All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
~ J.R.R. Tolkein
Croning My Way Through Life
Now…bear with me one minute. Quick techy babble coming.
Am watching “The Matrix”, which in itself is a complicated psycho babble movie, full of innuendoes and intentions and thoughts in the 5th dimension. It is one of those times that I don’t mind everything being over my head.
According to The Matrix for Dummies, Neo learns that the matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to make us feel like we are living a normal life, when in fact it is nothing more than an energy factory for AIs.
Us poor humans. We have to be good for something.
In these movies are blue pills and red pills and humans in pods grown in fields and the dude Morpheus whose words and appearances are marked by thunder and often orchestra crescendos. There are computer aliens and walking, talking computer viruses and a whole lot more going on.
Here’s the psycho babble part. According to Spark Notes:
Many precedents exist for the idea that the real world is an illusion, and the Matrix trilogy is riddled with specific references to philosophers who have entertained this idea. Although the films are meant to stand on their own and create their own set of philosophical questions, the Wachowskis pay homage to these precedents through….. Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates’ Visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and the work of Descartes.
Okay. The point of this blog this evening is: Who are these guys?
Let’s take a mini philo tour. And I do mean mini.
Baudrillard believes that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality. Plato‘s major philosophical assumption is that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually. The Oracle of Delphi is that Socrates truly was the wisest because all others were under the false impression that they knew more than they actually knew, that true wisdom lies in recognizing one’s own ignorance. And Descartes poses the question of how he can know with certainty that the world he experiences is not an illusion, that since he believes in what he sees and feels while dreaming, he cannot trust his senses to tell him that he is not still dreaming. I think, therefore I am (and all that stuff).
They all sound like Morpheusisms to me. Which bring me to the point of this evening’s blog.
What kind of minds think up these things?
Do people with minds like these eat cheeseburgers and swear when they hit their finger with a hammer and throw up when they get the flu and play cards with kids? I mean — what do brilliant minds do for fun?
These kinds of thoughts exist on a plane somewhere between the clouds and the stars and around the corner from the speed of light. These thoughts are so deep that deep sea oil rigs dance on their heads. I am fascinated by the train of these philosophies, yet I don’t really understand them. Do these philosophers have a day job like you and me? When they’re not discussing the differences between reality and illusion, do they go to baseball games? Eat pizza with anchovies? Sing in the shower?
I’m sure they were all fun guys with just weird hobbies. Like us writers and painters and all. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if you understand things like this or not. In worlds like yours and mine, it’s much more fun pretending you know something than wandering around, sad because you just don’t “get it.”
Like those horizontally challenged numbers.
In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans;
in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.
The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.
And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.
For more breathtaking water drop photography, you MUST visit Water Drop Sculptures by Martin Koegl http://waterdrop-photography.com/. You will not believe your eyes.
The news has been pretty overwhelming for my middle aged mind to wrap around lately. The aftermath in Ferguson doesn’t make sense to me, even if you whole-heartedly have an opinion on the decision. The people whose businesses were set on fire and destroyed or sacked did nothing to the victim; the broken communication between sides has done nothing but destroy lives of innocent people who have worked hard for a living, hard for their money, hard for their very survival.
But I stray, because I don’t want my blogging world to be one of destruction. I want this world to be one of hope. Of laughs and rolling of the eye and a tear now and then because you “get it.”
Yet there are more stories. More horrors. More wtf’s going on in this world. And this is nothing new. I follow a couple of bloggers whose lives have been turned upside down by abusers; mental, physical. Their stories are told their way, in a their blog, in their world. And my heart hurts for them, what they’ve endured. Fortunately, my heart soars for the salvation they’ve found, for the fresh start they have made for themselves.
A handful of my close friends have been through hell and back in their lives. Like one, continuous soap opera, you can’t think it can get any worse, and yet it does. Yet their love of life, of family and friends, has brought them across the burning coals and onto the soft, cool grass of today. And tomorrow. Their strength has become my inspiration.
And in my naive, white-bread way, I wonder: How did it ever get that way? How were abusers and mind melters and bullies allowed to run rampant through my friends and bloggers lives and get away with what they did? What ever happened to being a decent human being?
I wonder how we can ever keep our head above all this muck. How we can keep our souls from being tainted by all the madness that permeates the world. After all, one’s goodness can only so far. I can understand, I can empathize, I can share my experience and my support and my strength, even if it’s from an armchair quarterback’s position. But all the positive vibes I can share with those I love doesn’t change the way the world is today. And my inability to do anything to change and/or stop the rampage makes it worse. Being an overworked (and overtired) granny doesn’t give me much time to raise the flag and march. Nor would my competency make me much of a leader. I can honestly understand those who don’t turn the TV on anymore.
But I don’t want to be one of those guys. I don’t want to be ignorant of the pain and confusion and absurdity of what happens in our world every day. I want to be there for my friends and for those I don’t really know. I want to find a way to translate the horrors that go on every day, even though I can’t bear to think about most of them. How do I do that? How can I help and run at the same time?
