Before I was in the 2nd grade, I would ride my bike across town with out any fear whatsoever. I had a sandbox under a willow tree where I conducted ‘huge’ battles with little army men. I would build fortresses, rivers and bridges then tear it all down and build it up again the next day.
My next door neighbor had mini-bikes and we rode them all the time. We would do the Tarzan yell to locate one another during the day. When my friend wasn’t around I found endless things to occupy myself outside. I never got bored. The only time we went inside was to watch cartoons which, came on at noon for 30 minutes. Mom stayed home to raise us kids – most Moms did – and she would typically have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk ready in time for cartoons. Then, it was back out the door.
I was sun-brown, short-haired, and barefooted most of the time. The first bicycle I got, my dad found at a junkyard and fixed it. I never wore a safety helmet. I was scuffing my toes and elbows from the numerous daring rides all the time.
I moved about 30 miles away in the summer of before the 3rd grade to a smaller town. For a little kid it was another galaxy. I missed my friend. When I got lonely in the new place, I would stand on the storm cellar and do the Tarzan yell and listen for my friend to respond. I didn’t see him again until after our voices had changed and a whole other life had begun for me.
Sometimes I drive down that old street. As I descend the little hill I remember I could really build up a lot speed on my bike in this place. It was a little town back in the day. Now it’s surrounded by the growing Dallas / Forth Worth metroplex. The street seemed so huge back then. Now it seems very small. That ‘giant’ back yard looks like a chicken run. So many big things happened in such a little place. I had good solid childhood. I had a stable dad who kept a job. My mom stayed home with me, my brother, and sister. We went to Church every Sunday …like it or not.
I see my life, everyone’s life, as work in progress – I’m not finished yet! I’ve made terrible choices and few a good ones when dealing with these challenges mentioned yesterday about Jenny from Forrest Gump. Everyone does time for choices good and bad. Whether the debt is emotional or financial, in the physical or in the spiritual, it will be paid with sleepless nights, or a distracted mind etc. These ghosts haunt us until recognized and resolved. They will chase us out of windows into free-falls when we swear we were pushed but indeed seduced. At the price of peace self-deception reigns.
The wise do now what the fool does later. The issues of the Jenny types are a complete mystery to them. But, us the movie watchers, knew what the noise in the other room was. Instead of facing it, Jenny took a pill, ran away, drank a pint, and there are myriad reasons we ignore the obvious, too. I think we all have something knocking the other room.
I’m in a phase of life in which I realize this recognition and resolution must take place. Although I knew these things in theory when young, I ignored them to my ruin.
My days are full of things that crack the kettle. I’ve dropped my drumsticks too many times. I have stared at the stars as if they would move while I made music banging on a trashcan gilded with fool’s gold. With all these things in mind, I push forward, dragging my unfinished business in the court of the soul with me and I learn some new insight occasionally like a blind galaxy explorer finds a solar system. It’s those stars and worlds within the universe of your soul I wish to move, that is why I am drawn to write, not only blog entries but a heroic fantasy saga. Like me, it is a work in progress.
Perhaps you don’t even know what it is, but do you have something making noise in the other room of your soul that you are afraid to deal with?
“No one can express the exact measure of his needs, or conceptions, or sorrows. The human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out a tune for a dancing bear, when we hope with our music to move the stars.”
To me those words by Flaubert come close to moving the stars. When I read those words years ago they gave me great pause, as if I had read something holy. I’ve never read something that so succinctly summed up my own hope and frustration when it comes to expressing my deepest thoughts. I pause acknowledging the near impossibility of “moving the stars.”
Do you think Jenny, in the movie Forrest Gump, wanted to play guitar and sing her songs while naked at a bar, in front of a bunch of horny men? This is not the dream she wanted. She was too ‘enlightened’ to see it at the time. She wanted to move a person’s soul. She accepted the prior mentioned situation out of the illusion of unworthiness – she didn’t think anyone would listen to her with her clothes on, that is, their perceptions of her. The meeting of two illusions.
