Author Topic: Strange Connections  (Read 51317 times)

Offline Daniel

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Strange Connections
« on: November 10, 2006, 02:10:29 pm »
Due to the Performance Thread, I have recently revitalized my interest in the music of Loreena McKennitt (I'm hoping to get her new CD as a Christmas Present). Her last two CDs (released in 96 and 97, I believe) are my two top favorite CDs of all time right now, followed closely by Lesiem's "Auracle" and "Aria 2: New Horizons".

"The Mask and the Mirror" This is the older of the two CDs that I so love, and the title makes reference to a line from Shakespeare's "The Tempest". A musical rendition of Profion's speech is the last track on the CD. The CD is overall beautiful, but two songs stand out in my mind: "The Dark Night of The Soul" written by St. John of the Cross (14th or 15th century) was incorporated as a beautiful musical piece. I have no idea if St. John was gay or not, but I have an immense fondness for his writings and find it strange that several translations of the poem include intimate imagery in relations to another male. It may be that this was intended to be Christ, but that is not made clear in the poem, so it leaves a universe of possibilities. (My favorite type of writing). It is also strange to think that William Shakespeare might himself have been bisexual, as made clear by several of his lesser known sonnets and poems, and with that knowledge firmly in hand how much more meaningful are the plays "Romeo and Juliet", "Twelfth Night", "The Merchant of Verona" and other plays which glorify or romanticize difficult or socially unacceptable relationships. The other song is a musical rendition of "The Two Trees" which once again, deals with forbidden or difficult love, and is a classic poem.

"The Book of Secrets" This is the newer CD (97), and her last before she went on tour. I find this interesting because the title of the CD is the same as a book written by an openly gay Sufi mystic Farid ud-Din Attar (12th Century). His chief works are "The Book of the Divine" "The Book of Affliction" and "The Book of Secrets". He wrote another book entitled "The Conference of the Birds" in which homosexual love is frequently praised for its intensity and passion, and the homosexual's ability to give up all respectability in the name of love is represented as mirroring the necessity of abandoning all restrictions and social shibboleths in the search for God.

"Abbasseh told a wondering scholar once:
' The man who's kindled by love's radiance
Will give birth to a woman; when love's fire
Quickens within a woman this desire,
She gives birth to a man; it is denied
That Adam bore a woman from his side,
That Mary bore a man? Until this light
Shines out, such truths are hidden from your sight;
But when its glory comes you will receive
Blessings far greater than you can conceive.
Count this as wealth; here is the faith you need.
But if the world's base glory is your creed,
Your soul is lost - seek the wealth insight gives;
In insight our eternal kingdom lives.
Whoever drinks the mystics' wine is king
Of all the world can show, of everything -
Its realms are specks of his authority,
The heavens but a ship on his wide sea;
If all the sultans of the world could know
That shoreless sea, its mighty ebb and flow,
They'd sit and mourn their wretched impotence
With eyes ashamed to meet each other's glance.'"

Farid un-Din Attar was the favorite poet of a number of the Sufi mystics that followed him, including Rumi.

Anyway, back to the CD... :)

The songs in "The Book of Secrets" are less romantic than those in "The Mask and the Mirror", but I find this refreshing as most popular music seems devoted to the elusive material romance, but no less spiritually intense. While listening to her music there is some crossing that occurs within, a crossing of experiences of the divine and of the physical, a strange awareness that everything is in fact one and the same, and that the pinings of physical desire are the pinings of spiritual desire just more intensely wrapped up in consciousness and physicality. In other words, Loreenna grants us a taste of the mystical traditions of the ancient world, lovingly and beautifully I might add.

I have to go to work right now, but I'll come back and try to get to a point.... (Do I have a point? I think so, :D)

« Last Edit: November 10, 2006, 02:13:14 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 12:15:36 pm »
I suppose what I find strange about the whole connection is that I wonder if it was done intentionally, or if this is just something that happened to spring into existence from the mental foundations of the universe. I suppose you could argue that as being intentional also, but I am referring to Ms. McKennitt's intentions. I can see no specific defense on her part for any agenda; only a beautiful attention to the spiritual and the physical at once.

I also question why I think this is so important, but that is another question for another day, and perhaps one for an avid reader of me sometime after my death. I am too lost in the experience and exploring its distinct avenues and broad applications to our understanding of the universe that I do not wish to question why it is so, and just accept it as it is. If that can be defined as a fault, I hope it is my only very obvious one.

For too long have I been succinctly aware that there is more to life, the universe, and everything than meets the physical senses. Human intention, rationality, and emotionality deems it so, but few have attempted to comprehend this sense of extraordinariness that our human consciousness seems to revolve around. It is a purely psychic experience, and still one which lacks solid definition, but there is no doubt in my mind that this experience is part of what maintains the evolution of consciousness at a universal level.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2006, 12:54:31 pm »
For reference sake, here are lyrical renditions of the two poems I was telling you about.

"The Two Trees"
by William Butler Yeats


Beloved, gaze in thine own heart
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody.
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee,
There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart
Thine eyes grow full of tender care;
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.

Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile,
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to bareness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings: alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care;
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.

And "The Dark Night of the Soul"
by St. John of the Cross


Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

CHORUS
Oh night thou was my guide
of night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart
That fire t'was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come

CHORUS

Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
From o'er the fortress walls
the wind would his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

CHORUS

I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lover's breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the morning's mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
there they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
there they dimmed amongst the lilies fair 
 
 
 
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2006, 01:12:22 pm »
Beautiful.  I'm busy copying and pasting your excerpts.  Thanks for posting.  Listening to Loreena McKennitt's music is for me sometimes a spiritual experience. 

Thank you for your very sharp observations.  I knew how multilayered her music was, but this is a revelation.  I will listen to her music again with a new eye and ear.

I, too,  hope I get her new CD as a holiday gift.

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2006, 06:36:54 pm »
Speaking of music being a spiritual experience ..

I bought Josh Groban's new CD "AWAKE" yesterday and I am even more in love with his music than before! *sigh*
Danny, I know you love his music as well, you gotta get the new CD!  :)

~Milli


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2006, 12:21:08 am »
I went in to our local Barnes and Noble earlier this evening where there was a full cardboard standup display of Josh Groban's new CD. As I have absolutely no money right now, I wonder why I went in. Loreena's new CD won't be released until Nov. 21, but I found out today that if you purchase her CD at B&N, it includes an extra track (Raglan Road or something like that.)

I hope you all are beginning to see why this thread is entitled Strange Connections. Josh Groban and Lorenna McKennitt have nothing to do with one another, except that they are both musical artists, and yet I go into Barnes & Noble on a day shortly after discussing some of the deeper meanings that her music has for me, and I find promotional materials for both CDs near the front of the store... Absolutely fascinating.

I noticed with a little tugging smile that the Josh Groban cardboard display had a "Reserve for Scott" post-it stuck to the back of it. Yeah for Scott.

Before I left B&N, I got my free tall hot beverage (A Chai Latte with added nutmeg powder) and an almond biscotti (only 94 cents after the 10% discount), and sat down to enjoy my beverage, noticing that a customer near me was reading "The Dummy's Guide To Communicating Effectively", and had a stack of books near him: "The Inner Fire of the Soul" and "Life Coaching" among them. I had previously purchased "The Inner Fire of the Soul" at Half-Price Books, and knew what an extraordinary accomplishment that book was. I left bemoaning the fact that People Magazine seems to have gone down the trendy road and focused upon celebrity gossip instead of any stories of particular human interest. That in turn led me to realize that so much of what is offered in our media in this current day and age (as opposed to 10 or even 5 years ago) is the maggot infested remnants of a materialistic, sadistic, voyeuristic society, and that shows such as "Jerry Springer" and the various courtroom shows cater entirely to this society. To be honest, I cannot even be in the same room as someone watching one of those programs without feeling my brain slowly turning to mush. If I can, I insist that it be turned off, otherwise I leave.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2006, 12:35:13 am »
sneaking on to tell this

I have a scroll across the top of my computer screen with headlines...one of them is: Lohan calls Paris a four letter word

this is news? what is wrong with us?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2006, 12:52:33 am »
Loreena McKennit's new CD is entitled "An Ancient Muse" and makes reference to Homer's invocation to the muses in the telling of his tales. What is arguably one of the greatest Homeric epic is of course the Iliad, which was portrayed relatively correctly in the film "Troy", a film which was ultimately unsatisfying because it does not portray the homosexual relationship between Achilles and his shield-bearer Patrocles. To a reader of the Iliad, the absence of this passionate union takes out the main source for Achilles' anger, so in the film he looks like an idiot, or worse, just a plain ***hole.

I suppose this can be compared with "Alexander", the theatrical release that painted a human standard so Homeric that the American audience had difficulty connecting with it and which spawned a Director's Cut where the scenes make even less sense than the theatrical version. In other words, I suppose there are some things that should remain in the written or oral traditions because they make the most sense there and not converted to a theatrical rendition.

Overall, both films failed to incorporate the ancient Greek or Hellenistic ideals that made the stories so great for their time period, and wondrous for those that can grasp even the barest hints of those ideals: masculine softness, emotionally complex subtlety, a ponderous or inquisitive nature, and the most important one of all, human fallibility.  The films paint the Greek and Hellenistic armies as savage, trained warriors and while some may have had a little military training, it is more likely that the armies would have been composed of civilian conscripts.  This is made very clear in the Homeric epics, where he does what he can to paint the warriors' private and civilian lives in addition to their military ones.  These are not bloodthirsty savages but gentle country folk being forced by their kings to fight against those who were previously trading partners and competitors.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2006, 01:02:17 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2006, 04:57:49 pm »
Today I heard two interesting songs on the radio, and I find this strange because it was not my favorite type of music or even a station I listen to regularly. The song "Unwritten". It took me a moment to realize that that was the title of the song and not just that the artist had never given it a title... lol. And the song "Waiting On The World To Change"

Unwritten

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah

Waiting On The World To Change

me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it

so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's hard to beat the system
when we're standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
now if we had the power
to bring our neighbors home from war
they would have never missed a Christmas
no more ribbons on their door
and when you trust your television
what you get is what you got
cause when they own the information, oh
they can bend it all they want

that's why we're waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's not that we don't care,
we just know that the fight ain't fair
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

and we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

-----

Between these two songs I managed to find a sign advertising man purses (I didn't realize that was a legitimate term for business bags), and was surprised to find a recipe for Black Gold (1/4 Coca-cola, 3/4 Dr. Pepper) in a very unusual location. Considering that these two products are made by different companies, it is indeed surprising to find any public endorsement of a combination of the two. But then I recall that I live in Texas, where Dr. Pepper is the milk and honey. People still drive 150 miles or more to get the original recipe Dr. Pepper in Dublin, Tx. (It comes in the glass bottles and is made with pure cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.)

Are these connected? - not really. It's only interesting to note that strange things keep cropping up one right after the other.

In fact, there have been little connections that have occurred today, so I am still waiting for that strange and bizarre moment which will connect all the other strange and bizarre moments to provide a trail of hidden potential. I have them pretty regularly, so I'm certain that my signpost will come today at some point.



Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Online Front-Ranger

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2006, 05:08:29 pm »
I was just reading Scott (moremojo)'s words about Dr. Pepper on this same forum. Great minds think alike!!
When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2006, 05:35:27 pm »
That song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield - one of my fave songs.

I listen to it at least once a day!  :)  Love the words!


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2006, 01:28:15 pm »
Today, I ponder some of the strange connections of the transcendental era (the late 18th, early 19th century), mainly because in addition to Walt Whitman, Herman Melville (Moby Dick) and Henry David Thoreau also commented on the wonders of the homosexual relationship. I had always admired Thoreau's Walden Pond and his essay Civil Disobedience inspired later revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jr, but not until recently did I realize that Herman Melville or Henry David Thoreau were gay, or that they had even corresponded with Walt Whitman.

Anyway, lets kick off with some Whitman today. Words to live by for anyone, straight or gay, in my opinion.

"All beauty comes from beautiful blood and beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough... the fact will prevail through the universe... but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body..."
From the "Preface" of Leaves of Grass

Henry David Thoreau
On Friendship

"What is commonly honored with the name of Friendship is no very profound or powerful instinct. Men do not, after all, love their Friends greatly. I do not often see the farmers made seers and wise to the verge of insanity by their Friendship for one another. They are not often transfigured and translated by love in each other's presence. I do not observe them purified, refined, and elevated by the love of a man.
     But sometimes we are said to love one another, that is, to stand in a true relation to him, so that we give the best to, and receive the best from, him. Between whom there is hearty truth there is love; and in proportion to our truthfulness and confidence in one another, our lives are divine and miraculous, and answer to our ideal. There are passages of affection in our intercourse with mortal men and women, such as no prophecy has taught us to expect, which transcend our earthly life, and anticipate heaven for us. What is this Love that may come right into the middle of a prosaic Goffstown day, equal to any of the gods? that discovers a new world, fair and fresh and eternal, occupying the place of this old one, when to the common eye a dust had settled on the universe? which world cannot else be reached and does not exist. What other words, we may also ask, are memorable and worthy to be repeated than those which love has inspired?"
From A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Now we come to one of the great American classics, Moby Dick, which I have always dreaded because of its size and the boredom that many profess from reading it. I think their boredom comes from trying to read too much too quickly, and find that if the book is read more slowly it offers immense enjoyment. It is filled with a mystical depth. Few writers have meditated so profoundly on the mystery of good and evil and the invisible war within the human soul. It becomes even more meaningful when you realize that the author was facing his own inner demons as he came to terms with his own sexuality (or perhaps continued to face difficulty doing so).

Father Mapple's Sermon
"I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this masthead and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appaled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa. But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to the living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along "into the midst of the seas," where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and "the weeds were wrapped about his head," and all the watery world of woe bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet - "out of the body of hell" - when the whale grounded upon the ocean's utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up toward the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and "vomited out Jonah upon the dry land"; when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten - his ears, like two sea shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean - Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. To preach the Truth to the face of the Falsehood! That was it!
     "This, shipmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than appall! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway!"
     He drooped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out in a heavenly enthusiasm - "But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main truck higher than the kelson is low?  Delight is to him - a far, far upward, and inward delight - who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight - top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven. Delight is to him, who all the waves of the billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath - O Father! - chiefly known to me by thy rod - mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing; I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"
     He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place."
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2006, 01:52:16 pm »
If there is a heaven there needs to be a special place for people who will transcribe the volume you have to share with us. Thank you. I think I will plan to read Moby Dick in 2007.  :-*
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2006, 05:15:58 am »
Well, I haven't read anything phenomenal in a while, but I thought we might explore some more poetry. From Emily Dickenson to Sappho herself. Emily is one of the most well known American poets, and her family was all too eager to hide the majority of her poems, as they were love poems written to women. Apparently certain poems were only recently made available to the public.

Her poem "If I can keep one heart from breaking," resounds with so much of my own philosophy and emotional standards, that I bequeathed it to a fellow Brokie here at a suitable time. Of course, now I can't find it, but there is a musical rendition of this poem in Bill Douglas's Songs of Earth and Sky, and a beautiful one. From that same CD I also like "My love is like the red, red rose", which is once again a famous poem, but I cannot recall who wrote it.

Nature - the Gentlest Mother is,
Impatient of no Child -
The feeblest - or the waywardest -
Her Admonition mild -

In Forest - and the Hill -
By Traveler - be heard -
Restraining Rampant Squirrel -
Or too impetuous Bird-

How fair Her Conversation -
A Summer Afternoon -
Her Household - Her Assembly -
And when the Sun go down -

Her Voice among the Aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest Cricket -
The most unworthy Flower -

When all the Children sleep -
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light Her lamps -
Then bending from the Sky -

With infinite Affection -
And infinite Care -
Her Golden finger on Her lip -
Wills Silence - Everywhere -

Sappho is the earliest known woman writer in the central Western tradition (610 - 580 B.C.). The ancient Greeks referred to her as "The Poetess", the female counterpart of Homer, and she remains one of the most celebrated natives of Lesbos, her face adorning the coins of that land for almost two centuries. Her work radiates a vision of the sacredness of love, a belief that the divine revels in our passion for joy and beauty and manifests itself in and through it.


Leave Crete,
Aphrodite,
and come to this
sacred place
encircled by apple trees,
fragrant with offered smoke.

Here, cold springs
sing softly
amid the branches;
the ground is shady with roses;
from trembling young leaves,
a deep drowsiness pours.

In the meadow,
horses are cropping
the wildflowers of spring,
scented fennel
blows on the breeze.

In this place, Lady of Cyprus, pour
the nectar that honors you
into our cups,
gold, and raised up for drinking.


I confess

I confess
I love that
which caresses
me. I believe
Love has his
share in the
Sun's brilliance
and virtue.

To An Army Wife, In Sardis:
Some say a cavalry corps,
some infantry, some, again,
will maintain that the swift oars

of our fleet are the finest
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whatever one loves, is.

This is easily proved: did
not Helen - she who had scanned
the flower of the world's manhood-

choose as first among men one
who laid Troy's honor in ruin?
Warped to his will, forgetting

love due her own blood, her own
child, she wandered far with him.
So Anactoria, although you

being far away forget us,
the dear sound of your footstep
and light glancing in your eyes

would move me more than glitter
of Lydian horse or armored
tread of mainland infantry.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2006, 05:18:08 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Kelda

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2006, 05:51:02 am »
That song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield - one of my fave songs.

I listen to it at least once a day!  :)  Love the words!

Is she well now in the US these days Milli? I think she muxt be concentrating on that side of the world at the moment - she's not done had any singles in the UK for about a year.  Saw her at Licve 8 - Very good live performer - she dueted with Jamie Cullum who I LOVVVVEEE!!!

http://www.idbrass.com

Please use the following links when shopping online -It will help us raise money without costing you a penny.

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/idb

http://idb.easysearch.org.uk/

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2006, 12:58:09 pm »
Is she well now in the US these days Milli? I think she muxt be concentrating on that side of the world at the moment - she's not done had any singles in the UK for about a year.  Saw her at Licve 8 - Very good live performer - she dueted with Jamie Cullum who I LOVVVVEEE!!!

Hey Kelda ~ I don't know if she is popular in the US, but I believe that song "Unwritten" was a hit over here in Canadaland.  I heard it on the radio all the time and saw the music video a couple of times as well.  She might not be a household name yet, but she certainly has the potential to be!  :)


Danny ~  Thanks for bringing all these beautiful poems over here!


Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2006, 02:51:17 pm »
"For what its worth" I can't say I've ever heard of her, but will keep me ears open.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2006, 04:54:59 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2006, 06:56:34 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

Fine!  ;D

Daniel, where can I find that essay you wrote on Latter Days?  I would love to check it out!  :)


Offline Andrew

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2006, 08:17:38 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

You know, you don't have to write something worthwhile every day.  Remember your Emily Dickinson:

Your thoughts don't have words every day
They come a single time
Like signal esoteric sips
Of the communion Wine

It looks as if you found the edition of Dickinson I was recommending - the one that preserves her capitalization and punctuation in the manuscripts.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2006, 03:22:59 am »
Fine!  ;D

Daniel, where can I find that essay you wrote on Latter Days?  I would love to check it out!  :)

You know how much I hate telling other people what to think, so the essay on Latter Days isn't really an essay, per se. Instead, it is kind of a teaching guide for students pursuing symbolic interactionism (a sociological model that views all interactions between humans as having specific symbolic meanings, and that is often employed in the creation or discovery of deeper meaning within various forms of media.) It is more of a discussion guide, really, something to help others talk about the film, about the symbols present, and to acknowledge that just about anything could be a symbol depending on the context. But here goes:


An independent mind can easily grasp the concepts of symbolic interactionism, but how it might be applied to certain films or even to general life may be difficult to perceive. Viewing the film Latter Days may aid such a mind by an accomplished understanding of the symbols that are frequently used in the film.
   What follows is a list of questions which symbolic interactionists might consider thought provoking and then an explanation of certain symbols as they were used in the film and how they provide a deeper sense of meaning. To participate in this activity, simply take out several pieces of paper and a pen and write down your thoughts in relation to each question as soon as the opportunity reveals itself, by either pausing the film or waiting until the film is over to write down the answers to the questions.
     Hopefully, through the creative mental activity of symbolic interactionism, a world full of deeper meaning may be opened up to the viewers. A continual addition to depth of meaning is a great human ability and worthy of praise, respect, and value.
 
Question 1: Explain the correlations between the visual cues and the actor's voice-over in the opening sequence. What might you infer from this about the rest of the film?
 
Question 2: What is the main background color scheme at the beginning of the film? Why do you think this is?
 
Question 3: Is there anything unusual about Christian or Aaron's body language, expressions, or overall demeanor in the first few moments of the film? What do you think they are thinking? How does this relate to their actual speech and actions?
 
Question 4: What is so interesting about Christian's and Aaron's names? Does that denote something interesting or unusual about their developing relationship?
 
Question 5: What are the main colors used in the restaurant? How do they make you feel?
 
Question 6: What are the main colors at Christian's apartment in the opening sequences? How do they make you feel?
 
Question 7: What does Aaron see on the car trip in the opening sequence? Why do you think this is in the film?
 
Question 8: What does Christian wear around his neck? Why? (Two possible answers.)
 
Question 9: What precious heirloom was given to Aaron? Why, and how is it symbolically important?
 
Question 10: Describe Aaron's relationships with his father, mother, and sister. Use body language and physical interaction as clues for your answers.
 
At this point, several important dimensions of symbolic interactionism should have been perceived. The remaining questions will be a mixture of extremely detailed questions and questions similar to the ones already asked. These provide a second depth of symbolic interactionism. The film may have to be paused at moments to view certain symbols.
 
Question 11: What is significant about the number 4? Why was this used in the film? What correlations could it represent?
 
Question 12: Listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs as you come across them. What do they say about the events of the film and about life in general?
 
Question 13: How is moral relativism treated in the film?
 
Question 14: What figures are present in the office at the restaurant? What dual symbol is present? Why? (A dual symbol is a symbol that could have two meanings.)
 
Question 15: Describe the colors and visual experience of the area between the apartments? What could this area represent?
 
Question 16: What is present on Aaron's dresser? What other object in the film could they relate to? Putting everything in the scene together, what could they collectively represent?
 
Question 17: What does Christian decorate his room with? Why is this meaningful? Considering what Aaron says to him, what could they represent?
 
Question 18: How do Christian's friends treat him? Is this attitude acceptable in their situation?
 
Question 19: Describe the significance of a broken laundry basket.
 
Question 20: By observing body language and physical interactions, explain how Aaron feels about his fellow missionaries.
 
By now, the symbolic interactionist will begin to recognize what needs to be looked for. Even the smallest detail could have immense significance, proving that a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words.
 
Question 21: Explain the significance of doors in the film. Could this relate to some other device explored earlier? Explain why or why not.
 
