Tag Archives: remembrances

We Improve but we do not Progress

[an essay by   ~burning woman~  ]

Time, or the lack thereof, has become my enemy. Of course I realize that from the larger picture, time is not relevant, but I also realize that as a physical entity possessed of an Earthian body, I have to reckon with the time constraint, a real pain! I exist in a mental cage, a Matrix-designed prison in which no “greater thought” is meant to exist. Time, or what Earthians like to call past-present-future, controls thought, awareness, expectations. Nothing here is expected to exist outside of time – that would be unthinkable. Think, how important have time-measuring devices been throughout man’s various attempts at defining itself through his so-called “civilizations.”

It is possible, however, for some of us to push our mental awareness through the bars of the time jail and see from infinity. It’s a bit like traveling several magnitude beyond the speed of light (time and light being artificially tied together in the Matrix) and feeling the mind stretch as she pushes out into the past in order to see the future she is going into – not, as is popularly believed, creating. I do not create the future (there is no such thing as “my” future – not yet!) but it is possible for me to see it take shape if I make the effort to “see” and understand some of the past, that which I have already experienced, forgot about and now must learn to recover in order to make use of.

The real past does not exist within the artificial boundaries imposed by an equally artificial time machine. It certainly does not exist in any “historical” recording, those being even less meaningful in terms of understanding what a human being was/will be. Only a recovered once-traveled and experienced past can have meaning.

I used to be fascinated by history, my favourite subject in high school and I kept on reading and studying history long after I escaped the academic world. Then I came to certain realizations about reality, what it is, what it isn’t. Man’s recorded history became about as valid as using Monopoly money to purchase goods and services: there was a credibility gap that could not be breached. Man’s history, the collectively remembered and the recorded, was not so much a lie as pointless. Pointless as an exercise in recording it, even more so in reading it.

How did I arrive at that? Simple: nothing, absolutely nothing, is learned from history and nothing is gained by having some knowledge of it. It is irrelevant. What is relevant is what I can personally “remember” of what I experienced of past events, how those changed me and re-made me and how, as I collected that awareness, it opened the only trustworthy and meaningful window on a future that my remembrances gave me to look out of.

This will be the third time that I have read Stephen Donaldson’s science fiction “Gap” series. The title of this “essay” is taken from book 4, Chaos and Order: the Gap into Madness. “We improve, but we do not progress.” I imagine that for a programmed entity, such a thought is, well, unthinkable. How could we not progress if we are improving?

The question is, what do we mean by improving, or do we even have a clue what it could mean? What does it mean, for an intelligent, sentient, self-aware being, to “improve”? Does it mean that as a society, better put as a civilization, we are palpably, noticeably improving, in keeping with our claim to be living on a human scale? Does it mean we are improving in terms of developing “new and improved” human values, as individuals?

Yes, technologically we are undeniably improving. Many of the things we surround ourselves with today and take for granted would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

But aren’t we existing as characters in a series of Marvel Comic books? Aren’t we in fact using Monopoly money to go shopping in our improved world? How meaningful to us as human being are any of our improvements? What are these improvements doing to us? Are they not stealing our minds and locking us in our “now” mental jail?

What is progress? What would it mean to progress? Wouldn’t progress mean becoming better people overall? More aware of our environment, of others? More eager to ensure that as we “improve” we are adding to the overall betterment of this world and all who live and exist on and within, it? Wouldn’t progress mean that we are breaking free of our killing rat race and our insane repetition of acts we time and again performed then swore we would never do again? Wouldn’t progress mean we strove to become more human by demonstrating our desire to display the quality of humaneness towards all life?

I will tell you, once again, what my window into the future is showing me. Think of the current baby pandemic called Covid 19, make it real and multiply that a million times. I see horror upon horror building up exponentially until the entire world is awash in desperation, violence, bloodshed and a total loss of humanity or humane expression. I see the utter end of this civilization and everything that made it possible – people and systems.

But then, at the end of all improvement, I see progress. A new beginning, none of it predicated on the old. I can see this future because I can see the past beyond historical/hysterical fake news and beyond collective memories.

