The Inconvenience of Democracy… for the Elites

 

As the primary phase of choosing the next occupant for the White House trundles on, it should be obvious to us all that there is a serious, existential threat that is laying waste to the cherished idea that the United States is a paragon of rules, fair play and democracy. Stories of rampant voter suppression, disenfranchisement, media gaslighting, electoral fraud and a destructive, regressive political discourse has made it very clear that it is impossible for America to be a functioning democracy within a capitalistic economic system. Politicians no longer serve the people they “represent,” and both parties have been corrupted and compromised by the dirty, filthy money that allows them to remain protected, seemingly forever, within their cocoon of legalized graft. It has taken a quixotic Presidential run by Bernie Sanders to drop the scales from our eyes, and at last, people are beginning, at their level of understanding, to realize that it just might not be possible to have both a functioning democracy and a just economic capitalist system at the same time, without serious re-examination and reconsideration of what kind of social contract we as a nation are prepared to accept to live under.

Obviously, this realization can only lead to a single conclusion:  which should prove that capitalism is in essence, anti-democratic.

Team Democrat and Team Republican may have slightly differing ideologies, and really, these are merely comforting, self-serving myths that allow the gaslighting to have legs – until this election season when the bottom of the pail has fallen out of too many people’s lives, but the parties are united under one overarching principle: gathering and extracting more and more money from the taxpayer and giving it to the elites, the banks and stateless corporations who in turn are quietly planning God-knows-what for the hapless dupes who still believe that the problems in their lives stem from undocumented aliens, liberals and conservatives. These elites benefit from the division the media generates while ignoring the shameless corporate welfare which their lobbyists have managed to write into laws, and are ultimately planning to gift the corporations sovereignty over governments themselves with the TPP.

That President Obama is aiding and abetting this “trade deal” as a good thing for America, should be evidence enough on how easily one can be corrupted by power so completely, that all common decency and common sense evaporates, along with any moral barometer that should awaken and alert one’s conscience that something has gone terribly wrong with one’s judgment and ethics. But we’re talking about beings who clearly operate under another criteria of “ethics.” One, apparently, that doesn’t include  a consideration for what is best for everyone, but only considers those who are sitting the the seats of great wealth, power and influence.

Which brings us back to this point: capitalism has proven to be the most anti-democratic force in the world, if not in America, where it seems that every day, new and surprising ways are being invented to make voting as difficult and unpleasant as possible. This is hardly surprising, although I suspect the blatant rigged gaming of the fraudulent electoral process may have come as a dreadful shock to most who believed in the “rule of law,” and that they truly lived in “the land of the free,” but the fact of the matter is that an open, citizen-led democratic process can be very bad for “business.” The movement inspired by Bernie Sanders has awakened to this awful realization, and the anti-democratic forces; the media-industrial complex, the stateless corporations, Wall Street, the billionaire class and the establishment politicians that loyally serve them will be doing everything they can to make sure the movement – and by extension, the expression of democracy – is quashed.

Therefore, be prepared to witness a titanic barrage of forces to be unleashed to nullify, marginalize and stifle this natural, suppressed expression of democratic values where one person – one vote still has meaning and value. It will be a massive effort for the grassroots activists to overcome this inevitable onslaught, but the future is not yet written, although it appears more and more likely that the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this summer is going to make Chicago ’68 seem like a Methodist bakery sale in comparison. The genie has been let out of the bottle, and with it, the elites’ stranglehold on democracy is in peril.

 

 

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Demons of Folk Friday’s Tune of the Week: Gold Mine

enki

 

“Everybody says that we’re working in a Gold MIne.”

The earliest recorded notions about the existence of demons is found within the belief systems of the ancient Mesopotamian culture of Sumer (3400 B.C.). Through their myths and religious systems,  the Sumerians believed that Mankind was created to be slaves for the Gods; the Annunaki and the Igigi, the minor gods.

