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The Church of the Painful Truth
-- or -- Zen and the Art of Setting Things On Fire
I was idly taking a look around the other day and realized something. Come April, this journal will have been going for five years. It's outlasted friendships, girlfriends, fuck, it's outlasted cars. It's turned into something that I've enjoyed, that's helped me think in different directions, find new avenues. I've ranted, raved, and moaned, I've bitched and complained to bring down the stars. Even though this journal doesn't really reflect who I am day-to-day, there's still a lot of me in it, and I've always believed that there's a lot of magic in the things that you keep close for a long time.

But I also believe that a big part of doing anything well is knowing when to stop. It's been time to stop for awhile now, I haven't had the energy or drive (or sheer bile and venom) to keep this up the way I want to. It's no longer something I gravitate to, and in a way, it's like Dave Barry said - "It's kind of like being married to a nymphomaniac. The first two weeks it's fun." I think I've held onto this for sentimental reasons, in part hoping that I'll find my way back to it or find the same joy in writing. It's time, though. The world has moved on, and I go with it. As the old song says - This is the end. My only friend, the end.

Be that as it may, though, it won't stop me from having my say. People getting executed get to have some final words, I see no reason I shan't accord myself the same privilege. I guess this is my ... manifesto.

What have I learned over the past 5 years?

People are fools. They do foolish things, like wearing capes and pretending to be vampires, or listening to John Denver records. You are not excluded. Neither am I. Cultivate the ability to look at something from someone else's point of view. The more you can empathize with them, the more you can influence them, for better or ill. Never forget that it works both ways, though.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So do people. Create a void, and something will fill it. Maintain a silence, and people will speak to break it. Never underestimate the power of absolute nothing. Only in stillness can you see clearly.

When the carbon monoxide content of inhaled air exceeds 1.28%, death will follow within three minutes.

Life is a Leonard Cohen song. We speak in code because we think in riddles.

The world will always be divided into those who are weak and those who are strong. Where you are depends largely on you. Never equate kindness with weakness, nor strength with destruction. Both will cause you to fail. If someone strikes you, hurt them. If they hurt you, break their bones. If they break your bones, kill them. Those who beat their swords into plowshears will plow for those who do not.

Desire is not an occupation. You will never be satisfied by anything until you are satisfied with yourself. Until you are prepared and able to willingly live alone, you will not be successful sharing your life with someone else. The one common factor is all your failures is you. The same goes for your successes.

Success is how you define it. Failure is always the same - the inability to reach your goals, whatever they may be. Success is the brand on the brow of the man who has aimed too low.

Always have the ability to write, and always have the ability to create fire. These two things are the foundation of human civilization. Without them we'd still be living in caves.

You have more control over your life than you might think. Exercise that control. Expand it. Fight to the death those who would take it away from you.

There may be a god. There may not be. It may be that we create our gods - our belief in the god of the christians is no less strong then the belief of the romans in Jupiter, or the Norse in Ragnarok. God may have left the scene of his crime. The bottom line is that whatever your path in life may be, make sure that you can look back from your deathbed and honestly say "I did a good job". If you can do that, than no god can fault you.


Well, friends, gentlemen and ladies, those of you I know are out there and those of you I don't, I salute you. I couldn't have made this little corner of the net what it is without your help (well that and a little Johnny Walker wisdom). You have my thanks.

This is Simon, signing off.

Over and out.

Current Mood: Wistful
Current Music: Dress Rehershal Rag - Leonard Cohen

Understand that in order for organized religion to succeed, it has to make people believe they need it. In order for people to put faith in something else, they must first lose faith in themselves. So the first task or organized religion is to make you lose faith in yourself. The second task is to make you see that it has the answers you do not. And the third and most important task is to make you accept its answers without question.

If you question, you start to think! If you think, you start to go back to that Source Within. Religion can't have you do that, because you're liable to come up with an answer different from what it has contrived. So religion must make you doubt your Self; must make you doubt your own ability to think straight.

