Mystical Experiences…

Ready for another file from the “Weird Shit” folder?

I knew you were.

With all the bullshit going on in the world, we could all use a breath of stranger air.

Okay, like all good philosophy, we’re going to have to begin by defining our terms.

(I recognize that the term mystical has a lot of woo-woo connotations. Stick with me here, and you’ll find I’ll avoid the woo.)

First off, many people believe Mystic refers to connecting directly with the Divine. If this works for you, I mean really works – as in is something you can use – then don’t let me disabuse you of that notion.

(As my old teacher, Sifu Leroy used to say, “Good technique is whatever works.”)

If, on the other hand you equate mystical with dropping 2 hits of acid and going to the Phish concert, allow me to pop that fucking bubble and bring you back down to Earth where all the cool shit is really happening.

A Mystical Experience, stripped down to its essential nature, is a shift in consciousness from duality to a non-dual perspective.

What the fuck does that mean?

(I knew you’d ask, because you folx are fekkin’ awesome. And if I tell you this enough, one day you’ll realize I’m not being sarcastic.)

Dig it:

Duality Consciousness is your everyday mind.

It is the sense you have of being a separate being. It is intrinsically linked with your ego – your sense of self.

Before you jump ahead, No, the ego/ duality consciousness is not a bad thing. You should not attempt to extinguish it. It’s part of you for a reason, and it’s very useful, under the right circumstances.

Duality consciousness is the state of mind where you make a distinction between you and the tree, the clouds, the Earth, other humans, the Universe as a whole.

This is helpful for a number of things, including producing and managing this technological world we live in. For specialized understanding, for narrowly focusing in on a thing – as a thing – to get a handle on how it works, Duality consciousness is what allows us to put things in discrete boxes, to dissect things for better comprehension.

That’s our everyday mind.

If you’re quick – which I know you are – you’ve already deduced what the Mystical Experience is: pretty much everything else.

And by everything else, I mean the only other thing:

Non-Duality Consciousness.

This is the state of mind we experience when we do not differentiate between ourselves and everything else.

You, me, the flowers, the trees, all one thing.

So, to dispel the woo:

Our brains are fully capable of this state of consciousness at any time.

If you’ve ever experienced “flow state” you’ve experienced non-duality consciousness.

(If you’ve never experienced flow state, do yourself a favor and research it. I’ll post about it some other time, but don’t wait. Get into learning about it now. You will thank me for it. I promise.)

Non-duality consciousness – is a fucking mouthful, which is why I still refer to it as Mystical Experience. Also, I like the magical feeling of the old language. But really, they’re the same thing. Use which one works for you.

If you take the time to study, oh, pretty much every religion or spiritual teaching in history, you’ll see that some branch of it has been dedicated to direct, personal experience of the Divine.

Sufism. Ecstatic Christian Prayer. Gnosticism. Kabbalah. Moksha. Nirvana. Spirit journeys. Crossing the The Abyss….

Give it a name, human beings have looked for it in whatever spiritual paradigm they have found themselves in.

There is even a modern, scientific description of the phenomenon, which is what led me to begin investigating the ancient traditions more closely, with an eye to stripping away the inessentials of this experience.

Jill Bolte Taylor talks about it in her book, “My Stroke of Insight”. You can listen to her TED talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_my_stroke_of_insight.

Our brains, the fatty electrical mesh in our noggins, can function in 2 modes. MS. Taylor refers to them as Serial Processing and Parallel Processing.

Serial processing is, much like it sounds, a straight line of one thing connected to another. Causality and determinism. You know, the way we typically perceive the universe.

Parallel processing is experiencing the world as one unbroken, eternal Now.

(All that exists is now, all the we are is now, and only now. No past. No future. Simply, truly, and completely Now.)

This appears to be because the hemispheres of our brains process information in these 2 different ways.

Have I gotten deep into the weeds yet?

No?

Good.