According to the Atra-Hasis version of the older Sumerian story, the Igigi were orignally pressed into manual labor cultivating the canals, mining for gold (the reason the gods needed gold isn’t mentioned, curiously enough) and farming. After 40 years, the Igigi grew tired of their toil and complain bitterly to the elder Gods. Enki proposes the creation of human beings (Primitive Worker) to be relieved the workload of the younger gods. After the creation of humans is accomplished, their task is set:  mining the Earth for gold. [1]

They (the Anunnaki) summoned and asked the goddess, the midwife of the gods, the wise birth giver, [saying:]
“To a creature give life, create workers!
Create a Primitive Worker,
that he may bear the yoke!
Let him bear the yoke assigned by Enlil,
Let The Worker carry the toil of the gods!” [2]

So it was written. Mankind created as a species predestined, preprogrammed and preordained as an instrument for enslavement. Looking at the world today, not much has changed. We are all born to toil, work and in exchange our labor, blood and life essence – according to one’s ability and station in life – until that life essence is extinguished forever. The toil, blood, sweat and tears has given us what? Nothing in terms of an equitable return of the effort expended. After tens of thousands of year, isn’t about time we smash this abusive template? Investigate the Living Income Guarantee proposal.

Gold Mine is this week’s Demon of Folks Friday Tune of the week. You can stream and/or download

Notes:

[1] http://www.jcu.edu/bible/200/Readings/Atrahasis.htm

[2] The Gods of Sumer were vain, petty and unpredictable. Therefore, great pains were taken to make sure that the Gods were worshipped properly with prayers and sacrifices. The life of a typical Sumerian peasant, slave or merchant could be pretty rough with crop failure, disease and natural disasters to contend with, and to make matters worse, the prospects for the afterlife were potentially more dire. According to the Sumerians, the dead descended through seven gates into the Netherworld, an infernal place of demons and monsters ruled by the Goddess of the dead, Ereshkigal, sister of Ishtar. The demons regularly pass to and fro between the upper world of the humans and the netherworld, and were colorfully described as “bitter venom from the Gods.” They were “gloomy, their shadow dark, no light is in their bodies, ever they slink along covertly, not walk upright, from their claws drips bitter gall, their footprints are evil venom.”

A Very, Very Short Discourse on the Law

The foundational platform of a society is always attached to the laws and regulations that are instituted (at least theoretically) for the benefit and protection between its members. The reasons for establishing laws arose as societies developed into more complex relational systems regulating the actions of its members and enforced by the imposition of penalties. From the earliest eras of human civilization it was seen that laws were necessary structures of protection from abuse between members of the group. Not only that, certain conclusions were drawn. The observable world seemed to operate fairly predictably, and since science had not been developed, superstition and imagination were the platforms that formulated the conceptual framework to explain the natural cycles of the stars, seasons  and permanence of the world. In looking at two of the oldest and most influential societies we can see what they considered the most important aspects and concerns when it came to building a system of  laws for its citizens. We will find that certain conclusions led to specific outcomes, and since we are still living with the consequences of those ancient conclusions and find them inadequate and destructive, we need to re-imagine a new foundation for a new set of laws based not upon superstition and deceptive, imaginary concepts, but rather a moral universalism that enriches, protects and strengthens the bonds of relationships between its members.

The Vedic and Egyptian Concepts of Law and Order

We begin with a survey of the great civilizations that arose in the Indus and the Nile river valleys. It is ironic, but worthy to note, that both of these civilizations that produced and contributed so much of the cultural framework of all the civilizations that followed are hot, steaming piles of rubbish today, at least in terms of the current state of their societal status today. Both societies are now embroiled in controversies centering around long-standing divisive religious arguments that have never been resolved. India suffers from a punitive and divisive social caste system and Egypt is in the throes of a civil war between the military and various religious factions. There exists a titanic social and economic inequality between the members of both societies. This is the consequence of a social inability to deal with the issues of social balance and harmony, and reveals the dysfunctional systematic objectives that has riven the social contracts and made them untenable.

When one turns to the Vedic structures of society, we discover that there was a direct linkage between the observable patterns and rhythms of the natural world and the emerging social relations that were moderated by the priestly factions. It was under the great Sun – Eye of the sky god Varuna that the cosmic Law of the universe was said to have been established. This law was eternal and kept chaos and discord at bay. It was the same law, according to the priests, that regulated the moral relationships between the people. The priests insisted that to keep the balance of the universe in place rituals were necessary. Over time these rituals become more complex and intricate. More valuable sacrifices were instituted. Literature emerged to give guidance and rules about the proper institutions of the rituals. This gave the priests much authority and advantage over the people they allegedly served, and it also was a source of controversies when these rituals failed to produce the desired results, which over time became more clear to the people. Over many centuries the rituals began to lose their mysterious hold on the people and the power of the priests diminished, but not before they had managed to protect their social status and inoculate themselves from the lower rungs of society. Today the consequences are on the Indian subcontinent is extremely unpleasant. Recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has compared the current economic state of Indian to a “dying patient.” [1] Child brides, violence against women, institutionalized poverty, widespread hunger, lack of education and opportunity; all these flow from the consequences of these fabled and utterly failed cultural constructs.

