Brain Dribble…

So much for the issues of the day…WC

I want to crawl into a womb made of pillows and quilts and float on the amnionic fluid of my dreams. Sucking my thumb and wondering not about my name or purpose in life. Just sleep in the afternoon sun, alongside my fat cat, all fur and purr. Let go of whatever obligations I’ve convinced myself belong to me.

Release myself from the body that nags and worries – snicks and snacks – itches and burps.

Send my mind off to play with the neighboring psyches and not come home again until it has learned the secrets of the Universe and can recite them by heart.

Let my soul wander through Imagination’s deep forest until it finds the lush greens, smells the blues of the sky and learns the dance of the stars. Then sends my heart to find the love owned by all, that never dies but gives me the pulse to keep going.

Is Information Killing Us?


I doubt anyone would argue with me on the idea that we are in the Information Age. We’ve sped past the Industrial Age, outsourced most of our manufacturing, given up our agricultural roots (pun intended) to the corporate farms – and thanks largely to the Internet and Algore(not), have essentially made our mainstay diet, data and information. How utterly enlightened of us. We certainly can and do pat ourselves on the backs for having acheived this milestone in civilized society – yet…. Why in the hell are we so stupid?

I don’t necessarily mean you my friends, I mean we as a collective, as society. Despite the fact, that we have a never-ending source of information, data, news, and connections to same we seem to be stupider than we have ever been. We seem to have less common sense (just read any random 10 lawsuits), less sense of community (read any random 10 pieces of legislature passed, locally or federally), are less likely to lend a hand or think of anything other than our own needs (road rage, current role models, the never-ending stream of victim laws, etc. ad nauseum).

Yet, we are also more educated than we’ve ever been. They are starting kids in pre-pre-school, in order to socialize children, in order to increase their intelligence and ultimately to increase their ability to succeed in higher education and the job market. Yet, more high school seniors are unable to read and write than ever before. When I was in high school, I never even heard of a high school senior who couldn’t read and write – now, it seems to be some sort of social problem for which we need programs, sub-languages (ebonics anyone?), translators, secondary and tertiary language versions of materials and texts and still it doesn’t seem to improve. We blame the teachers for the problem, yet never throw the spotlight on the system in which they are forced to operate. Smart, huh?

Every wonderful and deplorable thing that man has had and does have to offer or has created is at our fingertips – yet, we are never satistifed and continue to feed our incessant craving for stuff but not knowledge. Also, generally speaking, we are unhappier (just look at all the new mental and emotional disorders we have ‘discovered’ in the last 3 decades) and less satisifed with ourselves and our lives. We have so much more than our parents ever had, so much more, so many more choices, opportunities and avenues to take and explore. But rather than being deleriously happy and embracing all of these wonderous things we look to the government to protect us and coddle us from the big bad world. We sacrifice the rearing of our children in exchange for laws that will prevent our neighbors from annoying us or doing things we think they shouldn’t oughta do.

We don’t need to have opinions of our own because we have talking heads, politicians and ‘community leaders’ who will talk for us and let us use their opinions. We have sacrificed our own personal critical thinking skills to them so that they will protect us from our environments, neighbors, nature, and things that go bump in the night, and even ourselves so that we won’t have to be responsible for what we bring into our lives or the lives of others. All so we can live in our bubbles and not be bothered.

We have been lulled into the belief that information is knowledge – that what we see, hear and read is true, by virtue of the fact that we see, hear and read it. Never realizing that it’s just bullshit hitting us faster than it did before at the speed of the latest and greatest Intel processer chip.

We believe indoctrination is education, political correctness is caring, global warming is inevitable, second hand smoke will get us when we aren’t looking, interlopers have rights in our country, terrorists can be reasoned with, children have no right to innocence, certain groups deserve special consideration, drugs can bring us happiness, weight loss and spiritual enlightenment and any entity that provides jobs and commerce are evil. We’ve been sold a bill of goods, my friends. And make no mistake, information is not knowledge. Being able to spew facts at will is not talking truth. And all this information has not enlightened us one whit.

This glut of information is killing us. Killing our souls, our minds and our ability to think. Unless we use the information it will use us – as it is right now. If we never stop to question anything, never stop and say ‘wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense’, never stop to disagree with the information du jour if for no other reason than we can, then what kind of world will we be leaving for the next generation coming up? I think we will leave a world of sheep, a world where books will be banned because they offend, where personal freedoms will be determined by the state and those in power, where our children will no longer need identification, money, property or bank accounts, just a bar code tatooed on their skull and number in one of the giant computers that holds all the information. Think about it.

