Log on to your facebook account if you have one (its ok no need to feel guilty about it) If you don’t have one pull out your cell phone and look at your contacts. If you are feeling in any way depressed or burdened by life, try the following: Once you have logged on to your account meditate on the first “friend” that is in your news post. How did you meet them? What have they done for you? What have you talked about?  Are they struggling with anything in their lives at the moment? What is this person like? When you are done with the first person who came up consider the second person on there. It dosen’t matter whether you are really close or not just do this for the first five to ten people, I think it is likely if you do this you will realize that a lot of other people have struggles and problems and also that as random as that person may be you have probably made or had made on you a small impact due to this person’s life. Hopefully you will realize that things may be tough now but you’ve had fun times in the past and you will in the future, also youare valuable and you are cerainly not the only person going through problems, by considering others you may actually help yourself feel better.

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Of  late I’ve been listening to a lot of music, different variations and genres. All over the map really in terms of syle. But I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the subjective experience of music. I’m sure that if I had a very long discussion with someone who is an expert on the subject they would discover the underlying qualities about certain types of music that make me consider them pleasurable, but as I am not well-versed in music theory I couldn’t really tell you why I like one song and not another. It is possible for me to learn to like a song or musician, but primarily (as I think with most people) When I like a song it just occurs on a gut level and there’s no real way  can explain why I like it. The test of a truly great song I have to get lost in it. Where you have that perfect melody and rhythm.

Lose yourself is such a perfect term for that. When I hear a song I really like I just close my eyes and open my ears. In a sense one prepares oneself for the experience.  When its good, its as if there is nothing else in the whole world. There is only the song. For me though saying  “there is only the song” doesn’t even feel quite accurate, because that implies you are paying attention to the song, analyzing it, thinking about it in some way. But this is not truly accurate. Certainly I am focused in some sort of way, but its a focus that is entirely without content. When I have opened my ears to the perfect song its as if my mid were entirely absent, I’m not thinking at all. The power of the song leads to a complete nihilism of mind. I’m not thinking, I’m awash in the music. The music is the entirety of my being. I have been as much annoyed as others by deafeningly loud speakers, but the impulse to blast the music up clearly comes from the desire to increase this effect. To make the music even more powerful, its intensity the absoluteness of the environment.  People in these situations say “The music is so loud I can’t even hear myself think.” But thats EXACTLY the point. You aren’t supposed to be thinking if you want to truly enjoy music. If you’re enjoying the music you aren’t thinking at all. This is not to say that concers should always be played at eardrum shattering decibels but there is certainly a reason to do so.

I have never actually tried drugs, recreationally that it, the most I attest to is two-three drinks in a sitting. So I cannot say I have ever gotten to the point of being “hammered” and honestly I really don’t have any desire to. As for other drugs, those I haven’t tried in even small quatities. But I’ve always imagined that if I had the experience would be somewhat like that which I have described above, perhaps especially with something like heroin or cocaine. I mean that in the sense of having that complete sense nothingness and lostness. Being completely bound to the moment. I’m sure that these drugs would of course also significantly more intense and markedly different in how they effected my perceptions, but  something like that would be present. Music after all creates a sense of escape and pleasure, mixed with emotion that goes with the style of the piece. If people use drug as a kind of escape (as is frequently said on EVERY show I have ever seen on drugs and addiction) then I suppose I’d have to say that music is my drug because a truly amazing song or rock concert does the same thing while you are in it. I should also say that I have never been the kind of person to “bored” with a song easily. I’ve heard others say that they like to change up a song because it gets boring after they listen to it too many time. I personally can listen to a song over and over again if I really like it, even back to back. I won’t say I absolutely never get bored with a song or that if I have listened to it very frequently it doesn’t lose some of its powers, but for the most part I change songs because socially I know its considered weird and obsessive to listen to the same song over and over again. I can easily listen to the same song ten times in a row without getting bored of it. Maybe this makes me a bit of an addict.