Let’s venture a little deeper into the dense foliage, shall we?

In that unending moment of Now, the suffering of the past and the stress of the future do not, can not exist. Only what you are experiencing in the present moment of awareness is in focus.

If this sounds like some version of paradise to you, you’re not wrong.

In non-duality consciousness one experiences the world as one’s self, and one’s self as the world. Or, as Alan Watts put it, “You simultaneously feel as though you are controlling every aspect of the universe, and that it is also controlling you. You are ‘doing’ it, at it is ‘doing’ you.”

(also, also, if you haven’t looked into Alan Watts, and you dig any of the weird shit I post about, do yourself a solid and go explore. He’s hoot and expert at explaining Eastern traditions to a Western conditioned mind.)

Here’s the thing, getting back to the #mystical for a bit, most of us, in this country and elsewhere in the world, have a notion of God that is less personal and more all encompassing.

(You can thank Saint Thomas Aquinas for that shift, by the way.)

This imagining of God is of a God that is everywhere, in everything, knows and is a part of everything.

(Yes, I recognize that there are still a great many people who see God as some kind of Human-ish Authority figure. Big fuck-off beard, long flowing robes, that look in the eye of both judgement and adoration, much like the look in a favorite grandparent’s eye when they saw you about to get into some harmless trouble. A lot of people still believe that way, but as time has progressed – as well as science – it has become more fashionable to conceive of God in a more pantheistic sense – as the whole shebang, man and boy, maiden, mother, crone, all the stars and all of the grains of sand, etc… instead of some paternal HMFIC up in a mountain somewhere.)

My hypothesis is modern peoples tend to believe this, not just because of Aquinas, but also because it jives with a way we can experience the world – ie: non-dualistic consciousness.

One with all things. No conflict. Only harmony.

So, why don’t we slip in and out of this consciousness all the time?

Good question. Since it’s a part of how you naturally exist, you ought to be able to, right?

Here’s where another one of my hypotheses comes into play:

I think most people are not aware of this ability, and not using it, for the same reason 90% of the world is right-handed.

Most of us are taught to write with our right hand. Left-handers are usually forced to cobble together something functional on their own.

“Here’s the shapes of the letters, have fun figuring out how to make that appendage use them,” kind of thing.

You see, there was a time when everything in the human experience was intertwined with the spiritual.

We didn’t have proper science – as we know it – and so we intuited spirits and gods in everything. For everything.

But, in the not too distant past – only 4 or 5 generations- we brought science to the forefront of how we understand the world.

Notice I didn’t say the Natural World as many people do. Lots of people make that very telling distinction between the Natural world and the world of the Supernatural. Our ancestors didn’t do that. The fact that we do demonstrates how we’ve come to think of things as separate.

We’ve been conditioned, and conditioned ourselves, to use primarily only the one system of our consciousness. Like we’ve been conditioned to only have one dominant hand.

It’s not a bad thing we did, either. If our ancestors had not been primarily dualistically conscious most of us probably would have had our faces eaten off by the leopard we were trying to hug.

And because we use the dualistic-consciousness so often, because our societies are so entrenched in that paradigm, very few of us have experienced, or learned to use, this other side of our mind’s coin that is as intrinsic to our existence as breathing.

This is what the Mystical Experience is, when all the myths are stripped away.

I’ve already mentioned Flow State, but there are other ways to utilize non-dualistic consciousness.

Magicians, yogis, sufis, hermits, nuns, and shamans, throughout history have explored and benefited from this other pole of our consciousness.

I’ll bet, with a little bit of work, you could too.

Who knows what you could do if you embraced the experience of the mystical?

It’s there, waiting for you to awaken to it.

The Mystical Experience is your birthright.

What are you going to do with it?

Until next time…

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2nd Stimulus?..

Heads up for this one, folx.

I’m going to be suggesting something for which I have no hard evidence.

