The Noble Dream house

small houses tucked tightly
together with flags, big trucks
    giving me a friendly hello
    as I walk past children
playing in tiny yards shared
with neighbor yards and dog
barks trotting to and fro

the handsome man and son
on stilts with tools erecting tall
wooden fences looks down saying
“how's it going?” seeing semper fi
stickers on cars, trucks and homes

“hi” I say moving past a broken boat
paint chipped and weathered time
a mom chasing the screaming pink
ribboned floppy head of curls dog
bark with cars jacked up in grease
garage music motivating beers, caps
gasoline smells on wind with ribs
cooking on fire and roar of an engine
blasting to life with guttural cheers.

I walked far down through the new
tall boxed houses and their nice big
SUV's to get here, back in time to
reach the working class of grunts
whose decks and garage doors I
knew familiar as countless childhood
walks and rides through this same space
familiar as each turn in each paved path
the familiar houses filled with new
flesh on each familiar path, to know
the structures where strangers now live
each day of semper fi and flags, cracked
paint, the uniform sitting on the gold
couch through a picture window, behind
the carpeted cat climbing tree and dinner
their home cooked hamburger smell
somehow hitting hard like love can root

    and cry?

Ridiculous in the vicinity of faithful
like a breeze, raising the dead, in the center
of a nursery rhyme keg party where automatic
children, grown and raised on new heights
slide down, along the arms of a proud embrace

And me, in a crumbly dome, watching memory
through the sharp point of lives grabbed on
the stumbling grasps of what might be in
each house on these Suncrest streets, raised
in the odd manner which consumes itself
    little suns devoid of day
little suns in the yard that might not drop
to land upon the rails, driven east to claim
their fill: semper fidelis res mercatoris!

the simple flag unfurled the mind
and held it one by one, contented
flesh with a heart stopped strong
in the West, while setting, along

all the day I walked on mounds remembering
how this was, and is. and loved the box on
every plot save one where nothing lives
surmountable I called it, with a tricycle
by my side, and colored ribbons flashing
down besides the cement skies. surmountable
I called it on the breeze the dog breathed in
and fell in deeper wells of grief and loved
more than I lived. and loved the truck
with growing moss and grass astride its wheels,
the house of blue on brown-lined streets
    and the tall tree hung with mirrors
    flashing light that no one broke

You houses, you man in there, you woman
who come what may – you history! dream
and sullen stance alit along your way, bend
your ground to reigning winds and gather up
your days and give them all to flags and pens
then wish the night away. then wish your children
tall and strong to tower o're the world with
God to judge the righteous might instilled
in one by one. in one, by one, the ribbons fall
in colors round each sight while quiet still
the war inside, with little left to kill

protect me not from what is there but save me
from within; for love with grief grows bitter claws
that shred from outside in. and outside here
the wars begin before a shot is fired, poised
as uranium, balanced like books, on a ledge
between words and what is.

how I know
  what you feel
standing, talking
  to me standing
firm in the dreams we all share
but never a word driving back
to the world with innocent
truths revealed. but flags,
blowing on ways up top
wherever the foodpads may land
explains the silence you felt just then
when all I could do was stand

a smile not from a perch more tall
nor a bothersome way to move on,
but a gift that heard what you could not say
as your wondrous face blathered on.
a gift of nothing to have or hold,
like the mist of a spirit once known
    which called from afar, behind
    unremarked
in the grandeur of all that is small

Healthy Intellectual Symptoms

I confess that I was, at first, skeptical toward holistic medicine. I was skeptical because I thought it was a new thing having roots in the spiritual rather than the scientific. But, like all good skeptics, I explored it anyway and discovered that predominant perceptions were, once again, off the mark.

Western medicine, as it has come to us via science, is a wondrous achievement. It is most effective at targeting very specific problems. A broken bone. A faulty heart valve. Or curing a specific disease or disorder. Unfortunately, when Western medicine cannot address a specific problem with a specific remedy, normally it will offer to “hide” the problem for you instead. This is good, because hiding symptoms can allow you to function when you might not otherwise. However, hiding symptoms can also be a very bad thing. If you aren’t feeling the pain, why look for a root cause? And if they symptoms are masked long enough, maybe the problem will just vanish on its own. Or, maybe the problem will get worse, while we happily numb only the symptoms.

