Dreamlessly

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By Charles Bukowski:

old grey-haired waitresses
in cafes at night
have given it up,
and as i walk down sidewalks of
light and look into windows
of nursing homes
I can see that it is no longer
with them.
I see people sitting on park benches
and i can see by the way they
sit and look
that it is gone.

I see people driving cars
and I see by the way
they drive their cars
that they neither love nor are
loved –
nor do they consider
sex. it is all forgotten
like an old movie.

I see people in department stores and
supermarkets
walking down aisles
buying things
and i can see by the way their clothing
fits them and by the way they walk
and by their faces and their eyes
that they care for nothing
and that nothing cares
for them.

I see a hundred people a day
who have given up
entirely.

if I go to the racetrack
or a sporting event
I can see thousands
that feel for nothing or
no one
and get no feeling
back.

everywhere I see those who
crave nothing but
food, shelter, and
clothing; they concentrate
on that,
dreamlessly

I do not understand why these people do not
vanish
I do not understand why these people do not
expire
why the clouds
do not murder them
or why the dogs
do not murder them
or why the flowers and the children
do not murder them,
I do not understand.

I suppose they are murdered
yet i can’t adjust to the
fact of them
because they are so many.

each day,
each night,
there are more of them
in the subways and
in the buildings and
in the parks

they feel no terror
at not loving
or at not
being loved

so many many many
of my fellow

creatures

Say yes to everything

“There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is- particularly the artist- particularly myself!”
Hermann Hesse

But there was no place to go

“The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidates who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.”

Charles Bukowski

Everybody Knows

By Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows

Christianity and War

Laurence Vance is a prolific writer and author of many books on the subject of Christianity and war. Yesterday he published an interesting book review on Lewrockwell.com on Philip Jenkins new book, The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade.  In the article, Vance writes:

One would think that if there is any group of people that would be opposed to war it would be Christians. After all, they claim to worship the Prince of Peace. But such is not the case now, and such was not the case 100 years ago during the Great War that we now call World War I.

I have often pointed out how strange it is that Christians should be so accepting of war. War is the greatest suppressor of civil liberties. War is the greatest creator of widows and orphans. War is the greatest destroyer of religion, morality, and decency. War is the greatest creator of fertile ground for genocides and atrocities. War is the greatest destroyer of families and young lives. War is the greatest creator of famine, disease, and homelessness. War is the health of the state.

Just as it was easy for the state to enlist the support of Christians for the Cold and Vietnam Wars against “godless communism,” so it is easy now for the state to garner Christian support for the War on Terror against “Islamic extremists.” But World War I was a Christian slaughterhouse. It was Christian vs. Christian, Protestant vs. Protestant, Catholic vs. Catholic. And to a lesser extent, it was also Jew vs. Jew and Muslim vs. Muslim.

Although fought by nation states and empires, World War I was in a great sense a religious war. As Baylor historian Philip Jenkins explains in the introduction to his new book The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade:

The First World War was a thoroughly religious event, in the sense that overwhelming Christian nations fought each other in what many viewed as a holy war, a spiritual conflict. Religion is essential to understanding the war, to understanding why people went to war, what they hoped to achieve through war, and why they stayed at war.

Soldiers commonly demonstrated a religious worldview and regularly referred to Christian beliefs and ideas. They resorted frequently to biblical language and to concepts of sacrifice and redemptive suffering.

The war ignited a global religious revolution. . . . The Great War drew the world’s religious map as we know it today..

Not just incidentally but repeatedly and centrally, official statements and propaganda declare that the war is being fought for god’s cause, or for his glory, and such claims pervade the media and organs of popular culture. Moreover, they identify the state and its armed forces as agents or implements of God. Advancing the nation’s cause and interests is indistinguishable from promoting and defending God’s cause or (in a Christian context) of bringing in his kingdom on earth.

We can confidently speak of a powerful and consistent strain of holy war ideology during the Great War years. All the main combatants deployed such language, particularly the monarchies with long traditions of state establishment—the Russians, Germans, British, Austro-Hungarians, and Ottoman Turks—but also those notionally secular republics: France, Italy, and the United States.

Christian leaders treated the war as a spiritual event, in which their nation was playing a messianic role in Europe and the world.

Without appreciating its religious and spiritual aspects, we cannot understand the First World War. More important, though, the world’s modern religious history makes no sense except in the context of that terrible conflict. The war created our reality.

(Read the rest here)

Why Fear Anarchy?

Writes the economist and historian, Robert Higgs:

The idea of anarchy strikes fear in the hearts of most people. Their imaginations run wild with scenes of social disorder, violent gang warfare, and unrelieved insecurity. Yet, strange to say, these same people live comfortably in the present world, a world in which states bring relentless plunder, brutal oppression, unjust laws and punishments, gargantuan waste, endless wars, and political measures that generally enrich the already rich and powerful and ensure permanent marginalization of the down-and-out.

Can it be the case that the present state-dominated situation with all its horrors is necessarily superior to every possible stateless alternative? Is the world in its present condition really the best of all possible worlds? Your rulers want you to think so. They tempt you with visions of reform, but the reforms they allow, as a rule, only make matters worse for the masses, who must settle for the delusion that in a de facto one-party state such as the USA their votes can alter either the current situation or the trend of events.

Sensible anarchists do not promise heaven on earth. They understand that even in the absence of the state, the full range of human folly, foibles, and capacity for evil will remain, and hence so will crime and bad behavior of many kinds. What the anarchists do promise, however, is that under anarchy no overwhelmingly dominant organization will exist to suppress people’s decentralized experiments in building better lives founded in freedom, rather than in centralized predation and oppression by an overarching ruling class.

(Click here to read a phenomenal research article by Mr. Higgs on the subject of self-government)

The Parasite

You supply me the needs for my existence.

I feed off of you. I take a great portion of the fruits of your labor. And you remain silent while I do this. I force you to comply with all my demands and laws, and you think you’re a good citizen for obeying. I restrict and regulate the interactions you have with your fellow countrymen and you think that I’m protecting you. I have a monopoly over the currency you earn, and I devalue it year after year to benefit me. At the expense of you. I control the curriculum that your kids learn from. I teach children a version of history that makes them crave me in the future. I have their minds in the palm of my hand from the day you surrender them to me. I get to decide if what I’m doing is lawful or not. And you buy it. I trick your sons and daughters into joining my ranks to fight my wars which inflate my power. And when I fight these beneficial wars, I restrict your freedom at home. And you don’t mind. You defend me still. Your kids pledge to me in classrooms every morning. You sing hymns to me before sporting events. You love and worship me. You look to me to solve all your hardships. And sometimes I do, because I know I’ll have you for life. I give your hard-earned money to people who don’t work, because they help keep me in power. I give your money to powerful corporations who I work with to keep you highly misinformed. You can’t even begin to imagine a world without me. I control your mind and your heart.  And that little minority out there who knows all this, I will attempt to destroy. But I don’t have to, because you’ll do it for me. You will defend me until your dying day. I’m your master and you’re my willing slave. And you believe yourself noble for this. The funny thing is, you think that you’re free. And you brag about this freedom that you think you have. It’s amusing. But in all truth, without you, I couldn’t exist.

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