AEIOUM 

Thinking Unconstrained

Defining the essentials of a workable human society. Topics focus on the ideals and areas of concern relevant to personal and group interactions.
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By Igneous
#223
Phase shift

We have hitherto defined our society as a respectful community of quality individuals with refined sensibilities, who have successfully reached a state of mature understanding both of themselves and of the world that they inhabit. We have laid out the personal challenges we must all face in meeting our ideals and for each one of us to better grow from our altogether prevalent pitfalls in reaching our shared standard. We have established our optimal and workable environment through which we can best derive our happiness from the simple act of living our lives. And we have identified the supportive frameworks and structures we need to create and to sustain those conditions we require to flourish in our environment. However we have yet to conclude on by what authority these things must be done and whether we as a society have the discipline to bring them about without an external impetus with sufficient amount of force and power to direct our energies to focus. The current and final chapter addresses this crucial and open concern.

Throughout much of recorded history, there have been many who have claimed to possess the obligation and the authority to bring their forms of law, order, peace, and prosperity to the people, if only these individuals would subject themselves to their inarguable right to rule. There have been numerous promises, many pronounced claims, and much lauding of accomplishments and praises promulgated by their chosen scribes and their inner circle of trusted select. These have inserted themselves into the books and records as champions to be remembered and immortalized in the minds of those who would sing of their accomplishments; who would look to them as shining examples of hallowed greatness to emulate in their own rise to power; perhaps setting a precedent to how the dichotomy of the power structure itself should be viewed and applied formulaically from this point onwards far into the future.

But history is never static nor does it belong solely to the dusty tomes of the past. It is and has always been viewed in the context of the here and now in the minds of its readers. How we interpret it is then a reflection of how we choose to experience the present moment through the lens of the stories of yore. Nightmares such as the once powerful force that was, now is not, and yet will come out of the annals of the deep recesses lurking in our innate nature is always a distinct possibility. And if we are deaf to the warnings that howl out from the records of those who would echo and reverberate within the core of our being, we are guaranteed to repeat the same sufferings of similarly lamentable mistakes as experienced by our late fore-incarnates.

Nevertheless, it is also true that we must personally relate to those unfortunate occurrences for ourselves to truly know of the dangers and to be rightly tempered when the alarming signs resurface and reveal themselves in our lives. Despite our quality individuals keeping a constant vigil to detect these failures for the sake of humanity, the fact of the matter is that we as a species fail all too frequently and fall far too short from satisfying our lofty ideals. We are prone to relegating our duties off to others, we shun our responsibilities for the sake of conveniences, and we'd rather excuse our failures than to face them and to admit our grave errors. We have a strong propensity to look up to an authority figure to take charge, so that we have somebody to blame when things go wrong, so that we do not need to make the difficult decisions for ourselves, and so that we can do as little as possible in comfort and protection while something or somebody else does all the heavy lifting for us. It is this self-domesticating tendency where our mindset takes on the characteristic of a juvenile dependent that sets us off on the road to suckling on the generous handouts of all types of would-be controllers of our lives.

There are many such sorts and the frightening reality is that every one of us can potentially become one of them at a moment's notice through all manner of twisting turn of events and circumstances. Without even realizing it, we become like those who place themselves above others, denying their humanity in the process; who consciously close their eyes and plug their ears to the plight of their fellow human beings; who for the life of them, cannot bear to see themselves on an equal footing with their neighbors; who keenly feel the pangs and the need to utterly destroy the creations of others just so that they would get ahead. Because they can, because they must, and because they love the allure of hate and personal gain more than they aspire to love and to provide something that works equally as well for everyone. These sort would erect walls to protect their ill gotten gains from the destitute, they would sow division to misdirect the attention of the deprived, and they would elevate and elucidate their own critical importance to the incredulously faithful, the innocently obedient, and the dumbfounded gullible of sanctioned virtues. The lengths we the subjected go through to tolerate the actions and the demands of those seemingly untouchable for the sake of conformity is impressively far and without a doubt, shockingly mortifying.

Many of us would never admit to our complicity in the enablement of our wardens, both hidden and overt. It is beyond our ability to comprehend and much too inconvenient to matter in our isolated worlds existing solely between our ears. We would much prefer to always follow whatever is agreed upon by everyone around us and we would much rather choose to side with popular opinions than to entertain the thought of inconvenient truths. But this passive tendency of ours has its limits and when the trust in the controllers vanish through the unveiling of their all too apparent human nature, we are left with a striking urge to remove the imposed shackles; and yet we never seem to escape the inertial will to resubmit ourselves under the control of yet another set of wardens by a different name. For we wrestle not only against our rulers, but also with our own desire to be ruled by a higher authority. And the legitimization of that authority must ultimately come from our own willingness to submit to it.

The challenge we now face is with power itself and its various manifestations in our society. Many forms of it exist in our world, which are often double edged, bringing enormous benefits to our advantage and yet always taking something away in exchange. They are sweet and alluring in the beginning but can easily turn bitter and transform into something else as they corrupt and change us, until we the wielders of these forces become entrapped in their snares and their seductive paradigms. In this final chapter, we will examine the roles and the effects of these major powers in our lives, of how they can be misused to our own detriment, and what we must do to subject these under our charge. Through this exercise, we will guide the powers to their proper place and define our position in relation to them. When we are done and through, we will be able to give our answer in full to our chosen authority.
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By Igneous
#224
Tech leads

The power to shape the environment to suit our needs and to form it according to our will is the power of human ingenuity. We seek the world around us to discover new principles and to explore its mysteries in order to better understand our reality, and we use that knowledge to build tools and to construct methods to improve our lot in life. But the environment as provided by nature is often at diametrical odds with our pursuit for material wellbeing. It exists of its own accord under its own equilibrium, and we are its potential aberrations; capable of causing significant deviations away from its delicate position of balance. By taking our technological prowess for granted and by taking our hubris far into its extreme, we can become the harbingers of our own unmaking by destroying the very ecosystem that sustains us. Technological progress can then only be defined as that which improves our lives while embracing nature and by living in harmony with it. This must be our primary motivation for technological development and the reason why we choose to adopt it in our lives.

Technology is in a sense the focal lens through which we perceive, experience, and live our reality. We forge it purely for our own needs and yet through it, the technology itself changes us in mirrored reciprocity. It is an extension of our will and reach; a means by which we can exercise our power beyond our limited biological makeup. It is practical and useful in its various applications, even seemingly miraculous and irreplaceable in others. Innovation and industry that deliver such miracles are almost always embraced because we perceive them to be beneficial; for our needs and wants and for satisfying our innermost sentiments. Once we adopt these new technologies and their assured promises, we abandon the old tech in preference to the new and we soon forget the world that was filled with its abundant pervasiveness. Obsolescence in this way is an integral part of advancement and its arrival signals the end of the technology's lifecycle; not necessarily its extinction, but it is often left behind in preference to other more efficient and attractive alternatives. It is the price we pay for every advancement, for every transformation, and for every adoption. But it is a necessary price we must pay nonetheless. Without the willingness to develop and to apply new technologies, stagnation can result and an intellectual stasis can follow. The process of technical innovation and application must occur and we need to be willing to take up this challenge in order for us to use it to effectively construct our future.

The key disciplinary foundations of technological advancements are science, mathematics, and engineering. These are distinct in character and separate in function, and contribute to different aspects of what would later emerge as a convergence of advancements amounting to a technological creation. They require close cooperation and coordination between the three disciplines, and we the practitioners of these disciplines must be able to use our intellect and focus to bring our talents together to achieve a common objective. If instead we were to operate in isolation in a compartmentalized fashion, then the synthesis of our advancements can scarcely occur. Technological breakthroughs would not be possible under such a condition and there would be no recourse but to incrementally build upon the premises of old technologies. Novel technological development would cease and the only innovation to be found would be in the continuation of existing paradigms applied to alternative avenues.

