Pash and Avarice

I thought about the best-man’s speech that I gave for Wolf at his rehearsal dinner and it inspired me to delve a bit more deeply into the subject I broached. The line of my speech went something like this:

“…We live in a world where being jaded and cynical is the norm. It is a world where love is far too scarce. You two have found a gift, probably the most precious of gifts that can be granted…”

Of course, there was more to it but this is the section I wish to expand upon. We do live in a jaded and cynical world. Far too many of the Human Race have traded such virtues and Love, Honor, and Trust for the cheap wine of Greed and Power. I do believe that Love is the greatest gift given to the Human Race. There is no single force more powerful in our possession. Think of all of the great good and great evil done in the name of Love. It is the single most potent expression of emotion we have. Unfortunately it has fallen in status over the course of our ‘evolution’.

How can we truly think that we have evolved when we sacrifice the greatest part of ourselves for meaningless baubles like technology or money or ‘power’ in the rat race? Why must Love suffer for these changes to happen? They are not related in any way other than through the Human Race itself. What is it about ourselves that causes the paradigm shift to cruelty for material gains? What material possession could make us even begin to consider the possibility of maybe thinking that it could be worthy of doing nothing more than paling in comparison to Love?

I have a theory on that, actually. Mother Culture. The force of media, societal conditioning, peer pressure, and well calculated misinformation. Mother Culture is responsible for this shift. It was not something done overnight. It has been centuries in the making and it still is not done. She is a cruel mistress that requires cruelty and apathy from us to survive. Unfortunately, she has been getting exactly what she wants.

This is the reason I love freely. This is why I never pass up a chance to fall in love. There is not nearly enough in this world right now. The only way to change that is to fight the flow of humanity’s drive. I’m not saying we should forsake all of our wordly possession or strive to move up (in Mother Culture’s meaning) in the world. By all means, if that is a motivation for you to continue on in life, then do so. There is nothing wrong with that.

But never, let me repeat that…never…pass up the opportunity to love. Love is the greatest force ever conceived. It is the greatest gift the Human Race was ever given. It is the most precious thing we possess. It should be shared freely and often. It should be unrestricted. Let Love flow and the world will become a better place. Why? Because Love conquers all. No amount of malice or hatred or bias or self-loathing can withstand unrestricted Love.

I speak not of physical acts. I speak not of things that laws forbid. Using the word for such things is Mother Culture’s doing. She had to cage the boundless to control it. Love would defeat Mother Culture otherwise. When I say Love, I mean a deep feeling of affection for another. It could be the Love one feels for a parent or sibling. It could be a romantic Love that one feels for that special someone that they hope to spend the rest of their lives with. It could be the Love that soldiers feel for their country. Love has many forms and all of them are beautiful. All of them are profound in their own way. All of them should be experienced.

One should never fear to Love another. One should not feel that it makes them a bad person to feel romantic Love for more than one person. It means that you have taken a step away from Mother Culture. It means you are one step closer to being a person who is helping to give to the world that which is sorely lacks. You are improving the ‘evolution’ of the Human Race. Once you see Love for all of its many gifts and accept that Love is a wonderful thing that should be shared by everyone, then the shift will begin to move in the right direction. It will be the way Nature intended…the way we were meant to be.

So, everyone, I say Love often, Love deeply, Love freely. Do not cage something boundless. Do not limit the power of Humanity. Show your Love.

Aspirations and Contemplations

I find it frustrating at times, being ‘the nice guy’ according to those I hang around with. It isn’t that I have a problem with being perceived as this caring, attentive, helpful person…but there come times when it ends up being a very taxing aspect of life. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I -do- enjoy helping and listening and being there for others.

I just wish that sometimes there wasn’t such a demand for so much of me in so many directions all at once. I suppose it isn’t all that bad. I just have a tendency to have a shorter fuse on my tolerance when things pull me in too many directions without downtime. As a result, I’m sometimes rather short with my friends. This is what actually upsets me about the whole thing.