Eliminating symptoms simply hides what is really wrong, and this can elicit a false sense of security. Holistic medicine takes a different approach. Truly holistic medicine happily embraces traditional Western medicine when Western medicine is the best choice. However, holistic medicine goes one step further, looking at the larger picture instead of a singular, specific cause or linear causal relationship. Holistic medicine looks at the whole organism and its relationship to its environment in an attempt to leave no stone unturned when a symptom manifests. Personally, I appreciate this approach. It has helped me on more than one occasion where the traditional approach would have just provided a quick fix for a symptom, while completely ignoring the root cause.

We seem to like these quick, superficial fixes, though. For example, a company called DataTreasury recently won a lawsuit enforcing its patent claims against several large banking institutions. Since DataTreasury prevailed, the banking industry, which has been using these patented technological methods for some time, finds itself financial liable to DataTreasury for truly whopping amounts of cash.

This annoys the banking industry, who have successfully ignored DataTreasury for years, implementing the patented technologies anyway. So now the banking industry runs to Congress, teary-eyed at how unjust DataTreasury is and how badly the industry will be hurt if they are forced to comply with our nation’s intellectual property laws. And Congress hears them. And Congress sympathizes. And Congress decides that it might be a good thing to exempt the banking industry from our intellectual property laws. Why, you ask, should this industry be exempted from our intellectual property laws? Well, the 9/11 attack, of course. Too bad we can’t have cars that get as much mileage. Here is a quote from Senator Jeff Sessions, according to the Washington Post:

“[the provision] is designed to protect banking institutions complying with post-9/11 security requirements from the abusive practices of patent trolling trial lawyers seeking personal enrichment, which ultimately will be paid for by checking account customers across America.”

Not only does Sessions (and the Senate Judiciary Committee) want to immunize the banking industry against patent law, it also wants to take $1 billion in taxpayer money and give it to DataTreasury as a “compensation” for Congress immunizing banks against DataTreasury’s intellectual property. So, once again, Congress gives away vast sums of our money to benefit large corporations. No surprise there. But there is a more subtle issue in this.

We people who work with information technologies are quite familiar with intellectual property claims like this. Only money-minded or dim-witted people like the concept intellectual property. Unfortunately, that covers a lot of people. We have seen time and again companies use intellectual property claims to frighten, intimidate and stifle both developers and customers. Patent law when applied to a concept of “intellectual property” does not, in any way, foster innovation. The only thing the concept of intellectual property accomplishes is the empowerment of companies or individuals who have enough money to hire lawyer armies.

There is a fundamental difference between traditional patents for mechanical devices and the newer patenting of “ideas”. There are many ideas in existence, and there are many more to come (hopefully). But if you are to create something, with intellectual property ruling, you must first do exhaustive research to determine if anyone is blocking you from that idea, or perhaps even blocking your path toward fulfilling that idea. If they are, then you must find another way to accomplish what you need to, or pay them, even if you intend making your creation free for the world to use.

There are intellectual patents about how you can move a mouse. There are patents about what can and cannot be clicked on, or what can happen when you do click on something. In the intellectual world, there can be patents about practically anything imaginable that you can write down and pay lots of money to claim as your own, no matter how simple and basic that idea is. There are literally thousands of intellectual patents that companies hold right now that are kept, quietly, as an arsenal to deter others or to unleash as an offensive of either monetary gain, financial ruin, or even simple terror to drive away customers.

The problems inherent within the concept of intellectual property are not limited to the information industry, either. One of the saddest to me is the molecular and genetic research fields, which are practically hog-tied and immobile as a result of intellectual property law. And that industry happily hog-tied themselves, because you have to. If you do not, you will fail. But if you do, you will have a very hard time succeeding. Obviously something is very broken in the way we handle intellectual property law.

And this is what Congress should be looking at. Congress needs to closely examine the root cause of the problem the banking industry has brought them. Congress should not just mask the symptoms of an illness that runs deep into the heart of our laws. They must look beyond, at the totality of the intellectual property legal framework and address the issues revealed.

We cannot pick and choose who is subject to the law. If there is a problem with the law, fix the law. I cannot help but wonder, how have reached our numbness toward corruption that allows such flagrant disregard for law on one hand, and yet, on the other hand, can cause law to fall with such devastating force upon the innocent.

