29 September 2009

Addendum to previous post

Wow. You know how sometimes you think about something a whole lot and then you encounter something really similar?

Well, in my dark moods of late, I e-mailed a past professor for advice, because she always felt like more of a personal mentor than the rigid, proper professor. She suggested an essay for me to read: "The Woman I Love is a Planet; The Planet I Love is a Tree" by Paula Gunn Allen.

I wrote last night's blog post without reading the essay, and when I did get to read the essay today, I couldn't believe its relevance. In fact, I'm glad I wrote the blog post on my own. Otherwise, I might've let the essay's words jumble up what I wanted to say.

Anyway, I just had to post the first paragraph of this essay, because she handles some of the ideas I was dealing with in a more succinct manner:

"Our physicality--which always and everywhere includes our spirituality, mentality, emotionality, social institutions and processes--is a microform of all physicality. Each of us reflect, in our attitudes toward our body and the bodies of other planetary creatures and plants, our inner attitude toward the planet. And, as we believe, so we act. A society that believes that the body is somehow diseased, painful, sinful, or wrong, a people that spends its time trying to deny the body's needs, aims, goals, and processes--whether these be called health or disease--is going to misunderstand the nature of its existence and of the planet's and is going to create social institutions out of those body-denying attitudes that wreak destruction not only on human, plant, and other creaturely bodies but on the body of the Earth herself."

I challenge anyone to consider their deepest considerations on this passage, and still come out finding flaw with it.

Sometimes it's helpful to be a robot, but not when you want to feel human.

Lately, I've just been really down. These depressions do come around periodically, but some are deeper than others, and this is one of the deep ones. The other night, as I lay in bed, waiting to fall asleep, I just started wondering what is my purpose in this life. I mean, why am I even here when an overwhelming majority of my beliefs are not shared by a modern society that prefers controlling as much existence as it can. My religion allows for much more than straight lines at perpendicular odds with each other. In my religion, there are infinite radii with no lines of symmetry. In Nature, possibilities are as numerous as the numbers go, and I think that's really beautiful, because it means every person gets the freedom they deserve just for being born into these lives. I guess I'm just in the unfortunate situation of being born a few thousand years too late.

My life took a serious change a few years ago when I discovered my religious beliefs. Most people seem to decide on theirs sooner, hence their egos find back-up that much sooner. Not me. I've been living the egos of others since I was a young boy. Even at the age of three or four, I learned to let my superego overcome my ego. The memory is hazy, but I remember standing among the clothing racks of a store, being taught to look behind me so I wouldn't be in the way of others. Contrary to what would be ideal, having a dominant superego didn't make me a super human. It made me a self-conscious head case with a handicapped ego. But now that I've been developing my religious beliefs for a while, I feel my ego developing with them.

This is a theory I'm borrowing from Joseph Campbell, but it's one that makes sense to me. Why else would people be so goddamn certain that their gods exist when there's absolutely no proof? Why else would people argue so vehemently that their supreme being is the only one if that god weren't a construct of their egos? The most likely reason is that each person is the only one in full contact with his or her own mind & soul (or in the case of extreme organized religions, a bunch of people have decided they can successfully share a mind & soul).

Because I came into religion and ego so late, I feel as if I'm just being born for real. It's frustrating, knowing all the things I believe now, yet not having the power to go back and live. It's even more frustrating knowing the people of the world could live lives full of individual power & freedom. This means never feeling any need to pad your answers, conceal an improper desire, or otherwise discount a personal decision that in no way directly imposes on the freedom and safety of another human. Instead we spend our lives finding new ways to control each other. Think about it and try to name one area of your life in which you have total control. Laws protect us from each other, but laws can't protect you from the social majority deciding your morals for you. This is where your thoughts are being controlled, and your soul simply follows suit.

One great example is sex because it's one of the basic human desires. Even ancient cultures understood that the genitals are sources of great power. Anyone who's ever had an orgasm knows this. So why do we think there's something wrong with sex? Why is it dirty? And why are we so ashamed of sexual desire that sometimes we're even willing to talk about it like it's not there? I'm not sure.

I do know though that it takes me a considerable amount of courage to admit that I just don't see monogamy as the most effective lifestyle for mature adults. I'm not even Christian, yet here I am bound by Holy Matrimony--the marital rules of a religion I don't even believe in. I got married because it made me civic partners with my soul mate. But if I were to let my body ignore the body rules of this bond, the members of our society (especially Emily) would regard me as the lowest of the low. Ask any public figure who has been shamed in this way.

