Utopian Effusions

Finally I perceive church as it really is, a place and time of worship, and now, worship makes no sense to me. What are we worshiping that we cannot see? And the communion, the ritual consumption of Jesus Christ. The whole ritual of a worship service seems hollow to me now. This is why I can’t participate in it anymore. Who’s going to pull the curtain aside and expose the Wizard of Oz? Are dogs allowed in church?… Vicious comments, I suppose. Pastor told me that my email to him hurt. I understand that and regret it a little. He thought about it for a long time and then suddenly showed up here last Thursday morning. I guess it’s really over for me with the church. Until now, I hadn’t been able to process my feelings about it. Am I just too smart for my own good? My mom and my brother have both been brilliant people. But you know, now that the end of the world seems to be a reality, does it make sense to divide people into the saved and the lost? How do we really feel about that now? Any one of us could be marked for hellfire according to scripture. I’d rather see the world continue through the pandemic, and human life with it. And together we can build our heaven right here on earth 🌍. Why not? We’ve fulfilled many of our other visions. You know we’ve got the power to pull it off, and yet we sabotage ourselves with petty greed and folly. Can’t we call together our greatest geniuses and put them to work on making the world a better place? Or do we have to stand by and watch it self destruct again and again? Are poets just fools, or instead should we start listening to them? I envision a great convention of poets and musicians and other sensitive artists with a heart ❤️ to lead us in the ultimate project of building a paradise for all the world’s citizens. It can be done. We shall do this in time or else all perish together.

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Globalism: a Letter

I made a post about “God” before going to bed earlier tonight. It was unorthodox but honest, and a few people liked it. Another thought, rather new for me, is to realize that the world still acknowledges America as the greatest country on Earth. For many years I have espoused quite a reverse patriotism. Indeed I rejected the whole thing called nationalism and refused to watch the Olympics and such that fosters pride in your country. Neil Peart: “Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world / Than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled.” I don’t know when I started feeling this way. Perhaps as early as junior high school, when Mom introduced me to The Beatles and helped me write a paper on the United Kingdom. And then in high school there was a musical phenomenon called New Wave, a second British Invasion. I grew totally enthused with Yes and a lot of other music that was not American. However, I remember now that even my old friend Kate had idealistic notions about America. But what really gives me a lump in my throat is to hear Yes do the song “America” by Simon and Garfunkel! And to think that the band came from across the Atlantic to live in California. “We’ve all come to look for America.” I’m crying right now because it’s only right for America to be reunited with the motherland. I’m not talking about burning American flags and that kind of immaturity, but something much more profound and all embracing. It begins with Europe and America, then expands outward to the rest of the world, this spirit of globalism. This is my big political dream, to see world peace and harmony with no patriotism and no nationalism, no divisions, no borders. Yes performs “America” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiAdSUViGlU
…as I say, brilliantly.
So I think I’m still back where I started from. I’m not a xenophobe, a person who hates foreign people and things. To me, there is nothing foreign. And I wish for a day when the world comes together as one.

Nature in Our Hearts

Quarter of midnight. I am halfway through the Salinger book. Something about Holden being an ancient, gray haired teenager is symbolic. Also his question of where the ducks go when the lake in Central Park freezes in the winter… It seems impossible to me that I was at Bi Mart 12 hours ago. The trip wasn’t really necessary but I wanted to go for some reason. I went in search of lost time, sort of reeling in the years. The only discovery I made was the natural flora that grows in the community and has always been here. Yellow headed dandelions, for instance. The nature around me reminded me of D.H. Lawrence and took me away from the age of technology and information. And industrialism was exactly what Lawrence kicked about a hundred years ago. He saw it as something that sterilizes human life, makes it dispassionate and inorganic. It’s hard not to agree with him.

Quarter after three. The scene in Sons and Lovers where Mrs Morel takes refuge in the flower garden after a fight with her husband is particularly to the point. Now I wonder what happened to the times of great writers like Lawrence and Joyce. Who will be the next big groundbreaker in letters? Who can do a revival of Modernism and be the new Modern Shakespeare? …Queen’s “Millionaire Waltz” sneaks into my awareness with joy… The revival really depends upon a reconnection with Mother Nature. If we can find her in our hearts and pull the dream out from within, the New Renaissance is accomplished.