On the African continent, Egypt also enjoys a historic status as being one of the most influential and ancient civilizations in the world (over 10,000 years in the making). Science, technology and religion made its greatest advancements in this North African country that the world has ever seen. And yet, it is today a seething cauldron of misrule, social division and punitive militarianism that has gained ascendency in governance. But in the beginning, the members of the civilization of ancient Egypt was concerned with maintaining order, balance and an abiding sense of justice. And this was personified by the ancient feminine deity Ma’at.

Ma'at iconDepicted in the ancient glyphs as a winged woman shown with an ostrich feather and a set of scales, Ma’at represented balance, law, order, justice and judgment. It was believed at death, one had to pass the judgment in the Hall of Ma’at. With her ostrich feather she measured the human heart on her scale. If the heart leaned to the side of good, the soul was allowed to pass into the afterlife. If it was deemed bad, the soul was forced into eternal damnation. Thus were formed the foundations of law and order within ancient Egypt, not to mention ethics and justice. As with the example of the ancient Vedic priesthood, the order of priests in Egypt asserted that they alone were the representatives of the goddess Ma’at and were bound to keep her traditions and precepts alive for the people. Thus an intricate legal system developed along with a deep sense of morality and justice.

It was the Pharoah, or the ruler of the ancient kingdom that was responsible for maintaining balance, law and order – that is, maintaining the “Ma’at” of the country. As the “God” living on Earth, the Pharoah was not only the political leader of the nation, he or she was also the religious leader as well. As gods, they owned the lands, created the laws and engaged in maintaining the country or conducting wars against rival nations. Obviously an aristocratic elite was necessary to keep that power in the hands of a few.Predictably, the decline of the power of the Pharaohs coincided with the many military defeats at the hands of the Persians, Greeks and the Romans. And while the country always garnered great respect for its historical ancient wisdom, technology and culture, it is today a crumbling social vortex of uncertainty, violence, death and injustice.

There are consequences to establishing societies based on social inequality. They all turn into failed, authoritarian states with elites desperately clinging to power through any means necessary. This leads to questions about the possibility of laws ever being able to fulfill its role in ensuring that justice, equality or personal liberty is possible for everyone. As it stands now, laws more and more are designed and used to protect the positions and advantages of those who sit in the seats of power. A call for the re-imaging and recalibration of the meaning of law and order should be placed under discussion and examined. In the next few posts we will look at some of these points that deserve attention.

 

Notes

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Tough-economic-decisions-ahead-PM-tells-bigwigs/articleshow/36591681.cms

 

The Shameful Self-serving Myth of American Exceptionalism

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“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. We have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional…. I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.”

– Obama, 2009, overseas trip

” I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.”

– Putin, NYT Op-Ed, September 11, 2013

“America is an exceptional nation – that is, one like no other, not just now but in history – because it is dedicated to the universal principle of human liberty. This is grounded in the truth that all men – not just Americans – are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator.”

– Jim DeMint, Heritage Foundation President

DeMint’s “interpretation” (which is a rather strange way of putting it) only shows he’s either ignorant of history or he hopes his fellow citizens are. And it’s not in any way “valid” because it isn’t the truth. Not that politicians would have any truck with that curiously strange thing called the “truth,” you know. It seems the main thing the USA is “exceptional” is self-delusion. Oh, and toppling other countries who won’t do what we want.”

– Darryl Thomas, blogger

Why all the hubbub over such a seemingly inconsequential and dusty term which hardly anyone outside the halls of academia has ever heard? Well, because the news agencies and the political wonks need something to talk about. First, Obama referenced it in his national speech about the possible military involvement into Iraq’s neighbor, Syria. Then Russian President Putin fired an op-ed in the New York Times cautioning the US about being too quick to assume an “exceptional” national identity. Then Texas congressman Jim DeMint chimed in defending the term with all the empty-headed enthusiasm of a Texas 8th grade  civics book. I had heard the term before, but it wasn’t a subject I ever thought I’d devote a blog towards, but here it is. Hope you like it.

