Tuesday, February 26, 2013


het·er·o·dox·y: 1. rejection of regularly accepted beliefs or doctrines; departure from an acknowledged standard; opposite of orthodoxy. 2. Belief, doctrine or opinion not in agreement with what is regularly accepted.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Crazy like Fox

Dear CRTC, 

I am outraged to contemplate the possibility of forced subsidization of Fox News North through mandatory carriage. Please do not let this happen.
Rich Landriault
Dundas, Ontario
Re: CRTC #2012-0687-1

I sent this message care of Avaaz.org, along with 37 thousand other petitioners, to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission and to Sun News Network to protest the latter's bid to recoup $17 million in well-deserved losses by making the Fox News North network mandatory across Canada. The CRTC has intentionally welcomed this public forum before making a decision.

That this racket has anything to do with the original Fox News disgrace that has made an irreparable catastrophe of American media and politics is reason enough to be horrified of this proposal. That this channel (which few around here apparently want to watch) is run by a former top aid of a certain skunk of a prime minister who's name I will not speak, is no comfort either.

That the network is failing here (thank god) is no credit to superior "Canadian" sensibility or anything like that, at least by my accounting. "Canadians" enjoy a much smaller population which simply means fewer of everything, including morons.

You can speak up here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_fox_news_north_2013_rb/?cTLPFab

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nights In White Satin

Nights in White Satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I've written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say any more

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

Gazing at people
Some hand in hand
Just what I'm going through
They can't understand

Some try to tell me
Thoughts they can not defend
Just what you want to be 
you'll be in the end

'Cause I love you...

For years I thought the song was called Knights in White Satin - until I saw the title in writing. I then presumed that this was ambiguity by design. The initial music whispers of princessly romance in a faerie garden while the closing orchestral sequence smacks of medieval trumpets heralding a king's army. Common testimony however pegs a set of satin bedsheets as the origin of the title.

I don't pretend to know what messages Justin Hayward and the Moody Blues wished to send but the messages which I personally interpret are of significantly more resonance than the average pop song. What follows here is simply one interpretation:

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end

A world of darkness, devoid of enlightenment, in which we wear absurd robes, masking ourselves as saintly creatures - though with a garish quality because it is not the real image of a saint but rather the image of our flawed interpretation of a saint. This darkness has no end. Enlightenment is not coming. Evolution has stalled. We rest at a morbid standstill.

Letters I've written
Never meaning to send

The internal dialogue of weak consciousness. The bad testimony. Poor excuses for the evil we constantly do and feel. Rationalization. We do it all the time and mostly don't even know we're doing it. The instinctive mind placating the confused consciousness. "We're not evil. We're good."

But we can't transmit these messages; well, some of us can't. For the thoughtful person, as soon as we start speaking these rationalizations aloud they break down and we detect the falseness; the failed logic.

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before

With the perspectives accessed through nascent enlightenment, the same people we'd either subconsciously despised for the evil we outwardly tried to ignore or whom we overtly despised for the evils we chose to see, have now become beautiful, because we've amended our flawed perspective; graduated to the universal context. Evil is normal and was necessary for existence. It is the new and rare capacity for goodness that is miraculous and relevant. The human is beautiful for that.

Just what the truth is
I can't say any more

Now that we grasp the power and inaccessibility of the master mind; the instinctive mind; the non-consciousness, we know that we can never fully trust our conscious thoughts any more  Was that thought pure and true? Or was it rationalization? We are now at war: Consciousness versus instinct, and as with any war, our internal communications are encoded.

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

You're all beautiful. Love is losing its linear dimension. Love is a state. We are becoming a creature of love.

Gazing at people
Some hand in hand

We see those who have not made these discoveries. They wear the clothes we used to wear and say the things we used to say. They grasp onto each other in pairs. Rather than learn to become a creature of love; something they know not the possibility of, they make artificial contracts with each other. They promise to wear the robes of love for each other for all time and to deny love to anyone else. But it's a very hard promise to keep.