I certainly love music and that complete feeling of nihilism that comes with a truly powerful song. I can usually find several songs and artists of various genres that I like, and I have a fairly eclectic taste in music. I might be slightly partial to rock/alternative/classic rock, but thats mostly because that is the genre that I know the most arists from and as such have a wide selection of songs I like. Of course for every genre (though any “good” song can have this lostness effect) the experience of this feeling differ based on the tenor and style that come with the genre. The emotion of the piece flavors the way in which you enjoy it.  For the stereotypical rock piece there is a sort of powerful, rhythm driven fury that leads one to “bang” one’s head and jump up and down (as is found in a lot of rap music too I think). For a blues or jazz piece it tends to be more smooth and melancholy perhaps giving one the physical reaction of a slight sway. African and latin pieces have a strong pecussive element and are celebratory in mood. All this is of course a highly crude stereotype of all these genres as there are variations in all of them and of course major and minor chords are found in all of them. This, as any rudimentary music student will tell you, is what generally determines the mood of a piece. I will say that don’t really like country music. Its the one genre thats the exception. But I’m not saying it wouldn’t be possible for me to learn to like it. I like many folk songs after all and there have been one or two country songs I have like. Of course this is a subjective taste issue. My point is merely that there are distinct moods that different styles of music (which is of coure a truism, that what makes the different styles in the first place) I guess I’m just saying this as a point of analogy between music and different drugs. Just as different drugs effect people differently, so do different genres of music. And as people use certain drugs to induce a specific kind of experience, so too do people do that with songs. We can self medicate as much with music as with alcohol or pain killers. In conclusion, I guess all I have to say is that music is my drug of choice, and I’m totally ok with that.

From a Potters Field

Where Is It That I’ve Come?
Transported By The Deepest Agony
Thine Own Dark Arts Poorly Orchestrated
My Soul Crushed Upon That Infernal Plain
The Dark Heat Blackens The Ground
The Temptation That Claws And Grabs
I Wander Without Finding As I See Lava Red
The Sky Crackles And Burns In This Desert Hades
As I See Written Only The Advice Of The Dead
This Bleakness Of An Unprepared Journey
Can I Find The Solace Of Home?
Will I Come To Some Small Landmark In The Barren Land?
I Come To The Bank Of The River Of Oblivion
To Drink A Drop Leads To Thoughtless Innocence
Then The Dark Boatman Comes With His Raft
He Demands His Mercenary Fee
I Am Without This
I Was Left As A Stranger
But All Are Equal As All Eventually Arrive.
And So I Cross Into The Land Of The Dead Lord
I Was As You Are Now And All Will Be As I Am
Remember It Well

On Angst

They always line up by the pretty ones
They line up single file while you yearn
because they line up behind the pretty ones
you realize you’ll never get your turn

A Prayer

God, Thank you for all the beautiful things in the world.
Even when they make me angry
Even when I feel jealous
Even when I want to punch through walls like they were styrofoam and I was a wrecking ball

Forgive me
Especially if I can’t forgive others
I think with Your help in time I will

Forgive me
For sometimes feeling Your blessings are inadequate
And envying others when I know what I have is sufficient

Forgive Me
For not loving myself enough to know that things are going to be ok
For not knowing I don’t have to impress anyone to be comfortable with myself
And thinking that someone else’s approval is the magic bullet to make me happy

Forgive me
For wronging others and being selfish when what they need is my support
and not loving my family enough or my friends enough or You enough

Bless me
So that I can make the world a more just place where the innocent are not badly wronged
and when someone is hurt balance is restored and what is right is accomplished
even if this means acting against my own jugdement

Bless me
So that I can help bring more peace into the world
and fewer people walk around in anger and scorn
peace is made active in the word and hard hearts are softened
old ragged creations are made new

Bless me
So that I may resist evil and temptations wherever I find them
and the raging selfish beast of my being is tamed and quieted
making me an agent of love that can walk through the world as a paltry but pleasant light

Bless me
So that I always remain humble neither doubting nor giving myself great credit
and not false humility but firm, knowing that You have been my guide

Bless me
Because I greatly need your blessing as I walk through this broken world
but never let me forget that it is also a beautiful World
to doubt that is a blasphemy to every flower
an insult to every beautiful woman
a crime against every good deed
and I know were to think of abandoning it
what else would I be doing but that?

