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?


Birthday with Music

Hours ago I unpacked my Onkyo cassette deck and started screening some old tapes for something I could use. I found about seven four track masters and put them aside, but a few were mixed down and ready for listening. One contains recordings I identify as being done from fall 2003 to fall 2004, mostly a period of sobriety and relative stability and happiness. I audited the whole thing, then wrote some notes on the case insert for convenience. I may want to convert the tape to digital by whatever means… Amazon sells cassette to mp3 converters for twenty bucks, so there’s no shortage of technology… I ordered one. I hope it’s easy to operate. I titled my tape Days of Future Pissed because after 2004 I would fall off the wagon.

Eight thirty. Aesop seems to be feeling okay. He isn’t squinting his right eye and appears able to see out of it. I’m looking out for him. It’s my birthday today. Happy to just have made it this far. There are musical things I want to do in the coming years, and being sober ought to help. The ideal is making home recordings. Life and music find a way, though it takes a little time. Eventually I will put more stuff on SoundCloud and try to promote myself. Realistically, I’m not going to be super popular or even a virtuoso everyone loves. I’ll be just another voice among many, yet the important thing is to try. And the best part of creative endeavor is collaboration with people when they like your stuff. A common vision of justice is better than an individual one. It would be a treat to be able to help humanity perfect itself as Percy Shelley tried to do with his poetry. Some people will be naysayers and cynics, but a lot of people think the way I do. Idealism is a thing you should never sell out. Giving up is not an option this time.

For the Young

Three o’clock. I feel beautiful. Slept another few hours. Although it’s cold, I’m not bugged by it. I’ve been assured that the house will be ready for habitation by the 8th. Even if this deadline is missed, still I’m confident that all shall be well. The essence is not grubby survival but rather beauty and poetry. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde. Thank goodness for dreams and the people who believe in them. Someday the young will lead the way to a pliant future, giving and bending as it is, together yielding much fruit. Someday treacherous old age will finally bow down to the guillotine. Damn the gouty politicians! They have neither beauty nor wisdom. All they have is tainted money. I wish for a cashless utopia in days hence, a society governed by Apollo the sun god, god of reason and poetry and music, inspirer of the Muses. How could this go wrong? If we must depend on the invisible, let’s go with something sublimely Greek. Something to pull us out of the primordial ooze, worshiping not excrement but the potential of the human form. Edith Hamilton notes that this self reverence separates the Greeks from ancient Egypt, the latter who stuck animal heads on human bodies. Let us revere ourselves and exalt the human shape, the human mind, beyond the mundane. Forget the fools misled by a preoccupation with narcissism. Because, our hopes depend to a great degree on self respect. We must love ourselves first, especially when the world is wrong. Afterwards we can restore the world to its proper dignity and grace. This will be a vision for the young…

A Society of Science

I did so much studying of the Renaissance in school, probably the ultimate in finesse and snobbery… An old song by Stanley Clarke off of School Days plays in my head. The album title is pertinent. It is the way my subconscious mind works, sympathetic to the main argument… My hopes center on my house getting done. Until then I can imagine living in it: my own big space, subject to my rules and tastes. It’s all taking shape in reality, what was once a castle in the air. I’ve definitely paid a price for this gift. It’s the house of a Renaissance Man… Now it’s a song by Earthworks called “Shadow of a Doubt.” What is the doubt, I wonder? But The Sound of Surprise was a Cd I bought during my first recovery in May 2003. Treatment wasn’t so bad at first. The counselor was open to me as long as I didn’t drink. I was a good boy, honest about doing UA’s and such. Yet I was so different then from now. So much younger and fresher; it’s hard to believe I was the same person. Gradually I understood that alcoholism was something I was being blamed for morally, and that’s when I rebelled. I came to loathe the program for the shame it put me through. Alcoholism is a defect not of morals but of genetics, and forget the crap about “the sins of the fathers.” Years later I encountered practices that made schizophrenia a moral matter as well, and again it violated science and common sense. I guess I’m just a believer in modern science. The world will be a better place when old notions of moral blame and shame are replaced by understanding logically; when everyone puts on eyeglasses and looks at life through the microscope. The beauty of science is how it exonerates us from stigmas of habitual religion. Instead of holding a crows’ court and murdering our outcasts, we shall understand and love them even for the fact of their defects. Every ugly duckling is a swan in the eyes of science. And let there be no quack science either. The conspiracy of bullshit eventually must come crashing down. Thereupon we can rebuild society from scratch.