Question 22: What significance does a hospital have in this film? What other symbols of life and death are present and how do they relate to one another?
 
Question 23: Explain "Snow". Why is it important for Christian? This may have multiple answers.
 
Question 24: What is the meaning of an empty birdcage?
 
Question 25: Explain the meaning of the small crystal vase in the apartment that Christian delivered food to. What other crystal figurines appear in this room and what do they signify?
 
Question 26: What is the visible word of the title of the book that is present in the same apartment? What does it signify?
 
Question 27: What is depicted in the wall art in the same apartment? What does it signify?
 
Question 28: Why is the seating arrangement in this apartment important to consider? How does it relate to other events in the film?
 
Question 29: What color is the car that Aaron rides in? What does this signify?
 
Question 30: What are the letters on the same car's license plate? What do they signify?
 
Question 31: What does Christian wear around his neck when he is pursuing Aaron? What does this signify?
 
Question 32: What is interesting about the lighting of the hotel room? What does it signify?
 
Question 33: Besides the obvious, what difficulties of expression do you think the actors of the roles of Aaron and Christian experienced? What symbolic interactions might explain this?
 
Question 34: What is accidentally left behind in the hotel room? What does this signify?
 
Question 35: Compare Aaron's arrval at the aiport with his earlier departure. What differences are markedly apparent? What differences are subtle?
 
Question 36: What is the color scheme at Aaron's excommunication assembly? How does this make you feel?
 
Question 37: What is the color scheme at Aaron's parents house? How does this make you feel? Can you identify an unusual similarity to a previous color scheme used in the film.
 
Question 38: Explain the symbolism of Aaron's nightmare.
 
Question 39: What objects are present in Aaron's rooms that might have symbolic meaning? Describe them and their potential meanings.
 
Question 40: Explain Aaron's ultimate symbolic act and what it relates to.
 
Question 41: What symbols are overtly apparent in Aaron's aversion therapy sequence? What does this indicate?
 
Question 42: In Christian's guilt, he retreats to a familiar place. What is significant about the specific location in which this scene occurs with a respected employer?
 
Question 43: In the closing events of the film, identify several scenes which seem to symmetrically mirror the events at the start of the film. Describe why this is significant or important in the scheme of things.
 
Question 44. Ultimately, what conclusions can you make about religious experiences based on the symbolic interactions of this film?
 
Question 45: Ultimately, what conclusions can you make about life and meaning based on the symbolic interactions and events of the film?



**Some of these questions were answered in the director/actors commentary of the DVD. If possible, try to come up with your own responses instead of saying what the director or actors did about a particular scene. The point here is to use your own mind in a creative or thought-provoking manner, to search for meaning where it might not have been perceived before.


« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 02:27:23 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2006, 04:40:26 am »
Daniel - Thank you so much for posting these thought-provoking questions...I'm going to take some time and really see what I can come up with :).

Would you be willing to post these on the latterdays community at LiveJournal?  I bet plenty of people there would be interested.  If you don't want to/don't have time, may I post them with your permission and credit you?

I posted a very small fan fic piece (Milli dragged, pushed and prodded! :) ) earlier today and already have like 6 nice responses!  The point being that there are still people obviously interested in Latter Days.

I also wanted to let you know that a friend loaned me 'The Book of Secrets' and I'm really enjoying it!  Thank you...I wouldn't have known about it but for you.

Best,
Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2006, 02:16:00 pm »
Oh, go ahead and post it for me... I'm glad you're enjoying "The Book of Secrets". Get your own copy if you can. I need to order another one for myself. My CD is scratched, I think; it keeps skipping on the first track.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2006, 02:20:02 pm »
Danny ~  Thanks for those questions!   :D
I can't wait to go through them one by one and see what I can come up with.

Lynne ~  It's an excellent idea to post them on the LD site.

 :-*

~M


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2006, 02:57:09 am »
I'm not sure if everyone knew this about me or not, but I am a certified holistic life coach and have been fully trained in the many styles that are available to life coaches for their clients to pursue deeper meaning or richness in their lives, to find their purpose, and to live life more in accordance with their truest desires.

Of course, I have always made it a point to never ask someone to do something unless I am willing to do it myself, and I have a great difficulty with commitment to difficult or emotionally challenging tasks, even if they are necessary for me to complete, so I am struggling with that, in hopes of making some transformations in my own life for the better, as a part of my spiritual evolution in the aftermath of the life-shattering film event.

One of the most interesting part of this certification training was reading about the stories of other people who have been life coached, or even just had brief encounters with a life coaching experience that changed their life for the better.

"With my dear friend Barbara Morse, I began a family history project called "Tell Us Your Story," fifteen years ago. In one afternoon, we developed a list of twenty-five questions that we felt really got a the crux of people's life passages, and turned these questions into family history workshops, a school curriculum, and community festival events. We realized that these questions crossed generational, cultural, and gender boundaries, and reached the heart of everybody's life story. Anybody anywhere can answere these questions - questions like 'How did your life change after you had a baby?' 'How did your life change after someone close to you died?' 'What did someone teach you that made a difference?' And our favorite question, which is 'What family secret did you learn that changed your view of yourself or someone in your family?'
     "I used this question once when I was at the hom of my friend Michael. There were two other visitors - two very shy guys from North Dakota - waiting for Michael to come home. They sat on the couch patiently and politely for hours without talking to me or each other. Finally I went over and said, 'Hey, have either of you learned a family secret that changed your view of yourself or someone in your family?' They both said yes, and we immediately had a wonderful conversation of extremely intimate information. One of the guys, Darren, told how his father had killed someone in a fight as a young man and had become very inward and fearful of his emotions after that event. Darren had just learned this, and it answered a lifetime of questions for him - he had modeled himself after his shy, withdrawn father without knowing the story behind his father's personality."

This leads to one of the exercises that some life coaches feel their clients will benefit from: the daily focus experience. For people keeping an actual diary with pen-writing, it can be a marvel. And indeed, I recommend this to my clients as one of their first priorities. Dream interpretation, daily intuitions, heart-wisdoms, and daily mental focusing can all be practiced through my sectioned journal.

Subjects of Interest

Jot down each day for thirty days:
  • Anything that you overhear, read, think about, see, or are told about that catches your attention more than usual.
  • Things that excite, delight, encourage, intrigue, or uplift you.
  • A brief description of someone whom you admire. Why do you admire him or her?
  • Any need you see in your environment that is not being addressed.

Summarize any pattern you see in your notes. Underline the sentence or words that give you a feeling of excitement or arouse strong interest.

I've done this before a few times, but so far have failed to see any pattern or connections from day to day. Maybe I just have ADD or something similar, but to be honest I can find few things making connections in my life in a meaningful way. Or, actually I take that back, I can find few things making connections in my life in a practical way. The connections that occur are often mystical or hyper-intuitive in their experience, and as much as I would like to, I can find no career-line which pays people to have mystical experiences.

So here goes:
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2006, 03:28:28 am »
Subjects of Interest Day 1

Tuesday, November 21, 2006.

** I awaken at 6 AM and immediately recall the thrum of one of the Asia Minor instrumental pieces from The Book of Secrets CD. The thrum is mirrored deep within my pelvic region and I wonder if it is possible to dance while being absolutely still. Perhaps this is the best way to dance, for then every movement would be greatly sensitive, and the inner body could embrace the fires of passion while the outer body relaxes. It is strange to think of the body as three or more bodies shelling one another, but that is what is experienced.

** I look at one of the paintings I have stored on my computer: it is a work of art known as "The Golden Temple" and is ethereal and uplifting at the same time. It reminds me very much of a website I once wanted to erect: The Temple of Inner Light, though other than providing a place for spiritual wisdom, I can think of no specific reason for its existence.

** As I make my way into the living room, which my roommates have grievously cluttered (an understatement), my eyes come across two things which immediately stand out to me: a burgundy and cream topiary floral arrangement I had made recently, with accents of gold-threaded cream ribbon, white rose, and golden seeds. It looks elegant even in its unpainted terra-cotta pot, and stands out like a sore thumb. Also a painting which my grandfather had completed a few years before he died, a mountain shimmers like crystal in the background of a great forest, both of which are reflected in a still lake. It reminds me slightly of the Brokeback Mountain poster, the lower lefthand corner of it.

** In the kitchen, I turn on the burners to heat water for Chai tea, and find the vanilla-flavored creamer. People wonder why I do not drink coffee. It is far too bitter for me, I tell them. Ick.

** At work, I find a slight chaos as the fine jewelry count was off (again) and I wonder what is wrong with the other people in my department. It is a simple and beautiful (the beauty lies in its importance and in the fact that it is an actual application, rather than something theoretic) logic puzzle. Our LP is bugging me again, wants me to find out where the discrepencies are. We've been missing one piece for a week or so, since they said they sent it to us, and they didn't, and we received 16 more of these than we should have on the last shipment. I don't understand what's so difficult about that. Sigh.

** That being completed, I found myself and the supervisor preparing for Friday's sale. Black Friday it is called, and so the little people dread the experience while the accountants rub their hands with glee. Our theme this year is "Love transforms everything." and in the fine jewelry department (to doggedly follow the trends set by the DeBeers corporation) "Love is a journey." Of course, both statements are correct, but if there is one thing I do not need it is a retail industry informing me that purchasing something will add to my spiritual existence. This is a tremendous untruth, and one worthy of public denouncement if I could get away with it and still keep my job.

**I spend most of the morning and afternoon doing what I think I do best: bringing order to chaos. I have not perfected a way to do it in my own life, as I myself am a little cluttered and chaotic, but when at work, my energy for doing such things is multiplied. By the time the supervisor has left, I have reorganized the chaotic mess of backstock for our fine jewelry gemstone merchandise and refurbished a number of our fashion jewelry cases to display colors and styles appropriate to the season. If you haven't noticed, this years colors are red, black (onyx, marcasite, hematite), white (silver and crystal in jewelry), and gold. And sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. Crystals and gold thread in everything. Some of the crystal pieces this year are rather elegant, and the golden pearl is beautiful if you can find the real thing.

**Home again. I tried to watch Boys Don't Cry but my roommates protested too much, so I obligingly changed the channel to Deal or No Deal. That is an exciting game show, and I'm not really even certain why. The whole body tenses up just watching them make their choice to deal or not deal with the banker. Then I watched an episode of 3 Pounds which seems to deal with the modern conflict of science vs. spirit. I enjoyed it immensely.

** I held the cat down so we could put her eardrops in, got a few scratches.

Other than that, no particular interests cropped up. I will try to pay more attention tomorrow.

« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 03:31:45 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2006, 03:37:02 am »
Oh, go ahead and post it for me... I'm glad you're enjoying "The Book of Secrets". Get your own copy if you can. I need to order another one for myself. My CD is scratched, I think; it keeps skipping on the first track.

Would you like me to make you a copy of mine?  I will...just PM me your snail mail.

I posted a long-winded introduction in LJ, quoting you shamelessly, naturally :), and the first three questions.  So we'll see what comes!  Thank you!  You should pop in and keep the discussions on track, Counsellor:

http://community.livejournal.com/latterdaysfans/

-Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2006, 03:46:56 am »
No, thanks though....

My CD case for The Book of Secrets was torn up a long time ago, so I need to reorder it for that too.  My brother had gotten me a CD holder for christmas one year, but I discovered that I enjoyed storing the CDs in their original cases far more. I'm not exactly certain why, but I think it has something to do with integrity... :) ??? lol

I'm really interested in seeing if anyone will post some answers to the questions... I'll post my own after a few people post theirs.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 03:51:47 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2006, 04:01:25 am »
No, thanks though....

My CD case for The Book of Secrets was torn up a long time ago, so I need to reorder it for that too.  My brother had gotten me a CD holder for christmas one year, but I discovered that I enjoyed storing the CDs in their original cases far more. I'm not exactly certain why, but I think it has something to do with integrity... :) ??? lol

I'm really interested in seeing if anyone will post some answers to the questions... I'll post my own after a few people post theirs.

I bet we do get some replies..something like 9 people commented on my little drabble and these are way more interesting!

About CD cases...I understand.  I keep my CDs in holders, but I'm not happy with that solution.  I'm also not happy with the way jewel cases break so easily.  Ideally, I'd get organized and keep the orginals in their cases and copies in portable holders...like that will ever happen, tho.  :-\
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2006, 03:22:59 pm »
Would you like me to make you a copy of mine?  I will...just PM me your snail mail.

I posted a long-winded introduction in LJ, quoting you shamelessly, naturally :), and the first three questions.  So we'll see what comes!  Thank you!  You should pop in and keep the discussions on track, Counsellor:

http://community.livejournal.com/latterdaysfans/

-Lynne

I'm gonna go look this up now!   :)


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2006, 03:41:09 am »
I can't do a subjects of interest today, I'm dead tired.

I managed to get up around 10, get to work at noon, got off work at 8:30. My brother dragged me off to see The Fountain at 9:30, and I got home at 1:00 AM
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2006, 12:26:51 pm »
Subjects of Interest Day 2

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

** I lazed in bed for some time this morning. Mainly because I could. It provides just a little more energy when you do get up.

** I did go with my mother to pick up the thanksgiving dinner from Boston Market. I had offered to come and cook a small meal that would not have had as much waste or leftovers, but she was insistent upon having an entire turkey and all the trimmings. Old ways die hard, I suppose. I don't think anything is wrong with a turkey dinner, but as long as I can remember my family eating this huge meal, we have never finished it (and usually throw out the leftovers 2 or 3 days later).

** On the way home I heard a song on the radio that I hadn't heard before: "Brandy" by Looking Glass.

(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda)

There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there's a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin' whiskey down
They say "Brandy, fetch another round"
She serves them whiskey and wine

The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea"
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the North of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loves

He came on a summer's day
Bringin' gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home

The sailor said " Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean foam rise
She saw its ragin' glory
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

At night when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man who's not around
She still can hear him say

She hears him say " Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

"Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
FADE

"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"


For some reason this immediately reminded me of Brokeback Mountain, and I was swallowed up by the great plains of pain that that film has provided to so many. Especially when you consider that the Great Plains is often called a sea of grass. There are a number of connections that I made rather instantly, but I am loathe to describe them individually. Some subtleties are far too beautiful to explain.

** Nothing really exciting or unusual happened at work, nothing worthy of notice. In fact, work went by as a blur. All 8 and a half hours of it. When I got home, I sat down for a few moments of immediate relief from the pain in my heels. I remember the television being on, but I can't recall what was on it. Oh, "Law and Order SVU" I think. I didn't have the energy to get the remote and change the channel, so I wonder how many brain cells I lost watching the rerun.

** About an hour after being at home, my brother and I went to see The Fountain, which apparently has received very poor reviews, no doubt due to its lack of apparent connectivity. Why do people go to a source of entertainment where they expect to be told exactly what to think...? Things are sometimes vague on purpose, and rightfully so. The film is worthy of its own blog entry, so I will certainly post something later on.

** I was driven nearly insane by the pointless advertising and inane drivel before the film began.

** I will say this about the film. I have heard it originally cast Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow in the main roles; but they left the project to do the film Babel instead. Having seen the film, I can say that Gwyneth might have performed that role well, but cannot see in any way how Brad Pitt might have performed with the emotional depth and intricacies the role that Hugh Jackman played.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2006, 01:12:34 pm »
What I am thankful for.

Every year, as long as I have eaten Thanksgiving Dinner with my family, the patriarch of our clan has insisted that we debase our sense of intimacy by professing those things which we are thankful for. I am grateful (thankful) for many things, but lack the immediate vocabulary to express it well when sitting at a dining table. In other words, I suppose someone else will need to give the toast. But I am indeed grateful for things, and on this special day, I can try to consider those things and profess them in some way.

I am most grateful for life, for the opportunities that present themselves to me where I am, in this current form, where my mind, heart, body, and soul can engage and reflect upon their presence and meaning.
Secondly, I am grateful for love: any capacity of one human to address and affect another, as Henry David Thoreau himself once spoke of. (See my earlier blog). Any ability to care for another, to see their needs, wants, hopes, and dreams and do what we can to see them completed. For me, personally, I would place hopes and dreams above wants, but it seemed more universal in application when given in that order.
I am grateful that there are people who understand me, at least as well as you all here do.  To me, it seemed almost an impossibility that anyone could understand my deep and intricate self unless I spelled it out to them. And even then there would be misunderstanding as words cannot capture the presence of mind. The mind, and perhaps my mind especially, seems to thrive upon themes and ideas, images and ideals, dreams and qualia. The most human philosopher has the greatest difficulty expressing or defining these constructs, so how could a normal person do so. It is amazing that human beings are able to understand one another at all, so I am forced to believe that there is some deep, symbolic depth of interaction that humans are capable of, and that it is this which allows understanding, rather than any attention to grammatical constructs of language or philosophy.

Whatever this deep and provocative "substance" is, this quality of the self that others are capable of grasping as I mentioned above, I am grateful for it. It is this inner being which a beloved film so desperately transformed; and it is this inner being which continues to ache by and for that transformation, whatever it is, however it occurs: a lifting of spirit towards some deep and transcendent meaning present within the universe itself. It has always been there, but I am only now seeing glimpses of the light filtering through dark cloud.

Dark cloud, dark cloud, dark cloud...... dark cloud?

An excerpt from The Cloud of Unknowing written in the fourteenth century by an unnamed mystic.

You must be careful never to strain your body or spirit irreverently. Simply sit relaxed and quiet but plunged and immersed in sorrow. The sorrow I speak of is genuine and perfect, and blessed is the man who experiences it. Every man has plenty of cause for sorrow but he alone understands the deep universal reason for sorrow who experiences that he is. Every other motive pales beside this one. He alone feels authentic sorrow who realizes not only what he is but that he is. Anyone who has not felt this should really weep, for he has never experienced real sorrow. This sorrow purifies a man of sin and sin's punishment. Even more, it prepares his heart to receive that joy through which he will finally transcend the knowing and feeling of his being.
     When this sorrow is authentic it is full of reverent longing for God's salvation, for otherwise no human being could sustain it. Were he not somehow nourished by the consolation of contemplative prayer, a man would be completely crushed by the knowing and feeling of his being. For as often as he would have a true knowing and a feeling of God in purity of spirit (insofar as that is possible in this life) and then feels that he cannot - for he constantly finds his knowing and feeling as it were occupied and filled with a foul, stinking lump of himself, which must always be hated and despised and forsaken, if he shall be God's perfect disciple, taught by him alone on the mount of perfection - he almost despairs for the sorrow that he feels, weeping, lamenting, writhing, cursing, and blaming himself. In a word, he feels the burden of himself so tragically that he no longer cares about himself if only he can love God.
     And yet in all this, never does he desire to not-be, for this is the devil's madness and blasphemy against God. In fact he rejoices that he is and from the fullness of a grateful heart he gives thanks to God for the gift and the goodness of his existence. At the same time, however, he desires unceasingly to be freed from the knowing and feeling of his being.
     Everyone must sooner or later realize in some manner both this sorrow and this longing to be freed. God in his wisdom will teach his spiritual friends according to the physical and moral strength of each to sustain this truth and in accordance with each one's progress and openness to his grace. He will instruct them little by little until they are completely one in the fullness of his love - that fullness possible on earth with his grace.


I do not agree completely with this philosophy, nor do I ask any who read it to. Instead let it speak to you however it will; many words sow discontent, but few words can clarify the greatest complexities.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2006, 04:58:53 pm »
It seems that I am not the only one suffering from some sort of seasonal disorder.

Allergies are in full bloom, at least that is what I think they are. For the past four days or so my eyes have been absolutely on fire. I can't look at anything or anyone for very long. It seems to be abating somewhat, but I still feel dried out. Will post more tonight. Must go to work.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2006, 05:08:35 pm »
You take it easy there, Danny!   :)

The seasonal disorder I am experiencing at this time is just the bone-chilling cold/winds we have been experiencing here over the last few days ..brr!  Gotta love ol' man winter!


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2006, 12:05:04 pm »
The poetry of Max Jacob (1876-1944):

Christ at the Movies

"When you're eating fruit, child, spit the seeds out,
Or in your little belly a whole tree will sprout,"
They said in my house when I was a boy:
That set me on the wrong track for sure:
Branches in the navel mean fruit all the more.
A tree all my own which no one takes away,
Whose fruit, no sooner eaten, grows back every day!

I have my tree today: my tree is the Cross;
Faith is its gift to my greediness.
Dryad of the gallows, when I summon you, come:
Rescue my life from its cruel humdrum.
Dryad of the gallows, descend like yesterday
Evening at the movies when you sat by me
So close. Your hand! Put your hand upon mine
And your so-human warmth and your breath divine.
Oh! I was sick and tired from thinking too much.
Let my body fold on yours at the touch.
And you! You deigned, as your shoulder hid my eyes,
To describe the movie and sort out the lines.
We had the cheapest seats, at ninety-five centimes;
You spoke of charity before those murky crimes
The Parisian wants every night for dessert.
Today, I'm alone. Lord, groping at my side
My eager fingers feel only the void.
Without you, my God, the world is blank, inert.
The eyes of my spirit sketch your body still,
But its mere imagination, an act of the will.
- When I go lug my spleen through Montparnasse
Do you want me to save a place in the cafes
For this body you give so generously
To the humblest, most useless of servants: to me?
That idiot movie!
Now I find it blessed.
Since you deigned, so my faith would be redressed,
To sit at my side amongst your people there.
A movie seat held you. It is a holy chair!

They call me crazy! Yes, I hear the reader now-
Or blasphemous, you scold with furrowed brow.
Madmen yourselves, if truth can make you laugh.
The Lord is everywhere, and with the worst riffraff.
To feel God in oneself, to hear Him, to reply,
Whether at the movies, in the street, at a cafe,
This common miracle shouldn't start a fuss;
Outside of church, God's everywhere, and speaks with us.
My madness, if I'm mad, is of a different brand.
Listen: I've seen Him! Twice, close at hand:
It was October seven, Rue Ravignan, in my room --
No! I wasn't drunk, nor in delirium --
In the year nineteen-oh-nine, October seven;
I take you as witness, Lord, who put new leaven
Into me sinning lump of filthiness;
You know what sins had seized me in their fists,
What hell I lived in, what a squalid mess,
What resolutions you raised up like yeast
In this Christian whom, thanks to you and the good priests.
I've become, endowed with sense and reason.
So, the first time, you appeared in my room.
And the second time, it was at a film.
"You go to the movies, then?" with dumbfounded air
Demanded my confessor. -- "Yes, Father,
What if I did? Didn't Our Lord go there?"

