The inevitability of living

The death toll is rising. And people in my communities are lying to themselves about its lethality. They lie from ignorance. From fear. Living in a deep state of denial and hopeless despair.

The ones who aren’t lying share memes and try to be informed and they are wearing masks. Trying to do everything, to get everything right.

It’s heartbreaking to watch.

For me, it’s not the deep tragedy of the dying. Which I see. I feel. But it’s not what wrenches my soul.

I’m steeped in death. I know its grip. I know its measure. Death is the brother who walks beside me. Waiting to embrace me when I end.

We all end.

What brings tears to my eyes is all of the people who haven’t been had to form bonds with death. Who are lost and can’t see past this. They keep looking for the mythic safety. The mythic future. And set themselves up to burn out. To collapse. They keep celebrating momentary triumph. And each time tragedy steals back that triumph they break a little bit more.

They are not in a place where they can hear what I would say.

So I’ll say it here. For whoever is still listening.

Life exists in the small moments of joy. It is only in the ever present now that we are. That is the only place you can be in for now. Listen to music contrary to a bleak mood. Turn off the news as much as possible, their job is to sell fear.

Once you have done all that you can. Let the rest go. It’s extremely difficult to acknowledge the lack of control. But try anyway.

And to the Nurses and Doctors and other Healthcare professionals, I know you’ve been taught that you save lives. That is where your heart is.
But what you really do is give people more time. Sometimes there is no time left. Sometimes that’s another hour. Sometimes it’s the rest of their life.

You are burning yourselves up, trying to win an unwinnable war. You can’t change the battle. So you must change the objective.

I know how unhelpful this feels. Let it sit with you. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

Democracy and humanity

Democracy has fallen into the trap of all power. It’s become about the wielder of power not about the people.

The idea of democracy is an ideal. It is a hope that giving the people a voice and a choice would motivate them to build a better world not just with other political bodies but with each other. To create connections to each other which would transcend the tribal(us vs them) and become a collective we. Thus we the people. It clings to the idea that the individual can both work towards their own goals while attempting to give others the best chance at good.

But it is here that is the first danger. What is good for me, individually, may be dangerous or disastrous for others.

The second danger is that of the collective. As people grow in numbers, in groups, it is less and less that the logical or those with ideas are leaders and more about charisma and how many people can you sway to your way of thinking.

The first was fought by creating the position of a representative who will take the idea of the collective good and represent that idea to create laws and a nation. With the understanding that failure to represent the will of the individuals who elected them will result in their being replaced. But the hope was that this representative would act in the best interests of the people. Not just give them what they said they wanted. In fact, it’s a bad idea to give people exactly what they want. Our stories are littered with the consequences of doing just that. The destruction of acquiring what we want is recounted over and over. It was the hope that a representative would see what we need to get some of what we want and work towards that.

But we are humans. And representatives almost immediately split into factions and those factions began to shape laws which benefitted those in power. Themselves. While occasionally throwing some bits and pieces to the groups that got them there. Those representatives gave power to these factions to enhance their own power but instead stripped themselves of the autonomy which allowed them the freedom to operate in both their own and their constituents best interests. Instead owing allegiance to the party rather than the people.

So the first danger falls prey to the second and we are thrust back into factions. And worse, we become beholden to them for identity. Because we as humans are swayed by what we are included into rather than a greater idea of self. Most people just want to live lives which are just hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult that there is struggle. So they allow others who want that power, want that struggle to become their rulers.

The only benefit in a democracy is that sometimes people can be motivated enough to act in their best interests and vote to remove those causing them harm. Stripping them of power.

But here is where the faction comes into play. By excluding other voices from the election and allowing only those who they know will act in good faith for their interests. Parties are the very definition of special interest groups yet are always pointing outside themselves at the other.

I don’t have a solution. Because this is extremely complicated and how do we create a system which both minimizes and weaponizes human self interest while allowing for the human need to be a part of a group without giving control to that group while giving enough power to make decisions which will effect other people.

Democracy is fucked up. But it must be ruthlessly preserved even against itself. And it must be brutally examined. Are your ideas for all of the people or only for your self interest? Do you act because you must for the greater good or because it will please your party or your friends? We must be willing to accept that other people and other ideas may be better than our own or our groups and work towards a common good.

This increase(some would say, inevitable increase) in factional power undermines the goals of democracy. And the thought may be to outlaw factions but I would counsel against driving factions underground. It is much easier to fight what you can see.

My hope is that people who seek office will use the parties to gain access to power then use that power against the factions in the interest of the entire group they represent rather than merely for those who elected them.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic.