Tricentennial

Quarter of nine.

Rain today, but it’s light, not torrential. Already been to the market and bought canned food for Aesop. I took my black umbrella and my American flag shopping bag. I strode off to the beat of Thomas Dolby’s “Hot Sauce” in my brain. Nobody else was around on my way there. I observed nothing unusual. Just a typical morning in the “new normal.” Insipid and blah, but it’s better than eventful in a bad way. As I was opening my umbrella, I thought of how inanimate matter is our friend, the way it conforms to immutable laws. When you put something down, it will stay where you left it. Now I conceive of how Oppenheimer interfered with nature, releasing all this radioactive energy. Where did that place human beings in the food chain? Was it a heroic discovery, like Franklin flying a kite in an electrical storm? It was much graver since it was used as a weapon. I like to believe that America is the brainchild of the Enlightenment, exactly like Benjamin Franklin discovering electricity or Jefferson writing the Constitution. In this spirit, the nearly deaf Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. The Tricentennial 2076 is still a long way off, but it’s not too soon to speculate on what a 300 year old America wants to be. How far away have we wandered from our original ideals and intentions? How far are we from realizing our goals? How long until “all the colors bleed into one,” as in the old U2 song?

To Paradise—

One forty. I’ve been reading Jacob’s Room. A lot of it is about perception of people, and how well we can know each other. Woolf has beautiful style that calls for slow savoring, like poetry. She is always interested in the duality of public appearance versus private reality. I wish I had an excuse to go out to Bi Mart again. I see some blue sky through the white clouds, but simultaneously I hear it start to rain. The sun peeked out a while ago. Capricious weather is typical of spring here.

I kind of miss the days when Jeff would fly in from Idaho and I’d pick him up at the airport and together we’d drive to the coast. Surely it wasn’t all about the indulgence in beer? On my part it wasn’t. I wanted to engage my brother in deep conversation about the things that mattered to me. I got a few ideas from him, but he didn’t really want to talk. When he did, he followed his own line of discourse and seemed not to hear mine. He did a lot of speculation on family history, puzzling over people’s motives. It was similar to reading a William Faulkner novel. Jeff was telling stories to try to make sense of family behavior. Since then, I’ve learned that this method of analyzing people does not work. He told me a lot more about himself than about his subjects. And maybe that’s what I wanted to know.

The last time we went to the coast was twelve years ago, in August. At that point I realized that it really was all about the beer. It was no longer fun. Everything seemed a tremendous waste of time. I started writing compulsively because nobody listened to a word I said. I was sick of being shouted down by ignorance and prejudice, by adherence to longstanding beliefs that made no sense to me. People merely parroted what they’d been told without giving it any thought. But the song by Bruce Hornsby gives me hope. Idealism really can win the day if we put our minds to it. The key is not to give up, to persist and persevere. To disregard politics and let the dreamers lead the way to Paradise.

Utopian Notes

Three thirty.

Aesop wanted to get up, so I complied. He had a drink of his water. A moment ago we both heard a strange sound outside. Aesop barked. It hasn’t been repeated. Now there is absolute silence except for the whir of an electric clock that used to belong to my mother. It keeps fairly accurate time. The furnace just kicked on, adding to the chorus.

I consider my life at this point and wonder why the particular circumstances of today. Why these friends, out of everyone I’ve ever known in my life? Was there a meaningful pattern guiding my steps? For some reason, I could never stop drinking under the care of Dr T. Only after I wandered away to the Lutheran church did the drinking cease.

The darkness and light of human nature depend on where you focus, and among whom. Heaven on earth is just as possible as the hell we give each other. The choice is up to us. I believed this idea even three years ago, when I was still drinking. Utopia begins as a state of mind. It grows into a reality when enough people share the same vision.

Humanity seems to be at a juncture where we can rearrange our thinking, and thereby, our reality.