But I believe it fits a pattern. And hopefully I’ll be able to explain it well enough that you’ll see it too, and be able to do something about it.

Ok, you know how the GOP in the Senate just came out with their bullshit 1 trillion stimulus package proposal?

The one that drops the increased unemployment benefits to $200 per week from $600 per week and looks to shell out another one time $1,200 payment.

(Incidentally, at the time of writing, this is still just a proposal. Negotiations in the Senate haven’t even begun in earnest yet, much less any kind of reconciliation with the House. Don’t get worried. Nothing’s happened yet – which makes this the perfect time for you to act.)

Here’s my proposition:

I believe the GOP has been stonewalling on the second round of stimulus to the people so that we’ll be grateful for whatever scraps they decide to throw us.

Why would they do this?

Ok, maybe it’s not obvious. Allow me to elaborate:

If they make us desperate, if they wait until we’re so starved and homeless and mired in debt, then we may have no choice but to accept anything they propose.

It is negotiating with a gun to our heads.

(Yes, they are supposed to be negotiating on our behalf. Anyone think they’ll do that? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)

If they keep us desperate, if they never make us whole, we can be forced to be the serf/ indentured servant class so many of the wealthy in this country appear to desire.

We can be made into good little workers, happy to almost scrape by, because if we’re even barely scraping by than that’s too much like security and we might get uppity and demand more – even, heaven fore-fucking-fend, our fair share.

I think that is why they’ve waited so long for a second round of stimulus for the people.

I think that’s why Mitch McConnell started talking about the bullshit deficit as soon as his corporate cronies got their grubby claws on billions of our money.

As soon as Wall Street got its legs again, Main Street got forgotten.

Like you can fucking eat the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Now, Why do I believe this is the case?

Look at the history our government, the fucking GOP in particular, have of “disciplining labor.”

After the Great Depression, the government’s economic goal was full employment.

A job for everyone who wanted one.

It continued that way until Nixon.

Labor unions and movements had grown large by then – maybe too large given the amount of corruption, but that’s a debatable topic for another time.

The Unions & Labor Movement built the middle class in this country.

(along with the GI bill and a number of other things – not a history lesson today.)

By Nixon’s time in office it was decided, somewhere in the halls of power, to fall in line with the GOP’s way of thinking:

Less priority on full employment and more on lowering inflation.

(and by less priority, I hope you know I mean: no priority. I knew you would. You folx are the smartest and handsomest readers a person could wish for.)

Disciplining labor is a nice way of saying: Union Busting and The Erosion of Worker’s Rights.

If you live in a Right-to-Work state you know this well and truly already.

A program of legislation and general laissiez-faire capitalist chicanery that makes it nigh on impossible to negotiate a raise, or benefits package, or even to get benefits anymore. And so on – if I keep going the blood building behind my eyes will spurt from my head, washing the monitor in a lovely shade of red and making it damned hard to keep writing.

And all that was just here at home.

For the more intersectionality-minded of you there are also plenty of more extreme examples left in America’s imperialist wake out in the world.

(please go look up some of the shit we have pulled in other countries. I don’t have the time nor the extra blood volume to even begin listing them here.)

All that to say, that I think it can be fairly persuasively argued that our government – again the G-O-FUCKING-P in especially – has engaged in a pattern of behavior that suggests making us desperate so we’ll accept less is not only par for the course, but is actually seriously fucking likely.

If you look at history it damn sure seems like the rich in this country – who pretty much own our government now, there have been studies done, go check them out – want to turn our democracy into an aristocracy with them as the nobles and us as the servants and workers.

Serfs and indentured servants.

Judge a person by how they act, not what they say.

And the actions of a the vast majority of our representatives show that they no longer represent us.

They act like we are cattle to be herded, and when necessary, culled.

Think I’m wrong?

Easy way to find out:

Contact your representatives.

Tell them your concerns. Advocate for yourself and your community.

Don’t take it for granted that they have your best interests at heart.

