Veracity and Articulation

Why is it that society thrives on lies? What is it about our interactions with one another that predisposes us to choose deception over honesty? Has being an honorable and honest person fallen so far from grace that it is now looked down upon as inferior qualities? I just cannot understand how we got on such a path.

The amount of dishonesty from the media all the way down to interactions with immediate family is really very unnerving. What is it about truth that makes us feel uneasy and afraid? The consequences of lies are far worse than those of the truth. While there may be repercussions for telling someone the truth, the breach of trust that comes as a result of lying is, in my opinion, far worse. Trust is a very precious commodity in very short supply. Why squander it over something as ridiculous as a lie?

Perhaps my views are strange and unorthodox. I feel that the breach of trust between people caused by lying is one of the worst offenses one can give a friendship. A friend, in my view, is someone that you trust and have a strong connection with. How can one have those things with untruths lingering between them? This is not to say that full disclosure of every little thing is necessary for friendship…there will always be things that are private. Rather, of the things that are spoken, there should be honesty. If the conversation goes somewhere unwanted, it really is not hard to just say that one does not wish to talk about that any longer.

Unfortunately, far too often this is not what happens. Instead, one or the other continues on and starts fabricating falsehoods to avoid just moving the subject elsewhere. If there was real trust and companionship, would it really be so hard to simply say that there is no desire to speak of certain things? I have a number of friends that we occasionally dip into areas like that and we do not have a problem saying “I don’t really want to talk about that” and then just move on to something else. Part of the bond between friends should include the respect to honor that desire without harboring any ill feelings. If that seems strange and unnatural, the perhaps those friendships need to be looked at again.

True Friends

This is not a true “rant”…as you will see by the style in which I wrote it. However it is something that needs saying and so…

What makes a true friend? I suppose that depends on who you ask. It also depends on what the term “true friend” means to the one you are asking. From my point of view there are friends and then there are true friends. This is not based so much on how they treat me but rather in how I have come to trust them. While those two aren’t mutually exclusive, they are not totally intertwined either.

I have a fairly small group of friends…say about 30 people. These are the ones that I sometimes hang out with or go to the movies or play some games. I do have trust in them or they wouldn’t be my friends at all. But I am also not completely open with them about anything and everything. I do not feel I could call them at 3am if I am in need of help or just a sympathetic ear to hear my sorrows or worries or frustrations. I have limits on how far I will go to help them.

Beyond that group is a very select few that I call true friends. I do not have secrets from them. I do not have a feeling that I need to hold anything back from them. I know I can call on them at any time for any thing and they will be there for me. I will also move mountains to do anything for them. These are the people I love. These are the few that I know I can count on. Such true friends are hard to come by in today’s world. These are the few that accept everything about me, faults and all.

Why do I bring this up? I had a recent long conversation with one of these true friends about our friendship. I don’t think it was clear before to this person exactly what our friendship really meant. I hope I have conveyed it better than I have in the past. But it also got me to thinking, how many people go through life never really knowing what a true friend can be? How many have never had someone they could confide in completely…someone they could call upon at any time and share any thought with? I think there are far too many that fit in that category.

Life is not an easy thing to live and every now and then everybody needs someone to lean on. Many will just “make do” with whatever person happens to be handy at the moment. Unfortunately such an interaction will probably not be comforting or fulfilling. Oh I am sure many will convince themselves that it doesn’t matter who you talk to when you need to talk. I disagree. The choice of whom you talk to is almost as important as what you say…sometimes more so. The true friend is the one who will really listen and make an effort to understand what you are saying and how you are feeling. It won’t be mindless head-nodding that one normally uses in random conversation that holds no real interest. It will be a focusing of understanding and compassion.

When hurt or insecure or in need of a shoulder, nothing less than a true friend will do. The act of listening and understanding is rarely an easy thing and is absolutely essential at these moments. A “warm body” will, at best, provide superficial comfort but will do little to help the true nature of whatever really brought on these feelings. In some cases, that can actually make the problem worse.

I believe I’ve brought this up before but if you look at couples that have been together for a very long time and ask them who their best, most true friend in the world is…you’ll mostly likely hear them say it is their partner. Now this certainly isn’t going to always be the answer and of course not all true friendships end up in closer relationships. But it is worth mentioning because it further demonstrates how important these types of bonds are. People need other people that can understand…that can be trusted with intimate secrets and desires and worries…that can ease and calm us. We all need someone we can count on.