Bless me
So that my heart is always grateful and true
without resentment and a testament of goodwill

Bless me
So that I may find my true path
and should I fail (as I may) that I will repent, brush myself off, then begin anew

I praise you
Because I have been blessed with many things

I praise you
Because you have blessed me with friends

I praise you
Because you have created everything, all that there is
Existence itself, with all its molecules and atoms and genes
All that is, is because of you

I praise you
Because you are there even in my darkest hours
Even though I may not see it
Even if I do not think it

I praise you
Because I have abundant food and live where it is plentiful

I praise you
Because I have good health and a caring family when some people have neither

I praise you
Because I have an education and opportunities
I hope I always remember that and never forget what they have opened for me

I praise you
That I know what good is
and (however feebly) I try to act it out
Rarely am I given difficult choices
Rarely do I have to choose between two evils

I praise you
Because I have not suffered much tragedy in my life
I am not plagued as yet with disease and death and heavy conflict
I have had a whole and stable family, when many have not

I praise you
Because I have sometimes felt lucky
and have felt joy in my life

I praise you
Because of art and music and everything beautiful in the world that you have let me see
let me never forget that

I believe
that you have created all that there is

I believe
that you are mighty and powerful
and what is anything in comparison to how great you are

I believe
That you have blessed the poor and the oppressed
that nothing has escaped your sight and that the weak are in your care
those who have wronged them have been seen

I believe
That you too have been weak, you too have been scorned and oppressed
you were seen as scum and irrelevent, you had your care be mocked

I believe
That You have suffered and if you have suffered
perhaps I can find the strength in suffering for it has been made holy
you put on flesh only to have it torn off you in sneer and sarcasm
even your greatness was once weak and pained
If you have cried tears and screamed in pain
I should think it no indignity for myself if I too should feel these things

I believe
That your love is so massive the whole world has been Graced
Forgiveness is poured down on all and no one is not loved
there is so much love it is a part of you yourself
mercy floods the earth enough to drown

I believe
That you have given the world freedom
beause that is how much you care for it
creation helps create itself
for good or ill they have ben given that
you love enough to suffer the pain of that
it may be that evil itself is necessary
not because of malice or apathy
and that in that freedom come the seeds of faith itself

I believe
that so much is mysterious about you
that I may never fully grasp it
how can I grasp what is and always is?

I believe
that your goodness is absolute
what do I know of good and evil without you?
the good that is in my heart is from you
and the weakness that is in the world
will not always be

I believe
that everything will be made new
and peace and love will come to truly reign
a kingdom where all is right

 I believe
That I must believe
and that my faith should persevere even when things are at their darkest
for hope can fuel the world

I believe
that all things are possible because of you
life is worth living and hoping for
hope conquers fear, love conquers hate, life conquers death

Amen
Love will conquer

Amen
You are faithful

Amen
Justice will reign

Amen
The last will be first

Amen
That you too have have suffered

Amen
I have been blessed

Amen
Creation is beautiful

Amen
I will have faith

Amen
You are my guide

Amen
I am a sinner

Amen
Hope is real

Amen

God,
Thank You, Even when things are difficult
Forgive me
Bless me
I Praise you
I believe in you

Amen

Popular culture and society (particularly involving “young people”) tends to put forward certain images of individual “types” that are said to be present everywhere some of which are turned into a kind of “virtuous person” i.e. somebody that ought to be looked up to or emulated. The teen rebel is of course an ever popular version of this an is found throughout popular culture, tv, movies, music etc. largely of course because such people do exist. However one cannot help but notice that certain aspects of their behavior is highlight and (as it has been since roughly the 60s) turned into some sort of counter-culture virtue.

There were of course good reasons and results that stemmed from the social movements of the sixties, the blatant hypocrisy with the veneer of propriety being top among them. However there ha stemmed a sort of “rebel streak” as an outgrowth of these trends that is not only counterproductive, it is just plain dumb a lot of the time. Here are a few of the more blatant examples.