History shows us they don’t.

If you don’t know who your representatives are here’s the helpful links:

House:

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Senate:

https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm

First – learn who they are if you don’t know. This is important.

Second, call them up or send a letter. Tell them what they should be advocating for on your behalf.

It’s an easy experiment.

At most it costs the price of a stamp.

Just a little time and effort – less than actually going to vote.

Do it.

See how it turns out.

I’ll be here if you want to talk about it.

Or if you need a shoulder to cry on.

I’ll dry your eyes, and then we’ll get to work fixing this shit.

I’ll be waiting for you, and working.

Until next time…

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We’re Not F#$king Broke!..

For anyone and everyone who thinks we, America, can’t institute some social changes for the betterment of the people because we can’t afford it, I’m going to need you to listen to this podcast.

Even if you only listen to the first 10 minutes of it.

(Way more education than most government/ economics classes I’ve been forced to sit through.)

Until next time…

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Another Tip You Can Use…

How to think for yourself:

Proceed from the facts…

not someone else’s interpretation of the facts.

This tip really isn’t for you, oh my faithful readers; you’re all way too cool and intelligent and likely have this down already. No, it is for you to gift to someone else. Someone who needs it.

Because we all know someone who fucking needs it.

Until next time…

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Self Care?

So, there’s a lot going on just now.

Protests in the streets.

A dangerous pandemic.

The collapsing of Capitalism under its own, bloated weight.

(and like always, the ones least able to bear it are the first ones to have to shoulder the burden.)

We are told, constantly, that it is important to take the time for “Self-Care.”

“Self-Care”, as proposed by the fuckers most loudly proposing it, usually consists of making sure you get some exercise, and enough sleep, and maybe meditate, and why not – go ahead and eat that chocolate chip cookie, or binge-watch that series you’ve been wanting to see for a while now.

(let me state here, I am emphatically not opposed to self-care. I’m not one of those, “suck it up buttercup” mother fuckers. We should all be taking better care of ourselves than we do. This essay isn’t about that. So, if you were about to get pissed and stop reading, give it a paragraph or two more. Trust me.)

I am aggrieved by the now-more-than-ever focus on so-called self care because it is being used to mollify rather than heal.

For, oh-fucking-ages now, you’ve heard about the importance of taking personal time – usually away from work, (if your fucking job even provides for that, which most don’t, but that’s another rant,) to maintain one’s health.

We’ve been hearing about using meditation for the same purpose for the same amount of time.

Somewhere, in the Sacred Halls of American Business, it was decided that companies and the media should propound these ideals. And they do, but they never explicitly tell us why.

Well, if you’re bullshit detector is as sensitive as mine, you’ll have known why, long before you got to this sentence. If it isn’t, allow me to elucidate:

It’s so we can be good, productive workers.

(Yeah, yeah, they say, “productive members of society,” but we know what they fucking mean.)

“Take more vacation time.”

“Practice Mindfulness Meditation.”

“Practice ‘Self Care’.”

Not so you will be whole and healthy human beings.

Not because it is conducive to human flourishing.

So you can be better cogs in the machine.

So you can do your part to keep the system running.

But, take a close look and tell me if this even is a system we should keep running, much less sacrifice ourselves for.

Go ahead, I’ll wait…

The world-wide plague, the protests in the streets, the meteoric cratering of our fake fucking economy.

Is this a thing we should be stripping our nerves bare to protect?

Or would self care, real self care, mean figuring out a system that doesn’t require so much marginal tweaking to maintain?

Meditation, vacations, entertainment should not be what we use to insulate ourselves from the flow of daily life, but things that help us connect with it.

So much of the “Self-Care” being pushed nowadays is meant to anesthetize us. It isn’t there to make us happy or even aid in the fulfillment of our lives, but to make us just numb enough to keep plodding along, to keep greasing the wheels with our blood and passion.

To keep spending our lives to make someone else’s profit.

