Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Lovely Missed Flourish

I can’t find a Person, not a single One anywhere, anytime I glance.

So Who or What causes My dance?

No Hes about, no Shes about, neither here nor there,

Even though I'd so deeply deeply stare.

So I closed My eyes, knowing something’s wrong.

There are no People, only Songs!

Each One singing; yes singing Songs.

Some flat, Some sharp, Some soft, Some strong.

A base tone, unique, upholding the rest,

But with flourishes, arpeggios. For Me which's best?

Some notes sour, some notes nice.

Some freeze same as ice.

Some burn through like a beam;

Painful as a jolt of steam.

There was a song, humming me of late;

Started out as an online date.

That song to me no longer sings.

Well, not in a way that makes Me dance the way I like.

In fact, It had Me quite uptight.

I do however miss the Tune, the One I'd heard first back two Junes.

Seems that Tune was not "His" Song;

Just something made-up going along.

In time I heard that Song's base,

Nearly deafened by It, in fact.

I’d fallen in love with a flourish, an experimental piece.

We ended when that bit of tune ceased.

That dance, is done.

Monday, November 8, 2010


It is a lovely painting; quite the soothing scene. Rich colors, maternal love, the abundance of nature and the suggestion that around us is light and warmth if only we had the awareness to sense it. And, it is not just nature and love that is being celebrated in this painting. It is also the ability of humans to create beauty in our lives. Notice the embroidery on the mother’s cloak. It is a sublime beauty created by hours and hours of applied craftsmanship which can only be acquired after years of dedication and diligence. It is a painting of how things sometimes are, how things can be and of how things should more often be. Well, that is what I see.

What does, what can such a painting tell us about the artist who created it? One might feel confident ascribing to the artist qualities such as sensitivity, passion, gentleness and awareness of the importance of harmony both in human relationships and between humans and nature. We might attribute to this artist a deep understanding of human nature, the desire of humans for peace, tranquility, safety and tenderness. We might think this artist to be a great humanitarian, but perhaps quietly, humbly; one who does not seek the empty accolades of fame; a person who knows what’s important in life.

What do works of art tell us about their creators? That is the question I seek to address in this essay.
Here are some scenes from nature. What do they tell us, what can they tell us about their creator?

What do, what can these pictures tell us of the One who brought them to be? What attributes would we ascribe to the Artist, the Designer who crafted such beauty? What we know, or more accurately believe and think we know about God comes only from our experiences. We cannot know anything or craft any belief without the chisel experience; our own, or the experiences of others shared with us.

I have been to the Grand Canyon and sat upon its rim; feet dangling beyond the cliff face, the next step a mile below. I sat there one late afternoon twenty years ago feeling the fading warmth of the setting sun on my face as a cool dry breeze tingled my skin. Bathed in the still warm yet cooling colors cascading on the ancient canyon walls I sat muted by the awe of a dying day’s fading light. I watched the pumpkin colored full moon rise shattering the horizon to start its nightly celestial amble. Slowly growing smaller and whiter shade by shade to become a beacon of silvery white.

That was my experience twenty years ago. I have shared it with you. Perhaps now, even though you were not there with me, you too have a sliver of that moon, a wisp of that breeze from long ago dancing over your skin. Stories are a way we share our experiences. They can and do impact us, often deeply. In fact, it only takes a bit of contemplation to recognize the deep impact stories have had on our history, traditons, assumed knowledge and decision making both as individuals and as societies. Orson Wellls’ radio play, War of the Worlds on Halloween night, 1939 spawned panic in those who did not know its fictitious nature. A story need not be true to have impact. But, as anyone who knows a fisherman understands, often stories, even those born from a real event can quickly depart from an semblance of reality. In short order they can bare only the most remote resemblence to the reality they purport to portray. Even meticulously kept hisorical records can not convery the truth of a situation, but only, if well constructed simply point in its most general direction. And, the intent of thestory teller is essential to discern. Stories are powerful tools for shaping the pubic consciousness and are often used to advance a private agenda. Stories and paintings do tell us something, but it is almost always something different then we might initially conclude.

