Rethinking Reincarnation

Memoirs of a Hippie

I am writing this off the top of my head, so even I don’t know where it will take me. For years I have believed that reincarnation works as I described it in an earlier blog called “Experimenting with Reincarnation.” I never doubted that I was wrong, or even could be wrong. The Buddhists talk about releasing themselves from the world of “samsara,” meaning the physical world in which our bodies live and act between birth and death. They also talk about freeing themselves from “ego,” which I think is the same thing, only using the living language of English as opposed to the almost dead language of “Sanskrit.” Latin is to us and our ancestors mainly a language of science and religion, so that while it is dead it is still being used today in very strict ways, but no one speaks it as an everyday language. In the Middle East, throughout the Indian subcontinent, and encroaching into the Far East, meaning Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Tibet, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and possibly even Sri Lanka, Sanskrit was the language of trade and economy of many peoples, thus affecting many Indo-European languages to the point it’s descendant languages were spoken by more people than those who spoke Latin-based languages, the languages that grew out of ancient Rome. And equally as Latin is still the language of science and religion, Sanskrit is still the language of scienceand religion in that area, but is also the language of philosophy, and even some of the spoken or written arts in subcontinental India and surrounding nations. Unlike Latin, however, Sanskrit is slowly being revived in certain areas, I would suggest possibly because Sanskrit is a more precise language, whereas, like English and other languages, words are becoming confusing, having more than one meaning through common usage.

So much for the history lesson, I just wish I could write in Sanskrit so I could be more precise in why I might be changing my mind about how reincarnation really works. Certainly, beyond death, there is or are (a) bank(s) or (a) reservoir(s) of collected wisdom that incarnating spirits bring to the physical world inside them. This wisdom doesn’t show up right away, of course, but as a child grows into a teen their personalities generally change to some extent, a change that becomes more and more apparent as the teen become a young adult, and beyond until we end up with people who all started out the same way at birth (knowing nothing) becoming older adults with such different characteristics it is unable to be explained by nature (DNA) or nurture (how they were raised) WITHOUT the colour of the background of reincarnation. I am not going to even try to rule out nature or nurture, because that would be foolish. Your DNA affects you physically, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Your nurture can affect you mentally, being brought up in a good home by loving parents or brought up surrounded by physical, mental, or sexual abuse including any combination of those three factors. Then there are the problems of the early death of a parent or sibling, entering the children’s services system where any kind of happiness or hell is possible, having good and loving friends or friends who are just using you for something you probably would not even realize until years later, if ever. That is what life is like in our modern society where parents own their children until they prove totally incapable of parenting a child or children.  Such children can very easily turn into adults with all kinds of neuroses or psychoses, just as children can who are born into rich families where the parents have no time for their children and they lavish them with money instead of love. All these conditions and many more can adversely affect how children become adults, if they ever grow beyond mentally remaining a child for life. And what of the children who grow up in a loving family, that is still no guarantee that they will become good people when they grow up? Most of these children will grow up to be good people, but not all of them. Some of the world’s most famous psychopaths or sociopaths were the product of good and loving parents and homes.  Conversely, not all people who grow up with physical problems and/or abusive parents or friends, or illnesses of the mind will become bad people. Who can know why? Not our psychologists and psychiatrists, that is for sure, because they aren’t allowed to even think reincarnation is real, or might have a hand in whether people grow up nice or not.

Here I offer myself as an example of a child who grew up with an abusive father, and a weak mother who died early of cancer, leaving my devil of a father to raise ten children alone. He sexually abused my three sisters, and physically and/or mentally abused all ten of us kids, even my little brother who was born with Downs Syndrome. Being the one with the “brains” of the family, I was probably the brunt of my father’s rage as he accused me more than once of “stealing my little brother’s brains.” I’m not going to say I didn’t have lots of medical and mental problems as I grew up and some that have lasted to today, as I sit here a 67 year-old man, living with a woman much younger than I (close to 20 years, and six cats) and with a complete litany of medical conditions. But in spite of all that, and other things that I did or had happen to me in life, I have a smile on my face and a Bachelor of Social Work in my pocket after finally graduating university at the ripe young age of 57. The other thing I have is a VERY STRONG sense of spirituality that I did not realize was so strong until many many years ago when an acquaintance (we didn’t know each other well enough to be friends) told me that I was alive way before my time, that I had an innate wisdom that far exceeded his mother and father put together. But not so much wisdom that when I was approached by a Buddhist monk about a year later, he looked deep deep deep into my eyes and said these words to me, and they were the only words spoken between us in that single meeting, “You’re not ready yet.” And with that he turned on his heel and virtually disappeared out the door of a restaurant where I was having a late snack before heading for home in an abandoned house in East Vancouver.