One of the profound lessons from the movie Forrest Gump is, although Jenny had none of the challenges Forrest had, he excelled in life and she went nowhere in spite of her beauty, creativity and “free spirit.” Jenny never tapped into her potential. She tried to escape her early life by becoming an escaptist, but she fueled it with more illusions. She traveled to many places, just as Forrest did, but never went anywhere in her soul at least not until she realized she was going to die. Jenny was living her life from the false perception of her unworthiness – she thought the things cast upon her were indeed her and not what she had falsely imagined as her center of being. They were things that existed only in her mind. She allowed this to deflect and warp her sacred life journey.
Forrest had concrete disadvantages (IQ of 75 or 80 I think?) not misconceptions. Jenny was lost, Forrest was exploring – there is a difference. What if Jenny had lived like Forrest? Forrest indeed “moved the stars”. Jenny “beat out a tune for a dancing bear.” Jenny never overcame the expectant doom or fear in life. She was a slave to her false beliefs about her self. She misconceived her life and ran away to what she thought was freedom simultaneously imprisoning her soul to the dark corners of her mind. It’s a paradox, she demonstrated that she thought of herself as better than Forrest. She remained bound in misconceptions while she cried out “Run Forrest run!” and he turned the sorrow of weak legs shackled by braces, into joy.
Do you think Jenny thought she was above Forrest?
A follow-up post comes tomorrow.
I gave a speech (more of a stand up routine) in McKinney, Texas at Collin County Conservative Republicans (CCCR) back in 2009. I loved doing it. It was my first captive live audience. I did not pick an easy topic. I mixed it with my style of humor to lighten things up. My talk was based on Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism, a great book!
I know my talk upset a woman in the front row. She interrupted me two or three times. She did not want to accept what I was presenting. It did not match her worldview. Years ago, I would not have been able to grasp it either.
Below is mini-version first part of that talk, which is a brief explanation of my awakening and breaking out of modes of thought handed to me by media, music, and art. I will break up the rest of the talk in bite size pieces in the near future. Let’s see if I offend you, too.
H. G. Wells, who has written some great books, was the first to utter the term. He did not mean it as an oxymoron or an indictment; he meant it as a rallying cry. In his speech at Oxford in 1932, he told the Young Liberals that progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis”. Yes, you read that right. Look it up.
I’m not a master but a student of history. I’m not an armchair historian, I’m more like a barstool historian. I’m a lot like you; a regular person looking at my country and wondering what is happening and on a quest for the deep reasons why.
In the late 70s my mind was occupied with girls, I watched Happy Days and thought the Fonz was cool. I went to Rocky and Star Wars and I listened to Top 40 on KIKM, Kick ‘em. I thought John Lennon’s song “Imagine” was the real anthem. The biggest world event was the hostage crisis in Iran, the beginning of the modern Jihad, but it was far away from a teenage boy. I watched the news, ABC’s World News Tonight. It was about things happening in faraway places that I could not reach riding my bike. Even if I got the car I was dying for, I couldn’t get there. It was in a galaxy far far away. Closer to home, ABC caused me to be more worried over Ronald Reagan than Jihadist, because even in 70’s the media had a ‘liberal’ bias against ‘conservatives’. The media’s summation of Reagan said, if he could find the White House, he would stumble in, launch the Nukes at Russia, like Marvin the Martian, and blow up the earth in the process. Jimmy Carter had gone good-bye and Armageddon was obviously next, and it was all Reagan’s fault.
However, Reagan’s speeches did not match the hideous bias I heard on ABC World News Tonight and 60 Minutes. I wasn’t very discerning then. I watched Reagan’s soaring State of the Union addresses and his delightful banter with the press. He would have me pumping my fist as if I was at a Van Halen concert, then Peter Jennings, or whoever, would come on, and ruin it. I did not think Jennings had an agenda in those days. He pretended to be unbiased. I could not withstand it when they dissected Reagan speeches. No one stepped to enlighten me further on what Jennings & Co would say. Eventually Reagan won my heart and mind, anyway.
