Monday, November 27, 2017

How Do You Cry?: A Rambling Meditation on Avoiding Grief

Adult life is to be in a constant flux between terror and purpose. Purpose, at least, temporarily blocks the sense of dread you feel when you sit quietly in the morning. I hate that feeling. It’s like I’m scared of something, but I don’t know what. The monsters of my childhood have vacated my bedroom closet and there no longer is a lurking presence waiting patiently under my bed to grab me. There is an emptiness I can’t explain; it feels like dread. This feeling seems rather mysterious considering how full my life is; full of good things and good people…love.

It feels as if I’m anticipating a loss. I’m holding on, gipping the arms of my chair with white knuckles. Things are wonderful, and I should be grateful, but I know that the universe just won’t let me alone forever.

“Hey, you over there with that satisfied grin on your face. Don’t think I haven’t noticed you. I’ll get to you momentarily.”

That’s the kind of conversations you have with yourself when you tend to anthropomorphize “the universe.” I’m fond of saying that there is no moral consciousness in nature. Nature just is. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from my defaulting to primitive notions. Animism seems to be my out-of-the-box setting. I see signs and portents where there are none. I drive my humanist friends crazy.

I think this feeling is called grief. My best friend Karen tells me that I have a problem facing loss. My anger and grief are one. I think this is true. I’ve avoided getting even a pet – not so much as a hamster or goldfish – because I don’t want to outlive them. Dogs are especially problematic. I have two of them now. Both are getting older. One has an enlarged heart and the other has lumps on her breasts that need to be surgically removed. So far, the tumors haven’t metastasized to her lungs…as far as the vet could tell from the X-rays anyway. The doctor assures us that these types of tumors are almost always cancerous. Always something threatening your life or the life of someone you love. I know that death is part of the lifecycle and I need to learn to accept it.  Intellectually I do. Emotionally, spiritually it’s too much. Many days I’d rather be dead and out of reach from grief. I’ve missed a lot of life this way.

 I’m still reeling over the loss of a friend’s dog that we fostered. We were the ones that had to have her euthanized. I’m not ready to deal with it again. I’m no sure I’m even over the loss of my childhood pets.  I was denied the chance to say good bye to my first dog, a Maltese Pekinese mix my parents named Tammy. One afternoon in Middle school she was just whisked away. I loved her. I’m not sure I even cried over her loss. It happened so fast. One moment there was this warm, playful presence in my life that loved sleeping next to me on my pillow or chasing after the tennis ball, the next moment that presence was gone.

 You can only outrun your grief for so long. Eventually it catches up to you if you haven’t already drunk, eaten or fucked yourself into oblivion. If you live long enough you can die of heart disease – a massive coronary at fifty as you walk from your car to your office. If you’re brave enough, suicide.

 Heart attacks scare me. I’ve witnessed enough of them. The shooting pain and the blue lips as you clutch your chest falling to the floor. The acrid smell from the sudden stream of urine as you wet your pants in front of your colleagues. No thank you. I’d rather die by my own choice given the chance.

I think I might choose suicide. I’m sure I’m what is called a “jumper.” I used to drive out to the Aurora bridge and walk to the midpoint. Several times I tried to get the nerve to jump. Years later while living in Salem, Oregon I would walk to the train crossing, getting as close as I could to the passing train. Sometimes I would stand on the track facing the oncoming train with my eyes closed and arms stretched out as if being crucified or welcoming death into my open embrace, then stepping off at the last moment. I would still rather jump – I think. Every time I move to a new town I research the best places to leap to your death. I want to feel the free fall into oblivion, watch my life flash before my eyes as I fall into darkness. My only fear is that it death might not be as instantaneous as hoped for. I want to avoid pain altogether.

I feel sorry for the person that might have to clean up after me. I’m told that I share this in common with woman suicides. Men, typically blow their brains out everywhere and don’t give a shit what others must deal with. I worry about other people. I think that is why I’m still alive today. I eventually stopped going down to the train crossing because I realized that It might not be psychologically beneficial for the engineer to deal with a dead human being splattered across his engine like a bug.

So, I’m left with life and grief.

This is step one work right here. I am powerless, not just over my use of alcohol, but of everything.
“Relax,” advises a pop-Buddhist bumper sticker, “Nothing is under your control.”






And five- pound bags of M&Ms.

Nothing works.

I feel nauseous. Even after giving up everything, but the Effexor and Xanax. I’ve tried weaning myself off the meds, but the side effects are a bitch. You must do it very slowly and very carefully.  They also keep me going over to the dark side completely. Sigh. So, my chemical romance will continue.

I tried filling the emptiness with religion when I was a young man. I went as far as to consider joining a Franciscan order. The simple spirituality of Francis of Assisi always appealed to me. The young priest assigned to me during the initial stages could tell that I was really running from life. So, religious life was probably not the best solution. That was the first time I felt abandoned by the Catholic church.

To his credit my spiritual director knew a disaster when he saw one coming. He just didn’t have any other recommendations for me. The prayers of others suck and do nothing. The second abandonment occurred when I was homeless in the Midwest in my early thirties. That’s a story for another time.

I felt adrift and cut off from everything.

That’s where the bourbon came in. Sex too. Although, I tended to get attached to the women in my life and felt worse when the relationships were over. Sometimes suicidal. I am not built for the casual sex lifestyle. My one and only one-night stand lasted two years. I was utterly clueless when it came to relationships and women. It was better to stick with bourbon.