What do you think?

WC

Overload

I don’t know what it is about life. There are periods of time when everything goes great. The job is great, your diet is working, you have more good hair days than bad, your dentitst compliments you on your dental hygiene and the dog does as it is told. Then there are other times when nothing goes right, the job is a drag or worse, your friends don’t have time for you, your brain is ensconsed in a permanent fog and all you want to do is watch sitcom reruns and eat Cheetos.

Unfortunately, lately, I’m in the latter phase. My mind is elsewhere. If I could find it I might be able to talk some sense into it. If I could locate the synapses that are currently refusing to fire I could dash off my usual 6-7 posts a week. If I could find my ass with two hands I could get my dreary errands and paperwork done. If I could remember what it was that I was going to do, I could go there.

Although, I’ve managed to dress myself and arrive at work on a daily basis – I’ve remembered to eat (sort of) and I try not to leave the house without make up – I’m still just going through the motions. And it’s annoying the hell out of me. I’m not a slacker by nature, in fact I’m a bit obsessive about getting things done and taken care of, at least for the most part. But I can’t seem to shake the lethargy. I can’t seem to make myself do the things I need to do, want to do.

Nothing grabs me or interests me. I’m null. Void. Empty. This sucks.

Though I’ve pondered what could be the trouble I’ve come up with nothing. There is no terrible situation in my life. No emergencies. Nobody sick or injured. No bill collecters calling me. In fact, even the telemarketers have backed off. My well ordered life seems to be clipping along just fine, without me. Weird huh?

It has occurred to me that my job is bad for my brain. It seems to be this ravenous creature that feeds on fresh brain cells and each day it seems to need more. Each day before I go into that office, I suck in a breath and tell my brain cells to go to sleep, lest they experience the torture of being eaten whilst fully awake. I bumper car my way through the day, thinking mostly of when I can leave and get out of that space. This ain’t good. Yes, I already know this. I am making plans to jump ship, soon. I have a few things I have to finish first. But in the meantime….

I guess what I am trying to figure out is how to wake up my brain cells after I leave the job from hell. They don’t seem to want to rouse after sleeping all day and I really need them. I have been feeding them vitamins and protein drinks, fresh air and good books – but still they waffle. Or maybe they are a waffle. It could be. Anything is possible.

So, during my brain fart phase I may go missing for a few days. My comments or responses may seem a bit off. I may seem a bit off. And I am. But it’s just me battling with my brain, trying to herd the cells back into the corale. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hopefully a new brainy phase will follow. Hopefully, the nap has done them good and they will open the door to new and wonderous things for me to tell you about and talk about. Hopefully, they haven’t all run away from home, looking for a smarter and better host who won’t subject them to mind numbing stimuli and bad food.

In the meantime, if you see any of my brain cells please send them home.

WC

A World of Our Own?

Technology is a beautiful thing. The conveniences it has given us and the simplicity it has made of once tedious work is nothing short of miraculous. But, in the words of one of my readers – are we enjoying the technology or is it enjoying us?

We have so many gadgets to give us creature comfort that we nearly never have to leave the house. As long as we have a computer, a phone, internet connection and a credit card we are set. We could easily begin to feel that really there is no one else in the world for all of the digging in we do in our little nests. We cocoon to coin a popular phrase.

It is any wonder that when we are actually out in the world our behaviour is less than amicable? We squeeze into spaces, nearly sending the car behind us in a ditch, but don’t notice because we have the a/c, stereo system and the cell phone going. We screech down residential neighborhoods at 3 a.m. with our music so loud it’s breaking crystal in someone’s house. We cut into line and don’t see the dismayed looks on other line mates’ faces. We yak to our friends while the movie is playing. Talk on cell phones anywhere, allowing all to hear everything there is to know about our lives, relationships and troubles. Our children run rampant, like wild animals through shopping malls, restaurants and groceries stores because we don’t believe in suppressing their desire to be free beings, even though they are giving everyone else mild heart attacks. We plug in our Ipods and giggle, gaggle and bang out the drum line on the table top, never noticing that the racket is bothering others.

All because of technology? Or is it us? Have we become so embedded in our own toys and gadgets of convenience that we no longer see the other people in the world. Or know that there are other people there? And when we notice them, are we confused by the strange or angry looks, the rude gestures? The stunned, gaping mouths?

