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compassion is hard by spork

i have been thinking since yesterday about eric clapton and his terrible loss of his young son and the song he wrote about it. if i were not distracted by my own immediate business i would be in sobbing tears - even so, the song keeps repeating itself in my head, as do images of photographs i saw of him and his son, and my imagination's "footage" of the boy falling from the window. even as i have different music playing and occupy myself with business it continues to replay and replay. i can only imagine that for eric clapton and lori del santo the minutes surrounding his death must have replayed every moment of every day for years, and that there is no end to it within their conscious lifetimes.

the only way to have compassion is to experience the suffering of another as one's own to the extent possible.

on the one hand i feel grateful that i haven't yet experienced such cause of grief; but on the other i don't think i can ignore the grief of others, even people i've never met. the quotation keka_moe recently included in his journal entry from the book of james has stuck with me.

i am not a christian in any but the most liberally interpreted sense, but the statement rings true in my mind and heart. it goes "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." apathy, callousness, indifference, sincere sadism, base exclusive selfishness; these are what i interpret as "pollution" by the spirit of the first verse.

in any conventional sense i am atheist; but i do not believe in atheism. i do not hold it up as a shield to protect me from the irrational, unknowable, incomprehensible universe. i do not shield myself by it from god. i have had experiences of god; they are contradictory, or rather paradoxical. they demonstrate to me that the conventional conceptions of god are the god of stasis; but god, if you can follow the logic of the ultimate, is the stasis of all, infinite, dynamism. "god" is is a noise we make to designate this indesignable ultimate; it may as well be aum or
blah or any gibberish. the word does not change the referent, nor does it cause it to be apprehendable except in the fantasy of delusion. god is a conception, but god is beyond conception. i hope that statement communicates. i do not have unshakeable faith in words. i do not have unshakeable faith in linguistically constructed conceptual models, except insofar as i recognize them as models. those which i do not recognize i may yet learn, cognize, and thereafter *re*cognize. do you understand?

time can bring you down
time can bend your knee
time can break your heart
have you begging please
begging please

"time" in the personal sense is all that is experienced; it is in this sense synonymous with an individual's experienced life, as it occurs in its context. all life includes suffering, misery, agony, in their various characters, alloys, durations, intensities. i'd like to believe they all also include joy and the other opposites of the three varieties of experience called "negative", but i don't think they all do. however, many human lives at least do contain both "positive" and "negative" elements. i don't believe it is healthy to neglect negativity; in doing so you negate the necessary reciprocal of life. as alan watts often pointed out, you cannot have a back without a front, a one without an other, whatever the particular expression of each. i think that that is a valid principle even if it is not always so simply or even recognizably expressed in any given situation.

i have experienced gradually building over the past let's say 6 months, or even 2 years, or even longer, an upsurge of positivity in my personal experience. i have been making acquaintance and even the buds of friendship with people, and thinking about them and caring, really caring in a visceral and not merely, rather sterile, intellectual capacity, for them and for everyone. somehow it seems that this is an attitude that is either on the general increase, or maybe was always there and i'm only just now pulling my head out of my ass enough to notice, but i don't know in what terms to express myself in regards to it; except that i am thankful for it, to whatever agency(ies) are responsible, even including myself, who and whatever i am, that this is so. and this gratitude is becoming profounder, more real, every day. so to everyone reading this, i thank you, for yourselves and everything that you offer, even if you don't realize what you offer, or that you offer. "positive", "negative" both and other, i thank you and i love you. and i love you. and i love you.

compassion is hard

spork

24 January 2014 at 18:29:23 MST

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  • Link

    It's really good to hear of such a turnaround happening. Too many people either don't care enough about others, or think that no one is looking out for them. Glad to hear you're reaching a higher point.

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      you help me reach it. I hope you understand that part.

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    I have not even gotten past the first sentence of this and I think I have been writing about this for at least an hour. About Loss and death and every experience I can relate in any way to every piece of the story in the video. Oh my gods. I don't even yet know what your point in posting this is as I have not gotten that far. Trying to understand this situation and my own fears of Loss have become the theme of the night.

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      It takes forever to respond to your stuff for this basic reason that reading your things becomes like an event of its own.