It is religion which has created agnostics.

Any clear thinker who looks at what religion has done must assume that religion has no God! For it is religion which has filled the hearts of men with fear of God, where once man loved That Which is in all its splendor.

It is religion which has ordered men to bow down before God, where once man rose up in joyful outreach.

It is religion which has burdened man with worries about God's wrath, where once man sought God to lighten his burden.

It is religion which told man to be ashamed of his body and its most natural functions, where once man celebrated those functions as the greatest gift of life!

It is religion which taught you that you must have an intermediary in order to reach God, where once you thought yourself to be reaching God by the simple living of your life in goodness and in truth.

And it is religion which commanded humans to adore God, where once humans adored God because it was impossible not to.

Everywhere religion has gone it has created disunity -- which is the opposite of God.

-Neale Donald Walsh

Not entirely my viewpoint, but interesting nonetheless.
Brain Food - 11 //-\\ Feed on Minds
From the Iraqi Ministry of Health: In 2004, 3,274 civilians died, 2,041 of them as the result of "military operations".

Fuck. That's a pretty hefty number, isn't it? Over 2,000 civilians killed as a result of "military operations". Looks like these elections came with a pretty hefty price tag. That number's beeing tossed around as a major criticism of our efforts to bring freedom and self-government to the people (and help make a safer world for us, don't forget). And it seems pretty nasty. After all, if we've killed over 2000 civilians in our military operations, then...oh, wait...no, wait...let's take a closer look at this.Collapse )
Brain Food - 4 //-\\ Feed on Minds
I fully support you following your dreams. Espically if they lead you somewhere else.
Brain Food - 3 //-\\ Feed on Minds
Got a job offer from a company, basic end-user support. Some networking and hardware work, mainly on IBM machines. Starting pay is $16 an hour, moving to $18 after the first year and then going from there, which is a decent step up from the meager $11.50 I'm making now. I'm qualified, I'm able, it's good pay, plenty of opportunity to go further. Then she tells me that there's some travel involved. Specifically around 25% of the time I'd be in one of Georgia's border states supporting one of the remote facilities.

And I turn it down. My father spent most of the time whenI was young on the road. He'd be gone before my brother and I woke up, and get home after we had gone to sleep. There were plenty of nights that he spent at the office, bunked on the couch. He provided for us as best he could, he was able to ensure that my mother would be able to be a stay-at-home mom, and it was appreciated, but I still missed having him around. By the time I started getting older there was a lot of resentment built up, and there were a lot of fights. I don't want to do that with my family.

But that wasn't the real reason I turned the offer down, not after I thought about it for a bit. It's much more personal than that.

It was because of the little voice in the back of my head that jumped up and started going "Yes! Go for it!" It's the same little voice that's quite happy to pull any and all overtime, the one that thinks 60 hour work weeks arn't enough. The one that measures my value by the numbers on my paycheck. When I was in college, I listened to that little voice a lot. I would put in a good 60-70 hours of work a week, between the theater and my actual job-type job. I went from popping caffine pills like candy, to ephedra, to meth and whatever other uppers I could fine. Never did coke, though, probably because I couldn't get any. By the end of it, my system was so torn up that I couldn't eat much more than broth for about a month. And the scariest thing about it was that I was happy doing it. I've never slept so well. That total and utter exhaustion told me that I was doing something... if not worthwhile, then something that I had put absolutely everything I had into. It was a good feeling, and it took me awhile to realize the addiction for what it was. Bu that point, it had damn near killed me. My stomach is still nowhere near what it was before that couple of months.

I try not to listen to that little voice anymore.

