Posts Tagged ‘religion’

A Few Sky Gray Thoughts On Politics As A Brittle Literary Device


28 May

sierra

War On Wars

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A fine man and dedicated patriot named Christopher Logan honored me recently when he sent me a message inquiring, "Do you think I was being too rough with her?"

Damned if I know. She doesn't seem to be backing down, and is remarkably patronizing in her own right. Let's face it. Some people just don't get it, won't get it, can't possibly get it until IT affects them in some very personal way, very detrimental way. Perhaps a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson, J. Quincy Adams, John Wesley, Bishop Sheen, Winston Churchill, and Mohammed himself will get her attention, but probably not. Because she's of the mindset right now that it is better that 100 guilty terrorists go undetected than one innocent Muslim be given a second glance in an airport line. There's no defeating that logic in these sad, post-modernist, politically incorrect, globalist times since it parallels the romanticism that our own US legal system is grounded in, and pumps out through the state media. For better or for worse, smiley-faced Pollyannas will always be with us. You and me? We just keep plugging. In due time, we might be prepared to be of even greater service to those who criticize us now...

Q: Thank you for not attacking me but providing me with the information. But your quick turn to the passive-aggressive has not provided much in the form of education. I'll investigate anyway.

Pamela, I'm not here to educate you. One liners on Facebook will never get that done. There is a wealth of information out there just for the picking. You are correct. You must do the investigations, yourself. Take no single source as truth, or at least not until you have determined the source as reputable over a string period of time. That's the best any of us can hope to do. But what seems to be at issue here on this thread is whether or not this question of a global jihad in its myriad of forms is a matter of personal opinion, anecdotal evidence, or mere genuflection, but rather of determinable fact by a tough, keen look at all the evidence available. Propaganda is very tough nut to parse with mere cursory efforts...

And I suggest to you that Mr. Logan has the right beat on the issue, Laurie. News that screams forth everyday from all corners of the planet where Islam is actively pursing more territory, more corpses, more power under the guise of sharia, is not a mere blip on the screen. The signage of Islam on the march is everywhere. Signs, signs, everywhere are signs. Perhaps you know the song, perhaps not. But the point is, there's a whole lot more to this Islamic muffin than just some flour and a handful of blueberries.

Gabriel: Information is not knowledge.

Kirsten: This is an often misconstrued concept! But, to quote: Knowledge is Good.

Gabriel: Prudence is better. And all things being equal, innocence is best...

Bruce: Well I didn't want to say anything but I am glad you know this.

Gabriel: Well dear public, feel free to expose me to what else you and yours might speculate I need to know. The nasty truth is not as mysterious as we've been led to believe. GATHER OR DIVIDE. The whole point of my imaginary punk rock band is to suggest that each one of us must make the play. Bystanders be damned. Ignorance is bliss, twice the fun, bur perilous in spoilage. Our retaliation?

Inherit a role. Allow it to count. Face the music. And realize that this is the only rule by which we know ourselves as intricately as our detractors do.

Josh: Correlation does not imply causation!

karl-popper

Karl Popper

Gabriel: Obviously correlation is a more pertinent state of affairs, since to put matters in terms Karl Popper might appreciate, scientists can explain First Cause, but we are stuck with all pending correlations.

Maybe that was Wittgenstein, not Popper, but since they exchanged thoughts with fabulous animosity, the pending correlations in this case are probably nothing more than the dollars and cents of an ego economy - commonly called hubris - rather than the clarity that some uncertainty principle might avail us when the necessary light we might require to accept a generality at the sufferance of a specific is corrupted by political motivations.

