Jehovah’s Witnesses At My Door

jehovah’s witnesses knocked on my front door the other day.

two old ladies, sweet and pleasant.

with styish southern hats
they were standing on my porch
smiling, as I opened the door.

my hair disheveled, shirtless,
my tattooed body staring
at them.

they greeted me with nervous eyes
as they talked to me about their god.

they smiled, made small talk, and
read their cherished scriptures
written by unknown authors.

soliciting their view of salvation.
the key to eternal life.

it took all I had not to expose
some of the great fallacies
in their belief system.

i wanted to tell them to never stop
searching, never stop asking, never
stop being curious. because that’s
where true salvation was found.

it took all I had not to remind them
that just because they were devoutly
passionate in their beliefs
doesn’t mean that their
beliefs were accurate.

i wanted to ask them if they
really thought that their god
treated the righteous man,
Job, fairly.

i wanted to ask them why
their god let himself get caught up
in a gamble with satan
at the expense
of a tortured innocent man.

i wanted to ask why their god
so often yielded to the evil one,
his first beautiful son.

but I was quiet. i let them read
and I politely took their pamphlet.
I gave them a thank you smile.

they had their mind made up.
their brain locked in,
conclusions forever imprinted
like a tattoo.

there’s no changing that.

as they left, i shut my door,
tossed the paper into the trash
and headed out back to my patio.

i sat beside the dead ferns
and the stale leaves
that had fallen from
my backyard oak.

i took a long pull from my whiskey,
and sucked in my version
of salvation
through a cheap cigar,
then slowly exhaled,
gazing, as the smoke
gently drifted up
to an empty sky.

and as I sat back,
trying to find my place
in the book I was reading,
my mind wandered and
i caught myself recklessly
bleeding
nonsensical thoughts
about fate, eternity
and immortality.

damn them sweet old ladies

they got
me.

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Don’t Be Like Them

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Don’t be like them. They want you in the ranks,
the mob — the clan of dullards who want you
to live according their stifling ideals.

They want you brain dead and
soul dead like them. They want
you to work the 9-5. They want
you in a cubicle. They want you
to be a sitcom watcher. They want
you to pledge to their flags and
worship their gods. They want you
take a side. They want you to settle
with their politics and vote for
their two-faced leaders.

They need to be led
because they’re too weak
to lead themselves. Continue reading

23 Brilliant Mark Twain Quotes on his Birthday

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William Faulkner christened Mark Twain, “The Father of American Literature.”

The great Hemingway claimed that “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

America’s finest writer was born on this day 182 years ago. So it’s fitting to bring to light 23 of Mark Twain’s many brilliant quotes that show us his unrivaled witticism and piercing insights on human nature. Continue reading

Sainthood & Outlaws

 

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Socrates was sentenced to drink the hemlock
for corrupting the youth. Jesus was crucified
for rebelling against the Roman Empire. Joan of
Arc was burned at the stake for heresy. It’s pretty
clear to see that sainthood is often born of rebellion.
It’s usually the outlaws of a society, those most hated
while alive, who live forever in the hearts of mankind.

Carl Jung on the State

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Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He had one of the most brilliant and imaginative minds of the 20th century.

Jung, during the mid part of the century, started to observe that societies were moving in a direction of mass-mindedness and state worship.

He saw that men were becoming “subordinated to ideological considerations [that] must serve the State, and not truth and justice in men’s dealings with one another.”

He goes on to write that the “mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.”

Here’s an insightful description of what one of the most beautiful minds of the last century thought about the state:

Quoted from Wikipedia entry on Carl Jung:

“Jung stressed the importance of individual rights in a person’s relation to the state and society. He saw that the state was treated as ‘a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected’ but that this personality was ‘only camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it’, and referred to the state as a form of slavery. He also thought that the state ‘swallowed up [people’s] religious forces’,and therefore that the state had ‘taken the place of God’—making it comparable to a religion in which ‘state slavery is a form of worship’. Jung observed that ‘stage acts of [the] state’ are comparable to religious displays: ‘Brass bands, flags, banners, parades and monster demonstrations are no different in principle from ecclesiastical processions, cannonades and fire to scare off demons’. From Jung’s perspective, this replacement of God with the state in a mass society led to the dislocation of the religious drive and resulted in the same fanaticism of the church-states of the Dark Ages—wherein the more the state is ‘worshipped’, the more freedom and morality are suppressed; this ultimately leaves the individual psychically undeveloped with extreme feelings of marginalization.“

To add to that, in his profound little book called “The Undiscovered Self,” Jung writes:

“Only, the suggestive parade of State power engenders a collective feeling of security which, unlike religious demonstrations, give the individual no protection against his inner demonism. Hence he will cling all the more to the power of the State, i.e., to the mass, thus delivering himself up to it psychically as well as morally and putting the finishing touch to his social depotentiation. The State, like the Church, demands enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, and love, and if religion requires or presupposes the “fear of God,” then the dictator State takes good care to provide the necessary terror.”

