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History and Reality

On January 13, 2018, at approximately 8:15 in the morning, a ballistic missile warning was sent out statewide to people’s phones and TVs in Hawaii saying that it was not a drill and written in all capitalized letters. It wasn’t until ten-twenty minutes later that a follow up message was sent out saying that it was a false alarm.

After looking up newspaper headlines about hawaii missile warnings I saw that Hawaii has been testing their missile warning sirens since late November/early December, but there was no mention of text notifications that I could find.

Anyways, regardless if this was a false alarm and someone messed up or this was the state’s first of many public drills, this morning’s warning broke the existential ice on escalating geopolitical tensions and American imperialism. Even after months of pervasive media propaganda vilifying N. Korea and ramping up the public’s fear of a missile attack while S. Korea and Japan have been issuing their own sirens and building up missile defenses and the American establishment ramps up military training, invasion drills, sanctions and blockades of N. Korea AND Hollywood produces a movie about N. Korea invading America, people still freaked out this morning and ran around with their heads cut off not knowing what to do and feeling like they didn’t have time to say their goodbyes to loved ones.

I have to say that I have yet to see the full scope of the public’s reaction to this, after all I am in Kea’au, a rural/suburban area of the big island of Hawai’i. It was a short-lived reaction many had, but it is interesting that a notification on our phones and TVs struck that nerve of fear about the reality of our mortality. They weren’t even real sirens, just text notifications. “Public” officials and agencies tweeted to the “public” their apologies and commitments to investigating the event before anything was compiled in the news attempting to explain the situation. The first news stories were referring to these tweets and acting as middlemen between the non-tweeting public and the tweeting officials.

The last few months I have been reading a lot of history and recently have been reading about the Vietnam and the Cold War era. It is interesting to have just experienced the stirrings of something I was reading about as history. We don’t need to fear N. Korea. That is nonsense; if they do attack it’ll actually be a retaliation to our behavior and the missile will likely be shot down by either us or Japan or S. Korea, or it will be let through to cause a tragedy and justification for further totalitarianism and imperialism. I get that people fear the abnormal danger, whether rational or not, disproportionately more then a familiar danger but it still is hard to come to terms with the general pandemonium. I myself have only recently been able to reconcile with death in an honest way, and that was largely due to exposure to philosophical excercise, contemplation and reflection and thinking, in the last few years in my undergraduate studies. Now I recognize the importance of that exposure and practice.

The American public is dessenstizied to disaster elsewhere, and desensitized to their living-experience here. There is a screen between people and reality, and until reality breaches the screen Americans, and probably many many others around the world, will not genuinely reconcile with reality. We live in an empire, are “citizens” of an empire, and support by simply existing and being taxed and not dissenting from the everyday structure of the empire the regular and constant bombing of people around the world. Yet, the thought of us being the victims of a reaction against our imperialism is still so distant that even a false alarm will freak people out. Even after 9/11 and the following genocide in Iraq as a disproportionate reaction to the 9/11 reaction based on hype, myth, and lies, people still haven’t figured out or really reflected on or come to terms with the fact that our safety is an illusion built on military supremacy and cruelty. I am very thankful that I was stirred into wonder and curiosity by philosophy and that I have been reading ever since. Without a historical perspective it is easy to be taken by the current of fear and paranoia in this society. The Cold War was a sham built on such paranoia, arrogance, and fear, and was used to escalate militarism, totalitarianism, and imperialism for decades, and people are buying into it again, or still.

That being said, I am proud that people are also resisting and not buying into it in greater numbers then ever before. People and truth find ways to shine through the fog. Enough of imperialism and nationalism and racism and capitalism and militarism and classism! The empire has already lost the war, people and the grassroots have already won, it’ll just take patience and persistence to live while the battles continue. People don’t win because they use imperialism against imperials, they win because imperials decay from within until they change or die. People live until they die, and living is active, and imperials do not understand this. Imperials wish to make everyone suspend living until imperialism wins, but inperialism rots away before it can accomplish its goal. Life adapts to circumstance, and sometimes that means being a seed lying low in the dirt and waiting patiently for the rain to come; other times it means growing up through the cracks in concrete and asphalt, or taking root in ash and rock after a fire or lava flow. Other times it means bending but not breaking in the monsoon winds and standing straight again afterwards like the palm tree.

I feel that the establishment might be at its most powerful point yet, but also paradoxically at its weakest. It’s at its most powerful point militarily, but at its weakest intellectually and spiritually. Screens might be between many people and reality, but they are also exposing many people to other people’s realities as windows, and these realities might be different or surprisingly similar to our own, but the exposure broadens our worldviews.

My apprehension about this event doesn’t have as much to do with the false alarm as much as what is happening in America more generally. The effects of the Cold War that I was reading about are still ruining lives to this day. “Business as usual” is what I am apprehensive about. People that make us uncomfortable with our situated-in-an-empire-selves are who make me hopeful.

Campus Carnival

It seems fun, the history of it is glorified and romanticized, but you get there and end up spending a ton of money for what is essentially not much. Degrees are like stuffed animals from the carnival.

Continue reading Campus Carnival

Just Water

12:44 AM.

Late night or early morning? If I were to tell someone what part of the day it was technically, I would call it very early morning. For that is what it is, it is past midnight and is therefore the next morning. But it does not feel like a morning. Only in another four to five hours will it finally feel like morning. If it were ten PM, it would technically still be the day. The day of yesterday. But it would be night, the sun had set. It would feel as if the day was over and night had begun, but there would still be two more hours of the day left. Right now it is tomorrow. But I have not gone to sleep yet, so I feel like it is still part of yesterday. So here I am, transitioning into tomorrow while it is still today.

