If you are, by all means continue reading, and imagine the following delivered with flecks of spittle and appropriate pulpit-pounding. If you aren’t, by all means find something else to read. I can be diplomatic – even conciliatory – if the occasion demands but I’m not going to be in this case. I cannot un-see what I see, and sometimes I just have to vent. If you find my tone somewhat strident, I can’t say I disagree with you. What you are about to read reflects a very real side of me – one that I have to live with daily. It has largely been shaped by a fundamentalist Christian upbringing that I certainly did not choose to be born into and that I consider a form of child abuse. I hope I’ve been clear. Here goes – let’s see how many metaphors I can mix:
The most urgent task of our time is to kill the hydra-headed monster known as religion. Until we manage to drive a stake once and for all through the heart of the vicious Mesopotamian god who still holds sway over and commands the blind obedience of billions of Christians, Muslims and Jews, all our attempts to wake up an extinction-bound humanity and galvanize them to action will avail nothing. No devout Christian – I’m talking here about True Believers™ who seriously think that God has a perfect plan for this planet and every human on it, is in control of everything that happens and is going to intervene just in the nick of time – is ever going to give a rat’s ass about the looming climate change disaster, or the meltdown of nuclear power plants or the drawdown of ancient aquifers, or the collapse of civilization as the peak of hydrocarbon extraction is passed and our worldwide technological faux-perpetual-motion machine begins to sputter and creak: Jesus is waiting in the wings, ready at his father’s command to ride once again into human affairs, this time on a white horse, vanquishing Satan and setting everything to rights. Continue reading “I Might as Well Get This Off My Chest”
Sometimes life has a funny way of kicking you in the ass, and death has a way of helping you remember memories you once had forgotten. I don’t know where to begin or why this should even bother me the way it does. For this connection has been one that was long lost, drifted away on a sea of time and space only to be brought to my mind with the passing of a common acquaintance.
This week I received an email from an old friend. One that used to share life and happiness with me as we journeyed through love, loss, and friendship. His life was one no one would envy but his hard and honest work has always won out. This friend left for another state years ago, and we slowly started to lose touch. His favorite saying was, “We have said it all before. What more can we say?” This used to bother me, as I was feeling the distance of his path leaving mine and as the winding roads started to split apart until little to no contact was made. This friend had a hard life. I got to share some of his struggles and learn with him through many a trial as we gathered our belongings and hiked the road of life. Continue reading “Personal Journey Series – Reflections on the Passing of a Father”
This essay is my response to a song from Peter Pan. Here’s a video
Many historians and observers of the human condition have likened the “stages of life” of civilizations and empires to those of individual human beings. They have spoken of the birth, infancy, adolescence, maturity and senescence and, of course, death of countries and cultures. This is, needless to say, a poetic use of language; but poetry often serves as a vehicle for truths that cannot be conveyed nearly so well – or perhaps at all – by other means.
I want to take this line of thought a step further: I propose that the human species as a whole follows a parallel developmental trajectory, and that there are valuable insights to be gained by recognizing it. It may be a bit surprising to some, exactly where I fix the watersheds.
In a nutshell: I liken our Pleistocene, Paleolithic condition to the childhood of the species, and reckon its condition ever since the Agricultural Revolution to be a form of adolescence out of which we are currently struggling to emerge into full maturity. Dotage is far in our future, and whether our species will survive to see it is very much an open question. Continue reading “Dreaming of Neverland: Faith and Extinction”
Back into the shadows – the soft, caressing darkness. Using the angry shriek of pursuing sirens as a guide and their flashing lights as a reverse beacon, a wraith once more, he traverses the rust stained slums with ease. Emaciated streets drift by his peripheral, left behind by negligence stemming from unrestrained capitalism and special interests, the landscape blends together as the motion blur directs his eyes to the rapidly approaching destination. Throughout the concrete kingdom that is the metropolis, signs of a lost time are strewn about, a time of blind faith, xenophobia, decadence, and life in overwhelming vanity. Faded billboards litter the skyline with partially destroyed images of happiness and wealth. Manufactured faces from upon high divinely cast subliminal ideals in promise of a false happiness personified. From the level of the proletariat, plastic eyes look on from the storefronts, mannequins stripped of their coverings, their blank soiled faces looking into eternity asking for a dignified end. Few windows show light from within, a quiet defiance of the emptiness that seems to have conquered this place.
