The Senseless Dance of the Sophisticated Barbarian (Ponderings)

I write a page every day – that is my little writing quota. Here is my pages for today. Enjoy!

I am a man whom lives and dances senselessly on a tiny, water-blue dust mode. If you are reading this, chances are you are too. If not, what planet do you hail from? Either way, the dance goes on. And on. And on.

***

An educated human being is little more than a sophisticated barbarian. In comparison to the sheer immensity of the unknown universe, it is all that we can aspire to be.

We wear top hats, construct rockets & drive cars.

Meanwhile we wait for the planet to swallow us up.

***

The chief enemy to a closed mind is skepticism;

A skepticism toward the claims which bind a mind shut.

The chief enemy to an open mind is cynicism;

A cynicism which has ready-made conclusions without hard evidence.

***

Specialization seems integral to academic careers and the overall organization of professions. For example, one initially studies the broad subject of physics in order to become more specifically trained as an astrophysicist or a quantum physicist. One studies biology in order to become trained as a medical doctor or an evolutionary biologist. One studies painting in order to become a painter herself, or an art historian.

Artists, however, seem to escape specialization quite often. A painter may direct a film and call it “a moving painting”. A poet may write a novel of fine prose. A sculptor may decide instead to draw politically motivated cartoons.

This is yet another reason I admire artists and aspire to remain one. They can bend the rules — even break them, sometimes. Not only can they bend and break rules, but they’re often encouraged to do so, as if it is the artist’s job to corrupt convention as much as it is to create beauty.

How is that for a job description? Imaging telling that to someone you just met at a party.

“What do you do for a living?” she asks.

“Well, I corrupt convention and create beauty,” you reply.

Artists whom are not specialized to one particular medium simply apply a label to their work.

That label is, “Mixed Media”.

Good and Evil in the Universe & The Modern Misfit

A Modern Misfit

I am a writer whom only happens to exist in the 21st century. Had I been consulted before birth, I perhaps would not have agreed to live in this epoch. All previous centuries, no matter how intriguing or romantic, have already been experienced and written about by others. I must do away with my shyness of mentioning Twitter, Facebook, and cell phones in my writing. I may not particularly enjoy these symptoms of modern technology. I may not find them interesting or appealing. Yet by ignoring them completely, I am doing a disservice to my readers – I am being irrelevant. And this, if I am ever to relate, to connect with the public, shouldn’t continue.

Regardless, I continue on as a modern misfit. Now excuse me while I post this to my blog, check my Facebook messages and shudder with distaste. To hell with being prosaic! Someone text me a picture of a furry mongrel with seven tits! Entertain me at a cellular level, the deepest level of the contemporary consciousness, the modern mind…ravish me with dope insights…

***

Good and Evil in the Universe

There is pure evil in this universe, as well as pure good. There is also the vastness of shadow in between this spectrum of total darkness and light. What is good? What is evil? Both are moral creations of sentient beings whom have evolved a consciousness capable of distinguishing ‘rights’ from ‘wrongs’. Even without human beings, perhaps good and evil may exist in the consciousness of other evolved beings residing somewhere out there in the infinite universe. Who knows? Given the immensity of space, time and materials, it seems quite likely that intelligent life may be thriving elsewhere upon some unknown planet and around some unknown star.

Yet it does seem as if good and evil, indeed all of morality, exists only in an indefinite sense — just as much as humans exist, only in an indefinite sense. When the human species does go extinct, and if there are no meaning/moral producing creatures in the universe, then good and evil will have been vanquished entirely. The universe will then be left to its own. The universe will continue for perhaps another thirteen billion years recycling stars, and spinning, colliding, thrashing around its galaxies. There will be no voice, such as my own, to ask, “But, why?”

And what of it?

***

 

Ponderings on Art, Responsibility, Identity, Virtue, and Tragedy.

The Weight of the World

If not for a word, there

Would be no book, no language.

If not for an atom, there

Would be no world, no universe.

If not for a decision, there

Would be no free will, no choice.

If not for a vote, there

Would be no democracy, no republic.

Our decisions and actions matter.

