Tag Archives: Philosophy

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

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A Voice Among Many

I have to get my head on straight this month. ~ Corvidae

________

John Smith. It couldn’t get much more unoriginal than that. It wasn’t even a Smythe to add a curve ball to the name game. “This is terrible; I’m a nobody,” he thought as he opened the unassuming aluminum-framed, glass door of the coffee shop. “All I want is to be heard. Nothing much, just to get an answer out of someone.”

The ragged journal at his side posed as a message in a bottle. Cradled in his hand, the worn diary was much more a friend than any flesh or blood. Its scratching, doodles, and loose leaves from other sources gave the appearance of a drunk hoisted from bed. It was his life away from menial work which kept him off the street.

Personal demons that poke and laugh made a merry ring around his existence, completely camouflaged under a sensible wardrobe. Dressing the part is an easier path in life, as experience explains. The polite exchange over the counter masked his deep-seated longing to be bold, to feel something. Alas, any quirks are quickly regarded as threat anymore. Irreconcilable male emotions seek the weak spots in the moral battlements of human control. Probing, testing, always questioning the strength of its material and will of its garrison. Passion is a crime, crimes of passion. People seek meaning in violence, which is cremated in the flames of righteousness. Two wrongs that make a right with horseshoes and hand grenades. He wanted to grab her by the shoulders and kiss her like an apocalypse, but that is taboo anymore.

He kept it level, his heart tying forget-me knots with a swirl of a spoon. Freedom isn’t really free, but not in the way it’s often delivered, especially when society doesn’t look beyond themselves.

The pockmarks and stains on the corner table spoke of all walks of life. A tracker could instantly follow the personalities which once graced the table: the slob, the vandal, the klutz. It’s probably a good thing humans aren’t acceptable game. They’d be the 21st century dodo.

The tattered book covered these from view, and once more John plied graphite to wood pulp creating humanity. Lovers, haters, ships, trains, philosophies, opinions, emotions, logic, light, darkness, pride, and despair developed on the canvas of paper. All of it a symphony for the conductor.

Had he not dropped his mechanical pencil, his life might not be any different from his drink order, but the focus was now on the world around him. At first, he thought his eyes might be suffering from some malady or allergy, as the neatly sorted, used paperbacks slid slightly on oiled wood. The oil then grew on the books themselves.

Peering at this newly discovered substance, John became the cat and lightly tapped the binding to test its physical properties. Peculiar protoplasm it was with light pulses to suggest organic origins. “What is this… goo?” He began to rub the substance between his fingers and thumb. To give it contact was to give Dr. Frankenstein lightning.

“Read me,” slid through his ears as a whisper of confession.

“What?”

“Read me, please?” Sadness implored.

“Who said that?” John was skeptical yet coy, a defensive mechanism for those scared to death of being committed.  Undeniably, it was the heart and soul of the author, speaking to him. They were him, and he they, all together in one giant cell. Despair fell to the pit of his stomach and he rested for a moment on the casing behind him.

He could see them all, penning away in their space making what seems like a desperate attempt to find form in the script. No castaway could envision this archipelago from the shoreline. Worse yet, the flow increased. Books from all sections of the shop were seeping with gelatinous ooze. More and more slide down the spine of the novels, relentlessly filling up the floor with murmur and misery. John tiptoed around the pool in a fright.

“Oh God… Oh God! Oh God, oh God, oh God,” he tried to keep himself quiet. This was starting to draw the attention of others. A man pressing himself up against a bookcase in defense of invisible vermin. It’s not something one sees everyday. An overwhelming anxiety washed over him as the history section coughed up distant centuries. The mists of time were but a sneeze on his glasses, and not a Kleenex in sight. He moved ever more quickly to the exit with his coat and journal in hand.  A sprint gave him access to the door and he never looked back. At his house, the locks bolted firmly into place as he rested his back from fatigue.

Why did this just happen? He had been around books for as long as he could remember, but this was definitely the first time he experienced this. “Maybe I don’t want to be published? Maybe this is all wrong? Maybe I’m all wrong?” His eyes found their way to the haphazard journal opened randomly to a piece written six months prior. It was a story of his dead mother, and his whole time grieving. A moving story filled with sorrow and loss.

“This is why.” A raspy, masculine voice announced. “To hear yourself speak.”