The “truth teller”. Ok, who hasn’t at the very least seen this one on television if not in real life. This is often and aspect of the “rebel personality”. Have you ever heard someone say “People don’t like me because I’m too honest.”? 9 times out of ten honesty has nothing to do with this. You aren’t being honest you’re being a terrible person. The things that are offending people are far more revealing of you than the people you are inflicting the “truth on” there is a skill called tact, it’s not sugar-coating its a sign of respect. Unless someone is completely unaware of social customs this kind reveling in the truth is, first not the truth, and second completely inexcusable. There are harsh truths in the world, but most of the time there is a respectful way to say them. This person might delight in being a rebel, in a sense they are, but by that sense so are rapists and pedophiles. What we have isn’t a truth teller, its somebody that takes delight in insulting people. Think Dr. House a warped personality that takes delight in others flaws and misery, there’s nothing meritorious about this trait. It reminds one of the expression that a partial truth is sometimes more deceitful than a complete lie.

More of this when my thoughts are clearer…….

I don’t think we are ever going to have the future envisioned by our parents and grandparents. There will never be personal robots and spacecrafts. The Jetson’s are unlikely to happen. I don’t know if this is good or a tragedy. The 50’s future seems very much a thing of the past. I think the apocalyptic visions of the present are just as unlikely. These worlds are the fantasies and nightmares that entertain artists and (possibly) keep society sane. But in spite of the progress of the past 50 years Star Trek seems just as unlikely now as it did when it was created. Our dreams (as is usually true of dreams) are not likely to come to reality. We will have no ray guns and chrome landscapes. We cling to these ideas I think, in spite of their absurdity because we hope the future will make a massive and cataclysmic break with the past. We think of the future as bold and exciting. To some this is a hope of an immensely advanced and better society the result of man’s infinite progress. To to others it may be a horrifying and depersonalizing event with technology growing more powerful and all-encompassing  ala the Matrix or the notion that people can only become more linked and collectivized like the Borg of Star Trek. Some may imagine it more like Blade Runner, with advanced technology that has made our Planet a hell on earth. Some of these are positive visions, others negative, but what they have in common is their excitement.  Perhaps what we need to prepare for is a “boring” future. A future that is a close continuation of our own with perhaps a few minor technological advancements here or there. People worry about the rise of social networking sites, how they may take over, how soon our only interactions will be online. There are certainly risks with some of this technology, but I think the greatest threat this phenomenons has is that it will make us incredibly boring. We will never completely abandon personal interaction, but if we have to large a spike in primarily online interaction it may be that we lose touch with normal interaction somewhat. This is for me the worst we have at risk, a nation of the boring. We must be prepared for incremental changes, not massive ones. This does not mean the absence of excitement in the future or the inevitable dullness of history. We have to recognize that life is interesting and full and exciting now and that it always has been, we need not put our hopes and dreads in the future of the comics, we must live them in the here and now. Captain Future is not going to be a strange looking beast, he’s going to be a   modified  extension of the present.  So if you want an exciting life, work on it now, because I don’t think the hover car future is going to happen.

Yesterday  I went to Chicago with my dad, aunt, cousin, and grandma.  It was a fun time and I think my little cousin Alexa (She’s 11) had a pretty good time overall. We went to Shedd Aquarium, Rainforest Cafe and then the Wrigley Building, for the last leg of the trip my dad and I split off from everybody while they went to the “American Girls” store. I guess it was something Alexa really wanted to do. Took the South Shore Line both ways.

The Aquarium was pretty nice and we got a chance to go to several of the shows they had available there. On the one hand that place is pretty expensive but I also bet it takes a lot of money to spend on upkeep for it.  I’m always amazed at the wide range of animal life that there is on the planet. All the amazing eccentricities and oddities that species have. Some fish with horns coming out their heads and ones that are almost perfectly flat, bright almost neon colored ones and others that could be mistaken for seaweed. It’s all so amazingly diverse. The variations from one climate to the next (even in water) is also stunning. The aquarium tries to make the experience as interactive as is can, with models and sculptures to help entertain kids. In fact we went to a (4-D Theater) showing of a portion of Planet Earth that had 3D glasses and seats that moved a had blowers and sprayers to simulate wind and water during certain parts of the show. They also had a dolphin show where they took a little girl from the stage and put her in the show a little bit with penguins and dolphins. It was all a little cheesy but at least they were trying. I hadn’t been in a long time so it was nice to go.