The pacifism/non-violence these icons used should not be a universal truth. The non-violence used by Gandhi and MLK was a method used in correct circumstances. I don’t know if MLK would have used it in all cases, I do know Gandhi would have. If MLK or Gandhi would have tried non-violence in Taliban Afghanistan or Nazi Germany they would’ve been beheaded or gassed and thus ending their great moral movements. Pacifism assumes everyone is good at heart and reasonable, that the oppressor or tyrant only need enlightenment brought about by the suffering of the oppressed. This is rarely true in human history and endangers civilization. The Gandhi quote below proves the naiveté his non-violent pacifistic stance. He directed these words of advice to the suffering of Jews in Germany during the Third Reich.
I shudder to think what the world might look like if Gandhi had been the leader of England and not the proponent of moral violence, Winston Churchill.
“I am as certain…the stoniest German heart will melt [if only the Jews] adopt active non-violence…I do not despair of his [Hitler’s] responding to human suffering even though caused by him.” Gandhi
Granted, civil disobedience works when the goodhearted and reasonable outnumber the evil and unreasonable. It works better than violence although not immediately when you’re dealing with a Winston Churchill or Lyndon B. Johnson because there is a chance to create opportunity for reasoning together when a culture values human life. MLK appealed to the founding fathers’ principle of liberty and pointed this out to the white majority. He used the Constitution against the decedents whose forefathers wrote it. That was simple and brilliant.
The British ruled India, but they were basically civilized people who finally listened. They ‘tolerated’ Gandhi’s active pacifism. They let him slide. But, they knew, based on their own moral standards, that Gandhi held the moral high ground as did King. The British realized, as did Americans with the Civil Rights movement, that they were contradicting what was supposed to be their own values. That’s why it worked.
The philosophy of non-violence or pacifism only works in atmosphere where people are willing to reason. Pacifism will not work against Islamo-fascist, Nazis, drug cartels, or terrorist. I think if you move to a universal stance of non-violence it’s an immoral position and will ultimately result in murder and tyranny.
Open-mindedness is, without question, considered a cardinal virtue of the new age. To deconstruct frameworks of understanding the world is ‘open-minded’. To tear constructs apart and leave scattered confusion is ‘unbiased’. To ignore the devastation wrought on a soul is ‘enlightenment’. To fill the void with the thin watery tasteless gruel of “the truth to you is not the truth to me” is ‘wholesome’.
I don’t consider the absolute open mind to be virtuous. Thankfully, some people are finally starting to think about it more although it is perhaps too late for our culture. Is anyone shocked that I said I don’t consider open-mindedness a virtue? Yes! Because many misunderstand the problem I have with the so-called ‘open mind’. Open-mindedness today means, “Judge not lest ye be judged” which is a biblical quote torn from context. That verse is better known than John 3:16 nowadays. Non-Christians seem to quote it more than anyone does. The quote is like Kryptonite for the well-meaning but un-thinking Christian. These days open-mindedness is, in effect, saying that making distinctions (judgments) is wrong. I think I’m morally obligated to judge. An open mind today is an ultra-hyper-tolerant mind that stands for very little because it fears being thought of as narrow-minded: fear of making distinction. The fifteen to twenty-five crowd typically desire distinction only in clothing or tattoos or hair, not in thought. They seem to crave adherence to groupthink under their various appearances of clothing and hair.
Paradoxically, the so-called ‘open mind’ today is the most pre-judgmental and intolerant of all. It wants to put everyone under an indistinguishable collective unity, the ‘correct’ – politically correct – system. It breaks down gender roles, melds all religions into one (thereby diminishing the distinctions), and insists all cultures are equal. Many, especially ‘liberals’, think that open-mindedness is one of the highest moral virtues one can have. I think open-mindedness, as it is known today, will cause your mind to be polluted.