Macrocosm and Apperception

Why have we lost touch with nature? What about us as a race has driven us to create this artificial environment of concrete and steel that separates us from that which bore us forth? Why do we turn a blind eye to the beauty and magnificence of our Mother Earth?

I do not have the answers to these questions. I do, however have some ideas as to what has happened. Over the centuries we have destroyed. We are a race that tears down that which we cannot ultimately control and replace it with our own creations. We inject control into that which surrounds us regardless of the carnage it takes to get there. Again, I blame Mother Culture for this conditioning…this idea that we must be in control of everything. We delude ourselves into thinking we have done that very thing when in fact what we have done is nothing more than feed an illusion.

Life isn’t about controlling what we see or touch. It is about controlling ourselves. It is about using that control we have over ourselves to adapt and cope with our environment. It is about making ourselves better. Mother Culture does not care for this line of thought because it would lessen her control over the Human Race. In her eyes we are mere automatons. This is something many embrace because it means they do not have to trouble themselves with things like original thought.

So much in nature can teach us more about who we are. Have you ever placed your hand on an old tree or an ancient stone and felt a wave of calm and patience? Have you ever watched a sunset in the mountains as the last rays reflect off a pool of water and understood the passage of time and seasons? Have you ever watched as the budding leaves of the forest turn brown and fall to the ground and contemplated how everything in life has its time? Have you ever watched squirrels gather up food for the winter and realized what it means to be prepared for what life will throw at you?

Nature is a wonderful teacher. She will gladly fill our minds with thoughts of life and love. She will nurture our souls and replenish our bodies. She will gently cradle us when we rest. We just have to be open to it. This is why I love to go camping. It is a time for me to get back in touch with nature. It is a chance to reestablish connections that have become weakened in the steel jungle of the cities. It is a time to be reborn into someone wiser and with better understanding. This does not mean that a weekend at the local park will turn you into a sage, but it will open your eyes if you are but willing.

The cities block our spirits from communing. Even the lights blot out the stars in the sky. Walking outside in your suburbian home and looking up will, of course, reveal a few of the brighter stars…but go out into the country far from the streetlights and billboards. You will find that the “sky full of stars” you see in the city is not even a drop in the bucket. There is so much more out there to be discovered. This is how Mother Culture treats all of nature. She will let you have a few samples of nature here and there, but never enough to make a real difference. For that you will have to leave the safe confines of your skyscrapers and SUVs. You will have to venture into the land that has not been razed by “civilization”. How many will dare to do that with a truly open mind? Not enough.

I wish everyone could walk into true nature and just lean back to take a nap on a tree or perhaps a hill to lie upon to gaze at the stars. With an open mind and a hungering soul one can slowly begin to feel the ebb and flow of energies in all nature has to offer. It is these energies that feed our spirits. It is these energies that teach us understanding for nature is in all things upon our fair world. We cannot let Mother Culture fool us into believing we will be better off by obliterating anything we cannot control. It is the lessons we glean from that which we cannot control that gives us the greatest understanding and knowledge.

Peregrination and Revelation

Relationships fail. That is a fact of life. It is a very rare thing indeed for a couple to meet and remain together their entire lives on the first try. There is a very simple explanation for that. We don’t know ourselves. It takes a lifetime of self-exploration to even begin to understand one’s self. I certainly don’t know half of what I’d like to think I do about myself. But I am learning more every single day. This is true for everyone. Anyone that says differently is simply deluding themselves into complacency.

Relationships that don’t work are not failures as long as you come away from each and every one knowing a little more about who you are and what you want and need. Of course the trick to that is that as you find out more about yourself, those things can change. What you want today with the knowledge you have about yourself may not be what you want when you learn the next piece of who you are. This is the way of life. It is the ever changing river of experience. Sometimes it hurts.

Part of me wishes that it never had to involve pain, but I do not make the rules. The bright side to that is the pain can teach us more about ourselves. Lessons of self sometimes need powerful reminders. It is very easy for us to forget inconvenient truths about who we really are. Just look at religion. We have managed to brainwash ourselves into denying many of our base instincts. We even trick ourselves into feeling guilty for trying to be who we are if it doesn’t fit into the rigid religious framework of what is socially acceptable. It is really rather sad to go through life never finding out who the person is inhabiting your body.

