Little Red Barn on the Hope River

Society, the Homeless and Bleach

[Thoughts from the Other Side – Erin WilloWitch and Sha’Tara]

(A necessary preamble: Erin Willowitch is another of my several alter-egos. As her name indicates, there is a fiery edge to her; to her words. She jumps in when I get to be too much of a softy-from her point of view. ‘I am a tall, slim red-head who does not abide fawning, foolishness and deliberate ignorance. I live in nature and avoid people as much as I can. I would make my diet of rocks before I ever accepted most of what passes for intelligent arguments among Earthians.’ (Erin WW)

(and a warning: it is possible I’ve blogged this before… I haven’t got either the time or inclination to delve into the archives. Doesn’t matter, what is said here can easily bear repeating.)

Yin-yang symb2

Quote: “Certainty precludes certainty.” [Synopsis of Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty]

Quote: “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” [Robert Heinlein]

Quote: “The realm of the possible is infinity; the realm of the likely is confined to pre-existing conditions.” [Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Become a believer and you no longer have to be an achiever. Become an achiever and you no longer need to be a believer.” [Y-Lea of the WindWalkers]

Quote: “Love is a feeling. Like all feelings it is an effect requiring a cause; is short lived, easily perverted and burns itself out as emotion.” [Erin WilloWitch]

Corollary: If it is true that “God is love” we have the answer to the toughest question regarding God: The Great Silence. As “love,” God is an effect, not a cause. The effect was experienced when nature required its presence as creator, mover, judge and ruler. Man has arrogated divine prerogatives in all these areas thus annulling the God effect. Strictly speaking, “God” has become an icon for those who need to believe in something greater and external to themselves, external to human powers, external to nature and the human mind, external to everything they can conceive. Now ask yourself: Is it any wonder no one can agree on what “God” really is? Who could ever agree on what’s external to “me”?

I woke up angry this morning. Good angry. Dreams can do that. They can toss you around, flip you, leave you begging for mercy. Dreams can be terrible reflections in the mirror of the mind. What brought on the anger? The growing “problem” of homelessness in this burgeoning and mushrooming area. The growth boom is attracting many people to Canada’s concentrated, cooler, wetter, socially dysfunctional version of California. As always, a growing society also grows social “problems.” That’s how it is. Gradually, a population boom leads to overpopulation. But it’s a comfortable disease, one that kills the body in time but for the moment brings many benefits – or should I say gratification – at least for those who hope to profit by it.

Human society has always been a sick animal. A mindless predator that feeds on parts of itself for its own survival. It’s the nature of the beast and nothing any disempowered individual can do about it. Since it’s made up of individuals, individuals provide society’s fodder. Society is cannibalistic (it can also go ballistic, but that’s another topic.). So in a greedy and narcissistic aspect of society you end up with those elites who are served and those teeming numbers who serve them body and soul because they don’t know any better then to stand in front of the steam roller when it comes to town. They’ll even cheer it on.

Enter the homeless. Which are they? Interesting question. At first glance they appear to be victims of society. A deeper look says, “No, they are not victims. They are that ugly image of what a selfish and self-centered society portrays to itself in its mirror.” Metaphorically they represent a cancerous growth showing through society’s cheap make-up.

The real victims of society are those who are truly helpless, sucked dry to serve the higher needs. The sick who become the guinea pigs for the medical “profession” and legal drug lords. The part-time, less than minimum wage drones in the fields of dollar store commodities, shoes and clothes, fast foods, accommodation, travel and the vast network of the underpaid so-called service industry. The expendable and starving poor, those who happen to subsist on lands that contain resources the greedy desire. These are the real victims of society, the slaves and martyrs who make society “viable” for those on the higher rungs of the ladder. This is a real societal problem and for this there is a very simple solution available.

But homelessness, the kind we see in the affluent society, is different. It has no apparent solution because it’s not actually a problem per se. Homelessness results from society looking at itself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, the solution does not lie (!) in the mirror. Nothing you do with, or to, the mirror, will change that. The “solution” lies with you. If you cannot do anything about the way you look, then maybe it’s better not to look at the mirror. Turn it to the wall, break it, remove it. Whatever. What confronts you in the mirror is not a problem, it’s an image.