Thus I Live, Alone and Forever

“till human voices wake us and we drown”
(T.S. Eliot-The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Thus I live-alone and forever
                     Sha’Tara

Am I alone?
as alone as I feel
swimming an alien sea
full of motion and noise –
restless, meaningless
(to such as I)

(and the alien thought
                said:)

Well, yes.
One,
by definition
can be but alone.

In the sea
I hear people:
they come and they go – and
it doesn’t seem to matter where,
nor even why:
it’s all the same,
one day follows another.

Some die:
more each day
become silent –
their emptiness passes,
brief, phantasmal and
nothing more:

I cannot follow them,
cannot touch them.
They are gone.
They never come back,
only their pain remains. 

Eons have I been;
ages in this place,
prisoner of fate,
a curiosity
to my own mind.  

I do not know who I am,
only that I am
Some-here.
Wherever this is.

“Age brings wisdom”
the living say.
I have age
(more than many:
age is not counted in years
but from awareness)

I do not claim to be wise:
to what could I compare
myself?
Who can truthfully make
such a claim?

There is knowledge,
the knowing of things,
of data or of memories;
impressions, experiences,
feelings.

I discover myself here,
again and again and again
and though I am not hiding
I remain
Alone  

Always
(and it would seem)
Forever.

 

Thus I keep
what could pass as sanity:

From somewhen I remember
a sun shining.
Above clouds, it shines
and night is but illusion:
the shadow of a planet
and only the sun’s light
can make such a shadow.

(Thus I remind myself,
thus think and thus persist.)

How I got from There to Here-part 2

 

[getting it together    ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

From the last post on this topic:

“The frightened child had grown into an adult. I had learned to bluster my way into the adult world even if I felt I were an alien or something weird. I hid my real thoughts and feelings and expressed only those I thought would make me seem normal and acceptable. I used ideas and words from books, magazines, the radio, songs, sermons, political speeches, and that seemed to satisfy people even though it polarized them. For a time I was a complete stranger to myself but at least I had some peace and a pretense of belonging and power.”

So this was the time when marriage, kids, responsibilities and full time employment ganged up on me as I plunged headlong into environmental and social activism and into politics. Obviously a perfect condition to bring in mental implosion. Certainly I learned much in those crazy years and the outworking of central power patterns began to make a bit of sense but I overloaded on the smorgasbord.

It was “too much of nothing”* The peace I knew was fake. The belonging I felt was from those who wanted to use me, or my ideas, or my mouth. The power was the same that all revolutionary leaders use and I saw the pointlessness of using it yet knew of no other source. It took me ten years to implode in which time I lost everything that meant anything to me ending up without home or family or real friends along with a seriously deteriorating health, and I was only thirty four. I could barely walk or get in a vehicle and drive. What had been diagnosed as collapsing disks in my late teens had worsened and I was looking at a wheelchair condition.

I reached the edge of the abyss and looked down the black hole but it no longer scared me. I decided enough was enough and planned my quiet exit. The fateful day came but things did not go as intended. There was an “intervention” which at the time, being still a believer, I attributed to God. I was “miraculously” healed of my symptoms and given some very strict directions on how I should proceed with the rest of my life. There were conditions, not that the healing wasn’t real but it would not “take” if I did not change my entire perception of what one’s life is for; what it’s all about.

“We’re not going to ask you to change your world, just your own nature. Will you agree to that? Will you agree to trust us?”

I had no idea what that “trust” would entail but at that moment I felt there was nothing left to lose so I agreed. I made the commitment to change. Christianity calls it being born again and that’s what I called it except that this wasn’t to be a ritual, it was to be a tough and often harsh time of life change. Every new idea about myself I came up with I had to put to the test. Those who watched over me at that time I dubbed “the Teachers” and nothing would get past them. I still did some ghastly stupid mistakes and they had to save my life a couple more times but I meant to change and they knew it better than me.

