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How?

How?

How can I tell you?
How can I ask you?
How can we find out?
In a way that’s OK,
that doesn’t harm,
but only helps?

Rom Com

Rom Com

Rom Com Sketchbook

This project is:
Author: Undecided
Editors: B. Willard and A. Whistletown
Copyright: AMW Watson

The order of the snippets is to be determined.

Idiot Prayer
God please fill me up, turn me inside out,
Make me wise, help me do what’s best
for everyone.
And help me talk to her, tell her, show her.
Help us know one another in this life
and together find what is best for us
and everyone.
What does she need and how can I become
the man who gives her what she needs
in this life
every day and night always?
Or does she need some other congregation?
I wish to connect with her, body, heart, mind, soul.
I wish to fellowship with all of her and just her
for this life
if it can be
I pray that it could be
if we could find a way
for this love
to be right
to be good
to be a family
a safe haven
a flowering field
where dragons and bumbles buzz,
grasshoppers and children thwack,
mice slip and ravens step.
I pray that we might be together for real
and happy and decent and joyful and OK
OK in this life, resting on one another,
pushing into one another, in laughter and fun,
growing together in love.

In a Living Room

Never did I hurt as I hurt now, for want of you.
When will you love me?

What mopes the young man o’er?
Why sag them story shoulders o’er?

Oh me? I’m just half of a two that’s one all alone.

Aren’t we all! Isn’t it just!

Just? But justice is for the heavens. Down here we can only work together against madness and corruption. If we would be so kind.

We need to get you out of doors. You’re so profound you’re sinking like a stone.

Out of my depths. Yes, what a pity! I’ve grown deeper than myself. They name that vanity, self-indulgence, emo, melancholy-on-parade, and fat-fisted ego-tripping.

Let’s take a walk.

The world’s too easy here.

No, it’s as it should be.

Perhaps. Better a sitcom than a war zone. Better a romcom than a police state.

Come, let’s out of doors. Fresh air dissolves all evil spirits. Or at least disperses the vapors to which they cling.

We’ve had it so good. All of us here in this polity, imperfect though it be. We’ve had it so good and now we lie down for he lie. Blind cynicism, blind patriotism: two sides of the same sword.

Up, up! Put away your swords real and allegorical. Up, up! Out of doors!

In the meadow, by the brook

He loves me, he loves me not.

You speak too oft to these petals.

Yes, it’s an evil habit. Killing flowers to scratch a mood.

Isn’t it more than that? Isn’t there prophesy within the petal plucking ceremony?

No. Not for me. Not an effective prophesy. Because my plucking’s never done. I chain pluck. No sooner is one daisy naked that I attack another.

Oh, that is an evil excess! You’ll undaisy our fields and impoverish our souls.

I’m but an easy going bad bitch.

If only that were true! I’m afraid this heap of defrocked daisies testifies the otherwise.

Do you ever wish for a man, just one man, for a life wedded, virgin to virgin, two who fit and meld to one without ever straying from innocent delight?

Sometimes, in a pink-stockinged and pony-tailed reverie. But it’s too late for that. I must make do with a man who likes his horses broken in. Anyway, let’s leave this field of slaughtered innocents. Let’s march.

March?

Stroll. Walk. Amble.

Why say “march”?

“March” contains gusto and self-determination within itself. March is a walk that creates itself.

March is the self-caused cause?

Yes, march is God. Come along, let’s worship.

Very well. I hope that march will forgive my musings, forgive these daisies squandered in objectless idle.

So you’ve no particular man in mind. What of it? You still need to know if he loves you true or not.

I think he does love me. What I’m sure of is whether or not he exists.

Some say the same of God.

They but stroll. Let’s you and I march alongside the bending brook.

At the side of the road

No more.

No more of what isn’t any good. Why do I do what I don’t even like?

I don’t know. Why not try not doing what you don’t like.

But what will I do? I always do what I don’t like. How will I think of anything to do if I eliminate what I don’t like?

That’s why it’s so scary to stop doing what you don’t like. You don’t know what you’ll do. You’re unprepared. You’re at the mercy of the future. By always doing what you don’t even like, you hold onto the past even as you move into the future. You hold onto the past as a pattern.

I will lay down in this roadside ditch.

Is that a break from tradition?

No. Yes. But that’s not the point.

What is the point?

Ta talk to musty fraying decaying leaves and the invertebrates that scoot and crawl and scurry therein.

There’s no point to that! And surely you don’t even like it.

I don’t like the idea of it, but I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say if I like it or not.

Nonsense. …. Get up! Get out of that ditch! Stop smushing around in the moldy old leaves! And dirt.

I won’t! I won’t stop until I either like this or I can definitively say I’ve tried it and I don’t like it!

I’m not staying around for this.

I think I can at least conclude that I don’t like rolling around in ditches by the side of the road enough to bother seeking them out.

In the cafeteria
A. Why stand on line for glops of bleached-out foodstuffs?

B. When I was young we called this lunch, and were glad.

A. When I was young the cafeteria ladies did more than just open cans of fat and sugar.

B. We can’t all have your beautiful youth.

A. I brought you here to remember Furrs Cafeteria, after the landing and the stroll across the baking, steaming, desert asphalt.

B. I came here to be polite.

A. Is that what this is for you? A social duty?

B. No. It’s just a wish that keeps getting tattered in your tense fingertips.

A. I’m sorry. Please. Please just help me know how to love you, care for you, be with you.

B. Here, with plastic trays on metal-bar countertop, strolling through odors of industrial-scale fried chicken, lemon baked cod, butter-smashed potatoes, and chemical-first muffins?

A. Here, there, everywhere. This place takes me back to Phoenix before the caravan up the mountainside in two vans, riding with my cousins and some siblings, my parents and my other siblings in the other van — my grandparents with the big arm chairs in the middle and the bed/bench in the back. I want to go back and back and back to the beginning, but not alone this time. With you.

B. You weren’t alone. You had your cousins, your siblings, your parents and your grandparents.

A. I was alone with the pieces of me that children can’t reach.

B. I love you though. This is OK, because I want to know you and retrace my life with you as well.

A. why is it like this? Why is sweet and soft and pulling between us like cotton candy when we’re seven and the local amusement park is so fun that even the cracked pavement and runny asphalt feels like part of Wonderland?

B. I don’t know. I hope it is as it seems: something divine, something Good, something holy, something both wonderful and right.

A. Me too. I want to tell you that I love you. Every time I’m near you. I want to tell you.

In the cafe

What will you have?

The hummus salad and an iced tea with lemon.

I’ll the same.

You’ve good taste in food and drink, I’ll grant you that.

Does that become a pun if I’m a grant writer by profession?

Yes, it would then become a painfully bad pun.

We lucked out! I’m no grant writer.

That is good news!.

We shouldn’t take our luck for granted in this life.

And bread?

We’ll have no bread with our perfect meal.

No, the bread here is light, fluffy, and full of ill conceit.

Let’s summon back our waiter and bid he stay the baker’s hand.

Let’s call out for our rented servant, that he come quick and move decisively to effect our bidding.

Waiter! Oh, waiter! Garcon!

Garcon means

(interrupting) Je sais très bien ce que je dis! We require all haste in the dispatch of this our decree.

We temp her as majesty, just as earn your keep as a hired underling.

That’s what sit-down restaurants are for.

Go now, boy, make haste, dispatch, all haste to the kitchen. Rescind the bread. Revoke the starch, let our salads speak for themselves.

Also a side of olive oil, please.

Make that two.

OK, no bread and two sides of olive oil.

Excellent lad!

Match that quick wit with quick feet and your rewards assured!

Me lord, me lady — I fly!

In the wilds

So I say to myself.

Who are you talking to?

I’m telling you about what I was saying to myself.

Oh.

I say to myself, I’m not doing that anymore.

What?

I say to myself that I’m not doing that anymore.

No, I mean what aren’t you doing anymore?

Well that’s private.

Oh.

I say to myself, I’m not doing that anymore. And then, you know what I say back to me?

What?

Yeah, so I fire back: That doesn’t sound like something I’d do. I don’t see the point in swearing off something that I’d never do.

What?

I tell myself, that it doesn’t make sense to quit doing something that is the sort of thing I’d never do in the first place.

But you are doing it?

Well, that’s exactly how I respond to myself’s response to myself. I say, it doesn’t matter if it’s clearly not the sort of thing I’d ever do. I am doing it. Repeatedly. And so it makes all the sense in the world to quit doing it.

And then what did you say to you?

Oh, I went back and forth with me for some time. I won’t bore you with the details.

OK.

In the Park. At the Fountain.