They effect our lives,

They effect our world

In myriad ways,

seen and unseen.

Whatever you do

carries the weight

of the world.

Take firm hold of your responsibility

As a human being with some

Influence upon this planet.

Fear not to care,

And do not shrug.

 

***

Even a faraway galaxy is local if you’re living there.

*

The virtue of tragedy is empathy; compassion.

*

My identity is not in any sense fixed. It is like a spilled fluid amongst broken glass. My psyche is only reflected in jagged shards – shards which can be rearranged and re-glued together into whatever form my imagination deems feasible. For better or worse, I am the maker of myself.

*

I have a reverence for everything useless. The tasks of bare survival – to include hunting for food, taking shelter, and reproducing are essential activities – but they are also weary and base. What I champion are those extraneous genes responsible for humankind’s motives to paint on cave walls, vocalize sounds into recognizable melodies, and construct sacred temples. I champion all superfluous culture, all art, all creative expression, all abstractions! It is these things, after all, which truly separate us human mammals from the non-human ones.

*

All hail the first ape whom thought to shave!

*

The moments wherein one feels he or she has digested the world are rare moments indeed. They should be enjoyed for the fine illusions that they are. Yet in truth, ignorance is the sea in which we all swim. It is only that a human being feels particularly fine when he or she has reached the highest peak of a wave and can at last see, for a moment, the vast expanse of all the other waves upon this infinite ocean of mystery…

*

Art and Soul

A true artist sells his soul.

The commercial artist sells a product – one which is often superficial, impersonal, and/or otherwise utterly lacking in soul. Within every Van Gough painting or Beethoven symphony there can be found a portion of the artist’s emotional identity. Art produced solely for mass consumption, by its very nature, contains nothing personal. Arguably, artists whom never give away anything personal are not artists at all. This is why art is often a dangerous and daring activity– it requires us to be vulnerable enough to share ourselves, often our most sensitive and creative selves, with potentially the entire world.

***

The Pledge of Allegiance (Revisited)

I pledge allegiance

To the symbolic fabric

Of the divided states

Of Corporate Amnesia.

To the Plutocracy

For which it stands

One Delusion

Under an invisible man in the sky,

With Stupidity

And Ignorance for all.

***

“No Regrets”

I know I am a good human being not just intuitively, but based upon the evidence of my guilt and how frequently I experience it. Virtuous men are always ones with marked consciences, whereas “evil” men are utterly lacking of it. Guilt and conscience go hand in hand. Which leads me to think that the contemporary expression, “No regrets!” is an obvious denying of inner guilt and remorse. It is either this or they have no conscience at all, and are rather proudly exclaiming their sociopathic disposition. One can’t count on less than two hands how many times a drunken man at a bar has slurred out, “I’ve got nooo regrets!” all the while drowning in self-denial, aided by cheap liquor. As I’ve stated in a previous article, “a man without a regret is a man without a moral.”

I was in a coffee shop the other day and observed a young woman with “No Regrets” tattooed on her forearm. How inspired by a bad conscience must one be in order to have these words permanently inked on their body? Now her regret is for all to see. The tattoo doesn’t hide the inner guilt or remorse – it only plainly reveals, makes conspicuous. I felt bad for the woman. And, of course, discussing with her the stupidity of the tattoo could only incite dismay and rage, as she is already fully committed to what the tattoo communicates about her – no regrets.

***

 

Ponderings: History, Suicide, Eternity, and Just Words!

Forget trying to do good! Simply be good. What follows this inner-constitution of goodness will be inevitable.

*

Everything matters, but only in the sense that everything is matter.

*

History is the stain of time. It is like the jelly trail of a retarded slug!

*

I promise never to write or say anything for as long as I die.

*

Suicide is breaking up with your long-time Self. Mortality is our wedding ring to life. The upside to suicide is, there need be no lawyers to consul this particular brand of divorce.

*

People are either dead or pre-conceived for billions of years, practically an eternity, in comparison to their sunspot years of life. Seventy-six years and the cosmos does not batter an eyelash. Ten generations come and dissipate and the cosmos barely blinks. Am I supposed to be acting serious right now? I will leave the acting to the actors, I believe. I’ve got better things to do…like, live my life as authentically as possible while I still have it.