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There are no days. There is only a sky that goes from light to dark. But before it gets to dark it must get dimmer, and before it gets light it must get brighter. Sometimes the night is lighter than other nights, and sometimes the day is darker than other days. So what is day and night? There is no day and no night, there is only transition.

If change is constant then there is no reason to fear. We are all going to be different the next moment, and that moment will be realized in one of infinite ways. If anything is possible in the next moment, then why fear? A meteor could end my life right now…

Makes it all silly… Life in general. Continue reading Just Water

Au Contraire

thinking

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Today was a day I didn’t want to do much thinking. Today was also a day that I did a lot of it. Even those two sentences. I was thinking about writing while I was taking a shower a little while ago, and I was thinking about my day. And while I thought about both of those things, I thought that those two first sentences would be a good opener for today’s entry. Actually, when I think about it, I did a lot of thinking about thinking today.

There might need to be another word other then ‘knowing’ to describe that which is only temporary understanding. Isn’t that all that ‘knowledge’ is anyways? We have agreed-upon collective ‘truths’ but they only stay so until a new discovery is made. Then, collectively, we shift our belief-systems to adapt to this new temporary knowledge. I guess that is how it is ideally supposed to work.

Anyways, I have done a lot of thinking today. But I have also tried to not think. Earlier I went into a pool, all the while trying not to think and to just be, to meditate I guess. Of course this was simply an invitation for thoughts to come flooding in. However, I stayed aware that the thoughts and the little voices narrating the thoughts weren’t necessarily my own. After all, how can we be sure they are OUR thoughts? We are constantly being bombarded by the stimulus around us and our own subconscious all the time. Even if they were OUR thoughts, would we really want to own them? I mean what is the point of owning a thought anyways? What good is it to take ownership over something we have so little control over. I say that because my mind seemed to, and seems to, contradict what I would call myself, a lot. Everyone has dark, violent, or rude thoughts. But most people are good people, and often ignore such thoughts or discard them as being fleeting emotional reactions to phenomena. That doesn’t make people bad people, it just means that thoughts aren’t necessarily who we are. Continue reading Au Contraire

A Step Back

A book came in the mail today. It was ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. It is a spiritual novel, taking a holistic look at three major religions together to talk about the looming evolution of human consciousness. Tolle seems to be suggesting, from the two and a half chapters I have read so far, that the evolution will come about by people becoming aware of their egos, or ‘waking up’, en masse. The book has been surprisingly engaging. I was skeptical of it at first. In this nation filled with capital-obsessed people fraud is rife and prevalent. The endorsement of Oprah’s Book Club only made me more hesitant. Was this book going to be some sort of feel-good, bourgeoise, spiritual guidebook written by a fake guru? It may be a feel-good, bourgeois, spiritual guidebook yet, I have only read a fourth of it. Would I be able to tell if it was? I don’t know. Regardless, it seems to have arrived right when I needed it. I was in danger of becoming pretentious and losing sight of my goal.

My goal is to learn, grow, be authentic, connected, and as human, as I can. Most people want that. At least it seems that way when you really break it down. But this primary goal is often forgot because to achieve it is to live a different way of life than society tells you to. It is not a different way of life in the sense that it is better or worse. I would just say that it feels authentic. We have collectively built a society that tries to divert us and distract us from this goal. But it is hard to be a conformed member of such a society when you can see past all the materialism. I just hope that Tolle, and the many others who are having conversations about a looming consciousness shift, are right. There is a fast-growing number of people that seem to want to live on this world in a completely different way. A growing number of people are realizing that we probably will have to live in a completely different way out of ecological necessity.

Anyways, I was losing sight of all this. I was getting caught up in the politics of the campaign season and current affairs important or not, getting into idealogical arguments, and getting wrapped up in my own ego. I forgot about the big picture. So this book came at a good time. It will rebalance me a little. Information can end up replacing wisdom, so it is good to just stop thinking every now and then and just be. Further down the road I hope I can manage to keep in balance, with the intellectual and spiritual parts of myself complimenting each other. Maybe ‘down the road’ will be tomorrow.

Seizing Our Authenticity Together

What an authentic existence is, or what an authentic human is, has remained a mystery for the majority of people for seemingly all of time. In Western culture, and here in America especially, people are being repeatedly sold the latest guides to self-improvement and personal development. Questions like who am I? and what is my purpose? are asked by most people. Yet, depression, isolation, and loneliness are prevalent emotions in our society. Why?

Maybe we haven’t been asking the right questions. Maybe, we have been looking at the issue from the wrong angle. All the questions, guides, books, and teachers have a similar thing in common: they claim to know the answer about how to make someone a more authentic person by fixing something that is wrong with them. But, as it turns out, a person’s happiness is directly correlated with the strength of their relationships. It is not about what I can do to be a better person. It is not about what MY purpose is. It is not a journey of SELF discovery. It is not something that is wrong with ME. Maybe, the key to authenticity has a lot less to do with us as individuals and a lot more with how we relate to other people. Maybe, the key to finding happiness and a place in this world is not about inserting ourselves into whatever we think we want at the time, or who we think we should be at the time, but to build positive relationships with people wherever we go and let our place in society manifest itself. There is a reason why the questions of who am I? and what is my purpose? are asked so frequently yet seemingly answered so rarely. The reason is maybe because these aren’t the right questions to be asking. Maybe the questions we should be asking are who are WE? and what WE as a species, nation, community, or family can do to better the lives of all of US? Purpose is such a stagnant concept. It is hard for me to imagine, people being as adaptable and flexible as they are, for someone to have any one purpose as an individual for their whole lives. Our purpose might take different forms in different parts of our lives, but we can always have the goals of being authentic and compassionate.