Alright. American Exceptionalism. The term was first coined in print back in the Ben Franklin days of American History by the travel writer Alexis de Tocqueville. He used the term in a very narrow sense; America was exceptional in that it was totally different from any other place the well-travelled Tocqueville had visited. [1] For one, Tocqueville considered America to be far more religious than any country in Europe. It also had far more slaves than any country in Europe but that’s another story for another blog.

The idea has been bandied about and evolved over the past 260 years or so. The term was taken up again by the American Communists during the Jazz Age in the 1920’s. [2] It was used by the American Communists to describe their belief that the reason the socialist movement in America was failing to materialize and advance itself as much as it did in Europe was due to the economy of the times which were so favorable to the Capitalist state, and so it would take longer for the prophesied collapse to occur. In recent times, post-1960’s – the term was used among critical theorists and social scientists that either agreed or disagreed with the premise that America was somehow “qualitatively different from the rest of the nations in the world. Neoconservative and neoliberal politicians have latched on to it to assert America’s global hegemonic rights and powers, which the USA reserves for itself while denying it from other nations.

Now we are caught up. American Exceptionalism can be thought of as a politically religious or metaphysical concept that imbues one with a glowing nationalistic pride. That pride is undeserving because of the titanic mountain of evidence that rises up to meet it.

There are about five core ideas that make up the belief why America is so special. We Americans have been taught these things in various ways and through various means. They can be reduced to these:

LIBERTY

EGALITARIANISM

POPULISM

INDIVIDUALISM

CAPITALISM

None of these concepts have really been practiced on any sort of mass scale – at least not on any scale that didn’t involve requiring money. LIBERTY? Welcome to the nation with the largest disposable populace in the world. America has more people in jails and prisons than anywhere else in the world. Legal rights are being taken away and turned into “privileges” and subject to being overridden by “secret courts” that exist outside the normal boundaries of the law.

EGALITARIANISM? Well, it sure sounds nice. The different classes may not be openly enslaving people in sweatshops and having children making garments in factories (that’s what Asia is for), but since everything revolves around buying  and selling your survival to the next guy, equality is more like a faint outline of a nearly forgotten dream. Equality? People either fear it or don’t know what it means or care if it actually exists as long as they can get through the day without being hassled. That’s what the 21st Century has become.

POPULISM. Please. Half of the elected officials are millionaires working for billionaires. The American voter is typically uninformed and largely controlled through the media that pushes a narrow, slanted virtual reality that shapes a narrow, slanted world view which then the voter forms a narrow, slanted opinion which she will invariably confuse with factual evidence, yet nonetheless convince herself that she’s rational and only interested in reality. She hasn’t any idea that her responses have been programmed into her to become nothing more than a predictably passive consumer.

INDIVIDUALISM. Probably the biggest conceptual scam since reality TV. I have always found it odd that individualism is strangely accorded metaphysical status. It is a central tenet of the European and American Liberal tradition, so it’s had a long run and thus, has embedded itself into the national subconsciousness of the nations of the world. This tenet exists simply to provide a justifiable stance for predatory capitalism to exist and reach into every pocket, ironically. Individualism does not exist unless it exists within the system, to which one has no choice but to submit.

CAPITALISM. Or its 21st Century version, casino capitalism, which is a kindest word ever given to slavery. The chains are not made of iron, but of metaphysical zeros and ones spinning in existential data servers across the globe. There’s no liberty outside of capitalism, only a certain liberty within the system. Which isn’t a liberty at all, but more a submission to the soft cryptoauthoritarianism that destroys lives the world over.

Right. I could go into how taken together, these planks that make up the conceptual platform of American Exceptionalism can be shown to not be all that “exceptional” and downright self-deceptive. And dangerous, if politicians become too enamored of its cache and use it to justify American dominance across the world. Besides, this myth is used to cover a multitudes of lies.

I believe it is the tropes of the US standing for the “principle of equality” and “the principle of human liberty,”as DeMint’s letter puts it, are two clearly defined statements that can be easily rebutted because of that new thing the kids call history. You know, when you add in all that slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and second-class status for anyone who wasn’t a white male landowner – not to mention various genocides and invasions and assassinations of other citizens and democratically elected leaders in other countries that were no threat to America, one has to be self-deluded, grossly ignorant or simply dishonest not to own up to the facts. The shameful legacy of human slavery alone stands as a valid rebuttal to the stated virtues of the “liberty” and “equality” that America allegedly stands for, no matter how much true believers would like to dismiss it.