"The Gang in the Black Suits," thriller by Paul Feval;
The plot's in my heart and not on the screen.
The cops and mounties close round and corral
A thief in dire straits: a sudden sheen
Spreads over the crowd, my eyes fill with tears!
The sheen is a halo, in its light, God appears.
To me, this gift! Why did you choose to meet
Me here? In this movie on a little side street
The drapes of a taper-white mantle enfold
My concierge's four urchins you once told
Me to care for. Can the human soul
Hide no scrap from your eyes, must it be seen whole?
Is there for your vision no mystery in our heart?
Do you penetrate all beings in every part?
Then why? Why this grace
If you know my life in all its ugliness?
If you know my faults and my weaknesses too?
What in me, oh Lord, could interest you?
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part One
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2006, 01:33:36 am »
     How does one begin a journey of a thousand tales? Perhaps, as in all things, it is best to begin at the beginning, or at least at the first moment when everything was different, or started to lead in a much different direction. The Superb Event, the moment in which everything became clear would not be for some time. In fact for most of the year 2005, I had never even heard of the film event known as Brokeback Mountain.
     Instead, much of my spiritual energies were devoted to comprehending the magical majesty of the Unicorn. This infinitely powerful symbol of spiritual manifestation in the physical plane was first and foremost in my mind: the innocent creature of beauty that seeks out life's meanings.
     To this end, I devoted myself hand and foot to reading every fantastic or romantic tale that I could find and even turned to the writings of C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia for whatever spiritual wisdom was present in the Guise of the Unicorn. That helped me little though I could appreciate the simplistic beauty of the Christian Ideal expressed in those stories. It was not what I was looking for.
     It should be noted that the years before, I had devoted myself to the philosophical beauty of the Lord of the Rings trilogy film event, whose archetypes and moments of intricate, detailed beauty flowed together into a fantastic merging of wisdom in the inner mind - the spiritual quest to discover the meaning of self by sacrificing our bondage to the physical world, however difficult that event may be.
     So in the latter months of the year 2,005, I devoted spiritual devotion to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - promoting and adhering to a vision that this world would be as detailed and as beautiful as that of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that an acknowledgement of the archetypes presented in a flawlessly performed film event would lead to moments of philosophical elation and discovery of the inner mind, much as The Lord of the Rings had. I visited the website numerous times, looked at trailers, clips, and making of videos, ordered posters and other promotional materials, dreamed of seeing the detailed work of the WETA workshops - the magnificent costumes and creatures which might bear some resemblance to those which cavorted with and fought against the noble and divinely infused Unicorns.
     So much of my spiritual life was spent waiting for that film and expecting its majesty to sweep over me, much as had The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that I remember those months as a blur... waiting, waiting, waiting for some event which might deserve or warrant spiritual devotion.
     When the moment to see the film finally arrived, I was excited, hyped, and eager to discover the magical wonders that no doubt awaited me.....
I left the film disappointed..... The truest acting I could discern was that of the White Witch, a character I fell in love with almost immediately. Aslan's voice did not even seem to be coming from the lion, and there were times when the music drowned out the voices of the actors.
     It is strange to think that I might have been secretly cheering for the White Witch army, knowing that it represented dark and villainous ideals and the stagnation of the human spirit, both in a world of ice and in the transformation to stone by the Witch's magic wand. But that may have been because the "good" army seemed just as stagnant or repressed as an army frozen in time or spirit. That may have been a flawed performance, but as such, the experience of the film (and any hope for archetypal wisdom) was ruined for me.
     One cannot go through life hoping that Villains will win and restore malicious governments, the cruelty of the mind can elicit unfavorable transitions in physical and spiritual beings, causing more harm to the psyche than might be thought possible. I was even more appalled by the religious activists who used the film to spread the Christianity-based intolerance. This above all made me seek out more secular wisdoms. I turned away from religion altogether, hoping to find some understanding of God or Man which would not require indoctrination or the sacrifice of one's soul upon an Altar of Piety.
     But perhaps, more importantly than that, I was searching for something that was beautiful and undeniably so, Something that could offer meaning and direction to a life which has thus far been a calvalcade of the winds of Fate. I continued to search for the spiritual significance of the Unicorn - this innocent and perfect being that kept appearing in my dreams. To date, I have found little to help me on that quest - only a single book addresses it directly and it has long been out of print: The Mission and Meaning of Unicorns. Dragons, demons, wizards, fairies, abound in mythological literature but I can find little reference to what makes a Unicorn so significant or what it has to do with the purpose of my existence.

From: The Mission and Meaning of Unicorns:

Unicorns! It is hard to explain the feelings that these beautiful symbols of truth, purity, innocence, trust, strength and courage arouse in some of us. It's not just that we love them like we love teddy bears, it is almost as though we were them, we identify with them very strongly. Perhaps that is the great secret, we are unicorns. They symbolize a better self that we have almost forgotten, so lost are we in this world, the world of humans. I believe that unicorns really do exist and that you might be one. How do you know if you are a unicorn? First of course you probably love unicorns without really understanding why, but the most important way to tell is how you feel deep down inside.  It is almost as though unicorns were a separate race of humans, for they are so different in how they think and feel. They do not look different on the outside, and come in all races, shapes and sizes, and can be male or female. But one unicorn can sometimes spot another very quickly. There is a gentleness, a sensitivity, a love of truth and beauty that shines through to the outside....
    [...] They often feel alone, because they have a hard time understanding or relating to non-unicorns. Some truths are so obvious to them (such as the love and respect for all life) that they cannot understand why everyone does not feel the same as they do. They sometimes feel out of place as if they do not really belong to this world (a stranger in a strange land). It is only in relating to other unicorns that they feel the rush of soul to soul, heart to heart communication and feel like they really belong.
    They love the truth, and although they might lie occasionally, they are very bad at it and feel terrible about it. They are very hurt when someone lies to them or tries to decieve them in any way. They are very honest about their feelings, and expect others to be the same. If they say they love you, you can know that they really mean it. [...]
     Unicorns love beauty, and want to be surrounded by it. They are constantly doing little things to make their homes more beautiful. They are not out to impress others, but love beauty for its own sake. They have a strong sense of sacredness, and hate anything that is crude or demeaning. They do not consider crude or racial or ethnic jokes funny. They hate quarreling and sometimes hide their true feelings to avoid conflict. They are peacemakers and will try very hard to help others get along. They yearn for an ideal world where everybody loves everybody.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2006, 01:31:44 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2006, 02:33:56 am »
I suppose I should stop here and relate to the readers of this thread (indeed, if there are any) how significant this text was to me at the time that I discovered it. Every statement of description for the Unicorn matched my own beliefs and feelings. The love of Truth and Beauty above all else, perhaps the most significant. But also the feeling of being separate and alone when facing the world; the feeling of being truly unique and different from everyone else in a fundamental way.

Perhaps, though, this is an illusion and I have no special destiny or purpose for existence on this planet. But everything within me repels that compulsion as though it were the acidic bile of the deadliest of serpents.

But I do admit to having a lonely childhood. When at the age of 3 I rapidly developed literary and writing skills, and had by the age of 4 mastered an eighth-grade vocabulary, there are few children of the same age willing to play with you. And being an only child until the age of 6, with two working parents, I had to find ways to entertain myself, without the benefits of the electronic age that we have now. Thinking back on those days, I do not believe even my parents understood the extent of my intelligence, or the immense boredom that resulted from it, though thankfully I was enrolled in a private school that could pinpoint those needs immediately. I was placed in higher and higher Reading Comprehension courses until the instructors discovered something that was slightly challenging for me. So by the time I had achieved the equivalency of fourth grade in my education, I could read and write with a collegiate vocabulary.  While this does indeed stimulate the intellect, it wreaks havoc with the young social experience. I believe I can recall my mother's confusion when the neighbors did not want their children playing with me anymore. I had become, and I suppose this is a dated term, a freak.  It had not been said aloud, for these are not the types of things that are said aloud, but it is easy to smell fear.

So I was a quiet child, and happily so, for in the personal solitude of my youth I had discovered the joy of the written word. I can remember staying up til well past 3 AM (even on school nights) to read, read, read. And when I had read and reread the books my parents and grandparents had given me, until I was overcome by boredom again, even with those precious stories, poems, and treasures, I explored the other books of the house: my mother's romance novels, my father's technical manuals, old musty science fiction novels... anything that was written that I could get my hands on, I absorbed with fascination.

About the time that I would have gone into the sixth year of the private school I was going to. (age 10 or 11, I think), I can remember being in a few classes with much older students. Some of them even seemed to respect my opinions when I offered them in various courses, and that was a different experience for me; instead of feeling weird or freakish I actually felt proud and accomplished. Of course, as has always been my lot in life, as soon as I start to fit in, something happens.

My father was laid off and had to find a lower-paying job, and no longer having the funds to afford the private school, my parents sent me to public school. Fifth grade. And I'm not fitting in again. Of course, I bring home perfect report cards, with the highest average in the class.  But there is only one thing that I looked forward to that year..... although I did learn to say the alphabet backwards my first day of public school, since there weren't any classes and I couldn't stay home because my parents were working..... the Scholastic book club catalog which came every month. At last, mental sustenance!

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part Two
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2006, 12:13:45 am »
     Late one evening in January, I returned home from a boring day of work, my back stiff, my feet afire, my eyes burned open and wide awake after hours of forced activity.  Working in a retail environment is not often pleasant, and I think it is only my continual optimism that enables me to survive such experiences: that and the knowledge that my time away from work is exclusively devoted to myself and to the quest which I have previously explained: the search for something beautiful and meaningful in a world that seems cold and uncaring - a world driven mad by capitalist greed - by constant wars and rumors of wars - a world which ignores spiritual meaning for the human race or the direction that it is heading in. A world which findes the ignoble noble, the perverse acceptable, the ugly beautiful.... without rhyme or reason.
     Exhausted from physical strain of mind-numbing labor, and from the spiritual strain of remaining optimistic in the face of despair and intolerance, I fell into the heavy cushions of a loveseat placed near the television and closed my eyes. Commercials played on the screen that I paid no attention to: suddenly though, I heard a string orchestra playing a haunting melody that kept turning in an upward drift, as though to say, "Yes, the world is a miserable place.... BUT..." And to this was added the silver sounds of brass heralding into my being some majestic feeling, I opened my eyes to give full attention to whatever this commercial was, just as I overheard the voiceover: "an instant classic, an epic american love story... [something - something - something] Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain - Rated R"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2FKu8zFdqE

I could not hear many of the words that were spoken because my attention was riveted to the sunlit plains, the brilliant blue sky with its fluffy white clouds, all in combination with this beautiful, mournful but ecstatic music that lifted my spirits immediately.
     For the first time, in a very long time, I began to remember what I had been searching for: a moment of beauty and meaning in an otherwise dreary world and something which continued to be beautiful even after everything had passed. I was not sure what types of experience this moment would have, but I did know that human inspiration was likely to be one of them, and as I lay there in that moment of human inspiration, I realized I had tasted the wine of truth and beauty. I was not sure where it had come from, and I knew I needed to know the source.
     I stayed up late that night in hopes that the TV-spot would come on again, revealing more about this miraculous event, but just as much dying to hear that spirit-lifting mysic once again: the lifting strings, the ennobling trumpets, the beautiful minor key which filled it with a gentle pang of sorrow but a rich depth of meaning.
     The second time I saw the same commercial, I was able to tell more about it: I listened carefully to the actors, the voice over as it read the critiques the film had received. Wait a minute! This is a love story? Between two gorgeous cowboys..... and they're happy ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
     I had never heard of such a thing but I could not wait for the weekend when I could go out and see it for what I later realized would be the first time of many.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2006, 12:31:21 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part Three
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2006, 10:52:15 pm »
     As I departed my private life and drove through the streets of my small town to the huge 30-theatre cineplex, a sense of adventure, hope, and wonder began to come over me, and I also felt like I was doing something which the rigid societ of Southern Baptist idealists (who basically run the South) would not want me to do. This feeling alone spurred me onward even faster and when I pulled into the parking lot of the cineplex and stepped out of the car, my body was alread beginning to shake. I told myself it was because of the cold, those chilly 75 degree blasts of air.
      The brief moments of walking toward the entrance felt to me like a journey of wonder and my attention was riveted to the leafy trees, the green grass, the movie posters for films seen and unheard of. A poster for Brokeback Mountain caught my eye and I stopped for a moment to look at it. It completely fascinated me; I found it remarkably beautiful with its trees, and clouds, and water, where were as inviting as an oasis in the desert.
     The two figures before that scene mext drew my attention, and there in those expressions was captured such exquisite, resounding, joy-pain that I was enthralled. I would have looked at the poster more but I was drawn towards my destiny - a film event so compelling to me that I think some supernatural force was pushing me through it - as though the Universe had heard my plea for beauty and meaning and sent some miracle to open my eyes, my mind, my heart, and my spirit.
     I went into the theater and purchased my tickets at the automated terminal. Theater 16 - not the largest one, but not too shabby.
     The scent of salt and butter assailed my nostrils and immediately my tongue revolted. Our state of consciousness can affect our hunger for nonessentials. The pull of the story that awaited me was far stronger than any physical hunger or desire; once again I wondered if Providence was guiding me toward some destiny, the sense of which pervaded my spirit. It is a unique and wonderful feeling to know beyond a shadow of a doubt (even if you do not know how you know) that you are where you are supposed to be.
     I eased into the mostly empty theater and found a seat with a good view of the screen.
     PREVIEWS:
     Tristan and Isolde; On a Clear Day; the movie about the interracial relationship whose title I have forgotten --- and while I watched them I can remember facing the screen with a psychological (psychic?) experience I call the Perfect Vision of Understanding.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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The Perfect Vision of Understanding
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2006, 11:22:03 pm »
     This ability and many others were developed as a result of attending classes and events taught by the School of Metaphysics. I had attended an event offered by the School at their Oklahoma City campus, and later we decided to meditate at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Park - a place which had become much like a spiritual energy vortex and many people have found it to be ideal for meditation.
     The site is intriguing with a reflective pool where the building once stood, large monoliths on either side depict the minutes before and after the bombing in a large digital display.
      As we sat down to meditate, we employed the silent technique rather than chanting "Ohm". I personally felt this meditation rapidly becoming a Kundalini meditation, one of the first taught by the school, and obtained the physical experience of energy rising up the spine. It is a difficult experience to describe - some have described it as a chill up the spine but I have personally felt it as a warm burning sensation deep within the core of the most solid part of the body - and one that slowly rises and exits the top of the head during some meditations and Kundalini yoga.
     This same effect started to happen to me, but my meditation was interrupted by a voice inside or above me, saying "Lie down and look up!" I listened to the voice for a moment, wondered where it had come from, then released it again, going back into the near trance state. The voice repeated itself and a pulse of light-energy shot down my spine, severely interrupting my meditative focus. I felt compelled to comply, lowered my upper body to the grass beneath me, and looked directly up....

     There, in the night sky, shone a brilliant blue star. I stared at it for a moment, wondering if that was what I was supposed to be seeing. I continued to look at the blue star, staring at it, concentrating on it with such willpower that my head began to ache. It seemed to me that the star was getting ever so slightly larger and I began to see other stars in the sky around it.  When I shifted my gaze to the other stars, I lost them, but the blue one always remained. After a few moments of gazing intently at the star, the sounds around me vanished: the murmur of other people walking the path around the reflecting pool, the splash of nearby fountains, all these sounds disappeared and I heard some thrumming rhythm instead.
     I thought for a moment that it was my own heartbeat, but then the light of the star began to pulse ever so gently with the same rhythm. By this time, the star was shooting out sparkling rays of light - similar to the sparkles visible from sequins on a television screen - branching stars of glittering light.
     Then I began to experience pain - a burning sensation in my eyes and it took me a while to figure out why. I had not blinked in all the time that I had been looking up, so captivated I was by the blue star. Everything in my body told me I should now blink, having been several minutes without eye-rest. But everything in my mind and spirit restrained me from blinking.
     Just when I thought that the pain was too great to resist and that I would surely blink and somehow lose part of this deeply important experience, something happened to my eyes. They shifted, physically, somehow and the burn receded. A cool breeze blew over my eyes and I mentally relaxed - the need to blink had passed and I had conquered that crass demand of the body. Now, I look up at the star and its light is cloudy and brilliant, spiraling down toward me from that source was some type of blue energy - which I could now see. I lost myself in that experience of blue light and have come to acknowledge it as the knowledge of meaning or wisdom within the Universe. I know not how many minutes passed (or hours) as I lay in that relaxed state, my eyes shifted to a higher state than they were at the beginning of that night. The world which I knew surrounded me could not surpass the beauty of that blue star.
     A voice calling my name gently pulled me from whatever experience I was having, gaxing up at the star. Reluctantly, for I had come to love the experience, I responded, managing to find my body once more and returned to the world of the living. The owner of the voice helped me up off the ground. I was a little dizzy and disoriented and felt giddy so I laughed.
     I tried to use my eyes to take in my surroundings, but somehow they were not functioning correctly. Everything was composed of rainbows of light: sparkles of energy, brilliant clouds of sentience and being. The rest of the night went by as a blur of phantasmic beauty: rainbows everywhere I looked and a new sense of wonder and beauty expressing itself delightfully.
     I looked into Simone's eyes for a moment (she was a fellow student of mine), and she was floored by whatever she saw there. I remember she commented with a soft voice and a smile: "My god, look at his eyes!" Whatever she saw in my eyes was not communicated to me, but the world was a much different place to me from that night on... Anytime I want to give my attention to something or someone, I relax my eyesight completely - that shifted state that I carried with me that night. One of the last things I can remember from that night was a fountain of water I had put my hands into - every droplet of water in the air gave off a thousand rainbows - it was liquid sun on fire. Where I put my hands in the water, it felt the same as normal, but each wave I made gleamed in a million ways as though the thinnest layer of water held a reality millions of leagues deep.
     With this same state of vision, I could see rainbow auras around all energetic beings. To me, the world was composed of light, and the physical existance which I had thought to be the primary faded into a rare tertiary.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part Four
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2006, 12:33:03 pm »
     When this same mental awareness and relaxed state of vision is infused into any experience, it can somehow enhance it - the eyesight is more perfect, therefore the film becomes less flawed. The Perfect Vision of Understanding is of course not truly perfect but in relation to the previous state of vision might be considered so. There is a vast difference.
     When devoted to the lights before you in an otherwise darkened room, the Perfect Vision of Understanding instantly eases the spirit into a mode of accepting wisdom - that is, the wisdom of accepting from others or from the story.
     The previews did indeed seem essential to the experience and nourished more wisdom regarding man's spiritual capabilities: to love when it is not sensible to do so; to try when everyone says you can't; to ignore physical difference and accept spiritual similarities and through love and devotion to dedicate the self to them.
     The loving-kindness reality that develops between two people can be greatly significant and more powerful than the universal loving-kindness off humanity. This type of love has been rejected by many religions as being flawed, but considering the depth of consciousness that such a devotion ultimately requires - it becomes possible to love the deepest and most natural aspects of an individual. This type of love has its place in the spiritual spectrum: it can be a mortal reflection of the immortal love.
     As the previews ended and the actual film began, a sense of hopeful wanderlust came over me. I prepared for a magical journey into the depths of.... I knew not where.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2006, 12:36:17 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part Four
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2006, 02:12:47 pm »
     
     The previews did indeed seem essential to the experience and nourished more wisdom regarding man's spiritual capabilities: to love when it is not sensible to do so; to try when everyone says you can't; to ignore physical difference and accept spiritual similarities and through love and devotion to dedicate the self to them.
     
     As the previews ended and the actual film began, a sense of hopeful wanderlust came over me. I prepared for a magical journey into the depths of.... I knew not where.

Yes Daniel, I think you have hit upon some of the core truths of this parable. (you know I can' spel) It shows us a path, if we are brave enough to follow it, and the consequences of doing so, or doing so incompletely.

For me, when the film began I was in that state you describe, and Santaolalla's guitar struck that note, it was as if I were dropping down into another place, one that was the only place in my soul this story could be told. Then at the end, he came back with Wings, and flew me out of there, changed, forever.

 
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2006, 03:05:18 am »
Tonight, as I walked out of work, the chilly blast of winter air struck me full in the face. It was bitter and made my eyes sting and water. As I began moving toward my car, though, I happened to catch a glimpse of the moon's aura and looked up at it for a moment. The combination of the cold, bitter winds and the moon's silver light together brought back so many of the film's events in such a way that I almost felt like crying again. Jack and Ennis came foreward in my mind, again, just as they have so many times before. It makes me wonder if I will ever be able to experience a moon-lit night or a cold winter's chill without having their ghosts tugging at my memory.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2006, 05:55:33 pm »
Friend, I think your world, too, has become colored by Brokeback Mountain. Enjoy!
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Memoirs of a Brokeback Mountain Priest, Part Five
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2006, 03:26:21 pm »
Strangely, the music of the Focus Film logo and the Riverroad logo are now a deep part of the film experience, but as I am now trying to recall the first reception of the film - I shall have to present them as the silent logos I perceived them to be, or perhaps - in relation to the film's stark barenness at its beginning, the sounds of those logos were jarring and otherworldly.

The Gray Dawn

In a world of gray - gray hills, gray skies, a gray road - a barely discernable shadow rattles forward: a dark truck of the mind's nagging presence - a stark and almost painful reminder of the presence of the self in a field of Nirvana. Into this silent bliss are introduces first notes, then chords of a guitar - punctuating nothingness with evocative presence and the theme of an echo of a dream.
     Many times I have experience that grayness, heard ithose chords and felt compelled to cry - to weep - but whether from Eros or Thanatos, I could not tell. Was this bliss an ache, or was the ache a bliss?
    It is in these moments of gray bleakness that perhaps the soul - as it becomes aware of itself - yearns immediately for some vast and effectual Experience: it desires both and at once: the ultimate communion of spirit with the world around it in whatever depth it can find.
    The staggering notes of the chords hesitantly lead the experiencer forward into a realm of imagination, as though inviting a pilgrim by many gates into a holy city.

Depth-desire deepens.

Perhaps this desire for a deep experience of the soul is ultimately what gives it the power to reach deeper in its limited experience to find something outside that experience. When the mind, heart, and spirit press beyond in hopes of finding or creating something that it has not known before, the experience brings them that much closer to a form of Union with the Universe, which in its vastness is ultimately unknowable. It is in the sacrifice of our clinging to what we already know - perhaps by withholding our disbelief if only for a few moments - that we can explore the unknown, whether that be in some exploration of the deep seas or in our exploration of the deep psyche. In these fragile first moments, it is uncertain what we are exploring... having both a physical sensibility and a spiritual meaning and depth.

Moments of Silence.

