Showing posts with label civilization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civilization. Show all posts

27 June, 2018

All along the multiverse/Traversing the Big Empty, Part 2 ("Foreign Objects" and the San Bernardino Jerk)

[continued from Part 1]

[Northeast of Albuquerque NM, 26 June 2018]

So the thing about traveling by train is that there is at least one other inevitability you must embrace: you will (probably) not be on time. it's not that it can't happen. it's just that the odds are against it. Other than the near guarantee that I'll be within earshot of a crying child on an overnight trip (This is true on buses, trains, and planes. I always carry gun range quality ear plugs, just in case.), the only other thing I can promise is that, at least ONCE on any leg of a train trip, I will overhear someone complain about the train running late.

It's also not uncommon for the same person who complains about the train running late to be a smoker who also complains about not getting enough time to smoke.

The lesson here? If you're contributing to a problem, you're in a good position to be a part of the solution. In the case, shut up and be grateful for what smoke breaks  you get because, seriously, they don't have to. THEY DON'T HAVE TO. They cut a fresh air stop at San Bernardino because someone jerk thought the All Aboard call meant he had time to take his time and finish his cigarette and apparently didn't like it when the train left without him.

What's the take away there, Dear Friends and Readers? It only takes ONE jerk to ruin it for everyone.
Being part of a community -- even a temporary one created because everyone is on the same train -- means there are larger concerns. For example, when some person or persons unknown puts paper towels or other ... to quote Conductor Justin ... "Foreign Objects" down one of the vacuum toilets, it can cause the ALL THE TOILETS ON THE TRAIN NOT TO WORK. That happening can really affect the air quality in an enclosed coach. Larger concerns define -- or impact -- every aspect of travel, from the rule against "foreign objects" to the prohibition of pocket knives on air planes and Greyhound buses, to the limits on baggage size and weight, to [fill in the blank.] Yes, everyone wants to get where they're going. But that means EVERYONE WANTS TO GET WHERE THEY'RE GOING. EVERY ONE.

Contradicting or impeding common purposes -- those things that are bigger than any one of us -- naturally has consequences. The San Bernardino Jerk (as he is forever named) caused the cancellation of a fresh air break. Who ever the person or persons were who tried to flush "foreign objects" down one of the toilets caused a delay in Albuquerque (of all places) for repairs that has put the train a about an hour behind. 

And how will they make this time up? That's right. THEY WILL CUT THE FRESH AIR BREAKS.
It's not rocket science. It's just common sense and... etiquette.



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20 September, 2016

Notes from the Bunker #2: Return of the Baboon

Ain't no money in poetry, 'cause that's what set the poet free. Well I've had all the freedom I can stand. - Guy Clark

I am like a night raven in the house. - Psalms 101:8 (DR)

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. - Dr. Johnson


The best lessons are the ones you have learn over and over.

Most of the problems I encounter are entirely self-created. This is true for the majority of people. At the onset, the previous statement is not considered to be an especially sexy one in this day and age of the perpetual victim, the labeled and disregarded, the self-disenfranchised, and the botched afterbirth of an aborted american dream.*

It's true that the machinations of the dominant culture in these, the days final days of American Empire, are constructed on a model similar to the kind of economic Social Darwinism that grand designers like Milton Friedman, Henry Kissinger, JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller saw as the only way to yoke the possibilities that absolute democracy present. The cards are stacked against the very myth our civilization ** insists on pushing on its people --

that hard work alone will create the success we believe we are entitled to simply because we are Americans.

This being true, however, does not remove from an individual the responsibility for learning how to act in, react to, and walk through the world. 

One of the fundamental mistakes people -- usually the young, the inexperienced, or the naively optimistic (I've been all three, sometimes simultaneously) --  make at this point is to generalize and make some outrageous claim like 

IF EVERYONE JUST DID _____________________ THEN WE WOULD ALL BE ______________! 

While it's always fun to play the Socio-economic Edition of Mad Libs, it's not especially useful. The
problem is that while we're all in this together, every single person has to figure out their own path to where ever it is they want to go. The truth is that the truth really is a pathless land.*** If you're walking in someone else's tracks all the time, you're trusting someone else's instincts to get you through. 

My first mistake in ensuring my or my family's survival is signing away my self-sovereignty. I do this for a lot of reasons that are all well and good, and for a few reasons that are simply reactions to some deeply-embedded issues tied to my father's death and my sometimes tendency to look for father figures when I don't need one. On some level, I will never be sure Dad would be proud of me because I can't hear it from him. 

When I feel my lowest, when I feel powerless, when I feel like an absolute failure, it is almost always when I allow myself to fall prey to that old issue.  When I doubt myself, I chain myself to an image of manhood that does not address the angels and the devils in my nature. 

And when I walk through the world honestly and with power, I bring all of myself and I lumber through this world like a mad baboon. It's impossible for me to exist in the world without embracing my limitations and failings as much as I embrace my successes.When I ignore those things, a giant hole opens in my soul that swallows all of me. When this happens, I'm no good for anyone.




 
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* It may have been true once. Maybe. I tend to think that the "American Dream" is like "Tastes Great, Less Filling." It's one more commodity we have been sold to keep our noses pointed to the ground.
**I use that term loosely, as the United States demonstrates more each day that it is not anywhere near civilized. I blame this on the failure of memory. More on that another time.
*** Jiddu Krishnamurti