Closer to Home

Four thirty.

I did a lot of dreaming about my neighbors across the street. In reality I don’t see them much, and now with the Coronavirus I don’t see them at all. The blinds in the front window are perpetually closed. It’s a houseful of women over there, Diana and her three daughters. I can understand if they’re feeling paranoid. Still, I would really enjoy interacting with them more— and then I remember my gender: I’m a guy. A lot of people make a sharp dividing line between the sexes. I guess I am unusual in not doing so. I grew up not distinguishing between men’s things and women’s things. I find that gender roles and stereotypes are mostly fictions made up by society. Not even psychologists are very perceptive of this artifice, but believe that men are men and women are women. Worse, they assume that men with anything feminine about them must be homosexual… I think my dreams about Diana’s family are innocent with a childlike innocence. What do babies perceive, I wonder? Do little boys want to put on lipstick? Do little girls want to use tools? Who’s to tell them otherwise? In my utopia, these distinctions of masculine and feminine wouldn’t exist. Everything would be free and equal, and what the baby sees is what the grownup would see as well.

A Rant

Hello. Just a test. Yes I guess this app will work ok…

One thirty seven. The ads on this app are making me a little crazy. No wonder it was free. I hear The Song of the Nightingale in my head. Damn machines. I wish I could reverse time and progress but it only goes in one direction, and we have to do it together. If I could emigrate from the human race, sometimes I feel that I would. I feel terrible this afternoon. I don’t have time to take a nap. We can only grow the way the wind blows. I feel an invasion of privacy by using this tablet. Aesop is barking at other dogs in the neighborhood. Well let me express myself intelligently and then maybe the world is an ok place. Since when is the whole world my family? Being connected means much more than it used to. No one has any privacy at all. And it will only get worse. It’s like George Orwell ‘s worst nightmare come true. I had believed that my family was the only problem, but no; nobody can be an individual anymore. This is my impression from using my tablet again after a long hiatus. The world is bound to get a lot louder and the inner realm of silence, the subjective experience, will simply go out of existence. Only the public shall prevail while the private goes extinct. And then there won’t be much more for me to do…

Hyperbole

Quarter of three. It is very cold inside the house. I’m not sure why I got up for a few minutes. All the world’s asleep and the questions run so deep for such a simple man. Yet I’m not simple at all, in the eyes of other people. My family can’t figure me out, but I think I have them pegged. As I’ve said before, I’m a conventional intellectual just as they are conventional cowboys. Everyone is a stereotype, and we are molded that way by education and other modes of society. It isn’t anybody’s fault; it was the monster. The big machine makes us what we are. It gives us a few options along the way, but what we are is ultimately determined by precisely those choices. It is much like choosing the words to write on this tablet even this very moment. It makes me want to be a Luddite and break all machines; sneak into the factories in the dead of night and do the dirty deed. Human beings are not as stupid as society believes we are. The best we can do is start from scratch, break the old molds and defy tradition as much as possible. We need to be our own option makers. We need to esteem value for ourselves, and again from scratch. Perhaps I’m only writing this for myself? But no: the machines are taking over humanity and it’s up to you and me to do something about it. Together we must rise and read our D H Lawrence and read the writing on the wall. Someday our humanity will be completely extinct, all the red blood sucked out of our vessels, all our spontaneous instinct destroyed, our brains chipped and bionic. The Age of the Cyborg is upon us, as corny as this sounds. What are you going to do about it?

Renaissance People

For once, the sky is clear and a little green, with the sun a big fireball of orange. I haven’t thought much about how it’s wintertime, or about global warming. Some people of a social science persuasion deny that it’s happening. Or they rationalize it, saying the earth goes through ice ages periodically anyway, regardless of human beings. Why don’t people pool information from all disciplines together and agree on things? Instead, psychologists bicker with hard scientists, likely because they lack the mathematical ability. Don’t the different camps of knowledge have something to learn from each other? When will some Renaissance Man or Woman come forward and pronounce the truth for everyone? Surely someone with an encyclopedic mind exists and can do this for us? Who will it be? And how much time do we have?