Those are the kinds of things that have happened to me in all kinds of circumstances, by people I had never met before.  Once a woman told me I scared her because my eyes were so old. Other people who read my poetry which I was writing in my “I want to become a poet” period, told me there was something in what they read that spoke to the future of life, a future they had never imagined. The most recent such event was only about 6 tears ago when I got into a taxicab in Edmonton, and the East Indian or Pakistani driver turned around to face me at a red light, and said, “You are very wise, you will never return to this world again. This is your last incarnation.” Then the light turned green, he put up the plastic screen between us, and did not say another word to me until the end of the trip, at which point I paid my fare and offered him a tip to which he put out his hand in a “stop” gesture, and said “It was my honour to drive you today.”

What am I to make of all these strange occurrences? The Buddhist monk was the most bewildering event in my life, though I have had many others that would be considered close seconds. However, it was his words that drove me after our very short encounter. I was already into spiritual studies on my own before that, but he inspired me to delve even deeper, and to study Buddhism to the best of my ability in the days before computers and the internet. There were very few books on Eastern religions and philosophies in Canada at that time, the Beatles had not yet travelled as a band to India, though George Harrison had had discussions with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi sometime earlier when he went to India to study the sitar.  After the Beatles went east to study Buddhism there was much more interest in Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Hare Krshna movement than ever before in the West, and it would grow because the Beatles led the way (again). Hinduism and Hare Krshna movements were about as attractive to me as was the Jesus Freak movement that had started on the West Coast around that same time. Young people were falling off the bus joining whatever group would take them in. And then along came Scientology and they were extreme, but that made them all the more magnetic to people who had never had anything. The youth of America had “dropped in, tuned out, and turned on,” so Timothy Leary had said, and they had been becoming hippies and flower children. Suddenly they were becoming desperately religious, but mostly not for the religions of their parents, those were passe and no fun at all. Christian-based religions  called for suffering and eternal damnation, with a slim possibility of reaching heaven if you could stay sinless for the rest of your life. Young people had been eschewing money and material things for drugs and excitement.  Now they were eschewing drugs and excitement for Eastern religions. The Western world was changing, and our beliefs about the world and life on this world were changing too. And one of the biggest changes for those years was the advent of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies of reincarnation. The idea of reincarnation blew a wide swath through our subculture, affecting different people different ways.

I was (and still am) a hippie, but I was not doing drugs for excitement. I started with smoking marijuana, and after each time I smoked it I began to notice an increase in my ability to think. While I may have been speaking on a normal conversation level, my mind busy listening to what I was saying, and was translating my words inside my head, looking for hidden gems of wisdom that could be garnered from my words. And there were a lot of those, maybe nothing world-changing, but ideas that were changing how I functioned in the world.  At that time I was living off money earned by selling marijuana and hashish to people who wanted it, never to anyone who didn’t approach me.  And that was also the time that I started doing LSD (acid, we called it), the drug that really opened my mind to possibilities so far outside the box of normal thought that I couldn’t even see the box anymore.  Where were all these ideas coming from? I knew they were coming from me, from my mind, but how did they ever get there?

That was also the time that I became more careless in who I was selling drugs to. I was still only selling to people who wanted the drugs I was willing to sell, the list of two drugs I mentioned earlier, but now I was also selling acid, because I believed in it, and I believed it could help others the way it was helping me. Even so, as I said, I was getting careless, and I ended up selling drugs to two undercover RCMP narcotics agents. I was still living in Vancouver at the time, sleeping on the beach at English Bay, or at crash houses some of the more moneyed hippies were setting up. The two undercover agents, using the names of Sunset and Hart, befriended me and let me stay with them for awhile, as long as I turned them on to the dealers that were supplying those of us who sold the drugs on the streets. And I did a fine job of that, not realizing I was leading them to almost all the dealers in the West End of Vancouver, Kitsilano Beach, and even North Vancouver. At first I never clued into the fact that these two “fellow hippies,” who said they were AWOL from the army or something stupid like that, were not selling or using the drugs themselves, but were sending them back to “friends” in Saskatchewan where such drugs were said to be very scarce. I started to get nervous, something wasn’t going right, so one day I bought a bus ticket to Hope, which was all I could afford, and hitchhiked the rest of the way back home to Winnipeg where I started going back to school to finish my Grades 11 and 12. I was still keeping up on any news that came out of Vancouver, and when I heard that a number of people got busted by undercover narcs, and I read some of the names, I knew what had happened and that I was responsible for a lot of those people getting arrested and being sent to prison. I disappeared even deeper into normal society, and thanked my lucky stars that I got out of Vancouver in time. I took a part time job at a local grocery store to help finance my rent and meals while I was in school, and I thought I was safe.

