Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Pursuit of the Truth

I believe it’s very possible for two well educated people to disagree vehemently on a variety of different issues. The debate is its’ self in an essential component of democracy. I think that we all have a desire to find a set of facts or truths, which will better govern humanity. I think that we have established guiding principals in this country, which act has beacons in the storm of fanaticism: justice, equality, the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. I don’t know that you can create an omniscient view of the world in a moral sense. I have a lot of suspicion for anything that is presented as such. I think the best thing you can do is to approach each subject in an equitable manner.

“Everyone will have their own views on things because of their social status, their life experiences, etc. Should I bring morals into the equation? Everyone also has their own morals, their own values, their own idea of what they consider right and wrong.”

Within the moral sphere there is such a thing as personal truth. Personal truth is distinct from personal opinion. Personal truth is something much deeper, what you might call a moral root. Edward R Murrow delivered a speech entitled “This I believe.” I want you to cradle these three words in your mind for a moment. Those few words hold so much power for me. The idea presented thus seems almost irrefutable. A statement with so much conviction it defies contradiction. There are times at which our knowledge of a given subject -and even our wits - fail us, and in the mirky darkness of self doubt we much return to those beliefs, which fasten together the moral fiber of our beings. I believe that we are too flawed, too subjective to form a perfect impression of the world. Therefore we must move forward with such beliefs as are our own. We must approach the world with all the inadequacy of our intellect, all the splendor of our imperfect ideals, and all the passion within our souls. The glory of all mans’ triumphs has been in the personal conviction and pursuit of those ideals, which have not yet been cemented into the greater consciousness. This I believe.


Someone asked me recently what I thought of the “2012 Prophecy” This is what I told him.

I think the end of the earth, the death of man is such an interesting concept. Living in a heavily Christian country the idea of the apocalypse has a strong hold upon on society. It’s become something of a sick fascination. The Christian church has up held the belief, since the death of Christ, that we are living in “the end times.” More recently we have been hearing similarly dire predictions for extremist religious groups of all factions. Why is a three century old prophecy from an extinct pagan tradition stirring up so much anxiety?

What really concerns me: Is global warming. Israel’s continually antagonistic behavior. The escalating conflict between Pakistan and India . North Korea’s hostility. The extremist in this country who seem intend on engaging an enemy, which has no country, and no laws, with such barbarous and archaic tactics as the carpet bombing cities and villages. People who are bent on fulfilling biblical prophecies. These thing scare me.

If we are indeed living in the end times. If the “world” -that is our world- is going to end in 3 years. What is the value of that knowledge? We are each so fragile. Our little world has represented by our life is so precarious. 40,000 in the US die in car crashes every year. We don’t think about that when we get in our car, because we assume it won’t be us. But the end of “the world” is so complete and so final, that the idea haunts us. There are many tragic events in the world which can snatch away our home, our future, and not all are so grand and cataclysmic. LA could experience an earthquake a slide off the map into the Pacifica. In retrospect of such an imaginary event what would each of us have done differently if we could? Would we have been better to one another has human beings? Would we have been more honest with each other? Would we have pursued our passions more vehemently? Mostly these things would be among our many regrets.

So if we are “living in the end times,” if the world is going to end in 2012. What are we going to do with the present?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Letters: thoughts on an antiquated practice

Dear Friend, sincerely, I would love to hear whatever you have to say. I love letter writing; I love the composition, the interplay, it’s a beautiful practice, which is being lost to antiquity. Letters in their own way are a freer form of communication then instant massaging, and phone calls; there are no interruptions, awkward moments, long silences. They are simply a stream of consciousness. The out pouring of ideas, experiences, fears, thoughts, and desires. Our physical imperfections, our emotional inadequacies, disappear. I would encourage you to write. What you have to say is not meaningless. There is no comparison between minds; each individual perceives the world differently and that is beauty of our intercourse.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Lone Star State

Just got back from Austin. I forgot how much I missed Texas. It gets in your blood, I think, and you just can’t get it out. It’s in me, underneath my skin, with the ink and the scar tissue. I’ve never seen a place at once so empty and so beautiful. There are no obstructions. Nothing for miles. The highway simply disappears into the sky. I pressed my check to the window of the car, and watch the long tangled barbwire fences, the scrub trees, the bare billboards, the long horns, the rusted pick-up trucks, and the 18 wheelers past by. At dusk we went out to the Congress Bridge to watch over a million bats take flight. The whole city came alive at night, like nothing I have ever seen before. All the clubs, and bars flung their doors open and the music just came streaming into the streets, which become like rivers over sound. It was really amazing.