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writing for godot

The Source

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Written by Beth Carter   
Sunday, 30 October 2011 08:27
Peace has become coordinated violence instead of contentment. There may yet be people in the world of humble status who can still step beyond the war of nerves that plagues the poor, the war of genders that colors human interaction, the war between commerce and compassion, and the war between intellect and intuition to experience the tranquility available to all yet explored by so few. Peace has been given a bad rap as an empty shell, an unrealized goal, a fairytale classic. Commerce uses the real meaning as an advertising tool (the carrot) to entice customers (donkeys) to drive the national economic vehicle. The results of such movement remains a mystery to the beast of burden by and large. To place the burden upon the correct shoulders is to become aware that the numerous products and services hawked in the market place, virtual or otherwise, can at the most bring only a respite from the gnawing, clawing dissatisfaction with ourselves. We project this dissatisfaction upon the world at large, even unto the edges of the Universe and Life as a whole. Consequently, we are desperate to have a good time. I submit that what we truly seek is internal happiness, a non-complacent contentment which is often referred to as peace. We must nurture peace within ourselves—our expectations, our disappointments, our desires, our goals, our appetites, our dissatisfactions, our restlessness, and in the end our chosen attitudes and their effect upon daily experience. We must even come to terms with our own growth rate or lack thereof. To do so, we must develop an appreciation for phases in life—growth spurts, die-back, cut-back, transplantation, reinvention, and failure. Life is a process, ever in flux. Denial of this as fact, directly or indirectly, is to increase delusion, neurosis, and dissatisfaction to a level of destructive critical mass. This, too, is to be appreciated as part of the uncontrived process of living. Each moment extends an opportunity. Our attitude can enhance enrichment or impoverishment of our reality. It is up to us. Products and services can assist us in building a bridge, but are incapable of swimming to avoid immersion for us. Bridges can be destroyed while reading the river and learning to swim are developed skills.

Advertisement has followed a trend belittling developed trades and craftsmanship, instead championing leisure and excess thereby creating a chasm between aspiration and advancement, the trail being entirely hidden from view. Established trails are best-kept secrets and new trail heads created by intrepid (often outright lucky) explorers are quickly concealed or blocked by controlling interests. However, be aware that those who benefit from this chasm and their guarantors suffer their fortunate circumstances in as much as the disinherited suffer their unfortunate circumstances. How can one possibly compare physical starvation to mental distress? Both induce trauma that can translate into compulsive behavior after the fact. Both can be used as forms of torture. Both describe an extreme. Both have effects upon the mind and the body which result from a spiritual deficiency, a lack of peace within oneself. To have everything at a whim lacks the essential understanding of Life just as much as lying utterly drunk on a street corner. This is being said to balance the view since the external expressions of this spiritual obliviousness are so stark as to be coarse, riding rough shod to overly convenient conclusions. It is actually more difficult to let go when one has seemingly unlimited access than when one has little with which to start. It is still the attitude which is the seat of spiritual growth and realization which thereby develops depth and mature meaning to life. Even a person who has nothing can develop excessive craving for the trappings of success, the superstition that outward material gain is the exact equivalent to internal honor, ethical behavior, and moral standing.