Don’t blink.

*

My identity wishes for immortality. My soul laughs and asks, “Why on Earth would you wish for such a ridiculous thing?”

*

To keep the ignorant youth more humble and a little less ignorant – instruct them to read Socrates, whom often said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

*

Just a wholesome reminder: We imprint ourselves upon our reality at almost all times. This is why objectivity can often be so difficult. If you want to perceive with clarity, forget about yourself for a while. Let the ego take a backseat.

*

Justice for the Criminals

We have heard this phrase regurgitated time and again. The “Criminal Justice System”. It infers justice, but for whom? For criminals? Well, at long last! The law-abiding citizens of this country have accosted us with their mindless good behavior for far too long. Finally, justice shall be served!

I feel the same way about “Freedom Fighters”. Fire fighters fight fires. Freedom fighters fight…what? You guessed it!

***

If we are “not our body” as spiritual minded people are apt to say, why then, does it appear that we cease to exist once the mechanisms for our consciousness, our being, ceases to exist? Bodily death is Being death. This seems so obvious to me…

Death accepts us all equally, yet we do not accept death. Death is an embrace into nothingness, into a state of pre-birth. Humans have yet to embrace death, as they are mostly busy clinging to life. Fear has rattled our brains with attachments from the start. Yet death remains the eternal good sport, laughing good naturedly at our absurdity, all with an empty black twinkle in his eye.

***

I write such cruel things, sometimes. And yet I always feel so much better for it. For me, to be a writer is to be a harmless sadist. The pen and paper are my tools of torture. Tortured by the universe, I torture the universe right back. Sometimes it is as if whole stars were ripping in two, screaming out all their luminescent, solarized guts upon the page. Word after word, my pen chisels away at eternity.

All the while eternity chisels away at me.

***

The collar and tie,

A casual ball and chain.

***

Life is the ragged climb to a flat line.

***

Only death can steal you from your Self.

***

I just watched the sun dribble away from my fingertips, slipping off the world like a holy egg yolk, blessed into the great beyond. I am alone, writing, with the blackened outside dawning through my windows. I can see little pin-points of light shining through the black canvas, like worn immaturities in God’s reality fabric. How those little pin-points bedeck me with hope!

Holy men and women pray for the universe to unveil itself so that we may discover what we really are. I know what we really are. We are the universe, composed of an identical fabric, shining through our consciousness. Look up into the heavens and behold the distant, wistful stars of this galaxy, located in the wild flesh and genes called human.

***

Just Words

The world is a vast complex simplified into “the world”; a general meaning utilized for common reference. This is what language has done for us. It has taken the inconceivable abstractions of our universe and compacted it into symbolic little packages which we call, words. Let us consider the “Universe”, a mere word which entails stars, galaxies, vast amounts of space (vaster than vast), solar flares, supernovas, black holes, worm holes, quasars, electrons, protons, neutrons, photons, quarks, matter & anti-matter, cosmic acceleration, at least four dimensions, orbits, satellites, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, intelligent life (some say we are an example of this, and some are still not sure this is the case), on and on to literally ad infinitum! Language is an invention which has surpassed our ability to imagine – indeed, much of our imagination is based upon linguistic structure. Our consciousness has been tainted – nay, infected – with language!

All of this, of course, is just words.

Thoughts: Day Job Purgatory, Social Roles, An Organic Proposal to Athletics, and a Clean Shelf.

The Hell of Day Jobs & Social Roles

The most devastating effect of working a day job is that it tends to rob a human being of his or her authenticity. To be “a construction worker”, a “bank teller”, a “sales associate”, or a “waitress” is to be ascribed a social role. We play out these roles with automatic and fervent gusto – not out of passion or joy, but out of fear. There is always the fear that one will be fired, not be able to pay the bills, or put food on the table. Then there is the fear of judgement and ridicule by our peers. Thus we wear masks and interact with the people around us with an unmistakable air of misery and pretension. The reason why most do not notice this is due to the fact they become so immersed in their roles that for a while they forget whom they are. Break your role just once in the work environment and you will be judged, condemned, and ultimately labeled, “an unprofessional”. What hell!