I am not at all fond of what DataTreasury is doing. But DataTreasury is playing the game, how it is handed to us. DataTreasury won that game. The banking industry must pay — not the American people. Or, since it’s obviously a badly broken game, why not instead just toss the whole game out?

Addendum: The End Software Patents project just created a new website. It looks to be a great source of information — I’ve already learned some things I hadn’t considered before. There is also an article on Linux.com describing more details of the project.

Morning / Eclipse

The morning is always something different. That means nothing to most people. They will think sunny morning, or cloudy. Maybe a dark morning, or a bright, late morning. A frosty morning. A morning with so many things lined up to be done. A hurried morning. A lazy morning with nothing to do, and trying to decide on something to occupy the time. A weekend morning, perhaps. Or the familiar weekday, rising.

I have forgotten the difference between a weekday and a weekend. I wake, to a day or a night; never knowing which, but I could guess if I thought to, before I fall asleep. Sometimes, hearing the birds beginning to chirp in darkness and seeing the faint outlines of leaves I become drowsy as my day comes to an end. Sometimes I become energized, as it begins. Most of the time I just notice, incidentally, that light is shining outside where it was not before, and sometimes wonder what day it might be. But it doesn’t matter. It is simply idle curiosity.

Five days ago was Galileo’s birthday. He would have been 444 years old. Today there was a lunar eclipse. The shadow of Earth fell upon the Moon. I went to buy cigarettes shortly after totality had passed. The gas station was full of people and the line stopped while two people bought lottery tickets. The clerks always get my pack of cigarettes whenever they see me come in, setting them on the cash register, for when my turn arrives.

The lady in front of me had stringy, crunchy hair, light blond, solidified in calculated disarray. Her skin was wrinkled, tan and caked with cosmetics. Her ass, tight in jeans. A young slender black man wore a bright green jacket, tightly fitted to draw your eyes to the giant silver belt buckle on the front of his designer jeans. A shorter, roll-y man rocked back and forth impatiently behind me, conjuring memories of Uncle Fester. The big man with the giant Mack truck stood aside from the line, booming to the clerk, “so how’s it goin’ tonight sweetheart?” A young boy leaned onto his mom’s leg, swaying with a pack of gummy worms.

The clerk looked at me while the line waited for the lottery scratchers to finish. “You want just one pack today hon?”

“Blood, terror and omens of death!” I cried. “The moon is swallowed!”

The lottery scratchers stopped, looking over at me, while the little boy slapped his mother’s leg and let out a shrill cackle.

“This guy giving you any trouble, sweetheart?” asked the big trucker guy.

I turned to him, “You know, I used to work for Kenworth. You’ve got a Mack there. Any reason you didn’t get a Kenworth?”

His eyes brightened up a bit. “My buddy was getting out of the business and that was his rig. I just took over the payments.”

“Ouch,” I said. “Yeah, I can’t believe how expensive those things are. I got to see the price tags on some of the orders – it’s insane.”

“It can tie you down, that’s for sure. But it’s not like you’ve got a choice.”

“Yeah,” I said, turning back to the cashier. “So, your son babysitting the little scientist tonight?”

“No, she’s over at my mom’s place tonight,” answered the cashier. “I think she’s got the flu or something and I can’t trust my son watching her.”

“Aw, that must drive her nuts, the little busybody,” I said.

“She’s not to happy about it. Always wanting to be reading or playing around with things, and all she can do is cough and lay there.”

“Well I hope she’s starts feeling better soon. She did get to see the eclipse, didn’t she?” I asked.

“You know, I don’t know. I’ll give my mom and call and tell her to get her looking outside.”

“Nice. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing looking,” I said. “Well, thanks!”

“Sure thing, hon.”

As I grabbed my smokes from the counter, I turned and walked up close to the trucker, who stood there, staring down at me, as I leaned in close and whispered, “You know, I always secretly liked Macks, but I’d never tell you, or anyone else.”

I could hear him chuckling as I walked out the door that detected me. At the end of the row of parking spaces, a man was leaning in through the driver’s window, shouting at girl in the passenger seat. As I neared he yelled, asked me what the hell I was looking at.