Maybe some people would see it as a justified reason to have an outburst or to tell a couple of people exactly where they can get off for a bit. I don’t. I really don’t think there is ever a justifiable reason to do that to a friend that is asking for some help or even just a friendly ear. It’s just one more thing I have to work on in the never ending project of improving myself and learning to control every aspect of my being. In reality, I believe that should be the ultimate goal for each and every person on this planet…complete master of one’s self. Would there really be anything left in the realms of the impossible (or highly improbable as I prefer to look at it since I believe -nothing- is impossible) if we all managed to completely master our own minds, emotions, thoughts, and souls?

I am very much an idealist when it comes to my thoughts of possibilities. I like to think that if we all managed to achieve such a goal, the world be be an infinitely better place to exist. With complete mastery of one’s self, prejudice and malice would cease to survive. Greed and jealousy would be forced to retire. Love and respect and honor would again hold sway and power. It sounds much like a childhood fantasy world. And that’s the real tragedy. People get so caught up in the whole idea of having to ‘grow up’ that they lose the ability to dream. They lose the ability to hope and wish and strive for what gets labeled later in life as ‘a childish flight of fancy’. There is nothing wrong with these things. It is possible to be ‘more mature’ and still cling to one’s imagination. I’ve done it. Others have done it. But we are a minority.

Unless more people can turn from Mother Culture and see that the key to our survival as the Human Race lies in the ability to dream and the desire to pursue these dreams, well…let’s just say the road we’re on is heading very quickly towards a bridge that’s out. The war, famine, strife, and rampant injustice in the world -does- have a weakness. Our minds and hearts are the true weapons to defeat all that is wrong in this world. Mother Culture has decided that life is much easier if we cage these things in terms such as maturity and responsibility. Mother Culture may be right. Life might be a little easier this way. I mean, if you aren’t pestered with little things like actually pursuing a dream to make it a reality…life is much easier to get through. But how hollow is that life? How empty is such an existence?

Would it not be better to forsake inhibitions and pursue thy dreams? Even if the dreams are never made a reality, you will have lived a full and true life in pursuit of a worthy goal. The destination on such trips is never the true purpose. The trip is both the challenge and the reward. Every experience teaches something about one’s true nature and desire if one is willing to look upon the view with truly open eyes and mind. Let’s be honest…if you don’t know yourself then how well can you possibly know anyone else? We base our observations of others on comparisons to ourselves. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that the better you know yourself, the better you can understand others and understanding is the key to life.

It never ceases to amaze me how few people are able to see things like this after walking the road of life for much longer than I have. Don’t take that statement as conceit. It isn’t. I do not for a single moment think that I’m some really wise sage. I just make observations. I’m certain more than a few have been wrong just as I am certain I will have more in the future. If I can get enough people to look at the world through open eyes and open minds, perhaps more of the truth of life can be uncovered. That would be a wonderful thing to witness. Humanity might even find the power to change course before hitting that bridge that’s out. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the choice I’d rather survive.

The Human Race has a massive untapped potential for doing great things that could shape the entire Universe. The problem is that the Human Race has a massive untapped potential for doing terrible things that could shape the entire Universe. We witness some of what we are capable of every day on the news, courtesy of Mother Culture. The media revels in the joy of shocking headlines and in-depth stories about atrocities committed by our Race. On very rare occasion do we see half-hearted stories about the use of our potential for kindness and tolerance. In a perfect society, we would not need encouragement to bring forth the better angels of our nature. Unfortunately we don’t live in such a society. We have not nearly evolved enough emotionally and spiritually for such a society to exist and survive.

We must look within ourselves for the encouragement to bring about the potential for great things. This is not an easy task to be given. Nothing in life worthy of pursuing is easy, though. And that is one of the great crimes of the times. Mother Culture has brainwashed the masses into looking for the easiest path for the short-term reward. She has taught us that this is the best way to live life. Short-term effort for empty rewards. Monetary and materialistic gains are achieved for the mere sacrifice of everything that can make us a truly great Race capable of cultivating within the Universe the seeds of a true utopian society. Few of us are left that look to the future with child-like eyes capable of seeing the alternatives to the path our world is on. But we persevere. Why?