How does that Biblical verse go… Let’s see… “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” And if that doesn’t work, try this on for size: “Actions speak louder than words.” Oh, and “Pride goeth before a fall?”

American exceptionalism is a self-serving myth.

As long as there exist “secret courts” that operate outside of the bounds of the Constitution (a document our politicians are likely to uphold as a shining example of “liberty and equality”) and so empties standing law of all meaning,  as long as you have the NSA that secretly spies – err.. “collects data” on its own Citizens and then sends that information to Israel, as long as we have the exceptional USA conducting surveillance on its own journalists, its own civil society, and its own ordinary citizens and refer to them as “adversaries” we are not all that exceptional. I know it’s unfair because it’s so easy to argue against American exceptionalism by emphasizing the catalog of evil that’s the legacy of this country. If one examines the example of U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua that killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, one wouldn’t feel all that great about America’s exceptional role in the world.

NOTES

[1] American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. Seymour Martin Lipset. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc. 1996

[2]  Albert Fried, Communism in America: A History in Documents(1997), p. 7.

8/11/2013. The Big Man

That’s what I called Bernard. “The Big Man.” I liked to tell Andrea, “Can’t hang out with ya, hun. Gotta go into town with the Big Man.” It was due to the fact that when I first time I ever laid eyes on him I was surprised how large he looked. It was evening time, September 29, 2008. After being picked up at the airport I arrived in the darkness of night to the farm and strode through the front door of the main building. I had been invited to the farm by Bernard. I had only contacted him via email and chats on the Internet. On a whim, I decided to take him up on his offer. In an email to me he said, “You won’t want to leave.” I didn’t even know what the man looked like. It was strange that I was even on another continent placing my safety into the hands of a stranger.

Bald and stout, Bernard meets me inside the door. We embrace and then he takes me into the kitchen where he suggests that I would like some coffee. We exchange the polite, customary pleasantries. Bernard pulls out a cigarette and says, to no one in particular, “How long will Darryl continue to wait?” Bernard often asked questions that tended to freeze you in your tracks. I had a wonderful time there at the farm. I extended my stay.  By the time I left, which was months later than the 4 weeks I originally planned, the Big Man was not only my firm friend, he had also become an unbelievable example of unshakable integrity. He was right. I didn’t want to leave, but I felt it was time for me to go. And the night before I left he said, “When things get tough, don’t forget to breathe.”

Well, what do you know. Things got really tough when I returned Stateside.  Three days after staying with my best friends I was kicked me out onto the street in the dead of winter. I was afraid my truck would be impounded because my insurance lapsed. I spent the night in sub-freezing weather wondering how I would get through this ordeal, wondering what I had done to “deserve this.” I kept breathing. I survived. I was offered a place to stay until I could get back on my feet. I just had to move to North Carolina. Luckily, I had just enough cash to make the journey. But that episode did not fare too well, either, and I found myself back in Bernard’s living room once again. When he saw my haggard face (I’d been through a lot), he just grinned and offered me a cigarette.

The last time I saw Bernard was when dropped me off at the King Shaka airport,  August 4, 2010. Esteni was also there and we all embraced warmly as he said to me, “You will be back here in 5 years to stay.” And he smiled. It sounded like one of his ironclad promises. I turned and headed into the airport, fully expecting to see him again. But I heard the news today. Such a reunion is now impossible. Bernard’s gone. I heard this morning that it was a fatal heart attack.

I feel strangely quiet inside writing this, but it has been an awfully long day. Maybe I’m still in a bit of shock, maybe I’m just being calm.  Maybe it will hit me later. I’m sure there are many hugs and tears to go around. But life goes on. The Desteni Group lives on, and this Group will not wimp out or fragment or disappear. Sorry, haters, but the shit just got real.

Over the years, there has been many blogs that I have written that were pretty hard to write. While this isn’t one of those instances, I must confess that there’s an existential void Bernard left that is destined to be filled with our focus, determination, fearless purpose and integrity of the Desteni Group. Meeting, knowing  and living among so many Destonians makes this day a lot easier to walk through. To everyone on the farm; Esteni, Sunette, Andrea, Cerise, Leslie-John and all the others – I love you all. And I am grateful to have lived, worked, sweated and wondered on the land that existed under Bernard’s feet.

