adams

Let me make it clear that when I say admire the United States, the United States is not the government. There is very little in the government that I admire-certainly not in the present, and certainly not in recent years. What I admire is the spirit of independence and thought, which has allowed so many Americans to protest against policies they disagreed with. Working people who have been trying in every possible way against great odds to improve conditions in their lives...of working people getting together and doing what the government will not do for them.
-Howard Zinn

there is nothing to save you
other than your own awareness
nothing to move you
other than your own will
nothing to enlighten you
other than your own insight
there is no salvation apart from
the light of your own mind.


Let me tell you a secret, something they don't teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be more lovely than you are now. We will never be here again. Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed.

In a native American parable, the Creator gathers all the animals and says: 'I want to hide something from humans until they are ready for it-the realization that they create their own reality'. Give it to me, I'll fly to the moon,' says the Eagle. No, one day soon they will go there and find it.' How about the bottom of the ocean?' asks the salmon. 'No they will find it there too.' I will bury it in the great plains,' says the buffalo. 'They will soon dig and find it there.' Put it inside them,' says the wise grandmother mole.
'Done' says the Creator. 'It is the last place they will look.'


If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chernobyl*

The dangerous reality and lasting implications of nuclear power.

"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."



Due to viewing difficulties, you can visit the link here: Chernobyl Legacy by Paul Fusco on youtube or the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAxTZD9sk40

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dave Matthews

You watched the rain clouds roll over the hill to the east. Underneath them, a gray mist. Rain was coming. Everything I had brought with me on my back. In the campgrounds surrounding you, cars and tents. No shelters were safe from the rain, so you embraced it.

Finally, when the rain stopped, the sun peaked through the clouds. "One Day" by Matisyahu was echoing throughout the campground as individuals came out from the torrential downpour minutes earlier. The weather remained like this all weekend.

Most people would consider the weekend absolutely miserable, but it was an amazing experience. I didn't know what the future held, but it didn't matter. I was surrounded by ones I loved and enjoyed. I hope and anticipate more experiences like this in the future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Excerpt from 'The Things They Carried.'

"Affirm," he said. "Invisible. So what happens is, these guys get themselves deep in the bush, all camouflaged up, and they lie down and wait and that's all they do, nothing else, they lie there for seven straight days and just listen. And man, I'll tell you-it's spooky. This is mountains. You don't know spooky till you've been there. Jungle, sort of, except it's way up in the clouds and there's always this fog-like rain, except it's not raining-everything's all wet and swirly and tangled up and you can't see jack, you' can't find your own pecker to piss with. Like you don't even have a body. Serious spooky....And the sounds, man. The sounds carry forever. You hear stuff nobody should ever hear."