What is so rarely recognized is the equal desire of the affluent to be treated as simply a person, not a rep for Fort Knox. Before continuing, it is easy to hear the chorus of voices loudly proclaiming enjoyment of the sycophantic gymnastics of the blatant and the overeager. What must be stated is that this chorus relishes the illusion. They have yet to discover (or selectively ignore) the ceiling above them nor the disparity between external gain and the internal burgeoning. Once these are discovered, it will become a truth cloaked in deceit and treachery as it puts a lie to all once held sacrosanct; the illusion will definitely fail and disappoint one day, slowly, inexorably. Embitterment and hateful sentiments overcome the intellect and emotions careening the affluent upon the rocks of their own incomplete understandings, regardless of power. The materialist may find himself bored with luxuries though he may flaunt such in the face of more modest or humble people. Soured and venomous, the individual may go about pestering the materially less fortunate in effort to prove his power over Life in the face of evidence to the contrary. This one becomes prejudicial against all—the classic Scrooge. He is a tortured spirit with influence and resources, products and services at beck and call, yet the meaning of his own life remains obscure. Mistaking obliviousness to the answer to be the answer, he lives to administer his poison upon the entirety of the outer world. This is a kid locked in a candy store, looking for spiritual nutrition in the gorgeous confections that exist in absence of it. The children outside, however, are far more healthy than the one within, who becomes addicted to manipulating others lacking understanding of his own personal situation. Lacking gratitude, he is a caged bird eating the crumbs of longing, jealousy, ignorance, spite and hatred of the “unprotected” outside world using borrowed power to deny his helplessness. Little do these others realize how lonely is this one, how bored, how trapped, how smothered, how unfulfilled. It is only our desire for what he seems to have that gives his life any depth, so he takes the essentials for himself and those like him—clean water, healthy food, warm, well-made clothes, quality shoes, abundant housing, appropriate healthcare, etc. He uses his influence to wage the war of nerves upon the disinherited, the uneducated, and the unwitting seduced by the pastries and confections. This child grows into the adult shop owner. The affluent are trapped even more so than the street kid out in the weather, who might actually recognize a truly helping hand, risking the chance to change his mind, his life, and his world. The affluent will always doubt motivations, if only for a microsecond, or seek to entrap he who offers genuine help. Since the affluent are aware of the illusion seducing the poor, they look for illusions in everything, disbelieving that anything genuine could escape their notice or influence. Every now and then, a person sees into their real condition, looking passed the turkish delights into the ostentatious vacuum of their lives. Compassion shining from clear eyes is often met with raging fear sometimes expressed as hatred. This one who displays compassion must be discredited or absorbed before others can see the same for themselves. Inadvertently, the compassionate may fall prey to the one he wishes to free; the depth of awareness is a threat to the familiar way of life, no matter how uncomfortable or unfulfilled that may be. The affluent perceive a method of controlling Life through enforcing the veracity of the illusion, a trickster insisting it's magic, not sleight-of-hand, spiritual power, not pretense. If by chance someone in the candy store wants to be free, recognizing the genuine possibility of a way to change his life, friends and family may step in the way, trip him up, enmesh and entangle, even murder the one holding open the cage door. The illusion is upheld at all times, bar none. It is their only means of convincing themselves that control over Life is possible by creating market demand. Deception is advertised as trend or fashion even as circumstances are in development to make the demand actual. By creating limitation, novelty, and exclusivity high profits and intense market interest are ensure, the cycle continues.

What about the other pressing his nose against the glass? Are his troubles such common knowledge, engraved so thoroughly in public consciousness, that it is repeated by rote? Yes, it may be repeated, but it is as of yet misunderstood, misrepresented. Most of what can be repeated is about the severely destitute, but precious little has really been said about the descent into such destitution. Let's consider the working class, some of whom may truly be considered mid to low level middle class, the working poor. Competition to shape the hearts and minds of this demographic is thick—religion, law enforcement, social services, public schools, commercial interests, military, internet, television, radio, casinos, cons, ponzi schemes, identity theft, the crime underworld, self-help seminars, twelve step programs, etc. The catch-all vehicle of oppressive exclusion is always in the shape of money, the shape of one's bank account if you have one, or if not the shape of the security of your wallet. The Catch 22 these days is that a person is rejected a bank account without an address (a P.O. Box is unacceptable), and an address is unattainable without a bank account. Reportedly, the snake eating its tail is meant to keep us all decent, law-abiding citizens. (Hee Haw! Hee Haw!) For some with their noses oiling the picture window glass, licking the transparent surface is as close as they'll come if they choose to remain decent, law-abiding citizens. With the guaranteed and the guarantors working to freeze this demographic into perpetual security that is insecure, the consistent tension and stress wear on the mind and the body. This is the war of nerves as designated by Howard Thurman in his book, Jesus and The Disinherited. A joint venture in an automobile factory between GM and Toyota, another aspect of the war of nerves is uncovered. Internationally, American management has cast aspersions upon the American working depicting him as lazy, recalcitrant, and spoiled, sidestepping the history of abuse which gave rise to unions in the first place, grandstanding on the workers' shoulders that American management prowess spurred the economic supremacy ensuring American global power. The visiting Japanese team shifted the traditional focus from quantity to quality. They asked questions of the employees, even using suggestions and advice to streamline the overall system as well as tool creation to enhance efficiency. This factory was kept off the public radar, closed before the benefits could be realized on a larger level. In truth, the history of the American work ethic has always been strong, durable, and inventive, ingenious even. It is only in the past few decades that the trash talk has done damage to the psyche of the working class. People of color still suffer the double iniquity of class and racial prejudice. Some are out to get the American dream by hook or by crook, which fits quite well into the superstition of acquisition. The affluent weave two types of noose, one gold and one pyrite. The gold is for those who champion the accepted system. The pyrite is for the bold underclass, given token respect and trust until such time as the individual wears out his worth and/or welcome. Since the crook-cum-kingpin dances on a high wire to begin with, one good shake will do the trick for the noose to serve its purpose. The illusion is again fortified by the repeated supposition that the affluent are envied inexplicably. The ruffian thought himself worthy, arrogantly seizing what he did not and would never earn of his own effort. The amount of teasing and seduction in advertisement is overlooked conveniently. The iron hold over lifestyle options is merciless and subrosa. The barrage of opinion polls and scientific studies first posit one conclusion to be refuted by another a week or so later. By turns is a threat and an enticement. It is enough to make one dizzy, so how does one identify the basic ground of decency in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of dizzy people before one simply falls down insensible? Falling down often means getting trampled by justice—other people trying to figure out how to stop the world from spinning. The illusion of control over Life is yet again invoked, but this time as a security blanket infested with small pox or influenza. The regular everyday Joe and Jill has the implied reprimand of the crook-cum-kingpin's cautionary tale applied to them personally by association of race, location, demographic, relation, or any other convenient excuse. Whatever will strengthen the illusion will be utilized.