We had to walk around Chicago and it was a pretty hot day. I regretted the fact that I do not own a pair of shorts. After the aquarium we took a taxi to the Rainforest Cafe where we had delicious but slightly overpriced food. I thought about buying something in the shop but decided against it. I couldn’t decide if I found the frequent  “thunderstorms” and jungle noises charming or annoying.

At this point my dad and I walked to the Wrigley building to watch a brief WGN radio broadcast. It should be noted that there is filming being done in this part of town for the next Transformers movie, because apparently two of those movies is not enough for them. What was kinda interesting was that there parts of the street blocked off and full of fake wreckage, apparently from the oncoming decepticon attack that will ravage the city. which meant the use of styrofoam and other material to resemble wrecked concrete and steel bars. At this point we dropped by Barnes and Noble where I had to constantly remind myself to not buy a book because there are too many that I need to read already. One of them happens to be a philosophical reflection on the nature of art called Art without Borders. It has some interesting information, history, and ideas in it but it’s also really dry and I can’t seem to be able to get through it with ease because I always end up distracted. I’ve learned among other things that blue is the most popular “favorite color” in the world and that touching a woman’s foot in ancient China was an unmistakable sign that you were coming on to her. As well as that it appears that when it comes to facial features people tend to view the same “ideal” face as beautiful regardless of race or culture. The book frequently refers to without directly endorsing evolutionary biology as an illuminator on why we find certain things beautiful. I don’t entirely disagree but I’ve always felt that evolutionary explanations for specific human behavior are a little contrived and they seem to have a highly mechanistic view of human nature.  read a little bit of this book on the ay too and from Chicago but getting through it will be no mean feat. I should add that evolutionary explanations for art seem especially inappropriate because of the highly spiritual nature of art. Art is a personal expression of the human being and in any way reducing its expression to an evolutionary mechanism seems inadequate. I don’t deny there might be some of this at play but there are also a wide variety of factors that seem more important with art. Plus, quite frankly this explanation just seems to reduce the value and importance of art.

After Barnes and Noble we headed back to the train station where we grabbed a quick ice cream cone. After a bit of waffling on my part I selected Superman Ice Cream. If you have never had it, it is a brightly colored ice cream found mostly in the Midwest that has the colors red, blue, and yellow, which is where it gets its name. It has a flavor similar to blue moon (this is one of its composite ice creams). If you have never had blue moon ice cream then I don’t know if I can describe the flavor to you. Blue moon is one of my favorite ice cream flavors and is named for its bright light blue color. After doing some research I found that there is not a consistent answer in explaining the source of the flavor and that it is only found in the Upper Midwest. Many of the companies that produce blue moon ice cream keep its ingredients a secret so there may not be a way for me to express how unique and delicious this ice cream is. Blue also happens to be my favorite color so this flavor works for me on two levels.

The train ride to chicago from Michigan city is around two hours and it gave me some time to read and sleep, as well as talk to my relatives. My grampa wanted to go but he has a bad back and is going in for surgery soon so he couldn’t make it. I’ve gone to see some of my mother’s concerts in the past few weeks and have liked the opportunity to be outside, even though it has been really hot. I also went to te county fair a couple nights ago, which turned out about as to be expected, lot of country music, carnival rides, 4H and deep-fried foods, haha. Some I like, some I don’t but its a chance to go out and do something and in LaPorte there aren’t always a lot of opportunities to do that. Hopefully I’ll have more philosophical reflections soon but for now I just need some sleep.  Adio

The Stuff I’ve Leared So Far

I’ve learned the world’s a painful place
A prison for the human race
we’re wracked with guilt and often fail
we work so hard to no avail
what we want we rarely get
but we still hope the stronger yet
we carry the weight of our unfulfilled dreams
as we go through life on balance beams
the constant thought that drives us mad
that there s good and not just bad
the love, the the truth, the beauty, the right
the candle shining in the night
we are not condened to death
but neither are we promised breath
plagued with constant unseen doubt
while we have hope still holding out
some we trust and some we can’t
no matter how much love we chant
we go on in contant strife
struggle that gives meaning life
how awesome is a good deed done
or when victory for truth is won
how awful when the bad destroy
and evil triumphs over joy
we continue on and work so hard
it’s long and tough and rough and charred
but life is worth the journey
though often stretched and turvy