It has been said of previous generations that it was all about me. But I’m wondering if that is a thing of the past or the present. Is the me generation still alive and well? If they lost their technology tomorrow, would they have the people skills and thinking skills to survive, to work in tandem with others and make it? Or would they just sit in a corner crying because they can no longer plug in, tune out and float in a world meant only for them? I wonder. Do you?

Space the Final Frontier?

In recent years there has been a lot made of space. Not the NASA kind of space. Not the Star Trek kind of space. Or parking spaces or office spaces or even line spaces. Personal space. Know what I mean? As in: I need my space. Gimme some space. You’re invading my space. Gotta find some space. There’s even an entire blogosphere devoted to it called My Space. So, it’s quite the commodity these days.

Used to be that people just wanted to be alone. Or go for a walk. Or see a movie without company. Maybe sit under a tree and read a book. They even played hookie from time to time. But they didn’t carry around metaphysical walls and boundaries over which others were not to step. They did not erect in their minds individual planets with their own solar systems in order to get a little peace and quiet. Nope, back then I think we were more sociable than today.

So how does one make that space? That personal space that is so sought after, valued and treasured? It seems to me that there is no one way to do it. It seems to me that everyone has their own way of making their ‘space’ their own.

Roomie for example, makes it with dirt and clutter. He has so dripped, dribbled and drabbed over the coffee table that I won’t go near it. His side of the kitchen counter is frightening and I go to great lengths to avoid it. Heck we even divvy up the stove – my half is clean, his is dirty. Yep that’s how he maintains his personal space.

Others use food – hey the bigger the body the more space you get to occupy, yes? Don’t believe me, ask my fat ass. (Note to self, must find other ways to make space).

Some make it with noise. Ever notice how crazy noisy kids are in grocery stores? They throw themselves on the floor and scream bloody murder. Boy do they get a lot of space, people go three aisles over just to get out of that space.

How about fences or walls. The neighbor who isn’t exactly neighborly erects concrete walls, 8 foot fences, electronic gates and covers them with growing vines to get his space.

The do-it-your-selfer uses his trusty power tools to ensure the garage remains his personal space. The wife doesn’t want to go near the dirty noisy things and as long as something is running, she will stay safely ensconsed in the house in front of the television or air conditioner.

Many of us bloggers use words. Pleading words. Pleasing words. Funny words. Angry words. Authoritative words. Impressive words. Kind words. We fill our spaces up with words and sometimes pictures too – the words of course, are really just thoughts so I guess we use our mental faculties to make space. How very metaphysical of us.

Yet with all this space making going on, it seems to me that we aren’t any happier than we used to be. In fact, we may be less happy than we once were. When social decorum was a quality not an abberation, when manners were sought after, not criticized, when people tried to get along, not get apart.

So what’s your take on space? New frontier or life avoidance? How do you make space? Are others welcome there? What do you do to get space?

WC

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy…

For as long as I can remember one of my favorite songs was Summertime. Whether it was Lena Horne or Otis Redding, or anyone else who could belt one out, singing it. I think it’s one of the best songs ever written because it so thoroughly expresses the feeling of summertime. The hot days and mean summer sun – the fragrant balmy nights – the lazy, languid movements of sun-kissed skin. Oh yeah.

It’s been very hot in my little burg and though it drives most people inside to find the solace of air conditioning and bad television – it makes me smile. It makes me think of my dad and watermelon and eating giant beefsteak tomatoes on the front porch. Swatting away the flies and trying to catch the juice before it drips down your chin and onto your nice white tee shirt.

Of dangling toes in the cool comfort of a country lake. The symphony of butterflies, birds and bees that hover and dart in the garden, serenading and gliding – a cacaphony of color and songs piercing the cloudless blue sky. Of softie ice cream cones in the darkened livingroom, the fan rattling and television down low. Of sitting in the window when I should have been sleeping and listening to the crickets as they sing out the stars scattered across a darkening sky.

Of picnics and parties. Rollercoasters and cotton candy, apples dipped in sweet, chewy caramel and a sheen of oily sweat that never goes away until the weather breaks. The air so heavy with water that refuses to turn to rain.

Of my new keds, red and unblemished. Scraped elbows and new adventures along the railroad track, discovering rocks and trash that were treasures to us. Iced tea sweating and leaving a ring on the table, putting it to my forehead and how cool it felt there. Streaks of blonde hair glistening the mousey brown of winter.