My twenties were awful. Failed marriage, alcoholism, failed business and crushing tax debt and obesity. I’m fifty- one now. I’ve climbed out of those holes and out of others as well. The sense of dread is still with me. I’ve done therapy, 12-Step programs, meditation and generally tried pursuing a spiritual life.  


I still have the dread,

The anxiety,

The sadness.

I’m going to call bullshit on spirituality.

Before you suggest yoga, I practiced Iyengar yoga for close to eleven years. It helped with flexibility, but little else. Ten minutes into a ninety-minute class I was bored out of my fucking mind. Frankly, for Americans, Yoga is the McDonalds of spirituality. We do it often for the most superficial of reasons – it’s part of our physical culture of health and beauty. These non-yogis are not spiritual, but they think they are.

Even those people who claim spirituality, their yoga is such an awful new age blend of supercilious nonsense. We’re squandering the gift of Vedanta and don’t even know it. My home practice was daily. In eleven years I only missed one day due to sickness. Seriously. I was very obsessive about it. So obsessive that the benefit I was receiving was questionable. I wouldn’t do anything else if it was going to interfere with my practice. No wonder I eventually hurt myself. I, too, was doing it for the incorrect reasons.

My yoga practice consumed so much of my life. Then one day I hurt my lower back. I’m not sure what happened. I can still do backbends, bow, cobra, camel pose and a full backbend from the floor now and again. Gone is my ability to due forward bends, twists or most standing poses. Maybe some-day I can resume. Periodically, I try to do a few minutes, but my back protests. Perhaps, it’s good to get away from yoga.

This is a loss too. It feels like the last eleven years was for nothing. I’m feeling sad.

This might be “The Universe” again telling me to fuck off or maybe, “wake up asshole.”

Here is what I think “The Universe” is telling me.

“Let go. You hold on to everything so tight. Open your eyes to what is in front of you.”

I’m one of seven billion people. That’s a lot of people. What makes me think I’m so damn special?

Everyone must deal with loss. Stop trying to white knuckle your way though it. Stop trying to brace yourself for loss because you will lose out on the good that is all around you. The people and the pets will all slip past you before you had a chance to even appreciate their presence and enjoy their company. You don’t need to be spiritual. Loving and appreciating life, even the darkness, is being spiritual. If you choose to call it that. I think I might.

The dread? Maybe it is nothing more than neurochemistry imbalances that I’m giving undeserved spiritual import too. It’s something that I just need to live with. Purpose is good. Find a purpose and relax, nothing is under my control.

Al-Anon has a pamphlet titled, “When I got busy, I got better.”

To do is to be and not the other way around. My existence precedes any experience of essence. Thank you, Sartre.  I’m starting to understand why the Buddha discouraged what he deemed idle metaphysical speculation. Subjectivity is not enlightenment.

Bourbon, sex and M&M’s is avoiding this healthy kind of busy. So is not having pets. I’m built for love. Yet, love requires courage. I will have to face loss. I will have to face the heartbreaks, disappointments and betrayals that are a part of love. No love is perfect because life is not perfect. This is the courage needed. Life is hard. Forget the positivity assholes. Pain is a part of living. It comes with love. It comes with joy.

 I’m beginning to understand that not facing loss is ingratitude towards what I’ve lost. Martín Prechtel, The Smell of Rain on Dust, has taught me that to grieve is to praise what you have lost. To lose yourself in grief and tears is to sing a love song to what is no longer with you, but in some way always will be there in your life. First, you must grieve if you’re to keep that gift.

Tears used to come so much easier to me.

When was the last time I cried; cried before I accepted the sick cultural norm that men shouldn’t cry?

There are only three major male archetypes allowed in the West: the silent Stoic, the smart ass and the bellicose man-child. Not one of them cries. No wonder we drink and work ourselves to death. What choices do we have? I’m the smart ass. Some have called me a pussy.  I make awful, angry cynical jokes. I need to transform this to the philosophical humor of the self-actualized man. I’m not there.

I feel this stream of consciousness is coming to an end. I’m not through, exactly. I’m just bereft of the necessary words because I’m bereft of insight. I leave you hanging, because I’m hanging – hanging over a dark abyss trying to stay calm and waiting for inspiration. Should I let go? Should I trust that something will catch me? Maybe, I should just cry. I’ve avoided funerals – my father, my grandmother – I have yet to grieve these loses though I feel them profoundly.


How do you cry?

Monday, November 20, 2017

I, Heretic..,

I’m not sure at what age it was that I stopped believing in the literal salvation by grace story of the Christian orthodoxy[i], fifteen, sixteen…maybe? I’m a natural heretic. The genesis of my beliefs began much earlier, starting with the imaginary friends that whispered in my ear as a child. The big backyard of my early childhood home was a veritable magic kingdom of other worldly playmates. These little beings gave me the gift of natural philosophy, mushrooms and magic, teaching me to weave tapestries of sacred words into incantations that have since become my spiritual lifeblood

 I learned to keep my mouth shut at ten years of age, only after I informed the nun teaching my fourth-grade catechism class that the Old testament God and the Christian God seemed to be two different gods and not simply the same one. I thought the old bitch’s head was going to explode. Her demonic fit of apoplexy was terrifying. I knew that I was in trouble, but I scarcely understood why. That evening I pitched a big blue fit of apoplexy of my own that forced my parents to have me transferred to another CCD class. The remainder of the year I was taught by a kindly layperson, who truly loved children. No child wants to spend an afternoon they could be outside playing with a shriveled old woman that enjoyed terrifying children with the woes and sufferings of hell. Hell may stink of sulfur, but so did she.