A. What’s your system for figuring things out?

B. What do you mean?

A. Like how do you know what is going and what you should do?

B. Oh, I don’t know, I, I just kind of think things over, weigh the different options, and pick what feels like, all things considered, to be the best choice, given what I know, and if I feel I don’t know enough, I try to learn some more, and —

A. Is that really what you do?

B. Yes. Well, I would hope so. I would hope that’s how I figure things out. What about you?

A. That’s just the thing. We all have the same basic system: some mixture of reasoning, feeling, and gut sense; but in my hands, it turns to crazy bullshit.

B. Oh! I’m sorry to hear that. I had no idea.

A. Really, you couldn’t tell?

B. No, you seem to make OK decisions.

A. I am always arguing with God, or the Fates. Well, I’m asking them, what to do. If I should try for this job, or that, if she and I belong together, or it’s somebody else, what I should write, what I should do with a Saturday when I wake up and I’m allowed to pick my own day.

B. Do they tell you what to do?

A. That’s just the thing. I feel Yeses and Nos emanate out of my gut, but sometimes first it’s a Yes, than it’s a No, and back and forth, and I say, God, what’s it gonna be? First you say Yes, then you say No, why do you trifle with me like this?

B. And what does God say.

A. I dunno.

B. Is it God in your gut or you?

A. The idea is to open up wide enough to let God into my whole being, and to guide my gut. Because in the end, no matter how much we humans deliberate, we don’t have a logical reason for even existing or getting up in the morning; and no matter how much we compassionate and feel ourselves, others, and the world, we don’t have a feeling that tells us who we and others really are or how to help anyone for real — for all that, for all the most important aspects of life, in the end we have recourse only to vague senses of things and to our gut.

B. But aren’t those feelings? Don’t we come up with a variety of ideas and then go with what feels right? Or with what the principle that we’ve decided feels right dictates?

A. Yeah, maybe. But I can’t see that feelings, no matter how deeply lodged, or oft repeated inside a questioning mind, can really know anything, can really be wise. And I don’t feel like my feelings are any wiser than my ideas. What feels wise to me is something deeper, something within that only loves. I want this to be my guide, this love that is so true and loving that it must lie deeper than feelings and ideas, because it must — if it is to be as it feels itself to be — be not just about my body and mind and heart, but about everything, and everyone, and all times and all spaces, and what is prior to all times and all spaces, and not just about what seems good or bad to me, but what is actually the way forward for us all forever.

B. You’re talking about a spiritual sense. But isn’t that how we all do it? Don’t we all try to feel that part of ourselves that is wise enough to guide us, and let it guide us? Give it all the reasonings and feelings and ask it to guide the reasonings and feelings and to guide our gut impulse — which is still just a feeling — to guide the whole of our thinking and feeling towards better ways of thinking and feeling, and ultimately better decisions? None of us can prove that our logic matters or that our desires — however altruistic — matter. And so we all know that our only hope to do what truly matters is to find and follow some spiritual path within.

A. Either that, or accept that we don’t have any way to relate our thinking, feeling, and acting to what truly matters; or even to know if anything truly matters.

B. But that’s a false option. That’s like telling a fish it can either swim in the water or, if it prefers, walk on the land. People cannot help but believe that what they say and feel and do truly matters. When they try to believe it doesn’t, they only confuse their own feeling, thinking, and acting.

A. Yes! That’s how I see it. So then I seek for some deeper insight to guide the totality of my feeling, thinking, and acting.

B. That’s normal.

A. But I get no straight answers.

B. Never?

A. I hear over and over again that you’re the one, but is that my wiser, deeper inner Light? Or is it just what I wish so desperately were true?

B. You hear over and over again that I’m the one? The one for you?

A. Yes. I feel it. I hear it. I taste it.

B. Are you coming on to me?

A. I’m asking you to help me think this through, because alone I can’t answer the question. It can only be understood in dialogue with you.

B. But how do we dialogue this? How do we workshop it?

A. I love you. I want you to know that. In your heart, in your gut. I want to communicate with you, to know you.

B. You really are coming on to me!

A. Well, Yes.

In the outside theater space.

A.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

B.
How now, brown cow? A penny for your thought.

A.
And a tuppence for my heart?

B.
Grim-visaged war hath long stayed his steel-spurred heels
within the borders of a safe and snugly realm,
where sitcoms, romcoms, and other gentle arts
make sense — possessed of stakes within our scope.

A.
My grands, for decades in comfort retired.
My parents, with similar prospects.
No joy may rival true freedom:
Both happy and decent. Not forced to choose
between assisting thugs while bones snap
in rooms unwindowed — hidden, and yet known
And having fun while knowing family
But Trump arrives and I fear we fall.
Because he hurts democracy, and where’s
the people? Bulwark, a concerted voice
against madness and corruption?

B.
Alone we cannot follow the winding strands.
Enmasse we can’t agree on goal nor plan.

A.
And not on lowercase reality,
Nor even less upon Reality
writ large and charged with meaning and elan.

B.
In separate boxes, at different channels;
together losing each other and all
the land.

A.
Republicans embrace the tyrant’s lie
that names elections fair “unfair”, that cheers
as cronies run for attorney general.
Awaiting Trump’s call, set to overturn
the people’s will if it affront the Czar’s.

B.
The US Senate is split 50-50 in the summer of 2022.
Democrats represent 185 million people, Republicans 143 million.
44% of the population has 50% of the senate seats.
By 2040, 30% of the population will have 70% of the senate seat.

[https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/12/us-senate-system-white-conservative-minority]

A.
Though Evil is a burly, bare-toothed term,
it reduces to structural flaws
exacerbated by people being greedy and fearful
until a tipping point is reached
when only greed and fear can keep a family safe
and there the rot sets in, black and molded through

B.
Pine’s a small, safe, reliable city. And it has a cute yet still kind of happening downtown: several streets of brick and stone shops and restaurants, including a stretch where the road’s been switched out for a brick plaza and where foot traffic flows from coffee shop to public library to small independent movie house to clean and friendly restaurants offering various cuisines in various (but uniformly refined, respectable, and well-lit) decors to — amongst less ancient watering holes — a sleepy old bar 100 years old still serving dark beer in small square-edged mugs. Why, in the summer: the cut-offs, the T-shirts, the flip-flops, the sneakers! The kids and the old folks, the skaters and the flaneurs, the goof-off of a Saturday morning in a free city!: who can match it? who can put a value on it? who can put a price on letting people find their own way when the sun is up?, on letting the sun shine in?

A.
Liberal Democracy:
You don’t understand how much it is giving you, until you lose it.
So let’s agree to share what we most care about and already share:
awareness, clarity, competency, honesty, accuracy, compassion, wisdom, shared joy —
those universal spiritual values without which none of our values mean anything to any of us.

B.
Let’s agree to keep first things first:
We don’t need to be policy geniuses or to force our great wisdom upon the world;
We need to together guard against madness, corruption, and structural deterioration in government.

A.
How? By worrying less about policy decisions — which, as the democracy weakens are always less and less representative of our collective will anyway –; and more about the nuts and bolts of good government: Honesty and integrity in the process, safeguarding our elections, and undoing this current situation where politics is more and more national but more and more people have less and less representation in national politics — which makes the party with an unfair advantage more interested in defending and expanding (through, for example, laws designed to make it more difficult for their opponents’ voters to vote; or, for a worse example, taking over local election offices so the next time Trump asks them to cheat for him, they can) that unfair advantage than in pursuing policies that are good for everyone.

B. What do you think?

C. Yeah! Definitely. That’s gonna …

A. Make a difference? Wake people up? Shift things?

C. Uhh, I mean, (looks to D)

D. Well, it certainly, it certainly got me thinking.

C. Yeah, me too!

B. But you don’t think it will get the nation to think and move more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, and joyfully sharing?

C. That’s a hard nut to crack.

A. We used Richard the Third.

B. With all its connotations.

A. Did you notice that part?

C. Yes.

D. Yes, uh huh.

B. You don’t think that adds some weight, some force to our argumentation?

D. Hard to say. It is a powerful play.

C. A great play.

D. think with all persuasive pieces, you have to first ask yourself: Who is my audience.

A. We did that!

B. Yeah, we and we decided: Everybody, the whole country and the world and all humans that ever will be.

A. It’s called universal appeal.

B. All the great artists do it.

C. Yeah.

D. Uh huh.

A. Maybe if we start with
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

B.
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

C smiles forward with big, grandma-eyes and then, with the same overwide eyes and roll-top forehead looks over D. D shrugs and, shoulders still forward, gives a bemuse-smiled head-nod towards the players, as if to say, “Some scenes just aren’t ready for honest notes; and that’s OK.”