One also has to accept the truths discovered about one’s self. I think this is why so many people avoid the self journey. “Socially acceptable” parameters have been programmed into us over our entire lives and we fear. We fear that what we find will not fit. We fear that those things might make us happy. We fear that those things might make us more comfortable with who we are. We fear just what we might find out if we see how deep the rabbit hole goes. This fear is pointless and serves only Mother Culture who wants us to limit our potential not only for understanding, but for deep true happiness. Why happiness? Because we may finally decide that being human and having human urges isn’t such a bad thing after all. That doesn’t work for her automatons.

This is why I say we should all love freely. This is why I encourage free thinkers. This is why I write what I do. We all need to sit back every now and then and listen to that little voice in the back of our minds. No, not that voice…the one you cannot hear because you’ve shut it out for all these years. The one you ignore because it speaks truth to you in the deepest recesses of your soul. The voice you cannot hear unless you spend time getting in touch with who you are. It is the core of yourself. It is the part of you that watches and listens and understands. It is the one that gives you little nudges when you truly look for guidance. It is only trying to help and yet we ignore it.

Some will claim that this voice has led them down the wrong path. It nudged you into a relationship that did not work out. It urged you to take actions that you believe you would have never taken if you had been “thinking clearly”. This would be a misunderstanding. You were led down a path that you needed to take at that time in your life. You were taken on a journey that, if you took the time and effort to notice, taught you something about who you are that was really important for you to learn at that time in your life. Unfortunately far too many people never realize these lessons. They just convince themselves that they have terrible instincts and shut the voice out of their minds. I feel sorry for automatons. They will never fully realize their potential.

It isn’t easy to break the mold of Society. It is not easy to be true to yourself. Nothing in life, however, is worth having if it does not take any effort. But this is something I have said before. Important lessons warrant repeating, though. Especially since it has to penetrate societal conditioning to get at the real person inside. The real you has always been there. All you have to do is listen.

Acumen and Affection

Is it really that hard to know someone? Is really understanding another person truly that difficult? How many relationships are based off misconceptions? These questions bother me because of the answers. Now I haven’t had that many romantic relationships so I am by no means an expert in the field of experience. But I can say that I have striven to learn about who that person is…what their desires and dreams are…what kinds of things make them genuinely happy.

I see it all the time. People trudge along as good little automaton droids following Mother Culture’s programming to find a mate and continue the species…to find someone that is acceptable in specific culture circles regardless of actual compatibility. These are the people that build up in their mind what they want their mate to be and cram the real person into that mold through misconceptions and delusions to create a thin veneer of happiness and contentment. The relationships just don’t work. It’s like letting a total stranger move in and never having any real contact with them. How many people would do that? Very few, I imagine.

Yet I constantly see these false pairings. I don’t know if they are lost in their fantasies to the point of being unable to see any part of the reality or if they are deluding themselves into plausible deniability. It’s a painful thing to see and I don’t understand why anyone would do it. All it takes is communication and an open mind. These are frighteningly rare among Mother Culture’s droid army. Why? Because communication does not mean bandying about superficial formulaic strings of words about meaningless subjects. It does not mean talking about something that will be forgotten in a matter of hours or days. It means having a real exchange of ideas and thoughts that bring a greater understanding of the other person in the relationship. It means accepting things for what they really are. The Human Race is not nearly as good at that as it would like to believe.

The first step, even before communication, is throwing out everything that society has taught you. There are no forumulas to create a romantic situation. There are no words that always work. Everyone is different if you peel off Mother Culture’s coating of “me too”. It isn’t always easy. Quite frankly so many of the Human Race have been enameled in Mother Culture for so long that it’s terribly difficult to find the real person underneath. This is especially true if you still have your own special Mother Culture paint job. It taints your views. You have to break free of the mold you were shoved into and accept that you must be yourself regardless of society’s opinions on what is “right” and “acceptable” and “appropriate”. This is opening your mind. This is necessary.

Once able to see reality, then comes communication. Just talk. It doesn’t matter where the conversation starts…the weather, the latest episode of a television show, or even that mime’s performance yesterday. See, if you pay close attention, every conversation will reveal something of the other person. Tiny facets of personality are always a part of conversation that can work as puzzle pieces to put together the real picture of the person you are with. There will be flaws. There always are. There will be differing likes and dislikes. It is natural. There will probably even be things you wish weren’t true. Just remember that the same applies in reverse. This is part of being someone with an open mind. Accept that you also have flaws. They are a part of who you are just as their flaws are a part of them.