It makes me think of all these things and more. I guess you could say I am a child of summer. I need the sunshine to live. I never want it to end.

WC

Simple

Simple…isn’t it a great word? It sort of bounces off the tongue and flits across the room, landing like a raindrop in a pond. Plop.

But life is anything but simple, isn’t it? Or is it? You’re born. You live. You die. End of story. The only two certainties: death and taxes. Right? Pocada pocada and away we go…

I’ve been thinking about how simple life was when I was a child. I woke in the morning, had a bite to eat. Got dressed, washed my face and hands and off to school. Where I learned a little bit and then came home. Had some cookies and watched cartoons – fought with my brothers and sister. Dinner. Bath. A little tv and then to bed. Simple.

I never thought about the bills or the price of gas. World affairs or politics. Celebrities or assholes (well maybe the bully down the street). My job or rotating the tires. Nope, not even one brain cell was devoted to that.

My brain power was devoted to pressing questions like: Why don’t cats like to wear doll’s clothes? How can I get that way up there booger out of my nose?  Do bees make their kids go to bed early? Yep, all the really pressing issues of the day. Well….at least my day.

And I dreamed…about the future. About being a ballerina, a teacher, a singer, a painter (now how did I end up a writer?) and even a fireman (firelady?). I imagined the pretty dresses I would wear and what I would name my babies. About becoming that mysterious and fascinating character: an adult.

Funny how when the dream becomes the reality it just ain’t that simple any more. Is it? Go figure.

WC

Silence

 

I was thinking about silence last night. It’s an odd thing to think about because on the face of it, it seems like nothing. But it really isn’t. It’s a big something. It’s like a promise of what could be. As a writer, I have always enjoyed being alone. I like to think, thinking, pondering, considering, imaginging. All of these things are solidary actions.

Though, I’ve been able to do them in crowded rooms, noisy bars, on busses, at work, wherever – because somewhere along the line I’ve learned to create a bubble of silence in my own head, my own space. It produces an interesting sensation, almost like floating and looking out at what is or isn’t happening around you. All of that is distant and the silence settles in.

I know that some people don’t like silence. They hurry to fill it up with words, sounds, music, televisions, aimless action, in order to avoid it or hide from it. I think that’s a shame. I think that they are missing out on something. The opportunity to hear who they are. To see what they think. To know what they feel.

Someone much smarter than I said, “A person is only as valuable as they can serve others.” I agree. But I also think that one can’t serve others, bring joy, happiness, help or peace to others if they cannot bring it to themselves. And that to do that for yourself, you need that silence. That time with just you. Not to become self-absorbed or create a nifty little altar to the greatness of you – but know yourself, your beliefs, what’s important. It’s very revitalizing to take the time. Even (or maybe especially) if you don’t have it to take.

That television will be re-run again, that ballgame will be written about in the sports page tomorrow, that cheeseburger will have another one just like it the next time you go through the drive-thru.

So next time you find yourself getting nervous by the silence around you, whether you are in a room alone or standing on an overcrowded train platform – reach out and grab it for yourself. Hang onto it. Let it take over for a minute. You may learn something you never knew about you before. And it might make all the difference.

That’s what my silence is like, what’s yours like?

WC

PS: There is an excellent post on this topic here. I highly recommend it.

War

 

War hasn’t been popular since WWII – although, I understand there were some anti-war dudes back then too – by and large, the country supported it. Many believed it would be the end of the world as we knew it and that it would all be for naught – but if we hadn’t entered WWII (spurred on by an unprovoked attack on American soil – any of this sound familiar?) we’d all be speaking German and possibly have only the color brown in our wardrobes.

Korea was an unpopular war – but I think mostly because we didn’t exactly finish the job. As evidenced by what’s going on in Korea today. A little fat dude with bad hair nuclear-izing his country, while most of his citizens starve to death (ah, the better to control them).

But, by far, I think the most unpopular war was Vietnam. Yep, that was stinker. Those who were tuning out, (big kudos to Timothy Leary) took exception to the idea that perhaps they might have to stand the watch for their country. They sure did take advantage of their personal freedoms but they sure didn’t want to have to actually defend them or protect them. Nah, that was better done by others. And they took it a step further too – by rejecting everything that was up to that point normal and American. Our military suddenly was the bad guy. The country was the bad guy. We who may have supported the fight against communism, were murderers, rapists and baby killers. Soldiers were spit upon and made to feel disgrace, all for the horrible act of going when their country called. And after years of war and thousands lost, the veterans of that war were at best ignored, and at worst tossed out like yesterdays’ trash. And it was decades before they were even thanked (much less honored) for their service. Do you remember that parade through New York City? I do. And I sat and wondered how many in that cheering crowd had made it their business to spit on these brave men and women just a few years before.