  • Science: From the perspective of society, the primary job of the scientist is to be curious about reality and to search for the answers to the difficult questions we have about our shared existence. The scientist is a skeptic and an explorer, whose position of theories and assumptions are defended valiantly against criticisms until proven absolutely false; who is open to pioneering new ideas and paradigms and yet operating from a firm footing of foundational knowledge; who is able to extract the secrets of nature by understanding its profound laws; and who can experiment through trial and error, to perceptively examine its results to extract meaningful conclusions. In essence, science is an approach that allows us to describe the various phenomena we experience in a rational way using logic. Its findings are reproducible under strict conditions and its explanations can be verified by others using the same experimental settings. From this fundamental position, it provides the necessary framework from which technological development can initiate and for its principles to be engineered into existence. However for scientific advancements to achieve success, it must rely on the instruments and the equipment of engineering and the necessary mathematical tools to adequately calculate and to describe its works.
  • Mathematics: From a technological development point of view, the main purpose of a mathematician is to construct abstract systems of logic and to provide methods of operations within and among those constructions. Mathematics is a way for us to convey our ideas in encapsulated symbols so that we can navigate, calculate, and solve problems that adhere to the model of the system. The mathematician provides a set of tools that can be used by scientists to describe the phenomena they observe, and for them to better understand the relationships between the symbols of their interest, expressed as variables in given equations, and to view their challenges through transformations to alternative abstract systems. The mathematician also provides the necessary tools for engineers to calculate the various parameters and solutions for their objectives, and for them to better model their designs based on well understood laws of science and by mathematical precision. It is a language of strict rules so that relationships based on those rules can be effectively wielded in the human mind. Or in other words, it is a translation of our limited capability to a manageable form so that the problems we face can be better expressed in a more concise and useful way. But mathematical systems are always built through foundational axioms and assumptions, which may be completely false, inappropriate, or useless to the problems of engineering and science. For this reason, mathematical advancements need interactions with engineers and scientists to construct those accurate expressions of systems that have relevance to reality.
  • Engineering: It is the responsibility of the engineer to build and to bring about our ideas into material existence. All concepts begin in the human mind, but until they can be made manifest through the diligence and the application of engineering principles, they remain where they are in the realm of the imagination. It is the purpose of the engineer to ensure that concepts and viable technologies can be constructed by designing and prototyping, and then maturing these early constructions to their final form by rigorous testing and through data gathering for the purposes of making further improvements. However engineering is limited by the science through which it derives its working principles, and by adequate mathematical calculations and systems of models from which it can effectively design its workable solutions. Therefore the engineer must create the tools and the means for scientists to better examine and to carry out their works, and for mathematicians, the constructions from which they can use to advance their development. In this way, engineering itself advances by contributing to the progression of the other two disciplines, thus helping to initiate the next stage of technological development.
The power of technology is the power to improve and to augment the effectiveness of its user. It is but a tool and it can be guided by the wielder to perform the work that it is intended to do, or it can be driven out of control if carelessly used by the inexperienced and by the reckless. By itself, there is no such thing as a good or a bad technology. However, every instrument of our creation has its technological misuses and these are all considered destructive and harmful, most certainly to their victims. The weaponization of technology is the most grievous of misapplications, and it has been the means through which to cause much suffering and death to humanity throughout the ages. Not only are they used to end life and the joy that is life, but they are used as excuses and justifications for the ambitions of the misguided, who believe in their own right to do as they will with the power of technology for their own purposes. It is the cooperation of the scientists, the mathematicians, and the engineers with these sort that enable the destruction to take place on the backs of our labors. If only our irate shoulders were to shrug at the booms and commands that aim and target our kind shouldering their similar burdens, we would limit the damage we are able to inflict on one another. For we may not have the power to hold back the finger that pulls the trigger or the hand that casts the net upon our heads, but we do have the power to refuse to architect our own end.

We should instead work towards a technological future where the tools we invent can be applied in beneficial ways for all human kind; by supporting those things that we care about; by improving our condition on this plane of existence; by helping each other to live prosperous and enjoyable lives. We need to be able to experiment, to tinker, and to create something useful for ourselves; knowing how to make the tools, modify, customize, and to repair them rather than relying on concentrated closed systems; enabling independent constructions using widely available and open knowledge; so that alternatives, independent innovation, self-empowerment, and control can be held by each capable individual for their own use. We need to become the scientists, the mathematicians, and the engineers we want in our society. We need to support ourselves so that we do not need the support of those who would use us as mere tools.
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By Igneous
#225
Warrior lives

Life is a struggle; a fight to the death. Through birth, we enter this foray with a battle cry as we announce new blood and a new beginning of our mortal coil; to live with grit and one day to meet our intended end; to silently return in peace, leaving the coursing current of time and our treaded material expanse. We live, we are compelled to live, with the power and the responsibility to give and to sustain life. It is our purpose, our duty, and our opportunity to be the kind of individuals we believe we are. We do as we know to be right, we take a stand for those we trust, and we raise our challenge against opposing forces set before us. Through our actions the world is made better because we choose to fight when we could easily give up and submit to our inertia. By willing to face our fears and to overcome them by our own efforts, we live as warriors imbued with the power to defeat our enemies and to vanquish our foes with the authority of truth.

To fight is to invoke one's power, to direct it to focus, and to exert it in force to achieve victory. It is to place oneself in opposition to that which provides resistance. It is a battle of wills, of attacks and defenses, of maneuvers and tactics; a contest whereby the winner is rewarded with that which the battle was fought for. But if the contention is not sufficiently resolved through victory, then extended aims and prolonged conflict can eventually develop into a war between opposing forces. The escalation of stakes brings with it a greater investment of power from both sides and soon the ensuing calamity becomes unstoppable until one side is ready to admit defeat and to declare that enough suffering had been met. It is terrible to be embroiled in such a protracted exchange, but a truce or a settlement is still possible to achieve in this scenario. Not so with wars and battles fought for one's survival. To be placed in a position of no alternatives and mortal danger is most unfortunate and tremendously difficult to navigate through, and it is imperative that one fights to ensure a path out of the precarious situation. When faced with an enemy who has no empathy and who has no willingness to stop short of one's complete annihilation and destruction, the choice is simple. To do absolutely nothing and to give up without resistance is surely to choose one's own end and that is certainly an epitome of pity, cowardice, and shameful inanity.

Our survival is synonymous with our choice to fight for ourselves. But we also fight for other reasons; for those we want in our lives and against those who would destroy that which we fight for. The reasons for our battles define who we are and it is this line of identity that sets our enemies apart from us. No matter who we are or what our circumstances may be, there are three things that we must all fight for - our family, our friends, and our principles. These are worth defending because they are who and what we love and because without them, we have nothing and nobody else to whom we can give our love to. Without love, life is not worth living. Without living for them, we are lost and have nothing left but our love of hate in our hearts to die for.