There is a Joe and a Jill who will enforce the illusion themselves, actively. Maybe it is believed to be realistic, honest. Maybe it serves the purpose to destroy hope in avoidance of crushing disappointment. Maybe it is disbelieved that change of such magnitude cannot happen since they know of no one who has achieved it. Stories of other people in other parts of the world are just fiction, marginalized with any convenient excuse. The cynicism robs them of a genuine moment of change. It is too much to hope, too much to wait, too much effort, too much. They refuse to approach the starting gate for fear of failure. Helplessness has been embraced. Self-respect and self-worth are mirages in the desert of bland, shapeless, shifting, meaningless Life. There is no beingness, just an nihilistic, caustic view, waiting for death on baited breath. Decency is a fantasy for the gullible and naïve. This attitude is of resigned defeat, caviar for the embittered. Cited here are just a handful of myriad attitudes in effort to make sense of Life. The illusion leaves the disadvantaged to revisit this phenomena like waves breaking on the shore. The guarantor's position is influential only as long as the status quo is maintained. The guaranteed are secure as long as the illusion is continually reinforced and reaffirmed.

It is standard operating procedure to set out these extreme positions to delineate a kind of radius or sphere. However, we must also consider the middle, the moderate position, which believes that common decency and dignity are innate in humanity, that they enhance and inform Life. It is believed that Truth will prevail in the end, no matter how long it takes for that end to come. Boundaries encompassing acceptable behavior must be set and upheld. Confusion exists and much remains unknown. The present moment is primary, and the best foot is always put forward. Often, he is a donkey, confounded by the illusion mostly by his own incomprehension of said extremes. He is played and preyed upon, but his own relationship with himself is first and foremost. All else runs a distant second though he often seeks to keep his head in the clouds to avoid anger and sadness. He strongly dislikes being manipulated and resists even a hint of it, yet subtle illusions get the better of him frequently. His attitude is that each day holds a promise, each moment a gift. His mood fluctuates, but by and large he is a happy character, envied by many for what comes so natural—appreciation and gratitude for the Life he lives. Money comes and goes. Possessions come and go. People are so diverse as to be fantastic. The world is beautiful, each sensation and season has its' worth. He embraces nature, and It embraces him. Life is a marvelous adventure and he is childlike within it albeit a conscientious one. In actuality, he is the most influential spiritually because of his ability to adapt and change. It is his flexibility in thought and deed that make him formidable. This is the real treasure which others seek to diminish, destroy, or deny him.