(From the Diary. There are so many stories about hanging out with Bernard that I could relate, and I may write about them later, but If there is one event from my time spent with the Big Man that encapsulates how my life was forever transformed, this would be as good as any).

October 7, 2008

LJ asked if I could help with the planting. I booted up and put on my Indiana Jones hat and made my way to the patch where the guys had plowed the day before. I’m given instructions by Fidelis on where and how to plant the seeds into one of the two plots that had been plowed. Okay, so this will be cool. I’m planting seeds into the dark earth. Watermelon, corn, squash, tomato. Rain had been falling over the past few days (it’s the raining season here in South Africa). But today was a good, warm day. The flying ants were out and the entire valley was buzzing with millions of the things. We planted into the afternoon and took a break to re-hydrate. Gian and Jesper jumped into the pool while I was playing with the dogs,  and I said to myself, “Yeah. Good idea.” The water was cold, but felt okay after a while.

Leslie-John called us back to the field and we planted more seeds into the earth.

After we were done, I returned to the house and sat in the lounge to cool off. I was feeling very frustrated for some unknown reason. Very frustrated. Slowly I came to see that I was frustrated with myself. I was so happy being in such a place where support and understandings were coming left and right. But it felt I wasn’t moving fast enough. What was it? I was still shaking. It had been with me all day. Bernard pointed it out first thing in the morning. “Shaking,” he said. All day out in the field planting seeds, I felt it. A miasm that was showing me that I am slowly dying. Here I am in this beautiful, life-affirming place where I am being supported, fed, housed, given understandings that I never had before. And each tremor reveals that I’m slowly dying. Nothing’s changed. I am still the same loser that I have been my entire life that nobody cares about. I’m still the same old ridiculous fool, everybody’s favorite punching bag. To come this far in my life where I could finally see myself being of some use to myself and the world only to be one the losing end of the stick once again, this was just too much to bear.

I am useless.

I felt I was ready to walk. I was tired of doubting and wanting and waiting. I saw that nothing in this world was of any use and I was ready to be counted on.

Was this some kind of joke? Is this where self-honesty has led me? With cosmic egg on my face? How did I allow myself to be used and allow myself to waste my life – to have it turned to shit? To accept living in the teeth of a nightmare?

Because I allowed it. The blackness of that moment of realization was heartbreaking.

Bernard pointed to one eye and said to me, “Darryl. See.”

And I saw.

I saw that nothing will ever change for me because I still carried who I am that has existed from the past. I still claimed this self-image that I had painted on the canvas of my life. And that painting was finished. It would last for eternity.

And then I saw something else. I saw that I do not have to carry that painting any longer. I could release it and paint another self and walk as that!

One that was effective, self-directive. One that stood one and equal with the entirety of existence and did not doubt or waste his life in senseless, useless time loops. One who trusted himself. One who would never ever, ever quit. A self that would stand the test of time.

Could it be that simple?

Could it be that instead of waiting for change to be thrust upon you, or given to you from somewhere outside yourself, you could change yourself in one moment? In one breath? Just by releasing the past? Just by literally seeing yourself integrate all that is, equal and one? Just by seeing that what passes for ‘life’ in this existence has no honor and here, it stops. I took a breath.

I noticed that the shaking stopped. Tears filled my eyes. Bernard, with cigarette in his hand, asked, “Do you get it?”

Yes, I got it.

I could walk.

Darryl and Bernard

Brief Consideration on the George Zimmerman Verdict

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I’ve given this media story a bit of fleeting consideration. Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman forever linked to a tragic incident that is no different from any other tragic incident. The “tragedy” being of course that an unhappy result of a calamity all but guarantees further suffering awaits all parties involved.

Leaving skin color aside, I believe we should focus on the fact that what we have are human beings killing other human beings due to an interesting human failure: out of reactions of fear, suspicion and/or sheer hatred. What happened in this case can be retold in many, many thousands of incidents EVERY DAY, callous, sinister acts of that span the unimaginable depths of human cruelty. You know, like intentionally dropping depleted uranium on foreign soil or dumping nuclear waste in the oceans or human trafficking or using child soldiers. If one looks at the big picture, one begins to see a larger pattern that  emerges. That pattern suggests that human beings are not intrinsically “good at heart” and that it is a constant struggle to give reality, value and meaning to our humanity.