My innocent observation of dualism was one of the oldest of Christian heresies going back long before there was officially anything remotely akin to the Roman Catholic church that I was being raised in. I seemingly arrived at heresy through my naïve powers of observation. I would be in my early thirties before I heard of Marcion[ii], the second century merchant ship owner, whose name is often given to this heresy. Who knows where children get their ideas? Probably those spiritual playmates of mine.

I allow my teenage self a little too much unwarranted sophistication by claiming to recognize the Greek concept of Logos was not in keeping with the Jewish understanding of Messiah. Protest all they wanted, I was not letting the adults in charge of my spiritual formation off the hook by simply stating that “Christ” is the Greek translation of “Messiah.” True as that is, the Christ of Christianity is not the Messiah of Judaism. There were a couple of teachers in high school that deliberately encouraged my imagination. So, on I went with this heterodox line of thinking.

By then I had lost the ability to hear the voices of my imaginary friends. My proclivity towards animism and pagan forms of religion became sublimated by an interest in the classic philosophy of the Greeks. I also discovered Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Yet, I’ve always been afflicted by a deeply religious imagination that couldn’t be erased permanently by the French Existentialist philosophers. I found a true kindred spirit in Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek literary giant. His novels, The Last Temptation of Christ and Saint Francis, gave me the permission I needed to start reimagining my religion.

Kazantzakis gave me the nurturing and carnal Mary Magdalene as an alternate to Mary the Ever-Virgin, eternally weeping for the passion of her son and admonishing Christians everywhere to cleave unto him lest they experience the ultimate separation from God by being cast into hell. I ended up with a confusing shared devotion to both archetypal women. I didn’t realize it then, but experience of divinity was shifting from masculine to feminine. I’m not one of those men that desperately seek the honorary political title of feminist, but the Divine Feminine is a guiding principal of my life. She is my mistress and I am her priest. Bear in mind she chose me and not the other way around. That’s how it works with these things.

My mythology cum theology is an inchoate brand of Christian Animism and Gnostic dualism. I’m a modern pagan in the pews. I speak perfect Christian when I need to. I have a decidedly religious imagination that I have not been able to completely jettison in pursuit of reason. I’ve stopped trying. I’ve decided to use it as I see fit for my own purposes. I’m not just pissing off Christians here. Humanists and atheist types get angry with me too. I’m a card-carrying Humanist as well as a card- carrying Libertarian. If you think this is all pretty much weird bullshit, hold on to your underpants. There’s more. God fucked up. His arrogant creation was the original sin.

My mythology posits that the Serpent in the Garden is a hero for trying to liberate humanity, Noah’s wife burned down that ark – not once, but thrice and Jesus conspires with Judas to fool his followers. My Jesus is an agent of the trickster that floats in spirit above the crucifixion laughing at the useless spectacle of it all. None of this is original[iii]. I’ve stopped trying to be original and started enjoying myself.

The liberator of humanity got mauled by a bear while leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow him out of the forest. The trick is to find the breadcrumbs in the bear scat. The god of the Church is a lunatic and not the true god that we carry within us. The question isn’t how do we activate divinity within ourselves. No. The question is why did god choose to become us?

I suspect that this personal madness of mine is an attempt to regain connection to the voices of my childhood. The various stories being weaved together – incompatible as many of them are with each other – is my attempt to understand why I’m here in the first place beyond a random act of copulation between my parents[iv]. I’m creating meaning in one of the ways I know how – ritual storytelling.

I’m a liar. I have no intention of telling you the truth here. My purpose is to “unchrist” Jesus before the eyes of your imagination. I want to offer you a different story – a story you can rewrite to suit your own purposes. This is my story. Share it, steal it or write another one for all I care. I’ve already told you that none of this is original. I’ve stolen it all anyway. How long I can escape the notice of our legal system is beyond what I can predict. I’m not that clever. Until then let us begin and enter the dark forest.

I feel no shame in any of this. A healthy lack of shame is liberating. To my way of thinking there is no reason to fear hell. We’re already living there. The Kingdom of freedom lies through the dark woods. I no longer believe in politics nor religion. I do believe in people. If we stop seeing all this name calling in politics and religion as a virtue we might be able to band together long enough to save ourselves. God has forgotten who he or she is -hereafter referred simply as the Ineffable Pronoun of our Choosing or simply, The Pronoun. It is our job to heal The Pronoun and not the other way around. Time to start looking for the bear scat.

If you’ll forgive me for burying the lead, I think we might be ready.

In the beginning, east of Eden, a bored young woman walks naked through a humid garden…

[i] I refer here to the so-called “right thinking” of the mainstream Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity that includes, but doesn’t single out the Orthodox branch of the Christian Church, i.e. Russian, Greek etc. etc.

[ii] Marcion of Sinope is sometimes grouped together with the so-called “Gnostic” heretics of early Christianity. While his dualist concept of God is similar as well as his view that Jesus was a divine spirit appearing as human vs. the flesh and blood second person of the Holy Trinity, his concepts reached different conclusions. He was eventually excommunicated. Marcion was one of the first to collect the Greek and Hebrew texts to create a canon. It didn’t go too well for him.
[iii] Mine is a veritable mixing and mashing of several heterodox theological mythmaking. I claim none of this as original or anything less than nonsensical horse poo.