I'm not promoting widespread infidelity, nor am I suggesting that divorce is a quality answer--especially in my case. I truly believe I found my soul mate. I just happened to do it on the first try. Beginner's luck, I guess. But still I wonder how we got here as a culture. Why have we decided to not be powerful? And why do we feel compelled to limit each other? Forcing a man and woman to regard each other as each others' only sexual option is about as limiting as it gets in a world of more than six billion potential experiences. (And sure, married people can still masturbate, but I don't see the majority of monogamy promoters promoting marital masturbation.) So why don't we just cut to the chase already and start spaying & neutering each other at the wedding? (Of course that would make it blatantly obvious that we're controlling each other's bodies with monogamous relationships... because the last thing we would ever want to do is acknowledge that we're failing each other by keeping up appearances.)

So what does any of this have to do with me? Well, for starters, I'm a man that thinks about sex a lot. I think most guys genuinely do. It's not just a joke we like to make. So I'm affected by it in that way. But the way I got here is that I'm really becoming fed up with fighting the powers that be. I'm one person shouting at a wall. I'm not going to change a damn thing, so it seems my ego is failing soon after coming into being. I'm tired of thinking someone else's thoughts , but I simply don't have much power left to fight any more. I am the neutered modern male, bound toward eternity with my spayed female friend.

I know I'm not supposed to admit such things publicly, but I don't much care any more. That's what being controlled does. It leads to despair, and that's where I've been lately. This discussion of modern thoughts on sex is just one of the ways I feel the utter despair of having my life decided for me by the majority rule. The rest are similar arguments that conclude with me not being trusted with individual power and freedom.

Well, it occurs to me now (at the very moment I finish a revision of this blog post) that this is the only individual power and freedom I still have. I have the truth about what I think and feel. So rather than going through the time and money of seeing a therapist to process the blames and shames in my head, why not just let them out where the public can know them? My reasoning is, most people hold onto private matters. Well, that may work for them, but I'm of the opinion that keeping secrets is more about keeping something from myself. Since there's not much of an ego in this head to process privacy, I gotta let my secrets out every once in a while, if I really want to process them.

This is the beginning of another line of posts here on the chew toy. I call it the “Sometimes it's helpful to be a robot, but...” series.

24 September 2009

zimdog's quote of the fortnight

from the back of a Trader Joe's receipt:

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells."
-- Dr. Seuss

(So... does this mean all those super-serious people out there are comatose? 8^))

23 September 2009

The Burden of Innocence: A South Florida Recovery Post

The following post is the first in a series of occasional posts that will help me process all the crap that happened to me during my time in South Florida. I know I was a much kinder person before living there (where the ugliness of America seems heavily concentrated).

The first life-changing event of my adult life took place early in 2004. I was out walking Murphy early one evening when I saw a group of kids playing in a parking lot off the main drive. Some of them I didn't recognize, and a few I did. In particular, there were two boys I'd talked to before.

But on this particular day, I didn't talk to them. Murph and I were walking along the sidewalk, on the far side of the main drive, and we stopped to watch for a few seconds. All I remember was having a silent chuckle at their youthful innocence when I hear a woman yelling at me from my right.

"Hey. I'd better never see you do that again," she said.

"Excuse me?" My reply was not aggressive. For the first few seconds, I really didn't know what she was talking about, or even if she was talking to me. But when I saw the insinuation in her eyes, I got angry in a hurry. "What did you say?"

"I know what you were thinking,' she added.

Well, then she must've looked right through my own innocence in that moment, and focused on my dark, troll-like features, because there could be no explanation in between for her.

I began a heated march toward her car. I forgot almost entirely that there were kids nearby as I let the swear words loose at her. To be quite honest, I don't know how I restrained myself from putting a massive dent in the hood of her car. And there I stood at the front of her car, demanding to know what she meant. She was a true coward, willing to make the worst of accusations, but unwilling to stand behind it to my face.

Poor Murph. He was just out for a walk with me, and all of a sudden I'm dragging him all over the apartment complex. As that toxic bitch drove away at low speed, I chased her everywhere. I never really figured out why she drove all over the complex like she did. Maybe she felt compelled to engage in some personal crusade to save the neighborhood from the evil-looking man and his bait-dog. What she probably didn't count on was me following her the whole way, yelling as loud as I deemed necessary. I wanted to hear her say what she had only insinuateed so far. Fucking coward.

When she did finally accuse me of being a pedophile, I told her I lived in the apartment complex with my girlfriend, and asked if she wanted to come up and meet her. Her reply was, of course, that all child molesters have girlfriends. I don't remember her reply when I told her I used to do volunteer work as a tutor and mentor for elementary school children while I was an undergrad. But I'm sure it didn't matter anyway. You can't argue with ignorant Americans, because for them, the alternative is admitting they might be wrong.

