Friday, March 27, 2009

More on "Solitude"

Those of us who are optimists are already living in the 22nd century. To join the party it is only necessary to answer the question, Who Am I?

The following is a compendium of flat statements, which are themselves nothing more than a personal summation of other people's hard work. A little fun at the end of a busy and productive week.

Monotheism was a declaration of war against all -- the earth, the animals, the people. The first monotheists were not the first to shed blood and to pursue conquest. Not at all. Their innovation was to convert an idea into an act: the idea of destiny, or of a certain future, into the act of righteously pursuing power as a way of affirming the greatness of the One and Only. The important thing about an Only God, a One and Only, is that He had to be discovered and discovered not out there, but within "me." The One and Only God had never before shown Himself? In other words, the greatness was in "me," who discovered Him. Without "me" to righteously pursue power He would never have been known, never have been able to "save" mankind.

Thus, victims thereafter would be known by their resistance to "me," which is resistance to Him. Victims would forever be all those who put themselves in opposition to God's will by opposing "me." And victims, as you know by now, beg to be annihilated. From the first glimmer of the One and Only in that presumptive priestly brain, "trapped" perhaps in "captivity," the whole point, the only point, becomes the complete annihilation of All Other.

The dénoument, as they must have known, could only have been what it was, their own self-destruction. We escaped -- just barely. As you can see, it is now the 22nd century, and we have survived. They did not, "they" being the big three, the mighty Abrahamic juggernaut.

The Jews acted in the way of the mafiosi, seeking to hoard wealth and power unto themselves, but their body-count was always rather low, even though they were known at times to achieve a certain gruesomeness. The Muslims adopted the way of hysterical release, breaking out from time to time into a frenzy of slaughter, quickly accomplished and just as quickly put aside.

The work of both of these groups, however, is as nothing in contrast to the achievements of the third member of the triumvirate, from whom there flowed such a murderous, recurring, and apparently well-planned rampage as made them, at one time, the envy of the world. I speak, of course, of the "Christers," who, driven by envy of all those not forced to live (as they were) against nature, gave rise to rivers of blood on every continent.

I'm not aware of the full story, although it is rumored to be frightful. However, I am aware of several things that happened here in the New World. For one, the activities of the Spaniards. Were they driven by demons? Did they lust for gold? How about: extra ecclesiam non salvatur (outside the Church there is no salvation)? They massacred the Indians of Mexico and the Caribbean. It is a history that was recorded by their own priests and scribes. The deaths go into the millions. The barbarous details are yours to discover as you will. Spanish rulers and the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church kept Mexico as a literal and virtual prison from 1521 to 1821. In the words of Boye Lafayette De Mente: "About the only barbaric brutality not imposed upon the helpless Indians during the Spanish reign was the full force of the Inquisition."

And then, a little further to the north, the other Europeans came. They claimed the lands they found here, lands that had obviously been given them by the One and Only, although He omitted to write it down as such in Deuteronomy. Yes, they came, but what did they find? They found Indians, bloody, freaking Indians. "Sister moon!" "Brother wolf!" Imagine their embarrassment. The vulgarity! Indians in every state-to-be of the Union. Ten million? Twenty million? Let's say thirty-five million, one million in each of the states-to-be, discounted to reflect the smallness of some of those states. Thirty-five million Indians.

Few people mention it today. Why should they? After slaughtering thirty-five million Indians, who no doubt had refused to be converted, we went on to become the land of milk and honey, a lamp unto the ages, THE place to go to claim your place in the sun as YOU. And then, having killed off the Indians to get the land, the question arose as to how to farm it. But even as teepees were burning and infants were being harpooned, the question was already being answered. Even before the Declaration of Independence had been penned.

The slave trade. Africa was there in the wings, ready to take up its part in the ongoing revelation of the One and Only. It must have been about the best that they could do, those earlier humans. Did the goodness that eventually arose depend on the blood that had been spilled? Has anyone in Europe or Asia ever said to you, "Yes, but you slaughtered thirty-five million Indians." How many people were killed in the nineteenth century? In the twentieth? In the twenty-first? How much of that slaughter was done in the name of the man to whose life no one ever gave live, contemporary witness? Including the Gospels, there are no surviving historical accounts of Jesus written during his life or within three decades of his crucifixion.