The Most Frightening Thing In The World

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You know what’s the most frightening thing in the world?

I’ll tell you.

It’s the troubling fact that evil is brought into the world by ordinary people who think they are doing good. That’s terrifying because you can’t fix it. Or learn from it. Historically speaking, it’s our attempt to rid the world of a perceived evil that is in fact how evil is brought into the world.

For instance, take the Holocaust. It wasn’t homicidal maniacs with overwhelming hate in their hearts who murdered the Jews in concentration camps. No, no. Rather, it was the church-going, middle-aged, working-class family men. It was ordinary people like you and me who killed tens of thousands of Jews.

These people weren’t evil on an individual basis. They obeyed laws, prayed, loved & provided for their families. It was out of duty to their Fatherland and this misguided notion of obedience to authority figures that caused them to participate in one of mankind’s most atrocious slaughters.

How frightening is that?

Under the Communist experiment in the Soviet Union during the early part of the 20th century, the ordinary bureaucrats, under the false belief of the “common good”, went farm to farm confiscating properties. Families were driven from their homes and forced into the wilderness in below freezing temperatures with absolutely nothing to their name. Millions of people lost their lives in the process. Millions. The officials, working under the notion of the “common good”, truly believed in the virtue of their actions.

In our time, a good example is the “war on terror.” The United States’ unending mission to rid the world of terrorism is also the root cause of the growth of terrorism. This is why since 9/11 terrorism has grown exponentially in spite of the trillions of dollars and many lives spent to destroy it.

How can this be?

Most of the bombs dropped by the US in the Middle East kill innocent civilians.  In their eyes, they endure a 9/11 type catastrophe every single day.  So as we in the US believe we are right in dropping bombs in the Middle East, terrorists believe, on the other hand, that they are right by killing innocent people in the Western world in the name of retribution.

It’s an unwinnable situation on both sides and senseless deaths on both sides will inevitably continue for years to come.

These examples– and there are much more– showcase the extreme dangers of ideologies and the collectivist mayhem that usually spawns from them.

History has undoubtedly shed light on the perils of dividing ourselves into groups to give expression to our ideals. The danger lies in the fact that when we throw ourselves into group identities or hide behind a flag or a cause, it allows us to shed personal responsibility for our actions. “I was just doing my job” and “it’s the policy” becomes our self-justifying chant we use to defend our reprehensible actions.  And we believe it, truly.

Christopher Browning, in his incredible book on “how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews”, writes:

“I fear that we live in a world in which war and racism are ubiquitous, in which the powers of government mobilization and legitimization are powerful and increasing, in which a sense of personal responsibility is increasingly attenuated by specialization and bureaucratization, and in which the peer group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral norms. In such a world, I fear, modern governments that wish to commit mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts for being unable to induce ‘ordinary men’ to become their ‘willing executioners.'”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a historian, and brilliant writer was thrown into a Russian Gulag prison camp in the mid 40’s for criticizing Stalin in personal letters that he’d written. Fortunately, he lived to write about the wickedness under the Soviet Communist experience and all the vile and debauched things he witnessed in the gulag camps. In his most intense and important book called, The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn writes:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

So what is the answer to eliminating the amount of evil in the world?

There might not be one. But I think one of the main things we can do to start tilting in that direction is to strengthen the individual and stay away from the poisonous concept of group identity.  Self-development and a sense of self-ownership are, I believe, the first steps in overcoming the collectivist madness we see today.

We must learn to live well, live our own truth, take responsibility for our own actions or lack of actions, and quit cowering away from our own greatness.

Or as today’s unrivaled thinker and teacher, Dr. Jordan Peterson concludes – it’s the integrity of the individual. That’s the answer to the violent animosity that infects humanity. The integrity of the individual. He writes:

“We need to wake up, individual man and woman alike, and we need to do it now. Each of us must take the world on our shoulders, insofar as we are capable of that, and adopt individual responsibility for the horrors and suffering its existence entails. In that we will find the Meaning without which Life is merely the suffering that breeds, first, resentment and then the desire for vengeance and destruction. We need to take responsibility, instead of incessantly insisting on our rights. We need to become adults, instead of aged children. We need to tell the truth. We need justice and compassion, conjoined; not judgment and pity, which crush and devour.”

Stay Far Away from the Crowd

Can you imagine how beautiful the world could possibly be if people actually were wise enough to think for themselves as unique human beings, rather than kowtowing to the fuckin’ group they identify with?

This goes for politics, nationalism, race, religion, and yes, even a silly flag-waving protest. And counter-protest.

The crowd, my friends, is the gathering place of the weakest. There’s no truth there, no honesty, no integrity. You’ll only find such things in the individual; if, of course, they haven’t sold their soul to the multitudes of like-minded nincompoops.