Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sep 28th, 2007
01:07 am - there is such a thing as a tesseract

It is a dark and stormy night. (No lie. I even made hot cocoa earlier.)

I grew up in a household where everyone "knew" there was a copy of A Wrinkle in Time (and the entire Chronicles of Narnia, the Oz books, various bits of the Wheel of Time, etc.; I sometimes think of them like lost, benevolent ghosts) somewhere in the basement (Or maybe the attic. Have you tried the attic?) but no one could ever find it (Are you sure you looked in the basement?). So I've gotten to know the children's section at the library pretty well. I sat between two child-sized bookcases for about a half hour this afternoon, reading titles. I don't know why, exactly. Maybe I just needed a little child-sized comfort.

I didn't quite find it. As often as I've read A Wrinkle in Time, it breaks me down every time. Just say "there is such a thing as a tesseract" and I'll burst into tears. But it's a comforting kind of disturbed. There is love that can take you across the universe. Sometimes your greatest faults are your greatest strengths. The people you've lost can be found. The stars are conspiring to save you. I sat between two child-sized bookcases this afternoon, remembering that the world is a disturbing and beautiful place. I don't know what I'll be doing in a year. I'll try to make it something disturbing and beautiful.

-From the journal of frostflake


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because "friends react on one another" and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. This is unquestionably true. Moreover, if one is to love God, or to love humanity as a whole, one cannot give one's preference to any individual person. This again is true, and it marks the point at which the humanistic and the religious attitude cease to be reconcilable. To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others. The autobiography leaves it uncertain whether Gandhi behaved in an inconsiderate way to his wife and children, but at any rate it makes clear that on three occasions he was willing to let his wife or a child die rather than administer the animal food prescribed by the doctor. It is true that the threatened death never actually occurred, and also that Gandhi - with, one gathers, a good deal of moral pressure in the opposite direction - always gave the patient the choice of staying alive at the price of committing a sin: still, if the decision had been solely his own, he would have forbidden the animal food, whatever the risks might be. There must, he says, be some limit to what we will do in order to remain alive, and the limit is well on this side of chicken broth. This attitude is perhaps a noble one, but, in the sense which - I think - most people would give to the word, it is inhuman. The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. There is an obvious retort to this, but one should be wary about making it. In this yogi-ridden age, it is too readily assumed that "non-attachment" is not only better than a full acceptance of earthly life, but that the ordinary man only rejects it because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being is a failed saint. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, I believe, find that the main motive for "non-attachment" is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is "higher". The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all "radicals" and "progressives," from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

-George Orwell, "Reflections on Gandhi"


The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.
-Ralph W. Sockman

When I look at you, English becomes my second language.

No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid.

If you live in a major city of america. I probably was there getting drunk at underground venues. Look under toilets against the wall. You'll find my name there.
This even includes asheville north carolina.

"Ruin them. Wreck their lives. Then build them cubicles to end their days in. Hushaby. Lullaby. Die, dog. Little dog, die."

Don't be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing the one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind..."

There is some sadness in it -- there has to be, so that the happiness in it will matter.

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!"
William Shakespeare

"The ending is brilliant. Seriously. I might get that inscribed on my casket someday so God will understand."

Granted our streets are the suburbs, but you know. We have streets in suburbs!

Life is full of horror; nobody escapes, nobody; save yourself. Whatever pulls on you, whatever needs from you, threatens you. Don't be afraid; people are so afraid; don't be afraid to live in the raw wind, naked, alone... Learn at least this: What you are capable of. Let nothing stand in your way.

I would rather be ashes than dust, a spark burnt out in a brilliant blaze
Than be stifled in dry rot…For man's chief purpose is to live , not to exist,
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them; I shall use my time.
Jack London 1876-1916

I will not waste my days trying to prolong them.

Reality is a thin layer between what you see and what you want to.

"...just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there..."

"The Knower of Truth should go about the world outwardly stupid like a child, a madman or a devil." - Mahavakyaratnamala

"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror." -Kahlil Gibran

Maybe I am a prophet. Not just me, all of us who are dying now. Maybe we've caught the virus of prophecy... Be still, toil no more. Maybe the world has driven God from heaven and incurred the angel's wrath. I believe I've seen the end of things, and having seen I'm going blind as prophets do; it makes a certain sense to me. And if I hate heaven my only resistance is to run. -Angels in America

...without love, without anger, without sorrow, breath is just a clock ticking

-God Creates-Creative People-
-Creative People-Create Gods-

These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have other ones.
-Marx, Groucho

"Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg."

"They must find it difficult, those who have taken the authority as truth, rather than truth as the authority."
-Gerald Massey

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause.

Whenever I say we should do something sometime, I'm secretly hoping you'll say 'Why not now?'

Fun game: find a combination of two items that most freaks out the cashier.
Winner: pregnancy test and single coat hanger.

That shirt looks good on you, but it would look even better stuffed into the neck of a vodka bottle and flung burning through our office building's window. Let's fucking do it and never look back.

Monopoly's just a game, Senator... I'm trying to control the fucking world.

No, no angst. After D101 and Ice I'd like to try something a little lighter. It's more adventure themed. Diana Wynne Jones meets Gilmore Girls. With unicorns.

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. — Plato

"It doesn't matter what you believe in if you think everyone else is wrong" -
Matthew Good

Fun game: try to post a YouTube comment so stupid that people realize you must be joking.
(Hint: this is impossible)

But still. Still bless me anyway. I want more life. I can't help myself. I do. I've lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they're more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they're burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children - they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don't know if that's just the animal. I don't know if it's not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that's it, that's the best I can do. It's so much not enough. It's so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life. And if he [God] comes back, take him to court. He walked out on us, he oughta pay.
-Prior Walter


I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great, spectacularly prolific writer and scientist, Dr. Isaac Asimov in that essentially functionless capacity. At an A.H.A. memorial service for my predecessor I said, "Isaac is up in Heaven now." That was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. It rolled them in the aisles. Mirth! Several minutes had to pass before something resembling solemnity could be restored.I made that joke, of course, before my first near-death experience -- the accidental one.

So when my own time comes to join the choir invisible or whatever, God forbid, I hope someone will say, "He's up in Heaven now." Who really knows? I could have dreamed all this.

My epitaph in any case? "Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt." I will have gotten off so light, whatever the heck it is that was going on.

Kurt Vonnegut


Friday, November 02, 2007

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

-- Ryokan