Just what I'm going through
They can't understand

For the creature of love, the hand-in-hand tradition does not apply. The artificial security it offers is of no value to the creature of love while the restrictions of exclusivity threaten to dis-enlighten  to stifle the capacity for evolved love. But the uninitiated can not grasp this.

Some try to tell me
Thoughts they can not defend

The uninitiated don't know what we've been through. They contradict our advice with illegitimate perspectives which pass for reality to them, derived from ingrained false or flawed dogma embedded by the ruling structures of society. They are the things we used to say before we knew better.

Just what you want to be 
you'll be in the end

To the uninitiated all of their living experience is a weaving of illusions. When all of life is illusory then that is your reality. Whatever rationalizations one relies upon may as well, for all purposes, be regarded as your reality, since reality is perception. It is the matrix.

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you...

So much love stems from pity for those in the matrix. But we don't say this aloud for the word pity is despised. It is insulting to be pitied because we don't have the capacity to appreciate most of our own suffering. We have not the necessary perspectives to do the accounting. The suffering is written off as the price for being alive. But that is not the reality. And what enlightened being should not love the sufferer?

This pretty much concludes the thoughts I have had about this song. But now, listening to the 7.5 minute album version in order to transcribe the lyrics accurately, I am taking in the further poetry spoken toward the end of this version: The "Late Lament." I've heard it before but without paying it much mind, so I will now attempt an initial exploration:

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
watch lights fade from every room

Night approaches, be that linear or metaphorical.

---- people look back and lament
Another days useless ---- spent

Sorry. I can't make this out! This isn't going very well, is it?

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and settles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

The limits of linear love? The sex addiction (not that sex isn't okay!), the grief when the matrix offers no hand-in-hand lover to the uninitiated. The dual nature of maternal love; a function of natural selection; a chemical equation, which, granted, does not preclude a component of more noble conscious love. And the fear of dying alone?

Cold hearted orb rules the night
removes the colours from our sight
red is gray and yellow, white
but we decide which is right
and which is an illusion

It is the moon, not the sun which sheds our light. The lunar light is a counterfeit light. The moon is not the real source. Metaphorically, it is illusion not truth which guides our lives. As individuals we each decide which battles to fight. When do we accept illusion for truth (the rule) and when do we laboriously endeavour to calculate the hidden truth?

Of course, the lyrics taken as literally as possible tell a simple tale of long sleepless nights haunted by unrequited love, though I never hear that. But that's applicability for you.

So... this is a glimpse into one component of the poetic life. Not escape, observation, contemplation or discipline, but consolidation. Not particularly astounding though, eh? This song has never enlightened me to anything; contained no revelation. As with almost any exploration it offers no more than consolidation: words that these ears might choose to interpret as affirmation; an indulgence, admittedly.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Family Day

I spent the recent Family Day holiday with a family whose friendship I deeply cherish, a privileged dinner guest in their delightful home. The son, previously referred to here as Gifty McBrainchild and deserving a far better alias, is clearly a product of his parents. Like him, they possess a grounded intelligent calm sensibility and deep capacities for kindness, sensitivity and empathy. And the co-mother previously referred to here as the Dog Whisperer also deserves a better alias. I've never been so stuck coming up with appropriate nicknames.

It is almost astounding to find three people of such excellent relatively-uniform quality comprising one family. Needless to say my heart is very fond of them.

What I am not fond of, is my own behaviour when I'm around them. I do not leap full into poetic mode as I do around my "inner circle" associates nor do I consistently weave more normal but productive conversation in and out of "poetic lite" mode as I do around my "outer circle" associates - both circles being of fairly elite status by my accounting, by the way. And I fail to do this despite my regard for this family's individual intelligences and mental courage. I suspect they would totally qualify for poetic conversation (that which is fully geared toward improving the living experience of ourselves and our society and which rises above the tyrannies of appearances, normalcy and instinct) but it is simply not our habit. We met in the context of a larger group and an all-ages social environment (NaNoWriMo). And by the way, if my references to circles and poetic modes smacks of conceit or pretentiousness  I submit that this line of thinking has only arisen out of my need to quantify my activities and endeavours as I track my 2013 productivity in every way possible; a necessary task if I am to properly understand my potential as a poet, writer and musician and to properly adjust my life goals, frankly, before it's too late.

