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Author: Bartleby

How Evil is this Love?

How Evil is this Love?

Supposing I covet you and want you for me and only me.

How evil is this love?

Epicurus defined three types of pleasures:
Natural necessary pleasures: like getting a drink of water when you’re thirsty or something to eat when you’re hungry: these you have to do, so do them. The apogee of pleasure is freedom from pain and desire, so bliss is pretty basic and well-within the reach of most people: as long as you are not writhing in physical or emotional agony, you can sit back, breathe deep, and enjoy the paradise of a calm, pleasant, natural necessary moment.
Natural unnecessary pleasures: like having a little something sweet or taking a walk or having sex: these are healthy pleasures that, with moderate and judicious use, can be used to vary your foundational pleasure of freedom from pain and desire.
Unnatural unnecessary pleasures; also called VAINGLORIES: like building statues to yourself, demanding a specific piece of cake, or the frenzied madness of romantic love, full as it is of delusions like “I must have her” and “she’ll never leave me” and “we belong together”. These pleasures are about satisfying the ego. They enflame desire and encourage foolish actions that are likely to cause you pain. They are self-defeating so-called pleasures and should always be avoided.

[117] …

There are three motives to injurious acts among men–hatred, envy, and contempt; and these the wise man overcomes by reason. Moreover, he who has once become wise never more assumes the opposite habit, not even in semblance, if he can help it. He will be more susceptible of emotion than other men that will be no hindrance to his wisdom. However, not every bodily constitution nor every nationality would permit a man to become wise.

[118] Even on the rack the wise man is happy. He alone will feel gratitude towards friends, present and absent alike, and show it by word and deed. When on the rack, however, he will give vent to cries and groans. As regards women he will submit to the restrictions imposed by the law, as Diogenes says in his epitome of Epicurus’ ethical doctrines. Nor will he punish his servants ; rather he will pity them and make allowance on occasion for those who are of good character. The Epicureans do not suffer the wise man to fall in love; nor will he trouble himself about funeral rites; according to them love does not come by divine inspiration: so Diogenes in his twelfth book. The wise man will not make fine speeches. No one was ever the better for sexual indulgence, and it is well if he be not the worse.

[119] Nor, again, will the wise man marry and rear a family: so Epicurus says in the Problems and in the De Natura. Occasionally he may marry owing to special circumstances in his life. Some too will turn aside from their purpose. Nor will he drivel, when drunken: so Epicurus says in the Symposium. Nor will he take part in politics, as is stated in the first book On Life; nor will he make himself a tyrant; nor will he turn Cynic (so the second book On Life tells us); nor will he be a mendicant. But even when he has lost his sight, he will not withdraw himself130 from life : this is stated in the same book. The wise man will also feel grief, according to Diogenes in the fifth book of his Epilecta. And he will take a suit into court. [120] He will leave written words behind him, but will not compose panegyric. He will have regard to his property and to the future.

He will be fond of the country. He will be armed against fortune and will never give up a friend. He will pay just so much regard to his reputation as not to be looked down upon. He will take more delight than other men in state festivals. 131

132 The wise man will set up votive images. Whether he is well off or not will be matter of indifference to him. Only the wise man will be able to converse correctly about music and poetry, without however actually writing poems himself. One wise man does not move more wisely than another. And he will make money, but only by his wisdom, if he should be in poverty, and he will pay court to a king, if need be. He will be grateful to anyone when he is corrected. He will found a school, but not in such a manner as to draw the crowd after him; and will give readings in public, but only by request. He will be a dogmatist but not a mere sceptic; and he will be like himself even when asleep. And he will on occasion die for a friend.

The school holds that sins are not all equal; that health is in some cases a good, in others a thing indifferent; that courage is not a natural gift but comes from calculation of expediency; and that friendship is prompted by our needs. One of the friends, however, must make the first advances (just as we have to cast seed into the earth), but it is maintained by a partnership in the enjoyment of life’s pleasures.

[121] Two sorts of happiness can be conceived, the one the highest possible, such as the gods enjoy, which cannot be augmented, the other admitting addition and subtraction of pleasures.

[Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
R.D. Hicks, Ed. Epicurus (341BC-271BC) Entry

Now what?

