A construction worker once told me - for a building to last - depends not so much on its materials, nor even on its foundations, but rather on the building being in balanced strain throughout. A building stays up when its parts press into each other firmly, or pull at each other strongly, but never too out of balance. This web of unseen forces allows the building stand solid against any huffing, or puffing, the world might throw its way. A democratic society works the same. It must have an establishment. It must have a counterculture. And these two elements must constantly pull at each other or mash into each other: tension & compression, compression & tension, tug-of-war & sumo. If one side is unopposed, or too weak, the state will crumble into some kind of authoritarianism by another name. Destroy your enemies at your own peril.
Tag Archives: Thoughts
Master & Slave [Lyric Poem]
What will be your master, and what will be your slave? Will you court disaster to be perceived as brave? Will you call your pastor to hide that which you crave, or be your own ringmaster and own how you behave? And will you choose virtue, or live in fear of vice? Will you choose to be true, or default to being nice? And when there's much ado will you jet their paradise? Or just defer your view, as act some men and mice?
Edgeless Edge [Free Verse]
Some speculate about the edge of the universe, and what exists beyond. But that edge - if it exists - is beyond another edge: the farthest points from which we can see light. In a tower on a mountain, there's still an edge of our eyesight -- like the others, it's an edgeless edge, signifying nothing but our own limitations. We are builders of edgeless edges, fashioning boundaries that don't bound anything, but by which we are bound.
Disintegration [Free Verse]
crack the tablets: smash & shatter them until they flutter into dust, dust that's wisped into eddies and sparkles in the creek bed and is flushed out to sea and is but a glittery trace of what they once were.
Spontaneous Ideation [Free Verse]
ideas accelerate to the surface like air bubbles from whence they came, i cannot say they passed up from below the lit sea from the darkness maybe, like air bubbles, they follow a mostly straight path, but i cannot say for certain what happens below the light i catch only the vapor that drifts up out of the popping bubbles and it must be gathered quickly before it spreads on the wind, becoming lukewarm nothing... damn increasing entropy!
Squishy [Free Verse]
Nothing is straightforward,
Everything is a messy mix
blended in swirling clouds—
Those who can redraw the world
with sharp, angular boundaries
are the masters of self-deception:
for all deception is self-deception.
Self Speculation [Free Verse]
What's a Self? ...a soul? ...a set of neuronal activity? ...an illusion? ...a ghost in a machine? ...the body, the brain, & the whole enchilada? Memories can be false, and some always are. Thoughts can be illusory, and some always are. Feelings can be flighty & fickle, and some always are. If one loses a little toe, is one a diminished self, or still whole? What about if one loses a pinky toe-sized mass of brain? So many possibilities: ...death, ...changed personality, ...emotionlessness, ...speech pathologies, ...blindness, ...memory loss, ...coma, ...no discernable change, and so on. What's a Self? ...a dog? ...an embryo? ...an AI? ...an extraterrestrial? What is a self? Am I a self?
Quotations Stumbled Upon [Recently]
To survive in this world you have to be many times a coward but at least once a hero.Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s son
The metaphysical assumptions upon which you want to build your life cannot be an inherited duty.Patrick levy, Sadhus
It is true that if there were no phenomena which were independent of all but a manageably small set of conditions, Physics would be impossible.Eugene wigner, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences
I feel about literature what Grant did about war. He hated it. I hate literature. I’m not a literary West Pointer; I do not love a literary man as a literary man, as a minister of the pulpit loves other ministers because they are ministers: it is a means to an end, that is all there is to it.Walt whitman, as quoted in Yone Noguchi’s the spirit of japanese poetry
Know that all the sects in existence are a way to Hell.Nichiren, as quoted by yone Noguchi in the spirit of japanese poetry
It is so easy to convert others. It is so difficult to convert oneself.oscar wilde, the critic as artist
If you meet at a dinner a man who has spent his life in educating himself — a rare type in our time, I admit, but still one occasionally to be met with — you rise from the table richer, and conscious that a high ideal has for a moment touched and sanctified your days. But Oh! my dear Ernest, to sit next to a man who has spent his life trying to educate others! What a dreadful experience it is!Oscar wilde, tHE CRITIC AS ARTIST
Future Imperfect [Free Verse]
skyscrapers rise & fall storms hit & wither waves crash & recede nature neither blesses nor curses, despite the constant counting of its boons & banes; its bonanzas & broken bones one who can feel grateful in the face of ignorance & imperfection is free one who feels suffering in the absence of perfect comfort will never know freedom such a one as that imprisons himself in a cycle of imagining & coveting a perfection that has never existed
Diamondless Diamonds [Free Verse]
Diamondless Diamonds? Sounds like Daoist doublespeak or a crazy Zen koan. But, it's that which has imaginary value, but not real value. Much of what human hands reach for or produce (& which human minds obsess upon) are diamondless diamonds. People stare at them with covetous eyes, but when those eyes saccade away there's no reason to believe the diamondless diamond still exists. Eyes covet what the mind knows to have no particular worth. Diamondless Diamonds may change the world for moments at a time, but then are gone - and instantly forgotten.