Traitor

Unpatriotic
They called her
“I am proud of my
country
for the first time”
why not forever”
they asked
why just now?
Not proud enough
no flag
on his chest
unpatriotic
unswerving loyalty
love it or leave
I don’t care about inequality
with us or against us
no ambiguity
no hand above heart
“HOW DARE HE?!”
The news man a fox
says angrily
we love us most
shouldn’t you
no need for change
ain’t broke, don’t fix
unpatriotic
weird name
fix america?
why?
quesioning us
VERY unpatriotic

Fellowship

He hit the table and it fell
breaking into a million pizzas
surounded by pearls and rasberry scones
waiting for the slightly tipsy boyfriend
of v-man, she is slightly worried
she rocks her face off happily
she is telling stories cause
she was there while others dance
some do the awkward turtle
we are leaving sated with coffee
and heavy breads, taking pictures
laughing and swing dancing
listening to the kinks Juno song
and building shot fortresses

Song of the savage

What sanity there is in love
can not be felt in brave new worlds
where the sensuous triumphs over honor
and virtue is pale and limp-lifeless
holding out no social strength ‘gainst others
moderation stays no value’d thing and then
the man only of pure passion doth suceed
tis temper’d quiet hearts that vice becomes
the faithful Noble is a pitied wretch
for whom control is seen as chains
what comfort does he have when only stangers surround?
when sting of conscience be his only guide

INDEPENDENT
Not an Idea
Not a grand plan
Not a way of life
Not something Special
or Noble
Just a T-shirt company

Couplets

I don’t like numbers
too abstract
prefer people more
they act

A Bad night

Sick jittery jumpy
quesiness from stomach
mind jumping
stayin up much too late
quieting the dog
trying to calm down
nervous body itch
tired deep breathing
worrying
wanting to sleep
wanting health
wanting relief
shushing the dog
ick
staying up much too late
worn and ill
kinda scared
scratching
paranoid
want to sleep
can’t sleep in light
can’t be calm in dark

don’t make me one of them
walkin around without a soul
dragging
shuffling
blank stares
nothingness
hunger

Ode to boredom

Boredom will inspire
other slept desires
an impetus to action
though without satisfaction
not interesting to write
more of a parasite
latched onto grander things
it gives that bird it’s wings
lazy and dull it lies still
but it animates the will
though its needed necessarily
man treats it poorly, verily
so here I give an ode
a deserved noble abode
here I say may it be said
and truth be found when it is read
To Boredom; though you are hated
and among poets quite unstated
you are the spawn of writer’s dreams
you hold together drama’s seams
and stuff the slothish parts of life
The great counterweight to passion’s knife

Silly Desperation

If I like her
She doesn’t
If She’s smart
She’s taken
If She’s sweet
unavailable
If She’s intersting
She’s a lesbian
If She’s single
She’s happy
If single
and smart
and looking
and pretty
and interesting
She….
Won’t
Like
Me
My Status
Single

Concerning Certain Social Terms

Men and Women are likely to interact
in the home
They often do
This is called a family
especially if
the woman has children

If two men interact
in the home
this is not a family
to some
even if they have children

If two women interact
in the home
it is the same as two men
so society says

If a woman does not interact
in the home
but does have children
this is called a family

The same with one man
though rare

what strange arithmetic?

Several Haikus

Green and old, tattered
bunny eared and torn from age
the ancient book lies

I abhor the thing
lust and manipulation
devil’s crude machine

what an awful ill
to live without any heart
to take advantage

cruel at heart and bad
or with noble in his soul
what is in a man?

The Ex Festival

Purple Black Couples
wrapped around each other
piercings and tatoos
with rock t-shirts and cigarettes
long lines in sunstroke heat
into the cool stadium stands
the lawn of chipped wood and grass
head bangers, hard rockers
out to shake the place to the ground
fights breaking out randomly
overpriced products and underdressed fans
merchandisers making their bucks
scream singers shaking fists
tilting people taking joints
Playing hard, old new rockers
it went on late into the night