For an example, let’s suppose you are working in a drive-thru. A person gives his “order” – notice how servers don’t take “requests” – through the intercom. You are overly nice and polite, not in a totally sincere manner, but in a fake one pretending to be sincere. The person on the other side of the intercom is not a person, but a customer – yet another social role.

The most confounding myth of this role is expressed by an old consumer maxim, “The customer is always right!” Obviously, this is not true. A “customer” is in actuality a human being, and no human being is ever right most of the time, never mind all of the time. So you take the order and like a good weasel you scurry. You gather the required food and beverages and – always with a smile—you hand the customer his items. He digs into the bag and then peers out at you with an expression of grievance and contempt. You’ve given him the wrong god damned sandwich! He wanted a triple cheese burger, not a single! You have just defied the expectations of your social role as “server”. Now you shall be judged and condemned. Fear and embarrassment rushes to your face in a flush of crimson.

You go back to the excruciatingly small kitchen, prepare the correct sandwich, hand the man a coupon for a free meal, and apologize excessively. Inside you are not sorry for the inconvenience so much that you are angry that someone would be so impolite over such a trivial matter. But you don’t express your anger, you shove it down deep inside your convoluted soul because that is part of the role. You must always be “professional”, which is to say, you must always be “inauthentic”. The man does not say thank you for your extraneous effort. He grabs hold of his food and with a scowl, drives off. You grit your teeth into a smile and assist the next customer.

Human beings ought to identify themselves according to their own moral criteria and values, not by their obligatory occupations. One is never just “a welder”, or “a barista”. One is a human being, and that entails far more than the social roles we commit ourselves to.

Whenever someone mindlessly says to you, “So, tell me, whaddya do for a living?” The best response is to tell them you eat, shit, and breathe oxygen for a living. Then immediately turn the question on them and inquire as to what they do – for a living.

One other note: It is more common than ever to hear the phrase, “Always be yourself!” repeatedly commanded by teachers, employers, and co-workers. Yet it seems no one truly means it. If your employer truly wanted you to be yourself, would you really be at that miserable day job upon your own volition, having to stand there and listen to someone tell you to “be yourself”?

***

An Organic Proposal for American Athletics

Enough of all this athletic macho crap! I propose America rename its beloved sports teams solely after plants. Just think of it: The Boston Ferns, the Chicago Succulents, the Texas Tulips, the Georgia Gardenias, the Pennsylvania Posies, the Florida Focuses’, the Tennessee Thistles, and onward! Forget naming sports teams after these supposedly ferocious animals. Lions, panthers, jaguars, hawks, eagles, falcons, rams, badgers and broncos can all go swimming with the dolphins for all I care. I say, let the flowers fight it out!

I see no reason why American athletics shouldn’t reflect the organic nature of existence. Our stadiums ought to be gardens. Our referees? Ecological nutritionists. All the cheerleaders ought to be out there dancing with watering cans. After all, if it weren’t for the earth, the plants, the sky, the rain, and all that entails the sustainment of life on this planet – these rough and tumble sports teams (although it goes without saying) would not be here to play their treasured games. So you have great muscle and agility? Thank the Earth, and join the Tulips!

***

House-keeping Tip

Notice how shelves are more aesthetically pleasing than anything you could put on them. Knick-knacks are nothing more than clutter. They are mindless space occupiers. If you leave your shelves barren upon the wall, your guests are likely to exclaim, “What a lovely shelf that is!” instead of bypassing the usual eyesore of your trivial trinkets display. Also, empty shelves tend to bring a sense of hope to the room. What could one possibly put up there? The possibilities are endless. The trick, of course, is to never put anything up there. Always keep a clean shelf.

Reflections on Freedom (what is it? what does it mean?)

“Man is condemned to be free.” – Sartre.

One does not choose freedom. Freedom comes free with birth. It is inherent in the human condition. Likewise, one does not (cannot) ever choose to be born. Birth is the creation of individual consciousness; it is simultaneously the enabler and limiter of all freedom.