John sat down at his crude table which he called a desk and smoothed out the pages carefully. Even though the clues had been laid in front of him, he needed some time to calm down from the shock of hallucination. It was right, though, he needed to hear himself even if others wanted to be heard too. In a conciliatory gesture, he laid one hand on the writing utensil and began another page.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Reciprocity

rec·i·proc·i·ty (n): a situation or relationship in which two people or groups agree to do something similar for each other, to allow each other to have the same rights, etc.

——–

This is one of my favorite words. It rolls off the tongue in a circular motion which coincides with its meaning. The definition also has importance in my life, as its something I wish to employ at times.

To be frank, I consider this WordPress account an invention of isolated creation. That is to say, I create stories that I like reading. I post them here for various reasons of taste (i.e. organization, documentation, affordability, etc.). The blog posts are a way of making sense of the world around me, and I do feel better at the end of the day if I can articulate my problems well. However, that is not to say I exclude an element of display. There is the idea of display in any blog, isn’t there? Some may say it’s the primary purpose.

This is very much in contrast to my business review account (private, not professional), in which that relationship is between me and the business. Any other reader is very much a distant third party, in my mind. Woe be it to the person who drags me in on their review. It’s never because I’ve written something they’ve liked; I can assure you that. In fact, a few weeks ago I had a delightful woman from Florida suggest I eat at home because all my reviews are terrible. Once I stopped laughing, I told her to get her nose out of my business.

It didn’t occur until recent that there might be a sort of tacit exchange going on here I wasn’t considering. People want to be a part of a community, albeit digital, and obtain that satisfaction through checking up with others from time to time. I suppose I realized this to some extent, but not necessarily with this lens.

With that in mind, I would suppose this post be less of a forced writing exercise so that I may not lose steam, and more a post to provide something here as a way of letting people know I’m having a bit of a fit. It includes the trashing of entire ideas and drafts, along with the distractions everyday life. I could certainly create something out of thin air and call it a story, but then again, I wouldn’t enjoy reading it. I want to enjoy my stories.

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Awareness in a World Where Your Insignificance is Expected

It has been a common complaint that “this generation” acts with entitlement. I use quotation marks, because no one really has a good grip on the generational time frames and I often make up my personalized group called “The Natest Generation.” Oh, sure, people can make up time spans just as easy, but until there is some real consensus I’m keeping my own. Thank you.

With this stock complaint is the sub-complaint that everything should be handed to us, we need an award for everything we do, and everything should be the paradigm of convenience. That goes along with the alternate complaint that we want to be mail-clerk CEOs, because working 30-40 years for that kind of power is ridiculously long, right?

Regardless that I’m personally an example to the contrary (apparently, I’m everyone’s “exception to the rule”), there might be some merit to those statements but in a not-so-derogatory manner. It’s quite possibly an unconscious act of defiance. The younger generations are unwittingly trying to make themselves stand out. A meta-understanding of self-awareness, if you will.

If we are to sit and review history in the last 2,000 years, we should notice something. How many people are remembered over that course of time? A few, all things considered. There are more forgotten, many, many, many more. How many of them were peaceful, law-abiding, good-natured, well-behaved folk? Even fewer, yes? In fact, people who touted the virtues of non-violence such as Jesus of Nazareth and Mahatma Gandhi were a big thorn in someone else’s side. Whenever I see a bumper sticker that says “well-behaved women rarely make history,” its de facto ignorance of the male perspective smacks of deception. Do you not realize how many “good little boys” have been forgotten in time? Simply put, historical figures were assholes to somebody.

Now that we’ve established it generally takes bratty behavior to be memorable, we should look at the underlying expectations of the last 2,000 years. If it wasn’t feudalism, it was slavery, and then strict social class delineations that were imposed by a handful of people who had power and wealth, whether it was royalty, slave owners, or an overbearing political structure. Society has relied on the majority of people being marginalized through one philosophy or another. The cogs of the machine must be properly installed for the press to operate.

Now, let’s take a look at today. We have a world that’s populated with 7.12 billion people. That, in and of itself, is overwhelming competition for identity. The Earth is settled for the most part. There are no “new worlds” anymore, and I don’t see a SeaQuest attitude about the oceans or a Star Trek attitude about the stars. Just ask the budget-weary NASA. Shocking philosophies such as nihilism and existentialism have become old hat. Culture and art have already gone through multiple phases. Music is recycling melodies and styles from decades ago. This is the perfect storm for another dark age. Anyone who doesn’t want to be treated like a serf has to act differently somehow.

Maybe we’re just all trying to live the happiest life we can, because there is  little in the way of circumstantial developments to be memorable about? What, should we start another war or something?

