What’s all the to do about god?

If you’re one of those types that  will defer judgment in favor of dictionaries, I’m speaking of this definition:

a person or thing of supreme value

Supreme as the highest rank of authority.  Some examples: Money, Family, Friends, Material Goods, Knowledge, Approval, Celebrity, Station, Accomplishments,  etc.

Ideas can be god.  Especially when they are placed on an altar of worship.  What get’s your attention?  What would you hold in such high regard? What would make you immovable? What drives you and towards what?

Apathy expressed towards the mundane is because it’s dull and lacks luster.   All things banal and uninteresting, where  the extraordinary is sought to be experienced.  Where none can be found, people tend to seek out some higher purpose, or some semblance of vision.  The imagination tends to play a role in this, a place where ideas are replaced with ideals.

It may account for why so many people are in the thralls of sociopolitical topics like Human Rights and Freedom.  It adds a sheen to daily routine as if talking ideals has altered the reality of what one is actually doing.  The ‘to-do’ has some rather interesting synonyms (among others):

noun commotion, excitement

this-is-your-god-marry-and-reproduce

Agitation is an efficient communicator, at the very least it can tell you when something has your attention.  Otherwise, apathy takes care when a topic is raised.  There’s only a small number of topics I find interesting enough to intrigue my thoughts. Topics that demonstrates human absurdity.  In writing for various publications over the years, at the Editor’s request the phrase “human condition” had been used when I’d breach a topic.  Condition is a funny sort of word, it can be both an adjective and noun, especially when describing the state of being human.

I’ve often been described as being a confrontational or insulting writer. The focus on condescension has always been intriguing to me.  I get the same descriptor when I talk and I always write in the same manner in which I speak.  Maybe these people just need to spend a year in New England, to pick up the essence of it, the form is merely consequential.  Born and raised there, I can distinguish what is cultural from my pathology but the two are intertwined.  The Latin caduceus would be a suitable symbol to carry this message not so unlike the kAru in Sanskrit. Both an art and a science.

I’ve been told that I should adjust if I want to gain a fan base.  I’ve been removed from writer’s lists, banned from message boards and told (in the politest way possible) that I’m just too agitating.    As if gaining a fan base was my end goal.  It never has been.  If readers become the anti-fan, then my efforts weren’t for naught.  If my presence doesn’t invoke a deep-sigh, then I’m just as mundane as doing the dishes.    The truth is, I’m well aware that I’m over-analytical, seem to talk in circles and tend to exhaust the audience.  That’s sort of the point.  As Marcus Aurelius put it:

“For Myself”.

It’s a rather interesting experiment to conduct, just to see how strongly a person holds ideas (or things) Supreme (including my own).  Will they falter?  Hold ground?  Does the topic stand on its own merit or will it come crashing down like a house of cards?

That old saying that if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything doesn’t ring true, at least not in my head.  Anything can be approached from many angles, chipped away at, and until only dust remains.

“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material?” {Marcus Aurelius}

Perhaps this is where the leap is taken to Nihilism, if one misunderstands the form and its contents, then it accounts for this reductionist approach.  Ideas can be annihilated but it doesn’t mean the person holding the idea goes down in flames with it.    If the activity gives rise to depression and existential crisis, then god is dead.

I can’t help but applaud to that.

Sin Jones

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Ethics vs. Morals

Ethics and Morals are often used interchangeably that it has become quite the task to sort out the difference between the two.  There can be both a societal and personal Ethic.  The same is true for Morality.  Generally speaking, these concepts deal in what is right and wrong, correct and incorrect behavior to produce particular outcomes.   From early childhood you are told stories with a moral with the purpose of coaching an Ethic.    As you mature you discover that the effort is a futility.

Hansel & Gretel first published in 1812, is such an example of a story with both a moral and ethics at work.

Right off, the story begins with a couple with two children that are in financial strife to the point where they must make a decision, otherwise all (4) will starve.  When the wife suggests that the children should be left to the woods and no longer their burden, the husband immediately reacts from a moral position.  He couldn’t dream of abandoning his children and leave them directly in harm’s way.  The wife counters with the practicality of such an act (Ethic), for if they keep their children then they run the risk of all of them starving.  As Grimm as the story is, the silver lining is the chance that the children could learn to survive, and so too can the couple having 2 less people to be a burden to them.   The husband reluctantly agrees but still feels ‘bad’ about what they are about to do.