to be continued…

3rd Answer to PUNISHMENT BY DEATH

The True Story of Rehabilitation

In Answer 2 PUNISHMENT BY DEATH I left you standing in a locked cell with your new cellmate, an open lower bunk bed waiting for you to make up your mind which of two bunk beds you were going to take, the lower bunk that looked unused, but your new cellmate claimed it as his, or the upper bunk upon which your new cellmate sat, and where his bedding warmed the mattress. Nervous as you are, still feeling shamed by your experience walking around nude in front of half a dozen uniformed guards, and then having a unknown doctor shoving his finger up your ass, feeling around for any contraband. Doesn’t he know you’re innocent of all charges? Doesn’t he know you don’t even know what kind of contraband to smuggle in, if you were going to smuggle something in? At last the finger was removed, and a line on a piece of paper checked. “Next,” the doctor had called, and you ran for the exit door. You didn’t want the guy behind you to see your shit running down your leg and leaving a line, no, adding to a line that was already on the floor but which you hadn’t noticed before. But that’s in the past. You’ll never have to live through that again. And you’ve got more immediate worries. Which bunk are you going to choose? Does it even matter? You say to hell with it, and sit down on the bottom bunk.

“Good choice,” the surly voice comes down at you from above, like God talking to Moses or Abraham. You take a deep breath and let it out slowly. And that is about the last time you feel safe while you are behind all those locked doors.

 

Being in jail is not like being in school, or even university. Nothing like work. You are told when to go to bed, and when the lights are about to be turned off. Come morning the lights come on, and something related to a fog horn is blown. You’ve got 10 minutes to shit, shower, and shave and get dressed for the day, but you are competing with your cellmate who wants to do exactly the same things. You quickly teach your body to get up 15 minutes before the light comes on, which is just a guess because you cannot wear a watch in prison, and there is no clock on the walls. Ten minutes after the lights come on, your cell door opens and you best get out fast. The door isn’t open very long. You join the other prisoners all walking in the same direction, walking down 6 flights of stairs, and into the mess room. Some trustee shoves a metal tray in your hands, and in no time more trustees have thrown dollops of mush, or eggs, or even sometimes bacon on your tray as the line forces you forward. You get about 8 minutes to eat and drink the slop they call coffee, then everyone is getting up and heading for the exit door while you see prisoners from another floor start to file in the entrance door. Any food or coffee you didn’t finish gets pushed into a giant garbage tub, and someone else collects the tray and spoon you used, just another dirty dish added to a growing pile of dirty dishes on what looks like a table on wheels with a garbage can stuck through a hole in the middle where the spoons end up. Your cup is unceremoniously thrown into another tub, smaller than the previous one, but used just as noisily. The room is a cacophony of sound that just about deafens you until you get out the exit door, and the sound level drops several decibels, telling you just how thick those walls are. Now people are walking in all directions, probably going to some kind of work or class or something. You have no idea what to do, until you hear your named shouted out across the floor by a guard. When you get almost to the guard, a short conversation ensues.

“You got any skills for a place like this?” the guard almost yells.

“Don’t know. I was a taxi driver before…”

In one smooth move the guard makes a tick on one column, then makes another tick in the box in front of the words next in line on the second column. “Yard duty.” the guards says with a straight face, “and I don’t want one piece of garbage on the ground when you finish before supper, and before you can say even one word the guard is already calling out another name, and you wonder what jobs the guy in front of you or the one behind you are getting. They’ve got to be better than yard duty.