Choices are always here for us to make – and we are not free not to make them. One may choose not to choose and will have utterly failed in the attempt. For not choosing is always a choice. Freedom is a self-limiting fact of life. Liberation provides its own shackles.

As I have said, one does not choose to be born. This does not mean, however, that life is not a choice. The distinction is subtle, yet grand. Do you think that life is not a choice? Then simply turn over your wrists and slice diagonal– this gruesome act will have been your choice, and yours alone. Suicide, obviously, is an extreme consequence of one’s decision not to exist.

Freedom is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Freedom is, rather, an enabler of rights. Freedom has a right to us.

Life is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Life is an enabler of rights. Life has a right to us.

Life and freedom are inherent conditions of existing. One may either rejoice, or despair! Both are appropriate reactions. Yet whatever one chooses, it is his or her choice alone. Most things in life, although a majority of human beings are not aware of this fact, are choices.

Hence why I agree with the cliché that “with freedom comes great responsibility”. It is not so nearly often understood that with freedom also comes great anxiety, as well as great consequence. A free human being is one whom has realized that his or her life is a choice, and takes all responsibility for his or her choices and consequent actions.

As a conclusion to this short reflection, I would just like to straighten out one thing in particular: those whom tote that ridiculous bumper slogan: freedom is not free.

Well, if freedom is deprived of its very essence (that of being free), then exactly what are we left with?

I will of course gladly provide an answer: freedom without ‘free’ is just dumb.

Introducing: The Artist’s Corner

I am currently a bi-monthly column contributor to my city’s newspaper, the New Richmond News. The name of my column is, The Artist’s Corner. Each column presents some of my personal reflections on art, creativity, etc. and an up-close featured local artist.

Here are a few of the first three columns to get you going…

 

Artist’s Corner #1: All Art is Local & Josie Coen

Gregarious greetings! Welcome to The Artist’s Corner. Herein you will learn about interesting happenings in the local art world — and it’s a delightfully alive world at that. Our city underground is populated with writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, on and on into ad infinitum. Did you know that? Well, if the answer is ‘not really’, here is my hope that this column may inform, entertain and inspire you! Well, first thing is first – the thought of the day, courtesy of your ever deranged, local creative:

All Art is Local.

It is the responsibility of the average citizen, that microscopic specimen which composes the nation, like a particle to an atom, to keep art alive.

It is often said that all politics is local, and so it is. Likewise with all education, culture, religion, etc. If the United States of America is a living body, it is the people whom make up its vital parts: the legs, feet, arms, hands, torso, and head. If any of these conglomerations of the people should become afflicted with bouts of apathy and shirk their cultural duties, the bodily health of the country shall suffer, as if from disease.

We must, at a local level, continue to support the funding of music and art classes within our public schools if we are to expect a future nation truly appreciative of creative expression and the arts. We must find ourselves resolute to live and breathe the arts within our own daily lives, just as a citizen may read this newspaper and upon discerning the information, cast his or her vote in an upcoming election. In short, all art is local!

Speaking of local art, I believe it’s time for this week’s…

** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT **

Today we are meeting with artist Josie Coen, a photographer. Josie lives a mere stone’s throw from our fair city and specializes in macrophotography (pictures of people or things skillfully taken from an extremely up-close perspective). She kindly invited me to her home and allowed me a peek at some of her work. Immediately, I noticed her photographs tend to communicate a vision not commonly apprehended by the average sight-seer. Her photographs of delightfully vibrant orchids, dangerously beautiful purple thistles, a bumblebee hunkered down collecting nectar, the in-depth intricacies of a tree trunk, and other assortments of diverse natural wonders reveal to us mysterious worlds which are always here and yet rarely ever witnessed.

Josie’s incredible pictures of real things in nature make us stop and ponder if what we are seeing is in fact, real. I highly recommend everyone go and experience Josie’s macro-photographs for themselves. One may have a chance to do so on September 7th at Amery Ale Works in Amery, WI, from 7 to 10 PM. This will be a creative extravaganza, as there will be three whole floors dedicated to art. Josie’s pictures will be on the first level, writers and poets will read aloud their writings on another, and finally a painter will be showcasing his work on the top floor. You certainly won’t want to miss this Artful Evening!