I am accustomed to being a relatively quiet presence within a group, waiting for the opportunity to offer a useful, and usually misunderstood, perspective when conversation gets too dull (dull as in prone to normal illusions and superstitions, not as in sedate). This sort of dullness rarely arises when I am with this nicknameless family. Rather they tend to be so politely reserved that I get tempted into making the lion's share of conversation, which I despise of myself and which, mysteriously perhaps, I tend to deliver very poorly and ineloquently. I catch myself telling the lamest of stories and doing so awkwardly and without brevity. I frankly embarrass myself - or rather it is worthy of embarrassment while I've thankfully lost most of my capacity for suffering embarrassment (score a point for the poetic process).

Though I truly have no agenda with regards to changing the patterns of our friendship or moulding it into a poetic one, there is certainly that desire, because as always I just want to maximise my usefulness to people, and given the quality of their minds, they're worthy of getting the best me.

I suspect that the main thing that trips me up is the knowledge that young Gifty - the same age as Neo, is technically entering a brief chronological hot zone before the societal structures of his life-stage begin making all manner of traps available to him; traps that will tug at him to make all sorts of perception-destroying investments. In other words, if he is potentially a second Neo, I probably would need to break through soon, and I lack any guile required of some sudden infiltration. I drop hints to him and the folks and wait to see if they germinate, but the reality is probably such that they have not garnered a great deal of trust in me, or at least for my poetic understandings; what few they've had the opportunity to glean, and only in isolation, missing the beauty in how they thread together.

Comparing Gifty to Neo is very interesting: both in grade ten and both wildly, spectacularly advanced yet in such different ways. Gifty is academically gifted beyond the definition of gifted, mastering all things scholastic. Neo scores excellent in the subjects he cares for and not particularly well in the subjects which bore him or which tip his keenly-tuned bullshit meter.

Presumably Gifty is off the charts on all measures of intelligence the academic community can measure, while Neo, also deeply intelligent, boasts an innate wisdom beyond the reach of probably 99% of the population over their lifetimes, let alone their first sixteen years. It's particularly apparent in his justified mistrust for all the societal power-structures which control the lives of his peers. He has utterly striking capacities for honesty, humility, courage and curiosity; Gifty likely too, though I haven't had as much opportunity to observe.

Both experience a profound kind of loneliness, I think, not for lack of company, but for lack of being understood, much like myself.

Gifty, with perhaps the edge in the empathy department, seems to have long identified with his premier goal in life; to be a veterinarian  Neo has an almost hopeless view of the future, wishing mostly to pursue his music which is frankly difficult for sixteen year-olds to do, tragically, given the familial and educational parameters forced upon them. Despite this, Neo has produced multiple music albums of striking originality and genius under the band name Lucid Boots, music on the frontier of structure and priority, possibly beyond the grasp of most of the pop-music-pabulum-fed population. Gifty plays trumpet in the school band. Gifty seems steady, safe and eager to please. Neo is the adventurer.

Gifty plays normal-boy sports and video games and much respects his excellent parents. Neo hangs with other young musicians and a certain aging poet and avoids his folks at every opportunity. They've never heard even one of his songs.

It's interesting that with all the people I know well, the majority in their forties and fifties, it is from the rarer younger set that the "inner circle" comes from; all in their teens, twenties or early thirties.

If I seem to be scoring Gifty and Neo against each other, it's only as a curiosity. I have different relationships with them and always will. With Neo I lay everything in the open. Everything. I regard him as a poetic apprentice (and a music mentor); a relationship requiring pristine openness; eclipsing even that with an immediate family member or lover.