Eventually she drove off and out of the complex, and I was left more furious that nothing had been resolved. Immediately, I went to the apartment where the boys I knew lived, and I asked to talk to their mom. I explained what had happened, and that the whole thing was bullshit. I was just standing, watching them play. The boys' mom seemed surprised at the whole thing, especially the behavior of the old woman, because apparently she knew the crotchety old sack that lived across the parking lot. Still, the mother seemed to believe me at the time, or she put on a good act.

But pedophilia isn't something a parent is willing to give the benefit of the doubt on. This is why I got so angry at the accusation. The boys' mom never looked at me the same. If her boys were out playing when I walked Murphy down that side of the complex, she'd call them in. Never mind that I lived in their fucking building.

Even the police did nothing. I called an officer out the next morning to file a report. He said maybe the woman had thought I looked like someone on a sex offender bulletin, as if that would somehow make everything okay for me. (Of course, this was the Davie Police--that outfit ready to protect and serve--from which I actually had an officer say as I was reporting my bicycle stolen: "What do you want me to do about it?")

This accusation was was the eye opener for me in life in America. What does that say about our society when a grown man can't look at children playing without being seen as a pervert? Are we really that ready to see sex in everything? I know I'm more likely to question myself now, and how others see me. That wretched woman's reaction to me was so totally unexpected and off-base that I now know any accusation is possible. I have since had two people who were once friends bring this event up as an accusation (the first, less than a year after it happened, and the second, more than five years later). It's an open wound in my life, and one that will remain open for some time yet.

But that's the power of accusation (especially on someone like me who takes personal attacks very personally). I know I can't ever mentor children again, because I won't let myself take the chance of having my life overturned by rumor, even for the sake of a troubled kid. See, that's the thing about accusing someone of child molestation. It's the most vicious rumor that can stick to a person. Guilt or innocence isn't even up for discussion.

When it comes to any behavior that society despises, there is no stalemate. Uncertainty is a guilty verdict. And that wretched bitch, with one loss of restraint between her brain and her mouth, made guilt out of an innocent man. For that I may never forgive her.

I did make eye contact with her once more. Murph and I ran past her apartment one morning. I was still a somewhat forgiving person at the time, so I tossed her a quick hi. I can still picture her up there, surrounded in cigarette smoke, glaring down at me with nothing but the unbridled contempt of her hollow soul. She never even considered that she'd made a mistake. For that, I will not forgive her.

20 September 2009

Cosmic order on earth

Outside tonight, I realized something about the night sky. The constellations are places where imagination has the power to trump science.

Two stars in the Summer Triangle belong to birds: Deneb of Cygnus the Swan, and Altair of Aquila the Eagle. Near the line between Deneb and Altair sits Delphinus the Dolphin.

As science well knows, dolphins are larger than eagles and swans. But in the night sky, the leaping dolphin is dwarfed by the outstretched wings and neck of a giant swan. I take comfort in this.

What science has taught us is that our species most likely gained its unique spiritual sense from a bond with the sky. Ancient cultures regarded celestial objects as gods for their dominant positions, powerful light & heat, and their repeating patterns that brought ordered change to the earth with each new day, night, or season. I wonder if we would have ever rationalized this human-sky relationship without science, but it's too late for that speculation. We've already dug the excavation sites and done the other detailed anthropological guess-work that brought us this far.

Nonetheless, it does not take much personal awakening to see that most of us have (or still do) share a spiritual connection with the sky in one form or another. And so in an effort to better my own spirituality, I humbly wish to share a revised poem that I sent out a couple places earlier this year. It's called "Someday at the Zoo" and it's ready to read on my creative writing blog, zimdog pnaws. I've been searching for reasons to post more work there. Now it seems the spirituality of the night sky has given me as good a reason as any.

16 September 2009

Another new blog, zimdog?

Tired of the zimdog's wordy social tirades?

Then why not get them reduced to a delicious glaze:

Peter Cheddar's Words of Biological Wisdom

Would Peter Cheddar lie to you?

06 September 2009

The three if-s

Thought-provoking movies of my recent:

1. If you've considered that money is the new god, may I recommend What Would Jesus Buy. If you've never considered that money could be the new god, then never mind. It probably won't make much sense to you. (Of course, I kid.)

2. If you have yet to see a vampire movie that takes life seriously, may I recommend Let the Right One In. N.B. It's one of those films that's not made in the U.S.A., so bring your reading eyes.

3. If you haven't seen Revolutionary Road because (like me) you thought the previews made it out to be a so-so tale of provocative sex amidst the rise of uber-conservative America, then don't listen to yourself, damn it. There's a lot more truth there than I thought there'd be. And it's not just cuz I'm a feminist and all.