Turning slightly left and looking toward the stars, I could see the moon, still copper-red. “Blood, terror and death,” I said, and continued walking to my car. When I sat down inside, I saw the yelling man throw something on the ground then storm over to the gas station wall. He put is back up against it, and his palms on his forehead, then crouched down. The girl stormed out of the car, yelling at him.

The drive home was bumpy, full of holes along the road, threading tightly through construction markers. As I turned in the driveway that leads back to the house, I saw the huge evergreen tree blocking the eclipse. I thought, I bet this tree is the oldest tree left out here. When I turned off the car engine, I heard one of the helicopters overhead, flying by in the night.

Now, I am here, warm and inside, wondering how I might write about morning.

Will They Catch Us As We Fall?

We seem to have all these people continuing with their optimistic bent toward the upcoming Presidential election. There does seem to be a bit of a cooling in expectation, though. I may not share the groundless optimism of many, but my expectations are actually on the rise. I expect a lot of any new administration.

For example, the Supreme Court just decided that they would not even hear a case that was challenging the President’s powers to spy on Americans. They let stand a lower court ruling which said that the plaintiffs had no evidence the government was spying on them. It’s not for the plaintiff’s lack of trying, however.

Also, the website that has brought so many nasty problems out of hiding and into the light has been shut down by US Courts. At least, the United States server has. We now have to look to other countries to provide us information about what our government is actually up to. Wikileaks has been an incredibly wonderful place that nice, normal people within the government can go to, to place out into the public eye some of the terrible things they are privy to, that are hidden from the rest of us.

People who are poised to commit acts of terrorism know full well that they must protect their communications. There is very little or no benefit in being able to listen in on conversations or email communication that all Americans might have. However, there is a great deal to be gained if you have something in place like the “Homegrown Terrorism Act“, which tries to identify people’s thinking and behaviour before they ever become terrorists. This bill has passed out of the House and is now in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This is, remember, the same same Senate that just decided it was OK to wiretap us without having to get warrants, and offers any companies helping the Executive to do so, complete legal immunity.

When you combine this, with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to not even hear a case that would challenge the constitutionality of warrantless spying, it leaves little else but grim prospects for our freedom and rights to express ourselves.

Grim prospects, except for our new Presidential candidates. Unfortunately, they are not addressing questions that have any significance related to our basic freedoms that have been, for some years now, under attack and eroded. What questions are the truly significant ones? And are they up to the task?

Why I Hate You – I Mean Love You

Threads weave in, out and around other threads. They weave themselves together, through each other, to create something larger. Sometimes individual threads are hard to see. Sometimes we don’t want to see them. But threads comprise the fabric that encircle all of us, regardless of our distinctions.

Lately, we have been forced to examine our distinctions in fundamental ways. War tends to do that, just as disagreement does. Often I have expressed my dislike for the “let’s just agree to disagree” scenario. Nothing is accomplished. Nothing is learned. Nothing changes. “Let’s just agree to disagree” simply maintains status quo. Then again, status quo is the better choice when the alternative requires that you bloody each other until someone dies. Obviously, this happens, even still. And it only can happen when someone is unwilling to reexamine themselves. When people become entrenched in their thinking, status quo is the best possible outcome, while destruction and death loom very close over the horizon.

Right now, Iran is doing some bad things. So are we. Both claim righteousness and both manufacture justifications. That’s on the large scale. It’s where Einstein’s General Relativity works; on large clumps of stuff like planets and bombs. But what about the tiny scale that runs as threads through we individual humans? What about that crazy, largely unpredictable quantum scale, which seems to defy gravitational constraints and is, in many ways, oblivious to distance?

Nearly all of us, at one point, have experienced a strong urge to inflict physical violence upon another person, even when our differences are simply ideological. It is a passionate feeling that runs very deep. It is a nearly overwhelming emotion. Most of us manage to keep that passion in check. Our rational mind overcomes the more primal instinct. In terms of our complex brains, it is the larger front bit overriding the more primitive lower back bit. This is an internal war that we have with ourselves. It’s a secret war. It is founded in passion. And sometimes this war spills over the borders we erect. When this happens, sensibility is lost. The act of locking the reasoning mind into war with the passionate, in such a tightly contained space, can eventually transform an initially straight-forward conflict into an unrecognizable conflagration of perfectly-reasoned insanity.