In other words, all politics is tainted, and plagued with guesswork, but I am a survivor of my own knowledge, not yours. Might I bother this page with a correction? scientists CANNOT explain...well, that unintended typo effectively puts the skid into this thread. After fielding a few snarky remarks from leftist associates and reading some of the neck-snapping snorts of some rightie cohorts, I feel compelled to state:

Politics is just as irrational and existential a belief system as religion, at times just as pernicious, at times just as comforting, both springing from a loose structure of competing droves. In fact, we know today, there is little difference between politics and religion in its abstract condition or its peculiar habits. Superstition and misconception dominate both. Empty rhetoric imposes and services both.Spalding Nix

Faith is central to each creature as we struggle with imperfection in the teleological realm, and faithlessness is punished in one form or another at every turn. There is no certainty but uncertainty, and there is no uncertainty like certainty. We thrash about with words to form ideas that deceive us with words no matter where we spend our coins. No realm is satisfied, and logic is quickly sold to the highest bidder. Some might even say there is no rational distinction between politics and religion, but are merely similar thorns on the same blighted rose bush...

Like Ezra Pound, I cherish the right of every man to have his ideas judged one at a time.

GT

A Post-Situationist Meeting Halfway Or Nowhere At All


06 Jun

blaise_cendrars

Blaise Cendrars

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Okay Christopher, I need to get out of the house. So you say you're down with some decentralized meeting of the group. I'll call your bluff. Let's meet. You're on the west coast. I'm on the east in DC. Let's meet in late January in some location on the mighty Mississippi. Your call of which town or city.

Among the larger cities - St.Louis, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Paul...

Some larger towns—Hannibal, Vicksburg, Dubuque, Davenport...

Your choice among these or any other you would be willing to oblige with a personal appearance. I say we aim with certainty for a date in late January. Let's prove our mettle, man. Dead of winter. As natural as it gets. Get there on our wits, and whatever other advantages we can muster. Real life. No excuses. No more bullshit. We're just agreeing to meet at a certain time and place. No other plans. If one of us doesn't feel confortable with winging it, he can intuit his own backup plans, but he doesn't have to share this plan with the other. We can shake out the dust once we meet at the appointed place and time.

What do you say? Who knows. Perhaps like Tolstoy, one or both of us will catch pneumonia and die of our stupidity. Or we can grow stronger in our renewed sense of adventure like say, Blaise Cendrars.

But frankly, I've grown a little tired of all this chit chat which leads nowhere, literally, nowhere. And all this—we are ever so clever, but the rest of the world is bullshit—that passes for intellectual discourse on this so-called post-situationist list.

You certainly don't have to agree to this fool's errand. But I do view my challenge to you it in terms of an old-fashioned duel. After all, you are just another character in the storybook of my mind. I want a closer look into that character. I want to know what this character is made of—hot air, hot embers, stale smoke, or wild duck.

I'm telling you that if you set place and time, I will be there, or will die trying. Why? Because "this" is my religion. Forcing people to confront their own dishonesty by putting myself on the line with mine as its struggles with truth in advertizing. But certainly, using your own powers of radicalized reason you may not believe me for you do not know me. One or both of of us may not show. It will be up to the person or persons who DOES show to prove it to the listgroup (namely, the person who didn't show) by any means necessary. Of course, knowing how impossible it is to PROVE anything in terms of ideological debunking, I realize this proof will be meaningless to those who cling to their disbelief, and mention proof with a smile and a grain of salt.

Salt, ah, another poison.

Gabriel Thy
Program Director
Radio Scenewash Network
www.scenewash.org

Now listening to: "Debonaire" by *Dope* on the "Felons and Revolutionaries" LP

The January Benchmark


19 Jan

Powerful Persuasion

Powerful Persuasion

samplex

Sun, 19 Jan 1997 01:20:28

I must say you site is one of the more interesting that I have encountered on my somewhat short trip on the WWW. I'd like to cast one point of view into the fray if I may...

It is simply this. Atrocities have been committed throughout history in the name of almost every philosophy, religion, political agenda that one may acknowledge. Pol Pot is said to be responsible for 6 million torture-deaths in Cambodia-Campochia alone, all in the name of trying to save his country by destroying intellect and family. Stalin, Mao, The Spanish Inquisition, Columbus, Lincoln, Lee, et cetera were ALL responsible for ordering or performing atrocities, murders, et cetera in the name of a cause.