I wondered too, if all the voices drowning out common sense and reality, hadn’t been so loud if we’d have been able to finish the job there. If the millions who were murdered, tortured and turned into slaves of the Communist regime that claimed Vietnam after we left, would have had different lives. Better lives. I think they would have – but no, I don’t know.

I’m very familiar with all the arguments against war. It’s inhumane, it kills innocent civilians, we aren’t the world’s babysitter, it’s none of our business, it’s really a civil war, we shouldn’t be so imperialistic and on and on. That we are an evolved society and we should not have to resort to war to resolve our differences. We should be living on a higher plane and caring for our fellows. Let the United Nations resolve the woes of the world with diplomacy and charitable acts toward those less fortunate.

Well, I suppose those arguments have some validity. I don’t like the idea of killing people or being killed. I don’t like the idea of innocent civilians being killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I too, would like to see us all live better, more evolved lives. There’s only one problem. We aren’t.

While technology races from one new discovery and innovation to the next – we aren’t anywhere near to catching up in that progression. People still hate. People still crave power. People still give in to their baser instincts. People still seek to control others in their greed and craving for riches and land. In other words, the things that actually cause war, still exist.

Bill Gates, Apple Computer, Starbuck’s Coffee and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream have done nothing to actually alleviate the human conditions that breed war. They sure have made our lives more convenient and even tastier, but they haven’t changed men’s hearts or souls. And to me, that is what one must do in order to live in a world without war and to have peace.

What people do not like to consider or face, is that indeed, there really is evil in this world. And they are personified by the likes of Kim, Hussein, Chavez, Castro, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, et. al. Though they are probably a very small percentage of the population, the havoc they can wreak once given any sort of power is monstrous.

It only took a handful of brainwashed men and three planes to kill 3,000 of our citizens – and we didn’t even know who they were. They were not public figures, politicians, celebrities, religious leaders or 3rd world despots – they were ordinary men on a mission. One bred by hatred and fueled by denying these men and millions others, a normal life. Food, clothing, housing, a peaceful existence. If you starve a man long enough, it takes very little to turn them into whatever you want to turn them into. Killers. Priests. Religious zealots. Slaves.

So, the arguments to me, pro or con are beside the point. You’re arguing the wrong issue. The issue isn’t really whether war is right or wrong, good or bad. The issue is, how can we change the hearts and souls of men so they do not want to go to war in the first place?

Thoughts?

WC

Back in Time

If you could go back in TIME and kill Hitler, would you? How about Stalin? Jack the Ripper? John Wayne Gacey? Ted Bundy? Pol Pot? Or any other maniac in history?

Is life fated? Could one go back and change a significant event in history and not upset the whole planet?

If I went back to September 10th 2001 and prevented 9/11 from happening, would that have been a good thing? All of those people we lost that day would likely still be alive today if I had.

What might they have contributed to the world had they lived? A cure for cancer? The answer to drug abuse? A new invention that could save millions, or enable 3rd world countries to compete in the world market?

Children who are now fatherless or motherless would have their parents there to guide them. That empty place at the table would be no more. Could this possibly be a bad thing? Wouldn’t any of you out there have stopped it if you could have?

Or, would it have made no difference at all? Would there have been another attack somewhere else? Would we have been lulled further into a sense of false security, only to  ultimately lose thousands more?

Would it rip the fabric of intended events and cause an even worse result? I’d like to think that it wouldn’t. I’d like to think that we aren’t just pieces in the giant chess game of life. That we have a choice. That the whole universe and all of life isn’t already mapped out and preordained. That while there may be a giant blueprint of the future and even a master architecht out there somewhere that the design elements can still be changed and improved upon. That we can opt out of certain features, even at the last minute.

Because if it is all fated. If it is all preordained then what are we doing here? What is our purpose? To sit and watch? To be spectators as the future rolls out before us? To supply the oooohs and the aaaahs and things unfold?

I don’t think so. I think we all have a choice and make a contribution. I think it is encumbant upon us to seize life by the throat and insist on changing the bad things and on making a difference.

So, I ask you – if you could, what would you change? Who would you stop? What terrible world event would you reverse?

WC