With Gifty, it remains to be seen how we shall relate going forward, but given the opportunity should it arise, I plan not to lay out answers, but to nudge him in poetic directions, so that he shall either find the same answers for himself, or else challenge me where our answers differ, which is valuable to me and truly more in line, as far as I know, with the proper historic poetic approach.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The one great drama

I've blogged before about the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy. At the time I was wrapped up in the deep empathy that was aroused for the heroes; characters of extraordinary richness. But a much grander significance has since crystallized for me.

Having re-read the book with a young book club at the Princess of Schools, I learned a couple valuable things. One is that for young people (and probably a lot of less-sophisticated adults) there is a reason that teen lit works and why great literary novels (like this) don't. Less experienced readers apparently do not automatically appreciate the normally-superior show-don't-tell style. It apparently takes time and practice to acquire the instinct to absorb clues and decipher a story. Kids books tell the story straight out. An evolution is required of the reader in order to appreciate the best literature.

Second thing I discovered (spoiler alert!):

I made the unforgivable mistake of glancing at an internet comment (the bane of human existence) on some book site, which stated "The ending of The Road sucked" or some such brilliant utterance, and I thought about the arguably lame and profoundly unlikely coincidence where the boy is almost immediately found by an adoptive family right after his father dies.

I thought about my own lessons to the young writer's group. A story ends precisely how it must end. The ending IS the story. All else is preparation.

Did The Road have to end that way?

There was only two possible ways for The Road to end in essence: One: the way it did end; mankind will survive. Two: Mankind will perish (not at all what McCormack envisioned).

In the ultimate dystopian environment; a planet earth entirely scorched; no longer capable of supporting human life, where the last tiny scattered population is ultimately cannibalistic (figuratively when not literally) there can only be this dual hope for mankind: that the terminally crippled biosphere will somehow rebound, and that at least two children (of opposing gender) will survive who are currently young enough to remain of child-bearing age when the planet is finally capable of providing new life (food) again. McCormack says none of this of course but all the clues are subtly present.

The problem that cripples humankind's slim chance of survival is human nature itself. Survival instinct arouses greed and hunger to the max. There is no formal society to divert scant remaining resources toward the above efforts. Humanity's future is sacrificed for the current needs of the individual (sound familiar?) Instinct prevails over consciousness.

The boy hero is quite likely the only potential new "Adam" - or one of very few potentials. The father is hell-bent - by love - to keep his son alive by any means necessary. He has no trust whatsoever for any other human. The boy, however, wants to trust; wants to connect to others. He was born following the holocaust - at a time when most survivors were opting for group familial suicide - as preference to being enslaved or eaten probably. The boy has never met another child in his life.

The man is instinct (though ultimately the hero). The boy is consciousness. How can the mankind-survival scenario possibly come to be? The ill father must succeed in keeping the boy alive long enough to deliver him to the new "Eden" but then must finally allow the boy to trust. The new Eden is not apparent. It is only another small family - with a young-enough girl. The father must die in order to free the trusting boy.

I feel that The Road is McCarthy's vision of how unlikely it is for the human race to survive its own killer instinct. Thus it is a happy ending and necessarily improbable.

Here's the kicker: As a society-of-two upon which mankind's survival depends, the only solution is for the hero/heroes to operate under the rule of instinct in order to survive - and then - at the precise opportunity - VERY SUDDENLY (papa's death) - begin instead to operate under the rule of consciousness.    

I feel that this is precisely our reality. The Road's nuclear holocaust scenario is the kind of condensed scenario that the art of writing requires in order to enlighten the reader. Whether that or environmental collapse (well under way obviously) or whatever else, it doesn't matter to me when I try to predict our future. The nature of life itself presents a very simple - almost mathematical problem: Killer instinct is required in every species of life in order to survive natural selection, yet killer instinct is precisely what will make the winning organism (humans) completely suicidal on a societal, not personal, scale.

