1. the burning of the book in Fla., and events that supposedly hinged on that, in Afghanistan
2. an observation made by an author writing about the decline of rural culture - "Nothing gets handed down, passed on except the illusions."
3. a new blog (Revolutionology), eyes on the ground in Libya.
Today I'm still in that mood (although I have got to brag that I mostly have the income tax crap all sorted, organized, piled and whatever needed to be shredded from 2004, shredded. So, yay for me. )
Yesterday, after I pondered, I found something else that by rights belongs squarely in this section of ponderocity, The Military's Secret Shame, by Jesse Ellison, about rape of soldiers by other soldiers, or gangs of soldiers, in the military. Regardless of their gender. By males. Of course. The outies of the human primate species. Rape as a way to establish domination.
So, it makes me think that being in the army is not a lot different from being in prison. Don't bend down to pick up the soap.
What is it with men in groups? The vatican is full of pedophiles, the army is full of rapists, the world seems full of deluded religionists, who know that the most atrocious way to insult another equally deluded human primate social troop is to burn the most symbolic thing it possesses. Whereupon the offended troop rampages around killing actual/innocent/biological human-shaped life, outsiders who are convenient and not part of it. The thing the troop 'stands for' has completely eclipsed the troop itself or the individuals comprising it or human life itself.
From my own vantage point, the world is clearly nuts; it's mostly a male world with male power structures, which it evolved to beat on and kill mostly other males but also any females it doesn't like. Then, I thought about Russell Williams. He is Canada's latest public military shame.. I wonder what motivated him and his antics that resulted in human death? I was particularly intrigued (and slightly horrified) to read the last sentence in this link:
"In what is believed to be a first, Williams' uniform was destroyed through burning by the Canadian Forces, as his name had been stitched into the fabric. His SUV and medals will likewise be destroyed."]
That's an overlap, right there. Can you see it?
The Canadian army is superstitious, and wants to "cleanse" itself, symbolically, by burning up clothes (clothes that are presumably free of lice or unpalatable biologic effluence... all that's wrong with them is that the owner's name was stitched into them).
The army, surprised at what a monster lurked within it, "purifies" itself, then closes ranks around itself, feels all spiritually "clean" and smug and invulnerable again. So its members can go back to being obtuse about the army's own culture.
Just like the catholic church. Although it looks like it might finally be starting to do something to change things institutionally.. at least in one country...
I want to yell, to the whole world, get a grip, silly human primates! We are biological flesh. No army or religion or any other cultural superstructure we build to contain, then charge with protecting us geographically or mentally or emotionally, is ever gonna change the fact that...
We are all gonna die.
Every single one of us.
The incidence of death is one per person. You can't leverage that. You can't average it out. It won't dilute statistically. The correlation of birth and death is a solid one to one relationship. It's the cleanest correlation there ever has been. There: Believe that!
Then get used to it and be a decent human being on the planet while you have breath in you. Relax - the human life span exceeds most other mammals by quite a bit. Which leads me to add, try not to die of boredom meanwhile. What it all means, is, don't confuse a book with whatever deity you have it conflated with. Don't have a deity. "Believe in yourself - you're all you've got."- Janis Joplin
Be helpful. Do your best to understand yourself and other people. Don't react instinctively by hurting them. Think about everything, all kinds of stuff (there's always plenty of stuff - too much at times). Stand up for yourself, but don't intimidate, bully, kill humans, or institutionalize human foibles.
The human brain is a marvelous biological gift. It can see forward in time and a long way backward. You have one. It came to you for free. Just for being born. If yours works normally, don't waste it, use it. Construct scenarios for yourself on how to be a decent person, test them in the privacy of your own imagination, fearlessly and dispassionately chuck any that don't measure up.
Don't rely too much on whatever human primate social troop you happen to be embedded within - it's made up of other individuals, each of whom may have a poorer 'moral compass' than whatever you can come up with on your own; it may only be interested in perpetuating the troop itself, with no interest whatsoever in the wellbeing of any of the people who inhabit it.
Don't burn other peoples' stuff to try to make a point. It doesn't matter what object it may be or how absurd. People are crazy; sometimes they believe their flag or their book or whatever the thing is, is more important than human life. Yes, that is crazy, and it is a default human craziness we all share (see "objectification" and "reification" for more about that). Burning their 'thing' is like throwing your feces at their face, from their POV. They will become mad at you and rampage around like enraged chimpanzees. So don't be a jerk. We are all just a couple strands of DNA away from being enrageable chimps and some human primate troops (due to culture) default to back to that behaviour easier than others. So try to be sane and try to get through life - all the way through - without getting sucked in to the 'crazy human' whirlpool.
Life gets dished enough disaster and sorrow via nature. Celebrate small precious victories.
Seriously, what was the army thinking, burning those Russell Williams clothes? Did it think burning a murderer's shirt would make any difference to the level of insanity that pervades institutions and the deliberate obliviousness people cultivate about how much human primate mental ugliness inhabits said institutions? That they actually are building and maintaining scaffolding for human craziness? Like those lattice uprights people put in gardens to give the climbing plants something to climb on?
Here's what I would do if I were in charge of the .... ok, not the whole world, just the Canadian corner, like, let's say I were a Minister appointed to preserve Collective Sanity. I'd keep that clothing, and all the other stuff. I'd build a Museum. I'd call it, "The Sane Peoples' Museum of Examples of Human Primate Social Domination, Horror and Craziness." Russell Williams' personal effects would occupy a small room, or alcove. They would serve as a cautionary tale to future generations to not allow their systems or structures or religions to develop greater importance in their own minds than themselves and each other. To stay internally integrated and protect that integration, not maintain a discrepancy between private self and public self. It makes for too large a gap, into which one might fall, into that bottomless human mental chasm between what is real and what is symbolic.
There would be large spaces in my museum, rooms enough for all the religions that have ever been, and all their religious artifacts, and any books and flags that have ever been scorched or burned or ripped. It would be physical. It would be real. Maybe with a wax museum of the deluded leaders of all these socially constructed delusional human social systems. It would be a place for school tours to visit. It would be catalogued and documented. There would be well-labelled drawers to keep all the little crap bits organized. Hopefully anyone who toured it would come out, knowing who they were and what was important, and what was not. So they would go on to NOT replicate more nonsense and harm and rape and misery.