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        my only point was to express the feelings I was experiencing because I didn't know what else to do with them. it seems to have allowed me to understand why I was suddenly so affected with the thoughts, as after all I've heard that song many times before and was passingly familiar with the its backstory, and to integrate them into my developing self-concept. or something...it's hard not to be vague, but in any case I simply felt I needed to express that. I guess it illustrated to me unexpectedly how insulated I am from the pain and suffering and grief that, intellectually, I know surrounds me at all moments on this planet, and which I feel guilty about, firstly because I haven't experienced such horror (yet), and secondly because I'm a part of the causation of horror for other people by self-indulgent indifference (there's a compelling notion in my worldview that to abstain from helping is to commit harm) and by funding via taxes activities like carpet bombing and buying cheap junk made by slaves in china and Ecuador etc. in regard to the first reason, I think simply taking an interest in the lives of people around me is not an inconsiderable help. sometimes you can help someone just by being aware of their situation and sympathizing with it. in regard to the second, I have been trying for the past few years to limit my contribution to the enslavement and economically-mandated enmiseration

        I'm happy that this has been read at all, beyond my own relief the major purpose was to prompt thought in others. and now, I'm off to read your journal(s).

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        oh i forgot to mention, that's how it is for me trying to respond to your stuff! my mind goes off on so many interrelated threads that it's hard to weave it all in to a manageable cloth, at least in any reasonable length of time.

        • Link

          I did finish reading this sometime after I posted that comment. I am not sure I have anything to say yet.

          Besides a response to your comment above this one. This stuff is also nebulously floating around in my mind at the moment. As I look back though my history, much of which I have covered up in memory while trying to heal or make a new life, I am uncovering what a dick I have been and looking at people who I fought with -- people I have screwed up further than they already were no doubt, and people that helped screw me up. And there's all this fighting and it take a while and becoming an adult and reflecting on all that shit, and now I am like -- Well, what an expensive lession.

          Transformers Prime. Two things stick out in my mind right now. At some point Arcee probably fucked up -- I can't exactly remember what happened right now -- but she is a character with PTSD and a lot of trauma in her past and she's got some horrible nightmare of a person still haunting her who killed one of her past partners and is now threatening to do it again. In a less traumatic way I can relate to this. Arcee has a lot of revenge type issues. Whatever she's done in this instance must have been related to some transgression. All I remember is Optimus telling her that the cost of wisdom was often a high price.

          Spoiler on the Movie.

          Megaton is tortured by Unicron, which is pretty much the devil/ultimate bad-thing in this Universe. Once Unicron is imprisoned, Megatron is freed, and having experienced that degree of oppression and torment, is pretty much mind-fucked, no longer wants to oppress, pretty abruptly flies off Faust and I assume to go be a hermit somewhere and think about all the horrible HORRIBLE things he's done. Talk about Wisdom at a high price. He destroyed his planet, his civilization, abused and cohersed and dominated everyone on his side of the army, for which Starscream probably got a special horrible treatment...which then just let the abuse feed back out into everyone under SS and ... well Starscream killed one of Arcee's partners...

          So at the end of the film, you got the rebirth of Cybertron, and Megatron off brooding...and then I was traumatized what happened to Starscream and not getting into that...

          But anyway. I am thinking things like...all this suffering, what for? What good will come of it. The war keeps going on. In a different continuity that Prime, which was what all of the above was about, you got Beast Wars which was yet another war after and earlier war... Transformers is about WAR.

          So being the philosophical, inner-world obsessed nerd that I am, I make an original character whose purpose, during any war that happens, is to study evil. Suffering. Hope. To test the major players involved, see what makes them tick. Literally get into their heads and copy their memories and store the information far away, in a super computer. It gathers data like this for eons, in peace or in war. What it's doing, that no one knows it is doing, is trying to find a solution to the cycle of suffering. Also examining if it should find a solution. These robots, Cybertronians (Transformers) don't die due to time alone, only accident or murder or war or suicide, etc. So, This one keeps itself alive, and can keep studying over the course of a long long time. I think this is my impossible dream, to be able to do this. Impossible, now.

