Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Update on the Addiction Process Pt.1

I quit buying cigarettes again. That's twice.

The first time I quit was less a "quit" and more a lifelong policy never to buy them. For myself, at least! I had bought 2 packs for myself in my life (extenuating circumstances requiring a bit of chain-smoking), but I'd probably purchased about 12, 13 packs for other people, over the course of years of life. Generally they'd hand me the money for it: I was less "buying them," and more "picking them up." But in more than a few cases at least (packs! Not cases. Wait, they call them "cartons" - that clarification was unnecessary) I would buy a pack sans recompense for a friend who'd bummed their share of butts at me. That would be the only time I'd smoke, you see: in the capacity of a bum.

Which was a very good plan! No chance of addiction at that point. You can't get addicted that way; at least, you'd have to be a whole hell of a lot more charming than me. And make no mistake: I'm charming, in my own brash and hapless way. People would tap me on the shoulder, "you coming outside?" - and I'd come outside, and they'd bum one at me for the company. It was a nice exchange. People in a minor personal crisis know I give good ear, to say nothing of my generously opinionated remarks! These were probably not technically "advice," but people would take it under advisement and generally found it helpful. I always liked being helpful - and a smoke to go with it? Luxurious. But more often, no crisis was involved. The smoker just wanted to bring me out amongst the smoke and other smokers, as a general value-added social variable. I can speak amusingly when I'm talking to no purpose!

Not to toot my own horn or anything (much.) (HONK!) I'm not claiming to be universally loved and admired, or socially-indispensable in any way. It's more than likely people liked to have me around to laugh at. And I'm aware - "at," not necessarily "with!" Many of the observations I come out with are patently ludicrous. Fit for nothing but incredulous hilarity, and no particular credit to the speaker's intellect or sense of humor (incomprehensible absurdity rarely is). But I have never minded being laughed at for those kinds of remarks. Firstly, because I can't see the harm in being a cause of laughter whether the laughter be at me, with myself as the object of humor, or with me, with the laugher and I joining in a shared understanding of the world's comic, often darkly-comic aspect. Secondly, and more importantly, because I balance my foolish remarks with others: people seem frequently struck with what I say as beautiful or deep, and it must be worth the one to occasionally get the other. I myself don't seem to be able to judge the difference. In my head, a thought always seems pretty plausible, pretty safe to venture. I can't tell if it's nonsense or not until I hear my own words taking vaporous shape on the air. Only then can I appreciate what I've heard myself say. Jeez, with the needlessly-detailed neurotically-existential introspection! Can you tell I've been reading Ed Poe lately? How middle-school.

I'm really not that type. In person I'm far more like what I'm like when I've been reading Twain.

In any case, judging from their actions at least, people seemed to enjoy bumming smokes at me to help ease their tobacco-related temporary exiles, and I have always been more than OK with helping them with their habit. But I had my personal "no-buy" rule, to keep me from developing a habit of my own. I think I've even talked about that here before. I'll put the 'addiction' tag on this post, it may come up.

Anyway, all that changed in this past September, when (cued by a minor personal crisis of my own, which hardly matters now) I decided the time for the "no buy" rule had passed. You know what? This story is pretty long already. THE END


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thought of the day: a person, change

You can't change the essence of your being, but you can change the substance of your doing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wait. Do I Know You?

Fear not. The air is, and was, clear. Such doubts as I've had have never been about matters of substance, grievance, or complaint - only the usual doubts of whether and to what degree a person who I've met (or never met, in theory!), especially one whom I regard highly, knows me - and therefore, whether and to what degree their like or their love can truly be "of me."

That's clear enough. I don't say one can only love the known, but the love of one not known is surely of a different character than a love of one known. I'm not trying to be existential, here. Epistemology - as regards the so-called nature of reality, I mean. As regards the possibility of "knowledge." It's a topic of pure trivia and whimsy! One which can never increase one's grasp of anything useful or tangible. Good for amusement, of course! Otherwise puerile, sophomoric, inutile.

Epistemology, solely as it relates to human beings, is in fact a vital and urgent question.

Do we know each other?

How do we know each other?

How do we know we know each other?

How well do we know each other?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Really Happened In Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Okay stick with me on this one. It's not that complicated.