Sanders was quiet for a second, just working the yo-yo, then he smiled at me.
"So, after a couple of days the guys start hearing this real soft, kind of wacked-out music. Weird echoes and stuff. Like a radio or something, but it's not a radio. it's this strange gook music that comes rights out of the rocks. Faraway, sort of, but right up close, too. They try and ignore it. But it's a listening post, right? So they listen. And every night they keep hearing the crazy ass gook concert. All kinds of chemies and xylophones. I mean, this is wilderness -no way, it can't be real-but there it is, like the mountains are tuned in to Radio fucking Hanoi. Naturally they get nervous. One guy sticks Juicy Fruit in his ears. Antoher guy almost flips. Thing is, though, they can't report music. They can't get on the horn and call back to base and say, 'Hey, listen, we need some firepower, we got to blow away this weirdo gook rock band.' They can't do that. It wouldn't go down. So they lie there in the god and keep their mouths shut. And what makes it extra bad, see is the poor dues can't horse around like normal. Can't joke it away. Can't even talk to each other except maybe in whispers, all hush-hush, and that just revs up the willies. All they do is listen."
Again there was some silence as Mitchell Sanders looked out on the river. The dark was coming on hard now, and off to the west I could see the mountains rising in silhouette, all the mysteries and unknowns.
"The next part," Sanders said quietly, "You won't believe."
"Probably not," I said.
"You won't. And you know why?" He gave me a long, tired smile. "Because it happened. Because every word is absolutely dead one true"
Sanders made a sound in his throat, like a sigh, as if to say he didn't care if I believe him or not. But he did care. He wanted me to feel the truth, to believe by raw force of feeling. He seemed sad, in a way.
"There six guys," he said. "they're pretty fried out by now, and one night they start hearing voices. Like at a cocktail party. That's what it sounds like, this big swank gook cocktail part somewhere out there in the fog. Music and chitchat and stuff. It's crazy, I know, but they hear the champagne corks. They hear the actual martini glasses. Real hoity-toity, all very civilized, except this isn't civilization. This is Nam.
"Anyways, the guys try to be cool. They just lie there and groove, but after a while they start hearing-you won't believe this-they hear chamber music. They hear violins and cellos. They hear this terrific mama-san soprano. Then after a while they hear gook opera and glee club and the Haiphong Boys Choir and barbershop quartet and all kinds of weird chanting and Buddha-Buddha stuff. And the whole time, in the background, there's still that cocktail party going on. All these different voices. Not human voices, though. Because it's the mountains. Follow me? The rock-it's talking. And the fog, too, and the grass and the goddamn mongooses. Everything talks. The trees talk politics, the monkeys talk religion. The whole country. Vietnam. The place talks. It talks. Understand? Nam-it truly talks.
"The guys can't cope. They lose it. They get on the radio and report enemy movement-a whole army, they say-and they order up the firepower. They get art and gunships. They call in air strikes. And I'll tell you, they fuckin' crash that cocktail party. All night long, they just smoke those mountains. They make jungle juice. They blow away trees and glee clubs and whatever else there is to blow away. Scorch time. They bring in the Cobras and F-4's. they use Willie Peter and HE and incendiaries. It's all fire. The make those mountains burn.
"Around dawn things finally get quiet. Like you never even heard quiet before. One of those real thick, real misty days-just clouds and fog, they're off in this special zone-and the mountains are absolutely dead-flat silent. Like Brigadoon=pure vapor, you know? Everything's all sucked up inside fog. Not a single sounds, except they still hear it.
"So they pack up and start humping. They head down the mountain, back to base camp, and when they get there they don't say diddly. They don't talk. Not a word, like they're dead and dumb. Later on this fat bird colonel comes up and asks what the hell happened out there. What'd they hear? Why all the ordnance? The man's ragged out, he gets down tight on their case. I mean, they spent six trillion dollars on firepower, and this fat ass colonel wants answer, he wants to know what the frickin story is.
"But the guys don't say zip. They just look at him for awhile, sort of funny like, sort of amazed, and the whole war is right there in that stare. It says everything you can't ever say. It says, man, you got wax in your eyes. It says, poor bastards, you'll never know-wrong frequency-you don't even want to hear this. They they salute the fucker and walk away, because certain stories you don't eve tell."


More than powerful anything else I've read so far. The imagery, and hallucinations and delusions of the soldiers from the Vietnam War take on a life of their own. A powerful depiction of the psychological warfare that consumes PTSD soldiers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's all about the exchange.

"Tearing Down This Wall" is about actively engaging in dialogue. I'm not writing this blog to be interesting, nor trendy, but to try and make a difference. I don't want you to be curious, I want to move you, I want to tell the truth as much as I can, and I hope you can channel your energy or anger into a constructive force. We don't have to agree on everything, but it should help initiate a conversation.

Also, every post marked with an asterisk indicates material that isn't my work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gospel of Mary

The Gospel of Mary, as fragmented and short as it is, remains a profound and powerful literary work with imagery too real not to be shared. Let me know your thoughts.



A few years ago I attended a class on the religion of Islam. The instructor stated if you had to boil Islam down to one sentence, it would be "There is no god, but God."  Whereas the lower case "g" represents false gods, illusions, that keep us from focusing on the real upper case "G" God. The lower case "god" represents everything else that we may mistake for being a God. Whether its coffee, money, power, these false gods are nothing more than illusions and are not real. They are distractions from the ultimate reality, that is, a distraction from where the rest of life flows and makes sense.