My dear fellow citizens of New Richmond, I hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s column and shall leave you with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, which I hope inspires you to pick up a pen, brush, camera, or whatever the creative medium may be:

“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Thistle

 

Artist’s Corner #2: The Artist Within & Steve Mireau

Hello to all and sundry! Welcome to your city newspaper’s most unconventional column, courtesy of yours truly. Did you know the most beautiful thing about being an artist is that anyone can be one?

No, I’m not lying! There are approximately 360,000 people born into this world every day; every one of them is born an artist. You may recall that when we were young we always drew pictures, made up stories, and created whole marvelous worlds out of the fabric of our own imaginations, often within the comforts of our own back yards. Only instead of calling it ‘art’, we called it, ‘play’.

Society, for whatever reasons, has a nasty habit of killing off the artist not long after he or she emerges from the confines of the crib. Our culture instills within us an adaption to one particular way of life, which desensitizes us to nearly everything. We get so caught up in the complicated web of our worldly humdrum that we forget to appreciate the little things, such as a pretty sunbeam on the carpet, a flower, or even a PB & J sandwich. This process of desensitizing is undoubtedly a blow to the creative instincts. For if life is perceived as merely average and mundane, what reason is there to be an artist? What could there possibly be to express?

Yet if human beings were to open their minds to a slightly expanded degree, they would realize that our existence is mysterious, wondrous and beautifully absurd. A child does not need to be told these things. It is only we adults whom could use the reminder now and then. For a child is always busy exploring the curious world around him, expressing himself with paintings, drawings, or whatever the creative medium may be.

If everyone upon the planet is born an artist, then everyone (if they so wish to) can potentially become one again. One must simply put in the time and dedication. True, there will always be someone whom is better at painting, writing, or playing piano than you …but there will never be an artist exactly like you, now or ever. The artist’s soul is his finger print.

** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT**

Today’s local artist is Steve Mireau — a painter, musician, inspirational role model to many, and above all, an excellent human being. Steve and I go back some years. Oddly enough, we met at a funeral. We played our guitars and sang songs together with a few other musicians after the procession and have remained friends ever since. It was the best funeral I’d ever been to.

Steve performs for the public regularly, and has released his own album of original songs. The name of that album is, “Traveling”. On that album, Steve sings, and plays the guitar and harmonica. Even more impressively – he does it all from his wheelchair, as he is paralyzed from the upper chest down. He has limited movement in his arms, and no finger function at all. He performs masterfully. This is one example of an artist whom has certainly put in the due time and dedication to his art.

In addition to performing original music, he is also a very talented painter. Steve paints a variety of subjects, including beautiful landscapes, vibrant abstracts, and gorgeously rendered female nudes. Care to view or even purchase some of these marvelous creations? Just hop on down the bunny trail that is Knowles Ave. and stop in at the Ink Junki Fine Art Gallery here in New Richmond. One may also visit Steve’s website, http://www.stevemireau.com for further information.

I will sign off with a quote from one of the greatest painters of the 20th century: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.

I suppose that some of us (and this includes Steve and myself) just end up beating the odds. Perhaps we are blessed with a magnificent screw-loose. Perhaps when one creates art, the odds are with you, no matter what…

Steve.jpg

 

 

Artist’s Corner #3: The Pitcher & Jenna Wojan

Welcome back to The Artist’s Corner! To kick off this week’s column, here are a few thoughts from your local creative:

Imagine the creative mind as a tall pitcher. The pitcher becomes full, drop by drop, with ideas and sensations gathered from our experiences throughout the day or week. Inevitably, the pitcher becomes so full that it is soon overflowing! Ideas are running over the sides and it is required that one empties the thing in its designated area so as not to waste such a precious resource. So we turn to the canvas, the blank page, or the molding clay and get to work with pouring it all out. Not a drop from the Creative Pitcher is wasted, if the artist can manage it.