 

Rehabilitation, you say, when do prisoners get rehabilitated to be better citizens when and if they ever get out of prison. For you, your rehabilitation program is learning how to pick up garbage off the ground, a highly needed skill on the outside. However long your sentence is, that is what you will be doing. Of course, there are times when psychologists offer their time to come and do group sessions for prisoners with specific problems, be it child abuse, a mental illness, PTSD, victims of racism, or whatever the good DR. is wanting to write a book on. Psychologists, psychiatrists, brain doctors, and a lot of other professionals need to publish books to keep in good standing with their Associations. Some write books by studying other books to put information from each book together in a new way, or they use old surveys to gather evidence pro or con the theory the survey was studying. But there are two specific populations that they use as subjects in new studies: university students, and prisoners. Neither group represents the “common people,” though, so their results are almost always skewed. University students do surveys either to impress a professor, or to make beer money without their parents knowing about it. Prisoners are never paid money, but they are paid in time away from whatever job they have been assigned to do. Neither population is trustworthy as a general rule, but the surveyers couldn’t give a damn. They’ll contort whatever evidence they are given to prove or disprove the theory they are writing about. That, hospital visits, trials for other offences, and conjugal visits are about the only things a prisoner can do to end the boredom. Even gang wars or other kinds of struggle are done just for the entertainment. Strikes and prison takeovers seem to be a thing of the past, but then I don’t read much news at all. Maybe they do still happen occasionally, but unless guards or visitors are being murdered they are not as newsworthy as they used to be. It’s all been done before, and for the most part the public do not want to hear about the plights of convicted criminals.

 

But if prisons are so boring, why is the recidivism rate so high? There are many factors in that statistic, and every person has different reasons for letting themselves get caught again, and again. 1) They don’t know how to do anything else except commit crimes. And while they are in prison, they learn better ways to do things, more ways not to get caught, but they are learning from people who were caught, so where is the logic in that.

  • They learn how to commit bigger crimes, to go from convenience store robberies to bank robberies, and how much more money you can make in the process. Criminals love to make money without having to work for it, and thus they go from stealing purses off little old ladies to pickpocketing, and armoured car robberies. They go from being “poor starving artists” to counterfeiters, or faking art, or stealing art that is worth millions that they sell on the black market for tens of thousands of dollars.
  • The thrill of it. Some thieves get orgasmic feelings from walking out of a business or home with something that does not belong to them. They start by stealing money from their mothers or fathers, and end up stealing fancy cars or fancy jewels. And there is always someone who will give them money for their stolen goods. Never close to the value of what was stolen, but they understand that getting ripped off by fast-talking fences still gives them more money than they could make in a year of slinging burgers in a McDonald’s Restaurant.

 

But those are the easy reasons for so many recidivists. Then there are the people who remember how they were treated in prison, like animals that had to be shamed into compliance. It might have been a guard who shamed them, or a warden, or the cop that arrested them in front of TV cameras, but now they want revenge, and they don’t particularly care who they take that revenge out on.

And then you have your psychopaths and your sociopaths who have no regard for other people or their property. Without medications these people are as unpredictable as a tornado, never going in a straight line destroying lives as if the people were dolls.

 

With help, all of these people can be made into good citizens.  But staying on medications for life takes the fun out of life. And fun is what they feel is their right, pursuing their happiness in whatever way they want to. And if they get caught, they just pull out their papers that say they are insane, and as soon as they are back on their meds and looking as normal as anyone can look, they have to be allowed out of jail. And they are free again, so who knows what they are going to do next.

 

The next time you look at the stats for recidivism rates, who do you blame for how high they are. The people who need help but never get it, or the prison system that is supposed to provide that help, but instead of hiring psychologists and social workers, they hire guards that are disgruntled police failures, or people who love to lord it over others, bullies all of them. Big adult bullies, who just love to push others around and say, That’s my job! I’m just doing what I’m told to do. And maybe that is what they are told to do, and that is why the bullies were hired in the first place.

 

But what else can we do? We can’t afford to run prison populations that overcrowd prison facilities. What else can we do, we have to protect the regular citizens of our nations. What else can we do? What else CAN we do?

