Monday, August 28, 2006


I just caught an oblique look at the general texture of my rants, raves and reveries which showed me how much I am able to see why whoever it was said, “Hell is Other People.”
I’d like to discuss two of the infinite ways that statement may be read. Being that a person probably thinks of hell as the worst place imaginable, no matter if it is the pope or a wino with DTs, we may agree that being an imaginary place makes it very personal. The "other people" part, not the whole universe or the quirks of its nature, but other people remind us of the things we have yet to deal with in ourselves as we a struggle to see our way clear of the idiocy of this invention of a bad idea gone wrong called civilization, branded western. All urges to change what we see are urges to control, whether meaning to save itself from a mistake or kill it. The two sides of this slice of life are: whether we sit and examine from whence the urge within us arises and thereby obviate the source and need to exert control over our self or the “other”, or whether we respond with a knee-jerk to our initial urge as if it were a flight or fight situation and try to change the evocative picture.
For me, the world just is. I have the ability to see it any way I want to or anyway someone else wants me to if I want to listen. I don’t spend a lot of time using my imagination to picture the worst place possible. I don’t much care about hell, or heaven. When pumped for information I say something like, “This is heaven brought down to the level of banality by people who treat it like hell,” or “This has to be heaven, in hell you’re not allowed to bitch.” There is only one restriction on my acting according to what I see and hear, the golden rule: Before I treat the world in any manner I consider the effect such treatment would have on me. If I would benefit from such treatment I willingly give it to whomever I meet. If I would resent such treatment I meditate on what knot of bad reasoning concluded that it might be a good idea to be resented, for surely, I would be had I acted. Another breeder of resentment is attempting to exploit the golden rule like a kid being super good before Xmas, as if the world or specific people well treated owe us anything for being a good person. It is a source of the myth about justice.
I really don’t see the need for the multiplicity of laws being churned out as fast as weapons in some war unless they are patches to pave over the pot holes and cracks in culture’s factual fast lane where the grass of all the unexplainable rest grows through and insists that entropy will out.
This is not some misanthropic rant, or religious rave but a return to a discussion of what being an individual involves and how the lack of independent thinking makes otherwise intelligent people flock together in fear of what the shepherd tells us about the wolf, crowding towards the middle of the road hoping to be eaten last. I’m sorry, folks, if you don’t believe what our shepherd and his henchmen tell us, I’m afraid you qualify for their definition of a terrorist. Wake up, god damned it! Quit hiding in the mainstream dream of complacent complicity in intentional atrocities world wide in the name of the neocon definition of security for the freedom of the United Stetsons in America’s way of life (to consume resources as quickly and heedlessly as possible) and the spread of De-mock-crazy and free-for-a-price enterprise (turning the world into the USA so we can find a big Mac anywhere on the planet served up by the beholden original wherever-americans.)
For my first 24 years I was a very obedient, faithful, loyal, spendthrifty, brave, arrogant contributor to the JFK vision of the American Way of Life. I was a star scout, center on the football team, a Marine sergeant (four years of peacetime), mechanical engineering bachelor, and future IBM senior associate engineer and a yuppie before yuppie was cool. In other words, I was snoring away in the dream from which this post is intended to wake you. The sound of six or seven gunshots began to get past the earplugs I wore to bed. When LBJ announced the burial of crucial evidence in Kennedy’s assassination in a 75 year time capsule for “National Security” followed right up by the Warren Commission Report’s impossible single-bullet-causes-three-separate-injuries theory to railroad an ex-CIA patsy all without that missing evidence, the stink of lies began to waft into my complacency and I found myself becoming a little less obedient, faithful, loyal ...It was like a Dali painting I saw once of him as a child, naked, squatting on the beach grasping and lifting up the thinnest edge of a wave that had washed highest on the shore and peeking underneath at all manner of natural impossibilities. I wish I could find it to show here - it came to represent those pieces of experience that will never let you look at something you’d previously taken for granted as true (i.e. mom, apple pie and the great good heart of your government servants) the same way again.
Well, I found the Dali painting finally ...

Not exactly as I remembered it described above, or when I thought I was paying homage to it in a poster I did several years ago.