On the other hand, Jesus of Nazareth has never been linked historically with anything other that the actions of a peace maker (casting the money changers from the temple excluded). The only time he showed anger was when he was arguing against the very things that you argue against on you web page—oppression, hurt, ill will toward mankind. Those who followed in his name have their own histories to atone, but you can't hang their sins on the Nazarene, except in terms of projection, of religion.

My point is just this: humanity is by nature imperfect and subject to a wide variety and degree of existential imperfection and imperfectability—some quite devastating and horrible. Just because humanity can create a horror in the name of something does not mean that the something is neccessarily bad—just the man.

Let's just call this my January benchmark,

GT

"There is pain in changing and pain in staying the same. Choose the one that moves you ahead..."

Not Your Father's New Math


25 Sep

Part I. Memorizing Each Postulate By Morning
I am a panic of NONE.
I am a race of NONE.
I am a language of NONE.
I am a religion of NONE.
I am a law of NONE.
I am a God of NONE.

I am a panic of ONE.
I am a race of ONE.
I am a language of ONE.
I am a religion of ONE.
I am a law of ONE.
I am a God of ONE.

I am a panic of ALL.
I am a race of ALL.
I am a language of ALL.
I am a religion of ALL.
I am a law of ALL.
I am a God of ALL.

Part II. Crossing the Equator With Dirty Weapons
I am a panic of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a race of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a language of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a religion of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a law of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a God of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.

I am a product of HERE AND NOW.

[ 2007, Washington, DC ]

Whatever's Left Of Rounthwaite Gnaws At This Map Of Houston


20 Apr

surveyors

You Said I Was Born To Be A Surveyor

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Thirteen years! In and of itself thirteen years even to my 38 year old mind does not seem like such a long time, but when I am reminded of the numerous changes I have spent on the road a whole lot louder than I was then, and now that some of your own changes have been plugged into the equation, I am smacked with emotion. After several eager dialings over the course of these years to metropolitan Houston directory assistance to confirm that you still maintained a telephone in the area, I finally found the courage to ring you up, facing whatever destiny our two paths had reckoned. Certainly delighted I did, reassured by your innate friendliness, although I must admit. I never expected news of a debilitating cerebral stroke nor the loss of your Christian wife to another man. Unsure of your own willingness to presently discuss with someone of my distance these two very personal issues, I will not press for details, but whatever strikes your fancy within your own comfort levels and timing.

Even as I hastily type out this preamble to what shall certainly evolve into a lengthy dispatch, because my own natural stimulus leaves no stone unturned, no ambiguity unanalyzed, no shadow unembraced, once I discover them hiding under a rock, a leaf, a building, a field of arguments no man has ever built and they came running, particularly after all these years of silence and personal migrations, reconfigurations, makeovers, retooling—I feel my language in this letter will never wholly match in faithfulness my spirit to explain those matters of choice which simply cannot be explained with tiring the reader. Some say I never get to the point. As an old journeyman land surveyor I celebrate the line—the line made of up infinite points, intersecting points, points of curvature, end points, beginning points, random points, topological points, non-existent points, hidden points, blocked points, coordinate points, and error, accumulative error. I take advantage of this knowledge.

Beyond outward appearances, inward cesspools, or the algebra of faith, it is easy to admit that my flesh has never been able to trigger its own comfortable purposes; my pawning gnawing spirit—yearning forcefully toward some sort of systematic success never quite available however carefully transcribed to me in secret languages beyond the scope of others, even my devoted wife’s stunted curiosity—still rages against my body proving an easily recognizable quantum that the body has spent a lifetime stifling the spirit and the spirit a lifetime of trying to void the body.