Soon enough we become emptied and satisfied, an emotion not far removed from something post-coital. Then a slight anxiety may ensue — “What if I remain forever emptied?” the artist asks him or herself. Yet sure enough, drip by drip, the pitcher collects its contents, often unbeknownst to us. Just by living our lives and engaging with the world, the Creative Pitcher becomes full to overflowing once more. The artist must get back to work!

This week’s featured local artist seemingly creates from a pitcher that teems from the brim…

*** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT ***

Today we meet graphic design artist and natural born creative, Jenna Wojan. Jenna and I chatted over Bloody Marys’ this past Thursday, discussing everything from art and creativity to books, authors, and horror films. The thing which one notices about Jenna almost immediately is that she’s one of the coolest, most down-to-Earth, kind and open-minded people you’re ever to meet.

Jenna’s art is bold, striking, and bound to shake you up. It is art that is not for everyone, but only for the open minds whom will appreciate original aesthetics and a style that does not conform to status quo convention. Her art showcases an authentic and inventive mind that is not afraid to make one feel things at a visceral level.

Jenna utilizes imagery taken from fashion magazines, 1950’s pin-up girl calendars, old photographs and stills from classic films to create new visual worlds for the viewer to become immersed in. Her keen eyes, creative intuition, and expert knowledge on the elements of graphic design all play a part in the creation of strikingly surrealistic collages. Within each piece, one is instinctually drawn in by a perfectly balanced display of color, texture, tone, and movement.

My girlfriend and I have one of Jenna’s collage prints proudly displayed at home. You can too, by viewing her online portfolio (www.jennawojan.com) and purchasing one of her modestly priced artworks! In my humble opinion, the world could use more creative, genuine human beings like Jenna Wojan.

As per the tradition, I shall sign off with our inspirational creative quote of the week:

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath.

GM

Freedom & Liberty

If “freedom isn’t free”, as the patriotic slogan proclaims, then there is no freedom. By its own definition, it has been nullified. Freedom without the “free” is just dumb. Pun very much intended.

It is far more accurate to say that freedom is a condition of our existence not at all free from consequence. Any consequence, however, comes to you free.

A truer popular slogan would be, “with freedom comes responsibility”. Why is this accurate? Because we are responsible for the choices that we make. These choices result in the consequences of our having freedom.

It is, I believe, this responsibility for consequence which one might refer to as, liberty…

 

***

What are your thoughts on freedom and liberty?

Assimilation is Annihilation

Assimilation is nothing more than annihilation. I say, unless one is bent on utter self-destruction, one should never assimilate!

This society we find ourselves born into is like a endless, rushing current and we are the rocks to be molded, slowly but surely over the passage of time. Society — in the form of parents, friends, teachers, bosses, etc. will try to mold you, break you, dissimulate you from your original, authentic form and assimilate you into their conception of what a productive member of society ought to look like. Never become a productive member of society — it is the lowliest form of creature you can be, far below the level of the cockroach. At least the cockroach endures. This society, however, will not. An impermanent thing, by virtue of its definition, never lasts.

All your life they try to bend you ceaselessly to their way of existence, their will, their paradigm, their system. They will cast their expectations upon you and assume that you will meet them with a kind grace — without cause for strife, rebellion, or even a polite disagreement. The key is to maintain a fortitude of the soul, to not give in, to not cave under that seemingly constant pressure, that endless, rushing current which works to mold, mold, mold you in the perfect insect busybody to be exploited. Society seeks to brainwash and train you at an early age. This brainwashing and training is euphemistically referred to as “education”. True education is the training of the mind to think effectively, creatively, or originally. Instead, society serves to train your mind to think just like them. Your teachers will say, “Think outside the box!” But they don’t truly mean it. In fact, teachers tend to repeat that phrase so often that you are forever thinking inside the box, when the goal, truly, is to think beyond any box at all.

You were born an artist — a creative genius. They try to take that away from you too. They — the adults — get in the way of your experiments with reality — your testing the boundaries of the physical senses, the mixing of those boundaries, etc. They tell you to “color within the lines”. They tell you not to read books that are “above your reading level”. They tell you to “line up!” and “march!” and “behave!” Behaving translates not necessarily to acting out of responsibility or a sense of etiquette as much as it means to act exactly the way they want you to act — whether that particular behavior requires one to be ethical or not.