Without a word spoken, Ennis walks from where a truck has dropped him off to a trailer where he silently leans against the wall. But even in these moments of "silence" the atmosphere is filled with sounds that concrete the experience - the sound of the wind blowing can be melancholy even when not musical in nature. A jarring train whistle and ticking along the tracks inform that the machines of the mind are continually present: thinking, translating, decoding. As those sounds fade away, another sound is heard - the ticking and whirring of a faulty motor: a blue truck approaching where the machine engine had departed only an instance before: the logical construction of the universe departs, only to be replaced by something far less certain.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 05:45:24 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2006, 07:12:34 pm »
I am a fountain of bubbling intensity,
in which I drown when no one drinks from me.
I am a man parched with thirst, floating on the surface of a fresh water sea.
And I realize I am dying. There's no one else beside me.
I look around and find myself alone in the battlefield of integrity.
Some far behind me, some so far ahead in their eluded mystery.
This is the one thing, this personal hell, I cannot be.
Alone, and alone not because I saught some monastary.
This is not something I would want for any.
I am not humble, nor full of grace, ever reaching for my destiny.
And in that quest, I've given of myself so fully,
Yet found none at that same depth that could give back to me.
If there is a Hell, then this is that misery.
And Hell's on earth, not painted in some story.
It is at times like these that I wonder if I cannot flee,
Approach some greater truth beyond my cursed be,
And there in that new depth of eternity,
Find someone, anyone, who can recognize me.


Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2006, 06:09:38 pm »
Okay, I'm bored again and nobody wants to talk about the things I want to talk about... lol...

So someone else suggest a topic.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #48 on: December 15, 2006, 09:30:25 am »
Okay, I'm bored again and nobody wants to talk about the things I want to talk about... lol...

So someone else suggest a topic.

so tell me what is it that you want to talk about? I read your entries and they are beautiful and make me think but they seem whole to themselves. Pose a question....offer an opening...

Should I pose the questions then? I will if you like...

but be warned sweet Daniel, I am not the poet you are....

{{Daniel}}

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #49 on: December 15, 2006, 09:32:08 am »
Awww, you mean my loving posts aren't invitation enough...? I see a tremendous invitation in just about all of them. But maybe that's me.

After all, this thread is entitled "Strange Connections".... so if you see something, you're supposed to connect with it, and you probably are, even though you don't realize you are. This connection is likely strange and unusual, because I am trying to speak to the deepest part of the human. Let it respond, even if the mind doesn't know what to say.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2006, 09:34:26 am »
Ok...it is your call, buddy....I will start asking you all the questions and making the comments I have wanted to...

Your beautiful thread will be ruint!!

 ;) ;)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2006, 09:35:58 am »
A Cathedral is only beneficial if the congregation is present. :)
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #52 on: December 15, 2006, 09:38:47 am »
ok...I have to go do some work but this evening I will dive in...

gird your loins!

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #53 on: December 15, 2006, 09:48:50 am »
Dare I hope.... that you will sink me into the luscious depths of dialogue?
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #54 on: December 15, 2006, 09:52:31 am »
look, don't be getting your hopes up too high...this is ME we are talking about!!

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #55 on: December 15, 2006, 11:33:01 am »
A Cathedral is only beneficial if the congregation is present. :)

Can I borry this as me signature line on me emails? I'll credit you.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #56 on: December 15, 2006, 11:33:47 am »
Sure, if you like.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2006, 06:11:23 pm »
Front-Ranger was here. Next time, throw something at me and get my attention. I want to talk too!
When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #58 on: December 15, 2006, 08:18:08 pm »
I am a fountain of bubbling intensity,
in which I drown when no one drinks from me.
I am a man parched with thirst, floating on the surface of a fresh water sea.
And I realize I am dying. There's no one else beside me.
I look around and find myself alone in the battlefield of integrity.
Some far behind me, some so far ahead in their eluded mystery.
This is the one thing, this personal hell, I cannot be.
Alone, and alone not because I saught some monastary.
This is not something I would want for any.
I am not humble, nor full of grace, ever reaching for my destiny.
And in that quest, I've given of myself so fully,
Yet found none at that same depth that could give back to me.
If there is a Hell, then this is that misery.
And Hell's on earth, not painted in some story.
It is at times like these that I wonder if I cannot flee,
Approach some greater truth beyond my cursed be,
And there in that new depth of eternity,
Find someone, anyone, who can recognize me.

Daniel,
I love this poem.  You are so gifted and have so much to offer.  This really captures, for me, your pain and isolation and loneliness.  My heart reads this, and it hurts for you.  I feel I am in the group of "Some far behind [you],' but you never make me feel that way - you're always patient and gentle with me as you try to get me on the same page (or in the same book!) in an attempt to keep up with your nimble and complicated mind.  Anyhow, I hope you know how important our friendship is to me.  I want you to have what you want and deserve, friend, somehow, someway.
Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #59 on: December 15, 2006, 08:28:49 pm »
hm...ok here is my contribution (for right now)

maybe what you are hunting is not in front of you. maybe you are going the wrong way? when you are lost you don't keep going. You stop, find a safe place, and let yourself be found.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #60 on: December 15, 2006, 08:57:36 pm »
hm...ok here is my contribution (for right now)

maybe what you are hunting is not in front of you. maybe you are going the wrong way? when you are lost you don't keep going. You stop, find a safe place, and let yourself be found.

Jess,

Good thoughts.  I think you may be onto something here.  (Nice analogy with the woods, btw.)  I'm no expert, for sure, and this sounds nearly mystical or fatalistiic or something, but the times in my life when I have been truly happy, things just seemed to go the 'right' way without causing me undue struggle.  I am not saying it wasn't *work*, because it was - but it was productive work where you see/feel tangiible results.  Alternately, when I feel like I'm not on-track, it's like there is roadblock after roadblock tossed in my path.  For every step forward, there are three back.  What is that saying?  Something like 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.'  Is the universe trying to tell us the right direction and we're too stubborn to listen?

-Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #61 on: December 15, 2006, 09:30:53 pm »
or even ourselves....we lie to ourselves a lot better than we lie to others.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #62 on: December 15, 2006, 09:43:23 pm »
or even ourselves....we lie to ourselves a lot better than we lie to others.

Sure enough!
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #63 on: December 15, 2006, 11:25:24 pm »
**gasp**

Mystical wisdom from the mouths of two beautiful people... I am in ecstasy. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me. I have much to respond with, but perhaps only a little which I can put into words.

The forest... I have seen this image so many times myself. But one of my favorite allusions to the dark wood in which Dante found himself lost in the Divine Comedy is this one from Loreena McKennitt. Lynne, you may recognize the words from her track, "Dante's Prayer" on the CD "The Book of Secrets"

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me

There are rarely times when I do not feel as though I am on-track. ((I think that if I had I might have killed myself a long time ago.... but that is perhaps a different story.)) Indeed, I have titled this thread Strange Connections (in part) because of the continual on-trackness that I have experienced throughout my life. Everything in my life is connected, all of my interests (though you might think they are different) have a common underflow. It has always been my hope that I should one day be able to immerse myself entirely into that flow, to swim below the sparkling surface waters and discover the deeper truths that are hidden there. It was with this approach that I connected to Brokeback Mountain, and with a host of other sources available to me.  I have every intention of writing about my specific experiences in this regard, and I have called it the PRISMATIC PATH.

Prismatic, because it takes the light and sound, the color and musical thrum, of all the individual things around me and makes them sparkle in their million tiny awarenesses. Path, because these tiny awarenesses collectively add up to a greater awareness.... one which I can only barely glimpse.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2006, 12:31:38 am »
I am listening right now, at this very moment, to Loreena McKennitt's new music. "Caravanserai" from An Ancient Muse...

It's absolutely empowering, and the upper part of my heart I can feel opening in a painful blossom of self awareness. The upper part, the inspired part, not the lower part, where sorrow and depression wreak their vengeance.  I'm not certain how to explain this experience.... although there is one thing I find a little odd with some of Loreena's music...

It's not always very easy to understand exactly what she is singng... I wonder now if this is done on purpose. There are many tracks where I would swear she is singing something and it turns out to be something completely different...

For instance, in "Caravanserai"

------

The tents grew smaller as we rode away
On earth that tells of many passing days
Beyond the valleys in the searing heat
Until we reached the caravanserai

Calling, yearning, pulling, home to you
Calling, yearning, pulling, home to you

-------

When she sings "caravanserai" I hear "paragon so bright". It gives it an almost entirely different meaning.... I still think she does that intentionally, but what do I know. And then I hear both in my head once I know the truth and watch the light bounce around between mirrors until I finally find the source (or catch a glimpse of it anyway).



« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 12:37:31 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

injest

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2006, 12:44:37 am »
Daniel...I know that feeling you are talking about...with your heart.

always when I am alone and usually when it is quiet..

but we don't LIVE alone or in quiet. Don't forget that you live in the PHYSICAL world too...not just in the emotional and mental world.


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2006, 12:46:07 am »
We could not experience the lifting of heart and spirit without the physicality of the body in which they are lifted.

But I feel like you are trying to suggest something which you may have to be a little more specific about.  Perhaps I shall sleep on it and reply again in the morning.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 12:49:17 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #67 on: December 16, 2006, 12:55:49 am »
I will think and post a better response before I leave tonight...

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2006, 09:54:37 pm »
Today, my mom came over and we had a christmas gift wrapping party. Personally, I think she feels she lacks the artistic eye to wrap presents beautifully. I admit that her combination of green and white striped paper with the red plastic ribbon did seem a little garrish. I suggested a green velvet ribbon with silver edges instead, and she seemed happier with that approach.

My gifts were all in a red and copper persian design paper with irridescent copper-gold ribbon. I was a little upset that I didn't have any floral wire in the house to make proper bows, but I just used the shoestring bow.

While we wrapped our christmas presents, we listened to chrismas carols and then later on I put in my McKennit CDs. She's heard them before, but today she acted as though she were hearing them for the first time. I guess sometimes we forget.  She was deeply moved by her voice; then she wanted to know why everything was so melancholy.

"Not everything she sings is melancholy." I responded. "Some of it is more mystic."  I immediately wondered if the correct word should have been "mystical", then shook my head and pushed that thought aside.

"It seems as though her music is mourning a lost memory, or perhaps trying to recall something we have almost completely forgotten."  I smiled as I recalled how desperately I had wanted someone to understand Loreena's music from the same aspect I had. I agreed with her, but then we lost that connection as she moved on to her traditional conversations of gossip and social elitism. So I am glad that someone connected with me, even if it was only for a short instant, and it leads me to believe that my quest to find someone who can connect with me is not a worthless one.

Sometime later in that same conversation, she turned to me and asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I think it might have been because of the brief connection that we had earlier that I told her the complete truth.

"The process of giving is a little complicated... but basically I do not feel that we should give if we feel compelled or obliged to do it. Gifting.... true gifting requires a connection of consciousness so profound, that I cannot describe it well. I may want something for Christmas, but I'm not going to force you to get it for me by telling you what I want."  I think part of this Christmas philosophy originated in my young childhood, when I learned not to ask for anything from my parents, who were financially destitute. I was always pleasantly surprised by whatever gifts, be they toys or books, my parents could afford for me. The absence of expectation. This is the core of the true giving spirit, and is also at the core of the ability to receive a gift with true joy and compassion.

So much of the commercial identity has transformed Christmas. The other day, I assisted two women at the Jewelry counter, who were purchasing gifts for themselves. Instead of trying to find a gift that represented their inner connection to one another, their husbands had thrown money at the problem. It deeply saddened me, and I am beginning to think I do not fit in well with the corporate or retail industry.  But then again, I have never fit in well anywhere.

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2006, 10:54:34 pm »
Loreena McKennit's new CD is entitled "An Ancient Muse" and makes reference to Homer's invocation to the muses in the telling of his tales. What is arguably one of the greatest Homeric epic is of course the Iliad, which was portrayed relatively correctly in the film "Troy", a film which was ultimately unsatisfying because it does not portray the homosexual relationship between Achilles and his shield-bearer Patrocles. To a reader of the Iliad, the absence of this passionate union takes out the main source for Achilles' anger, so in the film he looks like an idiot, or worse, just a plain ***hole.

Troy was such a disaster.  Never let a man named 'Wolfgang' do Greek mythology.  Almost every single actor starring had the chops to handle the story, but they turned it into a mishmash of Western action hero nonsense.  It still aches of 'what might have been' whenever Eric Bana and Sean Bean are on the screen.

Quote
I suppose this can be compared with "Alexander", the theatrical release that painted a human standard so Homeric that the American audience had difficulty connecting with it and which spawned a Director's Cut where the scenes make even less sense than the theatrical version. In other words, I suppose there are some things that should remain in the written or oral traditions because they make the most sense there and not converted to a theatrical rendition.

Overall, both films failed to incorporate the ancient Greek or Hellenistic ideals that made the stories so great for their time period, and wondrous for those that can grasp even the barest hints of those ideals: masculine softness, emotionally complex subtlety, a ponderous or inquisitive nature, and the most important one of all, human fallibility.  The films paint the Greek and Hellenistic armies as savage, trained warriors and while some may have had a little military training, it is more likely that the armies would have been composed of civilian conscripts.  This is made very clear in the Homeric epics, where he does what he can to paint the warriors' private and civilian lives in addition to their military ones.  These are not bloodthirsty savages but gentle country folk being forced by their kings to fight against those who were previously trading partners and competitors.

I loved Alexander and still do.  I wrote extensively on the movie while on IMDb a now bygone spring two years ago.  To research the era, culture and Alexander himself and to try to make a movie about him, is a near impossible task.  To film the man's life would have filled a full mini-series of movies.

The man needed a movie made about him, but Alexander lived in a culture so far distant from current Western society that one may as well be making a sci-fi movie about aliens from another planet as get a modern American audience to understand.

One has to try to win an audience's empathy or understanding for Alexander himself.  A man who loved warfare.  A man who conquered entire regions for no other reason than for the power and wealth it brought him.  People who surrendered to him were given generous terms, people who dared to want their freedom were slaughtered down to the women and children at times.  Or else the women and children were sold into slavery.

Alexander lived in the Classical/Hellenstic age, where Greek/Macedonian society thought little wrong with men who loved men and women and boys.  Where sexual relationships with children was the norm.  Where buying a sexual slave was just another 'luxury' in life to aspire to.

And all of this was perfectly acceptable.

John Doe moviegoer, raised in an era of Enlightenment, has to sympathize with Alexander somehow.

I'm normally a blunt person, but when a male friend asked me what history thought Pausanias' motive was in assasinating Phillip, Alexander's father, I found myself tripping over the explanation of what I had read, though in the reading, it was perfectly in line with the culture, but taking it out of context to explain to a friend, had me fumbling.

To bring an ancient civilization to life for film - if done as accurately as possible - risks alienating an entire modern audience.

To have brought Troy to life, hewn as close to the story as possible, would have had Sean Bean as Odysseus, throwing the infant son of Hector (Eric Bana) off the walls of Troy (I can't recall for certain, but wasn't that in the 'Iliad'?) and still somehow convince a modern audience to consider Odysseus a great hero.  The scene where Achilles denies Hector a decent burial and mocks him is pretty much the tone of how Achilles would have acted in the 'Iliad'.

Human sacrifice would have to be rationalized because they did do it and you can, if you think like they do.  I think it was Polyxena who was slaughtered at Achille's pyre, simply because he had wanted her in life and she was by then a royal prisoner.

It is a difficult task to bring ancient civilizations to life with their different cultural values and social mores and not make them the 'bad guys' as apparently Mel is doing with his Apocalypto.

The HBO series 'Rome' does a lot better job.  The two main characters are casual killers, one a recreational rapist, brutal xenophobic soldiers sold on the superiority of Rome and Romans and male status and both are quite willing slaveholders, yet they are also loving family men and fathers, great hearted friends you can't help but like.

Perhaps the show is more palatable to an audience because they only hint at homosexuality (except where women are concerned  :P ) and gloss quickly over the sexual slavery and pederasty with throw away lines and scenes.  But perhaps that's the show's strength as well.  It shows these things as normal everyday things and doesn't make much fuss about it.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 11:55:53 pm by delalluvia »

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2006, 10:10:12 am »
Eureka.... I have found it....

Yes, there are times in my life when all the strange connections have an interconnection, a major intersection, and I have recently experienced one, thanks to the book I am reading now... A Journey to the Other Side of Life. A few excerpts (long ones), see if you can follow me:


We are living in an age of lost identities and purposes. Many of us roam the earth in search of who we are and why we are here. In pursuit of our own emotional happiness, peace and identity, many of us have emotionally abandoned the essence of life. Many of us have abandoned our homes. Many of us have abandoned our children and our children's children. Many of us have abandoned ourselves.
     Technology is increasing. Life's physical and scientific questions are now being answere faster than the questions themselves are being asked. But when it comes to the emotions we feel, many questions remain unanswered. We are living in a time of emotional confusion, loneliness, pain and fear. Although we are discovering technological answers, we are living in an age that has given us very few emotional answers. We are living in an emotional bog. However, I believe this is changing.
     Because of the heightened rush with technological advances and the seemingly digressed state of relationships and societal life, I believe the world is approaching an apex. Many of us recognize the need for our emotional lives to "catch up" with our technological lives. I believe this realization will lead us into an age of spiritual and emotional discovery and renewal. I believe we are approaching an age of emotional and spiritual enlightenment


Now, as to loneliness (and indeed this is the first time that I have felt that someone has described the specific needs I seem to require).....


     We are all looking for a savior. We are not necessarily looking for a spiritual savior, but an emotional savior:
          Someone who will rescue us.  Someone who will nurture us.
          Someone who will affirm us. Someone who will accept us.
          Someone who will validate us.  Someone who will love us.
          Someone who will help us feel good about ourselves.
     In essence, we want to return to the safety and warmth of the womb - no responisibility, no cares, no hassles, someone else always covering for us.  Sounds great, doesn't it? No, it does not. Many of us do not realize that when we are in this state of existence, our heart has no way of verifying or affirming its strengths, gifting or abilities. Consequently, it is unable to produce self-confidence, value or worth.
     At this point, we begin to look to others to give us a sense of confidence, value or worth in ourselves. When we try this approach (of looking to others for our sense of confidence, value or worth), we always lose. This approach always comes up short. Why? Often the people we are looking to for validation have wounded hearts themselves. Consequently, they too are more focused on getting and receiving, not on giving and validating.  When you seek an emotional savior outside of yourself, chances are that your self-confidence, value and worth will remain extremely low, and almost always it will even diminish.
     


A bit harsh, but in retrospect, perhaps too close to home to be comfortable.


     When most of us are in a woundedstate of existence, we feel and think that we are alone. We become convinced that there is no one around who will or can understand us or how we feel.  This simply is not true. Others may not be able to identify with the experiences that triggered our pain. Yet, often, many can identify with our feelings, fears and emotions that the emotional wounding triggers.
     Most of the time, however, we do not identify (we can, but we don't) with the emotions of those around us. This is because our personal focus is riveted on our own problems and pain, our own fears, feelings and emotions. Our attention, consequently is distracted by a preoccupation with our own wounding or fear.  This, in turn, renders us incapable of being able to love, understand, support and lend healing to those around us.


     Well, in consideration of this in my own life, is it any wonder that I felt so connected to the film in which this was made vibrantly and painfully clear?  Still, in my own life, I have attempted to avoid such selfish self-focusing. The pain is present, but I have learned to subdue and suppress it in order to serve others. And in reaching out to others, I find I am also reaching out to myself.

Now we come to the crux of the matter.


     Out of fear, hurt and pain, we naturally want to "return to the womb."  The womb is warm, safe and secure. However, in reality, we know it is impossible to return to the womb. But, we try to anyway - emotionally. So without realizing it, we attempt to experience the same emotional benefits we experienced when in the safety and security of the womb by looking to or hoping in someone outside of ourselves for our own peace, love, joy, stability and fulfillment. We seek an emotional savior.
     When these "saviors" let us down, we feel hurt, wounded, abandoned and betrayed. When they don't perform to our hopes and expectations, our lives remain unfulfilled. We then take those very same people we were hoping in and looking to, the emotional saviors, and we blame them or hold them responsible for the negative feelings or the problems surrounding our lives. Do you see how we do this?
     At this point, the emotional cycle or process takes it's most devastating turn. Why? Because if we are looking to, hoping in or blaming someone else for who we are, how we feel or for the circumstances surrounding our lives, we have given up control of our emotional life. We have, in turn, placed that control on the external person or influence in which we are hoping. We are no longer in control of our lives or emotions because we gave the control to the one whom we began looking to, hoping in or holding responsible.  What is the significance of this? What's so bad about losing control or giving up control of your life and emotional well-being, in hopes of being taken care of emotionally? Plenty!


     A few good questions there at the end. The romantic desire of self-sacrifice is a devastating one, particularly when it requires our emotional dependency on another human being. And I think it only reminds us of the pain that Jack might have been carrying for far too long, having developed an emotional dependency on an emotionally unavailable Ennis. And still, with all this pain, there is opportunity for redemption and spiritual communion, but let me continue... what follows are the painful extremes of the romantic depression.


     When you give up emotional control to influences outside of yourself, at that point you enter the threshold of depression and depressive behavior. When it is inside you, depression triggers feelings that make you think things such as: "I have no control or say-so with my life or with my own feelings. Others have more control and more of a say-so with my feelings than I do. I am powerless. Others are in control of my feelings. I am not." Thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, defeat, no control, and no say-so establish themselves as constant companions at this point in your life.
     These are the thoughts and feelings with which depression blasts its recipients. From this stage you enter an even deeper negative cycle. You lose mental and physical motivation to live. This stands to reason. Why would people want to live if they could not have a determination in their own lives and feelings? Who wants to live a life where everyone else has more control or say-so over them and their feelings than they do themselves? What is there to live for?
     In its extreme form, depressive behavior will even manifest itself by causing the individual to ball up into a fetal position or live for days in bed.

(Been there, done that.) The feeling is: "Why should I get up and live life? Nothing is going to change. I am not in control of it. Everyone else, including God, has the control over my life and feelings. I have nothing to live for. I'll just stay here where it's safe. This way I will not have to make any decisions, and if I don't have to make any decisions, I will not have to worry about making a mistake." (Not exactly what was going through my mind at the time, but maybe from a deeper perspective...) How does this happen? How is it that not exercising personal, emotional control leads to depression? Well, it makes very good sense when you think about it. "I gave up the control of my life and my emotions, when I began looking to you, or hoping in you, or holding you responsible for my sense of who I am, how I feel or for the circumstances surrounding my life. I began looking to you, holding you responsible or hoping in you to do, be or perform in such a way that would cause me to feel good about my life, my environment, my circumstances or myself. When I began looking to you, I held a hope that you would take control for me and provide me with happiness, love, peace, and fulfillment. So when I began to place my hope in you to control my life and happiness for me, I relinquished control, emotionally."
     This happens to millions of us. It is not a conscious thought process, though. It is emotional. We do it subconsciosly. We do it without even thinking about it.


Alright, I get it.... my life is the way it is now because of me, not because of other people around me. Now that I've come to terms with that, how do I change it. I need to reveal and alter the root of the tree. That sounds familiar... "root of the tree." Is it connected to something else?

Quote
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;

That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.

According to A Journey:
There are five keys that produce emotional wholeness and completeness. The engrafting of these keys, along with other aspects of emotional healing, life-improvement and change, is what the Journey is mostly about. Ah.... so another aspect of holistic life coaching.