In the Gospel of Mary, the soul is personified and walks through a valley of darkness. As soul travels along it's confronted with the ugly heads of "ignorance" and "desire". The allure of these ugly heads are trying to persuade the soul to remain on its current path, but the soul defies the heads and ascents into a new level of understanding.

According to the Gospel of Mary, Sin isn't dictated from a list of right and wrongs or comes from a stone tablet. Rather, sin is the disconnection of yourself from the divine, nature, the ultimate reality. Not living consciously of your actions and realizing and understanding the beauty of your conduct is a sin.
I'll stop now, Enjoy.

Gospel of Mary

"Will the matter be destroyed or not?" The savior replied, "All natures, all formed things, all creatures exist in and with each other, and they will dissolve into their own root. The nature of matter is dissolved into the root of its nature. Whoever has ears to hear should hear."

Peter said to him, "You have explained everything to us. Tell us also, what is the sin of the world?" The savior replied, "There is no such thing as sin, but you create sin when you mingle as in adultery. and this is called sin. For this reason the good came among you, to those of every nature, in order to restore nature to its root."

He continued, "That is why you become sick and die, for [you love] what [deceives you] Whoever has a mind should understand. Matter gave birth to passion that is without form, because it comes from what is contrary to nature, and then confusion arose in the whole body. That is why I told you, Be of good courage. And if you are discouraged, be encouraged in the presence of the diversity of forms of nature. Whoever has ears to hear should hear."

When the blessed one said this, he greeted all of them and said, "Peace be with you. Receive my peace. Be careful that no one leads you astray by saying 'Look here' or 'Look there; The child of humanity is within you. Follow that. Those who seek it will find it. Go and preach the good news of the kingdom. Do not lay down any rules other than what I have given you, and do not establish law, as the lawgiver did, or you will be bound by it." When he said this, he left them.

Mary Consoles the Disciples and Peter Challenges Mary
The disciplines were grieved. They wept proudly and said, How can we go to the Gentiles and preach the good news of the kingdom of the child of humanity? If they did not spare him, how will we be spared?

Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brothers, "Do not weep or grieve or be in doubt, for his grace will be with you all and will protect you. Rather, let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us truly human."

When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the good, and they began to discuss the words of the savior. Peter said to Mary, "Sister, we know the savior love you more than any other woman. Tell us the words of the savior that you remember, which you know but we do not, because we have not heard them. Mary answers and said, "What is hidden from you I shall reveal to you." She began to speak these words to them. She said, "I saw the master in a vision and I said to him, 'Master, today I saw you in a vision.'

He answered and said to me, 'Blessings on you, since you did not waver when you saw me. For where the mind is, the treasure is." I said to him, 'Master, how does a person see a vision with the soul or with the spirit?"
The savior answered and said, 'A person sees neither with the soul now the spirit. The mind, which is between the two, sees the vision...."

Mary Recounts Her Vision of the Soul Ascent
"Desire said, 'I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why are you lying, since you belong to me?' The soul answered and said, 'I saw you, but you did not see me or know me. To you I was only a garment, and you did not recognize me.'
After the soul said this, she left, rejoicing greatly.
The soul approached the third power, called ignorance. The power questioned the soul, saying, 'Where are you going? You are bound by wickedness, you are bound, so do not pass judgement.'
The soul said, 'Why do you pass judgement on me, though I have passed judgement? I was bound, but I have not bound. I was not recognized, but I have recognized that all is to be dissolved, both what is earthly and what is heavenly.
"When the soul overcame the third power, she ascended and saw the fourth power. It took seven forms:
The first form of darkness.
the second, desire
the third, death wish
the fifth, fleshly kingdom
the sixth, foolish fleshly wisdom
the seventh, angry person's wisdom.

"These are the seven powers of wrath."
"The powers asked the soul, 'Where are you coming from, slayer of humans, and where are you going, destroyer of realms.'

The fetter of forgetfulness is temporary. From now I shall rest, through the course of time of the age, in silence."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nothing more.

I have reached the point in my life where all I want is nothing more than to live on the water, and spend my days with genuine conversations with grand and epic sunrises and sunsets, dabbled with reading and writing, drinking good coffee, good beer, good wine, and tea.