In the Studio

She and I, we’re giving God a dilemma.

Yeah?

Yeah, because God wants what’s best for everyone.

That’s a dilemma?

It’s lots of dilemmas, actually. But this one is because it’s best for me to be with her, but it’s best for her to be with, dunno, but surely not me.

Oh! Yeah! I never thought of that! God’s got all kinds of dilemmas.

Yeah, except …

Except?

Except what I just said contradicts my metaphysics.

God having dilemmas?

Yes.

Because God’s perfect and everything flows of perfect necessity off God?

No. Well, yes, that. But also because I can’t believe she can be right for me unless I’m also right for her. Also, God has to work all things to the best for everyone — both in the eternal absolute sense and in the temporally, relative sense — as we here poor newts live and perceive our lives.

The latter might be some kind of wide-angle religiosity — albeit a clearly incoherent one that no one who ever lived outside of an easy-peasy sitcom type life could ever believe. It clearly overlooks how some people live their lives in war zones and die alone in a ditch at fifteen, having been raped repeatedly. Still, philosophically and theologically and generally inadequate as it may be, it is arguably still a metaphysics. However, the former position — that she can’t be right for you unless you’re right for her — that’s not metaphysics.

No?

No, just romanticisms about romantic love without any relationship to even a meaningful statement to the ultimate Nature of Reality.

It is about the Nature of Reality, though. I think Reality with a big R is so constructed that reality with a small r is so constructed that one person cannot be truly in love with another person unless that other person is truly in love with them. Because to be in love with someone is not a feeling, but an inner awareness that you belong to each other.

OK, so you have espoused two terrible metaphysics. I don’t see how that’s an improvement over one terrible metaphysics and one mundane idiocy.

They aren’t terrible metaphysics. They’re nice. They’re idealistic.

Both these dogmas are essentially nihilistic.

What? How so?

You’re asking God to keep his magical worlds-redeeming power within the bounds of your lonely daydreams. You’re asking for an Absolute Reality that is nothing more than a safe place for you to get laid in, while It sweeps other people’s real-life problems under the rug.

You think? Well, I wouldn’t want to do that.

What is nihilism?

The belief that life is meaningless.

The ultimate Reality as a rom com — what could be more meaningless than that?

You’re really piling it on.

There is, however, a sense in which you’re right.

Really? Hallelujah! A light at the end of the tunnel!

If she’s not happy being with you, then you won’t be happy being with her. It is a practical, though not — we should all hope and pray — metaphysical truth that she can’t be the one for you unless you’re the one for her.

I would love to workshop my philosophy with you sometime. You give the best notes!

Your philosophies don’t need workshopping. They need to be thrown out.

Yeah … I want to be the one for her. But I also want her to get what she needs in life. I don’t want her to settle. I want her to be happy. I don’t want her to ever have cause to look back and wish she’d taken another path with another guy. This is my dilemma. How can I be what she needs? And if I can’t, how can I see that and accept it and let her go?

What does she need? And what are you?

And what can I become? And what can we become together? And what is best for us to become?

What about the Buddha and the arrow?

Oh, I know that one! The guy who gets shot by an arrow and says, “where did this come from?”, when he should get it out. Except, actually, he should know where it came from, so he can get out of the line of fire.

The analogies not perfect, but you know what he means.

He means I shouldn’t split my head figuring out if our souls are intertwined because of destiny or happenstance, I should simply focus on loving her and being good to her.

The Buddha’s not talking about your love life!

In a round about way, he is.

No.

Round about, winding through the centuries, but probably even as he said it, he had my situation in mind. Like he saw this moment coming — because it had to be.

Uh!

Fugue

For You

For You

Please know that I love you
and help me love you right
Please tell me what you need
and show me where it hurts
Please let me give you love

How can I be a good idea
for you?
To rightly hold and hear
all of you?
How can I make a happy life
with you?
That we may husband and wife
just us two
all through
this sometimes strangely world?

My decision’s to accept
what I never can undo
My answer for all that’s kept
within this heart and chest
is smile past the rest,
is turn myself to you.

If you want me.
If I could be right for you.
If we could belong together.

I want to be good for you.
I want to be good to you.
I want to know you in a way that’s good
for you, for me,
for all that’s in between.

copyright: AMW

suicide mix-up

suicide mix-up

it isn’t death that’s desired, but a change.
A change that feels impossible, or maybe you can’t even imagine what the change would be.
But still it is a mix-up, even if you are correct that some specific change cannot be achieved.
Because it remains true that what you desire is not death, but a change.
If you say, “I want to die.”
Maybe you should reply to you with,
“What changes do I desire?
Are they or any work-arounds both possible and acceptable?
How much do I really desire them?
And do I desire them deep in my heart of hearts, or are they more like notions I can’t give up?
And what happens after I die to these changes I’d sought. Assuming, it wasn’t really annihilation so much as a different set of circumstances that I had wished for, what is the likelihood that I will meet with such a set of circumstances on the other side of things if I kill myself now?”

it isn’t suicide that is evil, but the end result.
You don’t get what you want and you hurt other people.
Maybe you want to hurt some of them.
For not caring enough about you, or not in the right way.
But that too is a mix-up.
What you want is for them to care about you and in a way that feels right to you, not to hurt them.

This all also applies to slow-suicides, like drinking too much, eating junk, smoking all day, and so on.

copyright: AMW

Symptoms Redo

Symptoms Redo

Sunday, February 20, 2022: We wrote Symptoms on February 13 and 14. Now we are doing a final edit with, we envision, also many additions.

What is wrong? What do you feel are your missteps? And do you have any ideas as to their root causes?

I have a hurt without a story.
Inside my gut and emanating out in a swirling, screaming, jangled fashion.
I think it has been there a really long time, though I didn’t start to suspect it’s existence until a little over a decade ago.
I think it used to sneak up on me and trip me up over and over again.
I think it’s existence explains why I kept not quite growing up.

The hurt is like a cut inside of me. An emotional wound that hurts always, but often so far in the background that I think maybe I made it up. But often it hurts even in my day to day, loud and sharp enough that I think it is very real. And sometimes it kicks up, and hurts so deep and loud that sometimes it overpowers me, makes me nauseous, crumples me over my gut, makes me want to curl up to escape. Or sometimes instead of just being in my gut radiating outward, it’s almost like the hurt attacks me from all sides, like I’m being hit with chairs or something.

I want someone to understand and care but I feel like no one does.
I guess this is because I am not married.
Because only happily married men have someone they can tell everything to.
Because in some sense, people need to be held to be heard, and heard to be held.

I think the hurt is largely responsible for how long it took me to get going as an adult. I think I was so slow to date largely because of how the hurt closes in around itself like a wounded animal. And in other areas of life I would keep getting ahead of myself, realize I was standing on air, and then tumble down. I was always going to be a this or do a that, but then I slip and slide and could never get traction in anything long enough for any results. And on and on, never quite managing to do anything meaningful towards supporting myself.

When I didn’t know about the wound, it hurt worse.
It got better when I could feel the hurt as a wound inside of me.
Because then it was as if the hurt was separating out from the rest of me.
Before it had been sneakily intertwined with my feelings and thoughts, and this allowed it to undermine me without me even knowing what was going on.

What is the hurt? It hurts in your gut. But it also squishes you down at your shoulders.

It can worsen sometimes around some men. If, for example, someone big looms over you who you know and know to be unproblematic, you maybe get a confusing mixture of anxiety, sorrow, and more confusing feelings jumbling through you and wincing your face in distrust. But if you are just standing in the subway or walking down the street and catch something you don’t like in some guy’s aspect — is it to do with more with physical shapes or more with facial mien and general body language? –, it’s like you perceive an evil haughtiness matched with a despicable power, and you are ready to fight, to violently repudiate and once and for all silence this stranger’s wanton pride.

The hurt bars you from entering yourself. You can wade down a ways into the angry suspicious grieved and scared hurt in your core, but then the hurt kicks you out. It’s like being hit from the inside with a shovel. Or like a hoplite squadron, shields enmeshed and forming a spears-studded dome, pushes up at you, flinging you out of yourself; and then you fall, battered and bruised, onto the dusty earth. When the hurt hits you from the inside, you often cry out like you were sucker punched. If you’re sitting up, your face jerks to one side as if something unpleasant were being shoved in it. If you are lying on your back, you spasm into a backward-bending arch. This is what happens. This is the point that you reached like seven years ago, and beyond this you do not advance. You just don’t.

For twenty-five years you alternate between some grand idea about a great artistic or intellectual success (with the occasional admixture of political improvements), and thinking you need to be practical. You try to compromise — study languages as a cover for getting a degree in free writing; study math in the hopes that you’ll prove the Truth; write books that are supposed to be both beautiful and remunerative; write essays to save the country and gain you an audience –, but without practical nor any other sort of success.