According to this, my lack of good roots is based on: a lack of emotional control (check, though poetry helps); a lack of a sense of connection (hmm, nope, I have that.... perhaps too much of it, but it may be the basis for the new root, so perhaps worth holding onto); a poor personal attitude (I think I'm usually pretty upbeat and have a great attitude about life in general, but maybe that's just me); emotional pain (check, though poetry helps); a lack of self identification and purpose. (Ooh, big one, though I'm working on it.) The problem with me is that as soon as I set my eyes onto something and start striving for it, something happens..... my life is twisted completely around, as though something in the universe is saying, "No, not that way!" or "Wrong, guess again."

     
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 11:07:07 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2006, 02:16:07 pm »
I really like the distinction betwixt the spiritual and the emotional savior. I think a lot of people become involved with religion, particulary the evangelical kind, not realizing the difference. The vacume that then results is like a black hole that never goes away.

These is a wonderful article I read years ago (this a little OT), in the January 1989 edition of the Atlantic (I'm 90% sure) by Joel Agee, called "A Fury of Symbols". I think you would enjoy it as well.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2006, 11:24:21 pm »
A Holiday Message from Daniel.

     I would like to take a few moments now to wish everyone a truly momentous holiday season. While the new year (by BBM standards) may have come and gone, we failed to react with the celebration that we still have when January first approaches. It may take a few more years of celebrating the occasion of December Ninth to truly recognize the day with the greatness it deserves.

However you celebrate the holidays, I hope that you use it to create and maintain the deepest of connections. Whether these connections are with God, with the universe, with humanity, with your family and loved ones, or with some transcendent reality that the holiday has made more clear for you. Some of us may even take this opportunity to connect with the film, and with the two men whose love we watched form, then disintegrate and then reform again; spiritual communion, redemption, love, beauty, truth, wisdom..... spiritual presence, forgiveness, obedience, celibacy, poverty, silence.

During this season of joy and celebration, remember those that are less fortunate than you. Then perhaps we can consider whether or not they are truly less fortunate.  What we see as a weakness in another may very well be their greatest strength.

May the peace that eluded Jack and Ennis be with you all.

((I'll be out of town for a few days, so please don't be alarmed if you cannot reach me. I will return shortly.))
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 01:07:08 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2006, 11:28:09 pm »
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Daniel...

be safe on your journey... :)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #74 on: December 22, 2006, 11:44:46 pm »
One last gift.

'Twas the night before Solstice by James Finn Garner

Twas the night before solstice and all through the co-op
Not a creature was messing the calm status quo up.

the children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Dreaming of lentils and warm whole-grain breads.

We'd welcomed the winter that day after school
By dancing and drumming and burning the Yule,

A more meaningful gesture to honor the planet
Than buying more trinkets for Mom or Aunt Janet,

Or choosing a tree just to murder and stump it
And dress it all up like a seasonal strumpet.

My lifemate and I, having turned down the heat,
Slipped under the covers for a well-deserved sleep,

When from out on the lawn there came such a roar
I fell from my futon and rolled to the floor.

I crawled to the window and pulled back the latch,
And muttered, "Aw, where is that Neighborhood Watch?"

I saw there below through the murk of the night
A sleigh and eight reindeer of nonstandard height.

At the reins of that sleigh sat a mean-hearted knave
Who treated each deer like his persunal slave.

I'd seen him before in some ads for car loans,
Plus fast food and soft drinks and cellular phones.

He must have cashed in from his mercantile chores,
Since self-satisfaction just oozed from his pores.

He called each by name, as if he were right
To treat them like humans, entrenching his might:

"Now Donder, now Blitzen," and other such aliases,
Showing his true Eurocentrical biases.

With a snap of his fingers away they all flew,
Like lumberjacks served up a plate of tofu.

Up to the rooftop they carried the sleigh
(The holes in the shingles are there to this day).

Out bounded the man, who sent straight to the flue.
I knew in an instant just what I should do.

After donning my slippers, downstairs did I dash
to see this trespasser emerge from the ash.

His clothes were all covered with soot, but of course,
From our wood-fueled alternative energy source.

Through the grime I distinguished the make of his duds--
He was dressed all in fur, fairly dripping with blood.

"We're a cruelty-free house!" I proclaimed with such heat
He was startled and tripped on the logs at his feet.

He stood back up dazed, but with mirth in his eyes.
It was then that I noticed his unhealthy size.

He was almost as wide as when standing erect,
A lover of fatty fried foods, I suspect.

But that wasn't all to make sane persuns choke:
In his teeth sat a pipe that was belching out smoke!

I could scarcely believe what invaded our house.
This carcinogenic and overweight louse

Was so red in the face from his energy spent,
I expected a heart attack right there and then.

Behind him he toted a red velvet bag
Full to exploding with sinister swag.

He asked, "Where is your tree?" with a face somewhat long.
I said, "Out in the yard, which is where it belongs."

"But where will I put all the presents I've brought?"
I looked at him squarely and said, "Take the lot

"To some frivolous people who think that they need
to succumb to the sickness of commerce and greed,

"Whose only joy comes from he act of consuming,
Thus sending the stock of the retailers booming."

He blinked and said, "Ho, ho, ho! But you're kidding."
I gave him a stare that was stern and forbidding.

"Surely children need something with which to have fun?
It's like childhood's over before it's begun."

He looked in my eyes for some sign of assent,
But I strengthened my will and refused to relent.

"They have plenty of fun," I cut to the gist,
"And your mindless distractions have never been missed.

"They take CPR so that they can save lives,
And go door-to-door for the used clothing drives.

"They recycle, renew, reuse--and reveal
For saving the planet a laudable zeal.

"When they padlock themselves to a fence to protest
Against nuclear power, we think they're the best."

He said, "But they're children--lo, when do they play?"
I countered, "Is that why you've driven your sleigh,

"To bring joy to the hearts of each child and tot?
All right, open your bag; let's see what you've got."

He sheepishly did as I'd asked and behold!
A Malibu Barbie in a skirt made of gold.

"You think that my girls will like playing with this,
An icon of sexist, consumerist kitsch?

"With it's unnatural figure and airheaded grin,
This trollop make every girl yearn to be thin,

" And take up fad diets and binging and purging
Instead of respecting her own body's urging

"To welcome the shape that her body has found
And rejoice to be lanky, short, skinny, or round."

Deep in his satchel he searched for a toy,
Saying, "This is a hit with most little boys."

And what did he put in my trembling hand
But a gun from the BrainBlaster Power Command!

"It's a 'hit,' to be sure," I sneered in his face,
"And a plague to infect the whole human race!

"How 'bout grenades or some working bazookas
To turn all of our kids into half-wit palookas?"

I seized on his bag just to see for myself
The filth being spread by this odious elf.

An Easy-Bake Oven--ah, goddess, what perfidy!
To hoodwink young girls into household captivity!

Plus an archer play set with shafts that fly out,
The very thing needed to put your eye out.

And toy metal tractors, steam shovels, and cranes
For tearing down woodlands and scarring the plains,

Plus "games" like Monopoly, Pay Day, Tycoon,
As if lessons in greed can't start up too soon.

And even more weapons from BrainBlastersCo.,
Like cannons and nunchucks and ray guns that glow.

That's all I could find in his red velvet sack--
Perverseness and mayhem to set us all back.

(But I did find one book that caused me to ponder--
Some fine bedtime tales by a fellow named Garner.)

"We need none of this," I announced in a huff,
"No 'business-as-usual' holiday stuff.

"We sow in our offspring more virtue than this.
Your 'toys' offer some things they never will miss."

The big man's expression was a trifle bereaved
As he shouldered his pack and got ready to leave.

"I pity the kids who grow up around here,
Who're never permitted to be of good cheer,

"Who aren't allowed leisure for leisure's own sake,
But must fret every minute--it makes my heart break!"

"Enough histrionics! Don't pity our kids
If they don't do as Macy's or Toys 'R' Us bids.

"They live by their principles first and foremost
And know what's important," to him did I boast.

"Pray, could I meet them" "Oh no, they're not here.
They're up on the roof, liberating your deer!"

Then Santa Claus sputtered and pointed his finger
But, mad as he was, he had no time to linger.

He flew up the chimney like smoke from a fire,
And up on the roof I heard voices get higher.

I ran outside the co-op to see him react
To my children's responsible, kindhearted act.

He chased them away, and disheartened , dismayed,
He rehitched his reindeer (who'd docilely stayed).

I watched with delight as he scooted off then.
He'd be too embarrassed to come back again.

But with parting disdain, do you know what he said,
When this overweight huckster took off in his sled?

This reindeer enslaver, this exploiter of elves?
"Happy Christmas to all, but get over yourselves!!"

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #75 on: December 23, 2006, 01:52:35 pm »
That's a hoot!  :D

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #76 on: December 28, 2006, 09:30:15 pm »
Well, I've returned, and you think that my holiday would be a happy experience. It was for the most part. I received the new McKennitt CD (as I hoped), and was able to give some beautiful gifts, beautifully wrapped, to my closest friends and relatives. I always secretly smile to myself when they unfold the wrapping paper on the edges instead of ripping through it. There is no greater tribute to the selection of giftwrap.

I found myself thinking, on many occasions, of how my life has been transformed by Brokeback Mountain, and by knowing and engaging with all of you here. I know that I have said in many places that the film elicits a variety of emotional and physical and philosophical pinings within the self, and these are explored more fully in my upcoming book Dreamfilm: Brokeback Mountain Explored, as well as attempting to identify what about the film has led so many of us to connect with it, including its recurring themes and the manner in which they were journeyed in the film. There are two themes that I did not explore because they were far too complex to look at in one short text, and it is these themes which my life is resonating with, with temporary and momentary instances of reflection on the other great truths that Brokeback Mountain reveals to us. These themes are spiritual redemption and communion.

I will not go into detail about what those exactly are, because I only am barely starting to understand them from an experiential basis. I spent days reading The Dark Night of the Soul and am now convinced more than ever that the second book of that text is speaking directly of the few moments of darkness that we perceive in the film on the Mountain. It is a difficult experience to define other than to say that this awareness enlivens my entire being, from the expansive opening of the heart to the expansion of the mind in tingling epiphany (felt shift, self-transcendence, breakthrough, peak moment)
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #77 on: January 04, 2007, 04:31:00 am »
Happy New Year, Daniel!  Glad you're back!

I wanted to let you know that I went ahead and posted questions 6 - 10 at http://community.livejournal.com/latterdaysfans/ ... Milli & I seem to be the only two responding.  We'd love it if you'd come over and give us your insight into 1-5 when you have some time!

-Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #78 on: January 08, 2007, 03:34:13 pm »
Thank you Lynne, and a Happy New Year to you as well.  I have taken the time to post some responses to my own questions, although you and Milli have done a great job already.

Lately, I thought I would take some time to clean my room, and ran across some things I wrote almost a decade ago. The papers are yellowing with age, rumpled by the weight of dust, but the text on them is still legible, and still resonates with my most inner presence.


Love Life. Live Love.

Love Life:

1. Accept change.
2. Be still and know the truth.
3. Learn to forgive yourself and your circumstances.
4. If at first you don't succeed...
5. Be who you really are, even if it means sacrificing a false aspect of your public life.
6. Look for beauty in all things.
7. Be grateful for that which you have received.
8. Look forward to each new day as a bundle of opportunities.
9. Be artistic or creative in at least one way.
10. Use the five senses creatively, inspiringly, but responsibly.

Live Love.

1. Recognize others.
2. Realize that everyone has a story.
3. You must love yourself before you can love others.
4. Understand your emotions before you voice them.
5. Be honest, but gentle.
6. Respect one another's privacy.
7. Learn to forgive others and their circumstances.
8. Everyone and everything has a purpose for being here.
9. Be grateful to the camel.
10. Recognize beauty in the plain. See the divine in the ordinary. Contemplate the supernatural in the natural.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 07:36:05 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #79 on: January 15, 2007, 03:10:14 pm »
Well yesterday was my BBMiversary. It has been one year since I first saw the film, 6 months of floating in a cloud of pain directly afterwards, followed by 2 months of invigorating self-searching for the spiritual wisdom inherent in the film and in that pain. The last few months have seen me trying to find some way to implement that spiritual wisdom in my life.

For the first time in my life, I have pined for a particular person for over a year, and I do not find it in the one bit healthy at all. I have mostly conquered it, as I have discussed in other threads, but from time to time that torturous emotion rises again and I (as always) push it down. Push it down, resist, survive. Push it down, resist, survive. A monotony of life choices but little can be done for it.

Yes there are days when I sign onto this board and the new messages folder is filled with additions to the Jake Jake Jake thread, or as is the most recent, the Jake hosts SNL or Jake in Drag threads. As much as my fingers itch to twitch the arrow over those words and dare to press down with the simplest of muscle movements, I have managed to resist. I am resisting! I am surviving! I think that if I keep this up for a bit longer, I will be completely recovered, as the pangs of unquenchable desire are fewer in number and farther in between.

"Gyllenhaalic" is all too real a term, and I feel as though I am battling against this "ism" as much as an alcoholic would battle against his alcoholism, or any other addict against the things that he would sacrifice life and limb to acquire. Push it down. Resist. Survive.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumičre

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #80 on: January 15, 2007, 05:35:40 pm »
Hey Danny ..

I don't recall my BBMiversary, I know I went to see it maybe in the second or third week of January last year.  I went so many times after that, that it seems like a blur now .. lol.

Glad to hear you are resisting and surviving, one day at a time mate!  I am sure there are times when it is easy to fall to 'the temptation' but I think the important thing is to forgive yourself for it if you do, brush yourself off and keep pushing forward.  :)
You ain't alone, mate!  If you need someone to smack ya when you are getting tempted, drop me a line!  ;)


Offline Daniel

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Freedom From Many Things
« Reply #81 on: January 22, 2007, 05:53:19 pm »
Today I woke up, and tried to recall the daily priorities. But they were lost to me.
I stoked the fire in my soul, certain I would find the same pains, but it was empty.
A refreshing freedom filled my mind; should I mourn for lost connections?
But with my soul empowered thus, I faced many directions.

Whatever special connection I have had with Brokeback Mountain, it seems to have gone for good. No longer are my dreams filled with the stories of what Jack and Ennis might have been and how they had lived; no longer is my heart aching to find the tragedy of the west. I look at the poster and find no response. I see the films in their boxes, and wonder at their location.

Then I remember, the long winding path of the soul that that film led me down: the spiritual reconnaissance of the self. Many things were brought before me, and I held them close for a while. I bonded securely with one so high above me that no reality could exist; as much as I tried to part with it, I also held it dear. Brokeback Mountain brought me up its side, and there defeated fear.
Its heights showed me the maze of the life I lived. Its denunciation by the public enraged my bittered voice. In anger I defended it, took its strength unto myself. I patrolled the maze around its base, exploring every corner. Some junctions of the maze were clear, but others left in shadow.

Once in my explorations, I accidentally fell out. The wide plains before me frightened me, and so I ran back in. It welcomed me, offered warmth and strength, but murmured as I slept, "The time will come and soon, for you to leave, Adept." I did not know its words then, they meant nothing to me; I never dreamed that I could leave its maze so unexpectedly.

And so it has been many, many days, that I walked the familiar routes of the maze.
I wasn't searching for a way out. I really wasn't trying.
I remembered all too well the transforming pain: the weeping, gnashing, crying.
The long avenue of pain that led me within the very heart of my self.
It was a journey I'd never taken before; I wondered at my mental health.
The fire that led me on tortured my soul with angst and with pity, with love and with hate.
But ultimately, of understanding. Of what I dare to say aloud: the Universe and all its fate.
Within that maze I came to understand the things which time forgot.
Love, Beauty, Truth, Wisdom, all things which humans sought
In ancient days, though not understanding why
Their search for these would make them cry.
Each of these principles shines with infinite light.
Understood on many layers, seen in perfect sight,
Explored again and again, the depths and the peaks
of every imaginable consequence; the days turned to weeks.
Even death now holds less mystery,
and I can embrace it unerringly,
if it should be called of me.
But even in that grand struggle of life,
there was one thing which gave me strife.
A love so bitter, it reeked of hate.
A love impossible is a darkened fate.
The directions of my life were blank
When I reached too high above my rank
and sought to love what would not love back.
I knew it was so, my heart gave me no slack.
I wonder now what darkness pricked it to cling
Upon the image of an angelic being
and darkened my purpose to idolatry:
The love of something which cannot be.

This morning I awoke, and learned of something new.
I had left the maze some time ago,
but wondered why I did not know.
The monuments had followed me.
Love, Truth, Wisdom, Beauty.
Their purpose ever clear.
No longer tied to Brokeback Mountain,
though through that film made dear.
They were tied to me, and still are.
Wherever I may go, I look around.
And there they are, safe and sound.
I now know what words the maze whispered,
when I in its arms slept.
"The trials of darkness and light in this film,
are what make a man Adept."

The possibilities around me are endless.
Every direction made free.
I still do not know what power, timeless,
removed the burdens of the heart from me.
It was in that film, it was in that devotion. It was in that spiritual path.
Renewed with human vigor, I look around and laugh.
Anything is possible when I interweave
mental devotion and possibility.

Why did I not see this before?
What shadow blocked that light?
Was there some inner spiritual war,
Or some emptiness of darkened plight?
I departed my world, hoping to find peace
in a world in which I knew it not.
No other film has brought me the keys
to myself, which is where it was sought.


« Last Edit: January 22, 2007, 09:12:32 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Homosexuality and Spirituality
« Reply #82 on: February 17, 2007, 03:28:47 pm »
The other night, I rewatched one of the classic films which helped me to come to terms with much of my inner self, Get Real. A poorly reviewed film for the most part, but I think it was well written, though the film is greatly disruptive in places because it does not seem to flow as a film should, and feels like it is trying too hard to capture a few moments of life that are just not very realistic.  I think this disruption is either caused by the acting (which considering that the actors are British whom have always seemed to master that art, is a little unusual) or by the direction, which seems far more plausible.  Well there's a complicated sentence for you.... where's an editor when you need one?

There are a few moments in the film, however, when Stephen Carter's character takes on a facial or bodily expression that I am all too familiar with, or was when I was 19 and saw the film for the first time.  I am deeply grateful for this film for the words which were poignantly relevant in my life at the time, even if the lines were poorly read. It was one of the first films I ever saw which actually associated acceptance of homosexuality with the suburban reality that I was all too familiar with.  Of course, it was not downright acceptance... but devillainized the homosexual and relegated him or her to the state of a "victim of circumstance". This is a major step in social realities, and for personal ones as well.

In Sex and the Sacred, Hellminiak reveals that often the homosexual goes through phases of self acceptance. At the discovery of his or her own homosexuality, there is often a tendency to villainize the self, to believe or perceive the self as evil or unnatural and a blight to human existance. This is particularly true in areas controlled by the hyperconservatives: suburban and rural areas for the most part, and as you may have guessed, my own situation.

It is during this fragile period of self denial that suicide attempts are common, not as a means to gaining attention (as many psychologists theorize about the action of suicide attempts) but out of genuine self hatred. In some extreme cases, there is even a belief of demonic possession as the root cause for homosexual thoughts or behaviors. These factors of self denial and self hatred have been propagated by some religious institutions and have instigated religion-based "change programs".

Those who can survive this long darkness enter into a second phase of self acceptance. No longer a human fiend possessed by the most immoral of evils, the homosexual becomes a victim of biological circumstance. This separates the homosexual from the homosexuality. It becomes more of a disease or genetic condition: a person with homosexuality. The "change programs" established for this period of self acceptance are fueled by some antiquated theories of human psychology and biology, inspiring alteration not as a necessity of spiritual cleansing, but instead a psychological training of the mind to resist the flawed temptations of the flesh. Aversion therapy is the most common.

Finally, if the self is not broken during either of the previous phases of self acceptance, then can emerge the more spiritually focused understanding that homosexuality is part of the self and is an identity aspect that can be embraced and supported along with a more integrated perspective of the whole. Those who have reached this level of self-acceptance often work to help others reach it as well, and aid global acceptance by interweaving self acceptance with the world's spiritual teachings.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #83 on: February 27, 2007, 02:51:03 pm »
My book of poetry Mystic Madness in the Night I think is now complete, though it only bears 89 pages of poetry, and I was hoping to reach at least 100... I previously miscounted and thought I needed only a few more to make a hundred, but after finishing those by raking the coals of inner fire, I found that it was not enough.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #84 on: March 13, 2007, 03:33:01 pm »
Be Written for and performed by Gregorian

On a painted Sky
where the Clouds are hung
for the poet's eye
you may find him
if you may find him.
There
on a distant shore
by the wings of dreams
through an open door
you may know him
if you may.

Be
as a page that aches for a word
which speaks on a theme
that is timeless
and the one god will make for your day.
Sing
as a song in search of a voice
that is silent
and the sun god will make for your way.

And we dance
to a whispered voice
overheard by the soul
undertook by the heart
and you may know it
if you may know it.
While the sand
would become the stone
which begat the spark
turned to living bone.
Holy, Holy
Sanctus, Sanctus

Be
as a page that aches for a word
which speaks on a theme
that is timeless
and the one god will make for your day.
Sing
as a song in search of a voice
that is silent
and the sun god will make for your way.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections (The Prophecy)
« Reply #85 on: March 28, 2007, 08:18:46 am »
For low, within the sky, I saw seven stars brightly shining upon the crown
that hovered over the Mountain. And above these seven stars were three even
brighter ones. And together, these stars magnified their light seventy
times, nay seventy times seventy. And the Beast was also crowned with three
bright stars, one star larger than any other in the sky. And its light also
shone, but the crown that hovered over the Mountain was brighter still, and
the Children of Brokeback were stunned by the apperance of the great star
crowning the Beast, but the light from above the Mountain could not be
diminished, no matter where the Beast sought to shine its light. For by the
combined light of the crown that hovered over the Mountain, it dimmed the
Beast's crown into the grayest of shadows.

And the Children of Brokeback looked once more, and saw upon the foul Beast
a crown fashioned of iron and blood, gold and silver, in which these three
great stars shone. For the Beast was unworthy of its crown and the greatest
star which had been bestowed upon it. But once set there, little could be
done. For in the eyes of the prophets, it was seen that the Beast had
crowned itself, and through efforts most atrocious plucked the great star
from the skies before it could be lowered to its rightful place. But still
the Children of Brokeback stood in awe of the great lights that hovered over
the Mountain. Through the combined light of the beautiful crown visible to
all, even the light of the greatest star was diminished. And even the
unfaithful could see that the great stars were strewn unequally, so that the
smallest received the greatest, and the greatest the smallest. The lesser
stars, those seven that made up the crown, were granted with wisdom and
honor, and their dispensation carried with it the sagacity of the ancients
and the gods were pleased.