...and maybe a girl thrown into the mixture would be nice as well.

Rereading God is Dead.

"Where is God?" proclaimed Nietzsche. Through his writings, the questions he poses contain more spirituality  than most pastoral sermons. Nietzsche continues....

"I shall tell you!, We have killed him-you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done this? How were we able to drink the whole sea? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition. Gods too decompose. God is dead, and we have killed him!"






My Commentary
We have killed God and the value system that comes with him. Through our "supremacy" this can be seen through the subjection of our fellow brothers and sisters whom we have brutally murdered, violated their natural rights, forced into slavery, burned at the stake, etc, throughout the course of human history. Nietzsche poses the question; where do we go from here?

Many tend to think Hitler incorporated Nietzsche's idea of a superman that later resulted in the death of  millions of mentally handicaped, homosexuals, witches, and Jews. What Hitler did was in complete violation of what Nietzsche envisioned of a "superman." Nietzsche does not call for a superman with specific physical
features, nor a particular superpower for that matter. Nietzsche rather calls us to decide what we should set as the highest value in our society and try to attain such a goal. If our highest value is really love, let's begin to set down our guns and have a conversation. Let's act, not speak nonsense. Nietzsche presents humanity with the opportunity to "re-create" ourselves and restore and uphold the values that will benefit all of society. The choice is ours and always has been.

What does Globalization mean for you?

Globalization is revolutionary. I am writing this to you on a computer made in Suzhou, China, using software developed in Redmond, Washington, typed and printed in central Puget Sounds, and later discussed in classroom in Mt. Vernon, Washington. This short piece will be reviewed within a 20 mile radius of Mt Vernon, and the scores could be posted on Blackboard. Understanding that tomorrow I will wake up by a clock made in South Korea, and then I’ll put on my shoes that were made in Vietnam, and drive my Volkswagen Passat, which was assembled in Europe, and travel to Skagit Valley College. Shortly after arriving I will drink coffee that supports a farmer and his family in Africa, and later on, I’ll chair a Student Government meeting with Chinese Student Government Representatives. After class gets out, I’ll stop by a Thai food restaurant and pick up some delicious Chicken Phai Thai with my friend from the Middle East, Abdullah. We'll then engage in a discussion about the future of South America, and the implications for the West. This should give you an insight to my opinion on Globalization. 30 years ago, or even 20 years ago for that matter, none of this would have ever been possible.
Globalization has made my life easier, and has allowed me to focus on more important matters. Globalization has allowed thousands around the globe the opportunity to rise out of poverty. While critics would argue against the destruction of the “global village“, one must ask themselves 20 years ago, did you have the access to listen to an African folklore, and Chinese music like you do today? Not at all, when the culture were destroyed, music, oral traditions, dance were silently elimination from the earth with it. Today, I am able to appreciate other cultures music, theatre, food, etc. from the comfort of my own home.
My socio-economic status is a middle class, white male whose working his entire way through school, paying tuition quarter by quarter. Therefore, my personal income is limited, and this pressures me to search for the greatest bargains. Globalization has allowed for the production of cheap technological goods, and the mass distribution of them. I am able to purchase shoes and computers at a fraction of the price than if they were created in the United States. I am able to write on a net book that cost a little over $300 from the comfort of my own bed where my thoughts run rampant. Through globalization, I have become my own writer, publisher, and distributor for my own media.
Throughout my lifetime, I will see the rise of other developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil. As the global market continues to open up, the playing field will expand. Sooner than later, I will no longer be competing against John Smith two blocks down the road, rather I will be competing against individuals in China, India, and Brazil. All the more reason I will need to further my education to stand out among everyone.
Karl Marx argued that over time, a capitalist system will inevitably become socialist as the workers demand more rights and better wages. As the the workers wages increase, the employer must find a way to continue increasing output and efficiency, in order to save money the company will outsource to other countries to pave way for the production of cheap technological goods. As developing countries advance, the playing field expands, and makes way for greater innovation, and self expression. I will no longer by competing in the workforce against my next door neighbor John Smith, but I will be competing against Chinese, Indian, and Brazilian individuals. All the more proof I need to further my education. With the rise of the Internet, Blogs, Facebook, p2p sharing networks have allowed for the transfer of knowledge, music, and has helped build social connections.