Every decade you fall in love and obsess over a woman. It always drags on for years. You mature, but still the hurt owns you. It wakes you up at night. You lie there feeling it blaring from the inside. {But not just the inside. It attacks from all sides with seat belts. [Editor’s Note: Is this true? Isn’t that more something that happens once in a great while when you are out in the world and somehow get caught off guard by a maelstrom of unexplained hurt?]} You want to find someone who will understand and hold you and love you. But you don’t want it to be like that — you want to find the girl that is right for you and who you are right for — not just somebody who is willing to let you bleed all over the place. It’s a dilemma: You are desperate for a helper, but you need to find a real fit, the kind that you would also choose if you weren’t wobbling desperately about.

What about this ritual?:
For some number of years, about once a week, you tell yourself you’ll buy a bottle of wine and drink a glass or two to complement a larger meal. But as you think like this, you feel the frenzy light in you. Deep inside you know the only real question is: will I drink only like four or five glasses?, or will I finish the bottle?, or will I finish the bottle and go have another drink and perhaps also get french fries, or something else I never permit my sober self? Why? Why do you do this? Because there’s no relaxation allowed and/or possible while you are sober? But it’s not so relaxing for you to drink, anyway — invariably you feel the hurt deep in your hut so loud and frantic that you have to yell it out, and otherwise be crazy.

With the energy healer eight years ago: You felt for the first time like someone else felt what you were feeling, like she had a special power of empathy, allowing her to feel along with what others feel; and when she said, “I think a long time ago someone hurt you”, it felt like she knew what you had known but could not alone declare, since you had been always stuck alone only with these feelings, without any story to connect them to, without any account to make sense of them.

Is messiness a symptom? Is accepting a lower paying job while you in fits and starts work on writing projects and wasting maybe half a day a week on alcohol a symptom? (it’s more than half a day when you factor in how it damages your sleep.) Is being unable or unwilling to date women your own age a symptom? Lots of men do that — a nontrivial portion of rich and famous single men will choose a significantly younger woman for their mate. You are not rich and famous, but you kind of think you are. Is the sense that you are about to hit a home run a symptom? Is that the same as an alcohol problem: The addiction to daydreams of greatness that just kind of happens because it has to, because you have to be set free, you have to be loved, you have to be worthy, you just have to be?

The notion of being a general addict, an abstract addict. The alcoholic and gambler and etc: What do they have in common? They need to escape into something that makes them feel like they are good enough and safe and strong and free. Because they can’t live all the time with the sense that they aren’t good enough, and not safe, and not strong or free. It is too painful. So they ask for a respite, and they find it in some compulsion that allows them to think and feel blurrily enough that they can convince themselves for a moment that they are great, grand, fantastic, worthwhile, really really worthwhile, and they are really going places. The -aholics desperate lunge is the same basic impulse towards fuzzy thinking paired with accounts of grand security and thriving that tyrants feed their minions and that we individuals always to some degree use to sneak away from the tension of the moment — where we all know that Love is the Way, but the Way requires gentle clear kind resolve and it guarantees not physical security and thriving, but spiritual growth and whatever terrifying mysteries that entails. But the -aholic takes this dodging of the moment’s tension to an extreme, and desperately winds him or herself deeper and deeper into their favorite cocktail of blur and rush.

The -aholic needs desperately to collapse. To die. To fall apart and disintegrate. The -aholic needs to lose, but also wants desperately to win. What is going on with him? The suicide he seeks is not to die but to kill that which in himself that he cannot live with. But it is wrapped up in him. It is him. And he knows it. He knows he cannot escape the failure running through him. So he loses himself in forced confusion. Confused ideas and confused feelings. In the blur he kind of disintegrates while kind of triumphing. He can have it all, because his thought and feelings are confused.

What about the time when like ten and you lie on the hardwood bedroom floor wrapped up in a blue patchwork quilt? What was going on? A paralyzing fear. And the need to protect your back with this blanket and the inability to move. Until it passed.

Or what about that time when like twenty when a building off to one side somehow squishes you down into the smooth white pavement near campus? Really! Squished into the cement and stay there for a while until the feeling passes and you are able to move again.

That doesn’t happen to most people. That is not normal. That doesn’t just happen for no reason, though at the time you shrug it off, don’t question it, or even think about it again.

And now? With the hurt a known entity: what now?

You spent recentish years going to Buddhist meditation. It helped but then the hurt got so loud that meditating hurt and you quit. There were other reasons too, you guess.

You spent years in therapy trying to work with the hurt to gain some insight into what it felt, what it needed, what path we could together journey to reintegrate and allow yourself to fully occupy your being. But always at some point, you’re hit from the inside, tossed out into the shallows of my conscious experience, lost from the venture.

The hurt is like a hatchet inside of you. But often just a little background delirium. And then for reasons sometimes perhaps known or at least guessable, and sometimes completely unknown, the hurt will explode and you want to yell out, or maybe you even do, and/or sometimes you feel woozy and/or crushed and tears well up in your eyes. Sometimes you want to go curl up and hide under the desk, but you are at work and that’s crazy. You feel your body bend over your belly, like it wants to double-up. You sit up straight and pull your shoulders back. You breathe slowly out.

It feels like a wound, not brain chemistry. But no one wants to hear that. And you don’t really want to talk to them about it anyway.

You disdain psychiatrists. They give you drugs that hurt your brain and yammer at you. They were wrong. They did not understand that your brain chemistry was part of an overall reaction to this wound, that neither they nor you were then aware of. And the therapists working in tandem with them also lacked any meaningful insight into you and what would really help you. How you disdain all these people! These people make money by mucking about in and perhaps doing permanent damage to the brains of people who fall into their clutches. You feel for them the old disdain, that one that has marked you for so long.

Most very young children gush and Iloveyoutoo back when their parents say they love them; but this case would clam up, straighten up, his eyes and purpose would narrow. They had chosen to start a fight and he would end it if need be. This three year old does not accept “I love you” from his parents. Or so you understand the matter from accounts received combined with how you still clam up and close in and down when you hear such talk from people who I know to be good and to have always looked out for you and done everything to help you and made many many sacrifices above and beyond what is expected.

The situation here is isolating. It is lonely. It is lonely to have no one to talk to about something that fills up so much of your being. The therapist is willing to listen and believe you are not full of baloney, but the therapist is not really in your life, and the two of you seem unable to enter the heart of the matter.

You want to be held and accepted and known and respected and cherished and loved. By someone to whom you return all such attention and devotion. What you need is a wife. But again, you need someone who is good for you, not just someone willing to hold you while you hurt. A hurt like this complicates romance. You don’t want to pick someone just to be safe while you hurt — that’s not nice to either of you.

People don’t want to know. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to acknowledge how you feel, how it’s been, the way it seems. They think is unreasonable for you to ask them to go there, when you have no story. And you don’t even want to go there very much with them anyway. But being alone with it as it is really painful. And exhausting when done year after year for so many years. It is really lonely. So much of your life shared with no one in your life. So much of your life no one cares to even believe is happening.

But that’s not the loneliest part. The loneliest part is that the hurt and its entourage are so slippery and variable that you yourself often can’t really believe this is going on. So then you have this weird life of being separated from and distrustful of and upset with different angles of yourself. Maybe you made it all up? Maybe you’re just autistic and can’t connect with people. But no; it’s not quite like that; the hurt, though not obvious, is not a fantasy; and you, though a little disjointed at times, are able to read expressions and even the room — when you give the effort.

The hurt wears you down. You give up. You quit trying to sink into yourself. And you stop short of sharing certain aspects of yourself. You retreat.

Sometimes you will be annoyed with other people. It exasperates you that they force you to pretend the hurt’s not there. But it isn’t just them that is forcing it on you. You also don’t want to make the dynamic stressful with a hurt whose point is anyway evasive. And you also accept the general position of your time and place, which holds that no one but a man’s wife is supposed to be bothered with what he really feels. And you want such a cute wife, such a beautiful, adorable, wonderful little thing. And beggars can’t be choosers.

But what do you really want? What would you really ask for if you could move beyond the hurt? How to ask for at least the right general direction? How to ask for a love that will work now and also will work as you change? This is always the challenge when seeking a mate, but the challenge becomes more challenging when dealing with some screaming emotional pain that is not really a very big portion of how you feel and what you think, but that nonetheless takes up a great deal of your subconscious and conscious space — that colors everything with it’s bitter violence.