What happened is that the director put together one cut originally for the movie, or it may have been that the cut was a collaboration between the director and some other mysterious "cutter" - the editor perhaps? This was the cut that got put out in 2001, and it bombed. No one knows why for sure. Equally unexplained, the movie gained a belated but pretty devoted following on either Netflix, DVD, Laserdisc or Blueray, or perhaps Broadcast or Cable Television - whatever the technological equivalent of "watching a movie at home" was, during this time period. People got into it and dug it that way, at home, so in 2004 a six-foot tall magic rabbit went back in time, gathered all the original footage plus some footage that had been "lost" (or perhaps, "cut"), and this was compiled together, again without explanation, for release once again to theaters as The "Directors Cut."

That's what really happened, but the irony is you still don't really know for sure what exactly the deal was with that rabbit. You might have to admit it's a little unsettling.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Quick One For The Family Back Home!

So yeah! Just wanted to say that despite my belief in a healthy and secular Caesar whom it is (I believe) the duty of every patriotic me myself and I to render unto; despite my high regard for the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment, the part that blocks any government establishment of religion, which means it blocks any and all government establishment of anybody's religion; despite the fact that it seems obvious to me that any law whose basis cannot be established without resort to supernatural justification is a government establishment of religion (I know, right?); and above all despite my emphasis on that protection as the foundation and wellspring of everyone's religious freedom - despite all that crap, I'd hate any of the kids back home to think I'm some kind of atheist. I'm not any kind of atheist! I'm strictly a theist. I'm a full-on theist. Full-bore. Hard-core! In fact, I'm a monotheist.

Come to think of it, I just re-read through all those "despites," and there really isn't an actual despite in the bunch, is there? None of them remotely conflicts with theism. In fact, they provide all practicing theists with vital and necessary support. So it's strange that some of my theist friends think that believing in the establishment clause as I do runs in some way contrary to...belief in God! Or in God's will. Or something. I don't really get it, to be honest. I don't understand the attitude, but I'll tell you what - it's been pretty prevalent! You tell someone that you abominate laws whose sole justification is in the supernatural, you tell them "FUCK THOSE LAWS! GET THEM OUT OF THERE! ROOT 'EM OUT RUTHLESSLY! OVERRULED! IT IS FORBIDDENETH!" - and they challenge the sincerity of your belief in God! Can anyone who actually believes in God think God needs the Constitution's help?

God doesn't. Sorry. But we do: we need that help from the Constitution, to secure our freedom to practice our own religion in this world where will runs free in all directions, nature plays no favorites (what a gift that is, the natural and discoverable, increasingly explicable universe!), and society cannot accurately be described as "sane." For one thing - worst case of multiple personality disorder ever! Society. True, it's not insane either, but you couldn't call it sane. Calling it either would be unwarranted anthropomorphizing.

So I emphasize that "despite" my firm believes up there, as I lay out what I see as the best, most righteous and most God-blessed way to govern and to set up a government - I am monotheist! I am monotheist nonetheless! I apply it to myself as both adjective and noun! Hopefully not in the same sentence: a monotheist monotheist?

But I am, though. I am even that.

I get the sense most people know this about me, but you know what? People change! So I don't mind checking in from time to time: "Yup! Still do believe in God, oddly enough. Ask myself every morning, the answer keeps coming back!" I don't mind people wondering, because to speak the truth is easy and pleasant. I love to reassure - I have never been shy about laying about me with brickbat reassurances! People accuse me of subtly about as often as they accuse me of espionage.

So yes, let there be no doubt on that score: I am a monotheist. "What's a monotheist?" you ask! Well come on pal. Really? Do you have to ask? Do you think the question's going to confuse anyone? I'll have you know I hold with none of your tricksy "I believe in God as the impersonal sum of the laws of physics!" style monotheism. That ain't what monotheists believe around this planet, and you can ask them, and you can check their public proclamations and statements of faith. The God I believe in is the one God that is. My understanding of God is held in common with all major monotheistic sects: the same major characteristics and attributes, held in common throughout the world by every sect, faith or congregation of anything like what you'd call significant size. There is not, as some claim, a great and irreconcilable variety of conflicting versions of God - not in God's major aspects, and not among the major competing sects. All monotheistic sects of any considerable size agree upon the main attributes of God.