          It feels like the shortness of life -- the amount of time it takes to learn wisdom -- the shortness of other peoples lives who do not have the luxury as I do to figure these things out, due to maslow's hierarchy -- got to job got to not be shot got to eat got to hide got to raise children got to fight got to war got to do other tasks to help the human race science manufacturing environmentalism etc -- how do you even teach wisdom to someone whose life is short, and they need to use it for something else?

          I am coming upon a frustration. About -- how do I do, what I do, best? How do I have the greatest effect? How do I reach people that are usually unreachable? Should I? or i now the time to preach to the choir? Where are we, as a civilization, were on the madala is the entire human race? I'm looking at it, at the moment, like I am one fragment here to do it's job. Something recently I remember watching--

          OH if was Lord of the Rings. Gandalf. Telling Frodo, with the time you've got, do with it what you can. Or some very similar sentiment. Interestingly, my viewing that fragment of LotR was one of those synchronistic type moments I need to make a short-hand name for.

  • Link

    this is a wonderful thing to see happening in your life and a beautiful post. always good to see people understanding what "god" is, as well. i hope the positivity continues for you c:

    • Link

      hey thanks for the supportive thoughts, appreciate them very much =')

      and yes, we take so much for granted in our speech and thought, and greater still when we talk about matters that do not lend themselves to linguistic expression, and I think the subjects of god and spirituality qualify for that! it bothers me when I hear debates or statements regarding the existence of "a" god, or when the presumption is that 'god' refers to Yahweh in particular. I take that as a red flag indicating that the speaker has likely not thought very deeply on the subject, because I think that anyone who contemplates it at length will by necessity develop unorthodox conceptions about the meaning of that word. but complex, non-doctrinaire ideas do not make for entertaining and persuasive debate shows, the aim of which I think is divide the audience against each other by framing the issue in a dialectical fashion and defining the terms in exclusive ways in order to sift opinions into easily-managed binary categories. uhm, forgive me for going on about them, but it seems like almost everyone I hear talk about religious matters thinks in the same terms as these debates present, and it bothers me, because it is the clear product of propaganda. I want to hear something from [another person] that I couldn't hear from some youtube debate or TED talk, regardless of "which side" you take - you shouldn't be taking sides, you should be thinking for yourself!
      and don't be afraid of ambiguity and paradox - the universe stops being rational the moment you step out of your comfortable thought patterns. I think you know that, but I'm talking to whomever else is reading this too [=')

      and the positivity has been sustaining itself, despite an attack of lethargy this last week and some of my bad habits rearing their ugly heads once again. but, I'm a work in progress, and I'm not letting them pull me down. alright, now to finish this damn sculpture!

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        our media is a detriment to all intelligence, harmony, healthy mentality and being in touch with ourselves and with the earth. shit like jersey shore and the like, jerry springer, it's... scary to think people actually watch, like and believe that kind of thing, of course the things you mentioned as well. people are being destroyed by it all. yes, exactly. i'm not a fan of organized religion but personal spirituality to me is a good thing, because it's just that, personal, individual, consequential to only that being and no one else. completely singular and neutral, and comes from or at least encourages personal examination and exploration.

        i hear you on that, really do. not messing with cigarettes is a constant battle for me for example haha. i'm glad you have the resolve to fight through it c: keep at it! and it's all good. it's challenging but i'm weathering it and making personal progress at the same time, so i suppose i can't be too bad, thank you for asking. how is yours?

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          whoops thought I'd replied already!

          I am the only person I personally know who doesn't watch television. I haven't watched one voluntarily in I'd guess 5 years. but my whole immediate family does little else with their "free" time. right now I can barely concentrate because my sister has hers turned up so fucking loud even though it's 7 feet from her bed and the door's closed. it's sad. horribly, horribly sad. and they cannot understand why I hate it. ugh I don't even want to go on with the subject, I've been over and over it in my mind to the point of despair. when I look at them, I see ghosts. it's crushing to understand movie monsters like ghosts and zombies and vampires are all around you; the movies only present the reality with nightmarish characteristics. the reality is a nightmare of banality. but then, I'm typing this on the internet, so it's not like I'm immune simply because I think as I do.