That is to say, the cult of love, as it instructs and subsequently withers (or puddles) the individual psyche into parasitic perversions symptomatic of or fluid to a basic yet unraveling (diluted) meaning of life, is the story of the self-replicating worm colony feeding upon the cold marbleizing carcass representing the association between love and death gone untold. Mostly.
But this isn’t news in any language. Thousands of years and millions of minds have conspired to convert the eternal rites of passage into a mere truism dried of all meaning. My life I’m afraid has been a testament to the inflexible conflict between passion and indifference, the conflict of the lion and the lamb residing within the same skeletal savannah, of the need to know versus the need to forgive and forget, escaping numbers only to falter along ruinous paths maximizing the storms of an irregular personality marking the forehead with faith while resisting the queues of metaphorical Babylonia which seem to know only what molten men of the hour can teach and respect solely on a statistical curve.

Trajectory failure, one chapter at a time, as only a man of unquenchable thirst can survive is not only an interesting sentence, it does not erect imaginary fences either. The apparent loss of God the Waterbearer is rank speculation and dog tired dogma, the two strong vices which still snarl my flesh, and its façade like immeasurable strands of thread wrapped around a burning man, yet they still engage and tempt me into feeling justified in rejecting what’s leftover of love's devices, the word itself having degenerated into merely another cultural pathos. That is to say, the cult of love, as it instructs and subsequently withers (or puddles) the individual psyche into parasitic perversions symptomatic of or fluid to a basic yet unraveling (diluted) meaning of life, is the story of the self-replicating worm colony feeding upon the cold marbleizing carcass representing the association between love and death gone untold. Mostly.

Leaving on March 11, 1979, the day after my brother’s wedding, I set out to explore the nature of God, myself, and the way, only a few days after you baptized me at my request in that sad moonlit apartment pool in the southwest sector of the city in which we were then living.
These past weeks since hearing your proud cheerful voice exactly as I remember it have been pocked with recurrent memories of our regular theological exchanges. For sixteen years that voice and those words have echoed through my mental and spiritual chambers. It is no exaggeration to say that probably not a month has passed in all those many that you, your family, and the boast of our fellowship did not enter my social milieu like rainclouds over parched clay both to inspire and to challenge my efforts to attain God’s Tender Will. Indeed you have exerted a major influence over my life. I have dozens, perhaps tens of dozens of times, employed the title—My First Post-Parental Mentor—when referring to you in recollection among contemporaries. This admission is not meant to flatter or embarrass you, merely state a relationship.

While appropriate honor is certainly intended, I mention this only to emphasize your timely importance in my life. I was a fledgling 23 in the Texan autumn of 1978, still perky from the jarring experience of marrying and separating from a Jehovah Witness twice my age heavy with three kids, when we first surveyed together under the tricky financial wings of lovable diamond-mouthed Larry Godfrey, two extraordinary surveyors charged with the task of laying out the figure eight track at the City of Houston Police Academy and other site preparation tasks at the airport next property line over.

I lived and worked in Houston precisely three days plus one year. I gave away most of my possessions. Everything in my apartment in fact, save my books, music, and the short change of clothes I could fit into my car. Leaving on March 11, 1979, the day after my brother’s wedding, I set out to explore the nature of God, myself, and the way, only a few days after you baptized me at my request in that sad moonlit apartment pool in the southwest sector of the city in which we were then living—a wide open city still growing by a thousand people a week, a high stakes city still burbling in a the last big Texas oil boom, a sprawling segregated city that claimed to be the nation's fifth largest at that time, a wildcat city of mighty skyscrapers, whipping freeways and mile after mile, neighborhood after neighborhood of busy, treeless parallel and perpendicular lines paved in spectacular unwavering concrete grids, nostalgic signage, barrios, gringos pushing & shoving a 40/40 population wheelhouse, a city which I would only return once more after I left this time in my Blue Devil 305.