The tragically slim chance for humankind to survive beyond this evolutionary adolescence is for us to VERY SUDDENLY switch to the rule of consciousness - precisely as per The Road condensation. And the opportunity is indeed now.

The amazing thing for me is that I have seen one way - and per very recent observations - possibly two ways - that a very sudden evolution of this nature is indeed possible. This is the one great drama of our star system and probably the universe. There are simple mathematical realities that preclude the existence of human-like-but-enlightened aliens elsewhere in the universe unless another form of life exists in the universe that is immune to natural selection - and I can't imagine how, when all evidence points to the recycling of energies being the essence of the universe itself.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Love, and not the noble kind

If you know me personally, be warned, I care for societal niceties less and less. I know very well all which the human creature is capable of, and how normal it all is. If you wish to know me only to some polite degree than watch your step around here. I have no secrets and a swiftly decreasing will to protect you from all the distracting superstitions and hang-ups you don’t know you have.

The earliest years I can remember, so significantly developmental, were marked by a mother who loved me fiercely and outwardly, and the vague knowledge of some father who was not present. So get a little Freudian about it and it’s no wonder that the simpler, directional love (in essence sexual, not enlightened) which I have experienced in life, runs in a consistent pattern. It is fierce, outward (honest with little ability to hold back) and it is paternal in nature. I always desire to be some kind of nurturer, perhaps so as if to fix my own childhood in a sense, by becoming the father I once lacked, to a surrogate me. This is just a theory and not a terribly relevant one perhaps. But it would explain why my adored have generally been younger and why I only ever wish to love and not really to be loved.

It’s hard for me to know how rare this is or not; this wish to love with cooperation but without reciprocation. Not that I wish to be used, exactly. Being appreciated is fine, and being needed is great. And being loved is okay, I suppose, just unnecessary.

I’ve never experienced my ideal romantic relationship. I’ve experienced isolated components of it here and there, and sometimes (long ago) in the opposite role - being the adored and not the adorer - which sounds weird perhaps, because it sounds like the polar opposite of what I desire. But sometimes it feels better to play the totally wrong role, and at least get to experience the tableau, rather than sit on the sidelines altogether.  The sad thing is that there was a time in my life where I had the capacity to create that ideal relationship but it passed while I was busy being normal because I had no vision or self-awareness to speak of.

My deepest romantic loves have always been, arguably, exercises in infatuation; almost entirely one-sided, and each manifestation has been different; each one marked by significant improvement over the last. By improvement I mean that I have learned from my mistakes. I have evolved with each occurrence. I have learned to handle these difficult and often painful circumstances with more and more honesty, peacefulness and wisdom.

With each affair-of-sorts I feel less jeopardy. And with the apparent closure of each, the love I feel has never died; just become more manageable.

What I find interesting, and I apologize for taking so long to get around to it, is the issue of trust. With each of these experiences I have become more trustworthy and also more trusting. I have, it seems to me, evolved to the point of being completely trustworthy and completely trusting; the reasons for each being of two different natures.

To take a somewhat indulgent short-cut, I am trustworthy because of my lack of fears and my capacity for integrity, both of which stem from a largely successful experience with the poetic process, likely along with a couple other reasons not occurring to me at this moment.

Why I am so trusting is more interesting. Possibly it has to do with the lack of fears but primarily it is an addictive behaviour alike the love itself. This is a bit tricky but let me try to navigate this: It’s not a conscious decision to trust completely. It’s a celebration of love; a kind of gift. It’s trust without trust being earned necessarily  A kind of romantic notion. “Here. I trust you. I open up to you and thus grant you the power either to protect me or to hurt me. I throw myself at your mercy.” It is the notion that this person is so special that they surely must be worthy of trust. It's faith I suppose.