We hope.

Signs and Portents

Somehow I am still amazed at how much we take for granted. Life is full of little miracles that take place every moment of every day. We have become so attuned to the way things are that we no longer find wonder in the things that fascinated our developing imaginations as children. Time passes and we become jaded and sometimes cynical where we used to be dreamers. What happened to the dreams of adolescence? What happened to the magic that filled our minds?

Who said that there is an age where such things are inappropriate? Who decided that such things were foolish and a waste of time? Are not our greatest achievements given to us by the hands of dreamers and free thinkers? Are they criticized then for being what they are? Are they scorned for holding on to the essence of enchantment? No, they are respected for their contributions. They are hailed for their foresight. There is no shame in holding on to that which made us all young at heart. There is no defect because someone chooses to look at life through the eyes of youth and wonder.

I am reminded of a quote from Babylon5 when the technomages were leaving the galaxy. One of them explained who they were to Londo and it struck a chord with me. This is what the Human Race should be. This is what we should embrace if we wish a truly better world.–

“We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things. Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever, seven words to make them go without pain, how to say goodbye to a friend who is dying, how to be poor, how to be rich, how to rediscover dreams when the world has stolen them from you.”

This is what Mankind lacks in sufficient quantities. Where are our legions of dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers? Where are the blacksmiths that will forge the future that we all wish for but never strive to achieve? Where shall we search to find our guides to a better life…a better world? I have the answer. In actuality, we all do.

They will be found every time you look into the mirror.

Some of us will have to dig and scrape to remove that which Mother Culture has used to bury our true selves. Some of us will already have cleaned away the dirt of this modern world to discover what lurks beneath. There is a child full of wonder and hope in each of us. This is the key to our true evolution, not the enhancement of technologies. Our technology has already outrun our maturity and understanding. It is time that we began to catch up to our creations. We must again move beyond ignorance to some semblance of intelligence and enlightenment. It is a task that will be long. The alternative, however, could be worse. It could be our own destruction as a Race.

The same reason one does not give a four year old a hand grenade and keys to an M1A1 tank is the reason the Human Race should not have the breadth and sophistication of our current technology. For all we think we know…we have no understanding. We are like diapered infants barely from our mother’s womb when it comes to our perception of the Universe. There is so much we do not know, so much we do not understand, and so much more that we understand incorrectly.

Faster computers and more accurate weapons do not make us advanced as a species. Knowing who we truly are to the Universe and what our role is within the Universe…that is where the evolutionary path lies. The other path is a much shorter one. It involves our Race removing itself from existence. This is what will happen should technology continue to outpace understanding and enlightenment.

Should that come to pass, what would happen to our stories, our poems, our art and music? What would happen to the real contributions to life that have been made by our Race? Where would the understanding we have managed to gain in some small part by the free thinkers and dreamers go? It would be lost for all time and the Universe would be made less by the loss.

Another Babylon5 quote comes to mind as a perfect way to describe the Human Race and why we should strive for this understanding.

“Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are star stuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective.”

Infancy and Antipathy

Times are such that there are many who would gladly delve into spite. It should not be this way. Blame should be accepted by the responsible party. If the rules were broken then proper actions for correcting that will be taken. There should be no hard feelings or sense of betrayal when such a thing comes to pass. The consequences are as they should be. All anyone can do is apologize for a lack of forsight…a lack of good judgement since those are the causes of most mistakes. “I should have known better than that.” But then, hindsight is usually a much clearer view of things.

All anyone can hope for is that when a final tally is done, the actions over the years are honestly weighed against any moments of duress, stress, or frustration…that the true feelings and intents are found through the overall picture and not through a momentary slideshow of life’s moments that seem overwhelming and chaotic.