Regrettably, little has changed in that regard even now. Studies among the exegeses of Tolstoy, Schweitzer, Pascal, St. Augustine, Van Gogh, Cayce, Goethe, Tillich, Gibran, Pascal, Rousseau, Paine, Durant, and other biblical and ethical commentators filled my head with all too many strange transfixing questions and all too few answers, presaging an addiction to the printed word which still haunts me.
Within three months of packing myself into my car I landed a job as a caretaker on a chicken farm in Nassau County, Florida, just north of Jacksonville. Forty thousand fluttering birds my equal needed to be fed, quenched, and culled, water and feed troughs cleaned, manure and fresh wood chips shoveled, dead birds buried. This period proved to be a sharp lesson in the intentional devaluation of the self. Farming a half acre assortment of vegetables and fruits, I ate sparingly, becoming emaciatingly thin on a diet of little meat, mainly an occasional roasted fowl or catfish caught in the lagoon off Lofton Creek at the back of the cabin where I lived alone and satisfied that I walked with a living savior. Those days were delightful, pure, serene, purposeful, quixotic, flowing, and the night air was lucid for bookworming and practicing in earnest what I had hoped would one day manage to keep me in cottage and applied theory—the writing craft.

Bare minimums were code. A secluded sandbottomed lagoon wrestling with beauty offered itself for skinny dipping and the daily summer bath. Loneliness was sometimes a factor at Lofton Creek, alone as I was, caring for the unflappable birds and tending the fields of manure-fertile raw vegetable goodness I planted. Youthful polarity provided the future with great purpose as I craved to learn the ways of the intellectual, the saint, the poet, the madman whom the world, Jew or Gentile, could not force its indistinguishable patterns onto without the consent of the governed, daring to transcend each and every stone cast upon the pond, walking the walk, talking the talk, bending and bowing to the rays of the constant light within. Ah, such is the reverie of an uncouth youth seeking to belong to himself.

Landlord and his wife, the Earl Wilson's, who lived in their National Register Tabby home ten miles away in town, would occasionally bring out a mess of rockshrimp and a feast of the few would be promptly called. Fellowship, tangency, and the delicate prospering of a solitary man’s vital era ranked among the finest times I have ever achieved and was common to each visit and each conversation we shared, a genteel but unaffected mutual regard very much like our own. Earl Wilson, who later passed away of a heart attack at the tragic age of 55, had in truth and in spirit, become my second personal mentor. The second elder in whom I would be able to listen to or confide in without some sort of spiritual grudge match fostering my intelligence. Of course this is aside from what I would continue to scan heavily from books and other media accounts. My fifteen months at Lofton Creek were a gentle canvas of leisure, painted with a measuring schtick spoiled only by a natural intolerance to any perceived decline or stagnation. Was I not being groomed by the All-Purposeful Lord for great things, greater things than this? Like Elisha, I wanted more.

Soon enough though, an unchecked overwhelming sense of urgency pervaded my serenity. I spent afternoon and evening reading book after book checked out from the library in the town from which I had graduated highschool, six years earlier, the town where the landlord and his wife lived. The urgency of succeeding somewhere somehow sometime soon in a way that matched what I believed where my strong points, kept me at odds with the seclusion of my near perfect pastoral lifestyle. Regrettably, little has changed in that regard even now. Studies among the exegeses of Tolstoy, Schweitzer, Pascal, St. Augustine, Van Gogh, Cayce, Goethe, Tillich, Gibran, Pascal, Rousseau, Paine, Durant, and other biblical and ethical commentators filled my head with all too many strange transfixing questions and all too few answers, presaging an addiction to the printed word which still haunts me.

In short, I feel I am a healthy neurotic, now as I was as a child, a struggling, inept, argumentative teenager, a terrible twentysomething, and so now as a twisting thirtysomething, a solitary seeker of unbiased unprotracted truth and justice of what's happening, righteousness and compassion among those I intersect, guided not by my own sense of self-worth but by a hovering sense of duty, not quite positive everything I effect is going to put a smile on God’s face, but secure in the knowledge that without that healthy dose of doubt, purpose would then be defined as beginning and ending with myself, an absurdly brutal concept to which I’ve never long subscribed.
As a precocious child I devoured books with the vigor other kids ran through mud puddles and sticker bushes, and after surging past the glib yet stagnant years brought on by my earlier experience with a much more constrained thinking—thanks to that sorry excuse of a first marriage, but when I knew you for that year, I had already walked away from all that history, grown past the years of stain in a sense.