The children are left and at first, they stay and weep and then hunger sets in.  They can either stay put and starve, or venture out to find food and shelter.  Hansel assures Gretel that God will not forsake them.   Along their journey they happen upon a house made of sweets which alludes to HIS presence.  Inside is an old woman that lures them with promises of comfort, though her intent is more malicious as she only seeks to fatten the children for her pot.

Morally, the children trusted the old woman because they couldn’t imagine in their naivety that she’d mean to do them harm. Once they discover her plot, Ethically they must do something or else end up her dinner.    The two devise a plan, trick the old woman and push her in the oven to die thus saving themselves.  To boot, they steal items of value before heading home.  Why didn’t they stay, since the obstacle in their path to survival has been overcome?

Once they find their way home, they hand these goods over to their Father believing in the “Happy Ever After”.  Mom is no longer in the scene, leaving that issue to the imagination and the reader’s instruction to explain it to their children.  God has forsaken her, “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Poisoner to Live”.

Metaphorically, the Mother and the Old Woman in the confectioner’s house are the same person.  This is why she’s no longer mentioned after the old woman is killed in the oven.  Thought to be written during a period of famine in the Middle Ages, this is situational Ethics.   In spite of the normative sense of morality and ethics in any given society, there are situations that call for actions that may be in direct opposition to them.  What is right and wrong, good and bad – change places.

The parents deceived and abandoned their children.

The children Murdered but by doing so, saved their own lives.

The old woman/mother is the villain, even if both parents share in responsibility.  This contrast is needed, in order to teach morals.  Forgiveness for Father but none for the Mother?

Father having shown a moral at the beginning of the story is forgiven, the stolen goods are salvation and happiness Ever After.

In spite of the religious era, and “All Seeing God”, sin is rarely if ever a consideration during the telling of the tale.  Murder and Theft is no longer immoral because the ethic dictates that if one seeks to harm you, you do what you must to save yourself from harm.  Didn’t Father also seek to harm the children?  This can easily be justified by Religious Ethics, for God would just consider it self-defense and forgiveness is arbitrarily assigned based on the moral fiber of the characters.

Stories like this apply to a modern society that considers itself civilized and moral to have ethics that are situational.

Ethically, a governing body is seen as a ‘good’ until it does something bad.  Equally, in spite of a personal moral, the normative sense opposes it.  Even if citizens see ‘wrongs’, ethically they are lost to ‘right’ them.  The ‘freedom’ to lament without consequence is even in ethical dilemma when the morals of what is being said fall subject to scrutiny.

Is it any wonder why the distinction between the two is so difficult to see?

SIN JONES

All of Them Witches!

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Witch Trial in Salem?  All of Them Witches are at it again.  Christian Day receives international media attention when a friendship goes south and Witches compete for the retail market in Salem.  Tune in to Poison Apple Radio for a frank discussion about the aftermath of Pagans Behaving Badly, the Witch Trial in Salem and how negative press forces one to rethink their public image and its impact on business.

If you’re not familiar with this character, here’s a bio written by the man himself:

Christian Day is a modern day Warlock living in the “Witch City” of Salem, Massachusetts. A practitioner of the ancient arts of Witchcraft—a spiritual path devoted to old world folk magic, healing, and veneration of the dead, Christian and his husband, Brian Cain, own two occult shops in Salem: HEX: Old World Witchery, dedicated to the practices of Witchcraft, Hoodoo, and Conjure, and OMEN, a psychic parlor and Witchcraft emporium which features a staff of gifted psychic readers. They also have a Hex shop in New Orleans. Each October, Christian and Brian host Salem’s annual Festival of the Dead, an event series that includes such popular events as the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, an Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, and an authentic séance. In June, Christian and Brian host HexFest, a Weekend of Witchery in Old New Orleans. Among his many media appearances, Christian has been featured on The Travel Channel, Showtime, TLC, MSNBC, Dish Network and in The Chicago Tribute, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, CNN.comUSAToday.com and, of course, The Salem News. Often controversial, Christian has certainly raised eyebrows and turned heads in his over 25 years in the Craft, but, despite all the chatter, good and bad, he insists on marching to his own drum and standing for his own vision.