The way forward is clear gentle kind resolve.
But the hurt is a blurry, violent, angry, aggrieved and spiteful hurricane.
You can’t make progress without admitting where you are.
The hurt should’t be shrugged off.
You can’t make progress indulging in every little ache and moan.
The hurt shouldn’t be mollycoddled.
We must seek the middle way between ignoring and indulging the hurt.
What do you do with a wound without a story?

People with a tendency towards -aholicism often have a hurt they cannot deal with, that they cannot face, that they cannot even admit. It’s one thing to admit up and down that you have problems and so on — it is another to really admit that you feel broken and destined to fail inside and that you will never ever escape that situation.

Am I weak at knowing other people? Do I disconnect? Am I not empathetic enough? Does my love flicker in and out? Do I focus too much on myself and/or empty obsessions? Who am I in this world? Do I seem outside of human relationship? Am I? And if so, is that wrinkle just brain chemistry, or is it a slight natural tendency exacerbated by an inner emotional wound that I cannot access? One could conceivably be somewhere on the OCD/Aspergers/Autism spectrum via brain chemistry, but seem more autistic due to the interplay with external factors. Also, I was never a kid always by himself, unable to communicate to others. I always had friends and felt normal in the worlds presented to me. All through grade school and high school. Late in high school and then in college I thought myself on an artsy and philosophical path, but never like I was an outsider or didn’t fit in. As I’ve gotten older I sometimes slip deeper into certain obsessions and eccentricities. I don’t know. It is hard to say how nature and nurture work together. But I feel a hurt in me that feels like a wound, a cut, a slash, an almost physical emotional wound. To me, treating it as a trauma makes more sense than treating it as unusual brain chemistry. The core of my difficulties feels to me like a wound, not like brain chemistry.

Why would a man want to tell his woman that she’s his little girl? What is that about? Sexuality runs deep, but also shallow. How can this be? Sexuality connects both to the most important parts of you and parts much more random and animal. It is confusing sometimes to sort out what is the deep and what is the shallow in sex, because everything is lived all interwoven. When is it right to ask for someone and let the longings carry you into each other? What are these words you hear yourself saying? What are you even talking about? Sex runs all through you, but what part is sexual loneliness and what part is cuddly loneliness and what part is friendly loneliness and what part is not loneliness? Does anyone in this time and place have a healthy sexuality? What would a healthy sexuality even look like? Does everyone feels they have to choose between suppression and excess?

And you? You’d like to find the right one, but what does that mean? With two people, you have to compromise everywhere, and to react always to unscripted input. You have to? You get to. That’s the point: you’re with someone else, not just yourself, you’re meeting and remeeting and better meeting someone else. Why do we people wish to marry? Why do we wish to be granted another’s physical, emotional and mental space? In marriage the idea is that you have the commitment and setup to actually let another person in to your whole moment. So then you don’t have to be alone with it. Is this goal possible? It is desirable? Is it good? Single people long for it, but married people give it mixed reviews. Happy marriages are one thing; everything else is another thing — I guess.

I try to help you. I try to get into the gut and yell the hurt out.
I try to let the Light in with the breath, let the Light fill you, and then push out from within, sometimes also with a drawn-out Ahhhhhh from the gut out — similar to the Hindu’s Ommmmmm. But this Ahhhhhh’s idea is to turn yourself inside out, to open up and spill the hurt out so that you can feel and think more clear and fine.
I try to help you. To sit you up straight, shoulders back, chest forward, radiating all the passion — hurt included — out into forever; with open mind and heart, seeking insight and goodness.
But what happens?
Where have we got to?
Where should we go?
And can we get there?
How?

A lonely hurt. I can’t explain it. It gets worse when I’m tired.

Hmmmm. Interesting.

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew M. Watson

A nice girl

A nice girl

She’s a nice girl.
I want to be a good choice for her.

But you’re not.

I can be a good choice because I can change.
Humans are adaptable.
I can adapt to this love.

You can only change so much.

How much?

Only just so much.

How much does she need me to change?

It’s not so much how much is needed as what is needed; and not all the needed whats can you procure.

No?
Are you sure?

No.

Then why are you saying all this?
She’s a nice girl and we fit.

Do you?

I want to know her.
And be right for her.
Unless I’m not right for her.
Then I don’t want anything.
I’ll just be alone then.

Why? There’s lots of nice girls.

Yeah. But if this is love and this is right, then I should wait for her.

And if it’s not?

I will wait until I am loosed from the bond of this hypothesis.

What proof do you need to stay and what proof to go?

Author: BW
Editor: AW
Copyright: AMW

Men, Women, and The Evil

Men, Women, and The Evil

We’ll discuss the similarities between Something Deeperism and the Alcoholics Anonymous method, and then we’ll work with you to develop a program tailored to your situation.

Okay.

But first.

Yes?

Maybe it would help you, and us, and everyone else, if you could expatiate a little on what it is to be a man — particularly on how much a man wants to mean something to a woman. And how much good and evil that great longing’s unleased upon this little world.

Oh. Okay. Sure.

Whenever you’re ready.

Right.

No pressure.

None taken!

Good.

So, yeah. Being a man. You want to matter to a woman. You want to satisfy her. You want to be a man for her. What you don’t want is to let her down, or disappoint her, or to make her wish she’d chosen another man.

So if something goes wrong. If you for whatever reason can’t access your own sexuality. Or you have a tiny penis. Or an erection issue. Or something that keeps you from driving your point home to her in such a way as to convince her that you’re a man through and through and she’s right to melt around you and ask you to fill her and stay with her, then you feel like a joke. You think you don’t count. You feel like there’s nowhere to put yourself, nowhere to put the passion screaming for connection and fulfillment. You think you can’t be held and respected the way you need to be to feel OK about yourself and your life. You think there’s no place where you can be all of you and be accepted and cherished for who you are.

Or if you can’t provide for your family, and this makes your wife scorn you.

Or if you don’t succeed like she thinks a man should in order to really count for something, and this makes her scorn you.

If for whatever reason — emotional, physical, or circumstantial — you don’t satisfy your wife’s demands on her husband, and she isn’t happy that you’re the one in her bed and in her house and sharing her life; then you feel like you don’t matter and you have no safe place in the world, because she and you were supposed to make and occupy a safe place where you could let yourselves be fully yourselves, where you didn’t have to tamp down your deepest fires, or hush up your hopes, fears, and fantasies. But if she doesn’t love you, if she doesn’t think you are worth caring for, then you are so alone, stranded forever in a world that doesn’t hold you and believe in you. You need to be held and to be believed in. You need to have someone who is so glad to have found you and whom you are so glad to have found. You need to matter to someone who matters to you, to desire someone who desires you, to satisfy someone who satisfies you, to believe in someone who believes in you, to give your all and have it be enough and to be held and loved and respected for that moment when you’ve opened up your pit and exposed the delicate inner pulp that you’ve learned to guard and keep from the world — that doesn’t have time or energy to care how you really feel deep inside.

This is what it’s like for most men. But sometimes they don’t want to admit that. They want to play the big womanizer or the great genius or the hero or the king or moneybags. Because, for whatever reasons, they aren’t able to admit that they just want to be right for a woman who is right for them; they just want to share happy, satisfied safety with a woman that fits their shape and whose shape they fit.

Of course, sometimes a man can’t find the right woman. Or sometimes he becomes a monk. Or sometimes he loses his penis. Or whatever. There was a famous lover, a man that more than one woman offered to leave her husband for, who was impotent. It was from a war injury. He used other parts to please them. And the Dalai Lama never gets a woman, but he’s still beaming joyful contentment everywhere. And there’s men whose wives disappear and they spend the rest of their lives caring for their children and friends and family and they are okay with it, and don’t consider themselves to be failures or jokes. There’s a lot more to a life than the need to connect romantically and succeed as a lover, a provider, a man. But still, the longing to count as a man is great and one has to address it — and not just once, but every day, over and over again. Maybe in the Dalai Lama the game shifts deeper, but still he has to work on his inner passions every day like the rest of us.

To the degree that people cannot admit to themselves what they think and feel, they are dangerous to themselves and others. They slip and slide in daydreams that they cannot actually understand, believe in, or care about. To this degree, they do not travel with their own feeling/thinking to their own decisions/actions: they lack meaningful traction within their own conscious moments: they lack a meaningful way to choose one feeling/thinking path over another. To this degree, one is meaningless-to-oneself and one’s feeling/thinking is corrupted and disengaged from one’s internal rules for feeling/thinking — from aware clear honest accurate competent kind joyfully-interconnected feeling/thinking/acting.