[iv] Shortly after we began dating, my girlfriend sent a thank you card to my parents thanking them for having sex, so I could be born. She reminded me of that this morning after I read an early draft of this piece to her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Brief Memo to Young Activists

Most activists start with the presumption that the “system” is broken. They see themselves in a uniquely superior moral position to others and therefore empowered and dutybound to change the system. Yet, here’s the problem. The system isn’t broken. It’s doing what it was designed to do. In fact, you might be able to argue successfully, that in a constitutional democracy such as the United States, dysfunction is a deliberate part of the plan – it’s built into the political mechanism. I don’t have the space here to ruminate on why.

 Democracy is incredibly inefficient and its methodologies can be frustratingly abstruse. Try reading the constitution and see how easy it is to misunderstand or interpret differently the articles, clauses and amendments in real time. Additionally, democracy allows voice and power to individuals that common sense might dictate shouldn’t have it. Churchill joked that the best argument against democracy was a five-minute conversation with your typical voter. Then in another breath, he sighed – all other forms of government have been tried. It seems its best to remain married to democracy that most fickle of governing strategies.

Whether you agree with this assessment or not, I’m sure we could at least agree that using democratic methods to effect change is slow and painful – even bellicose. For better or worse those of us justice minded people need to be firmly rooted in democracy. It is the best chance we have for fair, even handed solutions. Otherwise we are left only with force. Without buy-in we can expect many hard-won achievements to be attacked and even overturned.  Keep your moral umbrage in check. Be in it for the long hall and allow your position to change as additional information becomes available. Democrats have been suffering from deep conservative resentment for nearly 20 years. They are still having difficulty coming to terms. Let their turmoil be your lesson plan.

 We need to remember two things: the first is that system works as designed – hiccups and all – and second, that no one really asked us to change anything. Opposition comes with the job. I’ve learned to be mindful of my outrage and reflect on the quality of my arguments. I’ve found myself needing to retract and rethink my positions from time to time.  Frankly, the system is working well for many people. They don’t care about your gender or preferred pronouns. They do care about paying their mortgage. Not just fat, middle-aged white guys either. Don't fall into the trap of believing your own moral superiority. You are acting out of self-interest even if you aren't aware of it. 

Exercising political will is not for the faint of heart or those whose timid nature makes them prone to become offended at every ad hominem rock thrown at them. I’ve come to love being insulted. It helps me find my humility in the moment. Which, I haven’t always chosen to do. Here’s the thing though. When an opponent begins using this most common of logical fallacies you have won the argument. They have nothing of worth left to say. What we choose to do next is crucial. This is not the time to passively preach to your choir on Facebook. Unfriending those that try to argue a different point. This is not the time for space spaces. Political victory comes with a price. 

Always keep in mind that there is a lot of knowledge you don’t have. You aren’t as well-informed or even as intelligent as you think you are. Too many activists lose sight of this. You are always one new piece of information away from a total shift of your worldview. It’s good to have ethical principles, but moral imperatives don’t function well in reality. Do political work long enough and you’ll come to understand that even you, my well-meaning friends, will be thought a hypocrite by someone else. Learn to love the Devil. He or she will always be at your side. Be ever alert for potential unintended consequences of even your most high-minded ideals.

Finally, drop the cognitive slurs. Stop calling people idiots and morons. Don't fall into the fallacy of the ad hominem. Quit telling other people that they need to shut up or be quiet. If this is the level you are at determine how you can communicate better. Always consider why anyone should care. Triumph goes to those that communicate most effectively. Consider the careers of FDR, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and my personal favorite, Obama. These men are some of the most effective political communicators of recent history. You are the message. Are you the best possible messenger for it? 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Choosing Your Narrative: Gnosis vs. Anti-Gnostic Feminism

Questioning your Narrative

What if I told you that there is no patriarchy? What if you were simply a prisoner to habitual patterns of storytelling? Would you be willing to consider that this might be the case? Would you be willing to create a different narrative for yourself? What might your situation look like then?

No doubt my feminist friends and colleagues will disagree with me. They certainly can offer plenty of evidence to the contrary – evidence that I am not eloquent enough to contradict. Additionally, I don’t have any evidence of my own to offer in lieu of the current story. Nonetheless, I’m going to hold to the question: what if I told you there is no patriarchy? What if it was just you and your life? What if you could shape your reality simply by looking at your truth from a different angle?

Because it is easy to conflate emotions into facts and make them unassailable truths, let me be clear about what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that sexism and sexual harassment doesn’t exist. It does. I’ve witnessed it and have had to stand up against it in my workplace. I have strong moral imperatives in that regard despite being suspicious of other people with moral imperatives. This is one of many ways in which I am a giddy hypocrite.

 I also didn’t say that violence against women isn’t real. Rape is real. It happens and it is a deplorable criminal act committed by cowards – all rapists are cowards. Imbalance in our judicial system has made it possible for many of these criminals to get away with their crimes leaving many of their victims double wounded and even publicly humiliated. Thrice when you consider how often it is that the victim is blamed for their own victimization. I consider this a criminal act too. Rape is only one of many forms of violence. It is the one that I find most triggering to me emotionally. It’s next to impossible for me to imagine anything worse that being sexually assaulted.