It’s easy to look at a negative situation and label it a problem. Once that’s done, society can create another bureaucracy to look into the problem, and another to solve the problem. Enter a new government department. Enter the “benevolent” organization. Enter another curse upon society, another tax burden. And who notices that as the costs of government and benevolent societies mount, so does the so-called “problem” these were set-up to resolve?

Were I installed as dictator tomorrow and the problem of homelessness brought to my attention, I would, as absolute ruler of said society, dictate the immediate round-up of the homeless to be forced into shelters (using currently vacant buildings with proper heat and sanitary facilities.) I would dictate that they be fed properly and given necessary clothing, etc. Then I would dictate that since society is looking after them, their time belongs to society. They live by rules as applying to everyone else and they are put to work in areas now lacking workers due to lack of funds. Case closed. The problem is not solved since it wasn’t a problem, but the situation is resolved. And I don’t want to hear about this again. Next?

As an individual, which thankfully I am, and not as dictator, I have a solution to the situation of homelessness. Since it is a mirror image of a selfish and decadent society, let’s change what is being reflected, not the reflection. Let’s deal with the real problem, not the symptom. Let’s change “us” as individuals. Let’s turn from our narcissism and selfishness, our sickening greed, and teach ourselves to look at our neighbor with “love”. Let’s no longer accept that “God’s in his heaven, the CEO in his penthouse, the bankster on the phone with the CEO, the President robbing the poor to pay the rich, and all’s well with the world.” The self-centeredness creating that ugly image in the mirror has to go. We want beauty to reflect back to us, so let’s become beautiful, in our hearts and minds. The rest will take care of itself.

It only seems impossible because it hasn’t been done. Let’s move from the realm of the “likely” into the realm of the possible. By doing it. Now. If we become achievers, we won’t have to be believers. Another relief. Another burden removed from society as a whole.

Speaking of God, some churches’ staff still believe there is one. A downtown church’s billboard proudly announces that God is like bleach because he removes the toughest stains. Which tells us that God has a name: Javex. Makes sense, that being the Modern American translation for the old Biblical name of Jehovah. I have used a lot of God in my bathroom over the years. I never realized we were so close. A word of caution though, don’t take him internally.

17 thoughts on “Society, the Homeless and Bleach

  1. Sha'Tara Post author

    That post didn’t go as planned. WordPress decided to royally mess it up. It is now edited, so if you got the mangled copy in your email you can read it in its proper format on the blog. My apologies, even if that repetition wasn’t my doing – I checked.

    Reply
  2. rawgod

    You leave me wondering exactly how you intend to beautify homelessness, Erin. If you were that dictator, is that what uou would actually do? What then would happen to the sick, the handicapped, the people who cannot read or write, the ones without the dexterity to manipulate two hands together to work as one? Since they could not give you the time that uou are demanding of them, do you just let them die? Where is the compassion in this?
    In fact, where is the compassion in the whole post?
    Homelessnesss is not something you can see in a mirror, no matter which side you are looking in. Homelessnesss is sleeping wherever you can find a possible safe place, and if you cannot find a safe place it is wandering the streets all night, cold, hungry, friendless, thirsting for a warm drink to take away the chill for even a few seconds. Homelessness is begging for food when you are hungry, baring uour soul to whomever you approach to dare ask for even the smallest amount of help. Homelessness is going through the trash at the local fast food store, popping half eaten burgers and ice cold fries into your salivating mouth, hoping what you find will tide you over to the next time your belly cries and cramps in pain. Homelessness is not having a nice place to empty your bladder, or your bowels. Homelessness is not having toilet paper to wipe your butt with. Homelessness is using dirty fetid wster to try to wash the germs and grime from your sullied hands…
    Need I go on?
    I have been homeless, mostly in Vancouver. There were thousands more like me. There were thousands that followed me. Your post insults all of us. Try spending 24 hours on the street, no drink, no food, no adequate clothing, no place you are not kicked out of, or told to move along, hour after hour of aimlessly shuffling your feet, hoping to get even a smile from an unknown passerby, if not a little realtime help. Try pulling your skirt down in a back alley, feeling like a thousand eyes are watching you as a puddle runs out from between your feet, all because real toilets are closed to you and your kind.
    Now multiply that by 7 days, or a fortnight, or a month, being yelled at, spit at, threatened within an inch of your life over and over by college preppies in their jackets and ties.