Human communities are corrupt to the degree they select for and reward actions springing from internal corruption — actions that spring not from clear honest competent kind feeling/thinking; but from all the little panics, greeds, and moral-incompetencies that take over to the degree a person lose traction within hisorher own feeling/thinking/acting. Human communities are corrupt and corrupted to the degree they do not safeguard transparency, honesty, fairness, equality under the law, and other rules and norms that help groups to jointly safeguard the eternal values (aware clear honest accurate competent kind joyfully-together).

What happens to a man who lives for his wife and children in a place where one has to cheat, lie, and harm others in order to get and maintain power? What happens to him when he has to do evil just to get clean water, decent food, and a safe place for his family? Or is it never really like that? Is that just a trick people tell themselves to let themselves be rotten?

What happens to a young man who doesn’t feel valued by any woman he values?
How do young men and women decide who to value in what way?

What happens to inside of men as they justify dishonesty, thievery and violence in the name of their manhood? “I am doing what is right for my family.” How much evil has that sentiment protected, grown, and spread?

And yet, a safe, happy, stable household is not just compatible with human decency, but is conducive to it. Because the sexual passions in and of themselves know no bounds. They need boundaries, and love and connection create strong ties with built-in boundaries.

The answer is, as always, that a human must admit to himorherself where s/he finds himorherself within himorherself. With internal awareness, we individuals are at a starting point. With a shared prioritization of the eternal values without which none of our feeling/thinking/acting makes sense to any of use (aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind, gentle, joyfully-interconnected), we groups are at a starting point. Both individuals and groups must continuously reevaluate, clarify, try again. A man must accept his own longings, potentialities, and limitations. A group must together defend honesty, clarity, competency, kind resolve, and joyful togetherness; as well as those structures — like transparency in government, freedom of speech, democracy, a free and independent journalism — that preserve their ability to collectively safeguard those eternal values.

A man’s justification of evil in the name of his family and friends is the way downward. But it is difficult to be both good and happy in a place where your family cannot be safe without stealing from others.

But these exigencies are always things of degrees, as well as matters of perspective. The way forward is not to run towards violent revolution every time things are a little off — violent revolution creates chaos and usually eventually a cruel and oppressive peace. The way forward is to start over and over again within oneself, within one’s family and friends, and within one’s larger (generally in this modern world multiple and overlapping) communities — always pushing out from within, reaching gently alone and with others for a little more awareness, clarity, accuracy, competency, kindness, and joyful togetherness.

Donald Trump’s attempts to scuttle the democratic process are evil. Corrupt power structures don’t prize competently finding what is best for everyone — they prize holding onto power no matter what. These are the values of thuggery — they are not even at a starting point.

Did you have to bring up Donald Trump?

I’m always sick to my stomach over this situation. We need to heal the divide in the nation so we can together carry out our fundamental duty as citizens in a representative democracy: serve as a final check on madness and corruption in government.

But can you now help me figure out how to pull it together? If essays could heal what ails me, I’d’ve been enlightened long ago.

Haven’t all the essays helped? Didn’t formulating a philosophy that accounted for your inability to Know the Truth, your need for the Truth, and the reasonable possibility of a non-literal whole-being organization of your own feeling/thinking/acting around a Truth shining in and through all things — didn’t that help? Didn’t that help you shake off all the tossing and turning within moral relativism and magical thinking — within empty existential stands and empty romanticisims?

Maybe. But not enough. I want to move on. I want to stop losing days to alcohol. I want to find the right woman and have us both know it, embrace it, and be happy together. I want to pay for myself in a way that is good for me and others. I want to feel/think/act in a positive way. I want to help the nation moves towards more shared wisdom and less stupid bullshit.

You got upset with the so-called-experts for always telling you your problem was brain chemistry. Because in time, you began to feel that their drugs and commentary only ever missed the point and made things worse — because these interventions had you looking in the wrong place for the cause of your difficulties.

Yes. What I feel within is a wound, like a knife in my gut, shoved in deep and twisted. And that feels to me like what happens when you are mistreated and your mind forgets but your body and the emotional inner lining of your body remembers. I feel like psychiatrists and psychologists misled me, and also harmed my mind with their useless, but very powerful drugs.

So what now?

Isn’t that why you’re here?

What is evil?

Evil is letting everything slide to your advantage. Evil is not doing the work and stealing the fruits. Evil is letting madness-slides-corruption guide your feeling/thinking/acting. Evil is purposefully confusing your own feeling/thinking/acting, so that you move away from grounding your behavior in calm clear honest accurate competent kind gentle joyfully-sharing feeling/thinking/acting anchored in a constant effort to organize your inner space around the Light within that Knows that and in what way is is True to say, “We are all in this together”. Evil is moving towards being guided by confusions that let you gobble guzzle steal break take strut loll while pretending-to-yourself that you’re doing something worthwhile. Evil is choosing the confusion that helps you justify cruelty, meanness, avarice, dishonesty, bullshit. Evil is choosing confusion over a coherent (meaningful-to-you) system for choosing one action over another. Evil is choosing meaningless — choosing to serve empty notions and animal drives over clear thought and kind resolve. Evil in groups is choosing meaninglessness over sharing the only meaning we as individuals or groups can possess: aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind, joyfully sharing and together. Evil is preferring hazy, self-indulgent feeling and thinking over awareness of your own feelings, thoughts, and actions, and how these actions effect others. Evil is dishonesty towards yourself, others, and the space between.

Are you Evil?

Good and Evil in humans are things of degrees.

Would you throw everyone under the bus just so you could sneak off with your dreamlady to a safe bliss?

I hope not.

What is going to keep you from cheating everyone like that? What is going to keep you from letting them die while you love yourself and a few select others who rub you the right way? What wisdom is going to enable you to treat everyone decently?

I don’t know. Aren’t we going to work on that now?

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew M. Watson

Health Goals

Health Goals

Before listing your symptoms, please describe what healthy would mean to you and why you want to be healthy.

Healthy to me is:
1. Having a steady, stable income, and healthy finances that are sufficient to meet my needs and the needs of my family.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically fit (a healthy diet, regular strength and cardio training, walking 10+ hours a week, etc).
3. Being mentally sharp, creative, and productive (at work, in writing, in conversation).
4. Living in a country with a healthy, functioning democracy, freedom of speech, a free press, and equality under the law.
5. Contributing meaningfully via my work and my creative efforts to a healthy, happy, well-functioning society.
6. Having healthy relationships with family and friends.
7. Having and nurturing a deep physical, emotional, and mental bond with my life-partner.
8. So, then 1 & 7 imply that I would like to find the right woman for me.
9. Being wise and good enough to know and do what is best for me, those close to me, and everyone.
10. I guess 9 implies a consistent and fruitful spiritual practice.
11. The core of my moments should be seeking and growing in spiritual insight and goodness; and from their all my feeling/thinking/deciding/acting should flow.
12. Oh, I need to be clean and tidy and organized.
13. And 6 and 7 imply a healthy work-life balance, and that I don’t fritter my time away.
14. I’d like to read and write so well that my literary efforts helped me grow and were also worthwhile reading.
15. I would like to be able to reliably drink in moderation; or, that failing, stop drinking altogether.
16. #2 I envision as encompassing a long, healthy, active, productive life.

Motivation:
I want to be happy, and healthy, and find ways of feeling/thinking/acting that are good for me and others. I want the people in my life to benefit from having me in their life — I want to be a safe and healthy person for my sake and for the sake of other people.

And I want to be a good option for her — in case she might want to be with me.

OK, great! Sounds like you’re already well-aligned with the general goals of Something Deeperism! So that should expedite the cure.

Is there really such a thing as a cure for being the way one is?

Mmmm. There’s such a thing as so much consistent positive momentum that you can meet and maintain the kind of goals you’ve outlined.

What about protecting democracy? What about goal #4?

Well, maybe if you focus on wisdom and goodness, and your fellow citizens do as well — maybe then, together you can improve your shared government.

Author: BW
Editor: AW
Copyright AMW

One goal

One goal

Dear US American Citizen,

If you could pick one major accomplishment for your life, what would be the best choice?
How about saving democracy in the United States?
Not only are you helping yourself, you are helping all your fellow citizens.
And you are helping the world, because the US has enough nuclear weapons to undo the world.

You might choose something like “raise my children so they are strong and independent” etc.
Is that a selfish wish?
It’s a mixture of selfishness and altruism.
People think they are good, but all they do is prop up a few other people while letting everyone else get sucked down the tubes.
But that’s an oversimplification.
Let’s grant that we all have people that are close to us, and that it is neither a great virtue or a terrible sin to want things to go well for them and us and our happy little home.
Let’s grant that’s that’s normal and trying to pretend that it’s a great virtue creates a mafia mindset and trying to pretend it is a terrible sin creates dangerous fanaticism; and in the end, both mindsets divorce us from what we really know to be the case: we most of us probably can’t help but love our family and close friends more than other people, and we do indeed have special obligations vis-a-vis those closest to us, but in the end we have to do our best to be open, loving, and helpful to everyone — because we are all in this together, or else life is too cruel for any of us to bear.