Such is human folly. We all have vice, we all have weakness. That is a part of life. Anyone truly living is growing and learning every day. Anyone who thinks they’ve come as far as they can has merely fooled themselves. It is the strive to make the imperfect a reflection of the perfect that drives us. An unobtainable goal that keeps us going through all else. It is a testament to the will of mankind. It is this which let’s us overcome amazing odds as victors.

Far too often, however, people feel slighted for having been in some way punished for a failing. Spite and bitterness rear their ugly heads and lead the person into a foolish course of action that do nothing but cause harm. It solves nothing nor does it make the situation any better. When has revenge or striking back ever really done good overall? I believe I can safely say that it has never ended in a good way. It is a waste of effort.

Rather than look for the spiteful response, mankind should look for the path of improvement. We should all look for what weakness lies within us and strive to master it and make it our greatest strength. By doing so, we rise to a better level of understanding and wisdom. We make ourselves better living organisms. And we eventually will turn old strengths into weaknesses only by comparing them to our new strengths. This will allow us to make the old strengths even stronger when they become our weakest virtue.

This cycle of self-improvement can only begin once responsibility is accepted. Until a person has matured enough to admit fault, the path cannot be found. One cannot seriously make a journey while harboring hubris or a belief that mistakes are the fault of another. This stumbling block is quite probably the most difficult to overcome. The first step usually is, though. Realizing that all of the Human Race suffers from vice and folly and weakness can make this a little easier to accept. Nobody likes to be alone on that side of the line. While none of us ever really are, it can feel that way from time to time.

One cannot get stronger until one admits weakness. One cannot find enlightenment until one admits foolishness. One cannot find inner peace until one admits to inner turmoil. One cannot accept blame until one finds responsibility. One cannot be self-aware until one matures. These are, in a way, truths of existence. Some are bitter pills to swallow. All are doors that lead to a path of betterment.

Practical Poly Perspectives

Mankind is polyamorous by nature. The idea of monogamy is an invention of the church that is reinforced by the belief that by denying such a primal and natural way of life…we are somehow better people. The ability to only have a sexual relationship with a single person does not, in fact, make someone a better person. It merely makes them a person who has a sexual relationship with only one person. This is neither good nor bad. It just is. Any attempt to justify Mother Culture’s tripe about how it makes us better is futile and foolhardy. Why people have a hard time with this is a mystery to me. If a person is inclined to enter into a monogamous relationship, wonderful. If someone else is inclined to have more than one, wonderful.

One thing that this world is short of, and I’ve stated it before, is love. We all need more love in our lives. As long as there is honesty about the polyamorous nature when entering into a relationship, there is no wrong. There is no evil. There is no fault. It should be just as acceptable as an exclusively monogamous relationship. However, Mother Culture has determined that it is against what is right and good. She has decided to teach us that anyone who feels this way is somehow defective and in need of help. I cannot understand why it is so wrong to share something like that with anyone there is an attraction to if they are willing.

Now this does not mean that one should sleep around with anyone and everyone. Even I have been influenced by Mother Culture. My personal opinion is that if you have an attraction to someone and they do also, go for it. The attraction can be purely physical, but it will probably be a more moving experience if there are other feelings there beyond lust. This does not necessarily mean ‘true love’, but a love of some fashion. An example would be that my closest friends are all loved by me. It isn’t a romantic love that faery tales glorify. It is a love born of the deep care I have for those that are close to me. Some of these close friends are of the opposite sex and more than a little attractive. I would be willing to join in such activities with them if they wanted.

Now, the problem that some people have with that is it leads to a misguided conclusion that there must be strong romantic love involved. This is not only wrong, it’s naive. Sexual intercourse can merely be for the enjoyment it brings. Trying to turn it into something it isn’t only causes problems. Don’t get me wrong. Sex can certainly be a sharing of an intense and deep romantic love between two people. It just isn’t always necessarily so.