It is a mistake assuming that our rational mind is separate from the passionate, and that one must dominate the other. If either dominates, the result is insanity. We cannot agree to disagree with ourselves. We must achieve a basic and true understanding, then reconcile that understanding into something more. But what makes us feel the violence? Our emotions cannot tell us. Our emotions can only feel. It is our reasoning mind that must tell us. However, our reasoning mind is colored by emotions. It can leave us confused and conflicted. It is an unreliable instrument for understanding itself, particularly in relation to others. If this is so, how can we look at ourselves so that we might understand from where these passions originate, that threaten to undermine our sanity, causing us to act in ways that can be terribly detrimental to ourselves or to others?

I have no idea. Is there an objective third party you might turn to, when objectivity is an unreliable concept, particularly where our psyche is concerned? A family member? A friend? A priest? All will bring a traveling circus of individual and collective biases. A shrink? Well, I suppose you could say there are no biases there, but anyone who has spent time in academia knows, even the staunchest disciplines are fluid and incomplete – and rife with biases. So when something happens which stirs us to unreasoning passions, what can be done? Physician, priest or scholar, heal thyself.

I believe it is safe to say that when we beat someone or kill them, something is amiss. Something is not lining up how it ought to. There are, however, people who lack any sense of “ought” — people who are perfectly comfortable calculating and enacting ends that fly in the face of what most would consider basic humanity. These can be criminals and these can be leaders, amongst other things. I am not speaking toward them right now. They do not have the internal war between passion and reason. For them, passion fuels reason, and reason works to achieve their desires. They are not burdened, as most of us are, with the messy and burdensome “ought”. It is the “ought” that causes our reasoning to question our passions, and more subtly and dangerously, it is the “ought” which causes our passions to become aroused from our reasoning.

We little monkeys have grown complicated mental structures and abilities. Our minds abstract the world we perceive into neatly grouped categories that we happily shuffle about. This has given rise to language, civilizations, religion and our various societies. We have abstracted ourselves so much so, that thinking of ourselves as animals seems alien. Our lives become secondary to our ideals, and the lives of others even more so. Yet, at the same time, we retain much of our more base nature. As such, we are primed for conflict and confusion. We are smack dab in the middle between being crazy monkeys and being creatures of higher thought. We are primitives, and we are advanced.

What we think or believe will not always line up with our wishes, nor with how we feel. We all know this. Putting emotion aside for a moment, what we think or believe will not always line up with facts, or what is true. And in our chitterings of muddy monkey words, a little more should be said. I do not know how to say it directly, though. Words are not meaning. Words can only evoke a symbolic sense of meaning, and the symbolics vary between people. I will try, and then return to the point.

Truth is something that is, undeniably and inescapably. Truth is not different for different people or cultures. Truth is not lying or misleading. Some very persuasive people claim there is no such thing as truth. Truth can be hidden through manipulation. Truth endures and exists despite individual perceptions. Hiding or manipulating truth is a dangerous thing because it is too large for our monkey fingers to contain forever, and doing so results in a huge expenditure of effort and resources that can be blown apart at any moment from the smallest of things.

Facts we must observe, measure and test. Facts depend upon our ability to see, touch, taste or smell. Truth has no such dependency. Facts can change over time based upon the instruments of their discovery or changes within our understanding of some related truth. Facts can build upon other facts with dependent relationships, while the entire structure remains vulnerable to any given fact modification with the chain. Facts can be manufactured, but they can always be verified. Truths cannot be manufactured – only assumptions about truths can.

Belief lives in murky waters. Belief is an assumption. Belief does not require truth, though it often claims truth. Belief does not require facts, and rarely claims to. Belief often acts like caulking between the cracks left by gaps within our understanding of truth or our possession of facts. Belief sometimes turns out to be true or factual, however truth or facts are not required for belief to survive. Beliefs are durable and pliable, often changing their shape to conform to the requirements of facts or truth. This is sometimes a volatile process, since we often embed our beliefs very deeply within emotion instead of reason. In other words, oftentimes the gaps within our understanding are more precious than truth, or facts. Beautiful and inspirational things can originate from belief, as can the horrific.