Anyway, forgive the aside. All I meant to point out is that your children will do better in a democracy than in a failed state. Not just the obvious stuff like being able to speak your mind without fear of imprisonment, or being able to keep wealth and power without lying, cheating, stealing, and outright hurting other people. But also: tyranny is inefficient: it’s rulers aren’t trying to do a good job in an open society and get rewarded by the electorate; they are trying to keep power at all costs — it is a thug mindset, and that is not compatible with finding win-wins for everyone to share in and grow with. Tyrannies are bad for business, and also for education and interesting lives and even having the space and energy to help other people.

In short, anything you might want to accomplish with your life has a better chance of sustainable success in a healthy democracy. Even purely spiritual goals like “become wise” or “grow spiritually” or etc: All those goals require that you put Goodness first, and that means looking out for others, and that means pushing for wiser, kinder, more open, competent and principled government.

A nice thing about saving democracy: You can still be you. Because it will take all of us together, so we will all have to bring our unique gifts, perspectives, and styles into the mix.

But what is confusing to me is that even more Republicans than Democrats think our democracy is in jeopardy. And yet is the Republican politicians that are jeopardizing our democracy. Then you see the problem. Then you enter the Twilight Zone. Half the country has lost its mind. Or at least, they’ve decided to miss the obvious. Any crazy notion rather than admit that they are destroying the world for no good reason. The situation is awkward, to say the least. The Republican party used to stick up for democracy. So maybe it is difficult to believe that’s changed; and then if to believe that’s changed would require siding with the Dems, well, that’s just too much to ask.

What is to be done?

We should all be praying, “What can I do to help US American democracy?”

But if people can pray that and vote for Trump, then what coherent thoughts are available to human beings?

We can’t be 100% logical. We need to start from somewhere, and if our thought is not based on a sense of “this actually should be preferred”*, then who can believe in, care about, or follow their own thoughts? Without an experienced spiritual insight at the core of one’s thinking and acting, one cannot think coherently because we humans cannot understand, believe in, or care about thought-paths that are not self-knowingly headed towards the “actually preferable”. We all have our systems and within these our faiths, but faith without insight is meaningless (and at some level we all know that). And insight comes of inhabiting one’s thoughts from the inside: moving one’s conscious space as a whole towards the more aware, clear, honest, competent, kind, joyfully-sharing: towards wiser: towards a sense of “actually preferable” that gets deeper and wiser as one better and better organizes one’s feeling/thinking/acting around it.

So what do we do when people pray for wisdom and they get garbage? What do we say to them? And what implications do their obvious spiritual failures have to say to us and our own self-supposed spiritual insights?

What is to be done?

If you pray for guidance and God tells you that you need to support Trump and the Republicans as they save US American democracy, what is happening? The Republicans are actively obviously dismantling US American democracy. So what is God really saying to you?

It feels suddenly like the middle ages, where a Frenchman believes God is on France’s side and an Englishman believes God is on England’s side. It feels again patently absurd. And yet, the Republicans really are undoing democracy. And that really is the problem here. So I am right.

And yet I must be missing some critical detail, since I have no more patience for Republicans. This proves a lack of spiritual insight on my own part.

What is to be done?

Because ha ha ha, the jokes on all of us.

And time is running out.

Something Deeperism is right: Humans fail to make sense to themselves to the degree they do not feel/think/act aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, joyfully kind. And groups fail to make sense to themselves to the degree they do not prioritize these values without which none of our worldviews make any sense to any of us; and the way for groups to prioritize those values os by demanding open, honest, accurate, competent, and everybody-wins thinking/deciding proceses of their ruling bodies, and things like free press and democracy can help the people demand these goods of their leaders.

But how to actually implement this in individual and group lives? Trump says he is the honest and good one and a third of the nation scream along.

What is the trick? How to wake ourselves out of this nightmare?

If Something Deeperism were to explode everywhere. Would that do it?

Underneath every human lies the need for “actually preferable”. When used properly, this need drives us towards more aware … joyfully kind feeling/thinking/acting because inhabiting our own feeling/thinking/acting is a prerequisite of going with it towards “actually preferable” directions, and we cannot inhabit our own feeling/thinking/acting except to the degree we follow our own inborn indelible rules for feeling/thinking/acting. Also: those inborn values are not ends in themselves — they require insight into “actually preferable” to make sense to themselves and the rest of one’s conscious space.

Is gullibleness the source of all evil? We trick ourselves into believing in our own nonsense and that allows us to be more easily snookered by the nonsense of other self-deceivers? The most fundamental lie is the one about “actually preferable”. We paste this or that hope or fear into our inner unstated notions about “actually preferable”.

We’ll not save humans from good principles outward. We didn’t have a democracy because we were wise. We had it because the system worked with the pulp of us towards an adequate amount of honesty and openness in government. So what do we do? Or could wisdom yet explode? After all, isn’t liberal democracy both good ideas and intentions AND the structures? How does wisdom and democracy explode everywhere and pull us all together towards better outcomes?

If we all spend all our time praying for a way forward together, will that help? We can share Something Deeperism without arguing about the details, since Something Deeperism sticks to the universal values: feel/think/act aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, kind, joyfully-aware-of-our-interconnectedness — all of which implies and requires an ever-improving inner organization of our feeling/thinking/acting around a Something Deeper at the core of all our beings: a Something Deeper that Knows that and in what sense it is True to say, “We are all in this together. We should feel/think/act aware … joyfully-aware-of-our-interconnectedness”. A Something Deeper that Knows what is actually preferable.

Something Deeperism is not a universal religion. It is a declaration of a universal shared Purpose: We are all in this together — that’s not just something we would like to believe, or we say because it feels good: it is True. We know it more fundamentally than we know the feelings and ideas that would either confirm or deny it. And by organizing our individual and shared feeling/thinking/acting around this shared fundamental vista, we grow in wisdom: we grow in whole-being insight (ideas, feelings, ect. organized around the spiritual sense within) into what it means to say, “We are all in this together”.

But whenever talk starts going like that, it is highjacked within individuals and in groups by individuals deceiving themselves and others.

That’s why Something Deeperism needs structures. It needs rules. It needs some way to check up on how clear and honest one is thinking, and how compassionate one is behaving. It needs checks on power. It needs free speech. Wisdom knows that it needs help. It needs structures that reward goodness and punish evil. That’s the beauty of democracy: we citizens serve as a final check on madness and corruption in government, and the less mad and/or corrupt a state, the more it pays to treat others well and do work that actually benefits everyone, and the less it pays to lie, cheat, steal, murder, and etc-stuff that you have to do to keep power in an autocracy. In a democracy, you can be a successful businessman without being evil! You can write the truth without going to jail! You can lose power without having to fear for your life! See how fun that is! It is so neat!

So what should we do?

What is actually preferable? GodLight/PureLove. The peace that passes understanding. (Why does Reality love everyone? Why is God also Good?)

But what can humans together share and operate? That was always the great part about democracy: It is humanly feasible.

What should we do?

Sincerely,

Starfish Jones

*(as opposed to founding one’s thought on stories like “I want this” or “God is like this story and this story goes …” or “science is true or should be taken as true-enough, and science says” [we are speaking here of the foundations of one’s thoughts, not about whether the sky is blue because of little particles in the air or because of fairy dust] — all that stuff has no foundation — it has only dogmatic belief desperately clung to)

Author: BW
Editor: AW
Copyright: AMM

PL/SD Soap Wrapper

PL/SD Soap Wrapper

Full Wrapper:

Bartleby’s Pure Love Soap!
100% What Is / 0% What Is Not!
Yes!, Bartleby Willard is the same flim-flamming ad-man promising you both Pure Love in your soap and Something Deeperism in your worldview!
What does he mean? And how does he sleep at night?
He means well and is too fictional to require sleep.
See backside of this label for details.

What is Pure Love? What is Something Deeperism?
How can Bartleby Willard’s Pure Love soap deliver both?

Pure Love is the love that is 100% love; the love that does not push away or pull towards, but that holds and love-lifts everything and everyone.
To the degree that earthly loves truly love, they partake of Pure Love.

Something Deeperism is the worldview positing that there is an Absolute Truth, and people can relate to It meaningfully, but not in a literal/1:1/definitive kind of way, so what is needed is a whole-being (soul-stuff/heart/mind/body) organization around a Light within that alone Knows that and in what sense it is True to say “We are all in this together”. It is a worldview that proves itself to one from the inside out: As we grow in love we understand more what Love is.