What does Globalization mean for me? We can appreciate and continue the survival of culture, music, religious traditions that otherwise would've been lost. What does Globalization mean for you? It means that I must further my education, it means that we have the ability to unleash our human potential. What does Globalization mean for you?

Friday, April 22, 2011

A National Strategic Narrative

This could be the most important document to come out of the Pentagon. It sets the right precedent and direction to Americans and where we are heading into the 21st century. In the

The United States needs a national strategic narrative, if the United States wishes to remain a great power in the 21st century. "We want to become a the strongest competitor and most influential player in a deeply interconnected global system which requires that we invest less in defense and more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement." 

The strategic narrative of the Cold War was that the United States was the leader of the free world against the communist world; that we would invest in containing the Soviet Union and limiting its expansion while building a dynamic economy and as just, and prosperous a society as possible. Now that our circumstances have changed, our plan needs to reflect a change.

The report revolves around changing our strategy in the 21st century:  "From control in a close system to credibile influence in an open system, from containment to sustainment; from deterrence and defense to civilian engagement and competition, from a zero sum to positive sum global politics/economics, from national security to national prosperity and security."

It is time to move beyond a strategy of containment to a strategy of sustainment, from an empathize on power and control to an emphasis on strengthen and influence; from a defensive posture of exclusion, to a proactive posture of engagement.

Douglas Feith in War and Decision, George Bush started a fundamental cultural change of our governments role, and our American lifestyle. Acting in accordance to how Al-Qadea wanted us to react following the events of 9/11.

Douglas Feith remarks, America the place has often been to greatest antidote to United States Foreign Policy. The United States must be continue to be a open and tolerate society. The United States is a demographically vibrant society opposed to the ethnicity entrenched society of Europe.One of America's greatest strengthens is our "openness, human liberation, and personal freedom that defined our society" an idea that Al-Qaeda recongized and waged a war on.



A National Strategic Narrative
URL Link: 

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/events/docs/A%20National%20Strategic%20Narrative.pdf


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The State of Nothing-Alan Watts

Last night, I peeked through the cellar door of my subconscious mind....