    BEAUTIFY THAT! PLEASE BEAUTIFY THAT. I somehow don’t think even you can.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      You did it again, rawgod… totally missed the point of my post. The point I am making, and it needs thinking seriously about, is that it is society that is homeless, and not because it is being victimized, since for the most part, including yourself, it does not believe there could be powerfully nefarious “spirit” forces out there pulling the strings. No, Earthian society as a whole is totally responsible, and guilty for the reason there is homelessness. Homelessness is that nasty mirror image few want to look at and ponder on. We just automatically jump to two conclusions: the homeless are victims of a “bad” system or the homeless are shiftless, useless drug users and alcoholics who basically deserve their lot. There is nothing in between. But, I would like to know why you, particularly, were homeless on the Vancouver streets. I’ve come close on a couple of occasion but in my case I pulled out of the tailspin. It wasn’t where I wanted to end up. Then later on I found myself walking those streets of Vancouver packing food and whatever words of comfort I could pull up, interacting with the homeless, often riding the steel paddy wagons as my “friends” were arrested and manhandled by the police. My presence, at least, kept some of the violence from these, by then, helpless dregs of humanity. How did they get there? Almost invariably, due to lack of self discipline, falling into the lure of drugs and alcohol. If there were exceptions; if there were some who seriously and desperately sought help beyond money to buy more drugs or booze, I never met them.
      My “if I were a dictator” comment was obviously tongue-in-cheek. Yet not so far from the mark. Hey, if we don’t want to change how civilization operates well, even a total dictator finds herself/himself in a straight-jacket of limited choices. My “solution” is exactly what the sheeple want, make no mistake. Make the mirror image disappear. It wasn’t a “compassionate” solution, just one in keeping with the whole point.
      Read the closing argument again, sir: “As an individual, which thankfully I am, and not as dictator, I have a solution to the situation of homelessness. Since it is a mirror image of a selfish and decadent society, let’s change what is being reflected, not the reflection. Let’s deal with the real problem, not the symptom. Let’s change “us” as individuals. Let’s turn from our narcissism and selfishness, our sickening greed, and teach ourselves to look at our neighbor with “love”. Let’s no longer accept that “God’s in his heaven, the CEO in his penthouse, the bankster on the phone with the CEO, the President robbing the poor to pay the rich, and all’s well with the world.” The self-centeredness creating that ugly image in the mirror has to go. We want beauty to reflect back to us, so let’s become beautiful, in our hearts and minds. The rest will take care of itself.” I possess no words or phrases that could state it better, sorry.

      Reply
      1. rawgod

        Hi, S’T, first , I would like you to note I sent my comment not to you, but to your alter-ego Erin. Second, my intent was to show you, and especially your readers, that you cannot look as homelessness as a problem. The problem with that tactic is reducing the homeless to numbers, and forgetting they are people. I thought it was not very clear, but Erin seemed to be treating homeless people as a group, not as individuals who may or may not have had something in common, but they are NOT a group, they are down-on-their-luck persons. Each one has their own story, and no two stories are the same. The cure, if you really want to find one, is in making sure these people do not become homeless in the first place. One more thing before I get to myself: l could have, but I certainly do not remember bringing drugs or alcohol into my comment, because those ARE NOT causes of being homeless, they are SYMPTOMS of being homeless, so I will thank you to not put words in my mouth. (And as to nefarious spirit forces out there pulling the strings, while I agree there are such forces, I have yet to experience any such “spirit” forces as you describe, so no, l do not believe in them. Homelessness as a social problem is purely human, but I do not agree with it being a social problem as such, as l already said.)
        So how did I get on the street? First by being beaten senseless too many times by my father, especially after my mother died when l was eight, and once l ran away for good, being given shelter by my best friend’s parents, only to have them accuse me of being a bad influence on their son, which was not the case. It was nearing winter in Winnipeg, so I hitched rides to Vancouver, and learned there how to live on the streets. In Winnipeg, l would probably have died.
        However, if you are talking about society being homeless, as you say above, why are you rounding up the homeless and forcing them to work for you? Why punish the individuals for something you are attributing to society? As l said the first time, S’T, I have no idea exactly what it is you are really saying, and l still do not.