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My City by the Bay (Chapter 5, Part 1)

Old Town

SLS

(Photo credit: wilcreative)

The stakeout began early, and the SLS was parked a fair distance away from Chestnut Grove. Dawn was on the brink of breaking and Sig started to squirm already. He was an active man. Kinetic energy was the best energy, and like sharks, stopping could be deadly. All of this frustrated Benelli.

“Cut it out!” She finally spoke up, as the leather creaked under the seat of his pants.

“What?!” The peevish tone meant he was fully aware of the problem.

“Can’t you sit still? We’ve got the whole day to watch for this guy, and you’re jumping around like a jackass.”

“Not even your posh seating can soothe my animal spirit, Benelli!” Humor was always a good way to diffuse friction, but it was only rewarded with a heavy sigh.

About 8 o’clock, the old woman began her rounds near the cemetery with a replenished stock of floral material from God knows where. Blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows bobbed up and down in the cafeteria cart keeping in time with each pot hole. As she reached the gates, a pause was made in order to look around. A surveillance of her own was conducted, as it appeared something wasn’t kosher to her.

Both detectives thought they were far enough away to be inconspicuous. Without saying a word, they slowly slid down in their seat. Shaggy and Scooby had nothing on these two. Being caught could mean bad news, as it seemed she took a liking to Tiny. If she were to mention anything, it could put both their lives in jeopardy.

The observation took only a few seconds and the lady was on her way. Neither Sig nor Benelli could be certain if they were found out. All they could do was wait for the person of interest. McGreavy was next to desperate for answers, probably because the mayor’s office was getting a stream of phone calls about the “cowboy” on the force. That would be Sig, or “the Dunking Detective” as the writers at the Phoenix called him. Lucky for Sig, the Chief always went to bat for his team. Always, even though he was extremely tempted to throw Pauly under the bus for getting stuck in an abandoned refrigerator during a kidnapping case last year. Internally, it was a whole new ballgame. Sig imagined himself getting clocked with a Swingline if he didn’t come through.

After an hour of the news and playlist critiques, Sig eased into his typical pseudo-intellectual arguments. Benelli closed her eyes in dread, as it always ended up somewhere in left field with him convinced beyond reason. These bizarre assertions, like the Kool-Aid man being a metaphor for Satan, left a rational person in perpetual state of confusion. The tee was set and Sig led the kickoff.

“You know the saying ‘be yourself’?” He rolled his head to the side, and let it rest on his shoulder.

“Yes,” Benelli sighed.

“Well, I was thinking that isn’t very good advice.”

“Why do you say that?” Benelli was letting the discussion take its course. Otherwise he would pout like a four year old with a melted ice cream cone.

“We are constantly ourselves.”

“What about people who put up a front and pretend to be something they’re not? That’s not ‘being yourself.'”

“You mean like Phileas?”

“If this has anything to do with me, I swear I’ll punch you in the face!”

“Not directly, no. This is more of a macrolevel observation. People who use disguises are still themselves.”

“Right, which is why they should ‘be themselves.'”

“They are that already. Being in costume does not negate the fact that they are still being.”

“OK, wise guy, what would you prefer?”

“I’m glad you asked!” Sig’s eyes twinkled as the candy shop was open for business. “I would say to others ‘accept who you are’ instead. It’s much more productive.”

“If people simply accept who they are, then what if they are accepting poor behavior?” In no time, Benelli was sucked into the whirlpool of Sig’s mind.

“We all have a despicable side to us. That’s what makes us human. Let us say, for the sake of example, that Pauly’s a homophobe.”

“That’s not much of a stretch, Sig.”

“Granted, but given the options of open acknowledgement and closet confidence, which would you prefer? There isn’t any middle ground. So, don’t get all wishy-washy on me.”

“Fine, I would rather have him be open about his beliefs if only to avoid passive-aggression.”

“Right! It’s less stress to repress bad feelings and have them manifest themselves into dirty pool.”

“Well then, Mr. Know-it-all, where is the progress in that? If we accept our ill feelings, there would be no unity.”

“Unity is an illusion as long as we all come from different walks of life. That’s not to say there couldn’t be a healthy amount of cooperation, but as it stands now, unity has too many variables in the way. That said, a person isn’t prevented from working on changing their beliefs. Never once did I say it was impossible. I merely suggest they accept themselves and not feign camaraderie. However, since you’ve broached that topic, I will say any useful amount of cooperation (non-common-enemy cooperation that is) will require an earnest effort from all parties involved.”