What does all this have to do with solitude? We're alone here in the trailer, on our lot -- on Indian land. No, no one alive killed an Indian. Here's what Chief Joseph had to say at the end of the road:

I am tired of fighting, our chiefs are is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death...hear me, my chiefs, I am tired: my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands...I will fight no more forever.

And now I'm going back to my stories, my dictionaries, my films, my half-ton truck, our two children, and of course our two cats, who I bet know much more than they are able to tell -- or might that not be are willing to tell?

Now let me see if I can find a picture to go with this. Here's one, maybe. Knowing yourself just might be the largest part of that one place -- solitude -- where you see yourself clearly or you don't see yourself at all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Break With The Past

Once, when I was about two and half years old, my sixteen-year-old sister, Barbara, took me out in my stroller. We went down in the elevator, out onto Seventy-seventh Street in Jackson Heights, N.Y., and up to Roosevelt Avenue. There, at the corner, was the stairway leading up to the "el," the elevated subway train that ran between Times Square and the end of the line in Flushing. Right by it, further back from the road, was the corner drugstore.

She stopped in front of it, and parked the stroller right by the entrance. She leaned down toward my seat, fussed at length with the straps to secure me, and admonished me not to get out. And there she left me while she went inside to flirt with the soda jerk. When she came out later, I was not there.

After a few minutes I forgot she had told me not to get out of the stroller. Then I remembered her saying, "Don't get out of the stroller." I untied myself, and got out. I walked over to the bottom of the staircase and looked up at the endless, rising corridor of steps. I had seen people disappear up into that hole. But I was small, and they were big. I had trouble putting my foot up onto the first step, but the rest of them were easy. I went all the way to the top, one big riser at a time. I walked straight under the turnstile. I knew nothing about tokens or fares. A lot of people were looking at me. I followed several of them to the left, where we went around to the other side of the landing. There, we all climbed up onto the open platform where the dark angry trains rumbled in and out.

I got on the first train that came along. I didn't know it, but I was on my way to Flushing. Had I been on the other side, I would have been on my way to Times Square.

When the train got to the end of the line I didn't know what to do. I didn't know it was the end of the line. So I waited in my seat. Everyone else got off quickly. The conductor saw me sitting there, asked where mom and dad were, then took me with him to the dispatchers' booth. Other men were there in that room, real men with strong voices and chocolate. The room had no ceiling light, but there were many other smaller lights sparkling and shining behind the dials. More lights sat on the tops of other boxes. The men, I learned, were keeping track of the trains. They always knew where the trains were. More lights were attached in various ways to the mechanical switches, which took some strength to move. And the noise, the noise of voices raised in order to be heard, the squealing of steel on steel as the trains snaked around in the dark and burst out into the light of the station. The men were great, I remember. They fed me chocolate for three hours while I watched them move the gigantic switches up and back so the trains could come and go.

Finally, after many frantic phone calls to and from the police, my parents learned there was a small child out in Flushing.

I was now one of the big people, who came and went as they pleased.

I heard talk about "what could have happened." At three years of age, I didn't know why they were agitated. I had no idea why, days later, they were still telling the story to everyone they met.

Poor sister Babs. Imagine the change in her world when she walked out into the street and found the stroller empty. Imagine her telephone call to mom and dad. I don't remember her punishment, but she left thereafter for New England.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

C'mon, hoss, we'll get rich!

Today's blog post is about a very difficult subject: the call from a good friend to come along for the ride to easy riches. "Can't miss." We were living in New Jersey at the time. New Jersey, in the late 80's, in case you didn't know, was Virgin Territory. Never been canvased before. Wide open. You are always so glad to hear these words. Just look at the guy's face! Conviction, sincerity, enthusiasm. Even if he doesn't quite have it right, you know his energy will carry both of you over the top. Bring phone numbers from your warm market...and lots of enthusiasm.

MLM, multi level marketing, where the guy who is sponsoring you is used to purchasing upwards of Fifteen Hundred dollars of "product" each month in order to qualify for his upline bonus. He can't wait for the bonus to hit Five Thou because that's when the company starts overnighting it to you by FedEx.

You learn to say, "Hi, can I ask you a quick question? If I can show you a way to increase your monthly earnings by just a thousand dollars, part time, do you think you might be interested? Yeah? How about two thousand?"