I hate companies that will teach some version of meditation, but only use it on your break so you can deal with the stress of doing the job.

I hate businesses that tell you to take more time, but don’t make it possible to do so.

If it was legal for these fuckers to give us cocaine or meth, they’d do it in a heart beat.

Adderall Mondays. The 2 bump coffee break. Speedball casual Fridays. The most productive in the office gets an IV bag of the ‘good stuff’.

(yes, before you get all #notall whatever, I know there are some businesses out there that do actually care about the culture and their workers. But, let’s face it, there are few enough so as to be seen as the exception, rather than the rule.)

People have said, for ages, that, “the world can’t stop just because…”

Maybe that, right there, is the problem.

Here’s the thing – we created this world.

Maybe haphazardly and partially by accident, but we made it.

We put it together for our benefit.

You dig that?

It is supposed to help us.

Not some of us.

Not a few of us.

Not 1% of us.

Us.

That’s an all-inclusive word – us.

What kind of machine have we built if we can’t stop it to take care of ourselves?

Is that the kind of machine we want to keep running?

Is that the kind of machine we want to sell our lives and energy for?

If your answer is No, maybe it’s time to think of a new way of working.

Maybe real self care is thinking up a system that doesn’t require constant sacrifice.

Maybe, instead of meditating, or taking a vacation to forget about your woes, or even – heavens fore fend – watching that next episode of what-have-you, maybe take that time to see if there might be a better way of living.

Maybe we modify the machine.

Maybe we burn it to the ground and start anew.

Maybe something in between.

I know I’ll be thinking about it.

Will you?

Until next time…

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Qui Tacet Consentire…

Yes, yes, more Latin.

It translates, roughly, to: “Silence gives consent.”

Ok, for those of you who can’t recognize the White Lotus in the room, allow me to explain…

Silence gives consent was a maxim of Western European law, for a long time. Feel free to look it up – I’m not here in the capacity of a historian today.

The idea is this: anything that one is witness to, and one does not speak up against, one gives consent for.

By example, if I were to see, oh say an obstinate republican senator – whose favorite hobby is standing in the way of progress to line his own pockets – about to be viciously stabbed, and I said nothing/ did nothing to stop it, then I would, by the maxim, be giving my consent to the stabbing.

In modern parlance we sometimes call it condoning.

To see a thing, and not be openly against it is to tell the world that you are okay with it.

Now, there’s a reason that it’s not part of the law anymore. The law is just a bit to sticky for something so bluntly binary. As it should be.

But from the standpoint of personal ethics, it makes a lot of sense to continue its use.

(as an aside: some people run into burning buildings, some people run away from them, and some stand paralyzed by them. I am not making a judgement as to which, if any, of those things is better. Mostly they are hardwired responses, and without significant and exhaustive training, one can not override them, regardless of what one wishes or brags about when drunk.)

What I do want you to be aware of is in a real sense, if you stand by and watch something happen – this can be metaphorically, or repeatedly – that you are displaying your consent to its rightness.

You are showing the world that you’re cool with it.

It’s not a big deal.

Shows over.

Nothing to see here, folks.

So, maybe that last hint clued you in to one of the things I’m talking about not remaining silent for anymore.

Yeah, it definitely involves the police.

Killing unarmed people of color is not something I condone, and I sure as hell don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for it.

More broadly speaking, Racism, of every sort, is wrong.

I’ve known this for as long as I can remember.

It’s nigh on impossible for me to fathom how anyone couldn’t realize this basic fact.

The same goes for homophobia and trans-phobia. I just don’t understand it.

I know it exists. But I don’t get it.

As a cis hetero white dude, living in the South, I can tell you there is a social pressure to not speak out about these things.

(I’m privileged in that I don’t suffer from these prejudices, but in fact have benefited from them.)

There is this culture of insincere politeness in the South. It’s as old as the South itself, and it’s inculcated from an early age. Somethings are just not spoken about in polite society.