 

That question has more than one answer, and in this blog I am only going to give you teasers for the next blog on PUNISHMENT BY DEATH. The very first thing you do is study those who were in prison once, and never went back. Another thing is taking the word punishment out of the adult population. You punish children when they do things the parent doesn’t like, actions they want to teach the child not to repeat. Third, you treat them with the respect any person wants to be treated with. And four, you use restorative justice every opportunity you have. Fifth, and last, or probably what should be done first, you deconstruct the nuclear family, and stop letting parents raise their own children , and make sure all children get a good start in life, without abuse, without poverty, without learning how to be bullies, but by giving them love, respect, and human contact of a meaningful kind. But who, besides me, is willing to look that deeply at the nuclear family, and realize that while it is responsible for creating non-criminal adults, it is just as responsible for creating criminal adults?

 

Where are the people with the strength to stand up and say, “It’s at least worth a trial, it can’t do any worse than we are already doing?

In Answer 2 PUNISHMENT BY DEATH

Why prisons will never work

Part Two – The terrors of a society brainwashed to be scared of people not like themselves

Have you ever been in jail for more than a night in the drunk tank, say at least two weeks? Have you ever faced a jury of your supposed peers, and seen the hatred in their eyes. Looked at the members of your jury and not seen one that would be willing to take notice of you with a smile or even a lightning flash of sympathy? Have you ever been taken to a jail or prison intake area, stripped down to your absolute nothings, forced to walk with a whole busload of naked others through a spray of water so cold and so biting that you think you have been secretly transported to a summer day in Antarctica barely warm enough to turn ice into sleet and hail that burns your body red, makes your eyes water, and your testes pull so far into your groin area that you think they will never come out again, come hell or high temperatures? Then one at a time you are given ugly prison uniforms, one-size-fits-all, which is all you will be able to wear for the next 2 to 25 years, unless you are allowed to wear nice clothes at your appeal, if you can afford one. Meanwhile, if you stole a fair amount of money and were able to keep it hidden from the police, your lawyer will gratefully take it off your hands, and if you give him enough, he will actually TRY to get your verdict overturned, or your sentence shortened. Money might not buy you justice, but it will buy you the appearance of justice.

Okay, so I’ve got you standing in line, still naked, prison uniform grasped tightly in your arms, when the line starts moving and a line of inmates called “trustees” (because they can be trusted to fink on you to either the authorities, as represented by the prison warden, or the group leaders of gangs of prisoners, some gangs which are local and temporary, and some that are in every prison in the USA and even some in prisons in Canada. And those same long-term gangs will be there as long as prisons and penitentiaries as we know them are allowed to exist) where you will be handed that prison’s version of what is counted as bedding. Meanwhile, before you can get dressed, and IF there is a doctor available in the prison, he or she will examine you to see if you have any obvious problems visible to the eyes, ears, or fingers. After listening to a few beats of your heart and cursorily checking your skin for signs of viral or bacterial infections, they will then stick a finger up your vagina if you have one, and your anus because everyone has one, because it might contain contraband, which is illegal to smuggle into a prison. Only then will you be allowed to get dressed, and then you will wait around, even if it is mealtime, until the last of your group of prisoners are dressed.

Finally you are on the move as a group once more, still grasping your holey, and/or threadbare and/or flea-ridden blanket to your chest lest someone attempt to rip it out of your hands. At last you leave the intake area and enter a “room” one side of which is an outside wall, and the other having runways full of cells stacked upon cells all stacked upon even more cells; probably at least ten levels of them, and no elevator in sight anywhere. Meanwhile, you realize the trustee leading your group is giving a long-memorized speech explaining the laws and culture of the common room, the eating rooms, cell runways, and everything else he or she thought you would need to know for your first day there. After that you would be on your own to survive or not depending upon which gang you chose to become a part of. (In the movies or on TV, the star always remains somehow “unconnected,” but this isn’t a movie, it is real life, and the threat of death is palpably imminent, so choose wisely.)

Suddenly the line in front of you is moving up the stairs, and at each landing sets of names are called, and those people move through an iron door that slams! shut after the last “new piece of meat” goes through the entryway. The same scene repeats itself at every floor landing. Eventually your name is called and you go through the entryway. Already a guard is walking down the runway, tapping open doors, saying a name once, and moving on. As you are busy hoping you didn’t miss your name being called, you hear it at last, and you enter the cell, where either one or two double bunk beds are standing against the side walls, and before you even look at the people sitting on or lying down on the bunk mattresses, you see a seatless toilet bowl in the middle of the back wall, where you will have no privacy taking a crap for as long as you are there. Then you turn your attention to who your bunk mate(s) is(are), and where an unoccupied uncovered mattress is awaiting you. You quickly go to it, hoping the other(s) are not able to hear or see how scared you are. No matter whether you are brainy or brawny, you throw your armful of bedding on the bare mattress, thinking that you are lucky you made it this far.