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The show will be 90 minutes, I may or may not take live callers depending on the flow of the discussion.     It’s bound to be full of drama, at times funny and at others face-palm worthy.

Be there or despair!

SIN JONES

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Ulalume — A Ballad by Edgar Allan Poe, 1847

Bone Eater2The skies they were ashen and sober;

The leaves they were crispéd and sere —

The leaves they were withering and sere:

It was night, in the lonesome October

Of my most immemorial year:

It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,

In the misty mid region of Weir: —

It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,

Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul —

Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.

These were days when my heart was volcanic

As the scoriac rivers that roll —

As the lavas that restlessly roll

Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek,

In the ultimate climes of the Pole —

That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek

In the realms of the Boreal Pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,

But our thoughts they were palsied and sere —

Our memories were treacherous and sere;

For we knew not the month was October,

And we marked not the night of the year —

(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)

We noted not the dim lake of Auber,

(Though once we had journeyed down here)

We remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,

Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent,

And star-dials pointed to morn —

As the star-dials hinted of morn —

At the end of our path a liquescent

And nebulous lustre was born,

Out of which a miraculous crescent

Arose with a duplicate horn —

Astarte’s bediamonded crescent,

Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said — “She is warmer than Dian;

She rolls through an ether of sighs —

She revels in a region of sighs.

She has seen that the tears are not dry on

These cheeks where the worm never dies,

And has come past the stars of the Lion,

To point us the path to the skies —

To the Lethean peace of the skies —

Come up, in despite of the Lion,

To shine on us with her bright eyes —

Come up, through the lair of the Lion,

With love in her luminous eyes.[[”]]

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,

Said — “Sadly this star I mistrust —

Her pallor I strangely mistrust —

Ah, hasten! — ah, let us not linger!

Ah, fly! — let us fly! — for we must.”

In terror she spoke; letting sink her

Wings till they trailed in the dust —

In agony sobbed; letting sink her

Plumes till they trailed in the dust —

Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied — “This is nothing but dreaming.

Let us on, by this tremulous light!

Let us bathe in this crystalline light!

Its Sybillic splendor is beaming

With Hope and in Beauty to-night —

See! — it flickers up the sky through the night!

Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,

And be sure it will lead us aright —

We safely may trust to a gleaming

That cannot but guide us aright

Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,

And tempted her out of her gloom —

And conquered her scruples and gloom;

And we passed to the end of the vista —

But were stopped by the door of a tomb —

By the door of a legended tomb: —

And I said — “What is written, sweet sister,

On the door of this legended tomb?”

She replied — “Ulalume — Ulalume! —

’T is the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober

As the leaves that were crispéd and sere —

As the leaves that were withering and sere —

And I cried — “It was surely October,

On this very night of last year,

That I journeyed — I journeyed down here! —

That I brought a dread burden down here —

On this night, of all nights in the year,

Ah, what demon hath tempted me here?

Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber —

This misty mid region of Weir: —

Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber —

This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

Said we, then, — the two, then, — “Ah, can it

Have been that the woodlandish ghouls —

The pitiful, the merciful ghouls,

To bar up our way and to ban it

From the secret that lies in these wolds —

From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds —

Have drawn up the spectre of a planet

From the limbo of lunary souls —

This sinfully scintillant planet

From the Hell of planetary souls?”

[end]

What Do Women Want?

I was reading What Do Women Want? and this stuck out to me:

“women’s desire is not relational, it’s narcissistic” — it is dominated by the yearnings of “self-love,” by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need.

I tend to agree but I’d consider it relational.  The relation is between self and idealized self.  If a woman’s arousal is due to being idealized as an object of desire by another person, then its relational in that level of arousal would be determined by how much the other person idealizes her.