Parents pressure you to be “successful”, a relative term which has been taken over to mean “choosing the profession and career which we deem best suited for you, our child, our property”. Not all parents have this attitude, thankfully, but many do. It is a shame. Children are victims of cruel expectation. They are victims of fear and the perceived limitations cast upon their reality by their parents, teachers, friends, and other authority figures. Yes, even our friends can be authority figures.

In truth, authority is arbitrary and subjective. For every authority, there is a higher authority, and a higher authority above that high authority, and so on. After awhile, authority loses its meaning. Whom answers to whom? It begs the question, why the hell answer to anyone except God — if he, she, it should exist? And if there is no God, why answer to anyone but yourself? You are the god of your Self. You are your own Master. You choose to assimilate, or you choose to reject the ceaseless demands that you be one of them — that ominous phrase which sinks its teeth into a free-thinking mind like the vampire fangs of a parasite.

Assimilation is the murder of the individual ego. I say, let your ego roam free! Enjoy the liberty of ego-lessness if you can. But when you return once more to waking consciousness, do not let this world of bloodless, spiritless conformists of thought and behavior take yourself away from you. After all, you are all you have.

An individual ought to take care that he or she remains authentic in his thinking and not xerox his soul in favor of a limited perception of how one should live his or her life. Assimilated people, somnambulists, the living dead of the world, are the antithesis of the soul’s freedom and the companion to a murderous boredom — that cancerous, anesthetized, assimilated way of life. Never assimilate!

 

Musings: Cosmic Humility, Intelligent Loneliness & A Red Blotch on the Cosmos’ Sunday Tie.

Cosmic Humility

Cosmic Humility is the acceptance of ourselves and the whole of humankind existing utterly without cosmic significance or purpose. To become humble in the cosmic sense, is to relieve one’s self from the duty of searching for something that is not there. I advise all of my fellow readers and subversives to retire, to put their feet up, to not worry, to gaze upon the great abyss of an infinite cosmos with reverent wonder, and despite all injuries to the petty, Earthbound ego, to remain cosmically humble.

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Intelligent Loneliness in a Nation of Group-Think

Freedom is not free”, or so this common bumper sticker slogan so adamantly informs me. Immediately, images of terrible bloodshed and death in foreign jungle lands are supposed to come to one’s mind. Americans often place this mindless patriotic sticker next to “Home of the Brave” and “Jesus is God”, along with skewed images of a mundane crucifix plastered along the bumper somewhere. We are a strange, militant and superstitious people indeed! Within this nationalistic environment, this narrow-minded air, the intelligent man or woman must inevitably suffer a unique form of loneliness.

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A Point of Pride

Ever make a turd so big, you wished it had an accompanying bathroom audience so that it could be applauded? It is a shame when something we’ve created (perhaps through great constipation — Err, I mean, consternation) goes so thoroughly unseen and unappreciated except by our lonely selves. It seems a shame to flush the baby immediately upon birth. It has only just begun to live! Secretly, we want to share our great shits with the world and receive some deserved recognition for it — especially when we’ve Ker-plunked a really good one. A point of pride, you see. A point of pride.

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A Red Blotch on the Cosmic Sunday Tie

The most persistent delusion which humankind perpetuates is the idea that humankind shall endure forever and has nearly always endured, in practical terms. The masses of Earth come and go in one chaotic, undulating ocean of short-lived years and consistently tend to retain this delusion that we are the complete beginning and end of all history — that history, all 14 billion cosmic years of it, somehow belongs within the confines of our mortal possessions. History to our (mostly) unthinking species is like a nice 1960’s muscle car, or a really big mansion. History is a material thing which can be replenished, reupholstered, and/or otherwise preserved for all time. When in reality, humanity is but a tiny red blotch, a minute and practically imperceptible stain upon the Infinite Cosmos’ Sunday Tie. Meanwhile, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies slowly but surely drift toward each other like inevitable glaciers…Eternity yawns and consumes the eyeblink existence of the human Ego with perfect and effortless ease.