  • Family: We have a responsibility to live for our families; to provide for them, to protect them, to help them. We nurture and grow our young, we care and support our spouses, and we look after the elderly and our dependents as well as simply being there for our brothers and sisters. We are not only of shared blood but of familiarity and bond that go much beyond the surface interactions of other relationships. Our roots go deep and we do not necessarily get along with one another but the connection is real and impossible to deny. To fight for our family is to be there for them and to try to hold our connection together. It is to be understanding and forgiving, to make up for our losses and mistakes, and to make amends even though they may seem impossible to do. It is to be united in love for one another despite our vast differences and our chasmic divergences. And when push comes to shove, we must be prepared to fight to defend them against those who would invade our homes. We need to do what must be done for the sake of our loved ones. Even if that means risking our lives to protect them.
  • Friends: To be a friend is to be a good friend. There is no such thing as a bad friend; only amicable acquaintances, allies of common interests, and companions of conveniences. To enter into a friendship is to have trust and to be able to share ourselves in unique ways that we cannot do so with others. Finding a common ground and nurturing it, to be reliable individuals that our friends can depend on, to encourage and to provide solace when sought or even when unsought. To give them the respect and the freedom to do as they will and to be brave enough to fight for the friendship when it sours or when it becomes derailed by difficult circumstances. But a friendship is never a one-way street and it must be worked on by both sides. Otherwise it will collapse and that is an incredibly difficult effort to resurrect from the ruins. If our friends are in trouble, then we must be ready to fight and to defend them against our common enemy. We must stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, ready to hold our line and to advance together as one.
  • Principles: To live by one's principles and to be ready to protect them when confronted by an outside force is to be certain and to be secure in oneself. Without a foundational ethos, there is no solidity, no meaningful resistance, and no ability to discern what it is that we defend. There is only confusion and posturing ideas of etiquette in social settings. We must know in our hearts what is right from wrong and we must strive to live up to our principles, especially when it is tested and refined in the furnace of the crucible. We do not do this because we are forced, but because we have our self-respect and the desire to better ourselves to rise above our base nature. Without this willingness to put in the effort to live according to what we believe in, we betray ourselves and deprive ourselves of the opportunity to live with honor. If we become lost and confused then we must reclaim this part of ourselves to get right back on track. It is the only way to reestablish our decency and for us to be able to look at ourselves in the eye as principled human beings.
To fight for our family, friends and for our ideals is honorable. But these noble sentiments and intentions can also be repurposed and manipulated by those with ulterior motives. Through stories that glorify patriarchies and matriarchies, our love for our parents and our desire to continue the lineage through our children can be given equivalent standing as being one and the same with the characters of these constructed tales. By telling us about the importance of brotherhood and sisterhood, our affinity to our kin and to our friends can be elevated and masked to become the face of the ideal fraternal blood. By instructing us to affirm our loyalty to authorities that claim to be the edification of our ideals and principles, we can be coerced to submit for the sake of our honor bound obligations. Through such methods, we are captured by the many snares of those who tell us what it is that we should fight for, simply because we want to believe them and because we want to be persuaded by their forked tongues in our ears. They use our anger against us to turn us into their weapons. We fight wars against those we love for the hate that they breed in us; for the cruelty and the ugliness of the blood lust that delights in suffering, murder, theft, and ruin; the maddening, horrific, and traumatic nightmares and the overflowing iniquities filled with greed and lies. All that we deny in polite company claiming it was only our duty, our contract, and unavoidable necessity as we pocket the money and the spoils of our direct and indirect butchery of those we claim to preciously protect. We are duped into becoming monsters when in fact we are fully capable of being the warriors we know deep within we are. The liars and their morsels, their deceptions and their threats reveal the nature of their all too obvious cowardice. We need not listen to those who have nothing to offer but the hate they invoke and the destruction they yearn for. Without willing hands to grasp the tools to be used against us, there remains only the empty rhetoric and the promises of plunder through the mouths of known deceivers.

To be a warrior is to have the fighting spirit and to have the courage to use our skills and our tools to fight for what we want. We must apply ourselves for our future, to fight for our future, and we must believe in ourselves that we can do these things. There can be no doubt when the only path set before us is to cleave through our fears. The other side is where we truly belong and where our future awaits. It is where our family, friends, and our principles need us to be. So be brave and live, for our struggles must be borne with patience and our mission must succeed with much valor and determination.
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By Igneous
#226
Earth provisions

All that lives grows and abides by the necessities of nature. As biological beings, we require food, water, and shelter to live. These combined compose the minimal material needs of any lifeform specifically adapted to habitate on this planet. The Earth provides the most ideal environment for us humans and it has everything we need to be able to sustain ourselves. But we need to work for our basic necessities and we need to actively engage in improving our methods and strategies in ensuring our prosperous habitation. How well we do these works determine our quality of life and the limits of what we can achieve. So long as we are able to do these things effectively, we are guaranteed of our sustenance and can continue to flourish for generations to come.

Our planetary home is always changing and it is in a constant state of flux. It has its seasons as it travels around the sun in an elliptical procession through time and space. We mark the periodic positions of the sun along the horizon, travelling together through the orbital cycle of our solar circumnavigation. The planet and its magnetic polarities shift within the core, the tectonic plates of continents collide and separate, the tilt of the planetary axis move in a large polar circle, and weather patterns form according to the topography and the conditions that cause precipitation or conversely its absence. The sun in the meanwhile and its solar activities impact the Earth in continuous regularity, giving us the much needed energy we require for life as we know it to exist. But the sun has its own rhythms and cycles, and these perturbations can have dramatic effects on we the tiny lifeforms living on this blue planet. It is by the sun's rays that the waters from the oceans are raised and brought to parched lands and to those who thirst. It is the sun that gives warmth and light to all life in just the perfect amount. This fragile and well maintained balance is astonishing to behold and we who depend on its merciful workings are most fortunate that this is so.

However, although we are well aware of such giant clockworks impacting our lives, humanity does not have the power over the workings of celestial bodies or their cosmic relationships. But where we lack in ability to affect these colossal forces, we are fully capable of having a direct impact on the biome in which we reside. While our intentions may be otherwise, most often our actions have negative consequences. We create pollution that harms life, we invade territories for resources and deprive others from having access. Not only do we do these things to other creatures, but we often extend this behavior and attitude toward our own kind. We want to have more than we need, because we believe that our hoarding approach to resource accumulation is a hedge against facing potential shortages. In pursuit of our self-preservation, we destroy the very environment we need to sustain ourselves. If we are to avoid this dire fate for the sake of our own welfare and that of our progeny, we must be willing to create and to sustain the environment we need to survive. Concurrently, we should also be mature enough and recognize that we must actively clean up after our disruptive activities. By combining these efforts, we can make our human necessities of quality water, food, and fuel to be easily attainable to everyone, thereby guaranteeing our basic material needs and resources. We need to support one another in our commonly shared effort to live decent lives. And we must do this to encourage life, to nurture it, and to grow it so that we can prosper together right here on Earth.

  • Water: Water is the foundation of biological life. It is in the air, in the earth, in the sea, and in every natural thing we interact with. There is nothing alive that does not need water. With clean water, life can thrive. Without it, all life ends. Humans have built up communities along near fresh water sources for this simple reason. We use it for drinking and cooking, for washing and cleaning. We use it to grow our food, for use in our industry and to wash away our wastes. The ample availability of clean drinkable water is the enabler of any organic activity and it is our utmost prerogative to ensure that pristine water is able to flow freely to all who thirst and who have need of it. However there is also the other side to consider. Having used the water for our own purposes, we eventually pass it as waste. The pollutants contained in these effluents are harmful and they must remain completely separate from our sources of hydration; being effectively treated and cleansed before being allowed to be released back into nature. By taking on these precautions and responsible actions, we can ensure our sustainable cycle of quality water that promotes life and conserves the environment we all need to survive.
  • Food: Feed the world to make it a better place. Feed ourselves to make it even better. Being able to grow our own food places the onus on us to create a biologically compatible environment from which we can harvest what is naturally good for our organism. What we eat are of the earth and it is important for us to be able to ground ourselves to this crucial fact. The lifeforms we help to grow reward us with their own ways of giving, and what we gift to them we ultimately also gift to ourselves. By willing to produce our own food, we acknowledge our connection with nature. By having the means to grow our food, we take an active participation in becoming a part of that nature. And by taking on the responsibility to feed ourselves and each other, we honor our nature and promote the continuation of life in and around us. To withhold food on the other hand is to starve one another and to make too much of it without purpose is to waste it. How well we coordinate and create food that is nutritious, healthy, and tastes excellent reflects the quality of our produce and our skills. Ensuring that hunger is vanquished through our combined effort to fill the stomachs of the famished, to delight the palettes of the impoverished through the infusion of flavor, and to encourage and to help one another to grow the things we want and need is to nurture and to grow each other. Simply put, we can only grow together if we give the time and the effort to sustain ourselves and to satisfy each other's hunger.
  • Energy: By harnessing and converting different forms of energy, we are able to direct its potential and its force for our own use. All organisms have the innate capacity to do this according to their dedicated organs and systems that extract what they need from the given resource. Humans naturally have this ability too but we also rely on many other creatures to convert the things we cannot directly consume to their compatible and usable forms. This latter process is commonly known and referred to as agriculture. But like many other creatures, human beings require more than just food to live, albeit our requirements are significantly larger in many respects. For instance, we need heat to warm our delicate bodies, we need it to cook food for our sensitive digestive system, we need light to be able to see in the dark, and we need various forms of fuel to run our helpful creations. With a suitably prepared and readily available energy, we are each capable of doing many powerful works. By providing one another with the means of harnessing these energies, we are in essence giving each other the ability to live human lives. To withhold them instead is to force the other to forego the comforts of the human being and that is a path that can only lead to poverty and dehumanized living. Therefore we must strive to make fuel to be easily procurable to achieve energy abundance and we must harness the power of natural forces in as many independent operations as possible. With unlimited energy, there is no limit to what we can achieve. But none of our achievements will mean much if we are not able to secure the comforts of the hearth within our abodes.
Scarcity drives demand and this basic principle is felt most acutely in its primal sense when our lives depend on the availability of basic resources. To starve out in the cold or to die of thirst in the dry is a fate all lifeforms would rather avoid. To be placed in a position where one is beholden to another for these basic necessities is to then be under the mercy of a controlling hand; who would withhold resources and who would prevent others from being free of their dependence; who would leverage and rationalize our death and our misery through carefully crafted tales and biased fabrications; claiming that we must suffer and sacrifice for the greater good, so that some can live rather than that all of us die together. It is to their credit that we would rally so readily to their cause. We are tremendously indebted to their merciful handouts springing so bountifully from their trickling spigots. To these sort, the domesticated human is a resource like any other, while the self-reliant is a threat to be subdued and eliminated. There is no intrinsic value to human life to one such as this. Everyone has a price and anyone can be bought with the right number. To them, we the mere resources are interchangeable and expendable, and they would tell us how crucial it is to our collective survival that we reach the target numbers of their net fantasies. Their lies and their fevered pitch betray their murderous intent and their self evident desire for the enslavement of their brethren. These are the actions of the treacherous, no matter how well their stories and their broken minds strain to convince the well intentioned and their loyal followers. The bottom line is, there can be no justification for withholding bread from the hungry, drink from the parched, or fire from the shivering. To believe otherwise is to be one of them.