“Get your stuff off of my bed,” a vicious voice booms out, and you jump high enough to hit your head on the ten foot high ceiling. As you crash down you stutter, “But… But I… I thought…”

That same voice cuts you off, “You don’t think out loud in here. In fact, it’s better to not think at all. You’ll get in trouble that way in here.” At least this time the voice is flat, emotionless. Not friendly, but not unfriendly either. With a tiny bit of uncertainty and fear in your own voice you say, “Which one is mine?” Luckily you are in a one-bunk-bed cell, or at least you hope it is luckily.

“I’m sitting on it,” the voice states, daring you to make him get off. And at last you realize you are being tested. Your happiness while in prison just might depend on how you answer…

You are just coming to a decision when a far-away voice calls “Close’m up!”and the door to your cell moves and hits the doorjamb resoundingly! The sound is echoed by every cell door within hearing. Two-hundred and fifty doors (you don’t know this figure yet, you missed that part of the trustee’s speech) slamming and slamming and slamming within tenths of a second of each other. By the time the sound clears from your ears your mind reminds you, “That’s it, no more freedom for…” and the guy/gal sitting on your mattress is staring at you with a sneer on their face and a gleam in their eyes. “How you feeling, new meat?”

So, dear reader, how “are” you feeling right now? You’re unsure of which tactic to take, you’re still feeling humiliated from having to stand around naked so long in a group of naked strangers, but with fully-clothed guards looking at all of you at once, but you’re sure one of them is staring straight at you at the same time. And then that doctor, feeling inside your private parts for God knows what, and having him or her sticking their finger up your orifices with just a thin film of plastic glove between his/her skin and your insides. And then the walk of shame through the common room, and you are so relieved that you are finally dressed again even though neon orange is not your best colour, it’s the same colour every prisoner except the trustees are wearing, you’re tired from the long bus ride from the city, and its hours since you last ate, your stomach is gurgling in desire, and you have to make what might be the decision of your life. How do you really feel deep down in your gut? What are you going to do?

To be continued…

Save a Monarch, Impeach Donald Trump

Eric Burdon 1968, America 2017

I agree with your sentiments, though it is too American for this Canadian. I would be much happier to see you marching in the streets (peacefully, of course), holding rallies to impeach King Donald, DEMAND A NEW ELECTION because the farce that was held in your country in November last is a million times worse than what you allowed Jeb Bush to do in Florida refusing to count the ballots from particular areas of Miami in a previous election. How can anyone give Trump the legitimacy to be called the President of the United States of America? He obviously intends to break up that union as soon as he gets these other policies through Congress. If you let him ride out his four years as president he will do his best to change the law to allow himself to declare the Republic (not Democracy) dead and appoint himself as supreme leader and DICTATOR OF THE WORLD. Just look in his eyes to see how schizophrenic this man is. He has a mental illness and needs to start taking his meds again. Hopefully he will send someone from the CIA to find me in Canada and assassinate me for seeing the future he is planning, total genocide of all Muslims whether they are terrorists or good people, they might have children who will become terrorists, mark my words. If I get killed in whatever fashion, it will be at the Donald’s orders. Get up off your asses and do something to save yourselves. TAKE ACTION. Otherwise it will be like Eric Burdon, a Brit, sang about on his EVERY ONE OF US album in about 1968. I quote from memory, “Sure, they’re all good people, sitting around saying ‘Aint it a shame. Aint it a shame.’ Good people, at least they call themselves good people… but someone’s got to do something about it… get off of your big fat you-know-whats and MOVE!!!! or there won’t be anyone left…” Obviously Eric was not rapping about America in that song, but it’s like he gave me those words to give to you almost 50 years later. Steppenwolf could also see this time coming, releasing their album Monster around the same time, asking the question “America, where are you now, don’t you care about your sons and daughters, don’t you know we need you now, we can’t fight alone against the Monster.” John Kay, another Canadian, was singing about a Monster called Tricky Dicky. Your monster is called Ducking Donald.” Not much difference, I would say.