On the other hand, some people are under the unfounded impression that anyone of a willingly polyamorous lifestyle is a harlot. This is just as naive as someone believing sex leads to true love. Following Human Nature does not make someone less sophisticated or refined or socially acceptable. It just means they are in touch…and comfortable…with core impulses and feelings of Mankind. This is not the result of some degenerate strain of DNA or chemical imbalance. It is just Nature following itself. People can live happy lives and have meaningful romantic relationships while living a polyamorous lifestyle.

Living this way does not exclude the possibility of having a special relationship with someone, either. One can be more attracted romantically to a single person while have said relations with others. As long as that person understands and agrees, things can work out just fine. This doesn’t mean there won’t be problems…every relationship has them. There are couples that have been happily married for years yet live this lifestyle. They understand that just because there is attraction and possibly consummation with other people, it does not mean there is anything lacking in their relationship. It does not mean that they love their significant any less just because the did something enjoyable with someone else. It simply means that they enjoyed something nice with someone.

It will be a good day when Mankind finally figures out how to ignore Mother Culture and just get back in touch with instincts and intuitions. Our Race has a huge potential that was once utilized but now sits largely untapped because we have ‘advanced’. All we have done is trade a strong and deep source of knowledge and power for a quick and shallow power because it is easier. Actually…that can be its own rant on another day.

I don’t know why I felt the need to go on this little rant. I just dislike it when there are a whole different set of rules for those that are ‘different’ from the norm.

Liturgy and Aberrancy

Religion. It can be a touchy subject, especially to those who follow Pagan paths. I don’t know why it has become the standard to assume the pose of a misunderstood and abused soul simply because one chooses to look at things from a different perspective. It seems more than a little silly. If one were to step back an look, say, at both Judeo-Christian religions and Wicca and related Pagan beliefs then one would find a remarkable similarity. The differences really are not all that profound. In fact, they are laughably subtle in their own way.

Both sides have rituals and celebrations. A goodly number of the Christian holidays coincide with Pagan celebrations. It was a way to encourage the conversion of ‘heathens’ to the ‘true’ religion. Many of the rituals are formalized on both sides. There are certain prayers that should be said or certain actions that should take place depending on the particular day in question. Unfortunately, many of the rituals have become so commercialized that the true meaning of these days is now largely irrelevant. Pagan holidays have been fortunate enough through obscurity to maintain their original meanings. It is my belief that this lack of commercial sanitation is why Pagans revere and rejoice more sincerely during these times. It isn’t that Christians do not care or that they do not have the strength of faith. The problem is that Mother Culture has succeeded in slowly dulling the mind to the spiritual meanings behind the holidays.

Ceremonies exist in both paths. They range from weddings to funerals to regular congregations of rejoicing. Pagans for circles for most anything that fills their hearts with song and joy. Christians routinely attend church functions for the same reason. A marked difference is in the style. Many covens will create rituals for circling that have a deep meaning for that group. Church mass has been standardized like a public school test and is very much the same from coast to coast. This isn’t to say that one way is better or that there aren’t standard rituals for Pagans. I am merely pointing out that while the styles for these things are different, they are still the same at the core. The point of mass or a circle is to rejoice in the divine. It is to find that connection with something far wiser that our conscious selves and try to make ourselves better through that contact. This leads us to another similarity.

Both sides believe in divine power. A Christian believes in God and that all power comes from Him. A Pagan believes in the God and Goddess and that the power resides in us because we are of them. Both sides believe in the divine power, the difference is in where the divine resides. God resides in Heaven for Christians. The God and Goddess reside in everything and everyone for Pagans. Yes, I know that Christians believe God inhabits us all, but the popular view is that the majority of what makes up God is in some place that is separate from us on this world. Pagans have a more personal connection with divine power. It is within each and every one of us. We merely have to quiet our minds enough to touch it.