The Earth is not just a bed of resources to be plundered strictly for our use. It is our shared home to be kept clean and habitable for all. But we also have a propensity to expand in unrestrained consumption, which does not bode well for many of our neighbors. If too many of us wish to live as kings and queens, then a resource management system that caters to such types could never work. If on the other hand, we were to live in prosperity and in cooperation with one another as just human beings, then we have a chance at creating a workable condition that benefits both ourselves and our environment. We need to nurture and grow our future by feeding and providing for one another. We need to make those necessities we all need to live by to be accessible, especially to the vulnerable and to the disadvantaged. And we need to empower each other to be able to provide for ourselves; by having the means of obtaining our own food, water, and heat; by engaging in trade that improve one another's living conditions; and by living modestly within our means and self-restrained limits rather than chasing the idea of our royal grandeur. Because at the end of the day, we only have each other to rely on. Without our willingness to help, we're on our own.
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By Igneous
#227
Script guides

Once upon a time we used to tell a story. This story was old and yet it was born anew whenever it was told. But one day we stopped, and the story was forgotten. And for a while, no one knew that it even existed. Until one clear evening, a story was told around a campfire that spoke of things that had not been heard for a very long time. It made quite an impression in the minds of those who listened, for the story took aflight vastly across the campfires of the realm. So the story went and a narrative was formed. And many a day went by but this persistent little story never did manage to really die. It kept on being told and retold, until eventually no one remembered that the story was ever forgotten, even all those eons ago, once upon a time.

All human beings without exception are born into a world constructed out of stories. We are to a large extent the product of our environment and the characters who play their parts in their respective tales. We ask where we fit in, what our purpose is, what we must do next, so on and so forth. Often we emulate those around us to become the person we gravitate towards, and we learn how to behave with one another by observing how our favorite individuals and characters do so. There is a setting of an expectation for ourselves, where the people we interact with follow caricatured models of our mental constructions, perhaps even preventing us from being able to see them for who they truly are. We play out our familiar theatrical scenarios in our lives expecting the events to happen in close approximation to what we have been told. Ensconced in our paradigms, we believe we know ourselves because we think we are in control. But the fact of the matter is that unless we tell our own stories, we are simply playing a role that has been presented to us. The stories we tell, tell us who we are. And the stories of who we are, tell us where we are going. To be in charge of one's life is then to know one's own tale. What we do with it after the telling is what helps us to determine and to create our future.

Communication between organisms is the sharing of thoughts and intentions. Language is the favored medium of human beings to perform this interaction. Through language, we express ourselves in sophisticated and eloquent ways as we symbolize multiple layers of meaning, conveying them in articulate compositions. When we use language, we inform one another of the happenings in our lives, which in turn form in the minds of our recipients the events we have experienced. The story is then known by others and become active; every part which is constructed purely out of one's own thoughts through a process that is essentially an act of creation. To forget our story then is to bring death to our creations, and if we forget who we are by not recalling and by not taking part in telling our stories, then the idea of us as human beings is extinguished and the extinction of what makes us unique is sure to follow. It is imperative therefore that we speak our words and speak our minds. This small act is the means through which we can ideate who we are and for us to express ourselves into existence.

  • Narrative: A story can be told in many ways; through songs and dances, theaters and circuses, performances and entertainment, platforms and mechanisms. The medium and the method of delivering the storyline is certainly important to reach the desired effect in the audience, but the story itself and its narrational meaning have superior significance to get across the core idea that can blossom on the bed of the mental fabric. The narrative must be relatable and touch upon aspects of commonalities shared between human beings. It needs to be personal, an act of creation by the one who tells the story, and it must speak of things that one wishes to convey to oneself and to the recipient. The stories we tell let us know what it is that we consider are important; enough to elucidate and to share with others; such that through this exchange we may understand one another and to work toward better relations. We express our dreams and hopes through storytelling, and we imbue them with life such that they can have significance to those who would receive our messages and our innermost sentiments. If we are to create a better future for ourselves, then we must create the stories of us and the characters of who we would like to be, and we must create a path for where we are headed and how we would like to live. Because fundamentally our stories are ours to tell and because ultimately our lives are surely ours to live.
  • Report: To present the occurrence of an event to an audience is to give a report. But without elements of storytelling, it is but a collection of disparate and conditionally relatable facts. While it is crucial to have independently corroborated evidence to support the report, the connections between those facts and the contextual framing of the event requires narration and the ability to tell a good story. Conversely, with a compelling narrative told by a trusted source, humans can believe anything despite contrary and conflicting items of interest and can overlook much in favor of the rapport of the reporter. Biases therefore inherently play an integral part in this dynamic and it needs to be tempered with trust based on honesty and integrity. This takes time to build up through reputation and consistently high performance. This trust must also come from the humanity of the reporter; who can share one's personal take and to resonate with the receiver; to be willing to infuse one's own stories to give a perspective that is both relatable and relevant. The opinions of the reporter are not just commentary to be inserted into the story as side notes, but they give structure, an explanation, and a means through which to gain understanding of the event that took place. The role of the reporter is to then be at the frontlines and to take on the act of writing the event of history itself through one's own human perspective.
  • Education: From a very young age, we are told how the world is and we are taught how to live in this world. It is a story; something we are expected to use to map out our existence. The story is useful in that it defines and connects the symbols around us in a narrative that makes enough sense for us to function in our environment. As adults, what we tell our children is essentially for us to create in their minds the world that they are to inhabit. The characters we speak of become the heroes they are to emulate and the villains they are to repel against. The roles they are to play later on in life are in this way ingrained in them from a very early age. If we do not give these children a suitable narrational template from which they can grow into decent human beings, or if we were to offer them inadequate or potentially harmful stories, then the narrative will be disjointed and broken, leading to many unfortunate and disastrous results. And unless we can give them the chance to think and to choose for themselves in their latter years through proper reflection and examination of the stories told, then they are most likely to passively follow through with whatever programmed options that are presented in front of them as adults. Therefore we must educate by giving the next generation the heroes they are to take after and for the qualities they are to work towards; of how the good people must prevail by working together for their common objectives; and that individuals falter in their much encountered frailty and imperfection and that we require forgiveness and compassion to reign in our hearts. Thus the upbringing of our children require us to bring them up to a decent level of standard; by building them up rather than tearing them down, and by encouraging them to grow toward that which is naturally good for them.
It is comforting to hear familiar stories that are in line with our own. When the narrative aligns, we think we live in a consensus based reality, which affirms our sanity within the workings of the given paradigm, and we hear what we want to hear, and we see what we want to see. But neither does this confirm that the narrative is correct or whether if it is even close to being accurate. It simply makes us feel secure and gives us a convenient and easy answer to our fundamentally complex questions. Many of us yearn for the security of the story that makes sense according to our terms, and there are certainly those who would gladly use that desire for their own objectives and even convince us that their stories are our own. These sort would play on our fantasies and feed our natural tendencies to shape our thoughts and find unexpected ways to insert their ideas in our heads. They would string up pieces of our attractions together and attach them on emotional hooks, reeling us in for all manner of manipulative purposes. They would coerce us to incite and sow divisions among us through seemingly innocuous channels, all the while using us as anchors to their programmed queues in our suggestible mental openings. The delusional fabrications, the dross circuses, and the droning indoctrination disguised as innocent entertainment that pump their harmless fun of definitely-most-definitely-not-ever-propaganda. The stories we are permitted to tell and the stories we are prevented from ever speaking of tell us all that we need to know about what the message is. And that message is that that the string pullers are frightened of us thinking for ourselves and of each of us telling our own tales. They want our eyes forced wide shut, our ears blasted closed, and our mouths tightly masked and sealed up forever. For not one of them know what to honestly say, because the monkeys are wont to do; those persistent ignorant monkeys who would see the lies, who would hear the lies, and who would speak of those huge homunculus lies.