I’ve said before to never be afraid to love. I’ve given reasons for that statement in the past. Another is that if you are afraid to love freely and openly without reservation then you miss life’s greatest adventure. Love can take the Human Race to greater heights than any other emotion. But only a true love born from really knowing someone can transform your life in profound ways. But Mother Culture has taught us that there comes a point in friendship when the friendship itself is more valuable than the exploration of the love it entails. Hogwash. I say that when friendship reaches that point, this is when the love should be explored. Why? Ask any old couple that has been truly blissfully happy for a half century or more together who their best friend in the entire world is. It won’t be Bob down the street or Sarah at the local salon. Their closest and best friend is their partner. This is the one person on the planet that knows them better than anyone else and accepts them for who they are regardless of flaws.

So why wouldn’t you want to explore that love? Why would anyone ever say “But we’re such good friends, I couldn’t date you” or “I don’t want to risk ruining our friendship”? If you are really that closely connected and honestly have that deep an understanding of each other, then even if dating doesn’t work out the friendship will be intact and I dare say stronger. Stronger because you explored even further the ties between you and understand them better. How do I know? I am still friends with every woman I have been in a relationship with save one. In many ways we are closer now than we were when we were dating. That is more than coincidence.

Think about that. Everyone wants to find that one true love. That one person you can open up to…the one person you can share your deepest secrets with. We want someone we can always count on to be there for us. We want someone who knows us well enough to understand how to comfort us or make us laugh or just make a bad day seem better…someone who knows just when we need a hug and when we need a little time alone. Are these not the kinds of things the closest of friends would know and do? How could anyone expect to have a fulfilling long-term relationship with anything less?

This doesn’t mean that you cannot find that person in someone you have recently met. This does not mean that just because you aren’t the closest of friends that it won’t work out. They can become that person over time. I am just asking that Mankind break off the fantasy glasses and see what is really there. Do not assume that a friendship must be put at risk for the sake of a relationship. True friends will still be true friends. That will never change even if the friendship is different. And different is not necessarily a bad thing. Stronger and closer are different. Nothing is ever gained without taking a chance.

Castigations and Plagues

Alright, it’s time to get back to roots. I haven’t done a Rant in a long, long time. Welcome to the Real “SoapBoxRants”.

As I have said before, I am a Pagan. Before we go any further, go look up the definition. It means I am not Christian. It does not mean I worship Satan or sacrifice virgins. As a matter of fact, go over my previous religious rants to understand how many different ways my religion is like your religion. Now…moving on to tonight’s topic.

Why do people have a predisposition to be told what to think? What is it about the Human Race that leads the majority to follow the most charismatic person almost without question? Have we evolved so little over the millennia that we have not yet shed the shackles of our primitive tribal origins? Are we so insecure about our own existence that we need to be told by someone else that it is okay for us to be? It would seem that is the case. Much like my often mentioned Mother Culture, the Human Race almost inevitably turns to charismatic spiritual leaders and immediately takes things too far.

Take for example an email I received the other day from a devoutly Christian friend of mine. It talked about how we of the United States should boycott the new one dollar coins because of the exclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust”. I find it curious that such a movement in a country that touts its tolerance and acceptance of freedom of religion would gain ground. It almost reeks of cult brainwashing and that thought disturbs me greatly. All I have ever hoped for is to find that there are other free thinkers out there and yet at every turn I am confronted with more bigotry and prejudice. To make matters worse, these actions are justified by these people as being righteous indignation at the affront to their spiritual beliefs. It is as if they do not understand the true concept of religious freedom.

In this world, there are a myriad of religions. I would hazard that each and every one of them claims to have an exclusive insight into the understanding of whichever divine being brought forth this world and our Race. I do not claim to have such intimate divine knowledge personally so I cannot say which, if any, are correct in this claim. I do, however, take issue with any religion or practitioner of a religion that refuses basic respect and courtesy to any that have a differing belief. Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong or evil. It just means that it is not exactly like yours. There is knowledge to be gained through diversity.