And the wise men of the world came forth from their towers, pointing at the
Beast and beholding it with honor and bestowing greatness upon it, when only
a few hours before they had beheld the beauty of the Mountain. But the
Children of Brokeback remained faithful. And the wise men said unto the
Children of Brokeback, "See, how great and magnificent the Beast is. It is
far more important than the Mountain, whose beauty is overshadowed by the
Beast's crown and the greatest star bestowed upon it by the gods. It must be
important if the gods recognize it in such a fashion" For these wise men had
lost all wisdom, and they wore new robes dyed in richest purple. The
Children were unmoved, seeing sacrelige and corruption. The unbelievers now
faced confusion, for they were torn between the beauty of the Mountain and
the throne and temple of the great Beast, and the light of the great star
within its crown. And one said unto the wise men whom had lost their wisdom,
"Should not the beauty that has already been recognized as the measure by
which these stars are bestowed be the same measure by which the greatest
star is bestowed?" But the wise men had lost their wisdom and had no
response to give, except to praise the Beast and grovel before its great
throne, upon which was engraved "IMPORTANCE, BEHOLD MEANING GIVEN FORM." And
many wise men lost all sense of wisdom or intellect and said unto the
unbelievers and the Children of Brokeback "Praise ye this Beast, for see the
greatness of the throne it sits upon. See the greatest star embedded in its
crown. It is truly an important beast. See how it directs us how to think
and tell us what to do. Only a great teacher could do this." The prophets of
the Children of Brokeback moved forward, unable to account for the chaos
that the world had been thrown into. And they looked at the great Beast and
saw the sacrelige and the corruption, the social agenda which glowed like
coals upon its red flesh. And they saw the crown of iron and blood, gold and
silver set with the two great lights and the one that shone greater than all
others, and shook their head. And they called out to the people and to the
wise men that turned their backs upon the Mountain, "Does innocence mean
nothing? Beauty? Compassion? Art? Have you lost all sense of what these
stars are meant to adorn? Return to the Mountain. Here is music and art,
here is provoking thought and beautiful prose. And most importantly, here
there is no teacher. See for yourself what you will see, but do not chase
after one that calls itself IMPORTANT. You should flee the other way. Beware
the Beast." But the wise men would not listen, for they had lost their
wisdom. And they went into the temple of the Beast and praised it highly,
listening to its words and applying them to their heart. And thus men that
were once wise became shallow shadows of their former glory. And the Beast
looked out at the Mountain, coveting the great crown of stars that it had
already received, along with the three great stars, and desired mightily to
add them to its own. But they were already set. And it looked upon the
greatest star of light, which sought in vain to shine more brightly than the
combined stars that hovered over the Mountain. The Beast sought to appear
smug and confident.

And the Children of Brokeback retreated to the Mountain. They basked in the
warmth of one another's presence, looking upon the rest of the world with
dismay for its insanity. And they once again contemplated the sacred texts,
and the holy music (above both of which shone great stars) and some even
prepared to climb the Mountain once more, in honor of so many unrecognized
saints and mystics that had given of themselves to move the Mountain from
the mind of one to the hearts of many. The Trial of its movement had
required many sacrifices for a period of seven years, which no great work or
movement had ever required before. And once again the faithful honored the
great truths that the Mountain offers, and inscribed the wisdom upon their
hearts. And though still saddened that the greatest star had been stolen by
the Beast, the Children were content and sought happiness once more in the
shade of the Mountain. And the wisest Children of Brokeback sought communion
with the great spirits within themselves, and the eternal spirits of Jack
and Ennis still play in their hearts, for the life on the Mountain is
perpetual and unfading, while the Beast's reign will be short. And after the
reign of the Beast the lights of the Mountain will become even brighter
still, yea, even as the Beast's temple and throne crumble around it and the
eyes of the wise men of the world are opened once again. The throne will be
broken, its pieces scattered throughout the lands. The temple will be taken
apart, brick by brick, and its foundations ripped from the earth. The ground
where it once stood strewn with salt. The unbelievers shall come to know the
truth, and the Children of Brokeback shall go out to greet them and to
celebrate with them the destruction of the Beast and its reign. For the
truth will be apparent to all: There is no temple but the self. There is no
truth but inner awareness. There is no throne but self knowledge. Those who
claim importance espouse ignorance. Those who offer humble art and love
espouse wisdom.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2007, 09:49:44 pm »
Well I think I have found my favorite poet (other than myself)... It is also one of my favorite fiction writers: H.P. Lovecraft.  Here, try some!!!  :D

The Rutted Road

Bleak autumn mists send down their chilly load,
A raven shivers as he flutters by;
Thro' lonely pasture winds the Rutted Road
Where bord'ring elms loom bare against the sky.

Those deep-sunk tracks, which dumbly point ahead
O'er travell'd sands that stretch to Vision's rim,
Wake hidden thoughts - a longing half a dread -
Till Fancy pauses at the prospect dim.

Descending shadows bid me haste along
The ancient ruts so many knew before;
A cricket mocks me with his mirthless song -
I fear the path - I fain would see no more.

Yet here, with ox-drawn cart, each thoughtless swain
His course pursu'd, nor left the common way;
Can I, superior to the rustic train,
On brighter by-roads find the dawning day?

With questing look I scan the dark'ning moor;
Perchance o'er yonder mound all blessings wait;
But still the Rutted Road's resistless lure
Constrains my progress to the Path of Fate.

So must I grope between the brooding trees
Where those before me found the mystic night;
I travel onward, past the wither'd leas -
But what, around the bend, awaits my sight?

Do fairer lands than this invite my feet?
Will Fate on me her choicest boons bestow?
What lies ahead, my weary soul to greet?
Why is it that I do not wish to know?
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #87 on: April 01, 2007, 10:02:40 pm »
Here's another one... gorgeous. Those of you that I've been corresponding with know this one has a special place for me right now.

To Mr. Galpin (Upon His Twentieth Birthday)
by H.P. Lovecraft

Around thy door tonight there floats
The half-heard sound of distant song,
As if to thee in antique notes
There caroll'd some aerial throng.

Upon thy sill I seem to see
The twining bay and myrtle creep,
Harmonious with that melody
That lulls thine hours of cryptic sleep.

The autumn breeze his chill resigns,
And for a moment bears the scent
Of groves Nysaean, and the vines
That once with Phrygian grapes were bent.

And from those realms above thy head
Where thou, perchance, in dreams art found,
The aether trembles at the tread
Of airy maids, with laurel crown'd.

Adown the moonbeams' misty road
The nymphs celestial dance their way,
Each bent beneath her aureate load
Of gifts to deck thy natal day.

The twentieth time that choir appears:
The twentieth time the breeze is sweet;
And gods that mark thy growing years
Lay new-made talents at thy feet.

They who of old with regnant care
Spread beauty from Olympus throne,
Combine to grace thy comely hair
With coronals to match their own.

Thy ruddy lips with wine they stain,
And honey from Hymettus' hives;
And breathe in thee a pure refrain
To tell the glory of their lives.

Thine ivory brow they gird with light,
And in thy hyacinth-eyes implant
The luminous and celestial sight
Of poet, sage, and hierophant.

Thy golden voice they teach anew
To spread Athena's sacred fame,
And thy young hand with pow'r endew
To write in words of limpid flame.

Thy name with tender sound they breathe,
And bid thee make it doubly great;
And whilst thy sleeping head they wreathe,
They summon all the boons of Fate.

So as thou wakest, gentle boy,
Be thine the care their will to heed;
Nor ever thy bright art alloy
With transient whim or venal greed.

Thy heart's pure grace with kindness hold;
Thine eye's clear flame with virtue fan;
Nor let thy fancy be less bold
To sound the depths of Nature's plan.

Endymion's kin and Phoebus' son;
Bless'd with such gifts as few may know;
May thy life prosper as begun,
With art's rare scent and wisdom's glow!
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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The Flyers of Gy, Part I
« Reply #88 on: April 03, 2007, 12:11:34 pm »
By Ursula K. LeGuin

The people of Gy look pretty much like people from our plane except that they have plumage, not hair. A fine, fuzzy down on the heads of infants becomes a soft, short coat of speckled dun on the fledglings, and with adolescence this grows out into a full head of feathers. Most men have ruffs at the back of the neck, shorter feathers all over the head, and tall, erectile crests. The head-plumage of males is brown or black, barred and marked variously with bronze, red, green, and blue. Women's plumes usually grow long, sometimes sweeping down the back almost to the floor, with soft, curling, trailing edges, like the tail-plumes of ostriches; the colors of the feathers of women are vivid—purple, scarlet, coral, turquoise, gold. Gyr men and women are downy in the pubic region and pit of the arm and often have short, fine plumage over the whole body. People with brightly colored bodyfeathers are a cheerful sight when naked, but they are much troubled by lice and nits.

Moulting is a continuous process, not seasonal. As people age, not all the moulted feathers grow back, and patchy baldness is common among both men and women over forty. Most people, therefore, save the best of their headfeathers as they moult out, to make into wigs or false crests as needed. Those whose plumage is scanty or dull can also buy feather wigs at special shops. There are fads for bleaching one's feathers or spraying them gold or crimping them, and wig shops in the cities will bleach, dye, spray, or crimp one's plumage and sell headdresses in whatever the current fashion is. Poor women with specially long, splendid headfeathers often sell them to the wig shops for a fairly good price.

The Gyr write with quill pens. It is traditional for a father to give a set of his own stiff ruff-quills to a child beginning to learn to write. Lovers exchange feathers with which to write love letters to one another, a pretty custom, referred to in a famous scene in the play The Misunderstanding by Inuinui:


O my betraying plume, that wrote his love
To her! His love—my feather, and my blood!
The Gyr are a staid, steady, traditional people, uninterested in innovation, shy of strangers. They are resistant to technological invention and novelty; attempts to sell them ballpoint pens or airplanes, or to induce them to enter the wonderful world of electronics, have failed. They go on writing letters to one another with quill pens, calculating with their heads, walking afoot or riding in carriages pulled by large, doglike animals called ugnunu, learning a few words in foreign languages when absolutely necessary, and watching classic stage plays written in iambic pentameter. No amount of exposure to the useful technologies, the marvelous gadgets, the advanced scientific knowledge of other planes—for Gy is a fairly popular tourist stop—seems to rouse envy or greed or a sense of inferiority in the Gyran bosom. They go on doing exactly as they have always done, not stodgily, exactly, but with a kind of dullness, a polite indifference and impenetrability, behind which may lie supreme self-satisfaction, or something quite different.

The crasser kind of tourists from other planes refer to the Gyr, of course, as birdies, birdbrains, featherheads, and so on. Many visitors from livelier planes visit the small, placid cities, take rides out into the country in ugnunu-chaises, attend sedate but charming balls (for the Gyr like to dance), and enjoy an old-fashioned evening at the theater without losing one degree of their contempt for the natives. "Feathers but no wings," is the conventional judgment that sums it up.

Such patronizing visitors may spend a week in Gy without ever seeing a winged native or learning that what they took for a bird or a jet was a woman on her way across the sky.

The Gyr don't talk about their winged people unless asked. They don't conceal them, or lie about them, but they don't volunteer information. I had to ask questions fairly persistently to be able to write the following description.

Wings never develop before late adolescence. There is no sign at all of the propensity until suddenly a girl of eighteen, a boy of nineteen, wakes up with a slight fever and a terrible aching in the shoulder blades.

After that comes a year or more of extreme physical stress and pain, during which the subject must be kept quiet, warm, and well fed. Nothing gives comfort but food—the nascent flyers are terribly hungry most of the time—and being wrapped or swaddled in blankets, while the body restructures, remakes, rebuilds itself. The bones lighten and become porous, the whole upper body musculature changes, and bony protuberances, developing rapidly from the shoulder blades, grow out into immense alar processes. The final stage is the growth of the wingfeathers, which is not painful. The primaries are, as feathers go, massive, and may be a meter long. The wingspread of an adult male Gyr is about four meters, that of a woman usually about a half meter less. Stiff feathers sprout from the calves and ankles, to be spread wide in flight.

Any attempt to interfere, to prevent or halt the growth of wings, is useless and harmful or fatal. If the wings are not allowed to develop, the bones and muscles begin to twist and shrivel, causing unendurable, unceasing pain. Amputation of the wings or the flightfeathers, at any stage, results in a slow, agonizing death.

Among some of the most conservative, archaic peoples of the Gyr, the tribal societies living along the icy coasts of the north polar regions and the herdsfolk of the cold, barren steppes of the far south, this vulnerability of the winged people is incorporated into religion and ritual. In the north, as soon as a youth shows the fatal signs, he or she is captured and handed over to the tribal elders. With rituals similar to their funeral rites, they fasten heavy stones to the victim's hands and feet, then go in procession to a cliff high above the sea and push the victim over, shouting, "Fly! Fly for us!"

Among the steppe tribes, the wings are allowed to develop completely, and the youth is carefully, worshipfully attended all that year. Let us say that it is a girl who has shown the fatal symptoms. In her feverish trances she functions as a shaman and soothsayer. The priests listen and interpret all her sayings to the people. When her wings are full grown, they are bound down to her back. Then the whole tribe set out to walk with her to the nearest high place, cliff, or crag—often a journey of weeks, in that flat, desolate country.

On the heights, after days of dancing and imbibing hallucinatory smoke from smudge-fires of byubyu wood, the priests go with the young woman, all of them drugged, dancing and singing, to the edge of the cliff. There her wings are freed. She lifts them for the first time, and then like a falcon leaving the nest, leaps stumbling off the cliff into the air, wildly beating those huge, untried wings. Whether she flies or falls, all the men of the tribe, screaming with excitement, shoot at her with bow and arrow or throw their razor-pointed hunting spears. She falls, pierced by dozens of spears and arrows. The women scramble down the cliff, and if there is any life left in her they beat it out with stones. They then throw and heap stones over the body till it is buried under a cairn.

There are many cairns at the foot of every steep hill or crag in all the steppe country; the ancient cairns furnish stones for the new ones.

Such young people may try to escape their fate by running away from their people, but the weakness and fever that attend the development of wings cripple them, and they never get far.

There is a folktale in the South Marches of Merm of a winged man who leapt up into the air from the sacrificial crag and flew so strongly that he escaped the spears and arrows and disappeared into the sky. The original story ends there. The playwright Norwer used it as the base for a romantic tragedy. In his play Transgression, the young man has appointed a tryst with his beloved, and flies there to meet with her; but she has unwittingly betrayed him to another suitor, who lies in wait. As the lovers embrace, the suitor hurls his spear and kills the winged one. The maiden pulls out her own knife and kills the murderer and then—after exchanging anguished farewells with the not quite expired winged one—stabs herself. It is melodramatic, but if well staged, very moving; everybody has tears in their eyes when the hero first descends like an eagle, and when, dying, he enfolds his beloved in his great bronze wings.

A version of Transgression was performed a few years ago on my plane, in Chicago, at the Actual Reality Theater. It was probably inevitably, but unfortunately, translated as Sacrifice of the Angels. There is absolutely no mythology or lore concerning anything like our angels among the Gyr. Sentimental pictures of sweet little cherubs with baby wings, hovering guardian spirits, or grander images of divine messengers would strike them as a hideous mockery of something every parent and every adolescent dreads: a rare but fearful deformity, a curse, a death sentence.

Among the urbanized Gyr, that dread is mitigated to some degree, since the winged ones are treated not as sacrificial scapegoats but with tolerance and even sympathy, as people with a most unfortunate handicap.

This might seem odd. To soar over the heads of the earthbound, to race with eagles and soar with condors, to dance on air, to ride the wind, not in a noisy metal box or on a contraption of plastic and fabric and straps but on one's own vast, strong, splendid, outstretched wings—how could that be anything but a joy, a freedom? How stodgy, sullen-hearted, leaden-souled the Gyr must be, to think that people who can fly are cripples!

But they do have their reasons. The fact is that the winged Gyr can't trust their wings.

No fault can be found in the actual design of the wings. They serve admirably, with a little practice, for short flights, for effortless gliding and soaring on updrafts and, with more practice, for stunts and tumbling, aerial acrobatics. When winged people are fully mature, if they fly regularly they may achieve great stamina. They can stay aloft almost indefinitely. Many learn to sleep on the wing. Flights of over two thousand miles have been recorded, with only brief hover-stops to eat. Most of these very long flights were made by women, whose lighter bodies and bone structure give them the advantage over distance. Men, with their more powerful musculature, would take the speed-flying awards, if there were any. But the Gyr, at least the wingless majority, are not interested in records or awards, certainly not in competitions that involve a high risk of death.

The problem is that flyers' wings are liable to sudden, total, disastrous failure. Flight engineers and medical investigators on Gyr and elsewhere have not been able to account for it. The design of the wings has no detectable fault; their failure must be caused by an as yet unidentified physical or psychological factor, an incompatibility of the alar processes with the rest of the body. Unfortunately no weakness shows up beforehand; there is no way to predict wing failure. It occurs without warning. A flyer who has flown his entire adult life without a shadow of trouble takes off one morning and, having attained altitude, suddenly, appallingly, finds his wings will not obey him—shuddering, closing, clapping down along his sides, paralyzed. And he falls from the sky like a stone.

The medical literature states that as many as one flight in twenty ends in failure. Flyers I talked to believed that wing failure was not nearly as frequent as that, citing cases of people who had flown daily for decades. But it was not a matter they wanted to talk about with me, or perhaps even with one another. They seemed to have no preventive precautions or rituals, accepting it as truly random. Failure may come on the first flight or the thousandth. No cause has been found for it—heredity, age, inexperience, fatigue, diet, emotion, physical condition. Every time a flyer goes up, the chance of wing failure is the same.

Some of course survive the fall. But they never fall again, because they can never fly again. Once the wings have failed, they are useless. They remain paralyzed, dragging along beside and behind their owner like a huge, heavy feather cape.

Foreigners ask why flyers don't carry parachutes in case of wing failure. No doubt they could. It is a question of temperament. Winged people who fly are those willing to take the risk of wing failure. Those who do not want the risk do not fly. Or perhaps those who consider it a risk do not fly, and those who fly do not consider it a risk.

As amputation of the wings is invariably fatal, and surgical removal of any part of them causes acute, incurable, crippling pain, the fallen flyers and those who choose not to fly must drag their wings about all their lives, through the streets, up and down the stairs. Their changed bone structure is not well suited to ground life; they tire easily walking, and suffer many fractures and muscular injuries. Few non-flying flyers live to sixty.

Those who do fly face their death every time they take off. Some of them, however, are still alive and still flying at eighty.

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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The Flyers of Gy, Part II
« Reply #89 on: April 03, 2007, 12:13:26 pm »
By Ursula K LeGuin

It is a quite wonderful sight, takeoff. Human beings aren't as awkward as I would have expected, having seen the graceless flapping of such masters of the air as pelicans and swans getting airborne. Of course it is easiest to launch from a perch or height, but if there's no such convenience handy, all they need is a run of twenty or twenty-flve meters, enough for a couple of lifts and downbeats of the great extended wings, and then a step that doesn't touch the ground, and then they're up, aloft, soaring—maybe circling back overhead to smile and wave down at uplifted faces before arrowing off above the roofs or over the hills.

They fly with the legs close together, the body arched a little backward, the legfeathers fanning out into a hawklike tail as needed. As the arms have no integral muscular connection to the wings—winged Gyr are six-limbed creatures—the hands may be kept down along the sides to reduce wind resistance and increase speed. In a leisurely flight, they may do anything hands do—scratch the head, peel a fruit, sketch an aerial view of the landscape, hold a baby. Though the latter I only saw once, and it troubled me.

I talked several times with a winged Gyr named Ardiadia; what follows is all in his own words, recorded, with his permission, during our conversations.

"Oh, yes, when I first found out—when it started happening to me, you know—I was floored. Terrified! I couldn't believe it. I'd been so sure it wouldn't happen to me. When we were kids, you know, we used to joke about so-and-so being 'flighty,' or say 'he'll be taking off one of these days'—but me? Me grow wings? It wasn't going to happen to me. So when I got this headache, and then my teeth ached for a while, and then my back began to hurt, I kept telling myself it was a toothache, I had an infection, an abscess.… But when it really began there was no more fooling myself. It was terrible. I really can't remember much about it. It was bad. It hurt. First like knives running back and forth between my shoulders, and claws digging up and down my spine. And then all over, my arms, my legs, my fingers, my face.… And I was so weak I couldn't stand up. I got out of bed and fell down on the floor and I couldn't get up. I lay there calling my mother, 'Mama! Mama, please come!' She was asleep. She worked late, waiting in a restaurant, and didn't get home till way after midnight, and so she slept hard. And I could feel the floor getting hot underneath me, I was so hot with fever, and I'd try to move my face to a cooler place on the floor.…

"Well, I don't know if the pain eased off or I just got used to it, but it was a bit better after a couple of months. It was hard, though. And long, and dull, and strange. Lying there. But not on my back. You can't lie on your back, ever, you know. Hard to sleep at night. When it hurt, it always hurt most at night. Always a little fevery, likely to think strange thoughts, have funny ideas. And never able to think a thought through, never able quite to hold on to an idea. I felt as if I myself really couldn't think any more. Thoughts just came into me and went through me and I watched them. And no plans for the future any more, because what was my future now? I'd thought of being a schoolteacher. My mother had been so excited about that, she'd encouraged me to stay in school the extra year, to qualify for teachers' college.… Well, I had my nineteenth birthday lying there in my little room in our three-room flat over the grocery on Lacemakers Lane. My mother brought some fancy food from the restaurant and a bottle of honey wine, and we tried to have a celebration, but I couldn't drink the wine, and she couldn't eat because she was crying. But I could eat, I was always starving hungry, and that cheered her up.… Poor Mama!

"Well, so, I came out of that, little by little, and the wings grew in, great ugly dangling naked things, disgusting, to start with, and even worse when they started to fledge, with the pinfeathers like great pimples—but when the primaries and secondaries came out, and I began to feel the muscles there, and to be able to shudder my wings, shake them, raise them a little—and I wasn't feverish any more, or I'd got used to running a fever all the time, I'm not really sure which it is—and I was able to get up and walk around, and feel how light my body was now, as if gravity couldn't affect me, even with the weight of those huge wings dragging after me … but I could lift them, get them up off the floor.…

"Not myself, though. I was earthbound. My body felt light, but I wore out even trying to walk, got weak and shaky. I'd used to be pretty good at the broad jump, but now I couldn't get both feet off the ground at once.

"I was feeling a lot better, but it bothered me to be so weak, and I felt closed in. Trapped. Then a flyer came by, a man from uptown, who'd heard about me. Flyers look after kids going through the change. He'd looked in a couple of times to reassure my mother and make sure I was doing all right. I was grateful for that. Now he came and talked to me for a long time, and showed me the exercises I could do. And I did them, every day, all the time—hours and hours. What else did I have to do? I used to like reading, but it didn't seem to hold my attention any more. I used to like going to the theater, but I couldn't do that, I still wasn't strong enough. And places like theaters, they don't have room for people with unbound wings, you take up too much space, you cause a fuss. I'd been good at mathematics in school, but I couldn't fix my attention on the problems any more. They didn't seem to matter. So I had nothing to do but the exercises the flyer taught me. And I did them. All the time.