The truth is that we need to be willing to tell our story of who we are and where we are headed in the manner that we wish to express them. It matters little whether the story is of merit or whether it is of any use to others. We each believe and have our own perspectives and those differences give us character in our respective settings; those vast and disparate universes existing solely inside our own heads; completely alien and nonsensical to anyone else but ourselves. But despite such a chasm between us, we also need to come together and tell of our continuing epic saga if we wish for the story to carry on. For we are each born to play a part in the telling of our own tales but they are also a part of a larger narrative; of we the human beings incarnate on this beautiful place called Earth. If we do not understand our script, then we will surely tragically lose our plot. But if we were to instead give our script a few twists and comical turns, then perhaps we may get our happily ever ending after all.
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By Igneous
#228
House rules

Help. Please help. We need help. When all else fails and there is no one left to turn to, many of us reach out and beg for anyone to come along to rescue us. We want security and support, protection from threats, the means to get back on our feet when we stumble, to believe and to trust in a system that works on our behalf. We want somebody to be there for us when nobody else can be. We want something that looks after our needs so that we can simply get on with our lives. No matter who we are, desperation and fear are palpable when we are on the brink of falling away from our comfortable position in society and of having to scrounge a living on our own. To be without the safety of the community and of its benefits is to become an outcast deprived of the advantages provided by the group, which many of us would like to avoid, if at all possible.

At a first glace from any angle, we can easily jump to the conclusion that a perfect system is possible to manage all the needs of every individual, if only we had a vast amount of resources from which to build this perfect machine. Indeed, many possibilities open up with ingenuity and calculated controls of the human parameters. But we need to also keep in mind that such systems ultimately never serve the human individual or the human potential, but the ideal model of what we consider is acceptably humane within the boundaries of the design. To adhere to the model, the natural variations existing within human populations must necessarily be tempered and be brought closer to the mold in order to shape those inconveniently polygonal pegs into their pristinely round holes. If the system is instead to truly work as intended for humans at an individual level, then it needs the flexibility and those unique human interactions; to be provided by those who have the capacity and the willingness to serve our requests and our needs. And this arrangement must operate with a mutual understanding that the system exists to work for the benefit of everyone equally, and that its procedures must follow a common ethos upon which the rules are settled.

The degree in which we commit to our agreement and how we interact with one another is an important decision to consider. From this alone, we can state what it is that we agree to in our contractual arrangement and the conditions we are willing to work with. On the one hand, we may be fiercely independent and pioneering and would like for the interactions to be minimal. But as much as we would like to believe that we can be self-sufficient and that we do not need many of the supportive arrangements meant for others, there are an innumerable and phenomenally large number of dependencies we require simply to establish a basis in which a minimum level of cooperation between us can be activated. On the other hand, we may be diligent and capable but need tremendous amount of support from others in order to succeed in our endeavors. In such cases, we need effective coordination to manage and to bring our various projects to completion and for our foundational setups to be stable enough to allow for more complex activities to occur. With a single system, it is not always possible to satisfy the two polar extremities of the spectrum to either of their full satisfaction. But in both cases there are common grounds that we can all share and benefit from; those essential things we need to be able to bring our quality of life to a decent standard of living; and those methods to monitor and to manage our needs in order to better solve our problems with improved effectiveness. By focusing on these essentials, we can serve our future together as a community by willing to understand one another and to work with one another and achieve our mutually beneficial objectives.

  • Service: The maxim of one who serves the community and of its needs is to be a servant of those who come asking for their aid and assistance. The magnitude and the capacity of their abilities have little bearing on this basic premise. A good servant does what is asked of them to do and fulfills their role through personal effort. A bad servant does not do what is asked of them and does not deliver on their commitment. The good servant is rewarded according to their performance and the bad servant is done away with so as to avoid future mishaps. As community members, we require many services that are of benefit to us, to our dependents, and to our shared future. And naturally, different communities have different requirements. It is the responsibility of the individuals who comprise each of these to come to an agreement and to provide adequate support for their common objectives. It is also their responsibility to identify and to remove outdated and inadequate services if they do not provide value to the needs of the community. There is no such thing as delegation of responsibilities if the masters do not even bother to instruct the servants. There is also no such thing as an essential service, an essential servant, or an irreplaceable function if the arrangement serves itself as a self-perpetuating entity divorced from meaningful consequences. All must be held accountable for their actions and all must adhere to their oath to serve in their respective roles.
  • Process: Before we are able to run, we must learn to walk. Before we are able to walk, we must learn how to move our legs and to be aware of our surroundings. In a similar manner, how we interact with one another and how we accomplish our tasks in a new setting requires us to be familiar with our proverbial map and a path identified leading to our intended destination. Once we understand how our arrangement can work, we can build upon this core foundation to increase our capabilities as we progress onwards. Processes, specifications, procedures, interfaces, regulations, standards and guidelines. These are but a few ways we can describe our path. But taken too vigorously to their extreme, they can also describe the workings of labyrinths; those bureaucratic mazes we construct for ourselves, adamantly believing that order is only possible through the absolute absence of open choices existing outside of our hallowed systems. It is to our advantage then to make our potentially winding paths straight and obvious with clear and well lit signs guiding the way. Our processes ought to be as streamlined as possible without loops or detours, and they should ideally provide self-explanatory and meaningful reasons based on common sense that need not be justified through lengthy explanations. Efforts to simplify complexities would facilitate for easy understanding without obfuscation, and would avoid many pointless instances of administral misunderstandings and adprime examples of unfortunate confusion.
  • Intrastructure: Intelligent planning, efficient deployment, and robust support are the three critical elements of success required in any project. Every part should ideally be accounted for, the minutia of its operations considered in great detail, the necessary resources meticulously calculated, and contingencies and backups included before the project is deemed ready to launch. These activities require expertise in specific domains but they also require effective coordination across many areas, which depend closely on the size and the scope of the intended operations. But the most important point that needs to be considered, even after its completion, is whether the project is necessary or even desirable to the individuals who are to live with the consequences of its success. We need to be cognizant of the fact that there is hardly a case when there is only one method to achieve an objective; and our prime objective should always be to maximize the happiness and the wellbeing of the individuals who intend to live in the community and who intend to keep it as their home. Including capable and trusted members of the community in the design phase with transparency and openness should lead to better outcomes in the long run, as we are then personally invested in the consequences of our decisions impacting our lives. Understanding the ramifications and the impact of integrating with other systems and communities should be brought to the fore, and how our relationships would change with the project's success ought also be considered in the equation.
It is often far easier to give one's power to somebody else who offers to take care of us and of our needs. We believe that as long as we retain the power to say no to these entities, then we are quite content with letting them take the reins to direct our coach. After all, it is much easier to ride in comfort and leisure than it is to drive ourselves and to pay attention to the road, even though we may believe that we can always tell the driver to go where we wish. But the driver does not always go where we wish in the manner we would like, for a variety of reasons. As is the case with our servants who would assure us that we are always in control of our communities and that we retain the power to tell them what it is that we want them to do. For us to believe that the worst of human nature can be constrained in a power structure solely by our ideals and our trust however is wishful naivete and a blatantly obvious fallacy. If the servant has a private employer or is under the sway of those who hold significant leverage either hidden or overt, then the obligation cannot be to the client but to the masters who hold all the right cards. If the servant is a scoundrel who is more interested in getting a private commission than doing the work in a proper manner, then it is not possible to achieve the best performance and the best result we require of them. If the servant is deranged, is cognitively impaired, or possesses a deluded sense of entitlement, then this individual can take matters deep into maddening directions, driven by their incomprehensible and otherworldly illusions. Frankly speaking then, the bad servants could and would do anything they can get away with, exercise all manner of power over anyone, and clutch on to their precious reign with all their will, if given the slightest chance and allowance. When the good servants are driven out of our abode and our house becomes a circus, we may grumble and complain, and even threaten and kick and scream at the remaining professional housekeepers. We may get fed up and attempt to take control by force and by superior numbers, engage in sabotage and simply refuse to support the self-service automats until their knees buckle and their feet give out. All within our rights of course, to become a mob of conscientious objectors against the clown rule, to take back what is fundamentally ours and to stand up against that which is nothing but an organized hierarchy of criminality and a storefront for a brood of vipers. The problem that immediately follows however is that an organized mob is also the vehicle for the next round of potential beasts to claim their obligation to service, which in itself leads to infighting for the right to run the new establishment; all the while the revolving wheel of fortune turns with bated breath, as the serpents sink in their nonchalant and poisonous teeth deep on the uptake.

It behooves us then to keep our wits about us; to be ready to stomp the heel firmly upon the heads of those who would slip past our fences and who would wish for nothing but to weaken us with their corrosion; drugging us down the garden path, illustriously slithering behind awaiting our own undoing. If we are to be the good servants we require us to be, then we need to have the discipline and the means to hold ourselves and each other in check. All without exception are subject to the same influences that are assuredly and unavoidably bound to corrupt us in the long run. When we falter, we need to be willing to forgive each other of our mistakes and we need to be contrite in all honesty and redeem ourselves in our mirrored eyes. We cannot afford to cut off pieces of ourselves attached to our head in glee to spite our face, no more than we can issue commands to our limbs to sacrifice our body for the sake of saving face and our prominent head. Recognize that the body and the head are connected, and one without the other can only lead to our death and demise. Also recognize that there are no convenient machines, or prosthetics, or some fantastical notions that can replace either of these two aspects of ourselves. The two are essential for our survival, for all of our constituent parts. We must ensure to keep our head clear and listen to the needs of our body.
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By Igneous
#229
Sun shines

Belief is boundless, faith transcends, and hope is eternal. We are one and yet wholly separate from one another; sharing a silent and ever present connection; a realization suspended mid-flight, patiently waiting, out of grasp just beyond the reaches of our tantalizing epiphany. None of us have the faintest idea of who we actually are but yet we live with the certainty that at least we individually exist in our own form. Who we are, what our purpose in life is, how we can be saved from our wayward wanderings; the ponderings and the musings; looking for the answers to the big questions that cannot honestly be answered by anyone except by ourselves alone. To cogitate on the questions that can lead to infinity or nothingness however is to invite madness, to which many are simply not willing to do or perhaps even incapable of attempting. To do so would mean that we must be completely honest with ourselves. To force ourselves to challenge our entire world view constructed purely out of our preconceived notions and perceived experiences, and risk expanding our fragile mind beyond its comfortably confined limitations.

Ultimately, the reality we experience must be our own to discover and to process for ourselves. There can be guides and teachers who can show us the way to unraveling the mystery that is our existence, but the nature of our relationship with everything around us and in our minds are up to us to explore and to give meaning through our personal examination. The institutions of learning, the priesthood of knowledge, the well thought out explanations given by the greatest minds and sages can only take us so far in making sense of the universe existing in our own heads. Sometimes the provided paths can lead us to cul de sacs, sometimes they can trap us in circular limbos, sometimes they can end our journeys off of precarious cliffs, and sometimes one path will lead to another, and then to another, and so on, ad infinitum. But there eventually comes a time when each of us must do our own heavy lifting for ourselves and to walk our own road. To have faith is to have the belief in the correctness of our choice, and to trust that wherever it may lead, that it will be to where we must go and to where we are most needed.

On our journey of many joys and sorrows, we often wish that our lives could be made easier, we wish for our loved ones to be well, we wish to be successful in our pursuits. We give thanks for the good, we lament the bad, we mourn our losses and we ask for healing from our hurts. We pray in conversation and we ask for a good life full of peace and harmonious days to come. We reach out beyond ourselves and ask to take away the pains that we do not understand; of why we must suffer like so and why we must go through such tremendous hardships. These are things that are difficult to come to terms with and are not easily understood by anyone. It is by our charity and goodwill toward one another that eases this passage; by providing a frame of reference using our own examples and by offering up helpful practices, with works and words of transformative illuminations. Our burdens are made easier by giving support to one another by reminding each other of the direction of our compass and by guiding each other in rediscovering our paths. Together we commune as a people by sharing our faith, by doing the common things we enjoy doing, and by choosing to experience our reality in the way we are inspired to.

  • Artifice: The desire to create is inherent in the human character. For us to create a work of art is to express ourselves in the moment by giving birth to something new and unique from within and manifesting it out into the external world. By itself it is inert and perhaps solely material but when encountered by the mind of a human being, it is brought to life and given meaning through the perspective and the active engagement of the participant. It cannot be grasped by those who cannot resonate and who cannot use it to reflect themselves upon it. For art is a mirror that shows how we choose to see ourselves and our universe, and it is a conduit through which we can communicate at a level that goes far beyond anything that is possible through the mere transfer of data. Art that heals is of immense value. Art that inspires and encourages is beauty. Art that makes us smile, laugh, and dance in delight is pure magic. We transcend above our lows by riding the surf of these uplifting waves, and hence it is of vital importance that art from the goodness of our hearts are brought about into the world and made wholly manifest.
  • Practice: Remembrance is built upon repetitions and reminders. Memory is relived when we recall the past and when we resurrect old stories and ancient moments within the universe of our minds. By taking part in keeping our traditions alive, we emanate our culture and we affirm our link to our forebearers spanning back for generations and to those of our kind who walked the Earth long before us. There are many good memories worth celebrating because when we do, we are refreshed and we can regain our lost perspectives on the important things that truly matter to us. Through celebrations of these moments, we can share and come together in deeper understanding of ourselves and of our relationship with one another. But there are also bad memories we ought to remember too. Through them, we are strengthened and encouraged by our past victories over our trials. By reexamining through context and through the process of transformative healing, we can use them to come to terms with our current hardships. They are to be shared so as to revitalize ourselves in renewal; by letting go of the baggage that hold us back; through forgiveness and patience; by reinforcing our ability for discernment and by honing our sense of integrity. We need to continually practice those important things worth repeating; so as to retain our identity; so that we can instill in the next generation the methods and ways they need to find their own paths; and so that once they find their footing, they can continue on their respective trail in support of one another.
  • Belief: Reality simply is and it exists of its own accord. Our subjective reality on the other hand is shaped by what we believe in and how we perceive the world around us to be. What goes on in the depth of our mind is a mystery unto itself and we are seldom conscious of its inner workings, or why we believe in the things we do, in the the way we do. And unless we are sufficiently confronted by a trustworthy and reliable individual and provided that we are willing and ready to adjust, the likelihood is that we would hold on to our beliefs, as instructed by those we consider to be authoritative sources. But if we were to have experiences that run contrary to what we have been told or if we were to have moments of revelatory realization, then we are more likely to make revisions to our outlook through personal effort. In any case, belief is not fact and it is open to interpretation; to be swayed and pulled in any direction that the mind and the heart wishes to take it. The closer we orient ourselves to objective thinking, the more likely it is that we will disregard all beliefs in their entirety, including our own as false illusions. The closer we become locked in a subjective mode of thought, the more likely it is that we would favor a theological explanation and profess that all other systems are invalid and perhaps in strict opposition to our chosen paradigm. But whether we choose to watch the lights and the shadows dancing on the wall of our mind's eye, or whether we choose to look at the bigger picture existing outside the cavern of our inner sanctuary, the most important view that we all need to take into account is for us to be able to see each other for who we truly are and to be able to recognize ourselves looking back at us. We must believe in and have faith in each other to be awake human beings who can see us as we see them. What our individual beliefs are beyond this basic understanding is for us to determine and to explore for ourselves on our own journeys.
Considering that in the beginning we have no knowledge of the way, and all we have to go on are the experiences of those who had come before us, it would be prudent of us to take heed of their advice and to accept their guidance to gain understanding. Imagine if we were to climb an unfamiliar mountain with many paths at the base of it, all supposedly leading up to the summit. Next to the guideposts are the sherpas who offer to guide us, who guarantee safe passage through the wilds to the very top and who possess a litany of recommendations from reputable sources. Perhaps we choose one of these guides to take us up the mountain, or perhaps the guide is chosen for us by others and we have no choice but to follow ensuite. And when the sherpa is good, we are blessed, and we are happy to be led by them through a well trodden path. But when the sherpa has ulterior motives other than keeping our best interest at heart, who likes to take shortcuts or to travel through precarious routes, then this is a dangerous situation to be in and a pressing reason to reassess our relationship. And so it is with those who are entrusted to guide us through our difficult passage through life. These sort may appear to be helpful in the beginning but when we start to take notice of those growing coffers and difficult to ignore dereliction of duties, we begin to question their position and their motives. We see the hypocrisies of what they preach and what they actually practice; of those manipulative and emotionally captivating gimmicks and maneuvers that cannot be easily excused or explained away. They place themselves in the way of the truth and the way to the truth rather than helping us to walk towards it. We realize slowly but surely that they are in the business; the business of herding humans through codes, dogmas, and by fabrication of strict class separations; through hierarchies in an enclosed and incorporated system of thought; a compartmentalized prison of psychological captivity; an emotional shackle for the human spirit to operate within the allowed bounds of the organization. What they are is painfully obvious; they are enslavers of human souls for their own benefit and nothing more. They provide no meaningful guidance but demand our unwavering and devoted support and attention. If they could, they would even place themselves as gods above the rest, simply because their own beliefs say so. The power of the human imagination can be incredible and awe inspiring, but it is plainly clear to anyone paying attention that it can also be used to create all manner of fantastical nonsense. And there is a limit to everything; including our patience and tolerance for self-appointed and high functioning psychotics. Their charades and their theatrics can only provide a mask for so long, and when the tricks and the bunnies run out, the scales from our eyes eventually fall to the ground. Instead of continuing to watch the empty hat and the sleight of hand attempting a royal flush, perhaps we should consider that the mysteries of their babbles are best left behind as hidden secrets in their own little worlds. It is far more preferable than trying to make sense of their taurian manure and attempting to clean up their mess with our buckets of aqueous solution.

On the flip side however, whoever we are, we are free to believe whatever we want to believe in any way we wish. That is our choice. We have no obligation to tell anyone what to believe or what the meaning of anyone's life is. The truth is, any truth as we see it can be described in much detail but it can never be seen by the blind, nor can the spoken word ring true for anyone who does not have the ear to listen. Nevertheless, some truths must be pursued regardless of the obstacles that stand in the way. It is the saints that walk among us who do the work that needs to be done despite the ridicule and the shunning of the proud and the arrogant. They are the insignificant fools in the eyes of those who ignorantly believe that they have it all figured out and who believe in their own superiority; clueless and never repentant, completely oblivious to their own hypocrisy and pitifully wicked shame. If we are awake and if we have hearts that resonate, we would focus and uplift those who offer a lending hand to the lost; who are able to bring light into the darkness of afflicted hearts and minds; who strive to bring guidance and structure to wilting souls; and who can provide hope to the hopeful by being the honest examples for others to follow in our footsteps. Recognition of the light is possible by wanting to embrace it. It can be felt by opening up our senses to its splendor. To the candles in the dark who encourage the asleep to awaken in preparation for the way of the eternal rising sun - behold and persevere. Become the pillars of light upon this Earth and see to its brilliant magnificence.
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By Igneous
#230
Peace dwells

Human ambition is without a doubt an overwhelmingly seductive force in our lives. We can even state that it is our natural and biological inclination to want to gain power over others as an innate survival instinct. For this seemingly simple desire, we would do almost anything to be the foremost influential individual of paramount importance in our respective groups. We wish to see ourselves at the apex of the structure; to be that supreme masculine expression of dominance over others and over all our would be challengers. We yearn to be at the center of concentration and command; to be that symbol of feminine source from which all ought to derive their sustenance and their dependent needs. Our pursuit for worldly power is in essence a race to the top and a race to the center. It is a never ending hunt that consumes us. For once we reach our destination, we take notice of those other far more attractively enticing tops and better situated central positions of potential threats; belonging to those whom we simply cannot tolerate to exist outside of our closely cherished spheres of influence. So we hold on to our precious positions as tight as we can, and we push and we pull to grow our forces. We reach out to others to aid us and to propel us toward our ambitious goals, because we know that without the support of those around us and below us, there can be no top to be had and there can be no center to hold on to.

Our supporters are those who help us in our ascent and we in turn help them to ascend with us. But our followers do not always see eye to eye with our vision, and there are times when those detractors must go and be banished from our inner circles. They are intentionally kept further down the structure to better prop up the status quo. Arrangements are made to place human buffers and administrative barricades between us and the threats, lest they should have the opportunity to do those things that can prove dangerous to our secure stations. A hierarchy of useful conformists is formed to protect our structure, while ensuring to never allow the challengers to climb up from the bottom of the organization. Stability is established, rule and order is set up to govern our hill, and the vision of our unquestionable supremacy is allowed to continue on unobstructed. These are the unspoken but well practiced attitudes and methods of the materially successful in our world. It is the corporate mindset; the political mindset; the criminal mindset. Not mere selfishness or unintentional but necessary decisions due to force of circumstances, but the fundamental mindset of an abusive power drunk who cannot wake oneself up from one's deep inebriation. And like with any abuser, we who do not wish to partake of their self interested indulgences can either become their casualties or become the enablers and the feeders of their addictions. The best course of action to take under such circumstances is to simply refuse to play by their crafty terms and conditions and to end the vicious cycle altogether. Because at the end of the day, reality simply is and it exists outside of anyone's artificially restricted paradigms and opinions of importance; least of all the views of edictal addicts and the pretzeled upside down world of the absolutely power mad.

The conquest we ought to undertake instead is to gain power over ourselves and over our desire to become authorities over others. We each have our responsibilities and duties to perform. There are those who depend on us. We have our roles to play to serve each other's needs. But in a world of equals, there can be no masters; only those who choose to serve and those who ask for assistance. This essentially means that we are all accountable to one another and we depend on each other. Instead of a hierarchy of the strong over the weak, or the most ruthless over the clueless, or the most wealthy over the poor, we need to fundamentally shift our thinking going forward. We already know that the dependent cannot lead themselves; only the resourceful can. We also know that the undeveloped cannot lead themselves; only the cultivated can. And we naturally know that the sick cannot lead themselves; only the strong can. It is up to each one of us to take on the task of gaining power over ourselves in whatever capacity we are able to take on. And we need to personally do this if we are to become as powerful as we are capable of being.