Both sides pray. We all do so in slightly different ways and for vastly different reasons. Take this example: If someone is extremely ill and in need of help to heal, a Christian will pray to God asking for Him to aid the person in their time of need. They will bend their thoughts and thus their will to the desire of that person getting better. If it happens, the God has been benevolent and has performed a miracle. A pagan will cast a circle, draw the energies from his surroundings, and send it to the person in need so that they can be healed. If it works, then the spell has been successful. What’s the real difference at the core of this? There isn’t one. A Christian’s prayer is merely a ritual used to channel the energy of the one praying to the one in need. The intent is to heal because that is what the prayer is about. That is what the will is forging with the energies. But a Christian does not accept the success or failure as his own. It is God’s will that must have that burden. One could argue that Pagans are vain and suffer from hubris. One could also argue that a Christian hides from responsibility by consciously accepting that it is not his will but God’s to save the person in need of help. I do not think either way is better…they both have faults.

Oh how Pagans love to wallow in martyrdom. It is a silly pastime and it serves no purpose. To be taken seriously, we should act serious. Save the performances for the stage. If you are that uncomfortable with the decision to follow an alternate religious path, you have some soul searching to do. It may be that you have some pretty significant doubts about the choice.

Christians on the other hand have a completely different set of issues. This constant badgering of people to convert is absurd. If a person is truly interested in finding a new way to worship, they will look for it. They will ask for it. If they don’t, then leave them alone. They obviously are not ready or not interested. Just learn to back off and wait. While you are at it, however, why not take a little time to find out the true Christian meanings for the holidays. Odds are they do not include buying larges amounts of things and covering them with bows and fancy paper or about dying eggs and hiding them. The true meanings of these days are much more moving.

Correlations and Introspection

It occurs to me that the problem with human conflict is really a minor thing blown out of proportion. We are all different. We have different likes, views, opinions, dreams, hopes. Many times we will find that ours will conflict with those we spend time with. The problem isn’t the differences themselves. The problem is that some people cannot, will not, or do not know how to deal with these differences. In reality, it isn’t that hard. There is beauty in what is not the same. There is beauty in seeing things from another perspective.

However, some find it difficult to see the beauty. Many times these people are expending large amounts of energy and willpower attempting to bend others to their point of view. They will try in vain to cram someone else into a mold never meant to hold them. They will strive and struggle to achieve something that is futile and has no meaning. When they fail, they lash out in anger and frustration. Sometimes this lashing out is done quietly or behind the backs of those they failed to force into their little view of the world. The intrigue and drama of a bad situation is only heightened by such an act.

This is a poor way of handling other people. Unfortunately, this is what most often happens. Why is it so difficult to accept someone’s differences? Why is it such an outrageous expectation to accept that the differences among peoples is a wondrous thing that brings insight and knowledge? How often have people learned new and interesting things about themselves, the world, or the Universe after observing the myriad of differing aspects of Humanity? Knowledge is the only true power in the Universe and it cannot be gathered by a closed mind. It cannot be harnessed by someone whose eyes are closed to the landscape of Mankind.

I’ve said it before and I do not think it can be emphasized enough. Take off the rose colored glasses. Step out of the fantasy world of your delusions. Spend some time in the real world. The world of diverse beliefs and opinions is reality. Some will agree in part with your own ideals. The amount will vary by individual. Some will not agree at all. Some will be diametrically opposed. Do not take this as a sign of the other’s shortcomings. See it for what it is. It is an opportunity to better understand yourself and others through the exploration of that which makes us all unique in some way.

We are all of one Race. We are all of one planet. We are all of one Universe. However nobody shares the exact combination of every Human aspect with you. Some of these aspects you may never know until you meet someone with a differing one. The exploration is a journey into the unknown parts of yourself by way of the road of dissimilar facets of Humankind. This journey can either be a joyous excursion of discovery and understanding or a long winding battle with unchangeable miens that will ultimately bring melancholy and rancorous moods and thoughts.

I would wager that the whole of Human suffering from wars to inequalities to poverty could be traced back to a single source. A failure to understand and respect our own differences and in doing so, a failure to understand ourselves.