The two and only two ways to know anything about anything is through personal or shared experience. This includes our supposed knowledge of God. What we think we know about God comes from human experience. And, that experience is always interpreted. One influence on how we interpret our experiences is through projection. For the purpose of this essay, I am defining projection as the ascribing of qualities present or desired within one’s self to an external entity or object. This is a very common human activity and often it is deliteriously practiced both fervently and without awareness. This is why eye witnesses to any event never see, cannot see the same thing. Every experience is interpreted, crafted and modified by the one who is having the experience. The termobjective observer is a fantasy. Mere observation makes one a participant in the event. This holds true for everything from car crashes to the behavior of quantum particles. Observation affects outcome.

So, when we look at nature, at paintings, at anything, then make judgments about the artist or creator of the scene, we are in fact engaged in projection and the attributes we notice are not the ones of the artist, but ones squarely located within ourselves. A painting tells us nothing about the artist who painted it beyond the artist’s bare ability to paint. We can know nothing of the artists character, desires or political affiliation. Is the artist a person of faith? Is the artist kind, honest and compassionate? No painting can ever tell us those things. Even author’s diligently crafting their own autobiographies wanting to be known and understood never communicate themselves perfectly. There is too much interpretation occuring, both in the writer and the reader for two minds ever to completely meet.

When it comes to God it is no different. We cannot know God from our experiences, or those shared by others, from God’s creations. It may be common to look to the heavens on a starry night and think how kind and loving an entity must be who created such magnificance, but the commonality of these reactions attributes nothing to their accuracy.

Nature is full of beauty. Often its sights, sounds, smells and tactility inspire awe. But, taking those experiences and using them as data for the attributes of God is an error. Through projection, it is not the artist or creator that is revealed in our responses to art or experience; it is we ourselves who are revealed.
The painting I shared with you at the beginning of this essay was painted by Adolf Hitler. The painting does not, cannot tell us anything more about its painter than the artist’s bare ability to paint. Everything we see in that painting beyond painting ability comes from our own biases at work in the way we experience and interpret it. It is entirely internal. It is projection.

In exactly the same way, nature and creation tell us absolutely nothing about God. The fact that there are countless volumes describing what is believed about God, God’s nature, God’s desires and God’s presummed plan endows no credence to the accuracy of those assertions, no matter how passionately presented. Dressing them up in gold leaf and adorning them with calligraphy and iconography lend nothing more than the appearance of credulity. Ferver, the desperate deisre for something to be true or even the failure to find convincing alernatives to a cherished belief can not bring into greater focus images that have no existence “out there”. When we look at a waterfall and see falling water, we are seeing a waterfall. But, when we see beauty, power and the hand of God, those things are products of our own minds. They have no existence outside of ourselves, they are in fact squarely fixed, whether one realizes it or not, in the architecture of our own thoughts. Beliefs about God are based on a mental mistake. Based on, among other things, a lack of awareness of the mechanism of projection. It is a fact that everything you know is incomplete, skewed and flawed. Every belief anchored only in the wind. This irreversible condition calls for penetrating awareness, honest humility and heroic compassion. The next time you think you know what you are looking at and what that sight is telling you, do not fail to also look at what your mind is doing. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010


From its inception,
By immaculate conception,
This buffoonery is nothing,
But dramatized deception.

That it has escaped,
So many's detection,
And not resulted in,
Popular rejection,
Is quite the opposite of,
Rational perfection.

With meaningful reflection,
We might see some defection,
But as an infection,
It spreads in each direction.
From which few have,
Any kinda protection.

What we need is some correction,
And a modicum of reflection,
To engender some deflection,
Of religions' misdirection.

Or else it's subjection,
To mental vivisection,
And a predilection,
for total misconception.