The State of Nothing Lecture by Alan Watts
If you are aware of a state called is, or reality, or life, this implies a state called isn’t. Or illusion, or unreality, or nothingness or death. You can’t know one without the other. And so as to make life poignant, it’s always going to come to an end, that is don’t you see what makes it lively. Liveliness is change it is motion, and motion is going to fall out and be gone. You see, you are always at the place you always are..[Laughs] Except it keeps appearing to change. And you think wowie we’ll get that thing. I hope we don’t go further down so that we don’t lose what we have. But that’s built into every creature’s situation or matter how high or how low. So is this sense, all places are the same place. And the only time you ever notice any difference is the moment of transition. When you go up a bit you gain, when you go down a bit you feel disappointed, gloom, lost. You can go all the way down to death. Somehow, there seems to be a difficultly getting up. Death sees so final. Nothing seems so very very very irrevocable and permanent. 
Then if it is, what about the nothingness before you started. So don’t you see, what we’ve left out of out logic and this is part of the game rule to the game we are playing. The way we hoodwink ourselves is by attributing powerlessness with nothingness.
We don’t realize that is a complete logical fallacy. It takes nothing to have something. You wouldn’t know something without nothing. You wouldn’t know what the form is, without the background space. You would’t be able to see anything unless there was nothing behind your eyes. Now imagine yourself with an anestical eye, and you can see all round. Now whats in the middle? Even if I have all this behind me within view suddenly I will find there is something in the middle of it all and there is a hole of reality. Like now there seems to be wall, not so much a whole, but you see if I was an animal that had eyes in the back of its head. You could feel the sensation I’m describing.
Now you may say to me, now that’s all a bunch of wishful thinking, because when your dead your dead! Now wait a minute, what is that state of consciousness that talks that way? This is somebody saying something that wants to make a point, but what kind of point are they trying to make? When your dead your dead see. Well that’s one of the people that want to rule the world. That’s what frightening about death. Death is real. No indulge in wishful thinking, all you people who dream of an afterlife, and heavens and gods and mystical experiences, and eternity. You are just wishy washy people, you don’t face the facts!
What facts? How can I face the fact of nothing. Which is by definition not a fact. All this is toddle whatever way you look at it. So if you really go the how way and see how you feel at the prospect of vanishing forever. Of all your efforts, and all your achievements, and all your attainments turning into dust and nothingness. What is the feeling? What happens to you?
Is a curious thing, that in the world’s poetry, this is a very common theme. “The earthly hopes men set their hearts upon turns ashes, and or it prospers, a non like snow settles on the desert dusty face lighting an hour or two and is gone” All kinds of poetry emphasize the theme of transcendence. There is a kind of nostalgic beauty to it. "The Banquet Hall deserted, after the revelry, all the guests had left and gone on their ways. The table with overturned glasses, crumbled napkins, bread crumbs , and dirty knives and forks lies empty. And the laughter echoes only in one’s mind. And then the echo goes, the memory, the traces are all gone. That’s the end you see."
Do you see in a way, how that is saying the most real state is the state of nothing? That’s what it’s all going to come to. With these physicists who think of the energy of the universe as running down dissipating into radiation, and gradually and gradually, and gradually, gradually, until there is nothing left.
And for some reason, we are suppose to find that depressing. But if somebody is going to argue that the basic reality is nothingness. Where does all this come from? Obviously from nothingness. Once again you get how this looks behind your eyes. So cheer up you see, this is what is meant in Buddhist philosophy by saying ‘we are all basically nothing.’
When the Six Patriarch says “the essence of your mind is intrinsically pure”. The pure doesn’t mean a ‘non dirty story state of mind’ as is it apt to mean in the word Puritan. Pure means “clear “ void. So you know the story when the Six Patriarch was given his office to his successor. Because he was truly enlightened. There was a Poetry contest. And the losing one wrote the idea that the mind, the consciousness was like a mirror.
So I’m detached, calm, and pure headed. Buddha-ed. But the one who won the contest said there is no mirror, and the nature of mind is intrinsically void. So where is there anywhere for dust to collect? See so in this way, by seeing that nothingness is the fundamental reality, and you see it’s your reality. Then how can anything contaminate you? All the idea of being scared, and it’s nothing it just a dream. Because your really nothing. But this is most incredible nothing. All the Six Patriarch went on to contrast that emptiness of indifference. Which is sort of blind emptiness. See if you think of this idea of nothingness as blankness, and you hold onto this idea of blankness then kind of grizzly about it, you haven’t understood it. Nothingness is really like the nothingness of space, which contains the whole universe. All the sun and the stars and mountains, and rivers, and goodmen and bad men, and the animals, and insects, and the whole bit. All are contained in void. So out of this void comes everything and you it. What else could you be?


He concludes the lecture stressing the importance of realizing and understanding the nothingness principle. This is the underlying point religion was originally trying to address, and our modern culture has shut out everything that deals with nothingness nand death. And come up with other fanciful ways to avoid death.

If we understand this principle, who can hurt us? What can hurt us?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Lost Dimension

"The Lost Dimension", by Paul Tillich discusses origins of religion. the true intention of religion to begin with, that is to ask "passionately the questions of the meanings of our existence".

Religion in our modern world typically carries negative connotations as a set of rules echeted in stone with a God figure hiding in the clouds. Mr. Tillich expresses this concern about humans formatting their lives off consumerism and offers suggestions on human beings can return the rewarding fulling to the lost dimension religion offers.

Our understanding of the universe has changed, stem cell therapy is a reality, robotics are coming of age, and the internet has transformed communication between cutlures and ethinicities, as well as our abililty to acquire new information. A stone age mentality will not answer or address our the problems of the 21st century.

Only through realizing the depth of religion by

Paul Tillich continues in his writing, "The revivial of religious interest would be a creative power in our culture if it would develop into a movement of search for the lost dimension of depth" (page 34) The Christian Cruscades, fueled  by ego and control are perfect examples of what happens when the reality of depth is lost. Can you imagine the amount of compassion we would give to each other if we only realized that we don't know why we are here? Or what we are suppose to do? Imagine if we came to the understanding that all we have in life is each other.