But it's still there.
Brain Food - 1 //-\\ Feed on Minds
Oh, this just continues to piss me off. I can't browse the internet without being subjected to "Tsunami Relief" shit absolutely everywhere I fucking go. There are donation drops at my grocery store. I've got Dubya sending my hard earned money to them. Now I'm even getting fucking Tsunami Relief spam, for god's sake. And then I read this. While we are at war with Islamic Jihadists and other Muslim fundamentalists who have no qualms about killing women and children, not only do we provide financial assistance and manpower support from a federal level to one of the largest Muslim nations in the world, we as a people on a civil level have provided vast amounts of assistance from organizations like the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies. People donate food, money, supplies, all out of the generosity of their hearts. I'd say "our" hearts, but I am neither that generous nor that kind. In this war that is apparently being fought on their side because we "oppress" the muslim people, America still stepped up to the plate and assisted a Muslim nation.

Now, I'm going to take all my annoyance at going out for a nation that's sure as hell not going to appreciate it, and I'm going to set that aside for a moment because this just blew me away. In regard to the Tsunami that just wiped out a couple hundred thousand Muslims, Ibrahim Al-Bashar, advisor and religious council to Saudi Arabia's justice minister, said this on Saudi television:

"Whoever reads the Koran, given by the Maker of the World, can see how these nations were destroyed. There is one reason: They lied, they sinned, and (they) were infidels. Whoever studies the Koran can see this is the result. ... These countries, in which these things occurred -- don't they refrain from adopting Allah's law, which is a form of heresy? Whoever does not act according to Allah's law is a heretic, that's what Allah said in the Koran. Don't these countries have witchcraft, sorcery, deceitfulness and abomination?"

Now there's a real loving Muslim, full of warm fuzzy feelings for his fellow man. Fuck, if he feels that way about a pantload of Muslims getting pressure-washed off the planet, can you imagine what his opinion of us is?

And further, can you imagine if Bush had said that? Dear crispy-fried Christ Jesus, there'd be outrage, thousands of people protesting and calling for his impeacement or immediate resignation.

That whole peace loving nation of Islam just continues to impress me with examples of tolerance, generosity, kindness and respect. I mean, with examples like this, I'm suprised we haven't converted already. No wait, let's just clense this whole fucking idea of some omnipotent deity out of our collective colons. That way maybe at least we can be honest about the reasons when we kill people.
Brain Food - 6 //-\\ Feed on Minds
Welp, looks like we might as well have kept that $360 million or so of American taxpayer money. In an incredible show of appreciation for all the assistance rendered to the nation is its time of need, Vice President Jusuf Kalla announced that all foreign troops assisting with the restoration and aid effort must leave by the end of March saying, "Three months are enough. The sooner, the better. In the future, there will be no need for the foreign military presence."

Nice. Real nice.

Did I call it or what?
Brain Food - 9 //-\\ Feed on Minds
The anti-globalization crowd is about the most hypocritic bunch of people without any clue about what they're talking ever (mostly liberal arts crowd without even the most basic understanding of economics and usually no need to have it anyhow cause their parents will pay for their life one way or another) I can think of. They'll hold global meetings claiming that other people who do the same have no right to do so (I'm not even going into discussing just how good PR it is to blow up cars and McDonalds stores). It's also most interesting that the people affected the most by globalization (low class, factory workers and the like) aren't nearly as vocal about it as the people who BENEFIT of it.

The only (proveable, BTW) way to get the 3rd world up to speed (aside of pumping trillions of dollars down there which in the end would be spent on weapons or trickle into some corrupt leaders pocket anyhow) would be to drop all protectionist duty on agricultural goods, essentially kicking *up* globalization a few notches, not trying to slow it down. But seeing that this would drive European and American farmers out of business (which wouldn't be the worst of all things either considering just how much the US and EU spend on them each year), this isn't gonna happen anytime soon.

-- "None" (2003-11-15)
Feed on Minds
Dear John Kerry:

Goodness, seems like someone on Democraticunderground.com is a tad upset with the performance of John "Waffle House" Kerry. An entertaining letter, and even more entertaining replies to it. But there's one part of it that I'd like to address --

Would you like to know more?Collapse )
Brain Food - 1 //-\\ Feed on Minds

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Feed on Minds