The next brush with the possibility that the government was dealing under the table was experiencing cannabis, the death dealing, insanity inducing plant demonized by the first drug czar, Harry J. Anslinger, who named it marijuana to further demonize Mexico, the most popular source in 1936. Thirty-four years later, the only thing I have experienced wrong with pot is that you can be put in prison for a long time with a rapist for a roomie for having or smoking a plant that’s never been responsible for the harm or death of anyone.
A few years later I saw my first and second UFOs about a month apart with two different groups of people. For twenty years I considered that I had seen an alien craft, but the questions raised since made me come to realize it may have been of human origin with government black ops at the controls of a back-engneered copy. Curiosity lead me to learn that at the beginning of Eisenhower’s run at running the country he was shown both the crashed UFO and the alien bodies from Roswell. By the end of his term he no longer could find anyone to admit they existed; one of the reasons he warned of the industrial-military complex in his farewell speech. By then I was ready to question all things government.
Then came September eleventh, two thousand and one. I witnessed the freefall collapse of three steel and concrete buildings and heard startled news commentators suggest rigged implosion for such events. Everything issued from the government since that day has stunk so badly it would be impossible for me to return to the mainstream dream.
The town where my family moved to in 1953 has six of the worst smells invented by mankind: paper mill, oil refinery, chemical plant, fish oil factory and a tanning yard. When the wind is just wrong and all these industries are pumping out fumes to the max, no one can go outside. But question any of the residents of Trent Lott’s hometown about their tolerance of such a olfactory atrocity and they excuse it with, “That’s the smell of money, son.” The same can be said of the stinking skullduggery euphemistically called the war on terror.
So, that is the progress of my awakening from the same hypnotic dream from which I am trying to wake my fellow citizens. I don’t want anyone to believe my experiences are any kind of proof to justify their opinions. I want people to actually meditate on their own questions rather than turning over and fluffing up the pillow for that long winter’s nap.
I am well aware of the horror involved in even admitting the possibility of the malicious greed and homicidal indifference of an institution believed to be ones last refuge in troubled times. And, I suppose, pointing out that very horror can be twisted by the Bush babel into me being one of the terrorists. The next big government staged event in the war on terror may cause you never close your eyes again.
Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. — Friedrich Nietzsche

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. — James Madison

Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do..— Virginia Woolf

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.— Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

For men tied fast to the absolute, bled of their differences, drained of their dreams by authoritarian leeches until nothing but pulp is left, become a massive, sick Thing whose sheer weight is used ruthlessly by ambitious men. Here is the real enemy of the people: our own selves dehumanized into "the masses."  And where is the David who can slay this giant?— Lillian Smith

We are David and Goliath is our fear. It’s hand to hand to head combat. May your best side win. Charge.

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch
If there is one overall impression I’ve gotten by surfing this phenomenon called the blogosphere is the way people use their 15 minutes of fame. Here we have before us a way to express ourselves to the entire world, or to the most inane bloggers, a way to gossip amongst friends as if it were a private conference call on a cell phone and consider the rest of the world eavesdropping intruders. With rare exceptions of the needles for which I search, this haystack is bitchin’.
It tends to prove out my theory that language was born as an outlet for personal discomfort, an ex-lax of the mind, so to speak .... ooops. Like the old saw about the little boy taken to be mute until, at the age of nine, he piped up with, “Peas are cold.” When questioned about his long silence, he replied, “Everything’s been alright up to now.”
No matter what the pain, profundity, pettiness, or passion these blogs express they’re all about everybody but the bitcher being the problem. Actually I’ve found a couple bitching just as helplessly about themselves. At least they started looking in the right direction, wrong attitude. The only thing one comes away from these bligging botch sessions with is a picture of the bruises on the blogger with little reliable information about the puncher.
I am not saying there are not real problems in the world, there’s not enough heroin in the world to make me think that. But, unless the blogger approaches it with finding or contributing a solution to a problem affecting everyone, they are just plain bitching and draining energy from visitors and friends no less than the increasingly popular vampires.
Okay, so, unless I have an idea for solution, I’m bitching too. Readers of the other posts in this blog may think I am using the same solution for all problems, and in a way they’re right. But right now I am addressing the part of the blogosphere that bitches. Or more precisely, the part of all bloggers that bitches. The irony of it is, the bitcher pictured above is the closest one can get to finding a solution without grasping it. Separating oneself completely from the objects of perceived problems is a necessary part of the process of self examination that can become a universal solvent. Unless we meditate on the actual feelings of our discomfort, without dwelling on their latest trigger as the thing that must be changed, there may arise recognition of an entire field of triggers for such a feeling and with it deeper wisdom of the changes within ourselves that had heretofore been unconscious reactions born of bad conclusions made in the past. With such wisdom, what had been mere irritated reaction may manifest as tolerance and far more effective action in regards to the entire field of former problems
Our tendency to externalize our discomfort and fix the problem by demanding the world change to please us is the very thing that irritates us about the world when we perceive its demand for change is being foisted on us. Such childish tautology, is the basis of war, murder and all manner of violence. Such a hall of mirrors in which to seek revenge against the man pointing the finger ... that one ... right over ... there.
So, mister smarty pants, how does all this do something about the Bush empire, surely everybody’s problem? Easy. If he reads this blog and recommends it to his friends and they all take it to heart, they will emerge from the meditation and do the right thing: commit suicide. I mean, that seems just as possible a scenario as thinking enough sheep will actually waken to the big scam before they close the corral gates, stand on their hind legs and stampede to freedom from the flocking “shepherd/wolf.”
Otherwise, I’ll keep on living life as independent of the imperialists' effects as I can learn to and blogging my observations along the way.


Pisces Iscariot said...

Hell is (dealing with)other people.

gregrandgar said...

Hell is (dealing with) other people (when we don't want to).

We can keep adding modifiers to this sentiment until it becomes a blog of its own, designed by a committee. Whether it emerges a horse or a camel remains to be seen.

Zatikia said...

All we can do is tell our truths as we see them and live our beliefs.