Signing a petition is nice, but it won’t fix your problem, our problem, the world’s problem. Hell, why not go all the way and say it’s the universe’s problem, because the air moved by the wings of a butterfly… The Monarchs are dying by the millions, and soon those beautiful insects may be no more. And if they go, we will go shortly after them. SAVE A MONARCH, IMPEACH DONALD TRUMP! I’d keep on going, but I gotta go take a shit. I’m filled up to here with all this crap!

In Answer To “PUNISHMENT BY DEATH”

a-blog-that-appeared-on-wordpress-com

Part One–the use of capital punishment as revenge

On March 4, 2017, Nan wrote a blog called “Punishment by Death.” Unfortunately I arrived late at the beheading, poisoning, boiling alive, walking the plank, crucifiction, pressing, garroting, drawing and quartering, burning at the stake, whipping to death with birch branches, burying alive, drowning by waterboard, starvation, honey and ants, beating on the wheel, stoning, firing squad, guillotine, gallows, gas chamber, electric chair, fatal chemicals injection site, and even keel-hauling amongst uncountable other ways humankind has invented to intentionally kill people who had been judged, legally or illegally, too evil to go on living. All these styles of execution can now be described in two words, capital punishment. So, having arrived late, I missed partaking in a discussion on the merits and/or morality of punishment by death because the licence to give my opinion was killed before I got there. The most amazing part of the discussion, in my mind, was talking about the monetary value of execution vs. keeping the supposedly evil person in prison for how ever many years, which in the United States of America is usually until the person dies. (And to make sure he or she died in prison, courts handed out prison terms of hundreds or maybe thousands of years. I guess that was in case one of the persons so judged was either Methuselah, or Judas Iscariot, often called the Wandering Jew. Or maybe even Satan himself!). The outright stupidity of such sentences, virtual death sentences, is only the first sign among many others that capital punishment should be abolished world-wide. Well, Nan, I know this wasn’t personal on your part, but I still must weigh in on the death knell of capital punishment. So, all you readers out there who think punishment by death is a viable punishment, please read the rest of this blog, and definitely one if not two more. I happen to have a lot to say…

In my not-so-humble opinion, capital punishment is more than a crime against humanity, it is a crime against life itself. There are way too many cases where a person has been found guilty of a murder, only to be proved AFTER HIS EXECUTION that he was innocent. You talk about when a “man has been proven guilty” of certain crimes you think capital punishment should be used, but I can tell you of a case in Canada where a man was found guilty not once but twice of killing a teenage girl working alone in a donut shop, and it took a third trial before the defence was allowed to call as witnesses a large group of nurses who could place that man at their hospital half a city away from the crime scene at the time the crime was committed. He was busy playing Santa Claus for the children in the hospital. I don’t remember how long he was in jail for, but he was not given capital punishment in either of the first two trials only because there was a case before the Supreme Court of Canada arguing that capital punishment be outlawed in our country. The Supreme Court finally handed down their ruling that capital punishment was against the laws of Canada. This was fortunate for the twice-convicted killer of wrapping paper and bows and ribbons. By this time, of course, the case was so cold that it could not be reopened. The police believed they arrested their man the day after the murder, and never bothered to collect any evidence that did not lead to this man’s conviction. This was back in the 60s, I believe, or the early 70s. And it is only the worst miscarriage of justice of the many cases where convicted people were later exonerated of their supposed crimes, all over the world. Our Supreme Court judges earned their pay the day they spoke to take down capital punishment as a remedy for murder.

And even when you say the words “capital punishment,” you are not talking punishment. A person cannot be “punished” once they are dead. To execute anyone is a plain case of revenge for revenge’s sake. And from where I sit, the American law for double jeopardy where a person cannot be tried twice for the same murder is about as stupid as is the case for capital punishment. Americans would rather let a guilty person, especially rich or famous persons, go free for sometimes petty bureaucratic reasons while sending innocent people to their deaths for crimes they did not commit. Did anyone do a comparison of those statistics? I’m willing to bet more murderers got off because of double jeopardy than of actual murderers getting executed in all the States of the Union combined.