What this lifestyle means

Identifying oneself as a Dominant in Bdsm is not about the bedroom door component. If that is all that someone can think about, that’s a red flag. At best it means that they are for fun but are not a relationship. At worst it means that they are an abuser who is drawn to the idea of a “willing” victim.

No. A Dominant creates a mental safe space so that their partner is free to drop the burden of being in control. Of being the person who is responsible for themselves and those around them. It is taking the care to make their hearts and minds feel inviolate. To feel as if they can and will be taken care of.

There are bedroom door aspects but those are private. That is what the bedroom door means.
If someone disrespect your privacy in this regard, either by leaping to a conclusion or ‘researching’ on the internet as a way of attacking what you have said…then it should be addressed as a privacy violation.

I see being a Dominant as being a part of my being. It’s not a hobby or an interest. It is a part of my soul.
It is part of what allows me to navigate through the world. A bedrock principle.

That is why I talk about it. Why I am open about it. Why I write and post about it. Because, to me, hiding a piece of my soul is a wound that will not close. What is hidden cannot be healed. Cannot become strength. Cannot grow in healthy ways.

So I have the talking points of what it means. Publicly. To take care of and give space to someone you love and care for. To give them the freedom to let go of control and just be. Which I know is anathema to some. And I know it’s where misunderstanding creeps in. Because, they can always tell me stop. And stop is inviolate.
It is a way of being and communicating when it is at its best.

But, private questions are private.

Divisive enough for you?

It should be clear to everyone that I am political. That I engage people on issues and talk about the news of the day.

So, what is the news of the day?
Well, I voted. In fact, I voted early and received confirmation that my signature matched, which means my vote will be processed.

If nothing else the orange shitgibbon has inspired a new generation to vote, if the early numbers are to be believed. I just hope it takes and that cancer is cut out. Of course if his puppet master McConnell is not ousted it may go as poorly and if Barr and everyone involved in his presidency is not put on charges it will be an indication that we as a country allow this trash to happen.

So, that’s the state of things. Go vote. Clear Republican bastions are swaying. Punch drunk. Keep hitting till they go down. If you can vote and don’t, then you have only yourself to blame for whatever policies impact you and your families.

The tyranny of the commons

The tyranny of the commons

This tendency to emphasize the needs of the many against the needs of the few serves to highlight how little politicians and leaders understand the psychology of the individual.

It is a rare person who sees the broad collective good as both aspiration and moral imperative. Instead we have people who seize upon the aspirational. The glowing benefits of the end of struggles which are personally impactful.
This is the trap of the idealist.

I say trap because many idealists fall away from the struggle for better in the persuit of best. Discarding incremental lasting change in order to create the large mediapathic spectacle of demonstration or sweeping, one stroke changes. The failing is this: such actions and changes are fragile. They have no foundation and unless such change is shored up after the fact, they are poised to fall.

But the idealist fails to see this. Instead of a step on the road, one triumph is declared victory. The bulk of those seeking change look to these idealists as leaders and they fall away from movements because of this.

Without the implicit and expressed moral imperative for changes, our leaders will rest on their laurels. Waiting for new people to take up the fight.

The second concern is this: That in seeking large sweeping change we set ourselves up for the trap. By excluding anything but full and sudden action from our success criteria we set ourselves up to fail. And as those failures drag on, we ablate away the less resolute supporters. Support which is required to push these agendas forward.

So the question becomes, how do we mobilize for changes which require a large percentage of the population to agree with those changes as neccesary?

Politicians would say that voting for them at the national level is vital. And they aren’t wrong but they aren’t right either.

What is neccesary is the creation and motivation of small grassroots efforts. Ones which are united enough to push forward but small enough or embattled enough to resist outside influence. We see that when a grassroots movement gets large enough it becomes vulnerable to takeover. We saw that with the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the Tea party movement. Both started as small grassroots organizations which as they metastasized radically shifted into organizations which were often at odds with their founding principles.

Thoughts on the duality of actions

There are two primary ways to view causality and its interaction with ourselves.

The first is consequences. A simple linear if/then which covers smaller events. It is what we typically live with. This idea that what we do has an effect which is limited. It coincides with that kernel of selfishness in all of us which decries us the center of the world. What we do effects the world. It even acts in the opposite way to ego. In the belief that we don’t matter. That we are too small and what we do impacts so minimally that our lives are meaningless. This is the egocentric view of the world. It is the easiest way to see our world beyond ourselves and it would be easy to dismiss it. However, many people do not get to this point.
So we must nurture and cherish those who do. They take a step upon the path of seeing. And though they may never step further, they are still more awake than most sleepers.