Widows spend their pension,
Chasing resurrection,
While by extension,
And at the church$' discretion,
Heaven's barred to those,
With extra-marital erections.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Accommodation

This is in response to an article which can be found at:

You said, "Conservative Christians have pretty much learned their lesson from Galileo: you can't count on the Bible to answer scientific questions.
" Well, advocates of intelligent design and bible based antipathy toward homosexuals certainly have not learned that lesson. And as for atheists thinking the bible is stupid, I am an atheist and I don't think it's stupid. I think it is inherently dangerous however and has a long history of being wielded like a club by its adherents. Since any concept of god is and must be a mental figment, as the bible itself in places tries to warn, what is really going on is not god worship but book worship. Some books are dangerous because of what people do with them and what they do to people. Both common sense and the instinct for self-preservation should cause us to side with the atheists, Hitchens in particular, when he says, religion poisons everything. Without religion the bible becomes a resource for the objective study of how our predecessors interpreted their world and tried to make sense of it. With religion it becomes a manual for an entire alphabet of horrors. Apologists and accommodationists are naive at best and at worse provide support for an impoverished way of thinking that has rained misery and cataclysm upon us for far too long. Leaving the magic-fantasy thinkers unchallenged damages everyone. They are victims too. Made as they've become before their reasoning faculties could mature.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fantacies Can be Viral

If we could just stop making things up! We have no clue if " what is" had an initiating cause or not since there is no such thing as matter separate from time. This discomfort, this tenacious, stubborn insistence that a thus far unanswerable question be answered even if it requires colossal self-deception and the betrayal of our most distinguishing human trait, consciousness, damages us in ways too ubiquitous to name. These codified musings made solid, given fangs and claws purely by force of will, cloud reality, retard discovery, and set people against each other not in competition
over resources, but whose fantasy is the most compelling. The history of humanity thus far has been little more then but a bloody battle to the death over whose fabrications can entrap and
pervert the most consciousnesses. Dawkin's talks of meme's. I see his point. These distortions become self-renewing, self-perpetuating, viral. The antidote to an awareness distorting virus is first,
awareness of the virus and second, feverish dedication to rooting it out in ourselves and others with a fervor and tenacity rivaling those who carry the disease.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Absurdity of Hells

Throughout history horrific visions of a fiery afterlife have been engineered for those among us failing to meet the standards of our societies. No stretch of the imagination is required to understand the mechanisms at work in the creation of these devilish domains. One prominent reason is balance. People were and are painfully aware that deeds committed in the here in now, especially notoriously grievous ones, seem to call out for some notoriously grievous sanction. Hells are a salve for the collective conscious, a catch all punishment for those who through subterfuge, stealth or skill, legal or otherwise, managed to avoid paying the cost of their injurious deeds. Society could rest easy in the "knowledge" that the doers of evil would ultimately pay for their crimes. Thus, from a need for balance, sprang from the minds of men (yes, largely men), post-mortem maleficence; orgies of torment the likes of which no earthly ruler could inflict. Rulers, temporal and spiritual, would came to value these mythologies as effective instruments of control. One might evade the government agent, the jail and the rack in this life, but the gods, who see all, miss nothing and demand obedience would gather up every malefactors at a time when they had left to themselves no place to hide.

Of course, for these other worldly punishments to pack the necessary punch belief in them had to be near universal. Thus, stories were told, paintings were painted and from tot-hood on up, the populace was infected with visions and fears of punishment extraordinare. A study of Hell-type mythologies shows a progression in the severity of these stories. Just like the "one that got away" stories of fishermen, Hells became over the centuries more and more gruesome. The Hindu Hell, predating the Christian Hell by some twenty centuries, paled in comparison both in severity and duration to that of the Christians. It's Christianity that holds the dubious honor of being the first, followed some six centuries later by Islam, to create a Hell that was by design the most painful and eternal.

But, over time, as Hell became more and more, well, hellish, doubts began to arise as to the veracity of the claims. The innate need for balance was threatened by the over-kill of the visions. How could a loving God inflict such tortures? What acts could a man or woman commit while living that required an eternity of ultimate suffering? The more intellectual conjectured that experience and knowledge are transformative and thus even the most hideous sinner in much less than an eternity, would learn the error of his or her ways. Also, people became aware of the usefulness of Hell fables to their leaders and began to see Hell not as a reach for balance, but a reach for control.