And what exactly do I think about other religions? That is a wonderful question. If you were to, for argument’s sake, witness an automobile accident along with about twenty other people and all of you were interviewed by the officers that responded…you would probably get twenty-one different descriptions of what happened. In general they would touch the same high points but the details themselves would vary from one person to the next. I think the religions of the world are the same way. In general, they are all alike. They touch the same high points (like love and forgiveness) but differ in the details (like eating pork or resting on Sunday). We are all looking at the same Divine, just from a different angle than the person next to us.

And that goes for fellow practitioners of the same faith. Just because you share a religious label with someone does not mean you will have the exact same views on the Divine. I have always said that true faith and one’s relationship with the Divine is a very personal journey. Nobody will ever experience my religious path other than me. Some may share certain feelings or moments, but none will duplicate what I have inside. Remember that the next time you feel like pushing your views onto someone else. It will not matter what you try, we will never have that exact same moment that you remember with such fondness. Feel free to share your view, just do not attempt to make it my view. I will do the same.

This is one of the reasons I have such a fondness for Paganism. Wiccans and other Pagans are far more passive in the spreading of their religion. Our view is that those who are interested will seek us out and inquire. Our job is to answer the questions put forth to us. We will not attempt to convince you this is the correct path. We will simply share our knowledge and let you decide what is right for you and we will encourage you regardless of your decision. This is because we, for the most part, understand how personal this journey should be.

This is not to say that Paganism is a better path than a Buddhist or Judeo-Christian path. It is merely different. And I have to admit that there are some Pagans that will be pushy about converting just as there are Christians who are passive. There are no absolutes where Religion is concerned because Faith is kept by Humanity and Humanity varies greatly. All Religions run the gamut of tolerance and openness. But from my experience, Pagans tend more toward passiveness. I think all Religions would do well to re-examine their doctrines and true purpose and get back to the core of their teachings.

Religion is a good idea run amok. Mother Culture has twisted it into a series of extremes that galvanize the world into opposing factions causing chaos and disorder and war and pain. We speak of tolerance while we treat others with intolerance. We preach of love while we practice hate and war. We speak of forgiveness while harboring grudges against those that have wronged us. This is not what any of us were taught by our Religious texts. We have gone astray. We have taken Mother Culture’s path of self destruction. Before it is too late, we need to stop and return to the path we delude ourselves into thinking we are on.

Articulation and Percipience

Communication is a fundamental tool of modern life. Though we tend to think of communication as verbal or written in most cases. All too often we forget the myriad of ways one can convey thoughts and feelings to others. On the rare occasions that we actually notice the other forms of communication such as facial expressions or body language, we are prone to misinterpreting the meaning. I theorize that this is because we have desensitized ourselves through modern communication avenues to a point where we are losing touch with these parts of our brains that decode the information gathered using the senses other than hearing.

In early days, before the Human Race had developed oral and written communication, we still managed to convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions to one another. We used all of our senses and understood. In today’s society of instant messaging, email, television, and fast food, we have begun to lose the ability to see what is right in front of us. Some people compensate for this loss of understanding by using lengthy explanations for even the most simplistic of thoughts. It avoids some misunderstandings. However, this quite often is not enough.

The reason for that is simple. We live in a world where things are moving ever more quickly. We do not allow ourselves the time to actually contemplate what is being said to us on all levels. We take what is on the surface and jump to the first conclusion that jumps to mind. This does not invalidate earlier claims about the subconscious. Why? Because we are now talking about using the surface only…not just for what we are taking in, but for what we use to interpret it. Conclusions based completely in the conscious are very prone to error.

What, then, is the remedy for this? I cannot give a definitive answer. Every person is different and the reasons will vary from individual to individual. In general, though, I would say that slowing down the jumping to a conclusion would be a step in the right direction. Don’t just take the first impression of what someone is saying. Take a moment to reflect on everything you see, hear, smell, and feel from the person with whom you are communicating. If there is room for doubt in the resulting conclusion, then ask for clarification and remember where the error in judgement, if there was one, happened. Learn from it.

All of life is a learning exercise. When we stop learning…we have stopped truly living. We have ceased to grow as a person and have stopped our part in the evolution of the Human Race. Our evolution is vital for survival on many levels. I have stated before that our technological evolution has outpaced our spiritual, emotional, and mental evolution. If this trend continues, the Human Race will cease to exist as a result of our own folly. Simply put, we will kill ourselves even as we are doing today. There must be a balance if there is to be survival. Balance with nature. Balance with others. Balance within ourselves. It is an imperative of the Universe that we cannot avoid.