Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

I just think it's funny how we curtail "good will to all men" and so forth to a predetermined period of time each year. Naturally, it comes at the end of the year, when we've all finished our blood-sucking and greedious endeavors for the year. It's a time to kick back and absorb the well wishes of your fellow man.

Yet, that's too cold. I'll try and remain optimistic. Pessimism is best left for the other 11 months of the year. But December, oh that's a horse of a different color all together! When I think about it, the holiday season only means two things to me: Presents and peace and quiet. (So what if that's three things; it's two concepts. And who's writing this thing, you or me?)

Presents and peace and quiet.

Now I'm not being cynical again. Let me explain. During this season we are taught to set our differences aside and put up with relatives that we ordinarily wouldn't / couldn't. We are supposed to be kind and cordial to everyone. The holidays don't mean that to me. Hard as it may seem to some, I try to do so year round. Sure I joke around, but harmlessly in intent.

That said I'd like to bring the other holiday tradition up. Religion. I just have to laugh at those people who go to religious observances only during the holidays. God bless them. Seriously. They've more patients than I've got. Don't get me started with organized religion. Then again, who am I to say what's right and wrong for others. I only know what's wrong for me. And, organized religion is bad for me. I believe complete freedom. I don't want to be told what to believe. And, my God accepts that.

So in the spirit of the holiday season I'd like to extend a welcome to my table for all those who I seem to have pissed off this year. So here's my list:

Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Republicans, Communalists, Populists, Catholics, Christians, God, Jesus, Ann Coulter, Dubya, Our High Exalted Leader Richard Cheney, Tom DeLay, Ted Stevens, Organized Religion, Catholic Schools, the Weatherman, Satan, UFO's everywhere, Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears, and anyone who has ever been forced to give or accept (??) a blumpkin.

Likewise I'd like to apologize for stupid comments illtimedly made, ridiculous statements later and forever regretted, anything I've ever said against friends or family members in the heat of the moment or otherwise, and anything I've ever said (and I know that there's a lot) that has annoyed, offended, disgusted, or otherwise made uncomfortable the life of another person I care about.

With that all said I would like to add one more point. I don't hold grudges and I always forgive. So consider everything anyone has ever said to me (barring one 19-year-long exception that'll take some time to work on) and everything everyone has ever done to me (again barring the same exception) completely and permanently forgiven. Next year I want to start anew and I hope that you'll all do the same.

So, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and fulfilling New Year. God Bless.

Home for the Holidays

Home for the holidays, now isn't that a novel thought. I thought "home is where the heart is." In which case, I've never left home; it's always come with me where ever I've gone. Hmm, maybe they meant metaphorically. Hopefully they did anyways. The way I see it, home is where you are most happy.

During this holiday season, I came to thinking where home was for me. When I'm sitting at the DC for breakfast do I say I'm going back to the dorm or back home after class? For a while there it seemed sort of strange equating home with my 10 x 13 rectangle of paradise. But you know what, I think it grew on me. And, the more I think about it sitting here at "home" during winter break, the more it makes sense. For vacation, I'm heading to my mom and dad's house, my brother and sister's home. When vacation is done and classes recommence, I'm heading home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who I Am

In my life I've seen a ton of things, some good, most not. And when I sit back and reflect on my life, I realize the sheer number of possibilities that I've survived. Rightfully, by my count I should be dead at least three times over now. Seriously, not metaphorically, stone cold dead. 1986, 2000, 2002-3. And, probably more in there too. Yet I'm still here, albeit if not for modern medicine I wouldn't be so lucky. Then again, who's to say.

I don't believe in predestination. Do you know what would make my life worth living? When I die and take up residence with God, the utterance of only one sentence would make life completely worth all the shit that was lived. "Through thick and thin, everything that you were, everything that you experienced and did, you did it all yourself." That's all I'd need to know.

I love people who claim to be innocent, not that they are or aren't but that they are able to make that claim convincingly. Me, I'm not, of mind, body or soul. Such is life, but it doesn't bother me. I just look at these people, laugh at their naive notions, and wait on the sideline to be affirmed. It's not like I'm trying to be a jerk; they wouldn't believe me if I told them they were wrong.