Muddier still is what we call our thinking. We like to believe we can separate our rational mind from our emotional, but that is a belief. They are not separate. Thanks to Freud, we can talk about our ego, or say that something came from our subconscious, as if they are separate things. They are not. Our thinking causes us to strive for truth and to recognize it. But we may hate it. Our desires can lead us one way, while our thinking pulls us another – as if thinking and desire were somehow separate. They are not.

And this is where we get into wishes. When we feel that internal war happening, we can almost always, if we choose to look, find its root cause in wishes. We wish something were a certain way, but find that it is not. We wish that we were a certain thing, but we are not. We wish we had this certain thing, but we do not. When we find that our desired image of something is not actually that way, whether it comes from belief or fact, or as a result of newly discovered facts or truth — we find that our desire for it to be can easily wreak disaster within our reasoning. I believe this is the fundamental challenge to our monkey brains along their path, as we currently face it.

Now, back on track. The abstractions we create, like societies, laws, religions, or even our images of others or ourselves, are formed by a collective understanding and agreement that we communicate between each other. This agreement does, to varying degrees, rely upon uniformity and conformity. The agreement is not necessarily founded upon truth, nor facts. The agreement is more akin to belief; a belief that finds its origin within the nominal parameters communicated and tacitly agreed to. And as a belief, these abstractions share the volatility inherent in belief. That is, our wishes for it to be true, and our destructive tendencies brought to bear when it appears not to be.

Most of us lack the courage or foolishness to maintain our “universal view” independent of these abstract agreements with everyone else. But all bend the rules from time to time, here or there. We’ll call those times, “our little secret”. We’ll take this down to the quantum level first. Mike and John, two close friends with a long history, go camping. Being guys and horny, they end up having sex. Mike is gay, John is straight. Afterward, Mike is surprised but happy. Wishes, kept in check by reason, have turned into a pleasant fact: he and John had sex. As such, his reasoning becomes modified, while the wishes, depending upon how pleasant it actually was, remains the same. John, however, faces some problems. He believes he is not gay, yet he wished to have sex – his reasoning failed to sustain the belief and overcome the wish. However, the belief that he is straight is not modified, regardless of the fact that he had sex with another man. He now wishes to maintain the belief, while simultaneously wishing for more sex, which is in conflict, even more so than it was before he had sex. Yet he also believes somewhat that he might actually be at least a little gay now, too. He’s become a mess. Abstract ideals war with other abstract ideals, and instead of being able to enjoy being who he is, these conflicts make him angry.

At this point, rationality has no hope. But instead of violence, in this case he forces Mike into a new abstracted agreement (a subset of the implied societal one, which we’ll call, “our little secret”): the belief must prevail since it’s failure means a larger failure of the tacit societal and self-image arrangements, which is not something he wishes. John causes Mike to believe that Mike’s fact is really just Mike’s belief – and John’s fact is still a fact, but subordinate to some wishes and belief more than others. However, John’s state has become logically impossible. The wish that he shared with Mike, that they acted upon, becomes Mike’s fault, and not John’s. John becomes a victim, which helps him repair his belief somewhat. Yet down in Freud’s world, the logical impossibility remains. And even though we have funny monkey brains, that’s not something we can live with comfortably. So John runs away screaming, which resolves nothing, but does mean he’ll eventually get tired and go to sleep in his own bed, day after day, until the impossibility disappears, which cannot happen. His secret war continues, and will forever influence all reason coming out of him. Mike, on the other hand, after being told that the fact is a belief, and that his wishes were somehow damagingly inflicted upon John, observes a truth that restores the fact and alters the wish to being one of wanting to truthfully reconcile things with John. This will never happen, though, because John belief is valued more highly than fact or truth. This is his wish. And it results from the tacit abstract agreement he has entered into with society, valid, justified or not. The abstract agreement, or treaty, he entered into with Mike about the “real truth” of their situation must be honored by Mike, or war results. Poor horny monkeys and their little brains.

