Tag Archives: Philosophy

Silent Thunder

I remember that we would get together, during the long warm or hot summer’s afternoon to listen to the rain.  It seems in my memory that this happened many times, everyday.  This could just be an illusion of memory.  It likes those type of jokes as it has a sense of humor all its own.

It would be with the first rumble of distant thunder, the skies just beginning to change to that soft grey.  We would gather on the front porch on a side street near the downtown each of us taking one of the many chairs trying to find the spot we thought would best keep us dry.  Dad would have his highball glass freshly filled with bourbon and water poured over an excess of ice and the remains of a long cold cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth.  On occasion these storms could be a bit hostile.  The thunder grew loud and angry either coughing racking cracks, loud or some times rolling like falling bowling pins.  The pale grey could get dark as though a blanket had been pulled over the sky.  It never got like night but it did sometimes turn to a slate grey green.

The wind would whip passed us and we would only leave the porch if it was impossible to stay some what dry, a little wet was to be expected.

When the sky was at its darkest on these summer afternoons would be the time that the lightening would show itself most brightly flashing wildly.  I know that the loud thunder and bright electric gripped me hard with cold tingling fear,  I don’t know about my brothers or mother.  What chatter there was between us would cease when those explosions of thunder occurred around the bright flashes of lightening.  Dad would laugh.  Maybe fear grabbed him too and laughter was just his way of dealing with it.

It was a summer tradition.

In time I would laugh too, when the fear that accompanied nature’s fireworks was at it worst.  This type of weather is like scotch, an acquired taste.  My memory shows me and tells me that both my brothers, brother number four was still a life time away, would laugh as well, the youngest being the last to begin the practice.

In time the laughter faded and we just sat, immersed in the moment.

Over time soda pop became beer and brother and I added tobacco, all at a legal age.  Mom fades from the picture in my head as well as the youngest brother.  We just sat in silence during those summer storms, in the moment until I had become to busy and I fade from the picture as well.

I don’t know how often mom joined us for those events or even the youngest brother but that may have nothing to do with the actual event.  It could be a trick of memory.  Maybe my mothers death back in 1988 at the age of 49 changed the way of where and when I remember her.  Youngest brother ceased any real participation in my life back in the early 1990s.  It could be the same type of phenomena.  It might be that the whole family gathered on that big front porch covered with a thick sturdy roof to watch the summer storms often and the events after the fact changed the way I remembered this.

I’ve noticed over the years, Meta and I had talked about it, that memory is quite strange.  Sometimes I see myself in my own memories, sometimes I do not.  Stranger yet I see the memory from strange angles, like a corner near the ceiling of the room of the event that I am remembering takes place.

The recollections of those summer storms seems like they came from a whole other life time.  My Mom would die a few years after these memories and my mental collapse came on the heels of that particular event, no big surprise in retrospect.  So when I look back from now I am not the same person as I was when the event I am recalling takes place.

Remembering is the the act of taking the pieces of a thing that has been dismembered and trying to put it back together.  That definition comes from the back of the cassette This Winters Night by the neopagan music group, MOTHER”S TONGUE.  Whenever I think about this I get the feeling that the thing dismembered has lost an indeterminate number of pieces.  That the reassembly is a difficult task.

I have spent time in my own memory making serious effort to avoid blame shifting and just trying to understand what’s has happened and why.  It is a task that will never be completed as memory is an imperfect thing.

Rather than remembering the dismembered it strikes me that memory is more like echos from some type of alien environment.  They are mix of known and unknowable some times in a language we recognize and sometimes in a tongue foreign to our ear and under the worst of circumstances a series of sounds not recognizable as a language at all.

Trying to remember anything with any form of relative accuracy is extremely difficult when I find my mind awash in hot sharp emotion.  It is possible to learn from such a thing and I have learned one important idea.

You can never know what is in the mind or heart of another person.

Its best not to assume otherwise.

 

Now just One Minute

I remember, when I was a bit younger, hearing that the life of a butterfly, once freed from the prison of its cocoon, lived for only a day.  I’m not sure how true that is as the Monarch Butterfly lives for six months, if memory serves.  Even if it is rarely true it is still an interesting fact.  I always wondered if that single day of life felt like a single day to the flutterby?  Does it feel as short as it sounds?

When I was about the age of 10 years I was struck by a strange near fatal illness.  I have always been under the impression that it was diphtheria, but I don’t know that as fact.  When I think about the butterfly flutteringby for its single day I wonder how long that passing day seems to the little critter.   I wonder if the butterfly can even conceive of the notion of time much less one as complicated as ours.  I wonder what it would be like for a lifetime to be such that the first half occurred in the light and the second half in the dark.  There is a point to this, I think.

We humans are quite curious in the way we understand our world.  Appointments, work schedules, bank accounts, credit cards, maps and countries are just a few numbers we use in almost every moment of our existence.  Nations, distance between cities and the diameter of our little planet and even the date of our birth and death are other numbers we use often.  Complicated ideas like force and velocity are also based on these strange numbers.  Weight, which is the effect of gravity on mass, length, height and time allow us as intelligent beings to develop an understanding of our reality.  These things, weight, length, time are metrics or units of measure are created by we humans and we accept them for the sake of simplicity.  They do not exist on their own in nature, there is a tree that grows yard sticks, meters, kilogram measures or seconds.  In my experience that is where the weirdness begins.

I don’t feel the passage of time naturally.  A clock does it for me but with out one I have no sense of time what so ever, unless I am smoking, tobacco.  Yes, I know it is bad for me.  Its been like that since my breakdown.  Maybe it was different in the respect of feeling times passage pre-breakdown but I have no point of reference, after all it was a long time ago.

I know this sounds crazy.