I've seen more than of which I am willing to speak. I have experienced pains and sufferings further than those of most (of which most I won't speak), yet I don't complain. I am many things to others, quiet, angry, aloof, distant (though playfully you can call me anything you want). But really, this is just my past seeping through. I don't whine. I don't cry. I press on. For such is the way of things in the Machiavellian Wasteland.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Ventings of a Mad Man Pt. IV - Reality

Reality defines generations, makes us who we are; yet reality is abstract, as no one reality can ever prove to be the "real reality." Reality is also ever changing and ever elusive. It is never the same thing to different people at any time or the same thing to the same people at different times. Experiences that we face mold and change our perception of the world around us in ways that we cannot possibly imagine. Reality is not the notion of an overarching principle by which all life is defined but rather it is the macrocosmic concept we use to describe the compilations of all our microcosmic experiences, desires, and aspirations. It is how we see the world.

Of course, the world is not a perfect place; because of this reality becomes less simple. In the "real" world, reality is subject to interpretation by the body in control. It is this interpretation that is then forced upon the masses as a means of control. In this way, reality can be altered through the use of propaganda and lies. One is then owned by the ideals that they believe they themselves had created. When reality is manufactured by the state (or a dictator equivalent) and thrust upon the masses, the (desired) result is complacency with the status quo.

It is commonly said that "hindsight is 20-20". However, I find this to be untrue. Rather, I believe that hindsight is a refraction of the past through the lens of the present. Because reality is a present tense notion and the human mind cannot retain all of which it comprehends, our vision of what the past was is foggy at best and many times skewed by the ideals of others. Because perception of past realities is foggy, one is able to some extent to alter the past perception of reality of another.

Human nature dictates that man desires to return everything to a state of homeostasis. When disaster occurs, man seeks to find the quickest way to return his or her realities to a state of neutrality. Because of this, new realities overtake the memories of old ones. The worse the cataclysm the deeper one will respect the new reality even at the expense of personal freedoms (i.e. Hitler's rise to power, the Patriot Act). In a time of danger, man is quick to act to revert reality back to the way that they believe it once was, even at the expense of personal freedom. In many respects this also sums up the desires of conservatives worldwide. They desire to return their realities to a previous (seemingly more desirable) state.

This course of action is, however, faulty. Of course, there has yet to be a perfect way to control people (except perhaps 1984's Thought Police). I believe that, even as one may not remember their original reality, they wish its freedoms back as melancholy sets in after the reintroduction of monotony by an oppressive regime.

What makes Americans afraid to open their mail or to fly? What made some of us rush out and buy duct tape and rolls of plastic to wrap around their houses before the chemical attacks began? (Think about how stupid that sounds now anyways). It was all done out of fear, fear of some enemy in a far away, mysterious place that few had ever been, populated with people that few ever had the opportunity to get to know, and let us not forget the all-famed weapons of mass destruction. Someone decided that they wanted our support for a war that was not only unnecessary but also based on a complete lie, and fear made (many of) us believe in this cause.

Our perception of reality was changed after September 11th 2001. The new reality was one of fear. People stopped flying, stopped going to malls for fear of a bombing (I don��t even want to try to comprehend why), mail became a threat, and all links to the world abroad were subject to scrutiny. The word Muslim became synonymous with (a completely different word) terrorism. The French, oh God the French. They sold weapons to the terrorist groups years ago, but do not worry, so did we. But they're still jerks nonetheless. (Freedom fries, oh for God's sake). This is the world that many of us live in today. This is the reality that was made for us, though it is our choice whether or not to accept it.

Hopefully, some of us will be able to make a stand against fear, and history says that some will. There are those who have come along to challenge our perception of reality, and more than likely some still are today, be them governmental, or television, music, or movie related.

Those who have power and use it to supplement their own lives tread heavily on the rights and freedoms of their subordinates. Through the manipulation of ones perceived reality, they are able to make people believe virtually anything that they want them to believe. Sometimes this is done out of necessity, other times it is done to control people. One of the easiest ways to restore order is to remove freedoms from the masses especially in the wake of a disaster of epic proportions.

All that being said, it is clear to me that reality is only that which it is made, either by the person themselves or by their leader. For better or worse, this is a commonality in society, because man desires to remain in a state of complacency and will do surprisingly much to get there. Disaster brings out the worst in our leaders, especially when their intentions are not for the overall good but just for their own desire for complacency.