All I ever wanted was some kind of friend.
All I ever needed was some kind of you.
All I ever looked for was your smile.
I want to be strong and able enough
to give you what you need
in all the ways that a woman
needs love.
I want to be man enough
to love you woman good.

Why is that so bad?

I don’t have to have you.
If its not good for me to have you,
please then don’t give me you.
But is this life not anyways a dress-up game?
And so why not dress up together?
In playing the game we dismantle our disguises
and cannot help but meet one another
beneath the reeds
where the water is brown and soft
I want to meet you
if there’s a good way
in this life.

Indulging in vainglories amounts to indulging in the delusion that one is an eternal infinite Good.
The Truth is that the Light shining in and through all things–including our every conscious moment–is an eternal infinite Good. Vainglories are sins because they make us worship the mundane aspects of our conscious spaces, thus directing our deepest widest love away from its proper object: the Light shining in and through all things.

But I just want to cuddle up next to you and show you a movie I like.
And to make you feel good and be happy and be glad with you.
Couldn’t that be compatible with worshipping the Light that Knows that and in what sense it is True to say “we’re all in this together”? I’m greedy for your body and your giggle, but can’t we travel down these paths into a deeper and wider kind of kinship, sharing a meditation around the gentle kindness that redeems all?


I’m just essaying.


Authors: Hard to say
Copyright: AMW

and why is it that wise man won’t write any poetry?

Your Madrigal

Your Madrigal

if nothing else, let me write you a madrigal

I don’t know love or where it should go to.
I wish for you. I need to give you all.
Your near to me I’d draw; your name I’d call.

If I am wrong and cannot offer you
now fifty years full-stuffed from wall to wall–!
I don’t know love or where it should go to.
I wish for you. I need to give you all.

If I prove false and my body won’t do
to you what has sustained us since the Fall–!
but God keep me tall as I smooth your shawl.
I don’t know love or where it should go to.
I wish for you. I need to give you all.
Your near to me I’d draw; your name I’d call.

copyright: AMW

dear god

dear god

what happened?
why did we break up?
when did it even happen?
did we break up?
what is going on?
who dumped who?

you were always so distant.
i often felt like i was talking to myself.
and now i feel cold all over
and sleepy down in my pit
like a mealworm
curling in upon its crusty self.

please call me.
or write.
send me a signal
so i know you care.
flowers are nice.

and tell me how to talk to her.
because i don’t know how.

copyright: AMW

Come here please

Come here please

Please come here.
And tell to me.
Tell me what I don’t know,
What I can’t understand.
Let me know your mind
Your heart.
What you feel
You think.
Tell me what I don’t know
Can’t invent.
Tell me love

Authors: Hard to Say
Editors: BW/AW
Copyright: AMW

To the quiet wood

To the quiet wood

I want to take you
to the quiet wood.
Far away from this place.
Deep down in the belly
of the deep dark wood,
where no bombs reach,
no Hurt lingers low.
We won’t tell Luke–
Luke Hermer–
where we’re going.
He’ll not find us.
Though he wander wide,
His noise machine
Disturbing foxes,
Unsettling crows.
Yet our little glen–
So far and so secret–
He’ll ne’er catch.
There we’ll be safe.
And the clean river air
will clear my lungs.
I’ll remember things again.
Trivia, fun facts, names.
Important things too–
If there are any.
And you will wear
A dress white and long
When we go walking
Hand in hand
Through a forest world.

Authors: Time & Slip
Editor: BW/AW
Copyright: AMW

Is this Love?

Is this Love?

Is this love?
I want to spend all my time with you.
Except for when I’m writing, or taking a lonely walk, or hanging out with my brother, or otherwise here and there I need to just feel you in the back of my heart like a beacon guiding me with strong clear light steadily back home where we are one together.
I want to share everything I am with you.
I want to go to the movies with you and put my arm over your shoulders, even though it is a little uncomfortable on top of the curving metal chairs.
I want to make love to you and know you forever.
Is this love?

Who are you?
What part of you is calling to me?
Am I just being silly selfish boring typical?

You shimmer like heat rising from a desert rock.
I’d catch you but you sift up and around my tremble-tense fingers.

When can we love each other?
When can we get away?
When can we make it real?
Why should we bother?
Given there’s so many men and so many women?
What’s our justification for choosing one another?