This is how a Senator can solicit sex in a bathroom, and not be gay, or even bisexual. This is how men in Arab countries can have sex with other men sometimes, yet not be gay. They are only gay if they say (believe) they are gay. This is how a straight guy can focus so violently on hating a gay gay. And this, by no means, is limited to the gay aspect. It also works for religious people hating atheists or other religious people, atheists hating religious people, anyone hating science in general, or scientists fighting against theology. Almost any issue revolving around religion, morality, ethics or social norms can fit within this model. And since this is on the quantum scale, Mike and John will continue effecting one other no matter the distance, and no matter the time.

However, there is one other dimension, and that is fear. Fear of the unknown or differences, fear of consequence, fear of one’s “standing” being altered in relation to others. Fear sits alongside wishes. It is a motive force with its roots buried deeply. It influences belief, just as wishes do. It rails against facts or truth, just as wishes can. It is a little strange how wishes and fear go hand in hand. They both imply that something does not seem quite right as it is. Both are dissatisfied. The main difference between fear and wishes are that wishes try moving you toward something, while fear keeps you away. It is fear playing into belief that is the cause of racism, xenophobia, or any number of persecutions. Fear is far more effective when established in a group’s abstracted ideals. When shared, it is amplified and self-reinforcing, quickly overshadowing facts and easily hiding truths. Fear is the key when exploiting or manipulating the constituency of any abstract collective.

And this brings us to the larger, General Relativity scale, where states and nations move and seethe as a single psychological organism, comprised of multitudes. Every nation has central control rods, rooted deep within the abstract collective agreement. Some of these rods are religion. Some are economic, and some are simply ideological. Some are even just fables, that every child grows up hearing. The concept of “us and them” is the prime mover. It is a belief that somehow, our abstract collective consistently has our best interests at heart, and that no other collective does – even though there is no fact to show that an abstract collective even has a heart. Most people subscribe to the abstract collective of nations and will even experience pride about this amorphous entity. Again, the sense of nation fills in the gaps between fact and truth, falling into the category of collective belief, and is therefore mutable by wishes and fear.

A jihad against the infidels, and the control rod slams into place. That’s the easy one. Being a semi-pluralistic grouping, we Americans require a little savvy. Or maybe a little less. In place of religion, we’ll use marketing. Terror, whatever that is. I suppose you know it when you’ve got it. But we’re fighting it, as a nation. Terror. We’re going to wipe it out by bursting into people’s homes in the middle of the night and carting family members of for interrogations. We’ll get that terror in the end. By dropping 4,000 tons of explosives in a neighborhood. We’ll wipe out that terror in no time. By making people disappear for years and torturing them.

Hmm. Maybe I’ve got some facts wrong. Maybe I have some conflicting wishes, like John had. Maybe some kind of truth is hidden in oil fields, or oil profits, or big, expensive machinery. Maybe that’s why I’m so angry and confused. Hmm. Let me alter some beliefs – be right back. Maybe create a fact or two, even while truth is hidden. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, and having some growing fear. Of course the abstract collective can eavesdrop on me, and analyze everything I write or say, to see if I’m predisposed to be dangerous. After all, my neighbor’s been looking a little suspicious. Oh wait, he’s disappeared and I can’t tell anyone about it for five years or I’ll go to jail? That’s probably for the best. We do need a new missile platform across Europe, anyway. I don’t know, it’s just so jumbled up…

I’m not really sure why I do this, but I was talking with this guy a few days ago God. He was an atheist. And as such, of course I was having to listen to that biologist Dawkins yet again, with all his nifty inescapable trinkets. The thing is, reason fails when it tries to determine what we’re in. It is a boundary condition error. We must use the terms of what we have for senses, which is a subset of all that is, and use these limited perceptual abilities from within our existence in an attempt to discover a truth that lies beyond our existence. That’s not easy. It may be impossible.

Boundary conditions also exist for the framework of our abstract collective agreements. The difference is, mere agreements can be broken and exploited. In collective agreements, when some elements violate that agreement while others remain within it, we become faced with all the conflicting drama between truth, fact, belief, wishes and fear – particularly when those rogue elements claim to be still within the agreement.