This does not mean that all the trust I give is without justification. Sometimes the beloved really is special enough that they are worthy of all the trust. The point is that they don’t need to be. They’ll receive it regardless.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The banal nature of evil

Many years ago I tried to understand some usefulness in this funny idea of good and evil. Mystical and semi-mystical ideas around gods, devils, super-powers etcetera have never seemed to me likely or useful and usually break down under the simplest application of logic or observation.

I looked at good and evil in terms of motivation and found them just as counterfeit in terms of being opposites as democracy versus communism (both the same in theory: government by the people, and yet both transparently corrupt in normal practice, to those who care to see). I looked at good and evil as essentially the same: The practice of getting what you want. The good actions are those done for the immediate benefit of another and secondary, or long-term benefit to the doer in terms of garnering return favours and bolstering reputation. Evil is getting what you want by taking it directly. It all seemed the same thing in essence. Take what you want unapologetically or get what you want by trading favours. It seems good and evil reduce down to cooperation versus competition, and what’s the big difference there, if the goal is the same? Cooperation seems like less work overall perhaps, but I’m not so sure about that. And if it is true, if good is easier than evil as a societal mode, then how is it any nobler? Imagine the worst state possible: a society where the easy “good” way was the standard but in which people routinely cheated (evil) when they were confident they could get away with it. Hmm… Look at the prisons, the scandals and look at anonymous behaviour: How horrible are people’s behaviour when anonymity is practically assured. Look at the greedy actions of motorists or if you really want to be disgusted, look at the state of internet commentary, so stupid and vile and disrespectful. Look too, at your own heart if you dare.

Conventional thinking falls prey to that disastrous idea that god made man in his image and so folks are basically decent.  I’ve observed too carefully and contemplated too courageously to possibly fall prey to these mistakes. Every action by every other species is instinctive and self-evidently selfish and uncooperative and almost every action of normal human behaviour can easily be traced to, or theorized as, selfish instinct, including most of the apparently-good deeds.

Ask yourself this: How often do you help someone completely anonymously and then not mention it (brag about it) to anyone? I can count my own contributions of that sort, at least those which come to mind, on one hand and I’m practically a self-declared professional do-gooder! (And so often a charity case, to be clear.)

In practice our lives are almost entirely directed by such super-structures as politics, religion, media, pop-culture, education, corporations and the marriage tradition. Look too closely at any of these structures and we see that they are rife with the same conflicting phenomenon. They all demand the appearance of honesty; subscription to the rules while offering every temptation to cheat. They all seem to manifest according to a cheat-but-not-get-caught model.

Of all species, only humans have a considerable consciousness (though still new and tiny in the scheme of evolution and potential in my estimation) and only humans - while sometimes cheating and sometimes not and sometimes cheating subconsciously and sometimes giving generously and sometimes doing so in a calculated way, knowingly or not - no matter, only we seem to have regard for the concept of goodness. We have the capacity to like it and be moved and inspired by it. These twin privileges of nascent consciousness and marginal capacity for goodness (empathy/love) surely do not seem like coincidence to me.

I have fought like hell to know my instinctive mind; the dark mind; my devilishness, and it seems impossible. The most I can do is deal with circumstantial evidence as bravely and honestly as possible. I know the dark mind keeps secrets from the conscious awareness. But consciousness does inform the instinctive mind, and indeed influences it. That a normal human is so much more evil than he thinks, is no tragedy to me. We are blind rationalizers. Evil is nothing but pristine normalcy. Instead it is the authentic good; that stemming from empathy; the chief of consciousness’s rewards, no matter how rare, even when it only manifests as a lovely idea, that is interesting or meaningful to me. Thus humans are more beautiful to me than ever, even as I perceive them as so far less decent than I once did.

Good, godliness, cooperation, consciousness: a remarkable evolution.
Evil, devilishness, competition, instinct: the natural state of the universe.

This new evolution is to me miraculous whether you attribute that quality to exceptionally rare circumstance or to divine initiation, though what does it matter - in terms of how we choose to proceed from here?