It is right to recognize certain truths and have them change us.

Anonymous said...

(Hell is believing that) Hell is (dealing with) other people (when we don't want to).

gregrandgar said...

(Hell is believing that) Hell is (dealing with) other people (when we don't want to)(face the Devil in ourselves).

asenath & mark said...

bitchin! wait a minute, are you taking me on a Surfin' Safari(TM)? todd, i don't think the anti-bitching movement will accept you as their poster child. hee hee! but your final point gets back to the same point your last blog got me on: the possibility for the individual to engineer significant and lasting social change, and the relationship between that and "personal growth" (TM). i was in the ocean last week and the waves were doing their ceaseless work pounding the shore. just floating out there watching the pattern of the swells and waiting for the right wave. once in a while, tho, i would get caught in a bad spot and get crushed by a really big one: sent to the bottom, tumbling, scratched and bruised. should i spend all of my time avoiding that one wave? should i not go out into the water at all? should i build a seawall to keep the breakers from tossing me around? the seeming urgency of our own days of doom can be matched in different periods throughout history. the same disgust and dismay about society with which we are filled, the same pessimism and grief must have filled the sages from the period when people started divying up the labor and fighting over real estate. butcher t'eng never sharpens his knife because when he is in the zone the gaps between the bones are infinitely wide. but where does that leave the world (and the cow)? it seems that one path leads to an abolition of morality, the other rages against the (perceived/inevitable?) dying of the light. one might engage (lao tzu) while the other disengages (chuang tzu). a famous wandering mage once said that even the very wise cannot see all ends. for gandhi, all of his social work was a personal spiritual journey. for just a few dollars you can pay a village to meditate and pray for peace. its an intricate web and we are half spider flies both caught and playing in it. last i checked the energy to run this computer came from the endangered extinct biomass slurry under the surface or from deteriorating atomic nuclei. not just is slaughterhouse conveniently hidden miles away, the telecom/defense/snooping satelite is even father. the cosmoanthropic principle, as i feebly understand it, argues that we the human race is headed somewhere and fast. but what is our unconscious collective end? greed, fear and laziness may mold individual lives, but collectively people seem to be trying to do something larger. what? get off the planet? find another civilization? talk to god? become gods? we're in a toboggan screaming downhill with nobody at the reigns. maybe its all just a search for meaning, individually and collectively, some absolute referrent to answer the question, what should we do? as the zep' say: guess i'll just keep ramblin...

gregrandgar said...

So, Asenath & Mark, as if I couldn't tell who sent the last comment,
Was that your addition to Hell is Other People? And where did you want that inserted, sir.
Seriously, folks, er, ... Mark, thanks for saying you were getting back to the "possibility for the individual to engineer significant and lasting social change, and the relationship between that and personal growth." I wasn't really sure what you were getting at before, and the rest of the last comment seemed only to be speaking of impossibilities and doubts. I must point out the order in which you listed the priorities in the quote above. If the individual is trying to manuver social change with personal growth as an out growth, as an afterthought, he's got the cart before the horse, he's tryin' t'push the chain. He's just another frustrated revolutionary immortalized by the Who, I Won't Get Fooled Again". The chain operates in harmony with nature when concepts of collective consciouness are the result of gains in personal wisdom through honest, meditative evaluations of ones own personal morality in the light of how one cares to be treated, rather than having an idea of "engineering" any social change in reaction to discomfort. I am advocating a revelation, not a revolution. And as Stephen Gaskin said of the Age of Aquarius, "the last millennium gave us Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed as avatars for a whole new paradigm in the evolution of humanity. This time, what we should have learned is to be our own avatars." You, yourself that just seeing enlightened people seems to awaken the best in you. The individual link in the chain acts best in attraction, worst in repulsion.
I am glad you keep being brought back to the same question. One day, if you keep on asking it, it may no longer require an answer and the question may seem irrelevant. Or not! I know nothing. I feel like I have pretty good communication with a wisdom a lot older than this body located nowhere, and that's how I interpret what I feel with the words I use.

gregrandgar said...

Shankarachara grasped it best with his metaphor of covering the earth with leather or wearing ones own shoes.

furtherleft said...

Now, Rabbit and the Turtle,

Had a race one day,

Rabbit though he had it won,

Any old way,

So he laid down,

And went to sleep,

And when he woke up,

He found that Turtle had him beat.

You know life is a gamble,

People come rain or come shine,

You got to keep on a betting,

And you're bound to win some time.

So I'll keep reading you,

The things that you do,

But you got to remember,

To keep reading me too.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest
There is no right
Nor wrong
Only intentions
That may further life
Or death.
The earth’s suffering
And that of any being in it
Is my own.
To not know this
Is to look without seeing,
Speak without thinking,
And hear without listening.
I, beloved, stand,
In the middle
Of those other people,
That angry mob!
If I move,
I must admit,
I am among them.
If I don’t,
I must admit
And so I thrash,
You watch me thrash,
And so I spin,
You watch me spin,
And so I will fall
and stand and fall
and stand again
I am dancing
in the middle,
I am the mob,
and the mob
is me.