Let me introduce, in name only, my three life savers and changers: YLea, El Issa and Phaelon. They never said why I was the recipient of their attentions, only that I should pay close attention for their time would eventually be up and they stayed around at great risk to themselves. I wouldn’t understand that until years later when I came to figure out the workings of the “Powers” in this universe.

As I worked through their many teachings I discovered how we are programmed and so easily brainwashed. I went through the process of arguing for the shutting down of my “soul implant” with a representative of the Powers and achieved the neutralizing of it. Sounds like la-la land doesn’t it? Well, much more could be accomplished on this world if such information was taken at face value. The reason nothing, and I mean nothing, ever gets resolved here is because of that programming implant. It’s there, in everyone, whether one believes it or not: not knowing a thing does not make that thing unreal. Many, oh so many, however, believe the programming that their “soul” is their very essence, and so it is for it’s a matter of belief and practice. That keeps the wheel of fate, or karma, turning.

Once the implant was neutralized and the tendency to repeat bad performance was under control of my own mind I saw things I had never understood. Three things I’ve gone on about a lot came up for review: faith, hope, love. After much analysis and testing I unilaterally rejected all three as having any sort of value to me. They belonged to the Powers, their systems of oppression and of course to the Earthian cooperative called civilization, as did their opposites: faithlessness, hopelessness and hate. I realized that if I held on to the three positives I’d have to remain enslaved to the three negatives. Oh the joys of living in duality.

Many things were explained to me, or became obvious through tests and trials. False morality could be replaced with living a compassionate life. That took years to understand because compassion can only be understood by living it. It cannot be taught. To live compassion it was obvious that I would have to become detached from all the things that were of convenience, importance or comfort to me – they could no longer matter. “When none of it matters it will all be yours.” said YLea. Make no mistake I’m still struggling with that after almost forty years of experimenting.

I learned the necessity of living the self empowered life. Ultimately every decision I made for or in my life had to come from me and only me. Nothing anyone else offered or proposed could I accept at face value (except the Teachers, but after their twenty year “tour of duty” with me they were gone and I was truly alone. Everything had to be weighed on a personal scale and every decision was signed in blood, i.e., I had to put my life on the line – and I continue to do this.

No more games, no more pretense, no more Earthian shenanigans. No more religions, politics or even allowing myself to think that money could ever solve any problem. No more social contracts. I had become a Watcher and an avatar of compassion. I had broken free of the programming of social conditioning. No more gregariousness or attraction to the herd. I had become one and although my new nature made me inclusive in terms of outreach to others, I was now an exclusive individual, a kind of spiritual lone rider or knight errant.

Why is reaching such a condition so important? I’ll tell you straight: the Earthian social condition is corrupt to the core. It is led by corruption and it feeds on corruption. It is endemic to the entire complex called civilization and it has no cure. Any individual so motivated can find an individual cure for her/himself but that comes at the extreme price of mental and spiritual independence from all that is of Earthian provenance and systems including independence from any Power, God or Goddess recognized or worshiped by any collective.

That is how I got from there to here and that is how I will go from here.
________________________________________________

Too Much of Nothing
Bob Dylan (1967) – The Basement Tapes

Too much of nothing
Can make a man ill at ease
One man’s temper might rise
While another man’s temper might freeze
In the day of confession
We cannot.

(More at MetroLyrics)

A World’s Tale

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I’m going to tell a story and I want you to remember that it is a story. As far as anybody knows, it’s a fairy tale, or perhaps science fiction or fantasy. The point is, it isn’t supposed to be true at all, none of it.

That is called a disclaimer.

Once upon a time at the far edge of a galaxy far far away there was a small world no one paid any attention to. Although it was chock full of interesting life, no one in its neighbourhood cared about that. Better things to do, bigger fish to fry. The world carried on as worlds are wont to do when left to their own devices, and until they are interfered with. Which is predictably what happened.

Eventually, that small world was noticed by people aboard a passing space ship. They probed and finding it rather inviting they landed advance missions on it to have a look around. Probing and exploring, they discovered the world was rich in resources lacking on their mother ship and on their home world where such resources would be worth fortunes. With no one to challenge them they established bases from which to proceeded with exploitation.