“I don’t follow.”

“What I’m saying is any marginalized group of people would need to provide positive support to the ‘offending’ party in question. That’s where the real progress is. Society isn’t a one-way street. A problem can’t be solved by focusing on one side of the equation. Right now, efforts for equality are based on bombastic shouting matches and political power plays throughout all levels of government. That is not true progress, and it sure as Hell ain’t unity.”

“What’s the plan then, Plato?”

“To support equality, the canonized population should not be left to its own devices. Equality is a push in the card game of life. The underdog needs to interface in an accessible manner with the other, and vice versa. The combativeness to acquire a ‘privilege’ will alienate those perceived to have it. Balance should never feel like it’s being bullied.”

“So, what, you want me to throw a cook out for Pauly?! That’s your answer for gay rights?”

“Perhaps… the fat boy does like hot dogs. I’ve seen him down a pack of Hebrew National like a bag of chips.”

“I’m not buying it.”

“OK, I’ll spring for the franks, but you’ll have to get a grill. I can’t afford that.”

Benelli rolled her eyes. How did they get from acceptance to hot dogs? She hated hot dogs.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Acceptance Overdue

After my last non-literature post, I had to think (sometimes aloud) about what life means to me, and conversely, what I mean to life. Outside of one’s self, the concept of life and living is owned by the rest of the Earth’s population. It would seem important to acknowledge the difference. With that difference, one also must acknowledge any difficulties that comes with it.

For decades, I have looked for lasting connection with people. There are a handful (considering the population of the Earth) that I consider to be “successful” in the sense of longevity. As time marches on, I’ve had to relinquish hope on plenty. Their lives are just as important to live on their terms as mine to be a part of it. I’ve also considered my love life a sore subject, which also needed reflection.

I cannot help but agree that we’re all bombarded with notions of love and romance from a very early age. The proliferation of media in the late-20th and early-21st is truly a remarkable invention, but it doesn’t come without any drawbacks. I think we’ve been lost in a mire of ideas for some time now, and only recently wise to it. This ties in with my previous blog post about blood types. All the information and philosophy in the world isn’t meant to be thrown together into an individual’s mind. It conflicts too often, and the person  needs to decide what they should be in a cohesive manner.

Granted, this isn’t meant to be a rule or law. This is merely a recommendation. Far be it from me to advocate a censorship of sorts for everyone, but everyone should be a filter of their own. As my ninth grade Algebra I teacher once said, “there’s more than one way around a fence.”

So, what would I consider myself? I’m a bachelor with my own itinerary. I’m trying to let go of any notion of romance and relationships of that sort. I think it’s only for the best regarding my stress, and ultimately, my health. It’s not easy to accept such a position, but my history speaks otherwise. My actions tell my story, even if I don’t want to listen. It’s difficult and takes a Hell of a lot of courage to be alone. However, I don’t think the notion should be feared. Instead of keeping that dog outside, it’s time to let it in and give it a good bath.

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The Individual’s Journey in a Social Jungle

Humans have been labeled as social creatures. I’m not one to deny that. I know all too well of the desires to connect and share. There are some people willing to shut themselves off to everything and everyone. That has been a struggle for a long time. Turmoil. Frustration. Sadness. Loss of virtue, hope, and affability. All of which I’ve experienced over decades. The double-edge sword slices and dices to this day with Dr. Strangelove syndrome.

Over the last few days, I’ve had to take a real hard look at what I am, or rather, what I want to be. We’ve all heard the pop philosophy “be yourself.” We’ve also heard all sorts of motivational phases like “always improve.” Being yourself is the accepting of yourself, including your faults. There would be no need to improve, if you accepted your faults.

What occurred to me is that it’s not all supposed to be taken in by one person. One person should not have all of these philosophies taken into consideration. It isn’t a melting pot. It’s a blood type. There are several, but some people can only use a specific type.

With that in mind, I must ask myself: what’s my social philosophy? Until now, I thought it a subcategory of morality or operating philosophies. It isn’t. I’m of the opinion that it must be it’s own, separate philosophy in regards to how an individual connects with others. For such a green though, I haven’t committed myself to any resolution thus far. I would love to find a moment of clarity in the near future about it. Suffice it to say, the rough draft version is “do what you can.”

There are a lot of people out there who just aren’t the right kind of people for me. Yes, that doesn’t automatically make them bad people, but does put some serious roadblocks in my way.

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