Right now, we are confusing which agreements are the motive agreements. It is not our abstract collective of nation – it is our abstract collective of capitalism playing the main role. And honestly, it’s doing a great job. When you look at it though that agreement “lens” instead, everything makes sense and falls perfectly into place. We are experiencing capitalism, unburdened by the collective abstract of nation, in all its spectacular, overwhelming, self-serving, and terrible beauty. All of our nation’s money and resources are being poured into the private sector corporations – we’re even going into terrible debt for them. We’ve even created private corporate armies now. We get to see and live right now, the beautiful wonderland that is the wet dream of companies finally left alone to do their will, unhindered by the shackles of government. Military industries, energy industries, mortgage and financial industries, pharmaceutical industries, mass media – all of them just dancing around freer than they ever have been before. Isn’t it beautiful?

All the confusion about our current situation disappears when you drop the notion of us being the abstract collective of the United States of America, and instead adopt the abstract collective of us being an advanced, or extreme, capitalistic society. Our facts are the bank ledgers of well-positioned companies. Our beliefs are maximizing profits, and how great is it when the government picks up the expenses? Our wishes are more control over profits and even less regulation, while being able to siphon even more money and “dirty work” from the government. And our fears are the American people cutting us off from that. That makes us crazy. They must be made to fear any change. We need to make certain that anyone getting positions in government are deeply dependent upon our money.

And this leads me to wonder; when these candidates talk of change, what exactly are they talking about? Payments to health insurance companies from every American? Is that change? Investing in alternative energy sources that require a centralized company to control it? Does change mean that we will be allowed to tell someone if the government takes a family member or neighbor? Maybe change means we’ll be able to hear facts that lead to truth in our media sources?

Speaking of which, does anyone even care about Brittney Spears, who seems to be on every magazine and news channel? She’s been plastered everywhere for months on end. I was curious about that, and have made it a point to ask around. I continue to ask almost everyone I know, and even strangers. I have yet to find anyone who is actually interested, even in the slightest. What is that? Why can’t the media sources follow Dick Cheney around like that? Oh baby, I’d eat that trash up!

It is time for us to do some very serious self-reevaluations. We need to do them always on our own quantum scale, but we are in desperate need of reevaluating our larger Relativity scale. But the first step in that is realizing that it is money interests and not our government that is calling the shots. We’ve been warned about this since Lincoln, and now it’s pretty well complete. We need to stop thinking there is, in even the most remote way, any sense of nation here. Multinational corporations do not have a sense of nation, except how they must maneuver within any given one. Our operative abstract collective is just simply capitalism. Once we do that, things start making sense again, and we can take it from there. Believe what you want, I suppose, with all your wishes and fears. Just please, look at the facts and stay open-minded.

The part that I like best is that truth always keeps an aloof distance from all this. The truth is, we are alive, as little horny monkey creatures, here on this planet all together. And our little brains are just really beginning to sprout. I wish to believe that we are moving beyond the mine, mine, territory, dominate phase where we’re knocking each other over the head with sticks, and all the big monkey get to steal food from the little ones. I believe we can do better than that. I fear we might not. But I’m not going to beat anyone up about it. Probably. Unless I’m in a particularly animalistic mood. It would be easy enough to justify it to myself, since I’d only be beating up people who subscribed to the animalistic to begin with, and since they promote and perpetuate it, they have it coming. But I probably won’t. I’m more like Mike than John. I’ll just try reasoning with you til you shoot me dead instead.

Oh, and if you feel like it, take the time to sign a petition that’s trying to save the lives of a couple guys in Iran that are gay. Thanks for telling me about this Shelli — hadn’t seen it yet. They’re probably going to be sentenced to death for it. Below is a picture of a couple guys who were executed in 2005 in Iran for being gay. That’s the good bit for them, though — they were tortured and imprisoned for a long time too. Yep, and raped by straight guards. But don’t go thinking Iran is so extra bad for this. Our ally Saudi Arabia has the death penalty for being gay, too. In all honesty, if I go by racial factors, I have never had another race hit on me more than Arabic men. They were all perfectly fine about having sex with a man, but they were in no way gay, they say. It’s the saying your gay part — that you love another man — that gets you executed, not the having sex with other men bit. Strange. Men can passionately love other men when there is no sex. And men can have sex with other men as long as there is no love. But men having sex with and loving another man means death. And yet we wonder why wars can still happen. Below that picture is a picture of some of our army guys who took over an Iraqi house to hang out in for a while. They have their ears covered because bombs are loud. Below that is what’s left of a shoe. I have no idea what’s left of the body that was in it at the time.

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