And that creates a social pressure to not speak up.

Now, I could tell you a bit about how I’m wired and how I handle these situations, but this post isn’t really about me…

It’s about you.

Because I want you to think about the morality of doing nothing.

Is it moral to see a wrong committed and not stand against it?

Our titular Latin friend suggests it is.

So do I.

When you see racism, individual or systemic.

When you see police brutality.

When you see the destruction the Earth for profit.

When you see radical inequality.

Will you be more than a witness?

Will you silently consent?

Or will you do something?

I, and so many others, will be with you when you do.

You’re voice has power.

Use it.

Until next time…

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A Tip You Can Use…

So, there’s a Pandemic on, in case you forgot with all the current insanity.

There’s a pandemic on and most places in the US have opened back up, hoping our corporate feudal masters will get the V-shaped recovery they so desperately want to keep this fake economy going.

Economics – that’s a rant for another day.

Anyways, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been going back out.

I love movies, and Chinese restaurants, and drunken karaoke at my second favorite bar.

But I haven’t been going out, except for necessities.

Because you know what?

Life is not back to normal. It’s not getting back to normal anytime soon.

Definitely not anytime before we have a working vaccine.

So, when I do go out for necessities, I always wear a mask when I can not social distance from people.

I don’t wear it in my car.

I don’t wear it at home, or when I’m walking my dog.

Just when I can’t get far enough away from you people.

And you’d think others would be following the CDC guidelines, you know, because that’s why we pay them, to help out with shit like this.

But no.

Still, anywhere from a third to half of the people I see, especially in the grocery stores, aren’t wearing masks and aren’t even trying to stay the fuck away from people.

Ok, I can deal. I’ve been told that somewhere around 40% of the American population has a below average IQ. (Not sure about the math on that one.)

Stupid people gonna stupid.

Been protecting me and mine from those asshats for, oh, all my fucking life.

No biggie.

I got it covered.

What makes me want to commit simple assault, just about every time I have to venture into public, are these fake macho assholes giving me dirty looks because I am, in fact, wearing protective equipment.

Because apparently, some ratings-whore on the News-Network-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named has convinced them that it’s unmanly – whatever the fuck that means – to protect yourself and others in your society.

Yep, let that sink in.

Hastur-Hastur-Hastur News has actually conned people into believing that protecting the weak, the at risk, the innocent, is a fucking bad thing.

Just out of curiosity, didn’t we used to call people that did that heroes?

No, I’m not calling myself a hero. I might risk human being, but let’s not push it.

Anyways, I imagine I’m not the only one on the receiving end of these disgusted looks.

I’ve even seen footage of people – wait, I mean sub-human scum-fucks – getting in responsible adults faces about their cowardice of wearing a mask.

This, for reasons that would be obvious if you’ve ever seen me in public, has not happened in my presence yet, lest I should be penning these missives from a jail cell.

It got me and a friend talking about our responses to this particular brand of heinous fuckery.

We both work with at-risk populations.

And she had the same thought about it that I did: We are protecting the at-risk people we work with.

And while we were having that conversation, it suddenly occurred to me – and this is where the tip you can use comes in…

I don’t owe them a fucking explanation.

I don’t, and neither did she.

And neither do you.

But, if you wanted to give one anyway, you know, just to be polite, please feel free to proffer the one I’ve been using if anyone gets within spitting distance of me:

“I’m a goddamn American, and you can’t tell me!”

They can’t tell me I can’t.

They don’t get to tell me I shouldn’t.

I’m not hurting anyone or breaking any laws, and that means they can mind their own damn business.

I don’t owe anyone a justification.

And neither do you.

Fell free to whip that out when the dicks get thick.

Until next time…

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The Part of the Conversation…

The world seems to be on fire right now.

I have been trying to find a way to process it, to turn it into some kind of positive action.

I like to imagine many of you have been making the same attempt.