Who are you?
I can’t find you.
You feel like the scurried rattle rustle of leaves when a tiny dustdevil twirls them up on its magic finger.
When I was a kid on a cool fall morning watching the blackasphalt street outside my redbrick rowhouse.

I’d love you if I could.
I’d love you if we would.
I love you if we should.
I want a should.
Or at least that it is fine and dandy and there’s plenty of shoulds left over we can tend to in good faith while cuddling.

Is this love when the wind tussles the treetops outside a long lonely window in another floating box house a million years from your fingers accepting mine?

authors: some lonely town
copyright: AMW

Another spontaneous Something Deeperism essay

Another spontaneous Something Deeperism essay

Something Deeperism is a pretty common worldview. In fact, it is everyone’s worldview. We all know that we cannot believe in, care about, or follow our own feeling/thinking/acting except to the degree it is grounded upon a nonrelative insight into what is really going on, what really matters, what we should really do, and how we should do it. And we also all know that our feeling/thinking/acting is finite but the insight we seek, being by definition Absolute (ie: not just an opinion, and/or some animal’s inborn way of gathering, organizing, and analyzing information, but something True); therefore, we all know that we cannot hope for a literal insight. But that’s fine—literal certainty doesn’t even make any sense to us any way. What could make sense and be meaningful to us would be an adequate organization of our feelings and ideas around a Truth shining in and through all things, including each conscious moment. Through aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind- and open-hearted/minded reflection we can gain more intellectual insight into our own emotions—though emotions are wider and deeper than ideas and will never fit literally/1:1/definitively into them. Likewise, perhaps through aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind- and open-hearted/minded reflection we can gain more emotional and intellectual insight into the Light shining in and through all things. Why not? Worth a shot. And perhaps one could reach a tipping point where it became truer for that person to say, “We are all in this together” than to say, “I don’t know what’s going on”. Perhaps. It’s the only hope. And mystics and gentle souls nod towards the goal’s feasibility. So we may as well all reach for the Light.

copyright: AMW

Comparing Fact Checking Scorecards

Comparing Fact Checking Scorecards

As per this July 2020 Washington Post article, Trump’s rate of false statements has accelerated through his presidency, reaching 20,000 false or misleading statements on July 9, 2020.

See below the scorecards (arranged in order from most to least checks end of October 12, 2020).
Note that Trump’s record is now 71% (631 of 868 checks) mostly false, false or pants on fire false. None of the others below reached 50% mostly false, false or pants on fire false; although McConnel is pretty close to 50% (45% mostly false, false or pants on fire false).

Donald Trump (868 checks: 13% true or mostly true; 13% half true; 55% mostly false or false; 16% pants on fire; so a total of 71% or 631 statements that were found to be mostly false, false or pants on fire false)

Obama (604 checks: 47% true or mostly true; 26% half true; 22% mostly false or false; 1% pants on fire; so a total of 23% or 151 statements that were found to be mostly false, false, or pants on fire false)

Hillary Clinton (300 checks: 49% true or mostly true; 23% half true; 24% mostly false or false; 3% pants on fire; so a total of 27% or 83 statements that were found to be mostly false, false or pants on fire false)

Joseph Biden (144 checks: 36% true or mostly true; 23% half true; 34% mostly false or false; 3% pants on fire; so a total of 37% or 64 statements were found to be mostly false, false, or pants on fire false).

Mitch McConnell (37 checks: 36% true or mostly true; 18% half true; 42% mostly false or false; 3% pants on fire; so a total of 45% or 15 statements that were found to be mostly false, false or pants on fire false)

Proofreading/Copyediting Samples

Proofreading/Copyediting Samples

1. In addition to editing political ads for Strother Nuckels Strategies, I helped them with a rewrite of their Precision Targeting page. References: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, AP Stylebook.

2. I recently revised a page I did years ago for The Definition of Life.
Definition of Life – Suggested Edits
References: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, AP Stylebook.

3. For the same site, we provided proofreading and copyediting services for David Watson’s pages on Neutron Stars. As of 10/12/2020, the author is reviewing our suggestions.
Neutron Star – Suggested Edits
(Shared with author’s permission).
References: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, AP Stylebook.