However, for some responsible, conscientious, open hearted people clouds within which to hide are as scarce as willow trees in the Sahara. Days are spent in quiet wonder as exuberance attracts too much attention. Attention is avoided since it is often coupled with the incontestable threat of violence, overt and covert. In between moments of silent solace in Nature is the sense of helplessness and isolation, but with clear, abiding awareness that all material things come to an end. Patient endurance is required and must be rediscovered like the waxing moon. Societal edicts from all corners insist on the accepted picture of decent social structure and the individual's role within it, yet his life is anything but the picture with which he is presented. He would protest the blatant disregard of his experience, but no one is listening. Everyone else is apathetic. He may develop a sixth sense of others' intention and motives. Survival occasionally strips of him of his personhood while his oppressors act with impunity and are given immunity by a mutually tacit sanction with the controllers of the environment. Self-loathing comes into play, but this, too, is an illusory weapon imposed upon the individual to reek internal damage which is its' sole purpose. A genuinely humble person will repel humiliation like oils repel water, cedar repels insects. The humble person may be considered a betrayer since he is forced to tow the mark and is thereby perceived to capitulate and mildly imitate his oppressors, yet this one understands that others' opinions are needless beyond his own. The insults and humiliations only matter if he believes in them, if he allows external forces to shape his own opinion of himself and his life. Regardless of how close to the heart another may be, it is our own view of ourselves, even in relation to others, which makes or breaks us as individuals, yet he is stuck in the middle. Confusion and depression can get the better of him. His fellows know he is different and belittle him for his seeming acquiescence. His oppressors know he is different because he is somehow resilient, unbroken. Pressure to take sides increases. Though the challenge may be monstrous at times, a well-placed stone can eliminate the most insidious and threatening of obstacles. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The more incendiary they are, the faster they burn out. The point is he lets others have their opinions without attempting to sway them through persuasion or debate. What matters is his own view. Even though others act out their opinions creating difficulty, our attitude can keep us buoyant, resilient, and spirited. When we lose our flexibility, the rigidity arising from resistance, anger, fear, and resentment is what breaks us. If we know who and what we are from the inside out, sleight-of-hand will be incapable of turning us from it. Lies are summarily rejected regardless of proof because experience will always trump opinion, no matter how well-informed or educated. Let people think what they want. They will anyway. The truth, which is consistent and constant, will be evident over time. However, there are some who would read the above to mean that one's own opinion can be of any form, of any character, real or imagined. One simply must pick a story and stick to it. This is far from the exact meaning. True humbleness comes from the tried and tested truth, actuality not mere perception. It is the awareness rooted in the truth of oneself, one's own practical life as well as the commonality, the sameness, in all Life, human or otherwise. Our cerebral cortex allows us to choose attitudes and behaviors, but cannot exempt us from requiring food, water, and shelter from inclement weather. Some use this commonality with insects and animals as rationalization to vent debauchery, seeking to avoid responsibility and satiate undue pleasures which extend to every part of the environment—city, rural, or wild. Much has been and can be said about why this is and must continue to be standard procedure. Perceived need, actual need, and candy-coatings quite often are entangled by the dubious and the unscrupulous seeking undue pleasures. Some derive very little pleasure from the result since the challenge is the addiction, the illusion of controlling Life itself, becoming a universal power, a force to be reckoned with or ignored at one's peril. This is the attempt to shout down reality, to change the subject and engage distraction. It is delusional. The point to all of this is that the wealthy can be some of the most discontented, disconnected people breathing. It is spiritual impoverishment in preference of display audacious material wealth.

In these years that question everything and logic is turned in on itself to become a weapon of obfuscation instead of clarity, we must determine for ourselves what is true. This is achieved not through logic but inner silence. Truth is not just common sense fitting like jigsaw pieces. It is knowing deep within yourself when something necessary is missing or is added incorrectly. It is a sense about others and yourself, an eye toward the universal as well as the detail of each stepped decision. The center driving force is the choice to care or not to care. Do we choose to be concerned about those we have not met, with whom we do not share extraneous interests? Numerous are the excuses to avoid responsibility. Blatant are the divisive results of the scurvy manipulative masturbation, yet those who suffer it most have no voice, no way to be a force for change to balance out the iniquity. Where does this iniquity start? It begins with dissatisfaction, a mirage, a siren song that overwhelms us, carrying us to destruction. The wealthy and the impoverished paddle the same boat down a raging, white water river even as they play out the bully/victim dynamic. What is operating the addiction then? Can it be accurately named for both of these seemingly diametrically opposed groups? However it is said, someone will disagree if only out of sheer rebellion or denial. But can we get close to it? Is it a matter of perceived significance? One overestimates while the other underestimates? One displays a type of laziness rationalized in self-doubt while the other is frantic frenetic rationalized in self-cherishing? Answers are generally in between the extremes, each holding only a third of the whole truth. The final third, the part discovered only in the silence of internal non-dialogue, is the functional truth, that which gives passage through the impasse. This is a truth beyond liking or disliking. It is beyond opinion, explanation, perception or preference, all of which can be manipulated. Logic is incapable of intuition since its' basis is fact, which is based upon concluded events. This begs the question: Does intuition exist? Some would say yes. Some would say no. Some say it is part of the natural makeup of a human being, innate from the start. Some would say it is a popular fallacy, a scam to use on the gullible and the naïve. Where would the middle be in this argument? Sometimes yes, sometimes no?