Let me say that, if like me, you’ve been floundering, there is no blame in it.

Overwhelming things will overwhelm. It’s why we call them that.

No shame in being overwhelmed. You will come out of it at some point.

The world will not break you.

(and yes, I need to hear that as much as some of you do.)

So, I’ve been trying to process this insanity we call life. I’ve had things to say. Many other people have said them better and with more eloquence. And sometimes I find it just isn’t the place for a white, cis, hetero dude to try to occupy the bandwidth. Sometimes it is just better to listen.

But I still feel like there is something I can add to the discussion; something I should add.

Something I haven’t yet seen talked about regarding the current state of affairs.

It started when I watched an interview with the Mayor of St. Paul, MN. It was the first time, but oh not-the-fucking-last time I’ve heard this phrase used:

“We need to have the conversation.”

The phrase is usually uttered when the feet hit the streets. When the people come out to protest. When the protests turn violent.

We need to have the conversation…

I’ve got news for anyone using this phrase – especially if they’re using it to tell rightly upset people to calm down and behave.

We are having the conversation.

I grew up in what is politely called an unstable home. And I can tell you with dread certainty that we have been having this same conversation, for decades now.

And this is the part where the conversation gets loud.

Some of you, dear readers, know this too.

Like a law of nature.

As sure as gravity:

Any conversation that continues too long without resolution, will get noisy.

Will get violent.

This is part of the conversation we’ve been having.

It will continue to be part of the conversation until we come to terms.

Until we no longer need to have this conversation.

To that end, the only thing we can do, other than protect ourselves, is to decide how we want this conversation to end.

Take some time to think about that.

And take more time to listen to the people offering solutions that move us forward.

I’ll be doing the same.

Until next time…

 

 

 

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Capitalism Sucks: Pt. 2

So, if you follow me on any of the social medias, you might have noticed I occasionally like to write in my favorite bar in Knoxville, Green’s Tavern.

I’ve written a few short stories there and edited a few more.

I wrote parts of The Hungry Dark, snuggly ensconced in one of its booths.

I’ve even written a few of these posts from the comfortable confines of the only geek bar in town.

And it is with a heavy heart, and a burning anger, that I come to tell you of its demise.

Green’s Tavern had to shut down, permanently.

One might be quick to blame the pandemic.

But COVID-19 is a mindless evil.

It makes no choices.

It takes no sides.

And I’ll not blame the mechanics of the trigger over the villain that pulls it.

The villain, in this case, is capitalism.

More specifically, how our government has rigged the system.

The System? Rigged? The hell you say?!

Yes, fellow travelers, the hell I say.

I know people will want to argue that the government provided loans to small businesses.

And those are the types of idiots you don’t even want to bother arguing with. They obviously didn’t watch or read any news or even commentary regarding the subject. And while I am not a stickler for the rules, I’m loath to waste my time on someone who refuses to do even the barest amount of homework on a matter of this level of importance.

(A little gossip cum back-channel info: my favorite tavern has fekkin’ smart owners. I am told, unofficially, that they did indeed apply for a small business loan under the CARES ACT program. I am also told that after 7 weeks, they were finally approved for 1/10th of what they applied for. 1/10th. Imagine a small business, in good standing for 10 fucking years. Now imagine what amount they might have applied for. The actual amount is likely lower than you’re thinking. Then imagine, if you were them, and instead of receiving this reasonable loan, the bank told you all they had for you was 10 percent. After almost 2 months. Well, dear readers, not only wasn’t that amount sufficient to keep the place open, it was low enough to be insulting.)

Everybody knows what happened to that small business loan money.

And if you don’t know, the majority did not, in fact, go to small businesses.

That was our government’s doing.

They set it up. They rigged the system for their rich, corporate friends.

That’s how national chains got small business funds.