I'm not what one might call a naturally happy person, George; not terribly unhappy, but not particularly happy, not in the same way that I would describe you&$151;you George Rounthwaite—that wonderful impish but manly grin, a grin I could hear and could almost see over the telephone that morning you returned my call, a grin that is shaped by the ever resourceful spirit which lives within you. And yet in defense of my own robust spirit, I can never concede that I am unduly deprived of God’s intent in when weathering whatever shades of depression and simple joy I experience. I accept my local joys and those spells of dark seclusion which work to direct my life in ways most citizens, believers and pagan alike, in our culture find less than ambitious to say the least, and dare assert I, speak more to their own faulty judgment than to my own sense of frailty.

In short, I feel I am a healthy neurotic, now as I was as a child, a struggling, inept, argumentative teenager, a terrible twentysomething, and so now as a twisting thirtysomething, a solitary seeker of unbiased unprotracted truth and justice of what's happening, righteousness and compassion among those I intersect, guided not by my own sense of self-worth but by a hovering sense of duty, not quite positive everything I effect is going to put a smile on God’s face, but secure in the knowledge that without that healthy dose of doubt, purpose would then be defined as beginning and ending with myself, an absurdly brutal concept to which I’ve never long subscribed.

Why then all the straining psychobabble first before I begin detailing the struggles, the contours of my individual path? Because unappended details unfortunately are easily cut and quartered into categories of right and wrong out of context without supportive evidence. Because I have no wish to parade facts in front of someone who historically may not approve. And because I am neither here on this earth nor this page to shame anyone who is genuinely unprepared to understand the ways I feel called to manifest—that God in his own good sense may fulfill all the promises to those who have prayed for understanding and ultimate peace according to His previous messengers.

Giving way to nothingness, and following conscience, what could be more feckless and puerile for a "transit & hub" man walking away from a thriving dialed up world where the dollar is king...
Like a grapecoloured sky’s lively first pelt onto a rolling semi’s sideview mirror as load and driver barrel down the highway, I intend to reflect off these words into the surgical eye of the quick and the dead extending the free trade of ideas among other fine washables of life as keen as my powers allow. I am here to push further the envelope of comprehension, emphasize the degrees of perfection and sample the varieties of fruitbearing trees rooted in the heart of this age.

Selling the car was a major decision I actually made rather easily once I decided it was time, that my reasoning was solid. Mr. Rounthwaite, I loved that car, it was my pride. Therefore it had to go. Remember when we drove up to Tulsa from Houston to visit Oral Roberts University a few years earlier? Blew a flat as we were pulling into campus. Act of God, you said. I eventually left the serenity of Lofton Creek and Florida in September, 1980, for hurricane-tattered Corpus Christi to help my brother Clyde—at his request—bolster his fledgling roofing company, and return me to respectability from slacker life I suppose he and his wife might have discussed. My Blue Devil 305 ride rolled on tiger-grip Hercules Honcho tires, Gabriel shocks. Gabriel riser shocks to tell the truth. Took pride in it. Put 96K miles of artery on odometer in thirty-six months that I owned it. Had but five when I picked it off the lot.

It still frequently pops into my dreamlife now, some fourteen years after I sold it to a Jacksonville dealer for next to peanuts. In my dream it’s invariably parked in a public lot somewhere when I discover it, and usually in the perfect shiny blue state it was in when I sold it. But I do recall a recent dream when in route to nowhere in particular I casually stumble upon a burned out shell of blackened steel and crisp memories, and I knew it was my old car, ready for the resurrection and a pure nature. In this dreamlife, I always manage to steal it back successfully, without incident, and drive off into the sunset, so to speak, with no remorse, no concern for its current owner, simply radiant that my inner self has renewed the fecund energy this dazzling dance of road machine represents to my subconscious mind. Obviosuly this dreaming of one’s earliest prized and therefore most pleasureable possessions is not rare. Yet no other figurative symbols of my life except maybe the house I grew up in from the age of six to thirteen recur as often as does that car.