Maybe the best thing I can do on this day before Thanksgiving Eve is stand by what I believe, and to keep it simple.
Stop being a bully when the world doesn’t go your way. Stop abusing those who don’t see things the way you do. Get over yourself. You’ll never change things by violence. Grow up. Learn to adapt. Take your complaints and your problems to those who can do something about it. Not to the innocent guy who just opened a snack shop with the last of his savings.
On the gentler side, take one step at a time. One breath at a time. Every day the sun rises is another chance to change your life. Don’t judge your situation by the way others handle theirs. Listen to your friends, to those you can trust. Change your attitude. Change your routine. Live to make others happy. Listen to others. Offer support, a hand. And don’t be afraid to share your own darkness. There is light in friendship.
It’s so easy to say, so hard to do.
But it can’t be any harder than setting a car on fire and flipping it on its side.
Need to find a little magic in your everyday life? There’s got to be a way to connect today’s mad, mad world to the airy fairy contentment daydreaming brings. What is “magic” anyway? It’s just a word. A word that describes what can’t always be described. Kinda like love or intuition or Coan Brothers movies. It’s different for everyone. Here’s a few ways to tap into the mist (or is it the fog) that surrounds the charisma called “magic”:
ETHER. The concept of the Ether (guess we need to capitalize it) is that magic exists in the natural world like air. Anyone with sufficient understanding can process it into whatever it is he or she is trying to do. It’s also referred to as the fifth element (mool-ti-pass?) along with earth, air, water and fire. Ever catch the scent of pine trees in the air? Burning leaves? Pig farms? All of those stimulate the Ether. All trigger the senses, taking them to another level. Learn to feel hot and cold pockets of air, watch the heat waves rise from the road, or feel the breeze blow your hair around. A heebie jeebie feeling will run through you, leaving you mystified or merely curious. One hint: don’t search for the Ether while driving, starting a bonfire or any other activity that needs your attention. You just might find yourself breathing more than just Ethered air.
HERBS. Certain herbs are said to have magical properties (no…not the ones you smoke). There are plenty of “healthy” naturalities that can open the stuck door to your magical playground. Sage is commonly used for purification and cleansing (see what it does for stuffing?). Catnip is meant to captivate a lover ― or at least a cat. Cinnamon increases psychic power (no wonder we sense cinnamon toast a mile away!). Basil is for wealth and prosperity (I could use a whole back yard of this). I added my own herby kind of things to the magical list: chocolate (who isn’t taken in by its charm?), wine (loosens up the tongue to speak to whatever higher power is hanging around), and homemade spaghetti sauce (I swoon to heaven and back when I eat it). Whatever herb makes you smile is the one that’s magical for you. Go for it.
OBJECTS: Throughout time there have been objects that have been sought for their ability to do things that no human can do on their own. The Philosopher’s Stone (turns base metals into gold), The Holy Grail (drinking from it grants immortality), the Pot of Gold (pretty obvious what it does), and Book of Thoth (a forbidden book that was the key to mastering the secrets of air, sea, earth, and the heavenly bodies), all are legendary objects that have the capability to make humans larger than life. Today’s magical objects are a lot more accessible to us lowly humans. The Internet (instant information), CDs (the gospel of Pink Floyd and Benny Goodman were never so available), telephones (or should I now say cell phones), beer steins (symbols of the fruitfulness of grain), gold coins (back to the source of all evil), and dozens of other things can instantly turn our world from mundane to magical. Also consider flags, beer bottle tops, crystals, rock band T-shirts, root beer floats, chocolate truffles, Christmas ornaments (I have some cool Irish ones), and 4H ribbons, are all magical objects (in their own way)..
CREATURES. Creatures are not often considered fountains for magical energy. However, some are well known for their connection to the magical world. Unicorns, dragons, faeries, Nessie, Bigfoot, Pan, Puck, angels, brownies (not the edible kind), ghosts, Puff ― all are creatures that will stimulate your imagination and tap into the wonder of it all. What does it matter if they were/are real or not? Are you real? How do we know? In a pinch, puppies, kittens, and babies are suitable substitutes.
PLACES. Places where magic concentrates have dotted the cosmic landscape for a long time. The Fountain of Youth, Atlantis, Never Never Land, Oz, Heaven, Shangri La, Rivendell, Sha Ka Ree, all are places that sprung from the human mind and exist on some plane of existence somewhere. Magic blows the dirt of these worlds into our own back yards. Utopia may not exist in our sphere of reality, but why can’t it exist elsewhere? Why can’t we tap into these magical places and pick up a few tips? I know I could get into a dishwashingless or rakingtheleavesless society. And heck ― Klingons and Elves don’t hold a candle to the nuts we experience in our everyday world. Even our messy home can be an alien environment at times. What inspiration!