A Dream for You

Eleven thirty. What happens in a world where every individual thinks for himself? If the dialectic is calm and rational, it’s something like the Athens of Plato’s day. It’s the tradition of the Academy. Ideas are brainstormed and batted around in a healthy way, and the fruit is the progress of human reason. The method is not blind faith but rather the light of our God given logic, freely distributed among us all. I disagree with elitism and the notion that nature is aristocratic. With a little help, I should hope that everyone can use his head. Make college tuition free for all who want to go. Make library membership free. Ensure that wise words are available to young and old, rich and poor, women and men. Launch a nonprofit publisher that disseminates classics at no cost. If the Gideons can do it, so can academics. Spread the word about Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive. If most music is free, then steer people to the free books. Let them all download the best thinking and writing from the expanse of history. Do whatever we can to promote independent thought, free and original, and debate about it like the peripatetic Academics of the ancient world. This would be a dream come true.

Filthy Lucre

Three thirty. It’s cold in here and wet outside. I just turned on the heater. I didn’t realize until yesterday that K— has a temper. Is that irrational or simply the way she is? Perhaps she takes things too personally? A bit too hard. L— meanwhile is more capricious and light, not so serious. Maybe a little irresponsible and immature. And then A— gets to be a diplomat for the two of them. Keep the balance. Conditions were tense and uncomfortable yesterday morning when K— was upset with J—. She refused to hear her explanation for her tardiness, which may have been important. Listening is always a good thing, especially when a person is defending herself. Listen and then work it out together logically. It could be that K— lacks rationality. I was rather relieved to leave for the day. My gender in particular made the situation awkward where it was a roomful of women being hard on each other. Any social dynamic can get a little aggressive. The more the members, the trickier it gets. The element of it being a money-making business adds to the stress and the worse part of human nature. Filthy lucre brings it out even on a small scale. When people compete with each other for survival and comfort, life can be ugly. I only wish there were a better way than capitalism. Human beings deserve to live harmoniously together. We all make our own heaven or hell individually and in masses. It is up to us to choose where we want to go. We have the power to save ourselves from doom, but the majority of us are not smart enough to choose what’s right. But first we have to agree on what is right. These are my utopian thoughts for today…


Quarter of three o’clock 🕒. Dreams not far from reality, of construction on the house, the bass I built, the dumpster in the front yard, and the trailer in the driveway. Dreams of growing pains like the mallet blow to my ring finger, which turned to plum but soon healed. My soul grinds the problem of transformation waking and asleep. My dog looks depressed, so I take him out walking a little. I tell him in words how we’ll get our house back in a matter of time. I don’t know if he comprehends. Meanwhile I don’t want to hear from anyone who is faithless or hopeless, because too much of that could drive me over the edge. “Rejoice rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on… Love is coming, love is coming to us all.” Whatever happened to songs like this? Graham Nash’s voice so high that he actually overshot the notes into sharpness. That’s how strongly they felt about reforming the human condition. It was a creative impulse I can trace back to Shelley’s poetry, this booming voice proclaiming that humanity is perfectible. And why not? If we can imagine perfection, surely we can realize it? What will it take for all of humanity to take this step together? “Hear this voice now and forever, it’s time, brothers in time, is it hard to take this choice, as it kicks so hard… There in the heart of millions, seen as a godsend to us, there stands our future. There can be no denying, simple as ABCD, there stands our children’s lives.” This song by Yes is about the best that rock music has to offer, and its utopian message is timeless and simple: there’s no reason why we can’t live in perfect harmony with each other and with nature. People can dismiss it as poetic sentiments, which would be very sad when poets have always known best.