Monthly Archives: July 2014

Terror Unmasked

Fear drives humans. Fear of hunger drives us to work for food. Fear of death drives us to take unprecedented measures of protection and avoidance of risk. Fear of failure and rejection causes us to design defensive barriers and wear masks lest we betray who we really are.

The true terror, however, comes from unconditional love.

Unconditional love sees us naked and defenseless, bares our inadequacies and failures, depicts the ugliness of the human soul and still accepts us. Unconditional love finds us, not worthy, but desirable; for who we are, for the uniqueness of the creation due to the nature of love. It simply is. Unconditional love defies human understanding, goes beyond human boundaries. It meets us at our most vulnerable, at our most unlovable, and still takes us in.

Humans dare not face the reality of ourselves; we cloak our faults in excuses, hide behind noise and activity and busyness. Bring us face to face with the silence of ourselves and we run terrified. Unconditional love forces us to see ourselves as we really are; to admit the awfulness of the human condition and the lack of anything good in and of ourselves, and finds us acceptable not in spite of those faults, but because of them

It is a truth that is hard to bear. It is a truth we find unpalatable, and therefore unacceptable; so we run from it screaming and hide behind false philosophies and vague, confused ideologies.

In so doing, we lose the most precious treasure of the cosmos. For unconditional love finds us as we are, accepts us and by its very nature transforms us into the people we always desired to be. Humans cannot change on their own. We want to be as we perceive ourselves, but are unable to complete the transformation without outside help. Unconditional love demands transformation; not for approval, not for acceptance, but for our completeness. It takes the raw materials and transforms coal into diamonds, sand into pearls, humans into enlightened beings

Unconditional love is vital for the evolution of humanity. Without it, we are and forever will be completely lost.

 

 

 

 

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Why Governments Don’t Work

Anywhere you find people, you will find some form of government; something designed to maintain order, protect the citizenry, and build wealth. However, governments by their very nature don’t work.

The problem is all forms of government are created from a flawed idea: the idea that there are inherently good people who have the best interests of others at heart and are willing to work to that end. The reality is that humans are fallible and government officials are human. It’s also why political television series are so popular and the public loves a good scandal. And while this makes for interesting television, it makes for bad reality.

Most politically oriented television series proceed from a faulty premise: that good is weaker than evil and principles aren’t powerful. Again, this makes for good television, but bad government.

America’s founding fathers seemed to understand this; which is why they framed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from a position of rationality rather than emotion. They chose to limit lawmaking and governmental power because they understood that in spite of best intentions, those laws would eventually be used by people who had personal agendas or axes to grind or just worked from a position of sheer greed.

I believe in government. It is something we must have to survive, but it doesn’t always work. In spite of this, life goes on as usual for common folk no matter what country they live in. And flaws and problems not withstanding, America’s form of government is still the best there is.

It is the best simply because the founding fathers created a form of government which despite the machinations of poor leaders or inefficient officials still could move the country forward and sustain a measure of liberty and freedom, while protecting its citizens. It is a system of government that manages to protect people under flawed, selfish leaders and to elevate people under leaders of integrity.

As long as there is a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence, there will be an America; there will be a place of hope for generations to come.

The Publishing Game

Publishing isn’t always about good writing; it’s about making money.  So the trap new writers (and sometime established authors) fall into is if I’m not making money and no one will publish my book, it must not be any good. Someone once told me, “Marketable isn’t the same thing as good.”

The whole publishing game reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Heinlein novels: Starman Jones. Max wants to be a navigator in space like his uncle before him. However, the space guilds place rigorous restrictions to block anyone but a select few from participation. Since there wasn’t anyone in the “inner circle” to sponsor Max, there’s no hope; until he meets a savvy and streetwise con artist who finds a way around the guilds.

The publishing industry is like those guilds: only a select few win and you have to know someone in the inner circle who sponsors you. Yes, I’ve heard all the other reasons and some are very valid: strong writers, good plots, etc. But a lot of the “polish” we see in professionally published novels come afterwards, as the book goes through the in-house editing process. The same polish applied to an unknown novel would have the same end results.

I’m a prolific reader, have been since elementary school when I read everything I could get my hands on and practically lived at the library. Once I even took a speed-reading course to have access to a library that was out of bounds to normal students. My point? I approach publishing not as a writer, but as a reader! And it’s the main reason I’m a proponent of self-publishing. There is a vast ocean of books out there with no traditional backing, but every bit as entertaining and gripping. Some may lack polish, some may even have a few grammar errors, but it doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed the story.

Yes, some self-published books are boring and poorly written. But you know what? I’ve struggled through some “critically acclaimed” best sellers and put them down after the first chapter. What traditional publishing companies find marketable isn’t always what I, as a reader, enjoy reading.

The bottom line is: where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have a story, write it. If you have a book, publish it. There is nothing more rewarding than a reader who says, “I liked your book.” No amount of money can equal the feeling. This is the best time in our century for new writers. Social media gives new writers ways to connect with readers and publicize their books. Self-publishing allows new books to be born every minute and with so much variety there is sure to be something every reader will like.

If you write it and publish it, someone will read it.

 

 

 

Be Still My Beating Heart

Poets have written reams about the way to a woman’s heart. Flowers, candle light dinners, chocolate, diamonds, romantic encounters, etc. Yet, these all pale in comparison to the true way to a woman’s heart: a self-cleaning house!

There is nothing more mind-numbingly boring than housework. Oh, I have friends that take pleasure and pride in keeping their homes spotless and beautiful; and while I like a clean house, the repetitive effort needed to keep it spotless seems pointless to me. While technology produces cutting edge products for the office and entertainment, no serious attention has been given to making housework easier. We have more efficient vacuum cleaners and mops, but one still has to stoop to do either chore; and bathrooms are the worst places to clean in the entire house.

l2_p339627_488_336-1  Until now. I’ve fallen in love with the elegant design, the clean look: no dirty tanks to crack, no ugly pedestal with nooks and crannies to catch and hold filth. Ah, the sheer beauty of its multistage self-cleaning regimen that requires I do nothing! No abrasive, smelly cleaners. No ugly brushes, no ring around the collar!

Japan is the land of techno marvels light years ahead of the U.S. and in terms of making life easier for housewives they have outdone themselves with the Washlet, a series of self-cleaning toilets. With a unique sense of style and flair, the Japanese turn an uncomfortable aspect of human life into something pleasurable.

My question is this: Why is the U.S. so far behind in creating elegant, useful and affordable toilets that can clean themselves? We have the technology. We can rebuild them. And advertising would have customers lining up by the droves.  Maybe there’s still a bit of chauvinism in the technology field. Maybe women are still enamored with having maids. Maybe Americans haven’t realized that housework is meant to be shared and what makes life easy, also makes life pleasurable.

Meanwhile, I’m saving my dollars and for my next anniversary I’m asking for an international order: my very own self-cleaning toilet!

 

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