DIVINE MAGIC. At the opposing end of the spectrum from Ether is the idea that magic can only be handed down from some divine or infernal source. Granted through either prayers or rituals, this type of magic requires a force from the outside of the normal/natural world coming to bear on a situation. Gods, goddesses, aliens, demons, magicians, angels, spirit guides, and totems come to mind. Their intervention comes in handy during football games, pregnancy tests, lottery tickets, cooking competitions, and IRS audits. Although whether they wave their energy over the Packers or the Bears remains to be seen.
Be that as it may, I hope you understand that real divine magic exists within us all. It’s called common sense. It’s called love. Let those two energies guide all you think and do, and magic will be at your fingertips. Trust me on this one. Don’t be afraid to use the “M” word when describing your philosophy of life. It melds well with the “G” word and the “L” word, sprinkling a bit of sweetness on our basic beliefs and desires.
And, after all ― it does kinda tastes like sugar…
I just finished watching the movie Silence of the Lambs. This movie is brutal and unnerving and psychological and graphic. It forces the audience to watch in fascination one minute and hide our heads under the blanket the next. It’s kinda like people who slow down to take a peek at an accident on the side of the road ― it’s scary yet fascinating. Voyeurism at its worst. And it makes me wonder why a simple, hard-working, middle class wife and mother, catalog coordinator, ex-soccer mom and spaghetti queen, watches a movie about someone who kidnaps women and strips them of their skin.
Why do we watch what we do? Why does society make movies like they do? Movie making, like writing, is a bizarre connection of our deepest fears and highest nspirations. The thought of such travesties existing outside our sphere of consciousness practically takes our breath away. Yet movie moguls make cinema magic focusing on psychos, mass murders, and psychological monstrosities all the time, and most of us have shared at least a piece of their legends. Writers such as Stephen King and Dean Koonz strip away our walls and prey on our vulnerable humanness. So I have to ask ― do movies and books reflect our true self?
The human mind is a confusing labyrinth of thoughts, impulses and memories. That’s why it’s so easy to get lost in it. Not only do we want cuddly children and sentimental songs and feel-good endings ― we want to be confronted with things that terrorize us. Things that unconsciously test the possibility of taking us to that last fishing hole in the sky. Because of this always-changing labyrinth, we find ourselves asking eternal question, “What if?” What if we/you/they had made a different choice? What if the chick that was captured in Silence of the Lambs decided to stop for a beer with her girlfriends and got drunk and wound up in Cleveland instead of helping the dude with his sofa? What if Melanie in Gone with the Wind had not died? If Luke Skywalker had grown up hanging around with his dad?
When we are young, there are many choices in front of us. Our love life, our jobs, our cars, all are ripe apples to be picked from the abundant tree of life. Life is nothing but one big choice. But often the energy and pressures of our existence make our choices come from circumstance and necessity rather than free will. Hence, one of the trials of being human ― the ever eternal million-dollar question.
But back to the crazy movie. In watching this psychological mess, I oft-handedly wondered if this kind of movie reflected my inner self. I have many friends who talk about the movies they watch: middle-aged love comedies; retro pot-smoking, chick-banging absurdities; historical pieces. Some are huge fans of horror; others cannot live without s lot of sex and drama. Do these favorites define who they are? Do these choices influence their cosmic journey? Does Star Trek and Fried Green Tomatoes influence mine?
I think I make too much of a simple case of being human. For more years than there are leaves in a tree, homo sapiens have been pigeon-holed into categories and titles and labels that may or not be true. Not only are we defined by our religion and our politics, but by our style of dress, choice of music, and our diet. Eventually, many of us figure out that labels, like time, mean nothing. They are nothing but illusions created to give us a feeling of being in control. Which is an illusion in itself. We all know there is no such thing as control ― only the temporary organization of chaos.
Are we too old to appreciate the humor of movies that showcase bare breasts, devil lawyers, psychos, marijuana, and farts? On the contrary! One of the challenges of getting older is there are so many new thoughts, impressions, and attitudes in the world that we cannot possibly keep up. The older we get, the more we want to show the world that we can indeed fit in with the aforementioned thoughts, impressions, and attitudes. And you know what? The gift of experience gives us the tools to do so. It may be that our attention span is much narrower, our need to shoot off at some erratic angle not as strong as hen we were 16…but it shows us that the more the world changes around us, the more it stays the same.
You see, the voice of individuality has never really changed. An individual can be Frank Sinatra mixed with Elvis mixed with Metallica mixed with Keith Urban. Why can’t we like chocolate and vanilla and tooti fruiti too? Why can’t we talk about football and Texas sheet cake and transcendental meditation in the same breath? Why can’t we wear silk one day and denim the next? We should revel is our uniqueness; revel in the fact that we can enjoy all of the above and not compromise who we are. Peeking at a horror movie doesn’t mean we are going to dismember the neighbor; watching two women run away and drive off the cliff does not mean we will get the same uncontrollable driving urge.
I am quite satisfied with the landscape of movies and music before me. The only problem is that I keep dreaming of Harry Potter vs. Hannibal Lechter. Both powerful main characters that keep you wanting to know more. Where does this polarity leave me?