Thursday, November 28, 2013


Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want

Charles Dickens is a personal hero. He's not my favorite author, but there is a special place for him somewhere in my mind/metaphorical heart. He is aware. He acknowledges and articulates the less savory aspects of life. Brave is the conscientious solder, so heavy is his metal... I respect him, as I do so many other valiant masters of penmanship. However, I find myself suddenly, during this holiday season, very much at odds with his iconic A Christmas Carol. In the book, the Ghost of Christmas Present reveals the two wretches of mankind: Ignorance and Want. I mean, spot on. Bravo, Chuck. Bravo. These are, unfortunately two of my "weaknesses."

I am ignorant. Not uneducated, but ignorant of a great many things that other people take for granted, as I shall soon explain. Ironically, the only method that I can find to combat my present ignorance is to commit the other one of Dickens' cardinal sins and want. I remain landlocked by inexperience simply because I never learned to want, to ask, and more explicitly to believe that I should nor would ever be able to obtain the objects of my heart's desire. So, I do not want. You don't want, you aren't unfulfilled. It's greedy anyway...

I have never know anything but self-reliance. Obviously, part of this was instigated by the vicious brain chemicals that told me there is no one on God's green earth that gives a damn whether I live or die, so if I want to get by, I'm gonna half to hack on my own. Naturally, I had some financial assistance from the parents the first couple decades, but in terms of emotional and psychological maintenance, that was my own deal. My ace up the sleeve was stubborn pride. My sole survivalism was my way of giving the unforgiving world the finger.

Life experience pummeled the other 50% of this truth into me. To summarize, there was a situation that occurred within the family that demanded a great deal of attention when I was younger. It slowly grew into a pressure cooker, nearly unmanageable, and was slowly driving us all in our separate ways insane. This went on for many years. Almost as long as I can remember. Everyone was at their wit's end, no one knew how to handle it. Somehow, I found myself stepping up and into the role of the moderator, soother, and even soothsayer. What I was led to believe was that everything was about to go "Crack!" I provided the glue. Problem solved. And, problem begun...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MISSION TEN: Mortality

The depressive mind considers the experience of life as one caustically colossal waste of time. In simpler terms, it just ain't worth livin'. The trouble with coming out of the illogic-locked isolation of this specific mental illness is that reality doesn't suddenly change its tune when you do. Even when escaping one's madness, a body still has to accept the fact that there are all kinds of authentic and unimagined phantoms congesting the human landscape. These same threats send a depressive person deeper into their chasm of existential reluctance, but so too can a sane person be driven mad by the senselessness of it all. The question is, how does one carve out a niche of semi-lucidity in this cluster-fudge called "Life?"

Today I heard about the new gang initiation game called "Knockout." Apparently, young recruits are encouraged to punch or beat a random pedestrian as hard as he can, the goal being to knock him down. At least one elderly gentleman died as a result of one such attack. This situation alone gets the mind spinning. How could we live in a world where meaningless acts of violence are being committed? Why is human life so easily dispensed with? How does one gain control of a society gone haywire? Once the mind starts confronting these issues, other questions are raised: where does this rage come from, how are we responsible, how can we fix it, and most importantly, can we? Can you combat these things without merely feeding into the years, centuries, eons of hate and misunderstanding that sit at the source, in turn breeding more?

Any train of thought like this-- be the topic war, rape, the death penalty, poverty, abortion, religious hypocrisy, political corruption, economic hemorrhage-- would set me off on a mental tangent in the past.  All is lost... Woe are we... Just because I'm happier these days doesn't mean that these same feelings and reactions have abated. They still break my heart. As a sensible, rational human being, you can feel quite powerless in a this quagmire of "What now?" The contrast between my past and my present is that I no longer surrender to my own powerlessness but accept it. I broke my back trying to change the world before. I was sure that with enough passion, enough gusto, enough integrity I could rewire the circuitry of mankind's mania and make it right again. Failing at this caused a suffering in me that I can't describe, but certainly one that everyone can understand on some level. Not being heard when your words bear the most meaning, those articles of truth closest to your heart... The result is more than a bruised ego. It is cracked ribs, a broken neck, paralysis, unbearable pain, and the inability to cry for help. It's Hell.

Released of the pressure of playing God-- something no man or woman should ever do-- I now realize that I can't fix everything. Honestly, I probably can't fix anything. At best, I can only influence, at least on my own. You need the force of countless, surmounting voices all shouting at their highest volume to effect real change. One man screaming alone is insane. A crowd? Now that's a threat. Remember the recent blip when we were going to "go to war" with Syria some months ago? The cascading sound of millions of voices saying "What? No!!!" put a quick cork in that one real quick. The almighty government listened to us. We are more powerful than we know. We often forget that we're the ones in charge. So, while standing alone can often make me feel worthless, the knowledge that my own contributory energy does possess an authority that when echoed must be reckoned with, gives me courage.