But I had become uncomfortable with financial success at the expense of others even to the point of resisting due payment for my own labors. My common refrain for a period was, “Just pay me what you think it is worth.” Obviously I was opening myself to exploitation, for I was never the slacker, but I could not excuse myself in this war of wages. Finally, after a decade of fighting a losing battle against my own nature to appease the temperament of business, its capitalistic pressures urging my own strong will to succeed (paralleling family and peer considerations)—only recently has it became crystal clear to me that I simply have not been called to embrace the American business routine.
Abandoned to a state of self-denial and chicken farmer ethics however, I felt compelled to junk it off to a dealer as contraband, a shiny nuts and bolts conspiracy illuminating my spiritual depravity, just as I had given away most of my household possessions except for my books and albums, including my finer threads and shoes, when I had left Houston. Giving way to nothingness, and following conscience, what could be more feckless and puerile for a "transit & hub" man walking away from a thriving dialed up world where the dollar is king...

Turning away desirable girlfriends, worldly possessions, and normal occupational ambitions came unnaturally easy to me, but in the spirit of diminishing returns, I carefully worked to steer as best I could from perverting the paradox of faith along the lines of what one might call humble arrogance back over to its converse form—arrogant humility—a decidedly common open trench planted with razorsharpened spikes and mirrors many pretenders seem incapable of dodging in their eagerness to appear to self and others as profiling God’s Own Image of Himself. And so Corpus Christi on the bay would become the next corporeal stage upon which my lifelong collusion with the spirit of man versus beast would manifest its theatre deep into my being.

Fifteen months as a hermit in the backwoods of my beginnings had taken their toll. I was no longer fit to be a businessman. Lasting only four months with my brother, I finally quit his company because of what I considered unsportsmanlike price-gouging practices. Although his rates were very competitive, it just seemed to me that hard times justified hard times for all, not accelerated pricing schedules when business was booming due to a recent storm. We parted friends and have become even closer as the years tear back the youthful packaging to reveal two pensive beings bartering the spectrum of ideas with earnest achievement at opposite poles of brotherly nature. But I had become uncomfortable with financial success at the expense of others even to the point of resisting due payment for my own labors. My common refrain for a period was, “Just pay me what you think it is worth.” Obviously I was opening myself to exploitation, for I was never the slacker, but I could not excuse myself in this war of wages. Finally, after a decade of fighting a losing battle against my own nature to appease the temperament of business, its capitalistic pressures urging my own strong will to succeed (paralleling family and peer considerations)—only recently has it became crystal clear to me that I simply have not been called to embrace the American business routine. That this anticommercial strain of business acumen is not by any means unique to religious zealots, I was aware, and careful to acknowledge prevalent economic bidding as worthy of men’s attention and God’s grace, quite unlike some in the political arena who have always seemed a bit revolting to me.

My brother has since returned to Atlanta, divorced, gone bankrupt, started another company, and remarried. His high profile roofing and remodeling company will gross over $3 million this year. Eighteen or so of his company’s advertising billboards grace Metro Atlanta’s highways. The high ornamental fabric of his lifestyle is in good taste and worthy of a poor man’s envy. My brother Clyde never graduated from junior high.

At sixteen he made a remarkable breakthrough in his life via a popular rehabilitation program, learning to read and speak there, although he still does not read much outside the Wall Street Journal and roofing or contractual specs. He does not truck with religion or the standardized version of God, although he is quite an introspective, let us say, spiritual man. After years of juvenile delinquency he saw the proverbial light, although it certainly took years for the complete transformation, in both the social grooming and personal hygienic senses, as well as for the full juices of his mental capacities to kick into overdrive.

The ensuing fact that he is quite the classical handsome man, while certainly adding to his notorious vanity, does most assuredly favor his strong faculty for self-confidence and secular direction as he makes his way among worldly affairs. Everyone pegged me for the smart brother, the rich brother, the glorious brother, of us six. Christ, said I, was not the one.

GT

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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