"The exercises helped. There really wasn't enough room even in our sitting room, I never could do a vertical stretch fully, but I did what I could. I felt better, I got stronger. I finally began to feel like my wings were mine. Were part of me. Or I was part of them.

"Then one day I couldn't stand being inside any more. Thirteen months I'd been inside, in those three little rooms, most of them just in the one room, thirteen months! Mama was out at work. I went downstairs. I walked the first ten steps down and then I lifted my wings. Even though the staircase was way too narrow, I could lift them some, and I stepped off and floated down the last six steps. Well, sort of. I hit pretty hard at the bottom, and my knees buckled, but I didn't really fall. It wasn't flying, but it wasn't quite falling.

"I went outside. The air was wonderful. I felt like I hadn't had any air for a year. Actually, I felt like I'd never known what air was in my whole life. Even in that narrow little street, with the houses hanging over it, there was wind, there was the sky, not a ceiling. The sky overhead. The air. I started walking. I hadn't planned anything. I wanted to get out of the lanes and alleys, to somewhere open, a big plaza or square or park, anything open to the sky. I saw people staring at me but I didn't much care. I'd stared at people with wings, when I didn't have them. Not meaning anything, just curious. Wings aren't all that common. I used to wonder a little about what it felt like to have them, you know. Just ignorance. So I didn't care if people looked at me now. I was too eager to get out from under the roofs. My legs were weak and shaky but they kept going, and sometimes, where the street wasn't crowded with people, I'd lift my wings a little, loft them, get a feel of the air under the feathers, and for a little while I'd be lighter on my feet.

"So I got to the Fruit Market. The market had shut down, it was evening, the booths were all shoved back, so there was a big space in the middle, cobblestones. I stood there under the Assay Office for a while doing exercises, lifts and stretches—I could do a vertical all the way for the first time, and it felt wonderful. Then I began to trot a little as I lofted, and my feet would get off the ground for a moment, and so I couldn't resist, I couldn't help it, I began to run and to loft my wings, and then beat down, and loft again, and I was up! But there was the Weights and Measures Building right in front of me, this grey stone facade right in my face, and I actually had to fend off, push myself away from it with my hands, and drop down to the pavement. But I turned around and there I had the full run ahead of me, clear across the marketplace to the Assay Office. And I ran, and I took off.

"I swooped around the marketplace for a while, staying low, learning how to turn and bank, and how to use my tailfeathers. It comes pretty natural, you feel what to do, the air tells you … but the people down below were looking up, and ducking when I banked too steep, or stalled … I didn't care. I flew for over an hour, till after dark, after all the people had gone. I'd got way up over the roofs by then. But I realized my wing muscles were getting tired and I'd better come down. But that was hard. I mean, landing was hard because I didn't know how to land. I came down like a sack of rocks, bam! Nearly sprained my ankle, and the soles of my feet stung like fire. If anybody saw it they must have laughed. But I didn't care. It was just hard to be on the ground. I hated be down. Limping home, dragging my wings that weren't any good here, feeling weak, feeling heavy.

"It took me quite a while to get home, and Mama came in just a little after me. She looked at me and said, 'You've been out,' and I said, 'I flew, Mama,' and she burst into tears.

"I was sorry for her but there wasn't much I could say.

She didn't even ask me if I was going to go on flying. She knew I would. I don't understand the people who have wings and don't use them. I suppose they're interested in having a career. Maybe they were already in love with somebody on the ground. But it seems … I don't know. I can't really understand it. Wanting to stay down. Choosing not to fly. Wingless people can't help it, it's not their fault they're grounded. But if you have wings …

"Of course they may be afraid of wing failure. Wing failure doesn't happen if you don't fly. Of course it doesn't happen, how can it? How can something fail that never worked?

"I suppose being safe is important to some people. They have a family or commitments or a job or something that makes it important. I don't know. You'd have to talk to one of them. I'm a flyer."




· · · · · 


I asked Ardiadia how he made his living. Like many flyers, he worked part-time for the postal service. He mostly carried governmental correspondence and despatches on long flights, even overseas. Evidently he was considered a gifted and reliable employee. For particularly important despatches, he told me that two flyers were always sent, in case one suffered wing failure.
He was thirty-two. I asked him if he was married, and he told me that flyers never married; they considered it, he said, beneath them—"Affairs on the wing," he said, with a slight smile. I asked if the affairs were always with other flyers, and he said, "Oh, yes, of course," unintentionally revealing his surprise or disgust at the idea of making love to a non-flyer. His manners were pleasant and civil, he was most obliging, but he could not quite hide his sense of being apart from, different from the wingless, having nothing really to do with them. How could he help but look down on us?

I pressed him a little about this feeling of superiority, and he tried to explain. "When I said it was as if I was my wings, you know?—that's it. Being able to fly makes other things seem uninteresting. What people do seems so trivial. Flying is complete. It's enough. I don't know if you can understand. It's one's whole body, one's whole self, up in the whole sky. On a clear day, in the sunlight, with everything lying down there below, far away …. Or in a high wind, in a storm—out over the sea, that's where I like best to fly. Over the sea in stormy weather. When the fishing boats run for land, and you have it all to yourself, the sky full of rain and lightning, and the clouds under your wings. Once off Emer Cape I danced with the waterspouts.… It takes everything to fly. Everything you are, everything you have. And so if you go down, you go down whole. And over the sea, if you go down, that's it, who's to know, who cares? I don't want to be buried underground." The idea made him shiver a little. I could see the shudder in his long, heavy, bronze-and-black wingfeathers.

I asked if the affairs on the wing sometimes resulted in children, and he said with indifference that of course they sometimes did. I pressed him a little about it and he said that a baby was a great bother to a flying mother, so that as soon as a baby was weaned it was usually left "on the ground," as he put it, to be brought up by relatives. Sometimes the winged mother got so attached to the child that she grounded herself to look after it. He told me this with some disdain.

The children of flyers are no more likely to grow wings than other children. The phenomenon has no genetic factor, but is a developmental pathology shared by all Gyr, which appears in less than one out of a thousand.

I think Ardiadia would not accept the word "pathology."

I talked also with a non-flying flyer, who let me record our conversation but asked that I not use his name. He is a member of a respectable law firm in a small city in Central Gy. He said, "I never flew, no. I was twenty when I got sick. I'd thought I was past the age, safe. It was a terrible blow. My parents had already spent a good deal of money, made sacrifices to get me into college. I was doing well in college. I liked learning. I had an intellect. To lose a year was bad enough. I wasn't going to let this business eat up my whole life. To me they are simply excrescences. Growths. Impediments to walking, dancing, sitting in a civilized manner on a normal chair, wearing decent clothing. I refused to let something like that get in the way of my education, my whole life. Flyers are stupid, their brains go all to feathers. I wasn't going to trade in my mind for a chance to flitter about over the rooftops. I'm more interested in what goes on under the roofs. I don't care for scenery. I prefer people. And I wanted a normal life. I wanted to marry, to have children. My father was a kind man; he died when I was sixteen, and I'd always thought that if I could be as good to my children as he was to us, it would be a way of thanking him, of honoring his memory.… I was fortunate enough to meet a beautiful woman who refused to let my handicap frighten her. In fact she won't let me call it that. She insists that all this"—he indicated his wings with a slight gesture of his head—"was what she first saw in me. Claims that when we first met, she thought I was quite a boring, stuffy young fellow, till I turned around."

His headfeathers were black with a blue crest. His wings, though flattened, bound, and belted down (as non-flyers' wings always are, to keep them out of the way and as unnoticeable as possible), were splendidly feathered in patterns of dark blue and peacock blue with black bars and edges.

"At any rate, I was determined to keep my feet on the ground, in every sense of the words. If I'd ever had any youthful notions about flitting off for a while, which I really never did, once I was through with the fever and delirium and had made peace with the whole painful, wasteful process—if I had ever thought of flying, once I was married, once we had a child, nothing, nothing could induce me to yearn for even a taste of that life, to consider it even for a moment. The utter irresponsibility of it, the arrogance—the arrogance of it is very distasteful to me."

We then talked for some while about his law practice, which was an admirable one, devoted to representing poor people against swindlers and profiteers. He showed me a charming portrait of his two children, eleven and nine years old, which he had drawn with one of his own quills. The chances that either child would grow wings was, as for every Gyr, a thousand to one.

Shortly before I left I asked him, "Do you ever dream of flying?"

Lawyerlike, he was slow to answer. He looked away, out the window.

"Doesn't everyone?" he said.

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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The Strange And Curious Writings of Daniel (Strange Connections)
« Reply #90 on: May 18, 2007, 06:37:09 pm »
In an effort to invest myself and to more fully examine my current state of being, I would like to review some of my writings from the past two decades. I am certain that some of it I have grown beyond, but the undercurrent is there. I sometimes find myself floating high above it, going nowhere and bored with the doldrums of life, but I know that if I just reach deep enough I can reach that current and be swept away to some other grand adventure of consciousness. It is difficult sometimes, but I struggle all the same.

The following was from a random writing I did sometime in 2003, I believe.

Red, the energy of a thousand suns flows through my veins. I am a consuming fire, I expand in all directions. I am everburning, eversearching, I am forever and beyond.

Orange, I am solid, rays of sunlight filter through me, refracting, reflecting, how many possibilities there are. When I am turned in this direction, the light gathers just so, but it is different when I move and grow. The fire that once coursed through my veins has birthed me in a new medium. I am solid, but mutable, I crumble to dust, I rejoin Red which births me again and again.

Yellow, sunlight is life! I relish the waters of life. Light filters through me, invigorating me with purpose and direction. I swim and dance in the breeze, firmly rooted in myself and in the ground beneath me. I am fragrant. The senses are filled with life and joy, but much is missing from my existence.

Green, I have a heart, a brain, a life - I can sense everything in the world around me. It is exhilarating. The plains are my home, the forests, fields, and mountains. The sea sings my name. The stars are my friends. The clouds bring rain and life. The sun parches me, dries my skin. It is too hot! I seek the shade. The cool, calming shade. Here I can be me. I pant, I breathe, I eat my fill. Life is good right here. I don't need to go anywhere.

Blue - There is more to life than myself, the universe is a beautiful and complex thing - I have the power to understand the world around me, mathematics, geography, geometry, medicine, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, calculus, deoxyribonucleic acids, antidisestablishmentarianism. What is science? What is religion? What is God? What does it mean to be human? We can never know... we can only understand the advances of science and technology.

Indigo - The world is not real. Energy flows through us, our minds, our experiences. We see that we are incomplete without recognizing the flow of energy that is all in existence. We are that energy. I am that energy. We are I AMs, individual expressions of light and will.

Violet - I-we control all. The energy of a thousand suns lies at our fingertips. Our will is surpeme and we embrace the cosmos with love and light. We are light. We are truth. We are the Way.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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The Strange and Curious Writings of Daniel (Strange Connections)
« Reply #91 on: June 24, 2007, 01:44:57 pm »
A Generation Waiting for the End of the World
 : concepts crossing the millenial milieu

  • The conflict between the visible and the invisible (the knowable and the unknowable
  • The conflict between personal identity and corporate identity
  • The conflict between the totalitarian and the democratic in religion, politics, education, and society.

A lack of forward momentum

  • An understanding of consciousness and responspibility as evolutionary results in the continuing presence of life and human life on earth.
  • An understanding of communal consciousness as the necessary result of a developed individual consciousness and the three conflicts presented.
  • An understanding of love as the necessary and universal comprehension of the final level of communal consciousness understood on an individual level.
  • An understanding of the necessity or religion in the Millenial Milieu
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #92 on: June 24, 2007, 04:37:34 pm »
The books on my shelf. Here's what I'm currently reading, folks... Just in case you wanted to know.

Discover your Psychic Powers: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development & Spiritual Growth
Return to Atlantis
The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit
The Biology of Transcendence
The Soul of the Child
The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
From Magical Child to Magical Teen
Magical Child
Spiritual Initiation and the Breakthrough of Consciousness
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #93 on: June 24, 2007, 07:07:16 pm »
Hey friend, good to read your posts. I have a book that will soon be gracing my shelf: Yours!
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #94 on: July 11, 2007, 02:55:19 pm »
If you would like to participate in a stunning and thrilling experience (although I cannot say for certain that you will have the same experience as I have), point your browsers to http://www.hiddenfrontiers.com and download the sixth and seventh seasons. The wedding (handfasting) scene from the finale was one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever been privy to, and that is saying something. Unlike with Brokeback Mountain where your heart plummets into sometimes sickening despair and then gradually builds up to a mystical understanding of spiritual reality and the ways in which that film gently coaxes that reality into view.... this scene from Hidden Frontiers with high drama and a crescendo of emotionality, fills the heart to overflowing. I have been in an incredibly happy mood for the past two days from watching these few moments of total love and acceptance.... okay I'm crying now, why am I crying? Not sad, just well... I don't know, I guess its because I don't see that love and acceptance as a viable reality in our current society, at least not at the level that it should be, so that any time I have a rare glimpse of that possibility, I am both saddened and overjoyed. And the sadness itself is lessened more and more now that I know that it is possible. We just have to keep working to make sure it stays possible!

Ah, but I too easily focus on dreams. That's not a bad thing, in my humble opinion, but one which I plan to use well until the day I die. Call me Quixotic; call me an idealist; call me a dreamer, if you like. Well guess what. That's me! And I'm proud of it! I just need to come out of the dreamer's closet and stop hiding it from everyone. Yes, I have an unusual perspective on reality, one that cannot be separated from my core values. I'm not sure where this is coming from, but now that I am finally open to it, it is anchoring itself deep in my being. Brokeback Mountain started this in me. And it has taken me nearly two years to let everything fall into place. That single disturbance of the soul, the sorrow that that film exhibited in my life, has been the philosopher's stone. The soul is transmuted... is transmuting still. I am a dreamer, and I am happy to be one.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #95 on: August 01, 2007, 11:11:29 am »
Well, folks, sometimes you feel overjoyed, sometimes you don't.

Today is one of the latter. It actually feels like "that time of the month" for me, since thats how miserable I feel right now, and absolutely nothing is going like I want it to. So for a moment or two, I'm going to indulge this feeling of absolute misery and just cry it out. This is my thread. So everyone else can just deal with it...

Maslow (my personal computer) is dead. I only hope the soul can be retrieved in time by a Priest of Shadow, once I get enough money to pay them. Within that soul can be found a number of personal projects and efforts I was recently working on (though thankfully most of what I have can be found online or on software CDs), but amongst the things I desparately needed was the only copy of the typed text for Quest of the Unicorn.

Normally, this would not be a very large concern, as I would just take it to a computer repair center or the Geek Squad or whatever it is I would need to take it to.... but I have no money. Well I have 2.00 in my main checking account and negative 96.something in my spending account.  I spent the last amount of money I had from that account keeping my cellphone running, which of course overdrafted it and left me with an additional fee there. I'm sure the nasty note from the bank is on its way.  I will of course be paid tomorrow night around 1 AM. And thats a good thing, since the bills are stacking up.

I'm using a roommate's computer to write this now, so reluctantly I can't spend much time here. I am beginning to realize how much my computer was a social hub for me - and that saddens me a great deal, for some reason. Normally, I'm the happy one, the idealist, the ultrapositive being of light in a world of gray shadows... but some days.... the source of light - the energy that keeps it going... just isn't there.  In my younger days, when adolescent loneliness threatened to seal the horizons of possibility from me, I would completely despair. Since moving down here, I have had few friends... and the only ones I can recall have moved far away and not been seen for a long time. Of course, co-workers are friendly comrades, but not true friends.... not as much as I would want to have... so I am here, pouring out my soul to a computer, and to you all, if any one ever reads this thread...

I am beginning to understand now that the formative years of 12 to 16 are the ones in which true friends are first made... and I was stripped from these by my father's employment opportunities when he had to move to Texas. Outsiders are not welcome here, for the most part. Particularly ones which display... different behaviors and differences of opinion. The loss of friends and of educational opportunities are among those things that I miss the most since moving here. Normally, I do not focus on such things... realizing that it is not possible to change the things in the past, only to change our behaviors and thoughts about the things in the past. I do the best I can with what is available to me, and that is usually enough......... Sometimes it's not, though.........and despair completely overrides my life until I can get over it... I haven't had a D-day for some time now, so I must have been doing something right... or perhaps I was just getting addicted to a particular pleasure principle that filled some small void (or perhaps a much bigger one than I had thought) in my life.

Of course, normally life is much happier. I have after all written two books, and am working on several more as ideas in my head. I have created six or seven fine fragrances that are very popular with those that I have shared them with, and my wire-wrapped jewelry business is beginning to slowly come off the ground. (It's very difficult to do any of that without money, though.) Well, writing just requires paper and a pen, and that's not too expensive, but it does require mood and time, and that is (as you can see) sometimes a great difficulty to come by.  But as happy as all that is, there are some days, when absolutely nothing is going right at all and you wonder what gods you must have pissed off.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #96 on: September 24, 2007, 01:07:47 am »
I'm not certain what key I pushed but I lost a good half hour of writings... :(

Ah well. The main gist is that I can't get to sleep. Ideas for jewelry design, poetry, and fragrance keep floating in my head. I said it a little more elegantly the last time I wrote that, but since I have to type it again I'm not likely to do it that way again.

The Boardwalk

I once stood on a boardwalk and overlooked the sea,
wondered at the darkened state of everliving me.
As I looked down upon those dark green waves,
I felt one come over me, felt overcome with grace.
And though I knew not why or how, tears fell down my face.

The sea and sky blurred to one grey mist.
The rocks beneath me merged in tryst.
Still in silence I stood, and berated not my eyes
whose choice to leak forth could be very wise.
And yet I knew not why or how tears fell down my face.

I looked up from the sea, and tried to see the earth.
The world around me blurred and hazy, held an unknown worth.
But in that mist of unshed salt, which mixed freely with the air's,
I could perceive the people still, passing by with so few cares.
And still I wondered at my fate as tears fell down my face.

Some people gazed at me strangely as they passed by my side.
And some could see my streaked cheeks, and so wanted to hide.
Still others saw my slumped shoulders across the brightened bay,
but when their paths would cross with mine, they went the other way.
But of all those people, none would ask why tears fell down my face.

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #97 on: September 24, 2007, 04:31:13 pm »
Friend are you in Texas by any chance?
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #98 on: September 24, 2007, 05:01:01 pm »
How'd you guess?
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #99 on: September 25, 2007, 08:15:52 am »
How'd you guess?

I am psychic, just not very accurate!  :laugh:

Texas needs more folks like you,it is a big place.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #100 on: September 26, 2007, 11:45:19 pm »
Do you know of any... I'd love to meet them. :)
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #101 on: September 27, 2007, 03:28:40 pm »
Do you know of any... I'd love to meet them. :)

I would suggest you contacting esseffjoe, I think he could stear you in the right drection.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2007, 08:14:38 pm »
Just remembered, will send you a pm.  :o
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Strange Connections - Infuriated
« Reply #103 on: October 02, 2007, 09:29:02 pm »
I am grateful that I have a free speech forum here in our Daily Thoughts, since we can post just about whatever. (There has only been one incident where I have felt pressured to remove and consequently deleted one of my personal blog statements).

Now before people start thinking I'm attacking something or someone, I am attempting not to. I have become extremely angry by the things which have slowly been revealing itself about the U.S. Government. Many of our recent changes, particularly since 9/11, have been very Orwellian in nature, and perhaps even Herbertian from a deeper symbolic level.... But in order to comprehend what is going on in my mind that has made me extremely angry, we kind of have to go back to the very beginning of time - the very roots of humanity and our spiritual reckoning of the Universe.

The book Uriel's Machine goes into some detail about the controversial Book of Enoch which is one of the texts included only in the Ethiopian version of the Christian Bible. But what I took great pleasure in realizing is that the book details geological knowledge of a global catastrophic event which occurred roughly around 12,000 years ago.  This coincides with a larger astronomic event, a supernova of a star very close (astronomically speaking) to the Solar System. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of this star or the astronomer that originally published information about the event. It is not too difficult to imagine however that this astronomic catastrophe was the point of origin for a number of catastrophic events which later befell the earth, including a near-global deluge after comets or large asteroids struck its seas. This would explain much of the worldwide flood myths that have survived in nearly every culture.

It is also interesting to note that both the Mesapotamian and Biblical creation accounts may very well be describing the global readjustment period after this initial destruction.  For example:

"God" looked out over the waters of the deep.Waters of the deep may be referencing the global or near-global deluge that would have been the effect of the comet disaster.
God said "Let there be Light".The immense cloud and dust cover that might have resulted from such an impact is finally breached.
The various creations of creaturesSurvivors eventually begin to return to the surface as the Earth balances itself out over time.

Now that we can place the words in context with an event which we know happened, from a scientific perspective, and which fits both cultural and astronomical models, it is likely that we are finally perceiving a few small elements of truth in a matrix of deception concerning our origins. In hindsight, dogmatic religion seems like nothing more than a control system placed around us to control and contain our imagination; this might lead many of us to dismiss religion out of hand completely. But I believe we owe a small segment of our being to understanding the origins of the mythology that fills our holy texts, if for no other reason than to understand the psychology and spirituality of primeval humanity, and how this psychology and spirituality is a reflection of man's primeval state of existence within the Universe. But we should not blindly accept the precepts of Religion. Having faith means more than simply letting a priest tell you what the reality of the world is. If we cannot think about our world for ourselves, then we are doomed to be victims to its repeating disasters. If we insist on creating a particular image of God and adhering to it, come hell or high water, then we will be forever pushing aside faithful ideas which lead us away from this image. God may be directly before us and yet we push this entity aside because it does not match the vision that we had originally created.
  Before I get too easily sidetracked by this storyline, I will try to go into the next thing that I am angry about, and which is related to the event that I mentioned above.

Although many will say that there is no evidence to support this event, and in many ways I would say that I am one of those for I once disputed it myself, the knowledge of this global geological catastrophe matches too close in date to an event better understood as fiction than as reality. The destruction of Atlantis. One of my grandfather's more esoteric books: The Search for Atlantis (published in the 1960s I believe), mentions that the destruction of Atlantis occured sometime in 9,564 BC.  The same book indicates that the lost continent of Lemuria or Mu was destroyed in 10,068 BC. Plato's account of the destruction of Atlantis describes an earthquake and then a great wall of water overtaking the cities of Poseidia.

Destruction by water - great floods - astronomical events. Is there a connection? In an effort to keep my mind open to any possibility, I am reluctant to say for certain, but it seems like there is something going on here. And what's more is that there is archaeological evidence to support it, but this evidence is not at all explained or hidden before the public has an opportunity to examine it.