(And the only reason any of them gave it back was because of intense social pressure. Take a second and imagine what would have happened if there had been no pressure. Now imagine how many other large companies took funds meant for small businesses but were not caught out by the public. Then take a minute to let your blood pressure drop back down. Go ahead. I’ll wait…)

The law could’ve have been written in such a manner as to preclude large/ national chains. It wasn’t.

And I’ll bet every dime I ever make – less the money for my cremation – that it wasn’t an accident the law was constructed the way it was.

The system is rigged for the rich, because, as Rousseau wrote, the rich write the laws.

What does this have to do with Capitalism?

Why is it not just inept and corrupt governance?

Because Capitalism is what drives the government, and those in control of it, to create the framework of laws that benefit the capitalist – ie: the holder of capital. The rich.

Poor people don’t have capital.

The working class has only the worth of their labor, which Capitalism is geared to exploit.

The nature of capitalism is to drive for profit above all else.

It is only when capitalism is effectively regulated, and its worst tendencies strictly curtailed – as it was in FDR’s New Deal – that it can function for the benefit of the society as a whole, and not just for the few.

And the COVID-19 crisis has shown us that Capitalism run amok is not equipped to deal with anything even resembling an existential threat to humanity.

Capitalism, un-restrained, corrupts the government to its own, profit-seeking purposes.

A government twisted by capitalism neglects the needs of its people.

And my favorite bar is forced to close.

In some other post, I’ll tell you more about Green’s. It deserves a better eulogy than this.

But just now, I’m too fucking angry. So it’ll have to wait.

Until next time…

 

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May Day Safety…

So, I live in Tennessee, one of the many states “opening back up” today.

And this is bullshit.

But some fekkin’ idjits in government have decided the best way for the economy to get going again, is to force poor people to choose between death and starvation.

Fuck them!

According to all the health experts, we don’t have the things we need to open back up safely. We don’t have pervasive testing. We don’t have contact tracing.

And we don’t have a fucking vaccine!

The whole point of flattening the curve was to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed into oblivion.

It was not for us to wait out the fucking virus!

We can’t wait out the virus.

And, so far as we know, there is not enough information to suggest that if you’ve had it and recovered, that you can’t get it again. In fact, there is evidence to suggest you can keep getting it until it kills your ass. And so herd immunity is currently out the window – not to mention scandalous to suggest simply for the number of people it will kill.

Beyond the simple stupidity of trying to “open America back up” is the very real fact that many people will see this as a signal from the government that they no longer have to take the necessary precautions. Already there are too many people out in public not wearing masks and not staying 6 feet away from me.

Incidentally, I’d like that to continue, even after the virus. Please, unless I know you, stay 6 feet away from me at most times.

How many of those annoying-idiot-fucks will come, willie-nilly and unprotected, out of the woodwork?

Pretty much all of them, that’s how many.

And, as much as they get on my nerves, I don’t think ignorance should be punishable by death.

Although an argument could be made for all of the other lives they’ll endanger when they scamper forth like the PPE-free lemmings that they are.

So, it’s May Day.

(Merry Beltaine, by the way!)

It’s also International Worker’s Day.

And as such, many workers, around the globe, are striking and walking out to send a message about their treatment and worth during this pandemic and beyond.

Maybe you didn’t think of yourself as one of them until your state started to reopen, and you realized you were going to be forced to go back to work or lose everything.

Guess what?

You. Are. One. Of. Them.

Most of us are.

Maybe it’s time to organize. To show them what your labor and lives are worth.

To insist on humane treatment and respect.

And by maybe, I mean it definitely fucking is.

Talk to your co-workers. Your power is in your numbers and your ability to stop production.

Use your power.

Don’t go to work. Don’t go out if you don’t have to.

Don’t sacrifice yourself to put money in somebody else’s wallet.

You’re more valuable than that.

Time we made them see.

Keep your heads up, and your guillotines sharp.

Until next time…

 

Posted in Capitalism Sucks, politics, Putting the "Civil" Back in Civilization, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment