no thinking

Political correctness - a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

February 2017
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On sucking cock

It is quite probable that most men enjoy having their cock sucked and derive great pleasure from being the recipient of fellatio. Yet, despite the pleasure they derive from receiving fellatio, they tend to vilify anyone who gives oral pleasure to a man. The term cocksucker almost always meant as an insult whether the one sucking cock is male or female. Rarely is being called a cocksucker a compliment.

While the vilification of the fellator by the fellatee can casually be attributed to Western culture’s Biblically inspired shame of experiencing pleasure, I think it goes much deeper than that. I suspect that this vilification is rooted in the fear of being vulnerable and the fear of relinquishing power and control. When a man receives a blow job he is very vulnerable. That part of his body that he considers to be the essence of his masculinity is in the mouth of another which is potentially dangerous. No other sexual act exposes him to this degree of vulnerability.

Additionally, the fellator has total control over the penis he or she is sucking. The fellator has the potential to subject a man to either exquisite and indescribable pleasure or incredible and intense pain although pleasure is nearly always the objective of fellatio. The skillful fellator ultimately also has total control over the recipient’s orgasm. Despite the obvious vulnerability, most men will temporarily relinquish their power in order to experience great sexual pleasure and subsequently ejaculate into the mouth or onto the face of the fellator. In his submission he will often still cling to the illusion of his dominance and that his fellator is his conquest and the ultimate receiver. The fellator is often seen by the fellatee as a mere receptacle for his seed.

On a related note, many heterosexual men have an aversion to being anally penetrated even for an essential medical procedure such as a prostate exam or a colonoscopy. Men see themselves as penetrators and conquerors. The idea of being penetrated either anally or orally, implies submission and vulnerability, therefore, weakness. Submission further implies a loss of masculinity, not just for the man being penetrated but, by inference, all men. Maybe that plays a role in the vilification and hatred of homosexuals.

How to make America great

Here’s a short list of what will make America great:

  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Service
  • Gratitude
  • Diversity
  • Progress

I saw nor heard any of these ideas in Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric. Institutionalized ignorance, hate, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny are not the elements of greatness. Rather, they will impede our rise to greatness. Greatness can only be achieved by moving forward, not by moving backwards. Under the newly elected leadership, it is very likely that America will fall further behind the rest of the world in every conceivable measure of greatness. We may be dooming ourselves to becoming a third-world nation and future Presidents will face the overwhelming challenge of catching up to the world. Coming from behind is always a daunting task and we may never again command the world stage.

Calling yourself great does not make you great, others outside your own circle must recognize your greatness. Global cooperation is the way of the future. Isolationism in a global economy is surely economic suicide.  Building walls is not the answer. America’s diversity has always been one of its greatest assets. Nobody is superior to anyone else. We are all connected and we are all in this together.

We must put aside our fears. We fear what we don’t understand. To overcome our fear, we need to seek knowledge, understanding, and wisdom so that we can overcome our anger and our hate.

Thank a Veteran

“Thank you for your service.” I always feel uncomfortable when someone thanks me for my service. Do they have any idea of what they are thanking me for? What sacrifices I’ve made to honor the call of duty? What I’ve experienced? Why I chose to serve? It’s doubtful, only those who have served in the uniformed services or those who have been very close to them are likely to understand. There have been times when I’ve struggled to understand. Among veterans these words shouldn’t be necessary. We know. We understand. Those of us who have worn the uniform have a common core of experience for which few civilians can relate.

Do you really want to thank a veteran? Here’s a short list:of things you should do:

  • Make our service unnecessary and by honoring and taking care of those who have served.
  • Exercise your Constitutional rights responsibly and accepting the consequences for your actions.
  • Take responsibility for your freedom. It’s true that freedom isn’t free. Every citizen must work for it.
  • Participate in your democracy by voting wisely and communicating with your elected representatives.
  • Hold elected representatives and civil servants at all levels of government accountable for their policies and their actions. They work for you!
  • Question authority! Demand evidence and facts. Make those in “authority” defend their policies and their beliefs. Government is answerable only to the citizens.
  • Serve others, be compassionate and show gratitude. We are all in this together. That is how we make America great.

I'm not offended

I’m a veteran and I am not offended by Colin Kaepernick and other athletes refusal to stand during the national anthem. It’s their First Amendment right to engage in peaceful protest and I support that. It should also be noted that I have not given them permission to offend me. I cannot be offended with my consent.

“Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time and to its government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain.

With that in mind, I don’t feel he’s being disrespectful. He is is protesting what he sees as the institutionalized wrongs being done against people of color in this country. It doesn’t matter that he, himself, is not being oppressed. What matters is that he feels compassion and empathy for those who are being treated wrongly by the system. His protest has nothing to do with veterans, those who have died in service to the country, or with anyone currently serving in the military.

The “American” values that many of those who are offended hold so dear apply to all Americans without regard to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual preference, or any other arbitrary criterion, Equal protection and opportunity under the law applies to everyone.

Patriotism is more than waving the flag and supporting the military and veterans. The military exists to support national policy as set by the President and backed by Congress. Sometimes national policy is in defense of freedom and the American way but more often it is to defend American political and economic interests. I am not convinced that most of the men and women in the military today are actively defending our freedom. Rather, they are following orders based on political and economic interests .

The greatest threats to our freedoms and liberties are not Islamic states and terrorist groups in some distant corner of the world. The greatest threats are to be found within our borders and they are not illegal immigrants, refugees, Muslims, or LGBTQ people. The real threats to our freedom are the very people we have elected to represent and lead us. They feel that they no longer need to be held accountable to their constituencies, the people who actually go to the polls and elect them. Instead, they pander to special interests, multi-national corporations, Wall Street tycoons, political parties, and the richest of the rich.

It is time to hold them accountable. We need to question their policies and their agendas. If they are not representing our interests, then it is out responsibility to remove them from office at the ballot box. Educate yourselves on the bills that are before Congress and the state legislatures. Monitor their voting records. Write and call their offices. Make your voices heard. Base your votes on how well they represent you, not whether they are Republicans or Democrats. If they’re not doing their job, then vote someone else in. We, the voters, have to power to set term limits.

Moving Forward

As individuals, as a society, as a nation, it behooves us to keep moving forward, to keep evolving as an intelligent species. We can neither stand still nor can we move backward. If you are not moving forward, you are following behind. There are no other options. The United States is on the verge of becoming a backward nation, much closer to the edge that most of us realize or care to admit.

We can make America great again but only by moving forward through well thought out, progressive, and positive change. We cannot achieve greatness if we fall behind the rest of the world. Following the rhetoric of the conservative demagogues will only lead us to disaster and self-destruction. We cannot return to the past. The past only exists as history; we cannot reclaim it.

I claim no religion

I claim no religion but I do not identify as an atheist. I might be considered agnostic, meaning that I don’t know. A belief in a supreme deity is uncertain but not likely. However, I am certain that I do not believe in the God of Abraham, a system of beliefs that run contrary to my sense of reason, my understanding of the Universe, and my own experience. I strongly suspect that modern interpretations of Western religion are very different from what the original prophets and mystics were trying tell us. It is mainly the modern interpretations (the last 17 centuries) that I find troublesome.

I would like to believe that there is something greater than us, a supreme consciousness, a force, or an energy that binds the Universe but the empirical evidence for it mostly seems to be, at best, sketchy, anecdotal, and circumspect. Still, I’m hopeful that something of that order does exist and I’m open to possibilities.

There is so much that is beyond ordinary human capacity to observe and comprehend. Our science has made great strides in observing and measuring more and more subtle particles and frequencies but much still lies beyond our senses even with scientific instrumentation.

I’m certain that there are energies and frequencies that are beyond name and form — what we can sense and comprehend intellectually. You can call it Divinity, God, Brahman, Supreme Consciousness, The Force, The Great Spirit, or any other name. Whatever we call it, it is eternal and exists outside of the restrictions of our perceived reality based on time and space. It transcends our reality. We cannot give it name and form because when we attempt to describe it in terms we can understand, we limit it to our limited reality, thus restricting our understanding of it and our connection to it. Ultimately, it must be experienced intuitively, not intellectually.

As for religions, I find Vedic philosophies intriguing but I’ve found myself gravitating toward Buddhism, not necessarily as a religion but as a life philosophy. The Buddha never claimed to be a god, the son of a god, nor did he claim there was a god. He simply taught four basic truths and demonstrated that there was a way through which we could, through discipline and our own efforts, achieve our own salvation. It’s probably a path that requires more work than maintaining a belief that someone will grant you salvation but ultimately worth the effort.

A Look Back

A couple of days ago popped up a memory of something I posted a year ago about a blog entry I’d made in 2007 – By the seat of my pants. When posting the memory, I explained the circumstances a little more. Here is what I posted:

Shared Facebook Memory
Yeah, those were dark days. Amazingly, I got through them without chemicals or therapy though either or both might have helped. And "achieving numbness with the universe" is still a clever turn of a phrase. Thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid sinking back into that abyss. A conscious effort to avoid being surrounded by assholes helps.
August 23, 2015 · Dayton ·
Past Zen moment from a 6/9/2007 post in my personal blog:
“Yesterday I think I achieved numbness with the universe. It’s kind of like oneness with the universe but different. I’m sure it’s close enough. There’s no enthusiasm but no apathy either. It’s just a state of being, of existence. I may not be exactly where I want to be but wherever I am, that’s OK. I want to do some things but if they don’t get done, I’m OK with it.”
That was near the end of my 25 years of undiagnosed depression although it may have been that I was just surrounded by assholes. Either way, it was a dark time.

Maybe I need to volunteer a little more information that’s not in either the original post or the Facebook posts. The 25 years of “undiagnosed depression” was actually self diagnosed. I may or may not have been suffering from clinical depression but depression seemed the best way to describe how I felt during those years. I still can’t think of a better way to describe it. No one seemed to notice, not even those closest to me. If they noticed a change in my personality or my demeanor, they never said anything. It was like melancholy, solemnity, and a general lack of enthusiasm were normal traits. Maybe the symptoms weren’t obvious to anyone but me.

There were a lot of feelings, reactions to situations, and changes to my thought processes, behavior and overall outlook during those years. I felt overworked, possibly exploited to a degree, and under appreciated. I began to lose confidence in my abilities and lose interest in my work and become more apathetic toward it. More and more I had doubts about the importance and relevance of what I did. Eventually, I began to engage in behavior and activities which could have had dire consequences.

I was called out on that behavior which was the onset of the darkest five years but ultimately moved me to get my shit together. Through research, introspection, and contemplation, I started sorting things out. It was a long, difficult, and painful process. I felt as though I were in Hell, albeit a self-made Hell. Then, one day I had an epiphany and I realized that although I was in this self-made Hell, I had created it and I held the key that opened the gate. I realized that I was holding myself prisoner and that I’d always been able to leave my Hell behind me. With that realization, I opened the gate and walked out of it, leaving the emotional baggage behind. From that point, I was a changed man. I knew that I, alone, was responsible for my happiness and, to carry it further, my own salvation.

I do not attribute any of this to a deity. We create our own Heavens and our own Hells. Sometimes, for better or worse, we draw others into them or we are drawn into other’s Heavens and Hells. What ultimately matters is how we deal with them and often we must go deep within ourselves to find the answers we seek. As the Buddha said, “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

See also – Memoir from Hell in which I comment on the epiphany and the idea of self-forgiveness and atonement.

Identities

Lately I’ve been seeing numerous conversations and discussions about identity. There’s sexual identity, gender identity, racial identity, political identity, religious identity, ethnic and cultural identity, the list goes on and on. I’ve observed that in our society and our culture, people claim one or more identities and cling to them as if it was a matter of life or death. People are also quite fond of attaching identities (valid or not) to others and holding tightly to those perceptions.

There is nothing wrong with identifying with those aspects that make you unique or part of something greater. The problem is when we are attached to these identities and they get in the way our humanity, our compassion, and our interconnectedness. We get so hung up on our identities and our differences that we become exclusively focused our our separateness and lose sight of the fact that we are all one, that we are all human beings with much more in common than in what separates us.

These identities we attach to ourselves and others are all illusions and distractions that prevent us from facing our fears and moving forward with our evolution. To quote Ram Dass, “In most of our relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring each other that our costumes of identity are on straight.” There are occasions when wearing an identity is appropriate but sometimes you need to strip it off, shake off the accumulated dust, mend the holes in it, and see if it still fits. Like any costume, we outgrow or wear out our costumes. Maybe we need to put our costumes away and just be naked.

No religion yet on a path

It’s not often that I remember my dreams. Usually, all I have after waking up are disjointed fragments that usually fade within a few moments of opening my eyes.  That said, occasionally one of these fragments will stick with me. Such was the case when I woke up yesterday. In this dream I was being interviewed for something and one of the interviewers asked me about my religious beliefs. I responded that I had no religion and followed no sect but I did endeavor to follow the precepts of The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path that were taught by the Buddha.

It’s true that I don’t subscribe to any religion to include Buddhism. On the other hand, I do find Buddhism interesting and much of what I’ve read, makes more sense to me than many other religions. Most of my knowledge of Buddhist thought comes from The Teaching of Buddha by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai. My daughter-in-law gave me the book several years ago and I’ve read it several times and I’m currently reading it yet again. I’ve also read a couple of books by Pema Chödrön. Other than that, my exposure to Buddhism has been online. So, I wouldn’t say that I’m a practicing Buddhist.

Maybe this dream fragment is a revelation or a not so subtle hint about my spiritual path. At the moment, I can’t say for sure what significance it has. It might not have any but it’s still an interesting prospect and a direction that bears looking into. I have kind of stuck on the path for the past couple of years so maybe it’s a finger pointing out a possible direction out of my rut.

The Waffle Seed

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
Muhammad Ali

Long ago (ancient history), back in the days of King Dubya the Mediocre, a seed was planted in the unfertile soil of Republican politics. That seed was the notion that a “real man” always stands by his decisions, his beliefs, his convictions, his ignorance, no matter what. Even in the face of facts and evidence to the contrary, any man who submits to change is unmanly, a  waffler, a fool. The seed germinated and grew, spreading across the Republican landscape and beyond, like crabgrass spreading to the neighbors’ lawns.

Thinking, particularly critical thinking, is looked upon with suspicion and considered heretical. People have been made slaves to others’ hatred, beholden to their own ignorance, and held hostage by fear. Yet critical thinking, armed with the weapons of reason, knowledge, and compassion, is what will free America from its bondage and make it great. What was true or imagined as true in the past may not be true today. While we cling to some illusory glorious past, the world has changed and it continues to change.

Change is inevitable, it can’t be stopped. Change is neither good or bad. The qualities of  good and evil depend on how we deal with it. We do not stand still. We either move forward or we fall behind and America is falling behind through our unwillingness to evolve. Evolution is merely change and survival is not guaranteed to the fittest or the smartest. Those who survive change are those most able to adapt. All around the world we see people who are angry, who are lashing out in anger and frustration at a world to which they are unable or unwilling to adapt. Those who will not or can not adapt or compromise, find themselves and their institutions facing extinction. This prospect of inevitable extinction makes them cling tighter to the past and lash out with more ferocity.

Money and power will not make America great. They may be factors in our greatness but not the most important ones. True greatness will come from our compassion for ourselves and for others and from our willingness and our ability to face complex challenges in ways that will benefit ourselves and the world as a whole. By benefit, I do not mean profit but benefits to humanity that improve the quality of living (education, health care, employment, representation, and equitable taxation) for all, not just a small, elite percentage.

Building walls and amassing wealth and power will not make America great. These are the very things that are detracting from our greatness and destroying us as a nation. To make America great, we must find our soul and our compassion.