But, seeing as you do have this law still on the books, there’s this guy in the States right now, I think his name is Donald… Yes, Donald Trump, I believe. If anyone should in America should be convicted of a capital crime… I don’t know if American troops anywhere in the world have killed a supposed enemy of the State since DT took office, but since he is the ultimate Commander-in-Chief of all America’s armed forces, when that first murder occurs (if it hasn’t already), he should be arrested as the ringleader of a bunch of armed thugs. War too is a crime against life, and particularly human life. Why do we allow it to happen? It is our responsibility to see that laws allowing capital punishment are killed everywhere around our globe.

to be continued…

On Being a Spiritual Atheist

The Theist approach to the conundrum of life: Either there is a god, or there is not. I believe there is not. Therefore I am not a Theist.

The Agnostic approach to the conundrum of life: There might be a god, but there might not. I am not a fence-sitter. Therefore I am not Agnostic.

The Atheist approach to the conundrum of life: Since there is no god, there is no life after death. I do believe there is no god, but I do not believe there is no life after death. Where does that leave me?

The Spiritual Atheist approach to the conundrum of life: There is no god, but there is life after death. I am a spiritual atheist.

I don’t know that I am correct in my belief, and I really don’t care if I am correct or not. The gist of the matter, for me, is that if I live the best life I can (by my own self-imposed standards) and there is no life after death, I’ll never know that I was wrong, so who cares? However, if I live the best life I can, and there is life after death, then I will be well-prepared to die. The only conundrum I can see is whether to call the being that is the universe “First Life,” as I have called it since I was young, or whether I should change after all these years to a name more befitting what I believe, and that is “Spirit of Origin”? Since that name came to me in a day dream last week, I am leaning more and more towards the new label as it is a much better descriptor of how I see life, and how I experience the universe.

 

One thing I have noticed about theists is that they believe atheists are generally bad people. Because they have no threat of hell over their heads, atheists can go out and do anything they want–and of course they are going to want the things that theists want but are afraid to do. I can only speak for myself here, but I’m pretty sure most atheists don’t go out and hurt people just because they can. The Hippie subculture of the 60s and early 70s, of which I am one, lived by only one rule, “Be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” I think that rule for life is what most atheists believe, and definitely most spiritual atheists. The difference between us and theists is that theists are scared to do things that go against the will of their god, while we atheists we are not scared to do a lot of different things, but we impose limits on ourselves to what we allow ourselves to do or not do. We aren’t thieves, murderers and rapists because that would hurt other people, and such is not our wish. I’d even be willing to bet that more thieves, murderers, and rapists believe in a god than those who don’t. Why? Because we have ourselves to answer to, and our friends and loved ones to answer to, while theists have god to answer to, and just maybe god is watching someone else while these criminals are committing their crimes against life, be it human/intelligent or non-human/non-intelligent. This is what I mean when I call myself a spiritual atheist: I have to live up to my own standards, and they are set high. Maybe I can’t always keep to these standards, as I can be subject to emotional distress, and I’ll say something I don’t mean. But while I can use my words as well as a soldier can use a gun, I still won’t use a gun, because it is against my beliefs. Bullets rip through bodies and cannot be stopped once fired. Words can only hurt if the listener chooses to let them hurt. This doesn’t mean I am not responsible for my actions. And no one can forgive me but me.

Abstract is Exactly What It Says, Abstract

via Daily Prompt: Abstract

I am taking a blogday off from my spiritual atheist writing to accept WordPress’s challenge to write about the word abstract. Writing, of course, includes poetry, so I am going to go  with an abstract poem:

any en

any en

aany aen

bany ben

cany cen

dany den

eany een

fany fen

gany gen

hany hen

iany ien

jany jen

kany ken

lany len

many men

nany nen

oany oen

pany pen

qany qen

rany ren

sany sen

tany ten

uany uen

vany ven

wany wen

xany xen

yany yen

zany zen

As you can see from the above abstract poem, it has no conventional form, using two lists of words side by side, setting the base line with the first two  side-by-side words, then continuing with consecutive letters of the English alphabet starting the words of consecutive lines. Most of the words thus formed are not real word pairs in the English  language, with three lines noticeably standing out from the rest for containing two common real words. The lines just happen to be in the first line, the middle line, and the last line, giving a weird kind of order interior to the abstraction of the rest of the lines. Moreover, were you to use the words of the three lines thus made, you just might create a message to the reader, one that expresses a very abstract thought, yet one that could be magical in its meaning, were the reader to believe in magic:

Any En can lead Many Men to Zany Zen

rawgod

wany wen