For me, intuition is innate, often polluted, sometimes at a very early age. It can be twisted by neuroses, coated by inaccurate opinions, and even hindered by opportunistic circumstances. Methods to rectify these situations, to realign, purify, and recover intuitive capacity are rare. Most techniques are guesstimates as our understanding of the dynamic between thought, emotion, and physical stimuli is incomplete and thus inaccurate. With experts and pundits expounding educated opinion based on incomplete information, we will be unable to break stasis as our thinking, our view of the matter is too narrow. Where do we look to find living examples of such knowledge? We could naturally turn to ancient Asia, some of whose accomplishments in this regard are not fiction thought they are fantastic. Science has been intrigued by the control certain individuals with great depth of understanding can exert over their physical forms. However, those who fund such research (increasingly established business interests) stay away from such topics as the control displayed is intimate with what is labeled religious doctrine. Other religions displaying no such degree of understanding turn their congregations away from such individuals through vilification, distraction, exclusivity, or overt threat. The result of which is a tweeked out, neurotic, disturbed, easily manipulated public with no discernment of direction other than following a prescribed course—following the carrot.

The silence of non-dialogue is inner woven with a willing openness, waiting in attentive acceptance, a profound and genuinely honest introspection that is undaunted by time, effort, or concentration. To quote Howard Thurman in Jesus and The Disinherited, we must recognize, “fully that out of the heart are the issues of life and that no external force, however great and overwhelming, can at long last destroy a people if it does not first win the victory of the spirit against them. 'To revile because one has been reviled—this is the real evil because it is evil of the soul itself.' . . .Again and again, [we come] back to the inner life of the individual.” We must recognize, “the 'inward center' as the crucial arena where the issues would determine the destiny,” of any peoples (pg. 20, 3 paragraph). “What must be the attitude toward rulers, the controllers of political, social, and economic life? . . .Until [we have] faced and settled that question, we cannot inform [the] environment with reference to [our] own life, whatever may be his preparation or his pretensions (pg. 22, 3 para.).”

People are often saying how the Occupy Movements just appeared out of nowhere, how surprising (happily or otherwise) it is, how new and present the issues are. How false this thinking is! The uber long-stymied cause of regular humble people desiring to be free to live their lives developed into the effect of the creation of the United States. It's imperfect creation developed the need for the Bill of Rights, the Civil War, the general strikes of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement, the Gay Pride Movement, and the World Trade Organization protests which all gave birth to the Occupy Movement because these issues remain. These unresolved human rights issues are old hat, ages old. It is this reason that I quote Howard Thurman. His words, relied upon by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. daily, are less well-known but are so timeless as to bear scrutiny and repetition. Even if one is of a different religious faith, this book is invaluable, priceless, in its clear discussion with regard to social justice.

Caring about others is emotionally expensive, but well worth the investment of time, attention, effort, and patience. Refusing to care about others is even more expensive, a slow rotting that is ruination. Hatred is poison developed by bitterness and betrayal, delivered by sculpted apathy. There is plenty for everyone. We need to stop denying that. We must cease allowing the refusal of some the level of quality of life at which Life can be enjoyed. Enjoyment of the world in a modest way allows for us all to enjoy it—clean water, clean air, abundant Life. We must commit to clean living which disavows the possibility of extraordinary excess for anyone. Christians call it being a child of God, a true steward of this world. Buddhists say that to arrive in the human form each one of us must have accomplished real benefit for another without residual traces of doubt, resentment, worry, or regret at some time in experience. Each religion, monotheistic or not, has the primary tenet of harmlessness. Each works to invest basic automatic responses of goodness, which lead us toward that profoundest kind of fellowship, that supreme moment of human dignity irrespective of any dogma. To do that, we must intentionally, consciously, repeatedly put aside ill will in every form, every word, and every thought. It is an idea whose time has come which requires of us more care and attention than thought necessary. With applied effort and determination the results are such we are unable to speak of it; we have not seen a real genuine attempt from us as an active, committed whole. It's a brave new parallel derived from the same desire we all have, the source of freedom--to love our world and be loved by it.
 

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