The amount of life that's been taken in the name of God and religion is disgusting. Our brothers and sisters who think of the world as a spiritual battle ground in the fight for God vs. Satan are often the first to show intolerance towards others.

I do not follow religious rituals or doctrines. I follow my inner conscious and treat my fellow brothers and sisters with the respect they deserve. I would consider myself a "they" when Mr. Tilich writes, "They feel that the concrete religions fail to express their profound concern adequately. They are religious while rejecting religions"(page 32)

Death of the Liberal Class

Segment taken from "Death of the Liberal Class" written by Christopher Hedges


“I say let the empire collapse; sometimes we must die to be reborn. The political system as it stands offers little hope for influencing real change or social justice.” Ernest Bell, U.S. Military Veteran

Classical liberalism was formulated largely as a response to the dissolution of feudalism and church authoritarianism. It argued for interference or independence under the rule of law. The features outlining classical liberalism are as follows;

four principle features , or perspectives, which give it a recognizable identity, it is individualist, in that it asserts the moral primacy of the person against any collectivity; egalitarian; in that it confers on all human beings the same basic moral status; universalist, affirming the moral unity of the species, an meliorist, in that it asserts the open-ended improvability, by use of critical reason, of human life.

In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.

Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. The death of the liberal class means there is no check to a corporate apparatus designed to enrich a tiny elite and plunder the nation. An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope, however remote, or correction or a reversal. It ensures frustration and anger among the working class and middle classes will find expression outside the confines of democratic institutions and civilities of a liberal democracy. The liberal class has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. In killing off the liberal class, the corporate state, in its zealous pursuit of profit, has killed off it most integral and important partner.

The anemic liberal class continues to assert, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that human freedom and equality can be achieved through the charade of electoral politics and constitutional reform. It refuses to acknowledge the corporate domination of traditional democratic channels for ensuring broad participatory power.

Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq. Many of these same journalists assured us it was prudent to entrust our life savings to a financial system run by speculators and thieves. Those life savings were gutted. The media, catering to corporate advertisers and sponsors, at the same time renders invisible whole sections of the population whose misery, poverty, and grievances should be the principle focus of journalism.

Universities no longer train students to think critically, to examine and critique systems of power and cultural and political assumptions, to ask the broad questions of meaning and morality once sustained by the humanities. These institutions have transformed into vocational schools. They have become breeding grounds for systems managers to serve the corporate state. In a Faustian bargain with corporate power, many of these universities have swelled their endowments and budgets of many of their departments with billions in corporate and government dollars.

Universities, especially in political science and economic departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. The arts, just as hungry as the media or academy for corporate money and sponsorship, refuse to address the social and economic disparities that create suffering for tens of millions of citizens. Commercial artists peddle the mythical narrative, one propagated by corporations, self help gurus, Oprah, and the Christian Right, that if we dig deep enough within ourselves, focus on happiness, find our inner strength, or believe in miracles, we can have everything we desire.

Such magical thinking, a staple of the entertainment industry, blinds citizens to corporate structures that have made it impossible for families to lift themselves out of poverty or live dignity. But perhaps the worst offender within the liberal class is the Democratic Party.

The party consciously sold out the working class for corporate money. Bill Clinton, who argued that labor had nowhere else to go in 1994 passed the North American Free Agreement (NAFTA), which betrayed the working class. He went on to destroy welfare and in 1999, ripped down the firewalls between commercial and investment banks to turn the banking system over to speculators. Barack Obama, who raised more than $600 million to run for president, most of it from corporations, has served corporate interests as assiduously as his party. He has continued the looting of the U.S. Treasury by corporations refused to help the millions of Americans who have lost their homes because of bank repossessions or foreclosures, and has failed to address the misery of our permanent class of unemployed.

We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.



The Question: Where and how (as an individual, Washingtonian, and American) do we move forward in a country thats solidifying an oligarchy of large monied corporate power that is stifling the means to achieve social change?

Ideas? Comments? General thoughts? Please do share...