Really it came home to me after my fathers passing, when the ancient photos of a life so foreign to me came  back out into the world.  I knew the people in the photographs and yet I didn’t know them.  They were like a glimpse into a world that never existed even though I was pretty sure they had.

Over these many years with my strange occasional bouts of melancholy as though something had been lost, a thing that could never be regained, I found myself wondering as to the very nature of that thing.  After The old man’s death, when I became the old man, that sense had become exquisite ad sweet like some exotic food or strained alien mental sensation.

I wondered if I too was dead.

Would I know if I were?

Have my last many years of life been like that of the butterfly, just a day or a few hours as death was in the process of taking me?  I don’t think I would know the difference.  We have such definite ideas about the world but all of them are based on the measurement of our perceptions.

I find my self perplexed by the idea that these many years may be nothing more than phantasms of my dying brain.  My wife and friends and all these efforts to express my thoughts and even my brothers all figments of a sequence of neurons firing in those last few minutes while I lay in a hospital at the age of ten dying.

Does any of this really matter?

I think not.

Look for your Muse.  Only she can be your guide.

Intangible

Tangibility is the key

give it a number

weigh it

measure it

run some electric through it

Does it react?

Misbehave?

Get angry?

The Intangible carries no weight

An assembly of numbers

is still responisible

somehow

as though

The subtle might have a say

Even though it is not

This is

We are

That is an uncomfortable question

Equality under the Law

It is a phrase that we hear from time to time, depending on what we read, watch or listen to, that no one is above the law.  The law that is being discussed is either civil or criminal law, it is the law of and for citizens.  Every country, just about, has these laws on both a national and local level.  In my watching, listening and reading experience, when this phrase is used, no one is above the law, it is in the political arena.  It becomes apparent in the debate that this term is commonly applied to our political leadership and or our captains of industry.  For instance, the term war criminal gets bandied about one political or corporate leader here or there.  Kissinger, George W Bush, Barack Obama and soon, I am sure, Donald Trump will all stand accused of one crime or another the most interesting being a War Criminal.   Who is accused is largely partisan although there are some dissident voices from both extremes, left and right who seem to apply the term with an even hand.  There is a problem though, with the term, as it has little to do with civil or criminal law.  It deals with the laws of and between Nations, International Law.

This is where the weird and illuminating difficulty lies hiding.  There is the same problem with in International Law that there is with in national law.  That problem is that some nations are above the law and others under it lay.  It is evident that great nations or powers benefit from the laws of nations while weaker nations or states find that they are bound by these laws.  This becomes most apparent with respect to War Crimes. The side that wins the war, the most powerful, in American vernacular the winners, have never be tried for war crimes, they will never be seriously accused, in effect war crimes and the laws that define them do not apply.  In other words, regardless of lofty rhetoric War Crimes are exactly that, words designed to get a response and nothing more.  These Crimes are for the Losers, also a term common in American phraseology.

This may seem cold at first but there is a point.  While good citizen’s of the United States worry over serial killers and wax rabid about the crimes of great corporations horrendous things, criminal actions are being undertaken in our name.  At the very least that is how the victims of these actions see it.  The United States is not alone hear, it is in interesting company to say the least.  China, Russia and a couple of key members of that group of nations collectively known as the west, principally England and France.  Notice that The United States, Russia, China, England and France all have one thing in common, they are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.  Nothing passes with out their agreement, each has the ability to veto any measure the general assembly tries to pass and none of these nations has ever had to have any of its leaders, civilian or military face the charge of War crimes with the possible exception of France.  Instead they prefer the charge of treason.

Why am I talking about this?

We talk about peak oil, terrorism, global warming, nuclear war and other threats to our liberty and our lives.  The system, even the internet system, has away of putting our fears and problems on another level like a land separate or better yet a distant planet.  The secrecy that national security requires and our own elite notions of ourselves as a nation has put us in an unusual position.  We have faced the abyss and closed our eyes instead of taking the leap, letting our own eye wander inwards to survey our own inner world not only as individuals but as a people.  We as a people, I am beginning to believe that this a problem that effects all of humanity, have been put to the test and found lacking.  We are Morally corrupt and have no grasp of ethics while at the same time, we are sitting on a pile of the most destructive weapons ever conceived in written history.  Nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons that until now were unimaginable in the hands of corrupt, confused or simply stupid politicians leading a populations dazzled by bright lights and shiny things or lost in the shadows.  People worry about global warming or rising opiod addiction as the war drums begin to bang and sabers rattle.  The idea of War Crimes like the death penalty, is as a deterrent to violent acts of aggression.  If a person or group of people are above this law then they have no consequences to worry them.

That’s real power, the lack of consequences.  So when the Trump haters and the Trump lovers are dukeing it out in the street and as the war over what words are legal and which are not continue just try and keep that in the back of your mind.  The current President is the type of leader that can find himself trapped in his own rhetoric and then boom.

It won’t be the end, just major set back with lots of pain all around.

That is the thing about Power.  It isn’t the wealth, the admiration of the masses, all the free or cheap stuff, the comfort, multitudes of people to boss around, markets to establish, resources to exploit or the access to the worlds best medical care, it is the absence of consequences.  Real power can kill and rape on a scale that would make Ted Bundy or Charles Manson’s eyes turn green with envy.  Like the old saying goes, Kill one man and you are a murder, kill a million and you are a conqueror.  That is the problem with power.  That is why so many desire it and why it will be our undoing.

We are entering an interesting time.  I can only offer this advice, mostly to myself.  When the abyss finally opens at my, our, feet don’t close your eyes and I won’t close mine either.  Always give those you love a hug. Finally always try and remember that you are blessed.

Have a better than average day.