A lesson we can all learn from the mythologies of the Hells is that when we indulge our questions, our uneasiness with mind-created delusions, we do not really create anything other than error and its consequences. We cannot actually create an other-worldly hell, but we have created real hells in the here and now. How much angst and fear and psychological torment have we inflicted on our children through these fiery fantasies? What real torments flowed from belief in diabolical damnation? How many normal, healthy people were perverted, twisted and warped into self-doubting mental and emotional cripples fearing each act, doubting each decision, scrutinizing every intention? It has been reported recently that the late Pope, John Paul II flogged himself regularly to drive back the (fictional) demons in his mind. What's even more stunning is that the current Pope, Benedict XVI has judged his predecessor's masochism a cause for sainthood. There is a story arc in the old Superman comics that explores the concept of a "Bizarro" world. In that world, up is down, good is evil and night is day. Only in a Bizarro World can it be considered holy to beat oneself and psychologically disable children by inculcating fear both every choice encountered in this world and eternal suffering in the next. But Bizzaro World is the only destination possible when we choose mind created images over reality; when we try to make existence conform to our under-informed concepts of what we think it should be. Any departure from merely being content to see things as they are, as they really are, will without fail bring us to lands where life becomes not something to be lived, explored, enjoyed and shared, but a fearful test which must be endured. Hell myths and all mind created UN-realities snatch us from "what is" depositing us in flames of error where we burn in ways often unrecognized. Choosing to live one's life in such a manner is, like the Hells themselves is patently absurd.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Beyond Reflex

Nine days have passed since the conversation i previously wrote about with my mother occurred. What follows is not reaction but action.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dear Mom,

It’s been 9 days since we talked on the phone Christmas day and I have to tell you what you said still rings in my ears. I know you and Nan could both use some help and Hector and I are both willing and eager to help. You said, “You can’t stay here. This is a Christian house and I won’t have that in my house.” I know now because of your faith what you really think about me and if you think it doesn’t hurt deeply you are wrong. You haven’t walked in my shoes and if you had you would know as I do that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. Yes, I am different then the majority of people, but there are hundreds of millions of us who are different in the same way. More importantly, I am the same as everybody else in every other aspect. I think, I feel, I love, I suffer and I try to make sense of a world that is often quite disordered. You know, Hector’s mom is catholic and she begged us to stay with her in Hong Kong when we went there. Is she a worse Catholic then you? Dorothy, in El Paso, has invited us to stay with her. She is not Catholic, but Christian and a damn good person. Are you holier then her?

There have been so many instances in history where Christians have ignored, repudiated, and fought truth in favor of belief that it confounds the mind and heart. Slavery, ban on mixed race marriages, the orbits of planets, the position of the earth in the universe and even the very geography of the earth itself. I wonder why when human knowledge advances through discovery, research and invention (like the telescope), so often the “Christian” response is denial, obstinance, arrogance and even assault, torture and war. You have a heart condition. Did you go to the Bible, a priest or the bishop to treat it? No. You went to a cardiologist as you should have. Do you know what psychologists, psychiatrists, anthropologists, sociologists and others are saying and have been saying since the ‘60’s about homosexuality? They are saying it is a naturally occurring and normal mode of behavior for some humans, primates and other animals. Natural. Normal. Maybe not normal for you since you are heterosexual, but perfectly normal and natural for me.

I am not sure what it is about me that makes my presence in your house a threat or tainting. Hector and I have not been together for very long. But the short time we have been together has been wonderful. He is kind and caring. He is loving and forgiving. He is generous and hard working. He puts others before himself. He is really funny and keeps me laughing a lot. He is affectionate and tender. He is humble, unassuming and certainly not judgmental. I have told several friends about what you said to me and I have to tell you all of them were appalled. Even the Catholic ones who are not homosexual reacted with a shudder when I told them. One of them almost crying said the worst thing in the world is to have a gesture of love returned with a gesture of rejection.