There are other events of particular global importance which the public seems to know little about, either because of "cover-ups" or because the scientific community does not view the events as being important. The effects of solar radiation for example on both human biology and environments is considered a type of quackery, and yet astrogenetics describes much of the reason for the variety of human predispositions.

But we must fast-forward to the present. There are a vast number of changes being procured by the federal government... some say in response to the terrorist attacks on this nation.  However, I am more likely the one to read between the lines, and to question the things which we have always taken for granted. Fortunately for me, I am not the only one to do so.

[youtube=600,400]Fz_C20TeaxE[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]fUGJMvnuKNw[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]S_XmRdAYqcg[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]JWPXbU30QPE[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]v848lxARWJ0[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]c7LDUad0riI[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]Jc6tAQmFN9s[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]qu6jIVhcaqc[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]Zhs64JnfC8c[/youtube]
[youtube=600,400]gtcK6OvOAlk[/youtube]

I am furious about the hidden agendas of our current government, the international banking cartels (C.H.O.A.M. corporation), and the New World Order (Novus Ordo Seclorum) which seems to be taking over our governments and our ways of life. This is not dissimilar from Frank Hervert's Dune: "The Spice must flow." "The balance of power must be maintained."

Now that I have gotten this off of my chest, and hopefully have shared information which I believe to be important, I will be able to find some solace and silent the angry spirit rising within me. A note of future warning. I see nothing wrong with this post, and can neither delete nor apologize for it, should it be requested of me. If this is upsetting to you, I sincerely apologize, but hope that you might see the importance of my decision not to backstep away from what might be considered painful moments. We have much, as a species, to account for. Even more so on an individual level. But accountance requires that we stare directly into the eyes of our darkest and basest weaknesses, even if it hurts or insults our sense of pride, or challenges our daily perceptions of life in general.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #104 on: October 03, 2007, 09:15:14 am »
I think the good thing about these blogs is that people don;t have to read them, if they see something that is offensive to them then they can just skip over it. Some folks do get stuck in the mentality of just a few years ago when we had only three TV chanels available to us. Then there was more a sense of it being forced on us, I don;t see it that way any more. If anything I feel like I am drowning in information.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #105 on: October 07, 2007, 09:48:00 am »
Organizing some thoughts here... feel free to respond and add your own ideas if you like.

Types of psychics.

Psychic Intuitive
Psychic Channeler
Psychic Medium
Psychic Interpreter
Psychic Empath
Psychic Dowser
Psychic Kineticist
Psychic Telepath
Psychic Dimensionalist
Psychic Sensor

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections (Presidential Candidate Ron Paul)
« Reply #106 on: October 18, 2007, 11:33:27 pm »
Presidential Candidate Representative Ron Paul faces difficult questions on a conservative Christian radio talk show. I think he does very well.

[youtube=425,350]zIeW0DY64bE[/youtube]
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #107 on: October 19, 2007, 12:15:08 am »
A political debate... very interesting... Although I think the older gentleman is a little more passive agressive, and the younger man slightly more clear-headed... What do you think? As if anyone else looks at this thread... lol. :)

[youtube=425,350]8wCkta8Tu4M[/youtube]

[youtube=425,350]DItN691Ys7k[/youtube]

[youtube=425,350]20WgYtNgJrE[/youtube]

[youtube=425,350]CS9KKRzEfOs[/youtube]

[youtube=425,350]1lXNMPs8pRI[/youtube]
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #108 on: October 19, 2007, 12:32:25 am »



      Daniel I love reading your blog..so yes someone out there is listening...to paraphrase..



     Beautiful mind

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #109 on: December 19, 2007, 05:58:31 am »
Thanks for that... sometimes I disappear from these pages for so long and forget to come back and thank those that visit for... well, visiting.

I would like to talk a little more about the sense of strange connection that permeates my being. The Prismatic Path, I've called it before, the Aurora Phantasy. For some time I spent a little bit of time thinking about my life in general, where it has been, and where it is going. I thought back to the first young man I ever fell in love with... and reveled at the spiritual excitement that that experience sponsored in me. I called his family recently to see if he would be stopping in for the holidays. (I had tried to get his number before... I haven't been lucky yet.) What most saddens me is that we have not spoken in nearly seven years, probably more... though I see his family quite often.  His parents are deacons at the church my father goes to, although whatever strange religious experience he is going through (the denunciation of Christmas as a pagan holiday, and the refusal to celebrate it under any circumstances because of its pagan symbolism (the hanging of Baal's testacles on Nimrod's Penis (ornaments on the tree)), among others.

I find it difficult to imagine where this is coming from. But my imaginings have always been more creative than destructive. So, for your entertainment, and my own as well... I would like to present this simple story in prose form. Poetry can be beautiful, but sometimes directness is needed. Names were protected to change the innocent, as much as possible.

     I knocked at the white door, my knuckles already paling in the cold air. I wrapped the colorful scarf tighter around my neck as I listened for the sound of movement beyond the blank expanse, marred only by a silver knob. Soon the door opened, however, and a familiar girl's face peered out at me.
     "Anna!" I exclaimed. "It's so nice to see you again. Thank you so much for inviting us to your Christmas dinner. Father couldn't make it, he's humbugging at home." Anna's long dark hair, pale blue eyes, and creamy complexion reminded me immediately of her older brother, Nathanael, whose smile had turned on me in rare hope-lit moments in my youth, when it seemed that I faced only despair for the rest of my life. I realized, with a start, how much my life had changed since then... how much I had moved from being emotionally dependent on the smile or nod of one lone person, and became more resolved in my self, even in the face of disastrous desire.
     My brother stepped up behind me, carrying the casserole dish covered in aluminum foil. The scent of basil and garlic wafted across the short distance between us, broken only by the crisp cool wind that rustled the ochre leaves still clinging to their mother trees. My brother's stance shifted slightly as he came to a halt near the door, and I remembered belatedly his own attraction to Anna, and the similarities that they shared on so many levels, an intricate and complicated friendship/attraction further dismantled by her extreme religious convictions and obediance to a modern rhetoric of the Love of Christ. In many southern states whose religious convictions are bound in the Southern Baptist megachurches of the modern day, religious fervor ruled the moldable. Love of Christ had almost a sexual connotation to it if you were to perceive the ecstacies that followers pursue in their praise and worship ceremonies. Thus, I think I knew the conflicts that my brother faced.
     There was a mutual attraction, a type of shared spirituality, shared philosophy. A love of classic literature, for example, and the works of philosophy from ancient Greece and Rome. Anna was (and still is) bright, cheerful, intelligent, and witty. Her voice was musical and bright as well.
     "Oh, Daniel and Richard... come in. It's too cold to stand here at the door." As the door closed behind us, Anna led us into their large kitchen. "We've got turkey, mashed potatoes, biscuits, yams, cranberry sauce and gravy, corn on the cob, green beans... just about anything you could want... and whatever you brought as well."
     To be honest, I wasn't sure what my brother had made... but it probably had salmon in it. And while I have heard many sing its praises, the fishy fish is just not for me.  I watched my brother disengage himself from my side, as I knew he would, and sought companionship with the other young men of the household, though Anna followed quickly. I remained in the kitchen, however, as I knew I would... and offered assistance to the matron of the house. Fourteen children were born to this elderly, wise woman, whose face still shone with an inner youth. Her long, graying black hair and near gray eyes had a quality of timelessness about them that is difficult to describe... as though she had always been alive and knew all the secrets that time forgot.  It always surprised me that whenever I looked into her eyes I always found wisdom and compassion instead of revulsion and judgement, which was something I was all too familiar with.
     Our host for the evening was of course her husband, the father of fourteen, a deacon of our church, one whose ministries I had been subjected to... and not always unwillingly. His blond hair and pale blue eyes revealed his Aryan descent, and for some reason I was grateful that Nathanael had inherited his mother's features, and perhaps more importantly, her inner strength and compassion. The deacon was not one for ordinary kindness... he believed in ecclesiastic law and a regimented authority bound in the church of Christ. It was this faith of his which allowed him to remain deacon and associate pastor through nearly four administrators of the church.
     For some reason, at that moment, I recalled a moment from our youth service, which I and Nathanael had attended. Nathanael then, (and perhaps still is, but I have not seen him) surrounded himself with the insignia of rebellion. He wore an ankh pendant around his neck, and smoked proliferately. The scent of leather lightly caressed with cigarette smoke is still a compelling one in my case. But it was the ankh pendant that I wish to speak on. Our youth minister questioned him on the device, as though it were somehow an affront to the holy ground upon which he had brought it. Nathanael did not speak, and I felt obliged to protect him from this cruel instructor: "It is a symbol of Egyptian Christianity" (which is true - the ankh was adopted by Coptic christians through the fourth century) However, Nathanael revolted against that statement. I watched his eyes deepen in anger, the flash of bittersweet heaven crossing his pupils, and felt my throat lumpen when realized that anger was directed at me. I was stunned into silence, and felt fear. Not fear of harm, but fear of separation. This memory soon faded as I realized that our host was speaking to me.
     "I know. I'm sorry that my father has been.... odd lately. He seems to believe that Christmas is the devil's holiday."
     "Well, he has some valid points. If we go by the Hebrew calendar, the Messiah was born during the Feast of Trumpets, which is in September, as we all know."
     "So, you too, have decided to give up on this annual tradition?"
     "Perhaps when I am older and the children have moved on."
     I sat in silence for a moment and shoveled a forkful into my mouth delicately, chewed and swallowed in discretionary time. "I think.... I think we have it wrong. We keep looking at the origins of the holiday, as though it is this which defines its character.... If we were to do the same with the Universe... why it would seem that its natural state is chaos, or perhaps nonexistance. The natural state of man is spiritual in nature, if we are to believe the Word of God... so how can we account for the changes that they go through, both the Universe and Man. Are we to be forever bound by the laws which created us, or is our possibility in the opportunities that await for us: the ways in which we can expand ourselves beyond our limitations?"
     Our host looked at me as though my head had fallen off, but I continued.
     "I cannot deny that the origins of the holiday are indeed pagan, but we have only to see the effects that the holiday has had since then to realize that it is a powerful tool for the Miracles of the Heart. And if God created the human being, with his heart and all that it is capable of, then he must have realized that it would one day be used on these days, and in this nature. The Christmas Season has become the time of spiritual faith and light in a sometimes otherwise darkened world. A world of cold and snow in the northern hemisphere... and one which is in dire need of a spiritual hope. A hope that enacts the miracles of the heart. It allows caritas, and all the other enfeeblements of love: kindness, devotion, patience. I am sure you know the list more than I."
     I paused for a moment. "Should we throw out the human heart? Which aches to find spiritual light and meaning in a darkened, bitter, cold world? The season has always been a tradition of bringing light and love to others, and it is something that we need to learn to do on each and every day... but particularly for Christmas: allowing the heart its chance for miracles, and for God to work through human hearts to affect the whole human race."
     I quieted down, focusing on my plate and realizing I had spoken too much. I worried that I had overstepped my bounds, and realized that I had at once criticized my father, my pastor, and their views on what God is and how he is to be worshipped. But if worship is something that must be dictated and rules laid out for it to be experienced "correctly", I want no part of it.
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Why do we accept what we accept?
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Offline Daniel

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(Strange Connections) Why I am in favor of educational alternatives to Darwinism
« Reply #110 on: December 20, 2007, 03:17:26 pm »
First to be clear, let us define Darwinism as it is being taught in most educational systems. Darwinism or Evolutionary Biology looks specifically at the origin of species as a result of genetic mutation and diversification, and believes exclusively that behaviors or genetic mutations that lead to the survival of the species are those which define our current understanding of their behaviors. There is almost nothing wrong with this claim, it is mostly scientific sound and examines many aspects of zoology from a biochemical stance. There is one small thing, though, that maintains this as a Theory, and not a scientific fact. Genetic mutations do occur, of this we have no doubt, as does biodiversification and the diversification of animal behavior.... what is in debate is the specific purpose for this genetic mutation and biodiversification. Is it, as Darwinism claims, the survival of the species? This is not something that can be scientifically proven. It makes sense, perhaps, so it's a good place for a starting hypothesis. But right now we have no means of testing it. It is a philosophical conundrum.

Now, let us look to one of the more prominent alternatives: Intelligent Design. And by Intelligent Design, I do not mean Creationism. Creationism is a religious philosophy that has little or no groundings in scientific reality. Unfortunately there are many proponents of Intelligent Design that yield to Creationism, allowing their religious fervor to take them out of the scientific and philosophical community. But I am referring to the scientific theory of Intelligent Design. In this sense, Intelligent Design looks specifically at the origin of species as a result of genetic mutation and diversification, and believes exclusively that changes in behavior or genetic mutations are following a natural organizing principle of the Universe. This also makes sense to some, so it's a good place for a starting hypothesis. But right now we have no means of testing it. It is a philosophical conundrum.

It is the same evidence, with a different interpretation. I think the crux of the matter is that both fields claim that life is self-organizing, but the conflict lies in the perception of why it is doing it.  The why's and how's of life are ultimately philosophical in nature, and it is dangerous that Darwinism includes within its principles a philosophical perception which is taught as scientific fact. That is why Darwinism is a theory. I am not saying that Intelligent Design is a fact either, it is a theory as well.

Now, let's look at some of the philosophical conflicts between Darwinistic Evolution and Intelligent Design. These philosophies are not part of the scientific perceptions, but just related to the perception of principles that are driving the natural processes.

Darwinism   ---> Social Darwinism --> Eugenics --> Racial Supremacy --> Social Programming --> Psychological Programming (Evolutionary Psychology)--> Genetic Programming

Intelligent Design --> Integral Philosophy  --> Integrated Genetic Anthropology --> Integrated Individualism  --> Integrated Psychology

I don';t know about you, but I personally am leaning toward intelligent design... I had to research it myself. It wasn't taught to me in public school. http://www.integralinstitute.org
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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #111 on: December 20, 2007, 03:34:11 pm »

    While I would give no genuine thought of credabillity to either of these suppositions myself, I am open to the
realities of them as you have stated.
    I dont think that the changes were something that the design was made from a thought process.  Either from
some diety on high, or from the species or lifeform itself.  I do believe in the Darwinian theory as to it resulting in
the survival of the fittest. Just as any matter in the universe is subject to a reaction by all that is in its contact, so
is the change in a species a result of all the products that come to play on its life or form.  Therefor the ones that
are able to make necessary changes to the situation as needed, are going to survive.  The ones that cannot or do not.  Are not going to survive. 
     That to me is what is meant by natural selection.  There is no real design there.  It is simply the result of the
formentiioned fight.



     Beautiful mind

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #112 on: December 20, 2007, 03:46:19 pm »
That's fine if you believe that... I'm not going to try to force my opinions on you... :) The point is, neither should the government. If the government is going to teach opinions (through its public education system), it should teach them as opinions rather than as facts.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #113 on: December 21, 2007, 10:16:21 pm »
I think I am being filled with an immense spirit of love and beauty.... and unlike the Aurora Phantasy, this is not a female spirit, but a male. The combination of Ave Maria being sung by Slava Kagan... which I had always thought was beautiful but never really heard in exceptional clarity until I got my new headphones... Now that I have them..... Mon Dieu! His Voice! It's beyond exquisite! I find my heart screaming in joy and exultation and weeping in beauty's grasp at the same time.... enthralled as I am with the power of the voice raised towards spirit-filled heavens with little behind it but the human heart and its effort to be one with the Divine! I am writing in some sort of spirit-torn agony, hyperventilating in the sheer pleasure of the experience that is aesthetically between the sweetness that one can die in and the isolation of the human identity from all others... What a bizarre and phenomenal experience!

And I'm not entirely certain why, but perhaps it has something to do with the way the human spirit works, I am now finding it much more possible to feel and think and acknowledge almost from a divine perspective those things in my life that I knew were beautiful... that I had surrounded myself with because they were beautiful..... and to truly experience them as Beauty! With my eyes and ears and heart changed by Ave Maria I have re-examined myself and the thing that most captivates my emotional self at this time, the Luke and Noah storyline on As The World Turns that had previously captured my heart and my attention, but never my soul in this arching, beautiful, and divine circumstance.

How could I have missed such beauty before? What blindfold was held there? What once I thought was a nice little dramatic monologue of Luke's has turned into a multidimensional, faceted diamond of infinite beauty. Layers and layers of meaning, spiritual, emotional, profound..... Words spoken beautifully, and deeply empowered by divine meaning! I had heard them yesterday, but they did not register with me today as something so deep and important, not until I heard The Voice!  I - I - I am speechless..... words cannot describe the beauty that fills my heart. I want everyone who reads this to know that I love each and every one of you, and I would share this brilliant light that fills my being with you if I can!

Oh dear.... I think.... I think I know what it means to swoon.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #114 on: December 22, 2007, 07:07:44 pm »
Nobody mind me... just playing around with videos and stuff.... :)

[youtube=425,350]Fn9_7KE3dvE[/youtube][youtube=425,350]4SuBRsPt1Mo[/youtube]
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #115 on: December 24, 2007, 05:52:08 pm »
A Secular Christmas Song

Two thousand years have passed us by
Since hearts and eyes turned to the sky.
In hopes of everlasting faith
enduring through the age.

That hope and mercy all lay bound
in One who fell to common ground
that He might then be raised again
and help make divine sight plain.

Was this Message lost to Man?
That he could deny Providence's plan?
Or was some inkling brave and rare
a-roaring in the spirit's flare?

For when unblinded by candelabra bright,
the Soul surfaced to its own night,
and among the brightest stars of hope
found liberty and truth eloped.

And there in that darkness rare,
yet lit by human tensile flare,
Man continued to prescribe his fate
And with great gusto filled his plate.

No soup was ladled out for him,
No spirit's message against his sin.
Instead he found the dearest truth:
his sin melted in absence of proof.

No darkness his heart meted out.
No blindness was his spirit's gout.
And facing his own truth and light
he lit the others by his side.

Countless, countless, countless times
the Christmas candles burned their crimes.
And with forgiveness meted out
No soul was left to rage and pout.

But whose forgiveness was given, if not divine?
Could it be? It lay in man's own mind?
That from his spirit, his inner being,
could be given, what was most freeing?

Forgiveness, love, unbridled compassion
ordered not in a divine fashion,
but sponsored pure and intelligent
by man's own sentience.

Countless, countless, countless times
the heart of man has given prides
and Christmases have all been filled
with loving, compassionate tears that spilled

Of their own accord, with no divine infusion
or any sort of religious message to lead the soul's confusion.
In the cold, bitter, dark night, man's soul
infused with Christmas wonder and its goal

gave all it could to offer warmth and light,
praised the powers of beauty and of sight,
acquiesced to gratitude's calm and rosy plight,
enlivened other hearts with musical delight,
shared with other souls in hope and fright,
loved all others regardless of their might.

There are those that say this beauteous vision
was forced by God in his comprehension.
But what is forced can never be -
Man reaches out for liberty
and in the light of his own truth,
in perception of vitality and youth,
in loving appreciation of spiritual nobility
finds a glistening, sparkling Christmas Tree.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #116 on: April 01, 2008, 02:03:55 am »
I think I have made a difficult decision to quit my job of nine years in a pursuit of genuine happiness rather than financial freedom. Although eventually, I hope financial freedom will be a part of that happiness, right now I need to get out of my current work environment. It has become, soul-draining. The entire experience. And I am grateful for the opportunities the job has afforded me. In the past few years it's been so difficult to picture myself away from the job, doing what I actually enjoy doing and somehow paying the bills that way, but the time has come for a change, so change there will be.

Graven Images Oracle Reading
Confinement (Divine 8 )
Amity (Social 1)
Patience (Social 2)
As Above (Social 7)
Sleeper (Social 12)
Joy (Emotion 7)

Card #1: Root of the Question
Confinement (Divine #8)

A sense of being trapped in a situation that appears to have no resolution. This can be a bad marriage, an unsatisfying career, and the like. The warning here is to protect yourself from becoming a victim of circumstances or a prisoner. Even your greatest efforts may not be enough to effect change. Often, the best course of action is to let go, allow the inevitable to occur, and walk away to a new beginning. When the headstone finally crumbles, the iron bands no longer restrain.

Card #2: Immediate Past
Amity (Social #1)

Amity means friendship, and it is to friends and family members that the you must now turn to for advice and guidance. Amity is a card of light; this seeking out of others can be a positive experience. Not only will you gain much needed information on your current project or situation, but it can strengthen the bond of amity by demonstrating a trust of your friend and respect for their insights. Don't hesitate to utilize those closest to you as a resource; they will feel necessary and welcomed in your life. Can also mean new contacts, friends or backers.

Card #3: Immediate Future
Patience (Social #2)

The need to restrain yourself and take the path of moderation. Patience councils you to stick with your plans even when things do not go according to schedule. Let cooler heads prevail, take a deep breath and allow things to follow their natural course.

Card #4: Outside Forces
As Above (Social #7)

Completion. After toil, strife, joy, and setbacks your work, or participation in the situation, is now drawing to a close. The time has come to tally up the lessons learned, evaluate your behavior and actions, and get ready for the next cycle, the next project or adventure. What you learn about yourself now becomes the groundwork for the future.

Card #5: Hopes and Fears.
Sleeper (Social #12)

Sleeper is a card of missed opportunities. That which can now never be. This can denote the actual loss of a child, or the opportunity to create a family (Sleeper is the shadow of Clan). More commonly, however, it is a card of missed subtleties. Hints, veiled suggestions have all gone unnoticed. A blind eye has been turned to flirtations that may have developed into love or companionship. Friendly invitations have gone unanswered. Although there is nothing that can be done about chances gone by, you should awaken to the chances yet to be.

Card #6: Final Outcome
Joy (Emotion #7)

This is a card of unabashed joy and exuberance. The race is run, the challenge has been met and the feast can commence. This can also represent all the happy mile markers of life: the birth of children, weddings, anniversaries, awards, recognitions and the like. In every sense of the word, this is emotional liberation, the spirit within leaping for joy. Celebrate!
Why do we consume what we consume?
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Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Kelda

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #117 on: April 01, 2008, 05:28:12 pm »
good luck with the move to happiness D!
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #118 on: April 18, 2008, 09:57:31 pm »


Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," by Edward Sylvester Ellis.

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it.

We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I ever heard that the government was in arrears to him.

"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but as I thought, rather coldly.

"I began: 'Well friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates and---

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"This was a sockdolger...I begged him tell me what was the matter.

"Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting you or wounding you.'

"I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.

But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the honest he is.'

" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?

"Well my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just the same as I did.'

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.'

"'Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this country as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have Thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.'

"The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'

"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'

"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'

"If I don't, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. 'This Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.

"'Well I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"'My name is Bunce.'

"'Not Horatio Bunce?'

"'Yes

"'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'

"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, and for a heart brim-full and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before."

"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.

"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'

"He came up to the stand and said:

"Fellow-citizens - it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'

"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'

"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'

"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. "There is one thing which I will call your attention, "you remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $20,000 when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.