          well, I am certainly no supporter of organized religion. but I think people are all to ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater when they reject the patent absurdities of historical established religions. doing so does not alter the fundamental underpinnings of the human mind which perceives the existence of that to which the response is awe, wonder, ecstasy, etcetera, and which is called god, spirituality, whatever; and which is still vulnerable to exploitation as much by a paradigm of scientific rationalism, or what is passed off as such, as it is by what is more conventionally called religion. much more so actually.

          damn I'm upset I lost my original response, it was so much more concise. for the second time in the past couple of hours I must say c'est la vie. that was the first. actually, it seems there's a decent chance that that thing might be salvaged. we'll see.

          as for me, I'm doing well apart from the annoying failure of that sculpt, but I've been eating too much lately and too much stuff that I shouldn't and when I shouldn't. also it'd been hard to get enthused over work, even though this is the time I need to be because it's the start of the season. but I'm pre-occupied with getting some saleable arts and crafts made to help pay my cat's medical bill, which is why the above-pictured piece's fate is especially galling. but, it was a valuable lesson, and all may not yet be lost. need to get my eating back under control and get some exercise in, I tend to get depressive when I neglect those two things.

          as for the cigarettes, I can imagine that's a tough one. dunno what you've tried treatment wise, but I've heard good things about ibogaine.

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            haha it's cool c: i haven't had tv service since 2010 so i don't either. it's not even worth paying for. there are some intelligent shows/presentations/movies but they're few and far between, lost in a sea of shit. religions do have valuable things to teach sometimes, like "love thy neighbor". yes, exactly ;n;
            i hope you can salvage it, there's a lot of detail in that. love the title, too. sorry to hear about your kitty. i love cats, they're such cute little babies. i hope he'll be able to pass the stone without having surgery. vet bills are ridiculous.

            oh i quit a few months ago and haven't had one since, i just really like them, a lot. hard to stay away from is all, try to remind myself that they cost money and they mess with my voice, and since i'll hopefully be starting a demo soon that's the last thing i need. trying to whip my voice back into shape is hard enough already.

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              TV:
              i'm extremely suspicious of all popular entertainment (and i consider most news, popularly disseminated science, documentaries, etc to be functionally nearly identical to tv shows and movies); in fact of every component of modern western culture. i hate that i am using the internet.

              Religion:
              as with most if not all subjective matters, the person is half the equation: a person who wants to learn the lessons religions have to teach about humans' relationship to the extra-human fraction of existence will find more value in the concepts and mythologies of the world than will a person who's attitude is pre-emptively dismissive; the second type will be as blind to the truth as the true believer in that they are only looking to validate their pre-conceived judgments and worldview. being truly open-minded is a never-ending challenge, and probably no-one can be always open minded. after all, we each exist as a context-specific entity and to be totally without judgment and conceptual models would be maladaptive.

              Sculpture:
              i'll be seeing what i can do with the piece when i'm finished with the drawing i'm starting tonight. hopefully i can have this done before tomorrow night...

              Cattymaow:
              ah thanks for the kind thoughts about my little man; i think the stone's passed as he hasn't had any pain peeing for a couple of weeks now and is back to his normal love-dovey self. eh leaves me with the bill still to pay, but i'll be working to take care of that. i'm just glad he's alive, it really looked at first like it would be the end for him.

              Cigarettes:
              also there's the little matter of cancer, emphazema etc etc...there's just nothing good about commercial tobacco that i can see. i smoke non-tobacco non-cannabis cigarettes of various types occasionally, but nothing addictive. i do have a couple of tobacco plants growing in the back yard which i planted before reading about what a pain in the ass they seem to be to process, so i don't think i'll end up smoking them. but they are rather pretty plants with a nice natural smell and lovely flowers.

              Also:
              your one journal was an interesting read, and i'm glad you're up for conversing =') i hope to have something less trite to say/ask at some point. until then, hello.

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                good to hear about Cattymaow c:
                yeah there's that too and i guess that wouldn't be a fun way to go. i've heard they were really hardy and low-maintenance, may have been incorrect, haven't researched it too much, myself.
                thank you for checking that out. it's all good, say whatever comes to mind. hey!

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      you know, sometimes I get so caught up in the ego-gratification that I forget my manners!
      how is your life?