Sunday, September 09, 2012


I have to say, this is a morning I've been waiting for. It is September, and Fall-like weather has finally come in. It is a Sunday morning, and I ought to be sleeping in, but you know, the cat and all. I got tired of him biting my elbows. I was supposed to meet a friend for early-morning breakfast, but now she's postponed til later this afternoon. I also plan to pick my Fall stash of apples with another friend this afternoon, and I'm trying to envision exactly when I'm going to fit in my yardwork. There are far too many leaves on the ground for the second week of September. Even my neighbor, who very beautifully and meticulously tended to her yard yesterday, now has a huge mess of leaves and sticks from yesterday evening's storm. Near my kitchen door, there has been a yellow spider trying to look inconspicuous in a corner. Upon closer examination, I now think there are two yellow spiders there, and that they are attempting to create more yellow spiders. I hate to spoil the romance of their liaison, but if they think I will tolerate a gazillion yellow spider babies in my house, they have another thing coming. The last time I encountered yellow spider babies--in my car, while driving--I got a bite from one that swelled up and left me hyperventilating. Obviously I'm still here, so it wasn't fatal, but if there's any thought that I'm going to allow for a repeat's the old "fool me once" cliche.

I had the misfortune to wake up with a Bon Jovi song in my head. Lest you think I listen to Bon Jovi, it was a song I heard while buying groceries yesterday morning. There should be stiff penalties for any shopping facility that plays crappy music. Jon Bon Jovi is a Jersey boy, and anyone who doesn't live in New Jersey (and some who do) seem to think that we have a moral obligation to listen to Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. I am not a fan of either one of them, though I will give Springsteen credit for being a talented songwriter. I like maybe 3 or 4 of his songs. Bon Jovi, as far as I can tell, is a genuinely decent human being--he's done a lot of charitable things, and I don't think it's just for media show or tax purposes. But I can't stand his music. At first, it was just more hair metal, that I was unfortunately exposed to in high school. Then Bon Jovi fell in love, and started churning out sentimental crap. At least that's the story I recall.

I have decided that love is bad for creativity. When you are in love and in a new relationship, you are as high as a kite, and sound like an idiot most of the time. If I look over my writings over the years, the worst crap I have ever written has been written when I was in love. It takes a broken heart, disappointment, or just plain old-fashioned psychosis to write well, or at least write interesting stuff. If I look at all my favorite artists, writers, and musicians, they are either a. on drugs/were on drugs, b. clinically mentally ill, or c. had some kind of life crisis or heartache that really kicked them in the teeth.

Of course, the life crisis bit can work in reverse, in some cases, especially if the person in question then decides to "find religion". The only artist I know of who produced great music after finding religion was George Harrison, and that's likely because it was genuine and not crisis-driven."Finding religion" is similar to falling in love in this case. There is an unbalanced optimism, and the sense that you can now "fix" the broken world. The method of "fixing" is entirely a projection of this delusional state, so it really does nothing but irritate others, who would prefer you keep your delusions to yourself, thank you. People in love tend to sound like stoned hippies ; people who have "found" religion tend to sound smug and self-righteous. And they pity that you are not like them. I prefer to listen to someone in love over someone who has "found religion" (especially if they have "found Jesus") any day.

"Finding religion" after a severe crisis is not usually a victory, though it is perceived this way by the victim. The script may go like this: "I was a prostitute who shot heroin every day and killed people, but now I've found Jesus, and I'm saved." Er, not really. You've taken all the things of your life that you can't come to terms with, and thrown them in a closet. You then declare they are no longer in your closet, they are now personified as a being called "Satan". "You" are not really "like that", the "Devil" made you do those things. In typical patriarchal fashion, this has become a war, and you feel you have "conquered" your personal Satan via Jesus, not realizing that the so-called "Satan" hasn't really gone anywhere, and has more control over you than ever. Just because you choose not to see "him" doesn't mean "he" isn't there. In fact, you're better off psychologically acknowledging that "he" is there. Integration is always better than repression. It's the real meaning of C.S. Lewis's statement (paraphrased)--the thing the Devil wants the most is for you to believe he doesn't exist. Or, quite simply, yes, you ARE really like that. As is everyone else, potentially, when we are out of balance. There are many complex reasons why this might be the case. But denying that part of oneself only creates self-hatred, and therefore a judgmental hatred of others. The new life will constantly need to be validated by others, because it isn't authentic. Hence, this need to "convert" others, and to proselytize.

I'm sure I will get into trouble with someone for that last paragraph. Perhaps it is my recent delving into the Iron Age religious and mythical transition that has made me think more about the notion of "salvation". Salvation is an Iron Age concept, that comes from warring patriarchal tribes. For all the good it does (giving hope about existence after death), it also has created a psychological disaster, in that it has left Western civilization in this moral struggle between "good" and "evil" that is exploited by governments and media everywhere, and ever present in culture. We are split, and unable to see the value of integrating. You can be a wonderful, charitable, divine person, and you can also be the worst sonofabitch. There is the potential to be a Mother Teresa, and there is the potential to be a serial killer. We all have it. We just don't like to acknowledge the second part. The irony is that not acknowledging it makes it more of a danger. We see it in others, and decide those others therefore need to be "controlled" or "destroyed", not realizing it is us as well. Maybe "serial killer" is extreme, but people are often harmed in the name of "their own good". There's often little or no need to save someone from themselves. When someone feels the urge, they should look at themselves first.

In any case, we sometimes reach a euphoric state where we think we "know", where we think we've "arrived", and other things cease to have meaning. But any life path lived with awareness will have these wonderful "moments" that don't last. And when you consider how much about existence is simply unknowable, it's best to be careful when you assert that you "know". The best you can say is that you "know" what's good for yourself. And that may change.

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