The sounds of destruction die down as safety draws nigh, a safe house within a provincial prison, but more importantly – his home. Hypnotic, the double heel click of mile ridden boots echo within familiar passages, but something breaks this regular sense of ease, perverting a rare and short sense of comfort.
Christianity’s most outrageous and ruinous conceptual coup has also been its most brilliant, and has positioned the church for success in perpetuity by poisoning the well of humankind until the end of time. In a single stroke, this odious religion has enslaved a large portion of the human species by implanting the following malignant, two-headed brainworm into a hundred generations of potentially reasonable people:
a) Instead of being an integral and necessary part of the way the universe works, death is a curse (hence dreaded – not simply feared, as our biology would have it) incurred by “sin”(hence “a shame,” especially if self-inflicted).
b) Christianity offers a way to avoid that curse even as one appears to succumb to it.
The latter an inconvenient datum that is rationalized to insignificance (Granny didn’t really die, she just went home to be with Jesus), a way into eternal life. And it indoctrinates children with that nonsense before they’re old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy – especially of the wishful thinking variety – and reality.
Deep in the absence of light, the air seems to bleed moisture as the night sky releases heat through the endless, cracked asphalt. Trash litters the alley, a space well within the wingspan of an average person. Paper scraps tumble and blow like synthetic leaves, hugging the walls, lost within the journey towards pure entropy. Skyward, chemical mists summoned just above the high rise homes of the bourgeoisie flow aimlessly in the turbulent artificial winds of the metropolitan cityscape.
Familiar sounds echo off the brick and masonry of the alley: the footsteps of a shadow, seemingly lost within the perpetual tension of a class-segregated society. Profaning the simplicity the sounds of age, decay, and time pollute the immediate area, forcing its material existence to seem rough and disorganized. Thoughtfully, the ghost fades through the darkness, lit only by ambient city light, a light with no source, that never sleeps. Harshly making turn after turn with a familiarity displaying deep knowledge of the slums a hand is placed upon the crumbling brick. This contact momentarily combining the many singular droplets of water into a shining surface that for an instant reflected the face of a man, weary yet alert, alone in the night.
Lost in concentration, eerily machine-like, and locked in an unwavering pace, the lone traveler continues on… Crushing his consistent stride with a sharp discordant halt, he fuses to the wall, his gaze fixed on the single red light, an Eye, perched above the next corner. One of the red city sensors: surveillance nodes, scanning, calculating, and penetrating the last threads of privacy. The Eyes are just one of the constant reminders that every single aspect of life is being watched; a twisted perversion of Locke’s state of nature culminating in a conflicted existence under complete dominance. No further could he use the safety of the alley; the street, with its many dangers even this late would be his only possible route free from the eyes of Elite soldiers. A deep intake of breath, straining his lungs to maximum capacity, a pause, then explosions ripping though every muscle send him hurtling into the open street out of reach of digital eyes. Continue reading “Émigré 1 – 1674 Checkpoint”
I met this woman a couple days ago in a debate group. She was defending the pro-choice position and she happened to agree with some of my arguments and statements. So I thought I would request to be her friend on facebook. Today, she posted what is below, I read it and was genuinely moved. I think this story, as raw as it is, paints a great picture of a life that even through hardship has come out strong. She has a desire to fight, a desire to love, and she has endured loss as well as tragedy. This story is about her life and what she has overcome. She was responding to a 30 year old who happened to call her old and told her that she was unbelievable. This woman told her that she was old enough to be her grandmother and that there was no way she could get her facts straight because of this.
When I read the post I was in awe that someone would use age as a reason to dismiss what another individual had to say. So I asked her if she would share her voice with us.
Below is the short story of Karen Zimmerman, a warrior for justice, a mother, a lover, and someone I am glad to have found. Her story has touched me and I hope that it touches you as well. This is unedited and raw; please understand the poetry of her words. Thank you Karen for letting me share this with my audience.