The good news is that Pure Love is already all there is, and everyone is already a Something Deeperist!*
But the soap is pleasant and perhaps useful, and the advertising flim-flammery interesting to contemplate.

*Everyone can’t help but sense that the only way we can understand, care about, and/or believe in our own sensing/feeling/thinking/acting is by relating our sensing/feeling/thinking/acting to a Something Deeeper that actually Knows what is going on, what we should do, and that and in what sense it is True to say that Pure Love is all there really is (otherwise, we’re just slip-sliding randomly and have no meaningful-to-us way of choosing one direction over another).

And we all do indeed become internally-coherent (ie: make sense to ourselves) to the degree we pursue and realize that inborn insight.

But what is True is of course prior to our ideas and feelings; so we’re not looking for literal truths clasped with manic ardor, but for a whole-being organization of our sensing/feeling/thinking around a Light within (and thus accessible to our other aspects of thought) and shining through all things (since it is Absolute).

Helpful guidelines: Concomitant with the aforementioned sense of an inner Knowing-Light is the sense that human sensing/feeling/thinking/acting is meaningful to itself only to the degree it is aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, and joyfully aware of and in sync with the interconnectedness of all beings.

Extra hint: Only aware, clear, honest, oh-so-gentle love is real.

How does Bartleby compare to Dr. Bronner?

You might be thinking,
“But the world already has one soap with labels espousing empty platitudes about the Oneness of everything! Do we really need another one?”
Interesting question.
Let’s discuss how Bartleby’s Pure Love soap compares to Dr. Bronner’s line of All-One Magic Soaps.

First the soaps themselves:
Here the advantage clearly goes to Dr. Bronner.
With over a hundred years of soap-making tradition, they know their stuff.
Whereas we are just kind of finding our way towards a good soap blend that we buy from other companies and then mold into the shapes of our fancies.

That said, How long does a bar of soap ever last?
And how much difference is there in the experience of a good bar of soap versus a great one?
Or should the comparison be a pretty good bar of soap versus a really good bar of soap?
In any case, I think you’ll agree that soap is a pretty meaningless and quickly-consumed good, and that a person should aim for a high-quality, safe, sustainably-sourced soap; but not go crazy/all-vainglorious trying to secure the very best soap at all times and all places.
In conclusion, their soap is better, but our’s is pretty good, and soap is a small-portion of not just life, but the consumer culture in general.
You could buy there soap sometimes and our soap sometimes; nothing bad would happen.

Anyway,
You’re an inveterate consumer.
You don’t just buy products because they are useful and/or pleasant and/or worthwhile.
You buy products because they tell you who you are, where you stand, how you fit into the wider world.

In this you err terribly.
However, it is standard behavior and to some degree cannot be avoided.
We are fish in water.
We should be aware of our surroundings and not gulp needless draughts of water, but what good does it do to lie to ourselves?

Which brings up the second point of comparison:
What about the worldviews and philosophical pitter-patter?
Here we cannot speak so much of better or worse, but only of different approaches.

As (annoyingly?) dedicated Something Deeperists, we are very open to the notion that the world’s religions all tap into the same underlying Truth —
a Truth which could be sketched something like this:
We are all in this together, bound in and through a Light shining in and through all things, and we should love the Light within ourselves and everyone else with all our heart and soul and mind, and also love everyone else as we love ourselves — we are all vessels of the Light.

The gist of Dr. Bronner’s philosophy therefore fits the gist of ours; and as Something Deeperists, we would not ask for more than a gist to agree.

We particularly like this one from Dr. Bronner:
“Full-truth our God, hard work our salvation, free speech our weapon. All-One our soul, self-discipline the key to love, uniting All-One above! Above!”

Our dogma team has been mulling over this line for some time.
We think perhaps it holds the key to a problem we’ve been having with Something Deeperism.

Namely: How to know to what degree one’s individual self is living in, by and through the Light; and how to know to what degree a group is doing so?
In both cases, there is no perfect self-knowledge, but we think that discipline is at least a key to love.

What is a disciplined love?
It’s not the same as disciplined rule-following.
How does it relate to disciplined rule-following?

What is an effective love?
When is love in tune with Pure Love / The Light?

And how does all this relate to Heraclitus’s point:
“Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all things are one.” -Heraclitus (Fragment 50)
?

Our dogma team will continue to hammer out the details of our response;
for now, let us say that we find no material difference between our approach and Dr. Bronners.

But we are trying to lay out the internal logic a little more clearly.
To see what we mean, please read and consider our label, and refer perhaps later to our Something Deeperism Institute.

One quibble with Dr. Bronner:
We cannot see our way to assigning metaphysical significance to Halley’s Comet.

In a similar vein:
Dr. Bronner is a committed Something Deeperist, as are we.
As such, we agree with his (implicitly stated) position that you cannot point directly at the Truth (It being prior to human ideas, let alone human words), but must point towards It poetically (not perfectly precise, but still onto something; not objectively verifiable, but verifiable within each conscious moment to the degree one sense/feels/thinks/act aware and clear).
Hence Bronner’s “All-One-God-Faith!” and “Listen Children Eternal Father Eternally One!” slogans.

However, in our attempt to make Something Deeperism a more rigorous philosophical position, we’ve found it necessary to prioritize a minimal dogmatism which underlies and explicates the more colorful poetries.

This is helpful to individuals because it can serve as an internal check on their own sensing/feeling/thinking/acting: “Am I keeping first things first? How well are my various dogmas, feelings, thoughts, and actions serving those core values and goals that I must follow and attain in order to inhabit, understand, and care about my own actions?
After all, I could have the truest dogma possible, but if I woefully misunderstand it, I miss the Truth by a woeful mile!

And a minimal dogmatism is helpful in groups for the same basic reason:
By keeping their focus on those values and goals without which no human worldview is meaningful to any human, the group’s members are able to work together to create and maintain organizations that are sufficiently open, free, honest, accurate, competent, and responsible for their members to meaningfully communicate with one another and to meaningfully share governance or — in large organizations like nation states — together monitor a representative government and serve as a final check on madness and corruption in their representatives.

It is hard enough to keep to the minimal dogmatisms required for individuals and groups to live and behave well. Therefore, Something Deeperism suggests that we all agree on and work together on these minimum standards for internal-coherency, and not allow ourselves to get distracted with endless debates about more specific dogmas.

This is not to belittle other dogmas, but merely to say:
“By together consciously/awaredly keeping to the core dogmas, we can communicate and collaborate meaningfully; and we cannot be our best selves without working with our fellows within the framework of our essential dogmas; therefore, let’s stick with the critical/universal dogmas, and not get distracted arguing over dogmas that are not absolutely essential for human thought to be meaningful to human beings.”

The minimal values/goals:
We should work to always sense/feel/think/act more and more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, and joyfully-together; which goals imply a belief in truly better and worse ways of being, which implies something along the lines of an Absolute Standard or Truth that we can relate to meaningfully.
But an Absolute Truth would have to be Absolute, and our thought is not, so we could never relate literally/1:1/once-and-for-all-edly to It.
Therefore, the best approach is to seek an inner Knowing-Light within our conscious space (and thus accessible to us) that Knows (ie: isn’t just guessing) how to best organize our sense-of-things, feelings, thoughts and acts.
(the existence of such an inner Touchstone is attested to by many a mystic, as well as our own inner sense:
“Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all things are one.” -Heraclitus (Fragment 50)).

Granted: this description is of necessity rather poetic.
For internal meaning within a group, and for some individuals, it is perhaps a little too open for interpretation.
Therefore, for individuals who hear it calling to them, we can leave the aforestated bare minimal dogmatism; but for groups and for individuals who don’t like the flowery talk of an inner Knowing-Light, it is good enough to agree to work together to keep ourselves and our organizations aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate and joyfully-together.

Why do all this?
Because we can’t understand, care about, or believe in our own (individual or shared) thinking and acting except to the degree it is aware … joyfully-together.

WARNING!
These psychological truths and the relating metaphysical/epistemological attempts (whole being insight around the Light within [pray, meditate, think, start over again and again]) should not be used as an excuse for perfectionism!

It is a favorite trick of tyrants to call imperfect but functioning democracies corrupt while claiming their way is somehow Higher, or at least (depending on the audience) more manly. The goal is not perfection (nor even manliness, whatever that may be), but gently working to think and act a little more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, and joyfully-together.

The goal is gentle resolve around the Kind Light.
Hearts up!
WARNING!

BW/AW
Copyright: AMW