  3. stolzyblog

    I cannot detect, from this writing, any difference between Erin and ST. I also can’t figure out what God has to do, however conceived or not conceived, with homelessness. The whole God portion of the essay distracts me. Maybe the idea being got at with this aside is that we, humans, comprise the landscape from which social issues like homelessness could be addressed. When one argues that it lies within the nature of society that as new Californias unfurl there will inevitably be gleeful exuberance without temperance or sensible group planning. leading gradually to an overcrowded mess, one is (1) being correct, I think, and (2) pointing out that individuals are the source of the seeds of this eventual messiness. And that is true too I think. We are individual messes, threatening havoc whenever we cooperate in mildly competitive activities with other nearby messes. So, whole thing, prospect-wise, comes down to inner development of individuals. As we see, we are pretty slow and distracted and less than excited about this prospect — we cannot even agree what it would consist of. I mean: how on earth to gain a sensible overview before acting? If we simply count on technology — and if it somehow miraculously works in time before our terrestrial platform falls past the tipping point — then we simply broaden the scale and begin infecting the nearby cosmos with the same messiness. The scale changes. The Canadian West becomes Alpha Centauri. Cannot get around the heart of the matter: inner development. I think. more or less, you are pointing towards this.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Robert. Quote: “Maybe the idea being got at with this aside is that we, humans, comprise the landscape from which social issues like homelessness could be addressed.” Despite the, in retrospect, confused nature of the essay, you did get the point. I always push it away from leadership to individual responsibility. Quote from you again: “Cannot get around the heart of the matter: inner development.” Or as I usually put it: self empowerment. Self empowerment will never happen as long as people depend upon gods, leaders, rulers, to make decisions for them; as long as they fail to take responsibility for their personal thoughts, words and deeds. Can we live cooperatively as totally independent (of thought) individuals. Thanks for reading, despite the mess that came down in email!

      Reply
  4. katharineotto

    Sha’Tara,
    I’m not sure how this relates to your post, but I would say our society creates homelessness and then condemns it. Ideally, there would be many places that could succor people who have no homes. The churches used to play that role, to some extent. They are tax-exempt for their supposed community value. Why do they lock their doors at night and not allow people to sleep in the pews? Why is loitering illegal? Why can’t people sleep on park benches? Why are government buildings off limits? They lock the bathrooms in the county courthouse here to keep the homeless from washing up. Why can’t jails and prisons convert some of their space to half-way houses and shelters? Why aren’t there public bathrooms and showers that could be coin-operated?

    We need to make better use of public land, but the way things are now, free solutions don’t line enough pockets to be practical. Why aren’t schools neighborhood community centers after hours? School grounds are abandoned more often than they are used. If people (all people) felt more allegiance to their own communities, they might take more initiative for making a difference. It does seem that in a real-estate-development-and-turnover oriented society, transience creates its own problems. Even those with homes have less staying power than in the past.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I will give you a word that answers your questions: GREED. It was said long ago that money is the root of all evil. I don’t know about the absolute here, but it certainly is a major player in what makes no sense in our societies. Having lived in the worlds of public places you mention, I’ll tell you “why” they are closed to the homeless and the poor: economics. Insurance; fire and health regulations; costs of clean up and etc. Make no mistake, “public” institutions are not in the least public. They are private institutions since our governments are now privately owned and controlled under neo-capitalism.
      However, and truthfully sadly, the “homeless” in Canada at least are their own worst enemies. They do not take responsibility for their condition, many being so drugged up they just survive to get their next fix. Some “liberals” get angry at my saying so but on close examination it is simply true. Anywhere a homeless “camp” is terminated, there are piles and piles of garbage; their are needles that pose serious health hazards to people and animals.
      When I comment, tongue in cheek, that “force” should be used to end this problem I fail the popularity test on this forum but OK, what’s the solution then? If you simply give more, you get more problems, not solutions.
      I will repeat it, over and over, homelessness is not a problem, thus it has no solution by only dealing with it. It is a result, not a cause. The cause is a decadent consumerist society that refuses to acknowledge that moral values are necessary to a functional society and it has become a dysfunctional one. Bottom line, individuals are living a “Brave New World” sort of life but without the controls that were established in the novel’s new society. So it doesn’t work.
      I have been involved in social justice issues and groups most of my life, no apologies to anyone, and I have felt the brunt of a brutally cold society. Whenever some important social gains were made due to our efforts, our own society turned on “us” and voted in the religious right-wingers who profit from poverty and destroy the social network. Even now, involved with a Christian organization in rebuilding homes lost in wildfires I come across this sick mindset. Charitable organizations need the poor, the homeless, to justify raising funds for their charities. By and large; by observation I see that they are the enemies of social justice. They want to be the ones dispensing their “largesse” as charity, they do not want the poor or marginalized to receive legitimate government support. There is a deep, deep evil working barely hidden into the institutional make-up in all these organizations, even those that ostensibly do not preach and ostensibly do not favour Christians in their outreach such as MDS which I am currently volunteering with. That, I found out, is not true, therefore from my point of view this is not a legitimate societal support enterprise. This is my last stint with this organization.