4. I revised this story: Mr. Awesome, referencing, though not always abiding by, The Chicago Manual of Style. [stet the author’s use of smushedtogether words, and his “5AM” style for time]
Mr. Awesome – Suggested Edits

5. I revised this essay: A Fun New War. I only made one change, because I gave the directive: stets author’s artsy use of hyphens, and smushed-together words–unless he hyphens a word when Webster’s says it should be smushed into one word (correct that); and tread lightly with author’s artsy use of commas: query rather than change unless readability is obviously impaired.
A Fun New War – Suggested Edits

6. I revised this translation: Die Sorge des Hausvaters / Concerns of a Family Man
Concerns of a Family Man – Suggested Edits.

The Failure of Something Deeperism

The Failure of Something Deeperism

Am I failing Something Deeperism or is Something Deeperism failing me?

If you believe there is a Truth that human beings can relate meaningfully to, how do you know how meaningfully you are relating to the Truth?

I think there must be more to this life than relative, but I think the Truth must be Absolute and unlimited, but I my thinking possesses neither of those qualities. So how can my thinking gain insight into the Truth and know it is gaining insight and how much insight it is gaining? 

I walk around all day long talking to myself. “What should I do? What should I do?” “How can I live in a way that is any good? How?” “Who can I be with?” “How can we humans keep from destroying ourselves? How?” “How can democracy and transparency win?” “How can we avoid nuclear Armageddon?” “Why won’t she go out with me? Or was it a vain glory to suppose she might?” “How can we keep Trump and his enablers from destroying US American democracy?” “What to do about global warming?” “I am so lonely.” “I can’t do this anymore.”

I think I’m going crazy. But how else can I get the Light to say anything to me? The Light doesn’t say anything to me, though. All I ever get is sometimes me telling myself things about some romantic interest, but through the daydream of the Light’s interest in such selfish reflections.

The thinking is magical, not spiritual. I’m failing spiritually. I’m losing my way. I want to go home. I want to quit. I am tired all the time. There’s no one to talk to. I am talking to myself.

How can I get God to talk to me? How can I know what to do? How can I keep from wasting my life? People don’t know what to do. I’m just a person. My wisdom is relative unless it connects to an Absolute Truth, but how can I connect my thoughts meaningfully to an Absolute Truth? And know I’m doing so? And how well I’m doing so?

I say there’s inborn principles that we know are True more fundamentally than we can either doubt or explicate their Truth: 
We should feel/think/act aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind, compassionate, open-hearted/-minded, generous, sharing, together, joyful.

We’re all in this together.

I reason that the only possible way for us limited creatures to feel/think/act meaningfully is for there to be a Light/Truth shining within and through all things that we can gain whole-being insight into that Truth: ideas, feelings, and a Light/Truth all interacting imperfectly (as interactions between limited and unlimited powers must be) but yet meaningfully together.

I cannot emotionally or intellectually prove that there is such a Light/Truth, or that I can organize my ideas and feelings around It meaningfully. But it seems like I could gain a whole-being experiential proof of such a state of affairs: I could organize my ideas and feelings around the Truth better and better until I had enough whole-being insight into that and in what way it’s truer to say “I know we are all in this together” than it is to say “I don’t know anything.” And this would be the beginning of wisdom and direction towards more active insight into how to feel/think/act.

But I make no progress.

I meditate a little. I ask the Light to enter me, but don’t really want It inside. What I want is to curl up into a little ball and be hugged and made safe and absolved of all this scary grown-up hopelessness that I’ve wandered into by getting to the age when you cannot help but notice there is no Santa Claus. Santa Claus was just a nice story they told us kids. The truth is, the nukes are still ready to fly, the seas are rising more and more, diseases are piling up, democracies are cracking, and in my own little tiny life I don’t know how to live in a way that I can feel OK about and be happy inside of.

Dear God,

What now?
I don’t know what to do.
I imagine you do.
I’m getting older and drifting further and further out to sea.
The ocean’s sloshing on all sides; waves getting higher; water colder.
What should I do?
What is insight?
I’m lonely and tired and live in fear.


Your Would-Be Servant

Author: Scrubs Tubbs
Editor: A. Whistletown
Producer: B. Willard
Copyright: AM. Watson