Intimacy may take second seat but I think it’s still playing a pinnacle role.  Without intimacy with a partner, then how could those idealisms be known or manifested in any meaningful way outside her mind?  The sexologist goes on to say that many if not most women prefer to receive than give.  This chick?  Being the source of pleasure appeals to my Narcissistic tendencies that considering it a chore or not something I’m more than willing to do, is alien.  I can see through the lens of cultural fetishes and the need to find answers to questions such as these but in seeking understanding it may just over complicate matters.   I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be compared to another woman, sexually or otherwise.    I’m not like other women and I can’t imagine other women are like me.  I recognize that other women have issues with self-image, intimacy and sex and seek out the ‘experts’ to alleviate their distress but what about the rest of us?  In an attempt to treat other women, those without such issues get caught up in nets to be untangled from.

Aren’t the cultural trappings enough to deal with?  I see this Free the Nipple campaign in an attempt to gain more gender equality and it just seems foolish to me.  All these Feminists are hell bent on removing the allure that is Woman that I wonder what kind of lives these women live.

censored mediaIf you ask your average American if breasts are innately sexual, you’ll most likely get a YES, which is why they should be covered.  Women breast-feeding in public places have become somewhat normalized but you still see plenty of stories about women being asked to use a private area of a public place to do it.  Carry-over from a more modest era, certainly, and the rebuttal is usually “But…Men go shirtless all the time!”   How many men?  All men?   Then go on finger pointing to places like Africa where breasts aren’t fetishized in the same way as the U.S., well duh… Culture clash.  In a modern era however, you can find plenty of breast fetishism all over the continent.  I just chalk it up to confirmation bias.  Why are women so hell bent on being treated like men anyway?  Discomfort with the den of inequity?  Any woman can tip the scales in her favor with a little know how and passion  cup-size driving the weight.

SIN JONES

The shit Buddha says… The Just

“If you determine your course with force or speed,

You miss the way of the Law.

 Buddha

Quietly consider what is right and what is wrong,

Receiving all opinions equally without haste, wisely…

Observe the Law.

 

Who is wise, the eloquent or the quiet man?

Be quiet, loving and fearless.

 

For the mind talks but the body knows.

 

Gray hairs do not make a master.

A man may grow old in vain.

 

The true master lives in truth, goodness and restraint,

Nonviolence, moderation and purity.

 

Fine words or fine features cannot make a master out of a jealous and greedy man.

 

Only when envy and selfishness are rooted out of him, may he grow in beauty.

 

A man may shave his head but if he still lies and neglects his work, if he clings to desire and

attachment, how can he follow THE WAY?

 

The true seeker subdues all waywardness.

He has submitted his nature to quietness.

 

He is a true seeker, not because he begs,

but because he follows the lawful way,

holding back nothing, holding to nothing.

 

Beyond good and evil,

beyond the body and mind.

 

Silence cannot make a master out of a fool,

but he who weighs only purity in his scales…

Who sees the nature of the two worlds – HE is a Master.

 

He harms no living thing.

 

And yet it is not good conduct that helps you upon THE WAY,

Nor ritual, nor book learning, nor withdrawal in to the self, nor deep meditation…

 

None of these confers mastery or joy.

 

O Seeker!

Rely on nothing

Until you want nothing.”

Now, before you embrace this platitudinous mess – allow me to remind you that the Buddha’s path to this so-called Enlightenment began with the complete and total abandonment of any/all things – including his wife and child.  Buddha itself can be a claptrap of mystical nihilism, if you just blindly swallow the words without running it through your own filter.

There is certainly value in taking a moment to calm your monkey mind, reign in your impulses to react (vs. respond) to stimuli and align oneself with a form of self-discipline if it leads you to a particular goal BUT…  your goals may involve going the course with great force and speed.    Age does involve putting in the time and if you’ve learned anything from your experiences you know that punching someone in the face has detrimental effects to getting what you want.  Especially if it involves correcting a slight.  You can’t ignore the world’s aggression while blindly embracing its passivity.  If there’s any intelligence about you, you’ll know when it’s time to passive and when to be aggressive.  When to sit quietly and observe and when to blow your top.  How do you know this?  Is it because you need the ‘wisdom’ of an elder or pick it up in some book?  No, it’s because you’ve done the time.  You’ve learned through trials.  You’re not chasing the carrot of Enlightenment, you’re going right after your desires because you WANT things, you WANT to be a specific way – even if it means alienation from and conflict with everyone around you.  You can only fit one pair of feet in those shoes. If you’re carrying someone on your back, eventually you have to drop the load.

In my mind, that’s THE WAY of the Master.