      Reply
      1. katharineotto

        Sha’Tara,
        Thanks for your answer. I agree public land and buildings are not public, but they should be. Charities have in large part been subverted by the government, which has taken on the charity role, so we now have “non-profits” instead. Why should people contribute to or volunteer for charities when their taxes are being used for that purpose?

        I still say homelessness is created by the society in which we live, and the drugs are result rather than cause.

        Yes, there’s a lot of ego in the “need-to-be-needed” crowd. If the religion of consumerism didn’t set the bar so high, housing and other necessities would be affordable.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for your comment, Katharine. I would never deny that homelessness is directly caused by society, a society that has NO understanding of social justice. I also realize how difficult it is for the homeless, once fallen through the widening cracks, to ever climb out again, except in a body bag. The “religion of consumerism” as you so aptly put it is the guilty party in the inexorable drive to push more and more people into grinding poverty. This neo-capitalist religion has its high priests, the billionaire elites, and its followers, those who believe that the more they consume the better off they must be; those who support the billionaires; those who can still pat themselves on the back every day that they have a job, or receive a pension. This may seem to somewhat contradict what was written in the post I realize, but my observations which have become a life philosophy is that society means every dependent individual within the collective, thus society is practically everybody, and thus, all are predators and victims of one another in turns. There’s collusion, acquiescence, apathy, uncaring, then there’s overt oppression, extortion, massive injustice, mass-murders called wars, all of which are practised and accepted by society as a whole. It would not be possible to ever sort out the “good” from the “evil” if we were truly honest about ourselves and the civilization we are maintaining. From the least to the greatest all to some degree are guilty, if guilt there be, of all the crimes committed by “society” against “society.” Earth, to me (Erin speaking) resembles much more the butcher shop than the playground some would have us believe it is.

  5. Phil Huston

    Humor is a good thing. Mocking God? I dunno. None of us do, really. Here we go, Phil’s attempt to stop the excess word flow. I read it this way.
    Souls rooted in the mendacity and avarice of the temporal will find themselves spiritually homeless. And, based on the popularity of living a life of mendacity and avarice for temporal gluttony, that is a pretty severe homelessness problem.

    But you know me and my opinions. Your story, the story of all of us lost and confused continues. We discover Jackson’s fate in two days. Drop by.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Quote: ” living a life of mendacity and avarice for temporal gluttony, that is a pretty severe homelessness problem.” Indeed, and well said. As for mocking “god” I think a lot more people should do it, perhaps not in “Erin’s” snickering style, but considering the biblical nature of god and the horrors that creation has caused on this world, he certainly deserves some snide comments. I think of “god’s” character in terms of Donald Trump – both seriously unhinged. As to Jackson, I’ve been reading each instalments steady as she goes, Phil, and enjoying the read. I see that another episode just dropped in my email, so I will be reading that before bedtime… I just want you to realize you’ll be cutting into my reading time of H. G. Wells “Invisible Man”!

      Reply
  6. gary j

    I have been a homeless person. the mirror I use is one hundred years old. too many words. it is in fact quite simple. Peace and love to you and yours.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.