Not all ideas are equal by virtue of mere existence. You must inspect (judge) the ideas at the gate of your mind or you will be slaughtered from the inside out. You cannot open up to everything. The old saying goes: You must stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. And wow, do we have multitudes imploding. Open-mindedness is discernment starving. Something will fill that vacuum. Unguarded minds are stuffed with uninspected cargo, weighted down but empty of understanding. Open-mindedness says nothing is objectionable. That is a lie.
What is the answer? Have an open VIEW and an ACTIVE mind.
I’ve doubted God’s existence and came pretty close to not believing. At one point in life, I was agnostic and practically an atheist in action, having no fear or awe of God. Due to early profound spiritual experiences in my late teens and early twenties, I never became an atheist at heart. We all have our reasons. I won’t go into it, but I left mainstream Christianity in the early 90s – I believe it was a profound error that, at the time, seemed like Luther’s departure from Catholicism, the spiritual highway had been removed of toll booths, I thought.
Early in the departure, my longing for the spiritual led me to seek a relationship with the divine via new age (or new era) beliefs, which one can construct one’s own belief system – all dogs go to heaven. It seemed so very enlightened. I think, in a nutshell, it was because I wanted to sin like the devil without remorse in certain areas. The belief in an impersonal god, or a nebulous divine consciousness, affords such activity – but I digress. I began a slow return, which started with quasi-Christian theology mixed with new age beliefs some time ago prompted by what is called “the midlife crisis” i.e. the realization that I was indeed going to die. In early 2001 I began periodically attending the Unity Church of Dallas. They read from the Bible but to put in bluntly, don’t believe it. They suffuse eastern religions into the Bible and consider it another spiritual book like the Bhagavad Gita or A Course In Miracles (I’ve read both): all ways eventually lead to heaven or nirvana. An “enlightened” man there told me he was a recovering Baptist, too.
After 9-11-2001, I had had enough of the Hippy Jesus. But, instead of returning to Christianity, I delved into politics, dabbled in history, which led to philosophy, which led to God. Philosophy’s biggest problem is Death, which is the core of the midlife crises, but I think it can lead one to a more profound search than sitting crossed legged in a Buddhist monastery. I “officially” returned to Christianity when I started attending Frisco Bible Church regularly in July of ’06 (please don’t bother me with “just cuz ya goze to church don’t means you’s a good person” and other finger wagging …it bores me and it’s not the point of this entry). Even before that, I had been leaning that direction.
Along the way, I re-realized how many of us don’t even have a logical explanation for our beliefs. This is not new to me but I was leaning away the last time I ask these questions. It’s the reason we crumble when challenged. We don’t even understand what we believe and why we believe and 95% of the time we can’t defend it. Thus, feeling embarrassed, we attempt to be cool.
So here I am, I like to think of myself as a “Big Bang” but really I am a little flash in a pan (as if you needed to know), however, this is my little “decision tree”. Each sentence is the tip of an iceberg, there was/is much anxiety, and searching that lies under the surface and turn of the words. So, no decision point was made superficially
- Does God exist? Either there is or there is not a god. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time. I chose to believe God exists. So I am a theist not an atheist.
- Does this God care about me? Of the major religions on earth, there are many derivatives. There are religions with impersonal and/or indifferent gods or there is a so-called divine consciousness or a state of bliss/enlightenment. And there are religions with a god that desires a relationship with me.
- Hinduism is a polytheistic religion; the gods are basically indifferent to my existence. They could be aware of me but I matter very little to them, if at all. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion; basically one relinquishes all craving and blends (becomes one) with the universal consciousness. This “god” is impersonal. I cannot know this “god” at all and I’m assimilated into nothingness once I reach enlightenment.
- The religions with a personal god, or a god that desires a relationship with me, are basically, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Because I believe God to be a personal God I choose from these listed immediately above. Of these three religions one’s founder claimed to be God in the flesh. The founder, Jesus Christ, cannot be and not be God at the same time. He either is, or He is not. If He is not God then He either belongs in a mental institute or He is a grand hoaxer. You have to conclude Jesus was a mad man, liar or is what He says He is. I chose to believe Jesus Christ is God.
Now this little tracing of the thought process in no way proves there is a God. That’s another blog entry.