  • Choice: There are situations and times when our options are severely limited. It is very easy to find ourselves becoming stuck in a mode of thought and attitude that hinders our abilities and stunts our confidence. But there are always ways and alternatives to work around the obstacles presented before us; if we are able to recognize them and if we can effectively use them to our advantage. The path forward may not always be readily visible or the circumstances may be oppressive and demoralizing, but how we react to these challenges is something we have personal control over. And this is the power of choice. We can choose to be victims in the moment of our trials or we can choose to be something else; anything but to be stuck in that unhealthy position of self pity. We can choose to continue the abuses we have suffered unto others or we can stop the proliferation of damaging patterns and draw the line stating that the carnage stops with us. What is important is to find the center of our inner power and to draw from the source all that we need to pull through. And we need to be humble enough to accept that there are times when we are not as powerful as we think we are, and that going it alone is not always the best way forward. Everyone needs help sometimes and it is not a sign of weakness to ask. Even though we may not be willing to admit it, the choice is always there and we are not bound to the imposed perspectives or only to the limited options presented to us by external forces. Our choice is ultimately ours to make and there is absolutely no need for us to be afraid of taking it.
  • Change: Lasting change comes when we change ourselves. But it is also true that the more we change, the more we stay the same. Sometimes we would like to be somebody else who is more to our liking. At other times, we would like to leave behind who we used to be and be reborn as a new person. We might believe that bringing ourselves closer to the social mold is the preferred way to live out our existence. But then again, we might go in the opposite contrary direction, and perhaps simply choose to not make any concessions either way at all. The transformative power to alter ourselves allows us to be who we want to be. The process can be destructive if we are compelled by harmful views; of ourselves and of others; and if we are driven by motivations that are superficial and sadly misguided. The damage we do to ourselves by being receptive to the powers of others instead of listening and discovering who we are within is equivalent to relinquishing our own unique potential. Rather than pretending to be somebody else and hoping to one day become that pretender, we must instead embrace who we are and who we always were deep within. And that begins by being kind to ourselves and by forgiving ourselves of our shortfalls and failings. We need to find our broken pieces and make our peace. We need to believe that we have the power to transform our world for the better. And we need to trust that the changes we invest in will pay us back in ample dividends; trusting our gut and choosing to go long with our potential and not selling ourselves short out of our lingering apprehension.
  • Charge: Having the will to take a single step in the direction of our heart is to take charge of our destiny. It is to take a leap of faith despite the dangers and the risks involved because we are open and responsive to our call to power. When we take charge of our lives, we invigorate ourselves and affirm our ability to take action. And that action may be to do the impossible, or to do those things that no-one else can do, or to be that individual who is called to be at the right place and at the right time as an answer to an unsaid prayer. To be inactive and to be evasive on the other hand is to do the contrary; to discharge and to disable our potential from power. For us to think that being unconditionally submissive is a sign of virtue is a false position to take, and is rather a negative reinforcement of our lack of self-confidence and self-respect. Fundamentally, letting others run our lives is the opposite of self-empowerment, whereas being in charge of who we are is to stop seeking external affirmations and to become our own boss. To be a good boss to ourselves then is to do what is right by us; by challenging ourselves to be better rather than focusing on our mistakes; by using encouragement and support as far superior motivations than to live by fear of scolding and corrective measures. We must take charge, recharge, and then encharge ourselves into our core center and work our way up to the pinnacle top of our enriched lives.
But as willing and as confident though we may be, we must also be cognizant of the predicament we find ourselves in and realize that obtaining our inner power is intentionally made vastly and increasingly difficult due to extenuating circumstances. Of course in the face of unrelenting assaults it is very easy for us to give up and to just go along with whatever situation we find ourselves in. We are human after all and we cannot point fingers at each other when we ourselves are subject to those and many other similar vulnerabilities. By describing our situation however, we can identify the hindering factors at play and have a chance at doing something about them. Let us consider this allegory then: In a clean and temperate ocean are many fish of various kinds who swim about happily in a stable ecosystem. The fish live in balance with one another, moving with the seasons, and even the mammalian leviathans who consume many shoals of the smaller creatures live in equilibrium with their surroundings and their shared habitat. But one day, along comes a large ship gliding upon the surface of the deep and starts taking entire populations away, proclaiming that the sea is bountiful and confidently stating that there are always more to be pulled out from the vast depths. Soon another ship arrives, and then another, until one day an entire fleet comes along to scoop up the remaining few and to scrape the bottom of the seabed clean of all lifeforms. When they are finished with their total and complete plunder, nothing remains, and all that is left is empty and barren. The maritime fleet eventually disbands in search of better opportunities when they apathetically acknowledge the lifeless emptiness, but the fish that used to thrive in the ocean are no more. The question we must personally ask ourselves in this story is then whether we are one of these fish or whether we are atop on one of these ships. If we choose to stay in the water, then we must abide by its rules and keep under the law that governs our kingdom. If on the other hand if we choose to be among those who float above it, then we are not of the same kind as those who choose to stay in the water and are in stark opposition to all who would live there lawfully.

The line is clear then, and any who choose to place themselves above the law and who choose death over all that lives, including ultimately themselves and their own are to be looked upon as the enemy. Proudly sitting on their jolly floating ships, these sort could never conceive to stop their madness, for their ambitions and greed have absolutely no restraint nor do they have any remorse or any qualms about the havoc they cause. The legions of the incorporated are of a singular mind to take everything for themselves until there is nothing left outside of their domain and control. They would bury their way into every facet of innocent lives, influence and leverage the fulcrums of power with all available levers of persuasive means, privatize and lobby their way into every public office and legislature imaginable, invest and buy their way into key positions, memberships, and boards to guarantee their ever growing list of both short and long term interests. They would even burrow their way into our business to take control of the means for us to simply live decent and modest lives by dictating the channels of our interactions and methods of trade. We who are caught up in their gargantuan nets are forced out of necessity to become their uncritical and unthinking drones; trained lifelong to eliminate and to replace our individuality and original thought with a vacuous and soulless culture devoid of any real nourishing meaning; just good enough to do our assigned tasks, to follow orders, and heavily conditioned to never question the status quo; stuck to be humiliatingly subservient to an incompetent and conforming management class as they persistently chip away at our humanity to break our little remaining spirit. We are intentionally and methodically kept down below the glass ceiling in the kill zone by every means of their machinations, for they fundamentally do not see us equals nor can they even fathom that they are the cause of such miseries or even bring themselves to apologize for the monstrosities and the harm they inflict on their fellow human beings. The immaculately uniformed and enchantingly charming ubermensch would disparagingly brand us as live stock with their market shares, proudly strutting about in their charitable and philanthropic drags, magnanimously disseminating their cadre of instituted advice to solve the crisis they themselves invent and foment, and insist that they are the heart and the brain of communal and social and democratic ideals, nay the trusted guardians of the whole world under their iron-clad corporate levels of infinite descent into hell, when they are in fact nothing but overgrown tumors sucking and draining the life out of everything they touch. Despite their numerous pages of virtual fictions purporting their limited liabilities, there are actual consequences to face in the real world where the dirt meats the rod. Every single individual is personally responsible for their actions and inactions, their complicities and their conspiracies, and every single person whether legal or semi-pseudo-conditionally-sorta-kinda-maybe-artificially real are entirely liable for all damages caused, whether deliberate or otherwise. Terms and conditions do indeed apply; read the fine print above the dotted line; there is nowhere to run and there is nowhere to hide; for the livid maw of the deep dark cold depths can not, do not, and will not ever abide the bloated dead to pass by unchecked.

Yes, we can be as righteous as we would like, and we have our reservations and we have our doubts. We are not invincible and we are not always as strong as we would like to believe we are. We fail constantly and we make mistakes. We have our limits and we have so many faults. But the thing is, these are what makes us human and we ourselves are why we go through the trouble of living in the first place. It would be a shame for any of us to be deprived of the chance at redeeming ourselves when we fail so much every single day. We are essentially here to help one another, and none of us are meant to go it alone or to solve our problems on our own, but to be there for each other and to lift up those heavy loads carried up on our burdened shoulders. Realize then that we already have the authority to save one another from our numerous trappings and hardships, because we are able to and because we are asked to do so. To deny the request is to deny our authority; the authority that comes in common to us all. We serve this alone, and none before. We serve life and that which loves life. We serve the eternal; from the beginning - all the way to the end.