The second view of actions takes us away from the self and considers the world. We have popularized it as Chaos theory. That if a butterfly flaps its wings and in the distance of the direction of time and space a typhoon occurs. This is big and dramatic and it sticks in our memory. But its wrong. At least in perception.
The second view is repercussions. That an action reverberates like a wave down the lines of causality making real one thing over another.
Put more simply it is that if I buy a sandwich, all the things which propagate outward from that are down to that cause. But that cause is the result of a series of actions and thoughts which resulted in that action. Nothing is alone. Nothing is isolated.
That can, at times, be both of a comfort and a terror.
Be thankful that humanity lives linear lives. What came prior can be examined and learned. And we can choose in the moment what we will do. Sometimes those choices aren’t good ones. Sometimes they are between extremes which we cannot separate from our self. From self preservation. But denial that they existed, is false. Merely that we found the repercussions of those choices to be unacceptable and so denied their existence. This is understandable in the moment of choice. But unforgivable when there is time for reflection.

It is difficult to maintain knowledge of repercussion. In the moment, the best we often get is consequences. But it is essential that we examine in those quiet moments the repercussions. If only so that in the next moment of choice, we choose more wisely.

This is not victory. This is the pause before the storm

What can I say in the wake of the news?
I suppose only to be vigilant. This changes nothing. Pence as president would be just as bad as Trump. Worse, perhaps, for the second term. Geared up to for one fight, we may loose another with different tactics. So we must remain vigilant. We must all vote and try to get all of those who are decided but won’t vote TO vote.

This is not a reprieve. This is a call to action. It must be. For the fight has not changed. This is still a war for the soul of our nation. We cannot be complacent in the final month. We must stand ready to vote out an administration which has made it its mission to dismantle our democracy. Before we lack the freedom to do so.

Iconography in the modern world

How a person dies is almost irrelevant. What do I mean?
Well, we see or read that someone died doing something selfless or heroic and we want to hold them up as a hero. Because iconic single acts of heroism are easy. It is an easy message to to get behind. An easy sell to the public.

Hero. That’s what is said. But…we aren’t built for heroes. We tear them down as we build them. They don’t as individuals perfectly embody your personal ideals. So they must be evil. If they aren’t heroes they are villains. Right? That’s how this works.

So instead of someone who did a good act, we have a false pedestal. And we do evil by destroying that person because we can’t abide anyone on that pedestal who isn’t an ideal of perfection which cannot exist.

We need to change. To instead view the act as the good, not the person. To idealize the act of doing good things, silent, without recognition. That will make us all heroic. And make heroism irrelevant.

It would normalize the beauty of kindness. And that would change our world.

How is value measured?

I linked something I wrote rather than explaining that something. And that person found themselves on the page, reading multiple posts. And they ask me, why aren’t you a writer. Which is kinda insulting. Well meaning and I understood what they meant, but insulting. Because, I am a writer. Obviously.

But what they mean is why am I not doing that for money. For a career. And I said, well it doesn’t pay well. And that’s true enough that people accept the answer.

And in some ways, I do wish it were my career but not if I was made to write at the behest of others. And that limits me. To the rolls of the dice. Because the things I best write are rants and poetry.

Though the better reality is that I’ve been paid beyond funds by my writing.

It’s been my therapy. It’s been the only constant that I count on. It has brought me to many people who I love. And some are still in my life.
More than that, I’ve been told how what I’ve written meant something to people. That it made their lives better. And even further than that.

So, as an artist, what else could I really ask for?
Financial success doesn’t make an artists career. Instead it’s those lives that the art has touched.
And I know in that regard, at least for the past, I am successful.

Not by finances or by standard measure. But in truth. In the lives who have been positively affected.

I am a writer. I am a poet.

It’s enough, I think.

Anger and violence are not strength

When we feel vulnerable
We lash out at the targets closest to us. The ones in reach who have exposed their vulnerability to us.
It is a terrible and self destructive act that makes us feel powerful. But it hurts another who was reaching out, perhaps imperfectly, but reaching out. Slapping that hand away then denouncing them, then crowing to everyone else how you took this action. And concealing who you did it to, because you know that actions have consequences.

That isn’t strength. That is pain. That is fear. That is cowardice.
Reacting like a wounded animal lashing out at anyone near…
It doesn’t heal the wound. It just pushes the pain on others.

I know. I used to do it. I would turn my mind and tongue into a razorblade and leave people bloody and bleeding from my vitriol. Isolating myself further. Pushing away all who reached out. For a brief few minutes, feeling righteous. Justifying my actions to anyone who would still listen.

Then wondering where everyone went.

Imperfect allies are still allies. Rejecting them, attacking them for the failure to fit into your perfect idea of what an ally is. It’s the embrace of self defeat. The pyrric victory. An act of the wounded pretending to be whole.

Don’t kid yourself. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of self deception.