As you know, I am not Christian or Buddhist or anything else and the reasons for that are deep and wide. But I do know something about being Christian and when I think of it words like humble, loving, kind, accepting, non-judgmental, and tolerant all come to mind. Thinking you know more then others is not Christian. Judging is not Christian. I don’t mean to be insulting at all, as I am sure you didn’t mean to be insulting. But, I have to wonder if 400 years ago when Galileo discovered that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around, what side you would have come down on. Would you, like the Pope, Bishops and “holy” men have been drooling to set him ablaze? You have told me more then once that people find you arrogant and thinking you are superior but you don’t know why. Well, might you know now? I have a Bible and believe it or not I refer to it often. There’s a lot of good stuff in there but I am sure even you must agree there’s also loads of hogwash. If you want, let me know and I will point out some of the more absurd things in there. Searched as I might, I could not find one single word from the lips of Jesus regarding homosexuality. Now, if the topic of homosexuality is of such galactic concern, one would think Jesus might have said at least a sentence on the subject. This is not meant as a jab, but what I did find in there more then once was Jesus taking issue with the Pharisees who thought themselves more righteous, religious and moral then others. Oh, also he didn’t much care for dishonest money changers and on one occasion for some reason he lost it and cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season. Other places in the Bible do say some rather nasty things about homosexuality, but again, I think most of what’s there is based on what people knew and could know at the time. I mean we don’t bash unruly children on the city gates anymore. Eating pork and shrimp and calamari is OK now. Christian men all over the place are shaving their beards regularly, nick names are used, tattoos are worn, menstruating women freely associate with others, people with pimples are no longer put in isolation for 7 days by the priests. I mean really! However, adultery is mentioned by Jesus and many others many times throughout the entire Bible. It plainly states marriage is for life, divorce is taboo and those who divorce and remarry are guilty of adultery, which as we know is one of the BIG TEN. You haven’t felt compelled by that mandate yourself having been married three times. Don’t hide behind, things like civil marriage and annulment…the Bible makes no room for them and is quite explicit on the matter. Of course, Jesus himself after cleverly dispelling the crowd of would be stone throwers, forgave the woman caught in adultery and sent her on her way. Now, I and the experts and loads of other people, even heterosexuals don’t think homosexuality is a sin, but damn near everyone agrees adultery is.

Why are some biblical mandates seen for what they are; archaic, the best of what was possible at the time, while others are clung to like a bone in the mouth of a dog? And, who decides which ones are no longer applicable and which ones are? What danger lurks in thinking oneself to be more able to judge which ones to cling to and which ones to let go of? I think when Galileo looked through the telescope and did the math and wrote a brilliant book on what he saw, not thought, not believed, not was told, but what he saw, he was the one competent to decide and to reveal what became knowable at that point. Many cheered his discovery as a broadening of the knowledge of humankind about their existence. We know what the Church did, tried to burn him, made him recant to avoid the flames, kept him under house arrest until he died nearly 20 years later and refused to allow his body to be buried with Christian rites, thereby, in the belief of the time, sending him to eternal fire. So nice! So loving. So Christian and sadly so typical. Trust me, I could go on. But enough.

I am not asking you to reconsider. Honestly, the way I feel right now I don’t want Hector any where near you. He bruises easily. And personally, I would have trouble being around you now, too. When I told you about Victor, I was surprised and lifted by your reaction, even though you found it necessary to also say it was a sin. Since I was ready to kill myself at the time I chose not to argue that point. In the years since then you have said some really nice things about the homosexuals you have known, I think mostly from when you were at the Center, and I think you even mentioned about one when you were younger. What you said was in general you found them loving, kind, caring, creative and fun. Sounds like good people to spend time with to me. People I like to avoid are judging, self-righteous, holier-then-thou, rigid, arrogant, cold and willing to subjugate others to their own personal beliefs.

Jesus instructed his disciples to go into the towns and spread the good news. He also told them if the good news was not well received they should shake the dust from their feet and move on. What you do with what I have written here is up to you. Consider it, reject it, take it to heart, become even more tight and rigid, it’s all up to you. You know how to communicate with me if you ever want to again.