My point isn’t to litigate the list of well - known feminist grievances against the status quo. That is being done elsewhere by people more qualified than me. I just want you to examine your narrative and see what you might do about it. I tend to view the world in the heretical language of Gnosis. The psychic vampirism of the Archons is the real enemy. The power structures of this earth serve their needs. We live to satiate their appetites. Reorganize power any way you wish, the old bosses will be the new bosses. The liberation you seek is the liberation of your spirit from the negative principalities and powers of the kingdoms of earth and air.

Choosing Gnosis

 I posit that we are all suffering from a media induced delusion that is profoundly warping our view of reality in between commercials for products we don’t really need. We spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter. We binge watch shows on Netflix and Hulu until our eyes roll up into the back of our heads. Given the reports that millennials are having quantitatively less sex than their counterparts in the 1930’s leaves me to wonder that if we had to choose between our smartphones or our genitals, we would choose our devices.  If you must believe in an “archy” think in terms of a mediarchy. Your life is being shaped and controlled by creators of content and the sellers of consumer products who compete with them for bandwidth.

Does it seem to you that I might be the delusional one instead of you? I could be. I am an agent of the trickster. Lies and delusion are my stock in trade. Of course, I call it fiction. Facebook, CNN, Breitbart and Huffington Post are creating their versions of truth-fiction too. It often takes years to lift the skirts of reality to get a peek at what is hanging there. This techno-gnosis scenario was explored by the late Philip K. Dick. You may not know who he is, but you no doubt have seen at least one movie based on his work (Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly and the cable series, The Man in the High Castle). Gnosis was always there in the work of the great Dick. Your consciousness is being porked even now. Your liberation lies not in a political movement, but in the recognition that you’re incarcerated in a prison of your own choosing. You must open the door and walk through. The prison in this case is narrative or, at least, enforced by it. But the opening of the prison door is available to you at any moment.

We may not control outcomes. We can’t control circumstances to the point that true free will seems a suspect idea, but we are at choice. We can make choices - insignificant though some may be. Our choices might lead us to the liberation I’ve alluded to above or it may lead us to learn how deluded I really am. My intent is not particularly benevolent. I’ve just had enough name calling in politics and social justice. I don’t care who you are or what your cause is. Try choosing a different narrative pattern and see what happens.

White Women are Privileged

I know I seem the nincompoop.  To me college educated white women living here at the beginning of the twenty first century, claiming to be victims of a bona fide patriarchy seem like nincompoops to me. You shouldn’t be too surprised given the opening question.

Let me try to wrap this up with a new truth fiction for you to consider. The patriarchy ended in 1920. Your grandmothers and great grandmothers stood tall and won their right to vote. They could sit on a jury, run for office and own property. Rosie the Riveter dealt the final death blow to the old power structure. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. Inequalities abounded then as they do now. Reaching into my bag of false equivalencies let’s compare the end of the patriarchy to the end of the Civil War. The Union was preserved and the Confederate States lost, but a few rouge generals still skirmished with the Union for a time. Some of these out of touch fuckers still exist. Not for long though – they are old as fuck. They will die off or surrender eventually.

The technicolor veneer of the 1950’s tried to fool us that the ancient wholesomeness of Americana was still intact until the Beats punched a big hole through it letting in an alternate reality of counter culture outrage, free love and the saints of the second wave of Feminism. Rosie may have sung that “anything you can do I can do better,” but Gloria Steinem made sure we knew that, in fact, “A women needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” And no, Ms. Steinem doesn’t hate men. She’s tough though. I may not always agree, but I respect her.

If you are a college educated white woman in the United States then you are in place of privilege just as we white men are. If you are a college student look around your campus. You are among the future ruling class. Accept it. Maybe ditch the women’s study or gender studies program for a STEM program. You want to change the world, don’t you? Explore your choices. I’m not saying make “better choices.” After all the world will still need kindergarten teachers and psychotherapists. What am I saying is, explore other options? That’s it. Women won’t be better represented in business or politics until more decide to make those choices. Start a business or run for office. Or don’t. You need power to speak to power. Learn how to accumulate it.

The neo liberal democrat in a pantsuit won the popular vote. Misogyny isn’t going to be a successful blanket plot device for much longer. The only people holding women back might just be women, at least here in the United States. Stop it. Gnosis is always anti orthodoxy. That includes feminist orthodoxy too. If you want liberation you must be willing to take a heretical view.

Evidence Against an Orthodoxy

I did lie when I said I have no evidence. I have a little bit. According to Census bureau data women are outnumbering men when it comes to graduating college with a degree. Girls are starting to out preform boys in elementary through high school. I’ll leave that for you to interpret.

Tenured Harvard economist, Claudia Goldin, who has dedicated much of her career studying the gender wage gap, has drawn some interesting conclusions from her research among the college educated professional demographic. Sexism and misogyny are not the smoking gun as you would expect in the 1930’s – remember my fictional timeline regarding the ending of the patriarchy.

Men and women starting similar careers, with roughly the same education and requisite credentials begin with comparably the same in salary and benefits. The wage gap occurs over a ten-year trajectory. Goldin concludes that this is due, in part to lifestyle choices between men and women. This is an issue of enculturation more than anything. Not just how women are enculturated, but men too. We all need to examine the choices we make. I’ll be the first to state that men are playing at a stupid game that no longer works for us – hasn’t in at least a generation.

Goldin’s work is far richer than I’m demonstrating here. It would be easy to misstate it- members of the GOP surely have. Consider that there is more going on than feminist orthodoxy allows for. Orthodoxy is that way though. It seeks to control narrative. The mediarchy reinforces these prejudices. You must be wary about your information consumption.

Inequities exist.  They might always, given human nature which as Salman Rushdie wrote, “Human nature is the same in all places, in all times, in all languages...” The august writer was commenting on the writer’s art and on free speech, but the observation fits here as we are talking about narratives – a form of collective authorship. Ultimately, post-modern feminism is boring and limiting. The authors of this so called third wave distort facts, misrepresent others and exclude anything that might prove damaging to the perceived narrative integrity (don’t all narratives though?).  Besides, in case you haven’t observed it we are entering an epoch of the feminine. The signs are all around.

The narrative on offer here is not easy nor comfortable. To accept its possibility requires setting aside old stories. Retelling them is a re-wounding of oneself. In the case of our collective narratives we are letting other people tell us what is truth – what we should be angry about and what should change. Gnosis can only be acquired when the aspirant gives up changing others and decides to change themselves. Politics is about forcing others to change. Gnosis is about changing oneself. It starts by discriminating about what thoughts are being metabolized in your subconscious. It is a lonely process devoid of slogans and marching protestors.

I remain,

The terrible Abraxas

And so, are you…

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How I Sopped Being Suspicious and Learned to Love George Soros (sort of)

I’m a liberal and I don’t trust George Soros. I don’t care about the cheap conspiracy mongering of right wing shrills. I don’t give two poops about any supposed connection to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation. All the fantastic conspiracies that have been spun around Soros is the toil of cranks that have little capacity for original thought. Glenn Beck and James Wood have little understanding of truth. I pay no attention to talk radio, conservative or liberal.

George Soros’ success make him the poster child for neo-liberal policies and it amazes me that there is so much dislike for him by these same shrills. Then again, they aren’t exactly the brain trust of economics. They are right to be suspicious of the man though, he’s not exactly pro-America, and would work against our national best interest if it served his agenda.  No conspiracies are needed here. As we will see shortly the UK knows all too well about the danger of Soros’.

It should go without saying that Soros may be the most brilliant and shrewd money managers in the history of modern economics. When I was taking economic courses in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s he was the patron saint of the free markets. If you want to trade currency or start a successful hedge fund George Soros is the man to study. Truly. I say this with respect to the man and his skills. If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Soros is philosophical thinker of great complexity. I appreciate anyone who can appreciate Karl Popper.

I recently joked with a friend that my autobiography is going to be titled, “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Free Market.” My friend thought that funny given that we had just been discussing my concern over the liberal love affair with George Soros. My concern is that liberals see his social philosophy and his philanthropy and little else.

I don’t hate the man. I’m suspicious. You don’t make a fortune without a little larceny in your heart and a willingness to be ruthless and opportunistic. You just don’t. All the philanthropy in the world – Soros can afford his largess – and philosophical ideals doesn’t diminish the other. His beneficiaries’ might do well to remember the proverb about being too eager to accept the generosity of the king.

George Soros has been dubbed, “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England,” because of his amazing talent at gambling with currency. He created the UK’s Black Wednesday currency crisis single handedly (for all intents) when he short sold $10 billion (US) worth of pound sterling (UK). This maneuver earned him a tidy one billion.  Is that all, you say? I fear a man with that much economic power. Remember – ruthless and opportunistic.

It some ways I admire him. He may not be Nietzsche’s ubermensch, but he’s nearly the epitome of the man who makes his own morals and lives according to his will. He is positively Nietzschean in this regard. Aleister Crowley might have regarded him as a man who lived according to this true will. The possibility that the Great Beast 666 himself might endorse Soros should give you the chills. On the other hand, I’m playing strictly at fantasy here. Even cranky old Ayn Rand might appreciate him. That is if she could get past his social ideas and philanthropy – she wouldn’t. She would admire his economic prowess though.

As I write this little essay I find my appreciation for George Soros increasing. Perhaps, I should rename my autobiography, “How I learned to Stop Being Suspicious and Learned to Love George Soros.” I have delusions of grandeur and would love that kind of power. Unfortunately, I can barely manage my own meager investments. Is my distrust of Soros merely investment envy?

The point that I’m dancing about is no small one. It can best be left to a few broad questions to the American liberal – those who are distrustful of capitalism and neo liberal economics specifically. Why laud a man who uses the same methods of the Wall Street Wolves and Crony Capitalists you despise so clearly despise? Is it because he was successful? Is it because you approve of his agenda therefore his methods justify the means?  The man is a capitalist. Even if he sees clearly the flaws of our present social structure. How can you like a capitalist who ought to be as morally suspect as any of the others you dislike?

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Archetypes of Trump & Clinton: A Heretical Glimpse of Future Liberation

I can’t help wondering if America is on some collective, weird ass hippy acid trip of self- discovery. Consulting pages from the Almanac of Weirdness I can’t determine if Donald Trump is just another manifestation of the trickster or a demiurge made flesh. I’m leaning toward demiurge in all its malign, orange faced bluster.  It’s possible that the bronzer Trump is using is leaching poison into his blood via his face.

Tricksters aren’t necessarily benevolent, but they lead us to awareness if we endure. A demiurge imprisons – enslaves – other beings forcing homage to their twisted egos. Trump has that whole, “Behold, I’m a jealous God and you shall have no gods before me,” sensibility rather than a Coyote or a Loki leading the warrior to freedom ethos. It’s hard to say whether Trump is more Yaldabaoth or angry blowfish. It might be wise to stay away from the sushi for a while.

Somewhere, Sophia is weeping quietly into her morning coffee. Given the current state of the union there may be more bourbon than coffee in her coffee. Hillary is behind the bar serving up drinks with a tired, yet smug look of satisfaction on her face. She isn’t saying, “I told you so,” but she sure as hell is thinking it.

Hillary might be Sophia and not the bartender. She could be both in that confusing, nonsensical Thunder Perfect Mind contrariness that is part and parcel of her public persona. She’s wise mother and hated ball busting bitch that even feminists have taken issue with, although all but, Camille Paglia seem to have forgotten. Dr. Paglia is underappreciated by many so- called feminists. That’s too bad. She doesn’t need empowering. She’s a powerful force in her own right and one that I respect.

Women don’t need to be empowered. You already have the power. It has been increasing in leaps and bounds since 1920, thanks to our nation’s grandmothers and great grandmothers. Stop telling your daughter’s (yourselves for that matter) that you are being oppressed by a patriarchy. That exists only in your mind. Calling America, a patriarchy is akin to whining about the Vatican being the last vestige of the Holy Roman Empire – irrelevant and who gives two shits anyway?  Our duality is awash in false equivalencies pretending to be paradoxical truth.

Only you are preventing yourself from doing and having what you want. If you believe otherwise you have no power and no amount of sloganeering and shouting down your hated opposition will ever empower you. How you feel is also irrelevant. Your preferred identify is your perfect prison. Big Whitey only argues with you because it keeps you enslaved. “This is beautiful,” says Big Whitey as he lights his fat cigar with a crisp new one-hundred-dollar bill.  He hopes you never figure this out and thus awaken into your fullness.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

 Decode this axiomatic occult statement and take your place on the thrones of the Archons.

Stop obsessing over that rapist in the Oval office. Many of you have voted for a rapist yourself and you reelected him to a second term; lest you forget the sexual antics of one William Jefferson Clinton. Your objections to that statement falls on deaf, uncaring ears. All I hear is that you prefer your rapist over the rapist currently pretending to be President. Just stop it.

The point of power is always within you. Let’s set aside these political rape fantasies or, if you insist on keeping at them, examine the archetypal messages encoded therein. You object to Trump because he’s gleefully vulgar. He also used the word pussy. Feminists hate it when we use the word pussy. Clinton was still grabbing pussy, he just had the good sense to not get caught on tape taking about it. Therefore, we can be justified in ignoring what happened. Today if you must use the word pussy you spell it like this, p**sy.  It’s like Judaism and G-d. Let’s face it, P**sy is G-d for many of us. The drive to scatter seed wide and far in the quest to perpetuate our species until the dire end is strong in us.

The same goes for the word cunt, which far more powerful word than pussy. Pussy is purely sexual. Its women objectified to their lowest common denominator. Cunt is powerful. If a man calls you a cunt you can rest assured he feels threatened. He knows he’s lost and he has nothing left to fight with. The insulted woman has been victorious. She just needs to recognize it and go for the kill. Cunts are warriors. We must spell cunt this way, c*nt. We’re not fooling anyone, but I guess it makes us feel more civilized.

Back to Hillary.

The more radical feminists maligned Mrs. Clinton over her treatment of Monica Lewinsky. I’ve never held it against her. Even for an experienced politician used to doing damage control and spinning current events to her truth, Bill’s affair with his young White House intern was a very public humiliation. It had to be answered for. I don’t necessarily condone it – mostly because it wasn’t my humiliation – but I do understand it. Sometimes justice must be set aside and your enemy dealt with harshly and without compunction. Let’s also forget that Mrs. Clinton is also a human being – a mother and wife – which informs her public life intimately. I am not sure I would have acted any better – Hell, I know I wouldn’t.

All these erstwhile feminists, except Dr. Paglia and a select very few along with her, chose to overlook Mrs. Clinton’s treatment of Lewinsky. It makes no difference to me. I like Mrs. Clinton and I voted for her. I moved my support from Bernie to Hillary very early on. I thought it the wiser choice and think so now. Bernie’s democratic socialism is outdated.

Now we move on much in the same way that Monica Lewinsky has moved on. I really like her too. She embodies one of Nietzsche’s great axioms of self-overcoming: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I certainly don’t blame her for her youthful indiscretion. I had a few of my own involving older women when I was a young, wide eyed school boy entering the beguiling world of adulthood. I once had to climb out the window of my best friend’s mother buck naked.  Power and sex dazzle. Don’t judge. Do behold her becoming.

My essay digresses terribly thanks to my disordered mind. I will make one last point about Hillary Clinton. This time in the negative. She failed spiritually (politically a different story maybe) because she was too busy measuring words and trying to be all things to all people when she wasn’t busy deflecting Trump’s insane bombast with attempts at wit. Mrs. Clinton is the master of the back pedal. If you don’t believe me recall what happened when she misspoke and said, “All lives matter” instead of pandering to the Black Lives Matter movement. This was Kerry vs. Trump all over again: a candidate and a party with no message other than we hate this GOP dude.

What Mrs. Clinton needed to do was channel her Margaret Thatcher; Margaret Thatcher in a leather pencil skirt, starched white blouse, dominatrix stilettos and accessorized with a wicked looking riding crop. America needs discipline.  We are a bunch of petulant teenagers with no sense of reality. We’re just spoiled brats. She needed to crack our asses a good one.

As I contemplate my image of the archetypal Clinton forcing the archetypal Trump to fellate her 8-inch stiletto heels or using them to do some seriously dangerous testicle popping I have answered my previous question. Trump is all demiurge. He’s all angry, wounded child made lonely and insane by his mother Sophia’s abandonment. Sophia – Mrs. Clinton – can’t even bear to look at the twisted little godling her arrogance gave birth to.

Out of his fear and loneliness Trump- Yaldabaoth creates the shimmering bauble of this world and entraps the otherwise free souls of the cosmos so that he may have friends to play with. However, grand the palace is if it’s made from excrement it will only be an edifice of shit. We must leave the castle and venture back out into the playground of the God above Gods. We’re all playing at a game that no longer works for anyone. Not even Big Whitey.

We must give up our orthodoxies to succeed. Liberals have been attuned to social justice and for good reasons. Unfortunately, our good intentions have caused us to abandon the cause of liberty mistaking dignity in identity and equity. We are killing our world with ideologies. Feminism, libertarianism, conservativism, socialism, anarchism, capitalism and everything else must be set ablaze. These are the prisons of our own devising. We rely overly much on the government to do for us what we can do for ourselves through mutual collaboration. Think of it this way. Legislators enact laws. They regulate behavior. Then they create a legal system of enforcement to ensure that these rules are followed. Rules are always created and enforced by the people they benefit the most. We should be careful just what rules we agree to live under. They all carry with them unintended consequences.

Now I’m getting preachy. It’s time to stop.

The crux of my heresy is that politics won’t be the solution. Democracy is too important to be left in the hands of the typical voter. We are all the typical voter- you and me. It is a trick of the demiurge, this ugly, orange would be god that makes us think otherwise. The soul that liberates itself learns that it is not unique, it’s not special and the world doesn’t need it. The world got along with them before they came to be and it will continue its merry way once they are dead and gone or liberated. To be in the world is to belong to the demiurge. It’s an agreement to live by his terms. The god of this world’s plan for your life may just be cancer or something worse, servitude.

How the demiurge came to rule our present reality I’m not sure. I’ve stopped blaming evangelical Christians. It’s not really their fault. They worship a war god after all. They don’t understand all this Prince of Peace bullshit. The Peace of God comes after you cut a bloody swath through Canaan. First war, then the land flowing with milk and honey. They were dazzled just as we all are.

Godly, though Jesus may have been in spirit, his body died like that of a man. His bowels loosened and he crapped himself while sporting a final hard on in a farewell salute to this world of blood, bone and excrement.  The real Jesus hovered above the meat pupped dying slowly by crucifixion laughing at the unnecessary spectacle of it all.  Let’s follow suit.

That sound you hear is my thighs slapping hard against the flabby, white ass of your orthodoxies. I’m pulling your hair as I grunt, “Fuck you ‘isms’. Fuck you ‘ology’s’. Who’s your daddy now?”

Who’s your fucking daddy?

I am Abraxas.

So are you.

Our adventure begins…

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Necessity of Meaning

I’m the sole arbiter of meaning in my life.  My life is meaningful because I get out of bed each morning and choose it be so. That doesn’t mean it’s simple.  Choice is important, but my choices still leave a lot unaccounted for. Creating meaning is hard work and some days I lose the battle for meaning and fall into a dark existential slump.  If I wish to face the stark reality of probability life is contingent and mindless contingency is no flatterer of human ego.  Reality: there may be no special plan for me. I still affirm life.
The universe or God may not give two-shits that I exist. Maybe there is no sentience outside of us little marginally self-aware beings - two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned and tentacled, and the universe just happens to exist for reasons we can’t quite grapple with yet or ever. We may never know. Just because we feel that there must be a reason for “all of this” doesn’t mean there is. It doesn’t mean there isn’t either.  I choose to see a reason. Therefore I need to create meaning. If that seems artificial to you I don’t know what to tell you.
I’m a human being. I see patterns and assume intelligence is behind them. I see significance in correlatable, but random events. My self-importance spurs me to believe that I’m the center of the universe even as I recognize the egoism of that belief. Logic and reason is great and beautiful. I choose to live by what I call the light of reason as often as it is humanly possible for a man of my limited intellect.  I still need the daemons and the ghosts of my ancestors whirling around me in the midst of the night watch. I have to believe that there is a power greater than myself watching over me even if that isn’t true…most likely not true at all.
I’m also a being of great emotions. Logic and critical thinking are not always enough. I need magic and miracles: give me liturgy, psalms, poetry and great works of art and literature. Encode the working of my subconscious in archetypes and psychodrama. I love symbols. Give me Christ on a cracker – literally – and a small sip of wine.  I love scripture.  I love sacrament. Some days I choose mysticism over logic. The pull of the irrational unknown is unbearable at times.
Perhaps, these yearnings are simply the testament to the power of indoctrination. The Jesuits had a motto that read, give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man. I was indoctrinated young with catechism classes starting in kindergarten.  Indoctrination is not necessarily brainwashing if you teach critical thinking skills. Dogmatic thinking seems rather dangerous to me. I struggle against this perverse, soul killing rigidity within myself daily  I can’t shake this feeling that the world is being stomped to death under the jackboots of “isms” and “ologies” including the ones I hold dear – maybe, especially the ones I hold dear because these are the ones that I might be able to do something about.
I understand the principal that says that what I deem significant or portentous is often just the current direction of my attention. I always think of the very first brand new car I bought – a red Nissan Sentra. I’d never noticed Sentras before, but suddenly everyone was driving them.