For any monotheistic sect whether Judaic, Islamic or Christianic that even bothers to lay out God's attributes at all, there is unity on the most major and consequential aspects of God:

God is eternal. God existed before spacetime existed, God will never stop existing.

God is infinite. Infinite in capacity, extent, and intellect. Infinite in knowledge. Capable of anything!

God is personal. God can not only feel, God does in fact love.

I feel sure there are a few splinter sects tucked away here and there all over the world that deny God is eternal. Or that deny God is infinite (power, knowledge, whatever). Or that deny God is personal - although, there's already a word for those folks: they're called Deists, and they are not what you'd call a sizeable demographic. So if I missed somebody's sect with any considerable global prominence or membership, please fill me in! That's something I'd be keen to know.

As things stand, though, I've looked into an awful lot of monotheistic sects and what they publically claim to believe God is is very strikingly consistent(hot tip: if it refuses to publically proclaim its core beliefs - that's not a religion. That's a cult). To the best of my life-long-habitual deeply-delved and assiduously-sought knowledge, all monotheism unites on God being the one eternal, infinite, personal being - and for me to say "the one" there is pretty howlingly redundant. Since we're talking about monotheists.

Those are the significant aspects. Aspects the next level down are kind of trivial by comparison, unless I'm forgetting something pretty big. A lot of them fall under speculations over what God wants. I will quote Roger Waters, "What God wants, God gets." Followed immediately by "God help us all," - a sentiment with which I could not agree more, Roger Waters!

But then I tend to trust God to manage God's judgment, and to administer the fulfillment of God's will. I also take as granted - which it very much seems to me to be granted, a stringless gift! - I take it as granted that my own will is free. I don't subscribe to the idea that God cares what school I decide to go to, or what jobs I apply for, or what hobbies I apply myself to in my spare time. Some people do subscribe to that. They believe God has a detailed plan for every inch of their life, which it is their job to divine! I don't suppose they'll get it wrong, if I'm right that God's OK with us picking our path - but wow, some of them sure do drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what God wants them to do, like it's a puzzle. Life is hard enough to figure good ways through without bringing divination into it.

For me, I believe that to serve God's will it is above all important that I love others as myself, that I love especially my enemies, that I judge no one's eternal worth or personal soul. It's crucial for me to recognize and accept that no one, no matter how bad I think they are, is beyond the power of Christ's mercy - which is to say, the power of God's judgment. Any of us can reject God's judgment, of course: any of us can take it on to presume to the throne of Christ's judgment, to reject the judgment of God and to install our own judgment in its place. Not that it has force - but we have free will to do so, to pronounce emptily and arrogantly and presumptuously and such. I believe we are strongly cautioned against doing so, but does that stop us? Nobody's perfect I guess!

The bottom line is I can't swear that my understanding of God's will for me is the right one. I am strongly led by scriptural and liturgical guidance to accept those precepts on what I should do. I feel calm and collapsed in the saving embrace of God's judgment when I am in harmony with all of those things. It's the best I can do at the moment, and it feels like the best way I can possibly do it!

But since at bottom if even I, sweet and harmonious as I am, can't proclaim from the mountain what it is God's will for me and others - beyond making loved ones of your worst enemies, beyond relinquishing judgment to God, beyond doing one's best to love and serve: of course I can proclaim on that! - anyone can proclaim on that. It's evident. But if some son of a bitch gets the idea he can take his idea of religion and stuff it into the code of law in MY country - well, for one thing they're not going to have too much fucking luck. Laws like that are to be rooted out and struck down, and I expect continuous progress on that front. I'm not too worried.

Anyway, God will take care of all such heretics and blasphemers however God judges is warranted, and in God's own sweet time. Where do they get off!

Yeah. Also: not gay. Not gay at all. Excuse me! I am "gay" as in - I traipse, I frolic, etc. Great word! I was pretty much born gay, in that sense. I'm not homosexual, though. That's what I should say to be precisely accurate. Where gendersexual orientation is concerned, I am in complete and utter solidarity with the lesbians.