Among the rich number of sentient life, they had hoped to find some life forms suitable to serve as slaves but after experimentation and trials, nothing. That wasn’t going to stop them however. They had the technology; they cloned suitable worker slaves by mixing local DNA with their own. They made themselves quasi-intelligent slaves and set them to work in mines, fields, construction, maintenance, bureaucratic support and entertainment. As the creatures increased in numbers the work of exploitation also increased and as to be expected, there developed major conflicts among the invaders as to who owned which parts of the planet and their rights to exploitation.

Diplomacy having failed, the aliens resorted to warring with each other. The cloned slaves were trained and armed to fight for their masters. Much bloodshed and destruction followed these internecine conflicts particularly in areas where weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear, were used. The results of these conflicts would have been predictable but hubris and greed ruled the day. The world was rendered uninhabitable for the aliens and they left after removing as much of their technology as they could find. They had already learned to fear their cloned slaves.

The slaves, who were beginning to develop a greater sense of selfhood and independence had suffered many horrible deaths from the wars. The worst part was the mutations and the new diseases they were saddled with and prone to exhibit. Some mutations however proved successful. Powerful leaders of giant stature arose among the slave people and predictably the old enmity reasserted itself. Certain races claimed superiority and certain places for themselves and closed themselves away from others. The cloned females who had been designed as slaves of the males were enslaved within these new mutant societies although the constant border clashes and wars decimated so many males that in some areas the women were able to claim a share of equality, ownership and eventual leadership.

Climate change and diseases spread from proximity, caused a great die back among the slave races and as their numbers dwindled they moved away from each other in their quest for basic survival. For many years there was relative peace on the world as there were not enough survivors to launch any effective wars, nor could they imagine any need for such since there was more than enough space and food to accommodate all of them. They had stopped mining and collecting the “resources” they had been programmed to find having no more use for any of them. During those hunter-gatherer times as they are called, the masters were remembered as creator gods and any remembrance of their technology became the stuff of legends and tales of great magic.

The naturally imposed peace among the mutants wasn’t to last. The ancient hubris of the gods reasserted itself among certain groups of mutants. They also re-discovered some of their masters’ skills with metals and that turned to weaponry. That began an age of rampaging conquests that changed the face of the world forever.

That is where the tale ends for today.

“Does this world have a name?” asked a bright-eyed child.

“All worlds have names, child. This one, you give a name to.”

“How does the story really end?” asked another.

“That is up to you, isn’t it.” replied the story teller.

A Single Rosebud

[a poem from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]
Do you remember, it was so long ago,
before the time of earth’s labour
and the sounds of chaos made unbearable?
We stood alone, you and I, on the shore
of a black sea scape.  The wind blowing,
ruffling our hair in each other’s faces
and waves crashed upon the wet shale.

There was no moon; there were no stars,
it was our world nevertheless and love,
how we loved it just as it was.  Did it love us back?
We assumed so.  It took care of us,
just the two of us, do you remember well
before there was anyone else to care for?

Do you remember the cries and moans
of all those as yet unborn, inexperienced.
Were they eager to enter; or frightened?
It was our own love that calmed them,
and gave them substance.  We made light
so they could see their way from shore to land.
You watched, I held them and nurtured them.

So you do remember, so long ago, after
when we believed we had done all that was needed?
We stood again alone on the shore, waiting.
Waiting to go home, to be taken aloft to our stars,
certain the ship would arrive in time. Instead
a single rosebud fell down between us.

There was a single thorn attached to its stem:
it pricked both our chests, our blood mixed
and we understood the meaning of pain.
We knew then no ship would ever approach
this frightening world of light and darkness.
We knew then we no longer had each other.

Abandoned and lost, you repeated in anger,
abandoned and lost, I replied in my sorrow.
We walked away from each other then,
unbearable to one-another, unspeaking ’til now
old we are, and grey, together again, but not
to be taken home, only to touch once more and die.